Monday, July 31, 2006

on experiencing verbal difficulty

An Ipod Video, by and of itself, is pretty dang righteous. But add to it the fact that a bunch of your friends chipped in and gave it to you on your birthday, at your surprise party, when you thought you were having dinner with a couple friends, and you pretty much run out of words. Just a lot of head shaking. That’s all I got.

Yeah, really good birthday.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

you're not ugly

This morning an email subject line told me: "you're not ugly".
Isn't that sweet? Thanks, Dad.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

28 days left and counting

Be Still My Heart

Monday, July 24, 2006

when you care enough to send the very best

Feel free to add your own in the comments. I think we'll make a mint...

Sexual Harassment Greeting Cards
Front: Your resume stated you type 85 wpm…
Back: What it didn’t say was that you’ve got legs for days.
Happy Administrative Professionals’ Day!

Psycho Ex Greeting Cards
Front: Thinking of you…
Back: A lot. Like every minute of my life. Forever.

Greeting Cards for Strained Family Relationships
Front: Happy Birthday, Cousin Sue!
Back: Enjoy my ex-husband! See you at Easter!

Greeting Cards for Those Awkward Moments
Front: I’m sorry my hand grazed your posterior yesterday. It was completely inadvertent, and unintended. I am utterly mortified.
Back: So do you work out?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Clara, Mom, Sarah

Clara Barton was my childhood heroine. I had a couple books about her which I read over and over. She was tight, you guys.

You know who else is awesome? My mother. That woman birthed six healthy babies without drugs. I was there for the birth of Jennie, and I’ll grant you that this was her last delivery, so she handled the labor with astounding professionalism. It still, however, blows me away that through even the strongest of contractions this woman made no audible sound of pain. Her face was a mess of stress, but Mom bore it so silently, so sacredly. Amazing.

And then of course, there is I. Apparently I will faint at a strong wind. Need to take some blood? Nighty-night. My sister, Hobo, and I are very similar in this way (see her post entitled: Story Time). We inherited this from our father, who didn’t pass his Vietnam physical due to a bout with hepatitis as a child. Personally, I think they flunked him because he passed out in the waiting room after drawing blood. Dad isn’t army material, never was, and for this I give a quiet sigh of thanks.

Such a strange feeling, fainting. When you wake up you feel like you’ve been asleep for at least an hour, but they tell you you only lost consciousness for a few moments. Huh? No way. I’m so sleepy!

The last time I fainted, three years ago, was probably my favorite. Our firm held semi-annual blood drives in front of the office building. I had never been able to give blood because of my, shall we say, dramatic reaction to such things. But by St. Petersburg and all that’s Florida, I was bent on doing it this particular year. I told myself: this is all in your head. You can beat this. You are strong. Be the Clara Barton. With the semblance of confidence, I signed my name to a time slot.

I read up on what to do to prepare. Beginning three days prior to Dracula Day I drank liter upon liter of water. The morning of, I went to IHOP and loaded up. Huge breakfast. A few hours later, I made my way to the donor bus, swigging Dasani and ready to pour.

I was so confident that everything was going to be fine. I felt certain by my taking the right steps and doing all the right things I’d be able to say, “Why yes, an entire pint of my blood was donated. I didn’t feel a thing!” And I would stand tall, fun and fainty-free.

Filling out the paperwork prior to getting hooked up, I took a moment to channel the stoicism of my pioneer ancestry all the way from my stone-faced grandmother back to Sarah Gardner. Sarah Gardner was the third wife of my ancestor, Archibald Gardner. Do you think all women are built for that kind of life? Sarah was a serious specimen of Woman. And in the blood bus, so was I. In that moment, I was ready to eat bark and wrestle hogs. Don’t mess with this, baby. I give blood. That’s right. They stick their needle in one arm and I arm-wrestle male nurses with the other. Have you seen my guns? Fear me. I look at blood and laugh. Needles tickle. Bring it.

I sign the papers and they take me to an open chair. I’m cool. I’m cool right up until I meet Carmen, the 16 year-old nurse wannabe. The fake nurse, the not-nurse Carmen begins to draw with purple marker on my arm where she wants to stick the needle. (Note: veins are very noticeable on my pasty skin, and should not require the use of a pen to accentuate them.) Carmen looks more nervous than I. For good measure I decide to turn my head away and hope for the best.

Not the best. Carmen rammed that thing in as if she thought her mission was to impale me with nothing but a butter knife. Carmen needs to find another career. Perhaps professional embroidery if she’s so gung-ho on needles; it’s unlikely the cloth she’s repeatedly pricking will jump back and howl in agony. It took Carmen three tries with my arm, I wonder how the alphabet sampler she stitches would fare. I’m sure she’s a lovely person. She’s young, there’s time.

The surge of adrenaline from the needle issue sent me into a sweat, but I was hanging on. I tried to regulate my breathing and think of Pismo Beach. Oh, how I tried. Meanwhile, my blood began to fill the bag, and thanks to the endless liters of water I’d been drinking, it was filling up fast. I started talking to another co-worker in the chair across from me thinking it would distract me from what was happening….and then. It started.

I felt the blood drain from my head, and I remember thinking: why can’t I get enough air? Hang on, Mare. You’re almost finished, the bag is almost full! It was a race – stay conscious just a few moments more! The rest is kind of a blur. I remember someone calling my name, and I tried to respond, but I really needed to…you know… and then I think I went sleep-sleep.

I woke up moments later, like seconds later, in time to feel them remove the needle from my arm. This got my heart going and I remember yelling (or what I thought was yelling), “DID YOU GET ALL THE BLOOD? DON’T TAKE IT OUT TILL YOU GET ALL THE BLOOD!” A voice not Carmen’s started explaining that it’s kind of against their policy to draw blood from unconscious donors. I asked her if they got a full bag from me. Like a knife in the back, her reply was: “You were almost there, honey.”


The rest of the story is boring, so I’ll wrap it up with the bare points: ice pack, seat reclined, orange juice, everybody staring, fighting back tears of disappointment. The End.

So I was beaten. But I will rise again. Like the Phoenix. Like the Clara, like the Sarah. With iron fists. I will give this world a pint of stinkin’ blood if it kills me. And when I get my little sticker saying I did, I’m not putting it on my lapel. That baby’s going straight to the bronzer.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

that's my the middle

Paka, my sister Amanda, is living in Portland now with her hubby and two dogs. But before she left, we chatted all the time like we did here. I'm suffering huge withdrawals.

Paka and I are pakas to one another thanks to one of our flick faves, Whale Rider.("Paka!! I'm beck!!!") Please indulge me as I share another exchange one day where paka and I were hopelessly lost in the abyss that is mathematics, but soon pacified ourselves with some lively songs. Sort of. I dedicate this post to Paka, whom I miss. Come beck, Paka. Please come beck to me.

Amanda: okay mary...I'm looking like a mathmatical idiot here
me: welcome! join me!
Amanda: I'm trying to find out some percentages for Tom and I can't figure it out!
me: oh that's stressful can i help?
Amanda: maybe... I have two prices...cost and retail price
me: okahy
Amanda: and the percentage between them is what our cut is
me: right
Amanda: so I'm taking 21, dividing it by 29 and it gives me a decimal
me: move the decimal point two places to the right
Amanda: and when I click the % sign on the computer calculator, it's not right
me: if you move the decimal point, that is your percentage 72%. 100 minus 72 is your cut.
Amanda: but see, I have this other sheet that I already did and I can't remember how I did it and for some reason that percentage is 27.5
me: that's fine
Amanda: and I can't figure out how I came up with that number
me: you're fine
Amanda: and I have our cut as being $8 and I don't know how I figured out what the dollar amount was
me: 100 minus 72 is 28. listen…
Amanda: okay, I told you I was retarded
me: no no it's okay. you did it right. you have a markup of 27.5 %. i was rounding up to 28, but whatever. does that make sense?
Amanda: yeah. Okay. seriously, I was panicking
me: math does that
Amanda: thanks paka!! I'm a retarded paka!!
me: nooooo, not retarded. don't speak the math, that's all
Amanda: you can say that again
me: don't speak the math....oh wait you didn't mean literally. paka! it's 5:05! and it's storming outside! I gotta go home, paka!
Amanda: waaait, one more math question do you know how I would figure out the dollar amount?
me: for?
Amanda: if the price was 29 and the percentage was 22.4%
me: and you want to know what cost is? or retail?
Amanda: retail...I just wanna know what 22.4% of $29 is
me: okay hang on
Amanda: I got uht!! nevermind
me: good! yaya!
Amanda: yayaya!! thanks for all your help. You're my hero paka
me: oh paka, i just instill confidence in you and you do it all my yourself. ha! Freudian. all "my" yourself.
Amanda: you are the paka beneath my paka
me: did you ever know that you're my paka?
Amanda: and everything this paka would like to be
me: i can fly higher than a paka
Amanda: I can paka higher than a paka
me: oops, right. Thanks for the correction. next paka song...i wear my sun-paka at night
Amanda: I still think “Paka can you hear me?” was the best
me: paka can you help me not be frightened?
Amanda: hahaha!! the best thing is I can hear you singing it
me: i totally actually am! i'll sing it for your graduation this weekend. that'll be your graduation gift, paka

Monday, July 17, 2006

and monday morning it is...

In the 7-Eleven this morning on Charles St., (I was getting my 40 ouncer.)

7-Eleven Employee to 7-Eleven patron whom, I assume, is a previous acquaintance:

(gravel-y bellow) “GIT OUTTA THIS STOAH, Y’CHUMP!!” (big grin on his face.)

I felt like I was in a scene from Good Will Hunting. It felt pretty good.

One more…

Almost to work, walking in the Common when I see young blonde woman with cutsey puppy. Puppy just stops walking, so Blondie stops and looks at him. Puppy contemplates other path, he’s looking straight at it. Blondie says: “This way,” and tries to continue on their way. Puppy doesn’t budge or shift his gaze from alternate path. Without taking an additional step, Puppy leans his upper body in the direction he is looking and then freezes like a statue. He will not be moved. Puppy will either go down this other path, or he’ll die right here. They stayed in that position until I had to cross the street to work. I loved the Puppy’s subtle passive-aggression in this scenario. It made me chuckle. I so get that Puppy.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

from blog to classroom

It looks like I’m a’gonna do uht. I’m making the final edits on my 15-page writing sample, I’ve filled out the application, I’m sending away for my transcripts tomorrow, and I’ve asked my supervisor for a letter of rec. All I need is my admissions essay and I am golden. Seriously, what’s the point of working at one of the finest colleges for Creative Writing in America if you don’t take a writing class? Or four? Free of charge, might I add?

This is a one-year program offered through Continuing Ed here called the Screenwriting Certificate Program. I went to an information meeting about it last month, and got really excited. Great faculty, and former students rave about it. I’m a’gonna do uht.

I asked if I could use certain weblog pieces as part of my writing sample. They were so down with that. So I went back and touched up a few, including this one, this one, and this one.

I really want to write plays, but they don’t have a playwriting certificate program. Mainly, I just want to see if I can write. I have some ideas for plays that I’d like to know how to get down on paper intelligently, creatively, and entertainingly. Screenplays are pretty different from stage plays, but I’m okay with that.

I think it’s going to feel good to do something creative again. Besides finding ways to avoid work. But to my knowledge that's not a recognized profession yet.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Thursday, July 06, 2006

long weekend

Last Sunday afternoon, there was a perfect breeze, so Peggy and I decided to walk along the Mystic River near the Medford/Arlington city line. We were having a lovely talk, sharing thoughts and personal challenges. We took a path off the main road to enjoy the woods a bit. As the path led us closer to the water’s edge, we stumbled upon a small group of teenagers hanging out. We didn’t want to disturb their party, so we followed a path that was up of the river, and then started back up the hill. Our backs were now to the waterfront when I heard a bang, then felt a sharp rock graze my left heel. I turned around to see two boys hustling away back to the group. Peggy and I exchanged a “whut thu…???” and kept on our way. Seconds later, a second rock was thrown, which hit a branch over Peggy’s head. The rock and part of the tree branch then fell straight down, hitting her left arm on the way, barely missing her skull. We looked at each other in total shock. Dude! We’re being stoned! We get to the top of the hill, away from the water and out of arm’s reach. We decide to back track to the car, this time staying close to the main road. As we walk, here comes this group sauntering up the hill shouting at us “your kind aren’t welcome here!” and other muffled comments. Peggy turns to look at them, I tell her to turn around, to not engage them. Peggy was still on her Sabbath high and wanted to talk with them about tolerance and peace. I guess I’m too cynical for that. When someone’s throwing rocks at me, I just figure they’re not too interested in anything I’d have to say.

Episodes like these help me remember how blessed I am to be able to call this a rare experience. All kinds of people living elsewhere, from backgrounds different than mine, suffer daily in this manner and with much greater severity. I’m a fortunate girl to have both a taste of it and only just a taste of it. I wish things were different for all of us.

Two days ago, I sat on the grass in front of MIT overlooking the Charles River and the Boston city skyline as the most amazing display of fireworks I have ever seen danced in time to the Boston POPS in front of a billion people. I was overwhelmed by the spectacle. It’s hard to describe the feeling. Those of you who have been know that there is no other fireworks show that compares to the Boston 4th of July extravaganza. And sitting with my friends, laughing and taking photos, I felt so profoundly blessed for all the generations of freedom fighters, and those who died for the right to feel equal.

America can be a big fat bully, an arrogant fool with big biceps and a flabby gut. We have a history of periodically shoving our fortunes, our ideology, or just our unmitigated brawn into the teeth of other countries (or even other Americans) expecting respect and honor, when maybe we have not been careful or respectful enough to deserve it. This is not a political piece, just stating some personal observations. Here’s another one - - an observation from two nights ago. This country has been blessed and prospered and set apart in ways like no other. This is a blessed nation. I am humbled to be born in this nation, and grateful. There are cities and towns FULL of good, decent people. They work hard, and are grateful for their freedom. And they also enjoy a good fireworks display every now and again. I was so happy to be among them, and proud of what we hold in common.

There are two Americas: the one that we see, and the one that everyone else sees. The one that throws stones at strangers because they can, and the one that cheers en masse along Memorial Drive for the glory of our nation’s birth. In either case, I have nothing but to walk back to my car and quietly thank God for the home I’ve been given.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]