Monday, April 30, 2007

I am defeat

When it knows it
Can now do nothing
By suffering...

-W.H. Auden from "Hymn to St. Cecilia"
The Frenchie told me the other day that I reminded him of one of those birds who mutilate themselves by pulling their feathers out.

Great point, though it sounded much more tragic and romantic in French.
Three Things for Consideration Today:

(1) Zero Gravity

When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ball-point pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat this problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion developing a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside-down, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to over 300 C. The Russians used a pencil. Your taxes are due again--enjoy paying them.

(2) Our Constitution

"They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, and it's worked for over 200 years. And, we're not using it anymore."

(3) Ten Commandments

The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a Courthouse is that you cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment which the Federal Government doesn't permit.

(snort...thanks Aimee!)
On looking back over the past year, I can say that things have improved somewhat. There's still a lot that needs fixing, but I think I might be able to do it. Not immediately, but eventually.


Find a new job: Never easy for anybody, I know. This place is kicking the crap out of me both financially and self-worth-wise, however.

Get back down to my fighting weight: I'm at the second highest I've ever been: 184. My general practitioner tells me I need to lose 40-45 lbs. I don't feel comfortable with that, though, as the last time I was in that weight range, I was in elementary school. Fighting weight for me is fitting into the gorgeous black interview pantsuit I wore to get this damn job: a size 12. I'm a size 16 now.

Get the paperwork together (and the counseling) to continue schooling: As I may or may not have mentioned before, my undergraduate major was French Literature (with a minor specialty in Music History). I currently work as the red-headed stepchild of my company's IT and Finance departments. Interestingly enough, the work isn't unpleasant at all. Just unchallenging and unchanged since about 2002.

Some options I've been thinking of: move further along with literature (a love, but not very practical); find a way to mix writing (hopefully translating), IT and Finance/accounting; dump all this for something else (what, though?).

Immediate goals are to finish this up (three courses under my belt before I crashed and burned) and to prepare to take the TEF (Test d'évaluation du Français) (hopefully by next Spring at the latest). Beyond that, well, I don't know.

Find a new place to live: Found the house at about the same time I got the job and the now-ex boyfriend. I'm no longer with the boyfriend (we broke up a year ago), and I'm laying the groundwork for new work. I've not been happy in the current house for perhaps 2-3 years now.

If I get even most of this accomplished, I'll be pretty pleased. All of it? Downright amazed. We'll see.
Two policewomen raped near the same police station in six weeks?

Kind of odd that; especially since it appears as though there've been quite a few problems with police mistreatment of women (among other things) in this area.

Is it tit for tat in a violent part of town, someone covering up for a coworker's delits, or something else? The French Police don't have the best of reputations for moderacy (or honesty, for that matter) so I can't help but wonder.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Yup, it was one of those days today.

Definitely one of those days.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Compliment to a friend this past Christmas for her gift of homemade biscotti:

"I ate 1/2 of what you gave me when I got home. Knowing what you went through to make them, I didn't throw them up."

She's a shrink and she knows how effed-up I am, so she appreciated the effort.
A coworker of mine called me on my 'issue' a while back.

One afternoon, I was going up and she was going down the stairway and we got to chatting a bit. Nothing major, just general pleasantries. All of a sudden, she took my hands in hers, started examining the fingers/nails and said quite decisively, "you're bulimic, aren't you."

Flustered, I blurted out, "why'd you say that?"

She blushed, apologized, then said that she was, and that she noticed the ridges and spots on my fingernails. (I used to paint my nails to hide it but gardening, typing and piano-playing rendered maintenance too high.) She showed me her nails (almost totally bitten down, but spotty) and said that it was a constant struggle for her. Also told me that she'd had to have all her teeth capped, too, because of this.
Three phases of blood sugar meltdown in a girl who has a slow metabolism, is hypoglycemic and who also dissociates as soon as she feels something wrong with her:

1.) Stupidity

2.) Belligerence

3.) Dead Faint

Back in undergrad (eons ago), I had a problem with fainting fits: I'd get really abusive and incoherent, then I'd pass out. I didn't figure out until a fair bit later that, since I was working too hard (full courseload plus two jobs) and not feeding myself properly (a combination of poverty and unwillingness to take the time out to eat) that I was starving myself. The upside to all this was that, my Freshman Nine (and then some) was a net loss.

Straight anorexia hurting too much, I started "manger comme quatre" and making myself throw up afterwards. My GI is a mess, but my teeth are still okay (¡ojala!).
Poetry Month's efforts have been sort of limping along. Enjoy the bits that are there. Requests are always welcome, too.
Really late this year.

I did get the peas, the radishes, the kale and some salad greens planted this morning. Some seedlings I started back in March (unknown squash - found the seeds in a drawer in the kitchen - and sage) are sitting in the sun right now, hardening away.

Maybe I'll start the tomatoes, too.

I'm very, very tired. The sun, the fresh air and the cold, wet dirt felt good, though.
On the other hand, "local color" ain't always what it's cracked up to be. Normally, when my friend's here, he and I like to go to Legal for oysters and their lovely tuna sashimi entrée. This, a bottle of dry white and maybe a split dessert (he loves the fake Boston cream pie) is pretty reasonable and always makes us happy.

Unfortunately, we got downtown during the dinner hour, so everywhere had a minimum wait of an hour. Second Choice (East Coast in Inman) was a long, long ride away, and I started feeling Phase One of going beyond hungry. Union Oyster House was around the corner, so we ended up going there.

We learned some important lessons that evening:

1.) You can Never Go Home: The Frenchie had some wonderful memories of the oyster bar. He was a bit horrified to see how thronged the place was, and how they churned people out of there. We also were pretty disgusted with the waitress who, for some reason, seemed absolutely pissed off that we wanted wine with our meal. Note to the young woman who "served" us that night: you might actually get a tip if you *don't* sigh, roll your eyes and spew irritatedly: "White wine? We have everything. What do you want? Riesling? Pinot Grigio? Chardonnay?" then plunk our order down in front of us afterwards, spilling a fair bit in the process.

2.) Just because someone says that something is their specialty, it doesn't mean that they're competent in that area: we got the extortionately priced raw sampler ($12.00 for two oysters, two littlenecks, two shrimps) and were a bit disappointed to see how anemic the oysters were. I ended up eating one shrimp, one littleneck, and telling the Frenchie to take the two oysters and make one out of them.

Our mussels marinière certainly wasn't worth what they charged, either: $12.00 for a half-sized (by French and even Rockport standards) portion of overcooked shellfish, with more than a couple closed shells in each bowl. Also: could they have spared the garlic bread? Sheesh.

The average price of a lobster was $35.00 that day, otherwise we would have gotten that.

3.) And this one is more for me: The French do tip, but they have certain rules about it - namely, you only tip if you plan on coming back. You don't tip if you don't plan on coming back. It's harsh, but it makes sense. We could have handled the bad food and extortionate prices ($7/glass for a thimbleful of Sauvignon Blanc?), but the waitress was so bitchy and the place so not clean that, for the first time in my life, I didn't leave a tip. Boy, did it feel good. When the Frenchie went to complain about the price of the wine, too, management started making a production of it, so, I did the mediating female thing and just said, "allons maintenant, il ne vaut pas le coup." (Let's just get out of here, we've wasted enough time.)

In all, this was a good experience for us: the Frenchie put aside his romanticized remembrances of this place (he met some interesting people there: once, a couple from Austin, TX on their honeymoon, and another time, a couple who wanted him to join them in a threesome) in order to make some new memories. And me, well, I was able to put aside the traumatic memory of my mother getting us all kicked out of the place back in the late 80s.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Let's see: American chains exemplify the scourge of globalization, whereas non-American chains "create buzz." Okay.

I'm sure that Wagamama isn't bad, but for this sort of stuff, I'd rather stay local. The decor in the Faneuil Hall one kind of turned me off, too. (Too much glass and black lacquer.)
"Linguistic polyglot?"

...Ethereal heavens! Who but an intellectual polymath could write such a pleonastic redundancy!



I like the part where she talks about the country being ready for its first multilingual president (like Adams and Jefferson didn't know their Latin, Greek...French).

The French are lucky (actually...not really) in that their little Punch and Judy routine will be over in another week. What have we got? A year and a half? Good heavens, an eternity. I long for the release that death will bring.