Random Blog A Musing Farf: 2007

Monday, December 31, 2007


Sometimes you can feel that a certain year will be different than the last. I am pretty confident that 2008 will be one of those years. Photogenic Wife mentioned to me on Saturday night that in the Chinese Calendar, we are coming upon the Year of the Rat. In the Farf Calendar, I am entering the Year of Adulthood.

Sure, people will argue that at 32, I have been an adult for some time. After all, I am married, have a career and, at least in theory, am responsible for my own life (as well as the lives of two doggies). But I never really felt like a grown-up before. I still sleep with my blankie (named Bubbe – although I have no clue why) and a teddy bear (named Buddy Bear), I sing childhood songs like “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” and “I have 6 pence” when I am in the shower, and my favorite television shows run along the lines of SpongeBob SquarePants.

This coming year is forcing me to realize that despite some childish behavior, I am solidly in the adult-world. First of all, I am now a homeowner. And, while it is a co-op, I still need to deal with things that a year ago seemed ridiculously beyond my ability: I hired a contractor, budgeted for a mortgage and renovations, and worried about how to cover rent and mortgage while waiting for renovations to be completed.

Then, there is my job situation. Evil Partner and I continue to do battle, but there is not much longer I can deal with his lies and every time I prove he lied about something, I lose a little more of my desire to work someplace where my boss and I hate each other. So I am thinking about changing jobs, but its not so easy this time. Unlike before, I need to make a certain amount of money (see above paragraph) and I would really like to work with good people in an interesting field. Sigh. See, adult issues…

And then finally, there is the news my mother was unable to keep to herself and this blabbed a day early – Husband and I are having a baby in late June/early July of 2008. Wow, if the job situation and new apartment did not make me an adult, this definitely does. Luckily, our apartment has two bedrooms so we have not outgrown an apartment before even moving in, but this whole baby thing necessarily means major life changes – and not just being tied to home. Husband and I are responsible for another person. It’s not like with the dogs where if we are home an hour late, the worst that happens is they pee on the floor. Nope, we are accountable to someone who will be totally helpless and dependent on us (for a little while at least) and who can (eventually) call us out on our flaws and imperfections.

So, here I am about to enter 2008 and become, in all senses of the word, an adult. But hopefully I can do so without leaving some of my favorite childish behaviors aside. Sorry Husband but Bubbe and Buddy Bear stay around even when my job-hopping days are over.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Some of you have met Cody and readers of this blog know him as the dog that Husband and I adopted from NYC Shiba Rescue as a brother for Tiki the Wonder Dog.  Cody’s middle name is Houdini, since he has the uncanny ability to escape from any situation.  He can flatten his body and if his head can fit through something, the rest of his body easily follows.  Knowing this, we are very careful about the situations to which Cody is exposed.  For example, while both Tiki and Cody can jump a 5 foot fence in a single bound, Tiki respects barriers in a way that Cody does not.  So, as a result, the dogs rarely go to the dog run anymore – its just too stressful wondering if you will have to chase Cody through Manhattan.

This weekend though, we took both dogs to the Catskills to visit Husband’s aunt.  The plan was to spend the weekend walking the dogs through the snow covered mountains and getting some exercise and relaxation.  Unfortunately, both Husband and I came down with colds and spent most of the weekend napping.

We were taking just such a nap on Saturday afternoon (Cody’s second birthday) and both dogs were happily napping on the bed with us.  The door to the bedroom was cracked open so that the warmth from downstairs permeated the room and all four of us were completely content.  A perfect birthday snooze.

Suddenly, we were awoken by a yell that the dogs got out of the house.  We were up and dressed in a flash and outside calling the dogs.  These are city dogs that are never off leash and have pretty poor recall.  Plus, the snow had a thin coating of ice so that the 30-pound dogs could easily walk on it, but as adult humans weighting slightly more than 30 pounds, we fell through into knee deep snow.  There was no way to chance them through the woods on foot so Husband got in the car and followed along the roads while I waited in the hopes that the dogs would circle back.  The only saving grace was that while neighbors are few and far between, so are cars so we were not concerned about a dog getting on the road – in fact, we would have preferred it.

A bark.  A call from Husband and Tiki was in the car.  While the word “come” does not entice Tiki at all, the call of “Do you want some Cheese?” Had both dogs running to Husband.  Cody wriggled away but Tiki was caught and locked in the car.  Cody came circling back.  I tried every dog trainer trick I know.  I did an Emergency Stop.  No luck.  I tried running away from Cody in the hopes he would chase me.  Nope.  I also tried falling (well, it was slippery so I didn’t really have to try that hard) in the hopes that Cody would come to investigate.  Nothing.

Husband jumped out of the car and chased Cody on foot.  Cody darted in and out of bushes, wagging his tail and enjoying his game.  Husband fell into the snow in defeat.  I was crying.  Husband was swearing.  We were devastated.  For a brief moment, I envisioned life back with just Tiki.  With no doggie that would spoon me while I was napping on the couch, not being awoken by kisses at exactly 7am daily and walks without having to be ever-vigilant about potential food sources that a dog would try and eat (that includes hot dogs out of the hands of children who pass too close) – life suddenly seemed bleak.  Unacceptable.

Then, miraculously, a neighbor came out and asked if we had lost a child.  I explained we had lost a dog and, hoping that the neighbor would have dog treats, I asked if he had a dog. 

“No,” said Neighbor. “I have a cat.”

“Cat?”  I suddenly got excited.  “Do you have a fish-based cat food?” Cody loves fish and I was hoping this would lure him to us.

Neighbor disappeared and returned a few minutes later with a Tupperware container of dry cat food. 

“Cody,” I called sweetly.  “Do you want some din-din?”  I shook the food as extra enticement.  Suddenly, Cody ran over, eager for the treats in the bowl.  I slipped the leash on his and hugged him.  Cody looked at me like I was insane.  After all, he had just had the best birthday fun imaginable.  And, having my dog safe, well that answered every thing I would have wished Cody on his birthday anyway. 

We got the dogs back, gave them extra treats and rawhide bones and refused to let them out of our sight the rest of the day.  Cody may have had the best 2nd birthday he could imagine, but in doing so, he took at least 2 years off my life.  

Monday, December 17, 2007


Sorry for the delay in posting but it’s been a crazy week: We are closing on Wednesday and I was sick for two days. Blah.

Last week Mara, Justin and their adorable baby Adena came from London and stayed with me and Husband for a week. We had been looking forward to their visit for a long time and were bummed that on the day they arrived at our place, we had a dinner with Father’s law firm to attend and could not be home. No big deal though as we left a spare key with Suzanne and then left the party early in order to run home and spend more time with our friends from across the pond.

When we got home there were hugs and kisses all around (as well as a peek into the spare bedroom to gaze adoringly at the sleeping baby) and we settled in the catch up.

“Umm, we are buying you a new television,” Mara started. For a brief second, I was totally offended. Our main television is less than a year old (46” LCD flat screen) and the thing Husband would save first in case of fire – even before me and the dogs – on the theory that everything else important to him has legs and can potentially save itself. The television in the guest room will likely not move with us and is perfectly adequate for its purposes.

“We broke the TV,” Mara continued.

“Oh,” replied Husband. “No, the buttons on the remote are totally confusing but I can fix it.”

“No, it’s really broken.” Justin insisted. “Mara tossed me a sippy cup and it hit the television and now it’s broken.” (By the way, he said this is in a most adorable Kiwi accent. I can seriously listen to him talk all day.)

We turned on the television, mostly because we could not believe that a plastic sippy cup could break a TV, but sure enough there was no picture and a spider-shaped crack was visible in the bottom center of the screen.

“Whatever,” Husband said. “If it can’t be repaired we will figure something out. Don’t worry.”

Mara was shocked. She offered to leave and go somewhere else. Why would we kick her out? And no way we were letting Adena leave – she is so cute and happy that the only thing keeping us from kidnapping her was the potential jail time. So the TV broke. Big deal. It’s replaceable. (And for the record, the new television arrived in less than a week. Thank you Mara and Justin!) We felt awful. They were staying with us to save money and now they have to buy a television. Really, there were contests over which party felt worse about the whole thing, but within a few minutes, it was also something to joke about.

“We’re leaving for work – there is a list of things we need broken on the coffee table!” Hahaha. I am still cracking up over that one.

But the thing is, never for one second would such a wonderful friendship have ended over something like a television set. In fact, I thought it would end over earrings.

See, Mara lent me the pearl earrings she wore on her wedding day for me to wear on mine. I did not wear them, but instead put them away for safekeeping. Then, I forgot about them. I attempted to return them when I was in London, but returned the wrong earrings. So, I attempted to give Mara a different pair when she was in town, but those were also the wrong ones. (No worries Mara, I have 5 more pairs and one is bound to be yours!) By all rights, she should hate me. But she doesn’t.

Because in the end, real friends deal with the stuff life throws at you and televisions and earrings are not as important as people you can call when you are having a 2am anxiety attack over something stupid.

I have another friend who does not seem to understand this concept. I am not sure where we went wrong, but we used to be incredibly close. But for a month now, she has made a point of avoiding me. So today, despite many promised to myself, I reached out via email. I received back the following: “I am taking space....It has been too many excuses and too many hurt comments”

I have no idea what excuses/comments she is talking about. But that is the kind of person she is. She gives people the silent treatment when she is mad so the simple things escalate until they become unbearable to her. That is sad. A small hurt, such as a broken television or misplaced earring is not a friendship ender and real friends are able to see past the little things to the big picture. I will miss her, but I have been mourning her silence for the last month and can’t continue to do so. I will not contact her again. Instead, I will continue to live as I have and, as I do with all my friends, welcome her back when she is ready.

In the meantime, it’s nice to know who I can count on when I need a 2am friend or that ugly poster (adored by Husband) in our spare room broken.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Thusday was Husband’s birthday. We headed up to Boston for a long weekend so his birthday dinner ended up being at the Chili’s in Hamden. I know. He can thank me for the gourmet meal later. Actually though, the whole weekend in Boston (second annual) is a birthday celebration for Husband, topped off with a Patriots game on Sunday before heading home. Really fun weekend and like last year, Photogenic Friends were there for the whole thing.

When we got up on Friday, we really meant to sightsee around Boston. All of us have a strong interest in American history and I wanted to see the site of the Boston Tea Party and Photogenic Wife wanted to see Paul Revere’s house. Instead, as we walked from the hotel to the harbor, we all got chilly and decided to duck into a store near Quincy Market. Then we went into another store. Before I knew it, we had done the entire length of Newbury Street and the idea of sightseeing was never again mentioned. But on the bright side, anything under $175 was tax free, so that is one more reason to love my new shoes, sweater, bra (seriously the most comfortable one I have ever owned), underwear, and sunglasses. Plus, Photogenic Wife made us spa appointments for Sunday morning so it was an all around awesome time.

But then, reality set in and on Monday we were all back at work. Maybe it’s the time of year, maybe it’s the fact that the sellers are being really annoying about setting a closing date*, or maybe its because I have literally never been so tired in my life, but I really don’t feel like working. I seriously want nothing more than to lay on my couch and watch the week’s worth of television saved on the DVR. Oh, and maybe nap.

And the thing is, I have a major project right now at the office and I can’t motivate to even start it. Or think about it. Really pathetic, I know. So, in an effort at procrastination, I have come up with every other possible thing I can do. I dealt with a pet insurance bill (Sorry Husband, the charge is not covered), called back a contractor, made a doctor’s appointment and various other things. So it’s not like the day is a total waste.

And there is my phone ringing and my boss on speaker asking me the status of this project, so off I go to work on it. Can’t wait for 8pm when I can head home…

* While writing this post, the seller’s offered December 19th as a closing date so keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


December is going to be an exciting month this year. Hanukkah starts tonight and Husband’s birthday is Thursday. We are heading to Boston for the weekend to see the Patriots play the Steelers on Sunday and spend some quality time with Boston-based cousin, two of whom will be celebrating birthdays while we are there. It is also Cody (the dog’s) first birthday as a member of our family. But, all of that aside, it is also the month where we will finally close on our new apartment. Yup, after months of sweat (its hot going from open house to open house in the summer), tears (you try getting your credit record cleaned of your sister’s spending habits) and blood (well, there were several blisters from walking to all those apartments and one bled) we will finally be the proud owners of shares in a corporation, which will allow us to reside in a building near Riverside Park. Yippeee!

Yes, you read that right. The long-awaited closing is expected to be in the next couple weeks. Then we can get the contractor in and the fun begins! I am so excited…

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I have recently been doing much self-censoring on this site. Part of it is that I have been tempted to write things that, while they may be true right now, are certainly not true over all and some things can’t be taken back. Part of it is also that I have suddenly developed a new-found sense of privacy and, as such, my posts have suffered in that they are less of me and more generic.

And all this is why I read Suzanne’s post about collecting stories about a woman’s first period with such amusement. There is nothing generic about first period stories and so many women have great stories to tell about, if not their first period, at least a pretty eventful menstruation experience. Well, so many women - except for me.

Sure, I read “Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret” just like most other pre-teen girls of my generation and I was a little jealous when all my friends got their periods first. But, not too jealous since it seemed more of an inconvenience than anything else. For example, there was Sarah from camp who was being raised by a single father. She got her period at camp and wrote to her dad asking for a box of pads. Within a week, a care package arrived filled with 20 legal size note-pads. Then there was Lea who got her first period while on vacation with my family and refused to use to pool in Las Vegas since she did not know how to use a tampon.

Maybe for me, because I did not get my period until my mid-teens, it was a non-event. In fact, the only reason I remember it at all was because I expected more fanfare and was disappointed. After all, Sister had already had her period for years and it’s not like I did not have tons of aunts and female cousins. So, when I looked in my underwear and saw blood, I did not panic, I simply went into the bathroom, read the instructions about how to insert a tampon and rejoined the party that was going on in my parent’s backyard. My mother’s response to being told was simply, “Ok, just remembers to change your tampons regularly.” That was it. No fanfare and no great story.

In fact, it was the same annoyance for me it seemed to be for other friends. Every month, around my period, I would develop debilitating stomach pains, which lasted until a doctor put me on birth control pills. I hated having to run to the bathroom to change tampons, even when I did not need to pee and having my period never made me feel “more like a woman” than before.

So, I am curious to see the stories that Suzanne collects, but I am also curious to know if my experience is the norm or if it is more common for a woman’s first period to be some life-changing event. I would be happy to hear other’s thoughts on the subject.

Monday, November 26, 2007


I have a confession to make. I did not go shopping at all on Friday, and on Saturday, the only time I entered a store was to exchange a book that, through some crazy printing error, went from page 192 back to page 1. In fact, with the exception of Mother and Brother, all my holiday shopping is done and both Husband (12/6) and Sister (1/4) have their birthday presents purchased. Even better, I know exactly what I am getting Mother and Brother and just have to run out and pick it up. In fact, I consider Brother’s shopping done since he is going to send me a link so I can order his gift on-line.

How did I suddenly become so organized? No, it was not some weird alternate personality taking control; it was simply that I reduced my “buy for” list.

This year the list of holiday gifts is pared down to the core folks who I know I will either see over the holidays, or with whom I routinely exchange gifts. I am not purchasing any “emergency” gifts just in case an unexpected person shows up with a present.

In fact, with the exception of Sister’s presents (one of which is coming from Thailand, one from Ghana and one from Brazil for Hanukkah, belated housewarming and birthday respectively) all of the gifts are already in my office waiting to be wrapped.

There is something really nice about the holiday shopping being completed. It made Thanksgiving more relaxing because I did not feel any pressure to run out over the weekend and go shopping. In fact, while millions of Americans were hitting the malls on Friday, I spent the day wrapped in a blanket, relaxing on the couch in Husband’s parents’ family room, watching Family Feud reruns and trying to digest the two Thanksgiving meals I had consumed the day before.

The meals this year were wonderful. Meme’s sweet potatoes were the best they had ever been, the turkeys at both homes were cooked to perfection and you have never seen such an array of desserts as there was at both my family and Husband’s family celebrations.

And yet, I have a small complaint. Minor really when you consider how great everything tasted: Mother did not make an apple pie. She bought one. And, while I love her homemade pies, I can not stand the taste of a store-bought one.

My favorite part of Thanksgiving is the apple pie. Cousin Ado and I love it so much that we routinely steal a pie and hide somewhere and eat it with our hands. Mother even makes an extra pie so that there is a pie to steal, so it’s not a secret that I love this pie. Now, Mother claimed that because her arm is in a cast, she is unable to peel and slice apples for the pies, yet she made everything else as usual and without issue. So why no pie? Is it because Ado was with T’s family this year? And, if the only reason for not making the pie was her injured arm, then why not ask me to slice and peel apples? Was she secretly afraid I would do a better job?

Hmmm, maybe there is an underlying reason why her gift has not been purchased. We should do a trade: pie for Hanukkah gift. And in that case, my holiday shopping is complete, at least until I see a homemade apple pie show up on my counter.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


It was so anti-climatic that I forgot to tell anyone, but Husband and I were approved by the Co-Op Board and now can close on our new apartment. So the fun begins.

A few months ago, when we were putting together the Board package and trying to obtain a mortgage, I announced that I did not want to be involved under it was time to pick paint colors. Well, that time is upon us and I am excited. I called two contractors and am going to set up times for estimates. I know exactly what I want and just need the contractor to make sure I don’t get carried away and spend more than I mean to spend. Hopefully, one of these guys will work out and then I can get down to the fun of decorating.

I love that the apartment stuff is basically behind us – now we just have the closing left and that should be easy since all the other work is done and the sellers have already moved – so that I can begin the holidays relatively stress free. Most of my shopping is done as well. I only have to buy for Mother, Father and Brother (the hard people on my list since they all have pretty much everything they want) and my Secret Santa recipient at work.

My office has a tradition where we all draw a name from a bowl and then at the holiday party each person is presented with a gift (under $20) and no one knows who the gift was from. I sort of like it in theory but the pressure is terrible. I have a new person and I don’t know much about them other than he keeps kosher, and is getting married in August to a Rabbi. That’s all I got. What the heck to get him? Does he even drink? Will a bottle of wine be wasted? Plus, I am always disappointed with my gift. Last year I got champagne, but anyone who knows me would know I hate all carbonated beverages. It was probably a re-gift. I know I re-gifted it to someone else….

Maybe this year my Secret Santa will buy me a new couch. Too bad that is going to be slightly over the $20 cap.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Growing up, Thanksgiving was always my most favorite holiday. Besides the oodles and oodles of food, it was a chance to see my cousins and for the entire family – sometimes close to 40 of us – get together and spend some time together.

When I met Husband, he told me that Thanksgiving was one of his most favorite holidays as well. His mom cooks dinner for everyone and his entire family - there are 12 of them – get together for some quality time.

And thus began the holiday split. My family eats dinner around 2pm so we spend Wednesday night at my parents house, wake up there Thursday morning and around 4:30pm, we say good-bye to everyone and drive 45 minutes to Husband’s parents’ house where we have a second dinner and spend the night. Then we spend all of Friday and most of Saturday with Husband’s family, before heading back to have dinner on Saturday night with the folks in my family who were unable to make Thanksgiving on Thursday and drive back to NY with my Dad on Sunday. Sound exhausting? It is.

Neither Husband nor I were very happy with this arrangement. We both felt we did not get to spend enough time at either house and felt torn between the two. I love my in-laws and want to see them as much as possible, but I also want to see my cousins, aunts, and various family friends that spend Thanksgiving with us.

So, this year, we got a bright idea. Why were we schlepping between houses? Why weren’t we alternating? (Yes, neither of us are very smart since it took us almost 5 years to come up with this plan). So, we announced that this year is the last year we will be spending time in both houses. Next year, we will pick a house for Thanksgiving and the other family will get us the following year. We will still spend time with both families over the extended weekend, but the actual day of Thanksgiving will no longer be split. Which family goes first? Maybe we will flip a coin. Maybe we will coordinate so that we overlap holidays with my cousin Ado, who also needs to alternate with his partner’s family. I am not really so concerned about that right now.

And, if anyone asks me what I am thankful for this year, it is that next year (and every following year) should be a much more relaxing holiday…

Monday, November 12, 2007


On Saturday evening, Husband and I had dinner with his friend PTG and PTG’s fiancé. Turns out, he met a woman the night of his going away party (where we were sending him off to live in Denver), fell in love, got engaged and had dinner with us to announce that he was moving back to NYC. I am totally psyched at this news. It’s good for Husband, who missed his friend terribly, and good for me, who liked the cool places that PTG would find for us to hang out.

So, on Saturday night we all had dinner at a Latin-fusion restaurant by my apartment. Dinner was at 7pm and everyone arrived on time. We enjoyed some drinks (although only a couple) and dinner was over by 8:45pm. We laughed and talked about the home buying process that each couple is currently undergoing. Then, after dinner, Husband and I hailed a cab from PTG and his fiancé and began to walk the 5 blocks home.

Husband turned to me and said, “I loved dinner tonight. For the first time in my life, I feel like an adult and am excited for the prospect.” At that moment, we heard a sound like a bird squawking and turned toward where the sound was coming from. It was PTG driving past us in his taxi, his head out the window, yelling. “How much for your woman,” PTG yelled as he whizzed passed.

We laughed, not quite as grown up as we felt a few seconds prior.

Friday, November 02, 2007


There is an old joke about people’s number one fear being public speaking and their number two fear being death. The joke goes something like this: At a funeral, more people would rather be the person in the casket than the person giving the eulogy. I am definitely more scared of death than I am of public speaking (Hello? I am a litigator! My entire job involves public speaking).

My comfort with public speaking can actually be traced to one particular moment in third grade. I was new in school and our class was putting on The Wizard of Oz for the entire school. I was cast as the Wicked Witch of the West. At the time, I thought it was because I was a wonderful actress, but I have since figured out that it is the only part in the entire show without any signing, and despite the accolades I give myself while signing in the shower, it turns out that the general public does not share my appreciation of my own voice. Anyway, I was terrified to say my lines loudly and went through rehearsals in barely a whisper. It was so bad that the teacher actually spoke to my parents about it. So, my Dad (who is also a litigator and one of the best public speakers I have ever heard) took me to a park and had me stand on a tree stump. He hid behind a bush where I could not see him and fed me my lines.

I had to yell all my lines in order for him to hear me. I was totally embarrassed and confessed my fear of public speaking to my father. His response was simply to remind me that if someone walked by and saw me, all they saw was a cute 8-year old reciting lines from a play. If someone walked by and saw him, they saw a 30-something man yelling lines from a children’s play and really, which one of us should be embarrassed? I took it to heart and went on to be a smashing success in the Wizard of Oz and never had a problem speaking in public again.

Unfortunately, while I never developed a real phobia of speaking in public, I did develop another debilitating phobia. I am terrified of needles. Sure, I know what you are thinking – no one likes needles. Nope this goes beyond that. I am more scared of needles that I am of dying. Don’t believe me? Let me tell you a little story…

In early 2002 or thereabouts, I was walking down Columbus Avenue in Manhattan when suddenly everything went black. I woke up a second later on the ground surrounded by strangers. Humiliated, I assured everyone I was fine and went on my merry way. A few days later it happened again. And then again a few days later. This time, I was worried and contacted the very cute and very capable Dr. Kendler, who immediately performed an EKG and, when he did not like the results of the EKG, sent me to a local hospital for tests.

The test involved running on a treadmill to see if I would faint. I readily agreed until the doctor at the hospital explained that I needed to have an IV in my arm for him to perform the test. Apparently, if/when I fainted, the medical staff needed the ability to quickly administer medication. I refused the IV, explaining that if I had an IV, I would faint anyway and be unable to run on the treadmill. The doctor was insistent but so was I. No IV. Finally, the doctor looked at me and used what I believe had been his ultimate manipulation tool, “You could die without this test,” he said. “If there is a problem with your heart and we don’t fix it, you may not live.”

I listened to the doctor. I really do not want to die anytime in the near future. But, I also did not want to have an IV. Plus, the doctor said I could die and that I may not live. He did not know the ultimate outcome. On the other hand, if I took the test, I would definitely have an IV. I rejected the test, the doctor yelled at me, and 5+ years later, I am perfectly healthy and have not had any fainting spells.

So I think it is clear that on my list of fears, needles rank higher than death.

Which leads me to day. I needed a flu shot. I have never previously had a flu shot (see fear of needles, above) and always preferred to risk getting the flu (which I only may get) to the definite outcome of a needle. But, my doctor was adamant that given my medical history and the seriousness of the strain that is expected to hit this year, I get a flu shot. He would not even argue with me about it (although, I have to say, if you are a doctor and feel I need a shot, it is best not to give me an alternative). I was terrified and walked into the office today knowing full well what was coming. And so I called Husband.

And, if I ever complained about Husband, I take it all back now. He came with me to the doctor, held my hand during the flu shot and even distracted me with logistical questions about this evening’s plans. And, even though Husband is squeamish about doctor’s offices, he did not show it.

Maybe a few more of these sessions at the doctors and my fear of needles will go the way of my old fear of public speaking. I certainly hope so.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I am completely unmotivated to do any real work today. I have stuff piling up on me and since Evil Partner is always on my back, I better do an amazing job, and yet I have zero interest today. Really, all I want to do is curl up on my couch with a book and relax. Maybe nap.

Part of my lack of motivation is easily attributable to exhaustion. I am just tired and really should get more sleep. But part of it is just that I can’t muster the strength to care today. I want to eat Halloween candy and flip though US Weekly. That book mentioned a second ago could be too much effort. The only saving grace is that hopefully there will not be a staff meeting tonight since most people in my office have kids and will race home to take them trick-or-treating.

Even tonight I am not going to get my much needed rest. First of all, I am assisting in a dog training class tonight and even if I don’t want to help out, I need to continue working in the program in order to earn my dogs their 75% discount for doggie day care.

Sigh. In the time it took me to write this, I was just given two more assignments. Grrr. I can’t wait for the Thanksgiving break. Seriously, I have way more important things on my mind than work – like how to eat another Oreo without gaining any additional calories.

Monday, October 29, 2007


I love traveling with Sister. We have so much fun. Last weekend, we drove to DC and spent 4+ hours in the car each way, belting out show tunes at the top of our lungs and trying to guess where on the map we were after we past the leaving NJ sign, but before we saw the Welcome to PA sign. (Seriously, is it the black line on the map? Are we in no-man’s land?)

This weekend, we headed to a spa in the Pocono Mountains for a well-deserved “Sister Weekend.” We took Pilates and Belly-Dancing classes, had massages, facials and reflexology and basically relaxed all weekend.

The best thing about the weekend is that Sister and I have the same approach to traveling. Traffic on the way down? That just means there is time for Disc 2 of Phantom of the Opera. Spa food leaving you wanting more? Sneak out to a local pizza palor.

Yes, you read that right. The food at the spa was delicious, but they limited us to 950 calories each. Ummm, while I am all about losing weight, I really need at least 1200 calories a day. Especially if I am doing Pilates and Belly Dancing. We were starving. So, after lunch, while everyone else went to a lecture about nutrition and longevity, Sister and I snuck into the car and devoured a pizza and gigantic helping of baked ziti.

Of course, we were not really hungry come dinner time and could not finish our food. When asked, we simply told everyone that the portion control method really spoke to us and we were no longer going to eat everything just because it was on our plate. We were praised for our dedication to the program and had a good laugh. Who says cheaters never win?

Friday, October 19, 2007


I am not sure why people who are celebrities seem to think that they are above the law. Sure, they get away with more then someone like me, but you would think that they would be pleasantly surprised when catching a lucky break, as opposed to shocked and outraged at being forced to follow the rules.

In this case, I am taking about Ellen Degeneres and her deplorable behavior toward a rescue dog from Mutts and Moms.

I am totally siding with the rescue group. Ellen Degeneres was wrong. I used to like her but have become so upset over Ellen’s behavior that I am making a public vow to never watch her shows (either live or televised) again. Further, I have since thrown away my signed Ellen Degeneres poster, from way back in 1994 when she performed at my college.

For those of you unfamiliar with the controversy, here it is in a nutshell from Access Hollywood:

The talk show hostess and her partner Portia de Rossi adopted Iggy, a Brussels Griffon mix, on Sept. 20. But when things didn’t work out, DeGeneres gave the dog to her hairdresser.

In doing so, DeGeneres violated an agreement with the Mutts and Moms dog rescue agency by not informing them of the handoff.

When the agency called DeGeneres to ask about Iggy, she said she found another home for the dog. The agency sent a representative to the hairdresser’s home Sunday and took the dog away.

DeGeneres went public about the situation Monday while taping an episode of her show to air Tuesday. She admitted she didn’t read all the paperwork involving the adoption.
Ummm, exactly. She did not read the paperwork.

I am extremely involved in the rescue community. I help to run a rescue group dedicated to re-homing Shiba Inus. I have volunteered at shelters and recently, have been working on socialization and training with rescue dogs, in order to make them more adoptable. So, while not an expert, I do know something about the subject.

And, here is what I do know: NYC Shiba Rescue (and other similar groups) all spend HOURS trying to match the right dog with the right family. We interview families, visit their homes, and otherwise make every attempt to ensure both the humans and the dogs will be happy together. We turn down people who do not meet our critera for a good home. We argue among ourselves about what the best match is and will not adopt out a dog until all this happens. And for this reason, we have adoption agreements.

Since our goal is to have to dog matched with the perfect home – and to make sure we can keep tabs to ensure that the home remains perfect – there is a clause in our adoption agreement which states that if an adopter finds that at any time during the life of the dog, for any reason they can not keep the adopted dog, they will contact us immediately and we have the first right to have the dog back. You can not give the dog away. You can not sell the dog. You have to give the dog back.

Now, while it has never happened to us yet, if someone called NYC Shiba Rescue to tell us that they could not keep their dog because it was terrorizing their cat, we would offer to come get the dog immediately or to work with the adopter on training. If the adopter did not want to keep the dog but suggested another family that had fallen in love with the dog, I am pretty sure we would tell the adopter to have the potential family contact us and then we would complete the adoption process with them. See, everyone wins.

Adopting an animal is a wonderful experience. I did not think I could ever love a dog as much as Tiki until Cody came along. But, it also comes with responsibilities and upholding an adoption agreement is one of those responsibilities (as is spaying/neutering and training). While Ellen Degeneres was willing to do the former, she did not bother with the latter. Why? I am not sure but I guess it was because she just didn’t think anyone would care.

But of course Mutts and Moms, just like NYC Shiba Rescue, does care. That is why they bother to mention it in an adoption agreement.

Of course, Ellen Degeneres also complained that she spent $3,000 on the dog. But that $3,000 did not seem important when she gave the dog away. And really, not to be petty, but what percentage of her income are we talking about? I mean really.

And now, according to a quick Google search, Mutts and Moms has been forced to suspend operations. Their petfinder account is de-activated and their links no longer work. So, instead of one dog going to a home that Ellen Degeneres did not pre-approve, no dogs are being adopted out by this organization. Simply translated, dogs are languishing in shelters because Ellen Degeneres is a selfish, horrible person. (If I were Suzanne I would call her a fucking cunt and douchbag bitch, but as you know, I refrain from swearing).

So I hereby publically announce that I am no longer a fan of Ellen Degeneres. Frankly, I am sorry I was ever a fan in the first place.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Clearly my goddaughter is so brilliant that she reads Suzanne’s blog. Yesterday, upon attempting to give her the best day of her young life, I made plans to take her and her brother to the NYC Children’s Museum. I was very sad to get there and discover that it is closed on Mondays.

After trying the locked door several times, because “sometimes doors are hard,” my goddaughter looked up at me accusingly and said, “Auntie Sara, you really should have called first.” I admitted she was right and asked her if she at least enjoyed the 10 block walk to the museum from my apartment.

“Can we please take a taxi home?” she sighed.

Looks like I am not the super cool babysitter I was hoping to be.

This weekend was a lesson in parenting. Husband and I hosted my best friend from high school, her husband and their two children (the older is my most brilliant and beautiful goddaughter) for a long weekend: 1000 sq. feet , 6 people, and two dogs. It was loud and crowded and I will likely be wiping little fingerprints from countertops for a long time. And, while I adore the entire family, I was not unhappy when they left. I needed the quiet.

Generally, Husband and I spend weekends at home, catching up on reading and maybe watching a little television. We are generally quiet folks while at home (or at least our neighbors have never complained about noise) and we had no idea what was in store. First of all, children wake up really early. Even when they stay up late, they wake up early – the staying up late just means that they wake up cranky. And, they have no idea how to whisper. I am exhausted.

But, we also had a lot of fun. I will go to extraordinary lengths to hear a two year old giggle and really, there is nothing better than watching a movie on the couch with two children snuggled into your lap. And, Husband and I loved having conversations with my goddaughter (who is, as she will tell you, not just four, but four and a half!). Both kids were good natured, adorable and, we think, brilliant.

Husband and I want to have a baby and have been trying for several months without luck so far. I spoke to my friend about this (who was convinced that a weekend with her children would push back family planning by several years) and she suggested that I attend a “fertility circle” with a group of women she knows. According to my friend, they have a 100% success rate within 3 months. I have to admit, for a second I was tempted. Fertility without needles and/or drugs? I am a big believe that positive energy accomplishes many things and I was tempted to try out the fertility circle on the theory that it could not do any harm.

I was sort of worried about convincing Husband to go along with something like this and I asked my friend how other women approached their potentially skeptical partners about participating. It was at this point that my friend told me that no men were allowed. Basically, a group of women partake in a ritual and send positive energy to the woman trying to conceive. Then, her fertility increases.

Hmmm. That would make sense, but it takes two to make a baby (at least, if you are trying the old fashioned way, which we are) and we have no idea which one of us is the reason it is taking longer than we originally planned. The feminist in me is all riled about this. I can have all the positive energy in the world and be incredibly fertile, but if Husband is not, a baby is not happening (enter Stephen Colbert…sigh… ooops, I digress). So, on that basis (or until a medical doctor says it is all my issues), I am not sure that the point of the fertility circle really is. Thus, since I can’t see the point, I am not schlepping more than 2 hours in order to attend one.

Maybe while I was learning about parenting, my friend should have been learning about feminism….

Thursday, October 11, 2007


As thought I needed more proof of how lucky I am to have married Husband, he sent me the following email this morning: "In case you want to go get your boyfriend's new book at a Borders," and attached this link for a discount at Borders.

Its good to be married to someone who not only understands my unrequited love for another, but actually encourages it!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I remember back a few (okay, more like 15) years ago, when I was applying to college. There was so much paperwork to gather, letters of recommendation to obtain and personal statements to write. Then, when I applied to law school, I had to do the entire process all over again. When I got into law school, I breathed a sigh of relief that my application days were over. It just seemed so unfair that I would be judged on the basis of some papers that really did not give a peak into who I really am.

But now, in my attempt to purchase an apartment (or rather, in NYC, shares in a corporation which will give me the right to lease a certain apartment through the co-op), I am faced with the same thing. Husband and I each needed four letters of recommendation from friends (preferably who were already co-op shareholders), current bank statements (and not the kind you can pull off-line, but actual paper statements), a personal statement and various other documents.

But, none of these reflect who I am. For example, according to my broker, neither the letters of recommendation nor the personal statement are supposed to mention dogs – and not just owning them, but I am not supposed to mention my work with NYC Shiba Rescue (made you look, Jenna!) or my classes to become a dog trainer – or politics. I also can’t mention controversial subjects like abortion, so talking about my work for Haven is out. And, while you are supposed to mention that you cheer for local sports teams, I can not mention that those teams are the Mets, Giants and Rangers. Apparently there may be an anti-dog, anti-choice person on the Board who roots for the Braves, Eagles and Devils who would then black-list me from the building.

So the letters and personal statements are just hollow and generic, which is too bad. If I were on the Board, I would much rather hear about a person who was passionate about their causes and teams (even if I disagreed with their opinions) and, as a person who is making a family dinner tonight in order to celebrate Tiki the Wonder Dog’s second birthday (happy birthday Tiki!), I would appreciate living near someone who was equally as passionate about their animal companion, even if such a companion were a rabbit or goldfish.

But, I guess this way I have a better chance of getting accepted to live in the building. Just like in applying to college and law school, when my applications made me sound serious and academically motivated, I was forced to wait until after the acceptance to be myself. So, once I am moved in, I can be the real me. But this time, I am really serious when I vow to never go through an application process again.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Several people have emailed me directly to ask me while I have not blogged very much in the last few weeks. I know. I am sorry. I had no idea that buying an apartment was so time consuming. It’s not like in the suburbs where you go into contract, hire some inspectors and wait until closing. We need a Board Package, which has to include 6 letters of reference from people who are not related and preferably owners in co-op buildings themselves. Then, we need business references. The letters can not mention the dogs or politics (pretty much the only things that define my life) and of course, they need to be vetted by the broker.

So, since my friends are lazy, I am busy writing, but instead of writing blog posts, I am writing letters on my own behalf. Board package is in on Monday and then I will resume my regular schedule…

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Grrr. Seriously. What the f*ck??? Wondering what has me so riled? That would be the NY Mets. You know, the first team in MLB history to be 7 games ahead in the division standings on September 12th to lose the division and not make the play offs.

I would love to write some metaphor about life and how a fast start does not necessarily lead to success, but I am too depressed…

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Well it’s about time. After sliding into second place and perhaps beginning the biggest collapse in Major League Baseball history, the Mets finally won a game. And Philly is currently losing in the sixth inning. Thank freaking g-d. Seriously.

I laugh because, in a slight switch of traditional gender roles, Husband cleaned the apartment so I could watch the game. But then, as I stressed over the fact that the Mets could blow it again, I made cookies in order to relieve that stress and Husband drank beer. So, not only are the Mets likely responsible for any high blood pressure, they are also responsible for Husband and I getting fat. If they make it into the playoffs, all will be forgiven though.

Actually, I made the cookies because Sister made me feel guilty. Husband and I are having a little barbeque at our place tonight (likely the last one since we are now officially in contract on the new place and hopefully moving right after the new year) and when I told Sister that I was thinking of not serving dessert because, really, no one need it, she told me she is always a little sad at the end of a party when there is nothing sweet to eat. And, since I hate serving store bought desserts, I figured I would make cookies. She better eat 10 and gain a few pounds….

Plus, Husband made burgers (with all sorts of spices), is marinating chicken, made a salad and sautéed onions as a topping for the burgers. And, he made a corn soufflé as a side. I can’t let him get all the credit if we have amazing food. It’s funny, because as much as we pretty much eschew any pretense of splitting chores down typical man and woman chores, I can’t help but get defensive when Husband does all the cooking.

I am a really good cook. I come from a long line of really good cooks. My mother and grandmother both make amazing dishes and are master bakers. I can cook a Rosh Hashanah meal for 10 and have made Passover Seders on one-day notice. But since Husband and I have been dating, he does all the cooking and I do the baking. And we are watching our weight, so it has really turned into Husband doing all the cooking and me just eating and offering to do dishes.

Why does this bother me? I can’t figure it out. Why do I care if Husband is considered the cook in the family? I thought it was because I was being sidelined in a skill, but that’s not it. Husband really enjoys cooking and I don’t really love to do it as much. After a little soul searching, I really think it’s because I feel like less of a wife when Husband does all the cooking. I want to cook for my husband. I certainly don’t want to clean or sew or do other typical “girly” things. (Well, I want to learn to knit, but Sister mocks me for that so I have been reluctant to learn).

I did cook once for Husband. I made a trout when we were first dating. I like fish to be simple – maybe a little salt and pepper – but Husband likes things very spiced and with tons of different flavors. So, he offered his “advice” on how to make it better. I have never made him dinner since. Since then, he has cooked for me and I have been the dishwasher and occasional sous chef.

But, as much as I want to cook for Husband, maybe my current deal is not so bad. After all, I am the one watching the Phillys lose to the Nationals in the 7th inning and Husband is out making sure the chicken is properly scored.

Friday, September 28, 2007


You know all those movies where the bad guys set up a bomb with a digital timer and the good guys cut the wires and stop the clock? Well, the question is: Have you ever seen a film where the good guys cut the wires and the timer keeps going to zero, but the bomb does not diffuse (since you know, they are cutting the wires to the bomb and not the timer itself)?

A friend bet a colleague $50 that such a movie existed, and offered me half if I helped him find the answer. So, anyone know? I could really use $25 toward my “quit being a lawyer and be a dog trainer” fund….

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I used to think I was brilliant. Sure, there were things I was not good at (like foreign languages and fractions), but even while I struggled with those subjects, teachers all universally agreed that I was smart. And, with some private tutoring, I even excelled at subjects like Hebrew, French and Math. But, where I used to think I was really smart, I am now convinced I am not intellectual at all.

I got to Small Liberal Law Firm almost two years ago and realized that I am not smart at all. At first, when I got here I thought I was smart and doing a great job, but then, after about a year of working really hard, I was formally reviewed and told that I need to pay attention to detail and think things though more. I started thinking things through as much as possible and was told that I am a bad writer and my ideas don’t make sense. I listened to other people talk at meetings and heard the questions they asked. You could have given me an unlimited about of time and those questions would not have occurred to me.

My current boss, Evil Partner, perpetuates this. He has not liked me from my first day and tells everyone else every time I make an error. He does not think I am smart and I have begun to believe him. The problem is, once I begin to think I am an idiot, it permeates the rest of my life.

But the thing is, there are things I am good at: I am really good at “people skills.” Generally, people like me a lot and I excel in social situations with men and women. If you give me a task (i.e. get this impossible to find document), I can accomplish it and easily get people to “bend the rules, just this once” when I need them to do so. I love animals and after my second Dog Trainer Training class, I am convinced I can be really good at it. I was an awesome SCUBA instructor before I was forced to quit teaching because it was costing me more to teach than I was being paid.

But, I am starting to think that being a lawyer is one of those things that I am not good at. I do okay in hearings, but apparently can’t write a legal brief in a way that people like them to read. So again, the people aspect of law (client development, relationship building) is all fine, but the “real” work causes a problem.


What’s weird is that I used to be smart. This original brilliance lasted until I was fourteen and finished Eighth Grade. Starting in Ninth Grade, I went to Loomis Chaffee, a private school in Connecticut. While there, my self confidence and social life flourished, but my grades foundered and no one was going to accuse me of being brilliant. On the other hand, for the first time in my entire life, I started to think of myself as pretty and popular.

On to college, where I did well enough in classes I liked, and poorly enough in mathematics for my professor to offer me a “D” in the required course if I promised to never take another class in the department again. My grades were not very good overall, but I had a kick-ass internship at the White House that eventually turned into an actual staff job.

I loved working in politics. Senator Dodd, in a televised speech, called me the “best Research Director” he had ever had. People thought I was great at political research and I felt like a fraud. It was so easy and mindless – how could people be so easily impressed? But, I enjoyed it so there seemed to be no problems. People (myself included) thought I was brilliant.

Then, in 2000, the political research jobs on the Democratic side pretty much dried up. I was sick of living out of suitcases and jumping from campaign to campaign. I had seen what that life did to friends – high divorce rate, no connection with family, no possessions of any value, few hobbies – and I did not want that for myself. So, I went to law school.

Law school was pretty much high school all over again. I loved living in New York and made amazing friends that I think I will have for a lifetime. I was confident, happy and content. Except, no matter how hard I tried or how well I thought I knew the material, I could not seem to do well on exams or papers. In election law – of all subjects! – I received a B- on the final paper. I could not figure out how that happened. After all, I was clearly the professor’s favorite, spoke during class and asked questions. I did all the readings and was always prepared. I tried to make an appointment to speak with the professor to discuss where I went wrong, but he never made himself available. And, if no one thought I was brilliant, they certainly did not think I was an idiot either.

Then, I got a job at Local Union. I loved my boss and felt like I was fighting the good fight for workers, but the job was basically dead end and I pretty much hated everyone there except Wuzi and Stitch (my boss). Wuzi and Stitch both left (although Stitch eventually went back) and so I left and went to Small Liberal Law Firm. Stitch used to tell me that I was the smartest young lawyer he knew.


So what happened during all those times that people told me (either directly or through a formal grading process) that I was not smart? Reading this, it appears that my self perception of my own intelligence is based entirely on what other people think. Well that’s not right. And yet, I can’t help it and dream daily of giving up the law, becoming a full time dog trainer and…. Well, that’s the thing. I can’t figure out the “and.”

I love training dogs, but want a lifestyle that costs more than dog training will pay me. I want to not work very hard at a job I don’t really like, and I want people to think I do a good job. But I would be willing to work really hard at a job I loved.

Why is this so hard?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


When I was eighteen, my high school commencement speaker asked all of the graduating seniors to write letters to their 28-year old selves. In that letter, we were supposed to predict what we would be doing in ten years, and mention any goals we had for ourselves. In the ten years between 18 and 28, I forgot all about that letter.

The letter arrived in my mailbox right around the time of my 10-year high school reunion. Nothing I predicted was accurate and none of the goals I had so carefully considered 10 years prior were even close to anything I had a desire to accomplish. Married? Still single. Kids? At 28 I couldn’t begin to imagine. Television writer? Zero interest.

And my goals! Ha! I wanted to be an amateur Marine Biologist (I think it had not yet occurred to me that marine biology involved more than SCUBA diving in cool locations) and learn to sing. Of course, both of those things involve some level of natural talent – say an affinity for science or the ability to carry a tune – and needless to say, neither goal was seriously pursued.

At twenty-eight, I was happily single (although dating a spectacular guy who I would later marry) and childless by choice. I still loved to SCUBA dive and sing in the shower, but my real goal was to be a Union-side labor lawyer and if asked to predict what I would be doing in 5 years (and trust me, in many a job interview, I was asked to do just that) I would confidently answer, “work as an attorney for a Union and help to make the workplace a better place.” My goals were to be successful in my career and land a great job.

And now, at 32, I have learned to stop predicting where I will be in five years, because the answer is, I have no clue: I want to be a dog trainer. I want to be a teacher. I hate being a lawyer. I can’t live on a teacher or a dog trainer’s salary and in a couple months, I will have a mortgage to think about. And I want to have a baby so I definitely need a job with health insurance and paid maternity leave. So my goals have been reduced to the following: I just hope to have kids, not have the bank foreclose on my new apartment, and not get headaches thinking about my job.

But really, maybe I should reexamine where I was at 18. After all, this shift in priorities may make for a good Lifetime television series.

Monday, September 17, 2007


So I have been lagging behind lately. And, mostly, I blame the apartment hunting. First, the good news is that our offer was accepted and if Husband can stop diddling around with the contracts (seriously, this is a man who would even make edits to the contract language on the back of a baseball ticket) we should be signing this week. That would be a good thing since they are still showing the apartment and that is making me really angry. Why are they letting strangers walk around MY apartment??? The upside is that I really love this place and have already mentally decorated it.

And really, I can’t blame poor Husband too much. I have no desire to be involved in the mortgage process or contract negotiations and have removed myself from the process. I already told Husband that I want nothing more to do with anything until it’s time to pick out paint colors. And, little does he know, I have pretty much already picked them. Hahaha.

But, the stress of apartment hunting is also causing me to fail on my diet. I want to lose 10 pounds by December 31st and yet I had two Oreo cookies today and it is taking all my effort not to walk back to the kitchen for a third one. Sister and I are going to start seeing a personal trainer, but not until after Yom Kippur and by then I will have likely gained 10 pounds from all the noodle kudgel and brisket. Yum. But, the upside is that after we buy this apartment, we will have no money and I will be unable to afford all the food that is making me fat…

So, in light of it being the Jewish New Year, I have decided that this is as good a time as ever to make New Years’ resolutions. Here they are:

1. Stop overextending myself. Between my training to be a dog trainer, NYCSR, work and desire to see my friends in person, I find myself annoyed that I have no time to myself. I am going to say “no” more often.

2. Make more time to see my friends. This goes along with number one, above, but I am already booked with activities this entire week, and none are with my friends. I need to make an effort to actually see people…

3. Eat healthier and lose 10 pounds. Nothing tastes better than thin. Ugh, who am I kidding? The third Oreo would taste better!

4. Be nicer. Ado will appreciate that I made this resolution once before and it lasted approximately 10 seconds when I called Dick Clark’s female co-host a skank.

5. Be more sincere. I will not tell someone I love their shirt when I think its only okay. I will be honest in my opinions, when asked, and keep my mouth shut otherwise. This sort of goes along with being nicer, but in a different way.

I really am hoping that this year brings along good things such as a new apartment and figure. I could say I was wishing for world peace, but then I would already violate resolution number 5. Of course, my not wishing for stuff for others, maybe I am violating Resolution 4. Screw it. I give up. I am eating a cookie.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Last weekend was amazing. Husband and I spent the weekend in Seattle visiting Much Ado About Nothing ("Ado") and T. We went kayaking and explored farmer's markets. It was heavenly.

And, I had other good news this weekend. First off, I was one of the winner’s of Peg’s essay contest on feminism. Yippee. Second, I won a second, non-internet writing contest titled, “The best chef.” I think you are supposed to write about famous people, but I wrote about Husband who makes some of the yummiest food I ever tasted. I will retype that post and publish when I have a second.

The cool thing is that in both cases, the prizes were books. From Peg, I won a copy of “Full Frontal Feminism” and from the Chef contest, I won a book on cooking. I gave the cooking book to Husband but I am keeping Full Frontal Feminism for myself.

But, I am also really excited because my quest to become a dog trainer is officially beginning. On Sunday I will attend my first class as an observer and after I observe a few classes, they may let me assist. Even better, this class is puppy kindergarten so I get to spend 90 minutes on Sunday playing with puppies and watching them be generally adorable. And, even better, Cody gets 50% off the class I am taking with him, which means we save money.

It’s going to be a dog-filled weekend, actually. On Saturday, Tiki, Cody, Husband and I are going to Animal Haven for a meet-up with other Shibas and then Snickers (one of Tiki and Cody’s friends) is coming over for a sleep-over as a trial run before JG allows us to baby-sit for a weekend this winter. Husband is obsessed with Snickers and is already planning a dinner menu of salmon, oats and cheese. See, Husband is not only a good chef for people, but for dogs too.

Now to get through the rest of the week at work….

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Now this is more like it. Husband and I got back on the horse last night (so to speak) and attended an open house for an apartment just a few blocks from where we live now. They served us wine. It was awesome. And, the selling broker knows Sister from childhood and we all went to Hebrew School together. Nothing like a little Jewish Georgraphy to get the good will flowing.

Oh, and the apartment was pretty cool too. It has a full time doorman, 1100 sq. feet of living space and a 2000 sq. foot roof deck, which is shared between all tenants. It is also just a block and a half from Sister’s apartment and if I look out the bedroom window, I can see her building. I like it even better than the last apartment we saw, except that the second bedroom is much smaller than I would like. But, as Husband points out, we want to discourage guests and once we have a baby (no, I am not pregnant, but one day maybe….) it’s not like we will have a space room anyway. Besides, the living room is huge and can easily accommodate an air mattress. But, I digress….

The kitchen has more storage space than Husband can even dream of and I love the washer/dryer. The only renovations needed are a new coat of paint, some cosmetic work on the bathroom and maybe built-ins in the living room. I would also like to build a closet into the wall between the foyer and small bedroom, but that’s not important. You can check out the floor plan below….

Despite the small second bedroom, I really like this place and feel like it could be home. But, I have learned not to get excited about apartments since they seem to easily slip through our fingers and into the hands of people who can offer more money and present a better overall financial picture (i.e. more likely to get co-op board approval).

We’re going back tomorrow to take another look and figure out the right amount to bid. I refuse to get overly excited, but I can’t help picture it with new bathroom tile….

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Well, we didn’t get this apartment either. Sigh. Maybe I can pitch a tent in the dog park if we don’t find anything by the spring. That way the dogs have a yard in which to play and I have a place to sleep that does not break the bank.

What is so annoying about not getting this apartment is that we bid *over* asking price and offered to remove the mortgage contingency from the contract and we still fell short. Yikes. I though the market was supposed to be in the tank.

Really, we are not asking for much – just a spacious kitchen and washer/dryer hook-up in a pet friendly building for an affordable price. Our needs seem simple but are harder to attain than I would have thought.

Husband has announced that we will be homeless in a few months. While I don’t think that is necessarily true, I am frustrated. The apartment we saw was 5 blocks from where we live now and I absolutely love, love, love my neighborhood. We are going to see a place tonight that is 20 blocks away, but that is so far and not nearly as nice on the place we just lost out on. Sigh….

Hopefully, this becomes one of those stories where we laugh about how we almost ended up with a crappy apartment because we didn’t know better but were so happy to have lost out because a really cool place fell into our laps, although right now I seriously doubt it….

My apartment is covered in dust. It is just filthy. And the worst part is, I have been cleaning non-stop. No, Husband and I are not slobs, it’s just that the building next door is being gut renovated and the outside is being redone, so dust is flying everywhere. And I mean everywhere.

The doors and windows are shut tight, but despite this, there is a layer about a centimeter deep all over the dressers, cabinets and furniture. There is also a much thicker layer all over the backyard. And it’s not just fine dust that can be easily wiped off. It is cake-y and goopy and makes you slip when walking in socks. I hate it.

Worse than the mess is the unknown quality of the stuff: The building next door is more than 100 years old and this dust could have asbestos or lead paint in it. Worse than gross, that is dangerous. I called the management company of my building since they are supposed to be on top of this stuff, but of course, no one returned my call. Sure, what do they care? By the time I develop lung cancer or something equally as scary, I will have moved away and the cause will be impossible to prove…

No one who sees the dust can believe that we really had the doors and windows shut, but the dust particles are really small and it’s not like the apartment is airtight. And the guys who work next door wear masks.

And, even worse is that we have the dogs. Tiki and Cody are home all day today with the dog walker and are breathing this potentially toxic dust into their little puppy bodies. I am so angry and there is nothing I can do except pray that we win the bid we put in on an apartment a few blocks away so we can move….

Sunday, August 26, 2007


It’s 5am at home. Two o’clock in the morning in Long Breach, CA, where I am currently in town for the wedding of Husband’s college roommate. This is the second weekend in a row that Husband and I have attended a wedding and for now at least, it’s the last one for a while.

I am tired. I worked all weekend remotely from the hotel (that you Small Liberal Law Firm for reimbursing me for the internet access that is allowing me to write this) while Husband reminisced about college days and fraternity pranks. I only knew a few people at both weddings and spent most of both weddings alone. Last weekend Husband was the wedding photographer so he was busy working and this weekend, he hung out with college friends that I have only met once or twice and with whom I don’t really have much in common.

I want to be home. I want to be in my own bed, listening to Tiki the Wonder Dog groaning in his sleep. I want to be woken up by Cody jumping on the bed to kiss my face and reluctantly jumping off when Husband mumbles something about it being too early to be awake. I want my teddy bear and blanket (yes, I still sleep with both) wrapped around my head so that when I wake up, for the brief moment before I remove the blanket from my face, I wonder if I have gone blind during the night.

Is it possible to be homesick after only being away for a weekend? Despite the fact that this trip was three days long (and I am often away for so much longer at a time) I desperately want to be back with a longing that is strange to experience after only a weekend. I miss the way the air conditioner does not quite cool off the bedroom and how the rain on the window in the guest room sounds like a steel drum. I miss sitting cramped with Husband on a small corner of the couch, fighting for the smallest space, while the dogs lay stretched out across the cushions. I miss being home.

So, as I get ready for bed and hope that Husband doesn’t wake me up when he finally gets back to the room, I eagerly anticipate getting home tomorrow. I look past the morning we will likely spend at the pool and the long plane ride to the moment I turn my key in the front door of the apartment and hear Cody whining and Tiki pacing, waiting for us to come inside. And then I repack my pack to head out again next weekend…

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Ummm, I thought it was supposed to be easy to buy an apartment. Isn't there a mortgage crisis that hit Manhattan? I figured that we were going to have it easy. Sellers would great us at open houses with iced tea and bundt cake. They would beg us to buy their apartment. Not so.

Just a few hours ago I wrote about the awesome apartment that Husband and I found with the help of our equally as awesome broker. We saw, we fell in love, we put in a bid slightly under ask. Then we sat back and allowed ourselved to make fantasy renovations and dream of having two children who peacefully shared the second bedroom. I even already like the colors on the walls.

After we put in the bid, the sellers asked us for a little bit of information about ourselves in order to make sure we could pass co-op board approval. We both came off sounding smart, well rounded and quiet. The perfect neighbors. I marked up the floor plan with notations as to where the furniture would go. I ran through the pros and cons of having the couch on the east wall of the living room. I dreamed of owning my very own washer/dryer unit.

And then the bombshell from our broker. There were two other offers. TWO! How dare these people? I saw the place first. (Seriously, we were the second showing) and yet the greedy sellers still want to have an open house on Sunday. Clearly, they don't need tea and bundt cake.

So, Husband and I will sit around tonight with our check books and try and determine how high we can bid before throwing in the towel and hope that they can't secure mortgages. Grrr.

The atricles and stories keep coming about the softening housing market and how people can't give away houses anymore. Too bad that sub-prime mortgage crisis has not really hit the NYC real estate market, and if it does, it may be too late for us since we have to move by March 1st.

And so the apartment hunting continues. We lost the last place we liked because the broker tried to pit us in a bidding was against other buyers and, in figuring the cost of renovations, we were talking about numbers so far outside our price range as to be absurd. But yesterday our totally awesome broker sent us a listing only 5 blocks from where we now live. And it is 1000 sq. feet. And they allow dogs. We loved it before we even saw it.

For those of you outside NYC, let me explain that a neighborhood is like its own little town. To move a mere mile (22 blocks) from where we now live would have meant a change in the gym we attend, restaurants from which we order, day care where we send the dogs and a new cleaning woman. And really, it’s the last that gets me since Jacinta predates Husband and he is well aware where he would come out if I were forced to choose between them. But this apartment is 5 blocks south and only ½ a block from Central Park. And it’s closer to the good dog park. And its ½ a block from the same subway I currently take to work. Same take-out places, same gym and still an easy walk to Sister’s apartment.

So, we saw the place last night and even though it’s not perfect, it has tons of potential. We could open up the kitchen and build out a kitchen table. The second bedroom is big enough for 2 children to share and, while the bathroom is small, there is a huge linen closet and…wait for it…. I can hook up a washer/dryer. No small thing in this city. Also, the apartment comes with a storage unit in the basement and, although there is currently a waiting list, there is a locked room for bicycle storage.

Oh, and you can’t tell from the floor plan, but the master bedroom has a walk-in closet that we would turn into an ensuite ½ bath and then we would just build back to back closets along the wall the adjoins the two bedrooms. Viola, we are back to the 1.5 bath just like we have now. We would also redo the kitchen and bathroom, but the appliances and set up as they are now is totally livable and we could make changes as we can afford them.

By the way, this is not the actual floor plan and the apartment we saw is way cooler and has a front hall closet, but this is the closet thing I could find.
I am a little sad to lose the use of my awesome grill and backyard furniture, but they can go into my parents’ basement for a few years until we one day have our dream house in Connecticut. And it’s pretty exciting to think that we may actually have our own apartment!

Now onto the bidding process….

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


It’s amazing the way you become an expert in things without even meaning to do so. First, there was SCUBA diving. I love diving and took as many classes as possible in order to make myself a better diver. Then, without thinking about it, I started to notice when other people had equipment on incorrectly and was able to coach someone though a panic attack and perform an attempted rescue of a drowned person without having to think through the steps. Even though I have not been diving in a year (the fault of my work schedule, lack of funds and just overall busy-ness), people still will email me dive-related questions and I answer them.

Then it became reproductive rights. I volunteered with Haven Coalition and learned about fetal development, methods of termination and all the ways that birth control can fail. People from all over the country contacted me about how to set up similar groups and I was interviewed for a documentary. I recently received a call from a young woman receiving a PhD in Public Health who wants to interview me as part of her doctoral thesis. (I referred her to Haven’s current coordinators). My last OBGYN knew who I was before I even had my first appointment and spent the entire time telling me how much he admired what I was doing. Weird.

And now, it is dog training. I sit on the Board of NYC Shiba Rescue, Inc. (I love writing “Inc.” since thanks to the hard work of the fine people at Bingham McCutchen, we are now officially incorporated in the State of New York!) and part of my job entails writing to people who have dogs with behavioral problems. Some of the problems are easy, like offering a puppy a chew toy after removing him from your table leg. Some of the problems are hard, like what to do about a dog with such severe separation anxiety that it can’t be alone for 30 seconds. But I love this new part of my job anyway. And, because I can’t do anything half-way, I am enrolling in a dog training course offered around the corner from my apartment where I will be trained as a dog trainer. The added bonus, of course, is that you practice on your own dog so Tiki and Cody will get lots of training reinforcement. And, if Jenna agrees, then maybe I can work one on one with people who are thinking of giving away their dogs to rescue before the problems escalate to the point where they feel that is the only option.

I love learning new things and I love teaching others about the stuff I am learning. Plus, its even better when you pick up knowledge just doing stuff you would want to do anyway…

Peg found this very cool site that rates your blog. I had to copy her. And imgaine my surprise to know that despite all my talk of abortion, I am appropriate for all. Yippee.

Friday, August 10, 2007


On Monday night, Sister and I walked from 99th and Riverside (where we saw and ultimately rejected a potential apartment for me to buy) and stopped in the mid-80’s to catch our breath. It was suffocating hot and I commented that I thought I had lost about 10 pounds in sweat, which would have been fabulous if it had been true since I really do need to lose 10 pounds. At that point, Sister grabbed her belly and told me to look at how fat she had become. (Note: Sister has no belly and I am sure this was all a ploy to make me fell better about my own march up the scale). As we sat on the street and compared belly fat, we pledged to eat healthier and try and lose those last 10 pounds.

And for one day I really followed through on our pledge.

Then came the Great Transit Meltdown of August 2007 (not to be confused with the Great Transit Meltdown of January 2007 or the various Great Transit Meltdowns of 2004-6), which ironically happened the day the local papers all ran headlines about raising subway fares, but I digress…

Anyway, Great Transit Meltdown of August 2007 was by far the worst in recent memory. Husband and I left the apartment at 8:15am and walked to our usual subway through conditions not usually found outside of steam rooms. Oscar was there, but instead of giving out papers, he was directing people to use another train since there was no service on the B and C lines. Hot and cranky, we walked to another subway line but help little hope the trains were running since the bus lines looked to be 40 people deep.

Imagine our surprise when we got to the 1-train stop at 79th street and were told the trains were running express to 14th Street. Yippee. Both Husband and I could take that train and walk with only a slight delay to our respective offices. So we entered the platform. There was no air conditioning and it was even hotter than it was outside. People were packed onto the platform and men were literally taking off their business shirts and walking around in undershirts. We waited. And waited. The promised train did not come.

Husband gave up. He went home, sat in the air conditioning, bought a donut and iced coffee and has a relaxing morning. I hate him.

Since I am terrified of my direct supervisor and never know what makes him angry, and since I had promised to come in early, I decided to stick it out. Three trains passed before there was one I could squeeze onto. My train, which thankfully did have air conditioning, pulled out about 20 feet and stopped. We waited for over an hour without moving. A nice man gave me his seat, which I in turn gave to another woman. I said a little prayer of thanks that I had worn flip flops and not high heels. The air conditioning turned off and I slowly began to melt. The man next to me was sweating profusely and, if there had been a spare inch, I would have wriggled away when his sweat began to drip onto my head. I wanted to vomit. After ninety agonizing minutes, the train pulled into Penn Station, 40 blocks from where I started. A ride that normally takes 5 minutes and a walk that would have only taken an hour. I was still 20 blocks from my destination and with the bus lines now 60 people deep, I began to walk.

And this is where it hit me: I deserved a Frappuccino. And not some diet version. I deserved a grande, java chip frap with extra whip. And you know what, walking to work for those extra 20 blocks suddenly seemed a lot more appealing and delicious. And those additional 460 calories I ingested? So worth it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


recently posted about knowing people who are very different than you and still maintaining friendships with them. This is why I love her: When it comes to the fundamentals of what makes a good friend, we both agree it has more to do with respect and a common understanding that they will take your side in a public fight, even if they think you are completely insane. Would Suzanne beat the crap out of someone because they yelled at me for brining my dogs into Duane Reade with me? I know she would. And would she also privately assail my lack of understanding that not all New Yorkers love dogs? In a heartbeat.

My friends come in all different colors, political affiliations and levels of socially acceptable drug use. I would never stop talking to Dee because she uses cocaine the way most people enjoy wine. Tad was my opposing counsel at a former job and I think he really believes that people should be fired for coming into work 7 minutes late, but I like him anyway. I just would never want to work for him. And Mara is way more liberal than I am but I still love her just the same. I take pride in my diverse friendships and think they help me be a better person. But I am unable to make the same leap in apartment hunting that I do in friendship.

Call me racist. Call me classist. Call me any variety of –ist and I will not deny it. I want to live somewhere where the people look and think like me. I want to live in a neighborhood filled with nice Jewish families (not too religious!) who send their kids to the JCC after-school program and know where to buy the best lobster bisque. I want people my age, people with my income level (well, okay, with Husband’s income level) and people who wear Ann Taylor and Banana Republic to work. I don’t want to live in the Morningside Heights of 10 years ago, I want to live on the Upper West side of today. And so Husband and I have trouble finding an apartment.

If it were up to me, I would never move. I have a backyard and live in one of the best school districts in Manhattan. I can walk to the subway in 5 minutes and live near two different subway stops. But it’s not up to me. Landlords keep raising the rent and really, with supposedly falling housing prices (everywhere but here!) we really need to buy a place.

So I read the names on the buzzer and look for “Cohen” and “Schwartz.” I roam the hallways of buildings and look for mezuzahs. And I hate myself for doing it.

But you know the great thing? My friends accept this about me. Stacy thinks my inexplicable need for a homogenous living environment is absurd and offensive, but she has offered to pound the pavement with me any weekend I choose and help me scope out buildings. Sister sends me apartment listings from various websites and Kir put me in touch with her coworker’s friend’s dogwalker’s uncle (or something like that) who may be selling a place in my neighborhood.

So as I continue to enjoy my diverse friends in my homogenous neighborhood I need to remember that these are the same people who could be living next door to me in my eventual new neighborhood and embrace the likely change. And who knows, I may find that one day my neighbor defends me to a co-op board before privately berating me for letting the dogs pee on the landscaping.