fearlesstemp: (fredgingtwirl)
.i. adventures in baby-sitting

I cannot stand make-believe games with little kids. They're almost as boring as the conversations I used to have with my co-worker Carol at Evil Acronym Company (Carol used to talk about her dental work a lot), and are more taxing because I am really forced to participate in make-believe games, while I can just nod and smile my way through boring conversations. One cannot nod and smile oneself through a game of hotel with an eight-year-old. But, then again, there are occasional rewards, like the other day, when my cousin Emma very seriously told me that her pretend name was Lucky Windswept, which makes me want to laugh two days after the fact. I mean: Lucky Windswept! And she came up with it IMMEDIATELY, like, didn't even have to think about it. Maybe she'll grow up to be a country singer or romance novelist or something.

Also while baby-sitting, I had to deal with one of Emma's little friends, who really irritated me. I hate it when little kids irritate me. First of all, it's irritating. Second of all, I feel like a louse for being irritated by a child who should have endless promise, potential, etc. But I couldn't help myself with this little girl - she refused to eat her lunch until everyone was seated and then, when I told her I would be a couple of minutes, told me she would use the extra time to pray. Wow, do I sound like a heathen! "The girl had good manners AND she gave thanks to our Lord! What a deadbeat!" But it's not what she said, of course, but how she said it - very Eddie Haskell.

But anyway, what followed made it worth it. Because her little friend prayed, Emma felt the need to pray, and because I'm a mature 25-year-old woman, I succumbed to peer pressure and prayed myself, with a note on the end for the hurricane victims. This caused Emma and her friend to try to one-up each other with stories about natural disasters and hurricanes until Emma started sharing the tale of how her grandfather died in a hurricane. She was halfway through the story when she remembered that her grandfather was also MY grandfather, and so she threw in the, "Oh, it was my grandfather Bud" aside so that I'd think it was her grandfather on her father's side. Only I'm pretty sure that he didn't die in a hurricane either. And I'm positive that his name wasn't Bud - Emma's father comes from a New England super-WASPy family. I don't think Bud is a common family name among such people.

Other highlights from baby-sitting: Huge meltdowny fight between Emma and her little friend, followed by a cheesy talk about feelings between Emma and me related to the meltdowny fight, and Emma still likes my singing, as seen by the fact that she would only eat her chicken nuggets after I sang (if you're wondering about my song choice, I went for a modification of Jingle Bells/Batman smells - I threw in a line or two about chicken nuggets. It was an improv thing, like jazz). I wonder when her ears will mature to the point that she recognizes my voice to be as appalling as it really is.

.ii. buy this boxed set

Is everyone aware that they have released an Astaire/Rogers boxed set? It is truly righteous, and I believe everyone with a passing interest in the films should pick it up, because the features seem to be good and the movies in the box are pretty excellent, with the possible exception of The Barkleys of Broadway, which I saw once and remember not liking that tremendously. But the others! Swing Time! Shall We Dance! Top Hat! Follow the Fleet! GREAT stuff.

I've been meaning to write a big Astaire/Rogers post for about a year and a half, and I'm going to have to let that dream go and just blather on in short spurts in random entries, because the full essay is probably never going to be written. I'll try to do my best short version.

I don't particularly like musicals. I liked Chicago a lot, and I get a kick out of Singing in the Rain, but for the most part, musicals just bore me and make me want to roll my eyes about the ridiculousness. Even later Fred Astaire ones leave me cold - I know The Band Wagon is supposed to be incredibly awesome, and actually earned a spot on TCM's The Essentials, but I had to turn it off forty minutes in because I found it to be (imho) embarrassingly bad. I probably had a more powerful reaction because it wasn't just any musical - it was a musical with Fred Astaire. And I love Fred Astaire! How dare he be in a movie I dislike? It felt like a personal betrayal.

But anyway: Astaire/Rogers. The plots are ridiculous and full of holes, the scripts range from witty to so corny you want to cry, the costumes are for the most part pretty great, there are occasional cringe-worthy moments related to cultural stereotypes, but the dancing - the dancing! It's as incredible as you would imagine, especially in my personal favorite of all the Astaire/Rogers movies I've seen - Swing Time. But it's difficult to talk about dancing - how can you articulate how great Pick Myself Up is as a number? I can't. It's fun, it's fast, it gives you a real idea of what it means to be light on your feet.

a little more detail about the movie's greatness, with potential spoilers )

I totally only realized just now, after putting that exchange in this entry, the significance of the first names of the two characters. Lucky and Penny. Holy crap, I am so not insightful, I should not be allowed to write LJ entries about anything!

.iii. katrina

Thoughts and prayers to everyone affected.
fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)
*saturday*

Never have I cursed a former self as much as I cursed the Self of Friday Night when I woke up early Saturday morning. Getting up EARLY on a SATURDAY to go watch ADOLESCENT DEBATERS? Madness! It didn't help that I'd felt it necessary to watch both the 10PM and 1AM showings of Battlestar Galactica (OMG the FINALE! JULY IS TOO FAR AWAY!).

It was heinous. But I got up, forced myself out into the rain, drove a half hour to the debate location, went inside, and spent four hours listening to 14-year-olds debate whether local or national laws better protected civil liberties. They were so adorable, the boys in awkward-looking suits, the girls wearing strappy sandals in spite of the monsoon outside. And they were so SMART! Holy crap! Discussing things like Northern Ireland and John Locke! The judge I was shadowing had two different colored pens and her sheet always looked organized and clean when she was done, full of arrows showing arguments carrying over through rounds and cross-examinations. Mine was full of things like, "nat. = [illegible scribbling]" and long blank spots where I got involved in what the kid was saying and forgot to write things down. At the second debate, I had to keep track of the time as well, which was extremely complicated! Really it was! It sounds easy, but plastic kitchen timers can be surprisingly incomprehensible to a person who bakes approximately twice a year! Not to mention the hand signals I had to give to signify the amounts of time remaining.

VERY COMPLICATED! I mean, the minute warnings were simple enough (just holding up the appropriate number of fingers), but sometimes the kid wouldn't look up while I had my hand up, and sometimes when he did, I'd already have had my hand up for like fifteen seconds, and when it's a three-minute timeframe, that's a big chunk of time! But there was no way to signify that difference! Maybe I should have negotiated something, like, when I'd had my hand up a while, I'd start wiggling my fingers or snapping them or something.

[Random Interjection: Is Blind Justice as bad as it looks from the ads? Is it possible for a show to be that bad? "You'd be safer with a man who can SEE!"]

Anyway, as far as I could tell, I didn't destroy anyone's performance, so I call it a success.

Saturday night I had to babysit, which started out great - air hockey, computer games, dancing. The usual. And then, just after my gourmet dinner (potato soup and scrambled eggs), I was in the kitchen getting things together to make brownies for dessert, when I heard the most awful, ungodly sound. It sounded like some cross between a retch and a cough, almost like the sound a cat makes when coughing up a hairball, except REALLY LOUD. Like The Exorcist! It sounded exactly like The Exorcist!

I whipped around and looked at Emma, who was still sitting at the kitchen table. "Was that –"

"I'm FINE," she said, very emphatically, and then opened her mouth wide and OUT CAME THE EXORCIST SOUND!

I was all "Oh my GOD," but when I ran over, she would have nothing to do with me, just waved me away and insisted that not only was she fine, she was great! And then more Exorcist Sound!

At this point I was convinced I'd poisoned her. Given her botulism from the potato soup, or not scrambled the eggs enough, or, I don't know. Poisoned her with my presence! Something!

I so miss the days when she was under four and I could just pick her up and haul her to the bathroom no matter what she said, even if, during one of those times, we didn't make it to the bathroom and she ended up vomiting all over my neck and shoulder. At least I could impose my will! She's seven now, almost eight, and while I can still pick her up when she wants to be picked up, picking her up while she's fighting me isn't as possible.

When I asked her to come with me to the bathroom for the fourth time, she jumped up and ran (naturally!). Right into the living room. Where she barfed on the middle cushion of my aunt's brand-new couch.

I grabbed a pan and paper towels and ran into the living room, where she was still making the Exorcist Noise and insisting she was FINE in spite of the pool of barf next to her. I held out the pan in front of her and, when it came time to barf again, she leaned in towards me and - now I can't prove this, but I swear she did this - deliberately turned her head to miss the pan and hit the rug.

Once her stomach was empty, the Exorcist Noise stopped but the tears started and the Garbo-esque "I just want to be ALONE!" continued. It was very stressful! I alternated between mopping up the barf with paper towels and trying to sneak a hand in to check her forehead for a fever. I finally got her to give in when I told her that she could feel my forehead while I felt hers and I would only touch it for ten seconds (we counted out loud together).

After this was done, I asked if she wanted some apple juice.

She said, loudly, "NO!" and then, rather calmly, "Frankie is eating the paper towels."

I assumed she meant the roll I'd left on the floor behind me, but when I turned around, Frankie the dog wasn't running off with the roll of new towels. HE WAS EATING THE VOMIT-COVERED PAPER TOWELS.

That was fun. I had to chase him through the house, yanking the towels away from him, all the while doing my best to stifle my own gag reflex.

Oh, such a glamorous life!

*sunday*

On Sunday I saw two movies, and liked both of them for different reasons.

miss congeniality 2 )

the upside of anger )

*monday*

I spent a good chunk of Monday watching coverage of the Pope's life and death. It's kind of terrible how little I knew about him; I always thought of him as a frail old man who refused to let us use birth control or ordain women. And, okay, he was that guy, but he was a lot of other things too, and it doesn't speak well of me that it took his death for me to find that out.

Ah, I'm such a crappy Catholic. I should go to mass. I should know important biographical details of my Pope. I shouldn't stand in church and say, "We believe in one God, the father, the Almighty, the maker of Heaven and Earth, of all that is seen and unseen...mumble mumble...suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again, in fulfillment of the scriptures. He will come again...mumble mumble mumble... one holy, catholic and apostolic church...mumble mumble...Amen."

I could go on and ON about my spiritual inner workings, but I will spare you. It's messy and confused and doesn't make much sense right now. Or, you know, ever.
fearlesstemp: (fred and ginger pick self up)
I'm sure lots of people had wild weekends full of debauchery, but I ask you – did anyone else get to ride on an old school fire truck with Santa on Sunday?

I was out at a festival with an assortment of female relatives, including my seven year old cousin Emma, who insisted that I ride on the fire truck with her and her mother. I felt kind of assholish because there was a looooong line of kids behind me waiting to ride in the truck with Santa, but I couldn't let The Emster down, and so I followed her up onto the back of the truck pretended to act like I was nobly suffering for the sake of the child, when really I was excited. It was totally fun.

Anyway, before the winter festival, Emma stopped by my house and met our new kitten Dusty, and today she sent me the cutest E-card ever - the text was:

hi jess i loved your new kitten dusty he is so cute i could just eat him up .

Oh, the cuteness! It threatens to overwhelm!

On the not so cute side, I went to visit my grandfather tonight. I've been trying to ask him more about his life, since he's done a lot of interesting things. Tonight I asked him about my grandmother, how they met, etc. The highlights:

-The way he said he first got connected with her: "My beloved sister Eleanor was down at college and got to know Paula, your grandmother's sister, when they exchanged certain feminine hygeine products women need at certain times of the month."

-How he asked her out: "I called and said I was a Hollywood producer looking for Lois M. She was out with another guy, Jimmy Something, but I didn't think he was competition since I was just home from the war and very confident about myself."

-Their dating adventures, which included running out of gas in the snow a mile from my grandmother's house in the country. My grandmother was wearing an evening gown but didn't complain.

-A too-long foray into TMIville: "And there was no funny business," he said. "It was all on the up and up. It was better that way. All we did was hold hands, or the equivalent of that – necking, really, which was mostly –"

At that point I started waving my hands around wildly to distract him.

Right before I left, the American Legion stopped by and dropped off a decoration for him. My grandfather trotted out his usual army joke ("I only served four years but I did save one German in the war, you know. I shot at him and missed.").

After they left, I opened up the card they dropped off and realized that they were from our ARCH RIVAL AMERICAN LEGION POST! My brother played American Legion baseball for years and this post totally kicked his team's ass regularly and without mercy. They were always super-organized and had players that looked like they'd walked out of a Yankees training camp instead of the dregs of the area's JV squads (our team).

The inspirational way to close this would be to tell you about how my brother's team eventually toppled their arch rival in the quest for the state championship, but I can offer no such inspiration. The best I can muster is my brother saying, "I think we beat them once. Maybe."

And now, to bed.
fearlesstemp: (john doe mike)
I love Thanksgiving Day. I am grateful for a lot of things, too many to name, but if I had to give a brief list: my health, my family, and my friends, including all of you.

notes from today's turkey day )
fearlesstemp: (cary kate net)
I can't believe it's been eight days and I haven't tortured you all with tales from my father's Mensa Art Show. To put it simply: It was an experience. I spent an hour and forty-five minutes of my life I'll never get back sitting with an old man who told me we were like the Russian Empire, being brought down by wine, women, and song. Then he told me about how terrible lawyers are, and how you can get sued for a hangnail. He caught himself a second later and said, "Not your father, of course. Or your grandfather."

"Right," I said, and then my Hardass Tough Girl melted away in the face of feeling like I was being rude to an old man. "But some of the commercials for lawyers are terrible."

"Awful!" he said, and then went on about a bunch of other things I can't really remember because I spent the whole time thinking about how much my father owed me, and that this would most definitely cancel out any guilt I feel over moving home and living with them rent-free the last couple of years.

During the art show I wandered around eating lots of cheese and crackers and having awkward, occasionally overly-personal conversations with people I'd just met. One woman soothed me into a false sense of security by starting a typical conversation about our shared alma mater, and then somehow segued into stories about her childhood in a Catholic orphanage and how her father tried to kill her mother three times but it wasn't really his fault.

"He was insane," she said. "There was something wrong with his brain. He couldn't help it."

I probably said something in response but I can't think of it now, because it just doesn't seem like there's anything a person could say to that. But I must have said something, because I wouldn't have been so rude to just run back into the kitchen for more Werther's Originals without saying anything. Though maybe I did just that.

Most of the other people were charmingly eccentric, a bit like my father. He was in his element. I felt weird because people kept asking me which artwork was mine and all I could do was point at my father's family portrait of me, my brother, and my mother at dinner and say, "That's me on the right. It's my father's painting, I'm just here for moral support."

The most important thing I learned was never to choose shoes for a six-hour outing based on the idea that you'll "probably" get to sit down a lot. I got compliments on my new black heels, but my feet were killing me by the end.

That was the Saturday of last weekend. The Saturday of this weekend was spent baby-sitting Emma, who is now seven years old, which just does not seem possible. She's still high-energy and precocious, but it looks better on a seven-year-old than it did on a three-year-old, probably because I can better communicate my empty threats to her.

"Well, if you're going to do throw ice at the dog, then I guess we're just going to have to eat at the kitchen table!" What a threat. I let her eat in the living room when I babysit because I'm Just That Strict. She threw ice at the dog a couple times more and we still ended up sitting at the coffee table in the living room, eating chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese, watching a Scooby Doo episode with a vampire.

At one point I kind of jumped at something that happened on screen (this is why I can't go to horror movies; Scooby Doo episodes startle me), and Emma looked at me across the table very seriously and said, "It's okay, it's not a *real* vampire."

"Like you?" I asked. She had tried on her Halloween costume while I was boiling the water for the macaroni, and emerged from the bathroom in a black cape and plastic fangs. She had warned me from the bathroom a few times that it was going to be a little scary, but that it would be okay. I yelped and clutched the wooden spoon I was using for the macaroni to my chest, and she took the teeth out of her mouth and had me pick her up so that I could see it was just Emma.

"Like me," she said.

I gave her a bath and brushed her hair while she read from a book to me, and then we did math flashcards before I put her to bed. She still asked me to lie down next to her and sing Old MacDonald. Every time I go there I think she won't ask, but every time she still does. I'll probably cry the first time she doesn't.

She's a sweet kid. When I got to her house, she was playing out back with Andrew, the boy next door who my aunt doesn't really like. She thinks he's mean. They were pulling an oversized wagon full of toys around the yard and after I said I was going to go inside to see her mother, Emma pulled out this plastic laptop toy and said she was going to type my name to see what it means.

I was halfway across the lawn when I heard Andrew say, "Her name means fat and ugly!"

I kept walking like I hadn't heard, and then just as I was going to go into the house, I heard Emma yell, "Jessie, your name means beautiful!"

"Thanks, Em!" I yelled back, and then I went inside.
fearlesstemp: (scouty)
I am like a black hole of coordination or something. Last November I went out to watch my cousin Emma while my aunt packed up her house, and my aunt proceeded to fall off a chair while taking down some curtains and broke her foot. Today? Went out there to babysit while she went off for a fun day with friends and she slipped and broke her arm before she could walk out the door.

this got rather long )
fearlesstemp: (strictly ballroom)
One of my cousin Emma's new fish died the other day. She was distraught, sobbing and yelling how she didn't want a stupid fish in the first place, she'd wanted a DOG.

The fish is in Heaven, my aunt Kelly explained. And then Emma looked at my aunt like she was crazy, pointed at the corner of the fish tank where the fish-that-was was floating, and yelled "No he's not! He's right there!"

Ah, so literal. Of course! How could he be in Heaven? He's right there! And I'd never realized before how Emma must think of Papa's death: Papa leaving one day, catching a train to Heaven, leaving the rest of us behind. Why did he have to go? She's been asking this often lately. I didn't want him to. I want him to be here and do puzzles with me.

How do you explain the business of dying to a five year old? You can't, really. Kelly told Emma she was bringing the fish back to the fish store after Emma went to school. Emma reminded her that she'd better hurry since the fish has to make it to Heaven and all. Can't miss the train.

Holiday time and no one's feeling very holidayish around here. I've always loved Christmas, the music and the decorations and the shopping, but this year I keep forgetting what time of year it is until I hear a song or see a wreath. My mother keeps walking around the house apologizing for not being in the spirit, telling us she's not in the mood to shop so we'll probably just get a few things, or maybe just money. This has been her line to us since we were old enough not to believe in Santa Claus, but this is the first year I believe her. I don't really mind, I don't need anything. I just feel bad because she feels guilty about it.

Should I make her put up the decorations? I don't really want to myself, but should I make myself do it for her? Would it make her feel better? I don't know. I wish I knew. There should be an instruction manual for such things, Dealing With Parental Holiday Grief: Merriment Amidst Melancholy. Every morning we get ready to leave for work and tell each other that tonight we're going to put them up, and every night we end up sitting together at the kitchen table snacking on Triscuits and declaring that tomorrow we'll have more energy.

Part of me keeps thinking: There's a disturbance in the Force. Something's not right in every family gathering, something missing, something wrong, and I have to keep reminding myself that it won't go away. Things are different now.

Anyway. What brought this on? Am hormonal and thusly wallowing. Moving on.

In other news: self esteem is still heartily intact. I got the call at my temp job today that I didn't get the stupid job I interviewed for last week. You know, the interview that went over two hours? That one. I'd decided over the weekend that I wouldn't want the job anyway, so it wasn't the not-getting it that bothered me.

"He doesn't think you have the experience to handle the office when he's not there," Temp Agency Woman told me.

"What, you mean the office that will consist of just him? His calls? His paperwork? Pardon me while I go pick up the SIX OTHER LINES THAT ARE BLINKING RIGHT NOW and then GET BACK TO YOU IN A TIMELY MANNER because I CAN HANDLE ANSWERING THE PHONE! What kind of crack is he on?"

Maybe those weren't my exact words.

But still! I was outraged. Outraged! I can't handle the office when he's not there? What does that mean? My first week at the Skeevy Law Firm, Mr. Boss was out of the office and I was answering his phones! Returning calls! Arranging adjournments! And I won't be able to HANDLE IT when Mr. Long Winded is gone for an afternoon? WhatEVA!

I seriously felt like calling him up. Also? Why keep me at an interview for two and a half hours if you're not going to hire me? If you don't think I'm experienced enough to handle an office for an afternoon (an office that consists of, well, JUST HIM), why not just let me be on my merry way? Why make me smile through your completely inaccurate interpretations of classic films? Why force me to SMILE WINNINGLY while you imply that what you really want is a girl Friday?

Am I not GOOD ENOUGH to be your girl Friday? WhatEVER.

This was all I thought about after I got off the phone. It didn't even strike me until much later that I probably should have had a moment of doubting myself, wondering if I'm Just Not Good Enough. Instead, I just wanted to call him up and give him a piece of my mind.

In yet other news: Tomorrow is the last day at my receptionist's job. What will I bore you about now that I'm done with that? I'm sure I'll find something.
fearlesstemp: (Default)
So, my brother has this annoying habit of ripping holes in the seats of his pants. He does this with alarming frequency and it's not like he walks around wearing painted-on jeans a la the Bee Gees, he's a typical teenage boy and all of his pants are of the extremely baggy variety. The thing is, his favorite chair in his bedroom, this old wicker contraption from approximately 1978 (no, really, it is), has all of these loose sharp edges that he keeps catching his pants on. And yet he continues to sit in it. Actually, he's home for the weekend and I can peek down the hall into his room and, yes, he's sitting in it right now. Now, since rips in the seats of people's pants is pretty much InstaHumor, the question becomes: why do I find this annoying? Especially since the embarrassing event is happening to my brother, and we all know that the humor of any situation is increased tenfold when said situation involves either (a) a sibling, (b) embarrassment, or (c) both.

The reason it's annoying is because I'm the one who always ends up sewing the pants. My mother has no sewing skillz and, mind you, neither do I, but I am not farsighted as she is and so I can thread the needle better, and so the sewing duties get tossed to me. For ages I've been harassing my brother about his Atomic Ass, which has yet to meet a pants material it cannot destroy. You know, just doing my sisterly duty.

And then today! Karma City! I was outside playing basketball with Emma at the family party (being the designated family babysitter often means that half of any family gathering is spent watching the younguns, which is alternately annoying [there's only so many times one can chase after runaway basketballs] and nice [five year olds rarely ask you how your boring temp job is going and, oh, when is it up and do you have any other plans?]) for a while this afternoon. We were horsing around, racing each other, trying to make baskets, etc. And then!! I grabbed the basketball and was dribbling around the basket, trying to do this fancy sideways-dive thingy and I heard this unmistakable, loud RIIIIPPP followed by the frightening sensation of a breeze in my pants. I froze in complete horror and then quickly recovered before I thought anyone would notice, thanking the Gods that I'd decided to wear my new long sweater-coat thingy so that my ass would not be hanging out for all to see for the rest of the day. I thought I was home free. But then!

Emma: What was that noise?

Me: (oh-so-innocently) What was what?

Emma: That noise! Did you rip your pants?

Me: What? No! Of course not!

Emma: Yes you did! (makes move to lift the Ass Obscuring Sweater)

Me: Hey! Stop! No I didn't! I -- Ok! I did! Look! (Points to different, ages old, small rip in leg of jeans to distract her)

Emma: No, that's not it! Here! (Moves toward AOS again)

Me: Hey! Hey hey hey!

And then there was a twenty second interlude where I spun around and she chased after me, trying to lift up the sweater until she finally did.

Emma: There! See?

Me: Dammit.

Except I didn't swear, at least not out loud, because I'm a well-trained babysitter by now.

No one noticed, thank God, due to the grace of the Ass Obscuring Sweater and, also, my cousin's silence (how she kept her mouth shut, I'll never know. I had horrible visions of her running into the house and screaming "JESSIE RIPPED A HOLE IN HER PANTS, COME SEE!" and then chasing me around the backyard trying to lift my sweater up). But let this be a lesson to you: do not mock others for ripping their pants for the same fate could befall you, even if you, like I was, are not wearing super-tight Bee Gees-esque jeans (though they were mad old and on their last legs). And always, always, have an Ass Obscuring Sweater on hand.

So!

Oct. 5th, 2002 01:54 pm
fearlesstemp: (Default)
The interview! It went well, pretty much, though I don't think I'll be the offered the job and I don't think I'd want it even if I were. The commute would be more brutal than I'd imagined (likely almost an hour to the newspaper office, and then another half hour or so to the towns I'd be covering, so conceivably two to three hours a day in the car), and there's the two year commitment thing, and also the pay thing (significantly less than I'm making as a temp), and also the whole I'm likely to suck at it thing, so probably not.

The woman I interviewed with was very nice, though, and we had a nice conversation. She told me I was a lively conversationalist and that she enjoyed talking to me, even if I did ramble often and at length while not fully answering the questions she asked. The first one she hit me with was "Tell me a little bit about yourself" and dude! So could not answer! Even though that had been one of the main practice questions I'd been working on while commuting to and from work every day! Totally choked. But then! Later! When she asked me about the strengths and weaknesses of my writing and I talked aimlessly for like five minutes, she said to me, "You know, not to discourage you from this job, of course, but they way you answered that question, addressing and exploring the different layers -- have you ever considered academia?" How weird is that?! Especially since last night I was talking to a friend who's in grad school and thinking that that sounded nice. Random!

Though part of me wonders if that's how she lets down everyone she doesn't think is good enough for the job. "You know, not to discourage you from this job, but from the way you just described the past few years you've spent in the New York State prison system on assault charges, addressing and exploring the different layers of your experience -- have you ever considered academia?"

And then after she'd talked to me for an hour, she put me in this little office with a computer, a phone, and a stack of press releases and had me write an article. Scary! I had to, like, call people on one of the press releases and write an article. I wasn't very good at it and I think that's what really brought my attention to the fact that I'd be a sucky reporter. I don't like the whole "dealing with people" and "being beholden to facts" thing.

It was a learning experience! Also, how weird is this? I was so totally nervous on my way to the interview, kind of freaking out, and then I turned on my radio and what was the local top forty station playing? TEARING UP MY HEART! How bizarre is that? It was fate! God acting through my car radio to bring me calm! And then I went into Breugger's to get lunch before I went to meet with the lady, and what was playing there? THIS I PROMISE YOU! Freaky.

In other news: Earlier this week I went out to babysit my little cousin Emma, who was feeling very sick and so I picked up a book for her as a little present, The Paper Bag Princess. I won't tell the whole story, but it ends with the Princess deciding that she doesn't want to get married after all because her Prince is kind of a jackass. I read it to Emma the night I babysat and dude, the ending? Totally flipped her out. She couldn't BELIEVE that they didn't get married. It's so funny, because you don't realize how ingrained that is even with a five year old! Every fairy tale and book a little girl reads ends with that line -- and they got married and lived happily ever after -- and when this one didn't, she didn't know what to make of it! She had the funniest, most perplexed look on her little face and kept saying things like, "But Jessie, when do they get married?" no matter how many times I explained to her that Prince Ronald wasn't nice enough to Princess Elizabeth and she was happier without him.

I'm not sure if she really liked the book, but she did ask for me to read it to her again when she went to bed, so I guess that's a good sign. I will make a little feminist out of her yet!

Ooh, must dash. I have a candle party to attend. Don't you love social gatherings where you're forced to buy things?
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Have not written in here for a few days, which always makes me antsy and thusly I am forced to write an entry even though I have nothing really interesting to say. Though, come to think of it, I don't think that's ever stopped me before, even when I'm updating upwards of three times a day. Anyhoo.

I've returned to my traditional summer pattern. My life is defined by Mets games and Soapnet, with occasional babysitting jobs and evenings out with friends breaking up the monotony. Though it's pretty sad that I don't find my life that monotonous while living it, only when I look back in retrospect and realize while watching Mets Inside Pitch that I have watched all or most of all of the games highlighted and realize what a loser I am. Oh well. Don't care that much.

I babysat Emma again yesterday and took her to the country club to go swimming. Babysitting Emma is fun; it's like reliving childhood, but with all the cool toys. She has, like, practically the whole series of Fisher Price large play stations (I particularly enjoy the hardware one) and one of those cool little red cars you run by using your feet a la Fred Flintstone and more stuffed animals and dolls than you can imagine and...okay, I swear I'm not fixated on a five year old's belongings. Really, I'm not. I don't look at her super cool Pooh Sprinkler with the little blue tubes with plastic bees on the end that spurt out water (the tubes, not the little plastic bees) so that the sprinkler looks like Pooh's got a honey pot with bees flying around it in its lap and (some would say bitterly, I try to think nostalgically) recall the half-broken white plastic and metal sprinkler that my brother and I used all summer, every summer, that had four little grates that sprayed out water, one of which was broken, so that in the end we usually just chased each other around with the hose.

Anyway! In a lot of ways Emma seems to have the charmed existence I wished for as a little kid. She gets to go to the country club and swim at this huge pool and she can just go up to the concession stand and order ANYTHING SHE WANTS because it just goes on her account! No money changes hands! They don't even ACCEPT money! Businesses that don't accept money are right up my alley, but sadly they are few and far between.

Honestly, I'm not really bitter about not having as a child all the cool things she does -- I'm just jazzed that I get to hang out with her and finally experience them, even if they are all coming about fifteen years too late. And so I like playing with all of her cool toys and going to the country club, even if while I'm there, I always feel like they're going to discover my status as an unemployed, pathetic college graduate whose father taught her to steal motel towels while on vacation, and kick me out for Not Fitting In. But I just try to attach my most carefree "Whateva!" attitude before getting out of the car at such tony establishments and hope for the best.

It doesn't always work, of course. Yesterday Emma and I got lost -- not on our way to the place (though, actually, I did miss the turn and had to turn around on the way there), but after we had arrived and parked. We ended up wandering around aimlessly around the parking lot, past parts of the golf course, and ultimately into the club restaurant to get directions, her in an adorable little sundress with watermelons on it and matching flip flops; me wearing just my bathing suit and my Most Ghetto Old Black Shorts (complete with an elastic waist). After we got directions and walked down this long road to the pool, we discovered that there was another parking lot right next to it, and our long-ass walk past several golfing parties was completely unnecessary. But then again, I would hate to deprive anyone the sight of flabby, pasty Jess in her bathing suit.

We arrived at the pool and fun was had cavorting around the pool. We avoided any violent altercations with other children over possession of kickboards, toy boats, etc., and there were no drowning or near-drowning incidents, so the swimming was a success. The leaving? Not so much.

On my way out, after avoiding discovery as a Non Country Club Chick, I was walking with Em a few feet in front of me when all of a sudden I hit this slick patch on the floor. I was surrounded with oh, ten to twelve people waiting in line for their food at the cool concession stand that refuses to take money, and rather unceremoniously (and despite all of my efforts not to) took a righteous fall on my ass in front of all of them. It was one of those full-on, long-lasting falls, where you waver for a few seconds all "Who-oo--aaah--ooohh!" until suddenly, you go down with a tremendous crash and, when not in the company of small children, a long string of curses that would make a sailor blush. I just lay there for a minute, dazed, until I realized that Emma, since she was in front of me, was not aware of my nose dive and was just continuing on her merry way to the parking lot. I ended up scrambling up off of the ground while hollering "Emma!" a la Stanley Kolwalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. It was all quite dramatic and mondo embarrassing, and now my right shoulder is killing me because I caught myself with that arm.

Tomorrow I get to babysit again and I think my aunt will want me to take Emmers to the country club to go in the pool again. Which is all fine and good, except for the part where I'll have to show my face and pasty white thighs again. Such is life!

Mets time. Hope everyone's having a righteous Sunday.*

*Righteous has suddenly become my new favorite word. Like, suddenly as in within the last few minutes, during the space of writing this entry. Righteous! Just another random fact about/from yours truly that you didn't really need (or want) to know.
fearlesstemp: (Default)
Was netless for a few days and did not die. Didn't even suffer any visible permanent damage, which was a surprise. I did snarl to my brother tonight that I was going to go online, Goddammit, and there was nothing he could do to stop me.

Spent a good part of Sunday and almost all of Monday babysitting, and this is the part of the LJ entry where you would get The Obligatory Babysitting Anecdotes but since I'm tired, you all will be spared and I will simply briefly list the experience's more remarkable moments:

(1) When Ari, the four-year-old autistic boy next door, decided to sneak out of his house, freak out his mom, and run through Emma's sprinkler with us. After which he decided to strip off his clothes and run around naked, freaking Emma out and upsetting his mother. Ari's mom ran next door to get a bathing suit and left me alone with Emma The Mildly Freaked Out, who walked around big-eyed and off-kilter, and Ari The Nude And Suddenly Adventurous, who investigated the nude back porch, slide, swing set, and sandbox experiences. It was wackiness all around!

(2) The time I was play-fighting with her and she looked up and, completely serious, said "You want a piece of me?"

Look! You guys are getting off with only two boring anecdotes! Lucky.

Went to a movie and an early dinner with my grandmother today, which was big fun, except for the part where I felt like a jerk because she wouldn't let me pay for anything. I asked her to go! It was my idea! And then she wouldn't let me pay for anything! I may be mad po', but I can afford a matinee and early dinner out with my Nana. I went home and chilled for about forty minutes and then my grandfather called me because he needed help with one of his phones, so I went down there and spent a good part of my evening at his house. It's so funny -- it's always cool helping out older relatives with their Massive Technological Problems because they are usually as complex as the one I faced today: A phone that would not work because someone had unplugged it from the jack. Afterwards I got drafted into doing some gardening work in the backyard, where my grandfather went from Extremely Grateful Grandpa ("Thank you so much. I'm so glad you came. This garden hasn't seen a gardner as good looking as you in years!") to Frustrated Gardening Guru ("Not like THAT, don't be dainty, just shake the dirt out...no, No, NO, give me the rake, I'll do it myself!") in approximately 2.6 seconds. But it was fun.

In other news: My Soapnet addiction has gotten so powerful that I actually taped Sisters today. Also, have been completely sucked into the new USA series The Dead Zone (I want mental superpowers! Minus the six-year coma to get them, of course.) and Mysterious Ways on PAX. I keep trying to break my Mysterious Ways habit, but no dice. Ditto with Mutant X.*

*Speaking of Mutant X, I have become weirdly fascinated with the show and am, well, kind of dying to read good fanfiction about it, if there's any out there. I can't help it! There are people with superpowers cavorting about! I can't resist! So, you know, if anyone out there can help me out, I'd be eternally grateful.

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February 2009

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