April 01, 2011
April 25, 2010
A lot has happened since my last post. I mean, for one, micro-blogging. Who knew blogging in 140 characters or less would become such a cultural phenomenon? I'll admit I tried my hand at it, but here's the thing: I've never been one for brevity. My life simply doesn't fit into 140 characters. I mean, my opinion doesn't fit into 140 characters usually. Come to think of it, there's not a lot I want to say that does. Except this:
I'm getting married!
Yep, It turns out not only is Jim impossibly loving, funny and intelligent - and an absolutely spectacular cook -- he was also somehow willing to sign up for a lifetime of putting up with my somewhat inflexible or at the very least incredibly passionate points of view, mild case of wanderlust, constant need for a project or three, lack of ability to iron clothing or take out the garbage and tendency to take unnecessary chances while driving.
Which makes me a soon-to-be-wife, and Jim a crazy person, by my count.
Here's the funny and totally cliche thing: I knew I was going to marry him, probably even before we really started dating. We were acquaintences, then colleagues, then friends, and always dating other people for the first couple years we were in each other's orbit. During those times I never gave him a second thought, because I was so singularly focused on my other (failing) relationships. And then, sometime almost 3 years ago, I was suddenly single again - as was he. That was when I really took notice of him - tall, funny, generous, kind, with a Cheshire Cat grin and a whip quick wit - and never looked back.
The first time he met my mother was on my birthday, roughly the same week we'd started dating. He came to my birthday party - dinner at a great place on the water with 20 friends and then off to my favorite divey karaoke bar where 10 more of my friends and family joined us - by himself, unruffled by the fact he knew nobody there but me.
His first words to my mother? "Hi, I'm Jim. I work with slash love your daughter."
And while it would have been easy to hang back, intimidated by being surrounded by so many of my friends and family and in the midst of a brand new relationship, guess who was first up on the karaoke mike by the time we were all tipsy enough? Jim.
With an unforgettable rendition of "Lola".
I threw him right into the middle of the fire, and he held up. Single men everywhere, nake note: I didn't have to babysit him or hold back, and my friends and family certainly didn't either - and he reciprocated and thrived. While he connected with everyone in the room that evening, I never had a doubt that he was there for me, and only me. Everything he did was just the right key. And while I had a hundred scars on my heart -- reasons not to jump in -- everything in me said this was somebody who could handle me, and who I could trust to.
There's something incredibly freeing about being with a person who accepts you fully, every odd little angle of who you are. And while I might think Jim is a little crazy for being crazy about me, I am so grateful he is and that we managed to find each other. There's nobody I'd rather get old and fat and batshit crazy with than him. And in the meantime, I am looking forward to the adventure of our lives.
June 25, 2009
Let's set the scene:
It was a busy Wednesday. I was bogged down at work - endless decks to pull together, meetings to run, cats to herd. I was down to the wire on a crazy-big project with lots of visibility. And, noticing Mickey's big hand was on the 12 on my clock, I realized with a pang that I was STARVING.
With less than a 20-minute window before my next meeting, I had no time to sit down somewhere. Worse, the secret pseudo-food health bar stash in my top drawer was depressingly empty. I had no choice but to run for some deliciously bad takeout.
The teriyaki place across the street is a far cry from the best I've had, but it's predictable, and thus was my choice.
My stomach grumbling, I entered the strip-mall-style shop to find every table full and a line at the register. Waiting to order, it registered that I had caught that magical lunch hour rush when the crowd in local restaraunts gets a little... awkward.
See, my company is very near a large high school with an open campus for lunch. This means that on any given day between about 12:15 and 12:45 the local establishments are the meeting grounds for many longing, lecherous businessmen suffering mid-life-crises in suits AND (the awkward part) herds of scantily-clad teenage girls. Cheerleaders and Lil' Kim wannabes abound, noisily giggling and madly text-messaging.
Hysterically, during these strange lunch hour mixings, these two different tribes do their best to pretend to completely ignore each other, at which they epically fail. At these moments, everyone is actually acutely aware of each other. I'd say there's a fair amount of eavesdropping, and more sideways glancing that is technically comfortable to watch happen. I was in the midst of musing about this when...
"What you want today, lady?"
Shaken from my rapt people-watching (people-judging, to be more accurate), I ordered the lunch special: a slab of sliced chicken covered in a sticky-sweet sauce, an ice-cream scoop of gluey white rice and a handful of iceberg lettuce covered in a mayo moonlighting as "dressing".
I stepped out of line after settling up and found a seat on the long bench between the register and the door to wait for my order to come up. In front of this bench, the distracted line of customers queuing up to order meanders from the register out onto the sidewalk. Further inside the restaraunt are tables for dine-in patrons.
A few minutes had passed when a woman from the kitchen made her way over to me, arm outstretched to hand me my white plastic take-out bag. I was shoving my pen and that day's NY Times crossword into my purse with one hand and taking my takeout with the other when I heard him.
"HI! I'M BEN!"
I jumped, startled by the inappropriately loud volume of his voice, and looked up. Meanwhile, the rest of the restaraunt's patrons did the same. His volume alone managed to hush the entire joint and, impossibly, capture the attention of all the teenagers and professionals in it.
I gulped, and slowly looked up. As I had feared, Mr. Mortifying was addressing me. Trying not to cringe, I smiled, said hi, and looked back down at the paper in my lap, silently willing him to dissappear.
Please, please... I thought, eyes squeezed tight.
"I WAS JUST WALKING BY AND SAW YOU IN THE WINDOW..."
Oh no, I thought. This can't be happening.
"...AND THOUGHT I SHOULD STOP TO TELL YOU I THINK YOU'RE REALLY, UH... BEAUTIFUL..."
Cue waves of crippling guilt.
Here he was, giving me a compliment, and just because he was SCREAMING IT EMBARASSINGLY AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS IN A PUBLIC PLACE, I was feeling all panicky and ungrateful.
But he just kept going.
"...AND I JUST WANTED TO KNOW IF I COULD TAKE YOU OUT SOMETIME!"
Fuck. There it was.
The restaraunt was tomblike in silence. I suddenly knew what it was like to be on-stage, the main event, one of those terrified dogs on bicycles in the center ring of the circus. The only sound was the fryers and grills in the back of the restaraunt. Every cheerleader, hoochie mama and corporate VP had his or her eyes trained on the train wreck-slash-soap opera in front of them, featuring me and my new volume-and-tact-challenged Romeo.
Handle this, I thought. Don't panic. Be cool. But I just couldn't stop it. It was coming out of my mouth before I even had a chance to take hold of my internal E-brake and yank:
My inner dialogue had escaped like some clever little yappy dog. Rather than gracefully diffusing the completely mortifying experience and politely declining this gentleman's clumsy advances, I had sprung a leak in my filter and instead yelled - YELLED - "Awkward!", volume 10, drawn out theatrically into a 7-syllable groan of disgust and embarrassment.
The crowd's response was a gasp, and then some giggling. The moment the word escaped, I clapped both hands over my mouth, eyes as big as saucers and frantically shook my head.
"No, no, I'm sorry. It's just... right here? Right now? Do you think..." I took a deep breath, getting a grip. "Uh, can we speak outside, maybe?"
I leapt up, took his arm and lead him outside into the parking lot like he was a bad child. The next few moments were a mishmash of apologizing and thanking him for the compliment but (obviously) declining the offer. Shockingly, he didn't seem even close to as humiliated as I had been, which helped, though he did mention that he realized he had yelled, probably because he was "nervous".
But we managed to somehow extricate ourselves from the conversation, and both turned to go our separate ways on foot, me in front of him.
And a few minutes later, as I opened the front door to my giant office building and glanced behind me, guess what? He was still there. When I turned to address him, he smiled sheepishly at me.
"Well, if you thought THAT was awkward, I can't imagine what you'll make of this... you work here too??!"
Can a girl please catch a break? I must have kicked a kitten in a past life.
"Talk about awkward...
December 02, 2008
I just got a second Blackberry and a second line.
Because back in July I had an experience that convinced me that any adult who would like to be perceived as responsible should carry separate work and personal devices. And, being a procrastinator, I just now got around to it. But the horror of my lesson still lingers.
Here's what happened:
My girlfriend Anne and I had plans to go out for a bite and a drink on a Friday night after work. We planned to meet at my houseand then head downtown.
I was home changing in my room, when she got to my place. She knocked on the door, I was upstairs. I didn't hear her, so she let herself in, having to pee. Not wanting to scare me, she sent me a text message from the bathroom to let me know she was in.
"I'm in your upstairs bathroom, FYI. Don't freak."
I got the message, and, picturing her sitting on the toilet texting me, giggled and
replied, telling her to come into my room when whe was done and mentioning the shirt I'd chosen to wear that night, knowing she'd get a kick out of the choice.
The shirt was a recent favorite addition to my wardrobe: a long, thin, dark blue silk number. It was perfect, except the last time Anne and I had gone out, 3 weeks prior, I had worn it and made an embarassing discovery. We had taken about a million photographs, and the following day when reviewing the pictures, we realized that the flash of the camera combined with the thin fabric of my favorite new top created a perfect storm - the unintentionally sheer-in-photos shirt. You could see my bra and a little cleavage in literally every photo. WHOOPS.
But I loved the shirt, and as I recalled its one downside, I chose a darker-colored bra less likely to make a guest-appearance in photos this time around, and made a mental note to ban flash-photography.
A few moments later Anne burst in, laughing.
"You're wearing the shirt!"
"Yep, couldn't resist," I said, dropping my cell phone into my purse before slinging it over my shoulder and pivoting in the mirror for one last check on our way out of my room. "I knew you'd get a kick out of it. By the way, who text messages on the toilet? Dork."
We headed downstairs, on our way out the door. On our way, I pulled my phone back out of my purse to check the time. But rather than being on the home screen, my phone was on the "sent text messages" screen, where I could see the last 5 or 6 texts I'd sent.
I must not have locked my keypad before dropping it into my bag, I thought, hoping I hadn't pocket-dialed anyone accidentally when my phone was in there squished against all the other hundred things I carried in my purse.
Hopeful, I looked more closely at the screen, at the list of my recently sent text messages. But something wasn't right.
The last two sent messages were not the ones I'd sent to Anne, though I hadn't sent any others after our little exchange when she was in the bathroom. Curiously, the texts I'd sent Anne were two down in the list - the 3rd and 4th most recently sent messages.
Looking closer, it all became clear.
"OOOOooooOOOOOOOH MYYYYY GOOOODDDDDDD," I wailed. April came running.
I showed her my phone.
"Oh. OH! Shit!" she said.
I hadn't pocket-dialed anyone. Nope, it was worse. I had pocket-forwarded the last text message I sent Anne -- you know, the one about my shirt and where I was -- to my boss.
My male, married, BOSS. And worse, I hadn't done it once... I had sent it to him twice.
The messages were exact copies of the ones I'd sent Anne, and they read as follows:
"I'm in my bedroom. Meet me here when you're done. I'm wearing that see-through shirt you like."
Let me repeat that:
RIGHT AFTER WORK, I POCKET-FORWARDED MY BOSS A TEXT THAT SAID, FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES, "I AM A SCANDALOUS HOOCH. COME TO MY HOUSE AND SEE MY TA-TAS."
"Oh shit," Anne said again, as if that even came close to expressing the horror of the momen.
"Good, thanks. I am dead. I am a dead person," I said, not in the least dramatically. "What do I do? Oh FUCK, WHAT DO I DO???"
We silently stared at each other for a moment, me holding the phone like it was about to self-destruct, she just, well, gaping at me. I think we were waiting for what we thought would surely be the text response from our boss: "You're fired". Or worse: "On my way".
And then Anne, looking at me holding the phone away from my body like a grenade with a "doooo someeethingggg!!" expression, cracked. She burst into hysterical laughter, and I, seeing no other possible option, joined her.
It was the only thing that could be done. I had accidentally forwarded on an unintentionally seductive text message to my boss, with my butt, through my purse. Who in the hell do these things happen to besides me?
An hour or so later, when I hadn't recieved a response, I sent an explanatory email to said boss, explaining what had happened and falling on the sword for not having separate work and personal phones. He responded immediately (clearly he hadn't known what to say, a small relief in the big scheme of things) shrugging it off.
To this day, we haven't spoken about it. But, as I said, I now have separate work and personal devices. And I am locking my keypad for good measure.
November 30, 2008
I ran a half-marathon today, my first, and survived.
It was painful, but I loved it. And, in retrospect, I could have finished it a considerable amount faster, but as I ran past over-achievers who were, in the final leg, on the ground with cramps or strapped to gurneys and vomiting, I decided that for my first one, slow and steady was the way to go.
I am no worse for the wear - a little sore (okay, a lot sore, anyone offering rubbing services of any kind?), but overall in good spirits, and I have a cheesy medal, two "finisher" shirts and a crumpled race number to show for it.
Yay me. I feel so ahead of the game. Isn't this something I was supposed to, like, resolve to do in January or something? Can I get away with retroactively resolving to do it, like when you write down a list of the things you did today at the end of the day only so you can cross them all off? Or, if you're like me, you write a list of to-dos that always begins with "make list".
No? Hmmm. Alright, then, in 2009, the moon!
Thanksgiving stories to come, but in the meantime, enjoy your Sunday evening and I hope your holiday was as beautiful, and hysterical, as mine.
Be well, and try running once in a while, fatsos. Its awesome.
(Sorry, sorry, I didn't mean that. Runner's high? No? Hmmm.)
November 29, 2008
"I'll be right back," I said, spinning away from the cutting board, dropping the knife in the sink, and trying not to look down as I pinched my left thumb to my middle finger on the same hand. I was working overtime to keep my face serene, host-like, un-alarmed, as I sauntered out of the kitchen.
The moment I passed through the doorway, however, away from the chatter and company, I broke into a sprint, tearing up the stairs, crashing into one of the upstairs bathrooms and dropping to my knees in front of the sink. I threw open the cabinet doors and, using my right arm, swept the contents out onto the floor so I could better look through them.
You see, I was throwing a dinner party. A huge meal, five separate dishes, each highly complex (hello, idiot), and each requiring approximately the same time to prepare. Jim, typically my soux chef and partner, was busy entertaining the company, which included my mother and brother and some of our closest friends, and was thus out of commission to help much.
Oh, and I had just sliced the tip of my finger completely off.
Go ahead, re-read that. I know, it's hard to imagine.
But there I was, in the kitchen, slicing peeled parsnips (which were about to become a delicious addition to a winter root vegetable and apple hash) when I got a bit more than I bargained for. It's amazing how quickly it happened, just slice, slice, slice, sl-ouch! And I looked down and it was gone. No flap, no cut, just a chunk of my finger -- missing.
I knew, of course, that it would bleed, but I caught it with my thumb and applied pressure quickly enough that I hadn't seen any, yet. And I hadn't wanted to make a fuss of myself there in front of the crowd, so in my typical free-spirited control-freak fashion, I determined I'd handle it myself. You know, so as not to cause any alarm.
Anyway, there I was on the bathroom floor. No bandaids, bandages, etc. to be found. Nothing, in fact, remotely medical. I moved on to the next cabinet. More of the same. About seventy bottles of fingernail polish and lotions of every kind, but not a single ouchless strip.
On to the next bathroom I went, dumping a drawer into the sink. What the fuck were we thinking, not having any bandaids? My self-sufficient plan was starting to look hopeless. And my finger was starting to hurt as the adrenaline wore off. So I decided perhaps I could do a little improvising. First, I'd need to see what I was really dealing with. I'd barely seen the wound when I did it, and ever since had been pressing my thumb to it.
I sat back on my heels and removed my thumb.
And then came the blood. More blood than I have ever seen, and I have gotten myself into some pretty good messes. But this, this was bright red, running and running; it was a facuet of blood. In the few seconds I had my thumb off the wound, blood had run down my elbow, onto the ground in pools, all over my hand, on my knees.... it was everywhere.
This is where I started to panic.
I tore back into the first bathroom, desperate for anything i could fashion into a bandage. But before I had much luck, I started shaking and sweating. There was blood everywhere. In the sink, on the floor, across the counter... it wouldn't stop. And the shaking was getting worse.
Shock, I realized. I was going into shock.
Some dinner party.
Resigned to the drama that would have to follow if I called for help, which is what I realized I had to do if I didn't want to pass out (and, I thought, perhaps bleed to death? Can one even bleed to death through their finger? What about someone excessively stupid and clumsy?), I called, panic clear in my voice, for Jim.
He came running upstairs, shouted something to my mom, and moments later she and my brother materialized, he with a fistful of bandages. I dissolved into sobs, no longer able to keep up the facade as I watched blood continue to run from my finger into the sink and felt cold sweat trickling from my neck to my chest, down my back, down my face.
And then, a few fumbling moments later, my finger was wrapped so tight in bandaids it looked three times its size. Johnson and Johnson would have been so proud. There was still crusty blood everywhere, but my mom was busy on cleanup.
"Christ, babe," Jim said, shaking his head, hand on my hair as I sniffled in a heap on the floor. "How many times have I asked you to be careful with your knives? You make me so nervous the way you cut; I can't believe this is the first time this has happened. From now on, I cut. You point, I cut, chop, dice, fillet. No more knives for you."
"Oh, cmon," I said with a weak smile. "I'm just keeping things interesting."
"I'll say," he said. "You scared me there."
"Well you'll live," I struggled to get up, with his help, and head to the bedroom. "Besides, I'm the one missing a digit."
After changing, with Jim's help (let's be honest, he did it all; I was still a bit of a mess from my brush with shock) from my blood and sweat-soaked clothes into pajamas, I came back downstairs, wounded hand held above my heart (you know, to stop the bleeding), tear-streaked and a bit traumatized.
"My god," said my best friend. "Are you alright? I heard you cry, and when I heard that I figured there was something seriously wrong." I nodded, fighting relieved tears. She gestured to me, speaking to her boyfriend. "This one has a pain tolerance like I've never seen. She doesn't cry. Jesus, what, are we eating your finger for dinner?"
I sniffled and smiled, nodding. "Possibly. At least one of us is."
Dinner was finished (the beautiful buerre blanc sauce for the salmon, the hash, the bok choy in sesame oil, the king crab and three asian dipping sauces...) with the help of my mother, who came to the rescue with both hands and the patience to take orders from me as I paraded around the kitchen pointing at dishes.
"Butter there, slowly, whisk it... those need to be turned... oven on broil, just for a minute -- watch that..."
Of course, the meal turned out beatifully, and with the exception of the fact that I was missing a tiny bit of my body, had to eat with my hand in the air and had to stop drinking (didn't want to thin my already reluctant-to-clot blood), it couldn't have gone better.
And nobody found my fingertip, so that's a plus. :)
Mommy to the rescue. And though it was gruesome for the first two days(and you can imagine my hypochondriachal fantasies: staph infection, gangrene, more bleeding, loss of sensation, over-sensitized nerves, etc.), my little owie is much better now, thank you. In fact, looking at it now, I can't believe how horrible it looked that first day. Our bodies are amazing things; it's expected to make a full recovery in 2009.
And I'm expected to improve my knife skills. But you can make a safe bet that won't be the last aspirational meal I'll cook, with an audience, for fun. After all, what's life without a little danger?