I call and ask what she's doing.
"I'm looking at a very big teddy bear in the living
"A very big teddy bear," I say.† "I see.†
And why do you have a very big teddy bear in the living room?"
"It was a present!" she says.† "I love it."
I ask if it's from her boyfriend.† She
says yes.† Actually, this is the third
stuffed animal he's given her.
"Thatís very sweet," I say.
"No one ever gave me a stuffed animal before," she
Seventy-nine years in the making.† I'm so glad my mom is happy.
He comes over on Sunday with a bag bulging with "fixin's".† He pointedly leaves off the "G" and
keeps saying it.† It makes me laugh
stupidly.† He strides to the kitchen and
places the items on the counter, one by one, identifying them as he goes.
"Flour!" he says.
"Hello, Josie!" I say.
that?" he says.† "No!† Her name is Florence!"
I laugh like a hyena.
Four apples are individually named:† Abraham, Allison, Anabel, and Andrew.
"They're quadruplets!" he says.
"Duh," I say.
He shoos me out of the kitchen to prepare "flapjacks."† That alone cracks me up.
Tommy, Maura, Ellen, and I are standing on the periphery of
the red shag rug in Nathan's parents' family room.† We're embarrassed to be holding hands,
because we're 7 years old and think the opposite sex is gross (even though I secretly
think Tommy is super-cute).† But we're
holding hands out of fear, because this is the famous rug that we've all heard
stories about on the playground, the one only a handful of kids ever get to
see, the one that is red with the blood of Nathan's Siamese twin brother,
Ethan, from whom he was separated at birth.
He pulls up in front of my building.† The light from the street lamps glances off
his yarmulke.† He smiles at me.† I tell him it was great having him as a
teacher this semester, that his math class was surprisingly fun, and thank him
for the "A" and the ride.† He says
I was a wonderful student.
I don't know how the subject of my boyfriend comes up, but
he says, in his New York accent, "So, does the fact that you live with
your boyfriend preclude you from seeing others?"
I'm relieved he's already submitted our grades.
At 5'5" and between 111 and 115 pounds (depending on
the quantity of Indian food I've consumed), I am the "big" one in my
family.† My Bubby and Poppop were
4'7" and 5"3", respectively, and my mom, their daughter, is
barely 5'1", the same height as my sister.†
My biological dad and my brother both measure in at around 5'9"
My mom calls me "The Tall Girl."†
When she needs something from a high shelf, she recruits my assistance .† Like I'm Conan O'Brien.† I need the same step stool she would need.† But of course I indulge her.
"Sorry", twenty-something bundle of entitlement, but
if you're going to shove and shoulder your way in front of me and other people
to jockey into position for subway entry, when your pink Hello-Kitty-esque backpack
gets a tad too friendly with my torso, I'm going to give it a sweet little push
that to let you know you're not the only person on the platform or in the
world.† And when you whip around to see
who the big bad brute was, I'll be gazing a bit over your head, whistling
innocently inside my head, thinking, "Hashtag sorry not sorry LOL."
Lola is not shy about stomping across my face to get fed in
the morning.† She doesn't seem to give a damn
about the differences in topography between the bed, my face, or any other
surface she encounters.† Any change or
aberration doesn't alter her pace, and she carries on as if on a mission of
grave importance.† And to her, I suppose
it is.† I mean, how else would I know
it's time for her to get fed?† The mere
fact that it's 4:30 a.m. and food appears in her bowl every morning means
nothing to this tuxedo'd stormtrooper.
This morning, as I left the gym, I thought, "Never mind
resolutions.† I need a new ritual, maybe
a once-a-week sort of thing."
At the same time, I thought, "Gee, I love home fries
and bagels. I think I'll get some today."
Then I thought, "That's it! Eureka!" and felt as
triumphant as Euripides as I realized, "I can get this breakfast every
Friday! And post photos on Facebook! It'll be magnificent!"
So, that's what I'm doing. Every Friday this year*, same
breakfast, at a different New York City diner/coffee shop/restaurant, check under
$10 (including tip).
* Except January 1st
I want a split level house, intact from the 1970s, with a
kitchen outfitted with the original avocado green appliances that include a
wall oven in addition to a stovetop range (see "The Brady
Bunch").† I want a redwood deck,
accessed through sliding glass doors leading from a family room equipped with a
console TV.† I want an aluminum box on
the concrete just outside the front door, into which glass bottles of milk are
left (except filled with non-dairy milk).†
In short, I want the house I lived in from 1968 to 1972, but without the
unsavory family memories.
In the early 2000s, my then-boyfriend and I met my brother
and his girlfriend for dinner at a swanky-ish Italian place downtown.† (Fun Fact:†
I sported slides with spine-numbing lucite heels.)† As we waited for our table, my brother recounted
another occasion at that same restaurant, when he stood next to David Bowie and
"You know, no matter how you cute you may be feeling, †no matter how great you think you look, when
you're standing next to those two, you're instantly shit," he said.
If I make peace with only one thing in this lifetime, that
Oh, David Bowie.† When
your new album arrived in my dad's store, I stared at your otherwordly pale
face, zigzagged in blue and red, hair a vibrant shock, breathless over your
gorgeousness.† You were the first non-family
member who let me know it was okay to be a fucking weirdo, that I didn't have
to be like Margie Anderson, the poor man's Marcia Brady in my fifth grade class.† It was okay to lift my head and walk with
pride in bright blue Converse high tops and bright red hiphuggers and white
smiley-face belt.† Everything was going
to be okay.
Bubby's dish was always shrimp with lobster sauce.† I never recognized evdience of lobster in the
sauce and was simultaneously fascinated and repelled by its viscosity, through
which I picked to get to bits of ground pork, coveted almost as much as the plump
white shrimp themselves.
Poppop's dish was always pepper steak.† Every element of dish was enough to send me
into fits of bliss.† The softer the beef,
onions, and green peppers in that luscious brown sauce, the better.
These treasures, accompanied by my own fat pink-edged-pork
egg roll and spare ribs, were my 6-year-old idea of bliss.
Those dreams where your cat's snuggling with you again; your
dad's in the kitchen eating chocolate again; your ex-beau from 30 years ago is
leaping through the forest with you again; your grandfather is standing in his 1960s/'70s
row-home smoking a cigar again, older than he was when he lived there, hair
grayer, body more stooped, but dressed up as ever, visible only to you, but
that's okay because at least he's back in some form.† Those dreams.†
Those dreams where you're rejoicing the dead's return are actually
nightmares, but only when you awaken to realize they were just dreams.
"Don't speak ill of the dead," Marissa whispers.
"Why not?" Brent whispers back.† "We spoke ill of him when he was
"But it's not right now.† He can't defend himself."
"And he could when he was alive and we talked behind
Marissa opens her mouth to whisper back, but a lady seated
in the pew in front of her, whose hat is obscuring her view of the casket,
turns and looks at her.
Marissa mouths the word "Sorry," but the hat lady
says, "Oh no.† I was just going to
chime in.† Walter was a total dick."
Belinda Boggs brags to her book club that her parents
bestowed an impressive dowry upon the family of her husband-to-be.† Neither parent divulged what exactly the
dowry contained, but they assured her it was something quite valuable to her
rather corpulent future in-laws.† One
must wonder if she would be amused or horrified to learn the dowry was several
hundred pounds of Milk Duds, Sno-Caps, †M&Ms, and fun-size Snickers, her
future-in-laws' favorite candies, and that they flat-out refused her parents'
offer of an equivalent weight of the finest chocolates handcrafted in
Switzerland from cocoa beans culled from Mars.†
"A whole nother." Stop saying it.† And not just because it reminds me of Nutter
Butter Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies and the old jingle that makes me want to
plop my bellbottom corduroy-clad ass down on a shag rug in front of a console
TV, find the After School Special with the aid of the "clicker", and
devour an entire bag of the cookies along with a gigantic glass of "black
milk", which is what my brother called the chocolate milk I'd make using an
obscene amount of Bosco, but because it makes you sound like a big googoo baby.
I'm not even going to pretend I understand what the big deal
is about PG Tips.† A couple of people on
Facebook had lauded it as some sort of marvel, so a while ago I bought a box
and couldn't wait to try it.† I couldn't
wait to be as enthralled as they were, to join the tea party, to raise my pinky
in a salute of camaraderie even if I partook of the tea at home alone where no
one would see me.
Alas, it's no better or worse than the teabags tossed into bags
of Chinese takeout.† Pffft.
"If you don't have sex with him too," he says,
"I won't drive you home."
I don't know where I am, but it's too far to walk, and if I call
home to have my dad get me, I'll have to tell him about the bare mattress in
the cluttered garage, on which I was just willingly "with" the boy
who'd brought me there, so I consent to be with the other one, whose house it
is, only because I don't want my dad to go to jail for literally killing both
I don't remember the ride home.
I recently read that screaming at a cat is one of the worst
things you can do to it, so now I'm in tears.†
I have screamed at mine for a variety of things and instantly felt bad
afterward, but in a general way, thinking I surely must be a lunatic if I'm
yelling at a 9-pound ball of fuzz.† But
now I feel even worse, and as she lays on my desk, her warm belly expanding
with breath as she naps, her paws soft, tail a gentle curl, I want to scream
even more.† But this time at myself.
I know so many wonderful people who either suffer from
"imposter syndrome", who feel like any minute the world is going to
find out they're frauds who have no fucking idea what they're doing even though
their expertise is clear, and/or who suffer from often crippling lacks of
self-esteem that don't let them realize how fabulous they really are, and/or
who are often paralyzed with anxiety.† So
why is it that there are so many colossal tools out there who think they know
everything when they know nothing, who go through life with obscene swagger and
hideous self-aggrandizement?† Feh.
I alert my landlord immediately to my malfunctioning gas oven.† He comes down and says he'll supply me with a
clicky-type fireplace lighter.† He's shocked
and a bit insulted when I decline.† After
a new oven is installed, he says future problems will be solved with the same
fireplace lighter.† My disbelief and
disdain for this non-solution cannot be contained.† A properly functioning appliance is not a
luxury, sir.† My patience barely lasts
for the duration of three clicks of a gas range burner.† I close the door.† My fake smile goes up in smoke.† Click, click, click, fucking boom.
It's become physically painful, like something† has corroded to the point where, if a mere
wisp of wind touches it, it will fall off, not even with a loud crisp shattering
crack but with as much impact as ash finally falling off the end of a
long-unattended cigarette dangling from the fingers of a poseur smoker.† The panic in my stomach, the jolts in my
heart, the stabs to my temples, the tears and the sleeplessness, the fatigue,
the hypersensitivity, the combativeness, the claustrophobia and agoraphobia,
all of a sudden making sense:† If I don't
write more, I will die.
The new episodes of "The X-Files" are available on
Netflix today.† I'm midway through Season
3 of the series, which for some reason I never watched much back when it was
new (only a few episodes in 1996).† †If only the "streaming" through Roku
didn't freeze every so often thanks to the fickle fuck that is Time Warner
Cable, I could power through the remaining 145 episodes *plus* the movie that
came out between Seasons 5 and 6, and still have time to watch a new episode by
midnight, right?† My Mulder-like faith
and determination cannot be shaken.† I
Yet again an audience brought to its feet for a standing
ovation the performance didn't warrant.†
Yet more carcasses rousing their legs' blood flow to circulation in
order to rise, full body, applauding, with a few hoots and hollers tossed in
for good measure, like a few raisins into a bowl of Chex Mix.† I will forever maintain that such displays
are to be reserved for those times when your body has no choice but to spring
up from its seated position as if propelled by an unseen force, that's how
literally moving the performance was.†
Sit down.† Sit down.
Ever since I made the delectable "cheesy" (vegan!)
chickpea/spinach/mushroom burritos, I have been preoccupied with perfecting my
rolling technique.† I've spent an
inordinate amount of time perusing online articles, watching YouTube videos,
and daydreaming about it.† I suppose this
is kind of like what the parents of newborns felt like before the advent of disposable
diapers, when the cloth had to be expertly manipulated to ensure no spillage.
I realize that comparing a burrito to a diaper is rather
unappealing, especially if the contents contain what looks like an explosion of
beans expelled into a closed container.
(Why, Jodi?† Why?)
Moments after starting the back-breaking process of making oatmeal,
I realized I have all the ingredients for waffles with warm cinnamon apple (and
raisin?) topping, and oh, that would be perfect right now on this chilly
afternoon.† But I can't bear to let the humble,
well-meaning oatmeal, which I haven't made in ages (always passing it over for
its heartier steel-cut cousin), now simmering, feel slighted or unwanted when
it was, for several moments, my first choice.†
Plus, making oatmeal gives me an "excuse" to use my beautiful
new oven, and I don't want to let the oven down either.
I'm confined to a reclining chair at the dentist's office
for the next 90 minutes.† Nothing that
can happen here will be fun, let alone pleasant, so I'm not thrilled on any
level.† The hygienist and her assistant, lovely
ladies both, put me at ease, but their Pandora station, over which they rave, is
set to Adele.† I want to say, "Isn't
this all painful enough?" but the fat-lipped anesthesia impedes me and I suppose
I should "pick my battles" anyway.†
Asking them to switch to a Sex Pistols station probably won't result in
the most sedate of procedures.† Right?
The next time I think it's a super idea to order a mouse pad
from Hungary, tell me to get a grip and find one that won't require me to check
tracking on Magyar Posta's website, which isn't even going to pretend to be
user-friendly unless you present it with paprika and hot goulash.† Remind me that although the mouse pad I
ordered was indeed adorable, there are other adorable mouse pads out there in
the Etsy universe that won't get lost in transit.† The thought of this cute mouse pad floating
around somewhere, sobbing, homeless, makes me too sad.
Late at night, he texts a photo of a singing woman, saying
he didn't know my band was playing in a gallery in his city.† She's wearing a shiny red mini-dress and
crappy black boots.† Her chin-length
frizzy hair frames her closed-eyed, straight-nosed face.† I respond in the morning, thanking him for
thinking I'm an ugly hag.† He says it was
more the dress (I'd never wear that) and the way she danced.† He says of all the photos he took, this one looks
the most like me.† I want to date him
again just so I can dump him.
No, people, no.† I am
not on Tinder.† I am not on OKCupid.† I am not on Match, eHarmony, Plenty o' Fish, JDate,
How †About We, or Veggie Date.† (Yes, that's a "thing".)† I am not on FriendsWithBenefits, OneNightStandLyingDown,
FatLadySings, GodWhatAWasteOfTime, or BlowMe.†
I did the online dating thing years ago.†
It repelled me then, felt false as all fuck, and will never do it
again.† I don't care if you met this
really great guy there after going on 200 shitty, shitty, shiiiiiiitty
dates.† I won't put myself through that.† Life is way too short for such contrived