Tuesday, January 31, 2006

rest in briefs

You know when you're folding the laundry and you come across that pair of boxer briefs that your husband has owned longer than you've known him, and the elastic is protruding from the waistband, which is itself sort of wonky and wobbly, and there are holes in unintentional places, and you're actually amazed that the fabric isn't entirely transparent at this point, so you go to throw them away, but in mid-stride you realize that your husband is (irrationally, perhaps, but you don't care) attached to this pair of boxer shorts, perhaps more than he is to you, and if you were to dispose of them he might actually weep with an overwhelming sense of loss and betrayal?

I just had that moment.

And then I regained my senses and I threw the damn things out.

GapBody for men, I sense a spree coming on.

Monday, January 30, 2006

voo-doo freakonomics

Is there any reason for me to postpone doing my taxes?

I've admitted before that I'm a little bit of a CPA wannabe and I really enjoy doing the taxes.

In fact, I seem to enjoy it so much that when my W-2 arrived in the mail last week, my first thought was, "Are the e-File for free online services up and running yet?"

Although, in the interest of full disclosure, I will cop to the fact that I suspect my pure and unadulterated tax-completion joy comes from finding out how much of a refund I'm getting. Given that my personal (non-joint) income last year puts me just a scoche over the official poverty line, and actually under it if I lived in Alaska or Hawaii (heh), the government rebate is not something at which I'll turn up my nose.

Don't get me wrong: Someday I hope to make enough that I'm not due for a substantial refund check. At the moment, however, I'll take what I can get.

And I'll get my kicks where I can find them. When I'm done with my taxes, I plan to ask my husband if he'll let me do his. FUN!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

we're watchin' the teee-veee

Virginia Heffernan, you are a dolt.

dreams of the renegade housewife

Through nefarious and clandestine pathways, I managed to procure an advance reading copy of a book coming out this April (whose title I will not print here, lest that incriminate anyone; however, I will say that I believe the last word of the subtitle should be plural, so if anyone out there has any control over that, let me know).

The book is at least putatively about the anti-feminist backlash and the generation of women raised with a die-hard belief in gender equality and without the knowledge of keeping house. It delves into the following situations:

*The problem of a woman who wants to keep house and stay home to raise her children when they are young, and the end to which our society stigmatizes these choices in the middle- and upper-middle class.

*The "mommy wars" between women who choose to/have to work and those who choose to stay home (again, this pertains only to the socioeconomic classes wherein even "having" to work is somewhat a matter of choice rather than pure survival).

*The fascination with organization and simplicity and "nostalgic" home-making (i.e., the Martha Stewart syndrome) combined with the repudiation of actual house-keeping and child-rearing, which is often put in the hands of a woman of lower socioeconomic status who must work for a living and finds her wages in these traditional "woman's work" jobs.

*The guilt and out-of-place feelings that arise from whatever we end up actually doing, given the above choices.

I'm feeling somewhat ambivalent about the conclusions, such as they are, that the author reaches. (Frankly, on first reading, I found the chapters to be rather repetitive, as though they were essays culled from different magazines -- which they were, but can't she edit them for flow? -- and I don't feel that she has reached a coherent synthesis yet.)

I agree with the idea that the feminist revolution demonized the institution of being a housewife, and that it is hard to break away from that sentiment, if one was raised after that era. The mere fact that today's women who leave the work force are called, and call themselves, "at-home mothers" is, as the author notes, itself an avoidance of the hated term.

However, it sometimes seems that the author is trying to say that women feel a natural inclination to keep house and make a home for their families, and that this is OK, and at other times that she is trying to say that we should separate domestic duties, even if it is more frustrating to today's working woman when her husband does everything she asks him to do but does it wrong, and at other times that she has given up on trying to say anything and is just writing amusing observations about the trouble created by choice.

If she'd stick with the final perspective, I think I'd like the book a whole lot more.

I've been thinking a lot about this as I've pored over the book, and I guess my biggest quarrel is with the author's failure to address the possibility that some women may truly feel drawn to home-making, just as some men might. Nesting is an animal impulse, not a social one, so if some members of our animal species still feel impelled to make a safe home, who is to say that there mightn't be an element of Darwinian evolution involved? And if women's chromosomes seem to evince this predilection more often than do men's, couldn't that also be an evolutionary trait?

Granted, it is probably an easy out to argue that it's genetic. The same specious argument has been made, to extraordinarily deleterious effect, about ethnicity and race in order to cleanse and segregate populations the world over. Playing the gene card is not a trap I want to fall into, or an accusation I wish to invite from others.

But somewhere in my brain, at least a small kernel of it makes sense. Any woman who has ever had a sudden, intense, physically-felt yearning for a child of her own should be able to recognize that some women (and yes, even some men) might have a similar drive to create a comfortable, nurturing household.

The author talks about the women who read Martha Stewart's books and magazines with rapt attention but dread marching into the kitchen to make a meal at the end of the day. She never addresses those of us who get joy from cooking and baking, who feel pride in the accomplishment of making a decorative lampshade (because it's fun!), who clean the kitchen counters not because they have to or because their husbands won't, but because it's nice to have clean countertops instead of sticky ones and -- come on, people, if you notice the spill, you clean it up, don't you?

Husbands are not demons and housewives are not to be pitied. This much the author states firmly... about 80% of the time. But nowhere in the other 20% does she ever acknowledge the middle road, the fact that one can have a career and enjoy cooking dinner. Life does not have to be just one or the other, even for the upper-middle-class "professional" women like the author, who can work from home and still feel the need (and have the ability) to hire a nanny. I can work, at home or not, and still enjoy cleaning out the cabinet under my bathroom sink (I find it to be a meditative exercise, and at the end, energizing). She doesn't account for that possibility.

This, then, is the clanging, back-breaking fault of the book. The all-or-none option has taken over today's world, but that's just not going to cut it. The plethora of choice does not have to result in all choices seeming unacceptable; rather, why not let it offer us myriad ways of combining and creating our own options? Not every happy family needs to prove Tolstoy right. If we were each happy in our own way, the world might spin a little more smoothly, and would that really be so damn bad?

Addendum: This is, apparently, a hot topic. I just read an article in the Sunday Styles section of The New York Times that was excerpted from another book of essays to be published in March, called Mommy Wars: Stay-at-Home and Career Moms Face Off on Their Choices, Their Lives, Their Families.

So I'm clearly not going to bring the debate to a shuddering halt with any stunning, lightning-bolt insights. I do have to say it's a somewhat disconcerting feeling to know that the things you think about every day and wrestle with internally are really part of the zeitgeist. I sort of wanted to explore this in my own head, but it's all over the freakin' place.

But at least when the kitchen calls, I know it's my own mishegoss that sends me there, not some cultural impositon. I can harbor my rebel-with-a-dishcloth dreams for a little while longer.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


I'm feeling uninspired this evening. It was just one of those days where everything at the grocery store seemed boring and blah, so I'm just pulling out some hot italian turkey sausages to throw on the indoor grill. I'll saute some green beans and sliced creminis to serve up on the side, and we'll uncork the bottle of white that's been living in the fridge since the cocktail party.

Deep down, however, I feel slightly ashamed that I'm not going to more effort to prepare dinner.

Since when did I turn into Bree?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

ignorance is bliss

Things I Believe I Should Know At Age 27.

(But Clearly Do Not.)

1) How to figure out what kind/size/style of mortgage Jim and I could qualify for.

2) How to determine the optimal number of exemptions for tax withholding for two-person two-income married-filing-jointly tax forms.

3) How to put an important item in a safe place and not immediately forget where that safe place is, leading to my never being able to find said important item again.

4) How to sew seams, darn socks, replace drawstrings, remove stains, and perform other clothing repairs beyond the average button replacement.

5) How to get my mind to calm down when a number of important decisions loom large on the horizon, but none can be dealt with in the immediate present. I tried yoga and distraction. I think next on the list are wine and chocolate.

6) How to get loud, rowdy neighbors (at 2 in the afternoon!) to shut up without actually having to confront them. Seriously, what the hell are they doing over there?? Isn't it a little early for a kegger?

Monday, January 23, 2006

dust in the wind

Elizabeth and I were chatting recently about the somewhat ridiculous nature of apartment dust.

E: "As always, I am amazed by the incredible quantity of dust that my
apartment seems to create. I wonder if I actually make more by dusting
as often as I do ..."

L: "All apartments create dust. I'm convinced that apartment dust is actually making the universe heavier. It's INSANE."

E: "Why do I always manage to find so much random shit to clean in my apartment? I AM A CLEAN PERSON, DAMMIT."

L: "You are INSIDE. MY. HEAD. This is what I always think, particularly when I am down on my knees in what amounts to just-more-than-underwear, scrubbing my tub and wondering where the fuck all that dirt came from."

In all seriousness, I do find myself contemplating the origin of the dust that magically appears in my apartment. It covers all exposed surfaces no matter how often I dust and no matter what dust-repelling cleaning products I add to my arsenal.

It defies the Swiffer, wet or dry. It defies Pledge wipes and Endust spray. It defies vacuuming.

It defies the use of a humidifer. It even defies the damned Ionic Breeze Air Purifier.

And as I was vacuuming the bathroom -- the total floor surface area of which is approximately six square feet -- for the twelfth time in a week, it dawned on me that this, this was the battle. The easiest and best way to take us down. This is the battle that can never be won, but dammit, we'll die trying.

This is the way the world ends
Not with a rag but a duster.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

document nation

I. SAT Reasoning Test (tm)
Question-and-Answer Service
October 2005 Administration

II. Online Test #1, one-sided

III. Online Test #6, one-sided

IV. 2006 SAT Tutoring Verbal Veteran TEL Kit (Item No. SP6116A) -- Dear Tutor, We have updated our SAT Tutoring materials! Please make sure this package contains the following items:
[V]SP6114A:SAT Critical Reading Tutoring TEL Supplement
[VI]SP6112A:SAT Writing Tutoring TEL Supplement
[VII]SP5119A:SAT Practice Test 1: Private Tutoring
[VIII]SP5116A:SAT Practice Test 1 Answers and Explanations
[IX]SP5117A:SAT Practice Test 2
[X]SP:5118A:SAT Practice Test 2 Answers and Explanations

XI. SAT Practice Test 1 (Classroom): 12 copies

XII. SAT Practice Test 1 Answers and Explanations: 12 copies

XIII. 2006 SAT Teacher's Edition of the Lesson (expected delivery: 1/25)

XIV. 2005 Tutoring TEL (CR, Writing, Math): destroyed by weather conditions in storage locker. New one to be acquired.

KTPA: Doing its best to destroy the world's forests and drown me in a sea of paper.

(N.B. Due to copyright laws and the heavy penalites for sharing KTPA's intellectual property, I have not put pictures of the actual materials in question on this site. What you see is merely retail. It's a good approximation of about half the amount of paper currently invading my living space.)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

categorically insane

Among his many tablature books, Jim possesses one called Classic Rock: The Definitive Guitar Collection.

The book is pretty great. It includes the tab for the indelible and indisputably fantastic Janis Joplin showstopper, Piece of My Heart. Clapton, the Beatles, and the Stones are all well represented.

I'm also kvelling over the inclusion of Jesus Is Just All Right by the Doobie Brothers (or the Byrds, depending on whom you feel did the better and more enduring version). Because really, how can you not get excited about a song about the Christian savior by a band that refers to itself as "the Doobs"?

Apparently, however, the book's creators felt that REO Speedwagon, KISS, and Alice Cooper can all happily find repose in the same collection.

Since when did David Bowie, the Police, Yes, the Allman Brothers, and Pat Benatar all come to belong to both the same musical era and genre? Sure, there's some overlap, but I feel as though we're not all on the same page here. Kind of a one-or-the-other syndrome -- different decades plus different styles is not equal to "fits in the same tab book."

Granted, they play U2 on the classic rock stations these days, so I guess I'm pushing my luck with this fight at all. After all, my grade-schoolers think that "the 80's" happened back in pre-colonial days. I should probably take what I can get when it comes to classification.

For now anyway. When groups like Blur start showing up on oldies radio, I'm out.

Friday, January 20, 2006


In the coverage of the "Whale Swims Up the Thames" story that has been everywhere today, newspeople keep repeating the following datum:

"This is the first bottle-nosed whale to be spotted in London since record-keeping began in 1913."

To me, this piece of information raises the following questions:

1) Have other species of whale been spotted in London since 1913?

2) Were whales, bottle-nosed or otherwise, common enough before 1913 to inspire the keeping of records?

3) What, precisely, do these records record? "1913: No Whales." "1914: Still No Whales."

I'm at at a bit of a loss.

Anyway, we've gotten enough mileage out of the"Whale of a Tale!" headlines now. Let's save the poor bloke.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

drumming up business

After my Freeport Drama Kids class today, I went to the after-care group to do a demo presentation.

Only six children enrolled for this session in Freeport, which technically means we don't have critical mass to run the class. They're all returning students and they'd be heartbroken were the entire term canceled, as would I, so Melissa and I decided we'd try to create some interest among the kids in after-care. They're already hanging out after school -- why not do drama for an hour?

When I was young, there were afterschool programs for families whose parents could not come pick them up at 2:30. It was called "enrichment." I assumed this would be similar.

I was wrong.

There didn't really seem to be any "enrichment" involved. Rather, after-care is what we used to call "babysitting" but in a group. I think they have very vaguely structured activities, but whenever I go drop off my one after-care kid in the room after class, the other young 'uns are doing arts and crafts, playing tag, hurling toys at each other, or (in better weather) running like headless chickens out on the playground. Usually the volume level registers somewhere around "Aerosmith concert" and I can't get out of there fast enough.

I sure hope this program is included in public schooling at no extra cost, because I could see no discernible difference between leaving your kid in after-care and leaving him with grandma, which would probably result in more personalized attention and growth opportunity.

As we were lining up to leave, I asked my five remaining Drama Kids (one had been forced by his mother to leave early, because she had to take the dog to the vet, which was amusing inasmuch as that very scenario was the topic of our scene starter this afternoon) if any would like to stay to help me show the after-care group how much fun we have. I assumed that, even if one or two did want to stay, the parents who had come to claim them would inevitably have things to do, people to see, yadda yadda yadda, and I'd be on my own.

Much to my surprise and amazement, all five asked to stay, and all the parents agreed. (Don't these people have better things to do than sit around the lobby of an elementary school? Have they already hit the point in life where they just don't want to go home? I'm scared.) So my kids accompanied me in to the after-care room.

The After-Care Ladies (are they teachers? nurses? sitters? eh) had kindly moved the chairs and tables for me so I could put down tape lines for our stage. My kids were phenomenal; they told what the tambour did (stops and starts all words and action), did great ad-libbing, presented their scene starter snippets from earlier, and got some of the after-care kids up on the stage to do movement improv as well. By the end, I had at least three or four new kids begging to sign up -- including the daughter of one of the women who supervises after-care. (Heh.)

The After-Care Ladies, however, were drooling over my tambour. "We need one of those," noted one of them, eyeing mine jealously.

Honestly? I've never seen my kids actually obey the tambour so faithfully. Rarely do they display such excellent behavior and enthusiasm about the program. It's not even just having an audience, either, since we've had their parents in for mini-shows and that's just as much of a bust.

But give them a sales pitch, and they'll put Guerilla Marketing right out of business. I should take them on the road every week. They're fantastic.

Want to grow your business? You don't need an MBA. You just need a six-year-old.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


If I were the type of person who makes New Year's resolutions, then I would surely have resolved to attend yoga classes more frequently.

Of course, I am not that type of person.

Yoga, I have come to believe, provides real benefits to both my mind and my body. However, the yoga classes at my gym fall at entirely inconvenient times -- either the crack of dawn, smack-dab at midday when I'm usually busy, or five o'clock on Friday evenings.

Portland is quite the yoga town, and there are numerous, well-regarded independent studios. Unfortunately for me, they all charge fees, which are not in my budget at this time.

Also, in most cases, I kind of hate yoga classes.

To be fair, it's not really the class that inspires raw hatred in me. Instead, it's being asked to bend and twist my body in the presence of random other peoplewho are also bending and twisting indiscriminately. There are certain positions that no one should witness someone else trying to achieve. Particularly when the witnessee is a man who frequents my gym and enjoys wearing unlined running shorts with nothing underneath, for some unfathomable reason, because the witness then needs to run from the room and wash her eyes out with lye.

So my current circumstances seem to indicate that either I do my yoga at home, or, well, I don't.

Up until the recent furniture rearranging, there was not enough space in the apartment for a good yoga practice. I could get by if I shoved the couch all the way back, moved the coffee table into the hall, and sort of smooshed my way around -- none of which proved conducive to a good, relaxing, meditative session.

I therefore concluded that me and yoga? Not so much meant to be.

Now, however, all that empty, yoga-mat-shaped space has been staring at me for several days. I could almost hear it taunting me: "Come on. You know there's room. Do I have to come after you with a yoga strap? Downward dog, on the double!"

On this rainy, windy afternoon, I gave in. I put down my two mats (hence creating a double-thick sticky mat). I put on my made-for-yoga clothes, purchased at the oustanding studio my mom attends in Hilton Head (if that studio were here, I'd go daily). I looked around to make sure the walls weren't watching. Finally, I loaded up the General Practice with Backbends on my Yoga for Every Body DVD.

And for the first time ever, I did Wheel Pose.

Three times.

Yoga? Better believe it.

Monday, January 16, 2006

interior divine

We moved furniture this weekend.

Right, yeah, that's a whole lot of understatement right there. See, we had a cocktail party, and our apartment was not created with the idea of "a whole bunch of people mingling comfortably" in mind. So when the spectacularly wonderful and talented Elizabeth arrived for the weekend, we decided it was time for a change.

Prior to this weekend, of course, I had asked my mother for her advice. My mother moves furniture for fun and exercise; as a teenager, I would occasionally come home from school to find the dining-room set in the living room and the living-room set in the breakfast nook. And she wonders why Dad and I liked the office so much -- the furniture was built in.

For this endeavor, though, given that she doesn't know the place well and lives a thousand miles away, Mom's only real advice was, "Take the cushions off the couch first. It's much lighter that way." (She was so very very right. These cushions are insane.)

Unlike Mom, I don't actually move stuff around that often. Granted, a large part of that is due to the fact that the 600 square feet in which I reside is already subdivided into three rooms, and there are only so many arrangements that I thought would be remotely viable. The other part is due to the fact that I'm lazy; following up on the "If it ain't broke..." theory,if I can sit and I can see the TV, I'm good. Why change?

I think in the past my mom has worried that I'm not even really hers, given this former intense aversion to recreational redecorating.

Never let it be said that I don't observe and learn. I may not have seemed inclined to move large objects, but I've watched my mother do and direct others to do so many a time (and, yes, been corraled into action despite by best intentions). While I'm sure I spent many years apparently bored to tears by the process, it turns out I actually retained a bit of a knack for certain activities. For example, how to move a rug.

Elizabeth and Jim had rolled up the carpet and moved the pad underneath, and only then came to realize that, given the presence of the non-slip pad, it was going to be difficult to get the rug onto it and under the couch as desired.

Much debate ensued, which amused me, as I have long been privy to the foolproof rug-moving method employed by my mother. Align the center of the rug where you want it, and unroll from that point, leaning the edge up against the furniture. Then, two people pick up the piece of furniture while a third tucks the rug under.

I got several peculiar looks while I tried to explain this, and I'm convinced that both of my companions secretly thought I was bonkers. Still, they eventually agreed to try it.

The rug looks great.

Indeed, this weekend, I proved conclusively that my mother's genes are alive and well and, apparently, no longer dormant.

On Saturday, we essentially flipped the entire orientation of the living area so as to create what I could unhyperbolically describe as a whole truckload of extra space. It was like we suddenly had an entirely new apartment.

Anyway, the party set-up was not entirely conducive to long-term living, mainly because the couch blocked the sliding door and the new living area was not aligned for television viewing. Hence, on Sunday, after some downtime with the Gamecube, Elizabeth really went to town.

I'm convinced that my best friend should be an interior designer, if only as a side gig. She's far more daring and original than I. Plus she's damn cool.

I feared that, in such a small space, putting a lot of bookshelves on one wall would look bad, but I learned that, given varying heights and textures, it actually brings a lot of interest to the space. We can now actually use our dining table as -- surprise! -- a table, and yet we still have access to the storage closet under the stairs.

Most miraculous of all, we...have space. I'm still a little bit in shock as to how much space there seems to be in our house now. I keep wondering what furniture was secretly thrown out in order to make all this extra room. The sheer expanse of space feels downright decadent.

Even more exciting? There's all this brand-new open wall space for decoration! I need lamps, I need hangings, maybe a big framed mirror, more art...it's amazing. Moving furniture gives me a reason, a moral imperative, to shop.

After years and years of disdainful atheism, they got me. I'm a convert to the Church of Moving Furniture.

Friday, January 13, 2006

razor burn

I think I've created a monster.

I gave my husband this shaving kit for Christmas.

(Chanukah? Maybe that one was his Chanukah present. I've forgotten. They were all under the tree regardless.)

See, my father has long been a proponent -- nay, an outright proselytizer -- of using a brush to lather before the shave. He'll concede that the "shave before/after the shower" bit is a personal preference, but he will sing the praises of the badger-bristle brush til he's blue in the face, and that would take a while, given that he is trained vocally and has pretty damn fine breath control.

Jim is not quite as invested in his shaving routine. In fact, the word "routine" is not even remotely accurate to describe Jim's approach to shaving in the past, which went somewhat as follows:

Day 1: Shave.

Day 2-3: Sport low-to-moderate scruff.

Day 4-5: Think about shaving again. Shave little mustache hairs and under-lip funkiness.

Day 6: Hear wife ask, "Are you going to shave today?" (Repeat from Day 1.)

We were shopping in Boston with my parents the week before Christmas, and Dad actually tried to take Jim into Stoddard's and teach him a bit about shaving brushes. I, however, had already purchased the kit, and had to haul my father off by the arm and mutter as much to prevent him from doing something so foolish.

(The men did still go to the cutlery store, and would have been fascinated for hours had my mother and I not managed to shepherd them out after an endless while, or fifteen minutes, whichever is longer during the holiday shopping period.)

Anyway, Jim was genuinely excited about his shaving kit gift, and has been growing more so with repeated use.

Today he emerged from his ablutions freshly shaven.

"You know, I think I have a good trick," he announced.

"Oh?" I asked, not really paying attention.

"Yeah. See, instead of rinsing off the brush after I lather up, I lather, shave with the grain, then re-lather, and shave against the grain. It really does make a difference with irritation and getting a close shave."

For a moment, my father flashed before my eyes. I blinked, and he was gone.

"That's...great." I smiled.

"Oh, and check this out," he continued, sending me to this page.

I've definitely created a monster.

go go gadget wallet: empty!

The people at Williams-Sonoma are clearly out to rob me blind.

I have received several e-mails in the past few days, alerting me to the amazing savings going on at my beloved local Williams-Sonoma retail paradise.

And sure, I admit it -- 75% off sounds like a good deal. In principle, it is a good deal.

But when I walk in, are they going to have my non-stick mini-muffin pan on sale? Or, for that matter, anything that's actually in my budget?

Not bloody likely.

Rather, they're first going to attempt to sell me this portable ice-cube maker, which I can't for the life of me fathom as a truly useful item, even at the wildly discounted price of$369.99.

Then, when I try to run from the salespeople bearing tasty homemade gingerbread, I will be tempted by the entirely dishwasher-safe All-Clad Stainless Steel Completer Set, which I don't need only because I have a full set of Calphalon pots and pans, but which calls to me with its shiny, shiny wonderfulness. It's ability to brown things with amazing speed and uniformity. And did I mention it's dishwasher-safe?

I mustn't give in. No, Dr. Stainless-Steel Pasta Claw. You have met your match.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

high-school math is a workout, i swear

Of all the clothes I lust after, the ones that actually prove the most useful in my day-to-day life are the workout clothes.

Sure, I can drool for hours over designer denim and argue both sides of the debate on the finer points of round-toe versus pointy-toe heels, but unless I’m going out to deal with real human beings, I tend to stick to the Dri-Fit/lycra comfort level.

(By “real human beings,” too, I include the teens and grade-schoolers I teach. I do not include the grocery store, drugstore, and bank employees with whom I occasionally have reason to interact. Age is not a factor in my estimation of human life, you can see.)

Some women’s magazines, the kind that deal in mind/body/soul betterment, recommend rewarding yourself for achievements with a nice new workout outfit.

I’m sure I could come up with a whole lot of achievements, boy, to get those killer cross-training shoes.

So really, the only way I could justify buying all the workout gear I really want is to become a personal trainer or group exercise instructor.

Which is really kind of a laughable concept, except for those rare moments when I think it's not. Given that I’ve never taken any class in (a) anatomy, (b) physiology, or (c) nutrition, I do believe those moments are called “self-delusion.”

If you think about it, one-on-one tutoring test preparation and one-on-one personal training are very much the same thing. Sure, one works the brain, and the other works the body, but both are important.

I'm sure I'd be a millionaire by thirty if I could find a way to combine the two into an innovative service available only to the most elite prep school families in Manhattan. I can see it now: "Get into the best school and the best body in six weeks!" “Perfect score, perfect abs NOW!”

Sometimes I scare even myself.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

garage banned

Occasionally (by which I mean, "at least once a week"), the garage door at our apartment building decides to have a little fun with us.

On one particularly freezing December night, we arrived home from a party to find the door stuck halfway up (or halfway down, I suppose).

Today, it started doing a little dance it enjoys. It starts to close, gets about halfway down, then opens again. It acts as though something is activating the sensor that tells it not to close, even when no such entity exists.

Sometimes it will do this up-and-down-and-up just once. Sometimes it will do it for minutes on end, whenever someone hits the button.

The latter is a much more frightening exhibition, because one never knows if it will come to rest in the up (i.e., useful) position, or in the down (i.e., trapping all our cars inside) position.

The last time I ventured to the garage, it was doing its dance of horror and I chose not to risk the gauntlet this time.

Meeting canceled.

Game, set, match: Garage Door.


It's one of those days where I cannot, for the life of me, actually get any work done.

I have a curriculum assignment that's due tomorrow. All week I've thought it was due Friday, because when I received the assignment, I read it as "due 1/13." Ah, Friday the 13th! I thought. Brilliant.

However, it seems that the email mutated itself overnight and the file is due the 12th. It's not a long assignment, and something I can easily knock out today, except for the fact that for some reason my brain is rebelling against the perceived change of deadline, and I can't get any words to come out.

And this is freelancing. Imagine if I had a real boss breathing down my neck.

Oh, right, I did that. Yeah, that didn't go well either.

Making everything worse is that I actually have a meeting from 2-4 today, about thirty minutes away. I actually have to clean myself and dress myself and haul myself to a location outside of my apartment at a decent hour. On the way back I have to pick up the dry cleaning and get some stuff at the drugstore. Not that I couldn't have done that yesterday when there was no business on my plate. Of course not. That would make logical, non-procrastinatory sense.

Seriously, no one should ever, ever hire me for a job that requires me to be in any place at any time with any people. I need just to be my own boss and have done with it.

I'll get right to work on that.

As soon as I'm done with this other stuff.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

birthday dinner

Jim and I are going out tonight to celebrate my birthday, just a little belatedly.

After all the traveling over the holidays, I certainly wasn't up for a big night out on the birthday proper, so we were going to go this past Saturday (which could have served as a from-afar celebration of my father's birthday!).

However, the weekend was a little dark and snowy and we spent all day Saturday digging through our storage areas to clean them up, and after all that we just wanted to stay in with homemade food, some wine, and the copy of Ray we got from Netflix about a month prior and hadn't yet watched (...heh).

As you can tell, it takes a lot to get us to a restaurant these days.

Don't get me wrong: I still love to eat out. I love just to go out, with my husband, and have a wonderful intimate evening. We've not been out to a restaurant since December 26, which was with my folks; the last time we were out, just the two of us, had to have been just after the wedding.

There just happens to be something wonderful about making dinner at the end of a long, cold, dark Maine winter day, I guess, and so that's what we've been doing. I do happen to make pretty damn good eats.

Tonight we'll kick up our heels, though. I'm thinking the occasion warrants my Seven jeans with gray suede stiletto-heeled Ralph Lauren boots, yes? A glass or two of wine, a fantastic dinner at 555, and just one of those great moments when we get to pretend anything we want.

Some nights, that's what it's all about.

Monday, January 09, 2006

twenty-seven and counting

A little more mature, a little more focused, and a whole lot snarkier.

Welcome to Mise en Space.