Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I'm not sure where to begin. I woke up a couple of days ago feeling like something was weird with some of my elderly relatives (who I won't name here in case my family reads this.)
Turns out, an 85-year-old relative (we'll call her Relative A) is threatening to divorce an 86-year-old relative (we'll call him Relative B) because she says he is having an affair.
Now, normally I'd laugh this off because Relative A has unfortunately had several strokes and has had some paranoia and scrambled memories. However, Relative C (the adult son of Relatives A & B) lives nearby and told Relative D (another child of Relatives A & B) that it is true!
"Holy shit!" I said to Relative D, when I heard the news. "He can hardly walk, how can he have the energy to do that?"
Relative D: "You don't have to be able to walk well to be able to lie down."
So after some discussion, Mr. RK put my mind at rest, reminding me that Relative B is a super religious person who is also such a prude that he came up with pseudonyms for body parts when raising his children.
"Anyone who has to invent another word for penis," said Mr. RK, "has got to be pretty repressed. He is probably just having coffee dates with someone."
I think this reassured Relative D, but I am still in serious need of mental bleach.
Monday, September 27, 2010
I'm not into chocolate for its own sake, but I do like to visit a locally-owned cafe called Moonstruck: A Chocolate Cafe. I like cocoa and I like other desserts.*
Now, I've written about Moonstruck before when they tried to get all corporate and hoity toity. They listened to customer feedback and went back to normal - for awhile.
Now, my little bro and other members of my family, including Mr. RK, adore the chocolate bars from this cafe. They're not cheap ($3.50) but sometimes I send them down to California or bring them home.
Darth Weasel was nice enough to take me and Mr. RK there for my birthday, and gave me a gift card. When we went, I noticed a new chocolate bar for $7.
You read that correctly.
I went last night for a sundae and low and behold, they are replacing the $3.50 bars with a $7 bar.
Now, mind you, I know you get what you pay for, and dessert is no exception. But $7?
That's more than a dollar per inch.
At that price, I have to ask: what does this chocolate bar do for me? Instant orgasm? Make me happier, shinier, and nicer? Does it get up and dance?
PS A tip for the uninitiated: don't do a Google image search for "dancing chocolate" without expecting some, um, surprises.
*Please note: the writer of this blog is prone to understatement.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I have written quite a lot here about work - much of it in jest, some of it serious - and a lot of times I have had to learn to write off the less pleasant parts of it with laughter.
Once in awhile, though, something happens that makes me glow all day long. Or in this case, all week long.
I volunteer facilitating a writing group for people living with mental illness for one of our affiliate chapters. Last week, it was pouring buckets, and I only had one out of the normal five or six regulars show up.
I have always known K - a 26-year-old artist who lives with her parents - as a chatty, can't-wait-to-get-the-words-out-of-her-mouth person. Before the writing group started last year, she was in the art group. I was shocked to find out a little while ago that she hardly spoke in that group at all until she came to my group.
She has told me that being in my group has helped her overcome some of her shyness and initiate conversations with other people. She said she was grateful that the group was free - all of the services and supports the organization I work for are offered free of charge - because she had looked into taking a writing class at a local community college and could not afford it.
And last Saturday, she told me that coming to the group has not only helped her stretch as a writer, but that it has helped her mental health.
Wow. I don't know what her diagnosis is, but that was just a shock - an amazingly pleasant shock - to hear. All of these months I never realized that was happening - and who knows? Maybe some of the others feel that way, too.
It was one of those truly humbling moments because I live with depression and non-chemical things that have lifted me out of it have been few and far between. So I understand what a big deal it is to have something that helps.
The thing is, the group is not about me at all. I start each session telling the writers that the group belongs to them - I just want to be the facilitator. I ask them to flesh out their ideas and challenge themselves, and they do.
I'm just the middleman, but what a great position to fill.
So I suppose the moral of the story is not to underestimate the impact you can have on someone for the positive. Make the time, if you have a couple of hours a week. Someone will be glad that you did.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
The lovely Claire wrote a neat post about some of her favorite things, which inspired this post. I have been writing so much for work and a volunteer writing group that I facilitate that I've been a slacker at writing at home.
Anyhow, here are my top 10 (G-rated) that come to mind:
1. Fall, before the rainy season starts. A crisp, clear, sunny fall day with just a bit of a breeze. New York's Central Park is the perfect place to be on such a day, with foliage turning red and orange.
2. Iced mochas. Sucks because I can't have much caffeine (it makes me hyper, achy, and anxious) but when I do have them, my latest favorite is at a local cafe here. Nom nom!
3. Cafes. I mean good cafes, where you can sit back and chat with friends without watching the clock. Cafes with old furniture and local art for sale hanging on the walls and espresso shots pulled by hand. I love sitting in this kind of place and people watching when I'm on vacation.
4. Vacation! I love my job, but it can be emotionally intense sometimes, so I equally love breaks. One rule for myself: I never watch the news or read the news, even though I am an ex-reporter and a news junkie.
5. Reading. I especially love reading and snuggling with my cats and Mr. RK when the weather is nasty.
6. Stationary. I come from a Hallmark family. I love writing on interesting cards and paper, and I probably write more actual letters than anyone I know. The writer Erica Jong says that writers are good correspondents because it gives us an excuse to put off writing what we actually have to write, and I'm inclined to agree.
7. Children's books - good ones, funny or warm and fuzzy, not the kind that are dumb and talk down to kids. I have written one such book (not to brag, but I know what I like and I wrote it that way) and am working on another.
8. Color. I work in a mostly residential neighborhood and when it's nice out, I love talking walks and peering at some of the most amazing flowers. I am intrigued by color in art, in nature, and even in other people's makeup. Oddly enough, I usually wear black and other neutral colors and hardly any, if any, makeup.
9. Laughing. I love to laugh - I think it really is the best medicine - and I love to make other people laugh, too. Usually, when I send a sympathy card or a get well card, I try to send one that will give someone a lift. (See related LOL cat above.)
10. Just about anything from the UK. My family is a mix of Irish/European/Apache ancestry, but I've never felt as at home as when I've been in England. I am an anglophile for sure.
How about you? I tag you if you want to be tagged.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I am out of brain cells. But I like to laugh, and so do you. So here are a couple of unintentionally funny things that happened the past few days.
Driving home, right as it starts pouring, Radiohead's "High and dry" comes on the radio.
Driving by the cemetery (different day, same radio station), "Digging in the dirt" comes on the radio. (Am I morbid, or is that hilarious?)
Meeting for an all-girls dinner before a meeting, I spill it to my board president that I am constantly having sex dreams about my boss (who I'd never, ever, EVER sleep with, even if we were both single and didn't work together) and how embarrassing it is to even look at him in the morning after this happens! I thought she'd spit out her sandwich, she laughed so hard.
Realizing that - oh shit! - one of our key volunteers, a gray-haired 40- or 50-something, has a haircut just like Justin Bieber, and trying really hard not to laugh during the meeting as I was thinking about it.
Getting a link to this awesome make-your-own-greeting card site from my friend K. (That's where this pic came from.)
Mr. RK walking in, looking at a Victoria's Secret clothing catalog where the model is wearing a sweater with shorts that barely cover her ass, and saying, "If she was really that cold, she wouldn't be wearing those shorts!" (I like their underwear but their catalogs and e-mails are definitely targeted to a horny, heterosexual male audience, which is kind of irritating. Every e-mail they send has a picture that may as well read, "Come fuck me!")
Friday, September 10, 2010
I went out for drinks (non-alcoholic for me) with a couple of girlfriends last night and as usual, we ended up talking about sex, boys, and exes.
Then my friend S was talking about pets (no connection) and referencing animal control having to come into the homes of people who couldn't take care of their pets properly.
My friend J piped up: "Yes! That's what I totally should have done with a couple of exes! 'Animal control, come take this pig away!'"
I wish I could have thought of that!
PS If anyone is sick of the LOL cats...too bad :)
Thursday, September 09, 2010
No, that's not naughty - do you remember that book from the 70s?
I read and re-read that book at age 5 so that eventually the cover fell off. I think I still have it somewhere.
Basically, it was a sweet (OK, fuzzy) little feel-good life lessons book for kiddos. I remember always feeling good after I read it.
I thought about this book today after I had a couple of conversations with my dad. His parents are ailing and despite the fact that in my opinion, they were not very good parents or loving people, he has taken very good care of them in their old age. The visits are never fun, and they're expensive (in my opinion my grandfather tries to wheedle as much money as he can from him, and it pisses me off), but he still does his best to make sure they are comfortable.
Even when he's not around, he sends nice stuff. Every month he sends my grandmother a bouquet of flowers, because although she was once an avid gardner, she gets so depressed now that she doesn't go outside.
Anyhow, we were having a conversation about this the other day and he told me that both he and his sister think, based on their upbringing, that they are missing the emotion that tells them they are loved. Meaning, they don't know what that feels like, even though they know people love them.
That made me so sad! We all love him to bits but I suppose all I can do is tell him over and over.
Meanwhile, I was thinking: what makes me feel loved?
Today my car battery died and with no questions asked, Mr. RK drove across town, figured out the problem, figured out which store to go to so we'd spend less because it was under warranty, and fixed my car.
That's one example. How about you?
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Thursday, September 02, 2010
My dad and I were talking for awhile today. He said felt old knowing that in 25 years, he'd be his parents' age (my grandmother is not doing well and I just had a birthday, so this inspired the age discussion.) I said I felt old when places I loved closed down.
A Greek restaurant near where I live just up and closed last week. The Barnes & Noble near Rockefeller Center in New York is closing.
Is there anything spectacular about these two places? No - just nostalgia.
The Greek restaurant we found by accident when my parents lived in Portland. We were super hungry - my dad, me, and my little brother, who was 4 or 5. Santorini served some of the best Greek and Italian food I've ever had...and the first time we went just happened to be a weekend where they had belly dancing. I've never seen my dad so embarrassed. My brother, on the other hand, couldn't take his eyes off the dancer!
I've had many meals there since then. Notably, Mr. RK very nearly proposed to me there - he had his hand in his jacket pocket, on the ring box - but a waiter appeared at exactly that instant to take our order.
The Barnes & Noble closing makes me just as sad. A story I read said it had been there for 15 years, so I must have started going there in college right when it opened. I liked their iced mochas, and it was a good meeting point on the Upper West Side. Since college, I've been back there on return trips for the same reason, having cheesecake with Mike D, getting books and cards with my dad and my brothers.
And I kissed my friend, happy, on escalator on the way up to the second floor of that bookstore - college, a lunch with a couple of margaritas. I had a huge crush on him and nothing ever happened with us romantically after that, but it stands out as a memory.
When places where we have made happy memories no longer exist, it's unnerving, my dad suggests, because the memories are then disembodied.
But as he put it, time for new memories somewhere else, even while we treasure the old ones.
So here is a picture from something I won't ever forget. One of my friends who has been seriously broke for awhile came over and brought me a box of gourmet cupcakes for my birthday. The cupcakes are long gone, but the thoughtfulness will linger, and there's no place attached to it that can be closed, demolished, or left behind.