Thursday, July 28, 2005

Step right up for new tricks!

In case you were wondering, the Pea has perfected the following new tricks:

1. Folding her lips in and popping her mouth open repeatedly. I call it "The Lil Old Man chewing gum" trick.

2. Walking while holding onto only one of my fingers. I love this trick. It keeps my back from threatening to snap in half.

3. Growing a top tooth! Ow!

4. The complicated stomach-to-sitting maneuver. She had already mastered the reverse process.

5. Signing for "more," which she had previously confused with clapping.

God, babies are cool.

Movin' on over

So I'm moving. Off I go. See? I just moved. I had to, because typing requires movement of the fingular bits. That sounds dirty. Let me start over.

So I'm moving. I packed most of my belongings last night and can make a fairly accurate pie chart to display their make-up, but since I don't know how to do such magic on the computer, nor would I know how to load it here, I will bore you with the details thusly:

68% books
10% notebooks/journals
5% arty stuff (prints/canvases/paints)

What's 8 plus five? I'm at 83%? I suppose that leaves:
6% doodads and whatnots
11% clothes
One of my new roomies is in the Simmons teaching program to become a Math teacher. Maybe she'll show me how to make a pie chart on the computer. Boy, then my life would be complete.
I packed last night, you'll note, even though I move on Monday. If you don't know me you may think this is excellent planning and forethought. If you DO know me, you know that it's fairly last minute considering I have the Sinstitute/Imposium to attend, starting tonight and ending sometime on Sunday.
This is VERY exciting, not only because I may get to grope Tobin Anderson in person, but also because I will most assuredly be able to grope Dylan in person. And hang the hell out with the fabulous j to the Lizzo.
And Tina's coming into town.
And then my head will explode from happiness and stress.
I promise to send along my new address and phone to all worthy parties. I promise I won't force you to call my parents or my former roommate to sleuth out this information. My parents and former roommates are sick of such calls, I assure you, and I do not wish them further frustration.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Saaaarah, nooo time is a gooood time for goodbyeeee...

Sigh. I hope she stays forevor. And I will love her and hug her and name her George.

Small update:

Life has been very busy these days. Between Meera's GORGE-O wedding and Sarah's in-townness, there is much to do and see and talk about. It's so nice to have Sarah around. We both get to talk about things we don't get to talk about. And we've done nice, relaxing, Bostony things, like eating at Trident, walking along Newbury, looking for bunnies at the Arboretum (saw one!), watching Home Movies at Dana's, talking to Bloomers... Today we may hit some museums, and then the world will be perfect.

I also went ice skating last night with Norah the Fabulous. Two big spills, mostly unhurt. I love that moment when the awkwardness falls away and my body moves how it should. I got there. Before the second spill, that is.

Did I mention that I'm on vacation from Pea? I miss that baby. She's a little bit mine, y'know? She'll be bursting with new tricks when she gets back. I'm so sad that I'm not there to see them as they come. I miss her face, her fangs, her poopy diapers, her fake-crying. Sigh. My Pea.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Every day, Pea and I pass mirrors. Sometimes I'm holding her, sometimes she's walking and gripping my fingers, sometimes we're strolling. Every time, I m make eye contact with her and she laughs and laughs, or smiles at her reflection and reaches to touch it. And in those moments I don't want to look away from her, fearing that I'll accidentally see myself. When I do, I quickly shoot my gaze back down to her, and try not to say it out loud, but I think it every time: Don't grow up like I did, Pea. Don't be like me.

Most days I don't even notice this happening. I need to notice, and I need to stop it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

This entry has a rating of MA for language. Mature audiences only.

Finally, it happened. And not as I imagined.

There I was, goying it up with my chicken quesadilla at Anna’s, the Pea patiently allowing me to hand-feed her crumbs of these cheesy soy puff thingies, minding my own damn business. The baby loved the crowded restaurant, looking at the people, the Mediterranean chandeliers, the music… I followed her wide-eyed stares around the room, and spotted the thick black hair, fleur de lis facial hair, impossibly long eyelashes, familiar purple backpack that had spent many nights on my bedroom floor. Stefan.

His back to me, I prayed that if I just ate my food, helped the Pea, he would get his damn lunch without noticing me. I couldn’t believe my racing heart and shaking hands, the flush in my cheeks, throat too tight to swallow any more food. I prayed, please don’t notice me, please DO notice me, please… something happen. Maybe I could get out without him noticing. Yeah, be proactive, take charge. Or I could dig out Pea’s blanket and put it over my head and the whole world could disappear.

“Jo!” Who, me? “Jo! Hi!”

He left his place in the long line to walk over to me, arms outstretched, smiling eagerly.

“How are you?” He bent to hug me and I briefly considered standing to make it easier, rejected the thought, trying to feel a little angry. Let’s keep this short, sir.

“Hi Stef.”

“Mind if I sit?”

“Oh… sure… go ahead.”

\The Pea looked at him, expressionless but steadfast.

“Pea, meet Stefan. Stefan, this is Little Pea.”

“Nice to meet you! Oh aren’t you a cutie!”

“She’s perfect,” what I usually say to people she charms, because I don’t know what nannies are supposed to say.

“God, look at those eyes,” he said.

“I know. She’s so sweet.”

“So…” Stefan turned his full attention, intense eyes, whole body leaning in, “How are you?”

“Oh, y’know. I’m okay.”

“Yeah, what are you up to?”

“I mean… yeah, just hanging out with Pea, really.”

“Cool…” He gently played with her fingers, mimicking her small slapping of the table. She smiled and giggled. Apparently she is not ready to be released into the wild, considering she can’t smell this shark in the water. I had to get rid of him. And ignore the compulsion to keep him there as long as possible, to confess his undying love, that he made a huge mistake, that he dreams of me at night…

“So, what about you, Stef? Still working at the same place?”

“Yeah, still working there,” he said, with a slight roll of the eyes.

“That good?”

We chuckled like old friends. I realized how relaxed I must seem to him, calmly feeding the baby, idly chatting. When could I tell him I’m still dismantled?

“So, how are you?” he asked again. What did he want to know? I couldn’t think of anything else to say.

“I’m fine. Are you still in Somerville?”

“No, actually, North Brighton.”


“Yeah, remember my roommate’s boyfriend who dealt coke?”

We lapsed into smalltalk about moving, the baby’s unbearable cuteness, neither of us having the balls to ask the other about possible relationships. I couldn’t make myself ask, “So, did she smoke up with you? Was that it? She was skinny, right? Latina, maybe? Orders her burritos in Spanish like you?”

Stef excused himself to order lunch for the guys at work. I turned all of my attention to Pea, who celebrated her latest charm victory with giggles and enthusiastic grabbing of my forearm. (I have scratches today as proof of her giddiness.) I tried to eat more, managed a few bites, pushed the food away at last and pulled the Pea out of her chair. She kept the cuteness coming, laughing, smushing her face against mine, cuddling. I thought for a second that if I took my time getting ready to leave, we could run into him again, talk a little more, about the weather, his family, anything. Just one more little moment…

I felt suddenly sick. Disgusted with my own loneliness, I decided to hurry instead. Of course, the Laws of Nannyhood state, in Article 6 Section B, that, “All efforts to hurry are futile and will be stymied, as well as resulting in an extra ten minutes of fury and frustration to whatever time the original maneuver would have taken. And the child will scream.”

By some miracle, we managed to get out the door undetected. We made it to the crosswalk, in fact, before the door chimed and Stefan yelled, “Hey! Hey Jo!”

Why did he do this? What was left to say?

“It was good to see you,” he said, keeping eye contact. “And to meet you,” he finally said to Pea, tickling her feet.

Then I turned into Crazy Nanny, and did this creepy ventriloquist act with the baby: “Say ‘bye,’ Little Pea. ‘Bye bye.’”

Stefan came at me with wide-open arms again. He gave me a real hug, pulling me close and tight. I made an effort not to sniff him, and returned to the same pit of self-hatred for missing him.

While he fiddled with his bike, and I gently chided him for riding a bike with eleven burritos in tow, I began to feel the words coming. By the time he crossed the street and Pea and I strolled down a parallel street, I wondered if I could race to catch up with him. I wondered if he’d hear me if I screamed from where I stood.

What you did was AWFUL! You hurtme! God, you ripped me apart! I know there’s no good way, but yours was the worst way… Do you still fuck that girl? She should be having your goddamn children—maybe, just maybe, that would justify the way you flushed me out of your life. You hurt me! If you ever see me again, don’t talk to me. Don’t touch me. And keep your damn hands off this baby! You HURT ME!! You KNOW I don’t need any more reasons to hate myself. You fucker. You goddamn asshole motherfucker.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Apartment. Money. Brothers. Shane. Money. Insomnia.

And today, Stefan walked into Anna's. I thought he wouldn't see me, but he did. He walked right over. More on that particular catastrophe later.

Can't wait to see Sarah...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

4th of July: a discussion in two parts

Part 1: In which JoBiv details her adventures on the Fourth of July

It occurred to me, after three days of curling myself into a ball on the couch, that I should celebrate Independence Day with some show of independence. And so I kicked myself out of my apartment... after watching Never Say Never, Connery's last appearance as James Bond. (Couldn't resist.)

Out I went into the world, with a sketchy plan in mind. I'm proud to say I hit all of my goals. I wandered thusly:

1. To Macy's and Filene's, where I bought sale-priced sunglasses and wallet respectively.

2. To Quincy Market, where I watched street performers and enjoyed the company of tourists.

3. To the Long Wharf, where I finished a book and gazed out at the water, all the boats, the planes landing... so lovely.

4. Back to Quincy Market for a kielbasa (yum) after which I ran into Beverlay, the 74 yr old soprano from our community choir. She talked to me for a while about very random things, and I showed her the stair-less way to get to Washington street so she could buy an all-beef hotdog from a street vendor.

5. Onward to the Esplinade, where I managed to walk, without having a panic attack, among thousands and thousands of people. Holy crap. At which point, my mind was made up to...

6. T to Summit Ave (on the B line, because the grade is gentler), where I commenced a leisurely walk up to Corey Hill Park, which was also overrun with people. I waited there for 45 minutes or more, making idle chitchat with neighbors, ooh-ing and ahh-ing, trying to ignore the sudden appearance of a guy I made out with last fall who stood RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME fondling his girlfriend and turning to look at me every once in a while. Ick. He did not ruin my night, despite his efforts.

7. To my apartment, down the hill, calves aching, feet a'blisterin', to catch the end of a dismal Sox game. Another Foulke-up.

Part 2: In which JoBiv wonders about patriotism


Patriotism. Yes. I mean to say, I feel like it's been stolen from me. Why do I feel hesistant on patriotic holidays? Why don't I don some red, white and blue? I tell myself that I think it's a bit tacky, but really, I'm afraid to show patriotism.

Meera asked me, very out of the blue, how I felt about our nation's flag. I was glad she asked because it's been bothering me. Ever since 9/11, when I was in Ireland and my family gave me bulletins about the goings-on at the homefront, I have felt alienated from the flag-worshipers of the United States. This sensation only grew sharper during the elections.

I told Meera and Ross about this moment I had in a car somewhere. We were behind a truck with a big flag sticker on its back window, and I felt this worried, distrustful clenching in my heart, and all at once I realized it was the same feeling I get when I see a truck with a big ol' confederate flag. Distrust, fear, maybe a little disgust.

The thing is, I feel like the flag has been stolen by conservatives, like liberals aren't ALLOWED to raise a flag in support of the country, because that would actually be misconstrued as support for Bush, war, big business, pollution, "No Child Left Behind" (ugh... don't let me get started on that), book banning... the list goes on. How completely unjust is it that I can't own a positive meaning for the United States' flag? How is it that MY flag can't stand for my belief that democracy should give every person a voice? That democracy gives us the right to dissent, that it gives us the chance to share this huge nation's incredible wealth among those who need it, that it gives us the power to use all of our intelligence and resource to find peaceful solutions?

And really, how unfair is it to conservatives that the symbol connotes such strong negativity? I don't know how that happened, and I don't like it. I want to believe that my political point of view allows room for other points of view, but every time I see that big ol' flag in a truck window, or a "Support our troops" magnet, or any other symbol like these, I swear I can actually feel my mind narrowing.

So yesterday's wanderings stemmed from a conscious attempt to feel better about patriotism, to convince myself that I should be allowed to call myself patriot. There was a time when I thought I would live in Europe for the rest of my life, because so much of what happens in this country angers me. If I lived abroad, I could judge wherever I lived and not blame myself for its shortcomings.

When Meera and I went to hear Marjane Satrapi speak, she said something that reminded me of why I chose to live in the states, in Boston. Someone asked her if she would ever want to move back to Iran. She said something like, "I WANT to. I want to more than anything. Iran is my country, and I love it, and I wish it was possible for me to live there. As soon as it is, I will return." Of course, she said it in her way, which was beautiful and intelligent and SO impressive for a woman who learned English as a third or fourth or fifth language. My point is, this woman, who knows she would be murdered as soon as she set foot in her home country, who has had the chance to live abroad and live home again... She would choose home.

I can't exactly compare myself to Marjane Satrapi; her situation is much more complex than mine. I mean only to say that she embodies what I think a true patriot can be: a person who has confronted the worst of what her country can be, and still loves it enough to believe it is capable of something better.

Can I be that?