Saturday, December 27, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Gets Her Christmas Presents
Ah, the holidays. I was a little nervous about Christmas. Could is possibly be as good as Thanksgiving? What with Rita being out of town, the prospect seemed unlikely. This was before Christmas turned into a three week long celebration! As we all know, the church doesn't really know when Christ was born, so the date is a wee bit random, although it does tie in nicely with the pagan celebrations of the winter solstice and dovetails as well with metaphors about light shining into our lives during the darkest days of the year. So needless to say, we weren't terribly wed to the actual day of Christmas here. Which is good. We took it as it comes, which kicked off on the Friday before Christmas (almost a week before) when we

Sunday, December 14, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Bows Down To the AP News Service
When they say truth is stranger than fiction, this is exactly the sort of thing they're talking about - you can't even make this stuff up:

Retired Schoolteacher Claims to be Strom Thurmond's Out of Wedlock Mixed Race Love Child!
A 78-year-old retired schoolteacher is coming forward after years of silence to claim she is the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, her attorney said Saturday.

Essie Mae Washington-Williams, who lives in Los Angeles, had long been rumored to be the daughter of the one-time segregationist, who died June 26 at the age of 100. She is coming forward now at the urging and encouragement of her children, attorney Frank K. Wheaton said.

''She's decided to come forward to bring some closure to what has been thought to be an old family secret,'' Wheaton told The Associated Press.

''We're not trying to upset the Thurmond estate. We are merely bringing closure to Essie Mae's life, so her children have an opportunity to know from where they come, whether those ancestors are black or white matters not. It is part of our American history.''

Williams told The Washington Post that Thurmond privately acknowledged her as his daughter and had provided financial support since 1941. The Post first reported her claims on its Web site Saturday.

Williams, who has scheduled a news conference in Columbia, S.C., on Wednesday, previously denied rumors that Thurmond, the nation's oldest and longest-serving senator, was her father.

''There was an agreement between the parties that she would never discuss the fact that Sen. Thurmond was her father,'' another of Williams' attorneys, Glenn Walters, told The AP. ''He never denied that Ms. Washington-Williams was his daughter.''

Walters said Williams was not seeking money and did not want to challenge Thurmond's will: ''She simply wants the truth about her life to be told.''

Those close to Thurmond said they were unsure about Williams' claim.

''I really don't know anything about that story, so you'll need to talk to someone else,'' said Thurmond's widow, Nancy Moore Thurmond. The couple separated in 1991.

''I certainly have no answer one way or the other,'' said Bettis Rainsford, a longtime family friend. ''I'm sure the senator may have sowed some wild oats in his early days, but certainly I have no information about that.''

Doris Strom Costner, a distant cousin of Thurmond's, said she doesn't think the claim is true.

''I don't appreciate anyone coming forth after he's dead, you know? It doesn't make good sense,'' Costner said.

Williams told the Post she waited until now to go public with her story because she didn't want to embarrass herself or hurt Thurmond's career.

''I want to bring closure to this,'' she said. ''It is a part of history.''

In seven decades of politics, Thurmond gained fame and infamy as an arch-segregationist, but he later came to support a holiday for the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

Williams claims Thurmond fathered her long before his political career started, when he was a 22-year-old living in his parents' home in Edgefield, S.C. Her mother, then 16, had been working as a maid in the Thurmonds' home.

If challenged by the Thurmond family, Williams is ready to submit to DNA tests, Wheaton said.

Williams said she has documents to validate her claim, including cashier's check stubs, mementos from Thurmond and a letter from an intermediary who delivered money from the senator. She provided the Post with a copy of a 1998 Thurmond letter thanking her ''for the nice Father's Day note you sent me.''

She told the newspaper she received money at least once a year in sessions arranged by Thurmond's Senate staff. In recent years, as the senator's health declined, she said, financial assistance was passed through a Thurmond relative in South Carolina.

Wheaton said the amount of money Thurmond provided over the years was ''a very substantial amount'' but less than $1 million.

Williams' mother, Carrie Butler, was unmarried when she gave birth to her in 1925. Butler's neighbors in the impoverished section of Edgefield helped feed and clothe the child, according to Post interviews with local residents.

Butler's sister, Essie, took the child when she was 6 months old to live with a married aunt, Mary Washington, in Coatesville, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb.

Williams told the Post she first met Thurmond around 1941, when she returned to Edgefield for a visit at age 16. Her mother was suffering from an untreatable kidney disease and insisted on introducing her to her father, Williams said.

In a meeting lasting 20 to 30 minutes, Williams said, Thurmond called her a ''very lovely daughter.''

''I was very happy. I knew I had a father somewhere, and it was wonderful to meet him.''

Williams claims she had another conversation with Thurmond in 1947, when he was governor of South Carolina and a year away from running for president on a Dixiecrat platform of segregation.

''He asked her directly, 'How does it feel to be the daughter of the governor and not be able to tell anyone about it?''' Wheaton said. ''She said it felt fine.''

Friday, December 12, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Tries to Act All Suprised
Ok, folks, hands up! All those who are in the least suprised that Halliburton is accused of $61 billion worth of overcharging in Iraq, stick your hands right up in the air. Anyone? Anyone at all? How about you in the back? No? You mean the fact that a company that is already accused of billions of overspending on the Big Dig, and is attached to the Vice President of the United States that won the contract in a process that wasn't open to other bidders might have been out for its own profit margins without regard to anything else? The only thing I'm suprised by is that there isn't perpetual outrage at this whole thing. But at least the outrage seems to be growing. Because now there is official international outrage over the fact that the US won't allow bidding by companies from countries that were against the war in Iraq. As though the companies were official policy makers. And as though pacifists should be punished. Heck, if the US had listened to the rational coutries and their rational companies, the US wouldnt' be in this mess, complete with $61 billion overcharging.

I have to say that the fact that this is allegedly a $61 billion overcharge for GASOLINE in IRAQ is the truly amazing part of it. Good heavens people, if you're going to overcharge for something, don't overcharge for snow to the eskimos, sand to the saharah, or gas to Iraq.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Tries to Figure out Dentistry
Ouch. It has happened. A crown on my tooth has half broken off. This is not good, particualrly as there seems to be minimal proivsion in this country for dental care for the poor, so I'm not quite sure what to do. I'm investigating programs with the local dental schools, which are certainly cheaper, but for some reason still feel the need to charge you to be treated by students. That's some racket they've got going there in dentistry! But I really don' thave a choice. This is more than a bit painful! And yet, my appetite is undiminished. Amazing.

And of course this is in the middle of exams. I had my first exam last night. I was a bit worried about it as a) it was the tougher of my exams this semester, b) I haven't actually taken an exam in two years, and c) it was pass/fail, so who knew where the bar was set on this exam. In addition, the book I wanted was in the library and the library was shut for the weekend due to the snow. Turned out I shouldn't have worried. It was the most bizarre exam I've taken, mostly in that it seemed to have little to do with the subject we studied, and was more a pop quiz on what we learned in contracts class many years ago (many many in my case). I finished in under two hours for a three hour exam, which was a first for me. And then I had to wait for the boys to take me to dinner. But they arrived, and after a couple Midori sours, I was set. Exam just a brief distant memory and waiting to get ready for the next one.

I have made plans now to make gingerbread men with my friend Catherine on Sunday. Catherine is three, so this will be a very fun project for her. And for me, although I think I'm going to make the dough ahead of time. There's a lot of chilling and all that, so I think this is the best way. Mixing the batter is not the exciting thing. Cutting the cookies and decorating the men, that's the fun bit. I shall do the prep, and then we can have fun!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 07, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Gets Snowed In
For those of you not currently aware of the weather patterns of New England, Cambridge is currently getting snowed upon. This started around ten last night, and is forecast to go through tomorrow afternoon, when it will taper off to flurries. Now this is a good thing, as I do have those pesky exams to study for, but I haven't been doing as much of that as maybe my professors would want. Instead, I've gotten all industrious. I have:
- cleaned my room (always a feat and a half. Turns out there's floor under there.)
- Hung shelves in the kitchen. Two of them. And then cleaned the kitchen.
- Broken out the food processor.

The food processor is a grand grand thing. I burnt out the motor on my last one, and when my friend Stuart came to stay in October, I said to him "Don't bring a bottle of wine for me. I want a food processor. With POWER!" I said it jokingly, but damn if he didn't come through. I'm doubly impressed since Stuart can't cook, so he knows nothing about such things as food processors. In fact, a recent IM conversation with Stuart involved him telling me that for the first time ever he had made rice. That's it, just rice. Well, everyone has to start somewhere. I'm not spoiling any suprises by saying that for Christmas I'm cutting him some of the home grown herbs here (the rosemary, the bay, maybe some tarragon), copying ouut some of my more easy recipes, and then baking him some of my famous chocolate chunk, hazlenut and orange cookies. Poverty calls for creativity in the old Chrimbo presents this year. Mostly I'm knitting (although some of these presents may be late. I'm not a fast knitter.) But to bake the cookies, I needed to chop them. In the food processor! And then I made some butternut squash soup. More food proecessor. Now I'm just all a flutter. I'm thinking pecan pie (crusts= processor) and maybe some salsa. Damn I love that food processor.

Speaking of knitting, I think I ought to get to that too. Christmas is coming, and so is Jim! He's going to want his scarf, since after all he's never seen snow!

Saturday, November 29, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Braves Black Friday
It is something I always have to explain to foreigners. First, we have a holiday that doesn't involve going to church, even in a token fashion. It is a holiday solely revolving around eating. Doesn't matter what faith you are. If you want the full tradition, you need some turkey, booze and some football. And then.....the next day, everyone goes shopping. True. It is the single biggest retail sales day of the year. But I never remember it being this bad. I turned on teh TV this morning at 6, and people were already in the malls. Including a rather bizarre moement of one of my classmates being interviewed on television. And this year, I was going to have to brave it working in the shop. I had been hearing for weeks now about "what the holidays are like at Burdicks." I'm getting clues of it. But today was the first real test. And when I turned up at noon, my worst fears weren't really realized. Admittedly, we were full, and we were certainly busy, but for Black Friday (so called as this is when retailers go into the black, although I think from the people working in shops that day it has another meaning, it didn't seem too bad. But then I realized that people were eating lunch. Even on the busiest days, you can count on two lulls. One around noon and one around six, when people eat dinner. Then at one and at seven they come storming back into the shop. For those of you going out shopping in the near future, I offer the following tips:

1. If you're standing in a long line, by the time you get to the front know what you want to order. This way, you will not cause a riot. It is quite amazing the number of people who stand in line like sheep (frequently yakking on the cell phone) and then are suddenly amazed when they get to the front. Uhhhhhhhhhhhh, I dunno. Causes of death: being beaten by mob standing behind you or alternately me jumping over the counter and strangling the 85th person who does this to me on a busy day.

2. It is rude to linger in doorways. We have a small shop, but most people like to get a seat. When the seats are full, as they're pretty much going to be until after January, people stand around and wait for seats. Today, for some reason, many people in a row decided to linger in the doorway. This puts them in the way of people coming in, people going out, and also cause people not to come in the shop because they think they can't get in, so we lose business. We now have authority to have a quiet word with people who linger in doorways.

3. There is a five dollar minimum for all credit card purchases. If you don't have five dollars of change in your wallet, just maybe you shouldn't be buying that hot chocolate. This goes double if you're only spending $1.50 on a cup of tea.

4. We are a busy shop, We are not your secretary. If you want to send your 10 year old out while you have a cup of coffee and give her your cell phone, please don't have her interrupt us at our jobs unless there is some sort of emergency on her part. Emergencys, for the record, involve at least one of the following: blood loss, vomiting and/or a felony in progress.

5. I am paid for my job, and I am paid sufficiently. But we do get tips and we do appreciate them. If you're going to make me spend twenty minutes on you while you can't make up your mind, have me make up and wrap up special packages for you and I do it all cheerily (there should be no reward for poor conduct), then consider throwing a quarter in the tip jar. It won't hurt you, but it could make my day. Really.

6. If you are in a crowded cafe, and you are directly in the line of traffic, please try to do your best to move out of that line of traffic. It is not fun for me to have to say "excuse me" to you repeatedly. And I can't tap you on the shoulder since my hands are full of dishes.

7. If you're rude to me, you're not going to get my best service. Tired, I understand. Harried, I understand. Flat out rude, I will not understand. And I will not like it either.
Your harried hostess

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Trys to Remember What She Is Thankful For
Ah, it has been quite a week. My Mother and Grandmother have been caught in everyone's favorite past time "Anne's Family Coming to Town without Ever Telling Her" which is always fun. Granted, this time my Uncle at least told me and invited me. This beats out the previous record where I found out from relatives outside the country that all of them and my sister were staying in a hotel three blocks away and in fact visible from my bedroom window. We're such a close family - they oughta put us on Christmas cards.

My friend Graham had sent me a list of things to be thankful for this year, in case I was running out. Considering that last year I spent Thanksgiving's four day weekend on my sofa debtaing shuffling off this mortal coil (but who would take care of the cat?) I am grateful for medication to treat my adrenaline condition, my wonderful doctor, my cat, my friends, my roommate (also a friend), my doubles partner Lizzie (also a friend), my coaches (more friends), my bike and the fact that I have a job and it is in a top notch chocolate shop, even if it isn't the legal job of my dreams. Although I'm waiting to hear on one hot and heavy duty paid internship, so pray for me!

Other things to be thankful for this holiday (in case none of the above apply to you):
- I'm not Martha Stewart.
- I"m not Michael Jackson.
- I'm a hell of a cook, and have more food than most of the rest of the world at my disposal.
- the internet. I'm terribly thankful for the internet.
- Howard Dean is forcing the Democratic Party to realize what really makes voters tick isn't just "I'm not W."
- Flowers. Nuff said.
- Reid's new book (you'll have to wait to read it, but it will be worth it and will make you feel better)
- Tibet. Be thankful it is there. Go there and you'll understand.
- That is now making pants that fit me, and look like everyone else's pants.
- Reconnecting with old friends. I ran into one last week who I haven't seen in over two years, what with my travels and her moving to California. But we're back, and we're having dinner.
- Broccoli casserole with wild rice. Mmmmmmmmm.

And sleep. It isn't coming very well tonight, but I love it when it is here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Contemplates a Fate Worse than Death
It all gets worse sometimes before it gets better. In this case, I thought I was getting better ecause I took Lemsip to make me feel better. And it worked. For a while. And then it reacted with the other medications I take. And not in a good way, like say suddenly discovering a cure for malaria. But no, in a bad way. A very bad way indeed. In a "get up and leave the movie theatre while Colin Firth is on screen diving into a pond and call your doctor from the lobby as you head to the ER" sort of way. I have recovered, but should I get another cold or snuffle for the rest of the year, the prescription is lozenges and warm water humidifiers. The orchids will go crazy.

In the meantime, that dreaded time of year known as final exams are fast approaching. One take home exam, one paper (45 pages, plus footnotes), and one pass/fail three hour exam. I've never taken a class pass/fail before, but I'm doing ok with this one. The wondered if my urge to overacheive would fall to the wayside, but I find that since I don't know where the pass/fail standard lies, the urge to overacheive has been replaced with sincere fear and terror of failure. Maybe that's the same thing. Although in some ways, it is better since I'm not sure where in a class on IP licensing, the A answers and the C answers divide. So overall, I think it is a good thing.

I thought not getting along with my family would get me out of having to make agonizing decisions about where to spend Thanksgiving, but apparently not. My new roommate is great, but her boyfriend tends towards bossing me around rather, so I haven't really taken to him. On her suggestion, I tried talking to him about this, but not only did it not take, but since we were in a car at the time, he retaliated by driving exceedingly aggressively. Thus, of course, not making me like him any more. It isn't a hatred, but it is starting to evolve into a rather sincere dislike as opposed to the prior apathy I had about him. And now comes Thanksgiving. Rita wanted to spend the day cooking and then having dinner, which is a big part of her traditions. I like it, except unless one of my friends comes along (I've invited Alex, but haven't heard yet - keeping my fingers crossed there for a buddy on my side), it is basically going to be a day of me being uncomfortable in my own kitchen. Having just made dinner with him working in the kitchen (I tried to make a nice suggestion that maybe he'd be more comfortable at hte big table in the yoga room, but he didn't budge.), I'm pretty positive I can't hack a whole day of it. Cooking is just too much fun for me to have the life sucked out of it like that, so if no Alex or other fun people, I'm heading to Marita's for turkey day and a whole lot of beer. Which is sad, as while I like Marita a lot, I'd like to spend the day happily in my own kitchen with my own fun roommate. It isn't like he bosses her around or anything, so it isn't something where I should step in and intervene for her mental or physical well being. I just need to step out for my own! Sad, though. But there's beer and football at Marita's!

Saturday, November 08, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Contemplates the Up Side of Death
It is coming on. I can feel it. The lurking dreaded cold clammy hand of lurgy. Ugh, I feel ghastly. The tickle in the throat, the little bit of a cough, the drip drip drip of the sinuses, the aches in the joints that say "I'm a virus and there's sweet FA you can do about it, baby." I don't get sick often, but boy when I do, I get sssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeck. In fact, that last time I got sick, and had these aches in my back the night before, I woke up the next morning and spent the next night (and in fact the next week) in the hospital. It was an experience and a half. And I will in fact pass on the wisdom gained from that experience to you: if they're pressuring you to have the spinal tap with the fact that if you have spinal meningitis you might die, consider opting for death. Because death will be a heck of a lot less painful, considering you'll probably sleep right through it. And if the first doctor can't manage to get fluid on the spinal tap, again consider the death option before letting a new and exciting doctor near your back with one of those needles. I say this despite the fact that the second doctor cut a deal with me - she got one shot, my boyfriend could hold my hand (the first doctor had kicked him out), and if she couldn't do it in one go, it was over and no one else was going to have a try. Credit to her - she got the fluid in one take, and with the anesthetic I didn't feel pain, just pressure, but that said there was enough pressure that when I held Kit's hand, he had to be very sweet and kind, and just say things like "Remind me never to arm wrestle you, honey." Which is something I always find truly amazing. There you are, or there I was, three days of a 104 degree fever, weak as a kitten all day, all I can do to open my eyes and watch TV, but they start sticking needles into my back and suddenly I'm Xena, Warrior Princess with the grip of steel!

I'm sure it is just a wee little virus.

But if it isn't, don't let those Lutherans get ahold of me!

Love, but no kisses in case you catch what I've got,

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Gets to Repeat her Favorite Word Over and Over
It is common knowledge that my favorite word in the whole wide world is "mitten." It is just one of those words that is so much fun to say, and it also conjures up a cozy image. Mitten, mitten, mitten. The problem with me and mittens though is that I couldn't find mine after all the moving. It snowed the other morning and I biked to work in the snow. Barehanded. It was, to say the least, chilling. Rita's Mom had been visiting us a couple weeks before that and she knits like a fiend. I called her up and left a message saying that it was snowing, my hands were cold and I needed to knit mittens pronto. She not only sent me a mitten pattern, she sent me mittens! And these are some real kick butt mittens. Gray wool, big enough and felted. The felting gives them serious thickness, and I can also attest after wearing them biking tonight that it also makes them relatively windproof. Plus, she made the cuff part long enough that it extends over the back of my hands when my arms are stretched out over the bike. I was actually quite cranky that when I got them, it had warmed up again and I couldn't wear them. So I welcomed today's cold snap with open arms. And mittened hands. Mmmmmmmmmmm. Mittens!

Monday, November 03, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Opts Not to Become a Lutheran
I am surrounded by avid Lutherans. Not that I'd consider the breed a particularly evangelical bunch, but my roommate is a Lutheran, her mother is a "good little Lutheran" and our friend Graham is a Lutheran who as soon as he gets his act in gear (which may be sooner now that he has successfully acheived the banning of smoking throughout large portions of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) is heading to Divinity School to become the first Lutheran Pope. Rita and Graham go to the same church here in Cambridge, and hardly suprisingly it is a Lutheran Church. Yesterday was "Friendship Sunday" which is basically where you bring your friends to church. I was willing to go, Lutheranism not being so far from Anglicanism, and once Graham offered to take me to lunch afterwards, I found I was more than willing to worship for food. (Does this tie in with my food and faith paper? Hmmmmmmmmm, maybe.) So with less than an hour to go, I bounded into Rita's room, woke her up and informed her we had to go worship. She was less than enthused, which was a little suprising seeing as she was co-chair of Friendship Sunday, but I did wake her up, so maybe it wasn't quite so suprising. Rita takes a bit to get going in the morning. But once she was up, she was adamant we had to go because "It isn't like Greek orthodox. These Germans need to be on *time.*" So sprinting out of the house, we got there just in the nick of time, whapped Graham in the back of his head to get his attention and make him come sit with us, and I rapidly discovered that friendship Sunday was to be all about ......

Yes, death. Turns out these Lutherans are a morbid breed. Or more accurately, it turns out that in a bit of a scheduling mixup, Friendship Sunday was scheduled for All Saints Day, which is a popular time to talk about death. Those who had gone before, etc etc. Before the service, there was an announcement about death, the hymns were perky little numbers about the afterlife, and during the service we had to write down the names of someone who had died and then go up on the altar, hand in our card, light a candle and then stick it in some sand pots. This proved to be quite problematic for me as it raised all sorts of implications. First, did the person I named have to be Lutheran? Did they have to have died in the last year? What if I didn't know if they were Lutheran? What if God didn't like them? What if it was a year and a day ago that they died? And besides, it seemed so wrong to be writing things in church - I felt as though I was supposed to be paying attention to something, not writing stuff down. But Rita named her grandfather, who passed away recently, and who was a good Lutheran, so I went with that. Went up, turned in my card, lit my candle, stuck it in the sand, and felt a bit awkward about the whole thing really. The candles were a little tricky too - since there were pots of them filled and I was near the end of the line, it was difficult to put it in and manage not to get your clothing caught on fire. But I pulled it off somehow. I really do feel that there was a potentially very beautiful and symbolic moment in there just waiting to get out, but not quite making it. Went back, sat down, and waited for the peace bit, during which all I wanted to do was grab ahold of Rita and Graham, hold them very tightly and order them not to die. Rita then *left* because she had to go to work. I opted out of communion as I didn't really feel up to it, and then made it through the service and off to the promised lunch bit. That was good, but we went with lots of people from church, and I got stuck at the end of the table with Graham, who is one of hte funniest people I know, and some people who weren't that funny. This inluded the guy who thought reading anything but the Wall Street Journal was a waste of his time as he had other things to do. All in all, I don't think I'm about to convert to Lutheranism. Although Graham says that now that the chip has been implanted in my brain, I'll start to feel a lot less pain and start to think that those Lutherans really have the right idea. Time will tell, I suppose!
love, and wishing you all don't die,

Monday, October 27, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Makes Her Way Down the Charles
Ah, the Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR). The pinnacle of the fall racing season. Three miles upstream on the Charles, through seven bridges, nearly a full circle of turns, on a narrow course, and more than half the entrants get rejected in a lottery system as it is just so popular they can't hold all the space! And that was before they cut the entry numbers by 5% this year, as it was still getting too crowded. Lizzie and I raised a whole lot of money for charity to get an entry, and had been training for this since March. The problem was..... well, the problems werer numerous. For starters, there is no club event in the double at the Head of the Charles, which is a bit of a pain as there is a club event for every other category. You have to qualify for the club events, mostly by NOT being on the national squad for the last few years, not going to the Olympics for the last six years, not finishing in the top three spots at the Head of the Charles for a couple years, no recent Pan Am games, World championships, that sort of thing. As I said, there is no club double for some reason. So those 18 Olympians and national squad members were just lying there in bite sized chunks, waiting for us. And don't forget to go back and re-read those past few entries here. Lizzie's broken nose. My cracked ribs. And as if that wasnt' enough, two days before the race Lizzie got a nasty infection in her hand. She got IV antibiotics, but while waiting for them to clear her hand was so swollen that by the day before the race she could neither bend or straighten her fingers. I confess, I completely stressed about it. Would she be able to row? If God forbid she couldn't, should I find another partner or just pack it in? Ordinarily, I would say pack it in even though it was the Head of the Charles, as Lizzie is my doubles partner and there is a bond there that shouldn't be sold out at the first opportunity. The issue for me was the money raised. People had in effect paid for us to do this, and it seemed morally wrong to let them down, particularly as we weren't talking about a small amount of cash. But quite frankly, who really cared about rowing when we were talking about Liz's health? That was without question the overriding issue. Gack. Complete stress. Not enough medication!

Being down and being dockmaster on Saturday afternoon didn't help. It was much easier this year than in year's past. but what is it with people sometimes? Why some guy felt the need to give me an obscene gesture and get belligerent with my crew I'll never know. Threatened with a penalty, the crew he was "helping" (he wasn't even a coach - he was two seat's boyfriend, and by all accounts will never be allowed anywhere near a dock in a regatta again), made him apologize but for goodness sakes! The crew in question, it must be said, was a set of some of the nicest women I've come across and it was a horrid feeling to even have to threaten a penalty. They were stunned, and they seemed ready to club him into submission had he not agreed to apologize. Poor things. I think this sort of problem of association has happened to all of us at one point or another.

The good news is that Melbourne University Boat Club, who had been staying with us (well, two of them stayed, but most of them came in and out and it must be said were most excellent houseguests. We're looking forward to having htem back next year.) WON the Club 8+ on Saturday by a good thirteen second margin. Well done MUBC! There was much jumping around and screaming when I found this out and it really felt good. Huzzah! Huzzah! CRI men came in eighth, and within five percent of the winning time which gives them a guaranteed entry for next year. Wonderful.

Then came Sunday. Nerves a-blazing but with our race not until 2:55 in the afternoon, Team Milhouse went for breakfast with the great Osterman, who is the best person to have with you prior to a regatta, as we had discovered at the Head of the Connecticut. Part coach, part Mom, experienced rower but with out the emotional baggage that goes along with any of those things prior to a race, Kate organizes gear, pins numbers, double checks water bottles, the whole thing. Breakfast with Kate was great. Liz's hand was checking out - she'd be able to row although it was going to hurt like a mutha. You have to admire that kind of commitment. And again, as has previously been examined in these posts, you have to wonder where commintment ends and insanity begins. Although such examination could wait until later. The race was on!

Rowing down to the start started off well. We got into the groove, but then we got to the finish line where everyone was turning around to head back to Magazine Beach and the start. Chaos, and it throws you off your stride. But we took our time and made it down with just the right amount of time. Note to organizers, the new traffic pattern at the start either needs to be better signed or better patrolled or just plain re-thunk. It looked good on paper, but didn't work so well in practice. But we made it into our line up to sit and wait for not so long actually when we discovered that our bow number had fallen off. In fact, we picked it up out of the river as it drifted past us. No way to put it back on while on the river. Damn. Minute penalty, that. Nothing to do about it then, but we were off through the start. It was an, um, well, errrrr, interesting race. Yet again, another boat tried to run us over. But our now well developed sense of self-preservation led to Liz steering it just right. They couldn't master the turns, so our course was very much "here they come again!" and "look out, they're coming back!" and "once more for good measure!" Bleh. But we kept our cool. The second boat was a bit less predictable (it is somehow easier to predict the very worst steering boats - you know they're going to whap you, you just don't know when, so the tactic is always be waiting for it. So there was a little oar overlap there, but they thanked us for our good steering at the end so we feel good about that. The problem was more that we kept losing our focus. Hardly suprising. The good news is we kept getting it back. Our bad bits were truly awful, but the good bits and indeed there were some, were some of the best rowing we have done all season. We struck a really good 27 beats a minute comign out of Anderson (to loud Aussie cheers!) that was impressive. But then we nearly hit JFK street bridge, so that wasn't so impressive.

On straight time, we were amazed to find out we didn't finish last even though it was our worst time over the course by minutes. Sadly, that bow marker penalty dropped us to last. Ah well, it iwill never happen again. Now we know better.

Next episode: recoup, recover, and relax.

Friday, October 24, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Frets Her Way Through Recoverystrong>
This morning when I bicycled to work, it was snowing. That's even earlier this year than usual. But I guess it is officially a harbinger of winter, and with winter starts (but only starts) to spell the end of on water rowing practice. We've really ended it due to the fact that racing season is over and we need a bit of time to heal. Heal from broken noses, two cracked ribs, and an infected hand. But I progress too quickly. You know about the broken nose already, let me go on to the ribs.

Our first race of the season was the Head of the Textile, which we were looking forward to with great enthusiasm. Then we found out that we had registered for the Open Double rather than the Club Double. This was because we hadn't realized there was a club double, and as such we didn't bother to sign up for it. There were four boats in the Open - ours and three others. The first one ran us over 20 strokes from the start. When I say ran us over, I mean what I say - their bow overlapped our stern by at least 8 inches. This is despite us being on the bouy line with no where to move but in their way. Not that it mattered - they never looked over. We filed a protest at the end of the race, and were vindicated, but I have to say it threw us off our stride rather. But we picked it up and moved on, with the offending boat ahead of us. Then we went to pass the boat that had started ahead of us. This proved to be tricky. Not because they were fast - they were slower than molasses in January, but rather because they couldn't steer to save their lives. Or, as it turned out, my ribs. Their course was roughly that of the Super G slalom. And they took a stem Christie turn just as we were passing them, and rammed us from the starboard side. Miraculously, they didn't break our oar, but they did catch my oar and move it with their boat, slamming it into my chest with enough force that the handle edge cracked two of my ribs. We kept going. I mean, we had to row back to the finish line anyway to land, and I didn't realize that the pain was just going to get worse. But it did. The pain, that is. The water conditions also got progressively worse as well. And the only other boat in our race was eventually going to pass us as they were fast, but they couldn't steer well enough to stay on the course OR decide which side to pass us on either. It was exceptionally nerve wracking - neither of us wanted to get hit again. First they were on port side, then starboard side, the port side again (outside the bouys), then back on the course on starboard side. Finally, they pushed us over to the bouys and kept on trying to push us, so I told them to move over. They told us to move over. I lost my temper as I just wasn't going to be rammed again. "YOU HAVE TO MOVE TO THE CENTER LINE!" I screamed. But I have to say that I also put three (possibly more) strong explitives into that rather short sentence. It worked to get them to move over, but I have to say I was ashamed of myself. Panic is never pretty. The ribs, it turns out, were cracked. They hurt, but I'll heal.

Somehow, we had to regroup for the next race, which was the next Sunday in Connecticut. Aptly, it was named Head of the Connecticut. I don't think either Lizzie or I had the confidence we could pull it together after such a disasterous Textile. And Head Conn is not my favorite race in the world - it is an extra half mile on the other races and the course is a bit tricky. But I have come to Jesus and seen the light that is the joy of the Head of the Connecticut regatta. Lizzie steered a great race, and we rowed pretty well for us. It was truly a fun experience. A bit amazing in that in my view from the stern, I watched six boats after us go off the course severely and in fact they had to be rallied back on the course by a marshall and YET no bouy penalties were awarded. Shocking, and it would have moved us up in the standings. But never mind. We still had fun, and seeing as it rained so hard we collected an inch of water in our boat during the race, that is an amazing feat in and of itself.

Which brings us up to the Head of the Charles. But I have other work to do right now, chickadees, so I will leave that til later.
Anna the Slowly Returning

Friday, October 17, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Forgets to Slow the Heck DownHello there sports fans. A bigger recap will be forthcoming. Highlights to include:

* Racing! With blood, gore, two crashes, swearing and two cracked ribs!
* Houseguests! Two mothers, two Australian strangers, a long lost but re-found a friend and the gift of a food processsor.
* Work! And lots of it! And a near-sacking! (But I somehow pulled it out of the fire.)
* School! And my apparent incarnation there as some sort of religious zealot! (Who knew? News to me.)
* Construction! Missing walls, rebuilt walls, ceilings, painting, trim and the quest for where on earth to put all these plants and tress in the meantime!
* And last but not least, baseball, baseball, baseball! Although now that the Red Sox lost the ALCS, that's over for the season. I won't watch much of the World Series, but I"m rooting for the Marlins due to my long held beliefs that I cheer for the Red Sox and whoever is playing the dreaded Yankees.

More Monday peeps.
Your long lost Anna

Monday, September 22, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Goes to Yoga Class
Yoga, ah, yoga. I'd been debating going to yoga for a while but fell prey to the classic "oh, I don't have the time." This despite the fact that I certainly had the time if I felt like it. It is always just the initial effort of getting there, etc etc. But my coach had ordered me to go (and also to start doing ab circuits) so I went. Being a competitive sort though, I went to Power Yoga. Supposedly at the studio of the guy who originated it. But that's not the issue. Power Yoga, it turns out, is held in a 90 degree room, which a) limbers your joints, and b) makes you sweat in a way you've never sweated before. At first, I thought this was going to be horrible - the woman in front of me (in a Basics class) was doing handstands to warm up. Holy Hannah. But then class started and we all had to do our series of poses, etc. The heat certainly did help with flexibility and movement, but the sheer amount of sweat was amazing, and towels are a big requirement since the floor gets very slippery with everyone dripping like that. Up, down, all around, wheeee. I was good at some of the poses, but for some reason the simple ones (like the "Tree") eluded me. I shall have to practice the tree, but in the meantime I keep finding myself stretching and suddenly winding up in these yoga poses, thinking about creating space in my shoulderblades and the like. Normalcy is so far away..........
In Which Our Heroine Puts Her Heroine Powers to the Test
Oh the humanity! And the blood. Team Milhouse has had a wee setback. Liz has broken her nose. She was doing an abdominal circuit, and if you want to know how you can break your nose doing that, you'll have to e-mail me and ask me. Not that I can provide great answers, as frankly I watched it happen and I still don't know exactly how this occured. One second there was the toning of the abdominal muscles. The next second there was blood, gore and screaming. Granted, not that much screaming. Certainly not as much screaming as if *I* had broken *my* nose. But then I am a noted wimp, and Liz is quite obviously a tough girl. Which is good, as she also got a fat lip too. She will recover fully, or so we're told. They'll reset her nose tomorrow (she will need painkillers for that, and frankly I am already needing valium at the sheer thought of it.) and she can row again as "soon as she can breathe through her nose" the doctor says. We are supposed to race on Saturday. If we actually do that, well, I'll be even more impressed with Liz than I already am.

Frankly, when it all happened, I was a bit of a mess. Liz keeps thanking me for all my help, but all I did was drive her to the hospital and make a couple of phone calls. Oh, and ask a lot of questions. But that is the sort of thing I do anyway. It really is not fun though (flashbacks to the hypothermia incident) to have to make phone calls to people's parents and say "Errrr, hello. We're in the Emergency Room. No, calm down, everyone's going to be fine. But we're worried that she's broken her nose." And of course, the whole thing would have gone a bit better and actually asked Liz's dad's secretary if I could speak to Liz's dad, rather than Liz's brother.

The truly best bit actually occurred coming home. Having dropped Liz off into the care of her rather shocked roommate, I grabbed a couple of bags of books and nabbed the bus home. Changing buses in Harvard Square, I had one of those mildly disassociative states where you suddenly perceive yourself as others see you. There I was, one in the afternoon, sweaty, in spandex and a rain jacket, the ever present rowing sandals and socks combo, spattered with blood (I found some on my face later, just to add to the sight), looking like quite the recently released serial killer. But a highly literate serial killer, given the two big bags of books. Just as I realized that the men in white coats were about to swoop from somewhere to take me somewhere padded on all four walls, the woman next to me suddenly turns and asks me "Do you row?" What gave it away? That copy of "Moral Man and Immoral Society" at the top of my book bag?

Team Milhouse Emergency Room Visits So Far This Season:
Anne: 4 (once accompanying Liz)
Liz: 2 (once accompanying Anne)

Monday, September 15, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Gets Into the Cambridge Thing
Long time, no post. Life has been terribly busy of late. School, moving (still moving! There is still stuff at Liz's.) Work. Practice. More practice. Ab circuits. The whole nine yards. But in the midst of all this, slowly a routine is settling in of some fashion. And I've been enjoying being a Cantab. Working at Burdick's has meant some unusual hours for me, as I've been leaving work at 11;45 at night - far past my usual bedtime. This has, however, led to some interesting exposures. For starters, on Saturday nights I now cycle past the people lined up for the midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I didn't know people still did that, but they do. In full regalia and camp. I guess they enjoy it. I can see where it would be fun to do again, but I can't see myself out there in bustier and boots throwing things. Maybe I'm just turning into an old fuddy duddy. Or maybe not, as I now cycle to school (across the bridge, which is an excellent adventure in and of itself) and get far too much joy out of being at the top of the ramp of the parking garage and just letting the brakes off to fly down the ramp. I think the biking is one of my most favorite things about Cambridge. Everyone bikes, it seems. Not just the students. As I pedal around, there are more people out of Harvard Square cycling than in it without question. And of course, being Cambridge there are cycle lanes and most drivers seem to know how to handle it. Those that don't I just assume are from Boston. That is an easy assumption to make, I must say. The second I cross over the river, it is driving and biking chaos. The Boston Bike Coordinator was fired over the weekend. Good job, I say. I didn't know Boston had such a thing, and I can't say he had done any sort of a good job. The sad part is that he doens't seem to be being replaced at all, much less by someone competent. Budget cuts, they're claiming. This is why the only cyclists in Boston seem to be couriers.

Another thing that is great about Cambridge is the bookstores. Harvard Square is reputed to have the highest bookstore density in the world. I believe it, and more importantly they are good bookstores. I can get lost in the Coop for hours, and the Harvard Bookstore (not affiliated with Harvard University) will take old books in good condition and pay you either 15% cover price in cash or 20% in store credit, which you can spend anywhere in the store. Including, I need hardly add, on the used books. This allowed me to clear some bookshelf space over the weekend and also to have some money to spend. I took the store credit. I know that I will spend the money there!

The one thing I know that I don't have to change, nor should I by moving to Cambridge is my loyalty to the Red Sox. We have 14 games left in the season, and are currently five games behind in the dreaded Yankees in the division, and a half game ahead in the Wild Card stakes. But seven of those 14 games are against lowly Tampa Bay. We're in with more than a shot, my friends. But I'm very worried about Nomar's flu.

My lemon tree is in bloom and so is my jasmine tree. Ah, how wonderful. My clothes dry outside in the joy of air drying, and the kitty has returned home from his summer holiday at Susan's. All is well and content here on Marie Ave, and I have far too much school work, private client work, writing work (already a week behind deadline, and it is my first deadline set!), and practice to do.
Contentedly, if busily yours,

Monday, August 25, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Has an Adventure in Retailing
It started. The job started. Was I up to the challenge? I think so. Overall, I think I did well. Burdick's, as I mentioned, is an upscale chocolatiers. That said, the interview asked nothing about my knowledge of chocolate or food in general. Rather it went a bit like this: "We're hiring." "I'd like a job then, please." "Ok, you're hired. Start Sunday for a training session. 4-8." They did ask, however, when I arrived if I knew anything about chocoalte. I confessed that I did a bit. Ok, first you have to be familiar with all the stock. People will ask you all kinds of questions about what it tastes like, what your favorite is, what flavours are predominant, etc. Thus one must eat the chocolate. And know it like the back of your hand. If you're behind the counter, the procedure for this is pretty simple. Pick a chocolate you feel like eating. Eat it. Ok, I can do that. The same procedure goes for the cakes, the pastries, the coffees, the teas, water, lemonade, and so on. If you're on shift, it is all free. Oh the humanity, how will I ever cope?

Since we get asked lots of questions, I wanted to be prepared to answer them, so when I was being shown the cocoa powder, I enquired whether it was Dutch process or natural process. No one knew. In fact, no one knew what the difference was, so I explained thusly:
"Ductch process cocoa powder uses an alkali process during manufacture. It is slightly darker than regular process, and should be used when baking something with baking powder as a levener, as the chemical process creates a lighter pastry. Natural process uses an older method and results in a lighter colour and should be used when baking with baking soda as a levener, as again the chemical reactions will create a lighter pastry." People were stunned. Just plain stunned. I was put behind the counter pretty quickly after that.

Behind the counter, I then had to explain to a customer what a tuile was. A tuile is a cookie shaped like an old roof tile (tuile is french for tile). They are very thin, and when still hot out of the oven they are draped over a rolling pin or some thing else round and left to cool. The result looks like a taco shell but tastes much better with tea or coffee. Again, the people around me were stunned that I knew this. Promotion seems imminent. They have not, however, seen me try to make coffee yet. That could get me fired. I still cannot make a decent cup of coffee to save my life. But hopefully I will learn the proper way soon!

Sunday, August 24, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Gets One of Them There Job Things
It had to happen sometime. Actually, given the current financial situation, it really had to happen soon. Law being a bit of a dead area at the moment, I started applying for some steady "everyone does it" retail work. Of course, since everyone does it, I worried there might not be enough jobs, what with all them students arriving, but it turns out that the students are at a bit of a losing edge since they don't stick around for the holidays. In the end, I just walked into the job I wanted. Literally. Rita and I were in one of my favorite stores, and she commented that she liked the way they wrapped everything up. The gal behind the counter commented that they were hiring. I asked for a job. I got one. I start today (Sunday) at four.

So what, you ask, am I retailing? What better, I reply, than hand made chocolates. The new job is at Burdick's. I'm terribly excited. My friends are terribly excited. All bow down and pay respects to my 50% staff discount and my ability to make better hot chocolate than you ever dreamed of in your wildest food fantasies.

Ah, chocolate.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

The Promulgation of the New Rules.
Courtesy of my friend Graham, I present to you here and now, a proposal to end the dating wars:
There should be the dating equivalent of the "penalty box" in hockey.

Here's my short list of dating reforms.

1. First dates should begin in a room like the rooms used for visitations in prison. The two people sit in little chairs on opposite sides of an impenetrable Plexiglas barrier and talk on those little prison phones. If they decide they like each other well enough, they then get to meet in person minus the Plexiglas. If they decide they don't really like each other, then no harm, no foul. (I stole this idea from Jerry Seinfeld.)

2. Dating should be strictly regulated by the Massachusetts Dating Commission (MDC), a highly-qualified, impartial body of seven women and five men (yes, it has to be uneven with men in the minority) chosen for their intelligence, attention to etiquette, and experience with dating.

3. Anyone who wants to get into the dating scene has to register with the MDC. Any unregistered daters will be summarily arrested if caught dating illegally. This ought to take care of all the married men out there who are trying to scam younger women, because married persons would not be able to legally register with the MDC.

4. All daters will be issued a guidebook containing dating rules, like "no fair saying you'll call and then not doing so," "no fair standing someone up," etc. Any dater can report any violation of the rules to the MDC. Bars, nightclubs, dance halls, etc. will also be patrolled by undercover, plainclothes dating cops.

5. An appropriate penalty scheme can be set up. Infractions of the more serious rules, result in harsher penalties such as a suspension of one's license to date. Infractions of the less serious rules result in the assignment of demerit points and minor penalties such as being in "the penalty box" and hence no dating for one weekend. Accumulation of enough demerit points in a certain period of time (say three months) results in harsher penalties such as the aforementioned ones. The slate is wiped clean annually, but the MDC will track repeat violators beyond the one-year mark.

6. Repeat offenders are assigned even harsher penalties such as having to dress up in old-fashioned Pilgrim clothing and wearing scarlet letters that denote the infractions involved, such as "CNC" for "chronic no caller" or "TR" for "terminally rude" or "MAG" guessed it..."Mennonite Ass Grabber." Many will be required to wear electronic ankle bracelets.

7. Although I am generally opposed to the death penalty, the MDC may, indeed, feel that certain dating infractions warrant it.

8. Those who are the victims of repeated violations will be treated to the "Dream Date" of their choice from the patented MDC Dream Date Resource Catalogue.

Whaddya think? I think this is a system that could work.

-from a future MDC Commissioner

In the spirit of public comment, a couple of interesting questions have already been raised. First, a need has been identified for a scarlet monogram of "HMW" for "high maintenence woman." Fair dinkum, I say. There have also been questions raised about the patented (patent pending?) MDC Dream Date Resource Catalogue of a more existential crisis nature - if they are such dream dates, then why are they available? The answer is that under the new rules, they are only worthy to date those who, having been abused, are worthy of such a dream date. A rather Garrison Keillior "you're never truly free until you've wandered around being repressed for a while" sort of concept.

Mennonite Ass Grabber, by the way, is a true story from the depths of the trenches, which continues to prove my rule about dating - that it is either a great time or a heck of a story.

If you have comments, please e-mail them to me at
A future MDC beneficiary

Saturday, August 16, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Eagerly Awaits Some Approval (alternate title: A Peace Treaty for the Dating Wars)
My friend Graham, having had to listen to both myself and Rita fight our battles in the dating wars of late (and indeed, going to one of the combatants on the other side, looking to give him a good old fashioned Clint Eastwood stare), and also being a lawyer, has e-mailed me a new proposal regarding the rules of the modern dating game. It is a profound concept, and I have enquired of him as to whether or not I can post it here. Seeing as he didn't know I had a website, this may take some doing. But such a proposal has been wanting for some time, and Graham is truly a revolutionary for putting it down on paper. He proposes himself as a future commissioner of enforcing the rules, but that sounds good to me. Graham, in addition to being a sensitive, caring, exceptionally smart sort of individual, is a big lad, and could well serve as an enforcer. A sort of Emily Post and Terminator all rolled into one.

The dating wars continue to take their toll around here. I've moved in with Rita for the week, and it has been somewhat of a re-birth of my female self. The lack of children has re-cast me into a single person role, and I have had tutelage from the masters. First, at major shock from both Rita and Liz that I had never seen "Pride and Predjudice" - the six hour long BBC/A&E miniseries, I was shown it on Monday. Well, most of it. I haven't seen the last hour and a half, and I confess to being completely addicted, and salivating at the thought of seeing the conclusion. You'd think I'd never read the book and didn't know what happened! Then, for further edification and amusement, Rita rented and we re-watched "Bridget Jones' Diary." a manoeuvre that culminated in poor Rita, the next night returning from what she describes as "the worst date ever in the history of dating." (Which to put into context, followed on from the date with a guy who was a fussy eater, and talked mostly about his being a fussy eater. To a woman who when you need a snack, whips out the manchego and membrilla with great abandon), wandered into the kitchen to fix a drink and began to belt out her own chorus of "All By Myself." Truly a great comic homage from the depth of the dating war trenches. One must keep a sense of humor. Particularly when so many of the opponents are such a joke!

Tomorrow I am supposed to be going to NYC to see my friend who is there on her honeymoon. The problem is, I don't know if she actually made it, seeing as there was the massive blackout yesterday and NYC shut down and is only now just returning to power. So I don't know if her flight actually came in. I think I should just go and meet her there at the Ritz. I mean, if you know where someone is staying then just go there!


Tuesday, August 12, 2003

In Which Our Heroine finally Remembers it is the Silly Season
In England, they actually have a name for it - the "Silly Season" in mid to late August where everyone is on holiday and it is too hot to do anything, so there is consquently minimal news to report. But since the papers have to fill up their pages somehow, things that people actually don't care about, or ordinarily wouldn't care about are suddenly front page news. For example, who knew or indeed worreid about the State of Maine's worm shortage? Certainly not hte worms of the state of Maine, who in the face of less competition I would presume to be fat and happy and chatting about all the cheap real estate about for raising little worms and things. But apparently in the worm wars, we United States people are at a serious shortfall. Thus, leave it to the Brits to save us. True, all true. Read about it here. Yes! Take me to the worm story! I think this also explains yesterday's major news story about the guy smashing shop windows dressed in his underpants. Maybe the heat made him snap. It is certainly making my friend Paul a little testy. Sheesh. One day over 100 degrees and he's insane. I referred him back to the "moving out of a fourth floor apartment" saga. He felt better that he didn't have to do that!

The heat and humidity here (it isn't so hot really, but it is massively humid and we keep having thunderstorms. They are predicted for all week.) has truly slowed things down. No one wants to do anything. Except eat ice cream, which is a booming business at the moment. And indeed, I don't want to do anything either. So I'm going to leave this and go do nothing at all! Ta!

Monday, August 11, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Notes the Obvious
You know, sometimes, the news is just the sheer reporting of the facts. No real journalistic ability involved. From today's BBC News:
A man who smashed more than 40 city centre shop windows, dressed only in his underpants has been sent to a secure institution for psychiatric tests.

Well, now that's a real relief and a half. I was worried he might have been teaching our preschoolers. I mean, really, what else do you do with the guy?

Saturday, August 09, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Braves the Dating Wars
It turns out that today has been a big day in the war between the sexes. I was supposed to have a lunch date. Up til about 10 this morning, the chappie seemed nice. In fact, he still seems nice, but he had to cancel due to a lab meeting. Now, this could in fact be completely 100% true. There are large parts of my psyche that do indeed hold this to be true, as I believe that people should be taken at their word on such matters. But since the cancellation, I have not had an e-mail or a call from him. Oh, these last few hours! (Hee hee, I am joking, folks.) This could be such a simple matter as the strains of the work day, or in best insecure Bridget Jones fashion, could be because am leper and will be found half eaten by alsatians one day. Of course, any quick physical exam shows immediatlely that I have no leprosy lesions, therefore, I shall chalk it up to strains of workday, and not even consider caddishness on an official basis until a couple of days of no contact have passed.

The only reason I am even considering caddishness is an actually completely unrelated event which happens to have occurred last night and today. I have a friend who is venturing forth on, with not unconsiderable success I might add. Last night, when we met for a movie, she enquired of me as to whether I knew a certain gentleman who happens to be a patent lawyer. I didn't recognize the name, but she wasn't 100% certain of it either. Of course, being a Boston patent lawyer means I can pretty much find out everything I need to know about him in three notes, I mean three phone calls. It turns out that he had called her up last night. Strange? You'd think not, you'd think it sounds like the standards of the dating dance, but she had not given him her phone number. And when she enquired of him about how he got it, he said "well, I know who you are." Creepy? Ra-ther!

Today, she e-mailed me about it, and said she was increasingly uncomfrotable about what had happened. It turned out, when she e-mailed me the name, I did indeed know the chap, and fired off an e-mail to him enquiring as to what this was all about. His response was that she was easy to find on Google, and that everyone did it. This, I concede, is true. In fact, I did the same thing with my date (undate?) for safety and sheer curiosity reasons. But I maintain that it is what you then do with that information that determines whether or not you cross a line of privacy. I ran the same search. To get her last name, you'd have to read through about three reports, and then go to another source to track down her phone number. His defense was that he did it for his own protection, and that "any rational person wouldn't think it uncommon." Further, he stated that if she didn't want to be called, she should get an unlisted phone number. Whaaaaaaat? He also asserted that it would have been easy, and acceptable for him to run searches on other databases to see if she had a criminal record. I agree with her assertion - he should be trying to sweep her off her feet, not determine whether or not she is a cereal killer. Although she has been known to polish off the odd bowl of Fruit Loops................ Needless to say, he ain't getting his first desired date with her, and in fact she is now out on a date with someone else. For which she is following all the standard safety rules: let someone know where you're going, have someone check in to make sure you're ok, and when you'll be back, as well as leave the information you have about who you're meeting. She seems to be having a very good time!
Dateless in Boston

Sunday, August 03, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Gets Interviewed
My friend Elenarda has been taking part in an interview challenge. The nuts and bolts of it are someone asks you five questions, you answer them in your blog, then other people can either e-mail you to ask you five questions to post, or ask for five questions from you for them to post. My five questions as put to me are (I've put in my answers):
And Anne... Oh my! What don't I know about you...?

1. What's the first thing you're going to do when you stop being nomadic in a month's time?

I suppose that in typical lawyer fashion it will depend on when you define my no longer being nomadic. The process goes a little like this: paint (I have a colour picked out.), hang curtains to not flash the neighbours, unpack, fetch kitty from Susan's, keep unpacking, then make a great big dinner in my new big kitchen and eat it on my new big dining room table. Menu to be determined based on weather.

2. What's your favourite joke of the moment?

Well, George W. Bush's presidency is certainly the biggest joke of this moment and any moment of the last couple of years, but it is so tragic, expensive and utterly bizzarre that I can't say it is my *favorite* joke of the moment. So instead I will have to go with Gavin Esler's statement that "If at first you don't succeed, skydiving isn't for you."

3. If you could have anyone's baby you wanted, whose would it be and why? (Guess who wanted to know THAT one LOL)

I'd have my baby. What a bizzarre question. You could get arrested for taking someone else's baby, you know.

4. Give us an inside tip onto how you manage to do so well on the Daq!

Given my current ranking at 101 on the Daq I guess I am doing pretty well. Top trading tips: have far too much time on your hand, so that you can absorb enough tittle tattle to deal in celebrity shares. Then go on news, not hunches. If Arnie is going to spend days dithering about whether he wants to be governor of California at the same time T3 opens, that's pretty much a sure thing. And have more than one stock. Ranking is about percentage increase. If you own one stock, which is a common strategy, you and everyone else owning that one stock will increase at an identical rate. If you own two stocks, there is an extra variable which will permit you to move up. Or down, I guess, over the single stock owning people.

5. What are the advantages and disadvantages to having a 35 inch inside leg?

First off, it is actually a 38 inside leg.

Advantages: I can see over people, so I never get claustrophobic in crowds. I've got a huge edge in rowing. I look great in mini-skirts. People naturally line up behind me, and don't get as rude with me as they do with other people since I'm bigger than they are.

Disadvantages: As much as men say they want a really leggy babe with large ta-tas, they're fibbing. Because myself and the other leggy gals don't get asked out as much as we should as men can be a bit intimidated by the height thing. (Then again, who really wants such men?) Then there are the guys who ONLY want to go out with you because your'e taller than they are, who frankly are even worse. It is like I am Everest and they just want to climb me. And for some reason, shoes in my size are only made with high heels. What, I want to bump my head on stuff? And it is hard to get trousers to fit correctly. But all in all, I'm happy enough with it.

So the deal is:

1 -- Send an e-mail (see link above), saying you want to be interviewed.
2 -- I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3 -- You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 -- You'll include this explanation.
5 -- You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Wonders Even More About US Privacy Laws
I have a handy little thing over in the corner that keeps track of who is logging on to my website. Sort of. It gives me the IP adress, so I know if you're coming from a particular domain. It also tells me if you've linked to me from a search engine (I am popular under "rubber duck 1992" and "cotimundi" searches, along with the occasional "tall leggy spandex woman" search, but I really try not to think about those so much.) or from another web page. This is occasionally amusing to see what people find me listed as, and sometimes interesting, but today it is a bit scary, because someone has twice in the last week been reading me from the Department of Justice - the DOJ. Now, this could be a perfectly innocent reader who happens to find me amusing or interesting or whatever, or it could be something far more malevolent. Given the current state of play of the privacy laws and Patriot II, I'm not desperately inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to our government. I think John Ashcroft is one of the scariest Attorneys General we have ever had in this country, and I'm not afraid to say it. Much. There is fear there. My country is violating basic rights on a level that I have never seen before, and not many people seem terribly concerned about it. But I am. And, just maybe, someone in the DOJ is interested in my being concerned about it. Patriot Act my fat scarred butt, is what i have to say about it. The only patriotic thing about it is the name. It reflects nothing of what this country stands for. The government should fix its own house first before coming after the likes of me, but it won't. As Bill Cosby once said "The government comes for the ordinary people first." Mind you, it is a bit like the Catholic Church, who are burning my buttons today because of their renewed vigor in making sure there is no such thing as legalized gay marriage. Now, I'm neither gay, nor am I married, and actually I'm not Catholic, but I have to say that this is one of the most hypocritical things going round at the moment. Two people who love each other and want to commit to each other is wrong in the church's eyes, but ordained clergy molesting scores of people is something to be covered up for years? There is a substantial credibility gap there, and I'm not buying it. I suppose it isn't hypocritical in that opposition to same sex relations has always been part of church teaching. But then so is a priest not being celibate, abusing his office, not being honest with his flock, premarital sex, and again same sex relations. But priests who did these things were not dismissed from the clergy or even ex-communicated from the church. Most of them are still there. In many cases, they were promoted through the ranks. And the church has continued to stay rather quiet about that whole issue. But same sex marriages, even of non-Catholics? That topic the church is going to town on. The shame of it all is what I notice.

Of course, credibility gaps abound these days. Starting with George W. Shrub and the whole Yellowcake fiasco. "I gave the speech but it is everyone else's fault but mine." And what has such a gaffe cost us? American lives, a billion dollars a week, and confirmation that America is a big old USSR style bully and a half. Heck, as if this wasn't enough, we're threatening to withdraw military support to countries that don't agree not to prosecute us in the International Criminal Tribunal! Latvia now can't afford to send the troops to Iraq to replace ours. Way to go, USA!

Yours Canadianly,

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Today's conundrum, courtesy of McSweeney's. Joanie loves Chachi. But did Chachi love Joanie? Do we really care?
In Which Our Heroine Responds to her Fans
I'm feeling terribly praised of late. First, my friend Rita told me that my blog titles always remind her that she is the heroine of her own life and that she finds that inspiring. Since Rita is one of the cooler people I know, I found that very nice. And I'm getting lots of other compliments as well, but none so much as this first draft of a recommendation for a job, which was sent to me for my review. You know, to get the tone right, make sure it hits the points of what the job description says they're looking for. I figured a Professor at MIT would be a good credit. At least he was honest:

"Anne Wolfe has asked me to write to you on her behalf, and I do so with an
unusually strong sense of purpose. I can see why a glance at her CV might
leave you highly impressed -- impeccable academic credentials (on both
sides of the Atlantic), long dedication to athletics: she would, it seems,
have much to offer. When you meet her, you will realize how physically
imposing she is, as well.
But what all this leaves hidden is the fact that she is (and even by the
standards of the legal profession), she is an unusually, perhaps even
uniquely amoral being. It is safe to say that she has not one whit of
ethical standards. But she does have a fine, lucid prose style, at least."

If that doesn't get me the legal shark job of my dreams, well, nothing ever will. Everyone wants to hire an attorney with a fine, lucid prose style.

This recommendation is sitting there in my in-box of e-mail with two other great quotes of the day. The first, from my ever dear friend Neil that "While all political careers end in failure, all lives wind up in suburbia." The other is a direction, regarding the rubber duckies, but really just good life directions as well that I should "Look where seaweed, driftwood and all things afloat piles up along the shore. Then root around in the piles with a stick." Now that is a career plan and a half.

Speaking of duckies, I noticed as I strolled through the Boston Gardens this evening that there are some quite new (a few days old) ducklings in the pond. It seems terribly late in the season, but with their Mrs. Mallard were indeed a Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack and Nack. Another Mrs. Mallard (they are related you see) had a Pack with her, who seemed to be about three weeks old. I think the bad weather this spring led to late clutches. I think I am also spending far too high a percentage of my brain power on ducks these past few months.

Even scarier, my friend Joe (known to all in the Royal Navy as "Neil" or just plain "Grandad" is now a career advertisement for joining up: You can see it here.. He claims the photo was taken after a tough night of liberating a pub in West Devon. Join the Royal Navy! Learn Signaling and Radar! And you too......can be a fireman.

Speaking of career plans, I have a presentation to give tomorrow and I want to review it. If you know anything about trade secrets, e-mail me!

Sunday, July 20, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Maybe Goes a Bit Too Far
After a bit of research on line, and a comment from my current employer that he thought he'd read that the rubber ducks were supposed to wash up on Crane's Beach, just north of here, and reading on the man's website that the guy who is tracking the rubber ducks loves to receive e-mail, I have actually e-mailed that man and asked for a slightly better prediction of the whens and the wheres of the rubber duck wash up. (It was only a couple of minutes ago. I haven't heard back yet.) And if I have the chance, I am going. Just to sit on the beach and walk up and down and look for the duckies. Why? Because it is a great opportunity to sit on a beach *and* advance the scientific cause. Just how often in a life do you get the opportunity to do that? Next to never, and now there's a chance. How excellent!

Or maybe I just need to knuckle down a bit further. I think I am getting a bit delusional since I still don't live in my own home. My living situation isn't bad. I spent last night at my friend Jim's, both to give the kids a break from me, and me a break from the kids. It was very odd this morning to not wake up to hyper children who want to play with you while you're still a bit bleary eyed, but rather to hear gentle knocking at the door, a "Good morning, Anne! Would you like a banana smoothie?" and then get started with a good solid breakfast of toast, bacon, coffee, and mangos. Then, since it was Saturday morning, Jim noticed the time and said (I suppose I should preface this by pointing out he does have a PhD in Molecular Biology at MIT, and so is one of the brighter people I know.) "Hey! Wanna go watch SpongeBob Squarepants? We've missed the first one, but there's another hour of it on!" Ah, Sunday. How I love Sundays when they're done right. Except now I'm back in the library, working on my presentation.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Goes all Aflutter
I don't know about you, but I'm incredibly excited. After all, I live in New England. And after many years, and important scientific contributions, the rubber ducks are going to land, and they're landing here in New England! For those of you unfamiliar with the story, first of all click here to confirm I am not actually insane. (Well, ok, so I'm insane, but on this topic I remain lucid.) and then read on about how a crate of rubber ducks was washed off a cargo ship in 1992 and have been floating on the waves ever since, tracking ocean currents, and are now nearing their journey's end. I am so excited I am tempted to go to the beach and wait for them. One of my favorite parts of the story is the statement that "some of the ducks broke away and headed for Europe - and Hawaii." These were obviously the elite of the group, in search of vast cultural experiences in the cathedrals and museums of Europe, and some others just fancied a tropical beach holiday following their trip to the Arctic Ocean, where it took them five years to get through. Some ducks, in faster currents, swam (swam?) twice as fast as expected, and became known as "hyper-ducks." What it takes to stand out in one's floatilla these days is apparently quite a bit, I see.

My mind has snapped a bit of late, as I have been spending so much time looking after my friend's kids. There are two boys, aged 3 and 6 1/2. It requires use of a different skill set than what I'm used to. For starters, it requires the repeated ability to count to three. As in, "If you don't stop screaming by the time I count to three, there will be no story tonight." This is now a statement so frought with peril that I just have to say it, and don't actually have to count to three. Also required: must be conversant with the ins and outs of Bob the Builder (but know not to give Bob a funny voice when you read the story), the ability to gracefully "lose" races to answer the front door, and the ability to cook food kids will actually eat, versus the food adults will want to eat. There's a knack to this, and I haven't quite got it yet. I live on curry, tabouleh and
elaborate dishes of wild rice, broccoli, chicken and incredible sauces. They want Tofu pups and the youngest can't have any dairy products. And they're vegetarian. Challenges to me to cook things they want to eat. But they're getting more adventurous. They have to - they're starving! No, they're eating fine.

We have had our pins sent to us. Team Milhouse rides again!

Monday, July 14, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Moves Out
For those of you not in the greater Boston area, let me give you some brief insights into our weather this year. It sucketh. In fact, it sucketh rocks. Big, bad rocks. We skipped spring and went straight to summer, but summer was never warm, and it rained 70% of weekend days since March. But not last weekend, oh no. Last weekend it was in the high 90s to 100F, and humid to the nth degree. Of course it was, because I was moving out of my apartment. Now, this is a good thing. My apartment, while lovely, was very expensive and after two years of unemployment, there was just no way to afford $1300 a month in rent. So I moved out. I have no where to live until September 1, but it isn't as bad as it sounds. I know where I'm living then, and in fact most of my stuff is already there in the cellar. I (and the other roommates) are just waiting for one roommate to move out. In the meantime, I'm free and easy, and living on other people's sofas. This seems to have worked out well, as my friend needs someone to look after her kids, and I need something to do. Excellent all round.

The moving itself was traumatic. Determined to do it on my own, I just took bags and boxes and went down the stairs. All four flights. And then I went up the stairs to get more stuff. 98F outside, I don't even want to think what it was inside. I was dripping and covered in sweat. I did not look good, I certainly did not smell good, and frankly I was slightly cranky. There is always that part of moving where you've moved a bunch of stuff out, and suddenly you don't even know how you did it, but you have even more stuff than before anything left the apartment. The normal laws of physics do not apply to moving. And neither do weather patterns.

I'm very excited about moving into my new place, when it finally happens. Lots of room, kitty space, the whole nine yards. And good roommates. This is key. I have had bad roommates before. I have been known to dine out on the spectacular weirdness of my previous roommates. So even though I knew Liz before agreeing to this, and met Julia, I think there was just as much checking out of each other, which reassures me. Or as my friend Martyn says "at that cheap a rent, who cares if you hate each other?" He has a point, but I need home to be a place I am happy to come to at the end of the day. Julia claims that if I cook the way I did for my party, she will do all my dishes. Hee hee. I don't think it will come to that, but still I'm happy about the move.

For a homeless chick, I have to say I'm really not doing too badly. Five stories and a jacuzzi. That jacuzzi felt incredibly good after two straight days of schelpping up and downstairs in such heat. I suppose I shouldn't kvetch so much about it. As I pointed out at the time, it could have been worse. It is far easier to move everything down the stairs than up the stairs. But yes, the jacuzzi did feel good. And the kids I'm looking after, while I have had my run ins with them before, are really behaving quite well. We've gone out on the river to see turtles and talk to scullers, and play and pretend like any young ones.


Wednesday, July 09, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Goes on a Road Trip
As previously noted, Liz and I broke some oars. Through the joy of the internet, we managed to locate new oars. But they were in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is no where near here. Hartmut could bring them to Princeton, NJ, which is closer to here than Chattanooga, but still not that near here. The answer was obvious: it was time for a road trip. So leaving at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning, we headed off. Seventeen hours later, we returned. Sounds onerous, but really it wasn't that bad until the last hour. We stopped along the way a bunch of times, ate great food, ate bad food which tasted great, managed to hit four states (most of them twice), and arrived in Princeton on all but a whim and a prayer. The rowing community is an amazing place. We don't know Hartmut, and Hartmut doesn't know us. But before even receiving a cheque from us, he brought the oars to Princeton, and left them with Sean. Sean, in turn, wasn't in Princeton when we were there, but gave us directions via cell phone and said "you'll find them lying under a Filippi double." The oars were indeed there, $750 oars lying under a $7000 boat, not locked, not anything, just out to public view. And we walked off with them. Alarms did go off, but they were less about stealing the oars, than they were about the fact that Liz and her brother had swapped Volkswagens as her car was a little too small to fit long oars inside. Turns out if you open the boot and then subsequently open a side door, the alarm goes off. This fact being slightly obscure, we didn't know about it, until we had to figure out what happened and how to turn it off. Amidst visions of hauling back up I-287 for hours with the alarm going, we did manage to stop the noise. Total errand time in Princeton: 7.38 minutes. So we made a further stop for ice cream, and headed back north. Calls to Julia helped us listen to the Sox game on the radio (Julia knowing how to do this in every major city on the eastern seaboard.) and we hit Massachusetts in good time and in a good mood. Until we got to the Newton tolls and waited over an hour for no reason just to get through the tollbooth. Crankiness and petulance soon ensued. But once through that, it was home safe and sound, and very very very very tired.

Next post: how to bring about good weather by deciding to move out of your fourth floor walk up apartment.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Has a Major Merangue Crisis
Well, tomorrow is the party. A party! A party! And this is a good thing, except that I am doing the cooking. And since I dont know how many people are turning up, and never have calculated how much people will eat, I don't know whether or not I have enough food. I think I have enough for people to drink, so that should be ok. But in the midst of all the cooking (chicken in two different marinades, scallops in another marinade, a very nice plum pie, and the cake is coming along) my merangues won't fluff as it is too humid. Oh no! Oh no! What is a gal to do???????

I don't know why I throw parties. I can't handle the stress.
Stressed in the Kitchen

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Eats Pancakes
One of the best things about rowing is pancakes afterwards. Let me correct that statement. *The* best thing about rowing is pancakes afterwards. Liz and I utilized this concept this weekend in our training. Saturday was a looooong slow row, aimed entirely at picking up bridges and points on the Head of the Charles course, then turning around and practicing them. This will stand us in good stead come race time, because we will now practice them for months. This could really help out. It certainly improves confidence. But it was a long row. Immediately following it, we grabbed Julia from wherever she was and then hit Victor's for pancakes. Ah, pancakes. The Route 66 special - pancakes (raspberry for me, chocolate chip for Liz, plain for Julia), 2 eggs the way you want them, and ham, sausage or bacon. Plus, for us rower types, sides of Scally toast. Because you really can't get enough carbohydrates in 20 minutes. We tried, but obviously not. So we scarfed it down with some classically bad coffee, and were happy people.

But the rest of Saturday was spent with me on my feet, helping with the CRI annual auction. It went well this year. Again. Good donations, great volunteers, lots of fundraising. Jane's hat went for a record $310. Now that is a hat. And then some.

Sunday, back to the boathouse, this time to erg. We were exceptionally glad we had made the plan to erg when we saw the weather. Because true to Boston form this year, it was heaving it down with rain. Even harder than before! I think this is actually the hardest I'd seen it rain yet this year. I just can't believe it. But good to erg, although it seems like every time we do a piece to push ourselves, it has to be so humid you can bite the air and chew on it. At least I'm doing the work. That is the important thing. But by the time I came home Sunday, between all of Saturday and what erging we did, plus being re-stuffed with pancakes (ahhhhh, the pancakes were even better on Sunday!) I came home, did a whole one load of laundry, and napped away the afternoon.

Erging without pancakes this morning wasn't the same, I have to say. Not the same thing at all. But maybe that's why I'm home and baking right now. Well, that and the party Wednesday. The merangues are in the oven, humidity or no!

Friday, June 20, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Experiences Someone Else's Tuesday the 16th
While I have relatively strong feelings that gut instincts, etc should be relied upon, occasionally to the extent of not wishing to get out of bed on certain mornings, or falling in love over the timespan of all of twenty minutes, somedays you just don't know what you're going to wind up with, and that is the case when someone else is having a bad day. Actually, Liz's day started out pretty well. There was sun, there was a picnic, there was our staff end of season Swan Boat ride, there was joy. With some brief arrangements made to meet up for practice, off we went our separate ways, to meet up again to head to Liz's house to grab gear and go. "How was your day?" was met with the revelation of quite horrible things happening at her job. It is quite a despairing situation, really, and one you don't even want to contemplate, but Liz was having to contemplate it. Never mind, it was time to row, and some days you just need to row more than others. This, it seemed, was one of those days, and rowing was going to be fun no matter what.

The situation changed, however, when there was a wee collision. A double, coming upstream, was so far over on our side of the river that they passed us on the incorrect side of the boat. And not quite wide enough, as there was the pranging. We took out their washbox, and then Liz's starboard oar snapped. In two places. The opposing boat, without even bothering to enquire if we were ok, proceeded to announce that "they were wide, but we were waaaaaaaaay wide." Meaning, of course, that we were too wide. Untrue! Quite profoundly untrue! And then they grabbed their washbox out of the drink and rowed off, after announcing that one of us was going to have a long row home. It was enough to make me glad that we'd taken out their washbox! But then you just have to let it go. There are jerks out there in the world, and if you let them all get to you, you're going to be a quite unhappy person.

Besides, we had bigger problems. We still had to get home, which was three plus miles upstream, and we had a broken oar, which would set the boat terribly off balance and risk us falling in, not to mention that it would be one long slow row even if we did manage to do it. Luckily, Jessica came over in a motor launch to see what was up, and nipped into CBC to grab us a spare pair of sculling oars. We made it upstream, even if not perfectly set up as the oars no longer matched, but whew, it was over. We landed, and then something else happened to Liz which I won't go into here, but let's just say it was enough to make the poor girl say "Good lord, WHAT ELSE can go wrong in four hours?" (Let your minds wander here. It could be anything, and I'm not giving hints. Just know that it was not kind of fate to do such a thing.)

Some things then needed to be sorted out. First, we had to call Jon, who is the man who is very kindly letting us borrow his boat and his oars, and say "Um, hullo, we've had a bit of a bust up. But we'll replace your oars pronto." Unfortunately, I had to leave this all on voice mail, which is not the way I would have liked to have done it. But I also didn't want him to find out from someone else what had happened. We were responsible for the equipment, and thus it was our responsibility to tell him about it, not someone else, so voice mail was the option. Then we had to figure out how much it was going to cost us to replace the oars. Turns out $650. Ouch! Liz seemed to think she was going to have to do this herself, since it was her oar and her steering but my view is that if we're a team, then we're a team. We were rowing, it was our oars, and we're in it together. Even if we weren't, I really don't think it is condusive to team harmony and efforts to suddenly back off and say "well, Liz, this is just all you and you're on your own with it. See you tomorrow for practice!" Not that I was desperate to pick up a bill for $325, but team is not a concept that is defined by pricetags. I do have to say though that it does seem a bit of a waste of a pair of brand new grips! :)

And of course, Liz needed some special treatment - fate was handing it to her rough. I asked her if she wanted a drink or food or anything, but really she wanted to go home, and have a drink there. Sometimes home is just a good place to be. So we went back to Liz's place, watched the rest of the Sox game (they won, thankfully), ate some sandwiches and then I went back home. Things started to just stabilize a bit, thankfully. And now it is onwards and upwards!

Sunday, June 15, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Experiences Friday the 13th.
Thankfully, that day is over. It was quite an experience. I still cannot find my keys. But hey, who needs keys on a cold, wet rainy day when all you want to do is row, but it just never works out that way? But all was not lost. At least I got to pick up my ice cream maker. Which is not precisely what a girl needs on a cold rainy day, when on a whim to feel girly a girl has dressed up in a red thing dress and is feeling a bit cold anyway. But never mind. Got to stay plucky! I went in to Burdicks to pick up their gift certificate donated to the auction and discovered they had upped their donation to actually be a box of chocolates, which from Burdick's is nothing to be sneezled at. And I made my way to the boathouse, through the rain, with my dress, my ice cream maker and the chocolates, but not caring because I was going to row. And since it was wet anyway, I wouldn't mind getting wetter for putting new grips on our sculls.

For those who haven't had the experience, putting replacement grips on scull handles (sweep handles don't have grips, although some of them do have bits of padding) is a relatively simple process of applied physics. First, cut off the old grips, which are no doubt so worn that they'll come off easily anyway. Then, produce the new grips, which will look like extremely sturdy condoms with the vital anatomy missing, although they're so solid in form you're permitted to wonder where the anatomy disappeared off to. Accept a slightly obscene mindset anyway - things aren't going to get any better. This is because the best posture to now adopt is to straddle the scull as though you're riding a broomstick - blade behind you, end of handle in front of you, collar anywhere comfortable. Then you use your thumbs to stretch out the bottom of the grip to put them on the scull handle. They won't go on far, but that's ok. Because then you take a running water hose and stick it over the far end of the grip, which has a wee hole in it. The grip will naturally fill up with water, which will cause it to expand a little bit. Then, keeping it full of water (I find it helps to put your finger over the end instead of the hose once it is full), you push it down and on to the grip fully. This happens rather easily, but the handle will shoot the water that cannot compress any more out the bottom of the grip, rather like a squid. And of course, this water will sploosh all over your nether regions, leaving you looked as though you've been so startled by something you've wet your shorts. Luckily, you'll do this all in a boathouse, so no one will notice if you're covered in damp or wet patches. Everyone else is covered in sweat anyway. But anyway, we did it. And then, ready to go out and row, I discovered that my keys (to boathouses along the river, apartment, T Pass, the lot) were gone. We looked EVERYWHERE. Four hours, a locksmith and $75 later I got into my apartment. Bleh!
Locked out of Cleveland Circle