Sunday, April 29, 2007


Tomorrow night is the celebration of Beltane (or Beltaine as I prefer). The sabbat of the Great Marriage of the God and Goddess, the unity that results in harvest. It's the time when, long ago and far away, men and women retired to the fields and made like the beasts. There was much wine, much song, much dancing.

And so, to celebrate, I'm having my womanhood sliced and diced.

I know I've mostly moaned and whined about how I won't be able to do yoga or kickboxing. But that's all a really good cover for what's going on.

Because, you see, even though this is a fairly routine procedure, I'm pretty sure what's going on down there. And it ain't good.

I've had decidedly strange/odd/abnormal twinges, feelings, pains for a few months now. I've chalked it up to paranoia, to pulled muscles, to anxiety, to bad Chinese food. But, when my reiki practicioner mentioned that she felt something "going on down there" and when I felt such a blockage in yoga that I literally cried out and collapsed onto the mat, well.....

So, maybe it's nothing and maybe it's something. I guess we'll find out a week or so after tomorrow. But I'm scared. And worried.

And I wish I could just be ignorant and celebrate Beltaine and prepare for the upcoming bountiful harvests and be happy.

Ah well...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Last Days of Freedom

Since I won't feel much like moving for a week, I decided to honor myself with yet another hike. And this time I remembered my camera. Look how purdy the city looks when it's far away...

Despite the fact that all the radio stations were saying it was going to rain, I had clear skies and puffy, white clouds the whole time. A little rain would have been welcome, as I wound up sweating like a banshee - yes, I know you're shocked.

I was amazed at how many people go for hikes and leave stuff behind. I wound up carrying so much trash back to HQ I looked like a vagabond. Must remember to bring trashbag on next trip...

And so I was all blissed out and yes, actually hugged some trees. And on the way home I had not one but TWO road rage incidents. First one, woman pulls out onto the highway, into my lane, and decides to decelerate. So I slam on the brakes and honk. And then she tears off like she's on fire. Then, I'm getting off the Pike, got completely cut off and so I honked. No big deal right? Except apparently, the nimrod driving decided I offended his manhood. So at the next traffic light, he swerved - almost barrelling into my car - and then peeled out. What is up with this people?

I honestly honestly am ready to write my own manifest on how if everyone would get out of their cars, go for a walk, and be nice when they drive, we'd all be a much shinier happier world.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Giving Up the Ghost

I wouldn't consider myself vain. Others might, but I don't see myself that way. I don't wear makeup. I tried to, for awhile, but I wound up breaking out and that kind of defeated the purpose. I don't spend a lot of time or money on my hair. It's gonna wind up limp and stringy anyway, and I think an extra five minutes of sleep is worth the tradeoff. As for fashion, well, I'm no Sex in the City gal, that's for sure.

But there is one thing I'm pretty vain about -- my body. Maybe it comes from 19+ years of dance. Staring into floor to ceiling, wall to wall mirrors clad in nothing but pink tights and a black leotard three days a week for your formative years might have that affect on a gal. Maybe it's because I wasn't exactly what you'd call popular in school and I suffered under the delusion that I'd go away one summer, do the swan nee duckling routine and BAM! be popular come September. Maybe it's because there was a time, not too long ago, when I was wearing a size 10 and it was snug. (For those gorgeous size 10s out there who are reading this and saying, Hey!, I submit this -- I'm 5'3" and not exactly big-boned. Size 10 means about 30 superfluous pounds on my frame...) So I'm proud that I can still dance and kickbox and do yoga and cycle and hike and everything the way I do. And I'm proud that those things have the side effects of leaving me with a fairly decent physique.

Which leads me to last night. It was my last kickboxing class with the crazy-pregnant-awesome-fun instructor. So I wanted to make it a good one. I was kicking. I was jabbing. I was (jumping) jacking. I was sweating and panting. And, at one point, I looked at the clock and realized there was still 20 minutes left in class. OH MY GOD! For a second I actually thought, "thank God I have to take a break from this stuff for a month. I need the rest!"

Because, you see, I'm probably the oldest person in the class. But heaven forbid I take it easy, allow my kicks to be anything but the highest or my squats the deepest. It might just be competitiveness, but I think it's probably vanity.

Now, today, I walked up to the courthouse to file my application for a new passport. If you don't have your old one to turn in, you have to re-supply all your documentation. And I didn't have my "long form" birth certificate, so I got turned away. Annoying, right?

The thing is - I have my original passport. I know where it is. I could easily avoid all this hassle by just turning it in. But I really - REALLY - don't want to.

Because it's the only good picture I've ever taken.

In the photo, my hair is long and blonde. I am tan. I am smiling. I am young.

It comes down to this. As I prepare for this ridiculous procedure which will force me into a month of relative relaxation and as my 32nd birthday looms off in the distance, I must not only come face to face with my vanity, but also my age.

No matter what they say, 32 ain't the new 22. No way, no how.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Earthday, Cats, Cows, and Dinner

Last week, I found out the cat food - the REALLY freakin' expensive cat food - I feed my girls was recalled. It's the same issue as the previous large-scale recall of pet food, although this time the chemical was found in a rice protein and not in wheat gluten. So much for being careful by relying on small batch, natural suppliers.

This morning, I was making my eggs and Mr. Zips commented on the "stuff" floating around in the yolks. While I was fishing said "stuff" out, I reminisced about the amazing eggs I used to get from my CSA in New Hampshire. And how I was hoping I could get eggs at my new local CSA.

Later, I was listening to NPR (shocked, I know) and they are doing a multi-part series on MA dairy farmers and how local farms are really struggling. In part, because of subsidies and price setting that the government, in my all-time favorite piece of legislation ever, passed, the Farm Bill.

And, it got me to thinking. About how Mr. Zips and I spend so much time discussing what we're going to do for dinner. Order in? Eat out? If we order in, I'm hyper conscious of the amount of "stuff" I've got to throw away. Plastic utensils (which I ask them not to include but they do anyway), containers, bags, etc. If we eat out, I know that my food is prepped in a kitchen where they're probably not composting the scraps, recycling the beer bottles, or washing off the lettuce to the best of their ability.

So, the right thing to do is cook my own food. But unfortunately, I get home at 8 p.m. and by then I'm too exhausted to turn on the oven. And, Mr. Zips, while wonderful, probably wouldn't know what to make for me if I asked him.

And, while I feel guilty about this, at least I read a post on Earth Day that made me feel a little better: Eat Air - A Vegan Food Log: Stop Global Warming.

When the CSA harvest is crap this year - as it may very well be (NorEasters after Easter) - maybe I'll think twice about not recycling or taking a Sunday drive instead of a Sunday cycle. Because the less I do to stop Climate Change, the more I'll have to spend for less at my local farm. Cuz ya just can't grow tomaters in torrential rains.

Hopefully if we all take little, small steps toward a positive change, they'll add up...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Force of Friendliness

I am sick.

But you knew that already.

What I meant to say was that I am ill. Hit me on Saturday night. I tried to laugh it off, saying it was just allergies after my first longish bike ride of the season. But by 10 p.m., it was very clearly more than that.

Yesterday, despite it being 77 degrees and sunny, I could barely force myself to go outside. I just wanted to loll around on my bed and moan, "ugggghhhhh." My nose is red and drippy, my head is pounding, I'm hot and cold, and everything aches.

Would have been a great day to stay home.

But, alas, I had our weekly Napoleanic call - all 2 plus hours of it. I missed last week's event, since I was in Hotlanta setting up for the tradeshow. Even then, Napolean was miffed that I didn't call in. (Um, high, elbow deep in Skyline Exhibits anyone?) So no way I could beg off this week.

So, here I was, at 8:25 a.m. in a congestion-induced haze, barely tasting my coffee but sucking it down nonetheless in the vain hope that it would help me focus. I'm barely aware of being alive (except dead people's heads don't hurt this much) much less know what's going on around me.

But this clearly upset the woman who works in the other office on our floor. She was (apparently) riding the elevator with me - and four or five other people. And when I got off, she got off behind me, clearing her throat. Loudly. "Good morning?" It wasn't a greeting. It was an accusation.

Now, I'm all for being nice to strangers. I let people in front of me in traffic, I talk to people in the checkout line at the grocery store. But I don't think it's my place to force kindness or friendliness from others.

I wasn't actively ignoring this woman - I was genuinely oblivious of her existence. But that said, I have no desire to have this woman in my life, no longing to be friends with her. So why did she feel it incumbent upon her to force friendliness out of me?

I should have walked up to her, given her a great big hug, and then coughed in her face.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Full Contact Cycling

It's almost 70 degrees today and perfect weather for cycling. Also, it turns out, perfect weather for almost killing a kid.

I'd decided to go onto the rail trail because last time I went road cycling I nearly got creamed by a car. This wasn't your garden variety near miss. The damn van was so close I could have grabbed its back bumper and gone for a ride. Shook me up pretty badly, so this time I decided to stay out of the way of big, heavy objects.

So, off I went. I made pretty crappy time, this being the first time I'd done any real riding since last summer. But all in all, it was enjoyable. I made it out to Bedford and back to Arlington without incident.

And then, not one mile from the Alewife station and the end of the trail, it happened.

She was cute - probably about six or seven, long ponytail, streamers on the handlebars of her pink bike. Unfortunately, she was also on the wrong side of the path.

Despite crying out HEADS' UP! and slowing down to nearly a crawl, she still barrelled right into me. I'd clipped out of my pedal on one side, so luckily I was stable enough not to take her down with me. But I wrenched my knee fiercely and will definitely have a bruise on my shin.

Makes me wonder sometimes why I bother enjoying the beautiful weather from my bike. Walking would be much safer.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Applause and Perspective

I thought I had it bad.

Stuck in the airport, listening to a download of Wait Wait in an attempt to stay sane. And all of a sudden, applause erupts throughout the terminal.

Like lemmings, we all got up to look. Did a stranded flight make it out? A flight with engine trouble land safely?

And then I saw them. Two men in army fatigues, desert tan, and looking both exhausted and exhilarated.

I've had a long day, for sure.

It ain't nothing compared to what they've been through.

She Sleeps with the Fishes

Actually - I don't. Delta airlines overbooked my flight to Hotlanta. And I tried to do the good karma thing by voluntarily giving up my seat and taking a later flight.

And then I immediately destroyed all that good karma by whining about it and basically being miserable. Sometimes I can't stand myself.

Because the only thing I really wanted to do in Atlanta was go see the Aquarium. And now that's shot to shit. It closes at 6 and I land at 5:49.

I'm cranky and overtired and have a miserable headache and I'm stuck in the airport until 3 p.m. I need to do something to make this situation a little easier.

I wonder what the TSA would do if I went over to a corner and started doing handstands...?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Step It Up

Today was a national day of rallies, organized by Bill McKibben's Step It Up to focus attention on climate change. And I should have gone. I wanted to go.

Instead, I went outside.

Today was 55 degrees and sunny. Tomorrow Boston is supposed to be hit by a Nor'Easter. Rain, wind, cold. Nasty nasty weather. (Climate change anyone?) I just had to go for a hike.

Plus, it was a really great way to decompress before my hellish week in Hotlanta. Although now that Napolean isn't going, it will be much MUCH better.

So, I went off to the Blue Hills Reservation and did the Skyline Loop. It was great. Beautiful weather, lots of changes in scenery, a really challenging hike.

I would post a bunch of the gorgeous pictures I took, but there weren't any batteries in the camera I dragged along. I am ridiculous.

And, true to form, the first half hour of hiking I was stressed and focused and motoring on like a Type A Fire personality. But about an hour and change into the hike, I mellowed out and let my mind wander. I came up with two ideas for stories and had some interesting exchanges with some Boy Scouts. Don't ask - don't tell.

All in all, it was a pretty good day.

And while I didn't do anything publicly to help climate change, I did pick up a water bottle someone had left along the trail and disposed of it properly.

Everything counts, right?

A Moral Victory and a Confession

First, the confession. I hope that the Sox do NOT win the World Series this year.

Allow me to explain.

I almost bought a sofa yesterday. I was really pretty. (SEE?)

It was on sale at Jordans. I like Jordans a lot. Their stores aren't just stores, they're experiences. And, like the Disney whore I am, I love me some experiences. And it was truly a great deal. A sofa and a loveseat in a funky fabric for under a grand. I was this close to buying it. But I chickened out.

I couldn't do it - I couldn't spend that kind of money knowing I'm so close to paying my credit cards off. Far better to give myself a birthday present in four months time - when my balances are 0.

But, here's where the confession kicks in. Jordans is offering a deal - one that ends tomorrow. If the Sox win the Series this year, every piece of furniture purchased in their store from the season home opener until Apr. 16 is FREE. FREE. (They have insurance....)

So, while I didn't really need an extra loveseat and would have stressed about where to put it in my living room, and while I'm sure in four months' time I'll find another sofa I like equally, I have to tell you that if the Sox win - if I could have had a brand new sofa for NOTHING - I will be really, really, really bummed out.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Flying Kitty

Warning: This post contains scenes of graphic animal violence. Be sure to alert the SPCA.

Today is a vacation day. I will spend my Sunday on a plane to Hotlanta, so today counts as a "Day in Lieu." Truth be told, I'm going to spend it getting my oil changed, doing laundry and such.

Nonetheless, today is a vacation day. And vacation days should mean sleep. Especially since I went out last night to celebrate the publication of My First Brochure. Over a year in the making, it's a very sweet piece of work and I'm wicked proud. So, libations were downed, nachos were chowed, and, yes, even drunken dialing occured. (Sorry Mr. Zips!) A good time was had by all. And I was really looking forward to a long night's sleep.

Unfortunately no one gave Fuzzy Kitty the memo.

6:35 a.m. Kitty starts meowing for breakfast

6:40 a.m. Kitty jumps up on bed and starts "nuzzing" momma

6:42 a.m. Kitty tries to crawl under covers because momma isn't paying attention to her

6:45 a.m. Kitty starts biting momma's hair

6:47 a.m. Momma groans and gets up, lopes into kitchen and puts food in bowls. Fuzzy Kitty commences eating. Lamby Kitty is nowhere to be found.

6:50 a.m. Momma is back in bed, happily drifting back to sleep

6:51 a.m. Fuzzy Kitty decides she's done eating and it's time to play

6:52 a.m. Fuzzy Kitty goes flying.

I trust that Kitty was not hurt. After all, clothes were piled all over the floor in preparation for laundry duty. Besides, don't cats always land on their feet?

I also know that Kitty is not mad at me. I know this because she's sitting on my lap right now, purring happily, chasing my fingers over my keyboard.

It's a good thing she's co-dependant, because this behavior against Kitty is, unfortunately, chronic on my part. Can those engineeers at MIT figure out some alarm clock that's heard - and understood - by Kitties, so that we can stop this cycle of violence? Please?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Fallen Hero

I won't say Rest In Peace - because you didn't seem to want peace. You wanted to challenge conventions and challenge us to think.
But I will say you will be missed. Because, Kurt Vonnegut, you were one of a kind. Brilliant, wise, insightful, self-effacing, and utterly human. With all of the frailties and failings associated with being a bag of bones on this rotating ball of matter.
You were one of my heroes. And I will miss you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My Painful Tootsies

I must admit that I am ashamed. Ashamed that my butt was kicked -- good and hard -- by my aerobics teacher.

Normally I wouldn't be ashamed to have a rough time in class. Wednesday is my "double night" - two classes back to a back for a total of an hour and 45 minutes. It's a tough regime on days when I'm feeling good. And today, not only am I tired and haven't been feeling well, but my feet hurt. (I am this close to actually being my Tante Emma who swore she could tell when a storm was coming because her arthritis acted up.)

So, it's not just that I had a tough class. It's that I had a tough class and had to take a lot of breaks even when my aerobics instructor held up strong and cheerful.

Again, normally, this would not be a big deal. But let me tell you this.


The woman is huge. Well, no, she's tiny. But her belly is gi-freaken-normous. I can't imagine that she's still upright, much less doing front and side kicks that shame a former dance major. And doing it all with a smile.

I really hope that she gets paid really, really well.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Stuff and the Urge to Nest

A friend and co-blogger Sapphire Dakini sent me a link to an article today about a woman who is selling almost all of her possessions on eBay. The article got me to thinking about stuff -- why we think we need it and what that thinking means.

It's especially timely for me because I've spent the last week moaning about how - despite my recent (albeit paltry) raise - I am STILL broke. Yes, I keep telling myself the Universe always provides and I know that if I concentrate on the scarcity of money that I will have just that - scarcity of money. But I'm finding it hard to keep this correctly in perspective.

It's also especially timely for me because despite this fixation - ok, obsession - about money, all I really want in the world right now is a new couch.

I've had the couch I've got now for almost 10 years. It's comfortable but it's ugly. It's faded, stained, sunbleached and lumpy. The cushions refuse to be plumped. Even the slipcover I've gotten for it is ratty and tatty. The couch lived with me in Belmont, made the move to NH, and was my HQ in Northampton, since I had no room for a table, armchair, or any other furniture.

Now, I could easily go out and buy myself a new couch. It wouldn't put me that far behind in the credit card department and it would definitely make me happy.

But why?

Wouldn't I be happier being less insecure about stability? Wouldn't getting my basic needs covered and cared for be the wiser decision? Shouldn't the immaterial, the ethereal, be more fulfilling than the physical? And even though I recognize this, why am I still so damn tempted to give in to the baser desire? (Yes, I am still talking about a couch....)

I don't have answers for these contradictions. And for now anyway it's a moot point, since I've got no time to go couch shopping. But I do find it interesting that right now - at this particular point in my life - I'm feeling the need to surround myself with STUFF.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Blah's

Today is Easter Sunday. Ooh bah. All this really means to me is that stores are closed and I've consumed too much chocolate for my own good lately.

But the rest of the world seems to be out, enjoying life and being joyous. And I'm just kind of feeling blah.

I think part of it was because there was no yoga this a.m. Class was cancelled and so I took advantage of the free time and slept in and cleaned the apartment. And even though I'm glad for the rest, it both messed up my usual schedule (oh, how we Earth types like our routines) and left me with lots of unspent nervous energy.

And, while my body was absolutely crying out for some downtime after 10 days without a rest, I've got the cloud of this upcoming stinking procedure hanging over my head. Not only will I not want to workout, I won't be allowed to workout. Okay, sure, the doctor won't know if I do or I don't, but my recovery will be a heckuva lot longer if I do. And that kinda defeats the purpose. So I've been trying to cram in extra exercise every which way I can.

So, instead of enjoying this beautiful day, I'm sitting here projecting and feeling cranky. Pretty dumb, huh?

Reminds me, rather, of a former priest at my old parish. Came out one Easter Sunday to give the sermon and basically trotted out a fire and brimstone lesson of how "it ain't all bunnies and baskets." Which is true in the long run, but sometimes it's best to focus on the bunnies and baskets and leave the future to itself.

Which, ironically, is the point of yoga.

Ooooh, I'm just too deep for my own damn good.

I'll shut up now.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

April 6 marks one year of Mr. Zips and I dating. I'm not real huge on the whole anniversary thing because, really, I love him no more - or less - today than yesterday or tomorrow. And why spend money on frivolities when I'd rather save up and go away for a weekend some time this summer?

But I did manage to find THE PERFECT CARD.

(Front) I think I might be a squirrel. Because I like you and you're a big nut.
(Inside) Also, I'm sometimes skittish and indecisive.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

With Great Power ...

Comes great paychecks.

OK, so it's a bastardization of an immortalized phrase, but you get my point.

I got a call from Napolean tonight at 5:30 p.m. I was one foot out the door to yoga. I answered it. I. Am. Dumb.

I mentioned to Napolean that I was on my way out to yoga. The unspoken suggestion to "make it fast."

To which he responded that he was, in fact, technically "on holiday." (He likes to use the Anglo-Irish terminology. Makes him feel special, I suppose.) As if to suggest that this was a special phonecall - him taking time out to reprimand me or bolster me or whatever he thought in his mind that he was doing. That because he was working on holiday, I should be working after hours too.

But the reality is, he has the corner office. He has the title. And the responsibility. And, I dare say, the paycheck.

Of course, one should not work hard solely for the paycheck. One should work for the peace of mind, the self-worth, the esteem. But the paycheck doesn't hurt.

I do work hard. And I do take work seriously. But it's not my life and it's not my sole purpose for being.

And so I'm going to have to work long and hard at it, but I will not feel guilty for going to yoga tonight.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

It's Officially Spring!

Last night was the full Egg Moon - and you know what that means. Easter! Because EVERY Christian holiday is set by the lunar calendar. Oh, wait....

"The Pagan religion had very big festivals, remember, on Easter and Christmas. The Christian religion came along and had very big festivals, at Easter and Christmas. Jesus died on one and was born on the other. ( doubting sounds ) ‘Cause Jesus I do think did exist, and he was, I think, a guy who had interesting ideas in the Gandhi-type area, in the Nelson Mandela-type area, you know, relaxed and groovy; and the Romans thought, "Relaxed and groovy?! No, no, no, no, no!" So they murdered him. And kids eat chocolate eggs, because of the color of the chocolate, and the color of the... wood on the cross. Well, you tell me! It's got nothing to do with it, has it? ... Bunny rabbits are for shagging, eggs are for fertility. It's a festival - it's the spring festival!" -- the brilliant Eddie Izzard in Dress to Kill

But I do love spring if, for no other reason, it means the start of Toenail Painting Season. I've long maintained that there is little in life that is so bad that blue toenail polish can't fix it. Or, in this case, purple, in honor of the season. I don't know why I love painting my toenails so much - maybe it's because dancing en pointe left me without any nails to speak of for years. Maybe because it's my one nod to femininity. Whatever the reason, break out the Wet N Wild, here comes the open toed shoes!

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Monday, April 02, 2007

I Have Entered the Modern World

Mr. Zips bought me an iPod. This makes me very happy. Not only can I listen to it while I'm doing my laundry at the nasty laundromat (thus ignoring the sketchy guys who keep looking at me while playing games on their cellphones) but I can download the Rachel Maddow Show. I have also discovered that I can watch Rachel while she talks to people over the Radio Machine.

I love technology!