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Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Ordinarily, I couldn't possibly care less about Esquire magazine
Topic: Quotidiana

But in this instance, they've had the good taste to name one of my favorite drinking establishments the best bar in America.  Congratulations, Brewer's.  I'll be very happy for you all right up until the next time I can't even get to the bar on a Friday night for the press of people, which was bad enough before this bit of well-deserved recognition.

If this is somehow parlayed into a wider distribution for Resurrection, however, I suppose I could become reconciled to it.  I still don't know where I'll get my rosemary-garlic fries fix, though. 

Tuesday, 21 October 2008
When life hits like a ton of bricks
Topic: Quotidiana

I moved in the nick of time.  The story of the move itself is something of a saga - things did not go as planned.  But I got here, no one was injured, and no irreparable property damage was done.  But, as I said, I moved in the nick of time, because work went insane as soon as I hit DC.  I haven't even had time to finish unpacking and the walls of my room are distressingly bare.

Then last week I found out that a friend of mine has cancer.  I feel like I've barely stopped to think about it, really, because my days have become a blur of e-mails and checking on the next deadline and trying to find out what's going on with her so I can tell all our friends. Nights have been taken up with meeting my friends here so I don't have to think about what I was doing all day.

I'm learning all kinds of things, some of which may find their way here, because I can't stand not to share information.  Like support groups for young people with cancer, and children's books about dealing with cancer in the family, and ... well, I have to feel like I'm doing something.  Even if it's something that might possibly help someone who ends up here randomly via Google and never comes back again.

Mercifully, it's not all stress and gloom.  Moments like these are what friends square off for, and so many people are stepping up.  Its wonderful to see all the concern for my friend from our college crowd - I'm getting back in touch with people I haven't heard from in years as the news works its way down the lines.  It does me good to know that there's so much support for her.  And my friends here, some of whom barely know me, are looking out for me, too.  I wish there was an easier way than major life crises to be reminded how many generous people I've been fortunate enough to have in my life.

Saturday, 13 September 2008
Good morning, Baltimore, and goodbye
Topic: Quotidiana

It figures that the day I'd pick to move would end up muggy and potentially rainy.  I sit here, surrounded by boxes, grumbling that my neighbor downstairs had the audacity to commandeer the washing machine when I wanted to use it, and waiting on my friends to show up to begin the moving.  Nearly everything is done, and with surprisingly little stress - I may finally be getting good at this moving thing. 

Wish me luck with moving truck - it's a scary thing to be driving when you barely drive at all. 

1:44 PM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
Why, Pandora?
Topic: Quotidiana

Pandora, I want to love you.  Free music streaming through my computer - commercial-free channels based around songs and artists I like?  I love free.  I love music.  The channel built around "Midnight Lullaby" has been frankly brilliant.  But Pandora, I don't know what kind of relationship we can have when I say "I like Tori Amos" and you say "well, then you must like Sarah McLachlan."

I managed to wean you away from Sarah McLachlan with much frustrated whacking of the "thumbs down" button.  Then you started throwing up Norah Jones.  No and no and no again. 

I thought we had worked out our differences.  I was quite enjoying Meiko, actually.  You mixed some Kate Nash in, I was happy.  Why, why, why then did I suddenly find my eardrums cringing before an onslaught of Alanis Morissette?  Have I not been appreciative enough?  Have I taken you for granted?  What have I done to deserve such wanton cruelty?  I want to love you, Pandora, but I really don't know if there's a future for us.  

3:40 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 13 July 2008
The laundry is in the dryer
Topic: Quotidiana

And I'm trying to keep myself occupied until it's done.  It's been a quiet night, except for the inevitable dirt bike drag race up the street.  Between the dirt bikes and the cacophany some people choose to blast from their cars (of every musical genre - though sometimes you hit a summer afternoon where someone's playing classic soul and it just makes you want to dance on the street corner as they roll by), summer is usually a season of noise in Baltimore.  Strange that it's so peaceful tonight. 

This coming week I get to have a small taste of what living DC would be like - I'm swapping apartments with a friend there for a few days.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to absolutely, totally and completely love not having to get up at 6:00 a.m. to go to work.  Hopefully I'll also realize that I could happily live in an apartment that's much cosier than mine.  Not that I need all the space I have now, really.  My furniture would fit comfortably into a much smaller apartment.  But I've gotten used to it, and I'm not looking forward to paying more for less, since DC is so much more expensive.  And that's assuming I can find a place, since I can't imagine it's going to be easy with students coming back and so many people unable to keep up on their mortgage payments.  

Something has to give, though.  I've been out of sorts for weeks, and I think it's mostly that I just never seem to have enough time or enough sleep.  I don't do well under pressure when there's no end in sight.  I can work like crazy to a deadline, but this is very different.  This is a situation that requires a change in my life - either I move, or I start being highly focused, organized and scheduled in every aspect of my life in a way I've not yet managed to accomplish.  And while that could be a good set of skills to learn, I just don't see it happening.  So I've been thinking, as much as I'm attached to Baltimore, as much as I like where I live, as much as I love my friends here - it's time for a change.

5:24 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Saturday, 28 June 2008
Looking for things to be happy about
Topic: Quotidiana
Found one: BfP is back.

2:51 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Saturday, 10 November 2007
I got on twice in two days, would you look at that!
Topic: Quotidiana

The only thing that redeems a gray autumn day in Baltimore is the saturated, earthy red of the not-yet-dropped leaves.  They vibrate against the featureless clouds that lower the sky to a level nearly claustrophobic in its closeness and closedness.  If not for those trees, walking home from work in a wind-whipped, chill drizzle this afternoon would have been a misery. 

I'm hoping this weather breaks before the morning, because I'm not sure I'm willing to brave it again, even for almost unbearably wholesome satisfaction that comes from starting my weekend with a trip to the local farmer's market.  Even someone at the market does usually have a huge pot of spiced apple cider steaming away in a corner of their booth, radiating heat, cinnamon and cloves.  If this rain holds until morning, even the supplemental lure of a stop at the Book Thing might not be sufficient to drag me out of bed (especially since the room in which some of my favorite sections are housed smells of cat pee, and who wants to deal with that ever, let alone on a raw November day?), much as I love free books, and want to get the last bag of no-longer-wanted books out of my back room. After all, I have to make room for my soon-to-be started new bag of no-longer-wanted books to give to the Book Thing.

3:37 AM GMT | Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 29 April 2007
One long day
Topic: Quotidiana

My brain is so wrung out that I had to try to log on to my web account three times before I finally got my username and password right.  I haven't worked this hard since . . . some time in December, I guess.  I'd be hard put to say when, exactly, since the entire month (except Christmas) is one big blur of overwork in my memory. 

I'm prepping for a consultancy next week - facilitating a meeting.  And I'm excited, because it could be really interesting, and anxious, because I've never facilitated an entire meeting before.  And I'm not going to have time to do much tomorrow because I have to go to Princess Superstar's baby shower in Virginia, and that'll take most of the day.  I'm trying very hard to decide whether I've reached the point of diminishing returns or whether I can abuse my brain into a reasonable level of productivity for a few more hours.  I really didn't miss this frame of mind at all.   

4:55 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Friday, 6 April 2007
Topic: Quotidiana

Route 295 is usually not much of a source of inspiration.  It's not even something I notice much any more.  It's just a highway through the heartland of the western Jersey suburbs, with a view of trees and concrete walls that's  occasionally interrupted by an industrial park or massive strip mall.  But today, after my mother picked me up from the bus station, we drove home on 295, and I was suddenly struck by all the signs of spring.  The pine trees are no longer the only green - the grass is coming up in vigorous emerald tones.  The flush of buds throws a rosy sheen over branches, casting a warming glow across the skyline.  And here there, a tree has burst into blossom, a soft, frothy contrast to the surrounding evergreens.

And just as I was commenting on all these gorgeous vernal notes to my mother, it started to snow.

I hate April.

1:15 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 15 March 2007
Topic: Quotidiana

This afternoon, I should have been on the bus to Baltimore.  I didn't make it. 

Mom and I pulled away from the house, headed for the bus station, and within moments, we were looking at each other, asking "Does something feel wrong to you?"  The van's strange list was quickly discovered: a flat front tire.  Mom pulled out the manual, and soon discovered that getting to the spare and the jack was going to require shifting a lot of stuff out of the van.  So we started moving bags and boxes.  There was still a chance we could make it to the bus station if we got the tire changed quickly.

We got the jack and the spare out, and set them next to the van.  People were out for their afternoon strolls, and I'm sure we made an entertaining picture - two women, heads bent over a manual, next to a badly leaning minivan that had disgorged most of its contents onto the lawn.  

Our jokes about "who needs boys to change a flat?" went flat when Mom first tried to loosen the lug nuts.  I tried next, and I wasn't getting anywhere either.  But I get stubborn.  Consequently, I now have a slightly strained muscle in my right leg.  But we got those lug nuts loosened, even if it did take both me and Mom pulling on the last one to get it to budge.  In a congratulatory mood, we went about setting up the jack.  

Problem - we couldn't figure out where to put it.  The manual was very specific, yet oddly unclear.  There was something about a notch behind the tire and lining up the jack with something right behind the notch.  I found a notch, but I couldn't figure out what the jack was supposed to line up with.  Mom kept asking, "Are you sure that's the notch?"  "Yes, that's the only thing that looks like a notch.  But I can't figure out where the jack should go."  "But are you sure that's the notch?  I can't feel anything."  Turns out the place where the jack should've gone had been sort of . . . mangled.  So we called in the professionals - "that's what we pay for road side assistance for," reasoned my mother.  

I should've been on the bus to Baltimore this afternoon.  Instead, I was sitting on the front porch in the sunshine, luxuriating in the brief taste of spring we had today.  Then I was baking cookies with my mother.  Then I was entrusted with dinner while my mom got new tires on the van.  I should really watch more cooking shows and fewer home decorating programs.  I bet if I watched more cooking shows, I wouldn't have had to pick charred bits of onion out of the pan. 

I should be in Baltimore, and I'm looking forward to getting back, but I'm not sorry for the delay.  It would've been much less entertaining spending the afternoon on the bus.  

2:22 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Thursday, 15 March 2007 3:47 AM BST

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