September 28, 2007
Another reason I need a vacation and/or to lay off the sauce
Last night, while inspecting the gloriousness of my Target purchases, I checked the back of the liquid hand soap to see how many calories were in it.


The music, however, was still too damn loud.
I got highlights yesterday. Suffice it to say it had been some time since the last, as in post-senior prom but pre-BlogHer. I was not looking good. (As in I was slightly worried that my coworkers in the coming days might start referring me to the closest shelter.) I've also been highly irritable. The hives are gone, but the dermato-illness remains, and the novelty of scribbling my initials into my own skin while in a port and prednisone haze has worn thin if not absent. I'm on edge, a Grade A biddie the likes of which rivals that displayed only in the retirement community, the old hag who draws her pink lips outside of any documented in anatomy textbooks and who makes snide comments at the Labor Day picnic about Ethel's store-bought macaroni salad. I am not in a good way.

And so it was tonight that I almost strangled a woman.

My stylist had completed just shy of 80 percent of the foil that would make me presentable. I was tired. And it was hot, even without the double cape that somehow didn't protect me from a shirt soaked courtesy of the new shampoo girl. I was reading Conde Nast Traveler and feeling subpar that my upcoming travel itinerary included Florida rather than Phucket. I was itchy. No. I was definitely not in a good way.

And then it spoke.

The girl diagonal from me wanted her bangs cut. Simple enough. She came with no frills, no curls, no horns or missplaced genitalia that would otherwise create an issue that would necessitate drama or a consultation. A snip here, a snip there, and she would be sent on her merry way, off to a NW happy hour without, it was possible, even a shampoo. One would think.

Then she hedged. Was her razor-toting stylist sure the trim would look good?

They will grow back, I thought.

She told him she trusted him as she brought her hands back to rest on her knees. She breathed in deeply and exhaled in restrained panic. And in the next instant she transformed herself from cute and neurotic girlie girl into big fat ginormous liar when she stopped him in his tracks with a barrage of anxiety and raised tones, of what ifs and no waits, of questioning her captor as to just how short the results would be.

They are bangs. Made of dead hair.

Where would they end up again in relation to the brows?

You mean the other splotches of dead hair on your head? Just cut them. Before I do.

And what exactly did he mean by blend?

I scanned her ring finger. Someone had asked this nerve ending to be his wife.

She agreed. Then like a nervous virgin at beach week she pulled away, a grown woman, right there in front of us. Metric conversions were made and there was more discussion of inches than in a cruel girls' day-after debriefing.

On second thought, couldn't he just cut them as she'd asked? Her stylist was sweating and quite possibly stuttering through his frustration. Or maybe cut them just as she'd had them when she came in? You know, twenty minutes ago, when my own private Idaho of horror began and my ovaries were still half full?

The God that created antihistamines saved me when my sweet, loving stylist folded the last foil into my head. I cornered her by the dryers and exclaimed in "It's Timmy; he's in the well!" staccato that I was about to explode and very well might cut the bangs myself. Without measurement aid or sharp instrument or professional patience! And all while trying to steer clear of the young girl's neck!

My lovely, unfazed lady offered me a styrofoam cup of cold water and I eventually relaxed, then gripping a copy of Elle that made me feel subpar for owning Mossimo rather than Marc Jacobs. I may or may not have murmured about the event to no one at least twice during my recovery period. And texted at least one of my similarly impatient cronies about the debacle and my ensuing discomfort. To be honest, I was only somewhat surprised to see, upon returning to my stylist's station and the full mirror, that my pink lips were drawn exactly where a young woman might expect them to be.

September 25, 2007
Red-templated stepchild
So you know how you really love your scrumptious children? How you adore them so much that you stand beyond a door ajar and watch them napping and sometimes get your breath caught in your throat when you think about being their parent? These moments - sweet and warm fuzzies and puppies after they come out of the dryer and all that, for sure. And then you know how sometimes you want to board your kids up in that room that has the sump pump in it and not see their syrup-covered faces again until you have a wee break complete with Real World Sydney and a case of Mommy’s red medicine? Right. Well, sometimes blogs are like kids.

I’ll be back on Thursday.

September 20, 2007
on hives and the high
It appears, dear friends, that hives are not unlike the boyfriend you tried to shake with help of friends and family and occasional docs, the one who was never good to you but seemed to stick to you like glue. With the help of three prescription antihistamines and steroids, the larger wheals that kept me up until the wee hours and actually had me contemplating a trip to the emergency room Monday morning are - should I knock on wood? - gone.

It's the part of the allergy that allows me to write in my skin that is still rearing its head. It's proven to be a charmer in many a conversation, and I wish I had a party to go to, so I could wow the crowd as I have coworkers with puffy initials written into my arm. Possibly followed by a keg stand.

I will say that I no longer question why athletes use steroids, or housewives or small children for that matter, because the side effect of hypomania is so beautiful that I wish I could manufacture prednisone in my kitchen. I acknowledge that it might be harder to make than the homemade soap I crafted and gifted in the poorer days of graduate school, but that soap never made mama feel like she could spend an evening cleaning the shower tile with a toothbrush or, you know, fly. I’m trying to contain my glee, but I’m guessing it is leaking out in more ways than I know, including hugging acquaintances just to make them uncomfortable and some chipper elevator conversations of my initiation that I just can't seem to contain. I also may or may not have skipped to the restroom just now.

Sad that this will all come to an end when the urine testing for bocce begins. Until then.

September 18, 2007
the 1950s called. they want their sexism back.
My good friend's dating partner, who doesn't like the term boyfriend, when she tried to express to him some of her intimacy needs:

Dr. Ruth says a woman should be responsible for her own orgasms.


September 16, 2007
I’m intensely irritable, and even moreso than usual, it is not a good look on me. For the past three days, I have been the host to large red and ultimately white welts, some smaller and others bordering on the size of nickels and quarters. Urticaria, the Internet tells me they’re called, what we members of the bourgeoisie refer to as hives, and they’ve been my companions for the weekend. Like most maladies and out-of-town guests, they didn’t arrive at a decent hour, but instead struck in full force at 3:30 Friday morning, ravaging my hands and then feet and then thighs. I didn’t know until that desperate moment just what it would take for me to leave my apartment without a shower. I also didn’t know just how far the closest 24-hour CVS would be from my apartment. Or that my pony-tailed, bespectacled self would not be alone. It’s amazing how many of us buy salves and instant coffee and greeting cards at 4 a.m.

The offenders put themselves on hold for a few gracious hours yesterday, long enough for me to have some Corot Noir in the sunshine as well as Kee Mao, both of which I have since realized only make the relentless bastards more determined. As payback for my rash behaviors, they have since taken over my belly and chest and the backs of both arms. CVS therefore got another $31 of my newly-deposited paycheck earlier this morning, courtesy of frantic purchases of calamine lotion and oatmeal bath packets and enough diet coke to sustain me until the irritants have left the building.

Between scratching frenzies I’ve used my powers of deduction to narrow the allergens down to crab balls consumed on the most recent meet up with the boy. Know that I am a woman who seldom dates and almost never eats shellfish, so I’m pretty sure I should continue to steer clear of both for a while. Given all of the irony and the itching, I’m betting the Universe is trying to tell me something.


September 14, 2007
The story of the most recent date, told in most circuitous fashion with multiple dessert references.
I really like chocolate chip mint ice cream. I’ve tried a lot of different flavors in my life, and you know what? It just does it for me. Coffee, vanilla, strawberry – even chocolate brownie chunk, the namesake of my thighs – they’re all good, but I prefer chocolate chip mint to most any variety. When I first tasted it, I knew it was something different, something special. Even in my naïve youth, it was a no-brainer to choose it more and more frequently when treated to dessert. I didn’t worry that it would ever lose its appeal or if it would taste good when mixed with the toppings with which I was already familiar. After all, who thinks of the future when licking an ice cream cone? When someone asked me which of the 32 flavors I preferred, I proudly pointed to the tub of shiny green goodness, so bright that it seemed to reflect proudly off of the protective glass casing. I didn’t think about why I enjoyed it. It just was what it was.

When I begin a new relationship with a hint of that favorite flavor, I embrace it. I hug it and kiss it and squeeze its sweet cheeks. It is so difficult to find people who can communicate, can capture your attention, can make you laugh out loud; why not celebrate finding someone with whom you enjoy spending nights and days and, on occasion, full, unshowered, order-in weekends? If I like you, I like you. If I want you to meet my closest, I will excitedly introduce you to each and every one of this motley bunch, even the really unattractive one. I spread the good word. I call and text when I so desire. I scoff at the warnings of both friends and family who caution me to play by the Rules. And if you return, you return. I do what I feel is true to me.

What I don’t do is panic.

So no. I've never been able to grasp enjoying company on a baker’s dozen dates and asking me to meet friends and family and hinting at future plans and then suddenly worrying about tomorrow. According to my Rulebook of Things That Are Factually So, falling in like and in love is what a departure from reality is all about. It’s abandoning the drudgery of the everyday and feeling like your body is filled with carbonation, even on a marathon phone call that extends well beyond your 10 p.m. bedtime. It isn’t starting a drive through the countryside with the windows down, accompanied by the clearest of 70-degree days and your top if-stranded-on-a-deserted-island CD, only to slam on the brakes and camp roadside out of fear that it might rain. The beginning of anything is not about panic and a fear of timing and the future. It’s about letting yourself go.

So no, the last date with the new man didn’t go either of the routes that Kim imagined. The last date didn’t really go the route I imagined, either.


September 13, 2007
Last night was the first time I saw the new man since the - *cough* - incident. Kim showered me with tough love advice before the date.

Kim's thoughts as to how the night should go:

Ah, well, what *I* would do is keep it light at the beginning. Not light and fluffy, just light. Small talkish, but friendly. Not giggly or flirty - friendly. Talk about the race, how Earnhart put up a good fight at the end, and it's a shame he's not in the chase this year.

Then after the first drink, bring up what you need to discuss. Don't spring it on him, just casually work it in.

Either you resolve things and end the night having kinky time or you find he's an asshat, throw a drink in his face, stick him with the bill and storm out just 'cause you've always wanted to do that.

Kim's predictions as to how it would go:

At first it's a little uncomfortable because there's the whole falling out looming over you although neither of you want to talk about it right off the bat to ruin the evening. Things eventually lighten up a little, perhaps due to numerous 3 legged cat jokes, and the drinks are flowing nicely.

After you're good and tanked, you blurt out, "So what was up with you the other night?"

Bringing you right back to where you were before, talking about your "relationship" when you're drunk. He shuts off. You demand respect.

Then you're abducted by aliens.


Neither happened. Entirely. At all, actually.


September 12, 2007
Turned tables
Overheard in a Northern Virginia Outback Steakhouse:

Elderly man surveying one of two Bloomin’ Onions just brought to his table, to five of his same-aged male buddies: “Good God. Can you imagine how many calories are in this thing?”

September 11, 2007
six years
When the anniversary of September 11, 2001 arrives each year, I consume as much of the coverage of the day’s event as I can. I listen to NPR, watch every bit of documentary footage, and read and review pictures and print. Some part of me knows that the draw has to do with a pull toward crime and the macabre. A bigger part of me wants to take time away from the discussion of Britney’s paunch and my own indulgences to gain some perspective and remind myself that this did happen. Planes hit buildings. A jet inverted at more than 500 miles an hour and plowed into the grass in Pennsylvania. People received phone calls from coroners asking them to identify the hands and feet of their loved ones. It isn’t idle curiosity that makes me want to see more, to know more. I feel like I have to expose myself to as much of this as is possible, as if almost by repetition alone I’ll have been witness to this myself, that it will mean something, that it won’t seem so removed and distant.

I hate that remoteness, the detachment that I have for all of this. I hate that I watched for a full 90 minutes a special on those who jumped from the Twin Towers, and that the images didn’t really bother me. It’s hard just to type that. I didn’t cry when I saw their contorted bodies in successive high-zoom images spiraling at high speed through the sky. I’m numb. What they must have faced in those buildings, what the promise of that alternate death must have looked like to make them choose plunging to the pavement as the better option – it does not register. I simply watched, frozen, incredulous, only crying when their families told stories of who the dead had been. How they had loved their two young sons or how they repeatedly showered the living with knowing I love yous in those final minutes. I don’t know how to explain that. The numbness. It somehow feels like a failure.

With close ties to both NYC and DC, I sometimes feel like a failure that I wasn’t in either place at the time. I was in a hospital in central Florida without a television set. I didn’t see the towers fall until I got home that night, blocked by news sites that simply couldn’t hold the weight of the world’s interest. I didn’t bear witness like everyone else did that day. I’m still trying to.

Maybe if my air conditioning had been shut off due to smoke streaming in from the Pentagon, as my parents’ was, this would seem more real to me. Maybe if dozens of commuters’ cars at my NJ train station were ultimately hauled away unclaimed after a series of weeks, as they were in my sisters’ town, the magnitude of this would register. Would break the skin. Then again, maybe it’s a blessing not to feel it.

September 10, 2007
Sunday was my first day in some time without a cigarette. And that’s a long some time. I’m not sure when I started the everyday thing, but I do know that the vice progressed from a once-a-month “with a glass of wine” indulgence to a regular in-my-car and (gulp) while-at-work routine. Giving into this excess happened right around the time of Bug’s tumor and the start of a new, doomed relationship, both of which made me very anxious, something of which I wasn’t completely aware in that moment.

I didn’t come here to brag about this excellent accomplishment, which is actually quite stellar when you really think about it and stop chewing both your fingernails and the cats’. Instead, I came to gripe about just how frustrating it is to find as you age that each and every one of the things you love is now on the list of prohibited items. Like staying out until 3 am. Like breaking into Dave Grohl’s house and inviting him to be your love slave. And smoking. Have you tried cigarettes? If you haven’t, don’t. Because for the most part, they’re glorious. Smoking feels fantastic and makes you a little giddy despite your odd smell. It goes great with a summer night or a glass of Pinot Grigio or a soft taco from the Bell. Cigarettes taste good. And they feel good. And anyone who says differently is a liar, a big, fat dirty liar like those adults who tell teens that sex just isn’t any fun.

Don’t ask me why, but I stayed in, watching nearly every episode of one of those weight loss reality shows on this beautiful weekend (the humor of that fact not lost on me). And I wanted to jump through the screen every time one of the trainers showed a chunky contestant just how super! artificially-flavored, sugar free gelatin is, and how Mmmmm, it tastes just like Mom’s strawberry shortcake when you open a cup of the stuff, top it with a sassy dollop of Suave styling mousse, some crumbled Wasa bread, and ¾ of a strawberry (leaf)! Because no matter how much those reality-deprived contestants want it to be different, the food in life that tastes really, really damn good, the stuff of Pavlovian responses, is all awful for you. General Tso’s chicken. Supreme pizza. Easy Cheese right off of your finger with a 64-ounce Coca-Cola Classic. Eaten while in the tub.

Nowhere in my life is this phenomenon more pronounced than in the area of rosacea. Yeah, I said it, the condition one aims for second only to syphilis, the skin affliction that leaves me at 33 years of old age with teen acne that has me attending to Oxy commercials and putting on foundation before I exercise. Want to know what's on the list of prohibited goodies for this one? Don'tcha?

Alcohol, especially red wine, beer, bourbon, gin, vodka or champagne.
Sour cream.
Hot baths.
Soy sauce.
The sun. You know the one - the giant orb around which we all rotate?
Indoor heat.
Heated beverages.
Marinated meats.
Spicy foods, like the beloved vindaloo.
Did I mention the beer?
And the red wine?
And the happiness?

Although there is one beautiful item that made the list, for which I will be eternally grateful:


Time to sit on my ass and eat some Easy Cheese. After all, no one mentioned cheese product specifically.


September 7, 2007
shut it.
I have this problem of, how you say, not being able to keep my mouth shut. My mother has always told me that it would get me in trouble, that my insistence on hammering out an issue right here, right now would earn me a ticket to the dog house or the big house. This life is still young. I think I might make entrance into both.

The other night I was in a situation out with friends and the new man in which I felt frustrated. The obvious and completely logical choice in said situation would be to:

1) Enjoy yourself. These were only minor frustrations and there is a time and a place for all discussions, this beautiful summer night not being one of them.

2) Wait it out. You may wake up tomorrow and, like elusive matching socks in the dryer, these issues may be nonexistent, a blip on the radar screen of your evening.

3) Drink your weight in Miller Lite and corner the man on the way home, refusing to go inside until you have discussed at record decibels your two-week old dating issues and plans for vacation 2015. I’m not exactly sure, but there may have been finger waving. And possibly some head swivels. Exorcist style.

I’ll let you decide which I chose.

I ache even thinking about it. And I will not be surprised if he himself buys me a membership.

September 5, 2007
The school nurse found my head lice in the 1st grade. Let me clarify - it was our very collective head lice - it had somehow passed around our classroom faster than did the rumor that Todd D. had piddled his grey sweatpants. My mother was mortified. After all, only dirty hippies and children of women who didn't wear pantyhose got head lice. The bugs clearly had come courtesy of a saucy six-year-old head orge, young brunettes rubbing up against underage towheads in the heat of a blazing London sun. Don't I wish.

She whisked me home on diagnosis night and hosed me down in the tub, dousing my hair with some sterile-smelling dark liquid before putting me to bed for the night. She made sure that I rested my head on one of those towels from the very back of the linen closet. I was told to keep it hush hush, a good call on her part, given the fact that nothing would bring a six-year-old more glee than bragging to an adult dinner party that she had caught real, live bugs IN HER HEAD. We never spoke of my affliction again.

About a week ago, while clearly bored and lacking sufficient Pinot, I was studying the cats' litter box when I noticed something strange. A noodle, perhaps. A perfectly spiraled, two-inch long whirl of spaghetti, wrapped delicately around cat stool like proscuitto on melon. I delicately removed the specimen from its resting place and put it in one of my corner store bags. I of course then promptly returned to watching the Hills while downing a bag of Baked Doritos.

So today when leaving for the vet's office, it struck me that there was a bag of cat feces I'd been storing next to my Queen Anne lingerie chest. Hmmm, I thought. Maybe I should take the offensive stool noodle to the vet? By this time, it had hardened and shriveled up like my soul, so I immersed it in the full bathroom sink to see if I could plump it up. Because of course, Kris, why wouldn't that thing in your cat's feces turn out to be a sea monkey? I ultimately took its crisp self to the vet in a glass votive candleholder taken from the very back of my closet, proudly sealing my creation with clear packing tape. Because that's what Florence Henderson would have done, should she have found an invertebrate in Jan's number 2.

And it occurred to me as Cricket threw up in the vet parking lot that all of the above really made me a mother - a true, loving, neurotic mom. But that unlike my own, who likely quilled it in her journal and then immediately threw the parchment into the fire, I wanted nothing more, when they told me the cats had dirty bird worms, and that I HAD BROUGHT THEM INTO THE HOUSE WHILE OBVIOUSLY NOT WEARING PANTYHOSE, than to abandon Cricket in the car and scream to the Internets that it was so. And I was also happy for the 6,098th time that I wasn't a real-life human mom, given that it probably would have been hard to explain a child locked up in the Sentra.

September 2, 2007
a Saturday morning
There's nothing like a 7 a.m. drive of shame to make you feel like you're young again.

And by "young," I may or may not mean "a whore."