normalcy is coursing through my veins
Monday, September 30, 2002
The best laid plans

I had such good intentions, such hopes and aspirations. I had an idea for a theme week here on normalcy that would have knocked your socks off. But then I came in to the office. Now there's work coming out of my ears and it looks like it may be a sparse week for posts from old J-O. Theme week next week, I promise. I offer this excerpt (slightly edited) from an email I wrote earlier in the day to tide you over for now:

I baked banana bread last night. Sarah N. made chili. Today I brought her bread and she brought me chili and we are going to meet for lunch. We are bartering, like back in the pioneer days. When I was a wee tyke, I was in gifted and talented classes that required that I leave normal classes for the entire day every Tuesday in order to spend time in the gifted and talented classroom. In third grade, we participated in this Pioneer Family exercise, wherein we were grouped in “families” of four. We had to budget supplies and plan for things, and then roll dice or try to win a competition to find out whether our wagon was going to be destroyed by a flood or our youngest child was going to get sick that week. There was also a lot of bartering involved. We could trade candles for food and the like. In retrospect, it seems an odd game to have eight-year-olds play, what with all the death and hardship involved. Sure, make the smart, already neurotic kids think about death. Great idea. We did put together a General Store Open House for parents at the end of that term, though, during which I got to pull molasses taffy, make rock candy, and dip beeswax candles. So I guess that helped to make up for the weeks of death anxiety.

And that’s my story.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002
I know this little girl from Lancaster who just started a blog. You should check it out.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002
More info about my eating habits that you really don't need to know

I just ate a brownie supposedly made with coffee beans that have been plucked from Indonesian monkey poop, and I liked it. Please refrain from commenting upon what this says about me.

[Editor's note: It's all true.]

Monday, September 23, 2002
I need a salt lick

I'm serious, if I just had a big cube of salt sitting on my desk, I am convinced I would be happier and more productive.

Here's a semi-related lesson: If you make microwave popcorn at 5:30 on a Monday afternoon, you will suddenly be the most popular girl in the office. You will also deny yourself the pleasure of shoveling every last kernel of salty goodness into your own mouth, instead having to compete with the greedy fingers of your coworkers, which may or may not be filthy and germ-infested. I am so going to catch the latest office cold.

(I apologize if you came here looking for quailty content today.)

Friday, September 20, 2002
Spreading joy to the masses

Last night I went to an event called Reading It, at which a group of writers read from their (presumably) funny work. The highlight of the evening was most certainly Sarah Vowell. She's smart and funny. I am going to buy her latest book. You should, too. Trust me on this one. I only want you to be happy.

Thursday, September 19, 2002


Wednesday, September 18, 2002
They both have 8 in the title

Please pardon yesterday's weirdo post. I was, as mentioned, exhausted. When overtired, I am prone to nonsensical rambling (I am also prone to crankiness and emotional outbursts, but that's beside the point). Just to update you, I did not watch 8 1/2. No, instead I turned on the television and watched the first thing that came on, which just happened to be 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. Please, I beg of you, do not ever watch this show. Here's a little news update for casting agents: John Ritter is not funny. He's fine when he's playing some small, quirky part (the robot man on Buffy a while back, the gay man in Sling Blade), but he should not carry a sitcom. Three's Company? Maybe it was funny when I was six and didn't have cable, but it sure doesn't stand the test of time. And this new monstrosity? P-A-I-N-F-U-L.

The saddest part about this story is that there was a rerun of Gilmore Girls playing just a few clicks away and I missed it because I was too tired to hunt for the remote. The moral of this story: Get enough sleep or you might miss out on quality teevee.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002
You'll be in the air

I've officially hit that stage of exhaustion where everything feels surreal. I'm thinking maybe last night was something I dreamt up. What real person takes a broken, bright-blue handcart with a label reading SMART WAY from a neighbor's curbside trash heap at 2 am and hunches over it at an awkward angle as he uses it to push a box of his belongings and a bottle of detergent to my apartment? All while I waddle a few paces ahead, spastically clutching a plastic crate filled with videotapes, soap, and a stack of assorted clothing that might have toppled at any second and sent me into my third fit of hysterical laughter that hour? The image is too bizarre, the screeching sound made by the wobbly wheel and the detached metal scraping together and then echoing off the row of brownstones across the street is too ridiculous to be believable. I think I may even have commented that someone should be filming us while we took our strange parade down the street. If it weren't for the box in my foyer waiting to be shipped and the shoebox full of 45s I'll find a safe place for tonight, I could almost convince myself that it was all some wacky movie idea I had in the space between dreaming and waking.

And on that note, I think I'm off to rent 8 1/2 and drift in and out of sleep on the couch. Have a lovely evening.

Monday, September 16, 2002
Recipe for perfect vacation:
1 penthouse condo in beachfront building
6 days of sunshine
1 Lee to sing songs and play arcade games with
6 other friends to play Encore, Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, and Boggle with
2 meals consisting of Grotto Pizza and Thrasher's boardwalk fries with apple cider vinegar
2 birthday dinners
1 sexy dress
2 cute bikinis
4 swimming lessons
1 up-all-night reminiscing session
2 strips of photo booth photos
3 rolls of regular film
40 or so rounds of Super Shot
1 giant box of salt water taffy
4 parachute men dropped off the balcony

Sprinkle generously with laughter, affection, and salty air.

Ps. If anyone would like to buy me this for my birthday, please let me know. It has been moved to the top of my wish list.

Friday, September 13, 2002
hello. this is liz.

I too miss jackie-o. a few nights ago I turned on the tv as parker posey was delivering the line from "the house of yes" that j-o has used as the title of her site. it was eerie. well, not really, but it did make me think, hey jackie o, come on home now, hear?

thankfully, we don't have long to wait. normalcy will return to... normalcy. all will be well.

sorry. I'd like to come up with something longer and more interesting, but it's difficult enough to post to my own site, so... this is just to represent.

Thursday, September 12, 2002
Hello, all.

I fear Jackie-O will be most disappointed that I haven't posted anything substantial here in her absence after I volunteered before even being asked to do so... but I'm positive that she (and you, dear reader) will understand that I've been a little more introspective than the norm this week, and not often being in such a state, I elected to save the quality content for my own site rather than squander it on some old guest posting gig.

To make up for my having made such a hollow promise to such a dear friend, I am giving her (and you) kittens. Whose heart doesn't melt at the sight of a cute little kitty? I know mine does. Jackie-O will be delighted!!

Sarah (N.)

Hi. Do you ever sometimes get the urge to tape the same song over and over again on a cassette instead of just listening to it via the cd on loop, just because you just like that audio tape sound? Okay. Just wondering.

One of my favorite procrastinatory tendencies is music-related. I like to tell myself that after a certain song, or a certain short grouping of songs, I will tackle a certain project-- usually school-related. But I always fall into the "just one more time" trap. Especially if there is a grouping of a few songs, and I'll tell myself it's cool to repeat as long as I only listen to one of the tunes one more time... or five. Relentless cycle, let me tell you, but it sounds so pretty.

Right now for instance I'm listening to a mix tape and I'm avoiding studying for Italian. Last night I watched Bringing Up Baby instead of studying for Italian (Though I justified it on the account of being black & white, and thus more educational than Italian vocab. Love my logic.). Right after I get done with this post, I'll probably stare out the window instead of studying for Italian. And then I'll go to work and hand out pizza slices and soda for five hours instead of studying for Italian.

Any other ways in which I can avoid the studying, yet still manage to feel somewhat good about myself are welcome.

It's times like these that I consider a full-time position at the Gap.

That was a lie. But still. Employee discount. Tempt me.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

I just returned from a creative meeting where people said things like "chocolate chicken," in reference to a disgusting grocery store myth, and "branch all the way up his ass," in reference to a man on TV who evidently had an unfortunate run-in with a tree. This just reminds me once again that I am not on the beach with Jackie-O.

--Sarah B.

Friday, September 06, 2002
My apologies for the sparse posting lately. I've been both busy and preoccupied. I'll be better when I return from my week at the beach!!! That's right, I leave bright and early tomorrow morning for a week of sun, surf, Scrabble, and perhaps a little drinkin'. There will probably be a few guest post-ers dropping in to keep you entertained, so I better not see my traffic dropping off.

Have a lovely week!

Wednesday, September 04, 2002
Train song

I would like to sing the praises of the New York City subway system. No, that's not quite right. I would like to sing the praises of riding the subway alone. No, that's not exactly it, either. Let me see if I can explain.

I get in this mood every once in a while. I can't stand to be alone a minute longer, but I don't want to talk to anyone. Or I can't stand to be in my apartment for another instant, but I don't really want to go anywhere in particular. So I ride the train. I stuff a paperback and my cheap walkman with the ugly purple headphones into my bag, walk to the closest station, and hop on.

(It is worth noting that this mood does not occur during rush hour. It's more a Sunday evening or late-night Tuesday kind of thing. This plan would never work if I had to fight commuters for a seat.)

I don't usually have a destination during these rides. That's part of the beauty of them. I can lose myself in book or music and not worry about watching out for my stop. Sometimes I have a tentative destination, a place I mean to end up eventually. But I'm in no hurry to get there and it won't matter if I ride past and have to backtrack.

There are a few simple rules for these journeys: I only listen to mix tapes. I only read non-work books. I don't talk to anyone.

I don't know why I find this so soothing. It could be something in my wiring. My parents discovered early on that a drive around the neighborhood could cure almost any late-night crying spell. I fall asleep easily on bus and train trips. I rarely get motion sick. Or it may be that riding the subway allows me to move while sitting still. I am going somewhere, I've left the house, I am out in the world, but I'm also totally solitary, happily folded into my seat at the end of the row.

Whatever the reasons, riding the MTA is one of the few things that calms my restlessness when I get into this mood. (Sometimes a long walk works, but then the reading option is ruled out--it's hard to walk with a book held up over your face.) And so, despite all of the quirks of public transportation, I am ever so grateful for it on these rare occasions.

So, if you see a tall blonde woman with her eyes closed, slouching in a subway seat, resting her head against a grammatically incorrect advertisement and maybe nodding a little in rhythm with the music being pumped into her ears, please don't disturb her. She is happy like that, I swear.

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