Friday, January 06, 2006

All Projects Must Come to an End

Happy Epiphany! aka Three Kings Day. aka The Twelfth day of Christmas. aka The Start of the Carnival Season the world over... A bit of Christian mythology here (and face it, it is ALL mythology), it's the day Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar, three Persian (Iranian!) astrologers brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Jesus. And to go even deeper, the gifts were actually a prophecy about Jesus' life and death... (further proof to me that it's all mythology and symbolism). Note: How lucky I am to have a dear friend who is a brilliant theologian and can answer my real questions about world religions without proselytizing.

You know, I think I will save Part II of the travelogue for the next blog.

And as the title of this post indicates -- yes, the Dear Jane Project has reached its conclusion, with the demise and final stuttering death of my relationship -- sexual, friend, and business -- with "F." Actually, "stuttering death" is too hifalutin' a phrase to describe it. It was more like a cockroach that I kept chasing around the house and slapping with a shoe. It would slow down and lie stunned for awhile but it just kept coming back, filthy little sucker. But I won. I killed it dead, like the old commercial used to say.

Or as I described it to someone on the final ugly night, I hunted the shark, found the shark, then blasted that ugly motherf****r all to bits. Now I'm trying to paddle the remnants of my boat back to shore. Leaving me with one final thing to say about it: "You're gonna need a bigger boat."

Come to think of it, "relationship" may be too nice a word to describe it, too, even though it did have its moments.

As they say, hindsight is 20/20, but I guess my ass lost its glasses somewhere along the way.

Of course, I might say "coulda-woulda-shoulda," but what is the point? I did what I did, and in the process I became what I loathe most in the world -- a HUGE CLICHE. As readily identifiable a cliche as Italian girls from Bay Ridge, gay clones from Chelsea, or Jewish girls from anywhere. Ugh.

Every time I said, "I can handle this" and G gave me that "methinks the lady doth protest too much" look -- I was a cliche! Every time I got sad and felt lonely or jealous of the little wife at home -- I was a cliche! Every time I accepted crumbs instead of the whole loaf -- I WAS A CLICHE! To my true and dear friends, I am sorry I was a cliche. I am sorry that as a cliche I was boring and not entertaining! I was sad more than happy, angry more than glad, whiny more than conversant, and generally a great big pain in the dupa to be around. Those of you who stuck it out with me -- I thank you and offer you homage. I don't know that I would have been able to do the same thing.

I did have an awful lot of really good sex. A lot of really steamy, smutty, climb the walls sex. There is that. So now I guess I'll have to find another activity to replace it, so I'm not being yanked through life by my dick.

And frankly, the situation got me to start this journal, which is nothing more than one long writing exercise. So I'm happy to have done it for that. G said the more I suffered, the better my writing got.

The Cliche concept does go a long way toward dispelling the myth of the separate self that we cling to -- that we are in some way special. I love the buddhist concept that we are all "nothing special." That the idea of our "self" that we cling to is nothing more than be expanded on in the new blog.... Unique but not special. My personality is not who I am. As Yul says, et-cetera, et-cetera, et-cetera....

Thanks be to God that the new year has turned! I love a good opportunity to shine up my karma and start with a clean slate!

Those of you who have supported me through this -- I thank you. I will keep you posted as to the where and whenabouts of the new blog.

Happy 2006!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Travel Notes - Part 1

Not being lucky enough to have been born and raised in some small, idyllic mountain town or perhaps on Bermuda, the hejira I undertook this holiday season was to the slightly downtrodden but we-always-have-time-to-love-the-Steelers city of Pittsburgh, birthplace (or spawning ground) of yours truly.

Ever the economizer, I saved some moolah by traveling on Christmas morning AND by traveling through Dulles. I'm never thrilled to either add time to a trip or spend any time at all in the vicinity of Washington DC (unless said time is spent wandering the magnificent National Gallery), but hey, times are tough and we all gots to save some bucks. If I was going to have to pay a catsitter a hundy to watch the beasts for 4 days, I'd have to save the money somewhere.

I know, I know. There are some pious holy joes out there will say that I took the Christ out of Christmas by traveling on His birthday. But hell, even the Three Wise Men didn't get there until January 6th, so like millions of other travelers they must have been stuck at O'Hare on the actual day. And frankly, given the bumpiness upon takeoff from LaGuardia, I actually DID put the "Christ!" back in Christmas. (I consider it my own personal contribution to Bill O'Reilly's pet cause). A side note on that very subject -- does anyone else find it ironic that the very people who keep yammering about some imagined "War on Christmas" are the very ones whose mega-churches found it appropriate to cancel church on Christmas day? Ya know, people, walk your talk. If you're so concerned about keeping Christ in Christmas, then get your fat self-righteous asses into church and pay him some respect on his damn birthday! What's that smell? I don't think it's Christmas goose -- mmmmm, smells like the ripe aroma of some good old fashioned HY-pocrisy!

But I digress.

One of the benefits of spending Christmas day rediscovering the splendor of various airport concourses on the east coast is that it's a fairly light travel day. I was out my door and stepping into the grim confines of LaGuardia within 15 minutes, but then found myself with oodles of time to kill. So what else is new.... there must be a subconscious part of me that is still like dear old Dad, who, if he has a flight at 6:00, will arrive at the airport around lunchtime. What is a girl to do then? Why, shop, of course! My internal homing beacon took me directly to the bookstore at LGA, where I loaded up on the Sunday Times, a book called "The 5 Unanswered Questions about 9/11," and my very first sudoku book. (more on that later, fyi, I am writing this from a special sudoku rehab). Paying by credit card, I'm pretty sure my purchases probably put me on a Homeland Security watchlist.

With just the right amount of city-slickerism and New York snobbery, when I'm traveling, I like to sit in airports and quietly nurture my judgements about all the poor folk who don't have the good fortune or good sense to live in New York City. I love to travel alone, but I also happen to have a tremendously overactive brain that needs to be amused like a 5-year-old with ADD. So instead of offering comical running commentary to a travel companion (I am viciously hilarious when in a concourse full of people I will never see again), I have it running in my head. I'm that person you've seen in the airport who looks at you intently, then bends over a notebook and writes furiously and with a self-satisfied smirk.

I also like to make up t-shirt slogans while I'm doing all this. It keeps the ADD at bay. This trip's T-Shirts:

"I support the troops, but Dick Cheney can go fuck himself."
"Proud member of the northeast liberal elite."
"Your nearest exit may be behind you."

(The last is my personal favorite, it has a koan-like quality to it. I could imagine Miyagi-san saying it to Ralph Macchio.)

First stop, Washington Dulles. I'm sure this is the least original observation anyone has ever made, but it should just be called Washington DULL. My observation about most of the folks trundling around in Dulles? My God, that is a city full of peole with absolutely no sense of style. Most of the women were wearing sweaters with some sort of gelt on it -- we're talking jingle bells sewn onto the front of the sweaters, or some other shiny dangly thing. Maybe they all received a BeDazzler some long ago Christmas. You know, Washington DC has some astonishing architecture, one of the finest art collections on the planet, and a lot of really amazing memorials and history. In fact, if it wasn't for the people who live there, DC could even be cool. But alas, it is instead a cultural backwater, made even more backward by the current inhabitant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (you know, that Northeastern blueblood masquerading aggressively as a good ole boy). I was asked to "volunteer" my seat in exchange for a free ticket and a guaranteed seat on the next flight to Pittsburgh, but as it would have required me to spend another 4 hours breathing the same air that W and Cheney do, I took a pass.

Then it was on to Pittsburgh and its ginormous airport. Did you know there is a Calder sculpture hanging right there in the main terminal? I didn't, and I've passed through the place a score of times. But my favorite thing is the little display on one of the concourses that holds Mr. Rogers' sneakers, sweater, and the original handwritten script of his first show.

Next: Welcome to Pittsburgh, where mullets are worn without irony, taking care of mom, getting sucked into Gilmore Girls, and sudoku madness!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Fable

In her final year of school, a rabbit from the wrong side of the tracks got a new teacher who told her that he loved her no matter what, and that he knew she had the power to choose whatever kind of life she wanted for herself. She challenged the teacher again and again, but no matter how 'bad' she tried to be, the teacher balanced appropriate discipline with genuine heartfelt loving kindness.

Whenever she was upset, he challenged her to look at her part in creating and nurturing the upset, and he encouraged her to take care of herself on a daily basis by doing those things that she loved, like hopping, running, and reading inspirational literature (The Velveteen Rabbit was one of her favorites).

Eventually, the rabbit learned to trust herself more and to worry less about what other people thought she should be doing with her life. But even though she was popular with the other animals (after all, her daily running and jumping had made her the star of the track team), there was a part of her that still knew she was horribly inadequate, and she felt the loving teacher was wasting his time on a worthless ball of fluff like her. No matter how fast she ran, she still cringed inwardly when she saw the birds who flew with such grace and the fish who swam like, well, fish.

Then one day, the unthinkable happened. She stepped on a thistle and hurt her lucky foot, and she could no longer run. What little value she felt she had in the world was taken away by one tiny thorn. The rabbit cried and cried until she was empty, and it was then that she heard a new yet oddly familiar voice inside her mind - still, small, and as clear as a bell. It whispered, “Your value is not in your speed.”

From that moment on, the voice stayed with her wherever she went. As she watched the birds fly high above the playing fields, the voice whispered “Their value is not in their wings.” When she saw the fish swimming laps in the pool, the voice said, “Their value is not in their ability to swim.” When the rich old badger who helped to support the school came by, the voice said “His value is not in his wealth.”

And the rabbit could see that it was true—the birds’ value was not in their flight, her teacher's value was not in his teaching, and her value was not in her speed, or in her ability to hop, or even in the way she could twitch her nose and make everybody laugh. And that thought made her laugh and laugh until once again, she was empty, and the voice spoke again inside her mind.

“Now,” the voice said, “we can begin...”

Friday, December 09, 2005

A rare Jane post

Dear Jane --

Your husband has been trying *DESperately* to get laid. Let's see -- he has called my office at 5:00 several times and been shot down.

He called twice before 6:00 am because he was going to forego his morning workout and drive to Brooklyn.

I shot him down both times. Not for lack of desire (though there is that) but more that I am occupied happily in my new job. And now I am making the rules. I don't want anyone in my office to know. And not because it would make me a bad person for sleeping with a married guy, but that they would think I have terrible taste in men. Your husband is almost universally reviled on the street.

And well, honestly, while I admire his willingness to come to Brooklyn, lately I've been waking up looking like my head was in a fight with Hurricane Katrina. Hair by osterizer.

The interesting thing is that we have been getting along better than ever -- we are having fun with each other...without all the underlying drama and angst. It's just a good time.

Sometime Luddite

1. Sometimes I like to write in pencil. And I am an anal-retentive FREAK about my pencils. They must be super-super-super sharp. How many geeks do you know who have their own electric pencil sharpener at home? My favorite? Berol Black Warriors followed by good old Dixon Ticonderogas. Am I a pencil purist or merely stuck in 4th grade?

2. Sometimes I miss my old electric typewriter that I had in college. It was my sister's when *she* went to college...8 years before I did. Sometimes I yearn for that authoritative thud-thud-thud sound it made. I know, everyone else's typewriter went "clackety-clack." Mine thudded. What can you do? When I came to New York in 1988 the only jobs out there for young college graduates with Liberal arts degrees were secretarial positions. And you still had to take a typing test. On a typewriter. By the time I was hired full-time by that ad agency, I could do close to 100wpm on those old Olivettis.

3. Sometimes when I am working in the office I will add up numbers manually -- in pencil, of course. The way I learned how to do it in grade school.

4. Sometimes I count on my fingers. But when I am doing it I always hold my hands flat and do it by flexing my fingers slightly so no one will look at me and think I'm dumb.

5. I can make change in my head. The girl at McDonald's last week told me my lunch cost was 5.03 (or something like that). She saw me pull out a ten-dollar bill and entered that amount into her register. When I tried to give her a nickel so I could get back a five-dollar bill and a couple of pennies instead of a wad of singles and a pound of change, she panicked. She had already rung the ten. Without the register to tell her what to give back to me, she didn't know what to do. She couldn't make change in her head. She looked me straight in the eye and said, "It's easier for me to just do it this way." (Customer service in the new millennium folks!)

6. I do the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle in pen. Not because I am smart. But rather because I am a showoff. My friend does it in pencil every week. I think there's a tiny character study in that. He would rather erase all evidence of his mistakes. I have no problem overwriting a bad guess with the right answer.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Something that I mourn

Public Decorum.

Whatever happened to it? Seriously. I'm not a prude, most certainly not. But some things just don't need to be said or done in public. Pay attention to what is happening in your immediate vicinity, and you might be shocked at just how blue the air is around you. When you see these kids on the subway, and every other word out of their mouth is "fuck - fuck - fuck," doesn't it make you cringe? I think the most upsetting thing about it is that the worst offenders seem to be young women.

It makes me hyper-aware of my own frequently trashy mouth. I described someone as a "cunt" in casual conversation last week! (Not that it isn't true about that particular person, but that word is like a fist!) It's a great Exercise in Awareness. I know, i know, I use that phrase a lot. Then again, as the Zennies teach us, everything is an opportunity for awareness.

I heard my mother swear once. ONCE. And do you know what? That single, vehement, "Damn you!" (rather vanilla by today's standards, no?) had an impact that resonates to this day. She was right -- when you don't do it all the time, it has more impact.


Okay. I admit to being fairly intuitive when it comes to computers and such -- I'm not one for following manuals or stuff like that. So since 1986 I've pretty much just worked it out when I needed to.

And so far, all of my forays into techno world have been PC-based. Meaning, frankly, Windows-based. (Microsoft's slogan should be "We're The Epitome of Bloated Crap!")

So here I am at my new job working the shiny iMac G5 -- at first it was like putting Ma Kettle into a Dodge Viper, but slowly I'm getting the hang of it. And loving it. If I could kiss my iMac, some days I swear I would.

But one thing has me befuddled -- is the Blogger code written for PC folks?

Friday, November 25, 2005

A Couple of Things That Make Me Want to Push You In Front of A Moving Train

1. You use words like "closure," or "empowerment" in an unironic way.

2. You use the phrase "It's all good," right after something really cruddy has happened. You know what, dummy? It's not all good. Sometimes it's downright crappy, and you mouthing claptrap and platitudes at me is not going to make it better.

3. You wear a fauxhawk or anything else that smacks of hipster or Chelsea clone fashion. If you spend more time artfully mussing your hair with product than Dolly Parton spends on her wigs, you deserve a good flick to the forehead.

4. Basically, if you get on the "L" train between Graham Avenue and Bedford Avenue, I want to push you in front of said train.

5. You call movies "films."

6. You are a singer/songwriter who hasn't gotten over Jeff Buckley. Let the yodeling die, please. I beg you.

7. You are not nice to service people. If I observe you being condescending and snotty to waitpeople and taxi drivers, you are a condescending and snotty person. Then again, if someone at the table has to have their food spit in, better that it's your entree and not mine.

But that doesn't mean I haven't been a-thinkin'

OK. Something happened here -- I seem to have lost the little icons at the top of the create posting field that allow me to do formatting as I write -- you know, all of the important things like hotlinks and font settings. It must have something to do with switching over to a mac platform. Which, for the record, I love as if I could kiss it.

But I have been keeping my little notebook with me and jotting down notes as things occur to me, just in case I am inspired to blog about it. So I have this notebook filled with random words that could be haiku unto themselves.

Here is a stream-of-consciousness transcription of some of the things I've jotted: "Chop wood, carry water. People are alcoholics because they drink too much. I was embarrassed to be white! The Day the Catlicks lost me. Om padme mani clean. Government borrowing depresses private investment. Closure is bullshit psychobabble term describing intangible *thing* that people actually believe they are entitled everyone who has ever whined, "I need to have closure on this" - shut the fuck up. [I must have been eavesdropping on the subway to prompt that!] Handsome John on the subway. The genericization of Helll's Kitchen. Jonathan Leaf is an unbelievable moron...the Springsteen song title is "because the night" not "bring on the night." and he calls himself a music critic? CS Lewis said "No one ever told me grief felt so like fear."

I think I will indulge in a few curmudgeonly posts.

Where I've Been

For a very long time I've been hiding under the porch of my psyche, licking some wounds. Making a tentative venture back into the world in the past couple of weeks.

music purchases today

John Mayer Trio.

I know, I know, he perpetrated all that college-freshman pussy pop that the White Zinfandel-and-pilates set seems to love, but this is actually pretty excellent bluesy rock.

But -- For all you husbands whose wives made you suffer through Mayer's first two cd's on every family road trip -- okay, so this isn't "Houses of the Holy," but remember, Mayer is a blues and jazz guitarist from Berklee College of Music before he turned into a pop-prince, and there are some great cuts here. Listen to the guitar playin' and try not to think about some of his cringe-worthy lyrics (but you know, come to think of it -- once you've written such craptacularly classic lyrics as "your body is a wonderland" pretty much anything is an improvement.)

I recommend "Out of My Mind."

I offer the confession here that I am guilty of listening to "No Such Thing" with open pleasure and still sing along every time I hear it. What can I say -- I love a great pop song. Which goes to show my everlasting schizophrenia about music -- here I offer a slap and a kiss to John Mayer. And I'm shameless about my prejudices, because I'm firmly convinced that what is tongue-in-cheek kitsch or a deeper appreciation of the art for me -- well, you may like the same things, but they are a demonstration of your obviously bad taste.

As exhibit #1, I offer the following example: Listening to and appreciating ABBA means that a) you either grew up in the 70's and really did love these songs, or b) you have an evolved sense of irony about the kitschiness of saccharine 70's pop music, or c) you live in Williamsburg and don't have an original bone in your body or a thought in your head or a fashion choice that hasn't been dictated to you by someone else. Listening to the original cast album of the Broadway musical "Mamma Mia!" -- well, that's just your obviously bad taste.

For the record, John Mayer does have those kissalicious lips.

Rufus Wainwright: Want Two

Feeling a jones for Rufus, it was with some surprise that I realized I didn't have this in my collection. Buy this record. It is gorgeous.

Jerry Garcia & Dave Grisman

First, let me tell you how much I hate the Grateful Dead. I hate the Grateful Dead so much that I have left parties at the first notes of a GD song that someone put on the stereo. I hate the Grateful Dead so much that when I see people doing that noodle dance I am instantly reminded of something my friend Shelly once told me, which was that the three scariest words in the English language are "White People Dancing." My sister (a fellow hater like me) described them as "mediocre musicians plunkin' away at bad folk music."

So, imagine my chagrin when Greg was playing a cd at the office that had some cool bluegrassy-sounding tunes on it -- it felt very NPR or Mountain Stage. When I asked him what it was, he laughed an evil laugh and told me that it was Jerry Garcia. I admitted that I was loving it.

But I still hate the Grateful Dead.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


1. I have started a new job (well, actually my old job with a new company in a new location).

2. F thinks that what happened doesn't change anything about our relationship, but what happened actually changes everything.

3. My mother is dying by inches.

4. I have my period and am bloated and bitchy.

5. Roni gave me a haircut that is noticeably uneven.

6. I HATE HIPSTERS!! With the heat of a thousand white-hot suns, I hate them.

7. The NYPD paid a little visit to Cracky Crackhead on Friday night, courtesy of me and Carlos.

That's the cook's tour of my life right now. More later.