i have a question...

Monday, December 31, 2012

Best of 2012

It's fun each year to keep a running tab of the books, movies, music, and theatre that I've enjoyed most each year. 

This year, though, I didn't read enough books or see enough movies or theatre. 

I guess I've been busy.

Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner
Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park
The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted by Elizabeth Berg
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
tiny beautiful things  by Cheryl Strayed
This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey
Moonrise Kingdom
The Dark Knight Rises
Take This Waltz

Sweeter by Gavin DeGraw, especially “Not Over You”
Unbroken by Demi Lovato, especially “Fix a Heart”
Once Upon Another Time by Sara Bareilles, especially ”Bright Lights and Cityscapes”
Looking 4 Myself by Usher, especially ”Dive”  and “2nd Round”
Channel ORANGE by Frank Ocean, especially ”Bad Religion”

One-Minute Play Festival at the Boston Playwrights Theatre
Sugar at ArtsEmerson
Café Variations at Emerson Stage

I cannot believe how fast 2012 has gone, and I'm glad the world didn't end, so I can keep on writing for you.

The new year will bring more adventures and misadventures from work, fun with friends and family, and my GIGANTIC 30th birthday celebration.

Watch out, 2013, I'm coming for you.

Happy new year, everyone!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Overheard on Vacation

What a whirlwind of a hilarious vacation week this has been. Full of Christmas gatherings, lots and lots of food, wine, and laughs.

Spending time with my cousins and their two boys, 6 years old and 20 months old, has been truly unforgettable and wonderful and I am so sorry my time with them is over.

Here are some of the highlights of the week, in quote form:

6-year-old, explaining to his little brother: Santa won't hurt you. Unless it's a homeless guy.

Me, to the 6-year-old, who had his hands down his pants: I'm just going to start calling you Penis Hands.
Him: I'm gonna start calling you Burpy.
Me: That's perfect!
*high five*
Him: Now you're Penis Hands.

6-year-old, while watching A Christmas Story, proving that his generation is conditioned to violence and chaos: Is the old man gonna steal the lamp? Is the lamp gonna explode? Did he get run over? Is fudge a bad word? Is she calling the police?

Me, to my cousin's stunning 88-year-old grandmother: You look like a movie star!
Her: Lassie?

Me: What rhymes with berry?
6-year-old: Perry!
Me: ...OK.
Him: No, like Katy Perry!
Me: OK!...What rhymes with orange?!
Everyone: That's so mean!
Him: ...Nothing.

6-year-old, on seeing a Rolling Stones logo on the side of a truck: Look! A kissing truck!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. LXI

Two special events down, one to go.

Last week, my colleague, some of our teens, and I presented at a mid-point convening for our art-social justice program. Tonight, ten musical acts performed for the entire club, and I am so proud and relieved and thrilled and moved at how it went, I could cry.

Wednesday is our annual Holiday Party, including the debut of my play program's show, "Fractured Fairy Tales." I will be happy to get through the next few days of work and be on vacation for an unprecedented 12 days at the end of this year.

My supervisor, while discussing banana milk: I thought they milked bananas. *insert vulgar gesture here*

12-year-old boy: Ladies are really impatient these days!
12-year-old girl: You just noticed that?

Same 12-year-old boy: My shoulder cost like $800. I'm a robot.

And, while showing me his video games magazine, and a picture of the Revolutionary War: This was the old times, with George Bush.

8-year-old girl, summarizing the book she had just read: The cat in the hat. He holds too much stuff!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. LX

We're getting down to the end of the season at work, which means in the next 2 1/2 weeks, I have three special events to either prep kids for, host, or run myself.

But then I have a 12-day vacation, so I CANNOT COMPLAIN!

Colleague: This guy is Captain of the Los Angeles Flakers!

Teen girl: Those boys couldn't figure out how to pop my hood.
Colleague: That's dirty.

Lateral lisp kid, after completing his homework: I go psycho. And I love going psycho. It's a living for me.

Teen boy, to a colleague who had his arm around me: Stop hooking on my shorty, yo.
Me, to colleague: Was he speaking English?

Colleague, during a staff meeting: I want to be drunk.

11-year-old girl: If I have a daughter, I want her to be born in Fiji. Either Fiji or Ohio.

Later, she said: Middle school is so hard. You can never tell when a boy likes you.
(I told her it doesn't really get easier after middle school...)

14-year-old girl, about another 14-year-old girl: She had her first boyfriend when she was like 1!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. LIX

Is anyone else thoroughly confused that it's almost Thanksgiving? Only two days of work are between me and a little break. And only six weeks of work are between me and a BIG break.


9-year-old, a propos of nothing: Wait! Can we celebrate and go pantsless?

I had a discussion with an 18-year-old and some middle schoolers about voting. I was very excited that the 18-year-old had been able to vote and everyone was very curious about whom he had voted for. In response to the fact that everyone was happy he had voted for Obama, a 13-year-old said, "You guys are crazy. I would have voted for Romney because he was going to help the wealthy white. I am white and wealthy." (I kind of wanted to punch her in the mouth.)

An 8-year-old gave me the best advice on how to play basketball ever: You just use your strength to push the ball up. And it doesn't matter if you miss or not.

An 8-year-old boy, incredibly earnestly: I was born on October 8, 2012.

Me, to an 8-year-old whom had separated from the group I was picking up from the adjacent elementary school: You need to stay with the group!
8-year-old: There was something I had buried I forgot to get back...I bury lots of things for no reason.

Today also marked my karaoke debut for the kids who come to that program. I wanted to sing something silly and fun with my music teacher, so we did "I Want It That Way," and mid-song, I heard my name, so I turned toward the 10-year-old who had said it, who then said, "Annie...you should give her the mic now."

This job certainly keeps me humble.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. LVIII

Sorry it's been so long.

Last week sucked, as we endured a hurricane, a funeral, and a funeral reception at work. We're all kind of crawling out of that funk of a week slowly.

This week, we enjoyed an Aerosmith concert down the street and the reelection of a President who will keep our business running because he supports the middle-class, non-profits, the arts, and immigrants.


Me, about and to an 8-year-old boy: I love him and I hate him.
Him: Same here!

And, after we moved him to work alone because he was being disruptive: Gosh! People these days!

8-year-old boy, every time I touch him: It hurts as hard as I can remember...I'm very delicate. I'm like a skeleton.
(Mind you, I do super annoying things like stick my finger in his ears. So I don't blame him for crying wolf.)

12-year-old girl: I do my best work at the last minute.
Me: You're a super procrastinator?
Her: I'm really good at it!

Colleague, after my other colleague and I had an in-depth conversation sotto voce: Women...are really good...at whispering.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. LVII

"You're so cute. I like your face."--a teen girl to an 8 year old boy.

"I feel like I never go to the bathroom anymore."--my coworker, resigning herself to life at our job.

"Can someone come over here and entertain me?"--a teen girl, to a room full of her friends.

This week, we lost a very important member of our staff family, as our coworker succumbed to a swift illness on Thursday morning. 

KC was the epitome of a firecracker, super dedicated to her work and her coworkers, and unbelievably caring to everyone around her, despite her brash exterior.

Last winter, when I co-hosted the holiday party for staff, we gave everyone a superlative award, and choosing which award to give KC was the easiest decision we made: Bark is Worse Than Her Bite. 

She was beyond tickled and thrilled to receive it and kept it in a frame at the front desk. 

Even in her final weeks, she had enough balls to flirt with the beautiful male nurse assigned to her and the generosity to ask how we were all doing.

KC was fierce, loud, abrasive, hilarious, a true individual, and full of piss and vinegar. 

Her hair and nails were always just so. 

She listened to Motown and Rock n Roll and could never quite figure out how her email worked. She did the work of about 2 1/2 people and kept our building running as smoothly as possible, without any of us even knowing. 

But most importantly, she loved our kids, wanted only to keep them safe, and had a great love of life. 

There will never be another like her. We will never forget her, and work will never be the same without her.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. LVI

Finally feeling slightly on top of things at work...On top of things, mind you.Not ahead of them...which my supervisor says is pretty darn good.

13 year old, to me: You have a boyfriend, not a husband?
Me: I have no one.
Her: You have us!

Me, to middle schoolers: What are you guys doing?
12 year old: Walking and talking and living our lives!

Me: How old are you?
Alumna: 20.
Me: What? What do you do?
Alumna: I'm in beauty school. Learning how to do weave--I mean, hair!

9 year old, to a middle schooler on crutches: Are those real?

11 year old, about her crush: I don't think he's gone through puberty yet.
Me: Oh, has his voice changed?
Her: No, his voice is really high.
Me: You haven't gone through puberty yet either!
Her: How do you know? Wait, what's puberty? Is that when you get your period and boobs?

Colleague: Do you always talk this much?
11 year old: Yes! My mother said I used to talk so much when I was a baby, she'd put a diaper over my head. JK. That's a false story.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. LV

I realized this week that there are three kinds of busy days at my job.

1. The day that is packed to the minute with meetings. Example, Arrive at work at 11:00 AM, meeting at 11: 30, meeting at 12:30, interview at 2 PM, homework help at 3:30, onboarding at 4:30, run program at 5:30, leave at 7 PM.

2. The day that is busy because there are 300 kids in the building and I run all over the place all day.

3. The day that is unexpectedly busy, so that every time I sit down, I am called to tend to a kid or a coverage issue or a delivery or an emergency.

And even though this week was only 4 days long, it feels like about 4 in the morning and that it should be Saturday.

This fall is kicking my ass.

On Wednesday, during homework help, I sat down at a table of 3rd and 4th graders, who immediately asked me, "Who are you voting for?" I didn't really feel comfortable telling them, since I wasn't sure what their parents were stuffing down their throats, but I was encouraged when one of them yelled, "OBAMA!" and another very seriously said, "I'm voting for Romney 0%." Finally, one very sagely announced, "Romney doesn't like immigrants, so he doesn't like our families."

"Look! It slides."--my coworker, trying desperately to prove that her phone is "hip."

"I'm probably gonna marry a poet,"--11 year old, as we went from discussing attending her first dance to discovering boys to marriage.

"Hi Brandon!...Hi...whatever your name is."--8-year-old greeting my coworker with the wrong name but then really thinking about it and giving up.

"My future beard starts right here!"--13 year old, announcing his serious facial hair plans.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Overheard at Work, LIV

It was a very busy week at work, so I only had one quote, until this afternoon, when I was visited by a couple very hilarious kids, so I collected many more quotes at the last minute today.

"I need some professional help!"--an eight-year-old during homework time.

All of the following quotes are from this afternoon:

Colleague: What's your favorite color?
8-year-old: TARTAR SAUCE!

And these last few quotes are all from one of my favorite kids, an 11-year-old who has been in my programming for a year, works super hard at school, and lives with her strict Haitian parents who overextend her and pressure her to do better than her best. She is amazing.

Plus, we have the same birthday.

"You do random things. I never know when to expect you."--to me, after I showed her the food in my mouth.

"You should think about getting married."--to me. (Grumblegrumble.)

Me: [about my colleague] Her hands and feet are really big! You should go put your hand up against hers.
11-year-old: Are they soft or cold?
Me: Those aren't opposites!
11-year-old: No. I meant what I said.

And, as she left, "We should have a sleepover. We could talk about plastic waste. And recycling."

I love her so much.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. LIII

Just made it through the first week of our full fall program.

It went relatively smoothly, actually, and I'm surprised at my adaptability to the after-school schedule, after working early mornings all summer. It's nice to have my mornings back.

Here are some quotes gathered from the past two weeks, now that our kids are back:

"I promise maybe I'll come."--a 4th grader's hedgy response to my request she come to my program. (She didn't.)

16-year-old: Annie. Guess how many girls I kissed at school today.
Me: Zero.
Him: Three.

16-year-old: I want to be like Charlotte but have Samantha's career.

During my drama program, in which I tasked the kids with presenting fairytales in just 60 seconds, they were getting caught up in costumes and props. One team was presenting Rapunzel and suddenly they were covered in scarves and hats.
Me: Why would Mother Gothel wear a hat?
11-year-old: Because she's ghetto.

And as I was leaving this evening, this happened:
16-year-old: Annie, do you know who Nas is?
Me: Yes! (racking my brain) Oh, he was married to Kelis, right?
Him: Yes! She doesn't know who he is. (to the intern next to him)
Me: Now wait a minute. Don't be surprised because I'm a white girl that I know about rap.
Him: No! Everyone should know who he is. It goes: Jesus, God, Biggie, Nas.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

To My Cousin's Baby, on her Second Birthday

Dear E.W.E.,

Two years ago today, you were on your way into this big, crazy, challenging world.

This year has gone by in a blur.

It feels like yesterday that I was carefully placing balloons in your house while you took a nap before your first birthday party.

The biggest change this year has been in your speech. You use your words (FULL SENTENCES!) now to express your joy, pain, frustration, fear, and anger.

Just this evening, your mom and I were chatting on the street. You were wearing your bright yellow chicken helmet, after having scootered all the way to JP Seafood and back from dinner! After a while, your mom scooped you up, but she and I kept chatting.

Finally, having had enough, you said, very clearly, "I want to go home."

And off you went. To take a bath, get ready for bed, and sleep through the time of day you were born.

You'll wake up a 2-year-old!

A big, boisterous, babbling 2-year-old.

This year, you have stepped solidly into your fearlessness.

You LOVE being upside down, and going down slides, waterslides, and even on amusement park rides!

I will never forget how, when you were just barely one, your mom and my mom visited me at work. I gave you all a tour of the club and then we stopped in the gym to chat with my coworker there. Your mom put you down and you walked right onto the basketball court, unafraid of the big teenage boys playing there, determined to grab a basketball.

You stopped the boys in their tracks.

And I know that was just the beginning.

Happy birthday. I love you.

Auntie Pretzel

Friday, August 31, 2012

Welp, that month sure went by fast!

August went by in a whirlwind of a trip to New York (the first in years, in which I ate, drank, sang karaoke, drank, played cards, saw Moonrise Kingdom and The Dark Knight Rises, and drank), got a (second) migraine my first day back and work that seemed to be the precursor to a sinus infection that kept me sick and up with a cough for about two weeks (after getting a short course of antibiotics, it was only LAST night that I slept through the night without taking a cough suppressant), leading two big field trips at work (one to Crane Beach and one to Water Wizz near Cape Cod; the second of which I rode all the rides with the kids, including the scariest, most intense water slide I've ever been on--so intense that the wedgie I got while riding it hurt my butthole for minutes afterward), and lots of insane prep for our fall programming.

(Apologies for the terrible grammar in the above paragraph.)

Oh. I also asked for a raise and got one.

So. Go me!

I had an idea this month for a new weekly (monthly?) column. One in which I will write weekly letters to the kids that make the most significant impact on me at work.

This was inspired by Cheryl Strayed, who writes this column, and whom I met at a book signing this month. Her book tiny beautiful things is exquisite. The kind of book you read and then start over right away.

The problem is, I can't decide who to write to first.

It's been an incredibly moving summer, in terms of the young people I work with.

There's the teen who asked me a question in a program I am helping run that made me out my own prejudices in a room of judgmental and convicted other teens. There's the one who heard about this incident and shut me out for weeks until he helped me run the field trip to Water Wizz. There's the teen whom I feel legitimately is my friend, who was duly rewarded with a trip to Disneyworld this summer. There's the teen who helped one of my programs succeed with her great leadership and maturity. There's the 10-year-old who had a super tough spring with me but ended up being the star of the summer and performed in our Extravaganza in four different acts. There's the incredibly creative 9-year-old who seriously excels in everything he does at the club.

I can't pick one to write to as my flagship new column.

Maybe the start of fall program will make it all clearer.

So, here's to another beginning.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. LII

Who else is utterly shocked that it's August?

As you can see from my previous post, I've had an insane couple of weeks at work. This culminated in me getting a migraine late last night, just before I take my first vacation since January. (I'm not entirely surprised, but it sucks nonetheless.) Took the morning off to sleep in a bit and then headed right back into work. Relieved and looking forward to getting a small break!

"Isn't Ke$ha just like a drunk Taylor Swift?"--teen, as he and his group were discussing artists to emulate for a music project

"She's a bumblebee!"--teen, describing her friend who is both Asian and Black

"No one waves nowadays."--teen, cutting me down and yet potentially speaking truth?

After the community-building training we did last week, the teens that participated and I were inspired to walk around the city and club with signs offering "Free High 5's!" So, before I left work at one point this week, I walked around the whole club carrying one of the signs, and one 12-year-old stopped me to say, "Excuse me, the only signs I'll read say 'Free Tacos.'"

I can't say I blame him.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Banner Week

This has been a very intense and magical week in my professional life (and it's not over yet).

Tuesday, I spent the day at an asset-based community-building training with a group of teens from work who will be involved in a year-long art-social justice program. We were one of five groups of teens and staff from other organizations, totaling to about 75 people in the room.

Here are some of the things we did as a large community that day:
1. Crossed the large circle as quickly and directly as we could, without touching anyone else.
2. Crossed the large circle as quickly and directly as we could, touching at least 6 knees.
3. Crossed the large circle as quickly and directly as we could, touching at least 6 bellies.
4. Crossed the large circle as quickly and directly as we could, touching at least 6 noses.
5. Crossed the large circle as quickly and directly as we could, hugging at least 6 others.
6. Circle danced to Michael Jackson's "Will You Be There?"
7. Learned two choreographed, circle dances, one based in Celtic tradition and one based on switching partners.
8. Played a large game of Musical Chairs.
9. Played a large game of Musical Chairs, in which chairs are taken out but not people and in which everyone still needs to end up seated.

Wednesday through Friday, those same teens and I went to an Undoing Racism training.

Here are some of the things we did:
1. Solved a puzzle
2. Drew an illustration of a "poor neighborhood."
3. Identified systems of oppression
4. Identified internalized racial oppression
5. Defined racism
6. Explored examples of racism in our organization
7. Brainstormed next steps to undo racism in our organization

This weekend, I have been attending the Arts and Passion-Driven Learning Institute through the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

So yesterday, I went straight from undoing racism with 13 teens to sitting in a concert hall surrounded by old white people.

Yo-Yo Ma is the founder of the Silk Road Project and Ensemble, which resides at the Arts in Education program at Harvard. The Silk Road Ensemble is a large group of musicians from around the world who create and collaborate around new work and take their improvisation and curriculum to schools around the world, as a means of exploring learning through and in the arts.

Here are some of things I've done in the last day and a half, as part of this program:
1. Cried twice at the Silk Road Ensemble performance
2. Watched a parody of Lady Gaga's song "Born This Way," created by 2nd graders called "Snakes were Born This Way"
3. Created a story using sound, voice, and language, including Mandarin, about getting caught in a rainstorm
4. Been part of a human table that street acrobats flipped over in Harvard Square
5. Played bumper cars with a desk on wheels with Yo-Yo Ma (we're pretty much besties)
6. Been told I look familiar by more than one person (and that I look Latina by one)

I am about to curl up in my bed and get ready for the half day more of training that happens tomorrow.

Yo-Yo already told me he won't be there.

That's right, I called him Yo-Yo.

Since when is this my life?!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


A couple of my friends shared this on Facebook, one even commenting that listening to stories like this all day is her job.

Mine too.

Except the kids at my job would have ended the story after the milkman died.

*sad trombone*

Friday, July 13, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. LI

We're three weeks into our summer programming, which is kind of bananas.

Summer means we are open all day long, as opposed to just afternoons. My schedule has made me a day walker again, and also someone who wakes up before 7 AM every day. I've adapted nicely, I think.

I've been collecting quotes for several weeks since the days pass in a flash of hundreds of kids and that often means that nothing particularly stands out from the cacophony.

"I can't be showing all my goodies to people who don't eat candy."--my colleague, talking about something in the vicinity of sex, I think.

She's also the person who said this: "Ryan Gosling's nostrils are so sexy, I want to crawl up in them."

"I'm a grown man. I have chin hair."--teen, when his age and maturity were questioned.

"Lemme see your tweets."--teen, while riding on the train home with me. It didn't strike me as vulgar until I relayed the story to my roommate, but I'm pretty sure he really just wanted to see my twitter feed.

"Fruitcake!"--12-year-old's epithet, which she used when I told her the plum she was eating was beautiful but she couldn't eat it in the room where we were.

Me, to my sick supervisor: Do you need ibuprofen? DayQuil?
Supervisor: I need "Eye of the Tiger."
Cue me singing it to her, while jumping around her office, while she shadowboxed with a belt around her head. Yep.

12-year-old while playing Bananagrams: Tier. Like tier of a cake. I watch Cake Boss too much.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I'm Real Tired Because I Dreamed This Right Before Waking Up

I had a dream right before I woke up (at 6:45, bleh).

It was super vivid then but now, less than an hour later, it's already begun to fade.

Something about how everyone (including my mom and my friend from work) slept really late and made us late to go see Neil Patrick Harris (referred to from now on as NPH) in a Broadway musical called The Entertainer.

And I was so pissed because I haven't seen a Broadway show in years and nobody seemed as upset about it as I was. And we kept stopping to buy snacks and just kept getting later and later. And my friend was like, "Oh, you owe me money for snacks." And I was like, "You owe me money because we're missing seeing NPH in The Entertainer."

And then NPH was actually with us and wanted to buy 11 pistachio muffins for some reason.

And then I saw him fly through an open window where Coby Smulders, who was sort of dressed like a man because of something that had happened earlier, (she plays Robin on How I Met Your Mother, by the way) was waiting with candles and then they shared their first kiss, and NPH was like, "Totally worth it."

(The pistachio muffins were for her, the symbol of 11 months of something.)

And then the theme song from Perfect Strangers played.

So basically, my subconscious writes sitcoms.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Soon, I'll be 29.

Last year on my birthday, I wrote this.

I've been thinking about it all week, as I frantically ran around at work during summer training and tried my darndest to get everything on my to-do list done.

I decided weeks ago what I'm planning to do tomorrow, which consists of exactly what I did last year: dinner and drinks and karaoke with very close friends. Hopefully, the weather will hold up. (New England has had a wicked heat wave, and today the humidity finally broke with a thunderstorm.) I intend on eating dinner outdoors, so it better not fucking rain.

I even spent last weekend shopping for birthday ensembles and I'm getting my hair did tomorrow before going out.

What's interesting is that, a couple weeks ago, I wouldn't have been able to identify a significant occurrence that happened at 28, and that would have blown my whole everything-changes-every-7-years theory.

I've been working very hard for a year but most of that has been just chugging away...

But these last few weeks at work have been pretty transformative.

Here is the Reader's Digest version: My parents split when I was 3 and they shared custody of us. I hopped from house to house every week to two weeks. The issue of "home" has dominated a lot of what I do and feel and live since, then, really. At 14, my folks moved me across the country where I stayed for 8 years but never really felt settled.

After college graduation, I moved back to my childhood home, hoping somehow to reconcile an unsettled childhood and ended up being the most miserable and depressed I've ever been. I figured out that I'd have to keep searching for home and eventually ended up here, studying in graduate school and hoping to work with kids.

During my time after undergrad, I kept using the word "heal" in terms of what I was trying to do in the place I grew up. I didn't have the tools or support to get it done when I was 22. But settling into a career here, where I've been for almost 4 years, has been the most healing thing I could do for the little girl that didn't even know this is exactly what she would need one day.

I'm grateful I figured all of this out when I was still 28.

The fact is, realizing all of this has made me feel the most settled and content I've felt in a very long time.

Tomorrow, I turn 29 and who knows what this year will bring me?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. L

This week was our last week of after-school programming for the 2011-2012 school year.

It's been an emotional couple of weeks, and I think everyone was feeling it.

Yesterday, a group of seven girls I've been working with since January presented a play that we conceived, wrote, and rehearsed about bullying. We had two shows and performed around our End of Year Banquet, which includes dinner and awards for every kid. Aside from slight mishaps and usual chaos, it was a great night!

But I'm glad it's over and that I get a little break from making plays for the summer!

(Also, how is 2012 almost half over?)

Teen: Annie, what's your last name? Rosenberg?
Me: Why? Do I look like a super Jew to you?

Teen: What if I punched you in the solo plex?

Me, mishearing my colleague: All I heard of what you just said was "sneeze" and "tackle."
Colleague: That would be a good name for an allergy and fishing store.

Colleague, to a kid: I hope you were just eating yogurt. Otherwise, you might have rabies.

Kid, as we set up a large set of blue doors to act as backdrop for our small play: Are you turning the Ed Center into Sea World?

Kid, begging every staff member he could find to hand over one of the noisemakers we used at the awards night: CAN I PLEASE HAVE IT?
Me: No! You don't need a noisemaker.
Kid: Why? Because I am one?

Kid, as she read the congratulations card we gave her in celebration of the play: "You are so gifted. Thank you for your endless hard work and positive attitude...you are going to be a sofa." WHAT?...OH! You are going to go so far!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XLIX

This was one of those weeks where you wake up early on Thursday morning and are pretty sure it's Saturday. Then you have to run to the school you've been working in for 8 months to put on a short play in a conference room instead of an auditorium.


"Personal time on the toilet is when you get me."--10-year-old, pontificating mostly about where she gains the greatest personal understanding of herself.

After a bout of incessant teasing, my coworker, to me: Maybe you'd like some of this buffalo cheese on your eyelids.

8 year old boy, during homework hour: Can I go to the bathroom badly?

7 year old girl: Annie, can I come do my homework up here?
Me: Why can't you work at the back table?
Girl: I'm kind of lonely.

8 year old boy, while playing a computer game: I got lost in my own place.

How poetic.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XLVIII

Spring season is winding down swiftly!

Work has been much quieter since the fundraiser came and went. But, somehow, the quotes aren't coming fast and furious, so I collected a few over a couple weeks this time.

While discussing Lady Gaga's performance artistry:
Me: And she can really sing. Did you know she's only 23?
Colleague: She seems to have her stuff together. I mean, look at...Jewish overdose girl.
Me: ...Amy Winehouse?

Discussing dinner at Boloco (a wrap/burrito place):
Me: I bet you got the Mexicana, or whatever it's called.
Colleague: Is that a comment at my taste in women?

Me: That sounds like a euphemism.
Colleague: Did you bring your THEE-ORUS today?
Colleague: That's how I pronounce it!

9 year old: You smell funny.
Me: Do I smell bad?
Him: You smell like...the world.

13 year old, as I came down the stairs: You look like a goddess!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Go Celtics! (in which I don't recognize myself and then there is a surprise ending)

I have a theory about why I'm not a rabid sports fan.

I'm not exactly an obsessive person. I do things pretty moderately, all things considered. I'm not the kind of person that only likes one celebrity or team or song or genre exclusively and blindly.

My roommates, on the other hand, are pretty die-hard sports fans. 

Last year, I survived a very long basketball season of them swearing and/or cheering at the TV, which happens to be against my bedroom wall. I used to check the season schedule and count down the games--Basketball season is SO LONG!

This year, I happened to begin joining them while they watched Celtics games. 

I immediately recognized Ray Allen as Jesus from Spike Lee's He Got Game with Denzel Washington, which I have never seen.

(I die.)

And my roommates saw this as an in.

Apparently, he's one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA.

Who knew?

Anyway, several games later, once I began to appreciate the incredible hotness of some of the other players, I saw Ray (yes, I am on a first name basis; sometimes I even call him Walter) make an incredible shot.

Like, it was so good, I physically jumped up and screamed. 

My roommates knew I was hooked.

Since then, I have watched games in public, alone on my couch, and even left evenings open so I could be sure to see them.

Tonight, Game 7 of the semi-finals is on, and I am so excited about my date with Ray (even though he hasn't quite been playing his best since his ankle injury earlier in the series). 

Who have I become?

Anyway, my roommate and I were just texting about our respective plans to watch this evening.


Roommate: Oh yeah Celtics. Oh yeah.
Get it.

Me: I have a date with Ray and some hard cider and I am so excited.

Roommate: Enjoy your date with #20!

Me: Thanksssss.

Roommate: I'll enjoy my date with #34. (Those are approximate ages of the guys we date...hmmmmm.)



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Letter to a (Too) Young Man

Dear 20-mumblemumble Year Old,

I was, uncharacteristically, willing to give you a chance. Determined to keep an open mind that our differences in age, backgrounds, and stations in life were factors that would ultimately not matter if we were dating.

I didn’t even care if we ended up dating. THAT’S how open my mind was to seeing where this went.

But here is a list of things you should not do next time if what you really want, as you have recently said to me, is to just be friends with a woman.

Do not approach the woman late at night, look her up and down, linger on her discreet cleavage and say, I want to know what you’re about.

Do not look her in her eyes so intensely that she actually breaks into a sweat.

Do not tell her you have had your eye on her since the summer.

Do not call her two days later and a day after that to chat for over an hour while you’re working.

Do not text suggestively about how she must be good at role play because she has two degrees in theatre.

Do not refer to her as baby or sweetie (or sweety, as you spelled it), even in text messages.

Do not ask her what kind of man she is looking for in her life.

Do not promise that you can bring her all she longs for. If what you meant was a couple slices of pizza and a few laughs, you were unclear.

Do not promise to pick her up from work and take her somewhere special.

Do not promise that breaking your intense work schedule to come take her out on a date is no big deal.

Do not plan a lovely walk by a beach.

Do not get super focused on her jeggings and how sexy they are.

Do not agree to kiss her, swing on a swing set when she asks, or grab her hand while you walk.

Do not kiss her goodbye at her front door.

Do not send her goodnight texts.

Do not plan a movie date for her bedroom.

Do not buy her any meals.

Do not climb into her bed for 2 ½ hours to make out.

Do not check in on her daily via text message.

If you want to be her friend, then by all means, call her “buddy” and repeat the phrase, “we’re just friends” many times to her until you get the message across. That worked perfectly for me.

I hope this list is clear and that you print it out and keep it with you for future reference.

Good luck.


P.S. It’s “intentions” not “attentions.” And, while you’re at it, why don’t you look up the definitions of those words? 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XLVII

This week was trying.

I need a vacation.

Fun fact: I have taken 1 1/2 days off since January 2, 1/2 a day for a 24 hour flu and 1 full day to get a root canal.

So, yes, I need a break.

Colleague, making a statement that pretty much pinned me between the eyes: You're so empathetic. You make me feel things. I think I'm OK and then I'm not sure.

11 year old boy: Are you manly?
Me: Do I look manly?
Boy: Yes.

Colleague: I bought my brother in law an ax. Because we are awesome...and men.

Me, after hearing a teen swear at the front desk: Excuse me! Please watch your language. I mean, I can handle it. But there are small children around.
8 year old: I swear at my house all the time.

Colleague: Did you just swallow your gum?
10 year old: Yep.
Colleague: Why do you swallow it instead of just walking to throw it out?
Kid: Too much work.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XLVI

It's been the most insane two weeks of the year at work, starting with me getting a horrible sore throat last Wednesday, surviving a big observation, working 12 1/2 hour days two days in a row, despite my flu-like symptoms, helping our organization raise $300,000 in one night, and then organizing a field trip to an exhibit opening at the MFA just yesterday.

I'm FINALLY getting better and catching up on sleep and returning to all regularly scheduled programming.


Lateral lisp kid: I'm the god Zeus. I will break the computer!

Me: Do you like your sister's new haircut?
12 year old: It smells better.

18 year old: I had an AP test today.
Me: What subject?
Teen: Computer science
Me: I don't think they had computer science AP tests when I was in high school.
Teen's BF: Did they even have computers when you were in high school?

Colleague: I saw a chipmunk outside and I almost took the day off.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XLV

Good God, this week was long.

I just looked back at the quotes I jotted down earlier this week and they seem like they came from months ago.

10-year-old girl, after the end of a brief monologue about attending the "Our Changing Bodies" seminar at school: They give us pads. (defensively) What?

While checking in on an inventing activity, in which they were constructing weight-bearing chairs out of cardboard boxes:
Me: That one actually looks really comfortable.
Colleague: You should go test it.
Me: It looks like it's made for an 11-year-old boy, not a 28-year-old woman.
Colleague (to kid): Ooooh, she called you...11.

Social work intern, while killing time (to a kid): Hey, you wanna get psychoanalyzed?
Kid: You wanna get your head squished?

12-year-old, singing: Do you know the muffin man, the muffin man, the muffin man?
Colleague: Dude. Stop.

9-year-old: Annie, will you shove me in the vending machine?

Colleague: My (other) boss kicked my butt today in our workout. I'll be ripped in like...20 years.

Colleague: Do you ever feel like your water bottle is your fourth arm?

Volunteer, while setting up a riddle: So there's a midget...
Me: Excuse me, the word is little person.
Him: Little person. Dwarf.
Me: No! Dwarf is a totally different diagnosis!
Him: It is?
Me: Yeah, dwarf is regular-sized face, weird body.
(How un-PC is THAT? Oof.)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XLIV

Even with Monday off (as compensation for us all working the Saturday of our big annual fundraiser), this week felt endless. Not to mention that we were open from 8:30 to 5:30 every day and there were kids in the building from the moment the doors were opened until the moment the doors were closed.

Have you ever tried to get work done in a building full of children? It's really hard.

I was in the middle of such intense work mode yesterday that I assumed TODAY was Friday.

7-year-old in the computer lab: Can I move to another computer?
Me: Why?
Kid: Because this computer is too slow and it's causing me very stressful.

At the park:
Me: Oh my God, those bugs are mating!
10-year-old, while running from across the park: THEY'RE MATING?! I WANNA SEE!!!
Kid: I think one of them is sick and the other is taking him to the hospital.

While playing a game, in which a 12-year-old was cheating:
Me: I'm gonna kick you.
Kid: I've got a hankering for a spankering.

As a kid asked me for some money so he could go to the store:
Me: My wallet's not on me.
12-year-old nearby: What? You don't have your wallet?
Me: No, it's just not on my body. It's in my purse.
Kid: Somebody could steal it.
Me: Nah.
Kid, getting up to leave: Hey! Let's go rob Annie!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XLIII

The benefit to it being BANANAS at work is that the week goes quickly. This week ended with our annual music showcase, where our band and winner of our annual singing competition both performed.

This year, we made the event a field trip so I traveled with 4 staff and 30 kids to the theatre and back last night, on about 6 hours of sleep and a mild hangover from the night before...

Here's to a three-day weekend full of pretty much NOTHING (save some spring cleaning, laundry, and light shopping.)

Lateral lisp kid, unprompted, as per usual: I am a true American!
Me: Really?
Him: NO!

In one of my acting programs, we were playing Bus Stop, where the kids' objective is to convince the person sitting on a bench that he should give up his seat. It's about character and tactic. The tactic inevitably turns to threatening physical violence:
8th grade boy: If you don't move, I will kill you.
Me: How about you try something BESIDES threatening to kill him?
Him: OK OK. I will give you brownies!

Lateral lisp kid was exclaiming to himself that BFF could mean something BESIDES Best Friend Forever, that is, that the F could stand for a bad word. Then he experimented:
Kid: You're my BFC. Best Freckled Staff.
(Yes, that is a direct quote.)

10 year old, looking at a hardboiled egg: How do you unlock this?

Teen, mildly fearful of the strings of a rug sticking out from under a door: What is that?
Me: It's the rug unraveling.
Teen: I thought it was a monster.

He and I were discussing that I hadn't had a day off except to get a root canal or be sick since January 1 (true story).
Teen: Well, technically, weekends are your days off. You just need to use them to the fullest. Get your bubble bath on.

9 year old, in a debate with my music teacher:
Teacher: Girls are gross.
Girl: Boys have a ridickilous stuffy nose.
(That's how she pronounced it, not how it's spelled. Obvi.)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XLII

Good God, it's early April. So, just an FYI, this is total insane crunch time at work. Like, I'm talking five big events in as many weeks. Long hours, lots of sleepless nights.

The season of drinking has begun.

I was so tired this Thursday and Friday that I thought I was getting the flu. My whole body was fatigued. I'm not entirely sure why, except it must partly be stress.

Anyway, I apologize for my radio silence. I didn't collect that many quotes last week because I was too busy running around.

A 10-year-old's exclamation at my heated discussion of The Hunger Games with a teen: "What in the world?"
Me: "Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?"
Her: "I don't know!"

Me: How old do you think I am?
8-year-old: 39.

Me: Please put that [large, round stool] down.
Lateral lisp kid: OK. (holding it like a steering wheel) I'm driving a car. I hate driving because my license picture is ugly.

Me, while looking at the surprisingly lower grades of a super good 8-year-old student: What happened here?
Her: My teacher has been out because she's on maternity ward!

Me, exclaiming at the stains on an 11-year-old's sweatshirt: How'd you get all that...schmageggi all over your sweater?
10-year-old near by: It's schmagetti sauce!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XLI

Was it me, or did this week seem incredibly long? I think the bit of gorgeous weather we had made it super hard to imagine being at work all day, and the longer days make all the time somehow go slower.

And now it's the weekend again and it's NOT EVEN 50 OUT! Boo.

The Sudoku Series, set in the Education Center:
One teen called it "Soodookie."
And then one teen ridiculed another for calling it by the wrong name: "You call it Sodoku because you're SO dumb."

Me: I'm a woman and I'm alive!
Kid: LIAR!

Teen: I'm a gangster. [He was saying it with irony, I promise.]
Me (singing): I'm a hustler baby, I just want you to know.
Teen: I wrote that song.

One example of why I have a thick skin:
While warming up in my play production class, we were shaking out our arms and legs, and, afterward, a 9 year old said, "Annie! Your arm flab was shaking so much!"

A 10 year old, singing: Yookle Dandy went to town!
And we both exploded in laughter for minutes.

Kids chanted together about adjectives, some thing they'd learned at school, I'm sure, and another interrupted: I prefer interjections!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XL

Well, THAT was a blur of a week.

By Wednesday, I hadn't even collected any quotes. And when things are particularly busy, I barely have time to write them down. Or, rather, type them in notes on my phone.

Me: We're going to do a special activity today.
Me: Yep, it's just girls today.
Girl: Are we practicing kissing pillows?!

Colleague A: [Something something something] Bieber fever!
Colleague B: Beaver fever?!
Colleague A: (laughing hysterically) BIEBER fever!
Colleague B: That was my radio name...Beaver.

Teen, to me, as we happened to take the same route home: Do you cross streets like a grandma?
Me: WHAT?! No! Sometimes I cross there and then walk on that side of the street.
Teen: That's so white.

Me, to a new kid: Did you have fun your first week?
Kid: Yes.
Me: What did you do this week? You come in and do your homework?
Kid: Oh no! I forgot to do my homework!
Me: It's Friday.
Kid: Oh yeah.

Friday, March 16, 2012

In Which I Complain about Seasons 3 and 4 of How I Met Your Mother

While the first two seasons of HIMYM were charming and clever and moving, the next two seasons just prove the FUTURE seasons' terrible incontinuity and draaaaaaaaaaggedness.

You know what I mean.

I was trying to figure out what movie Segel was in during those years because his hair is a HOT mess in Season 3. I can't figure it out. Maybe, I Love You, Man.

Not as many before-they-were-famous appearances as in the previous seasons, but there are cameos by Janice from Friends and the guy who played Hooch on Scrubs.

Hooch is crazy.

Towards the end of Season 4, Alyson Hannigan begins to spend an awful lot of time behind large purses, laundry baskets, bowls of popcorn, and lying around in bathrobes.

Hannigan is out of the series for a few weeks. They even make a gimmick out of it by having Barney offend her with a horrible joke.

However, she returns at the very end of the season and is still hiding behind big bags and, lamely, in one instance, holding up a shiny 31 sign for the season finale episode set on Ted's 31st birthday.

Then, Cobie Smulders falls to the same fate. But in the season finale, she looks slim.

My guess is that their shooting schedule had to be done out of order to accommodate all the breeders.

The clock in the main apartment is set to 4:20. Heh heh heh.

OK. I couldn't help but notice every time future Ted talks to his kids, the date under them reads 2029.

These kids are definitely in their late teens at that point.

Which means that Ted better meet their mother THIS YEAR if his character is going to have enough time to meet her, fall in love, and get her knocked up in time for them to turn 16 in 2029. Amirite?

The season finale introduces that Ted becomes a professor and that the mother is in his class. Of course, I've seen most of seasons 5, 6, and 7 already, and they've dropped the ball on this completely recently.

This is what is making me lose my patience with the show, this season particularly.

Remember the title! And give us what you promised!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XXXIX


It's mid-March?

How did that happen?

Wasn't it Halloween, like...yesterday?

Discussing the singing competition I'm helping run:
Colleague: Any winners in the group?
Me: Yeah, even a couple dark horses.
Colleague: Don't be racist.

Lateral lisp kid is jumping up and down at colleague:
Me: Do you have to pee? You're doing the pee pee dance!
Kid: No, I'm just wiggling cuz I want to.

Commenting on the particularly lovely weather one day:
7-year-old boy: It's so warm outside. And...delightful.

Expressing a litany of movies he wants to see, a 9-year-old stopped on one:
Kid: It's so COMEDOUS!
Me: You mean, like it's funny?
Kid: Yeah!
Me: Comedic.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I Almost Died Today

So, I was on the bus today. Sitting in a seat by the window, across from the back door.

About halfway through the ride, I was overwhelmed by the smell of shitty men's body spray.

You know that smell.

A fragrance that transports you back to middle school dances in the mid- to late 90s, when you slow danced at the end of the night to K-Ci and JoJo.

It smells like what I imagine Justin Bieber smells like.

I can't deny it's a scent that used to arouse me. But what 12-year-old girl could ever deny the smell of Axe?

Today, at one of the stops, I noticed that the back bus door wasn't opening and then the woman sitting next to me suddenly shot up and bolted to the front of the bus.

I thought I'd freaked her out with the Glee playlist playing on my iPod.

But then I looked down and there was what looked like smoke coming in the open door from the outside.

I figured the engine was busted and we'd have to disembark and find another bus.

But it was a cloud of body spray.

A freak accident had occurred!

The open door had lodged a spray bottle against the side of the bus and was pressing it, sending Axe fumes into the bus, only a couple feet away from me.

The spray continued until a man valiantly kicked the bottle out of the bus. And I noticed an acrid taste in the back of my mouth, as I tried hard not to inhale any more of the too-sweet cologne.

I gulped fresh air the next time the bus stopped and the back door opened.

What a horrible obituary headline that would have been: Bus Full of People Dead by Asphyxiation from Double Pits to Chesty Men's Cologne Spray.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XXXVIII

Spent Sunday in bed with what turned out to be a 12-hour flu. Didn't feel all that great the rest of the week, even though it was terrible timing to be sick, as I had a few big things on my agenda this week...

Still, the kids keep me laughing!

"I'll turn that frown upside down!"--a 9-year-old, on Monday afternoon, after I had dragged myself out of my bed to attend a meeting. Even the oldest sayings in the book can seem brand new out of the right mouth!

"Hey! What word starts with F and ends with U-C-K?...You little...FIRETRUCK!"--I punished the 11-year-old boy who said this, and YET...it's pretty darn clever.

Later in the week, the same kid called one of our teens "annoyinger than a dancing rabbit." WHERE DO THEY COME UP WITH THESE THINGS??

During a game of Sneaky Statues where the theme was "Scary Monsters," the "janitor" commented that someone wasn't moving and she answered with, "I'm trying to rip out your soul, but you keep not letting me move!" (Only in one of my drama classes would you hear a sentence like that.)

"I was a born with an afro. I had mad hair!"--a teen, a propos of nothing.

While chatting with one of our work study students (who has long hair AND a long, flowing beard), I asked him if we'd changed his life. Of course, he agreed. Then, I asked one of the teens if the work study student had changed his life, and he said, "Yeah. I want to grow a beard now."

Friday, February 24, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XXXVII

I survived the infamous February vacation week. When the kids are on vacation, we are open all day, which means kids are in the building from the minute I arrive until the minute I leave. It's an entirely different experience from our normal schedule and it means that very little work gets done. It also means that silly things like scavenger hunts and Charades and Mad Libs activities can take place...so it's really a trade-off.

I mean, I won a game of musical chairs this week!

"Everybody always expects me to a have a white boyfriend."--an 11-year-old (white) girl, a propos of nothing.

"I like that Annie the best. She's the most fun."--a 9-year-old, pointing at me to end the discussion of which film version of Annie was the best.

"Let me pick one because you're going to end up giving them Sasquatch or something."--a peer leader, taking the game of Who Am I? into his own hands, so I wouldn't stump the little kids.

As I discussed lipgloss with some 9 year olds and one of my male co-workers,
Me: He's not a girl.
9-year-old girl: Yeah, he's a man...person.

Later in the discussion, she asked if we could play "Capture the Flab."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mostly? We Sang Karaoke.

I ran away to Portland, Maine this weekend with my friend and co-worker, R.

Driving from Allston yesterday afternoon, we belted Broadway songs, figuring out harmonies of songs we've been meaning to sing together for MONTHS.

We arrived at our cozy hotel in Scarborough around 4 PM, where there was a small kiosk of junk food calling to me and a front dining room ready for serving breakfast the next morning. We inquired at the front desk about how far we were from Portland. The front desk manager was very obliging, even overly so, giving us a coupon for a taxi service and then randomly talking to us about driving through Pennsylvania and seeing deer carcasses on the road.

We settled into the room, sitting around and chatting until our hunger overcame us and we ordered a small Papa John's pizza as a snack, looking up places of interest in Portland that we'd venture to later.

After showering and dressing and manned with several options for nightlife, we met our taxi out front. Our driver yammered to us about his 4 kids, while we chatted about what we did in Boston and what our plans were for the night. Dave, too, was overly nice, and gave us his personal cell phone so he could pick us up later in the evening.

We ate dinner at a local highly-rated Japanese restaurant (it was aight) and asked where the karaoke joint we had searched for and found was located. Another cab was called (this time not Dave) and we drove to what seemed like an entirely different state, to a place called Ginzatown, coincidentally connected to a Papa John's (never a good sign).

The place was empty except for a large table of Vietnamese people. We asked about when karaoke started and realized we'd be the only people singing. This, I took as a bad sign, as well. I would so much rather sing in front of a huge group of people who have all bought into the evening's activity of high-belting songs you can't really sing than sit at a table, leaf through a binder, pick over 10 songs, and sing them all in a row.

But that's what we did.

Here is a complete list of the songs we shared with that captive audience, after just one glass of wine each:
The Sign--Ace of Base(solid)
Something to Talk About--Bonnie Raitt (my standard)
Someday--Mariah Carey (surprisingly a success)
My Guy (waddup, Sister Act?)
The Shoop Shoop Song--Cher (more difficult than I expected)
9 to 5--Dolly Parton (played at about 1/2 time, it was our version of Hell)
Eternal Flame--Bangles (a mistake)
Emotions--Mariah Carey (another mistake)
Summer Nights--Grease (duet, sung with a dude who was sitting behind us and chatted us up until we left)
Save the Best for Last--Vanessa Williams (we submitted for Saving All My Love for You, so, a disappointment)
Always Be My Baby--Mariah Carey (our grand finale)

Since no one cared, I decided to sing songs that I would never sing in an actual karaoke situation.

I'm positive our singing kept patrons out.

Nearing 11:30, we decided to call our trusty cabbie Dave and head back downtown to meet another colleague who was also in Portland for the weekend.

The Irish pub, RiRas, could not have been a more opposite experience. Super crowded, all-white group, mostly men, and a band of 40-something white men singing Rihanna hits on the platform. One more drink in and R and I couldn't stay off the dance floor, but when the band played "No Diggity" followed shortly after by "Shake that Ass" by Eminem, we couldn't take it anymore.

Portland is very white.

When we mentioned that to Dave, on the drive back to our hotel, he cavalierly said, "Isn't it better that way?"

I didn't like him so much after that. And besides, he only gave us 20% off of one of the three rides we got from him that night.

Woke this morning in time for the full breakfast, where I inhaled toast with butter and jam, potatoes, eggs, and an excellent cup of tea.

Drove through downtown Portland, mostly searching for a parking lot, so we could get Starbucks.

Listened to Christina Aguilera's schizophrenic album, Bionic the entire way home. (Seriously, have you guys heard that album? It is INSANE.)

Hotel room in Scarborough: $100
4 cab rides around Portland: $100
Glass of Pinot Grigio at Ginzatown: $7
Dancing the jazz square to "No Diggity" because the version playing is So. White.: Priceless

Friday, February 17, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XXXVI

I honestly can't figure out why these weeks have been so long and have been wearing me out so much. More than once this week, I realized all I needed was a drink and it was...ahem...before 3 PM.


10 year old girl: Who knows beaches?
Me: Like, the movie?
[Blank stares]
10 year old girl: Beatriz.

9 year old boy, walking through halls: RATED MATURE! BAD LANGUAGE CAUSES BIG VIOLENCE!

12 year old girl, as we discussed how long it would take her to digest the gum she threatened to swallow: Some people say it's 7 years. I've heard 8 and 6...I think this gum myth has...gone awry.

9 year old girl: Annie, are you married?
Me: Nope.
Girl: [gasp]

Texts received from 12 year old mentee:
Tell me if this sounds like a date: I was thinking as friends to go to the movies and see project x me u and someone else

11 year old, in the heat of a game: Call 991!

Little kid #1: Eenie meenie miney moe.
Little kid #2: Catch it by the tiger oh.

And, as we played hangman, and I explained that I had helped him figure out what clue he wanted to play and there were no other players, a 7 year old said, "Oh yeah, I gotta get a friend."

Too cute.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XXXV

This was a super fast, productive week. I survived a minor cold and the first dentist appointment I've had in *mumble mumble* years. I thought it was Thursday most of Wednesday and woke up today and thought it was already Saturday. Needless to say, SUPER GLAD IT'S FRIDAY!!

"Annie, what is your favorite thing? Would you say it's scissors, or a water bottle, or a trash can?"--a 10 year old, doing her homework, which I can only assume had something to do with every day items...?

Part of my job involves wandering the halls in the afternoon, ensuring that kids are coming or going to a program area and not just lingering. This means that I'm often asking kids why they're where they are at a certain moment and I often here terrible excuses. This was not one of those times:
Me: Why are you up here?
Tiny 7 year old girl: I needed some water.
Me: There are water fountains in the gamesroom!
Tiny 7 year old girl: They are too tall for me!

My colleague and I are running a program for middle school girls and spent a few weeks concentrating on the issue of bullying. Last week, the girls worked on putting a puzzle together and we dovetailed the success of that activity into a discussion about how bullying and solving bullying are easier in groups. We started the discussion by asking "What activities are easier with more than one person?"
12 year old: Having a conversation.
(So true.)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XXXIV

Colleague: Let me know if you need me to get anything from [our partner].
Me: Oh, I'm in pretty constant touch with her.
Colleague: Whoa, Annie. Keep it in your pants.

Colleague: You should go to Strip T's (a restaurant)!
Boss: I have activity in my life. I don't need a strip tease!

Kid: Can I go to the bathroom?
Colleague: I'll need $5 fee!
Kid: I don't have any money, but I can give you booty!
Colleague: What?
Kid: I can rip off my booty and give it to you!

Colleague: I organized my under areas. Wait, that's not right!

Friday, February 3, 2012

LAWYERED! (That's from the show.)

In response to my point against Barney's transformation, My Brother the Lawyer noted the following:

"Perhaps Barney, after a lifetime of denying his true nature and his brother's influence, gave into it. The catalyst being his true love smooching with the embodiment of everything he'd denied within himself."

Can't argue with an Assistant District Attorney...and he doesn't even watch!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How I Met Your Mother used to be a really good show.

I have to tell you, before anyone gets upset, that I watch this show pretty devotedly now. Even though it's been weeks and weeks since there was any HINT of mother around the plot. And they're all old and paunchy now (well, not all of them, but I'll get to that).

The comedy DRAGS in recent episodes, when once it was a clever, moving show that was really about friends and being a 20-something in NYC. Now it's about slightly boring settled and unsettled 30-somethings, who we don't really care about anymore...

And how many years does it take this guy to MEET THEIR MOTHER??

Still, I've started watching episodes from the beginning on Netflix Instant Watch and I'm liking it so much more than what I've seen on air in the last three or four years.

Here are some reasons why and why not (only including episodes in seasons 1 and 2 so far)!

I'm looking at you Cobie Smulders and Jason Segel. It's a shame, too, because you were both super cute in 2005.

Seasons 1 and 2 included appearances by
Bryan Cranston, of Malcolm in the Middle and Breaking Bad fame, as Ted's terrible boss,
Joe Manganiello, Alcide on True Blood, as Marshall's law school classmate,
Jayma Mays, Ms. Pillsbury on Glee, in a cameo as a coat check girl, and
David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harris's real-life partner, as Lily's high school boyfriend, Scooter.

(Fun fact about David Burtka and NPH: My old college classmate Joe was in a musical based on the movie The Opposite of Sex (see how far that show went?) when it was tried out in San Francisco. David Burtka was also in the cast, and the night we saw it, NPH was in the audience! He was so not famous (again) yet, but I flipped out when Doogie Howser was standing in the same theater lobby as me.)

Also, Megan Mullaly is TOTALLY the voice of Barney's mom (who is eventually played by Frances Conroy).

Are you still with me?

So. There is an entire episode devoted to Barney having his heart broken really badly and then turning to the dark side. You know, the episode where NPH dons the ratty blond wig, works happily making lattes, and sings love songs to his barista girlfriend, among other hippie-ish things?

And then one day, a customer in a slick suit and spouting sexist credo comes in and notices Barney's gf. Barney is about to leave to go to the Peace Corps, or something, and runs back to the cafe, one day, to say goodbye, or something...yadda yadda yadda...he catches her making out with slick suit guy.

This all leads up to Barney transforming into the womanizing, suit-wearing character we all have come to know and love. (The transformation sequence even heavily references Anakin turning into Darth Vader.)

BUT THEN, episodes later, Wayne Brady's character, James (Barney's brother), is introduced, and he is presented as being exactly the same as Barney: suit-wearing, on the prowl, a party animal.

Barney didn't learn about the ways of his world from his brother. He turned into the Darth Vader of dating after suffering a broken heart. This does not compute.

Also, Barney would totally not ever wear big, baggy boxers like the ones he wears in the episode where he commissions Lily to paint a nude portrait of him. That is a character who would wear boxer briefs, if I've ever seen one. (Probably can't wear boxer briefs on CBS.)

You totally stole the idea where Jim and Pam get married on a boat at Niagara Falls before their actual wedding from this show, in which everything that could go wrong for Marshall and Lily on their wedding day does and they ultimately get married (SPOILER ALERT) outside with just their friends, accompanied by acoustic guitar, as they always dreamed.

Stay tuned for impressions from Seasons 3 and/or 4-7...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XXXIII

This was a rough week at work, which somehow translated into me not collecting very many quotes.

Sometimes my job is putting out fires and NOT keeping aware of the hilarity around me.

Me, re. some garlic fries: Wow! These are stinky!
Colleague: Yeah, I'm planning on losing some friends today.
Me: Who are you gonna lose? That weird kid? (names have been redacted)
Colleague: That would be awesome, but he's got the curry. It would be an aroma battle!

"There was a cute boy up there!": an 11-year-old's reasoning for running upstairs when she shouldn't have been.
(I couldn't really argue with her.)

"Those pineapple are looking at me. They want me to eat them.": a teenage boy. (I know that look.)

Me to one of my favorite kids, after I tapped him on his arm in affection and he asked why: It's out of love. I'd punch you in the face if I could!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XXXII

I am going to have to start looking up Roman numerals soon.

Short week felt long. I am ready for bed.

"[gasp] You have a Jewish buddy!"--9-year-old to her friend after realizing a volunteer college student was also Jewish.

I covered girls' homework this week while my colleague was on vacation, and during homework on Wednesday, I realized that one tween was reading a magazine called "Teen Voices." Eventually, she called out, "What does it mean if he says 'she was so hot for me'?"

Later, she and her friends were poring over the magazine and stuck their heads out to ask, "What is heterosexual?"

14-year-old girl, as she attempted to braid my hair: "Your hair is so...white girl that it's not staying!"

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Season is Upon Us...

Awards season, that is, of course!

Are you guys as excited as I am that it's this time again?

I am cozied up with my computer and my space heater as it is currently 13 degrees outside here in Boston, and my living room does not heat up sufficiently. I’m full of Chinese food and mulled wine and excited about this evening’s Golden Globes!

Best Dressed:
Reese Witherspoon (it looked amazing on stage)
I was also intrigued by Helen Mirren, Viola Davis, Claire Danes, Ariel Winter, and Angelina Jolie.

Worst Dressed:
Lea Michele
There were way more times that I said “ugh” to the dresses than “ooh.” I’m looking at you Glenn Close, Missi Pyle, and Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Best Sport:
Jodie Foster’s reaction to the Gervais’s beaver joke.

Worst Transition:
Ricky Gervais’s bit into Johnny Depp’s introduction of Hugo

Biggest Upset(s):
Meryl Streep beating Viola Davis (though I should have predicted it), followed by Kelsey Grammer beating Bryan Cranston

Most Annoying Presenter:
Paula Patton

Most Charming Accent(s):
Ludevic Bource, the French award-winning composer of The Artist score and Sofia Vergara (I like her better in her native language than in English)

Best Blink-and-You-Missed It Moment(s):
Dominic West congratulating his previous and dashing The Wire co-star Idris Elba for his win for Luther, followed by WHY DIDN’T DAVID FINCHER GIVE MERYL STREEP HER GLASSES?

My Vote for Next Year’s Host:
Seth Rogen, who got the biggest laugh of the night mentioning his erection for Kate Beckinsale (even she laughed!)

Most Charming Presenter(s):
Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy(!), and George Clooney

Most Satisfying Win (IMHO):
Jessica Lange for her ridiculous and amazing, scenery-chewing turn on American Horror Story, though I’m glad Claire Danes and Modern Family won too.

Most Poised:
Claire Danes, as always

Foxiest Silver Fox:
Matt LeBlanc (he was totally dyeing his hair during Friends, right?)

Foxiest Non-Silver Fox:
Jean Dujardin (HE IS SO DREAMY!)

Best Host Bit:
Introducing Colin Firth: “He’s very racist…I’ve seen him punch a little, blind kitten.”

Best Speech:
Meryl Streep, unparalleled. (Honoring great female performances of the year, asking for her glasses, thanking her agent and God, Harvey Weinstein. She is the best.)

Most Accurate Inappropriate Joke:
George Clooney on Michael Fassbender’s…golf club…(Come to think of it, this was a very penis-centric telecast.)

Moments that Made Me Cry:
Kate Winslet’s speech (also, she is SO BEAUTIFUL. Jesus.), Michelle Williams’ speech, Octavia Spencer’s win, and Morgan Freeman

It will be interesting to see how this is all reflected in the Oscars.

All in all, a fine way to pass an evening. And I didn’t even freeze!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XXXI

Kid: Hey, Stephanie, did you do the homework?
Me: Yo, Steph, did you get that homework done, yo?...What if you really talked like that?
Kid: I'd be embarrassed.

Colleague: Hi, what are you up to today?
Kid: You know, bein a boy.

Kid: 2 things I want to tell you. 1) You need to redye your hair.
(Obviously, I didn't care what the second thing was.)

Kid (trying to get her friends' attention): OK, listen up, my little poopcracks!

Teenaged boy: Yo, my sister has an eazy-bake oven. I need to make mad stuff with it...I need an apron, though.

Colleague: What are you doing now?
Me: I'm sort of just supposed to be around the building, but it's pretty quiet out there.
Colleague: How do you know what's happening on the 2nd or 3rd floor?
Me: I was just up there!
Colleague: I hear fights!

Kid: My hoodie is my best friend.
(She also said science class was her best friend. She needs more friends, methinks.)

Kid: A blonde, a brunette, and a redhead are trying to get on a flight but they aren't allowed on. So they sneak into sacks, without the pilot knowing. When the baggage people come to check out what's in the sacks, they kick each one. When the brunette is kicked, she says, "meow!" When the redhead is kicked, she says "Ruff! Ruff!" When the blonde's sack is kicked, she says "Potatoes!"
(I liked it.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

To My Blog, on Its Fifth Birthday

Dear [clever title],

What a long, strange journey this has been.

You know, five years is a long time.

It’s longer than I’ve lived anywhere, except my childhood home.

It’s longer than I’ve had most of the clothes in my closet.

But not all of them.

It’s longer than any relationship I’ve had.

BY. YEARS. (But you knew that.)

Let’s take a moment to compare my world today with the world in which I was living when I started you.

January 2007:
I was 23.
I lived in Park Slope (again) in a small two-bedroom apartment with my friend, S.
I was working as an office assistant at a laboratory developing microbicides.
I was single.
I had lots of debt from using my credit card because I didn’t make any money and I lived in an expensive city.
I was listening to Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Green Day, Gnarls Barkley, and Fall Out Boy, among others.
I was watching The Hills, American Idol and American Idol Rewind, Scrubs, Sex and the City, Extreme Makeover, Family Guy, Supernanny, Beauty and the Geek, and Miami Ink, among others.
I spent evenings either hiding from the city or spending too much money at bars and trying to meet men and being consistently sorely disappointed by them.

January 2012:
I am 28.
I live in Boston in a large three-bedroom apartment with two lovely ladies and down the street from my cousin and her daughter.
I am working with kids every day at a fantastic organization.
I am single.
I have lots of debt from paying for a Master’s degree myself.
I am listening to Adele, Florence + the Machine, Kelly Clarkson, Cee-Lo, Pink, Lady GaGa, and Beyonce, among others.
I am watching How I Met Your Mother, Glee, Modern Family, 30 Rock, Community, Dexter, Mad Men, and So You Think You Can Dance, among others.
I spend most of my evenings lying in my bed, watching NetFlix.

Upon reflection, it doesn’t seem like my life has changed all that much. Or maybe that my WORLD hasn’t changed that much.

But you know better than anyone that if we read you from the beginning and then fast-forwarded to more recent posts, the drastic change is evident.

I’m pretty much an entirely different person from who I was when I started you.

And it’s the years between 2007 and 2012 that changed everything.

And, I suppose, you have changed as I’ve changed, from a place to vent and process things to a place where I wrote down observations about the world around me that didn’t seem to include me to an outlet for all my insecurities and frustrations around moving and figuring out what the hell to do with my life to a catalog of all the work I’ve done in the field I discovered to a place to write about all the important pop culture events that I have paid attention to and finally to a silly retelling of how the job I’m doing now is affecting and changing me, daily and swiftly.

Who knows what my world will be like in the next five years?

(Got any predictions?)

Happy 5th birthday, dear [clever title]!

Thanks for being exactly what I’ve needed for five years.

You’ve kept me sane, you’ve made me more confident, you’ve introduced me to new people, you’ve reconnected me with people I knew in a past life, you’ve been a kind, gentle place to cry and a fun, always willing place to have a laugh.

You are and have always been wholly accepting of who I am and who I’ve become.

I wish you many more years of full, creative life, and here’s to the commemorative post I’ll write in 2017, when we’re 10!

Love your faithful friend,


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Overheard at Work, vol. XXX

Not sure why I don't have very many quotes from this week. It was kind of a strange few days, with two days that we were open all day long and then a short day yesterday because of our staff holiday party...

"Fringe is back? The world is ending."--my co-worker on inspecting a teen's new purse, featuring leather fringe. I agree wholeheartedly.

Kid: Hi, Annie. Ugh, what happened to your chin?
Me: That's a pimple. What can I say?
Kid: That is a weird pimple. Looks like a zit.
Me: Thanks.

"Baby food is wicked good."--my co-worker who had included a baby food packet in his lunch. We agreed about this fact, as well.