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BY Jodi

03/01 Direct Link
This isn't the first time Marvin has seen a dead Shih Tzu and it certainly will not be the last. He is old enough now (56) to know that they aren't "just sleeping" and that they have been taken away to a special farm he cannot visit where the dogs can get the rest they need. Even when he was 5, he had a hunch his grandmother's little Mopsy didn't actually buy the farm, that something much less happy was going on. He wishes each time this happened he didn't get sad, but that's just not the way it is.
03/02 Direct Link
Marvin has been staring down at the two dogs in the dumpster for three minutes, waiting for them to stir, to indicate that somehow they climbed up the sides and into the trash as a way to escape the snow and wind, and with each passing second, his nausea increases exponentially. He blows on their fur as if trying to cool down a hot bowl of soup, and the illusion of life that that generates fills him with an odd sense of hope, even as he knows it's hopeless. He wonders if his tears will freeze on their now-still fur.
03/03 Direct Link
At least they had each other, Marvin thinks, his big body shaking with emotion more than shivering from the winter blast. Did they die here, though? Was it "exposure"? Or were they, as he suspects, dumped here after being killed? He'll never know. What he does know is that "Snowball" and "Mr. Bojangles", as he's already dubbed them, deserved so much better than this. And he has to act fast if he's going to beat the garbage truck that will be making its rounds any minute now. The thought of this pair being landfill fodder sickens him to his core.
03/04 Direct Link
Marvin has nothing with which to lift the dogs from the garbage, doesn't see anything around the dumpster that could be used. He's wearing gloves and a heavy coat. He takes off his coat, places it over the two dead dogs, and lifts them, with great effort and many tears, out of the dumpster. He places their bodies, which weigh a lot more than they appear, on the ground. He does several jumping jacks and runs in place for a minute or so, to warm himself up. And then he hears a whimper and a pant. This can't be happening.
03/05 Direct Link
Marvin stands, frozen in place. He wants to crouch beside the dogs but cannot.

"Mr. Bojangles?" he whispers, his voice cracking "Snowball?"

"My name is Barley," the darker and larger of the Shih Tzus whispers, his voice cracking too.

"And I'm Millie," the other one whispers.

"And I'm Marvin and you're coming home to live with me. Do you remember what happened to you?"

Barley mouths "Yes" and stares at Marvin. But he says, "No."

"No," Millie says.

Marvin gazes at Barley and says, "Welcome to your new life."

(I had to make this HAPPY or I'd make myself cry.)
03/06 Direct Link
Out of the blue he contacts me and asks if I'd like to take a trip to Chicago, where he'll be presenting a two-day seminar and staying through the weekend. Although I'm tempted, so I can meet friends while he's working, go to Chicago Diner, and just be out and about on my own, I decline because I know that although this trip is all-expenses-paid ("I'll even give you what my grandfather used to call 'for-around funds'!"), I'd feel oddly obligated to, uh, return the favor in the big bed he said we'd share. No way, Windy City. No thanks!
03/07 Direct Link
My inkblot of a cat has a proclivity for, let's just say expressing herself on anything that can be formed into a nest-like configuration. This has led me to express myself in language as colorful as the 64-count box of Crayola. But does that deter her? Nyet! Oddly enough, not once has she done this to the towel I've laid out for her by my desk, on which she lounges while I work. The notion of putting the towel in a basket as a makeshift bed must be resisted, because I fear it may be an invitation for additional expression.
03/08 Direct Link
Anyone can tiptoe through the tulips, but it takes a really groovy and tenacious flower power fun-time person to dance through the dandelions, prance through the posies, pirouette through the peonies, romp through the roses, leap through the lilies, sashay through the sunflowers, and whatever other alliteration of verb and flower you can conjure. (I am sure entire bouquets of combinations will flutter into my head all day now.) (This makes me think of Harold and Maude, in the huge field of daisies, one of my favorite movie scenes of all time, which never fails to move me to insta-tears!)
03/09 Direct Link
"But Jodi", you may think. "Why do you live in a marvelous metropolis like New York City if most nights you can be found in bed with your Kindle and your cat and no desire to be out and about doing all sorts of glamorous things like the 'Sex and the City' girls? If I lived there, you'd never find me home. I'd make Samantha Jones look like a sheltered spinster!"

No thanks! See, it's all about this being my option. If I lived in the middle of nowhere, reading in bed would not be my choice.

Got it? Good.
03/10 Direct Link
I will not name names, but someone in your Facebook acquaintance, or perhaps even a friend in your offline universe (if indeed you have one) may be making and therefore eating homemade waffles for dinner that contain dark chocolate chips. I am neither confirming nor denying the veracity of this juicy rumor, but this person may be strutting around her cute 'n' cozy apartment in one of the planet's grandest cities right now, much to the silent disgust of her longtime feline companion, as if she not only invented the wheel but the waffle iron, the chocolate chip, and electricity.
03/11 Direct Link
Popcorn is one of those foods that I always forget I love until I have it again. Others include apples, and, of course, as you're well-aware (probably to eye-roll level irritation), waffles. I make it in my stovetop Whirley Pop, which always makes me feel pioneering and rugged like Laura Ingallstein Wilderman. This morning while at Trader Joe's, feeling ultra-plucky and full of derring-do, I bought a box of super-modern microwave popcorn, which I haven't had in ages, and just made it. Fortunately I work at home or else I'd now be That Dick who stinks up the entire office.
03/12 Direct Link
I say things like "groovy" and "poppycock" and "blatherskite" and "bunkum" and "rumpus room" (my preferred word for one, um, posterior!) without batting an eye, and it feels oh so right. I don't have much use for modern slang-type language, such as "bae", even though I don't know what it means. I am quite sure I would cringe if I knew. So it's better I don't. I prefer to live in a world where I let out a cheery "23 skidoo!" and would greet a monocle'd man with as much delight as I'd ignore a Google Glass'd man in disgust.
03/13 Direct Link
Older men often smile at me as I sashay along the avenues of the Upper West Side, humming a little ditty to myself, smiling at the sun and dogs and trees and the wind. I wonder, am I evoking fond memories of their younger days when they knew a "girl" (ha!) like me, when they were strolling along Broadway with a lovely date on their arm? Are they picturing me in a charming outfit from whatever era is their vintage, on my way to a trolley or my job in the steno pool? Or do they just think I'm ridiculous?
03/14 Direct Link
If I do a "one-off" job for you extremely fast, please pay me with the same speed I afforded your work. And when you forward me, as an "FYI", an email exchange between you and the person at your organization responsible for sending out payment, in response to my asking you several times, without a satisfactory reply, when I can expect to get paid, please remember that I can see the part in your exchange where you say you don't appreciate me "bugging" you, want to get me off your back, and "Ugh". And I will tell you so, nicely.
03/15 Direct Link
Clarissa is confused. I just told her I didn't give a fig about the stupid argument she had with the bus driver and she told me she doesn't want me to give her a fig, she would prefer an apricot. I tell her it's a figure of speech, meaning I don't give a hoot. She says she doesn't want me to give her a hoot either, even though she admits she doesn't know what a hoot is. "Just give me an apricot instead of a fig and a pack of Twizzlers instead of a hoot," she says, in all seriousness.
03/16 Direct Link
Just spent one glorious hour in full-on over-the-top super-duper non-stop ricochet-a-gogo-arama Robin Williams as Mork mode with the cutest sideburned, fresh-faced, blue-eyed, blue-shirted, furry-forearmed, sweet-smiled banker boy at a local branch of Chase while opening a brand spanking new checking account to accommodate a client's request to pay me by direct deposit. He seemed genuinely amused and entertained, but probably was secretly composing his next Facebook status about this crazy lady who reminded him of his mom's wacky best friend from the swim club, the one with the perpetual iced coffee and bowl of mango, "Aunt" Evelynn with two "N"s.
03/17 Direct Link
Hate to rain on your parade, droves of soon-to-be-blotto green-clad stupid-hatted clone-drones already roaming the streets of Manhattan in packs, but no one who actually lives here does what you've come into "the city" to do today. On the up side, a few hours from now, when you're slumped in a gutter down around Union Square in a sweet little swamp of your own shamrock vomit, the gentle rain will dutifully wash it from your drooling maws and out of your hair, so you don't have to worry your not-so-pretty little heads about looking too foolish on the way home.
03/18 Direct Link
Remember a few weeks ago I lamented that a photo of frozen vomit on my "stoop" didn't "take" and I missed the chance to call it 'fro-vo" and have it go hilariously viral? Well, this morning something similar happened on the subway. I sat across from a Snickers, discarded on the floor, inches from what looked like a semi-liquid form of itself. Despite six stops separating my entry onto the train and my exit, I didn't realize until it was time to go that I should've snapped a photo and entitled it "Candy bar(f)." Ahhh, talk about a MISSED CONNECTION!
03/19 Direct Link
How did I ever live without my spiralizer? How did I not only get out of bed in the morning but function and thrive without having this brilliant piece of equipment in my home, to be used at the drop of a hat to make a mound of delicious curly fries provided a potato were nearby? I am in awe of the contraption, that someone came up with it, that it exists in this world. I am also delighted that something so small and easy could make me so brilliantly happy. I'm daydreaming of it right now. Life is grand.
03/20 Direct Link
While depositing freshly-paired gym socks into a drawer earlier this evening, I said, aloud, to no one (Shana was busy ignoring me like a good teenager), "Well, *now* who's going to decoupage with you?"

For the record, I don't think I've ever decoupaged a day-frommage (day cheese? what? ew!) in my life, with or without a crafty companion, and have no plans to do so. Which leads me to wonder: What will I blurt out next? Will I lament a lack of tiddlywinks? "You sunk my battleship!!!"? "Daniel Boone was a man. Yes, a big man!"?

I shudder to think.
03/21 Direct Link
"Would you like to be my girlfriend?" he says.

"Excuse me?" I say.

He repeats himself.

"I mean, no, I heard you," I say.

"So then why'd you say 'Excuse me?'" he says.

"It was an expression of disbelief," I want to say. "We're on a bus, my eyes were closed, and I clearly don't want to be bothered. Plus, you're not young enough or old enough for the question to be cute, or hideous enough for it to be kind of sad but quasi-endearing."

Instead I'm just grateful that the bus stops and I can beat an early exit.
03/22 Direct Link
I admire S for her hair color so artificially red that I don't think calling it "cherry red" would be quite appropriate. I admire the tattoos that leave her skin more colorful than plain white (or Crayola "flesh" before it was renamed to, what, "honky"?). I admire the nose ring that protrudes from each nostril. I admire the Converse. I admire that she's in her early forties and has all this. I sometimes think, "Hey, I should do that too!" and then realize, no, that's not who I am. Why, at this age, do I still sometimes question that though?
03/23 Direct Link
The cooking thing all started with the acquisition of a Vitamix, and has expanded to include a waffle iron, spiralizer, cookie cutters, empanada molds, dehydrator, rolling pin, Silpat mat, spices I had never used before, and a few cookbooks. I've also become rather devoted to Pinterest, which I had originally discounted as bullshit but which has turned out to be rather fun. And started using the immersion blender (or at least its chopper attachment) that was purchased years ago as a wedding gift for a friend who never picked it up from my apartment despite several invitations to do so.
03/24 Direct Link
While I'm thrilled to the point of euphoria that in the past 1-1/2 years I have come to love cooking, I'm not thrilled that I exhibit a lack of self control when eating what I made. I originally had placed the word "startling" before "lack of self control", but really, there is nothing startling about this admission. When presented with good food (and the stuff I'm cooking is, yes, delicious) (screw it, I'm bragging), you'd think I had grown up as the runt in a family crammed with a dozen brute-like kids all scrambling for the last piece of toast.
03/25 Direct Link
This morning while between "sets" (I hate gymspeak; hence, the quotes) on the seated row machine, I waited for a Clark Kent-esque tall drink of water (or TDOW, which gives rise to a nickname I've just created for him of "Wally" in honor of Tony Dow's "Leave it to Beaver" character) to put a just-peeled banana in his mouth immediately after completing some stretches in the mat area. Ordinarily I condemn food consumption while on the gym floor, but he was so discreet, and who am I to deny myself the pleasure of witnessing a banana entering a handsome mouth?
03/26 Direct Link
I'm sick of what became my winter uniform this season: Black leggings, black stretchy "top", knee-high black motorcycle-style boots, tall socks, black coat, black headband/hat, variety of subpar quality gloves with touch-screen capability on the fingers. I had gotten away from the all-black ensembles years ago, and although this winter's get-up looked cute and was wonderfully comfortable, I'm ready for spring and the return of color and my vintage stuff. Time for Mary Tyler Moore to come out of the closet, refreshed, and ready to toss her hat in the air, only to find it's tucked away until next winter.
03/27 Direct Link
I suppose if we heed that old saying that goes something like "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result", then I am in need of a padded cell, a straightjacket, and electrodes attached to my temples and a block between my teeth. How else can I explain why I insist on having Indian food delivered to my door at least two Friday evenings a month, despite knowing that after I devour every molecule like a rabid wolf, I will feel like absolute hell and go to bed feeling worse? How?
03/28 Direct Link
I have relieved myself of the "pressure" (wholly self-imposed) to create a magnificent dinner "from scratch" for myself for ONE WHOLE WEEK. Rather than pore over recipes on my Pinterest (yes!) boards or search for new ones, and spend an inordinate amount of time deciding what new thing I'd make this week or what tried-and-true favorite to make again, I have left it up to Amy and her frozen dinners. Yes, I had to select six of them from the freezer case, but that was fun. And how lovely they looked, all neatly placed in my shopping bag upon checkout.
03/29 Direct Link
We're backstage, and M is trying on animal print after animal print, reaching into the big bag he's lugged from Queens that contains all the stuff he's recently amassed from Salvation Army and Goodwill and what I lovingly call cheapie schlock shops. He's squeezing himself into a dress that would best fit me, and its color and pattern make him look like an unwitting mini superhero. The one finger whose nail he's painted a glittery purple is rooting him and the dress on, aching to be assembled into an ensemble worthy of the effort. Victory is theirs. I'm so proud.
03/30 Direct Link
The invitation comes to a select few of our regular singing group to perform in the annual May fundraiser. I'm delighted, honored to be among the "elite" but fret that I don't have anything to wear in the required colors of hot pink and orange. I hold off on responding to the invitation until after I've scoured Etsy for something fabulous to fulfill that requirement, a 1970s jumpsuit with a perfect keyhole neckline, sleeveless, with an attached self-sash, in hot pink, orange, and yellow, something Mary Tyler Moore would have rocked. I then respond with a resounding, "Count me in!"
03/31 Direct Link
At Trader Joe's this morning, an old guy with a cane, wearing a jaunty cap, who moments before I'd heard asking an store employee, "Where do you hide the tea?", found the tea next to the coffee, where I was lingering, and said, "There it is!" I smiled at him. He said, "No, not you!" jokingly, with a grin, as he reached for the tea. I said, "Hey now! Awww!" He said, "I'm 80. Forty years ago, yes, but now I'm too old." I said, "My ex-boyfriend is 77 now." He said, "He's a KID." Did I swoon? You bet.