Sunday, April 29, 2007


When I was 11 years old, I received honorable mention in a regional poetry contest for a morose haiku I wrote. It goes like this:

Gently falling down
The rain spatters all my dreams
Dotting all my thoughts.

While skimming through my email account that tends to get the most junk mail, I read the online newsletter, Kicking Asphalt, of the Better World Club. (Quick sidebar: This is an alternative to Triple AAA, the travel club. They provide the same services, but instead of directing lobby efforts towards increasing the number and quality of highways, they direct lobby efforts towards environmental protection. One of their best features - they offer not only roadside assistance for cars, but also for bikes. I've never used this feature, so I'm not sure how it works in practice, but I love the idea of it. Now, back to our story.)

In the newsletter, they unveiled a series of haiku written by Better World members, focused on the apparent fight to get an auto emissions waiver designed to let the state set even tougher limits than the U.S. A quick google search will reveal myriad stories about the emissions waiver effort -- supported by the Governor, who has threatened to sue the EPA if they don't grant the waiver. Do your own research into the issue, if you need to. Click here to read the haiku. Here is my favorite, from Chris in Ithaca:

Tundra's, desert's oil,
Pumped madly into the sky:
Oops! No more seasons.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pet Peeves #2

It is so aggravating when I'm on my bike, tucked away neatly into the bike lane, and a car starts to hover behind me driving at 12 miles an hour because it is afraid or uncertain of how to pass. After I think to myself, "Do I look so enormous on my bike that the driver is anxiously contemplating how to swerve around me without causing an accident?", I usually then wave the driver around me, trying to impatiently assure them that they do indeed have plenty of room to pass.

Today, while biking into Cambridge, this happened. My instinctive reaction was atypical. I did not think that (a) I was fat, and (b) I needed to calmly and non-verbally inform the driver that he could indeed pass me with out incident. Instead, I was compulsively driven to begin biking across the entire lane, making sure to take up as much space as possible with my useless switchbacks, and thereby inconveniently slowing down the driver in the teal blue sedan nearly idling at my side.

However, I am afraid of being shot or run over by a car. So I chose not to follow my instincts, however satisfying they might have been.

Happy and TV-Free

BMG and I are sitting side-by-side on the futon, with our respective laptops in our, well, laps. Playing web-boggle. Well, he is. I've quit to blog a little. It is nice to be chilling out a home, playing games and not watching television. I feel happy.

I went to Girls' Group tonight. I bicycled there and it felt so nice. Biking home in the cool, dark night I felt so at peace. If I had not been concerned about biking in the city without a headlamp, I would have kept going. I love to bike, it makes me feel strong, and I feel good about myself when I'm done. Why don't I do this more? (Stupid weather. I don't feel so great about myself when I've been biking in rain and I don't like being cold on my bike.) Okay - pledge to self - ride bike when weather is nice nice nice!

With a little help from the Girls, I decided to head to Europe for two weeks this summer. BMG and I were already planning to go for a short while. But, I was afraid of intruding on his "Ex-Pat Writing in Europe" routine, so I was going to make it a short trip. But, I realized that I can make it a long trip - and just take some time for myself - to bike, explore, and simply be. I feel glad to have made this decision, and am excited at the prospect of heading onto a train and going someplace I've never been before. Hooray! Hooray!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I found out today one of my nieces may have a mild form of cerebral palsy. I let myself cry uncontrollably as I imagined the worst case scenario for the little person called "Tiny Dancer" by her parents.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Watching train wrecks

Exhausted by my laborious day moving from hammock to double recliner back to the hammock at BMG's little house, I wandered home last night at around 9:00 PM. After about 20 minutes of domesticity, and a quick change from my new, lifesaver colored fake polo shirt, I settled into my familiar position on the futon. And I started watching shows on TLC about morbidly obese people.

To be fair, I wasn't seeking out these shows. I really wanted to watch What Not To Wear or, better yet, a rerun of Law & Order (perhaps you've heard of this little show?).

But, with NOTHING else on TV, and missing BMG's TiVo deeply, I settled into a program about four people so obese they are crippled by their own weight. Each person has an eating disorder - food addiction - and binge uncontrollably on up to 36,000 (thousand!) calories a day.

Why do I watch this? Is it to horrify myself into not eating that second piece of chocolate caramel tart? Is it to make myself feel better because even though I've gained about 10 pounds I'm not THAT fat? Is it just driven by that human impulse to watch train wrecks?

I'm not sure. I do know that I fell asleep during the program. When I woke up, the next program, "The World's Fattest Man" had started. It was after 11:00 PM, and Mondays are always stressful days for me at work. I seriously contemplated forcing myself to stay up to watch it. While eating another piece of tart. And then, in a rare moment of self-respect, I turned off the television, and crawled into my bed, and promptly fell asleep - sufficiently sated with my dose of healthy self-esteem.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Junk Mail Part 2

Well, I failed in my effort to assiduously track my junk mail. But, after four days away from my mail box, I again counted the real mail: junk mail ratio.

12/17 pieces were clearly junk mail.
5/17 were of interest to me. Of these, only 1 was a piece of mail specific to me and my home (a bank statement). The other pieces were unsolicited mail that I thought might be of benefit to me. They were:
  • An offer to consolidate my (considerable) student loans
  • A coupon for a popular big box store
  • An invitation to a charity film screening at the home of a distant acquaintance
  • A letter from a newspaper I no longer subscribe to.
Of these only the coupon and the invite to the charity film screening avoided the "recycle me" fate.

I really love getting mail. I wish it were actually more fulfilling in its content.

Finally taxes

I FINALLY got my taxes done through TurboTax, at 5:00 PM the day before they are due in Massachusetts. THEN I learned that the IRS had granted a 2 day filing extension had been granted because of the N'oreaster (aka "The April 15th Blizzard of 2007").

Dream 2

I had a dream last night, while in BMG's tiny bed, that I found a new 700 square foot apartment in Harvard Square. It was ideally located and I realized that I would be able to get parking permits for both BMG and me - while also maintaining my Somerville parking sticker, at least until January 2008.


Time to move?

Dream 1

I had a dream on Saturday night that I had a guinea pig in one pocket and a hamster in the other. Both were my pets, put in my pocket somewhat absent-mindedly because I had other things I needed to do. I say absent-mindedly because in my dream I knew it was ill-advised to put a hamster in my pocket. So, I put it into an old tube-shaped soda bottle. Needless to say, both animals died. In my pocket. The hamster drowned in a little bit of liquid left in its container. And the guinea pig was squished. In my dream I was at a loss for how to discretely dispose of the dead pets, and becoming increasingly anxious.

Then. I woke up. Relieved that I did not have pockets full of dead rodents.


I was visiting my family this weekend, and am certain this dream is somehow related to my desire to be rid of childhood baggage. But, it is baggage with which I'm clearly not yet at peace.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

E-filing in my dreams

I am usually the kind of girl who gets her taxes filed the moment she receives her W-2s in the mail. But, this year my W-2 didn't arrive. I needed to call my employer and have a duplicate copy sent.

The result? I still have not filed my taxes.

I started using TurboTax two years ago. I've logged on three times to begin my filing. The first time, there was a major error in their calculations (my refund was over $100,000). The next two times the connection with the server timed out. I assume because SO many people are e-filing.

So, today, home from work early because I don't feel well, I thought I'd visit the IRS website to pull down the forms I need so I could file the old-fashioned way. And, e-filing beckoned yet again. On the IRS website there is a link to a list of "certified IRS E-filing partners." So, I tried again. The first partner I clicked on did not service Massachusetts. The next partner led me through the registration page, and then my connection with THEIR service timed out.

I'm hoping I'll get my taxes done this year.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

All I wanna do...

Do you ever find yourself at a loss when you are presented with a stretch of free time? I seek both freedom and adventure in my life, and forget what adventures I want to have when presented with unexpected freedom of time. It is similar to the dilemma I feel when I go to the Library and cannot remember what books I want to read. And, I'm not a good browser. There is always a little voice in the back of my brain trying to jog my memory so I can remember that book that sounded so interesting when I read the review in the New York Times Sunday Books Review three weeks ago when I aimlessly browsed through a random copy of the paper while waiting for a latte' at the local coffee shop.

I digress. The point being, I am not a good browser.

So, in much the same way I forget what books I want to read, I also forget what activities I want to do. So, I thought I'd make a list here. A list I can quickly reference on my Blackberry (if I HAD a Blackberry) when I find myself with an unexpected two hour stretch in front of me. So, here goes:
  • Go to Tomb over by Fenway Park
  • Go horseback riding
  • Go to the Big Apple Circus
  • Learn to play Zelda/Ocarina's yada yada (thanks BMG)
  • Amusement park!
  • Water park!
  • Shop for dogs
  • Learn French
  • (Re)Learn Spanish.
This is a good starting point for now. Ideas? Send 'em my way. Stay tuned for stories of these and other adventures here at The Collected Works of Clownface.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Do a good deed

I did a good deed for a stranger today - the grandparent of one of the young I people I serve in my job. He wanted color copies of a photo he saw in the newspaper that were erroneously credited to me. So, I printed five copies of one, and one of the other onto a color printer at the office - vivid 8.5 x 11 pictures of his granddaughter. The task was definitely outside the scope of my responsibility, and it took me about seven minutes to take care of his needs. While we waited, we chatted politely about his granddaughter's future plans and his neighborhood in Somerville.

Thirty minutes after I bade him farewell, he returned with the above box of cookies. "You look like the kind of nice girl who has a sweet tooth," he said, presenting me with two pounds of Italian cookies in a bakery box tied with red string. He exhorted me to come to his home anytime, so I could meet his wife and have a cup of tea. "Bring any friends you might have who live in Somerville," he repeated as he again headed out of my office and back to his home two miles away.

I'm not a big fan of swinging by the homes of strangers. And, his offer was unusual. I'm a yuppie newcomer in a City populated by old timers. He reached out to me, saw that I wasn't threatening, and reached out again. I am preparing a formal thank you note - I love the opportunity to send old fashioned mail.

And I might try to convince BMG to join me for a cup of tea at the home of these elderly neighbors - for the adventure of it all. I am certain we'll leave not only with tea in our bellies, but also a warm sense of community in our hearts.