Monday, October 31, 2005

The slobbering hoards

The slobbering hoards are chomping at my ankles for pictures. Now, I'll have you know that the vast majority of individuals who make up said hoards have made fun of me or even reprimanded me for humiliating my dog in this fashion. Apparently the message is, "You shouldn't do this, but if you do I totally want to see and don't be dilly dallying." I have had no less than 3 requests for pictures of the event. I am duly flattered and a little embarrassed. I don't have a bunch of pics of the greatest costumes. As soon as PUPS posts more pics I'll send you over there for the full on show. Two words, people: Flying. Monkey.

In the mean time here's what I've got.

The FABULOUS Emcee of the event, Justine. (I'm a little bit in love with her, please don't tell.)

Oh, wait, the event, if you don't know, is The Great Pupkin. It is brainchild of Kath. Apparently if you make enough costumes for country music singers and then move north of the Mason-Dixon you have to exorcise your demons somehow.

Here be an uncostumed Great Dane. I just thought he was cool.

This is the combo that should have gotten at least an honorable mention and were totally robbed by someone who put a t-shirt and a ball cap on their dog and called him Derek Jeter. Teddy's girl sewed, people. She taught me how to weave a paper basket and then insisted that I get a piece of cloth from her notions basket to cover the imaginary offering to Grandma. At the last minute she "poofed" the cap with tissues. We got love from the organizers, the spectators, random people walking by - everyone but the judges. I give you Little Red Riding Hood and Grandma (or is it?).

Truly, Teddy's girl had a red cape. I used my knowledge of past pupkins to steer her from oft-used cape costumes and came up with a caped concept. Oh I also bought the nightie for Grandma. All the heavy lifting was done by Teddy's Girl. She had a vision and she made it come true. It was awesome.

Here's the close up of Teddy as the Wolf in drag. It's the only one I think where he's wearing the spectacles. He has spectacles, dear readers. The girl made him spectacles and he wore them. Come on!

For the grand finale I give you what, in my biased opinion, is the cutest dog ever seen.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

My socks are White

Love the underdog, always. I'm not saying the White Sox were underdogs this year but having not won in 88 years and not even in a series since 1959 they do have that overall underdog thing going for them.

I'm a little sad that my cheerily colored sox weren't farther in it this year but if anyone had to win I'm glad it was Chicago.

Congratulations South Side!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I never would have pegged myself for this, would you?

You are Ophelia, of Hamlet. You are innocent and
subject to what others impress upon you.
Devoted but torn, you cannot cope.

Which Shakespearian Tragic Heroine Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, October 21, 2005

Pride goeth before...

Surely you know that I come across better in writing (so imagine how I feel when I come across badly in writing). I do not like meeting new people and striking up those ever-awkward conversations. I have probably a 40% success rate with these conversations. In light of that I think it's understandable that I get a little cocky when I get one right. The universe, however, thinks that cocky looks bad on me (washes me out, makes my hips look chunky, you know, the usual) so they pretty much immediately knock me back down.

Case in point:

Yesterday at lunch time I had to stop at Smith and Wollensky to get some information. When I finally got some attention it was from Adam, the host, and Adam was very happy to see me, he thought I was fabulous, everything I said was wonderful and everything I wanted he would absolutely arrange for me, gladly, and he was clearly so looking forward to my call on Monday, really it was going to be keeping him awake nights until then. Now, it's S&W, it's the very definition of a boy's club, if you're breathing and have a 50% chance of having a vagina you will be flirted with...and the breathing is optional so I had a leg up so to speak. And yet, I was a little flattered, I felt ever so slightly successful.

Last night I went to dinner at a little Mexican restaurant where you have to ask at the cashier for the key to the restroom. When I was done I stepped around a young man to lay the key on the counter.

He smiled at me.

I smiled back.

He said, "Hi."

I said, "Hi." and I started to think that I was maybe on a roll, maybe things were better than I was making them out to be.

He said, "Do you have a take out menu?"

Thursday, October 20, 2005


In my neighborhood a lot of people are afraid of dogs. So I keep my eye out and tend to keep my dog close when people I don't know are around. Imagine my surprise when I passed a woman this morning and she piped up:

"Your dog walk like she proud."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I love hockey. I think it's the perfect combination of grace and brutality. It speaks to both sides of my disagreeable mind.

Thanks to the gentlemen that pay my salary I had the good fortune to go to a Rangers game last weekend (THANK YOU!). Not just to go but to sit in the high class seats. Two rows from the ice, people. I saw the look on the goalie's face when he let that one goal in (only one, though!).

After a little thought and a little luck (I thought he was in Rome for cripes sake, go here for details on that) I called my cousin, MG, to join me. I both love and like my cousins on my dad's side. They're a bunch of intelligent, adventurous, talented, funny and fun people. So, it felt just right to share this with him.

Not only was it the full on hockey experience (I practically got flicked with sweat from this guy's mullety hair) it meant that we had hockey plus conversation. We talked about baseball (the 2 seasons are so damn long you have to be creative about the overlap); journalism and the state of news reporting in America; the extended family; movies; our childhoods; his battles on, with and about the high seas; and probably a ton of other stuff I don't even remember. It was one of those great conversations where you really have to push yourself to keep up and we did it all while paying pretty strict attention to the game. Oh, and whenever we had a hockey question we just turned to the guy next to us who was a veritable font of information.

The fabulous time that was had, however, is not what I'm writing about tonight.

I'm not fat. Look for a post soon to contradict this but go with me for now. I'm not fat in the grand scheme of Americana. I'm probably right on target for average. OK, I'll do it, I'll tell the internet, I'm 5'3" tall and I weigh 155 pounds right now. I don't think, though, that my hip span (side to side right across the front of those large bumps on your pelvis) is any different than when I weighed 107 pounds. I mean, it's bone and I haven't ever been pregnant so I don't think there's reason to believe spreading. Of the ass, yes, of the bones, no.

Anyway, I came away from the game with the sides of my hips fucking grated.

Let me 'splain. There's a lot of standing up and cheering, or standing up and looking or standing up and stretching in hockey. You stand up when there's a goal, you stand up when there might be a goal, you stand up when you want to see the fight more clearly, you stand up when that funny guy in the top tier does the dance in the second intermission, you stand up to protect yourself from the pucks that are headed straight toward you. A lot of standing is what I'm saying. There's more stand up - sit down - fight, fight, fight in hockey than in a double wedding in the Catholic Church.

I didn't fit in the seat. Well, once I sat down I fit fine but the arms were one or two inches skinnier than both the seat and me.

First of all, I don't need this shit because I already feel like a cow.

Second of all, if I'm average then how in hell do above average people fit in these chairs? I won't get all gauche I'll just say that each of these seats cost more than one third of my gross weekly pay when I was temping. Now imagine if you will being an above average person and paying that much money and then not being able to sit in the seat you purchased. How is this good business on the part of the arena?

Eck. Well, just add it to the long list of things that I just don't frigging get. And also, does anyone know where I can get a cheap copy of the NYC Ballet workout on DVD? I'd really like to get into the below average category before I next go to a game.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Friends who are girls

It's the thing about girlfriends, really.

There's a UPS package that's supposed to be delivered to Pony Express' house. It's important that it's UPS because they are tetchy about rerouting, they won't work with you about what time something can be delivered and if you don't receive the package by the third attempted delivery it goes to the "local" pick up point for a week before it's returned to sender. Here in boisterous Brooklyn one's "local" pick up point is usually between 5 and 10 miles away from where you live and not accesible by public transportation so if you don't have a car or a really kindly friend with a car and time (between 8 and 6) to drive out and get your package you're out of luck or paying $30 round trip (in addition to the shipping charge you've already paid) to get your stuff.

So, package, to Pony Express' house, 2nd attempt and she's missed him even though she ran like the wind to get home to catch the man in brown. This phone call:

P: Where are you?

Me: I'm getting off the bus.

P: You're on the bus?

Me: I'm getting OFF the bus.

P: Can you see any UPS trucks by your house?

Me: No, because I'm on the other bus and I'm three blocks away.

P: Damn!

So, I headed home with my eyes peeled for men in short pants and unflatteringly ringed socks. And I found 2, well 2 trucks at least. I saw one parked on the main street but he was parked between 2 high rises and I couldn't see the actual man in the truck, if he was in a high rise it could be ages before he came out. But down the smaller street was another truck by some brownstones. I went to him first.

He was the guy who had just missed Pony Express!

So, I flattered, I pleaded, I explained a little more than he cared to know. Finally I got him to come up with the idea that I should sign for it and deliver it for him so he could continue on his route and not have to double back.

Oh I am so selfless to help a man in brown like that.

And this is what it's lke to have good girlfriends. People who will send you on a brief adventure amongst the mundane. People who will make sure that your dry shoes get to you even though UPS wants your toes to be forever pruny. People who can call you up mid-commute and ask you what you can see from there and be totally serious.

Stupid, but man, that was fun!

Friday, October 14, 2005

I don't know if this is going to work

Your Birthdate: January 9

Your birth on the 9th day of the month adds a tone of idealism and humanitarianism to your nature.
You become one who can work easily with people because you are broadminded, tolerant and generous.
You are ever sensitive to others' needs and feelings, and you are very sympathetic and compassionate.

Your feeling run deep and you often find yourself in dramatically charged situations.
This 9 energy always tends to give more that it gets.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A decade of love

Ten years ago this month on a night very much like tonight I was sitting in the living room of the house that PonyExpress and The Ex (hers) built, toasting my toes under the body of The Ex's dog, Oscar. This may seem like the information from a steel trap of a mind but it's an easy trick because at some point during that chilly, rainy night the phone rang. It was Pony Express.

"Is The Ex there?"

"No, I think he's..."

"OK, um, put Oscar in the back yard. I'm bringing home a dog. If The Ex comes back tell him...just tell him."

She had been working at BAX all day (before it was BAX), while a plethora of artists moved in and out of the space. When she slogged in that morning there had been a dog sitting on top of the stoop of the warehouse next door. All day dancers and choreographers and fighters and videographers wandered in and out commenting on the dog.

She was cute.

She was friendly.

She was submissive.

She was hungry.

She was really wet.

People called her and she came. She came slinking down the steps and across the sidewalk on her belly, flat to the ground, ears tight against her head. Then she gave them her tummy to rub. But if they asked her to follow them to a car she wouldn't go, she would crawl back up onto the stoop and sit again.

An avid choreographer/dog lover wanted to feed her. Unfortunately she only had a PowerBar on her. The dog was OK with that, swallowed it in a gulp and retreated to the stoop again.

By the time Pony Express was done with her work day this dog had been sitting on that stoop in the cold, driving rain for well over 12 hours. (I say 16 but I've been known to exaggerate and I'm trying to reform.)

Pony Express had a friend sit in the passenger seat of her car, she approached the dog, picked her up and sat her right in the friend's lap. This dog shivered and shook and possibly cried for the entire 7 block drive back to the house. I'm not sure how they got her up the stoop and into the house, she was wearing a tiny, bedraggled knotted purple leash made for a dog a third her size, looped around her neck. It was useless.

When you came in the front door of that house you walked in an inner door and then were facing the stairs up to the kitchen. When they came in I sat on those stairs and watched this little dog, who cowered by the front door where she'd been brought in, visibly shaking. In about 20 seconds I heard a voice in my head.

"Her name is Emily."

I told Pony Express.

And we sat there and watched her some more.

We couldn't decide if she was a puppy or an old dog. She felt like a puppy but her furrowed brow made her seem old, we didn't know anything about guessing dog ages. She stood unassisted on her back legs and used her front paws to try and manipulate the doorknob to open the door and escape from us. We took her into the back yard and tried to rig up some sort of shelter for her. We hadn't had her checked out by a vet and we didn't want The Ex to bust us for endangering his dog. This dog we had, she methodically tried all the access to the basement apartment, methodically circling the door, window, window, back to door. The back yard was enclosed but you can still hear all the other yards. When a dog would bark 6 yards away she would frantically try to escape.

The downstairs tenant finally came out and heard our tale of woe and saw how ridiculous our shelter was and offered to keep this dog with her for the night. For all that the parting with that tenant was not good I will always hold a special place in my heart for her. Because that PowerBar? She had to clean it up. Three times. In the middle of the night. Bless her.

Next day Pony Express and The Ex took Emily to the vet. According to her teeth she was six months old. She knew to sit. We suspect she'd been taught to stay but we haven't been able to get her to do that again, and with good reason I think.

Two days after she came home we had a party. We had the dogs out in the back yard. We were pimping her out a bit, seeing if someone would adopt her, so The Masseur came early. Pony Express opened the window to the back yard and showed him the dog. His face when he touched the soft fur of her face is always with me. It was as though he melted. She would have loved him, too, except she was fully focused on the window and what was inside.

She had some food issues. For months she would eat her entire meal in less than a minute. We timed it. If you watched carefully (like at a car wreck or a fire) you could see the front half of her body swallowing and the back half regurgitating. Fortunately the front half always won but this war was grimly fascinating.

When The Masseur came back in she saw her opening. This dog who was afraid of noises and movement and people and animals and wind bolted over The Masseur, past 4 people, through a small library and into the dining room, got up on the table and ate 4 pieces of chocolate cake before we could wrestle her to the ground and get her back outside.

We'd be here all night if I told you all the stories. And you would never come back to the blog ever again and I would hate that. So, it's been 10 years since that rainy cold day in October. Em (Emolina, Embollism, Radar, Bubba, Pretty Girl, Embely Pembely, Emster) moved out of that house with me a couple of years later and, aside from a few sojourns with Papa Kizz and P she's been with me ever since.

Isn't she beautiful?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Sunday, October 09, 2005


I'm a big fan of tradition. It's partly the routine of it but it's not a need for repetitive action. It's milestones, it's landmarks, it's a yearning for the vaguest hint that I'm headed in the right direction to get where I'm going.

I figured this out this summer with the many weddings. Both brides seemed staunchly against most traditions. Which is fine with me, too. I mean, I don't think that a tradition that one finds offensive or that simply doesn't serve you should be included. But I think that a lot of the time people strike all traditions universally without looking at what that tradition might give you. Like a Best Woman (or man or maid of honor or whatever) has a job. For each bride that job is going to be different but if you choose the person who really knows you and supports you best then your Best will know exactly what to do or how to get you to tell them. As an actress I can attest to the great relief that is provided by someone who is there to serve your needs on the day of performance.

Probably the tradition I love best (and that is so strongly frowned upon) is that of traditional vows.

"I (Your Name Here) take you (The Other One's Name Here) to be my lawful wedded (husband/wife/spouse) to have and to hold for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, to love, honor and cherish as long as we both shall live."

I like the idea of ritual phrases, of the fact that these words have been spoken by other wedding participants for hundreds of years. And think about it, think of all the personalized vows that you've heard over your wedding attendances, and tell me that those traditional words don't encompass all the personalized vows and more. I'm not against personalized vows, they're just not for me and I'm trying to say why.

Also, it's not just weddings where I like my tradition. Turkey on Thanksgiving, Ham on Christmas, dressing up as a tap dancing skeleton on Halloween. I like the landmarks. Like taking the same Christmas photo every year so you can note the changes in each person over time. All my life the one tradition I kept to was Christmas Eve with my dad's dad since that was Robbie's birthday. He died in November of 2000 and the following Christmas Eve some family members stuck to the tradition, having one last hurrah at the homestead, and others seemed almost relieved not to have to go. I still miss it every year. Last year, I had a good time doing all the things I wanted to do and yet...I still didn't love it. I still cried for the loss of my landmark. Which I guess is one hint that I haven't found the right "replacement tradition" for that day.

I've reinvented Thanksgiving practically a dozen times. We used to spend it with grandparents. Then when I was in college JAM started working the Macy's parade I decided to claim Thanksgiving as my own, to celebrate in New York, to learn to cook the meal on my own and eventually to invite my friends and convince them all to abandon their families on this special day as well. I loved doing that. But I spent one year in London and another in Michigan and one in Ohio and JAM and I weren't together anymore but all the people who attended the dinner are friends with both of us so I bowed out. It was the right decision but I still miss that, too. The past few years I've developed my own tradition which I like a lot. I spend the morning delivering meals for God's Love We Deliver and the afternoon cooking for myself and watching the traditional Thanksgiving movies, Home for the Holidays and Pieces of April. This year I'm even testing out a new element. A Friday open house for people to come and eat leftovers and tell stories about how good or bad or weird their Thursday was.

I've got other traditions too. Today marked another, more frequent one. When I finally moved back here to New York after the jaunts overseas and through the midwest PonyExpress and I felt we needed/wanted to be more social, to see our friends more often. We knew that we couldn't handle a ton of planning or variety and that our favorite meal of the week was brunch. So we have this very casual once a month brunch thing. The watchword is casual. We send out an e-mail to a group of friends the previous Sunday with a location and we always go at noon and whoever wants to come can come. If you feel like telling us you're coming great, if not also great. If you get up on Sunday morning and suddenly decide, "Hell yeah!" then come on down. We try to choose places where we can have some flexibility and don't need a reservation.

We've been doing this for something like four years now and it works pretty well. I've only been completely stood up once. We usually have between 6 and 8 people, sometimes less and more times than you might think we have 12 or 14 people. Today I was not in such fine form. I got there early to a place I hadn't fully checked out that had a huge line. I put my name on the list for the 5 people I thought we'd be. Then I checked my phone and the other 4 people had left a message saying they were opting for Wallace and Grommit instead. I decided to wait and see how things panned out anyway. MarkyB showed up. I waited some more. It seemed clear it'd be just us and I was hungry so I changed us to 2 people - just trying to be nice to the host, you know. I got back outside, gave Mark the update and BAM, S&C showed up. So I conned S into going in to change the numbers for me. It was fine but funny. It did end up being just the 4 of us, which was super nice. It seems that for the bulk of the last year I've always been at the other end of the table from S&C so I got to catch up on their doings and spend some more quality time with Mark, too.

My favorite brunch story, though, is the time we shamed a host. We put out the call for Acme, which is a favorite, and had heard nothing back from anyone. So PonyExpress and I waited until about 12:15 and spoke to the host. We asked, as we often do, for a table with room to grow since we were 2 now and we figured we'd be 6 and we might be as much as 10. The host was a lovely young man, he gave us a look that said essentially, "What a nice pair of delusional women." He gave us a table in one corner of the room far, far away from the rest of the patrons. We noted his look and giggled about it and felt a little stupid and ordered a drink. 20 minutes later we were sitting at the head of a table of 14 people and the host would have looked properly impressed had he not been running his ass off trying to serve us all.

I love tradition. The ones that make you smile and give you good stories and gather the people you really love around you. You should try it some time, you might like it.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Busted by the Married People (Part Deux)

Scene: Quaint Vietnamese restaurant near Union Square that serves the traditional Vietnamese Pad Thai before we go see Serenity. The discussion has, predictably turned to the Gilmore Girls.

Me: You know, every time I see Logan I like him and it always feels as though it's against my better judgement and yet I like him.

TA: Nope.

Me: I know, I know it's wrong but it's the moment when he comes to check on her and comfort her after they get out of jail and he says, "Ace, you need to tell me why we're committing a felony next time. It doesn't mean I won't still do it, I just need to have all the facts."

TA: Nope

Me: (verging on the whiny) But why?

TA: (nodding sagely) It's about the way they act in front of other people. That's how you know.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


My mom had cancer. Mrs. X. That history teacher. My friend Josh's sister died of it. The next door neighbor lady and her mother-in-law. ChemE's mom died of it, too. A is just finishing the therapy now. A list as long as my arm. So ChemE and Steph and I congratulate ourselves on getting away from home and thereby saving our lives.

H got it here, though, in New York. So the pattern is broken. Still, I don't think about it as something that happens here. Or to people my age. Well, I do. I do now, at least.

Heart trouble, diabetes I'm pretty much guaranteed to get those. According to my mom, who has a PhD in denial, I shouldn't worry about the cancer.

A while ago I talked about the formal lynching of the person who came up with an insurance plan to sell to companies that doesn't cover breast cancer. The woman whose company bought that policy is in the hospital today. The cancer is in her brain now, for sure.

Sure, there's no way to know how this would have gone if she'd had different insurance. It's possible that she'd have been like me and she would have ignored symptoms to some extent anyway. Though, really, not probable. It's likely that she would have at least had faster and less stressful treatment. On the other hand it's possible she could have had an experience like H and A, uncomfortable and surely no fun but one might say easily survivable. Even relatively quick, you know, as surgery, chemo and radiation go.

She does have a name but I don't have permission to use it and I'm not sure that I would anyway. She's a tiny little woman. She's brightly colored in my mind. She looks like a person whose dirtiest joke would be about those horses that fell in a mud puddle but I have a feeling she'd giggle at some of the jokes my mom tells. Her idea of sending you a couple of photos is to send a bunch of photos, one framed photo, a t-shirt and a handwritten note. She's so quiet sometimes you could forget she was sitting there, quietly in one place for 2 hours. She works half days while she's in treatment and then comes home to where she's living with her parents (since she can't afford to live on her own and pay her medical bills) and cooks lunch for her retired mother.

Her future is uncertain now and really all we can do at this point is to think of her fondly and send her good thoughts (some people - people who aren't me - might call them prayers), to thank her for what she has given to us so far...and ask for a little more.

I will do my best to concentrate on those good thoughts but I don't think that part of my brain will be able to stop wondering what sort of person could condone the devising of such an insurance policy or the purchasing of it. Have they ever had to pay their own medical bills? Have they ever had a friend or relative with a life threatening illness? What exactly do they tell themselves that justifies this decision? I'd say that I'm just interested and yet it's not that. I'm angry, furious and sad and I want someone to be accountable.

And I've only known her a month.

The break is 'cause I'm partying

However, it's a pity party.

I've got a few posts in the pipeline, they need some work. It's been a week of low self-esteem so it's hard getting stuff out of the pipeline and into the world. I'll be back in a day or 2.

In the meantime...

Go see Serenity, it's fun!

And, the original movie this is carved from is the first horror movie I ever saw. It still gives me the willies.