Miss your guts

One of the best things about my life has got to be the quality people I've met and befriended. Last night I got a bunch of mail from my old apartment, among which was a letter from Agnes and her family and a little package from one Ms. Jessiqua Farris. The last time I saw Jess was in Ireland exactly 2 years ago; I had just finished my thesis and she was finishing her Master's and we were both destined to come back to the U.S. to live (though we didn't yet know it at the time). She's been in CA since then and though we've attempted to plan mid-continental get-aways (let's just fly to Kansas for a weekend! Portland for a night!), nothing's worked out so far.

Anyway, in this package was a letter telling me that she's now living in Philadelphia (so close!) and a CD whose songs tell the story of her emotions from the past two months. Holy crap, do I LOVE creative people.

She signed her letter "miss your guts, Jess" and I thought it was so perfectly said. Yeah Jess, me too. Miss your guts. And yet I love how the great friendships in my life are able to continue on down their own unique paths, sporadic at times and very regular at others. There's no coincidence to this and I gave up longing for my one core group of friends a long time ago. When you've bounced around a bit, you know that it's simply not possible to sustain the same types of friendships for your whole life. What it IS possible to do is to appreciate the moments you have with the amazing ones you encounter and realize that missing people's guts? It's all part of the game.

P.S. While I was writing this, another creative and lovely friend named Sima sent me this song, which kind of made my afternoon. It's really about having a great day and being yourself. Enjoy!


Beware the L-train swine!

For whatever reason, the L platform had about 16.8 billion people on it tonight. We waited 11 minutes and then a completely packed train pulled up to Union Square. Approximately 14.5 billion of us squeezed in before the doors closed.

So there I am, literally smelling someone's armpit, bemused by the funny situations you end up in when you live in a crowded city, when I remember. SWINE FLU. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. OH GOD, GERMS. And that one scene from Outbreak comes back to me, the one with the guy sneezing in the movie theater; I am sufficiently freaked out, attempting to avoid contact with humans (verdict = impossible). Oh Swine Flu, you are so joke-able and yet so scare-able!

So I came home and washed my hands so that Oscar would not develop a cat-bird-swine version of the flu, but he seemed to be washing himself after playing in the litterbox and did not mind my subway-germy hands. I suppose that's how cats are.

To bed now, because tomorrow I'm going to try writing pre-work at the new Grand Central branch of the NYPL. Then we have tickets to the Tribeca Film Festival tomorrow night and then I will finally be mere hours from the weekend. I've spent the past three days thinking it's Thursday. Every morning it's quite a shock! Plus, today when I got in the elevator to leave work around 7:30, I thought to myself, "10 hours today. 1 more than a normal work day." Then I wondered, "how did they come up with 9-hour work days?" and then it took me about 4 blocks to realize that NORMAL WORK DAYS ARE 8 HOURS LONG. Ha!


Posterboard + markers = painfully cute

Tonight when I got off the train there was a man waiting for his wife with three kids, all holding flowers and the littlest one holding a "Welcome home, Mom!" sign. They were all kind of skipping around the platform, waiting to see which door she was coming out of. It was so adorable and I found myself wondering what the back story there was- first business trip away from home? Tough trip to deal with an ailing parent? Daily commute and an over-zealous family?

Or maybe they just all missed her a bunch. Either way, heart-warming and a good first moment in Baltimore.


Luckily my suitcase has wheels

Tonight I'm packing my bags because I'm heading to Baltimore and then Alexandria, VA for Krishna's wedding on Saturday. What is with these boys from High School getting married?! I mean, I'm all for charming nerdy boys growing up and finding The One as they have become Grown-up Sexy Smart Men, but geez louise. Do they all have to do it within the same year?

No, I'm kidding. It will be lovely to see them all and talk to their wives and hopefully steer clear of any brides launching bouquets into the crowd. I have a track record of accidentally catching those.

I also just found out that I'll be headed up to Boston for business in May, so heads up, Boston people. I'll probably have approximately 7 minutes free and I'll be calling YOU. It seems I am taking a tour of the U.S. this year between work and weddings, a fact that doesn't really bother me as much as it puzzles the travel bug within me who is used to fetching the old passport when she hears the verb 'travel.'

The other night I declared a Paris vacation into existence to Chris. "That is IT," I said, "I'm just going to trade in some air miles and go for a long weekend! It has been too long!" And then he said "well what about me!" and I said "holycrapdoyouwanttogotoPariswithme?!" and he said "duh." Which is really why I keep that one around.

So maybe that's going to happen this summer if every other potential life plan works out in my favor, including, but not limited to writing conferences, trips to South America and weekends in U.S. destinations (TBD). Staying flexible in case disaster strikes... or some other governmental organization starts demanding vats of money from my savings account.

Pics and stories of the weekend to follow.

Worms and tweety birds

One day my grandchildren will be in my kitchen and they will whisper amongst themselves: Why does Nana keep her Triscuits and uncooked coos-coos in the refrigerator?

And they will not realize that one day years earlier, their grandma made Tofu Peanut Noodles, ate them for dinner and then took the leftovers to work, where she found meal worms in her lunch. So then she went a little crazy and started storing all of her grains in the icebox.

I still kind of want to puke when I think of pasta.

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I joined Twitter. Messages show up in the sidebar (right over there... see them?). If you are Twitter-savvy, feel free to follow me. If you don't know what any of this paragraph means, it's business at usual for you over at this blog. Don't you worry your pretty little head about a thing.


An open letter regarding awkwardness

Dear Awkward City,

We are not so well-acquainted, I will admit. I can usually avoid you- I'm social! I once told someone I'd like to live a life that allowed me to be trapped in an elevator with literally anyone on earth and feel like I could make conversation.

Well turns out you were waiting for tonight!

I was already a little bit nervous to speak in front of a Tech crowd and present Kindling. But then! There, from across the room, was the dude I went on a match.com date with last summer. Already very awkward because I never wrote him back after our data at Jamba Juice.

But then! There, next to me, was my current boyfriend. And then! I went to the front of the room to present WITH said current boyfriend. And then! Match.com dude looked directly at me and asked questions about the app!

I figured that, at some point, I'd have to say hello and I was fully prepared to say "hey, how are things going?" For whatever reason, this dude only approached us when we were on the way out the door.

"Hey," I said, warmly.

"Have I met you somewhere?" he asked. "I think I saw your profile on meetup.com... or maybe at a Tech event?" Also he mentioned serendipity bringing him to this Meet-up. Yes, that happened.

At this point, I sort of died. HOW DOES ONE PROCEED? Was this guy pretending he didn't remember me? Or acting this way because he thought I had forgotten him? Thus ensued the. most. awkward. conversation in which he tried to collect my business card (saved by current boyfriend who gave him HIS biz card... ho ho, I hope there is no future emailing happening there!). He also critiqued our app and would not let us leave the conversation for 10 minutes. All the while, I thought "what is he doing? Why is he being so awkward? This is not humane! I want to sink into the floor!"

Despite your best attempts, Awkward City, we kicked the presentations' ass. So foiled again, my worthy opponent. Foiled again.

Yours in constant potential embarrassment,


A few nights ago on the L train home...

Oh New York, you crazy, crazy world.


Shoshanda and her rockin' advice.

"So what's the deal with the drinks? Are they free?"
"There's one cocktail- the one with gin- and the beers in those buckets over there. Other than that, I think you have to pay."
"I'm Jen, by the way. What do you do?"
"I'm Shoshanda. I'm a writer."
"Really! That's what I want to be! Who do you write for?"
"Myself! Why aren't you writing for yourself right now?"
"Oh, I have a job at a software company. I guess I need to be more financially secure and all that jazz before I can really go for it."
"Girl, are you kidding me? Did you hear ANYTHING they said at the conference today?"
"Hm... I actually didn't. Two of my co-workers went to the conference, but then bailed and asked me to come to this thing."
"Well are you having a good time?"
"No! I didn't even really want to come, but I felt like I should at least make an appearance."
"What are you doing here? Go home! Write!"

She was totally right. Lately I've been finding myself in places and social situations thinking "what am I even doing here? Who am I pleasing by being here, because I sure as hell wouldn't be here myself..."

So I left. I put my beer (full except for 3 swigs) on some fancy-pants coffee table and left. And then I cursed myself all the way home in the subway for not standing up for my life and letting other people and situations push me into things like after-parties and the like.

First goal: write for 2 hours this weekend. GO.



My first attempts at wielding Market Research were with my Dad.

"I got a 76 on my Math test, but the average was a 70!" or "Come onnnn, my friends are allowed to drive even though it snowed!" or "But her parents let her stay out late at a Superbowl party!"

He was a brick wall, impermeable and research-resistant. "Jen-o, I'm not that kid's Dad. I'm your Dad. And I'm telling you that I don't want you driving in the snow." Or "Jen-o, I don't care how the other people did. Did you do your best?"

It was never about me in comparison with anyone else; it was always about me in comparison to myself.

It's funny how you live your life and then suddenly you end up at a certain latitude and longitude on a day during your 28th year, remembering these moments with your Dad, these moments that shaped who you became. You think about how often you reach inside to find those parental lessons again, how much you struggle to focus on your own relationship instead of other people's or your own professional destiny instead of the latest hot shot writer. When I think about what John Keats accomplished in 25 years of life, I want to throw in the pen. When I read about people who made their first millions before they could legally drink, it's easy to ask myself: "Why haven't you done what they have?"

But then, that's not the point, is it? That's really quite the opposite of the point.

Truth be told, these grandiose themes of success have never served as benchmarks for me. The ability to stay focused on a day-to-day basis, to know when to tuck myself up and steamroll ahead towards my own successes despite my surroundings, that's more applicable. And much harder.


This morning I woke up to a bunch of tiny ant carcasses in the shower. We've had periodic visits by these springtime ants and the landlord exterminated yesterday.

"Look, Oscar," I said sleepily as I turned on the shower. "All the ants are gone now."

It was a little sad; they were really only doing their ant thing, but I suppose they were doing it in the wrong location. And I never really minded except when they got out of hand, except when they were in Oscar's food bowl, except when my morning routine became squishing and flushing insects.

In his usual way, Oscar never noticed them. At first I thought this was a hilarious character trait, like the absentminded professor or the oblivious scientist. But maybe they were too small for cat eyes or maybe Oscar just doesn't worry himself about sharing a bowl with a pack of ants. He might be more focused on getting his food in the first place and I suppose I can live with that.


Spring is technically here, but boy is she taking her sweet time. A few days in the 60s and then yesterday it snowed, not enough to stick, but enough to pull you back into the dumps. Last night I ran a few errands after work and ended up on one of my usual weighed-down trips home with bags and boxes and sore biceps by the end. My walk home from the L with my metric ton of crap was miserable and I even cursed the daffodils that had grown, only to be greeted by a chilly wind.

"What is the POINT of flowers if it's not even warm outside!" I thought, illogically and stupidly because of my mood.

That's alright, Spring, you come on out when you're ready. I'll push through another couple of weeks with the same damn sweaters and boots. We're ready when you are.


The other morning at breakfast, when I admitted to subconscious stripping.

"I love these beds in the Marriott. I would live in a hotel if I could."
"Yeah, I love the blankets. But last night I was so hot! Were you?"
"No, not really."
"I was. I woke up and I had taken my pants off."
"Wait... in your sleep?"
"Yeah... I think I must have been so hot I just took off my pants without waking up!"
"I'm waiting for you to add 'and then I rolled over to see a strange man asleep next to me."


East coastin'.

So I have a guilty pleasure in the form of Glamour magazine and truthfully, it's my longest-running subscription. It's not the most brainy of reading material, but I gotta say this: I find myself insanely motivated about some aspect of my life by reading this mag every month.

This all started a few years ago when I'd moved home from France and was living in a constant state of mope. Most days it was worse than mopey; it was more like Sylvia Plath and Poe were constant companions. And oh the crying! But I digress.

One afternoon I drove out to Barnes and Noble to spend a few hours reading girly magazines and it totally made me feel better. In Glamour, I read a piece about knitting blankets for homeless people and I was instantly inspired. I bought the issue, filled out the subscription form, and got out the crochet needle. This seems to be how I get myself out of funks; all I need is a glimmer of newness, a spark of possibility and I'm off.

Tonight I read an article in the newest issue about good things to eat; the first suggestion is to eat at least 8 grams of Fiber at breakfast. For some reason, this struck me as a great idea. Fiber! It sounds so healthy! "YES. I WILL EAT 8 GRAMS OF FIBER AT BREAKFAST," I thought. And just like that, my night was made.

It doesn't take much, folks.

One week in San Francisco and I'm one girl-ful of gooshiness. Oh San Fran, how sunny you were! And now NY, how sunny YOU are! And how happy am I to get back to my cat and my boyfriend and my job. And Easter is so soon, which means I get to see the fam. AND THE FIBER! OH, THE UPCOMING FIBER! (Somewhere Evelyn is making a crapping joke...)

Photos and stories from San Fran to come...