The following are sample Facebook statuses (stati?) that I could have posted yesterday and today:

Sylvia wishes the technology support specialist would speak directly into his headset so that he would be at least audible if not intelligible.

Sylvia suspects that companies open technology support call centers overseas and select applicants based on thickness of accent and lack of listening skills so that customers will give up in blinding, seething, blood-curdling frustration before the company actually has to help them.

Sylvia will refrain from describing how she feels about a particular spyware removal application.

Sylvia has just spent eight hours taking two steps backward.

Sylvia would love to spend the next two days far, far, far away from anything that looks like any sort of electronic device.


So this site was broken for a couple of days (thanks to VM[?]D for the repairs!) and I couldn’t post anything, which was unfortunate, since my last entry was pretty negative and I don’t like having negative posts at the top of my journal for long. I’ve found that the more vehement I am, the less reasonable I am, and I suspect that when I write out of anger I generally betray more ignorance than understanding of whatever it is I’m ranting about. Which is not to say that I would retract Friday’s post; the things I wrote about still have me pretty bugged. But for sanity’s sake it’s important for me to keep things positive, á la Jeffrey R. Holland’s April 2007 General Conference address.

And there’s plenty to be positive about. A delightful friend visited this weekend; my shopping genius roommate J_H proved once again that her mad skillz extend far beyond the retail world (three words: banana Oreo milkshakes); I’ve been able to take more steps toward establishing a college application essay editing business thanks to a few good friends (lacking a business acumen myself I’ve had no idea where to begin); yet another wonderful friend helped me feel better yesterday when I was sad; today is a perfect soup-and-hot-chocolate day; the trees are blossoming; I live in the era of Allegra and other effective allergy medications (I shudder to think of my miserable, itching, sneezing, swollen-eyed fate had my days been in an earlier time). Oh, and there’s the whole gospel thing, which has made me feel better for the past few months than I’ve felt in the past two decades. I’m really grateful to God for helping me overcome obstacles I formerly thought completely insurmountable, and in so doing helping me develop the faith that I will be able to overcome even the obstacles that still feel overwhelming sometimes.


So apparently I’m going to get a nice tax rebate sometime very soon – with the idea that I will immediately go out and boost the economy by spending it. At least the President is admitting that the money should go toward necessities like food and gas, instead of just indicating (as he has in the past) that the first thing any good red-blooded American does with a little spare cash is blow it on, you know, whatever. It seems to me that lots of folks doing just that and living beyond their means is part of what got us into this mess in the first place. But I think I’m supposed to be so distracted by a few hundred dollars that I’ll forget about that, as well as about some of the actions of this administration (the Economist has called the Bush years, and I quote, “catastrophic“), and feel undying gratitude to George Dubya for my, like, totally awesome new skirt with matching handbag.

The office

Just thought I’d post a picture of the inhuman conditions I’m forced to work in this afternoon.











In other news, today is Simon Bennett’s birthday*! It’s been four years of delight and loud music and speed and twisty roads and journeys to Arkansas and Vermont and DC and Rhode Island and New Hampshire. I still love him as much as ever and only sometimes wish he had a sixth gear (which became standard on all MINI Coopers in 2007).










Happy four, and many more…

*I suppose that’s technically inaccurate since he was built before I bought him, so maybe I should just say that today is the anniversary of his adoption, but that sounds just a wee bit stilted.

Anniversaire (take two)

I wrote a post earlier today celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday, but apparently I’ve been the unwitting victim of technological mayhem and/or gremlins yet again, so I shall have to hope for success this time:

Happy 444th birthday to William Shakespeare, who I’m sure would have something aesthetically and/or intellectually stunning to say about the occasion, had he not already forsaken this mortal realm for a more eternal one (in which I hope people get to fly, because that would be COOL).

I dare not attempt to impersonate the immortal bard nor his deliciously florid style; I leave that to quicker wits than mine – namely, those of Jeff Brechlin of Potomac Falls, Maryland, who penned this glorious manifestation of pure genius in response to a Washington Post Style Invitational challenge to write instructions in the style of a famous author:

The Hokey Pokey
by W. Shakespeare

O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.
Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke,
A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
To spin! A wilde release from Heavens yoke.
Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
The Hoke, the poke — banish now thy doubt
Verily, I say, ’tis what it’s all about.


The past few days have been really gorgeous here in New England – the kind that you see pictures of in brochures, with cerulean skies, green grass, budding trees, golden-ringlet-curly-haired toddlers uttering cries of delight at dandelions, casual strollers, tens of thousands of people running 26.2 miles all at once, daybreak Revolutionary War reenactments (these are SO cool), and heavens dotted with brightly colored kites. And for me, sunshine on the roof deck. (Where better to read one’s scriptures?)

And Swedish meatballs*. My second-ever batch is baking now. I’m very proud of myself for not spilling the allspice into the bowl this time, but I still have no idea how they’ll turn out, as, unlike with cookies or cakes or other sugary delectables, it’s not advised to taste the mixture before it has spent considerable time in the oven.

*As far as I know, Swedish meatballs are wholly unconnected with New England, spring, and spring in New England. I’m exercising the right to be random.

Update 4/22: Mmmm. Them are some GOOD Swedish meatballs. Deee-licious.

Vanity fair


Dr. Michael Salzhauer, an apparently philanthropic plastic surgeon, has written My Beautiful Mommy, a children’s book meant to reassure little tykes whose mommies are going in for a few improvements. He’s worried about the damage that will be done to the kids’ psyches when they see their mommies wearing bandages for a few days.

He does not seem quite as concerned about the permanent damage that will be done to little boys and girls who see their own mothers succumbing not only to the popular idea of what “pretty” is but also implying that conforming to this impossible and disgusting idea is the only way to be happy. Boys and girls learn right from the beginning that being pretty is the most important thing in the universe; boys learn to reject girls who don’t look a particular way; girls learn that their only value is based on whether they’re thin enough and pretty enough for boys to like. The girls also learn to mistrust their own opinions; the little girl who thinks her mother is “already the prettiest Mommy in the whole wide world!” must be wrong, or her mother wouldn’t need to become “not just different, my dear – prettier!”

What gets me is not just that this book was written. It has also been PUBLISHED. That means that more than one person in the world thinks that this book is a good idea.

I don’t know what else to say.


As I was driving back from Market Basket this afternoon, it occurred to me that, for me, shopping for food is very like shopping for clothes. Likewise, cooking is very like getting dressed.

To wit:

The intricacies of cooking a gourmet meal or putting together a fashionable ensemble are beyond me. I tend to think that cooking/dressing well should be reserved for special occasions (which are few and far between in the sea of quotidian that is my life), so my everyday routine is to do as little as possible. I know that there are some basic items that every kitchen/closet should have, but I don’t know what those basics are (flour? baking powder? black pants? a white shirt?) – let alone how to put them together, and I hardly ever use them anyway, which is weird, since they’re basics. When I’m at the store, I have no idea what to buy because I cannot envision what I will ultimately do with the asparagus except steam it (though I’m haunted by vague images of grilled vegetables bedecked with spices, as seen in women’s magazines) or the long white sweater except wear it with jeans (though I’m haunted by vague images of perfectly accessorized women in long white sweaters, slinky skirts, and gorgeous jewelry, also seen in women’s magazines). As far as originality in the kitchen or the closet, I can imitate something cool once I’ve seen/eaten it, but I rarely come up with something unique myself – I’m always amazed when geniuses like J_H put together things I never would have combined to stunning overall effect (Sour cream in the soup? The blue satin belted shirt with the plaid Catholic schoolgirl skirt? Really?). I tend to stick with a few well-worn and familiar items that are pretty plain, simple, and/or pre-assembled – Trader Joe’s spanakopita, cereal, T-shirts, the long-suffering Skechers that will have to be replaced soon because I have worn them almost every day for four years. And although I have several somewhat exotic ingredients that friends have given me or that I’ve purchased in heady moments (turmeric, eggplant, a yellow sequined scarf, an awesome earring/necklace set), I have no idea what to do with them.

Which is why I requested the services of J_H the shopping and fashion genius this week – I was sick and tired of staring at my closet for ten minutes together without having any idea how to assemble an ensemble with any of the items therein. She showed me so many new ways to combine things that I feel like my wardrobe has more than doubled – even if I wear a T-shirt and jeans, at least I know how to make it interesting.

Now if someone could do that for the kitchen…

‘Tis not requisite…

So the last few weeks have been great, and when I have a string of great weeks I tend to start running faster than I have strength – that is, I stop doing the things that have made those weeks great, expecting, apparently, goodness to keep happening through the power of inertia, even though inertia only works when no outside forces are acting upon the object in motion, and that is never the case in my case.

That’s a very long and indisputably Sylvian (i.e., convoluted) way of saying I’m doing some course-correcting this week. Nothing too major – just a bit of adjusting.


Sometimes when I think back on my life, I remember reeeeeally stupid things I did – to myself, to other people, or just in general. Then I think about the people I spent lots of time around back then – friends, relatives, classmates, roommates. And I feel sorry for them, because boy, was I a dork sometimes.