Tuesday, January 31, 2012

To the coast.....

....the west coast that is. 

Tomorrow morning I'm in-air, enroute to spend 5 days with MSF on his turf; we've a Google doc list full of the things we plan to see and do .... shows, drinks, burritos, walks, drives.    I'll also get face time with cousins I don't get face time with often enough, who live just down the street from MSF.   And early next week I'm flying from San Francisco to Minnesota .... my dad turns 70 on Tuesday, we're doing family time.

Can't say much more at the moment, mired as I am in the desk-clearing that necessarily precludes 6 days out of the office during the busy season.   And then there's the packing, the cat-sitting arrangements, the rent check mailing, the why-is-it-so-taxing-to-get-ready-for-vacation-mundane-tasks-that-are-always-there-despite-best-efforts-and-intentions.

But despite the genial snowlessness, it has been a long January.  I'm exhausted and ready for my MSF face time and a view of the Pacific.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

18 more weeks (again)

After a 10-mile run (in shorts!) through Brookline this afternoon, I treated myself to a fresh salon pedicure with bright-green polish.  The color is called Spring.  It's a little obnoxious, to wit:

My tootsies certainly needed and appreciated the pampering.  (Particularly since I wore high-heeled boots and stood and/or walked and/or danced for nearly 10 hours straight last night .... another story for another time.)  But the timing was inadvertantly perfect ....

.... since tomorrow I officially begin Day 1 of 126 days of marathon training for #9 -- Stockholm! Yes, Stockholm in Sweden! -- on June 2.

I'm a crazy mother sometimes, yes.  But when the Swedish cousins say, "Come! Visit! Run! And we won't take no for an answer!" and the training will complete before the heat of summer and all my knocking on wood since Marathon 7 seems to still be working because the legs and the lungs are still willing ....

Yep.  No reason not to.

And I think I'm going to keep this old Spring color on the toes until race day.  Periodic postings of proof to follow.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Appropos of nothing....

... after noting that I hit up the Kendall Square Cinema
at the last minute last night 
to see a late showing of The Descendants,

I'll take a break from my regularly-scheduled introspection
(and I'm hardly the first person in the universe)
to say:

Holy shit. 
All humans should aspire to look this good
(and frankly, this cool)
at 50.

Dearest George

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dateline 1/26/12: E St & W Broadway, Southie

Morning watch -- 7:22 a.m.:   

In one swoop
I was asleep last night by 11:30
up this morning by 6:40
the #9 bus driver did brake
halfway between G Street and Dorchester
to pick me up
as I sprinted to catch the 7:20
which got me to Copley by 7:37
(because crowds on the 9
and E. Berkeley Street drivers 
don't seem to get going until 7:45,
 I learned)
and in the office
(after a Starbucks stop)
by 7:51,
while I know this indeed is not early
for most normal folks
I am not most normal folks,
 I don't think I've been either
in bed by midnight
 in the office before 8
 on any day in the last year
 it just seemed worth noting
in case it never happens again.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Working Hands

Per rough calculation, I played piano for The Longwood Players -- much of it pounding Jason Robert Brown soul-chords -- for 27 hours last week, ending at 11 p.m. on Sunday night.

Woke up Monday with blood swelling and throbbing through both hands -- my right, particularly stiffened into a rigor mortis claw. Could not grip my toothbrush. Riding the bus to work, standing, I could not get purchase on a seat-back with either hand, resorting to straddling a pole with armpit and calf to keep standing. Today, typing is more comfortable .... although the computer's mouse is still my sworn enemy, as the area between index finger and thumb is puffed up like a bruise and resistant to that reclined angle.

Thankful the hands survived this week's (unusual, due to the concentrated confluence of auditions and rehearsals and shows) onslaught.  The thumb will recover, the stiffness will undoubtedly subside because nothing is injured.

I'm reminded again how nice it is, and how grateful I am, when these wonders of God's creation work correctly.

Monday, January 23, 2012

So much for leaving early.

What is the point of getting out the door at 8:11, a full 20 to 45 minutes earlier than usual, if I'm just going to stand in my sassy shoes in the slush pile at the corner of G Street and Broadway from 8:14 to 8:33 with 25 other people, seeing no #9 busses (despite a schedule that suggests between 7 and 9 a.m. there should be  one arriving every 5 minutes), then get on the first one to arrive only to be wedged in like a stuffed animal in a pizza palace crane game, regretting the choice to wear the 4-inch heels (only worn because I was leaving early and was going to get to work quickly and thought there were busses coming every 5 minutes so I wouldn't be standing on the pavement for 19 minutes and would surely get a seat once it arrived), but not using that as an excuse to wonder grumpily how still, even in an age where chivalry is not required, there can be professional, working gentlemen who sit in the seats robo-checking smart phones for the entire 20-minute ride into Copley while above them, the aisles are filled with women staggering to stay upright as the bus lurches and groans down the road.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fun find

Found yesterday serving as a bookmark in my 1965 edition of Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, which (according to the sticker on the front) I purchased for $1 from the Brattle Book Shop on West Street on July 5, 2003, back when I still waited tables for a living at Legal Sea Foods:

Seems an appropriate tome in which to find a meaningful compliment from a stranger in a restaurant.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Oh! (for some luck)

So the car's back in the shop again.  The gear shift seized up while I was in the parking lot at Target on Saturday -- I was in an exit lane and couldn't shift out of Park -- facilitating a tow back to the good men of Emerson Auto.  They're still looking into it.  Something with the solenoid valve malfunctioning.... but for still unknown reasons.  They'll call me when they figure it out and when they know what it's going to cost.

Meanwhile, I found a stray penny on the ground in the office kitchen today.   I have very few supersitions in life, but one is that one should never walk past a stray penny on the ground without risking bad luck.   So I picked it up.  And discovered that the date on the penny is the year of my birth. 

What are the odds of a 1973 sitting in my path on a day where luck is sorely needed? 


Monday, January 16, 2012

Holiday Monday (II)....

.... because inappropriate boys do not have a rightful place to own the headlines today.

August 28, 1963

Holiday Monday (I)

OKCupid message blotter:

31 - Oberhausen, Germany.   hey beauty...how you doin? It's so boring right now...and I ask myself if you are in mood to meet...a funny...smart and nice guy?! I have to be honest today this nice guy is extremely horny too:-) the hormones are going crazy:-) so we could do something against that too...so I hope you are open minded as me....would be cool if you reply

23 - N. Scituate, RI.   Hi! (5-minute gap) Hello?

18 - Avon, MA.  I was wondering if you are interested in casual sex.

26 - Boston, MA.  It's obvious that you have a problem with 22 years old men, but I'm soo old than them:) I'm 26 years old and 3 quarters:)) in April I'll be 27:)) JUST KIDDING! how e u?

21 - Peabody, MA.  Heeeey

32 - Lake City, FL.   u r so attractive can we chat or talk anytime ? my cell is 8XXXXXXXXX. (Ed. note: real number furnished upon request, in case you might want to chat or talk anytime.)

37, Washington DC.  Hi, I think a WOW is in order!! You are stunning! I bet you are as sweet. I'm a good guy, just turning a page in life, and trying to have some fun. I have an insatiable 'drive' with the stamina to match and looking for someone that would enjoy that, and we seem like a high match.

And an old friend, this gentleman, popped up and requested a chat, too.

Thanks, boys, for the attention.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tower in winter (II)

Did I tell y'all that I gave up chocolate for January?

(And that so far I've been very, very good about that?)

Can you understand how much I regret this resolution today, after staying up way too late watching Season 1 of Downton Abbey and waking up to a thundering storm that blew my umbrella inside out on the way to the bus (and, yes, I'm one of those people who'd really rather have it be 10 inches of snow than an inch of rain) and wishing I could drink my coffee faster and enjoying the last 4 hours looking out onto a slate canvas of nothingness, listening to the creak of the tuned mass damper as the wind pushes this building in circles and diagonals and squares.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tower in winter

Took this phone photo of my workplace yesterday at 9 a.m., from the corner of Stuart Street and Trinity Place, shortly after parking my bike.

Initially, this was taken in order to have something with a time-stamp to text to MSF, as part of our semi-regular I Got to Work On Time!™ accountability exercise. 

But I'm rather taken with it for what it otherwise represents....

.... that the cheapest cell phone can still take a decent picture.

.... that it's possible to ride bike on dry streets on January 9 in Boston, wearing a skirt and peacoat.

.... that I.M. Pei was inspired.

.... cloud coolness.

That is all.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Food for (Monday) thought

The Most E-Mailed Article from the New York Times when I logged in at work today, in true Monday-morning fashion, was the first-person essay,"Alone Again, Naturally."

(Subheading: "Why Men Can't Stand to Be Alone After a Divorce or Break-Up."   Accompanying photo: woman in 1950's-era headscarf, hands on the wheel of a convertible, chin up, mouth grinning.  Author:  Dominque Browning, 60-something divorced former magazine editor and essayist author of a book called "Slow Love," which is to "engage with the world in a considered, compassionate way, appreciating the miraculous beauty of everyday moments, and celebrating the interconnected nature of life.")

An excerpt, which focuses on a "revelation" the author had after slipping on her patio and cracking her tailbone:
"Most single women I know really love their lives.
Sometimes we suffer pangs of loneliness, sometimes we ache for the companionship of that mythic soul mate, but mostly we cherish our independence. We love doing whatever we want to do, when we want to do it.
Women alone eat breakfast at 11 if we feel like it, lunch at 3 and dinner never if that’s the way the day is winding down. Single women do not worry about cooking unless we want to. And we don’t want to unless we like to.

Single women love not having to get permission to spend our own money on a 10th pair of black boots or a painting or a wood stove.

We love not being judged, not being criticized, not being hemmed in. We love the give and take of making our own decisions. We love putting things down on a table knowing they will be there when we return. And eventually, we come to understand that there is no reason to curl up on “our” side of the bed while we sleep. We no longer have to take sides. We can sprawl across the expansive middle.

Single men could not care less about any of the above lifestyle features."
Later, Browning states: "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."

Oh boy.

This is an opinion piece and Browning is opinionated ... and she's happy in her later-life singleness.  I related to her points on the benefits of independence .... but the article is prone to broad and relative overgeneralizations on gender differences. As an essayist she is paid to be provocative. Naturally, such bald statements about what single men want or don't want brought out vehement responses -- from both men and women -- to the point where the comments section was shut down. For example, from a Brooklynite named Fred:
"i'm certain i missed a lot of meaning and nuance here, but this is one of many stories i've seen in the last two years by female authors writing about how wonderful it is to be single or alone. but if its so great, why is there a market for articles about how great it is?  shouldnt everyone who is alone just know that? is there a benefit to preaching "alone-ness" to others, as if there's some sort of promised land to which they should aspire? or, maybe its not great, maybe its just one of many possible human conditions, and there is a need for us to explain it and thereby make it more acceptable...to ourselves. "a man needs marriage like a fish needs water", vs "women do not walk around alert for danger" and "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle". sounds awfully bitter. where does the bitterness come from? and why the need to preach the gospel of alone-ness?"
Browning also writes a Slow Love Life blog .... where, in that meta way of this time in history, she analyzed reader response to the Times article -- which in and of itself engendered another level of discussion and response.  Her freedom to self-edit and known voice here seem to allow for greater nuance in conclusions -- and the admittance that, as we all know, no qualities are exclusively gender specific:
"Men are hard work. Women are hard work. (But that can be someone else's essay.) People are hard work. Relationships are hard work. They are wonderful work, too, when many things click along; the motivation is there when the nurturing is in balance. Someone made a point in the comments below that what I'm really talking about is the difference between people who give and people who take. We all fall along a spectrum, with some of us at either extreme; and temperamentally, the mix has to be right for the giver not to feel taken advantage of--or smothered, or the taker not to feel neglected. It is so simple, in a way, and so difficult in reality. Until that magic moment when it isn't hard, it is wonderful.

And I think that's what we all want. And often, we settle for less, because of fear of loneliness or fear of the unknown condition of aloneness.

Better to come to a relationship from a place of strength and security."
Hmm. Better. An apt assessment of what makes relationships work:  when the balance between giving and taking is agreed upon by both parties. The last line also resonated. In my interactions and discussions with MSF these last months, he often asserts that feeling safe, secure and loved within a relationship is really the crux for making it work. It's one of the reasons I like him and, yes, what truth. The times I have been unhappy in love -- in current situation but, of course, in countless others from my past -- have all in some way circled back to insecurity and indecisiveness; pinpointing that source has been hugely helpful in informing my reactions to the ups and downs.

Happy Monday, y'all!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

(Unedited and unordered) notes from the first Saturday of the year

9:15 a.m. It's spring out, I swear.  Lying here under the covers, I can see the sun streaming in.  No better reason, then, to hit the snooze and roll back over every 10 minutes between 9:30 and 12:45 p.m., listening to normal people go about their business on the street outside.

Breakfast at 2:30 p.m. is possibly latest ever. Can it still be called breakfast?

Sunny and 50ish all day. Most spent in pajamas and cardigan, listening to Allison Krauss, sitting cross-legged on bed and websurfing. Did get out for the 9-mile run I'd planned ....in the dark of 5 p.m. Obviously body is fooled into thinking such spring weather should portend later sunsets.

Think carpal tunnel syndrome developing in right thumb from the angle of sitting at my computer cross legged on my bed and and how my hand works the touch mouse. Shift angle?  Shift to roll mouse? Start paying for wireless so I don't have to hunch over my computer on the right-hand corner of my bed for best signal? Do something besides be on computer?

Also:  Sore thumb makes it impossible to think about what I wanted to do today ....which was to practice the piano for 2 hours.  Hah!

Read every commentary in the Times about the Republican presidential primaries in NH later this week. Recalled 4 years ago on this Saturday, I had trudged through the snow and cold up to Davis Square, to a windowless office, to phone bank NH residents into voting for Barack Obama.

(Wow. Mitt Romney's sons are hot.)

My cats really are capable of sleeping without waking for an entire afternoon.

Original plan:  today is the day I planned to turn down my heat and pull the flannel bedsheets out of mothballs. New plan: to turn down my heat.

Love the inevitability of people's Facebook-post reactions to unseasonable weather.   January of last year, with its 40 inches of snow and 3 major blizzards:  "Yeah, there's such a thing as global warming, right."   Today, with its April-style warmth that caused tree buds to pop:  "Yeah, if there is such a thing as global warming, I'm all for it!"

Kinda want to go see my pianist friend Rusty play with his band up at a bar in Union Square tonight.  Yet, I haven't yet spoken out loud today and frankly, don't have a huge desire to do so.  Can I achieve ordering a beer with hand signals and a wink? 

Know there is such a thing as lazy.  And this is lazy.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Chaotic productivity

Oh January, thank you.  For a relative change, I've had a personally productive week:
1)  Christmas letters DONE in record post-holiday time.  (Boo-yah!)

2)  Christmas thank you notes on schedule to be DONE tonight.  (Yes!)

3)  Church council Secretary minutes and materials from the 24 council and 9 voters meetings between May 2009 to May 2011 indexed, scanned, bound, and sent to appropriate parties.  (Only 7 months behind schedule, but....DONE!)

4)  Quest to devote 90 minutes per day to decreasing the height of the 20-foot pile o' backfiling on the counter behind my desk .....so far, on track, and today seems possible.   (And it feels GOOD.)

5) Run 100 miles in January?  Already 10-on-the-treadmill-in.  (At 8-minute-mile pace, no less, which feels FANTASTIC.)
Of course, perfection is still elusive.... In the midst of typing the above list, after another night of near-complete insomnia, a colleague informs me that between he and me, sometime in the past 6 weeks, we misplaced a folder of original client-signed paperwork required to open a new account.  Meaning between now and tomorrow one of us have to find it.   It could be in that 20-foot pile o' backfiling. It could be in one of the 13,000 other folders in my possession in this office. One of us could have slipped it into the recycling bin during the first week in December.

Who knows.  (Shudder.)  I now have to devote my afternoon's productivity (including my 90 minutes of planned filing) to finding this folder.

I'm reminded of an article I came across last night at the gym, in the October issue of Vogue magazine"Chaos Theory:  Forgetful and prone to distraction, Andrea Cooper set out to uncover the cause of her mental mayhem and found a large number of women unwittingly suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder."

In short:  Ms. Cooper consulted doctors and took tests after her daughter had been diagnosed and medicated for ADHD, thinking that since it could be a genetic condition, it might be her genes causing it;  a positive diagnosis might provide answers to explain some of her more scattered habits.  But in the end the doctors didn't find her behavior pervasive enough to fit the definition and, as she admitted, "I must confess I was slightly disappointed that I couldn't attribute my household piles to a medical condition."

Yes. I too, today, wish I had a magic drug that would make that missing folder reappear ... or perhaps transport me back 6 weeks to the point before it might have been lost.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Listmaker

On the phone with MSF last night, I heard myself proclaiming with conviction, and not for the first time in the last 10 days, how this December, much more than in Decembers past, I was looking forward to the month ending and January beginning with its Automatic Restart Button, and even though it is already the 3rd of the month it was this morning I awoke with a grand sense of to-do lists to make:  a list of what I was going to accomplish today, which includes making a list of what to accomplish both this week and in January (with its super-romantic goals such as getting caught up on filing old paperwork for a minimum of 90 minutes per day) as well as list of how I need to advise Claudia (and myself) in preparation for the marathon (yes!) we are running in Stockholm together in June,  followed by a list of my exercise and eating routines for the week and month, which includes scheduling what yoga classes I can get to and finding a weight-lifting class (after 4-month hiatus) that I can commit to once a week and seeing if I can't keep up my 20-miles-a-week running pace, along with reminders about multivitamins and 8 glasses of water a day (because I've forgotten) and smiley-faced checkmarks to reward for every day I stay on the January Chocolate Moratorium bandwagon.

For a girl who didn't make any resolutions this week, I'm both overwhelmed and strangely comforted to have all these things to do. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's sentiment

As the service lector I was asked to speak this New Testament epistle in church this morning.

It might have been fatigue, but I found myself smiling while reading the first phrases, and how appropriate an admonition it is for fresh starts -- be you Christian or not.

Happy new year.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17 ESV)