Sunday, December 30, 2007

Out here having fun

In that old California sun.

72 degrees folks. I sat by the pool and read my book. Later I went to the market. In flip flops.

It's a sun shiny day.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Got Jul

We've reached that wonderful point in the holidays where it seems as though it's always been Christmas and always will. Time has no meaning and one day rolls into the next in a haze of chocolate and cookies and egg nog.

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


Oh! Wow! I did it!
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.
At work!
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

Merry Merry

My goodness but I am in love with New York right now. I know it's tiresome to go on and on about it. Who wants to hear "everything is so wonderful, I live in the best place ever"? Certainly not I. Much like when people go on and on about how wonderful their friends are. No really. Theirs are the best. No one else ever had a group of friends so wonderful and no one else could possibly understand how great it feels to have these friends. (My but that was a bitter digression, I'm happy you have friends. They're nice things to have. Got some myself. Really like 'em, too.)

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!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

When I was in college there was an ad for Tide or some other laundry soap. A shapely and comely lass walks into a laundry mat and proceeds to strip down to her skanties and then some eventuallly holding onto a modicum of dignity by way of a strategically placed New York Times.

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

One of Eight Million

Living in New York is like being in an abusive realtionship. One moment you're bruised and battered and the next, well, you're sitting in New York's lap and he's stroking your hair, whispering sweet nothings in your ear.

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

Phoning it In

I had grand plans for posting today. Best intentions, what?
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

No Coke, Pepsi

I am in an abusive relationship with the coffee shop down the street.

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

Delete! Delete! Delete!

There's this great scene in the film, A Guide for the Married Man.
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


Today I am thankful for the way I feel when I throw myself in the back of taxi after a long and emotionally exhausting trip.

Home. That's how I feel.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

True True

In grammar school we had, in addition to our spelling sentences and vocabulary lessons, the "daily edit." Our teacher would write a sentence on the board and it was our job to make it grammatically correct.

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

Never Going Back to My Old School

There's this great interview footage of Janis Joplin. She's dressed in her full regalia-- feathers, beads, bourbon. Anyway, the interviewer says, "well did you attend your senior prom?" Janis responds in the negative, and when pressed, offers up this explaination, "Well, I guess they just didn't like me very much."

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

My Little Town

There's something very nice about coming home for the holidays.

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

Thanksgiving Feast

Good food
Good meat
Good God
Let's Eat!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Crash Test Dummies

Live blogging from Stuy Town as I help Collie and Co. prepare Southern Thanksgiving.
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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Last night I made my first attempt at stuffing. Or dressing, really. Seeing as how I didn't stuff it into anything except my mouth.

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

To Whom It May Concern

I would like to go home.

My head hurts, my neck aches, I'm sleepy.

I would really like to be on the couch with a cup of tea. If I leave now I'll be home and in my pj's in time for As Time Goes By on BBC America.

Thank you.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Beef, it's what's for dinner

So, Carmen.
It's like the Top 40 of Operas.

Rien n'y fait, menace ou prière

Last night I went to see Carmen at Lincoln Center.

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?"

"Yes, dear"

"Well, this is exactly like that, except I'm drinking tea and calling you!"

-My life, ladies and gentleman, my life.

Family Dinner

Mom: Well, B can't come on Thursday. He has to work. He's going to miss dinner.

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

Who Moved My Cheese?

M: Where is my rug? Have you sent it yet. I need it.
J: It's been pulled out from under you, b*tch.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I have trouble with impulse control; a tendency to say whatever comes into my mind the moment it comes to mind. This causes all sorts of trouble in my life, much like the time I screamed, "Jane you ignorant slut!" from the upper deck of the tennis pro shop,embarrasing myself and my family in front of the community (or so my mother opined).

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

Hey Ho

This weekend's festivities (ed: Flip, need to have another linking tutorial) have left me with a bit of a let down. A bit of a "morning after the night before" feeling, as it were.

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:

If only...
Somebody splendid really needed me
Someone affectionate and dear
Cares would be ended if I knew that he
Wanted to have me near

I just.
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

Found the Funny!

Actually included on the bottom of a report:

"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.

Fresh out of Funny

I got nothing this morning.

It's cold and rainy and I'm drained.

Sorry to disappoint, folks.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Oughta Be in Pictures

If a picture paints a thousand words, I'd have one hell of a book.

203 photos. What was I thinking?
My poor friends. They must have wanted to break my camera!

I'm a lunatic. 203 photos.

Oy vey.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

27 Ways to be Ridiculous

Home again home again, jiggety jig.

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

Blogging with a Southern Accent

Aside from a business trip last Fall to Atlanta, I am currently the furthest south I've ever been. Can you hear the drawl?

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

Ding Dong the Bells are Gonna Chime

My good friends, E and S, are gettin' married in the morning.

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

C'est Vrai

Said yesterday morning by my friend, in complete sincerity:

Ryan, your job should be just telling people what to do.
You're so good at it

Duh. Finally. Somebody gets it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


I have not had a piece of buttered toast in nearly 15 years.
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.

A Puzzlement

Is it redundant to say "Such a narcissist?" Is it similar to describing one as "most unique?"

Discuss amongst yourselves....

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mary Harriman Would be Proud

Had myself a Junior League meeting last night. I adore my committee, but take slight exception with one of my co-chairs. She is a “corporate trainer by nature,” her words, not mine. Frankly, I feel corporate trainers/teambuilders occupy the circle of hell just above HR. So I admit, I am biased.

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:

Our hairdresser
Being in charge

Somehow I don’t think that’s what Madam Co-Chair had in mind…

Monday, November 5, 2007


Special thanks to my current favorite Cantabridgian.
Rides to the Cape, beers at Grendels, and, most recently, telephone web support.
You're a man among men, my friend

To Whom It May Concern

A while back Megan wrote a letter to her younger self. It's Monday morning and I have no imagination, so I am copying her. Just like I did in Mr. Novotni's 7th grade math class.

Dear Ryan,
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

Marathon Sunday

5 Boroughs
26.2 Miles
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

Swedish for Common Sense

Dear Ikea,
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

Doomed Before I Even Start

The paint line at Home Depot was, in a word, LONG.
And I was tired.
And my blood sugar was at an all time low.

So I cut my losses.

What can I say? Tomorrow is another day.

And so it begins...

I moved into my apartment 3 years ago yesterday. In that time I've hung 8 shelves, poorly. Somehow, independent of all factual and circumstantial evidence, I've convinced myself that I am capable of DIY home improvements.
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

Peter, Paul and Almond Joy

It's 9:18 am.
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

Never lovers, ever friends

I wish you bluebirds in the Spring
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.

Bye Bye Blackbird

We close on my grandmother’s house next week.
Mom went up Monday morning, the movers come on Friday.

Pack up all my cares and woes

55+ years.
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

My Isle of Dreams

I was unable to finagle a trip to the beach this weekend. My usual sources did not come through and, without transport of my own, I was stuck on Manhattan.

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.

Simple Minds, Simple Pleasure

For Ashley, wherever I may find her...

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

for loyalty love and for soothe

“Not to compare your grandmother to my car...”

But, my dear, that is the most apt comparison.

Heavens to Murgatroid, it’s helpful to have a bosom buddy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


For ESL, KDC, and Emma Jean Booshay...

I play it cool
And dig all jive
That's the reason
I stay alive

My motto
As I live and learn
Dig and Be Dug
In Return
--Langston Hughes


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

Puttin' on the Ritz

I’d like to think I am a reasonably well-dressed person.

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

It's a Wrap!

Friday night was the end Junior League’s End of Season Party. It’s a good time. 4 different bars on 3 different floors. Dancing. Fancy hors d’oeurves and pigs in blankets (or as my friend, John calls them, “wiener bugs”). As an aside, I love how everyone gravitates to the pigs in blankets. Even at the most chi-chi-la-di-da affair, everyone crowds around the pigs. Sure, they’ll go on about the marscapone stuffed figs, but they’re shoveling those pigs down their throats like there’s no tomorrow.

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.

Nothing Says Lovin'

Last night I baked a cake. A chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting and coconut and walnuts. I don’t particularly like cake, but I needed to do something, so I baked.

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

Show me the way to go home

An Irish Goodnight

When the evening has reached the point of no return and, rather than say "good night," you slip off to bed* without saying a word.

E.g.) "Where's Ryan?"
"Oh, she said an Irish Goodnight"

*I use the term "bed" loosely.

You Should Know the Score by Now

Spring has sprung.

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.

Let's Not Have a Sniffle

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

Gimme a Break

Today for lunch I had:
roast beef on a roll
Bag of chips
Diet coke
I ate with Julie and said, "I know I should have a vegetable, but I don’t want one."
She told me I didn't have to have one.
So I got a twix instead.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Time to Make the Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts was a big part of my college life. It’s not especially healthful, and I’m not proud of it, but for the better part of two years my diet consisted of: French vanilla coffee with cream and sugar, diet coke, oodles of noodles, and pizza.
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.

Until yesterday.

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

Because OH MY GOD I love Nora Ephron

Howard Wolfson claimed on Hardball that it was unfair to criticize Senator Clinton and President Clinton on "personal terms." I would like to say something about this: there's no separation between personal and political terms when you're President of the United States: your job is to keep the country focused on what's important, and if you screw up for a "personal" reason, it's going to change the subject and (as Dowd wrote) pull the focus. This is probably unfair, but in this age of cable, it's a fact of life.

In other news,

Oliver Bruce Young
February 23rd 2007

I am an aunt


Clearly, I have taken leave of my senses. I barely recognize myself.

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.

Ramble on Baby

Hugh Grant and Jemima Khan are officially over. I heard this morning. Is it wrong that my first thought was, “oh good, now I have a shot again?”

Delusional much?

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.

Silent Bob

We’ve discussed, I think, my dad and how he doesn’t talk. If we haven’t, here’s the deal. The man does not talk.

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.

Not a Significant Source of Calories

So in general I am quite against “fake” foods. I am a “eat ice cream if you want ice cream” kinda girl—no fat free half and half or splenda for me. What’s that, oh that diet coke can, pay no attention to that. Anyway, as I was saying, I do my best to avoid chemical laden foodstuffs.

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!


I drink a lot. I don’t mean alcoholically. In general, I consume a large amount of liquids each day. I drink roughly 2-3 litres of seltzer water, 2-3 cups of tea, 4-6 cups of coffee, 6-8 glasses of still water, and perhaps a litre of diet soda per day. The detritus litters my desk. At present I have 1 12 oz coffee cup, 2 20 oz diet sodas (diet coke and diet Sunkist), AND my water glass. It’s somewhat embarrassing. It’s never been mentioned, but I can’t help but feel it looks unprofessional.

My Community Value Store

So, I think I have discussed my love for CVS with you. It is quite similar to my love for Boots. I simply adore drug stores. Once, in college, I asked a friend what her "breakfast at tiffany's" was. "CVS" was her reply. I concurred. Whole heartedly.

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’m making our brussel sprouts for dinner tonight.

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.

Damn you, Frankie Vali

I think I need to have a good cry.

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?

Sky Won't Snow and the Sun Won't Shine

My tea’s gone cold I’m wondering why I got out of bed at all….

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 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.

Deep Pockets and Short Arms

That’s what my dad would say to me when I was a kid.

“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.

Feels good.

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.

That Beggars Might Ride

Sometimes I wish I were less responsible-- perhaps more able to stick my head in the sand. Make poor decisions and not feel wracked with guilt. Knowingly exercise poor judgment and not watch as my self-worth plummets perceptively. Perhaps I need a sense of entitlement, you know, greater than the one I already have. I want a vacation. Warm sands, hot sun, the water, the waves. I cannot afford this. I could throw it on a credit card, but doing so would not give me any sense of relaxation. It would without a doubt produce the exact opposite. With a generous helping of self-loathing thrown in on the side. For good measure.

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.

Making Salt

I am not on the wagon. I am not off the wagon. I am behind the wagon, walking at a clip, attempting to keep up with the wagon whilst doing my best to avoid breaking a sweat. It’s an interesting position. I am playing Mountbatten to my wagon’s Ghandi. We’re chasing the same goal, one more reluctantly than that other. The goal is a good and righteous one and, as with most things good and righteous, it is difficult and painful to achieve. At times we work together at others, well, I know how Mountbatten felt when Ghandi would take his days of silence (that fucker). On my better days I am inspired by thoughts of independence. On bad I have visions of boats exploding in the Irish sea…

All this to say, I ran both Tuesday and Wednesday night. Pathetically, but I did run.


This morning we took the 7:57 in from Montclair. It’s the last of the morning rush hour buses and generally rather crowded. Crowded, warm, and, on occasion, stinky. Given that I didn’t get a shower and am wearing clothes I wore to a bar Friday evening, I think I can safely say without fear of successful contradiction that I contributed to the stink. But, I digress.

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

First, Do No Harm

I'm kinda bummed.

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

You Can Pick Your Friends...

"Come here..."


"You've got something on your nose."

"Huh? Oh, okay"

"Come here, I think it's frosting or something..."

"Uh, dude. That was a booger. You just picked my nose."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A La Recherche du Temps Perdu, Deux

People always ask about how cancer changed me. Often, they expect me to have some sort of great insight into the meaning of life. I resent that. When I read Alice Trillin's comment about maintaining one’s own identity (see post below) it resonated. Cancer made me more me. In a good way. In a “that which does not kill me” kind of way. Literally.

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…

A La Recherche du Temps Perdu

This morning was a good one. I had errands to run for work and thus was out of the office until noon. The first store I needed to hit didn’t open until 10, so I got to have a lazy morning and even had time to drop off my dry cleaning (when I’ll have enough extra cash to pick it up is another story, but I digress). So, out and about was I. Canal Rubber (yes, I had to go to the rubber store for work. Quit laughing) for cording, Bloomingdale’s SoHo for soaps and lotion (ha ha, rubbers and lotion, get your mind out of the gutter), and finally Bed, Bath, and Beyond for guest towels (yup, rubbers, lotion and guest towels. ALL for legitimate purposes, I swear).

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.