Random Blog A Musing Farf: November 2007

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.