Saturday, January 28, 2006

look alikes

This is my husband. Well, not really. This is John Krasinski, the actor, in his role as Jim Halpert in American version of The Office. But Abraham does look so much like this -- even the manner is the same (and the hairstyle is similarly amusing, though Abraham has a moustache and goatee thing going on). I think the actor in character is darn cute, too, and that must be a good sign of how I feel about my dear husband.

I was out of milk on Saturday morning -- my 1% milk, not Iz's whole milk. Abraham suggested I use the whole for my coffee and oatmeal... Does he realize how much calories and fat are in that stuff? Iz's body and brain require it. Mine do not. (My brain is no longer developing... unfortunately.) So I drove to the local Giant to grab some. (I prefer Safeway, but the closest is at least a 10-minute drive away. Actually, I prefer Whole Foods, but I suppose they are too upscale for PG County.) The check-out woman did a double take on my face and said I looked like some famous woman, but she couldn't remember that celebrity's name. I have not had anyone tell me I look like anyone famous for a long time. And why do I care? Yet I wanted to know.

The exception to this dearth of celebrity references is my mother, who (again and again) insists I look like Kate Beckinsale. That's fabulous, but so not true. (Am I just hung up on the fact that she is about 20-30 pounds lighter than me? She is skinny as skinny can be -- and I am pretty fit and lean, but nowhere near her size.) And Mom insists Abraham looks like John Cusak. She once sent us a magazine ad for Serendipity, a mediocre movie which starred the two actors. (I said she insisted!)

On Sunday, an article in The Washington Post reported on a website that allows you, through some face scanning technology, to find out which celebrity you (or anyone you have a good head shot of ) look like: I have uploaded a few photos. (Really, I'm not obsessed.) So far, My face matches no celerity above a 63% likeness. But Cate Blanchett, River Phoenix, and Drew Barrymore keep popping up... At least those are the ones I find somewhat realistic and yet flattering. I would love to look like Halle Berry (and she popped up as a match), but I really don't.

(You may ask why I don't post a photo of us. Perhaps I am trying to preserve some anonymity... Maybe someday.)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

thinking about resolutions and a clean desk (at the end of January)

I read The Washington Post Magazine Year in Review issue. Well, I was reading it a few weeks ago. But even then, I was reading Sunday’s paper on, oh, the following Thursday. It usually takes me all week to read the Sunday papers. (And then it takes me weeks more to write about something that strikes me. The magazine has been sitting on my desk next to my computer since that Thursday, January 5.)

I do not remember the last time I made a New Year’s resolution. New Year’s celebrations have always been anti-climactic. Except the time I ran the Midnight Run in Central Park, but that was seven years ago! What fun: 15-degree temperature, fireworks, champagne at the halfway point in little thimble cups, ice on the Central Park roads....


I was reading The Significant Others column by Jeanne Marie Laskas, “The Journey of a Thousand Miles… begins with a trash bag.” She writes about New Year’s resolutions (fitting, right, for a January 1 column?), trying to pick just one small thing instead of rolling over the last year’s resolutions that never got done. Her thing was to be a neat(er) person. After considering where to get started, she focuses on her desk:
I see there are many items that can be pitched. Here, for instance, is a pair of reading glasses I got at Target with lenses that turned out to be way too strong for me. Looking through these glasses gave me actual motion sickness. Now, someday, my eyes may need correction this strong, so should I save them? Or perhaps should I donate them to charity? One of the two rubber nosepieces is missing, but I suppose there are nosepiece replacements you can buy. Um. What the heck am I supposed to do with these things?”

I look at my desk… Who cares if it is a new year? I should always keep it neat, throw things out. But I don’t. I see s*hit tossed everywhere:
  • A hammer that I used a week ago that should be returned to the toolbox (and I have gone from office to basement enough times to just grab it and take it down with me).
  • A list of dentist names and numbers that I should file (let alone that huge pile of “To Be Filed” crap).
  • The cord for charging my iPod and another one for downloading photos from my camera spilling across the desk top.
  • A licked-clean spoon, probably left here from when I ate breakfast over an editing job a few mornings ago. The dish made it to the kitchen, the spoon was left behind.

I have no reading glasses from Target. But what If I threw out something? Or put something where it belongs? Ah, that would feel good. But whenever I am not working or caring for Iz, I don’t get around to cleaning my office. Well, I do actually clean my office now and again. And then it is so much more pleasant to sit and work here.

But it is so hard to get started. So instead, I wrote this blog entry.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Iz says "Jesus!" Yup. As an exclamation, not a prayer. Hmm. The first time I heard it, I thought I must be mistaken. And I thought it was very funny.

Ours is not a religious household, and a portion of the family is Jewish. I am the only complete non-Jew of the group (if you exclude the dog -- but who knows what faith he would choose). I grew up celebrating Christmas, but not as a Christ-filled day. Church-going was never a family practice. "Jesus" is certainly not said as in a "proper" Christian context.

Still, Iz exclaims "Jesus!" at least once a day. When I told my dear Abraham about the Jesus-saying, within Iz's hearing, Iz said, "Jesus!" Abraham asked, "Is he the second coming?"

So where would Iz hear the name? On Sunday mornings he isn't watching shut-in church services on television.

A few days after Iz's first "Jesus!", I emerged from the basement after putting on a load of laundry, I had an editing job to face, and Zi the Dog was battering the back door to be let back in. My to-do list was getting shorter, but only a little.

I sighed and shook my head, "Jesus!" I paused and recognized what I had said. Oy. I had no idea the significant name was part of my swearing vocabulary. With an unexpected clarity, I realized that, actually, I say it a lot (as an exclamation, not a prayer).

Now I know where Iz got it. Many people have warned me about kids repeating what one says at inopportune moments. But I thought it would be something I immediately recognized as one of my words or phrases. I don't know what the moral is. And I don't want to offend anyone, though I don't believe I am being blasphemous.

I considered trying to excise the name from use, so Iz would move on to something more... more what? Appropriate? Not drawn from someone else's religion? But, what the hell, I don't think I can.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Almost French and remembering (and facing) the past

I recommend Almost French: A New Life in Paris , a memoir by journalist Sarah Turnbull. It is one of the best books I have read in a long time. All the clich├ęs apply: I couldn’t put it down; I lost track of time while reading; etc. Turnbull writes about her first years of living in Paris, where she still lives. You may love Paris or know nothing about it – no matter because her story is simply a good story. She moved to Paris in an uncharacteristically whimsical way, fell in love, built a freelance journalist career, and faced culture clashes (she is Australian). Her writing is so real, clear and uncontrived.

More than recommending the book, I admit it has further inspired me to write my own memoir (if it turns out to be that – it is mostly theoretical). Mine is a very different story, that of my freshman year in high school from 1985 to 1986 in Brooklyn, NY.

But I face some of her same issues, primarily of remembering or facing, really feeling, that past time. In her prologue, Turnbull writes,

“Those early difficult years in France seem a lifetime ago now, as though they were lived by someone else. So much has changed since then, including me, probably. The truth is, when I started to write this book I had trouble taking myself back to that time. I don’t know why it should have been so difficult. Either I’d forgotten or subconsciously didn’t want to remember or, being a journalist, I was paralyzed by the idea of writing in the first person. Probably a combination of all three.” (pp. ix-x)

I feel I could have written those words about much of my past. It is indeed a combination of all three. Turnbull conveys the difficulties so darn well.

My mother saved my journals from that time, and I am sure I kept one during my freshman year. But now I can only find those from the summer following that school year onwards. I’ll either have to do some searching for the actual journal, or begin writing down what little seems clear – and hope more comes back to me.

And, hey, Happy New Year!