Friday, December 29, 2006
Usually I hate New Year’s resolutions. Well, actually, I pretty much despise New Year’s. It’s never as much fun as you think it should be, drinks are overpriced and dinners out are prix fix. Plus, living in NYC means that hordes of drunken teenagers will descend and heading anywhere near Times Square will be more unpleasant than it usually is.
But, of all the things wrong with New Years, resolutions are the worst. For the next few weeks my gym will likely be crowded with people who “vow to lose 10 pounds this year” and will hopefully give up in a few weeks so I can go back to running on my favorite treadmill instead of having to wait in line.
That being said, I did once try and make a New Year’s resolution. I tried to be nicer and less judgmental of people I did not know. It lasted until 12:00:02am when Dick Clark’s sidekick came on TV and I turned to Cousin Ado and asked, “Who is that slut?” Well, at least I could go through the rest of the year without trying to keep that resolution – it was clearly a lost cause.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Part I – NEVER USE HOTEL ROOM GLASSES
I used to work for Local Union representing hotel workers. While the job itself was miserable for a variety of reasons, I grew to love the intracacies of the hotel business and was very passionate about my job. The best part of the job was talking to workers in the hotels and learning what really went on behind the scenes. For instance, did you know that many room attendants only have 22 minutes to clean a room and to cut corners, some hotel chains have the room attendants rinse and put back the glasses on the sinks rather than actually cleaning them? I never use the glasses nor do I touch the bedspread. I know too much about the disgusting things that on probably on/in them.
Despite my hotel paranoia, I loved Puerto Rico. Really, what’s not to love? Sun. Beach. Cool Waterfalls. Delicious food. Awesome history. And the ocean.
There is nothing I love more than swimming in the ocean. Something about bobbing in the waves makes me feel relaxed and its hard not to consider just how small and insignificant each person really is when compared to the expanse of the Atlantic. But mostly, its just clean fun, unlike the hotel glasses which are probably filthy.
Part II – PISS OFF
On the first day in Puerto Rico, I relaxed on the beach with my book while Brother and Father went for a swim. It began to rain slightly and I packed up my towels to head inside when I saw Brother and Father coming out of the water with Brother holding his hand. Seems that they had been playing in the water when Brother had seen what he thought was a pretty blue leaf bobbing in the waves and grabbed it. Unfortunately for Brother, the “pretty little blue thing” was not a leaf but a jellyfish and Brother was stung.
Quite the trooper, he did not cry or scream (I am seriously impressed by this as I have been stung and I cried and screamed). Brother simply went to the snack bar area and asked if they had a first aid kit. They gave him some white vinegar to pour on his hand, but it did nothing to alleviate the pain. The guy at the snack bar suggested he “pee on it” because the ammonia in urine helps. Sadly, Brother had gone to the bathroom (in a toilet, not on his hand) just minutes before and could not muster out a drop. It fell to me, his loyal and small-bladdered sister to do it for him. But, we are a little old to pee directly on each other so I peed in one of those glasses on the bathroom counter and brother poured it over his hand. Now he was screaming because he was thoroughly grossed out. Sadly, it did not help. But it sure was funny.
Poor Brother. When I got back I did a little research on urine and jellyfish stings. Turns out, it doesn’t help. Anytime anyone says it does, it’s purely psychosomatic. Hahaha. Now I peed on my brother without medicinal benefit. That’s even better!
Part III – GEORGIA TECH UPDATE
Immediately following my peeing into a cup and having Brother convinced that the only way to stop pain was to pour my urine onto his hand, I told him (gasping through laughter) that I would have to blog about this incident. Brother was instantly humiliated and promised my online silence. I told him that the image of his pouring my still warm urine on his hand was too good not to share. We struck a deal. In exchange for my being allowed to tell the world how I peed on my brother, I would write about whether or not Chan Gailey is the right coach for Georgia Tech. So here goes…
I went onto Georgia Tech blogs and even checked out some by rival University of Georgia (you should always know what the enemy is saying about you) and I have come to the conclusion that Chan Gailey is about an effective a coach for GT as Tom Coughlin is for the Giants. In other words, he should be sent packing. Now, a Chan Gaily fan may ask why I would think this. After all, GT is playing a a bowl game this year and has had a relatively successful year. In fact, in his first four years at Georgia Tech, Gaily has compiled a 28-21 record, and two victories in bowl games: the 2003 Humanitarian Bowl (a 52-10 win over the University of Tulsa), and the 2004 Champs Sports Bowl (a 51-14 victory over Syracuse University). In five seasons, Gailey has never defeated the team Tech considers its biggest rival, the University of Georgia. Georgia Tech has been to bowl games each year under Gailey. The 2006 season underway has been the most successful to date.
But, he has lost the respect of players and fans and when that happends, a downhill slide is inevitable. First, he ceded his play calling to offensive coordinator Patrick Nix and claims that it worls better for him because he has more time to “just hang out with everyone.” Hello? You are a coach. Not a best friend. Your job is to instill discipline and motivation and make the Yellow Jackets the best they can be. If someone else is calling plays, it’s because you are out of touch with how the game should be played.
Sure there is a spot for Gaily on the team –he can be fashion consultant. Apparently the players approve of his choice to let them wear black socks with their uniforms. So, maybe Gaily is right for GT after all, as long as he is only allowed to make decisions on things like socks and leaves the play calling in the hands of those that know better.
I returned this morning from a fantastic holiday in Puerto Rico, marred only by my experience in dealing with American Airlines. (PR stories to follow in later post). If you want to read about crazy fun loving family vacations, skip this post. If you want to read about why I will never fly America Airlines again and, in fact, will actively work to convince others to never fly them, read on…
Generally, my airline of choice is Delta. Husband and I have tons of Delta miles and use them (or a Delta partner) for most of our travel. We fly regularly so I am not a stranger to travel delays on an airline and generally can take them good naturedly (after all, as long as I have my iPod and a book, a flight delay is merely time to relax). But, on this trip, my father booked the tickets and, since he is partial to American Airlines (and paid for all the tickets), we flew his airline of choice.
Note: Those who know me already know how much I hate American Airlines for bumping me from a flight to Bangor, ME because they overbooked (despite having booked tickets early and arrived at the gate over an hour early) two years ago and thus causing me to miss my friend Karen’s wedding, an incident I’ve always regretted. It was at this point I originally decided never to fly them again. But as I said, my father bought the tickets and free is free.
The trip from NY to San Juan was relatively easy. We flew an Airbus 300. I had a terrible seat in coach between the bathroom and I guy who spend the entire flight hacking and coughing (an interior aisle so the nearest window was two rows behind me), but none of this was the fault of American Airlines and I was content. Maybe I had just had a bad experience with the Bangor flight and was ready to give good ole AA a second chance. Until this morning, that is…
Father, being the wonderful dad he is, offered to upgrade me and Sister to first class for the flight home to make up for the awful seat I had to endure on the way to San Juan. We were scheduled to depart at 6:50pm and I expected to be home by 10:30pm – enough time to relax with Husband and Tiki (Husband could not take off work so he did not come on this vacation) and get a good night’s sleep. At about 6:30pm, the American Airlines gate agent made an announcement that due to mechanical difficulties, there was a chance the plane would not be able to depart San Juan, but informed the waiting passengers that we would all fit on the 9:55pm flight and we would leave then. I was skeptical. I know how airlines love to cut costs and I hold firm to the belief that “mechanical difficulties” in this case was code for “We don’t want to spend the money to send two half full planes to NY so we are combining everyone onto the later flight and there is nothing you can do about it, suckers.”
Now, there was a flight leaving for Newark, NJ at the same time that was taking off. But American Airlines refused to allow Sister and I to board that plane because we had checked luggage in order to comply with the stupid gels and liquids rule (I say stupid because I am willing to bet that someone smarter than me could make a powerful bomb out of a quart sized bag filled with 3 oz. of various liquids and gels) and there is a rule that you can’t fly on one flight while your bag flies on another – even if you would have taken the original flight if only it would freakin’ depart! But, I digress….
So, we wait three hours for the 9:55pm flight home (Father had given Sister his liquids and had no checked luggage but generously declined to take the flight to Newark without us). Except, I look at my watch and notice it is 9:35 and we have not boarded. Not a good sign. Sister heads to the gate to see what is going on. There have been no announcements. From my seat in the lounge, I see the gate agent frown and shrug his shoulders. Also not a good sign. Turns out that this plane has a problem with “hydraulics” and will not be taking off until 11pm at the earliest.
Now I am getting annoyed. But so is everyone else. The gate agents offer meal coupons but rescind that offer a few minutes later when they realize the only open food court is outside security and there is not enough time for people to go and come back. We are starving and cranky but spirits are lifted when a band traveling to NY takes out their instruments and performs an impromptu concert. Finally we board.
The plane is freezing. The food (even in first class) is inedible. I can’t sleep and just want to be home. We land at 1:45am and I could not be happier. My anger towards American Airlines even begins to dissipate. We head to baggage claim.
No bag on the carousel. We wait and the area begins to fill. People wonder out loud when the bags will be arriving. Finally, an announcement is made that there is a problem opening the baggage compartment and there will be a wait for the bags. An hour passes without any information. I decide to abandon my bag, but American will not allow me to make a claim for delayed baggage because the delay had not been long enough. Plus, as I later learn, a claim does not mean you will get your bag the next day…or even the next week…so Sister and I wait. Father gives up and goes home. There are no representatives from American Airlines on hand to explain what is going on. Another announcement telling me the bags are still delayed but no estimate on time. The people in baggage services are rude and just tell you to call an 800 number if you have a problem.
An hour goes by. It is 3:30am and the carousel begins to move and bags appear. People clap and cheer, but upon further inspection, it is clear these are not the bags from the San Juan flight. They are the bags from the Los Angeles flight. Children are crying, Sister and I are falling apart. We briefly discuss abandoning forever these bags, but decide against it. 4am and the carousel moves again. This time it is bags from the San Juan flight. Yippee!!!! I scan the bags eagerly for any sight of mine. Four bags tumble down and I am ecstatic. But then, the carousel stops. No more bags. It is now 4:30am. Still no bags. Sister is ready to abandon the entire enterprise and leave. We go to baggage services. There is no one there. There is no American Airlines representative. There is no one who thought about the fact that most people on the plane had not eaten since 5pm NY time (6pm PR time) and showed up with bagels and coffee. I call American Airlines to find out our options. Essentially, we have no option but to wait. At 4:45pm, a full 3 hours after landing we get our bags! I can barely function at this point. Sister and I hail a taxi and I arrive home at 5:28am. I crawl into bed and sleep for a blissful 2 hours until my alarm rings to tell me it is time to go to work. I can barely function. I am exhausted and I hate American Airlines.
So, in a totally vindictive spirit, I would love to hear from anyone else with American Airlines issues. I will publish all of them gladly.
This is added later: Check out this link http://amediacirc.us/2006/12/23/they-know-why-i-fly-and-do-not-care-american-airlines-your-are-the-years-biggest-loser/ The same thing happened to someone else a few days ago. American Airlines Sucks!
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I am in desperate need of a vacation. Husband agrees that we both need vacation time but we keep not taking vacation because “we just got back from a honeymoon.” It was not until recently that it dawned on us that the honeymoon was more than 7 months ago and we may actually be allowed to go away again.
I am leaving this afternoon for Connecticut and then jetting of early in the morning to Puerto Rico with Mother, Father, Sister and Brother. Husband is staying behind in New York to take care of Tiki and to cover at the office for all the non-Jews who covered for him during Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Boo! I will miss both Husband and Tiki very much - although not enough to stay behind in the increasingly cold weather when I could spend the next several days lying by a pool or SCUBA diving.
So, if I am quiet through Christmas, it’s because I am taking a vacation from work and blogging and relaxing. I hope everyone has a nice holiday (whichever one you may celebrate) and, if I neglect to log on beforehand (not likely), a happy new year.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
There is so much politics involved in gift-giving during the holiday season. I never really understood that until this year. Previously, I used to buy for a few friends and relatives without wondering if my list should expand or decrease. I even kept a few emergency gifts on hand for those folks who surprised me with a gift. I always had one ready to go.
But this year, I am beginning to see that there is more to exchanging holiday gifts than the mere exchange. Oh sure, in some cases it is easy. Gifts are purchased and wrapped for folks like SWCNBN, Wuzi (she already got hers), Husband (ditto on all but the big one, which he is getting tonight), Sister, Brother, Mother and Father. I did not give a second thought when buying these presents and could have cared less if I got a gift in return. (Note to Brother: The last statement was a lie. Forget to give me a gift and you will suffer all year!)
But then there is P, who I don’t like anymore and don’t want to spend money on her. She suggested doing a gift exchange and, short of saying, “You are a selfish bitch and I can’t stand you anymore,” I had to ante up. After all, she still thinks we are close friends. (Although I barely spent $20 and since for P, it is all about the price of the present, she will get the picture and likely never ask me to exchange again. Seriously, she actually goes online to see how much you spent on her. Bitch.) Not that I can figure out how she thinks we are still friends since I have not returned an email or phone call in weeks.
And what about the people who, almost more than 7 months after the wedding, neglected to buy us a wedding present or at least acknowledge that they did not buy something. Husband and I are not unreasonable. We know some of our friends have no cash and are grateful simply for their attendance at the wedding. But, those people actually acknowledged that they could not afford a gift at the present time and we graciously told them not to be ridiculous and we wouldn’t accept anything from them. (And meant it).
But I am talking about several friends on both sides that attended the wedding without major financial hardship and still neglected to purchase even a small gift. We bought those same people really nice presents for their weddings so I don’t understand. And, in one case, we spent absurd sums on one couple’s children every birthday/Christmas/Valentine’s Day, etc for the last several years. Do I stop buying for the kids because the parents were rude enough to not give a present? Actually, I think this is the last year those kids will be getting a gift because, come to think of it, I don’t even get thank you notes from them and they are certainly both old enough to write a note, even if they are too young to address the envelope.
And then there is the issue of administrative assistants. If you think your admin is merely taking up valuable office space with her bad attitude and constant personal calls, are you still required to purchase a gift for her? And what about the temp who you give your work to because your admin sucks? Can you buy her a gift and not your admin?
So, for the next several weeks, despite my best efforts to stay above the fray, I remain immersed in the politics of gift giving. The New Year can’t come fast enough….
I think I must be totally sadistic when the sight of a crying child makes me happy, but this weekend, it did.
On Saturday, Husband and I hosted a little Hanukkah party for Stitch and his wife, plus Stitch’s two children ages 4 and 5. We lit Hanukkah candles, said prayers, Husband made latkes and played deride. Of course, there were also donuts and presents. Both girls (I only wanted to impress them and could have cared less if the grown-ups had fun) seemed to have a blast and there are several pictures on my refrigerator, thanks to their artistic efforts.
Then, on Sunday, Florida cousins came to town with their not quite 3-year old, Lauren. Lauren was smart, cute and well-behaved. After dinner, Husband and I invited them back to our apartment to play with Tiki and hang out for a few minutes. Since we had hosted young children the night before, we had everything a toddler needed to be happy – juice boxes, age appropriate movies and a dog who grudgingly shared his toys. Lauren pretended she was a dog (including giving Husband “doggie kisses” in the form of face licks) and watched School House Rock while sipping on a juice box. She was in heaven and announced that she was going to stay with us. Florida Cousins patiently explained that if she stayed over our house, her mommy and daddy would not be there, but Lauren did not seem to care. She was staying.
When the rationalizing failed, Florida Cousins resorted to the no-nonsense voice parents often use when their child is exhibiting free will and simply picked her up and put on her coat. At this moment, Lauren burst into tears, insisting that she could go to school in NY.
We promised future visits and dinosaur sheets next time she came and, although the crying subsided to a level where no one would think she was a victim of violent crime, Lauren was still unhappy.
When Florida Cousins left and the door closed, Husband and I looked at each other and smiled. In some way, the fact that Lauren did not want us to leave felt really good. So, yes, we are slightly sadistic, but apparently we show the 6 and under set a rocking good time.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I wrote this yesterday, but Cousin M refused to let me post it until he actually proposed, just so as not to jinx anything!
Longtime readers of this blog may recall one of my first ever posts. It was called South of the Border and centered on how I had recently gone with SWCNBN when she was trying on wedding dresses. I could not get over the smile on my friend's face and lamented that Cousin M, as a gay man denied the right to marriage, would never get to smile like that. Sometimes it's not about equal rights in terms of inheritence and hospital visitation, but about getting to share in all the giddiness that leads up to a wedding. Just like SWCNBN, I pretty much smiled my way through my engagement.
Well, that is about to change. Last night Cousin M proposed to Love of His Life (LOHL). Instead of a ring, they bought a painting and Cousin M had a whole plan to hang the painting and propose to LOHL in front of it. Unfortunately, due to a slight miscalculation, the painting did not fit through the apartment door and the door will have to be removed at some point in order to bring the painting inside. Hey, nothing like beginning a life together with a little home improvement project. If you can suvive that, you are meant to be together.
Anyway, instead, Counsin M took a picture of the painting and placed it where the painting will one day be placed. Then, because the painting is called "Pink Flowers" he went to a local florist and had a bouquet made of pink tulips, and bought a bottle of champagne from their favorite vineyard. When LOHL came home from work, Cousin M brought him to the room, dropped to one knee and popped the question. LOHL said yes!
So, to Cousin M and LOHL, I am so happy for both of you and I can not wait to hear all about the wedding planning -and see the smiles as things begin to fall into place.
And, to LOHL, the fact that you have known this crazy family for so many years and still want to join is a testament to your bravery - or to the depth of your love for Couin M.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I had a reoccurring epiphany last night. I live way outside my means. I mean reoccurring because every so often, I remember that I essentially work as a public interest lawyer (and make a small salary as a result) and can not afford to have or do the things my big-firm lawyer friends can afford. But then, I decide that debt is a problem for my heirs and rack up credit card bills. So, in an effort to actually pay down a little debt, I am back on a budget.
I am making an early New Year’s resolution to pay down my debt. That means less nights out for dinner with the girls and sometimes, dinner will be tuna out of the can instead of sushi from down the street. That’s okay. I am burdened with tons of debt from living of my credit cards while studying for the bar, law school student loans (Mother generously paid off about half of my loans, for which I will forever be grateful, but the remaining amount is still a number I can’t fathom), and general living expenses.
So, I made a list of all the things I am willing to give up and the things I am not. Here is what I am keeping: cell phone, gym, trainer, occasional brunches with sister, hair highlights, planned trip to London in late Feb/early March to see Mara when she has the baby, occasional manicures.
Here is what I am passing on: Coffee from anywhere free stuff in the office, dinners/drinks with friends, planned birthday trip to Colorado in late March/early April to go skiing, expensive hairdresser (I am sorry Ezzie, I will miss you more than you know!!!), dental appointments with longtime dentist who does not accept my insurance, facials and reflexology (sigh), buying books instead of going to the library.
Looking at my list of what I am giving up is making me very sad. And after the New Year, if you invite me for a drink or dinner and I decline, don’t be offended, I am just trying to save some cash.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Suzanne and I were on the phone today, talking about my gym experience last night, when she had a brillant idea: Why not make a blog about stories from the gym called, "People Under the Stairmasters." I loved the idea and immediately participated with the below post. But, check back to People Under the Stairmasters often for more stories by me and my fellow bloggers. You can even post your own gym horror story.
Yesterday I started the Great Holiday Diet. This involves actually eating healthy foods and, horror of horrors, going to the gym at least 4 times a week. The problem is, I am usually totally bored and unable to push myself at the gym. So really, the best way for me to work out is to attend a class. Problem is, most classes at my gym are designed to sculpt and tone, and I really need to do more cardio.
So, I get to the gym prepared mentally to run on the treadmill for 30 minutes, when I notice a large group of people standing outside the doors to the class studio. I asked the woman at the front desk what class was about to happen and she told me it was Nia, a combination of dance, yoga and flexibility training. She also told me it was one of the most popular classes at the gym, although this was especially crowded because the founder of the Nia movement was going to be teaching the class. I heard dance and flexibility and joined the class.
Now, there should have been some warning signs, if I had been paying attention. First, I hate Yoga. I was once kicked out of a Yoga class for giggling at the woman next to me. But really, she was making sex noises (this of that famous scene in when Harry met Sally and you will get the idea) and I couldn’t stop laughing. Apparently, there is something wrong with my Chi and I was asked to leave. Second, when I walked in, I had to remove my shoes and socks. This is always a sure sign I will hate a class because if you are the kind of person who does not care how dirty the JCC gym floor is and are willing to walk without even socks, we clearly have nothing in common. Finally, when I walked in, people were making odd sweeping motions with their hands, although at the time, I thought they were merely, stretching. Ha!
The class starts and its all this weird stretching, but I figure its just the warm up, right? Wrong! The instructor keeps telling everyone to yell out “Yes” when performing specific movements because, “when you say yes, all your neurons say ‘yes’ with you.” Then she had us “shake our tails because shaking the tail makes you smarter.” The movements were ridiculous and if my heart rate went up at all, I would be surprised. The worst part was, people were really into it and yelling out things like “Yes” and “I love my body” and “Peace” randomly through class. It was like watching evangelicals during a revival. People even danced around trying to hug others.
At the end of seemingly endless hour, we were told to give ourselves “self-hugs” and yell out what we gained from class. People started yelling things like “confidence”, “trust”, and “empowerment.” All I could come up with was the knowledge that everyone else in the class was an idiot.
If I had to pick an age to go back to, I would not go back that far. Actually, I would stick right where I am, but there is no way I would want to be younger than 28 or 29. It wasn’t until that time that I became the person I am today, became truly comfortable in my own skin and with the choices I make. Plus, it really wasn’t until my late 20’s or early 30’s that I started to like all my friends.
Yesterday, I received an email from Mara, a woman with whom I became friends through Haven Coalition. Mara was the Coordinator before Suzanne and I took over and she now lives with her husband and about to be born fetus in London. (We miss you Mara!). Anyway, Mara forwarded Suzanne and I an email in which she stated that she wanted to nominate us as Pro-Choice leaders for our work with Haven. It’s a nice acknowledgement of all the work we do and I was excited Mara wanted to nominate us. But, upon closer reading, it turned out you weren’t eligible unless you were under 30.
I was temporality bummed until the Haven phone rang last night with a New York Times reporter. As the year-end was nearing, they wanted to run a soft news piece about New York’s most influential women. Very excited to be chosen, I told the reporter all about Haven and the changes under Suzanne and my leadership. (For example, we are incorporated, tax exempt and have opened up hosting to men as well as women and began working with even more clinics in NY then before – very exciting stuff). The reporter kept me on the phone for over an hour, asking all sorts of questions and promised to call back in the morning with more details as to the focus of the piece and when it would run. When she called back this morning, it was to apologize. Suzanne and I were not going to be in the story after all. It turns out that it is not about New York’s most influential women – just those influential women under 30.
Suzanne is about to be 31 and, in March, I will be 32. We are hardly old and still refer to people our parent’s age as “grown-ups.” I would not have had time to be so active in Haven before I was 30. I was too busy with law school, job interviews and just figuring out who I want to be. I suppose most people are that way. Maybe that’s why it is only news if you do great things before you turn 30 – because in some way it means you are ahead of the curve is figuring out your life.
So, no Pro-Choice award, no New York Times mention. I suppose I will just have to content myself with going back to doing what I do for the same reasons I started in the first place, because it is the kind of thing I want to define me, whether or not it is publicly mentioned.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Sister is in Thailand and Cambodia for the next couple of weeks. She left on December 3 and won’t be back for what feels like forever. I knew I would miss her being gone, but I didn’t realize how much of my life was spent talking to her and being with her until she left.
I have been really busy this week catching up with old friends, celebrating Husband’s birthday, admiring duct-tape Suzanne and generally keeping myself busy. But today, I am at a loss. I am going to leave work soon and head to the gym, but then what? Husband is working late, Suzanne (the living one) has a friend in town, Wuzi is doing something with other people and SWCNBN lives too far away to call her just to catch a movie. The round trip alone would take longer than the film. Sigh. I do have a movie on DVD I’ve been meaning to watch and I am reading a wonderful book about the war in the Sudan called “What is the What”, and I can snuggle with Tiki, but all of this means I am by myself without human companionship.
In situations like this, when Sister was in town, the analysis would not even go to what other people are doing. We would have just assumed we had plan on a Friday night and the surprise would be if we didn’t.
I barely got any personal emails today either. No headlines from Yahoo or funny pictures from People.com. Sure, I used the time to actual work and was pretty productive, but the day seemed to drag without sister there to make me laugh.
Sure, there are people I suppose I could call – there is P (but that is sinking very low and frankly, I would rather spend time alone then with her) and there are assorted others, but the person I really want to see is Sister.
So, I am heading to the gym and counting the days until she comes back. And, in case Sister stops shopping long enough to check this blog, hurry home!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
This morning when I walked into work, the first words out of the receptionist’s mouth (after Good Morning) were “How is your puppy today?” Then, my secretary was telling me all about her child jumping on the bed and after finishing, looked at me abruptly and said “I’ve been rattling on about my son. How is the dog?”
I love Tiki. I talk about him all the time and treat him like a small child – scolding him when he misbehaves, laughing at his antics and hugging him when either of us is sad or sick. Tiki goes to daycare five days a week and, until his surgery, I used to walk him every morning (he is getting picked up in a van this month until the knee fully heals). And, I admit, I miss the walks because Tiki and I used to talk the entire way there. Or. I would talk to him and he would watch me with an expression on his face that made it seem as if he understood.
But, as much as I love Tiki (heck, his birthday party was more elaborate then some people throw for their children), I understand that he is a living breathing animal (although I sometimes forget a non-human animal, I admit) and treat him as such. Tiki is not a cool new handbag or this year’s fashion accessory. Frankly, he is more expensive and his upkeep is more demanding.
That is why I was so disturbed to read this article in the New York Times this morning. For those of you who don’t wish to click on the link, I will copy and paste some snippets so you can get the picture:
Are these people serious??? Sure, I talk about Tiki all the time. There are pictures of him on my computer at work, people know the best way to get me involved in a conversation is to ask about my dog, and Husband and I grudgingly squeeze into a corner of the couch because Tiki likes to stretch out when he watches TV. But c’mon!
“OH, the places Paige has been. Like all the top New Yorkers, she dines downtown at Mercer Kitchen, eyes the heart of palm at the deli E.A.T. on Madison Avenue and appraises the calfskin boots at Gucci. ‘We even drink together,’ said Dina Lewis, a real estate agent and Paige’s constant companion. At Plug Uglies on Third Avenue, ‘Paige sits on the bar stool and everything,’ Ms. Lewis said. ‘It’s like having a very good-looking, very drunk friend with you all the time.’ Except that Paige is a doll-sized Chihuahua. She travels with her mistress everywhere….
‘I think of them as a handbag with a heartbeat,’ said Robin Bowden, a vice president of Prudential Douglas Elliman, a real estate company in Manhattan…..
Paige, Ms. Lewis’s dog, owns 40 outfits, among them an Hermès coat. Part of Ms. Lewis’s closet is designated for the dog. Like her mistress, she likes to make a fashion statement. ‘With the two of us it’s an equal opportunity thing,’ Ms. Lewis said. ‘I sit up at wee hours of the night online to find that one store in, like, Canada or Switzerland, so Paige can have that one sweater that no New Yorker will ever have’….”
The thing that disturbs me most is that these people seem to not understand that a dog is a living, breathing animal that needs to be properly cared for. Does someone who drinks with their dog bother to learn that grapes are toxic to dogs (so no wine) and many dogs are allergic to the enzyme that is caused during fermentation? Alcohol is very bad for your dog. Or maybe, since a dog is just “a handbag with a heart” they don’t care that they are slowing killing the dog since they will just get next year’s model soon anyway.
Handbags get thrown in the corner when you get tired of them or something better comes along. A dog will cry from loneliness, pee on your stuff and eventually die if you did that. And you should be arrested for that. By actual police. Not the fashion police, which, I assure you, are far less scary than the actual police.
While in Boston this weekend, Tiki stayed home. (Well, he went to day care for an overnight stay). I did not feel the need to have him come with me. And, while walking through Burberry and inquiring as to the price of a dog collar, it did not occur to me for even one second to spend $185 on something that my dog would get dirty and ripped in 45 seconds because…he is a dog. (I am even against buying small children expensive designer clothes, but that is another topic for another time).
So, to everyone quoted in the NY Times articles and to all of you sporting your designer dogs or thinking of purchasing one… Stop and think. Pretend the dog is a permanent toddler. If you are doing something in public that would get you arrested if it was a toddler and not a dog (i.e. drinking) think twice.
And now I have to go because I like to be home from work when Tiki gets dropped off so we can share a snack and talk about his day.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
People think New York is a big city, but in reality, it is a bunch of small cities all connected though a couple of area codes. Each neighborhood is a city unto itself and traveling from the Upper West Side to Kips Bay is almost as much a culture shift as traveling from Miami to Juno. It’s also almost as big a production.
Sure, New York has once of the world’s most extensive public transportation systems and on nice nights, cabs cruise up and down the streets anxious for fares, but most people hate laving their neighborhoods and crossing from the west to east side is almost unheard of since it requires use of a bus. Sister and I have gotten into huge fights over which side of town we should have dinner (she lives East, I live West and less than a mile separates us, but this is a recurring issue) and generally, my entire world (home, work and social life) is comprised of places on the Eighth Avenue Subway Line.
But, I am breaking free of my little shell and exploring! Last night I met Law School Friend for a drink at a new bar in Murray Hill (29th and 3rd – most definitively the East side) and, empowered by my success (I not only survived but had a good time) I have decided I am ready to take the penultimate plunge off the map and head to Brooklyn. Yes, I am leaving the borough of Manhattan to grab drinks with Photogenic Friend and Fellow Law Clerk. And on a weeknight, no less. This is very impressive and a gigantic step in expanding my horizons. I feel like Magellan. Or Ernest Shackelton. Although hopefully I won’t get trapped on an iceberg while attempting to cross the Hudson or be killed during battle.
So, if you see me looking walking around looking a little wiser, it is merely because I have spent the last few nights exploring the far flung reaches of my New York map. Hopefully my passport and vaccinations are in order.
Tomorrow is Husband’s birthday. I want to take him out for a really nice dinner and give him his birthday present (I think he will love it!), but I am, not surprisingly, unsure if he will be home for his birthday. The likelihood is that he will get up and head to work and then not come home until 11pm. So no birthday dinner. Well, at least no reservations. I am hoping he comes home early and we get to go somewhere cool. We shall see…
Husband and I went to Boston last weekend with Photogenic Friend and Photogenic Wife. The trip was a celebration of sorts in honor of Husband’s birthday. I was nervous though since plans with Husband are always tentative until they are actually completed. You never know when a demanding client or partner will insist that, even though it is 11pm at night on a Saturday, a document must be completed by 7am Sunday. As though it makes a difference…
Husband was unsure that he would be able to come, but at 6pm, there he was in our appointed meeting place, packed and ready to go. Forty-five minutes into the ride, however, he received an email which meant that for pretty much the rest of the weekend, he was glued to his laptop and on conference calls. He did get to attend his birthday dinner at Blue Ginger and head to the Patriots game on Sunday, but the work to be done was always looming.
And it’s not because he has some crazy work ethic. He only does the work he is actually asked to do. Some months, he bills 300 hours. That’s 10 billable hours a day everyday of the week. And, since all time is not billable (you have to pee eventually, after all), that means he is at the office more than that. I miss him.
The other night, I played 1950’s housewife in that I raced home from work early (so early, in fact, it was like I did not work), bought groceries and attempted to prepare from scratch (with a little help from Fresh Direct One-Click recipes!) a full meal for Husband. He came home around 8pm and we ate dinner together and chatted about our day while the TV murmured in the background and the dog chewed on a bone. It was total bliss.
So, for Husband’s birthday I am wishing him a new job with better hours. I am wishing that he finds a job that gets him home around 7pm on a consistent basis and that he is happy doing whatever it is he wants to do for a living. But mostly, I am wishing for more nights like the one where we just enjoyed each other’s company.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
For the last few days, I have been having bouts of insecurity at work. Nothing major, mind you and people have not done anything that would cause a normal employee to worry, but I can’t help it. And just because you are paranoid does not mean people aren’t talking about you.
Back when I lived in DC, I was heavily involved in Democratic politics. I loved the work and seemed to do really well without even trying. Opposition research, media relations and even some general campaign consulting. People actually respected my opinion and sought it out. But then, I was sick of the campaign life and had pretty much reached as far as I wanted to go with it. Plus, I was beginning to hate DC. I sought out a new challenge and new city and went to law school in New York. (Actually, that was the first time in my entire life I really enjoyed school – probably because I was able to avoid any and all topics involving foreign languages and/or mathematics).
During law school, I was a paralegal at Big Corporate Bank. It was easy work and, with the exception of a major personality conflict with one of the Managing Directors (but really, she was so nasty that everyone had a personality conflict with her) I did well and people sought me out for special projects because they thought I could handle them without a lot of hand holding. Also during law school I was a law clerk at Small Liberal Law firm (where I now work). I got better assignments then some of the other law clerks and was told by associates and partners that I was one of the best they had ever had. At both jobs, I felt smart.
Then, I graduated law school and took a job at Local Union. Although the least senior person when I started, I quickly made myself an integral part of the team and again, just like at previous jobs, my boss sought me out for special projects. In fact, he keeps calling me to offer me my old job back with a promotion and a substantial raise. Last night he told me that he could not find a replacement for me and to name my figure to return. When I worked for him, he told me I was one of the smartest young lawyers he had ever met.
So what’s the problem, right? Well, it is with current job at Small Liberal Law Firm. Oh, I love the work and find it interesting. I really feel like I am learing. And, unlike Local Union or Big Corporate Bank, I think the people I work with are good people who really care about what they are doing. (To clarify, some of the people at Local Union were like that but enough were giant jerks that it was impossible to deal with them and no one goes to work for Big Corporate Bank because they care about helping working class people improve their economic situation). I just sometimes get the impression that people at Small Liberal Law Firm don’t think I am very smart.
Now, this could be all in my head, or it could be some hormonal thing because I took two birth control pills today to make up for forgetting yesterday, but it is likely related to my interview process. When I applied for this job, I already had good friends such as Photogenic Friend and Marathon Partner who worked here and were willing to tell me every detail of the hiring process – including that Senior Name Partner thought my educational credentials were not up to snuff and he preferred to hire Ivy League educated folks. (Big mistake in one case, but that is a topic for another post). So automatically, I am nervous about my work. Fellow Associate in the next office has had partners walking in and out of her office all day with assignments and works until 9pm all the time. I am usually home by 7pm and until 5minutes ago, no partners have given me new assignments in the last couple days.
The good news is I am not alone in this feeling. Fellow Associate told me she is jealous of my position because no one ever seems to check back in with me or ask to review my work. They just assume it is done. I am jealous of her though because she got to work on a case on which I wanted to work and because Senior Name Partner always takes her to trials with him. We laugh that together we are the perfect employee.
But still, I can’t help the insecurity I am feeling. Maybe it is the small fish/big pond thing or maybe it’s because my billable hours have been acceptable because during the elections I was swamped or maybe they really do just trust me to get my work done, but I am still feeling like I am not taken as seriously as I might otherwise be. If anyone has ideas or suggestions as to how to fix this, I would love to know.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I am not a scrooge. I love Christmas lights and how the City smells when the vendors sell pine trees on the sidewalk. I head to Rockefeller Center every year and ohh and ahh over the tree. I love all of that. But, I absolutely hate when the holidays come into the office. Luckily, Small Liberal Law Firm does not really do anything but have a generic holiday party and a “secret santa” type gift exchange and none of that bothers me. But, when I worked for Large Corporate Bank, I was the only person who refused to let anyone put a wreath or candy canes on my cubicle. I am a firm believer that the office is not my home and holiday traditions do not need to be shared with my co-workers. Especially because everyone celebrates in their own way and all the Christmas decorations make me a little uncomfortable.
I am not the only one who feels this way. Sister has someone in her office who put up all sorts of decorations over their cubicle. There are angels, a star, a mini-tree and a variety of other Christmas decorations. Sister’s co-worker asked Sister what she thought of the decorations and Sister bluntly told him that it was ugly and these types of decorations are for your home and not the office. While I lack Sister’s subtle touch, she is not entirely wrong. And, for the record, I think putting up Hanukkah decorations (a totally minor holiday) to compete with the Christmas ones is just plain stupid.
So, as much as I have avoided all references to the upcoming holidays in the office (except for the tree in the lobby of my building, which, while I am not a huge fan, I think is not too bad), I am well aware in my personal life of the need to buy gifts and get things together.
Actually, I am setting a new personal record. Almost all of my holiday shopping is completed without ever entering an actual store. This year, I decided that since I hate the lines and fuss that comes with hordes of people buying presents I would make a list of everything I wanted to buy people and then order it online. Everyone on my list is completed with the exception of a few hard-to-shop-for folks (Father, Father-in-Law, etc.) and all the gifts will be arriving to my parent’s apartment for me to pick up, wrap and hand out. Perfecto!
Sure, I am broke and would prefer, instead of gifts, folks gave me cash to cover the cost of the gift I had to buy them, but all in all, I think I made out pretty well this season. Plus, there were some extra kids this year for whom I had to buy presents and that darn Secret Santa thing at the office, which will cost me $20, but I think both kids and Co-worker will like their presents.
So yes, Husband and I have the holiday cheer. We are hosting a little get-together for some friends and lighting the candles and giving out presents. We may even have a driedle or two and some Hanukkah gelt. But all that stuff will be at home and not at the office. And, if you put up decorations in your office and ask me what I think, I will be a little nicer than Sister was to her co-worker, but the sentiment is the same.
Monday, November 27, 2006
In the last few months, I have heard less and less from some family members, including Cousin M. I chalked it up to everyone being busy and not having as much time as we used to have – afterall, Cousin M just opened his own business – but then a few family members informed me that they don’t call anymore because they read this blog and figure they know what’s been going on in my life. Hmm, go figure.
Usually, I don’t take topic requests. If people ask me to write about something, I smile and ignore them. But, this year, like others since Husband and I began dating, I has to split my Thanksgiving weekend between our families, so I will honor the request from Cousin M (who also had to split his day between our family and Love of His Life’s family and thus was late to our celebration) and tell him about my Thanksgiving and what he missed by being late…
Cousin M, Sister, Brother, Much Ado About Nothing and a few others in my extended clan have a Thanksgiving tradition. They get up very early and run a 5-mile race through Manchester, CT. Well, run may be a strong statement but suffice to say that they eventually cross the finish line. Last year, for the first time in my memory, they did not participate. After all, it was a blizzard and people were being asked to stay off the roads. This year it was raining. Maybe they have all gotten old or maybe they just prefer to sleep in, but again, no one participated. Again, they claimed inclement weather. So, Sister was home long before any other people arrived.
Brother was ill all weekend with a nasty virus that had been unaffected by antibiotics and he barely came out of his room all day. That meant it was much calmer as my mother prepared for the hordes to descend, since my brother was not picking at the turkey or stealing shrimp and Mother had nothing to yell at us about. And, because Sister was home, she surveyed my outfit and lack of make-up and sent me back upstairs to change, style my hair and apply foundation. Must have worked because more than one person told me I looked pretty. Thanks Sister!
As usual, when the food was put onto the table, there was a mad scramble to be the first in line and eating. I am proud to say that I was first this year and was eating seconds before some people got firsts. Ha! Andrea’s Jeff (not Geoff – our family is large enough that we have a few folks that share names) tried to save seats at the kids table for his wife and sister-in-law but he could not stand up to Much Ado About Nothing’s pronouncement that seats can not be saved. He did not seem willing to save them with a sacred Hosey (or to non-Spencers, a lugey) so Mari and Michael claimed them. Amy was absent as she had to work and only gets off for the Irish holidays. We brought in some extra chairs and all managed to fit. Next year, we decided to take over the gown-up table.
Father’s deep friend turkey was amazing and Mother’s pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie (both learned in Amish Country) were by far the best portions of the meal. Much Ado About Nothing stole an apple pie to eat locked in my bedroom, but after eating out the middle, decided we were not really hungry and spread the apples around so it looked more full and then put it back out with the other desserts. I laughed thinking of you all eating it.
But then, we had to leave all of you and go spend some time with Husband’s family. So, while you all went off to the movies, we headed south and had yet another meal. This meal, while just as yummy, was far quieter and I began to understand why sometimes, our family gives Husband a small headache. Lots of people = lots of noise. No way around it.
After dinner with Husband’s family (Second Dinner – I feel like a Hobbit!) we met some of his friends at a bar. Cousins A&S and S were all there and it was nice to catch up with even more family. Husband reiterated his belief that we are related to everyone in the world and that we can not go anywhere without meeting one of my cousins.
And then, exhausted and more than a little full, I went to Husband’s parents house and crawled into bed. And that, Cousin M, is what you missed this Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I have pulled out yearbooks and trotted off old pictures. I think you are Tina, but I also feel that if I am wrong, I risk offending you and if you are Tina, I have no way to contact you and ask.
Yes, anonymous stranger who commented on my blog a few days ago – you have taken over my life. I think back to Mr. McClintock’s chemistry class and remember never being on time. It was first period and my carpool was always late. One time, I brought him an Egg McMuffin and, with a smile, claimed I had car trouble on the way in. It wasn’t my fault we broke down in the McDonald’s parking lot.
And, I remember getting in trouble a few times for talking too much with my lab partner, but try as I might, I can’t remember your face. And it has been keeping me up nights.
Here is what I do know. I know you are not Cari or Leigh because they had class with Mr. Neary. And I don’t think you are Martha, because I seem to remember she was in Mr. Neary’s class as well. So then I think you must be Tina. And then I doubt myself…
Of all the schools I have ever attended, I never felt as comfortable anywhere as I did at Loomis Chaffee. The friends I made at Loomis are the ones I think about when I really need a friend and I am upset that I grew apart from so many people there, either through distance or maturity.
Tomorrow, when I am back in CT for Thanksgiving, I will ask my mother if she remembers who you are, but it was almost 16 years ago that we sat next to each other. But I really want you to reveal yourself. Or, at the very least, give me a hint toward your identity.
Friday, November 17, 2006
All day I have been on edge. Tiki knew something was up. While normally, I have a dog that needs to be literally thrown out of bed in the morning so I can walk him before work, this morning, he was awake and playful at 6:20am. So, after making sure he did not wake me for an emergency bathroom trip, I grudgingly dressed and prepared to take him in for his surgery. I packed his a stuffed duck that he loves to play with and walked him along Amsterdam Avenue to the vet’s office. Normally playful and excited to see other doggies on the street, Tiki was a little jumpy and snappish this morning. When we got to the vet, he immediately sat (showing good behavior) in hopes of getting one of the cookies the vet keeps at the front desk. Of course, since he is not allowed to eat or drink pre-surgery, he was denied and sulked about it.
Generally, Tiki loves going to the vet. He sees it as an opportunity to play with the dogs in the waiting room and eat the cookies that the nurses keep in their pockets. Today, when we walked inside, he immediately tried to leave. I did not think I was nervous about his surgery anymore or showed any signs that would upset him, but maybe I did because when I left him with the nurse, Tiki (a dog that normally leave me without a problem and who had never experienced a moment of separation anxiety) kept looking back at me over his shoulder as he was led to the exam room to prep for surgery. My heart broke.
I kept my cell phone glued to my person all day and was so relieved when the surgeon called to let me know everything was fine and Tiki was waking up from surgery that I almost cried.
My poor little guy. I am not allowed to visit him and I hope he knows that I would never knowingly abandon him to harm. I forced the vet to let him keep his ducky throughout surgery and for the recovery so he would have something to remind him of home. Weird though, even though everything is fine, I am not feeling settled.
But, the good news is that it looks like Tiki will come home tomorrow. The recovery will be long and he will be bored not being allowed to run around, stalk pigeons, or spring from the couch to attack whichever unsuspecting toy he made his prey. But, as long as he is home, that is all that matters.
Oh, as an aside, I am not the only one who thinks my dog is cuter than most others. A photographer is taking his picture for some Japanese magazine’s story about dogs in NYC and wants to take the photo even if he is all bandaged.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
So I have been rereading my blog lately (is that like a movie star watching themselves onscreen?) and noticed several posts which make it seem like I hate all my friends. This just isn’t true. There are several that I adore – Wuzi, SWCNBN and Suzanne among them - but sadly, our crazy schedules leave little time for face to face encounters. I am not a huge fan of long phone conversations at night and email only takes you so far, thus, I feel isolated from those I love most.
In an attempt to fix this problem Wuzi and I made plans for last night to gorge ourselves on $14 Lobster fest and hang out for a bit. We met up at 6:30, looked around in a few stores (where, I should note, I bought two sweaters which I love and are the first new clothing items I have purchased in more than 6 months year) and went for lobster. The entire night can be summed as this: Spent money I don't have, ate food not on diet, drank martinis until tipsy and came home happier than I’d been in a while! See, while Husband is my constant dinner date and companion, there are some days you just want to hang out and gossip with your girlfriends.
According to a very cool 2002 UCLA Study:
…women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. It's a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research---most of it on men---upside down. Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible, explains Laura Cousin Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the study's authors. It's an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers.
Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioral repertoire than just fight or flight; In fact, says Dr. Klein, it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is release as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the fight or flight response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect. This calming response does not occur in men, says Dr. Klein, because testosterone---which men produce in high levels when they're under stress---seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen, she adds, seems to enhance it.
I had an incredibly stressful week this week. Between Husband’s surgery, Tiki’s pending surgery (it was postponed until this Friday), work-related projects and Sister’s apartment search, I was up all night and my mind was racing. The more stressed I became; the more I looked forward to Lobster Fest with Wuzi. Just seeing her on the street corner caused a tension release. And, when the night was over and I had to run home to get the dog from daycare, I offered to take a taxi a few extra blocks just to prolong the night. And, when Wuzi got out of the cab, my mind raced, until I started planning what we would do next week.
That’s the thing about good girlfriends. They just somehow know when you need to order that second pomegranate martini (heck, they were half price) and when nothing specific is ailing you but you need cheering up nonetheless.
So, I realized that I need to not let work and other obligations take up too much of my time, and that when I am exhausted or stressed about work, the best thing to do is call up Wuzi, SWCNBN or Suzanne to grab a bite and a drink and just be together. In fact I am going to stop writing this, finish work as soon as possible and call them both to make plans, preferably for this weekend.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I think I finally discovered why I love living in NY so much. And, surprisingly, it is not the food, entertainment options or wonderful parks. It is because I walk pretty much everywhere. Or, if I don’t walk I am on the subway. Sure, there are days when I am exhausted and its raining while I am wearing new suede boots so I have to hop in a cab, but then I miss my favorite part of the City – other people.
I used to think I hated the other people in NYC. I worked in Times Square and it was always overrun with tourists and crowds. But while I still hate tourists and believe their visits should be restricted to November-January and even then they should be locked inside their hotels, I love the other people that make up my neighborhood.
Every morning, on my way to work, I say hello to Oscar, the guy who stands at the subway handing out AM New York to all the commuters. Yesterday, as I entered the subway, he asked me how I was feeling. He had assumed I was sick because he did not see me on Thursday or Friday of last week. I explained to him that on Thursday, an early morning meeting forced me to take a different train and that on Friday, due to Husband’s surgery the previous day, I had worked from home. He was relieved and we chatted for a few minutes about our respective weekends, our dogs and Thanksgiving plans.
I really like Oscar and look forward to our morning chats. He calls me “sweetheart” (probably because he can’t remember my name) and his whole face lights up when I walk down the block. On the few mornings when he has not been at the subway stop, I miss him.
But my exchange with Oscar yesterday morning got me thinking about all the people I see on a daily (or almost daily) basis, and how, even though I engage in conversations with them regularly, I do not know their names or some of the most basic details of their lives. In my head, I call these people “street friends,” as in anyone seeing us talk on the street would assume we are good friends, but that is as far as it ever goes.
Foe example, there is the Guy With Glasses Who Walks His Dog. Tiki always gets excited when we see them on the street (which we do almost every morning) and we always run over to say hello. Tiki and the other dog sniff each other and play, while Guy With Glasses and I chat. I know he is recently divorced and that he lives on the Upper West Side. I also know he works from home, but I do not know his name. There is also Gay Fashionista who waits for the subway in the same spot I wait every morning and we often ride the train together. I know he works in the entertainment industry, has fantastic clothing, is adopting a child with his partner and that he gets off at 34th Street. This morning, I also know he was late for work because I saw him run down the steps as the train doors closed. The ride to work is a lot less fun without him commenting on the size of people’s backpacks.
What do these people know about me? They know I am recently married and that my sister lives nearby. They know about what time I get to work and that I have a dog. They also know about Husband and Tiki’s surgery and that I can wear jeans to work.
There are more people, like the doorman who always gets off shift just as I get home from work and even the homeless man who thanked me for whispering when I walk down the street late at night.
In most others cities, people drive. They don’t walk nearly as much nor do they really take public transportation. So, locked away in their cars, they don’t interact with anyone except to honk their horn at the person who is driving 45 MPH in the left lane. But for me, the cars are mere background to the human interactions upon which I thrive. Maybe tomorrow when I see Oscar, I can see what he thinks of this idea…and remind him of my name.
Monday, November 13, 2006
I am really busy at work this week and seeing a long night ahead of me, I did what any normal person would do. I put aside work and began to work on my blog. I hate looming deadlines and all they make me do is procrastinate until panic sets in and I am forced to work. Part of my procrastination effort involves reading the comments on my blog and posting comments for other people.
In doing this, I realized that numbers have taken over my life. No, in case you were wondering, I do not work in a math-related field (frankly, one of the reasons I went to law school was a possibility of a career without math or numbers of any kind – that is what paralegals are for!) but numbers control my life nonetheless. Well, they control my self-esteem anyway. You see, today is a good day because the number on the scale was low and the number of comments on my blog was high. Really, those are two numbers I check daily to see if I will emerge with my self-esteem intact or if I will eat cookies and stare out the window in an attempt to feel better, thus increasing the number on the scale and lowering the potential comments through poor writing or none at all and continuing a terrible cycle.
Actually, I noticed today that when Husband comments on my blog, the comment level is usually higher. Now, whether that is because he only comments on particularly engaging blog entries or because he stimulates conversation, I have not really looked into. He is commenting more while laid up post-surgery, so at least there is an upside to all of this for me.
In a tribute to Husband’s bolstering of my self-esteem, I thought I would bolster his and list a few things that I noticed about him when we first met that made me know he was the right guy for me.
1. He always lets me have the front seat, no matter how small the back is.
2. Even though he hates when people use his utensils, he always offers me a bite of whatever he is eating.
3. He thinks I am funny.
4. When I needed him to write a recommendation for me for an apartment, he wrote a real one and a spoof that was so funny it made me cry.
5. He is incapable of feigning interest in anything.
There are, of course, may other reasons but these were the first five I could think of.
Ok, I have procrastinated for long enough with nothing that exciting to say. I guess my only option is to return to work.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
While Husband has been laid up following his surgery, we have taken the opportunity to catch up on all the television shows stored on our DVR. Husband convinced me to watch Everwood with him during the last year or so of its run and now that they are playing the shows on ABC Family from the beginning, we are watching them together in order. Actually, its very interesting to see the progression of the characters knowing where it will all end up.
Anyway, toward the end of the Everwood series, one of the teenage characters (Madison) became pregnant by her high school boyfriend (Ephram). Madison and Ephram break up with Ephram unaware that Madison was pregnant. Madison contacts Ephram’s father, the local doctor and asks his advice. Should she keep the baby? Should she tell Ephram? Should she have an abortion? The good doctor writes her a check for $500 and tells her to go away, have the abortion and never contact Ephram again. (Although, as an aside, if Madison had decent health coverage, she would only have to pay her co-pay for the procedure and $500 is too much money but if she has no health insurance, it will probably cost more than $500, so I am not sure where that figure came from). Of course, Ephram discovers this when Madison runs into him in NY and the storyline continues from there.
I was slightly annoyed by this storyline when I watched it. Not necessarily for the abortion aspect, but for the bad parenting exhibited by Ephram’s father. On the other hand, the entire show is pretty much based around Ephram’s father’s well intentioned by misguided actions so I was not altogether surprised.
I was surprised by the episode we watched last night though, which seems like it was from the second or third season. In this episode, a young girl and her father contact Ephram’s dad (Dr. Brown) who counsels her to wait a few days and think about her options. I was not thrilled with this advice, but when I got angry, Husband pointed out that the show made it look like her father was pushing her so thinking through choices for herself was the best thing. Fine. But then when the girl comes back and says that she does want the abortion, Dr. Brown decides he can not perform the procedure because he once did in-utero surgery and thinks of the 62 day old fetus as a baby. He claims to be pro-choice though and does find another doctor to perform an abortion on the girl.
The hypocrisy of these two episodes makes me really angry. Dr. Brown thinks of a fetus as a baby and says in asking the other doctor for his help, “I don’t know when life begins, but I know when it ends.” So, clearly, he does not support abortion in the young stranger but can’t encourage it enough when it is his family that is affected.
Sure, the show is fictional and I get that. But the thing is, I find many people seem to feel this way. In Law School, I was friendly with a guy named Peter. Really nice guy and generally liberal, he shocked everyone one day when he informed a group of us over coffee that he was not necessarily pro-choice. He explained that he believes in abortion when the fetus was seriously deformed or the health of the mother was at risk, but that he did not believe in abortion just to correct a “mistake.” Now to me, this is where I get confused. I grudgingly have to respect the beliefs of people who truly believe a fetus is a person from conception and accept abortion only to save the life/health of the mother, but to claim to be against abortion except when the fetus is deformed, sort of reminds me of the Nazis. Peter and I agreed to never speak of the topic again and continued our casual acquaintance. Fast-forward three years when the woman he was dating all through law school became pregnant. She figured he would propose or at least offer to have her move in and help support the baby. Instead, and without hesitation, he told her to call a clinic and schedule an abortion, because although he loved her, the timing just was not right for a baby. She did and he broke up with her a few months later because he could not bear the thought of what she had done. Ewwww.
When I told people this story, no one seemed surprised that he changed his mind about the abortion or that they eventually broke up. Why? Is it okay to switch you views when it directly affects you but then refuse to acknowledge your new thoughts publicly or apply them to anyone else?
For those of you who are wondering, Madison gave the baby up for adoption, Ephram attempted to locate the child and realized the baby would have a better life with his adopted parents, eventually forgave his father and everything ended all neatly. But life rarely ends as well as a neatly scripted television show and I wonder how, if it was real, Ephram would have reacted to know his father, who believe a fetus is a child soon after conception, was so willing to have his own grandchild disposed of.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
So I saw this on Peg's blog and thought it was really cool
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I have to admit when writing this that I have never been depressed enough to think about killing myself so perhaps I am not looking at this from the right perspective, but if you are going to kill yourself, I really have strong feelings that you should do it in a way that least interferes with my life. Or really the lives of anyone. It is such a utterly selfish act in most cases and Monday morning’s happenings only serve to reinforce this idea in me.
So, it is 8:30am on Monday and I am trying to commute to work. I drop the dog off at his day care center (yes, us Yuppie Upper West Side dwellers take our pets to day care while we are at work) and head to the subway. I am exactly on time and mentally start preparing for the really busy day ahead of me. I also want to add at this point that I brought home a gigantic and heavy binder to do work over the weekend so I am carrying that as well and wearing uncomfortable high heeled shoes.
Just as I get to the subway platform, I see the subway there but despite my best efforts to run in high heels while carrying a bag and binder, I miss the train and the subway doors close in my face. I wait for another train. I continue to wait when eventually another train arrives. Although not the correct train, it is heading in the right direction and I jump on. The train is really crowded and I have to stand. We go about 100 feet and stop. According to announcements, there is a sick passenger a few stops ahead and we need to wait for an ambulance. A half an hour goes by before we move. We go a few more feet and stop again. Almost 45 minutes go by before we get to the stop where I have to switch trains. When I get to the stop, I discover the trains on my line are not running because of “sick passenger” and have to go to another station, wait for 20 more minutes and get on another train before getting to my office a full 115 minutes after I left my apartment and more than an hour and a half after I was supposed to arrive.
I get to work and start complaining to folks. They understand. Everyone had the same issues that morning. Turns out that someone killed themselves by jumping in front of the train. Now, I ask you – if you are going to kill yourself, can’t you do it at noon? Must you do it during rush hour? The trains run just as quickly and are just as heavy when I am not waiting for them! Besides, do these jumpers ever think about the psychological effects their suicide has on the train drivers? How awful to be going about your work day and then all of a sudden, realize that your job is the cause of someone ending their life. According to Dr. H, many of these drivers end up being unable to return to work because they are too distraught.
So, next time you think about killing yourself, please try to consider how it affects the rest of us. Really, is it too hard to show a little consideration in your last moments?
Ok, so Husband asked that we disguise our faces in the pictures, but then I realized that they are not half as cute. But, in deference to the fact tha he wants to maintain an iota of privacy, I smudged his cute punim.
Husband is a really good photographer with an eye for color and detail, but his camera was too bulky to carry with us. I think he did quite a good job with my little Canon Powershot though.
It was a really wonderful day and I hope that we have many more like it.
Normally on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November (also known here in the U.S.A. as Election Day), I would write about the importance of voting and maybe even take a second to stump for my favorite candidates. But this week has been so absurd that another topic presents itself.
About three weeks ago, Tiki developed a limp. Nothing serious and it came and went, but as a precaution, we brought him to the vet. Vet suggested glucosimine for his joints and gave us an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling. We took x-rays and since they did not show a fracture, Vet figured it was either a sprain or a loose patella (kneecap, for the medically disinclined). Nothing to worry about, we were told and something that should fix itself.
Well, the limp did not get better and in fact, it has become worse. The thing is, it is really only bad when he gets up after lying down and it usually does not seem to stop him from running and playing. I went back to the vet with him last night and was insistent that they figure out what is wrong. Tiki is barely more than a year old (not quite 13 months, actually) and an active puppy so he should not be having these issues. After an examination, Vet told me she suspected a tear in one of his ligaments, something for which surgery is the only treatment.
I readily agreed and did not even ask the cost. We have pet insurance, and Tiki is part of my family. You don’t ask the cost of necessary surgery for your kid if you have insurance and savings and, although I am perfectly aware that Tiki is a dog and not a toddler, I am often hard pressed to tell the difference between the two.
Friday morning Tiki and I are meeting with the Orthopedic Dog Surgeon for a consult and if she recommends surgery (as it is expected that she will) then he will have the surgery that day. The recovery period is 8 weeks. Yikes.
Now, in any other circumstance, this post would be filled with my worrying of how he will tolerate anesthesia and of his pain levels (such a even tempered little guy, he did not cry when Vet was manipulating his leg even though she said most dogs yelp uncontrollably) but really I am wondering how I will do it all. You see, Husband is having surgery on his foot on Thursday. Oh, and did I mention that as a election lawyer, this is my busiest week at work? I seriously think I might crack.
Husband’s surgery is to remove a bunion but it will keep him off the foot for a week or so and in bed for the first two days. Now, Husband is actually a really good patient when he is sick, but since he can’t walk, I will have to wait on him for a few days. Actually, until last night, I had been sort of looking forward to playing nursemaid. I bought Husband some comic books and puzzles to occupy him and plan on getting some of his favorite movies together so he can veg in front of the television in a codine-indiced haze.
But now I will have to play nursemaid to the dog as well. And finish a brief. And deal with any election challenges. And I have my very first federal court trial coming up. I remember my mom dealing with three sick kids and a sick husband all at once when I was a kid. It never occured to me that she might be stressed or tired because she was always there to help us. It never occured to me that she herself might need to be the object of sympathy and not us. So, Mom, once again thank you. And, when those who know us think of wishing Husband and speedy recovery or asking how Tiki is feeling, please try and show a little patience and sympathy for me too. Although I am not having surgery, I think I may collapse from exhaustion just thinking about the next few days.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Back when I was a little kid I asked my mom why she married my father. I just wanted to know how she knew that he was the right person for her. She told me it was easy and I am going to quote her advice verbatim. “You figure out who your best friend is and you marry them.”
At the time, I thought she was nuts. Marry your best friend? Too young to really understand the intricacies of relationships, I wondered how I could marry Lea when everyone knew marriage was between boys and girls. Besides, Lea had a crush on Peter Hanson (really, who didn’t?) and did not seem like she would want to marry me.
Time passed and I grew up and started dating. Not unlike many other high school girls, I thought that every boyfriend was “the one” and break-ups were devastating. I remember a general refrain to my girlfriends was always along the lines of “Boyfriend said/did something horrible. I can’t talk to him about it. What should I do?” Then I would pretty much follow their advice blindly.
Even in college and after graduation, I had boyfriends and best friends but they were never the same people. There was always a part of myself I hid from the boyfriend, convinced that if he knew the real me, he would reject me. I have ex-boyfriends who would tell you that I love air travel or that I think Led Zepplin is the best band ever, while any of my friends would tell you that I can’t fly without drugs and I would rather poke my eardrums out with a retractable pencil than listen to Led Zepplin.
But then, by chance and while I was not even looking, I met Husband at a barbeque in July 2003. For our first meeting, there was something about him that incentivized me to be myself. (Note: I do not believe “incentivized” is a real word nor do I think you can just add “ize” and make something a verb, but Husband insists this is a word so in tribute to him, I am using it in this post). I changed the channel when he played Led Zepplin or Phish (two bands he loves) and grabbed his arm in terror when we had to fly somewhere.
Today is our six month anniversary and, if possible, I love him more today than I did on the day we married. Yesterday is a perfect example. As readers of the blog already know (just scroll down one entry), Husband and I take an annual trip to Bear Mountain and go hiking. This year was the best one ever. We went managed to find the trail and hike up and back without getting lost, laughing the whole way. The pictures (to be posted this week) came out perfect and afterwards, we continued our tradition with a coffee and cookie at Starbucks before grocery shopping at the Tarrytown Shop & Stop. We still had some time to kill so we walked around the Tarrytown Center and drove through the area looking at houses and imagining our lives if we lived there. Then we had dinner and headed home.
The thing is, the day was easy. No pretense and no trying to impress each other. Husband blocked me from view on the mountain as I peed behind a bush and I took pictures (later deleted) when he tried to do the same. We giggled in the restaurant parking lot as we tried to change out of our hiking clothes and into restaurant appropriate clothing in the car and spent a good deal of time at dinner discussing whose farts would smell worse that night. You know, the kind of things you can only do with your best friend.
So to Mother, thanks for the advice. And to Husband, thanks for making the last six months better than any others before it.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Husband is downstairs working on a deal. Some corporation wants to buy another corporation and Husband is helping work out the details of the financial transaction, or some such nonsense. To me, very boring stuff. I too should be doing work as I have to become a RICO expert by Monday for a case on which I am working. Instead, however, I am blogging and worrying about Tiki’s continued limp, for which no one had provided me a satisfactory explanation.
And of course, I am dreaming about tomorrow. Monday is Husband and my six-month anniversary. Half way through what is supposed to be the hardest year of marriage and going strong. Tomorrow we are doing a mini-celebration.
Every year since we first started dating, Husband and I take a fall drive up to Bear Mountain. We have a picnic lunch at the base and then proceed to hike to the top. Supposedly there is a well-marked easy trail up and down, but we have never found it. Instead, the first year, we lost the trail entirely and pulled ourselves to the top over waterfalls and through heavy brush. Imagine the surprise of the people driving on the road when our heads popped up over the side. Imagine our surprise to find there was a road at all! We then drive through Terrytown, Sleepy Hollow and Dobbs Ferry, go grocery shopping in the suburbs where prices are lower and head home. No cell phones or blackberrys allowed. It is always a wonderful day. And this year, we are making it even better with a dinner at Blue Hills at Stone Barns.
So tonight, on a Saturday night, I am home avoiding work while Husband is actually productive. If we get any good pictures, I will post them.
Recently I cleaned out my closets. Usually, I mean to do this every six months when the seasons really change but last spring Husband and I moved in March and, in order to make life a little simpler with the wedding looming, we put all of our winter clothes in storage. When they arrived back from storage last week, I realized I had never made room in the closets for them and, as a result, was forced to empty out all the closets and put everything away again.
In the midst of closet cleaning, I found a plastic bag filled with photographs which had fallen to the back of the closet while we were moving in and which I had never noticed. I started going through the pictures, all of which were of my Ex’s kids. Back in 1998-2001, I dated a guy named Andrew. In retrospect, he was an asshole with a penchant for drama and a general disrespect of women, but at the time, I did not see it. And, even when I did see, I was head over heels in love with his children.
Not longer after Andrew and I moved in together, his Ex-wife was arrested on drug related charges and the kids came to live with us. Andrew had been an absent father when he was married and as a result his kids barely knew him. The transition was hardly easy for anyone but in the end, we all settled into our roles as a more or less happy family. Ultimately, things with Andrew did not work out. His violent and explosive temper made it so that I literally feared for my safety on more than one occasion and moving to NY to attend law school was the perfect way to end the relationship. But, leaving Andrew also meant leaving the children. I had no means to protect them.
So, looking through the pictures, I started to wonder what ever happened to the little girl who would sit on my lap and sing me songs from the Lion King and Titanic. Does she still love the smell of nail polish and has she learned to sit still when someone tries to paint her fingernails? Does she still obsess over Barbie? She was pretty tough and too smart for her own good. And then there was the little boy who tried so hard to be tough but was so sensitive that my heart always broke for him. Between the divorce and his parents’ antics, he was damaged visibly but I will never forget the day, while skateboarding on Pennsylvania Avenue, when he grabbed my hand and told me that I was the only adult he could trust.
But despite my affection for his children, I could not stay with Andrew. Last I heard, he had married a woman with whom he had a passionate, but ultimately turbulent relationship.
That’s the thing about being a (almost) step-mom. You love these kids as if they came from your womb and spend so much time trying to make sure that they are happy, but in the end, you have no real say and no ability to follow-up. All I can do is hope that I was enough of a positive influence to break the cycle of abuse and betrayal that probably stretched back well before they were born. That is, if they even remember me.
So, I put the pictures back into the bag and placed the bag back into the far reaches of the closet. I will likely forget soon where they are and not notice the pictures again until the next closet cleaning. And maybe, one day, when they are off to college or packing for a long trip, one of the children will find some pictures of me in their own closet and suddenly remember that, no matter how things turned out, there was someone who loved them.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Sometime I think I am living in a South Park episode. In case you live in a cave, I will fill you in on the latest religious scandal. As reported in CNN.com and pretty much everywhere else today, Rev. Ted Haggard, who resigned as one of the nation's top evangelical leaders, admitted this morning he had contacted male prostitute Mike Jones for a massage and bought drugs from him. He vehemently denies having ever had gay sex with Jones, but readily admitted to buying drugs.
And yet, it gets better. Rev. Haggard’s church opposes gay marriage and seeks a Constitutional Amendment to prevent it.
Let me try and understand. Homosexual sex with prostitutes is bad. Loving committed relationships with rights and benefits between two people of the same sex is anti-American. Dangerous and illegal drugs are fine.
I also love the good Reverend’s comment that he bought the Meth and never used it. He says he was “tempted” but claims that he never used drugs – even in high school. Maybe this is where he went wrong. You see, high school is when you are supposed to experiment, as a teenager – not as an adult in a position of influence.
I wouldn’t even know where to buy Meth. It’s not like you can just call 1-800-DRUGS4U and have some Meth delivered. You have to know where to go. Dealers don’t advertise so I have trouble believing someone just decided to meet a dealer for Meth one day. You have to really try and find it.
On the other hand, if Rev. Haggard is telling the truth and this is his first foray into drugs, then I have to admire his tenacity. Most teenagers start with marijuana or something similar and leave it at that. Not Rev. Haggard. He skipped the “soft” stuff and even passed on typical party drugs like Coke and E. (Too 1980’s for him, maybe?) Nope. He went right to Meth. Way to jump right in with both feet Reverend.
So, in sum: As a religious and spiritual leader, it is totally fine to purchase drugs as long as you don’t have homosexual sex. It’s folks like Ted Haggard that keep shows like South Park on the air.