September 27, 2006
It's All About You
This isn't really for me. Well, yes it is.

But seriously. I was reading DC legend Kathryn's archives the other day, and she described in detail
breakup lines she'd been fed over the years. AWFUL. And then her readers responded in kind, sharing the most damaging and personal situations, as well as the most vivid displays of insensitivity you can imagine.

I must know more. I just find it hard to wrap my head around this happening to people. And the fact that it is so common - that most every person has experienced this sheer lack of humanity MORE THAN ONCE, that people are capable of this! - boggles the mind.

I have never done this before, but I really want this post to be about you. Will you share you worst breakups, your most shocking separations, your most disappointing letdowns with us? At the prom, before the altar, 20 years down the line?

Please feel free to post anonymously. I won't make any effort to link your identity to your comment; I would consider it an honor that you'd even share such information.

I'll share mine as soon as I can. It's just a little too close right now.

Thanks everybody.


September 26, 2006
Wart not, want not
I drink a fair bit. As a result, I smoke cigarettes a little. A fair bit.

Let me not get ahead of myself.

Last Tuesday, I drank a fair bit. And as a girl is prone to do, I scoured the shower, AND that part of the flat stove top that gets a little bit black and grainy when my pans runneth over, AND the wine-stained tee I had neglected for weeks in my pseudo-hamper.

Tipsy and singing and carefree, I Swiffered the hardwood with wild abandon. I twisted my hair into a sloppy knot and washed all traces of makeup from my speckled face. I slung my bra into the churning washer. And my underwear, while I was at it. At day's end the apartment was immaculate. I was not.

And after receiving a phone call from a beautiful friend, I stumbled my way to the outdoors in running shorts and a grungy tee to smoke a cigarette. Or three.

And then it happened.

Cute Neighborhood Boy with Dog, the man I have smiled hello to for months, who I've watched come and go with his hybrid/mutt of a canine, approached.

The week before a Mom with two little ones on scooters forced praise through her teeth so as not to be spotted talking about CNB w/D by CNB w/D, "The guy. With the dog." Her face looked pained. "Ee's going to run ento traffic if ee keeps checking you out."

"The guy?" I questioned, mimicing the painful Joker face as if this was indeed necessary. "Looking? Dog? At ee?" Incredulous. It is my way.

And now he was here. And my breasts were at Bea Athur level. And as he stopped in front of me I realized I had three dead cigarette butts laid at my grimy feet. And no underwear on. And pimples. And I was tipsy.

And I had a growth.

Post Flashback #2: You see, three weeks earlier I approached my Mom and Dad about a bump on my knee.

"What is it?" I begged. "Please say you've seen one before. Psoriasis? Tetter? Someone must have some Baby Gold Bond."

"It's a wart," my mother offered nonchalantly, shoving my knee out of her sight in favor of the more stimulating HGTV.

"OH, HELL'S NO," I spit. "That's not a wart. It might be the spawn of some alien done come down and impregnated my knee, but that's no wart, be-otch!"

It turned out to be a wart.

$13.67 and a CVS coupon for Compound W later it peeled off my body.

But not before CNB w/D spotted me with a tell-tale, full-blown wart bandage.

And yet he stopped to say hello. And introduce himself. Which was nice.

How nice to know there still are men who like their women with Betty White breasts.

September 20, 2006
Mama's Family
Someone at work asked me where I was from the other day.

"Jersey, beeeeooooootch!" I replied while slapping my own ass in full view of the Xerox and the paper slicer.

In my dreams.

"I'm from New Jersey." I curtsied and then spit into my dip cup.

"Oh," she said. I didn't ask why. She offered. "I've just never seen someone wear so many skirts to work."

Oh yes. That's for sure a truthitude. Now, I'm pretty sure genealogists and old women with the Internets and cats have established that I was indeed born in a skirt. I wear them all summer; I'm the kinda gal who would slip them on for softball games and swimming if the Man would allow it. Two days ago I slept in a skirt. Sober. I hadn't worn it to work. I just put it on because it looked like it might feel good to sleep in.

This has nothing to do with my geographic origin, and everything to do with the fact that my mother was the one God and Oprah chose to raise me. Mom is a woman who puts on pantyhose and a skirt to pick up milk at the Giant. A gal who somehow got my dad to wear pants throughout his 63 years, never donning shorts UNLESS HE WAS AT THE BEACH. That's right. Ever been to New Jersey in August? You remember the 99 percent humidity, right? Oh, and you saw that guy mowing the lawn in his 33" Levi's? The sweaty male with the wife bringing him iced tea while wearing a knee-length skirt? Yep. That was Dad.

And the oddities didn't stop there. Scratch that - not oddities, like I was raised by hippies in the back of a yellow VW van or my family drank tainted Kool Aid - but endearing-ities. Quirks that make us special.

Number One.

We've never had a real fire in our fireplace. As far as I'm concerned, fire is blue, orange, yellow and green, and cavemen roasted their meat over a hot pit courtesy of Duraflame.

When we are together as a family, we watch all of our television with subtitles. And with the volume the ENTIRE WAY UP TO 11. This is the action of neither 1) my sister nor 2) me. Right.

This one hurts: we like Kathie Lee. Always have. Oh, and pate, as terribly un-PC as it is. We love it love it love it like we love handfuls of Cheddar Cheese Goldfish. Sorry, PETA.

We have a bias against ABC News. The local ABC news, no matter where we've lived in the US of A, is always the most like a supermarket tabloid. Loud and lying and alls about fear in the homeland. We are absolutely, hopelessly devoted to NBC. It didn't hurt that Lauer was one of our local newscasters before he lost his hair and slept with Katie.

Wah! My parents always say it wrong! It's WAAAASHINGTON. Not WaRshington. Laundry = Wash. There is no "r." Mom and Dad to your corners for time out!

For some inexplicable reason, my parents call defecating "dobie-ing." "Take the dog out; she has to daaaahbie." Imagine the trauma I experienced as a child running across the Dobi brand scratch sponges at our local New Jersey Foodtown. Sweet Jebus! They recycle our crap into kitchen sponges? Worse than when my sister locked me in the boiler room that time. Definitely worse.

In full accord with the above, not once has anyone in my house ever discussed flatulence. NEVER. We have never used the word "fart" (I shudder just to type it) and we ignore it coming to the party with the exception of a stilted and slight "excuse me." To address it, to acknowledge its existence beyond this, well that would be like wearing newly-warshed shorts to cut the grass.


September 18, 2006
Making Change
I can't make up my mind.

(You don't sound shocked.)

I won't waste your time with lots of Carrie Bradshaw set-up, where the reader must withstand six minutes of bad fashion/boobs/latte intros before getting to the meaty question of the episode (e.g., So his constant clinginess had me and the girls wondering, are our hours really ours?)


I'm struggling with the concept of change. I know that things change. I have a patch of grey hair that five years ago didn't peek out from underneath my combover. The leaves collecting along street curbs tell me another season is walking in the door.

But do people change? Not can they, as in babies can be born with two heads, one can change her eating habits and actually keep obesity at bay until after the ten-year reunion. But do they? Does long-term change actually happen in the real people of the real world?

I used to be a student of the affirmative response. My very training is in the science of behavior change. You don't have to suffer from depression forever. You can replace these unhealthy behaviors with more adaptive ones. I have known people who have freed themselves from dependence on a multitude of substances, and after dozens of years they haven't gone back. I've heard rumors of high school mean girls who seem to have softened considerably when ten years out they marry the nice boys of your graduating class. We all have known an octogenarian who no longer uses racial slurs at the Thanksgiving dinner table, a mother who makes efforts to listen to a child's explanation before handing down a punishment, or a spouse who finally recognizes that the constant ribbing isn't quite as funny when you're on the receiving end.

But you know what? In my limited experience, behavior change doesn't follow the plotline of a Nanny 911 episode and eventually, you can almost bet on people sliding. That is, more often than not, we just are who we are. By adulthood we are conditioned and wired to do things in a certain way, to see our world accordingly, and to treat others in a relatively predictable pattern. I have witnessed relationships on the verge of collapse move into safe territory for months under the promise and even the achievement of change, only to disintegrate when it became obvious that the walls were just too heavy for two people to prop up. Try changing a social bias in a friend that they've clearly assumed since childhood. Or taking the thing you wish you could change most about yourself, not your hair color or your dress size, but that catty but extremely fulfilling way in which you gossip with hate, you just knowing that anything he says is bound to be dumb, or better yet, your unforgiving relationship with your mother.

Think you could successfully take on more than one? Even one?

And in my mind, this doesn't just apply to positive movement. Binges and phases are exactly that: a close girlfriend who showers time and investment on a new friendship eventually comes back to tend to yours. I swung into months of neglecting myself and others, but this extreme state did not last for long; my pendulum eventually swung back toward normalcy and the core person I know myself to be. I have a friend who recently plunged into the darkside of insensitivity and living inside a complete bubble of his own selfishness. My belief is that in time he too will regress to his own mean and will return to being a friend who considered the feelings of others often before his own. Then again, maybe this latter state is who this man really is.

Whichever your take on it, what saddens and strikes me is just how pessimistic my viewpoint on change actually is. How it assumes in many cases that we are ultimately powerless.

And just how unlike the true me I know that to be.

September 15, 2006
I've Got Nothing
Well, I do have a full social calendar this weekend, but what I really want most is rest. Respite. Not leaving the house. A huge comforter and unlimited CSIs. A Diet Coke fountain soda machine and a hot pizza delivery. And a weekend full of being clean without really having to go through the effort of showering and hair straightening. And a tabby and a calico in their respective places; one on the arm of the couch above my head, one on the sofa back with his paw conspicuously moving closer to my face.

In other news, said tabby called my best friend at 12:32 this morning by stepping on speed dial, and, upon her hearing an unintelligible man's voice in the background (read: something on Court TV, as it is of course on 24 hours a day in my house), sent her into a two-hour protective frenzy in which she considered calling out Navy Seals, Peter Parker, and yes, MY EX (?!?!) in an effort to get into my apartment and save me from a stranger's clutches.

Now that's love, people.

September 13, 2006
On Dating and Lower Mandibles
I have officially, certifiably, unquestionably, indubitably given up on dating. Scratch. On men other than my two male friends and my father. And Paul Newman.

How difficult can finding a mate be?

Woman seeking Man. Ahem.

Preferred candidates will:

-- Be 336+ months old
-- Yearn to travel; possess an incessant drive to see most of at least the Northern Hemisphere in this short life (you know, something akin to a drunk ZTA’s desire for quick pizza delivery and 6-8 Advil)
-- Display a clear aversion to children that might be his own
-- Indulge to excess in things covered in cheese and nights spent talking over cheap white wine.
-- Be witty. Not funny ha ha. Not crazy go nuts. Not Carrot Top. But witty, sharp, original kinda funny.
-- Never, EVER think ‘twould be appropriate to post a topless photo of himself on or other Internet venue. Scratch 2. He’d never even take said photo.
-- Love to watch college football. And talk about it with me.
-- Be genuine.
-- Not be afraid to have a water fight in the damn house. In his underwear.
-- Not cheat. (Not so nice, boys.)
-- Have drive, motivation, passion for something, anything [other than motocross, child (aka Dateline) p*rn, racism, feet, cheating, not owning a business suit, a complete lack of animal products in the house, or Zima]
-- Let me smoke while shaking his head.
-- Have faults. Dishonesty = not so much.
-- Love the sun on his smiling, slightly-wrinkled face.
-- Accept my cats and love the dog we’ll eventually adopt.
-- Not force his religious beliefs on me or said cats.
-- Have welcoming friends and family, a group willing to bring a surprising introvert into the fold. I’m talking loving people who ask about you and what the fuck you’ve been up to for the past week. And remember the next time you see them.
-- Basic hygiene, kindness to others, proficiency at dirty talk, not intentionally hitting squirrels in street, and presence of lower mandible and both ears win bonus points all around.

Oh! Riiiiiiight. But I forgot that small detail.

He has to want to be with a woman like me – a neurotic, flawed, constantly MSing woman with a passion for travel and writing and wit, who drinks too much and doesn’t wear slinky nighties to bed near often enough.

And this, my friends, is apparently the stumbling block at this point.


September 11, 2006
"Time has gone on, but life hasn't."
Every anniversary of 9/11 brings out different emotions in me. The horror is pretty constant, but my focus over the years has clearly shifted from the how bad must it have been in there for people to have thought their better option was jumping 100 stories to their deaths? to the emotional aftermath. The children, the coworkers, the wives.

Diane Sawyer did a special recently on the widows of 9/11. Apparently they meet once a year to commemorate the day and share coffee and sorrow and new joys with each other. I was struck by how few of these women were remarried or bold enough to bring new significant others into the fold. Those who had found new partners almost seemed apologetic for it, as if finding happiness after such devastation was an act about which one should be ashamed.

But the strongest ache for me on this anniversary is for those widows who cannot seem to move on. For the woman who still has his toothbrush in the bathroom, his coat in the closet with her own. I am in no way judging these women; I have found it excruciatingly painful to move forward from a relationship of only three years. But I am almost in disbelief that the human heart could withstand five years of perpetual mourning. I'm not sure how they do it. And I am not sure how they have enough left of themselves to give to their work, their communities and their children.

On this anniversary, I wish these women peace, and hope that they find a way to allow life, and not just time, to go on.

September 7, 2006
Sweet Baby Jebus, I Know It's a Trite Entry and Everyone's Doing It, But . . .
So I can't tell if I was right, or horribly, porridgey wrong.

Please tell me first that we can acknowledge that all babies are not, by virtue, CUTE. If we can agree on this, we can all move forward together. We're walking, we're walking . . .

And so it is with Suri Cruise.

Please tell me you saw that Vanity Fair cover up close. I know that I'll be attacked for this, but I am quite sure that in '73 Willard Scott owned and wore with pride that baby's toupee while reporting on Tropical Storm Gilda. Seriously. This cover does not introduce a baby worthy of an Oprah couch jump

Which is sad. Because both parents are gorgeous, one a little less so because of his ridiculous obsession with, well, himself, and the other a little more so due to her total disregard for paparazzi when she has, say, four to 12 cold sores. That bold move alone would get you invited to any of my happy hours, Ms. Kate.

So that was my initial, Wednesday-morning verdict. Let's move to the afternoon.

Enter my friends who clearly menstruated at age 6, who can't fathom that I would not find a creature of the womb to be Godlike, who might even find Ethan Hawke to be aesthetically acceptable.

"You are a loser." Ok, I can take it.

"Your cats are ugly!" THEY. SO. ARE NOT!

"You wouldn't know a cute baby if it knocked you in the chin!" That one hurt.

So I did a little research and found one of the mag's internal pictures of little Sorry Suri, and she was actually quite beautiful. Striking blue eyes, the cuddly pudge we all try so hard to lose the minute we recognize it, unblemished eggshell skin.

It was a breathtaking photo of mother and child that made me want to share my life with a small, dependent, vomitous, blue-eyed human being.


But come to think of it, I haven't been drop dead in every one of my snapshots.

Hmmm. Maybe I should be more accepting.

September 3, 2006
I Swear to God and Oprah, I Really Am a Good Person
Ye, you regular readers, you know that I am trying to get back to basics. (I love you, Aguilera!) I left myself for a time, lost my senses, and ended up an uber bitch. I'm well back to where I need to be.

Or so I thought.

This weekend, DC et al. got smacked with a little somethin' somethin' we call a tropical storm/rain puddle/excessive sprinkle. Nothing your average city couldn't handle. Nothing your average driver couldn't get his '92 Tercel up on.

Before I run off at the blog, let me preface this story by giving you a little background into my motherland. We didn't get off of school for rain. We didn't stay home for hail. When it snowed, the townie drunk plows began humming when the first crystals fell from the sky, and if there was fewer than a fathom of glistening white on the ground, I was trudging my way to elementary in galoshes and an excessively pleated, very purple concoction that Mom zipped the entire way up past my massive chin.


On Friday, a friend stopped by to say that his roommate had been released from work early due the rain.

I scoffed. "Uh, it is just RAIN."

He added, "but our basement flooded last time this happened."

I kept (read: ranted) on. "People around here need to get. over. it. IT IS JUST RAIN. This isn't the apocalypse."

Oh yes. I kept going. "Uh, we will survive these five inches WITH OUR WIPERS ON LOW and we won't have to fill our tubs or raid the Slevs (7-11s, btw) for dairy and bread and maxi pads. WE WILL SURVIVE, asshats. Sheesh."

He looked shocked.

I looked puzzled in return. I mean, d'uh?


Yeah, reason #537289104738 that I'm definitely not a sensitive person.

Talk to you next week. I'm in time out.