Tuesday, January 18, 2011


So, this has been quite a day. After reading the paper, I went online to check on the following: Email, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Water For Elephants website.

Not much new there. Proceeded to walk Terrier, ate Cheerios, drank coffee. Went online to check (see above). Made beds, folded laundry, loaded dishwasher. Went online to check (again). Ate lunch. Warned 18 year old son about the hazards of drinking in public (this as usual, proved to be a waste of time, as he knows everyting already - “I’m a lifeguard, I’m going to play college football, and have awesome hair” - hmmm).

Drove husband to work. Called daughter to see if she was ready to be picked up at friend’s house post-sleepover. “Not yet, we can’t leave Rose home alone and she is having a meltdown because she can’t find her seal. I’ll call you when we know what we’re doing.” Fine - go to the library and look for Metropolitan Opera’s recording of Das Rheingold (1989 James Morris, Siegfried Jerusalem, Christa Ludwig etc.) - no, don’t have. Ended up borrowing The French Connection - will watch later.

Came home and went online to check (go ahead and guess). Daughter called, “Ok, can you pick us up and drop us off at Guapos?” she asked in her best Mommy, I love you sooooooooooo much voice. “Yep, I’ll be there in a few”. Pick up teenage daughter and friend and drop off at said restauant. Resist the urge to drive by son’s friend’s going away party to check on alcoholic beveridge/females presence (as per football and awesome hairness). Went home instead and went online to check (you got it).

Daughter called to say “We’ll be finishing lunch in a few minutes. Can you pick us up and take us to Baskin and Robbins because some of Sue’s friends are there and want to hang out?” She asks hopefully. “Ugh! Can’t you walk to Baskin and Robbins? I’m a little tired of driving.” She and her friend decide to walk. Now, I’m feeling like a bad parent. I wonder if Sue is allowed to walk to Baskin and Robbins - hmmmm.

I’ll finish up later, right now I need to go check (is there really any point?)

ADHD, Legos and Condoms

I have two hours to myself this evening, and so I am sitting here thinking about the fact that my son is leaving for college in two weeks. To quote Jerry Garcia, “what a long strange trip it’s been.” If you’re a parent, you may have some idea of what I’m writing about. If you’re not a parent, but think you might be one one day, take note - raising kids is one heck of a ride.

Nick was diagonosed with ADHD and put on medication when he was in the third grade - couldn’t sit still, couldn’t stop talking, couldn’t focus on what was being taught in the classroom if his life depended on it (hmm, where could he possibly have gotten that from?). 6th through 10th grade remains a blurred nightmare of testing, meetings, more tests, more meetings, accommodations holy mother of blah blah blah. We’d just get the classroom issues solved, when a sports issue would surface. We’d get the sports issue solved when Nick would begin to backslide in his studies. We’d get the studies back on track, and he’d suffer a sports injury, sidelining him for the remainder of the season (oh the humanity!). And then, just when we’d gotten all of Nick’s ducks in a row, a nasty case of social anxiety reared it’s ugly head (“let’s put him Zoloft,” said the Doctor. “Now, we’ll have to monitor him closely, as some teens have become suicidal while on this medication.”) Gosh, that sounds like a swell idea Doc!

Keep in mind that this is just what my son was going through. We have a daughter who is three years younger, who I swear must have raised herself for 6 years (why she doesn’t hate us, I’ll never understand - unless she’s planning on doing us in in our sleep … no, she’ll wait until we get her braces off, so I have time).

When Nick was going into his junior year, we transfered him to our neighborhood, public school. He went from 10+ years (nursery school included) at a small, catholic school, (where everyone knew everything about everyone else - believe me, we all knew way too much), to a public school with the highest percentage rate of kids living below the poverty level in our state. Needless to say, my Zoloft dosage was quickly increased. Fear, anxiety, hopelessness, helplessness, paranoia, and embarassment coursed through every cell in my body. He’ll join a gang, he’ll take drugs, he’ll get someone pregnant, he’ll flunk out, he’ll kill someone, he’ll be killed, or worse - maimed (not that beautiful face - oh my baby!) While all of these thoughts were swirling and brewing in my head, my son was … thriving! No kidding, he just, dare I say it … blossomed (I know, not the best choice of words to describe a boy - he did take autoshop though, and can seriously rock an oil change.) For the first time in his life, he went out and pursued all of the activities that he was too afraid to pursue in the past.

He now appears to be ready for college - we shall see soon enough (she said, through gritted teeth). So when he goes off in two weeks, I’ll cross my fingers, say a prayer (and perhaps slip a few of his legos into his bag - my husband will probably be secretly slipping condoms in there - but aaahhh, whatever), and hope for the best.

If you’re still a kid (and still reading this - I’m impressed, and possibly concerned), hang in there. Life really does get better, smoother, easier, at least for awhile (until you become a parent HA!) If you’re a parent, same goes for you as well. Teething, tantrums and terrible twos eventually turn into adolescence, acne, and possible anxiety (scratch that, most definitely anxiety). But it’s ok.

Alright, that’s enough. Have a great weekend.

Father and Son

My son is leaving for college in 10 days, and all that he and my husband do, is fight. Well not really fight – more like bicker.

My husband, who upon finishing dinner, had retired to the living room to read the paper. Looking up at my son he said, “Please go shave.”

My son, who was looking at his chin in the mirror replied, “I’ll shave when I get to school.”

“That doesn’t make sense. I don’t want you going off to school looking like that. Your Mother and I didn’t raise scruffy-looking kids.” Where upon my son retrieves his college football directory and opens to page 1. “There! See, a beard,” he began turning the pages . “And oooooh look … dreadlocks”. He settles on page 5. “Oooooooooh and this one has both a beard and dreadlocks. And this one - has no hair at all,” he says, pointing to a picture of an offensive lineman, who could have played Magwich in a local theater production of Great Expectations.

My husband looked out from the side of the newspaper. “I don’t care, they’re not my kids. Go shave”!


“Why not,” asked my husband, obviously trying a new tact.

“Because, the longer the whiskers get, the darker they get. Right, Mom?”

Oh Lord, I think, please stop me from laughing. “No,” I reply, while trying to hear what Lester Holt has to say about gay marriage in California.

My son looks at me for a moment and then says “Well, once they get long enough, I’m going to dye them darker.” He has put down the football directory and has shifted to lifting a pair of rather intimidating looking, 30 lb. hand weights.

At this point, my husband has abandoned any hope of reading the paper in peace and says “YOU ARE NOT DYING YOUR WHISKERS!”

No longer able to contain myself, I start to laugh. Both my husband and son turn and look at me with disgusted expressions. “Well, I’m getting a Mohawk when I get to school,” putting down the weights and flexing in front of the mirror.

My husband looks heavenward and says “That’s going to look pretty silly with your Vineyard Vines belts, and rep ties and pink polo shirts.”

“I’ll make it work”, he says, snapping his fingers in a “Z” formation.

My husband shakes his head – “Go clean your bathroom.”

Today I Shall Rant

Today I must rant (if you to are having a bad day, then you may want to just skip today’s installment - I won’t be offended, and I certainly won’t rant about you). Here are some things that I find irritating: parents who bring cowbells to high school athletic events and shake them when their team scores a goal. Seriously are you Will Ferrell? No? Then for God’s sake, put that thing away (you’re making more noise than a two year old with a pot and a wooden spoon, high on sweet potatoes), plus, you just look foolish.

Also on my list - people who tailgate. A word here - I drive fast, so if you’re riding my bumper, you’re over the line. You need to take a moment to slow down and ask yourself - Do I really want to tangle with a middle-aged woman who looks like Doris Day but talks like Samuel L. Jackson? “Bitch, don’t make me put my foot up your ass” (Gosh I sure talk tough, sitting here ranting at my computer in the safety of my office). Which leads me to - bloggers who talk big, but in reality, manage nothing more than an evil eye stare when confronted (ahem, please ignore that woman behind the curtain, typing madly at her keyboard.)

Also on today’s list, any and all weathermen or weatherwoman (I knooooow, the weather is out of their control), those who stand in long lines at the deli, but don’t know what they want when they get to the counter, calories, blisters, my ipod, Mila Jojovich when she has her arm around Christoph Waltz (what did the nuns used to say at junior high dances? Oh yeah, let’s keep a space for Jesus), tea partiers, Lindsay Lohan, Dina Lohan, Michael Lohan, migraines, migraine medicine … Well, that got out of control rather quickly.

So now, I will take a deep breath, a long pull on my Deer Park, thank God for my family, friends (both in person and on tumblr), long-suffering co-worker Bernadette, job, health, dog, Christoph Waltz, Quentin Tarantino, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Excedrin, the coaching staff at Brigewater college’s football team, my daughter’s hysterically funny, vampire-like smile (braces on for the next two years, followed by permanent implants), her fantastic attitude about her hysterically funny, vampire-like smile, the writers for GLee, Modern Family, 30 Rock, Alex Baldwin and his wonderfully out of shape mid-life self, Brian William’s and Bob Seiffert’s flawless tie selection, and oh gosh, I could go on and on, but work calls. For anyone still reading, thanks, and go out and have a great day, but for God’s sake, if you’re at the deli, decide what you want before you get to the counter - Peace.

Is there a full moon tonight?

Alright, very weird night. After hemming and hawing for most of the early evening, I finally forced myself to go for a run. It started out like any other run. I had my ipod rockin’ - a little Dire Straits, a little Eric Clapton, some Peter Frampton. I passed the usual - young couples out pushing their strollers, or walking their dogs, people walking, running, getting off of the bus from work - very typical Friday night. It was when Peter Frampton finished up and was followed by Earth, Wind and Fire, that I looked up and noticed an older man walking across the street. Right, so I see a lot of older men out walking at night. They’re usually walking with a dog, or a woman, or another man, maybe a nurse, whatever. This one was walking by himself. He stood out because he was wearing a wide brimmed hat (not a fedora, not Indiana Jones-like) but a REALLY WIDE BRIMMED HAT (not a sombrero either). The only other time I’ve seen a hat like this was when James Morris wore one in Das Rheingold (the Wanderer or Wotan). I always thought it looked silly on him because it didn’t seem to go with the time, setting or costumes of the opera. It looked silly tonight, not to mention just out of place. In addition to the hat, he was sporting a satchel strapped across his chest and hanging at his hip (European Mens carry-all?). Ok, a little unusual, but when paired with the hat, we’re talking a real head turner! And finally finishing the ensemble - a staff, not a walking stick, but a 6 ft high staff. This guy was like Gandalf. (It would have been really funny if he had looked at me and said “Run you fool!”) So, I ran passed him and smiled and sort of slobbered “hey” as I am barely capable of while running. He nodded and continued on his way - I turned my head around a few times to make sure he wasn’t following me (either on foot, or on a broom) weird.

Ok, so while I’m still trying to process Gandalf in my neighborhood, I run straight through a trio of boy scouts. Yes, boy scouts - sorry but wtf??? Where are your mothers? One was on roller blades, again, wtf? So bizarre. So, Earth, Wind and Fire segues into Brian Ferry, and low and behold who do I see approaching, but a woman with a hook for a hand. I smiled at her, and then my eyes trailed down to her hook and I thought Oh God, she thinks I smiling at her hook. How very awkward. I know what you’re thinking - good thing I was running.

No wait, i’m not done yet. As I made my way around the southern loop of my neighborhood, my ipod spilling out “Layla”, I actually had to blink several times. Heading right toward me was a Buddhist monk. Wrapped in a really pretty vermillion … what … robe, wrap, gown, not certain of the correct term, but God what a beautiful color!!! And he was chanting to himself, while holding … Rosary Beads. Really, Rosary Beads? Once again I am reduced to profanity - WTF? He smiled and nodded at me, and I smiled and nodded back at him. I wonder if he was distracted by Layla, as it is a catchy tune, and I do play the ipod rather loudly. God, I just don’t know.

So, I finished my run without any further strange sightings. Walked in the door, got myself a glass of club soda and turned on the tv. And BAM! There it was starting all over again. The Redskins were beating the Jets. Honestly I don’t take any recreational drugs, I don’t even drink alcohol. To my knowledge I’ve never hallucinated (not even in high school, when I did on those rare ocassions, partake of an illegal substance). I did get a little loopy when I had my wisdom teeth taken out a few years ago, but I never saw anything like what I saw this evening.

I think I’m going to just climb into my bed, turn out the lights, say a rosary of my own, and pray that everything returns to normal in the morning.

Anyone else experience anything odd this evening?

Field Hockey and Pink Hair

My 15 year old daughter phoned me from the beach today to tell me that one of her field hockey teammates would be dropping off an order form for her “spirit pack”. I will be required to write yet another check for a pair of field hockey sweat pants, sweat shirt, and long sleeved t-shirt (what the hell is it with long sleeved t-shirts, and why must she have one for every team, school, vacation destination etc.?) ”So Mommy can you pleeeeease write a check for $56.50 and fill out the order form, I need a small in everything (no she doesn’t, she’s 5’8 - granted she’s invisible when she turns sideways, but tall nonetheless).”

“Yes, yes, yes,” I replied wearily (I had just sat down to eat my dinner - tuna noodle casserole in case you’re wondering - kick ass I might add, and honestly I just wanted to eat - I had just spent 2 hours at lenscrafters with my husband helping him pick out new eye glass frames-don’t hate me because my life is glamorous!). ”Ok Abby, hey are you having fun at the beach?” I asked. “What? Oh yeah, oh and Mom, by the way, I just want to warn you (Oh crap, here it comes - warn me what? You now have a safety pin through your nose, you have a tatoo of Taylor Lautner on your shoulder, your a Republican, a methodist, what, what, what for God’s sake?) Well, the back of Pearson’s and my hair is pink . . . just temporarily, sort of.” Thinking to myself - I couldn’t give a rat’s ass what Pearson has done to her hair, but I did just a few months ago shell out a ridiculous amount of money for your hair to be highlighted - in the big girl salon where I go no less. “O…k… define temporary please,” I asked summoning as much serenity as I could.

At this point, my husband’s crisis radar was up and running. He came to a dead stop between the kitchen and dining room, and not because he was tangled in the phone cord and didn’t want to put down his plate of tuna noodle casserole to free himself. ”Um it should be gone by next week … I think,” she answered shakily. I nodded reassuringly at my husband. “Fine, ok, enjoy the rest of the week, we miss you.” “I miss you too, oh I’m going to text Brianna now, and tell her to call you, so have your cell on. K bye!”

“Kbye!” ”Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck,” she said wearily.

Summer Officially OVER!

Hallelujah - summer is officially over. I’m going upstairs and am setting my alarm clock for 6 am. I am positively giddy at the prospect of waking my daughter up at 6:30 and saying “Time to get up for school.” She will be busy from 7:50 am until 3:00 pm (at school, not at home, in a different building). She will be learning how to be a productive member of society and more importantly, how to support herself, and after college live not at home, but in a building separate from my own. Then after school, she will run around the field, playing field hockey (not at home, but at school). She will tire herself out, and won’t have the strength to ask “Can we go to the Mall?” Then after field hockey, she will come home (yes, the same building) and dutifully do her homework. She will study, she will be too tired to be anything but civil. Her little fingers will reach for her cell phone at the sound of its insistent buzzing. Alas, she will be too tired to text. She will instead turn to the internet looking for stimulation from Facebook and or Twitter. She will be too tired to “like” or “comment.” The teachers and coaches will have done their work. Before she goes to bed, she will thank me and tell me that she loves me. Bwa ha ha ha ha!

Who am I kidding? Love you Abby!!!

A Rant About Intolerance

Last week 19 year old Tyler Clementi’s life came to an abrupt end. Tyler Clementi was not a member of the armed services, or the police force. He did not choose to pursue a career or an activity that put his life at risk on a daily basis. His parents had no reason to think that their son, a freshman at Rutgers University who was studying to become a musician, would be placed in harm’s way. He wasn’t hit by a bus while trying to cross the street. He didn’t fall from a balcony window during a frat party. He didn’t die from an incurable illness. Instead, he was pushed over the edge by his roommate and another student. True, Dharun Davi and Molly Wei did not march him up the George Washington Bridge and push him off – but they might as well have.

As a parent of two teenagers, I can barely put the words to paper that express the anger I feel right now. If I had an opportunity to speak to Dharum Davi, I would ask him “Why couldn’t you have stood up and said to Tyler ‘Look, I’m uncomfortable with your lifestyle, and I’d really prefer to room with someone else.’ At the very least, you could have just been honest and said ‘You’re gay, you’re my roommate, and I’m completely freaked out by it. People are going to think I’m gay, and I can’t deal with that. I need to be out of here. Sorry.’ Maybe if you were a little more evolved you could have tried to see life through his eyes. Maybe if you’d spent less time watching reality shows where people routinely destroy others for sport and entertainment you would have been able to see Tyler differently. Maybe if you’d read and understood more books like “To Kill A Mockingbird,” you would have cut Tyler a little slack, and left him alone.

Instead you chose to bully him. That’s right Dharum, you of the slight frame, the big smile, the breakdancer - you are a bully … and a coward. You didn’t approach Tyler, drag him into a stairwell and beat him up. You didn’t call him derogatory names as he walked down the hall. No, cowards don’t like confrontations. Instead, you went behind his back and video-taped him while he was having a tryst with another man. If that wasn’t bad enough, you streamed it onto Youtube. Oh and then you did it again. And tell me please, who’s the deviant here - a young man who asked for privacy so that he could just share some intimacy with another human being, or the person who chose to secretly record the encounter, and then broadcast it to the universe, not once but twice? I’ll bet you even smiled and said “sure, no problem,” when Tyler asked if he could have the room to himself for awhile. As for Molly Wei (who is claiming innocence in the debacle), she’s as guilty as if she’d allowed Dharun to use her room to beat the daylights out of Tyler.

So what has been accomplished? A talented musician, who was only a threat to other violinists vying for the same seat with a world class orchestra (and according to his professors at Rutgers, he would without a doubt, have gone on to play in some of the world’s greatest orchestras) took his own life because he felt it was no longer worth living. The Clementi’s have lost their child. The two students’ whose actions pushed Tyler over the edge, will find their lives drastically changed. At the moment, they can’t even come out of their own homes. I don’t think they will be going back to Rutgers. I don’t think they will be attending school anywhere anytime soon. I can’t imagine what their parents are going through. They will now live forever with the shame of their child’s actions. They will probably bankrupt themselves, having spent thousands of dollars in legal fees. I wonder if Dharun could have ever imagined how many lives would be ruined by his actions.


Columbus Day and a Shopping Trip

Today is Columbus Day. I started thinking about what I used to do on Columbus Day when I was growing up on Long Island. A holiday (especially one where the stores were open) was never wasted wandering around the house aimlessly. I grew up in a town called Manhasset, located on the North Shore of Long Island (back in the 1960’s and 70’s, yargh, I be old!). Manhasset was a popular shopping destination, as we were home to the Miracle Mile (surprisingly, this had nothing to do with the location of the town’s churches). This was a mile (give or take) of upscale department stores, boutiques and restaurants. Within the Miracle Mile, you could find Bonwit Teller, B. Altman’s, Lord & Taylor, and a bit further down Northern Boulevard - Abraham & Strauss. Most people from the surrounding towns would come into Manhasset on Columbus day to take advantage of the department store sales. However, when I was growing up, my mother would take Columbus Day off, and we would drive out 25a to a town called Cold Spring Harbor (a 45 minute drive that took us past the estates of the Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, Whitneys and the estate that was used in the film Love Story - “Honestly Mother, our house is SMALL!”) We’d pass the fish hatchery - a standard field trip for all elementary school students (one of my class mates fell into one of the wells during one trip, and spent the bus ride back to school extracting carp from his pockets - gag!). Then we’d loop around the harbor itself and find ourselves on Main Street, our destination. Cold Spring Harbor was a great place to spend a day, for a number of reasons. It looked like something out of a Currier & Ives print - a small town on the water with some unique stores, art galleries and one really excellent restaurant.

Our main reason for going to CSH was to visit a shop called The Hitching Post, do some window shopping and have lunch at Country Kitchen. The Hitching Post was a small, one room store that catered to the very preppy. This store was 180 degrees from the large department stores in Manhasset. B. Altman’s, Lord and Taylor and A&S carried very main stream, mass marketed clothing. This was the beginning of Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt, Candies, Huckapoo and LeSac (think Studio 54, Saturday Night Fever, and a lot of manmade fibers). During high school, most of my friends wore these designers, as that was the style of the day - it just wasn’t my style. I liked the preppy stuff, you know, whales and ducks and LL Bean (fortunately, my friends didn’t hold it against me). At the time, my two older brothers were attending college in New England (as did their girlfriends), and this probably had more of an influence on my taste in clothing than anything else.

Opening the door to The Hitching Post never failed to launch a major assault on my senses. The first thing I would notice upon entering the store, was the sound. The door was wooden, with a brass handle (just like at home). Sometimes it would stick, and you’d have to pull it hard to get it to close properly. Either way, it would squeak and then bang, when you’d pull it shut (everyone in the shop would turn and look at you for a moment, then return to their shopping). You’d take your first step into the shop and the floor would creak (and it would continue to creak with each step). Next came the smell. A mixture of Shetland wool, corduroy, and leather would envelop me as I stepped onto the wooden floor (honestly, it was almost sexual). I’d find myself being pulled toward the stacks of corduroys. First I’d run my hands over them (oh God, it’s like velvet or … puppy ears). Then if no one was looking, I’d lay my head down on them, and breathe deeply. I’d lift my head a fraction of an inch to see where my mother was (eh heh coooordurooooy pornoooooographyyyyyyyy). Next was the visual. Men’s clothing was on the left, women’s on the right. The walls in the front of the store were stacked with pants. In the fall and winter it was wide wale corduroy and wool flannel, and tweed. I would think to myself “one day I’m going to be married to a man who wears tweed blazers, v-neck sweaters, button down oxford cloth shirts, khakis and bucks,” (are you starting to see the Christoph Waltz connection yet? Run Christoph, run like fucking hell!!!) The corduroys came in dozens of colors - lemon yellow, terra cotta, lime and kelly green, navy, Carolina blue, red, fawn, chocolate, patchwork, you name it. Some had Labradors and pheasants or whales embroidered on them (absurd looking yes, but don’t forget about those Huckapoo shirts with billiard tables and Cadillacs emblazoned on them at B. Altman’s ). As you made your way toward the back of the store, the shelves were stocked with Dean and Pringle sweaters, and just like the corduroys, they came in every color imaginable. There were shelves of crew necks, v-necks, cable knits, fair isles, and patchwork. One wall had a rack of Lanz of Salzburg nightgowns. These nightgowns basically came in one style - a long, flannel nightgown, gathered at the wrists with white eyelet lace, with a round neck and two small buttons in the back (close your eyes and imagine the Big Bad Wolf dressed in Grandma’s nightie - there you go). Later, when I was in college, we referred to them as BCP’s or birth control pajamas, so called because no male in his right mind would touch you when you were wearing them (“remember to leave your BCP’s at the dorm when you go away for the weekend”). I think I had five of them. The back of the store displayed shoes. Not a big selection, but it carried the necessities - Bass Weejun loafers - penny and tassel, Jack Rogers sandals, and Jacques Cohen espedrilles (another item memorable from my college years because beer made them disintegrate - most of the bars in D.C. have numerous beer puddles). Near the register, were small tables covered with headbands, key chains, ties and belts. You could get headbands in tartan plaids, striped gross grain ribbons, and velvet with bows (“Look Lambie - just like Gidget’s!”). Eventually my mother would say “Let’s go,” and I would totter unsteadily out the door, squeaking all the way, dreaming about my future with a tweed-clad man.

After leaving the Hitching Post, my mother and I would walk along the sidewalk, looking in the windows of the different gift shops that lined the street, as we made our way to Country Kitchen. This was a family-owned restaurant that served great entrees, and even better deserts. They were known for their pies. Hanging on the wall at the back of the restaurant, was a large blackboard which listed the day’s pies. Alongside each entry was a picture of that slice, hand drawn with colored chalk (the key lime was striking!). My personal favorite was the apple crumb pie (a tall slice of sin, ridiculously dense, with a ribbon of sour cream running through it, and topped with crumbs that were both chewy and crunchy - again, we’re going a little sexual here - so sorry!). The restaurant was always full during lunch. The tables would be occupied by other shoppers, friends having lunch together, and older couples who probably ate there every week. The line with people waiting for a table would start at the door, and spill out onto the sidewalk. Those lucky enough to wait inside, stood and watched as trays of food passed under their noses. Sandwiches, burgers, casseroles, chowders, and pie were served up with a smile by the children of the owners. Portraits of the Wyland children at various ages hung on the restaurant’s walls. It was always interesting to go back each year and see which child had gone off to college and which one was now old enough to replace them (“girls, don’t forget about the BCP’s - you’ll thank me later”). After lunch, my mother and I would roll (and I literally mean roll) ourselves out of the restaurant and head back to the car and back to the land of Calvin Klein.

I haven’t been back to Long Island in close to 25 years. The Hitching Post is still there, providing Lilly Pulitzer to the landed gentry - God love ‘em. Country Kitchen was sold by the Wyland family in 2003 and has turned over twice since then. Preppy fashions are making a comeback and I’m still drawn to the men who wear them (I did marry a man who wears a lot of tweed and khakis - a former, fellow Brooks Brothers sales associate).

Thank you Christopher Columbus for discovering America, giving me a day off from work and leading me to Cold Spring Harbor.


The Bathing Suit

My 15 year old (yes, you are still only 15 Abby, your birthday is not for another 3 months - YOU ARE STILL 15 - DO YOU HEAR ME?) needed a new practice suit for her high school’s swim team, which begins next week. Fine. I should have known we were in trouble when she asked to go to Sports Fair (which really should be called Swim Fair because they don’t sell any equipment for sports other than swimming) rather than go to Sports Authority.

The first bump in the road occurred when we drove to the store. My son used to swim, so I remember exactly where the store was (God knows I’ve written enough checks there). The store was gone - replaced by a nail salon -“well, can I get my nails done while we’re here?” she asked, clearly annoyed that I had dodged yet another attempt on her part to make me part with my hard earned money. I won’t repeat what I said, but I was scolded by my 15 year old for using the word “Fuck” too often this morning (mouthy teen!).

We drove home. We had lunch - Abby had a grilled cheese with monterey jack, one piece of swiss and 4 slices of bacon. I had a yogurt and a granola bar (still with me? - riveting stuff, damn straight yo!). Went online to check and see if in fact Sport Fair was still in business. It was, and oddly enough, still housed in the same store front as the nail salon.

I hate incompetence - especially on a Saturday - when I could be on tumblr looking at the same old pictures of Christoph Waltz (not complaining mind you). If you’ve moved your location, you really need to change it online, otherwise, how will I find you? Who will I give my money to (really there’s little enough of it?)

Eventually we found it (I had written down the old street number - sigh - further incompetence on a Saturday). Abby however was elated, as she was certain that I had the wrong number, and she had the correct one. Rather than utter another expletive, I praised her brilliance and exclaimed that “You can never leave me Abby - EVER!” This had the desired effect, of stopping her fist pumping and throwing her hair around.

We entered the new store. It looked like something that should have been on Rodeo Drive instead of Lee Highway (across the street from a strip mall). Blond hardwood floors, glass and teak counters. “Well, I now know why I was being charged a 500% markup for bathing caps last year,” I said looking around. “Mmaaaahm stop!,” said a mortified Abby, turning her head quickly from side to side as if on some sort of caffeine induced scavenger hunt.

Three very cute boys were working the counter. “Hey, what are y’all looking for today?” asked the boy with the curly brown hair and skinny jeans. “Lacrosse sticks,” I answered smiling. “Sssshhhh Mom!” Abby said. “Uh, I need a suit,” she said. “Cool, for practice or team?” he asked, batting his big brown eyes. “Practice,” replied my daughter, smiling shyly. “High school practice,” I said giving him my best Joan Crawford stare. “Cool. Do you know what brand - Tyr or Speedo?” This was already getting on my nerves. “Um Splish,” replied Abby. Big smile on the cute boy’s face. “Spliiiiiiish, very cool. Do you know which design?” He asked strolling across the floor, toward a rack of suits. “Um, the double rainbow.” Abby replied. This stopped him dead in his tracks. “Oh,” he said shaking his head sadly. “No, we’re like way … ” didn’t even finish his sentence and Abby picked right up “gone?” she asked pouting. “Yeah,” he said sadly. Their relationship was now going through a rough patch. “That’s ok, I can try one on here for size and then order it from their website,” she said walking over to the rack. “Nnnnnoooo, no, no, no,” I said. Just find a different design and buy it here. If you order online I’ve got to pay a shipping fee.” I said, letting Abby know who wore the pants in this mother/daughter relationship. “No Mom, you don’t understand,” Abby said, shaking that hair again. The cute boy with eyelashes quickly backed away. “Yeah I understand, you all want to have the same suit. Just tell your friends that the plan has changed and you’re now buying a different one.” “Nnoooooo, whined Abby. “I ca… oh, wait this is cute. Oh this is funny, look at this one. Oooooo I like this one.” Metal hangers wizzed across the rack at breakneck speed. Joan Crawford would have been rendered catatonic.

I was now standing in front of what arguably must be the ugliest bathing suits ever created. “These are Splish,?” I asked incredulously. “Yeah aren’t they great?” Abby held one up for me to see. It looked as if someone had slapped kiddy stickers all over it. “Oh my god, they’re hideous. Abby are you serious, this is what you want to practice in?” “Yeah, we’re all going to get them.” she answered, eyeing the bathing suit. Cute boy returned smiling, obviously relieved that the mother/daughter drama had concluded. “Do you want to try that on?,” he asked grinning and nodding. Honestly, I could have slapped him! “Um yeah,” Abby answered, smiling and looking down shyly at her top-sider encased feet. Oh gag, I thought to myself, unsure at this point who I wanted to slap more - cute boy or my daughter who was now visibly mooing over him. “Abby!” I wanted to say, “for God’s sake, pull yourself together!” I steered her toward the dressing room, away from cute boy.

After trying on 6 suits, each one more hideous than the other, she settled on one. I brought the suit to the counter, where cute boy #2 (who obviously was a step above cute boy, as he was allowed to use the register), proceeded to ring up our purchase. $57.71 is your total, he said smiling. “Are you fucking kidding me?” “Mmmmmaaaaahhhhhmmmmmm!

NaNoWriMo Complete!

Thank God! Finished with NaNoWriMo - submitted my book this morning, collected my certificate, made my donation to the future of high school writers, went for a walk, and now … I’m going to the library to find a good book to READ!

During this month of literary abandon, I avoided weight gain, mass, confession, superfluous whining, superfluous shopping, CBS Sunday Morning, 3 square meals a day for myself and family, good manners, and civility.

I did manage to get my hair cut and highlighted (I’m not completely without compassion for those who have to look at me.)

I will do my best to get to mass this weekend, I will re-engage with my family, I will prepare edible meals, I will be patient with my dog, I will become Christoph vigilant!

And now - to the library! Hooray!!!!!!!!

Typical Freshman

Soooooooo, last Thursday, my son came home from college for Christmas break. All was well, and my husband and I were happy to have our family unit restored (be it temporarily) to it’s full size.

Friday evening I was sitting on the couch in my happy spot, watching Brian Williams deliver the news, when my son came into the room and sat down next to me. I turned to look at him and discovered that he was sitting down, quite comfortably and confidently, drinking a Michelob (as if it were nothing more than a glass of orange juice).

“Uh, no no no, no, no,” I said, as if he was a two year old reaching for a knife.

To which he replied, “What I drink these all the time at school.” He looked at the bottle appreciatively, “boy, beer sure does taste better out of a bottle then it does from a can.”

This was too much. I stood up and pointed my finger at him. “No, no, you’re not 21.” I paused for a split second as I looked at the beer bottle, then continued, “finish that, because you’ve already opened it. But that’s it. No more! DO NOT DO THAT AGAIN. And when you’re done put that bottle out for recycling before your father sees it.”

“Moooom, I can drink like 6 of these and not feel a thing.”

“I’m sure you can’t feel a thing after 6 of those. Now finish that one up and eat some pretzels.”

Wild Week in Washington

I suppose if the Redskins had wanted a younger player to replace Donovan McNabb, they could have signed Gilbert Arenas, and if the Wizards wanted a more mature player to replace Gilbert Arenas, they could have signed Donovan McNabb and if the Capitols continue to suck, Ralph Friedgen is now available, and if the University of Maryland football wants to improve, Nancy Pelosi will have a little bit more free time after Congress returns in 2011.

This still leaves Robin Givhan’s Style Editor position open at The Washington Post, and Zach Efron without a girlfriend, but I understand that both are currently accepting applications, so I’m thinking that if Miami doesn’t work out, there is still hope for LaBron. My God, it’s just soooooooo exhausting!

19 Years Ago Today

19 years ago today, I was in labor (eeeewwwww!). That’s right - on Christmas eve. I watched A Christmas Story 5 times. Johnny Mathis was the guest on Oprah (to this day, I cannot stand the sound of Johnny Mathis singing Christmas carols). I begged my husband to push me in front of a metro bus (he did not). Finally at 4:00 I convinced him to go get me a Jamocha Fudge milk shake from Baskin Robbins (he made it in right before they locked the door - very Indiana Jones, no fedora, just a blue cashmere sweater).

When the nurse put the IV in my arm, I bit my husbands wrist (because sharing is caring). When the anesthesiologist arrived and gave me the epidural, I told him that I’d take him to lunch one day soon (oh yeah, I forgot about that).

We watched Roseanne. When that was over we switched to PBS and watched Die Fledermaus (even before that night, it was always my favorite opera - I saw it at the Met with Siegfried Jerusalem - he was my crush before Christoph Waltz). My son Nicholas was born at 2 am on Christmas day - right in the middle of Act 2, (the party scene at Prince Orlovsky’s -Ich lade gern mir Gäste ein).

Although he is a Christmas baby, he was not named after St. Nicholas, but rather Nick Charles (The Thin Man - William Powell was my crush before Siegfried Jerusalem).



Post Christmas Carnage

My house looks like a department store explosion. The following are some items I had to traverse to get to the kitchen (my God I need my coffee) this morning: a neon green sports bra (brighter than Vegas at midnight), a Columbia multi-tool (with mini LED flashlight), one LL Bean fur lined slipper, the dog, wrapping paper (SpongeBob meets Crane), Portmeirion wastebasket to replace quarter century old Audubon one (wedding gift from mother’s store), not one but two empty plates of blueberry peach pie (honestly, couldn’t the dog have cleaned these for me?), numerous pairs of new socks (various combinations of argyle and fair isle patterns), Banana Republic boxer briefs, Hanes tagless t-shirts (because no matter what else happens in life, we should always be able to trust Michael Jordan), empty DVD cases for Despicable Me and Inception, 1 lb Reeses peanut butter cups, an eight pack of Classic Coke, empty bottles of Wine and sparkling cider, birthday wrapping paper, Sperry top-siders box, empty DVD box of Hurt Locker and the life-size cut out of Taylor Lautner, who on Christmas day was permitted to leave my daughters bedroom and visit the living room to have his picture taken under the tree - he wore a green chenille bathrobe and jaunty terrorist scarf

(there was some discussion about using him for target practice with an air gun - in retrospect, it’s really probably best that I don’t have a life-size cut out of Landa). Time to awaken the elves and put them to work.

Not to Worry, Ted Kaczynski is Still in Jail

I came home from work today burbling over with what can only be described as an excess of cortisol in my system. Needing a quick blast of exercise to get rid of it, I decided to go for a 4 mile walk (too cold to run - it shreds my delicate throat, and I might need the throat to yell at either my daughter or husband, or possibly sing along with my ipod - because I can sing - quite badly.)

I dressed for the cold weather. I began with my navy blue Block Island sweatpants with the elastic removed from the ankles (because nothing says “class” better than fraying on the bottoms of your sweat pant legs). On top I wore my long sleeved Alexandria Lacrosse Club t-shirt. Over this - my Tar Heels Lacrosse hooded sweatshirt (yes, I wore the hood up, because according to my eye, ears, nose and throat doctor, the ears are also connected to the throat). On my feet - my white asics with the kelly green trim. On top of everything, a down jacket. To complete the ensemble, I wore my Ray Ban aviators (with outdoosman green lenses).

As I was heading out the door, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and was shocked to see a middle-aged, female uni-bomber.