Monday, February 27, 2006

BEST TRIP EVER



Click photo above .


Sometimes couples go on trips. They think 'Hey, let's go to Miami! That sounds awesome! Cheap and warm! Hassle free!'. They pack their summer clothes and sunscreen and beach towels. On the first cloudy day they think, "This will pass! Let's head to Little Havana!"

And then the minute they get off the bus in the middle of nowhere Little Havana the sky opens up and 'sheets of rain' does not even begin to describe this palm tree bending monsoon of an experience. They run to the nearest roof to hide under but it is no use. They are soaked to the bone. Rain hitting them at all angles. No umbrellas, puddles up to their ankles, wife girl wearing bad shoes (shocking). Gravel getting inbetween her toes while she runs. They run from store to store trying to hide from the rain but each store is forty below zero in AC tempatures thus practically FREEZING them to death.

Husband guy sees a Home Depot. They run in puddles and mud and dirt and gravel. Wife girl's shoes literally falling off and twisting her ankle. Hopefully Home Depot will sell some umbrellas. Home Depot does not sell umbrellas. They sell ponchos. Wife girl is FREEZING. Huband guy is GRUMPY. They are both STARVING. They buy ponchos (one blue, one green) On the way out of the store they ask a man to take their picture. He says, "Y'all quite a site!"

Husband and wife are now momentarily happy. Ponchos. Who knew! We're so bringing back the poncho! To New York! It has pockets and a hood and snaps up the side! What else does one need? Wife feels as if it's like wearing a down comforter. Husband feels like he wants to stop into a souvenir store to get out of the rain some more. They try on hats. Husband rummages through Cuban baseball team shirts. Girl kicks shoes off and wipes feet on carpet in back of store hoping no one will see. 45 minutes later they brave the rain again.

The ponchos don't seem so cool anymore. The wind has picked up. Husband and wife are now yelling at one another in front of a graveyard in the POURING rain because wife wants to walk 79 blocks to the Chowhound reviewed Cuban place she read about while husband wants to eat at bar/prison den looking place full of only men right there across the street. A possible strip bar. They compromise and get drinks at different bar watching inside the entire 2.5 hour Shakira DVD playing on volume 10 hoping the rain will stop. It doesn't. Both agree thanks to Shakira DVD place is in fact sort of a strip bar.

Rain seems to finally slightly lighten up enough to go outside and right before giving up two seconds before the miracle - wife spots Chowhound reviewed Cuban place across street. Both beyond hungry, starving, wet, soaked to the bone, ankles twisted they go inside the place causing a scene. They look like two garbage bags that blew in through the front door.

Eat greasy bad food in about 75 seconds. Wife starts to cry while eating food at what a shitty day it is and how the whole stupid thing was her idea. Husband feels bad he made wife take 93 buses to get here. Says they should call a cab. Get taxi number from cashier but then on way out spot bus stop across street. Wait there for 45 minutes wife now shivering and freezing. Huddled together at the bust stop in his and her ponchos like two puppies in a pet store waiting for adoption.

Bus finally comes. Board bus and ride it forever until eternity in freezing cold blasting AC. Wife has chills. Husband sniffles. And then it's time to change buses once again. Wife now wishing she hadn't drank both Cafe Au Laits in one sitting. While waiting for second bus of 25 more they need to take wife pops into dime store and considers buying men's XXXL sweatpants and socks which she will put on then and there but husband rightly so talks her out of.

Rest of trip home a blur. Make it despite all odds. Most importantly still married. Maybe no tan but two ponchos to bring home as souvenirs.

RETRO BLOGGER

I was at a loft party recently. It was full of cool, serious blogger types. You know...people that spend most of their time or their living for the most part writing blogs with a purpose. With consistency. At the party the best comment came from one of these blogger types after our lovely host introduced me (cringe) as someone that also has a blog.

After hearing my blog had no user sign in, no ads, no following, no traffic, no point, no nothing at all in fact and is merely rants and raves of my so called boring life he said, (and really meant it) "Oh my god! That's so cool! You're like...a retro old school blogger!" I'm so not cool that I'm cool. Awesome.

Friday, February 24, 2006

LETTER OF THE WEEK: MY BREAKUP WITH MIDTOWN

Dear Midtown,

I hate to do this in a letter but I must. After Friday you will no longer be part of my life.

As you may or may not know, I have accepted another job elsewhere and will no longer be wasting 45 minutes of my life each day commuting to and from Brooklyn to deal with the repugnant bowels of your hellhole.

I’m sick and tired of all the lies I tell my family and friends that our relationship is ‘not that bad’ and that I can ‘read the whole paper’ by the time I reach you. Frankly, it’s not enough. Sorry to be so blunt but I will not miss a single thing about you. Your smell. Your lack of style. The way you present yourself like a hip, in the know, cultural mecca. Blech. I’m practically vomiting in my own mouth as I type this. You may try and argue that you are better than my former work relationship – Times Square (pre Toys-R-Us) but at the rate it’s been going over the past year and nine months the differences seem one in the same.

I will not miss…

1.) MACY’S: in general and the people that visit it. Senior citizens, packs of orange colored tanned cheerleaders, school field trips, etc.

2.) STREET PERFORMERS: Mimes spray painted silver, paint your name on rice, chalk portraits, your name in calligraphy, etc.

3.) MSG: each and every crowd it brings – FLOCKS of Islander fans and various face painters, dog show freaks, Black Eyed Peas fans, Republicans, etc.

4.) CULINARY HELL: Any of the following culinary wasteland establishments: Ranch 1, Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, McDonalds, Mustang Harry’s, Mustang Sally’s, (as if the male one wasn’t enough) Chipolte, Guy & Gallard, etc.

5.) VAGUE WORK ADDRESS: Giving my work address out to messengers, etc.– one of those vague Manhattan addresses like “Gracie Square” or “Union Square West” My old work one being 11 Penn Plaza – which to everyone else sounded like - 1110 Plaza, 11 TEN Plaza, 11 Pen Playa, THE BUILDING WITH 3 FLAGS HANGING OFF IT, FORGET IT I’LL JUST COME DOWNSTAIRS AND MEET YOU…(phone slam)

Two words: Hello Chelsea.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

LEAVING MY MARK

I have a lot of challenges with my body. One of them is my frequent canker sores. Have you ever had one? They are painful and annoying and in my case last weeks on end. I've had them since the age of fourteen and when I get them they often grow to the size of a dime.

One time when I was in high school I ate an entire bag of Reese's peanut butter cups - the special Halloween bag size - all in one sitting. The next morning I woke up and I couldn't speak I was in so much pain. My entire mouth was swollen with over 20 canker sores. I couldn't got to school. My mother took me to the doctor. I confessed about my chocolate overdose and he told me it was related. Putting the pieces together my father realized he too got canker sores when he ate chocolate.

Does this stop me from eating it? Sadly no. But I know what I am in for when I do. I have one currently at the tip of my tongue and it's KILLING me. All for the price of licking the chocolate frosting off a stale cupcake at an office party last week.

Yesterday I had my exit interview at work. I sat with the woman from HR and due to the canker sore at the tip of my tongue slurred my words the entire time. I felt like I should say something like, "I swear I'm not drinking on the job. I just licked some chocolate off an office party cupcake." But then I realized I've quit my job. Who cares. My records and her copious notes in blue ink as to my reasons for leaving will disappear into a dusty file cabinet somewhere. Never to be seen again.

Friday, February 17, 2006

GRANDMOTHERS


Women love their grandmothers. Men too. In fact the stories I hear of E's grandmother Birdie are so cute and adorable I feel like I was once lucky enough to meet her although didn't. I think women especially love their grandmothers. Why? Because they aren't their mothers. Mom, if you are reading this I think you'd agree.

Almost every woman I know has in her possession an old photo or two of her grandmother. I am lucky enough to have many. In each photo my grandmother is such a stylish woman. Her jewelry, her clothes. The way she carried herself in the photographs. Thinking very much of her today.

LI OR BUST

Some more photos from my famous past - teen model for a WBLI Long Island radio station ad. Truly scary...but I look so natural talking on the phone...

HELLO GOODBYE

While I'm sure it is no surprise to the followers of Curbed here is what happened....the other night after work I got off the train. I headed to my local grocery store in Brooklyn just blocks from my house. It looked pretty packed inside which was odd. It was a week night not a weekend. I plunged forth anyway.

About two steps in the door I froze in my tracks. Everyone around me was hysterical. Yelling. Grabbing things off the shelves. The place was a complete mess. Bread and Tampax were stuffed next to the faces of Brad and Angelina on the magazine rack. Half the entire produce aisle was totally gone. Oranges rolled on the floor. What the hell was going on?



For a moment I considered the fact that in my brief walk from the subway to the store that I'd missed some kind of global warning, some kind of announcement on TV that we were being bombed. Run. Grab all the cat food you can. It may sound dramatic of me that this was my first thought but it was. Why? Because it has happened to me before.

The morning of 9/11. I woke to the sound of a plane rumbling, flying VERY low over my apartment and then dead silence and then a huge loud explosion. People screamed. I looked out my window and saw a group of kids on a field trip laughing and screaming right outside of my window on the ground floor. But screaming like kids screaming not panic. Thought nothing of it. I got dressed. Didn't turn on the TV. Didn't see a newspaper. I decided to head to the grocery store around the corner. It was sunny out. The streets were a combo of eery silent with sirens and police cars flying down Second Avenue. Strange I guess but this is New York. Thought nothing of it. I walked into the grocery store. It was packed. Chaotic. People yelling. A man with a strong Indian accent and a hysterical manner on the intercom yelling, "PLEASE DONATE BLOOD! CABRINI HOSPITAL NEEDS YOUR BLOOD!!!" What the HELL was going on? I was so freaked out I just spun around and ran back to my apartment. Before I turned the corner to my street I passed a flood of zombie like people walking up Second Avenue covered in white dust and blood. It was horrible and scary. A man in an expensive business suit tattered to shreads caught my eye.

Luckily my discovery this time was far less traumatic.

K: What is going on here?
Woman: Store's closin'! Everything is 75% off!
K: You are kidding! What is moving in here?
Woman: Another drug store. Like we need it!



A normal person might have turned around and walked out taking one look at the mess. Not me. Being drawn to unusual situations like a deer in headlights, I walked down each and every aisle despite having to push my way past people which on any normal day would drive me insane. I grabbed my camera and took crappy blurry shots because the whole thing was surreal. I walked around and filled up my basket with random stuff hardly paying attention to what I was getting.

By the time I got to the checkout line, I had my first good look at what was in my basket. Things I never eat or have eaten before. It was like a stoner's last trip to the grocery store:



Peanut butter, pistachio nuts, hot dogs, Annie's Mac N' Cheese (family size), Windex, Chex cereal, Brownie mix, 1 onion, swiss cheese, 2 cans of Spanish peanuts, etc.

A muzak version of Hello Goodbye by the Beatles was on the radio.

Why, why, why, why, why, why
Do you say good bye
Goodbye, bye, bye, bye, bye


I left the doors of my grocery store for the last time. The muzak Beatles song stuck in my head.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

CANDY

Last weekend I had the good fortune of flying down to Minneapolis with my two college friends - 1 friend with her son (11 months) and the other engaged. We were on our way to visit our OTHER friend from college currently living in MN with her husband and twins (a little over 1 yrs old). It was an eye opening experience on many levels.



First of all...these three women are my buds. No matter what I do I can't seem to get the image out of my head of two of them chanting, "CHUG IT! CHUG IT! CHUG IT!" at a college frat party while the other was being held upside down in a skirt doing a beer funnel from a keg. And now...we total seven and are curled up in our pajamas watching the "Baby Einstein" DVD in the living room with glasses of champagne. Surreal.



Second of all....kids - even good happy kids with cool laid back parents are so much frickin' work. From early morning until night all three of them required a level of attention I was not used to as a time selfish, married lady with no kids. The crazy part of this is I am a woman who has been exposed to kids my ENTIRE life. I was THE babysitter of all babysitters sometimes watching kids way into my 20's even close to 4 or 5 days a week. I just loved it. And yet the 24hrs a day observation and participation was so crazy tiring I was stunned. My girlfriends were like powerhorses. Feeding. Changing. Dressing. Playing. Kissing. Hugging. Reading. Chasing. Putting to bed. Getting up. Bathing. Wiping. Repeat pattern from 6:30am until 7pm. THEN - while I was just tired watching them and helping out as best as I could - they put on lipstick and cute outfits and prepared to go out for drinks and adult conversation until late hours of the night. HUH?



Kids are funny. One likes turkey. The other spits it out. Another liked oatmeal yesterday but today pushes out his lips in protest. One likes the DVD. The other not. One wants that toy. The other the same toy. One wants to climb on something dangerous. The other has a piece of plastic wrap in it's mouth. Quick get it. One can't go to sleep without being read the Quack Quack book. Tonight it hates the Quack Quack book. Bubbles. No bubbles. More cream. Dry skin. Neverending and none of it in your control.

Thirdly...outings with three kids are outings like never before. Having been somewhat housebound for most the weekend due to naps, colds and weather conditions, we decided to go on an adventure to a vintage clothing store. Just like the good old days. Here is how it went. Not like the old days:

1.) WRANGLE: 3 kids into various snowsuits, scarves, boots they kick off = 7 minutes
2.) PACK: bottles, bibs, cheerios, baby carrots, rags to wipe drool, pacifiers, toys to keep kids entertained,etc. = 9 minutes
3.) GEAR: Pack car with 3 strollers, 3 car seats = 11 minutes
4.) DRIVE: Drive to vintage clothing store while singing, shaking rattles trying to keep kids entertained= 20 minutes
5.) PARK: try to find parking near vintage clothing store park 3 blocks away = 10 minutes
6.) UNLOAD: (see everything above) = 11 minutes
7.) WALK: 3 blocks to vintage clothing store stopping along way to feed various kids cheerios and biscuits to stop them from fussing = 7 minutes
8.) SITUATE: Walk into vintage clothing store. Take off kids hats, coats, parking strollers in corner, putting away cheerios, bottles, etc. = 7 minutes
9.) SHOP: chasing twins and keeping 3 kids entertained instead of shopping with, "LOOK! LOOK! FUNNY HAT!!! FUNNY HAT! MOMMY IN FUNNY HAT! ISN'T THAT FUNNY!. Kids laugh for 4 seconds and then have complete and total meltdown and want to leave have to leave. Actual shopping time = 7 minutes
10.) PACK: Pack up bags and put kids jackets on load into strollers = 9 mintues
11.) WALK: Walk 3 blocks to car. = 7 minutes
12.) LOAD: (see above of everything to load) = 11 minutes
14.) DRIVE: drive home, more singing, more shaking rattles nothing working = 20 minutes

Total: A 1 hour and 35 minute adventure to the 7 minutes of shopping in the vintage clothing store.

These are just funny stories I am sharing but then there is all the crazy amazing stuff that makes your eyes tear when you see these little innocent ones. Sweet as candy. Smelling so fresh and clean and tucked into little pjs that hardly require any fabric. They are extensions of your best friends. The same women that you already admired just different. Their babies calling them Mama.

PATTERNS

Yesterday...I enjoyed reading an interview conducted with our friend
Mark Powell. Mark is a talented photographer and fantastic writer with a lot of good stories to share. Mark is originally from Detroit and is now living in Mexico City with his beautiful/talented wife and adorable son. I met Mark for the first time in Mexico City where he invited E down to give a lecture on his work. I hope you enjoy the read as much as I did.

***

Today a friend's blog sparked a memory for me I hadn't thought of in a while. I was reminded of a time - the summer before my sophomore year of college. I was living at home with my parents and once again working in my small town on Long Island. My boyfriend of four years and I had just broken up. I felt unsettled and creatively numb. Lucky for me, before summer kicked off things changed. I befriended a group of transplant hippies from Michigan, California, North Carolina, etc. that had rented a small house not far from mine.

Despite the hippie cliche - complete with VW vans and dreadlocks - they were a happy, freckled, super talented group. They sewed their own clothing, took amazing photographs, cooked amazing meals, wrote and played music and did just about everything I was interested in but always afraid to fail at. I made great friends with a girl in the group named Cypress. The summer was full of beach bonfires, playing music, making fantastic meals and taking long drives in VW vans to skinny dip in local swimming areas I'd lived near my entire life but never knew of. It was an amazing summer. I was able to rediscover a place I'd lived my entire life only with fresh eyes.



By the end of summer the dream ended. The new easy going, care free me packed up my belongings and headed back to my small liberal arts college in Virginia. The adjustment was tough and the reminders of my new fake 'reality' were simple - a college quad without a single leaf on it's pristine surface despite it being Fall.

As promised, Cypress came through Virginia on a visit following the Phish tour. She stayed an entire month with me in my sterile college dorm. She scored some free meals from the college cafeteria and then decided to move on to her next adventure. When Cypress left I felt a combination of loss and some relief. I admired her carefree lifestyle but came clean with myself that I wasn't exactly cut out for it. I wanted some of it in my life but not all. Cypress was out seeking the next adventure in life while in some respects I waited for it to come visit.

My life has continued to have these funny patterns. Control. Lack of...wandering. Control. Lack of...wandering. The past few months have felt a little too stifling and in control for my taste. To break things up I've accepted a new job this week. It's less money but involves the possibility of following a dream. It's a start.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

CHIPPED

So...here I am on my work trip lucky enough to stay at this amazing fancy hotel. A fancy hotel is AMAZING for about...three days. The throne bath. The beautiful stionary with gold embossed logos. The TV that swivels so you can watch in bed. The gazillion thread count robes and matching slippers - those two items alone the equivalent to paradise. The HUGE cozy bed with best sheets ever. The yummy food. Someone to tidy your room every day. The private patio overlooking the sea. And then after a while the lifestyle of living like Paris Hilton fades away - the sitting in the THRONE of a tub eating french fries, drinking Prosecco and watching American Idol all at once - and the craving to see a Duane Reade or 'real' people or go to a diner hits you and it's like...if I click my heels twice will you bring me back to reality? Please?

Part of living my three day fake Paris Hilton lifestyle involved a trip to the hotel spa. It sounds great but let me explain. The menu of spa services was INSANE in both what they had to offer and the price. I scanned the menu for the cheapest thing I could possibly afford to treat myself to and off I went.

The pedicure...here was the problem....

A.) WORK - I am on a business trip with a bunch of high end executives. I am not an executive. I happened to know that today was a "leisure activity day" for the executives which meant I was bound to run into many of them at the spa. Nothing is more creepy (no offense to these nice people) than sitting around half naked in robes and towels with your bosses and their bosses. It's like seeing your grade school teacher duck in to use the teacher's bathroom. Ewwwwww.

B.) MONEY - Another problem was while I would be paying for my fancy pedicure I happened to know that the executives had a spa package deal already paid for them on the company and if they SAW me down there in the spa..would they think I was trying to scam a free day at the spa? Yes I am uptight and nervous and always worried about things. The more I type this I realize I should have perhaps sprung for the 'chill the f*&#$ out massage' or the 'stop worrying so much about what other people think' foot rub. But those cost $360 for 110 minutes.

So I picked the pedicure. A price which in the end was too horrific to admit to and would require any future child of mine to apply for financial aid to college because of mom's pedicure 'back in the day'. So I get there. There is a fountain with water running and little hot black circle stones you rest your feet on while you are waiting. They offer you two kinds of hot tea. They ask you if you want to wait in the "relaxation" area before Mayuki is ready for me. And then eventually Mayuki pulls back a paper screen and I am encouraged to come inside the private pedicure room. The private pedicure room is ok not great. Sadly, it is me, Mayuki, another woman that works there and an ENORMOUS, unshowered, disheveled, overweight, wheezing and when I say wheezing I mean truly gasping for breath man with a HACKING COUGH - the kind someone with Emphysema has that is on their last leg. Ugh.

I did my best to relax. But despite the calming spa music and this lovely foot massage happening there was no hiding the fact that a giant man - literaly sounding like he was gasping for his last breath (oh and spitting mucus into a tissue) - it was impossible to relax.

All I kept thinking was:

-"oh my god this guy is going to die."
-"why is this man getting a pedicure anyway"
-"this is this man's last pedicure."
-"why are men allowed in this spa they should have private rooms for women."
-"i can't believe i'm paying this kind of money."
-"i can't believe i have to listen to this man about to die for 50 more minutes"

Had I known I'd be sitting next to Darth Vader and be forced to watch the poor woman assigned to him pick at his yellowed overgrown toenails...I kept telling myself not to look but I couldn't help myself...I wouldn't have signed up. Not only that but when it was over and I left more stressed than I came in, I tripped on the cement steps going back into the hotel and left a giant chip in my big toe red polish.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

ROOKIE MISTAKE



Leaving your walkie on when taking a whiz in the ladies room only to come out to a handful of snickering cameraman making fun of you having heard ever dribble. Hey...it's been a while since I'd be on set ok?


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