Sunday, October 31

I Love This Day

Friday, October 22


In the ‘70s, the whole area was grey and filthy, so they took up building two giant towers.

People groaned and resisted, but then grew to love them. Then things became less filthy, and those two giant things became a symbol of what life in New York was.

But then they were both gone. And people were sad. Life stopped for a while.

Finally, things started to come alive again, and the city became gorgeous again, while we waited for what would be built. From my old apartment:

Now, they’ve already finished this.

And this is coming in 2008.

Replacing two giant buildings that became the single emblem of a city with one modern, angular “memorial” building is a mistake.

But people aren’t groaning or resisting. Because some have insisted that a “memorial” is the only way to go, and the rest are afraid to insult “the memories”.

But it’s more of an insult to their memories not to rebuild bigger, stronger, better versions of the old.

It’s not as if anyone could actually forget that it happened.

The building of the next giant is coming. It’s ugly. It’s not New York. And it makes me sad again.

Thursday, October 21

You Ask and You Get

Dear Nice-People-Who-Ask-About-MBO,

1. Despite this and this, I am doing very well this week, thank you.

2. Remember the MBO t-shirt?

You can wear one too!

Check out the Punch In The Arm stuff at Café Press.

With Love,
Someone Who Might Punch You

Sunday, October 17

New 'Do

So I decided that the cheerful pink and white should be updated for Fall.

What do you think?

“Making out with you is like a project.”*

Considering the asthma I have, I was a fool to leave New York without first making sure that my health insurance was good in California.

City-centric thinker that I was, I assumed that Insurance No. 1 would be happily accepted all over this country, including my new home. Well, I’m an ass. And now I can’t breathe, but am I about to go to the emergency room? No. One treatment on a nebulizer will run me $500, so I’m holding out for November 1. (November 1 is the day that Insurance No. 2 has kindly informed me that I will be able to start seeing a doctor.)

But for now, my asthma is killer. And since I can’t breathe, I sound like Phyllis Diller if I talk too much. Also, I can’t kiss The Boy very well. As I’m taking a deep breath before going in for one, the thing that runs through both of our minds is how absolutely un-sexy the whole affair has become.

So I am anxiously counting the days to the first of the month.

In the meantime, maybe I should just use my “emergency” inhaler twenty times a day, as one former doctor** suggested. (I think that kind of use merits renaming the device to, I don’t know, “ordinary” inhaler.)

*No, he didn’t mean it.

**The Boy affectionately refers to this one as “that quack”.

Saturday, October 16


Halloween is my favorite holiday. It’s not even about the candy.

I think it’s a combination of the awesome feeling of Fall, and the fact that (if the neighborhood’s doing it right) everyone’s outside. And the candy helps...

Anyway, the Bible Belt is having another hissy fit about it:

“It’s a day for the good Lord, not for the devil,” said Barbara Braswell, who plans to send her 4-year-old granddaughter Maliyah out trick-or-treating in a princess costume on Saturday instead.

Because, people, Saturday is the day for the devil.

My chair is apparently also for the devil. It used to be such a beautiful, happy chair that I loved to sit in all the many hours I spend at my desk.

Since the move, it looks the same, but its spinning mechanism is all screwy:

I lose about five inches of chair height every week. I end up like some kind of chair mechanic, tuning it up every other day.

Although I really shouldn’t be foiled by simple machines, I have yet to figure out what causes the regular descent.

Friday, October 15


Watch in awe as Google makes my day.

Thursday, October 14


I have not been feeling attractive at all lately because I’ve been swimming in my mid-monthly blues.

However, today, while shopping in the best aisle at the grocery store, (the one where everything over 4000 calories and 80 grams of fat lives) I bumped into a man other than my own.

[This may seem to be heading south, but I’m an honest woman.]

Anyway, as I’m thoughtfully staring at the wall of goodies in front of me, searching for the Planter’s mix that best suits The Boy’s taste, this man says,


Can you believe? To me, in my scrubby jeans and tshirt, a normal-looking stranger of the opposite sex opens with a suave “hello.”

After I said the requisite hello back, and we exchanged some talk about the weather, he asked me if I wanted to “go out some time.”

Of course, I was caught by surprise as I picked the Planter’s can off the shelf, so I turned to him and said, “sorry, these are my boyfriend’s nuts.”

Tuesday, October 12

What to Do if You Become the Victim of a Punch

I’ve been asked what protocol to follow if punched. However, since I’m the one punching and not really being punched these days, I thought it best to have The Boy respond.

Step 1: Don’t panic.

Step 2: Assess the size of your aggressor.

Step 3: Act accordingly:

In the case that your aggressor is smaller than you, “you first have to evaluate how ferocious she is,” he says. “If she is not very ferocious, you can probably scare her away with a mean look. If she is very ferocious, you can either contain her, via bear hug, or tough it out by tightening up whatever muscle is being attacked so it doesn’t hurt.”

He doesn’t know what to do when the punching aggressor is larger, but I think you could probably get away with crying. Also, inform someone larger than both of you.

Friday, October 8

Real CNN News

When I saw this headline, I felt terrible for the babysitter, and when I read the last line of the story, I thought, that babysitter had to have known what she was getting herself into. Who has a machete LYING IN THEIR YARD?

The Only Reason to Go to Staten Island on Purpose

My first experience with pizza must have been a good one, because, unlike other foods*, pizza never turned on me. Throughout my childhood, my parents and I ordered a pie every Friday night.

For a long time, we had a Sicilian pie from the Road House, and sometimes we had their bar pies, either a regular cheese or a white pie with broccoli**. However, it seemed that almost weekly the pizza arrived more burnt than the last time. We swore off the Road House’s pizza.

We also ate a lot of Joe and Pat’s. They make this delicious thin crust pie with the tastiest sauce I’ve ever had on a pizza. The drawback: not enough sauce. If I can see the dough from the top of my pizza, I’m not a happy customer.

John’s of Bleeker delivers a standby deliciousness that people consistently rave over, but it still never made it to my Friday table as a regular.

Most recently (before moving to the land of flat, untasty pizza), I had Brother’s at every opportunity. We went to Brother’s before even the Road House, but it used to be that their pies were too doughy and you could get to a slice in the middle and find some uncomfortable mushiness. But now, they make the absolute best Sicilian outside of Sicily. They also make an awesome variation of it, Grandma’s pie. Staten Island is out of the way, but Brother’s is the reason to brave the ferry.

Non-ferry option: Second to Brother’s, the most wonderful place to order a pie (because, disappointingly, they don’t sell slices) is Lombardi’s. They have an amazing brick-oven, fresh mozzarella, basily, rich-and-sweet-and-light at the same time slice with great sauce.

I haven’t wanted a slice this bad in months, and as soon as we find a decent pizza place, I’m reinforcing the Friday night pizza policy.

*I’ve gone stretches of three to eight years without consuming items like hot dogs, potatoes (in any form, after the potato diet), and orange juice, which, occasionally, I still refuse to ingest.

**From The Boy, I’ve learned that, in the rest of the country, pizza is supposed to involve toppings. This is, of course, bizarre to me. So he is still learning to be a connoisseur of cheese pizza, and occasionally I give in to having a topped pizza.

Wednesday, October 6

The Potato Diet

When I was eleven, we started allergy testing because I was one of those unfortunate dorks harassed by pollen, dust, trees, grass, cattle, and many others that made my voice too similar to Fran Drescher’s.

For those unfamiliar with this kind of fun, it involves going to a doctor and having his nurse really, honest-to-god, scratch you with little needles or knives or something that makes blood rise to the surface of your skin. They follow this by dripping some allergen on the sections of your arm that have been scratched, and waiting to see what happens (i.e., how swollen a person really can get in twenty minutes).

After my first visit, I emerged with sixteen scratches on each arm, a total of thirty-two reasons for my teacher to call me aside the next day for a “chat” about my self-mutilation.

About a year after the allergist determined how many thousand shots I would need to be “cured”, and we had begun weekly treatment as prescribed, it became apparent that no change was taking place in me at all.

So my mother and I visited the office one of those weeks, and requested to actually meet with the doctor himself (because his nurses were the ones who administered the shots). She complained extensively about the lack of improvement in me, trying to appeal to the heart with phrases like “poor girl,” and “sounds like a boy,” or “has to take a nap (for headache relief) after school”. I did take a lot of naps.

Anyway, I never liked this man, and as evidence of his crappy disposition, he was not moved by her speech in the least. My mother held her position, but he maintained that he knew what to do.

“Starting tomorrow, she will eat only potatoes for three days. Following this cleansing period, you may reintroduce foods as you like, keeping a daily journal of which foods cause which reactions, if any,” said he.

So mom got creative, and served a tasty rotation of baked potatoes, boiled potatoes, and tater tots. (“No oil allowed” meant no fries.) One week later, I enjoyed mashed potatoes, with the reintroduction of milk and butter.

The three-day potatoes-only diet turned into a three-month potatoes-plus-one diet. And I didn’t eat them again for years.

I miss

those wacky tourists.

Tuesday, October 5

il bicchiere


Which are you?

Monday, October 4


I never realized what a horrible implication it was for Theo’s poor friend Cockroach to be nicknamed as such on the Cosby Show.. until I had cockroaches in my living room.

The Boy and I lived in some high density cockroach breeding areas in Manhattan for quite a long time, with nary a roach to be seen in the living room, so we never anticipated that moving to LA would bring us this kind of present.

Upon arrival at our charming new 1930s-era apartment in a Tudor house of Los Angeles, though, our thoughts proved wrong.

Two months and two days ago we walked into the apartment, mystified, having forgotten our tour and how spacious and appealing the place actually was. For a change, we’d have SIX full rooms to call our own. The place has a generously sized master bedroom, a second that we use for an office, a bathroom, a kitchen (with enough space for an actual table and two whole chairs), get ready for this: a DINING ROOM, and a full sized living room.

Needless to say, we were head over heals, jumping up and down and high-fiving as if we’d won some multi-million dollar sweepstakes. We were this excited even after finding out about our moving truck.

After our stuff arrived, and we’d been all set up for about a week, it happened. I walked into our living room, and spotted the roach standing obstinate near the corner, behind my favorite chair, with its disgusting antennae darting back and forth. Now, I was looking at it from behind, but still felt like it was watching me. Recalling myriad roach horror stories, images of millions of them behind my walls popped into my head, and I screamed for The Boy to get rid of it, please.

There were seven other occurrences, the last of which involved picking up one of the offenders in a cup, opening the front door to throw it out, and having two more offenders fall from above. ICK.

Thankfully, we have excellent landlords who live right above us, and because they don’t want offenders in their living room any more than we do, we had an exterminator the day after the falling incident. Meanwhile, The Boy and I Googled offenders for about three hours and learned all the wonderful things about them. We have these.

Since all of this, we've learned that the neighborhood has what the landlords and the exterminator call an unfixably bad roach problem (they’re all in the sewers). The exterminator said that now they’re “just getting lost” and coming into the house. I don’t know. I haven’t seen a roach since he sprayed outside, and I’m hoping he was completely, infallibly right.

Can you believe this? (What type of person spend money to help them reproduce?!)

Finding Out

It’s just before 2:00 p.m. on Monday, August 2. We have arrived at Culver City Mazda to retrieve what has become the baby: the baby
since I’ve been told that no, I’m really not allowed to have a puppy yet. (I’ve acquiesced since I don’t want to be only one who walks it.) Anyway, we arrive in a cab from the airport, and I continue to marvel at the fact that there’s no return flight.

I sign a thousand sheets of paper in Finance, while The Boy calls our mover’s dispatch number to check on the truck’s whereabouts. When I return to ask him how it went, I find a grim-faced man who clearly doesn’t want to tell me that our stuff won’t arrive for fifteen days.

(We had woken that morning at 4:00 a.m. in New York, and hadn’t slept at all on the plane. Also, we had been waiting at the dealership for over an hour at this point because the car wasn’t ready. I wouldn’t want to share the news with me either.)

It was the kind of super-stressful, pull-your-hair-out, cry-until-your-face-looks-like-it-swallowed-two-golf-balls-and-put-them-behind-your-eyes day that makes you want to go home.

But home, at that point, was either New York, or the empty floor of an apartment in a place we were completely unfamiliar with.

So we went to what should be considered our home, because it was the only reasonable thing to do. And at first, we were happy because it was kind of beautiful. But then I remembered that we were sentenced by our moving company to two full weeks of sleep on the floor and life without computers, or anything comfortable. I was angry, and then I cried the type of crying mentioned above.

So we went to Kmart and spent too much money on things we didn’t necessarily need, like a TV. (However, I argue that we did need that TV, because it allowed us to watch Seinfeld on that first, most horrible night, and Seinfeld reruns have a way of calming any tempest.) We got to bed around 1:00 a.m., which, to our bodies, was 3:00 a.m., making this twenty-three hours the longest I’ve stayed up since college.

The next days weren’t the most fun in our lives, but they weren’t nearly as terrible as I made them out to be in the first hours of doom.

The point is that the whole thing leaves me really bitter about the moving industry. How can it be that the only way to get your stuff across the country is to pay somebody you don’t know and can’t really be fully confident about, to take all of your worldly possessions and drive them to your destination with a bunch of stops along the way, all to arrive to you at an undetermined time?

Proof of the insanity of the idea is the fact that one of my favorite things in the world, a mirror that my mom gave me, never showed up at the house, and the furniture that did show up is damaged. We’re still in the claims process, which will no doubt take about as long as our lease here to be resolved.

I really can’t believe that some brilliant entrepreneur hasn’t figured out a way to cut down the overhead costs of a moving company and make moves easy, instilling confidence in customers, and dominating the market.

Saturday, October 2


Today is Saturday, the first of three formerly endless days of football. Until last weekend, I had been the type of woman to dismiss the game categorically. Admittedly, though, I would play along during Superbowl and some selected other bowls (just for the commercials and the group activity-ness of watching) but I really hated the watching part.

However, lately I really miss home (especially the crisp weather and the multi-beautiful-colored leaves, [NOTE: my memory leaves out the filthy everything and the lack of space to walk or breathe on the sidewalks]). So to recreate some of that idyllic New-York-in-Fall feeling, the boy suggested that we kill Sunday in front of the game. And I LOVED IT.

Once I'd taken the five seconds to actually learn the rules, it became immediately not as mind-numbing as I once thought. And I'm going to watch ..whatever game is on right now, because really it’s all the same.