Wednesday, June 27, 2007

THIS is how you do it.

In re: my post from last Friday in re: my extreme preoccupation with people who wear bold message T-shirts without owning their bold message T-shirts, I saw someone on the train today who worked the shit out of hers.

She was tall, maybe 5-foot-10, gorgeously statuesque. African-American, flawless caramel-colored skin. Long hair gathered into a low ponytail, a figure I'd sell my firstborn for, she was wearing stylish Chanel-flavored sunglasses, and a single gold bangle on her right wrist. Carrying nothing but a wallet, as opposed to the rest of us schlubs who were carrying tote bags filled with all our life's possessions and emotional baggage. She was composed, had perfect posture, had not a care in the world. Her T-shirt was brown. It said SOME GIRLS ARE JUST BORN LUCKY.

True that. Seriously, she was crazy-hot.

Other than that, today is my birthday! I'm 33. Oy. I don't have a T-shirt that says BOW DOWN TO ME, FOR I AM THE QUEEN or anything like that, but I'll work it today as if I were wearing just that missive splashed across my 33-year-old (sagging) bosom.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wait. Do you hear that buzzing?

Last night was crazy.

Use this post as a cautionary tale of what not to do when you're home sick:

In my previous post, I mentioned that I've been laid up with an acute case of The Phlegm. The Phlegm prevented me from moving, talking and hearing anything of any kind. For the first two days, I couldn't read, as my face felt like it was submerged in a vat of red Jell-O (why red I have no idea; just go with me, here). I couldn't register in my brain any words on any page. So I slept.

And then, once I slept ... I could read. But it was not so much good.

See, I went to one of my favorite sites, Apartment Therapy. Home design websites and catalogs have become porn for me. I sit and fantasize about what my apartment will look like with just a few subtle tweaks, a slipcover here, a paint job (dirty!) there, a white ceiling fan for aesthetics AND utility. And then I turn to Josh and say, "Honey? Don't you think we could try a little ... sage green in the living room? Do you think you'd feel comfortable trying that?" And Josh is all, "Aw, honey, whaddya have to go read that stuff for? Things are fine the way they are." And then I have to show him pictures to prove that my suggestions aren't all that bad, that he wouldn't have to step too far outside his comfort zone, and when he agrees, it feels like things are going to get a little better. So you see, now. I feel like I've written about this before, but as people are addicted to their porn, I am addicted to my Apartment Therapy.

Apparently, Apartment Therapy has been chronicling the travails of a reader who is in deep with a bedbug problem. And also apparently, there is a gargantuan bedbug infestation spreading across the East Coast. I keep hearing more and more about people battling bedbugs (which are neither a reflection of a person's cleanliness nor of their neighborhood), and the situation is, in a word, horrifying. Bedbugs can go up to 18 months without a meal and not die! They feed on human flesh! They never. ever. go. away! We live in a brick building and we have a garden, so we tend to get bugs in the summer (millipedes, mostly, but they don't hurt humans so we're not that bothered by them, except that they're huge, fast suckers so they're hard to catch; also, gross). As far as I know, we don't have bedbugs (thank GOD), but naturally, I started reading up on the subject to arm myself with knowledge, which, in a case like this, is second only to arming oneself with Raid. Check out Bedbugger for an informative — and alarming — read.

And then the itching started.

First it was my chin. I was long past reading about bedbugs at this point, but I kept feeling random tickle spots on my chin. And then my right eyebrow. I started swatting my head. And then I started scratching my hip. Josh looked at me as if he thought I was going to start having conversations with garbage cans and name my feet Merle and Jimmy.

I figured that since I'd been stuck in the apartment, save for going to the doctor's office, since Wednesday night, two things were happening: a) I was losing my mind, and b) my personal grooming ritual had all but been abandoned and my skin was getting dry. I still felt itchy, but I understood it was psychosomatic and let it slide.

Around 2:30 a.m., I went to bed. This is the gist of what the rest of the evening was like:

2:36 — scratch ankle with opposite foot's toes
2:39 — swat ear
2:42 — brush pillowcase with hand; flip pillow over
2:45 — hide under covers
2:48 — flinch when hair grazes eyebrow
2:51 — sit up straight, cough uncontrollably
2:54 — blow nose
2:57 — scratch ankle again
3 a.m. — swear I can feel something crawling in my ear

And so on and so forth until about 10 a.m., when I finally fell into a deep, deep sleep.

The whole thing reminded me of the time I saw Arachnophobia at the Americana West theater in West Bloomfield, Michigan, with Randy Fayne and Josh Barnett when I was in high school. At the climax of the film, just as John Goodman was about to pounce on that ginormous, hairy spider during a moment of extreme quiet and tension, Randy Fayne tickled the length of my arm with his fingernails. I jumped about three feet out of my seat. Last night was like that. Bugs don't have to be in the room for you to feel them. All you have to have is the thought of them in your head, and they might as well be crawling up your leg.

Needless to say, I've spent the majority of the day doing laundry. Getting over The Phlegm is always a good time to clean anyway, just to get the filmy essence of illness out of the house. But I also think it's the only way to exterminate our phantom bugs. Eew.

One thing I did read that I enjoyed immensely and that didn't make me itch at all is my friend Mollie's blog, Restricted View. I know some of you have found my blog through hers, so welcome, and yay! Mollie writes mostly about theater, but she also writes about random sightings on the subway and beyond, things she reads and watches, and other various incidences of awesomeness. Her writing is brilliant, and she's strongly opinionated in the very best way: She writes with conviction, eloquence and humor, expressing her opinions in a clear, profound, fearless way. Reading her blog makes me want to dive into an interest so I know everything about it, the way she knows everything about theater, but I can't see parlaying my knowledge about Duran Duran in such an effective way as she does with the stage. Anyway.

Check out her blog, for sure. I don't know nearly as much about theater as she does, of course, and I often have trouble with musicals because I'm a crier and find that I'm so easily manipulated by them that I can't enjoy them because I'm so upset, but I love her blog because it's just really good writing from a really exceptional person, and her take on what she sees is always worth reading, even if it's not something I'd see myself. And she's lately been achieving excellent notoriety since writing a critique of a piece John Colapinto wrote in The New Yorker about Paul McCartney, that Colapinto took so much issue with that he basically posted his irate self in her comments section and weakly lambasted her, but all it did was alienate his own readers and writers in general. An embarrassing display of pure unprofessionalism and immaturity from someone who, by all pretenses, should be able to handle criticism. Awesome in every way. Check it out.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Mmm. Kleenex with lotion.

I've been stuck at home the past two days, in the throes of what can best be described as The Most Hellacious Sinus Infection Ever. I get these things once, maybe twice a year. They are always awful, and then they pass. But this one hit hard and fast: It's the kind where, when you feel a cough coming on, you get a little scared because you know the burning in your chest is going to hurt like a fothermucker. My entire upper body feels like it's underwater. I've been sweating and blowing my nose and I couldn't drink all day yesterday because the act of opening my mouth made me nauseous, which also means I can't speak, and for some reason every single one of my teeth hurt, and last night, for the first time since I had tonsilitis in high school, I sat on the couch and cried from the pain. I whined and regressed. It was just bewildering. I was shocked by my complete inability to handle something that is a fairly regular affliction. Weird.

But I'm fine. I went to the doctor this morning and am amply drugged. I'm still on the couch, sweating. I can't hear a thing because my head is so stuffed, but it's turned out to be a lovely surprise because, with not being able to hear, the TV is off, and I'm just passing the time in silence. Silence happens so rarely. I'm enjoying it.

The timing and depth of all of this, well, phlegm, confirms the initial suspicions I had a couple days ago when I began to have a bear of a time getting out of bed. This is definitely all more than just a sinus infection. This is release. This is change. This is — to be honest — good.

In the past week and a half, I've amped up my workout regimen, I've completely changed my diet, I've started to detox my body. And then Josh got a job.


Last week, he registered with a temp agency that hires for nonprofits. By Wednesday, they'd placed him in a long-term temp gig at an excellent foundation, and by Thursday, he was waking up and going to work. This might not sound like much, but this hasn't happened in our house in a very, very long time. He's beside himself. Thrilled. He finally made the first HUGE step in a very challenging career change, and what's more, they're actually going to use him as opposed to sticking him behind a desk and making him answer phones — a rarity in the temp world. He feels like a human being, not a person in flux. This job could turn into, or lead to, absolutely anything. Needless to say, the mood in our apartment has completely changed. We're relaxing. We're talking about going on reading dates, because to pretentious nerds like us, that just sounds like a fun thing to do. We actually went out for dinner to celebrate. At a restaurant. I had tuna tartare! Fancy!

So I feel like my body is reacting to all the change. Seeing him go to work every day, knowing that a sizable chunk of responsibility has just been lifted from my person — I guess I'm letting go. And this whole food/exercise thing, I mean, who knows how long that'll last (I've tried to revamp the bod a million times throughout my life, but this seems to make sense this time, so whatever blahblahfatcakes). But when you're ridding your body of nefarious whozits and what-nots, it's not unheard of to get sick as it all makes its way out. So I'm sweating out the stress and sweating out whatever else was in there, and it's been miserable, and there's mucus involved, but I can't help thinking it's a good thing. My body knows more than I think it does. It knows that, right now, the very best thing for me, after operating the way I have been for so long, is to be flattened on the couch, unable to move. It might be unpleasant, but I'm getting a break. And it's all part of how things just keep getting better.

And, with that, a nap.

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Friday, June 15, 2007


1. Young woman, late twenties, super-highlighted hair, T-shirt that says THE DRAMA STARTS HERE. Make mental note that I don't think I want her to be my friend.

2. Youngish man, possibly mid-thirties, listening calmly to iPod, wearing T-shirt that says LIVE WELL, EAT OUT OFTEN. T-shirt is illustrated by generic male and female figures, the kind found on public restroom doors, the ones with the detached circle heads, performing mutual oral favors on each other.

3. Young girl, late teens or early twenties, super-thick acrylic nails tapping Day-Glo green iPod cover, iPod blasting Maroon 5, make mental note to strangle myself for knowing that. Once train rolls outdoors onto the bridge, young girl opens phone and dials number (with difficulty, as length of acrylics dictates that she can only use the pads of her thumbs) and begins brief but passionate conversation about how she did not tell "her" to "fuck off." Relief ensues.

4. Young individual, indeterminate gender and ethnicity, Federline cornrows, pierced chin, oversize Mets jersey, copious amounts of jewelry, handheld videogaming device, swagger. Am convinced I will get shanked. Midway through train ride, Young Individual sneezes. I bless. Young Individual says:

"Thank you! There's so much dust and I can't stop sneezing! It was warm and then it was cold and then it rained and now [flutters front of jersey in fanlike motion] I'm dying!"

The rest of the ride was an intense discussion of the Weather Channel (Young Individual is OBSESSED) and crime-solving (Young Individual would like to be a homicide detective, attends a criminal justice college, has solved two cases unassisted, and says that forensic science is "all in the mind so you gotta be focused").

I love Young Individual.

Conversation ends with a "good luck!" and a "thanks!" Gender and ethnicity still unknown.

* A note on bold message T-shirts: You can't sit on a train with your bosom declaring that you're drama or with your chest emblazoned with stick-figure cunnilingus/fellatio and just do nothing. You have to BE the T-shirt. You have to OWN your statement. Otherwise, you look completely ridiculous. (Relatively speaking, I mean.) Drama looked like she could have been knitting some comfy socks. (She DID have a look on her face that expressed concern that those of us on the train might not actually believe that the drama starts with her directly, so I was hoping she'd throw something at someone's head, just to prove her point.) And Well-Liver, Often-Eat-Outer looked like he was just trying to decompress after a long, stressful day at the brokerage firm.

I suppose that's what Kevin Federline is for, then: When he wore that hat that said ROCK OUT WITH YOUR COCK OUT, he, like, totally did.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007



In early March, Lisa landed in the hospital in Boston. Due to the extreme suckage of the situation, I hopped on a train and headed up there, perhaps for the express purpose of doing Mad Libs with a person who has an extensive vocabulary, and also is dirty — the two chief necessities of the perfect Mad Lib.

Here's Lisa in her hospital bed, wearing hospital-issue gauze underpants on her head. As one might be inclined to do.

An unidentifiable dinner was served

and after being unable to decide what was mucked into the bread (we think it was a tuna melt, but it looked like cheese phlegm that had been abandoned in the middle of the desert for 10 years and then kicked around by restless camels), I went with Stephanie, who had driven over from Marblehead, to pick up dinner from a restaurant that doesn't recycle toe jam and glom it into a bun.

After dinner, Steph and I threw our garbage away in the kitchen down the hall. This is the sign outside the kitchen:

Inside Nourishment was a fridge, a microwave (or, as my grandmother called it, a micro-oven), a trolley for dirty trays and other refuse, and an ice machine that shoots cubes out with the force and urgency of a cruise missile.

Lisa was released the next day and we went to lunch across the street from this fine establishment:

I think the duct tape makes it so supersavvy.

I was lucky to have spent the night in Marblehead at Steph's place. Marblehead is about a million years old (well, several hundred, which in American terms equals a million) and historical and lovely.

If it was good enough for the Seed King

it's good enough for a Garfield.

The next weekend, I went to Providence, Rhode Island. It's a really picturesque city that's growing rapidly — there was construction everywhere. Lots of history, good food, funky college campuses. The drivers, however, are insane, and the hotel concierge took it upon himself to tell me that I shouldn't be surprised by any rudeness, as Rhode Islanders have "cold, black hearts." Well then.

I loved exploring the area. Any city founded on the promise of religious freedom is a city I can get behind, and any city with a public outdoor ice skating rink is all right in my book. Although I'm not quite sure what the young lady on the right is doing.

The first Baptist church in the United States


Brown University ... was. It was just the time of year, everything was dead, but the architecture was beautiful.

Student bulletin board

Trash cans for recyclables

A nice touch: Around the city, ordinary street signs were paired with signs displaying different emotions. Maybe because the drivers are so angry.

In early May, Lisa and I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Should you ever visit a botanic garden, go in early May. The cherry blossoms, lilacs and peonies were all in bloom and the fragrance of the entire park was just ... I've never smelled anything like it.

New York City, people.

Orange fish in a black pond.

This is the spot where Josh proposed to me:

It's an orchid display in a greenhouse. He proposed indoors because it was January and everything outside was dead. J'adore romance.

Under the cherry blossoms

Oy, the lilacs.

Smellin' and sniffin'.

A few days later, Josh and I went for burgers at Big Nick's and gelato at Grom. Grom is a new joint on the Upper West Side that charges obscene amounts of money for small amounts of dairy product and the line out the front door runs down the block. It was 100 percent worth it. Delicious.

On a totally unrelated note, Craig Ferguson is on TV right now discussing where Nerf may have come from. I'm in love.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Whatcha gonna do with that tassel?

Yes, yes, I know, long time blogless. I apologize for my absence and neglect. But see, this is what we did last weekend:

So, preoccupied.

Really, I'm not sure what's more surreal than seeing your spouse wear a cap and gown. It's a little bizarre and a lot hot, and there just aren't words to express how unbelievably proud of Josh I am. What he accomplished under all the crazy circumstances thrown his way, all the hurdles he hurdled and papers he papered and red tape that got stuck to his fingers and he eventually pried off with Goo Gone (because, honestly, tape is sometimes awfully hard to work with — let's just admit this now) ... it was exhilarating. But that's not a good enough word. Here, I'll make one up:



Good news is always paired with bad news, and I regret to inform you that just after Josh graduated, just as we were about to take another inappropriately zoomed photo, my camera died a horrible, violent death. The love that I have for my camera required me to ascribe human qualities to it, and now I look at it sitting forlornly on the coffee table, angry and unused, and I feel that I've failed it. I am a terrible mother. So sad. I actually took pictures of it with the Photo Booth feature on my new MacBook, to memorialize it as I prepare to send it off to the mothership (that's Canon, which brilliantly is sending me an upgraded camera in exchange for my fermished one; huzzah, customer loyalty program!). So I finally downloaded all the pictures I've taken since March, and aren't you lucky, I'm going to be sharing them with you.

But not now. Right now I must discuss smart things with the graduate.

But not before I titillate you with the danger that is Photo Booth:

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