Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Not resisting the urge....

....to do a year-end wrap-up.

I have no urge. Of any sort. Not for one that kisses-off the crappy stock market. Or compares all the men I dated in 2008. (Commissioned by the CFO some 3 months ago, so therefore I should have been working on it all this time?) Or resolves, generally. Or gives thanks for all the Blessings like Babies and Baileys and Blogs and Best walking and/or running and/or drinking and/or gossiping Buds or Barack with, yes, a capital B.

Somewhere in the Unofficial Blogger's Handbook, I'm supposed to want to do this. And preferably in the form of an easy to read Top-10 List.

Nope. That's a no. My resolution for 2009 is to be less self-centered....which, coming from a writer who daily harasses her own life for writing material, will be a challenge of mountainous proportions.

Off to yoga to search the self for how this might happen......

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just saying (Christmas travel version)

In 10 years, I estimate I've made more than 40 trips between Boston and Minneapolis on hundreds of airplanes.

Would it hurt just once to have a flirtatious man sitting in the center seat? Rather than tonight's late-night companion: a Harvard Bookstore bookmark, put there by an aisle-seater reading an Ian McEwan novel and resembling my mother.

I'm not necessarily talking about the Mile High Club. Just a friendly man going to the same city. I always sit window seat....so he'd have to pass over my bottle of sauvignon blanc from the flight attendant. Then I'd say thanks. Maybe he'd smile to make me feel less travel-crusty. We'd chat about something besides my needlepoint project. I'd offer him the second half of the wine bottle. I'd offer to show him around the city the next day. He'd pull my suitcase down from the overhead bin for me. I'd put his cell number into my phone. Cheek-kiss and a wave at the baggage claim. He'd text to make sure I made it home OK....

(Aw, hell. I just read that back. My fantasies are starting to sound like a Harlequin Romance paperback. From the Lite, no-sex series.)

It's definitely time for a date.)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Vacation termination....

...technically begins later tonight. My return jet should touch down by 10:45 p.m.....that is, if mother nature doesn't chew my schedule into gruel.

(Last Wednesday, 50-mph winds at Detroit-Wayne County kept me in the clouds for Christmas Eve. Perhaps there should be an ode here about dwelling among the heavenly hosts on the night the Christ Child was born? Or, more appropriately, an ode to Missy, who fetched me at MSP at midnight, in temps below zero, the night before hosting 15 family members for an all-day party. Salut, sister.)

I leave Minneapolis with a couple new scarves, several Backstreet Bridge victories, baby drool on my sweater, and an appreciation for Billy Wilder's version of Sabrina.

And what does Boston promise these last 2 days of December? Well, the cats will greet with great cries of pissiness. I will pour all efforts into mailing Christmas letters with a 2008 postmark. The stock market may very well earn a most sincere middle finger.

And I should, really, compose the annual reflection on my dating life...if nothing else, to secure against an inevitable emotional meltdown.

(Must admit. Some good moments among the thorns. But is it more fun to moon, Sabrina-like, over the thorns? Stay posted.)

In the meantime....Monday. Still in Minneapolis. Lunch is sandwiches with my Grandma, Martha. And there is 1 more day with the most tasty Henry.

(Yes. We both survived this mutual death grip.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Joiner

Oh well.

(I figured since my flight home was grounded this morning, forcing me to spend Christmas Eve Day braving the crowds at the South Bay Target in Boston, I deserved it.)

Wheels up, instead, for Minneapolis and the waiting family, hopefully, tonight at 6.

In 10 years in Boston, this is my first ever major delay.....thanks to the Bermuda Triangle of air travel: Chicago O'Hare and its 500 cancellations yesterday, including my connection. Which means tonight I'll be with Northwest Airlines instead of eating Swedish meatballs at my grandma's. (Oh, sweet Swedish meatballs. Sigh.)

Nonetheless, it is good to have family to go to and a reason to go to them.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Deep thought: love is clean

Is it OK to want a boyfriend for no other reason than to have someone guaranteed to stay around at the end of the dinner party to help with the dishes?

(Especially when the bottom of the chili pot has a black crust?)

Monday, December 22, 2008

BBC 2: Hooray, snow (3).

Yesterday I hit up Macy's for their very last pair of Sperry Top-Siders.

Life is, simply, better. (And no longer soggy.)

I've got folks coming over tonight for homemade chili and wine. Naturally, at 8 p.m. last night while cooking I discovered I needed more onions. Thus, an emergency run to Stop-and-Shop.

So I pulled on the new boots and jogged out through puddles, the monster slush pile on the corner of H Street, and then the monster slush pile on the corner of I Street. I was invincible. On Broadway, it was up to the sidewalk, by necessity. I started a little slide/dance on the icy crust thereupon, when a voice in front of me called out:
"Those are most awesome snow boots I've ever seen!"
It was man just outside The Playwright. Forty-something. As burly as a bouncer. (Maybe the bouncer himself?) No coat. Out for a cigarette break, and evidently, the fashion parade.

"Thanks, man. They ARE awesome!" I replied, skating up to him and sliding past with arms flailing.

"What do you call that pattern, anyway? So cool!"

"Paisley, I think. I love them because I can just walk through all of this crap and have dry feet!"

"Whatever they are, they are AWESOME!"
he called after me.
Totally agreed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hooray, snow (2).

Sunday update....hmmm, should take back the part about my neighbors liking me.

At 8:45 woke up to one of those annoying car alarms without an automatic shut-off, to wit:

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep

Many, many minutes lying with head under the comforter, willing the noise t0 stop. Finally, no more. Up from bed, throw open the curtains to seek out the culprit. Realize from the flashing lights on the Mazda 626 across the street that it indeed is my car, pissing me (and everyone else) off.

So on with the parka and the (borrowed) snow boots and out the door. (Two teenagers standing in the street, waiting for a ride, cheer my arrival.) Thigh-deep through yesterday's snow-plow crust, brush a foot of snow off the door, open, disable the siren.

Then back inside the apartment, pajama pants sopping, and into the shower.

Out of the shower, brushing teeth, realize that the beeping has resumed. So hat on over wet hair, fresh jeans and socks into now wet boots, and back out through the thigh-deep crust. Think the culprit is the car in front of me, parked 1.5 inches from the front bumper. Figure that my 1991 car has the sense to think an intruder is stealing the license plate. Luckily, there is room to back it up, and I do. The noise stops.

We'll see if it has remained stopped. Here it is, 1:30. I made it out to church on the #9 (albeit after a 45-minute wait) and am now out of the house for the afternoon...and have no idea if the car alarm has resumed in my absence. Praying to God the neighbors back in Southie aren't cursing my name.

I'm almost afraid to go home.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hooray, snow.

Reasons to be thankful when the car is snowed in, there is no shovel, and every hardware, grocery and drug store on Broadway is sold out of shovels:

1) That Claudia loaned me snow boots yesterday so there was a way to at least attempt buying a shovel, so as to not feel like a total cop-out for not at least trying.

(1a) There is no reason to participate in the highly-charged Southie ritual of leaving folding chairs, garbage cans or coffee cans in shoveled-out parking spots. I get along with my neighbors at the moment. Don't want to give that up.

2) The laundry might get done.

3) The chili for Monday's party might get made.

4) The Christmas letter might get finished....

(4a) ...and the icicle lights for the patio, purchased Thanksgiving weekend and still boxed and in a Target bag on the living room floor, might get put up....

(4b)...and I might clear the fireplace mantle to make room for my Christmas stocking which, I just today realized, has hung obscurely over the fusebox by the bathroom since last Christmas...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Scavenger Hunt #1

The downside of staying out until midnight drinking champagne vodka cocktails at Mistral is that it leaves you just enough out-of-it the following day that you probably didn't give any thought to the fact that every first snow of the season in this forsaken city, Thomas Menino doesn't want to piss anyone off so he calls a city Snow Emergency 5 hours before the snow is scheduled to begin, before even knowing what the snow will actually be, so if you parked on Dorchester Street and it's 11:30 a.m. before you realize that your car is probably already towed, you should probably get the hell back to Southie and see if that is the case.

I'm on my way.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Barista desire...

I got my red-eye this morning at the Starbucks on the corner of Stuart and Dartmouth. It's a small space. They take the brunt of the commuter traffic from Back Bay Station, so the line was 20 deep when I got in it.

But the staff was uber-efficient. Barista hummed as he pushed the espresso shots and steamed milk, singing out the customer names and drink selections. Cash register guy commented, loudly, to no one in particular, about the cheesy carols playing in the background. Manager worked the line, taking drink orders ahead of time, writing names on cups. The people actually getting the drinks looked miserable.

My coffee came quickly, and I headed out to the Hancock for another dubious day on the financial markets. Although for about 30 seconds, observing the adrenaline flow, I had wished I was behind the barista counter, instead.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday chronicles

Yesterday was one of Those Days at work. Not awful for any one reason. Not even awful at all. Honestly, not a thing to complain about.

But wow, was I cranky.

1) True response to e-mail from client requesting statement:

"What the F#$%?!"
2) True response to an e-mail from a co-worker asking the status of an account opening:

"What the F#$%?!"
3) True (muttered under breath) response to boss, asking when I was going to send out the client Christmas cards:

"What the F#$%?!"
I wanted to write a blog entry, and then realized that it would be one big whine. So I didn't write anything. This resulted in more crankiness...for leading such a blah existence. At least 15 times I thought: "I so wish I had a story about randomly making-out in the men's bathroom with someone I shouldn't be making out with."

(Tomorrow: the company Christmas party. Always a ripe field for such possibilities...)

While in Manhattan with Joshua on Sunday, I spent $4 at the Strand Bookstore's half-price table on Fifth Avenue for The Final Days, Woodward & Bernstein's blow-by-blow of Watergate, told from inside President Nixon's circle. I've been devouring it ever since.....on the Greyhound back to Boston, on the #9 to work, in the bathtub, while falling asleep on my sofa last night after a very full glass of merlot.

Which leads to the other prevailing thought I also thought (more than) 15 times yesterday:
"So.. this is a bad day. But hell. Richard Nixon had like 638 bad days....in a row.....and every one containing a special prosecutor and a Congressional committee and the Vietnam Conflict and inflation and a sense that he was being tormented by his enemies. He even had to quit the presidency....

...and still he managed to smile."


Monday, December 15, 2008

Countdown: T-minus 126

Days, that is.

Until the marathon.

Official training started today. 3.47 miles. 60 degrees. 1 week until winter.

The fun's just begun.

(and I had almost forgotten....)

Staying the Christmas course....

An article in the Times not long ago theorized that Facebook will most likely cause the demise of college alumni magazines.

Not long ago, I theorized (internally) that this blog would most likely be the death of my Christmas letter.

It's a project I love. It also annually hangs over my December, like wet fog, until it's written....and stamped....and photos chosen and arranged....and mailed to 130 addresses....with personal notes to all.....during a period where there already aren't enough hours in the day.....and I don't like to half-ass creative projects.....as in one year I was at the office cutting and pasting at 1 a.m. on a Saturday morning and then assembling the envelopes every night until the Martin Luther King Holiday....

It's 10 days to Christmas and the time crunch lords leap. Surely, daily updates from my life and all the pictures you'd ever want to see of me (on Facebook) could do a rank substitution this year....and surely I'm not the first to think this?

But alas. Conscience and circumstance object. Yesterday I opened my first 2 Christmas letters....from perhaps the only 2 couples in my circle who still use typewriters instead of computers ....and both of said, in some variation...."we always look forward to your newsy letter! It's always so creative! We love you!"

I don't like to disappoint George and Alys. Or Heimer and Vera.

Tonight is my last free night before 4 straight of holiday drinking and feasting. So thus the cutting and pasting and not-stopping-to-sleep-until-I'm-satisfied begins....!

(or simply continues)

(or, simply happens because I told you it was going to)

Dateline: Astoria, 12/14/08


Doyles Corner, Queens, 2:56 a.m. (a.k.a. the karaoke witching hour)

Sarsgaard and Chekhov might not cure the blues, but a little New York State of Mind with an old friend can be an effective temporary fix.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sign o' the (market) times

I know today if I'm going to jest about the economy, it should be earlier than later. A potentially tanking market day is in process.

(Although. An hour ago I overheard someone comment that, based on how the market could have reacted to last night's Senate rejection of the auto industry bailout bill: "I thought we were going to open down 5 or 6 percent. It could be a lot worse.")

Meanwhile, one of our company head honchos e-mailed an invite about the holiday party next week. To no surprise, the annual bash---last year at Icarus with free drinks and a raw bar the size of the Charles River Basin---is scaled back to in-house employees-only. Wine and beer is provided. Food is potluck. The theme: White Elephant Gift Exchange.

A friend, Eric, was employed at a large Wall Street firm in a previous career. He knows finance houses. He knows financiers and how they like to party. I forwarded him my boss' invite, somehow sobered by the swapping of used gifts instead of receiving expensive free ones from management.

E: That has to be one of the signs of the apocalypse.

K: Yes. Did you notice it is also a potluck? Is there a way to go one step beyond the apocalypse?

E: I did. Weird.

One of the things I admire most about my company is its belief in morale. And when the market is down and profits are down, they could have cut out a social gathering altogether and did not.

Although I will gladly take portfolio manager gift ideas. Scary.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

O, fair commute

I know it's going to be a day when the only thing worth writing about is just how crabby the #9 bus makes me when it rains.

(Yes, Facebook friends, it's a status update there too. If I send an e-mail to Bill, it'll be a bonafide multi-website bitch session!)

Most of this summer, I biked to work 4 days of every 5......down the truck route, under the freeway, squeezing through the one-lane-only crunch on East Berkeley....because it is, absolutely, the fastest way to cover 2.35 miles. Rusty brakes, flattish tires, tired legs and all.

Those of you in Minneapolis and in Pipestone and in upstate New York are saying "2.35 miles....takes, what, 5 minutes?" Hmmm. Biking--including racking, Dunkin' Donuts run and the elevator ride to desk--is 15 minutes on the long end. Walking is 40, although faster if Michael Jackson is on the iPod. Driving is 30 with stoplights and walking the 4 blocks back from the parking lot.

Today the #9 bus took 40 minutes. As in, with Michael Jackson help, I could have walked faster.

Look at the route (by clicking on the interactive map version behind the schedule). All those circled Ts? That's every time a passenger can load or unload....which is every corner. And we haven't even discussed double-parked delivery trucks on Broadway. Or Southie street-crossers, whose need to get to the bank means stepping in front of a bus is right-of-way they've earned. Then tack-on rain or snow, which triples the number of commuters getting on. Laboriously. With their umbrellas. And wet briefcases. And strollers with children going to daycare 6 blocks down. And inability to step to the back. And inexact change.

Then I got off the bus. Stranded in the Hancock wind tunnel, sideways rain preventing me from holding my head up, it was a bike commuter who cut me off in the crosswalk with 6 inches of clearance and an extra puddle splash for fun.

God, I love this city!

**Thx, Universal Hub, for another shout-out.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Funky math

(Because of)

Last night's insomnia

(resulting in)

Today's gross oversleeping

(which means)

Not getting into to the office until almost 11 a.m.,

Have I earned the right to go to power yoga on my lunch break

(so that)

I feel better

(which means)

I won't have insomnia tonight

(which means)

I won't grossly oversleep tomorrow?

Or does it just look really bad?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Deep thought: Be more like 'BUR

I love 90.9 WBUR, Boston's NPR News Source. I listen at least 3 hours a day.

I hate their pledge drives. I don't hate that they do pledge drives. But I hate the 15 minutes per hour the announcers shower me with guilt for not more enthusiastically paying them for programming. Especially when it cuts into The Diane Rehm Show.

Nevertheless, WBUR has balls. Granted, their hawkers speak to microphones and sound engineers and not into the faces of donors in a recession. Yet they say: you love our shows. You know you do. You are lucky to have our shows. We need money. Give us money. We'll give you a gift.

WBUR just began their two-week, year-end pledge drive. This morning, I lay half-gone and oversleeping, Morning Edition droning away on my radio. Bob Oakes had just stopped saying interesting things and started lecturing, and I wanted to reach through the clock face and put my hand over his mouth.

Then it occurred to me. WBUR is making the right moves, if WBUR were wooing a potential lover. Direct. Chiding, teasing. Generous with time and attention, and not taking no for an answer. Slightly grating, perhaps. But effective.

To be emulated?

Update, 3:20 p.m.: Please check out the comments...earlier today this post received a visit from a new media guru at WBUR. I hope I assured him there is no personal gripe with their morning news host. I did forget to mention that I've already donated to WBUR this year, a primary reason there's no guilt when ignoring their current pleas.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Maybe Peter will make it all better.

There's a discussion I have with myself about 9 p.m. every Sunday night:

"Self, you will not still be sitting at your computer at 1 a.m. It's a new week. Do it right. Fold laundry. Do the cat litter. Put away cereal. Get to bed. Now. You don't want to be dragging ass at 8:15 tomorrow and, again, leaving the house without your glasses."

Obviously, I don't carry much weight with myself.... (...she writes from her computer at 1:23, frosted shredded wheat biscuit in mid-chew.)

Some people dread the workweek. It's not so much that for me, but that I find Sunday nights lonely.

I'm embarrassed to type that sentence when this weekend I was invited to 2 parties and 2 concerts, 2 other friends made me 2 separate meals (homemade Hungarian sausage!), and my cats took to hanging on my kitchen table with their butts inches from my nose. There was an eternal church service where my choir sang Bach and another service of more Bach singing (and German), and then my best high school friend called from Arizona all chatty and my best college friend called from Minnesota all chatty. Finally, Joshua e-mailed and we confirmed next week's (previously in-doubt) trip to Queens and attendant Peter Sarsgaard Broadway extravaganza.

Yes. It's all good. Reminded of that hoary cliche where Mom says, "Eat your squash! There are starving children in Ethiopia!" As in: be grateful for what you have when others have none. Had I been a hermit the last 3 days I might have reason to bitch with greater flourish.

Still, my cats have absconded to the couch. All my friends are at their homes. I'm at the computer. I ate a boatload of cereal about 10 minutes ago. I'm wide awake. It didn't matter how many people I saw this weekend. I'm now alone.

Sounds like a recipe for trouble.

But, mmmmm.....Peter Sarsgaard.....

(Yes. That is chest hair.)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Birthday Shout-Out: Pajama Girl

My grad school friend, A, is 34 today and, hooray!, she invited me to her birthday party.

I love that this woman never just throws a "birthday party." On her 30th, she invited half the city to Tantric on Stuart Street. We all fit in the back dining room and, over 4 hours, talked very loudly and inhaled curry like it was The Indian Last Supper.

Tomorrow, a gang of us will be at Tremont 647 for their Saturday "pajama brunch." Yes. You do go out to eat in your skivvies. A is nonchalant--she freely admits she's wearing sweats. I'm still strategizing my attire--go to Filenes after work today and find something really dynamic, like strappy, floor-length satin? Or just default to what I wear 98% of the time: man-style Curious George pants my sister gave me for my birthday 8 years ago?

Photos surely will follow.

Meanwhile, doesn't this sound like good fun?

"...after the brunch, as i've mentioned, i thought we could adjourn to my apartment for the requisite Party Favors cupcakes and more coffee or drinks or maybe tums and pepcid. then of course we can all go home and take naps because we'll be so stuffed and buzzed. at least, that's my goal with this party--to be stuffed and buzzed."
Stuffed and buzzed with friendly folks on a Saturday afternoon. Jealous much, y'all?

Thanks, A.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Red journal, revisited

Tuesday night I arrived home at 11, exhausted enough to have dozed off on the bus. Yet otherwise so wired .....real sleep would have been futile. So I searched the bookshelf for a distraction, settling on a red-cloth-backed journal my friend Rebecca gave me when I was still in my 20s. Inscribed on the frontispiece:

"A place to record all your steamy, tawdry affairs after going to the Big Cheesy, etc.!"
(Oh my. Tell me someone besides me, anyone, has memories of that dance club and random hook-ups with meat-market guys. Please. Incidentally, this red book is the only place one might find proof of a Craiglist encounter involving my red dancing dress....on several levels the damn best two hours of my life.....but I digress. )

Among the steaminess and thwarted love found in all such journals, sometime in 2004 I transcribed a passage by Canadian author Alice Munro. She is acclaimed by many as the finest short-story writer of this era. I concur: her writing is among the finest I have read.

The below comes from the story "The Children Stay," in 1998's The Love of a Good Woman. The "her" is a wife, a mother of two young daughters, in an adulterous affair, and whose lover is on the brain:

"The thoughts that came to her, of Jeffrey, were not really thoughts at all--they were more like alterations in her body. This could happen when she was sitting on the beach or when she was wringing out diapers or when she and Brian were visiting his parents. In the middle of Monopoly games, Scrabble games, card games, she went right on talking, listening, working, keeping track of the children, while some memory of her secret life disturbed her like a radiant explosion. Then a warm weight settled, reassurance filling up all her hollows. But it didn't last, this comfort leaked away, and she was like a miser whose windfall has vanished and who is convinced such luck can never strike again."
Several months ago I was party to an encounter with a man I should not have encountered....a fit story for the red journal, if I could divulge details here or anywhere else where someone might read. The affair from spark to awkward goodbye took less than a week. The other party and I knew both it shouldn't go on, and it did not. We have not spoken of it since.

But it stayed on my mind, of course. As inappropriate as it was, I'll admit to a certain pride in such a secret.....while doing everyday things like singing in church, going to the grocery store, sitting at the beach, knowing that no one knew but him and me. As if we had achieved something. Then like Munro explains, the comfort would leak away....I had behaved badly, and knew it, and had nothing to show but the regret, and guilt. Then the next day, perhaps, I would be glad for it again.....then the guilt....although with time the cycle trailed off.

In the same circular way, I don't know how to end this thought train on a positive note....or to even end it....and I can't tell you about my inappropriate encounter.....so.....what now...? Hmmm. When I started, it was mostly to share the Munro passage....didn't remember that I was, like always, going to have a ready-made personal correlation.

Oh well. I can tell you that I slept well on Tuesday night, once I did sleep.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Damn straight, you can flirt in a recession

I spend several hours a day on the phone with people who work for banks. I flirt with very few of them. Not that no one is flirtable.....it's just difficult to work up the energy when a) there are no visuals; b) the state of most of our client accounts these days is just not that libido-raising for anyone.

Occasionally, I hit up someone in a good mood with a sexy voice.

Just got off with a rep from Charles Schwab I've never before spoken with. Don't even recall his name.....just that he's in Orlando with all the service team reps and works for the Southern Region. We only connected because my own New England team tried to send me into Vanessa's voicemail and hit a wrong button.

Therefore, I needed to ask Schwab Man to send me back to New England and Vanessa's voicemail. He didn't know Vanessa, so we had to brainstorm other folks he might know and could connect me with.

Five minutes later Schwab Man and I were still talking about how he had to work until 6 o'clock, about how I could find service team folks on the photo section of the Schwab website, and how Schwab should be so kind and also post pictures of investment advisor personnel so we could all see each other, which would be kind of like an institutional finance Facebook and promote social networking, although that might bring up some issues with compliance and conflict of interest, and....

Anyway, it went on for a bit and was fun. Probably evolved because I had only just downed a grande Starbucks Red-Eye and had the juice in my veins.

Oh, hell. Whatever it takes. If all that's required to get me in the mood is coffee, life is good.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Anger (Warning: adult content)*

Somedays I get angry at my feet for hurting. Last night I ran hills, and today my feet just hurt all day.

Then I get more angry when clients take their accounts away from our firm, and I have to help them do it. I helped millions of dollars of assets move today.

And then Damien Rice, my favorite Irish boy, comes on the iPod with *(warning: adult content) "Woman Like a Man". Wicked guitar riff to start. D minor. Sassy. I'm sitting at the computer, closing accounts and icing my feet, grooving to the walking bass, getting by. Damien wails. The chorus is a relentless chant. I'm thinking

this is my song today. It is angry. It is me. I need to be this song.

I play it many, many times, maybe 20 or 30, which is what I do some days to distract myself. Not so much listening to the lyrics. Then, perhaps on the 10th go-round, I clearly recognize a phrase: "wanna get f***ed inside-out." And then again.

I listen more closely. Damien's got a mouth on him, to be sure. Lots of metaphors, but between the lines, clearly an angry song about sex. Definitely not your father's Marvin Gaye put-on-the-moves song.

Reminded of something the CFO said when we were dating, after I'd send him snippets of blog entries that were, as any good date story should be, edited for public consumption:

"I do like reading how you view me and us in our time together, knowing Grandma might read it, and as I've said, I wonder how you'd paint the picture if (you had) complete anonymity...."
This is not an anonymous blog. I wanted to write about this song's effect on my mood today, and I did work pretty assiduously to not offend people....Grandma and otherwise.

And am generally not a fan of angry songs about sex. (Really. Play me the Cranberries singing about lingering if you want to woo me.) Before today, I really didn't know any angry songs about sex. But today I spent most of the workday listening to an angry song about sex. It did help me corral my anger. Go figure.

It would have been more interesting, probably, to paint the picture according to the CFO's wonderings.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Tentacles of narcissism

What to say of this first day of the new month?

In a season of market humdingers.....today was another humdinger of a market day. HRC is our new secretary of state. Hostages from the Mumbai terrorist siege gave accounts (awful, awful, unfolding as we enjoyed our turkey) on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

Therefore, I apologize for dwelling on the fact of 200 unique hits to this site in the last 36 hours--a 700-percent increase from previous traffic--as if it is the only thing worth discussing.

I don't live in a bubble....but stand awed by the spread of a Saturday-afternoon brainstorm. So before this site bursts into self-referential flames, bear with the girl who picks up men in the public library, a phrase now to be carved on my gravestone.

1) If you're going to hit this blog, be Universal Hub.

Credit where due. It's Boston blog central....and many other bloggers put a live feed to it on their own sites. (Here's an example....which means that a number of you will head to this guy's site....so you see how it works.)

I believe that's how something goes so viral so quickly. People who write blogs spend a lot of time on their own blogs, then read other blogs. Add the slightest hint of titillation, it compounds.

And with no effort on my part, UH added me to the "Southie" list of Boston blogs worth reading. More free advertising.

2) The Google Factor

It's sobering. I just studied the residual search-engine effect of UH's signalling the Just Giblets' post, using:

"Bates Reading Room": links to this site come up 6th, 8th, and 9th. At this writing, they actually trump any actual link to the Boston Public Library's website describing the room.

"BPL Reading Room": the top 4 results, referenced by 4 different websites.

"Looking for Love": (mercifully), not until the top of the 4th page.
(Note: I did not try "library sex," "whack-off," or "single 30-something enjoys picking up unsavory types in unlikely places." But you may feel free.)

3) Fruit of the random search.

I haven't yet asked Scot, BPL Web Services Director, how he came upon my post, then linked to it. I'm guessing that, right smartly, he regularly enters library terms in search of BPL references, for his job.

He had no idea that UH would take his five-line item and run with it, or that all sorts of other blog-tracking sites (polymeme, examiner, yourstreet) that track UH would also run with it. Or that a good number of folks might believe a chat room at the library will be going live next week. Perhaps fearing wrath of supervisors, he updated his initial entry:

".... I better be sure to point out that it’s entirely tongue in cheek. Well, not entirely. We do want to offer more user-participatory services on the BPL web site. But dating services and personals are not part of our current goals.

See? ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) "
I should become friends with Scot. Down the road, if I get a book deal out of this episode, it wouldn't hurt to have made nice with someone who might expect residuals.

4) Future dating impact?

I don't know. Does anyone think someone will come here on a whim, enjoy my plights of singleness, and then agree with my profile picture....thusly sweeping me off to our Bahamian nuptials?

Or will it work in reverse.....my soulmate visits, likes it, but recoils at the thought of being spread about the blogosphere because of knowing me. (Already done a version of that.)

Perhaps, after so publicly speculating, it would be lame for me not to try this library strategy in earnest. Like fake-trip, spill books, and require assistance from the aspiring medical student.

Or just wear a lapel pin that proclaims:

"Desperately Seeking: Hot Academics in Lovely Architectural Space. Please Inquire."


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fame.

This afternoon, I noted that traffic to this site had spiked ridiculously....more than 100 visitors just since 1 p.m. After some brief research, I discovered the cause: two local websites with links to yesterday's post about the Bates Reading Room:

1) Just Giblets:

Came across this blog post today. Got me thinking about how differently her experience would be if we had online communities on the library web site. As Web Services Manager for the Boston Public Library, its something I think we really need, but I sure hadn’t considered the direct user interaction she’s got in mind! Maybe we need to provide chat rooms too.
The BPL Web Services Manager reads my blog? Might I also note that he applied the tag "whacky people" to his post. As in, "persons who whack off?(!)"

Should I write back and assure him that, at present, I have done no such thing in that space?

2) Universal Hub, a blog site that (by its own description) tries to "capture the best writing from the hundreds of bloggers in the Boston area", then picked up the Just Giblets shout out. Which inspired reader comments about how soliciting dates in the library has a history in the restrooms, in a Larry Craig sort of way.

Oh, the tangled, tangled (world-wide) web.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Reading Room (possibilities)

I've written before in this space about the Bates Reading Room at the Boston Public Library. Probably because I'm totally in love with it. Here's a picture so you can understand why and I don't have to take up space with the visual description it warrants:

More specifically, I (who at the moment sit in the right-hand lower corner of the shot) come here because of its:

1) Proximity to work, gym, church and home.

2) Green-shaded lamps on every table.

3) Singular status as a public gathering place devoid of baristas yelling drink orders.

4) Restrictions on food, removing the temptation to snack that invariably comes when I'm online at home.

5) Free, fast wireless.

6) Hot men studying.

I've come to believe that while the soothing atmosphere is more suitable for schoolwork than most places....the Reading Room also fosters an undercurrent of scoping. I admit that when I choose a place to plug in and sit, I base this choice on who else is at my table and who else might be in my line of vision. When I'm working I spend a fair bit staring off over the computer screen, brainstorming....and a lot of other folks do the same.

So the guy I'm directly across from has a wedding band and is speed-reading a computer manual....and he's leaving right now. But the gentleman directly right has a olive skin, a six-o'clock-shadow, faded jeans and is making notes on a thick stack of papers with "NATO" in the title. Two tables up, even, he's red-haired with a white Mac book and concentrating so hard he's licking his lips.

I fantasize about picking a man up in a library, kind of like when one sits alone at a bar trying to make eye contact with the cabernet drinker two spots down.

I have no idea how this would actually work. The silence discourages conversation. There's no way to banter via computer (a la Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy's characters in Pretty in Pink, which, speaking of, how the hell did that ever work?). Most folks wear sweatpants and scarves with bed-head and are probably stressing a 20-page brief for Monday's Con Law class.

However, there's something sexy to me about intelligence and academia and those in it who might love this space as much as I do.....that I have to believe at some moment I'm going to look up and catch the eye of the man I'm looking at right now....to the left, third table, grey long-sleeved t-shirt with grey short-sleeve shirt over, blond tousled crew-cut, chin down in concentration as he types.

Once that happens, I'll just have to wing it.

And, perhaps, come back tomorrow?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving, II

Love (and not just of plasma televisions on sale for Black Friday) had a banner week in Boston.

Three couples I know became engaged, one each on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Two of the guys are two of my closest friends and told me last week about the proposals--although only the imminent deeds, not the details.

The first announcement of acceptance came via e-mail Wednesday: "....we'll probably not make it to Thanksgiving dinner....and by the way, we're getting married!!!"

"I am...betrothed. Is it okay to announce that on facebook?" This was another woman-friend's social network status update Wednesday night.

Yesterday afternoon I got text message from the third: "She said YES! :-)"

Funny, at 35 I actually thought I had passed through the wedding season of my life....the Post-College Rush followed by the Late-20's Rush. Until this week, 2008 was definitely on track to be the Year of Friends' Babies: 5 births, 3 known pregnancies in-progress, lots of social schedules that have dramatically shifted as a result.

(Is it only single, child-free folks who count these stats so assiduously? Or is it only single, child-free folks who have the time to count?)

Nonetheless, good news for all. None of the 3 engagements were ultimately a surprise, and there was rabid giddiness all around. And thusly, 2009 is shaping up to be Wedding Central and we haven't even gotten to Christmas yet, or New Year's. (Next question: will airfares continue to stay low until ceremony dates are chosen?)

I must say, I feel like a gauntlet has been thrown down.

(Yes, we're talking to you, single girl.)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Dateline: Somerville, 11/27/08

The cool kids rock the 12th Annual Gobble Gobble Gobble 4-miler in Davis Square followed by a Starbucks espresso run...almost as fine a tradition as the holiday itself.

(Karin: 33:02. Chris: 27:02. Justin: 33:37. )

Thanks today for friends, period.....and bonus points that they get up and race , instead of sleep in, on major holidays.

Update 12/2/08: Thanks also to the "phantasm" setting on Justin's camera and his fiance Mala for not noticing it until after the fact. The resulting effect was worth the slip.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hopefulness, thankfulness

Tuesday found me so listless at work that the following tasks were too arduous to complete: 1) entering a client's accountant name into a contact database; 2) printing labels for new account files; 3) remembering to eat lunch; or 4) phoning my parents. 

Today was different. Maybe it was the extra-bold extra-large Sumatra that doubled as breakfast. Or the third straight up-market day. Or that the office cleared out for the weekend starting at 1 p.m. Or, funny, six hours of sleep the night before. (Yes, sleep occasionally helps matters.) 

Whatever the case, not dissing the mood shift to this hopeful productivity.  I first noticed it during a particularly challenging power yoga class at lunch:  to some surprise, I executed 20-some chaturanga dandasanas without complaint or loss of stamina. That's a lot of suspended low push-ups, folks, and a surprising lot.

When I got back to work, I swept through the pile of undone schmaltz on my desk. Then I paid bills, signed up for my 2009 flexible benefits, and uploaded pictures from 2002 onto my Facebook account.  I ran down the street in my high heels to the Thanksgiving Eve church service. 

All the while, I thought about how I had Friday night free, and how I had Saturday night free, and that I should write Tim, John or A or M and see who wanted to go "out" out.....like strap on the knee boots and go dancing-with-naughty-beverages-"out" and see what happens. I thought, maybe I should write that long, friendly note to the CFO that has been on the brain since October 21....using the magnanimity of the holiday to finally explain why I never wrote him back when he asked. 

Hopeful. Hmm.  Slogan and results of the Obama election aside, I can't think of the last time hope was my prevailing emotion. And I can't tell you, or even myself, why. But I'll take it. Whether or not I run with it.....will have to get back to you there....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Platitudes (or, thanks for good genes)

Indeed, give thanks. These fine individuals in colorful 1970's attire are four primary reasons you're reading this blog entry:

Grandpa, writer.....Grandma, writer....Mother, writer.....Father, writer.

For many years they all wrote, together, while owning my hometown newspaper.....for which they hired me as an eighth-grader to do high school football summaries. (For the full scoop, ask me about a certain master's thesis....)

My parents sold the newspaper last Christmas--after being in business since 1979--and moved to a new town in central Minnesota. For Mom, this meant giving up the personal column and editorial that were her domain for a good share of those years. Now her wordsmithing manifests in her e-mails, which invariaby start with the phrase, "just a quick note tonight!" and last for several thousand words.

Mom's definitely missed writing for the masses. (I know, I know. I've tried to talk her into blogging....) Which is why I'm glad to see that she put together a Thanksgiving piece and submitted it to her local newspaper. She sent me a copy, some excerpted below. Mom's an advice-giver....unabashed in believing that it isn't that hard to make yoursef a better person. Straightforward, plainly said, hopeful.

Please enjoy the respite from the sarcasm and self-pity usually explored in this space. (And the picture, circa 1979. Mom loves her hair and sunglasses in this shot, as do I. )

"Being a thankful person is really very good for us in the long run and can contribute to better heath and a sense of well-being as we go about our business day after day...."

"Being thankful is really a matter of attitude, I think. Being thankful is not for the self-centered, the ones who think the world owes them everything..."

"Just by saying aloud or thinking a 'thank you' for this or that as we go through our days wil bring us a measure of peace not known when we find ourselves looking for the worst in people we meet throughout the day, when we find ourselves expecting more from people that they can or are willing to give...."

"Being thankful relaxes us, smooths out the furrow on our brows - even makes our cheek muscles relax , which makes our necks feel better, which can't help making us feel happier about life in general, our own life in particular..."

"In these unsettling, worrisome times, finding ways to give thanks can help see us through until things are better."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday

Fact 1: My office was closed today.

Fact 2: The Dow Jones rose 400 points.

Maybe I should stay home tomorrow, also...?

It was a kooky fluke. At 9:05 this morning I entered the Hancock tower lobby with coffee in hand to find about 500 men and women in dark suits and topcoats, talking on cell phones. (Oh, to have taken a picture of such monochromacity....) Elevator doors stood open and unlit and unmoving. Burly, suited security was everywhere.

It's never fun to see that many people standing outside an office building, as it usually means a fire is in progress. Nonetheless, within a few minutes, our operations manager called me as part of a phone tree: a manhole explosion earlier in the morning, 5 blocks down, cut off electricity to 1,000 nearby buildings. It might come back on at 10:30, it might not. So he told me to go home.

An unexpected day off from work feels ever so much cooler than a Saturday, doesn't it? That unfetteredness of 8 empty hours to be filled or not filled. No one needing anything.

I filled about half of those hours with leftover weekend projects such as changing the cat litter. But first, I drank my coffee, read the Times, and went home and back to bed. Bliss.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A whiner's recession diary....

On a night when I discovered that my bank charges $39 per transaction on an overdrawn checking account that I didn't know was overdrawn and therefore kept debiting over last weekend and, as a result, $39 times 9 is a lot of $$$ I already didn't have which also means it would be wicked foolish to spend more $$$ on a trip to New York in December even though I haven't seen Joshua since May 23 and really really really wanted to see Peter Saarsgaard on Broadway, it just salted the wound that the girl cat peed on the bedroom floor again this afternoon and did not apologize and in addition, I have determined everyone I know is married or getting married or with child with the exception of myself and when I called all members of my immediate family I got 3 answering machines, which means it didn't help that my Mazda's fender appears to indeed be sliding down on the bolts the body shop put in there last week which means they are probably rusting off and I have to call the shop again tomorrow and that, on top of that, the EZPass people had no pity when I was half asleep at 6:30 a.m. on October 18 and really didn't mean to follow Eric's car through the wrong lane on the New Hampshire tolls and now want to charge me an extra $25 bucks on top of that $1 toll I owe them, which reminds me how I haven't even started Christmas shopping yet and that my company has axed year-end bonuses AND the fancy Christmas party this year because the Dow Jones keeps falling below 8,000 and the Asian markets are already down 1.5% for the day.....

I try to tell myself I have absoutely nothing to complain about.

Birthday Shout-Out: JBD

On the coldest day of the fall thus far, I enjoy recalling the steamiest October day of 2007.....85 degrees is just what you want for running a 13-mile race, consisting entirely of hills, and for which you are unprepared.

Saturday celebrated 30 candles for Justin, who was equally unprepared, yet still legged out that sweaty Applefest Half-Marathon alongside me in Hollis, NH. It was the fifth race we did together in as many years. It is with some irony that today he was supposed to run the Philadelphia Marathon to celebrate his milestone birthday. Yet Justin did what he does best: he got too busy and had to postpone.

See, Justin is my friend who does it all. Works full time in corporate sales. Starts a theatre company and acts in many others. Finds a plaid wool coat with professor patches on the elbows, for almost no price, at a secondhand store and makes it look good. Has a tastefully decorated apartment and a stunning, talented girlfriend to share it with. Cooks turkeys. Makes homemade pie crusts. Buys an accordion on eBay and teaches himself to play it. Sings in musical revues with friends like me. Runs road races with friends like me.

And last March, he drove up from where he now lives in New Jersey simply to take me out for a drink and celebrate my milestone birthday with me.

Even though these birthday wishes are tardy, my love for Justin is sincere. Since I always used to think he was the male version of me.....perhaps he'll understand that I was just too busy to be on time today.

Cheers!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rhapsodic conceit

When I play Johannes Brahms I think of one of my musician friends whom, not long ago, had several of us over to his apartment after we had already shared several bottles of wine. We drank a few more as he queued up the Ravel ballet Daphnis et ChloƩ, instructing us to listen to this "most beautiful piece." We hadn't listened a few moments before he threw his arms wide and called out to the ceiling, as if to dare those assembled, "I wish to make love!" He leaned back on the sofa, closed his eyes and began conducting his arms widely, swooping....making love, perhaps, to the air around him.

Ravel and Brahms are of different eras, but I can't think of a secular Brahms piece, either, that does not make me want to make love. I'm listening right now to the intermezzo #1 of Opus 119 in B minor...which starts delicately, with a push/pull of tension and suspension. Then the calm gives way to a hugely sweeping arpeggio in the left hand that grinds against chromatic suspensions in the right, driving upward. The flowing returns and builds through crescendo to silence. And repeats itself.

Brahms achieves this in his piano pieces: he simulates the human condition...an intermezzo as love-making, a rhapsody more like an argument. Always emotionally saturated. Sometimes it's as if he follows a thought through a brain and out through lips, where sometimes it catches an ear and builds to something grand, sometimes dissipates.

Thursday night I worked this intermezzo on the church piano for several hours. Listen to it. A dangerous piece to do alone on a Steinway, in a cavernous space with only a lamp for light, late on a cold evening. Heading home with all that melancholy shut in my chest...playing the piece didn't dissipate, rather re-initiated, a longing for something beautiful of my own.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Friends who are Boys: The Man. In Love.

Last night was cold. And, as you well know, my car is in working order. So I gave a FwaB a ride home from church choir.

The Man and I are damn fine friends, but since he "doesn't read blogs," I'll just call him The Man. (He'd be pleased at this, I think.) He's from a small town in the Midwest, like me. He's short, like me. He goes to the Cottonwood Cafe for Sam Seasonals with me and the other choir boys on Wednesdays.

For most of last year, he was single and an unlikely cried-on shoulder. We once stopped on the corner of Berkeley and Boylston and dissected online dating histories for an hour. Another time it was Tremont and Boylston, for two hours, and we got into the nasty, dirty, haunted situations of our pasts that few others had ever heard. A third.....we were drunk at Last Drop on Mass Ave....at 2 a.m.....during a blizzard.

Memorably, one Wednesday night after a Lenten service, I was so aggrieved at a thoughtless boy I couldn't make myself get off the pew and go on with my life. The Man, no-nonsense, gave it to me.

"OK. If he's like this to you, you obviously know he is not the one. Obviously. That should make your decision easier."

In any case, The Man met a woman when he least expected it and now has a girlfriend. The Man is love with his girlfriend. In LOVE. He's in love 150 percent, without a molecule of uncertainty. Contrary to how I often feel about gushing romantics and their SOs, I do enjoy watching him talk about her. Last night in my car, he talked a lot about her.

"She's it, man," he proclaimed, shaking his head as if he, too, can't believe it. Exhaled, turned and looked me in the eye, proclaimed again:

"She is IT."

If they are not together forever, I don't know who will be.

Well, I wrote about The Man because of something he said right before he escaped my car. Since we have talked so much together about being single, I think he feels pity for my continued singleness. To his credit, he still lets me talk about it....and then tries to make me feel better :

"You know, when it does happen, you just can't believe that you were ever interested in anyone else. It's like, 'what was I doing?!'

"I know sometimes it feels like you're waiting a long time, but maybe there is a reason that you aren't meeting anyone else. Because you just haven't met that person. And you aren't dating others because you're supposed to be available when you DO meet the person you're supposed to be with."

The Man is in love. I've got to believe he knows what he's talking about.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You know there is a God when....

....bolting the fender back on the car took only one half-day and $40.

Thanks New England Auto Body. The saga of the Mazda 626 vs. the 18-wheeler can now be closed with what a Southie neighbor screamed (yes, screamed) for the neighborhood to hear as he stepped into his own car earlier this morning:

"It is so f#$%ing cold today! Damn!"*

*(IMHO: It's cold. But not f#$%ing cold. This is f#$%ing cold.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Facebook REALLY wants me to....

....do, well, any number of things.

The display ads on the side of this website rotate with every click, so there are lots of opportunities to (and the links are live, folks):

a) cleanse my colon,
b) try Acai Berry Body Cleanse and lose 45 pounds,
c) attend the University of Phoenix,
c) participate in asthma research studies and
d) become a real estate millionaire.
That's really generous of you, Facebook!

But most ads are for dating websites.

"How many could there possibly be?" you certainly ask. I can certainly answer. Yesterday I barrage-clicked my Facebook profile for a representative selection:

Dating for Thirty Plus.....JDate.com....VIP Singles....Professional VIP Singles... Quality Professional Singles....Christian Men.....Interracial Dating.....Black Singles....Running Singles.....Elite Singles......Elite Mature Singles......Big and Beautiful Singles....
My favorite, though, is Catch Him & Keep Him, which promises that....

.... You’re About To Learn The Secrets Most Women Will Never Know Of Creating Attraction So Intense That Even The Most ‘Commitment-Phobic’ Man Will Suddenly Crave All Your Time And Attention... Here’s How To Use The Power Of Attraction With A Man To Avoid Ever Having To Fall For A Great Guy - Then Have Him Give You Some Excuse Like “I’m Not Ready” Once You’re Already Close & Physical.....
Well what a relief! I thought I was never going to figure that part out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dateline: Boston, 11/17/08

It was the best of times....
.......2:01 p.m., Brighton: 2 of my favorite people in the world add a 3rd.

A(nne) & C(hris) & B(eautiful Baby Beatrix)

It was the worst of times.....
......2:01 p.m., corner of East 1st and Dorchester Streets, Southie: fender rage.

The 1991 Mazda 626 with no name....rear end laid to waste by a tractor-trailer, with neither name nor conscience.....who took issue with how closely it was, legally, parked next to the warehouse driveway.

I found out when a random trucker with an Arkansas area code called multiple times after finding my number. (I had written it on a courtesy sign, left on the front dash from parking in the church lot Sunday.) He had been parked waiting to unload and saw it. He had no idea who did the sloppy back-up job, but wanted to make sure I knew it wasn't him.

The damage is all cosmetic. The body shop(s) are half a block away. The story will certainly get longer and more interesting.

As will Baby Beatrix.....praise God.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's awful to say, but...

....I have a question for the fellow unattached folk of this readership.

When an acquaintance who you never imagined dating anyone starts dating someone, are you consumed with incredulity and self-doubt?

Even if you wish no ill-will on this acquaintance and don't covet the someone?

Do you think: "Is it possible this acquaintance can find someone to be with and I cannot?"

Excuse me whilst I retire to the mirror for my daily "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone-it, people like me!"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Alone

So prescient that the theme of today's This American Life broadcast was "Home Alone."

After a week of sociable evenings, I am proud to report that today the only people I spoke with were:

a) The woman who made my iced coffee at Dunkin' Donuts on West Broadway at 2 p.m.

b) The woman at the liquor store who rang up my bottle of wine at 10 p.m.

A total of 18 words have left my mouth. (Except for singing along to Sufjan Stevens when "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" came on the iPod rotation.)

This day wasn't meant to be as such....I had an alarm set to attend yoga at the gym, to follow it with a 6-mile run, to follow it with a trip to the Institute of Contemporary Art (for the first time!) and finally hit up a play in Central Square in the evening.

Instead I slept through the alarm.....then turned up the radio for the Saturday WBUR news shows and....turned over and snoozed with the cats until after 1 p.m. Outside it was gusty, muggy, spitting rain. My apartment has had that look of needing a deep cleaning for, oh, several months. The kind where drawers get emptied and sorted, bills from 2003 get purged, and the Christmas cards from 2007 are taken down off the mantle.

So I stayed in and did so, and just finished.

Sometimes this kind of day makes me feel kind of lame. Let's be honest. If I had someone I wanted to be with who wanted to be with me.....I'd want them to be with me in my bed....rather than me alone, under it, scrubbing dried cat litter from the hardwood.

But when I do do the day by myself, I'm reminded of the luxury of freedom to make that choice.

And for at least today, am comfortable with it. Except that I skipped a training run. Which I'm going to complete first thing tomorrow morning.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hotness update

Last week, one of my guy friends told me that I was scoring well among his Facebook acquaintances on the "Compare Your Friends" application. As you recall, I wrote about it in this space. Then I wrote him to tell him so, and he replied thusly:

"Well in my somewhat successful manner of wanting people to hear my voice I was reading over the phone last night to my friend ...your blog. She calls you out as Carrie Bradshaw, but more brilliant. Here's to hoping you get your Mr. Big."
(Full disclosure: I took a Facebook quiz 6 months ago titled "What Sex and the City Character are You? Questions like: what stereotypical guy would you fall for? ever cheated on anyone? the best sex involves....? You'll never guess who I was....

"Carrie: You're quirky, witty, and every guy's perfect first date."
)

Nonetheless, here's today's update from him, my current most-generous cheerleader--my former roommate in Dorchester who once let me cry on his shoulder, literally, when I was heartbroken--Tim:

"Hottest single friends update: This week you were voted "Hottest" 10 out of 11 times. Keep up the good work. Friends are lusting."
In case you were wondering, it is still the same photo of Henry and me doing all the work here.

Meanwhile, in case you also wondered if I plan to capitalize on Tim's psychological largesse, I have not offered him a commission for promoting both my writing and my social life. I have gone so far as to ask why we don't hang out more. Does that count as initiative?

What IS it?!

I swear. On Sunday night I made it my quest (evidently, as you can read here) to get to bed by midnight every night this week. The calendar allowed for such an indulgence of rest.

As of Thursday, here's how I've been spending each evening, generally in this order:

1) Whatever I may be doing otherwise with my evening, I think of an awesome blog topic. 

(Tonight, it was about my 30-something girlfriends who are each at different places in their lives and how cool it is that we can be 30-somethings and be so many different things....homeowners, Peace Corps directors in Nicaragua, new mothers, writing students, opera singers, etc.)

2) Actually compose the entry in my head because the topic is so cool. Don't take notes, because the prose is so kick-ass I'll certainly not forget it in the order I imagine it.

3) Continue on with my evening of singing, or running, or downing champagne cocktails at Eastern Standard under the eye of yet another flirtatious bartender. (Who overtly reined in his act when a FWaB joined me for the oyster course. For fun, let's pretend he was disappointed. Tuesday night was, thankfully, that kind of fun.)

4) Get home between at 11 p.m. and swear to God above I will sit down and write the blog and indeed curl up with the cats by 12 bells.  Think this has to be easy, because the entry is all written! (See #2.)  And the tongue has been lubricated by a pint of oatmeal stout and/or not one, but two champagne cocktails. (See #3.)

5) Go online and start reading the Times. Download today's podcasts from Talk of the Nation. Check my Facebook account. Soon realize it is 12:20 a.m. and I haven't yet visited the blog. Much less written anything. Or gone to sleep. Brood a bit.

6) Mutter to self about how silly it is again to be sitting here again, so late. Go to the cupboard for the GoLean and start pulling handfuls out of the box. Go back to the cupboard and top it off with 5 handfuls of raisins.  Brood a bit more. Flip through the new Harper's magazine. Realize that all that cereal and sweet fruit makes me feel kind of nauseated. Simultaneously remember that I've also completely blown the good-eating schedule I (also) signed off on Sunday night.

7) Finally at 12:55 a.m., complete a entry about how tomorrow, I'll be better about going to get to sleep on time, after (of course) writing a blog entry on a topic that is not a list of the silly things I did tonight instead of going to sleep on time.

So I guess that means I'll be writing about the ladies tomorrow, eh? 

Forever and ever, Amen.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

BBC 1: Dancing on Broadway

The first in a series of occasional vignettes on why--despite thousands of empty styrofoam coffee cups blowing around its boulevards at any given time--Boston can be an OK place to hang out.....Bodacious Big City (BBC).

Tonight, I walked home from church choir. As I crossed the Jimmy Kelly Bridge into Southie, my iPod randomly selected the most bodacious walking accompaniment of all time: "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'".

From Michael Jackson's Thriller. Ma ma se ma ma sa ma ma coo sa? Anyone?

It is not fair just how much more I like this song than any other song on earth. It comes on, I dance. Thirty-eight degrees and 9:38 p.m., and I danced the full mile up West Broadway from Dorchester Ave to Dorchester Street. Complete with cheerleading arms, step aerobics arms, white-girl-trying-to-be-funky arms, yoga prayer hands, backwards strides.

Southie already has a reputation as an anything-goes place. (Home to Whitey Bulger and all.) It is now also a place where a 35-year-old woman in tennis shoes and wool coat can dance up the main drag......pass idling taxis, cars, open windows and pedestrians on their cell phones....and no one looks. They just walk by and let her dance.

Happiness.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Milestones and movings on

Got so caught up in all the election hoopla last week that two significant dates skipped my attention:

1) 11/4/08: The half-birthday of this esteemed blog....

....birthed into consciousness on a Sunday afternoon by the match.com attentions of a 73-year old gardener from New Hampshire. (I also got 9 reader comments to that post....a record....)

Here's the link for those of you who want to begin at the beginning of this yet-fruitless quest for what seems the impossible:
Sanity +
Boyfriend +

10 lbs of
Weightloss +
Car with Fully Inflated Tires At All Times +
Understanding of Why the Members of the Male Gender (in General) have a Difficult Time Being as Straightforward as They Should. (Except
for Bush Republicans, who seem to err in the opposite direction.)
Onward and....well, onward.

2) 10/31/08: The elapsing of the match.com membership

....and I didn't even realize it until a couple days ago, when their marketing department began harassing me with e-mails about my magic someone, evidently waiting for me behind their magic locked door of profiles....

Cynical much, you might say?

Not really. Just not my vogue at the moment. Trying to figure out what IS my vogue.

Working on it today, actually....in part by wearing my black cocktail dress and knee boots to work, going for a short haircut over lunch, and making a second attempt at Opus Affair: a networking group, found on Facebook, featuring monthly get-togethers of "cocktails for young professionals interested in the Fine Arts in Boston." This would be the opera singers, mostly, but also some theaterites and semi-pro instrumentalists.

It so happens that 10 or so folks I already know also subscribe to the series. But last month, you may remember, none of them made it to the cocktail hour, thus producing my abortive, solo attempt at socializing in a group of strangers, even after gulping down a pretty decent cosmopolitan. Which in turn led to an early exit, long discussion with friend M, and the realization that I was Done with the CFO.

Oy vay...happy memories.

Tonight the group gathers at Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square. Any brassierie that caters to the Fenway Park crowd while featuring oysters and red leather banquettes is alright with me. And a couple of acquaintances have promised to be present this time, as to leave me a tad less stranded.

Here's a picture of the new haircut.

And black leather boots, give me courage!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

35 red x-marks

Everything I've learned about organization, I learned from the 1980 movie Nine to Five.

You know, the film where the three ladies from Consolidated take down their "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" of a boss Franklin Hart (Dabney Coleman, natch!)....in part by harnessing him to a garage door opener in his bedroom until the invoices from Ajax warehouse arrive in the mail. (Four to six weeks, this takes back in 1980s office land.)

For dramatic purposes, Violet, DoraLee and Judy (l-to-r, above) keep track of how long they must incarcerate the odious Mr. Hart. So they create a wall-sized flip-chart calendar. During several musical montages, they mark off each day with a red "X", interspersed with various scenes of Consolidated's ever-improving atmosphere.....flowers placed on desks, daycare centers opening, punch-clock eliminated, company alcoholics going sober, orange paint going up in the locker room.

It seemed to work. In the end, Violet takes over the company and Mr. Hart gets sent to the jungles of Brazil, never to be heard from again.

I thought of that last night as I created the same for myself....to mark off each of the 35 days until marathon training begins on December 15. A calendar showing: what days I'm going to go to the gym, so I don't slack off. What exactly I'm going to eat each day, including a multivitamin. What time I'm going to make myself go to sleep (i.e., pre-midnight), no matter what juicy gossip is linked to politico.com or how much I want to play Scramble on Facebook.

After last week's string of 3 a.m. nod-offs and Reese Pieces binges (two), it was time to tame my inner Mr. Hart.

Faithful readers, I know this isn't as sexy as anonymous Craigslist chatting with casual dates. But there is an old trope about how it is easier to go on vacation when your house is in order. My house has been out of order for some time.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Weekender

A week of mixed blessings ... my candidate won the presidency ... and the market went down.

And I still didn't get any sleep worth mentioning.

So what's a girl to do on a Friday night?

First: Drink with M at a swanky South End trendspot for several hours. Preferably Grey Goose martinis. Preferably while wearing a skirt and strappy brown heels and sitting at the bar with my legs crossed. Discuss men. Try not to be cranky about it. Find out if the combination of all the above produces something worth talking about tomorrow.

Second: Say goodnight to M and take a cab to Southie.

Third: Imitate Henry for 12 or 15 hours ... except for the part about wearing zoo-themed footy pajamas.

(Yes... the neph-ploitation continues. Sorry. He is dear.)

I'll let you know how I make out.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Affirmation

My old-school Dorchester roommate, Tim, sent me this message on Facebook earlier today, regarding my standing on that particular social networking site:

"I am just writing in to let you know that you continually show up as one of my 'Hottest Single Friends' based on statistics in my 'Compare Your Friend' application. You are always in the top 5."
Maybe the lesson here is that I should be scanning Tim's friend list a little more closely.

Update, 2:32 p.m. So I was ruminating over lunch. My current Facebook profile picture, the main criteria in this case, is.....me holding the nephew.

So what does this say about my hotness?

My ability to look hot while simultaneously maternal? (See past entry on my supposed fertility.) Am I only hot because Henry is looking sly and fingering an imaginary cravat? Does it appear I am exploiting my nephew's image for my personal hot quotient, kind of like any man who walks a cute dog through a park?

Perhaps I should see how the match.com o'sphere reacts to the same.....

Endless possibilities.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Remainders: Obama '08 Post-Mortem

What I'll miss most: The blogs of Ben Smith-D and Jonathan Martin-R of politico.com, which caused 64 straight days of sleep deprivation.

What I'll miss least: Sarah Palin's accent.

Second-least?: sleep deprivation.

Best reason to have volunteered for the Obama campaign: Duh.

Second-best reason to have volunteered for the Obama campaign: having a gaggle of tired, crazy neighbors to hug when Ohio was called at 9:28 p.m. Mike, Pat, Chris, Mary Alice, Meghan, Bev, Nadine. Black, white, young, old.

Most stunned and in tears at 11:04 p.m.

Best place for results-party beer: The Seapoint on East 8th Street, Southie

Best results-party drink combination: 3 pints of Smithwicks and a shot of Jack Daniels to celebrate Florida going blue.

Best overheard comment from fellow volunteer while watching results (sometime during the second round of beverage): "Look at those f***ing margins! Look at those f***ing margins!"

Number of straight, single men met while campaigning the last 2 months: 0

Number of straight, single men under the age of 65 at the post-voting party (with all teeth present): 0

So did politics save my dating life? Anyone care to comment?

(Although I now have an extensive bank of of David Brooks quotations....maybe I could attract some centrist Republicans... )

What I'm going to do now: Date? What's a date? Perhaps it's time to remember.

The reason, tonight, it's difficult to go to sleep....


The new president-elect. Acceptance speech. Chicago. 11/05/08.  Midnight.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Late nights, early mornings (cont.)

Today, 6:00 a.m.:

Biked to the gym. Ran 3 miles through the Back Bay with a 12 other women from the gym. Kept up with the fastest one and finished a minute ahead of everyone. Proved lack of arm strength during subsequent strong-arm power yoga class for 45 minutes. Picked up a very tall coffee and hit the office.

Then spent the rest of the workday propping open proverbial eyelids. Wow. This is some tired like I haven't known since pulling journalistic all-double-nighters back at the Pipestone County Star. And that was 10 years ago.

(Guess I failed to mention that I stayed up until 2 a.m. last night. Ugh.)

Tomorrow, 6:30 a.m.:

Going to try and put my mouth where my heart is and spend the day campaigning for the candidate who will-not-be-named because you know who he is. My Southie gang is doing what's called "visibility" during rush hour at (i.e., obnoxious sign-waving) at South Station, the major transit center feeding Boston's Financial District. Later, after doing my real job for awhile, I'll go back and be one of those phone-banking types. Then hopefully tomorrow night will find some folks with a television who want to drink beer and watch returns.

Long day ahead.

It's good this thing will be over soon. Not just for the tension and oversaturation and perpetual fatigue, but because it's just ugly.

Leaving the office tonight, I stepped into my manager's office. I had already cleared this half day-off tomorrow for election stuff, which he approved last week without comment. He is one of the most affable and practical people in my life. We've worked together for 5 years and in that time, had maybe 3 unpleasant exchanges.

Tonight was number 4. Started when, as I reminded him I'd be in late tomorrow, he quipped:

"Yeah, working hard to see Obama lose?"

I wasn't about to back off and sniped back. He returned fire, and we both started yelling. Fifteen long minutes later he walked to the elevator, calling over his shoulder:

"I'll see you Wednesday, after you've been crying all Tuesday night. You're going to be so disappointed."

Sorry man, I was disappointed tonight. Why this inability to just have a civil discussion?

That's what I get, I guess, for trying to be a Democrat in finance.

Here's to a hopeful (and more well-rested) Tuesday.