Saturday, July 29, 2006

BRIDAL BROUHAHA



My friend A is getting married this October. Today we host a bridal shower for her and tonight is a night on the town 'bachelorette style'.

These types of nights always amaze me. They are often full of strange traditions that I never understood and in some sense seem from another time or place or just entirely made up all together. Make your friend wear a penis crown and penis earrings. Make your friend wear lace underwear on top of her pants and a veil while dancing. Make your friend get one last kiss from a guy before she is married. Where did these traditions come from? I'm guessing New Jersey but I could be wrong.

For my bachelorette party I invited a bunch of women friends out to my parent's empty house for the weekend. My idea was to trick them all into thinking it was a mellow weekend away in the country and avoid any of the traditional and horrifying bachelorette madness I did my best to avoid. No such luck. As I returned from the train station to pick up another friend that had just arrived, I drove up to my parents house only to see a GIANT penis balloon complete with balls sticking out the front door of the house to greet me. The rest of the night went pretty much down hill after that - two words - Jello shots.

Yesterday I got a call from B - my friend who is a young Mom with twins under two living in Minneapolis. She is flying in without kids today to join in the bachelorette fun. B is in charge of getting all the embarassing penis themed crap that NONE of us like but the future bride does. The call went something like this:

B: K - It's B.
K: Hey! How's it going?
B: Good - I'm in a sex shop with the twins in a Minneapolis mall.
K: hahahha
B: Is a penis pinata too over the top?
K: Uh...
B: (whispering to kids) - Honey, Don't touch that - that's for adults.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

SWEATING AT A REDUCED RATE

Don’t ask me why but I’ve been to the YMCA four times this week – each time running for a full 15-20 minutes non-stop on the treadmill. 20 minutes may seem like nothing to you but for someone that just last night ate dinner with her hands so as not to backtrack to the kitchen – it’s a frickin’ marathon.

What’s not as bad as I thought is running. Don’t get me wrong – I hate it. It does not feel good at the time. My knees feel like they might explode. My hair sticks to the sweat on my forehead. My butt jiggles in a super bad and embarrassing way reminding me I’m not hot and twenty. I feel like Big Foot as my feet come pounding down one after another - left - right - left - right. But I keep running.

A few things I’ve found helpful in the running process: one is listening to my ipod on Volume 10 playing really really hard music. I need to be angry and pissed to run. Also – I need to focus on something outside the window helping me to get into a ‘zone’. This week it was a ladder attached to the roof of a Subway sandwich shop. I stared at the ladder. Stared and stared. I said something crazy and mean to myself I said, “If you stop staring at the ladder it will fall off the wall and hit someone and they will die.” A few times I diverted my eyes from ‘the zone’ and within minutes my inside voice took over saying, “Wait…you are running. This totally sucks. Stop this immediately. Go home and eat with your hands.” But I didn’t.

On my way out of the gym last week I overheard someone registering for the first time at the Brooklyn YMCA. This week I have been merely visiting the Brooklyn facility but am a member in Manhattan. As I listened I happened to hear what it costs to join this particular branch in Brooklyn and nearly had a cow:

(front desk – nice Jamaican man greeted me)

M: Yes miss.
K: Sir- did I overhear that it cost LESS to be registered here at this Brooklyn facility than the one in Manhattan where I am a member?
M: Yes miss.
K: How much less?
M: How much you been payin?
K: $80 a month
M: It’s $50 a month here
K: WHAT?!
M: Yes miss.
K: Can I switch gyms?
M: Yes miss.
K: I can’t believe that. What a rip off!
M: Yes miss. Haven’t you heard the saying: Don’t Dance With The First Girl You See?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

COUPLES THAT BLOG TOGETHER STAY TOGETHER

Link of the day and more writing soon once my shoot is over: Mike and Rion in Paris

Friday, July 14, 2006

LETTER OF THE WEEK: DEAR DAD

Dear Dad,

Remember when I was 14 years old and you and Mom forced me to leave my skateboarding friends back in NYC during the middle of the summer to go on a family trip to all places...MAINE (ugh!)And we went to some random cabin on a lake to visit your friends we hardly knew and I seriously thought you guys were ruining my life?

Do you remember how I complained the lake water was 'dirty' and that the blueberries tasted like 'sand' and spent most of the time in the top bunk of my room ripping out pages from my Thrasher skater magazine and tacking them to the wall wondering when I'd ever get back to REAL LIFE? Well if you don't Mom does. And well...here I am in Maine 19 years later - by choice - and I am sorry for all the crap I put you guys through on that trip. Am thinking of you.

Today we took out the canoe at sunset and went around an island. An island that is for sale. You know how you and Mom sometimes talk about buying an apartment in New York City - pish - why not your very own island here in Maine?



Although...you may need to get a boat so Mom can run errands off your island or so that you can go get the New York Times in town but I think it's worth it. Why? Did I mention your island comes with an American Bald Eagle? I highlighted it here with a yellow arrow. Really. I saw it with my very own eyes.



Here is your island at sunset Papa. Talk to Mom and get back to me. If only I had enough cash I would buy it for you like when Britney Spears buys her parents a mansion in Louisiana. But I'm not Britney but at least I dress more appropriately.



Oh - since I forgot to mention the price: $320,000

xo Dunk

Thursday, July 13, 2006

OUTDOOR GIRL AND THE BANKER



For those of you that have read this blog before you are well aware of my personal hatrid for hiking -(see above photo). In past blogs I've gone into detail about my first hike - one that couldn't have been more challenging and included a couple that had just returned from the mountains of Ecuador, another couple that was training for the Boston triathlon and the third couple that just returned from a three month stint hiking the Appalachian trail - for their honeymoon. On that particular trip, I couldn't even scramble up the first rock convinced I'd twisted my ankle and the bugs were using my neck as a personal bug zapper. Yet still - despite begging my husband E to leave me behind - he wouldn't.

I grew up at the end of the North Fork on Long Island. There are no mountains there. Growing up the closest thing I came to hiking was hiking up my skirt after I'd left the house with my girlfriends to trek around the Smith Haven Mall scoping out hot guys with mullets.

Twice a year E and I go to Maine. Twice a year we have the same fight that ends with the same two sentences after he won't let it go that we should go for a hike, "Well than you should have married a Teva wearing outdoors girl!" and then he yells back completely unrelated, "And you should have married a banker!" And then we both go to bed angry. It's great.

This trip something changed. We've been married now for ten months. In these ten months we have climbed more mini-mountains in our relationship learning to meet each other half way than we ever did in our dating years. Discovering what works for us and what doesn't. What we can accept and let go about each other and what we can't. Who is really good about replacing the toilet paper roll when it's empty and who considers the fridge nothing more than a place for things to die. You know. The important stuff.

Not once in planning this trip did E hint, mention, force, scream, yell, get pissed off that we should go for a hike while I talked through clenched teeth, looked out the window pouting, yelled, wept and sulked in the hammock with a cold glass of white wine. In fact call it love is blind or what but we didn't even have to get to that point because on the ride up I blurted out "Honey! Let's go for a hike when we're up here!" I thought E might swerve off the road in shock.

So we went for a hike. We climbed Mount Zircon - 2240 feet (I can hear you real hikers snickering at the height but hey - we had to start small). And it was buggy - really bad - even E agreed - mid-July/Maine/right before it rained, etc. But we climbed and climbed and overall it wasn't too bad and it gave me more of a chance to reflect on why I hate hiking so much.

I don't like feeling a lack of control. I don't like not knowing how long it is to get to the top and even more so what if I am not prepared? Do I have everything I need? Then...when I am at the top how long do we plan to be there before we head down? So much thinking it's crippling at times and so relevant to how for so many years I've conducted everything in my life. When you are married to another person you are no longer hiking alone. Whatever it takes you need to find a way to meet in the middle and are responsible for taking care of your side of the street. On this hike I decided to look stone to stone, stick to stick, step to step when climbing instead of casting my eyes up at the mountain ahead. It helped.

When we nearly reached the top (about 20 minutes away) the conditions started to worsen - more bugs, slippery dark thick mud, larger rocks and very steep. I was getting more and more out of breath and finally looked up at E and said I'd reached my limit. He didn't press me to keep going. Instead he only asked that I let him continue on his own until he reached the top to see the view. Which I did and hope I always do.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

CHECK PLEASE



Yesterday after wandering around the small town here in Maine we decided to stop in to a place that looked like a diner despite the sign that read 'cocktail lounge'. There we enjoyed a cold iced tea and a grilled cheese cooked by the Dad guy featured in the above photo.

After the meal, Dad guy walked over and spoke to us for a while with his daughter by his side. There was a lot of information shared in the small amount of time we sat there: Dad plays the drums, Dad has two other kids, Dad collects gem stones, Dad is renovating an old house, Dad went to a rave the other night was the oldest one there and Dad is remarried - he showed us a photo of his lovely 16 yr old looking wife.

Before we left E inquired why the place said 'cocktail lounge' on the side:

Dad Guy: Because it is. Only a cocktail lounge two nights a week now
E: Oh yeah? Which nights? Maybe we can come down.
Dad Guy: Tuesday and Thursdays
K: Yes we should totally come down
Dad Guy: Sure. Yeah...we got dancing girls
E: Dancing what?
Little Daughter: Dancing GIRLS
E: Dancing girls. Huh. Ok.
Dad Guy: (raising eyebrows up and down)
K:(looking at smiling little girl) Oh... wow...ok
Little Daughter: (laughs and looks at Dad)
E: Huh
K: Huh

Check please.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

CHURCH FRIENDS



On Sunday we woke up early and E said, "Let's go to church." Then pigs flew past the window and frogs fell from the sky. It's the truth I swear. At least the first part.

Why church? I asked him. Why not? was the answer. Duh. A chance to get to know the community? A peek inside a world unfamiliar to us? A beautiful sunny Sunday morning? All I know is that there was a lot of camera equipment being packed into the car.

The church was a modest church on the other side of the pond that I've passed several times on walks in the Maine woods. A long, white building with tall windows and a tiny point with a bell on top. It was a Catholic service. The Father - a funny and direct guy - conducted the ceremony to a small, intimate sea of friendly looking, mostly elderly faces. Like most Mainers I've met, the Father used only words that were necessary to make his point. For example, if a real Mainer were writing this blog it would have been over three paragraphs ago.

The subject of the brief sermon was rejection. He reminded everyone that at some point we all face rejection so why take it too seriously? Get on with it so to speak and if you know someone who faces rejection show a little compassion. A friendly soccer Mom type woman with a kind smile came up to the podium and reminded us all of the more serious forms of rejection to consider. The small town kid that got rejected for scholarship money and will not be able to attend college. Someone gets rejected for a kidney. Then because it's church there was some body of Christ bits. Some ringing of bells. And sooner than expected it was all over. Afterwards we thanked the Father for the sermon. There were a few photos taken and we were on our way.

Later in the day we drove twenty minutes outside of town to watch the World Cup finals in a small hole in the wall in the basement bar in rural Maine. It was quite a turnaround from the morning's events seeing as before we knew it we were chomping on chicken wings, drinking beers in the afternoon and cursing at the TV over the soccer play by plays.

After the game E said he'd meet me outside. I emerged from the darkness of the pub only to notice people had gathered in the middle of the town square on the big green lawn next to the fountain and gazebo. People sat on red and white picnic blankets, kids were dressed in floral and khaki, dogs had bandanas tied around their necks and practically everyone came equipped with collapsible camping chairs. It was like a LL Bean catalog come to life. For musical entertainment there was a bearded man in lederhosen who strummed on an acoustic guitar and a woman in desperate need of a haircut that played a harp. The music was folk music and the tunes sounded like the soundtrack of the spoof movie, "A Mighty Wind."

A sudden tug on my left sleeve distracted me from the entertainment. To my surprise it was the soccer Mom woman who gave the reading from church this morning now wearing sunglasses and a tie-died Florida Gators tank top.

Woman: Hello. You were in church this morning!
Me: Ah...yes! Yes I was.
Woman: Good to see you.
Me: You too!
Woman: Father's quite a character isn't he?
Me: Sure is
Woman: Well have a nice day
Me: You too
Woman: Enjoy the music!

E finally emerged from the bathroom.

K: Honey, it's time to get out of here.
E: Why?
K: And do you have a mint?
E: Why?
K: I have beer breath and worse...I'm starting to run into our church friends

Friday, July 07, 2006

OFF TO MAINE



Off to Maine for our annual vacation. We will be staying in our usual spot at Camp Clark - a beautiful, simple camp in the Maine woods where we got engaged. Thanks to the generous Clark family that is kind enough to share it with us. And thanks to SC for the above photo.

I hope our biggest worries in the next few days are what they often are:

Should I bring a sweatshirt down to the beach to watch the sunset?
I think the lawn needs mowing
Do we have enough wiffle balls?
Maybe we should gather some kindling for tonight's fire
Which baseball game is on the radio tonight?
Is there enough wine and beer?
How cold is the water for my morning swim?
Which book should I read?
Should we buy another puzzle when we go into town?

And then there is always...where will we watch the World Cup game on Sunday?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

INDEPENDENCE DAY


For the 4th of July – I was standing next to two Canadians in a private, $200,000 roof top ‘cabana’ at 70 Washington – a renovated building located in DUMBO, Brooklyn. The infamous Real Estate developer David Walentas and his wife were standing to my right. The sky truly lit up with red, whites and blues from the fireworks and the views of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge were stunning. Afterwards, we were asked to join the group downstairs for Veuve Clicquoit and blueberry pie. If you hadn’t guessed by now – this wasn’t our usual scene.

10 years ago I lived in DUMBO. There are not many things I can associate being ‘cool’ with before it was ‘cool’ but living in DUMBO Brooklyn 10 years ago before all of it’s development is one of them.

DUMBO was introduced to me by a guy I was dating at the time. He and his roommate invited me and my roommate for a visit. I remember the night well. We boarded the ‘mysterious’ F train to York Street and emerged in the middle of nowhere Brooklyn. It was dark and empty and we thought we were going to die. Frightened - we wussy Manhattanites called the guys from a sticky, dirty payphone. Our shoes were inappropriately high for the cobble stone streets. We waited impatiently for the guys to arrive while standing next to a homeless man with one leg tipped over and passed out in a wheelchair.

The guys took us back to their apartment. In comparison to our East Village hell hole it looked like the size of a skating rink. Worse – the guys paid something like $1000 a month for close to 3000 square feet.

Two months later an apartment opened up in the same building we had visited on Water Street between Bridge and Gold. We packed up our twenty-something furniture in a U-Haul van and drove both unknowingly and illegally over the Brooklyn Bridge in our commercial vehicle. It was smaller than the guy’s apartment but the 2500 square foot of outdoor space we shared with the lesbian artist couple next door made up for it.

Granted - the lifestyle was rough around the edges. The only grocery store for miles was a 15 minute walk to Brooklyn Heights. The only option to do laundry was in the basement of a Baptist church in the nearby projects. Most nights we walked alone in the dark streets with broken street lamps. There were prostitutes, crack heads but mostly a combination of prostitutes and crack heads that would have sex in the daylight on our front stoop. Mail didn’t always get to us and forget about packages. If you wanted to reach us or come over for a visit- we didn’t have a door bell but rather a makeshift rig consisting of a large string of empty Café Bustelo coffee cans that ran off the roof and down the side of the building. No lie. It was amazing. Like living in an abandoned tree house with plenty of room to party.

Flash forward. It’s Independence Day. On my left - our Canadian friends that in less than two weeks move back to Canada in order to be able to afford to live and have a kid. To our right - David Walentas with a bird’s eye view of his number of Brooklyn projects in development. And there we were standing in the middle on the roof of a $200,000 cabana just blocks from where I used to live.

So what - you say… it’s an old and familiar tale. The rich get richer (yawn) and the poor are getting pushed out (what else is new?). Regardless, it sucks. We are not just losing space anymore over our non-real estate independence but now friends too that can’t afford to live here anymore. I still hope for the best even if it is somewhat childish and unrealistic. A tree house big enough for us all to play in. Somewhere between a working doorbell and the sound of rattling coffee cans.


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