Sunday, December 30, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
It's the most wonderful way to spend Christmas. I picked up a few last minute presents today. I stopped by a few friends houses to say hello and wish them Merry Merry.
"I know it's incredibly rude to just show up unannounced, but it's Christmas and I couldn't let it go by without saying hello."
What can I say? We're Yankees. We don't stop by unannounced. At Christmas, though, it's okay.
We ate lasagna for dinner while watching It's A Wonderful Life. I was good this year. I didn't start to cry until Mary said, "George Baily I'll love you til the day I die."
I cry at everything.
Then it was off to the Christmas Eve celebrations. And oh! Did we celebrate.
Tomorrow it's presents and mass and then off to CA for vacation.
Merry Christmas. And God bless us, everyone.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Made it to Friday, that is.
Truthfully, I didn't think I'd make it.
Wednesday was so bad, I thought Thursday would have to be better.
Nope! I was wrong. Thursday was worse.
I even threw a temper tantrum.
Over the capitalization of the seasons!
"Well, you could capitalize it, but it would be WRONG. If you don't have a problem with sending it out WRONG, then fine by me."
Then I sent an email with links to 4 different grammar/style websites PROVING to them that I was right. And then, I copied out the text from the Chicago Manual of Style, just in case they needed more proof.
And then, after all that, I went around to each person's desk and apologized for my behavior.
I could use a little grace, folks.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
But still. Christmas in New York is lovely.
Last night was the annual tree lighting in Washington Square. Leave Rockefeller Center and the madness of mid-town to the tourists and b&t crowed, for me there is nothing like my neighborhood tree. Right under the arch, at the bottom of 5th Ave.
A band plays and people from the neighborhood gather to sing Christmas carols. I stopped by for a bit on my way home from work. Got in a few bits of Adeste Fidelis and left as they started in on Rudolf. Ah. Life is good!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
After this commercial aired, several of the gentlemen living in my dorm made a habit of haning out in the laundry room. Hopping against hope, I suppose, they'd catch a glimpse. Or something.
Anyway, this died out after a couple of weeks. Reality v. television, or so I thought.
Fast forward to last night. My black trousers were in dire need of cleaning. Really, it was getting gross. My general laziness combined with my rather busy schedule left little time to get to the cleaners. Even if they are directly accross the street from my apt. I can't explain what came over or why it seemed like a good idea, but I walked straight home last night and, instead of crossing into my apt building, I strode into the cleaners and- TOOK OFF MY PANTS. Yes. I took my pants off, handed them to the girl behind the counter, picked up my ticket (no ticky, no panty). I wrapped my coat around myself and walked accross the street, up the stairs and into my apt.
What the hell is the matter with me?
Monday, December 3, 2007
A weekend like the one just passed leaves me wondering how I could ever leave this city. The first snow, the over-whelming kindness of strangers, the convenience, the wonderful off-beat nature of life on this isle, it just leaves me feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.
What can I say? I love New York.
Friday, November 30, 2007
I even emailed myself a list of potential topics. AHAHAHA!
Here it is, The List. Stay tuned folks, I could say something brilliant at any moment:
Trumpetor in Washington Square
Man in desert truck
Little leg and Tim Gunn
Thank you, thank you, thank you, and good night.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
In theory, the shop is perfectly suited to me. It serves breakfast, lunch and late afternoon snacks each day from 8-5. Check. It's conveniently located and a quick run for a coke takes roughly 10 minutes (includeing elevator time). Check. Check.
But OH. MY. GOD. The service! The incompetence! The ANNOYANCE!
This morning I wanted a bagel. Actually, I still want a bagel. Everything. Toasted with butter. Light on the butter. No need to overdo it on the butter.
I ordered my bagel, watched it toast and then watched as the guys behind the counter let it sit, and get cold, for 3 minutes. I timed them. Argh. I asked for a new, hot bagel. They offered me one that had been toasted only 2 minutes ago.
Then I left. Annoyed beyond belief and with very low blood sugar.
And the worst part is, I'll go back. I always do.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Fellow 1 is talking to Fellow 2 and instructing him on how to have an affair without being caught. It basically comes down to this:
Deny! Deny! Deny!
I'm taking it as my new guide for blogging: delete! delete! delete!
That said, I typed up a nice one this morning. C'est la vie.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
I remember this sentence clearly:
We's thankFul Four a for day WeekENd.
Which translated to:
We are thankful for a four day weekend.
Yes, ma'am we are.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Well, I went to my prom. Both of them. But get this:
I didn't get invited to my high school reunion.
How crazy is that? Okay, I've barely been in touch with any one since graduation. Still, my parents have been at the same address since 1979. It was pretty funny when I walked into a family friend yesterday and she said, "So are you going to the reunion?" Uh....
In all honesty, I can't say I'm broken hearted over this. I really think it's funny.
Who doesn't get invited to their own reunion?
I guess they just didn't like me very much.
ED: Turns out an invitation arrived and my mother threw it away. I have no idea why...
Friday, November 23, 2007
You get to see everyone, catchup on all the gossip. Generally have a good time.
Even better is that you get to leave, and go back to your real life.
And for this I am grateful.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Thus far I've made banana pudding, corn bread, corn bread dressing and breakfast casserole.
Why, pray tell, is the Yankee making the Southern specialties?
Who cares? Collie makes Kaluha and coffee while I cook, so I'm a happy happy Yankee. Even if I don't have the manners God gave a goat.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
It was...not bad. Though, how can bread, sausage, butter, onions, celery and spices be bad? Still, my technique could use some improvement and I win no points for execution. So you know what they say, if at first you don't succeed, perseverate. Or, in my case, try it again the next night.
So, tonight I try it again. This time sans sausage. Perhaps even sans culottes!
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I called my grandmother as I got ready for the evening. She loves to hear about my life in the city and I knew she'd get a kick out of this.
"So, Phoebes, you know that scene in Moonstruck where Cher is getting ready to go to the opera with Nicholas Cage and she's in her house listening to music having a drink and falling in love?"
"Well, this is exactly like that, except I'm drinking tea and calling you!"
-My life, ladies and gentleman, my life.
Me: (singing) Some guys have all the luck
Me: So for "real" Thanksgiving, our Thanksgiving, I'm making brussel sprouts with bacon
Mom: Portion for one?
Me: Funny thing, no matter how much I make, brussel spouts with bacon always feeds one exactly.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Worse yet, I have never learned how to leave gracefully. Quit while I'm ahead. Say good night Gracie. Generally speaking I am the last one to leave a party. I may even stay the night. Ahem.
Fortunately, while I may be a glutton, I'm also intelligent enough to surround myself with those more restrained. This came into play last night when, after a few pints and one delicious glass of Pimm's, I felt another round was in order. My good friend wisely reminded me that it was a school night and perhaps we should retire for the evening.
And thus, here I am this dark and rainy morning. Bright eyed and bushy tailed.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I look at marriage much the way I view, oh I don't know, buying a house. It's something I want to do. Something of which I approve whole-heatedly. Something to which I look forward.
But right now?
At this stage in life?
It seems about as likely flying to the moon. It's out there in the nether world of my consciousness. Part of my yes, SOMEday, but certainly not TOday.
And yet, ever since the weekend, it's as though "If Love Were All" is my soundtrack:
Somebody splendid really needed me
Someone affectionate and dear
Cares would be ended if I knew that he
Wanted to have me near
It would be nice to have a buddy, a partner. Share the load. "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" kind of thing.
I had dinner with a friend last night. He, S.J., is studying to be a Jesuit and thus, while he'll preside over numerous marriage ceremonies*, will never marry. As the conversation wound it's way towards the subject of marriage, I shared what I shared above. While I take a certain "everything in its time" view of things, and I'm certainly not gunning for a husband, I'm beginning to see the benefits of a partner in life.
Then S.J. shared a story of an old Jesuit. This Old Jesuit said that while he loved presiding over marriages, they always left him feeling a bit wistful. The bond, the union, what God has joined together etc etc.
It's quite nice, really.
Quite nice indeed.
*For Catholics at least, the couple marrying perform the sacrament. One does not marry a couple. The couple marries each other and the celebrant presides over their union.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
"The actual [redacted] number is unclear. Indeed, [redacted]'s number remains an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, shrouded in mystery."
This is what happens when you hire a history major to do an econ major's job.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
It's hard to come home after a weekend filled with friends. Everything seems a little empty and deflated.
I am, for once, at a loss for words. Shocker I know. I suppose I'll just quote the brides father:
Be excellent to one another
Party on dudes!
Saturday, November 10, 2007
We arrived in Charlottesville last night after a harrowing airport experience. Someone, who shall remain nameless but was not yours truly, left her purse at the office. This, we discovered, upon our arrival at LGA. Hilarity ensued.
Or rather, we called a second car service to pick up the missing purse on at the office on 39th and 5th. Want some drama? Try to get a car out of Manhattan at 6 pm on a Friday evening in time to make a 7:10 flight. Wooo Hoo. Fun times. Fun times.
Still, we all made it safe and sound. Take offs equaled landings and now we are settled in the Southland.
Stay tuned for reports from Wedding Central.
Friday, November 9, 2007
I am, as always, in complete and utter awe at anyone capable of making such a commitment. I, whose greatest committment to date is signing a 2 year lease, can no more comprehend plighting my troth than I can Hebrew. Still. I'm just so happy for them.
Much love, many prayers, and all my best wishes to the beautiful couple.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Or, rather, perhaps I should say a properly buttered piece of toast.
My mother is the only person who can properly butter toast. I know. I know. This sounds fanciful, but still. My mother's buttered toast is second to none.
Lest you think I am alone in this personality quirk, I present to you the story of my grandfather. Poppy Stan never ate a single fried egg after 23 December 1965. Heart condition? Premature concern over his cholesterol? Nein. It was simply that the only person, to his mind, who could properly fry an egg was his mother-in-law, Big Nanny. And, Big Nanny, the former Martha Josephine Maxcy of Manhattan and Upper Montclair, went on to her great reward shortly before Christmas 1965. Thus, as she sloughed off her mortal coil so did my grandfather give up fried eggs.
Waffles, to me, remain the domain of my second brother, David. Perhaps it's because Eggo waffles constituted fully 1/5 of his diet for the first decade of his life (along with french fries, chicken fingers, pizza and "little rolls").Whatever the reason, no one, not a single person, can make waffles like the D-Man.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
At the beginning of each meeting, Madam Co-Chair has us play an “ice breaker” (ice breakers are what one is made to play in the final circle of hell). Last week it was the M&M game, last night it was “Similarities,” turn to the person on your left and list 5 things you have in common.
As luck would have it, I sat next to my dear friend.
We listed our similarities:
Things we like:
Being in charge
Somehow I don’t think that’s what Madam Co-Chair had in mind…
Monday, November 5, 2007
You hate change.
ps- Change, though painful, has yet to kill you. And as they say, that which does not kill us...
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Go team go!
In other news, Project Apartment continues. We're taking a small break this morning, (if you can count dropping another several hundred dollars on supplies "taking a break") and will continue this afternoon and evening.
Many thanks to my dear old dad who, armed with James Thurber, the crossword puzzle and the soundtrack to Camelot, drove us to the seat of Union County yesterday and waited patiently for 4 hours as we fought the Swedish dragon. When thanked, Pops only said, "Sometimes you just have to be a dad." Perhaps that's true. Still, extra points for "being a dad" with style and grace. Love you.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
I want to love you, Ikea.
You with your pretty blue and yellow signs and your reasonable prices.
Your catalogue tempts me. You know your customer well and you appeal to my design sensibilites (such that they are).
But, Ikea. Oh Ikea. I love you but you don't love me.
2 hours from check out to actually leaving with my purchases? Ikea, this just won't do.
We're not finished, you and I. Not yet.
Not when I found out you will deliver to me.
Turns out $113.98 may just be the price of my sanity.
We shall see.
We shall see.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Tonight, armed with everything the Home Depot on 23rd Street can provide, I tackle my bathroom. Painting, sanding, hanging fixtures. Nothing that involves plumping in any way, but many that involve steady hands and a keen eye. So basically, I'm screwed before I start.
Wish me luck. And God speed.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Thus far I've had 2 Baby Ruths (Babies Ruth?) and 2 Almond Joys (Almonds Joy?).
I've also taken care to pick through the remaining candy bars and stick 2 snickers in the freezer.
For lunch, you know.
Delicious and nutritious. That's my motto.
Monday, July 30, 2007
To give your heart a song to sing
You can do this.
That’s what I told myself.
It’s what Margaretta told me.
It’s what my mom told me.
A few hours and it’s over.
“You don’t have to go.”
That’s what my mom said.
But, of course, I had to. How could I not?
And in July, a lemonade
To cool you in some leafy glade
I drove up from Boston slightly hungover, nauseous and, quite frankly, emotionally drained.
It’s been a tough 9 months. I wasn’t sure if I had it in me to get through it.
Gracefully, that is. I knew I could get through it by getting drunk and acting a fool.
I owe him more than that. I owe myself more than that.
…shelter from the storm
A cozy fire to keep you warm
We got to the church- a small wooden affair in the middle of a VT field.
The guest milled about outside and I went in and gave him a hug.
…bluebirds in the Spring
To give you heart a song to sing
His brother walked his grandmother down the aisle
Then the bridesmaid
Then he walked with his mother
His father trailed behind.
And then, I knew for sure.
My breaking heart and I agree
That you and I could never be
Because it’s true
But most of all, I wish you love.
Mom went up Monday morning, the movers come on Friday.
Pack up all my cares and woes
Johnny and I went out last night to help with the attic and collect a few last pieces.
At this point it seems as though my mother will take most of the belongings. My uncles are wrecks, particularly my uncle John in CA. Mom's the one who has cleaned out the house. To the victor go the spoils, or so they say.
Here I go, swinging low
We found my grandmother’s yearbook from 1938 (she was just 14 but a junior, no accelerated or gifted program back then, they just had you skip grades), several old trunks and my grandparents engagement announcement from the New York Times.
Bye bye blackbird
Johnny mixed martinis, Mom had a G&T.
Mom turned to me and said, “Aside from when you were sick, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”
Monday, June 11, 2007
Then! I realized! Manhattan! It's an island! And near the ocean! Surely there must be beaches around here, somewhere.
Yeah. Geography. Not so much my strong suit.
Tempting as it was to go to Coney and eat baloney on a roll, we took the A train and went to
Rockaway Beach. An NYC public beach in Queens. It was, an experience. Actually, better than it could have been. Think a slightly more down-market Wildwood. Still, for $4 round trip, you can't beat it.
After the beach we popped into a local saloon to watch the pony's run at Belmont. Then we got back on the A train and went to Howard Beach, another stop in Queens where the tracks split and one can go either back into Manhattan or out to JFK. Johnny's "special little friend" in Los Angeles is making a guest appearance in New York this week and he had to pick up Fam-a-lam-a-ding-dong up at baggage claim around 10. Rather than cool his heels alone at the airport we popped into another local saloon.
5 beers and 1 shot of whiskey for $20 even. Plus tip. Talk about culture shock.
It's nice to leave the city from time to time and realize that there are other places out there. It's hard to write about because I can't seem to structure a sentence that doesn't make me sound like an effete ass. Blah blah blah single minded urban professional blah blah blah life in the provinces so refreshing blah blah blah. Like I said, no way to express it without coming off like an ass.
But still, refreshing none the less.
So, my grandmother. Elle est tres malade. Oui. Elle est presque mort. Je suis tres desolee. Yes, you see, my grandmother-- very sick and very near death.
Last night I went through my voicemails in a fit trying to find one last voice mail from her. Please GOD! I am so lazy. I rarely check and often delete my voicemails without listening to them. I'm good like that. I was terribly concerned that I had unknowingly deleted all messages from her. That's just the kind of thing I'd do. Delete the message I want to keep but hold on to every single message from my doctor's office confirming my appointment on Feb 22, 2005. But, I digress.
I had 45 messages sitting on that thing. I listened to every single one. I found my grandmother-- one from last summer inviting me to dinner. Her old voice, deep and throaty. Upper Montclair's very own Lauren Bacall. Sigh of relief. And tears, of course. For, although I have made my peace with this whole, you know circle of life type thing, it still sucks.
I stopped crying and listened to the rest of the messages. And there, amongst 27 messages from my mother, several from Phil, one from my dad, and, like, 14 from Harry, there was yours.
And the opening,
"Ryan, my love, where have you been all my life?!"
Well, I felt loved. I must say. I must say.
So, Smashley, where have I been all your life? Apparently I've been sitting on my bed surrounded by the Sunday Times going through old voicemails to hear my grandmother's voice. Which sounds just as depressing as it was. Until I found yours.
Love you, too.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
I play it cool
And dig all jive
That's the reason
I stay alive
As I live and learn
Dig and Be Dug
I wanted to find some deep, profound thought, some amazing truth to send you on your way as you graduate. Sadly, I have some hideous cold and it's all I an do to remember to breathe. No profundities from me today.
That said, Langston Hughes has been kicking around my head for the past while and I thought it was as good as anything. You know, what's simple is true, Occam's Razor and all that.
Still, did and be dug, words to live by, no?
So, congratulations to you on your graduation! I am so proud of you and your accomplishments. I'm so excited to see what you'll do next. I have no doubt that it will be amazing.
Such a smart, kind, good natured and good looking kid-- how could you be anything but a success?
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
For years it was my dream to be “put together.” One of those people whose clothes are always pressed, whose hair is always done, etc etc. I think (hope?) that I am slowly but surely getting there.
Years of scrupulously following Trinny and Susannah’s rules have provided me with a more than acceptable wardrobe and, generally speaking, I am able to dress myself without incident or embarrassment. Generally speaking.
I had a rough morning a few weeks ago. A “morning after the night before” if you will. It is my custom to spend such mornings (or afternoons, whatever the case may be) with the blinds drawn and large glass of water next to my bed. If I have my druthers, I rise only to pop an advil and a benadryl and then head back to the warmth of the duvet. Sadly, this most recent morning after occurred on a Wednesday. Even more sadly, I was expected at work at 9 am.
So I rose, and showered, and dressed myself. Each task immeasurably difficult. I persevered and managed to throw on a suit and a pink t-shirt. Out the door I went.
A predictably unpleasant day ensued. Requisite headache and sour tummy made life difficult. I avoided looking in the mirror, kept my head down, and made it through the day.
At 5:30, I went to the ladies room and took what must have been the first real look at myself. “Not bad, not bad” I thought. “It could be much worse.” I silently congratulated myself on wearing a suit and made a mental note that “look good/feel better” can actually work. Very well done.
And then I looked down and saw a spot on my shirt. What the….
Except it wasn’t a stain. It was a very specific part of the female anatomy.
I’d spent the entire day wearing a mostly see-through shirt.
Very well done indeed.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Anyway, Friday night is the big party. Showed up around 9, met up with my friends, grabbed drinks, and let the festivities begin.
A few hours later and we’re on the dance floor. It’s jam packed and the girls are dancing with girls and the boys are dancing on the outskirts. It’s like the best middle school dance you ever had. Except better, ‘cause you’re not 13 anymore.
The dj puts on the “bring the house down” set: “Gold Digger,” “I Want You Back,” “Run Around Sue,” and “Sweet Caroline.” The joint is jumping. And then, in the middle of Sweet Caroline (Ba! Ba! Ba!) it happened. My lovely wrap dress came un-wrapped. In the middle of the dance floor. And I didn’t notice. Yeah, I’m good like that.
Amanda jumps in front of me, grabs me in a hug, and screams “Your DRESS!” Somehow, in the middle of 150 drunk Young Republicans, we manage to get the dress re-wrap and I’m back in action just in time to get the last verse of Sweet Caroline.
I’d like to say that you can dress me up but you can’t take me out, but apparently you can’t even do that.
In between baking and icing and decorating I put up shelves: book shelves and a shelf to hold my shoes (which, according to my roommate, just fell out of the wall). I re-arranged my room and stacked my books.
My grandmother is dying and I don’t know what to do so I’m baking and decorating a rearranging and thinking about anything else but the fact that she is dying.
I feel a bit like Laura from High Fidelity, specifically the scene in which she leaves her father’s funeral to chase after her downwardly mobile hipster ex-boyfriend. She finds him hiding behind a bench and propositions him (can you proposition an ex-boyfriend?) saying, by way of explanation, that she needs to feel something different than what she’s feeling now and sex is as good as anything.
Would that I had a downwardly mobile hipster ex-boyfriend.
I don’t. So I bake and hang shelves poorly and drink another cup of coffee. I buy the shelves on credit, inducing feelings of guilt and despair as well as the incredibly satisfying pang of self-destructive behavior. Can you tell how well-adjusted I am? I used to self-sabotage by sleeping all day, missing work or class, starving myself, drinking too much, smoking cigarettes. Now I just charge $60 at the Container Store. That’s progress.
And I bake. ‘Cause cakes that taste of tears they say, are the best for eating.
Friday, May 18, 2007
I know this because the tourists are out in force.
The city holds its breath between now and Labor Day. Come the second week of September there is an audible sigh of relief. Life has returned to normal.
But, for now, it's tourist season.
This morning as I headed to work I passed two seperate groups (as an aside, what tourist group is up and running at 9 something in the morning? At 9 something on a vacation morning I'm still in my jim-jams, either sleeping or drinking tea, certainly not touring a city with camera around my neck).
Tourists, as a rule, annoy the heck out of me. They don't know how to walk and they clog the sidewalks. They line up around the block to get a Magnolia cupcake (FYI, they're not very good). But, I digress.
So, there I am crossing W. 3rd at Thompson on my way to the A/C/E and I'm hit with a gaggle of them. Seriously, 20 people. And I thought, "what have I got to loose?" So I start screaming,
"Take a picture of me! Of me! I'm a real New Yorker! I'm on my way to work!"
And they did! So, at 9 something this morning, wearing all black (natch), I posed for pictures.
I can just hear the conversations,
"And then, in Greenwich Village, we took a picture of a REAL New Yorker!"
He he he.
I just don't want to be me for a while.
Not for the usual reason.
I used to not want to be me 'cause I was fat or lazy or self-destructive and made poor decisisons and all sorts of things like that. Real reasons. Escapist reasons. I'm better than that now. I actualy, shudder to think, am ok with me now. I like who I am and find myself reasonably well adjusted. Remarkably well adjusted for someone with my medical history, frankly. But, I digress.
I don't want to be me at the moment because of my grandmother. See, she's going to die. Not today and not tomorrow, but soon enough. And here's the thing, and I swear this just occured to me, she's going to be dead for the rest of my life. Shocker I know. This fixtue, this force, this person who has been such a part of my life forever won't be there. It blows my mind.
And I'm not entirely sure why this is affecting me so. I dealt with cancer and my own death with more grace than this.
Give me a catastrophe, a major trauma and I'm fine.
My fathers mother is also dying. It's sad but ore of a natural part of life type thing. Upsetting certainly, but we all know that all she's wanted since Poppy died is to be with him. So it's okay.
But this? A natural progression? The ultimate passing of a much loved 80something woman? I'm a mess.
And so, I wish I weren't me. I don't want to feel what I'm going to have to feel. I'm not sure I'm up to it.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
My roommate Sara and I hit the Dunks in Saratoga daily. Sara had a car and so we’d take orders for all of Wilmarth before trudging through the snow and cold to get our fix.
During finals, of course, our dpd (Dunks per Day) increased exponentially. This had less to do with an actual need for caffeine and more to do with diversion, distraction, and denial. Each trip provided the perfect excuse for procrastination. We needed energy to study, right? It was in our best interest to get coffee. How else would we stay awake to cram and prepare for our end of term exams?
So there we were, two 18 y ear olds avoiding the few responsibilities we had, treking off to buy coffees. It struck me as so odd. There we were, 18 years old, given the great privilege of doing relatively nothing for 4 years. Shipped off to live together, create a small community and all that was asked off us was that we study and learn. And yet, here we were refusing to do even that. Of course, being 18 and incredibly self-involved, I quickly pushed the thought out of my mind.
When I heard about the massacre at Virginia Tech I instantly thought of my neighbor’s sister. Her famous quote, “I loved going to Tech. 4 years living alone on Daddy’s dime.” And that’s what it should be. 4 years of getting your sea legs and transitioning from childhood to adulthood. It’s called the Ivory Tower for a reason. Eat nothing but sodium filled foodstuffs, drink your face off, stay up all night having incredible bullshit sessions where you solve the world’s problems and uncover the secret of life. Or, as my mother would say, “there’s a time and a place for everything, and that place is college.” It is not, however, a place to die.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
In other news,
Oliver Bruce Young
February 23rd 2007
I am an aunt
Today, I awoke at 6 am and went for a run. I showered, dried my hair, and even applied make-up! I dressed, made my bed, drank my tea and left the house at 7:20. I was 5 minutes early for Ash Wednesday Mass. I’ve never been early to mass in my life.
Pay day is Friday. All my bills are paid and I’ve got some $ left over (shock!).
I don’t know who I am any more.
I spent the night in NJ and slept maybe 2 or 3 hours. I woke up well before my 6 am alarm. Then stayed in bed, or at least under the blanket on the pull out couch until 7.
The house still smells like my grandmother. Her stuff is all there and for all intents and purposes (or intensive purposes) it is still her house. This makes me feel all sorts of better.
My mother is not, as you may know, a good housekeeper. Our family home is in a constant state of disarray. When I was young, the blame fell on having 4 young children and a husband who wouldn’t notice if the house was on fire. Now that the children are mostly grown it’s clear that although my father still wouldn’t notice if the house was on fire my mother is a terrible housekeeper. She doesn’t like to keep things neat and tidy and so the house isn’t neat and tidy. You can’t be assured of having clean sheets on your bed or clean glasses in the cupboard, but at nearly 27 I’ve come to accept it. During the summers I keep a clean set of sheets in my closet. Each Friday I strip the bed and replace it with my clean sheets. Each Sunday I strip the bed, wash my sheets, and put whatever was on the bed Friday evening back on it. I bring my own towels and face clothes and toothbrush (can’t leave it there from week to week, never know where it will be when you return). I’ve learned.
My grandmother’s house is pristine. It smells of White Linen, mothballs, and witch hazel (a truly delightful combination, I assure you). The sheets are always clean. The bed is turned down for you when you arrive. Drinks are served promptly at 5. Along with celery, cheddar cheese, Carrs table water crackers, and radishes. There is always vanilla haagen dazs for desert. If you’re there for dinner during the week it will invariable be chicken soup with rice. And it will be delicious. Bobby pins are kept in an old medicine bottle and the witch hazel (thank god for witch hazel) is on the third shelf in the linen closet.
I love my mother and honestly don’t fault her the messy house. I will, however, miss having a place where everything had it’s place.
It’s kind of his deal. He just doesn’t talk. We have conversations about specific events, we discuss the Beatle’s, the differences between John songs and Paul songs, and why mallowmars are the greatest cookie known to man. In general, however, he prefers the company of his own thoughts to the idle chit chat of others. I get this.
Except, he calls me. He calls me and doesn’t talk. He calls to say hi. Literally.
“Hi Ryan, it’s your old dad”
“ Hi Dad”
It never ceases to amaze me. What’s funny is that knowing full well my father is a mute I continue to call him. I proceed to have 5-10 minute monologue all the while thinking “I wish he would just say something.” Perhaps I’ll never learn.
Friday I broke down. I needed something sweet. Something to munch. Out comes the sugar free jello. Orange. Made with diet 7 Up. Yummy. With Cool Whip lite. Saturday, I took it a step further. Fat free, sugar free, cook and serve Jello pudding.
Oh. My. Gawd.
Per serving just, it comes out better calorie wise and nutritionally equal to the ricotta deserts in the South Beach book. Even with the “whipped topping.”
Desperate times call for desperate measures. I want to wear a bikini this summer. I’ve never worn one before (I mean, except for that gloriously anorexic summer I lived in Nice. My head was a mess, I starved and purged but I weighed 122 lbs and had a c cup. I looked good. And I didn’t even own a bikini that summer. I wore a pair of dark panties as bikini bottoms and ran around topless. Vive la France!) For 13 summers I’ve said, “next summer.” Summer 2007 IS “next summer.” Damnit!
Everything is possible at CVS. The solution to any problem can be found there. And, unlike Tiffany's, one can easily afford everything at CVS. Lighter hair, brighter teeth, unclogged pores, unstuffed noses-- everything can be fixed at CVS.
I am a dedicated customer. Duane Reede may have everything I need, and at a bettter price, but I shop at CVS. CVS is so much more than a drug store to me. I use it as a make shift ATM (paying $.75 for a pack of gum and getting $35 cash back is much better than paying $3.50 for using an out-of-network atm). I use it as a temporary living room. Those chairs, next to the pharmacy? And the magazine rack? Well, I've been known to camp out on them for part of an evening while I enjoy a soda and catch up on my gossip. Ahem.
Anyway, I just popped out of the office and made a quick CVS run. Imgaine my joy when I received 2 (two!) extra-care coupons printed on my reciept. Each for $4 off a purchase of $20 or more! Oh frabjous day! Calloo Callay!
I’ll add carrots and perhaps parsnips, but not much else.
And that’s all I’ll eat.
Straight out of the mixing bowl. On the couch. In front of the tv. Watching the Sopranos.
But first, I’m going to Ann Taylor to buy something on sale. It’s been that kind of week.
I’m not upset about anything in particular. Just feeling a bit moodish. I’m craving the release. I read about Alice Trillin today and nearly started crying. Unfortunately, I’m at work and it is, I fear, frowned upon to have an hysterical meltdown at one’s desk. Professionalism, what?
Yesterday wasn’t great. Oh, don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t bad. Nothing terrible happened. I didn’t fuck anything up at work, I didn’t bounce any checks, or get any nasty phone calls. I came in, I did my job, and I went home. In between I had some laughs, emailed some friends, and generally took care of business. And yet... And yet it was the kind of day that can only be salvage by buying myself a treat. It was, in short, a Wednesday in January.
Peresphone may have gone to the underworld, but I have gone to Narnia. Pre-Aslanian Narnia. Except for me it’s not always winter and never Christmas, it’s just always winter and always Wednesday. And that makes life tough.
I check weather.com daily—today’s sunset is at 4:57 pm, yesterday’s was at 4:55. We’re making progress here people! Each year it’s the same thing, a race from the first of January to the first of March. I take whatever I can get. And I congratulate myself for making it through Wednesday.
“why don’t we go to the islands for easter?”
‘Cause I got deep pockets and short arms
That’s what I’ll have this month.
Here’s what I won’t have:
Any outstanding bills.
Ayup. All paid in full and up-to-date.
When I first moved to New York, or, rather, when I first moved into my apartment, I had this idea in my head. I thought if only I could read X salary and Y position that I could relax. I would feel happy and confident. Magically, or so it seems, I now make that salary and have that job. So I have it, I’m pleased to have reached the goal I set for myself 2 years ago, and at the same time am thinking about the next step, the next place.
So I guess that’s it really. Being pleased with your current situation but looking forward to the next.
The feelings of accomplishment and competency are two of the nicest feelings in the world.
Would that I had little regard for myself or others. Would that I could spend with reckless abandon. Would that I could so manage my affairs as to afford an early Spring vacation.
All this to say, I ran both Tuesday and Wednesday night. Pathetically, but I did run.
A 20 minute delay at the tunnel put me in the city exactly at 9 o’clock. Tired and without my morning coffee, I threw myself into a cab and barked my directions “32nd and Park.”
Across 42nd Street, past Grand Central, and onto Park Ave South. I looked up and realized the meter wasn’t running.
“Hey, did you turn the meter on?”
“Ah, no I forgot! Do you take this route often? How much do you think it is?”
“How about if I give you 10 bucks and we call it even?”
And then I laughed. ‘Cause I was in a cab heading south on Park on a sunny April morning with what can only be called a kindred spirit. Lord knows if I were a cabbie I would forget to turn the meter on, too.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
I'll get over it, but my nose is definitely out of joint.
I spent what, the better part of a year? What should have been my freshman year of high school in the hospital. This, by the way, is not what has me bummed. Used to be, but I'm okay with it now. Self-actualized, what?
No, I'm bummed because in the 12+ months I spent basically LIVING in a hospital. A major, metropolitan, world-class hospital, I might add, not once, not one single time did a patient contract a toxic disease that shut down the entire operation. No patient ever entered the ER with a ticking bomb stuck inside her belly. Never caught an intern and an attending en flagrante delicto.
Okay, so I was there for the whole conjoined-twins-history-making operation thingy, but does anyone remember that? NOooooooooo.
Why can't chemotherapy be more like Grey's?
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
When people told, or tell me, I am a hero, I don’t get it. There’s nothing heroic about surviving. You’re given a choice. Do this and live, don’t do this and die. Um, life please. If anything, the heroism is in saying enough is enough. I’m lucky. I got through it in one try. I haven’t had a recurrence. I never had to face the alternative. No one ever told me, “it’s not working.” Just the same, I think, when people tell me I’m their hero they are referring to the way in which I faced it. I got on with business. To me, there was no other way. A do or do not situation.
My uncle, when he found out I’d been successfully treated (never say cured, one is not cured of cancer), told me I’d “done it.” I stared down death and won. He said I had nothing to fear for the rest of my life. He’s overly dramatic and terrified of death, but I think I understand what he meant by that. I’ve proven my mettle. That’s what I take with me. I know I can face challenges and, when given the proper tools, overcome them. I’ve done it over and over again. I’ll continue to do it. And so I am not “changed.” There is no grand realization that causes me to renounce this material world. If anything, I am emboldened to go forth and conquer. Hell, I’ve done it once, might as well do it again.
Must be January— I promise lighter fair will return with the sun. I’m a bit like Persephone these days…
Anyway, at Bloomingdale’s I sampled the various lotions and potions and sprays. Some Jo Malone here, a little Molton Brown there topped off with bit of La Mer.
Off I go, traipsing along Broadway to the uptown F train. All of a sudden I’m hit with a whiff. A scent. A memory. I know what it is, but I can’t place it And then it hit me. Somehow, someway the lotions and potions combined with my own special Ryanness to produce the exact scent of CHOP. Specifically floor 7 East. So yes, today I am wandering around smelling exactly like the pediatric oncology ward at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. And I kind of like it. No, I do like it. I’m nostalgic. That’s where I spent my freshman year of high school. And now, some 14 years later (shit, that long ago?), I don’t remember the pain and fear I remember the fun and the good times. From the sublime to the ridiculous I suppose.
I read recently that “the measure of how you [hold] up in the face of a life-threatening illness [is] not how much you changed but how much you stayed the same, in control of your own identity.” I agree. It did not change me, it solidified me. Cancer took my good qualities and made them better. Those same qualities which branded me as an outcast in school and amongst my peers were the ones that best enabled me to survive and are now those which allow me to thrive.
You can keep your Madeleines. Give me the feint antiseptic smell of 7E any day.