Tuesday, January 31, 2012

La lista

Buongiorno amici,
Aside from being briefly confused about celebrities, I have been pretty quiet. I realize this. The dreaded illness that required tea for days on end proved more miserable and tenacious than the average cold. I watched an absolutely incredulous amount of British period drama, coughed like a consumptive, and was reduced to tears on several occasions. Blech. Then I got well and was suddenly all fired up about my summer plans. I like to have a plan. I like it so much that I will often do things like make plans for July in January.

Indeed. Vado in Italia in luglio. Vero! Not just "gee, I'd like to go to Italy this summer" but, as of yesterday: tickets bought, apartments reserved, excitement afoot. I'll go to Switzerland to see my dear distant friend and then to Rome for four days and Florence for a week. That means that #8 on the list shall be accomplished at long last. I even sent an inquiry about payment in Italian so maybe that counts as #9. It's a start anyway. Maybe I'll learn to say enough things that I can charm someone into drinking with me and thus accomplish #38. What's more, I may be able to see my cousin while I'm in Switzerland (#50). It's shaping up to be quite the life list extravaganza. Since I moved two years ago and gave up my cheap rent, I've not been able to afford to leave the state, so you'll excuse me if my sundresses and I do a little jig around the living room with my new Christmas suitcase.

I'll tell you a secret, shall I? While researching Rome apartments, I stumbled upon this one that is so lovely it is even called lovely and it pleases me to the point of sleeplessness. It is also really too expensive for me. Having extended experience being smitten with those who are out of reach, I was familiar with the sensation. I thought I'd get over it. Why I thought this, I cannot tell you. The aforementioned experience certainly offers no "getting over it" precedent. In any case, I didn't. Instead, I thought about it every day. Frankly, I blame the bathtub. Ultimately, as the adage says, "when in Rome, be in love with your apartment." I think that's the expression, anyway. Yesterday, I confirmed my reservation. Vero! I am giddy with delight. As a result, it's possible that I will forget to go out and see the Colosseum, but that's okay. I'm pretty sure there are photos of it available online, right?

Oh! And I almost forgot! I am also going to NY for a long weekend in April. Algonquin cocktails (#12), here I come.

I predict that in 2013 I will be clad in a barrel and eating instant ramen every day to make up for all this reckless extravagance, but for now sono molto felice.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wrong again

The frequency with which I confuse famous people's names makes my life more confusing, albeit more amusing, than yours. Notable misunderstandings of the past: Gary Cooper for Gary Coleman; Bill Cosby for Bill Clinton (I know. That was a bad one.)

Today, I am reading a list of books that will be made into movies in the coming year. Among them is The Hobbit. In a small blurb it is noted that Martin Freeman is playing Bilbo. I think you know what I thought.

Morgan Freeman? Isn't he kind of old to play Bilbo Baggins? And too tall?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Morgan Freeman:
Aaaannnddd....Martin Freeman.


Saturday, January 21, 2012


On the first day home with my seemingly entirely throat-centered illness, I discovered that I don't have a spoon that will fit into the mouth of my honey jar. If jar is the word. It is a plastic container that was designed as a squeeze bottle, but, of course, this presupposes that the honey remains in a liquid state. No one's honey remains in a liquid state.

I subsequently discovered that putting honey on the end of a knife, holding it over the tea cup, and pouring the tea directly over it, it is possible to melt the honey in an efficient manner while being simultaneously evocative of pouring absinthe over a sugar-filled spoon.

True, it does require significant effort of imagination to recast myself as a wanton flapper in a silken dress, rather than the hacking creature in sweatpants that I actually am at present, but it is day four of tea and Kleenex, and I'm doing my best.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Hallway. Lunchtime. Group of girls.

Girl 1: Wait. What's happening right now?
Girl 2: What's happening right now is that I really have to pee. But I'm holding it 'til Spanish class.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Need knead

There are many things that people do for relaxation that I do only stoically because for me it's less "ahhhh" and more "ouch!" Pedicures fall into this category and, most of all, massages. I get massages occasionally when I feel there's no alternative, in the way you might finally go to the doctor to address your pesky rash only once you've exhausted all the home remedies you can think of.

Having finally accepted that the dreaded crick was unrelenting and that if I ever wanted to turn my head again, I would need to pay a professional to knead me, I made the appointment. My massage therapist turned out to be excellent. He also turned out to be pretty much cross-eyed. This made our pre-session conversation unsettling. We both tried to make eye contact in a respectful fashion, but, in the hopes that my gaze my accidentally fall in the right place somewhere along the way, I transferred my attention constantly from one of his eyes to the other in what must have seemed a very nervous or downright shifty manner. Meanwhile, his crooked gaze leant him a strangely disbelieving aspect, as though he were thinking, "Old back injury? Yeah, right. Tell me another one."

Still, I was impressed with his work and I emerged crick-free, though feeling rather bruised. And, as one is reluctant to eat anything after having one's teeth professionally cleaned, I was reluctant to engage my muscles at all, for fear of ruining everything. Turns out you have to use your muscles to even get home. Bummer.

Cut to the next day when I was still feeling pretty good and pretty careful. I had dinner with my friend and her remarkably hearty four-month-old son. And that's how I learned this valuable lesson: if you are kind of a weakling and you want to maintain your stress-free shoulders, do not spend the next post-massage evening carrying a squirmy twenty-pound baby around no matter him much his dimples may charm you.

Dear science,
Thank you for ibuprofen.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One guest

You know that thing where people ask, "If you could have dinner with five people living or dead who would they be?" Frankly, I hate that question. I always draw a blank as though I've never heard of any people living or dead, much the same way as when asked for a restaurant recommendation I suddenly feel like I've never been to a restaurant. Plus, I think it's some sort of test. As though you're supposed to say Winston Churchill and Einstein and Sartre or something. Big names. Big thinkers. Well, I just watched And Everything is Going Fine and now I have the answer. Just one guest. Spalding Gray.

The monologue he must have developed by now about being dead is one I deeply long to hear.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


On Sunday, my family got together to celebrate my father's birthday via bowling. It was fun; I'll admit it. Plus, I think I injured myself more seriously by falling asleep on the sofa last night (seriously. People walk into my office, I turn my head to see them and...ow! I've had this stupid crick in my neck for about three weeks though. I kind of don't remember what it's like to not walk around compulsively [albeit fruitlessly] kneading my own shoulder, It's terribly elegant.) than I did by hurling a heavy object about. What? I'm spindly and I have a bad back. Bowling is anxiety producing. Yes. I know you're cooler than I am.

Yesterday I got an email from my mom that said, among other things, "You can go bowling with anyone. You were great."
My mother is totally biased. To the point of delusion, apparently. I wish you could have actually witnessed my "form" so you could be getting a nice hearty chuckle right now. But isn't it nice to have someone love you so much that they instill you with imaginary bowling prowess? It is.

On the other hand, in case I actually become a good bowler, I hear there'll be a venue in my very own neighborhood to showcase my mad skillz. I'll probably become some sort of local legend. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Words Escape Me

Thanks to my friend Andy, I'm venturing into a whole new frontier. Were this the radio, it'd be a radio show. Instead it is a computer, so it is a podcast. And that, friends, is as technical as it's gonna get around here.

Episode 1 is up. Exciting, no? Go listen why dontcha? You'll find that I'm the mumbliest person on the show. And possibly in the world. Discuss. Also, Silvio? Silvio is hilarious.

Oh. In case you're wondering what all the talk about Wiretap and Jonathan Goldstein is about, all will be revealed here.

What are you doing hanging around here? Go listen.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Class discussion

I sent an email to a colleague inquiring whether a board member could visit his class.
He replied, "Yes, though we will be reviewing a violently (and sometimes sexually) graphic story that the class is reading. If you don't think that's inappropriate for the visitor to see, by all means."

So, it's not inappropriate for the students, then? Just checking.