You Said It, Kate

"A sharp knife cuts the quickest and hurts the least."

Sigh. Why do I bother with trying to be nice?

I finally replied to Annoying Creepy Email MySpace Guy (formerly known as Saxophone Guy) yesterday. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s easier to be honest and direct, and experience a few moments of discomfort rather than to ignore/avoid and hope that the person just goes away. (So says the girl who preferred to live in denial from, roughly, early August through, I don’t know, say…October 24th, but that’s another post entirely.)

ACEMG has sent 5 messages since last Thursday, each progressively more desperate, culminating with a request to get together ‘for coffee’ this week.

My answer: ‘M – That’s not going to work. You’re a nice guy, but I am not interested in seeing you. J.’

And, of course, his reply was exactly what I thought it would be. In fact, it mirrored his defensive, rude, and passive-aggressive response when I told him that I no longer wanted to see him in July. Maybe I should have let loose and told him exactly what I thought about his personality (non-existent), sense of humor (non-existent), and behavior (creepy, pathetic). Or taught him how to respect people’s boundaries (much like I do with my Anti-Violence Program kids each week). Or maybe let JP handle it as he wanted to this summer by giving him a ‘Jersey-style talking-to’ (this probably would have looked like something on The Sopranos, would not have embodied anti-violence principles, and is JP’s standard offer to resolve any bumps that I have in my dating life).

However, the *other* lesson that I’ve learned the hard way is that endeavors like this are rarely worth my time. Which doesn’t explain why I’ve just spent 20 minutes writing a blog post about it, but learning is a process, no?



- I really want to get a Christmas tree. I love the scent of pine and turning off all of the lights and just having the tree illuminated. Unfortunately, the only area in my tiny living space that could accomodate a tree is directly in front of the radiator. So, if I got a tree, in addition to my current Grinch-like attitude, I'd be guilty of killing off a small part of Christmas.

- I found out today that my health benefits don't begin for another three months. Grrr. Until I'm covered, this continues to eliminate activites like skydiving, crossing the street, or climbing stairs (I'm highly accident prone).

- I think I'm dating again, which I fell into by accident when drinks with an acquaintance turned into...something different...last week. He's intelligent, kind, funny, and attentive. This sets off all of my alarm bells to run in the other direction. I guess I'll need to work that out somehow.

- For whatever reason, I cannot bring myself to do laundry tonight, so I might need to bring my dirty laundry to L's this weekend in Boston. That feels kinda immature and strange. I guess I'll need to work that out somehow.

- Over drinks last night, JP and I decided to take the month of January off from consumption of alcoholic beverages. Hm. Not a decision you'd expect to arrive at while having drinks.

- The Lawyer is thinking about moving into the city. The apartment beneath mine is vacant and currently being rennovated. I really want her to move in there, as I'm envisioning wacky Three's Company-style antics. But, you know, with two of us. And no Mr. Roper.


The Only Possible Answer

Tonight, Spanish class:

'Quienes es su jefe?'

Tony Danza. Obviously.


A Whole Lot Of Nothing

Over the weekend, I've been sequestering myself on my couch, watching DVD's and napping. My brain has effectively been turned off.

Today, coming home from necessary errands (you know, food, so I can continue on sequestering myself in the apartment), I encountered my neighbor, S, outside having a cigarette. He's a 72-year-old acting coach who has lived in the building for 26 years. We've talked on several occasions, which he forgets every time I see him. I try not to take it personally. I know I'm a fabulous conversationalist. Seriously.

I greeted him, reminded him of my name and settled in for a repeat conversation, which was going along as it always does, until he asked me if he could ask a personal question. Which, he quickly clarified, he was doing because he had been enjoying several drinks and 'marijuana cigarettes'.

Oh boy, I thought, this should be good.

I nodded.

'Do you have a boyfriend?'

I shook my head.

'Why not?'

I should have pointed out that he had asked about a personal question, not a difficult one. Or that he had received permission for a question, not multiple questions.

But mostly, I didn't know how to answer.

After a few days spent in my own company, diving into television character's lives, rather than my own - his question felt overwhelming. And unsettling. But most of all, complicated. It's always complicated. I'm tired of it being complicated.

(There were parallel thoughts running through my head, of telling him something completely spectacular, and completely fabricated because, let's face it, this conversation will have never happened the next time I run into him.)

I shrugged, smiled brightly, and rolled my eyes. And then escaped back into my apartment, content to grapple with the complexities of fiction. For now.


Thank You. No, Really. Thank You.

After two years of long student breaks, and an entire summer spent not working, I guess the real world had to catch up with me at some point.

And when I say ‘at some point’, I mean ‘Friday, 11.24.06, The Day After Thanksgiving’ aka ‘The Day That Every Single Person In The World United States Has Off From Work, Except For Me, And Some MTA Employees, And Hopefully Someone At Dunkin’ Donuts’.

I did request Friday off, which was denied because I am A Sucker The New Girl and everyone else beat me to it when they filed their requests months ago. Friday should be a Very Big Day for trauma in our emergency department, given that, statistically, violence escalates when families are together. Which is a lovely thought to bring into the holiday season, no?

Anyway, because my family goes away for Thanksgiving, I’ve had to decide whether it is worth the trip to the cabin, only to turn around and leave less than 12 hours later. I’d be driving, which is kinda stressful when you’re a) sitting in the inevitable traffic caused by everyone attempting to leave the Tri-State area at the same time b) borrowing your brother’s new car and c) not used to driving any more. The alternative? I don’t know, staying in the city, along with some form of sitting on my couch, eating a PB&J/String Cheese/Protein Bars and feeling sorry for myself.

Wow. Tough choice.

Over the past two weeks, amid this raging internal debate, I’ve been lucky enough that several friends have asked me to consider a third option – spending the holiday with them. So please ignore all the bitterness and self-pity contained above, and allow me to dedicate this post (and my thanks giving) to MM, RC, LK, JP & SN.

(But, however things turn out, I do hope that you’ll also allow me to be unrepentantly cantankerous on Friday. It's more fun that way. )


Um, No

On Friday morning, I received a compliment from one of the male teachers at my school program. Not a good compliment. More like ‘ok, this guy is really disturbing me, because he’s pretending to admire my dress but staring at my ass’. [This is the same person that, whenever I am presenting to the staff at the school, and I name my program, holds up his hands in mock surrender and says something like ‘Rape? Whoa, I wasn’t even there.’ Hilarious. ]

Then, on the subway ride back to work, a man asked for directions to the criminal court building, which I gave. I guess this opened the door for him to move closer to me and start muttering about how ‘pretty’ I am, along with commentary about how he was going to be late for ‘the arraignment’. As he exited the train, I noticed that his fly was wide open.

After those two encounters, I pretty much resigned myself to being a creep magnet for the day. But I’d hoped that there was a 24-hour limit to this experience.


I opened my email this morning to discover that I have a friend request *and* a new message on MySpace from, um, let’s call him Saxophone Guy, whom I dated this summer. The brief history of our (non)relationship was that he got way too attached, way too quickly (after our 3rd date) and I told him that was no longer interested in seeing him (or hearing from him). I had thought I was completely clear during the 'break-up' discussion, but he continued to send email and text messages, which I ignored. That communication eventually died down, until the MySpace nonsense this morning. Sent, by the way, at 2:15 am.

Hey, how are you? Where did you end up getting a job? Are you dating anyone? If you want to get together for a drink sometime, let me know. I’m right down the street.

PS: You look good. Really good.

Perhaps I need to start carrying mace. Or get a guard dog. Or both.



Current Music: 'A Quiet Mind' - Blue October

One of my favorite birthday presents this year was a t-shirt from L which reads 'Don't Drink And Dial'. Whenever I wear it, I feel like I'm part of an amusing public service announcement.

I should have been wearing that shirt last night. And aiming its directive toward myself.

After returning home from dinner and (too many) drinks with MM, I decided that 10:57 pm would be the perfect time to call The ARH. Apparently, that was also the perfect time to leave him a 3 minute and 17 second voicemail, vocalizing my thoughts on how much I was missing him, and how much I hate missing him, and how I had been at the scene of our last date, and...the rest of the details are blurry. The embarrassing part (oh really, only *one* part is embarrassing? I don't think so.) is that this phone call was made a mere 2 weeks after ending our relationship and asking him to refrain from contacting me at all in the future.


Obviously, the blame cannot be placed with me, so I've spent the day thinking of other targets. Here's what I came up with:
- Vodka
- An earlier conversation about Singles which contains the best drunk-dial scene, ever. (YOU...BELONG..WITH...ME.)
- A text message from him last week
- The alignment of the planets and our horoscopes

(And yes, I realize that pinning it on the message from him is some sort of adult version of whining 'But he started it...' - I don't care.)



The danger of the Venti Starbucks Peppermint Mocha (aside from the cost and the empty calories) is the ensuing caffeine/whipped cream/chocolate hyperactivity which manifests itself at work, where you’ve concluded during the past week that if you can’t change the stresses of your job, you can at least transform your environment.

This morning, while my blood was 90% coffee and 10% sugar, I spoke to my director about my latest brilliant idea - a weekly peer-to-peer supervision/case presentation meeting among the Social Workers, Case Managers and Interns in my program which will (undoubtedly) lead to greater collaboration, resource sharing, and teamwork. Somehow, by the end of the conversation, I’d committed to organizing and managing this assembly, a task which will strain my packed schedule to the tipping point.

There is an additional teeny tiny concern. As the newest and most inexperienced team member, I am hardly qualified to lead such a group.

Oh, and did I mention that my three-month performance appraisal (a slightly important review that determines if I will remain employed) is just around the corner?

Damn you, Starbucks. Damn you.


Math Skillz

Fee for LMSW exam + plane tickets to Los Angeles + plane tickets to Boston + gym membership + impending holiday shopping + goodbye dinner/celebration with MM + weekly psychotherapy with no insurance coverage + new 30G video iPod + the misguided belief that my salary is a lot higher than it actually is = meals of Oodles of Noodles/PB&J for the next two months.

(But seriously, the new iPod makes it all worthwhile.)


Good Example

I'm going to be an awesome parent someday. Consider all that I've achieved in the past 48 hours:

  • Advising EJ, age 10: The raw eggs in uncooked brownie mix are actually good for you, and may conteract the growth-stunting effects of coffee. This is how I grew to my current 5'5".
  • Balancing baby Audrey in one arm, drinking wine with the other...and not spilling a drop. Or a baby.
  • Contributing $7.00 to the 'swear jar' ($1.00 per offense).
  • Inventing a game where the players run at each other, throwing a nerf ball with as much force as possible at the other person, while yelling out random items off a Chinese food menu (HAPPY FAMILY!!!!!!).
  • Eating brownies with fudge topping for breakfast.
  • Watching hours upon hours of cartoons on Sunday morning.
  • Winning various staring, cross-eyed, 'see food' contests. And loudly proclaiming my dominance.
  • Adding to the tolerable level of chaos which already exists in a household full of kids and pets.


The Life I Chose / The Life That Chose Me

Social Work is the pathway to riches.

This is true.

Take this past month, for instance, when I got a haircut that wasn't part of a free modeling project.

Or the work-related research conference that I attended today where both cheese *and* crackers were served.

Also please consider that I am sitting on my couch right now, enjoying Annie's Organics Mac N' Cheese and a glass of Coppola Rosso, courtesy of a weekend trip to Trader Joe's.

But there's more.

Tomorrow, I am travelling to Boston, and for the first time in what seems like forever, I will not be joining the huddled unwashed masses on the bus.

Greyhound will have to live without my $40.00 because I've booked a flight! Bonus: I'll make it there in less than the usual 10 hours. And there's a snack basket and DirecTV.

As I said, pathway to riches.


Signifying Nothing

I couldn't think of what to write about today.

I had a lot of half-formed thoughts in my head: my upcoming LMSW exam and the concept of me currently running amok in my hospital, practicing without a license; how I got soaked on my way to work this morning; fear that my space heater is going to set my desk on fire; seeing a bartender that I couldn't quite place while I was voting yesterday (context); world peace; social justice; hero tendencies.

No, no, no, no, no, no, and...no.

So I asked The Lawyer if she had any ideas:
How the rain messed up your hair and why lesbians are so cool.

Then I asked MM:
You could write about Mormons, actually just one Mormon named J that your friend works with who won’t drink coffee because he can’t have caffeine but will drink Coca-Cola. That’s annoying to me…those crazy Mormons and their crazy rules.

Then MS, who was clearly not indulging me:
How about writing about the ridiculousness of asking friends what ridiculous topics you could write ridiculousness about.

And The Librarian:

Write about how pathetic it is when you are 34 years old and lusting after a fictional character that is in high school. And you actually spend time thinking up why said character would be perfect for you. Not that I have done that or anything.

I quite obviously rule, having managed to write a post comprised of nothing but suggestions for posts.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to reward myself with a brownie cheese danish from Au Bon Pain.



I just returned from Spanish class, where, to my great relief, we spent some time learning 'state of being'.

My teacher tolerates a lot of questions. Ridiculous questions.

So tonight, in addition to the usual 'I am happy/sad/tired', thanks to my persistent queries, we practiced how to say:

I am in a rage.
I am furious.
I am disgusted.

And thanks to everyone else in the class, we know:

I am delighted.
I am fantastic.
I am super.


You Were Never Mine!

And yes, I'm aware that this sounds like every other song they've released. I still defend my decision to love it.



I have 2 days left.

Last week, I decided to give myself a specified amount of time to react to my latest disaster in whatever way I thought was most appropriate.

I’ve chosen to go out and drink. Every. Single. Night.

There are alternate coping mechanisms available to me (wallowing, yoga, toilet papering, ice cream) but alcohol has always come through in the past. No need for a change in methodology which might exacerbate the difficulty of the healing process. Plus, I think adhering to a plan in troubled times can give one a sense of stability. Furthermore, sometimes it’s best to delay the inevitable coursework: Review of Relationship – Good Times And Bad; Living With Your Decision, Even Though It Was The Right One; Introspection 101 - until you’re ready for it.

Also, it’s fun to get drunk.

In the spirit of following my treatment plan, I went to Trivia Night at the Crocodile Lounge with H & L, two of the Book Club girls. The questions were surprisingly difficult but we managed to come in 6th place (holla!), despite a truly horrendous showing in the ‘Current Events’ category. (It turns out that we don’t know any Current Events unless they’re in Us Weekly or AM New York.) Oh, and the bar provides a free individual pizza with every drink purchase, so that means dinner *and* drunk snacks are covered. I’m already recruiting new team members for next week’s contest – The Librarian would totally kick ass at this sort of thing (both the trivia and the pizza-eating).

The upshot of all this excitement is that I’m tired today. I’ve been tired for what feels like a long time. Thankfully, life has intervened, and my monthly volunteering shift, which precludes any alcohol consumption, is scheduled on Saturday night. This coincides neatly with the end of this little social experiment that I’ve conducted with myself.

And for the next 2 days, I can continue to ‘cope’ like a rock star.

Addendum: By some strange twist of fate, L saw Anderson Cooper on her way home last night, and H has a remote connection to him through a co-worker. We're totally scheming to ask him to be on our trivia team. Because then, hopefully, current events would be covered.



I was recently explaining my beloved calendar scheduling methods to someone, and he said 'I had no idea you were that organized.' Um, what? Do you know me at all? Next you're going to start using Words I Hate and mocking my string cheese addiction. (Oh, wait, you actually have done both of those things. Nevermind.)

However much I prize neatness, order, and structure...I can still be as disorganized as the next person. Take, for example, this past week when I went shopping, then remembered that I needed to pay rent, but that (as a result of the shopping) I would need to deposit my latest paycheck in order to pay my rent, and then the added layer of being annoyed that I still hadn't set up direct deposit, so that all this maneuvering would require a trip to the bank during business hours. And then there was the utter absurdity of forgetting until Sunday evening that I *still* hadn't deposited my paycheck, and then glancing at my calendar and realizing that November 1st was, in fact, happening on Wednesday.

The result: a meandering trip to the bank on Sunday night (deposit), then another visit this morning (certified check), followed by a stopover at my management company to hand them the rent. No worries, though, because a) it was a beautiful day to be walking around b) my management company had a bowl of Twix at the front desk and c) the accountant at my management company (who caught me pilfering several Twix, but seemed amused by it) is seriously cute.

I'm sure I'll come up with a better system next month. Or not.