Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pilates or a Good Work Out Based in Fear

For those of you who don't have access to a gym that provides classes and find your exercise in less costly ways such as jogging, riding your bike, or sprinting away from danger, pilates is a practice of exercise that involves doing 7,000 sit-ups in varying ways for one hour. You'd be surprised at the number of moves that require you to use your abdominal muscles. Almost all of them are done while lying flat on your back with your legs in the air. Which means that most of the time you're exercising, you're not trying really hard because you want a good work-out, you're trying really hard because you don't want to embarrass yourself by passing gas. Celia and I went to pilates after work today. I put my mat in the back of the class as I always do--in part, because I don't want anyone behind me to follow my lead and end up spranging his or her back (there was actually only one "his" in the entire class). I am fine for most of the class because it's the kind of exercise that is very individual. You can either try or you can fake trying and no one can tell. The one exercise I can never do is the roll over. That's when you push your legs over your head with the sheer strength of your lower abs. For me to accomplish this, I have to basically vault backwards from a standing position, hoping that the force of movement will tip me over. Meanwhile, everyone else in the room is able to do no problem; they don't even break a sweat. They are able to hold the pose for, oh, thirty minutes while also filing their nails. But we made it through the class without embarrassing ourselves and we may even return.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Here's the Thing

(Image found at Atelier Lydia)

We went out for happy hour tonight--Molly, Celia, Lisa Marie and I--and we talked for half the night about work--using code names and deconstructing people based on personal experience; attempting to understand how we might succeed in life without being total bitches.

There were frat boys everywhere. We didn't speak to them, though we did lust after the waiter. I don't know how to pick up boys. I don't know if I want to know how to pick up boys. I look around and think, No, not you, not you, maybe you, but probably not and why waste the energy? In some ways, it would be easier if we lived in a culture where your mate was picked for you from birth. So fine, you marry this guy with a gigantic mole on his face, and maybe he's too short, but he also loves his mother and is good with kids so whatever, you can deal with it. You can marry this person and then move on to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. That would be preferable, actually, to standing in a bar, wearing lip gloss, smiling at men in oxford shirts who may or may not already have girlfriends, trying to think of what you might have to offer of interest, wondering if maybe there's something you could say that would reveal who you are, truly, without showing too many flaws.

After talking about work for awhile, I asked this question that Hasana has asked before, with an ammendment, What's the worst thing you've ever done (under the age of 10). Because if you go over that age, things can get sticky and black. I confessed my guilt as an 8 year old walking in on Mrs.McNally crying at her kitchen table. I asked her what was wrong. She said, My sister just died. I said, AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! The most inappropriate reaction ever, as if she had told me that she had missed the bus. Celia told about seeing a horrible accident and trying to make light of it with her mom, saying, Look at the way the sheets are blowing! And her mom responding negatively, stop, that's inappropriate, be serious, don't try to make me feel better!Later, on the way to Broad Street, Lisa Marie, told me about how when she was little, she had a gerbil and she put it into one of those plastic balls and forget about it and then the next time she saw the gerbil, it had died. My response was, No 8 year old should be solely in charge of anything--not an animal, not a plant, and certainly not a parent.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mr. Big Isn't So Hot Anymore

I am glad that he's still working as an actor, even if it's just Law and Order Special Victims Unit but what's more depressing is that he is starting to have a craggy face that makes his nose look larger, and he's got bags under his eyes. Mr Big, what has happened? It's happening to me too. I am getting old, I am getting to the point where people will start giving my birthday cards that jokingly say, Over the Hill! with black balloons. I hate it. The culture of youth. I saw a bunch of teenage girls walking to Catholic school this morning in really short pleated skirts and black tights. One girl was behind the rest, and she had an armful of notebooks and folders clutched to her chest. She is that girl who sits in the front of the class and raises her hand first. I tried to remember what it was like to be in high school--what things did I dread? Everything. Did I have my gym shoes for PE? Would we have to play softball (I was not athletic)? Did I finish my homework for English class? What was for lunch? Would I see the boy(s) I had crushes on? Was my outfit stupid? What I got my period in the middle of giving my speech? Oh, God, did I have my notecards for my speech? What if I failed? Did I have a math quiz? What if I failed geometry and didn't graduate on time? Does Mr. Nichols hate me? Does everyone know that I crank called Joe DeVries on Sunday night? And what do I worry about now when I'm on my way to work? I worry about what I might need to do for the day and then I usually daydream and people-watch. I still worry a lot about all of the what-ifs--what if I fall down the subway stairs, what if I don't have a token and also can't find any money--but it's not the same level of stress. I don't know why once you're an adult, you start remembering your youth fondly when the truth is that when you're in the middle of it, all you want is to be older, to have freedom, to not care what people think (that never goes away), to not have to study for an exam, to stay up all night if you want, to stop getting crushes on guys who aren't interested (that still hasn't gone away for me either).

Monday, March 26, 2007

Okay, I'm in Trouble


I just discovered that with Comcast Digital Cable, I can order about 100 free movies (including 2 Woody Allen flicks and Leprechaun II, III, XI) and I can also record shows to watch later if I am unavailable--which means that I could record Supernanny at pretty much any moment and also catch up on all these old movies I've wanted to watch but never wanted to rent, like In the Heat of the Night. Why does Comcast want to make me a social pariah? Why do they want to force me to stay home and watch Say Anything and relive my high school years and also feel the urge to grab a boom box and stand outside of Shawn's house playing "In Your Eyes" at 2 a.m.? Well, to their credit, they also offer the Exercise Channel, so if I am so inclined, I can subscribe to Pilates III and sit watching others work out while I eat Doritos and critique the participants clothing attire. I can't deal with this much choice, it makes me never want to watch TV again. But listen, they actually have a premium channel that only plays Law and Order Special Victims Unit 24/7. This is my favorite show on Earth. I am envisioning my future. I am imagining that I will never ever never leave the house again, not while I can press multiple buttons on my new remote control and choose anything I want, including Pirates of the Caribean, which I hate, but may watch anyway, just because it's free.

And Then Again There Were 3

So, I took back possession of the possessed Emma Carol who Ernesto and Henri are regarding with indifference laced with suspicion. They sort of remember her---they remember that she's a pain in the ass, meows too much, tears up plastic bags, won't share the string when playing. Also found four chairs in relatively good condition for the kitchen table, yes, at none other than Circle Thrift, only $9 total because all of the furniture was half-off. So now I want for nothing, except someone to clean the cat litter box every day so that I don't have to. I am that lady now; that lady lousy with cats. No room at the inn for any more strays who decide to drop by and insert themselves into my life like E & E did, and Henri too about 12 years ago.

The cable guy, Rudolph, also came on Sunday which means I can now watch Sweet Sixteen on MTV nonstop with my mouth hanging open in disbelief on how spoiled 1% of the population is. Saw two episodes yesterday where the parents spent $300,000 on the b-day parties for their girls. One girl's invitation was a DVD of her riding a white horse with a fake horn attached to it to make it resemble a(n?) unicorn. What is left for these kids? A $5 million wedding? How could you not throw-up on yourself at the thought of spending $300,000 on a party? Will there ever be an episode where the kid goes, Daddy, instead of buying me a $5,000 Versace tiara or flying me to France to search for a dress or hiring little midgets dressed in jester costumes to run around shooting flames from their bitty mouths, how about if we give the money to Angelina Jolie so she can go adopt two more orphaned children to get her toward her goal of having the entire global collection? Or how about 300,000 scholarships for kids who are slotted to go to shitty public schools in Philadelphia where not every kid even has a math book? Or how about if you and mom use the money to take a vacation to where you went on your honeymoon using $10,000 and then give the remainder to UNICEF or Sally Struthers? (Of course, it now occurs to me that I could take the $60 or so that I'm spending to watch this bad TV per month and do something philanthropic too. I am not pure--I indulge to the extent that I can).

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Everything You Ever Wanted in Life, You Can Find at Circle Thrift

Including this chair I'm currently sitting on, purchased this evening for $4 (it was really $8, but blue dot items were half off). Yesterday, Celia and I went to H & M and I almost bought a dress for $34 without blinking, because that was the basic cost of dresses there. Tonight at CT, I found myself switching my parameters of what was acceptable based on the prices there. Like, I'd see something I wanted (for instance, this frame with 100 crosses on it, $8) and evaluate it in a different way. Then I realized, Everything is cheap here. Get whatever you want. For under $20, I walked away with a sweater from Old Navy, a black button up shirt from Express, a chair, and the aforementioned frame. I'm starting to like my house more and more if only because I'm hanging things on the walls and putting out my photos and so it's starting to seem more like mine and less like a place I'm squatting.

(Just as an aside, channel 61 only plays Mama's Family--one of the worst TV shows ever made. Because I have the best reception with just the crappy stations, I found myself watching that Dick van Dyke doctor show--can't think of the name right now. It's like Murder She Wrote except starring Dick van Dyke. Not Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, not Marcus Welby, MD. What the hell is it called?).

The city has changed for me since I moved, mostly because I've been taking the subway to work. Walking to catch public transportation is a completely different experience than driving every day. You feel like you're part of something--you're in the midst of it. I get to see all the row house windows decorated for Easter, I get to step over dog poop, I get to dodge pigeons, I get to pet random dogs being walked by disheveled owners, I get to stand in a subway car, looking at fellow passengers, judging them, I get to read my book, The Awakening. If anything, my subway ride is too short--I can barely read three pages before I find I've reached my destination. Still, it's not a true city experience because I have a car. In Chicago, I had to make choices based on what was walkalbe. I couldn't hop in a car and go to Ikea and buy a cheaply constructed coffee table. I had to shop at the White Elephant and I had to purchase things I could fathom carrying four blocks back home. But I have found that I prefer to be more intimate with the city--I prefer to be in it rather than watching it from the safety of my car. It's more interesting and possibly safer. I'm more likely to be hurt in a car crash than I am to be killed by a falling icicle on the street (right? Right? Please tell me that I'm right).

In other news, I am soon to be famous. Philadelphia Stories invited me to read at a library somewhere for the Philadelphia Book Festival in April. It's for this book they're publishing, something like The Best of Philadelphia Stories. Patti Smith, a 1970s musician known for her hairy armpits, will also be reading there--hopefully not before me, because I feel like she might break the podium. I was ambivalent about accepting because I kind of hate doing readings. You never know if you're going to be reading to a big crowd (less likely) or a crowd of one rowdy homeless woman (more likely). I had a bad dream about it last night. I was doing the reading and a bunch of my friends from work were in the audience and they all booed me. They were like, Untrue! Boring! It was horrible. During this inauguration run through today, I mentioned something about a sniper and then said something like, You should just know that my mind is like a Stephen King novel all the time. It's true. I constantly imagine the most horrible consequences of any event.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I do have a boyfriend!

His name is Ernesto. He is the sweetest boy ever. When I arrive home, he races down the stairs, nearly falling at my feet and licks my eyelid. He follows me wherever I go, wanting my attention, to be near me, to climb on top of my head while I'm sitting at the computer. He chases off other possible suitors (Henri, not much of a contender) taking a swipe at him if he dares to slink near me. He honestly won't leave me alone. He misses his EmmaCarol.

Fine, so I decided to order Internet and basic cable. Well, it's really special basic cable because, as the woman at Comcast explained, basic basic would just be the regular channels I get now, only tuned in more clearly. With special basic basic cable, I can watch MTV and Comedy Central and the Discovery and History Channel and Telemundo. AND if I wanted to pay just $20 more, I could receive 100 extra stations such as the Baking Network, Court TV, Judge Judy 24/7, The Hair Cut Channel, numerous cartoons, a station that plays only The Three Stooges dubbed in Russian, and the Fat White Republican Men Arguing Channel. Then she said, oh, wait, you already get CNBC with the special basic. I resisted the additional channels because I only really watch a maximum of two hours of TV a day, which is probably too much. Last night, there was nothing on at all except for Desperate Housewives which I hate because it thinks it's like a Twin Peaks for suburbia except without the wit, darkness, intelligence, or intrigue. And I hate voice-over narration which they overuse. There's that other show on with Ally McBeal, but the episode they were replaying last night was the same exact one I saw a few months ago. So I was forced to read a book. I finished the true crime murder and didn't have nightmares. Went to the library today and checked out 30 other books but oh wait I don't have to read tonight because Super Nanny is on. Except it's probably being replaced with something else, some other stupid reality show because last week was the season finale.

Speaking of reality shows, does Tori Spelling and her raggedy looking husband really need her own reality show? Apparently--she's debuting a show about how she and her husband run a bed and breakfast. I suppose it could be interesting to watch Americans eat breakfast while Tori stands awkwardly by, holding a fake spatula that she didn't use to make the French toast the guests are eating and pretending to enjoy. Then we could have a tour of the bedrooms. Then she and her husband could get into a sort of staged, lovey dovey fight where you sense that it's really not all that innocent and playful, underneath is all of this real rage and hatred. He is suddenly realizing he's married to a woman with the biggest face/head in the world and she's not even getting any of her rich daddy's inheritance. She realizes that he's a dirtbag who is making her look bad by pointing out her varicose veins. It lasts a season, they get divorced, and she appears on the Baking Channel, which I won't get to see because I'm too cheap to get the super silver cable package.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Apology

Liz M. told me that her friend Rauol (whose name I am most definitely spelling wrong) read my blog (she has a link on hers to mine) and asked Liz to tell me that the paella I referenced as a Mexican dish, is actually a Spanish food. I should've written instead "tapas." (I'm kidding!). Sorry.

A very good dinner was had by all last night--Padhraig made a salad with his secret dressing and then also a stew with big chunks of meat and potatoes and carrots and then for dessert, there was a cake with hazelnuts on top. We were also served coffee with whiskey in it. I worried that I wouldn't be able to sleep later, but luckily, I was able to consume 15 glasses of wine and so had no trouble at all. Went to Royal Tavern after dinner. Royal is the same as ever. (A woman with gigantic sunglasses and messy blong hair just came in a sat next to me and started talking to the barrista about the dog doors she's putting in. She's very friendly. I moved my seat).

Went to the laundry mat for the first time in a couple of years, the one right around the corner, and there was quite a lot of competition for dryers. No change machine in sight, but if you went up to the little bullet proofed plastic window you could get the Asian man behind the window to give you quarters from a little plastic cup. I started reading this book called Scream ad the Sky: Five Texas Murders and One Man's Crusade for Justice." Probably not the best thing to read if you're already a little nervous about living alone in a somewhat sketchy place because all these women were stabbed to death by the same guy and had defense wounds on their hands and fought and fought and died anyway. And the killer got away with it for over 17 years. I don't typically read true crime, so I'm not sure why I picked this from the library. It has black and white photos in the center of the book of the dead girls and I can't stop flipping to the middle to look at them. All were killed in the mid-1980s and so have that bad 80s hair and big smiles. There are two spelling errors in the captions under the photos.

I'm still single.

OHNO. This guy just walked in who has the hugest hair I've ever seen. It's a big clump of brown dreds that makes his knit hat stick up three feet into the air.

I do like this coffee shop. The new barrista (she just told someone that this was second week) reminds me of my old roommate, Becca. She has a tattoo on her upper arm of a spool of thread and a needle. I found the Arts and Entertainment section of the newspaper and so now I can do the Sunday crossword. There was a guy in here earlier whose screen saver was an old book cover that read "Jesus Christ!I'm Gay!"

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. P Day


And I am not referring to St. Patrick's Day--I'm referring to the fact that today is Padhraig's birthday, not sure of his age though he must be ancient. What a cliche he is--an Irish person having a birthday on St. Pat's Day. Carrie and he are hosting dinner at their house we will sing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" and "The Old Bairny Down the Lane," a traditional Irish birthday song.

I ventured out in the slush today wearing a pair of dead cute fuzzy boots I found at Circle Thrift--they make me look mythological, like my feet belong to that of a forest creature. Unfortunately, after stepping into a puddle and finding my feet soaked, it occurred to me that perhaps I had left the house in boot-shaped bedroom slippers, not meant for outdoor fare. Too late now.

Lots of bad dreams last night--the main one was the direct result of me having read Stephen King before bed--the details mirrored the climactic scene in the novel. The gist of it was that I was married and had two kids and our whole family was being terrorized by this crazy, supernatural lady (who looked suspiciously like my old boss). She was determined to murder us--she said, First, I'm going to force the two of you (my husband and I) to kill each other while the children watch and then I'm going to kill them. We tried to escape several times but since she was this monster, she kept materializing whenever we thought we were safe. I woke up to find Ernesto nestled in my head, biting at my hair. The horror! Worse than the dream! Ernesto has also started going under the bed and crawling up into the mattress part which is discomfiting to say the least, to have this creature meowing and moving directly underneath me. No wonder I have trouble sleeping.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Cursed with Cats (post from last night)

DAMNIT. On the way to work this morning, I made the colossal error of petting a slightly skittish fluffy orange cat with a dirty nose. She looked like a big marmalade puff ball. She was timid at first, but then in love, and she followed me down the sidewalk. She wore a brown flea collar, so I didn't worry too much. At the end of the day, I saw her again when I walked back to my car. She was in the same place, and now meowing and digging at a door to no avail. FUCK. I debated what I should do, asked this guy standing on the porch next door if he knew her. He didn't. If he wanted her. He said, I already have too many cats. I left her there, thinking that she has a dirty nose because she's probably been trying to burrow under the door to get back inside. Where are her people? (For the record, I don't know that she's a she. She just seemed girlish). I drove away, heartless. But now, if I see her again tomorrow, what should I do? I can't leave her. I can't bring her home. I do not want to be the Angelina Jolie of orphaned cats. And it's supposed to snow tomorrow. Can someone else please go find her and bring her home? She's just off of Jefferson and Broad Street--an orange fluffy cat with a spot on her nose. Please? Please go save her. I will help pay the vet bill, I promise. The only thing I can do is to bring in a cat carrier tomororw and if I do see her again, I'll scoop her up and take her to the no kill shelter about half an hour away. They don't euthanize animals unless they are extremely ill or really ugly (I made that up). So, I returned home after buying a bunch of dumb shit from Target and Ernesto escaped. Great. It was raining. I couldn't find him anywhere. Finally discovered him under a car and ruined my stockings dragging him out and back to safety. He doesn't know how good he has it, or maybe he does since he was also a found cat. Well, maybe I should give up and become an animal hoarder. Cats everywhere. Cats in the bed, in the shower, in the drain, in the underwear drawer, in the eaves. I had higher hopes for my life.

I have been obsessively surfing Target's Web site because Jess and Scott and Lucy gave me a generous gift card to buy whatever I may need for my new life. There are so many choices, it's overwhelming. They have 1,000 cute toasters--ones that will imprint smiley faces on your toast, but I also need a new alarm clock, better sheets, a digital camera, an i-Pod (no, of course, I don't need that--but I want it and they're not that expensive anymore). Maybe I should hoard it and wait until I truly need something. But anyway, thank you to J, S, and L for worrying about me and my buying needs and giving me the pleasure of having all of these possibilities.

Celia and I went to a boutique opening last night at Sun Moon Ranch or something like that. We were surrounded by beautiful people in high heels and waiters circulating white trash food as a joke--pbjs on Wonder bread, miniature hot dogs, deviled eggs and wine. We picked things up and put them down to show an interest and at one point, we sat down near the shoes and a photographer took our picture, though I am sure it will not be used unless he's doing it for a satirical piece because I was not cute (Celia was, but I believe she was scowling in the shot). I would be mortified if I showed up in Philebrity, clutching a glass of wine with a poppyseed stuck between my front teeth and the cat hair visible on my black, out of style sweater. Celia bought a pretty necklace and I bought a black rose ring and then later wondered if this was bad luck. Don't you give black roses to people you wish would die?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Super Nanny isn't Racist

My mom sent me a disappointed email for the last post--because of course there's plenty to be more profound about than Britney; she suggested George Fucking W. Bush or the war in Iraq (though I think the word "war" is misleading; it's not a war. A war is a fight between two equal forces. This is an invasion. I heard on NPR the other day that GFW Bush was in Mexico and he visited a place where the people were preparing to hold a ceremony later in the day to ward off the evil spirits he brings with him) or I could be more thoughtful about poverty or the inequality that I see every day especially in this neighborhood. Or addiction or racism or gender inequity. Plenty of things.

For instance, I'd now like to move on to a pressing example of a white woman who is not a racist--Jo Jo Supernanny. This is one of the few shows that makes me laugh out loud and I love it, I love her, and I love how everything is the same every time. For the season finale, JoJo visited an African American family with three kids--a 12 year old boy, a six year old girl, and fourteen month old baby. The main problems were that the mom was still breast feeding and that the 6 year old slept in her parent's bed every night and that the 12 year old was mouthy. Supernanny fixed everything. She got the baby to use a bottle (and did not even have to show her own boob to do so), she made the little girl feel like a princess for sleeping in her own bed, and she introduced the preteen to one of Miami Heat's biggest superstars who told him that he needed to respect his family. The boy just listened, staring up at this huge basketball player with his mouth hanging open. Then they played one on one together. Yeah, Supernanny!

In contrast, the show before this one, Wife Swap, is a car crash. Where is Husband Swap? And would they ever do a swap where one of the couple's is gay? Yes, they absolutely would, but they would put them in a house full of holy rollers who raise snakes and have 11 children who are home-schooled. This show is often conservative vs. crazy wild (liberal) and the crazy wild always come off looking worse than the Bible thumpers. Well, not every time, but for some reason, I resent the sameness of this show whereas I embrace it in Supernanny. Next week on Wife Swap! We switch this Wiccan porn star mother of three Goth kids from the Upper Westside with a mute Mormon mother in Utah who performs with the family's traveling band, lives with no electricity, and is married to a fat man who expects a sponge bath every night!

Celia sent me a link to a site called www.catster.com. It's a take off from Friendster, but guess who the main stars are?? And guess who signed up? Ernesto did!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Don't feel like writing but oh well

I have a connection which is rare enough so I guess I should write something profound and deep, bu I don't have many profound or deep thoughts. In fact, on the drive home today, I was seriously considering Britney Spear's relationship with Kevin Federline. I was wondering what she saw in him since he's so obviously a hanger-on, after her money and fame and the association of her name. And I thought how maybe once she realized that, after having fallen madly in love with him and given birth to two babies that look just like him, she must've felt horrible and betrayed and wondered what happened to the more innocent times with the Mickey Mouse Club and puppy love with Justin Timberlake--why didn't she appreciate life more then? I thought how she probably is suffering from post partum depression like Brook Shields did and that's why she's walking around bald and bewildered but how no one takes it seriously. After that, I wondered how Madonna's daughter is doing. Is it hard to have a famous mom who has posed naked hundreds of times and published a sex book of photos (and who, by the way, shared a much publicized kiss with Britney during an awards show)? Those are my deep thoughts for the day--this nebulous worry about pop stars.

Yesterday, I spent a signifcant amount of time wondering why so many people were shocked by the fact that one of the actors on Grey's Anatomy was outed as gay. Has no one in America ever taken a drama class? Been in high school and walked through a gaggle of guys trying out for a production of Oklahoma? Because a large percentage of men attracted to acting happen to be gay, so why is it that we would think that only straight men who make it in Hollywood? That there are suddenly only two gay actors around--Doogie Howser and this Grey's Anatomy kid? How do the handlers of closeted gay actors keep it a secret? Why is it that not one of Tom Cruise's pick ups has never come forward? We have camera phones now, it can't be that difficult to get a shot at some point. Not that I think all gay actors should be revealed if they don't want to be but that it's just so stupid that it's that big of a deal, still. I mean, Ernesto is clearly gay and I never comment on it.

Why I'm Friends with an Irish Person

He sent me this email in response to me telling him that I"m holding his coffee mug hostage:

If you keep the cup there will be all sorts of consequences. eg. i won't getcoffee- will fall asleep behind the wheel, there will be a pile up. a doggie onthe way to the vets to have babby doggies will die.

Then, he forwared a link to this precious baby head face bunny wunny.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Home again

Now I'm back in my house and it's 3:31 p.m. because of spring forward and I have no idea what to do with the rest of the day. I should clean the floors, the bathroom, should finish putting together the baskets I bought to organize the basement. Instead, I'm staring at the Sunday crossword, trying to think of a six letter answer to the clue "Actor Ryan." So far, I have filled in about .01% of the squares and am stumped.

Came home to find children playing in the back yard and noticed that they had dropped Doritos bags in my yard, so went outside to retrieve them. One of the kids saw me and I smiled and then another kid yells, Lady! as a warning, but the girl answered, It's okay, she's nice so I felt accepted. Went out again a few minutes later because I recognized one of the girls--she introduced me to her white cat who has one blue eye and one brown eye on the first day I moved in. I asked them if they wanted to meet Ernesto. One of the girls said, Oh! I think I saw that cat sitting in your window. Is he gray and white? I said, Yes. I snatched up Ernesto, who was freaking out because children are noisier than he's used to. They all reached over to pet him and wanted to know if he was a boy or a girl. They wanted also to meet Henri and I said that he was hiding under the bed and they could come in and meet him next week once he has calmed down. This will never happen because he will never be child-ready. I held the soft bunny and it sniffed at my mouth. I made a face and they all laughed, so we're friends now because I'm that silly woman who lives alone with two cats. They asked me where I work and I said, Temple University and the boy said, Oh, I know that place! I said, Yes, you should all go to school there. Then I went inside. Next time I see them, I'm going to ask what the people who lived here before me were like. I'll be fishing for compliments, hoping they'll say, Oh, totally uncool, not like YOU!

Rotten with Cats

Everywhere you turn in my neighborhood, you will be greeted by a skanky looking cat--maybe a cat with one eye, or a mangled back leg, or a tumor the size of Indonesia on its brain. They crawl across the brick backyard walls. I suppose I could start naming them. There's the black cat, we'll call him "Nearly Dead"--he's the one who has a bad back leg and worms crawling out of his behind. Then there's a gray and white spotted cat with runny eyes who stares at me and runs away when I step outside. A sort of orange and white cat, another bad leg, she limps across the wall. They all appear to have been thousands of battles. I put Ernesto in the back window to show him what his life could have been like were he not rescued.

Thanks to all of my lovely work friends, Liz and I were able to go to Ikea yesterday afternoon and buy several of the things that will help to make my living situation more comfortable. We got: a rectangular kitchen table with black legs and a white top. I might use this to put the sewing machine on because I'm thinking I might want a "real" table at some point for the many dinner parties I will be hosting; a blonde coffee table with a shelf underneath. It's a little unsteady because I couldn't get the screws to go in all the way, but it's fine; a sort of ugly hanging thing for the bathroom; white mesh piece to dangle wine glasses from; a set of three pots for only $9.99!!; impulse buy tiny bird lights for the front window and batteries; a white blind for the back window. I attempted for many minutes to hang it, but one of the screws was stripped and it also required more math than I was capable of handling. I did at one point get it to hang for several seconds. Then I foolishly attempted to pull the blinds up and it fell off. I gave up after I took a nose dive off the sink during my fourth try. It's going back to Ikea. What I really need to do is mop the floor. It is pretty cruddy.

Now I'm at this local coffee shop, the South Philly version of Rocket Cat, except the women working here seem happy. Lots of tattoos and black leggings, but I'm trying not to judge. My dream for today is to buy the Sunday paper for the crossword. I'm also going to see how long it takes to walk to South Street. Haven't yet made it to Washington (this coffee shop is a few blocks away), but it's within sight.

A post from Thursday? But no connection until today...

I find two things a little strange about this new house. One, it is so quiet. I don't hear my neighbors at all; unlike Fishtown, there's no one yelling outside of the door or drag racing down the street. This will most likely change when summer rolls around. I imagine marichi music and children playing outside, but maybe that's racist. Secondly, I stand a lot. I can sit down on the sofa if I want to read or watch one of the two channels I get, but to use the computer or to smoke a cigarette, I have to stand. The laptop is perched on a bookshelf near the window because it's the only way I can get a connection. This weekend, Liz and I will use my lovely Ikea gift card to buy some things. A desk maybe and perhaps a chair and a different tv stand so that I can fit my stereo on it. This morning, I decided it was okay to turn on my stereo while getting ready, but even that felt too loud, like I might be disturbing my invisible neighbors. Neither Ernesto nor Henri make much of a peep, though Henri's fatness will on occasion cause the hardwood floors to groan.

There I have found my wind up clock and wound it and now there is a ticking noise, fast, like a cricket or a baby's heartbeat. I can't do much more with this place until I figure out where things might go. I can walk around and put things in different areas, but it's a waste of energy until I know how everything will fit.

My friends have been so great--Zena has called more than once, and Hasana has tried to reach me and Amanda and Kelly check in often, and Carrie always invites me places where I would undoubtedly meet new people, but I'm not quite feeling like people yet, only Sim people. I have so many things to decide--pay for Wireless so that I don't constantly have to be hoping for a connection or restarting my computer again and again, hook up phone service in case some one tries to break in and I can't find my cell phone, buy an alarm system for the same reason, go next door to the Hispanic people to the right of me and introduce myself with paella in hand?

And then there's work and the feeling like I should stay as late as Ingrid does. She's there even if I leave at 6 p.m. and she's back again in the morning before 8:30 a.m. We have so much to do and I tried to write talking points for the inauguration this afternoon and they turned out something like, Welcome to the new President! She is so great. We are happy she's here and we hope she will accept this crown jewel as a token for our appreciation. Long live the Queen! Really, it's that bad. Ingrid is a patient editor and she looks at you over the top of her glasses and makes eye contact and you don't feel like a total fuckhead even as the things she suggests would be obvious to a second grader.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

AHWOSG

I have been unable to do anything tonight except read this David Eggers book I've had for years but never opened. I got it one day at a used bookstore in State College but it didn't start it because I worried it would be too precious or irritating and also because too many people had told me I should read it and because I've submitted more than one piece to McSweeney's and though been encouraged to send more work, never accepted. But I took the subway to work today and happened upon this book in one of my still not unpacked boxes this morning and so started it on the ride to work and then again on the way back and so that is how my evening has evaporated. It gives me a slight stomach ache to read because it's so sad, or maybe I just have a stomach ache and think it's from the book, but I can't write more now because I have to keep reading it and I only paused to let you know that this is what I'm doing (also I had to stop anyway to pee).

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Yipee, TV

Sort of. I spent $21 at Best Buy for an antennae and I now can get 3 channels!! For some reason, both Fox stations come in really well, but channel 3 and 6 are fuzzy, so there goes watching Jeopardy. Luckily, I can almost see Anna Nicole's garrish and horrible, tacky to the end funeral on an ET Extra Extra See All About It. Everyone appears to be kissing the casket, which is covered with white silk and pink roses. They have released 5,000 frightened white doves. Excruciating. Someone named Mo is digging the grave now and the mom is helping out. I believe she is wearing white Reeboks with her black dress. You can see the forced tears and dollar signs in all of their eyes. I also stopped into the $1 store, not expecting to find anything but fake flowers, but instead, I was able to purchase 6 necessary objects--glass cleaner, non-animal tested soap, a laundry bag, aspirin, measuring spoons and cups. I love that kind of thing. And best, best of all--Celia arranged to get my friends at work to pool their money together to get me a $70 gift card from IKEA. Can you believe it?? It's a dream come true! It makes me want to hg everyone in sight. I am very lucky. I can't decide if I should buy some of the smaller items that I need (wine glass hanger, rugs, step stool for the kitchen) or if I should buy one big item like a coffee or kitchen table. It is very nice to have these options.

In other consumer news, I broke down and bought the Sims II Seasons for no real logical reason--I pretty much never play Sims anymore because it takes too much time to load and because I don't play it in a fun way--it's stressful. Still, I bought it and played last night with a family where the wife is a plant person and the baby is one as well. Isn't that exciting?

What's weird about living alone is that I still feel like I have to still be quiet--I don't hear any of my neighbors and am tiptoeing around like I am an illegal alien (as are many of my neighbors). Ernesto is very sad. He misses Emma Carol. I'm hoping I can get her back this weekend. Speaking of cats, a friend at work has two available. A black and white male kitten and a calico mommy (see previous post). If he doesn't find homes for them by Friday, he's taking them to the SPCA where they will instantly be put to death in the most inhumane way (I think they starve them to death). Please help!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Things learned through trial and error, brought to you by IKEA

It just occurred to me again (I'm sure I've thought this before) that Ikea is nothing more than a gigantic Sims store. In fact, the two companies might even work together. I swear to you that the kid's whimsical bedroom furniture available at Ikea is identical in Sims II. And honestly, all of the furniture that you can buy for your avatar people in Simland can also be purchased at this gigantic, real life faux (?) Swiss shoppe.

Moving has made me feel like the new Sim on the block. I believe I have already made two gigantic social errors that would put me in the red. Moments after I arrived back from the grocery store, about five boys between the ages of 8-10 burst out of this one house to throw the football back and forth on the street. I thought maybe they were trying to impress me. Then I dropped a bag of groceries and we all watched as a can of pinto beans rolled out in the street, followed by a pint of Ben and Jerry's half-baked frozen yogurt (2 for $5). One of the kids threw the football and it landed on my doorstep. I picked the football up and said, Mine now! Trying to be funny, but they were startled. I threw it to one of the nearest boys and went inside, hearing them echo, Mine now! This may mean that I will be forever tormented or made fun of by a pack of fourth graders on my street. Just recently, I spotted a black cat crawling across the top of my back yard wall. I made kissing noises at it, prepared for it to run, but instead, it gave a tomcat meow and jumped into the back. I went outside to pet him. At first, I thought he was okay, because he's very furry, but then I realized that he was skinny and sad. He also had worms coming out of his butt. I petted him anyway. I considered giving him food, but did not. I can't ever ever do that, no matter how many stray cats I see or I will become the cat lady woman and never be able to sleep for the caterwauling. He clearly would've been happy to be let inside, but I came to my senses and fled into the interior of the house, praying he'd leave and not leap onto the screen door. So now I have to worry about being pursued by little boys and wormy cats. Welcome to the neighborhood.

I can't even begin to describe how dirty my hair is. It's forming into dreds even as I type. I finally hung the shower curtain and liner and so will take a shower before I go to bed, even though I have not yet cleaned the tub.

Had trouble falling asleep last night because I kept thinking of all the stuff left undone and being afraid that the bed would collapse. After about fifteen minutes of worrying specifically about the bed, I realized that it most likely would be fine. The stupid bed slats I spent an hour trying to get to lay flat aren't even necessary when you have a box spring. The bed is meant to be for someone who just has a mattress with no support, so I could easily take the slats off because the frame itself would sustain the box spring and mattress. This didn't even occur to me last night as I slaved away, imagining myself sleeping on the floor. This afternoon, I had another grueling Ikea encounter while attempting to put together the movable wardrobe thingy I have to have because of the lack of closet space. I got most of it done and then noticed that I had messed something up. I figured that out and then saw that I had two parts left-over. That's most likely not a good thing, but it seems to work fine. I had to remind myself that the instructions for putting together anything from Ikea are meant for mechanically challenged people such as me and so I could probably do it. At least sort of. At least for now.

I have unpacked every single box but those labeled "books." It's so much more satisfying to unpack than it is to pack. Unpacking is a little like Christmas; you unwrap this weirdly shaped object and are surprised, Oh, that ballerina thing! I love it! I am still in need of several essential objects such as anything resembling a table, but I'm going to attempt to be practical and go slow, not rush to put everything away and then have to redo it all again when I buy new pieces. I'm making a list.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

But Where Will I Put the Towels?

I have survived the move to South Philly, thanks in no small part to Padhraig, Carrie, Shawn, and the U-Haul guy who didn't charge me the extra $34 to fill up my gas tank. I had so much anxiety about moving--would I be able to drive the truck back to Fishtown without crashing? If I didn't crash, would we be able to fit everything into the truck or have to take multiple trips? Would everyone get lost on the way to the new place? Once we arrived, what if we couldn't find parking? If we did find parking, would we step on a hypodermic needle while unloading and contract AIDS? (This is not as unlikely as it might at first seem. I have seen such a needle on my street as well as lots of broken glass and several Hispanic children playing on the streets with very little regard to the danger). However, we made it, in spite of Padhraig's "dodgey back" and I am very very very thankful to everyone for helping. Let's not forget Kali, who picked me up this morning and drove me to the U-Haul place even though her husband had band practice. Oh, and I was also worried that my 500 pound sofa wouldn't fit through the door, but S and P made it happen and that was a huge relief, as I pictured myself living without a sofa and surviving on floor mats for the rest of my life. After we finished, we dropped off the truck and had lunch at Sabrina's and then S and I went to IKEA and Target and that was slightly horrible and then I gathered the cats--Henri went into a catatonic state, hiding inside the mattress and then fleeing to the basement. I got him into the carrier and he was mostly quiet on the ride back here, but he looked so shell-shocked--curled into a gigantic Henri ball in the carrier and was unresponsive to my attempts to pet him through the cage. Ernesto was a champ, of course, not a peep from him the whole time, even though I unloaded the entire car before putting him inside the house. I spent the next four hours moving things and trying to put together this horrid IKEA bed with P. 's fucked up bedspring that Shawn cut in half. I can't wait to wake up in the middle of the night because the bed has collapsed. Ernesto loves the place. He found two fossilized mice and brought them to me. I promptly threw them over the wall into the weird neighbor's back yard (more on him and feces in another post). Henri is now adjusted. He has really come out of his shell in the last couple of years. I would expect the old Henri to be hiding inside of a box somewhere, but he is right next to me even as I type, seemingly only mildly freaked by the change of setting.

Just a few minor complaints so far. The bathroom would be listed as "cozy" by any real estate agent attempting to sell this place. There's only 1 outlet and a tiny, tiny medicine cabinet for storage and a sink like you'd see on a schooner (mini). Where shall I put towels and such? Also, one of the light sockets in the bedroom doesn't work. And there are no smoke detectors. And the kitchen has no counter space. And the second bedroom has no closet. And the first bedroom offers closets just big enough to fit in a pair of boots. I can solve these problems with the help of IKEA, but still...Okay, but how about the fact that I have a Wireless connection? That's pretty awesome. That makes much of this other stuff seem less important.

Time for bed and please God don't let the bed collapse in the middle of the night and send me through the floor.

Friday, March 2, 2007

The man of my dreams

I have decided after viewing a short scene from a Justin Timberlake movie wherein he and Christina Ricci are making out that JT and I are meant to be together. Look, I don't necessarily respect the fact that he was in a corporate developed all guy teeny bop band. I don't necessarily love that he and Brittney dated. I'm not a huge fan of his perma-scruff or his fedoras. HOWEVER! I could overlook all of those things. Though I never actually scene any movies he's been in, I did read about them on imdb and the reviews of his acting have been positive. Also, my friend Padhraig burned me a copy of FutureSex/LoveSound and I even listened to it and, crazier still, liked it. I understand that Cameron Diaz is a hard act to follow but I think she smokes too much pot and is probably terribly silly to the point of irritation. I mean, she's fun and all, but you have to be grounded too, you know? And so what if I can't even quite remember if he was in NSync or Boys 2 Men or The Pussycat Dolls? It's the future(sex) that matters; not the past.