07 December 2012


My Grandmother is sad that she's spending Christmas in Florida, away from our massive extended family. My mother is the eldest of nine; grandma bore ten living children, one stillborn child, and lost an infant to SIDS. She's been raising children for the past fifty-three years - her own, or her children's children. My mother was the first, at age nineteen, to have children. I'm one of six. We moved in with my grandparents and my teenaged aunts and uncles when my parents divorced, when I was two. My youngest aunt, who was eleven when I was born, got pregnant when she was 21 or 22 and still living with my grandparents; she kept on living there, my grandmother being the primary caretaker of her baby while she went to school and/or worked and/or partied. The baby, my cousin Kenny, called my grandmother "mom" for some time. But he wasn't the only one my grandmother took care of. She was the free babysitter for most of my cousins. My many, many cousins. Only one of my uncles hasn't had any children. At least as far as we know. I'd place the likelihood at a pretty high level that he knocked someone up at some point, and never even knew it; or maybe he did. The rest of my aunts and uncles have an average of five children each. The youngest, I think, is probably about five by now.

The great grandchildren have started to roll in, but at a much slower pace. So much slower. My grandmother must be devastated by the slowness, and surprised - there are so many of us of child bearing age now. There are only three so far: one from my cousin, Katrine, and the other two from my sister, Jane. Katrine was living in Florida when she became pregnant. She moved home with her parents in Connecticut when she had the baby. My sister had her first baby in Florida, and her second in Massachusetts; she moved back there when she couldn't find work in Florida. For a time she stayed with my mother and my two half-siblings in the house that I grew up in. I imagine that whenever my grandparents were in Massachusetts, they would stay there too, and look after the kids, as usual. Well, grandma would - my grandfather would be reading the paper in his reclining chair, as he always does, occasionally lowering it to look at the ruckus-making kids, semi-sternly, over the top of his reading glasses before raising it back up to his face. Don't be fooled, though, he's an old softie, and is probably just as woeful as my grandmother is about not spending Christmas with the family.

It's funny to think how very grandmotherly my grandmother is. That's all she's ever been in my experience. But I hear these stories from my mother's youth, stories about the nanny. It was the nanny that raised the kids, not my grandmother. She worked at my grandfather's medical practice, a secretary or office manager, or somesuch. Maybe that's why she's able to tolerate the young rascals now - she wasn't tortured by them in her mothering years.

24 August 2012

Strange Days

I've lived in New York City for eight years, so I can officially, per the unwritten rules fully applicable to NYC residents, call myself "a New Yorker." I always sort of was, though, at heart - not one of those kids that comes in to live it up for a few years and then settle into the Walmart life back home. By New Yorker at heart I mean: cynical, bitter, mean, snappish, always in a rush. You know, all the good qualities that the ever-increasing slime flowing through the sewer system inspires in us New Yorkers. It also means paying no heed to the screaming man on the subway, the topless East Village girl, that inexplicable maple syrup smell.

 Well today on my commute, I found myself in a state of caught off guardness. There was a woman standing near me on the subway. I was leaning against the door, and she was holding onto the pole beside one of the nearby seats. She was fairly unremarkable, this woman: camel colored loafers, cuffed khaki pants, a multi-colored, probably Mossimo, shirt, mousey brown hair in a pony-tail. Oh, the pony-tail! If not for it, I would not have seen: HER NECK PIERCING. This woman, otherwise a complete bore to the aesthetic sense, had her neck pierced. Suddenly she was magical. Not just because she had a neck piercing, no, any Hot Topic g-raver could get one of those at the mall piercing shop. It's because she was so very unremarkable other than the piercing. It's like, "Hey, check me out. I look boring, eh? I don't even register on your radar, do I?" Then, BOOM. Neck piercing in ya face!

01 August 2012

Dirty Subject Lines That Are Not Spam

  • Pearl necklaces only 39.99 - 175 value - Value oriented neck decoration. (Beyond the Rack)
  • Pearl Necklace and Earring Set - When the necklace just doesn't cut it anymore, hit the next level: earlobes. (Groupon)
  • Half or More Off Facial - Quickie facial. (AmazonLocal)
  • European Facial - European things are always better, right? (LifeBooker)
  • Laser Facials - For those who want it to hit so hard it leaves a scar. (LifeBooker)
  • 50-minute Facial - For Olympic e*aculators and those that love them. (LivingSocial)
  • Labiaplasty, Facial Package, Online Dating Membership - This one seems specifically geared toward Octo-mom and those of her ilk (are there any of her ilk?? She strikes me as a rare gem, a once in an eon personage, maybe that's just my hope, my dream for humanity). (Lifebooker)
  • Brazilian blowout -  Those Brazilians go hard, so hard they'll blow you right out. (Lifebooker AGAIN)
* Redacted so as to reduce the frequency with which this post appears in searches for, you know, e*aculators. I mean, it's already going to get hit hard with all these facials, blowouts, and pearl necklaces.

15 March 2012

Book Suggestion: Emily Post's Social Etiquette for the Truly Petty

Addresses such quandaries as:

- Whether to invite a person that you do not like to a party that you are hosting for someone the unliked for person is friends with.

- How to keep your story straight when lying to persons at varying levels of the pecking order about why you are unable to attend a social function.

- How to make it seem like the reason you started sitting at a desk much further away has nothing to do with your dislike for the person that you moved away from, and everything to do with your allergies associated with their side of the room.

- Excuses for skipping important social functions, matched for appropriateness: boyfriend's best friend's going away party (long day at work); boyfriend's sister's engagement party (work deadline); co-worker's bachelorette party (your parents are in town); ex-girlfriend's ex-best friend's birthday party (going upstate for the weekend)

- How to continue to have your needs catered to by someone you have dissed, or dis repeatedly, and not feel bad about it. 

- Facebook status updates and tweets: how thinly veiled a statement can you get away with when you know someone/everyone will see it and know who/what you are not so subtly taking a dig at?

And many more!

30 January 2012

Things in hospitals that look like faces (and not happy ones, at that)

I spent five days in the surgical intensive care unit at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami, two weeks ago. Hours seemed to melt into each other. At first it was easy to keep the melting at bay, with the ativan dose routinely coming every four hours and the morphine every eight. But then the morphine dosages kept increasing, so the time kept changing. Then they added respiratory therapy every four hours, but they weren't the same four hours as the ativan. Then came the elevating of one side of his body or the other every two hours, to keep bed wounds from forming on his back, because an infection would have been epically bad.

The first night I didn't sleep. I took a cat nap on a chair in the waiting room, using my winter coat as a blanket, draping my scarf over my face to keep the light out. I had my boots on, the ones that I wore on the 6 am flight to Tampa and on the drive from there to Miami, for 48 hours (the same clothes, too, naturally). The second night, my brother brought sleeping bags, so I slept in the corner for a couple of hours. The third night, they brought a cot.

It seemed like they never re-stocked the salad bar, while we were there. We arrived Wednesday afternoon in time for lunch, and had eaten them out of spinach and broccoli by Friday. After that it was burnt pizza and cold sweet potato fries.

Mostly I sat by his bed, which is how I noticed the bedside TV controller that looks like a face. After that, it seemed like everything had a face. But I didn't always have my phone to photograph everything. They all had the same face, you'll notice. A sort of stern face. Not frownie, unhappy, sad. Stern. "Man up," said they. "This ain't the first one and it won't be the last one. Deal."

Bedside TV Controller, With Mysterious Music Button That I Could Not Figure Out How To Get Music From

Otis Elevonic Group Control

Rich-ish People Donation Plaques + Metal Cover Probably Covering Wires + Wall Rail Thingie, Probably For Patients Who Are Able To Get Up From Their Beds To Hold Onto

07 January 2012

A Smile is Just a Frown Turned Upside Down

Some things I saw today:

Sunlight on my bare arms
Smiling faces
A man jogging, topless, on Kent
Two lads tossing around the ol' pigskin at East River Park

A three headed beast

Three dogs on a corner

Three white sheets hanging out to dry

A sneering dolphin

The moon over a jet stream

01 January 2012

Goals, Or Whatever

I was inspired to make this 2012 goals list while preparing my "new year's" brunch.