Friday, October 28, 2005


My mom broke her shoulder, so last night I was in the hospital with her for hours. The ER, as you know, is a total mind fuck...everything takes forever and someone you love is in pain and you're in that tiny room and you just want to lose your mind. But anyway, she was getting her second dose of morphine (the Red women are never happy being only slightly drugged) and she looked at me and said, "Isn't morphine the drug that you steal?" Now, by "morphine" I think she meant "oxycontin" and by "you" I think she meant "crazy people I've seen on holding up pharmacies on the news," but still...a question like that makes the nurse look twice at you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"And I Was Like, Huh?": a special Dirty Dancing edition

And we drank water and ate his peppermints and talked about our years at school and stuff. And at one point he mentioned that he schedules his classes early in the morning so that he can wait tables at a restaurant in Portsmouth at night. He does it five nights a week and he said it helps him keep up with the tuition bills. And I was just like, oh my God. I wanted to hug him for being so smart and - I don't know - ambitious doesn't seem like the right word - maybe focused? Anyway, I just respected him a lot for it. And he told me that he goes to school with some people who have a lot and still complain that they don't have more and that I'm not like that. And then he told me that he'd gotten my number at school off the College website and that he'd thought about calling me a lot. And I don't know if he felt obligated to say that or what but then he said that he wasn't sure if calling me would have put me in an awkward position so he had decided not to and that he would just see me this summer because he knew he'd be back working here again. And all of a sudden I was just thinking "uh oh" because I hardly thought about him all year and I didn't know if I was supposed to have been thinking about him or what. I mean, we did practically have sex.

(For any newbies or forgetfulbies: "And I Was Like, Huh?" is a series of vaguely mortifying glimpses of yours truly at 19-ish, courtesy of Dave, who was kind enough to save all my old journal entries. Here are one and two.)

(Also, if you're a little unsure about Dave's beard, don't worry, his friend Keith is too.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

when appliances decide you're lame

Apparently even my clock radio thinks that we have a dysfunctional relationship. I overslept by an hour today. No, overslept is too nice a way to put it. I kept hitting the snooze, I guess I oversnoozed. (I blame the monsoon and accompanying gray skies for failing to rouse me, but that's really neither here nor there.) The radio would go off periodically, so I basically just elected to stay in that constantly interrupted state of consciousness, because it's such a great way to start the day...who needs breakfast when you can have a panic attack every eight minutes? And then, after an hour of this, my clock radio gave up on me and shut off altogether: "I freakin' TRIED. What is WRONG WITH YOU? It's almost SEVEN THIRTY. Don't you have BILLS TO PAY? Aren't songs about Kelly Clarkson's tormented love life ENOUGH TO GET YOU OUT OF YOUR COCOON?"

Ironically, it was the silence that woke me up. Sounds like the start of a Hemingway novel.

So I started the day late, and then after one of my morning meetings I announced that I was feeling crabby. I just get more professional every day.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

why I love Mark's job

Because every now and then he has to learn a totally ridiculous song because one of his music students wants to learn to play or sing it. This keeps me incredibly entertained. So you can imagine my DELIGHT when he told me that he just had to learn the music and words to "I Didn't Steal Your Boyfriend" by Ashlee Simpson for an 11-year-old. Mark likes emo and was not amused. But I was! I freakin' love it! This song really exists, and that's really the title! He sent it to me and I LOVE IT. The lyrics are exactly what you'd expect. There's a line where she goes, all pissy, "Well I'm SORRY that he CALLED me, and that I answered the TELEPHONE." I'm hoping it's a part of a pop culture war with Hillary Duff or Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton and it better be on the soundtrack for House of Wax: the Sequel. I wish these teen girls would just release albums screaming at each other: "Hey That's My Popsicle," "I Totally DID Return Your Shoes, Didn't You Check Your Closet?", "Whatever, It's Not Like You Called Me on MY Birthday."

Kevin McNotHisRealNamington at work heard me being excited about this and immediately told me it couldn't be the new song for our Battle of the Snuck-In Lyrics. Like I would've even asked.

Fine, I might've.

Speaking of, we're auditioning new songs. I loved the idea of Power of Love by Huey Lewis, but on closer inspection none of the lyrics are really usable...I mean, "don't need no credit card to ride this train"? Although definite bonus points to anyone who could've pulled off, "I really like this report you wrote, Bob. In fact, you might say it's stronger and harder than a bad girl's dream." Can't Get Enough of Your Love by Barry White was a fun option but it would involve a little more verbal molestation of my colleagues than is typically socially acceptable. Plus you'd give youself away when you had to punctuate the whole thing with a baritone "baby." I mean, it's tough to pick just one song that works for all of us, because the world doesn't move to the beat of just one drum, and what might be right for me may not be right for some.

That was the Different Strokes theme song. I told you I'm good at this game.

Ideas, anyone?

how interesting

Guy I Knew in College drifted back into my orbit this weekend and reinforced why he's Guy I Knew in College and not Guy I Still Know. First it was "how have you BEEN?" and then he proceeded to get drunk and decide to re-create our non-relationship. He and I were barely friends six years ago. Barely Friends Six Years Ago means that our catching up with each other should consist of what are you up to/where are you living/that's a nice plasma TV. It should not consist of the following. I wish I could remember what we were talking about, but it was literally something as innocuous as pen caps, and then:

Him: You know what I don't get?
Me: What? [Thinking he's about to make a brilliant pen cap observation.]
Him: I don't understand why you'd act interested when you're not interested.
Me: What?
Him: Why you'd act interested when you're not interested. [Did he really think my "what?" meant "please repeat yourself, I didn't hear you"?]
Me: Interested?
Him: Well, YEAH. [Said with total attitude, which is funny because whatever point he was trying to make was lost on me but he was apparently very convinced of its merit.]
Me: When? [Lest you think I conjured up this clever one-word response immediately, it was actually preceded by a few seconds of dumbfounded silence.]
Him: At College.
Him: Yeah.

Oohhhh, and then it came right back to me: He's not just a Barely Friends Six Years Ago; I didn't like this guy at ALL.

Me: You're drunk.
Him: Maybe.
Me: Nice to talk to you again.

Let it never be said that I'm not polite.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

bring on the Power Point...and pig blood

Work has been giving me way too much Tent fodder lately. So I get in today and there's a flyer in my mailbox about an upcoming workshop. It sounds interesting...and then I read on to find out that it's being presented by me. It was the first I'd heard about it. There was even an outline of the agenda!

The best part is that there's a workshop the week before to talk about effective communication amongst the staff. Oh, the sweet, sweet irony of it all.

Also? A guy I don't know asked me today how many times I've been told that I look like Sissy Spacek. Um, NONE? And thank you, total stranger, for likening me to the demonic girl who scared me almost to tears when she stood on that stage covered in blood, whipping her head around with her eyes all wide and crazy, locking doors and starting fires with her mind. That's GREAT.

Monday, October 17, 2005

best wishes for continued success, fuckers

One of the reasons I left the corporate world was... well, okay, to be able to wear yoga pants to work. But the other reason was to escape words like "open dialogue," "implemented," and "logistics," all of which were penned by ME in an e-mail to some of my colleagues tonight, without a hint of irony. Why can't I escape this business-ese? Let's pow-wow and you have a 1:00?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

learning to love yourself... it is the greatest love of all

So, okay, I'm a little twisted. There's a place in my heart for bad music. Terrible music, really. And it's that age-old question of: am I making fun of it or do I really and truly like it? Did it begin with the former and slowly become the latter? The world may never know.

Are you wondering how bad we're talking here? Think of a bad song. A really bad one. No, Peter Cetera isn't bad enough. That's amateurish and you can do better. Got one? Okay, I've got that one on the iPod and worse. Way worse. AND I know them all by heart. What's up, Air Supply?

Are you about ready to tear me to shreds, you hipster? Well, I defy you to sing along to something on the freakin' Garden State soundtrack when you're road-tripping to Maine in the rain to see Dane (Cook) with your friends. No, you need "More Than a Feeling" and maybe a little Jovi. You might need a little Scorpions as well, but you might not admit to that after the fact. That might be something that remains a vehicular secret. Hey, you can have your weekend your way, and I'll have mine my way.

Anyway. So, you know my work involves the vague performance of non-specific tasks in the field of the education of the young amongst us. It's always nice when you can mix two of your passions... your work and your love for crappy music. And what better way to do this than to bring "Greatest Love of All" by Whitney Houston into the mix. Because I'm sure you believe, like I do, that the children are the future. (And the fact that this is even something that you can choose to believe or not believe is sort of funny; they may be snorting Playdoh now, but like it or not, today's five-year-olds are, indeed, the future.)

You know this song because it was on that tape with all the other songs you made up dances to with your friends when you were nine, or you know it because your sister or neighbor and her friends made up dances to it. This song is great for several reasons. One is that it's just total drama rock, God love it. Another reason is that it's apparently the product of two half-songs that accidentally got recorded as one. Whitney starts out all like, "Kids are important! Give them pride!" and then without warning launches into, "Don't you take my dignity. I love myself. It's all right here in me." Um, I thought we were talking about kids, but okay. And then? THEN?

She sings the song again. The song consists of her singing the same song twice. The actual song is, what, 58 seconds long? And then she sings it AGAIN. Why is this acceptable? If I'm at work giving a presentation and I run out of shit to say, do I just start over, verbatim, shushing everyone who tries to say, "Red, you just told us all of this two minutes ago"? No, I don't. And I bet you don't either. And yet we let this crack-addicted pop star get all repetitive on us. Unfair.

So, basically, what I'm saying is that anyway you slice it, THIS IS A GREAT SONG. And I've had a running contest with three people that I work with and the rules are as follows: You have to work one of the lyrics from this song into an otherwise serious conversation. The person on the receiving end of the lyrics has to not pick up on this and respond to your lyrical plagiarism as though it's your actual thoughts. It's harder than you'd think, which explains why it's been going on for awhile and why I personally thought there could never be a real winner. Witness a couple of failed attempts over the past year:

Me: ...and I told Parent how funny Her Kid is...
Brian: Right... children's laughter can remind us how we used to be.
Me: Nice try.

Lauren: ...and it's just that everybody's searching for a hero, and people need someone to look up to.
Kevin: Have you never found anyone to fulfill your needs?
Lauren: Damn it.

And then this week, after a particularly brutal meeting, Kevin is seething over a lawyer's (unjustified and pointless) dismemberment of his credentials. He's complaining to me and the others. We listen, wide-eyed, supportive. Then I take a shot that I'm sure won't work: "Well, you know, no matter what they take from you, they can't take away your dignity."

He responds: "I know, it's like..."

Oh, shit. All of us around the table immediately launch into what can only be described as SHRIEKING. I won! I won the Whitney Houston battle of the wits! And WHO ELSE is more deserving, I ask you?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

cutting to the chase

Pondering the Amazing Race lately has got me thinking about these kind of shows in general. The reality genre is pretty tired, obviously, but it still amazes me that ANYONE on ANY of these shows gives a freakin' crap about anyone else on the show. Isn't the point to win the money or the job or a pretty, pretty pony or something like that? And isn't it like, what, a month of this manufactured reality and then you're back to your actual life? Why does anyone obsess over a perfect stranger's idiosyncracies and try to deconstruct their issues and get to the bottom of why they wander the streets at night shouting obscenities at parking meters? Who freakin' CARES? Maybe I wouldn't make such a great contestant on one of those shows because I just couldn't engage in that shit. I have enough crazy in my life from the people I love, let alone people I don't even know. People on these shows are pretty quick to get into screaming matches with other people, without stopping to think that it DOESN'T EVEN FREAKIN' MATTER. If Nancy and Bugaboo on the other team think that I'm [insert adjective here], I believe the correct reaction is a look of incredulity that they've even presumed to make eye contact, accompanied by of the following responses:

Why are you here?
Why are you talking?
Why do you exist?
Zip it, Brer Rabbit.

Monday, October 10, 2005

New Englanders having a conversation about lobster... what's next, the Kennedys?

Dear Red,

Do you just go around begging people to take the lobster out of the shell for you?

Hoodlum Waiter


Dear HW,









I just consulted the Dirty Dancing website, and it says you're to be well-trained and smartly uniformed. It said nothing about belligerent.




I think it also says that the guests are required to dress appropriately. You might want to think about that next year, before you pack.





Bring it, Princess!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

"ooh, careful, Red's getting emotional"

I cried at work today. Yeah, I did.

I don't cry that often, but I do cry easily. I cry if someone around me is crying. Happy tears, sad tears, it doesn't matter, I'm right there with you. If you're my friend and you start crying, my reaction crying time is like 1.6 seconds; for strangers, it's more like 2.8. I also cry when someone is mean to me. There, I said it. I don't have much in the way of a tough outer shell. Sometimes that's good, and sometimes it's to my detriment. You push me out of the sandbox, and I'm not in your face wagging my finger like a reality show're just gonna see some tears, plain and simple.

I happened to be in meetings all day that were pretty tense...lots of emotions and issues and messiness. (Not to mention the fact that I'm not supposed to even be in meetings on Thursdays, but the woman who does my schedule completely disregarded this and booked me all day and then I had to cancel all the kids I should have seen today. Boo.)

Everything went mostly fine except for one bullet at the end of the last meeting. I was on my way out and could FEEL the tears coming. So I turned and went up the stairs to go back to my office, hoping that Supergirl wouldn't be there. She wasn't, but the psychologist was, leaving me a note. How perfect was that? She deals with crazy people all day long. It went a little something like this:

Her: Red, I...are you okay?
Me: Hi! Yes.
Her: What's wrong?
Me: Well...[cries]

So that went on for about fifteen seconds but she didn't bat an eye and immediately made me feel better. I guess I'm going to have to work on upgrading my candy coating to a suit of armor. So start insulting me and throwing stuff. Really, it'll be character building.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

ten years post Rydell High

Considering my recent forays into the past (because college was clearly the dark ages), you wouldn't think my upcoming ten year high school reunion would freak me out at all. And it doesn't, for the most's just strange. If you had asked me at 17 who I thought I'd be at 28, I would've thought I'd be a completely different person. Not that I really wanted to be, it's just that at that age, ten years is such an unfathomable amount of time that I couldn't imagine who I might end up being on the other side of it. And I suppose I'm pretty much who I thought I'd be: I went to school, found my way to meaningful work, try to pay the bills on time, held onto some good friends and found some new ones, thought about getting married but didn't, basically got a life (instead of a so-called life...and let the mid-90s references begin!).

My five year reunion was pretty anti-climatic. All the guys were investment bankers and all the girls were in marketing. Actually, it's funny how some stuff comes rushing back to you when you see someone that you literally haven't thought of since the last time you laid eyes on them, probably at some bonfire during senior week. There's this kid Paul that lived next door to my friend Katie, and we spent all of elementary school and junior high terrorizing each other. I slept over Katie's house all the time, and he and his friend Brian would sneak over and throw stuff at the windows or make weird noises outside and then, for whatever reason, it was ON. They'd chase us around the yard and I don't even know what the goal was, because one time one of them tackled me but then neither of us were sure what to do next, so we just got up and kept running. I remember Paul's most ingenious hiding place was taking a huge branch from the woods behind the house and impersonating a tree. Anyway, we saw each other at our five year reunion and went, "Oh, my God! Barnyard Commandos!" Because that was, um, what we called ourselves. There was this kid Scott who told me that whenever our teachers read examples of good writing aloud, it was always something that he or I had written, and apparently he felt like he was always vying with me to be the best writer. (Maybe he could start The Sticky Bun Tent and we could have a blog-off.) And then there was Billy MySameLastName; we discussed the pain of separation after being next to each other for every alphabetically-ordered event throughout twelve years of school. There are so many random people that you feel like don't even exist outside of the one tiny memory you have of can Barnyard Commando be a corporate lawyer?

And I'm happy to have an excuse to see my high school friends, because no matter how long I go without seeing them, hanging out with them again is always like no time has passed. I guess it's just like that with people that you've known for so long and spent so much time with. They're not a part of my everyday life anymore, but I'm excited to have a built-in reason for us all to go out together again.

I guess it's on my brain today because I just got this email from Peter:

...Anyway, so apparently if we want to go, we have to send So-and-So our $35 by October 15th. Which isn't that far away. I want to go, but it won't be any fun if you guys aren't there too, so i just want to see if you have your outfit picked out yet and have marked off your calendar. I mean, i'm sure there's no way you would miss it, but if you're even considering that, please let me know ASAP. We can have a pre-party/drinkup somewhere to help numb ourselves in preparation...

And, of course, the big question: Will I finally find out if the ex-boyfriend ever got the sex change? Haven't I waited long enough?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

pettiness brings me great joy

So there's this annoying girl with an annoying blog. Apparently she's sort of famous. If the world of blogs were high school, she'd be the class president and I'd be outside on the jungle gym smoking Marlboro Lights and possibly wearing smudged eyeliner. In other words, it's my duty to mock her and point out that she writes the most contrived, patronizing shit I've ever read. I don't fault her for being serious sometimes, but she writes about her life with a somberness of Tori Amos proportions. She always has 47 comments tearfully praising her supposed eloquence. So here's my tribute to her. It'd be funnier if you knew who I was writing about, but you'll just have to take my word on it. Besides, her drama club friends would totally kick my ass.

The laminator jammed today. I had put together a nice little autumn activity for my students: pumpkins, apples, red and yellow leaves, assembled with love and rubber cement, edges trimmed just so. The laminator didn't do the right thing. Instead of coating my work with a transparent seal, it choked and swallowed and spit it out. I unplugged it and that was that.

It made me think of you. You, who always wanted everything just so. I wanted to be perfect for you. I tried to keep everything smooth, creaseless. Edges trimmed just so. But it was just a glossy version of myself, a Kodak. Maybe I wasn't doing the right thing by deceiving you, by not being transparent. I think of you when nothing around me is perfect and I just want to pull the plug. You and the surfaces we were never able to smooth over.

Monday, October 03, 2005

"And I Was Like, Huh?" and other insights from the dorm

Where were YOU eight years ago today?

So I'm officially twenty. I'm so old. The Bride, Googleable Name, Josh and Girl with Bunny took me out to dinner and it was so fun and they gave me presents and we took pictures and then we came back here. And then we went out on the balcony and these three guys came out and one of them was a sophomore and two of them were friends of his who didn't go here so they hung out with us for a bit and one of them started telling me that Jim Morrison walked on a balcony once and he wasn't scared at all but he scared everyone around him real bad because I guess they thought he was going to fall. And I listened but I was sort of like, huh? And then I gave Josh some of the candy my parents sent me and he accidentally threw his keys off the balcony so we went down and looked for them and that was pretty much a buzzkill.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

baseball or physics?

Anyone who knows me knows that I inherited my love of baseball from my dad. But much to his dismay, I did not inherit his love for the Yankees, and instead chose to go toward the light. So...this is a big weekend. And this is his explanation of it all, which made my brain hurt:

If the Yankees and Red Sox end up tied, the Yankees win the division, because they will have won the season series 10-9.

The only way there is a Yankee-Red Sox playoff game Monday is if the Yankees, Red Sox, and the Indians are all tied. That can only happen if the Red Sox and Yankees split the final two games, and the Indians win their last two games.


If the Red Sox win Saturday AND Sunday, they win.
If the Yankees win Saturday OR Sunday, they win.

The only exception is if the Red Sox and Yankees each win 1, and Cleveland wins 2, leading to a Red Sox-Yankee playoff Monday.