Monday, July 17, 2006


I was six years old and sitting at the dinner table with my mother, my father and my two younger brothers. We were having spaghetti. The doorbell rang and my mother got up to answer it. I have no idea who was at the door; it was probably some neighbor or a girl scout selling cookies, but all I do know is that by the time my mother got back to her seat, my father had successfully made at least two out of his three children sick to their stomachs.

He was picking on his favorite child to overtly make fun of – one of my brothers. He laughed at him, taunted him, because how can you not like spaghetti? You’re going to sit there and eat it until it’s done. I don’t care if you’re here until tomorrow morning. I looked at my brother to my right, and I saw this four year old little boy building up this shell, this tough guy i don't give a shit persona, that he still has up to this day. And I was his older sister, and I could not do a goddamn thing to protect him. I could not say a word. I simply began to wash the dishes, as I was supposed to do every night, after choking through the words “can I please get up?”

Maybe that’s why now, over twenty years later, whenever I have the slightest inkling that this brother of mine is in trouble, I drop everything – everything – to try to protect him. I don’t know what I can do; he still is incredibly reticent when it comes to speaking about anything that might be bothering him. But I know. I was told this weekend by my other brother that “some seriously fucked up shit is going on with ____ and we can’t figure it out.” So I put my entire life on hold – the schoolwork I was supposed to complete, my best friend I was supposed to meet – and without even thinking, ran down the few miles to my brother’s apartment and tried, without being assuming, to show some support for whatever the “fucked up shit” is that is going on with him.

Strange things have been happening and I can’t figure them out. His roommate admitted that my brother hasn’t been home in the past week; my brother missed one of his childhood friends’ bachelor parties (hosted by him and his roommate) on Friday night; and my father showed up at their apartment this weekend. My father does not live in New York. And oh, yeah, my brother got in a fistfight that I could not watch but that left him with a bandaged hand and a bloodied arm the next morning. And I can’t put together any of it. There is a running theory out there, but I still haven’t been able to express it in words except to one person.

I watched my little brother get hurt for twenty years and I couldn’t help him. I’m his big sister. I’m supposed to be able to. And that shell that he’s been building ever since he was a little boy has grown ever stronger, so I don’t assume he’ll tell me any time soon. All I can do, I guess, is be there, is be accessible, because I still can’t protect him. I wish I could.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Random thoughts after a late evening of WORKING ON A PAPER:

- it's really hard for me to write about myself when I don't feel as though I can be totally honest. The paper I have been trying to put together tonight is "all about me," yet when the audience is people judging me, how can I truly write all about me?

- one of my brothers is coming into town tomorrow (today) and we're going to do something difficult; we're going to see our great-aunts, one of whom has recently been diagnosed with an inoperable tumor. even though i live closer to her than he does, it'll be taxing to know that he thinks that this is the last time he'll ever see her. This could be true.

- i can't sleep on a normal schedule. i wish i could.

- too much emailing me has made my writing more grammatically deficient than it used to be. i actually used to be perfect in regards to grammer. as in, an 800 on that achievement test one takes in high school. however, the non-use of capitalization and punctuation and the constant use of ellipses... like that... it translates into my "academic writing." and all of my writing.

- my air conditioning unit is so much more tolerable (and hopefully cost-efficient) when I keep it on the "fan" setting. otherwise it is too cold.

- i am going to move out of this apartment. i was given a gift this evening in my mailbox because my incredibly incompetent property managers think my lease is up a month before it is. um... no, it's not. but if you want to let me out of here, then that is a SIGN. i'll get the hell out of here. no problem.

- i have a lot of space in this current apartment yet no light. light is more important to me than space. i would not have known that but for the experience. this thought directly corresponds to the former.

- why in the hell could i just write all of this in about thirty seconds (well, maybe two minutes, but that's the max) when i couldn't write ten pages "all about me" in, oh, man, about a week? at least a week?

- trying to put myself to bed is like trying to get a little child whom you are babysitting to bed. i think i want to stay up; i think there is more i should be doing (i.e. finishing the paper), but when i get there, i will be glad. where is susie murphy when i need her?

- susie murphy was a great babysitter. unfortunately my younger brother threw her keys to her house into the woods about twenty years ago, and she never babysat for us again.

- i smoked pot in those same woods with that same younger brother once. i hate smoking pot. i thought they were just drinking beers and so i went and then i couldn't be the uncool big sister. i got so messed up that i didn't know that we were fifty feet away from my house and essentially in the backyard i had grown up with. this bothered me, but evidently it didn't bother them when they couldn't find their way back. by that time i was already sleeping in my own bed.

- speaking of bed, that's where i'm going right now.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

"As Happy As You Want To Be"

This is the response I got from one of my best friends last night when I called him to discuss my current state of mind. I told him to fuck off, six times, in quick succession. "Fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, fuck off," I said. He asked me, sarcastically, if I wanted to tell him to fuck off again. I told him I just wanted him to understand. Because he, by the way, in the past had told me that "five out of six of [his] best friends from high school have been clinically diagnosed as insane." You would think that this motherfucker who has seen real mental illness would get that mild depression is not a place you "want to be".

I'm trying everything I can. I don't know why I feel like I have to justify myself to this blog - to a computer, in essence - but I do. Yesterday I pulled my ass out of bed, went to Riverside Park to read a children's book (a great one - "the giver" by Lois Lowry) and to soak up some of my beloved sunshine. Then, upon returning home, I decided I'd like to see "The Devil Wears Prada," so I Fandago'd myself a movie ticket, walked the mile to the movie theater, enjoyed the movie, and ambled the mile back home, looking into shop windows, shoe stores, and of course, at the other people walking around, endeavoring to appreciate my surroundings. I stopped in starbucks for an iced coffee. I came home and drew, and I called my grandmother, and I ordered out a sandwich, and I wrote and blogged, and I watched my dear Red Sox. If this wasn't taking full advantage of NYC as much as I could, then I don't know what would be. I mean, short of taking a trip up the Empire State Building - ha. Thought it was a pretty decent attempt at doing everything I enjoy.

Apparently, though, as midnight set in and I was home, alone, not wanting to "go out" and not wanting to drink, I felt that twinge of uselessness yet again. Today I haven't even been able to leave my apartment. I haven't been able to eat, save for some gourmet crackers that were given to me as a gift, nor to drink, save for two bottles of Propel water (my new favorite thing) that line the bottom shelf of my refrigerator.

So tomorrow I am pulling out the final stop. My trump card, so to speak, is the beach. I will get on an early train, I will purchase the most craptastic magazines I can find (these include US Weekly, In Touch, and People) as well as the Sunday New York Times (solely for the crossword puzzle, although the physical weight of the rest of the paper in my beach bag is always an annoying factor), and I will lie out in the predicted sunshine on the sands of Long Beach and listen to the sound of the ocean and absorb the beautiful Vitamin E.

This Shit Cannot Last. I will not allow it. I have too much to give to internalize all of the energy I have that is somehow not positive when it takes a u-turn and comes back to me, because I KNOW it is positive when I let it out in the world.

And by the way, to return to the title of this entry, are we always as ____ (fill in the blank) as we want to be? Fuck, no. Maybe, though, I can substitute "want" for "try" and at least forgive my friend a little bit for his perceived MISunderstanding. There is no doubt that I am trying. And that is, in my current mindset, the best thing that I can do.

Still Trying for OK

This fall I blamed it on the break-up. I looked so forward to January 1st, when I felt I could put it all behind me and start the year anew.

This January I blamed it on the high expectations I'd held for myself for a 180 degree turnaround in January.

This February I blamed it on too much work, too little time.

This March I blamed it on the weather.

This April I blamed it on - well, a bunch of stuff, but essentially that I hadn't been socially in a groove and had inadvertently alienated myself from other people.

This May I felt that I was on the verge of feeling okay.

This June I still felt okay but was immersed in summer coursework so didn't have time to not feel okay.

This July I am not feeling okay and now, I am blaming it on feeling fat. On looking at pictures of myself a year ago and seeing a tanned, happy, thin, in shape girl and on looking at the current reflection of myself in the mirror and seeing a pale, exhausted, 15-lbs heavier, not in shape girl.

I just want this feeling to go away. I want a time machine to either take me back to last year or to fast forward me to next year when I'll look back on this time and, hopefully, say damn, girl, you got yourself out of it. Good for you, kid.

Until then, I can only wait. I want to be in love with the world again. I can't wait until I am.

Friday, July 07, 2006


I may have quoted this deceased man before, but my 11th grade English teacher (his class was advanced American Lit) once said something that has stuck with me in the years since then. It was to the effect that one always glorifies in the mind what has taken place in the past, no matter how hard it was at the time.

So what am currently questioning is this: how will I look back at this period in my life? At the time during which I have been more solitary than ever before in my life - and I am intentionally using the term "solitary" because I don't want to say "alone" or "lonely" or "independent" - because each of these particular terms carries with it its own connotations; the first two negative, the latter positive.

It's just a question. I have no answer to it now. I just wonder. I so wonder.

Friday, June 30, 2006

summer starts in new york

Oh, all I know is that it's summer in new york city and that I live a block away from central park and that i HAVE to get there and to do those things that in the past, it would have been difficult for me to do. Only in terms of hours and stuff like that. But I have to change my paradigm and say, hell, little LM, you have to see the next few weeks here when you have ONE major paper due (and only one? what?) as a vacation in new york.

Because seriously, why the hell not? I can do it; I have the time to do it; all I have to do is keep my energy up to do it. I woke up today ridiculously (yeah I just butchered that spelling; it's too early for me to even care) early and I looked at the pile of Time Out New York and New York magazines in my oh-so-svelte magazine rack and, moreover, both last night and the night before I had dinner / drinks with friends - oh, very different friends - who were randomly visiting new york.

Different perspectives, and one that I think I'd like to take in the next few weeks. A "vacation in New York." Hell, yeah, especially when I have somewhere free to stay every night. Ah, if you could consider a 1600 per month rent as free. Morning, all, and loving loving loving the sunshine - finally!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Seeing Petey

Despite the fact that I've had the culmiinating paper of one of my courses due none other than tonight, I've managed to watch the last two days of SNY (for non-NY'ers, that's the Mets channel, for all intents and purposes) to follow the adventures of one Mr. Pedro Martinez as he returns to Boston. I had to tape the game tonight, because I was in class (and thank you KB for giving me the advice as to which channel to tape, and which might be blacked out, as I generally tape the wrong channel when a game is being broadcast on multiple stations. I took your counsel as the word, and I did not even question it, and it was correct.)

In any case, by the time I got home from class, Petey had been chased out of the game. I didn't want that to happen. I think the majority of Red Sox fans didn't, either. In so many ways, Pedro was a person who initially hooked me into becoming what was an average Sox fan to being obsessed with watcing his every start, with watching his every pitch knowing that I was seeing something incredible. And along with thousands - millions - who knows - I'm not a numbers girl - of Sox fans, he was an icon to me. He was someone who didn't just physically pitch well, but who mentally was so much more astute and intelligent than most people I have encountered in my life. To be cliche, this man is a legend.

When I came home from class tonight, the score was 8-1, Sox. And I knew most of those runs had to have been off of Pedro. In retrospect, even though this game is still going on right now, I wish those runs had come off of a reliever. But the box score doesn't lie. And you know what, I'm glad I didn't have to see that shit first hand. Because I would have been conflicted. I would have felt like I was watching an ex-great love, whom I still loved but who had moved on because of circumstances, fight against a current love. This is a bad analogy, not because it's inaccurate, but because it doesn't convey the depth of what I would have felt. I would have probably had to drink myself under the table... oh, I don't have a real table, maybe the side table... in order to see it. Pedro vs. Manny in an at-bat? My two most loved Sox of all time facing one another? I haven't seen the tape yet, so I haven't seen how it (or they) transpired, but if I were either of those two I would not have been able to concentrate on my job.

Because sometimes jobs transcend the job itself. Sometimes you become so loyal to those with whom that you are working; sometimes you become close, close friends with those whom you are working. Especially when you overcome such obstacles in the face of adversity and personal stress (the MFY's series, circa 2004, and circa 2003 to precede that) that you form a bond that cannot be split no matter what. I can maybe better compare it to two war buddies who fought together - and won - at one time having to fight against each other at a later time.

God damn - I hope, I hope, and I hope that when I watch the beginning of this game that Pedro was so palpably received by the Boston fans that he KNOWS how much he meant to us. I didn't want to know that he got blown out tonight; I want to think it could easily be chalked up to emotion, or something. No matter what, in my mind, Pedro will always be Pedro. The guy who sparked so many people's love for the Sox again, who rejuvenated hope in the team, who made me love baseball again. (And fuck yeah, it's fucked up to see him in another uniform when there are Sox uniforms in the picture.)

Thank you, Petey, for your seven years with us. If we see you again in the World Series (something I have contemplated in the back of my mind since about 20 games into this season) then I will love you the same. You were honorable, you were charismatic, you were inspiring. I'll still root for the Sox, but I will always love what you did for Boston, even if you are not here any longer.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Me again

I kept my best journals during junior high. That was when I felt that I had no one I could connect with, like I was adrift, so alone, with a mind running through my head that was completely disattached to everything else, with a mouth that couldn't speak anything that I thought, within a body that physically couldn't actually go anywhere beyond the immediate area because I was like a prisoner in the lovely home in which I lived and in which my father ruled with an iron fist. Literally.

And so, this January, when I felt trapped again inside of my own mind, albeit without those external constraints, I began to write, but fifteen years later, it came in the form of a blog. Again, I needed to make connections with people, and I felt like my external life was a facade. And yes, I didn't want to worry anybody I knew by telling them , because if I did, then in my head, I would be a burden, and I would not be "easy" to be friends with. (Or "worthy" of being friends with???) Everyone has challenges; why would I add to those of my friends? Of course, my very special friends deserve every inkling of support and humor and comfort and fun that is humanly possible and I wish I could have been a person to bring that for them over this past winter. I have no idea whether I did; for in truth, I was miserable in my own mind. Interestingly, most people bought my happy act. I tried to hide my own personal misery. And I tried to act a-okay. Yet this was some a-okay that I didn't feel at fucking all. The only ACTUAL spots of being a-okay were while I was spending time with the very few people who - for lack of a better term - "got me" - yet they were the same people I wanted to least feel like a burden upon, the same people I cared about most, so ironically, I wouldn't talk about how fucking miserable I actually was.

So my second best journals have been from January to, say, March of this year. Before I escaped from the confines of my own mind, before I felt real again. And DAMN, does feeling real again feel good. And then, by large, I stopped writing in this blog. (Is that why so many great writers are tortured souls and all that? Because without effort, they get down to the depths of human emotions, emotions to which other people can relate, to a lesser extent? No - not to a lesser extent - to the extent of what they can see lingering on the skirt hems of their dark sides, of what they conceptually can see happening, happening on the side which they won't tip to, but that sometimes lurks there, in the subconcious, and then creates the attraction to the writing of those who actually put it out there?)

Anyway. This hiatus from blogging has just been another step in my life that I had to take. I had to re-enter the world of the real, of ME. And maybe this whole entry makes no sense, because it's veered in a few different directions, but it makes perfect sense to me. And also, for the next month and a half, I will have a lot of time to reflect and - yeah, to play (summer in new york city - there is nothing better). I AM SO READY FOR THAT!!! (Please rain stop, too!) I feel good! But I don't want to ignore the continual process of self-reflection in which this journal allows me to engage. I have to write during the good times and not just during the bad times.

Thank god I am not that junior high girl any more who wrote in her journals simply to validate her own identity. But you know what? I love that junior high girl, and I love her a lot. And if I could sit with her right now, I would hug her, and I would tell her - "hey, LM, You're going to be okay." Because she will. Because she is. She so is.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

On today's 7 hour drive from Vermont to NYC

12:30 pm - get in rental car after brunch that followed the wedding of my freshman year of college last night, slightly hungover. Tear up at leaving old friends whom I don't know when I will see again. Tear up because it is amazing that my freshman year of college roommate is now married. Tear up because the weekend was too short and I should have gone up Friday night but I couldn't afford to rent a car for three days and stay at a hotel for two nights.

12:35 pm. Play with the radio. Get incredibly lost in the hills of Vermont (um, it's not like I hadn't driven there just yesterday). Should have been able to retrace the steps, but my sense of direction, in a word, SUCKS. Have no clue where I am, but Game 1 of the doubleheader is on. As soon as one AM station with the Trupiano broadcast fades out, change the station and find the game elsewhere. Finally get going in the right direction.

3:30 pm. Somewhere in Massachusetts. Hear the Papi walk off. Nearly crash my rental car into other Massachussetts-ites who are evidently listening to the game too, evidenced by the amount of swerving cars on the road at this exact time. Text my brother. Realize that the law that prohibits talking on a cell phone while driving a car is actually quite ineffective, because now, I am texting while driving the car. Obviously, this is far worse.

3:35 pm. Switch the channel to the Yankees game. Admit to myself that I would rather have Jeter get on base in the 9th with ARod on deck so I could hear him make the last out of the game. Wonder if that's fucked up. Hear the Yankees lose.

4:10 pm. Brief interlude. Channel my interior Steven Tyler, and, scarily, Mariah Carey, and... well... I've already admitted the rest, so... the singers from the Dirty Dancing theme song whose names I can't remember. However, they're all great songs to belt out when you think no one can hear you.

4:40 pm. Listen to the beginning of the Mets game. Am glad that Pedro is actually getting some run support.

5:10 pm. Miraculously, as I am now deep into Connecticut and close to NYC, find Sox game two of the doubleheader on some am station. Get annoyed but not entirely devoid of hope after the first few innings.

5:45 pm. Hear a mysterious noise in the rental car as I am on the Cross-Bronx Expressway. It is the gas light warning. As the gas light subsequently goes on, panic because I am not just in stop and go traffic - I am in stop-stop traffic.

6:00 pm. Call my godfather who has lived in the Bronx his entire life, imagining that I was soon to be that girl in the right lane with the stopped car with no gas and no cash while thousands of cars cursed me out and nearly hit me. There is no shoulder of the road at this point, so yes, I would have been in the road. Say "I need your help." Describe to him my exact location and he immediately directs me to the nearest gas station.

6:30 pm. Finally get off the VERY NEXT EXIT (4B) (due to the traffic, this is a half an hour later) and careen into the gas station which is located exactly where my godfather directed me. Realize once again that I have no cash, as the last dollar was used to tip the valet parker at the brunch I'd left at 12:30 pm. Realize there is no ATM there and begin to wonder whether there is a toll to get back into NYC via the highway and, if so, how I could get around this. Deludedly think I can possibly combine my minimal knowledge of the Bronx with my abhorrent sense of direction to drive through the Bronx back to my apartment and avert the stop-stop traffic on the expressway. End up in the middle of a neighborhood which is clearly in celebratory mode, after today's Puerto Rican day parade. Briefly feel envious at the amount of fun everyone seems to be having and flash back to how much fun I had last night. Realize that I am entirely lost in a car that I can barely drive somewhere around east 174th street and other streets I had never heard of and that I should really figure out how to get back on the highway if I ever want to get home.

7:00 pm. Find my way back to the highway. Give up on the Sox game but still, masochistically, listen. (OK I can't spell that word.) Cannot believe I'm getting coverage here in the city. Sporadically change the station to the Mets game for the latter half of each inning so I can hear Pedro pitch.

7:30 pm. Locate the source of the stop-stop traffic, a horrible accident just by exit 2. Fly home, and miraculously, there is no charge for re-entering the city. Guess it's just on the way out? Cannot believe how wonderful I feel going down the West Side Highway, with the window down and the river on my right and families picnicking in the parks on each side of me. From Vermont to NYC in 7 hours.

8:00 pm. Having returned the car, walk the few blocks to my apartment, and pick up the Sox game on Gameday (ESPN Sunday night black out, I guess, on EI?) Get annoyed with Francona for giving up on the game too early. Wonder why Manny hasn't PH. Or Tek for Mirabelli, for that matter.

9:00 pm. Upload my pics from this weekend's wedding. Again, can't believe how wonderful it was.

And now, it's time to fall asleep... Monday is quickly looming in front of me.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Reassessing Part II

I think I may have written about this before, but recently, I have been reassessing my friendships. It was easy at first. There were obviously some people who were "wrong" for me to continue to give myself to as a friend. In my friendships, I give and I try, and I had been going through some hard times from - to be honest - January through early April - and during that time, I blamed myself for not having kept in contact with some people. But with good friends, they understand that; it was simple to say: "I'm going through a tough time, and I am not able to go out right now." However, from only a very few of my EXTREMELY close friends did I ask for help during that time, and I received it. God, I hope that those very few friends never encounter such hard times as I did, but if they ever do, I would do anything in the world to support them and help them and give whatever I can to them. No questions asked, period.

Now, however, it has become more complex. There's a fine line between the good friends who knew I was going through hard times but whom I did not ask for help, and now, when I am back to "me," I am thinking about those friends who have maybe always been "takers." For example: "I'm doing this tonight, LM, would like you to come along and watch me play at x show." The worst of them all came today. "Where have you been, are you still alive?" WHAT? YOU KNEW I WAS GOING THROUGH SHIT, WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL ME THEN??? The "still alive" message got to me, because she knew - via my attempted outreach to her - that I was definitely not feeling alive. Seriously, if you were that concerned, then don't say it sarcastically in a message like it's MY FAULT (because I did reach out to this friend and tried to talk to her, and I got no responses until, this weekend, she wanted to find out what was going on with a mutual friend of ours - well, perhaps a former mutual friend.) In the past, my natural inclination would be to just to automatically forgive and forget and to say, oh, sure, I'll join you. In YOUR life.

But I can't do that anymore. I will address this, but not now. I am angry. And it takes me a hell of a lot to admit that. So instead, I will say that I am upset. I was there for her, and them (here I am thinking of about three specific people) in their times of struggle, and I hate it that they are now people I'm thinking about as not such great friends. I can, and will, without a doubt give and give and give, but when people I've considered good friends will disappear if I can't partake in THEIR lives - my new perspective is - what about my life? Has it always been that way? That question is the most key thing I've said here, because if it HAS always been that way, then people expect those patterns to continue, so I guess I cannot blame them, but that's not what I need in a friend. I would rather have the very few great friends in my life whom I would put myself on the subway tracks for than have "good" friends who move in and move out of my life. That's just me. I haven't always been that aware that that's me, and to an extent, I absolutely admit that in my early 20's I took forgranted those people who grounded me to my essence and for whom I would do anything. These are sitll the very few friends I would lay down on the tracks for, again, without question. And that they have stuck with me, too - then that only says more about how fucking incredibly wonderfully amazing they are (AB, AA, you are the two I am thinking about here. Even if you never read this, THANK YOU). OK, I have never cried while I wrote a blog entry before; this is the first time.

OK I'm crying so I have to stop writing. But this is something I've been thinking a lot about lately, so please don't be surprised if Part III comes up soon.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sunday Night Synopsis

Well, here I am, feeling like a senior in college again, physically surrounded by resources and notes and index cards and attempting to write the most all-encompassing paper since my ill-fated attempt at a senior thesis in March of 1998.

That year, I was supposed to go on spring break to my friend Sasha's house in Hawaii. Instead, I remained on campus, nearly alone save a few sports teams, because I was not even close to finishing the thesis that I had had two semesters to complete. I distinctly remember my friend Jill, just before getting into the car that I was supposed to be in, coming to my room and handing me a teddy bear - "to keep you company while you're here." I stood at my window, looking down three floors at the Vermont snow swirling around and feeling it fly into my face, in stark contrast to the hot tears of anger at myself that were sliding down my face, as the two cars with my friends inside pulled out of their parking spots and off to the airport. I cursed myself for having procrastinated to that extent.

I think I have learned some lessons since then, since this is not officially due until Thursday and since I feel that it is somewhat under control. Come Wednesday night, I'm sure I'll be up late, perhaps even all night, but at least it will be signed, sealed and delivered on time and in time for me to go up to, ironically, Vermont, for my college roommate's wedding.

We shall see.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

More Than I Expected

As a former bartender and waitress, I’m very familiar with cutting fruit into small slices in an assembly-line fashion at 8:00 on Friday nights. Tonight, though, while I was doing so, it was for an entirely different purpose.

I posted earlier tonight that I would be spending my evening doing a homeless outreach. As I anticipated, I returned home with a newfound appreciation for how fortunate I am. What I didn’t expect, however, was to come home with a newfound appreciation for the self-created communities that are often ignored, very much marginalized, or viewed through the lens of eyes wrought with naïve misconceptions – including mine before tonight. These are the communities that people without homes in our city create for themselves.

The trepidation I felt before we left the church tonight, when I was being read the “rules” – don’t close your eyes if anyone asks you to pray for them; always keep your partner in sight; remove all jewelry and leave all electronic devices back in the van – was replaced by an incredible feeling of respect for the men we met. I thought I would enjoy the company of the other participants in this group, and I am doubtlessly going to be participating with this group on their monthly excursions, yet I had no idea that I would be introduced to new groups, new communities, probably those who have it hardest in this city, and to be so excited to see them again next month.

After preparing sandwiches and a fruit punch (for which I was responsible for cutting the above-mentioned fruit) at a school/church in Queens, a van filled with people that I had just met (except for the friend who brought me there) took off for locations in Manhattan that one would ordinarily consider to be chi-chi. Madison Ave, Park Ave, and Lincoln Center were all among the destinations. At each pre-designated location we would stop, and at the outset I saw only the most expensive restaurants and buildings fronted by white-gloved doormen, yet within certain corners or under the outdoor overhangs of certain churches, I was introduced to communities of homeless men who had lived in these exact spaces for obviously a long time. The veterans in the group I was with were familiar with the homeless gentlemen we encountered, and the two parties greeted each other by name and chatted like old friends while our party passed out sandwiches, fruit punch and prayers. Being a newbie, I was fairly quiet, except for one stop at which one of the men was wearing a Boston cap, and we engaged in an in-depth and intriguing conversation about, of course, the Red Sox. At the beginning, his buddy remained lying there on the white pavement stairs, cursing out the Mets’ bullpen and how they had blown yet another Pedro start. He was listening to the game on his earphones. Eventually, he sat up from his sprawled out position and the three of us began discussing Pedro, the Sox, the Mets, the damn Yankees, and the Hall of Fame.

I am not in any way minimizing the all-too-serious situation of homelessness in the city of New York. What I am saying is that I am in awe of the way that these men (I only met men) have been able to create their own worlds and communities – and maintain much of their sense of selves and interests – while trapped in the shittiest of situations.

This night’s worth of cutting fruit was infinitely more meaningful than the ten (gasp) years of time I did it with regards to my livelihood. Tonight, I did it with regards to our humanity.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Another Type of Friday Night

Tonight I’m heading off to Queens to do a homeless outreach with a friend of mine and her church group. It’s been one of those things I’ve been saying I’d do for a while, but other things have always crept up: the notion that I should be staying in and doing homework, the occasional out of town visitor with whom I want to spend time, the “catching up” on life that I tend to like to do on Friday nights.

This morning I woke up with all of those “other things” looming in front of me, but honestly, if I cannot make 5 extra hours that I probably waste during the entirety of the week or the weekend to do something else, then my life is either way too busy (which it is not) or way too incorrectly prioritized.

It's actuallly great to be able to put on jeans, sneaks and a hoodie on a Friday night, by the way. I hope that when I return home at midnight I will have a newound appreciation for the facts that I have schoolwork to do and papers to write, an agenda for this weekend to schedule for a great friend visiting me from California, and yes, an unmade bed of my own to lay myself down in.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old...

Yes, I was a girl scout. Just in case anyone is wondering, the rest of that song goes "one is silver and the others gold." It rhymes.

Lately, I have been re-assessing my friendships. It has been a hard thing to do. I have been blessed with amazing friends, and I love them all, but I have also realized that I have changed and grown, and so have some of them, and some of these changes have moved us into different directions. As such, I have had to let go of my idealized visions of what some of these friendships were and accept these relationships for what they are now.

And honestly, having held on to past versions of certain friendships has probably kept me, at times, locked into viewing an image of myself - their image of me - that is part of my former paradigm and not my present. Yet sometimes the draw to what is comfortable has been easier to fall back upon than embracing the challenge to reach out to new people whom I have just met, people who know me for who I am now and with whom I connect now.

That said, I am so, so incredibly fortunate to have some of the most amazing old friendships from elementary school, high school, college and beyond, friendships that will hopefully forever be an integral part of my life. These friendships are with people who have grown and changed too, but with whom I have somehow grown and changed in similar ways and with whom I still connect with on the most real, intimate level. These are people I love unconditionally and whom I would do anything for.

You change and grow, many of your friends change and grow, and after a period of time, letting go of the 100 percent trust you have placed in certain people is necessary in order to clear some emotional space either to become closer with other current friends or to let new people into your life. In that way, I can't see these changes as sad, just as realistic and as allowing me to spend my time and energy with the people who are best suited for me, and vice versa, as we exist now.

More Random Thoughts

which ran through my mind while I walked two blocks to get my breakfast this morning...

1. One weather related comment: it's May. And not just the beginning of May, but late May, late enough in May where I start checking my ATM receipts to make sure that I have enough money in my account to cover June's rent and still have some to spare. Therefore, I should not be COLD when I leave my apartment in a wool sweater, jeans, and sheepskin-lined Ugg slippers. I'm not pining for the humidity-laden days of the summer; I just feel that it's inappropriate to actually be considering wearing a scarf in late May.
2. I am an absolute sucker for any woman who is older than I am and who calls me "honey" or "sweetheart." That's an automatic dollar tip in the tip jar for anyone working in the service industry and an automatic "feel good about yourself" time for me for at least an hour. I don't know why I feel comforted, like someone's looking out for me - but it's true.
3. However, when a random strange man on the sidewalk tries to touch my shoulder while saying "hey honey, can you do me a favor," I have a huge problem with that. I don't care if he's lost or broke or just fell off of the third floor of a building - don't touch me.
4. I guess I'm an optimist, but number three is not enough to counteract the good vibes of number two, even if I am cold wearing a wool sweater, late in the month of May.

Just Some Random Thoughts

1) I was the most fortunate 20-something in the world this weekend. On Sunday morning, I woke up to bright sunshine in Philly, on the opposite couch of my oldest and dearest female friend in the world, in the home of my oldest and dearest male friend in the world who was sleeping upstairs in his room (these are both friends I grew up with in Rhode Island), on the heels of one Sox win and with another tailgate and game just hours away. At that moment, I thought I could not be luckier right now.
2) The conversation I had with my mother (the most amazing woman in the world) last night reinforced the notion that I am not just a 20-something, but an adult. Sometimes that means that the roles reverse and that I am here as a listener for her when she needs someone to talk to, and not simply vice versa. She said that she felt badly about telling her kids when she’s not feeling so hot, but I think it is a wonderful thing that she can. My mom has given so much to me and my brothers in her lifetime; she has listened to all of my shit (and god knows I’ve told her my share of shit); there is no reason she should feel badly for talking to me about hers. If anything, I am so glad that I can give back to her some of the listening time she has given to me. And if she feels like she can talk to me, and to my brothers, then that also means that she has done a damn good job in raising us to be solid human beings in whom she has confidence that she can confide in.
3) OK, that last sentence was a grammatical nightmare. Too early to even know how to fix it. Caffeine, kick in, please?
4) I finally figured out how to set my VCR so that when I come home from class in the late evening, the Sox have been recorded from the first pitch of the game. I know I should upgrade to DVR or something so I don’t go through the nightly 9 pm dilemma of “ok, do I peek at the score now and ruin my chances of enjoying this game, or do I let the rest of the game go by and then watch it in the morning?” However, since I fall asleep and wake up to Sports Center or ESPN News, and since I get the report in my email inbox every morning, there is virtually no chance that I will not know the score. So I’m still working on this one.
5) Summer Intensive Courses mean just that. Intensive. This also means a hell of a lot of work in a short amount of time. I should have listened to my advisor before thinking that I could go away every weekend and still maintain a fairly normal weekday schedule. Not the case.
6) At times, I am still in awe of the fact that I will be teaching children for the rest of my life. I love school. I always have. Now, I will be “doing school” forever, feeling the excitement of the fall and the inevitable relief of the spring every year, and trying my hardest to pass on my love of school to kids? What could be better?
7) Since 7 is my lucky number, I have to come up with one more random thought. I call 311 almost every night to deal with noise from the “restaurant” next door to me - the restaurant that is not, in fact, a restaurant, but instead a bar to which back of the house restaurant workers go after their shifts end at the various restaurants at which they work. I have complete respect for the industry, since I waitressed my way through college every summer in RI and bartended my way through a couple of years of figuring out what my “real job” would be in New York, but seriously, when the joint’s speakers sit directly against my bedroom wall, that line of respect sort of slides to the side of self-preservation (and the desire for a good night’s sleep). Hence my nightly calls to 311.
8) And one for good luck. Wright vs. Wake tonight. Let’s have those two W’s equal a W for us tonight. Wake deserves it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I'm Just a Girl

I haven't really had much to write about lately - what can I say; I've been going out a lot, I've put on what feels like 100 pounds (ok, that's an exaggeration, but...) and I've been watching a lot of baseball during my week of "vacation" before my summer courses start. Life is good.

So, as I sit here watching end of the ridiculously high-scoring Yankees game (I taped the Sox game while out to dinner with a friend tonight so I could watch it in the morning) I realized that the only slightly annoying thing about my past two nights was that every time I spoke about baseball with any males other than my friends, I was automatically counted out.

What do I mean by counted out? Last night, for example, I was out at a bar, talking baseball with my best guy friend in the world, and some random college kid interjected. This was fine. Except for the fact that the kid continually talked over me, and only with my friend, after having piped into our conversation, not even making eye contact with me. And then tonight, I was out with a girlfriend, and while she was in the restroom and the Yankees game was on in the background and I was talking to some nice guys who were watching the gameabout general stuff - teaching, jobs, what-not, etc., a very give and take conversation - as soon as I made a comment about the pitching going on in the game (well, at least Shawn Chacon is proving himself to be just that, Shawn Chacon) it was like I had stepped across some line and had blackballed myself. Yes, I'm a little girl, I'm probably a pretty girl, but I'm also a girl who happens to be a baseball fan. So why is there some unwritten rule that I can't talk about the game with men?

Fuck. I just jinxed my team (a natural thing to think when you're a Sox fan) by speaking negatively about the game. Jorge Posada with a walk-off HR for the Yanks.

Hopefully the die-hard Yanks fan who owns the dry cleaning establishment I frequent will engage me in some sort of discussion about the game tomorrow - as, of course, I'm picking up my pink skirt!!!

Monday, May 08, 2006

In The Presence Of Real Beauty

My two great-aunts are the sisters of my late grandfather, my mother's father. I adored Grandfather more than I could ever write about, and in my late night dreams, he still appears and is alive as ever and I adore him as much as ever and when I wake up, I am first comforted and then saddened. Today I took a trip to his living sisters' house in the Bronx, the house in which they have lived for 56 years, the house in which they have formed and carried out their lives since they were essentially my age and inside of which is stacked with tangible artifacts from their lives. My Zizis are omni-present in all of my memories of family gatherings – one as the dynamic, gregarious one; the other as the calming, modest one. They are both beautiful, and they are elderly, and although they have each been married to different men, the rapport they have between the two sisters is actually that of a couple who has been married for, well, over 56 years. And their wisdom is collectively far beyond that of two 80-something women, and it is inspiring, and it is humbling, to recognize their strength and to want to take it all in and to hear their stories of working at Macy’s in the 1940’s or of coming of age in an Italian community in the Bronx in the 1930's and to read yellowed, proudly preserved newspaper articles in which they are mentioned and - oh, my god - I am simply in awe of them as people.

The major element that has been underlying my past few months has been this shift from the mentality of a "young person," one who is present-oriented, to one of an "adult" - realizing that I have a future and that I am consistently shaping that future with my decisions or non-decisions. That notion was reinforced today. As much as I have loved these two women since my childhood, today we spoke for an entire day, together, as adults, and I felt like an adult who was truly able to exchange life experiences and at the same time (like a kid) who was wanting to just deeply soak in their wisdom. For the first time I felt like I could relate to some of the challenges they have faced, emotionally and mentally, and speak freely as an adult who also has faced challenges in her 29-year old life. Their physical bodies may be aging to the extent that they cannot walk without assistance, but their minds are so sharp, and with the time that they have had to spend reflecting, their insights into life are incredible.

I have said this before, but I will say it again: I have an amazing family. And I am so fortunate to have them and their histories still present and alive. We spoke about their stories, and the conversation was catalyzed by my opening up about my feelings about my father and his side of the family (not only do I not communicate with my father, of my own volition, but he does not communicate with his side of the family, out of probably his own craziness), and we spoke about their perceptions of him as a young man - perspectives I could never possibly have had. (Hell, I wasn't even born then.) I know that at the age I am now my amazing, beautiful, incredible mother had had me and was about to pop out my brothers, and the sheer acceptance my great-aunts had granted my father because he was my mom's husband and the support they both quietly and overtly gave her throughout her years with him was, again, inspiring to hear.

Maybe I can't encapsulate the wonderful day I had in a simple entry, but I can record it. The two sisters are - again, like an old married couple - very dichotomous in their perspectives right now; one thinks she "should have been more" (but she did so MUCH!) and the other is more reflective, full of faith, and simply desiring and peaceful about "passing the torch" (and SHE did so much!) and I love both equally and only hope that as an 80-something woman, I can be that absolutely amazing. I love them so much and I am so fortunate that I can take an hour on the subway and spend an afternoon with my Zizis. Our society is not right in that we don't give enough respect and credence to those who have lived full lives before us; and while I continually endeavor to avoid political positions in this blog, MY GOD are we missing so much when we ignore the wisdom and the insight of those who have gone through it. Fundamental human nature doesn't change, and at the least, definitely not within a century, and the personal connections with and to family liaisons cannot be denied.

I talked to my mother after I returned home tonight and she said it was "a beautiful thing" that I had gone up to visit them. I think it's the opposite: I think it's a beautiful thing that I have the opportunity to visit them. More than a beautiful thing. I was drawn to tears when I returned home, because they are truly, truly beautiful. I am the lucky one. I was in the presence of real beauty.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Not Just Mundane

OK, so it's been a long time since I've posted anything. Deep thoughts have given way to day to day life. I feel that I've moved into a different place in my mind, so from here on in, perhaps - perhaps is the key word - what I write will be more optimistic, and for a while, perhaps again, more mundane.

But dealing with the mundane and perceiving it in a positive light is exactly what I've had to do recently, so in a way, I will still be writing about what's going through my mind. I have stopped harping on the past; I have stopped being afraid of the future; and the combination of the both is actually huge for me. In order to do so, though, I have had to focus on the now.

So now, I have just finished final exams/projects/presentations, and I have been "going out" more than I had been in the recent past. This is a good thing - it means I feel okay enough about myself to put myself out there, and I know that sounds generric (one of the words I can't spell, along with jewelry, judgement and commitment - there's a 50 50 shot that I get any of those four words correct at any given time) so I guess this is simply a reintroduction to me. I've recently been reintroduced to me.

And yes, finally and again, I really like me. I didn't for a while, or, rather, I didn't like the circumstances I felt were consuming me, or, more accurately, the mind that was ruling me that was consumed by thoughts of circumstances that I allowed to consume me. I would continually ask myself - how could I be so outgoing and happy-go-lucky in the situations I would encouter people, and have the above described reputation, yet feel like absolute shit when I was home, by myself, be it night or day?

What goes on inside my head is powerful. Maybe that's all it is - to have a great feeling about yourself inside of your own head. We're only our own companions for the entirety of our lives; that is the only thing that is guaranteed about this life. So I had to get back to where I felt like I was a good companion for myself.

Lots of things I could, and will, talk about - school, boys, baseball, and what to watch on TV when you're up all night. For now, though, this is just a little, mundane post to get me back into the swing of blogging.

Because finally, I've gotten back into the swing of things in real life.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


When I don’t write for a while, that likely means I am working through a lot of changes in terms of what’s going on in my mind. Or (and) that I am battling myself to return to a frame of reference inside of myself that I do understand. In a word, it means that I am in a slump.

I’ve had a lot of trouble with the day-to-day aspects of my life lately. I’ve found it hard to deal with waking up, with becoming inspired, with getting myself out of my little apartment. Sometimes I wish that I were forced to just be somewhere every day, to get out of bed, to dress myself in a particular type of clothes, and to be out of the house by some hour. But that’s not what happens in the graduate student world. I don’t have a boss, a manager, telling me to be at this place, in this proper outfit, at this certain time. So I have had to rely on me, and lately, I haven’t been the best person to rely upon. And it has sucked to feel that way.

So when I see someone in a slump like Manny Ramirez (but folks, he’s coming out of it – he hit the ball well and hard yesterday and today, and in this morning’s game he came like two feet short of getting it over the Monster – his hands are moving faster, I think; they seem more connected with the bat), I can’t help but wonder how it feels to have your slumps broadcast and scrutinized by reporters nationwide - of the pen and pad, of the radio, of the television, all over the place. I am a huge fan of Manny, by the way, and as crazy fans do, I feel like I have this secret connection with him, so maybe I have more empathy for him than for other baseball players, but being in a slump – in one word – SUCKS.

The fact that I am writing tonight says something about my coming out of my own inner self. The question remains: what do you need to get out of a slump? Did I need (yes) one person pointing it out to me so directly in order for me to snap out of it – and not that that’s a one day panacea – but it WAS the point of recognition and of subsequent change – for me to see that I was slumping so badly that I needed to make some changes? Maybe Papi or Papa Jack will suggest, or have been suggesting, some changes to Manny’s swing or his approach at the plate, or maybe he’s recognized on his own that he needs to make some changes in order to be the “Manny” being “Manny” we all love (and hopefully, whom he loves too) – but personally, I needed to hear from someone else very important to me that I needed to make changes to my own recent not-so-great approach to life. And thus, I am coming out of my slump.

I would be negligent if I did not mention one more thing right now: Congratulations to Pedro for your 200th win tonight. As someone who’s not scared of anything, you deserve it, and your fearlessness in going at batters, combined with your ridiculous talent, have made you the most dominant pitcher I’ve ever seen and the most entertaining to watch. Thanks for everything you did for the Sox, and for your new Mets fans. You, too, in your unique way, are an inspiring human being.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Springing Ahead

So I’ve substituted my nightly ritual of watching Sex and the City and sipping a glass of red wine before bed for watching countless baseball games (yes, I purchased the MLB EI package as soon as it was available) and drinking Crystal Light lemonade.

Despite what the New York weather might be trying to tell us, it’s spring. And spring makes me happy. And among the many things that make me happy about spring, baseball and lemonade rank quite high on my list.

And despite the fact that watching the end of a Red Sox game (already, only one series into the season) is enough to make any good fan reach for a beer to quell the inevitable “how will they blow this” nerves that start piercing the stomach like an automated, well-trained response, I have made my choice. There’s nothing I can do about what my friends through the glass box will do, even if I physically change my shirt from my Ortiz jersey to my Ramirez tee, at times with the quickness of an actress changing her costume between scenes, between their at-bats. I can do that, I can yell at the screen, I can dissect Francona’s managerial decisions (by the way, and this has already been dissected and lauded by Sox fans, so I won’t harp on it, but thank you for putting in Papelbon last night instead of Foulke), but ultimately, I am a fan of the game and the game itself and I have to enjoy what I enjoy about it, which is the illusion (it snowed yesterday in New York, okay?) of spring and sunshine and the realization that I will be able to enjoy this game, and what it means to me, and the people who play it and epitomize it for the next six, almost seven, months.

Here it is an off-day for both the Sox and the Evil Empire – I mean, the Yankees – and so I am watching Detroit vs. Texas, loving what I am learning about each player and the teams’ various strategies, loving that there are different announcers for each team, each with their own flavors, and loving the local commercials because they teach me so much about the variety that exists within American culture, depending on the location of the home team.

Okay. We’ve all (for the most part) “sprung ahead” with our clocks; it’s time for me to spring ahead in my mentality. Darkness into light, winter into spring, solitude into solidarity. Happy spring.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

responsibility or baseball?

A lot going on right now (inside my head) so it's sort of paralyzed me in terms of writing. Sorry...

But, excuse me, baseball season is BACK, something slightly more concrete than my life at the moment, and despite the fact that my team was blown out tonight - and MANNY, come ON, HIT - nothing that I saw was more hilariously (in not a nice way, and even though I am the antithesis of a MFY's fan, this is stil objective) embarassing behavior by a player than A-Rod's reaction to his base-running error and his subsequently being tagged out after being rundown between first and second.

Sometimes we all get rundown between first and second. Sometimes we all get caught in that space between not knowing whether we should sprint forward or step back. And sometimes we blindly have faith in the fact that the person in front of us will continue on the path that we believe they will and that therefore, we should move ahead at full speed, at our full capacities. But sometimes that person doesn't.

And then, we can't take our frustration and emotions out on third-person parties (and it was clear that A-Rod's F*&^ was directed to someone who was NOT himself, i.e. his third base coach or Sheffroid) when it happens. Because we all make mistakes. Hell, the "reigning AL MVP" did. And taking responsibility for our mistakes is hard to do, but we need to do it, in order to take responsibility for our own characters.

We can be sad, we can be mad, we can be upset beyond dimensions we would have never imagined and feel pain we would not wish upon our worst enemies - but we need to take responsibility for ourselves. Because only in understanding our own mistakes and in trying to change our corresponding actions can we really take on our own, individual, and incredibly important roles in our worlds.

Not that I want A-Rod to take on the role of AL MVP again this season - I am clearly for Ortiz in that camp - but that's baseball. And sometimes, the rules that create the parameters of the game also can be applicable to our own selves. Maybe that's why I, like all the advertisements say, "live for this."

And maybe the game of baseball holds in it a hell of a lot of lessons that we could transpose into our own lives.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Unwanted Roommates Part II

At least I can view this situation as somewhat comical. I mean, seriously, I've been perched in the same papison chair for over two hours, meticulously patrolling my Pier 1 carpet(the same hue of tan as the buggers) with my jeans well-tucked inside of two entirely different boots with a three-inch differential in heel height, something that is clearly evident whenever I stand up to get myself another glass of water; then I sporadically begin pacing the carpet, waiting, in this ridiculous outfit, wielding a spray can of Tilex as my weapon in hand and the boots on my feet as the "deadly" weapons.

This will be funny sometime in my future. I swear it will be.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Unwanted Roommates

I have lived in New York City for about six years and never have had unwanted roommates (well, unless I count the one who had a propensity for my clothes that grew to the point that I discovered a collection of select pieces of my wardrobe under her bed, or the one who left me with three months of unpaid bills). But I knew these people were living with me; I had chosen them, and as such, I dealt with each situation accordingly.

Today I killed - smooshed, to be exact - not one, but two unwanted roommates, roommates whom I had never invited into my apartment and who were little, brown, crunchy, and who jumped. Jumped so high that I was afraid of leaning down too far for fear that they would touch my face or my hair.

All plans of going to sleep early tonight have also been smooshed because I am awaiting the sight of yet another cockroach. I am wearing two different boots, because the right boot that I used to do the smooshing is under quarantine in the hallway, saturated with Tilex that supposedly kills everything. And I feel violated. Not to mention nauseous.

My little cute home has been invaded by these guys (I can't even fathom that they are girls, because I have heard in what is perhaps an urban legend that if you smoosh a female cockroach she still can leave her egg sac and bear many cockroach babies) and I am totally grossed out. I don't keep food here; my refrigerator is pitifully empty but for a bottle of ketchup (the world's best condiment) and a jar of grated cheese (a close second with garlic powder for the next best condiment). So here I sit, in my comfy papison chair, waiting to spot another one. Because a cockroach can be an anomaly, but two in the same day definitely hints that there is a family living here. A family that I did not invite to live with me but who regardless exists somewhere near the bookshelf, under the furnace, dangerously close to my bedroom. And yes, the space between the bottom of the bedroom door and the family room is more than one-eighth of an inch, which is the amount of space the websites I have consulted until the point that I felt like throwing up have told me is that through which cockroaches can slide.

Jumping cockroaches! Leaping lizards! Disgusting no matter what, and I would very much like to sleep without dreaming of them, but I don't know if that's an option now, as I am sitting, awaiting, with my jeans tucked into my two different boots and my eyes frantically scanning the carpet for signs of movement.

How do I get rid of these little buggers??? I want to be able to host guests in this little apartment of my own, but with these uninvited roommates, I don't think I can.


When I was eight years old, my best friend AB and I would sit at the piano and play and sing our own version of Debbie Boone’s “You Light Up My Life” – of course, to the applause of our parents. Twenty years later, my friends still light up my life.

I have had amazing experiences over the last week in that I’ve been able to spend time with friends I have known for a long time – some of whom I’ve kept in touch with regularly, some of whom I had not seen in nearly ten years (yes, I went on a vacation) – and I am so deeply grateful for these friendships. What I learned about myself through many of these discussions (AA, MB, KJ, CS, DW, et al) will inevitably come out in future journal entries.

Because what I see in the mirror is sometimes ugly and negative and dark. And that self-skewed image also sometimes keeps me from realizing the light that I know I can, should, could, do (whatever the verb may be), bring into others’ lives. The challenge that I personally face is to not let myself be consumed by the darkness and to instead recognize the brightness that is equally there, equally intoxicating, but perhaps much more frightening, and for me, much more intimidating. With no apologies, with no excuses, I have let the darkness take me over sometimes, randomly, or intentionally, but not inconsequentionally.

But the wisdom of my friends reminded me, albeit often inadvertently, that life can still be lived on the side of lightness amidst hardship. And the strength of my friends inspired me, again often inadvertently, to realize that I, too, can overcome the adversity and emotional pain that is part of life.

So over this past week I have been reinvigorated with new light, and I hope that I can - and I will try - to keep that light shining.

Tonight, AB came to my apartment and helped me change the light bulbs that hang from my ceiling. (I'm not tall enough to do it on my own.) So twenty years later, AB - thanks - "You Light Up My Life."

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Awareness in Falling

I am so tired. I am so grateful that I listened to my body earlier, just now a couple of hours earlier, my body that told me one thing: relax. Fall into yourself.

Now I have had two glasses of wine. Or, rather, what I think are two glasses of wine, because the lonely “wine glass” that exists in my apartment is in the dishwasher. And while sometimes I am invigorated by that one glass of wine, immediately after my first few sips I knew I had made the right decision, because I felt exhaausted, removed, as though my body was falling into itself.

When I was eight years old, at one of my first "sleepover parties", at Betsy’s house, my friends promised me a sensation so powerful that even gravity would be defied. “Relax,” they said, and we were eight, and we were trying “new things” – as new as eight-year old girls did in 1985, and I was excited, and not even a little bit scared. I lay flat, stomach down, face down on the shag carpet that was so popular at the time, and I heard the giggling, the “shushes,” the ever-quieter jabbering. “Relax – and we’ll make you fall through the floor!” said Betsy, and I relaxed, they quieted, and the lights turned off as I closed my eyes.

Blackness: vision replaces itself with a dark, infinite space. Silence: hearing bends back into itself and is replaced by noiselessness. The odor of the dog-stained rug disappears, and I am still, so still that my touch sensors are desensitized. And these eradicated senses fade into nothing, or perhaps re-form into everything: there is absolute emptiness and intense fullness, simultaneously, yet none of which I am consciously aware. I am not sure if the gentle upwards tug on my arms, the slight touch against my palms, is real or imagined, if my spine is actually being arched backwards, if my head is truly being lifted up and tilted behind me. There is no external awareness at all: all I am is my body, all that is is my body right now, or my mind, maybe, because that’s where all the questions are, the anticipation. Then even the mind starts to quiet, as even gravity begins to lose its power, because my body – this obviously massless, formless figure, like a spirit transcending a wall – is, indeed and suddenly, falling through the floor, and I feel that falling and no other sensation. And my stomach is the first to turn on again, because it flips, and then in response I frantically flip open my eyes, afraid that I am really falling through the floor, which of course I am not.

But when I do open my eyes and immediately tangle myself up into a sitting position, I am sorry I did. I have also tangled myself up mentally again, with the lights blaring in my eyes and the girls’ voices skipping like grasshoppers and the harsh smell of popcorn invading my nose. I want to go back to the place I was in, to the space of myself. I liked the simplicity of total awareness, and I am eight years old and far too young to know that total awareness is not always simple.

Saturday Night Pause

There’s something about finishing a project that makes me want to drink.

Sorry, but it’s true. No matter how long I have been awake; no matter what else is looming on the horizon, I just want to drink. It’s been that way since college – it’s like I hold my breath for however long it takes me to push through whatever it is that I’m doing – and when it comes time to exhale, I feel it everywhere. I feel the tension in my muscles, reminding me that they, too, are inside of me, and that my body wants to relax just as much as my mind has, however temporarily, been lightened of at least one thing.

Now, in a strange coincidence, I had to say “no” to three parties tonight that I really would have liked to have gone to. The thirtieth birthday of one of my closest girlfriends from high school; the not-quite-thirtieth of two of my guy friends whom I haven’t seen in forever; and, finally, a random house party with a new friend from school who apparently is a little more low-key than I am about the amount of things we have due on Monday.

Eight o clock on Saturday night and my choice is, sadly, none of the above.

I wonder what this means for me. Does it mean I’m growing up? Does it mean I’m simply too exhausted to get all prettied up and put on my social face and hop in a cab and meet and greet – meet and greet people I love, people who wouldn’t care or even notice if I arrived in the same zip-up sweatshirt and jeans I’ve been wearing for the past two days, but who would just be glad to see me? Or does it simply mean that I actually am so tired that what I really want is to curl up with my own bottle of wine, sit in my own cozy apartment, and fall into my own good night’s sleep? (Notice, of course, that the bottle of wine just slid into that sentence. I don’t even pretend it’s a glass sometimes.)

Oh, and I feel the justifications coming on… if I sleep well and early, then I’ll awake refreshed and ready to be creative and… the wine store is only a couple of blocks away and… I should get my own dinner soon anyway because the sushi delivery guy is becoming a little too familiar with my nightly order…

I’m letting my body make its own decision tonight, and what it needs is perfectly clear. It needs a little “me” time. And, having just written out a little schedule for tomorrow, I agree that it is making the right decision.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


I've been involved in a school assignment that has taken me further than any school assignment has taken me in the past. This is one reason I haven't been writing in this blog lately - because I've been writing so much for school that I am beyond spent.

One of the many aspects of the assignment is to find family relics. Just now, changing from school clothes to sleeping clothes (yes, I WILL sleep tonight, as I have not done for three or so days), I realized that I do not have to look any further than my own body for the most important relics. The jewelery that I wear are my relics. Yes, sometimes I put on costume jewelery or additional jewelery to emphasize an outfit or something, but relics of my family history are permanently around my neck and on my hands. They all mean a great deal to me.

I wear four rings and two necklaces. On my left hand is a ring given to me by my oldest aunt, who followed her dream to be the intelligent, self-sufficient woman she is, skilled in computers, leaving our family's origins in the Bronx to go to California when the technology industry was just beginning. So when I look at the middle finger of my left hand, I what I see is her strength in moving across the country in the ring she purchased on her first independent trip to Mexico. On my right hand, on my ring finger, I wear a ring from my grandmother, who has a January birthday, with five garnets (the stone of January) to symbolize her five children, giving back to her. On the middle finger of my right hand, I wear two rings. The one on top is a small braided band that I bought for the equivalent of two American dollars when I went on my own personal adventure to Mali, West Africa, and lived there for six months, and was given the band by my family there. I wear it to protect something else - the ring that lies beneath it on the same finger. This ring was carved by my grandfather when he was in World War II and, an artist at heart, a musician specifically, who used his time to carve a ring from silver New Guinean coins in the form of eight interconnected hearts. This ring may be my most treasured possession.

On my neck I wear a necklace, longer and given to me by my mother, that says "LM." The L stands for my first name; the M for my great-grandmother who emigrated here from Italy by herself in the middle of the night and was so strong and beautiful that I am honored to have her name as my middle name. And the other necklace I wear is from my ex-boyfriend, and I have no idea why I still wear it all the time, but I can't figure out everything right now.

Those are my personal, physical relics. I don't have to search for them anywhere, because I see them on my fingers any time I am typing; I see them around my neck any time I look in the mirror.

I hope this makes sense, because I haven't slept in three days and I am probably blabbering on and on and... god bless my family. Whichever god or power anyone believes in, whichever god or higher power I believe in, there is something that I believe is more than we are as physical figures on this earth. And I embrace those symbols that represent the emotions that were a part of every single piece of jewelery that I wear, forever connected to my body, forever a part of me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Insomnia Part II

The worst thing about not being able to sleep at night (and subsequently not sleeping) is that in general, on a normal evening, I like to enjoy a glass of wine before bed, usually sipping it while getting my nightly fix of Sex and the City - the TV show.

Which makes it suck when you're going to bed at 7 in the morning. Or at least trying to. Even if there were a wine store open at this hour, that would be TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Bachelor - Sorry, Skip It if You Can't Stand It

Well I didn't start this right when the show started, so here goes... by the way I am not a Travis fan; I just think he's a little boring and shallow.

My initial observations mostly focused on the realization that not only do Travis’ MOM and SISTER have the same horrendous blonde hair dye job, which was evidently done immediately before they hopped the jet to Paris (note to self: if ever in Nashville, avoid that salon at all costs), BUT, oh my God, the DAD does, too. Um, that was a scary point when the parents were sitting together with their matching shades of blonde.

And that if the 5-year old children DIDN'T like Sarah, then she must be really sucky at her job. I mean, she's a kindergarten teacher.

Now we’re on Moana meeting the parents. I think Travis wants to find depth and that’s why he likes Moana. Otherwise his boring shallow ass is going to be stuck in Nashville with boring Sarah his whole life.

Moving along to the present. Moana at dinner. She’s sort of acting like a bitch - I mean, I don’t want her to be the kiss-ass that Sarah is, but - say something, lady!!! Lovely editorial dramatization of the silent pauses. Someone should force them all to drink that wine instead of just staring at it.

The more time I have to look at Sarah on the screen, the more I just want to put tape around her mouth and tell her to be quiet. As for the tennis game, what do you think her thought process was leading up to it: hmm, what would a 'doctor’s wife’ be expected to do – oh, I know, play tennis! Let’s play tennis for our date! I bet she thought about that long and hard while writing in her journal.

Moana still needs to talk more but I think she gets the connection thing… that's the thing to get, lady.

Ew. I can't watch the end. Yes, a couple of little tears fell down my cheeks while Moana was speaking in the limo. She's real.


The End. Yes, they are perfect for one another - perfectly boring.


I haven't had caffeine since 3:00 this afternoon and I still can't sleep. I have tried everything, I think, and have even tackled some of those not-so-fun aspects of what I have to do for school (read: the boring stuff) in the hopes that something in my brain will shift and that I'll realize that sleep is actually preferable to, well, outlining a math chapter about number theory. But every time I put my head on the pillow it starts spinning again with worries that I shouldn't be thinking about and problems that I can't solve anyway (not math problems) and certainly not at 5:00 in the morning.

What is wrong with me?

And the question becomes when the clock strikes 5:00 am do I just pull through the next day with the knowledge that I'll certainly sleep well tomorrow night (tonight)? I have nothing that requires one hundred percent functioning tomorrow (I don't think the finale of The Bachelor: Paris counts).

I wish I could just write down a list of all of my worries and they would magically disappear. But life gets so complicated that they're not even concrete anymore. I'm worried that I was so tipsy I left the bar party last night without saying goodnight to anyone and that I upset my best friend. I'm worried that this group project for one of my classes has fallen so squarely on my shoulders that I won't be able to pull it off. I'm worried that I'm keeping a secret from my mom. I'm worried that next year I won't be able to find another place to live and that I'll have to go through the horrendous process of moving again because I won't be able to stay here because of the noise next door. I'm worried that I haven't paid my bills recently and the stack of them plus the random tax paperwork sitting on my table scares the shit out of me. I'm worried that I haven't rented the car yet for my vacation in march. I'm worried that march is coming too soon. I'm worried that my ex-boyfriend is hurting a lot and that I can't do a thing to help him. I'm worried that I won't figure out anything that is the right thing to do this summer and I'll end up unemployed. I'm worried that I'm never going to stop worrying.

That's just the tip of the scroll of worries that run, run, run through my mind. Those ramblings took me all of one minute to write down. And writing them down didn't help one bit. There goes that theory. But it was worth a try.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Memo To Self: I Am Not A 25 Year Old Boy

Every time I drink with my brothers, who are somewhere around 25 years old (I could do the math here, but I’m in a bit of a hurry as I will be out the door in exactly ten minutes), I inevitably wake up the next morning – ah, afternoon – and stumble to the nearest sink to pour myself a desperately-needed glass of water so I can choke down an even more desperately needed bottle of Advil, all the while mumbling to myself: I am not a 25-year old boy. So I should not try drink like one.

So as I’m on my way out tonight, to a celebration for two friends-of-friends turning 25, in which the evite named beer pong and flip cup as two activities (yes! It’s being held in a sports bar! My favorite type of city event, and I’m excited – as someone once said to me, ‘you can take girl out of New England, but you can’t take the New England out of the girl’), I feel like I should use a permanent Sharpie Pen to inscribe “you are not a 25 year old boy” on my hand before I leave.

But I’m already dressed and made up and this would definitely not go with the look.

So we’ll see, we’ll see… (I’ll tell you tomorrow. If I can get out of bed.)

Heart vs. Head = Sox vs. Evil Empire?

My heart is in one place and my head is in an entirely differely place.

The respective positons they - the heart and the head - are taking are antithetical to one another. They hate each other right now. And the rivalry isn't any fun. It's a Sox-Yankees game - and I have adored my Red Sox since I cried in 1986, a little girl lying on the blue rug of her family room watching the Mets series, head in her elbows, each hand keeping one temple covered - and hey, we all know what happened in October 2004 (and what will happen this year, although I'm a little scared of a Blue Jays wild-card coup this season because of their improved pitching as well as other upgrades, but that's another entry for another time). The heart won out.

But I'm an ENFJ, so I, evidently, go with my heart anyway. And I break my own heart sometimes. I trust too much. I love too much. And I love and trust too hard. I would like to write about how I feel about the connection between the heart and the mind but I am so tired so I will do this tomorrow, or maybe the next day, and I will try to keep away from baseball posting for at until - well, at least until Manny has to report to camp.

And for the moment, I'll have to accept my own little rivalry taking place within my very own body.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Responsorial Song, Unsung

You think that you’re the only one who’s afraid?

You say that you’re “terrified” of the time that I will call you and ask you “why didn’t you call me today?” You know what, you’re not terrified of that call; you’re terrified of the reason why you don’t call me that day. You’re terrified of someone else being so close to you that she wants to share the things that you don’t even want to share with yourself. And you’re terrified of sharing those things because you haven’t yet believed that those things are okay for someone else to hear. But guess what, kid, I already know what's going on inside of you, and I love you all the more for it.

I’m “dangerous”? You’re dangerous to me, too, my dear. But I see what’s on the other side of crossing that dangerous line, and it’s fucking beautiful.

“Because you live in New York and I’m moving across the country," you say. That’s why I’m dangerous? Because situations act on you versus your acting on situations? The relevance here is truly lost to me.

You’re “madly in love with me”? Show it. Respect my feelings. Don’t just know my feelings, because I know that you do, but act like you care about them. And don't fucking treat me like I don't know what I'm talking about, because you know that I do.

You have strength in the areas that scare the shit out of me, and I have strength in the areas that scare the shit out of you. Embrace this. It doesn’t happen very often, if ever.

Do you know that I get the way things run through your mind, emotionally, at least? Yes, you do know this, and maybe that's the reason that you’re terrified. Paradoxically, the very way that your mind works is one reason I love you so much.

And fuck you for saying that I don’t love you as much as you love me, but, hey, you’ve always said that – you’ve chosen to say that. And then I've always said - chosen to say - what you want to hear in response to that. But guess what, kid, if you say something enough, eventually you’ll internalize it, you'll believe it. Even though deep down inside you know it's not true. And maybe one day I'll actually believe it too - would that make it easier for you?

And one more thing: the way you “handle me” is really the way you handle yourself.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

You Know Your Best Friend and Your Mom Are Right

when, (by the way, while laughing; I'm not sad), on the way to the bathroom to brush your teeth before bed, you speak the following sentence out loud - to yourself - (after sending an email two days ago and leaving a voicemail yesterday for your ex and not hearing anything back)

My stupid asshole son of a bitch slut whore motherfucker of a bastard ex-boyfriend can go to the suckiest level of hell right now 'cause I don't give a flying...

and then you write in your blog about it.

Wow... This Is Me!!

Scary, but true. Since I've directly cut and paste this I think I have to provide the link - I totally don't want to do anything that's like, copyright misconduct. So... here is the link; the text is below. It's frightening in that I think it's totally on point. So, the credit for this analysis goes to

The Giver

As an ENFJ, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit into your personal value system. Your secondary mode is internal, where you take things in primarily via your intuition.

ENFJs are people-focused individuals. They live in the world of people possibilities. More so than any other type, they have excellent people skills. They understand and care about people, and have a special talent for bringing out the best in others. ENFJ's main interest in life is giving love, support, and a good time to other people. They are focused on understanding, supporting, and encouraging others. They make things happen for people, and get their best personal satisfaction from this.

Because ENFJ's people skills are so extraordinary, they have the ability to make people do exactly what they want them to do. They get under people's skins and get the reactions that they are seeking. ENFJ's motives are usually unselfish, but ENFJs who have developed less than ideally have been known to use their power over people to manipulate them.

ENFJ's are so externally focused that it's especially important for them to spend time alone. This can be difficult for some ENFJs, because they have the tendency to be hard on themselves and turn to dark thoughts when alone. Consequently, ENFJs might avoid being alone, and fill their lives with activities involving other people. ENFJs tend to define their life's direction and priorities according to other people's needs, and may not be aware of their own needs. It's natural to their personality type that they will tend to place other people's needs above their own, but they need to stay aware of their own needs so that they don't sacrifice themselves in their drive to help others.

ENFJ's tend to be more reserved about exposing themselves than other extraverted types. Although they may have strongly-felt beliefs, they're likely to refrain from expressing them if doing so would interfere with bringing out the best in others. Because their strongest interest lies in being a catalyst of change in other people, they're likely to interact with others on their own level, in a chameleon-like manner, rather than as individuals.

Which is not to say that the ENFJ does not have opinions. ENFJs have definite values and opinions which they're able to express clearly and succinctly. These beliefs will be expressed as long as they're not too personal. ENFJ is in many ways expressive and open, but is more focused on being responsive and supportive of others. When faced with a conflict between a strongly-held value and serving another person's need, they are highly likely to value the other person's needs.

The ENFJ may feel quite lonely even when surrounded by people. This feeling of aloneness may be exacerbated by the tendency to not reveal their true selves.

People love ENFJs. They are fun to be with, and truly understand and love people. They are typically very straight-forward and honest. Usually ENFJs exude a lot of self-confidence, and have a great amount of ability to do many different things. They are generally bright, full of potential, energetic and fast-paced. They are usually good at anything which captures their interest.

ENFJs like for things to be well-organized, and will work hard at maintaining structure and resolving ambiguity. They have a tendency to be fussy, especially with their home environments.

In the work place, ENFJs do well in positions where they deal with people. They are naturals for the social committee. Their uncanny ability to understand people and say just what needs to be said to make them happy makes them naturals for counseling. They enjoy being the center of attention, and do very well in situations where they can inspire and lead others, such as teaching.

ENFJs do not like dealing with impersonal reasoning. They don't understand or appreciate its merit, and will be unhappy in situations where they're forced to deal with logic and facts without any connection to a human element. Living in the world of people possibilities, they enjoy their plans more than their achievements. They get excited about possibilities for the future, but may become easily bored and restless with the present.

ENFJs have a special gift with people, and are basically happy people when they can use that gift to help others. They get their best satisfaction from serving others. Their genuine interest in Humankind and their exceptional intuitive awareness of people makes them able to draw out even the most reserved individuals.

ENFJs have a strong need for close, intimate relationships, and will put forth a lot of effort in creating and maintaining these relationships. They're very loyal and trustworthy once involved in a relationship.

An ENFJ who has not developed their Feeling side may have difficulty making good decisions, and may rely heavily on other people in decision-making processes. If they have not developed their Intuition, they may not be able to see possibilities, and will judge things too quickly based on established value systems or social rules, without really understanding the current situation. An ENFJ who has not found their place in the world is likely to be extremely sensitive to criticism, and to have the tendency to worry excessively and feel guilty. They are also likely to be very manipulative and controling with others.

In general, ENFJs are charming, warm, gracious, creative and diverse individuals with richly developed insights into what makes other people tick. This special ability to see growth potential in others combined with a genuine drive to help people makes the ENFJ a truly valued individual. As giving and caring as the ENFJ is, they need to remember to value their own needs as well as the needs of others.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Regulars - Oh My!

The year between my graduating college and going out into the "real world" (someday I'll explain how I got too much of the real world while safe in the environs of my home town, ironically) I lived in the house where I grew up, then moved a few miles away into an apartment with a roommate, whom I miss so much and wish I could contact, all the while waitressing at a chain restaurant that can be found in any of those "strips" of mainstreet America. Nothing wrong with that.

What got scary was when I got "regulars." Why did they want me? Paul, who would always sit in my section, by himself, and who knew that I knew that he wanted a diet coke with no ice and a salad made in a particular way. The "family," whose last name I won't reveal, who knew I could deal with their children - somehow - satiated with chocolate shakes (a fucking nightmare to make) and some sort of empathy. And the big fat guy who came in with his business lunch cronies and tipped so poorly that his daily order of a bowl of chili with extra cheese turned into my dream of tipping a really hot bowl over his fat bald head.

Now I have "regulars" too. Regular readers. I don't want to dump hot chili over anyone's head; in fact, it's just the opposite. I put forth a small piece of myself during my time at that place (the happy-go-lucky, sure I'd be delighted to get you your 28th refill of soda, piece) and somehow people returned to see me; here, I am also putting forth a piece of myself, but a much larger, more complete and complex piece... and that people are still returning to see the layers underneath the happy-go-lucky me is something that I really do appreciate.

So... thanks!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Random Act of Kindness - Gone Terribly Wrong!

OK, so I had the best night; I met my best friend AB for our annual "Christmas in February" dinner and we ended up both happily full and tipsy enough to not be drunk but just - tipsy, in the happy sense of the word.

Then I went to the train to come back uptown and at the station this kid, probably too young to be that drunk (but I am 28 and a former bartender so I generally have an eye for these things and have definitely been that drunk - but I am a cab whore, so I would have never been on a train that drunk or with any excuse to not take a cab) was staggering - oh so literally - on the steps down to the train, while smoking a cigarette in the station, which is definitely not legal, and something I would not have characterized this total stranger-kid as doing. I really thought he was going to fall down the stairs. And I thought, shit, this kid looks totally geeky, drunk beyond his power, and is carrying a messenger-style bag at his side and, shit again, he's going to fall, if not down the stairs then into trouble.

Eventually the train came and I got on and forgot about what I'd just seen because I see a lot and register it and then promptly forget it.

Except for this kid somehow got on the train, sat in the handicapped seats, and immediately passed out directly across from where I was standing. His iPod on, head lolling between his shoulders, messenger bag randomly flung on the seat beside him.

So when the time came for me to get off the train at the next stop, I thought I'd try one of those "random acts of kindness" that I often feel compelled to do but generally don't feel I have the power nor the boldness to follow through with. So I knocked the kid on his knee with my hand a few times. No response. Then I tried again. Harder. No response, except from the guy who had sat next to him, who asked me, "ma'am, is he okay?" And I said, "I have no idea, he just got on the train at the same stop as me, and he was really drunk (this I said in a whisper), so I thought I'd make sure he didn't miss his stop." Now, the entire car was looking at me (why are things so silent at this hour) and the train had one of its - pauses - in the middle of nowhere, in the midst of two stops - and this scene was strangely the center of attention.

I tried to wake the kid again, and the guy next to him helped me by shifting his shoulders, and the kid opened his eyes, each eye looking in an entirely different direction, and I just blurted out "hey, the train is way uptown now, and I wanted to make sure you were awake."

All of a sudden I felt so public and the train stopped anyway so I got off at my stop. What else could I do? Who knows where this kid ended up; it's not my responsibility, but maybe it is my civic responsibility to try to help someone who is where I have probably been before, when I have probably been helped by countless cab drivers, friends-of-friends, bouncers, strangers, even?

What I know is that I would have wanted someone else to wake me up if I were that drunk on a train, so, hey, I tried.

the little pleasures

So it's two in the morning and I'm still awake. This used to be okay when I would sleep until noon, but... not so much now. The perpetual late-night noise next door has reached an all-time high tonight (I think they brought in a karaoke machine, and I can only wish I was kidding) and hence, I am trying to enjoy what will be an inevitable two more hours awake (and counting) while subsequently ignoring the mess that is my bedroom - cleaning it is not an option, since if I go in there I'll just get aggravated, anyway, because that's the room attached to the noise.

So instead I lit the new candle I bought this afternoon (bamboo) and sat my little butt down on my comfy papison chair that everyone said was too big for my apartment but I insisted on keeping (and in doing so was forced to forego other, perhaps more practical, items of furniture, but... it's a Manhattan apartment, and these are choices we make!) and whipped out one of my not-so-guilty pleasures - the sunday new york times crossword - and maybe it was an easy one this week, but I am oh-so-close to finishing it, closer than I ever have been in my life working on it all by myself. No mom to consult, no googling answers that would be so easy to find, and were it not for the bottom right-hand corner, it would be done. On my own. And by the way, if anyone knows the 78 across/73/74 down responses, or the 101/102/103 down answers, then it will be done.

Content. So content that I may just curl up on the papison instead of in my bed and sleep here tonight, because I have a schedule to keep tomorrow, and I really would like to wake up early and excited and feeling as content as I feel right now.