Thursday, March 25, 2004

Yes, I know that I am lame. I need to set up a comments section, or post my email or something, so I can have some idea that there are people out there reading me every once in awhile. There are so many good blogs, and my silly little outrages and anxieties seem so very unimportant.

Anyhow, contact info, coming soon....

A few things happened to me, worth reporting on perhaps:

I accepted a counter offer on the teeny, teeny one-bedroom in Washington Heights. Folks, I am buying an apartment. I have secured a lawyer, and a mortgage broker. Records need to be faxed, liens need to be sought, contracts need to be drawn up. It is dizzying. Of course the real estate agent who was in such a hurry for me to bid, is now occupied with a other thousand things and appears to be in no rush. I figure, I will wait until the end of the week until I get anxious about the contract. (Note: it is Thursday.) In the meantime, in my mind, the little apartment is becoming my own in my head, and I spend lots of hours everyday wondering how crowded the bedroom will feel when I get my big queen size bedframe in there, and how light it is in the morning, and how bad exactly will the walls look when they take down all the shelving?

This week my political obession is with Richard Clarke and his revelations which I hope will tip the scales on Bush's public opinion. See Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo for great updates and references.

I watched The Lost Cities of Iraq with Dan Cruikshank on Trio [POP! CULTURE! ARTS!] last night, reviewed here . The review does point out some of the more grating habits of the presenter, but it was still interesting to see Iraq pre-war. Now, I'm curious as to the state of those buildings now and will have to go investigate.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

I am very close to putting down a bid on an apartment. Tiny, with lots of potential. That's all I will say for now. I don't want to jinx it.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

This morning I waslistening to the Pogues and cleaning up my room. It was the superficial cleaning, picking things up, putting things away etc. Not the real cleaning. The real cleaning involves a vacuum cleaner, dust rags, moving furniture around and the like. I don't do too much of that even though the crisis prompted in my upper respiratory system when I put my cosmetic products in their little crate on top of my dresser should alert me to the fact that it would be a good idea to clean before it gets any worse.

When your mother gives you dust masks for Christmas so you can clean your house without going into some type of respiratory trauma, you know you are doing something wrong.

I haven't listened to the Pogues very much in a long time. When I play their CD I have this uncomfortable sense of being carried back to an earlier time when I was a little angrier, and little sadder, and little less abashed, and frankly, more interesting.


I'm pretty sure that my therapist quoted the last season of Sex and the City to me last week. We were talking about relationships and he said something along the lines of: if you fail in love, does that mean you didn't love at all? I wouldn't have thought anything of it except that he made this big production of saying at least twice that it definitely wasn't from Sex in the City but from some other movie or tv program he had recently seen. Later when I was thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that I had heard it as well and it almost certainly was a quote from the program. Not only was it a line from the show, but it was one of those kicker lines meant to sum up everything going on in the whole episode where you actually see her words being typed out on the screen.

The funny thing about him mentioning Sex in the City (and this has nothing to do with love or sex or anything we were talking about) is that a whole plotline around Miranda, one of the four characters, is inextricably linked to the experience of therapy for me. My therapist has this office with big arched windows in the West Village overlooking Sixth Avenue and there is what I thought for many years was a church, but realized its some old municipal building, red brick, heavy romanesque (?) columns with a little garden next to it. I look into that garden every week when I am speaking about intimate, challenging details of my personal life. When Miranda decided she wanted to get married but couldn't figure out an appropriate place, she stumbles upon the same garden. It turns out to be the perfect venue for her wedding, with a sufficiently tasteful and secular backdrop to an event she was desperately trying to keep true to herself. It was a strangely nice feeling to know that all of the viewers all over the world watching Miranda tie the know now know this little place that occupies such a significant association in my own psyche. I wondered if people realize that wasn't a set piece or something they put together for the show. It's a real place where people can go and sit, that is in fact very lovely.

The thing that I have found the most beneficial about therapy is that it helps me do things that are good for me. Although I invariably put it off for too long, it turns out that cleaning my room is good for me. Feeling better about my surroundings makes be feel better. Belonging to the Y, having a job I like, losing weight, and getting into a relationship. All these things are good for me and I was able to do with more ease, because of therapy. I also have a sneaking suspicion that all these things make me a bit less interesting, but the underlying assumption there is that loneliness and angst are more interesting than life satisfaction and contentment. Clearly this is debateable, but I'll set that aside for now.

I was thinking about this this morning though when I forewent organizing my sock drawer and just stuffed everything in and shut it. Yesterday, I found a little apartment in Hell's Kitchen, in my price range (well almost), in a workable space. The question is could a live in a junior one bedroom, with my three closets full of stuff? I currently live in an (uncharacteristically) large apartment in Northern Manhattan, which is (characteristically) rough around the edges. One of my reasons for looking for a place to buy is the realization I came to that I resent the landlord's neglect of the building to such a degree that I won't lift a finger to make the apartment nicer. No painting, although the apartment desperately needs it. I even resent staying home to wait for the workmen. Right, so once it was decided that I needed my own place the question became what sort of place can I manage in. There is clearly an array of attractive things about Hell's Kitchen, I can walk everywhere for one. I could sleep late and still get to work on time. I could go out late at night and still get home without a twenty-five dollar cab ride or a two hour stint on the subway. But is it going to be good for me. The biggest question is can I fit all my stuff into a junior one bedroom in midtown? Would I go to the gym more if I was closer to it? Would I keep my apartment neat or would it be utter chaos? Would it be a home that would be good for me?

Friday, March 12, 2004

My thoughts and prayers are with the citizens of Spain this week. I don't have anything more to add to it than that. It's a rough world.

Monday, March 08, 2004

This morning was me on the subway thinking about how I wanted a toasted onion bagel with cream cheese and knowing in my heart that what I was going to have was the granola in my office with skim milk. And getting elbowed by the woman trying to stand in the middle of the subway car and read the paper. I did say something to her, and she was rude and pissy (as was I) but she stopped folding and unfolding her paper against my back.

On the subject of the Passion of Christ movie, lots has been said, so I won't add to to the fray except to say I think its slightly distasteful to make a lot of money off something that is ostensibly an artistic expression meant to appeal to people's faith and spirituality. To say nothing of contributing to global divisions between various religious groups in this particular moment in history. For that reason, I have no intention of seeing it. I liked Frank Rich's column in yesterday's NY Times. He points out that Gibson seems to have a persecution complex, which is kind of preposterous, seeing as he is making gobs and gobs of money, and has the endorsments of the Pope AND the evangelicals in the United States.

This weekend I looked apartments to buy. I have sort of seen everything I know of that's on the market here that's not moving in Northern Manhattan, decided for one reason or another its not for me. It's a nice problem to have, but you do find yourself running on at the mouth about the Kingsbridge apartment's renovation versus the Park Terrace West's linoleum versus the commute from the one on Nagle, until you find that your friends eyes are glazing over and you feel like you better find something else to talk about quick before your self-image as an interesting and thoughtful human being crumbles forever. I do unfortunately have this sense that the apartment I didn't buy in one place or another is going to haunt me. Like one day in the yet to be identified home that I will settle in, I will think back to the floors in Kingsbridge apartment, and curse that fact that I didn't throw caution to the wind. (For those of you who wonder where the hell I am talking about, Kingsbridge is in the Bronx. Yes, the Bronx.) It is funny what you learn about yourself when you try to find a home. One place is to dark and another is too boring and a third is nice but too far away from everything, and one apartment that is lovely in the night, is horrible in the day with two awful views out either window. And when I did finally sit down and crunch the numbers and figure out what I could probably afford a month, it turned out I couldn't afford the beautiful apartment in Kingsbridge at all.

For anyone who is looking, this is a good resource, you can calculate your closing costs, what you would save with a bigger downpayment, how much you can really afford.

Friday, March 05, 2004

The funniest thing about riding the NY subway is the overwhelming waves of misanthropy that people can inspire in you for no particularly good reason. There was a woman on the subway this morning, who I have seen before, and both times, I have found myself disliking her with an unreasonable intensity. Maybe its the way, her eyebrows arches and her head tilts in this quizzical way suggesting the she is evaluating everyone on the subway car. The first time I saw her I was fascinated by the manner in which she was applying make-up, with careful precision on the subway, to an already much made-up face. This morning though, I believe it was the gold brocade sandals that she was wearing without socks. Its cold here in New York in March and I found myself thinking, this is why they have those silly rules about white shoes after Memorial Day. So people don't have to see each other's bare feet when its cold outside. I was also fascinated and disgusted by the way her toes contracted to grip the sandals on her feet, which reminded me of my own bad luck with shoes like that.

OK, enough about this poor woman, who is probably very nice and interesting and has perfectly legitimate reasons to wear gold brocade sandals in March.

An update, or introduction really to the weightloss content of my blog: Last year I lost 32 lbs. I went to Weight Watchers, sucked up the slogans and marketing and flip chart exhortations, and counted points, picked salads, planned snacks so I wouldn't be hungry, earned activity points. All the things that you do when you do Weight Watchers. And amazingly, in a reasonably short amount of time, it worked. Lately, I have been trying to lose an extra six pounds but without really ringing all the bells and blowing all the whistles like I was before. I was counting my points for a couple weeks, but didn't really count them on the weekends. I was trying to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and cottage cheese, but also eating pizza and beer and wine. I went and weighed in on Wednesday, and I am just the same weight I was before. So Wednesday and Thursday were days of passive aggressive eating, just to spite, um, myself?. Just to act out. So the idea is that since I gave myself a little lattitude, and said bollocks to all of it, now I can get back to the mode I was in before, and start work on that six lbs.

The thing about being the size I am (8), which is a perfectly good size for someone my age and height to be, to stay there, I believe I need to think about food all the time. What might I want to eat if I go to that restaurant? What should I order that would be healthy? Will I need a snack before the end of the day? What can I eat instead of the cookies that will certainly be at that meeting? What are all the very good reasons for not eating the bag of Milano cookies while I watch the Daily Show? When I was a size 14 I never thought about food in the way that I do now. And I enjoyed it not thinking about food or worrying about what size I was. But her I am, one bowl of granola w/skim milk and and orange into the day.

By the way, for all my spite of Weight Watchers, I am a lifetime member. Ha.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

See Josh Marshall's Talking Points memo for coverage today that suggests the US could have taken step to prevent the suicide bombings that happened this week in Iraq.

Very disturbing what is happening in Iraq this week. Didn't they think about how this might happen. Didn't all the anti-war critiques mention how regime change could destabilize the region? And George Bush said this was the best way to fight terrorism? Also, it was Salam Pax's book The Baghdad Blogger that got me to think about writing a blog. I am hoping to see a post from him soon.

See Lisa Duggan's article in the Nation for an alternative view on the marriage debate. For a good part of the 90's, I thought that that the gay marriage goal was elistic, and a bit too assimilationist for my taste, and diverted the movement from the goals of gay liberation. Changing the way that people think about sexuality and intimate partners for the better and all that. When the Massachussets decision came down and I realized that gay people could potentially just go out and get married, I got kind of carried away with the idea of how cool it could be. And then it was just too enjoyable to watch GW hit the panic button.