From an email to Becca as I sat in my old JUF office on March 10, 2005:

This exchange seriously just happened.

Allen (large man, same green sweatshirt and dark sunglasses every day).
Random woman (well-dressed, limping down the hall.)

Allen: What happened to your leg?
RW: Oh, my foot’s asleep.
Allen: Well. Glad it’s just that and nothing more serious.

Cracking the crust

Finally some peace.

It took five weeks. Finally. I’m relaxed. I definitely still have anxious thoughts, and my mind still cycles through possible futures at an alarming rate. But I’m not constantly feeling chased, or like I’m missing something or falling behind in a race. And I can’t even put my finger on what finally did it. It may have been the $3 margaritas at Chili’s, or the loose and playful show on Friday, or the road trip to the world’s first McDonalds. It may have been walking in the rain, or seranading Jeff with “Stay” on a busy downtown sidewalk. Maybe it was cheesecake at midnight, or brunch with Amanda (I cried; I’d missed her). Maybe it’s right now, alone in my kitchen with a beer, a pint of brownie ice cream and a cheap frozen pizza.

45 minutes later: Am I drunk? I have had ONE beer. Regardless, this revelation appeared as if from the gods as I cut my pizza, now baked at a perfect 400 degrees, into slices. If you cut the pizza with a knife like you’d cut a sandwich, saw saw saw, into the pizza, you will get very little result. You will get crumbs, you will get heartache, you will get a slasher pizza, the one that Freddy Kreuger made for you. If you first CRACK THE CRUST with the knife and go IN instead of slash slash slash to the crust, you get a slice looking like you wanted it. SO. I propose that this is a metaphor for life. And that somehow, I need to crack the crust of this thing. Because damn. I should not have to work so hard for my damn slice. I am constantly battling, and there must be an easier way.

The sky is falling

There are people fixing my roof. I found this out at 9 a.m. on Monday morning when large chunks of debris began falling past my window amid a loud, repetitive pounding. And then I saw the shadows of the people on those little boards suspended from ropes. And Jeff quickly got up and shut the blinds.

But I definitely realize what an awesome luxury it is to feel like 9 a.m. on a Monday constitutes a rude awakening.


“A young lady, known as the non-trimmer, she lives at the corner house of Blackstone. Today she was out, finally trimming her bushes. She looked very suspicious, because we were just talking about that early this morning.”

— excerpt from “spy journal” dated July 11th, found on yellowed “to-do list” pad. Author was probably in the 3rd grade, either me, Lisa or Christina

I barely remember what you look like

My family is big on having pictures of each other everywhere, all over the house, maybe in case anyone forgets what anyone looks like in a freak flash of amnesia on some idle Tuesday. My sisters and I spent about an hour taking self-indulgent but (in my biased opinion) adorable photos in the backyard, with our dad as our photographer, so we’d have something recent.

They are here. Some are sideways because I am lame. And there are a lot of them.

Buffalo road

My Italian grandmother cooked me some pasta with marinara sauce, baked eggplant, salad and apple kuchen. I had just come from lunch with my mother, so I wasn’t very hungry. So I sat there at the kitchen table and planned out, in my mind, how I would go about accomplishing the task of eating all that food. I figured I could eat all of the pasta, about half of the salad and one piece of kuchen. As I ate, we talked about how my cousins were doing (professional atheletes and models, they all seem to be), how she’s been invited to a half-dozen picnics, for which she feels obligated to cook large amounts of food, etc.

After I ate the pasta, and to take a break before dessert, I demonstrated the idea of an improv show to her. I told her it was like Saturday Night Live, but we didn’t write it out beforehand. I showed this by springing up from my chair, pantomiming and explaining concepts like the back line, two people doing a scene, etc. I suddenly felt a huge desire to have someone, anyone, understand what I do all the time.

After a 5-minute, breathless presentation (wherein my example scene was an Irish grandmother and her four year-old daughter baking apple pie — I played all the characters, briefly), it honestly looked like she really got it.

She also showed me something she’d picked up on the street “and washed real good,” a piece of fabric with a little loop for hanging, like maybe from a rearview mirror. It said, “The road to a friend’s house is never long.” She repeated this phrase over and over, holding up the little white embroidered square and bobbing it up and down for emphasis. She wants us all to visit more often.

Before I left, she explained to Seymour, the nice Jewish man she lives with, that I did improv. And she explained how we act, but without a script, and we play different characters. Success!