Random Blog A Musing Farf: December 2006

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



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.


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!


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:

“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’….”

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!

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.