Saturday, December 29, 2007

New neighbor update

I think maybe things are okay and my new neighbor doesn't think I'm a total psycho. I'm sure you remember how I rolled out the red carpet for my new neighbor. Good god. Even now just thinking of it, I'm red with shame.

Remember how Margaret suggested I wait several days and then casually present a welcome-to-the-neighborhood baked treat and then back away? Well, I tried to do that. I went so far as to leave a banana bread at her door, but she never picked it up. I finally took it in when I became concerned that I was now presenting a stale banana bread to a new neighbor.

Nothing says lovin' like something rock-hard from being several days out of the oven.

I ended up waiting and just giving her a box of baked goods when I gave all the neighbors a box of baked goods. And get this! She replied with a tin of baked goods immediately. How about that!

So then I replied with a thank you note and invited her to Open Pancake Hours, our new New Year's Day pancake open house. We'll see if she attends.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

A new spin on an old favorite

I just got a hilarious spam e-mail, which I've pasted below for your pleasure. It's hilarious, particularly considering that you can't swing a cat without knocking into a Myszkowski -- especially in the midwestern United States and in Poland. Seriously.

From: James Newman
Imperial Finance Limited, UK
Tel: +44-762-4172620
Fax: +44-845-2800544

Dear Jennifer Myszkowski,

I am Mr. James Newman, the Auditor General, Imperial Finance Limited UK . In the course of my auditing, I discovered a floating fund in an account, which was opened in 1990 belonging to a dead foreigner Late Mr. K. P. Myszkowski who died in 1999. Every effort made to track any member of his family or next of kin has since failed; hence I got in contact with you to stand as his next of kin since you bear the same last name. He died leaving no heir or a will.

My intention is to transfer this sum of US$15.5Million in the aforementioned account to a safe account overseas. I am therefore proposing that you quietly partner with me and provide an account or set up a new one that will serve the purpose of receiving this fund. For your assistance in this venture, I am ready to part with a good percentage of the entire funds. After going through the deceased person's records and files, I discovered that:

(1) No one has operated this account since 1999
(2) He died without an heir; hence the money has been floating.
(3) No other person knows about this account and there was no known

If I do not remit this money urgently, it would be forfeited and subsequently converted to company's funds, which will benefit only the directors of my firm. This money can be approved to you legally as with all the necessary documentary approvals in your name. However, you would be required to show some proof of claim, which I will provide you with and also guide you on how to make your applications.

Please do give me a reply so that I can send you detailed information on the modalities of my proposition. I completely trust you to keep this proposition absolutely confidential. If you are interested, Kindly forward Your telephone and fax numbers where I can reach you easily. I look forward to your prompt response.

Best Regards,
Mr. James Newman

This one is particularly interesting since the person isn't from sub-Saharan Africa and has my last name. So, in theory, I might be intrigued. But here's where I know it's bunk: Have you ever known a board of directors that wasn't interested in sucking up as much money as possible? Dude, I work in corporate America. Hell if I'm going to fall for that line of cock and bull.

Although I'll say this: $15.5 million would certainly improve things around here.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Behold the grand and glorious things the Internet provides


I'm not sure this is true. Have you ever seen me, Internet?

Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Brodeur.

update: Here's the link to the quiz, since the image apparently takes you to a lame dating site (sorry about that). I'd be interested to know how many five year olds you can take in a fight, because if I can take 8, imagine what a buff, in-shape person could do.


Friday, December 14, 2007

The powerful truth

If you haven't read Heather Armstrong's latest Dooce post, please read it now.

I joke all the time about my almost-nervous breakdown of 1999 to 2000, but it was no joke. I came completely undone, and if it weren't for my amazing therapist, I might have ended up on the hospital. In fact, looking back, I probably should have been in the hospital. I was in a constant state of panic. I felt like I couldn't breathe, basically all the time. I had developed an eating disorder. I was clinically depressed and suffering a spot of post-traumatic stress disorder.

It turned out that what was I needed was to learn how to live in the moment. I had never done that before.

Cynthia taught me a very simple meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh that basically saved my life. And she helped me work through all the bullshit from my past, which was anything but easy.

I didn't want to go to therapy. In my family when you have trouble, you talk to the minister. Nobody goes to therapy. There was some stigma there. Meanwhile, I had so much bullshit and I was desperately afraid. I knew I needed therapy, but it took me quite a bit of time to actually get there, and by the time I did, I was not well.

There have been occasional dark times since, but nothing so bad as then. God, it was terrible.

I still see Cynthia periodically - in fact, I just saw her today. Whenever I'm going through something that I'm having a hard time navigating myself, I make an appointment. I'm grateful to have awesome mental health coverage and that I can see her for a small copay. For a while, I paid out of pocket to see her, because, well, I really like being able to walk upright and have relationships with other people. These things are important to me.

Anyway, ready what Heather said. I agree with every single word of it.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

The weather (holy sweet mother of god)

Okay, so yeah, the weather today is supposed to be bad. I don't care about that because I took today and tomorrow off to bake for my party, which totally rocks because I'll be baking for Christmas while it's actually and factually snowing! The weather I'm concerned about it Sunday, the day of my party -- the Wrapping Partytm.

Maybe it won't turn out as bad as it seems like the National Weather Service says it will. Maybe the National Weather Service is, like, totally blowing smoke.

Well, I'm baking up a storm whether people come or not. We are hardy New Englanders. We do not postpone our party because of a little crappy snow! Ninety percent chance of precipitation my ass!

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Say it isn't so!

I got some intelligence tonight from very reputable sources that my Wrapping PartyTM evite might not have gotten out to everyone. Two people who were definitely invited claim not to ever have gotten my evite.

Maybe more people didn't get it. Maybe one of those people was you.

If you didn't get an expected invitation, all you have to do is say something. E-mail me and I'll get you an e-mail right-quick and rectify the situation.

One person reported that she will not use evite because this kind of thing has happened to her. I have used evite for a dozen or more parties and have never once experienced this problem.

Or have I?

Dun-dun, DUN.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Starry, starry night

Our friend Mer sent us a link to this page, which was created to help regular people learn to navigate the night sky. The only constellation I've ever been able to identify in the night sky is Orion, mostly because a friend showed me when I was a younger person. Yes, I know, the big dipper, sure. Except when I'm outside looking for it, any arrangement of stars could be the big dipper.

Last summer, Maya, Tesia and I went to the planetarium show at the Children's Museum in West Hartford over the summer and I really wanted a refresher. Perfect!

Speaking of Maya, she turns 10 tomorrow. Where does the time go! Tonight at her birthday dinner, I told her about the day she was born, which I do every year on her birthday, and not a single eye was dry.

Okay, only Tesia and I were crying. Scott was mostly just standing by. Maya was laughing and telling Scott, "See! This happens every year!" as though she were so tired of hearing about how we were so happy to see her into the world.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Well, I've gone and done it again.

I'm not much for jazz, I admit. But when Scott's pal Doug invited us to a jazz show tonight to celebrate his birthday, I said, "Yes, sign me up!"

And then, while the Fred Anderson/Chad Taylor Duo were ripping it up on the stage, I was snnxxing it up in the audience.

Yes, I fell asleep.

Anyone who was there would ask, "Hey, how did you fall asleep!? Those guys were ripping it up!"

I have no idea. But I really fell asleep - I was having dreams and everything.

All I can say is that I'm powerfully tired out. Also, red with shame.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Advice sought, taken

I talked to Margaret, my friend who I consult on such things as, "What do I do? My new neighbor may be under the impression that I am a stalker."

Oh my God. I can't even begin to explain my horror and embarrassment. God. Sweet God. Margaret and I couldn't stop laughing. That's the good thing about a quality friend: good-natured mockery, laughter, and then a solution.

She said: lay low for a few days. Maybe on Tuesday or Wednesday I should whip up a friendly banana bread or a batch of cookies or something. I should knock on the door and act as if dead and unable to move, making motions only with my mouth, and only loud enough so she and she alone can hear, smoothly offering the baked good and expressing muted gladness for the arrival of a young person in the building with whom friendliness may occur. Then I should back away and, you know, wait for the new neighbor lady to make a friendly overature on a later date.

Perhaps later - much later - I can extend an invitation to The Wrapping Partytm or maybe snacks and a movie.

Must not seem insane. Must appear totally normal. Must stop scaring neighbor.


Scaring new neighbors since 2007

I've thought of a few taglines for myself.

Jennifer Myszkowski: the official unwelcome wagon of Suffolk Street

Jennifer Myszkowski: she doesn't just roll out the red carpet. No, indeed. She also rolls you up in it and suffocates you

When Jennifer Myszkowski alone isn't enough, there's shouting Jennifer Myszkowski to kick it up a few notches

"Need a cup of sugar? How about an egg? Come over for coffee!" It's the Jennifer Myszkowski good-neighbor megaphone


Margaret helped me refine the megaphone:

"Need a cup of sugar? Want to borrow an egg? Come over for coffee!" The Jennifer Myszkowski good-neighbor megaphone comes complete with these and 20 other pre-recorded messages. Car top attachment package optional.

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New neighbor alert!

We share the top floor of an awesome building in Holyoke with one other apartment. It's been vacant for about six months because the previous tenant, well, there's no nice way to say this: she turned yellow and died.

It wasn't all that surprising because in my four years here before she died, I never once saw her sober and she didn't usually remember my name. I heard her regularly, because although our giant old building here is pretty soundproof, the one place it isn't is in the bathroom, which contains the only wall we share.

It's weird when you only hear what happens in another person's bathroom. Also, when you remember (while you're tearing things up) that someone else can hear you.

Anyway, I saw her in the springtime, and at first I thought she had a tan. Then I realized she wasn't tan, but yellow. I was concerned about it, but I didn't know how to say anything. I didn't know her sons and I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do. I remember saying to Scott, "Man, she looks yellow; should I call somebody?"

A couple weeks later, I bumped into my downstairs neighbor in the hall and she said, "Did you hear about your neighbor?" She didn't even say her name. I thought it was weird.

"Which neighbor?" I asked.

"She died!"

"Who died?"

"Your neighbor."

It was a weird Who's on First situation, because she wouldn't say the deceased's name. Proof of effective communication skills aren't part of the lease application, it turns out.

My late neighbor had lived in the apartment since 1977. Thirty years in one apartment - you can imagine what would come of a place after 30 years. It took my landlord a long time to get it back into ready-to-rent condition.

(Aside: I'd like to just say that I have the best landlord ever. He really is great. He's a completely reasonable human and an attentive landlord - a great combination. The building is in beautiful condition. Also, he's not interested in anybody's business, which I found refreshing upon my arrival after the debacle that was my last apartment. Remember when I moved out of there? Gosh, I've been blogging a really long time. I would link to the whole story, but I took the old blog down. Maybe I'll find it in my personal archives and repost it. That would be a fun walk down memory lane.)

Scott and I have been really excited about new neighbors. Just now I was in the kitchen and I noticed out the back windows a van parked behind the building. Then I saw people coming up the stairs carrying household items. Then, before I could stop myself, I was running down the stairs to greet them. I even offered my services to help them unload the van.

I don't even unload the car. This is how excited I am about new neighbors.

I met the actual person who will be living in the apartment. She seems nice, but so does everyone when you meet them on the stairs, so time will tell.

But they refused my help. I started shouting and shouting about how excited I am to have new neighbors. "We've been waiting and waiting for new neighbors!" I shouted. I think I brought a little too much Jennifer Myszkowski-ness to the stairway meeting. I think I might have frightened them.

Oh, and it gets better:

After they rejected my over-zealous advances, I told her something about hoping to get to know her later and good luck and all that crap. Then I came into my house. Then I made myself some hot chocolate and put it in the microwave. While it was heating up, I started watching them out the window because I'm so excited and curious - and also because I was there. Great.

But then her friend looked up and saw me watching them like a stalker.

I was thinking of making her a welcome-to-the-neighborhood banana bread because I've got a bunch of bananas on their way out, but now I think I have to wait a few days and be a normal person so as not to cause the nice new lady any more alarm.


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