Thursday, January 31, 2008

Well, this is interesting.

So I was in the bathroom, flossing, ruminating on what I should blog about today when suddenly there was a little sproing! from inside my mouth, and the floss slid out from between my teeth when it should have been held firmly in place by my retainer. Which can only mean one thing: the glue that's held this wire in place for the past seven years has finally succumbed. I haven't been to the orthodonist since I was nineteen, when he finally pronounced me "finished" after ten plus years of retainers, braces, headgear, all designed to eradicate any clue that I might have my family's jawline. But they left in this one wire, glued to the back of my bottom teeth to hold them in place. Over the years I've thought mildly that I ought to do something about it, only I was never near my orthodontist and I was afraid that my teeth would instantly spring into a snarled mess upon discovering their freedom (my top teeth, bearing no glued-in wire have rearranged themselves to look something like David Bowie's top teeth. Truth.).

But at last the day of reckoning has arrived. The glue on two of my right teeth has given out, leaving the unprotected end to stick out as treacherously as a deadhead on the Wolf River. I guess this would be a good time to have some health insurance. But I've got to be honest with you, it would be just as easy to stick my Leatherman in there and give a good yank and pull the whole mess off. I mean, it's half off already, and whatever glue-y bits remained would get worn down eventually. I'm sure that the parental units are in paroxysms just reading this, after investing a year's worth of tuition in my mouth, but it's not like I'm attempting to dig buckshot out of my leg and sew it up myself. I like the idea of having a mouth Free from Orthodontia. I've managed to make it thus far without any fillings, all wisdom teeth intact, and to have no sign that mankind ever ventured past my pearly whites is attractive. Save for my perfect jawline, of course. (go on. be jealous.) It has to come out one way or another, whether I do it using a tool or by judicious wiggling or pay a man in a white coat to yank it out. Maybe I can floss the rest of it out.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Today I want to go back to London

So I can make fun of tourists.

And visit Nelson's coat.

And eat flapjacks.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

hey, look what I can do with powerpoint!

So, I'm not working today and what do I do? World peace? Helping the homeless? Finishing a good book? Nah. I spent all morning arsing about on my computer, putting together some pictures of 1776 for your viewing pleasure. These photos were takin by our Lighting Designer,Julie Ballard, but the captions, I am ashamed to say, are all mine.

John Adams. On a personal note, I think I'm going to try to make a coat like that, but maybe not green. We'll see. I doubt I could wear it as well.

Jefferson, Franklin and Adams sing "The Egg." Franklin gets distracted. Per usual.

The "Cool, Cool Considerate Men" have a Mary Kay party. While the liberals are away, the GOP will play...

See what I mean about Jefferson's wig?!

Yes, I actually told the Courier he looked like my figure of the General. He laughed. Hope I didn't break his concentration too much.

I realised yesterday that this blog has turned into one big droolfest over my favourite actors, so I'm going to try to focus on more important things from now on. Like yesterday, for example, when our Fearless Leader gave his (cue cheers) LAST EVER State of the Union Address. And what did we learn? That he wants to keep his tax cuts for the rich. That he wants Congress to make wiretapping our phones legal forever. That he is desperately looking for money to prop up "No Child Left Behind" because if THAT falls by the wayside, his only "legacy" will be the Iraq War. To which I say, too late, sir, too late. He also blithely ignored all the information coming out of the CIA that says Iran has halted their pursuit of nuclear weapons and said that "we" (meaning "Americans" meaning--not those of use who are clever enough to see what your doing there) are not afraid to defend our interests overseas. Yeah, Iran! Come and get it. He also basically took credit for expanding democracies in Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine--areas he had no reason to say anything about, but blithely ignored the quagmire that is Iraq. He bragged about bringing home two brigades (brigadoons?) of Marines. That's like, what, five hundred people? A thousand? (someone help me out here) Either way, there were lots of shouting at the screen and throwing of popcorn. For the record, coal and nuclear energy are NOT "clean sources" of energy and, while they may reduce our dependence on foreign oil in the short term, they are NOT a long-term solution.

Overall, a really lame speech. And by lame I mean--lame. Not lame duck, just weak, as though Bush doesn't even have the heart to use soaring rhetoric anymore. He sounded defensive, putting the onus for bad things happening on Congress and almost visibly shaking his head "well, I did the best I could, but..." No, you're not going to get away with that--some of us remember what you've said in years past, so you better own up, buddy. What an idiot. I'm so glad that we're never going to have to hear him stumble through a SOTU address again.

Meanwhile, if you're interested in hearing what Barack Obama had to say about it, click here.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Far Side of the World

Found this when I googled "master and commander:" Something for next Christmas, perhaps?

I spent last night needlepointing and watching "Master and Commander." Nothing like a healthy dose of men in breeches for what ails ya. Still not operating at 100%, but at least I'm functional. I'm working at a diamond company today (less exciting than it sounds) and so far nothing important has happened--no international jewel thieves, no rogue traders inflating the market, nada.

So I've had lots of time to play "let's google Nicki's favourite actors" which now include Javier Bardem of "No Country for Old Men" fame, which I saw last week. Who is this Javier Bardem and why do I just want to throw Oscars (and other assorted naked things) at him? Damn. I would say he is the Spanish version of Clive Owen, but I'm not actually sure who would come out ahead in a smoulder-off.

Rrrraow. Rumors (okay, say that he might be playing Guido Contini in the movie version of Nine, to which I say, if there is a just and merciful God, these rumors will be true. Nine is one of my favourite musicals, and the music is incredible. To have Javier Bardem playing the preening Guido would just be icing on the cake. Delicious icing.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A case of the hypo

I hate being depressed. Hate, hate, hate it. Because I KNOW it's not me. I am sitting comfortably over here, being annoyed by the tweenagers downstairs* and meanwhile there is this little--a teaspoon full! a thimbleful! a few drops!--chemical in my brain that is making me so soddenly depressed and pathetic that I can barely move. What am I depressed about? Nothing. But I have this chemical. This weird chimaera in my body that makes me throw myself down dramatically on my bed and quote "Hamlet:"

"I have of late,—but wherefore I know not,—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire,—why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours."

I feel like the glowing, loving part of me is melting and too big to be held in my cupped hands, like my heart will never work again. Like I'll never walk a straight line again--nor should I try, because whenever I do, I'll just fall over. I can't think, I can't focus, all I can do is eat and sleep and wait for my body to work this chemical out.

I did not write anything yesterday, nothing worth wasting paper or air on. I don't know if I'll ever write anything worthwhile again. I don't feel like trying. I'm completely beaten down. There's no point. If I was going to be a playwright, I would be one by now. But I'm not, so I'm not. QED.

My book this week is a biography of Abraham Lincoln, written by the same author who wrote the MLK Jr biography I read. I really love his style, it is very evocative, history-wise. And I love his description of Lincoln's early life, his struggle with "hypochonria" which is the Victorian term for depression--"a touch of the hypo" as his friends would note. Well I know that feeling. I love Lincoln when he talks about a return to the desires of the Founding Fathers, his incredible ability to fight for what he believes in, and his honesty. I'd rather read about the Senate election of 1858 than watch CNN today.

"What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god!"

*(they get ten more minutes with their crappy tween music turned up too loud before I go downstairs and kick the door down)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

hug void

Lately I've noticed that I'm desperate for any kind of physical contact. Nothing that's not G-rated, mind you, but holding hands, leaning on other people, hugging, ruffling hair, patting on the back, things like that. I don't think I've touched another person since Christmas. At least, that's what it feels like. I'm starved for affection. I become one of those salespeople who plucks at your sleeve as they're trying to extoll the benefits of this or that bra, annoying the hell out of you. I just want a hug! Is that so much to ask?

Anyway, I'm off today to write for awhile. There's a few short plays I want to get down before they fly the coop.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Still nothing interesting

I had a weird dream last night--I dreamt I was acting in a site-specific version of "Sweeney Todd" that they were also filming, playing both Sweeney and Pirelli. But then I started asking "wait a minute, if they've already built the costume for Sasha Baron Cohen, then it's not going to fit me..." and waking up. Good dream though, lots of singing and brooding.

I got to Lane Bryant late last night, owing to the fact I was carrying about five pounds of leftovers from a luncheon meeting. Then I managed to tear off a bit of skin on the pad of my first finger on my left hand, leaving a fresh patch of raw nerves exposed right where the whorl used to be. It bled for about two hours, and it hurts to type. In other news, Curex 24-Hour fabric bandages are my new favourite brand. They stay put AND are waterproof.

On the way home I listened to 1776, just to make sure "The Lees of Old Virginia" is good and stuck in my head. It was bloody freezing, so I had my hood up, head tucked down, arms wrapped around my body. As I was crossing the street, I slowed to make sure a car would stop for me--and he didn't, causing me to shake my fist at the inconsiderate driver, speeding past a poor freezing temp in his lovely warm car--to my surprise he waved back and even blew me a kiss. I was even madder at the presumption of this (again, nice and warm) driver, when I thought I recognised an actor from the show. I couldn't be sure, since the windshield was dirty (also, no lovely red wig or breeches) but wouldn't that just be funny:

"What happened?!"

"I got hit by Thomas Jefferson!"


"While listening to 'He Plays the Violin!'"

Thursday, January 24, 2008


The past couple days I've been temping, working my part-time job at LB and also helping out at 1776, which opens this weekend. And you should all come, because it's a damnfine show. I think I have a little crush on the actor who plays John Adams, but that may also be because a) he's playing John Adams or b) he wears breeches. And wears them very well, I should add.

That's what blogs are for, folks. Rather than saying embarassing things directly to people, I like to publish them online for everyone to see.

Also, Josiah Bartlett's wig looks like my real hair. Random.

I had another job interview yesterday. No, not for a theatre job, another receptionist job, but I haven't heard back. I'm quite tired of going on job interviews, but I suppose I'll have to until something comes up.

Tuesday I arrived home after rehearsal to learn that Heath Ledger had died. I'm not a particular fan of his, but nonetheless, the news affected me deeply. As I've said before, if people of that magnitude of talent die, then what can the rest of us do but soldier on in our mediocrity? And try to do our best. Heath, we hardly knew ye. Rest easy.

I wish I had more exciting news to end my blog update on, but that's pretty much it. Nothing extraordinary or dramatic at all. Blah.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday Morning Potluck

I was dreaming about valkyries last night when I realised my phone was ringing...which can mean only one assignment...I love temping with Office Team--I have five people looking for jobs for me which means, even though I'm not working full time, I'm working full time.

Ironically, I'm covering reception at the Chicago offices of T ishman S peyer today...there's only one person here though, so it's been very quiet...but the pictures on the wall are very familiar...

how about them Packers, eh? I watched the game last night with my non-football fan roommate, so inbetween screaming like a possessed woman we talked about theatre, politics and the upcoming season of the Venture Brothers...I'm sad that the Pack didn't make it to the Superbowl, but at least they fought like warriors of old...and they lost in GB which means they're among friends...plenty of commiserating going on last night I bet...

Speaking of TV, "The Boondocks" is one of the funniest and most socially relevant cartoons I've ever it.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and I'm almost through my biography...I was mad when the Red Eye (pale imitation of the Metro, bastion of all knowledge) had as its front-cover story a story about abortion. Which I did not read, since I was putting my makeup on. But--on today of all days, let's get a little info about Dr. King, please. Just another way the Man keeps you down, I guess. The more I read about Dr. King, the more impressed by him I am, and the more proud I am to be an American, a part of a country that can produce such brave people...I don't know if I could have gone marching down those streets, facing dogs, chains, brickbats, rubber hoses wrapped in barbed wire...was this really America? I feel the same way I did when I realised I could ask Grandma about getting the vote, or dad about Vietnam...the civil rights movement is still well within living memory, and it's fascinating how little it affects every day life...yet, still pervasive...

Speaking of things historical, exactly one year from now, Jan 21, 2009, will be the first day of President Not George W. Bush's first term in office. 365 days...let the countdown begin. Are YOU registered to vote?!

Oh, coffee.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

1430 Hours

About twenty minutes before I left work, a woman came up to me and said, "I need a brown bra, not padded, without wires. Size 42D." I handed her one of the few brown bras we have in the store. "This one doesn't have a wire, I said." "And what else did I say?" she responded. I was pretty sure I hadn't heard what I had just heard so I stared at her. No one is that rude. "I said I want one with no wire and no padding," she confirmed. "Uh," I said, casting my thoughts over the racks of bras I had been meticulously re-arranging all week, "we don't have any brown bras that don't have...the only wireless, unpadded bras we have are these and these and these, but they're not brown."

The woman made a beeline for our sporty cotton bras. "Yes, these come in brown. I'd like one please." "No, we don't have any brown in the store." "but I SAW THEM." "Ma'am, it's possible they were a fall or winter color, but we're getting rid of those colors and we don't..." The woman proceeds to pull a printout out of her bag and thrusts it into my hands. "I also saw these bras online. Do you have these?" "Yes, but not in the brown you want." "Well, what DO you have?!" "Well, I can check and see if we can order it online, and then it will be shipped to you in three to five business days." "Fine."

By this point I'm only being minimally helpful. I check to see if the bra is available online. It is. I take her order without pointing out the three or four sales/coupons we have available which would take her total down, oh, fifteen dollars or so, and see her to the door. I know it's cold. The heat doesn't work too well in the part of the store where I work, so I had spent all morning either blowing on my fingers, or holding them next to the nice warm register. I know you're cranky and in a hurry. But I am twenty minutes away from going home, and it is not my fault that you didn't plan ahead for your special event that requires a brown bra.

Ladies: Please for the Love of God, if you have a special outfit that requires a strapless bra or an otherwise special purchase, unless you are a 36C, plan ahead. I can guarantee that stopping by the only plus-sized store in the Loop on your way to your party will only result in fail.

In other news, it is minus five here. The windchill broke the thermometer. I am huddled into daddy's old Packer fleece, which has lots of room for extra layers, simmering chili in the next room. There is just nothing to do but bundle up and thank God that I have a warm place to be tonight to watch South Carolina returns.

Vanity Fair

I picked up a few hours temping today, and after work a friend called about going out for sushi. "I'll be ready in about an hour," he said. I said "I'll find something to kill the time."

So I wandered over to Bloomingdales, thinking maybe I could score some free moisturiser samples from a makeup counter. One of the women hooked me and reeled me in, explaining they had their "regional colour artist" at the store today and would I like some tips for freshening up my look? Sure! They plopped me down in a chair and started in. First, a cleanser. Then, a moisteriser. Then some eye serum. Then, finally, the war paint. In this order: highlight to banish under-eye shadows, facial primer, foundation, shimmer powder, then bronzer on my pale, dehydrated cheeks. Then the lady lit into my eyes. Starting with an oil-free base, then a blue eye pencil, purple eyeshadow, black eyeliner and finally, electric blue mascara. Just for the hell of it, she added some white shimmery stuff under my eyes to make them look bigger, and patted my eyebrows with "brow powder" so they'd match my red hair. (yes. there is such a thing as "brow powder.")Then--red lipstick and collagen-enhanced lip gloss.

I felt pretty. I felt saucy. I felt better than I had all week, a week spent largely inside lying in bed, agonizing about bills and money. Two pretty salesgirls swirled around me, patting my face and telling me how my skin was enjoying the moisturizing treatment. When I finally lifted the mirror, I looked like a model. My lips were the red you pictured 1930s movie icons wore, my eyes were greener than Scarlett O'Hara's. I thought, "yes, I just needed a little pampering!" Full of confidence and happy with my makeover, I ended up buying over a hundred dollars worth of makeup, and a handful of free samples. I felt so chic walking out of the store with that little "small brown bag" from Bloomingdales, wearing enough eyeshadow for a Moulin Rouge dancer. This isn't me, but oh--how fun!!!

When I walked outside, the wind hit me like a thousand tiny gnomes stabbing me all over my face with flash-frozen needles. My thighs felt like frozen pork steaks, nothing between them and the wind but a thin piece of polyester. I tucked my purse, canvas shoe bag and Bloomingdale's bag into the crook of my arm and set off down the four blocks to my friend's dorm. By the time I got there, I was crying from the cold, my nose a fountain, my vision blurry. I scurried into the bathroom to do damage control (still confident that the coeds were looking at fabulous me) and looked into the mirror.

My face was so numb I didn't realise I had tears running all the way down my face, but I could see the tracks they made, carved into the five layers of makeup. It looked like I was melting. Literally. I tried fixing the foundation, but the wind had sucked most of the moisterizer out of my cheeks and I ended up rubbing most of it off. My eyes were red from the combined cold and eye-makeup assault. I looked like I had been out partying most of the night, drinking heavily the whole time, and had had to fight off several unsuave suitors.

I'm embarassed. This isn't me. I'm not the kind of person who wears several layers of makeup, I don't get a thrill out of shopping at Bloomingdale's--most of the time I feel downright superior to those women. I'm ashamed that I fell for the allure of pretty makeups and hiding my real face under a mask of chemicals. I'm mad at myself for being embarassed that my most faithful moisteriser these long months has been plain shea butter and trying to do better. And I firmly believe that that melting face in the mirror was God telling me that vanity doesn't suit me and I should probably save my money.

I'll take the makeup back tomorrow. I should have stopped long before the brow powder and stuck with the free samples.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This is interesting...

I was surfing around for some pictures of General Washington for 1776, and I came across this site, which has "easy" history lessons for students of English as a Second Language.

Here's the site for George Washington.

I know that I shouldn't expect a site like this to be political, but I was a little surprised at how little actual information there is. In the first paragraph we learn he was a great president, and that he is on the dollar bill and quarter. Nothing about why he was a great president, or anything about his involvement as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. Nor about how he helped write the Constitution, developed foreign policy and attitudes towards Indians and slaves, and set the standard for presidents to follow. Nothing as well about his ability to fly.

The last page has this helpful exchange however:

Was George Washington a great president?

* Yes, he was.

* He will be remembered forever.

Great, thanks. Now I remember why history lessons in high school were so dumb.

That reminds me of this exchange:

"If Chicago is going to name streets after presidents, the least they could do is put them in order so I can find my way around!!"

"Yes, but you're the only one."

For the record--it's still confusing. Not only is there East Wacker and West Wacker, there's also North and South Wacker. Also, upper and lower Wacker. I know, I know...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My good friend Martin

A few years ago I started working on a play that was about a white sociologist professor and her black photographer boyfriend. In one of the scenes, the professor came home after spending all day in the office, only to learn from her boyfriend that it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Embarassed, she said, "Well, do you want to go out for dinner? Or--get something for the grill? Or--I don't know--what does one do on Martin Luther King Jr. Day?"

I couldn't tell if that scene was funny or not, I hoped that audiences would recognise that MLK Day is a weird holiday and laugh along gently. I only know it's MLK Day on Monday (although today is King's birfsday) because there was a sign on my bank saying it would be closed. So apparently it's a national holiday. But unlike President's Day, there are no sales, unlike Memorial Day, there are no home-repair projects and barbequeing. What does one do on MLK Day? I've never observed it, never had a special meal or done anything particularly memorable, and that's when I realised I don't really know much about MLK other than he was involved in the civil rights movement and he was shot.

So Monday, at the library, I checked out a biography of Dr. King. I was a little trepidatious, because biographies tend to be dry, but this author has completely balanced a good account of King's life with a genuine admiration for the man, sprinkled with King's speeches and horrifying accounts of living in the sixties. Ironically, I was reading it on the train, sitting next to a black man who was sprawled out next to me, invading my personal space. Instead of being annoyed, as I usually am (there would be so much more room on the L if people would just SIT WITH THEIR KNEES TOGETHER) I was marveling to myself about how if this man had invaded my personal space this badly fifty years ago he might have been thrown from the moving train. So the juxtaposition of history and now was very immediate. I don't know if I can say "oh, how attitudes have changed!" but the steps we've taken are certainly in the right direction. Institutionalised racism is now unacceptable, and it is the personal racism we have to work on, as opposed to fifty years ago, where individuals might be kind, but institutionally, racism was accepted.

Still working on it though.

As for me, after I finish this book, I think it's time to go back and read American history from the other perspective. Perspectives.

Cosette, your father is a saint...

For some reason I have "Les Miz" stuck in my head. Not the cool part where Javert is staring into the bottomless black pit that is his conscience, but the lame part at the end where everything ends happily. Lame.

I didn't do much of anything today, aside from work on my coat. I finally broke out my sewing machine, which sews like a dream. Truly, it is a work of art. I'm working on a jacket, patterned by Kwik-Sew, which is sort of like that brown one I have which is a military-style jacket. Today I worked on the little thingies that go around the buttons. I'm sure my learned costumer friends could tell me what they are, but to me they will always be a pain in the a$$. This is the problem with sewing machines: if you give a Nicki a machine, she will want to buy accessories. In this case, a hook to turn thin tubes of fabric inside out. The thingies probably took longer than anything else yet, but this jacket is going to look awesome. And I have enough fabric left for a matching bag, should I feel adventurous. Who knows?

I feel guilty about not doing anything "productive" today, but it was good to focus on a very focused project. I'm so burned out on looking for jobs. Tomorrow I'm planning on calling agencies, sending out more resumes, etc, but today I just felt the need to stay hunched over a sewing machine. It felt so good I applied for a technician position at Colonial way or another I WILL get hired there...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Meanwhile, seasoned theatre vets roll their eyes...

This is funny.

Has anyone heard about Hanna Montana? Probably not uless you have a tweenager...Hannah Montana is (apparently) the rock 'n roll alter-ego of Miley Cyrus, both of whom are currently, like, omg, totally on tour right now. And recently Hanna/Miley got in trouble because they apparently use a body double at one point in the show so Hannah can quick-change into Miley.

Now, for those of us who are in theatre, this is an entirely sensible thing to do--even seasoned wardrobe people need at least twenty seconds to change an outfit, so hats off (no pun intended) to the people who get Ms. Montana turned around. For parents who are paying hundreds of dollars so their girls can scream at a Disney-promoted pop icon, this is an outrage. I don't see what the fuss is about, she's still "singing" the whole show, but I suppose if I was raised on steady diet of movie and tv generated magic, then I wouldn't have any patience for the trickery that goes on backstage. (BTW--Disney's used this trick before. Ever wonder how the Beast managed to transform into the prince in the stage show? That's because he exits the stage before his final battle with Gaston to change. Gaston is actually fighting a stunt double who switches back right after the Beast gets stabbed.)

So I say boo to naysayers, and boo too to the jerk who brought a camera phone to a theatrical event and ruined the stage magic. We work hard to make it seamless, the least you could do is meet us halfway.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Coming in Threes

Dear Person Who Went On A Date With Me,

What's up? You don't read my blog, so you probably don't know that my life is kind of stressful right now, nor do you realise your failure to call/IM/text/email is yet another mark in the column of why my life is stressful right now. That's okay. I get it. You probably lost your phone, possibly down the gullet of a hungry alligator, and then had your hands chomped off trying to retrieve it, preventing you from getting in touch with me. It's cool. I understand.

What you probably don't understand (due to the aforementioned lack of reading this blog) is that I am a passionate soul, given to fits of romance and drama, occasionally under clouds but constantly shining through. And once my good opinion is lost, it be lost forever. You, sir, are headed in that direction. Why the sudden change of heart? I though we had a good time--laughing at the inept waiter at that restaurant, holding hands through "Atonement," driving home through the neighborhoods of your childhood--all leading up to a quick smooch good night and a whispered promise to call. Alas. No call. No text/IM/email which, in these electronic days, is an acceptable substitute, especially if you've lost your voice at the yodeling competition this weekend.

See, I make excuses. I'm good at that. But the truth is--in 22 hours and thirty-four minutes, it will have been exactly one week since I've heard from you. And that silence--even in today's electronic world of instant communication--communicates just one thing to me: That you're just not interested. That's cool. I understand. Whatever.

Just don't think, if you deign to reply to the two (two! I must be desperate) text message I sent you, carefully spaced three days apart, that I'm going to respond. I am beautiful, independent, strong, intelligent and it will most likely take a king to tame me. I can understand if you're not up for the task. I thought for once I'd try an old-fashioned courtship, but if that means waiting by the phone working on my hope chest waiting for your ring, then I guess I might as well wait for the epic romance. If you're calling, you better come calling with sunflowers and emeralds, is all I'm saying. And don't be surprised if I direct your attention to post #495--I'll probably be too busy to get back to you.

Sincerely yours,

Friday, January 11, 2008


I arrived home after working last night to find an email from my boss at Job A saying that "due to budgetary constraints" Saturday was going to be my last day. Not fired--but this assignment is over. I hate temping. A call to my agency confirmed this ("yes, they called me last night" Ah. And when were you going to tell me?!) According to the agency, I got A+ reviews, so it's just a matter of finding a new assignment. Right. On a Friday morning. Sure. I was hoping to spend all morning hunched over my pretty new sewing machine, but maybe I'll break out the resumes. Dar.

All is not lost, however, for yesterday I had a good job interview. Afterwards I went to Macy's for a cup of tea and some cake, but I was sorely disappointed. The waitress brought out a lovely wooden box with the Tazo logo carved in the top and I thought "ah! Tazo! How Elegant!" but when I opened it, the little nooks were filled with Lipton. LIPTON! I know I'm being a snob, but jay-hensu, come on Macy's you cheapskate store, with your fifty-dollar dog treats and your twelve-foot tall moose, you can't buy some REAL TEA? Yes, the cake was very good, but really now...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

prayers please

I found out last night that my dad is in the hospital, following a bit of surgery. He'll be there until at least Saturday, and off work for four to six weeks. Dad went in for a routine checkup on Monday, and they found some polyps that were serious enough to warrant calling in the cavalry, and now he's going to miss the only home-playoff game of the Packer's post-season. Mom said the doctors sound optimistic that everything went better than they expected, so now the trick is getting dad to sit still long enough to heal.

And that's...that's pretty much it for today.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Only a Click Away!

Oh, dangerous internetz...I found airfare to London for $478...that's including week in the most glorious city in the world. No! No! Must remain strong...but still...Thank God I don't have my credit card on me. Debate, debate...

I had a dream last night that I had been press-ganged into the British Navy. Not the cool Navy (c. 1805) but the lame one where sailing was actually a respectable profession. I was on a ship for nearly two years, and then when I came home (home meaning London) I dreamt that I walked around the warehouses on the south bank looking for something, wearing a blue canvas jacket, my hair neatly queued. What it was, I'll never know, because I woke up to the radio telling me that Hillary Clinton won in New Hampshire. Drrr. Oh well.

And I was just thinking too, last night as I put away clean dishes, how thoughts of "I bloody hate Chicago!" haven't flitted across my mind for, oh, days now. Which I take to mean the memories of London aren't as sharp as they once were, not that I've come to love Chicago. This, clearly, is unacceptable, so I do want to make plans to return. Sooner rather than later. How much it's going to cost is irrelevant...I just want to make sure I'm not buying tickets and a week later accepting a full-time job that'll put the kibbosh on any traveling.

Okay, okay, I'll be patient. Mrr.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Gaga for Barack Obama

If you were going to write a musical about Barack Obama, it would probably sound a lot like "Evita" but with less prostitution and tango-ing. I have been an unrepentant Obama fan since he announced he was running for President, but I have a confession to make: up until last Thursday, I wasn't entirely sure he could win it. My support of him felt more like my teenage declarations that I was a communist (just to irritate my patriotic history teacher)than any actual belief that he would win the nomination and go on to lead us into a bright new future.

Only, having openly declared my loyalty, I decided to get serious about Obama, taking the time to read his speeches, follow his campaign, learn about his history and his family, and I've genuinely transformed into an Obama fan. Last Thursday I watched the Iowa caucus as avidly as the rest of the nation watches the Superbowl, and I was shocked, delighted and scared when Obama won the nomination there. Not just won, but won handily, with a huge lead over his fellow Dems and GOP alike. Now, I'm stuck here in Illinois, a liberal state in Obama's hometown, so I'm sure that the things I'm seeing and hearing are a little biased. I'll also be paying close attention when he finally get south of the Mason-Dixon line. But I'm so excited and genuinely thrilled that this man could be president. One step at a time.

Now Salon has this article on him--about why Obama is so appealing to the masses--and I had to post it here, if for no other reason to make fun of their graphic which is part Harry Potter poster, part Hindu religious icon. A lot of what the author says sounds familiar. Like the generic Americans in the article, I too was angry and mad at President Bush, at his warmongering cabinet, at the "rightwing extremists" who have hijacked MY COUNTRY, which I LOVE--but like the author, I'm tired of it. Bush is on his way out--his advisors have fled, Republicans who try to voice Angry Rhetoric find themselves down in the polls--and like the author, I'm ready for a change. I'm tired of politicians "fighting" over control of the government, when America was designed and built to be governed by everyone, not steered for a few years by one group before another group wrests the wheel away and takes us for a U-turn. The author makes a good point saying that Obama's message of change doesn't necessarily mean he is the best person for the job, with little to no real experience in some major areas, but for me--that's half of his appeal. He's never sat down with the leader of a foreign country and banged out a trade agreement? Neither have I! And, having never done it, I would probably err on the side of politeness and respect, and I hope Obama does the same. Will he make mistakes? Yes. Mistakes like leading our country into war? Magic 8-ball says probably no. Will he work for bipartisan unity and lead the whole country, not just the people who voted for him?

Yes. Yes, yes and yes. Because, more than anything, I believe Obama when he says he loves this country and he wants to be our president because he believes he can change us for the better. And it's not some political line put out by his advisors--that is what he genuinely believes. And I like him because he loves this country the same way I do, despite of and because of its flaws, with all its history and its potential.

On Obama's website, he has this quote, which I think perfectly captures why I love him and why I'll be voting for him as much as possible. As I'm writing this, New Hampshire has gone to the polls in the primaries, and it will be interesting to see which way the wind blows. I thought I heard a change in the night a few weeks back--but only time will tell if that change is permanent.

"I'm asking you to believe.
Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington.
I'm asking you to believe in yours."

Monday, January 07, 2008

Baby/Date Pt II

More news on the baby front: Old friends are pregnant. Congratulations!

I'm not working today--for some reason the gods have decided to grant me a blissful three days off. But it's Monday, so I feel like I should accomplish something. So far all I've managed to do is finish "Harry Potter 7" and write a few emails. I'm trying to send out more resumes and applications for internships and things like that, but a part of me is resisting. I'm still waiting to hear from Madison and another job that I interviewed for. I don't want to get too many things floating around in the ether and then have to make a choice. For example: working two jobs and temping is unfun and hard, but at the same time, I can also say "sayonara!" and go visit Europe like I've been (sort of) planning to do in April. If I get a real job, that will go out the window. But if I don't get accepted to Madison, then I better have something real lined up or...

so I've been doing a lot of nothing.

I'm trying not to get down about what's happening in my life, but as I put away last year's journal I flipped open to April and felt like I was looking into a deja vu mirror. Temping, working on a show, wondering what's going to happen next. I'd like to do something productive, something different, but when or if that happens is just not on the radar yet. I know I must demonstrate patience (and take advantage of days off to write) but, damnit, I'm ready NOW. Let's go, let's go...

Sunday, January 06, 2008


I was looking at pictures of my friend's baby, who is the most adorable three month old EVAR, seriously, this kid puts all other babies in the shade, but I just need to throw something out there right now, should babies ever enter MY immediate radar.

No pink.

I don't care if my child is the quintessence of girlhood, if she is rose petals and dewdrops and butterfly sighs, if for some bizarre reason she's named Prissy Tiffany Mercedes Angelica Lemery, please do not buy me (or her!) anything pink.

If you do, I will save it for Julian Faramir.

Alice does her best to save me from the Pink Meance by out-cute-ing it.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

resolution: broken

So my New Year's Resolution to be nicer to people was officially broken at about 12:08 tonight when I was on the train and a lad of about twenty-one got on carrying a copy of "War and Peace" --complete with Post-Its sticking out, should he care to go back and ruminate over certain passages--and I had to literally stuff my mitten into my mouth to stop myself from laughing out loud. Seriously? "War and Peace?" I mean--you're on the train, mate, who are you trying to impress? Or is this for protection, seeing as how it's the big red hardcover? *snort* I shouldn't laugh, since the most serious book I've tackled lately was the "Sweeney Todd" insert that came with my CD, but...seriously? Come on...

Meanwhile: here's a short story I wrote this afternoon. Is very short. Enjoy.

Mary’s New Bedroom
By: Nicole M. Lemery

Mary had wanted to cover her husband’s eyes as she led him up the stairs, but he towered over her, making the effort impossible. She had to settle for walking behind him, guiding him with his eyes closed, trusting that he wouldn’t peek between his dark lashes. Their sons gamboled on the stairs, giggling, rustling her skirts and poking one another, falling into each other like a litter of puppies. Mary opened the door and carefully levered her husband—who had obediently put his hands over his face—into position, so that he would get the full effect as soon as he opened his eyes.
“Now!” she exclaimed. “Surprise!”
The boys jumped on their parent’s bed as their lanky father removed his hands and opened his eyes. Surprise moved quickly across his face, to be replaced by an emotion that was harder to read. Astonishment? Incredulity? Dislike? Mary fingered a tasseled curtain nervously. “What do you think?” she said.
“Well, I…I don’t know. Do you like it?”
“It’s very fashionable,” Mary patted the blue wallpaper. “These are the latest colors, in from New York. You won’t see colors this bright anywhere west of Ohio. Oh! You know I can’t resist whenever I spot something pretty.” Mary was becoming nervous. “I thought I might do a new coverlet for our bed, which led to a discussion on curtains, and then I commented on how faded our wallpaper has become and, oh-- And Mr. Decateur assures me that the curtains are the very latest fashion. He showed me a catalogue from New York.”
“Ah yes, well, if this is how they do things in New York…”
Mary felt a quick upswing in emotion. Embarrassment vied with anger until she spotted the tiniest twinkle in her husband’s eye. The boys spotted it a second later, and roared with laugher.
“We told her you’d be surprised!” they shouted. “We helped pick out the carpet!”
In response, their father merely shook their head and crossed the new red and green floor covering. It certainly was bright, clashing gloriously with the blue and gold wallcovering. He tossed his hat onto the small wooden desk in the corner and gently rested a hand on it. “I am glad to see you did not redecorate everything.” He paused. “And I do like your new dress.”
Kitty poked her head in the doorway.
“I’m sorry to interrupt ma’am, but Mr. Drummond is here. He wants to speak with Mr. Lincoln.”
Mary sighed. “Of course. You’re not home five minutes, and already you’re being visited.” She turned slightly. “Get off that bed! With those filthy shoes—run outside and play. This instant!”
The boys vanished down the stairs, their shouts mingling with Kitty’s promises to do each of them harm if they did not leave her apron strings be. Mary found herself alone with her husband.
“And you, just in from riding circuit. Not home five minutes—I’m sure you want tea.”
“Now Mary,” Mr. Lincoln took his wife’s hand. “I’m sure there will be plenty of time to enjoy our new bedroom later.” And he winked, turning to walk out the door.
Alone, Mary blushed, pink as her new dress.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

At last, something more exciting than boats

Okay, sorry to mislead, there's no new tattoo.


I was going to get it this week, but then I realised that my stock of Christmas leftovers is rapidly depleting which means, God help us, I'm going to have to go grocery shopping soon.

So maybe next week.

Some of my eagle-eyed readers spotted that while I announced that Two Announcements were made during our family's Christmas gathering, I only told you about one. The other big news is that my brother and his wife are going to have a baby. That's right, lo about next July I'm going to be Auntie Nicki.

The funny thing is prior to learning this, I had had discussions with various people about how my brother is going to be a good dad (which is weird, since he's, ya know, my baby brother) and immediately after telling me about the baby he proved it. I offered to take his offspring to London in about eighteen years, and his instant reaction was, "No." "C'mon!!!" I said, "I'll be forty-four! I'll be boring!" Still no.

That's okay bro. I'm going to need that time to ennumerate the many ways in which London is the best city in the world, also, Nelson.

Oh GOD, in eighteen years I'm going to be forty-four. I'm so oooold... Brenda's brother had the same kind of dazed look when he arrived, responding to my greeting of "hiya, Uncle Ben!" with "We're going to be the coolest aunt and uncle around, aren't we?" Heck yea.

So I'm well excited. I do like babies, and I'm glad that there are going to be more babies in our family, since everything is more fun if you have little kids running around.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Caucus Among Us

Everytime I go into the break room, CNN has been talking about the caucus that takes place in Iowa tomorrow. I'm quite excited to see actual wheels of democracy turning (and I'm sure the poor beleagured sods in Iowa are as well), so I have been paying close attention to what's going on. One poll says that Barack Obama, who will sit down to tea with leaders of the world and unite us, is up by seven percent. Another poll says the Democrats are in a three-way dead heat. Another poll says that Barack Obama and John Edwards have formed a secret cabal and are going to short-sheet Hillary Clinton's bed tonight. Either way, I'm excited. And the Republicans are apparently wide open too, with Mr. Religious White close on the heels of That One Guy and the One Who Was a POW. Whatever. They all look alike.

But I realised that I don't actually know what a caucus is, so I turned to my friend the internet. Apparently it's a way of choosing the party's candidate, but the only way to do it is by showing up to the place of voting (Masonic Hall, sweatlodge, local school, etc.) and STANDING IN A CORNER. I would make fun--but then again my favourite country has men in furry bear hats standing guard outside Buckingham palace. There's no way to caucus anonymously, and, God forbid, should a snowstorm strike tomorrow night, the entire system could be thrown into caos. Apparently Hillary Clinton is offering free childcare for her supporters. I don't know what is scarier: leaving your toddler at home surrounded by matches and unguarded outlets or leaving them in the hands of Clinton supporters.

That was really mean. I do like Clinton, I just don't think she'd be able to make our cars run on leftover plastic bottles and teach our children long division, like Barack Obama will.

But don't take my interpretation of the caucus laws for granted, here's another take on it.

Meanwhile, I don't have to do any caucusing, or even any primary voting for awhile (when is the primary in Wisconsin anyway?) my big decision is basically taken up with whether or not I should buy this book. Some of my loyal readers may have cottoned on that I have a little preoccupation with Nelson, starting with an exhibition I saw in 2005 at the National Maritime Museum. (oh, NMM! How I miss thee.) This is the book of the exhibition. The book is a brick of a tome, suitable for coffee tables, alternately, murder. To buy it from the NMM would cost about $100, including shipping, but Amazon has it for $59.95, with free shipping. Still, sixty bucks is a lot of money for a book, but I'm still really impressed with that exhibit, and it would definitely make a nice addition to the Nelson collection I have. A good resource for future projects. hmm... if only I hadn't spent that birfday money on that tattoo...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Good Tired

Samily is winging her way westward, she's probably over Californiai by this point. After work last night we found a dive-ish bar called Le Tavern that wasn't too crowded and had no cover and watched the ball drop. They even served a splash of champagne in a syrofoam cup at midnight. Classy. I think it was probably the best New Year's I've ever had, even though I'm sad because I don't know when I'll see Sam again. We had another greazy diner feast, and then came home and slept for a couple hours before getting up and heading to O'Hare. I'd like to make some grand statement like "the next time I go to O'Hare I'M going to be the one getting on a plane!~" but the truth is if you come visit me I'll be there with bells on. Wagging my tail.

so Sam is gone, the Christmas tree went home with dad, my birthday flowers finally had to go, the house is a little emptier. I came home determined to stay up, but ended up falling asleep over a pile of thank-you cards and my new journal. (oh-Sam, btw, I ended up using your coat as a pillow on the bus ride home and I drooled on it a little. Sorry.) I slept for about four hours, curled up caterpillar-like on the sofa in a cocoon of warmth. The radiator in my room, while hot, is not quite the level of "inferno" that the ones in the living room are. That, combined with the afternoon sun which I love to nap in anyway, conspired to keep me sleepy. I rose about two and a half hours ago and banged out my Sweeney Todd essay--less a review than a rumination on the role of the chorus and "the Ballad of Sweeney Todd" and now I'm debating whether or not I should order food for dinner, have pizza, a veggie burger, pasta, what. The problem is not that I have food, the problem is that I am Lazy and the kitchen is cold.

The holidays are over. I have to confess, I'm a little relieved. This will mean less hours at work, but it will also mean less crazy commuting, less running around, less eating the bad food, etc. etc. I'm a little worn out--happy, but worn out--and looking forward to catching up on my sleep and eating normal food. I'm excited about 2008. It's going to be a good year, I can tell, and I'm very excited about what the future has in store.