i have a question...

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of 2013

Flatfoot Vertigo by Jane Doe
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
Five Summers by Una LaMarche
Gulp by Mary Roach
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Divergent by Veronica Roth

Silver Linings Playbook
Pitch Perfect
Man of Steel
The Way, Way Back
Catching Fire

Body Talk by Robyn, especially "Dancing On My Own" and "Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do"
The Heist by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake, especially "Mirrors"
Our Version of Events by Emili Sande
"I Knew You Were Trouble" by Taylor Swift
"Get Lucky" by Daft Punk
"Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke
"Holy Grail" by Jay Z and Justin Timberlake
"Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus
"Hold On, We're Going Home" by Drake
The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles
Pure Heroine by Lorde
"Young and Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey
"Counting Stars" by OneRepublic

Sister Act National Tour

Thank you all so much for your continued support, and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Overheard at Work (and on Vacation)

Despite a little cold I acquired from kissing an irresistible two-year-old boy this week, I had a fantastic, restful, fun, and DELICIOUSLY WARM California Christmas vacation.

Just flew back and, BOY, ARE MY ARMS TIRED!

Overheard at Work:
11-year-old boy: Do you have a hammy aunt?
Me: A what?
Boy: An aunt that smells like ham? I think everyone has one.

Me: I'm going to LA tonight!
10-year-old girl: Why?
Me: I'm going to visit my cousins.
Girl: I know your cousin. Is her name Linda?

10-year-old girl, trying to come up with provocative questions for me to ask at our Annual Staff Holiday Party: If you were Mark, and you tripped upstairs and found a woman, what would you do?

Me: Merry Poopins! I'd watch that movie!
10-year-old girl: Instead of a nanny, it's a poop that comes to babysit little poopies.

Overheard on Vacation:
7-year-old, about his Grammy: Did you know she's the only person to teach me how to spell A.S.S.?

2-year-old, declaring what he is grateful for from 2013 and what he hopes for from 2014: I am happy about cookies. I ask for a swimsuit.

Cousin: I want you to eat it or put it on your plate.
2-year-old: I put it on my penis or put it on my butt.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Just Write {5}

I am officially in California.

I feel like I've been counting down to this for weeks and weeks.

I spent yesterday at work, tying up loose ends for the holiday staff party we're throwing when we return from break, sending off some last-minute thank you cards, and struggling to set up my out of office email and voicemail.

It's embarrassing how long that last part took me.

It will take me a few days to decompress from crazy-work-mode, I trust, but I've already played two rounds of the game my cousins' 7-year-old created, a round or two of Boggle, and we're about to play Connect 4.

Currently, the 7 year old is playing piano, and the 2 year old is playing Connect 4 with the yellow checkers because that is his favorite color.

We're headed to a Christmas Eve party tonight, and MAYBE, just maybe, the Christmas spirit will hit me there.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. XC

These last couple weeks have NEARLY killed me, but I've stayed healthy (knock on wood) and plowed through some gigantic special events and some very long days.

Monday, I work 830-430 and head out to LA that evening.

And then, it will be 2014.


7-year-old, seeing me mop up a spill: Are you a janitor?

Colleague A, showing her cynicism, while offering dating advice: Don't buy him dinner. Because it's inevitably gonna go to crap, you might as well get free food until then.

13-year-old boy, during a game of Taboo: A chick on the side of the road trying to make some money.
Me: Wait, is it a hoe?

16-year-old boy, singing, as he approached my desk: Pippy Longstocking is coming into your town.
Me: Did you really just do that?
Boy: That's my jam!

12-year-old girl: What's sour melon?
Me: What?
Girl: Like when you get sick from eating raw food.

Me, to my colleague, after seeing some middle schoolers do some too-close dancing: Nobody got pregnant?
12-year-old girl: ANNIE!
Me: What?

Colleague B, describing herself as a baby: I was a bowling ball with eyes.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Just Write {4}

One week from today, I will be high above the middle of the country, en route to Los Angeles.

This will be the third year in a row that I spend the winter holiday break with my cousins and their sons in California.

It's a welcome switch from my grueling routine here in chilly New England, to be on the schedule of a family of two kids under 8, whose days pass with morning playtime, afternoon naps, meals together, TV time, and early bedtimes.

I cannot wait to see that part of my family, drink lots of wine, play games, and hang with the kiddoes.

When I get back, it will be just in time for New Year's, which, despite the cliched heaviness of noting the passing of another year, has been my favorite holiday for many years.

I love new beginnings and the chance to reflect on the year that has passed.

This year was a DOOZY: turning 30 and S getting married would be enough to make it a banner year, but add to that the Boston bombings this spring, a week in Disney World with 150 people, and my grandmother passing away in late September, and I shouldn't be surprised at all that it's all passed so disorientingly quickly.

I forced myself into new situations and learned SO MANY new things about myself.

Two years ago, my New Year's resolution--the first one I'd ever really made--was to SAY YES MORE. Last year, it was to LET MY FREAK FLAG FLY. These resolutions are so closely related, they might as well be twins, but really, what I've resolved to do for two years (and will continue to do in 2014) comes down to this:


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Just Write {3}

I am not getting sick.

I am not getting sick.

I am not getting sick.

Mid-day, the left side of my throat started hurting when I swallowed, and now it's my left ear.

Good thing I'm going to the doctor tomorrow!

This is not a good time to get sick.

And besides that, my job is the kind that, unless I cannot imagine getting through the day in whatever state of sickness I'm in, I usually just suck it up and go.

Which pretty much means unless I have a fever or am puking, I go to work.

It snowed today for the first time this season (aside from the dusting we got in October).

And I am still having a hard time adjusting to the reality that it's December.

I haven't even listened (willingly) to ONE holiday song.

It's not so much that I'm Bah Humbugging the season.

I'm just honestly confused that it's not still September.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXXIX

Only 10 days of work are between me and my LA vacation with the girls and their boys.

But who's counting?

Of course, these 10 days include the fall music showcase and the Holiday Party, which will feature my program's little play, both large art-centered events that are a ton of work to prep for, but will hopefully make the weeks go quickly.

Where did 2013 go?

12-year-old girl, finishing reciting her list of Christmas present requests: And a Barbie.
Me: Which Barbie?
Girl: The black one.

10-year-old boy: I work for Obama. Obama pays me once in a week...for gardening.

Colleague A, describing an intervention she had to make after-hours, with a teenaged girl: She was going to make bad decisions behind Burger King.
Colleague B: Why would you do it in the front?

9-year-old, lingering in the office: I put my grandma on speed dial/called it Instagram. I put a spider on a camera/called it webcam.
(Full disclosure: I thought he had created these inspired lyrics on his own. Turns out they were created by @RapLikeLilWayne on Twitter. Though, through further investigation, it looks like he might have actually made up the second lyric.)

Colleague C: I ate an entire bag of Oreos last night.
Me: How did you not just projectile vomit after that?
Colleague: I did regurgitate a little while running.

Me, to a group of Middle Schoolers in the hallway, after I urged them several times to find a program area: None of you are acknowledging my words.
13-year-old boy: I never acknowledge words.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Just Write {2}

I was talking to my mom about self-inflicted assignments, like the writing project NaNoWriMo and even this "Just Write" series and was all stressed about how I was super busy on Tuesday and would be sneaking in a blog post late at the end of the night, when I realized, JUST WRITE ON MONDAY, ANNIE!


My four-day weekend is over. I purposefully didn't do anything except relax, sleep, eat, drink, and hang with friends this weekend.

It was lovely.

But it also means that I have to budget in time this week to do loads of laundry, clean my house, and get some groceries for myself. It doesn't help that my weekend is already sort of packed with plans and that I have a regular work week, which means getting home after 8 PM all week.


Back to reality.

Countdown to Christmas vacation has begun! 15 work days between me and over a week off!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXXVIII

Four-day weekend, HERE I AM!

13-year-old, talking about cooking: I make it with my secret ingredient. Love.

Me, to a teen boy desperate for snack: Why are you so hungry?
Teen boy: Because the struggle is real.

Colleague A: I like pork in my stuffing.
[I give her the side eye.]
Colleague A: Shut up.

Colleague B, singing: Ready to rock you! Ready to rock you!
Me: ...Radioactive! Radioactive!
Colleague B: K.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Just Write {1}

Courtesy of Extraordinary Ordinary's exercise Just Write, here goes my first installment.

Tonight was our Thanksgiving Family Night at work, which means I spent my evening encouraging kids to decorate leaves to add to our ThanksGIVING tree.

One very creative 7-year-old decided he didn't want to make a leaf detailing what he was thankful for, when I first asked him, but on second thought ended up writing many: Pizza, Turkey, Legos, Holidays, Christmas.

It was hilarious.

Last month's Family Night, which was Halloween, I cleaned up spilled pumpkin soup all night.

This time, I talked to parents, kept an eye on the leaf-making and ended up eating a pretty satisfying and traditional Thanksgiving meal.

I won't be having one on Thanksgiving proper, so I was glad to have gotten some turkey, stuffing, potatoes, green beans, and pie out of my work day.

On Thursday, my cousin and I will be indulging in a hodge podge meal of lobster, stuffing, brussel sprouts, and brownies.

I am so excited.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXXVII

Sorry it's been so long. I've had a couple short weeks in there, having just been Maid of Honor at S's wedding.

Plus, the kids are crazy and squirrely and annoying and we're all ready for a break.

Four-day weekend, here I come!

14-year-old boy, after his cousin jabbed him in the face: Damn! Your nail! I think you popped one of my pimples!

Me, regarding Colleague: He has no chivalry in his body.
Colleague: Nope. It's all in MY DICK.
[Disclaimer: We were off duty, at this point.]

10-year-old boy, as I badgered him while he was on his phone: Can't I tweet in peace?
[Extra tidbit: His Twitter username is itwasntme. Perfect.]

7-year-old girl: What do you call a bear with no teeth? A gummy bear!

Me, suggesting musicians to a 17-year-old boy: Sorry, these are all white people!
Boy: That's alright. I know white people got skills!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXXVI

Halloween usually means an insanely busy few days, full of prepping for a Haunted House and special family event. This week was busy, but not INSANELY so.

Also, I canNOT believe it's November.


Teen boy, about his friend, and a propos of nothing much: It's funny cuz he's ugly.

Me, to same teen boy, about his shirt: Nice dinosaurs!
Boy: I really thought they were birds!

Volunteer, to me on Halloween, since I wasn't really in costume: I really would have taken you for the Wonder Woman type.
(Best compliment ever, by the way.)

Me, to 6 year old, generously sharing his candy: Why do you have candy?
Boy: Because. So everyone doesn't get hungry!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXXV

I have nothing clever to say about the last two weeks. It's been steadily busy. We're all mildly sick. The kids are squirrely.

October is notoriously long.

"Street pharmacist"--my colleague's poetic euphemism for "drug dealer."

Colleague B, confirming my personal information for the annual audit: Your date of birth?
Me: 6/23/1983
Colleague B: Your date of hire was...1/3/11.
Me: Yes.
Colleague B: You're single?
Me: ...Yes...WAY TO RUB IT IN!

Me: I want a nickname!
Kid 1: Drammy!...Acty!
Kid 2: Candy!
Kid 3: Fanny!...CYNTHIA!

Colleague C, re. her dog barking at servicemen who appear at her apartment: (whispering) She's classist!

11-year-old girl, to her teammate, playing Foos Ball: Put some rubber on that boot. Be a duuuuuuuuuude!

10-year-old girl: Salads are...eh.
Me: Salads are amazing!
Girl: Yeah, with French fries!

Colleague D, re his mid-day snack: I might have to break into my emergency hot dog!

Colleague E, calling after another colleague walking up the stairs: Look at you, lookin all bad! Lookin like a piece of autumn!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXXIV

It's been a remarkably busy but productive and smooth couple of weeks. We are running our entire fall program, including Saturday programming and late-night Fridays.

I've managed to continue to stay on top of things, rather than chasing them, which I inevitably do at some point each season.

I always collect fewer quotes when it's busy!

Colleague A, after giving me a high five that left much to be desired: Was it the worst you've ever had?

Colleague B, to a teen girl: Your brother is getting sassy lately!
16-year-old girl: It's cuz he's watching Full House now!

14-year-old girl, a propos of nothing much: Don't nuns get horny and have to like please their needs?

Me, to a colleague, regarding his inability to keep a secret: You ruined everything!
Colleague: I usually hear that from women.

9-year-old boy, lingering at the office door, then peeking his head in: Hashtag I made a necklace!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXXIII

Well, fall isn't kicking my ass yet. Next week's going to be a bit of a doozy, and there are a lot of things in motion at work, so I'm still sort of expecting the shit to hit the fan at some point soon.

In the meantime,

Me, to a 14 year old boy: You don't have a shirt on!
Boy: WHY?

10 year old girl, reading from the cover of a magazine: "How to Spot and Drop a Gold Digger"
Me: Do you know what a gold digger is?
Girl: *motions picking her nose*

7 year old boy: Guess what! I'm in first grade!
Me: What are you doing in first grade right now?
Boy: Um. We have to be quiet. And do math.

Me, to my colleague, as I locked up the building: What did I forget?
Colleague A: The pool.
Me: Yes! Thank God you reminded me!
Colleague A: Yeah. Otherwise someone might sneak in and steal our pool.

Colleague B: What would your superpower be?
Colleague C: Probably being able to execute the robot dance flawlessly.

9 year old girl, to me: Are you married?
Me: No.
Girl: Do you have a boyfriend?
Me: No.
Girl: You're single?
Me: I'm single.
Girl: You don't want a boyfriend?
Me: No, I do.
Girl: So get a boyfriend!
Me: YOU get a boyfriend!
Girl: I have one. I'm married.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXXII

We all got through our first week back with the kids, though this week was Open House, so we had shorter programming hours. Next week is our first full programming week, and I hope it doesn't make me feel like I got hit by a train.

Colleague A, remembering being in a hot tub at our staff retreat: I feel like I'm going on myself and it feels so nice.

Colleague B, discussing milkshakes, but also life: If I'm going to do it, I wanna regret it.

14-year-old girl, having a particularly bad day: I wanna be a Teletubby so bad. They always smile.

10-year-old girl, taking a game of Musical Chairs VERY seriously: Two boys, two girls. We have to win it for MOTHER RUSSIA!

15-year-old girl: 3:40, it gets CRAZY! That's when the delinquents come!
Me: Delinquents? That's rude!
Girl: At least I used a big word!

Friday, September 13, 2013

To My Cousin's Daughter, on Her 3rd Birthday

Dear E.W.E.,

How are you already 3?

Well, perhaps a better question is, how are you 3 years old with the mind and soul of a much older person?

Sometimes you sass your mama with such attitude, I know exactly what you’ll be like when you’re 16. Or you ask a question with such wisdom and depth, I could swear you’re 50.

Or maybe that you lived a very full and adventurous past life, and now you’ve returned to this world as a hilarious, strong, imaginative child.

A child who, I have no doubts, will change the world.

Simply, you are extraordinary.

You are good at everything you try, whether it be your letters or your speech or your throwing and catching or drumming or charming people or twirling or dancing or jumping.

I am in awe of you.

Your strength of will, your intensity, your confidence in who you are, and your astounding empathy.

I have never met a child so genuinely curious.

You ask, “Mama, what’s YOUR favorite color? Pretzel, what’s YOUR favorite fruit?”

You say “NO” with such conviction, we all stand back.

You tell stories like you have so many coiled up inside you, you’ll never run out of words to share with us.

You want everyone to watch you hop. Or jump. Or dive. Or swim.

And, so we watch.


What will you do next?

I can’t wait to see.

Go, E.W.E.


I love you. Happy birthday.


Annie Pretzel

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Overheard at Disneyworld

First of all, let me put this trip in perspective.

124 kids ages 10-16 from several agencies in the Boston area were accompanied by 26 staff, for a five day, four night trip to Orlando, Florida.

We hit 5 amusement parks in 5 days:
After a long morning of travel, including my own wake up call at 230 AM, Monday, it was Hollywood Studios; Tuesday, Universal Studios Islands of Adventure; Wednesday, Blizzard Beach; Thursday, Magic Kingdom; Friday, Universal Studios, followed by shuttling to dinner and then the airport for a 9 PM flight. I got home at 245 AM.

Hours were typically 7 AM wake-up, breakfast at the hotel buffet, 10-5 at the park, dinner at the hotel, one evening activity (pool party or arcade), and lights out at 10 PM.

I was in charge of seven teens. And that was plenty!

Honestly, it was a week of high highs and low lows. I struggled daily between not wanting to cramp my kids' style and trying to wield some control. I also didn't want to spend days at these amusement parks ALONE, despite my kids' desire for independence.

By the second day, we'd worked out a little bit of a rhythm. We'd eat breakfast together, ride on the shuttle separately, I'd spend the first half of the day navigating the parks with them and hitting rides I wanted to see, then I'd usher them to a late lunch, and let them roam free until meeting time. This was only mildly successful, in terms of them not totally stomping all over my trust that they'd behave appropriately...

For the record, I rode about 2/3 of the rides the kids did, my favorites being Tower of Terror (which we rode twice) at Hollywood Studios, Rip Saw Falls at Islands of Adventure, Summit Plummet and Team Boat Springs at Blizzard Beach, Space Mountain (which I can't believe I had never been on) at Magic Kingdom, and Transformers 3D and Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios.

Aside from that, I spent a fair amount of the days reading a book in air conditioning and venting to my friends via text messaging. I also saw a parade and show at Magic Kingdom that made me cry, got a little bit of a tan, avoided food poisoning, met some cool kids and staff, and managed (despite their best efforts all week to drive me insane) to get all seven of the kids home safe last night.

I think I need this entire three-day weekend to catch up on sleep and healthy eating and sitting in silence, which I've been without for days.

But, without further ado, here are some quotes from the week:

Me, at 4 AM on Monday morning, at the drop-off point: We should take a picture!
14-year-old girl A: You can't see me in the dark!

14-year-old girl B, a propos of nothing: Sometimes when I drop the soap in the shower, I pretend I'm in jail...

14-year-old girl B, while we waited on a line for a ride: I want to bring my kids here. When they're younger than me. I want them to believe it.

14-year-old girl B: Wait, what does Versace mean?

Teen: Oh. My. Pho.

Me, losing my patience (the well of which was far deeper than I even knew), when one of the kids (not even part of my group) said something to the effect of "I told you so!" one too many times: Everyone always has to be right all the time. It's so annoying.
14-year-old boy: I'm never right! I try to suck as much out of those moments as possible!

Girl, trying to get a chaperone's attention, though she didn't really know his name: Brian! Brandon! Deafdon!

During our last night in the hotel, the girls called their mothers to test them by saying that one of the boys on the trip liked them. Here are highlights from those conversations:

14-year-old girl A: What if he tries to kiss me?
Mom A: Tell him, "BACK UP, BUDDY! To the left! To the left!"

14-year-old girl B: My mom told me "Don't let your guard down. Don't settle for anyone."
14-year-old girl A: Usually my mom tells me something like that. Tonight, she told me something different cuz I bet she's drunk!

And at the airport, last night:
Boy: Yermama's so hairy, when you were born, you got rug burn.

Boy, after laughing hysterically: I think I moved my liver!

The End.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXXI

Guys. That was a crazy week.

Honestly, it's been a crazy month, full of coordinating phone interviews and demos and reference calls and trips to Florida and Friday events and special events and field trips.



And at 3 AM on Monday morning, I will be on my way to Brighton to pick up 7 teenagers for their first trip to Disney World and, for two, their first trip on a plane.

12-year-old boy, to a woman about to run a demo lesson and try to get a job: Could you do that over there? I'm doing something here.

During a conversation about whether or not the club is haunted, two young ladies told me a story of a young boy jumping out at them in the hallway.
Me: But he's 7 years old!
12-year-old: So? 7 year olds can have demons!

11-year-old, singing to herself as she took tiles out of a Bananagrams bag: Y is for you to stay out my bizness. M is for I'm so mean!

Me, amused, to a 16-year-old boy exclaiming as we listened to a recording: You're so excited!
Boy: I love music!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXX

Since last week was short due to my vacation and this week I was swamped with administrative work--we're in the middle of a big hiring process--I only have a few quotes.

One more week of summer programming before I head to Disney World with seven teenagers and, when I return, we will be prepping for fall programming.

That. Is. Bananas.

17-year-old boy, to me, after incorrectly identifying me when I snuck up behind him and covered his eyes: You smell like a Brazilian.

12-year-old girl: Imagine if a nun said to another nun, "What are you wearing tomorrow?"

Me: What are you going to do with your paycheck?
17-year-old boy: Strip club. All ones.

12-year-old girl: Ow! My blood pressure!...Who's got gas? Whoever has gas, go to the gas station!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXIX

It's been a harrowing couple weeks at work. Last week nearly broke my resolve. This week was just three days for me, as I'm about to have a 5-day weekend and spend some time lounging by a waterfall, if all goes well.

Hopefully, I return to Boston rejuvenated and ready for the rest of the summer (which is FLYING by).

9-year-old girl, during an intense card game noticing a 3, then a 4, then a 3 being put down: That was a sandwich!
Me: YOU'RE a sandwich!
Girl: How is that an insult?

8-year-old girl, in a singsong voice: Elderly! You're elderly!
Colleague: YOU'RE elderly! How DARE you?

Me, to a 13-year-old girl with an identical twin: How are we going to tell you two apart when your braces come off?
Girl: I'll be the one with pretty teeth.

16-year-old boy, during an intense game of Charades: I thought the clue "Gran Torino" was Quentin Tarantino!

9-year-old girl, during an intense game of Connect 4, when somebody had won but nobody called it out: We were thinking about more complicated theories so we didn't notice.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXVIII

Oy, what a week. So glad that it's Friday and that I have no plans tomorrow. I intend on doing very little. Need a serious recharge day. And I get a little vacation at the end of next week, which I am very much ready for and looking forward to!

7-year-old girl: A choreographer is someone who digs up dinosaur bones.

11-year-old girl to my newly engaged coworker: You're married?
Coworker: No, I'm engaged.
Girl: So, you like him?

8-year-old girl's clue for someone to act out in Charades: Twilight braken a bone
(She meant Twilight: Breaking Dawn.)

12-year-old boy, to my insistence he spit out his gum: Gum is the only thing that's cool to me though!

Coworker, to 17-year-old boy: What's a synonym?
Boy: Synonym toast crunch!

17-year-old boy: I had to get my HPV shot. That thing hurts! I thought it was only for girls!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Texts on a Train

En route to Providence yesterday, S and I exchanged this correspondence:

A: I'm due in at 11:10.

S: Awesome.

A: I was thinking about it last night. I rated the outfit I packed for dinner on a scale from casual to fancy not on a fancy scale...

S: I don't know what you mean. But it doesn't really matter now! With this weather, I'll probably just stay in what I'm wearing anyway.

A: OK.
Like. On my rating of 5, 1 was jeans and a tshirt and 10 was cocktail attire.

S: I think a 1 on the fancy scale would be super casual, right?

A: As opposed to 1 being a denim skirt and a tank and 10 being a ball gown.
Hahahahahaha. I crack myself up.

S: Hahahahahahaha
This is hilarious. Yeah my 1 was like a dirty skirt with a hole in it. And my 10 was a ball gown.

A: See? Our scales are askew.
I packed a simple black skirt and a detailed tank.

S: I brought a simple shirt and a detailed skirt! We're made for each other.

A: Exactly
On the train! And there is a man on it making hacking sounds unlike anything I've ever heard.

S: Eeeeew. Public transportation is the worst.

A: It sounds like he's dying.

S: Just saw a guy eat his booger.

A: OMG. Horrible.

S: Just drove by a big pink building. Cheaters Gentleman's Club.

A: Classy. We should check it out, find me a date.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Overheard at Work, LXXVII, and other things

It's been SO LONG!

I turned 30 in a grand two-day long fete, including a massage, cocktails, dinner, tarot card reading, and brunch.

Work was closed to kids the week after my birthday while we prepared for summer programming.

Then we had a three-day week, followed by a four-day weekend.

And I've just survived my first full week of summer programming. It's been a big adjustment, waking up 4 days a week at 6:45 AM, being in direct service most of the afternoons, supervising our weekly Friday events...

I'm headed to Providence for the weekend tomorrow and I hope it feels a little like a mini-vacation!

16-year-old, singing "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls: I wanna...I wanna...I wanna...I want you to shut up so I can go to sleep!

Colleague A: As I get older, I feel like I'm losing my touch with children.
Colleague B: I feel like I'm losing my touch with adults!

Me, to teen running in the hall: Why are you running?
Teen's friend: Why AREN'T you running?

9-year-old girl, commenting on a photo I took of the group making an R with their bodies: That looks like a couple of thongs.

Me, to a 16-year-old boy: Have fun!
Teen: Don't tell me what to do!

12-year-old girl, to my coworker: I want to know what your future husband looks like. Is he tall? Broad? Good stamina?

She had lots of other questions this week, including, "What's a diphthong?" and this exchange:
Her: I have a question. I don't know if it's appropriate.
Me: OK...
Her: What's a cougar?
Me: ...Why do you ask?
Her: I was watching this talk show and there were like 55-year-old women and 21-year-old men.
Me: And what does that mean?
Her: They were dating?
Me: Uh huh.
Her: So, which one's the cougar?
Me: The woman.

Just another day on the job!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXVI

I thought I wasn't going to be posting this week because I figured it would be just as busy as the last few were. Turns out, after the special event we had on Wednesday, during which my kids performed our masterpiece Celebrity Fear Factor to rapt audiences, things calmed down quite a bit. I even managed to get a TON of administrative work done. Just in time for our after-school program to end and our summer program to begin.

Damn, this year went quickly.

Volunteer to a 12-year-old girl, as they walked down the hall: Why are you so good at soccer?
Girl: I'm Brazilian, that's why.

8-year-old girl, a propos of nothing much: It's cool to be outside.

Colleague A, to 9-year-old boy: Where are you going?
Boy: Up your butt.

17-year-old boy: The best movie in the world is Space Jam.

11-year-old girl: M&Ms are like...my husband.

11-year-old girl, recalling the poem she wrote about me: Annie loves creativity, hates when you touch things that aren't yours, is my best friend.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June is Kicking My Ass

I apologize profusely for my blog silence!

It has been an insanely busy couple of weeks at work, so I've barely even collected quotes.

I turn 30 in 8 days.

My brain is scattered, but at least it looks cute with my new haircut.

These last three weeks, I've collected exactly three quotes:

"Take him down the eleskator!"--me, with my jumbled brain, conflating "elevator" and "escalator."

Me, to a kid pretending to be me: What do I usually say when kids come in?
Kid A: Hi!
Kid B: Get out!
(They're both right.)

11-year-old girl: How do you fix a broken vegetable?...Tomato paste!

See you after my birthday!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

My 20s in Sentence Fragments

This post was inspired by this.

I turn 30 four weeks from today.


Drag queens. London. Busted lip and tits out. Acting in a garden. Grateful. Berkeley. Apartment 8. Making out all night. Walk of shame. Fiona Apple and scraping paint. Flappers to Rappers. Call the cops. Climb up my balcony. Shots shots shots shotsshotsshots. Cacophony. Splattered walls. Best friends. Going to class hungover. He told me he was sad and I was the only person who would understand. Falling in love with the wrong person. Writing songs. Running away. Smoking weed and listening to Jeff Buckley. Food poisoning stoned. I need him. Breaking down over the sink because I felt ugly. Hooking up with a freshman. Making art and graduating. 

New York City. Is this still home? Sublet in Brooklyn. Unemployment saga #1. Soliciting for the North Shore Animal League for two weeks. Iced coffee with half and half and sugar. 12 hour days on my feet outside in August. Quitting. 23 interviews in 4 months. Chinese food for lunch and dinner. Living on Luna bars. Dripping sweat under a skylight. Watching Starting Over with Iyanla Vanzant and Garden State. Bleeding out money. Storms, dripping ceiling, fly infestation. Soho loft. Commuting on the F train. East 66th Street and York Avenue. Filing for hours and ordering pizza for office lunches. Reading blogs. Mom leaving 2nd  husband. Sobbing on a train platform. Frequenting Off the Wagon near NYU specifically to make out with boys in corners. None called. Smoking cigarettes on lunch breaks and my commute. Convinced I needed to go to a mental institution. First and only black out on New Year's Eve. 

Apartment in Park Slope. Bar up the street. Within walking distance of childhood home but feeling a world away. Starting a blog. Heavy heart. Self-hate. Feeling lost and alone. Writing to soothe. Crying on the train home from a bar. Deciding to leave New York. There is nothing for me here. Grad school? Revelation of future. Volunteering with kids, and I can breathe. Quitting my job. Moving across the country. Again.

San Luis Obispo. No money. Living with mom. White wine and American Idol. Three productions in eight months. Fast and furious connections. Becoming a gym rat. Feeling hot. Grad school! Boston! Is this home? Apartment down the street from my cousin. Who are your people? Why are you here? What is your work? Joining Facebook. Breakdowns in class; I don't know if I can do this. Debilitating anxiety. Talks about race and age and sex. Letting go. Teaching at camp, which fulfills a decade-long dream. Teachers drink. Student teachers drink more. Writing a play. Revealing a wish to be myself. Crying in despair and grief over chicken nuggets. Champagne and cookies to console me. Graduation and tattoos. Another summer at camp. The room changes when I am in it.

Unemployment saga #2. Hours-long interviews. Commiserating at McDonald’s. Chin hairs and lactose intolerance. Elle is born. Defending my work experience. Feeling proud but frustrated. Writing a novel. Fighting for a dream job and getting it. Online dating. Falling for an alcoholic. Redhead. Gaining confidence in my work. Getting a smartphone. Heartbreak and heart full of kids. Discovering and gaining pride in my body.  Hooking up with a cheater. And then another one. Living with an alcoholic. Kicking both alcoholics out of my life. Brunette. Trampolining. Yoga. Excelling in my work. Finding my voice. Always learning. Feet on the ground and head up. Moving forward steadily. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXV

This was the first week in over a month where I felt like I could breathe for part of it. I got a lot done but also spent a lot of time with the kiddoes.

Even though it's currently under 60 degrees out and raining, we are beginning to plan summer in earnest. Too weird that it is almost June.

Also, I was chosen to chaperone a trip to Disney World with seven teens at the end of August.


11-year-old girl: What's kudos? Is that a kind of booger?

8-year-old boy: I can't use the phone. It keeps making distraction noises!

10-year-old boy: LOOK, ANNIE! *sniffs* I'm sick!

Me: What are you doing?
16-year-old boy: Standing on a chair. Acting like George Bush.

14-year-old girl, to 12-year-old friend: You know what ROD stands for?
12-year-old girl: Ride or Die.
14-year-old girl: You know what SOS means?

16-year-old boy, to his friend, who was complaining about not getting chosen to go to Florida: You need some bricks to build a bridge and get over it.

Colleage, about me: She will find what ever problem is happening in my brain with her eyes.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXIV

All I want after this week is to run away for a weekend, hide in a hotel in a town I've never been, turn my phone off, and have quiet time.

I didn't expect it to be such a breakneck-speed week AT ALL, and that's the hardest kind of week to get through. The unexpectedly busy one.

It was a week of long meetings, frantic phone calls, catching up on paper work, planning final projects, and one special event.


My 11-year-old twin wrote a story this week:
"The Amazing Life of Annie Kee"
(In yellow marker) On a warm summer day, Annie likes to cuddle with friends.
(In green marker) On a cool winter night, Annie likes to sing Christmas songs.
(In red marker) On a warm spring day, Annie loves to sing Backstreet Boys.
(In purple marker) On cold falls, Annie likes to eat chow mein.

Me, commenting on a colleague's relationship status: I don't think he's ready for marriage.
11-year-old girl: I'm not either.

11-year-old girl: I don't want to turn 12! I want to be 11-teen.

9-year-old boy, as I made faces at him on the bus: You look like you're getting beat up by an elephant...You look like you're beating up an elephant...Just with your face...Strong enough to fight a lion!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXIII

Well. We all survived the week after the event.

It was actually remarkably quiet and relaxed. I spent most of it reconnecting with my office mates and spending time with the teenagers, as they prepared their applications for summer employment.

That's right.

I said SUMMER.


12-year-old boy: OW! My kidneys! (as he falls on the stairs)
Me: Your kidneys are in your back.
8-year-old boy: I got kidneys in my back. (flops onto the floor)

Me, to a 7-year-old girl, who was throwing her body around the office: What's wrong with you?
Girl: I like to dance!

8-year-old boy: (after an epically long story about bugs) I had to stay calm so the bee wouldn't smell me.

8-year-old boy: (quietly and to himself) I'm a buttface.

16-year-old boy: Who's Franklin Duh-LEE-no?
Me: Franklin Delano? He was President of the United States?
Boy: Oh! I thought it was some Spanish dude!

Me, as we were discussing (jokingly) whether a 16-year-old boy (who was present) was autistic: He has everything else neurologically wrong with him.
Boy: And everything else neurologically RIGHT!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXII

Tomorrow is our annual fundraising event, which we hold on-site, featuring all our programs, a cocktail hour, video program honoring two students, live ask, auction, and dancing.

The week of the event is always difficult, since we're all scrambling and working extra hours at the same time that we're still serving all the kids in the building all week. The day before the event, though, is a straight work day, no kids.

Today was a 13-hour day, in which I cleaned chalkboards, staged an art room, hung a gallery of artwork, set chairs, cleaned, and set up a store of stuff designed by our kids.

It's like tech week in a day.

But it's all worth it FOR THE KIDS!

Me, to 14-year-old boy: You're sweaty!
Boy: No, I'm not. I'm human.

Colleague, announcing the start of structured programming: PICK IT AND STICK IT! LIKE YOUR BOOGERS!

12-year-old girl, while playing Life: Can I buy a baby?

10-year-old girl: It's hot, and I'm sweating in...places.

Friday, April 19, 2013


Everyone is celebrating tonight.

Elated that the 19-year-old 2nd suspect in the Boston Marathon Bombings has been captured and that he’s alive.

But I don’t know. I just feel heavy-hearted.

Having a day off of work on Monday felt like a great, little gift, as we’re ramping up for our annual fundraiser and I have a 6-day-work week next week. So I slept late and got up to clean and do laundry and was getting ready to leave my house to go shopping downtown when I saw a tweet about Boston.

There were barely any details posted at that point, though I did quickly discover that explosions had occurred at the finish line of the Boston marathon.

Messages, texts, and tweets poured in the rest of the day, and I came to learn that everyone I knew was somehow safe, some by the skin of their teeth, some because they had straight dumb luck.

Everyone seemed to have stories of very close calls.

I spent most of Monday afternoon sitting in front of the news, clutching my phone, shocked that this has had happened here. Violated and stunned that the square I walk through twice a day on my route to and from work had become a “killing zone.”

This was way too close to home.

This was home.

I was disheartened to see that by the end of the day, Twitter had seemed to forget about Boston. And I was even more upset at myself for thinking, “Oh, I’ve already seen this footage,” after viewing the same harrowing scenes over and over on the news.

This was the definition of desensitization.

I was surprised that work was open the very next day and braced myself to field tons of questions from all the little inquisitive minds I encounter at work, but we were all strangely reticent about Monday.

Like we didn’t want to think about it. And if the kids didn’t ask any questions (and even if they did), we weren’t going to press it. 

By Thursday morning, and the news of an (unrelated) death in my circle, I was overwhelmed and angry. Uncertain that I’d make it through another day of pasting on a smile and pushing through whatever confusion and anger I was feeling.

It turns out we were all operating under a tenuous sense of hope because we woke up this morning to a totally different city.

After checking my phone as soon as I woke up (before 7:30 all this week because of April vacation hours at work), I jumped out of bed to watch the news with my roommate.

Men in bomb suits were detonating bombs near the Park and a suspect was on the loose.

Boston was on lockdown, residents were urged to stay barricaded in their houses.

The story unfolded slowly over the course of a very strange day.

15 hours later, after a stand-off in Watertown and the suspect taken into custody after being on the run for 28 hours, I have peeled myself away from the TV to reflect in silence.

It feels like the world will never be the same.

9/11 happened in my hometown when I had already lived across the country for 4 years, and watching NYC pick up the pieces from so far away was difficult and impressive.

Boston is my adopted home, and its resilience and spirit and feeling of community have been astounding.

I feel proud of all of the acts of kindness and bravery that were performed all week.

But I also feel like I have truly lost my innocence. Explaining the situation this morning to my mother, using terms like “IED strapped to his chest,” “homemade bombs thrown out of the car,” “dead suspect run over by his brother,” I said as much to her.

I couldn’t believe I was saying such phrases with moderate emotion.

And besides that, when everyone sees a terrorist, I can’t help but see a boy.

A boy who had such a good reputation with his friends and coworkers and colleagues that all we heard all day was how shocked everyone is that he was the man on the run. A boy who ended up bleeding and hiding in a boat in a Watertown backyard.

I know only he has the answers to some of our terrorized city’s questions, and I know that him being taken alive means we might get them.

But I can’t celebrate tonight.

I’m too tired.

And the world feels way too big and bad right now.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXXI

I just got home, after a day that started with a 1 PM Yoga class, a 2-10 shift at work, and a couple drinks with coworkers.

Tonight, we held a Staff/Teen event to introduce some of the newest teens (our largest group and the fastest-growing) to the club. It started with an Amazing Race-type game and ended with activities including a big dance in the Dance Studio (pizza and snacks abounded).

It was SUPER FUN and allowed another moment for me to go...THIS is my job?

And, besides that, I am superstoked for a three-day weekend!

9-year-old boy, while listening to headphones that were playing nothing: I hear wire.

Same 9-year-old boy, referring to a teen's desire to go to a social engagement: He wants to go to a party and eat soup!

One of my 8-year-old buddies pointed out that he was wearing new shoes this week: black Chuck Taylors I was very excited because I have a similar pair of shoes, so we decided we'd wear our shoes together the following day. It was very exciting. The next day, however, he wore the Chuck Taylors again, while I wore All Stars from Converse that didn't look the same.
Me, to him: These are Converse too. Yours are just Chuck Taylors.
Him: What are those? Chicken nuggets?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXX

I just got home from the annual music showcase, which featured nearly 100 musicians from after-school programs around the city, including 15 of our kids.  We had eight kids, including a percussionist, two background singers, and a keyboardist, play "Forget You" by Cee-Lo. Then two rappers took the stage for the transition, and we ended with a 5-piece band playing "Sweet Child o'Mine" by Guns N Roses.


I can't even put to words how amazing it was.

I am so proud.

12-year-old, while playing a game of Apples to Apples: I don't like Snow White. Snow White is like the wackest princess ever.

Me, to an 11-year-old girl who seemed to be in a funk: What's wrong?
Her: I'm just depressed all of a sudden.
Me: Is it the program? Is it art? Is it school? Is it Mom?
Her: No. it's probably that stupid puberty thing.

Lateral lisp kid, raising his hand: Raise your hand if you've ever been Rick-Rolled!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Texts with My Bro: Another Week Begins...

C: Mondays are like Friday nights, except the opposite.

Me: I hate Mondays. I am Grumpelstiltskin.

C: Grumpunzel, Grumpunzel, let down your hair.

Me: Grumpilocks and the 3 Bears.

C: Grumpty Dumpty.

Me: Cinderella and her Fairy Grumpmother.

C: Grump Master Flash.

Me: Grump Shaker.

C: Correct. The Grump Cayman Islands, also the Grump Canyon.

Me: Oscar the Grouch! I WIN!

C: And Reebok Grumps.
Grump up the volume.

***9 hours later***
C: She had grumps like a truck truck truck.

Me: Hahahahahahahahahahahaha.

C: Right?

Me: You win.

C: Forrest Grump.

Me: Donald Grump and the Grump Tower.

C: Grump card.
Sitting like a grump on a log.
Grump up the jams.


***The next day***
C: Tuesdays are OK.

Me: I hate Tuesdays.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXIX

This week, I woke up on Tuesday, sure it was Saturday. By Thursday night, I was barely staving off sickness. And after a full day of kids because they had a holiday on Good Friday, I am ready to crawl into my bed and go to sleep.

But first...

18-year-old boy, getting ready to flex for a photograph: My right arm is really like Rambo...it's like...a muscle inside a muscle.

8-year-old boy: Cool means Constipated Overweighted Out-of-style Loser.

Me, to an 8-year-old boy: You're so cute.
Boy: You're so weird.

13-year-old boy, when we told him he'd have to speak to our colleague about missing tutoring the previous day: OK. You know how much people like cake? Take that bar, flip it upside down, and add 5. That's how it is dealing with her.
Me: So your feelings about dealing with her are the OPPOSITE of how you feel about cake!

16-year-old girl, to me: So, why aren't you married?
Me: Because I'm not in a relationship.
Girl: Oh.

Me, to two tween girls who were sitting next to each other: What are you doing?
12-year-old girl: Texting each other.

Me, to a teenaged boy, wearing a Mets cap: Are you a Mets fan?
Boy: Nah, I just got it cuz it matched my sneakers.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXVIII

Super insane event crunchtime is definitely upon us.

This week was very odd; on top of a holiday on Monday, during which we were open all day, and a snow day on Tuesday, during which we were open 1/2 a day, plus preparation for our annual singing competition.

It also felt strangely long, and I am so glad it's over.

But our singing competition event went better than any in my history at the club, so I am super thrilled about that!

8-year-old boy: I'm gonna make a B sandwich.
Me: What's that?
Boy: A sandwich made of pieces of pancake and eggs.

[During a game of Apples to Apples, when HIPPOPOTAMUS was entered for the word TALENTED.]
11-year-old boy: A hippopotamus isn't talented. That's just how it was born. It's not a talent. It's a characteristic.
(OK then.)

Colleague: Where did you hear Frank Ocean got shot in the leg yesterday?
12-year-old boy: Cartoon Network!

8-year-old boy, frustrated with his homework: I can't even smell myself think anymore!

8-year-old boy, while screaming on the stairs to no one in particular: I was actually voted Most Annoying in my house!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXVII

Remember that time I mentioned spring last week and then over a foot of snow fell today?


Me, referring to my colleague's varied musical taste (her car radio is set to opera and hip-hop): She just showed her Gemini.
Colleague B: Her vagina??

Me, to an 18-year-old boy: You know why girls want to date you?
Boy: Because I'm sexy.

16-year-old, as he gathered supplies, including lined paper: I thought that was zero ox paper.
Me: You mean Xerox?

I don't know who invented it, but there's this ongoing game of putting your fingers together and making people glance at your fist that is an ongoing gag at work. The following is an exchange regarding that stupid game, when I tried desperately to win it.
Colleague C: It doesn't work if you just shove it in someone's face.
Me: That's what she said.

Colleague D and I are discussing a well-known TV show. Colleague E doesn't know what we're talking about.
Colleague E: I don't really watch TV.
Colleague D: THAT'S WHY! You're a Mormon!

10-year-old girl, discussing her hair routine: I have expensive taste!

Colleague F, a 22-year-old man, talking to an 8-year-old boy: It's OK to cry. I cry when I watch my soap operas.

12-year-old boy: Somebody called you an owl.
Me: Somebody called me an owl?
Boy: Yeah.
Me: Why?
Boy: Somebody called you an owl.
Me: WHY?
Boy: No! Somebody called you an owl!
Me: WHY?
Boy: NO! You're supposed to say WHO!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXVI

We made it through February!

But March is really long.

And it sort of feels like the sun hasn't been out in months.

But spring is definitely coming. Right?

Me to an 11-year-old girl: You're like...a woman. It's so weird.
Girl: I don't want to be a woman. Women...scare me.

Me: Being a woman is alright.
Girl: HAHA! You're not a woman! My mom's a woman!
Me: I could be your mom!
Girl: You could be my mom. But that would look weird.
(She's Haitian.)

Me, to a teenaged boy: Are you OK?
Boy: I'm fine. I just haven't had any chicken today. You know how Spanish people eat chicken.

Colleague, nearing the end of our day, when we had dinner plans: I want to teleport to Somerville.
Me: I want to teleport to having wine in my system.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Seems Like When I Wasn't Bored, I Was Crying

I wasn’t able to blog the Oscars last year because I got hit with a 24-hour fever and could not leave my bed. But I am obsessive enough of a fan that I woke up the next morning and YouTubed every actor acceptance speech. (Meryl Streep wins Best Speech of All Time!)

I’m so excited to have the living room to myself, be full of mac n cheese, be drinking Pinot Grigio, and be watching and blogging the Oscars once again this year!

Best Dressed: Stacy Kiebler, followed closely by Naomi WattsReese Witherspoon and Jessica Chastain.

Worst Dressed: Anne Hathaway, who looks like she is tweaking her own nipples in this picture, followed closely by Kristen Stewart and Melissa McCarthy.

Best Joke in Seth MacFarlane’s opening: re. Roman Coppola's family legacy --“Mom! I got an A!” “Oh really? Literally every person you’re related to has an Oscar!” (The entire opening was a THRILL.)

Moment that Made Me Cry #1: Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron’s pas de deux (genuinely lovely, unexpected, and emotional).

Least Funny Presenters Who Are Paid to Be Funny: Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy with their lame voice bits, introducing Best Animated Short, followed closely by Seth MacFarlane as Ted (with Mark Wahlberg).

Moment that Made Me Cry #2: Reese Witherspoon. Don’t ask me to explain.

Moment that Made Me Cry #3: The first Best Picture montage, especially Quvanzhane Wallis. Oh. My. God.

Least Funny Presenters Who Aren’t Paid to Be Funny: The Avengers cast.

Funniest Presenters Who Aren’t Paid to Be Funny: Jennifer Aniston and Channing Tatum, discussing waxing. (I guess she’s paid to be funny, but he was funnier.)

Best Bond Tribute Moment: Shirley Bassey fucking KILLING IT.

Worst Joke Made by Seth MacFarlane: Reducing Jessica Chastain’s performance in Zero Dark Thirty to a joke about women “never being able to let things go.”

Biggest Disappointment(s): Catherine Zeta-Jones’s lip sync in the movie musical montage. Catherine, we hardly knew ye. Also, the performance by the cast of Les Mis. (Except for Samantha Barks and Aaron Tveit. Sometimes you have to leave the singing to the theatre stars. Sorrynotsorry.) 

Moment that Made Me Cry #4: Paul N.J. Ottoson’s thanking his father during his acceptance speech for Sound Editing forZero Dark Thirty.

Moment that Made Me Cry #5: Adele beginning to sing “Skyfall.” And then I was disappointed that she didn’t BUST OUT.

Moment that Made Me Cry #6: All those ABC commercials, featuring Modern Family.

Best Cher Impression: Barbra Streisand.

Moment that Made Me Cry #7: The Chasing Ice song. What is WRONG with me?

Moment that Made Me Cry #8: Adele’s overwhelmed face at her Best Song win, followed by her pulling herself together. And then her weepy speech. (First real tears of the night. I love her.)

Moment that Made Me Cry #9: The genuine moment between Dustin Hoffman and Charlize Theron when he complimented her dancing and she got embarrassed. (I love it when actors show they’re human.)

Worst Example of Oscar-winning Writing Talent: Quentin Tarantino’s ending his winning Best Original Screenplay speech with “peace out!”

Biggest Surprise: Ang Lee’s win for Best Director!

Moment that Made Me Cry #10: Naomi Watts’s clip from The Impossible. I can NEVER see that movie. Ever.

Most Unforgettable Moment of the Night: Jennifer Lawrence fully FALLING on her way to accept her Best Actress Oscar.

Moment that Made Me Cry #11: Daniel Day-Lewis. (Second bout of real tears.)

Best Speech of the Night: Daniel Day-Lewis. Way to make us cry and then laugh and then cry again, sir. Joking about playing Margaret Thatcher, acknowledging that his wife has lived with many strange men, as he’s played all those parts, and generally being a motherfuckin’ poet, as per usual.

Most Delightfully Lecherous Phrase Used by a Presenter: Jack Nicholson: “Sequins, chiffon, blush, ringlets.”

Moment that Made Me Cry #12: Ben Affleck’s classy, emotional, soulful, tearful speech, after winning Best Picture for Argo.

And, I gotta say, an Oscar telecast that ends with a song with the c-word in it ain’t half bad in my book.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXV


What a week.

This was February vacation week, which meant that we were open from 8:30 to 5:30 every day.

I felt remarkably good about this week until today, when I opened at 8:30 AM and then found out that we were down seven staff members. I spent most of my day covering the music room and oversaw a spontaneous dance party, complete with dancing the Bronx Wine and the Harlem Shake and twerking.

After sleeping around 6 hours two nights in a row, I am ready for some downtime and my only plan for the weekend is getting a haircut on Sunday.

Colleague A: I don't understand what a hipster is. But I don't understand what most things are.

Colleague B, in response to my question of if she'd seen Lincoln: I don't like movies.

7 year old girl, to me: We're playing Teacher. Can you be the teacher?

Me, singing Ne-Yo's "Let Me Love You": Girl, let me love you, baby!
Colleague C: I'll love you long time.

8-year-old boy, at the culmination of discussing how he had to give up singing and dancing for religious reasons: A lady saw my future. I'm gonna be a man who goes to different countries and talks to people about God.

14-year-old boy, filling time during Karaoke, singing: We shall overcome!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Day of Contentment and Gratitude

It snowed today.

I had plans to have lunch with my cousin early afternoon and when I left my house to catch the bus, it was snowing.

I left with plenty of time to make it if I walked, and so I decided to, realizing even as I started to walk, that by not taking the bus I would have some time to call my brother.

I called him and left a message, assuming he was working, which he was.

Then, I kept walking and thinking...I am grateful to my lovely boss, so I texted her.

I am grateful to my friend whom I have not seen in over a year.

So I texted him.

I am grateful to my cousins, who are my friends as well as my family.

So I texted them.

I am grateful to my lovely roommate.

So I texted her.

I spent the 30 or so minutes, strolling in the snow, to reach out to people and thank them for their friendship and love. I was so overwhelmed by their text responses, sharing the sentiment, that I had to stop on my walk to wipe tears away.

My cousin and I then spent a 2 1/2 hour lunch, drinking and eating and catching up.

We hurried back to her house, where her boisterous, curious, hilarious kid got dropped off and I spent the evening with them, hearing stories about robots and getting kisses from her peanut butter mouth.

Then, I went home and got laundry done and caught up with my roommate.

Then I found this, and my day of contentment and gratitude was complete.

Live your life, live your life, live your life.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXIV

Two weeks of gathering quotes this week, since work has been absolutely insane and we're all looking around trying to figure out why.

Currently, I'm hunkered down in my bed as we got a legit snow day because apparently the imposing Winter Storm Nemo is coming for us. I'm grateful for the little break, even though it means we might lose power and I have no food in my house...WISH ME LUCK!

While discussing a potential office-mate date, I suggested Poker Night:
Colleague A: Wait. Strip poker?
Colleagues B, C, and me: NO!!!!
Colleague B: She's all disappointed it won't be strip poker night. She was hoping for it.
Colleague A: No, then I'd have to shave my legs.

Me, to one kid: I want to squish your face.
Me, to another kid: I want to squish  your face too.
Kid: Who doesn't?

While serving teen snack, I apologized profusely to a teenaged boy for telling him snack was later than it really was. He joked that he'd bring in his Tek-9 next time, and I was having none of it, but he continued to explain details about the gun.
Finally, Colleague D said: How do you know so much about guns?
And I braced myself for the answer.
Teen, without thinking about it: Call of Duty.

Teenaged girl: How was your day?
Me: Oh. Just terrible.
Girl: Is it because you didn't Instagram anything?

Colleague E: What's blue and smells like green paint?
Colleague E: Blue paint.
Colleague C: That joke makes me feel dumb.

8 year old boy, nervous about auditioning for my program: I'm not good at this.
Me: You're young. I don't think you know what you're good at yet.
Boy: I'm good at soccer, slapping myself, ...

Colleague F, discussing the Facebook post of a teen: Swerve?? What's that mean?
Colleague G: Like. SWERVE, get out of the way.
F: I'm going to use that on my husband.

8 year old boy, during homework help: [singing] Millions of peaches! Peaches for me! Millions of peaches! Peaches for free!

Remember THAT song?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXIII

You know how sometimes a 4-day week feels SUPER long even though it's only 4 days long and you usually survive a 5-day week just fine?


But ALSO, Thursday felt like Friday, so this morning, I was bracing myself for a TERRIBLE day, and then I went to a yoga class led by one of my coworkers and then I led an interview and watched an observation and sang some karaoke and then it was time to go.

So, it's all good and HAPPY WEEKEND!

If we put all of our initials together, BAJA would become JABAJ!...I think I have autism.--me, tapping into my weird word nerd-dom and maybe scaring myself a little bit.

Me: What would you want if you were queen?
8-year-old girl: A king!

Me: It's too cold to not have a hat on!
16-year-old boy: I'm African American.
Me: What does that have to do with anything?
Boy: We survived.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Vagina Problems


Don't worry, all is well in my bathing suit area.

No, this is a story about the one-too-many mishaps I've had in the last two months attempting to audition for the acclaimed play, "The Vagina Monologues."

Several months ago, a Facebook friend of mine posted auditions for the show, and it struck me that it was a perfect opportunity for me to dip my toe back into performing. Truth is, I haven't auditioned for anything in almost five years and haven't exactly felt I had the time to devote myself to the whole process, as my hours are weird and I'm often super wiped out at the end of the day.

It turned out that play was just happening at her school and I wasn't eligible to audition.

But my radar was running and I did some research to find two local productions that I figured I'd try out for, without any expectations.

Mid-December, I strategized an outfit, packed my makeup bag, and headed to work, whispering to people about my plan.

A colleague from work offered to drive me to the audition location near Central Square, and when I saw the small building at the audition address, I became apprehensive. I had time to sit at a Starbucks and eat some dinner and do my makeup, then headed back to the audition site, which looked remarkably like a residence.

I checked and rechecked the address on my phone.

Turned out there was an identical address in Davis Square, and I was two train stops away, just far enough that I'd miss my audition time.

I wrote a brief email to the director, informing her I couldn't make it and went home, perturbed but also slightly amused at my bad luck. And the lack of clarity in their information.

Luckily, there was another production I had on my calendar to audition for. I have been sick all week but was determined to make time for the audition, so I planned it into my Saturday, showered, did my hair and makeup, threw on my audition outfit, and my cousin and I headed to Copley Square this afternoon.

Arriving a little bit before auditions were supposed to start, my cousin and I asked around, once we found the address, but nobody in the building knew about the production. I asked at the front desk on the first floor, 2nd floor, even ventured upstairs and into the basement. Doors were closed, locked, and nobody had any information.

My cousin and I both searched and searched for any audition updates (thank the sweet Lord for smartphones), but all evidence said I was in the right place at the right time.

At about 20 after, I saw a young woman carrying a box of pens and a stack of papers enter the library, where auditions were supposed to be held, and was sure it would all work out.

She too knew nothing about the auditions.

So I typed a quick inquiring email to the director and headed out to have lunch, determined that it just wasn't meant to be.

Apparently, audition times had been changed due to a scheduling conflict with the space.

Maybe I'd have better luck trying out for "The Penis Monologues."

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Overheard at Work, vol. LXII

A full week and a half back from our long break, and we're all settling back into the routine. I have been remarkably productive since my return from vacation, which I attribute to feeling rejuvenated and my 2-year work anniversary having come and gone.

Time flies when you're having fun.

While leading an impromptu hangman game with a room of 8 and 9 year olds, I eventually called on the kids to give me clues for the rest of the group to guess. This was after I chose Madonna as a famous person clue and no one in the room knew who she was. (#281928 my work makes me feel old.) I called a 9-year-old boy up to give me a clue that "everyone would know," and his first choice was: "The Color Purple."

Teen girl: Annie, is that a pretzel necklace?
Me: Yes!
Girl: You're so fresh!

A group of teen boys razzed their friend as he left the club in just a sweatshirt one cold night.
18-year-old boy, in sweatshirt: I just won't go to school tomorrow, if I get sick.
Teen friend: This guy doesn't go to school when his eye itches.

Colleague, wearily: I should have been a weatherman.