Wednesday, December 31, 2008
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
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
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.)
(Yes. We both survived this mutual death grip.)
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
(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.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
(Especially when the bottom of the chili pot has a black crust?)
Monday, December 22, 2008
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.
"Those are most awesome snow boots I've ever seen!"
"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.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
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
Friday, December 19, 2008
I'm on my way.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
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
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
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)
Friday, December 12, 2008
(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.
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.
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.
Although I will gladly take portfolio manager gift ideas. Scary.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
(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
Last night's insomnia
Today's gross oversleeping
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
I feel better
I won't have insomnia tonight
I won't grossly oversleep tomorrow?
Or does it just look really bad?
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
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
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.
(Yes. That is chest hair.)
Friday, December 5, 2008
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?
Thursday, December 4, 2008
"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
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
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
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.(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.)
"BPL Reading Room": the top 4 results, referenced by 4 different websites.
"Looking for Love": (mercifully), not until the top of the 4th page.
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.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.
See? ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) "
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."