About Amanda

I’m a disgruntled Metro-North commuter by morning, real estate journalist by day, insomniac by night, and cancer butt-kicker for life.

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On Spouting Nonsense

A Writer’s Book of Days (09/01) – “Even the lightning spoke well of them” (after W.S. Merwin)

I’ve reread the writing prompt six times now, and each time I’m more baffled than the one before. I finally looked up the poem, “The Broken,” and I can’t decide if it’s about spiders or about clouds. Perhaps it’s about both.

Reading intensely into others’ writing was never my forte. Metaphors and deeper meanings often go straight over my head, a weakness that impacted my overall performance in the critical reading class I was required to take in college. My professor was a poet and novelist, and my papers were mostly returned covered in red ink, implying I didn’t fully understand what Maya Angelou or Salman Rushdie was trying to say. “You take things too literally,” she told me. I was trying my hardest, yet  the steady stream of Bs and Cs deflated me.

The next poem we read was about New York City. I don’t remember what it was about, but I decided to spout some nonsense about it in the related paper. It took me all of five minutes, unlike my carefully crafted papers preceding it.  The words that flowed from my pen were utter fluff. One bit I wrote went something like this: “The subway is Manhattan’s lifeblood, pumping through the veins of the dark tunnels, and the commuters are the cells. New York City would die without them.” I groaned. My head hurt. I wanted to gag myself with my Papermate. I didn’t believe a word of what I was writing.

The next day, she placed the paper in front of me on my desk. The bright, red ink across the paper screamed, “YES! YES! YES! I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT. ”

I finally received an A+.

I hated what I wrote, and I was rewarded for it.

One Step Closer to a Padded Room

I’m fairly sure the universe is having fun at my expense. Heat still not fixed, as a pipe to boiler did wind up breaking due to ice (luckily, fixable). Plumber told me to put heater down in basement to thaw the rest of the ice, and while I was searching for a place to put the cord, I whacked my head in the same part of the basement I did a few days ago. Except this time, I drew blood. So I went up to the bathroom to clean my bleeding scalp, and as I raised my arm to dab my head with antiseptic, the underwire in my bra snapped, giving me a nice little puncture wound.

Anyone know where I can order an inexpensive human bubble?

Bingo Reading Challenge

One of the biggest disappointments from my first 100 in 1,001 list is how few books I read, considering I was once a voracious reader. Life has certainly gotten in the way, as well as a lack of a commute. (You’d be surprised how many  books I’d finished in LIRR delays.)

Yesterday, my friend Tara found the Retreat by Random House Reading Bingo Challenge, which encourages you to fill out lines—or even whole cards—of reading challenges like “A book with 500 or more pages” or “A ‘classic’ YA book” by the end of the year. I’m quite intrigued and joined a Facebook group Tara set up for people who want to participate. I’d like to fill out at least one card this year—that’s 25 books—with one book only filling one square. Then maybe I won’t feel so ashamed when Heather from I Haz A Choo Choo Train Problem announces how many books she’s finished by the end of the year. (Which was 85 in 2013, by the way. Eighty. Five.)

So We Followed All The Cold-Weather Advice…

One of them being keeping the faucets running to avoid having pipes freeze. Well, this is what we came home to tonight in the kitchen:



So Alex is now attacking the kitchen sink and washing machine pipes with his heat gun. The good news is that we should have the oil burner up and running tomorrow to help us ride out the remainder of winter. Even if we keep the thermostat at 55°, it will still feel like a heat wave!

A Forgotten Treasure Chest

When cleaning out my mom’s house of all my stuff, I found a box that was packed away long ago. And forgotten. Judging by its contents, I likely packed it before I left for college in 2001. Unpacking it has been like revisiting old friends (except they’re non-stalkable on Facebook). Books, stuffed animals, knickknacks. I didn’t know the box even existed. Once in a while I’d think of something that was in the box, wondering what happened to it. Did I give it away to charity? Sell it in a garage sale? Lend it to a friend? I never connected the dots that they’d all might be together somewhere.

There were boxes in that storage area that were even older—some from our original move in 1992. I found toys I hadn’t seen in years, including a wooden puppet stage I once had. I’m itchy to see what else will be recovered over the next few weeks.

At the rate we’re going, I’m hoping that the boxes we’ve moved to Ossining don’t get unpacked for another 13 years. Yikes!