Sunday, February 24, 2008


This Lenten blogging slowdown has been tough for me. And meanwhile the underlying changes I am trying to make in my life are the ones I need most -- you can tell because I resist them so strongly.

I had a lovely time in Florida, with ample rollerblading and niece time. I feel so incredibly protective of my elder niece, even as she is showing signs of stubborn independence. And I just melt whenever she graces me with her smile. She pushes herself so hard at swimming, even though she lacks the strength to hold her own in the water. Her heart pounds furiously from the effort when you catch her to help her breathe en route. I'm so proud of her and so painfully aware of how small and weak she is, how very vulnerable. ("When I hold your small body next to mine,/ I feel weak and strong at the same time./ So few years to give you wings to fly,/ To show you the stars to guide your ship by." J. Clegg & Savuka.)

My younger niece is growing on me (literally) and it is so exciting to hear her on the verge of speech. You can occasionally make out a "thank you", and she has a penetrating stare that suggests either she is trying very hard to read one's expression, or she is trying very hard to communicate something telepathically. She has her own beauty, and an infectious smile. I'm so curious to meet her once she is able to express herself in words.

At work, things are getting better - we've filled the two open positions, and we should be up and running within two weeks. Not that things stopped in the mean time.

My heart is still heavy from time to time, and I can't help thinking I could have made more hay while the sun shone today (so to speak), but instead, I attended 3 worship services (?!) and uploaded my Florida pictures. Three services on a Sunday is a bit excessive and I certainly won't make a habit of it, but each one had its separate draw, so I was glad, on balance, that I went.

For anyone who saw an earlier version of this post, I haven't put in any new pictures -- I just put in introductions to some of them.

The first night, we had a big storm. Grammie kept referring to it as a "show" (which is sort of what it looks like in this picture) so that L would not be scared. Then the next day, L kept referring to "the movie last night" and her mom was completely perplexed.

Dozens of lobster traps were washed up on shore after the storm. I liked this lobster trap triptych:

L playing dress-up and trying twirly dance moves in her new Valentine's Day skirt:

L swims:
Sunset over the wildlife refuge:

A New York City scene, but it seems really in place here:

Being carried... it's easier than a walk on the beach.
There's a whole world out there!

"Chipmunk cheeks" is how you learn to hold your breath at age 3 1/2:

I think I've seen this expression on the faces of Olympic medalist swimmers:

L found an old boogie board and tried to slide around on it in 1 inch of water. This game was not very effective from a surfing point of view, but it was very safe because the board immediately sinks an inch under the lightest child's weight:

At the wildlife refuge, we saw a few dolphins, and many birds. There were two lonely pairs of birds. In the case of the two reddish egrets, who were about 10 feet apart on the mangrove sandbar, the male was interested, but the female was not. Our guide commented that there were so few reddish egrets she really shouldn't be so picky.

We also saw two ospreys. The female osprey is shown on the nest here; male was perched about 25 feet away on a mangrove thicket and was either trying to work up the nerve to approach her or possibly waiting for her to notice him. Our guide said that the female osprey's original mate died, so she is a free agent, but the male is much younger and may not be sure of his ability to provide the 700 lbs. of fish that will be needed to feed any offspring that might result from the union.
Walking on the beach is a tough job, but it's doable with the right tools.

The latest fashion: hats.
Walking the plank:

At the Hungry Heron, C enjoys drawing with crayons, but there's something way more interesting at that table over there:

Corn on the cob from someone else's plate beats a pb&j sandwich on your own plate any day of the week:

Another lovely sunscape with palm trees.
A woodpecker at the local nature preserve:

Tri-color heron:

Beach toys:
C with fork:

Group shot with alligator puppets:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Binary Valentine 1101

I love my love with an "M" because he's a maven.
I hate my love with an "M" because he's myopic.
My love's name is Michael,
He lives in the metropolitan area,
And I gave him a mission.

There are two guys I've liked much more than reason dictated - guys I immediately liked before I even knew their name, and liked out of all proportion to how well we ever knew each other.
One of them was N (as always, not his real name). When we first exchanged glances, and he smiled, I thought "He looks like a guy I'd be willing to marry." A strange reaction indeed, and one I've never had before (or since). N asked me once if I believed in love at first sight. I simply said No, and that was the end of that discussion.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

FOCUS Ski Trip

It was a fun trip, but I don't have a lot of time left today, so I just chose a few pictures from our 8-hour journey home from Killington:


Friday, February 08, 2008

Binary Valentine 1000

I love my love with an "H" because he is honorable.
I hate my love with an "H" because he is a heathen.
My love's name is Holden,
He lives at home,
And I gave him heartburn.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Referendum on a Referendum

There something about losing all of your direct reports in one fell swoop. It makes you feel like there's been a referendum on your managerial skills (or even worse, your personality or worth as a human being or whatever). That's why it's been so tough to lose A and B in quick succession. Intellectually, I know that it isn't really about me. A had been looking for a new job for about 10 months; my boss and I did our best to keep her. We lobbied hard to get her a promotion and raise, and pulled some strings to find her new opportunities within the organization (even ones where she would not be working with us), but she decided to go elsewhere anyway. B was snatched away from us by someone in senior management (she wasn't even looking for the opportunity). So my feeling isn't entirely rational. But it is real, and it has been dragging me down. It was so helpful to express this dark fear out loud to two of my colleagues today, to bring it out into the light and make light of it.

Today I also spoke with my boss about several topics that have been bothering me, including the patterns I've seen in recent appointments, and the conflicts - both direct and subtle - that I foresee as a result. I expressed my feelings about these and other matters professionally and diplomatically, of course, but it's oddly liberating - after so many years completely shut down at The Firm - to articulate emotions in the workplace. What next?

X called today. I didn't think he would. At our last date, which I figured would be our final date, he was kidding (I hope) about how maybe he could marry me for my health insurance. Then later he was suggesting he would be a great catch based on his number of real estate holdings. Our values are so different in so many areas, how could he possibly imagine we might be a match? Then again, I tend to avoid controversy by keeping my mouth shut, which may allow him to imaginatively fill in the gaps and assume whatever he wants to assume. Lacunae are really my bad habit; most people have this incredibly strong motivation to fill the gaps, and they don't even realize they're doing it, and they're almost always wrong. With respect to X, avoiding avoidance of controversy will probably get him to a place where he sees the incompatibilities that I see. So it will actually make things a lot easier for me to court controversy in this case. How strange. I think this will be a very interesting Lenten season.
Y is off to Florida today, so he and I will trade Florida stories when I get back week after next.

Lent starts on Ash Wednesday (tomorrow) and ends on Holy Saturday (March 22 this year), excepting Sundays. So expect perhaps as many as six Sunday postings (they may also be sundae postings, who knows) over the course of the next six weeks, and otherwise see you at Easter.

Binary Valentine 101

I love my love with an "E" because he is eager.
I hate my love with an "E" because he is erudite.
My love's name is Edgar,
He lives in Edinburgh,
And I gave him an earmuff.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Binary Valentine 100

I love my love with a "D" because he is daring.
I hate my love with a "D" because he is a dilettante.
My love's name is David,
He lives in denial,
And I gave him some doubts.

Preview of Ash Wednesday

I've been feeling pretty down recently, and I haven't been sleeping well. I am tired of feeling so isolated and tired of worrying about my personal life. I'm tired of caring about people and not feeling able to connect with them. I'm tired of rattling around a two-bedroom apartment by myself. I'm tired of feeling disconnected from everything that gives life meaning.

So maybe it's time to give something up for Lent. Pride, maybe. My defenses - if that's even possible. And maybe blogging as well, since that's a pretty solitary endeavor. So tune in at Easter for more updates.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Superbowl 101010 (binary edition)

There were two teams, apparently, at this important cultural event. By reputation, one team was patriotic, and the other one wasn't - although, confusingly, they both sported red white and blue. Me, I wanted to cheer for They Might Be Giants, but unfortunately Tom Petty won the halftime show.

Binary Valentine 11

I love my love with a "C" because he is charismatic.
I hate my love with a "C" because he is a cult leader.
My love's name is Charles,
He lives in Cincinnati,
And I gave him some cyanide.

L.A. Story (1991)

After a grueling day with Habitat for Humanity, I watched L.A. Story. I had never even considered watching it before, since I am not a big fan of Los Angeles. Or Steve Martin, really. But I found the movie really charming.

I loved the gratuitous Hamlet references peppered throughout, which of course get more and more explicit over the course of the equally gratuitous gravedigger scene.

The freeway sign was a touch of Douglas Adams (sophomoric zaniness, working as comic deus ex machina) and coincidentally reminded me of a device used in the Blue Man Group show (I'm not saying Blue Man Group got the idea from L.A. Story, but it's chronologically possible).

There are some loving spoofs of celebrity culture, including the difficulties of getting into an outrageously popular restaurant - some of the humor comes from the fact that the characters repeatedly refer to this restaurant by name (sounds like "Leedio" in an American accent) before we see the spelling. Let's just say it's a French restaurant.

As a side note, in this flick, New York sophistication is not even a glimmer in Sarah Jessica Parker's eye, although her character's mores (though not distinct from Steve Martin's) perhaps presage the world of Sex and the City.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Binary Valentine 10

I love my love with a "B" because he is bold.
I hate my love with a "B" because he is belligerent.
My love's name is Bob,
He lives in Beirut,
And I gave him a bazooka.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Engagement Party

Courtney's engagement party was quite a swell affair at the Hotel on Rivington, in the lower east side. I'm pretty familiar with the area because of an ex-boyfriend (he, and his parents, brother, sister, and grandmother all own apartments in the area). If I had taken his advice, I could have walked home after this event. Instead, I took the F train, which was nice because I ran into Mrs. Knight on her way home from Lincoln Center.

The entrance to the hotel was very modern and oddly reminiscent of Georgia O'Keefe paintings:

Even more so in close-up:

The party was in a three-story penthouse with glass walls on every level to provide 180+ degree views. Here's a view from the deck on the top floor (facing away from the hot tub):

It was a really fun time, but of course in my nerdly way, I just took a few pictures of the place and not the people. (Didn't feel like taking any group shots, and didn't want to single out particular individuals for photo opportunities.) Hopefully others will share their photos.

About the Binary Valentine Project

Based on a game my family and I used to play on road trips in Belgium. The valentines are "binary" in that the only settings are love and hate. The fun is in the choice of adjectives, names, places and gifts. There's pretty much endless room for variation - reluctantly, I passed over an apathetic or astigmatic lover in favor of an astringent one. Take up the challenge if you have a funnier or more clever valentine to share in the comments section.

Similarity to real persons or relationships is purely coincidental and should not be construed as an offer of marriage or other favors.

Binary Valentine 1

I love my love with an "A" because he is astute.
I hate my love with an "A" because he is astringent.
My love's name is Adam,
He lives in Albuquerque,
And I gave him (of course) an apple.