Wednesday, July 27, 2005


I am SUCH the drama queen. And I really need to get a grip on this bug business.

I received this email from John at


You have seen two annual cicadas that emerge every summer. They have been out for about three weeks now. They don't come out in the billions like the 17 year cicadas do. Just sit back and enjoy the sounds of


Thank you, John, thank you, thank you, thank you!

I never knew these things came in run-of-the-mill, live every summer and die like normal bug varieties.


And some good news, to boot: I got a part-time temp job! It doesn't pay much, but, as G says, it's enough to keep me out of trouble.

Not only that, it's at a very small hospital in a very upscale area of Westchester county. The drive is lovely, the people are lovely, the work is stress-free and very easy for me. I'm scheduling people for classes in CPR, Lamaze, and other health-related stuff. I'm working with people all day, answering a phone, making sure everybody gets into the classes they want, and typing up documents and calendars. I feel completely at home there.

Bring on August. I'm ready.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

...And the Other Shoe Drops. Hard.

My email to

If someone could email me back ASAP... I am terrified of these things.

I have seen two today. I'm in South Nyack, NY. Today is 7/26/05.

Please, let me know what I'm going to be in for. I have lived through a brood hatching before and don't know if there is enough Xanax on the planet for me to survive another one. Please, a quick response would be most appreciated!

Thank you,

One of them is parked on the outer screen of one of my living room windows right now.

Has anyone priced plane fares to Norway recently? How about Iceland? Reykjavik sounds good right now. Even if I can't spell it. This could be a crisis here.

This chick
has fantastic-but-true stories about my horrific phobia of bugs, and my encounter with a cicada last year. This is not a joke. Suddenly, I am seriously thinking about not leaving the house.

But I just got a temp assignment today. And I have to go to class.

Goddess. Protect me. I can hear something scrabbling around inside my air-conditioning unit.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Beginnings, Endings, and Something in Between

I won't be blogging for awhile. I'm thinking maybe once a month. Until late April.

Classes at the Institute for Massage Therapy run Monday and Thursday evenings from 5:45 to 10:45 pm. In addition, I'll have some weekends where I'm in class from 9am to 6pm Saturday AND Sunday. There are a couple of months where I'll have two long weekends in a row. *gasp* On top of that, I have to work in the student clinic giving massages for something like 200 hours. So that'll be done on the remaining week nights and weekends. In addition, I still have to earn money, so I'll be trying to hold down various full-time temp assignments during the days. In my rare free evenings or days, I'm going to try to fit in a yoga class or an extra nap or maybe - maybe - spend some time with friends.

I'm having a great time in class so far. I've spent last Friday night, all day Saturday and all day yesterday at the Institute learning the basics of Swedish Massage. I've already learned a lot, but this week it gets more intensive. I start Anatomy & Physiology classes on Thursdays, and thank god I worked in healthcare for several years and already know a lot of terminology. I'm really excited about the path before me.

My Momma's old Buick is doing just fine so far. Six runs back and forth to Pompton Lakes up and down 287 don't seem to have stressed her. I poured a bottle of gunk into her full gas tank and promised I'd keep her healthy, if she'll just get me through this year. She's eleven years old and has over 100,000 miles on her. I hope we have a deal.

Last night, G and I had a long talk about our future. My old-fashioned midwestern sensibilities have taken hold of me over the last month or so. After dating G for a year and a half, and living with him for five months... I thought we'd be talking engagement by now, but we're not.

At least, he's not.

Getting engaged at this point in my life is the height of impracticality, but then marriage isn't something I think of for practical reasons. The fact that I'm even wanting it at all is a big enough shock. I just signed my divorce papers last week! I thought I'd feel so excited about celebrating my independence that moving forward with G just wouldn't be on my mind. I was wrong.

Maybe in nine months, we'll talk about it again. The training program will be over in nine months, and it will be spring again. I'll be thirty-four. I'll be closer to being out of debt. I'm hoping I'll feel empowered in whole new ways. I'll be ready to take the steps I'm ready to take.

Some things seem more certain than ever, others not. How very ordinary.

I will likely never have a serious corporate job again. It's been a long hard trek into the wind, but the last traces of a career that never existed seem to have blown out of my hair, scattered behind me. Good riddance. I'll never look back.

Looking ahead, I'm excited about the possibility of a new career. I'm nearly giddy about learning enough about something I'm interested in to become nationally certified to do it. I haven't felt this good about anything since I moved to New York.

Outside my apartment right now, there is a squirrel in the yard, collecting nuts, carrying them one at a time up the tree at lightning-speed before disappearing into the trunk. He emerges a few minutes later, looks around, climbs down, and a few minutes after that, dashed back up in a blur. He looks terrified. There is a dog barking somewhere, which is surely locked into someone's gated yard, but that squirrel hears danger. So he runs and grabs as much sustenance as possible while he can, wondering if he'll survive the day.

Inside, Marge is sleeping on the sofa. Her worst worry is whether or not she's being petted enough. She has no idea how lucky she is, how well taken care of she is. She loves G and I, but she has no idea that if it wasn't for me, or Eric before me, she'd be living like that squirrel. She is content with her endless supply of food, water, medicine, clean litter, and love. I imagine she's never dreamed that it might someday disappear.

I guess I'm somewhere in between. I guess we all are.

Have a great summer everyone.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Found Buried in Some Old Computer Files...

In my dreams, you are kind to me.

You speak to me as though we are old friends, rather than adversaries. You smile, and there is no veil over your eyes. You stand close to me, not a few feet back as though you are afraid I might touch you. You are unafraid of me, unafraid of our past, our present, or our future. You are happy.

In my dreams, when you are kind to me, I learn from you. I can see into your mind. You say quiet, simple things, and there is no mystery in the things you say.

You sang to me a couple of weeks ago. Not really to me, but you sang in my presence, when there was nobody else around. We were lying on the grass in some park, you on your back, looking up at the sky, me on my side, looking at you. It was a simple song, something a guy would know, some sort of folk rock ditty with no accompaniment. You idly sang to the wind… “I jumped in to my camaro…” The song sounds so familiar, yet I can’t place it. I would have laughed but something about the moment made laughter feel inappropriate. I just smiled, and listened closely: “If I had a big balloon, I’d sail out to sea… I know I should come away, so you can go to me…” I placed my hand on your chest to feel the warmth, the subtle vibrations of life within you. You were real.

I’m glad you know you should come away. I should be able to go to you, someday, someday soon.

And yet, even if I can’t…

I want to be old friends with you. I want to be happy and whole when I am with you. I want to smile, and feel that nothing needs to be hidden. I want to be unafraid, happy, and light. Don’t you want that too?

Will we ever be at ease again? Will we ever be “over it?” I think there is something we are missing, a state of mind that falls outside the continuum of “in love” to “devastated” to “over it.” Something non-linear that we haven’t been able to touch.

In my dreams, we are there.

If anyone can identify the song lyrics, please let me know.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

...gasp...pant... NEXT!

Well, I'm back. I drove a 1994 Buick through 80-mile-an-hour-traffic from I-80 to 275 to Nyack, and in the middle, a nasty thunderstorm hit, flash flooding and all. This is the first time I've driven a car for any significant distance in eight years, and it's the first time I've ever driven in New York. Sort of learning how to swim by being tossed into the middle of the atlantic during a hurricane. But I survived it, and so did my car. We're home.

My car. I have a car now. I HAVE A CAR NOW!!

(stay tuned for pic)

I have so many little stories from this visit home. I need some time yet to write it all out. Right now, I have to call my veterinarian. The cat is missing the box. She hangs her ass over the edge and pees on the floor mat. She gets number two in there, thank god, but is missing number one. I'm hoping my vet will tell me how I can better help her out, and not laugh and say, "She's an old cat, what do you expect?"

I also have to call my new school and ask where my student aid money is, and how have they apportioned it. The FAFSA people are dismissive.

Yep, it's official, I'm starting classes next week, and should be a licensed massage therapist by next year. I'm so excited, I feel like I'm 19 again and starting college. I feel like I did when I first moved to New York. There are so many aspects of awesomeness to this, direct and salutary goodness, I'm just giddy. Friday night - as in the day after tomorrow - is orientation, and I'll get my books and a plastic massage knobby thing and other sundry learning materials. I think I'll be busy with it all weekend, either the first set of classes or one hell of a long, thorough orientation.

I also want to fit a yoga class in tonight, and clean this freakin' house. I swear there are teeny tiny bug bodies on the windowsills. How the hell they got in here I don't know, but they're all dead, and I can't stand this shit. Also the tub needs scrubbing. I have found some flaws in G's cleaning style. Felix Unger he may be... but he's missed a couple of spots. Which is fine by me. I hate being outcleaned by a single straight man.

I also have to go through the data CD's I brought from home. I rescued them from my old computer, and among them is the play I wrote in college, and bits of a novel I was working on a few years ago. Not to mention an impressive collection (well, I think it's impressive) of MP3's, many of which I actually paid a dollar a song for.

(Wasn't today supposed to be a day of rest?)

Well, I did sleep until 10:30.

I've been perusing other people's blogs a bit this morning, and it's so good to "see" you all again. Everyone's lives are continuing on, just like mine is. Y'all are such an inspiration to me. You keep me honest.

This past week I have checked so many things off my list - the BIG list - that I'm a bit dizzy with the realization.

Oh, and by the way, I signed my divorce papers yesterday.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to clean up some cat pee and call the vet.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Fuck you, Cindy, I'm goin' to the movies

Well, Hurricane Cindy ruined our beach plans. Old Orchard Beach in Maine has a great boardwalk, but it was too cold to swim. We had planned on spending several days at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire, and munching double lobster dinners, but ohhh, no, Cindy had to blow freezing cold rain all over New England for THE REST OF THE WEEK. It was gorgeous before we arrived, and it's gorgeous now. Cindy. That bitch.

Oh, and the lobster harvest this year was tiny. The sea temperatures were colder than usual, and the lobsters, rather than crawling around the bottom, were simply sitting still all season. So they didn't crawl into the traps. So there are far fewer lobster dinners out there, and what we could find cost around $30 a lobster. We were disgusted. I can pay $30 for a lobster dinner in New York. So no double lobster dinners this year. Wah.

Monday was Independence Day, and I discovered that it is possible to get good barbeque in New England - a very happy Fourth of July indeed. We were on the road all that morning, and spent most of the day lounging around snoozing and eating. We didn't see fireworks. A lot of them were cancelled. Ominous.

Tuesday was the day spent at Old Orchard Beach. I napped on the sand and finished a really great book. On the boardwalk, G bought me a package of the juciest fried clams I've ever had, and a new outfit from one of those Indian batik-y stores that always have racks up at street fairs. We played air hockey and had cheap moussaka for dinner.

That evening G and I drove to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, located at this Latitude:

Not the Vodka! Posted by Picasa

Portsmouth is becoming one of my new favorite places, largely because of this restaurant. This place is so incredible. Very gourmet, in all the right ways. They have Remy Martin VSOP Cognac (G's favorite), an incredible wine list, amazing food and decadent desserts. Brick walls, low lights, and plushy seating with fancy pillows to lean against if you get a table against the wall. Antique furniture and waitresses who know all about food/drink pairings. If this place was in New York, it would be secluded on a side street on the Upper West Side. Mmm.

G and I went there for drinks and dessert. I wore the outfit he'd just bought me, and managed to avoid dripping sauce on it:

That's Lindeman's Raspberry Lambic in the bottle, with a mini chocolate mint mousse, a mini flourless fudge cake, and a mini blondie with vanilla ganache in the little cup. A very happy camper was I. Posted by Picasa

That night, the rain started... and didn't stop until Saturday.

So what else do you do in the rain? Movies and Museums. We visited this museum, which is absolutely fantastic. I was especially thrilled that they hadn't rolled out all the Ferraris before we got there. I got up close and personal with some seriously hot sports cars. Hubba hubba. I also was thrilled by the Jewelry displays from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. I stared forever at the Egyptian beadwork and intricate goldwork from the Romans. I also took notes of the Greek hairdos and chitons. Man, those women knew how to style.

Movies we saw:

Batman Begins
The Fantastic Four
Ocean's Twelve on Pay-per-View

Good God, we saw three movies in a week. Batman Begins Kicked Ass. (Phunwin does a great review here.) Best one yet. Virtually nothing like the others. Seriously - go see it. Pretend Katie Holmes is someone else. G was particularly fond of the realistic trial-and-error that Bruce Wayne goes through as he puts together his outfit and gadgets. We felt Batman's pain the first time he jumped off a building without wings. Ouch. In addition to the valiant Christian Bale, Michael Caine plays Alfred perfectly, and Morgan Freeman has an awesome role. My favorite was Gary Oldman as a very young "Officer" Gordon. Any film with Morgan Freeman is good. He's generally fantastic at choosing scripts. And don't get me started on the godlike Oldman. There's nothing that man can't do.

The Fantastic Four is a lot of fun, and that's all it needs to be. Just a fun summer flick. Gratuitous in many areas. I didn't expect much, so I wasn't disappointed. Ocean's Twelve, well, I fell asleep a couple of times. It was good, but I was pooped. And Oceans's Eleven was better.

On Saturday, we went to This Place, which completely freaked me out. I knew I had a problem with bugs, but man, I am certifiable. I thought I would love the butterflies, flying all around me, landing on my shoulder, lazily gliding on their beautiful wings.... nope.

I was afraid of the butterflies. I kid you not. Those things are BIG, and there were way too many of them. They were mostly these huge South American varieties, Blue Morphos and such. Every time one flew too close to me I cringed and shook all over. My heart was pounding in my chest, and I almost screamed several times. Once a toddler saw me cringe, and the look of horror on my face, and the poor kid started crying. I SCARED A CHILD. Worse, I think I made the kid scared of the butterflies. I felt awful. I withdrew, and watched the action from behind the glass:

Who's in the zoo? Posted by Picasa

I can't tell you how embarrassing this was. They were BUTTERFLIES. Beautiful, harmless, peaceful creatures! But I took one look at those enormous bug abdomens and long pointy legs, and they suddenly were just bugs with pretty wings. I feel like some piece of my childhood has been lost. Afraid of butterflies. Yeesh.

Later that day we went to Canobie Amusement Park, where G snapped this shot:

Look Ma, No Hair! Posted by Picasa

I kind of hate this picture, because it looks like I have a baby carrot for a nose. My nose seldom photographs well, but christ people, IT'S A BABY CARROT THERE. Yick Yuck Yook.

That's right, I got my haircut. FINALLY. You can sort of tell in the Butterfly window pic. It barely brushes my shoulders, as it's been blown straight. When I wash it and it curls up, it'll swing just above. I absolutely love it. Very similar feelings to the last time I did this... except this time, I knew it was coming. I feel lighter, I feel ready for the world. I feel fantastic.

The best part is that I donated all 15 or so inches of it to Locks of Love. I had been told in the past that they wouldn't take my hair, as it had been color treated, but the salon owner told me that my hair was eligible - it's never been bleached, and it's very healthy, so it's ok. I should really write about that whole experience seperately. Maybe next week.

After I'd spent the morning in fear of harmless creatures, I went on a rollercoaster that twisted me upside down twice, and screamed "YES! YES! YEAH!" all the way through. Then I ate two hot dogs and a waffle cone. Then I went on a Tilt-a-Whirl, and didn't even feel queasy. So I guess I'm not a complete wimp. I guess.

Now, I'm back, and have one day to relax, before I get on the plane early Tuesday morning. I have a week in Illinois with my parents coming up, some Karaoke with this guy, and a long drive back in my new (to me) car.

Some last Gratuitous pics of my baby and his parents at the amusement park:

Road Rage Posted by Picasa

G's parents - utterly adorable Posted by Picasa

G and his Dad at Old Orchard Beach Posted by Picasa

See y'all on the 18th...

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Summer Vacation 2005

Roadtrip! Posted by Picasa

G and I are off on a multi-state vacation. Yesterday and Today were spent in Cherry Hill and Atlantic City, New Jersey with friends. Tonight I'm sleeping at the homestead with Marge, but tomorrow we're off to Boston. We should hit New Hampshire and Maine before heading home on the ninth.

Happy Independence Day everyone! See you next week...

Friday, July 01, 2005

Saying Goodbye

Today is my last day at the second-best temp job I've ever had.

The best temp job I ever had was at the Seagram Beverage Company. I could never have imagined being happy working in an office until I met that incredible team of brilliant, funny, sweet people. They eventually hired me into the best job I ever had. I was busy all day helping hard-working folks sell Ginger Ale all over the country. I learned to love customer service on that job. I also learned to hate greed.

When Edgar Bronfman Jr. sold the company, I was "adopted" by one of the purchasers. It didn't take long for my job to morph into the worst job I ever had. Two long years later, my position was eliminated from that company, and after cartwheeling out of the building, I started temping again - at the worst temp job I ever had. Thank God that only lasted two months.

When I first started temping at this place, I was more than a little trepidatious. My only experience in this industry was at the above-mentioned awful temp job. I was starting over at a brand new temp agency, and my agent assured me that the company I had been at was "one of the worst" places in the industry to work, and that where I was about to go was "one of the best." The money was right, the location was workable. I bit.

I think I talked at some point before about how beautiful the corporate campus is. The buildings are all windows, and the interior is flooded with sunlight. There are blinds for when it's too hot, but I never had to use them. There are trees indoors and outdoors. There are skylights.

The window at my cubicle looks out over a pond with fountains, trees, flowers and jumping fish. I watched a family of Canadian geese grow up, from the mother goose sitting on the eggs, to the hatching, to the babies growing up to look just like their parents. When I realized a week had gone by without my seeing them, and they have likely fully matured and flown off, I almost cried. Granted, Canadian geese are nasty pests, but I'm an animal lover, and I loved those chicks.

There is a beautiful gym downstairs, and all those fancy corporate extras like a drycleaners and a wellness center. They have Massage Therapists come to the conference room from time to time. (hmmm... I'll be licensed by next winter...)

The cafeteria looks like the poolside cafe where I breakfasted in Cancun - palm trees around the tables, three-story high glass ceilings and walls, umbrellas over the tables. The prices are low, as the company pays for a portion of the operating costs. A three-course lunch was between five and eight bucks. The company struck a deal with Starbucks, and there was free Starbucks coffee and Tazo teas available until 2pm every day. Free Starbucks coffee. With Toriani syrups. *sigh*

Every now and then, on random days, lunch is free for everyone. For no reason. Just 'cause. One day it was a free outdoor bar-be-que. Happy summer!

My boss has been an absolute pleasure. He's a quiet, unassuming man with an open face and a ready smile, behind rather thick glasses, about my father's age. He has photos of his family prominently displayed on his desk, amid mounds of papers. He is always in a meeting or on the phone. When he needs something, he asks if you might be able to get to it "sometime today." This makes you want to drop everything and do whatever he asks immediately. We once became quite sentimental remembering the different types of antique typewriters we'd used. If all bosses were like him, well, Dilbert wouldn't exist.

My co-workers! Well, they're all individuals, and there's not one in the group I wouldn't love to buy a drink. Everybody here is friendly, kind, and helpful to an artsy chick who knew nothing about finance, but was eager to help out. They know what they've got, and I envy them. I'll miss them.

Their customers build schools, hospitals, and apartment complexes, all over the country. For three months, in a small way, I helped with that effort. I will never, ever forget that feeling.

Right now, popping up in my inbox, is a notice to all employees that one of our IT guys has been deployed to Iraq. The company is accepting donations of snack food, disposable cameras, pre-paid phone cards, etc. The company is compiling a care package for him.

I thought that the last great company had been scattered to the corporate winds in the year 2001. I didn't think companies like this existed anymore.

One does.

Thank you, MBIA. It's been a great three months.