Friday, September 28, 2007

South Philly Girls

One way, I guess, would be to go out to Washington Avenue at midnight wearing a purple tube dress that falls just below one's ass, five-inch red heels, matching lipstick (also five-inches thick) and giganto hoop earrings. Another way would be to hang out at a local South Philly bar doing shots of tequila and tying cherries in knots with your tongue while wearing a cut-off Phillies tank top, stone-washed short shorts and sneakers with white socks. The third way that I know of is to write about a friend of mine who shall remain nameless who has made a deal with me that he will take me away for a weekend if I write a blog post that reflects his awesomeness. But I'm not sure how much I can honestly write about him without being too personal. And since my mom reads this blog and since you never know what fifth grader girls might be searching the web looking for tips on how to "tie cherries in knots," I am reluctant to give full disclosure of any adventures I may have had with the aforementioned person.

One thing I remember is that we used to employ this acronym: "DWD." DWD stands for "Dumb with Desire" which is how I often felt around him starting from the first second we met. I can't say for sure why...Maybe because he is a poet and sweet and because he spoke fondly of his golden retriever, Maggie. All I know for sure is that most of our relationship centered around both of us trying very hard not to touch each other because it was wrong; because we had to work together and hang out together and because we both had a masochistic streak where it was more exciting not to do anything and to just wonder. We wondered for an entire week what it would be like if we did more than let our knees touch underneath the table at Zeno's. Then I managed to get him back to my apartment where I somehow got him to sit still long enough to watch Moonstruck. We sat as close as possible on the futon as we could without touching and pretended to be really entertained by the movie when really, the only thing I could focus on were the three centimeters that separated my skin from his. I can't recall how I maneuvered to change that proximity, maybe I stood up to fix the TV antennae and faked a sudden knee injury in order to fall on the floor and be like, Oh, shoot, my bra just fell off and so did my panties! How embarrassing for me! All I know is we had rug burns the next morning. And never finished watching Moonstruck which was fine because I already knew how it would end.

Do you need more? I have more.

Ethan Frome aka Bad Times with Sleds

Our novel for next Monday is Wharton's Ethan Frome. Finished it last night and was very irritated by the cruelty of the ending and also distraught be the fact that I could not imagine anyone else as the character of Ethan except for Liam Neeson, who played him in the movie version I have never seen. But anyway, poor Ethan! He's in love with the beautiful, innocent, blond, crooked toothed in a cute way, mirthful, whimsical, delicious Mattie (as imagined as Patricia Arquette). However, he is also married to the stern and silent woman who could not be described any more unfavorably by Wharton unless she had added warts and chronic flatulence. Zeena, the wife, is a sickly, pale, hatched-faced, brooding woman who breathes loudly. Seriously. Wharton cannot let her have one good attribute. This is how she describes Ethan's experience of lying in bed next to this creature. Oh, darn, the book is at home, but it's something like, "After leaving the warmth of light in Mattie's blue eyes, he retired to the bedroom where he slipped between the cold sheets with a shiver and lie next to the rigid, corpse-like disgusting, smelly limbs of his wife whose breathing was labored and filled with phlegm." I think I might have to do some outside reading to speak intelligently about the book; maybe it's a reaction to all the romantic drivel being written during that time period? Because, though this book is romantic, it's ending is darkly cruel and the women are fairly one-dimensional.

Tomorrow, we're going to Oktoberfest for a while or all day. Please, please, please let it be fun. I also need to buy a strapless black bra for the gala which I may be uninvited to given that I've already spent too much money on this party where I will likely stand around awkwardly with aching feet, worried that my boob will fly out at an inopportune moment (remember: no waving enthusiastically to people).

Tonight, there's this art show at Slought in West Philly and so I tried to dress a little more artistic this morning. Then it struck me as I sashayed up the subway stairs that I might actually be wearing a costume (blood red corduroy skirt with three tiers of ruffles, long brown boots, chaps, a straw hat, and a piece of hay clenched in my teeth). Oh, well, at least I'm feeling better this weekend and not going home to sniffle and whine.

All is fine with the house and the animals except for the usual which includes the occasional frightful reaction to me from Henri, though I can never figure out what it is that he's responding to with such trepidation. I have never once hit or tortured him, but sometimes, he just bolts away from me like he's moments from death...As if I might unexpectedly stab him through the heart with a bobby pin, or grab him by the scruff of the neck and drown him in the toilet or twirl him over my head by his tail until he flies out of the window. Maybe he's been staying up late at night to watch The Shining over and over and over again.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Biggest, Longest, Excruciatingest Show

Liz and I are currently watching this over-tanned lady from Days of Our Lives announce the weight lose of these very nice overweight people on The Biggest Loser. Might I add that Liz can do the math faster than this chick from the soap. "Thank you," Liz says. "Only when it's even numbers." While watching the show, we are eating crumpets with strawberry jelly, McDonald's French fries, ham, lard (with a spoon) and Spam with cheese melted on top and ketchup. I wish this show gave more tips on weight lose and exercise and I wish it didn't seem to take a sort of sadistic, voyeuristic pleasure in humiliating the contestants. For instance, they had to do a 100 yard dash and their competition was....kids! How awesome! How awesome that grown adults get to compete against third graders and fail. Commerical break where we are shown the other shows that we could be watching, such as E.R. Is Luka still on it? That woman from that other half hour comedy that I liked? My friend Dave cannot watch E.R. because someone is always in a life-threatening situation and has a head injury.

I am slightly embarrassed to admit that Liz and I just double-high-fived and spontaneously clapped with joy because the Red Team won. Who cares. I love high and low culture and I participate freely in both without guilt.

Hi everyone - Liz here. Uh, for the record, AIMEE spontaneously clapped. I did not. Although I participated in the double-high-five and unadulterated joy. Come on. Red was the underdog team...you were happy too. You know it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Oh, God, Not Again

Welcome to The Bachelor, Season #11. He's from Texas and I think he just lost six pounds sweating to death. The awkward moments keep multiplying and the show has only been on for three minutes.

He has hugged each and every one of them in this totally stilted way and said, "Hisonicetomeetyou. Please go inside now. I have already forgotten your name. Nice tits. Nice to meet ya'll." He is attractive, but what's with the Party of Five unshaven look? He's a millionaire and has an identical twin brother. Hilarious hi jinks with switching places will no doubt ensue in the middle of making out with one of them, not like the women would notice. No one ever says, "I hope I like him. I hope he's not a total dud!" Now the last ten women are bringing their chachas and (as Celia might say) their Mary Green's to him. They always pause after stepping out of the car as though going to a beauty pageant and then say, Bah-bye. Oh, why can't one of them trip and fall, please, please, please???? No personality so far except for the tall girl who took off her shoes. This girl is wearing a slip, it just falls behind her ass. The nurse rehearsed her speech, Hi, I'm a nurse and I'm from some state and I am going to want to take your pulse later, hahahaha, did I say that right? He has a look of abject terror on his face. Here comes the token Asian girl from Texas. And when someone says, I can't wait to get to know you better, you shouldn't say, Me too. That's like saying, I can't wait to talk to me too. One girl almost high-fived him. GOD. Here's plastic surgery, Melissa. Her face is so tightly wired that it almost just fell off into the fountain. Oh, another tall girl who twirled him. She said, You have gorgeous eyes. He replied, Uh, you have a gorgeous name. DUMB. Why didn't he just say, You don't have anything of note that I can comment on. I love how he can't hide his emotions and tries to anyway by plastering this painful smile on his face.

Oh, as an aside, I've decided on the way to the train today not to date guys with blond hair. I am not suited to them. I prefer brown-haired men, with a little darker complexion, like my old high school crush, RD. This means that I would never be able to date this guy, Brad, who does God knows what for a living.

Nothing much to report about class tonight because the teacher talked the whole time and the Jesus' DNA boy didn't say anything of note. I started to feel kind of sorry for him. He looks so young. I pictured him in footie pajamas. I was practicing not being callous toward my fellow human being as suggested by Conrad in Heart of Darkness, the book it seems that only five of us read for tonight.

"I think my wife may be waiting for me in that room." He speaks as though reading a cue card. He needs to do something about his hair--he's got the bristle top thing going on in the front of his forehead. Thanks, man, yeah, man, cool, man, yeah, thanks. Why he is he waving both hands, "That comes from my heart..." I guarantee that he's going to use the word "heart" fifty times. Oh, he owns a few bars and nightclubs in Austin. Say goodbye to the cheerleader from the Phoenix Suns. They are doing shots. Some shit is going to go down, most likely consisting of someone shaking her bootie in his face. This girl is just pretending to have a Southern accent. I like her anyway. DeAna, she's from Georgia and just told him that her mother is dead. There is a surfer girl named Bettina who is wearing a baby doll dress. Say goodbye to the Acupuncturist who is making him stick his tongue out so she can READ HIS TONGUE. I cannot make this shit up. Why do all these women talk like Valley Girls, Like, Brad, I totally love your like dimples and like I also am like in love with your teeth. They are so like real. They are cat-fighting over him. Say goodbye to the girl who has a ton of wrinkles on her forehead. Say goodbye to McCarten who just made up her name up for the show.

Someone just lost her boob. Say goodbye to Melissa who is totally drunk and keeps calling him sweetness. It fell out of her dress and then she put it back in without cleaning it off so now she has lint on her boob.

Morgan just said, Hey, buddy! and then showed him her web-toed feet. Say goodbye to her. Okay, and another girl demonstrated how she can do the pretzel, basically, she is just showing him that she's flexible and he can have sex with her while she is in the shape of a pretzel. One sang, "A Yellow Rose from Texas." Another girl just told him take his pants off and join her in the pool. He said no, oh, but wait, he might be taking his clothes off. Please tell me that he's not going to do that. He's going to give the first impression rose to the girl in the pool. Oh, wow, everyone hates her--oh, no, he's giving it to the giggly girl, Jenni, even though she did the dumbest dance and he only likes her because she won't stop smiling. I guess I am wrong b/c she is the girl from the Phoenix Sun. What would I do to try to make an impression? Well, I don't have any deformities to show him or any tragedies to share or any special talents (at least none that I can share on the first date). I would probably try to ask him something clever or deep and it would come out all wrong like, Did I ever tell you that story about the parents who thought their kid could have a brain transplant? I have done this before, people. It is never a good story, and yet, I keep telling it.

I'm sorry, but sending ten of these dumb girls home is not the hardest decision he's had to make, or at least, it would be super sad if it were or else he's lead a very charmed life. The women have to wear the same clothes the next morning. Melissa, the drunk girl, knows that she has f-ed it up. Please, please, please vomit on the floor!

"You have all far exceeded what I thought I guess was going to see tonight. I mean, you sort of have."

First rose: Jade who is memorable because she asked him if he believes in love at first sight. I like her.

Second rose: Bettina in the baby doll dress and Valley Girl look and shiny forehead.

3: McCarten!!! I was wrong again.

4: Hillary from Philadelphia who is a nurse and has a gigantic, horse mouth.

5: DeAna: Yes, she's adorable and calm and he mispronounced her name and she corrected him, you go, g-friend.

6: Michelle: Nice streaks, lady.

7: Sheena. The identical twin of Bettina.

8: Steffi. No idea who she is, she's got a baby face.

9: Erin. You've got to be kidding me, she's the one with the plastic surgery and giganto boobs. I am losing respect for him.

10: SoLisa, another made up name and more big boobs and darling, get a bra.

11: Lynsdey. Who? There are nearly all blonds.

12: Sara. Little tiny face, she has a funny weird voice too.

13: Mallory: not sure who she is either, except she's blond and didn't tie herself into a pretzel or lose her boob on the floor.

14: Final rose goes to..............Christi, who is cute. She has a tiny tiny dress.

The black girl is going home as is Pretzel as is Lost Boob as is the token Asian girl. Don't cry, lady. All of the rejects are crying because they didn't meet their soul mate and did not make it past the first cut.

Oh, group hug!!!

Next week on Nothing New Here: Too many Southern accents. A helicopter, a million dumb kisses, true love mentioned fifty times. I think he might be a jerk, but he does have a hot body. Tune in next week, when we might meet the identical twin who actually doesn't look too much like him. Oh, good, an ambulance in the previews. That's a great sign. Someone sprang her hymen trying to show him a back bend. I am thinking that maybe I don't like him that much. And now I must watch 12 hours of PBS' special about WWII to make up for this trashiness.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Meerkat Manor South Philly-Style

I saw two episodes of Animal Planet's pathos-filled Meerkat Manor and was startled to discover that I currently live with three meerkats of my own. They burrow into things, shake their tails when they are threatened, run around crazily with no seeming purpose, eat bugs, and have a definite hierarchy of power. In the meerkat kingdom, the female is often the dominant leader; it's essentially a matriarchy. The episodes I watched featured Flower, a worn-down looking female who led the pack, deciding who was accepted and who was vetoed. Meet Emma Carol. She does the same thing. Though she is the smallest of the three, she's definitely the most vocal and the most aggressive. To wit, she likes to sleep on the red chair. The other day, Ernesto decided he wanted to lay in it. EC jumped up too, trying to take up as much space as possible to get him to jump down. He did not. So, she attacked him, first gently, but then, when he didn't take the hint, she got down to business until tufts of white hair were floating around the living room. She won and has owned the chair ever since. At bedtime, she does the same thing, taking up as much space as possible and hissing at anyone in her wimpy-sounding sssssss! (including me) until she can stretch out to her heart's desire. Consequently, I have been sleeping on the floor, curled up on a tiny pillow. I believe she will lead our family toward great things or, at the very least, make sure that other meerkats don't move in on our turf (such as the marble colored stray I've been feeding every morning).

Went to Boot Camp again today and Stephanie and I both left the class looking as if we had just taken a shower. Still, there is something satisfying about sweating so much; drops of sweat sliding down your back, your neck, I think my elbow was even perspiring. I think these classes are impacting my dreams. I dreamt the other night that I could easily do a split and was showing everyone at work how agile I'd become. This will never happen. Oh, and last night, I dreamed that I was auditioning for the musical Annie. I decided I would sing a bit from "Hard Knock Life" (this directly correlates with the hip-hop music I've been listening to, believe it or not). But when I got to the audition, I discovered that we all had to watch each other and it made me really nervous. For some reason, I was auditioning for a part of one of the orphans. My competition included a bunch of polished ten year olds. Luckily, the dream shifted before I could embarrass myself.

Okay, before I forget, I have to say a little something about this Monday class Molly and I are taking. Our teacher is extremely theatrical and rambles and talks about herself quite a lot, focusing mostly on how though she's technically a senior citizen, she is still an active, sexual being. I suspect she is hoping to seduce one of the young men in our class. The best thing ever would be if she snagged this young guy (let's call him Bud) who said the following in our last meeting (I stopped listening to her and just wrote down what he said after she confessed to all of us that she was a little muddled from all the pain pills she was on):

*Oh, wait, I have to mention a couple of things Bud mentioned in his presentation the second week. He managed to tell all of us how he found the female form to be like an art object; the most beautiful thing in the world. He also mentioned how the other most beautiful thing was the ability to make love. If you know me at all, you know that I hate that phrase "make love." I've never understood it. Maybe that's my main problem, but I don't like when people romanticize sex in that way. It takes the fun of it. Anyway, what his feelings about women had to do with Daisy Miller were never explained, though it did become clear that he is single and looking.

*The teacher asks about the use of the color yellow in The Awakening. He says, "Doesn't yellow symbolize friendship?"

*The teacher quotes the line in the text about how you can't love someone all the time. Bud is appalled. He is a true romantic. He believes that love conquers all and that true love never, ever, never dies, even if your partner is bugging the shit out of you. He finally says, "Well, let's just say we agree to differ. Can we do that? Can we just agree to disagree?" I mean, this is fine, but he wasn't getting the point that the central character in the novel, Edna, does not love her husband and only thinks she loves this other guy, Robert. That's one of the central truths in the novel and that's what we were discussing, but he was insistent that regardless of what the novel was arguing, he didn't personally believe it. WHO CARES?

*One of this arguments in this vein was to point out how Jesus loved everyone all the time. The teacher said, "Oh, are you talking about Christian mythology about how Jesus is the son of God?" (Many points for her). He said, "Well, we share 99 percent of Jesus' DNA, you know." This is a graduate class.
I wish I would've thought to ask him what the other 1 percent consisted of. Angel feathers?

The class got out of hand when the teacher posed the question about how you can keep a marriage alive. She suggested sex toys. We had derailed. Bud ducked his head and began drawing crucifixes in the margins of his notebook. Can't wait to see what happens next Monday when we discuss Heart of Darkness. He'll likely say something obvious like, "I thought the river might have been symbolic. Like, I thought it symbolized 'water' and how Jesus turned water into wine."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Oh, Quit Whining, Bright Eyes

I do like Bright Eyes, honestly, that one song from Garden State is a favorite of mine, but I can't listen to more than four of their songs in a row because the lead singers voice sounds like he's crying in every song. You just want him to cheer the hell up.

So, spent all day and all night putting in tiny chandeliers with lights in my doll house and running water so that they can have an indoor fountain and a jacuzzi and then I stenciled fingernail sized bunnies across the baby room and added a couple of wall tapestries I made out of these carpet remnants I found and then I also framed a two dozen postage stamps in real wooden frames to hang on the walls. The place is really starting to come together. AS IF! Give me some credit, people! I would never frame postage stamps!

Another dream come true moment at Circle Thrift with Liz yesterday when I realized that they had been given another truckload of Anthropologie clothes. I bought this really cute skirt that also looks like kitchen curtains and a placemat rolled into one. I can never wear it to work without someone placing their cup of coffee on it, but I still love it. Another skirt that might be a bubble skirt and so I don't know if that's a problem or what, but it has the cutest side buttons. And yet another skirt that doesn't really do anything, but it was $4 and has a nice lace detail on the hem. I am currently wearing a blue wrap shirt with a cute white pinafore front and I have several other shirts at home and a really really super adorable yellow cardigan that only has a faint trace of "sample" still written on it. Oh, hey, look--I found it. It's for sale now at anthropologie for $98. And I got it for $4

Sunday, September 16, 2007

An Exhausting Night of Sleep

Is it possible to have an eight hour dream? Or is one of those weird dream consciousnes things where you think you have been dreamng for hours and hours and then wake to find out that fifteen minutes have passed during your epic story? I dreamed that I was out to dinner with my boss and Stephanie and my friend Jodie and the three of them wanted to go out afterwards but I wanted to go home. Unfortunately, we kept missing the transportation home and then learned that the subway had stopped running at 11 p.m. We tried to hitch a ride with a Fed Ex driver, but he left without us. While we were waiting around to decide what to do, one of my boss' old friends showed up. He was an actor and resembled Viggo Mortensen (sp?). He performed a few monologues for us. Jodie recalled that he had been the lead in one of her favorite movies from the 80s. I could see that a crush was developing. Unfortunately, he was also a drunk and when we finally decided to walk the rest of the way home, he had a plastic bottle of Bacardi with him. For some reason, we had to pass through a bustling Catholic middle school on the way home and one of the kids grabbed his bottle. I took the kid by the scruff of the neck as though he were a kitten and scolded him and then I poured the rest of the alcohol on the floor to the great horror of the nuns. I won't tell the rest of the dream; just know that it continued on for some time and I was getting more and more upset in the dream as the night wore on because I had to be at work in the morning. We finally arrived home at 4 a.m.--I remember I could hear the birds chirping in the bushes--and Jodie went home with the Viggio guy. I woke up and was so so so so tired, I could barely move.

I've decided that I should listen to NPR instead of WXPN as it might be more educational. I turned it on yesterday morning and heard the most boring show ever--something about how to take care of plants. Later, there was a live show that was a mixture of music and slightly funny but basically just weird vinettes featuring sound effects. One was about an old librarian who wears her glasses around her neck. I felt like I had gone back in time and should be sitting with my family of ten around a radio, giggling with my hand to my mouth every lame joke. Padhraig said I should try to write something for "This American Life." Guess I'll have to hear the show first to know what it's like.

Had my perfect Saturday; slept in, met Padhraig at Charterhouse coffee shop, avoiding speaking to an acquaintance who was also there, finished reading The Awakening, went to the consignments shops and found two dresses for the gala. I suppose this means that I will appear in the first part of the evening wearing the simple black silk slip dress and then change after dinner into the second dress, a knee length, flirty 1920s piece. And then an ill-fitting silver bikini for my comeback singing performance. But honestly, both dresses were inexpensive--one was $14 and the other was $16--and both are cute and would work for numerous events. And since I am so frequently invited out to formal affairs, it's good to have some simple elegant pieces that can be dressed up or down at a moments notice. After my fabulous purchase, I decided to stop inWhole Foods to buy coffee beans and left with two bags of groceries, less $88. How, how, how does this happen? Well, the coffee was $10 and then I also bought very special, made by monks but not tested on monkeys shampoo and conditioner for another $15 and then I also bought shrimp I will not ever eat and a bunch of prepackaged food in deference to the fact that I don't cook (remind me later to write something about this new show called Pantry Raid--a show about a cook who goes to a house and helps the poor woman--always a woman-- make a delicious and weird meal out of the meager remains from her pantry). Four fire trucks whizzed by me as I walked home down tenth street and the farther South I went, the closer I came to a billowing stream of black smoke coming out of someone's home. Everyone in South Philly was out on their doorsteps and I felt very important to be able to tell several people that there was a fire, but that they shouldn't worry b/c the entire city fire dept. was on it.

Okay, I am off to Circle Thrift in Fishtown with Liz to look at a bunch of used junk that I don't need.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Anonymous Mr. A. X.

In celebration of Celia's b-day (among others, Patrick, too, I think) we went to Draught Horse tonight; really the only viable bar on the entire Temple campus unless you count Maxi's, which is a pizza place that closes at like 6. No one wants to go to Maxi's because it is too close to the rest of the educational world of Temple and you can't comfortably drink beers there without thinking that you should instead be studying at the library.

Mr. A. X. was there with his dark curly hair and dark eyes. Mr. A. X. is the most well-dressed man in my life and probably also the most polite. He calmly admonished me for hanging up on him earlier in the day. I begged him to do something out of character so that I could write about it in my blog, but he (again, politely) refused: "Aimee, I do not want to be in your blog. And if, perhaps, you do write about me in your blog, please, for the love of God, use a pseudonym." Fine, Mr. A. X., until you do something more interesting, this serves as your 13 minutes of fame on my blog.

Every day on my way to work, I pass groups of children on their way to private Catholic school. I forget the name of the place, St. Something, but they have to wear maroon pants and white tops. My favorite kids are the ten year olds. They are still on the cusp of self-consciousness; cute but also a little aware. It seems that they know that this is the last year in their lives before they have to start worrying about how they look, if girls/boys like them, if they are cool enough to fit in. They are still awkward but not completely awkward, which is why I love them.

I have not yet mentioned my parent's visit. They brought me my doll house from my childhood and a little table and two kid-sized chairs. They insisted that I put the doll house together right away and then my stepdad suggested that I could decorate the walls of the house with little bitty wallpaper. I envisioned the rest of my life; this sad woman who spends six hours a day decorating the doll house and making up little stories about the family. I put the mom doll on the kitchen floor, imagining her passed out drunk because the refrigerator was empty. The dad lay upstairs on the wooden yellow bed, lamenting his fate because he's gay and in love with his co-worker, Steve. The doll house could be useful in any one's therapy session as a way to act out dramas and to discuss what's a good touch and what's a bad touch.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hand Signals and Innuendo

It's not every day that I learn something completely new, such as the way to express a certain technique that, despite my years of graduate school, I have never heard of. If you ask me what it is, I will tell you, but I cannot write about it in my blog because it belongs in a R-rated teen movie from the 1980s ala Porky's, IIVIX.

In other news, Stephanie and I went to yogilates today and it was like we were attending a rare lecture given by the Mata Hari--there were no fewer than 500 undergrads stuffed into a gym room filled with mirrors. The teacher was okay for the first half of the class where we did mostly Pilate's moves (including the dreaded roll-over) but then she kind of lost her focus in the second half of the exercise--the yoga portion. It all started to go wrong when she told people to turn to do the other leg. Half the class took this literally and turned completely away from the teacher to face the back wall. This kept happening and at one point, I realized that I had somehow become the focal point of the class, as though I were suddenly the teacher. Then she decided it would be best to gravitate to the left center of the class and participate. Only about five people could see her; the rest of us were contorted in all different directions, watching one another to see what we were supposed to do. It was this free form yoga dance moment, one quarter of us doing back bends, the other quarter doing the pony, the remaining students lying quietly on their sticky floor mats, thinking about boys. Also, she kept telling us to go back into the fetal position. I think what she meant to say was "child's pose," because to me, the fetal position is what you're supposed to roll into when you are being attacked by a pack of dogs. I began to suspect that she was making all of this shit up as she went.

Finally, she ran out of things for us to do, and for about ten minutes, we just stretched on the floor breathing, which is not something I like to do. I am probably the worst person to take yoga, because it's really about relaxing and letting your mind empty and just paying attention to the movement. But I'm competitive, like, I am going to be the most relaxed person in the class! and at the same time, I just want to get on with it. I need to practice being still, but it's hard when you could be checking your email or cutting out pictures from old magazines or writing lists or thinking of ways to better yourself even as you are doing one of them. Luckily, I was not alone because when I glanced over at Stephanie, she was lying there tapping her fingers and rolling her eyes at the ceiling.

Boot camp was better. Boot camp consisted of a combination of step exercises, jumping rope for what felt like ten minutes at a time without ceasing, and doing 600 squats in a row while singing "I've Been Working on the Railroad." I lost fifteen pounds in just one class. It helped that I was wearing heavy jogging pants that worked to keep my body insulated as though I were in the North Pole.

Must wish Celia a happy happy birthday. Tomorrow, we are going to celebrate and today, she was given a falafel as a present and photos of the guys from Flight of the Conchords. Happy Birthday to the girl with the best curls in the world!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Half-Assed

My parents are due to arrive any minute. I just finished cleaning the bathtub and washing the bathroom floor, which really doesn't take that long as the entire bathroom is 4' x 2'. The phrase "anything worth doing once is worth doing well" kept running through my head and I was arguing with it. Sometimes, you have to do things and you don't necessarily want to throw your whole self into it. I confess that I often dust around objects, cleaning only what's visible. Don't you dare look under my bed; it has become a gathering spot for cat hair, but it doesn't impact my sleep, so why bother with it? I suppose I'll have to take action once it starts pressing my mattress up into the air, but until then, sweet dreams. Not sure what we'll do once they're here. Mom can't walk that far because she has a bad knee and it might be too hot to go very far anyway. I remember when they visited me in Chicago, I made the mistake of traveling on a bus and my stepdad almost got into a fist fight with one of the passengers who wasn't respecting his personal space bubble. I am fearful that they will get turned around once they arrive in Philadelphia and my mom will call, asking me how to get to me and I'll mistakenly direct them to New Jersey.

More strange dreams last night, one wherein I was living with a bunch of girls in a house that was also a boutique, though it had a huge bed in the center of the room. One of the women was very pregnant and gave birth to a baby bunny. It was really cute and could talk right away, but we didn't have any diapers and so it kept leaving these bunny pellets everywhere and the customers were slipping on them while trying to view our selection of high end dresses. Then I was in the middle of a murder mystery. An ex had been told to meet someone at the Washington Bridge in New York (is there such a thing?) and I knew it was set-up and I had to get to him before he was murdered. I made it but there was this terrific shoot out. I didn't have a gun but I did have a fanny pack of knives and so threw them at the bad guys. I was an excellent marksman and we escaped unharmed.

Okay, now I must go and get myself cleaned up and presentable.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The 'Rents

My parents are currently speeding toward me on an overnight train to Virginia. From there, they will rent a car and drive to Philadelphia. I hope my mother is not offended by the new baby pope statue I have placed in my window (only $7.77 from Circle Thrift). I couldn't help it; I'm just trying to fit into South Philly. Spent some time last night cleaning up the pounds of fluffy gray (why is it gray? None of my cats are gray) cat hair from my apartment, left with enough to furnish two dozens wigs for cats undergoing chemo. They're only staying for one night before continuing on to Danbury, CT to visit my stepbrother, John. I have bought wine and cheese and crackers and almonds. I might take them to the authentic Italian restaurant we visited last weekend. It's better than living in Fishtown where the closest place to get food is the corner grocery. I have several sewing projects lined up for my mother and have racked my brain for something that my stepdad could fix...Is it too much to ask him to take out the dropped ceilings in the two bedrooms and replace them with real ceilings? How long would that take, anyway? My place is never messy--it's always picked up but never very clean. I only seem to have the energy to fight the dirt when I know someone else will see it. Me, I can handle a bathtub with dead skin, because, hey, it's my dead skin, but I certainly wouldn't want to go to someone's house and have to deal with his/her dead skin. I don't think my mom has met Emma Carol yet, and I'm hoping she likes her. Who wouldn't? Hopefully, she will perform well by catching flies in mid air and eating them as she does almost every night (the cat, not my mom). They will probably not approve of my street which typically is filled with garbage, but I don't know if I have the energy to clean the block.

Saw a dead pigeon lying on a hot dog bun near the subway today and was reminded of this episode of The Waltons where the older sister (Mary Ellen?) sees a deceased crow on her way to the corn shop and everyone says it's an omen of bad luck and then she has a miscarriage, most likely b/c of the dead bird. It made me worry that I would have a miscarriage on the Broad Street Line and then I remembered my dream from the previous night. In the dream, I was supposed to put on this play for my church but we hadn't rehearsed at all and the costumes needed ironing and there were a ton of props to deal with, including a puppet. Later in the dream, I discovered I was pregnant and couldn't understand how that could be; was calculating the days since my last period and the last time I had sex and it didn't match up. Then I had a bad dream about Shawn where he was making out with me and then telling me he had to really go to meet Elizabeth but hey it was cool if I wanted to go too. I woke up panting and relieved to be back in my life. Why must all my dreams be stressful and so transparent? You'd think I'd be more imaginative.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

If You're Awkward and You Know It, Don't Clap Your Hands! It's Embarrassing!

I didn't get a chance to finish my post from yesterday about awkward people and their little sweaty ways. I began my argument by acknowledging my own geekiness and was about to go on to then dis the super awkward, but didn't get a chance to finish.

I might have mentioned earlier that I recently saw the last part of Napolean Dynamite and still like it a lot. Now that guy is completely dorky and looks like he has milk breath and post nasal drip. In the prom scene, he has his arms just barely touching his partner's waist and it's painfully uncomfortable. And yet, he has an attractive confidence or maybe it's obliviousness that makes him ultimately cool in some ways rather than a loser. The reason I mention him is to clarify that I'm not talking about that kind of sweet nerdiness, but a different strain of unrestrained, almost aggressive dorkiness that borders on the icky. It needs a new name, something like "Oogliness."

I'm harping on this b/c of someone I know who exudes oogly, and I have to deal with he/she/it on a semi-regular basis. I leave every encounter feeling like I just barely escaped seeing someone completely fall apart in some horribly awkward social way, like tripping down the stairs and cracking off a front tooth and picking it up off the ground and putting it in a pant's pocket like it's no big deal and then attempting to continue the conversation with blood running down his/her chin.

Or being forced to have a conversation wherein there is something gravely amiss about the other person that the person doesn't know about like something to do with bodily functions, but you can't say anything because it's just too awful but you know the person will discover it later and be mortified like this one time I was having a conversation with a guy who had a very obvious pubic hair on the collar of his shirt (this was years ago. You will want to die when I tell you that he was a waiter and the hair probably ended up in some old lady's Cobb salad).

Or else you'll be alone together in the elevator and the person will trumpet a very audible bodily expulsion, one that goes on for several seconds and ends on a high note and you'll just have to stand there and stare at the ceiling and pray that it doesn't also smell. And the person will never, ever make it any easier. Maybe that's my fear; seeing someone in a situation that I know he/she will relive in Technicolor detail for some time to come.

I've had a few encounters like this. Every girl gets her period in front of someone, especially when you're young and have no idea what to expect and decide to wear your new white pants made by Esprit because there's a pep rally after school and Steve Crossett will be there and what the heck! It's already the second day of your period and you have on a tiny mini pad; it'll be fine. That exact thing didn't happen to me, but something similar did on a date with a guy from a different high school. Many years later in college, someone was telling me a story she heard where the guy took this girl out and she had on a pretty silk dress and bled on it and he was very gallant and pretended he thought it was something else and I was like, Hey, who told you that story? Peter Sloan? Because that girl was ME. I didn't care though b/c Peter Sloan was boring and told long, long, long stories that all had the same message about how awesome he was and though he was cute, he wasn't very interesting and I actually think he may now be an exotic male dancer in the Keys, if you know what I mean.

And of course middle and high school can be horrible and bad for a lot of people because you have no idea who you are or what you're doing or why you're doing it and it's very confusing. But what happens if you never get out of that stage and you are still that person, on the outside and in? I think most of us hold onto some of that angst and strangeness, but we learn to "act normal" too or to hide a lot of it, and then there are others who haven't.

Okay, enough about this.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I Refuse to Sympathize with the Awkward

Look, we all feel self-conscious now and then and maybe some of us even feel self-conscious all the time. I know that I do to a certain level. Even when I'm alone, I sometimes disassociate and imagine how others might view me as I charmingly play computer Solitaire in a pair of ratty grey jogging pants and pitted-stained used-to-be-white tank top while chain-smoking and listening to Kid's Corner on WXPN. I think, Hmm...I guess I could still be cute if it was one of those life make-over movies and this is the before picture. Or when I'm walking to the subway and listening to my music, I'm really only thinking about me, me, me in a movie about a woman walking down the street to work. Sometimes, it's a horror movie where it's her last day on earth and she gets hit by a bus while lip-synching Madonna's "Cherish," and sometimes, it's a romantic comedy where after she steps in dog shit, a cute, dark-haired man stops on his bicycle to help her and they end up falling in love. In any case, I know what it's like to be aware of yourself, of the way your arms move when you're walking or the way you have mispronounced a word (Brooklyn Liz, you so obviously understand this too, right?) or the way you might feel suddenly vulnerable in front of a person you like.

HOWEVER.

Oh, crude, have to go be self-conscious at the gym.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Bell for Adano

I don't have the foggiest idea why that book title is stuck in my head. I never read the book and have no clue what it's about, though I think there might be a hunchback in the story somewhere? Have successfully read Daisy Miller and liked it much better than I thought I would. Our next short book is The Awakening and then I guess we have 10 or so more after that. The author I choose to present on is Don DeLillo, but I'm not sure which book of his (certainly not White Noise since this is a short novel class). I emailed my teacher last week to see if she would let me do a creative project for the final, but she never responded. In her own words, she is THEATRICAL!!! and so maybe therefore cannot write back directly as she's in the midst of rehearsing A Streetcar Named Desire. She seems to be one of those people who is prone to random soliloquies of little interest. But I am a harsh judge of people and should give her a chance. I will wait until the class is over to tell you the five things she did on the first night that gave me pause.

Liz and Luke were up this weekend and we did our usual stuff--went to thrift stores, played Sims, made disgusting organic cookies, drank wine, ate microwave popcorn, watched How Do I Look?, sat in Rittenhouse Square, tried on used shoes, bought new HOT shoes from Kenneth Cole (Liz got them for Luke b/c they are these two-toned great shoes marked down from $300 to $71. Really cute), tried on caftans at H & M, petted a bunch of dogs, ignored the homeless people, took the subway, drank coffee, ordered grilled cheese sandwiches, tried to coax Henri out from under the bed, fought with Emma, and met my friends out for a yummy Italian dinner at Marra's on Passayunk. Liz did the dishes like five times and Luke fixed my floor fan which is a Godsend. The air mattress was fine the second night, though the first night, I woke up at like 2 a.m. to find that it had deflated and I was basically lying on the hard wood floor. Someday, I'll find a use for that second bedroom beyond being a place where I hang my skirts.

Yesterday, went to Celia's to do some more laundry and watched two more episodes of Flight of Conchords and debated again whom we love more: Jermaine or Bret. I can't make up my mind. On one hand, Jermaine is more masculine and bigger; on the other hand, Bret is slight but a good (silly) dancer. I'm leaning toward Bret at this point. Also went to Trader Joe's where I again bought a bunch of bizarre stuff that I'll probably never eat like Fluffy Veggie Chips and Stuffed Picante Beans with Organic Lard. Then we walked along Kelly Drive and counted the number of shirtless jogging men we spotted (more than 11. We had to stop after that because it was just too overwhelming and not in a good way).

All in all, it was a pretty good weekend.