Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunny Sunday

We had a lovely Sunday today after a very long week at work. We had lunch with an old friend who is considering a job here. I haven't seen him or talked to him in a few years, and we had a really good time. I'd love it if he were here. He's a really authentic person, as Luis would say. His wife is very cool, too. My food was pretty good, and it was fun to talk about all the things I like about this place.

Then, Jeffrey and I did what we love to do: sit on our porch and read from a guidebook about Paris restaurants. He read about "trotters and bellies," which I'm told are pork feet and ... bellies. I don't know if I will eat that. But just thinking about the foods is exciting. I'm counting down the days. It was beautiful out there. And then we moved inside and played SSX Tricky, a super-old game for PS2 that I bought used and on sale maybe 2 years ago and never played. It was totally random and mindless and so much fun together. Jeffrey noticed how I purse my lips when I play. I push them together so hard that they get numb. How embarrassking.

It's the simple things, right?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The good news is ...

The Euro is down .2 cents against the dollar! Yahoo!

I take what I can get.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's real

Jeffrey is asleep in the red chair, glasses on, a couple music magazines in his lap, one open on his chest. I watch him snoring, suddenly waking to ask a question, then falling back to sleep. And all I can think is how wonderful it will be to be together for the rest of our lives. We're both full of pungent French cheeses, a wonderful engagement gift from Bernadette and James. Our house smells like death and we couldn't be more pleased. We had a French picnic for dinner tonight with cheese and fruit and baguette and roasted garlic. Then we watched a movie with Audrey Tatou to get us further in the frame for France.

We went to see the boat today on which we are going to have the wedding. It's smaller than I thought it was going to be, so we're going to have to keep the guest list pretty tight. And it's going to be fairly cas, I think, because people are going to be eating sort of appeteaserish foods with plates in their laps.

Yesterday our friends threw us a lovely engagement party. It was really touching. After we opened the gifts, which were wonderful and wholly unnecessary, Luis said, "With gifts, it is real now." But it's been real for a while, I think. Or maybe I haven't even seen the realness of it yet.

In music news, my private and public spheres collided today when my piano teacher did an arrangement of a Vietnamese folk tune my mom had sung to me when I was a kid. I sang it for Jane, my teacher, a couple weeks ago, and today she wrote it down. Then she played it back to me. It was astonishing: A Vietnamese song on an American instrument. It freaked my shit out. Seriously.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Awfulness

I hurt someone I care about's feelings today. Well, really, I did it a couple weeks ago but I didn't know until today. I was thoughtless.

I'm just feeling stupid and awful. At one point tonight, I thought to myself, why do they even let me drive? I just so dumb!

Drinking wine didn't even help. Maybe some Felicity?

Friday, April 20, 2007

What is there to say?

I haven't found much to blog about lately. I've been working a lot, while in the office, and away. Everyone has been. I've seen stories of heroism. I've seen stories of loss. Some days I wept quietly in my apartment. Some days I kept it under wraps.

And then I saw a tale of 168 people dying in one city on one day, for whom no memoriam would ever be printed. I questioned everything I could think of, and not nearly enough.

==

Jeffrey and I have been continuing with our plans. We bought our tickets to Paris for our honeymoon, and we got this great little apartment in the 7th arrondissement. We set a date for the wedding: October 20. We're going to have it on a boat, we think. Seriously. A boat. I sort of can't believe it's all 6 months away still. I'm very excited.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Are you there God? It's me, Margaret

So Jeffrey and I have been watching these NOVA shows on the origins of the earth and of life on earth. I have to admit that this last one we've been watching, the origins of life, has been pretty disturbing for me. After chatting with my friend Erin last night about religion (she's harder-core than I am), I started reading "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. I haven't gotten very far. I guess I've hesitated in the same way that a roller coaster builds in some hesitation as it click-click-clicks up that first ramp -- because I know the ride that's coming is going to be crazy, and fast, and may possibly change me.

And then we started in on the origins of life, and it hit me like a brick how ignorant I am and have been. The reason I could always come back to for believing in God was because of life and the elements. I'd say, everything on earth, if you chop it up and boil it down, is made up of things on the periodic table, right? A ton of carbon, a lot of hydrogen, some oxygen, a few other things. But where does life, and more importantly, growth, come out of those things? What element is nascence? Which one gives crescence? You know? But that was so simplistic and ignorant that I want to cry now.

Because then I found out that more than 50 years ago, a kid at the University of Chicago recreated what was thought to be the composition of the atmosphere here billions of years ago. He stewed it together in a water bath, and then added electrical charge to simulate the lightning that surely would have been pounding the concoction. Sure enough, he created amino acids, the building blocks to life where there was no life. Bam. Just like that. And there have been other experiments since then (light + prebiotic soup = organic stuff).

And then there's the amino acids found in meteorites and space dust -- tiny little bits in a constant barrage aimed at the earth that are rich in life-building materials. So did the organic compounds that make us up come from space?

Do you hear that? It's the rumbling of my foundation being shaken.

Nice night

I spent today in an unexpected and inexplicable good mood. I talked to a couple friends tonight on the phone with whom I have not talked in maybe 5 years total, which is so nice. And then I came home to Jeffrey, who was making popcorn in anticipation of my arrival, and we curled up and watched a NOVA about the origins of the earth. It sort of made up for the low grade I got in Physics and Astronomy in college.

Now I am looking at apartments in Paris. I hope we get the one we want!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Documentary evidence

I just want to get this on the record: We are starting to plan both our wedding and our trip to France (which has become our honeymoon) and I'm not stressed out about it. I'm actually kind of happy about it and having a good time. I know that will change, so I just wanted to get it out there. Future Judy: Can you believe it? You used to be really happy and excited about this stuff!

Jeffrey called the JoP yesterday. She seemed very cool, because I heard him laughing an inordinate amount while talking to her. She'll go anywhere within our city but will not go to the other cities. That's a bit of a bummer, because we wanted to maybe have it on the beach. So maybe we'll have to find another person to do it, or move it to Norfolk. Also we have to figure out where the reception will be, because I would like for it to be foodish and dancy, while Jeffrey wants less of a focus on the danciness.

I have started calling him my hu-bee (short for honeybee, but sounds a lot like that other word) around the house. Jeez, we're disgusting.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sad passing

The news came across the wire late tonight that Kurt Vonnegut died. Dammit. I started reading his novels in high school, ripping his style off wholesale in 9th grade creative writing. I always liked how much fun his novels were to read, while also being thought-provoking and insightful. I'm going to have to go back and read all the Vonnegut we have in the house.

Damn.

A sort of funny (to me) story from today: Jeffrey ran into our newish downstairs neighbor today. He's a nice guy, a stoner with longish brown hair. I've talked to him a couple times, but only today learned his name is Ben. At any rate, Ben said to Jeffrey in passing, "You have quite a piano player up there, huh?" Jeffrey said, "Yeah, Judy has a piano and she's been taking lessons." He said, "Well, sometimes I just turn down my music and listen to her play." And I'm thinking, wow, he must be really, really stoned when that there happens.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

All the makings of a great day

Lots of piano, and then 18 steamed crabs to usher in my annual crustacean season. I don't eat them all at once, mind you. I always get them early in my weekend so I can eat them for just about every meal for 2 days. Jeffrey is immune to the disgusting site, coupled with sucking noises, by now. We really must get married before he changes his mind.

My piano teacher wants me to work on my phrasing, or "articulation." I tell her, "I'm like, you know, kind of already articulate youknowwhatImean?" At any rate, I need to slur my notes together in Minuet in G, so what I've been doing is moving my whole body fluidly forward as I play those notes. It's ridiculous-looking and the jury is out on whether it actually improves the phrases. I also do it while I walk around. You know, the house, the neighborhood, the office, wherever. Oh yes, I'll gladly give up my dignity for art.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Rock the potty that rocks the body

The only thing that I can talk about from today is the fun I've had investigating/mocking our new bathroom music. The only time I let myself into our can today I heard the tail end of "Ticket to Ride," beautifully done with a full orchestra, and the very beginning of "Blue Moon," which I only know because Cybill Shepherd sang it on "Moonlighting," which I adored in like, 7th grade (there, that's how old I am). "Ticket to Ride" just made me laugh out loud, when I considered someone directing an orchestra (I imagined a short white man, not unlike Bob Balaban), with everyone dressed in full evening wear. Just a funny image to me.

Then, after work, Good and Evil Brians and I went to investigate the rumor that the music had a volume control that could be controlled by us underlings. Sure enough, the ceiling speakers have little round knobs on them, which we assume is the volume control, as the music in the men's room was much quieter than in the women's. None of us could reach them, though. Evil Brian threatens to "rock out" their bathroom tomorrow. "Just try and pee while Nine Inch Nails is blasting," he says.

It was the first time I'd seen the men's bathroom at work in at least 7 years. It is disgusting. It smells bad and there are just papers strewn about. Brians were very impressed at the niceness of the sinks in our bathroom, which I thought was funny until I saw the sinks in theirs. The whole place was seriously nast.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Let's go crazy

My friend Jim and I used to talk about how we'd flip out in the office. I can't remember, but one of us plotted to just curl up in fetal on the floor, rocking back and forth and singing dirges. Why the dirges? They just seemed right, I guess. Tonight I pondered some of my other options. Here's what I came up with:

1. Calmly, but exclusively, start speaking in Vietnamese. Answer questions only in Vietnamese, and do so looking like there's nothing wrong. Get alarmed only when others do.
Pros: No one would know what the heck I was saying and it's plausibly crazy. "Jeez, Judy just stopped speaking English."
Con: I would have to start over with the words I know very quickly.

2. Start to dress radically inappropriately for the weather. With spring coming up, that's going to mean one thing: layers. A lot of wool, maybe some tweed. And a wool hat on all the time.
Pros: It would be hard for co-workers to broach. It's also something I could start gradually, lending more realism to it.
Cons: Obviously, sweat will be an issue. I can't stand to be hot. I don't even like hot drinks on a cold day. So I would have to weigh the benefit of seeming crazy against actually driving myself crazy.

OK, that's all I got right now.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Face the Music is brought to you by the number 7 and the letters W, T and F

I guess I would characterize today thusly: Unnerving discoveries. Here are the things I learned today.

1. God is everywhere -- including the bathroom. So, I came back from Iowa to find that there's now music being piped into our incredibly non-corporate bathrooms at work. I think it's meant to be calming, because I'd heard they set it to smooth jazz. But a weird thing happened when I went in tonight; there was no music. Then, when I went out to the lounge area to investigate where the music had gone, it suddenly started up again, but this time, there were lyrics. And they were God-ish lyrics. Is God trying to tell me something in the women's room?

2. I'm disgusting. I went in to the work refrigerator to clean out a dinner I'd brought in last week and hadn't eaten and I discovered another dinner from a while ago. Not realizing how long ago it was from, I opened it up and emptied it out into the trash. It was from so long ago, I don't even eat that kind of food anymore. You feel me? It was rancid. I was telling someone else about it, and Josh piped up, "That was you? I literally thought a dead human being was in our kitchen. I walked in there to get something and I walked right back out."

3. You just never know. This is just hearsay, so I'm going to include the conversation in which I heard it. Evil Brian: You know (name withheld)? When I went out to smoke, I saw him (pause) feather dusting his car. Me: Inside or outside? Ev. B: The bumper. I had to turn my eyes away from him when he saw me watching him. Me: I've never seen him with a feather duster. Ev. B: That's because he keeps it in his car. And it ain't in the trunk, either. It's on the passenger seat.

3a. You really just never know. Karl Rove raps and Alanis Morissette does "My Humps." I can't say which one is more haunting.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Glandwatch 2K7

I've been sleeping a lot (I mean A LOT a lot) during my trip and since I got back, so I'm on Glandwatch 2K7. So far, nothing. Jeffrey is on record as saying that I do not have mono, and also on record as putting me on notice.

For those keeping score, this is not quite as dramatic as The Great Trichinosis Scare of 1996, in which I ate raw pork and Bisquick balls that my roommate's visiting friend had made. I said, can I put these in the micro? She said, sure. Somehow I missed out on how long they were supposed to be in there -- and 30 seconds just didn't cut it. Then I walked around the Times-Picayune newsroom with a hand mirror, asking, "Do my eyes look swollen? I mean really? You're not even looking!"

Monday, April 02, 2007

I hope I wake up in my own bed

I'm back! I got back into town this afternoon to a gorgeous sunny day. I slept, accumulating grime and stench and bobbing my head weightily, through both early-morning flights. I'm able to fall asleep on a plane before it even gets to the tarmac, which drives Jeffrey mad. True story: Once, I fell asleep so deeply on a plane that every other passenger had gotten off of it before I woke up. The crazy thing is that it never left -- it had been deplaned for mechanical problems.

I just spent a couple hours in the sun on our balcony, sometimes being hit directly by it. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Now I gotta clean before Jeffrey gets home!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa.

No comment here, except that I'm very glad that I wasn't high or stoned or, um, tripping? when I saw this guy.

It's odd, because I think of Iowa and family as being wholesome, but this trip has been, essentially, an exploration of many sins.* I've been eating in a way that I really have no right to, and then napping and full-on sleeping at any time of the day. That's gluttony and sloth, right? I also found myself gambling on Saturday night, for the first time since I graduated from college 10 years ago. Now I know that's a sin. I also know, from the research I immediately did upon returning home, that there are no such gambling facilities in my current state of residence. As is my way, I immediately called Jeffrey and informed him that I probably have a gambling problem. Like with my drinking problem, it's something I never actually do but think about doing on occasion.

It's been a really fun, if very short, trip. We went on 2 Easter egg hunts this weekend, as well as having a birthday party for my nephew, Luc, who is newly 2. Check him out here in his egg-hunt glory. In case you can't tell, his basket is empty. He was into having a basket; filling it not so much.


I'm ready to be home, though. I haven't seen Jeffrey in a week, and I miss us.

* At least what I remember from the movie Se7en, which I didn't see but have heard about from people who did, and other general conversations I've had about sins, as defined within Judeo-Christian tradition.