20 October 2009

Have we met?

Dedicated readers of this blog might be under the impression that I am frequently asked out by complete strangers, particularly on public transit.

Please let me assure you that this is by no means the case.

(on a unrelated note: Hi Dad, welcome to my blog!)

There was one incident recently, however, that I think you all might appreciate:

I went out in Beacon Hill with some friends a few weeks ago and happened to run into an old coworker. I'm pretty awful about keeping in touch, but I was genuinely happy to see her, and feared it would be rude not to say hello.

We had only just begun exchanging pleasantries when someone interjected, "Aren't you going to introduce me?"

My former coworker looked a little taken aback, but proceeded to introduce me to this guy, let's call him Dave, whom I naturally assumed to be her boyfriend, or at least her date that evening.

After learning some bizarre facts about Dave (if he wins the lottery, he plans to pay off all of his friends' college loans), my coworker abruptly excused herself, saying she needed to catch up with her friends.

I turned back to my friends, assuming that:
a) this Dave character would leave with his date
b) my friends were still there

Neither of those things were true.

Suddenly, the pieces fell into place.

Having failed to make a positive impression on my old coworker, Dave had moved on to me. My attempt to reconnect with a colleague had just been crashed by Some Guy at a Bar.

There was a bit of forced small talk while I attempted to strike a balance between "polite" and "very much looking forward to going back to sit with my friends".

It is surprisingly hard to find middle ground between those two extremes.

Then, apropos of nothing, Dave announced:
"You're pretty awkward, aren't you?"
You have no idea.

19 October 2009

Cherry blossoms are always in season

I've been getting a little bit of flack for the length of my posts lately, so, I'm sorry if this blog has been a great burden on your literacy and attention span.

(See what I did there? Yeah, I pulled a Pepsi.)

But, to show that I can take a little constructive criticism, (and because I was already going to do this anyway), let's try something a bit different this time around.

As I mentioned a few posts back, my friend Outi J. was kind enough to help me put the decal I bought for my living room. It was a process.

We began with a blank canvas:

Cut once, measure twice, right? We moved this around a couple of times before getting started:

We have lift-off! This seemed a lot more exciting before we had done any of the branches:

It's a good thing real trees don't actually grow like this. Also, note the yellow squeegees.:

More branches! Getting them to line up was a challenge:

Done! This picture is horribly blurry, mainly because I lost interest in trying to get the top piece to match up. You can't even tell, can you:

Look! Petals! That I had the privilege of putting on one by one, and then rearranging when I got frustrated by how much it didn't look like the picture on the website. Note that I have taped up said picture at this point, so much rearranging and gnashing of teeth has already happened:

Getting this to look like these petals were actually being blown by the wind was a challenge. One that I had not yet succeeded at:

I took some time off, and spent the next two weekends sticking petals to my wall until I got fed up:

After three weeks, I had something to show for myself:

And to think, I'd been worried about not having enough petals:

18 October 2009

Meeting the neighbors

The joy of having successfully purchased and transported my new furniture was slightly diminished by the realization that I would now have to put it all together, by myself.

Saturday afternoon, I decided to start small and put together the nightstand first.

When that took several hours longer than I had anticipated, I gave up and went to bed.

Thankfully, my friend Tony M. took pity on me the next day and volunteered to help me put together some of the larger pieces.

After several more hours of wooden dowels and instructions without any words, I had a dresser and a TV stand.

It's been about six weeks now, and neither of these have fallen apart yet, so many thanks to Tony for his help.

Having sent Tony on his way, I decided I should begin to unpack. Feeling a little overwhelmed by the number of boxes and all the furniture that still needed to be put together, I decided I'd tackle things in order of importance. First: clothes.

With all the packing leading up to my move, I didn't have a lot of time for other things. Things like laundry. So before I could unpack all of my clothes, I first needed to clean a bunch of them.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may know that cleaning was a big part of my move-in experience.

I refuse to believe that I am the only person who doesn't think the words "broom clean" are intended to be taken literally when they're included in your lease. These words are, essentially, mutually exclusive.

Sweeping your apartment does not make it clean.

The floors were in desperate need of a good vacuuming, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone: while I was at the laundromat, I would run my Roomba vacuum in the living room.

To make sure Roomba didn't stray from the living room (and run out of battery before anything actually got cleaned), I shut the door to the bedroom, and the door between the living room and the kitchen before leaving to do my laundry.

I arrived at the laundromat to find that the least expensive washers were $5 a piece. They were also pretty small, so there was no way I'd be able to fit everything in one load. That seemed pretty high to me, but, I didn't have a lot of options. I got a little plastic card (the only way to pay for the washers) for $3, and then added some money so I could actually clean my clothes.

As I waited for the washer to work it's magic, I marveled at the number of people showing up and doing their laundry on a Sunday night.

There were way more than I had ever seen at my last laundromat. Didn't they know they were getting ripped off? If they drove just two more miles, they'd be able to do their laundry for half the price and have free wifi. This place was ridiculously overpriced and I couldn't even watch Hulu or write up a blog post for you guys.

Clearly, I was in a mood. When I moved my clothes from the washer to the dryer, however, all became clear.

The dryers are free.

I have since realized that the words "Free Dryers!" are plastered all over the outside of the building, but I'd somehow missed all of that.

After what seemed like ages and ages of folding, I returned to the apartment. It was now just after 9PM and I was eager to begin unpacking so I could go to sleep.

I opened the front door of my apartment (this opens directly into my kitchen) and smiled a bit. Here I was, in my new apartment, every article of clothing I owned was now clean. It was going to be a good week.

I turned the doorknob of the door into the living room, looking forward to finally having a clean floor.

Only, the knob wouldn't turn.

Dumbfounded, I tried harder. Perhaps it was just a little stuck?

No. No, it wasn't stuck, it was locked.

That's when I discovered that, bizarrely, each of the interior doors in my apartment has a doorknob that actually locks. Not just little pop-button locks that you can unlock if you have one of those long pin things. No, actual locks that require keys.

Keys! Brilliant. I had keys, keys that had let me in the front door. Surely these keys would all work for the interior doors as well.

Surely my landlord would not have let me move into this apartment without a full set of keys!

The key to the front door slid into the lock, but it wouldn't budge.

I began to panic. It was my second day in my new apartment and I had managed to lock myself out of every room but the kitchen.

I went back into the hallway. The rooms in my apartment were not always connected, so when you walk into my house, there are doors leading off the hallway that open into the bedroom, the bathroom, and the kitchen, respectively.

This was helpful during the move in process, but in the interest of space, I decided to place my bed up against the wall with the door into the hallway, effectively blocking the door.

Still, I knew my keys worked in the bedroom door, perhaps I could open it enough to squirm through - then I'd be able to open the other doors on the other side.

Of course, I'd forgotten that all these doors that open into the hallway have deadbolts. Naturally, I'd bolted them all the first night I moved in, never thinking that I might need to break in to my own apartment. Silly me.

Things were getting desperate now. I tried all of my keys in the bathroom door, but none of them fit.

I ran back into the kitchen and stared at the door.

I remembered a story my parents told us about when we were kids.

We were traveling and either my sister or I had locked ourselves in to the hotel bathroom (I can't remember which one of us this story is about, but I fully admit that it sounds like something I would do).

My parents couldn't get whoever it was to unlock the door, and they, naturally, began to panic. My father called the front desk, explained that he had a three year old who'd locked herself in the bathroom and they assured him that they would "send someone up".

Some period of time passed, but no one from the hotel had arrived. My father decided this constituted an emergency situation, got out his Swiss Army knife, and took the door off at the hinges.

My sister and I are both alive and well, so clearly, whichever daughter was responsible survived the experience. The hotel was a bit mad about the door, I think, but my father convinced them they ought to respond a little faster next time.

I didn't have a Swiss Army knife. In fact, all of the knives I had were made of plastic, but I could probably find, or buy, something to help me take the door off its hinges.

Then I realized the hinges were on the other side of the door.

I was officially out of ideas. There was nothing left to do but go upstairs, introduce myself to the woman who is somehow related to my landlord, and ask her if she had a key.

I knocked on her door and waited. No response. I knocked again and explained, as best I could, who I was and what I was doing there.

She opened the door, her four year old son by her side.

Great, I was locked out of my apartment at 9.30 on a Sunday night, and now I'd woken up a four year old in the process.

I explained, "I'm Marie, I just moved in downstairs, and I'm locked out. Sort of. I can get into the kitchen, but I shut the door between the kitchen to the living room and I didn't realize it was locked, but it is, and now I can't get in to the rest of my apartment."

That's kind of a lot to throw at someone, especially when they don't really speak your language.

"I'm sorry, I don't understand. I will call my sister, you talk to her."

She dialed, spoke something in Mandarin, and handed the phone to me.

Turns out, her sister is the person who occasionally answers the phone when I call my landlord. Near as I can tell, the woman on the phone is probably my landlord's wife, making the woman who lives upstairs from me his sister-in-law.

But really, I have no idea.

I explained the situation again, growing more and more concerned that this evening was going to end with me sleeping on my kitchen floor.

"Ok, put my sister back on the phone."

"Ok"? Was there a plan now? Was there something to be done? Or was she just going to relay the information to her sister?

They talked for a bit more, and the sister walked down the hallway and unlocked one of the doors. She looked around for something, and then emerged with a small box full of keys.

We're talking at least 50 keys here. Maybe more.

I was delighted. It would be a daunting task, testing each of these keys, but surely one of them would fit.

I moved forward to take the box off her hands, but she had a different plan.

She and her four year old son came downstairs, with the keys, and proceeded to test each of them in the door while I hovered off to the side.

To my dismay, she seemed to be pointing the keys at the lock upside-down and then rejecting them out of hand when they didn't fit. Each time, as she was about to discard the key, I would flip it over and ask her to try it again.

We repeated this process about 20 or 25 times. I was starting to feel sick and beginning to wonder if I would need to call a locksmith. Or if locksmiths even worked this late on Sunday evenings.

I heard a noise, and the door shoved open.

I just about melted onto the floor with relief. Then, I may or may not have jumped up and down, screaming.

My landlord's sister-in-law handed me the key, clearly puzzled by my behavior, and my desire to be let in to a room that didn't even have anything in it. She and her son went back upstairs, and I brought my laundry through the living room.

I approached the bedroom door and had a moment of panic, was this one locked too?

Thankfully, the door opened with ease.

Of course, at this point, I was way too keyed up to think about sleeping. So, I proceeded to unpack my clothes, and compulsively organize my sock drawer until midnight.

Turns out it was actually a pretty good week, too.

06 October 2009

Moving Day

(For what it's worth, I actually drafted this post on August 31st...)

As many of you are probably aware, I recently moved to a new apartment. I could use that (and a few busy weeks at work) to explain why I left you completely without blog posts for the last 30 45? days, but I think we should move past excuses and look to the future.

The upside of moving, it turns out, is that it created many blog-worthy memories that I will do my best to regale you with.

Before we dive into those, however, I'd like to thank a few people who were incredibly generous with their time and upper body strength:
  • Dan V.: has helped me move everything I own twice in the past two years. I don't know if this qualifies a person for sainthood, but it probably ought to.
  • Katy E. and Dan P.: helped me move the day after they got engaged. And they brought me flowers!
  • Darius K.: met me at IKEA with his own car, just in case all the furniture I had to buy wouldn't fit in the back of my Toyota Tacoma. Not only did he put up with me at IKEA, he also put up with me on the drive back from IKEA. That he even had to put up with me on the drive back from IKEA, given that we were in separate cars, should say a lot. But more on that later.
  • Tony M.: voluntarily helped me put together not one, but two pieces of IKEA furniture after I had a melt down and cried during brunch. Brunch! My favorite meal of the day.
  • Emily G. and Outi J.: came over on a Friday night and helped me put together more IKEA furniture. Then we ate Chinese take-out while sitting on my floor because we didn't get the chairs put together by the time the delivery guy showed up. Outi gets mad props because she came over a few weeks later and helped me put a decal of a tree up on my wall. Again, more on that later.
Last, but certainly not least, I have to thank my mom. She drove up and back from Virginia in a 36 hour period, brought me a bunch of amazing stuff, put up with me when I was a brat (this, for 24+ years, not just those 36 hours) and made my empty new apartment feel like an actual home in about a million ways, small and large.

So, on with the show!

I was apprehensive about the move, because one always seems to have more stuff than anticipated. Turns out the real issue was actually that I didn't have very much stuff at all.

Here is a general summary of what I had to move:
  • a bed
  • a chair
  • clothes (many)
  • a teeny tiny bookcase
  • a smattering of books (truly, an embarrassingly small number of books, particularly for an English major)
  • miscellaneous cook and bake ware
And here is a brief list of things I did not have:
  • everything else
Needless to say, I had some shopping to do. Like any good 20-something in the city, I knew I could get almost everything I needed from one of two places: IKEA, or mom and dad's basement.

Knowing that I would need to make an IKEA run, I asked Dan V. to book our Ziptruck from Friday evening to Saturday evening.

Moving is probably not the most exciting way I've spent a Friday night, but I can assure you it isn't the least exciting way I've spent one either. With all the great help, my stuff made the migration in under 3 hours and by midnight, I was happily scrubbing cat hair out of my shower.

I foolishly set up my cable & internet install for Saturday, unwittingly boxing myself into a bit of a tight schedule for the next day. I needed to get to IKEA, get my furniture, get back from IKEA, unload the furniture, drop off the pickup truck a few miles away, and be back at my apartment by 2pm on the off chance that the Comcast guy showed up at the early end of the range they'd given me (2 to 5PM).

Since IKEA opens at 10AM, I figured I'd need to be in an out in two hours.

If you've never been to an IKEA, that probably seems reasonable. If you have, you know that they could have filmed Terminal at one of those stores and it would have seemed just as plausible.

I should probably mention that the weekend I moved (just before September 1st, the busiest move-in day here in Boston) was also the weekend that New England received a surprise visit from Tropical Depression Danny. I say "surprise" because, even though we knew it was coming by Thursday, it's generally not normal for hurricanes and tropical storms to hit Boston.

Friday night, the rain was fairly mild. It was really more of a mist.

Saturday, however, the rain came down in earnest.

So, off to IKEA I went. Rainboots, raincoat, and tarp in tow.

I was, in retrospect, incredibly well prepared and with Darius's help and superior cart-steering abilities, we were in and out well within the necessary time frame.

Darius, with his engineering degree, seemed like exactly the type of person you would want to have with you when you need to secure a bunch of flat packed, particle board furniture under a tarp, in the back of a pickup truck.

Turns out, however, that few things can really prepare a person for dealing with me when all of the shiny new furniture I've just purchased is protected from the elements by nothing more than a piece of plastic and some rope. Maybe you have to go to graduate school for that sort of thing.

After two and a half attempts at securing the tarp, we left the safety of the IKEA parking structure and headed out into the storm.

If you haven't made this trip before, it's a pretty straight shot: two relatively brief trips on major highways, and a bit of time on some local roads.

The thing about highways is that they're great when you're looking to get somewhere quickly.

When you have six pieces of furniture you just spent your paycheck on, however, speed is not actually the top concern. Particularly not when you're driving through the throws of Tropical Depression Danny.

A few minutes after we merged onto the first highway, the tarp started billowing up behind me. At first, I thought: this is normal, this is what tarps do, this is how air works, this is all just a physics problem.

Then I remembered that it was pouring rain, all that stuff was mine, and high school physics frequently made me cry.

I called Darius. Our conversation went something like this:
M: Darius, is it supposed to be doing that? I'm worried that the rain is getting under the tarp.
D: No, it's fine. This is normal.
M: Are you sure? Because the tarp really looks like it's about to fly off the back of the truck.
D: It's tied down. This is just how it works. If you'd feel better, we can pull off at the next exit and check it out.
M: No, I'm sure you're right. It's fine. I just want to get home.
D: Ok. Well, I'll call you it looks like things are getting out of control.
I hung up, took a deep breath, and thought about the worst thing that could possibly happen.

It's helpful, I swear.

In this case, the thing I was most afraid of was the furniture being ruined. Obviously that would have been upsetting, but buying new furniture, while painful, wasn't going to kill me.

I'm just coming to terms with my new reality, a reality in which I don't terribly fear the prospect of buying this furniture all over again, when my phone rings.

It's Darius! Surely he is calling to tell me that things are not so bad.
D: I think we should pull over at the next exit.
Or not.

By this point the next exit turns out to be the next major highway we need to take, so we merge onto 95 (I'm really freaking out now) and drive a few more miles before we get to the first exit.

I pulled into the parking lot of a gas station where Darius and I proceeded to spend the next five minutes adjusting the tarp and the furniture underneath it. I took solace in the fact that nothing was ruined yet and did my best impression of a person who is not freaking out.

Darius can attest to my poor impersonation skills.

With the tarp retied, and the best action plan we could muster (drive. If this happens again, cry, then turn around and drive to Home Depot), we headed back to the highway.

I'm pretty sure no one has ever been as happy to see the Big Dig as I was that day. It was a beautiful cavern, protecting my poor little particle board from the vicious elements. And it didn't collapse on me, or anybody else, so it was probably a good day for the Big Dig too.

We arrived back at my apartment a little under an hour to spare and unloaded the furniture as quickly as can be expected when you're moving furniture in the pouring rain and one of your moving partners is me.

Having established that every piece of furniture survived its brush with Tropical Depression Danny, we hightailed it back to Central Square to drop off the Ziptruck.

Since I wasn't the one who picked up the truck on Friday night (see: Dan V., aka St Daniel), I found myself at a bit of a loss when the time came to return it. After sitting through typical Saturday afternoon traffic (this should not be a thing!), we found the parking garage pretty easily.

Of course, the Zipcar parking spaces weren't right by the entrance like I expected them to be. I drove up and around each level, got to the top, turned around and started winding my way back down, frantically looking for anything that looked like a Zipcar (where's the big green logo when you need it?) and watching all the while as the minutes on the clock ticked by. Finally, I found the Zipcar parking area, returned the car, and ran out into the rain to find where Darius was parked.

I had 20 minutes left to get back to my apartment and, for a moment, actually thought that taking the T would have been faster than driving. Darius assured me this was not the case though, and we took some kind of short cut back to Somerville.

Five minutes into our return trip, with fifteen minutes to spare, my phone rang:
"Uh, hi. This is Comcast. I'm here to set up your internet. Are you home?"

03 August 2009

Awkward at the beach

I've got a story to tell you guys, but it's going to have to wait a bit because I'm very busy being awkward at the beach today.

The fabulous Kalika S. and I are having a Gatsby-esque experience, there are hats and biplanes and hotels that look like something out of an Agatha Christie novel. What more could one ask for?


28 July 2009

Go Mad Men yourself

I have a bit of a post to write up about Mad Men, and I'm going to do my best to get it written up tonight (if I can bear to be conscious in my un-airconditioned apartment), but in the meantime, I encourage you to go Mad Men yourself: www.madmenyourself.com (if you haven't already). It's really more fun than it ought to be.

Unfortunately, it doesn't really change much. Turns out I'd still look like an over-caffeinated nerd:

24 July 2009

Interviews can be awkward

No, I'm not going anywhere (in case you've been reading this blog with the heretofore unmentioned goal of employing me...hey, stranger things have happened!). Actually, in case you hadn't heard, we're hiring.

So I've been talking to some folks on the phone this week, which is sort of unusual when you work for the internet. Unexpected things happen.

Especially when you work in Downtown Crossing.

For anyone unfamiliar with Boston, Downtown Crossing (DTX) is a bit of an odd place. It's sort of a shopping destination, but not the "I want to buy something expensive" kind.

There are also lots of offices, pawn shops, and food carts.

A few years ago, some developers had this great idea: they bought the old Filene's building, a fixture in DTX, and decided to rebuild it. The first level would have retail shops, then there would be some prime office space, and at the top, luxury condos with beautiful views of the city.

(that's the Filene's building, on the right, with the flags)

Now, anyone who has ever been to DTX can understand why people who can afford luxury condos were not interested in living there.

Needless to say, the plans never came to fruition and now there is a just big hole in the ground. It's a source of embarrassment for the mayor, who encouraged these kinds of projects, and if you subscribe to the "broken window" theory, it's certainly not doing the city any favors.

In an attempt to make good, the mayor has initiated a series of events designed to "revitalize" Downtown Crossing.

Mostly, they have to do with live music. This month, we're being treated to "Jazz Wednesdays". Apparently, whoever booked yesterday's act told her it was "Showtunes Wednesdays", but that's hardly even the point.

Right at the beginning of one of my calls, the singer began belting out something from Hello, Dolly. She had what I believe you might call "pipes".

My coworker began laughing uncontrollably in the other room.

It may very well be the case that none of this was audible on the other end of the phone line, but it all happened right at a break in the conversation. I had another question all ready and raring to go, but my brain was still processing the sudden influx of noise and several seconds passed in silence before I could make sense of it all.

Phone silence is often awkward, but in interview settings, I feel it reaches peak awkward potential.

I apologized, explained the scenario as best I could, and carried on with my question. The rest of our conversation went off without a hitch.

Fortunately for me, it was also my last call of the day.

Unfortunately for everyone in Downtown Crossing, "Jazz Wednesday" carried on for some time after, but at least I was able to turn to my headphones for protection.

23 July 2009

Context is king

A few weeks ago, I was out in Brighton visiting with my friends Katy E. and Dan P.
They're delightful people and really the only reason I set foot on the Green Line anymore.

Around 10 or 10.30, I decided it was probably time for me to head home - I had an hour T ride ahead of me, after all.

Either the day had been nice and the evening turned cool, or it was just another day that I failed to dress appropriately for the Boston weather. Either way, I was standing on a deserted stretch of Comm Ave, clutching my umbrella and regretting my sundress.

After waiting for the T for a few minutes, I saw a man walking towards me. He was wearing a long black trench coat, dark clothes, and a black fedora.

In high school, he would have been one of the drama kids and we would have been friends.

But this wasn't high school, and he didn't look like the BC and BU kids walking by.

I was on alert.

He walked past me, waved to the outbound T driver, and continued walking up the street.

The whole scene struck me as a bit odd, but my thoughts quickly returned to the unpleasant weather and my desire for an inbound train to arrive.

A few minutes later, however, he came back. Same black trench coat. Same fedora. I was concerned. Where had he come from? How had he somehow looped around the T stop without my seeing it?

As he approached, I started to get nervous. He clearly wasn't waiting for a T, he had waved the last one off. Our little section of Comm Ave was pretty empty, nothing was open, there was just the T stop, and me, standing there.

As he came close, I saw his face. It was rounder, more boyish, than I remembered.

And that's when it hit me.

Of course they were not the same person.

They were two separate men. Hasidic Jews. Just walking home from temple because it was the sabbath.

How many awkward points is that?

22 July 2009

The return of awkward

Look! Here I am, writing a blog post!

Some of you have been haranguing me about the lack of blog posts these past few months. The rest of you have simply stopped reading. Fair's fair and all that.

I'm actually writing this blog post on my iPhone, while waiting for some water to boil on the stove.

Yup, you read that right. Stove.

Later, I'll also be using the microwave.

I know. I'm so high-tech.

The catalyst for this post was not actually to tell you all about my brilliant new adventures in cooking (they're really more adventures in reheating at this point), the awkward moment that sparked this post is actually related to Twitter.

It's almost hard to believe, isn't it?

You guys all know that I'm a big fan of Twitter; I find out about a lot of interesting things (like Amazon buying Zappos, for instance), plus there are some funny people hanging out there, too.

I also follow quite a few local people, most of whom I don't actually know and it's led to a number of conversations with friends wondering if we unknowingly interact with the people we follow on Twitter. What if that obnoxious person on the T is a Twitter-follower? What if my gym-nemesis is someone whose tweets I actually like?

But the big question is often: If I ran into someone from Twitter on the street, would I recognize them?

Let me tell you: the answer is yes.

Yes, you will recognize them, especially if you are like me and have a such a strong memory for faces that it often makes other people uncomfortable.

See, the answer for me is "yes", but for you (and for the person I ran into on the street today) there's a good chance that the answer is "no."

Hence, the return of awkward.

The person I ran into today is someone I've followed for a while, we've even exchanged a few emails. Yet I was still completely at a loss for words. What does one say?

I've gone to a handful of tweet-ups and the introductions usually go something like this:

"Hi, I'm @someonesuperfunnywhohappenstoliveinboston"
"Oh, hi! Nice to meet you. I'm @eyemadequiet. No no, "I" like "e-y-e". Yeah. No, you don't know me. That's cool."

I'm totally comfortable not being "big" on Twitter, but imagine having that conversation, randomly, with a stranger on the street, someone you're 90% sure you know from the internet.

That 10% just kills me.

At any rate: it was nice to meet you, @lefauxfrog. Those are some nice headphones.

09 June 2009

The Summer of Vegetables: An Inauspicious Beginning

I was recently bemoaning the fact that I haven't had anything awkward to write about in, well, months. I'm pretty sure one or two of you have been bemoaning that too.

That's why, after I finished hyperventilating, I was actually pretty excited about the events that transpired this evening.

Here's what happened:

Today was my first day picking up my CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture). I've bought half a share in a farm, which means 4 to 8 lbs of fresh vegetables every week between now and October.

At my pick-up site (in Harvard Square, naturally), I stuffed my Whole Foods Market canvas bag with a head of lettuce, some bok choy, spinach, mescalin greens, a parsnip, a small basil plant, and a container of strawberries. Also a loaf of french bread.

On the ride home I planned my lunch for tomorrow (salad) and decide I'd make life easy and have the same thing for dinner. I was feeling generally pleased with myself, basking in the glow of that smugly self satisfied feeling you get when you're doing something so good.

By my count, this whole CSA business is good for:
  • My health. So many leafy green things!
  • My wallet. So much cheaper than the grocery store.
  • The environment. All organic. (Plus I'm picking it up in that canvas bag.)
This last one is important.

Upon arriving home, I decide to lay all the vegetables out on the counter so I could take a picture for my other blog. (Can't seem to upload pictures on my Mac right now. Coming soon!)

The basil plant was sharing a bag with the box of strawberries and since they both seemed a bit delicate, I decided to remove them first.

Right as my hand was going into the bag, I noticed something moving. Of course the first thing to come of my CSA would not be a delicious bite of strawberry. No, instead, I was rewarded for my do-goodery by a dark brown spider that appeared to be 150% legs.

As it crawled out onto the counter, I dropped the plant and ran out of the room.


The thing about hyperventilating, for those of you who've never done it, is that once you start, it's sort of hard to stop. Even (especially?) when you know you're being absurd.

Safely ensconced in my bedroom on the other side of the apartment, I hyperventilated for about a minute.

Yes. Really.

Then I grabbed the best bug-killing shoes I own (Vans) and returned to the kitchen. Briefly concerned that my foe may have ventured back to the safety nest of my precious produce, I was quite relieved to find it, stationary, in the middle of the kitchen floor. He was no match for the heavy rubber soles of the Vans.

Preparing the salads became an epic challenge after that. Every leaf had to be investigated and scrubbed. Bags had to be eyed suspiciously for a good 30 seconds before I could stick my hand in. Anything that moved was suspect. Once again, I contemplated the value of pesticides.

Perhaps it's more of an ironic beginning than an inauspicious one, but I'm hopeful that next week's CSA adventure will look a little less like a panic attack.

13 May 2009

I've got secrets up to here, love

I cannot stop listening to "Secrets" by Jenny Owen Youngs. My Wednesday gift to you is this video:

Now, go be nice and buy Transmission Failure on Amie Street. It's only $7 and they're donating $1 per album to The Smile Train.

What's not to love?

04 May 2009

25 letters?

Let me begin this post by saying that I am very much an Apple fangirl.  They make shiny, pretty things that perform beautifully and simply.  They're also a lot of fun.

This story begins a few weeks ago (as usually).  I was getting drinks with a friend, we were chatting about music.  He mentioned an upcoming concert at Boston's newest music venue: The House of Blues.

It got me thinking about how rarely I go to concerts anymore (remember that Ted Leo adventure? Yeah.)  I decided to check out the scene, as it were.

I was shocked to discover that two of my beloved bands from high school would be playing at the very same House of Blues.  Jack's Mannequin and Matt Nathanson: a 14 year old emo-girl's dream come true.

I was equally shocked to discover that tickets for this nostaligia trip were going to cost me $35 a piece.  It was going to be hard enough to convince someone to join me for this guilty pleasure concert, I knew the price tag made it impossible and abandoned the idea.

Last night, I realized that for the price of the "convenience fee" on one ticket, I could buy the latest (...from 2007) Matt Nathanson album to supplement my collection.  

For a mere $7.99, I was able to download the album and rock out to my emo heart's content.  Wonderful.

At least, it was wonderful.  

When I attempted to add the newest album to my iPod Shuffle, it seemed perpetually syncing.  I ejected and tried again.  Everything seemed to work; all the songs showed up this time.  I called it a night.

Up and at em this morning, got everything together, grabbed my Shuffle and I'm ready to hit the gym.  I skip through a bunch of tracks trying to get to my new album.  I caught an "L" track (Little Jackie, maybe? or Lucky Boys Confusion?), switched it out of shuffle mode and clicked through to the M's.

Only there were no M's.

Before I knew it I was listening to "The King of Carrot Flowers".

I clicked back and forth in disbelief.  How could this be? In a fit of nostalgia, I had added every single Matt Nathanson track I own onto my Shuffle.  A few choice tracks by the talented Messrs. Vanderslice and Darnielle should have rounded out the M's nicely (e.g. This Year)

My iPod Shuffle is either protesting my music taste, or the letter M.

Or you know, Apple is trying to force me to update my hardware.  

I'd consider it if they'd consider making earbuds that don't suck.

17 April 2009

All you need to know

This morning my mom called me a walking disaster, my coworker and I have agreed that I am the sickest healthy-person we know, and I'm currently sitting in my office without shoes on, and no sock on my left foot.

This is, unfortunately, an awful lot like last week.

24 March 2009

You can't text message break up

My commute from Davis Square to Park Street took about an hour this morning.  

For those of you unfamiliar with the route, that's six stops on Boston's Red Line.  The MBTA calculates this should take about 15 minutes.  

No joke:

While I've never had it go quite that well, 10 minutes per stop was a bit excessive.

I got on the T this morning with what seemed like a thousand of my closest-Davis Square friends.  There were so many of us that by the time the train reached Porter, no one could even get on.  Lots of grumbling and unhappy faces on the platform, but they'd be laughing all the way to the bank in a few minutes.

We spent a decent amount of time in the tunnel between Harvard and Central before the T conductor (operator? driver? what do we call these people?) announced that our train was experiencing mechanical problems and would be disabled at Central.  This proved to be a bit problematic because there were already quite a few people in Central Square waiting for the T and the platform did not have much room.

Never a big fan of crowds, I made a beeline (oh, the puns...) for the wall and assessed my options.  I could:
  • Wait.  
  • Venture above ground, hop on the 1 bus and take the Green Line from Hynes. 
  • Scare up some breakfast in Central Square and return to the T station after the situation sorted itself out.
Naturally, I decided to wait.

I took out my phone to entertain myself and suddenly remembered that my phone has a camera.  I know, it's almost hard to believe I work in social media.

Feeling extra passive-aggressive, I took this picture: 

and sent it to twitter via TwitPic:

Satisfied that the world now knew of my misery, I focused on not having a panic attack and finding the best place to stand so as to actually get a spot on one of the next trains.

Success was mine by the time the third train came through the station and we zipped along towards Kendall Square.  

The rest of the commute was largely uneventful, though I fear I may have made a fellow passenger extremely uncomfortable when I reached around him to hold onto the frame of the door while we crossed the Longfellow bridge.  

In my heightened state of awareness to the T's problems, I became concerned about the possibility that the "Do Not Lean On Doors" signage actually meant something.  Namely, that the doors might open in transit.

Fortunately, the doors held and I arrived at work to find that my photo (and annoyed tweet) were being featured on UniversalHub.

I feel as though I have transitioned.  Instead of using my twitter account solely for snarky comments about the Downtown Crossing Partnership, I am now a Citizen Journalist.

Now, if only I could figure out how to use twitter to make citizen's arrests, I think I'll be all set. 

Oh, and I know it's ridiculous to try and break up with the T.  What are my alternatives?  It's not like I'm actually going to learn how to ride a bike.

17 March 2009

Awkward Recap

It's been a while since we've done one of these.  Well, it's been a while since I've written anything here at all, but that's besides the point!  

Let's get started:
  • On my birthday, the cashier at Starbucks blurted out, "I like you--I like your sunglasses.  They're very stylish." I said, "Thanks."+3 awkward points.
  • Later that day, my sunglasses broke. 0 awkward points, many sad points.
  • Last weekend, a man approached me in Davis Square and asked me to point a tiny squirt gun at him and pretend that he was robbing me.  He looked like he might actually rob me.  I declined as politely as I could, given the circumstances.  Then I had to stand next to him for two minutes and wait for the light to change. +7 awkward points.
  • One of my coworkers thinks I'm a pirate. +2 awkward points. Or is it awesome points?
  • Speaking of twitter, someone I follow that I've never actually met thinks I work too much. Maybe I shouldn't tweet from the office so much+2 awkward points.
  • After having dinner with friends on Saturday (including the lovely Claire M., Katy E., and Dan P.) I was asked out for a drink by a boy I met on the T. +3 awkward points.
  • He had green hair. +2 awkward points.
No, I did not go out with him. Don't be ridiculous.