25 October 2007

maddington mountain bear anderson

on saturday august 11 2007 the world lost a beautiful being, a kind soul and a loyal companion. bernese mountain dog maddington mountain bear anderson, aged two and a half of orford nh passed away from cancer. she left behind owners tami and adam.

maddington was a part of nature, even as she loved nature herself. she loved mountains, water, snow, grass and other creatures. she was never more beautiful than when running through a field or standing proud on top of a mountain.

yet maddie was also a vital part of the human life she inhabited. a perfect housepet, she neither barked nor chewed nor scared children. she loved people with her whole heart and they loved her back. she touched the lives of everybody she met.

so this is maddie: the perfect blend of wild and tame, of animal and human, of pet and friend. a dog to take camping or swimming or hiking, or to have at a bbq or to cuddle in bed with. she is gone from our lives in presence but not in spirit, always in our memories and our hearts - the best dog, our dear friend.

23 October 2007

i was attacked

as many of you may already know, i was attacked while walking home last friday night. a man came up behind me and strangled me with his arm, cutting off my circulation until i passed out. i woke up lying on the sidewalk and my purse was gone. i think i was unconscious for under five minutes, but i didn't see anybody else and nobody was around to help me. there had been another man across the street when it happened, but they must have been working together because he didn't do anything to stop the attack or help me.

i must have hit my head because i have a huge bump. also my neck was sore from being strangled and my tongue was swollen from biting down on it. at the end of the day, i was extremely lucky that this was the extent of my physical injuries. it could have been so much worse.

things i lost (tangible) include my phone, mp3 player with my entire music collection (not backed up), armwarmers, wallet with about 40e inside, monthly metro pass, sunglasses, and the bag itelf.

things i lost (intangible) include my ability to walk around without being scared. for now i am taking taxis and taking my friends up on their offers to escort me places.

i filed a police report, but i didn't really get a good look at the guy so there isn't much they can do. the police told me that this type of thing is fairly common. and i agree; these things happen and i guess my turn was up. again, i'm lucky to get away with just minor bumps and bruises.

it is going to take me a while to get over this, and i am doing so at my own speed. i have good and bad moments. needless to say, i will be much more careful when and how i walk alone at night. however, there is no way i can avoid it altogether; i am a single woman without a car living in a city and i go places after dark.

i so appreciate the outpouring of love and support that i have felt from all of you. the reason i'm writing this is to tell you that i can't talk about it anymore right now. i need to stop reliving it two or three times a day in individual conversations or emails. so now you all know what happened and how i'm doing. i feel everybody "there" for me and it means so much, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

22 October 2007

a quick list

three times i miss living in the u.s.:

1. in the cereal aisle of the grocery store
2. sundays during NFL season
3. when a new wes anderson movie is released (spain release date: january 18)

17 October 2007

my favorite poem

i'm not one for poetry, but this is my favorite. i read this in college and it continues to put a smile on my face, making me think of new york, of looking on the bright side of things, of love and sunny days and a bounce in the step.

steps - by frank o'hara
How funny you are today New York
like Ginger Rogers in Swingtime
and St. Bridget’s steeple leaning a little to the left

here I have just jumped out of a bed full of V-days
(I got tired of D-days) and blue you there still
accepts me foolish and free
all I want is a room up there
and you in it
and even the traffic halt so thick is a way
for people to rub up against each other
and when their surgical appliances lock
they stay together
for the rest of the day (what a day)
I go by to check a slide and I say
that painting’s not so blue

where’s Lana Turner
she’s out eating
and Garbo’s backstage at the Met
everyone’s taking their coat off
so they can show a rib-cage to the rib-watchers
and the park’s full of dancers with their tights and shoes
in little bags
who are often mistaken for worker-outers at the West Side Y
why not
the Pittsburgh Pirates shout because they won
and in a sense we’re all winning
we’re alive

the apartment was vacated by a gay couple
who moved to the country for fun
they moved a day too soon
even the stabbings are helping the population explosion
though in the wrong country
and all those liars have left the UN
the Seagram Building’s no longer rivalled in interest
not that we need liquor (we just like it)

and the little box is out on the sidewalk
next to the delicatessen
so the old man can sit on it and drink beer
and get knocked off it by his wife later in the day
while the sun is still shining

oh god it’s wonderful
to get out of bed
and drink too much coffee
and smoke too many cigarettes
and love you so much

10 October 2007

links for my friends

  • for jeff: the social patterns of baboons. basically, the popular kids are the ones who get laid.
  • for seth: chicken-related genius
  • hey ladies: here are some things to look for in a man, thanks to popular mechanic. oh, and fellas? you're a bunch of assholes.
  • this one's from emily, and goes out to those of you who like to break the law and get away with it. fascinating.
  • for mark, and other folks from the 'ham: old school.
  • this is required reading for everyone: genius.
  • and this is just "hilarious"

09 October 2007

two weeks late

two weeks ago the one-year birthday of this blog passed unnoticed by me. a selfish and self-absorbed lady i am, busily nursing her one child (laptop) while the other (website) sits in the corner crying and unloved.

a year ago, in my first post, i set out three reasons for writing here, and a year later i can say that two of the three have been quite successful.

first, i wanted to get in the habit of writing every day for the upcoming novel project of last november. well, every day is a lofty and rather unrealistic goal -- but, this is my 117th post which means that i write about every third day. not so bad, considering i take months off. also, this has been great for my confidence and motivation as a writer. hey, i even finished that novel last year and i'm ready to do it again in a couple of weeks!

second, i wanted to pose questions to myself and my readers. ok this one didn't really stand the test of time. but the questions i did ask provoked some comments, which are always nice.

third, i wanted to "better keep in touch with myself and others." my, how this has happened. i am continually amazed by the amount of people who actually show up to and read this blog: mothers of friends, friends of mothers, long lost high school buddies, people who i have never met. it is also a highly convenient and efficient way of letting everybody know what i'm up to, which makes seeing people after a long break more enjoyable because there is less catching up to do. and keeping in touch with myself? as i said a year ago, i'm not a diarist, so short of reading old emails i've sent this is the best way for me to remember what i've been ranting about in recent times, to make sure i'm not too repetitive.

most of all this blog has made me want to be a better writer: to think harder and form more concrete opinions and express them wittily and with insight and wisdom. i'll come back to that sentence next year and we can see how i've done.

thanks for reading, though. xoxoxo

07 October 2007

rugby football

i always say that americans don't like teams that win too much; we prefer underdogs. a team that wins its first championship in years is a crowd favorite. if the same team wins again the next year we are happy for them, but losing our patience. a third win in a decade and the team is suddenly the one to root against, the common enemy.

as a new england patriots fan i witness this phenomenon all the time. nobody likes the patriots, and why? "they always win" is the complaint i most often hear. ok, they've been winning for the last five years, but for the first 25 years of my life they never won. and now it is the du jour to hate the patriots. we americans don't like winners.

last night i went against this seemingly ingrained american quality by rooting for the favored-to-win new zealand all blacks against the french les bleus in a quarterfinal game of the rugby world cup. the bar was full of french people and i was with my kiwi friend. although i didn't have too much emotion riding on the game it's easy to root for new zealand, and easy to root against the french.

new zealand dominated the first half of the game, and seemed to be easily coasting to victory, as was expected. but then france snuck up and played harder, made fewer mistakes and wanted it more. although the french fans in the bar were kind of obnoxious you had to be happy for them. their jumping up and down and cheering in the face of the annointed favorites gave me a taste of how everybody will react if the patriots lose this year.

you see, the patriots are just a little too favored, they're a little too good this year. they are set up to fail, to rest on their laurels, to believe the hype. and while i love my team and think they deserve to win this year, i know everybody else will be even more satisfied to see them lose. so to the all blacks and the rest of new zealand i lend my condolences and hope i won't be sharing a similar fate come january.

04 October 2007

camino de santiago

i spent two weeks at the beginning of september walking 300km across northwestern spain. i was tracing the steps of ancient pilgrims before me, who for centuries have been wearing the path toward santiago de compostela and the remains of saint jacob. this is one of christianity's three great pilgrimages, the other two being jerusalem and rome. but the camino de santiago is currently the most popular, with over 100,000 pilgrims each year.

a pilgrimage is a spiritual journey, and the night before i started walking a nun at the pilgrim's benediction service told us that pilgrims are searchers. "what are you looking for?" she asked, and her question stayed with me during the long walk ahead, always playing in the back of my mind, like a song i couldn't stop singing. initially, i was searching for peace and quiet after a busy summer, for a chance to be alone and disconnect. but the pilgrimage is more than the trail itself, it is a way to bring questions like this into focus, so that you can bring them home afterwards. and questions like this do not always require an answer. indeed, what am i searching for?

the camino taught me how to suffer, and although the physical pain -- for me, it was localized in my feet -- was often overwhelming, it is already dissolving from my mind and will not be what i remember about the camino. the physical beauty of the trail was specatcular: the cold mornings watching the sun lift out of the fog, the dank wet cowpaths in galicia, the stone villages full of toothless farmers, the blooming wildflowers, the steep mountain passes, the cobblestone streets. as well, the beauty of my fellow pilgrims was incredible and humbling: there is an instant camraderie bordering on love that develops between people who are experiencing something like this side by side. i have never been so well cared for by strangers.

so now i am a pilgrim returned home, changed in ways that i am still appreciating. my feet are still recovering, but my spirit is ready to keep searching.

03 October 2007

brain crash

a long time ago when i lived in san francisco a colleague told me his personal theory that our devices -- computers, cell phones, pdas, etc. -- have become offloaded parts of our brains. certain functions previously accomplished by the brain such as remembering phone numbers, organizing schedules, keeping track of birthdays were now being done by the parts of our brain that consisted of zeroes and ones.

therefore, he posited, when one of these devices crashes we feel as if a part of our brain has malfunctioned. it is more than a mere inconvenience, worse than our car breaking down or our refrigerator dying. it is as if a part of ourselves has crashed as well.

it is in this state of crash -- partial crash, really -- that i have been existing in the last few weeks. my two and a half year old laptop has suffered a mysterious affliction, one that has had me up nights, waiting by the hospital bed, saying encouraging words, trying to nurse it back to life with the help of experts. this effort has been compounded in the difficultly that i am operating on limited brain power. i have crashed as well. you may have noticed: i am less informed on news and celebrity gossip. blogging has been nonexistent. emailing is sporadic. my sunny disposition has also been affected.

currently we -- my computer and i -- are back up and running on a provisional level, but things are still touch and go. in lieu of flowers, please send your good thoughts and any brand new laptops you happen to have lying around.