Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, all! I'm feeling just overwhelmed with how lucky I am to have such wonderful friends and family, and am definitely feeling the spirit of the holidays right now.
More later...after I have fully stuffed myself with wine, manicotti and butterfly Jesus would have wanted it.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It Runs In The Family

In case you think it's just me that's insane, here is my sister doing her version of performance art.

Indoor Skating

The Pussycat Dolls Move

Friday, December 22, 2006

WARNING: Sappy Melodrama Attack

I have a lot of stuff to write about, but I'm finishing up some work stuff and my brain is fixating on one point. I get a lot of questions about who YG is, where we met, how long I've known him, what he's like, etc. I answer them, but I really don't feel the need to turn my blog into some gushy "look at how awesome my boyfriend is" diary. Ack, I have the feeling I've used that same sentence somewhere in a post before. Anyway, moving on...

I'm going home to NJ on Sat to spend the holidays with my family. YG and the MG will be joining us from Tuesday through Thursday for some NYC fun time, so I guess I never gave a lot of headspace to Christmas morning and what it would be like. I'll be home doing the same thing I've done for the past 30 years, except for the years I was married. YG will be alone. He picks up the MG at 2 p.m., but he will be alone on Christmas morning and that just makes me heart-breakingly sad because he's such a good father and I would like nothing more than for him to spend Christmas morning with his little girl. But he can't -- it's not his year. So I wanted to do something nice for him on Christmas morning to take the edge off a bit. After a fruitless morning on 1800Flowers, FTD, Edible Arrangements and a variety of other craptastic sites, I decided I don't have to GIVE anything. I just want to write about him and tell all my friends how great he is because that's not something I usually do, and it feels all "ew, gross, boys!"...a little bit anyway.

Note: If you happen to BE YG and are reading this, you need to stop until Christmas morning. Plus, I'm stealing gratiutously from my Christmas card and it would lame if you read this before that

The Abridged Version:

I met YG at one of my previous jobs. I worked with lots and lots of men, and I was married, but there was something about him that cut through the clutter. Something that told me that I should be friends with him because he seemed like a genuine person, in a world filled with kind of crappy people or at best, people that don't quite know themselves. We became work friends, and then became outside-of-work friends. When our respective marriages started to fall apart, he was one person that could relate to what I was going through and didn't judge me when I was leaning in one direction on marriage/divorce and then would seemingly do a 180 the next day. He just got it.

For a while, we lost touch and didn't speak to each other, as you do with work friends after you move on to another company. Sometimes you realize you don't have much in common with those work friends after you move on. When we started talking again, I realized that he would always be a good friend, and not just a work person that I sometimes exchange emails with. And now we live in the same State.

We both were seperated. We both started sniffing around each other. We started dating. I fell HARD.

At the beginning, I was really prolific. I felt like I had words and feelings just tumbling out of me that I had to melodramatically proclaim to the world and to him. I wrote lots of long letters, I did a lot of journaling, I talked to a lot of people. I had been unhappy for so long that I felt that the world needed to hear my testimony. Yeah. * eye roll*

And things are different now. I'm not floating around like a poet anymore, but I do have this FEELING of things in my life being right and happy and GOOD. As a writer, how do you say that? How do you make that real? I am happy. YG makes me happy. It isn't pretty, it isn't poetic -- it's just true.

In the past year, I've gone through a tumultous and heart-wrenching divorce, a family death, a major slump and depression last spring, the soul-sucking numbness of my last job, the ups and downs of adjusting to being part of the MG's life, and a major location change from New Jersey to Massachusetts.

And he's always been there. And he's always been cool. He's supported me, he's had my back and most importantly, he's called me on my bullshit when I act like the little fucker we all know I can be. I know I can count on him, I trust him, and I feel safe with him, and I hope he understands how much of a big freakin' deal that is.

To YG (a repeat, but I liked it, and I hope you're reading this on Christmas morning): I think I knew I loved you early in our relationship, but I wasn't really sure what that meant. It was fun and exciting and a welcome breath of fresh air after all we had been through with our previous spouses, but it doesn't compare to now. The more I get to know you, the more shit we have to deal with together, the more I change and the more I see you grow, the more I realize how lucky and blessed I am. Thank you for being you. I hate that you have to be alone this morning, but I want you to know that I'm thinking about you, the MG is thinking about you, your family and friends are thinking about you, even some strangers to you are thinking about you -- and that we all think you're just wonderful. Now go read the comments section to see what I mean.

To everyone else: Don't hold this sappiness against me. I'll go back to scaring children and small animals after the holidays are over.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Mission Impossible

Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to keep your "widely-read" blog relatively up to date. Heh. That worked for three days in a row. I impressed myself, and then let it slide for days.

Other things I am not doing besides writing the blog:
* Finishing my holiday shopping
* Writing holiday cards
* Going to the gym
* Sticking to WW
* Returning emails
* Keeping up to date with friends
* Watching tv. It took me three days to get to my Tivoed finale of America's Next Top Model. What's up with that?

Things I AM doing that are kind of cool:
* Work, work, and more work. I was expecting a lull, but that didn't happen. My boss moved into a new position that is really great for him, but that means that our relatively small organization is one man down. And my work and WW buddy is also taking a three-week holiday so that means I will have lots of work AND not have someone to bitch and moan to. The positive is that I'm taking on more responsibilities and product areas, and while I'm completely overwhelmed, I still like it and don't want to kick or bite anyone...yet. :-)
* Lots of holiday hoo hah. I sent out all my Secret Santa presents, went to a bunch of holiday parties, went out to dinner last night on a "school night" with work friends, and have lots of other fun stuff lined up too. YG and I are going here this weekend, which promises to be enjoyably cheesey, and then I'm taking him to XXXXX as a Christmas present on Sunday night. More on that to come.
* Helping YG and the MG set up their Christmas tree and decorations. We listened to Christmas songs and danced to "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" and made cookies and gingerbread houses. It was lovely and bittersweet. Lovely because we had a lot of fun. Bittersweet because I think each of us, in our own way, was missing the idea of what Christmas used to be. They had their family traditions, and I had mine. And I still, four years later, can't forget that my Pop-Pop died on Christmas day. I can't say that it's never been the same, but I can say that that memory has colored my view of Christmas and eeked its way into my library of holiday memories. :-(
At one point during the day, the MG came up to me and said, "I'm having fun and I love you, but I really wish my mom were here instead. I miss my mom." It DOES break my heart a little, but she's right and the only thing I can and did say was "I know. It's okay to miss your mom. I miss my mom sometimes too." Still, we had a good day. We had fun, and we're making our own traditions.
* Also did some "couple dinners" and a charity pub crawl because nothing says "I love kids and the baby Jesus" more than getting drunk.
* Entertaining out of towners.
* Reading. Did I mention I started John Irving's A Widow for One Year? I kind of love it.

And blah. I will be back with my good cheer and all that.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Serious For A Minute

I really don't GET the anti-gay marriage people. I consider myself a fairly educated and logical person, and I'm willing to listen to a logical argument, but I just don't GET why we should deny gay people the right to marry. Then again, I don't think that mo's are Satan-worshipping, flag-burning pyschotics coming to sodomize the Young in a town near year either. So maybe I'm a little bit biased. Anti-gay marriage sounds more to me like discriminating against a certain section of the population, and how is that right?

Thank God Mitt Romney is around to protect my "right to petition." Whatever. Putting minority rights up to a popular vote? Ummmm.....yeah. That works.

Not entirely unrelated: I kinda love the slippery slope folks with their logical arguments and all. If we let the gays marry, then what's to stop people from marrying their pets? The horror! That would have totally destroyed the sanctity of MY marriage.

Anyway, blah. I gotta eat. I am not on the CR. I promise I'll have more on these muthafuckers later.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I'd Rather Be Watching America's Next Top Model

But I said I was going to do this thing, at least for three days anyway. Plus, I need something to drag me away from the Thai food before I put myself into a noodle-and-soy-sauce-induced coma.

The day:
I spent last night at YG's so this morning was play time with the MG. Being around children is so....weird. I don't know how parents do it. On the one hand, I remember being a kid and how my parents' bad moods affected me. On the other hand, sometimes I get annoyed, and I can't always be in a perfect mood. Right? Someone back me up.

We've been having this "issue" with the bathroom. The issue being that I'm not really down with people being in there with me when I'm going about my biz. I have very few boundaries, but this is one. I believe that peeing is a solo sport. Maybe I'll change my mind after I have my own kids, but for now, that's MY space. The MG had this habit of just barging into the bathroom while I was in there, and I spoke to her about making sure she knocked first. After the kid volley of why?but why? and no, really, why? I thought I made my point, and I've had a large expanse of solo peeing time lately. But this morning I heard her creeping into the bathroom without knocking, and I must have snotted at her or been much more bitchy than I thought, but she threw her hairbrush on the counter, crossed her arms, thrust out her lip, and gave me Evil Kid Glare. And continued to give me Evil Kid Glare until I started jumping around and fooling around and acting generally spastic. Weird. I spend way too much time wondering about whether or not these little things are going to affect her "development" and if she's going to end up a Serial Killer because I snotted at her once. Sigh...Anyway...

Work was work. Busy, but quiet.

I had my WW weigh-in and was only up 1.2 over the holiday weekend. Given Thanksgiving, the party, the road food, the leftovers, etc. I'm really pleased with that. My goal is to finish the year within 2 pounds of my most recent low -- which was 153.2. We'll see. YG has been a fucking Superstar lately with this stuff, so that helps.

Had a doc appointment after work and then went home, walked up to Porter and ordered Thai. Walked back, watched Gilmore Girls, and am now uploading a bunch of my recent cds to my iTunes library. I'm so excited about Starland Vocal Band -- everyone I know is TOTALLY getting a mix with Afternoon Delight on it for Christmas. :-)

I know you want this glamorous life.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I'm a bit embarrassed because at the beginning of this month, I committed (to myself, and thank God, not to anyone else) to NaBloWriMo. Yep, I was going to write everyday and if I didn't, at least, link to all the funny shit that makes me giggle like hell. Now that it's Nov. 28 and there are three days left in Nov., I'll figure I'll start.

Funny shit:
* Kevin Smith's iTunes playlist: Brilliant, with a strong Jersey contingent.

* The Youtube shoes video: This made me pee in my pants a little. If the link doesn't work, try searching for "i love shoes" or "Liam's shoes." I'm going to betch slap you, shitbag. Hee.

* The brilliance of The Fug Girls.

* Kermit singing Radiohead.

In other news, I made it back from NJ in one piece. After 6 hours though through NY and CT, my car crapped out at the first rest area in Mass. I'm convinced this was God punishing me for ordering large fries after I had eaten like a starving refugee all weekend. I managed to get it home and brought it to the nearest Honda dealership. Needed some belt replaced and a new battery. Exciting!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Thanksgiving Day here, and I'm back in the Whip for a few days. I have no real plans other than to catch up on reading, see some folks, write some more and catch up on my personal emails and clean my Inbox -- so yes, a very glamorous vacation here in the great State of Jersey. Actually, tomorrow I have a hair appointment with my old hairdresser that I have been looking forward to for MONTHS. I got my hair cut and "natural haircolor" done by Mariana for almost 9 years, and while I like my new person, it's just not the same.

What's been going on? It's been hectic so that's why I'm looking forward to this break of sorts. I'm also banking on work slowing down a bit over December, or at least I HOPE it slows down. I haven't been able to keep up, and while the powers that be keep telling me I'm a vast improvement over my predecessor, I haven't been able to meet the goals I set for myself.

I've been:
* Listening to a lot of new music.
Tower Records is going out of business and finally dropped their prices enough to justify buying a bunch of stuff I've wanted for a while. On my rotation for the drive home yesterday: Hem, Kasey Chambers, The New Pornographers "Twin Cinemas" and the soundtrack from The Life Aquatic. I go through phases -- listening to almost nothing and then being obsessed with everything. I also preordered the Sufjan Stevens Christmas album -- I am beyond excited. :-)

* Reading. After reading a lot of fiction, I finally started this book, Appetites by Caroline Knapp. It was recommended by a friend for a book club reading. I was too late for most of the good discussion, but the book is brilliant really -- disturbing, uncomfortable and FAMILIAR. I have about 50 pages left. This gem jumped out at me this morning:
"The years I spent obsessing about weight were also years spent not obsessing about the wider world, not considering alternative visions, not appreciating how deeply and fully this merciless, nagging distress can obscure the larger picture, with all its horrors and injustices. In he aftermath of the terrorist attaks, I was struck by many feelings, but one of the more bitter and lingering was a kind of deep embrrassment of my own complacency: my blindless to the depth of hatred harbored in other parts of the world toward the United States; my ignorance about our role in formenting it; my eminently comfortable remove from the circumstances in which so many others live, the poverty and desperation that drives women to madness and men to homicidal rage. I'll put it this way: In the late 1980s, when American troops pulled out of Afghanistan, leaving legions of Afghanis in the sea of chaos that would give rise to the Taliban, I was worrying about whether my jeans wer too tight. I care about women and their thighs for precisely this reason: because so many women care, and because that care is so devastatingly blinding."

She has a lot to say about consumer culture and the way it commodotizes desire. It reminds me a lot of text that I read in college, but this time I feel like it's speaking to me. And I'm not always liking what it has to say.

* Spending time with YG. We've had a couple of nice weekends together -- low key and low maintenance in preparation for the holiday bustle. Last weekend, he brought the MG over on Friday night and we had Chinese take-out and played Uno. After he dropped her off on Saturday morning at her mom's, we went for a 3.5 mile walk with a treat at Starbucks, before heading up to LLBean for Christmas shopping and to get a Boston-appropriate winter parka for me. And then we saw Borat -- holy shit, did that make me laugh. I literally almost peed my pants in the theatre I was laughing so hard. On Sunday, we walked around Harvard to do more Christmas shopping, had tea at Tea Luxe and then beer and burgers at an Irish place. We discovered a bunch of other restaurants that we want to check out. On Tuesday night, I went over and had dinner with him and the MG, playing more Uno and her new game of choice, balloon volleyball. We volley a ballon back and forth across the living room trying not to let the balloon hit the floor -- you get a point every time it hits and the team who reaches five points first wins. I am quite the balloon volleyball champ. :-) Things are really good. I'm going to miss them this weekend.

* Christmas shopping. It's the most wonderful time of the year. Yeah, whatever. I wanted to get as much done early so I can avoid the crush of humanity that descends on the stores post- Thanksgiving. I'm about halfway through my list, but still need to get something cool and small for YG. We're buying a digital camera so we put a $100 limit on each other for "extras" -- I already have one cool thing picked out, but want something else tangible as well. For everyone else, I'm trying to get them things or "experiences" they'd actually want -- as opposed to getting a thing that I can cross off my list and check off as done. This is harder than it sounds.
I'm also trying to contain my rant about the fact that the holiday "season" now begins, apparently, on November 1. The Christmas decorations and the 24-7 holiday music are already playing. If I thought this made anyone get into the holiday "spirit" any quicker or made us appreciate the meaning of the holidays more, I'd be okay with it (not really, though -- it's ANNOYING). But it just makes us buy more. And more. And more. And I hate that I'm not above it.

* Not working out. Lots of walking, but not working out. I miss it -- I like the gym. Sue me.

* Being sad that this will probably be the last Thanksgiving that fits the same mold of all Thanksgivings past. My grandmother is going to put her house on the market in the spring, so this will be the last one there and I can't honestly remember a time before that. Yesterday would have been my grandfather's birthday so I'm just feeling....sad? blue? in denial? and romantically reminiscing about the past. I'm feeling very conflicted too about holidays going forward -- I have such a strong attachment to the "ways things are supposed to be" and "the ways things always are" regarding the holidays. When I first got married, I hated the idea of having to spend time with anyone else or do things any way different. But now I live 250 miles away, and well, to be perfectly honest, I miss my boyfriend and I miss his kid. We'll figure out someway to work this, but I know that I'm saying good-bye to that way things are supposed to be. That's not always a bad thing, but it is a tiny bit sad.

* Thinking about my gratitude list. As cheesy as it sounds, I do a list every Thanksgiving of things that I am grateful for. I started it about 6 years ago because I always get in my head and am a natural pessimist and think that I have it so bad, when really, I have everything I need. I haven't put much thought into this yet for 2006, but here are some that I can think of right now:

My health -- mental and physical. I'm in good shape and I'm working on my weight and appetite in a healthy way without getting too crazy. Mentally, I'm probably in a much better place than I have been in years, and I'm still working on it. Progress, not perfection.

My family -- Yeah, we got issues. And sometimes, I feel like it's hard to even KNOW the people that you're related to. But I want to know them. And I know they have my back, and if it came down to it, I'd throw myself in front of a bus to protect any one of them.

YG and the MG -- YG has taught me what a functional relationship can look like. I guess I never thought I "deserved" someone like him before, but he's been and is patient with me as I learn that I do. He's kind, smart, funny -- he is all the adjectives. We argue, we annoy each other, he's got quirky habits and so do I, but at the end of the day, he's my favorite person in the room. And he's introduced me to the MG. :-)

My cats -- Alistair turned 10 this year. Gwendolyn will be 8. There's something to be said about the comfort a pet can give you.

My friends -- My real life friends and my online friends are a wonderful lot. As I get older, relationships change, but I'm glad for the people who touch my life regularly. And I'm happy about all the babies this year.

Possibilities -- I still have the ability to be anyone I want. And that's cool.

I think that's it for now. I can never really allow myself to stay in this mode for long. I end up feeling like I'm one "blessing" or "thankful" away from a dream journal and an Indian dreamcatcher in one window, with Carol King playing in the background. Plus, I'm starving and we are leaving soon for the annual gorge-fest. Have a happy one, folks!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Church, State, In the Crazy

I'm feeling all kinds of bitchy right now for no real reason. I'm just cranky and irrational -- in the crazy, to put it exactly. And it won't stop raining which is contributing to my general "I should be wearing sweatpants ALL THE TIME" malaise.

I can't get my brain to focus. Lots of things:

* My family came up to visit this weekend. Mom, Dad, Aunt Joanie, Uncle David, and Sean. We can't seem to get away from traveling in packs. I showed them around Harvard and we had a great dinner at Harvest. On Saturday, they got to meet the MG for the first time, my mom got reaquainted with YG, and my aunt and uncle met him for the first time. We did the Duck Tours (tons of cheesey fun) and Faneuil Hall and then walked to the North End for drinks before heading to Mamma Maria's. And holy shit, was that good! Mmmm....They really loved the MG, and I have a feeling this is going to be one of those situations where the family likes YG even more than me. The Boy Scout with his parents-love-me goodness. I don't know if I should be disturbed by this, or if I'm finally at a point where I can accept that my parents do have some sort of clue on what makes an acceptable partner. TBD. On Sunday, we had brunch and some good ol' family brawlin' when my uncle lost his wallet. :-)

* Church. So I've been searching for a church to go to. I grew up Catholic, and I enjoy the pageantry and the way things are ALWAYS the same, no matter what country, no matter what language. I'm not so into the change. And I like the sense of community, and I know YG is looking for that too.

But it's always been hard to resolve my feelings about staying Catholic when the Church does such dumb shit sometimes. It became even harder during the "big scandal." So I've been watching with interest as this is going on. On the one hand, I applaud the Bishops for even debating some of these issues. It, at least, acknowledges that they're aware of, ya know, THE WORLD. And all religions have rules and regulations that you need to follow. I'm usually all for following the rules.

But I guess I shouldn't be calling myself a Catholic anymore. I mean, that's essentially what they're saying -- that the rules are a certain way, and while they're not going to exclude me for my beliefs and I'm welcome to come to church, I really shouldn't be calling myself a Catholic if I have no intention of following those rules. So....I don't know how I feel about that. Four percent of Catholics follow the rules on birth control. FOUR PERCENT! That's not a lot, and frankly, I find the church's policy on birth control extremely DANGEROUS! [Yes, I am that annoying person who uses all caps way too much]. And I have no intention of following that rule. Plus a number of others. I don't get to take Communion. I understand, but it still stings a little. It felt very strange the first time I went to Church and didn't go to Communion -- like I was the only one, like people were watching me, like I might as well wear a big sign that said "I'm a dirty divorced hozzle."

Why am I so bothered by this? There are a gazillion churches out there, and YG and I want to explore some others. But the sting is definitely real.

* State. Let's all take a minute to celebrate the defeat of evil. Woo hoo! Yay -- election day. Now I'm really curious to see what happens. I hope, in the darkest depths of my soul, that the Dems have some sort of plan for this country. It's very hard to hope, but I do. I hope their platform isn't "Let's just take over and figure out next steps once we're there." It's kind of nice being an Independent -- I get to whine about everyone.

As for Donald Rumsfeld. Heh. Adios, motherfucker. I'm not sure if you're one of those Jesus freaks too, but if you are, I hope you enjoy everything that's coming to you in the afterlife.

* Insomnia. I am having a big bout right now. I've probably gotten about five hours of sleep in the last two days, and man, am I being a cranky bitch. I feel sorry for the guys that work for me. It hasn't been pleasant, but hopefully this one will pass soon.

* Writing. I have been writing A LOT lately. Mostly short stories, and some memoir-ish stuff. I am gritting my teeth and doing it, but it's hard. I keep saying that I'm going to hash that shit out here, but then I forget.

* School. My class is almost over. It was a pretty good use of money, and I feel slightly more comfortable with public speaking. Last week, we had to do a speech about a negative in our life that we turned into a positive. I'll post that up here when I get a chance.

* My lazy ass. Really, I'm stunned that I have any friends at all. I am so incredibly bad about emailing. Lisa, Jared, Devon, and countless others -- I WILL EMAIL YOU BACK. I promise. I just get a little caught up in my cycle of pointless self-analysis that I forget there's other people out there.

* The holidays. Thanksgiving is next week. I was doing something random the other day and then I remembered that this will be the first Thanksgiving dinner without my grandfather. I didn't remember something really sweet about him -- I remembered how grossed out I would be when he would gnaw at the turkey carcas. And then I got incredibly sad because I really wouldn't mind being grossed out like that this year.

I think that's it for now. I'm all over the place and am boring even myself. Bleh.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Random Celebrity Sightings

I saw Tom Brady last night -- like 2 feet in front of me -- while I was waiting for my car to be dropped off by a hotel valet. I totally did that "do I know you from somewhere?" stare before the valet guys went nuts and were all "Tom Brady! Tom Brady! Tom Brady!" And then I remembered that I think he's hot. But he was not so much about the hot in person. Nice-enough looking. And his girlfirend (a.k.a. the former Mrs. Big from Sex & The City) was very pretty.
I just googled them

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Live Music! Death Cab! Woo hoo!

YG and I just got back from the Death Cab for Cutie show at the Opera House. So, yeah, it fucking rocked. They opened with the 405, about five seconds after YG said, "I think 'The 405' is my favorite Death Cab song." They also hit "I'll Follow You" and then started the encore with "Marching Bands of Manhattan", getting me all homesick and nostalgic.

Very mixed crowd. Lots of the over 30 crowd like us. And lots of tweens that made me randomly remember going to see Teenage Fanclub when I was 15 with Brian and Kristen, and then having a minor heart seizure when I heard that record at the Tower Records in Cambridge last winter (back before I decided to ever live here) and the record store clerk told me, "wow, you saw this tour? I was so young. I saw it on SNL!"

Anyway, it was awesome. I had mad fun being the old lady bopping around with my old boyfriend. And the best part -- they finished by 10:30 so I was back in Cambridge by 11 and now am in my pajamas drinking tea. Woo hoo! Rock'n'roll!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Catching Up

I have been busy, busy, busy and am trying to type this and tweeze my eyebrows and explain Annie to a 7-year-old all at the same time so...apologies if it's a bit disjointed. I've been traveling around a bit and am heading out on a business trip next week so I'm a little "man without a country" right now.

Last weekend, YG and I went to New York for the weekend. He had a trade show, and I just went along for some fun and a day off. We drove down on Sat. to our hotel, Dream, a nice, relatively cheap place we found (relatively cheap being under $300 for a NYC hotel that we looked for at the last minute). It had a pretty swank lobby and some nice bars and really great staff. Plus, the room was uber modern and swanky for a very small space. After checking in, we realized that we needed a "snack" so we walked to Joe's Shanghai for somewhere-on-my-top-25-list-of-favorite-things-in-the-world soup dumplings. And as usual, they were DIVINE. I know I'm a bit obsessive compulsive about the soup dumplings, but I think it's justified. They are perfection. Soup, pork, broth -- what's not to like?

After our snack, we walked up to the Park and were going to have drinks at the Plaza, but I completely forgot that it's closed for renovations. So we did another one of those touristy things that I always wanted to do -- the Pen-top Bar and Terrace. Touristy usually equals expensive, and Pen-top didn't disappoint. We both had cranberry martinis (yes, TWO drinks) and our tab came to $50. Insane! But the view was worth it. It was mid-day and sunny, and there weren't that many people up there to get annoyed by. It was a worth it, but one-time event.

We did some more tooling around and then met my dad for dinner at Lattanzi. I had explained the McManus Family Time Philsophy to YG before, but still giggled when he suggested that I call my dad and tell him that we were going inside to sit down at 8 p.m. See, our reservations were for 8 p.m. Using the MFTP, that means my dad would arrive sometime between 8:30 and 8:45. :-) YG and I went inside and ordered some wine, and then waited for my dad to show up. This is the first time they've met "officially" so I was a tad nervous. Also, my mother has such a strong personality that when everyone is out together, it's very loud and boisterous. When she's not around, we all tend to be much quieter. I was wondering if the three of us would have enough to talk about, even though YG is probably my dad's idea of a dream boyfriend for one of his daughters (clean, Boy Scout, earner, father, nice, i.e. unlike anyone I've ever dated before).

Of course, my worrying was ridiculous. We had a nice meal, with those two asking each other lots of questions. All pleasant and relatively superficial, and then I went to the bathroom and I came back and my dad is in the middle of some tale about a divorced dad he knew from way back that hadn't seen his kid in a year. WTF? I gave him the stink eye and he quickly returned to tales of all kinds of divorced parents he knew who were doing things the "right" way. If it bothered YG, he didn't show it or say it so....all went well. My mother said he got the dad seal of approval, so yay!

After dinner, we went for cheesecake and headed back to the hotel. On Sunday morning, we made a Starbucks run and just hung out in the hotel for a while before heading to Brooklyn to hang out with NN, KL and Wyeth. [I'm trying to post a picture of the cutest baby on Earth, but blogger is fucking with me again. Grrr.....}

Anyway, we had brunch at Stone Park Cafe and I decided, after my heavy Italian meal the night before, to have a nice, "light" omelette with bacon and cheese. Mmmmm....Wyeth was good for a good portion of the brunch -- very impressive for me, the lady who is quick with the stink eye when kids sqawk in restaurants. :-) And I found myself giving the evil glare to this bitch who rolled her eyes when the kid even made a little noise. See, maybe someday I can be nice mommy.

We went back to NN and KL's place and hung out for a few hours. Wyeth is so chubby and cute, and I just want to bite his little things. YG was quite enamored with KL so a good afternoon overall.

On the ride back to the mid-town, we stopped in the Village to get some Magnolia cupcakes. I scored a great parking spot so we had time to walk around and explore, and then waited on line and got count-em, 6! cupcakes. good.

I have to run. Next installment -- why cupcakes and champagne are so, so awesome, why I've been so busy, my new Adult Education class, and the views from lovely Manhasset.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

101 Things About Me That Aren't Particularly Exciting

1. I read a “My 100 Things” on somebody else’s blog and thought it was fairly interesting.
2. I’m not certain I can thing of 100 things about me during my lunch break and fear this is because I am Boring with a capital B.
3. I’m a Virgo. (read: anal retentive perfectionist)
4. I am the oldest of three children (read: anal retentive perfectionist). I have a brother and a sister. I’m five years older than my brother. Six years older than my sister.
5. When I took the Process Communication Model test, I came out as a very strong workaholic/persister. (read: anal retentive perfectionist)
6. Using Meyers-Briggs, I am an INTJ. (again: anal retentive perfectionist)
7. Despite the research, I don’t think I’m all that anal retentive. Really, you could do worse.
8. I am from New Jersey.
9. I do not think this is funny. “Which exit” is not funny, and if you’re from NJ or have ever been to NJ, you know it doesn’t make any sense. This was probably one of the greatest defenses of the Garden State I’ve ever read.
10. I’m a Masshole now. I am adjusting to the idea of left turns and pumping my own gas. I think pumping your own gas SUCKS.
11. My undergraduate degree was a dual degree in English and Magazine Journalism. I started an undergraduate thesis on the role of art and literature in a Marxist society.
12. I still think Marx makes a lot of sense.
13. I work in Corporate PR. I always have – it was a money decision when I graduated from college and I don’t have a lot of regrets.
14. I’ve never worked at a PR agency.
15. I interned at two newspapers.
16. I still want to be a writer when I grow up.
17. I don’t want to write The Great American Novel. I prefer short stories.
18. In my professional career, I’ve only worked for 3 companies. 7 years at the first. 10 months that were a complete waste of time at the second, and 4 months where I am now.
19. My first job was in the “craft” department of Treasure Island. I got fired for calling some lady a bitch after an argument about yarn.
20. Then I worked at Harmon in the cosmetics department. I loved that job.
21. In college, I worked at Bruegger’s Bagels. I still get annoyed when I see people cutting bagels the wrong way.
22. I have two cats: Alistair(10) and Gwendolyn (7.5).
23. Alistair is my favorite. I know – Bad Mommy!
24. I tell people I’m a natural redhead, but I’m more naturally red-ish.
25. I have way too much gray hair for someone my age.
26. As of today, I am 13 lbs from my goal weight. Down 27 from my high weight.
27. I am divorced.
28. My favorite color is red.
29. I love to read. I love to listen to music.
30. I don’t have a favorite band, but I have some classics that always make the playlists: the Pixies, Luna, Sonic Youth, Pavement, Wilco, Afghan Whigs, Guided by Voices, Death Cab.
31. I also love classic rock and heavy metal. If I were stranded on a desert island, I would most defininitely need some Black Sabbath and AC/DC and Guns n’Roses. I don’t think this makes me lame.
32. I think Skid Row’s 18 and Life is fucking awesome, dude.
33. I don’t like rap music.
34. I am not nearly as snobbish about music as I was 10 years ago. Case in point – Justin Timberlake and Kelly Clarkson made it to my Ipod. They would have 10 years ago, too, but I would have never admitted it and I would have also subjected you to a rant about overcommercialization.
35. Favorite food – or if I ever killed somebody and ended up on death row and got to do that thing where you choose your last meal and it better be good – a bacon, egg & cheese sandwich on a bagel, cheese fries with gravy, and a dessert of my dad’s pasta with marinara sauce and prosciutto
36. I love appetizers. In my ideal world, men walk around in tuxedos serving you bite-sized apps on silver platters
37. I don’t do “lite” beer. I don’t get “lite” beer. And what is “lite” all about? Is it really that hard to spell it right.
38. I like wine. I don’t know enough about wine. My wine preferences are based on what my parents like.
39. I consider Diet Coke the sweet nectar of the Gods.
40. I’m not snobbish about food. I eat a lot of pre-packaged stuff. I know it’s not good for me. I don’t care THAT much.
41. That said, I can’t decide if this is admirable or really fucking pretentious and annoying.
42. I’m a picky eater. Not in the traditional sense where I won’t try new types of “ethnic” foods, but I usually stick to chicken. Pad Thai is yummy. So is Chicken Tikka Masala. If this makes me convential, so be it.
43. I don’t like Greek food or Middle Eastern food.
44. I’m a big stickler for table manners. You eat what you’re served, you say thank you, you WAIT for the hostess or host to sit down before even thinking about lifting your fork, and you always, ALWAYS offer to clean the dishes.
45. This does not apply to family. I will burp at your kitchen table and I will laugh when you rip a giant fart in my general direction. We’re related – table manners don’t apply.
46. Jon Stewart has stayed consistent on my laminated list of celebrities I am allowed to sleep with if I ever meet them.
47. I am a registered Independent. I hate Dubya. I loathe Hillary. I am unbelievably and unapologetically disillusioned.
48. I drive a Honda Accord. Before that, I drove a Honda Accord. I like consistency and stability.
49. I don’t have any tattoos.
50. I wore an eyebrow ring for about 5 years.
51. I ended up with a buzz cut after deciding it was a good idea to cut my own hair. Lesson: do NOT cut your own hair.
52. I haven’t had long hair past my shoulders since I was 16.
53. I rocked the Jersey hair with my spiral perm and big bangs back in the day.
54. I have a shoe fetish. I own over 100 pairs of shoes.
55. This was after significantly paring down my shoe collection for the move.
56. I do not understand or condone “comfort shoes.”
57. I had to revise this bit of snobbery when I moved to Cambridge. Skinny heels plus cobblestone streets = bad news.
58. I now own a pair of Dansko shoes. Typing that did not make me faint from horror.
59. In high school and college, I wore black combat boots or Doc Martens practically every day. I had 5 pairs of Docs: oxblood boots, navy boots, black oxfords, green oxfords, and a multicolored boot thing.
60. I can’t bear to give away the combat boots even though I probably won’t wear them ever again. They’re my visual link to the me I used to be (fishnets, boots, and spiked necklace)
61. Now I want to be Laura from Project Runway.
62. I am a religious devotee of What Not to Wear.
63. I think that leggings are a crime against humanity. I find the return of the 80s frightening. What’s next? Stir-up pants? Leg warmers?
64. I do not like ice cream that much.
65. If I could, I’d eat a Ring Ding every day.
66. I love cheese. Preferably good cheese, but Polly-O string cheese is pretty awesome too.
67. I don’t understand foie gras.
68. I was OLD (post-college) when I finally realized that crudite is the plate of raw vegetables.
69. I have no desire to spend time or money on home decorating. I have no eye for design. I don’t really mind this.
70. Even though I’m older, I sometimes (revise: most of the time) am a huge brat and absolutely wretched when I talk to my mom.
71. I’m not that creeped out by all the people who tell me that YG reminds them in looks and manner of my dad. Not THAT creeped out. Slightly? Yes.
72. I watch way too much television.
73. I thought Flavor of Love was brilliant.
74. I want to travel more. I want to do Thailand next.
75. God bless the New York Yankees.
76. I want to go to spring training again and stay here again.
77. I have not been as diligent about baseball watching this post-season as I have in seasons past.
78. If you read my blog, you know this: I think Alex Rodriguez is Satan’s spawn.
79. I want to go to Cooperstown.
80. Yankee fan and all, I liked Moneyball.
81. I hate talking on the phone. This is a bit problematic when you live hours away from your family. It would never occur to me to just pick up the phone and call my parents or my siblings, but I know I should.
82. I don’t mind being alone. I can eat out alone, go to the movies alone, go to a concert alone, etc. But I wish I was better at making small talk.
83. Sometimes I wished I smoked. Before you send me hate mail, I know how ridiculous that is. It’s just something to do with your hands standing around looking bored.
84. I love a Gin & Tonic. I love Whiskey Sours. I love Cosmos. I don’t care if they got a bad rap from Sex & the City.
85. I think Magnolia cupcakes are divine. See above.
86. My best date ever wasn’t a date. It was a work thing. YG and I had drinks at the W hotel, dinner at Sushi Samba and hung out at Flute after. It wasn’t a date, but had it have been, it would have had romantic-comedy movie potential.
87. I am one of those annoying people that think New York City is the best and most beautiful city in the world.
88. I can back that poing up because I’m not from New York City so I’m not biased, I’ve experienced my fair share of NYC snobbery (see above: from Jersey), and I’ve traveled to a lot of other cities.
89. I thought San Francisco was greater than I could have possibly even imagined.
90. I THINK Cambridge is much more awesome than I ever thought possible.
91. I don’t know if I’ll move back “home.”
92. It’s really clichéd and trite to say that your favorite book is The Catcher in The Rye, and I hate to be lame, but damn, that’s a good book.
93. Other old favorites include The Cider House Rules, all things by Henry Miller, The Great Gatsby, Anna Karenina.
94. New good reads included Little Children, The Corrections, Prep.
95. I spend way too much money on books, clothes and cds and not enough money on charities and food that doesn’t come from a box.
96. I spend too much money on make-up and products that make me appear like I am wearing no make-up or products or have hair anywhere on my body other than my not-natural-and-therefore-expensive head.
97. I hate conference calls scheduled after 5 p.m.
98. Anything before 9 a.m. is a total blur. I need two alarm clocks and frequent snooze hits to get up in the morning. I’m sure my neighbors absolutely love this.
99. I can’t remember the last time I had 8 hours of sleep a night.
100. I went to a Phish show in high school dressed in my goth gear. I didn't know that Phish was a hippie band. I don't know what is more embarrassing -- admitting to listening to Phish or admitting to wearing goth gear.
101. At #101, I am utterly bored with this list. If you're still reading, I hope this was truly informative in an earth-shattering way. :-)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Tough Choices, Carly?

So Carly Fiorina’s memoir, Tough Choices, is out.
I haven’t read it yet, but I want to, and I’ve been watching the coverage of the book’s release with interest.

I really, really, really WANT to like Carly Fiorina. For a number of reasons: regardless of outcome, she was a powerful businesswoman; she didn’t know what she wanted to do when she was 23 either; I like her PR person, and two years removed, I’m still pretty loyal to Lucent and the people who grew up in that culture.

I want to like her. But good lord, this woman is just so unbelievably unlikable. Really. It’s like she’s following the script of “How to Appear Wholly Unsympathetic and Unsavory to People That Really Want to Believe in You.”

First, a bit of background so we can establish that I’m biased right off the bat. I worked at LU when she was named The Most Powerful Woman in Business, and I was still working there when she was named HP’s CEO. There was a lot of rah-rahing of woo-hoo-ing by the women in my neck of the woods in the PR department (you know PR – the “not responsible for P&L” place where women who don’t want to be the Most Powerful Women in Business go because we’re afraid or something like that. Nothing to do with ya know, maybe LIKING PR, but I digress). It’s nice to see one of your own be successful so we all settled into a conference room to watch her famous interview where she declared “an end to the glass ceiling.” Um, needle scratch on the record. WHAT THE FUCK? It was dead silence in the room. End to the glass ceiling? Okay, folks, I know we can argue about whether or not it’s a glass ceiling or a work/life “conflict”, but let’s just agree that nobody really likes hearing about how there’s an end to the glass ceiling by some rich white woman with no kids and a rich white husband.

* **And yes, I know about the step-kids. And yes, I know about her “humble”
beginnings. Meaning, Carly Fiorina comes from middle-class beginnings just like I do. Meaning that when you’re white and you have parents that foot the bill for a good education, you are privileged and starting off ahead of the pack. I can acknowledge this. I have no idea why the rich and successful can’t. There’s nothing wrong with using your privilege to your advantage. There is something wrong with trying to manufacture some sort of humble beginning because it’s tacky and awful to appear wealthy.

Anyway, back to my point. If I had one. After the “end of the glass ceiling” debacle, I declared Ms. Fiorina another agent of Satan and went about my business. But I do ADMIRE her, which is something entirely different. I respect what she tried to do with HP, even though she failed and I thought this book and the accompanying press tour would help me finally understand what the hell she meant by that stupid, stupid, stupid comment.

And then I read yesterday’s USA Today:

Q: When you got the HP job seven years ago, you were criticized for declaring an end to the glass ceiling. A 60 Minutes piece implied that discrimination played a big role in your firing. Is the business world sexist or not?
A: When I came to HP, I was impatient with questions of my gender. I tried to signal my belief that women can achieve more by focusing on the possibilities rather than the limitations. In my own life, plenty of men have given me wonderful opportunities.
Eighty-five percent of my employees were men, and I wanted to communicate what we had in common: a love for the company. That made me careless with language. The workplace is not gender blind. We still have different expectations for women. That's a fact. Is it a cause for me? No. But I'm a realist.
Q: That's been your position all along? A skeptic might say you played the gender card when you got fired.
A: For six years, I was named the most powerful woman in business, and each time, I said to Fortune (magazine), don't create a list. I said it is wonderful to highlight successful women because it might inspire more to go into business.
But if you create a numbered list, it implies that business is like tennis. There's a men's ladder and a women's ladder, and women compete against each other because they can't play with the big boys. That's the wrong message. I wrote a book about a long business career. Why is describing that experience playing the gender card? When a man writes about his experience, nobody says he's playing the gender card.

Careless with language? Yeah, A LITTLE BIT. Seriously. That’s all you’re going to say? I have no idea why I’m so hung up on this. In the event that I ever become successful, I don’t want to be the poster child for “Women” everywhere, but it just seems odd to me when people don’t want to discuss their “otherness” at all – maybe that’s because I’m not an Other and have always been white and the norm – I dunno. To be fair, though, I do like her answer to the second question I called out. I started my thesis looking at glass ceiling vs. work/life conflict and almost all the research out there says that women have a hard time succeeding in business because they have no mentoring programs. Women don’t help each other – they compete. And bitches, that’s just LAME.

To go back to being unfair (or at least bitchy), I’ll also thank Carly for this tidbit listed under “Fiorina’s Tips:” The workplace is not gender blind, but women get further by focusing on possibilities, not limitations. Thanks. That’s useful information. Thank God we have the Most Powerful Woman in Business around to pass that big secret on. But what do I know? I’m over here in PR and HR hiding and shirking all responsibility and not caring one damn bit about profit and loss. Insert necessary eye roll.

So I’m curious. What do you think of Carly? Anyone read the book yet? Anyone care to lend it to me? Am I focusing on something relatively miniscule and missing the big picture? I've got more to say on this but just want to get the conversation started.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Top Ten List -- WW

Happy birthday to Sean! 14! Wow.
Watching baseball -- Joe's staying and the Mets won the first game.

Inspired by this that links to this.

I haven’t been blogging that much and I really haven’t been talking a lot about Weight Watchers because it’s kind of boring and I don’t really want to do the weight loss blog thing. I am doing WW at work, though, and I really like our leader. She’s this great little Italian lady – grew up in the North End in a family that owned an Italian bakery and she lost over 100 lbs. This week’s “topic” was to identify our “winning outcome” and write it down, along with our weight loss goals. Because I find it almost impossible to stay serious during these things and I’m attending with a colleague who’s just as cynical as I am, I wrote down my winning outcome as:

I want to look hot on the pole when I go to Amateur Night at Faces.

Not a terrible goal, but not exactly MY goal. But it did get me thinking about why I’m doing this, still spending the money, still doing the meetings every week, still trying to get to my magical GOAL weight.

“To lose weight” just doesn’t make sense anymore. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that being thinner isn’t going to make me any happier. I am amazed by how much of my life I spent thinking that was true. But I’ve been smaller and I’ve been bigger – neither have made me any more or less happy. I’ve come to accept that I’ll always have some sort of body dysmorphia – that the person JM sees in the mirror is not the real me, nor is it the me that anyone else sees. When I’m really in my head, I think that I have some sort of tragic figure flaw, that I have huge hips, a big nose, bad hair, bad skin. Add on my “fat” knees, my perceived moustache, the Bert brows, my huge ass, my too-fat calves, etc….and yeah, circus freak.
But I’m not. I’m okay. I’m normal. And I really, really don’t want to keep up the mindfuck – that adapting myself to someone else’s standards of beauty (even when that someone else is ME) – is going to make me look or feel any better long term.

Um, so yeah, WW is not going to make me any happier. And I look okay as is. So what am I here for?

I present my top ten, in no particular order:

1. I want to wear size 8 pants. The last time I lost weight I threw out a bunch of clothes and spent a TON of money on new size 8 pants. A ton. Some, no, most still have tags on them and are sitting at the top of my closet in a box labeled “Size 8 pants.”
2. Again, with the clothes – I want to be at a stable enough weight to justify spending money on quality pieces. I’d rather get rid of all my cheapie pants and dresses and replace them with fabulously tailored pair that will last forever. Less is more. When your pants size changes so often, it’s hard to justify a $250 pair of pants.
3. Also on the fashion front – I want to wear a two-piece bathing suit. Not some ass-jiggling stringy thing, but one of those classic bikinis from JCrew. Yes, there’s the boob problem and JCrew’s advertising campaign might as well be “We hate boobies, hips and the people that own them” but I love the streamlined look of their bathing suits. Sexy, not hoochie.
4. I want to learn (at 30) what this healthy eating thing is with the fruits and the vegetables and that stuff. I can count points, but I’m still getting most of my food from the microwave and boxes and eating out. I KNOW this is *really* bad and I keep saying that I’m going to stop it and learn how to cook, but then I never do. Still wanting to learn, though.
5. I wouldn’t mind breeding some day. I assume that healthy eating breeds better mini-mes and I wouldn’t mind a mini-JM that preferred fruit to say, Drake’s Chocolate Brownies in a shrink-wrapped pack. Being healthier would also help me keep up with all my demon spawn.
6. I want a new bike. I’m so glad that YG got me into biking, and I doubled my miles this summer. I’m outgrowing my bike, though – I’ve gotten fast enough that I sometimes run out of gears. I’d love to get a road bike. These are pretty.
7. Re: bike. I want to do a Century.
8. Re: bike. I want to kick YG’s ass (or at least keep up) in Century.
9. I want to run a half marathon. Seriously, I put this on my New Year’s Resolutions list EVERY YEAR (along with learning to blow out my hair better and finding the perfect red lipstick). I want to do it, though. Sometimes I just feel like running. If I were in better shape and better toned, I’d feel better about attempting this.
10. And I’m stealing this one directly from Lose The Buddha: “I want to spend the time I use beating myself up to instead give myself a facial.” I’m not into facials, but I want to spend the time I use beating myself up to do…pretty much anything else. Read, write, whatever.

Anyway, that’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll think of other goals as I go along, but right now I’m happy that the majority of my weight loss goals are about my health and exercising, as opposed to magically being happy because I can finally ride the pole.

Monday, October 09, 2006

"A Piniella Return Could Benefit Rodriguez Most"

Seething over this article in the New York Times.

WHY? WHY? WHY? Don't get me wrong -- who doesn't like Lou? But WHY are we catering to this little pissant? It's Joe's fault that he can't do shit in the postseason? Joe is supposed to keep him batting clean up and let the whole team suffer because batting him 8th hurts his precious psyche? The whole team needs a new manager because he can't live up to his gazillion-dollar paycheck? Sorry, that's just bullshit.

I'm upset my team lost. Upset, but not surprised. We're officially the Atlanta Braves now. :-(

The Tigers and The Mets have been the Cinderella stories all year so I'm hoping that will be the end match up. STL and Oakland? Who cares? And it's been 20 years since the 86 series so I will, begrudgingly, say "Let's Go Mets!"

Friday, October 06, 2006

Yeah, It's Lame but TGIF

Long week. I left work around 3 and am logged in from home and it feels like a monster luxury. A couple of things:
* Still processing the events of earlier in the week.
* Am so happy that all my TV is back on: Lost, Grey's Anatomy, Gilmore Girls, etc. Now I don't have to pretend that I'm a cultural elitist anymore. I can just sink into my couch with my beer and guacamole and be happy.
* The new Yo La Tengo is REALLY good.
* Work. Still like the job, but had a crazy few days with trying to finalize two press releases after being out of the office for 3 days.
* I ALWAYS feel guilty when I take time off of work, even when it's vacation. Even when it's something awful like a family funeral and a divorce. I have no idea what this is about -- I've just always been this way. On my return, I got an email from UNNAMED PARTY reminding me that I should send "updates" to people so they "wouldn't think I dropped the ball." WTF? I still checked email. I let everyone know I was going to be out. I shot off a hasty (and uber snotty) reply and then went to fume outside for a bit. UNNAMED PARTY later half-heartedly apologized, but the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth.
* And then I feel guilty about even mentioning that here because UNNAMED PARTY is really not bad, and I have a pretty good gig and people seem to like me so....
* That being said, it made me really paranoid about leaving early these past few days. And my friend, M, is in town staying with me and I really wanted to take a day off and spend time with her, but was conflicted about it. :-(
* We're going out tonight.
* I'm going with YG to some family function to meet his extended family. Am brainstorming the perfect outfit. Something of the "she's very polished and classy, yet I can see very nice cleavage" genre.
* I had WW weigh in on Wed. I gained 1.5 lbs in one weekend with my family.
* I plan to be drunk A LOT this weekend.
* I plan on praying that doesn't cause any more bloat.

TGIF, bitches.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Back in Cambridge. It was hard. It sucked. I'm suddenly seeing my own parents and my aunt as very mortal. And I'm divorced. After years of ups and downs, the conclusion only took 15 minutes.

I came home to a clean house. YG cleaned my house while I was away, including the gross litter box, because he's just like that. A nice person. A good person who does nice things for other people rather than talking about doing nice things.

I'm going to bed shortly to prepare for what looks to be a grueling day at work tomorrow and to be nicely rested for when why houseguest, M, arrives. I'm very excited to have company -- it will help keep me out of my mopiness.

Lyrics that are resonating right now.
Grace -- Kate Havnevik
I'm on my knees
only memories
are left for me to hold

Dont know how
but Ill get by
Slowly pull myself together

Theres no escape
So keep me safe
This feels so unreal

Nothing comes easily
Fill this empty space
Nothing is like it seems
Turn my grief to grace

I feel the cold
Loneliness unfold
Like from another world

Come what may
I wont fade away
But I know I might change

Nothing comes easily
Fill this empty space
Nothing is like it was
Turn my grief to grace

Nothing comes easily
Where do I begin?
Nothing can bring me peace
Ive lost everything
I just want to feel your embrace

Saturday, September 30, 2006

It's Going to Be a Long Weekend

Warning: blah coming.

It took 6.5 hours to get home yesterday. Ugh. My plan was to get up early, have my new mattress delivered and get out of the house quickly, and then stop in New Haven if my two friends were available for a coffee break. That was the plan anyway.

Work was hectic, though, so I worked in the morning from home. Then I realized that I'd be away for the better part of a week, and the day I am coming home (a day I was originally planning to work from home) is the day that my house guest is scheduled to arrive. So I needed to clean the house so she wouldn't be sleeping on a cat hair carpet and/or sticking to the bathroom floor. I left later than I wanted, around 1 p.m. and decided that I wouldn't stop in CT and would just barrel though and get home early enough to hang out with my grandma and my mom. I completely forgot that this was a holiday weekend, though, and got to New York around the same time that everyone going home for the Jewish holiday was probably leaving. It took TWO HOURS to get over the Tappan Zee Bridge. TWO HOURS! I don't miss the traffic AT ALL.

I comforted myself by stopping at Palisades Center and getting a sweater at Forth & Towne, but I was just drained. I attempted listening to To The Lighthouse on cd, but the soothing British narrator was putting me to sleep so I went back to Sleater Kinney. :-) Met the family at Bennigan's and watched I Love the 80s with my mom and paid my bills. Glam.

Today was just errands and an exercise in total gluttony -- the way I usually eat when I'm at home. There is so much FOOD here. Everyone and their brother has sent a fruit basket or candy or cookies. It's comforting and horrifying -- my best dream and worst nightmare all in one. I did get out and run for a while, but I still feel like I weigh about a million pounds. I stopped by Nana's and I was offered a piece of cake (yum) followed by a roast beef sandwich (double yum). I should note that this was AFTER lunch. AND we're going out for a fancy meal because it's my parents 34th wedding anniversary and they want to try and do "normal" stuff and not focus on the fact that we have to do the wake tomorrow.

What else can I bore you with? I bought three new CDs: Snow Patrol, the new Yo La Tengo, and Steely Dan, new sweatpants, and an extra pair of sheets at Century 21. Even my purchases are boring today. Oh, and I got my eyebrows waxed and a blowout. And I caught up on work email. Woo hoo.

I'm not looking forward to the next two days. I know it's necessary, but it's really easy to pretend like nothing has changed when it has. And then I get divorced on Tuesday.

The obit ran today.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Grandfather Died

My Pop-Pop Christiano died earlier this evening. I guess when someone is 89 years old you can't call their death "unexpected," but it still feels unexpected. I just saw him and chatted with him, and he was with it and in good spirits, a few months ago. I feel incredibly sad.

The funeral is Monday. I was supposed to be in NJ for my Not Divorce hearing. Not Divorce, you ask? Yes, I have to appear in Court as part of some NJ pilot program where I have a "case management" hearing. I think I basically have to explain why I want to get divorced. After an almost two-year seperation. After we signed a mediation agreement EIGHT MONTHS AGO. After we sold our house and divied up our money months ago. After we've both been completey and totally emotionally battered by this and just want to get on with our lives. NOW I need to explain to someone WHY I want a divorce so I can get an actual divorce hearing. Yeah.

So my Not Divorce hearing needs to be rescheduled, pushing back my Real Divorce hearing even more. And I'm not even sure if this is "allowed." I basically told the lawyer: I'm not coming. I need to be at this funeral. Tell me what to do. I'm not negotiating.

And another one of my grandparents is dead.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bye Bye Summer and Happy 10th Anniversary

Post vaguely inspired by this book and because yesterday was BSquared’s 29th birthday. Woo!

Fall 2006 is officially here. I normally wouldn’t mark such an occasion (my seasons are divided by what types of shoes I can wear: open toe, slides, ballet flats, boots and BOOTS of the LLBean-I-actually-wear-these-in-the-snow variety), but that means that Summer 2006 is over, and this summer was the 10-year anniversary of probably one of the most fun times I’ve ever had in my life.

In summer 1996, I was living in Syracuse, working at Bruegger’s Bagels and taking a poetry class. I was sort of aimless and fidgety, and while I told everyone that I was up there to take more classes, it was really about having a crush on a guy, another in a long line of musicians, actors, poets, writers, “artistes” if you will. He was tall and skinny and drove this ridiculous, beat up old car.

Also ridiculous – instead of living on campus, I lived way out in East Syracuse on Kirkland Ave. in this big condo complex with a pool, near the Carrier Circle Denny’s and close to nothing else. My two roommates were working at a strip club, until one moved to San Francisco with a “boyfriend” she made while stripping. The other had a boyfriend she kept secret from her disapproving parents, and he made frequent sweaty appearances on our futon (read: MY bed) in his tighty whiteys, drinking beers and eating chips.

I wanted to this to be the story of that summer, but as I started thinking about it more, I end up with all these bullet points that in my head make a cohesive story that can’t be told on paper. My other life is also getting in the way, and even though it's long past work time ending, I've got 3 press releases to draft and a number of other items to run down, and oh, it's Tuesday night with the MG so I'd rather spend the time playing thumb wrestling and Jenga with her than sit in front of the computer, before it's time to pack up the lunches and the homework. So...the abbreviated, things I can remember at this point in time, list.

It was the last summer I spent in Syracuse before I did my semester in London with NN and the summer I met BSquared and Phil ( I know I initial everyone else’s name, but Phil has always been and will always be Phil) and JT and the Mulligans, and of course, the worst future roommate ever, the Evil Harpie from Hell (EHH).

It was also the summer of:
* 850 Euclid. Sitting on the porch on the hill drinking beers and “Natural Ice” – a beer of sorts.

* Bruegger’s. EVERYONE I know worked there that summer, and we all showed up hungover and we all kvetched about the regulars like the butter lady and the chicken salad sandwich guys and the beat cops and the doctors and the vegan straight edge kids who would come in and order a plain bagel with vegetables. I am having flashbacks to having to slice the pickles and clean the grease trap, and gross, refill the condiments. On the surface, refilling the condiments is no big deal, but to refill the mayonnaise, you needed to dump it from this big tub of mayo into a plastic bag, and then cut a hole in the plastic bag, squeezing it into the plastic condiment jar. It made the WORST squishy, farty sound. Ew.

* My Totally 80s Compilation CD. I rocked that thing that summer. I have a picture of BSquared, the EHH, and me jumping around in the EHH’s mother’s kitchen, singing Laura Brannigan’s “Gloria” at the top of our lungs. Disco balls and leotards not included.

* Box of Wine nights.

* Tuesday night Cup Night at Chuck’s. Yeah, they reopened “Hungry Charley’s,” but it’s not the same. It was so dingy and gross and fucking awesome in there with the bad beer and Boone’s farm and “sangria.” It was $2 to refill a Chuck’s cup all night. I still have those cups. There was some sort of Brueggers vs. Chuck’s girls thing going on that summer too. The EHH slept with a guy at Bruegger’s who had a girlfriend with really awful cankles that worked the bar at Chuck’s. Many stink eyes were exchanged.

* Alto Cinco. Dorian’s Pizza. All Night Eggplant. Mother’s Cupboard.

* The house on Westcott Street.

* The night the EHH and I were introduced to the Mulligans...AFTER sharing an entire bottle of Absolut Citron.

* My awful haircut. A grown out buzz cut that I attempted to dye platinum blonde that was more like penny bronze. I also sported cut-off camo shorts and chunky heels. Ew.

The MG calls. All I know is that I had a ton of fun, and that I still talk to some of those folks. BSquared and Phil are married. JT and NN both had babies, a daughter and a son, this summer. Some of the Mulligans are still playing music. And I still make bad haircut choices.

Happy Ten Year Anni, and Happy Birthday BB!

Zack Braff and I Like the Same Music

Okay, am I really that hopelessly conventional? I’ve read the backlash here and here among other places, and I saw the movie. Yes, the women were drawn poorly and the plot was lacking a bit, but after the horrible reviews, I was expecting something hideous. It inspired some interesting conversation, and on a rainy Saturday, that’s really all I’m looking for. And I’m sorry, haters, but the soundtrack is GOOD. Feel free to disagree with me at

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sad Songs

One of my favorite bloggers is getting divorced. I don't know why this had such a profound effect on me -- I don't know this person, I've never met her or talked to her -- but I found myself being extremely sad about it on the way home from work last night and crying. Maybe because I've been there, and maybe because there was something so eerily familiar about her post -- it felt like I wrote it, like someone was sitting inside my head. This just pierced me
I wanted my life neatly contained and packaged again because that was what brought me comfort - the notion of the neat and pretty and tidy seemed to heal me.

The very, very sad songs on both The Last Kiss and Grey's Anatomy soundtracks didn't exactly lift my spirits, and I found myself holding back more tears on my usual walk up to Harvard, down to the water, and back down Mass Ave. Things never turn out quite the way you expect. YOU never turn out to be quite who you thought you were. sometimes that's a bad thing, and other times it's a good thing that I'm not half as horrible as my messed up head tells me I am.

I am okay. Everyone's okay. We're all getting better, and I have much to be thankful for. When I reread my recaps of vacation and look at all my pics, I'm so greatful. I've been emailing with an old friend from college, and he wrote something about his wife that also struck me as a wonderful, excellent description of how I feel about YG --- or the "mysterious YG" since some of you are curious about his real identity.

"She is so patient and understanding, puts up with my crap and still thinks I'm the greastest thing ever. As long as she never figures out that she is a better person than I am we should be together for a long time.... ha ha ha! No seriously, it's not a low self esteem thing, she just appreicates me even when I'm not at
my best."

I'm still trying to figure out what my best is. I kind of lost who I was in the marriage, and I'm carrying around the baggage and battle scars to prove it. Sometimes it's hard to remember that I probably judge myself way harsher than anyone else does -- that YG and my friends and my family don't have some checklist that they're holding up and grading me against. There was a burglary in my building this week, and I've been ever more OCD about triple checking locks and windows before I go out -- when I do that, I imagine that YG is silently checking off my boxes on my cons/crazy list, and that the next "bad" thing I do will be the thing that sways JM from "pro" to "con." SERIOUSLY, FOLKS, DO YOU GET HOW INSANE THIS SOUNDS?

It was a rough evening. I continued to listen to sad music, and then watched Grey's Anatomy and cried (lost love, choices) and then ER (sick babies, dead husbands) and then went to bed where I had a dream that I was at a wake and everyone in my family died because I left them and moved away. WTF?

Today's a better day. Today is always a better day. And even if it isn't, it's just today.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Vacation Recap: San Fran Weekend, Part 3

On Saturday we decided to get out of the city and recreate the “perfect day” YG had when he visited Msquared back in the spring. We rented a car for the weekend that we picked up a few blocks from the hotel. There was some back-and-forth about adding a second person to the rental reservation so I just hung back and read and looked at all of the different maps. Two older ladies riding motorized scooters came in to pick up their car rental, and I had a bit of a giggle imagining them rolling up and down the San Francisco hills in their matching sweat suits with shopping bags.

After the car situation was resolved, we picked up K at her new apartment in Telegraph Hill. She only moved in a few weeks prior, but it was still cozy and cute, with the most gorgeous views of the water. As I’ve blogged before, I’m still having conflicting feelings about my new apartment. I pared down a lot to move from a big condo to an apartment, but I still feel like I have so much STUFF. Seeing K’s great, yet small, apartment – with everything she needed in two small rooms – helped me realize that I can scale down even more. We had a good laugh over the fact that we were wearing essentially the same outfit – black t-shirts and jeans and blue hoodies being so cutting edge and all – and were on our way.

We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, a thrill in itself for me, and stopped at The Marin Headlands to take in some of the spectacular views and enjoy some of the trail mix that Msquared had packed. He also brought an entire backpack filled with fruit that sadly, none of us ate.

After the stop, we drove over to Stinson Beach. I was in the backseat and getting nauseous and car sick because of the windy roads, but still couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I feel like I’m using a lot of “beautiful” and “breathtaking” and “amazing” to describe the scenery, and that’s lame [and I know I need to have a long conversation with myself about why I’m doing this kind of writing as opposed to “real” writing] – but I really don’t know what else to say. It takes a lot to get me to shut up, slow down, and appreciate – but San Francisco and the surroundings were able to do that. It was a very foggy day, and we kept ducking in and out of the clouds, watching this spectacular, rocky beach come into view in the distance.

We took a walk down the beach, chatted and looked at the houses. It must have been warm because there were people in the water, and by the time the walk was over, the four of us had stripped some of our outer layers and were down to jeans, t-shirts and bare feet. We then had a delicious lunch and win at The Sand Dollar which is supposedly Stinson Beach’s longest running restaurant and bar. They had a heated patio and this great little live band, and I enjoyed my fish tacos and club sandwich (with lots and lots of bacon) very much.

YG said that they sat at the same exact table when he was there in the spring, and I was happy to be there this time, and in a much better headspace. When YG was in SF earlier, we had hit a really rough patch. I was still stuck in my horrible job that was a huge mistake and really depressed – wondering whether or not I should be on meds. It was a really bad time for me, and I made it extremely difficult for him. When he went out there, it was like he took a break from all the crazy people in his life demanding things of him – his depressed girlfriend (a.k.a. me), his crazy ex-wife (the EC), and the insane stresses that go along with being “an important person” at work and being a single parent. He came back much more relaxed, healthy and happy. And I got through my shit and dealt with it. Five months later, we were able to take this great trip together. He got to recreate his perfect day – except it was a little more perfect.

After lunch, we drove over to Sausalito, this cute little community on the hillside between the Bay and the Marin Headlands. I knew nothing about Sausalito other than remembering its name from some terrible tween book I read in middle school. I’ve been googling like a fiend, but I still can’t remember what the name of this book was. It was like a ghetto rip off of Sweet Valley High. Basically, the premise was that there were two very pretty, blonde cousins – one who lived in San Francisco, and one who lived in no-name town in the Midwest. Midwest Blonde comes to spend a school year with SF Blonde and is completely overwhelmed by the big city. She meets some guy at an art show in the gym of their school (where if I remember correctly, she was stacking a deck of cards?) and sees her art (i.e. the card stack) and thinks she’s some sort of artiste. Because she’s from the Midwest and completely overwhelmed by the big city, she lies to the guy and pretends like she’s all city fabulous. Complexity ensues. All comes to a head when she’s supposed to go out for a date on his parents’ houseboat in SAUSALITO, and she ends up scratching her eye with her fake Lee press-on nail while getting dressed in her city, artist clothes. She has to come clean, and sends SF cousin to SAUSALITO to explain to rich guy why she can’t join him for dinner. The rest of this mind-numbing plot is a blur to me. I just remember thinking that rich people live on boats in Sausalito.

So, yeah, anyway. ..It was really pretty, with lovely views. And very sunny and warm – quite different than San Francisco. If you looked over at the city, the fog was settling in, and it appeared almost like a picture where somebody just erased the top part. We sat on the water’s edge, drinking hot chocolate and coffee and had a completely ‘not stoned’ conversation about what our “favorite” animals are. MSquared gave me shit about choosing cats because they’re easy and domesticated, and apparently one should not choose domesticated animals as one’s “favorite animal” in these types of conversations. Monkeys, my second choice, also got a big meh. We finally settled on panthers as my favorite animal. For the record, MSquared’s favorite animal is a polar bear. Average age of the four completely sober participants in this conversation: 35.

While in Sausalito, we unfortunately witnessed a sailboat sinking. It was terrible – sitting on the sidelines and watching this guy struggle to try and save his boat. He had help from the Coast Guard, but I’m not sure if he was able to salvage his boat. He was out there for a while, and we watched him being towed in. It was sad imagining how embarrassing it must be to be dragged in before all these spectators like us.

By late afternoon, everyone was exhausted so we headed back to the city and found an excellent parking spot. I drive in cities enough to recognize the value of a truly great (and free) parking spot. I was cranky and whiny and lame (capital L) so I went back to the hotel and took a nap, while YG sat down in the lobby reading and journaling. I joined him about an hour later, and we chatted up this nice couple from Atlanta before changing and heading over to MSquared’s for wine and Jenga.
[Note; I still haven’t bought Jenga, but I’ve made a list for this weekend – it’s on it.]

We had 9:30 dinner reservations at 1550 Hyde
so we headed up there, as I sulked and pouted over my Jenga loss in the cab. That lasted for a few seconds but was immediately lifted once we got into the restaurant. Our table wasn’t ready so we grabbed seats at the bar, and munched on some olives. K and I also tried some Kir Royals (a drink I haven’t had since I visited my brother in Lyon during his semester abroad) and the boys had wine. YG pouted a bit about the table not being ready. I pouted a bit about YG pouting, and Msquared and K were just laid back and happy as they usually are.

All was made well when we sat down for our meal. OMIGOD! I had eggplant bisque for an appetizer that was divine, and a vegetable pasta dish that was cooked to perfection. I also tried a Gewurztraminer that was very tasty, but totally not the right wine for that meal. I’m trying to learn more about wine and what goes with what, but it’s slow learning. I know what I like – sweet wines, and usually stick with that. I’m hoping to branch out a bit more. K had a white burgundy that was delicious. We also had some yummy desserts [that I paid for, my penalty for losing the Jenga game.:-)] and left around midnight and walked back to the hotel, discussing whether or not Msquared should get a scooter. Scoot or die, dude. Scoot or die.

It was a long exhausting day, and I had gotten kind of prickish by the end of the day, but as we were walking back, and I got a look at my lovely boy, I realized how very, very lucky I am.

Sadly, Sunday was our last day in San Francisco and we had a 10:30 p.m. red eye to catch back to Boston. After days of stalking Mamas from the window and wondering if the food was good enough to warrant waiting on line outside for, we sucked it up and went over. The line was substantial, but the wait wasn’t too bad. We were wedged between a couple that was gushily making out and a gaggle of hozzles, fresh off a bachelorette party, including the bride-to-be – wearing a frickin’ veil. Gag. You may think I’m bitter because I’m getting divorced and all walking the boulevard of broken dreams, but the bachelorette party phenomenon has always made me throw up in my mouth just a little. One look at these hozzes and I knew they had spent the last night doing shots and squealing that girl squeak, and thinking it was just hilarious to carry around their dick-shaped lollipops and “suck for a buck” t-shirts. Ew. Plus, there were about 90 of them and I knew that, in due time, someone wearing Juicy “couture” terry cloth sweat pants and oversized sunglasses was going to show up….and I’d just go postal.

Again, though, I was rescued by the food. The story of my life, folks. It was so good. I really didn’t even know where to start – I wanted everything. You wait on line outside, and then they let you in, where you wait on line inside, place your order and then wait for a table. I decided on a mimosa and lemon raspberry French Toast made with freshly baked bread, covered in syrup and fresh fruit. YG had either the cinnamon-swirl or something with apples in it – I forget. And to add to our carb-fest, we split a piece of coffee cake. It was unreal. So good, so filling. Well worth the wait.

After breakfast, we checked out of our room (So, so sad – bye bye stalking window) and left our bags in the lobby before heading up the The Haight. The cab ride was insane, and we kept flying up and down hills and whipping through streets. I’m not sure what I was expecting from The Haight, but I was sort of surprised. It’s been over 30 years since the Summer of Love, but I was still expecting to see hippies hanging out everywhere and lots of incense and tie dye and “peace, man”. There was plenty of that stuff, but also some shops that sold True Religion jeans and John Fluevogs – not really “hippie” in my mind. We found a cute kids shop and bought the MG a bag, a patterned change purse and a purple flower ring – stuff you know she’d get a kick out of.

Then we headed over to Golden Gate Park. The next time I visit, I hope to spend more time here. It’s really pretty, and from the map, enormous. There was an opera starting so we sat down for a few minutes, but after realizing we’d have to wait a while for it to start, we headed back to the Haight again.

And there I had my second San Francisco religious experience – Amoeba Music -- the largest indie record store in the country. I could have spent all day in there – I was in total “kid in candy shop” mode. I didn’t even make it into the new music section, spending all my time rifling through tons of used CDS. Everything was so cheap so I picked up a number of things I wanted a while back, but never got around to getting: an old Sleater Kinney,’s compilation CD, a Waifs CD, and the Jose Gonzalez album I didn’t have. So, so awesome.

We headed back to North Beach to pick up our bags and use the bathroom, and I chatted with the very pregnant hostess at the hotel. We then rescued the car from its very good spot and drove back to The Golden Gate Bridge. We parked the car, and decided to walk over on foot. It was absolutely freezing, but so worth it. The color of the bridge is just as interesting up close as it is in photos, and it doesn’t even feel like you’re on a bridge – more like a giant highway in the sky [how ridiculous is THAT description?]. The fog is so strange, though – when we started on the SF side and made our way through the throng of tourists, we couldn’t even see the top of the tower on the other side. Making our way across, I took a bunch of pictures and we spotted a couple of interesting things including a sea lion or dolphin hanging out in the bay and a European tourist who stopped about every five feet to take a picture of himself against the backdrop of the bridge. It was bizarre! On the other side, it was much sunnier and on our way back, we saw one of those giant cargo container ships going by and a lot of Blazing Saddles riders. I REALLY want to do the bike path next time I’m in San Francisco – bike over the bridge to Sausalito or Tiburon, and then take the ferry back. It looks amazing. YG and I commented, though, on how it seems like a pretty long ride and most of the riders we saw didn’t seem to be experienced riders. 17 miles in jeans and flip flops seems like it would suck, but that said, I promise the residents of Northern California that I will not subject you to the spectacle that is JM in bike pants should I ever visit again, and get to do some biking.

After getting back to the car, we started negotiating what we should do with the rest of our day before heading to the airport. We decided on Alamo Park because I was interested in seeing the Seven Sisters and getting a glimpse of that famous view of the city and its pretty Victorian houses.

We found a parking spot right away, and it really is a lovely neighborhood. Sadly, I did not meet DJ or Stephanie Tanner in the park, and Uncle Jesse was nowhere to be found, but it was worth the trip. We only spent a few minutes before getting back in the car, with YG driving and me navigating with the map.

We headed back toward the waterfront and decided to get a drink at YG’s favorite bar in San Francisco. Of course, the name of said bar and restaurant is eluding both of us right now, but it’s down near Fisherman’s Wharf and has beautiful second floor views of Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge and is loaded with black and white photos of movie stars, tons of them. I think it has an Italian name, and I keep Googling all of those search phrases, but can’t find it. I had glasses of a yummy Sauvignon Blanc, and then we ordered some prosciutto, mozzarella, and olives and chatted and enjoyed the view until it was time to leave.

We drove back to North Beach and picked up Msquared who was driving us back to the airport and returning the car. We got through security, walked around the airport some more, and I bought new blotting papers at Body Shop and read the newest craptastic magazines and saw the pictures (finally) of the mysterious Suri. We had another drink at an airport bar, I got nervous and clingy and blubbery (because it wouldn’t be a JM vacation without one nervous breakdown), and then got off the plane, sleeping most of the way.

Arrived back in one piece around 7:30 a.m. ET, cabbed back to Cambridge, napped for a few hours and then enjoyed one last fun lunch together before returning to the real world. Sigh. I miss it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Vacation Recap Part 2: San Francisco

YG and I arrived at the airport for an 8:30 flight with enough time for coffee and reading. The flight was rather uneventful, so I listened to some music and started Empire Falls (an awesome read, highly recommended). We also watched Poseidon – a movie so horribly bad that it was hilarious. You know your movie sucks when people laugh when the lead characters die.


When the flight landed, I flipped on my cell phone to discover that I had 4 missed calls and 3 messages. Huh? Readers, I am not a phone person. I hate talking on the phone and only call people when I need to ask them something or I really, really miss them. Even as a teenager, I was not so into the phone. So…I don’t get a lot of calls except for work-related stuff, and the occasional check-in with family and friends. Four calls on my mobile in 6 hours was just off. They were all related to the impending home sale. The buyers wanted to move the closing up a week, and my lawyer didn’t know I was on vacation and needed me to sign and notarize a bunch of documents. HUGE pain in the ass. I immediately got in a foul mood, and moved quickly into “I hate myself for being in a foul mood on vacation” mode. YG reminded me that I didn’t have to agree to moving the sale up, so I didn’t – crisis averted.

MSquared picked us up at the airport, and we drove back to his neighborhood, North Beach, and dropped our bags off at the hotel. He took us out for some great pizza, and then YG and I explored the neighborhood. City Lights Bookstore was the high point – I’ve been wanting to visit for ages. Yeah, it’s a bookstore, but if you love to read and if you thought The Dharma Bums and all that other Beat writing was the shit, you want to visit “just a bookstore.” We had some coffee at Café Trieste and then walked up to The Coit Tower -- it was a perfect day and the views were amazing. I’ve never been in a city more beautiful than San Fran. Paris is gorgeous because of the amazing architecture, but the natural landscape in California is breathtaking.

We went back to the hotel and had some champagne and did some people stalking. If you look at The Washington Square Inn website, there’s a fabulous picture of a room with bay windows and a great view of the park. THAT was our room! Amazing. I spent more time than I can recount, staring out the window, people watching and scribbling away in my journal. I thought I’d post some of that stuff here, but it’s a lot of “so happy” and “so great” and ideas for short stories and just details. We then had evening hors d'oeuvres and wine in the lobby, before meeting Msquared and his girlfriend K for dinner.

I was a tad nervous about meeting K because I had heard so much about her, and YG had such a crush on her, it’s hard not to get into “step off, bitch. That’s my man” mode. She also supposedly was very cheery and laid back, and allegedly knew all kinds of stuff about man things like cars and guns (i.e. things YG knows about, but JM does not) – and is a Red Sox fan from New England. Because I’m immature and apparently still in high school and could keep any number of therapists in business for years, I was feeling: K being cheery and fun and great = JM being fat, dumpy troll who is boring, negative AND high maintenance. So I approached dinner with a bit of trepidation.

And that was so dumb! K was awesome – really nice and engaging, and she’s involved in a lot of interesting projects at work that were cool to hear about. I *love* meeting people who are good at conversation and just relaxing to be around. And I like hearing how people find ways to mix their corporate and philanthropic lives.

We had the yummiest dinner at The Slanted Door. While the whole meal was pretty much the best Vietnamese food I’ve ever had, the ribs were a religious experience. I was reluctant to eat ribs while I was all gussied up in my pretty dress, but I ended up inhaling them and slurping the rib sauce off my fingers. It was that good. If you’re in San Francisco, go to this restaurant! It’s a must.

After dinner, the four of us walked back to North Beach. I’d like to personally thank Kenneth Cole for designing high heels that are easy to walk in. Four-inch heels are never easy. Four-inch heels while buzzed and walking up one of San Francisco’s famous hills is daunting. My boy, Kenneth, doesn’t fail, though.

Thursday morning began with more people stalking at “our” window, and enjoying the hotel’s yummy breakfast of oatmeal and fruit. We then walked down to Fisherman’s Wharf and checked out a bunch of the silly, touristy places and bought postcards. We also saw the massive USS Pampanito, and the ridiculous sea lions flopping around on the water docks. They’re so fat and funny and there’s so many of them.

We took the ferry to Alcatraz and did the audio tour. The views are amazing, and the history is impressive. It’s this massive building, and you hear the wind howling through it, but then you look out the window and see gorgeous San Francisco – it must have been psychological torture for the inmates. I listened to all of their stories, but the one that broke me was an inmate describing New Year’s Eve on Alcatraz. It was cold and they could hear the singing and festivities going on at the Yacht Club. Heartbreaking stuff.

Post-lunch, we picked up salads at the Ferry Building and ate outside and then had some wine at a nearby wine bar. The tasting flights were great – I tried a lot of stuff I normally wouldn’t be interested in. Then back to Café Trieste for more coffee and a long, relaxing lounge in Washington Square. It’s a strange little park – every morning, we’d see all the locals doing their tai-chi. It’s very disorienting to wake up in the morning, look out the window and see hundreds of people holding their hands over the ears. There were lots of folks lounging in the sun with their dogs, and you get to see the beautiful St.Peter and Paul Church. There’s that famous picture of Joe Dimaggio and Marilyn Monroe taken outside of it. They couldn’t get married inside because she was divorced, and Catholics don’t go for that sort of thing (once my divorce is final, I think I get to officially be a whore. Woo hoo!) MSquared joined us so I had time to journal while he and YG chatted and discussed work and their various business ideas.

For dinner we met my friend, M, in The Mission. I met M in New York a couple of years ago through a website when we were both planning our weddings. She’s lots of fun, really smart and great to talk to. We had some yummy tapas and then went to see her husband’s band play. I hope they don’t mind, but I’m going to publicize these guys and tell you to GO SEE THEM! The music was great, the band was really tight, and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

Friday was a YG/JM special. Again, people stalking and reading and oatmeal in the morning. Then we walked downtown to Banana Republic's flagship store, recommended by K, where we bought some stuff that you can't find in the BRs in the mall. Tooled around a bit, and then did our touristy fun thing of the day -- taking a cable car. Recommended way to get around the city? No. Cheesey, fun thing to do and experience? Yes.

We got off at Lombard Street and walked down and took pictures. It really is crooked. And it really is a trip. We then walked over to the Marina District and I got my first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge, not covered in fog. Beautiful. Some lunch and window browsing on Chestnut Street and then we walked back to the hotel -- I think we walked about 4 miles day, my second pair of Kenneth Coles serving me well.

That night, we went to a baseball game at AT&T Park. We knew it was going to be freezing, so I stopped in this little hat shop next to the hotel and bought a winter hat. We met this girl in there who was from Massachusetts and familiar with the way-out suburbs where YG lives. We chatted her up for a bit, and when we left she gave us an honest-to-god "peace" and held her fingers up in the peace sign. Welcome to San Fran. :-)

The game itself was great. We took a cab there because of all the walking and had great seats. I got to see Barry Bonds hit (no homers) and make fun of that little bitch, Mike Piazza, who now plays for the Padres. YG also got booed for wearing a Red Sox cap, and when he said "my life is tough. This [said while pointing to my Yankee sweathsirt] is my girlfriend." The guys responded with "the Yankees are the greatest sports team in history." Hee. Nuff said.

It was cold, and since SF was winning, we left early and took a cab back to North Beach where we had pizza and wine at one of the little Italian places on the strip of streets home. Then we went to Enrico's , had a couple of drinks and chatted up some drunk folks who happily accepted the Giants bobblehead doll that was a free giveawy that I didn't feel like dragging around anymore. AFter that, we checked out another bar that a little too "investment bankers and the women who date them" for me, and then turned in for the night.

An awesome day and night with my awesome boyfriend.

Next installment: why San Francisco is beautiful, but San Francisco beyond is even more so