31 March 2009

Is this home...

I alluded to this point in my last post, but I've been experiencing some apartment drama lately.  I don't know if I've talked about my apartment on here, but I got very lucky last year.  I live in a gorgeous, full-service building right outside of Washington, DC in Arlington, VA.  My building has soft lighting, a DVD library, wonderful concierges, a gym with the latest equipment, a business center, conference rooms, a washer and dryer in each apartment, balconies...it has been glorious and I feel so lucky.  It has vanilla-frozen-yogurt-colored walls that the lights seem to caress.  My kitchen has a roominess that I completely lacked in New York.  I am within a 2-minute walk to the indie coffee shop where everybody knows my name (literally) and I don't have to feel like a corporate sell-out.  And now I might have to leave.  I might have to leave the wonderful little quirky cottage existence that I have created in this building that spoiled me with both safety and luxury, for a very reasonable price tag.
My roommate told me a few days ago that she wants to move into DC, which I have no urge to do.  I teach in Virginia, so it doesn't make any sense to move further in, and I honestly feel like most areas of DC that would be affordable lack the safety that I have in my little nook of VA.  My lease is up on May 31.  Because I don't know if I will be able to find another roommate (who is sane-- I refuse to chance it with Craigslist), we had to give our notice today.  I am hoping that I will in fact find someone and be able to avoid moving.  I've developed certain standards of living-- and a need for space (the "teacher stuff": takes up an entire corner)-- that simply cannot be met if I move somewhere on my own.  Every place that I've found would cost me somewhere topping $1700 a month.  The more reasonable places are in an area where a friend of mine got her car broken into a couple of months ago and where I would never feel safe.  And let's face it-- I am not good with change, and I don't know if I can handle another move.  I am still recovering from the last one.  
My roommate has it easy.  She is not the one who hunted for apartments last year, so she has no idea what a hassle it is.  She does not have any furniture to move-- everything is mine.  She has lots of friends who will be possible new DC roommates.  Unfortunately, I feel like I have fewer and fewer real friends here.  I've recently discovered that my graduate school friends are shallow, lack empathy, and are really not worth my time.  My friends from college, although they are wonderful, are too party-focused to be compatible roommates for me, and they all have secured housing arrangements anyway.  I've been so exhausted from teaching that I have not been doing anything remotely social for the longest time, and now I find that I cannot list a single possible roommate who might save me from having to move.  I have a few months before it becomes a real issue, but I just feel so frustrated and semi-betrayed.  I have enough on my mind, trying to become the person I am supposed to be and being responsible for 125 little lives (and my own!).  It is so hard to feel like I belong, to get my external surroundings to suit my insides.  I've made my magic dream cottage here.  I don't want to leave it.
My ideal roommate would be someone in her early- to mid-twenties who is kind and quirky, someone considerate and relatively neat (but not obsessively so), who likes to cook and enjoys a spontaneous dance party.  She would enjoy reruns of forensic television dramas but would be just as willing to watch Gigi or To Catch a Thief.  She would know that Guster is not an indie band and would think A Fine Frenzy is the best thing since sliced bread.  She would enjoy a glass of wine (or several) but not crazy drunkenness and would have a mostly clean-living lifestyle (and would definitely lack a crazy revolving door of men or an always-present boyfriend!  Ugh, we've learned from the past).  She would appreciate granny-chic and would be non-judgmental, responsible, positive, and human.  I don't think that's too much to ask!  I just have no idea how to find it.  Do you?
(top image from here)

(oh, and happy 30th to Exbf...a thousand kisses deep...!)

28 March 2009


Maybe I should avoid margaritas...because with alcohol as a depressant, all I can due is stress about my current apartment situation (more to come about that later) and rail against my mother for fixing me up with anyone and everyone's nephew, son, or cousin's neighbor's coworker.  How about some standards?  How about not making me feel like I am so worthless on my own that I am better off with anyone's desperate (and completely unattractive) relative?  It makes me feel like this...

24 March 2009

who'd have thought that love could be so caffeinated?

A bit of context first.  I think I have already talked on here about how I used to be a huge musical theater dork in high school.  "Dork" may be the wrong term, because the girls who did musicals were actually the creme de la creme, although I wouldn't put myself in that category, and the boys who did musicals were the star athletes.  And the closeted gay men, of course.  (Side note: I could not for the life of me figure out in high school why Kevin C. didn't like me-- we both loved to bake, we both loved the song "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac...)
Anyway, around my junior year, a particular song was released by two cabaret songwriters; the song was an ode, if you will, to our beloved java purveyors.  I more than anyone know how much a coffee guy can make your day.  The only thing I was sad about when I left the Employer from Hell was leaving my corner coffee man.  He knew exactly how I like my coffee (skim milk and one sugar) and he would always slip free baked goods into my bag.  Years before this, I had had a different experience with a coffee guy when my local Caribou Coffee worker asked me on what turned out to be the most horrendous date of my life; I ended up avoiding that coffee place for the next three years.  Therefore, the song "Taylor the Latte Boy" always brings up equal parts nostalgia and nausea.
Every mezzo soprano out there who came of age in the early 2000s has sung "Taylor," with its heartfelt melody and saccharine sounds.  I clawed my way to find the [then unavailable] sheet music.  Now, however, it has become a bit of a cliche.  Which is why I particularly enjoy this hilarious rewrite.  Having lived in New York for a while, I find it too too apt.  Furthermore, I am filled with envy at this singer's comic timing, and it actually makes me nostalgic for the horrific customer service of New York City.  I know, the grass is always greener...

23 March 2009

Do you need someone, or do you need me?

Sometimes you just have to let the feathers fall where they may.  Yes, my Huckleberry Friend.

"You just described every great success story."

It's getting to be Farmer's Market weather...oh, how I miss Union Square and its apple cider donuts.  An apple feast-- fresh gala apples, the cinnamon-sugary donut, and hot cider.

I need a vacation.  And a tiara.  And a Fred Baby.

22 March 2009

it's so cold in Alaska

"Stephanie says
That she wants to know
Why she's given half her life
To people she hates now
Stephanie says
When answering the phone
What country shall I say is calling
From across the world
But she's not afraid to die
The people all call her Alaska
Between worlds so the people ask her
'Cause it's all in her mind
It's all in her mind
Stephanie says
That she wants to know
Why it is though she's the door
She can't leave the room
Stephanie says
But doesn't hang up the phone
What sea shell she is calling
From across the world
But she's not afraid to die
The people all call her Alaska
Between worlds so the people ask her
'Cause it's all in her mind
It's all in her mind
She asks you is it good or bad
It's such an icy feeling
It's so cold in Alaska
It's so cold in Alaska"

We shouldn't be like Stephanie.  We should always be our own room, not the door...and we should never be forced to feel like Alaska.  Of course it would get icy, being adrift and alone-- being an interloper, feeling like an uncongenial alien.  This is why the muses protest (I am reading a book about the artists' muses right now).  They do not want to be above the world, but of it.  The room, not the door.  I feel like in this place, in this city of politics and veneer, there is a lack of connection.  I long to sparkle the world and yet sometimes I agree-- it's so cold in Alaska.
That's why I am so glad that I started this blog over a year ago.  Every time I feel alone-- like Jane Eyre or another one of my Victorian heroines-- I get a glimpse of a footprint in the sand.  Have you ever seen The Apartment?  You all are the Jack Lemmon to my Shirley MacLaine.
"It's a wonderful thing, dinner for two."

"Over the sea and far away
She's waiting like an iceberg
Waiting to change
But she's cold inside
She wants to be like the water."

"Am I melting?
Please be happy
One day soon we might just swim
The moral to the story goes
Never leave your heart in a box
Locked up, with cold cold ice..."

"Now I'm no Jackanory
But this is allegory
We run to the world but we creep indoors
And I know I need you more now
To run and never turn around
Sparkle the world with what Alice found
And you, fall on me, and smash the TV
Rip out the stupid phone, we need a conversation
You feel this time
To be just mine is to shake the world alive."

20 March 2009

her heart is full and hollow...

There's a man who's been out sailing
In a decade full of dreams
And he takes her to a schooner
And he treats her like a queen
Bearing beads from California
With their amber stones and green
He has called her from the harbor
He has kissed her with his freedom
He has heard her off to starboard
In the breaking and the breathing
Of the water weeds
While she was busy being free

There's a man who's climbed a mountain
And he's calling out her name
And he hopes her heart can hear three thousand miles
He calls again
He can think her there beside him
He can miss her just the same
He has missed her in the forest
While he showed her all the flowers
And the branches sang the chorus
As he climbed the scaly towers
Of a forest tree
While she was somewhere being free

There's a man who sent a letter
And he's waiting for reply
He has asked her of her travels
Since the day they said goodbye
He writes 'Wish you were beside me
We can make it if we try'
He has seen her at the office
With her name on all his papers
Through the sharing of the profits
He will find it hard to shake her
From his memory
And she's so busy being free

There's a lady in the city
And she thinks she loves them all
There's the one who's thinking of her
There's the one who sometimes calls
There's the one who writes her letters
With his facts and figures scrawl
She has brought them to her senses
They have laughed inside her laughter
Now she rallies her defenses
For she fears that one will ask her
For eternity
And she's so busy being free

There's a man who sends her medals
He is bleeding from the war
There's a jouster and a jester and a man who owns a store
There's a drummer and a dreamer
And you know there may be more
She will love them when she sees them
They will lose her if they follow
And she only means to please them
And her heart is full and hollow
Like the cactus tree
While she's so busy being free

19 March 2009

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart. i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

I have bronchitis and cannot speak.  It is funny how all it takes is losing something to make you realize how important it is to your sanity.  I feel like Ariel in The Little Mermaid.  Fitting, because we both have red hair and often feel like we belong somewhere else.
I also have a sinus infection, which apparently DOES mess with the sanity, at least according to my father.  It has been making me really moody.  Two days ago I had the annual "my life is meaningless" freakout, which may be part of my anxieties that I've lost the ability to connect with my students.  A student who was angry at me wrote a really vicious, derogatory, and hurtful comment on the evaluation form I had the kids fill out, and other students remarked on my flaws as a teacher, which is always hard to swallow.  I just don't know what I am doing in this job if I can't make a difference in these kids' lives.  I went into teaching not because I want to teach grammar and writing.  I went into teaching because I love literature and I want to inspire these kids to lead better lives in which they know how to question, analyze, think, and learn from the things that came before us.  But I can't think about this anymore.  I am driving myself insane. 
This is the "Heart and Soul" nebula located in the constellation Casseopeia.  I don't know much about stars-- although I do know lots of constellations-- but I knew I was going to be on the subject of hearts, so I thought I would choose something beautiful and atypical.  I am completing Pixie July's Show Your Heart tag, in....

1 picture:
"Blossom Umbrella" by Erte.  My grandfather was an art dealer who specialized in Erte, and I fell in love with this seriograph when I was a little girl.  When he passed away, it became reserved for me, and in my New York apartment it hung above the couch between my green floral picture frames.  Now it is propped on my antique dresser, across from my bed.  It is the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning.  It makes me feel beautiful, just by its presence in my bedroom.  It is so deco, oh so Zelda Fitzgerald.  This was a tough choice for me-- we've got Waterhouse, Klimt, Kandinsky, all of whom I adore.  We've got Magritte, whose trompe l'oeil paintings earn my admiration.  But Erte is the closest to my heart, because it is the closest to my home.

1 poem:

"He wishes for the cloths of Heaven" by William Butler Yeats

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

1 song:
"Dancing" by Elisa; "Cactus Tree" by Joni Mitchell; "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star; "Why" by Annie Lennox; and "Nightswimming" by R.E.M (I can't choose just one!)

1 quote:
"It was the touch of the imperfect upon the would-be perfect that gave the sweetness, because it was that which gave the humanity."
~Thomas Hardy (oh Tess!)

1 item of clothing:
My green dress.  It is my favorite color, flowy, dips deep in the front, and is perfect for twirling.  It reminds me of something that would be work in the Bohemian Left Bank 1930s...

1 place:
It has to be Haworth in Yorkshire, in England.  It's where the Brontes grew up.  It has the moors, the dearest people, mulled wine, and the sweetest little tea shops you've ever seen.  

[and just for fun] 1 Disney princess!
That's easy.  I am Belle to a T.  I always have my head in a book, I gravitate toward the unconventional, I find that the real world is never as exciting as a story, and I always think that "there must be more than this provincial life."  Belle is the perfect mixture of class, whimsy, PASSION, and intelligence.  Plus, she is the most feminist-friendly of all of the princesses!
"I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell.  And for once it might be grand to have someone understand I want so much more than they've got planned..."

And the tags:

17 March 2009

A different skin

Here is a secret:

I wish I were this girl...
But I am just me.  And lately, life has far more confusion and chaos than confetti.

08 March 2009

Do you want to put the book in the freezer?

I just got off a plane, and I am a ball of stress and nerves. This week is being planned day by day by day, and I have two classes at night this week and zero time for myself. I am just in a bit of a rut right now, where I am sick and tired of being last on my priority list and tired of giving everything of myself to a bunch of kids who refuse to help themselves. Anyway, me in Burnt-Out Teacher mode is not the purpose of this post. Rather, I would like to discuss the whimsical, distracting, lovely thing that happened to me on the plane today.
I was sitting next to a guy in a gloriously distressed tee shirt in a soft pool blue. As I listened to A Fine Frenzy and read Belong to Me (the sequel to Love Walked In, which is not nearly as much of a warm salt water wave as the original) to distract myself from the turbulence on our descent, I glanced over to find my seatmate reading The Glass Book of the Dream Eaters. The name itself cools my face and alleviates the nerves, even though I know nothing about it. It is like psychedelically swirled marbles. Then the next thing I know, he takes out a lunchbox-style cooler, unzips it, and puts the book inside. It was so quirky that I could not help but laugh out loud. It turns out that his sister left the cooler at his mother's house and he decided to carry his book in the cooler because it was most efficient. A book in a cooler! Who would have thought? For me it is endlessly amusing. It reminded me of the episode of Friends where Joey reads Little Women. "Beth's getting real sick..."
Speaking of Little Women, what does it say about me that lately my favorite March sister is Amy? Louisa May Alcott did not want us to identify with Beth, which is often ignored-- rather, she wanted to get rid of the self-abnegating female, the Angel in the House, and that is why poor Beth had to die. And Jo puts me off for some reason, even though she had the most in common with Louisa herself. We never really get to know Meg, but Amy is such fun and mischief, with her made-up words and her limes! And at least she had the sense to marry luscious Laurie, unlike another sister we all know.

04 March 2009

Orange, blue, green and pink

"Sometimes rain that's needed falls
We float like two lovers in a painting by Chagall."

Marc Chagall turns dreams into brightly colored canvas.  (How I wish I were British so I could write "colour"!)  How I wish I were in New York right now, so that I could sip champagne at Lincoln Center while waiting to see West Side Story danced by the ballet...afterwards we could walk through the temperate mauve air amidst the swarm of the city.  We would pause to see the leaping fountain, of course.  I would make a wish, my eyes closed tight.  You would smile and wish for me, because everyone knows that a double wish comes true.  Then it's off to Cafe des Artistes for the Fountain of Youth!  I'd know I loved you when you saved me your spiced pear.  The spiced pear is the best part.

02 March 2009

Candy floss and lavender snow, chandeliers and Wonderland

I wish that I could live inside a Tim Walker photograph.  I would frolic with Karen Elson, her lips painted crimson to match her flame of hair.  We would whirl and twirl with veils and swishy skirts, dresses the color of licorice whips.
I would have a pet starfish named Sebastian-- after Brideshead, not The Little Mermaid.  He would play nice with the other animals, although they would throw invectives at him for his large, pretentious vocabulary..."alacrity..." "voluble..." "surreptitious..."
And you should see the house!  Oh the parties we would throw...It would be all streamers and lanterns and Viennese Waltzes.
"This was their favourite pastime, one that had begun when she was little.  Kitty loved her mother's wardrobe.  At Hay she used to climb in amidst fur coats and taffeta dresses that slid against her with a sigh of history.  She sat with a torch, reading for hours.  The cupboards contained the essence of her mother.  Overalls, paint-smattered, and T-shirts thin and soft with years of wear and washing.  Dresses that swore fun and seduction, heels worn down with dancing and late nights in the rain."
~Playing With the Grown Ups, by Sophie Dahl
And the light would be the color of a rosy apricot...
"As we talked, lights flicked on inside my head; by the end of the night, I was a planetarium."
~Love Walked In, by Marisa de los Santos
And then of course, we have...a horse of a different color!
"Long days and dreaming nights
Wide eyes take in all the sights
A little wonder goes a long, long way
Learning where to go and what to say...
Every moment's built to last
When you're living without a past
In a magic world."