Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oddly Speechless

I have very little to say about this.  What in the world does prayer in schools (which not just non-Christians are against) have to do with gays in the military (which many Christians are for)??  It just makes me sick that in 2011 there are still people who are ok with this:

At least we have bravery and intelligence like this to combat the small-minded thoughts above (I promise it's worth the 30 minutes... I've now watched it 3 times):

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Crazy Princess

This is happening.

Have I lost my mind?  Possibly.  Are my shins gonna scream at me?  Likely.  Am I ridiculously excited? You have no idea...

As stoked as I am to potentially run in a tiara and/or tutu (does anyone still say "stoked"), I am actually looking forward to the next 12 weeks of training.  I know, I know... insane.  But it's true.

I've known for awhile that I was going to attempt this.  I've been working on my training schedule for a few weeks.  But I had a doctor checkup today to get full permission to continue to the next level of training, and I'm happy to share that everything looks good! 

13.1 miles.  That's a lot.  Send me good thoughts.  Maybe I'll be as happy and pretty as this gal when I run through the castle in 82 days...

Oh my gosh.  This is happening.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Top 5 (and worst 5) Dates of 2011... thus far

I was asked to be a part of a Blog Carnival, and I have nearly missed the deadline due to a emergency new bathroom installation and endless amounts of shopping that shouldn't have happened.  But I digress... the Blog Carnival's objective this time was to do a Top 5 List for 2011.  I thought about doing my Top 5 movies, my Top 5 theatrical experiences, or my Top 5 fashion finds.  Then I narrowed it down to my Top 5 awkward moments or my Top 5 dates.  Since narrowing awkward moments to 5 is a daunting task and I haven't spent much time talking about boys in awhile, I picked dates.

Joy's Top 5 Dates of 2011
5. During one of the many blizzards NYC experienced earlier this year, I had a lovely stay-at-home date with a fella.  We talked and laughed for hours sitting on the couch.  It was a great night and made me realize that asking a guy over doesn't mean they necessarily assume they get more than conversation.  I should have more faith in guys who show an interest...

4. Along the same lines of my lack of confidence in men comes my surprise when simple things can be romantic and fun.  I had a date with a guy I wasn't particularly excited to go out with initially.  He more than proved me wrong and our date ended with a stroll through Astoria Park.  We wound up just being good friends, but the date was lovely nonetheless.

3. Sometimes seeing an ex is horrific.  Other times you wind up at Professor Thom's in the East Village on a Sunday night out of the blue laughing and remembering why you dug each other in the first place and wondering if you can fix whatever went wrong the first time around.

2. Who knew a traditional date of dinner and a movie could top my list of dates with boys in 2011??  A couple of months ago I went out with an amazing guy.  We had southern food.  We made fun of Jersey girls at the bar while we killed time waiting for a late-night comedy.  We laughed a lot.  And at one point I looked over at him and just thought about how comfortable it was.  That's a date I could do again (and would love to if you're reading this...)

1. Since it looks like I'm ending the year single, I would be remiss to top the list of best dates as one with a boy.  So I'm dedicating my #1 date as a multi-way tie among dates with friends.  I have one friend who takes me on Groupon French food dates which are some of my most cherished times.  Another friend went to a macaron cooking class with me and turned out to be a wonderful partner in the kitchen!  Going to a movie in Astoria on a Friday night with all the Queens teenagers... especially when we see things like "PROM" on opening night only to have your friend shout at all the teenagers for using their phones is priceless.  Shooting off to Atlantic City to spend free money and hit outlet malls with a friend makes me thankful for spontaneity.  And going out of town to visit a friend only to have said friend take you to get matching eagle tattoos.  Best dates of 2011 definitely go to my plutonic friends.

Joy's Worst 5 Dates of 2011
5. When meeting up with a guy for Starbucks, be sure to keep your story in check before divulging the details of your writings - especially when these writings are about dates.  Primarily dates with other guys including those you don't really like but know you'll get a good story out of.  Also know that dates can go poorly when it's your own fault and be thankful when the guy doesn't completely hold it against you and continues corresponding with you.

4. Ice cream in Chinatown followed by driving around on a rainy Sunday afternoon looking for a parking spot to go to the Natural History Museum that isn't even open isn't cool even if the guy is insanely wealthy.  Even less cool when the guy is lying about his age by 12 years, thus making him closer to your parents' age than your own.

3. Unlike Great Date #2 above, this traditional date to Nizza followed by a children's movie was lame.  Less because of what the date entailed and more because of the company.  When a guy pulls out the movie times on a piece of torn out newspaper and refuses to let you look up the showtimes on your smartphone, end the date there.  Don't continue on and give him a chance for...

2. ...a second date.  Yes, worst dates #3 and #2 are from the same guy.  Gentle reader of the masculine variety, take note: wearing old school, too tight sweatpants on a date isn't sexy even if someone lied to you and told you it was at some point in the 90s.  The conversation was terrible too.  This guy gave me rules... you KNOW I loved that.  My favorite rule?  Don't text him because it's impersonal.  Needless to say, 2 dates was all he got... it's 2011, sir and I don't do rules well.

1. I may or may not have been known to go out with guys on occasion who are not remotely my type just for the story and potentially to broaden my horizons.  An obnoxious steroid-infused, fake-baked, car-obsessed, meathead (no judgement of course) took me out to the Astoria Brewhouse.  He asked me about my plans for kids and marriage.  He talked about his ex-wife incessantly.  Then he tried to plan our 2nd date.  When I attempted to be elusive in order to avoid putting myself in an uncomfortable situation, he pressed.  Then he went in for a kiss... not a peck, but a full-on mouth kiss which I somewhat successfully dodged (I've become a pro at that over the years... ask my friend Darryl about my dodge with a kiss from Zenny).  Worst date of the year, hands down goes to the guy who wore this...

I'm still holding out hope for maybe one or two more dates in 2011, but I'm not sure they can top either list.  I wonder what 2012 will have in store on this front??

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Meeting Joy

It's always funny to me how dates stick out in my mind.  I know they do with everyone, but for me it's an area of fixation.  I can remember exactly where I was, what I was wearing, who I was with, who I was dating, if I was dating, what color hair I had, et cetera on many of the most random days of the year.  Call it a good memory.  Call it being nostalgic.  Call it being "Rain Man" for all I care.  That's who I am.  I'm the girl who remembers dates on the calendar.

November 6, 2006.  A day that has plagued me for the past five years.  A day that I rarely, if ever, discuss. But starting today I'm going to remember it as the day that I met Joy.

It's the first day I lived alone.  It was my first day as a single adult.  I was terrified.  I was panicky.  I ate a whole pizza and later threw most of it up.  It was the most hopeless and confused I'd ever felt.  It was my rock-bottom.

With the TV off, Indy at my side, and a nearly empty pizza box next to me, I thought about the events that had led me to that moment.  It was as if I were replaying a movie in my mind - one that I knew all the parts and scenes, all the costumes and lighting, all the emotions and dialogue.  I knew it by heart, but there was no way that it was real.  It must be a movie, right?  As I sat there feeling the real feelings of pain and confusion and frustration and irritation and so much more, I realized I was playing my own life and the choices I'd made, the choices I'd allowed to be made for me, and the reality that got me to November 6, 2006.

And I met Joy.  I didn't know her.  I didn't like her.  I didn't want to be introduced.  I certainly didn't want the stranger in the mirror to try and infiltrate life as I knew it.  At that point in time, "change" was a naughty word.  I much preferred my comforts, my salary, my closed heart, my closed brain, my stoic attitude, my solitude, my privacy, my control over something that wasn't mine to control.

Five years have gone by.  Each year on November 6th, I've shut everything down.  It's almost like I've clung to that day to relive something bad that happened to me.  I've allowed myself to be the victim in a movie where I should be the heroine.

No more.  Starting today - Sunday, November 6, 2011 - I will celebrate the fact that I FINALLY met me.  Yeah... it took me five years to learn me (and I'm still learning more every day).  For five years I've found things to be sad about.  And that's just dumb.

I have the most incredible friends.  I live in the most amazing city.  I am blessed with a ridiculously supportive and loving family.  I have a job I'm proud of.  I finally have red hair.  I'm the owner of the most hysterical and well-behaved dog.  I'm independent and girly at the same time (I totally moved 3 big pieces of furniture today while wearing a dress), and I actually like that about me.

Does that mean that I've declared every day to be awesome from here out?  Well, of course not.  I didn't fall off the truck yesterday.  It just means that November 6th is no longer a day of sadness.  In fact, as hard as it is to admit it sometimes, I'm happy for that day.  It's the day I took control of my own life.  For the first time.  I said "no more" to inauthenticity and not knowing, or wanting to know, myself.  I ripped off the band-aid and exposed a wound that took a long time to heal.  Now the scar is a semi-hidden piece of my character, yet part of what makes me the November 6, 2011 version.

Ya know, the authentic one.  The one with the nosering, the limited tattoos, the sometimes-weird clothing combos, and the insomnia.  The wanna-be runner.  The laidback one who should sometimes demand more from people but doesn't know how.  But also the one who carries her dog home in a pink blanket in an October snowstorm but fights against treating the dog like a human.  The one who cries at "50/50" because the main character has an awesome best friend.  The one who is insanely proud of her own friends including but certainly not limited to the two running in the NYC Marathon, the two who moved in together this month, the one building houses in Nepal for the needy, the one who's caring for a friend who lost a parent, the one whose life is a perfect balance of gorgeous wife/mom/friend/runner, and the one who took out-of-towners to a Brooklyn Burlesque tonight.

That one.  And she's awesome.  In fact, she might be the most awesome girl you'll ever meet (at least that's what she tells the boys...)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Babies of the Carb Variety

I joke a lot about the hated addition to my midsection by calling it my Carb Baby.  This came about when I started seeing a nutritionist a couple of years ago.  I started losing weight, feeling better, and beginning to understand about the fuel I put in.  Through some testing we found extremely high cortisol levels.  That combined with refined carbs, which are the foods I have a sometimes love affair with, created a super sexy tummy pooch.  Thus, the Carb Baby.

This is also an ironic send-up to a couple of things.  1) I can't physically have human babies without a lot of outside help and money, anguish and pain, and probable disappointment in the end anyway.  So theoretically no different from those of you who can, right?  2) My biggest fear in life as some of you know, Gentle Readers, is having someone give up his/her seat on the subway for me assuming I'm preggers.  This hasn't happened, but it's a constant fear and yet another reason to hate the Carb Baby.

Fast forward to 2011.

I've thrown out the bathroom scale as it only leads to more detrimental results with food.  I've tossed processed foods out of much of my diet (although not when I'm on vacay with the fam as my loving cousin Russ would be quick to point out).  I've been running like a fiend (btdubs... did the Wine & Dine at Disney October 1st with a great friend)...
...look at those awesome kicks I designed!  But I digress...

Pointless boy issues, The Suzz moving across the continent, random health woes that just proved irritating, Indy having surgery, and some work hiccups (including a tough fiscal year end) haven't stopped me.  In fact, they've somehow made me reevaluate what's important - spending time with friends, writing because it makes me calm, running because it makes me happy, finding boys without drama, having a good attitude at work, getting a good manicure, and enjoying the occasional French macaron.

And apparently that's working.  I had my annual biometric screening at the ole workplace, and I've lost 17 pounds without really even trying.  I knew the clothes weren't fitting, but I just looked at that as a reason to go shopping.  I guess running in Astoria Park and really focusing on that in addition to limiting those processed foods really does pay off!

Also I have a booty.  For the first time in my life, I have a bit o'tush.  I'm certainly no Nicki Minaj, but I'm a-ok with that.  I'm gonna thank the new running shoes for that (yes, they have my name on them)!

Let's do this, Carb Baby.  Let's see if we can part ways once and for all.  Maybe if I don't waste so much time hating you, I can make you end... or at least shrink.  I'm ok taking it slow.  It's kinda how I do.  No pressure.  Just know you won't be with me forever.

Monday, September 26, 2011

So Ryan Gosling

This is my daily view.  Gas dusters to clean out my keyboard obsessively.  Kleenex thanks to the fall allergies.  Various lotions and moisturizers to maintain my girly softness.  New personalized mug with my name all over it because I'm awesome like that.  Receipts to be reimbursed for late night meals thanks to year end close.  Neat folder of important, confidential, financial paperwork (does anyone actually buy that).  Handbag-of-the-day calendar which sometimes leads to early morning research on where I can find said bags - like this one by Isabella Fiore entitled "Delilah" which can be found on

And finally... my inspirational Ryan Gosling picture as though I'm a 14-year-old girl with a poster of my favorite celebrity on the wall to kiss goodnight.  Not that I actually did that... I mean, that picture of Jordan Knight was just because I wanted to be cool... uh, yeah, we'll go with that.

So when Selby sent me THIS link today, I laughed, I cried, I sighed too much.  I totally get this girl and will forever subscribe to her blog for being my Ryan soulmate.  Though I will fight her when the time comes for him to choose her or me.

I love you, Ryan Gosling.  And we know I don't use that word lightly.  You are officially #1 on my Top 5.  Sorry Adrien Brody and Justin Kirk, you are now 2 and 3.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Boiling Blood

I love politics.  Most of you know that.  And I LOVE hearing what those who differ in opinion from me have to say.  They honestly interest me just as much if not more than those who believe the same way.  Because conversations with fellow left-wingers go something like this:

"I would vote for socialized medicine."
"Me too.  I would also vote for gay marriage."
"Yep.  Me too.  I also am all about ridding the world of the death penalty, lessening tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, keeping church and state completely separate, and supporting welfare and Social Security."
"Uh huh.... so..... I guess the biggest potential difference we have is Hillary or Obama?"

Boring.  However, intelligently discussing whether you're of a different mindset from my own can take on all different forms.  Some of my friends are ridiculously wealthy and understand that they sway to the right to keep the money they've worked hard for in their own bank accounts and not have to share.  Others don't like change and don't know how to deal with the idea of NOT keeping our southern neighbors out by means of a fence.  And others take the God-route and can't deal with the woman's right to choose and same-sex marriage.  No matter their reasons, I like talking to them about it.  Not even arguing.  I love them either way.

However, bigots make me angry.  Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, and Michele Bachmann have often topped my irritation-of-the-day roster.  But when someone starts ignorantly speaking against people for who they are, my blood begins to boil.

Rick Santorum is the source of today's frustration.  No... not frustration... sadness, nausea, fury, tears.

After working 13 hours today I came home to catch some of the highlights of tonight's GOP Debate on Fox News.  Yes, I'm aware of what Fox News is airing.  See above... I like hearing what everyone thinks.  What I saw was much too irritating though, so the debate will stay on my DVR for another day or two.

Amazingly brave, clearly strong, and well-spoken soldier Stephen Hill asked a question to the panel about DADT.  He got booed.  The audience booed him.  Like booed as though they were at a football game with one too many beers down their gullets.  How disgusting.

But even more disgusting??  Rick Santorum.  His first sentence in answering Mr. Hill's question is, "Yeah, I would say any type of sexual activity has no place in the military."  I didn't hear a question about sexual activity.  Gays don't just walk about looking for a place and means to have sex.  In fact, I know many more straight people who have that agenda than gay people.

Senator Santorum believes that allowing homosexuals in the military is "tragic".  How dare he?  More importantly, how dare those people cheer him?  Most importantly, I hope his bigotry keeps people from voting for him.  His irresponsibility and cruelty to a minority group is appalling.  I really hope if and when one (or more) of his seven children turn out to be gay, he doesn't wish them the same fate as he's wishing Mr. Hill and other gay Americans.  It floors me that in 2011 this is still acceptable.  I want him to stop being angry.  What is he so mad about? No one is asking him to be gay.  No one is asking to take away his rights for being a man, or being white, or being married, or being a dad, or being right-handed (or is he left-handed?).  Let people be and live their lives.  Stephen Hill just wants to go to work and not be forced to lie about who he is.  Let him be.  I'll bet Mr. Santorum's even one of those people who are anti-Chaz Bono on DWTS... which was another thing that shocked me, but I digress...

I guess that's my cue to lull myself to sleep somehow and try not to be angry about bigots... I have another looooong work day ahead of me tomorrow.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bookish Babes Are Where It's At

Yes.  I'm behind in blogging.  Heck, I'm even behind in my own writing outside the blogsophere.  September is crazy, and I'll fill you in on that later.  But for now... an article by Ryan Britt about how bookish babes are hot.  See, ladies?  There are guys out there who like smarties (and not just the candies).

*I stole the picture from Ryan's article but wanted to keep his formatting intact.  So just go to the link and read it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Should've Worn Green...

To quote Selby's words and sentiment, "Painful Beauty.  It's what I need."

We're seeing Follies tonight.  I need it.  That kind of beauty that only comes from incredible art.  Not to mention that when I first saw the show in early 2001, I was moved like I had never had theatre move me.  It made me know I needed to be a part of something like that.  It sealed the deal to move to NYC.  It solidified a number of things on a much deeper level than I even knew I had.  I think I can honestly say it changed my life.  And I hope to recapture some of that tonight.  I need the reminder.  I need the inspiration.

Thank you, Stephen Sondheim, for lyrics like this...
You take one road,
You try one door,
There isn't time for any more.
One's life consists of either/or.
One has regrets
Which one forgets,
And as the years go on.
The road you didn't take
Hardly comes to mind,
Does it?
The door you didn't try,
Where could it have led?
The choice you didn't make
Never was defined.
Was it!
Dreams you didn't dare
Are dead.
Were they ever there?
Who said!
*Also excited to see how Bernadette Peters handles a role like Sally... We shall see!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's 9/11, so I guess I should write something...

Every year on 9/11 I've spent a few minutes thinking about that day 10 years ago.  As a New Yorker though, it's something I think about on a semi-regular basis.  The anniversary doesn't have to trigger thoughts.

Each morning I get an update from Pat Kiernan and the oh-so-adorable Bobby Cuza on NY1 as they provide a progress report of the construction.  Upon meeting someone new, the question of how long I've lived here always comes up.  My response, "September 2001," never fails to bring on the questions of whether I considered leaving after the attacks.  When kayaking on the beautiful East River, seeing the hole in the skyline is a constant reminder.  Tourists ask how to get to Ground Zero (tourists always ask me for directions - less since I'm not a blond anymore... funny).  Reading "World Trade Center" lit up as the final stop on E train will always spark a memory of the first time I took it downtown in 2001 when Gina Garner came for a visit.  I was not prepared for what I would see -- smoke still emanating, streets blocked off, and most vividly burned into my brain, an office desk atop the heap of debris.  The desk that someone sat at.  A desk similar to my own at work.

This year there seems to be an eerie quiet sitting top of the usually bustling city.  It's a bit deserted.  We've been issued warnings about terror threats which has kept a lot of people in the outer boros or pushed them out of the city altogether.  I, however, will be spending money tomorrow (ya know, boosting the economy).  I'll go for a run in the morning and view the skyline as I know it in 2011.  Then I'm heading in have brunch with a friend and see "Book of Mormon".  After that I'll hang with more people who make me smile.  I plan on laughing.  A lot.

While I appreciate all the American flags, moments of silence, and send-ups to NYC, DC, and PA on Facebook, I still hate that "Never Forget" slogan.  A slogan for something dreadful that I lived through.  New Yorker magazine has a special tribute this week to 9/11.  I've tried to read some of it, but it's just too difficult.  I was fortunate enough to not actually know anyone in the towers, but the vivid pictures and stories brings back the intense melancholy that I felt in the days, weeks, and months following that day.  Never forget?  How in the world could I?

My skyline before and after 9/11/2001

*After Osama bin Laden was captured, I wrote a recap of my personal 9/11/2001.  You can find it HERE if you really need yet another recap of that day.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Who Are You?

My newest obsession is "Mad Men".  I've seen almost the entire first two seasons in less than two weeks.  I have no idea how I've missed it until now.  In an episode I just watched Don Draper goes to California.  He meets a paradox of a girl - she's mysterious yet open, simply clothed yet extremely complex, and her origins/background really don't matter at all to her purpose.

Don says to her, "Who are you?"
She responds, "I'm Joy.  I think that says it all."

I like that.  I hope I can live up to my name.

Look at Joan (Christina Hendricks in the green dress).  Would that I had a fraction of "that"
And John Slattery?  Wowza.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Irene, Irene, Irene, Ireeeeeeene (as sung to the tune of "Jolene")

I love NYC.  This is nothing new.  But in times of potential crisis, I somehow love it all the more.

New Yorkers bond together.  We don't freak out.  We do what we have to do.  We help our friends and neighbors.  And then we make the best of the situations that are out of our control.

Also... we're fun.  While the note below isn't exactly how I roll, I love my friends who do.

My experience today has been people smiling, people helping neighbors carry up water and groceries, even people patiently chatting with one another while waiting for the Muslim bodega owner to finish his prayers before checking us out.  I love this.

I also love Mayor Bloomberg's recent press conference.  In reminding the less than 1% in low-lying areas to evacuate, he also reminded the rest of to stay inside from 2am to 2pm Sunday "even if the thought of walking around in a hurricane sounds cool and tempting" - where else would that be an issue?!  I love it.  When asked if there were concerns about looting, he responded "This is New York.  That doesn't happen here."  Arrogant, but kinda true.

My day (for those of you who'd like an update) has consisted of a run in an oddly non-windy yet extremely humid Astoria Park, last minute ATM and bodega runs, laundry, washing and braiding my hair, playing with Indy, and watching a press conference or two.  I think I'm bunkered down for the rest of the weekend.  Fingers crossed my power and cell service remains intact.  "Mad Men" Season 2 to commence momentarily...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Love, Loss, and What I Want

What I love most about life is that every single moment presents an opportunity for learning.  This past week had some ups and downs, as most do, but for some reason they hit harder... and I'm seizing the opportunity now to put down what I've learned.

I don't love the word "love".  I feel like no two people have the same definition of it, so to say it seems fruitless a lot of the time.  To me it's often an obligatory word - one filled with "ok, it's your turn next" kind of sentimentality.  This week, however, the word has come up a lot.  I love Indy more this week than I can remember loving her in a long time.  Some of that is due to us nearing our 10-year anniversary of being in NYC.  She's the one who's been there for every single moment - every boy, every job, every set-back in my ongoing negative relationship with food, every friend, every insomniac night, every Sunday blah.  She makes me laugh, she makes me feel needed, and she makes me exhibit unconditional love because that is what she gives to me.

My Little Indy-Girl (as sung to the tune of "My Little Buttercup")

My best friend is out of town this week.  We don't see each other every day.  We don't rely on each other for very much.  And we don't even always agree on things.  But he is my constant, and when we're not in the same city, things just feel slightly off.  The only time I think we really drop l-bombs to each other is when one of us goes out of town - especially on a plane.  That may be strange, but that's how we do.

The best friend a gal could have

This leads me to loss.  I can honestly say I love my family.  I am one of the fortunate ones to have an amazing, beautiful, hilarious, talented, and loving family.  We can laugh better than many, and we can love better than most.  Yesterday evening my great uncle passed.  This may not seem like much to some of you, but to my family it's the end of an era.  I didn't get to see my Uncle Fred as much as I'd like, but every time I did it was as if no time had elapsed.  He was the leader of the "Memphis Gang" and never was without a smile.  My parents were the first divorce my family had seen so how to handle the situation was foreign to everyone.  When my dad remarried, it was often an awkward whispered question in the corner when I was asked how my mother was doing.  Not with Uncle Fred.  He made it clear that whatever areas my mother and my dad differed had absolutely no bearing on the fact that she was part of the family if for no other reason than the fact that she was my mother.  This was one of the kindest things anyone could have done for me during such a difficult time, and I never forgot it.  Rest in peace, Uncle Fred, I hope you're smoking a stogie right now :)

These are the smiles heaven has right now...

Facebook seems to be blowing up with loss this week, too, and that has affected me somewhat.  The dog of a close relative, the suicide of a dear friend's brother from my hometown, the fatal heart attack of the 19-year-old boyfriend of my friend's stepdaughter, and other unexpected deaths have had me thinking a lot about how short life really is.

Pretty Daisy.  You will be missed.

Which leads me to what I want.  I had a friend ask me this week what I want in a man/relationship.  I had someone else ask me what I want out of life.  Even my horoscope asked what sounds and scents I need around me.  What's funny about that?  I had no idea how to answer these.  I'm clear with what I DON'T want.  I know I don't want someone who disregards or ignores me.  I know I don't want to settle for things that make me unhappy.  And I know I don't like the sound of smacking or the smell of dryer sheets.  But what DO I want?  Stay tuned... There's a post in progress to answer these questions coming your way.

On a lighter side note, I'm now obsessed with "Mad Men" thanks to Katie Mohr, I love Spotify, and I designed and ordered some kickin' new runners (my current ones are on the verge of killing my back).  I wish they would come in tomorrow.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Thank You For Saying Yes"

Dearest Jonathan,

1) Hang out with me because you're hilarious.
2) I hope Jessica doesn't run too hard from your inquisition.
3) Please grow out of this so girls like me won't run from you.
4) Please don't grow out of it too much to keep girls like me on their toes.
5) Never stop asking girls if you're at the "honey point" yet.  It's hilarious.  And it will give them stuff to tell their friends.


And Time... Goes By

20 years ago today I applied some mascara and lip gloss for the first time out of the house.  I used Salon Selectives hairspray to tame the too-big hair that recent puberty plagued me with and inexperience hadn't shown me how to properly manage yet.  I put contacts in my much too-wide eyes peering from my much too-skinny face.  I wore an outfit that should placed in a Fashion Hall of Fame early 90's shame-fest exhibit - it included high-waisted dress shorts, a matching jacket, and purple/green lace-up loafers (which I believe are gonna actually be huge this fall... go figure).  I carried my first Jansport backpack and entered the hallways of Cabot Jr. High.

Terrified.  Excited.  Nervous.  Worried about my height.  Worried about my body.  Worried about my impending popularity, or lack thereof.

I walked into Room 406 to see a group of fellow 7th graders - some I knew, most I didn't - sitting in silence at various desks.  I took my place in one... and waited.  This was a Gifted and Talented class that I begrudgingly took at the request of my mother and Donna Whiting.  In the back of my mind, I knew I was going to drop it for something music or art related.

The bell rang and in walked this eccentric yet beautiful lady with big hair, dress shorts (a common theme in 1991 perhaps?), colorful tights, and a tie.  "Mrs. Oldham," she wrote on the board.  Old ham?  Was she an Easter dinner gone awry?  My 12-year-old wit was almost as amazing as my 32-year-old wit...

She began by talking about how she didn't know too much about Gifted and Talented in the way of Quiz Bowl and Knowledge Masters.  She didn't care anything about doing logics puzzles or strategy games.  But she did know gifts and talents.  She did know about an artform I wasn't too familiar with - theatre.  Acting.  Public speaking.  She knew how to take the kids who weren't sure where their places were and find a niche for them.

Needless to say, I didn't drop the class.

Donna Whiting had found this gem hanging ceiling fans in Factory First and snatched her up.  That Donna Whiting... I wonder if she has any idea how many lives she has changed by walking into that lighting store and acting on her gut.  I will be forever indebted to her for that... and well, she wears a cloak.  A red one.  She's so classy...

Over the next few weeks we learned that this eccentric beauty, Jane, had great plans for us.  She introduced us to The Bubble Theory and Reader's Theatre.  She brought competitive speech and debate into our vernacular.  She was always a friendly and comforting face in the midst of junior high hell.  And then she even wrote a piece of theatre for us to perform entitled "Junior High Hail."  In it, she hilariously and eloquently was able to put down the things we were going through just by listening to us.  Always having felt like I'd rarely been listened to, this was the first time I genuinely thought that my opinions and problems were valid.  In fact, valid enough to be written about and shared.

Some of us at our first tournament with Jane - October 1991

Little did we know she was going through quite a hell of her own.  She was only assigned to the position temporarily for a teacher on sick leave.  She had just gone through a terrible divorce.  She had a new baby at home, and she wasn't 100% sure how long she'd have funds to even feed him.  Somehow it never deterred her.  She was always there for us.

I spent the next six years basking in her knowledge.  I cut the cake at her wedding to quite possibly one of the best men to walk the planet and the one to make her "Mrs. Balgavy" or "Mrs. B".  I went to her with things I couldn't talk about to anyone else.  She was a non-family adult who I felt comfortable with, which every teenager needs.  She listened.  She never judged.  She steered me away from teenage angst by making me think it was my idea.  She refused to let me go down the road of unhealthy rebellion (drugs, alcohol, sex, etc).  And she even made me feel needed, yet never obligated.

Throughout high school she was supportive yet wise in her advice regarding grades, boys, friends, parents, bad attitudes, work, and the future.  She taught us how to play the un-game which created trustworthy friendships that are among the most important I have to this day.

In the 12th grade, I auditioned for "Guys and Dolls" KNOWING that as one of her darlings, one of her cherubs, one of the lice of her life, I would absolutely get a lead.  I could dance, I'd been taking voice lessons, and I'd been around for six freaking years.  I drove up to the M Building and parked in the forbidden Work-Study parking lot.  As I walked down the hall to M110 I was filled with excitement!  I was about to see how I'd be spending my final semester of high school!  Here's what I found...

Joy's inner dialogue...
Sky Masterson....Christopher Brown (yay! my best friend)
Sister Sarah.....Andrea Alford (that's curious, but Andrea CAN sing.  I'm sure I got Adelaide)
Nathan Detroit...Cory Whitfield (another yay! my oldest friend!)
Miss Adelaide....Kim Forsyth (what the... wait, no way.  huh?  so where am I?)
(all the way to the bottom.. scrolling through the names, not characters.. the LAST name on the page)
Havana Seductress...Joy Sims (WHAT?!?! A made up role?!)

I drove to my mom's office to inform her I would be skipping school due to this grievance.  Then I drove to the junior high.  I stormed into Mrs. Balgavy's room.  The fact that she even allowed me this tantrum shows the level of tolerance and love this woman had for me.  She let me be angry.  She let me cry.  She let me feel sorry for myself... for about 10 minutes.  And then she laid it down.  She told me I wouldn't always get what I wanted in life.  She told me that not every decision made is about me.  As an only-child, I'm not sure I had ever been made aware of this until that instant.  I was speechless.  And as she predicted, I was absolutely fine in the end.

She told me to go back to school or else I'd miss Louisa Lawless's  rendition of No Doubt's "Spiderweb" at the talent show.  Thank God I listened to her... it was truly a glorious cover.  One that got her Saturday School, but SO worth it.

Me with Louisa and Jane at the River Market in May.  Louisa refrained from wearing leather pants and humping the floor at this particular outing.  But that is definitely what got her Saturday school in 1997.

I can honestly say that almost all of my favorite high school memories revolve around Jane or her influence.  I'll list a few here.  I apologize in advance, Gentle Readers, for the inside jokes.  It has to be done:

  • Dead chickens at play practice
  • J-O-L-E... E-L
  • The meth lab down the hall at Harvard... they were much too loud.
  • Hall talks - even when they lead to seizures
  • Being deaf and performing sign language at the Clinton Watch Party
  • 75 cents for orange juice
  • "he was stoned!  like with rocks!"
  • I would pick *pick* more daisies
  • Thank you, Ms. Elskin.  We love you.  And now, Grish.
  • Barbara Benoit
  • Fruit bats eat fruit.  Did you ever wonder about that?

As much fun as I've had with Jane and because of Jane and even sometimes at Jane's expense, she's definitely been a shelter during many storms.  Through deaths, divorce, illness, family matters, and loneliness, she's never failed.  And even when I haven't gone to Jane directly, the people who I've reached out to the most when life seemed to be failing me were all people she had a hand in bringing into my life.

Jane - Thank you for being so wonderful.  Thank you for being a wonderful teacher.  Thank you for your insight and laughter.  Thank you for walking into Room 406 twenty years ago today.  Thank you for sharing your life with so many of us... especially with me.  Thank you for changing my life for the better.  Thank you for just being...  I hope you have a great school year.  And I hope I'm there to celebrate many more.

God gives the moments.  We make the memories.
-Jane Morgan Balgavy.  "Time" 1996.

This is what lifelong friendship looks like.  Here's to 20 more years, my teacher, my mentor, my friend.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Playing It Completely Uncool

As you may or may not know I have a few very specific pet peeves.  Near the top of that list - only behind hearing or seeing anything in your mouth (food, gum, braces, kissing, etc.) - is improper shoe/sock combinations.

This morning on the train a serious infraction entered at Queensboro Plaza.  I sighed internally, pulled out my trusty iPhone, turned the sound off, and oh-so-discreetly made sure the angle was just right so no one around me saw me photograph this poor fellow's feet... I wouldn't want to look like a creeper or anything.  As I snapped the shot, the light of God shot forth from my phone - I forgot to turn the flash off.

I turned my phone off, put it in my bag, affixed my sunglasses back on my face, and feigned sleep.  Just another subway ride in NYC.  But I did get this beauty...

Ridiculous shower sandals with white non-socks embroidered with "Champion" on the grey toe

*Note my purple travel bag in the bottom left corner... I'm heading to Boston for the weekend to hang out with the beautiful Boston Babes - Lauren & Heidi.  Woohoo!!

UPDATE: I spoke with Lauren who is pretty sure this dude is a Bostonite.  I failed to mention his top half - Celtics t-shirt, covered by an open Red Sox jersey = South Bostonite.  She is going to take me there tonight to find my soulmate... and if you believe that's my soulmate, please re-read this blog from the beginning.

And, Gentle Readers, I apologize for my sporadic posting of late.  The ole workplace has had me busy - some with fun stuff, some with work stuff.

And to my lovelies who sit behind me on Intern Row... I can't believe your time here at Disney has come to an end.  You have no idea how much I'm going to miss you young'ns.  Anytime you come to the city I will take you to Vintage, see a show, and discuss one of the following topics just for old times' sake: Cars, Boys, Baby Funerals, Smurfs, Rubber Bands, or... Seafood.

I mean, seriously, how could you NOT love these guys?
And, yes, I totally ganked this pic from Melanie's FB page.  Sue me.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dandelion In The Spring

"I have plenty of fire myself.  What I need is the dandelion in the spring.  The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction.  The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses."
- Suzanne Collins

Sometimes life is filled with weeds.  Other times it's filled with flowers.  And more often than not we just have to await spring to see which emerges.

Patiently waiting for my dandelion.

*Yes, I just finished The Hunger Games.  It may have been just what the doctor ordered.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Needed Inspiration

*Thanks to Sarah Martin Hood for the picture... much needed this week.

Hail To The V

*Warning: This is not my classiest post, but it is something I couldn't possibly keep to myself.  So, gentle readers, buck up and enjoy.

Summer.  A time to deal with beaches, sun, and cleanliness??  Well, for purchasers of Summer's Eve feminine hygiene wash, you now have specific ads just for your ethnicity.  Lucky ladies!!  So glad they pegged EXACTLY what we're looking for!  I'm tempted to rush out to a 24-hour Duane Reade right this minute...

For Caucasians
(complete with a mention of vagazzling - a concept I'm kinda obsessed with since I AM white)

For Latinas
(complete with mention of a trashy leopard thong)

And finally for our African American friends
(complete with mention of all your weaves)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Keep Her With You Always

Sometimes I feel the need to run away.  Flee work.  Flee responsibilities.  Flee the city.  Flee the various kryptonites.  Flee the girl who is myself.

The problem there, as a friend pointed out to me so eloquently, is that girl is always there no matter where I go.  I told him this was part of the problem - there's no escape from her.  He then added,

"She's lovely. You should keep her with you always."

I'm glad I'm smart enough to surround that girl with the most incredible people on the planet who are always right on time.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Heavy Melancholy

Tonight I was told of a girl in NYC who went the whole day not speaking to anyone.

My heart felt heavy.
For a girl I've never met.
The fixer bubbled up within me.
I want her not to be sad and alone.
Ironic really.
In a city of 8 million people, she spoke to no one.

Then I realized I've known others who have done that.  And maybe that doesn't equal sad and alone.  My melancholic triggers aren't the same as everyone else's.  Maybe she just needed a day, an hour, a minute.

But in case her triggers are the same as mine, I'm sending out sighs of contentment to her.  If she rejects them, maybe the Universe will shoot them right back at me.


Speaking of melancholy...  Will November come soon enough?  I'm ready for this film.  Happy birthday to me.  The image at 1:01 of Kirsten Dunst in the wedding dress atop the stack of chairs just might be enough to do me in.  So beautiful.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ouch... That Hurts

I can happily say I'm a runner.  I don't do the barefoot run thing - though I am intrigued by it and have toyed with getting the barefoot shoes.  A good day for me is breaking a 10-minute mile.  And sometimes I get more excited over the outfit I get to wear and the fun ways to keep my hair out of my face before remembering the point of it all.

No matter, I'm a runner.

I love the high that comes from a good run.  I love listening to various run mixes that power me on.  I love talking about it with people who are better and faster than I am.  I even love the pain that comes from an incredible week of training.

What does scream, "OOOUUUUCH!!" is when my body nearly fails me.  Not when my legs tighten up, or when my flexibility isn't that of a former dancer, or even when my breathing shows signs of a multi-mile run.  Those I can handle.  But when the body doesn't cooperate, I have to listen to it and see what's going on.  A trip to Dr. Rein was made.  Talk with a trainer was had.  And the consensus is I have to slow down.


Unfortunately, my brain doesn't always feel like letting me run long distances.  And if that's the worst thing I have to deal with, I guess that's fine.  When I think back to 2002-05, I remember simply wanting to make it through three days without a seizure.  I wanted nosebleeds to not equal trips to the doctor and subsequent CT scans.  I wanted to be able to live day-to-day without having to be hovered over.  Thankfully I had a great caretaker, a wonderfully intuitive dog, amazing friends, and supportive family members. Even more thankfully, I'm better.  I can run in Astoria Park with a view of the most beautiful city any night I want even if some of those nights produce only a one-miler... and I can do it while wearing a running skirt.

So my half-marathon training has been... lengthened.  I'm still training.  And I'm still hoping to doing a version of the half on October 1st in Florida.  It might be a half/half... a quarter marathon, if you will.  I'll still be proud of that, and I won't wallow in frustration.  And maybe next July I can proudly write about my successful half marathon training... or maybe even marathon - barefoot.

*I don't talk about my health blahs a lot as it's quite a personal subject/story for me, but I've had a lot of you ask how the training is going.  And it is indeed part of my journey, part of who I am, part of my adventure... thanks so much for asking and caring, gentle readers... you are truly the best.

Monday, July 18, 2011

What? I won something?

Remember this?

Yeah, I won a little contest for it.  My prize?  Two tickets to "Zarkana" at Radio City (the Universe REALLY wants me to take people to this show).  Not a huge deal, but spurred me on.  I wrote all weekend.  And now I'm ready to move to France, drink Parisian coffee, eat macarons, and write a book.

I get ahead of myself though.  For now I'll just be proud that someone noticed :)

I Ate Brains Y'all

Last week I went out with my favorite mohawk boy to celebrate his nomination for a Diana Jones Award!  Congrats, Jared!!  He designed a fantastic game... send out good vibes that he'll win.  Ok, I haven't played it yet, but the concept seems fantastic... anyone wanna come to a game night??

We decided to head to Ali's Kebab Cafe in my neighborhood.  We were greeted by Ali, the owner and chef.  An adorably charming and wonderful man, I was instantly in love with Mr. Ali.  I mean... look at that face.  I would totally hang out with him.  Why did I not get my picture WITH him??  I'll have to go back I guess :)

The restaurant has no menus.  Ali simply finds out what kind of food you like, what kind of food you hate, what kind of food you're allergic to, and what kind of food you're willing to be subject to.  We started with a warm beet salad and lamb cheek.  Both were to die for delicious.  I told Ali that I wanted something safe but that I was ready, willing, and able to get adventurous by eating off Jared's plate.  I was served chicken on a bed of lentils cooked in what I can only imagine was a bit of heaven.  Jared was served brains, not to be confused with sweetbreads, mixed with bell peppers and a whole lot of perfection.

I know if you know me well, you're sitting in amazement either at the fact that I ate brains or the fact that I ate with a boy at all.  But Jared hasn't steered me wrong yet on the whole food sitch, so I'm down with the exploration.  I can't say I LOVED the brains, but I definitely thought it was good.  Next time we go back, we're calling ahead and ordering cow's udder.  It's how we do (ok, it's how he does and I go along for the story).  Maybe I'll try something vegetarian, or maybe some pork.

I did some online research for this post, which some of you will be proud to know I'm making progress in (right, Suzz?) and found this video from Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" from 2007.  He eats at Ali's and interviews him.  Gosh, I love this neighborhood.

As Ali told us the other night, "I don't judge you.  You don't judge me.  And we don't judge the food."  Not 100% sure what he meant, but feeling as though I'd been given advice from a sage, I share with you, gentle readers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Fantastic Weekend

I'm not big on giving play-by-plays of my whereabouts - call it a control thing, call it a I-don't-wanna-bore-you-to-death thing, or just call it how I roll.  But I'm making an exception for this past weekend.  It was fantastically filled with art, friends, and sun.

Friday:  McQueen Exhibit.  Shut your face.  This was amazing.  It was so good it hurt.  I only had about an hour to explore, so I'll definitely be going back.  I'm having trouble finding my favorite piece online, but there was another piece that moved me a great deal.  And I found the video of the making of it below.  I could watch this on a loop.

Selby and Sal went with me, but really it was just me and Alexander as far as I was concerned.  What a loss that we no longer have this genius, this beauty, this brilliance...

After the museum closed, we headed back to midtown to meet up with the incomparable Jane Balgavy who was in town for a theatre teacher's conference.  It was the first time in awhile I had her in NYC without a throng of kids, and I devoured every second.  As our group at Vintage went their separate ways, Jane and I were left alone.  She never fails.  And I will be forever grateful for her.  Thank you, Jane, for your unending support and words of wisdom.

Saturday:  Jane gave me her "MasterClass" ticket starring Tyne Daly.  I saw the show in college at a dinky little theatre in Memphis, and loved it then.  For the Broadway version, I was riveted.  It's not something I'd suggest to just everyone - it's definitely a theatre-person or singer's show.

I tried for the "Book of Mormon" lottery AGAIN (without success) where I successfully dodged a guy I went on 2 dates with earlier this year who doesn't seem to get the hint that "I don't think we're a good match" and "I'm not interested" (yes, I've literally told him these things) means just that.  I still hear from him, and it provides my friends with hours of endless entertainment.  Ok, maybe not hours, but they sure think it's hilarious.  God love him.  He just doesn't get it.  After the duck n'dodge, Jane and another Cabot teacher then took me out for Thai food... yum.

Sunday:  I met up with a new friend, Kim.  We've been trying to get together for awhile, but both our Junes blew up and our girl-date was pushed into July.  We headed to Riis Beach in The Rockaways.  It was a gorgeous day - one of those where I would rather be nowhere else than right here in NYC.

As for Kim... I adore this girl.  I'm so glad we're friends, and I can't wait to hang out with her again.  She's a great listener, and hilarious to boot!  I mean, how cute is she?!

Sunday night I came back to Queens and scored a last-minute, unexpected date with a pretty cool (and super cute) guy I've seen a few times.  A laugh-filled, relaxing end to a perfect weekend.... complete with a business plan and a name for the drag queen inspired by me.... don't ask.

Individual Coffee Experience Please??

UPDATE!!  I was called out by Amy Caldamone who is adorably wonderful, and I thusly stand corrected.  See below.

I take a coffee break every morning and even some afternoons.  The coffee is often the same.  The conversation is always different and what keeps me going throughout the dayThe most important part of the coffeetime is the cupOnce the conversation is over, I'm forced to go back to my desk making the best part of the my work day stretch out on my desk in front of me by way of my choice of coffee cup.   I have had a few exciting cups in my day.  The best being:

It rusted because someone borrowed it and left it sitting in water.  Then my coworker Suzanne gave me this other RIDICULOUS mug... it broke.  I had yet another that also broke.  So now I'm left with this:

How horrendously boring is this?!  So not me.

Now I need a mug.  It needs to be larger than the standard kitchen mug.  It needs to be awesome like whoa.  It needs to somehow scream my name.  If anyone out there has an idea or finds one, you will be forever on my happy list.  Anyone?  ANYONE??

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Just a Piece of Advice

I found this.  And found it beautiful.  Every word isn't out of my head, but a lot of it could be... 
(and thanks to Meg for posting)


Date a Girl Who Reads by Rosemarie Urquico 

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by God, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.