Thursday, April 24, 2008


Oh my god. Survival of the Fittest just showed up in my living room: Not 30 minutes ago, Josh and I went up against the kittens in a mad chase for a tiny mouse darting through the apartment. Nora and Tallulah have claws and teeth and thought the mouse was a delightful toy. We had a small piece of Tupperware that we wielded with the hope of trapping the mouse so we could set it free outside.

We lost.

Scarred. for. life.

(I think this is penance for this morning. Nora opted to wake us up at 6 a.m. and spent the next hour biting our toes, knocking my alarm clock off my bedside table, walking across our heads and causing allaround havoc. It was the opposite of cute. And we don't have a door to our bedroom to keep them out so we can stay asleep and, therefore, sane. Around 7, when she once again batted away my alarm clock and the TeleZapper, I threw a pillow across the room and yelled, "You asshole!" So I think she's been plotting this all day, sort of, "You think I'm an asshole? I'll show you asshole, Mother." And then she committed murder. In front of me. And now she's asleep on the couch, fuzzy belly up, looking satisfied. That's diabolical.)


Monday, April 21, 2008

Bread and whine

In honor of Passover, I spent my commute this morning admiring a pin on a woman's messenger bag that said I love cereal.

I rambled on about my thoughts on Passover last year, so I won't bore you with the same ramblings this year (and they would be the same, as there seems to be zero shift in my holiday-themed petulance). I can say with my head held high, though, that my father-in-law, who leads the seder on the first night, did not make me do the Four Questions this year despite the fact that I was once again the youngest at the table. I was charged with lighting the candles and saying the appropriate prayer, so I can't imagine that the person who performs the tradition that normally falls to the woman of the house must also do the tradition that normally falls to the youngest child of the house. I suppose that happens in some families, but that also implies some serious familial grossness.

During the seder, we took turns reading the story of Passover out of the haggadah. When we came to the story of the creation of matzoh, it was my turn, and I glanced at the page, seeing the words Behold the matzoh, the symbol of our poverty, the symbol of our slavery ... It struck me as overly dramatic text dedicated to what is, essentially, a cracker. ("Ode to a Saltine." Very Keats.) So I read it with the appropriate level of pomp (i.e. over the top, with hand gestures spiriting the matzoh aloft), and Josh and I spent the rest of the seder cracking up because I'm so funny. Maybe I shoud have done the Four Questions, as I was, emotionally anyway, the youngest person at the table.

It was a welcome tension break, though. The past couple weeks have been hectic, stressful, overwhelming, a wad of Everything Happens at Once combined with a dollop of Just One More Thing to Think About. I feel that, for someone who craves stability, there's always some kind of drama in my life, and it's crazy-making. Not a fan.

Not all of what's going on is bad, to be sure. The next nine months are ripe with good fortune for people I deeply care about. Until January, in every month except for December (so far), I am flying or taking a train to somewhere in the country to celebrate three weddings, three babies and two bachelorette parties. I am a woman in my thirties. This is what happens. And these are not peripheral people: the fetuses are currently residing inside my sister, my best friend and my closest cousin. The weddings are celebrating the marriages of my other two sisters and Josh's brother. We also recently found out that one of my close cousins and one of Josh's close cousins just got engaged (not to each other, but wouldn't that be something?). "Great!" we said. "We can go to weddings next year, because this year is booked!" That would be great and all if they were getting married next year, but yeah, one is this summer and the other is likely this fall. So.

These are all wonderful things. But doesn't it sound like I'm complaining?

I think I'm complaining.

I'm definitely complaining.

*rant* I am broke and all of my vacation time is spoken for, and it's for everyone else and none of this is happening in St. Bart's or Bali or other beachy destination so I at least get to turn off for a millisecond. On this holiday of enjoying the company of our loved ones, we still place bitter herbs on the seder table, and I am maror. *end rant*

Caveat: I am one of those bizarre breeds of person who loves to hear about other people's weddings, babies and vacations. I love leafing through the pictures. I love the home videos. I love talking to my friends for hours on end about their pregnancies, about baby drool, about the detour they took through Boulder to get to Salt Lake City. I love wedding ceremonies, all wedding ceremonies, so far without exception. So I begrudge my friends and relatives none of this. On the contrary, I'm one of those wackadoos who can't wait to see their pictures while the whole thing is still happening.

Anyway, I think about Passover: a holiday that commemorates the sacrifices my ancestors made so they could be free. Now, the sacrifices I feel I'm making — such as spending thousands of dollars on presents and airfare to celebrate people I love because wonderful things are happening to them ... something that, at root, is not a sacrifice per se but urges you to make important, difficult decisions when you are struggling financially — hardly can be compared to the sacrifices Jews have made throughout history in their search for equality and acceptance in the world. My big sacrifice is the equivalent of not going to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall so I can buy a onesie.

And it's taboo to talk about money. But I'm gonna talk about money.

Plain and simple, Josh and I are both working and have good jobs. For a long time, until very recently, all was on hold until he graduated. Now that the light at the end of the tunnel is blinding us, I want it all right now. I want to fix my apartment and go on a tropical vacation right now this very second, and plan on a fetus of my own at some point after that. But, like most women in their thirties, and like most people who have the good fortune of having many splendid people in their lives, plans often get shuffled around until, or so that, you can concentrate on you. And that means more challenges in saving money (or, in our case, catching up with all this debt so we can even get to saving). And that means, for a lot of people, and for myself, working more than one job. And that means picking and choosing what you can afford to celebrate, which leads to the heartbreaking process of ruling things out. And that means getting tired. I'm pooped.

I think that you can be thrilled for the people you love, you can be genuinely over the moon about celebrating with them, you can want to take those trips and not think twice about using up your vacation days and nickel and dime your daily expenses so you can be generous, but you can still be pissy about it. Because it is stressful. Good fortune can be stressful because gifts and travel are expensive, and when you want some good fortune for yourself, you often fall down your own list of priorities. Look, if it's the worst thing you have to complain about, yay. That I'm nervous every time the phone rings because I can't handle more good news? Sweet.

In other news, today my friend Naomi and I decided we want a Project Runway with famous clothing designers. I decided that Roberto Cavalli would make some insane tiger-print uniform for a federal employee, and Naomi said, "Yeah, but out of banana peels!"

I just want to hear Heidi Klum say, "I know the bandage dress is what you're good at, Herve Leger, but we want to see something different."

"Yes," says Nina Garcia, "we expected more from you, Herve Leger."

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Frazzle Rock

On the elevator this morning, all was awry. There were three of us:

1 (one) man, annoyingly cheerful, also: British;
1 (one) woman, frazzled, announcing that she never should have gotten out of bed this morning;
1 (one) me, also frazzled, also (one-quarter) British

As annoyingly cheerful people tend to do, the man took it upon himself to attempt to introduce The Frazzle to the bright side of life. The Frazzle, of course, was having none of it.

"Come on!" he said. "It's spring! And today's Thursday! Which means tomorrow's Friday! How bad could it be?!?"

Having just dropped a pile of magazines on the subway and slammed into two (2) walls due to lack of sleep and coffee, I was about to punch him in the face until The Frazzle stared at the elevator ceiling and said under her breath:

"There are more suicides in April than during any other month."

I almost kissed her. Spring has always been the hardest time of year for me. Growing up in Michigan, you'd think I'd be taken down by Seasonal Affective Disorder with a wallop every winter, paralyzed by a lack of sunlight. But as far back as I can remember, until only the past couple years, I would spend the entire month of May crying in bed. I have no idea why this was, but my body chemistry would stage a coup against my brain and all my innards would sing a rousing chorus of "Dysfunction Junction" until mid-June.

I don't think all seasonal malaise necessarily exists in a vacuum; currently, there are certainly things happening in my life acting as catalysts for feeling like crap, as opposed to the more automatic crap-onset of my youth. I suppose in the past, spring was always change — end of the school year, adjustment to a new schedule, saying goodbye — and I feared change. These last few years, I found myself petulant because of not enough change. Perhaps being a cynical and indignant East Coaster Via Northern Midwesterner, I'm not meant to experience too much sunlight. And that's probably also the British in me, as my constitution necessitates that I protect my pasty pallor from the elements. But I know people have it rough this time of year.

Some people just get burned by too much sun.

It's not just me. I'd be willing to bet you feel this too: You're not sleeping, you feel a little bloated, you finally got rid of your cold but your stomach's upset, you're in a really foul mood. It's everywhere. And as my friend Heather reminded me today, misery loves company. So let's all share our own personal elevators with The Frazzle, and boot that cheesy "Looks like you've got a case of the Mondays!" English fella to the curb.

(Just to prove a point, Webster is laughing at me. I looked up indignant in the dictionary to make sure I was using it properly, and here's what it said:

indignant: to be indignant; filled with or marked by indignation

Suck it, Webster.)

The only thing that cheered me up today was when Jessica said to me, as our breakfast-time conversation was winding down, "I'm sorry I interrupted your melon."

How do you feel today? If you feel splendid, let us know, but please refrain from cheering up Les Miserables. We're armed.

Labels: , , , ,