Friday, June 22, 2007

An Announcement

Today is my one-year blogiversary!


To commemorate the occasion, I’m making the move to a Blogspot-free existence over at Join me at the new digs (which, by the way, might feel very familiar), update those bookmarks and feeds, and see how I’m ringing in a new year of bloggy fun!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Shoe Shine

I have to go to New York for the day tomorrow to visit a company for work, which means that my normal uniform of jeans and flip-flops isn’t going to cut it. I test-drove a few outfits and settled on a pin-striped dress and red sweater, but I realized sadly that my black heels had seen better days. They were a bargain $20 pair I picked up when I first started working about three years ago and they showed their age and, uh, bargain quality. Glancing at the clock, I assessed the damage. I couldn’t fix the ground-out heel, but the scuffs could be fixed with some polish. I rooted around for the can of black and laid out paper towels on the kitchen counter for a workspace.

As soon as I dabbed into the can of shoe polish, the pungent, waxy smell brought me back to my parents’ kitchen, where my dad would polish his shoes every so often. He had one of those carrier boxes with a handle down the middle to divide it into two sections. On one side, there would be saddle soap, black and brown polish, and a squirt bottle of water. On the other side, he stored clean, soft cloths and a soft-bristled brush for buffing. I viewed that shoe polish box as somewhat of a sacred relic because it was strictly off-limits for touching. I imagine that my parents were afraid that I’d accidentally get into the polish and start fingerprinting the house, which would not have been a stretch. Instead, I’d perch on a stool and watch Dad magically restore his shoes back to an even sheen.

Dad was and is really fastidious about certain things and shoe polishing was one of them. His left hand slid down into the toe of the shoe and his right hand skimmed the outside quickly and carefully. He applied the polish in tiny, round strokes, using the least amount of polish as possible to cover an area. Tilting the shoe this way and that, Dad checked to make sure that he hadn’t missed any spots; when he was satisfied, he laid the shoe down carefully and started on the mate as the first dried. My favorite step was buffing. The brush would fwip-fwip across the shoe, exposing a shiny, like-new surface. I sat, transfixed.

With that fwip-fwip sound echoing in my head, I finished shining my heels. They emerged somewhat battered, but much improved and it only took a little time and a dab of polish. And some magic, I think.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Not Funny at All

As the first order of business for his first day of summer vacation, JG made an appointment to switch from cable to satellite service in order to get high-definition service all the time instead of hoping for good weather and adjusting a giant antenna on our entertainment unit. Even though I was ecstatic about letting go of a bug-like presence in our living room, I pled to make sure that the dish wasn’t visible from the street, if at all possible.

JG called me at work to report on the progress:

JG: So, I just wanted to update you on what’s going on over here.
RA: Okay, cool.
JG: The guy came and had a look around. He climbed on the roof and stuff, but he feels like we have too many trees to put the dish on the roof.
RA: Oh.
JG: The only way he could do it was to put up an 8-foot pole in the middle of our yard. So, of course, I said, “Absolutely!”
RA: (sharp intake of breath)
JG: Hello?
RA: I suggest that we don’t joke about this.
JG: (quickly) Oh, sorry, joke over. I didn’t agree to it. We’re sticking with cable.
RA: Okay. No antenna on the TV?
JG: No antenna.
RA: Thank you.

Jokes are fine every once in a while, but if I was concerned about a little satellite dish on our roof, a pole sticking out of our yard is no laughing matter! Geez.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Contentment, Almost

Saturday really made me feel like I got a weekend. Sometimes, the two days are packed full of chores and bustle so I don’t feel a significant difference between Sunday’s rest and Monday’s routine.

When I think back, it’s not that JG and I did anything spectacular; we just did a few things with the right mixture of activity and rest. The morning was free and lazy. We drifted around in our pajamas, watched The Soup and Best Week Ever, and caught breakfast when we felt like it. JG mowed the lawn before we left to meet a friend at the climbing gym that afternoon and I was intent on recovering from my less-than-stellar workout on Tuesday. Let’s just say that the ratio of falling to climbing was so high as to inspire the term “high-gravity night.” Apparently, gravity had lessened its hold because I finished two long-standing projects and we all had a much improved day of climbing.

Later that evening, JG and I sat at a laminate table in a local Italian restaurant, one of those neighborhood joints with vinyl seats, metal pizza-pan holders on each table, and gigantic menus. After sharing an order of fried mushrooms (every restaurant in Kennett Square has them and they’re always good), we settled into our respective entrees: vegetable primavera for me and a cheese steak Stromboli for him. Quiet fell over the table – the sound of people simply not talking because they were busy enjoying their food.

“Today was a really good day,” I said slowly, breaking the silence.

JG nodded. “Yeah. I feel like we got a lot done, but it wasn’t rushed or anything.”

I nodded along. I had a serene feeling that I was in exactly the right place with exactly the right person. I wanted to wrap up the sensation and save it for another day.

JG continued, “I don’t know what could make this day any better. Except maybe a doggie…”

Ah, yes. JG’s campaign to add a furry friend to our home has not gone unnoticed. I have started to run out of excuses as to why we aren’t ready to accommodate a dog and our friends have gone out of their way to show me their dogs’ most favorable sides. The fact that JG’s concession of naming privileges represented a considerable bargaining chip is not lost on me. It’s a clear indicator that JG’s picture of happiness is incomplete without a dog curled up at his feet.

In other words, we’re getting a dog.

(JG is doing a happy shimmy in the background.)

Today is JG’s last day of the school year. Tomorrow, he will start to apply to shelters, propose dogs from PetFinder, and research electric fences. That serene feeling I wish I had saved is no longer with me. I’m three-quarters through Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog, so visions of chewed furniture, soiled carpet, and a backyard full of land mines dance through my head. I’m trying to distract myself by finding really good name candidates. After all the negotiation and discussion we’ve had, maybe we should be frank and name the dog Compromise.

Friday, June 15, 2007

High Points

How is it that the workweek seemed to drag on for 17 days, but I’m all surprised that today is Friday, so there are only eight hours to get everything done? If it were possible to get an instantaneous feed of the running loop of crazy inside my head, it might sound something like: what the heck did I do all week that there so many to-dos on my list not done and how is it that it’s the 15th already and I’ve only finished one book and how in the world am I going to finish four this month and I can’t forget to call my dad on Sunday and do I have any clean clothes and was the last time I blogged really Monday?


To quell the unrest I feel at being so not on top of it, I will take a few minutes to reflect on a handful of things that I thoroughly enjoyed this week. Call it penance for not writing them up in a proper and timely fashion.

Resting Easily
Contrary to the looming forecast for this week, I only experienced one more thunderstorm, and since I was at work, I didn’t exactly have the option to curl up into a ball and quiver. Instead, I opted to breathe deeply (meanwhile groaning, “Oh, my lord…”) as my shoulders lurched at the sound of every roll of thunder. I would like a pat on the back, please. Also, I was spared from any more dreams about criminal monkeys; I actually had a good one about JG and me, instead. I hardly ever dream about him – it’s kind of a regret of mine – so waking up from a swirly vision of dancing together was very nice. The music in the background was “Somewhere That’s Green” from Little Shop of Horrors, but I don’t know what that’s supposed to indicate. I doubt it’s in my dream dictionary…

Daily Word
After I used “riveting” twice, sarcastically, in one day, my co-workers encouraged me to set up a dry-erase board with a word of the day, with a goal to incorporate the word into a sentence during the workday. Yes! I provide the word, a phonetic pronunciation, part of speech, and a brief definition and what do you know? Discussion ensues! Building up vocabulary is fun, I tell you. Now I get a chance to revel in all of the lovely words that seem too high-falutin’ for normal conversation but are so fun to say. Insouciant! Profligate! Acquiesce! (Oh, my!) Today’s word is vociferous (voe-SIFF-er-us), which is describes something that is crying out noisily. Go forth and use!

Foodie Show Tunes
Adam, the Amateur Gourmet, presented a grateful viewing public with a week full of original songs about his food and I dare anyone to listen to odes to malted-milk ice cream and lasagna without A) cracking up at the lyrics or B) standing in awe of his simultaneous piano-playing and cinematography. My favorite is “Falafel Love,” which garnered multiple viewings on my computer. Much to JG’s chagrin, I find myself humming the catchy tune during the day: “Why, why did he pick falafel…”

Good Hair Day
As a follow-up to a detailed hair how-to, Whoorl encouraged readers to send in glamour shots of their good hair days. My hair is my only physical feature that I consistently enjoy; I love that it’s so shiny and well-behaved. I took a dozen self-portraits one morning in an effort to do my mane justice and I have to admit that I was a little giddy when Whoorl responded to my e-mail saying, “Your hair is gorgeous!” Aw, shucks. It’s too bad that my facial expression in that picture is a combination of dubious and goofy. At least my hair looks pretty.

I realize that I’m at least three years behind the curve, here, but in an effort to find a jazz radio station to stream, I discovered the wonder that is Pandora and self-loaded radio stations. I like wordless music for working, but a girl only has a tolerance for so much Aaron Copland and movie soundtracks in a given day. But now, I have an endless supply of free jazz without having to assemble play lists. I am on my way to high-end productivity, um, right after I post this entry. Once again, I’m compelled to consider how my life was so freaking inconvenient before the internet. Let us never go back to the dark ages of cassettes. Amen.