Dec 30, 2011

Really Liking Today

It's winter. It's practically January and it's so mild outside. It's just perfectly rainy and gray. It's not even necessary to wear a heavy winter coat. This is my favorite kind of winter day. The trees are bare and dark against a pale white sky and the traffic sounds so pretty if not ever so slightly expectant after it has rained. I really love the way the traffic sounds after it has rained. I'm conditioned by this sound to both relax and focus and actually be wherever I am in the world instead of stuck in some loop inside my brain. Don't get me wrong, I like dry weather, too. And I like snow. I even kind of miss the snow right now. As well, the way snow alters the sound of the traffic. But it's different. The snow-traffic sound seems more fraught. Maybe even a little bit dramatic. It emphasizes how slow and defensively people are driving. This, though inspiring, is way less relaxing than rain-traffic sounds and more like a reminder to get back indoors. Not that it won't snow soon. It will--until then, there's today. 

Dec 21, 2011

Religious Experience

Today, now officially three days before Christmas Eve, is awesome. The day each year when I suddenly decide that I like Christmas. But--where did all the time go? There's so much to do! There's the frosting of the cookies. The wrapping of the gifts. The making of the antipasto. As well, there's the arranging of miniature pickles on a plate. The forcing radishes to look like roses. The stuffing olives with bleu cheese. The replicating a 1/4" scale Westminster Abbey out of Wheat Thins. Then, the moment of silence happens. It's just a lull but I find that I've come to rely on this one silent moment each year to renew and make 'blank' my life and brain. Then, on the day itself, there is the Doing Of Nothing. This state of being interrupted only occasionally by the experience of The Eating Of The Christmas Cookies (made lovingly by my mom) of which there are several varieties: There are the cut-out frosted cookies which are crisp, decorative and not-too-sweet. There are the chocolate layer cookies that cannot be explained other than to say that there are never enough of them (which I believe is by design). And, incredibly, there are the Russian tea cakes which melt in your mouth, transport you to a better place, solve all of your problems and somehow make you accept your own mortality--even if only briefly. Oh, and there are the pretzels dipped in chocolate for which I have no opinion.

Dec 11, 2011

Nothing Happened

Wednesday 3 am
You wake up confused by all the coughing. Then you realize that it's you that is coughing. How long have I been coughing? You cough and cough even though your lungs are clear--and that's the thing--your lungs are just not getting that there is no reason to be coughing like this. You're disoriented, exhausted and covered in sweat. For a moment you wonder if this is actually your death-day. 

4 am
You manage your way in semi-darkness to the bathroom to find the cough syrup. A small herd of concerned kittens has collected around you and are all meowing. You answer their questions but they seem unconvinced. Your boyfriend, who is already downstairs getting you tea, has, thankfully, not yet caught this cold. 

Work goes okay until about 3 pm where, while in the middle of a sentence, you lose your voice. Completely. You try to clear your throat but it's no use. This is funny for about twenty minutes. Finally, you just go home. You have no voice. 

You stay on the couch all day with your laptop, a glass of hot tea and your phone. You text people. All people--even your mom. After all, you can't talk. And you find that this simplifies many things. 

Your voice starts coming back. Somewhere between 40% and 60%. Though you no longer have any other symptoms, you decide to make soup and remain in pajamas all day. You wrap a blanket around yourself. You 'can't talk', you rasp, you 'have no voice'. 

To your utter dismay your voice is back 100%. It's actually an improvement on your old voice. You've never felt better in your life. Still, you keep checking your glands and clearing your throat only to find that you aren't in any pain. You are well. Healthy. Your voice is clear as a bell. No matter, you think, one more day of bed rest and pure silence can't hurt anything.  

You can't believe the text you have jokingly composed to your boss while waiting for the coffee to brew: You are 'so sorry' but you 'might need another day or so'--you stop yourself right there--what am I doing? You deliberate. You take out the 'or so'. You press 'send'. You regret it instantly.

You return to work and begin talking to people again--just like that--though considerably less than before. You're even a few minutes early. It's as though nothing happened. 

Dec 4, 2011

Roman Sat Uncomfortably

Roman sat uncomfortably in the old red leather banquette with the worn arm rests. He was waiting in the designated waiting area that was really just a narrow hallway between two offices. The walls there had been painted an umber-yellow and there was a window with a too-small sheer curtain above where Roman sat. Sometimes he could hear their voices beyond the door but not what they were saying. Why, Roman wondered. Why must I always be waiting for her? He looked up and noticed a potted plant balanced precariously on the window sill above his head. The plant was dead. 

I must forgive Gus.

Those had been his father's dying words: I must forgive Gus. You must forgive me and I must forgive myself. 

How, Roman wondered, did the old man manage all of that in the last few hours of his life? How was that even possible? But that was exactly what Roman's father had done. As though forgiveness were so simple, Roman thought. As though the alternative were somehow--!



Thanks for waiting. Please, come in. 

Nov 20, 2011

I Want Soup

I want soup. Soup or chili. With bread from the oven and with little pats of butter wrapped in gold foil. Or stew. I almost forgot about stew. Stew would be great on a day like today. Wait. Stop everything. Three words: Grilled Cheese Sandwich. On pretzel bread. That would be great. Or cake. I could just have cake. There's stuffed cabbage. That would be fine. Or pot roast. It doesn't matter. 

Nov 15, 2011

The Phone Drawer

It turns out I saved all of my old cell phones. I didn't set out to do this. It just happened. So, now, every time I open the drawer that happens to contain my old cell phones I feel weird about the whole thing. As well, nearly every single time I open that drawer I imagine the cell phones finally on a shelf in an antique store somewhere. Left over crummy plastic artifacts. But, you know, why not? I ran across several unopened cans of soup at one of my favorite antique stores recently. They were only fifty years old and very reasonably priced. No, these cell phones, though functionally dead, haven't even begun their real journeys, yet. They don't even know what they're in for. They're just resting, now. Gathering strength. Being protected from dust, direct sunlight and the threat of landfills so that they can one day fulfill their real, penultimate purpose (their ultimate purpose being something beyond my imagination though fuel seems likely). I almost envy them, these cell phones. Almost.  

Nov 14, 2011

Having a Taco

I think this is as good a place as any to mention that I am eating a taco and that it is very good. It was brought home yesterday as leftovers. This was unbeknownst to me. I just found it all wrapped up in foil in the refrigerator. I am eating it cold because, after weighing the options of microwaving versus baking the taco in the oven, it seemed simplest to just eat the taco cold. Besides, microwaving tends to change the consistency of things like tortillas in a bad way. And baking seems extreme considering the waste of energy and time involved in getting the oven to the correct temperature for just one taco. The third, rarely spoken of but valid option of buying a toaster oven to reheat the taco, too, seemed a bit much. So I took the chance of eating it cold. Of course I could have let the taco become room temperature but that would have taken forever. So, I just went with the cold-variety taco. And it's good. Even though it's cold. So I can only imagine how good it was while still hot. But that was yesterday. Like I said, I didn't know about this taco until today.  

Aug 9, 2011



Jul 23, 2011

A Wayward Peppercorn

There was no time to find my tools* so, using just my index finger and the kind of quick thinking and ingenuity human beings find themselves capable of while under intense pressure, I moved the out of place peppercorn back into what was deemed 'that awkward blank space'. That is, with nerves of steel, love and an unflinching eye for the composition of things like peppercorns, I was able to place a single green wayward peppercorn rightfully back amongst its peppercorn-neighbors, once and for all. 

That was Thursday. It was now Friday and the peppercorns were camera-ready. Looking as though they had been casually, hurriedly, perhaps even accidentally strewn across a cutting board, the peppercorns added a welcome nod to reality in what otherwise appeared to be a pristine, state-of-the-art kitchen (but what was really a hot, muggy, dusty studio). No, I don't think I could have been any happier. I mean, if someone has to style the peppercorns--and you know, somebody does have to and, let's face it, I have that down--why shouldn't it be me? 

Of course, I still don't know how long this project is expected to last. I'm afraid to ask anyone for fear that pinning down such information will somehow put a crack in this latest of employment related magic spells. Thus, it is wisely and rationally that I've decided to ignore the issue of deadlines altogether and instead simply keep showing up. I'll simply keep showing up and they'll simply keep paying me. It's so reasonable I can't believe I never thought of it before. 

I already miss it, though. This job. I miss it and I even envy the situation as though I'm somewhat outside my own body and all the glamor of peppercorn staging were actually happening to someone else. It's as though my brain has found a new hack wherein I circumvent the terrible experience of being laid off by jumping directly to the part where I'm standing in the unemployment line: 

I really miss this, my new job! 

Seriously. I really do.


Jun 11, 2011


Oscar sat in the kitchen window watching his Aunt cook breakfast. With his long arms out-stretched in a yawn, the window panes situated just so and the morning sun behind him, an oddly convincing crucifix shaped shadow fell on the narrow space on the floor between him and where his Aunt stood at the stove. He laughed at how unplanned it was. He knew better, though, than to point this sort of thing out to his Aunt, who at that moment was searching for something in a dark cabinet. She mouthed something incredulously to herself regarding her missing spices. Oscar leaned forward adjusting his shadow into various poses, inadvertently half-mooning the alley in the process. A truck honked its horn. The clanking sounds of the kitchen reached a crescendo: It was time to eat. The odor of sausage, onions and peppers mixed with the cloy of dryer sheets and a near-by bucket of hot water and Pine Sol punctuated the cramped, clean quarters. Oscars' Aunt put the bread and the milk on the table and shook her head at her laughing nephew, "Could you please put a shirt on?". 

Mar 8, 2011

A Used Wire Whisk

We walked around a cramped resale shop for about half an hour. All the proceeds go to a no-kill shelter and I did notice a few kittens roaming around. I could tell that they felt right at home and couldn't shake the notion that this resale shop was "starring" these kittens today. It made sense in my head at the time. 

They were cute, too. All mewing and found sleeping in displays of Easter baskets or beneath the hoods of old Hi-Fi consoles. It was hard to resist the pull of the kittens. This is why Tom is the one who goes to this shop and not me, normally. It was Tom, in fact, who had gotten our coffee maker there last summer. A really old, very office-y coffee maker that reminds me of a station wagon for some reason. 

This time around, however, with me in tow, we found only a wire whisk. And it's ironic because our wire whisk had actually broken down very recently. It was the last thing in the world I expected to happen. I mean, how many wire whisks does a person go though in a life time? It turns out that if it rusts, at least one. 

Still, I put it back. Back in the bin with hundreds of cantaloupe scoops that nobody ever wanted. Then we stopped at the little grocery store down the street. I looked and looked but couldn't find any sliced turkey in the refrigerated section. So we had them slice some turkey for us at the deli counter, instead. 

And there you have it.