Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Like I said, Same....

I didn't get the job.

However there is a company that makes explosion-proof switches that needs someone to do PowerPoint for two days next week.

I have to go watch TV now.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Same S?%!, Different Day

This morning I went on a fantastic job interview. Everyone there was awesome. Nice, smart, well-spoken, enthusiastic people. I could totally do this job, and it would be a great move for me, into an HR department. I left there feeling totally confident and psyched.

I went to my last three job interviews feeling totally confident and psyched too, and here I am, still unemployed.

It's getting old. It's a good thing I like meeting new people, and that I'm as confident and perky as I am, or the fatigue might start to show. How many great job interviews can I go on? It'd be one thing if the interviews were so-so, but these are all WONDERFUL. The managers gush about me to my staffing agent afterward. They tell me how impressed they are, they introduce me to everyone around, they talk shop with me, it's always just so awesome. And then....

I don't even get feedback. I send a thank-you note, to which I receive no response, and then I never hear anything from them again. They just vanish without so much as a wave, a parting glace, a form letter. Whoosh.

So, another fabulous interview. Now I wait.

Wish me luck.

I'm a good girl, I am!

But, apparently not as good as Tuna Girl. My fine is $545.50. Which is, believe me, enough to make me glad that my mother doesn't read this blog.

Surely you've all seen this by now, but here's the meme:

Here’s how it works: You don’t have to confess your answers, just the amount of your fine. (Not per incident!) Tally up your score and post it on your blog with the title… ”My Fine Is…”

Smoked pot — $10
Did acid — $5
Ever had sex at church — $25
Woke up in the morning and did not know the person who was next to you — $40
Had sex with someone on MySpace — $25
Had sex for money — $100
Vandalized something — $20
Had sex on your parents’ bed — $10
Beat up someone — $20
Been jumped — $10
Crossed dressed — $10
Given money to stripper — $25
Been in love with a stripper — $20
Kissed some one who’s name you didn’t know — $0.10
Hit on some one of the same sex while at work — $15
Ever drive drunk — $20
Ever got drunk at work, or went to work while still drunk — $50
Used toys while having sex — $30
Got drunk, passed out and don’t remember the night before — $20
Went skinny dipping — $5
Had sex in a pool — $20
Kissed someone of the same sex — $10
Had sex with someone of the same sex — $20
Cheated on your significant other — $10
Masturbated — $10
Cheated on your significant other with their relative or close friend — $20
Done oral — $5
Got oral — $5
Done/got oral in a car while it was moving — $25
Stole something — $10
Had sex with someone in jail — $25
Made a nasty home video — $15
Had a threesome — $50
Had sex in the wild — $20
Been in the same room while someone was having sex — $25
Stole something worth over more than a hundred dollars — $20
Had sex with someone 10 years older — $20
Had sex with someone under 21 and you are over 27 — $25
Been in love with two people or more at the same time — $50
Said you love someone but didn’t mean it — $25
Went streaking — $5
Went streaking in broad daylight — $15
Been arrested — $5
Spent time in jail — $15
Peed in the pool — $0.50
Played spin the bottle — $5
Done something you regret — $20
Had sex with your best friend — $20
Had sex with someone you work with at work — $25
Had anal sex — $80
Lied to your mate — $5
Lied to your mate about the sex being good — $25

Monday, January 29, 2007

Voice From My Past

Strangledcrypoem # 1
by Jaqueline Jackson
(reprinted from the Illinois Times)

but tell me more

Jackie Jackson was an early influence in my life, both in writing and in theatre. She always seemed to have these avant-garde ideas, stuff that nobody else was doing, stuff that a lot of people didn't quite get, but that I always thought were brilliant, even at the age of ten. Typical artist. Nowadays, she's a professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois, and contributes to the Illinois Times, the paper I always check out when I go home to see where the blues bands are playing.

Springfield, despite how often I trash the place on this blog, isn't really all bad.

(BTW - I never realized until today that Jesse Jackson's wife has the same name.)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Ally, Ouiser & Penny

Ally, Ouiser & Penny
Originally uploaded by MzOuiser.

Ringing Cell Phones Will Result In Immediate Disqualification

Yesterday, I took the New York State Professional Licensing Exam for Massage Therapists. It sucked.

My girlfriends from school, Penny and Ally and Vic, studied with me for a cumulative total of twelve hours, or so. We reviewed a year's worth of class material, including Anatomy, Pathology, Kinesiology, Neurology, and techniques in Shiatsu, Reflexology, Amna and Trigger Point. We took practice tests too, seeing how inane the questions were, trying to get that edge over the testing situation. We hated the practice tests, but overall we did well. We thought we were so prepared.

The test is a typical standardized multiple-choice test. The questions are often quite vague, badly worded, and sometimes just plain bizarre. The four possible answers provided usually do not include the answer we would like to see, and in some cases, the correct answer – according to the test makers – was directly opposite what we had been taught in class. The test doesn't measure your actual knowledge – it measures how well you can determine what the test makers were thinking when they churned out this ridiculousness.

No problem, we thought, a lot of our tests at school were the same way. It pissed us off then too, but we handled it. Penny, Ally and I were, after all, honors students, with the honor’s certificates hanging on the wall to prove it. How bad could this be?

Oh man. It was just awful. I’d say about fifty percent of the questions were pretty straightforward, and if you knew your material, you’d have no problem. I breezed through those with minimal effort. The other half of the test was comprised of the most obtuse variety of test questions imaginable. A handful of the questions – probably five or less – actually covered stuff that I had never seen or heard of before, in or out of class. And a frightening number of questions – 31 to be exact, I counted – put me in the position of having to make an educated guess. The sort of thing where, in the real world, both a and c would be correct, but here on the scantron, I’m only allowed to choose one answer – what some Municipal Employee feels is “the best” answer. It was bad enough to make me wonder if I might actually be in danger of >gasp< not passing.

It bears mentioning that this was a pencil-and-paper test, where you fill in the appropriate bubble. No computerized testing here! Some poor bastard is going to have to feed over 200 of these papers into a Scan-Tron computer to be read and calculated.

And yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were over 200 - perhaps as many as 300 - people in that room. It was, literally, a gymnasium, at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. I looked around the sea of people, most of them dressed like H&M window mannequins, and groaned. It’s like graphic design in the late 90’s, I thought to myself. Everybody and their illiterate cousin is going to be a massage therapist.

Let me tell you, there were some people there from my school who were, I’m not kidding, some of the laziest, stupidest people I’ve ever seen. Giggly girls who likely didn’t have the brains, never mind the work ethic, to go to college and get a real education, so they signed up for massage school, knowing they’d be out in a year, and might get employee discount manicures if they can score a job at a spa. The ones who skipped classes, came in chronically late, bitched and whined when class wasn't dismissed early, and found a plethora of ways to get away with doing as little work as possible during their clinic shifts. They just never wanted to work, period. Hey! Get a job in a spa giving massages, and we'll only have to work several days a week! And we don’t have to, like, be able to read or do math or anything.

When I graduated, I rejoiced in the knowledge that I'd likely never see these idiots again. At the test, I avoided them. I said hello to the people I'd missed, but I ignored the Jersey Bimbo Cluster.

Unfortunately, when the test was over, I couldn't avoid them. I had to wait outside the doors for Penny and Ally to finish. There they were, congregating outside the door to the buiding, smoking their cigarettes and tossing their hair over their shoulders, saying “OH, that was so EASY! That wasn’t hard at All!”

I had flashbacks to my dancing days, when the dancers would arrive early to auditions to “warm up,” which really meant showing off their most impressive stretches, psyching out their competition, trying to come across as oh-so-confident. After the audition, they'd all stand around outside the doors chain-smoking, making fun of the audition routine and how EASY it was, gossiping about the production staff (makes you look in-the-know), and eyeing everyone who walks out the door after after them, radiating you’re fat and you know you sucked at each girl with all their might.

This, however, was even more ridiculous, because we weren’t competing with each other! It's not like New York is only going to choose ten of us and the rest will have to go wait tables. Not to mention that watching dancers chain-smoke is nowhere near as disgusting as watching massage therapist wanna-bes smoke. For God’s sake, those stinky hands are going to be touching someone’s face.

A couple of those girls managed to engage me in conversation. I mentioned a certain question on the test which we had never covered in our class. “Well,” gloated Blonde Basket Case, “OUR teacher covered it.” Bimbo With Bad Dye Job, who was in her class, tossed her streaky 'do, tapped her ashes and grinned like Cruella De Ville.

There was, I realized rather quickly, something more than posturing going on here. There had been this little drama going on in our school during our final semester. During the first few weeks of class, about half of the students in the day class transferred into our night class, citing concerns with the day class instructor.

Now, I’m being diplomatic when I say “concerns.” One of the more innocuous complaints reagarding the day instructor involved his ridiculously long, tedious classes, with little practical hands-on work, and highly detailed tests involving lots of rote memorization. A large percentage of students failed those first few tests, and knowing how close we were to graduation, they got the hell out of that class and into ours.

My teacher had a completely different philosophy of education. He taught broad concepts and theory first, and then gradually gave us the details for memorization in manageable chunks. My class LOVED our teacher. We looked forward to this class, even thought it was difficult as hell.

It's also true that I heard wonderful feedback from the clinic clients about the quality of massages being given by students in my class, and nothing whatsoever about the students in the other guy’s class. Our clinic began to sell more massages of this type, because of us. The day class, from what we could gather, worked as hard as we did, maybe harder, but we had more to show for it.

So, during our final semester, we had a “my teacher is better than your teacher” thing going on the hallways, and the students in the two different classes were, to say the least, cold to each other. Some students defended that other teacher, saying “it’s only the lazy students who don’t want to work who flunked his test.” Riiight. Children, I’ve had a lot of teachers in my day. Nothing is ever that simple. And there were other complaints made about the guy which had nothing to do with the amount of work he assigned.

I think his students felt a need to defend that teacher and his methods, taking the criticism of their class personally. I know for a fact that more of his students wanted to defect to our class, and were prevented from doing so, because it would have “thrown off the balance of class weighting,” or something like that. I stayed out of the debate as best I could, but it was hard, especially since my class was so overjoyed to be where we were. There were some people in that other class who I worked with in clinic, and they were quite good. I enjoyed working with them.

The ones who weren’t so good though… the day class was notorious for the Jersey Bimbos. They giggled and talked and flipped through magazines and played with dolls (seriously, I saw it myself) during class. On the rare occasions that we had electives or Saturday classes together, I endured them and the fast-food containers they'd leave lying around the room. The whole school hated them, even their instructors, who confessed their disgust and frustration to some of us older students in the dark corners of the parking lot after grueling days of trying to get them to just pay attention.

The very idea of those idiots transferring into our night class made my classmates and I very upset. We were mostly older people, in our late twenties and thirties. Some of us were holding down steady jobs, some had families. We were all heavily invested in getting the most out of this education. The students who did transfer in, thankfully, were not of this gaggle, and we were all relieved that the transfers stopped when they did.

So, back to test day. Here I am, a night class member, stating that I probably missed a question because my teacher didn’t cover it. I’m sure it was validating for those day class students to know something I didn’t. Especially when I was one of those snobby honor’s students.

Petty, though, eh?

Before I left the exam, I counted up all of the questions I “wasn’t sure about.” I might have chosen the correct answers, but given the makeup of the test, who knows? I’d heard previously that one can miss up to 35 questions and still pass. I had 31 uncertainties. That is WAY too close for comfort. Especially since, like Penny and Ally, I seldom score less than 90%. We are, let’s be honest here, neurotic little perfectionists, and this hit us pretty hard. Penny and Ally were just as trepidatious as me, thinking about our scores.

On the drive home, we all told each other that since we have eight weeks until we learn our scores, (that’s right folks, TWO FUCKING MONTHS) we can’t let ourselves stress this. Penny and Ally are already working as massage therapists, and I’m going to be working at Penny’s spa in a couple of weeks, (did I really say that?) so really, we don’t have much to worry about. It’s not like we can’t work. If the unthinkable happens, and we don’t pass, we’ll re-test in August. And you bet your goddamn life we'll pass that one.

I say we, because after going through school together and studying together and crying on each other’s shoulders so often, we feel like we are totally in this together. We toasted our hard work over Negro Modelos and tapas at Casa Del Sol last night, and I couldn’t stop saying how glad I was that we went through all this together. I’ll never forget this period in my life.

And about that spa work I mentioned? Penny introduced me to her boss. He’s a very cool, laid-back kind of guy, youngish, with an intelligent face. It’s clear he has the utmost respect for Penny.

However, I didn’t intend to interview there – and I didn’t. I shook the man’s hand, and Penny informed him that she was putting me on the schedule for next Saturday.

“That’s great!” the boss said, “We need people!” I stood there with my mouth open.

“How many massages do you want to give?” Penny asked me, pen and paper in hand.

“No more than two or three, it’s been a few months!” I stammered. “And don’t schedule me before 11:00 – I’ll need time to get lost driving here.”

So, I have my first massage job, in New Jersey, working with a friend, at a nice place. Without even trying.

Last night, after some beer, I asked Penny “Are you sure about this? You weren’t in my Swedish class. You’ve never had a "real" massage from me. You’ve never even worked beside me in clinic. How do you know I don’t suck!?”

“Please, Ouiser,” Penny said. “I know you. I saw your work in clinic, even if I wasn’t standing right next to you. I heard what the clients said about you. I heard what the faculty said about you. And I was in your Shiatsu class, and we did work together there, so I know what you can do. Believe me, I know you don’t suck.”

At the end of the day, what I’m most excited about is having regular clients. I want to develop that intimate relationship with a body, be aware on deeper levels of the conditions this person is dealing with, and learn how best to help them. For me, it’s all about the clients, learning to be a better healer, and scratching that itch I have inside of me to feel like I’m making a difference, however small, in someone’s life. Penny and I talked about that too. “You’re going to fit right in,” she smiled.

It’s amazing how, in the grand scheme of things, how meaningless that 140-question multiple-choice test really is.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Blogger 2!

By the way, I've migrated to the "new" Blogger, which I like simply because it's fast as hell. Your links might need updating, or not.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Another Interview!

The company which interviewed me two - going on three - weeks ago has yet to make up their minds. My agency has therefore found a possible temp job for me. This one is a whopping 15-minute drive away, althought it might be 30 minutes in rush hour. It's a similar type of healthcare company, and it's going to be shitwork, but whatever.

They want to interview me before they decide to temp me. I know, I know. Some companies are like that. There are a lot of shitty temps out there.

So, I'd better move my ass. I've got an hour and half to get breakfasted, dressed and over the Tappan Zee. Wish me luck.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

6-Year Meme

From Dalila's blog: start with 2007 and count backwards by 6. Write what was going on in your life during that year. Count backwards another six, and another, until your life - in this world, at least - begins.

Existential differentials may find this to be a very long meme...

2007: Just in the month of January, I've gone to a swanky party, I've had some long talks with good friends, I've had two manicures (TWO!), and I've re-joined Weight Watchers. Before the month ends, I will have taken the New York State Licensing Exam for Massage Therapy, attended three study sessions for said exam, and, hopefully, gotten a new job. Not bad for one month.

2001: This was the year I moved out of my marital residence and into a one-bedroom in Astoria. I was planning to divorce my husband, but then September 11th caused me (and a whole lot of other people) to re-evaluate life. Seven months later I was moving back in, giving the marriage another chance. A decision I do not regret.

1995: Probably the most significant year of my life. I dumped (sort of) the Big Bad Blonde Boyfriend and moved to New York City, diving into the ocean of life as though I were escaping a forest fire. I was twenty-four years old, an age that seems like infancy to me now.

1989: Another biggie. Graduated from high school. Dated an abusive redneck (if you can call that dating). Had an abortion, found a fantastic psycho-therapist, learned big words like "self-actualizing" and "assertiveness." Worked at an expensive lunch restaurant. Learned how to balance trays full of food and take compliments from strangers. Turned 18 and felt mildly disappointed that being a legal adult came with no practical advantages.

1983: A shit year. I turned fucking twelve, didn't get my braces off, and was uglier than any adolescent anywhere in the known universe. I caught the Chicken Pox that year, which left scars on my face so I was even uglier. I did have a fantastic English teacher, who made me feel less of a nerd and more of a genius. She also taught me to structure my writing, and I won our school's poetry contest that year with a sonnet called "A Rainbow's Smile" which seemed to bubble forth from the apotheosis of my emotional being. Or maybe I was trying to fake being a happy kid. Grown-ups like happy kids.

1977: I was six years old, and in first grade. My sweetheart was Scotty Dimond, who grew up to be even more of a basket case than me. My best friend was Rebecca Ellsworth, who grew up to be a juvenile delinquent, although I hear she straightened herself out by the time we reached college age. I spent most of that year, and the four years following, being chased around the playground by various classmates playing "Make Ouiser Cry," then pointing and laughing and calling me crybaby when I finally did. Little fucking bitches. I hope they all get cancer.

1971: I was born. My mother claims that it was during this year that I learned to sneak and scheme, as I developed a habit of waiting until her back was turned before I pulled all the diapers and towels and whatever I could grab out of the cabinet and threw them onto the floor. She should have signed me up for reform school right then.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Still Waiting...

I never heard anything yesterday about the job. No phone calls, nothing. It is now Friday and officially two weeks since the interview.

Drop the other shoe, will ya?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

If you make people laugh, you'll get all the love you want.

On behalf of miserable children everywhere, thanks for showing us how to laugh at this completely insane world we live in.

All my love,


Pins and Needles

My staffing agent called me at around 4pm yesterday to let me know that The Company has STILL not decided who to hire. We are now hoping to get an answer today.

Other than that, the study session went very, very well. I now am unsure as to whether I would have passed this test without these study sessions. I had forgotten far more than I realized.

Little reminders of my fallability such as this cause me to examine other areas of my life. I keep thinking about what I wrote after my interview:

Have I become so spoiled and soft that I won't be the office whirlwind I once was? For that matter, I've been loving the freedom of temping with my fabulous agency for two years. Will a permanent job, in one place every day, for who knows how long, bore me to tears? Can I be a one-company woman? I've been a committment-phobe for a long, long time. I got burned so badly by my job that ended in 2004... Do I really have it in me to do this?
I'm sure I'm just jittery. I do feel more confident than I did when I wrote the above passage. I am ready to start work. I am even more ready to start collecting paychecks.

I've never been good at waiting though, and I think I'm pretty calm today, all things considered. Maybe I have new things to "bring to the table" this time around.

Take some Advil, have some coffee, wait. I have "Antonia's Line" on TiVo.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

2007: Year Of The Wedding

It begins.

G and I toured this place yesterday, and got several pricing scenarios. It's a one-stop shop, including ceremony on-site, cocktail reception, seated three-course gourmet dinner, "designer" wedding cake, dancing, and an on-site wedding coordinator. Add to that flowers, photography, wedding attire, participant gifts, and other sundry items. Our "special day" will cost >gasp< over twice as much as my first wedding. We're paying for the whole thing ourselves.


I'm still waiting to hear about that job I interviewed for two Fridays ago. I was informed today that I "bring a lot to the table" and that my "personality alone made me stand out from the crowd." I am, supposedly, the front-runner. The team will decide tomorrow who to hire.

For most of the day tomorrow, I will be in Hackensack, studying with my old classmates for the licensing exam next week. I am hoping and praying that, in the middle of our studies, I'll get the call telling me the job is mine.

If that happens, I will re-join Weight Watchers tomorrow night, when I get home. Thursday I will overhaul the kitchen, and start making phone calls to bridal salons. Then I will email my favorite designer and take her up on her offer to send me some samples to try on. Friday, I will study my butt off for that test.

Next Thursday, I will ace that test.

Come on, job. Come on, licensing exam. Come on, wedding. Come on, 2007!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Doctor Who, Again

There’s a Doctor Who marathon on today. I watched “School Reunion,” and would have stopped there, but the next episode was “Girl in the Fireplace,” so I couldn’t resist. After watching it a hundred times on my TiVo, I finally deleted it after I wrote this post. Now, it’s back. I’m not taping it this time.

However, I’m crying my eyes out right now, and I’m not sure why. The relationship between the Doctor and Reinette just slays me utterly. The monsters are terrifying, it’s those damn clown masks, I fucking hate clowns. All the same scenes that sucked my heart into my throat on the first viewing are having just as profound an effect on me now, except it’s tears, not jumping and screaming. Fascinating. Confusing. Embarrassing.

I am reminded of an essay I wrote about a particular scene from the movie Sideways. When Paul Giamotti guzzled that prized bottle of wine in that burger joint, something snapped inside me. Everything went cold, my stomach hit the floor, I was dizzy sitting in my movie seat. For weeks afterward, every time I remembered that scene, I would inexplicably burst into tears. Even at the office. It was awfully embarrassing. People saw me do it on several occasions, and I couldn’t explain it, I had to wrench my consciousness away from the visuals in my mind and think of something else. It always took a few minutes for me to focus, and move on.

I met with my minister to talk about that damn wine bottle. I discussed it with my therapist, my boyfriend, my girlfriends, my mother, everyone. Eventually I wrote the essay, and figured a lot of it out. That pretty much fixed things. The memory of Paul’s wine guzzling doesn’t affect me anymore, at least not severely. I attained the distance necessary to resume a normal life.

What I’m going through now with this goddamn TV show is very similar. It’s the same emotional reflex, the spontaneous crying, the inability to redirect my mind quickly, the fathoms-deep sorrow that floods me, the knowledge that these images are a key to something inside me, and until I find the door that it unlocks, the tears won’t stop.

I know I wanted to be Reinette. The Girl in the Fireplace is – almost – my adolescent fantasies come to pixelated life. I’m sure I’m not the only female in the world (or male, let's face it) who can say this, and I’m sure the producers of the show know it. From the terrified seven-year-old who meets someone who can give her monsters nightmares, to the teenager who gets to snog her childhood hero, to the woman whose courage galvanizes everyone around her, and whose hero literally rides in on a white horse to save not just her life, but the day, but for all she knows, the world. Her "dear Doctor" chooses her over his life of adventure, and when he realizes he can resume his travels, invites her along.

Of course Reinette is me. (Ok, a blonde me.) This explains why the TV show thrilled me so much that I saved it on my TiVo for months. This does not, however, explain the sweeping sadness that crushes my chest, driving me to tears.

And it’s not just the Girl in the Fireplace that crushes me – I cried like hell during much of "School Reunion" as well. When Sarah Jane realizes that K9 has been sacrificed, here come the tears. WTF!?

“It’s just a daft, metal dog,” she says, but everyone knows she’s heartbroken, and she leans her head on the Doctor’s chest and weeps. The first time I saw this episode, that scene didn’t phase me, but today I wept right along with her. That daft metal dog was all she had left from those days, I realized, All she had left of the man she loved. Now she has nothing but memories.

Do we trust our memories, when they are of such a fantastic nature? We certainly cling to them, when they are the best part of our lives. Sara Jane, unlike Reinette, never had another man all her life, admitting to the Doctor that he was too tough an act for any other man to follow. She makes a comment to the Doctor that she won’t ever have grandchildren, the implication being that she never had children. Has she been celibate!? Hard to imagine… but this is a romantic story. Maybe. Sarah Jane is a career woman, while Reinette is a courtesan. Very different women, very different stories, but the love, and the dream, is just the same.

And then there’s Rose. Billie Piper’s heartbreak at the end of “Doomsday” was so palpable, I don’t imagine there was a dry eye in all of London when this show first broadcast. Of course I wept, but I was surprised at the bitterness of my tears. It’s one thing to cry at a good story, but this was something much deeper, something which caused me to examine my youth and the role Doctor Who has played in my life. Something which spawned an essay. If something causes me to dash to my laptop and work on something for three hours until I have a publishable result, it’s touched me very deeply. I mused on Rose’s choice between partnership and daughter-ship, her words to her mother, explaining her choice, and the metaphors for death that permeated the episode. Like with the Wine Bottle essay, I think I figured most of that one out.

But this business with Reinette, and Sarah Jane… still working on this one. Something to do with choices. Something to do with fantasy versus reality. Something to do with career, with love, with being rescued, with (as Lennon said) the life we live while we’re waiting for something else to happen. Something to do with dreams almost coming true, but not quite.

Reinette died without ever seeing the Doctor again. Sarah Jane did find the doctor again, but with a newer, younger companion on his arm, and with too many years of her life gone by to be able to get back what she’d lost all those years ago. And Rose, beautiful, young, blonde, sassy Rose… Rose had it all, she'd made those bold choices, and it was still all ripped away from her by an external force. Her separation from the Doctor feels most tragic of all.

What was I separated from? Where is this wound inside me that keeps getting re-opened when I watch these stories? What caused it?

All those years ago, when I watched Doctor Who every weeknight at 10pm with my parents, I didn’t see many episodes where companions left. The only ones I remember seeing were “Earthshock,” where Adric died, and “The Green Death,” where Jo Grant leaves the Doctor so she can marry a Nobel Prize-winning scientist. I never identified with Adric, and Jo left for a wonderful reason – the best reason ever. She walked away from the TARDIS toward a happy future with a man who, let’s face it, is about as good as it’s gonna get on Earth. A younger, more handsome version of the Doctor – who at that time was played by the fatherly Jon Pertwee. Who could blame Jo?

Maybe, in marrying men I met in New York rather than pining away for someone unattainable from my youth, I was emulating Jo Grant. I always felt that I married my ex-husband for the wrong reasons.

Of course this begs the question: Am I marrying G for the right reasons? Then again, what are the right reasons? Why G and not Eric, or Sam, or Jack, or any of the others I could have had? Did I turn them down for the right reasons?

Did Jo Grant ever regret her choice? Did Tegan Jovanka? Romana? Leela? Peri, Nyssa, anyone? Ladies, can we all meet for coffee next week? How did you all get over the Doctor? Or did any of you love him the way Jo and Sarah Jane and Reinette and I did?

Oops, there I go again. Looking for answers in fiction. Only a crazy person would do that.

Right, everyone?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Friends in Bloody Places

This guy who suffered though THREE - count 'em, Lil' Abner, Bye Bye Birdie, and Guys and Dolls makes THREE - high school musicals with me, not to mention some other really crappy community theatre shows, this guy has finally made it to the big time: a guest spot on ER. He joins the ranks of, oh, christ, anyone who's ever set foot in Hollywood, in getting bloodied up and wheeled around by some fine azz hotties. Some of them even touched him.

It would be SO easy to do a scathing blog post about Jonathan cracking his high notes, prancing around in leotards and tights, and dating everything in a skirt that walked within sniffing distance EXCEPT FOR ME, but I'm hoping for a job offer this week and don't want to invite bad karma.

I'll do that post later. I promise. I really will.

EEEEEEEE-hee hee hee hee.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Sometime early this morning, I'm awakened by some weird groping going on around my stomach. It's still pitch black outside. I scoot a few inches away from G, who is still asleep, but apparently is feeling frisky. I go back to sleep.

I wake up again, barely, and pry open my eyelids. It's just barely dawn. G is groping me again. This time it's pretty clear what he's thinking. His hands are hitting the er, target areas, but the rest of him is completely inert. It's just these disembodied, overly excited arms and hands, grabbing me like a ball of sourdough. I'm too sleepy for this, and really, so is he. I ignore him and backslide into slumber.

Next thing I know, I'm dreaming that I'm in bed with this guy. Now, I've never had sex with a paraplegic before, so I don't really know what it's like, but I imagine G's over-activity with the upper limbs might have prompted my imagination to ponder whether or not this is what it's like. After all, I have seen Dr. Zoom at the Springfield Muni Opera dance auditions, jigging around that wheelchair with more soul than any ballet company twink, spinning on one wheel and performing all sorts of acrobatics with those impressively developed arms of his. I suppose it's only natural that, somewhere in my subconscious, I might have imagined what it might be like to be tossed around a bit by those arms.

Uh, it bears mentioning that I've known Dr. Zoom and his wife for years, and although the man is adorable, and a lot of fun, I wouldn't DREAM of messing with him. Mrs. Zoom is an open-minded soul, but she's bigger than me. She could throw me clear across town with one betchslap. So... yeah. Just sayin'.

Zoom's persistent though, in this dream of mine, so I climb on top of him and say "let's get this over with quick, ok?" I may never forget the expression of crazed glee on his face.

When I wake up, G is sleeping a polite few inches' distance from me. I poke him. He slits his eyes and peers out at me, expressionless.

"You were awful frisky this morning," I snarl.

"Yeah," he mumbles, closing his eyes.

"Because of you I had a sex dream!" I tell him, loudly.

"Sorry," he murmurs, rolling away from me.

"It was about ZOOM!"

G is motionless. "...damn," he mumbles. He's out.

Grumpy, I fall back sound asleep. This time, it's glorious. Dark, quiet, unmolested, early morning snoozzzz.....


I sense brightness through my closed eyelids. I lift my lashes just enough to peek out, and there is a tiny grey nose sniffing me right between the eyes. "YEEOW," the nose says. I roll my eyes to the right. G is gone. I can hear the shower. G's in the shower, I think to myself. I'm awake.

"You little fucker," I say as I'm scratching Marge between the ears. She purrs loud enough to rattle the dishes in the cupboards.

Friday, January 05, 2007

New Year, New Wall, New Job?

Yesterday, I painted my wall red. Well, I put deep-coat primer on, which is almost as red as the paint. I got permission from the landlord, and G and I went to buy the paint on January 2nd. Ralph Lauren "Relay Red." Even with just the primer, it's gorgeous.

The yellowish-white walls in this place have been driving me nuts for awhile. There is so little color in this place at all. The floor is hardwood, the furniture is too. The sofa is fucking beige. The carpet we bought has colorful bands running through it, but mostly it's fucking beige too. We can't exactly install window treatments easily or cheaply. The mini-blinds are dusty white. I decided to do something drastic and paint.

G was totally on board from the get-go, which delighted and surprised me. I picked red because we both like red and there is some red in the carpet, but mostly because you can't get more energetic and upbeat than red. I settled down with a darker, almost brick red, but it looks plenty bright, I'll tell you. It's just bright enough. And this room has so much sunlight, it's not heavy at all, just all bright and happy and energizing and just RED!

While I was in the middle of priming, my temp agent called. Out of nowhere, this great temp-to-perm position materialized. I was surprised. I didn't expect her to find me anything, even short-term low-paying temp work, so soon after New Year's. But this just dropped into her lap. Maybe it was all that red energy shooting through my system, but I jumped all over it, and told her I'd like to interview first thing the next morning. She called me back about an hour later, and that was that. I was scheduled for (gulp) 8:30 am today.

It's a New Jersey pharmaceutical company, but not one of the big evil ones, so I think I'd be able to sleep at night. The best part is that I'd be supporting the team of people that works with the clinical trials, making sure the drugs are safe for the populace, and helping to ensure FDA compliance and all that. It's a sticky area, but the most important aspect of pharmaceuticals. I'd be thrilled to be part of that. It would be great money for me, and benefits, which I've been desperately needing.

This morning was the first time in a very long time that I've had to be up before dawn, and I was out of practice. I had laid out my suit the night before, so all I had to do was go through the motions, but I still was 15 minutes later leaving the house than I wanted to be. The place is in Paramus, about 1/2 hour drive away, but I wanted to give myself an hour to get there, in case the nightmarish traffic I'd read about on Route 17 materialized.

The drive was actually no big deal. I-287 to the Garden State Parkway to Route 17 to Route 4. I didn't make one wrong turn, I didn't get stressed at all. I guess all that practice from school has paid off. Plus the Garmin my mother-in-law sent us for chanukah was a nice help. I arrived with a few minutes to spare.

The people are all great. Very high energy, enthusiastic people, mostly women. They said all the right things, and the HR lady is fabulously straightforward. The salary range I was quoted by my agency is exactly what I would want. The commute is doable. Everyone there seems genuinely happy, enjoying their work, and working well together. And yet, I'm waffling. Big time.

I keep thinking about this post that Frank wrote before he took his job. Taking a job really does cause you to re-think everything. Will the money and insurance be worth giving up 50 hours a week? I still have the NY State Licensing Exam to take on the 25th. I just scheduled my first study session with my friends for next wednesday, which I now may have to move to the evening, and hope everyone can still make it. I have a lot of studying to do over the next few weeks. Am I shooting myself in the foot here?

On a deeper level, I haven't worked at all in two months. It's been heaven, and I'm TOTALLY used to it. Have I become so spoiled and soft that I won't be the office whirlwind I once was? For that matter, I've been loving the freedom of temping with my fabulous agency for two years. Will a permanent job, in one place every day, for who knows how long, bore me to tears? Can I be a one-company woman? I've been a committment-phobe for a long, long time. I got burned so badly by my job that ended in 2004... Do I really have it in me to do this?

I've been saying all along that the perfect situation for me would be a standard, structured corporate job with benefits, and a decent - meaning doesn't have to be high - salary, with some massage gigs on evenings and weekends. I can pay off my loans quickly, help fund the wedding, have that goddamn gum surgery I've been putting off, and hone my skills in massage, preparing for that day in the future when I'll want to be a Mom full-time. Implement my master plan.

However, the reality of this smacked me in the forehead today. This would be committment with a capital C, and frankly, I'm scared. I'm scared of what this would do to my life. I'm afraid of getting caught up in the workaholic rat race again.

I'm going to talk it over with G tonight. Gotta say, if I do take this job, I'd so love to see my agent get that commission. This decision will be much easier to make if the position is temp-to-perm. I'd like to date for awhile before getting hitched. Long engagements are good for me, as long as I keep my eyes open and my feet on the ground.

Then I'd better get that last coat of red paint on the wall.

It's funny... when G and I went to home depot a few weeks ago and brought home a bunch of red paint chips, I wondered if I wasn't getting in over my head. I've helped other people paint before tons of times, but never done it all by myself, and certainly not in a place that I'm only renting. Uh, make that, a place that I'm living in that someone else is renting. I was a little nervous, taping off the area, laying down the drop cloths, pouring that first puddle of paint into the roller tray. It took me a good two hours, which seems like nothing in retrospect. When the primer was done, it looked gorgeous. G complimented my work profusely when he got home. I seem to be up to this task.

I guess I just have to decide what else I'm really up for.

And it would be pretty funny if, after all this, I wasn't offered the job.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Doctor is Worth the Monsters

Subtitle: Where I Reveal Just How Geeky I Really Am

Today, thanks to my TiVo, I watched some fantastic Doctor Who episodes: "The Army of Ghosts" and "Doomsday." I suspected that this might be the episode when Billie Piper left the series, but I wasn't prepared for how this would manifest. Plenty of the Doctor's companions left amicably, with a few notable exceptions, but I hadn't suspected anything like this. It was heartbreaking, and it really got to me. During the goodbye scene, as the Doctor and Rose wiped the tears from their faces, I found myself wiping tears from my own.

I've been watching Doctor Who since I was around eleven. My little ballerina friends and I were utterly addicted. We bought all the books we could find - which were written at about our reading level - and would trade them when we saw each other at ballet class. By the age of thirteen, maybe fourteen, we were all gossiping in the dressing room about what went on in the Tardis between episodes. During the Peter Davison era, we were all sure that Nysaa and Adric were "snoggin'." Of course, we all loved the young blonde Doctor and would have gladly snogged him ourselves. One year, we attended a Doctor Who convention in Champaign, Illinois. I can't remember whose Mom agreed to drive three giggly tweenagers for an hour and a half to gawk at nerdy British Sci-Fi stuff, but my hat's off to her. Alas, neither Davison nor any of his predecessors in the role were there, but his successor, Colin Baker, autographed a calendar for me. I don't have the calendar anymore, but I do still have the page with his picture and signature on it somewhere. I still have a pair of bright red knee socks too, part of Davison's Cricketing costume. Upon my visit home last week, I noticed that my 5x7 headshot of Peter Davison, celery on his lapel, is still tacked to my bedroom wall.

I suppose a lot of young girls want to be rescued from their frustrating lives by a handsome, mysterious stranger, and being the brainy nerd that I was, I wanted one that was also a genius. When I was thirteenish, PBS and BBC gave me Peter Davison. My adolescent fantasies about a brilliant, handsome, kind man who would take me away from everything and show me the universe were right in front of me, every weeknight at ten o'clock. Luke Skywalker was a dumb-ass kid and Captain Kirk was an oversexed cowboy, but the Doctor was absolutely perfect. (Granted, being in my very early teens, the Doctor's sexlessness probably made him appear "safe," although at that age I would have vehemently denied such.)

My bedroom at home is quite large. It's the only "upstairs room" in the house, and upon my thirteenth birthday, I abandoned my little bedroom on the ground floor for the privacy of the upstairs. I had a queen bed in there, several bookcases, a desk and chair, a computer, a stereo, a phone, and a walk-in closet. All I needed was a bathroom and it could have been an apartment. I spent a great deal of time there, and considering the screeching fights my Mom and I had during my teen years, it was probably best for everyone that I did.

When I was in, oh, maybe ninth or tenth grade, I had a nightmare about daleks. In the dream, I had just come up the stairs to my bedroom, and I noticed that all the furniture was covered with bedsheets, as though nobody had lived there for years. The large room seemed much larger, almost like a carpeted gymnasium, with very low lighting, and shadows everywhere. I gingerly stepped into the room. I couldn't see much. All around me I heard a low, mechanical hummm, like flourescent lighting that needed a bulb change.

Out of the shadows, I heard that unmistakable tinny voice: "EXTERMINATE!" I was terrified. This was my bedroom! MY space! If a dalek was going to get me here, was there any safe place on earth? I was too afraid to run out of the room, so I continued slowly, carefully making my way among the draped furniture. I knew my bed had to be in there somewhere, and I thought that if I could reach it, I'd be safe on my bed, under the covers. I heard the daleks whizz past me, felt an electric crackle in the air, knew that I was just barely out of sight behind the bedsheeted furniture, hoping desperately they wouldn't find me. "...exterminate..." I heard again, more quietly, as if in the distance. The light in the room dimmed until I could barely see anything at all. I froze. My bed was nowhere in sight. I squinted at the nearest piece of furniture. It sure didn't look like a chair or a bookshelf under that bedsheet. It was as tall as me, and rounded on top. The low hummmmm throughout the room continued. I looked around, panicked. All the pieces of furniture, under the draping, seemed to be the same squat, rounded shape. One of them had something long sticking out of it...

I woke up screaming.

That dream gave me the willies for weeks. I didn't go to bed normally for a long time afterward. I'd start walking into my room, but about halfway across the floor, I'd sprint and take a flying leap onto the bed. I couldn't get under the covers fast enough. I didn't pull them over my head, because dammit, if there were any fucking monsters in my room I was damn well gonna see them with my own eyes. Come on, show yourselves!

They never did, because of course, they weren't real. I didn't have the guts to tell my friends that I had conjured up a story about television robots that scared me so badly that I was afraid of my own bedroom. It was ridiculous, and I knew it. But then, I was rather a ridiculous person in many ways. Teenage self-esteem slamming smack into an over-active imagination and an obession with sci-fi. The adolescence of a Drama Queen.

I don't know when I stopped watching Doctor Who - likely when I was sixteen. I stopped watching because PBS stopped showing the episodes. We never got to see all the Colin Baker shows, and none of the Sylvester McCoy shows. Star Trek: the Next Generation came on TV not too long thereafter, and I began watching that, to my Mom's delight. I was among the legions of women who found Captain Picard the most compelling man on TV. But, I was, after all, a mature sixteen. I had real-world boys in my life, and real problems.

When I was at ScAMDA, a serious effort at reviving the dead Doctor Who series was produced in the form of a TV Movie. It was out there, on televisions somewhere, but I couldn't receive it, and missed it altogether. I was distraught. I was 25 - around ten years after I'd seen the Doctor - but I was thrilled at the thought of having that show back in my life. It was just so much damn fun. Deep Space Nine wasn't bad, but there was no Doctor - not like mine. I missed that show.

You can imagine my elation when, just this past year, I realized with our new cable setup that I could watch the new episodes. I've been TiVoing them, and having an absolute ball. Cybermen! Absorbatrixes! The sexy new Tardis interior, so goth-deco! And David Tennant is dreamy! Werewolves! Black Holes! Wheee!

I've had "The Girl in the Fireplace" saved on my TiVo ever since it first aired. I somewhat over-identified with Reinette. I had monsters in my bedrooms just like she did; I was plagued with nightmares throughout my adolescence. When the first evil robot appears underneath young Reinette's bed, I almost screamed. Isn't that every child's nightmare, the monsters under the bed? Much to my dismay, unlike Reinette, I had no Doctor to appear from time to time, no lonely angel to defeat my monsters. But then, it could be argued that the Doctor in my room was as real as the Daleks were. My little drama was as real as... well, a television show.

However, that kiss... damn. The Doctor actually snogged someone, on screen! And not for some lame-ass "It was the only way to transfer the energy" technical excuse either - that was full on human-timelord lust! I admit, at 35 years of age, I must have watched and re-watched that scene a hundred times. Tennant's no blonde Davison, but then I'm no blonde Madame de Pompadour either, so it evens out. I waited twenty years to see that! Clara and Adrienne, my ballerina friends, wherever you are, I hope you got to see that too. Maybe we didn't get to snog the Doctor, but someone finally did!

Today, watching Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, Rose Tyler's little speech to her mother struck somthing inside me as well. "I've had my whole life, nineteen years with you," she says to her Mum. She's trying to explain why, when faced with the choice of saying goodbye forever to either her Mother or the Doctor, she chooses a future with the Doctor. "When I met him, I was working in a shop!" Her mother retorts "I worked in a shop too, what's wrong with that?" Rose struggles, trying to explain her inability to walk away from a life of adventure with a man she loves, even to the extreme of never seeing her mother again.

America has been fascinated with extreme natural disaster movies for some time now. In many of them, people choose to either find those they love the most and spend their last days with them, or attempt to somehow flee the disaster, or try to help stop things. This prompts some heavy philosophical questions: Who, if I knew I would die tomorrow, would I want to be with, if I could only choose one person? And what about the Parents-as-Past, Spouse-and-Family-as-Future dilemma?. Would I run home to be with my parents, or hunker down with G for the final days of earth? How would my mother feel if she knew I chose G over her? Or is it like choosing to live when a loved one dies? Would Mom understand? Or would she fight me, like Rose's Mom did?

Watching Doomsday, Rose made the same choice I would have made. She knows her Mom and Dad will be, not only together again after a long seperation (which, paradoxically, involves both their deaths in seperate parallel earths), but "in a better place" - the parallel earth of her Dad, where there are no invading monsters. Rose knows they will be fine. She chooses adventure, and love. She chooses the unknown. The Doctor, as Reinette said to her in "The Girl in the Fireplace," is worth the monsters.

Of course, sadly, her choice almost leads to her death, and she is literally yanked into her parents' world at the last minute, forced to say goodbye to the Doctor forever. Watching Rose sobbing so dreadfully was horrible. It was like a death. She thought she'd be saying goodbye to her parents. We all expect to lose our parents before our spouses. I imagine we're somehow more prepared for it. But Rose, at the last minute, in a cruel twist of fate, was robbed of her choice, and she lost the Doctor. I sobbed right along with her. And when the Doctor manages to say a final good-bye to her, a hologram not unlike a ghost, I couldn't help but think of the dreams I had of my grandmother shortly after her death, dressed in beautiful sparkling clothes, shining, unable to say she loved me, but projecting it unmistakeably.

After we'd all finished our cry, Rose and the doctor and me, I turned off the TiVo and sat in the apartment I share with G, just looking quietly around. G and the cat were sleeping in the bedroom.

I thought about my last apartment in New York City, the horrible circumstances under which I'd lost it, how painful it was to give it up, and how G and I had thrown caution to the wind and moved me into his bachelor pad. We had both known at the time that my only other option was to move back to Illinois, back in with Mom and Dad. I had no money, no savings, no job and a mountain of debt. My New York Life as I knew it was over. I could either go back where I came from, or move on to new adventures with G. I knew a second attempt at marriage was likely, and heartbreak wasn't a complete impossibility. Both monsters to be conquered, in very different ways. There was really no decision making for me. I made the same choice Rose made.

I thought about my blonde fetish, most famously realized in that boyfriend I dated for five years. I met that guy when I was eighteen -about four or five years after I tacked that photo of Peter Davison on my bedroom wall. I looked around the apartment at my shoes and G's shoes from last night's New Year's Eve party, looking like they'd passed out on the floor, much as we had into the bed at around 1am. I took in the apartment, the rugs we'd picked out together because the neighbor had complained of noise, the posters he'd had for years but which I made him frame, the holiday cards from family and friends sitting on the piano, a picture of us from New Year's Eve 2004, framed. I looked at the picture. G's iconic superman curl is clear in the photo, his dark hair a stark contrast to his white skin and his goofy, toothy grin.

I had to laugh to myself. David Tennant has dark hair. And the mother of all goofy, toothy grins. I slipped my engagement ring off and looked at my bare left hand, picturing the wedding ring that, by this time next year, will likely be there. My stomach tightened nervously for just a second. Somehow, incredulously, the idea of trying marriage again still frightens me. I am also terrified of someday leaving New York for real, heading off to Boston or who knows where. But, life is like that. Constant motion. Leaving things behind. Goodbyes. New lives, new friends, new problems, banishing old demons and discovering new ones. As Reinette said, one can tolerate demons for the sake of an angel. And I know myself. Without that excitement, I'd be bored. And for me, there is no worse nightmare than a boring, adventureless life.

Today, watching the Daleks swarm over the earth on a television show, hearing those screeching voices, I remembered my old nightmare... and I laughed.

Bring it on.