Random Blog A Musing Farf: September 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I keep getting hits on Google from people looking up things about Shiba Inus. Today, someone who stopped by came to this blog because of a Google search for “Shiba Inus jump out windows.” In case whoever this is comes back, I want to make your search simple. Shiba Inus jump out of windows, over doggie gates and pretty much anything else you can imagine.

Take for example, my beloved Shiba, Tiki. When Tiki first came home with Husband and I, we dutifully read every book on how to raise a happy puppy and decided on confinement training. Tiki would be left in the kitchen with food, water and wee wee pads (think of it like a huge crate) while we were at work. The first day of that plan, I came home only to find the gate up but the puppy gone from the kitchen. Instead, he was bounding over to me (after having left several “presents” on the living room floor). He had jumped over the puppy gate and hung around all day in the living room. Later that night, when both Mommy and Puppy needed a break from each other, I put him back in the kitchen. But Tiki was not to be confined. He jumped the gate, trotted over to the couch and resumed chewing on Husband’s slipper.

We ended up buying a second gate and putting one on top of the other so that he could not escape!

But the jumping did not end there. Recently, Tiki and I went to the dog run (not the one pictured below). This dog run has a fence around it that is no less than five feet high, but in some places, next to the fence are benches for the humans to sit on while their doggies run around. I have never before seen or heard of a Shiba jumping this fence. Tiki, not to be hampered by precedent, jumped onto the bench and put his front paw on the fence. As I ran toward him, he leaped over the fence and luckily, landed in the surrounding bushes on the other side where he waited for me to extricate him.

So, to whoever comes to this site looking for information on jumping Shiba Inus, the answer is that they do jump. And they jump high and they jump often so be prepared.

It amazed me how shortsighted politicians can be. These are people who are supposed to be able to look beyond their own experiences. Until I entered the world of politics, I believed that politicians were folks who wanted to make the world a better place. Now I feel that most of them are power mongers who could care less if the world was better as long as their world is better.

The issue that has me riled up today is abortion. It is a horrible commentary on this country that abortion, which was made legal over 20 years ago, is still inaccessible for many women. Making this medical procedure difficult to obtain is a slap in the face to the poor. Back before abortion was legal, women with economic means seeking to end an unwanted pregnancy could simply pay a willing doctor enough money, pay a psychiatrist to label them suicidal or simply travel to a place where abortion was legal. Even now, the accessibility issue does not harm women with economic means. Abortions not available anywhere near your South Dakota ranch? Just fly to NY or somewhere closer and, if you have health insurance, pay only the co-pay. Sweet deal.

But, that is a small subset of the people who are affected by restrictions on abortion. Women without access to nearby clinic face travel expenses and missed work days that could end in bankruptcy. And without insurance or emergency funding, procedures can run into the thousands.

What makes me most angry are the laws that Congress is attempting to pass in order to “protect” children from having abortions. The argument most heard in stories like the one posted here:

Joyce’s daughter, Crystal, was only 12 years old when she was intoxicated and raped by a 19-year-old whom she had met at the high school where she attended the seventh grade. On August 31, 1995, Crystal Farley went missing. An investigation conducted by the police and school officials discovered that Crystal may have been transported out of state to receive an abortion. Her mother had no idea that Crystal was pregnant. To Joyce’s horror, after Crystal had been returned home early that afternoon, she learned that the mother of the 19-year-old male had transported her daughter to New York to get an abortion.

Let’s start at the beginning with this one. Was there a reason that Crystal did not want to tell her mother about the pregnancy? Did she come from an abusive household or was she afraid of being kicked out for violating her mother’s religious beliefs? And what about the fact that she was intoxicated? If Joyce was such a dedicated parent, how was her 12 year old out drinking? What happened to Crystal is horrible, but why should a traumatic experience be compounded by having to tell your parents instead of someone else?

For some girls, there is a safety issue. There is a woman who I will call K. She ran away from an abusive home at 16. Was she supposed to tell her mother that she was pregnant with her father’s baby after years of rape and incest? Since her mother was, according to K, aware of her father’s visits to her room, would K have been supported in her decision to have an abortion or would she have been beaten? Regardless of what would have happened, she assumed the answer was the latter. If a law like the Child Custody Protection Act is passed, where does it leave young girls like K?

Yesterday, I posted a little essay that was supposed to be about my parents and the shift in their parenting strategies. I meant to write about how they were much stricter with my sister and me then they are with my brother. Brother did not take it that way and thought the posting implied that he had no moral character. It was certainly not intended to imply that and the offending posting has been deleted.

So what do I think of Brother? It's hard to be objective since I am so much older than he is and we have never really been peers. I was already eleven when he was born and sometimes, when he would cry at night, I would go across the hall into his room and rock him rather than wake up our mother. So there has always been some maternal-ish feelings there and it is hard for me to see him as a young adult and not the same little kid with a bowl cut who claimed his name was Lonny Deroony and turned every conversation into a game show.

But he has grown up. He is a junior in college and contemplating some major life changes. He is one of the smartest people I know and has a quick and biting wit. I cannot imagine him failing in any endeavor (except possibly Italian class).

I love when we find common interests as adults and I smile whenever I think of the time we went shopping for toothpaste so I could teach him how to clean a SCUBA mask and can not hide my excitement when he calls me to tell me he got up at 6am and stood in line to be the first to vote in his Precinct. I just wish he would call or email more and let me have more moments like that, but then again, how often does anyone really call their siblings when they are in school? I think it is universal that at that point in life, friends come first.

Hopefully, after college, he will join Sister and me in New York City so we can have even more of those moments where we connect one on one as peers.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


My friend Wendy is doing the Alzheimer’s memory walk in support of her father. Currently 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, and by 2050 the number of individuals with Alzheimer’s could total 16 million. Proceeds from the Memory Walk go directly to fund local programs and services designed to improve the lives of those affected by Alzheimer's. If you have a second, please click here and help lend your financial support.

Losing my memory and knowledge of my surrounding is one of my greatest fears. I can not even begin to imagine what it would be like to not recognize Husband or Sister and know who my friends are. I can not begin to imagine the terror of waking up and not knowing where I am.

So, without Wendy’s knowledge I am posting this link to her page and asking everyone to make a small donation.

If I could, I would quit my job and be a full time homemaker. Well, not quit forever, because I might get bored, but I would at least take a sabbatical and just cook stuff. Unfortunately, this is Husband’s dream as well and since one of us has to earn money and obtain health insurance and since I publicly promised to support Husband if he quits Big Law Firm, he gets first dibs on staying home. Bummer.

While I generally like my job, it has started to interfere with my social life. I hate that. This week alone, I am planning a baby shower and bachelorette party on the same day, going with Wuzi to look at wedding locations, had a going away dinner for G____ at Peter Lugars and have to head up to CT for Kol Nidre services and Yom Kippur. And the Partner for whom I work keeps asking me about a memo he assigned weeks ago and I have not even begun to write. I tried to explain to Partner that my social life was too full to do work, but he looked at me like I was nuts. I think he thought I was kidding.

And yet, here I am blogging and looking at the internet and trying to get a Blog Award . Sigh. Maybe I just need a vacation…

Friday, September 22, 2006


Yesterday at lunch (see below), I met up with Wuzi, one of my best friends who recently got engaged, in order to calm her down after a fight she had with her mom regarding the wedding.

Wuzi is totally non-traditional is many ways – she lives in the East Village, has a cool and funky sense of style, goes to Burning Man and refuses to wear an engagement ring because she hates the idea of diamonds. She is also completely traditional in many ways – she is an attorney, wants to get married and enjoys a spa day as much as any Upper West Side yuppie. I adore her.

Anyway, the now resolved conflict between Wuzi and her mom centered around wedding location and number of guests. Wuzi wanted smaller and her mom wanted bigger. I tried to help her see both sides and translate what her mom was really saying, and while Wuzi understood by the end, she was still angry. And then I thought that not long ago, my mom and I were having the same fights.

I really wanted a small wedding. I ended up with over 200 people. Father had to invite colleagues for “political reasons” and Mother’s family is so large that a complete family reunion would probably have a higher population count than many small countries. I capitulated and then, at the wedding, ignored people who did not instantly look familiar. But there was one particular battle that really stands out and it is so ridiculous that I am almost embarrassed to write about it. I like to call it the Great Bagel Battle.

My mother was insistent that we had out some kind of food at the end of the wedding. I hated the idea as we had invited most of the wedding guests to join us for an after-wedding bowling party and who wants to carry food to a bowling alley? Plus, the entire reason we got married where we did was the food options. People were not going to be hungry. Mother refused to back down from her plan to give out bagels and coffee at the end of the wedding. We screamed on the phone. I reminded her it was my day. She reminded me who was paying. I was convinced that we would never speak again.

After three days of yelling, Sister spoke up. She suggested a compromise. Instead of bagels, we pass out black and white cookies. It was portable and fit with the New York theme. Brilliant. I did not love the idea but I could live with it. So could Mother.

Mother seems to remember wedding planning as this stress-free time where we generally got along perfectly. I remember it as a constant back and forth between what she wanted and what I wanted. However, in the end, except for the wedding size, there was nothing I cared about that I did not get and my father did a great job acting as a translator and making sure my mother and I were sane. In addition to the Great Bagel Battle, there were other, smaller skirmishes involving angry phone calls, unreturned emails and foot stomping by both of us.

But, there were also wonderful moments. Like the first time I tried on my dress and Mother slipped a necklace around my neck, having instinctively knew what would complete the look. Or the time that we grabbed lunch in a deli and spent an hour laughing at a ridiculously over the top florist we had just met (although we did steal some of his ideas). And as the months pass, I remember more of the good times and less of the fights. Even the Great Bagel Battle has become a joke.

So, to Wuzi, my unsolicited advice to you is to just run with it. There will be many more fights. There will be days when you swear that you will never get married. But there will also be touching moments to remember forever and when you see your mother tear up at the sight of her youngest daughter walking down the aisle, you won’t even notice if Great Aunt Jo is sitting in the crowd.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon and last night trying very hard not to vomit publicly. The mere thought of food made my stomach turn and made me feel physically ill. (Hence, the only available weight loss technique available to me is anorexia and not bulimia and certainly not exercise!) But I learned a valuable lesson.

Picture the scene: I am having lunch with Wuzi and talking her through a fight she had with her mom regarding wedding planning (happily, all resolved as of this posting). We are in our favorite lunch place, taking in the yummy and healthy organic buffet offerings. We each get the baked salmon.

Wuzi (upon taking a bite): This salmon tastes funny.
Me (shoving huge portion in my mouth): You are crazy
Wuzi: I am not eating it.
Me: I like it and will eat yours.

Fast forward 45 minutes and I am hanging over the toilet at work and praying for a swift death. Ugh, even writing this, I want to retch.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I have decided to end my silent suffering at the hands of friends and loved ones with a pronouncement. I self-identify as a feminist. Actually, many others would identify me as such.

Do you need my credentials? I am a Director of Haven Coalition, an organization which assists women in obtaining second trimester abortions in NYC (please join, we need more volunteers!), I am an attorney who, in addition to my daily work advocating social change, volunteers time to help battered women in gaining custody of their children after a divorce and I pretty much freak out on anyone who thinks that as a woman, I am not capable of the same tasks as a man. Moreoever, I was thrilled when Mother recounted a story of Brother in his college class on Women and Feminism. Brother’s Professor was speaking of a large push in the 1970’s by lesbians to advance the feminist movement and Brother raised his hand and announced to the class, “My sister is like that – only without the lesbian thing.” Hahahaha.

Basically, I fully subscribe to the idea espoused by Ann Richards’ in 1988 that “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.” I really believe that and think that one of the best things of being born when I was, is that there were strong female role models. I hope to be one of those to the next generation.

But lately, I am under attack and my commitment to feminism is being questioned. Why? Because I decided to get married and to do so in a traditional way. I accepted an engagement ring and did not ask my future husband to wear anything symbolizing our upcoming nuptials. I oohed and ahhed over pretty floral arrangements. And, seemingly most offensive to others, I changed my last name.

Frankly, after getting engaged, I developed a habit of gesticulating with my left hand to better show off the diamond. And, no, I did not work with Husband to combine our names, or ask him to take mine or even seriously consider keeping my own name (despite my telling friends that I was doing soul searching about my name – that was a total lie). But at the same time, I did not stop my work with Haven, I continued to volunteer to help battered women and had no problem running from a meeting where I screamed at some Hotel manager because female employees felt harassed to a meeting where I discussed the color of table linens.

The feminist movement is working to shut me out. People like Liz Rizzo blog about the need for women to stop wearing engagement rings and even Suzanne (someone with whom I normally agree) writes in a disparaging way about people who change their names after marriage. Didn’t Lucy Stone (the first woman to not change her name upon marriage) really fight, not to keep her own name, but to be called whatever the hell she wanted to be called? It’s not like Husband forced me into a decision one way or another. Maybe the problem is that Liz Rizzo’s failed engagement was partly due to her fiancĂ©’s ability to treat her like an equal partner. Or maybe she failed to appreciate that not all men care about flowers (my Husband, on the other hand, actually designed our centerpieces and spent over an hour sketching them for the florist) and that its okay to have different interests. If I care about something (like table linen colors) and Husband does not, why does it automatically make me less feminist for me to make decisions without him? Why can’t I like traditional things like designer wedding dresses and pretty jewelry without being forced to feel as though I had betrayed a sisterhood?

Do I sound angry? I am. How dare someone call themselves a feminist and then reject those of us whose ideas do not perfectly conform to hers? Symbols change over time and I have no respect for people who can not understand that, in today’s society, a ring is nothing more than a gift. It is not a symbol of subjugation anymore. And my name is mine to do with as I please.

So I will continue to try and be a strong role model for women, but I will do it in high heels and pretty jewelry.

It’s really amazing how much compromise is involved when you marry someone of a different faith. Technically (as in by birth) Husband is Jewish (as am I) but by practice he is an atheist and pretty much despised anything that in any way smacks of religion. On the other hand, I say prayers every night, try to maintain some of the kosher dietary laws (no pork, but lobster is okay) and really celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in a meaningful way.

Every year, right around the holidays, Husband and I have the same argument. He refuses to attend synagogue and I hate to go alone, so we head up to my parent’s house so I have people with whom I can worship and he joins us for the big family dinners. The problem centers around having dinner with his family.

Let me be clear right off. I am incredibly lucky in the in-law lottery. Husband’s entire family is just wonderful and I could not love them more if I had been born into their family. Generally, I can’t imagine passing up dinner with them. (Seriously, if you have not heard Mother in Law (MiL) imitate her students at school, you are really missing out!) But they do not celebrate the holidays in a religious sense – no one goes to Synagogue.

I am a pretty firm believer that everyone celebrates a holiday in their own way and, in most cases, I would tell you that the family aspect is the most important of any holiday. So, without hesitation, I give up Seder one night during Passover to have Passover dinner with Husband’s family and pretty much don’t think twice about it all year. But, for some reason, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are different. You see, I actually use Rosh Hashanah to attend Synagogue and reflect about the previous year. For ten days, I really try to be a better person and use the Yom Kippur fast as a symbol of my commitment to be nicer, more caring, less gossipy, more charitable, etc. (It’s also a fabulous way to kick off a diet). I decline invitations to cool events and try not to even talk on the phone during the Jewish Holidays (although I do watch TV, I am not a martyr, after all so let’s be reasonable). Husband tolerates my self-denial and keeps his grumbling to a minimum. But, he refuses to attend Synagogue, saying it makes him feel hypocritical, and stays home on those days.

Generally, I could care less about whether or not he attends a religious service. I have people to go with me so I am not alone and he has agreed that, should be ever have kids, they will be forced to attend with me until college, when they can make their own decisions. The problem arises when his family (not unreasonably) wants to have a holiday meal on the actual holiday. Since Jewish holidays start the night before the fist day of the holiday, this would mean that a holiday, such as Rosh Hashanah, which runs Saturday and Sunday this year, would actually begin Friday at sundown and end Sunday at sundown. Thus, holiday dinners would be Friday night and Saturday night. Still with me? So, for these purposes, the schedule of events would be holiday dinner (Friday night), Synagogue (Saturday daytime), holiday dinner (Saturday night), Synagogue (Sunday daytime), holiday over Sunday evening. Confused? Good. So is pretty much half of the American-Jewish population.

Husband’s family had dinner at Husband’s aunt’s home in NYC (very sadly, Husband’s uncle, whom I adored, died this summer after a battle with cancer). This means, since I do not travel on the holidays, that Husband’s family dinner must either be the first night (in this case Friday night) and then we head to my parent’s house afterwards or after the holiday on Sunday night. Any other option means I would not be able to attend services.

So far, I have been lucky. Husband’s family had held dinner on either the first night or the night immediately following the holiday and there has been no conflict. And I know (and appreciate) that this was mainly for my benefit and then I feel really guilty because his family’s traditions are totally valid and should not be moved to accommodate me. So I am torn between feeling bad about it and being really adamant that if Husband wants to do dinner during the holiday, he should offer to spend three hours in Synagogue with me. Sigh. A never ending cycle and actually the very first thing about which we ever had a fight.

Of course, the upside is, after digging in my heels about the holiday, I have something to repent.

Monday, September 18, 2006


This weekend, I discovered a theatrical performance that was one of the most enjoyable I had experienced in a long time. The Awesome 80’s Prom. SWCNBN and I went there to celebrate her bachelorette party and it was a fabulous time. For those of you who have never heard of it, you basically walk into a room decorated like a school gym for prom night and become party of the Wannagit High (get it?) class of 1989. Its an interactive experience with dance contests and a cast made up of all the stereotypical high school folks – the jock, the nerds, cheerleaders, rebels, sexually confused theater geeks, etc. SWCNBN indulged in pop rocks and vodka (not soda – we did not want her to explode like Mikey from the Life commercials) and got to dance with the most popular boy in school. Afterwards, SWCNBN commented that in high school, she would have gone for the sexually confused boy and not the Captain of the Football Team. That’s pretty funny since SWCNBN future groom is a former skateboarder and not bond trader. Hardly her High School dream guy.

In high school I went for the boys with an edge. There was Eric, the sarcastic theater geek who tried unsuccessfully to rule our little clique. Then, in an effort to reform myself, there was Steve, the guy next door (almost literally) who I had known since seventh grade and for whom I suffered though years of unrequited teen love before he finally noticed me. Steve was a year older and went to college so senior year there was Ryan, who I think was gay but he was so cute and sensitive, that I figured I could overlook the who sleeping with boys thing.

I always wondered what happened to the high school Exes and picture them on a dusty closet shelf jumbled together like a bunch of dolls long forgotten and outgrown.

I recently ran into an ex-boyfriend (post college, I am embarrassed to admit) on the street while walking my dog. New York can be an annoyingly small city. When I dated this guy, I though he was a moron. But he was really good looking and the high school girl in me wanted the grown up equivalent of the most popular boy in school.

Of course, I was in sweat pants, unshowered and hung over and carrying a bag of doggie feces. Super. You never run into anyone when you are dressed up in heels being escorted by a George Cloony look alike. His wife smirked at me as though she had won the lottery. WTF? He’s not such a prize unless unmotivated and painfully stupid, but very good looking is some sort of weird thing about which to dream. But maybe she is also an idiot, or at least can tolerate idiots. Besides, (and here was where I could smirk a little) he clearly was gaining weight at rate which could only be matched by the speed at which his hairline is receding. And when Ex loses his looks, he will have lost his only redeeming quality.

We exchanged the small talk hellos and made appropriate introductions and then continued on our paths. I could not help but reflect that my dumb but cute Ex had become not so cute. A man who thought a 1.6 from the local community college was just fine and religiously attended “How to get Rich in Today’s Real Estate Market” and “Make Money though the Power of Suggestion” conferences was no longer cute? Maybe the smirk from his wife meant I had won the lottery by breaking up with him years ago? Sure, he is still nice but who wants dumb, ugly and nice? My high school self would have been appalled.

Friday, September 15, 2006


I have been thinking a lot lately about the nature of friendships between women. Well, specifically of my friendships.

I tend to make friends easily. Husband always jokes that I am the only person who goes to the grocery store and comes back with a phone number and a new friend. But these friendships are fleeting and transient at best. While Grocery Store Friend and I may meet for a drink or a quick brunch, we will never rise above the level of causal acquaintance and our conversations will never go deeper than wondering about who the real father of Suri Cruise may be.

But really, I have been thinking about the nature of best friends. Obviously, I have Sister who trumps all others, but there are many people I would consider to be a best friend. In the tri-state area alone there are CT Mom, SWCNBN, Wuzi, Suzanne and several others. I have no problem calling any of them to discuss big problems or small and can spend hours with each without getting bored and feel comfortable confiding in them even the most intimate secrets. Plus, they all are really fun to just go out with and grab a bite to eat.

And then there are people with whom I used to be best friend, but would no longer place them in that category. For example, there is P. A friend from whom I hear sporadically and shudder in dread when I see her name on my caller ID. We used to be inseparable but we grew apart. Well, I grew apart. She still tells me (and others) that I am her best friend but in reality, I can’t stand her. Well, that’s unfair. I like her well enough in small doses but anything more than 30 minutes and I want to strangle her. Then I call Sister and we spend hours making fun and tearing her apart in a way I know would devastate her if she ever knew.

But there is the age old question that no one I know seems able to answer: How do you break up with a friend? There are, of course, friends with whom no break up is necessary. Distance, family and other obligations mean that phone calls are less frequent and neither person harbors any hard feelings. No, the hard ones are the folks like K with whom you used to share an amazing friendship and according to her, you still do, but short of telling her, “I don’t particularly like you because you are boring and self absorbed,” she just won’t get it. And I don’t want to hurt her feelings. And I am too passive to tell her why we aren’t friends anymore and at this point, the list is too long. Sigh.

So, I go back to my avoidance of her calls and simply responding only when she catches me unaware or when I feel like not calling back would be just mean. I would love to know how other people handle this situation. Do you try and fade out? Do you tell the person what they did? And how to you explain that there really isn’t anything they did?

Or maybe, the best way is to post a blog about it and hope that P recognizes herself…

Thursday, September 14, 2006


It amazes me that people how upset people were to learn that the Bush Administration was spying on their personal phone calls. Not because such behavior is illegal and ridiculous (which it is) but because in the technology driven age in which we live, very little “private” information is actually private.

Take credit card information for example. I am very careful to tear up my credit card bills (sometimes before I even pay them, Hahaha) to make sure that no one can obtain the numbers. Yet, when I called to order sushi for dinner the other night, the person on the other end of the phone asked me if I would like to bill the charge to the credit card ending in 1234 (not the real number, obviously). Without hesitation, I said yes and upon hanging up realized that my credit card does not end with the numbers 1234. I signed the bill when it came and added a generous tip (hey, it wasn’t my card) and figured I had a free dinner. Hours later, while telling the story to Husband, he informed me that I had charged dinner to his card (Thanks Husband!). But really, anyone could have done it. No one asked me for any verification that the number belonged to me.

This point was further driven home last night. PTG, Photogenic Friend and Law School Friend joined me for drinks and tacos after work. At some point, we began talking about blogs and Law School Friend began to tell me how she is obsessed with her friend’s blog and checks it at least once a day. She even posts anonymous comments. Then I mentioned how I know that Sister checks my blog at least once a day and so do other people in Sister’s office. Law School Friend was shocked to discover that I know who is checking the blog and for how long they are online, but really, it is simple.

The IP address generated by Sister’s computer (and those of others in her office) or of Husband’s computer and really any computer tells me exactly who is checking my blog. After all, I only know one person who works for Big Corporate Law Firm so it must be Husband reading. I can also tell when people find this blog through a search engine like Google and the search criteria which they used. (I get lots of hits from people searching Shiba Inu social clubs in Denver). In the case of Sister, who works for a very large company, I can even tell the division from which the IP address was generated. That’s how I know whether she is reading or someone else. I also know that someone in Virginia checks in daily from the link posted on Suzanne’s blog.

Law School Friend and her sister had been checking their friend’s blog in hopes of getting a mention. They would check daily and stay on for hours, often making fun of their friend's posts. They thought that their friend had no idea. But I am sure that Law School Friend’s friend knew exactly who was checking and for how long.

So your internet usage can be tracked by amateur bloggers, Husband’s credit card information is readily available to anyone who calls our favorite sushi place and most employer’s monitor employee emails. Is it really such a stretch to think that phone calls are also being monitored? And who cares? When I make a phone call I know Verizon knows who I am calling. Heck, they send me a phone bill with a list of numbers and the length of each call. Why is this so different than American Express calling to make sure that the charge at a New Jersey deli is legitimate because it does not fit my normal usage pattern? Is it better that a private company has access than the government? Is there really a difference?

Frankly, the government is so inept and bureaucratic that I can’t imagine they would even notice a pattern to my phone calls if I was involved in some illegal activity. Even the drug dealers on the Wire are smart enough to throw away cell phones to avoid any pattern to their calls. Do you think that terrorist masterminds can’t figure out what writers of a fictional HBO show already have?

So to those upset about yet more illegal and unconstitutional activity from the Bush government, I say that there is nothing to get all upset about. And if you send anonymous emails, I can pretty much figure out who you are…

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 9/10 correct!

I am afraid of numbers. I don't balance my checkbook because it always comes out wrong and my childhood dreams of being a marine biologist were crushed by the realization that science means math classes. So I went to law school.

I still hate math but since this is the first time I have ever not failed a math quiz, I thought I would ask other people to take it and let me know how they did!

I would write more about my feelings on math (I still hate it) but Suzanne posted perfectly my feelings on the subject. And besides, I am not just a lazy student but apparently a lazy blogger.

Monday, September 11, 2006


I have to admit that I had forgotten about September 11th. Not, of course, September 11, 2001 – that is pretty much a day that is forever seared in my memory, but September 11, 2006. I woke up in a pretty good mood today and turned on the TV in hopes of checking out the weather report on NY1. They were reading names and I remembered that today is the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center (and the Pentagon as well, but since I live in NY and watched the towers fall mere feet from where I was standing, I don’t really think about the folks in PA or DC as much). The good mood in which I awoke suddenly vanished.

On September 11, 2001 I went to work early in order to catch up on some school work before the day got started. I remember how beautiful the day was and I remember thinking that I should call Sister to meet for lunch at the deli we liked in the WTC. I worked in 1 World Financial, which was attached to the Trade Center (and is still standing). Suddenly, the entire building vibrated and what looked liked confetti began to tumble by the window. A ticker-tape parade? I could not figure out what was being celebrated. Then, after racing outside and watching the second plane fly over my head, I still did not think terrorism. I just wondered what was wrong with the radar at LaGuardia. And then I saw the fire. And the bodies falling (now I know jumping) out of the windows. I thought of Sister and how she was nearby and I fell apart. I traded the high heels I was wearing for an extra pair of someone’s gym shoes and walked to Brooklyn covered in dust. (Thank you Claudia, wherever you are, for both the shoes and the hospitality). Then I saw my family for dinner and went home and hid under my bed during the thunderstorm that took place that night. I will remember that day forever. It comes back to me unexpectedly –like when the sky is bright blue on a September day or when I look south and suddenly realize the landscape is changed.

I understand the need for people to mourn and to remember. And certainly, there is truth to the old adage that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. But I need to start forgetting. Everyday, when the subway shrieks to a halt in a tunnel, the claustrophobia that didn’t exist five years ago -- before I ran 27 flights down a crowded stairwell in terror -- comes back. (My calves hurt for days, by the way). Plus, I was lucky. I did not lose anyone close to me. I can not imagine how I would feel if I did.

Of course, people should remember that terrorism is still a threat and work toward peace. That goes without saying. And I would never begrudge someone remembering a loved one in their own way. Last year, I went to a barbecue on September 11th in memory of the brother of an acquaintance who died in the WTC. More than anything, it was a celebration of life and a great way to memorialize someone.

But for me, I need to try and not remember that day. I want to remember people as they lived and not as they died. I want to be able to wake up glace at my watch in annoyance when trapped in a stalled subway car and not in fear. After five years, I need to stop mourning and start getting past it.

So this year, I will not listen to the list of names being read. I will not turn on the news and watch images I know by heart being played over and over on television. Instead, I will treat today as normal as I can in order to stop mourning and start healing.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Husband is an Associate in Big Corporate Law Firm. Like most similarly situated folks, he dreams of running away to a better life. (Cue Bon Jovi "Living On a Prayer" here). One where people do not glare at you if you leave work before 10pm and where Partners do not expect you to be available by cell and Blackberry during your honeymoon. I am an Associate at Small Liberal Law Firm. One where people feel bad for you if you work until 10pm and people with young children tend not to work on Fridays. Our salaries reflect the differences in our jobs. So do our attitudes about work. I really like my job and plan on staying for a long time (unless I win the lottery and then I am OUT!).

People who work at Big Corporate Law Firm or other similar institutions always ask me about my choice of working at Small Liberal Law Firm, only they do it in such a way as to suggest it was not really a choice - as though they can’t fathom why anyone would be a lawyer if not to make oodles of money. I would love to make oodles of money (hey, I am not totally selfless) but since you spend so much time at work, why not like what you do, right? On the other hand, I am really lucky since Husband’s job at Big Corporate Law Firm lets me enjoy a style of life I would not otherwise be able to afford.

Note: Contrary to what people have actually said to me, I am not working at Small Liberal Law Firm because I did not do well in law school. I went to law school because I wanted to work at Small Liberal Law Firm.

But then, last night, I was thinking that the work you do matters much less than the people who work with you. I am honest to goodness friends with some of the people with whom I work. Not mandatory social obligation friends like most people are with colleagues. Take Photogenic Friend: I met him while interning at Small Liberal Law Firm (he was an Associate), stayed in touch while I worked at Local Union for a year before coming back to Small Liberal Law Firm. Husband and I pretty much hang out with Photogenic Friend and Photogenic Wife at least once a week outside of work. (Seriously, you will never meet two people who consistently look better in photos). And there is Stitch, my former boss at Local Union. Stitch is a smart, creative lawyer who was a great teacher. Despite my abandonment of the job at a very inopportune time and general distain for his authority, Stitch became an excellent friend. But maybe people self-select…

Both Stitch (as my boss at Local Union) and Partners at Small Liberal Law Firm understand the importance of family – even if they had to learn it the hard way – and encourage those who work for them to spend time outside the office doing things that make them happy. Partners at Big Corporate Law Firm seem to think Associates should spend all their time at the office. In both cases, the Associates’ attitudes tend to mirror those who taught them.

Last night Husband was at home with me (which was such a nice treat, except that he was only home because the Partner for whom he had been working told Husband that he could not leave on his planned trip to Las Vegas because there was work to be done) and, as we sat on the couch commenting on the outfits being designed by Project Runway contestants and laughing about nothing in particular, I thought about the apartment we rent, the lifestyle we live and the vacations we take. Then I thought about how I would give it all up in a heartbeat for more nights at home laughing on the couch with Husband.

So, I publicly make this pledge to Husband. I will support you. Become a chef. Become a photographer. Go to work in-house for a corporation at a lower salary. Do what makes you happy and as long as we have more nights like last night, I will never complain.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I love the Shakira song Hips Don’t Lie. Except it got me thinking about my own hips and how I hate them. Someone once told me that a woman can never change the length of her calf or the width of her hips, but I have proven them wrong. I made my hips much bigger.

I am on an eating binge. There can be no other way to describe it. Maybe instead of anorexia, I should be shooting for bulimia – except that I hate throwing up and my desire to be thin is almost equal to my desire for strong white teeth and good breath, neither of which bulimia offers to me. Yesterday I met G____ and High School Friend for dinner at a great Mexican place around the corner from my apartment. I quickly consumed 3 margaritas, guacamole, nachos, queso fundido and a Chili Relleno. Then, because I was afraid to go home in case the mouse was in the trap, I invited G____ and High School friend over to my place where we consumed about a bottle of red wine each. Seriously delicious and serious calories.

So today I decided I would eat properly and exercise. Except that for lunch I had macaroni and cheese, chicken, Cesar Salad and a Snapple. Husband is heading to Vegas tonight so hopefully I can find something healthy to eat for dinner, but the food damage has been done. Plus (despite my posts which may indicate the contrary) I am pretty busy at work so the gym is likely not an option.

I am beginning to panic. And of course, panic causes me to eat. I have SWCNBN’s wedding in slightly more than a month and want to weigh 10 pounds less. How can I do this when I can’t stop eating??? And, it’s not just my poor body image this time that is convincing me I am fat. My clothes are tighter. In fact, my jeans are leave lines on my thighs and waist. This is very bad and yet I can’t stop myself. And now I ate chocolate that Law Firm Partner brought back from vacation. In fact, I just ate two more pieces. How am I going to make it though the weekend and still fit through the doorframe? It is a sad state of affairs when I look forward to fasting on Yom Kippur so that I will be prohibited by G-d from eating.

I know some people with for world peace or an end to disease, but really, all I wish for is to look good in the new fall fashions.

Father reminded me this morning that when it comes to advice, no one got better advice then Sister's Friend (SF). SF, a heterosexual female, was very close to her grandmother and, as a good granddaughter should, dutifully attended to her grandmother on her death bed. (That would be Grandmother's deathbed, not SF's). SF is a relatively serious person who always is looking for meaning in things, and when her dying grandmother asked her to lean in so she could pass on wisdom before she died, SF would have been thrilled to follow blindly whatever advice she was given.

So, picture the scene: Dying grandmother passing on final words of wisdom to granddaughter eager to hear the secrets learned in more than 80 years on earth.

SF leans in and her grandmother says to her, “If you are going to be a lesbian, you are going to end up with a mouthful of pussy hair.”

Seriously, you can’t make up stuff this good.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Last night, Suzanne and I were discussing yummy desserts and I mentioned that Emack& Bolio makes an amazing pumpkin ice cream. Oddly, Suzanne does not like pumpkin flavored ice cream but loves sweet potato pie. We were discussing how to make a sweet potato pie and Suzanne told me it was easy. The first step is to buy a ready made pie crust. I stopped her there. Buy a pie crust? Doesn’t she make extra pie crusts so she has some in case she ever has a pie emergency?

Suzanne was amazed that I make pie crusts every year and freeze them in case I need them. I was surprised that she didn’t. After all, when I got my first apartment, my mother, while helping me to unpack, gave me this sage advice, “Whenever you make a pie, make at least one extra crust and freeze it so you always have a crust ready in case you need to make an emergency pie.” Although I make two crusts every time I make a pie, I never really analyzed this advice before. What is a pie emergency? If there was some actual emergency involving a pie, couldn’t I just buy the pie? Or at least buy the crust? I started to think of all the other advice my mother has given me over the years or that mothers give daughters in general.

For example, my mother once told me never to leave the house without making the bed. She illustrated the point by telling me that the one time my Nana S, her mother, did so, she broke her leg and the paramedics saw the unmade bed. Why does this matter? Does she think the unmade bed caused the broken leg? Will paramedics give me shoddy treatment if they think I am a poor housekeeper? What if I made the bed and someone unmade it while I was gone? And yet, Husband will attest that I refuse to leave the house with an unmade bed.

My Nana N. once gave her daughter (my aunt) some advice that has stuck with me. She said, “Always remember, it is better to be nice than it is to be stupid.” Huh? Are they mutually exclusive? Can you choose to be stupid? I am not even sure how you follow that bit of “wisdom.”

So, I put this out to everyone reading this: What crazy piece of advice has been passed down to you? Do you follow it blindly? I would love to know and the best stories will be in a future post (properly anonymized, of course).

Tiki really is a great dog. He is friendly, smart and loyal. Apparently, he also fancies himself as my protector. According to The Total Shiba, “The Shiba’s protective instinct makes him a useful watchdog.” I always notice that on the street, he is standoffish to human men (although not so to women) and starts to nudge at me if I talk to someone for too long. He also barks whenever someone attempts to enter my home – be it the delivery guy or the Super. And, when I came home with Tiki the other day and the cleaning woman, who has known Tiki since he was just a baby was still at the apartment, Tiki would not stop glaring at her as if to say, “You do not live here. Why are you here without ringing the bell?”

Husband has noticed these traits as well, but I have noticed that they are much more pronounced when I am alone with Tiki. For example, when Husband is home, Tiki will hang out in the living room and barely pay attention to either of us as I move around the apartment. However, when Husband is not home, Tiki sticks to my side ands will even follow me into the bathroom. When Husband is home, Tiki sleeps on the living room couch and has to be carried to his bed in the bedroom. When Husband is not home, as soon as I go down the stairs to the bedroom, Tiki jumps up and follows me, no matter how soundly he appeared to be sleeping.

This was all illustrated last night during the Mouse Incident. After growling all night at the fireplace (see previous post), Tiki cornered the mouse in the kitchen. When Suzanne came over, he followed us all over the apartment, often running into rooms before we could enter. Suzanne left and as I got ready for bed, Tiki darted into the kitchen barked at the stove and ran back to me. Was the mouse trying to go through the ultimately ineffective barricade Suzanne and I had built?

When I went downstairs to bed, Tiki continued to dog at my heels (pun intended) until I crawled into bed. Then, he jumped on the bed and lay down facing the doorway. After a couple seconds, he jumped off the bed, ran up the stairs, barked and came back downstairs and onto the bed. Very weird. 1. Tiki never goes onto the bed unless he really needs up to wake up and take him out; and 2. Once the lights are out, Tiki never goes upstairs. All night, while I attempted to sleep and listened for the telltale scratching that would let me know the mouse had broken through the suitcases and bag barricade, Tiki remained awake and staring at the steps.

At 6am, I woke up and realized Husband had come home and was upstairs after having fallen asleep while waiting for the mouse to return. I called his name and he called back that he was upstairs. Upon hearing his voice, Tiki leapt from his gaurd post on my bed and crawled into his own bed, where he fell asleep with a sigh, as though he could finally rest and turn the job of protecting me back over to Husband.

In times of crisis, you really know who your friends are. This was proven to me last night when Suzanne came to my rescue not once, but twice.

First, it must be noted that Suzanne gives good phone. I was hormonal and in the midst of a crying jag when, on a whim, I called Suzanne to complain about all that is wrong in the world. She listened, acknowledged that some of my crankiness was justified and some was not and then made me laugh. Exactly what I needed. Plus, she is completely open to the fact that my feelings may change instantly and tomorrow I will no longer be cranky, whether or not it was justified. In my book, she was already the hero of the evening and upon hanging up the phone I decided that my mood had sufficiently recovered and instead of putting myself to bed, I would flip through People Magazine.

It must be noted that while on the phone with Suzanne, Tiki the Wonder Dog, who is normally silent and sleepy at 11pm, kept growling at the fireplace in an uncharacteristic manner. Suzanne suggested I may have a poltergeist, which turns out may have been preferable to the truth.

After hanging up the phone and picking up my People (you know it will be a good one after the Emmys because there are so many outfits to look at – amazing that even 6 months pregnant Heidi Klum looks spectacular), Tiki resumed his weird growling. And that is when it happened. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something grey and furry scurry from the fireplace behind the TV. I screamed and the mouse ran. I jumped on the couch and started to cry (This was not hormonal. I am terrified of roaches and mice). I called Husband but he was stuck at work. (Note: He has not been home either time I spotted a mouse in the apartment and thinks I am crazy). Sister lives too far away and could not get to me in time. Then, like a flash and without even thinking that perhaps she would be sleeping, I called Suzanne who, within seconds, dressed, walked up the block and knocked on my door.

Suzanne was the strength to my mush. She immediately tracked the mouse, which had run under the stove and stuck her head on the floor to look. So brave! She went though the apartment looking for holes and points of mouse entry and built a mouse barricade. She reassured me that said mouse could not climb the steps to the bedroom and I would be safe there. Then she offered to come back if the mouse returned. Above and beyond.

Tiki and I retreated to the safety of the bedroom and waited for Husband (who actually saw the mouse when he got home, proving I am not insane). Hopefully the Super will come today so I can finally rest and Suzanne won’t need to sleep with the phone by her pillow. She is my hero for the week!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I have been on the verge of tears all day. This is despite the fact that it has been a relatively good day. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s hormonal. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I have eaten literally 20 pieces of salt water taffy since 10am. But, while the taffy does explain my mild stomach ache, it does not explain the tears. I just ate two more pieces of taffy while writing this. I am literally making myself sick, but when I am sad, I eat. Of course, I also eat when I am happy, nervous, calm, bored, deep in thought, etc. There is pretty much no time when I don’t eat.

Take for example, the wedding in Cherry Hill mentioned in the previous post. Mother, Father, Husband and I all got dolled up in our Black Tie Optional best and headed to the wedding at 1pm. Plenty of time for breakfast and lunch (which I ate). The ceremony started at 2:30 and was over by 3:30pm. It was a 45 minute drive to the reception hall and there was a 90 minute break between the ceremony and reception. All normal people drive to the reception and begin to partake of appetizers and drinks. My family drives south to Philly in search of Pat’s cheese steaks and then, after gorging ourselves on cheese steaks (well, Father and Husband gorged themselves, semi-Kosher self and self-disciplined Mother abstained) drove back north to the reception and ate as much as we could shove in our faces for the next hour until the cocktail hour ended. Then, as the reception was winding down, we stood in front of the chocolate fountain at the dessert bar and insisted the fountain be turned on so we could eat dessert. All of this after dinner and eating the chocolate favors of guests who had the misfortune of arriving late. And yet, I wonder why I gained 1.6 pounds this weekend despite walking almost 18 miles?

I just ate three more taffy.

Sister was the Maid of Honor at a wedding this weekend to which the entire family was invited. Bride, who was a Protestant or some such thing by birth but a Jew by practice, married Groom, a Coptic Christian from an Egyptian family, in a Greek Orthodox wedding. Confused?

The wedding was an interesting mix of religious and secular traditions. One of the readings told of how just as Christ was the head of the Church, so Groom was head of the family and Bride should be subservient to him. Note to Groom: I can’t picture Bride as subservient to anyone so don’t hold your breath. On the other hand, the DJ played “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira so clearly no one was taking the whole “handmaiden of the Lord” thing too seriously.

A dance was performed by the bride and groom (separate from the usual first dance you generally see at weddings) where the groom wore a fez hat and danced with a stick. The bride then took the stick and they danced passing it back and forth. Husband and I asked a friend of Groom’s to explain the symbolism of the stick and he replied, “It dates from Ancient Egypt and is a symbol of the Groom’s power to beat Bride if she does not behave in the marriage.” I was incensed and ready to post about how traditions change and lose meaning over time but the roots of those traditions are totally offensive. Then I thought about my own wedding and how I circled Husband seven times as a symbol of building the walls of our home, but that others had heard the tradition as standing for the proposition that my life centered on Husband. Since the latter explanation makes me ill, I figured I should be careful before throwing stones.

I decided to hit up the internet for some research and it turns out that Groom’s friend was wrong. According to the websites I checked (and there were many), the stick symbolizes the sword used in battle during ancient times and represents the force by which the couple will use to defend their union. Very cool. In fact, I sort of wish we had done it at my wedding.

The wedding was one of the most fun I had been to in a long time and part of it had to do with how new and old traditions were mixed together. Even the chocolates handed out after the ceremony were a mix – white chocolate covered with milk chocolate. Yum. I took handfuls and put them in my purse. You know, Jews and food… This wedding also reinforced my belief that pretty much every culture has some sort of circle dance. In this case, people grabbed the Fez hat and danced in the center of the circle. Husband danced in the center of the circle wearing the Fez hat to JayZ. The perfect blend of cultures and a heck of a lot of fun.

Note to the Bride: The Godiva chocolate escort cards were an excellent touch. I ate mine and that of the McGuires, so it is a good thing they missed the wedding!

Saturday, September 02, 2006


I weigh myself twice a day – once before bed and once when I wake up. I hate my body. I think I am fat. The problem is, it does not matter how much I diet. I will always think I am fat. Before my wedding, I lost 20 pounds through good old-fashioned diet and exercise. I wore a size 4. In no world can this be considered heavy and I actually liked the way I looked…except for my thighs and butt. Now, I wear a size 6 and pretty much berate myself for it on a daily basis. But, the thing is, all my friends think the same things about themselves.

Now, I know what you are thinking. I can just go back to size 4 through the same diet and exercise regimen I tried for the wedding. Except I can’t. I have tried. First off, I went to an exercise boot camp three days a week, which was so expensive that I can never justify doing it again, even if it did produce the results I desired. Also, I pretty much stopped eating anything but plain roasted chicken and steamed vegetables, and I barely ate that.

Of course, there is the other issue lurking out there. I love the taste of food. Ice cream, rice, grits, steak… You name it and I eat it. And, once I take a bite, there is no stopping me. So I eat. And then I hate myself and vow to never eat again. And then someone says to me, “Lets meet for dinner and catch up.” I order French fries and the whole cycle starts over again.

There is Suzanne, who although cute and openly contemptful of all things "girly" constantly thinks she is fat. My friend, Wuzi, is beautiful. She has an infectious smile, curves in all the right places and an amazing sense of style. Wuzi is forever telling me how she is fat and ugly and yet I would trade bodies with her without a second thought. Sister is no different. The other night, Sister came over for sushi (on Mom’s credit card – thanks Mom!) and to use the computer. I mentioned to her how I was jealous she was so skinny, because I had gotten fat. Sister looked at me like I was nuts and told me she was terribly fat and hated how she looked. I grabbed my stomach pooch and told her she was lucky not to have it. She grabbed her arm and told me to watch it jiggle. This continued for several minutes as we stripped off our clothes to reveal the fat underneath. Wisely, Husband left the room.

Joan Jacobs Brumberg writes, "If an American woman dislikes her thighs, she is unlikely to like herself" (The Body Project, p. 128). In an effort to learn to like myself, I have tried every diet there is – Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach, etc. – and even considered diet pills until Suzanne explained that they don’t keep you from eating, just from feeling hungry. I want to like the way I look and 10 more pounds would do it…for now. And then, ten more pounds. And then just another five. I swear I can stop anytime.

Maybe it has something to do with the Glamour Magazine on my coffee table. The magazine tells me to love my body, but the woman in the picture is already beautiful and thin. Or maybe it has something to do with the reruns of Sex and the City playing on TBS. Those women seem to do almost nothing but eat and yet never gain an ounce. Just once, I would love to see a movie where the fat girl winds up with an awesome career/relationship without having to lose weight first.

I suppose the female form was always a measure of society. There were corsets to achieve thin waists and bras so that breast could be perky. On a constant basis, we are bombarded by images of thin women. In American society, thin equals successful for a woman and even Katie Couric was too fat for CBS and had to be slimmed down in her publicity picture. Is it pathetic that I think she looks better in the altered photo? I am obsessed with Jennifer Aniston, not because I think she is a good actor, but because she looks good in a t-shirt. Husband does not even think she is pretty, but then again, he is more a Natalie Portman kind of guy.

According to UW-Madison, “the female body has always been a spectacle… It has always been molded to fit society's expectations and to be judged... Clothing size… [is] a gauge for success. From the 1920s to today, thin has been in. Companies make billions of dollars convincing women that their bodies could, and should, look better. Modern diets seem to be a constant battle. Dieting never ends — women are either on a diet, thinking about starting a diet, or between diets. And women are constantly obsessing over calories, carbohydrates, fats, sugars — whatever the current enemy may be.”

I take comfort from the fact that I am not alone and hopefully this time, instead of waging battle with my body, maybe I can broker a peace treaty with it and learn to love myself even if I don’t love my thighs.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Today is a pretty cool day for several reasons. First, it is my Dad's birthday. Happy birthday Dad!

Turns out that more than just being my Dad's birthday, it is also Bloggers Impeach Bush Day. My friend Suzanne, who has an awesome blog which everyone should read, posted about this today so I wanted to follow suit.

The reasons to impeach Bush (or frankly, just shoot him dead - wait, am I going to be arrested for this? We don't have to kill him, we can just lock him away for ever!) are obvious. He has engaged in an illegal war, pretty much disregarded the Constitution and been an embarassment to America. I mean, this is a man who once remarked to the press "I have opinions of my own --strong opinions-- but I don't always agree with them." And yet, his strong opinions keep scientists from using stem cells to combat disease, make abortion inacessible and unaffordable, widen the gap between the rich and everyone else, and prevent people of the same sex in a loving relationship from getting married. Wow. I wonder what he would do if he did agree with his opinions.

But, since I try to keep this blog from ever being too serious, I thought the best way to celebrate Impeach Bush Day is simply to ask that everyone click here and then think really hard about what you read before heading into the voting booths in November.