Friday, September 02, 2005

The streets are paved with diamonds...

I am now in residence, and will die here. Why? because if I am stupid enough to try moving again, I will certainly be crushed under the weight of carrying any of this furniture DOWN stairs. My notes on moving to harlem...

  • "tools are nothing to be scared of. Men use them." Aunt Diane explaining to me how to use the new drill she bought me, while hanging my new light.
  • I don't care how close mapquest says it is, never ever try to find a walmart or target in new jersey - no matter the possibilities that come to mind from the size of the car your mother has helped you move with.
  • Ikea, however, is TOTALLY worth it.
  • When Lindsay found out our Ikea trip was going to be my maiden voyage, she remarked, "we're going to have so much fun! We should get drunk first!"
  • "Your mom makes you look... mellow."
  • Cool new neighbors: super. Getting drunk with cool new neighbors the first time you meet them: less super.
  • Even if they made an ass of themselves the night before, you should still say "yes" when the cool new neighbors offer to help you with heavy stuff the next day. I learned this lesson too late.
  • Be nice to the friendly old latin men sitting out on lawn chairs. One dude has already guarded my crap, held me a parking spot, and introduced me to his very friendly dog, "Nani". Plus, they're out there ALL night - no fear of mugging around here.
  • Studfinders are useless. My aunt, however, can spot a beam in the wall from across the room. BUT, she totally wastes her skill when she insists that *I* be the one to do the drilling... and I proceed to show her exactly why I went to school instead of following our family's illustrious footsteps in the trades.
  • Moving into walk-ups, even if you live on a reasonable floor, will do more for you than 100 hours on a stairmaster. There's something about the weight and angle of carrying a full filing cabinet up three flights of stairs that makes you able to crack walnuts with your thighs. If only they would stop hurting while my legs are still tone enough to enjoy it.
  • "Naked Laundry Day" will forever-more be "Drunk Naked Laundry Day". I am hoping that Snow will find this amendment to be friendly. I'm confident she will.
  • Moving your clothes in trash bags, while making cars much easier to pack, makes your roommate call you "classy" and has you constantly worried that someone is going to mistake your winter coats for outgoing garbage.
  • finally, be careful how you hold boxes when carrying them. Otherwise, when you go to get your TB shot the next day, you'll findyourself having to insist to multiple members of the healthcare profession that you are certain that you have not been abused by a spouse or family member. Those aren't finger marks, that's where the edges of different boxes were digging into your skin.


New Orleans is all Bush's fault. Days of warning, and yet people are still waiting for water and food. The nation's poorest have still been left in the same lurch as people in war torn third world countries... which isn't that different from how they live their day-to-day.

Here's an update from the last month. Not fitting, but it's now or never. This blog is going to die, as great annonimity is needed for my new undertaking... e-mail or comment (with some way for me to respond to you) if you want the url for the new site).

Cockles and Muscles

I'm back from Ireland, with liquor and liquor paraphernalia in tow. My mother isn't as creative as some, but she did buy me a cute round flask with 4 shot glasses attached at the jameson distillery - she figured it would be a nice complement to the jd flask she got me for my 21st. I think it may have been a bribe, though. She and I went t0 the distillery alone, as our only mother/daughter activity. I was very disappointed in her at the end of the tour. They had us "tasters" (that means I got 5 shots of whiskey, one of scotch and one of bourbon – so the guide could teach us all about whiskey. I was the only taster who was able to finish all their liquor without outside intervention. I finished some of theirs for them.) sampling several whiskeys, then comparing them to a scotch and bourbon. When he asked us to guess what the bourbon was (before trying it), my mother called out along with everyone else, "Jack Daniels!" I hung my head and said correctly, "Jim Beam" - how could my mother forget that Jack is NOT made in Kentucky? I obviously picked up the alcoholism gene elsewhere. But the picture from the DART ride home much later that night, with me asleep on my mother's shoulder, is just priceless.

In Galway, for the first time that I can remember, I had a hard time making female friends. The Irish women were generally cold and unfriendly towards me. Luckily, this was more than made up for by the Irish men.

My cousin and I set a one bar, one drink rule. This way we could cover more of the city and not get caught up with whatever silly boys were flirting with us at the moment. A few observations of Galway… my cousin is about to be 40, has two kids and a mullet. But the people in Galway seemed to be very unassuming (and forgiving?), so plenty of guys still saw her for the loud, brash, HILARIOUS person she is. We...
made lots of friends, learned how to toast in several languages, upset a french boy, were stopped in the street by some boy who had to exclaim, "you are so BEAUTIFUL", liberated some pint glasses (only to have one break in my bag while I was flirting in a dark alley), traded scar stories with some dude, tried to steal a sewer cover and went around asking boys to clean my hand when it got me dirty, unintentionally pissed off some girlfriends, had to turn down two different Irish lesbians in the same night, got to walk around with a boy on each arm (literally), broke into a church (well, sort of), drank wine in a park while we watched the sunrise, made up fake (only slightly racially offensive) nicknames for the boys whose names we forgot, flirted with a bouncer who said "why can't I meet a girl like you when I'm not working and single" to which I exclaimed,"you're not single?!?!" He quickly cleaned up his faux pas, Ellen went into the bar to give us some "private time" and ended up comingback with the owner... who she called "a pervert and a liar." To which he replied, "thank you." The bouncer was really cute, and we had every intention of returning (especially since that's probably where we lost our disposable camera), but we ended up doing family time the next evening. The most impressive part, however, was that we made the 9am ferry to the Aran Isles the next day. Of course, we slept on the deck, leaning against an exhaust pipe (this is another great picture from the trip)… but we made it. So, that was the west. There were also sheep and friendly people. And a flat tire in the middle of nowhere with a super nice guy. And an island that looked like it grew rocks. And family drama that almost had us peeing our pants laughing all night. And horseback riding along Galway Bay (I can't even describe how I felt trotting along the coast and then cantering into a meadow full of wild flowers). And great weather and beautiful, beautiful countryside. But none of that is going to make you guys laugh. The boys, however? The boys were priceless.

As for the trouble I was intent on getting into... The one drink rule was so successful that I attempted to repeat this rule in Dublin. Since I was barhopping alone, extricating myself wasn't quite as easy– but some of the interactions were priceless. I was doubtful that Dublin would be as enjoyable or as happy to see me as Galway had been. This was premature. I created my own whiskey tour – this apparently misguided some men into thinking I would be easily suggestible soon. Even though I was brutally honest about what they were and were not "purchasing", I had so many drinks bought for me over the course of one night in Dublin that I was able to justify acquiring a bottle of Midleton 2004 to bring home for a special occasion (I'm sure it's not worth it, but I just have to see what all the hype is about.)

A fun exchange with a bartender from pretty early in the evening...
Russian Bartender: You don't need whiskey, you need a man.
Me: Can't I have both?
Russian Bartender: (looking skeptical) I don't know…
Me: Then I'll take the whiskey (guy next to me laughs and raises his glass.). I'm loyal like that.

I made friends with bartenders, danced, fell into a bandstand when a dude was too drunk to be spinning me, read my book of whisky (yeah, no"e" – crazy), found a sketchtacular late night club, hung out with this crazy group of old dude republicans who all wanted to fight with my "escort" to buy me a drink, talked baseball with tourists to catchup on what I was missing, never ONCE brought up education or grad school, and sat drinking a six pack of some Irish equivalent of bud while watching the sun rise behind Kilmainham Jail. It was about 10am when I finally had to call it a night. I think I could've made a realbender out of it, but don't believe what they tell you: Guinness is NOT a good substitute for food when you're drinking whiskey all night.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Notes from the Motherland

  • It feels like Fall - and I like it.
  • So many hours of daylight should really mean bars stay open later. Oh well, there are still "clubs"... and illicit drinking in parks.
  • I'm really popular with Irish boys.
  • So much so that I've actually found myself being demure and coy, because otherwise we might never make it down the street.
  • I know this is hard to imagine, but it's true.
  • I'm not so popular with Irish girls.
  • Unless they're lesbians.
  • There are parts of Ireland where it seems like the only thing they can grow is rocks.
  • Resourceful buggers, every wall is made of rocks. We ran into one of them, but luckily a nice Irish boy helped us.
  • This may be my last blog, as I head to the Jameson Distillery today. But what a way to go.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Baseball Season Fries my Brain... and other Stories

I had a big blog in me from attending the sox game last Saturday. It included pics and all. It just never… quite… got… there. Ah well, I’ll just say that I love Delcarmen, and like Schilling – even if he is a fascist (which Bill Lee had hilarious things to say about on Monday morning – I love that guy, I’m ready to start a “Bill Lee” quote page.).

Anyway, this drives me nuts.

Is there crack and prostitution on that corner? Yes – because it is two very low-income apartment buildings directly across from each other, with struggling 6 and 10 family houses surrounding it – there’s just this very small corridor of extreme poverty. I’m not trying to sound cavalier, but these “social ills” are just the most obvious of the many manifestations of high concentrations of destitution. However, it’s pretty well contained – two blocks down, you find lawyers and teachers and members of local labor unions… who just happen to be black.

If this were a white neighborhood with one bad corner, would the media ever be able to get away with calling it “Hell Zone”? History (the coverage of the drug problem at Newton high, the increase in white gang activity in westie) tells us, “No way, dude – lawsuit.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Looming Large

I'm still not totally sold on Schilling as a closer, but boy is he a great ballplayer. And boy do I love this freakin' team.

But when the manager left the dugout to say hello to Clement, who arrived in the middle innings, Francona found Schilling throwing in a hallway.

I still won't breathe until the weekend is over, though.

And, I must bring back my annual (fine, bi-annual this year - deal.) complaint that Jim Rice not being in the HOF is BOGUS.

Boggs does rock my socks (and my sox), though.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Best Week Ever?

Got a text message from one of my students today, saying he isn't going to prison - that was exciting.

Kay is in town till Thursday, then she heads back to Chicago while Snowflake arrives from the same.

This would qualify for Vh1's Best Week Ever, if I weren't so stressed about learning/relearning this math by september 2nd. As things stand, it still comes pretty damned close.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Dorky Sheep

I ran into a former u of cer while hunting for a good analysis book today. It was really nice to have someone to chuckle with over typos, and go nuts with me when we couldn’t remember what a ‘lemma’ was, exactly. I found two books that will be ok, and he went back to studying for his boards. For a few minutes, though, I was a young dork again. I really liked it.

I’ve been spending a lot more time with my family lately. Last night, while at a party with my mother and aunt, my cousin insisted on throwing me a going away party… so, the Saturday we get back from Ireland, we’ll all be down the cape eating burgers and having Sandra’s mudslides. I haven’t been feeling super social, but I know my mother is already tied up in knots over missing me, even before I’ve gone anywhere. The family you’re born into, the family you collect over the years – what else matters? I drove up to cape ann with my mom and bob this afternoon, so we could wait in line for an hour for fried clams. Apparently it’s worth it, cause they are big bellied clams. I dunno, but it made them happy.

I’m not happy, but I’m not lacking. I want to be better. I want to be more. I want to be far more productive. But I’m excited about the challenges in the coming year, and I’m finding my center once more. I just want to climb into my books… now I need to remember how.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Everyone has a Gift

I have a new job at summer school - babysitting one of my students from the regular school year. He isn't in my class, but he has been terrorizing his teachers. He was in the office, about to be discharged, when I walked in. I talked to him, and the principal said that he saw the kid's whole demeanor change. He decided to give him one more chance, and pulled me aside. He asked me for background on the kid and I obliged. He then asked me to take the student on as a "full time job" and I, of course, agreed. I really hope he can swallow the attitude and push through, hopefully he can get his diploma at the end of the summer.

Then I got a call from a friend who is starting tfa in nyc. He is teaching summer school, they're having some problems, and he wanted advice. Near the end, he asked what to do about a colleague who left crying. I responded, "Unfortunately, that's just the nature of the job. There's a high learning curve, but it's a painful one. My advice? Don't let the kids see her cry."

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Not What You Were Waiting For

simone: i feel like a stripper
me: why is that?
simone: im wandering around my house in stilettos and basically my underwear and drinking wine out of a plastic cup
simone: but it's hot in here....
simone: and i got new shoes that i need to practice wearing...
simone: and im thirsty!

I'll write more soon... I swear.