7.31.2008

9:30 a.m., feeding time.

Me: We work with a bunch of milk-a-holics.
Jess: Why? No milk left for cereal?
Me: No- and it's only Thursday!
Jess: We do go through a lot of milk here.
Me: It's like working with a bunch of baby kittens.

7.30.2008

Self-anger might be the worst kind.

This morning I thought about how New York is a good city to be angry in. It's a great place for stomping on metal grates in the sidewalk, it's a satisfying place to perfect your pissed look, it's the perfect environment for piling up reasons why the world blows lately.

I spent the morning listening to Ani DiFranco; perhaps that clues you in to my state of mind.

My friend Sima at work got the brunt of it on IM this morning and just brought me this beautiful flower. She said I'm supposed to take my negative energy and put it in a ball, throw it out towards space, and replace it with this ball-shaped flower. How poetic is that?!

It reminded me of getting ready to leave this morning. I wished I had something to wear that reminded me of good things. Like a necklace or ring or something. Inevitable Etsy shopping experience coming soon.




7.29.2008

The things you have control over... and those you don't.

This morning I woke up before the alarm went off. I lay there, wondering what time it was. It was as possible that it was 6am as it was that it was 10am. And for a while, I didn't want to look, I didn't want to know how late I was, for fear that I had somehow screwed up the alarm setting. Flying around my room and rushing to work is not my forte.

For a while I tried to intuit the time. I didn't hear many voices on the street; could have been very early. But I didn't hear my roommates either; could have been very late. I heard no one in the stairwell: early. But my brain was wide awake and ready to function: late.

Finally I heard the Laundromat's heavy gate being lifted downstairs: 8am. On the dot.

*
When I moved to Brooklyn in December, I stopped wearing a watch. In a city obsessed with time and efficiency and punctuality, it felt important to have the option of sliding my cell phone out of my bag or not. Not important; vital. The number of times I've frantically and irrationally worried about being late since December? Zero. The number of times I've been relaxed and gone with the flow since then? Countless.


*

And yet, I'll never be a hippie. I'll always be someone who needs to be *somewhat* punctual; I'll still want to do my work efficiently and on time because I think it's the right thing to do, because I think that's helpful in making progress. Today at work I asked a colleague why she believes she's a pessimist, how it is that some of us are optimists and others not.
"Self-confidence," she said, point-blank.
"But do you feel that you were born a pessimist?"
"No. I think I became one through experience."


*

There's an saying that says that if you're not a Democrat in your 20's, you're crazy. And you're also crazy if you're not a Republican by your 50's.

What's the inevitable slide? And what's escape-able?

7.27.2008

Illogical, yet true.

Spent the car ride to the train station tonight talking with Mom about cancer. Per usual, the conversation scared me a little, but only because I hate the unfairness of it. Also per usual, it inspired a (completely unfounded) urge to eat more carrots.

7.25.2008

Snail mail: there's nothin' like it.

I had a good talk tonight with new roomie Jill about being the kind of person who wants to change the world, or at least put positive vibes into it. Here's something easy that makes me feel really good every time I do it:

The magazines pile up. It's inevitable. I get The New Yorker every week, a monthly Yoga magazine (free for a year with a membership thing), Poets and Writers, and Glamour. The latter appeals to the side of myself that likes reading about eye shadow while I'm at the gym.

In any event, they pile up. And once every few months or so, I go through all the old issues and I rip out the articles that were really good. I make a huge pile of articles and clips and cartoons and funny ads and then I write people's names on top of them. Like "Dad" or "Steve" or "Skersh." And then? Then I stick them in note cards, mail them to the people, and recycle the magazine carcasses.

It takes an hour and costs a couple of stamps, but it feels like a million bucks. Try it!

7.24.2008

The Eureka Hunt

There's an amazing article in the New Yorker this week titled "The Eureka Hunt" and it's all about insight. The article talks about what happens in your brain when 'insight' occurs, etc. and it gave this little brainteaser... I wonder if you can get it?

In a... word puzzle, a subject is given three words, such as "pine," "crab," and "sauce," and asked to think of a word that can be combined with all three.

No googling allowed!

7.23.2008

Change: it's more than just nickels and dimes

So just before I left on vacation, my new job invited me to stay and be a real, live full-time employee. I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but I was originally on a 3-month contract and now am happy to report my status as: HEALTH INSURANCE-RECIPIENT. Or "now-able-to-break-my-leg-without-worrying-about-making-a-homemade-cast-of-post-its-and-Elmer's-glue." Phew!

Last night a bunch of my work buddies and I went out to celebrate and at one point I said to Doug, "You know what? I just want to say one thing." TO DOUG. But he was so drunk that he thought I wanted to talk to everyone, so he tapped on his beer mug and soon I had 10 people staring at me, waiting for 'the speech.' What was intended to be one of those gooshy comments made to a friend ("I love you guys!") turned into a gooshy speech and I think I said "I can't believe that three months ago I didn't know any of you and now I'm so happy that you're all in my life" or something to that effect. Cheese indeed, but I meant it.

Which brings me to this other feeling I've been having lately, one that has prompted me to avoid writing on the old blog-a-roo of late. Last week I was walking home from the subway and I actually thought to myself: "OK, THAT IS IT. Enough friends. You have reached the quota for a lifetime of friends." This feeling stems from the fact that I have such awful guilt when it comes to friendships, that I am not so good at realizing that some friends are going to be people I see every few months or every every few years. I want it all! And yet, it's just impossible to let everyone in, to share myself (in the very open and intimate way that I do) with so many people. Because what ends up happening is that there isn't much personal space left in the way of privacy.

It's been interesting to roll this question around in my head- what happens if the very trait that you feel defines who you are ends up being something that you'd like to change? Or not change, but evolve?

I read a fair bunch of blogs and I'm always struck by the different ways people use their voices. Some blogs read like columns in a newspaper, showy and audience-friendly. Others feel like peering over the author's shoulder, watching as they write in their journals. Some have hundreds of people who leave comments, others don't even allow people to respond.

What I think I'm getting at here is that I'm not sure that the way I use my blog is something that really fits me anymore. It might be- but I'd like the option of at least thinking about it without feeling as though I'd be letting other people down. I'd like to think about posting in French once in a while without feeling as though I'm alienating the non-French speakers. Or maybe I'd like to start bolding sentences that I feel hit at the heart of what I'm trying to say. I'd like to grant myself the option of exploring newness.

So... you know. Just wanted to let you all know.

7.21.2008

Sunny in the Heart

New York is a hard city to love sometimes. For as incredibly diverse and accepting as it is of all hairstyles and definitions of the term "New Yorker," readjusting to the city that never sleeps after the gorgeous blue skies of Europe is never without hiccups.

Today was no exception.

One of my Mom's good friends has breast cancer and just heard news recently that her battle is going to get a fair bit tougher. This morning my Dad forwarded me the link to the blog her daughter started to keep everyone up-to-date on Shauna's battle and it really got to me. Not in the way where I went to the bathroom and fell apart while at work, but it was a little like someone smacked me across the face with a dose of reality and said "hey, you- the one who likes to analyze everything down to the smallest detail, the one who tries to plan things that shouldn't be planned- SHUT YOUR FACE." And I had to agree.

Just now I was sitting here putting the last remaining photos on Flickr and some Weepies songs came on; for the first time in my life, I longed for San Francisco. I've visited San Fran once before, but have never been attracted to living there in the least (weather seems too chilly). I think it's more the spirit of San Francisco that's attracting me; surely there are people there who take risks and smile often and like to go exploring after work. There must be boys who like lounging around with Chinese food, girls who want to learn the guitar, people who want to make connections. The stark contrast of what I imagine life in San Francisco to be like compared to life in New York, well I think it's just a sign of feeling a bit stuck lately.

So you know what? Onwards and upwards, guys. Here's to finding a little bit of San Fran's spontaneity here in New York...

7.20.2008

Slowly but surely, the photos dribble in

One of the worst parts about coming back from vacation is facing the piles of shit you meant to do before you left. And that, in a panic on the way to the airport, you vowed to yourself you would take care of IMMEDIATELY upon walking in the door when you got back.

And that 6 days later you still haven't done.

I can't decide if the phenomenon of feeling overwhelmed by Things To Do is purely a New York creation, a truth that exists no matter where you are in 2008, or simply the nature of humanity. The list of people I have to call and get in touch with since I'm back is so overwhelming that I can't find it in myself to even call one person. Like my Mom.

Here is what I have done: I've upgraded my Flickr account to Pro so that I can put my photos up there. Flickr Pro! I know! It's quite a commitment. I've also uploaded photos from Budapest and included descriptions. So if you're looking for a way to pass the hot and sweaty hours of your Sunday in New York, check them out.

7.18.2008

During tonight's Yankee game

Eliza: Oh, listen to A-Rod's song.
Me: He picks his own song? That they play when he comes up to bat?
E: Yeah, I think that's how it works.
M: What would your song be? If you were a baseball player?
E: Ohhhh that's a tough one!
M: What song gets you PUMPED at the gym?
E: Hm... ok, I'd have to go with "Maneater." What about you?
M: It's kind of embarrassing.
E: Tell me.
M: Kelly Clarkson. 'Miss Independent.'
E: Ooh, I do love Kelly Clarkson.
M: You know what? For the longest time, I thought the first lyrics to that song were: "Miss Independent, Miss Obstetrician." And I could never figure out what the hell that was supposed to mean!
E: (choking on her hot dog) 'Miss I went and got my medical degree!'
M: Then years later, I found out it was 'Miss Self-Sufficient.' You know, either way, pretty hard core.

7.16.2008

A little hazy

Woke last night around 2am from a dream that I haven't had in a long, long time. I remember having it a lot when I lived with a host family in Aix in 2001; in it, a huge black force is overwhelming me and I can't figure out how to communicate what I'm trying to get across. It isn't like the dreams I usually have, which are so allegoric it's ridiculous; it's literally that the dream is a feeling and not a storyline at all, that images and shapes and faces and people have been replaced by something overwheming. Yikes.

Back in 2001 the dream was a function of being immersed in a new language that I wasn't yet adept at using. I'm not 100% sure what it means to have had the dream again last night, but I do know that I'm tired- really, really tired- from my trip and that it's taking me a few days to feel sorted out. To know which way is up, which way is down, and where to go from here.

Just wanted to check in with you all to tell you that I might be a little scarce this week on FOL. Photos, which seem easier to manage, will be coming sometime soon on Flickr though, so keep an eye out for that.

7.11.2008

Sunset on the Brooklyn Bridge


Is there anything better than walking over a bridge? Bridges make me feel like I'm going to and coming from somewhere specific. Not always true in life.

7.10.2008

Ingrid Michaelson, Terminal 5.


We saw Ingrid a few weeks ago at Terminal 5 and she was, as expected, magical. Highlights of the concert included her playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Death Cab's I Will Follow You into the Dark, and of course all of her own stuff. Have you listened to Giving Up? Perfection.

7.09.2008

Brooklyn Newsletter: Month Seven

Dear Brooklyn,


If you are reading this, then the future is now. Or it is here. And I am in the past. Or am I? More probably, I am sitting around the Tuileries in Paris, enjoying some sun, eating a pain au chocolat. Jealous? I thought so.




Life here in Brooklyn has been sweet over the past month, despite our dear Sarah Mclo moving out. I've now strolled over to her new place a couple of times and it's actually really nice to have a friend within such a walkable distance. I also get a kick out of seeing her living with Justin; it doesn't seem so long ago that we were both far from having love and now to see her so happy, well it gives a girl hope.



No sooner had Sarah moved out, but our landlord decided to pay us a visit- and hike the rent up. Kind of way up. Kind of up so much that you wonder if you shouldn't stop buying the generic brand of toilet paper. It's not going to kill us (and it remains to be seen if it will make us stronger, as the saying goes), but it sure is going to put a damper on my secret plans to get another massage for my 3-month anniversary at work.



If you must know, the truth is that I'm writing this the night before I leave for my European vacation. This afternoon I got an email from Celine in Paris, who has offered to pick me up at the airport when I arrive from Budapest. Then Maddy wrote with directions to her apartment. Then Erica told me she'd lend me her adapter so I can charge my camera battery. And I kind of sat there, in stunned silence at my desk, because I am going to see friends, good friends, friends who get really, really excited when they find out you're going to be on their continent.

And one day when I have kids, this is what I hope for them: I hope that they make and retain the kind of friendships that I've been lucky enough to develop with people around the world. I hope that they too make reconnecting with those friends a real priority in their lives. Because when you do that? You never really feel like you're leaving home.



Love,
Jen

7.08.2008

My buddy Dave


Dave used to be in a rock band that toured the country called Post Break Tragedy. Now he's a software programmer. Go figure.

7.07.2008

Central Park, Castle.


Someone once told me he liked the lines in this picture. I think he was right.

7.04.2008

Toby? Walrus? Same difference.


Happy 4th of July, from the loveable tub of lard that he is.

7.03.2008

Buda to the Pest, here I come.

Things I actually did that I wanted to today:
- pack
- laundry
- call Mom

Things I didn't get to do:
- Infinity.

I'm leaving on a Jet Plane. I'm sure I've made that joke before on this blog, haven't I? No? It's so obvious. Ah well, it's past midnight and I've been drained of my energy. I'm a slug. A zombie slug. A sleepy zombie slug.

And... that's when we wrap this show up, folks. Stick around... technology has some presents for you while I'm away.

7.01.2008

Coming soon to a bar/cafe near you...

I'm going away on Thursday- far, far, away to places that may or may not be Internet-friendly. Notably, I'll be passing through Budapest, Clermont and Paris. Do you live in one of those cities? Am I not sleeping on your floor? Then we should get a drink! Leave me a comment or drop me an email and let's see what we can organize, shall we?

So this is also a good time to mention that I won't be posting while I'm away. I do have a little surprise set up for you though (if all goes right with technology), and maybe you won't even notice that I'm gone.

Oh, one more thing: new NIFW issue published today. In it is an anxious little poem I wrote about Love. Isn't that what you do when you can't sleep? Liars.