Wednesday, November 27

Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Those cute, furry gloves bought in Miami have no relation to things that will keep your hands dry in Boston. Related: Those adorable booties that got you through plenty of Seattle rain provide no traction, not even in the ten feet from your front door to your car door. If you don't remove the snow from the top of your car, it will slide down and then be snow on your windshield. If you clear the snow from your car while standing under a tree, snow will fall on your head. If you drive ten miles per hour on the highway, someone is going to honk at you.

A Winter Wonderland

front yard"Oh, you better watch out, you better let her lie, you better not shout, I'm telling you why, the Tweedle Twirp is coming to town. She's always always sleeping. She never wants to wake. Don't even try to get her up, she'll be a crank for crankiness' sake."...Tweeds gets in today and the parents tomorrow for Thanksgiving!...How is it Adam's the one back in school, but I'm the one who's gained the freshman 15...Could it have anything to do with the two, count 'em, two Thanksgiving dinners I had yesterday? The one I had a BU during lunch or the one I had at HBS for dinner? (At $30,000 a year, we never, ever turn down we-really-paid-for-it free food from Hah-vahd.) And for the record, the non-Ivy League dinner was far superior... Why didn't we get a snow shovel sooner?...Now I know the purpose of door mats. I'm guessing snow on the hard wood floors is not ideal...Is there anyone out there who doesn't know that I'm afraid of driving in snow... Adam hasn't blogged in an age. I'm getting to the point where I'm considering going into his blog and writing entries for him... We need to go to the grocery store today. Bet it's going to be empty.... Oy.

Let me give you three truths, and then a multiple-choice quiz:
1. Wilson Farms is known in Boston for having perhaps the best produce in town.
2. Their fresh turkeys, which need to be preordered well in advance, are supposed to be delish.
3. You must pick up your fresh turkey before noon on Wednesday or they give it up for sale.
With this information in hand do you:
A. Compile a careful shopping list and then take advantage of their extended hours and go get the turkey and your other Thanksgiving needs before work on Tuesday?
B. Compile a careful list, give Adam detailed instructions that even he cannot screw up, and then send him midday when he has a break in classes?
C. Compile a careful list that you leave on the dining room table at home, while you take advantage of the extended hours and go within a half hour of closing on Tuesday, to get pushed, shoved, and generally trampled, as you try to guess at what you need, wending a shopping cart through a space hardly bigger than a garden shed, along with 50 gadzillion other people on a mission wielding shopping carts, in a town known for its horrible drivers, cars, shopping carts, and otherwise?
To get a little suspense going, I won't tell you the right answer.

Tuesday, November 26

The Fat Lady Is Singing

NaNoWriMo 2002 Winner Well, in all honesty, I can't say that I wrote a novel in November this year, as I could last year. Because this year, though I did hit 50,000 words (50,220 to be exact at this point), what I've got is probably about half of a novel. Last year's was a self-contained piece--beginning, middle, and end--but this one still needs a lot more to it--including an ending. But now that the race is over, I can stop, take a step back, and perhaps plot out my baby (and if anyone wants to volunteer to read it and give me some guidance on what the hell is working and what isn't, I'd be thrilled!). I think it's actually okay. I mean I feel good about most of what I've written (okay, some of it is just filler), but it needs more of an arc, and it needs a good punchy--but not happy, I detest happy--ending. I mean what does she do? I'm thinking about making this a tragedy and having her be accepted at HBS at the end. But that's pretty boring, and while I don't want a happy ending, I don't want an ending that will depress everyone (I'm kidding, HBS people! Well, partially, anyway). Writing 50,000 words in a month is really not that hard. In fact, this year, having already done it once, it was surprsingly easy. I never felt like I didn't go out or didn't do things to get it done. However, now the really hard part comes. Finishing the damn thing without the pressure of a deadline. Not that I'm a competitive sort or anything. No not me. But writing without having to, well, that's something else entirely. Although, since I probably need a break from this one, perhaps this would be an excellent time to go back and start rewriting last year's novel. Now there's an idea! (Could someone please check in on my occasionally and make sure I'm working on something?)

Random Thoughts

What is up with Braintree? I mean who frick thought, "Gee, Braintree would be a great name for a city?"... Note to Adam: A blue shirt and khaki pants with a gray sweater over it is still a blue shirt and khaki pants...I may be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. I find myself oddly longing to be shipped off to a warehouse to wrap presents like Santa's elf on speed. I mean, what will I do with myself? How does the rest of the (American) world keep themselves occupied between Thanksgiving and Christmas?...Note to Martin: Age is only in your head until you start to experience back pain. Then it's in your head and in your back...Why is Adam's weblog still getting more hits than mine (don't you click on that link! This is a test. You need to prove to me that you like me better) when he writes like three sentences once a week? And I know this because I check up on his stats--in a very noncompetitive way, of course... Does anyone else remember when people didn't count "days till Christmas" but "shopping days till Christmas" and it didn't include Sundays? Or am I making that up?... I read in a cooking magazine that some people "overdress" their sweet potatoes with marshmallows (or is it smarshmallows?). How can marshmallows ever be considered "overdressed"? What isn't improved with the addition of marshmallows?...Including today, there are just 12 days--shopping and nonshopping--until Adam's 30th birthday, unless I counted wrong (how many days until the 8th?). Or are you supposed to count the actual day of birthday in there? I'm never clear on that....Cold-eeze are magic...What the heck are we going to do on New Year's Eve?...Why do you think our Founding Fathers decided to pick a state name--Massachusetts--that's so hard to spell?...A sign of blogging too much? I keep trying to put ital tags--<i>and</i>--in my novel instead of just italing.

Monday, November 25

Yeah, Crimson!

Hello, dahlings. How are you all? Jenny was too busy to blog for you--claims to be working on a novel or something; mentioned something about hitting 48,099 words--so she's asked me, her alter ego, Jennifer, Hah-vahd wife extraordinaire, to step in for her. Really, I think it's simply inhospitable for her to not take care of her guests, but then Jenny has so much more CWIT training to go. [What was that? Jenny, I don't care if CWIT training is redundant. Are you going to let me handle the blog today or not?] Anyway, I am delighted to be here to tell you about our wonderfully Hah-vahd-filled weekend. Always a pleasure.

We began the weekend with some fun-filled drinking games at HBS! I say, there's nothing more bonding then spewing beer everywhere as you pound back a cold one! Such team spirit! Robopounding--a game involving quarters--was deemed too challenging for such a group, so another game was chosen. Section A (Rah, rah Section A!) lined up on one side of a table and Section B (boo!) on the other. Each person was given a plastic cup of beer. The first person at the end of the table had to drink his beer and then flip his cup upside down. Once the cup was flipped properly, the next person could drink. Not an easy feat, I assure you! I know, because I was pressed into service during the first round when they needed more women, and as you, dear reader, know, I am always so happy to help out my dahling husband's Hah-vahd pals. Of course, Jenny reared her ugly little head and snapped at the well meaning boy who, unknowingly, called her Mrs. Medros. I don't know why she gets so uptight about that. As if Brown was such a superior name that she just had to keep it. Good heavens. More training, please. The highlight of this event, of course, was a proud moment for myself. My own sweet, dahling husband was the lynchpin of success for the team. As the anchor, he downed his beer gracefully and flipped his cup with ease. Section A chanted, “Tech Rep, Tech Rep,” and lifted Adam to their shoulders. I was able to get a good view of this while Jenny was busy pretending to be there with someone else.

We then had dinner with my friends. I'm sure a civilized lobster dinner at the home of friend would in no way interest you, so I shall merely say it was a lovely event, and Kara is a gracious host.

The end of the evening involved a trip to a lovely night spot, The Middle East, which had me thinking longingly of my days as a drunken New Yorker. I personally tried to recapture my youth by drinking copious amounts of alcohol. Oh, how I wanted to fit in. I enviously watched all the HBSers. They are not just reliving their younger days; these are their younger days. Sigh.

The next morning, my darling husband and I made our way to the HBS tailgate party. Once again Jenny surfaced as she scarfed down whatever food was available--rubbery hamburgers, mayonnaisey potato salad and cold slaw, and a Bud Lite--mumbling something about hair of the dog. As we walked over the game--the BIG game you know: Harvard vs. Yale--I was delighted by the showing of Crimson spirit. Those Hah-vahd kids are just so smart. My particular favorite was a dahling sign some students must have hung that read, “Yale: The World's Best Safty School.” [But dahling, that is how they spelled it. And it must be correct because these are the world's best and brightest]. Anyhoos, the game was simply mahvelous, well, that first quarter that I saw. Snuggled up in my big jacket, drinking the free hot chocolate HBS provided (wasn't that so sweet of them? How many other schools are considerate enough to provide free hot--well, lukewarm--chocolate with their $30,000 tuitions?), it was still quite chilly! So I did the only thing any respectable CWIT would do! I left to buy my dress for Holidazzle, the HBS winter formal. Oh, what joy that was! Nothing I like better than buying clothes. Ah, well, I see it's almost time to start making my sweetie's dinner. You know, a good CWIT always has the house clean and an extravagant dinner ready for when her Hah-vahd husband comes home, and it's never too early in the day to start preparing! Until Jenny lets me write again, ta-ta!

Thursday, November 21

Give Me an A!

Louder now! C'mon, I can't hear you! Let's hear it for Section A! Rah rah Section A!

Last night there was a dinner for Adam's camp--I mean, HBS--section. For those of you who are blissfully unaware of what a section is, as I was just a few happy months ago, HBS is a mammoth school. They talk a big game about how selective and prestigious they are, but really, there are 900 students in Adam's class. 900! How selective is that? If I were that selective when I got married, I'd have a harem of husbands by now. But, anyway, 900 students. So what they do is break the class into ten sections. Each section is given an assigned seat in an assigned classroom, and there they stay the entire day. The teachers come to them. (Are you following me? So not only is Hah-vahd "selective," it is training its students to believe that if they just sit tight, things will come to them. Nothing like teaching an HBS student that the world revolves around him/her. It will make them all excellent bosses.) Adam is in Section A, aka Absolut A (I'm not making this up! This is the name they chose for themselves! Connotes tigers in the business world, doesn't it?). Section spirit is paramount. Because Section A rocks. Section A rolls. Section can outdrink, outtalk, and outwit anyone! But most importantly, what I learned last night, is that Section A is waaaaaay better than Section B (as will be proven at tomorrow night's Robopounding competition. Now, I'm not exactly sure what Robopounding is, but I do know it involves copious amounts of beer. Adam will be playing just so I have something to write about on Saturday).

In all fairness to Section A, the evening was a pleasure. A buffet dinner at the Bombay Club, a genuine attempt to make the partners feel included, and a lot of good-natured mockery. I had an extremely enjoyable semi-political discussion with the Libertarian sitting to my left, who was so kind that he didn't even mock me when after my third glass of wine, I could no longer pronounce "Libertarian." But, there were a few things that did annoy me to no end:

  1. The "Girls of Section A Calendar." Now, before you get your panties in a wad, let it be known that the images are harmless. Just picture after picture of the women in the class flipping off whomever was taking their picture. Harmless. But what's with this "girls" crap? The women in that class are all adults as far as I can see, and I don't hear the males calling themselves the "boys of section A." C'mon folks. Time magazine may have declared feminism dead, but that doesn't mean we've all gone back to being girls.
  2. That they speak good. What is so difficult about the English language? All this time I've been picking on the CWITs for their tenuous grasp of basic grammar, when really, it's the Hah-vahd folks who don't know that "is" is a verb (so cap it damn it, when you use it in a headline!) and fail to understand the distinction between "fewer" and "less." I elbowed Adam in the middle of a conversation when even he used "less" incorrectly. Of course, that just proves a theory I developed long ago at Amazon: HBS actively sucks away the part of the brain that holds the ability to speak and write correctly. I have yet to meet a single HBS grad who can use the word "literally" properly (how many times did I have to say, "No, actually, your brain is not literally going to explode, although I would pay good money to see that, if you could make it happen"). (And NO, this does not give you leeway to write me with spelling/grammatical errors in this blog. This is my journal that I am kindly allowing you to be privy to, and if I have to take the time to start editing myself, then I'll never get anything posted, and I'll get harassing e-mails from people reading, "Why haven't you written anything? I keep going to your blog, only there's nothing there," and then I have to feel guilty, which leads to resentment, which will make me really not like you, so if you have a comment about what I say, post it in the comments. If it's about how I say it, then friggin' keep it to yourself!)
  3. The forced bonding. As I said, the evening was pleasant, but there seems to be a false camaraderie, as if someone early on said, "Ohmygod, we've only got two years here so we better cram in all of our friend making and develop some team spirit superfast! Second semester is practically here! [insert smiley faced emoticon here]." Something about all the merriment just didn't feel natural.
  4. The waaaah factor. The evening provoked yet another minor temper tantrum on my part on how I refuse--refuse, I tell you!--to become a Hah-vahd wife. Adam, who never wanted me to become a Hah-vahd wife in the first place, took it pretty well. Luckily, this nasty fight shouldn't rear its loathsome head again until the next HBS event...which is Saturday (okay, I confess, I'm not really going to make Adam Robopound a beer, whatever the hell that is).

As I write this, it occurs to me, yet again, that it would have been much smarter had I started an anonymous blog where I could talk about these things with no thought to repercussions. But then again, what the frick do I care? Bring it on Hah-vahd boys and girls!

I must go feed my crankiness with sushi and clean the house, for tomorrow--sheer heaven--we have a maid coming to really clean. (And did anyone just notice what happened there? Yep, that was me, starting to turn into the ultimate Hah-vahd wife: the dreaded CWIT! The proper CWIT always deals with her servants with a kind, yet firm hand. Although a true CWIT wouldn't go home every night for over two months, close her eyes and say, "I believe in fairies!" as she walks into the bathroom, only to burst into tears when she sees that, once again, no cleaning pixies had come to scrub her bathroom, and then to not bother to scrub said bathroom, knowing that if she waits just one more day, somehow said bathroom would clean itself [who said bathroom?]. Now how was that for a convoluted sentence?)

You A***!

Hey, check out the porn version of my site. You can try it too.

What Did He Just Say?

Diana not only finally has a blog (yeah, Diana!), but she has a very cool secondary blog called Two Seconds with overheard comments. Now why didn't I think of that?

Pass the Boone's

So it appears even in my Parisian fantasies, I'm low class.

Just one week more

Word count: 37,543.

No Time to Blog

I need to blog about last night's HBS Section Dinner, because I told Ivy if she checked today, it would be there (Hi Ivy!). Ivy's my new best friend because she told me she liked my Web site. I'm easy that way.

But, I need to up my word count, so instead, I'll leave you with a piece of my getting-closer-to-the-end novel, which may not be your favorite piece, but then, you didn't grow up with my father (and see, it really isn't about me, because everyone knows that we don't celebrate Christmas!). Simon, I hope you appreciate this one (Simon who saved me much grief with his sane advice that went contrary to everyone else's not-so-wise advice. That made the novel, too. Thanks, Simon):
"Hey, Dad?" Jessica's weekly phone calls with her father were getting shorter and shorter. She'd taken to calling when she woke up at 6 a.m., as by the time she got home at night, it was too late in Miami to call. "I have a question for you."
Silence on the other end. "Dad, are you there?"
"I was waiting for your question."
After all these years she should be used to this, but still it annoyed her. "I need verbal assurances of your continued existence on the other end of the phone."
"Okay. What, Jessica, is your question?"
"Actually there are two. The first is, how about we skip Christmas this year?"
"Skip Christmas?"
"Yeah. I don't have time to shop and no time to ship and I certainly don't have the energy to come home. Let's just skip Christmas."
"You love Christmas. And more importantly, your mother loves Christmas. Can't you make a token effort?"
Jessica sighed deeply and flipped over, putting her feet on the futon, while lying on the floor. "Okay, token effort. Really!"
"Really. Second question."
"I want to buy and hold. How do I do that?"
"I'm going to assume you mean buy and hold a puppy dog. Because you can't sanely be referring to anything else. Although I have to ask, if you don't have time for Christmas, do you really think you'll have the time necessary to care for a puppy dog."
"Dad! You know what I mean."
"No, I don't know what you mean, because I know I raised a sane and smart daughter, and not one who would spout nonsense, so no, I have no idea what you mean."
"I. Want. To. Buy. And. Hold. My. Stock. Options." Jessica used her very patient, very enunciated voice.
"Let's talk about skipping Christmas again."

Wednesday, November 20


I'm not sure what to say about this one. And I'm not going to make any wisecracks here about my mother being an artist. Don't you either.

Tuesday, November 19

How come I can't put this on my wishlist? And how will this help the fattening of America? I wonder how much weight it can hold.

Dans Mes Rêves...

I am dreaming of Paris. I am dreaming of a café on the Rue de Quelque Chose (and why did I bother even trying to click on that when Word told me I got the wrong spelling. As if Word was as monoandhalflingual as I am!), where I drink Beaujolais Nouveau and smoke Gauloises (no, Mom, I really don't smoke anymore, and if you say what you're actually thinking, then I'm not going to let you read my blog anymore). I’m working on my forty-second novel, but instead of the laborious, miserable task of nanowrimo, words of beauty and wisdom flow from my pen with ease, and surprisingly, my hand never tires and my writing remains legible. My french is fluent ("Plus du vin, s'il vous plait"), and handsome waiters keep my glass full and my ashtray empty. When I am finished writing, I return home to my gorgeous appartement, where the chef has created a six-course dinner of rich buttery cheeses and bread that are actually fat-free (and yes, you can have six different courses all made up of cheese and bread) for me and my darling husband, Adam, who is the CEO of Hachette, which hired him because I refused to allow them to publish my books unless they did so. After dinner, we will sip Dom Perignon on the balcony overlooking the Seine, before heading out to the opera in our [fill in name of fashionable French designer whom I've probably never heard of here] gown and tux. Aprés opera, we will have drinks and witty conversation in a small bistro with our dearest friends, Eric Rohmer, Milan Kundera, and Isabelle Adjani, as we listen to a jazz string trio. At the end of the night, we shall return to our gorgeous maison, sneak in to kiss les enfants--whom the au pair has cleaned, fed, and read to--good night, and retreat for a night's sleep on our 600-thread count sheets.

(A side note, when I went to check on the spelling of Gauloises, I was rudely told by their Web site: "Sorry! Access to our site is not authorized by the legislation in your country." Even posing as a Brit, I couldn't get in. The key is to act Dutch. The Dutch are completely legit on the Gauloises Web site. Totally worth the lie, because you can graffiti a subway car there! Didn’t you know? Smoking leads not just to death, but to tagging.)

Monday, November 18

Things That Are More Fun to Do Than Write My Novel

Number 184: Take a picture of my novel.

More, More, More!!

I need more MBA-speak for my novel. These are the terms I'm already using: attriting; issues around; incent (v.); enthused (v.); granular; get big fast; work long, hard, and smart; raising the bar; grasp the low-hanging fruit; day one; literally; fewer vs. less; synergy; learnings on; drive this project; quarterbacking a project; learnings; monetizing; opening the kimono; first mover advantage; bleeding edge.

I know, I've got some good stuff already. But 50,000 words is a lot of novel, and you know how it is: if you don't use a foreign language you lose it. My MBA-speak has deterioriated since I left Amazon. Throw me some more good words to use! And if you're very nice, I may even put you in my novel (of course, some of you who weren't very nice already made my novel, but let's not dwell on that).


The best thing about moving to a cold weather place? Hot cocoa with marshmallows.

Maybe I Just Need Ritalin...

An article in yesterday's New York Times magazine about children being prescribed Ritalin at younger and younger ages made me wonder: Is it really that children are more hyperactive than they used to be? Or is it that people are waiting longer to have kids, and therefore don't have the same energy at 47 to handle a five year old that they may have had when they were 23, so the kids just seem more active?

Sunday, November 17

Blocked Brain

Things I've been doing instead of not working on my novel this weekend:
1) Wrote in two answers to the New York Times crossword puzzle before falling asleep on the couch in a sitting position, leaning on Adam's neck.
2) Removed the skeleton that was hanging from out front door.
3) Contemplated hanging a turkey by our front door.
4) Nixed the idea of a turkey by the front door
4) Completely caught up in my blog reading (and my new favorite blog out there? Mimi Smartypants. She'd have no problems writing a witty novel in a month.)
5) Checked my belly button for lint.
6) Considered paying bills
7) Realized there was nothing to pay bills with
7) Made cocoa.
8) Raked part of the front yard until my hands were too numb to continue.
9) Proved to myself once again that I am not double jointed.
10) Formulated my plot for infiltrating HBS and forcing students to watch Norma Rae, Matewan, and Sullivan's Travels, while I secretly burn all their khaki pants and blue shirts, replacing them with the fetching wear of Kmart's Jaclyn Smith collection.

Hey, when did "clothing" become "apparel"? Is this like no one eating "spaghetti" anymore, just "pasta"?

And I still have no ideas for what to do next in my novel (word count: 32,042, although it looks like it will stay there for a while if I don't come up with something brilliant for my character to do).
But who's going to save my mom, dad, and baby sister?

Friday, November 15

The Quotable Adam

Things uttered by Adam this morning in the pre-7 a.m. hours:
On his puffy eye: "I'm going to need a glass eye. What color would you like?"
With the talking hand motion: "Your problem? Too much talky-talk."
On the White Rabbit: "I'm late. I'm late. That's who I am today, the Hurried Rabbit. Or is it Harried Rabbit? Oh, that's much better."
On my evil plot to take over the Partner's Club and subject everyone to mandatory seminars on the English language and its many fine uses: "Yeah! You can be the club's grammar bitch!"

Thursday, November 14

Bob Dylan Got It Wrong

There are times where I don't even know where to begin in my blog. The thoughts are bubbling, but I'm not sure what it is I'm trying to say or even how to say it. Let's take tonight, for instance. Thursday night TV with the girls. Girls I like. Partners, but not CWITs. And the conversation was roaming all sorts of places, and I can't for the life of me remember how it came up--maybe they were talking about all the singles in the group off at a bachelor's party or something?--but whatever it was I said--in a relevant moment--"Well, don't look at Adam. Believe it or not he's never tried an illegal substance." Because that's weird, right? I mean, I'm not advocating drugs or anything but how many people make it to 30 without even experimenting a little bit. A toke here. A tab there. Whatever, right? But all I get are blank faces. So I think they don't know what I'm talking about. So I elaborate. "I mean, he's never even taken a single hit of a joint." You know where this is going, don't you? I'm in a room with four other women, and not a single one has ever, ever tried a drug. Not a one. In fact, one said, "I don't think I've ever been anywhere where there was even an opportunity to try it. I've never been anywhere where there's pot." Of course I pushed it. "Really? Never? Not even a single toke?" Is this me? How did I plunge from an almost-respectable CWIT to druggie all in a matter of seconds? Of course, I'm not sure that when I was told, "Oh, don't worry. Everyone makes mistakes when they're young" that the right answer was "Well, I don't think it was a mistake," but what the hey. I mean, seriously. Am I completely out of touch or what?

I'm starting to think that today just wasn't my day. I'm going to hide under the covers now.

Is It Such a Difficult Language to Learn?

This blog is becoming my collection of idiots. Or am I just sounding like a grammar nazi? From a CWIT mail today: "The Harvard/Yale Football Game is vastly approaching." How, pray tell, does one approach vastly? Is the game looming over us, encompassing a boundless space as it sucks us into its universe? At first I wanted to give the benefit of the doubt and merely assume it was a typo, but "fastly approaching" is no more grammatical. Why is English so hard? And why am I in such an obviously cranky mood? I seriously need to lighten up.

Because I Said So

I, Jenny Brown, princess of the universe and arbiter of all that is right and wrong with the world, do hereby declare that ugly people shall not be permitted in public before 7 a.m.

This morning, I couldn’t handle working out. Just wasn’t in the mood. So instead of my normal shtick, I decided to take the step class. Now, I normally don’t like step classes, but I figured it would force me to move. Pulling out my step, I find a nice empty spot and set up. All is good with the world. Until two minutes into class, when I swear to God, the ugliest woman I’ve seen in a very long time comes into class. Long, long (mid-chest perhaps?) thin light brown hair with the mullet top. Little spikes of hair wisping up above. Glasses so old and uncool... well, they’re still old and uncool. Not a pair of those hip, trendy ‘70s redux glasses, but a pair of glasses actually from the ‘70s! Tinted a smoky gray. Gangly, spindly, hairy legs. And she situates herself right behind me so I have a perfect view of her in the mirror. I know this sounds unkind, but I was so distracted that I was flailing about in class as I watched her. Truly, I’m not this shallow a person. I admire people of all shapes, sizes, and looks. I myself fall into the zaftig category and my looks are distinctly--shall we say--ethnic. But this was not something in the normal realm. Something was off with this woman, something I just couldn’t pinpoint. So I’m stepping and grapevining and moving my arms, when it strikes me. I nearly fall off my step. Looking at this woman, I realize, she’s a man, baby! No joke!

That’s what I get from deviating from my normal routine. It shan't happen again.

Wednesday, November 13

The Character Who Got Away

Wow, I was so sure my nanowrimo protagonist was going to sleep with her boss, and then would you look at THAT? He turned her down! Unbelievable! I so did not see that coming. Of course, that changes the entire plot. I hate it when my characters don't behave. I'm going to sleep before any of the others rebel on me as well.
Adam and I had Dunkin Donuts. Those of you who have been playing for awhile know that Adam thinks Dunkin Donuts are the greatest doughnuts ever, bar none. But the doughnut I had was stale. I said, "Wasn't it time to make the doughnuts?" At which point he broke the news to me. It's almost like being told there's no Santa Claus. It is devastating news: "Dunkin Donuts don't make their own doughnuts anymore. They're made at a central bakery and delivered to the stores." ??!? Am I the only one who didn't know that? Am I the only one who remembers the poor sleepy man rolling out of bed in his nightcap, saying, "Time to make the doughnuts." Wasn't that the ENTIRE point of Dunkin Donuts? Their fresh all-day made-in-house doughnuts?? I may never be able to eat another doughnut again.

Should I Be Offended?

I'm transcribing an interview for work. The person I'm interviewing asks, "How old are you?"
Me: Um, older than you. (I know this, as I have his bio).
Him: Oh, okay. You sound young. I thought you were like a student.

I feel like I need a sign I can wear that says, "Yes, I am a grown-up." Of course, my actions probably belie that.

Halfway There!

Word count: 25,075. I'm still taking suggestions, if anyone wants me to put anything into the novel.

Forked Tongues

All those people who claim to have already finished their Nanowrimo novels are just liars. Liars, I tell you!

Get Some Cul-tah

If you live in the Miami area, go on an art trek! (Hey, look, one of the artists has the same last name as me! Do you think that's a coincidence?)

November 14 2002 – January 17 2003
This is the third part in a series of exhibitions surveying Miami’s Art. This show will showcase some of the prominent artists working in the Miami area during the 1980’s.

Among them are Carlos Alfonzo, Julio Antonio, Shareyar Ataie, Maria Brito, Carol Brown, Humberto Calzada, Pablo Cano, Victor Gomez, Peter Kuentzel, Sheldon Lurie, Carol Levy and Jean Waldberg.

The public is invited to attend the opening reception on Thursday, November 14th from 7 to 9 pm.
The Kendall Campus Art Gallery is located in the first floor of Building M, at 11011 SW 104th Street. Access from 107th Avenue or from 104th Street (Killian Parkway).

Tuesday, November 12

You Got Something to Say?

Well, too bad. My comments have gone MIA, and I'm too tired to look for them. Save that thought for another day (or better yet, just e-mail it to me at jbrown68 at

Talk About Must See TV...

Now, we all know that I'm a reality TV junkie. But this has got to be the best one yet: The Will. Anyone got a rich relative who wants to adopt me?

Bleary, Weary, and Teary

I'm not sure how I'm going to make it through a winter in Boston, when I can barely make it through November. With constantly fogged up windows, my driving has gone from bad to worse (but not as bad as my neighbor across the street who hit my car while parked. Nice. Now I have to deal with getting it fixed, which is no biggie since obviously her insurance has to pay, but is a royal pain in the neck). I start every other sentence with, "Well, back in Seattle we..." I think my house sucks the energy from me. Leaving work, I think of all the things I'm going to do and all the pages I'm going to write, but the minute I walk in the door, it's as if all spirit has drained from me and I just want to sleep. I feel disconnected from things here and life feels foggy right now. I keep waiting for things to clear up.


Many thanks to the Claire Bear for sending me the article from The New York Times that totally validates my becoming nonplussed over the incorrect usage of, well, nonplussed. This is from an article about the latest edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary:
"One of my favorites is 'nonplussed,' " he said. "It has always meant puzzled and confused, but we have evidence that in America some people use it to mean the opposite, as in 'sort of shaken but not stirred,' like 'He was doing his best to appear nonplussed.' " Mr. Stevenson flashed a conspiratorial look. "It's really a mistaken use," he said.

Sunday, November 10

My husband can't even remember my middle name.
"You know," he said this morning. "Your middle name is 'difficult.'"
Um, no it's not, It's Sue. And he can bite me in the butt.

Saturday, November 9

Verbosity Is a Plus

(Because Verbosity Is Good is just three words.) Word count: 16, 216. Finds of the day: awkward? Nope. Ill at ease. Three words. He doesn't? Nope, he does not.

Hey, this thing is starting in 1998. What the hell did we do in 1998?

Friday, November 8


An odd sense of déjà vu creeps over me frequently these days. Surreal moments of complete displacement. For instance, I’ll be driving up Fresh Pond on my way home, and the reception on the car radio will go hazy. It’ll be dark--because it seems as if it’s always dark these days--and the road curves a bit. And for a moment, I’m sure that I’m on Market Street traveling from Fremont to Ballard, in that one curvy spot headed down to 3rd Ave. where the radio would also fritz out. It’s not that I’m reminded of Ballard. It’s that I think that I am in Ballard. So it’s a jolt when I look up and I think, “Hey, this isn’t Seattle,” but it takes a few moments for me to figure out where exactly I am. This happens frequently, like when I went to meet Kara for brunch in Cambridge, and I drove around and around for parking and I just kept muttering, “I hate going to Capitol Hill,” and was surprised when I realized I wasn’t in Capitol Hill. I’ve been there before, but I haven’t. Buildings will look similar in the dark, Storrow Drive will feel like Aurora.

Thursday, November 7

Actually, I Prefer Mine Dirty

If you go to the site, you can't help but notice they've launched apparel. But my favorite part is that while looking up the movie L.A. Confidential, I was advised: "Customers who shopped for this item also wear: Clean Underwear from Amazon's Gap Store." No shit? (I didn't mean that literally.) That's just so good, I don't even know what to do with it.

Tuesday, November 5

Word Count

Up to 8,551, which has me pretty much right on track (and how did I get so much done, you might ask? Easy! Adam's off at a section event tonight). This is a lot easier to do this year than last. I don't know if it's because it seems like I have more time to write, or just if it's because I know that it can be done. I find I'm able to write without too much of a problem... but what I'm writing has got to be some of the driest stuff ever written. It's as if I've completely forgotten how a novel is supposed to read, as if I've never read a fictional book in my life. I have a plot, but really no idea of how to get from point A to point B and my character is terribly boring (which is especially devastating, since she is supposed to be based on me), and I probably should work out some sort of outline on where the hell this is actually going. Work is a little slow right now as I wait for my newsletter to get back from design, so maybe I can think about the outline there. By the way, my novel is temporarily titled Learnings. I'm open to suggestions for better titles (and more plot ideas).

Speaking of work, I spent half of today obsessing because I forgot to spellcheck an e-mail before it went out, and it went out with a truly horrible typo (and no, I won't tell you what it is). It was horrible enough that I turned on automatic spellcheck, if though it's incredibly annoying since 95% of my e-mails are going to friends, and I don't cap or punctuate or really even care so it just slows me down. I can't help it. I obsess about these things. (And how is it that spellcheck doesn't recognize the word "spellcheck," and it surely must be one word although Microsoft Word has the following forms listed: spell check, spell-check, spellchecker, spellchecked. That's wrong. I hereby declare "spellcheck" to be one word. And in future dictionaries, when the etymology is described, I'd like credit for it, please.)

Caved In

Okay, the yellow's gone. Now no more complaints from you people (I'll fix the archives another time)!


Didn't work. Adam remembered that he had to go vote today.

Sunday, November 3

Clapping for Jesus

Kara had a friend in town so I went with them and one of her other friends to the House of Blues this morning for the Gospel Brunch. It was one of those things where you had to go in with the right frame of mind. The cheese factor was extreme and had I not been totally game, it could have been horrible. But, that said, I had an absolutely amazing time, and I'd definitely go again. The food was fine--I don't think anyone's going for the food. The greens were made sweet, which I'm not a fan off. Good collard greens with vinegar. Mmmm. I think I could live off that. But the prime rib was yummy and there were lots of breakfast options as well (although folks that know me know that I'm really not a breakfast-food kind of person). The highlight, of course, was the singers. The Spiritual Soul Sisters. Wow. Talk about energy. They sang and danced and had us singing and dancing ("gospel aerobics," they called it), and when they told me to clap for Jesus, well, this good Jewish girl clapped right along with the rest of the crowd. The whole event made me long for my Jazz Fest trip to New Orleans, where I always spend lots of time in the Gospel Tent. Praise the Lord.

Word Count

5,086. It's amazing how much I don't remember from my early days at my former job (not that that's what I'm writing about. No siree. Not at all. No way!). I'm e-mailing loads of folks saying, "What was this?" or "How did this go?" If anyone has anything interesting for me to insert into my novel, let me know! I take advice and suggestions from everyone for this thing.

Saturday, November 2

To Rake or Not to Rake

And just a couple of months ago, I thought a big tree in a big backyard was a good thing!

Friday, November 1

Just Tricks

The HBS Halloween party was a flashback to my old New York days. A lot of people paying $6 for mediocre drinks and looking desperately to get laid. Kara and I couldn’t help but notice that all of the partners had on outfits that pretty much covered their bodies (a nun, a pregnant bride, a coroner), while the HBS women had on outfits that bared all (cheerleaders, French maids, a lot of whores [that’s women dressed as; that’s not my judgment. Well… no, It’s not my judgment] with their male pimps with them) and the men were mostly trashed. Adam didn’t understand why I told him annoyedly that if he let one more half-naked woman touch his Q-Tip head, I was going to knee him (although I said it with slight more description). Overall it was a decent time, although the setting was definitely more of a hook-up place than a meet-people-and-talk place (there was nowhere where the music wasn’t extremely loud), although we did speak for a while from a very nice couple from Minneapolis (he’s in Adam’s section).

Trick or Treat

Our first experience with trick or treaters last night. Even though we had a house in Seattle, we were not in a heavily kid-populated part of town, so our house was ghostless. I tried to hurry home last night to be there to hand out candy (Adam had instructions that if I wasn’t home yet, he was to tell they children that he was not authorized to hand out candy), but traffic was worse than I’ve ever seen it (did everyone have the same idea?) and it took me an hour to make the half hour ride home. Although I hear the worst of the traffic was on the highway to Salem. [A side note: when I called home, Adam excitedly said, “Nightmare Before Christmas is on TV!” This is his favorite movie, so I said, “That sounds like a good excuse to not read your cases.” But then when I got home, I said, “It’s not on TV! You put on the DVD!” to which he shrugged and said, “Same thing!” Um, no?] We had a massive bowl of candy, and even though, with Adam’s insistence (which I wholeheartedly agreed) I studded it with lots of chocolate, the real candy of choice last night was the Sprees. Kids with good taste! I have to say, I got a complete kick out of the really little ones. They were so cute and hesitant and bordering on terrified. They’d very carefully take one piece of candy from the bowl, and when I said, “You can take another one, too,” they’d turn and look at their mother or father and wait for their nod of approval before turning back to the bowl and very carefully selecting a second piece. There were only two batches of the greedy kids, from whom I had to physically lift the bowl away as they attempted to clean us out. I think kids over the age or nine or ten should be banned from trick or treating. I was surprised to hear (although I didn’t see any) that kids in their teens trick or treat in this part of the world. I remember the last time I trick or treated. I wasn’t going to, because as a sixth grader, I was really too old, but we were all hanging at Andrea’s house, which was in a development, and the group of us decided we really wanted the candy after all, but the whole time I was out, I just felt ridiculous.

Word Count

265. It's a start. But it's now bedtime.