Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Why I'm Going to Hell

(aka: Why I Can’t Go to the Congregational Church in My Hometown for a Christmas Eve Service Ever Again)

When I was growing up, my family belonged to a church. It was a Congregational Church, and we went every Sunday. Looking back, I remember it more for the sense of community it gave me for any Biblical learning that took place.

When my family moved to Maine, my parents looked to find a church right away in an effort to get us better connected to our new community. We started at the Congregational Church, but found that the ministers weren’t as engaging as we’d like. We tried the Unitarian Universalist Church, but felt it wasn’t as denominational as we’d like. Then we tried the Methodist Church, and felt we had found a winner. The Minister was engaging and gave interesting sermons (even for those of us who were in 7th and 3rd grade) and the music was wonderful.

People greeted us with smiles and welcomed us to the church that first week... and the next week… and every week after that for 6 months. And finally we decided that we weren’t going to find a new church that gave us the same sense of community and belonging as our old church, and we stopped going. This worked out well for my sister and me, as we weren’t too keen on getting dressed up on Sundays to go sit in church and listen to someone talk (even if he was good at it). Even though we no longer attended church regularly, we still went on Easter and Christmas Eve. However, when the minister at the Methodist Church moved away we lost the very weak ties we had to that church, and realized we might need to shop around for another church for Christmas Eve services.

We ended up at the Congregationalist Church again, and found the service to be decent. The minister was the father of a schoolmate of mine, and there were always a few highlights such as the “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” sung by the youth choir (song that is linked to is an approximation of the arrangement actually sung by the choir – not quite the same tune, but definitely in the same spirit) and the singing of “Silent Night” by candlelight at the end.

Over time, however, the Christmas Eve service went from decent to bad. It was a gradual process – so gradual that we didn’t notice it right away. It began with a few obscure Christmas songs being added into the service. Now I’m all for introducing the congregation to new songs, but I believe that at a Christmas Eve service, people want to belt out their favorite hymns, and not new ones. The musical director at this church apparently feels differently and likes to use the Christmas Eve service as an opportunity to introduce new and never-before-heard-by-anyone-in-the-congregation tunes.

The congregation always dutifully trudges through whatever obscure song has been chosen, while the choir sings loudly in an effort to help us find our way. That method worked ok for a few years, but the choir has shrunk over time, and is now down to 13 people. Additionally, the youth choir is no longer in existence, so the singing of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” is now done by the “Youth Choir Alumni,” so depending on the year, this can either be impressive, or… not.

Which brings us to tonight…

On our way to the Congregational Church, we joked about finding a new church for Christmas Eve service, because the obscure musical selections had gotten so painful, so I guess I was primed for a breakdown before I even knew it.

We arrived at church a little later than we usually do, and ended up in the back row. We sat down and looked through the program and found the youth alumni choir and some Christmas classics such as “O Come All Ye Faithful” “O Little Town of Bethlehem” “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night.”

…And then there were the not-so-classic tunes such as “Watcher, Tell Us of the Night” “Jesus, Our Brother, Strong and Good” and (I am not making this up) “Sheep Fast Asleep (Japanese carol sung in English).”

Well, we got through the Processional and the Invocation with no trouble, but this is where the wheels began to come loose. The choir (made up, I remind you, of 13 people) sang an anthem that either needed to be sung by many more people or by people who had confidence in their singing skills, because there were a good many points in time when the piece was actually painful to listen to.

The First Lesson was fine, followed by our first obscure hymn “Watcher, Tell Us of the Night” which the congregation managed to plod through acceptably. The Second Lesson was also fine, followed by the choir singing an anthem that was actually almost sweet. The Third Lesson was fine as well, but it was followed by the obscure “Japanese carol sung in English” and that, dear readers, is where I began to lose it.

It started with the music when I went to look in my hymnal and found I couldn’t read the words. My dad saw my confusion and pointed to the bottom two lines, which were written in English. I giggled, then got ready to sing. Except when it came time to sing, the congregation just couldn’t do it. There was a lot of soft humming and words kind of coming out, and I’m sure everyone really was trying, but no one seemed to be able to get the tune, and the choir that was only 13-strong couldn’t sing loud enough to lead us (or weren’t all that confident in their ability to sing the song either). And so despite a fine effort to keep singing, I began to laugh. Not an out loud laugh of course, but the quiet, to-yourself kind.

Except that everyone knows that keeping a laugh in only makes it bigger and stronger, and no matter how much I tried to breathe slowly and contain my laughter, it just kept coming. By the time the second verse began (thank goodness for everyone involved that there were only two verses), I was shaking in my seat from my laughter and because she was sitting next to me, watching me struggle to contain myself, my mother had joined me.

I was crying because I was laughing so hard, and leaned over and asked my mother for a tissue. She was also bent in half laughing, but managed to find a pile of tissues in her pocket. However, when she pulled them out, it became clear that they had changed consistency since they were originally put in that pocket. You see, while tissues that have recently been placed in a pocket come out in one piece when grabbed, tissues that have sat in a pocket for a time actually crumble when removed. Which, of course, is what happened when my mother reached for her tissue supply. So instead of handing me a tissue, she handed me multiple shredded pieces of a few tissues.

Which, of course, got us laughing even harder. Which, of course, got us crying even harder. And all the while, Dad on one end next to me, and my sister on the other end next to my mom dutifully struggled through “Sheep Fast Asleep.”

The above story was embarrassing enough, kind readers. Though we didn’t have people sitting behind us to see our hysterics, we did have the ushers standing in the back and they were sure to have seen us. I pulled myself together by the end of the song, but the story does not end there.

Of course it doesn’t.

Because it was in the Fourth Lesson that something that might not have been funny if I hadn’t already been on the edge, became hysterical. The Fourth Lesson is Luke 2:13-14 “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests’”

Well, that’s what the Fourth Lesson would have sounded like if the minister hadn’t coughed when he got to the “Glory to God…” part. He stopped and cleared his throat and tried again. Same cough, same place. He excused himself and cleared his throat and took a drink of water and this, gentle readers, is when you learn why it is that I am going to hell because when this minister was struggling to read a passage from the BIBLE – the Holy Book – and he kept coughing at the exact same place over and over again, I laughed.

Yes, I laughed. It was a quick, loud burst of noise, which I immediately attempted to cover with a few coughs, but I didn’t fool anyone. I re-focused and tried to calm myself, but (you can’t make this stuff up) it happened AGAIN. Third try – same cough, same place. I was doubled over, shaking, clutching a crumbled, useless tissue to my face, but I did find some comfort in hearing the rest of the congregation let out a few nervous giggles.

So the Minister turned the Fourth Lesson over to the Associate Minister, who managed to read the passage with no coughing interruptions. We got through the Fifth and Sixth Lessons and their Carols and Anthems and were back on track to finish the service with no more losses of focus, until The Offertory Anthem, as sung by – you guessed it – the Youth Choir Alumni.

Last year, there were at least 8-10 young adults who got up to sing, but tonight there were just 6. And after the first section where there are many high notes and long phrases, it was clear that no one had practiced this song since they last sang it a year ago, and they knew it. And so while four of them diligently sang on, two of them worked hard to sing while suppressing giggles. Which of course made me lose it again.

I once again pulled myself together for the Doxology, and then my favorite part – the lighting of the candles. The church lights get turned down and everyone stays seated and holds a lit candle in front of them. As the notes from “Silent Night” faded away, we listened to the prayer and benediction, and then the congregation stood up to sing the final hymn (“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”). I had managed to quiet my laughter at this point, finding some calm by focusing on the beauty of the familiar songs I was singing, so I wasn’t prepared when I heard my sister whisper to my mom, “Mom – Wait! We’ve still got a song to sing!” and turned to see my mom putting on her jacket and getting ready to leave instead of standing to sing the final hymn.

Again, a fit of giggles. Again, I got it together to sing the hymn. The organist began the Postlude and I have never seen people leave a church so quickly as we did. It was very nearly a run to the car, and when we got in it, we collapsed into laughter. Yes, it was embarrassing to have reduced to a pile of laughter and tears in the middle of a Christmas Eve service, but there was something to pure and so joyful about that emotion - and about sharing that moment with my family - that I don't regret it. Not one bit.

All the same, we think perhaps it might be a good idea for us to try a Christmas Eve service at another church next year.

Friday, December 14, 2007

When the World Gives You Snow, Give the World Cookies

First, let me say this: I AM DONE. DONEDONEDONEDONEDONE. No more classes for a month. It still has not set in that I won't be in class every night of the week, but I already feel the weight of the 6,000 papers that have been handed in is off my shoulders, and I'm looking forward to a day in the not-so-distant future when the fog of exhaustion has also lifted. Soon.

Second, I will say that as exciting as it is to be done, it is also a bit anticlimactic, since our final two classes were cancelled last night because of the snowstorm that swept through. Now I'm all for snow days (especially since I haven't had one in over 10 years), but to have one on the last night of class with a professor I really like and who I may not have again next semester was kind of a let-down. (Nerd alert: I'm also bummed to have not gotten my final papers back from her, because I would have been able to know my grades)

That said, I managed to have a most excellent adventure last night with three other friends from school. We went out for a celebratory dinner, and then headed back to a friend's house who lived nearby. From her apartment, we could look down on the street below where the cars were not moving. At all. For 30 minutes we looked down at the chaos below, and cars didn't move.

And so we four social workers started feeling bad for the people stuck in their cars, and decided that we would make cookies for them. So off we trekked to the supermarket a few blocks away (stopping to help push a minivan into the parking lot on our way) to buy a few tubs of ready-made Tollhouse cookie mix and some candy canes, then back to the apartment to make the cookies, and then out to the street to spread our cookie-love.

It was fun. There were many drivers that ignored us, or rolled down their windows, heard that we were offering free cookies, and then shook their heads and rolled them back up. But there were even more drivers who got big smiles on their faces and thanked us. One man said he'd been in his car for 3 hours, and he had only come from 2 miles away. Another woman said she'd been in her car for 9 hours trying to get home. These people were exhausted and though we couldn't get them home any more quickly, we could at least give them a moment of happiness with a chocolate chip cookie or two.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Dangers of December

1. Lack of sleep. This lack of sleep can come from the increase in studying and papers due, or from the inability to sleep due to a freezing cold bedroom. If you're battling both, forget it.

2. Anxiety-provoking Patriots games. I'm glad I was in the library and away from the television for most of last night. In the end, though, the Patriots (and my lucky underwear) came through.

3. Icy sidewalks. I walk a mile and a half each morning to the hospital. Usually this walk takes me 30 minutes. Since the snow/slush storm yesterday, and the subsequent plumeting temperatures, the sidewalks on which I walk to work have become trecherous, and my walk time has increased by at least 15 minutes. I am forced to do the funny penguin walk in an effort to keep from slipping. (Sidenote: Dear Trader Joe's, You know how much I love you, so please love me back and de-ice the death traps that are your sidewalks. Thanks! -Fibby) And as if icy sidewalks aren't trecherous enough, today I faced...

4. Wild turkeys. Yes, it's true, Brookline has wild turkeys, and they hog the sidewalks and make awful noises and look like they're going to charge at any minute. Always fun to be on guard against a wild turkey attack first thing in the morning.

A longer post later on the excitement that was my weekend (hint: it involved electricity and the fire department), but for now, back to work...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Just guessing...

Just found this among the photos from Karu's wedding in June (which, amazingly, I never posted about!!!), and I'm guessing it could explain why I'm still single.


Yes, that's me (and Pete!) doing the Thriller dance, and it is what is going to help me keep my sense of humor in the middle of finals madness. Just thinking about what an utterly awful (and hysterically funny) photo it is makes me laugh out loud. So if any of you are bored or just having a bad day, this post is for you.

Love in an Elevator

So I was heading up to meet with my supervisor last Wednesday, and hopped in the elevator as I always do. There was a man in the elevator - probably a relative of a patient - who nodded at me as I got in. I smiled back at him and at the two nurses who were also in the elevator. The elevator stopped on the third floor and the nurses got off.

"How's your day going?" asked the man.

"Pretty good, how about yours?" I answer (elevator chit chat is a common occurance in the hospital)

"Ok." pause "So, are you a nurse here?"

"No, I'm a social worker."

"I'd love to take you out sometime."

At this point, as if on cue, the doors opened and I stepped out onto my floor, flashed a big grin, and said, "You have a great weekend!"

A gentle let-down for him, and a good ego boost for me.

Never a dull moment in this place.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanks. (again)

I was making a list in my head yesterday as I drove up to Maine of things I wanted to remember to write about in this post, but after a day of cooking and eating and playing one of the longest games of Phase 10 ever, I can barely remember one. I wrote a fairly comprehensive post last year and after reading it just now, I am at a loss as to how to say thanks this year better than I did back then.

Nonetheless, here is my Thanksgiving post. Not nearly as comprehensive or well-written as last year, but just as heart-felt.

This year, I am thankful for:

- Family. All of 'em. The ones who raised me, the one who grew up beside me, the ones who saw me through all of my awkward phases and loved me just the same...

- My grandmother moving to Maine, because I get to see her almost every month now instead of every few years. Not only do I see her, but I get to hear stories about her life that I might never have heard otherwise - stories about how she and my grandfather got together, and about her time living in Boston when she was in her early 20s, and so many other fun things. We get to go on lunch dates and play canasta and we laugh a lot. And I think it means just as much to her to get to know me as an adult as it does to me to get to know her on a different level now too.

- Friends near and friends far. Friends with whom I have entrusted secrets and fears and who have entrusted me with the same. Friends who open their doors to me whenever I can visit. Friends who send random email forwards that I hate getting, but kind of like because I know it means that somebody out there was thinking of me for a second. Friends who are popping out babies left and right and who are letting me share in their joy and excitement. Friends who call me out of the blue just to say hi.

Some of you know and some do not that this was a tough fall for me on many levels. The combination of school, internship, work, and life that I was balancing overwhelmed me and there were times when I felt lost. Whether you knew that or not, the amount of support I received from many of you through emails and phone calls and hang-out time and text messages and comments on this here blog was hugely significant to me.

Thank you all for blessing me with your humor and your kindness and your listening ears and your love. I am lucky to know so many great people and I'm so very thankful to have you in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving 2007.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

They're back!!!


It is the time of year when my absolutely most favorite treat is available!

Go directly to Trader Joe's.

Buy some.

Your mouth will thank you.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Misery, thy name is...

... grad school.

Apologies for the lack of updates/musings/links as of late. There was a tiny window of time when I wasn't slammed with 600 kinds of papers to be writing all at once, but that time is gone, and it's now full-speed-ahead until December 14th.

I went to another baby shower a few weekends back, and this one was at the home of the parents of my best friend from elementary school. I hadn't been back to this neighborhood in probably 15 years, so it was pretty trippy. I drove by my old house, which has been painted three shades of ugly since we moved out in 1990, and then on to my friend's parents' house which flooded me with memories the moment I walked in. Building obstacle courses in the tv room, playing out in the back yard... it was fun to re-discover memories like that.

MOMP had her baby, which is all kinds of exciting, and I am impatiently waiting for a break in my schedule so that I can get out to meet him. Congrats to MOMP and husband!

I'm heading up to Maine for Saturday night to celebrate Dasein's birthday, which will be a good break for me. I was originally going to try to stick around in Maine to watch the Pats game, but I think there is too much writing to be done to be able to justify that - especially since I'm babysitting on Sunday night.

So the boringness of this post pretty much explains why I haven't posted in a while, but I got feeling bad (not as bad as Dasein should feel - no trip log yet and you've been home 3 months!?!?!?), so I had to write something.

Next up: the annual Thanksgiving gratitude email.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Team Spirit

First, let me say that I am tragically sad that The Decemberists concert, which I was supposed to attend tomorrow night, was cancelled. I really am. Because I heart The Decemberists.

However, I also heart the Patriots, and the concert being cancelled ensures that I am able to catch every second of the Pats-Colts game tomorrow. There is so much hype around this game they've even had daily news stories on NPR about it. Crazy.

Before I tell you the next part of the story, I need to explain that I have a slight obsession with socks and underwear. It started over 10 years ago when I was at summer camp as a counselor trainee and we all went to WalMart one night and purchased Mickey Mouse underwear. They were fun (and funny), so we purchased more. By the end of the summer, I had an incredibly large collection of underwear that featured cartoon characters. I no longer have cartoon characters on my underwear (mostly because they stopped making them), but I do like to have a good selection of underwear that have stripes or colors or that are in some way more interesting than just plain colors.

The sock obsession came a few years later, when I got my first pair of "fun" socks. Now I own lots of them, and I can't stand wearing boring socks. It keeps me from taking myself too seriously when I have to dress professionally for work (or any day, really). I can look professional, and then I sit down and my socks become visable, and they have pigs or monkeys or bright colorful stripes on them and people can see I'm not as serious as I look. I have Red Sox socks that I wore all season, and Patriots socks that I wear on Sundays so I can subtly show my team spirit.

Anyway, the point of telling you all that is that I was shopping for World Series gear the other day and happened upon a discount rack of Patriots gear, including half-price Patriots underwear. Being the true fan that I am, I purchased a pair with no hesitation and I will be wearing them tomorrow.

Go Pats!

Monday, October 29, 2007

I Heart Free Air Travel

So I returned home from class tonight to find an email waiting for me from Southwest Airlines with the subject heading Bonus Credits for a Hometown Victory. They're giving me 3 bonus credits (16 equals a free flight, so 3 is no small change) because THE RED SOX WON THE WORLD SERIES. This email makes me want to say publicly (to the handful of you who read my blog) that Southwest, despite its cattle-call boarding system, is pretty awesome.

Speaking of THE RED SOX WINNING THE WORLD SERIES, I was walking to school from my internship tonight (both which are near Fenway) and there were no less than 4 helicopters and one blimp flying overhead to report on the fans gathering to welcome the players back home. It was fun to be that close.

Not sure yet if I'm going to be able to sneak away from my internship tomorrow to see the start of the parade, but I'm gonna try!

This past weekend was my a cappella group's 45th reunion, so I spent the weekend in cold and rainy Vermont singing my heart out with about 60 other women. It was an amazing weekend, and energized me in a way that I really needed. I came home feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the second half of this semester.

Also (this is BIG news!), I came home to newly washed sheets. Ok, the sheets being clean isn't really big news (ok, it kind of is), but what IS really big news is that before I put my clean sheets back on, I put my heated mattress pad on my bed. Then I went away for the weekend, so last night was my first night of the season with the heated mattress pad. For those of you who have never experienced the wonder of the heated mattress pad, let me just say this: mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Despite my bedroom being somewhere around 50 degrees last night (here's why), I was snug and warm.

Almost took away the sting of my fantasy football team losing yet again.

Almost.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lots going on...

...too little time to write about it.

For now, I'll leave you with these thoughts:

1. I heart The Sports Guy. A lot.

2. It is really fun to be in Boston when all this winning is going on , but I will say that I miss being a fan on the west coast when the games ended at 9:30pm instead of 12:30pm.

3. As I already shared with some friends via pix message, only in New England would one go to see a play on a Sunday afternoon and get football score updates on a whiteboard. I love it.

4. Oh yeah - almost forgot, I also heart Fitzy.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Yahoo Mail Beta Has a Great Sense of Humor

A while back, I wrote about how werewolves had taken over my email.

Tonight, as I wrote an email from my Yahoo account, I went to edit the subject heading line, and accidentally hit the "subject" button to the left of the text box. Right before my eyes, the subject heading changed from a boring "hi" to "I've never seen a man eat so many chicken wings." I clicked it again, and the subject heading changed to "You can't make friends with salad."

It's called the "Subject-o-matic" and it is brilliant.

(Other great lines include "Did you or did you not order the CODE RED?!" and "I'll transfer your skills to the legumes")

Survivor China: Episodes 2 & 3

(aka. "It's good to stay home sick so I can justify catching up on Survivor.")

In episode 2, we find Dave taking himself a little too seriously as leader of his tribe. For someone who didn't do much as a leader before the 1st tribal council, it seemed as though he's overcompensating a bit now...

JR - pretending to be lazy to be able to look good later?!?! I'll be interested to see how that plays out in the long-run.

Dave's smug look when Ashley got voted out made me want to jump into my television and strangle him.

Episode 3 showed JR's creepy side, both trying to snuggle with all the girls, and saying such things as, "The only thing better than a million dollars is a million dollars and some ass!" Classy fellow, that one.

On a related note, how could JR and James be so stupid as to have that conversation where they did!? Are they really so full of themselves they thought no one would hear them!? And even if they thought that none of their tribemates could hear them, what about the camera crews hanging out nearby??? JR had to know that was a great soundbyte - which just makes him ickier to me...

Though I found Courtney's performance at the immunity challenge to be pretty pathetic, I was actually on her side when she complained at tribal council about how the challenges are all designed for brawn, and how she kept getting sat out of challenges by her team. I had noticed the physical nature of the challenges to and I'm hoping they start doing some that are more balanced or that at least make some room for a tiny person to shine.

Best reason to vote someone out: "I'm voting for you because when you snore at night it sounds like someone's choking a walrus." (Courtney voting for JR)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Exhaustion Sets In

So my schedule is kind of nuts... Monday-Wednesday, I have my internship all day. Thursday I babysit all day. Monday and Tuesday nights I have class from 6:45-9:15. Thursdays I have class from 4:00-9:15. And then there are Wednesdays...

Every other Wednesday I babysit for a family to allow the parents to have a date night. But on the other Wednesday nights, I have class. From 4:00-9:15.

And what I'm discovering (after my second of these such weeks with Wednesday classes) is that I am 100% exhausted on those nights. I just got home from class, and I am ready to crash. All I have the energy to do is watch bad TV (yes, the game was already over by the time I got home) and read other people's blogs and sometimes (though not often) update my own.

So now I get into bed by 9:30, watch The Daily Show online, and go to bed by 10 or 10:15.

Kinda kills my social life. But... on the other hand, it's an investment to make sure I can make it through tomorrow.

Gratitude today for:

- Diet Coke
- Josh Beckett
- The sleep I'm about to get

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Weekend Highlights

So I went up to Maine this weekend to celebrate my Grandmother's 90th birthday. That in itself was a highlight. Also a highlight was my uncle asking my grandmother if she had found a use of a "For Rent" sign she had purchased a month or so ago when they had been shopping together.

"I'm trying to figure out whose door to stick it on," she answered (she lives in an independent living facility). Brilliant. My 90-year-old, prankster grandmother. I love it.

I also got in a beach walk, which was really special, and I managed to fight off some sort of mean-feeling sickness with sheer determination, Emergen-C, and Zicam. So I'm feeling particularly proud of myself for that.

Oh yeah - and watching NESN's coverage of the Friday night game - or more specifically, watching NESN's coverage of after the Friday night game, when they were waiting on the results of the Yankees/Orioles game and they couldn't show the game live, so they showed the fans who had stayed in Fenway watching it on the jumbo-tron, and then gave commentary on their reactions, and then 10 seconds later would show the "instant replay" of what the fans had been reacting to. A funny way to watch a game, but totally worth it in the end.

In other news, my fantasy football team kinda sucks. It's funny, though, because it really isn't a bad team - it's just that I keep going up against teams that have a couple players who have out-of-this-world weeks and end up scoring rediculous points. I'm 0-4 and starting to get depressed. Thank goodness the actual, in-the-flesh football team I root for is 4-0.

Highlight of the week so far: My professor last night telling us that if any of us were able to get tickets to any of the playoff games, that we should absolutely, without question, skip class.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why I Do What I Do

Last week at my internship, I met with a woman who had an overwhelmingly long list of challenges she was facing in her life. Over the course of an hour, she opened herself up to me and told me her worries - the biggest of which were financial. I listened, empathized, and told her I'd work on connecting her to resources that could help her. I followed up with her later that afternoon after she had met with the resource specialist, but didn't get to see her again after that, as they were discharged the next day.

Today when I returned to work, I found a note waiting for me. It was from this woman to the three of us with whom she had worked most closely, and the first few sentences really summed up why I do the work I do - because often I can make a difference - and every now and then (like today), I get the honor of knowing that I've made a difference:

"Getting to the point of having to ask for help at our age in such a humiliating and shameful feeling. Thank you for your grace and sense of ease in making the process feel slightly less embarassing than it really is."

No list today.

Just that.

Backed Up

Ok, so the irony is that on Sunday night, I was telling a friend who doesn't read my blog about my new committment to posting my list every night, and I was saying it was great because I was posting on my blog more, and also it was helping me to focus on the "good stuff" and now, here I am on Tuesday morning not having posted since Saturday. Oops.

A combined list of 6:

1. Buying baby gifts (and then wrapping then in my trunk in the parking lot).

1b. The helpful woman in the parking lot of Babies 'R Us who told me that there was a table inside the store where I could wrap my gifts (as I was wrapping my last gift).

2. Singing loudly in the car.

3. Starting up a new line of emails among my old singing group, and then getting all the responses and photos of babies and weddings.

4. Splurging on my favorite face wash and getting lots of samples of other fun products.

5. Debating the pros and cons of taking a break from studying to go see a friend in a show, deciding to go, and then realizing that I had really needed (and deserved!) the break.

6. Writing (and finishing) my first paper.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

September 22nd List

Things for which I am grateful for today:

1. A rousing rendition of "10 little monkeys jumping on the bed" performed by a 2-year-old and myself.

2. The fact that my allergy medicine kept me symptom-free for 4 hours in a cat-infested house.

3. The Red Sox winning.

Survivor China: Episode 1

Another season of Survivor, another few months of Saturday mornings spent in bed catching up on the week's events (thank you, school, for always scheduling my classes on Thursday nights). After a scary moment when I couldn't find the full episode online, and then having to sit through no less than three "commercial" breaks where I was subjected to this horrible commercial, I am now ready to share with you my first impressions after week 1:

- I realize it's easy to say "if I were on Survivor, I'd..." but seriously - it's season 15 - if you were on Survivor, wouldn't you want to be prepared for anything and show up to any and all events wearing clothes that you would want to have with you? I don't know off the top of my head the exact number of times survivors have been sent to their camps with no warning, but I know it's happened a few times, so just assume that it might happen on your season and wear practical shoes and a BRA, for godsake.

And maybe they all had literally just arrived and they were wearing what they had worn on the plane ride, but seriously - who flies to China to be on Survivor and wears a business suit!?!?

- Interesting theory about a poker player having an advantage by being able to better read his tribe mates. Looks from the preview for next week that perhaps he's not so good with his teamwork skills, but I'll be interested to see if he has any good/interesting insight into any of his fellow competitors.

- Courtney is absolutely the most rediculous survivor player in this game so far. Did she score negative points on whatever socialization test they must have given her before being on this show? "People who live in NY don't act like this"!??!?! Wow. Can't wait to see how long she lasts (or, more optimistically, how long it takes before she has some sort of epiphany and realizes that "different" does not mean "bad"). UPDATE (since I wrote this 30 seconds ago): I just read her Bio, and she grew up in Boston, and studied abroad in Dakar, Senegal, so it's not like she's never left the confines of NYC. What is her deal!??!!

- Did I make this up, or did the Christian radio host really say "I'm not religious, but..." in her defense of walking out of the ceremony at the beginning? Please tell me I mis-heard that.

- I hope Frosti stays in long enough that we get to see him do some fun Parkour moves.

- I have a crush on James the gravedigger.

- What on earth made Jeff decide it was a good idea to let the loser tribe at tribal council bring their fire back to camp with them!?!?!? I can't remember the last time that happened - at least not at the first tribal council. I wanted to see them suffer a little more.

- Finally, I'm bummed that Chicken got voted out early, as he would have been a fun character to have around (for us anyway, probably not for his tribe). I did see why they voted for him, though, because he was stupid and stubborn and wouldn't share his opinion with the tribe. Man, he was funny for one episode, though. Great character.

Person I hope to see a lot more of in the future: Denise. C'mon - she's a school lunch lady and she rides her scooter to work. Oh, and did I mention her Budweiser memorabilia collection and her skills at axe and knife throwing (please please please let there be a challenge where we get to see these skills in action!).

September 21st List

Things for which I am grateful today:

1. Babysitting for three amazlingly well-behaved children.

2. The Red Sox winning.

3. The Yankees losing.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

September 20th List

Things for which I am grateful today:

1. A great phone converastion with a friend.

2. Spending 2 hours this morning playing outside with a 15-month-old and making him laugh with really bad shadow puppets.

3. EFS, for reminding me that I own this photo...


... and this video:

video

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

September 19th List

Things for which I am grateful today:

1. Interacting with a patient for more than just a smile on an elevator, and being able to have a real conversation and to make her laugh.

2. Seeing incredible hope and strength in a mother who, by all accounts, should have very little at this point.

3. Walking home from school tonight and having time to myself to decompress.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

September 18th List

Today I am grateful for:

1. The fact that I own many seasons of The West Wing to watch when there is nothing on TV but I want to relax by watching TV.

2. The fact that still I fit into nice work pants I bought over 2 years ago after losing a lot of weight (I'm not quite sure how that worked out, since I definitely weigh more than I did after the weight loss... magic, I guess... redistribution of weight???).

3. Still gotta say the all-you-can-eat dinner for $1.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Gratitude

The first summer that I was a camp counselor, I was given the gift of a gratitude journal. I was supposed to write 5 things every day for which I was grateful. Being the resourceful person I was, I decided to only write three, and then I could use it for 2 years (it made sense at the time). It was great, because even on days that sucked, I still forced myself to come up with 3 things to write. And on those same days, I could go back and read old entries and be brought back to specific memories like the smell of eucalyptus trees in Australia or the sound of a loon on a lake or my 21st birthday (yes, I remember it).

And so I'm beginning a new gratitude journal now. It's not an official one like the first time around, but it will work just fine to help me remember all the good that is happening in my life when I might start to get overwhelmed with the challenges I see people facing everyday at my internship. I can't promise that I'll always share everything online, but I'll try to share as many thoughts as I can. Sometimes they'll be boring. Sometimes they'll be funny. Sometimes they'll repeat. Always, they'll be real.

Today I am grateful for:

1. My supervisor, for taking the time to get to know me as a person in addition to getting to know me as her intern.

2. Paying $1 for an all-you-can eat dinner.

3. That Ellen Degeneres has clips of her show online so I can watch them and laugh before I go to bed.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

And so it begins...

So school has started, and with it my internship and 2 regular babysitting jobs. Fortunately for me, I find most of those things enjoyable, so even though my life has gone crazy in the blink of an eye, I'm not freaking out.

Well, not entirely.

I've been a little overwhelmed with everything lately. I don't think I went through this stress last year when I started school because I didn't know what I was getting into. I was really excited about everything, and that was about the only emotion I remember having.

This year, I'm both completely excited for my internship and classes, and also completely terrified. This internship is a huge deal, as I'm the first person from my program to ever have an internship working with patients at the hospital I'm in.

Now, after a week of my internship, I am still both excited and terrified. Every day, I walk into the hospital and am filled with this amazing feeling of knowing it's exactly where I'm supposed to be. At the same time, I'm thinking, "I can't do this!" There is so much to learn (finding my way around the hospital, learning the heirarchy of doctors and nurses, and God forbid my pager ever goes off - I won't have a clue what to do!) and some of the family situations I've seen are just tragic. I escaped working with (or seeing) any really hard cases last year, and I have more than made up for it in my first week here. Just reading a case report about the abuse of a child is hard, but then when I see the adorable helpless baby I just read about, it makes it sickeningly more real.

That said, I know that I have the skills and support to do the work I'm there to do. My supervisor is incredible and even though it's only been a week, I trust her completely not to put me in a situation I can't handle.

My uncertainty is a funny feeling to have, because I came off of last year so self-confident across the board - in classes, in my internship, and in life. Now all of those pieces of my life are being re-set in this new school year, and I'm still getting my feet under me. I know it's going to be an incredible year and I definitely feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be - I just need to be patient and trust in that feeling.

And so I remind myself to breathe, because really that's about as much as I have control over in the end, and I try to make sure to notice the happy stuff, laugh at the silly stuff, and to do familiar things that make me feel like me (instead of like the half-crazed alien-me that keeps sneaking in and trying to take over).

This summer at camp, I spent a lot of time working in the office, and it was easy to forget the bigger picture (that there were hundreds of kids running around and having fun right outside). My coworker and I used to share stories of camp moments with each other to help us remember why we were there.

One day, we were walking down the path together and heard a little 11-year-old boy say to his friend "Cool!" and when his friend said, "What?" the boy said, "I just burped and farted at the same time!"

Another time, there was a group of kids headed to dodgeball, and their counselor led them in a chant: "What do we want?" "DODGEBALL!" "When do we want it?" "DODGEBALL!"

These were moments we couldn't have scripted, and we never knew when they'd happen, but they were the highlights of our summer.

So I was walking into the hospital the other day and starting to have that "I can't do this!" feeling of panic, and I stepped onto the elevator with a little girl who was with her mother. The girl was probably 9 or 10, and had a scarf covering her head. She ended up standing near the elevator buttons, and a man asked her to push "8."

"Certainly!" she said in the most cheerful voice I've ever heard in my life.

Man: "Thank you."

"You're welcome!" (again, super-cheerfully)

Woman on elevator: "You are a very polite girl!"

"Thank you!" *pause* smile and look over at her mom, "My mother taught me well!"

Woman: "Well, you are lucky to have such a good mother!"

Girl (smiling): "I know - she's wonderful!"


I walked off the elevator with a huge grin on my face, and a feeling of cheerfulness to replace my panic.

It's gonna be quite a year.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Important Research

I am long overdue for a post that has even the remotest bit of substance in it, but since I have just entered into my first full week of classes, internship, and multiple babysitting jobs, I am instead going to post this article heading:

Exercise unleashes a bounce bras can't handle
Breasts fly up and down a distance of up to 8 inches, study says



Thank you to MSNBC for making sure that my visit to your website was a most entertaining way to procrastinate.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Perspective

I have gotten rid of my rant from a few hours ago, and am replacing it with this link.

Watch it for a while - look at all the numbers and what they represent. And then when you've had enough of that, click on the "Now" button in the top right and spend some time looking at the numbers.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Werewolves Have Taken Over My Email

For those of you not in the know, I love Fantasy Football. I got into it a few years back when a friend needed another person in his league and asked me to join. I thought he was crazy, and told him so, but he begged and I'm nice, so I said yes. I figured that if nothing else, it would increase my marketability as a single female to be able to say I had a fantasy football team.

That got me hooked. I played again the next year, and then started my own league the following year.

This year, I got the word out early, and have been working hard to get as many people to join as I can. Today I sent out an email to everyone who had been invited and who had not yet responded, to let them know I had set a deadline of Thursday for joining. The subject heading was "Fantasy Football - DEADLINE and UPDATE." I also sent a copy to myself.

Except that when I got my copy of the email, the subject heading had been changed to "quote from DOG SOLDIERS, the best werewolf movie ever"

I couldn't make this up if I tried.

And the best part is that I have no idea where this came from. No idea. I did a search of all the emails in my account to see if another one had that subject heading, and none did.

It is a real movie, though...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Crazy Weekend

Last weekend was a big one.

My summer camp job ended at 12pm on Friday, at which point I hopped in my car and headed home where my roommate was waiting to drive me to Fenway for the 1:05 game. Adam called to let me know he had missed his commuter train, and I told him that I'd wait for him at home and we could both catch a ride with my roommate. We were pretty late to the game, but we ended up only missing one inning (of course, it was the inning in which we scored 6 runs, but no big deal, right?). It was a fun game, because it was Clay Buchholz's debut as a major league pitcher. I managed to get a pretty good shot of a pitch (can you find the ball?).

Other highlights included eating a sausage covered in onions and peppers, dropping most of the toppings on the ground, and collecting the extra bread I didn't want in one hand (maybe you had to be there), and also seeing the look of satisfaction on my sister's face after she managed to finally (after about 5 innings) get her Dippin' Dots.

I headed up to Maine on Saturday morning and met up with my friend in Freeport, where she had already claimed seats for us for the free concert that evening.

In celebration of it's 95th anniversary, LL Bean has been having outdoor concerts almost every Saturday, hosting artists from Dan Zanes to Paula Cole to Arlo Guthrie to Indigo Girls (tonight: Shawn Colvin, next weekend Bela Fleck and the Flecktones). (side note: as I write this, I'm listening to some of the concerts online)

Only in Maine could you bring your nice nice lawn chairs, set them up in the morning (or a day or two early), then leave them there all day while you shop or go hiking or go home, and then come back to them in the evening and have them still be waiting for you. Seriously - it's pretty awesome.

Our seats weren't great (apparently you have to get there before 11am to set up chairs for a 7:30pm show), but I didn't much care. I cared even less at about 5pm when they had a sound check and we went up to the 4th row and stood and watched and listened. Had I been really determined, I could have reached out and touched them. Pretty awesome.

So sometime between when I left MA and when I arrived in Maine, it became fall, and it turned into a very chilly night. Luckily, my friend's husband hadn't come with us, so I got to snuggle close with her to keep warm. At the end of the night, we were standing on the picnic table near our seats, wearing every layer we brought and wrapped in a big fleece blanket, while singing our hearts out along with all our favorite Indigo Girls songs. It was great.

Sunday found me at G's birthday party with LB, Dasein668, MOMP, and her incredibly creative and also incredibly ugly cake. When a 4-year-old requests a cake, you make it - even if you know it's gonna be ugly. It was pretty amazing, if you ask me. But you can judge for yourself...

A real angler fish:
Angler fish in Finding Nemo:
Angler fish cake by MOMP:
After the birthday festivities, I headed up to Bangor to see my friend Morgan and to meet her husband and her baby (clearly we had a bit of catching up to do). I spent the night up there and all too soon it was time to head down to Augusta to have lunch with my grandmother, then back up to Waterville to spend the night at my parent's house, and then back to Boston on Tuesday.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday Secrets

I check this website every Sunday for new secrets. This week, there was a video instead of the regular postcards.

Watch it.

You will be astounded at the strength and frailty of humanity.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Dreams are Funny...

... but writing dreams down and then forgetting that you wrote them, and then finding them months later and reading them is even funnier.

You all may recall a recent post about me kissing Matthew Perry. At the end of that post, I mentioned that I had always thought of myself as more of a Bradley Whitford kind of gal.

Turns out, I had a dream about kissing him even before I had my dream about Matt Perry - almost a full year before my dream about Matt.

I did a MAJOR cleaning of my room today that involved purging a lot of stuff, recycling a lot of stuff, dusting, vaccuuming, and going through piles of random papers. In the process of cleaning, I found a few random pieces of paper with dreams written on them.

In an effort to maintain the integrity of the recorded dream, I have copied it word-for-word (as written by me while still half-asleep the morning after I had the dream) below. Some of it makes no sense because I wrote it weirdly back then, some of it makes no sense because it just makes no sense, and the rest is pretty damn funny:

[I am an] Extra in show that turns out not to be a show. 2 girls go missing. Terror threat level raised.

Later, on a plane - plane inside a plane (hallway outside) w/ seats like a bus. Plane has mechanical trouble, lands & takes off again. Pilot comes on AFTER to tell us threat level has been raised to green (even though green is good in real life, it's not in this one).

Bradley Whitford barges in and is clearly high (now practice for Studio 60). He is smacking his lips, and I start moving mine as I watch him fall all over the cabin. He starts saying all this nonsensical, high dialogue, and fixates on me as he does.

Eventually his dialogue calls for him to kiss me which he does and then he exits.

I sti there in awe of the fact that Bradley Whitford kissed me and wait for comments from the director.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Am I on Candid Camera?

All of you have read past posts about dating disasters so you know my track record with online dating isn't the best. Those stories were weird in their own right, but a combination of events from the past few months has brought even more weird to my online dating experience.

This story actually starts 2 years ago when I met a guy I liked, and then things didn't work out. Fast-forward to a few months ago when I wake up to an inbox of new eharmony matches. One of them is "Dan" from Brookline, and I just know before I even open it that it is the same Dan from 2 years back. Indeed it is. I write a silly email to him laughing that we've been paired up, ask if he'd like to catch up over coffee or ice cream sometime, but never hear back, and that's that.

Until yesterday...

...when eharmony paired me up with Dan's roommate.

Seriously, people. You can't make this stuff up.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Rotting My Brain (but in a socially conscious way)

So I live in a home with no cable. Well, let me clarify: we have cable. Our landlord, who lives downstairs from us, pays for cable, and shares it with us. But she doesn't much care about what she watches, apparently, because she only pays for basic cable.

And when I say "basic" I mean basic. Network television and about ten Catholic channels and that's it. No TNT. No MTV. No ESPN. No NESN.

But sometimes, every now and then, our basic cable turns into what other people would call "regular" cable and I can watch Sox games and all the Law & Order reruns I want. Not sure why we get little blips of regular cable, but I don't look a gift horse in the mouth. I watch Sox games to my heart's content and love every minute of it.

On a somewhat related note, I found out today that GLAAD has released their "Network Responsibility Index" and ABC (which used to be my least favorite network, but with the introduction of both Ugly Betty and Brothers & Sisters this year, it's my new favorite) placed highest as an LGBT-friendly network. So at least I can feel good about rotting my brain when school starts up again in the fall. :-)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Even Convicts Like to Dance

I can't believe that this is for real, but I think it is, and that makes it just about the most awesome thing I've seen in a long time.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pachelbel Rant

This one's for Pete.

What Time is It?

Brilliant.

However, I have to say this: I know it's a cool idea and all, but how can you charge $50 for a watch that doesn't actually tell time? I mean, granted it is by far the most accurate timepiece ever created, yet if it can't help me be on time for an important meeting, I'm not sure it's worth $50.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Whaaaaaa?

From an email sent to me by Brookline Adult Ed:

Dear Friends-

New this summer, we are pleased to present an intensive August term filled with shortened versions of some of your favorite classes. Here is just a sampling of some of our cool August offerings:

August Course Sampling

  • Pinhole Photography

Yep.

  • Painting from Nature

Yep.

  • Getting More out of Microsoft Word

Ok.

  • Ballroom Dancing Latin-Style

Uh huh.

  • Spanish, Chinese, Italian, or French for Travelers

Yes.

  • Heirloom Tomatoes and Fresh Corn

Uhhhhh, what?

Does anyone have any idea what one does in an "Heirloom Tomatoes and Fresh Corn" class???

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Better Late than Never

Hopping on the bandwagon started by LB and MOMP, I've got to echo their sentiments about the loss of Studio 60. I just watched the last 3 episodes of the series last night, and found myself alternately laughing out loud and being brought to tears. In my life, I don't think there's any writer who has been able to do that to me nearly as well as Aaron Sorkin, and his absence from the line-up next year will leave a noticable gap.

And though I'm all for a Flaming Lips musical, I hope that Sorkin makes his way back to television in the not-so-distant future. Until then, I've got the first 4 seasons of the West Wing to help me get my fix.

Long live Aaron Sorkin!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

It's All the Same, Really.

Many of you have already seen this. If you have, watch it again. It's still funny.

For those of you who haven't seen it, watch it a few times. It gets funnier every time.


(And for added amusement, check out this video with the hiker's reaction.)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Note to Really Good Causes and Organizations: I Have Nothing to Give

I'm not sure what credit card company or other organization that has access to my address shared it with every existing good cause and organization, but since I moved here in August, I have received in the mail (in no particular order):

A free world map from Doctors Without Borders.

Personalized sailboat address stickers from The Smile Train.

A collection of notecards from Save the Children.

Personalized animal address lables (and an exclusive tote bag offer) from the World Wildlife Fund.

Personalized heart, flower and bird address labels from the American Heart Association.

Not one but TWO envelopes with personalized flower address labels from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Personalized flower and butterfly address labels - and a nickel - from UNICEF.
(If that nickel could save a child's life, why are they sending it to me???)


A notepad, caledar, and two bookmarks from Easter Seals.

And (because you just can't make this stuff up, folks)...
... a calendar, flower stickers, a notepad and a dreamcatcher from St. Joseph's Indian School in Chamberlain, SD.

To all of you wonderful and worthy organizations, please know that though I very much support your efforts to make the world a better place, I cannot financially support your efforts at this time.

Please stop sending me free gifts - especially the address labels - as I would have to live at this address another 50 years to go through them all. It is a waste of your money to ask for my money. Track me down in another 30 years, after student loans are paid off and my as-of-yet-unborn children are through college and I'll be happy to give you whatever is left.

Parade!!!

So I went down to RI yesterday for the 4th of July. I spent the day with my cousin, her husband, and their 3 boys. The men in the family decided to participate in the Green Hill Annual July 4th Parade, and my cousin and I set up chairs on the lawn and waited for the parade to come by.


My cousin told me that the parade was pretty small - just a boombox and banner at the front, followed by a few bikes, some walking people, and perhaps a wagon or two. Well, apparently the parade grew since they last saw it, because this year it was HUGE. I swear that we must have been the only spectators, because everyone else was in the parade. There were bikes, wagons, cars, trucks, golf carts, John Deere lawnmowers, walkers, and dogs. There were even a few people who threw candy into the "crowd." pretty awesome.

Also awesome are the decorations on the unicycles and bicycle that my cousin's family rode in the parade. They are seriously awesome (both the people and the decorations).


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"It's not you, it's me."

I have come to the decision that that line (or any variation of it) really only exists to make the person saying it feel better. The person hearing it, on the other hand, spends the next 24-48 hours hearing "It's me. It's me. It's me. It's me." over and over in his/her head and wondering what the hell happened. "What the hell quirk of mine was it that tipped the scale? Did I say something? Did someone else say something?"

Yes, it's true, gentle readers. I had taken a break from online dating to "see about a guy" (thus the lack of recent posts about awful dates), but it looks like I will be throwing myself back into the mix again after my next 2 weeks of too much work and travel are finished.

I was kind of hoping to be done with this dating nonsense for a while, but I guess there's still some more fun to be had out there in Singleville.

Rediculous dating tales will resume as soon as I can find time to go on dates again.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I kissed Matthew Perry!

(in my dream last night)

And then I wrote that blog title to tell the world.

I have no idea where this dream came from, or why Matthew Perry was in it (probably due to all the Studio 60 I've been watching lately), but it was a great dream. I was acting in a show (probably S60 - not sure) and was hanging around, waiting to rehearse my scene (which, apparently, I hadn't gotten a script for) and MP comes up to me and asks if I want to rehearse, and who am I to say no, right?

So we start rehearsing and at some point I realize that there's a kiss in this scene, and then we kiss. And then I start worrying that though I'm a perfectly good kisser in the "real world" I've never been taught how to do a screen kiss. But MP doesn't seem to mind, and in fact, after we rehearse, I think everyone was let go for the day, and he invited me to spend more time with him ("um, ok.").

I'm pretty sure there was more kissing involved (not in a "rehearsing" kind of way), but I think it was more implied in the dream, as I don't remember details.

I'm not sure what this dream means, exactly (dream interpreters out there... anyone? anyone?), but it made me laugh this morning, so it started my week off well.

Funny, I always thought I was more of a Bradley Whitford kind of gal...

Friday, June 15, 2007

I Have Issues.

Ok, we all knew this. But really. I have issues. Specifically, I have serious issues with overcommittment.

And the thing of it is that I can't seem to learn from the past (at least not at any significant rate).

A year ago, I was supposed to be cutting my full-time work down to half-time, and taking a stats course in preparation for grad school. I was supposed to be using all my free time to pack up my apartment and do all the things otherwise associated with moving across the country.

What I ended up doing was 30 hours/week at my "half-time" job, and taking on a second job at which I often spent 20-30 hours/week. I didn't take the stats course, but I did end up working 50-60 hours/week, being stressed every waking hour, and leaving myself not nearly enough time to prepare for my move, which is why the day I was to leave SF, I was still trying to figure out if I could squeeze the blender into my car, or if would have to be left on the curb (answer: it fit on my lap for the trip down to LA and I re-packed the car down there).

So this summer, I think that I might have actually made a tiny step towards progress on this overcommittment front. As it stands now, I'm still babsytting for the two families I sat for all year. This ends next week. So that's a day and a half a week. And on the other weekdays, I have started working in the office of the day camp I'll be working at this summer. Full-time camp work starts the week of hte 25th. So my days now (and in the future) are pretty full, but do-able.

And then there are my nights... I decided that I needed to learn both Spanish and Sign Language RIGHT NOW and so I have Spanish class on Monday nights and ASL on Wednesday nights. And I've had 2 trainings for work in the evening this week, and I have 3 evening trainings next week, plus an open house on Saturday.

How does this mean I'm making progress on the overcommitted front?

Well, the two classes are both community ed classes, and are not for credit. Therefore they don't have tests or homework (other than the generic "practice at home"). Also, I was going to take a for-credit class (yes, in addition to the other two) on Tuesday nights that I didn't end up taking.

Progress is slow... but it's progress.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Prayer

I have only known your mother for a short time, but I already know her to be an incredibly kind, compassionate, gentle and caring woman whose presence is calming and reassuring to anyone with whom she comes in contact with.

I only met your father for the first time last night, but I know him to be an entertaining, friendly, and outgoing man - the kind of person you feel like you've known forever from the moment you meet.

And you - you I never got the chance to meet. But I know how excited your parents were for your arrival. I know they were working on painting the house and fixing up a room for you. They had picked out names (though they hadn't disclosed them yet), and were looking forward to sharing their lives with you.

But the universe had other plans, it seems, and you slipped away to another world today before we had time to share ours with you.

Baby Mello, I never knew you as a person, but I knew you through the hopes and dreams of your parents. Whatever greater power is out there, please give A and J the strength to get through this devastating loss. And give all of us - their friends and family - the strength and compassion to support them.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Gone Fishin'

Took a last-minute trip up to Maine Saturday to have dinner with my grandmother who just moved to Maine from upstate New York. I spent Sunday morning with my sister, then headed down to Portland to meet up with friends who live there, as well as a "special guest" who was in town visiting. We met up at the Yacht Club and headed out to their boat (which I had never seen). It was a beautiful day (though a little hot), and we just sat out on the boat, catching up, enjoying each other's company, and watching a 3-year-old "fish" with his Shrek fishing rod (apologies for the photo quality - a cameraphone and smudgy fingerprints do not a clear photo make).

I headed home to Boston around 8:30, and about 30 minutes into my trip, I saw a police car racing up behind me with lights flashing. I pulled into the right lane, and the car sped by me. I looked ahead, and there were a lot of brake lights on both sides of the highway, so I figured I was coming upon a relatively new accident scene.

As I drove closer, I could see many cars pulled off the road, and as I was waved through I looked to my left to see a banged-up SUV. As I turned my eyes back to the road, I saw a large pile in the middle of the road a little to my left, and when I got closer, I realized that it was a deer... no... a MOOSE.

Apparently, 'tis the season when moose are most likely to dart across the road, and because they're so big, it's rare for the car that runs into them (or the people in it) to survive. The good news is that though I have searched high and low for evidence of this accident online, I have found none, leading me to believe that this one, though involving many cars and one helluva large moose, was not fatal.

In other (happier) news, I got multiple paychecks this week, so I'm no longer bleeding money. This is good for many reasons, but most importantly right now, because this income will pay for the multiple pairs of shorts I have had to purchase for my new summer job. It sounds silly to whine about having to buy shorts for my summer job (especially to those of you who are working in jobs where you could never in a million years show up in shorts), but the truth is that I have very few (1 pair) shorts that fit me right now, and so I've had to invest quite a bit ($ x 4 other pairs of shorts) to make sure I'll have a different pair of shorts to wear each day of the week while working at camp (I'll be working with teenagers - they'll notice this stuff). And since my summer salary isn't particularly large, I'm allowed to whine a little when I have to invest in clothing for said job.

Anyway, I purchased a pair of Polo shorts when I was on a shopping spree at Ross Dress for Less in San Francisco last month. I have since decided that I love them, BUT they are last year's style, so they are impossible to find. I tracked down one pair on ebay, but they are a tiny bit too small, and I've been visiting every TJ Maxx and Marshall's looking for them for the past month. Yes, it's true, I've become a stalker of shorts. So on my trip up to Maine, I realized that there's a Polo outlet in Freeport (which is on my way home), and that they would be likely to have the desired shorts. Indeed, they did, and I purchased 2 more pairs, thus completing my summer collection.

Also while in Freeport I learned about the FREE LL Bean concert series. Wicked good artists - some of them - and at a price that can't be beat. I have decided that I will choose my weekends in Maine based on who is performing at Bean's.

Who's with me?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

"29 is the new 21"

This is what three women in the bathroom of a dance club told me Saturday night.

I went out for an early birthday celebration with some friends. We started with dinner at Border Cafe, then moved on to Grafton Street, and ended the night at Redline. Redline (if anyone from Girl's Night Weekend is reading) is like a smaller version of the Shattuck Down Low in Berkeley. Same crowd.

What that means for those of you who haven't been to either venue is that it's a place where people go to dance. It's unbelievably crowded and hot and the music is loud. Most women go there to dance with their friends. Most men go there to dance with the women. Some of those men go there to pretend to dance with women, but really just want to rub up against them. You know - "dancing."

Good times.

Anyway, I (and everyone I was with) had been hit on by just about every guy around us. And just so we're clear, these guys don't actually say anything to you. They don't come up to you and say "Hey - want to dance?" They just come up behind you and start "dancing" with you. Classy.

I was tired of fighting off the "dancers" and needed a break, so I headed to the bar and got some water. Sitting by the bar is a young-looking guy (I later find out he's 24 - when did that become "young"?!?!). We make eye contact. He says something and smiles. I can't hear what he's said, so I look at him quizzically. He says, "Let me try that again. Hi, I'm Matt. What's your name?" I tell him my name.

"So, Phoebe, is it your birthday?" (I should interrupt my own story to tell you that a friend had been kind enough to purchase me a tiara and purple boa to wear, which kind of made me stand out in the crowd).

"Yes," I say "It is!"

"So how old are you, Phoebe?" asks Matt.

"29." I say.

*silence*

"No you're not," says Matt.

"Yeah, I actually am."

"Well, you're really hot for 29."


For that, I danced with him. Not "danced" but danced.



But his comment, and the comment from the girls in the bathroom got me thinking. I don't feel old. I'm not even afraid of 30 (yet). But their comments sort of implied that I should feel old.

In some ways I do feel old. Not "old" so much as "mature" (although even that word doesn't sound quite right). I feel really good about where I am in my life. I finally feel like I'm on the right career path, and I'm happy with who I am. So much of my mid-twenties were spent trying to figure all that out, and it feels really good to feel like I finally know who I am and what my priorities are.

But in other ways, I don't feel old at all. I am in a very similar place to where I was when I was 21, only I've made it through the awkwardness and learning experiences of my mid-twenties now. I still don't have a clue where I'll be in 5 years - or even 2 - but that's ok. There is a sense of mystery and, in a way, freedom in not having my whole life figured out yet, but instead of stressing about it like I did a few years ago, I can embrace it and just enjoy the ride.

So here's to 29. I enter into the year with no expectations - just the goal of embracing each day for what it is, avoiding stress as much as I can, and surrounding myself with as many good people as possible.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

As promised...

So a while ago, I promised to share with you a tale of brunch and mermaids. Of course it is a dating story, and here it is:

My #1 rule of online dating is to meet the person as soon as possible. This keeps potential couples from falling into the classic "getting to know you over email" trap of thinking they know each other when they really have only gotten to know each other's email personalities.

So I was paired with this guy on eharmony.com (side note: I'm cancelling my subscription when it's up in a month not because the service is bad, but because they don't pair same-sex couples and have links to Focus on the Family and I can't stand the idea of any more of my money going to them.) (second side note: Yea! California!). We set up a date to meet up at MayFair in Harvard Square and walk around and have brunch.

So we meet up. Harvard Guy (he went there and has worked there for the past 12 years) and I met up in Harvard Square. MayFair hadn't really started yet and things were being set up. We decided to walk around Harvard Yard while we waited for the booths to be set up. However, on his way to meet me, HG had seen a painting he liked. He asked if I'd mind walking by the booth again to check it out, and I said that would be fine.

So we go to this booth. It has a lot of paintings. The paintings are all sizes - from 6"x6" to some as big as 2.5'x4.5'. He points to a painting that is 3'x3' and says, "That one. Isn't it incredible?"

I look to see a painting of a seascape. Only it's not really of a seascape. It's of a mermaid. Only it's not really of a mermaid. It's more of a mer-girl. And she is holding a starfish. A starfish with a smiley face. And there are more starfish with smiley faces sitting next to her.

"Wow!" I say, buying myself some time. "It's pretty incredible."

"Yeah," says HG, "I really like it. I'm just not sure where it could go in my house. I'm not sure it would match in my living room."

I'm wondering if I'm on Candid Camera, but I play along, while in my head thinking, "WHAT!? This painting is AWFUL. And even if it were a good painting, it would still be a good painting of a pre-pubescent mergirl with smiling starfish!"

We leave the booth to allow the wander around Harvard Yard, then go to brunch (where, at some point, he feels the need to give me one of his business cards), and then wander back through the fair, which is now going strong. We stop by the paintings booth again so he can ask how much said painting is ($350), and then he spends 10 minutes staring at the painting, trying to decide if he should buy it. We walk around the other booths, and he asks me again what I think about the painting.

At this point, I know there's not going to be a 2nd date, so I have nothing to lose. "Well, I love it - I really do," I say, "But you know how some of the other paintings are of mermaids? And this one is more of a mer-girl? I just think there's something a little pedophilic about having a pre-pubescent girl hanging on your wall."

"Yeah... I guess you're right... But I really like it!" he said.

The date ended soon thereafter.