Archive | October, 2010

I’ve caught it.

29 Oct

It happened. I have the fever. Bieber Fever.

Happy Halloween, friends and tweens.

TIME OUT.

27 Oct

An addendum to this blog’s first post. Yet another ridiculous aspect of Saved by the Bell has come to my attention.

Does Zachary Morris have superpowers? The teen can FREEZE TIME at his convenience. This is like the original Twix commercial. Need a moment? Have Slater punch Mr. Belding’s face instead of yours. Need a moment? Shove a piece of paper between Kelly’s lips and a boy she’s about to kiss. It’s strange to me that certain situations warrant Zack’s “time out” powers while others don’t. Por ejemplo, why didn’t he stop time during Testaverde’s exam, or before he was about to crash his car while driving drunk, or during Senior Cut Day when he’s trying to be in two places at once? C’mon, Morris. Use your 1502 SAT brain next time.

This show is obviously not meant to be the most realistic high school portrayal. Here are just a handful of examples: Hot Sundae’s music video, Johnny Dakota and Brandon Tartakoff, Rod Belding, Casey Kasem, Max’s magic tricks (they’re my illusions, Michael), the Rockumentary, and the murder mystery house. But at least Mark-Paul Gosselear can poke fun at himself and his absurd character, as seen in this wonderful video:

Until next time, time in.

October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month

26 Oct

The title of this post is pretty self-explanatory. Since we got my first dog, Lucky (tear), when I was just a tot, my  family and I have always adopted all of our dogs from shelters. This past July, I decided it was time for me to take the plunge. I scoured Petfinder for hours daily, wanting to adopt all of the dogs listed on the website. And then I saw my little doofus, Bailey, who looked like a miniature hybrid of Lucky and Roxy. I knew he was my souldog. I was right.

Our first encounter at the shelter

Bailey is a Corgi/Basset Hound (or something) mix around two years old. He began as a stray in rural Georgia, was picked up by Animal Control, and was brought to a nasty “high kill” animal shelter. This means that the shelter kills the dogs after holding them there for three days. THREE. DAYS. Can you imagine being the person whose job that is? Thankfully, a wonderful woman in Tennessee heard about this and took Bailey, a golden retriever mama and her six puppies in to stay with her. For a couple of months, Bailey lived outside during the day and would sleep indoors at night. Then he was shipped to his last shelter in New Fairfield, Connecticut. That’s where I got him.

The dog has been through a lot. He has scarring on his nose, which he passes off well for freckles, and it recently came to my attention that he’s missing a pretty significant sliver of his ear. I don’t know what he’s been through, but he hasn’t had it easy. Needless to say, he has some issues. But so do I. Like I said, souldog. (Quick shout out to my roommate, Jess, for being so amazingly patient and understanding with him…and me!)

The joy and love that Bailey and I have gotten from each other is truly fulfilling and slightly disgusting. I think, in part, that our bond is so close because we both know that we came to the 0ther’s rescue. I literally rescued him from the shelter, and now he understands what love and family mean. And, prepare yourself for the corniness, but he also saved me. The three months between my father’s passing and Bailey’s adoption were some of the darkest and most desolate days of my life. But adopting Bailey gave me a reason to feel happy again; it also gave me the responsibility of taking care of a living creature.

Hi, there.

I’m sure I would’ve been happy with any dog, but adopting a shelter dog whose life literally depended on me provides an unparalleled sense of fulfillment and love. Nearly 4 million animals are put to sleep every year because no one adopts them. Even a greater number suffer from the tortures of puppy mills. Adopting a shelter dog means that you are saving an innocent animal, striking a blow to puppy mills, and bringing immeasurable amounts of love into your life.

Rockport, MA

If this is the only time of year that we promote shelter-dog adoption, then every month should be October.

Transatlanticism

26 Oct

One of my  favorites to listen to on a rainy day or on a train ride. Seven minutes and 54 seconds well spent.

The Atlantic was born today and I’ll tell you how
The clouds above opened up and let it out

I was standing on the surface of a perforated sphere
When the water filled every hole
And thousands upon thousands made an ocean
Making islands where no island should go

Those people were overjoyed, they took to their boats
I thought it less like a lake and more like a moat
The rhythm of my footsteps crossing flatlands to your door have been silenced forever more
The distance is quite simply much too far for me to row
It seems farther than ever before

I need you so much closer…

“The best part of being 100 is you live to be 100. If you can enjoy it, that is an extra good thing.”

20 Oct

I am having a fantastic morning. And it is all because of a feature in the New York Times.

I ask you to watch and listen to “Secrets of the Centenarians,” a series of short interviews with eight people ages 99 to 103. (You can also read excerpts here.) You will hear Travilla Deming tell us the secret to a long life: “Don’t emphasize anything that’s evil or bad, but get rid of it or rise above it.” (Good advice.) You will hear about Phil Damsky’s love for pastrami and corned beef and Hazel Miller’s decision to begin line dancing with a group called the Silver Bells. You will hear the sadness in Otto Seidel’s voice when he discusses the loss of precious memories, and you will hear the joy in Mae Anderman’s voice when she proudly proclaims she has 20 great-grandchildren. Aside: Can you imagine having 20 great-grandchildren? I can’t even imagine having a child, let alone my child having a child, let alone my child’s child having a child, 20 times.

These eight people have some of the most beautiful faces I have ever seen. They don’t look a day over 85! But seriously, the sweetly engraved wrinkles are far more beautiful to me than an unnaturally smooth, plastic face. Can you imagine a Botoxed centenarian? Kind of seems like an oxymoron to me. Maybe one of the secrets to life is just being happy with who you are and not trying to change insignificant details. Maybe I should also take my own advice here, lest I end up looking like Jocelyn Wildenstein. You know, the Cat Lady.

Scroll down immediately.

Back to the centenarians. The 103-year-old Mae Anderman makes me particularly happy. She is gorgeous – just look at her punim! (Blog post on Yiddish words coming soon.) I think the lines, folds, and creases on a person’s face all tell a unique and beautiful story; why would you want to erase that? I don’t know. To me, getting unnecessary cosmetic surgery to your face is the equivalent of destroying memories, one wrinkle at a time.

I confess, I am already seeing the formation of slight lines at the corners of my mouth. When I smile, my mouth seems to fall naturally into these tiny lines, like it belongs there. I also confess that I don’t mind at all. In fact, I kind of like it! It would be much worse to have frown lines; in my experience, those I know with frown lines tend to be miserable people who dwell on their own unhappiness, and it seems appropriate that the whole world should see that. But smile lines? Psh. Let the whole world see the kind of life I am living and trying to live, the kind of person I am and am trying to be. And one day, when I get crow’s feet and other crinkles that mirror a Shar Pei, I hope I’ll keep true to the convictions I hold now.

Gratuitous Puppy Picture

That wrinkles are far from ugly. That intentionally changing your face to eliminate perceived imperfections is silly (and, by the way, not fooling anyone about your real age or your decision to get work done). And that it is exquisite for a human face to be the roadmap to the course of a life. One day, the lines around my eyes will show the tears I’ve cried for losses suffered, the grooves between my brow will show the determination with which I’ve accomplished my goals, and the wrinkles scattered across my face will represent each memory I hold so dear. What’s so bad about that?

Answer: Wonderful.

“Essence of winter sleep is on the night/The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.”

14 Oct

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.

— John Keats, excerpt from “To Autumn

Spring, the season of rebirth, was once my favorite season. Now, Autumn speaks to me in a way the other seasons do not, can not. She whispers her melancholy yet hopeful song through the rustling of her leaves, reminding me of the beauty and brevity of life. For what is more breathtaking than the crimsons, the golds, and the burnt oranges of fall? I like to imagine that each leaf has a story behind it, a life that becomes more valued as it grows nearer to its end. It is not until the leaves begin to transform from their ordinary greens that we truly begin to appreciate them. And soon, they are gone, crumbled on the pavement, shriveled into nothing more than brittle memories of what once was. But in between the initial emergence of life and the final, unyielding clutch of death, there is a period of reflection. When we don’t just look at the leaves, taking them for granted, but actually see their beauty, right before it’s too late. The sweet, autumnal aroma that envelops us is intermingled with the impending desolation of Winter.  Perhaps this is no accident; perhaps this is a trick and a gift given to us by nature.

Far too often, we fail to acknowledge the importance and joy that others bring us while they are still in bloom. Once they are gone, we are left with the chilly draft of longing and regret for what could have been. I was fortunate enough to witness the fulfillment of one leaf’s existence. Its autumn was longer than most—a year, to be exact. A transition between a lifetime of breathing green and an eternity of barren winter, a year filled with vivid, dazzling colors never before experienced. A year in which the falling leaves glowed brilliantly even as they met the supreme abyss of darkness. A year for all to savor, to treasure; a year filled with love and forgiveness. A year that has taught me to be grateful for all of the colors during all of the seasons. A year that I will cherish until it is time for my leaf to fall among the others.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

14 Oct

Today was the first morning where I could see my breath outside. I rarely sleep past 7:45 a.m. anymore, even on weekends, which makes me feel like a real adult.  But I kind of love it. I love my goofy dog Bailey and how he is my alarm clock in the morning. He crawls onto my stomach and chest and then licks my face, unable to hold in his excitement for his morning walk and his cup of breakfast. And I love walking him before the city is wide awake and when the streets are still and quiet. And today was the first morning where I felt the chill of the air and saw my breath as it escaped from my mouth. What a refreshing start to the day.

Then I began thinking of other little things that make me extremely happy. Here are a couple that come to mind.

  1. When the faded leaves have fallen from the trees and dried up on the sidewalk, and how they crunch so harmoniously beneath my feet.
  2. Three-day weekends. I think there should be a national petition for a four-day work week and a three-day weekend. That extra day makes a huge difference in improving the quality of life, don’t you think?
  3. Completing a difficult crossword puzzle and filling in that final clue. The fact that this is one of my favorite things shows how nerdy I am.
  4. Winning trivia night at different pubs. Please see comment in #3.
  5. Surprises. Good ones, of course. I love surprising my Mom with a random visit home, and I love when someone I love tucks a little note away in a place they know I’ll find it.
  6. The ultimate food combination: chocolate and peanut butter. This is, hands down, the best mixture of flavors of all time. There is the obvious Reese’s Cup, but there’s also peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches, ice cream sundaes with peanut butter sauce and hot fudge, and, my personal favorite after a freshman-year saunter through Allston, a spoonful of peanut butter combined with a spoonful of chocolate pudding (a terrible decision in hindsight, but that’s what Allston does to people). Clearly not the most nutritious combination, but certainly one of the most delicious.  

    chocolatepeanutbuttergasm

  7. The way that certain smells can evoke intense emotions and tucked-away memories. We always say how we wish we  could bottle a moment up to keep it forever, but when faint scents arise out of nowhere years after a memory has been buried away, it’s like uncorking that bottle and reliving the moment all over again. For me, these smells include the following: my Papa’s aftershave; my Dad’s suits when we sat through temple; my elementary school’s Xerox room; my Grandma’s makeup; our house on my favorite holidays; and my favorite childhood books and old, worn books from the library.
  8. Saving relics from my past and pasting them into little journals. I’m especially glad to have done this now, because I will always feel my Dad right next to me when I see his unique handwriting on his homemade “knishmon productions” cards; I will always feel the excitement of experiencing the Sistine Chapel for the first time when I see my ticket to the Vatican Museum; and I will always feel the innocence of childhood when I see my first doll’s makeup brush taped to the pages of what has become my visual autobiography.
  9. That deep down, I still believe it’s possible that my stuffed animals come alive when I leave the room. They know when someone might be filming, too, so we’ll never know for sure if this magic does or does not happen. Along with “What is the purpose of life?” and “What happens after death?”, this is one of life’s greatest unsolved mysteries.  

    should we be HYSTERICAL?!

  10. That I can write whatever I want in this silly little blog, know that my thoughts are documented, and let them go from my mind. And that I can write one post a la e.e. cummings and another with correct grammar and punctuation as I please.
  11. Positive energy. Either doing random acts of kindness every day, no matter how small they might be, or just smiling at every person you pass on the street. I tried this once the other night when I went to the Apple Store on Boylston, and it’s unbelievable how many people smile back or even start talking to you. (Beware of the different types of smiles though, and avoid the creepy ones.) I remembered a quotation I saw a long time ago, and it got me thinking: “A smile costs nothing but gives much.  It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give.  It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.  None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it.  Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away.  Some people are too tired to give you a smile.  Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.” It made me want to start a worldwide project that encourages people to spread positivity through the simple act of smiling; I’ve never seen a smiling face that was not beautiful. I began to fantasize about this international phenomenon and even came up with an original name for it: The Smile Campaign. Upon returning home, I googled “The Smile Campaign” to make sure I was good to go, but unfortunately, the Smile Campaign already exists. Their motto: “Encouraging people rehabilitating from emotional/physical sickness, surgery, poverty or disability with Christ’s love.” …Maybe it’s better as an individual undertaking anyway.