Saturday, August 27, 2005

Pittsburgh, I

I'd forgotten how unintentionally great Pittsburgh can be. To wit:

1. Sign in front of church on 5th Ave.: "Need a mid-week lift? Come to Bibe-based Bible Study!"

2. Spring chicken salads from Giant Eagle: spring greens, grilled chicken, gorgonzola, almonds. Nothing like it in all of Mass.

3. The size of it: seeing a lot of people I know at Soulcialism made me feel comfortable, and the mess of adorable hipsters made me feel like it's a real city.

4. My friends. Because no matter how far away I am, I know that I'm supposed to write that.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I am ensconced in the new apartment, and it's really, really gorgeous. The woman who lives here is clearly an adult and not a bunch of graduate students with healthy sense of irony and/or, largely or, Marxist pretensions. It's huge, and everything is wood and well-lit and there's a great stereo system and microbrews and Medjool dates in the refrigerator. Shannon and Nicole helped me move in and they were trying to remember where we'd put the tequila while I kept running out to the living room to show them another beautiful glass or bowl.

Tomorrow = Pittsburgh.

Bye, Willow

I never think the future will or can be as good as the present, to say nothing of the past. This means I'm often pleasantly surprised, but also causes a lot of stress. Tonight I'm moving out of the house on Willow, and into an apartment on the other side of Davis Square. I'm sure it will be great.

Friday, August 19, 2005


1. I just found out that the woman whose apartment I agreed to sublet this fall wants - or says her landlady wants - me to sign a lease through July 31 2006.
Clearly this is ridiculous. Debra wanted her landlady to know that someone was moving in, and wanted it to look to the landlady as though we were going to be roommates, which is fine but I am not signing something that makes me liable for 7 months of rent in a city in which I will not be living. I've left 2 messages for Debra about this - she's in NYC looking for a place to live, and I haven't heard back from her.

2. I just found out that Holly, the woman from whom I'm currently subletting, wants to move her stuff out on August 27, when I will be in Pittsburgh. That's a Saturday, and she says she has to do it that day because she's teaching on Aug 31, and she will have the truck on Saturday. This means that I would be living in a house completely devoid of any furniture, glasses, etc. Sleeping on the hardwood floor. I've paid for the whole month. I have nowhere to go. She doesn't want to have to get someone to teach her class that day, and says that if she doesn't have her furniture that last week of August, she'll have to stay at her girlfriend's.

What can I do? I'm not going to get some sherrif to stand in the doorway and block her from coming in. Initially when I thought I was living in Debra's place, I thought I could move in the day before I left for Pittsburgh, Wed. the 24th, and make Holly refund me a week of rent. (Did I mention that I tried to get her to scale rent for the month of June, because I wasn't going to be here for all of it. She said she'd rather not, because she's already pricing the room at less than what she's paying for it - $600 vs. $630, and she's a poor grad student. I told her that I know what that's like and that I'd not only pay for all of June but give her the full $630 each month. Point being that I've been good to her.)

So this is excellent. I have a week and a half to find a place to live, for half of which time I will be in Pittsburgh. I am potentially being forced out of my apartment a week early. I don't know whether I'm going to be driving or flying back here. Somehow I have to be back at work on Sept. 1.

I know this stuff all works out in the end, but I try really, really hard not to let this kind of thing happen to me, because I can't handle it.


The work trip went, all right. My favorite parts were the 5-hour series of delays at O'Hare because somewhere in the Midwest a drop of rain was thought to have fallen, and when the representing partner said to the client, while explaining the necessity of something or other, "even CARA asked why we couldn't blah blah blah." Okay, maybe he didn't say my name in all caps. Still!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Son of Harrumph

Haven't heard back from N. I hate this. I feel like I've turned into this weird single-celled organism whose only function is to look for apartments. Wake up, go to work, look on Craiglist at work, look at an apartment, come home, drink a glass of wine, go look at another apartment, come home, eat something, drink 1-2.5 glasses of wine while looking at Craigslist. Read. Bed. This would all be unbearable were it not for Green Onions by Booker T and the M.G.'s, which seems to go well with both good times and fruitless endeavors.

Oh well. As Thurber wrote, Gin up! Sherry on!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Today I saw an apartment that I want. It's on the 8th floor of an apartment building right around the corner from the Central Square T. I'd share it with a guy who consults philanthropists on which charities to donate to, but I'd have my own bathroom. It's beautiful and largely unused, since N. works all the time - the kitchen is sleek and pristine and ultra-modern, but the only signs of food are 8 frozen pizzas in the freezer. Like that. There's a projector instead of a TV and a housecleaner twice per month. The best part is a large private deck overlooking much of Cambridge, right across the street from the steeple of a Baptist Church that, in N's words, is thankfully too poor to be able to fix their churchbell, and behind which the sun sets. Lots of nice wooden furniture on the deck, and lots of pots of flowers, which he took a reassuringly long time telling me about. And (relatively) cheap - $975. And parking available in the building. And the location is ridiculously excellent.

I said I wanted it, N said he had to show it to one more person, and if that person was interested, he'd give it to whichever of us had emailed him first, but he thinks that was me. He's going to let me know tonight.

I didn't really feel that N and I hit it off smashingly, but that could be because I wanted the apartment so much that I was trying hard to be agreeable, pointing out only as an afterthought that if you squint at his map of Iceland, whence he just returned from a 2-week vacation, it looks like the human heart turned on its side. He is, as they say, a suit. At any rate, he only has to agree to let me move in and then I'll win him over with my irrepressible joie de vivre or, failing that, my peerless spanokopita. Single female friends! He is tall and dark and handsome in that way that seems almost custom made to charm rich widows. Or maybe single male friends. At any rate, while I have learned my lesson well, never have I been so relieved to not hear a Texan accent.

On a different note, work has gotten tremendously fun. I'm working more as a fully-functioning team member now instead of an intern to whom work gets delegated, and they've been pretty happy with the stuff I've done, which is often the kind of punchy edgy copy that I can write fairly well. It is interesting, the extent to which that which we're taught in the MAPW program - concision! well-reasoned arguments! - is contraindicated by some of the projects I'm working on. And clients sometimes have risible ideas of what ought to be in their own materials. You know. If something is offered in 40, 80, and 120 GB versions, "collect all three!" is not a compelling argument. Nor do I really think they want to use emoticons. And often I get called on to edit stuff, which makes me deliriously happy - I'm going to try to work for the CMU press as an editor when I come back to school - and people call me to talk about scare quotes and hyphens. Anyway, tomorrow I'm going to Chicago for with 3 others, among them Relaxedly Glamorous Erin, on whom I have a kind of girl crush, for a meeting on Thursday, at which I will represent the writers. Pretty exciting, for a country mouse.

Monday, August 15, 2005


Mark told me that up in Maine he saw a cloud that looked like a cloud; specifically, that there were a bunch of clouds that looked like a cityline, if that's the right word for it, and above the cityline was a small cloud-shaped cloud that seemed to go with the cityline.

I bring this up only because he says I'm too meta.


has consumed my life. Not entirely - in the past week and a half, I've hosted, sequentially, my parents, Mark, and Rachel, and great times were had by all, I think.

But I need to find somewhere to live, soon. So far my options are:

1. A nice room (lovely queen low platform bed with lamp, desk, hardwood floors, high speed internet) in a condo owned and inhabited by a charming and beautiful Spanish/German conservator, who works with "everything but paintings and sculptures" and is always going off to digs and conferences in the Middle East. I love her and she has a calming affect on me, but her condo is small and Architectural Digestally pristine and gorgeous and she has "inside shoes" and offers her guests slippers when they come in. The room - room! - is $1200/month, includes everything. It's on the Somerville/Cambridge line, a very short walk from Inman Square, the secret square of my soul, and a 20-minute walk from the T.

2. An enormous one-bedroom apartment in Somerville, a 12-minute walk from the T. It's just huge. Spare bedroom. Big kitchen. Front and back porches. Owned by a completely wonderful and sweet arts foundation worker who's trying to start her . own consultancy in NYC. $1200 plus gas, which will not be cheap, and we'd split cable.

3. A small but very nice apartment off of Salem St. in the North End, not on the (preferred) red line, which goes to work and Cambridge and Somerville, but Salem St. is probably the secret street of my soul - a little bit windy and heavily populated with Italian restaurants, cafes, bars, groceries, frutterias, marcellaios, etc. It's indescribably picturesque, walking down this street in what is Boston's Little Italy and seeing the City of Boston looming before you. It's the safest area in Boston because, as someone told me, "if you're a young woman with dark hair, no one knows whose daughter you might be." I love, love, love it, but it's not a big apartment and I could definitely not have a car and it's really quite removed from the stuff that I like to do, which tends to be centered around Cambridge and the river.

3. A collegey sort of apartment near Harvard Square that would be shared with a polite 25-year-old architect from Kentucky. What would be my room is lovely, with turquoise walls and a queen sized bed, and there's a balcony off of my bedroom that's accessible by climbing out the window. Short walk to Harvard Square, 20-25 minute walk to Inman. could use visitor's permit for car, which is sketchy but, they say, unlikely to be busted. It's in a big concrete apartment building which feels thrillingly JG Ballard to me. It's $825, which means I'd theoretically be able to save a zillion dollars.

So tomorrow night I'm going to see one in Central Square, which is a 10-15 minute walk from Inman, and Central Square is excellent, very cityish, compared to the rest of Cambridge; it's where there is kickboxing and African dance and Whole Foods and Indian takeout and litter and canvassers and, of course, the Kayhn-Tayub.

Shannon says that this is like how it is when you have a boyfriend and all of a sudden lots of boys want to go out with you. I've found a place where I could cheerily if expensively and somewhat hermitally live, and now all these apartments want to date me. Sheesh.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


This morning, my heart leapt into my throat.

I've read that phrase, "her heart leapt into her throat," and I knew what they were getting at, but not having experienced it, it always sounded a little bit purple. But now I think it's not, that that's exactly what it feels like, and then I think maybe it doesn't feel that way but because I've been primed with that phrase, that's how I'm experiencing it. But that's kind of a looking-a-gift-horse-in-the-mouth reaction, isn't it? It's amazing and great when you so unmistakenly feel so clearly in your body what you feel in your mind.

And what causes the heart to leap into the throat? Physiologically, that is. It must be something about that feeling that caused or at least contributed to the idea that the heart is the organ in which love resides. Someone should weigh in on this.

Saturday, August 06, 2005


The bad news:

While the research group did invite me to stay throughout the fall, the work I'd be doing for them would be a lot of data "management," scheduling of interviews, and basically project management stuff here in the office. I am so not a project manager it's not even funny. I'm more of a project destroyer.

The good news:

The writing group invited me to stay through the fall, and I haven't said yes yet, but if certain factors I need to line up do, I will.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Sailboats operate on the same principle as airplanes..

...or so we were told this evening, in the sailing theory class I took for the second time to try to get my mind around some of this voodoo. So far the best things are that when you're sailing close-hauled, which means as near into the wind as you can, allegedly you will experience the same lifty feeling you get when you're in a plane, just at the moment of lift-off, and that you get to talk about something called a boom vang.

Also, argh. I'd gone on a few dates with this man whom I'd really thought was gay (on our third date, previous to which there had been nothing but some chaste pecks, we were walking home and I was wearing a long black cardigan, the sleeves of which hung to the middle of my hands. “Can I,” ventured he, “…hold this?” and he plucked at the end of my sleeve. I told him that he could. “Oh, that’s nice,” he said.) okay, so at the end of THAT date, which was a terribly fancy French dinner arranged and sponsored by him, and during which he talked excitedly about the things we would do together in the future, he walked me home, and came in for a drink of water, which he drank while I waited impatiently, and then there was a peck even shorter and more chaste than any which had come before, and I was glad of it! and then he left and I flew upstairs, thrilled to be home and alone. Don't get me wrong, he's spectacular company and I'd love to export him back to Pittsburgh, but I'd always gotten this sense that he was very uninterested in me physically except as a sort of ethereal thing, which is fine, but not when you're both playing out what is very clearly intended to be the beginning of a dating thing.

Also, I fall for gay guys all the time.

Okay, twice. That I know of.

So that was Thursday. Then TODAY, I get a letter from him - a very well-written letter written on a heavy, folded white notecard rimmed in navy - in which he writes that he should have kissed me like he meant it, and embroidered on that theme for a bit, and ended by saying that he hopes I will write it off to rustiness on his part and that he won't be so "careless and wasteful" again.

I don't know what to make of this. On one hand, he's great, and on the other hand, he's not entirely easy for me to talk to; I think we both feel nervous around one another. I'm afraid that all of his (rather significant) effeminateness has prohibited any feel for him as a romantic co-star.

So, that's the problem - I've been meeting men who are either too Texan or not Texan enough. Speaking of Texas, I was transcribing a video of some guy in Kentucky who was clearly from Texas, and I think I may have been accidentally imprinted by Mike. Hay-ull.

Anyway, T's friend is having a barbecue on Saturday, but my parents will be in town.

What to do.