Archive | September, 2011

i will knock that needle out like a straight ninja. or…not.

16 Sep

So, this past weekend, I unfortunately had to be rushed to the Emergency Room due to a severe allergic reaction. All is well now, thankfully, although the doctors are not entirely sure what caused it. (Do they ever definitively know anything?) So I get to the ER and the fear begins. It’s unavoidable and unfailing. Antsy, heart racing, holding my breath against that weird scent in the air, that Thriller-like waiting room where the other sickies stare at you, greedy for your limbs, the patient check-in people who nearly froth at the mouth at the prospect of either draining you of money or condescendingly asking you if you have insurance, the whole thing. I hate it all. I secretly love the whole we’re-going-to-take-care-of-you vibe, but that’s better served within the cushy environs of a four-star hotel, not County General. Anyway. As a result of my steadily swelling tongue (what a terrifying feeling, by the way) and other allergy-related factors, I was quickly processed, taken to a bed, and my vitals were checked. After the doctor did her thing, she informed me, with a sad shaking of her head, that the nurse would come back in and give me medication through an IV. I’m still trying to imagine exactly how my face looked, because upon seeing my expression, she laughed and said, “never mind, never mind! We’ll just give you a shot in the arm.” So, replacing torture with…another brand of torture?  

I took a deep breath, sighed, and said ok, as if my reply meant anything. I was getting that shot whether I wanted it (hardly) or not (totally). Really, what was I going to do? I had no choice but to await my punishment for getting ill. (It’s all perspective, isn’t it?) Years ago, when I was promised a shot, my mother and father watched bemusedly as I weakly attempted to roll off the hospital bed and escape. Not now. My tongue was about to escape the confines of my mouth. I needed that shot. And so I closed my eyes and waited. When the nurse returned, she went to work. She pulled out the syringe. I nearly fainted, then busied myself with taking off my sweater to prepare my arm.

“Oh, no, hon. This shot isn’t going in your arm.”

Does this nurse know what the doctor told me? What kind of crazy communication skills are going on in this hospital? Why promise me a shot in the arm, which isn’t as bad as a shot anywhere else? Note to self: check options for malpractice suits. “Wh-wh-where is it going?”

“Either in your thigh or in your derriere. We need it to go into a muscle.”

I lifted up my dress and pointed toward my thigh, almost screaming that she was going nowhere near my poor tush.

That needle hurt like mad. I literally limped out of the room some time later, my thigh on all kinds of fire. Terrible, just terrible.

But people go through worse, which is the real perspective of the matter. Despite wanting to knock that needle out of her hand and jumping through some sort of plate-glass window to get out of the situation, I had to keep that in mind: so many people, a number of them close to me, have gone through much worse. A painful needle in the thigh was manageable, even though I wondered, mid-wince, whether she put some kind of Terminator-like solvent in me or something. Seriously, that stuff was crucially painful. But in the end, the symptoms abated, I slept the rest of the day away, and I was ok.

Moral of the story: Don’t get allergies?

Actual Moral: acquire ninja skills.

that’s how much I feel.

14 Sep

Harper Lee made me fall in love with a book.

Alice Hoffman makes me want to sit outside and describe the world exactly the way it is: gorgeous and strange and utterly amazing.

Billy Collins writes poems that lift off the page and make a beeline toward the center of my heart.

Judy Blume helped me to figure out what I was feeling.

Lois Lowry turned me into a library stalker.

Alice Walker blew my mind.

Casey Flinn wrote stories and poems in college that wouldn’t leave me.

Jane Austen turned me into an eternal follower.

O. Henry thrilled me.

Flannery O’Connor sweetly shocked me.

Kathryn Stockett propelled me back to the days of sleeping with a book by my side.

Anne Sexton reminded me that poetry can sound like everyday life.

Jennifer Atkinson made me feel blissful to be a writer.

Sylvia Plath. Oh, Sylvia Plath.

Amy Bloom convinced me that a short story writer is still a novelist.

Jhumpa Lahiri knocked me off my feet.

Zadie Smith made me angry.

David Schickler hypnotized me.

Aesop and the Grimm Brothers started it.

My mother engendered the love.

because, because, because…(WARNING: a crazy, entertainment-y post)

12 Sep

This is Andersoon Cooper. I love him because, because, because…

…of that gray hair.

…of those eyes!

…I imagine that he and I could be BFFs? Based solely on the fact that we could totally riff on everything pop culture? I don’t know. I just feel it. Does that count for anything?

…of photos like the one above. All of AC’s pics look the same. He looks like a matinee idol. Like he’s posing for Matinee Idol Weekly, which is not a real magazine, but should be.

…when he went to New Orleans to report on Katrina, or when he went to Haiti to report on the earthquake, I didn’t get that another-reporter-searching-for-ratings vibe. He waded through water and walked through the rubble and I just somehow felt his sincerity. It’s a big word to use for someone in the media, but that’s just what I felt in those moments.

…he seems like a nice guy.


Speaking of Matinee Idol Weekly, my ideas for those who would grace the cover of this fake magazine, starting with the inaugural issue:

Is it any wonder? Cary Grant. If there was ever an embodiment of the dashing, classy, handsome matinee idol, here you go. (See The Philadelphia Story. One of my top 10 favorite films. Of ALL time. Yeah.)

The number 2 cover. Clark Gable. Dashing, classy, handsome matinee idol. Just like above. There’s no difference between the two, really. I’m personally convinced that Cary Grant and Clark Gable were one and the same. Were they ever in the same room at the same time? I challenge someone to dispute this. (See Gone With the Wind. Scarlett O’Hara, to me, is the most annoying character to inhabit the screen, but I have to admit that I truly enjoyed the movie, solely because of Mr. Gable.)

My love for him knows no bounds, as has been discussed. Paul Newman, sigh. (I invariably sigh after either writing or saying his name.) I love him. Sorry, future hubby. We will be sharing our lives with this man. (See Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which will stoke the Paul Newman fires. And to make it better, it’s a beautifully acted, beautifully complex film based on a Tennessee Williams play. Excellent, excellent.)

The picture above? Says it all. Denzel. I heard someone say once that if Denzel Washington were a nobody, a simple guy walking down the street, no one would care. I can arguably and honestly say that if he were a nobody, a simple guy walking down the street, I would follow him to his destination. And once we reach said destination, my love would be professed. There. (See The Pelican Brief, Much Ado About Nothing, GLORY, John Q, Deja Vu, GLORY…to understand the Denzel love and eternal admiration for his raging talent. And, um, his strut. Yikes, it’s powerful.)

Seriously, he’s the Grant/Gable of this generation. Clooney. I mean…wow. (See Ocean’s Eleven-Thirteen for overwhelming proof of the previous statement.)

What can I say? Robert Redford. His nickname, at one point in time, was The Golden Boy. The Golden Boy. He will also be sharing a life with my future hubby, myself, and Newman. Sorry again, future honey. And the fact that Newman and Redford were in two films together—heavenly casting, really. (See The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Way We Were, Barefoot in the Park, The Electric Horseman, All the President’s Men...and fall in love, one scene at a time.) 

Perhaps there’s a way to get them all on the cover? Every month? Can someone come up with this magazine? Anna Wintour? Anyone?

Um, this ends this crazy, entertainment-y post. Happy Monday.

rain=brussel sprouts.

6 Sep

I detest brussel sprouts. My feelings about rain, then, are obvious.

However, because we’re all about self-psychoanalysis on here, and because gritting my teeth each and every rainy day (and subsequently ruining my teeth, in the process?) is getting old, I need to figure out why I’m so anti-rain.

(It will rain all week. All week. I seriously considered finding a therapist.)

Is it the clouds? I’m in love with the sun. I’m in love with light. I’m in love with a shiny, sparkly day, and when that is stolen away from me because of those voluminous things that hang above my head, I gets angry. And so, so sleepy. The clouds invariably steal my energy. And my will to wake up and be an active participant for the day.

Is it the black sky? The sky was meant to be blue. Or coral-y and golden and pink, as the sun is setting. Those are the only hues I will accept. I cannot accept the foreboding and queasiness that come with a black sky. I naturally want to hide under the covers and stop thinking about stories I read by Edgar Allan Poe.

Is it the umbrella? Kudos to the inventor of the mighty umbrella. Thanks for that. Unfortunately, the umbrella rarely works for me. I struggle with it because I’m sugar and cannot melt, which means the rain cannot touch one part of my skin, but I never succeed in my struggle. Small or large, the umbrella usually gets blown every which way by the wind, which gets me wet, which gets me angry, which has me shaking my fists at the heavens. (I do this mentally, as directing fists toward the sky does not bode well in public.)

Is it the mood? It gets me down. Enough said.

Is it the memory? I went for a walk one day. It was sunny and beautiful. At the beginning. Moments later, the sky turned black, the voluminous clouds appeared above my terrified head, and I.was.drenched. Literally, I was heavy with rain. Worse, as I slowly made my way back home, I was repeatedly splashed with puddles from the nearby street, courtesy of drivers that threw caution to the wind and were driving like mad. (And clearly gave no heed to hydroplaning, not that I wished that on them or anything…)


This brief list has done nothing for pychoanalysis. I hate the rain even more. I am reminded of why I grit my teeth, why I think of brussel sprouts and every other cursed thing, why…

But, for the sake of positive thinking (since I do that negative thinking stuff so, so well)–

Flowers grow.

Dry, rough ground is saturated.

The animals on the ground need a shower, too.

The sound  of rain (when I’m safely inside, or trying to fall asleep) is simply amazing and does wonders.

Um, thinking of more…

There are plenty of awesome songs about rain, which is a good thing. One of my favorites:

“Laughter in the Rain,” Neil Sedaka. Soft rock goodness.

Cute raincoats, which is always a plus.

Despite my little cold heart, there’s something kind of romantic about walking in the rain with your beloved other, I guess. I mean, I would have to be fully covered, but I get it.

So, there are six great things about the rain, which outnumber the five facts things I listed in the beginning. Not bad. I can’t be blamed, however, for shaking my fists at the sky as this rainy week progresses, though.

For my readers, what do you particularly enjoy about the rain? Or do you even enjoy the rain?

smorgas, meet bord.

2 Sep

I’m all over the place today. Restless, bored, stressed out, ready for the weekend, not ready for the weekend. This is a day of polar opposites, it seems. Prove it? See below.

On a good note, a few friends and I started a book club! Yay and yay! I’m pretty excited. Our first book will be featured on “Kitten Heel Marvel is Currently Reading…” soon. It’s a beloved favorite. From an author I will never tire of. Discussed with friends I adore and love. Can’t wait.

But there’s this other storm (told you about the polar opposites, didn’t I?) brewing in me. It’s a heady combination of envy, sadness, defeat, resignation, and acceptance, all of which has manifested itself into slumped shoulders and a lot of sighing. I don’t know what else to say. Logic and emotion are currently battling it out. We’ll see who wins. My money’s on emotion, though, based on those potent adjectives previously listed. Nothing is reasonable in that list. It’s a stinker for sure. If I’m found lying in the corner a day from now, frothing at the mouth, we’ll know which winner took all. Sigh.

On another good note (see? I’m not playing with a full deck), check out this cast from the upcoming movie, Contagion: Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Jennifer Ehle, my Elizabeth Bennett from the originial Pride and Prejudice adaptation on A&E, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, etc. etc. It’s delicious casting, it’s an intriguing premise, and I’m so there.

I’m also in the mood for a good, old fashioned French film. Did I talk about this? That I’m currently re-learning Francais? My job has free online Rosetta Stone courses, so I’m taking advantage. So far, admittedly (being someone who loves everything French EXCEPT learning the language), Je suis excite about the whole thing. Anyway, time to hunker down and look for some foreign films.

Ugh, I wish it were time to vacate these premises.

It’s safe to end now, I think. More later. Maybe.

I’m FALLing for It. Get it? Get it?

1 Sep

Oh, puns. How I love you so.

It’s autumn, as pictorialized here. Therein lies the pun. Anyway.

It’s not officially autumn, but today is September 1, and that’s when autumn begins for me. Never mind that the weather has never and will never acclimate to my wishes. Although, to my infinite glee, the past few days have been absolutely glorious. Cool mornings and clear, crisp nights. (I don’t know what happens in between. I’m in prison most afternoons, trapped behind a desk, my neck straining to gaze out of my colleague’s enviable window to see what the weather is doing.) Fall is indeed coming—despite the humidity that will be re-visiting us in the next few days, despite my mounting suspicions that the “meteorologists” love to just break our autumn-loving hearts with calls of said humidity, despite the fact that summer always does this to me, like the friend who just won’t go away—and I intend on commencing with my excitement now.

I love fall.

I love those endless autumn evenings, which I fill with long, meditative walks and breathing as deeply as I can.

I love imagining my home in Connecticut (because whenever it’s fall, I have a fake, imaginary home in Connecticut; go figure), where I stare, from my fake, imaginary Connecticut window, at the multi-colored leaves that decorate my fake, imaginary Connecticut lawn.

I love that weird, hopeful feeling that the autumn brings out in me, where everything I set out to accomplish will be accomplished, by gum—based, it seems, on the strange, electric sensation in the air.

I love the people I naturally think about when it’s fall. Arthur Miller, one of my favorite playwrights, who wrote a play called After the Fall, which is such a perfect title, which only endears me to him more. James Taylor, and we’ve discussed why. Every boy I’ve ever had a hankering for, because, well, it’s that weirdness in the air. (Plus, a few of them inspired the hankering when they admitted that autumn was their favorite season, as well. Didn’t take much, back then, for my devotion.) Alice Hoffman, another one of my favorite authors, who has a way of describing the seasons, particularly autumn, in such a hypnotic, almost edible way.

I love the following, autumn-y words: harvest, solstice, equinox.

I love that literary fall feeling. There’s a palpable eagerness to read everything and anything I can get my hands on.

I love that, in many ways, I try to include autumn in my own fiction and poetry.

I love boots and peacoats and scarves and trips to New York during fall and, and, and…heaven help me.

I love that melancholy understanding that my favorite time of year won’t last as long as I want it to. I do. Why? I appreciate it even more.

Sigh. To blessedly conclude this love letter/slightly unhinged ode to autumn:

A poem by John Keats, To Autumn.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,-
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

For my few readers: what’s your favorite time of year and why?



Sincerely, Taj

Dear World, I have stuff to say, so get cozy. Here, I've got cupcakes.

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