Monday, October 27, 2008

In Bloom

I'm all in pink today and I love it! I remember when I was little and I read Anne of Green Gables, Anne wore a pink dress despite her red hair. Well, my hair is red (-ish) and I feel just like Anne this morning.

I had a nice weekend, overall, although life is happening (on life's terms!) and so even my nice weekend was infused with its fair share of anxiety.

On Friday I spent the entire day with Sesame. She slept in my arms for hours. She is an angel. And she gained a little weight-- she put on 8 oz this week, so she's up to 5 lbs, 15 oz.

Anyway, I need to schedule a medical procedure and am having some difficulty finding a date that will work with my teaching schedule. That was the first source of stress. My visit to the doctor on Saturday was a success, though. NDN drove me there-- all the way out to Long Island-- as he had some sort of medical conference to attend. After the appointment, I went back to my parents' house, spent a precious hour with my precious niece (before BigSis and Bro-in-Law left for his parents), hung out with LilSis, laughing at the kitchen table, and then tried to help my mom figure out how to rearrange the furniture in my stepdad's office. NDN came to pick me up and stayed for a while before our dreary ride home. No-- it was not his company that was dreary, but rather, the weather and our choice of playlist. There was a gray sky and big fat raindrops on the LIE. We listened to a "suicide soundtrack" that we made two years ago-- all depressing songs depicting people about to off themselves.

On Saturday night, my friend Drew came over. We ordered in Chinese and just talked and talked. Those gray raindrops had converted into a full blown thunderstorm. My windows rattled and the sky lit up with some very dramatic lightning. After Drew went home, Narc came by.

On the Narc front, he had a tough week. Despite his commitment (made in June) not to drink, he went out three nights this past week, including Wednesday and Thursday in a row. He ended up with several injuries and didn't feel good about it. On Wednesday night, he called me drunk from Bar & Books. He had been with CouchSleeper, but Couchy had gone home and so Narc was there alone. I got worried, given his medical condition, and didn't sleep well for the rest of the night. I called him several times and texted him several times the next day, but heard nothing back. So, aside from my kick-ass voice lesson on Wednesday, I spent most of the day riddled with anxiety about something over which I have no control. I finally heard from him at around 6:00 PM-- just as I was heading into AA. He and his friends were out and he invited me to join.

To make a long story short- he ended up picking up a $890 tab for his friends and drinking himself into obliteration. It's an unremarkable story except for the fact that it effects me differently. I feel differently. I worry more. I see it as so much more destructive. The further I am from being a "drinker" myself, the more insane it looks to me, watching others ingest some sort of toxin that makes them unable to walk, talk, remember or make decisions. WHY??

Anyway, I went down to him on Friday and Narc stayed over at my place on Saturday night. On Sunday afternoon, he headed home while I got a few hours of work done. That evening, I headed out to a yoga class. I had been invited by Narc's friend, the Jeweler, to join her for an invitation-only, kundalini practice in the penthouse apartment at the Trump World Center. I have never, ever, EVER seen an apartment like that one. It was mind-blowing. The yoga was pretty good too. I had no experience with kundalini, so it was challenging and a little strange, but I liked the chanting. There were only five women there, and we got to watch the sun set over Manhattan through enormous, floor to ceiling, wrap-around windows, while doing yoga. Pretty cool.

Anyway, I have to go teach in a few minutes, so I better get going-- am giving midterms today.

But I just wanted to note-- I have made a few re-commitments to myself in order to keep myself sane:

-Spend more nights sleeping in my own bed
-Pray and meditate regularly
-Take my vitamins and medications daily
-Continue to work on my apartment project
-Do my 10th step regularly.

As such, I have a resentment I need to write out. Nothing big-- just upset at my cousin who's in town from Jerusalem, but failed to give me or my sisters a call. We haven't seen her in 10 years, and it's kind of a sensitive issue, as that Jerusalem-family is our only living connection to our father.

Oh well... At least I have a tool to help me deal with the feelings.

Hope you're all well out there!

Lots of love,

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Beautiful Necessity

I am planning an overhaul of my apartment. I am equipped with two things-- a copy of Apartment Therapy (an 8-step "home cure") and my Pre-Raphaelite imagination that wants to drown in William Morris patterns. Clearly, I am aware of the limitations of this dream, but it's a starting point, nonetheless.

So... that's what I'm thinking about today.

It has been a busy week. On Friday I spent the day with Sesame, the new love of my life. BigSis and I took her to the doctor for a shot and a weigh-in. She was up to 5 lbs, 7 oz, and the doctor was pleased. On Saturday night, Narc and I went to see a production of the new "Woyzeck" at BAM. Nick Cave did the music, it got a decent review, and it was staged with flying trapeze artists and tubes of water. I was looking forward to it, but unfortunately, it sucked. Big time. Narc was pretty woozy that night, as well, as he had been out drinking the night before. He has barely had anything to drink since his blood clot scare back in June, so his tolerance is way down. He ended up with a gash on his shoulder and a bruise on his side, the size of the palm of my hand. Afterwards, we got takeout and lounged at his place.

Yesterday I had coffee with Hammer at "the Siegel Diner." We had a good chat. I barely see her anymore. In fact, I barely see most of my friends anymore. I'm just too busy. I don't know when it happened-- when life snuck up on me like that-- or if it's just that I'm trying to keep active friendships going with way too many people. But sometimes, maintaining a social life is exhausting. Tonight I'm going to see some people from AA (looking forward to catching up with Meema and Pixie!) and tomorrow I'm supposed to have dinner with Jake. On Friday, it's off for another day with Sesame and on Saturday I'm going to Long Island (both for a doctor's appointment and to see my mom.) Oh-- and although I didn't report it when it happened, NDN and I welcomed Tamika into our neighborly "alliance." She was inducted on Thursday, October 16th at Zarela. (The crab tostadas were yummmm!)

Anyway-- it all leads me to one big, fat question: WHEN AM I GOING TO DO MY WRITING? It's stressing me out. Writing lesson plans for this British History class is sucking up so much of my time and energy that there's not much left for my paper-writing. Especially when you add in the hours I spend actually teaching, going to AA, working with my sponsee, taking my voice lessons, visiting my family, etc. I only spend the evenings with Narc-- when everything else is through-- but that takes away from my downtime at home. And with my dreams of "apartment therapy" in place, I need that time to putter in my house, to de-clutter and to dust.

Is this post becoming one giant complaint? I didn't intend for it to come out that way. Actually-- life is good right now. Life is very good. I love the Fall. My cheeks feel rosy. I am in love with a new lip gloss; and I am obsessed with Rossetti's painting of "Pandora." What could be better?

Um... what else? I don't know. My hands are cold. I set up a Twitter account, hoping it might unblock my blogger's block. We'll see if it has any effect.

The other night Hud was on TV. Narc and I watched it, even though it kept us up until almost 3:00 AM. I love that movie.

Hud: Man like that sounds no better than a heel.

Alma: Aren't you all?

Hud: Honey, don't go shooting all the dogs 'cause one of 'em's got fleas.

Alma: I was married to Ed for six years. Only thing he was ever good for was to scratch my back where I couldn't reach it.

Hud: You still got that itch?

Alma: Off and on.

Hud: Well let me know when it gets to bothering you.

Question: How did Paul Newman manage to be so damn sparkling?


Anyway, I have to teach again in a few, so I better go get my head in the game and go over my class notes. I hope you are all well out there!

Lots of love,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Facade

I am drinking diet Mountain Dew... on the rocks. There is something grossly unnatural about that. The sun is out, but my hands are cold. I'm tired and don't want to be reading about factory reform.

The other night when I was out to dinner with Narc and his friends, something struck me-- many people talk themselves up and sell themselves with ease. I can't seem to come by that skill. In fact, it always surprises me when I see others doing it. One woman at the table introduced herself as a jeweler. It turns out that although she has an academic background in "European silver and gold," she has only just started taking classes in jewelry making. I don't introduce myself as a "historian." Maybe I should... maybe I am... But I tend to say that I'm a "grad student."

I was at a doctor's office with my mom a few weeks ago and mentioned that I'm on a semester schedule.

"Oh, you're in college!" said the nurse.

I just smiled and didn't say anything.

"She TEACHES college!" my mom piped up.

I felt "bad" about that for some reason.

Again-- at dinner on Sunday night, Narc was making some reference to Dante's Inferno. To prove his point (which was a rather ridiculous point), he insisted that he had read the Inferno in the original Italian. Everyone at the table nodded solemnly, as such a statement commanded immediate respect. But I had to try hard not to roll my eyes. Narc doesn't speak Italian! How could he say something like that and not expect to get caught?

Later, back at his place, I called him out.

"You don't speak Italian," I pointed out.

"Yes, but I read it in the original Italian. In my edition it's printed side by side with the English."

"No shit. It's that way in my edition too. But just because you physically read the Italian words, if you didn't understand them and translate them, I don't think it qualifies as having read it in the 'original Italian.'"

"Of course it does," he said.

The conversation began to teeter on an argument, and I didn't want to have one of those over something so trivial. It wasn't even that I cared about the lie. It just struck me as an incredible ability to effortlessly inflate himself. Why can't I do that? I don't even want to make things up! I just want to be able to own what I actually have achieved.

In any case, I really liked the Jeweler. She remembered the Lalique exhibit at Cooper Hewitt that transformed me back in 1999; and she had read Ruskin's Sesame & Lilies and Mary Wollstonecraft. She invited me to a class with her yoga guru who apparently has a penthouse (or something like it) in Trump Tower.

Ugh... I hate the mouse on the computer here in the Adjunct office. It get stuck makes me want to smash it into shards against the wall.

Ok... back to dreary factories and abused children. Have to get the lesson plan done in the next half hour... Looking forward to tonight's debate.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Sesame and Lilies

I can't believe it's been a month. I don't know if I can even really call myself a blogger anymore. But, in any case, I'm still here... I'm still alive. I'm still figuring things out.

The best and most important news is that BigSis had the baby!!! Sesame (as she will heretofore be known) was born a week ago today- a tiny little thing at five and a half pounds with a full head of black hair. She has big. beautiful gray eyes and is the most perfect, amazing baby I could imagine. I fell madly in love with her on first sight and so for the past week I've been with my family nearly every day. I just can't stay away from my niece! It helped that I had a few days off from teaching between the Jewish holidays and Columbus Day and all that. But, it's back to work tomorrow.

On the Narc front, everything is calm-- so calm that there's hardly anything to report. We had a "perfect" day two Fridays ago. I wanted to blog about it, but... Anyway, we started the day (a twinkling Fall day on which I felt pretty in my clothes) at MoMA where I got to see Kirchner's "Street Scene" paintings, quite a sight after having only had access to muted reproductions. The colors were electric and the brush strokes slashed me, but felt like feathers. The whole effect was rather hallucinatory. After that, we walked North through Central Park and had dinner at Sabarsky. Then we browsed the book store before attending a lecture at the Met on London in the Jazz Age. Finally, that night we went to see Bill Mahr's movie-- Religulous.

Meema was staying with me for a while, as she's going through some major transitions in her personal life. Since she moved out, I've been with Narc nearly every night. We've gone out with his friends, and that barrier seems to completely have come down. It's strange that he integrates me into his life now, because I can't seem to integrate him into mine. We were out for dinner last night with three of his friends. There was a heated debate about whether or not we are entirely ruled by evolutionary instincts. I don't know... I have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach about the two of us. Nothing dramatic or knotted or sick... just a little bitter taste that I can't seem to shake and an underlying anxiety that something is just wrong. I don't know if it makes any sense that my niece should make any difference in all of this, but since she was born, I feel even more like I'm in a hole I have to squirm out of. I really want to move on. I know I've been saying that forever and haven't done it, but I have made some insanely huge changes in my life, so I have faith that this one is just next on the list.

What else...? As I lost a lot of weight this year, I have been having a blast shopping for Fall clothes. BigSis helped me pick out a gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous Calvin Klein winter coat. I even bought a few pairs of high heels (with Meema's help) and I've been practicing traipsing around the city (on days in which my schedule requires minimal walking!). Um... what else? My sponsee and I "broke up," although I'm now working with another woman, so it all worked out. I'm back to taking voice lessons and loving it. Right now I'm just beginning to learn Tatiana's letter scene from Onegin and Sieglinde's narrative from Walkure.

Speaking of the opera, Anxious and I saw a phenomenal production of Salome on Saturday. Karita Mattila got totally nude, there was a sudden, quite unexpected, passionate suicide, and the libretto included references to rare items such as "turquoise that can make you see things that aren't there." Awesome.

Today I had lunch with B and his wife "D." (I'll have to call her that, as her previous name just isn't nice.) It was the best interaction I've yet to have with her. I think she accepted the olive branch I extended when I offered my apartment for her (co-ed) baby shower.

Oh-- I had a little drama that I neglected to write about when it happened. Narc inadvertently met TT. That was a little weird. I would get into the whole story, but it was a few weeks ago and doesn't really seem to matter anymore at this point.

Anyway, I'll try to post more often and I'll try to get back online and read everyone's blogs. I've been gone for too long! Part of it is that I have absolutely no down time these days. I'm never home, and the afternoon time I have in between teaching (when I used to do a lot of my blogging) is spent writing lesson plans for my British History class.

I'm turning 30 in a few months. I think I'll be ready for it just in time... :)