Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The woman who recorded the soothing announcements for the Tube transportation system got sacked after making an off handed remark to the Times of London. Clarke was quoted as saying the tube is awful - and as a somewhat regular London tourist, I'd occasionally agree - but the fact of the matter is she was referring to the experience of hearing her own voice while using the public transportation.
Anyone who has visited the stunning city on the Thames is familiar with Clarke's calm warnings and announcements, "Thank you for traveling on the Central line." Her voice and delivery are smooth, comforting and graceful - a perfect welcome for a flustered commuter or a weary traveler thousands of miles from home.
Clarke has a clever blog featuring some spoof Tube announcements. Some of them address the perverts you'll encounter while traipsing from pub to club on a night out on the town.
Others poke fun at the reputation that Londoners are cold, egotistical and self important. "Residents of London are reminded there are other places in Britain outside your stinking shit hole of a city, and if you remove your heads from your asses for just a couple of minutes, you may realize that the M 25 is not the edge of the earth."
Perhaps the folks at the TfL should take heed of that sentiment.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Sherri Ann Cabot in Best in Show
There's something about the lull that is wonderful.
The time and place when you can sit with someone and just be - together. It can happen from time to time with a new acquaintance, but more and more it spontaneously occurs with a soul you've known for a while.
I love that comfortable, stressless moment when I don't have to grapple for a question, comment or other conversational nugget to rile a response from my company. Conversations that flow freely are delicious, but sometimes it feels good to just experience the surroundings with someone without saying a word.
I started thinking about this after having a conversation with my friend Josie. I became friends with this hilarious man years ago and we got re-acquainted after discovering we live in the same city once again. He's the kind of guy whom I can have a beer with and not really wonder what's happening under the surface. Our friendship is a simple layer of authentic honesty - we can sit there and watch TV or go out to a local watering hole and not wonder about the unsaid.
Because there isn't much that's unsaid. It's all out there - simple, understood and not complicated.
Marriages, familial bonds - those can get complicated because the relationships have a tendency for intensity on occasion. But friendships - those are supposed to be easy. Those are the experiences where we shouldn't be expected to try hard. Those are the relationships where we're supposed to feel good being ourselves and enjoying another person's genuine company.
And sometimes that means not saying a word.Mia: Don't you hate that? Vincent: What? Mia: Uncomfortable silences. Why do we feel it's necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable? Vincent: I don't know. That's a good question. Mia: That's when you know you've found somebody special. When you can just shut the fuck up for a minute and comfortably enjoy the silence.
Monday, November 26, 2007
I sat in the back seat of the Volvo wagon and stared out the window at the trees on fire with leaves of crimson and goldenrod and sunset. I've always been one of those staring out the window people - I guess it's what happens when I'm easily distracted and not interested in my surroundings. I used to stare out the window on the school bus and am equally amused staring out of the glass on a train in Amsterdam in my adult years.
But yesterday it was all down-home, Southern spun Tennessee, complete with Mother Nature's own way of showing her pride in the damned Volunteers.
The woods were full of fallen logs and drifting leaves. I gazed at the natural surroundings, yearning to put on some boots and crunch around in the earth and dried up foliage.
That's how I spent the autumn afternoons of my childhood.
I'd trudge outside to the big hill behind our house and wiggle my way through overgrown weeds and vines beneath the massive black walnut tree. Those woods were full of clean, black dirt, and if I close my eyes and focus I can still smell the fresh scent of faded chloroform and virgin earth. I'd poke at wet, wiggly worms with a stick and dig my fingers through the dirt to pull out pretty weeds and unusual vegetation. I'd gingerly climb up and down ravines, holding on to branches and rocks, making my way to creek beds full of fossils and tadpoles.
I'd inhale deeply and smell smoke wafting from a chimney on a nearby home.
Those were the days before cell phones and Amber Alerts and sex offender registries. Those were the days when we had to be home before dark. Those were the days when a little dirt on the pants wouldn't get in the way of a good time.
Those were the days when we'd lean up against a tree to pee if we knew we wouldn't make it home in time.
Coat pockets would get stuffed with vibrant leaves and sparkly rocks and other treasures worth their weight in gold to a little girl of nine years old. We'd make special markings and bend branches in skewed directions to make paths through the thicket behind the house. Our random trails would wind behind homes and subdivisions and neighborhoods - a little kingdom of our own just footsteps away from the rushing reality of Montgomery Road.
These days I spend more time in the car than I do in the fresh air.
I enjoy nature from the plate of glass that separates my dashboard from the great outdoors. I spend five, no, three minutes walking the asphalt terrain of the parking lot at the office. I begrudgingly flick on my windshield wipers to wave away maple leaves and I shutter at the thought of dirt under my fingernails.
But am I any happier?
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Dear Amy: I'm in love with one of my best guy friends. The only thing is, he doesn't know how I feel. It's hard for me to see him just walk by without him even knowing how I feel about him. Should I tell him that I like him and give him this letter I have held onto for about four months, or should I just sit there and wait until he notices that I like him? I don't want to sit around waiting for him to notice, but I don't know how he'll react. I'd rather have him in my life as a friend than not at all. I would truly do anything for him, and I mean anything. He's my life and he doesn't know it. How do I make the move without losing his friendship? When do you know it's the right time to say something and not get rejected from both the friendship and the love connection?-- Love Sick
Dear Sick: Giving a guy a letter you've been carrying around for four months probably isn't a good idea, especially if it's all crumpled and stained from being in the bottom of your backpack. I vote for first having coffee, chai tea or a slushy. It can be awful to carry a torch for a friend, but if you can relax and pull back a little from those "He's my life, and he doesn't even know it" feelings, then your head will clear and you'll approach this more rationally. This is a delicate business. Sometime soon, you can say, "You know I have a little crush on you, right?" Don't hit him with a letter, poetry or lyrics from an Indigo Girls song. Keep it simple, watch his reaction and if he's a friend, he'll be honest with you. And even if you're disappointed, you'll understand and respect his answer.
Click here to read more Ask Amy.
Monday, November 19, 2007
I guess it was too many nights Chez Moi with Tony Soprano and Crane Lake and the growing list of obligations in my day planner.
Somehow my priorities shifted and my distractions intensified, and I kind of stopped caring about how I looked. I took a break from the gym, my make-up bag and I grew my hair out.
All that long hair led to an endless supply of hair clips and rubber bands and bobby pins - and the growing neglect of my flat iron, curling iron and hot rollers. It wasn't always pretty, that mass of blonde and copper streaked hair - tied up in a messy knot on the top of my head. Sometimes I looked more like a librarian (not the naughty kind) than I did a Swingin' Single.
I had to take matters into my own hands Saturday.
Okay, that's not entirely true. It was all my stylist's doing.
I threw my dirty hair into a pony tail and made it to the salon with time to spare. I was nervous and yet anxious about the supposed metamorphosis I was about to undergo. My long mane had become a safety net of sorts - a gossamer veil I could hide behind and use to conceal my potential. My uptight buns were a weapon that helped me hide from suggestive flirtation and putting myself out there.
And sometimes it's just easier to avoid the mess and the games and the insecurities of putting yourself out there.
Complacency - that's another element in this scenario. I think I came to accept certain assumptions I made about the world. Plainly said, I think I came to accept the possibility that I'll be single for the rest of my life.
Likely not, in all honesty, but sometimes that's how it feels when your place card is perennially assigned to the Sans Date table.
And then I shook the kaleidoscope. You know - the same sparkly pieces are in the picture, but they're all in a different place and I like the scene a lot better. I'm comfortable with my universe, I'm okay with the here and now and am even more excited about the tomorrow.
I joined a gym.
I cut off more than six inches of my hair.
And I've rediscovered some of the old tricks in make-up bag.
This could be fun.
Friday, November 16, 2007
What was your first “real” job?
I was a bus girl at The Wharf Restaurant at the Madison Beach Hotel in Madison, Connecticut. It's the same historic hotel where Art Carney worked alongside his two brothers when he was a younger man. Bridge, Mickdizzle and I followed in their footsteps, sisters side by side in the kitchen, on the floor and in the waitress station. I got my hands dirty, I worked hard and I learned a lot about the real world.
I loved it.
Where would you go if you wanted to spark your creativity?
Either a low key, independent coffee shop/tea house (Kaldi's or Essencha come to mind) or someplace along the water.
Complete this sentence: I am embarrassed when…
I am rebuffed.
What values did your parents instill in you?
Honesty. Loyalty. Forgiveness. Kindness.
Name 3 fads from your teenage years.
The Real World
10. Kates playground Screeched
9. 80s leg warmers
8. beverley italy pop taste bad
7. sticky fingers and pie
6. random boobage pictures
6. "holy socks! collecting"
5. evenings performance
4. peter pan syndrome more:condition_symptoms
3. red leather pant wet
2. Kwanzaa lyrics + "let's get together"
1. kissing other than spouse on new years eve
Thursday, November 15, 2007
People in China are making hair ties and rubber bands out of used condoms.
The recycled rubbers are popular because they're colorful and cheap.
I'm all for recycling, but this takes the reduce-reuse concept to a whole new level.
A super-gross level.
Here's a snippet from USA Today:
"There are a lot of bacteria and viruses on the rubber bands and hair ties made from used condoms," a dermatologist at the Guangzhou Hospital of Armed Police, who asked to be identified by his surname Dong, told the local paper. "People could be infected with AIDS, warts or other diseases if they hold the rubber bands or strings in their mouths while weaving their hair into plaits or buns."
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I remember my prom like it was yesterday.
I wore this fantastic, black, empire waist dress with the tiniest of spaghetti straps. My neck was draped with a fine, black wrap for the beginning of the evening (it was way more trouble than it was worth) and I pinned my head up with a black flower.
I don't think I was going for a macabre mood as much as I was completely infatuated with black in 1995.
My date wore a traditional tux with white gloves and even toted along a cane. I don't know if Jason fancied himself something of a Bat Masterson type. Regardless, I picked out the ever popular sunflower as a boutonniere for the one prominent display of cheer between the two of us.
The prom was 45 minutes away from our little town. Jason managed to get a Lincoln Town Car from a family friend for out ride to and from the event - I don't think limos were a big damn deal for proms back in the day in Connecticut. We spent the majority of the ride talking about Jason's supposed ties to the mafia and how anxious we were to get out of our tiny fishbowl of a town.
The evening wasn't a complete let-down, but I sure don't think the dance managed to eclipse any of my classmates' pie-in-the-sky fantasies and expectations of what was to transpire while dancing to Gangsta's Paradise beneath the shiny disco ball.
I spent so many hours getting pumped for what I thought was to be the pinnacle of my high school career.
Hours preening and primping in front of the mirror... getting my hair style just so. Contimplating the perfect accessories ...Should I wear these earrings, or these?... Trying to decide between the velvet pumps I got at Payless and the black satin sandals left over from the previous summer.
I'm getting ready to relive the anticipation that comes with a showy shindig.
I've mentioned Late Night in the Amazon before. A bunch of my friends and I are pulling out all the stops and getting dressed to the nines for our big night out.
It's gonna be kind of like a Big Girl Prom.
I've already got a hair cut scheduled that morning, and then I'll trot off to find a spectacular top to wear at the big fete.
The day is already so predictable. Morning hair appointment. Daytime shopping expedition. Afternoon of napping. Then I'll pop open a bottle of wine or a cold microbrew and turn on the radio. The ten-year-old speakers will blast a whimsical mix of James, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Garbage and I will roll up my pajama bottoms before covering my toe nails with a bright, shiny coat of something pretty. Next up, some Netflixing while my nails dry and then I'll hop in the shower for a quick encounter with the body wash (my hair gets a pass thanks to the morning spent at the stylist).
That's when Wardrobe takes over.
My stylist (a.k.a. me) will scrounge through a variety of necklaces and earrings and bracelets and handbags and shoes before making a final decision on the ensem. I'll get dressed and then assume the position in front of the bathroom vanity.
Eyebrows plucked? Check.
Eyelashes curled? Check.
Lips lined? Check.
I'll troll through a bag full of frosted, vivid colors until I settle on something that simutaneously compliments my coloring and my wardrobe selection.
As you can see - hours of thought and ceremony will go into the preparation for the Big Girl Prom.
And then I'll toss on my coat, hop in my car and brace for the only thing that's not predictible about the evening...
... the night itself.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Sure - that's not the terminology you'd read in JAMA, but I'd say that's a fair description for what happens when your body is sedentary. The same is true for your brain - those nerve endings and cells die away if you don't fire up the synapses in the gray muscle between the ears.
A friendship operates on much of the same principle.
It's nice to think friendships are easy, and in fact, most of the times they are. How can they not be? The laughing and the good times help to push along a solid connection over time. But like any relationship, sometimes you hit a bump in the road and you have to work to get the situation back on track. On occasion, those moments call for a rough conversation or a tough confession to help put things in perspective.
There's a great Indian proverb I love. Don't let grass grow on the path of friendship. I found that quip when I was in high school and I scrawled it in a blank notebook of mine. I guess it was relevant to the time and I find myself pulling at the words yet again.
The days on a calendar run into weeks and then months, and all along the way weeds of distraction and pesky priorities have a way cropping up and pulling us from those friendships. In other instances its harsh words or a disagreement that tears away at those fragile bonds.
And that's when you've got to flex that friendship muscle to help get everything back in shape.
I look back on my life and I can recall a list of people whom I called friend at one time. I became friends with some of those people for a reason and still others for a season. I am blessed to have still other friendships that I expect to enjoy for a lifetime (I'm sure you've read that e-mail before, too). Those lifetime friendships - those are the ones I've fought for. Those are the ones that have weathered the most miles and the roughest terrain, and yet they're also the most solid of all my relationships.
I didn't speak to one of my closest friends for almost a year.
A rough situation cropped up and for whatever reason she and I couldn't compromise amicably. We'd exchange terse hellos and quick e-mails required only because we had to do business with each other. Months passed and nobody said I'm sorry and nobody said I forgive you.
That's until my friend was about to experience a major milestone - a baby! - and she didn't want to go through it without sharing her joy with me.
And so someone said I'm sorry and someone said I forgive you, and we've enjoyed a solid friendship ever since.
Tonight we're going to see a Broadway show together at the Aronoff in downtown Cincinnati. On rare occasions we've talked about that dark period and we laugh it off, because all these years later it seems so silly.
Because looking back on it - it was.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
That's the question posed to me last night by a girl casting for The Bachelor show.
I ran into Crystal at One World Wednesday at the Art Museum. She was looking for TV-worthy candidates for the next series of episodes, and I visited with her for a bit while volunteering at a table in the grand hall.
I caught up with her later in the evening and asked how the prospects were turning out.
She said there were plenty of attractive men out and about but they were all too short.
Crystal said the handsome candidate had to be at least 6' tall.
I have to say - I have a thing for tall men, too. But I guess the pre-req didn't wash with me because I know I've met plenty of handsome men with a smaller stature.
Besides - Crystal said she found only one candidate in Chicago the week before...
So I don't know how well she'd fare in the Queen City.
I've been looking here for my own Bachelor for almost three years.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
9. My future is a world that includes Lou Diamond Phillips in tights.
7. My landlord has finally turned the heat on in the apartment building. I suffered through a cold run for a while but finally the temperatures have cranked up and I'm not piling the layers on like an Eskimo anymore.
6. Every girl loves getting her hairr did. I'm getting mine chopped off in just over a week and am damn anxious about it. I am not joining the masses and getting The Pob but I am going with something a bit shorter than my current style.
5. Like I've said before, every girl needs a trip to look forward to. I don't have any grand plans in motion yet but a girls' weekend road trip could be on the horizon. I'm already packing my bags...
4. I have about a case of beer and four unopened bottles of wine at home. It's a party - just add water and stir.
3. Every soul needs to nurture some creativity once in a while - I'm getting ready to make my latest necklace. I create chunky pieces with semi-precious stones. Here's a look at a couple I've done:
Chunky amethyst with turquoise pendant
Turquoise with cherry quartz stone (and GOP Big Wig on the left)
My next piece will involve turquoise beads (surprise, surprise) and cut black onyx. I can't wait.
2. I get to reunite with my lover tomorrow night - Netflix just sent me the first disc of the last season.
1. The week is more than half over.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
But all that will change Saturday, November 17th.
I am one of the hosts for the late night after party - and it's going to be a blast.
On November 17th, the ballroom at Music Hall will be transformed into a steamy, exotic Amazon rainforest – complete with a rushing river!
DJ Will Benson will spin hot, pulsating beats (he used to open for Moby) and Funky’s Catering is sure to lay out a delicious spread during the Midnight Buffet.
The Late Night party is going to be one of the hottest Young Professional events of the season.
Each ticket also includes one drink.
The party is Cocktail Attire - i.e. a pretty dress or a cool, festive top with black pants for girls...for guys - slacks or a suit.
You can click here for more information and to buy your tickets – they’re $30 in advance or $40 at the door. The party runs from 10:30 pm to 1 am.