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Lessons from A Christmas Story

I tend to attract certain types of people.  These types include the elderly, young children, and guys who are total weirdos.  I don't mean that these are the only people who like me.  I simply mean that members from these populations have a unique way of finding me and clinging.  This has been the case my entire life, especially as far as the last group goes, and I've never quite been able to shake them. I love that children take to me easily, so I don't feel the need to expand much on that.  It has made my job as a teacher and perpetual babysitter much easier.  I like to think it is some irresistible, pure-hearted character trait that draws children to me, but many times I think that children simply recognize me as someone who probably keeps twizzlers nearby. Elderly people find me in public spaces like airports, coffee shops, and libraries.  "Ah, went with the Americano I see.  heh.  Never did take to the taste of expresso myself.  What's your name, little la

Calling from the Funhouse

There are many places I like to avoid.  Renaissance fairs.  The back of those white rapey vans that have no windows.  Classrooms with calculus happening in them.  But one place that proves difficult to avoid and has haunted me for years is the women's dressing room.  Several factors contribute to my aversion, and I mostly blame florescent lighting.  I had a recent run in with the dressing room in Macy's, and my experience there did more than remind me of the virtues of online shopping.  Even so, I went willingly into the dressing room then, and I imagine I will continue doing so for many years to come.  Why?  Because I am a girl, and we are crazy. I needed a dress for an event at work.  When I say need, I'm openly lying.  I have a talent for ignoring the mental images of perfectly wearable clothes already hanging in my closet, and I will tell myself, "you don't have anything."  This is a lie that always works, and this day is no different.  I leave work on a

Of Mice and No Men

Things are pretty bleak.  I'm healthy and all - physically at least, and I'm not in crisis per se, but since returning from winter break, life has quickly gone from an episode of  Hope and Gloria  to  Dr. Zhivago .   You might be wondering why this is so.  Seasonal blues?  Maybe.  Stress at work?  Not really.  I'm unreasonably theatrical?  Yes, but the distressed state of my life does correlate to specific happenings, which are ongoing and worth complaining about. Bliss and I returned from Texas over a month ago to find that we now share the apartment with creatures.  Mice, to be specific.  Tiny, baby, disgusting mice that have the audacity to show themselves at all hours of the day.  Not having dealt much with indoor rodents (I never envied my friends who were allowed to have hamsters), I always imagined mice to be sort of like burglars in the hours they kept.  People who break and enter generally wait to get their work done until the inhabitants are gone or blissfully un

Dance Magic Dance

This is a serious city, and the people in it are serious.  Serious about their work.  Serious about their apartments.  Serious about getting to the train.  People walk with purpose here, and anyone left lollygagging through midtown is either mowed down or evangelized.  I knew all of this prior to moving here, but even so, nothing prepared me for the seriousness that is 80s dance night. I thought I had been prepping my entire life for an event like this, but even I (a girl who spent her formative years rehearsing choreography to Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl”) was a mere amateur compared to the superfreaks who gathered in the east village that night.  When my friends Holly, Mallory and I arrived at the Pyramid club, the place was only half full.  Most were grouped up front at the bar, and although a drink or two was of necessity (so we thought) to make our dancing debut, the smoke machines and compelling sounds of Human League drew us quickly toward the back of the club. We arrived earl


August is by far the worst month of the year.  I've thought this every August of my existence, and I started saying it out loud at least twenty years ago.  Some people like to remind me of some "positive" things about this month (like the birthdays that fall in August), expecting me to retract my statement, but I never do.  My own birthday is in March, and I'm not   that fond of that month either.  August birthdays are fine, and I bet some fun partying happens when those birthdays come along, but all I can think of is those who have gone before me and given birth in August and my hatred is reinforced on their behalf.  Why do I hate August so much, you ask?  Because it's so...August. There are very few redeeming qualities about August; in fact, I'm having trouble thinking of one.  Well, school supply shopping can be fun. For me, August has always marked the end of life-giving things like vacation and breathable air.  August in New York is better than August i

A room of one's own...

I've been a New Yorker now for two full days, so let me know if you want any pointers on living in the city. I moved to 22nd street in Park Slope, a neighborhood in Brooklyn.  A few months ago, Bliss and I frantically searched online for a place of our own here.  We finally landed on the idea of subletting so as to avoid paying large sums of cash in deposits and broker's fees, only to arrive and find ourselves living on the set of Angela's Ashes.   So that's what we did -- we found an affordable apartment in a good location with a renter (I'll call her "H") who was leaving for South America for a couple of months.  Perfect! H wrote to Bliss and me via email several times to give us the low down on her place.  She seemed funny and charming...and she even knocked a couple hundred bucks off the rent each month if we agreed to care for her cat while we were here.  While neither Bliss nor myself were particularly thrilled at the thought of kitty litter mainte