Thursday, March 30, 2006

Things I Carry . . .

the contents of my purse right now:
  • wallet - which contains: 4 metro cards only one of which I know definitely has money on it, a miniature, outdated subway map from 2000, business card of a hair stylist I have never used in SLC, an EasyInternetCafe card from 4/10/03 that had $1.25 on it and expired 4/17/03; 2 DC metro cards (one for $4.95 and one for $1.65); NY driver's license; bank card; 3 credit cards; BR card plus $50 gift card I am not sure I have used; Delta, NWA and US Airways frequent flyer cards; two 37 cent stamps; Thaifoon lunch club card; Costco card; Wage Works Health Care card; Blockbuster card; 4 Cafe Rio cards; 2005 calendar card; Gateway parking validations; cash
  • ipod - fatty big one because I bought it a month before they shrunk
  • business card holder with cards - including cards of other people
  • matches from Tamarind, an Indian restaurant I went to in February sometime (I sort of collect them, or at least obsessively horde them)
  • opera ticket stubs (Luisa Miller ony a week old)
  • movie ticket stub (Memoirs of a Geisha from 1/21/06)
  • Ricola cough drop
  • button that I need to put back on a sweater
  • strange blue hard candy/mint of unknown origin
  • one blue uniball vision micro pen - my favorite
  • blackberry holster (blackberry is on my desk)
  • cell phone
  • glasses
  • checkbook
  • receipt from Hallmark (from yesterday)
  • empty metro card
  • small moleskin notebook - gift from my sister so I can try and be creative
  • highlighter
  • visitor pass sticker
  • sunglasses
  • blue ticket that reads "Keep this Coupon" of unknown origin
  • leather gloves - don't they know it is spring finally and I don't need them anymore! at least not today
  • trial size Clinique deep comfort body butter
  • trial size Lather yuzu bergamot moisturizer (that's what the label tells me)
  • inhaler (incidentally, I have never used this one but feel compelled to keep it with me in case I have to run away from muggers or something and need to stave off an asthma attack)
  • 1/22/06 tithing slip receipt
  • pay stub from early March
  • visiting teaching assignment slip
  • ATM receipt from 3/16/06
  • Orrick pen
  • chewed gum in a wrapper (eww, in the garbage now)
  • one Hershey's caramel kiss
  • stem from a rose (don't ask why/how)
  • a paperclip
  • two pennies
  • a twist tie
  • keys: two for my apartment, one for my mailbox and one for the desk in my old office and a small swiss army knife
  • gum wrapper
  • another Ricola echinacea orange-spice cough drop
  • Clinique glosswear for lips sheer shimmers in Mystic
  • a bobby-pin
  • a hair elastic
  • small lipstick mirror
  • Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm
  • Mac Viva Glam lip gloss
  • Clinique Teddy Bear lip stick
  • Clinique Black Honey Glosswear for Lips
  • a New York City postcard
  • my work id card (although right now it is actually on top of my desk)
  • contacts case
  • two OB tampons

sometimes my purse also contains:

  • extra pair of shoes (heels that I don't want to wear walking to work)
  • book/magazine to read although my walking to work has all but eliminated that
  • smallest umbrella possible that still seems to weigh my down by an extra 10 pounds
  • bottle of water
  • various and miscellaneous items that I feel compelled to lug between work and home

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

disappointments

do you ever have disappointing food days. days when no matter what happens your food just doesn't turn out quite right? to the point where your taste buds are threatening a strike unless you immediately start sending some chocolate their way? today was that day for me.
it started normal enough (mostly). every morning i eat oatmeal from the cafeteria in my office. this morning i picked up my usual and brought it back to my desk and stopped in the pantry to get a glass of milk to add to the oatmeal and to drink - this is my one real shot at calcium in its natural form. i opened the pantry fridge which is normally stocked with a large quantity of milk products from half & half and whole down to fat free. this morning there were only two cartons - half & half and whole. i was paralyzed. i couldn't ride the elevator back down to the second floor during the morning rush (sometimes a 15 minute round trip ordeal) just to add milk to my oatmeal. but i couldn't eat it all thick without milk to loosen it up and cool it off. plus i needed the milk to take my vitamins. who drinks water with oatmeal? so i took a small amount of whole milk and marveled at its exceedingly white color - i really had no idea milk could be so white. i poured a bit in my oatmeal imagining the whole fat from the milk jumping immediately to my stomach or inner thighs. then i heard a rustling in the pantry and went back in to discover one of the cafeteria people stocking the fridge and i was able to rescue breakfast with some skim milk - i really am neurotically addicted to my breakfast routine.
at lunch i was running errands (i had to pick out a birthday card for a partner i barely know in connection with my event planner duties - see post below) and i decided to pick up my favorite sandwich at pret a manger, my favorite "fast food" out there. pret has these fresh, unique pre-made sandwiches that i love and craved when i lived in utah. i was in a hurry after wasting far too much time in hallmark but i kept getting blocked out by a large man from the refridgerated shelf with the sandwich i wanted. i would try and go to his left and the large man swayed left, i'd go to the right and he swayed right. i was almost ready to yell "just pick a sandwich!" when he finally lumbered off. i saw a couple of piles of baguette sandwiches and grabbed what i thought was my favorite - tomato, basil and brie. i then rushed back to my office to eat it and . . . discovered i grabbed the wrong sandwich!! once again i was helpless. it wasn't a bad sandwich - it had tomato, mozzarella and some sort of meat (maybe chicken) soaked in balsamic vinegar - but it wasn't the sandwich i wanted, the sandwich i crave.
because of the bad lunch experience (and since i didn't eat the whole thing) i got really hungry in the afternoon but was swamped with work and for some ridiculous reason decided to eat the bag of jelly beans that managed to find its way to my desk drawer. i like jelly bellys, i do not like the fat, old fashoned jelly beans that are more pure sugar than flavor. i ate the whole bag (luckily the bag was small) and gave myself a stomach ache.
so by the time i got to dinner i should have reflected on my poor food choices and ordered something good. but no. instead, i decided to save my client some money and grab dinner in the cafeteria. another very bad choice. it was slim pickings. i went with the pasta and vegetables, only to discover upon returning to my desk that the pasta was not only cold but hard. it had been sitting under heat lamps for who knows how long and it was scraped from the side of the pot i'm sure. gross. i ate the cold, nearly flavorless vegetables and now i'm expected to continue to work somehow?
i'm considering raiding the vending machine for a consolation prize since i know my cupboards at home are empty . . . except for the ice-cream and m&ms the Boy bought last night, hmmm.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I am not an event planner

I am a lawyer. However, I was selected by my boss to plan with another associate in my firm's DC office a retreat for our group in Orlando, Florida. The retreat is next week. This thing has nearly consumed my life. I have spent no less than 5 hours on this thing today alone and I am currently procrastinating more work I need to do on this retreat. Not only do we have to create an agenda, coordinate speakers, breaks, rooms, the seating in the rooms, lunches, dinners, breakfasts, cocktail parties and computers for the poor people who drag their work with them. But we are also tasked with the "corporate giveaway" - unfortunately my ipod nano suggestion was shot down. Doesn't sound too complicated until you get into the logistics of figuring out shirt sizes for 30+ people and requesting that the shirts not be pulled out of a cardboard box. Then there are details such as name tags not to be confused with name cards (that sit at each persons seat) oh and then we will have to creating seating charts for dinner and lunches! I even had to specifically request that the tables in our conference room have linen not plastic table clothes and was scorned for even suggesting the Ritz would have plastic! Of course we also have to plan the "fun activities" such as "wacky golf" for integration and a surprise birthday party for one of the partners. Oh and let's not forget the getting to know you game I was put in charge for which I dipped into my "mormon singles ward" activities bin and pulled out the questionnaire of find someone who has . . . and people have to obtain signatures of the person whose child's name is Mary or whatever. Speaking of which I have to circulate the questionnaire tonight so I have some answers to create the game!! Honestly, I think I was truly meant to be a lawyer and not an event planner. Especially when our event planner refuses to be specific and makes me micro manage (I promise it isn't just because I want to).

Friday, March 24, 2006

in honor of the Jazz retiring #32


a little glimpse into my past . . . growing up I was a tom-boy. I loved sports and made several attempts to be good at them but never succeeded. What I was successful at was being a ridiculously overboard Jazz fanatic. In high school I watched almost every Jazz game, I camped out at the Delta Center for playoff tickets and plastered my bedroom in Jazz paraphanelia. Like I said - obsessed.
So one day in 1994, the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college, when I was driving to a concert (either Duran Duran or Van Halen, or maybe it was the Steve Miller Band) at Wolf Mountain (predecessor to the Canyons) and I saw Karl Malone's semi parked in the Hardee's parking lot I insisted my friend pull over so I could meet him. She pulled out her camera and the moment was captured:


Please notice that his legs appear to be smaller than mine because at that time in my life, despite the fact that I was super thin and lean, I wore the biggest clothes I could find. I'm sure you must be enjoying the flannel shirt with the sleeves cut off - did I mention it was 1994?

It gets better. Fast forward to 1996. I was a senior at the University of Utah. I went to school in the morning and worked for a law office in the Judge Building from noon to five. The significance of the Judge Building is that it also housed the Judge Cafe - a favorite dining spot of my hero Karl Malone. When I realized he frequented the place I made it a point to bring my photo into the office . . . just in case. One day it happened. I saw his truck parked outside (yes, I was a marginal stalker), by going up the back stairs rather than using the elevator I could peer into the back of the Judge Cafe where he usually sat. Sure enough, there he was. I ran the 8 flights to the office, grabbed the photo and got some words of encouragement from other staff members to be bold. By the time I got back downstairs he wasn't in the restaurant anymore. I ran outside and he and Gregg Ostertag were just about to get in Karl's truck. I timidly approached. Karl had the driver's side door open and was rummaging around for something. Ostertag asked if I wanted something and I gestured toward Karl. Karl turned around and I grinned and asked him if he would do me a favor. I vividly remember his response, verbatim: "you don't look like you are in a position to be asking for no favors." At first I thought he was being mean and I was crushed and started to back away. But then he laughed and I relaxed and handed him the photo with a pen. He commented on the picture, asked if it was me and agreed to sign it (okay so the signature keeps insisting on posting at the top of the page for whatever reason but it was supposed to fit into the story here).

I think he was the first and likely the last celebrity I have ever asked for an autograph.

p.s. I think I need some tech lessons on posting photos because I am bad at this and I really should be in bed so I'm not fixing it. Sorry it takes up the ENTIRE PAGE!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

the met


Tuesday afternoon I received an email from a co-worker offering two free tickets to an opera at the Met. I have to say I have been dying to see an opera at the Met. Just last week I was looking at the schedule and trying to decide if I should just go on my own or when I should beg my brother and his wife to come down from Boston to go with me. Lincoln Center is one of the most beautiful places in the City at night (the picture above doesn't do it justice). There is a large fountain in the center of the wide plaza and when the Metropolitan Operahouse is lit up and the curtains are drawn back, my favorite painting is illuminated. Two massive Chagall paintings are displayed on the upper level just through the windows. The one on the south end is a vibrant red and feels like a dream. I had to have the tickets.


I text messaged the Boy to see if he could join me and he gave me an enthusiastic YES! response.

We saw Luisa Miller by Verdi. Not a popular opera. Not a famous opera. Not my favorite opera. It didn't matter. It was our first time in the Met and his first opera - and he was excited about it. I loved it. I think he enjoyed it as well, or at least faked it. It was three and a half hours long but I was enthralled and felt the time pass quickly. Of course the opera was a love story. Of course it was tragic. Of course the lovers aren't supposed to be together, they are torn apart by a jeaous intruder and greedy father and ultimately they die in a murder/suicide/murder. Why is that so romantic?

baby photo


so my ward is having this guess whose baby picture activity. I tried to post this earlier today as a choice - which baby photo should I submit. For some reason I couldn't upload any photos. Anyway, I sent in this one. I don't think anyone will think it is me. Of course, asking my mom about baby photos made her want babies. I told her she has three other kids in a better position than I am to grant that request (2 married and 1 engaged). But seriously, wouldn't it be terrible for me not to have babies because look how cute I was! My babies would have to look like me, right? Unless I married someone ugly, which I'm really against for a number of reasons. Especially considering that I don't want ugly babies.

okay, I think this pic is going to be huge as well but I must tell you I checked the "small" option and it is still big. I am just lucky I figured out how to upload a photo.

Monday, March 20, 2006

pilates

This morning was my much-anticipated second work-out with my very own personal pilates instructor. Last Monday morning I met her for the first time and she said nice things about my arched feet and good shoulders and I decided to turn the consultation into a regular thing and pay her way too much money to make my body lean and mean and give me false compliments to make me feel good. Last week was great. I learned how to do some basic exercises on the Pilates Reformer which proved to be less of a torture device than anticipated. In preparation, last night I forced myself to bed at a decent hour and was in the gym by 7:30 a.m. for our appointment, ignoring the strange knot in the pit of my stomach that has persisted since late Friday night and throughout the weekend. Bad idea.
We had made it through 2-3 exercises when I began sweating far more than necessary given my exertion. I tried stripping down to my tank top by removing the long sleeve tshirt I wore for warmth, but to no avail. While my trainer got on the machine to demonstrate the next exercise, I drank some water and immediately had to sit down. My skin felt clammy and I broke into a cold sweat. I feared I was going to throw up or be unable to stand up without collapsing. All I could think of was how would I get the energy to put my shoes on and walk down the two flights of stairs to my apartment. I worried that I was about to pass out. I curled into a ball on the floor and hoped it would pass and apologized for the strange reaction and explained I had ignored a slight stomach ache. The trainer initially thought it was just a moment of wooziness which can happen in pilates or yoga and tried to talk me through it but I fled as soon as I could collect myself enough to put on my shoes and stand. I was grateful to reach my apartment and climbed immediately back into bed where I remained until about 9:30. I tentatively got out of bed and emailed my secretary that I would be late, wondering if I could really make it through a shower and the walk to work.
Once I was up, the rest of the day has passed without incident other than me being wary of all food. But now the knot is back and I'm trying to soothe it with some peppermint tea - unsuccessfully. I don't normally channel my troubles to my stomach, I am typically a head case and get sometimes debilitating head aches from stress. But there isn't anything else I can blame this on other than the trauma of the weekend (which will have to wait for a separate post). Unless of course you count the package of newly discovered chocolate covered nutter butters I devoured with my brother yesterday using the road trip as an excuse to shun all diets. But I think that helped more than harmed, don't you? Why blame innocent chocolate when so many others are worthy of blame.........

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

from the archives: Labor Day 2005

Since my creative juices are being squeezed out by the analytical side of my brain for work I don't have a lot of interest to say. So I pulled the following story out of an email recounting an adventure I had renting a car in Rhode Island.

Prepare yourself, because here is the RI story and I must warn you that there is no need to exaggerate this story because no words can explain the extreme nature of this incident. I spent Labor Day weekend at my aunt and uncle's beach house with their family and my brothers. Beautiful weekend, very relaxing but I was anxious to get back to the city before the late evening traffic so my brother and I could have dinner and enjoy ourselves before I went back to work on Tuesday. I had reserved a car with Hertz in Newport, RI which is about 30-45 minutes from where we were staying for the return drive to NYC. My car reservation was for 11 am but we decided to visit some of the mansions in Newport before leaving and ended up behind schedule. Around 1210 or 1215 I tracked down the number for the local Hertz and called to make sure I could pick the car up a little late. The guy answered "Hertz" but then told me they closed at noon but he would go back if I paid a "service fee" of $30. I asked him what my other options were and he said I could go to the airport in Providence - about a 2 hour round trip drive for my aunt and uncle. My confirmation sheet for the reservation had a detailed listing of hours which indicated this location would be open until 5 so I called the Hertz 800 number to figure out why this place was closed and where the miscommunication occurred and to see what my options were. Meanwhile my uncle drove to another rental agent to see if they were open - both Thrifty and Enterprise were closed and those were the only options. So ultimately I called the Hertz guy back and told him I would pay the $30. I made the mistake early on to tell him that I would just talk to customer service about the mistake in hours on my confirmation and when I said this the guy told me he wasn't "comfortable" renting a car to me. I found this bizarre since I was paying him the service fee and I managed to talk him into returning -- he said it would be 45 minutes. So we had lunch and waited. I felt terrible about the whole thing because it wasn't just me waiting around it was my brother, my aunt, uncle and cousin. The whole "not comfortable" statement made me a little cautious about dealing with this guy. When he finally arrived and opened the Hertz place which was basically a run down old service station with a Hertz sign and a few cars, he seemed really bugged but I wasn't overly friendly toward him. I gave him my license and credit card and when he asked for the $30 fee I told him to put it on the card. He was immediately exasperated with me and said as he explained on the phone this was a cash only fee. He didn't tell me this on the phone and this already extortion sounding "service fee" was making me more and more suspicious. Especially since the 800 number person hadn't heard of such a fee. Very odd. So I asked him for a receipt and he refused. He said he had no way of giving me a receipt. We started arguing because he didn't see why I needed a receipt and I told him to just write it on a piece of paper. He refused. Everything kept escalating and he refused to rent the car to me again. I was pissed. By this time he is yelling and I'm yelling and my uncle tells the guy we aren't leaving until he rents me a car. At which point the guy says he will call the police and we said fine, we weren't leaving. More arguing took place and finally I threatened to sue him for justifiable reliance on an implied contract which got him more mad and he kept saying he didn't sign anything and he wasn't Hertz. Finally he said he would call his manager - which I thought was a good sign. He spoke with the owner for a few minutes and then passed me the phone. I had calmed down and I calmly explained the situation to the owner - that I was willing to pay the $30 service fee but I just wanted a receipt and now he won't rent to me. When I finished talking the man starting YELLING! I was floored! When I tried to ask him something he starting yelling at me to let him talk because he had listened to me and on and on. It was madness. We went back and forth for some time on the phone all the time they were still refusing to rent a car to me simply because I wanted a receipt for what I was now convinced was a $30 under-the-table compulsory bribe. The door to the place didn't have hours posted let alone holiday hours. The guy in the store answered his cell phone twice as "Hertz" and I was beginning to question whether the place had ever been open today. The owner was yelling at me on the phone about how he wanted a "receipt for a receipt" which I still don't know what that meant. I tried being apologetic and said I was sorry for yelling but I really needed to get back to NYC. Then the owner started telling me stories of other women he wouldn't rent to because they were abusive toward him. I was in shock! I couldn't believe these people were really being so belligerent. Finally I gave the phone back to the guy in the store and he spoke to the owner and told him that I had threatened to sue him. They spoke for a while and the phone was passed back to me and the owner said he had instructed this guy to rent the car to me. I thanked him and apologized for how everything had escalated (even though it was his fault) and he warned me he would check my contract first thing in the morning - whatever that means. He kept lecturing me and acting like I was lucky to get the damn car. Very shocking. Ultimately they didn't make me pay the $30 "service fee" (the guy said "it's not worth it") and upgraded my car. Of course the first thing I did when I returned the car was tell them what had happened and the woman couldn't believe it. She called the Newport Hertz office and got the regional manager on the phone who listened to the story and asked what I wanted. I told her to reimburse the cost of the rental which she did and asked that the matter "end" right there. She made some excuses for these people that they had "personal problems" and I realized she had been waiting for my call. As soon as I got to my office Tuesday morning I called Hertz customer service and told them the story because the guy should be disciplined in some way or possibly have his license revoked (he isn't a corporate location but a licensee which he tried to tell me meant he didn't have responsibility for my reservation - wrong). I doubt I will ever know what happens to this guy but it was truly shocking to be berated and yelled at and asked for money just because I was a little late picking up my rental car. I guess this is one of those signs that the care-free days of summer are over.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

spring preview

Yesterday was like a gift. New York winters are miserable to the point you find yourself wondering if the sun is really out there somewhere in those long, dark, cold and windy days working its way back around. Winter in New York is harsh enough to make you forget how miserable August is. That is why days like yesterday are so amazing. Sixty plus degrees after weeks of teens and twentys and on a Saturday when I get to enjoy it.
I started the day at the Avon Salon in the Trump building - you know the one of The Apprentice fame. I was so happy with my new cut and style I decided to stop at the Mac counter at Henry Bendell's on Fifth Avenue to pick out some new eye shadow since the last 3-4 months has been about making due by digging what I can out of samples, some of which are probably years old. I've never ventured into Henry Bendell's beyond the Mac counter because it feels intimidatingly expensive - but the Mac counter feels like an affordable indulgence that I only recently discovered. I explained to the makeup artist who helped me that I needed something new but not heavy that I can wear every day. She went to town. My eyes shone with colors I never would have chose for myself and after probably 50 strokes of mascara per eye lash which I will never replicate but somehow didn't look overdone when she did it. So when she asked if I would like to try blush I let her go for it. And I again conceded when she pushed lip gloss on me. The effect . . . when I left I felt like I had just had a makeover. I felt beautiful. New York was beautiful with the sun shining and I had accomplished all this before noon on a Saturday!
With my make0ver confidence I went to Rue 57 to meet my visiting teaching companion and the girls we teach for our monthly brunch. Here is my confession - I rarely to never actually teach the Ensign message. As I explained to one of the girls I teach - I'm just not like your mother's visiting teacher. I love Saturday brunch in NYC so that is how I accomplish visiting teaching. It feels more like what it is supposed to be - building friendships - than something I am obligated to do.
When four of the six of us were at the restaurant I decided to go in and see how long it would be before we got a table. New York restaurants will never seat you before your full party has arrived - most places strictly enforce this rule. So I was ready to tell the host that we would all be there shortly and see how long the wait was for 6. The other girls waited on the sidewalk as I pushed through the crowd of people in the entry waiting to be seated. I told the host six and he told me to follow someone. I was shocked! No questions asked? I gave the credit to my new makeover and ran back out to grab my crew and not only were we seated immediately we had a fantastic table! Rue 57, as the name implies, is a French bistro-type restaurant that but for the fact that some chairs have their backs turned to the street, could have been picked up off a Paris street corner and onto 57th and 6th Avenue in Manhattan. In honor of the spring preview, all the doors were open to the sidewalk and we had the benefit of being seated indoors but open to the sidewalk. It was beautiful! I was torn between the country omellete and my favorite brunch temptation - French toast. So I split both with someone else.
After brunch I had another rendez vous with the boy. Once again we met at Columbus Circle where he bought sparkling Martinellis and picked up a couple of paper cups and we made our way into Central Park. Who does that on a Saturday afternoon? Apparently the bulk of Manhattan because the Park was jammed. People were rollerblading, biking, jogging, strolling, walking dogs, walking kids, playing soccer, throwing frisbees, lounging on rocks and in places where grass once was and there are signs there might be grass once more. Everyone was happy to shed a few layers and enjoy the gift - knowing it was fleeting. We staked out a sunny patch of dirt and soon-to-be grass and drank our Martinellis. I couldn't get over what a great day it was.
But it wasn't over - we walked through more of the Park at one point he looked at me and said "WOW! Your eyes are bright!" Thanks again to my Mac makeup artist - I should stop by there before every date. Then we went to MoMA - my favorite museum in the City. Unfortunately it did not turn out to be his but he made an effort. The date was supposed to end soon but it kept going. We decided to get some food and he was excited to introduce me to the "best hamburger in NYC" when I had to break it to him that I don't eat hamburgers. By his reaction you would have thought I had just told him I'm actually from another planet. He quickly asked "you aren't a vegetarian are you?" He tried his best to convince me and we went to the famous hamburger spot tucked in a corner of Le Parker Meridian hotel lobby. It is a no-name, tiny, cramped, greasy burger spot with no name and a handwritten menu with a sign stating "If you don't know what you want, go to the back of the line." All the tables were full with others waiting to swoop in at any sign of departure. The smell of grease and burgers was a bit overpowering for me but he endured MoMA so I endured this and was grateful to see they offered a grilled cheese alternative.
Waiting for our food in the cramped space between the tables and the line, I ran into someone I know. I am both surprised when I run into people I know in the City and surprised that it doesn't happen more often. Since they were also Mormon singles I wondered if my date knew them and whether he was uncomfortable with being spotted - with his arm around me and possibly my head on his shoulder. We haven't discussed whether we are "stealth dating" as I call it or whether we are open. Not having dated in the NYC Mormon community I don't know how to deal with it. I have watched others take different approaches. You see, the community is so small that if you are open and others know you are dating then you are automatically a couple and then the questions start and people try to involve themselves. But I have known others who took the stealth thing to ridiculous extremes trying to hide a budding romance the way they would guard an illicit affair. I don't know what path we are on. I like keeping it private while it is uncertain but I'm not sure I want to hide.
His name was called so he collected our food while I talked, when he returned I introduced them all and not seeing a table and needing an exit from the run-in, we decided to take our food back to my place. We didn't discuss the encounter.
The evening ended with a bus ride to my apartment with the greasy bag of hamburger, dinner and a movie. The original intention was to go to a stake singles thing but we both blew that off in favor of staying put and enjoying each other in solitude.

Friday, March 10, 2006

my dysfunction

I just looked at the calendar and realized that it has barely been over two weeks since my record fell and yet I feel as if I have been on this wacky ride of whatever it is that is evolving here with this guy for much longer. Is that a bad sign? So far the pattern has progressed like this: he kissed me, I was entertained but not sure how interested I was; he called me again, I started to think he has potential; silence for a day or two and I deem him a player and vow to ignore him; he calls/texts/shows up and I see him as having potential again; I feel myself starting to like him and I freak out and become defensive. I can recognize that I am a piece of this dysfunctional pattern but I think the problem is he is also dysfunctional, just in a different way.
He tells me he needs to go slow because he just broke up with someone. I'm good with slow because fast freaks me out. But then we saw each other Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. Does that sound slow to you?

Wednesday night was the best, except for the miscommunication (which is far too common) where I thought we were having dinner and he thought not so ate in advance. We met at the Shops at Columbus Circle which is one of my favorite places in the City. It is new and modern with a window several stories high looking at Columbus Circle and into Central Park. We wandered around a bit there and then I picked up some dinner at the Whole Foods in the basement. I was slightly annoyed with him when we initially met up (he has not completely clued into the irritable until fed thing I have going on) due to my dinner presumption but when we were in Whole Foods something switched. I was taken aback at the way he acted toward me and around me in public.

As an aside, I must explain that my last boyfriend was very affectionate but only if we were absolutely isolated from the world. He had a "no hand-holding at Home Depot" rule and it was huge for him to hold my hand or put his arm around me in any kind of public setting - especially at my parent's house for dinner. This was after several months of dating and after serious discussions involving our future and long after we had affixed labels to each other (you know, "boyfriend/girlfriend").

So when I am standing in line at Whole Foods with my soup and corn bread along with the 50 other people who decided to get in the 10 items or less "express" line on a Wednesday night at 8:30, I was startled when he started rubbing the knots in my shoulders and the way he looked at me, then again when he took my grocery bag out of my hand and carried it so I could latch onto his arm as we walked. I was surprised when at the pharmacy he casually draped his arm around me while we waited to drop off my prescription. I was the one thinking what if I see someone I know? I have a neighbor I run into at CVS all the time! I wasn't uncomfortable with the affection - it felt good. I was uncomfortable, no, I was confused by the implications of such outwardly public affection. He was relaxed with me. If he was relaxed with me and I became relaxed with him I might start thinking of him as my boyfriend but that isn't slow and this is too early so do you understand my confusion?

So how did I handle that? Later that evening when he explained that he felt "comfortable" for the first time in a long time I decided to stir that up and make him unsettled again. Fixated on my own need for clarity, control and predictability (and forgetting how young this undefined, unlabeled thing is) I questioned and challenged it. I told him for me to be more comfortable I need plans more in advance of an hour or even a day. I want my time respected and if he couldn't do that now then we would just have to wait and try again later. I wasn't quite that harsh or blunt but the message was the same and I had to clarify that I wasn't trying to make him "commit" to a "relationship" I was only asking him to inform me of whether or not we would have plans on Friday or Saturday night so I know how to proceed.

Hopefully right about now you are thinking - what the hell is wrong with you?? I get all worked up in my head fearing the worst that I forget the reality here - a boy likes me, I like him. Why can't I leave it at that? He has said multiple times that I "intrigue" him. How great is that? I need to leave it alone and let whatever happen just happen. If I have plans when he wants to see me, fine we can schedule another time. I don't need to have it all scheduled out. Too bad I don't operate that way.

So you probably think all of this means he has now disappeared or faded away. Wrong. I called him yesterday when I got home from work with the intention of asking him to do something Friday night - feeling I should take some control and make the plans that were somehow lost in the discussion from the night before. Before I had an opportunity to ask about Friday, he informed me he was not too far away and invited me to meet up with him and a couple of his coworkers at a bar near my place. He didn't want to come to my place because he needed to get home early. I agreed. I did my fastest make-up reapplication ever and thanked all of my weightwatchers points counting for allowing me to fit comfortably in a pair of jeans that looked good and ran off to meet him at Cosmo, what turned out to be the smallest bar I have ever been in. I think it may have been smaller than my living room, if my living room had a giant bar in the middle.

No more comfortable public interaction. We were with his friends in an odd setting - not principally because it was a bar but because it was such a strange, small bar with about 12 people all of whom were somehow connected to his co-workers. I felt conspicuous which resulted in immediate social awkwardness on my part. At one point he got a call and ended up outside for what felt like ages but may have been five minutes while I chit-chatted with his co-worker. He made a couple of efforts to touch my leg or my hand but I think I may have been the uncomfortable one and it wasn't the same as the night before.

Ultimately we made our exit and he volunteered to walk me home, even though he had vowed to go home early. Nothing was smooth. When we got out of my elevator on my floor he suddenly said he needed to go home. I convinced him to come in for five minutes which passed fairly clumsily while we stood in the foyer trying to schedule something for the weekend. Then he left. I questioned the jeans and make-up and getting done up for nothing. He was remote, but mostly just appeared very tired. After he left I changed into pajamas and planted myself in front of the tv. A few minutes later I thought I heard something, then the doorbell rang. Strange. I opened the door and he was standing there - he came back. Honestly the awkwardness didn't get better but I think we are just two fairly dysfunctional people trying to feel our way through, or into, . . . . . something.

p.s. as a disclaimer, I never intended this blog to be my social therapy but I also decided to let myself write on whatever inspired me. For better or worse, this is what is rattling around in my head and needs an outlet and this is the available outlet.

good news!

Apparently venting on a blog about pet peeves can have an impact somehow, someway.

Almost buried and overlooked in my work email inbox I discovered a farewell email that was addressed to the entire firm from germy-hand girl - today is her last day! I will no longer have to live in paranoia that she has used the same copy machine or touched the handle on the fridge in the pantry. I will probably still use a paper towel to exit the bathroom, but the garbage can right outside the ladies room can attest that I'm not alone in that precaution. It will be interesting to see if people adjust the habit after germ girl is gone.

What a nice little Friday gift for me and my co-horts on the 18th floor.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

work pet peeves

  • ridiculously slow elevators
  • people who YELL when they are on a phone call but refuse to shut their office door
  • the girl who never, yes I said never, washes her hands in the bathroom
  • the fact that said girl knows she is gross and only leaves her stall and dashes out when everyone is safely out of sight behind a stall door
  • the too shiny, black faux-marble floors in the bathroom that are far too reflective
  • there are only 3 stalls in the women's bathroom for the ENTIRE floor
  • the fact that gross non-hand washing girl digs her grubby little paws into the communal candy dish
  • that it is ALWAYS cold, and yes I am wearing a sweater, sometimes I wear a sweater and a pashmina
  • that everytime I print the printer insists on printing an extra page with 3 inches of my initials, like I don't know what I'm printing or that someone else will think my stuff is theirs - they can figure it out
  • no recycling bin in my office
  • explanation from cleaning lady that they dump it all in the regular garbage anyway
  • explanation from building management that someone sorts it out later - like hell they do
  • obnoxious co-worker who insists on planting himself in my office to chat despite my not so subtle hints that "I need to meet a friend in 30 minutes" or "I'm trying to finish this document soon" or the fact that I keep typing without fully turning my attention away from my computer
  • the creepy window cleaner on the other side of my window at 9:15 am - I'm on the 18th floor - how am I supposed to work with someone staring back in at me like that?
  • did I mention how cold it is in here?
  • the fact that I am unable to make my ergonomically advanced chair truly comfortable to sit in for 12-14 hours at a time

Sunday, March 05, 2006

the grand gesture

This guy has some sort of sixth sense for determining when I'm about to write him off completely. Last week I was feeling frustrated with him for reasons unknown to me today and he asked me to meet him at Starbucks at 3:00 in the afternoon on a Thursday. It was great. He squeezed me in - it was flattering and slightly romantic. It was probably romantic because the weather was what the news called "a wintry mix." It was raining when we walked the block from my office to Starbucks and we stayed for an hour watching the rain turn to hail to slushy snow and then clear up.
Last night I was done. I decided I didn't trust him, I wasn't ready to get involved because I didn't see that he had the same level of committment. I decided that if he called I wouldn't pick up because I couldn't be trusted to not become confrontational. We had talked about having dinner tonight but I tentatively told another guy (I'm not interested in) I would go to his place. Instead. . . my streak breaker showed up at my apartment - by surprise. I was cleaning my oven (more accurately it was cleaning itself) and trimming my plants. The whole apartment smelled from the oven and my kitchen had potting soil and plants and clippings all over. I was wearing an old gray long sleeve t-shirt I have had for over ten years. Not really ready for a surprise date. We ordered dinner (the oven was occupied) and watched the Oscars. It was fun and flattering and the gesture is keeping me cautiously attached.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

sabotage

I suppose you don't make it to 30 single without some relationship issues. One always prefers to point fingers and blame someone else for the why and how of it all because really, I can't be the cause of the effects I am currently living.

Do you ever stop, take a look around yourself, or within yourself, and wonder - is this really my life? For better or worse, the good and the bad - this is really it? I'm never quite sure what I expected and I generally cannot clearly articulate what I thought the alternate path would bring or that there would be something better but ten years ago I certainly did not envision my life would take me to a one bedroom apartment in the middle of New York City.

Ten years ago right now, March 4, 1996 I was married but I knew I was speeding toward a crash course ending. I was fighting it. On March 4th I was discouraged but probably retained some optimism; I think it was more toward the middle of March that he was arrested and my denial was forced to surface. That life is like a bad movie I watched once long ago - something faded and blurred with small vivid points that make me grateful the rest is in a fog. Like standing at the top of the stairs of my split entry apartment wondering why this policeman was in my house asking me if he used an open or closed fist while I looked past him into the spare bedroom where another policeman stood waiting for Mitch to put on his shoes before the policeman put the handcuffs on him. All I could think to say is wouldn't they let him put his socks on with his shoes. The police officer inspected my arm. My dog was shut in the downstairs bathroom barking, more police at the door and my dad being restrained by them when he realized why they were there. I wasn't sure then how my dad got there, how did he know to come? The longest night of my life. Lying in bed alone with the lights on, waiting for the phone to ring, unable to go sleep, sobbing, trembling, wondering how life would ever progress past that one night.

I like to think that experience has not tainted me. I generally believe there are no lingering effects of Mitch calling me naive for trusting him. But there are.
The truth about why I got married at 20 years old is I was lonely. Not your average lonlieness of a Saturday night with no one around to keep you entertained. The dark heavy loneliness that envelopes you, the loneliness you wear around you like a shield against society. I had such a fear of rejection and being alone I let myself get married because then I would always have someone, not realizing there was no place more lonely than a one-sided marriage.

After the separation, throughout the divorce and for a while beyond I was still driven by the fear of being alone. That fear drove me into another ill-suited relationship that lasted longer than my marriage. Then I recognized it. I was running from it - why not embrace it? Why not become absolutely independent - do everything alone as a choice. It was empowering. I started traveling alone. I decided to live alone. I started going to movies alone. My lonelieness became a comfort. If I welcomed it, it could not control me. No one could judge my solitude or what I did with it. No one could hurt me with it because loneliness and I are well acquainted. As long as I feel it is my choice it doesn't feel so harsh and somehow it was ennobling. I can go anywhere and do anything I want without waiting for someone else to want the same thing.

But fierce independence has its price too.

When someone starts to draw me out of my solitude, reaches in and pulls me out . . . I don't always know how to react. When the extended hand pulls me out into a full embrace the transition is smooth and I can enjoy the transition. But when the pulling out is slow and a bit jerky, I want to let go and turn it down. That is the point at which I am right now. A hand has been extended, a few quick encouraging tugs, then. . . I'm back in the dark, alone and confused. I know the hand hasn't been withdrawn but if I get used to it being there, the return to solitude will be that much more difficult. Right now I'm still here, I haven't made the adjustment. The disappointment would pass quickly.

So I slip into sabotage mode. I lose trust, I doubt everything, I become suspicious of intentions and I retreat to the warm, familiar comfort of my seclusion. I push back and my sarcastic tongue reveals contrary emotions. These are the times my heart doesn't feel whole enough to take the risk of being involuntarily thrust back into isolation after being reminded, even briefly, how comforting it can be to have someone to lean on.

Alumni Dinner

I realize that most people don't have the opportunity to have a fancy all-expenses paid dinner at swanky NYC venues paid for by a former employer . . . but life is different here. Last night I was able to enjoy a mini-reunion with a few of my closest friends courtesy of the stodgy law firm that brought us all together as baby lawyers straight out of law school. Sure, we had to dodge former undesirable collegues and partners we didn't want to get trapped in a conversation with but I didn't mind too much because it was a free dinner with my friends at
  • Cipriani
  • .

    The highlight of the night was the chocolate souffle......mmmmmmm.

    Thursday, March 02, 2006

    my secretary

    Preface
    I am writing this post at the risk of sounding spoiled and snobbish to those of you who do not have secretaries or who may in fact be secretaries. Please note first that I have worked as a receptionist, secretary, stenographer, legal assistant, warehouse worker and briefly as a Cinnabon person (whatever you want to call it). I do not look down on secretaries because I am a lawyer. Besides, I think this should bother any co-worker because who gets this many days off anyway?

    * * * *

    This morning I arrived in my office to a blinking light on my phone. I left the office close to 11 pm last night and it was just after 9 am so no one could be too upset for having missed me. Then I glanced out the window and realized the message must be from my secretary - a very light snow was falling. Sure enough the message was left at 4 something am - the ungodly hour that my secretary leaves her home somewhere in rural Pennsylvania to board some bus to NYC so that she can arrive by 8 am. Today's message said something to the effect that "there is already a sheet of ice in my driveway so I won't be in today." Like it is just understood that a sheet of ice makes it impossible to leave one's home.
    Over the last couple of months of a fairly mild winter I get these types of messages on a near weekly basis with a seemingly increased frequency as of late. Here are some of my favorites - always in a tired, put upon, slightly groggy voice with a "If you need me, you can reach me at home" thrown in at the end:
    "I tried to drive to the bus stop this morning and the car slid into the ditch, I twisted my knee climbing out and won't be in today."
    "Last night coming home from the Christmas party my car ended up in a ditch and I didn't get home until 3 am, I won't make it into the office."
    "I had a rough night last night and won't make it in."
    "I had another episode last night and can't make it into the office."
    "blah blah blah menopause, can't make it in today." [really, she said menopause!]
    "my back is acting up again and I won't be in today."

    and the list goes on - these are just some of the hightlights. I honestly get one just about once a week. Today was unusual because it is on a Thursday rather than a Friday or Monday where she gets to take advantage of a longer weekend. I haven't figured out what her "episodes" are and I don't think I want to know. When she returns from one of these days she will often be limping - never quite sure if it is her back, knee or some other ailment. But the limp is either gone by the end of the day or the next day at the latest. Today's message may be the second this week because I think Monday was the menopause message.

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    Sushi Samba

    Last night around 6 I received a text message from my streak breaker reading as follows: "Dinner... Movie... In bed by 10... What could be better?" Despite the fact that I had just returned to work and had promised myself to work until 9, I told him I could leave around 8. Even though he kissed me last Wednesday, watched a movie at my place on Friday and came to a party at my place on Sunday and called me both on Saturday and Monday - I was still feeling insecure about the whole thing and frustrated that he hadn't asked me out on a real date. I didn't want him to fall into some sort of "hang out/make out" mode. Not exactly what I'm looking for.
    But Sunday night when he came to the birthday party I threw for a friend and stayed until the bitter end . . . talking to the birthday girl, a twinge of jealousy made me realize I kind of like this guy more than I was letting on. I debated back and forth whether he stayed for me or stayed to talk to her. I am not a fan of the ambiguous beginning stages of dating and the emotional roller coaster ride that can ensue once I let me guard down.
    But last night I was excited for dinner, an opportunity to explore what was going on. We work only a few blocks apart from each other and agreed on a restaurant near my office at which to meet. When he arrived he suggested we go somewhere else - Sushi Samba, in the Village. I don't normally leave mid-town during the week but I reluctantly agreed. So we jumped on the subway and started our Sushi Samba adventure. We didn't make it to the Village because when the train stopped at 23rd Street he decided there was one near there and we should get out. After a 10-15 minute walk in the freeeeeeeezing cold we found it - and there was a 20 minute wait. By this time it was 9 pm and I was starving. We waited in the bar and tried to have a conversation in the extremely loud party atmosphere - Sushi Samba was all decked out for Mardi Gras. The hostesses, servers, bar tenders and bus boys all had painted faces and I have to admit I was a bit disappointed because I was hoping for something a bit more intimate so we could talk.
    When we sat down for dinner we were in for another surprise - a naked surprise. Okay, so not totally naked just all but the absolute essentials were out for show - I even saw full naked buttocks. We were seated in a corner of the restaurant that was thankfully a bit more quiet than the bar had been. I was sitting against the wall and my date had his back to the room. A New Orleans style brass band started playing - then the dancing girls came out. Two very scantily clad women with more fabric on their heads in giant feathered headresses than on their bodies jiggled their way down the aisles. My poor date was mortified! He swore there were not normally naked women dancing at Sushi Samba and I laughed and laughed. How often does one go on a date and get to see other women dancing nearly naked? In my case - this was a first. My favorite part is when one of them was behind him and he looked at me and said "she's right behind me, isn't she?" Throughout dinner the music would start back up and my two naked friends would jiggle their way past me - I say jiggle because I believe dancing doesn't really describe what it was they were doing.

    After dinner, despite the time we decided to scout out somewhere for dessert. His first suggestion was ice cream which I immediately vetoed given the 15 degree temperature and we wandered down to Union Square in an attempt to hit Starbucks (another 10 minute walk). We soon discovered that in the city that never sleeps there is an exception for bitter cold Tuesday nights - the city was taking a power nap. After more wandering in the cold with the only benefit being a reason to be very close to him - we decided to go to McDonalds, a place I hate but I assumed they would have hot chocolate. . . normally they would. But last night they were out of hot chocolate, apple pie, cookies - even ice cream! - and basically anything else we could have called dessert. So we sat down at a booth with only the late crew mopping up and a couple of homeless people a few tables away and ended our date chatting in McDonalds.

    Conversation highlights: he admitted he sought me out and he called me "gorgeous". Not-so-high-but-not-necessarily-low-light: he admitted he very recently broke off a serious relationship - I agreed we can be slow but I need to know where I stand. Disappointing but honest.

    Around 1145 we both agreed it was time to go and we ventured back out into the cold. I told him I was taking a cab and at the curb he kissed me. Let me explain the scene a bit better. We were at the curb outside of McDonalds between piles of garbage (and when I say piles I mean mountains of garbage, the kind that always surface late at night in NYC) in the bitter cold . . . but it somehow felt romantic. He hailed me a cab (no boy has ever hailed me a cab, I probably have never let anyone hail me a cab before) and we reluctantly said good night.
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