i have a question...

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I have an announcement.

It's kind of big. And kind of scary.

Thanks to my friend, who reminded me about this event, and to my mom, who did it last year, I am going to attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, during the month of November.

I just know that as soon as I announce this, I'll get a full-time job, be working 50-hour weeks and be scrambling to meet the deadline at midnight on the 30th.


I really wanted to do it last year, just had zero time, while adapting and directing a play for my independent project.

So, we're going with NaNoWriMo 2010, instead!

This is going to be a GREAT challenge for me, who has, through the process of blogging, become fairly good at writing short, conclusive points with little buttons at the end of each post.

Fumbling through writing MUCH more than I'm used to is going to be a great exercise in patience and letting go creatively...(I think I'm going to have to get used to being OK with writing a lot of crap.)

Also, prepare for me to become totally obsessed with the number of words I produce a day and perhaps write about it here...

That's 1,667 words a day, by the way, if I want to make it to 50,000 by the 30th.

But, who's counting?


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On Unemployment and TV (Like Every Other Post...)

Wednesdays are hard.

I have all this TV from Tuesday night that I have to catch up on because I watch Glee and then I'm always so worn out from the emotion of it that I stop watching TV for the night.

And by then, I've missed the first half of The Biggest Loser anyway and for some reason I've started watching the ABC Family show Melissa and Joey.

What has my life become?

This Wednesday was particularly hard because I had a two and a half hour interview for a Program Manager job. Mind you, I met three people in that time frame, but by about 11:30, I was visibly fading and needed a snack.

(I think things went well though, and I just spent some time crafting good thank you notes, so we'll just stay cautiously optimistic for the moment. Also, RM wants to hire me part time as her personal assistant--HURRAH!--and I start tomorrow, so things are maybe, possibly starting to shift. Good thing too, since I can pay November rent and then I'm...how you say...fucked.)

And I came home to all this TV to watch.


The Biggest Loser alone took almost two hours.

And there were two episodes of Raising Hope I needed to watch.

Plus, that aforementioned insult to sitcoms, Melissa and Joey.

The thing is, though, it's kind of charming.

It's like the new Who's the Boss? with Melissa Joan Hart playing a city councilwoman who has taken in her estranged sister's teenaged kids and needs help. Joey Lawrence (yes, he's going by Joey again, not the more adult Joseph. Performing on Dancing with the Stars probably killed any credit he had for being a serious actor) plays a businessman who lost a lot of money in a bad deal and takes on the "manny" role.

And I just watch, waiting for the inevitable steps the characters will take to romance. And confused as to how Melissa Joan Hart became so famous, when all she seems to do is make a lot of faces (all the while, wearing clothes that make me think of S because they would all look SO GOOD on her).

Joey Lawrence is totally a good actor, though.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Reunion Recap (Mostly, It's a Post about Kiddoes)

I barely remember the actual reunion.

(No, not because I was drunk the whole time...although that might be PART of it. How else do we get through family reunions?)

I remember surviving the four TEENY TINY planes that took me from Boston to Ithaca and back.

I remember eating good food: chicken marsala, baked ziti, and chocolate bread pudding at the big dinner Friday night, squash fritters, frittata, and wraps at brunch on Sunday morning, freshly made waffles at the hotel breakfast room.

I remember crying in front of lots of people, as I read what I wrote for my grandmother, who seemed to recognize me only when my mom prompted her.

I remember bursting into tears at a sudden outpouring of unflinching support in my job search and unemployment.

I remember having strange dreams on the pullout couch in my cousins' suite.

Mostly, though, what I did was play with kids all weekend and through this week.

I taught my cousins' four-year-old son how to play I Spy, and we played it every chance we got.

We swam in the pool with his mommies, my aunt, and his uncle and cousin.

I pretended to be at a carnival with a 2 1/2 year old. We rode the rollercoaster.

I looked for pretend and real worms with my cousin's two-year-old daughter. And we traced our hands with pens.

We jumped in a huge pile of leaves at my uncle's house.

And then, this week, the four-year-old and his mommies visited Boston, and we played Hide and Seek and Sneaky Statues and Hopscotch, walked through the cemetery, led by our furry guide dog, Huck.

We practiced counting and rhyming and opposites and spelling.

He woke up, asking for me to take him to my house.

We slid down a big slide at the zoo together and rode the trains and drove the tractors.

I squeezed him and distracted him while he tried to watch TV and when he whined and squirmed, I said, "Just tell me not to." So, he said, "Not to."

We played walking tag in my apartment and I went behind the fridge to guard myself from him. He hid behind it, sure that I couldn't see him and said, "When I'm 10, I'll be tall, so you'll be able to see me! How many are you?" When I answered, he said, "YOU'RE OLD!"

(Too true.)

And when he was a pain in the ass, I would shrug my shoulders and think to myself, "You go cry it out and I'll be here with a funny face when you're ready to be with me again."

And, even though I know he won't want to play with me like this forever, I hope he knows that I'll always be here when he's ready to be with me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Family Reunion Time!

On September 5, my grandmother turned 90 years old.

Doesn't she look AMAZING?

This weekend, I will travel to Ithaca, NY, for a family reunion disguised as a concert for her. (Incidentally, Boston is REALLY far away from Ithaca, and I have to take two TEENY TINY planes to get there.)

I plan on reading a version of this.

I'm also organizing a SURPRISE FINALE, performing one of my grandparents' standards, "When I'm Sixty-Four." (He'd play the bassoon; she'd play the clarinet. Too cute, right?)

All of my aunts and uncles will be there, looking really no different than they do here.

Click to enlarge.

I predict lots of music-playing, game-playing, and wine drinking.

That's how we do.

And, just for good measure, here's a pic of four of the five of my mom's generation. My youngest aunt hadn't been born yet.

(I will save my family some face and not reveal the year this was taken.)

Click to enlarge.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

You Guys! I'm SO Famous!

Guest post is up at one of my favorite blogs!

Una and I share a love of karaoke, red wine, and pop culture.

Also, we grew up together but then she went to college with a totally different old friend of mine and we re-met at his birthday party. Small world.

I think if we were ever properly reunited, we would have a long, ridiculous, rambly conversation about the virtues of the original 90210 and how famous our elementary school friend is, now that he's on Mad Men, playing Peggy's love interest.

Let's make this happen, LaMarche!!

Her blog is hilarious and amazing. Read it.

And enjoy my post!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Bullied Girl Grows Up to Write a Blog

Remember that time in your life when you were just figuring out how to, like, be a human in the world? And you were stuck with the same friends you’d had since kindergarten?

So they had the freedom and power to treat you like shit?

And you didn’t know enough about how to make other friends, so you just didn’t?

I remember the girls I was friends with in elementary school were merciless to me.

(And I’m sure all of you are reading this and saying, oh my god, same exact thing happened to me!)

I would go to school one day and feel bolstered by their loyalty. We had a strong pact, made stronger by sleepovers where we’d choreograph dances to “Like a Prayer,” and make cheese eggs in the mornings. (Except, I didn’t like the cheese eggs, so I’d make them make me regular eggs.)

The next day, it’d be like everyone had discussed my status before I’d gotten to school and decided that I wasn’t in the group anymore.

I distinctly remember showing up on a school day and sitting down at a cafeteria table where my friends were already sitting. I said something I’m sure I thought was cheeky and cute and laughed at myself a little bit.


Cold, staring, haunting silence.

My face dropped.

What had I done? Why the sudden shut out?

That silence still haunts me.

It’s amazing how these little moments in our childhoods can brand us for life.

And how often we remember them.

Take this interaction, this first indication that the people around me just weren’t as smart as I was.

My erstwhile “best friend” and I are waiting in a line before we’re let back into the school after recess, and my long hair is blowing in the breeze.

She snaps at me, “Get your hair out of my face!” And I reply back, “It’s just blowing in the breeze!”

She didn’t believe me.

Really? You think my hair is magically standing on end and whipping into your face, unprompted?


Needless to say, our friendship didn’t last past the 5th grade.

And yet, I think about that moment, like, once a month.

The four of us in the group would make little charts that we’d pass around our table in class.

The chart was for rating how much we liked the other members in the group.

“How much do you like me? From 1-10.”

Often, we’d mark 1,000,000 or -1,000,000 just to be clever, squishing the zeroes into the tiny boxes on the note to make our point clear.

My existence on this planet seemed to rely on these rankings: who would mark me high today? Who was going to be typical and mark a negative ranking? And which two had paired up for the day, a seemingly indestructible force?

I look back on those days, aided by the earned perspective of age and years of therapy, and think, how does any of us survive being a girl?

I’ve learned, in contrast, that there’s no gray area with the typical boy: they’re either happy or they’re mad. Either friends or fighting.

And if there’s a conflict, there’s no emotional manipulation, no social customs to try to make sense of, no teenage language to interpret.

Just a couple shoves or swings, and then they’re done.

Now that I’m working with students, I just gravitate to the boys.

I’d honestly rather they try to punch me than risk they might rank me negative 1,000,000 on their Facebook page dedicated to my lameness or whatever this generation’s version of a “How much do you like me?” chart might be.

**UPDATE: I didn't write this post in response to the recent teen suicides or even with them in mind, necessarily. Still, having worked with young people for the last few years and having just recently survived student-teaching at a high school (not to mention my own lonely adolescence), I want to assert to you and to anyone you may share my blog with that finding people who really support and nurture EXACTLY who you are isn't easy but it is worth the work. Luckily, I've begun to figure it out...And, if I can, you can.**

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Once a Theatre Girl...

I've been trying to pinpoint exactly what it feels like to be waiting to hear about this job.

It's not exactly like waiting for Christmas Day. Because the anticipation isn't just positive.

It's not exactly like waiting to go on vacation, although I think that's pretty close, with the sense of anticipation and unknown and potential adventure.

It's not exactly like anticipating a blind date, but it does have that potential dread factor, the sense of not knowing at all what I'm getting myself into.

Mostly, I realize, it's like waiting to see if I've gotten a really good part.

In fact, the whole process of looking for a job is a lot like auditioning.

I dress up in something really flattering.

I try to seem relaxed and confident, like I know what I'm doing and they can trust me to do what they anticipate I'll need to do.

I hope to hear about them wanting to see me again, when I try to seem even more relaxed and confident. I'm bolstered by their interest in me and try to bring that to the meeting.

And, then, I wait, convincing myself I've done my absolute best.

And knock on wood every time I ever mention the situation.

And try not to jinx myself by anticipating actually getting it.

And try not to imagine getting rejected and spending three days in bed out of the disappointment.

And try not to worry about the imminent inability to pay my rent.

OK, it's way worse than auditioning.

And, also, this is why I haven't auditioned for anything in like years.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Fractured Exercise Tale

Around the time that I was hitting puberty, I was taking dancing class three times a week.

Little known fact: I spent my last year of dancing ballet en pointe. Oh, yeah, I did.

I figured I wasn’t going to be a ballerina when I developed boobs and thighs and, ultimately, the body I have now. I haven’t grown at all since I got my period when I was 12. And my weight has totally stagnated within a range of ten pounds since then.

Granted, I’m 5’4”, so ten pounds is noticeable on me.

And I tend to get fat when I’m unhappy.

Or at least, feel fat. Which I’m sure isn’t a unique experience.

So, basically, from the ages of 14-20 and 22-25, I felt, and sometimes was, fat.

In high school, my physical activity was limited to the pacing I did in my room, strategizing how to escape my unhappiness.

Just kidding, sometimes I took begrudging walks too.

Or would go on jags of weight-loss determination and dance feverishly around my room to ABBA.

The point is, even when I was inspired to join a gym after watching The Biggest Loser in 2008, I didn’t lose significant amounts of weight.

I think this is just what my body looks like.

At my most unhappy, while living in New York City, I started going to yoga class once a week.

My instructor was a big, drag-queen-looking female opera singer who made us do sun salutations to the Christina Aguilera song “Walk Away.”

Yoga classes in NYC are expensive, so I could only afford to go once a week, but I loved it.

I loved the rubbery feeling my body had after being all flex-bendy for an hour.

I hated the cardio part of yoga (I sweat…) but loved the strength-training part and remember being particularly good at the L-stand, where you use your feet on the wall to make your body into an upside-down, inverted, L-shape.

Eventually, winter weather hindered my trip to Union Square for class, and I fell out of the habit, although my epic walk twice a day from the F train to my job on the East River continued to be a consistent part of my exercise routine.

The last few months I lived in New York City were the hardest, as I started to realize I didn’t really have a life there.

The shopping trip I took while sick with a mild digestive issue didn’t help. The cashier looked at me and my distended belly, as I purchased new sweaters or some shit, and said, “Is it a girl or a boy?”

S still asserts that he was confused and talking about how she was helping me pick out clothes, but that just doesn’t make any sense.

During my brief break between my summer job and the beginning of the semester last year, I started doing some pretty regular power-walking, while I had the time and nothing else to do.

Once school started again, I promptly stopped because my schedule became full of more important things, like trying to graduate and drinking lots of wine.

So, I’m a little wary to announce that I’ve been doing regular yoga (in my room, far from the probing eyes of more experienced yogis, on a yoga mat I bought, following Instant Watch Netflix videos) for almost six weeks.

I don’t think I’m on the road to significantly changing what my body looks like, although my biceps are definitely more defined after all those low planks.

But it feels good.

And they say a habit is formed in six weeks, so let’s hope I’m addicted soon. And that this time, it sticks.