Monday, January 31, 2005

make it stop

I was looking at this book the other day that gave a script of what you tend to say when you run into someone you haven't seen in awhile, along with a translation of what you really mean. It was funny because "hi!" actually meant "shit!" It made me think about this woman at work who makes me feel like my face is caving in. She's one of those people who really isn't all that bad, plotting evil in the lunchroom or anything, but she'll just stop and talk to you about absolutely nothing for huge, gaping spaces of time throughout the day. I'm not even positive that she works there; she might just wander around, talking. If I've got three kids hanging off me, and one of them has just been bitten by a mountain lion and the other one is eating a rusty nail, she'd still stop me to have some inane conversation that is inevitably a recap of a conversation we had the day before to address an issue that was not an issue the first time around. I swear, I'm starting to hear, "Oh Red, one quick thing..." in my sleep. She's a well-intentioned black hole. WHY does every workplace have somebody like this? So anyway, I'm wondering if anyone has had any luck with finding a polite way to say, "Please stop talking to me about stupid crap." My "best wishes for continued success" only works on e-mail. Perhaps, "Would you be so kind as to refrain from engaging me in conversation that bears no relevance to anything?" Actually, that just makes me sound British. I need ideas...

Saturday, January 29, 2005

the result of learning you can "audioblog"

this is an audio post - click to play

this is an audio post - click to play

And no, the second one IS NOT ME! I only do dramatic readings.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

the hazards of laziness

The thing about working in a school and getting a snow day is that it's like a happy little gift out of nowhere, you enjoy it, and then you're back to the routine. The problem with three snow days in a row is that you forget the routine. It's been almost a week since you've been to work. You thought you liked your job, but you realize that what you really like is sleeping until 9:30, taking a long shower, eating Cookie Crisp while reading Oprah magazine, taking your sweet time browsing the aisles at Trader Joe's and, if you're like me, organizing your drawers and cleaning out your freezer. You can't remember the last time you were so well-rested, deep-conditioned, and fully exfoliated. The only problem with this is that your friends don't really like you anymore, and throughout the day they contact you by phone and email you to inform you of how their feelings for you have changed. But then you think, friends? Work? What's that? I think I'll paint my toenails.

And then, as if you're not already spoiled enough, your alarm clock goes off on Thursday and you think, wait a second, nobody called me, does this mean I have to go to WORK? Why didn't they call off the whole week? Boston schools are off for the week! Come on, people!

I know, I don't like me that much right now either.

Monday, January 24, 2005


Not to be one of those people who talks about their dreams, but I've had the following two dreams in the past two nights:

1) I have a toddler named Peter. I'm not sure why he's named Peter, and I'm telling my friends/family/faceless people around me that I don't think I meant to name him that. They say, "You can't change his name NOW," which seems reasonable. I turn around and suddenly he's Gumby. Lesson: You really can't turn your back on kids for a second.

2) I'm hanging out with my friends and suddenly realize that I have a wedding ring on my finger. I become really upset and try to get it off, but the ring starts getting smaller and my finger starts getting bigger. I'm extremely panicked until I finally get it off and throw it on the ground. My friends find the entire thing hysterical. Suddenly I see a mall and I proceed to run through it. Lesson: Always walk in malls, and when carrying scissors.

And on the "You Think YOU Had a Bad Day?" front: My mom's friend had been in a relationship with this guy for five years, and the other day he left her a voice mail saying, "I never want to see you again. Don't call, don't email, don't come over." Then he took all the gifts she'd ever given him, along with some food she'd made him recently, and put it in a giant trash bag on her front step. Then he left another voice mail saying, "Don't forget you owe me $100 for the football pool."

I laughed too, don't feel bad.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

just, you know, stuff

On Saturday, sometime after encountering the waitress that was full of hate, I met up with Mark, during which I arrived at a couple of realizations: 1) trying to keep up with Mark in a public place is like trying to keep up with a toddler with ADD in a public place, and 2) my taste buds are dead. I am obsessed with all things spicy. I order extra spicy sauce for my sushi because they can't make the spicy maki spicy enough for me. The most ghetto habit that I picked up from my old roommate was a love for Frank's Red Hot sauce, which I put on things never intended to be made spicier. I also put ground red pepper on anything that sits still long enough. My poor tongue. I clearly have a problem.

On Sunday, I watched the Golden Globes pre-show and some of the show with Jen

(during which we determined the following catty things: dresses that have a different type of fabric just on your boobs, a la Star Jones, are not that cute; Jen finds Orlando Bloom more attractive as a Hobbit than a human; Annette Bening was so unimpressed by her award and delivered a speech with such calculated aloofness that it made me instantly hate her--she was much better as a jolly pregnant lady at the Oscars; Jennifer Garner is cute as hell, I know, but the dimples thing is getting really irritating; Natalie Portman was wearing a nightgown; and Renee Zelwegger will just always suck hard)

in between going down to Cora's, where it became even more singularly clear to me how much I loathe football and that I cannot wait for baseball to start. Jen and Cora live in the same apartment building, so being over there is like college all over again, especially because Deb and Dave were there, too. (The other Jen is considering taking over Cora's apartment when Cora moves to Connecticut this summer. This would make my life more fun, but the Jen and Jen differentiation much more confusing.) Dave continued to try to figure out a way to steal all my iTunes music legally, while I continue to use iTunes to make CDs for my friends that contain songs like Rock the Casbah and I Wanna Sex You Up. Jen modeled dresses for me to wear to a benefit for her dad, who is a math teacher at a Jewish school and is being honored next weekend for years of service. But because of their rules, you basically can't wear anything that shows any skin, so she ended up looking like Mary Poppins, albeit a hot Mary Poppins.

Then I had to sadly tear myself away from the TV and schlep to meet the other Jen, whose friend's band was playing in a hole-in-the-wall in Allston. I feel like I'm karmically indebted when my friends ask me to go with them to see no-name bands in no-name bars because so many of mine did the same thing for me. I ran into some other people from college, including That Guy Luke who was the other columnist in our campus paper. All we needed was Keith and we would have finally had a freakin' meeting, seven years after the fact. And in keeping with my New Year's resolution to cook more, today I made black cherry Jell-O. Hello, it requires boiling water.

The biggest news of my weekend is that I finally learned how to use my cell phone to the fullest of its potential. I put a whole bunch of numbers in it, changed the wallpaper, and the ring! I am unspeakably excited about this!

I'll still probably never turn it on though, who am I kidding.


So I'm out to lunch with The Bride, and the waitress comes over to take our order. The Bride orders something without tomatoes and I order something without cheese, and then I joke that we're so high-maintenance. The waitress doesn't smile and practically rips our menus out of our hands. Then New Waitress comes over and tells us that Old Waitress is on break so she's going to be our waitress now. We then proceed to watch Old Waitress serve every single table around us for the next hour, sweetly asking our table neighbors if they want lemons in their beverages, or if they're interested in the dessert menu. So, basically, she took a break from us.

Me: What the hell happened? Could we have been more polite to her?
Bride: No. We were so polite!
Me: We were the politest people I know.
Bride: Maybe she was mad we didn't order drinks?
Me: It's lunchtime!

So we're basking in this rejection when suddenly Bride's ex-boyfriend walks by. This is the guy that she dated for a few months, years and years ago, but he just never really went away until she met her husband (fiancee, whatever, in print that just sounds like someone who should be handling your finances). I couldn't have picked him out of a line-up, to be honest; I only met him once like six years ago. He didn't like any of her friends because he was 30 and we were 21-22 and he thought we were immature. Um, you think? We still thought 30-year-olds were kind of icky back then. He came to a New Year's Eve party we were having at somebody's apartment and literally threw a screaming fit in the middle of the kitchen because they didn't have a wine opener. Hee! I love good theater.

Me: Where is he? I want to see him.
Bride: You know what he looks like.
Me: I met him once in like 1981.
Bride: Third booth, against the wall.
Me: Let's send him over a bottle of wine and no opener!
Bride: Where's Old Waitress? I think I'm ready to start drinking.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

missing phone update

[See New Year's entry for background]
So, while Friend is at my apartment, she gets a call from her mom: "Somebody named Anthony called to tell you he picked up your phone at the bar." Friend is ecstatic and calls Anthony and arranges a time to meet to pick it up. They end up meeting somewhere in Boston. Anthony's friend drives up, Anthony gets out of the car, says "you're missing a phone?", hands it to Friend, and leaves. The entire exchange apparently took about 3.2 seconds. That seemed kind of funny to me; you'd think he'd have offered some explanation for why he picked up the phone, or make a joke about it, or something? But whatever, Friend was just happy to have it back. Then she checks the recent calls and sees that Anthony called a bunch of 900 numbers. Nice. Then she sees that he also called me. Recent calls looked something like this:

Red cell

What? Suddenly it's a Lifetime movie.* Was I in on this all along? Who can you trust? Am I running a second "business" out of my home? Am I Anthony? Then we realized that, alphabetically, my name is first in her phone, so he probably just called the first name listed before thinking to call the home listing. Still. It kind of creeped me out. Note to strangers: don't be calling me in between your phone sex. I never thought we'd have to have this conversation, Anthony. Yet here we are.

*I will be played by a young Meredith Baxter.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Bahama mama

This morning I was leaving the gym (notice how I say that all casual, like this wasn't the first day in months and months that I've been to the gym) and there was freezing rain and snow falling, and the ground was already slippery. I got in my car and "Kokomo" was playing on the radio. Uggghh. I'm usually not someone who hates the cold and complains about winter. I like winter, I like the snow, I don't even mind when it gets dark early (I know, I'm in the minority there). But this weather just kind of sucks. And then I took a shower and I have this scrub from Bath and Body Words called Fine and Sandy that smells exactly like beach. And then I read Melissa's journal about her maybe wanting to go to Aruba this year and I thought, why did she marry Joe instead of me?

I couldn't help but think about where I was exactly seven months ago, in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. Jen and I went right after I finished grad school and stayed at the Westin at Our Lucaya Beach and Golf Resort, which was just perfect. Balcony off of our room, the Westin's self-proclaimed "heavenly bed" and "heavenly bath," which is what we constantly referred to them as, of course (it's so much more poetic when you can say, "hurry up, I need to take a heavenly shower too!"). Sugar Beach was right next to the hotel and the Carribean was like a big, warm, turquoise bath. We would laugh at ourselves because when we said we were going swimming, it was more like prolonged periods of floating punctuated by taking pictures of ourselves underwater with a disposable camera. We had facials and mud baths and massages; mine was a "Swedish Scents" massage, I suppose to get in touch with my ancestry, and Jen's involved lots of aloe vera, chamomile, and honey because she was pretty burned by that point. We got to swim with a fiesty dolphin who was so thoroughly trained it was like he was a person, which is kind of sad, but we're the dumb tourists who encourage such things. Every night we went to the marketplace across the street where there were lots of restaurants and bars and dancing and slightly odd nightly performances, always involving a man in purple satin pants doing backflips to "Who Let the Dogs Out," all of which provided endless hours of amusement and flavors of rum that we didn't know existed. There were a ton of honeymooners, and they shamelessly tried to market everything as a couple experience ("enjoy a romantic breakfast with passion fruit, starry-eyed syrup, and heart-shaped pats of butter!"), so of course we benefited from that, without having to cuddle afterwards. Actually, ha, at one point we were thinking about having "the massage of togetherness" because it said it was for two people, only to find out that that was a MUCH better idea for an actual couple. The locals tried to impress us with their use of Americanisms, like "I'll be back" in a Bahamian-influenced Arnold accent, so that was kind of like 1991 on Crazy Planet. All in all, it was just a blast, warm and fun and lazy.

So that's what I'm thinking about today, while it's still raining ice out there. Blech.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

snow day!

Ahh, the joy of working in a school in the winter. The roads didn't really seem all that bad, but I'm not complaining. They even called off school in the town I grew up in, where they NEVER closed school, unless maybe there was a street gang waiting out front to kill us all. And even then we'd probably only get a two hour delay. When you grow up in the suburbs, you learn how to handle thugs.

So they have this thing called a phone tree, and if school gets cancelled, somebody calls somebody who calls someday, etc. etc. until the entire staff gets called. When I first heard about this I thought it was kind of dumb because we all grew up listening to the radio to hear about cancellations, so why do we need somebody to call us? But okay, if that's how it works. I'm at the end of this "tree" because I'm a new employee, so I don't have to call anyone, I'm just a call receiver. A woman named Paula, who is a teacher's aide for some of the kids I work with, is the one who is supposed to call me. This morning, my phone rang at 4:45 AM. I honestly have no idea what I said to Paula. Usually, the phone ringing will wake me right up. I must have been in some crazy R.E.M. pattern because I didn't really understand what that noise was or what I was supposed to do to make it stop. When I finally snapped to semi-consciousness, I had what could have only been an absurd conversation with this poor woman. I remember asking her if she'd called me earlier. (What?) I remember her laughing. Tomorrow I'll have to tell her that's about what she can damn well expect every snow day. I like my sleep, people. But actually, I don't mind her interrupting it. If you want to call me at some obscene hour and tell me that I don't have to go to work, then God love you, here's my number.

Monday, January 03, 2005

what I'll be reading

As far as I'm concerned, there's absolutely no better present than a gift card to a bookstore. Especially when said bookstore is also online and you get to come home from work and everything you ordered is in a giant box on your doorstep.

This is what I ordered with one of my holiday gift cards, should you be interested in my reading habits, or at least intended reading habits. I mean, I don't know if they're exactly up to Keith's discerning standards*, but they work for me:

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Best American Short Stories of 2004 edited by Lorrie Moore
Einstein Never Used Flash Cards: How Our Children Really Learn--and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff (that was clearly a copy & paste moment)
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement by Ken Christian
Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now by Gordon Livingston

*Getting to mock you in print and knowing you can't edit it out: priceless.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

and so it begins

...and, what do you know, it's out of my system! Cut to this morning at 1:30: I've just scratched during a particularly brutal game of pool and our waitress comes over to tell me that my friend just threw up on the bathroom door. What? Last time I saw her, about twenty minutes ago, she was dancing with Some Guy to Some Band and having a grand old time. So I get to her, and her seven or so Magic Hats are now on her coat, her hair, and, yes, the bathroom door. I feel awful for her and I'm really surprised; this is totally unlike her. Now she's locked in a stall with her head in her hands and the bouncers are telling me I've got to get her out of the bar. Come on guys, don't you know the real fun starts after the projectile vomiting? I talk to her through the door for awhile before she agrees to open it and then we leave. Some Guy starts running after us because he wants to come too. I don't think so, Some Guy. Then he pulls out a napkin on which she apparently wrote her number for him, but he says he can't read it and wants her to give it to him again so he can write it down legibly. I get us a cab and turn around to put her in it, and somebody else tries to take it. I tell this person that that's our cab. She's kind of annoyed and Some Guy cuts in to ask her for a pen. Cabless Woman is bewildered but gives him one. As we're getting in, he's saying, "She has my number, please just call me when you get home and tell me she's okay." In the cab, I ask her if she really wants me to call him when we get home. She kind of does. Then she realizes her cell phone is gone. Tears ensue. We get home and I call Some Guy to tell him she's fine. He says, "Can you call me in ten minutes at [a different number]?" What, and then enter my credit card number? I hang up with him and call the bar to see if they found her phone. No phone. Then mine rings.

Me: Hello?
Some Guy: Heyyyy.
Me: Hi.
Some Guy: How are you?
Me: I'm fine. [Friend] can't really talk right now, she's sleeping.
Some Guy: Oh, that's okay. How are you?
Me: Tired. I just wanted to tell you we're home and she's okay.
Some Guy: That's so nice of you.
Me: Well, you asked me to a bunch of times.
Some Guy: Right. You know, I got shut off right after you guys left.
Me: You what?
Some Guy: At the bar. They cut me off.
Me: No kidding. Okay, well, goodnight.
Some Guy: What are you guys doing tomorrow night?
Me: Um, not sure.
Some Guy: We should all get together sometime.
Me: Definitely. Night!

Cut to this afternoon at 2:30: she's still sleeping. I've called the bar again and the cab company but the phone seems to have disappeared. She did wake up long enough to say, "Maybe Some Guy asked for my number and I gave him my phone?" Then she got mad when I laughed. But come on, that'd be pretty funny. Okay, better go make sure she's still breathing. Happy 2005, all! Next year I'll be home sitting on my couch. Feel free to join me.