Friday, December 5, 2008

The Joy of Coffee

Every family has that thing that they like to do together.

Some families hunt and fish. Some family raise and ride horses. Some families own successful businesses. Some families take their vacations together.

Not mine. We...drink coffee. It's the one thing that binds us all together. When we get together for holidays, we go through several urns, and each urn contains 30 cups. None of those little 8 oz. cups for us, we drink it out of 16 or 20 oz. styrofoam cups and although we always start with the best intentions of putting our names on the cups so we only use one each, we go through a whole package of cups in one day. The problem of styrofoam not breaking down in the landfills and taking up too much room can probably be directly traced back to my family parties.

Winter, spring, summer or fall...always coffee, always hot. If anyone drinks iced coffee in the summer, they hide that fact from the family at parties. Even if it's the dog days of summer, that urn is pumping out our molten, caffeinated goodness.

I recently heard a story about when my great uncle passed away in 1985. Two of my younger cousins were horsing around at the wake and one of the older cousins took them on a walk so they could calm down a bit. All three of them walked into a deli and when the counterperson asked what they wanted, they replied, in unison, "Ten coffees." Apparently, this counterperson nearly had a stroke and repeatedly asked, "Are you sure you want TEN coffees?" It seemed like a resonable request in my family, even considering that the 2 younger ones were only about 8 years old at the time.

Then there's the story of the family headed to a music festival in Philly. There were about 8 of them and about half were taking their own sweet ass time getting ready to go to breakfast. Then, it seems, my father had an A-HA moment. He took off to the car like his pants were on fire and returned with a thermos of coffee that was brewed the morning before. It had been stashed under the driver's seat and he poured it into the attached cup and promptly begain sipping. Uncle B caught him and said, "What, you holding out on me?" Dad shared with Uncle B while my poor mother gagged. If they had already eaten breakfast, Mom definitely would have tossed her cookies. She didn't view the day-old coffee as the hot commodity Uncle clearly believed it to be.

My cousin P, was ordering his own "extra milk coffee" at the deli counter at the age of 3. I took regularly scheduled coffee breaks with my grandmother after pre-school. My father once had an espresso and an espresso ice in one sitting at Ferrera's in NYC's Little Italy. And for the record, that was probably the only time he had trouble sleeping.

Yeah, we love coffee and are all addicted to it...but hey, it's legal, it's safer than crack and it brings us all to the table to laugh and reminisce every once in a while. How bad can that be?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's That Time of Year Again...

It's time to drag out all of those decorations from the time of yore (when the hell was yore exactly, I can't find it on a calendar). It's time to get bat-shit over the what to buy for your kid's uncle's dog-walker's nephew's girlfriend. It's time to bake 812 million cookies (that you promptly give away 'cause the smell of them reminds of all the arguments you had with the person you baked them with). It's time to start the pine needles' annual march to that soapdish in the bathtub (seriously, how do they get in there?).

And it's time to wonder, yet again, if you're adopted.

Thanksgiving is the start of what I've begun to call Doubting Season. It's the start of a time when the family gets together 3 times in 5 weeks (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years) and as soon as the ball in Times Square drops, you make a solemn vow not to see these wackjobs till July 4th!!

It all started with a casual comment made by Uncle B. He asked when my father and Uncle M want to start training for the Scottish Heavy Games. The whole table, and we were 16 people, all snapped their heads to stare at him. Truth be told, more than one of us cocked our heads like a dog who's hearing a loud squeak. Several events of the Scottish Heavy Games are predessors to some Olympic events. The Javelin came from the Caber Throw and the Shot-Put came from the Stone Toss. Mind you, the shot-put is usually between 12 and 19 pounds and the stone is 56 pounds, but I digress. Oh, yeah...I forgot the best part...all of the events are performed while wearing the traditional Scottish mens' attire...the kilt.

Are you picturing it? Full-grown men, American Men, throwing HUGE objects, while wearing skirts. Yeah, I thought it was pretty funny too...and I'll give you a minute to stop laughing and compose yourselves...

Poor Uncle B, he was rather serious about this. Uncle M and my father were actually considering indulging him. I decided at that point that my contribution would be to exercise my right thumb and index finger so I could dial 911 on my cell in record time. These guys are all over 50 and truth be told my father is closer to retirement age than 50. They're big strapping guys, but not in peak physical condition. Who smokes, who takes blood pressure pills, whose idea of exercise is walking to the corner deli for ice cream rather than driving...this is a catastrophe in the making.

Also, there is a set of events that are similar to the Scottish Heavy Games that are played in Scandinavia. My cousin must have been thinking of this when he piped into the merriment that my father and uncles were going to have to change their names to Sven, Lars and Olaf. I swear, I snorted gravy through my sinuses when he said that. This cousin is usually very shy and soft-spoken but I think he was thrilled not to be invited to train with the older guys so he was perking up. I haven't laughed that hard in ages.

After that, things got serious. They were bummed they hadn't brought their datebooks so their could synchronize their schedules and they were wondering just how good their medical coverage was, you know, in case of an emergency. Uncle B, when asked what he hoped to accomplish said, "Well, we don't have to win the first year."

I had an intense need to clear the table at that point. I was piling up dishes, wondering when these guys were going to come to their senses.

Yeah, it's that time of year again...time when you look around the holiday dinner table, see the physical similarities between you and your family members, remind yourself that you really truly belong to this lot of oddballs and start timing yourself to see how fast you have an ambulance at the front door.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Movie Survey

SUPPOSEDLY if you've seen over 90 movies, you have no life. Mark the ones you've seen. There are 239 movies on this list. Copy this list if you want and pass it around. Then, put x's next to the movies you've seen, add them up, change the header adding your number, and click post at the bottom. Have fun!

(x) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(x) Grease
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean
() Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest
() Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End(
( ) Boondock Saints
(x) Fight Club
( ) Starsky and Hutch
( ) Neverending Story
(x) Blazing Saddles
(x) Airplane
Total: 6

(x) The Princess Bride
( ) AnchorMan
( ) Napoleon Dynamite
(x) Labyrinth
( ) Saw
( ) Saw II
( ) White Noise
(x) White Oleander
(x) Anger Management
(x) 50 First Dates
(x) The Princess Diaries
( ) The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Total so far: 12

( ) Scream
( ) Scream 2
( ) Scream 3
( ) Scary Movie
( ) Scary Movie 2
( ) Scary Movie 3
( ) Scary Movie 4
(x) American Pie
(x ) American Pie 2
(x) American Wedding
( ) American Pie Band Camp
Total so far: 15

(x) Harry Potter 1
(x) Harry Potter 2
(x) Harry Potter 3
(x) Harry Potter 4
( ) Harry Potter 5
( ) Resident Evil 1
( ) Resident Evil 2
(x) The Wedding Singer
( ) Little Black Book
( ) The Village
(x) Lilo & Stitch
Total so far: 21

(x) Finding Nemo
(x) Finding Neverland
( ) Signs
(x) The Grinch
( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
( ) White Chicks
( ) Butterfly Effect
(x) 13 Going on 30
( ) I, Robot
( ) Robots
Total so far: 25

( ) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
( ) Universal Soldier
( ) Lemony Snickt: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
( ) Along Came Polly
( ) Deep Impact
( ) KingPin
(x) Never Been Kissed
(x) Meet The Parents
(x) Meet the Fockers
( ) Eight Crazy Nights
( ) Joe Dirt
(x) King Kong
Total so far: 29

(x) A Cinderella Story
(x) The Terminal
( ) The Lizzie McGuire Movie
( ) Passport to Paris
(x) Dumb & Dumber
( ) Dumber & Dumberer
( ) Final Destination
( ) Final Destination 2
( ) Final Destination 3
( ) Halloween
( ) The Ring
( ) The Ring 2
( ) Surviving X-MAS
( ) Flubber
Total so far: 32

( ) Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
(x) Practical Magic
(x) Chicago
( ) Ghost Ship
( ) From Hell
( ) Hellboy
( ) Secret Window
(x) I Am Sam
(x) The Whole Nine Yards
( ) The Whole Ten Yards
Total so far: 36

(x) The Day After Tomorrow
( ) Child's Play
( ) Seed of Chucky
( ) Bride of Chucky
(x) Ten Things I Hate About You
( ) Just Married
( ) Gothika
( ) Nightmare on Elm Street
(x) Sixteen Candles
(x) Remember the Titans
( ) Coach Carter
( ) The Grudge
( ) The Grudge 2
(x) The Mask
( ) Son Of The Mask
Total so far: 41

( ) Bad Boys
( ) Bad Boys 2
( ) Joy Ride
( ) Lucky Number Seven
(x) Ocean's Eleven
(x) Ocean's Twelve
(x) Ocean's Thirteen
(x) Bourne Identity
(x) Bourne Supremecy
( ) Lone Star
(x) Bedazzled
( ) Predator I
( ) Predator II
( ) The Fog
(x) Ice Age
(x) Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
(x) Curious George
Total so far: 50

(x) Independence Day
( ) Cujo
(x ) A Bronx Tale
( ) Darkness Falls
( ) Christine
(x) ET
( ) Children of the Corn
( ) My Bosses Daughter
(x) Maid in Manhattan
( ) War of the Worlds
(x) Rush Hour
(x) Rush Hour 2
Total so far: 55

( ) Best Bet
(x) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
(x) She's All That
(x) Calendar Girls
(x) Sideways
( ) Mars Attacks
( ) Event Horizon
(x) Ever After
(x) Wizard of Oz
(x) Forrest Gump
( ) Big Trouble in Little China
(x) The Terminator
( ) The Terminator 2
( ) The Terminator 3
Total so far: 63

( ) X-Men
( ) X2
( ) X-3
(x) Spider-Man
( ) Spider-Man 2
( ) Spider-Man 3
( ) Sky High
( ) Jeepers Creepers
( ) Jeepers Creepers 2
(x ) Catch Me If You Can
(x) The Little Mermaid
(x) Freaky Friday
( ) Reign of Fire
( ) The Skulls
( ) Cruel Intentions
( ) Cruel Intentions 2
( ) The Hot Chick
(x) Shrek
(x) Shrek 2
Total so far: 69

( ) Swimfan
(x) Miracle on 34th street
( ) Old School
(x) The Notebook
( ) K-Pax
( ) Krippendorf's Tribe
(x) A Walk to Remember
(x) Ice Castles
( ) Boogeyman
(x) The 40-Year-Old-Virgin
Total so far: 74

(x) Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
(x) Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
(x) Lord of the Rings Return Of the King
(x) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(x) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(x) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Total so far: 80

( ) Baseketball
( ) Hostel
( ) Waiting for Guffman
( ) House of 1000 Corpses
( ) Devils Rejects
() Elf
( ) Highlander
( ) Mothman Prophecies
(x) American History X
( ) Three
Total so Far: 81

( ) The Jacket
( ) Kung Fu Hustle
( ) Shaolin Soccer
( ) Night Watch
(x) Monsters Inc.
(x) Titanic
(x) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
( ) Shaun Of the Dead
( ) Willard
Total so far: 84

( ) High Tension
( ) Club Dread
( ) Hulk
(x) Dawn Of the Dead
(x) Hook
(x) Chronicle Of Narnia The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
( ) 28 days later
(x) Orgazmo
( ) Phantasm
(x) Waterworld
Total so far: 89

( ) Kill Bill vol 1
( ) Kill Bill vol 2
( ) Mortal Kombat
( ) Wolf Creek
(x) Kingdom of Heaven
( ) the Hills Have Eyes
( ) I Spit on Your Grave aka the Day of the Woman
( ) The Last House on the Left
( ) Re-Animator
( ) Army of Darkness
Total so far: 90

(x) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
( ) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
( ) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(x ) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(x) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(x) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
( ) Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
( ) Ewoks The Battle For Endor
Total so far: 94

(x) The Matrix
(x ) The Matrix Reloaded
( ) The Matrix Revolutions
( ) Animatrix
( ) Evil Dead
( ) Evil Dead 2
( ) Team America: World Police
( ) Red Dragon
(x) Silence of the Lambs
( ) Hannibal


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Love of Books

My mom had been a librarian all of my life so I actually never owned a lot of books until recently. Book reports were a breeze when I was a kid. I'd call Mom when I got home from school (which I did anyway, so she knew I was home safely) and tell her the assignment and then she'd bring the book home to me.

Even after I moved out, I used the library a lot. I lived in NE Pennsylvania for a short while and I was a regular at the town library. I didn't have a lot of friends in PA, probably because I was always at the library, holed up in some corner, reading the biography of Audry Hepburn or a Diana Gabaldon volume.

I didn't really start buying books until 2 things happened: I became a mother AND I discovered the joys of Amazon. These 2 events collided in the same year and I was like a crack-head for more and more books. The UPS driver was my dealer; he delivered my packages the first winter FRU was born and we couldn't get out much b/c there was a lot of snow that year. I made up a little package of home-made Christmas cookies when he arrived the week before the holiday. As I recall, his name was Chris, but it could have been anything, just as long as my packages arrived safely.

I'm not that bad now. I can control my addiction. Mom still occasionally brings me something to read if I ask and I occasionally make an Amazon order.

However, once I purchase a book, I very, VERY rarely let it leave my possession. Books are one of those things that always get passed on, but rarely back to the person from whose personal library it came. When someone asks if they can borrow one, I break out in a cold sweat and hesitate. I'm embarrassed-really, I am- but I can't help it.

Jodi Picoult, Diana Gabaldon, Pat Conroy, Larry McMurtry, JK Rowling...oh, I'm getting the flutters just thinking about them.

I remember in one of the Ya Ya books a scene when Sidda realizes that she's not the first person to read the books in the library and how she's devastated that she wasn't the person to discover their greatness. I'm not that bad, but I'm lousy at sharing their greatness.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Something to Strive For...

I have become a firm believer that perfection is a myth. It was created by people like Martha Stewart and June Cleaver to make us females believe that a clean house/kids/husband/life is the sign of a woman who really has her act together. I'm calling BULLSHIT on that theory. The women I know who buy into this load of crap are downright scary!!

I'm getting used to being scattered all the time. My dining room table is constantly covered in clutter. My white tile bathroom floor always has a few of my curly brunette strands on it, they stick out so much it almost looks like they're glowing. I still break-out occasionally and my furniture is always evenly layered in dust.

But I'm happy...and I have a happy child. We know how to laugh, to enjoy family (and we also know when to step away, which was a very important lesson to learn), we eat pizza a few times a week, we forget about bedtimes on the weekends and we can make each other laugh.

There is no perfect outfit, just one that reflects who I am. There is no perfect lipstick, but heck, I had a really good time trying to find it. My hair will never, ever, do what I want it to; it will never cooperate and I've learned to make peace with it. My body doesn't resemble a supermodel's, but it's healthy and after years of abuse, it has forgiven me and is serving me well.

So instead of perfection, I've learned to strive for happiness and health. Love will come to me when it's ready; I can't strive for that, all I have to do is be patient. Perhaps maybe being happy and healthy will send signals out into the universe that say I'm ready.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sometimes God's Messages Aren't So Subtle

Yep, that's right folks...sometimes God sends quiet messages that you have to strain to hear and at other times, he whacks you over the head with a golf club to get your attention.

I had 2 messages of the golf-club variety in the past week.

I had 2 crazy weeks, both at home and at work. I spent 6 months planning a symposium scheduled for May 10th. I panicked about it, had nightmares about it, and obsessed about it. It went off without a hitch, almost. The caterer grossly miscalculated the amount of food and sodas, but the turnout was good and both the boss AND the supervisor were pleased. This is no easy feat, since they have 2 completely different cultural backgrounds, educational backgrounds, personalities and expectations.

Now for the fun part: I literally had one foot out the door to go home after the symposium when my pager went off. It's 4:00pm, I'm been at work since 6:45am and I would have classified myself mentally retarded by this time. Anyway, it's the Ex, but I knew he only would not have paged me on a Saturday if it was important.

FRU fell on her face and I needed to meet him and my father at the emergency room. OK, I flipped the switch from retard to become a clear-headed parent and set off for the ER. I get there just as FRU, Ex and Dad are walking into the exam room to be triaged. FRU is still bleeding from her nose and from a few scraps on her face. We had to x-ray her face (I had to be fitted with a set of leads and stay in the room with her) and by the grace of God, she didn't break her nose or any other facial structure. She was examined by a pediatric dental resident (no damage to permanent teeth) and a pediatrician (who helped slow the bleeding).

My life was in a tailspin. Mommy Radar was on Code Red that whole night. I swear, I heard her every single time she rolled over.

She looked like she went 15 rounds with Mike Tyson there for about a week after but she's fine now.

During this block of time, I had an argument with my mother (when the hell is that gonna end), a guy I was supposed to have coffee didn't call (although I really didn't expect him to for varied reasons I won't get into in this post) and I officially got to the end of my energy reserves. My eyes are bloodshot, I have headaches and I'm doing dopey things like bashing my head against the car while leaning in to strap FRU into her booster seat.

Then, the first of 2 gifts: As I mentioned before, I post on a few message boards and have made friends from all over. Anyway, on one of them, a dear friend started a weekly tradition about raising the spirits of one of the members. I was at the end of my energy and patience and then I read some beautiful words about myself. Words that were written by strong women who love me and respect me. I cried, thanked them and prayed to God that everyone should be given such a gift from their friends. They said that I'm funny, smart, have perseverance, am sassy as hell, and I tell it like it is but do it with class.

Then this morning, I was late getting FRU and myself ready, I forget to put the garbage on the curb for pick-up last night and generally felt like crap. I get to work, open my myspace page and got a message from Kewkie, a dear Ya Ya. She wrote that she had read my blog through and told me I was a great friend and that she was proud of me and the journey I'm on and what I've accomplished in the last 2 years.

2 whacks over the head with a golf club, 2 gifts from the Big Guy Upstairs, just when I needed it most.

OK, God, I get the message...If I pray for patience, I will get something that will test my patience. If I ask for energy and strength, I will get something that will suck the energy and strength out of me. And when I ask to be left alone to rot, people will come out of nowhere to help me lift my spirits.

There really is no greater gift than love, in all its forms...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Neighborhood Freaks

Every neighborhood or town has those few individuals that keep the place colorful. My little section of Brooklyn isn't any different. One might think that with this being NYC and all the freaks wouldn't stick out, but trust me, NYC depends on its freaks more than the average locale.

So here's a quick list of my neighborhood freaks:
  • There's the 85 year old Grand Dame. I swear, she spackles her foundation into place and paints on this bright blue eyeshadow that is a color that doesn't occur in nature. She wears a rhinestone headband (I wouldn't call it a tiara, but hot damn, it's close!) and a perfectly matched polyester pants suit, circa 1974. She clutches that white pleather clutch for dear life and wears pumps that are perfectly molded to her bunions. She's dolled up like this to go to Key Food and buy a container of milk and a box of Peek Freans.
  • Then there's Quarter Man. He hangs out in front of Rite-Aid in the warmer months and asks every person who passes the same question, "Got a quarter?" with this Southern/New York accent. He must have a real home when it's cold because he appears to be well-fed.
  • And then there's CH Man, CH standing for Clean Homeless. I swear, this is the cleanest homeless man you've ever seen. He probably steals from Quarter Man and donates the money to the church so he can wash in their men's room. He lugs all of his worldly possessions around in duffel bags strapped to a rather expensive looking hand-truck. His baseball hats nor his sneakers are dirty and he smiles a bit at people. I'd love to know his story.

There are also the countless normal looking people in my neighborhood. They make the place just as colorful.

That's what I love about NYC, the nuttier its residents, the more fun the area becomes. I lived in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania for a short time and their nuts are of a different breed entirely. Their nuts were the kind I steer away from in Wal-Mart. I want to get closer to the Brooklyn nuts so I can witness their antics.

There are pros and cons to every conceivable place on earth, but I'm liking my little section of the world right now. I'm used to it and it suits me.

That said, I think that will change one day. I don't see myself spending the rest of my life here. There are different places to explore and one might make me want to plant my roots someplace else.

It's one of the many things that only the future can tell.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The End of an Era

I was cruising the 'Net one day in February 2005 when I decided to google an author whose books I really enjoyed. Rebecca Wells wrote The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood and Little Altars Everywhere. These books tell the stories of four women, starting from when they were 4 years old until they are grandmothers, with lots of sassiness and love in between. The stories are about mothers and daughters, boyfriends, women and their husbands and parents, but mostly it was about their friendship.

Anyway, I learned on that fateful day that Ms. Wells was about to come out with a new book, Ya Yas in Bloom. As I looked on the page for a release date, I saw a tab called Gumbo Ya Ya. I was curious, so I clicked.


I entered the message board devoted to Ya Ya and learned that there were members/posters from every state in the Union, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England, and all over Europe too.

Within a month of my joining the board, I saw a "Shout-Out" with several members names, including my own. MY VERY FIRST SHOUT-OUT!! To make a long story short, this is the group that I travel with every year, the group that carried me through my surgery and my divorce; the ones that make me laugh till I wept and tell me get over myself when I'm wallowing in self-pity. I met them in Atlanta in August of 2005, in Montana in August of 2006 and in Pittsburgh in June of 2007. They are all coming, hopefully, to Brooklyn for New Years.

There's also another whole group of women (and a few men) who have been so important to me. They too prayed for me when I was in the hospital after complications from my gastric bypass. They rejoiced when FRU learned to read and even sent her books to practice (I'll never forget that kindness, JC!!). They wanted to know if I had met anyone special and told me to forget the losers.

In turn, I got to rejoice in babies being born. I prayed for the ill. I sent out good job search vibes. I got about a million recipes (Ya Ya's love to cook, you see). I got fashion advice. I gave make-up advice. I saw beautiful wedding pictures. I heard of a love story that started on Gumbo with ended with two people completely devoted to one another that they give me hope.

And perhaps the greatest lesson I learned at Gumbo is about gratitude. There's a special section where one can list the things that they are grateful for on any given day. I have been grateful for many things...but always for the love in my life. I am thankful that I have many kinds of love in my life and I give many kinds of love. "Love, in all its forms" has become my standard closing. Everyday, I post my gratitude and every night, when I pray, I thank God for love, in all its forms.

We had our dust-ups, but I prefer to not dwell on that now.

And now it's over. The publisher of the Ya Ya books is closing down Gumbo Ya Ya, effective April 21. I swear, I feel like the rug has been yanked out from under me. This is what the last week of summer camp felt like. You want to make the best of it, but you can't help but be sad.

It's the end of an era for me. I have other places to post, many have the same close friends. But it won't be the same. It's like when you move and you have to put furniture in different rooms and it never had the same feel. It will be comfortable, just different.

I had a little over 3 great years on Gumbo. I can't complain, I suppose I would have like it to go on, but alas, it can't.

Will the last one out turn the light off?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Keep on Smiling!

I got this motto from a man I dated for a short while.

He has some major league issues with work, family and the physical distance between us and decided to contact me, after a few weeks, to tell me this.

Ummm, ok...

He wasn't hurtful, just a little clueless. I guess he was looking for some closure; I hope he feels better. I emotionally moved on from him after the vague message he sent on Easter Sunday telling me he was going to be away on business and wasn't going to have Internet access. Did he lose my number? Will his boss not allow him to make any calls? Will his clients dominate every hour of the whole trip? The answer to all three questions is "no." And that's when I stopped thinking about spending any more time with him.

But I will use his advice...and Keep on Smiling!! It's what I do best. I get bogged down in life's details sometimes, but it's how we handle those details that defines us.

I have managed to carve out a very happy life for myself. I have a wonderful healthy child, a family that loves me ferociously, a relatively decent working relationship with my ex-husband, a good job with security and great friends.

I also have enough respect for myself to not settle.

Life is hard enough without adding more to a plate that's already spilling over. I respect that man for wanting closure, but I just hope that he can be more honest with himself in the future.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Being Straight-Forward

Why is it so hard to be straight-forward nowadays?

Why can't a friend or co-worker or potential love interest or family member just say what on their mind or ask you what they really want to ask?

Why is everyone so afraid of having their feelings hurt? Or hurting the feelings of others?

A few months ago, I was emailing this guy and things weren't working for him. He emailed me and told me that he wasn't feeling "it" and decided to move on. And believe it or not folks, I wasn't hurt. I was happy that he was honest with me and risked hurting my feelings by telling me the truth. I have a lot a respect for him, wherever he may be.

I've always been rather open with my life and my experiences. There are certain things I won't tell anyone for years and years, but I think we all have those deep dark secrets. Starting friendships with people who aren't forthcoming at all is what irritates me. Sharing the stories that have no depth or that don't tell me about who really are or feel don't count as stories; they count as time-fillers, also known as fluff.

We aren't made of rock, people, others shouldn't have to get a hammer and chisel to get to the real you. If you want new friends, you're going to have to tell a few stories/secrets. It may be painful but think of it this way...if you make a new friend, then they'll help carry the burden of what you've told them and if they turn out to not be a friend, then it really doesn't matter.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Common Cold

I am now suffering from what the Guinness Book of World Records calls the most common illness in humans. I feel, and look, and sound, like I've been run over by a Mack truck. I swear, I just want to take to my bed and stay there for a week. Everyone I know has had some kind of illness this winter and I really thought I was going to get off scot-free. I figured that since I made it to March, I was golden. HA, that's what I get for being cocky!

But I went to work today. I got a lot of work done for our re accreditation. This is the most irritating, thankless part of my job description. I hate dealing with academic issues. I'd much rather deal with patients and insurance and co-payments...I know, I'm weird.

I have this friend at work who has an even more thankless job than I do. She does scut work for many members of the department and somehow is always smiling and helpful. She makes me laugh and we've struck up a nice work friendship. Sometimes I wonder how she does it, but I suppose she's like me. She has no choice. We both need to work. And don't get me wrong, I like my job, I just wish it was more fun. If I could figure out a way to make a great living playing with lipstick and shoes all day, I'd be one happy camper!!

And folks, that's all I've got for you today. My nose is dripping like a 3 year old who's been playing in the snow for a few hours and I can no longer breathe out of my left nostril.

I'm off to bed...wishing you all health...whatever you do, don't catch a cold until after Easter...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Blessed Are The Limber...

...for they never get bent out of shape.

I read this quote on the web somewhere today and it really spoke to me.

I'm in the middle of a very busy time at work. The unit I'm attached to is preparing the paperwork for the reaccreditation process. The hospital as a whole is expecting a team of inspectors to arrive any minute. My friend/co-worker is about to give birth and is soooo uncomfortable. I haven't been away from work for more than a long weekend since last June. Most of my co-workers are aggravating the heck outta me lately.

As I reread that paragraph, I got disgusted with myself. I work in a hospital, for Pete's sake!! The patients we serve are, accordingly to the demographics, poor, foreign born, aren't well educated and of minority populations. Some of them actually have to choose whether to buy their medications or buy food.

But so many of these patients smile. They grin their toothy grins and wish me a good day. That's when I get the hell over myself.

I have choices and luxuries that so many of these people don't enjoy. I didn't feel like cooking tonight, so I went out for dinner with FRU and my parents. I stayed home for a year after FRU was born. I have good health insurance.

I read that quote at just the right time. I had my panties in a twist over...geez, I can't even remember now...and simply laughed to/at myself. I realized that I had to stop taking things at work so seriously. Please don't confuse it with not doing my job. I'm good at what I do and I like my boss...but I don't have to internalize things.

I need to be able to "bend" when the situation calls for it. I'm not Wonder Woman, I'm not going to solve every arguement and I'm not going to win every person over. As I get the rest of my life in order, I guess I need to let the work stuff go. There are certain things I can control and the rest of the things (which probably counts for 99%) is out of my control.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Why, Oh Why... the irritating people of the world always get in the way of the people who actually get things done?

I work in a hospital run by New York State. The bureaucracy in this institution (and every pun is intended in this case) is enough to make me stark-raving mad most of the time.

Today was a perfect example. Someone called in sick so I had to scramble to get patients on the phone before they came for their appointments and The Apocalypse hit the unit in which I work. OK, maybe it wasn't the Apocalypse...a doorknob broke off...but in the name of all things holy, it certainly seemed like the sky was falling there for a while. It's a fuckin' doorknob, people, if the door is closed, you simply turn the knob, ask someone else to hold the door open and wheel the patient into the procedure room. What is so hard about this? I swear, this one co-worker obsessed about this dilemma for the better part of the morning while I, the senior level executive assistant performed mind-numbingly aggravating data entry.

If the GD door was supposed to be open all the time, they wouldn't have put the GD door there in the first GD place!!

OK, moving on. A very sweet man I've been chatting with on what is becoming an increasingly regular basis tells me to "Keep On Smiling!" I can't do that and complain about GD doorknobs, so I'm letting The Great GD Doorknob Disaster of 2008 go.

Now for an FRU update:
FRU spent the week with Ex last week while she was on winter break from school. Boy, that sent all three of us into a tailspin. FRU came back not nearly as filthy as I thought, but seemed to have developed an acute fear of teeth brushing and hair brushing. My daughter was a complete diva on February 17th when I dropped her off at her father's and she came back with her jeans hanging off her butt so her crack was showing like a plumber.

But she was happy, laughing like a loon and gave him the biggest, tightest hug when I picked her up to bring her home. This warmed my heart.

I've had a hard time getting it through Ex's rather thick head that he needs to be the one to cultivate a relationship with his daughter. I can't orchestrate that relationship. I am a firm believer that you can't make someone love someone else. The love (regardless if it's parental, friendly, romantic) has to been earned, nurtured and cherished. Since Ex's childhood was so tumultuous, I think he has a hard time simply allowing the love for his child flow through him. I think he's terrified of what it feels like. He's never really been on the receiving end of parental love. I can't relate to his experiences at all. I never doubted for one minute that I was loved, that I was cherished and that I belonged to several family units.

I'm hoping last week will act as the catalyst for them to form a family unit, just the two of them. Since we no longer form a unit of 3, FRU will belong to an alternate type of family unit. She'll thrive, she'll falter and she'll come back to center, just as I have done, and dare I say, like her father has finally done as well.

Navigating your way through this life and this world can be disheartening at times, but when you really think about it, what's the alternative? You cannot simply get over what happens in life, you must go through it. That's what makes things like The Great GD Doorknob Disaster of 2008 so GD ridiculous!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Meme from Leader of the Pack

I haven't posted in a while and since I'm too tired to think about it, I'm copping out. I have material to write about, but I'm not ready to share it just yet.

Read on, if you dare!!

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was planning my wedding...and we all know how that turned out.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Pretty much the same thing I did today: Went to work, went to an Al-Anon meeting

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. Chips
2. Crackers with PB
3. Popcorn
4. Hummus and pita chips
5. Lorna Doones

Five songs that you know all the lyrics to:
1. Scenes from and Italian Restaurant by Billy Joel
2. America from West Side Story
3. Every Little Thing She Does is Magic by The Police
4. Only The Good Die Young by Billy Joel
5. Finnegan's Wake, an Irish folk song

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Retire
2. Buy a house
3. Invest
4. Have the biggest Ya Ya gathering the world has ever seen
5. Go shopping

Five bad habits:
1. Drinking too much coffee
2. Procrastinating
3. Not planning what I'm going to eat
4. Obsessing over dumb stuff
5. Always having a cluttered dining room table

Five things you like doing:
1. Cooking
2. Reading
3. Playing with my kid
4. Going on walks
5. Going out to dinner

Five things you would never wear again:
1. Bandanas tied around my ankles
2. Scrunchies
3. A white bra under a white shirt
4. Ugly boots
5. Ugly jeans

Five favorite toys:
1. Computer
2. Cell phone
3. DVR
4. Corkscrew
5. Spellcheck

If you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Friendships Evolve

A week ago, I took FRU to the birthday party of my friend T's daughter, B. B is four months younger than FRU and is the polar opposite of her in the looks department. They both look their fathers...Ex is 100% Irish and B's father is 100% Moroccan.

Anyway, before the girls were born, T, E and I along with a few others were all so close, we could barely eat without the others. T, E & I even lived in the same house for a while, renting apartments from the craziest old bag on Staten Island. We all had significant others, and the 6 of us lived in demented, paranormal, slightly twisted bliss for about 6 months and then I moved out b/c I was pregnant and there was simply no room in that tiny apartment for Ex, me and a baby. We ate together every night, watched TV together, went shopping together...see that pattern here?

That was the beginning of the end of an era.

We all just went our own way. E split with her fiancee (which was a good thing) and is now engaged again to an absolute sweetheart. I divorced my whack job alcoholic husband. And lo and behold, T is the happiest, most settled one of the bunch.

T was the one I always I worried about. She seemed so lonely, even when surrounded by people who loved her. Her mother died when she was very young and her father quickly remarried, so she was passed around to her many aunts. The ones that really stepped up to the plate are two of the most sassy, fiery, loving women I have ever been honored to know.

They envelope everyone in their presence with this crazy, Italian-American, Brooklyn love, you know, the kind that isn't shown to you as much as it's yelled at you. You're fed till your clothes are tight and then they tell you what you're doing wrong in your life...and they're usually right. They teach you to laugh like you've never laughed before and you make a mental note to wear waterproof mascara the next time you go to their house because you laugh so hard you end up with black streaks running down your cheeks. They are mother and daughter and I will always have the greatest respect and love for what they have done for my friend T.

T married S after a rather convoluted courtship and settled into the next era of her life. E and I thought we had it sooooo under control and really, looking back, we didn't have a friggin' clue. T knew it all long, lil stinker.

T & I lost touch for a while. I don't remember why, but I'm thankful that we reconnected. My mother used to call T & E my sisters. T is 3 years older and E is 3 years younger. It made perfect sense. We seem to all be in different places in our lives and we all seem happier. It's beautiful, it really is. I really love those women.

I sent an email to T late last week to tell her that I'm so happy that she has a beautiful life. And in true form, she wants to share her happiness with me. We're going to get the girls together more often. I want FRU to know her and her family. I mean, heck, they practically are my family. My family of choice.

And maybe, just maybe, FRU can share the 2 aunts that were so pivotal in T's life. They can't replace the 2 she lost in The Nastiness of Christmas 2006, but I'd like her to know what it's like to be loved by powerful women who are capable of so much. They have lessons to teach...maybe I could learn a few myself.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Winter Blah's

I hate this time of year.

Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas brings on so much excitement that January is soooo depressing. All of the holiday lights are down, at least most of the lights. I understand those who like to leave up their decorations until Little Christmas (January 6th), but if they're still up after that, it's a sign of laziness.

I always like to have lots of plans for January. My friend's daughter is having her birthday party in two weeks, so FRU and I will attend that. I like to get together with friends, do clearance shopping, see lots of movies and take lots of walks, weather permitting. The depths of winter can be so sad. There are no leaves, no flowers, no gentle breezes. People are rushing around in the streets, trying to do their errands and shopping as quickly as possible so they can get home where it's warm. Even the local Starbucks isn't busy...and that place is ALWAYS packed.

But through the sadness, there's a sense of regrowth. I spend winter nights cuddled under an afghan on the couch, reading all the books I didn't have a chance to read all summer and fall, I meditate and regain my focus and enjoy the quiet. I know, it may be hard to believe that there is quiet here in NYC, but there is, you just have to listen for it. The windows are closed, so you don't hear the cheers from the Sunday football crowds at the bar on the corner and you don't hear the screeching of brakes on the Avenue. It's just quiet.

I never really enjoyed quiet like I do now. Maybe it's part of mother hood, maybe it's because I work full-time and can't catch 5 minutes peace at work. I like to be able to just sit and be without answering my phone or having the television on. I like to be able to read instead of watching dramas and sitcoms and reality shows, which we all know barely have one toe based in reality.

On a happy note, I'm going to be the recipient of a pair of hand-knit socks that will travel all the way from Magdeburg, Germany. My dear friend, Dixie Peach, is an avid knitter (just like my mother) and is involved in a year-long sock knitting project. The person who was supposed to receive January's socks never got her the proper measurements...and I I get them. I'm so excited!! The woman is such an inspiration to me. She completely changed her life about 10 years ago, moved to Germany from Mississippi and had since projected this joy to all those who come in contact with her. She has such a sharp wit...she has made me laugh out loud while reading her blogs and posts!!

So, now that I think about it, maybe I'm not suffering from the winter blah's. Maybe I'm just enjoying not running from place to place all the time and spending time with people I'd rather not. I like having down-time and winter gives it to me. Now, if only FRU would give me some down-time, I'd be all set...