Albrecht Dürer

February 26, 2009

In my last two years of high school I was on the Academic League team. Our activities included traveling to other local high schools’ libraries and engaging in quiz show-style competitions after school while other kids were out playing sports and stuff in the fresh Southern California sunshine. In my senior year I was the captain of the team.

In one of the matches towards the end of my junior year we traveled to the recently-built high school in the upscale suburb east of town. I became furious and curious midway through the match because a handsome young man on the opposing team buzzed in before I could answer a question. The answer was “Albrecht Dürer.”

He had straight black hair that was short in back and floppy in front. He wore glasses and a Smiths t-shirt. My crush on him was instant.

Oddly enough, although we went to different high schools, Jon and I ended up sort of dating, although we didn’t meet until a few months later. I didn’t know it for what it was at the time, but looking back on it, I realize that’s what it was. We spent time in the summer of 1995 driving around suburban San Diego in his frigidly air-conditioned car and being awkward with each other. He went on vacation to Hong Kong and sent me a series of suggestively-worded postcards. But things quickly fizzled out, probably because we were both inexperienced and didn’t know what we were supposed to do next. We never even kissed.

The 1990s have been on my mind a lot lately.

I’ve had the song “Ringo, I Love You” by Stereo Total in my head since Saturday afternoon, and IT HAS GOT TO STOP. It’s a great song but I really really really wish it would stop.

It started on Saturday because I realized after I had gotten dressed to go out for an afternoon with Cathleen that I was wearing exactly what I would have worn when I was in college – a buttoned vintage shirt vaguely cowboy in style but with floral fabric, a cardigan sweater, and jeans. I was feeling a bit nostalgic after realizing that and spent the rest of the day listening to the songs I listened to in the mid-late 90s. Of course, there were a lot of Stereo Total songs in the mix.

A few seconds spent Googling tells me this song was actually first recorded by Cher in 1964 under the pseudonym Bonnie Jo Mason. It was her first single, and Phil Spector produced it. Oh my goodness, this is fantastic:

(Though I prefer Stereo Total’s cover, in the end.)


February 20, 2009

My rapidly developing – it started last night – current style crush:




Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra, 1963

I Fell In Love Last Night

February 19, 2009


These are the songs I’ve been listening to over and over again the past months.

(download via Sendspace or stream online in two parts on 8tracks, Part 1 and Part 2.)

Track listing:

1. I Fell In Love Last Night / Heavenly
2. Maybe It’s Better / Whorl
3. Emma’s House / The Field Mice
4. I Dreamt That Love Was A Crime / The Foxgloves
5. When You Come Around / The Saturday People
6. You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice / Sportique
7. The Kids Are All Gay / The Young Untold
8. Everything With You / The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
9. Unrested / Que Possum
10. You Should All Be Murdered / Another Sunny Day
11. I Felt Your Shape / The Microphones
12. The Statue / The Go-Betweens
13. Mission Bells / The Aislers Set
14. Secret Place / The Clean
15. Brand-new-life / The Pines
16. Love My Jean (Peel Sessions) / Camera Obscura

I guess I felt very lonely

February 13, 2009

Because apparently I wish to feel embarrassed, here I present excerpts from the journal I kept on my vacation to Hungary last year, in which my narrative voice sounds far too similar to an over-privileged 19th century Englishwoman fretting while on holiday in Italy with her stuffy aunt.

June 6, 2008

Arrived in Budapest this morning. After showering and dressing at the hostel I set out, with the intent to see the Danube and explore the Belvaros section of town. Within 20 minutes a Lebanese man asked to buy me a drink. I declined.
I just saw the Holy Right Hand at St. Stephen’s Basilica. It’s a beautiful church, but the relic is gruesome. I wanted to buy a postcard but the trinket shop was closet.
It is very humbling to be alone in a city, not able to speak the language. I have been relying on smiles to get me through this afternoon.
I don’t know if I’m just tired or what, but I feel myself teetering on the edge of panic about being alone. As this is only the first day, I have quite a number of solitary days ahead of me. I started walking after going to a museum and having coffee, and I just intended to walk and wander and walk, but then a bird shat on my sleeve when I went to lean against a building to consult my map. So I went back to the hostel to clean it off and then, against my inclination, took an hour-long nap. Now it is evening, and I am waiting for the sun to go down so I can walk along the river and see the lights shining from Buda. I’m doing exactly what I would do at OCSC, sitting alone at a bar with a beer. I want to try the famous palinka but am too terrified to order it because of the language barrier. Thus far, Pest seems much smaller and less of a world-class city than I had expected. But it seems like a great town to walk in – so many of the buildings are absolutely beautiful.
This seems like a really important time in my life to learn how to be alone, so I want to tell myself, “What better place to learn than on vacation in Eastern Europe?”

June 8, 2008

Today is my birthday, and I feel much calmer today about being alone, though I have had two moments of panic about missing my girls.

June 10, 2008

I was right in choosing to spend my last two nights at a hotel. I forgot how much I like being alone at a hotel, holing up in my room in my underwear, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer while reading a book and listening to BBC World on the television, and then spending too much on drinks and dinner at the hotel restaurant. I knew I would be tired of tramping all over town pinching pennies, so now I am letting it all hang out and just secluding myself. I will not feel guilty. Enjoying a hotel, regardless of location, is a time-honored leisure activity. It is delightful to sit on the hotel terrace waiting for dinner to arrive – I can see the apartment blocks of Pest across the river, and there is one of the bridges immediately within view across the street, and the trams are going by. Tomorrow I will spend a bit of time walking around this part of Buda, and then I will spend time taking the waters at the spa, and then I will drink and eat too much again, and then the next day I will fly home – HOME! again to the U.S.A. Of course it will only be NYC and not my real home with my daughters and my friends again, but still, how amazing it will be to just be a mobile phone call or text message away from all who are dear to me again. I like traveling, and I am glad to be in Hungary, but I have trouble with the solitude. I have been taking this as a learning experience, and I truly do hope I have learned something from being so alone.

Smiling is easy

February 12, 2009


The past few days have been very grey for me, for reasons beyond my control. To get through the rest of February I just need to maintain my patience. Nevertheless, I’ve been finding I’m easy with my smiles lately despite the cloudy weather inside. Personal interactions, even of the workaday sort, are so much better with genuine smiles.

I found this photo yesterday while looking for something. Cathleen took the picture. I believe it was in May of last year. The summer coming seemed so promising. And truly I had the time of my life. I’ve been a very lucky girl this past year.

I’m going to smile even more now. Smiling is easy.

Number two

February 5, 2009

I discovered my second grey hair today, three years after I found my first. The second one is in my eyebrow. This is not what I was expecting.