Friday, October 30, 2009

Not-So-Famous (but great) Last Words

Today is the 6th anniversary of the death of my son's dad (lung cancer, age 46). I originally posted this in April 2005. Thought it was a good time to run it again.

Yesterday, in an attempt to clean out the 49.5G that I've used on my laptop, I began opening a lot of files that I haven't looked at in awhile. In some cases, files that I didn't even remember that I had.

One of these turned out to be a written account of the last week of Tony's life. I guess in trying to process everything, I wrote every single detail of that last, grueling week.

After having been sick for 8 months or so, he took a rapid slide during those seven days that surprised even his nurses. Although his life was quickly slipping away, he maintained his sense of humor almost to the very end.

Two days before he passed away, his sisters and Lucas and I were sitting with him at the hospital, having seen him get progressively weaker. At one point, the phone rang. He looked at us and said, "Unless it's the Dalai Lama, I don't want to talk to anyone."

Those were the last words he spoke. Some day, I think my son will get a chuckle out of that.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Dates with Nuts

Back by popular demand... my online dating missive.

I wasn't a "" gal. Oh no. I went for the Nerve crowd. On the face of it, much hipper, quirkier, more creative types. And I loved filling out their profile form. (My favorite part: You have to fill in the blanks for "____ is sexy, ______ is sexier." My profile read: "Spooning is sexy, forking is sexier." God, I crack me up.)

As a result, I attracted an "interesting" crop of suitors. Rather than go into elaborate anecdotes about these encounters, I'll just throw out some highlights. If you recognize yourself here you could be responsible for driving a perfectly great catch into permanent hibernation.

- The author of a book on Frisbee-throwing who lamented that his ex-girlfriend just didn't understand his method of loading and unloading the dishwasher.

- The traveling AOL executive who found me online as he surfed Nerve from his hotel room in Sao Paolo. We were scheduled to meet three days later, when he returned from his business trip to his luxurious apartment in NYC. Unfortunately it turns out he was actually an unemployed writer LIVING in Sao Paolo, and did I mention that the hot picture on his profile was really his cousin Carlo from Naples?

- The handsome and fit stockbroker who arrived for our date at least 150 pounds heavier than his picture, wearing a too-small Harley Davidson t-shirt and suit pants. At least he had the decency to explain that he knew I wouldn't be attracted to him but he really wanted to meet me 'cause he thought I seemed cool.

- The severely nerdy copywriter who dropped to his knees when he saw me and said "Thank you, God." (I know it sounds flattering but it was creepy and desperate, especially since he was wearing Bermuda shorts at the time)

- The obsessive-compulsive who dragged me in and out of 12 restaurants until we found the one that was the correct temperature. Apparently he had a perspiration issue. Sexy.

- The seemingly normal art director who called me in the middle of the night thinking it would be really exciting to pretend I was his mommy and that we were hot for each other.

Gee, I had almost forgotten why I gave it up.

If you are considering finding the love of your life online, I have one very simple piece of advice: meet the person RIGHT AWAY. I mean immediately. Tomorrow, or sooner. It is very easy to develop a false sense of intimacy through the ether. And don't forget one very important fact: People Lie. 5'8" means 5'6". 185 lbs. means 250 lbs. Heck, even I lied! I've never forked in my life!

People do find love this way. And I've made some incredible, long-term friends through the web. But as they used to say on Hill Street Blues: "Be careful out there".

Monday, August 24, 2009

August 24, 1985... 24 Years Ago... little girl was born.

Each year takes me back to the first rumbles of labor, having dinner in Brooklyn Heights at Henry's End with my husband and our friend Charlie. I casually checked my watch and noted that the contractions were regular, but a good 20 minutes apart. We went home, After dinner, at around 11pm, Mark drove Charlie home to Manhattan and I went to sleep. I woke up the next morning, knowing that "this was it". Still, our midwife said it was a good idea to take a bath and have a glass of wine (at 5am!). If this wasn't "it" the contractions would stop. Believe me, it was "it".

A bumpy ride up the West Side highway from Brooklyn to St. Luke's Roosevelt on W. 59th Street is not the most pleasant thing when your uterus is in a vise. But once we got there, the labor was quiet, peaceful and smooth (I kept hearing a woman screaming in the next room, only to be assured by my midwife that I was actually farther along than she was!). With the exception of the crowning of her head (why does the Johnny Cash song "Ring of Fire" come to mind? Hm.), it really was not that bad. Until she was born.

Emma had aspirated meconium into her lungs (if you've gotten this far, I'm assuming you know what that is. If not, look it up. Isn't that what all mothers say?) which led to her being rushed via ambulance to another hospital, one with a NICU, where she remained for a week. Her first APGAR score was a 3. (See "look it up" above). Unlike these days, I was transported there as well and was able to stay with her until she was well enough to come home. I feel very sorry for parents now who have to leave their sick newborns in the hospital alone... I don't know how they do it.

Although she gave us a lot to worry about at birth, she was the easiest baby! She slept ALL THE TIME. And when she wasn't sleeping, she was smiling. She never cried. (She made up for it later, believe me!) She's still happiest when she has slept for 12 hours. Some things really never do change...

This is pretty much indicative of all her baby pictures:

My favorite school picture...

And a modeling job that she did for a store catalog for "Think Big!"

Happy Birthday, sweetheart.

For years, when both of my kids were living at home, our tradition was to eat the same meals on their birthdays that I ate the night before they were born. For Lucas it's chicken fajitas... for Emma, it's soft-shell crab.

I'll get to spend a few days with her later this week and we'll go see "District 9" together. But this morning, as I walked past the Crayola crayon boxes and sticker books at the local pharmacy it took me back to what doesn't seem like so many years ago...

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Polkadot Panthergirl

...circa 1966. Traded the communion dress for this fetching pantsuit, socks and Keds (or were they PF Flyers?).

I was only eleven in this picture, and sometimes put crumpled up balls of looseleaf under my shirt to create the illusion of breasts. (not here, though) In those days, bras were so lumpy that the looseleaf looked pretty "real". Needless to say, I was in a big hurry to grow up.

That summer my mother signed me up for CYO Day Camp (Catholic Youth Organization). Based on my date of birth, I was put into the 10/11 age group. However, I had other ideas.

The very first day, I spotted a boy in the back of the bus who was singing "Satisfaction" at the top of his lungs. He was clearly NOT in the 10/11 group, but he was edgy and dangerous and I immediately ditched my funny glasses and sashayed back there and caught his eye.

We arrived at camp and were greeted by the director: a big, nasty-ass he-woman that I recognized as the gym teacher from hell at my sister's high school. A normal kid would have been terrified. Instead, I decided to doctor the birth date on my bus pass and get myself into the 13/14 be closer to Jagger Junior who instantaneously became my boyfriend.

My mother hadn't yet taken me for my first AAA-cup fitting, so I spent the rest of that summer wearing my bathing suit top under my clothes in the event that he tried to snap my "bra". I said "shit" a lot. The real 13-14 year olds in my group answered every possible question I had about sex. (I imparted all this knowledge to my 9 year old cousin, who immediately lept to the conclusion that he was adopted, because "my parents would NEVER do that!!") Although blind as a bat, I refused to wear my dorky glasses. Priorities, man.

By the end of the summer I was WAY cooler than my yodeling paramour, and even without my glasses I realized he wasn't that hot. I eventually got my AAA-cup bra, about two years before it was completely uncool to wear one.

BlogHer in NYC Next Year!

Well, if I'm going to show up at BlogHer next year (and I am), I suppose I ought to resurrect this here thang.

I might post a few reruns over the next few days while I decide on a topic for my re-entry into blog land.... I have a few bouncing around in my head: The Air Traveler's Strife, Why I Think People Have Lost Their Minds (yes, all of them), Updated Pet Peeves and Other Daily Annoyances, Songs to Drive By...

My goal will be to post something new at least once a week, in between Facebooking and Twittering and ... oh yeah ... life.

See you (and I do mean SEE YOU) at BlogHer next August.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Reposting: You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Given the bizarre coincidences that happened this week (the guy from Chesebrough Ponds who recognized me here in NOLA, 15 years later, AND the fact that my son's roommate shares my birthday and his mother shares my son's), I had to repost this which is clearly the most incredible coincidence I've ever experienced in my life. I challenge you to tell me a better one:

I know I haven't posted in a long time... sorry!! But something happened tonight that is too long for Twitter OR Facebook, so here I am. I'm also posting this on top of another bizarre incident I reported back in '07, so you can see how weird my life is in general.

Last week, I received an email from a company called Camp Meds. They are handling all medications required by campers at my son's (and apparently many others') camp. I'm not crazy about the idea, because you have to pay a $50 handling fee and you really don't know who is doing the handling.

Anyway, to increase my anxiety a little more, the email I got from them was intended for someone else, and attached to it was the personal profile and prescriptions of a camper who is NOT my son, along with a copy of the girls' mother's insurance ID card, phone numbers, etc.

I was horrified. I let them know and they pretty much blew it off as a "mistake". On Friday I decided to call the mother in Seattle to let her know what had happened.

She called me back today. We talked for awhile, she gave me her email address so I could forward the email to her, and then she said "You live in Westchester, right?" (she knew from my area code). I said yes, and she said she used to live in NY, but on Long Island. I asked her where on Long Island and when she told me the town, I said that my son's dad came from there. She initially thought he had MY last name and said that she didn't know the family, but when I said HIS last name she said, "Oh I knew them! I used to hang out at their house! Tony used to buy us liquor... I went to high school with Cindy..." She knew the whole damned bunch.

I still cannot believe it. And I thought the story below was the weirdest thing that ever happened to me...


Pay close attention to all the details, for each one is critical to how this story plays out.

I normally leave my house at about 7AM and get to work at 7:30. This morning, because I was watching the news from Minneapolis, I left at 7:50. No biggie, except I knew there was a big management meeting/announcement taking place at 8:30 and I wanted to be sure to get there on time for that.

Since I pulled into the parking garage at 8:25, I went straight to the meeting instead of dropping my things off in my office first.

Most people had settled into their seats already, but I found one open chair next to my boss. I had to climb over a bunch of people to get to it, but I did it.

After the meeting was over, the 200 or so attendees filed slowly out. A woman walking next to me noticed my little shopping bag from a jewelry store in a town near mine. "I love that store!" she exclaimed. "Me too," I replied.

Then she said, "I used to shop there because I lived in V--- (my teeny town)". "I live in V---" now", I replied. "Oh, do you live in the O--- Condos?" "Er... yeah", I getting a little creeped out. "Where in O---- do you live?" she asked. I told her my street name. She looked pale. "I lived on that street too...what number?"
"173", I said. "I lived at 172", she replied. By this time, both of our jaws had to be scraped off the floor.

Now, I tell you... what are the chances?? Like I said, normally I would have arrived at work early enough to drop my little shopping bag in my office. I could have sat ANYWHERE in that room of over 200 people. I've been sick all week, so chances were good I wouldn't even have been at work today.

I'm buying a lottery ticket. Seriously.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Take Our Daughters to Work Day

Yesterday, I received a memo at work reminding me to register my kid for "Take Our Children to Work Day." I thought it was a good time to rerun my blogpost from April 2006 on this topic, which is a real ho-button issue for me:

Take Out DAUGHTERS to Work Day.

That's what it was designed to be. Our daughters. To work. Now, it appears that the Ms. Foundation has caved to pressure from people who normally despise "political correctness" and changed the day to "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day". I'm really disappointed in them.

The day was created so that girls, traditionally not exposed to lots of career options, could see what women do in jobs outside the home. Sure, more women work now than ever before, but educating our daughters about the realities of the workplace, including inequities in salaries and the "glass ceiling" is important. Boys have always been exposed to men in the workplace. Have you ever seen a magazine called "Working Dad"? Of course not. Sounds silly, doesn't it? Then why do we need this:

I find it so interesting that the people who complained about TODTWD as being "sexist" because it excluded boys are the same people who couldn't care less about ACTUAL sexism, in the workplace or otherwise. These are the same people who complain about "Black History Month" as being "racist". No, you see...every OTHER month is "White History Month". That's the difference.

It's a shame that TODTWD has been watered down, and I intend to write to the Ms. Foundation to express my displeasure. If they wanted to add boys to to mix, they should suggest keeping boys at home with their stay-at-home moms or dads, to show them THAT option, and what's involved with it. After all, that should be a choice for boys as well.

Friday, March 27, 2009

South African Adventure!

Just got back from ten days in South Africa. It was a business trip to Durban, but I also managed to get a few days in Cape Town and an overnight in a game reserve (Phinda) which was completely amazing.

We got so close to this male lion that it was literally terrifying. He was just sitting there, very quietly, but then got up and walked toward our (open) vehicle. He walked right along side the jeep (next to me), close enough that I could have touched him. I could not BREATHE. But he just looked up and kept on truckin'.

We saw tons of game, as well as amazing birds, bugs and snakes! The lodge was gorgeous and had an outdoor shower. But I didn't enjoy my shower so much as there were monkeys in the trees hooting and hollering at me so I ran indoors like the sissy New Yorker that I am.

Here are some great images from the trip. Some of these were taken by my colleague who brought a better camera, so I can't take credit for all of them...

The people of SA are truly amazing. Sometimes you go places where people seem very friendly but you know the second you turn your back they are making funny faces at you. (or am I just paranoid?) Here, everything that people say and do is so incredibly genuine. Even when service at the hotels or restaurants is a little kooky (serving 7 dinners to 8 people and not quite understanding why one person, me, is sitting there with no food?) they are so adorable about it you can hardly get pissed off.

Prices were so good that I ended up buying a backpack to carry the clothes I bought! Of course, had I paid the almost $10K in airfare that it took to get me there, it might not have been worth the couple of hundred dollars I saved. :) But that's the joy of traveling on business! Not to mention the frequent flyer miles...

One of the best parts of the trip, though, was the domestic flight from Durban to Cape Town on my way home. The flight attendant who was delivering the safety information was hilarious. First, when explaining the usage of the life preserver, he suggested that we tie the ribbons around our waist as opposed to our neck. Then he pointed out the light "for shining into the sharks' eyes". And lastly, he told us this was a non-smoking flight and that there are "smoke detectors and video cameras" in the restrooms. LOL

It was a great way to see who was actually paying attention!

Next stop... Istanbul in May.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Cyber ADD - Has Microblogging Killed the Blog?

Facebook, Twitter... almost all of the people I've "met" online through blogging are now status-updating and twittering. 140 characters, a 2-second flash of what's happening in that moment. Instant blogging... just add words.

It's fun, I'm doing it too, but I'm also a little sad because this takes short attention spans to a whole new level. I used to blog pretty frequently, posting photos and writing little missives about everything from my crazy family to politics to pop culture. But little by little, I began to feel as though if I wrote more than a few paragraphs that even my loyal readers would read the first and last sentence and leave a comment.

For awhile, I thought I was being overly sensitive about this. But recently one of my favorite blog friends, Jamie of Kill the Goat wrote a post about infidelity. It was a plea for help about how and if to tell, about her inner struggle. If you actually read the whole thing, it was really an hilarious account of switching hairdressers. But a majority of the comments were about not telling her husband, or coming clean, or the evils of cheating on one's spouse.

If you're still with me, I'll keep going. In the first two years or so of blogging, I used to drive to work in the morning and think about things I wanted to write about. I'd keep little notes to myself when I thought of a good topic. I tried to make time every morning or late at night to write. I loved getting the instant feedback and the whole process in general. I felt as though I had my own newspaper column, but without the deadline.

I miss it. I've been extremely busy with work so I will admit that I've dropped the ball as well. But when I have thought about writing something, I often stop myself and just post the 140 word version on Twitter.

It's just not the same. :(

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Goodbye, Mr. Bush

And don't let the White House gate hit you in the ass on your way out.

I am so excited about the next few days, the next 8 years... I could just burst. I am going to be doing a lot of traveling around the world on business this year, to London and Durban and Istanbul, and it is so nice to feel like I don't have to be ashamed of our government and most of all, our President.

Here's a little ditty to send Bush on his way:

"So long, farewell, auf wiedersehn, adieu
You'd better go
Or I will throw my shoe.."