my own personal vocabulary

My Super Dictionary came yesterday!!!  Flipped through it; even more awesome than I imagined.  Apparently, it was written to teach kids 3,000 some odd words a study had discovered were most important for reading comprehension, which is pretty neat; I like that holders of superhero copyrights would be down with that idea.  It does have me and Howard talking like this though:

I am going to go upstairs and get changed.  I am going to go upstairs and put on different clothes.  I am going to feed the cat.  I am going to feed the small animal who sleeps on our pillows when we’re out for the day.

It also got me thinking about the words I use frequently, and how they are probably completely unnecessary for reading comprehension and probably not even close to the definitions that have a slim chance of appearing on standardized tests.  I thought about trying to make sentences with them, but then realized I had to define them within the context of my own life first or they would sound insane.  With no further ado, here is the first draft of my own personal vocabulary list:

Awesome: just say this 100% of the time.  It means all kinds of good, literally; usually in a way that is pleasing to the senses.

Bummer: pretty terrible, or maybe just really boring or inconvenient.

Charming: said sarcastically to indicate something is disgusting.

Crummy (alternatively pronounced “crum-by”): a little miserable, generally describing the weather or a DAY.

Heinous: really, really terrible.  Multiple repetitions = exponential increase in meaning.  Interestingly enough, prefixing “non” reverses the meaning; when this prefix is repeated multiple times, these repetitions cancel each other out logically but still serve to amplify the root word’s original meaning.  For example: “non-heinous” = really, really awesome.  “non-non-heinous” = really, really, really terrible.  “non-non-non-heinous” = really, really, really, really awesome.  You get it.

Hella: fuck you, imma say it!

Incredible: really awesome.

Or whatever: appended to every sentence in My So-Called Life that contains genuine sentiment.  Very convenient for making fun of yourself, making fun of the 90’s, or semi-retracting something you think you may later regret.

Rad: see “Hella.”  While “Hella” generally earns me shit for being from California (and why would I not wear that like a badge?), “Rad” generally earns me shit for being a “surfer.”  What?  Everything about surfer culture is cool!  That is like the DEFINITION of surfer culture!

Space shot: space case.

Stellar: really, really awesome.

Super: ADVERB ONLY.  Serves to exponentially increase the power of adjectives.  Not to be used alliteratively.

Twist: someone who drives terribly, or too slowly.

Yuck: self-explanatory, just resurrected from preschool.

Maybe sentences later, if I can find some cool pics.

being cool with being that person

I believe that the best way to do business in the world is politely.  There is no reason to have an unpleasant interaction with someone who pours you coffee or stands next to you on a crowded train.  Not karma, exactly, but some sort of good-feeling cycle.  Once, following this philosophy, I got bumped up to first class for being the only person in a crowd of people not getting mad about flight delays.  So it has that going for it.

Recently, though, I’ve started to ask some annoying questions, and it has been getting me places.  Last week, on what has become sort of a regular midweek date, I found a ridiculous coat I really loved, marked down from $88 to $50.  Still, I don’t generally like to pay that much for anything, especially for something ridiculous.  Just a policy.  Plus, all the other coats on the rack were marked down to $10, which I felt was so reasonable as to feel angry at the possibility of being charged $50 for the coat I liked.  So, I asked the cashier if it was marked wrong.  I acknowledged that it was an annoying question to ask, and I apologized for that, but in the end Howard bought it for me for $10.  Asking annoying questions is like knowing about the secret menu at In n Out (before it was on the internet and everyone knew about it); exclusive, and delicious.

However, I think this new behavior might be leading me down a dark path.  I recently found myself in an extremely frustrating situation in terms of a scholarship application (see mar. 11th entry).  I knew, even as I wrote a myriad of emails to various people with more power than myself who had little chance of investment in my situation, that it was annoying and I shouldn’t be doing it; that there was one person out there handling thousands of scholarship materials who didn’t have time to feel bad or change policies for me, and I was probably really pissing her off.  Also I generally don’t believe in bending the rules for someone who I perceive as having screwed up because what kind of message does that send?  But I did it.  I kept going.  I was so sure.  But ultimately, my application will remain unconsidered because of bad timing (mostly on their part, but probably a little on mine, and definitely on my coworker’s), and I feel pretty bad about how annoying I was to her.

But the truth is, I did it, and I’m cool with it.  Is this what it’s like to grow up?   Am I becoming Peter Panning, losing touch not only with my childish sense of adventure but also my teenage self who remembers the trials and tribulations of working in the service industry?  It’s pretty much my biggest nightmare to become Peter Panning, actually.  What is the solution here?  Is it maybe to get a dog, and name him Rufio?


Rufio would cut an attitude like mine to pieces!


just like this!

I don’t really believe in those “30 before 30” lists; I’ve spent enough of my life equating certain milestones with death (graduation, marriage) to know that those things are really nothing like death, and real life might be right on the other side of them. Or at least, something way cooler than what I’ve got going on now (not that what I have going on right now isn’t already way cool; it’s actually the result of many milestones, each of which had something way cooler on the other side). Also, I find that as you get older you can get away with more; going to bed at 8 on Friday, wearing a crazyass fake fur coat, spending a day reading comic books. Yeah, I did all that stuff when I was younger, too, but more people were like “Really? You’re doing that? You really think that’s a great idea?” But now that 30 is around the corner, people are like “well, you have an education and a job (and as much as I don’t like to believe this, having a husband contributes to this cred also) so I guess your decisions are your own” and I’m all “yes I am going to make a blanket fort on the porch and wear bright colors! These are the decisions I’m going to make and enjoy an extreme amount!” and no one says anything.
Maybe with a few more years under my belt, they may begin to celebrate me as a visionary! Probably not, but I’m cool with being a teenager’s weird older cousin or whatever.

That said, there are certain things that I would really, really like to do in my life with Howard. I don’t have any deadlines for them; probably just when we have the money. In no particular order:

– go to a comic-con

– travel to africa and stay at Giraffe Manor, all waking up in the morning with a giraffe looking in the window (in my fantasy, I wake up first for ONCE and gently shake Howard awake, and we tiptoe over to the window and pet the giraffe who bows lion king style)

– get more tattoos

– go on an Alaskan cruise

– meet PeeWee Herman

– finish Infinite Jest (not expensive, but something I find particularly hard)

– go to the moon, or at least ride in a submarine

space illustration

Just like this, right?

life aquatic

Just like this!













At LEAST a submarine.  At LEAST.


Yesterday was a DAY financially. First, we realized that going to a friend’s wedding in Sweden this summer would eat up a disgusting chunk of our $$$. Second, I was told that because of a series of administrative flubs, my application for four scholarships – which I toiled over, spent money to get my transcripts sent for, and purchased an organizational membership to legitimize – would not be considered.  First world problems, I get it, but still problems.  To me.

I went to surprise Howard in Central Square, since it’s no fun to go home by myself unless I have time to read enough comic books to make it worthwhile. I walked toward the Annex, saw him heading for the subway, yelled and waved from the street corner, and then when a bus passed between us I started crying. Great surprise!

So Howard bought me ice cream at Toscanini’s, where, I swear, I felt better with every bite of goat cheese brownie.

(NOTE: not our ice creams. Too focused to photo.)

If you think that sounds horrible, your palate is not grown up enough to comprehend it. As we were leaving with our free-after-5-pm pastries (I’m a sucker for that almond croissant; also, anything free), I kind of just stopped worrying, which is not really like me, but it felt pretty good.  Everyone always says that when you eat stuff that’s not good for you, you feel bad afterward; untrue. I feel awesome after pizza and ice cream, always.

Then we headed to the Middlesex, a bar that’s usually too hip for me (both for my tastes and to admit me) except for on Thursday industrial nights when it is too goth, to check out a video game swap our friend Ryan Kelley was organizing through

(Actually hipper than it appears here)

Not only did it feel good to see a friend and have a beer, it felt AWESOME to see the beginnings of something I think is such a great idea. I had really wanted to find a way to support the event, because I think it’s a really neat organization and a great fit for Ryan, so really a breakdown was pretty serendipitous.

Ultimately, the end of the evening left me feeling that while I haven’t given up hope on either stretching to make the trip happen or the organization stretching to consider my application, we’ll figure it out either way, and money is money and everything you’ve already heard before, which is weird to feel.  I sort of hate those moments when you realize you’re pretty much still yourself but also everything you’ve heard is also to be believed.

Come to Melrose for a Good Sleep

If you couldn’t tell from the last post, Howard and I love having friends visit and stay with us.  We have a guest room with a straight up bed; not a couch and sleeping bag combo, which is the level of hospitality most people in our age/income brackets are at and which is perfectly fine, but a straight up bed.  Clean towels, clean sheets – with the exception of Marissa, our most frequent guest, we also clean the house before each visit (we don’t generally clean it otherwise.  Also, how else to show off the wainscoting?).

And that’s just the guest room!  We also stock the liquor cabinet and purchase snacks we think you might enjoy!  We cook meals, and choose  music according to what we perceive are your tastes based on the outfit you’re wearing when you walk in the door (with a tasteful ignorance of travel rumpling)!  We will show you tv shows we think you’ll think are funny, pictures of the cat you might find adorable, and even the CAT HIMSELF!

Things available to you in “fancy-pants” Melrose: all of the above, + muffins the size of a baby’s head, a starry sky, a pond with birds, the best church thrift store you’ve seen in a while, the local greasy spoon, a nighttime quiet away from streetcars and late-night parties that allows you to sleep as deeply as you do in your parents’ home after a day of fresh air; basically, the kind of small-town experience many of our friends who live in urban areas or are extremely busy don’t often get to enjoy.   And we live on this street:

Doesn’t look exactly like this anymore, but close enough.

friends, together

This weekend my friend Martin was in town. Everything Martin does is accompanied by great, infectious enthusiasm, and we were really looking forward to his visit.

Friday night: Martin got in late from NYC. I picked him up at a Harvard Business School party, where, true to form, he had already had an experience worthy of theatrical retelling. Then we swung by the Cyclorama to pick up Howard, who was just getting out of a show – straight up carpool style, all cool kids in the Volvo.

Saturday started off with the requisite muffins:

Then moved briefly to downtown Melrose, where we purchased mittens and beer. Then the train into the city. Pizza in the North End, where I snapped this shot at Polcari’s Coffee:

Looks like a great place for general store supplies (or at least a general store experience.  Also probably coffee). From there, we walked to the ICA, on the waterfront:

There we saw several things: the Mark Bradford exhibit (very neat), incredible views (see below), and the following interaction.

Little boy: “Look, Jenny, that’s a piece of ART.”
Little girl: nothing.
Little boy: “Are you LOOKING!?”

But really, we spent a lot of time just hoping no seagulls would careen into the windows and talking about how much Kanye would love it there.

Then we headed to Louis (looks French, I know, but I think it sounds like “Louie’s” – at least that’s how we do), Howard’s maybe favorite menswear establishment in Boston. They do have some quality menswear; also, fragrances, womenswear, housewares and a listening station, where Martin and I spent a little time:

When I realized I would never be able to either fit into or afford any of their womenswear, it was time to go upstairs to Sam’s at Louis (Usher has been there EFF WHY EYE), where we met up with a friend of Martin’s. The view alone could make this place, but they also have quality schmancy cocktails (still dreaming about the ice crown), great snacks (French fries with sage + herbal catsup style), pretty sweet mod/hardwood decor and a hostess who complimented me on my crazy tulip sweater vest. No pics at Sam’s, but here is one I snapped at the door to Louis/Sam’s before we wandered to the main thoroughfare to catch a cab – I guess I thought it was emblematic of something, maybe? Or just a good contrast. Either way, somehow connected to the ice crowns, no doubt:

From there, we headed to Central Bottle for some wine, nice chocolate + Allagash White (the smell of $$$ cheese in that place is intoxicating), and on to a dinner party at Martin’s friend’s. Then to Lord Hobo’s (which is a college bar for grad students with fancy beer – not really our thing, but if it’s your thing go to), and Martin’s friends were kind enough to drive us home from there despite the snow and my horrendous navigational skills.

Sunday morning, I walked Martin to the train; we had some life-oriented words before saying goodbye and I waved as the train rounded the bend into Malden.

you are gloved #2

I walk down to the river at lunch sometimes, and lately I’ve been tripping over a lot of interesting things. One thing I really enjoy about my life is noticing and taking pleasure in tiny details; the library part of me (code for OCD part of me) wants to somehow collect them, preserve them and integrate them into my life – put them on a wall, put them in a book, just keep them and make them part of me. One thing I really enjoy about Howard is that he does the same thing, and sometimes just pointing them out to each other is enough.

But not always – sometimes there’s a sign, a dog or a color of the sky that you just need to find a place for and fix there. I think things like this are a large part of why I, or maybe anyone, might have a blog.

you are loved

Post-it on a bagel place near the hospital. Saw a lot of people smiling in the window on their way by, so I looked and this was there. A lot of people around here could use this.

Mona Lisa street art

On the ground on a bridge over Storrow Drive on the way to the Charles. What is this? The Mona Lisa? Vague enough that the artist may be trying to trick an unsuspecting passerby into thinking they see Jesus in the concrete.

dashing sailor

Wish I had a better picture of this, but it was dark and I was running for the train. Portrait of a sailor pasted to an electric box. He is wearing both a hat and a dashing smile.