Tuesday, May 31, 2005
I don't know anyone who is as removed from her emotions as my mother is. (New readers can find other posts about her here and here. )
She never really understood sentimental attachments...to things (which is why she thought nothing of giving away our toys and games to cousins as we stood there, heartbroken), stuffed animals (hence the previously mentioned incident where she threw my treasured stuffed poodle into the churning garbage truck as I sat in stunned silence), or even to people.
The first inkling I had, about the people-part, was when a young couple in our neighborhood had a baby which tragically died a few days after birth. My older sister was devestated by this news, but when my mother saw her crying she said "Oh don't worry...they didn't even have a chance to love it yet." While she considers herself 'close' to her sisters, she's always kept non-relatives at arm's length, and often referred to our friends as "strangers".
As with most of the stories about my mother, the tragedy is usually accompanied by a heavy dose of hilarity. That same sister was married for 29 years to a man that my parents welcomed into the family as a beloved son-in-law. However when they got divorced and my mother saw him for the last time, she waved and said, "Nice knowin' ya!"
She has talked about donating her body to science when she dies, and frankly I'd love to know what they'll find between her ears!
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Friday, May 27, 2005
This week's Photo Friday entry was taken on the Sunday after 9/11. The streets of New York were packed with people who, like me, just wanted to hug our city. Here in Union Square Park, the ground was covered with candles and flags, while mournful banners pleading for peace were draped over benches and stairs.
This monument was the centerpiece of an ill-fated plea to stop the insanity.
**Edited to add a link to a little iMovie I made last year, using all of the photos I took that day. The song I used has become a 9/11 anthem for the NYC Fire Department.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
OK, before I tell you about my factoid, let me just say that weird things happen sometimes. REALLY weird things. Last night, I did a search for a picture of this guy, the medical reporter who came to my house to interview me. I Googled his name and hit "Images". Along with this picture was THIS picture:
Yep... a photo of Last Girl on Earth with him! Apparently he's at the MS Walkathon every year where she plays the national anthem. How incredible is that??
Anyway, I digress. Here's the story. I first went online (via AOL) in 1994 when I was pregnant with my son. At that time, AOL was more of a content site than an access site, and was filled with message boards on every imaginable topic. Since I was pregnant, I gravitated to boards about that and childbirth, and continued to read and contribute to them while my son grew. One board I read from time to time was the Infertility board, only because I was interested in the process of IVF (as opposed to the process of "ah crap! forgot to use my diaphragm!").
There was a woman who posted on that board named Heather. She was 28, and she and her husband had been trying to get pregnant for eight years. She had lots of fibroid tumors but had finally been able to have successful surgery to remove them all and was thrilled to be pregnant. Because of the unusual nature of her surgery, Dr. Max Gomez did a story about her on the local NYC evening news, complete with the happy ending...she was going to have a baby.
We all followed Heather's progress on the board...she was SO exuberant and couldn't wait to have this baby. Finally, her husband posted that she was in labor and that he would come back to report everything. And then, nothing. A day passed, two days passed...nothing. One of the women from the board ultimately posted that Heather had a baby girl via C-section, but had hemhorraghed seriously and was in a coma. Eight days later, she passed away. We were all devestated...some of us had successfully given birth already (my son was a year old), but some were still pregnant and terrified.
As a group, we tried to think of things we could do for her husband and family. We decided to hold a "memorial service" for her online, in a chatroom. We figured we could get about 50 women to show up. I knew that some of the women were "crafty" (not me) and came up with the idea of each woman creating a piece of artwork in a 6x6 square that the crafty women could turn into quilt pieces. Then, they would assemble all the squares and we'd send the quilt to Heather's daughter.
I remembered that Max Gomez had interviewed Heather and thought he would want to know that she had passed away. He was shocked and saddened when I called with the news. Then, I told him about what we were going to do for her daughter. In 1996, online relationships were not as common as they are today. I knew that what we were planning was pretty amazing...50 women coming together to support the family of a person they had never met.
He asked if he and a camera crew could come to my house and film the online memorial as it took place. Since he was going to interview Heather's husband a few days later, I offered to send along a few of Lucas' things that he had outgrown. The news piece aired and CNN even did a short segment on it.
As with most of my stories, this one has an amazing ending. Heather's husband called to thank me and stayed in touch via email. When he received the completed quilt, he sent pictures of his little girl hugging it. He became very involved with a national infertility group and, when I last heard from him, had married the woman who heads the organization. His little girl had lost her mother, but gained a new blended family with a stepmom and three siblings who love her.
What's that saying about doors and windows?
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Another entry in the series of expanded explanations of my 100 Things.
#65 reads: "I sat in a "shooting gallery" in Brooklyn when I was 15 years old with my 22-year-old heroin addict boyfriend. Thankfully, I was terrified of needles."
This is a photo of me and said boyfriend (I was 17 here). At the point that this picture was taken, he was in a Methadone program. (Since that was taken orally, he let me try it once. After the projectile vomiting, I was high for three days. Very scary. And remember that I was both living at home and attending high school.)
I was 15 when I met him in the neighborhood and began to hang out with him and his druggie friends. They would give me all of their "works" (needles, etc.) to hold because I was underage, and therefore wouldn't have gone to jail if caught.
Eventually, he went back to shooting up even while he was on Methadone and things got very bad. His mother called me an "angel of mercy" for sticking with him, which was a big wakeup call. I wasn't in the Angel of Mercy business, so I left him.
A few years later, my uncle spotted him digging through a dumpster in a subway station, completely down and out. I knew he'd probably wind up dead of an overdose.
About 4 years ago, I got an email from him. He had found me through Classmates.com, and told me that by the age of 30 he had hit rock bottom, lost all his teeth and was near death. His family took him to rehab and he was able to get a menial job at a convent and stayed clean.
He managed to get back on his feet and married a woman with a daughter that he loved as his own. He sent me this picture of us and said he was very happy now and couldn't believe he had been given a second chance at life.
Scratch that -- a third chance. He had been working in Food Service at Cantor Fitzgerald in 2001, but left his job 2 months before 9/11.
His is a true story of survival, in every way.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
3 names I go by:
Ma (not like Ma and Pa, but like the first syllable of "Marian". It's a Brooklyn thing.
Mudd (as a kid)
(you know, instead of my whole name)
Screen-names I've had:
Mavitale (back in 1994, you could actually get a screenname on AOL that resembled your name)
3 physical things I like about myself:
3 physical things I dislike about myself:
My stretchmarks (thanks, kids)
3 parts of my heritage:
(sorry, that's it)
3 things I am wearing right now:
A "Hounds" sweatshirt
A Livestrong Bracelet
A "I Did Not Vote 4 Bush" bracelet
3 favorite bands / musical artists:
This is almost impossible for me. I have too many.
3 favorite songs:
Also nearly impossible, so I'll pick three in heavy rotation right now:
At Last, Dinah Washington
New Slang, The Shins
Boys and Girls, Bryan Ferry
3 things I want in a relationship:
True and deep understanding, the kind where you don't have to say anything to know exactly what the other person is thinking or about to say.
Hysterical laughter, daily.
Sensuality, affection, creativity, sexuality, intellect (oh, is that more than 3? oops)
3 physical things about the preferred sex that appeal to me:
Dark eyes and hair
3 of my favorite hobbies:
3 things I want to do really badly right now:
Finish cleaning so I can just relax
See the Yankees beat the Mets
Read my book
3 things that scare me:
Rides where your feet dangle
Walking down steep inclines
3 of my everyday essentials:
3 careers you have considered or are considering:
3 places you want to go on vacation:
The Kingdom of Bhutan
Paris (but only with someone I love. A lot.)
3 kids' names you like:
Kelso (hehe... my three "kids")
3 things you want to do before you die:
Write a book
Travel a lot
Own a house
3 ways I am stereotypically a boy:
I hate chick-flicks
I love boxing
I have a very dirty mind ;)
3 ways I am stereotypically a chick:
I am a giver
I am very sensitive
I am never thin enough to satisfy myself
3 celeb crushes:
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Friday, May 20, 2005
For today's entry, I'm posting a photo I took in April, of my son Lucas going out to the golf course for the very first time with the pro. (prior to this, he had only been to the range)
This photo is sweet to me for two reasons: Lucas' love of golf, and because since he lost his dad to cancer I'm happy when there are men in his life he can bond with. It also makes me a little sad, because Tonywould have loved to see him do this, and do it so well.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
...a Yankee fan!
The impending subway series this coming weekend takes me back to the year 2000, when I saw game four of the World Series (at Shea Stadium, where I had never before set foot. I hate the Mets. I even rooted for the Orioles in '69.).
One of our agencies at work had sent out an email with a link to their website where we could enter a drawing for tickets. I normally would have trashed it, but instead I entered. Out of over 2500 entries, I won! The tickets were going for mega-bucks on Ebay, and some people could not understand why I wouldn't sell them. C'mon, man...tickets, $7000...watching the Mets get beaten by the Yankees in the World Series? Priceless. (I even brought along a Met fan, just to enhance the experience!)
[The crowd was surprisingly good-natured, Met and Yankee fans alike. It was really a blast.]
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Monday, May 16, 2005
1) The magic geenie has just shown up at your house with three wishes - but he's drunk and needs a visual. So, what three things would you wish for all over again?
This is a trick question, right? Of course I want an infinite number of wishes to cover world peace, cures for all the incurables, poverty, global warming, the 2008 election, the ability to find all lost objects, health and happiness for my loved ones, outrageous wealth and eternal youth. The genie didn't know who he was dealing with here.
(2) It's your best friend's birthday, but you're strapped for cash. How do you celebrate the day?
That's what credit cards are for, right? Or, maybe we'd take a drive to the neighborhood where we grew up, wearing body armor of course, and marvel at how small everything looks now.
(3) You get to change the world, one petty peeve at a time. Where do you start?
Only one? OK...I'll start with restaurant stuff. Don't you hate it when you have spent 20 minutes looking at the menu, and THEN they tell you what the specials are? Or you order and THEN they tell you "we're all out of the shrimp tonight?" Argh.
(4) Right now - this very second...what is under your bed?
The box from my Roomba, some books, dog hair and a tortilla chip. (Hey, my cleaning lady broke her arm. So sue me.)
(5) Have you ever thrown something at a moving car?
Yes. Myself. (ok, it was a SLOWLY moving car. But still.)
Sunday, May 15, 2005
She walked Kelso and me back to our hotel, where we proceeded to attract the attention of a very drunk guy from Florida who thought it was really sexy to hit on us while showing us pictures of his kids. Ew.
The rest of my NYC weekend was great, too... Stayed at an awesome hotel in Soho that welcomed pets, providing a dog bed and bowls and treats for Kelso. Target was shooting a commercial a few blocks away, so the Target dog (white bull terrier with the red bullseye around his eye) was staying at the same hotel. (Deni took pictures of him and will hopefully post one.)
On Friday night I had dinner with two great friends whom I introduced to each other and now they are in lurrrrrrrve... so great. Walking around with Kelso attracted lots of attention, and it was a good opportunity to talk to people about greyhound adoption. I even met two Hell's Angels, one of whom has a greyhound! You never know who you'll meet on the streets of New York.
All in all, I loved being back in my city. It took 2 hours to drive home (normally a 45 minute ride) but it didn't matter. I got to see friends, make new ones and have a little child-free time (Lucas is spending the weekend with relatives).
I did take one picture, with my camera phone, of Kelso sleeping. I brought that little white bed but he dragged a pillow over for additional comfort during the night!
Friday, May 13, 2005
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
This was taken before Marge got her claws into Sal, and probably before he figured out how nuts she really was.
My father died in 1995, about four months after being diagnosed with lung cancer and having successful surgery with a good prognosis. He, however, was convinced he was dying and managed to will himself a fatal heart attack. My mother was never very good with sick people, including us, exhibiting far more exasperation than empathy. For that reason we felt lucky that she didn't have to nurse him through a long illness, because Florence Nightengale she ain't.
Her complete disconnect from anything emotional didn't take a hiatus on the day of his funeral. You might think that the most shocking moment was when, during the post-cemetary gathering back at her house, she emerged from the back bedroom cheerily holding up a pair of my dad's golf shoes. "WHO'S A SIZE 9??" she called out to the stunned friends and family, some of whom nearly choked on their ziti.
But that was actually NOT the classic moment of the day. That took place at the gravesite, after a solemn ceremony and the lowering of his flag-draped coffin. The funeral director took the flag, folded it gently and gave it to my mother. Everyone rose to walk back to their cars, but instead of following along she ran up to the poor man and said "Do ya take Discover??"
You can't make this stuff up.
I can't really make her my "Wednesday's Child" because she's already very popular, but I will say that if anyone visits here who has NOT gone to see Deni, go. Now. PLUS...she's running a really cool contest that you'll want to be sure and get in on!
And speaking of contests...
Don't forget to vote!
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Monday, May 09, 2005
Maybe because yesterday was Mother's Day, or maybe because I'm thinking about turning 50 this year...whatever the reason, I thought I'd share this funny little story with you.
Seven years ago, when my daughter was turning 13, she threw a little birthday party for herself at our house. She invited about six kids...one of whom was another 13 year old that I'll call "Mike" (because that was his name). Now, in case you have not done the math, seven years ago I was 43.
Mike decided that he was in love with me. He followed me around the house, saying things like, " You are so hot...Do you think I'm hot? If you were my age would you have sex with me? Can I brush your hair?" At first I was moderately amused, and just told him to rejoin the party and stop being silly. He'd go away for awhile but then resurface in the kitchen or wherever I happened to be, to resume his litany of hormone-induced pleas. It was really pretty crazy.
His father came to pick him up and for a moment I thought about saying something. It just seemed so insane that I was actually embarrassed to say anything at all (what could I say? "Thanks for coming"?), so they left. Then the phone calls started. Emma would answer the phone and I'd hear her say, "No, my mother is NOT going to talk to you...stop saying that!" My husband was beyond annoyed.
I decided to call the guidance counselor at Emma's school, who was a guy I knew fairly well. I told him what had happened, and said that if this kid couldn't take no for an answer from ME, I was concerned about how girls his own age would fare against him and his mighty sword. The guidance counselor, although usually very helpful, couldn't stop laughing. He must have said something to Mike, however, because the calls stopped.
A few years later, I went to Emma's High School for a meeting. As I walked down the corridor, I passed a glass case which held a display of books recommended by students. There, right smack in the middle, was Mike's name tacked to the front of "The Summer of '42". I'll admit that it made me smile.
See my previous post and go to the GRR website for the FACTS.
Remember: "pity adoptions" do not work. There is no panic to get these dogs homed. The challenge is to get them into foster care, and to pay for their food, etc. while doing so. Another site you can go to for more info is Greyhound Tails.
Again, do not forward that email!!
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Since I can't really celebrate my Mother on Mother's Day, I will instead celebrate HER mother. The love and affection I got from my grandmother every day probably kept me from becoming The Mad Toothpick Murderer (cue "Psycho" music...reet! reet! reet!) or some other notorious criminal as an adult.
I've posted a few funny stories about her before, but this is the one that comes to mind today courtesy of my sister Loretta:
She loved watching her "stories" (soap operas) and would try to keep us up to date on "All-a My Chill". One day, she told my sister that there was going to be a new show, right before All My Children, but only for a short time. Puzzled, Loretta asked "Only for a short time?" And Grandma confirmed that this was so.
A few days later, Loretta was watching television and saw a promo for "Ryan's Hope...the new conTEMPORARY drama..."
Ah....gotta miss Grandma.
Friday, May 06, 2005
Thursday, May 05, 2005
And, if you can, donate even just $1 to GRR for the interim expenses of kenneling and housing pups in foster homes. If you know who your local greyhound adoption group is, make sure they know about this crisis!!!
If you donate, please add a note that says "The Dog's Breakfast". Thanks!!!
If you can, PLEASE also link to this post on your blog...the more people who can see it, the better!
EDITED TO ADD LINK TO ARTICLE IN TODAY'S NY TIMES: Plainfield Track Closes
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
~First, I want to thank my friend Elle at True Blue 4ever for including me in her cool post ... go check it out!
~Next, I've been tagged by turboslut to do this meme that's been making the rounds in the blogosphere:
Pick five of these and finish the sentence (I'm thinking this should be used in next year's Miss America Pageant.)
If I could be a scientist
If I could be a farmer
If I could be a musician
If I could be a doctor
If I could be a painter
If I could be a gardener
If I could be a missionary
If I could be a chef
If I could be an architect ... I would change my name to Art Vandalay.
If I could be a linguist ... I would be a cunning linguist.
If I could be a psychologist ... I would save myself a lot of money.
If I could be a librarian
If I could be an athlete
If I could be a lawyer
If I could be an innkeeper
If I could be a professor
If I could be a writer
If I could be a llama-rider
If I could be a bonnie pirate
If I could be a service member ... I would ask myself, "What the hell is a service member?"
If I could be a photographer
If I could be a philanthropist
If I could be a rap artist
If I could be a child actor
If I could be a secret agent
If I could be a comedian/comedienne
If I could be a priest ... I would have a lot of fun driving the Pope crazy.
If I could be a radio announcer
If I could be a phlebotomist
If I could be a pet store owner
If I could be a computer programmer
If I could be a police officer
If I could be a politician
If I could be a mom
If I could be an underwater basket weaver
If I could be a reality tv host
If I could be a forensic pathologist
If I could be a TV show writer
If I could be a dictator of a small country
If I could be an ice cream store owner
If I could be a teacher
~ And finally, I'm a participant in Jim's "Mixmania" even over at Patriside. The basic idea is to create a CD mix, remove all the tags (any song title or artist info), and send it to someone who is chosen randomly by Jim. Then, each participant has to post the list of songs on their own blog, for the recipient to figure out who sent them a CD. Sound confusing? You're RIGHT! Anyway, here is my mix with some brief explanations:
1. Cry Me a River - Joe Cocker ... because every mix should include the best of the spastic rockers.
2. 634-5789 - Jonny Lang, Wilson Pickett & somebody else I can't remember right now from the Blues Brothers 2000 soundtrack. ... because I like it, and because even though this isn't the greatest movie ever, I had a great time watching it.
3. Drowning in the Sea of Love - Eva Cassidy ... Love her voice. EDITED BECAUSE I MADE A MISTAKE...I thought for some reason that she had committed suicide, but learned that she died of cancer. Sad, either way!
4. Spooky Girlfriend - Elvis Costello ... Love him. Have seen him live a bazillion times, including one concert at Radio City Music Hall, where an entire Indian family was in line in front of me. Mother, father, grandmother, three children and a baby in a stroller. I'm not sure if they thought they were seeing "Elvis", or maybe Abbot & Costello.
5. Vibrate - Rufus Wainwright ... This is just such a cool song, and it reminds me of an episode of Nip/Tuck that I loved.
6. New Slang - The Shins ... From the "Garden State" soundtrack, this makes my list of "Top Ten Unintelligible Songs That Make Me Cry". (ok, it's really just the "Top One".)
7. Somebody to Love - George Michael & Queen ... Because, well... somebody to love is a good thing.
8. Telephone Call from Istanbul - Tom Waits ... This is my son Lucas' favorite song and it's great.
9. Woke Up This Morning - Alabama 3 ... Theme from "The Sopranos", and all we're going to get until September.
10. Send Me on My Way - Rusted Root ... Included in "Top Ten Unintelligible Songs That Make Me Jump Around". (ok, it's really "Top One Hundred")
11. I Want You - Rachael Yamagata - She's like Fiona Apple, gargling. My favorite line in this song is the one about London.
12. Creep - Radiohead ... Because if more men in my life had been this honest it would have saved me a lot of time & energy.
13. Sex and Candy - Marcy Playground ... Because I like sex and candy. But candy is bad for you.
14. Something in the Air - Thunderclap Newman ... A throwback to my youth, and the best band name ever.
15. She Bop - Cyndi Lauper ... What ever happened to BlueBoy magazine, anyway?
16. Santeria - Sublime ... A happy little tune about shooting people and slapping women. Another dead artist.
17. Across the Universe - Fiona Apple ... Wait, weren't the Beatles on APPLE Records? Wow...spooky, man. This is one of my favorite covers ever. Ever.
Monday, May 02, 2005
...I was married to Tony at his parents' house. I'm really just posting this because I think every bride should have an ass-grab photo.
For newer readers, you can read about all my weddings here. It took three failed marriages (this being the third) for me to learn what love is (and is not). It's funny, because I'm usually a quick-study, but this was a case of bait & switch!*
*Credit to a good friend who described her marriage that way, and I thought it was a perfect description of mine!