Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dishes and Brain Tricks

I have procrastinated my way to where I am today. If life is about maintenance one might argue that my life is less than half-lived. On the other hand, if life is actually about binge watching television shows on the internet, my life is full beyond measure. It's all a matter of perspective, a trick of the brain. I have been tiptoeing by a very large pile of dirty dishes for some time now. When this happens I generally approach the task through one of two routes: I take a weekend day and tackle them while blasting NPR or I set a timer for 10 minutes on random mornings and wash as many as I can in that time. Usually I will end up taking more than the 10 minutes and get them all washed. At other times, I do 10 minutes worth and then just wander off and dirty more dishes. Last night I pulled a different trick on my brain. As I walked by them feeling all the shame and guilt I said to myself, "Yanno, doing those dishes will make me feel better. It will rid me of these feelings of guilt and shame." It was not a statement that is in my usual repertoire of motivational and demotivational pep talks. In the context this novelty was enough to get me to do the dishes. And I did feel better. We shall see if this becomes a new tool in my motivational toolbox or was merely a fluke.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

When life puts you at a loss

Internet, some days I am not sure that I am up to the tasks presented to me.  The big ones that matter that have to do with the souls around me that I do or do not know.  The ones that require both the path of the heart and the path of work.

What I want to do is cower in the corner with my helplessness in the face of what cannot be controlled or changed.

I have done this in the past to my great shame.  I want that to be my past not my present or my future.

Regardless of the good or harm that I do moving forward, I want to take up arms against that sea of troubles.  In a lot of situations, it's hard to say what your supposed to do, and there are probably situations all around me right now that I am not even aware of must less able to take up arms again.

If the world were like Hogwarts there would be a Room of Requirement.
It is a room that a person can only enter when they have real need of it. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not, but when it appears, it is always equipped for the seeker's needsDobby explaining to Harry Potter the abilities of the Room of Requirement[src]
Moving forward sometimes I trip up and sometimes I miss the mark but at the very least, moving forward I am trying to not "At least ..." people.

But a Room of Requirement would be so much better ....

Friday, September 20, 2013

Song of the Secretly High Maintenance

I appreciate your efforts to help me.  I really do.  But if you could just wait for me to ask, you could actually be helpful as opposed to the hinderful to thing that I am now trying to untangle.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Waiting in line

I waited in line with a carton of milk, some plums and some nectarines behind a man holding a coconut.

Just that.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

City Rhythms

I stepped outside my door Monday and limped two blocks down and two blocks back to run some errands.

On this journey of not so many steps,

- I walked by a young boy who looked exactly. like. Harry. Potter. anxiously waiting for his parents to pick him up.
- I returned a book to the library only to pick up another and remain in book debt.
- I visited at the ATM.  I spend money like water, apparently, always.  Even when mostly housebound.  One would think that they charge me to use the bathroom around here.
- I went to the grocery store.  You might think that 3:30pm on a Monday would be a great time to go to the grocery store.  Nope.  That is when they restock things on all the shelves and cases in all the aisles.  And the aisles were packed with mothers.

Mothers with kids, mothers with baskets, mothers with carts, mothers with babies in slings, mothers on the go, mothers with lists, mother who peruse, mothers who are fed up, mothers who sigh loudly.  Mothers of all kinds.  Wow.  They don't mess around.  I suppose they can't.  But it made limping in their midst seem potentially perilous.

Added to that the older folks pushing their personal carts which serve both as a means to transport and a means to enable transit, gripping the handle with both hands, for dear life, leaning heavily or carefully.

All of us grumbling at those who insist of traversing the aisle against the flow of shoppers, spawning salmon fighting our directional current in search of frozen plantains or imitation crab sticks.  We shake our heads.  This is not the way.  This is not how things are done at this grocery.  Everyone should know that.

This Monday I was the making of a stop motion short.

On gathering my goods, I salsa'd and shambled gratefully home and had broccoli.

A Tonic for Broody Thoughts

I started thinking about my life.  Then I started thinking about the last time I thought I knew what the hell was going on.  Then I started thinking about high school.  Then I started thinking about how sure of things I was in high school how that was a delusion and how ridiculous that seems now, looking back.

Which led to a lot of gloomy and bleak places.  There's only one thing for that ...

A Dancing Snoopy!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

All was not lost

I am very fond of my Facebook feed.  I am lucky to be acquainted to with many brilliant, insightful, well-read, curious and hilarious people.  So many interesting thing to read and absorb.  But it all flashes by so quickly.  Months later, if I try to recall something from an article that a friend posted on Facebook and if I want to refer to the article to refresh my memory - how do I find it?

Can I remember which friend it was?  Can I recall how long ago it was posted?  Did I "like" it?  Can I find this "like" amongst a sea of other "likes"?  Did I share it?  Did I send it to someone?  Did I bookmark it?  Did I save it in a file?  Did I paste it into an email?

Facebook does not care.  Not in the least.  Their pathetic excuse for search makes me furious.  I curse and try scrolling back through time, through my timeline, my news feed.  Every time the damn thing updates, the scrolling gets messed up if I pause.   And then I am back to leaning on the down arrow key or the END key or the PGDN key.  Hoping that things won't scroll by so quickly that I miss it.  This does not always work.  Sometimes, the post I want is not displayed because Facebook assumes that it is not of interest to me.  And sometimes, Facebook craps out on me and refuses to scroll back any further in time.

Twitter is at least as bad, perhaps worse.

These sites are punchline / headline sites.

I was looking for a particular blog tonight, a blog that I had read several posts from in June.  Those posts had lead me to this site, which I found really interesting.

I started to lose hope but then, I found it.  I found it through my Google Chrome history triangulated with a few emails and gchats about a different website that this one led me to discover.

The blog is a bit different from what I remember.  Still, I am thrilled to be reunited.  To know that all was not lost.

But I've got to stop relying on them for information and start hanging out with more reputable sources.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Too Many Dates

Now that I have cleared the big box of wine, the next challenge is dates.  My parents in a classic act of love mailed me two containers of neglet noor dates.  Each container is about two pounds.  They are pitted, dry and very, very sweet.  Too sweet to eat straight.

So I am trying to figure out what to do with four pounds of dates.

Round one,  Crackle-top Gingerbread Date Cookies
The recipe uses a cup of dates.  It wasn't as many dates as I hoped it would be.  But it's a start.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Am I dying?

I have heard people say that "We are all dying."  When a person says this, most of us laugh, nod or grin ruefully.

But, it's not exactly true.  We are all locked in a process that ends in death.  But unless something happens to us that accelerates the process.  It is more correct to say that we are aging.

The Pony, RICE and frozen peas

I injured myself while doing the pony in dance class last week.

If you have never done the pony, let me offer a couple of video examples:


This woman is going for it:

While doing the pony, I felt a massive cramp in my left calf, a pop to the right, and unspeakable pain.  I had to stop and took a cab home.  The cabbie took the longest way and charged me as much as he could.  He even tried to short me on the change.  I asked him for $3 and he tried to give me just $2.  But I was in no position to argue.  Illustrating why I loathe riding in cabs.

I limped and shambled like a zombie that night, in much, much pain.  God bless frozen peas and Advil.  I had no ice but I had a bag of frozen peas.  CK and I spent a good amount of time on the phone running through the worst case scenarios.  The worst of which involved surgery and a recovery time of 3-4 months.  Or a muscle that never recovers.

Being sufficiently freaked out by then we moved on to the advised treatment.  The recommendation is RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

Unfortunately, all of my close friends live in Manhattan and all of my doctors have their offices there as well.  I barely know anyone in my neighborhood.  Fortunately, despite my alienation from it, my neighborhood rocks - I have access to the greatest car service in Brooklyn and the internet (!).  I live 2 blocks from a walk-in clinic, 3 blocks from a CVS and 2 blocks from a grocery store.

The Dr. at the clinic was underwhelmed by my injury.  I was not bleeding, screaming in pain, nor did I have a broken bones.  He sent me to get an ultrasound of my leg to be sure there were no blood clots.  He said that if I were not improved in a week, that I should see a specialist and get an MRI and shooed me on my way.  Unimpressed.

CK came to visit yesterday.  She was looking forward to seeing me do my limpy zombie shamble and was a little disappointed by my little ambulatory dance.  She bought and brought me crutches.  A lot of people set store by bringing balloons and flowers, perhaps candy.  But I've got to tell you, crutches are a fantastic thing to bring.  We got burritos at a taco joint literally kitty-corner to my place - another reason that my neighborhood rocks.

It hurts less when I move with my knees bent and so I have been doing a pseudo salsa step as a means of transit.  The overall hurt has lessened.  But now the pain comes when I put weight on my left calf at certain angles.  Mystery angles.  I have not quite figured out all the angles.  So there is uncertainty and surprise jolts of pain.

I envy every old person with a walking cane that I spy.  I have had to rethink my impatience when walking behind people who are very slow.  I have had to rethink how I perceive people who have difficulty walking as I wonder how people are perceiving me as I limp along.

There is so much taken for granted in life.  The body is fragile.  But it finds a way to keep going.  And I do too.

Shuffling about uncertainly in salsa fashion, I feel grateful that I can move at all.  Here's hoping that RICE works for me and that I can get back to that pony.  That's what you do when thrown off a horse, even one so small as a pony.

My Infinite Box Wine

Today, I drank the dregs of a box of wine. I bought it in July 2012.  Yes, I have had this box for over a year.  The last sips were about the same as the first ones, near as I could tell.  A mellow, mild, fruity red, slightly sweet.  Pretty innocuous.

I got it in NJ.  The Fella, MLQ and I had been invited to an engagement party in Marlboro, NJ.  It's not easy to get to Marlboro from Brooklyn by public transit.  It requires subways, a train and at least one bus.  So the Fella hired a Zipcar.  We piled in and made our way through familiar yet foreign lands.

We got lost a few times.  The NJ highway system can be tricky to decipher even with two people staring obsessively at their cell phones the whole time.  (NJ, are you aware of your signage problem?  At the very least, you could trim the bushes back so that they don't obscure what signs you have, overgrown Garden State. )

With our detours, we made a few retail excursions; one of these was the Wine Academy.

There is a scene in the movie Tin Men where a guy considers believing in God after going to a smorgasbord.  I can't offer a video clip, only a transcription of the scene.  I bring this up because this is what the Wine Academy was like for me.  I walked down aisle after aisle of glorious booze.  So much.  And so many different kinds. In this magical land of spirits, I got a box of this:

It's a humble trophy from a place so grand.  In a fit of nostalgia, what I wanted was a box of wine.  When I was a wee grad student the best part of the summer was having BBQ and a box of Franzia with friends on a hot summer day.  We drank from plastic cups, complained about our lives and mocked each other mercilessly.  Boxes of wine, like sheet cakes are not really an NYC thing.  These things are not classy.  They are big and unwieldy.  They are shared at big parties and with large groups of people.  It helps to have a car when transporting them.  And here I was, in a car.

I have not had Franzia in a long time.  Back in the day, they didn't have a Chillable Red.  Seemed worth a shot.

I got the box and took it home.  It took up a big slice of my tiny fridge.  Between that and a giant jar of kimchi, there was very little room for perishables in my fridge or my life.  Being a single hermit girl, I mostly drank the box alone.  On rare occasion the Fella would join me for a glass.  I felt comfortable breaking the rules of wine etiquette while drinking it at home alone.  Sometimes I had it mixed with seltzer or with a few ice cubes.  Turns out I don't drink a lot at home and drinking at home alone does not inspire me to do so copiously.  But it was nice to come home and fuzz out a little with a glass of chilled red.

It would wink at me when I looked in the fridge.  "Wanna drink? Drink? Drink?"  "Hi.  Hi!  I am still here.  Wanna drink?"

It would pout reproachfully at me when I came home from a night of drinking.  "What am I, chopped liver?"

It would companionably observe that I might want a glass of wine with my giant bowl of popcorn and that the popcorn could probably do with a little more melted butter.  Both were often true.

Some days, I would pick it up and give it a little shake.  Confirming that there was clearly something there, ever present, justifying its continued fridge residency.

On most days, I would try to ignore it.  I stacked yogurt cups or leftovers on top of it.  Sometimes things would fall behind it.  Some were recovered quickly, others were discovered only just today.

I started to wonder if I would ever reclaim my fridge from it.  What if I had a never ending box of red wine.  What if little elves were coming in at night refilling it while I slept.  Should I open up my home so that other people could bear witness to this marvel?  Pilgrims carrying their own little plastic cups, queuing before my fridge for their share of the infinite?

But it did have an end and I have reached it.  I have liberated myself from this box of wine by drinking it.  It is, if not a miracle of infinite abundance, still a miracle of finite abundance and modern retail, no.  To have so much at my disposal at such apparent minimal cost and effort is remarkable.

There is only the need to earn, acquire, and consume.  Often the earning is considered the challenge.  But in some cases consuming, beyond the initial instant gratification and thrill of possession can present its own challenges.

But now I can turn my attention to the question of what else I could be besides a box wine owner and drinker.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Kicking It Old School

Me: Saturdays are great for talk radio. There's Radiolab and then This American Life and then The Moth.

C: Oh. How do you listen to the radio at home?

Me: ... I have two radios.

She expressed surprise that I could listen to a radio without a car. Truth be told, I only recently remembered that I owned devices that could act as radios.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Thoughts on weekend waking

The realization that it was Saturday and not Friday.
The realization that the sun is shining and I can lay in bed all day if I want.
The realization that I could go back to sleep if I wanted or that I could stay in bed and keep reading the fun novel next to my pillow.
The pleasure of curling up in cozy, comfy blankets and the delicious illusion of endless glorious time.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

On a Fine Sunday

I am lazing around reading a novel about Zombies, eating pretzel shells and listening to Frank Sinatra on the radio. It has too long since I have passed the day suchly. It is delicious. Perhaps later, I will have a glass of lemonade.

Friday, July 26, 2013


When I am very tired and working late, I get the passing sensation that someone is hugging me when alone at my desk. It's a great comfort. But I hope it doesn't indicate that I am losing my mind.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lyric for the day

"Ransom my heart, but baby don't look back. Cause we got nobody else "
- Pat Benatar, Shadows of the Night

Friday, July 05, 2013

The day after the party

Sometimes it feels like loving someone in this City will only result in creating a situation in which they feel free to not only reject you but to express utter contempt for you.

More than some of the time, much of the time, most of the time.

People in this City are not looking for love.  They are too in love with themselves to care about anyone else.

It would follow from this that living and dating here means that I am looking for love in the wrong places.

Or falling in love with the wrong kind of person over and over again.

But, I would need to admit to myself and everyone else that I am looking for love in the first place.