Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Memorial Weekend marks the beginning of the summer. There is pressure to do something great to kick off the lazy days. Hurry up and get somewhere so you can relax...........here is what I did to hurry up to get somewhere to relax.
- worked until 9:30 pm Friday, I think I was the last person in the entire building to leave for the holiday weekend.
- after walking a mere two avenue blocks up hill in the hazy, smothering humidity carrying two ridiculously heavy bags for a 3 day get-away, I was given a bit of advice from my Korean waxing woman who told me (or at least this is what I got from the gesturing and partial words) I needed to not sweat so much and I should try taking rests every 5 minutes and something about skinny but I don't think she was giving me a compliment about being skinny. I was offended and bewildered and decided it is time to find a new salon.
- I was so upset by the sweating comment that I jumped in a cab and prematurely went to Penn Station to catch my train skipping a couple of essential pre-trip errands (pick up contacts, buy toothbrush).
- Consequently, even after I found a pharmacy in the train station and bought a sandwich and snacks and even after I consumed the sandwich, I was still a good 40 minutes early for my train.
- then the train was 15 minutes late.
- was very productive on the train ride and billed two hours.
- my train was nearly 30 minutes late arriving in Providence, RI which messed up the carefully crafted timing of my brother Jason dropping his wife off at her voice lesson, picking me up at the train and picking her up. We were late.
- arrived at my aunt and uncle's beach house in Little Compton, Rhode Island just in time for dinner - perfect timing.
- took a walk and ended up tracking no less than 4 ticks into the house!! One I found on my head, one on the kitchen wall, one in my bedroom (near my pants from the walk) and someone else found one on the couch where I had been sitting! Luckily none of them implanted themselves in my skin. close call.
- dramatic power outage by simultaneous lightening and thunder clap
- unfortuante coincidental low-battery signal from the carbon monoxide detector that was mistaken for the alarm system. much fumbling around in the dark to disconnect or muffle the beep to no avail. I went to sleep counting the seconds between the beeps - ten. Only to be awaken at 230 am by the house's alarm system when the power came back on.
- mmmmmmmmm, blueberry pancakes for breakfast with Vermont maple syrup. Couldn't help myself and ate stacks and stacks.
- had every intention of taking a serious walk, took a nap instead.
- played soccer in the yard with my cousin's 4-year old son.
- bonfire cook-out dinner on the rocky beach just below the house with the waves crashing close by.
- made the perfect s'more for my grandma (and two for myself). she claimed she had never had one before and wasn't too interested until I explained it had chocolate.
- race-horse rummy around the kitchen table with my grandma, Jason, Nadia and my aunt.
- Grandma's alternating fiesty-ness and sweetness.
- wandering around Providence, RI and exploring Brown's campus
- trying to buy a ticket at the train station only to discover they were sold out until 10:30 pm!!
- renting a car for less than the price of a train ticket and driving back to NYC through Connecticut at 25 mph then 75 mph then 25 mph intervals. I'm convinced that I-95 in Conn is the worst place to drive anywhere. No accidents. No road construction. CT drivers just like to stop and see who is getting on and off the freeway, don't want to miss anything, right?
- returning home to a steamy city and sweltering apartment only to discover the air conditioner in my bedroom makes a noise that sounds like someone is pushing in a door buzzer and refusing to remove their finger. that has to be fixed immediately.
All in all a good weekend to kick off the summer.
Friday, May 26, 2006
If it makes you feel better, I got back and noticed bird sh*t in my hair. :)That made me laugh some more and definitely made me feel a little better.
"'Aging Schedule' classification of trade accounts receivable by date of sale." How nerdy am I that the closest book is the Dictionary of Finance and Investment Terms?
2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can
not sure what this is asking but I can reach the end of my desk
3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
Today Show this morning as I was getting ready for work - I don't watch so much as have it on as background noise, plus I like hearing the weather and having the time and temp on the screen.
4. Without looking, guess what time it is?
5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?
6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?
The Golden Age by Beck - new cd purchase, I've recently become obsessed with Beck
7. When did you last step outside?
8:50 to 9:15 a.m.
8. What were you doing?
walking to work
9. Before you started this survey, what did you look at?
the brief I should be drafting
10. What are you wearing?
skirt, blouse, cardigan, heels
11. Did you dream last night?
not that I remember
12. When did you last laugh?
last night walking home from work around 11 pm talking to my sister on the phone. We were talking about our inside joke songs and after I was imitating one that my brother and I have (the song and the joke cannot possibly be explained or understood by anyone who wasn't there or possibly if you are) she asked if people were looking at me weird on the street. You had to be there but it was good sister fun
13. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
a calendar with elephants, a postcard with a llama sticking out of a cab, a picture of Southern Utah, some of my sister's art work, boring work reminders
14. Seen anything weird lately?
every time I step outside - this is NYC. Most recently I believe I saw the piegon lady on my way to work this morning. She sits on the sidewalk with a bag of bird food and the piegons flock to her and they eat out of her hand and sit on her shoulder. But I've been seeing her almost every morning for a year so she has worked her way in to the norm of my routine and I barely notice her as weird anymore.
15. What is the last film you saw?
The DaVinci Code
16. If you became a multimillionaire overnight, what would you buy?
a nice house for my parents and a great apartment with a terrace overlooking Central Park for me and probably homes and things for my siblings if they would take them
17. Tell me something about you that I don't know.
Here is a confession: I bought a Dixie Chicks song on itunes - it didn't sound country when I heard it so I was surprised they did it. Lullaby. I heard it on Medium Monday night and loved it. Check it out.
18. Do you like to dance?
love it. The other day I was struck with the memory - out of the blue - of going dancing with my high school friends. We were never good but we always had enthusiasm and abandoned all twinges of self-consciousness. When we stood in a circle laughing and imitating each other and those around us we bouyed each other up. It was group confidence. One might say we went a little far with that confidence at times - leap frogging around the church gym, always proud to show anyone, including the chaperones, we wore shorts under our skirts (out of protest of the skirt requirement) and even getting kicked out of an especially large regional singles dance in the early college years. I think that is my favorite dancing memory - yelling at the self-ascribed authority figure for dragging emily out of the dance and telling him I wasn't drunk and I would proudly take a breathalizer. I don't think he believed me. I still like to dance and I generally still manage to dance with abandon thanks to those amazing girls who taught me how to shake it.
19. 5 people who must also do this in their blog.
I'm not sure I have 5 people who read this but here is a try:
Emily (if you are around)
anyone else who wants to try it
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Somewhere in junior high I lost interest in it all. Partly due to lazieness. In the morning I would stay in bed until the last possible moment, then I would roll out of bed, brush my hair and teeth in a mad rush and go directly to school without breakfast. To keep the morning rituals to a minimum, I would shower the night before and kept very low-maintenance long, straight hair. I gave up on perms after 8th grade and made it through the late 80's and early 90's with only a year or so of attempting the big curled bangs that never gained the loft that seemed so important in those years. Failing to cooperate, I allowed my bangs to just curl under or lay flat - constantly cursing my hair line for not being attractive enough to allow me to ditch bangs altogether. No spiral 90's perm for me. I wanted the easy route. I liked sleep and wanted to keep my morning routine to somewhere around 15 minutes from the last snooze to walking out the door. Make-up seemed like a frivolous extra step with little utility.
I know this frustrated my mother. She wanted me to try a bit more. She would optimistically give me the free sample bags she got from Clinique bonus days hoping I would experiment. I never did. At the same time my mother always explained that make-up is to compliment your features, not detract from them. She often told me the secret is to apply make-up subtely so as to appear natural.
During my freshman year of college, Wednesday night was the hot night to go dancing at Rocky's, the lone dance club in Cedar City, Utah. My roommates and I would all go which meant 4-6 girls showering and getting ready all at once. Inevitably I showered first and was ready a couple of hours before it was time to go. All I had to do was pull on a pair of jeans, pick out a shirt and brush my hair.
My roommates took quite a bit longer than that. The more outfits they tried on, the more make-up they applied and the longer they spent in front of the mirror fussing and primping, the worse I felt about how I looked. I tried to answer questions such as "do these earrings go with this belt?" and "should I tie this shirt around my waist or does it not go with my shoes?" but really I was completely lost. How did I know the answer to such questions? My earrings were three mis-matched dinosaur studs or tiny silver hoops. I owned one belt I wore with everything. I only owned a couple of pairs of jeans and both were much larger than my thin frame (I say longingly!!).
Predictably, I was lured into the primping. I began experimenting ever so slightly. I learned that a little mascara and eye shadow made my eyes stand out. I distinctly remember a guy in my major asking me what I had done differently because he had never noticed my eyes before. It was only one of two compliments I ever received at Rocky's (the other from a half-stoned guy that told me I had "kick-ass hair," I guess because it hung down to my ass). From that point forward I wore make-up - not much of it and not every day, but I wore it.
One of the best compliments I ever received was from a then-boyfriend who didn't think I ever wore make-up. As a result of that and my mother's advice, I have always favored the natural look while recognizing my skin could use the concealing and enhancing benefits provided by make-up.
So imagine the validation I felt reading the Thursday Style article in the New York Times entitled "Sans Makeup, S'il Vous Plait". The article is all about how French women (and men!) favor the no make-up look and indulge more in facial treatments to shrink the pores (a beauty secret I'm desparately searching for and would welcome any tips). My favorite quote from the aritcle: "American girls worship the cult of the 'ideal woman.' No part of the face seems to be forgotten. And when you use too much makeup, it means you are hiding from yourself." I guess I'm only hiding from myself a little bit. . . and not at all at 10 pm when what I applied at 8 this morning has all faded away.
I need to thank my mother for teaching me to use make-up sparingly with the goal of looking as if I am not wearing any at all.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Normally a crowd of this size would make me anxious and irritable and send me running in the opposite direction. But this crowd was for the Hell's Kitchen food fest which comes only once a year for two days - well worth enduring the crowds. Besides, when you are strolling through it doesn't seem all that bad. I spent Saturday sharing ribs, calamari, fried plaintains, fruit and fresh squeezed lemonade with a friend. Then Sunday I recruited another friend from church (bad me) to go back for pulled pork sandwiches and sweet potato fries. She really wanted to try the deep fried oreos - I was afraid but also intrigued. So we went searching for them, when we finally decided only one more block . . . she saw the funnel cake stand where she claimed they were made. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) they were sold out. We decided to stick with the fried dessert idea and purchased a bag of deep fried dough things (that were kind of like donuts) rolled in powdered sugar - or more acurately thrown from the vat of grease into a brown paper bag full of powdered sugar.
I clearly enjoyed mine. I guess it really doesn't take a lot to make me happy - just some greasy fried food sold on the street!
Friday, May 19, 2006
When I arrived at the office, it was nice and quiet and I thought how productive I felt to be at work early. I got my oatmeal from the cafeteria and settled in to read emails, several poems (thanks Tiff!) and possibly the Times. One of the partners I work for stopped by to question why I would be here early when I circulated a memo by email at midnight last night. She complimented my work. I felt good. We chatted about various things starting with work related state court appearances and then moving on to her kids, college dorms and restrictive rules. I saw the other partner I was supposed to meet at 9 arrive and I glanced at my watch - only 8:35. It didn't dawn on me that I arrived at 8:30. But when the conversation wrapped up and I looked again at 8:35 on my watch and compared it to the 9:20 on my computer, I realized something was wrong. My watch had stopped.
Luckily there was no meeting, I didn't miss anything.
But now my watch is stuck at 8:35. This is a problem because a) I can't go anywhere without my watch and I feel naked without it, call it a control issue if you must but I really need to know what time it is - at all times; and b) I am really bad at running errands such as replacing watch batteries so who knows how long I will be stuck in this state.
At any rate, even with the bad omen of stopped time and the drearieness of the rain, I am happy it is Friday and am looking forward to the weekend - maybe I will buy a watch battery.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
She was single until almost 5 years ago when she was married at age 38 - ancient in Mormon world. I have never been to a more joyous wedding. I will never forget her smile that day - she glowed. I cried through the whole ceremony out of pure joy for her to finally get this blessing that she had waited so long to receive.
At 38, with a personal and family history of "female problems" she knew the odds of getting pregnant were not favorable. After surgery to remove a large growth, she and her husband became more serious about adoption. After at least four years of waiting and wondering and weighing the pros and cons, no one was sure they were still going to adopt. No one wanted to push or intrude or pick at a sensitive subject. My family is good that way.
Last night, just after I turned out my light to go to bed I received a text message from my dad: "Risa Lennard getting baby boy. Premie now intensive care St. George. Probably will b ok." My parents just bought new cell phones and for the first time have discovered text messaging - usually with pictures. It has been fun. But this was not the type of news you text. I called home and explained this and to get a more complete report.
This morning I called my aunt - once again she was overflowing with joy. Yes, there are some complications with insurance coverage and he is in intensive care but she is a mother and nothing can overshadow that. Once again my eyes teared up as she told me about how it all came about. She is focused on being grateful for the blessing. I should learn from this.
I've always admired her strength and her ability to stay strong despite the lonelieness of being single so long, all the time saying I could never do it. The last several years I have thought it sad that she moved from one difficult trial to the next of not being able to have a baby. I have worried my life could follow the same pattern. But why should I? She is focused on the positive side and has been blessed for it.
I cannot wait to meet my newest cousin Peter Jacob.
Ever since we broke up, probably once a week or so a missed call with his name shows up on my phone. Sometimes I see that he is calling and I contemplate answering and he hangs up before I pick up. Other times I try to answer to put an end to it but again he hangs up before I pick up. It stopped for a while and then resumed last Friday. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt and brush it off as an accidental dial. But this was getting to be too much. Has he not realized that cell phones have caller id? What's more, he must realize that his name is in my phone so each time he hangs up I know it was him. Modern society has wiped out many of the telephone hang-up games we played in junior high and high school.
Last night I was exhausted for no reason at all. I left work around 9:30 and walked home talking to my dad who was particularly chatty because my mom was at some relief society meeting and he was lonely or bored and needed entertaining. When I arrived at my apartment I switched from the handheld receiver to my bluetooth ear-piece so I could change my clothes, straighten up my bedroom and get things done while we finished our conversation. When our conversation ended I was on the couch and my phone was left in the kitchen out of arm's reach.
Shortly thereafter my phone rang. Not caring to get off the couch I tried to answer with the ear-piece. No one was there. Thinking it was a problem with the ear-piece I forced myself off the couch to find the phone. And there it was - 1 missed call. Strange, it only rang once. I hit select to see who hung up and low and behold it was the Boy. Knowing this could not be another accidental misdial I took the phone with me back to the couch and soon forgot to think as the tv wiped out my brain activity.
Until the phone rang again.
1 missed call.
That's it, I decided. I'm calling him back. He answered, he was all normal and nice to hear from you but I'm about to run into institute class can I call you later?
No, you called me - twice. And hung up. Why?
His response: I was nervous.
He rushed off the phone with the confusing promise to call me tomorrow - which is today. When I returned from lunch I noticed my cell phone:
1 missed call.
Plus a text message - from my lunch date (not a real date just the boy I had lunch with). A few minutes later I realized there was also a voicemessage. It was the Boy. He finally left a message and didn't just hang up.
I called him back. It was awkward. He explained that he had listened to a voice message I had left on his phone during the break-up where I told him he never listens. He said that is true and apologized. He went on to tell me that he moved to California and rambled about nonsense. When I thought we were finally going to end the conversation, he said
"You always seem to want more. You give off the impression you are wanting or expecting me to do or say something more."
He called me. He is the one asking to be friends on different coasts. He is the one prolonging a one-sided conversation with no point. How could I be the one wanting more? But the truth is I did want more. That was the key problem with the relationship. I wanted more understanding, I wanted more disclosure, I wanted more excitement, I wanted more romance, I wanted more depth, I wanted more tenderness . . . it wasn't there.
We hung up.
A few minutes later, he called again and asked me "why are British kids always missing teeth in movies?" He thought our call ended on a low-note and wanted to be a bit more upbeat when we finished talking. I think he is hung up on me, on the relationship, on what might have or could have or should have been . . .
He told me to call him sometime and before I responded he said he would call me again soon. I said good-bye.
Then I hung up.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years
Even more disappointing is that one book, "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien, is buried down on the "following books also received multiple votes" list. I read it in college and remember it quite well. I stole the title of one of my posts from it. It is a unique perspective on the Vietnam War - I recommend it. I haven't even heard of most of the other books listed. Although I do own the winner - "Beloved" by Toni Morrison - and it is in my stack of 3-4 books to read next (it has probably been there about a year). Luckily I just finished a book Saturday so my decision is made. Next up: Beloved.
What have you read on the list? Any recommendations?
Saturday, May 13, 2006
"You're so on top of it all and I'm continually impressed by all you manage to do. I really appreciate all of the hard work you put forth toward fhe and visiting teaching! For the first time I really feel like visiting teaching is more about being friends than checking off a list."
I am usually so focused on what I'm not doing - I'm not exercising, I sent out those bridal shower invitations late, my house is cluttered, I never prepare a lesson for visiting teaching, did I mention not exercising enough? - that I forget to allow myself some credit and satisfaction for completing the things I finish or might be doing right. It made my week to have this sweet note waiting in my mailbox Friday evening. I love people who send thank you notes, that is another thing I should try and be better at!
For some reason my greatest moments of clarity occur in three places:
1) my last waking thoughts before I give in to sleep, but only if I'm not trying to think;
2) in the shower - so much happens in my head in there; and finally
3) walking through the City with my ipod. Listening to music relaxes my mind and frees it to allow creativitey to flow, it is my best meditation time.
Unfortunatlely, as you will note, none of my inspired circumstances include sitting at a computer with a blank computer screen. Likewise, those moments of inspiration and clarity are quickly lost because the spell is inevitably broken as soon as I step out of the shower or into my apartment or office or obviously when I succomb to sleep. For my birthday last year my sister gave me a small mole-skin notebook, the famous Hemingway notebooks that have cropped up in bookstores everywhere recently. I love it. I love that she included a few sketches and a beautiful message to me in the front. I carry it with me everywhere. I generally jot down quotes I like and on rare occasions I am able to capture the elusive spurts of creativity so I can savor my thoughts and feelings later. I need to use it more often.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
I think one of the things that has been bothering me recently is the constant struggle to maintain a strong and beautiful image of myself amid constantly conflicting images and messages both internal and extrnal, real and imagined. I would have thought that by this stage in my life I would have found security and a comfort level with who I am. Yet, when I force myself to step outside my comfort zone and into unfamiliar territory without external reinforcement, I am at a loss. I am not just saying I become insecure about how I am dressed or how I look. It is more than that. I lose confidence in what I have to offer and as a result I become drab and flat. I can feel it happening and become powerless to change direction.
Being single requires constant self-pep talks. It is truly exhausting.
There is so much more spinning around in my head but it is all sounding far too depressed and that isn't really expressive of my mood. I am contemplative . . . pensive. . . just trying to understand myself and how external and internal forces shape my actions.
Some of you may have heard about David Blane's latest stunt. He has been living in a bubble for a week or something like that. He is using my favorite place in the city as his forum - Lincoln Center, a short 10 minute walk from my house. So yesterday I snapped a few photos as I was walking by. I chose to use the zoom and not stand in line to gawk. So strange. But the most confusing part is how ABC is turning his next stunt of attempting to hold his breath in the bubble for a record 9 minutes into a TWO HOUR special!!! Hmmm, 9 minutes hyped into two hours? I don't believe I will be tuning in.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
What do you get when you cross Coke and coffee? A carbonated fusion beverage called Blak. I suppose the name should have tipped me off, a clever allusion to black coffee I presume. I have taken a few more swigs, contemplating whether or not this new fangled beverage is off limits. I'm undecided since the ingredients list "coffee extract" but I don't know what that means. I'm not even sure whether I like it or not but I can say I feel a little bit rebellious taking furtive sips every so often.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
- fickle weather
- spring fever - stuck indoors unable to enjoy the sun
- something I like to call SADD - Spring Attention Defecit Disorder, I have difficulty accomplishing anything because I want to be outside
- spring cleaning
- did I mention allergies and the fact that I was only able to wear my contacts for an hour today and even after removing them my eyes remain blood shot and leaky and I am exhausted despite sleeping 8 hours - spring allergies are the worst
There really aren't any other downsides because mostly spring is great and the only reason I even thought of this list is because I am stuck in my office suffering from allergies when I have not seen a tree, flower or even a blade of grass in who knows how long so I'm really confused as to what growing thing is causing my throat to close, my chest to tighten and my eyes to water. Whatever it is - it really needs to stop. I mean it. Go away pollen.
Monday, May 01, 2006
For the record, I'm not really that arrogant about my writing, it is just a nice feeling to know the only criticisms were things of which I was already aware and it was just a draft anyway.
So I printed my 3 pages of directions including maps and set off on my trek Saturday to New Jersey afternoon. I thought a great post would be a pictorial story of my adventure: walk to subway, subway ride, NJ Path train ride, walk through New Jersey mall, streets and park, etc. Well, I ran into one small problem with my great idea - I pulled out my camera and pushed "on" and nothing happened. I tried again and again before I realized how long it had been since I charged the battery. Instead you just get this very dry, non-illustrated account of my trip to NJ which was not all that eventful except for the part where I coveted their great house and furniture and lifestyle and trips and low-key way they are planning their wedding in a beer garden (actually garten) in Queens and the total coupleness of everything. Everything but the part about how they live in New Jersey.
I have experienced the same thing when I visit my other friend and her fiance in their great condo in Brooklyn. I mean how great would it be to have a washer and dryer in your apartment??!! They are getting married in the Carribean, I have until January to find a date. Know anyone who wants to go to Saint Lucia for MLK 2007?
p.s. I think I had about 3 phone calls while drafting this post and I'm not about to read it or I will probably just delete it. So my apologies for any errors or if it just plain doesn't make any sense - see title.
Enough reminiscing, 730 pilates will come extra early tomorrow..................