Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My new glasses

are on my head right this minute! Photos coming as soon as we can find the camera.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Unneighborly neighbor update

I've offered regular updates about my new neighbor situation over here. There's an update. There's been an update for upwards of two weeks. I didn't write it because, well, I was afraid the neighbor would find it here and a scene would be made.

I would have no fear of this except that his royal highness, the Count of Suffolk Street, Scottula D. Buttox, casually mentioned to the new neighbor that I have a blog.

But, friends, I can no longer stay silent.

A short recap:
  • I over-rolled out the red carpet for the new neighbor
  • After my shame (and a month) had passed, I left her (and everyone else in the building) a box of homemade cookies and candies for Christmas
  • She replied with a tin of cookies containing mediocre chocolate peanut butter squares and delicious oatmeal cookies
  • I replied with a thank you note and a request for the oatmeal cookie recipe
  • She replied with a meticulously hand-written letter one full page long containing both the recipe and her hot tips for how to make cookies better, which were extremely involved and which I summed up here in about 1/20th of the number of words
  • I was offended that she sent me cookie tips because I had made her some pretty fucking awesome cookies, but then chose not to be offended after anonymous advised me that she was trying to find common ground and obviously we both like cookies.

I showed the letter to a couple friends and asked them for their take. JBo said, "Listen, you're even now. You did something crazy with the shouting down the stairs. Now she's done something crazy with this letter and you're even."

I took real solace in this.

Two weeks ago I was arriving home from my extremely painful massage about the foot to alleviate the bastard plantar fasciitis. As I climbed the stairs, I heard our door open. I shouted up the stairs, "Darling, is that you?"

It sure was him. But he wasn't opening the door for me. Seems the new neighbor had knocked. She wanted to borrow an egg. I arrived at the top of the stairs just in time to inform her that we were plumb out of eggs, but that I could offer her dried egg-white powder, which works in a pinch.

She declined, but we got to talking, all casual and friendly-like about things.

Somehow, and I don't know how, I mentioned that my sister is a phlebotomist.

Her reply, "No offense, but you could train a monkey to do that job."


I said, "Well, my sister is a human being who is a phlebotomist."

And she said again, "No offense, but you could train a monkey to do that job."

Scott and I started this whole trying-to-prove-that-Tesia-has-mad-phlebotomy-skillz-and-isn't-a-monkey thing. We're hopelessly devoted to her, after all.

Then she started talking about how serious she was about her cookie tips, and how important it is to avoid flat cookies by adding extra flour. (Aside: my cookies were definitely not flat!)

Scott started telling her that I worked in a bakery for six years. She wouldn't hear it. She just kept repeating her tips (or un-tips, as the case may be).

Then she asked me what radio station I work for. I told her. She replied, "My sister hates Country music."

Um, well, uh. "Great."

Our encounter ended with her telling us to stop by anytime. We said, "Yes! We will stop by!"

At first, upon mulling the whole thing over, I was wholly offended. Then I realized that this is a human who clearly does not know how to communicate with other people and her extreme negativity must come from a place of insecurity. I don't know how telling me my sister has the job of a monkey, that I need to avoid flat cookies and that her sister hates Country music helps her deal with her insecurities. And maybe this is just a story I'm telling myself so that we can all be pleasant if we bump into each other in the hall.

I have to admit, though, that I'm hella disappointed. I really, really wanted a pal in the building.

Of course I do have a pal in the building. He sleeps in the bed next to me. He's the Count Scottula D. Buttox.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Years-long search over in five minutes

I have been looking for a new pair of glasses pretty much since I got this pair in April of 2002. I've been actively on the prowl for about three years. I knew what I wanted but I just couldn't find it anywhere.

Jen over at Fairview Eyecare tried to help me (shout out to Jen and my peep Dr. Regonini over there), but we basically got nowhere. She even lent me the actual catalog she orders glasses from for the optical shop part of the office. I went through the whole thing by myself, then Margaret and I went through the whole thing together and we just couldn't find what I was looking for. It was a shame, really.

Every time I pass an optical shop of any kind, I stop in to take a look around filled with hope that I might find my secret fantasy glasses.

Well, it happened, friends. It happened in Cambridge.

We had been passing this optical shop-to-be the last few times we were walking through Harvard Square on our way to the Studio, and for the first time on Saturday we passed it and it was open. I said to Ann, "Do you mind if we go in and just look really quickly?"

So we went in. I found them instantly and began to weep. We were on our way to a show and we didn't have time to get the whole thing going on. I said, "I'll have to come back another day."

The lady said, "Can you spare five minutes?" She couldn't believe I was weeping over glasses.

And it was that fast. I'm going to pick up my new glasses this weekend. I'll post a photo of me in my new specs as soon as I have them.

I'll just say one thing about them to get you ready for them: the only other person I could see in these glasses is Dame Edna. That's how fucking awesome they are.

Wait until you see me!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

All you have to do is ask

Turns out if you don't want your blog listed on that aggregator, all you have to do is ask.

The editor was mystified as to why I might not want my content rebroadcast someplace else since it's only the first graph and links back here. He was startled by my hostility.

The funny part is that I wasn't even hostile. I didn't swear or anything. I just said, in no uncertain terms and without swearing or anything, that I didn't like it.

I would love to post our exchange, because the part where he says I was hostile is laughable, but because I didn't get permission from him to post what he wrote in his e-mail in a public forum, posting it would be wrong.

At a time like this, I can't help thinking of times I've actually been hostile, comparing and contrasting this with those, and then have a good laugh.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Attention local bloggers

Did you know your content is being rebroadcast on this site?

I'm really confused about how this is allowed.

Also, I'm kind of steamed about it. I wrote a note to the "editor" and am going to patiently await an answer while steaming quietly.

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All the love songs are right

People warned me that all the happy in-love feelings would fade over time, and I've been sort of waiting for it. Well, not waiting. Just kind of expecting it would happen. And not really expecting either, because I don't want to make it out like I want it to happen or anything. Maybe just a silent knowing. Maybe I've silently known that, over time, all the happy in-love feelings would fade.

But they haven't faded, not at all. In fact, they've grown over time. I don't want to make you barf or anything, but I am more in love with Scott now than ever.

Love songs will come on the radio and I'll listen to them and I'll think, "God, they are so right! Everything in this love song is the truth!"

And then I'll think, "I am agreeing with a love song on the radio!"

I was shouting at Scott about how much I loved him and how I love him more and more each day. He replied with a quiet, "I love you, too."

And I shouted, "More and more each day?"

And he quietly said, "Sure."

I was all, "Sure? Sure? That's all you've got?"

He said, "Jennifer, you are the over-the-top one and I'm the understated one. Those are our roles."


"Yes," he replied.

He officially blew my mind.

Yesterday morning we were watching ABC This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Chrystia Freeland from the Financial Times was on the roundtable with a few others. She is really pretty. That photo on her official Financial Times page does her no justice. She is really quite beautiful.

I said, "Look at her. She is so pretty."

Scott looked up from his nerdy notes about the presidential race and said, "Which one?"

I waited for her to come back on the screen. "That one," I said.

He looked up at her, said, "Oh," and then went back to nerding out with his notes.

Then he said, all casual-like, with completely seriousness and without looking up, "She's not as pretty as you."

Now, I've got full reality about myself and I can see fairly clearly that that lady is really, really pretty (that crappy photo on the Web site aside). The part where Scott says I'm prettier and, what's more, actually believes it? My god!

I'm the luckiest girl alive.

Sometimes we fight and everything, but then the fights are over and then love recommences in earnest.

Barf bags are located in the seatback pocket in front of you.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The laughter and the tears (from laughter)

Well, Alice at Finslippy has done it again.

She had an incident where she was a bad parent, so she solicited bad-parenting stories from her readers. (I submitted one about bad aunting, which is different, but I just wanted to be a part of the magic.)

She summarized the results in a hilarious post that made me laugh so hard I was gurgling in public on two separate occasions just trying to recount it.

Please read it, paying special attention the last story before you continue reading this.

Tesia and I were in grade school. I'd say we were in first and third grades, respectively. We missed the bus a couple times, as kids are wont to do. Fine.

My mother declared that if we missed the bus again, we were going to have to walk to school.

So of course we missed the bus again. We lived on top of a mountain in Connecticut. The trip to school was mostly downhill, but even the downhill part was really hilly, and pretty rural. My mother was concerned about us walking to school by ourselves, so she came up with a solution.

She drove slowly behind us the whole time, which I think might have been the worst part. I mean, it was totally embarrassing. Of course, if she weren't behind us I probably would have shit my pants from being afraid. I was so afraid of being kidnapped that I didn't even like to play in the front yard for fear I'd get snatched.

(Aside: It wasn't just me with the unreasonable fears. Once the little neighbor girl and I went for a long walk around the block, which is a misleading thing to say since the "block" was more than a mile around in our rural area. We were about halfway around and a truck slowed down by us and we both freaked out. It turned out it was trying to get into its driveway and we were frozen in fear beside it fearing for our lives and holding hands and everything. Awesome.)

So it was probably a good idea that she was driving 1 mph behind us making sure nothing bad befell us (outside of walking all the way to school, that is).

I wonder if she remembers this and how close she was to killing us, since she had to take time out of her actual life to drive 1 mph behind her lousy kids who could have just as easily gotten on a free bus for the journey. Maybe she will comment and tell us.


Sometimes a crappy movie (yields something a bit more interesting)

Over the weekend, Scott and I watched a terrible film called, Sometimes a Great Notion. It stars Paul Newman and Henry Fonda, so you would think it would be at least halfway decent.

I'll tell you what the problem was: the characters were all actual assholes. The only people who weren't assholes were the enemies of our protagonists. I guess they were the antagonists then. Whatever. They were the people with the compassion and the troubles. I need to be able to identify with the people I'm watching for two hours or I can't really get into it.

When it was over, I immediately got on the IMDB to see what other people said about it. Turns out some other people like it.

Question mark?

Then, on Monday morning, when I was deriding it with Ann, one of my colleagues shouted over the cubicle, "That's a great movie!"

I replied, "You're joking, right?"

"Absolutely not," was the reply. "Paul Newman? Henry Fonda? It doesn't get much better than that!"

"Actually, a compelling character would make it a helluva lot better," I didn't say out loud.

Its being wholly terrible is sort of a shock because it's based on a book by Ken Kesey, he of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest fame. I really liked that book and assumed I liked Ken Kesey. I'll have to read this other book to find out for sure.

In any event, I was tooling around IMDB and clicked on the link for the fellow who played Paul Newman's brother, Richard Jaekel. I clicked because it turned out he was nominated for an Oscar for this role, which blew my mind because this movie was so suck. But it was so suck because of the story, but not because of the acting, so I'll admit that he did a great job. Fine. I concede.

Now this Richard Jaekel fella is somebody. He's made his living being the guy who's only on a TeeVee show for one or two episodes. Murder She Wrote? Check! Little House on the Prairie? Check! The Love Boat? Check! Baywatch? Check and check!

But there's a real jewel in his crown, I found, for in 1981 he was in a film called, Mr. No Legs or The Amazing Mr. No Legs in the UK.

Turns out that Mr. No Legs is a mob boss from the 1970s, and I'm forced to recommend that you read the IMDB comment from "Steven Nyland (Squonkamatic)", which you can find on this IMDB page. Alas, I cannot link directly to the comment. Please do a search for his name on the page and delight in his description of the film.

(Aside: Damien, please seriously read this. You may soil yourself from laughter.)

Jeremy suggested that AstroVideo will likely have this film in its archive. According to Jeremy, "If it's on VHS, AstroVideo has it."

We can only hope. I can hardly contain my excitement.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Neighborly cookie tips

I'd like to take a moment to thank anonymous, who opined that my neighbor was extending a hand of friendship by offering cookie tips and I should ignore any bad self-esteem trying to undermine the friendliness.

And since Jennifer asked me to share the tips, here they are:
  1. Use real butter that has been softened for at least a half-hour before mixing
  2. Cream butter and sugar for at least 2 minutes
  3. Beat well after each egg addition
  4. Always add at least a quarter-cup of extra flour to cookie recipe

I agree with all of these except #4.

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Primary season

Me: You know what would be an awesome ticket?

Scott: Me and you?


I'm still voting for Dennis Kucinich in the primary because I absolutely have to, but I'd like to draw your attention to a New York Times op-ed that completely changed my mind about Hillary Clinton.

I wasn't expecting that. I hope she makes it to the general election.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Responding to my adoring public

My adoring public (also known as my good friend Damien) asked in the comments if the Count and I have any New Year's resolutions.

I don't. Neither does the Count.

I don't really believe in New Year's resolutions, mostly because I don't think a person needs a special day to make a change. I like to think of myself as an ever-evolving being. I'm not sure how much truth there is in describing myself as ever-evolving, but I try.

Although I did announce that I would recover from the Bastard Plantar Fasciitis this year, I'm not sure that counts as a resolution. In fact, I announced that I would be mostly better by the end of 2007 and all the way better by the end of the first quarter, as you may recall. Announcing things like that to the Universe in public can be pretty powerful. Allow me to offer an update:

Thanks to my murderous massage therapist, Cassie at Abudant Wellness, I definitely am mostly better. I'm healing up in earnest now. I realized that my feet weren't hurting anymore at all about a week or two ago, so I decided to half my anti-inflammatory dose (I've been on 1200 mg of Daypro for about 6 months). So I did. The first few days, I felt great. Then I had a bad day, so I took a full dose, but I've been taking a half dose ever since.

On the half dose, my feet have started hurting a little bit again, which I'm taking as a reminder to keep doing my stretching exercises. It's sometimes hard to stay inspired to get my stretch on when I already feel great. So while discomfort is bad, the reminder to take care of myself is welcome.

And the thing is, even with this little bit of discomfort, it's nothing compared to what I had before I started seeing Cassie while on a full dose of Daypro and stretching all the goddamned time. I actually see Cassie for a half hour twice a week. Cassie is lining her coffers thanks to me.

But you know what? I was reflecting on the PF recently and how things happen when they're supposed to happen for reasons we can't know. I don't know if I mentioned this before, but my first podiatrist told me that PF is happening inside your body for about 10 years before you start feeling pain. My feet could have started hurting in that debilitating way at any time, but they didn't start hurting until a week after I started a job that allowed me to afford to actually take care of it. If it had started earlier, I would basically have been screwed.

So I'm looking forward to getting all the way better in 2008. And as a result of getting all the way better, I'm looking forward to being able to take walks again.

Let's not lie: my pants are pretty fucking tight on me right now from my sedentary lifestyle. I only have about a half-dozen pairs of pants that it isn't obscene for me to wear. I'm eager to take a fucking walk and lose a little weight, but I'm not looking to lose more than what would make my pants fit me properly again and it's not in honor of the new year more than it would be in honor of the beauty of being able to walk again.

And I have been talking to my therapist about my body issues again because I am so afraid of losing my mind as related to exercise and diet, etc. But again, that's something I've been doing right along and not a resolution. I don't even know why I'm mentioning it now other than weight crap is what everyone talks about at New Year's time, and I was talking about weight related to my feet.

Oh, whatever.

Anyway, I'm also eager to be able to sleep without my PF boots on, mostly because I hate accidentally kicking Scott with them in the night and also because I've just started having carpal tunnel hand numbness and swelling at night again (I started having those symptoms as a cake decorator in 1997 and '98 and haven't had them since) and I'm going to have to start wearing the wrist splints to bed. Scott suggested that maybe I should get a full-body splint and just cut to the chase.

Get that guy a spotlight and a microphone. He's hilarious.

Anyway, happy New Year.

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Still more new neighbor news

I forgot to mention that when I gave my new neighbor that thank you note, I asked her for the recipe to one of the cookies she gave me.

She gave me the recipe and a list of hot tips for making cookies.

At first I was all, "How nice!"

And then my bad self-esteem was all, "Was that a dis?" After all, I gave her a box with samples of three kinds of cookies and two kinds of candy plus a small celophane bag of popcorn - all made with love in my kitchen. I even placed the "Home Made" sticker on the package that I found at Michael's. I think it was pretty clear that I know how to make cookies.

Then I thought, "Maybe they were so good, she didn't realize that I made them myself!"

Then I thought, "I'm over-thinking this and making myself insane!"

I'm choosing not to look at this as a dis and just as a person extending the hand of friendship because I'm sure that's what this is.

Psst! Jennifer Myszkowski is insane!

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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Mini-break in Brattleboro

I had been on vacation since before Christmas, but we never left and went anywhere. I felt like it was the longest weekend ever. Since I was returning to work on Wednesday, it was time to do something. I needed to get the hell out of Dodge, so at the suggestion of my good friend Ann Podolske, Scott and I stayed overnight Sunday at the Latchis Hotel in Brattleboro. It's a little more expensive that the Econolodges to which I've grown accustomed, but it was well worth it.

The room was nice and clean and comfortable had linens made of cotton and furniture made out of wood. The shower alone made the whole thing worth it. I only wish I had discovered it before 10:30 a.m. (check out was at 11).

The hotel is attached to the Latchis Theatre. We saw two films: P.S. I Love You and Charlie Wilson's War.

P.S. I Love You was actually terrible. That I cried at one point fills me with such embarrassment, so much so that I can't understand why I'm mentioning it now. I need to give a hearty hats off to Richard LaGravenese, the director, who took such talent as Hilary Swank and Kathy Bates and made them party to just about the lamest movie ever.

I hadn't ever even heard of Charlie Wilson's War before I saw it on the marquee. When I found out it was Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, I was dead-set against it. I softened a bit when I saw Aaron Sorkin's name on the bill. Even so, I have said a number of times that I am Julie Robertsed and Tom Hanksed out. A series of events found us seeing it in the beautiful theater (or theatre, as the case may be) and I discovered that this film is brilliant.

I'd like to say that again on a separate line so that you maybe will read it:

Charlie Wilson's War is brilliant. I think every American should be required to watch this film. You maybe already know about the recent history of U.S.-Afghanistan relations and why it's all in the shitter now, but you can learn even more in an entertaining, interesting and even amusing forum. You may leave this film really angry at the United States, but I don't think that's bad.

I do think Aaron Sorkin is a genius. He adapted George Crile's book of the same title to the screen. Also, Philip Seymour Hoffman is in it. I can't say this enough: see that film.

We puttered around in Brattleboro for a while on Monday and we kept going places that I definitely have been before, and even have been recently, but hell if I have any idea who I was with. It's been driving me insane in the membrane, and indeed insane in the brain. I can't imagine who I was with and what I was doing there. We even went into a little cafe to have lunch and I discovered that I had eaten there. With whom? It's anybody's guess.

(Aside: if it was you, please tell me; I really am quite out of my mind trying to remember who it was.)

Anyway, we had a nice time. I'd like to recommend Brattleboro for your next getting-the-hell-out-of-Dodge outing.

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