Thursday, November 29, 2007

Blah blah crumple toss blah blah blah

I've thought all day about what I'd write, how I'd tell the rather mundane story of how the Food Tasting went, when G and I tasted the food for our wedding. I've told the story to a number of people on the phone - people who knew we were going and couldn't wait to hear about it. Every time I tell the story, I get it right, and think to myself why haven't I blogged this yet?

Every time I try to write the story down, I change things. I begin telling a story, not the story. I don't know why. The story doesn't need embellishment to make it interesting or exciting. It has a decently happy ending. Yet for some reason my fingers are lying.

It was disappointing. The tasting I mean. It was a group tasting, so we didn't get to try everything we wanted to try. All 20 couples submit several menu choices. The staff chooses the three most popular entrees, two most popular appetizers, etc., and creates the tasting menu from that. G and I were surrounded by people who eat at fucking Applebees and don't know the difference between a reduction and a glaze, and who pick wines because the label is pretty. So the majority ruled, and instead of the chicken with the exciting sounding apricot-fig stuffing with three berry sauce, I was served chicken sitting in an orange puddle of thin garlic-citrus juice. With baby red potatoes and haricot verts. Green fucking beans. I could have made that in my own fucking kitchen.

And sushi. I'm sure the fast-food eaters were thrilled by the goddamn sushi station. I've from fucking New York, I hung out with Asians for years, I'm not impressed with how fresh your fucking tuna rolls are. It's a dumb-ass tuna roll, you moron. Seaweed, rice, cucumber, I'M SO BORED HERE. At least gimme a goddamn quail egg and some Unagi? Oh never mind, I've had that before too. A MILLION TIMES.

All the wines sucked. One was palatable. Just palatable. The Champagne was watery and tasteless, which meant I was so thrilled to have something inoffensive in my mouth, not to mention potent, that I giggled deliriously and had two glasses.

All four of the cakes failed to move me. The one we'd wanted to taste wasn't on the menu. The one smidgen of chocolate cake wasn't even chocolate, it was fucking mocha with some kind of cappuccino filling. One of the five very thin layers was so dry it crumbled. I guess that was supposed to be an interesting texture? Fine, I'm not a big cake eater anyway. I told G he could have whatever cake he wanted. I was done.

When the chef and the manager of the venue came by our table, G asked if there was any of the cake WE wanted to try in the back, just sitting around? There was. We were brought two tiny slices of day-old cake in the flavor we requested. That day-old cake was 10 times better than any of the crap we'd been served. It was sooo flavorful, tart fruity filling and creamy cakiness, wrapped in slightly dry buttercream frosting. That's our cake. I can just imagine how sublime it will be when it's fresh.

So it wasn't all bad. And the people at the venue really expressed care for how we were feeling. They really listened to my, which, to give myself some credit, I really worked hard at stating calmly and rationally, even apologetically. Eventually the woman who appeared to be in charge of bar selections whipped out a pad and pen and started writing down the names of our favorite wine houses and varietals. That, really was what I needed most: to know we were being listened to, that our event wasn't going to be white-washed into a predictable wedding like everyone else's, talking us into serving less-exciting dishes, "trust us, people will like it." No, they really listened, and made us feel much better by end of day.

But frankly, I was so exhausted by then... And as you can see, I'm still fuming, and trying to pretend I'm over it, that it didn't really bother me that much, I'm fine, I'm sure the food will be wonderful.

I do that.

One day after that gut-wrenching experience, I went for my very first wedding gown fitting. My gown has been hanging in the back of my closet for around six months. I'd forgotten what the fabric felt like.

Just draping myself in that satin transported me out of myself for a few minutes. It's so soft. I resisted the temptation to run my hands down my sides, gliding them over my waist and hips... If one of my hangnails caught the fabric I'd want to die. No, I was reserved. I stood and just looked. I slipped my feet into the $400 glittery gold four-inch heels that everyone thinks I was nuts to buy, since they will hardly be seen.

Fuck everyone. I was Dorothy. there's no place like my own dreams, coming to life before me in the mirror. I was a dreamgirl. And I am telling you I am BEAUTIFUL. I was 21 again, shopping for a dress for my Grandma's 80th birthay party, trying on the most beautiful dress I'd ever worn, seeing a vision of my best self. I was someone I've never been, but always knew I could be. I was tall, slim, and natural, without a scrap of makeup or jewelry. Just for those few minutes, alone in the dressing room. I was everything that I know, deep down inside, that I truly am. I am the woman G loves, and I knew why.

I stepped out of the dressing room and walked into the empty dress shop. The seamstress did not smile. She did not comment on how nice the dress was or how I looked in it. She pursed her lips and directed me where to stand. She waited impatiently while I tried on a second pair of shoes I had brought along, one that I felt everyone else might approve of. I rejected them. "Stand here," she pointed. She pinned the hem, about a 1/2 inch to shorten. She pinned the strap, about 2 inches. She pinned the bustle, a double French. No further alterations needed.

As I walked, alone, back to the dressing room, she stopped me. "Turn around." I faced her obediently. She examined my chest. "You want cups or no?" She tuned me sideways. "Maybe no."

"No," I said, "I think my chest is fine the way it is." Just because no tengo dobles silicas doesn't mean soy fea, bitch. The seamstress turned away, having lost interest.

Before I took off the dress, I drew the dressing room curtain behind me, and took out my wedding veil. I set it into my unruly red curls, and indulged in a few more minutes of mirror time. I allowed myself about three seconds of sadness, and one tear, wishing just one friend or my Mom had been able to do this with me. Then I put my clothes back on and rejoined reality.

Bill for alterations: $169, paid up front.

At home this evening, G did a lot of that face he gets, that look he gives me with his brows knotted together in concern, pausing his activities for a moment, as though he's hoping I'll notice his concern and ask what the face is for. I know what the face is for. Yes, baby, I feel like shit tonight. For no really good reason. I enjoyed my Campbell's tomato soup and Pillsbury French Bread dinner.

I love my life. I wish I was living it. I don't know what happened over the last few months. I would love to blame this on Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I think I'm just tired.

One of my closest New York friends told me, semi-apologetically, that she wasn't going to come to my wedding. Not because she had something else to do, but because she didn't want to drive to Boston in the winter. Not because the hotel night would cost too much. Not because of other, deeper reasons, which I won't go into here. She just can't be bothered with the drive.

Part of me hates myself for being so hurt by that. Part of me feels justified. Another part of me reminds myself that I don't have to justify my fucking feelings to anyone.

Meanwhile, G's suggesting inviting a few people who we really haven't known very long, who aren't really close, intimate friends. I'm thinking he's afraid nobody's going to show up. We created our guest list very carefully, choosing people who've been intimately involved in our lives for years. Looks like we misjudged some of these friendships.

What the hell does a friendship entail? I can't tell anymore.

I don't expect my wedding to be anywhere NEAR as important to anyone else as it is to me - I'm not that foolish. But to be told by someone you've been that close to that "I don't know what I'll be doing that weekend, but I'm NOT going to your wedding..."

Forget it. It's ok. Weddings aren't fun to be invited to. They are burdens, really. Who wants to get dressed up and schlep all the way to another freakin' state? Spend money on a hotel room? I know most people hate being invited to weddings. They groan. Aw, shit, another fucking gift to buy, another damn dinner with strangers in uncomfortable clothes. I know.

Maybe that's why I'm in such a bad mood.

I don't sleep well. I'm usually awake between 3:30 and 5am. Just have been for a couple of years now. No real good explanation as to why. Good opportunity to do some blogging. Ok, here's a blog.

Maybe now I'll sleep a bit.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hard to See Me From All the Way Up There

So, I'm on the third floor because I have to deliver something. The only time I've ever on the third floor is to deliver something, and I never stick around long. On my way out, I always make a quick stop in their Bistro because they usually stock these amazing 100-calorie brownies, and if they have them, I grab one before I go.

For the most part, the people on the third floor hardly see the people on the first floor, and vice-versa.

So today, I have to deliver something up there, and I make my usual quick stop into the kitchen. I can tell right away they don't have my brownies, but I decide to grab coffee. I must have looked a bit lost, because a rather portly man of medium height began pointing out where everything was in the kitchen. "Coffee? Right there. And we got snacks, candy, in all these drawers!"

"I know, I've been working here for over two months," I said, with my best "I'm being patient with you" smile.

The man laughed. "Oh, sorry.."

"That's ok," I said, "I work on the first floor - nobody up here knows me."

Later on, I was perusing the company website, and noticed there are photos of all the employees. I was looking up the address of one of our VP's so I could send him a package. I noticed there was a link to his manager's profile. I wonder who the VP's manager is? So I clicked it. Took me to an SVP. There was a link to HIS manager's profile as well - so I clicked it. Took me to the COO of the Company.

There, smiling back at me, was a photo of the man in the Bistro.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dear Huge Financial Company,

Your new over-blown security requirements are preventing me from accessing my own account.

I know I attended Laketown Elementary school, but does your system want me to type "Laketown School" or "Laketown Elementary" or some other combination?? Or not capitalize anything?

I know I was born in Manchester, CT, but does your inane system want me to spell out Connecticut? Or not capitalize it? Is the comma acceptable?

And if you keep spitting out three different combinations of questions from the pool of five, how will I know which of the three entries was incorrect?

I have been a customer for over a decade and have NEVER experienced security problems, or ever heard of ANYONE experiencing data theft, identity issues, etc due to YOUR COMPANY's website. It wasn't broke, people, but some team of auditors or lawyers suckered your top brass into setting up this system. And I'll bet you paid a fortune for it.

To top it all off NOTHING CAN BE DONE except to delete my registration information altogether. Now, after TEN YEARS of knowing my login credentials, I have to create a new userID, password, and whole new set of FIVE @#$%! Questions. Because you have no back-up plan. How much DID you pay those programmers for this sloppy, inefficient, half-assed bullshit?

Please add my complaints to the millions of others that are clearly clogging up your suggestion box, as it is currently unable to accept messages.



P.S. Trying to sell me something after a 15-minute long phone call during which you were unable to resolve my problem and during which I made it QUITE CLEAR how disgusted I am with your company is also unfathomably stupid.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I still miss you with all my soul

Last Friday night, I dreamed an older woman cooked dinner for me. She was in her 60's, slightly built, with a straight, healthy back, and white curly short hair. She made me some sort of cheesy quiche-looking dish, and a bowl of some tomato stuff. It was cheap American food, made with canned ingredients. I got the impression that she thought it would approximate Italian food because it had tomatoes and cheese in it.

That woman was not my grandmother... but she was trying very earnestly to comfort me in the way that Grandma would have. I knew this wasn't grandma. I tried so hard to just try the food, and express my gratitude... but I broke down in tears. I sobbed uncontrollably.

Two young people, a man and a woman, both in their twenties, removed me to a small cozy room with a fireplace and dark wood paneling. I sat in an overstuffed cordovan leather chair, with a red velvet throw, and cried and cried and cried. "You don't understand," I choked. "Grandma was my favorite relative, the only one who loved me, the only one who really cared at all about me. We had something special. She was everything to me... and now she's gone. And now I have to make the zaples, and the fried smelt, and the galama... and if I don't no one will." I couldn't stop crying. I felt guilty, and embarrassed, but overwhelmingly sad, just utterly, completely heartbroken.

The young man looked like Greg Grundberg from Heroes, but thinner. He had that open, sweet face, and that genuine need to make someone feel better. He wanted to rescue me. I could tell he was tending to things I couldn't see, things outside the room. I hoped he was apologizing to the nice lady for me. How could I have rejected such a lovely gift? Please, I know she meant well, please tell her I'm sorry...

The young woman was brunette, slender, pretty, with dark eyes, wearing black pants and a blue sweater. She sat with me and talked soothingly to me, it's ok, cry all you want, we can stay here as long as you like.

Days seemed to pass.

Finally, I said to the girl, "Thank you." She smiled at me with those eyes, huge and dark and endless. "I think I'm ready now," I said to her.

Instantly I was in a large banquet hall, darkly lit, with candles on the table. My two young friends were with me, asking if I was comfortable, could they get me a drink? No thank you, I said.

We were seated at the back of the room. It occurred to me that there might be a way to move up to a table closer to the front, and I wondered what that might be. At the head of the room was a raised dais with a table on it - like we were at a wedding, at the seat farthest from the bride and groom. And yet, as I strained to see whatever might be on the other side of the darkness, across that sea of people, I felt as though I was right where I belonged... for now. I knew I had something to accomplish, and someplace to go, but for now, I was exactly where I was supposed to be... and I had friends.

My sadness was profound. Every cell of my body, every fiber of my being was saturated with grief. I didn't cry anymore, but I sat there, present, in the moment, feeling the sadness completely enveloping me like a dark grey woolen blanket, layers and layers of it... almost a comforting grief. The comfort that comes with acceptance, with letting go, with not fighting anymore. I accepted everything, in those moments. My place in the room. My companions. My loss. I was aware.

I will never see my Grandmother again. And, as hard as it is to type this, as frightening as it is, I will be alright.

I will be alright.

I will be alright.

I will be alright.

Someone is looking out for me. Maybe it's Grandma, wherever she is. Maybe it's her best pal, St. Anthony. Maybe it's my friend, the Morrigan, who, like me, is often misunderstood, and gets a bad rep. Just because you tell people things they don't want to hear doesn't mean you make them happen, or that you enjoy delivering sad news.

Maybe the young man is a guardian angel. Maybe he's G. Maybe he's me.

I woke up feeling more loved than I have felt in... a very long time. I felt it in the marrow of my bones, in the blood pumping through my battered heart, in my skin and hair and the tears flowing from my eyes. Saturated in love. The feeling stayed with me for hours.

* * * * *

About Heroes.

The image of Matt shouting defiantly to his dad "I'm a good man! I'm a good cop! I'm a good father!" may never leave my mind. Something deep inside me responded to that. I knew exactly how Molly felt, hearing that, knowing she was loved, knowing she would be rescued. My Hero, she was thinking. My very own hero.

I am my own hero.