Tuesday, May 22, 2012


The blog bully has lately been otherwise engaged and, as you can see, without the tsking, things go all to hell. But here I am. To be honest, I am still not feeling all that chipper. Meanwhile, I feel that all the world is Getting On With It and being all self-actualized and proactive. I secretly feel sort of small and glowery and envious instead of "Go Team!" about the whole thing. I'm not pleased with myself. There also continues to be a fair amount of tearfulness and hand wringing. All in all, it's not been terribly amusing chez moi of late, and I do my best to spare you the really bleak bits. Still, there are sunny moments.

1. I cleaned the apartment. Now, I know that this doesn't seem very noteworthy, but when you are suffering from a sort of tedious malaise, things can get rather untidy. The revolting dishes have been washed; the bathtub is gleaming; the seven wigs' worth of hair that seems to routinely fall out of my head and strew itself around the house has been vacuumed up; all the shoes have made their way back to the closet. And you know what? It's an awfully pretty apartment when given half the chance. It makes me happy to come home to its clutter-free surfaces in the evenings when, during daylight savings, actual rays of sun come into the living room at about 7pm. Sono fortunata.

2. Italiano! In my new class, I am the dumb one, but at least I'm also the funny one (in English, at any rate). I am ploddingly making my way towards an understanding of when you use avere and when you use essere in the passato prossimo. Soon I will be able to tell you what I did yesterday. Actually, let's give it a whirl now. Ieri sera sono stata in classe. La lezione รจ cominciata alle 19:30. Or (hold onto your hats now) La professoressa ha cominciato la lezione alle 19:30. That's right ladies and gentlemen, I have no fear of your direct objects and their crazy corresponding verb changes. At least not if we stick with cominciare. I feel pretty good about cominciare.

3. Yesterday I managed to do one of my very favorite things: get a phone service rep to talk to me like a normal person and (bonus points) to laugh. If the person is a native English speaker, I usually succeed, but it never fails to please me. Yesterday, while I was talking to a very pleasant woman at my credit card company, she was explaining the benefits of upgrading my reward-earning card to some other reward-earning card. I told her that I didn't see any difference between them.

"Oh no," she said. "There is a very significant difference. Right now, you're in a tiered redemption structure."

"A tiered redemption structure?" I repeated. "I'm pretty sure you're describing Catholicism. That's what I got out of Dante, anyway."

That got the best laugh I've probably ever gotten from a customer service rep. Fortunately, she was Catholic. I think it works better if you're Catholic. So that was a good day. Plus, I'm no longer in a tiered redemption structure, so I'm pretty sure I can do whatever the hell I want. With my credit card, at least. It's a start.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


I am often compelled to entitle these posts "miscellany" in that, well, that's all they can accurately be said to be. Today, I thought I'd see if there were any useful synonyms on offer. (Hi, Thesaurus!) And so it is that I have been introduced to collectanea. I don't think it's altogether accurate to use it here, as I believe it implies a collection of writing by various people, not just a rambly assortment by one, but is it not a lovely word? Might it not be derived from the Greek goddess of collections? May Collectanea bless your baseball cards and bobble-head dolls, to say nothing of your depression-era glass pitchers.

1. I know I have mentioned this to you before, but I don't know whether you behave like proper minions and go look at things merely because I have told you to. Just in case, I'm telling you again. Letters of Note is fascinating. Fascinating, I tell you. And it will make you wish that people wrote you real letters. Sadly, today the first thing on the home page is a letter from Axl Rose, which makes the whole thing seem slightly less elegant than usual, but then, I am a snob. Perhaps Axl Rose is the very person you most desire for a pen pal.

2. Will I ever stop needing to blow my nose every three to four minutes? Ever?

3. Will I make an ass of myself in Italian class today in that I missed the whole first week and perhaps everyone else has totally mastered the passato prossimo? I intended to turn my attention to it in quite a serious way last night, but what with one thing and another, I pretty much just watched more old episodes of a show about FBI cases being solved with math. I did also pause to put some rotten chicken in the compost (Monday night is trash-collection eve) and that incited a lengthy bout of sink-scrubbing and window-opening and regret. These things take time, Italian. What can I tell you?

4. Why is "color-blocking" seen as a good thing while "matchy-matchy" is seen as a bad thing when, to me, they are the same? (And, what's more, I like to have things match. Secretly, I think many street-fashion blogs feature people who look as though they're homeless and only have access to a dumpster from 1986. So there.)

There really is no number 5 unless you would like to hear a long story about how awful the parking is on Tuesdays, and I'm sure you'd rather not. Anyway, I'm in dire need of a Kleenex.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Lest I forget how to write

April sort of passed me by. I spent, what? four days in NY? and then spent the rest of the month recovering from it one way or another. But now it's May and I will try, try again. A week ago I did a rather shabby job of telling a story at a show put together by my delightful friend Katy. To be fair, I was running a low fever at the time. I did wear a new dress and difficult shoes; under the circumstances, that was about as much elan as I could bring to bear. Now, solidly seven days later, I am suffering from a particular malaise entitled "Will I EVER Stop Blowing My Nose?" I walk around feeling such an enormous amount better, but not actually well. I think you aren't really well until you stop noticing your incremental improvements. I go about my tasks slightly dizzy and with a perpetual congestion headache, but encouraged that I am able to get off the sofa for long stretches of time.

Today, for instance, I managed to do the laundry which has been sitting in a heap on my bedroom floor for a week. It was (and is) an extravagantly beautiful day, so it felt quite Cinderella-esque to be at the laundromat while the rest of the populous wandered up and down the street--closed to traffic--enjoying some kind of Cinco de Mayo festival (though why they would have it on the 6th, I couldn't tell you) and, one imagines, eating organic ice cream. Still, it is a great relief to have it done at last and to boldly face a new tomorrow with a dizzying selection of clean underwear. Though I haven't the slightest doubt that I will face tomorrow morning with the traditional dread, please rest assured that my loins shall be most hygienically girded for the work week to come.

Meanwhile, as I lay feverish and depressed (sternly forbidding myself to cry for fear that the resulting supplementary congestion might actually cause my head to explode), my upstairs neighbors had a baby. The simultaneity of these events strikes me as Philosophically Meaningful in some sort of way, but perhaps I delude myself. Maybe it would have only been Meaningful if I had actually been dying, rather than merely very sad with a bad cold. I leave it for you to ponder. Currently, while he is extremely small, I feel quite big-hearted toward him. Obviously, history has already shown us what it will be like when he gets big enough to be audible. I am hopeful that I will be madly in love and Elsewhere by then. It is always possible. Weirdly, last night at a restaurant I used to frequent, I encountered the manager as I was leaving. "Ah!" he said, "You look gorgeous! I didn't recognize you!" [I have been puzzling over whether to be flattered or insulted by this.] "Are you married?" Generally, in this sort of exchange, the next question is, "How are you?" not "Are you married?" but perhaps it's different in France. I said,"No. But someday. Someday." and he said, "I am sure." And, really, he looked sure. So that makes one of us.

Just now, as I gazed out the window full of poetic resolve to enjoy my lovely apartment as long and as fully as I can [read: before the tyranny of the infant upstairs takes hold], a veritable flock of skinny jeans weekended their way down the sidewalk opposite. Ah, boys. However do you get your big feet through the ankle holes?

So many philosophical questions for one day.