Monday, November 17, 2008

What day is this?

Dear Friends who live in my computer,

It is not because I am so busy that my hair is falling out (it is). It is not because I don't care anymore (I totally do). It is not because I don't have anything to say (oh, you better believe I do). It is not because I have stopped loving you (you are about all I have left). "It" is because I am not like Avitable or Lisa or even Julie.

You see, Nina lives out there in space and her words bounce off technology of some kind (Nina is no scientist) and then her words land in your Google Reader. This is how Nina has always interfaced with you. If you've been paying close (... really close, eyeball toasting close) attention, Nina's anonymity is eroding as a direct result of Nina's words not bouncing off the technology thingy. (This might be a good time to stop talking about myself in the third person).

Lately, my words have been bouncing off the faces of real people, and some of my in real life friends and a few family members have stumbled into this internet diary. Everything I might say I can no longer say because Nina (I) has wandered too close to the atmosphere of earth and she (I) is getting all burned up and dead upon entry. I can't talk like this. I need to be anonymous, and I am not anymore.

I would not have survived (truth, not hyperbole) this year without your support and encouragement, and I am kicking myself square in my virtual ass (which one can only do when one is two people and one of them is imaginary) for letting things get of hand. It was probably inevitable, but it hurts like hell. I will really miss you (us).*



* After I have imaginarily slept with like 9 other figments of my imagination, who knows? Maybe I will come crawling back here and beg you to take me back. I hear that's what most people do when they break up with their computers. Let's both just assume you'll still have me if I get good and cleaned up and do my best beg and grovel.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Another crack in the firmament

This weekend, I broke my all anonymous, all the time rule. I met LAS of This Too Shall Pass in New York City. She was here to visit friends, and since we spend most every day on chat tied at the back of the mind, I figured it was cowardly and absurd not to meet her. Several thoughts went through my mind as I contemplated this meeting. In no particular order:

1) What if online simpatico does not equal real life simpatico? What if in person the whole thing is just wrong?
2) What if she thinks I am stupid, ugly, fat, or smelly?
3) What if we can't agree on whether to eat nachos or burgers?

Like all post-modern problems, these seemed terribly important until the moment when LAS got out of the cab and we met on the corner in front of the house (the one I live in now).

Really knowing someone over the internet is not easy to do. To read a person's blog is not to know the person. LAS and I didn't really know each other when we met on Saturday and now we do. I am glad of this and I hope she is, too.

Sidebar: my befuddlement continues. I am doing much better, but finding myself hesitant to write about the really interesting stuff in my life right now. This might be the time to make a natural break from blogging - or to at least find a new home. Wordpress? Anyone with any strong opinion is invited and encouraged to let me know.

I miss reading all your blogs and I miss writing mine. See the above befuddlement. "It" is not over, but it may, in the long run, be different.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

So much to not say

This has never been a blog about politics, and I have never pretended to endorse a politician or even to have feelings about anything related to local, or regional, or national politics. (I am against feelings. If you read my blog, you know why).

Time will come that I will talk about what it is like to live here (ie, the place I am living) and what it is like to be a New Yorker, probably for the first time, and to witness this election... from here, where people are delighted and dancing in the streets and setting off fireworks and chanting "Yes we can".

But not today. If you are among the 4 people who still stop by here, bless you. If you stumbled in here by accident, I hope you return.

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, October 30, 2008



If I neglect my blog for even one more day, I will be charged with TBA: Total Blog Abandonment (not to be confused with To Be Announced, which might fit the bill as well since I am going through a transitional thing that has me befuddled).

What is this transitional thing?

1) I moved to a new pace.

2) I cut off all contact with my step mother.

3) I found out (yesterday) that my current full time job (the one that includes benefits) might evaporate due to state budget cuts. This might happen in January. Or May. Or if things go better than forecasted, not at all. That news is TBA, too.

Items one and two - the moving and the surgical removal of my step mother from my life - have had a powerful stress lowering effect on me. This is excellent. However, the powerful stress lowering effect has produced a trancelike indifference to the news that I might be losing my job. The scariness of that (it should be scary, correct?) is not registering. I find myself unable to respond with the appropriate levels of panic and terror. An alternative explanation for my inappropriate emotional response to this news is that because the cause is budget cuts, it's not my fault, so I don't care. Wait, that makes no sense. Maybe it is because the last two years have provided me with excellent training with regard to being warned that something terrible is going to happen that I can't control. I might have learned not to work problems that I don't have the means to solve.

I'll write more when I can find a clean sheet of unlined paper. When I find one of those, I will diagram my new place and post the drawings in lieu of pictures. In the meantime, if you don't hear from me for a few days, it's only because I am re-calibrating my brain in response to dramatically lowered stress levels and dramatically unwelcome news that I can't seem to muster the gumption to freak out about.

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

How 'bout

I haven't made the drawings yet. I am not yet organized. Rest assured that I am tucked into my new place and when I find myself able, I will write about the move process and talk more about what it is like to live here. Meanwhile, let me say only that I feel immensely better. (In case you missed it, I was feeling unwell, recently). In the interest of maintaining something like interest, I post herewith a picture of... well, it's not my neighborhood. But it's New York City, which is everyone's neighborhood if you know which way to turn your feet.

I am on the road tomorrow, but I will post from there.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Everything is cool. I am okay. Will post tomorrow including drawings of my new place. Maybe also I'll describe the new neighborhood.



Friday, October 24, 2008

More differentness

I spent my second night at a place we'll call Bob and Kate's Home for Wayward (Middle Aged) Women, and it is not half bad, so far. My cat, who you might recall biting me in violent resistance to ever leaving my apartment, seems to be taking the transition well. I put out food and water and he ate and drank and found a place to curl up and doze and I thought... gee. Now there is an enlightened being. I should be more like that.

So for two nights now I have slept amid the rubble - boxes, bags of "stuff" - unfamiliar furniture, curtains I did not hang - and I have been ok. I am not breaking any records for mental health or anything, but I feel pretty much... yeah. Fine. (This is either numbness due to over-stimulation of my entire everything, or it is disorientation so profound that the needle just flails around until it gives up and hits the middle. Or... maybe I am... fine. I have no idea).

I just have to figure out where to put all my stuff. And then I can cross off my list the "move to the other place" item and perhaps I will calm down even more. And then maybe I can read blogs again, work on other projects long overdue, and oh, see my friends some time soon or even... make it to the gym.

Thanks to everyone who has helped me cope for the last six months (or really year and a half, if you started reading last June). The move puts me one step closer to sanity and one step further away from financial ruin; plus, it is a huge, stressful project that is now over - save the putting away of the stuff, which I find I am in no terrific hurry to do.

Am I still talking? Let me stop now.

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Done and Done

If I get a chance to write tomorrow, the story will feature my doormen sneering at me, the porters sitting on their asses watching me move everything all by myself, me breaking down crying every time no one was looking, several things I care about getting stolen as I unloaded the car, and finally my cat biting the bejeezus out of my hand because he was afraid to get in the cat-carrier at 10 o'clock tonight when I finally got back up there to pick him up.

I don't even blame him. I'd bite too if I had a ready victim.



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Last night in the Gothic Castle

I graded papers and packed all day. Tonight is my last night living here:

Of course it doesn't look like this right now. It is half empty and stacked with boxes and battered furniture. Tomorrow morning I have to finish packing the kitchen and then I have to track down a few more boxes to shove books into. Gah. The good news is that I have passed beyond stressed and freaking out and settled into a lovely hypnotic "who cares" kind of mood that I hope lasts until morning. (It probably will not).

I would post pictures of the new place if I had authorization from Newsy, but I feel it would be an invasion of her family's privacy.

Rest assured, however, that I will post tomorrow night from the new place and try to say something funny about the moving process. I would feel more nostalgic about leaving here if it were not for the fact that this apartment has been the scene of a lot of __________. The new place, no matter what its challenges, is full of good people and in the long run I will be okay there. And moving puts a tidy demarcation line between then and now.

Until now gets here, feast your eyes on... oh, whatever. Here is a picture of me before I was crazy. I was cuter then, but I was also less emotionally seasoned. On the other hand, I still look pretty much like that except for the aging process, which.... oh, let's just let that idea drift away without further comment.

See you tomorrow from the new (and undisclosed) location.


Monday, October 20, 2008


I got "clearance" to move out on Wednesday, which will mean I have access to the service elevator and my friend's mother said I could borrow her car. The only problem is I have no one to drive it. Is this a problem? I can't decide. I was just thinking I would haul my stuff down the service elevator, go get the car (a 30 minute operation) and hope no one stole my stuff in the interim. Huh.

Anyway I am out of here completely on Wednesday. That means nothing for you except I can't lean out my window and take pictures for you anymore. Pictures like this one:

Once I am moved into my new place, things will be different. Will they be better? Who knows? But different, anyway, and maybe the beginning of some other way of life. I must confess that I often feel like I would rather not have had quite this much "different" in the last two years, but what the hell, might as well. I am still alive, anyway, and that means things are still possible.

(Like what? She does not know. She will tell you when she does).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Pain-Agony Sandwich, now with sides!

My brother and I have had a running joke about how the years leading up to July 23, 2008, we were fed a mandatory foot long Anxiety sandwich three meals and (two snacks) a day, without variety. It (both the joke - and the un-happy meals) has grown old by now, but it (at least the joke) has enjoyed a resurgence since my father died. Now we eat the Pain-Agony sandwich every day without interruption. We thought it could get no worse.

Well, well. As we all know, every bottom has a trap door that goes just one (or ten) levels lower.

I received a letter from my step mother puts a nice capper on this whole season of ___________. There are no words for it (the season, or the letter).

Warning: if you a non-Catholic, the excerpts I post here will prove perhaps the worst advertisement for the Catholic faith than anything you have ever seen or heard before. If you are Catholic, I think you'll agree that my step-mother is Catholicism's best example of how NOT to be a good at practicing our religion. Ready?

"Peace in the family meant more to you dad than money."

(Note that my dad made a pretty tidy showing of taking care of her, financially, while providing not even a kind word for his children in his will).

"What he wanted most of all was for the whole family to be together in heaven." (If you are not disgusted yet, be warned that I am just getting to to good part).

"Through his illness and suffering, your dad offered up every bit of his illness and suffering.... from the violent infections and the horrible pain of amputation... up to the Lord on your behalf so that you would be freed from your own suffering and turn your heart and mind back to God and his plan for you."

"This is the good that your father hoped and trusted that God would make out of his suffering. Think of the selfless focus and faithfulness your father mustered on your behalf. He used his suffering for you."

The entire time this mess has been unfolding, I have had one tiny little shred of comfort: that I was faultless in setting up my father with this woman, and that all the harm that had come to my family as a result was not my fault. But Erika, in her incredible inability to have ANY clue what sort of thing would "comfort" me, has merely invited me to the Pain-Agony buffet and added a double sized helping of... guilt.*

Now I get to contemplate how my dad's suffering was all for ME... in effect, ABOUT me. Let's take this one step further. Maybe my dad got cancer and suffered and died BECAUSE of me and his poor opinion of my performance as a human being and a Catholic. The train of logic isn't so hard to follow, is it?

So there goes, if I choose to believe what Erika says, the one little piece of "okayness" I had about this entire ordeal. Now, in addition to having pain, grief, anger and shock, I get a whallopping mouthful of guilt, because this ordeal is not only the undoing of my whole family, but also... all my fault.

That Erika. What a find. She is really something.

* I couldn't work in the drugs.

** Yes, I thought twice (perhaps nine times) about whether it was appropriate to post this ugliness on top of, what, a solid year of ugly posts? I did it because I meant what I said. This is the capper. I can't engage in the emotional violence for even one more second without quite literally checking myself into a sanitarium, so from now on - as much for myself as for you - this blog will be about the future. No more crap about the money, the terrorism, the meanness, the lying, the misery, or even the sandwiches. It's time to move on and since I sent Erika an email telling her to let me be, I am moderately hopeful that I can amputate (pardon the phrasing) her and this mess from my life and write about other things. If I keep wallowing, call me out on it. Seriously, this has to be the end.

(The end).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Things to say later

Stay tuned for a real post tomorrow featuring:

a) drugs

b) the baby Jesus

c) emotional violence

d) more crap about the baby Jesus

e) me realizing how full of crap all this really is

I just can't write today. Stop by tomorrow.

I love you. For reals.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Whatever, already

After hauling boxes and enduring the sneers of the entire staff of my building, I decided that I am going to take another week to move my remaining possessions over to the new house. I have to work and it's unavoidable, as is the chagrin of my building's entire staff if I don't sneak my remaining possessions out in back packs and duffle bags. I can only do so much in a day, and after the unbelievable stress of the last two weeks, I just can't deal with any more - any more sneers, any more boxes, any more nasty cab drivers and certainly not any more work terrorism.

I don't know what has happened to me - I used to be able to just roll with whatever came my way. The person I have become has a brain like a chicken wing and the nervous system of a rabid monkey. I have to slow down, or I will be left with nothing but the paper slippers at Belleview and a handful of medicine that no longer works unless I take three times the maximum daily dose.

Having said all that, let me apologize to all the people I have let down in the last few weeks. My blog has not been fun to read and I owe other obligations to people I shall not name - you know who you are... and I have no excuse for myself except the above chicken-wing-monkey situation. I'll be my old self again someday. Try November, maybe.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This... is crazy

There is no way a person can move over three days and then also work three jobs at the same time. And yet this is what I am doing. I have to be out of my apartment by, um, tomorrow. I have packed and packed and packed and packed, and yet there is still more crap to be unloaded and dealt with. It's unbelievably stressful, and yet I must do it and damnit, I have deadlines at work that I have to meet and I can't blow them. So with one hand I am grading papers and with the other I am stuffing books into boxes and taping them shut and trying to figure out how to get this stuff down the service elevator, into a cab and down the street without violating the building's rules, which state that no one can move anything after 5pm - which is the only time my friend with the big SUV can help me move my stuff. It's a total clusterfuck. I can't cope. Cutting back on anxiety reducing drugs at the same time? That's not working out at all. I find myself either staring at the bottle of xanax and weeping - or taking them and then merely crying. The stress, oh lord God, is too much.

Lisa at Clusterfook recently posted about self-revoking her Whining Card, but she is a stronger woman than I am. I am whining. I will post again and hopefully I will not be doing even more of it.. the whining.



Monday, October 13, 2008

Google Goggles.... they may have a point

Recently, Gmail introduced a feature called Google Goggles and I think it may be a good feature. If I had use of it last night, I might not have accidentally hit send when I wrote the following email to my step mother. If you are not up to speed with the disaster currently afflicting my family, the short version is that my dad died in July, and a few months later, only though directly requesting the information from my step-mother, did we learn that my father had left her his entire estate. Why does this upset us so much, oh, only because the entirety of the estate was amassed before he ever met or married her - and because his will entirely disregards his first marriage of 35 years that resulted in 3 children who are now utterly disinherited. Adding fuel to our ire is the fact that all three of us incurred enormous charges for plane tickets, rental cars and hotel rooms in the last two years that have left us all completely broke and in debt, where before he had cancer, we were all debt free and had plenty of savings.

The email I sent last night was in response to one she sent me suggesting that I should take over the bill for the storage of some of my mother's furniture - items my dad kept in storage for many years with the promise that I would have them once I was living in a situation suitable for those items. I see that in the future happening round about... never. So after having spent a week filled with disgust and rage, and having all kinds of people tell me to calm down and blah blah, I drafted this email, intending to never send it, and OOPS. I did. Ready for this?

E-Since you have inherited every piece of property, monetary, and real, my perspective is that you have inherited also my furniture and also my mother’s. The bill is in my father’s name. Can you reap the benefits of my father’s estate without taking on its responsibilities? I think not.

I have asked you twice for the information that would give me leave to take on the bill you have sought fit to shirk upon me, while you languish in the benefits of my father's estate. You have not provided that information. That said, if you wish to make a gift of my what was previously mine and my mother’s, you should at least make known to me how I am to take upon the fees associated with the property.

The language in which you have addressed me in our most recent emails has been so insulting that I am certain that no benefit can be gained by any further talk between us, save this disagreeable business of who is to pay the bill for your furniture. If your desire is to make a gift of the furniture in storage, please enable me at once to take on the bill. Otherwise, you can, as I am sure you know, dispose of your property in any manner in which you find gives you pleasure.


HMMMM... rash, no? So is this

a) funny
b) disastrous, and I should apologize
c) right on and who cares?
d) hell with it - just move on

What do you think?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Belately, my dear mother

I must confess to the world (or, the four people who still read this blog) that I went to work on Friday wearing no undergarment (save an ill-fitting bra).  

My sainted mother, who would have killed herself had she known she could have raised a child such that the result would be thus, would have turned 65 yesterday, had she not died of breast cancer at 52.  For all to see, my beautiful mother:

There was nothing else I could do, under the circumstances. I hope my most indulgent mother will forgive me for the insult to both her character and mine, as I found myself without any resources to prevent such an un-ladylike showing. If it were not for my pale, blond, an uninteresting feminine area, such a crime against civility and decency would have been impossible. And for those genetic factors, I must thank my mother, the fairest creature that ever walked the earth. Shall we see her again? Yes, we shall:

Will she ever forgive me? Shall I endure my remaining days in shame? I shall not. I think my sainted mother knows the hearts and minds of her children - and knows under what treachery they now suffer. I may be to kind to myself, yes. I find myself with few others that would be as kind to me as she was, and so I soldier on, knowing that on a better day, I will fulfill both my debt to decency and civility as my mother taught me. That day that was Friday, October, 10th, will be disregarded.

Belately, happy birthday to you, my sainted mother. May you always have those who remember you in their prayers.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Black Magic Marker - or pantless?

To cap off my week of work insanity and general turbulence, I had to be prepared to have one of my classes observed. If you do not work in the teaching industry, let me just say this: being observed is terrible. You can really prepare for it because, duh, it's just the same job you always do and the real wild card is the students - who on any given day are in any given mood and always surprise you, whether you have a colleague sitting in the back of the room watching your every move or not.

So yesterday, since I was just about driven out of my wits by the extent of the work piling up around me, I tried to beg out of the observation by sending a polite email explaining that blah blah can we just do this next week? His answer: no. His schedule was fixed and blah blah see you tomorrow.

Well, well, well. ___________.

So I worked and worked and worked yesterday and did not stop until it was whenever, and I have no idea when I went to bed but I awakened at 5am after several surreal nightmares. I showered and picked through my laundry bag looking for something suitable to wear during my observation.

It was then that I observed, to my horror, that half my laundry was not in the bag - and since this were true, the other half of my laundry had to be downstairs in a dryer. For the past 48 hours.

So I ran downstairs at 5 in the morning, braless, barefoot, and a degree of unhappy just one degree shy of the degree of unhappy I achieved when I discovered that some unkind person had taken my laundry from the dryer and tossed it into a cart with someone else's wet laundry - and that the entire mixture had become sour with mildew in the interim.

The concequences of this laundry error were dire.

I had two choices of things to wear that would be acceptable: one, the suit I wore to my father's funeral, which had been crumpled into the bottom of a plastic bag for weeks, since I advertantly set my handbag down on some recently disgarded chewing gum , and without realizing it, lifted my handbag into my lap, ruining the pants of the suit with a splotch of gum the size of a sand dollar. In order to wear this suit, I would have to shake the wrinkles out of it, pretend it was not covered in cat hair, and use a black magic marker to disguise the gum. (I know most people would not consider this an option. Sadly, I would).

The second item I could potentially wear was a pair of buff colored linen pants with a pale pink shell with similarly colored sandals. Perhaps a bit summery for the time of year, but presentable. But this second choice had it's own issue: the near see-throughness of the pants. Only by wearing absolutely no underwear - MAYBE a flesh colored thong - could one ever wear these pants out of the house. I quickly realized that since I own no flesh colored thong and certainly would not spend the entire day I was to be put through teaching observation hell with a thong up my crack - even if I did happen to possess such a garment, the only way to make it out of the house in this outfit was to go commando.

Those were my options. I had no others. Knowing me so well as you do, what do you think I did? (I'll tell you tomorrow).


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Memo to Jesus

To: Jesus Christ 
From: Nina, swears-a-lot
Re: Jewishness 

Today, Jesus Christ, I write to thank you for being your lovely perfect self, but also for being Jewish and for making Judaism such an integral part of world culture.  While I realize that after your torturous and unmerited execution, others created a new religion (or, like, hundreds) based on your teachings, if it were not for Judaism and its lovely importance, there would be no such thing as Yom Kippur - and I would not have the night off from teaching, and I would be cramming my face to with Xanax to finish the other work I have to do for my other jobs, work that is so very pressing that I am literally shaking in my chair.  

Regarding other matters, events, and unpleasantness related to myself and my ever shrinking circle of loved ones, I think you know I have some opinions and beliefs that need careful reflection and possible modification before we can speak of them.  (Read: I am pissed.   Why did you let this happen to my family?)  Expect further official communication regarding same at a later date, when my spiritual situation is more suitable for discussion of these matters.

Sincerely (we'll get to love issue later.  Probably much.),


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Another day passes

I woke up at 9am after being up until after 1am grading papers.  I hastily brushed my teeth and washed my face and answered 15 emails from students.  I'll spare  you the details.  

Then I went to visit Headologist Bootstraps, who had not seen me since early July.  When I saw her last, I explained to her that I was going to be traveling for Africa for three weeks and that afterwards, I would be spending 2 weeks with my father, so she prescribed enough medication for me to last three months.  Dandy.  But we all know what happened in the interim.  My dad died on July 23rd.  I didn't get to go to Africa and I lost the $7000 I had spent (foolishly, I know, I know) on the trip.  Then I spent another $1500 to get to the funeral and back, and if you remember correctly, the entire show was a disgrace and caused profound embarrassment to me, my brother and my sister and my sister in-law.  We were literally driven out of the house by my step-mother's children.  If we had not left as early as we had, there would have been a brawl in the driveway.  Aren't we a classy bunch?  Well.  We used to be.  Back before the calamity that is my father's second wife entered our lives. 

Then there came the news that my father disinherited his children entirely and that he expected us, his natural children, to treat Erika as we would our own mother.  So not happening - for any price.  So she is a very, very wealthy widow and me, my brother, and my sister are all left with nothing but a stack of bills that would drive most people into bankruptcy - all money spent as a direct result of our father's illness.  

When you can relate this information in ten sentences or less and render your psychiatrist absolutely speechless - with her mouth hanging open - and you can see the utter disgust and shock in her face?  Well, it's gratifying.  It let's Nina know that Nina is not over-reacting or making too much of death, grief, and ultimately, the treachery of people we expected to love us and protect us the very most. 

Headologist Bootstraps, for all her dimness about my situation, had to finally admit that any normal person would react to such life circumstances as these with some anxiety and some sadnesss and some anger.  So she refilled all my meds and gave me some weird ass prescription for some weird ass B vitamin supplement that is supposedly helpful with depression.   I told her that if I could just get through 6 months without anything truly horrible coming my way, none of this medical intervention would be necessary.  I have no idea if I am right, but I suspect I am.  I never was this screwed up until my life got utterly screwed up.  I can't tell chicken from egg from chicken as far as that goes.  

After my visit with Headologist Bootstraps, I came home and feverishly graded more papers that were long overdue.   Then I answer 20 more student emails.  Then I hastily boarded the bus down to the house of my friend Newsy's parents, where I will be living starting next week.  With great relief, I discovered that her mom and I are simpatico enough that we can understand each other and work together.  She gave me some instructions on what to do to start clearing out the basement, and I was able to work on it for several hours before returning home and feel as if I accomplished a little something.  I will go back there on Monday and continue working.  

My friend Newsy's dad is such a lovely man that just to be around him gives me enormous comfort.  He is 76, and several years ago he suffered an injury that left him without the use of his legs and only partial use of his arms.  He is mostly in bed and for most people, this would seem a terrible life.  Not to him, it seems.  Every time I enter the house, he smiles at me and offers me his opinions on the news and charms me with his stories.  Sometimes he tells me how beautiful I am.  Sometimes he tells me when I move in, he wants me to sit with him.  It's a betrayal of my own dad to say it, but I sort of wish he were my dad, since he treats me as if I am special and I so very need that right now.  

So now it is 9 and I have more work to do before the day is done.   Tomorrow will be similarly busy, and I have to teach tomorrow night and all day Friday.  This weekend, I hope to finally get out to NJ to see Buzz, Leta, and Liam, all of whom I have not laid eyes on since the funeral.  It has been too busy, and frankly, my emotional state has been too erratic for a visit out there.  Even though they are family, I have to have myself in order if I am to go out there, if for no other reason than for the sake of sparing Liam contact with an emotionally unstable person.   the poor kid is only three and a half and most of his life, his parents and his Nina have been acting all normal and nice and hiding from him the horror show that has been our lives since my dad was married.  Has he suffered?  It is hard to say.  We have protected him as best we can, but if you believe that bees and dogs can smell fear... you might also believe that a toddler can smell heartbreak even when no one says one word about it.  

Goodnight, dear people.  I'll say something more tomorrow.  

The pain of chickens

Here I am, up all night grading papers and willing myself not to give up and fail at my job.  

I am, at midnight, still grading, and I click on a submitted paper and find that a student has written a paper entitled "Chickens have a hard life."

Well, I'll be damned.  I had no idea that chickens were suffering so gravely, but guess what?   

I get to stay up for at least another hour and learn all about... the pain of... chickens. 



PS.  Dear Lord Jesus, in another life, could I be a chicken so that I might be merely uncomfortable rather than in possession of free will and a conscience?  That'd be  great.  Thanks. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Not built in a day

No emails, no phone calls, no nothing.  

We are going to do absolutely nothing until we have conferred with all of my dad's brothers, and the paltry check she says she mailed to my brother arrives and clears.  It's rather like standing around with a grenade all day and waiting for permission to pull the pin and run run like hell.

In other news, I did pack up three boxes and three duffle bags and my friend came and helped me move them to the house where I will be living.  I am maybe going over there tomorrow to help her mom start putting things in order.  I say maybe because she is a little bit less eager to get started than blah blah blah... it's just a hard process for anyone to go through.  If she cancels, it won't surprise me.  I will be living there in a week or so and then there will be no avoiding the person who lives in her house who is there expressly for the purpose of helping her organize and sort out her things.   Hopefully this will go well and she will not end up hating me inside of a week.  At any rate, in very short time I will have figured out how best to help and I will have a place to live. 

Can I tell  you all how surreal this is?  I have to rewrite my whole life, change my entire concept of the world, and at the same time, move into someone else's house and work three jobs and... I can't tell you how overwhelmed I am.  If I thought the anxiety was bad before my father died, this disorientation and the total breakdown of my family and the just crushing sadness of it... well it might be worse.  Or maybe it's better because I am so completely against anxiety.  I am not anxious at all... just so busy I don't know what to do when and all the while there is a voice in my head telling me my father died and we never even said goodbye and he just left me with nothing after I set him up with her and encouraged him to move on after my mom's death.  And that I have been the instrument that caused my siblings to be disinherited and hurt so badly.  And then I am grading papers and people are parading into my apartment two and three and four times a day since it is not rented yet and I am supposedly going to move like... next week. 

Is this a post?  I don't have any idea what I just wrote about but you can read it if you want to and if you have anything to say you can say it and if you think I am boring and self-pitying and kind of jack-ass you are most likely correct.  Starting over when you never really got started in the first place and you are 38 and all you have in the credit column of your life is not being dead yet is utterly surreal.  And that is all I can think of to say today.  

Thank you for reading. 

Monday, October 6, 2008

Try this

When you are out of xanax and temazepam, get a bottle of Courvoisier and just like drink it.   Glass optional. 

My latest email to my step mother:

This exchange has been painful for me, and from your tone, I can tell it has been for you, too.  I am moving into someone else's house next week; I am working three jobs, and from what you have told me, all is just fine for you, so I have no reason to worry for your safety or support.  It's time for me to take care of myself, as I have been unwell, both physically an emotionally for a long time.  If you have anything to communicate of urgency, by all means, communicate.   Otherwise, I need to step back for a while.  If you were in my position, I am sure you could readily see how hurtful the news that my dad thought nothing of his children but ______,  and that only by way of your charity, the sum became _________.   Had my need not been so dire, and had I known my dad had only intended us to have so small a sum, I would never have accepted the money.    As the total is already spent, all I can do is regret my penury and save to pay you back for the money that was not due me.   I want to reiterate:    I need a break.   Please do two things.  First, do not respond to this email.   Second, please don't send me any more packages meant to comfort me.  They have the opposite effect.   I desperately need to re-establish my own life, one that does not include these painful boxes in the mail reminding me of how much my dad used to love me.    All that can usefully be said regarding the estate and our family has already been said, and I need to move on with my own life. 

Simple yes or no.  Should I send it?

And no, the Bitch-krieg email is still drafted and not yet sent.   I am waiting for full approval from my father's family before I send it. 

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thanks, Maggie

Your result for How geeky are you?...

Cool Introvert

50% Geeky, 74% Cranial and 57% Introverted!

You scored 50% Geeky, 74% Cranial and 57% Introverted! Brilliant! This is so very exciting because you have managed to maintain your intelligence yet steer clear of the path to geekiness. You are the rarest of the rare, not many people score in this category. I don't know if you realize the delicate balance between smarts and geekiness, yet you have overcome!!

You most likely have a strong passion for reading or some other hobby you can cultivate on your own, and this can be a wonderful creative outlet. Make sure you take the time to develop strong interpersonal relationships as they may not come as easily to you, though they are vital for a fulfilling life. It takes much effort to mantain them at times, but their benefits far outweight their draw backs.

I truly hope you enjoyed the test as much as I enjoyed making it! I always welcome email comments/suggestions! Thanks for taking it!

Take How geeky are you? at HelloQuizzy

Friday, October 3, 2008


I really ought to delete that terrible post.  Maybe I'll do that in just a minute.  

Meanwhile I am popping in to say only that I have the flu and it's fairly terrible, and since I have been cemented to my bed for the last few days, I am going to return there just as soon as I can get my arms around another  bottle of Nyquil. 

Goodnight, all. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I await my Pulitzer

Just to make sure that I maintain the standard of depressing, ill-tempered, and inappropriate posts you have all come to expect, I offer today a draft of the letter I intend to send to my dear step-mother.  I have not sent it yet, and I don't plan to until I have cooled down sufficiently to edit a bit of the venom out of it.  But you all might enjoy it.  The venom, anyway.  

Here ya go: 


You mentioned the need to be gentle with each other, and I couldn't agree more.  You have been my friend for eight years and I would be heartbroken - after all that has transpired - to lose your friendship.  Now that all has been laid before me, I understand why no attorney or probate judge has contacted me, my brother, or my sister concerning my father's estate.  There was no reason for us to be contracted my any legal authority, since neither my sister, my brother, nor I have inherited anything. 

I have a few more questions that I hope you will be good enough to answer.  Some may be difficult for you to read and for that, I am truly sorry.  However, I must be forthright.  Anything less would be guileful on my part and an insult to our friendship and your intelligence.  Try to understand that i ask these things so that I can grieve knowing, at the very least, the whole truth about my father's regard for me and my brother and my sister. 

1) Why did it take my asking, point blank, what the disposition of my father's estate was for you to reveal that my brother, sister, and I are without any legal rights?

2) When you and my father agreed to arrange your affairs in this way, did you ever consider that a boilerplate will is not typical in situations where there has been more than one marriage on both sides?  And if you were aware of the many alternatives more suitable for couples in your financial condition, why did you and my father agree to dismiss those alternatives? 

3) At the time you and my father made these wills, did you believe that they dealt justly with my brother, my sister and me - not to say my mother, who was joint owner of all that my father owned until the moment she died? 

4) If you thought the wills you and my father signed were just wills at the moment you signed them, do you think so now?

I do not think the wills just.  My father, in effect, asks us, his natural children by way of his will to replace our mother - who raised us from babies and who died at 52 - with another woman.   Erika, no matter how much we all love you, no matter how grateful we are that you gave my dad a few years of happiness before his untimely death,  no child would simply "boilerplate" one mother for another - and would certainly not do so for motives so despicable as money.  Could any decent, sane, morally upright person ever do such a thing?  Would the people you have come to know in the past four years - my brother, my sister, and me - defile my mother's memory in such a way?  I am sure you know we would not.  

Yet this is precisely the scenario we are apparently to endure.  

It is for these reasons that I say that my father, a man I loved more than my own life, was no longer the man I thought I knew once he remarried.  The change began almost from the moment of the ceremony.  I could give you hundreds of examples since his marriage in which he behaved in ways that hurt me terribly - ways that I would never have dreamed possible.  To give you just one, the visit I made in January was of two days duration.  One of those days, he spent an entire 9 hours watching a football game at Dave and Evie's while I sat alone on the couch wondering when my father had developed this unusual interest in football, which he never liked at all the first 62 years of his life - and why the hell I bothered to visit people who clearly didn't spending time with me more important than 9 entire hours of... football.  Four days later, my birthday came and went and my father never even called me.  Birth cake or no, do you have any idea how hard I cried when midnight came and I realized that my father didn't think calling me on my birthday worth doing?

My belief is that your desire to be the love of my father's life regardless of whether my mother existed or not lead you to ask my father to sign the will you described to me.  I believe he signed it because he adored you and would have cut off his own head to please you.  But in signing that will, he did wrong - both by his natural children, my mother, and in the long run, you.  A just will would have saved  you the pain of reading this message from me.  

My father's will has gravely wounded, emotionally, and financially, children who would have been his slaves for one kind word a year - who hung on his every word - who spent every vacation day they had each year by his side.  During his illness, we spent our savings and incurred unfathomable debts to stand by him when he was in peril.  Can you doubt that we loved our father to our own absolute ruin? 

Did he love us?  Well, if one where to judge by the contents of his will, he regarded us as a mere biological inconvenience.  Is this true?  And if not?  Is this will just?

I am undone.   I will never see my father - or our relationship, and sadly, you, the same way again until you make right what is gravely wrong - namely, my father's will. 

I say this with the full knowledge that legally,  you have no obligation to engage in so much as a phone call with me or anyone connected with the name of ______ ever again.  The legal papers you and my father had drawn up gave total power to your to the point that you could disengage from my father's family and his natural children at your pleasure, with no legal consequence.  

All this said, my dearest wish is that your conscience and your reflection on thee facts I have laid before you will lead you to act quickly, within the limits of the law and common decency to rectify this error - that our friendship can survive and that further - something like a family can be salvaged from this legal and moral disaster. 

If you choose another path, peace be with you.  My own conscience - with regard to you, and my father, whom I encouraged in all innocence and good intention to marry  you, is clear. 


simple yes or no

Can I date a 56 year old gypsy cab driver because he gets me?

Is this  maddness?

And YES - I expect a real answer.  Yes or no. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How about a post of a different kind

I am on the road for work in some lovely upstate mountainous paradise.  Upon waking in my hotel room, I remember I have to stop by the OB-GYN.  (Work with me, people.. I was dreaming).   When I get there the receptionist puts me in a chair and my doctor comes in with a folder and then some other doctor came in with some other folder and lifted some lab work out of it and started to chuckle.  There was a big H somewhere on it.  

I thought of Lisa and said, "Oh, fuck.  Do I have ovarian cancer?"

The doctor started belly laughing, sort of like Santa Clause in a pocket protector.  

"Look again."

I looked.   And looked.  And then I found a number :  beta HCG 826. * 

And then we both started laughing but only for about two seconds because then I started to cry so hard I had to be ushered into a private little padded area to compose myself, which took hours.  During this time, as I was sobbing uncontrollably, I confessed to the doctor that I'd had a few beers at my dad's funeral.  And that there might have been some anti-depressants.  And that - and this is the most serious thing - I had not been having sex. 

In fact, I had been having so much NOT sex that this could not be true. 

"You are pregnant," he said. 

"Is it because of that guy at the office who always comes into the office in assless pants and a leather jacket and rides away on his motorcycle just as soon as he has picked up his paycheck??  Everyone hates him."  

I pondered a moment.  "But could it be?"

"Does it really matter?" replied the doctor. 

"No," I said.  And then I cried some more.  I had fleeting moments of bringing shame and disgrace on my family.  They were super fleeting.   Then I had moments of terror that my child would hate me because it would be fatherless.  Then I remembered being born is better than not having a father.  And then I cried for several more hours because I was so happy and I wanted to be a mother so damned badly and...  826!  

Now it's 9am and I am awake and very sad to think I'll never be a mother or even have a beta or a man in assless pants to unwittingly get me pregnant.  Moral:  dreams are mostly useless, but sometimes they tell you what you really, really want.  

This post is for Ellie and Maggie, who have the guts to do what I could never even think of.  And for me Julie, who has her six week ultrasound today.  

Heartbeat, anyone?  I'll continue smearing my family's unpleasantness all over the internet tomorrow.  


* for those of you unacquainted with the world of reproductive medicine, your beta indicates pregnancy or lack thereof.  A beta of 826 is very, very pregnant.  

Monday, September 29, 2008

Commonly asked questions

a) There was no lawyer involved. They printed the wills off of and filled in their names. I would offer a pdf copy to you all but it would be, um, a bit grotesque? An invasion of their privacy at the very least.

b) my step mother got Total Power Of Attorney from my father when he got sick. And when she got it, she transferred all the assets into HER name.

c) this is then a moral battle, not a financial one. We fight it in the name of our mother, who lived and died for this family.

I regret that my poor judgment has been the undoing of my entire family legacy. How could she ever forgive me?

So there will be no attorneys. Only carefully worded emails and I suspect, finally, a severing of all ties that leaves that vampire of a wife he married not four years ago a millionaire many times over - even while I move into my friend's parents' house who permit this our of pure charity. Something we normally associate with good Christian people. Tonight, they are celebrating Rosh Hoshanah. Say a whatever you say for them. I would be living under a bridge without their generosity.

Is this even interesting?

I got an email back from my step mother stating that her will and my father's are "boilerplate" wills common to married couples and that the entire estate is left to her to be divided among her "five" children upon her death.

The problem she does not address is that such boilerplate wills are common to people in FIRST marriages - where assets have been jointly gained and all children natural children.

Not really an appropriate way to manage your affairs if you were married to one woman for 35 years, had three children with her - and then a second wife entered the arrangement - a penniless one - and was only married to the man who amassed those assets before he ever met her.

The problem now is to point out to her the iniquity of this. She seems not to have noticed it.

Or I could just stick a boilerplate under my ass and feel the full misery inflicted on my brother, sister and me have been invited to sit upon.

No decision has been made as to what our response to this will be. It ain't gonna be pretty, I can tell you.

Read and Rate

Herewith, an email I have composed to my stepmother, who has sent a request via email, the import of which will become clear as you read my drafted response.

My question to you, reader, is whether the response is

A) snappish
B) mean
C) whiny
D) appropriate
E) oh shut up already. You got fucked. Deal with it.

Here is what I intend to say to her:


You said recently that your home had died when my father died. I am sure you realize that the only home I have ever had died with him, too. Everyone else in this family has a spouse – or children - or both. I am the only person left without a soul to call my own. Dad was my home plate, and I am not only without a home, but without a family as well.

My father kept my things and my mother's in storage for me all these years because he dearly hoped that one day my circumstances would change, and that I could provide a proper household in which to keep and use those things that are so precious to our family’s history. That wish never materialized. This fact saddened my dad and it saddens me daily that I am, at this late stage, so unsettled in life.

That is how the matter of the furniture and its upkeep stands and I do not expect anything to change. However, your inquiry about your own responsibility or lack thereof in the matter does give me reason to ask some questions regarding our family.

My brother, sister and I have not been informed as to whether my father made any provision for his natural children – or his grandchild - in his will. Did my father make any provision for Buzz, Chiara, and I in his will?

If he did, it would be a good time for you to let us know what those provisions are. I have hesitated, out of respect for the grief we are experiencing, to ask - because it seemed best to let you take the lead, being the only person with the entirety of the information. So far, you have not said much at all.

Aside from sending me a check recently, (for which I am grateful, truly) you have given me no information about the state of the family finances – or whether my brother, sister and I are in any way entitled to any part of those assets. However, your suggestion that it is time for me to pay my own furniture storage fees leads me to believe that my father intended for you to be unencumbered by this recurring bill after his death – and that none of his money or property had been set aside for me, my brother and my sister.

Is this the case? Some good clear communication of these facts would be most welcome to me, and I am sure my brother and sister (though I do not speak for them) would like the information as well.



Not one of you had the same wish as mine: time. I want the last ten years of my life back, and I want them badly. Or is that bad?

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Break my comment record.

If you could have anything - I mean anything at all, what would it be? A Lincoln Towncar? A brownstone in Gramercy? A carton of Twinkies? A hundred bashful virgins? A cure for cancer? A monument to your greatness?

What would you choose if you could have absolutely anything. Genie in the lamp.. but only one thing.

What would it be?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The serpent beguiled me

The way to my heart... is.... apparently.... green apples. Not the mushy fuji ones but the rock hard, speckled green ones you can only get if you to go the orchard.

Very recently, a man lured me into going on an date with him and he accomplished this by producing an apple of the above description and offering it to me at a moment when I was, well, vulnerable. I wanted the apple. He wanted... me. So we drove all over the city together and some other day when I am feeling less ashamed, I will tell you all we did and all we saw. (Relax. There was no kissing).


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The sweetness of the twisted apple

Once in a while I have days - yesterday was one of them. For the duration of these days I see nothing but beauty. It happens on the train most often: everywhere I look and in every face I see, there is something to notice and whatever the detail, it is always beautiful. I see a child in a stroller and the particular lift of the child's eyebrows or the wonderful perfect roundness of his fingers has me enraptured. Then there are the others. Teenage boys, awkward and too thin and yet something about them - perhaps in the awkward, not yet grown face there is a color unlike any I have ever seen. Or in the haggard, old men, the evidence remains of their own youthful prosperity and they look handsome to me. And don't get me started on the women. Even the most misshapen* and miserable woman has about her the air of a queen.

I seldom have days like this - when everyone and all around me presents an opportunity to be delighted by whatever is best to see. Yesterday was one of them. I loved it.

* 100 points to anyone who knows (without looking it up) what is meant by the apple title.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Standing at the piano

Is that what they call it when you sit around and think about yourself a lot?

I posted recently that I have been trying to figure out what the second half of my life is supposed to be like, and at the time I had some answers. But then something happened that make me realize that ridiculous list of things I want to do are things that I can't just do all at once, simultaneously - and that the list is rather arbitrary. I just don't know. I also realized that my anxiety about the future is complicated by the fact that I am 38. The kind of directionless, strange, unmoored, financially ruined, romantically unattached, career indifference is the stuff that is supposed to trouble people who are, say, 25 or even 30. By 38, peoples lives are supposed to be defined already. I can't even have a proper mid life crisis because all my LOOK AT MY BELLY BUTTON! is about shit that any normal person would have figured out already.

A proper mid-life crisis is supposed to be about trying to change your life - shirking your marital obligations, indulging in wild spending sprees, committing ill-advised wardrobe crimes, glaring.. woefully and with great disappointment at your offspring who turned into exactly the people you hoped they wouldn't - in short more like you than you had hoped.

Instead I have before me... nothing.. Just a whole lot of blankness and lack of any proper instinct as to what should happen next. It's rather like standing at the piano and not knowing how to play. Or if I did, what would be the song?

So if you don't hear from me, blog wise,* for a few days, be assured I am just fine. Alive. Breathing. Eating cheese. It just so happens that short of simply staying alive, I have no idea what to do, and that will often mean that I don't know what to say.

*be assured also that if anything amusing happens - say if I smack anyone in the face with my boob by accident - or trip and fall at the train station and bruise my knees - in short, if I have a story to tell that might amuse anyone, you will have it. Promise.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Not a real post

Those gangsters at Blog 365 are going to arrest me, for sure.

It has been a busy, half conscious few days.

I'll catch you up soon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Uninteresting, certainly

Recently my doctors readjusted my medication. In the upward direction. This is good news because I need less and less of the addictive variety - but the change has the added complication of making me prone to sleep. A lot.

Last night, I went to bed at 10pm and did not awaken until 9am. HM.

At 10am. I fell asleep while reading a book. For teaching purposes - not just for fun. I did not awaken until 2:30pm. And right now, if it not for caffeine, I would be out cold.

Can anyone explain this to me? Well, don't bother. It's the insomnia leaving my person (nothing left to fear, and yet nothing left to hope for) and catch up for all these years I have been a walking psychotic mess.

Or it could be the meds. Or both. Either way, this is what you get from me today: a whole lot of nothing about how very seldom I am conscious these days.

Oh... that and the fact that in the practice of clearing out and packing, I have unearthed several relics of my childhood, things I had thought gone forever. I am thinking to post pictures of them so that you know (as if you didn't) what sort of people my parents were. At any rate, who doesn't love a post including pictures? Of dresses my mother made me when I was 4? And of dolls she made me when I was younger than that? There might be, too, some pictures of quilts: my mother made me several. And of the things my dad left for me? There are some of those, too.



Monday, September 15, 2008

Go ahead. Laugh.

I have been doing a fair amount of housework these days - in part because of the general grossness, but also in preparation for the move. I went down to fetch the mail this afternoon and found everyone - men and women alike - staring at my boobs. I thought nothing of this at the time, since boob gazing is not against the law. When I arrived upstairs with the usual stack of garbagey mail, I discovered the following astonishing fact:

The underwire system of the right side of my bra had come unmoored and was sticking up out of my shirt. Yes indeedy.

Since all my other bras are dirty, this unhappy wardrobe malfunction forces me to do laundry. I'll leave you now to haul my wash down to the machines. Tomorrow, perhaps, I will be well groomed enough not to have my underwear literally impaling my shirt.



Sunday, September 14, 2008

Damnit of the week

David Foster Wallace is gone. If you knew who he was, you know why this is important and a terrible loss.

If you don't know why, read The Broom of the System, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and above all, Infinite Jest. Woodrow, that book is in that box I manage to keep never sending you. Maybe now I will get off my butt and get to it.

Also, head over to Joel's and congratulate him on becoming a grandfather.

But Dave is gone and I am ___________. (Unhappy about it).

Everybody say a prayer or whatever you do. For the baby, but also the lost one. He was the real thing.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dig, if you will

The lack of posting.

Have I been busy? Uh huh.

I am getting ready to move and it's arduous. I also have work and a fair amount of to be expected death of father crying to do. I am not complaining. It's normal and in the department of tears, I have a balance fairly large to pay. So I pay some every day. OW.

Today, out of nowhere, someone leaned out of a cab and screamed "FUCK YOU" at me. I did not recognize him. Perhaps he thought I was someone else?

Knitting season is upon us. Who wants mittens?



Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Blogroll

What the hell is wrong with me?

I need to update my blogroll. Please comment if you would like you are not included and would like to be. I read a lot of blogs that I am not linking to, as I should be.

Give me a shout if you are not properly represented.




I spent about 18 hours total working at my primary job, only to have a student drive me to the airport while I (no kidding) slept in the car on the way. How rude is that? WOW.


I am home and I have another long work day ahead of me tomorrow. My apartment is still filthy, my ass is still too big for my pants and I am still broke. Not much changes around here, you see.

Except this: I have that nagging feeling like i am forgetting something really important. Like something needs doing and I am oblivious. Is it that I didn't post yesterday?

Maybe it's because it's September 11th and I am supposed to be having rememberings and such.

I remember, but I won't tell "My September 11th story" because I am sure other people have better ones. One day, though, I might tell you about the one and only person I knew who died that day and what his death meant to me. Just not today.

What am I forgetting? Darn it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The general unpleasantness

I got to the airport at 10:30 for a 12:00 flight. Upon arriving, I was alerted by the kiosk that the flight I needed to board to have any hope of attending my meeting on time was canceled due to lightning. Up in the sky. Like up where you can't see it because it is so high up there. The problem, of course, is that the lightning is banging around in the general area we prefer to fly our airplanes. So I called my boss and had the same conversation we had two weeks ago when this happened - meaning when I was supposed to be at my job and wasn't because of a canceled flight. It went ok, I guess. Considering how very inaccessible I now look to my students - all because I live in NY. (This is not good). I find that I will have to wait here, in LGA, until 7:34pm. when the flight is supposedly going to go up in the sky. If it doesn't, Jesus, Mary and the carpenter help me. (Side note: do NOT - while in an airport - unexpectedly have issues related to the lower region of your person unexpectedly needing to do what it does once a month. I DARE you to find a merchant who sells any remedy for your parts and situation. You will fail and you will be grateful indeed that you are not visibly compromised. The end).


Saw this quiz over at Mrs. Who's place, and I fell for it. It was fun. You should take it, too.

Your result for Reincarnation Placement Exam...

Garden of Eden

34% Intrigue, 34% Civilization, 47% Humanity, 42% Urbanization.

It's the Garden of Eden for you!

Well, this is about as cozy and simple as life can get. We hope you like it here. The real estate is not well developed, but the garden is top-flight.

Your answers indicate that you basically want to just coast through life. You don't want any trouble, and you don't want any special privileges either. That's fine with us. It's entirely possible to live a pleasant life without trouble or strife, and Eden is the perfect spot for it, as long as you don't... well...

Just try to behave better than the previous tenants. Evictions can be rough.

Take Reincarnation Placement Exam at HelloQuizzy

Monday, September 8, 2008

River walk

It's funny what a walk down to the river will do for you. (Or in this case, me). I did a lot of thinking. About everything. Where I am and where I am going, what's going to happen and what I want the second half of my life to be like. These reflections brought, as they commonly do, good news and some bad, too.

The excellent news is that I know what I want. More on that later.

The less than ideal news is that due to my recent reflections on what the first half of my life have been like, I have had to face some distressing facts about what I have been been calling mytragic, unfair, almost mythologically terrible life. The facts are the my life has not been tragic or unfair and I realize too that mythologizing my... wait for it... pain (*sob, sob) is... wait for it... selfish and immature.

What the fuck? Seriously.

I got born in the richest country in the world to parents who loved me. I got born white* and with the exception of some early life kidney issues, healthy. My parents are no longer here because of cancer and its special brand of terrorism, but so what? What grounds have I got to even complain about that? Orphaned at 38. Bah. What a crock. Being disinherited? Well, so what. I could also have been born to people who had no money at all and I could have been raised in the kind of house where no one aspires to anything more than drinking PBR and moving up the ladder at Wal-Mart. I could have been born, in other words, to people who didn't steer me right. But I wasn't. I had great parents. They died. It sucks, but heart attacks and car accidents and freak accidents on roller coasters happen, too. So again, so.... WHAT?

I also got born into an extended family of honorable, decent people. I might be parentless, but I have my aunts and uncles and my brother and his wife and nephew. I have more friends than I deserve.

And then there is the fact that I wasn't born stupid or ugly. True, I am not as smart as either of my parents were - and like anyone else, I am rarely the smartest person in the room. But I am not exactly running a second rate brain, either. As as far as being not ugly - I didn't say I was beautiful. But I am standard issue blond Irish-American and as long as I don't let myself get too fat and I don't run my mouth life a sailor, other people assess me as pretty enough.

I have an education, too. And a master's degree. And I have a good job that doesn't keep me up all hours of the night tossing and turning about my place in the world. I know very well what it is: I am a teacher. I teach. It was not only what I do; it is what I am. 99% of the rest of the world does something they hate for money to pay bills they would rather never have incurred because life... even in the richest country in the world... is hard.

And then if you look at my romantic ungoodness, well. What the fuck ever. I dated some nice men. I dated some bad ones, too. I just never got married. Big deal. If you consider the.... emotional attention that needs get paid to family issues when people have cancer, it's hardly surprising. My mom was diagnosed when I was 16 and she died when I was 25. My dad - you already know about. It's arguable that there was time in between for me to find someone and blah blah blah - and believe me, I tried. But from where I am sitting right now, I can see a certain divine wisdom in keeping me on my own. Those between years were spent getting an education and changing careers and adjusting to life in New York - and there were boyfriends, yes. But none of them was the right one. What? Was I supposed to drug some poor fool and drag him off to Vegas? Plus, I know a thing or two about myself and commitment. I don't commit well, mostly because I take commitments so damned seriously. It's no wonder that the marriage and kids thing didn't happen for me. When was the timing right? When did the right guy appear? Never and never.

My money problems suck, but they are not my fault. I worked and worked worked. I got rooked in nine different ways. But who doesn't have money troubles? Big f-ing deal.

So I sat there at the river and faced the facts: my life hasn't sucked. It has been more good than it has bad. What has sucked is my immature sense of entitlement to something different, something better, something else. Well, Jesus Christ on a cracker. WHAT?

So now i return to what I want the second half of my life to be life. Since you are surely entitled to sainthood after reading this post about, oh, ME, and my issues (self-centered, much, Nina?) I'll list what I think I want in round two in list form.

1) I want to run again. Little known fact: I used to marathon. I was never fast, but I was good at it and I am convinced it would produce something akin to joy if I were able to find a jog bra that fit and start doing it again.

2) I want to write. Blog, fine. But I need to write other things. I am thinking of writing books. More on this later when it is clearer to me what those might be about..

3) I want to out-climb that hyper-ambitious ceiling swinging climbing Goddess known as Sri. The itty tiny little competitive streak in me? It popped up and said "Hi" to me as I sat at the river. I want to climb and I want to do it really well.

4) I want to untie all the knots in my head and get myself in a psychological position to date again. Not because I want to have kids - that ship has sailed. But recent reflections (see above) lead me to believe that all my NO MEN EVER AGAIN policy is both unrealistic and the greatest manifestation of all that I am behaving - with regard to my past - like a spoiled child. What good is proving to the world that I can in fact ignore the whole business of dating? The only person with anyone to lose or gain is me. And I'd be losing for trying. So I have to stop trying - that is start trying not to look at every dating opportunity as a personal invitation into the mouth of hell. It might be, but if I am ever going to get my psychological outfit into a healthier arrangement, I might need to start looking at men as something other than a guarantee of full-on misery. I don't know if I will make any progress in this area, but try I must.

5) Smile more. Do my job with a little more verve than has been my habit for the last 8 years. And more than that, do no harm. Pain, suffering, misery of all kind is out there everywhere. I don't want to contribute to it at any point, for any reason, for anyone.

So, uh, that was my day.

How was yours?

* I ain't bein' racist. If you want to act like life isn't easier for white people, fine, but I think we all know that it is. At any rate, I'll take the pale, flat and uninteresting skin, SPF 40 notwithstanding.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Radio silence maintained because I am not feeling all that great. I would describe the symptoms, but you'd be grossed out - and regardless of said symptoms, certain things have to get done today, and so I must now go do them. If I find anything interesting to photograph on my way there and back, I'll share it with you.

*click *

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Teaching and my ass

I know I complain a lot, but I really like my job. Writing, teaching people to write, editing, cutting, pasting, I like it.

Oh and as far as coping goes... I had ice cream cake for dinner last night.

And I swear to Gah my ass is bigger today as a result.

* crunch crunch *



Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Those girls

Went out to dinner with my girlfriends (the Africa trip ones) and wouldn't you know... the whole conversation was about what to climb next. Consensus is either Mt. McKinley (waaaa... tough one, but one of the 7 summits) or Mt. Fuji (easier but more exotic).

I am also hearing some mumbling about Everest base camp. Not - mind you - climbing Everest - just climbing to the bottom of it through Nepal. Doing that much is considered a feat all in itself. If I know Sri, soon that mumble will turn into a full on go for it statement.

What is wrong with us? What kind of hobby is this??

Anyway, in two weeks, we are going to a climbing clinic in the Gunks.

My point is... I need to get back in shape and start living like a normal person again. I really do. So if this blog turns into a daily report of all the sweating and crunching I am doing, please humor me. I have gotten fat and filmy in the last two years and since all my parents are gone and no one I know is currently having a major disease, sitting on my ass eating Cheetos and drinking Diet Coke is now inexcusable.

Crunch, crunch.

(Assume that sound is me doing sit ups and not the sound of me eating Doritos). (But also assume that could be a lie. This is the internet, after all).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Made you look

At a whole lot of nothing, right?

Truth is I have been asleep. For about three days. Suddenly the insomnia of the last few years decided it would move on to other victims. I am now a narcoleptic, fuzzy, futon dweller. Ever sleep for 16 hours straight? I did that one day this weekend. I just did it again last night.

Oh look! I need a nap!

I'll see you tomorrow (unless I am unconscious).



Saturday, August 30, 2008

Should have known

You Are a Cashew

You are laid back, friendly, and easy going.

Compared to most people, you have a very mild temperament.

You blend in well. You're often the last person to get noticed.

But whenever you're gone, people seem to notice right away!

Got this where I get many good things: Lisa's place.

Friday, August 29, 2008

So I am a hooker, now, too?

When I have to be up and out of the house at 7:15am (Uncivilized, I tell you. You'd think I worked in a factory in a Dickensian novel), I sleep, but the restorative nocturnal enterprise is compromised by my fear that I will sleep through my class. I am therefore capable of being unconscious and nervous at the same time, and the result is that I awaken about three hours before I am required to do anything or be anything to anyone.

(I am getting to the hooker part. Please be patient).

I started my day at 4am with a fifteen minute interval of self pity, but I am pleased to report that I did not cry and a few times, I even smiled into my pillow because whatever else you might say about this day, it's an easy one, teaching wise. All I have to do is show up and crack a few jokes. At 5am, I gave up on going back to sleep and went to a certain coffee and donut establishment to get on with the coffee and poor breakfast choice part of my day. (Donut).

(Now to the hooker part).

On my way, a man in a livery car stopped at the side of the road and said the following extraordinary thing:

"I'll take you anywhere you want to go for a blow job."

I pretended I did not hear him.

"Anywhere! Really!"

(As if I might request a ride all the way to Kansas in exchange for a few minutes of inappropriate sexual contact with a drunken gypsy cab driver. Jesus. H. Particular. Christ).

Still, I did not answer.

"Where are you going?" said he.

"Coffee shop," I said.

"Meet me later?" he pleaded.

And here is the part of the story where I start laughing right there in the middle of 2nd Avenue because - let's face it: when it's 5am, and one is in one's pajamas and flip flops, carrying nothing but a ten dollar bill, perhaps it is just possible that one might look as if one just might be a hooker.

Or no?

What do you think?

Either way, i took this picture when I got home. Morning over the United Nations.

I wish you all a fine and happy day during which no offers you to make you any such offers as the one described above. (Hint: get dressed before you leave the house and at least bring a handbag).



Thursday, August 28, 2008


The ubiquitous 100 things post. The first ten are here. The second ten, aqui. Here are ten more items for it.

31) I eschew adverbs. You can (usually) find a verb that builds the adverb in so that no "ly" word is necessary. Case in point: "The police officer drove quickly to the scene." How about "The police office sped to the scene." ??

32) Someone left a comment on my blog last night calling me cold and heartless. That's right.... someone stumbled onto my blog in the middle of the night, read one post and decided that I am "cold". Jiggity jig.

33) My shoe size: 7.5

34) I lost my virginity when I was 21. You tell me: is that late, or early?

35) I lost my virginity for the dumbest reason EVER. Ready for this? (I wasn't). The reason was that I did not know anyone else who was still a virgin and I felt like a weirdo. Plus I had a nice boyfriend, so I figured I'd get it over with.

36) "Other" school starts tomorrow. I work from 8:15 - 7:20. OW.

37) I don't wear make up unless I have a real and verifiable excellent reason to do so. I love the stuff and all its girliness, but I but my face is my face. Take it or leave it. (Unless I want to bat some smokey black eyelashes at you. Then you get make up).

38) I love thunderstorms. Unless they are thundernados. I do not like those.

39) I might be going to Costa Rica for Christmas. Why the heck not? I have a credit with the company I was supposed to go to Africa with, and there is no one left to die. What could possibly go wrong? (insert ominous music here).

40) Increased doses of Lexapro make people (me) incredibly tired.

Real post tomorrow.



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Panic Hire U Strikes again

I just agreed to do something that I would never, ever do again. Ever.

I agreed to teach an 8:15am class all the way across town for the people whose paperwork is so sloppy that they can barely manage to pay me until half way through the semester. Why oh why did I do this?

This is a personal failing I have had since I was old enough to get my work permit. I just can't turn down work. It is the grossest. But what can I do? Someone offers me work, I need the money, I take it.

The bright side, of course, is I'll have work and work means money.

The other bright side is that I am finally off my butt and doing laundry and working and gearing up for a new semester. The sulk is over. Back to work.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I would post the link to this quiz if I thought any intelligent person would endure the onslaught of mandatory marketing blah blah blah you'd have to wade through to get your results.

And you know what? I think the fact that I bothered invalidates the results.

But I'll take a 145 - since I need to think I am smart as compensation for being thick and ordinary.


Color Test. Scares. Me.

Found this over at Lisa's place and uh, the accuracy of it is scary. Can there actually be sometime to this? It doesn't actually says "You've been rooked" --- but pretty close.

ColorQuiz.comNina took the free personality test!

"Seeks the determination and elasticity of will nec..."

Click here to read the rest of the results.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Today, I am taking my laptop up the Yonkers to watch the races. I have never done this before, but I hear it's fun. And it has been a long time since i have been anywhere involving animals. If I were really on my game, I'd go to the Bronx Zoo, but I think I'd get more work done watching the races. I hope the horses enjoy it because it seems like a lot of pressure to put on the feet and ankles and psychiatric outfits of those animals.

Because I am too busy trying to decide what to wear and I haven't had my coffee yet, I will respond to a few comments:

Avitable, Lord, yes, lots of anti-sad meds. They are working. Not all the way, but enough for me to brush and floss.

Rick(y), you know I had to dust the tops of my doors after you said that. Gracias. I had no idea the dust I would find.

Cath, Annie, Jane, Finn, why are you so good to me?

Everyone else, love to you too. I'll be fun again soon and shoot - maybe later I'll come home and post pictures of four legged creatures running around in circles.



Friday, August 22, 2008

Look! Over here!

It's another post about how I am really tired! And not feeling like myself!

Made you look.

Anyway, despite being tired and filmy, I did finally manage to do actual things that needed actual doing. I amazed myself by putting away my gear for the trip I didn't take to Tanzania and I did some thoughtful editing and judicious commenting on a document that needed such attention. I knitted a row or two. I fed Cathead and gave him water, only to have him walk right past it and drink out of the toilet, as he prefers. Then I returned a bunch of emails. Not the really nice one you sent to me - not that one.

Let me just keep talking about that. My inbox runneth over with kind thoughtful emails expressing condolences and dispensing all sorts of good advice and though my momma taught me better, I haven't written you back. Why? Because I am not a very good person. But also because there are so many and if I write back to one person but then put off writing back to some other person, the uneasy feelings of having chosen to answer one email rather than some other email causes me distress. So, uh, my way of avoiding such uneasy feelings is to eat cheese and pretend there are no emails. What are you talking about? What? Huh? Look! Over there! It's.... me... being thick and ordinary and ungracious.

I'll get back to y'all. I will. But by the time I do, you will probably not remember who I am anymore, even though you have this here internet diary to remind yourself.

I have no idea where I am going to be in a year or what I am going to be writing about. Thank you for reading.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chaos weary

I have held down my "whatever" to the extent that I have not been evicted or fired from anything. Yet.

All this reflection is leading me to a better understanding of what I already knew: I am doing okay, sure. But really what I am doing it what I always do: deny, distract, engage in my own special brand of chaos, which I will not describe because you'd be bewildered anyway. Suffice it to say that every day, I wake up with the same set up plans and every day I engage in different plans - plans I had not planned on and that do me no good, not to mention other people. Who does it help, exactly, to bleach my shower curtain when I know full well that I am moving out of here in six weeks? Where is the up-side to a searching a fearless shoe inventory - during which I dispassionately relieve my closet of all but ten essential pairs.

Someone at Salvation Army is going to be out of her mind with barely worn shoe-pleasure. Don't even get me started about the vacuuming. Of the bamboo blinds. That could surely have waited, too.

I did do some actual time-sensitive work today, but only after I disassembled the desk and swept all the crumbs out of the drawer joints.

I get that it's better than passing out in a mouldering pile of my own filthy laundry..., but shit... shouldn't that laundry be done already? Does the zero-underwear moment really need to arrive before I reconnect to what's real and what's right?

Can someone save me from myself? Why cannot I focus on, um, the business of my life? Why?

See if you can answer that while I climb a ladder and dust the crown molding. The rags and vinegar-water are waiting and I... I really think I am going to do it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I swore I'd be a better blog friend to you yesterday. You know now that I did not succeed.

Let me tell you what I succeeded in doing yesterday:

a) sleeping
b) eating a pint of ice cream and an order of french fries
c)) talking to my uncle about how "super" we are - now worries here! Really!
d) smoking a cigarette
e) falling asleep in a pile of laundry on the floor - not to awaken for 9 hours

Not to alarm you, but I guess it's time to let the bravado go and face facts: this sucks. Am I am okay? Sure I am. What choice do I have? But if you someone gave me that game to play right now - the one where you can trade problems with someone else? The one where everyone (supposedly) owns up to really liking his or her problems more than anyone else's in the whole world?

Not me. I'd trade any of you. (Except maybe Adam, who will never believe me when I say that i have been working on it (really!) despite no evidence to the contrary.

See you all tomorrow.

Monday, August 18, 2008

First day of school

It was, um, busy. I'll write about it tomorrow. For now, how about another picture I took while leaning out my window?

I will be a better blogger tomorrow. Pinky swear.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A new record

Seeing as I am so enamored of Mike Phelps (as if the whole world, lately) I thought I would go for a record of my own.

I stayed up until 6am playing games on my iPhone.

There were moments when it was really hard. Around dawn, when Cathead started his usually serenade of the new day, I threw a ball of Peruvian yarn at him and went on with my plan to drain my phone's battery and achieve a personal best at being nocturnal and filmy.

I succeeded. I went to sleep at 6am, drug free.

And I slept until right about twenty minutes ago.

You tell me: what is your personal best for not sleeping for no reason?

Do I even get a Gold medal? Has any one of you bested me?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Love for P

Princess of internet excellent P requested that in exchange for her recent donation to the Nina is orphaned, disinherited and chronically under clouds of bad fortune fund that I write a haiku for the children of Afghanistan. I embraced this challenge with vigor, but found myself struggling with syllable related difficulties. So I composed three.

Afghan children of God
Mittens I would make
Bright colors for you

Smalls of war torn land
Hot sun and terrible noise
Still - be not afraid

Americans love
cheese - do your people make it?
Afghan kids - try it.

Your turn.

In comments, compose a haiku, or tell me which one of my poor attempts pleases* you most.

*Appreciating Lisa and Ingrid and a few other people, initial KP and LW. Do you folks have blogs? If you do, clue me in.