Thursday, July 31, 2008

Boredom and All The Things That Come With It

Again, I sit and wait for something fabulous to happen to me. I often wonder how it will come. Will it fall from the sky like a bucket of money or will it be a large grand piano, stomping out my dreams forever...or maybe it will be one of those annoying, rusty old air conditioner's in Manhattan that occasionally fall from some tenant's window, maiming, even killing their victims. I think my success will come like a thief in the night...quick and efficient with little margin for error. I'm going to be on of those overnight sensations that people have been pining for and wondering where I've been hiding my self. Someone once accused me of that and my snide response was laced with the type of belligerent language that is easy to disguise, or not. "My friend, I've been right here above the rock you've been living under! How does it feel to breath air that's not littered with slug juice."

There are those that think I am competent and well versed while there is a large contingency of nay sayers, most of them fans of nepotism, who never believed in my abilities. To them I tip my hat for I am the one with continuity, staying power and the innate belief in myself and my many talents. On the eve of my "other impaired" success, meaning at the epicenter of my boredom, I pray for the real success to happen. I'm so over this place and all it has to offer. And just for the record, please remind me what that is because after all these years, those things have been so muddled and embroiled in scandal, I can't seem to figure it out.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dirty Bow Wow

Well, it's summer and my pooch stinks! She gets groomed every five weeks but the minute she is unleashed in our sprawling backyard, she dives deeply into the dirt, rolling viciously too and fro. I reprimand her constantly, only stopping her for a brief moment, until I turn my back and she's going at it again. I can't seem to break her of the stinky habit. She smells like raw eggs when she comes into the house, which makes me gag. I love Velvet...she's my girl but the fact that she stanks throughout the summer definitely curtails our snuggling sessions. I have a great coconut doggie perfume, brush her every other day and even give her the occasional quickie bath with Pet Wipes. All of these remedies work for a short time but once they wear off, we're back to where we started. I'm determined to fix this odoriferous issue this summer and plan on giving her an "in between" bath this weekend. I don't want to keep her locked up in the house when I get home from work or the beach. She's stuck inside all winter and honestly, once school starts, it's hard to get her out enough. We take long, peaceful walks on the weekend but during the week, it's hard. My goal this fall is to walk her everyday. She loves it and I enjoy bonding with her. Velvet smiles at everyone...literally. The lesson to be learned here is that even when something you love isn't always perfect, it still desperately needs your time and attention...and especially your love. It's nothing a good bath won't fix!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Facebook Fascination and Other Random Confessions

Did you ever find yourself gawking at pictures of people you don't know? I'm not sure what my fascination is with Facebook but when people post pictures, I always seem to find myself in a blank haze, staring at these unknown faces with more or less, curiosity. Who are they? What are their stories? They could be characters in one of my scripts or simply a quick distraction from my less than thought provoking job. You make the call. I think Facebook is a bit of an odd creation, proving again that society is more concerned with your looks rather than what lies beneath. It's described as a "social utility" hooking fellow web surfers up with one another. Hmmm...that seems like one to grow on.

I moved away from Albany in the mid-1980's, returning only briefly after graduating with a bogus English degree and finding that the world was NOT waiting for another 20 something with a useless Humanities degree. I would have been better off with a Bachelor of Tarts degree rather than least I would have gotten a job as a woman of the night right out of school. There is always a need for call girls but I honestly think I would have been too much of a complainer. I can hear myself now, "Not there but here...too much, too little....ho-hum, ho-hum...are you finished yet?" Plus, no self respecting young woman would stoop to such levels just to pay the bills. They may strip but my skinny period was brief and fleeting and my thighs never seemed to recover. Anyway, I think a Brazilian would hurt too much. I can barely stand plucking my eyebrows!

My point is, I left that town and return only to see my family. I have a few friends left from there and love them to death but I needed to move on and forward, leaving all those memories dormant. I never even went to my high school reunion. I just couldn't go back there and back to that place. Don't get me wrong, I had tons of friends and did all cool 80's things, including cut school, smoke dope, tease my huge hair, use AquaNet hairspray, listen to The Pet Shop Boys and wear a lot of glow-in-the-dark clothes. At that time, I was smoking Salem Slim Lights, the menthol variety and worshipping Madonna. My friend Rena and I were obsessed with the radio show, "Rock Over London" and anything with Molly Ringwald in it. I couldn't get another rhinestone or gummy bracelet on my wrist, wishing that I had an extra extremity for all the flea market finds I purchased at DayBreak, a vintage clothing store on Central Avenue.. I was high stylin' back then, dancing to "Silly Sets" at the Downtown Athletic Club (DTAC) at the base of Maiden Lane in lower Albany. By the time I would crawl in there when I was 18, I was a gin and tonic away from complete oblivion or another random kissing episode my friends would tease me about on Monday morning during study hall. It was always the cutest guy in the joint. I would set my sights on them and then hook-up, passionately kissing the guy till my jaw would allow no more. I suppose it was a sloppy mess but at the time, I was enjoying myself immensely. Kissing with no commitment....spent some of my best days in Cape May like that but I'll save that for another blog episode.

There are many more confessions to go but I figured I'd start with the more innocent of the lot.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Moronic Monday's

I'm sick to my stomach from having to come into this place when there is little to do. I'm bored, disgusted and frustrated by my job. I've allowed it to hold me back for years, when I thought I had found a comfortable niche. It turns out that I am my own worse enemy. There were plenty of opportunities for me to leave but I always told myself that I had to do the practical thing. I have responsibilities in this world..something I'm not very good at. I really try to do the right things in life, yet I often discover that I've chosen the wrong path once again. Instead of the clean road to success, I pick the one pitted with pot holes, rusty nails and glass shards. I secretly enjoy the more tawdry, raw side of life much to the dismay of many of my loved ones. I'm caught in between Martha Stewart and Motley Crue, yielding to the more sordid rather than the white gloves that ol'Martha likes to whip out every now and then. What a bleepin analogy!

I'm embarking on my script this weekend and am excited to set up the story. I have some great ideas and although some of it may be autobiographical, it by no means is my life story. That would be far too bland with only small lipids of glaring neon color to embellish on. This story is one that has been with me for years and I have a great need to tell it. Whether it makes me money doesn't matter. I'm actually looking forward to the poorer side of life since I now have a full understanding that money doesn't make the person nor does it make your life. You can screw for it, marry for it, die for it and even pine for it, but it sure doesn't feel good when it's the only thing you have in this damn world.

I said yesterday that I was ready for another mindless, maddening week but I'm not. All I can think of is how I wish I was somewhere else...writing a more positive blog and offering up my talents to people who care. I guess I'll have to wait another day for that miracle to take place. Eventually, the earth will move for me...I've become a very patient woman in my elder years.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rainy Days and Sundays Always Get Me High

Today, Vic and I had planned on going to the beach or a fun indy flick but instead, we ended up in big box store. I'm not sure why I got the urge to go to Target, but I did and then regretted it since we spent a small fortune on nonsense. A huge green pocketbook, coconut organic shampoo a Bed Head hair product and some cheap bras...ooh la la.

By the time we finished shopping, the skies opened up and the rain was coming down in buckets. I convinced Vic to venture out into the pouring rain and since he trusts me with his life, he took the literal plunge. We ran to the car, half laughing, half moaning, running passionately through the large puddles that had formed. Soaked through and through, we threw our purchases into the trunk and jumped quickly into the dry car, escaping the huge bolts of lightening that began flashing. Inspecting each other with a once over, we realized that we were beyond water logged. Laughing loudly, we grabbed each other and kissed briefly. Even the most mundane things are enjoyable when he's around.

My shorts were so wet, you could see through them. Great. I wore purple undies underneath my shorts today so I'm sure some of the folks in the parking lot got a booty peek-a-boo show at my expense. I guess that's what they mean by Murphy's Law. If I had worn beige underoos, the sun would have sparkled all day, high in the sky and my bum would not have been public knowledge throughout the greater Nassau County region.

I put the heat on in the car, as we shivered uncontrollably. The rain continued its assault, pounding away at the roof of my car. As quickly as it began, it stopped and we were on our way home. What's better than a rainy Sunday in the summer or for that matter, any time of the year? Hurrying into the house, we stripped in the laundry room and threw our clothes into the dryer. After putting on my jammies, I made a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich, while Vic ate a bowl full of grapes. We began to watch the Darjeerling Express and then took a break to discover why we have been together for almost 20 years. Enough said.

I'd like to think that Sunday's are not only a time to rest, but to enjoy the simple essence of being...just being. No crazy thoughts or hard work but just having the sweet sensation of spiritual renewal or physical satisfaction can be enough for any of us to face the drudgery of another work week. I wish Sunday's lasted just a bit longer because I always feel I could have done more...loved more, ate more, kissed more and especially slept more. This Sunday happened to be marvelous and its ended nicely with an ok steak dinner and great conversation. Now, I'm ready to hit the sack and get ready for another week that lacks intellectual stimulation.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Office Space

I've spent almost 13 years of my life locked away in the safe confines of my office, which I like to refer to as my work pad or simply the real estate where I hide from my boss, a man who gallantly assumes that I intrinsically love my current employment situation, a word I do not use lightly. The administration would prefer that I had a more conventional, conservative attitude and work space rather than the free-wheeling, anything goes atmosphere that my office exudes. Maybe it was my indoctrination into a place they used to call "Birkenstock U. that changed my attitude towards college and how I really feel about rules and regulations. I prefer to exist in a free-form world that welcomes difference, rather than molding myself to follow those that should never lead. I like to think that I'm a quirky type of gal who has stuck around this joint merely for the comic relief of watching so-called educational elitists attempt to vacation from their prestigious egos while making poor attempts to advise students rather than the almighty privilege of working alongside esteemed professors and colleagues. Most of my faculty friends are amazing, well-rounded humanists, yet there are those who treat students as though they are peasants and serfs who should be grateful for the verbal exchanges that happen in the classroom. They seem to soil the experience somewhat, but I quickly learned to move past those that didn't believe in the vision of education and lean towards the sunny halls of Roosevelt.

The cinder block walls of my office are adorned with album art, eclectic posters, hard-to-find radical postcards and various odd memorabilia from my life. The furnishings have changed over the last several years to a funky mixture of garage sale antique chic and late 1960's groovy. Scents like patchouli and sandalwood waft out into the main hall as passersby comment on the wonderful smell. This is the office of my dreams.

Years ago, I had a massive bulletin board in my office, filled with photos of my former students, who I often assaulted with my trusty Polaroid camera. As I collected more and more important artifacts from my "job experience", I posted them all over the walls and windows, much to the Fire Marshal's dismay. I was constantly barraged with loads of mail from local fire safety personnel and disapproving sighs from my old boss, as he paid fine after fine for my potential cinder box.

As one faculty member stated, "it looks more like CBGB's or some East Village dive apartment rather than a college adviser's office. I totally get it." Thank God for an open minded, hip professor who looked like he spent the better years of his life licking the rim of an empty Tangueray bottle, smacking his chops as the last thistle of clear poison dripped into his mouth. At that point, I'd take even a back-handed compliment rather than none at all.

My old boss grew to love my office although he would never openly admit to it. It became the heart of our school, a place where both students and faculty meshed in a way I had never experienced. They became equals in my office, as if there was some sort of magic in the walls that blurred the lines between student and teacher. People talked about everything from politics to food recipes and the ever important venereal disease that may be plaguing them at the moment. What my office created was a community and now on the verge of the school closing, the heart of the school is dying, with the final blow coming in less than a month. This once charmed space will soon cease to exist. Its final moments will be painful and excruciatingly sad, but the memories contained in that particular space will forever remain a powerful, expressive force in my life. It is there where I found a spirit in my work and a unique pride that isn't boastful or arrogant, but simply special. I've been dreading this moment for the past five years and knew that one day I would have to woefully close down a school that I had worked so diligently to perfect. Graduating off the last remaining students seemed to create more of a melancholy atmosphere rather than a celebratory occasion. Thirteen years of my life have been intertwined with a program and a community that I will desperately miss. I've been agonizing over the transition for months now, causing a variety of minor health problems including panic attacks and bouts of serial rudeness that only seems to rear itself in the presence of the "suits" that spearheaded the new world order occupation of my so-called career. All that's left of the pioneering educational visionary that initially introduced me to the world of interdisciplinary learning is a few old tobacco stained architecture books and a clay Tiki God pencil holder I inherited after many years of coveting. I like to think that my old boss deserted me, leaving a huge mess to clean up but in reality, it's nothing so dramatic. He simply got old and retired. I must say, he always did have great timing.

I have much of the paraphernalia that graced the walls of my office and the memories of by gone Halloween parties, fall harvest festival's, Christmas extravaganza's, Valentine's Day chocolate celebrations and my favorite holiday, Mardi Gras, where we stuffed ourselves silly with King Cake and wore crowns made of gold plastic, adorned with fake gems of purple, yellow and green. Our students loved it, as well as most of the faculty after some prodding. They eventually appreciated my sense of community after some strong, used car salesman-like techniques, executed by valued students. Some undergraduates even brought friends to join in on the fun, while former students who worked at the University, flocked back to my office for a slice of pumpkin bread or a nice sugary hunk of Double Bubble.

My students seem to dig the surroundings, feeling right at home as the tunes beat on out of my college stereo system that my mother bought me after hearing endless complaints of how I was sick of spinning vinyl in my dorm room. It isn't CD ready so I spend most of my day listening to WFUV 90.7 on the dial. The mix of indie rock and alternative country is the soundtrack of my career. Most of the DJ's are from the iconic classic rock channel WNEW 102.7 in New York that turned me on to shows like The Grateful Dead Hour and Get the Led Out. It fell to poor ratings in the mid-90's after decades of airing great music.

At first, some of the more traditional, stoic faculty members used to question why students would flock to my area of the Hall rather than theirs, questioning if I was serving mixed cocktails from the alcove of my main office. When I initially heard the rampant rumor, I pondered that particular idea, but after much research, I decided to keep my work pad alcohol-free. There's just too much liability once high spirits and college students are involved. Plus, I'm not in the pleasure business, I'm a college administrator. Most of the news I give people is either mundane or bad, but there are the rare moments when I tell a kid they actually are graduating in four years. It doesn't happen often these days so the unpleasant news surprises me rather than delights, knowing another twenty something will be cast out of the royal college court into a depressed, impersonal job market.

I'm an avid toy collector, so I have a table in my office filled with fun gadgets like the Magic8 Ball, Chinese yoyo's, The Tangle, Koosh's, and various generations of Rubik's Cube. All of my Attention Deficient Disorder (ADD) kids think it's fabulous since it keeps them busy as I dish out much needed advisement. I often wonder if they are paying attention when I explain the graduation requirements for a Bachelor of Arts degree in my unit of the University. I always anticipate the parental call four or five years later wondering if their son or daughter spent a little too much time fiddling with my 20Q rather than focusing on their much needed liberal arts requirements. To this date, I've never had a parental complaint about the famed toy table but the potential for something odd to happen always seems to loom.

When I was initially hired for my administrative position, I was excited at the thought of having my own office. I almost felt hot and bothered at the prospect of making private phone calls without the usual nosy, gleaming gloater edging over the cube next to me, desperately trying to listen for any dicey conversation I may be partaking in.

When I walked into the suite area outside my new, unseen office, I found it wasn't painted in the colors of Van Gogh or Matisse but rather in an early, decrepit mental ward shade found only in nightmares or gas station bathrooms. As I slowly walked through the creepy beige void, my eyes began to dart from side to side, twitching occasionally in between beats. Someone recently told me that in old Indian superstition, when the eye begins to twitch, bad things are on the horizon. I'm so glad that thought entered my mind when all I needed to do was impress my new colleague and appear excited about the space. Trying to look less horrified and more engaged, I stood in the middle of the room and pivoted around shaking my head in approval, saying aloud, "This really has some potential" lying like a good new employee should. That was about all I could muster, knowing full well that I was more than unhappy about working in a place filled with old nail holes, black random scrapes and dumpster-dive finds for furniture.

My former cube in corporate hell seemed to be calling from afar, drawing me back like a magnet, making me regret leaving that sterile, cold misery. My mother always told me to be careful for what I wished for, clearly forgetting to highlight the importance of specifics. Although I wanted my own personal work area, I didn't think to pray for furniture or a celebrity stylist from The Learning Channels, Trading Spaces. That was my mistake and rest assured it won't happen again.

"Was this an established college? I'm not from this area of the state and didn't know much about the University. Are they in financial ruins? Am I going to lose my job in a few short months? Don't they have enough money to slap some paint on the wall and air out the moldy, grim office space?" I thought to myself. I was rambling and rambling in my mind bordering on manic, while my new suite mate was trying to sell me on working for a college. "I'm not buying a used car lady." All I wanted from her was a blindfold and a shot of Captain Morgan's. That would take the edge off my glazed facial expression. I was concerned about my financial future but figured if I got six months in at the job, I could collect on the dole for a while and then move back to the myriad of mindless corporate jobs that paid well but failed to challenge the intellect.

After making my way through such a welcoming entry, I feared what was beyond the large, deeply scratched wood door of 203A. Unlocking the door proved challenging since the lock was partially blocked by a sticky substance, preventing an easy path for the key to simply glide into the jagged hole. Large flakes of shellac wedged underneath my nails as I pushed open the thick, yellowed entryway. What I saw next left me speechless. The early 1960's Naugahyde orange sister chairs and gray, metal rusting desk were an interesting mix of someone elses junk thrown into a bleak room with a few pencil shavings strewn across the stained, threadbare rug. Either this was a stogie smoking, fat bellied insurance broker's office or I was in middle of someone else's bad acid trip. It reminded me of a used furniture haunt I visited a few years back in Alphabet City. They tried to advertise themselves as a vintage furniture seller but in reality, it was a dumpy old storefront with some bizarre plastic office furniture, a few reproduction pieces and glass lanterns for that eclectic Moroccan flair. Of course the owners were eccentric former hippies who traveled the world and said they had much of their "valued" inventory shipped in from foreign, exotic ports.

Since I have a bad back from an ugly car accident in the early 90's, I was very concerned about the condition of the chair I would be sitting in on a daily basis. Ever since my fair-weathered college friend collided with Barbie and Skipper on the Robert Moses Causeway one hot day in June, I've never been the same physically. I have three herniated discs floating around in my back as a result of someone else's stupidity. While my friend air-drummed to an Aerosmith's Toys in the Attic, she failed to brake in enough time to prevent from hitting the restored, bubble gum pink 1967 Ford Mustang convertible in front of us. I was in the back seat of her measly Ford Escort as we were pummeled from behind by another driver not paying attention. "Not the day at the beach I had planned," I thought as I extinguished my smashed cigarette, starting to feel the growing muscle spasm in my back.

Wow. There she was, a half black vinyl, half remnant tore fossil with a telephone book lodged underneath the seat, apparently holding it up. When I asked my colleague if I could purchase a new chair, she quickly jumped into the old gal and spun around claiming this chair still had a lot of life left in it. At first, it seemed to handle the rough behavior, but like any aging entity, it soon grew angry, tossing my new work friend about. When the chair over extended itself, a few choice bolts abruptly shot out from the stem leaving my colleague flat on her bum and the chair in multiple pieces. Getting up in a flurry, she quickly exited the office, slightly embarrassed but more annoyed. Directing me to the office secretary to fill out the proper forms to order a new chair, she left me alone in this antiquated, jalopy of an office that included a computer from the Star Trek era and a few broken pencils. Somehow, I was glad that she took that fall. Honestly, how dare she think I could spend 40 hours a week in that broken down hunk of junk? "She must be a nightmare to work with," I wanted to say aloud, but held it in thinking someone must be watching me.

Weren't faculty offices supposed to look like something out of a historic residence or the interior of a lovely, ivy graced structure? Traditional is what I'm thinking, with a lot of dark wood, large bookcases, banker's lamps and wood floors. Maybe I'd find a stained glass window or two or a lovely claw foot library. I suppose I'd have to venture to a small liberal arts college nestled away in the Western Berkshires for such a place but I was hopeful that I might be able to land an office with at least one piece of wood furniture. Believe me, it was no corner office overlooking the Hudson River or cool space I'd imagined editors at Rolling Stone occupied, but this space was now mine and I had the power to design something that challenged the imagination and quelled the soul. The canvas was a bit old but my palate was hungry to paint.

To be continued…

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Review of Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

I'd pretty much given up all white flour almost four years ago. I'm a big foodie and cook, and love to make homemade pizza, but haven't seemed to master the art of making whole wheat pizza dough. Mother said I should mix white and wheat flour together, which would give the crust a much better taste. I've tried every chemical mixture and concoction known to man to date and still have not found one that seems to please the palate. Sure, it's healthier for you, but let's talk about the gritty texture and the pure taste of terra ferma. YUCK!
This summer I was grilling up pizza's left and right, mixing all kinds of combinations, of course using homemade sauce and fresh buffalo mozzarella (moo-za-rella NOT moz-a-rella....that drives me CRAZY). I used white flour, seasoning the crust to perfection before hitting the olive oil and the hot coals of our grill. Ahhhh those summer nights! A little vino and I was set for some good conversation and lots of fun.
Last night, I thought I would make life easier and bought a pizza from this joint in East Meadow. Their regular pies are great and it was on the way home...well sort was a Lia excursion. UGH...what horrible whole wheat crust...HORRIBLE. It laid on my stomach, as well as Vic's for what seemed to be eternity. So the moral of the story is...take more time out and cook at home rather than getting food from a pizza joint....and for God's sake, at least use a little white flour for your bloody crust! I like a 50-50 ratio of King Arthur White Wheat and KA White All Purpose Flour. I works and rises well. There is absolutely no grittiness or bitter flavor. Make sure you season the flour with garlic powder, dried herbs such as parsley, basil, oregano, red and black pepper and of course more garlic! Add a nice smooth olive oil, a pinch of salt and a spatter of sugar. Save just enough to help proof the yeast. Once you proof and all goes well, mix it up, place it in an oiled bowl and cover with a dish towel. I usually let my stand anywhere from an hour to two, depending on the season. Last week, I whipped up a batch of dough to grill that turned out fabulous. Sometimes it's a hit or miss.

More foodie advice and recipes to follow.
Ciao Bella!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

An Investment in Me

Recently, after much debate and bargaining, my hopeful husband made a large purchase based on his blind faith in my writing talents. As I stare at the brand spanking new laptop computer, I wonder if I really have the chops to handle such a new piece of complicated hardware. He seems to believe that I have a screenplay or two in me or at least a few publishable short stories, yet I balk at the thought of writing for fun. I write for myself to exhaust my raging thoughts, expelling the mounting stress of everyday life.
I've decided to take the month of August and spend at least two hours a day on this screenplay. I'm confident in my abilities, at least for this particular fleeting moment in my life, and honestly believe that I can keep an audience entertained for at least 15 or 20 minutes. The rest of the time is going to be filler my friends...LOL!
Wondering what the story is about? Well, I suppose we'll just have to speak once the trailer is released! That's the goal people. I need to produce, shop it around to agents and then sell sell sell! If Diablo Cody, an ex-stripper, can pen JUNO, I am starting to catch the fever of blind faith in myself and wage a war of words on this expensive diggity-doo computer.
More to follow.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Beading Bitches

So I skipped out of work early today to spend my mom's last day on Long Island with her. She's 84, battling some bizarre form of cancer that can take 10 to 15 years to kill you and still has the spirit of a 40 year old. I asked her what she wanted to do and she suggested we visit a local bead store. She's been on a jewelry kick since she came into to town almost a month ago and showed no signs of slowing down. Last week she spent a small fortune on silver earrings at the junk sale but was still thinking about the cool earrings I made for her the other evening while we chatted over coffee in my kitchen. The bead store seemed logical now, even sensible since I too was jonesing for a few new baubles.

We stuffed some cream cheese adorned Wasa breads down our throats, gave the cat and dog a kiss goodbye and off we went, eagerly anticipating our next purchases. My mom is having some trouble breathing lately so I left her off in front of the shop. I had to park a few blocks away and upon arriving at the store, I found my mom lingering outside in the stale, humid air. "I wanted us to go in together...I'm so excited!" my mom said happily.

We entered to find only a few people on the hunt for funky beads when we were greeted by a tacky, spray tanned 50 something woman who wore outlandish Prada-like glasses. She half smiled at us saying, "If you need...." not finishing her sentence, but I was more than thankful. Not only did she have a horrendous Long Island drawl, she had Italian Pink lipstick caked on her knobby teeth. Her demeanor was brooding and rude as she quickly sized us up and discounted our very presence. "I hope she's not the proprietor because if she is, she won't be in business long," I thought.

I will refer to her as nickname for tacky broads who inhibit the vile streets of Long Island. Coosheen paraded her fat ass around the store like a queen bee. Her zebra striped shirt clashed her copper hair and skin. Chomping on gum like some trashy tart, she ignored my mother and I simply dismissing me when I confused carnelian for agate. Oooh...what a crime my friends...what a crime. Another employee, also in her fifties, gossiped and talked loudly about various regular customer's that she hated. I shot her a nasty look, enough to make her stop. How dare she? These people, whether they are a pain the in tush or not, keep her business afloat. I worked in retail a long time and saved those conversations for the break room, not on the selling floor. I guess it's just the way the world is now...simply let it all hang out no matter what the consequences appear to be.

My mother and I scoured each and every tiny bin for a good find. When we compiled our choices, we brought them to the front register for purchase. Coosheen grabbed our tray, examining each and every piece and then complained that we didn't separate our beads correctly. OK...what the hell is she talking about? The she beast then began to berate my mother who has a hearing problem and couldn't make out what she was saying, but I did. I grabbed the tray away from her and brought it over to another area to split up our treasures. I also told this woman she was nasty and rude, not that it would do any good. I put her in her place and then asked for someone else to help us. UGH! I was so pissed off but I managed to hold it in, otherwise I would have clocked ol'Coosheen with the tray full of goodies.

I just wanted to take my mom out for a girl bonding day but found these "beading bitches" instead. I'm not sure if I'll go back there again but what I do know is that there is a sub-culture of uber tacky women that live exclusively in Long Island. With all their filed noses, Botoxed faces and super duper plumped up lips, I find them to be lacking any kind of depth, skills or knowledge. They are "without," and somehow, we all pay a price for that. My advice to anyone who wants to spend a day with their moms in Long Island is to go to Manhattan where the real people live!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Driving Down the Lane

After surviving a rough ovulation day, I managed to scrape myself up this morning, still groggy from the witches potion my mother and I concocted to alleviate cramping. I went to work...the drag of my lifetime and decided that I possibly have a bladder infection that is wreaking havoc on not only my tummy but kidney's as well.

As you may already know, I abhor antibiotics. I'm a probiotics kind of gal! I usually get every single side affect known to man from these nasty little pills. I was waffling about calling the doc but then decided that getting better far outweighed the burning sensation going on in my downtown region. No pool swimming or sex seemed outrageous to me, especially during these fertile summer months. So. I made the call and scheduled a late afternoon medical suare'. I'm sure the doc would love to see me since I've lost 20 pounds and have all my annoying aliments under control with the help of a wise holistic nutritionist who works at Whole Foods.

When I escaped my work dungeon around 3pm this afternoon, I jumped into the VW and headed north. I, of course tuned in to WFUV 90.7 on the dial, and settled in for a nice drive. Since there was no significant traffic build up so far, I put the car on cruise control and booked down the highway, taking notice of little as I enjoyed the shear speed of my vehicle as it tightly hugged the road. I often want to ditch my VW Passat, disappointed in its overall performance. It never met my crunchy VW expectations like my fabulous 1991 college Jetta that I kept too long. By the time it was about to die, it looked like a sad, rusty hunk of junk, beaten down from years of abuse. But today, the chemistry was right in my car when I heard The Rolling Stone's "Dead Flowers" on radio. I turned off the cruise control and took command of the wheel, doing my best impression of old Mick himself. I must admit my singing skills have suffered over the years but I can still belt out a rock song in the safe confines of my mid-size black sedan.

Vic turned me on to that song when we were in college and I think he said our friend Tony enlightened him on one of the finer songs in their catalog. I thought it was on Exile on Main Street but I was quickly corrected by the hubby this evening, who informed it was on Sticky Fingers (one of my favorite album covers). It's such a cynical song, daring the listener to bring dead flowers to a wedding so he could put roses on your grave. It has this crazy, twangy honky-tonk sound that sits in juxtaposition to the lyrics. I'm not sure why I enjoy this song so much but man...I was working it today. God I love The Stones! I may have felt like crap physically but my mind was all about being happy and moving to the beat of Keith Richards tight licks.

When I reached my exit, I realized the entire trip from start to finish was a blur...not good. I wasn't paying attention to driving today, I was in a moment that didn't last long enough. They never seem to these days. How disappointing! I met with my hippie doc and after she complimented my silver jewels and buffalo sandals, she gave me a tentative diagnosis and wrote out the dreaded prescription. I hate taking drugs that have no affect on you except killing infections and all the good bacteria in your body.

Unfortunately, the ride home wasn't so eventful. In fact, it was boring as hell. It tried to create that moment again with my trusty IPOD, but it was too planned out. There was nothing spontaneous about listening to my favorite America song, "You Can Do Magic," and getting my groove on. I was dreaming about driving down the lane but I couldn't recapture the moment. I suppose I'll try again tomorrow...maybe I'll get it right and maybe I won't but I'll always have those few precious minutes of driving heaven to get me through the ultimate traffic jam that New York has become.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Je suis malade.....

I'm under the weather today so a blog is out of the question....come back tomorrow and see my thoughts on whatever strikes my fancy.

Get well wishes are always welcome!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

What It Means to Vote for a Woman

This will be the first time in my illustrious voting history that I will not be excited to vote for the candidate. I know this is a historic occasion and will probably be working at the last debate (held at Hofstra on Oct 15) but I'm not overly enthused. You know me, I'm a die hard Democrat so voting for an R would never be an option. I'm still pissed at Ralph Nader for screwing up the 2000 election so, by default, I will vote for OBAMA. I realize Hillary is NOT the perfect candidate but in the years since college, I've grown to be quite an out-spoken feminist. After dealing with abysmal male boss's for years, I think I'm a bit of a man least in the professional arena. I put up with them...that's it. One of my old boss's was such a nimrod, he needed bell's and whistles chiming to tell him to take a shit. I saw Hillary as a means to the beginning of an end. She's the closest things our gender has had to the real deal...someone who can bridge the gender gap and help break that flippin' glass ceiling. I swore I'd kiss the ground in front of my house if she won. Although many of my political aspirations have been dashed for this presidential season, I'm confident that an uprising will take place at the convention...a coup d'etat if you may. Tell me why a person who won more votes in primaries than in any other presidential race in history is not the Democratic candidate. God, I can feel the blood pressure rising. I do honestly believe, that without her, he cannot win. He may win in the Northeast Corridor and in California but other than that, I think we are going to see just how scary the Red States can be. I hope that epiphany hits his adviser's soon or else we're stuck with another white Anglo-Saxon, Protestant president. Gee, what a bloody surprise!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Splish Splash or Getting Your Frustrations Out

After attending my weekly acupuncture/chiropractic appointment, my mother and I came home, escaping the dense July heat in the lovely surroundings of my air-conditioned home. Sensing that she had other things on her agenda today, I ventured into the yard and found the hubby struggling to put together another China made hunk-of-junk patio ensemble. We managed to get most of the Jack and Jill benches together when we discovered that we were sorely short changed with sawed off screw's that were much too short to keep the piece stable. Thank God we have a wide assortment of hardware in our basement, easily fixing another crappy, sub-standard product from the world's biggest human rights violators.

The sun scorched our backs and burned our faces so we knew it was time to pack up our tools and head for our quite small but very effective yardly oasis, the pool. The water was a warm 85 degrees so we floated around, still tired from our earlier physical exertion. We chatted a bit, here and there, but for the most part, we floated. Sometimes, it's nice to not talk with your spouse but rather just be. I know it's hard to believe that I enjoyed being silent and quiet. I've never been known to be a fading flower or someone who is shy. There are times when silence is important to sustain a normal, healthy and flourishing relationship. Not really knowing why is probably a good thing. I simply follow the recipe from time to time and hallelujah, problems solved. Nothing is that simple my friends...if they were, we would all be struck mute!

My summer secret to adjusting stress and relationship tensions comes from an old fashioned water bomb/splasher fight in the pool. We have these new fangled splasher balls from this quirky five and dime store in Stone Harbor, New Jersey but I'm sure you could find them in any Target or dare I say Wal-Mart store nationwide. I'm also equipped with super splasher water guns that shoot in upwards of 12 feet. The fight usually begins with one of us doing a simple dunk on the other and from that point on, it's WAR! Today, we spent at least 30 minutes ramming dunk balls into the others face, neck and back. Barraging each other with no sense of relief is not only fun but therapeutic. Our laughter was from the gut. We played like little kids, thrashing our bodies around as if we had never swam before. Our minute pool seemed like and ocean as our water logged bodies gave way to well earned exhaustion.

I feel like we accomplished something rather important today, ignoring all the signs to hide away from the soaring temperatures. By being together, working as team and playing as wildy crazy kids, our bond became stronger. It's nice to spend time with friends apart from your spouse but my first choice is always to hang out with the one I love. It's important to remember why you are together and how to keep it that way forever. It takes hard work, continuity, excitement and determination to make any relationship work. Man...I'm tired. I think I'll have to wait a bit longer for another round of spouse on spouse water bomb crimes!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Passing the Test

Today Vic and I were visited in our home by the social worker we hired to determine if we would be suitable parents to our impending adoptive child. The "process" has been more than difficult for us since we were swindled by a charlatan lawyer over a year ago. He duped us into believing that we would be able to adopt a child from Italy from an agency called Amici de Bambino. What a racket! He stole $8k from us and it took the skills of a brassy local judge to shake the Brooks Brother clothed thief into reality, convincing him to return our hard earned cash. I'm sure this tool will be burning in hell with the rest of the rogue lawyers that plague the world. I'm not a fan of the profession...can you tell?

I'm not sure how I feel about anyone coming into our home asking personal questions regarding my emotional committment to my husband. Although she was extremely nice, professional and empathetic, I didn't feel all that secure in such an environment. I've been with my husband for almost 20 years, sharing pretty much everything with him, including my lousy outlook on the adoption "process." Personally, I think much of it stinks today. Twenty plus years ago, things were not so touchy feely but in today's world, everyone in the "biz" has a million suggestions on what's the best route of attack. Hmmmm.......thanks but no thanks. I have my own ideas about how my life is to be conducted. Again, super nice person but the "process" always gets me into a superkalafragalistic funk. Once that happened, mom and I went out on a shopping bender to Marshall's.

From 9am to noon, the three of us gathered in our dining room, laughing and talking about my marriage, our house and the introduction of a child into that equation. I must admit, I'm frightened out my mind yet excited at the same time. I'm readying myself for this little by little. I used to be the first one to jump in the water at summers start, but these days I'm a bit more cautious and smarter. I've never been a planner, that's the husbands part of the ying/yang partnership but for this, planning is a must. Vic joked and asked if we, "passed the test" and we all laughed aloud. Thinking about this experience as a test honestly annoyed me, but my mom always told me you have to go through all the crap in life to get to the good stuff. If I ever thought I was a touchy feely kind of gal, I realize that in this stage of my life, I am NOT. I love the ones I love and all the rest are held at arms length. I'm in safe mode in my 40's, hitting my stride as a writer and taking chances only when necessary.

Some people are born to be mom's while others are frightened little chippys (like myself) and need more than a push off the plank. I never dreamt of being a wife or a mother. I was a rough and tumble kid from the mean streets of Albany and was more concerned with a good game of Poisen Ball rather than fussing with dog gone dolls! Being married turned out to be more than a pleasant surprise, in fact its been the best damn thing in my life. It's given me continuity with a dash of ebb and flow. He is the partners of all partners and for that I am grateful and oh so relieved. No matter what happens with this, kid or no kid, I will always believe that we passed the test in more ways than one!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Free Man in Paris

Free Man in Paris
I've had this dry, annoying sensation in my sinus' for over 24 hours and I can't seem to get any relief. I'm sitting in my office, feeling less and less attached to it as the days of summer begin to dwindle away. I'm ready for a change and suddenly feel empowered after hearing Joni Mitchell's "Free Man in Paris." I remember years ago my sister waxing on and on about her love of the song since it reminded her of youthful, carefree days she spent backpacking through Europe. Barbara always seemed so European and savvy to me as a young tot. I emulated much of her style as a kid and hoped to one day wonder through those same cobbled streets on the other side of the pond. Those streets I ended up wandering were in Cape May, New Jersey and I regret none of it! I can't wait till August when the hubby and I can kick back and enjoy all the city has to offer....fudge, tasty waves, tart martini's, dollar Rocks and the unification of good old summer friends. I wonder if Joni ever wrote a little ditty about my town? Well, it doesn't matter because "Free Man in Paris" is going to be my almighty theme song this summer. I'm leaving so much of my life baggage behind these days, I feel lighter and lighter so off to Paris we go!

Junk Collecting and Matters of the Heart

I've spent years collecting attic artifacts and basement bargains from garage and tag sales and have had rabid bouts of garbage picking and dumpster diving. I really should have been in the salvage business my friends. My mother bought me a book when I was a child called Peter's Wagon about a young boy who scours his neighborhood for fabulous finds. He returns home with what his mother coined "junk" but to Peter, these pieces of the past represent an eclectic and often scoffed at hobby where you turn someone else's trash to your beloved treasures. That was the beginning of my obsession and insatiable appetite for a good deal on some great junk!

I've learned this art from my mother who has an eye for hidden values. Back in the 1970's, my mother would pack me into our little black VW Bug and head to downtown Albany where we would visit Mr. Garrow's house of junk on lower Dove Street. The store was packed to the gill with old chairs, stained glass lamps, mahogany and oak tables and other rescued furnishings that escaped the wrath of the wrecking ball. I marveled at the stacks of vinyl records and lamp shades that littered the entrance of the small but packed shabby antique haven. The smell of aging wood waffed through the air as you headed towards the back where the proprietor kept all his valued miss-matched china pieces. He had everything from Wedgewood to Limoge plates and cups that are now worth a small fortune. My mother would keep money aside each week for a new purchase, hoping for a new Tiffany lamp or a funky chair that we couldn't possibley sit in due to it's rotted spindals. Mother assured me that she was able to repair the pieces with a little wood glue and some shelac. What did I know? I simply believed her tall tale, further perpetuating her disease and delight for fabulous finds. We never left Mr. Garrow's without a purchase. Whether it was a child's desk with an inkwell or vintage fabrics for curtains or aprons, my mom looked not only happy but momentarily satisfied by her sharp eye and bag full of junk!

The other night, I managed to stuff a well-weathered wicker rocking chair into the back of my own VW with the help of a friend. I saved it from the New College Theater demoliton a few years back and have stored it in my office since then. I have also collected more than five chairs as well as my old boss's conference/dining room table which is far too large for my own home. It's a large goliath of a piece with claw footed pedastal legs. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it but I'm not about to let these savages toss it into a dumpster. That table has a lot of history with its various cigarette burn marks that scatter the top. It was the table that I was interviewed at for my job at Hofstra and the table all my colleagues sat around for spirited discussions and meetings. A valued piece of my own artifact of sorts of my lurid career as a college administrator.

The lesson learned from junk collection varies from person to person, as do experiences. Today, I will play the role of anthropolgist and do a study at the South Baldwin junk sale held every Thursday in the backyard of a shady phonograph collector who lives in a collapsing Victorian house on Merrick Road. The "dealers" look more like carni's that escaped circus life. Most of them have horrible junk, but there are a few who manage to sqeak out a few treasures. I'm excited at the prospect of another addition to my own private collection of valued and significant piles of junk!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New York Magazine and such...

When I saw the new New York Magazine in my mailbox, I salivated at the thought of sitting on my deck, iced tea in hand, sun blazing high overhead, and reading some fabulous, fun articles. I like to think of that particular periodical as "thought candy." It's not quite intellecutal but it's also not tabloid trash. NYM falls somewhere in between the glam and glizt of the tony Hamptons and the high-browed discerning art critics that collectively scour the magazine for braggable quotes.

Much to my surprise, I found this article about a young Jewish refugee from the upstate lunacy called Kyrius Joel, an uber Orthodox group of flapping fanatics. I'm not one to critisize others religions, but the pure patriarchal nature of this brand of Judism is not only repulsive but frightening. I'm used to my reformed New York Jewish friends who are not only chic and saavy but wonderfully cultured in all things that matter. As I delved into this article, what I saw was a young woman, forced to marry someone she didn't know at the age of 17. Having sex with no foreplay (I'm sorry but that's the best part of the process) through a sheet with a hole in it is a valid and blatent crime against womanhood. I'm apalled at how women are being treated and find it disturbing that these men can get away with such abuses. The young woman, named Getty, details her experience at Kyrius Joel in upstate Monroe County, telling of how she had to have a rabbi examine her underwear to determine if any discharge was present. She would be unable to reuinite with her husband until she was CLEAN. WHAT????? How horrible for this girl. She was told that the Holocaust never was God's punishment. Another outrage.

When she escaped the compound with her young daughter to find a better life in Brooklyn, her daughter was kidnapped by masked men from Kyrius Joel and brought back to the father. At this time, she still does not have custody of her only child.

How much longer can we stand by and watch crime after crime happen to women? As a nation, we are concerned about what is going on in Africa and China, but are we really concerned about what is going on in our own "land of the free?" As humanists, we should care what happens to our brethran across the globe but we should also pay attention to frightening events happening just 50 miles north of New York City. Women need to unite and forge a stronger bond to help other females in crisis. Right now, I sit in shear frustration. I feel a need to help but feel powerless and disenfranchised.