Wednesday, April 26, 2006


A Man Meets A Woman in the Street

This is my favorite poem...I was going to link to it, but apparently it doesn't exist on the Internet. Well, I couldn't find it (so I've copied it from The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Shorter 4th Edition). It's a bit long, and it gets a bit rambling in the middle, but the end is worth everything. It was the inspiration for my feelings on the ship the other night. I have a lot to say about it...but I'm going to save that for another post, or perhaps I'll keep my heart secret.

A Man Meets a Woman in the Street
by Randall Jarrell

Under the separated leaves of shade
Of the gingko, that old tree
That has existed essentially unchanged
Longer than any other living tree,
I walk behind a woman. Her hair's coarse gold
Is spun from the sunlight that it rides upon.
Women were paid to knit from sweet champagne
Her second skin: it winds and unwinds, winds
Up her long legs, delectable haunches,
As she sways, in sunlight, up the gazing aisle.
The shade of the tree that is called maidenhair,
That is not positively known
To exist in a wild state, spots her fair or almost fair
Hair twisted in a French twist; tall or almost tall,
She walks through the air the rain has washed, a clear thing
Moving easily on its high heels, seeming to men
Miraculous . . . Since I can call her, as Swann couldn't,
A woman who is my type, I follow with the warmth
Of familiarity, of novelty, this new
Example of the type,
Reminded of how Lorenz's just-hatched goslings
Shook off the last remnants of the egg
And, looking at Lorenz, realized that Lorenz
Was their mother. Quacking, his little family
Followed him everywhere; and when they met a goose,
Their mother, they ran to him afraid.

Imprinted upon me
Is the shape I run to, the sweet strange
Breath-taking contours that breathe to me: "I am yours,
Be mine!"
Following this new
Body, somehow familiar, this young shape, somehow old,
For a moment I'm younger, the century is younger.
The living Strauss, his moustache just getting gray,
Is shouting to the players: "Louder!
Louder! I can still hear Madame Schumann-Heink -"
Or else, white, bald, the old man's joyfully
Telling conductors they must play Electra
Like A Midsummer's Night Dream - like fairy music;
Proust, dying, is swallowing his iced beer
And changing in proof the death of Bergotte
According to his own experience, Garbo,
A commissar in Paris, is listening attentively
To the voice telling how McGillicuddy met McGillivray,
And McGillivray said to McGillicuddy - no, McGillicuddy
Said to McGillivray - that is McGillivray . . . Garbo
Says seriously: "I wish dey'd never met."

As I walk behind this woman I remember
That before I flew here - waked in the forest
At dawn, by the piece called Birds Beginning Day
That, each day, birds play to begin the day -
I wished as men wish: "May this day be different!"
The birds were wishing, as birds wish - over and over,
With a last firmness, intensity, reality -
"May this day be the same!"
Ah, turn to me
And look into my eyes, say: "I am yours,
Be mine!"
My wish will have come true. And yet
When your eyes meet my eyes, they'll bring into
The weightlessness of my pure wish the weight
Of a human being: someone to help or hurt,
Someone to be good to me, to be good to,
Someone to cry when I am angry
That she doesn't like Electra, someone to start out on Proust with.
A wish, come true, is life. I have my life.
When you turn just slide your eyes across my eyes
And show in a look flickering across your face
As lightly as a leaf's shade, a bird's wing,
That there is no one in the world quite like me,
That if only . . . If only . . .
That will be enough.

But I've pretended long enough: I walk faster
And come close, touch with the tip of my finger
The nape of her neck, just where the gold
Hair stops, and the champagne-colored dress begins.
My finger touches her as the gingko shadow
Touches her.
Because, after all, it is my wife
In a new dress from Bergdorf's, walking toward the park.
She cries out, we kiss each other, and walk arm in arm
Through the sunlight that's much too good for New York,
The sunlight of our own house in the forest.
Still, though, the poor things need it . . . We've no need
To start out on Proust, to ask each other about Strauss.
We first helped each other, hurt each other, years ago.
After so many changes made and joys repeated,
Our first bewildered, transcending recognition
Is pure acceptance. We can't tell our life
From our wish. Really I began the day
Not with a man's wish: "May this day be different,"
But with the birds' wish: "May this day
Be the same day, the day of my life."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


complete adoration

Remember how I hated taxes a little over a week ago? Was going to tear my hair out, was about to cry at little to no provocation, wanted to throw cobblestones at random strangers?

I got my refund. Though paltry in comparison to the amount that others receive, my heart still pitter-patters at the sight of a random deposit in my checking account.

I love taxes!!!

Monday, April 24, 2006


"I want to be a wedding planner" - c-note

Today Mel and I were discussing weddings. She's getting married next year, and I love to press for details on the big event. Not letting the fact that I'm single stand in the way of the fun (and knowing that me and my friends are infamous for putting the cart before the horse), I decided to do a little wedding dress shopping today.

Here's my dress. Ta-da!

The bridesmaids will be wearing scarlet colored dresses, with spaghetti straps. Styled sort of like this:

My ideal wedding takes place in the fall, in October. There's just something so cozy about crunchy leaves, a full moon, and the crisp night air. Warm enough to go outside, cold enough to don an over-sized sweatshirt. Absolutely perfect.

My ideal wedding also requires a great deal of logistics, and possibly some time traveling. I've said for a couple of years that I'd like to have wedding pictures in DC, and my wedding ceremony in Boston. But I just realized that I've been picturing the aforementioned photographs in front of cherry blossoms. Hmm.

The honeymoon location is TBD. Prague calls my name. But I also hear the siren song of Venice...perhaps I can do both? On the other hand, it would be so cool to go to Morocco. Or Portugal! Or Egypt! The groom will have a say, for sure. Afterall, what is a marriage but a beautiful partnership that broadens horizons? So hopefully he'll bring some great travel plans to the table.

Speaking of the groom...I don't ask for much. Actually, I do. And I'm rather unapologetic on that point.

Unfortunately, my ideal men at the moment exist in books. My love affair with Adam Barclay, from Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter, has been long-standing. He is described as a "fine healthy apple" and "He was all olive and tan and tawny, hay colored and sand colored from hair to boots...he was tall and heavily muscled in the shoulders, narrow in the waist and flanks, and he was infinitely buttoned, strapped, harnessed into a uniform..."

And I could go on and on about how wonderful he acts in the story, but I'm afraid that would just be too weird. For me to gush any more over a fictional character.

Speaking of, I also recently fell in love with the main character of Agatha Christie's Moving Finger. Jerry is smart, intelligent, bemused, patient. And handsome, to boot. At least, he sounds like he is. I don't have any concise sound bites on the chap, but he's wonderful as well.

And on that note...

Sunday, April 23, 2006


a fine rain

The band was playing, and a few people were dancing around. I wanted to get out there and partake, but didn't want to be there without a friend to laugh with or without a person with which to exchange dancing eyes. Looking on, trying to hide my longing (and trying to pretend that I love being a wallflower), I overcame my shyness, and allowed for the slim possibility of twirling, so I hurried to the cabin and exchanged my skirt and flipflops for shorts and sneakers. I returned to the dance floor, and I found that the moment had passed. I couldn't join anymore. It would be too awkward.

I climbed the stairs to the upper deck, and all around I witnessed happiness and belonging. Beautiful lights, close couples, festive music.

And suddenly, I couldn't take it. The envy was just too much. So I began to walk along the track on the deck, loneliness being my eco-friendly fuel. At one end of the ship, music and love. At the other end, darkness and a chance to exhale in the cool breezes. Circling the dance floor from the deck above was my way of increasing my pace, the gravity and pull swinging me around to the safe side. Walking was my escape.

Soon enough, I had done a mile. And it had made me feel better. Somewhat sweatily stumbling to the bar, I asked for a water and a drink. On my last swing around, the band had finished their show, and the crowd had dispersed - some going to an inside bar, others to a dance floor, others to their rooms. A few remained to savor the night air.

I stood on the eleventh deck at the railing, watching the lights of the island end and the murky blackness of the ocean begin. Slightly cold - no, just not warm - I silently hoped that some handsome stranger would come up behind me and wrap his coat around my shoulders. Instead of feeling violated, or annoyed, I'd turn in surprise and instantly feel a connection. It wouldn't be a shady old man or a 14 year old boy expressing male bravado, but a person that I would see and instantly know that this is the one, the one whose jacket felt perfect.

But no, no one came and warmed my chilled shoulders. I stood there, welcoming the dark ocean for the unknown that it would bring. I stood there, drinking my frozen margarita, thinking that the bartender misheard me, or doesn't know what "peach" means, or perhaps that someone had put the peach flavoring back in the wrong place, for what I was drinking was certainly not what I had ordered. But that was okay. It tasted fine, and I couldn't bear dumping the drink overboard, in case the bartender was watching and would be offended.

And drinking the wrong drink just added to my feeling of being a martyr, and part of me was in that mood. If I couldn't be loved, I could at least be wronged and indignant.

It began to sprinkle, and instead of dreading a drenching, I was welcoming it. Seeing it as a chance for everyone else to run inside, and leave me alone in my thoughts of loneliness. But the sky didn't keep its promise of storm, and it stopped raining after my hopes had been raised.

I decided to start walking again, if only to warm up and shake off the mist. But not with the fiery stride of before.

Contrary to how this story is going, I didn't end the night staring into the swirling waves, despondently wishing for the courage to hurl myself overboard - quite the opposite, in fact. For those solitary turns on a windy deck gave me moments of introspection. And there is something so peaceful about being a ship in the middle of the sea. Lonely, but peaceful.

Saturday, April 15, 2006



Here's a mystery....

how did I go through 22+ years of being Catholic and not know that the Easter Vigil is three hours long?

I felt like such a bad Catholic sitting there and thinking "Oh. My GOD!" but then I pinpointed my distress not on the length, but on not knowing how long it would be.

The mass began outside at the "Great Easter Fire" (cue in a mini-grill, the type often used for tailgating), with all of us processing to the front doors of the church. I walked next to an elderly woman who didn't come up past the top of my ribcage. At the front doors we were handed candles, which we lit. We walked into the church, it was dark....the priest talked, told us to blow out our candles. We did. We sat. Neighbor A was with me on this adventure, by the way.

And then this disembodied voice filled the church, saying "A READING....FROM THE BOOK OF GENESIS." And I know the guy was trying to sound God-like. And that kind of bothered me, because I don't like mystery and bells and whistles.

And we sat there, in the pitch black, listening to over an hour of readings. While interesting, I didn't know when they would end. The woman in front of me didn't either, since I heard her hissing "WELL It wouldn't be so BAD if they weren't singing after every damn one."

And I'm the type of person, when I go on a trip to a never-seen-before destination, I ask how long they think the trip will be. I don't care how long it is, I just like to know so that I can mentally prepare myself. Same as when I'm waiting for someone, and they say they'll be there soon. I want to know when, so I won't be impatient. So I rationalized my impatience with the thought that if I just knew how many readings there would be, I could sit back and enjoy and be a better Catholic.

The lights finally came on, and we all looked at each other, squinting and rubbing our eyes. I opened the book, and saw
that there had been seven readings, and seven song responses. Now, if I could have only seen that at the beginning...

The cab is coming tomorrow at 5. I was going to wear a jean skirt, but since it's Easter and all, I'm going to wear my Easter cute-fit. I'm playing a dangerous game called "just how see-through is this skirt"...I did different poses in front of my mirror, and it seems okay - the girls aren't here to check out my ass, though, so I can't be sure.

Let's hope that if it's bad, and I just don't have a clue, someone will stop me before I'm a Glamour Don't.

Cruise, here I come!!


just woke up

I dreamed that I was taking an outdoor shower....but there weren't any walls around the shower, and quite a few cars + people were walking around. I was torn between feeling REALLY EXPOSED and not really caring, because what was was what was.

I also dreamed that I was with a big group of people (this time clothed) and I was cooking something. And my arch nemesis (apparently I had an arch nemesis?!), the raven kept flying into me and trying to hurt me.

So I grabbed a huge clicker and kept batting it away. Eventually it turned into this ball-like thing (kinda Pokemonish?), and I was grappling with it...and I woke myself up. I had been fighting my pillow. And yes, I am a cliche.

Busy day ahead. And just to be one of those people, I'll tell you what I have to do. Get my nails done (yay!), attain a library card, pay my verizon bill, complete and mail my taxes, go to Church, and pack. I was also hoping to slip a museum or two in there. And the Waffle Shop.

Seeing as how my roommates are gone...and it's a really early morning tomorrow, I'll probably write another post tonight. I sure hope so, because I would hate to leave this one up as the first representative of Growing in the Goo for a week...

Thursday, April 13, 2006



Assuming (hoping) that I just did my state tax return correctly, I don't owe Massachusetts any money, and it owes me nothing. Since I didn't work there in 2005, it sounds about right.

Since I procrastinated, don't know what I'm doing, etc, I used H & R Block.

They charged me $29.95 to file my state tax return. :-(

The Man got me.

And I just realized that I may have to file one for DC too.


It wouldn't be so bad, really, if I weren't like a mole stumbling around in the harsh daylight, having no idea which way to (file a re)turn.


another thing about manners! *sigh*

A column from Scot Lehigh (of the Boston Globe) on rampant incivility:

Let's talk about incivility - please

my favorite part:

"Walking home on another recent day, I saw a car with a note stuck under a wiper.

I'm always interested in communications that pass that way, so I unfolded the paper, to read this neighborly sentiment: ''If you ever take up two spaces again, I'll destroy your car.''

And for the record, the note I wrote in the summer had "love" in it. Although it probably bordered on inappropriate. Or insane.

Question: did I unwittingly jump on the stick-in-the-mud bandwagon, or was I just ahead of this politeness craze? Trendwhore...or trendsetter?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Walking to school. Sorta.

This morning on the ride in I read "The Swimmer" by John Cheever. I began it with trepidation - I knew that there was something about the story that unsettled me, but I could not remember what. A couple of pages in, I lit upon a quote that I love:

"He was not a practical joker nor was he a fool but he was determinedly original and had a vague and modest idea of himself as a legendary figure."

Don't we all?

(reading over, I'm now unsure of the statement. Maybe I just have that hubric (hubrisian?) thought about myself...)

Being a few pages longer than the ride, I finished it up at the first crosswalk. I always feel slightly pretentious and foolish reading while makes me feel as though I'm trying to look like one of those people who reads while walking, with all the baggage that comes with it. As if I'm trying to project an image of intelligence, depth, dorkiness, a certain je ne sais quoi, but really, I'm just trying to finish a story.

Because my bag was overflowing, per usual, I held the book in my hand, against the side of my leg. And it brought back memories of middle school. At my school, the boys carried their books like that, and the girls hugged the books to their chests. Or held them in front of them. Definitely not to the side. It was known that the boys held the books one way, and the girls the other. I suppose part of it was rooted in the fact that boys liked to - what was it called? - push books to the ground, and it was easier to do so when the books were to the side. Girls did not want that to happen, so they held their books in front of them. But girls did not hold books to the side, because that was boyish, and boys did not hold them to the front, because that was feminine. And at an age when all you want to do is be the perfect image of your gender, switching up the books was dangerous.

And then in high school, we all wore uniforms and fiercely claimed that we wanted to assert our individuality, show off our unique personalities. But everyone had a monogrammed L.L. Bean backpack. Really. Almost everyone. If you didn't have one, something was probably wrong with you.

So I guess we showed off our individuality by choosing one of the eight colors in the L.L. Bean backpack spectrum. Mine was khaki and said "Meg"...

(Bub, what is it called when someone makes someone drop his books?!)

Monday, April 10, 2006


I've never been one for arts & crafts

What Bub and I are going to make on the beach next week, come hell or high water:

*thanks to cp for the idea ;-) *

Sunday, April 09, 2006


I confess...

I feel immature because I don't like sushi, shrimp, or other seafood. I have this notion that you can't be sophisticated and worldly unless you love to sip bellinis and can artfully grasp sushi with thin chopsticks, laughing at the moon...

Can't I project the same image while drinking a pepsi and artfully tearing apart spareribs? I'll do my best.


fish out of water

Tonight I went out with a bunch of people - first we got sushi, then barhopped around town. Well, to be precise, within a 1.5 mile radius.

The sushi place was very "trendy" (FYI - when I use that term, it's usually to mean "I think it's stupid."). The interior was very dark, with beehive looking lights hanging from the ceiling. The tables were very low, and circular. Very small circles. The shade of the walls: red. The decorations? Translucent boxes that changed colors every couple of seconds, pulsing and fading up and down the visible light spectrum. Oh, and the bathrooms. There were two doors, side-by-side, with a symbol that was a combination of the male and female signs, indicating "unisex." And the music! Techno!

So I was sitting there, sandwiched between E and another girl, and there were conversations zipping back and forth, wrapping around the little circle tables. And I was just sitting there, with nothing to say. A total dud. I began reflecting on (and lamenting) how I can be a completely different person, depending upon the situation and who I'm with. I even thought "If I were at kickball, I'd be a lot more outgoing...." It was then that I realized that I may not have been on the field, but every single person at the dinner was on my kickball team. It was a bit shocking, to see the difference in my personality, even though I was surrounded by the same people. wasn't the company I was keeping. It was me. I was an anti-social bore. (as well as an etiquette horror show, since I used one chopstick to stab the food, instead of going the traditional route...)

And then later, at the second bar of the night, after standing stupidly to the side for a couple of minutes (and pretending to watch the TV mounted in the corner...), I decided that I just did not have anything to say tonight. I couldn't summon up pleasantries about the weather, I couldn't talk about my day, I just could not think of a single half-interesting thing to say. Perhaps, if I had been with the same people, but in a different atmosphere, my mouth would have been a never-ending fountain of chatter. But there was just such disinterest on my part, and it was frustrating.

So, finally accepting my mood of the night, I decided to sidle up to a conversation and listen. A friend, more of a friend of a friend...nice guy, but I don't really know him, was talking to some people about what he did after college. Based on a whim and a note, he moved to Maine for six months after graduation. He pretty much showed up at a friend's door, told him he was moving in for a bit, and searched the town for a job. He began as a worker at the post office, but it was too boring. So then he got a job dropping and pulling lobster traps. Receiving a note from a different friend, he decided to try his hand in DC - but only after making a stop at a sand castle building contest, winning first prize with his buddies, for a giant lobster they crafted on the beach.

And it made me think. Am I too focused on my future? Too worried about the outcome of every little thing? Obsessed with not "messing up my future"? Am I doing a little too much of playing it safe?

From what material shall I build my lobster?

Friday, April 07, 2006


a favorite feature of msn

Now, just b/c I'm posting twice in five minutes does NOT mean that a) I'm not doing work and b) that you don't have to read and comment on the post below. got it? :-)

This Week in Pictures
check it out


Get ya CDs heeeaah!

So last night I went to see Turtle Island String Quartet with Mel and her friend J. It was at the Library of Congress (a neat venue, if only to serve that I can now smugly say that I saw a string quartet at the LOC) and began at 8 p.m. We got there a bit early, so that we could be sure of grabbing seats. The three of us were in line...we were probably a quarter of the way from the front...chatting away. I kind of stood outside the line (we were in a triangular formation), and I was occasionally distracted by a passionate older couple in my line of vision. (Ear-nuzzling? In the LOC? Why not, I suppose.)

But that's neither here nor there.

This guy approached us, and he looked vaguely familiar. I heard a strange silence and realized that Mel's heart had stopped beating. IT WAS "THE HOT ONE" from Turtle Island! Think Justin from Nsync. Joey from New Kids. Fred from Scooby-Doo.

The hot one (aka Mads) rather awkwardly made an introduction, and then even more awkwardly asked us for a favor. He wondered if we would be willing to sell the quartet's CDs during the intermission and after the show. We were all a bit stunned. Looked at one another. He threw out the carrot of giving us 10 % of the sales, and that was enough to nudge us over the edge of the "whoring ourselves out as retailers for the night" cliff.

While watching the first half of the show, I felt a bit as though I was in mass, and had to bring up communion. You know you're not the main event, but you want to do your part well.

Intermission came, we ran up the stairs, Mel with the boxes of CDs. We went to the little table, and attempted to artfully arrange the goods. The swarms approached. At first it was a bit dodgy because we didn't have change for $50s (who carries $50s?! just kidding. I do. All the time. Obviously.), but then the money started flowing, and the CDs were going like hotcakes. At the end of intermission, J was carrying $520 in his jacket pocket.

We sat back down, the music began again.

Just to be clear here, TISQ (is that an acceptable abbreviation?) is amazing. The only reason I haven't really mentioned the actual music yet is two-fold.
1) It would have ruined the flow of my story.
2) I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to music, so it's inevitable that I'll sound like an idiot.

But basically, these guys are amazing. Absolutely amazing. The four played on instruments that are stored at the Library, and some of them are 200-300 years old. I'm certainly not a connoisseur of string sounds, but even I could hear the difference. Those who are actual connoisseurs (and there were a great many of them, because this was an event for the American Federation of Violin and Bow maker's conference) were oohing and aaahing and falling into fits of ecstasy.

(Annoyingly enough, I didn't buy a CD. But I plan to this weekend. Oh, and during the concert I decided that I would have sold them for free, just for the blogging rights.)

After we finished up selling, and Mads gave us our cut without even verifying the amount that we gave him (I love that there are still trusting people in the world), the three of us headed over to Eastern Market to grab some food. Since it's DC, and the thriving metropolis is dead after the final work bell, we ended up eating at the perpetually empty Hawk'n'Dove.

(Which, now that I think about it, was entirely appropriate as we had been hawking CDs...)

Our cash covered the meal, with $14 to spare for each of us. So, yes, we were actually paid to see a free concert.

The entirely random and extremely entertaining night ended with a mad dash to the Metro, in order to make the midnight train.* J, being tall, was walking very fast. I, being fairly tall, was walking as fast as I could, with a little skip/jog every few steps. Mel, being not so tall, was jogging the entire way.

Is it egotistical of me to think that my life would make a great movie? It probably is.

*suddenly, I feel like Dr. Seuss.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


uh oh

Ever have one of those days when you know you're susceptible to impulse purchases?

I'm staying away from And Payless. And the Gap down the street. And Filene's Basement. And H & M. And Urban Outfitter's. And American Apparel...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


me me me

1) I FOUND MY PASSPORT! AMEN! I had put it in my laptop case for "safekeeping." What was I thinking?!

2) I finished reading Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Whenever I finish reading a long book, I seem to expect to hear bells ringing and legions of fans cheering. Alas, it is not so. Reading a book is primarily a solitary experience (except when in a book club, or for class...) and finishing it is much the same. My (unsolicited) thoughts on the book? A very good story. Great characters. Several unexpected plot twists. My writing teacher senior year of college told all of us that we were too kind to our characters, that we treated them too sweetly. Ken Follett has no such qualms. A few of his people are EVIL and they tortured the ones I liked. It was heartbreaking. I wish the book had had 27 more pages (it would round off the page total to an even 1,000), and those 27 pages would be happy ones dispersed throughout the book. I would have enjoyed reading it much more if the characters’ lives weren’t so miserable.

When I finished, I yelled out "I FINISHED!" and then went into the living room and jumped up and down in a jubilant manner in front of E and C-note. They gamely played along with my joy. Two other memorable completions of big books:

Count of Monte Cristo
I love love LOVED this book. So much better than the movie, so if anyone is thinking about reading it, dive on in. I was home for the summer, had 10 pages left. Went to the back steps with a glass of ice water, was trying to savor the moment in the sun. Bub came up, he and a friend were on the trampoline and he kept pestering me to join them. He would not leave me alone, and I was begging him to just go away for 10 minutes. I almost started crying because I was so frustrated - he was RUINING ITTT!! As I was storming inside, I angrily told him that I would never ever go on the trampoline with him ever again.

That turned out to be a lie, because I was definitely on it when I broke it a year or two later. Whoops...

Anna Karenina
I hated this book with a fiery passion. I just wanted her to die already. I was coming home from school and I was on the T – since I go big or small, nothing in between, I was lugging an 80 lb duffel bag around my neck, and was sandwiched among the rush hour commuters. I felt the anticipation mount as I got closer and closer to the last paragraph, sentence, word. I closed the book, looked up triumphantly…and no one cared. I do believe I said, “I finished it!” to the tough construction worker next to me – he kind of gave me a pity smile.

On a random note, I just saw this quote on a greeting card at the pharmacy and wrote it down: “A cowgirl gets up early in the morning, decides what she wants to do, and does it.” – Marie Lords, 1861.

*aspiring cowgirl*

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