Monday, September 29, 2008

Under My Umbrella

There is a certain satisfaction that comes from doing something to benefit others. Yesterday four of us braved the rain to make the three plus mile trek through Boston for the 2008 Memory Walk. Every year our Fearless Leader, my Aunt S, gets our team pumped up to raise donations toward finding a cure and we all did pretty good this year, missing our goals by not too much. The walk itself is always a good time even though none of us are in shape and we all have blisters by the end of the day, we know exactly who we are doing it for and that alone negates any physical pain we may feel.

It was pouring rain this year, the first time that has happened since I have done the walk, but the temperatures were in the low seventies which made it bearable. We had to wait for Aunt S to complete her work registering walkers at the VIP tent so luckily we were on the tail end of the sea of dueling umbrellas.

The clear dome umbrella I carried did nothing to keep my feet dry in the lakes of water we trudged through along the route. I finally had to pretend it was 1984 and peg my pants just to keep the mud from collecting on the back of my legs. We wore our team shirts proudly; Matt was the only one not wearing multiple layers so he showed it off.

On top of the Prudential building there is an observation deck with a 360 degree view of the city. I highly recommend checking it out as it is a fantastic view for tourists and life long residents alike. Sadly there were probably not too many people taking advantage of this yesterday. Hurricane Kyle was the reason for the soggy day and it was cool to see how the bands of clouds shrouded the Pru.

The walk takes us down Storrow Drive, past the Hatch Shell and then crosses the Mass Ave Bridge to head back down the opposite side of the Charles River, ending back in Cambridge where we started. Crossing the bridge is an experience itself. There are units of measure painted on the sidewalk all the way from one end to the other. The bridge is not measured in feet per se but in Smoots. What is a Smoot one may ask? The abridged version – Oliver Smoot was a student at MIT, he was five feet, seven inches tall and in 1958 he allowed his pledge class to literally turn him end over end to acquire an accurate measurement of the bridge. The bridge is 364.4 Smoots plus one ear in length. I will let everyone do their own math on that one. Even though fifty years have passed since this was first completed, the painting of Smoot markers is maintained on the sidewalk. Here is the halfway point. I guess they were not too fond of their collegiate experience.

On the Cambridge side of the Charles River are some of the most wonderful skyline shots to be had in the city. The rain slowed by the time we made it to this point and the clouds cleared from the Pru allowing me to snap this cool shot with birds on buoys, spreading their wings presumably to dry out. To the left of this would be the Hancock followed by Beacon Hill (marked by the gold dome of the State House) and ending at Boston Harbor with the view of the financial district.

None of us thought the Sox would actually play their double header with the Yankees due to the intermittent tropical downpours but the lights went on at Fenway Park and they battled it out between the raindrops. Although we let them have the first game, the Sox ended the night on a high note of jumping around after their nail biting win. Here, the infamous Citgo sign (visible from the Mass Ave Bridge) marks the basic location of Fenway. Do not look for a gas station underneath it as it is simply a big neon billboard; a permanent fixture on the Boston skyline.

It only took us a couple hours to complete the walk with all the stops to snap photos, use the bathroom, or acquire snacks but because we started late we were among the last to arrive back. The free lunch I mentioned previously was the only down point in the day; the outfit providing said lunch piled the food onto the early walker plates (while we waited in line for literally an hour and a half, we watched them pass us with full plates). By the time we got there they had begun to run out of food. My Mom is a vegetarian and was not eating the steak (which is all that was left). I was mortified when they gave her attitude for asking for a couple extra French fries instead and then scowled at her as they literally tossed them on her plate. I asked for a small extra steak tip and was told no because there were so many other people to feed and we should have gotten there two hours prior. Simultaneously we all said we had, we were in line watching full plates of food go past us. He laughed and my stomach turned. Because we all wanted to make the day as excellent as possible, we decided not to let that little set back throw us so the four of us planned to meet at our place at six o’clock to go for dinner.

I had acquired ten huge tomatoes from my dad earlier in the week and was planning to make a sauce on Sunday after the walk. Dinner had not been part of the original plan but Matt and I were swinging by the grocery store on the way home to pick up a can of paste and fresh basil anyway so we added some whole wheat crusts, onion, shredded mozzarella and pepperoni to the basket so we could have a nice homemade pizza night at our place with the ladies. It went over so well there was not a single slice left.

It is no secret that I am not the most domestic of gals but the one thing I make really well is a red sauce. Since so many of my bloggy friends share their awesome recipes, I figured it would be nice to do the same. I am not including measurements as I think adding or subtracting is all to taste but this is the recipe from fresh tomatoes so please bear in mind this is definitely an all day endeavor. I personally think there is something blissfully therapeutic about stirring sauce all day; it allows me to slow down a little bit. It is especially nice to do this on a Sunday with football on in the background. Enjoy!

Red Sauce

Roughly dice and remove seeds from 8-12 large tomatoes. In a medium sauce pan bring to a slow boil uncovered. Leave on medium heat uncovered and boiling for approximately one half hour. Stir frequently bringing the liquid up from the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle salt, pepper, sugar, nutmeg, allspice and additionally desired spices on top and let sit. Chop up a whole bunch of basil and fold into the mixture. The tomatoes should still be pretty chunky but watering down somewhat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover.

In a separate frying pan brown some garlic then add red onion and fry until the onions start to become clear. For a meat sauce, add the meat to this mixture and cook thoroughly. Add this to the sauce and stir in. Add one small can of tomato paste and stir in to thicken. Splash in a small amount of red wine (about an eighth of a cup) to balance the garlic and add flavor.

Continue boiling the mixture on simmer for two to three more hours, stirring about every fifteen minutes. Taste every half hour or so as the flavors begin to blend and add spices as desired. The longer it cooks the thicker the sauce will be. Allow to cool (covered) for about a half hour prior to eating.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Almost Time to Put Away the Flip Flops

As of three days ago, fall officially began but I did not need a calendar to remind me this year. In the past few days I have noticed that the leaves are turning in random pockets and progressively in the past couple weeks the temperatures here in the northeast have started the inevitable downward spiral.

Even though I am a summer baby who is still a firm advocate for the hotter the better, there is something comforting about the early days of fall. Perhaps it is the re-introduction of warm colors, like red, brown, orange and yellow, which provide me a stronger bond to the Earth instead of my usual Water connection. After a summer full of an almost inexplicable need to be in or around water of any sort (but primarily the ocean), there is a peaceful feeling that comes from abandoning my fins for the land. Cooler temperatures allow for light sweaters and hot bowls of chicken soup with stars and even though I am not a big proponent of exercise I love to take off for a woodsy hike or city stroll on a sunny day.

This Sunday morning me, Matt, my Mom and our Fearless Leader my Aunt S are taking part in the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk in support of and to honor the many family members and friends we all know who suffer with effects from this terrible disease. This is my fifth walk, sixth year collecting donations and I actually hit my goal this year which was really exciting. Sadly, the forecast for a nice sunny stroll like we have had in most years past is not looking good.

The event of course is rain or shine. The good news is they are doing a big lunch at the end for all the walkers and it is only a short walk from the Cambridgeside Galleria, past the Museum of Science, down part of Storrow Drive, over the MIT Bridge and back down the opposite side of the Charles River to end back at the Galleria. We always manage to have a terrific time walking no matter what it is like outside and this year will be no different regardless of the predicted showers. Maybe that will prompt all of us to walk a little quicker and return home a little faster just in case the Red Sox Yankees game is not rained out.

Luckily the Sox are in the Wild Card spot regardless if we beat the Evil Empire and really luckily the Yankees are all done no matter if we ever play this final series of the season or not. It just makes me happy to think that maybe now Giambi will get rid of the cat on his face that has clearly not helped them garner a spot in the playoffs. I understand that an outfield is slippery when wet but it always aggravates me that rarely ever is baseball played in the rain. Games can always be made up in off days or double headers later because they play roughly 160 games per regular season. Then October arrives and the beginning of fall brings an end to the baseball season and the beginning of football.

Football games are played in rain, snow, sleet, hail, driving winds, 100 degree temperatures or any other element Mother Nature can throw at non-domed stadiums and teams suck it up and play because they have to. With only seventeen weeks of regular season play there is no time for a make up game. They come at you hard and fast and leave just as quickly. Just like fall in New England.

Autumn brings my favorite nationally celebrated holiday Halloween, the perfect excuse to cuddle up on a Saturday morning with a cup of tea, and the death that brings the rebirth of spring. It is the season that is necessary for leaves to fall and blanket the Earth beneath the snow of winter when the trees, and I, hibernate. Fall is the season of change.

In honor of that change and the many others I have personally made lately, I present this brilliant piece of musical prowess to keep everyone entertained while I pack up the summer clothes and pull out the wool cable knit sweaters.

Time to change.

Maybe I will leave one pair of sandals beside the sofa, just in case we have an unexpected heat wave in October.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Right Here, Right Now

The year was 1991. The place was the football field behind the High School. The temperature was a balmy 76 degrees and there was not a cloud in the sky. The size of my smile was only rivaled by the poodle perm and wall of hair I somehow managed to keep up there even though it was so humid I felt as if I could pass out at any given moment. Of course it was graduation day so the feeling of faintness could have had a lot more to do with nerves that I would open the maroon, cardboard sheath meant to hold my diploma only to discover there was nothing inside. I was wearing my cutest dress with little blue, green and teal flowers with white nylons and white flats. Most of this was hidden under the maroon polyester drapery they made us wear. Good thing it was not much warmer, that thing had to be flammable; luckily however I did not spontaneously combust. See for yourself how hot I was. I of course mean that sarcastically because clearly the literal sense is right out.

This trip through time is all a back story to explain the rules of the meme that I am excitedly stealing from Jim. Music has been a huge part of my life since I can remember. I work, cook, play, drive and anything else that can be done, to music. There are still record albums, tapes and CD’s in my collection. I listen to new and old; on my iPod is anything from Gershwin to Static-X and everything in between and generally I am pretty open to most all genres but there are some artists that I simply can not support. This meme was far too tempting to pass up so without further ado…

Here is how to play.

A) Go to Music Outfitters

B) In the search function, enter the year you graduated from high school. A bunch of links will appear, click on the link to the top 100 songs from the year you graduated.

C) Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate, and underline or italicize your favorite. Do nothing to those you don’t remember or don’t care about.

Now Jim created his own rules (not surprising of course) and I feel that I have to do the same (also not surprising) so the categories that better represent the year in music are listed below.

Songs I loved at the time and would still listen to today
Please note that even though I am fully aware of the fact that some of these songs absolutely suck there is a strong memory attached to time, place and people so no matter how bad it might be I am always going to love it. In fact this list is so great that anything I do own is likely going to become the ‘1991 Mix’ playlist.

2. I Wanna Sex You Up, Color Me Badd
3. Gonna Make You Sweat, C+C Music Factory
4. Rush Rush, Paula Abdul
6. Unbelievable, EMF
7. More Than Words, Extreme
11. Motownphilly, Boyz II Men
18. I Adore Mi Amor, Color Me Badd
19. Love Will Never Do (Without You), Janet Jackson
20. Good Vibrations, Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch
(You all know I was a huge NKOTB fan so this should surprise no one)
31. I've Been Thinking About You, Londonbeat
33. Losing My Religion, R.E.M.
36. It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over, Lenny Kravitz
37. Where Does My Heart Beat Now, Celine Dion
(Not really a fan but this is one of two songs of hers I enjoy)
38. Summertime, D.J. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince
40. P.A.S.S.I.O.N., Rhythm Syndicate
41. The Promise Of A New Day, Paula Abdul
43. Love Of A Lifetime, Firehouse
46. Hole Hearted, Extreme
47. Power Of Love-Love Power, Luther Vandross
51. Things That Make You Go Hmm..., C+C Music Factory
53. Tom's Diner, Suzanne Vega
55. Something To Talk About, Bonnie Raitt
57. Play That Funky Music, Vanilla Ice
58. Temptation, Corina
59. Can't Stop This Thing We Started, Bryan Adams
67. Now That We Found Love, Heavy D. and The Boyz
(My entire high school relationship came rushing back just seeing the title of this song. After all, Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy.)
73. Signs, Tesla
75. Crazy, Seal
79. Wicked Game, Chris Isaak
80. Get Here, Oleta Adams
83. I'm Not In Love, Will To Power
88. Everybody Plays The Fool, Aaron Neville
(I do the most kick ass impression of Aaron Neville ever.)
88. Strike It Up, Black Box
89. Rico Suave, Gerardo
91. Groove Is In The Heart, Deee-Lite
(Not only can I see every inch of the blue gym in my mind but I can still smell chalk if I think about it. Just about every day when I was working out on the beam this song would play and I would do my crazy little dance to this fun groove. Good times.)
95. Freedom 90, George Michael
94. O.P.P., Naughty By Nature

Songs that made me realize Armageddon was near; how else could they have ended up on the radio

1. (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, Bryan Adams
(Ugh. Shoot me. I can not believe this was number one. How sad.)
10. Baby, Baby, Amy Grant
13. Someday, Mariah Carey
(Every song ever done by this woman should be outlawed immediately.)
15. From A Distance, Bette Midler
21. Justify My Love, Madonna
22. Emotions, Mariah Carey
23. Joyride, Roxette
25. I Don't Wanna Cry, Mariah Carey
27. You're In Love, Wilson Phillips
(See Mariah Carey.)
28. Every Heartbeat, Amy Grant
39. Wind Of Change, Scorpions
42. I'm Your Baby Tonight, Whitney Houston
48. Impulsive, Wilson Phillips
49. Love Is A Wonderful Thing, Michael Bolton
(I do not celebrate his entire catalogue, unless we are talking about the other Michael Bolton)
50. Rhythm Of My Heart, Rod Stewart
52. I Touch Myself, Divinyls
56. After The Rain, Nelson
62. Time, Love and Tenderness, Michael Bolton
63. Sadeness Part I, Enigma
69. Love Takes Time, Mariah Carey
70. Cry For Help, Rick Astley
71. The Way You Do The Things You Do, UB40
77. Place In This World, Michael W. Smith
78. Something To Believe In, Poison
82. Silent Lucidity, Queensryche
99. The Motown Song, Rod Stewart
100. Shiny Happy People, R.E.M.
(I feel the same way Dennis Leary feels about this song. It enrages me instantly.)

Songs that I had to listen to on iTunes to remind me what they were
Those which should have gone in the ‘End of the World’ category are noted with an *, everything beneath that was alright.

*5. One More Try, Timmy T
*8. I Like The Way (The Kissing Game), Hi-Five
*14. High Enough, Damn Yankees
*24. Romantic, Karyn White
*26. Hold You Tight, Tara Kemp
*29. Sensitivity, Ralph Tresvant
*30. Touch Me (All Night Long), Cathy Dennis
*44. Fading Like A Flower (Every Time You Leave), Roxette
*45. This House, Tracie Spencer
*54. Iesha, Another Bad Creation
(Those kids were like eight. And really just bad. They should have taken a note from their name and never released anything.)
*60. I Can't Wait Another Minute, Hi-Five
*61. 3 A.M. Eternal, KLF
*65. I'll Be There, Escape Club
*68. Show Me The Way, Styx
(The perfect example of a good band gone bad.)
*72. Here I Am (Come and Take Me), UB40
*74. Too Many Walls, Cathy Dennis
*76. I'll Give All My Love To You, Keith Sweat
*81. Round and Round, Tevin Campbell
(No, that was by Ratt and released in 1984)
*84. Piece Of My Heart, Tara Kemp
*90. Disappear, INXS
*96. I Saw Red, Warrant
*97. Miles Away, Winger
*98. Do You Want Me, Salt-N-Pepa

9. The First Time, Surface
12. Because I Love You (The Postman Song), Stevie B
16. All The Man That I Need, Whitney Houston
32. Do Anything, Natural Selection
(Couldn’t even find this song. Not a clue.)
34. Coming Out Of The Dark. Gloria Estefan
35. Here We Go. C+C Music Factory
66. Cream, Prince and The N.P.G.
(It is Prince so the music is awesome. Lyrics, well I still blush.)
85. Real Real Real, Jesus Jones
87. Just Another Dream, Cathy Dennis
(Another song I can’t find)
92. All This Time, Sting
93. The One and Only, Chesney Hawkes

The favorites

17. Right Here, Right Now, Jesus Jones
64. Around The Way Girl, LL Cool J

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It Is Time For Change

I am not talking about political, although using the word change in my title alone will probably get me a few Google hits right now. Changes will be afoot at Random Lunacy over the course of the next week or so! It is time for an overhaul as I become increasingly bored and or irritated with certain aspects of my blog. So here are the changes that have already been made or will be coming shortly.

1. I have been having ridiculous issues with my feed burn, it was not updating since four months ago, so it had to just die. I am not a violent gal so I can assure you all that it went out of its misery quickly and quietly. All you awesome peeps who had subscribed to my blog I would be honored for you to please do so again through the new and improved link on the right. If you want to add me to your reading lists again it should update appropriately now as well.

2. The time has come to just be me and not my company. This blog sometimes features my painting stuff or other business-y endeavors but for the most part it is just the crap going on in my messed up brain so without further ado I will now show up on your comments postings simply as Jenn.

3. This gray, white and maroon background - gone. It is time to jazz it up and I am busy reviewing a bunch of websites for that perfect template that screams hell yeah that is the one!! Keep your eye out.

That is it for the updates but...

For the past 5 days I have had a song in my head. I do not understand how it got there but I wanted to share it because it seems like the perfect way to say goodbye to the outdated.

In My Life
by The Beatles

There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Days I Will Never Forget

I was perusing a blog that I read daily due to his wit and way with words, Suldog, and while pouring over his story of breaking into his own house I started to laugh remembering a time I had a somewhat similar experience. This got me thinking about times in my past and what significance they had on my life. They could have been fun, sad, ridiculous, stupid, silly, or a myriad of other emotions but all of them opened my eyes and in some way shaped who I am now.

Of course there are the customary moments in a person’s life that they will never forget: losing their virginity, the first time they puke after too much alcohol, getting married, having a baby, a first kiss, getting their driver’s license, death of a loved one, a fight. The list goes on, of course tweaked somewhat based on the individual in question. In my life there are times that I can not help but think back on and smile for what I learned, did or otherwise felt about the experience regardless if it was good or bad so here are a couple Jenn’s Life short stories to make you laugh. (Names are omitted but you know who you are)

The Jacket and the Rake

When I was in high school we lived in a ranch and I grew up with a fairly strict mom who had me call her at work every day after school. The call had to be at the same time every day (except when I was in sports or other after school activities) or I would be grounded. Being grounded was not exactly unfamiliar territory to me but generally I wanted to save those times for something more significant than just being late so I tried my best to make that call every day.

One late fall morning it was unseasonably nice out so I went to school and left my jacket at home. Our dining table was directly across from the front door and I had hung my jacket over the back of my chair just as I had done a probable thousand times before. When I arrived home it dawned on me that my house keys were in the pocket of that very jacket. I pushed open the mail slot in the front door to look inside and there was my jacket staring back at me, taunting me with its closeness but laughing at me because it was all too far away.

At that moment I was certainly late in calling my mom and the phone was likely ringing with her, frustrated, on the other end of the line. As a resourceful gal I thought to myself ‘if there was just a way I could get that jacket I could get the keys through the mail slot and let myself in’. Frantically I searched the yard for some kind of assistance tool; there was the rake. I prayed the handle was long enough to hook under the jacket, pull it towards the door without dropping it and that the keys would not fall out in the process. If ever a person was to channel MacGyver that would have been the time I did so.

Slowly, I inserted the rake handle and crossed the hall towards my chair. It was just long enough and I managed to get the jacket on the end. I backed the handle out of the mail slot holding my breath the entire time for fear that exhaling would send the jacket straight to the floor. I got it to the door and grabbed the collar. Now my tiny little hands really came in to play as I finagled the jacket around so I could get the keys out of the pocket, pull them through and let myself in the house. I felt like I had just conquered the world as I called my mom to relay the story of my reason for being late and achievement on getting into the house. She did not ground me but did insist that I no longer leave my keys in my jacket by the front door as it was seemingly too easy to get in.

No, it is NOT her Sister!

Although I had to check in with my mom everyday after school I was often allowed to go back out and hang with friends for the afternoon before dinner. It was a rare occasion that my friends and I would be at my house, we were not allowed to do so while my mom was not home and since she worked during the day that was normally the case. I was allowed to be at my friend’s houses without parents after school but, regardless if parents were out during the day, I was never allowed to spend the night without one present.

I am not sure what my mom was afraid of happening to any of us girls back then. None of us were drinkers, only one of us had a serious boyfriend who lived in the vicinity (mine was over fifty miles away), we were dorks who listened to New Kids on the Block and made up stupid little stories. Basically the top three scares of parents were off the table with us: sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. No matter how I fought this and how many of my friends were left home overnight alone, it just was not going to happen so when I asked to spend the night at D’s the first question to come out of my mom’s mouth was ‘is her mother home?’

D’s family spent almost every weekend at their place in New Hampshire and my mom certainly knew that so when I said ‘of course’ she immediately asked to speak with her. I told her we were in D’s room downstairs so I would track her down and have her call my mom back. Admittedly they had never met face to face, never talked on the phone and until this moment I never felt as if my friend’s freedom was an issue in my life but suddenly I had to come up with a mom in the next five minutes. In addition to me and D, K was also going to be spending the night because we were having such a good time watching some NKOTB video so why not keep that geek train rolling into the wee hours of the morning right? Sadly, my mom knew K’s voice so we were left with only one choice.

We quickly bribed D’s brother to make the call, insisting he use the highest pitched voice he could muster. He was only about thirteen at the time so we figured we were home free. He called and they talked for a couple minutes until my mom said she would like to come over and meet her. Not willing to admit that we were screwed we put his mom’s pink robe on him, a towel on his head, make up on his face and even a beautiful necklace to fully capture the effect of “woman”. He lay down on the couch and got under a blanket to watch some TV as my mom arrived. She came in and he did not get up but greeted her with the same pitch telling her how it would be fine if I spent the night. Looking back I can not believe none of us lost it but we managed to hold it together as my mom very calmly told me to get my things because I was going home.

Conceding defeat, I said bye to my friends and headed for the car. Once inside my mom began to tell me that she was not an idiot and sternly warned me that if we ever tried to pull off D’s sister being her mother again I was surely grounded. I had to reveal the secret, it was killing me and there was no fear now as the night had come to a close so I turned to my mom and said ‘that was not her sister, it was her brother.’

There are times in the life of a parent where they are tempted to laugh at the things their children do but in some of those instances they know if they do so the ground they are standing on to enforce will surely slip away. This was one of those times for my mom. I watched her face as her mouth remained stern but her eyes began to smile. I knew she wanted to laugh. I knew she wanted to burst out into the hysterical cackle we all used just a short half hour before as we dressed him up but she somehow managed to hold her ground and we drove home in silence. To this day I do not know if she ever burst out laughing at the raw hilarity of it all but I really hope she did. My only regret from that night is not taking pictures.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

“You’re Always Rockin the Random Hair Colors”

On the phone the other night with my sister I told her that another crazy color has now made its way to the top of my head and in response she said word for word what I have quoted for the title. She immediately followed that up by requesting pictures which I was hesitant to commit to at first (it was such a big change I was even a little shocked) but in the end it got me thinking that she is completely right. I love to mix it up. It is only hair and eventually it will grow out and be cut off. For at least the next month this is me; I will own it and to be honest it is starting to grow on me.

There are now only about four colors my hair has never been -- pink, blue, purple and green -- and I am quite sure I will eventually get around to some of those. Not green though, that always makes me think of the early days of hair color when women would go blonde and then get in a pool. To be fair, I have also never allowed myself to go gray; that is the color I try to avoid by using all these other ones. Someday when I am old and my roots start to grow in at a 70/30 proportion I will just dye it grey and get it over with. I will go with the stunning Jamie Lee Curtis look and be the sexy older gal who rocks short, gray hair. Let me just make a point to note that I do not consider Ms. Curtis to be old, despite how those sentences appear to connect. I am only in my thirties so if I was on the same track as her I still have fifteen years of insanity before I flip to silver. Then again, maybe that would be a good time to go purple.

Over the last year or so I would spend a ridiculously long time staring at the boxes full of smiling faces and end up reaching for auburn with a sigh, wishing I had the guts to do something extreme like this again.

I mentioned that I have never gone pink but it certainly looks that way so let me explain. My hair was as short as the photo on the right but I still wanted to do something outrageous while I visited my friend D and her then husband A in North Carolina so A grabbed his little neon hair ties and D grabbed her fake hair extensions. He spent about two hours turning my tiny hair into little nubs on top of my head then placed the extensions all over the back. We went dancing that night and it was a blast. Removing all of them the next day turned me into Foxy Blonde due to the platinum afro I was left with. This color made it about a year -- the maintenance with root touch up became aggravating so eventually it went back to auburn.

Another short lived, but much more difficult to get rid of, color was when I went jet black. That was fun but harsh in contrast to auburn and I did not love it. In addition to the color, this was during a time when I was attempting to grow my hair out so there was (to me) a lot of very dark hair. After a few days of looking in the mirror at a new color I usually start to think ‘it could be alright’ but that feeling never came. Within days I was doing everything possible to try to soften it but as a painter I know that it is always easier to deepen a color than lighten it and it took a really long time to get rid of. I eventually gave in, going shorter with the cut, and pulled out the bleach to strip the black out which is what led me to sandy blonde this past summer.

After close to two years of bouncing between brown and auburn then finally on to (hold me back) sandy, reddish blonde I had enough of my boring head so while picking up body wash the other day I spent literally thirty seconds in the aisle of happy boxes; just long enough to scan for something wild. I thought it might present a little deeper but no; it looks as if Strawberry Shortcake is my sister. Think fire truck, the heart on “I ♥ NY” shirts, lights on an ambulance, stop signs. Yeah. On the plus side she dresses really cute -- she knows how to rock a hat and pink patent leather Mary Janes with a jean skirt and a hoodie so I suppose there could be worse characters to resemble. She is adorable and apparently a really good person, not to mention “spunky” which I certainly have going for me. Hmmm, I actually have that entire outfit.

Yesterday while touring the Boston Harbor Islands (which I will expand on at some point) Matt snapped a couple photos of me that I am willing to share.

Holding up our fine city.

Let me out of here!

This wall was at least four feet thick.

I took the one of the two of us together. Matt looks exactly the same as he did four years ago.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Eight years ago I was a single girl living in a studio apartment and taking care of everything myself for the first time in my life. Prior to that I had roommates, family members and boyfriends who helped (or sometimes did not) with bills and such but I had never lived somewhere all on my own. I was dating and meeting all kinds of people as well as working for a healthcare facility in their Information Technology Department, spending time with family and friends and generally trying to figure out who I was in my late twenties. Life was pretty good.

A year before, true to form in my inability to maintain a career in one industry, I was laid off from a mortgage company along with a few friends. Some of those friends went to work for other companies while others of us continued to look for something that we would be happy with doing. One of the people from our former company went to work at a fairly big name and while there, met a guy who had recently moved to the area that she was sure would be perfect for another friend of ours who sometimes considered herself single. I agreed to take a ride up at lunchtime one afternoon so they could meet because, really, what else was I doing?

We called fix-up-friend at her desk and decided to meet out on the smoking patio. Our soon to be fixed up friend was not a smoker but the rest of us were so it seemed like a logical choice. They came out together and he shook both of our hands with a smile as he introduced himself. He was medium height, I guessed 5’-8”, really thin with brown hair and brown eyes and he had a bounce in his step. I liked him immediately; we instantly clicked and did not stop talking in the probable ten minutes we were there. At the time I was in a flailing relationship that was capping off well over ten years of monogamy and he was to be set up with my friend so I did not think much of it.

Fast forward a few months - they had gone on a couple dates but did not click and I had finally become the independent, single girl I was dying to be but did not know how badly I needed until it happened. We all landed jobs in or out of the same industry and most of us kept in touch. So when he asked me out I had to say “Well, you dated my friend, there are rules about that kind of thing.” He seemed to accept it and we stayed friends while she and I gradually lost touch as the calendar turned over to Y2K and he moved back to his home state of New York.

During the new millennium year he and I would occasionally visit each other for full weekends and chat on the phone to keep each other up to date on our latest obsessions or job changes. We never ran out of things to talk about and spent countless hours smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee in New York diners or Boston restaurants. It was nice to know someone who lived in New York, someone that could show me around the city and I thoroughly enjoyed his company but felt it was too long a distance to make anything work.

That holiday season was very busy and I neglected to get in touch with my friend to wish him a merry Christmas. I finally sent him an email in January of the following year and felt terrible until I received his reply which detailed that he was now living in Ohio and oops, sorry he forgot to let me know he had moved. I was floored! We had seen each other for a fun Boston weekend in November and two months later he was living in the Midwest. We spent many hours on the phone over the next few weeks discussing all the reasons why he was tired of New York and had to move, as well as how he had begun putting a lot of stock into who was really important in his life.

Strangely, something happened that spring and we began to get closer although we were living further apart geographically. Our conversations turned from surface based to depth and in May of that year we both nervously decided it was worth giving a relationship a shot even though he was in Columbus and I was in Boston. During this same time period, his brother in law was buying a new car and donated his old, red, GEO two-seater as a gift but said he had to pick it up to acquire it.

In May he flew out to Boston to pick up the car and although I was not originally intending to make the journey with him, I spontaneously decided to do so since it was the long weekend. In the week leading up to his arrival I spent time selecting some of my favorite music and recording it onto cassette tapes so he would have something entertaining for the drive. Mixed tapes are truly a lost art form. The two of us drove through 950 miles of rain and thunderstorms listening to the cassette tapes, seeing the country and acting like idiots at gas stations all over the northeast. We were falling in love.

Shortly after that he moved back to the Boston area and acquired an apartment in Somerville that he barely stayed in because he was always at my house. Life was fun and times were breezy. Then the country experienced the terror of September 11 and it made us both harshly put into perspective what truly mattered in our lives. We realized in those few weeks after the tragedy that for years we had been pseudo-dating, wondered what we were waiting for, and officially moved into a place together.

That fall we took a road trip to Cold Spring, NY, a quaint town full of adorable antique shops and a view of the Hudson River to drop jaw over. We had been a couple times prior and loved to explore all of the little treasures the town had to offer. I spent some time in one shop picking out a John Wayne pocket knife for my Grandfather for Christmas and then we were off to The Hudson House for the most delicious brunch, complete with homemade strawberry butter and warm popovers.

While in Cold Spring he had purchased a simple diamond ring and in November he presented it to me on one knee asking me to marry him. The next ten months were a whirlwind of hall selection, flower arranging, dress fittings and invitation sending. There were so many times we both wanted to give up and just fly off to Las Vegas to get married in a pink Cadillac by some Asian Elvis with fake mutton chops but we stuck it out and the day arrived. Six years has flown by in the blink of an eye.

Happy anniversary Matt.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Effort, The Voice, The Missing Pieces

Like Aerial in The Little Mermaid, I feel as if my voice has been literally pulled out of me. All of my words are seeming to fall short or are far to convoluted to complete a train of thought that anyone can follow other than me. In times like this I tend to turn inward, review myself and eventually everything comes spewing out in a matter of a couple days but it has been far longer and I can not wrap my head around anything because everything is up in the air and out of place.

Life will never be the fantasy world I want it to be because I am not the only one living it; true I am the only one living mine but with seven billion-ish people on the planet that is quite an array of outside influence in my choose-your-own-adventure story to make things turn in ways I never considered. This is not a scripted movie. At least I hope its not. Never in my life have I lived with regret and I do not intend to begin doing so now. I have to persevere and contemplate but make my choice for myself without looking forward or back. I can only do what is right for me and I can only live in the moment right now. Changing the details of the past or mapping out every aspect of the future is impossible.

My life is in flux in many ways right now and although it is all connected it makes me feel as if every wire has been pulled out of my personal circuit board and left exposed to create sparks separately. Individually they are basically harmless but blend all the sparks together and that will create a level of voltage that I have never quite faced before. Instead of dwelling in the drama that comes along with life’s currents I have made a conscious decision to cap off the ends of those wires and shove them back inside my brain as I throw the switch to kill the power.

At this moment I am going to shake it off completely, continue to load up on analogy but relate to nothing other than my own heart and mind. I will not speak of it anymore because I need to figure it out without the billions who live for themselves telling me how to live for me. Moments of fun seem far gone and I want to get them back.

In the spirit of that, here is a story to break the tension and perhaps help my mind relax back into its old comfortable place of goofiness. This is created completely from the 41 words on our Scrabble board and fifteen additional words so the story flows. Where I have added words they will be underlined. Enjoy!

Delay icy exit, or dote as chefs amp the crew with a dowel. Find the ream in a bin. Tug it down dazed, jot XI in ink on the keg. He gave no rune? Oy. The fib is flat as a rug or bib. Even a trio of grazers get whiny in the attic. Los squalos, la puma.

Squalos is not actually a word but I am sure we used it as if it were something in Spanish before acquiring a dictionary. Does any of it make sense? Not really but then that is what I feel for the world right now, this just brings me back to a simpler time and makes me feel like maybe there is still a fun loving and loved person trapped inside. Like a New York bagel; crunchy outside, all squishy and warm on the inside.