Thursday, December 15, 2005

One month later

So it's been a month. So much for my one post a week idea. I'd like to make excuses, but nobody, not even me, cares about that. Suffice it to say that it's easier not to write than it is to write, and sometimes I like to take the easy way out.

Christmas is almost here, and I'm having a terrible time getting in the spirit of things. I've been sick, which means I haven't wanted to bake, and I've been too lazy to get out my tree and decorations. I haven't written out my Christmas cards, and the only reason I have my shopping done is because I did it all online while I was procrastinating on other work I should have been doing.

I'll be going home soon, and I can't wait. I want to be pampered by my mommy. I want to cuddle up with my beloved pup Willie, who is in all probability celebrating her last Christmas with us. I want to go to church on Christmas eve at the same church we've been going to for years. Even though I don't believe so much anymore, even though going to church is becoming increasingly uncomfortable due to my own political beliefs (liberal, if you care), I like the ritual. Christmas and the Nativity story are one thing I can easily get behind. There's not too much political crap there. Except for those pathetic "war on Christmas" people. I mean really, will the world end if we say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas?" Church and state, people, church and state.

Anyhoo, I've decided to stay in tonight. I'm still not feeling 100%, and some pizza and tea sounds good to me. I've got DVDs to watch and video games to play, and m&ms to eat. Maybe I'll throw on my John Denver and the Muppets Christmas CD and try to get in the holiday (ha! Take that Bill O'Reilly) mood.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Apologies, oh Internet

So I've already fallen behind on my post-a-week pledge, but hopefully I can get back on track again. It's too easy to put this on the back burner and attend instead to tasks that require far less mental effort.

At any rate, things have been a little crazy chez Passimenterie lately. My vacation week was nice, but while I relaxed a lot, I didn't get any of my many chores done. The apartment is a mess, I'm behind on my secret santa gifts, my Christmas crafts, and even my bill paying. I don't seem to want to do anything requiring the least bit of work or effort. I haven't cooked anything that didn't involve opening a can or reheating things, and I can't think of the last time I worked out. I'm slumping again.

Maybe the holiday season will help. I do have lots to look forward to right now. So much, in fact, that I think I need to go. Those netflix DVDs won't watch themselves, you know.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

If I can make it there...

I love New York. I really do. I didn't get there until I was in graduate school, but it was love at first sight. We came in January, for Americana Week at the auction houses. We visited the New-York Historical Society, Christies, and Sotheby's. It was cold and gray as the van drove us down along Central Park. There wasn't any snow -- that would come in a few days, and the park's trees loomed large and skeletal out the window. I grew up in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, and so was completely unfamiliar with cities that have actual street life. Seeing all the people, the corner stores with fruit and flowers right out on the sidewalk, the landmark buildings -- it was like the millions of hours of New York-based television and movies I'd seen all come to life. That day the romance started, and subsequent visits have kept my love alive.

I visited on my own, with friends and family. I rode the Ferris wheel on Coney Island and ate chili fries on the subway. Explored the vacant lots of Brooklyn, seeing them not through my own narrow vision but instead through the eyes of friend who is a poet and artist. I walked by the World Trade Center without giving it a thought, and then mourned the holes in the skyline, the ground, and in the lives of thousands of people only a few months later. I saw the Gates on a snowy day, and they and the city which they decorated took my breath away.

I've had cocktails at the 21 club and hot dogs in Central Park. I've discovered the wonders that are Zabar's and H& H. And yes, Katherine, they are indeed the best bagels in the world. I once snuck in to use the bathrooms at an exclusive private establishment (sorry, I can't name names) and have attended at least one expensive charity benefit (hopefully there'll be more). I saw a Broadway show and heard jazz in a dim basement club. I've frequented numerous museums and art galleries. I've stayed with friends in tiny apartments and visited palatial residences with better art in the bathrooms than most people will ever own. I even had a celebrity sighting or two (Harry Shearer -- Principal Skinner was thisclose to me!) The city has it's problems, and I'm certainly not blind to them, but when I think about New York I do it with stars in my eyes. It is a magical city for me, and I hope it always will be.

When this weekend ends I will have gone to the city three times in a week. That's excessive by my standards, but the multiple journeys were necessitated by a number of happy coincidences. Every time I go to New York, I get more familiar and more comfortable. I don't think I stand out like a country mouse come to town anymore, although that's probably wishful thinking. Even if I lived there, I'm not certain I could be a real New Yorker. It's the Southern in me, I guess. I can't not look people in the eye, can't pretend I don't see them. I smile at children and dogs and I don't intend to stop. I have, however, mastered the fine art of ignoring the people who stand on corners and hand out flyers, or try to. I still say sorry to them as I brush by. Old habits die hard.

I think what I love most about the city is the sense of possibility that I feel there. Anything can happen, and anything just might. My excitement builds as the train draws close to the station, even if I'm just coming in for a business meeting, and when it pulls away on its journey back home, I feel a pang, missing the lights and action already. I want to be a part of it, New York, New York!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Stitching and bitching

I've always loved craft projects of any kind. Give me some yarn or some felt or some glitter and a glue gun, and I'm a happy camper. A happy sparkly camper. I learned to crochet in college and taught myself to knit shortly thereafter. Although I've never attempted anything that wasn't rectangular (scarves and afghans only), I really love the acts of knitting and crochet. The instant feeling of accomplishment as your piece takes form before your eyes, the soft click of the needles, the wrestling with the cat over that oh-so-tempting flying yarn. Every now and again I remember how much I like yarn-based crafts, haul out my supplies, and make a scarf. This is especially useful now that I live in New England where scarves are actually a useful item of clothing. In Texas, our scarves are more decorative than anything else.

When I started crafting again this time, I resolved to finally conquer knitting. The last time I attempted this, which was last Christmas, I believe, I nearly tore my hair out. There was tangled yarn, phantom increases, and chaos in the streets. This time, I approached the thing carefully and with great determination. Now I have a ribbed scarf. It's a lovely soft grey and it's nearly long enough to finish off. To inspire me to master the fundamentals of the craft, I looked at a number of knitting books. One of my favorites was Stitch n' Bitch. I liked the title, and the fact that it seemed modern and hip, unlike the straight out of the early 80's models who adorned my "Teach Yourself to Knit in Just One Day" pamphlet. I liked the book so much that I resolved to join my local Stitch and Bitch group.

I signed up on their mailing list and proceeded to think of two months' worth of reasons not to go to the meetings. It's too hot, I'm too tired, I have too much work, I don't want to move my car (hey, if you don't have on-street parking, you just don't understand). Last week I finally ran out of excuses and went. I can't believe I was nervous about going. I had a wonderful time and met some very nice people. I went again tonight, and felt great afterwards, and my scarf is nearly done!

I often let my shyness and insecurity stop me from doing things I really want to do. The excuses I created to avoid going to the meetings were all about avoiding doing something I was nervous about. I used to do this all the time when I was a kid. I'd whine and cry about going somewhere strange or new. I'd tell Mom I didn't want to go. She'd bargain with me. If I went and stayed for some pre-set amount of time (say half an hour) then I could go home. I'd grudgingly agree, sure that we'd be heading home as soon as the clock allowed. Needless to say, nine times out of ten, I stayed that half hour, and then some, and didn't want to go home. Mom always says that once you get there, you'll like it. And once again, she's right.

Getting my blog on

I don't know what to say. I really shouldn't feel so badly about this since I'm the only person who knows this blog exists, but I feel terrible about how long it's been since I last posted and how infrequent my postings have been. I love to write, and feel that I'm actually not a half-bad writer, but the fact that I can't even seem to manage a blog entry or two a week really doesn't seem to bode well for that writing career I like to dream about.

There's been so much going on in my life in the past few months, not to mention all the world and national events that have been weighing heavily on my mind, that I really ought to be rolling in material for good posts. But I just can't seem to sit down and type them out. I'd like to blame my schedule, or my computer, or my super-slow internet connection, but they're not really the things responsible for my silence. I'm just lazy, and it's easier to compose blog entries in my head while I'm in the shower, or drifting off to sleep, or spacing out during a meeting.

But lately, these past few weeks, I feel like I'm really on the verge of something. I hope it's a new beginning, for me and the blog, rather than a nervous breakdown. I'm ready to make a number of changes in my life, hopefully I can write about some of them here. I'm trying for a goal of one post a week for now. That doesn't seem too much, and presumably it will be something I can remember to do weekly, like taking out the trash or moving my car for the street sweepers. With that goal in mind, here's a post for this week.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

We're trying this again, again.

Okay, here I go again. I'm going to try to update this sucker more often. Maybe if I don't even attempt profundity, it will be easier to think of things to type.

Spurred on by a friend's visit in the past few days, I decided to do more blogging. I miss having someone to chat with all the time. It's much harder to be funny by myself.

Ten random thoughts I had today

1. Why are grumpy doctors with Vicodin addictions so very, very attractive? But only on t.v.

2. What would you call the scent of all the Yankee Candle company flavors combined? Harvest Headache? Morning migrane? Lily of the upper respiratory congestion?

3. IKEA is one of the most wonderful places on earth. Mmmm... cheap meatballs.

4. Baby shoes are very tiny and very cute.

5. Sometimes I should listen to the people who tell me that certain things are bad for me. Reading this was a very bad idea. I can't ever unknow what happens in the book.

6. Reading this was a very good idea. I checked it out of the library solely because the Decembrists wrote a song about her. It was fabulous, and now I'm really looking forward to the rest of the series.

7. I don't want to go back to work tomorrow.

8. I think my mailman hates me. My mail keeps getting delivered later and later every day.

9. I love my ipod. Love it. I named it Willie. I love it.

10. Thanks for the chocolates Jennifer. They're delicious!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Here we go again!

So we'll try this once more. This is even harder than a paper diary really. Not only can I not write these entries in bed (the phone cord to my modem doesn't stretch that far), but I have the added pressure of knowing that there just might be someone out there who might actually read this. The diary, though lockless, is far more secure in that respect.


things that are making me smile today:

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (I especially like anything with the kittens)
Did you know you can get Dallas on DVD?

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Up up and away

Saw The Aviator today. It didn't feel like a 3+ hour movie, at least not until the end. Although I enjoyed the film for the most part (Gwen Stefani? really? was there no one else in Hollywood willing to dye their hair platinum blonde? After all the buildup she got for this part, I was pleasantly gratified to see that she was only on screen for a minute or so. Not a big fan.), it was really the audience that got to me.

The coughing, the getting up to go to the bathroom (ok, it was a long movie, but come on, did you have to stand there in front of the screen for five minutes before and after your potty break? Let me help you out here. He was crazy when you got up to go and still crazy when you came back.), the whispering, and the goddamn cellphones. I heard at least four ringing during the movie. At least nobody started having a conversation in the middle of the film. They have silent and vibrate features for a reason, people! Use them.

There, I feel better.

The movie was fun, and it was also beautiful .. the sets, costumes, etc., were gorgeous. Beautiful 1930s and 40s Hollywood art deco glamour. I thought they dressed Katharine Hepburn wonderfully. And the Coconut Grove and Howard's place (before he started stashing pee bottles everywhere) were great, if a bit overly green (seriously, there were other colors available for interior decorating besides green, black, and red). Given my profession (material culture and art history) I always notice sets and costumes, and these were great. Some of my friends in the field can't turn off their internal "Historian" switches. They're always criticizing even the smallest on-screen details. I get like that too, mainly when the movie is really horrible already or when they're butchering a time and a place I love dearly (Hello The Patriot, I'm talking to you! on both counts!), but for the most part I can turn off the scholarly part of my brain when I have to and just enjoy the action. This time, I was having too good a time to do much nit-picking, but I didn't really notice anything egregious to pick apart. There was a little too much naked ranting and shaking though. Martin? Leo? I get it, he's going crazy! He's obsessive! He's compulsive! He likes to drink milk! It was nicely telegraphed with just a few scenes. No need to go overboard, but I guess it does help emphasize the OCD part when even the film seems to keep repeating itself.

Now it's time for another work week. Things are going to be hectic, plus I've got jury duty. I've always wanted to serve on a jury. I thought it would be kind of cool. So could they summon me during the year I spent as a substitute teacher with the world's most flexible schedule? No! They decided to wait until one of the two busiest months of the year for my department, at a time when I'm right in the middle of several major projects. And in the winter, no less? At least the weather is supposed to be good, or so The Weather Channel says. I do want to do my civic duty, though, so I hope that if I do get chosen it will be on an interesting (and short case)