Twitter / atb20

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

today's grunts

a) birds who insert themselves between me and whatever i'm doing
b) birds who track honey all over the apartment (and my clothes for that matter) due to grunt (a)
c) people in cars who yell curses at feeble-looking elderly folk as they're crossing the street
d) presidents who "fly over" a national disaster area (i remember when he did that here -- i knew we were in good hands from that point on)
e) bosses who get noticibly irritated when i prove unable to read their minds
f) conference calls

well, that's it for now. not too bad, really. any grunts you'd like to share?
on my way home from the grocery store today, i noticed this guy walking toward me. he was not a particularly attractive guy, late thirties, early forties, dark-ish complexion and the most icy blue eyes i've ever seen. the effect was quite creepy in a deranged killer sort of way, but i found that i couldn't look away. i was more than a little unnerved when he noticed my attention and looked back directly at me. i quickly averted my gaze and sped up my gait, leaving the scene quite perplexed.
i'm re-reading one of my favorite books, veronica. at first i couldn't recall exactly why it was at the top of my list. it moved a little slow, and i wasn't sure i was following all of the subtle little clues, but now that i'm more than halfway through, i am reminded. the plot is engaging -- a story of a young man who gets pulled into a dangerous world of magicians by a enigmatic woman named... well, you guessed it. the characters in this, his first novel, are a little flat, but what's most unique about the book is not the plot or the characters, but the way the author (primarily a poet) describes the magical landscape of new york. you get sucked into the fantasy in a very subtle way that you don't realize until you put the book down. anyway, i'm going to get back to it... if your reading list is needing some perking-up, though, i highly recommend it.

taking the cheap way out

so, for now, i am going to steal a large chunk of hilzoy's post from obsidian wings. it's one of my favorite political blogs because not only does it lean in my direction (though not fully), but the level of the discussion is so much higher than on most. no name-calling or cheap shots -- just facts and intelligent discourse. usually, i'm too much of a wuss to comment because i know most of the commenters are better-versed in the political discussion than i am. this post was particularly intriguing because it spoke of the historical events that shaped hilzoy's perception of foreign policy today -- interesting to me because most of these events happened prior to my birth. i am quoting the part where she discusses the lessons she learned living in israel during the 1980s.

before i quote hilzoy, though, i'd like to take a moment to offer up a link to the red cross in case anyone can make a donation on behalf of victims of katrina. though nothing close to what happened last december, this is still a loss of epic proportions.

ok, now onto the post:

living in Israel taught me a lot. First, I was there during the war in Lebanon. When I arrived, I concluded more or less instantly that I had to throw away all my previous thoughts about the entire region and start from scratch, so I just shut up and observed. Probably because of this, I went through one of those periods in which everyone decided that I was the person to whom they had to pour out their life stories. And some of the people who did this had come back from Lebanon. They hadn't been killed or wounded, obviously, but most of them had been horribly damaged psychologically. I also listened to people, both Israelis and Arabs, to whom something unforgivable had been done by people on the other side, and I could not, for the life of me, figure out how so much bad blood could ever be overcome. Lesson: war is always worse than you'd think. Always. No casualty figures begin to hint at either the damage or the long-term poison.

Second, I came to believe (rightly or wrongly) that there was at least a decent chance that if Israel had, from the outset, treated her Arab citizens as equals, and had not taken over the West Bank and Gaza (or, alternately, had taken over some small bits and given the rest back), that things might have worked out. But who could possibly blame Israelis, during the 50s, when they were dealing with survivors of the Holocaust and assimilating Jews from the Arab world, for not stopping to be that prescient? Not me. But I did conclude: always, always try to get things right at the outset, even if you have every reason to be preoccupied with other stuff. -- I didn't get anywhere near blaming the Israelis for this, as I said, but I thought: this is a lesson I want to try to bear in mind, for my own future use.

Third, I also believed that the Palestinian leadership had made a horrible mistake in choosing to engage in violence against Israel. A Gandhian approach, I thought, might very well have worked; at any rate, it would have been as likely to work in Israel as anywhere, especially since choosing it would have made the Palestinians seem a lot more likely to be good neighbors. Violence, by contrast, was attacking Israel at its strongest point, while throwing away the Palestinians' greatest asset, their moral case. As I saw it, the decision to engage in violence and terrorism was due partly to a lack of imagination and partly to the fact that when you feel aggrieved, you want to strike back, and anything else can feel like "being nice", or appeasement, or a failure of nerve. The lesson here was: do not trust those feelings, and do not assume that what looks like the most extreme solution to an extreme problem is in fact the best one. That Palestinian terrorism was wrong went without saying, to me; that it was also pragmatically stupid was an important lesson.

Fourth, I tended to think that the Palestinian leadership had been absolutely disastrous, and one of the disastrous things I noticed was this: that they had been running refugee camps (e.g. in Lebanon) forever, and yet instead of trying to raise kids who could actually be citizens of a country, they had raised them to be soldiers, and to settle things with Kalashnikovs and RPGs. This relates to the third point: one of the things I like about Gandhi is that he thought of political struggle as necessarily involving preparing yourself and others to be moral people, and citizens in a functioning country. One of the things I hate about bringing kids up to fight is that it makes the transition to their being ordinary citizens who settle their differences peacefully much, much more difficult than it has to be. I thought this was both immoral and desperately short-sighted. As before, I could see how people might think: this should not be our priority now; but I thought: oh yes it should.

Fifth, I came to believe that it was impossible to understand the Middle East without understanding the depth of humiliation of the Arabs. And not military humiliation, but cultural. I said something about that in a comment that was promoted to a post, long before I joined the hive-mind, here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

the stink

it's here. and, ooh, is it nasty. turns out, it is indeed "not the heat, it's the humidity." the stink on the streets of new york is at its most pungent. let's hope that fall is on its way, because i won't be living here much longer if it isn't. i need to start wearing perfume or something to mask the street stink. sometimes it's a urine-ish waft; other times it is just an unidentifiable, humid funk. blech. i'm hiding out in my apartment just to escape it (well, a/c doesn't hurt either).
bird behind bars
izzy pic of the day
not much to say today. sorry. here's a funny little post from random_speak.

Monday, August 29, 2005

au revoir, mon amore

so, starting today, i am a single woman once again -- well, single in effect, not in spirit. mil starts his fall courses today, and that means between work and school i will probably only see him as "that lump" sleeping beside me. this semester he gets to enjoy the glory of physics, calculus II and... hold your breath now... organic chemistry. yes the unbridled joy that accompanies a whole semester of carbon-based compounds. i can sense the jealousy from here. anyway, even though i am really glad that i am not him, i am a bit sad to be me, too. because, as those who know him are well aware, mil is fun. he's entertainment in man-form. fortunately for him, i have a few friends... though most of them either work too hard, live too far away, or are busy making babies (or all three at once!). perhaps i will re-join my other single-lady friends, trolling the bars. then again, these days i seem to have more of an eye for cute toddlers than cute men (johnny depp, notwithstanding). sad, isn't it?
in other news, the class of 2009 arrived on campus today in all their fresh-faced glory -- four years of government-loaned goodness has just begun! i temper my disbelief that it's been ten years since i had that look upon my face with the fact that someday (if they're lucky) these freshmen will be 28, too. they too will look upon the class of 2019 with the same kind of mixture of jealousy and disbelief that i have now. (let's just ignore for the moment the fact that I will be 38 when that occurs... please.)
finally, here are a couple of articles i found interesting in my morning read:
- a nytimes op-ed piece underscoring how lame this "controversy" over evolution is
- an article about how differences of opinion are handled in w's army
oh yeah, and you should check out "the observatory" from last week's new york observer... it's priceless. (and a download, fyi)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

thoughts on employee relations

i am starting to learn that as i age, i am not the only one who's changing. this fine saturday morning, i went to help an old friend/bride-to-be pick up her dress form a local bridal store. she hasn't asked much of me as her wedding approaches, so i was happy to help, but i hadn't spent much quality time with her in the last few years. it was fine overall, but i was somewhat surprised by her attitude toward her employees. she's still under 30, so she's a young boss with her own relatively new, but quite successful small company. she was telling me a rather entertaining story about how her friend (and other bridesmaid/bride-to-be) fell into the gap between the subway and platform while shuttling to her bridal appointment with her dress and manolo blahniks. her friend had asked her to join her at the hospital when she went to get stitches (after her fitting, of course), but my friend couldn't go because she had her own fitting, so she sent her assistant instead. granted she didn't tell her assistant that she had to go with her friend but asked if she would. if i were her assistant, though, i would have been royally peeved. you can't exactly say "no" to your boss, but you can resent her for the rest of your employ. being in the "assistant"category myself, i was quick to point out that i would have had interesting things to mutter under my breath if my boss had asked me to do such a chore. she seemed surprised... she felt that the assistant was freeing up her time which was more valuable for the company. i replied that that's fine, so should she do your laundry because that frees up more of your valuable time?

she then told me another story about another new employee. apparently, this employee was told when she was hired that my friend would be busy planning her wedding for the first few weeks but would later have a chance to train her and get her more involved. my friend was put off however when this new employee who spent most of the day cutting cards for the wedding, asked if she would be done by 6:30pm (yes -- 6:30!) because she had plans to go out with her boyfriend. i really didn't know how to respond. i was disgusted by my friend at this point. had she totally forgotten what it was like to be a grunt? i mean it's one thing if you told the employee when she was hired that she would be expected to do personal errands, but if not, then you are totally taking advantage of your situation as the employer. yuck!

so i ask you, am i over-reacting? should employees of small firms be expected to run personal errands for their boss? (i'm still bewildered by the whole idea that my friends have assistants.)

Friday, August 26, 2005

lucky moosk

i'm sure i've mentioned this before, but i'm totally spoiled rotten. i was pretty spoiled by my folks growing up, but it was nothing like the spoiling i get from good ole mr. moosk. take for example last night. last night i encountered a strange chirp coming from a tree near our apartment building. after several minutes of staring into the summer foliage, i finally notices a sweet-looking cockatoo hollering out to passerby. not being your normal bird kook, who might spend a couple of minutes whistling toward the avian in an idiotic attempt to call the bird down, i proceeded up to my apartment where i quickly gathered my pink-feathered friend and an old bag of millet (like ice-cream for birds). rushing back down, i dial mil in an attempt to get a number for animal rescue/humane society. he kindly obliges -- unfortunately both close at the ridiculous hour of 4pm. so what does moosk do? she stands on the busy street corner making painfully poor attempts at whistles and throwing handfuls of millet in the general direction of the winged miscreant. the bird of course makes no notice, so i feed a handful of millet to the obliging izzy in an attempt to show the miscreant how yummy said millet is. izzy proceeds to draw attention of all the locals (both homeful and homeless, young and old, english-speaking, not english-speaking) while creating copious quantities of bird-crap with which to decorate my white skirt and brown t-shirt. where does mil come into this whole insane moosk picture? well, not only did he provide useless humane society contact information, but when he came home (an hour after i took up the "escaped cockatiel rescue mission") he actually didn't pretend not to recognize me, but offered a quick peck and stood on the corner with me long enough to convince me that it was a lost cause -- and that we were both hungry. he rocks, doesn't he? funny ending to the cockatiel story: the bird was still there this morning, but as soon as he spotted me, he flew off to parts unknown. hopefully, he's not hawk food.

another reason mil is awesome, is that he cleaned all of the dishes after i decided i had to make an extremely messy version of asparagus risotto. fortunately, it was quite yummy as well.

the third example of mil's beneficence is from this morning when he woke up at 7:45 to start clearing the corner for our new piece of furniture (kindly dedicated by those other moosk-spoilers, my folks). moosk meanwhile was still well esconced in various shades of sleep. mil has also spent the last hour and a half waiting for said piece of furniture to be delivered and is now spending the last few minutes before his hospital stint reconnecting computers, modems, printers, etc. yeah, he pretty much rocks.
i am currently enjoying:

did you know that there are precisely seven squggles on hostess cupcakes? i didn't.
the ever-expanding list of places that i want to visit... someday:
- vietnam
- australia
- new zealand
- vancouver
- toronto
- seattle
- amsterdam
- hawaii
- buenos aires
- st. lucia
- japan (tokyo very briefly, mostly countryside)
- hong kong
- panama
- spain
maybe i'll make virtual trips to each once a week... what do you think?
final note for the week: what do you guys think about mil and i combining blogs? i think it might be fun, but who knows? weigh-in here.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

so, lately i've noticed that there's this weird phenomenon where some blog readers give some blog writers gifts. is it just me, or is that really weird? i've never been looking for new people to give gifts to? between all of the weddings in the past year, i'm lucky if i can give gifts to people i actually know. why is it now customary to send gifts to fellow bloggers who happen to be having a baby? i just noticed last night that one of the bloggers i read got a nursing stool (or some such thing) from another blogger i read. doesn't that seem a bit much for someone who refers to you as "miss doxie"? i guess it's just me. (needless to say i will be posting my baby registry on my blog as soon as i get knocked-up -- you know... just in case).
you know how i started this blog because i was starting to feel old. well, some things just make me feel even older. i mean these are the people i'm going to run into on the steps or see in my hallway. mere babes...
things i still like even though i'm old: poi dog pondering, veronica, u2, rollerblading, birds, showgirl (friends since preschool), msjudo, (elementary school), and garnet (high school).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


sometimes i bug myself. i am habitually late, and i don't always like it. i want to be one of those people who can wake up at 7am and feel happy and refreshed. instead, i'm one of those people who rolls out of bed at 8:45 (though really closer to 9am) only because if i don't i will pee in my precious bed. once i'm out of bed, things are slightly better, but i still don't move quickly. first, i go to the bird's cage and let in the first rays of lilght. i'll pop open the door and invite izzy out to stretch her wings. after that five minute affair, i'll head to my laptop where i'll proceed to check my email and the weather. if there's nothing interesting in the inbox, this will usually only last a minute or two. where i am most preternaturally slow is the whole shower thing. i usually bring my bird into the bathroom with me where she has her own special shower perch. this means that throughout the shower and drying off experience, i am sprinkling her with water or scratching her fuzzy little head. after the shower itself, izzy will hop onto my towel in hopes of getting dried off (not that this is negotiable, as she will scratch my eyes out or shriek until i'm deaf if i don't). fortunately, it is incredibly cute -- though quite time-consuming.
izzy in towel

once she is satiated that i have adequately dried her, i am allowed to dry myself, but this does not mean that i can do so in peace. while i go through my assortment of toners, moisturizers, and hair gels, izzy is often pecking at the floor mat or knocking items into the sink. mil often wonders why i even let the bird into the bathroom while i shower, but i tell him that it would be cruel not to. on weekdays, she only gets a few hours of freedom a day -- how can i take some of those minutes away from her? the truth is that, i love the distraction. distraction is my favorite thing. if i didn't have the bird to distract me, i'd probably bring a book into the shower with me or at least a wet tunes radio. it's my innate ability to be easily distracted that makes it so hard for me to be on time. usually, i'm quite accepting about this not-so-good part of myself, but today, i was not. i had totally forgotten that despite the fact that my boss would be out of town, the copier guys was coming to do maintenance on our machines -- at 10am! i of course didn't remember this until 10:05, when i was still at home goofing around with my bird! aragh! anyway, after sufficiently brow-beating myself, i called the maintenance guy and rescheduled for this afternoon. i hate eating crow...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


sometimes things just suck. one thing that sucks is finding out that you didn't get into an internship program that you had your heart set on. another thing that sucks is having someone you love more than anyone else find out that he didn't get into a program that he had his heart set on. to that, i say, "plttht!" with all of the spit and slobber it implies.

Monday, August 22, 2005

august reverie

mmm... salt & vinegar chips... i've had a hankerin' for these for the last few weeks and have finally found my fix. does the fact that they're "sea salt" make them better for me? i hope. 'cause i'm eating a lot of them.

ok. now i've forgotten what i was planning to write about. do you remember? maybe it was about the weekend... mil and i went rollerblading yesterday. he went around the park four times...
...this is near the end of his third lap (when i joined him).

we spent the rest of the day vegitating (and eating taco bell), but we felt that we were entitled given we'd already gotten some exercise and fresh air. it was also about 150% humidity yesterday, so who really wants to be out in that?

i also finally saw "march of the penguins" on saturday. baby penguins are *officially* the cutest animals on earth. can you deny it?

we also watched ungodly amounts of "coupling". phew, is that a good show. if you haven't watched it, you must. at first mil and i weren't sure what all the hype was about, but once we hit the "giggle loop" episode, we were hooked. not sure how anyone thought an american version would work though... why is america like that? anything that's good must be reworked for maximum profitability -- even if that means that it's no longer good.

the fella and i also found ourselves in the fortunate position of having several of our closest friends depart their chosen borough just to hang out with us. we chucked our no-take-out rule, and plugged in the scene-it. despite my inability to remember anything from any movie, it was a fun evening. i also had the rare opportunity to watch someone else fall unconscious during a social activity. this was awesome because...well... it's usually me.

Friday, August 19, 2005

boring bird

well, my boss came in for about 2 minutes today, and for the first time i was actually really happy to see him. i've been so tired and lazy these last few weeks that i've actually been boring myself. (blah, blah, house, blah, blah, politics... i know you're feeling it too.) he didn't actually have a lot for me to do (hence my speedy return to the blog world), but i enjoyed the two minutes of intellectual stimulation.
just one question: does this mean i like work?

idle hands...

mil and i are working our way toward academically-induced asceticism. it's amazing what a little penury will do to ya.

i’ve always had reverence for the simplicity of the quaker lifestyle and the rejection of consumerism that it entails, but i have been self-aware enough to know that i do not have the wherewithal to actually live like that . in the last few months, however, mil and i have had to cut back, not just on the frivolities (movies, dinners out, clothes), but on the essentials (cable, take out, dvds). we’re doing our best to hoard enough money to pay rent next month… what’s amazing is that even though we’ve been doing all this scrimping and saving, our apartment is still overrun with crap we don’t need and never use. i opened my medicine cabinet today and noticed that despite the fact that we’ve been eating mac n’ cheese for the last five weeks, i still have ridiculous quantities of lotions, toners, hair goops, and moisturizers overrunning my cabinet(s). hell, i could go into business! mil has a collection of simpsons dolls… i mean figures, that would put comic store man to shame, and despite his recent restraint, our dvd collection still puts most of our better-employed friends in awe. i guess after a lifetime of reflexive purchasing (of which, izzy was the largest of all), it’s hard to change one’s ways.

this is most obvious when i am here at work without much to do. i start thinking about all of the things i want… first on the list is that house i mentioned in my last post, but once i remember how impossible that is, i start thinking about puppies and searching once i realize that we live in a small one bedroom apartment and that i’d have to pick-up dog poo, i start looking at the real estate section of the ny times to see what we might be able to someday afford. it continues like this for a while. occasionally, i’ll start looking at birds or kittens when the puppy thing passes. sometimes i’m off my rocker enough to start looking at cars to see how expensive they are nowadays.

are we all like this? looking for the next big purchase? the next thing that will make our normal lives a little more exciting (for about five minutes)? is it just me that thinks this is pretty sad?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

a stoop of my own

last night i had the pleasure of drooling over my uncle's old brownstone in brooklyn. sometime in the 1970s, my uncle and his wife at the time decided to rebel against their suburban backgrounds and find a charming old 1870s, 4-story brownstone in the 'hood in brooklyn (now the hipster haven known as clinton hill). when i used to visit as a kid, i thought their house was so much cooler than the house we had in houston. how many of my friends had three sets of stairs in their houses? how many of them had houses that were over a hundred years old... in the middle of new york city no less? ever since then i dreamt of one day owning a brownstone of my own... of course now that i'm old enough to consider buying any piece of property (notice i didn't say wealthy enough), the price of a brownstone in any of the boroughs hovers around a million dollars if not infinitely more... so sad to see that dream squashed.

my widowed aunt is now selling the place, so i will not even have the pleasure of visiting in the not-too-distant future. i guess that's how it goes...

hazy skyline

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


isn't it weird to see it spelled out like that? i sorta like it... it looks like what it is (an onomotopoeia of sorts).

anyway, i will begin today's post with a discussion of lids. not "lids" like that crappy mall store, but lids like those on a jar or soda bottle. i take a moment to talk about lids because mil seems to have a special connection to them -- so special, in fact, that i am not allowed to close any important items in our apartment for fear that i will let a little of that bane of freshness and last night i got a talking-to for not closing the plastic container protecting our precious oreos tightly enough. fortunately, i don't take these things too seriously, so our marriage goes on without a hitch. fortunate, as well, is the fact that mil accepts these little deficiencies with only mild ire (though thank goodness, it wasn't a seltzer bottle -- then i'd really be in trouble).

on an entirely unrelated topic, i will mention the things i enjoy most in a blog:
1) frequent reference to the self in the third person. (moosk really likes that)
2) anthropomorphism of animals or small children (yes, i know that children are people -- i'm not that much of a lefty -- but by this i mean the providing of infants/small children with verbal capacities beyond their years).
3) funny names for spouses/significant others (e.g., "the queen" or "the squirrely")
4) humorous bits of remembered dialogue (i think i respect this most because my memory is like a sieve -- periodically throughout the day i exclaim, "this would be hysterical on the blog!" only to have the entire conversation fly out of my head mere seconds later.)
5) presence of verbal exclamations in written dialoge (e.g., gah, hurmph, pshaw)

finally, a rather fightening post from edward at obsidian wings... an interesting update on the unfortunate individual who was shot by the police on the tube last month.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

start fighting!

not something you expected me to say, eh?

seriously, jeffrey yamaguchi has a great list of 25 things you can do to fight corporate control. i think most of us born and bred consumers will have a tough time with all 25 (i will cut down on my old navy duds, but i can't go cold turkey), but i'm for any list that has "surf the web" as a rule.

what race is pink?

izzy at her country house

lately i have been thinking a lot about race and ethnicity. one reason is that i am working on our annual progress report which requires us to calculate how many study participants we've had, stratifying them by race and ethnicity. (since our project is government sponsored, we have to prove that our participants are racially and ethnically diverse.) this report often proves challenging because we always lump hispanic/latino in with race, not ethnicity, when we ask the study participants. the gov't., however, wants to know how many white hispanic/latinos we have versus black or asian (?) or native american hispanic/latinos. what's interesting to me is that hispanic vs. not hispanic is the only ethnic category requested. when i look at wikipedia to figure out exactly what it means to be "white", it lumps together all people of european, middle eastern, and north african descent. it also describes it as an ethnicity versus a race. but if "white" isn't a race, what is? well, it seems we're not quite sure. wikipedia does its best to explain here. i'm still not convinced. which leads me to the other reason i was thinking about race and ethnicity...

i was reading middlesex this past weekend, and i noticed that the central character did not think of herself/himself as american in the traditional sense because of her/his greek background. (i'll just refer to her as a "she" from now on since that's what she was thought to be at that point in the book, and it's just a pain in the *ss to keep writin "she/he.") she hung out with the other outsiders -- the indian girl, the asian girl, and the jewish girl. this struck a chord with me because i realized that that configuration mapped almost precisely onto my experience growing up in houston (through the murkiness or memory i see my lunch table: three indian girls, two asian girls, a jewish girl, a sri lankan, a unitarian, and a lesbian). i put that together with my social work professors remark on my genogram assignment that i am not "white," and i finally realized at age 28 that i am not the plain-jane, all-american girl that i always thought i was. i realized that all of the popular girls in my private school were of the freckly, protestant variety. my half-jewish, half-catholic, mostly agnostic background put me into my own category or "otherness." i guess what's so strange about this is not that i'm "other" -- h*ll, most of us are, aren't we? it's that i didn't realize it until now.

anyway, that's my revelation for the week. anyone else have any dramatic self-discoveries that didn't occur until adulthood?

Monday, August 15, 2005

what happens in vegas...

the strip

i'm so exhausted right now that i can't really think of anything interesting or witty to write. i've uploaded some pics onto flickr if you're interested in seeing them. i actually took a whole set of photos of the call girl cards that were all over the street, but i was afraid they'd close my flickr account. showgirl and i thought it was hysterical that the streets were littered with tons of these little 3x5 cards containing pictures of scantily clad women with such enigmatic captions as "pink passion -- $49 special!" or "affordable blondes direct to you!" one topless britney look-alike with a pink baseball cap (aptly named "star") is only $47. i knew that "what happens in vegas stays in vegas," but i didn't know that the "escort services" came so cheap and so well publicized. interesting that given the location of these cards (on the ground, propped up on trash cans) it would actually be easier for a 4-year old to catch sight of them than a 40-year old. i can only imagine what the passers by thought when they saw me and my hot friend snapping photos of the exotic "lola" and the well-hung "vicky."

anyway, that was about is vegas-y as my vacation got. i spent the majority of the time out by my grandmother's pool (hooray for the new, tanner me!) or finding creative ways to decline her chocolate chip cookies (which had a texture somewhere between pralines and cardboard thanks to her last-minute substitution of maple syrup for the usual brown sugar). i got to catch-up with showgirl as well who is no longer a showgirl, but an elementary school p.e. teacher. she is rather desperately trying for her second child, so i got to hear quite a bit about basal body temperatures and recommended timing for home pregnancy tests. i tried to be encouraging without revealing my own not-so-latent desire for mommyhood. i kept reminding myself how nice it will be to enjoy another year of having mil all to myself before pregnancy and parenthood take over. one of the highlights of the trip was a show involving lots of carnival-esque acrobats and esther williams-style aquatic dances.


i also got to enjoy one of the occasional treats afforded friends of the showfolk -- petting and cuddling with a bouncing baby white tiger. well, this one wasn't exactly bouncing...

the littlest tiger

sitting... on a jetplane

well, i have returned. a little redder, a little fatter (thanks, grammie), and a lot more tired. thanks to the weather system moving through the new york area, i took an unexpected two-hour trip to cleveland en route back from vegas. my dad gets the award for best father ever for waking up at 1am and driving from westchester to newark to pick me up -- after all these years i'm still a little amazed at how much my folks love me. i finally climbed into bed at 2:30, only to be awoken at what seemed to be a painfully early 8:30. despite the early hour, the man and the bird seemed grateful for my return, though i'm looking forward to seeing both of them later today when my brain regains its normal functioning. i'm mainlining coffee at the moment. my buddy, coffee, takes good care of me...

till the photos arrive, i will leave you with the things I miss most about new york when away:

10) my blogs… I know I can access these elsewhere, but that requires effort, and I am not good with effort.

9) my hazelnut coffee… (see comment above)

8) my ability to get wherever I want to go without an automobile (and therefore without the resultant expensive gasoline and war-causing oil)

7) good food… cheap

6) my bed

5) my bird

4) the prevalence of the leftist views I’ve come to know and love

3) my ny friends

2) my folks

and this one’s a gimme…

1) my man

btw, thanks to the 9 hours on the plane, i'm nearly finished with middlesex... if you haven't read this one yet, i highly recommend it.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


ah... now i get it. i'm flattered that someone thinks that i get enough traffic to warrant advertising on my comments, but since i'm not really interested in having non-paying advertisers, i shall return to my practice of allowing only registered users to comment. sorry if this is a pain for those actually wanting to... say... comment on my site. that's still more than welcome!

vegas, baby, vegas

well, i am off for a long weekend in -- you guessed it -- vegas. i'm not much of a gambler, so this trip is more of a family vacation. perhaps you remember a while back when i posted about my grandmother's slowly fading memory.... well, she has returned home to vegas where she is most happy. she can tap dance with "the girls" and play nickel poker when she's feeling like a night out. this, of course, makes the rest of us worry sick since none of her relatives live anywhere near vegas. our compromise was that she can continue living like the showgirl that she is, so long as she lets us come and visit her every few weeks. now is my turn. it should be fun. like all grandmothers, she tends to spoil me rotten. of course, i'll miss mil like mad, but that's the duty of every spouse, so i'll do it with panache (and phone calls several times a day).

i'll report back on my return. in the meantime i leave you with this hot pic of my friend, showgirl, who i will also be visiting while in vegas. (gentlemen, she is a married woman, so stop your drooling now. ladies, she's a mother of an eight-year old, so you may commence your drooling... life is just not fair.)

kori, the showgirl

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


does anyone else here have a case of the summer blahs? i remember getting this back when i was in elementary school... august hit and half of me was anxiously awaiting the start of the school year and the heightened activity levels that came with it, while the other half of me was in dread of the months of homework and lack of playtime ahead. despite the mixed emotions, both halves were equally ready to get this party started.

this time around, i must admit that less than half of me is excited about the year to come, but the entirety of me just wants to get this whole thing over with. i wish i had one of hermione's time turners, so i could just flash forward to the me a year from now. the one who's finished going to school and working at the same time. the one who's found a nice high-paying job in the social work field (preferably at columbia, so i can keep my benefits). the one who's husband has already aced the mcats and started med-school applications. yeah... that would be nice. instead, i'm me now. waiting anxiously for the unknown...

a couple of weeks ago, i managed to negotiate a return to my full-time salary. unfortunately, i did so at the cost of my future sanity. another professor here in the psych department needs a part-time assistant, and since right now i have increased my blog-roll tenfold out of sheer boredom, it seemed like an easy enough thing to do. of course in four weeks, i will start my classes, and in six weeks i will be knee-deep in my field placement, so i will have about thirty hours a week to do twice as much work as i'm doing now. yay! reading this blog, you'd think i'm none too smart... but really, it's the appeal of that extra $5K a year (combined with the fear that mil and i won't have enough dough to pay next month's rent) that kicked whatever forethought i had out the window.

see, one of the best things about keeping a journal or a blog is that a year from now, i can look back on this moment and sigh. it will feel as though i did indeed have a time turner, and time really did flash forward -- well, one can dream, can't she?

Monday, August 08, 2005

knitting whimsy

some folks put their creative talents to good use... take for example this vibrator cozy complements of mes projects! and you always thought your grandma was knitting booties...

Sunday, August 07, 2005

park life

after a week where it was so hot and 'umid that i felt like i was going to melt into the ground every time i walked outside, it was nice to have a weekend where we didn't get above 90F. to celebrate, mil and i spent 90% of the of the daylight hours in one park or another. yesterday we met one of mil's school buddies and his girlfriend. girlfriend and i spoke about the good and ills of social work school while mil and buddy tossed a frisbee. i of course took a few breaks from the conversation to snap some park photos. this is my favorite.
central park sky

what actually made the less than 90F weather even better was the fact that 75% of the new yorkers escaped the city to their country homes in new hampshire or their beach homes in the hamptons for the weekend. one of the best things about living in a city where gentrification has reigned supreme is that most of the residents are too rich to stay in one place all summer long. yay us! we practically get the place to ourselves!

mil and i actually had quite a day yesterday. we spent most of the day processing the pregnancy scare of the month (i.e., arguing). this one was a doozy... several days late, some achy boobs and nausea to make it feel authentic. blech. after realizing that there were no little mils or moosks on the way, we felt relieved, but i also felt a little sad (i'm sure hormones had nothing to do with it). as a result of the emotional upheaval, i started to question my whole social work plan. since mil is laying the groundwork for a long and grueling medical training, i'm wondering if it's worth the time, energy, and money that will go into my finishing my msw -- especially since msws are not known for their high salaries. who knows if i can even afford to take an msw job once i get the degree next year.

anyway, we got past the upheaval. we're back to the original plan. one year of hell, and then we can move on to family and future stuff... today was good. we spent some time in prospect park with good friends. mil got to play catch with metsfan, and i got to catch-up with cat, crimson, and archivist. we also got some all-important puppy and baby time.
caitlin & annie

btw, i just witnessed one of the most beautiful moments of my life. mil just carried izzy over to her cage and gave her a carrot... and i'm still alive. i will carry that moment in my heart forever...

life in the big city

welcome to our living room. with the influx of new money and new architecture to our 'hood, we now have to pleasure of living in the new times square. our local deli has now become an american apparel. our old biography sign with the time and temperature has turned into this:
the light from this sign is so bright it lights up our fridge in the middle of the night. here's a straight, daytime shot...
CNN sign

mmm... sushi

homemade sushi
Originally uploaded by atb20.

for our first anniversary, mil got me a sushi set. we were very intimidated at first. gotta buy the right fish, gotta use the right kind of rice, turn it and fan it just right... seemed like a lot of work. last night, with nothing better on our social calendars we decided to break in the rice-maker and sushi set and this was the result. may not look like much, but in taste our spicy tuna rolls almost rivaled yoshi... almost.

Friday, August 05, 2005

why i love northern exposure

ruthann: my other son, matthew... he had such promise...
ed: oh, what happened?
ruthann: he moved to chicago. he's an investment banker.
ed: i'm sorry...

intelligent design

hi. i was just listening to air american radio this morning and reminded of how frighteningly ridiculous our government has become. it's this whole concept of teaching "intelligent design" in public schools as if it were some alternative scientific theory on par with evolution instead of just a load a bullsh*t. pardon my french, but intelligent design is not a theory. it is an article of faith, and whatever "evidence" these bible beaters conjure up to support their "theory" really just undermines their religious belief if you ask me. the bible never said that it was proposing a scientific theory when it told the story of genesis and the creation of the earth. it was an allegory meant to inspire reverence for the grandness of god's creation. the folks on air america were mentioning how "days" as we know them cannot exist without the sun which was created on one of those "days." makes sense, but that just proves my point -- you can't argue science against faith. they exist on different planes -- one rational, the other spiritual, both valuable.

what scares me so much is that i am reminded of high school. i grew up without any sort of organized religion. when i had questions about where we came from or how the earth came into being, i looked to science. i never knew any other way. i assumed everyone else was like me in that regard. but i was wrong. amazing that growing up in texas my theory that everyone was like me wasn't challenged until high school. i went to a private prep school that claimed no affiliation with the episcopal church next door (despite our weekly "chapel" excursions to said church which included a rote recitation of the lord's prayer...hmm...). once over lunch, i found my friends arguing with one member of our group over evolution. i'm not sure how the topic came up, but i was shocked to learn that 9 out of 10 of my friends did not believe in evolution. they were attacking my one friend, w, pointing at a glass of water and saying things like, "so you believe we came from this???" i couldn't believe what i was hearing! you mean you don't? you think that the first man was made out of clay and women were made from this guy's rib??? they then went to go get one of our history teachers to prove their point. i thought, phew, at least she'll knock some sense into them. but, no, she didn't... more shocking than my barely post-pubescent friends believing that evolution was questionable, but our history teacher believed that there was geological proof of genesis. geological proof of genesis!!! what? where? how? i thought all geological evidence proved that the earth was billions of years old?!? it was this moment when i decided to leave texas for good. there's no way i'm raising my children in a state where more than 50% of intelligent, well-educated folks think evolution is questionable because there's "evidence" for genesis.

anyway, you can imagine the fear that set-in when i first learned that individuals within our federal government thought that "intelligent design" should be taught as an alternative to evolution in our public schools. i realize that i just ended any hope of having a reasonable discourse with folks on the other side of the debate -- you know, beginning by calling "intelligent design" bullsh*t and all...

next post will be a fun one... i promise!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

and i present to you...

zee afghan
Originally uploaded by atb20.

well, it is finally complete. my own personal masterpiece -- The Afghan! begun in november of '04, The Afghan found it's way home this july. i am now staring at my blank knitting needles in disbelief.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

posting fiend

courtesy of madeyouthink

a little gross, but you have to admit it's quite hysterical. this article provides a little more background. basically it's a public art project with a political message. see those germans can be creative!

anyway, i'll use this as an entree to the political discussion of the day. with so many hot topics, where does one begin? despite my political outspokenness (and occasional vulgar imagery), i really do want to understand the other side's point-of-view. i even took to checking out a couple of times and surprisingly didn't find my blood pressure rising out of normal range. (then again i limited these visits to five-minutes apiece.) i agree that we should "value every human life," but i don't understand why "the sanctity of the unborn" should have more value than the "individual freedom" of a living, breathing human being? i agree that zygotes, embryos, and fetuses are lives and i agree that they shouldn't be dispatched without thought for the consequences. i feel the same way about animals... no animal's life should be taken without consideration for it's being. but i'm not a peta freak. i think that animals can be eaten, i think it's okay to keep birds in cages (so long as they're given ample social interaction and time outside of the cage), and i even think that it's okay to test products that can save human lives on animals -- but the suffering of these animals should be limited as much as possible. on the other hand, i don't think non-life-saving products should be tested on animals (mascara comes to mind). i don't think animals should just be killed for their hides, and i don't think animals should be kept in unhealthy or confined conditions. at the same time, despite what i see to be serious issues with the treatment of animals, i value the human life more highly. just as i value it more highly than a fetus. i think those folks who spend time and money to fight against fur coats would be better served to fight for humane treatment of human beings. just as i feel those individuals who fight so stridently for the sanctity of the fetus at all costs, should keep in mind that full-fledged human beings suffer great hardship as well. human beings who suffer mental illness and starvation in the streets of my own city. human beings who are kept in git'mo for years without being charged. children who are provided with a shabby excuse for an education and then blamed when they drop out. children who are not provided with adequate sexual education and get blamed when they find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy at 12 or 13. civil liberties being trampled in my front yard as politicians argue for racial profiling. with so many wrongs going on in the world -- n. korea developing nuclear weapons, the sudanese fighting for their lives in darfur, american troops sacrificing their lives in a distant desert... why are we worrying about unwanted, unborn fetuses -- according to a 1995 georgetown study 77% of abortions occur before the embryo even becomes a fetus, and 94% of abortions occur before the fetus is said to feel pain -- when there are fully formed, fully-functioning human beings who need our love and help. is there some religious significance of the fetus that i just don't understand? what if that fetus grows up to be a woman who wants an abortion? should we have aborted her before she had a chance to become a murderer?

i had a dream

i've been reading all these blogs lately about babies -- trying to decide if she wants one, wanting one, trying to have one, ivfs, ttcs (i don't even know what half these acronyms stand for), pregnancy, and of course the many proud parents who've already had theirs. i'm convinced that pregnancy and babies are the only things that people blog about. (though there's a small chance that it's the only thing i'm interested in reading about...) this coupled with the fact that i have some real, live friends in various stages of this whole baby-making thing, seems to have incited a dream in which mil and i have a baby. i love the dream baby because none of the really tough choices present themselves in dreams -- is now a good time? should i quit my job? what about school? how are we going to afford this thing? who should get up to feed the baby in the middle of the night? no, in dreams babies are just cuddly little munchkins who present themselves whenever you feel like seeing them. this little baby was quite comfortable just napping in the other room while mil and i watched tv. and when i went in to check on it, it rolled off the bed (because mil and i couldn't afford a crib) onto the floor and didn't even hurt itself. then it turned into izzy...

yeah... dreams...

mil, you realize that one of these days i'm goinng to refer to you as "mil" in real life... just a warning.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

strange sightings

my two feet
Originally uploaded by atb20.

on my way into the subway this morning, i saw a rather butch guy wearing sparkly, feminine slippers like these. i didn't quite know what to think -- is it creepy in a i-want-to-wear-your-skin kinda way or cool in that i'm-secure-in-my-masculinity sort of way? i still haven't quite decided. the comment board is open if you'd like to weigh in.

btw, i've noticed how hot that comment board has been lately (ha!), and i'm still trying to sort through all of the blogs that my friends have set-up (ha-ha!). but, seriously, this would be so much more interesting to me if it were a dialogue and not a monologue. politics are a particular favorite of mine if anyone's interested in starting.

ok. my brain is pooped. back to hp1 -- i mean work...

Monday, August 01, 2005

party time

griswold and the green ballon (part deux)
Originally uploaded by atb20.

mil and i attended our first real "baby party" this weekend. there's nothing to make you feel more adult (and, btw, less parental) than a baby party. what is a baby party, you ask? a baby party is a birthday party where the number of people under age 4 is greater than the number of people over 21. it actually started out as a rather pleasurable afternoon in the suburbs, catching up with a couple of friends who late last year absconded with their baby, bought a puppy an moved out of the realm of public transportation. they are now gestating baby #2. baby #1 has gotten cuter and more interactive as she broaches those terrible twos, and our friends are very mellow parents who don't chase after their child with wet ones non-stop, so all was well. we were also accompanied by four other childless adults, so we remained in our comfort zone.

moments later, the other folks started to arrive. the first with one child... (of course, they had #2 on the way as well). we chatted for a moment before all eyes were revited to the two adorable two-year olds. then more folks came, each bearing at least two little tykes. it was entertaining at first to be at my first baby party in 20+ years, but soon enough, all activity was focused around the chillen': making sure that they dog doesn't eat any of them, making sure that they don't go to close to the grill, making sure that they play in the pool, making sure that they come out of the pool, making sure that they had enough juice boxes, making sure that they don't have too many juice boxes, and making sure that their hamburger bites weren't too big... phew... i got tired just watching the parents shuttle around after their young'uns. there must be some special parental hormones that kick into gear because i was ready for a nap after that party.