Monday, January 31, 2011

Dear Universe

Dear Universe,

If possible, I would like to have lunch, or tea and crumpets, or maybe just an opportunity to be stranded in an elevator with Maira Kalman. I heart her.


Maira Kalman, the illustrated woman | Video on

Things I like

Just a quickie (since I'm supposed to be working...shhhhh)

You've probably discovered that I LOVE words. (duh)

Anyhoo, today's word is "tenterhooks" which I really love because it sounds dangerous and all sort of dead-bodies-hanging-in-a-meat-locker....

But, in searching for its origin I discovered a lovely little site that the rest of you wordophiles will, I suspect, similarly adore:

This could keep us busy for days.

Okay, back to the tasks-for-which-I-get-paid at hand!

(Hope it was good for you too!)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Food for thought

"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is just the same." –Carlos Castaneda

That Carlos was a wacky guy, but I think he's probably right about this one.

Happy Weekend!

The Venn Diagram that is my professional life

Because this is my blog, I am allowed to make sweeping generalizations without the fear of being challenged (especially since there are only, like, 3 of you reading this and I know you'll all just roll your eyes and forgive me).

I have come to the decision that there are three kinds of people in the world:

A. Big Picture thinkers

B. People blinded by the details

C. People who actually get shit done

I have attached an illustration above in case anything about this confuses you.

Happy Friday!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

We three things

Who me? Oh, not much. Lying in bed in the middle of the day, watching bad t.v., eating chocolate, and nursing a nasty case of cramps. You know, the usual.

I had a busy morning, doing circles of nothing, for example, driving all the way to work only to discover that I'd left my office keys at home.

The day wasn't a complete loss, however, because in the course of that nonsense I did manage to have an epiphany.

I've come to the realization that there are three, and only three things that I am absolutely positively sure of.

One: We are born

Two: We die

Three: Most of what we do in between qualifies as completely crazy.

I won't elaborate. I don't have to. You know I'm right. Right?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The new now

I heard an interview on NPR this evening with the Executive Director at TiRR, the rehab facility where Gabrielle Giffords has gone for therapy. He was talking about the history of their program, which originated for those with spinal cord injuries. He said that their goal was to help their patients, people with severe life altering injuries, adjust to a "new normal." It occured to me that life is really just a series of recalibrations for each of us, a constant process of adjusting to a new now.

Oftentimes the changes in our lives are so slight, the adjustments so minimal that we aren't aware of the incremental steps we are taking. We are constantly changing tack in response to the direction of the wind. We aren't even aware of how flexible and adaptable we are. Like the whole process of growing older, for example. It happens so slowly, we are constantly adjusting to our new normals as we go along, it's a subconscious process, that we generally take for granted. I know full well that I have aged, and yet, because I look at myself in the mirror daily I don't fully appreciate or even recognize the changes in my appearance, because, after all, it's still me. Were I to not have the benefit of seeing myself, however, for a long period of time, I would certainly be shocked at the increased wrinkles, age spots and grey hair.

Other times, however, we encounter a sizeable upset. Maybe it isn't a literal point blank shot to the head that we experience, but the rather the loss of something significant like a loved one, or our good health. These things can certainly feel like a shot to the head.

Life as we know it, knew it, may not ever be the same for us after something significant happens. In fact, by definition, it just cannot. One day, for example, we had parents. The next day, we do not. One day we were walking, the next day, we might never again. Things ARE different. But it doesn't mean that they can't be both different AND okay.

What do we do when something like that happens to us? It seems natural that we must mourn not only the loss of our loved one, or our health, but also mourn the loss of our old reality. Perhaps we, too, need a period of rehab. We need time for our wounds to heal, the physical and the mental, and maybe more importantly, we need time to adjust to our new normal. And this is all okay. It isn't any different than the adjustment we've been doing every day of our lives, we're just having to do a lot of it all at once, which can be really really hard.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Things I like today


New G. Love song Fixin' to Die (produced by the Avett Brothers, about whom I'm not terribly crazy, though I cannot give a good reasoning for this). G. Love is HOT, his harping is HOT, this song is HOT HOT HOT and is going to be a huge hit. Whew, I've got the vapors now. Lordy. Please google this immediately.

My brother, who, in spite of incurring a good 110 volt shock to the system in the process, resolved all of my nagging electrical issues in one fell swoop this weekend. He's a love.

Camelot (1967 - Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave) which I'm not sure I'd ever seen but is positively hilarious in an Alfred Hitchcock meets Dr. Zhivago and everyone goes on a road trip with Tom Jones (1963 Albert Finney) sort of way. I fell asleep laughing.



Hilarious (but only if you pronounce it thusly: Huh-LARRY-us)

Kerfluffle (an Opera Betty favorite for a skirmish)

Higgeldy Piggeldy (the state of both of my children's rooms at the moment)

Specious (which is oft repeated in the British period docudrama I'm watching at the moment, The Buccaneers, for something that appears valid or true, but is actually not, so is therefore misleading.)

Niggling (which is a wonderful word that has fallen from grace because, when not pronounced v-e-r-y--c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y can get one into trouble) I believe "needle" is used instead to describe something slight but persistently in I'm niggled by the fact that my dog keeps escaping from my yard....(though in this case my irritation level surpasses a niggle. Anyone want a canine fixer-upper project? She's cute but she's insane.)

Monday, January 17, 2011


I am planning a trip to Paris. This will be my first trip in 15 years, and it will not take place for another 9 months, but I plan to actively immerse myself in planning and brushing up and everything that comes along with that between now and then because I am SO FREAKING EXCITED at the prospect that I might be there that I can hardly stand myself.

So, the warning part is that you, too, might not be able to stand me during and after all of this. Apologies in advance. I'll try to "code" my Paris-related entries so you can just skip them altogether when it gets to be too too much.

I lived in Paris for a year (which you might have picked up on if you've been following this from the very start....if not, what a great excuse to delve backwards into my self indulgent posts and catch up....start with the one about french penises). Paris is my favoritest city ever (followed by a tie between London and Venice) and I miss it terribly. It is a place where, finances willing, I would scoot off for just a weekend of R+R if I could. But I cannot. Indeed, as you see, it has been fifteen years since my last scoot. (Note to me: I promise I will not make you wait this long again ever ever!)

Okay. Back to work. Consider yourselves warned.

A toute a l'heure!


Does my yogurt really need its own Facebook page?

In honor of the Facebook movie winning all those awards at the Golden Globes last night, I have unceremoniously deactivated my account.

If you’ve been following along here this will not come as a huge surprise to you.

I will try not to be smug about it, like all those AA or WeightWatchers freaks who want everyone else to drink their KoolAid. In fact, when given a number of deactivation options where I could have selected the “Die and Rot in Hell you Time Sucking Bastards” as one the reasons why I was removing myself from that particular channel of social media, I chose instead “No need to pester me, I suspect this is temporary.” Because it may well be.

What I am truly going to miss is being able to spy on my children. Not that I was really getting any amazing info, but I did have access to a lot of photos of them taken by their friends that I would not have otherwise. (Yes, yes, we all know the potential downside to this, which was partially why I was spying in the first place, but, thus far, all of the pics have been sweet, generally complimentary and completely appropriate. I have delivered “that” lecture to them multiple times….though what they cannot control is what their friends decide to post on their behalf. Life’s a crap shoot, what to do, what to do.)

It is expectedly liberating, and I am reveling in that this morning.

Am clearly not pulling the plug on media all together….if you need me, you know where to find me. Hopefully this will translate into more time directed to real writing. (Whatever the hell that means.)

Hugs and Kisses!

Friday, January 14, 2011

El Muerte

I caught a reflected glimpse of myself as I was walking in to work today and realized, with a start, that I look like a high end grim reaper. Head to toe in black (hat, scarf, gloves, coat, pants, shoes AND case you needed help deciphering "head to toe"). What was I thinking? I have instituted for myself a "Step it Up Friday" Policy to counterbalance the Casual Friday folks. Step it up for me generally involves a lot of black (as opposed to my normal Mon-Thurs wardrobe which only involves partial black). The high end part would be the patent leather clogs, the curled hair and the eyeliner.

Aside: I made the mistake of googling images of Senor Death to attach to this post and am now totally creeped out. Trust me, don't go there. WHAT ARE PEOPLE THINKING? Really? I get it, the Lord of Darkness touches us all at multiple points in our lives, and he touches some of us a little harder than others but is that really a good reason to tattoo the Pale Rider on your back holding your infant son? Or, for that matter, tattooed to your front clutching each of your breasts in his hands? I can only imagine where that leads and I'll leave it at that. Ahem.

Perhaps the wardrobe selection reflects my current subconscious period of mourning for my recent break up. Well, perhaps break up is too strong an expression. Hiatus, or recalibration or taking a break, perhaps is more apropos. Only, like most of my break ups, I find that I'm not really sure what is going on, when it started, or how to work through it, and I certainly cannot stop thinking about it.

At first I thought maybe it was I who had been dumped, but now I'm not so sure that's it really. I think it may have just been a natural parting of the ways after a period of too much togetherness. You know how that works, you're all lovey dovey, can't get enough of each other, and, in spite of knowing that it will lead to a bad end, you begin to spend ALL your time together. The time you don't spend together you spend obsessing about being together. You talk about your love all the time and your friends, who at first were an enraptured audience for tales of your exploits, begin to yawn mid conversation and look askance for opportunities to change the subject. You're flying along, headed for the altar of happily ever after, when suddenly, after an incredibly intense weekend together, you wake up one morning and realize something is amiss. The wind has changed direction, the temple band takes five.

Acting at first as if nothing is wrong, you continue to go out together, the happy couple, only your outings are cut short and your heart suddenly isn't in it. The guilt ensues and begets a period of self flagellation. You can make yourself love this relationship, you can, if only you try hard enough. Self doubt swirls and you begin to avoid each other's company. You no longer hop out of bed each morning eager to be together. You stay up too late, alone, drinking too much and eating M&Ms. This is not you and yet, somehow here you are. You avoid your old haunts, the places that brought you so much joy, and there are a lot of them so this is tedious and painful. When asked about it you answer vaguely "Oh sure, yes, it's fine," only it is not.

It's not you, it's me. Or so I think. But I still don't know why. Too much of a good thing? Burnout? Probably. But I still love you, love everything about you and I think I truly want us to be together forever. Perhaps I just need a little break. Maybe we should see other people. I don't know. We can try that I guess, but I worry that you won't want to come back to me. That I will suffer in your eyes by comparison. I can't imagine that I would ever find another who can even begin to equal for me the role you play in my life, but perhaps I need to shop around a bit just to make sure that this is truly where I want to be.

All I can say at this point is, forgive me, my dearest sweet love, running, while I take a little time to test the waters.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

More gratitude and some other random shite

(Another in a series of posts which is tiding me over until I have something more pithy to report)

1. Low sodium V-8 (working on getting more veggies in)

2. Arugula (the real man's salad of I just love to SAY the word, it sounds like the noise that really old car horns used to make in the movies)

3. Automatic car washes (we all take these for granted, but truly, what a luxury to (a) own and car and (b) be able to wash it without ever having to get out of it!)

4. The fact that I do not live my life in a constant state of debilitating pain. I spent some time in the waiting room of our Pain Management Clinic yesterday. Holy God.

Why can I remember the opening to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (IN OLD ENGLISH) but I cannot find my car in the parking lot?

I have been watching The Bad Seed (the original) with my daughter, the post-modern film aficianado, which I'd never seen before and while campy is also brilliant and incredibly scary and I wonder if it is true that everyone grows up with an "adoption" complex (that at some point we all think we were adopted, in spite of the oftentimes obvious physical likeness that we may have to a parent). Do those of us who turn out to indeed be adopted just have a stronger sense of it? It isn't my family so much, to which I feel like I was adopted, but my life. Not sure what to do with that.

The teenage angsting of my darling son has begun in full force. Ditto on not knowing what to do with that. How do you help someone find the meaning for their own existence, and, truly, who am I to make any suggestions at all? Conundrum.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Gratitude 1.11.11

Am still spooked by today's whole date thing. It's just weird to look at somehow.

Things for which I am grateful on this odd day.

1. AAA (yes....AGAIN....but I won't bore you with the details)

2. Cooking Light Magazine (which is my favorite in that genre currently)

3. Technology....which allows me to know that my district closed school mid day, allowed me to text my daughter about it, and allowed her to both email and call me when she got home. No guessing games, I know where everyone is and what they're doing. Very comforting.

4. Blistex

5. A paid membership to a fancy gym so I don't have to run outside in this weather.

6. Patience (reference #1 above)


Monday, January 10, 2011

And that about sums it up....

We are on the verge of a snowpocalypse this evening. Or maybe just a dusting. Since weather forecasting is the only profession where people expect you to get shit wrong and they're STILL willing to pay you for your services, we never really know.

That being said, because of the 827 inches of snow we DID get last winter and the complete grinding to a halt of life as we knew it as a result thereof, my employer is now treading on the side of complete and totally absurd caution when it comes to any and all weather related activities.

Email I just received from the Boss:

Dear Cygnus

If the weather is bad, remember you are considered non-essential so please stay home.

To which I respond:

Uh, okay, but I think we're only supposed to get an inch or something.

To which she responds:

Not sure so stay safe no matter what happens.

I check the interweb for the forecast. 30% chance of snow showers for the next 24 hours, possible accumulation of....are you sitting down? 2 inches.

Being not a complete idiot, however, in spite of my being "non-essential" (wtf?), I respond:

Dear Boss,

Right you are. Please be advised that if I wake up and it even LOOKS like it MIGHT snow tomorrow, I will be staying home. I truly appreciate your concern.

You see, there are some UPSIDES to being non-essential:

Snow day in my jammies.

Saving time I could have been wasting harboring illusions about my potential path to corporate dominance in my current role here.


Friday, January 7, 2011


Happy Fricking Friday Peoples!

I've slobbered all over this website before, and reserve the right to continue to do so, since I have a huge intellectual girl crush on Krista Tippett. Plus, I am also really a sucker for lists of bite sized chunks of wisdom.....such as this:

Being Blog's Top 10 Blogs For 2010


Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Things for which I am grateful:

Kiehl's Skin care (specifically the Argan Cleansing Oil, which I use instead of soap and the Creme de Corps, which keeps my skin from completely withering this time of year),default,sc.html Pricey, if you're not familiar, but not completely obnoxious and truly great stuff.

On-line recipes (remember when we used to have to buy BOOKS to find new recipes? seriously!) Am currently a big fan of Cooking Light and Vegetarian Magazines data banks (a little slow to load, but great healthful recipes, I made a vegetarian Italian Wedding soup last night that is DEEEEVINE!)

Goodwill (which not only supplies me with clothing, but is also conveniently located on my way to work and has a super helpful drive thru drop off feature that is allowing me to purge (remember?) a box or two daily.

The fact that 2011 calendars are marked down to 50% after Christmas. How handy is that? And there's still a pretty good selection left at my local B&N....I picked up the one pictured above by Moleskine which is a super fun company with lots and lots of organizing tools. They have a really fun series of City Notebooks on the major metropolitan areas complete with maps and sections aimed at planning a visit. For example, they even include these cool tracing paper overlays that you can put on a map page and then trace a route. I'm doing one of these for a girlfriend who is going to Paris in March. Am going to plan each day for them, complete with where to eat, where to shop, and things to do (museums, hot spots, etc.) I'll give them a bunch of options based on different neighborhoods they can explore and then they can just pick and choose which "day" they want when they get there. I did this for myself a few years ago, only I did it in spreadsheet form b/c these groovy notebooks did not exist yet. This will be MUCH more fun!

The huge blogger community that exists to both introduce new things and remind me that opportunities ABOUND!