the original kStyle blog.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Feeling Better

I'm feeling better today. The shower turned out to be, surprisingly, a lot of fun. And it turned out my aunts were also stressed and a little crazy before their weddings. And, I got a lot of cool stuff. And, the seafood salad was actually delicious. And, my sister and my friends hit it off.

I'll be OK.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


I've heard stories like this, but I never thought it would happen to me. (Isn't that how they all begin, too.) Running an innocuous-enough wedding errand Friday night, it didn't work out as planned, and I ended up first mildly panicking* and then bursting into sobs in a restroom stall**. I reached a breaking point. Cool, calm, collected kStyle, marrying the best guy in the universe, lost it.

This morning I dragged myself out of bed to make the trek to tai chi class, knowing that skipping again would only make matters worse. I drove the long distance to the T station, parked in the Secret Free Parking Lot***, and then walked to the station. When I reached the station, I discovered that my wallet was not in my purse. I breathed deeply and brought in Rational Mind to avert the rising tide of throat-constricting panic. The first step was to call G to see if my wallet were innocently sitting at home. It was. The next step was to burst into tears. Again. Then I had to decide what to do. I collected myself for a few moments, and then, voice weak and wavering, asked the T employee if I could write a check for a token, as I'd lost my wallet. He had mercy, bless him, and let me ride for free, wishing me well. I knew that once at school, I could borrow change from someone to get home.

Tai chi class opened me up a little, made me feel okay about my vulnerability, and restored the possibility of my processing what I was going through, rather than sinking deeper into a stagnant swamp of hopelessness and sorrow. I should mention that before I'd embarked on the long journey to class that morning, an online quiz informed me that I might be suffering from major depression, and I'd been daydreaming a little too much about the sleeping pills scenario mentioned in the post below. It was freaking G out, actually. This morning he'd gently suggested I go to therapy, and I'd replied I didn't have the energy to process anything. Isn't that the definition of depression?, he asked, worried. I don't know, I replied sadly.

After class, I spent the late afternoon first napping, then running stupid errands, feeling slightly out-of-body, and then I went back to the book store for the book I'd flipped through and put down a week ago. It's called Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the "Happiest" Time of Her Life, by Allison Moir-Smith. I will send a copy of this book to all the brides I know from now on, as soon as engagements are announced. The first exercise allowed me a big breakthrough about why I hate weddings. (It's complicated, but it has to do with the passage of time and death, the similarities between weddings and funerals, the evanescence of flowers, the passing of generations, and our very mortality. I realize that my sleeping pills-death-wedding fantasy is not about suicide, but about my consciousness processing all this.) The second exercise made me realize that even if I'd tried to resist the huge wedding my parents steamrolled mine into, it would have been futile. (We wanted 30 people, tops. My folks insisted on 150, minimum. I'd been beating myself up for not putting the brakes on this crap. But even though I protested every time I spoke with her, my mom is still throwing me a bridal shower. Tomorrow. I hate bridal showers. I also hate the food she'll be serving, the sort of sandwiches one eats--you guessed it--at a repast meal. Seafood salad, chicken salad, ham salad. Death food. Anyway, the point is that I'm still being subjected to a bridal shower, under duress and grievous protest, so there's no way the wedding would have been reduced in size, however strenuously we might have fought.)

I'm getting tired writing all this. This is far more confessional than what I would normally write here. I'll probably feel embarrassed and take it all down tomorrow. Or maybe not. It's sort of a PSA for brides, after all.

Please don't think less of me for spewing all of this emotional chaos onto the Web. I suppose worse is happening over at LiveJournal, anyway. I work with a girl who is involved with constant MySpace drama among her Rocky Horror cast. Jesus.

*regular readers will know that I am prone to panic attacks in times of great stress
**but this is not normal at all
***no, I can't tell you where--it's a secret

Friday, May 26, 2006

Daydreams of an Exhausted Worker Bee/Bride/Unstable Menstruating Woman

1. G and I live on a pond in Maine. It's always late June. As I knead bread dough (for an anadama loaf), I watch the waves gently lap the red canoe. G smokes a pipe. When I told him this daydream, he replied, "So, you want to retire? That's what it sounds like."

2. G and I live in a house in Mexico. Friends fly down to visit throughout the winter. We have not a care in the world, sipping margaritas on the moonlit Oaxaca beach. When summer comes, we return to Maine.

3. I overdose on sleeping pills. Tragically, my wedding is turned into my funeral. The flowers and people are there already. I'm buried in my bridal costume, flowers in my hair. Very Shakespearian.

4. I quit my job and find work at the local artisan bread company.

5. I quit my job, buy a glorious old brick building (with magical money that comes from the sky!), and open my wellness center. It is instantly successful, and easy to find trustworthy, hardworking people to run the day-to-day operation, leaving me to meditate and occasionally practice my famed healing powers. Like, doing actual work once a week. Mostly I sit there and breathe. Sometimes I get up and knead bread.

6. I'm a member of the Naragansett tribe before the colonists arrive. I pick blackberries near the Rhode Island coast. The waves again lap on the shore. It seems I find that soothing. In real life, I pretend the traffic outside the window is the ocean.

7. G is done with graduate school and fabulously wealthy. I mostly spend time sitting around, sometimes throwing in charity work. I only shop at Whole Foods, and the cost is not an issue. I'm the earthiest society woman in the world. I watch Dr. Phil, but I don't know why. Yes I do: because I can.


It was a bad week. It got so bad, and I was so exhausted, that I went home early on Thursday to sleep, because it was that or continue bursting into tears at random intervals and trying in vain to hide it.

I slept for a solid hour on the couch in the late afternoon.

It was bad.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Water, Water, Everywhere

This May is like a moody teenager. It began raining on a Sunday. For eleven solid days it either rained or drizzled with brief little breaks, not of sun, but of overcast skies without precipitation, for maybe an hour or so. Soon the news showed scenes of flooding throughout New Hampshire and the Massachusetts coast above Boston, an area known to locals as the North Shore. The normally sedate Merrimac River became a white-water ride through old mill towns. Peabody town square was completely submerged. In many towns, homes were destroyed (though not carried away), basements were flooded, and a man with a print shop in Peabody lost all of his equipment--over $100,000's worth. The people grew cranky.

I sat in my office basking in a full-spectrum bulb normally reserved to augment winter's short daylight, but equally useful in a rainy May. I was cheerful; this angered my coworkers. I invited them to share in the faux sunlight in my office. (To me, living in the cold, wintery North without a sun lamp is as silly as living here without a winter coat.)

The sun returned on Thursday. That was the day I became pissy. Though the light bulb had kept me relatively content, and although each day I'd bravely donned raingear to stroll around the block at noontime, I was feeling caged up. I spent the day mentally whining at the window like a trapped puppy, longing to commune with the blue skies and green green green grass. Also, as soon as the pollen was free to run wild, unhindered by heavy rain, I became a sneezing, itchy-eyed, hoarse mess.

I forced myself to sit obediently at my desk, checking page proofs and making mix CDs through Friday. Saturday dawned, partly cloudy and oh-so-windy. It wasn't a storybook-lovely day, but I needed, with a primal instinct, to be on a river. I skipped my two-hour tai chi class and the hour of commuting to it and the other hour of commuting from it. G was at his brother's college graduation, a two-hour drive one way from our home. I'd bowed out weeks in advance, citing my tai chi studies and the fact that C doesn't much care for ceremony and would barely notice my absence. Both proved true.

Normally, I'm a canoer, but because I was alone, I would rent a single-person kayak. I drove with great anticipation to the South Bridge Boat House. This is the primest boat rental real estate around. It sits on the lovely Sudbury River in historic Concord. Putting in at the boathouse, you can follow the winding Sudbury north, past the long backyards of grand historic homes, past the geese teaching their fuzzy chicks to swim and, later in the season, the painted turtles stacked atop each other to reach sunlight, and, if you're lucky, past a heron or a wakeful raccoon. You'll paddle through the backyard of the scenic Concord Academy, through the junction of the Sudbury and Concord Rivers, where Native Americans once lived, and finally, you'll reach a wooden bridge: Old North Bridge, the shining gem of Minuteman National Historic Park, the famed location of the "shot heard 'round the world" at the dawn of American independence. There's a shallow little beach here, really just a patch of sand, where you can take out your canoe. Then you're free to stroll around the historic park and munch on a picnic lunch, if you brought one. You can simply enjoy the scenery or, if you're feeling curious, note the fauna and flora, or, if you're feeling deep, you can contemplate the fiercely independent spirit of the colonists, or the massacre of tribes who rightfully tended this land. If it's high summer, you can also think contemptuously about the throngs of tourists practically mooing and bleating in a herdlike stupor. Your choice. (I usually go the flora route.)

So you can see I was very excited to reach the boathouse. I carefully locked a few things in my trunk, taking with me only what I needed for a nice couple of hours on the river. I looked across the street from the dirt parking lot to the shabby temple of my dreams, only to see a black sign with aggressively orange letters reading Sorry, We're CLOSED. It couldn't be! I darted across the street undaunted. Rounding the corner to the boat rental area, I saw that the river was swollen beyond recognition. Usually, coming from the boathouse, one paddles under South Bridge, a few yards away. Yesterday there were barely two feet of space between the water and the stone arches. The boat house dock was submerged, the river was twice its normal width, and she was moving fast. I stood for a moment with the boathouse staff, a young man and presumably his father, gazing in disbelief at the normally placid Sudbury. The young man told me that the current was too strong to let anyone on the river. Earlier that day, a sailboat had become stuck on South Bridge, and it took three men several hours to bring it back. He reassured me they'd be open again next weekend.

Next: Does kStyle get to kayak? Stay tuned...

Genius and Despair

Reading Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood this morning, I'm tempted to give up blogging. I'm tempted to give up any writing at all, including mundane necessities like emails and cover sheets. No, I shall simply call, and give up writing altogether. Because never, ever, ever will I be able to write anything remotely as funny, macabre, sad, and unexpected as that which flows forth from Ms Atwood. Take:

I live in a house, with window curtains and a lawn, in British Columbia, which is as far away from Toronto as I could get without drowning. The unreality of the landscape there encourages me: the greeting-card mountains, of the sunset-and-sloppy-message variety, the cottagy houses that look as if they were built by the Seven Dwarfs in the thirties, the giant slugs, so much larger than a slug needs to be. Even the rain is overdone. I can't take it seriously. I suppose these things are as real, and as oppressive, to the people who grew up there as this place is to me. But on good days it still feels like a vacation, and an evasion. On bad days I don't notice it, or much else.

Or take:

Jon left me the key in an envelope under the mat, and a note saying Blessings, which is a measure of how much he's softened, or mellowed. Blessings is not his former style. He's temporarily in Los Angeles, doing a chain-saw murder, but he'll be back before my opening.

Or, a page later:

Jon has told me he isn't sure this hacked-up body-part stuff is the sort of thing he should be doing. It's too violent, it doesn't contribute to human goodness. He's coming to believe in human goodness in his old age, which is certainly a change; I've even found some herbal tea in the cupboard. He claims he'd rather make friendly animals for children's shows. But as he says, you have to eat, and there's just more demand for hacked-off limbs.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Dreaded Numbness

Sorry float is kind of lame the last few days. I'll get back in the groove soon.

Why I Love ANTM

I thank Salon for explaining it for me. I only wish Joanie had won, though; I believe she was the better model, and I'm a sucker for old-style glamour.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Cats Like the Cuisinart, Too

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Suddenly, I'm Warming Up to This Wedding Thing

A box arrived yesterday, containing a Cuisinart for us! I hope it's not crass to be terribly excited about receiving fantastic kitchen goods in the mail.

Monday, May 15, 2006

When Silly Things Prove Useful

Hello. I'm an INTP, an Introvert iNtuitive Thinking Perception type. (Sometimes I test as an Extrovert, though. Depends on the day.)

I'm an INTP planning a wedding. As an I, I wanted a small wedding, but, thanks to my E folks, it's going to be huge. As an N, I like the big-picture, not details. In fact, being bombarded by too many details can stress me out in no time. Weddings involve a lot of details. As a T, I approach decision-making largely through a thinking framework; I'm more concerned with logical accuracy and efficiency than with muddy feelings. Weddings involve a whole lot of but Cousin Teddy and Aunt Wilma will be unhappy if..., things that T's don't give a rat's ass about, things that annoy the crap out of T's when they interfere with efficiency. As a P, I deplore schedules, deadlines, concrete plans, and anything else which interferes with a we'll-see-what-comes-up approach to life. Too much advanced planning makes me feel hemmed in, stifled, and unable to use my creative process. Hey, it would seem that I deplore weddings.

My mom and I had a little squabble yesterday, on Mother's Day. I've felt like a bad daughter since. But every time I see her, she bombards me with wedding questions. When I don't have the answers, she gets aggravated, and bombards me with more questions. Questions about details, schedules, and how to make everyone happy. It was finally too much. I snapped, she was hurt. We had a "discussion". As eloquently as I made my very good points, I still left their house feeling like a bad child.

Then, I realized. I realized it, and all my conflicts with Mom ever suddenly came into focus and made sense. I realized that she is an FJ, a feeling-judgment type. She sees the world through the warm, gooey world of emotion, and is most concerned with other people being comfortable and with their needs--other's needs-- being met. Her world view is one that never made logical sense to me, but it's because she lives through her heart, not her head, with all the good and all the infuriating, inefficient things that come with that. As a J, she feels stressed if decisions aren't made, and she doesn't understand why I don't--can't--produce an answer or make a decision on the spot. She thinks I'm withholding information to be stubborn or difficult. She doesn't get that I really don't have all the details worked out in my mind, and I don't care to work out all the details myself.

I called her and explained all this. It seemed to help. She'll try not to bombard me with detail questions, and I'll try not to snap at my sensitive mum if she does. Thank you, Carl Jung. Thank you, Isabella Meyer-Briggs.

Monday Evening Questionnaire
A little bit of everything Edition

1. Of what (false) conventional wisdom would you like to disabuse the world?

2. Multiple choice! In your lifetime have you incurred more:

a) speeding tickets
b) library overdue fines
c) those fees they charged you in college for locking yourself out of your dorm

3. Fill in the blank: Hey, guess what? I recently discovered that someone makes and sells _________! Who knew?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

1. Correction

Wesak, the Buddha's birthday celebration, was not, in fact, on the same day as 5 de Mayo. It was Friday May 12. I've fired my factchecker.

2. Cookbook

Fast Food My Way
by master chef Jacques Pepin is a must-have. Yes, it's a gorgeous book. Yes, it saved us from a food rut. But the true miracle of this book is that, following its simple recipes, I've made 3 meals and a cake so consummately delicious and eye-pleasing that I can't believe I made them. It's as if Mr. Pepin tricked me into cooking perfectly.

3. California and Canada

You might have noticed the little Sitemeter icon sitting at the bottom of the page. Sitemeter has taught me some interesting things. To my surprise, most of my readers are in California. Shout out to the Golden State! W00t! Moreover, float seems to have a fair number of visitors from our maple-y, honest neighbor to the north--that's right, Canada. Hi guys! I'll be visiting your fair country soon. I'm sorry that this page never contains the useful information on herbs or nutrition that you're seeking. Please don't hold it against me and poison my poutine this summer.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Single-Question Questionnaire
On the flip side!

I truly do not understand the importance of ________.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Ann here. Just wanted to remind you that Paul Simon's new album, "Surprise," is available today. Hooray! I imagine it'll be available in most stores, but I'll be purchasing it via iTunes.

You can listen to samples--and a few entire tracks--at www.paulsimon.com. Also, Eric kindly notified me about this article about Paul Simon in the New York Times. (Thanks, Eric!) And here's an NPR program about him.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

As Could Have Been Predicted, I did not sleep well last night. (See post immediately below, written near 1 AM.) Between Dude One's 21st birthday celebration and my severe indigestion, I tossed, turned, and tossed some more. This morning, reporting my sleep difficulties to G., he gently pointed out that only a dumbass eats soft shell crab at a neighborhood pub.

Please, learn from me on this one.

Here's to sweet dreams tonight,

PS A single-question Questionnaire for the road:

I truly understand the importance of _________.

Wow! I'm tired. I'm so so very tired, but it's as if I've been up for so long now that I've forgotten how to go to bed. Might as well soldier through!, says some odd part of me, but there's no reason to pull an all-nighter: no paper, no party, and--recurring dreams to the contrary--I don't actually have to make up high school gym class becuase I never completed it 10 years ago.


Friday, May 05, 2006

Fiesta de Buddha! Ay ay ay!

Today, friends, is BOTH the annual Buddha's birthday celebration (first full moon in May) AND Cinco de Mayo (May 5, every year). Too much excitement! Do I meditate or drink a margarita?

Happy, happy to all my float luvies!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Don't drink, don't smoke, what d'ya do?

1. Are you now, or have you ever been, a vegetarian? Vegan?

2. Are you now, or have you ever been, a smoker?

3. How much caffeine do you take daily? In what form?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Saga of The Dudes, Part XII: The Throes of Irony

First, refresh your memory of The Dudes, if necessary.

Inspired by seeing Dave Chapelle's Block Party over the weekend, with my good friend The Littlest Dinosaur, I went to the record store on Sunday to buy a Mos Def album. I rarely step into a record store, so I got a little excited. In addition to "Black on Both Sides", I walked away with the "Veronica Mars" soundtrack, as well as two awesome used albums: "More of The Monkees" and a Frank Sinatra collection.

I decided it would be good, motivational fun to play some hiphop while mopping the floor. (See post below. Yes, I really did mop the floor, no joking. I'm crazy like that.) As soon as the first notes of Mos Def came through my speakers, I could tell this album was good. (Great gratitude to Jason for recommending it. Or should I say, mad props.) So I might have turned it up a little. And a little more. And then, just maybe, the phone rang: The Dudes asked me to turn down the music; they were very apologetic, as it was well before the 10 PM cut-off time, but they were trying to study.

I apologized, sheepishly.

Then I realized, you know, I might like The Dudes, and they me, if our interactions went beyond shushing each other. Maybe, like Dave Chapelle, I will throw a block party. A lower-budget block party.


Today is the two-year anniversary of float's inception. Christ.

Teaching an Old Cat New Tricks*

Luna (see at left) has mastered fetch. Tonight she's bored with life and whining dramatically, incessantly bringing me a ball to throw, but I'm bored with fetch. Why did I teach her this game? Seeing as how there's no turning back now, I've decided the solution is to teach her a new game. A while back we'd bought her some ping-pong balls, hoping she would enjoy batting at them in the tub, where, Lord knows why, the cats like to hang out, staring at us through the doorway as we eat dinner.

We trekked into the bathroom, Luna and I, where I dropped two balls in the tub and let them ping and pong about. She looked confused. She jumped in the tub with the balls and observed silently. Then she hissed at them. I tried batting them around some more--See? This is fun!--but alas, just more hissing. Once Luna started arching her back, I knew it was time to give up this passtime. I took a moment to wipe out the disgustingly hairy tub with a paper towel, then embarked upon a new project: cat soccer. You know, I roll the ball to her, and she rolls it back to me.

First, confusion. Then, she whacked the ball, albeit in the opposite direction. I praised her effort. Noah sat a safe distance nearby, observing. (See at right.**) I rolled the ball to him. He rolled it back to me, looking slightly alarmed. I praised him profusely. We were getting it! A game we could all play, as a bizarre human-cat family! I rolled the ball to Luna. She again at hit it, blindly, sending it in the wrong direction, but I congratulated her effort. Rolled it to Noah, who again hit it toward me, looking even more alarmed. I praised him. Rolled it to Luna, who simply stared at me. Then to Noah, who walked away. Then to Luna, who decided to attack something else.

There's always tomorrow. Now please excuse me while I mop the kitchen floor, which was unpleasant to sit on.

* she's not that old, really
** Noah is actually much bigger than Luna, despite appearances in these here photos.

Birthdays, Birthdays, La lalala Birthdays!

A very, very happy birthday to a certain Eric, whose day was Apr. 30, and also to said Eric's s.o, whose day is today.