park that car; drop that phone; sleep on the floor; dream about me.

A quick recap/brief highlight reel of this weekend:

-Partook in my Friday ritual of sushi lunch at Kabuki. I was anxious to get down to Maryland, but I was starving.
-After finishing up my “Midnight Train to Georgia’ mix CD for Parr’s fundraising efforts, I was out the door and ready for some Kingsville adventures! I made good time, despite some pockets of traffic on 676 and 95S.
-Night out with Parr and Momma P.! We made our way to the local bar, which is always our destination when we’re at Parr’s parents’ house. Although the name/ownership has changed, the sentiment is the same: cheap booze, decent eats, and a guarenteed good time. After stuffing myself silly with just about every crab dish on the menu (cream of crab soup, crab dip, crab sliders), we made our way to the bar to play some erotic photo hunt before choosing to switch to regular photo hunt (this erotic photo hunt was much more scandalous than the one from our college days!). The switch proved a good move: we ending up rocking the game and placing 1st and 3rd (so if you go to the Horseshoe Bar, look out for PaaarrrrrrrSaaaarrrrr or something to that effect). A good send off to my dear friend. Here’s hoping the wolves don’t get you in the Republic of Georgia, Parr!
-Now that the cat is out of the bag, I can announce on the internets that Parr is engaged! We spent a good portion of my time there looking at wedding dresses, planning the wedding, and determining what elements important to a Jewish ceremony I could decorate with glitter (her fiance told me I could make him a Yarmulke and I am holding him to it :))

-Although I couldn’t stay for the goodbye/congratulations party, I was able to spend a little more quality time with the Parrs Saturday morning and even got to see Norris for a little bit. After greeting some arriving guests, setting a date to go dress shopping for when she returns (in April! :(), and getting some broccoli cheese casserole for the road, I was off.
-I hustled back to Jersey (less than an hour and a half–w00t!), unpacked and repacked my overnight bag, and burned a new batch of CDs (this time an 80s playlist), and heading down to Margate to celebrate a final “girls night out” before Jillian officially becomes ball-and-chained!
-The night started off at Steve and Cookie’s, where we had a delicious meal (I had flounder-stuffed with crabmeat, smashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus. YUM). The owners sent over a dessert sampling for the bride-to-be, so I also got to sample some of the banana cream pie, also amazing.
-After the meal, we headed back to the hotel room for the 80s-themed sleepover. There was dancing, there was blue eye shadow, there was gorging on junk food, and yes, there were rousing rounds of Never Have I Ever. A good time was had by all, and I am still amazed to have met someone who managed to truly shock me with the shit coming out of her mouth. For those who know me, you know this is no small feat. I think I finally experienced what most people claim to experience with me on a regular basis: “here’s the line, and here’s you.” I tip my hat to her!

-After a weekend chocked full of traveling, socializing, and grazing, I was beyond exhausted. After cleaning up the miscellaneous beer bottles, balloons, and neon bracelets, we all kind of sat around and vegged until checkout. Since D had dropped me off and taken the car (he had also been down in Margate for Tim’s bach-party), I caught a ride back to Hammonton with Jill to meet up with our men.
-We decided to grab breakfast at Mary’s, one of D’s favorite haunts from our Hammonton days and we were once again reminded why we can’t live there: within the course of the meal, I must have seen/had awkward small talk with at least 4 people I knew. Don’t get me wrong, it can certainly be nice to go home “where everybody knows your name,” but I definitely appreciate the option of anonymity.
-After breakfast, we went back to Jill & Tim’s and spent the afternoon being lazy, watching football and napping. It was a nice way to spend the day after running around nonstop for the past week.
-Jill & Tim needed to head to the mall late in the afternoon to make a return, so D and I headed to my parents for a visit. The whole crew was there and we hung out for dinner and then stayed ’til late evening. As always, it was good to see my family. I miss being closer to them, especially my parents and really need to make a better effort to try to get down a couple times a month.

So, that’s about it, although I’m probably forgetting a thing or two. Monday was Monday: I was tired, but productive. Spent most of the day with my face buried in my monograph, which needs to get out to the client ASAP. I stayed ’til about 7 tonight to get that ready for my manager to review. I also got the materials together for the BELS exam. I hoping to take it in November so I can become ELS (Editor of Life Sciences) certified and then have fancy credentials after my name. Here’s hoping that I a) get the application back in time (I thought I had to go to NYC for a work trip, but ending up not having to go, so I’m kind of slapping this together last minute) b) I actually pass if I can take the test. I’ve heard mixed things about its difficulty. I took out the old AMA book tonight to start brushing up and got overwhelmed (can you blame me when it’s a 1000-page ┬ámanual??).

Interestingly enough: I took my diploma out of the paper tube I received it in 5 1/2 years ago for the first time today (I needed to send a copy of it for my BELS exam review). I’ve never actually looked at it before. It’s HUGE and completely in Latin. So weird such an important document in my life has been essentially useless all this time…

I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more.

Click Here to Donate

I’m so stoked that we’re so close to our goal of $500–thank you SO much to all our friends and family who have already showed your support. I am truly so thankful to everyone who has helped us–but there still a ways to go!! Help Team Nay Nay reach $500 before The Memory Walk on Nov. 14th! Let’s go the distance now so future generations won’t have to…

In 2005, my mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, at the age of 54. Help me help others not have to see their mothers, father, brothers, sisters, or other loved ones go through this.

let’s pick up where we left off…

OK, so it’s been awhile, but back to 5 things I’m grateful for…

  1. You like D, you really like D. D got his review at work last week, which turned out to be pretty kickass. Not only did they say a lot of really positive and constructive things, they also gave him a really awesome pay bump!! In a day where a lot of people are struggling to find or keep their job, I’m just sososo proud of my Woobs and happy that his company acknowledges all his hard work. We are both so grateful that he’s with a good company that takes care of its employees!

    The man I love, who is also loved by Corporate America.

  2. Special Delivery. I came home Tuesday to find a package addressed to me on the kitchen counter. I was racking my brain, trying to figure out who it could be from. When I opened the package, I was surprised and delighted to find this:
    My friend from WAC remembered me admiring it at Twigs and Teacups, the awesome shop in Chestertown where she works part-time, when I was at WAC in the spring for reunion/graduation. To my delight, Melissa not only remembered me cooing over this fun kitchen addition, she picked one up for me and dropped it in the mail and seriously brightened my day. Thank you again, Melissa! (And check out her blog in my blogroll!)
  3. Times to Paaaarrrrrrrty! Although I’m sad that my BFF is going to be even FURTHER away from me, I’m so very excited that she has been accepted to Kiva’s very prestigious internship program!! And fortunately, we’ll have the chance to have a final “girls night” together this Friday–Republic of Georgia-bound or no, some good together time is WAY overdue!!
  4. It’s All About the Benjamins. At a time when I’m trying to save money for my Eurotrip with Kateness and Left Coast Lara and sort of panicked about doing so, I’m excited that I not only picked up a freelance paper to edit, but I’m also going to be 2nd shooter for a wedding in a couple weeks, which I’m very excited for! Not only will it be great to get back behind the camera (I love shooting weddings!), it’s the wedding for a childhood friend, so it’ll be cool to see her on her special day!
  5. She’s Got a Ticket to Ride & She Don’t Care. Elle bought our bus tickets for DC to attend The Rally to Restore Sanity! Especially after the latest round of sheer ridiculousness and insanity, I am really looking forward to sharing a day in the company with people who care, but don’t care enough to become fanatical. Oh yeah, and there might be a little bit of drinking involved… just sayin’ ­čÖé

forced perspective.

D recently posted a pic on FB of him and Joe sharing a drink.

Joe's just one of the guys, having a drink with his buddy.

This led to some back-and-forth banter about how giant Joe looks and the fact that it probably boiled down to forced perspective (to which I retorted, “sounds like me and D’s first date.” hiyo!)

Forced perspective has been affecting my life a lot the past few days, although not necessarily by way of photographs of friends pretending to hold the Statue of Liberty’s torch or push the Leaning Tower of Pisa back into place. The prospective I speak of comes from situations that have forced me to see beyond my often tunneled vision to see the realities around me I’ve been neglecting to acknowledge. I wish I could say this didn’t happen often, but my mind if a deep and cavernous tomb, where I often find myself trapped. (I recognize the wrist-to-the-forehead implications of that statement. It’s actually not all that bad in there…). But yes, the truth is I am often lost in my own thoughts, my own worries, solving whatever current problems are plaguing me, and some that haven’t cropped up yet, “just in case.”

Yesterday I spent a lot of time deep into “it”–into the thinking, the worrying, internal debate. I thought about the strange events of Sunday, the shock from the reminder that things can happen and change very suddenly, and then mixed all that with my own feelings of personal frustration for where I am, where I want to be, and my confoundment on how to get there.

So let’s start with Sunday. Continue reading

I am in love with this album…

the perfect accompaniment to this dreary Tuesday morning… just add hot tea and distant thoughts.

My favorite thus far is “Age of Adz.” When I initially heard it, I thought it was bordering on being “too much,” but he has a way of scaling back at just the right times and not laying too heavy on the synth and “special effects.”

Didn’t know how I’d feel about Sufjan returning to electronica, especially after falling in love with Chicago and his Christmas collection, but damn if this isn’t quirky, beautiful, and infectious.

we don’t talk so much anymore, but I wonder if you got that same ride, with the dents on the driver’s side

This time of year, more than any other, seems to trigger specific memories associated with specific songs/albums.

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone is a one-man band (Owen Ashworth) I feel I grew up with. I can still remember the exact moment during my sophomore year of college when my friend Lou popped Twinkle Echo into his car’s CD player and skipped ahead to track 7, “Calloused Fingers Won’t Make You Strong, Edith Wong” which we played on repeat as we made our way from campus to his apartment.

I’ve never been able to understand or fully express how or why certain songs/artists affect me the way they do, but I guess for CFTPA, I loved how the simplicity of the music paired so well with the quirky, brilliant, and bittersweet lyrics. During a time when I felt fucked up, confused, and depressed, his music seemed to best express the simple and complex emotions that I seemed incapable of controlling: love, sadness, anger, longing, etc. So when I couldn’t untangle the muddled mess of feelings for myself, I relied on Owen to do it for me, which he managed to do using a keyboard and 1-3 minutes long songs. CFTPA became the background noise that I moved with constantly. I would scribble his lyrics in the margins of my notebook, walk to the beat of the lyrics as they played over and over in my head, and, true to the times, constantly leave snippets of his words as my status messages on AIM.

As it’s said to happen, life changed and who I was/how I felt changed, too. It took awhile, but I was able to grow into myself and out of my depression. I was able to find a little more stability in my surroundings and rebuild myself after feeling shattered (learning later that this is never-ending–the break, the rebuild, each time getting stronger and smarter). And although many of the things/relationships I found comfort in also changed, Owen’s music always seemed synonymous with some coming-of-age moment or a particularly fond memory.

One of my favorite memories from when I lived in Houston was seeing CTFPA play at Super Happy Fun Land. Sitting on the worn out couches in a space that felt more like someone’s basement than a concert venue was exhilarating. For years I had listened to these songs alone or with the company of a select few who “got it” in similar settings, and suddenly I was able to experience that magic with a roomful of strangers who had felt the same way about the same music. Talk about instant camaraderie.

And after we migrated back up to Philly, Owen followed us there, too. Sitting in the sanctuary of the church with D, listening him play covers of “Graceland” (one of all-time favorite songs on one of my all-time favorite albums) and “Streets of Philadelphia” had me floating for days. And during another show at the church, I found myself outside having a cigarette at the same time as Owen. But knowing there was no real way to not come off as a creepster if I introduced myself to him, I just politely smiled and said “hey.”

In more recent years, my love for CFPTA has waned a bit, and I found myself skipping out of shows, figuring I could catch him next time, or shrugging in response to D when he’d ask if I was interested. But on the hard days, on the crisp fall days, or the days that I could not shake the feeling of melancholy, I still revisit his tracks in my iTunes collection and still recommend him to friends or acquaintances who I think might need a friend like this in their life.

Today was one of those days for me. I could not completely shake the feeling of sadness and suddenly found myself singing “Blue Corolla.” This started me on a You Tube frenzy, looking up every song of his I ever used to mend a broken heart (many posted here). I had read back in the summer that Owen was planning on hanging up his Casiotone for good, though he would still pursue his music career. Out of curiosity, I looked up where his closest show would be.┬áTurns out he’s playing his last New York show this Friday.

Call me a sucker, but I believe wholeheartedly in signs. I had no intention of going to NYC this weekend or seeing this show, but I kind of feel like this show is not only a last hurrah, but it might be an opportunity for some closure, too…

so i’m gonna change
maybe tonight
i’m leaving something
to remember me by

leaves fall; colors, situations change.

I don’t know why, but every winter a button falls off my coat and I say I will get it fixed, but the time never seems right because I continue to need my coat. Then I say that I will do it at the first hint of spring–the first full week that it’s clear my winter coat is no longer needed. But I don’t. I haven’t for the past 5 years and so now I have exactly 3 winter coats missing buttons and one with a broken zipper. I foresee me wearing all of these still.

Some things change, like the seasons, but others like the fact the missing buttons remain missing, do not.

I’m back to not sleeping, or at least not sleeping well. I think it might be the weather, at least that’s what everyone else is saying and so I agree. I’m wondering if the “weather” is just code for the things we all are collectively thinking about: things we could have done or shouldn’t have; dreams we lost or let slip away. Maybe it’s the I-wonder-whethers (I wonder whether I could have gotten into Harvard; I wonder if I told her I loved her whether she would have stayed…) that are truly getting us all down.

I have completely fallen out of love with most of the place to eat around my workplace. This has caused more despair than one can imagine. Determining lunch plans has become just as daunting as planning for every other hour of the workday and most times, the payoff is just not there. You can only find so much joy in a  6-inch tuna sub from a Subway or eating sushi from a place that oddly smells like your childhood preschool.

I have officially not placed in one of the writing contests I entered and I unofficially did not place in the other. I believe official word will come tomorrow. I’m currently generating the motivation to try, try again.

My grandfather’s been dead for more than 8 years and I have not had the strong desire to visit his grave until when I visited my parents last week. It was a warm fall afternoon and the blue sky against all of the green and brown farmland just looked so goddamn beautiful. I thought it was the kind of day he would appreciate.

I have been smoking more regularly again and thinking more regularly about quitting. The idea appeals to me until I want another cigarette. I started watching Intervention, which ironically is kind of addicting, and I noticed that these people have similar issues with their bad habits. And then it makes me wonder if it would be possible to go to rehab for smoking, but then I figure that would be the equivalent of going to maximum security jail for ripping Metallica tunes off Napster. They’d probably pay the guards in cigarettes to turn the other way while they beat me to death with a broom stick for being a pussy. But hey, guess what? You can’t get cancer from heroin, bitches.

My spell check does not recognize Metallica nor Napster. I bet my 16 yr old cousin wouldn’t know what Napster is either.

I’ve taken to drinking flavored seltzer water in lieu of soda. The carbonation gives the illusion of a bad-for-me drink so I still feel satisfied. I’ve been bringing one to work with me in the morning for the past couple weeks and I can’t help but wonder if my surrounding cuberhood might think I’m cracking open a beer. If they knew me at all, they’d know I only drink beer in bottles when I’m at work.