Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All I Want For Christmas...

What does it say about my life that I told my mom that all I want for Christmas is a membership to weight watchers and various cosmetic procedures?

She responded by asking what color and size Uggs to get me.

Monday, December 15, 2008

We Can't Let This Bank Fail!

This is a cause near and dear to my company, please offer any support you can.

More than 35 million Americans, including 12 million children, either live with or are on the verge of hunger. In New Jersey alone, an estimated 250,000 new clients will be seeking sustenance this year from the state's food banks. But recently, as requests for food assistance have risen, food donations are on the decline, leaving food bank shelves almost empty and hungry families waiting for something to eat.
The situation is dire, no more so than at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ), the largest food bank in the state, where requests for food have gone up 30 percent, but donations are down by 25 percent. Warehouse shelves that are typically stocked with food are bare and supplies have gotten so low that, for the first time in its 25 year history, the food bank is developing a rationing mechanism.
As the state's key distributor of food to local banks – serving more than 500,000 people a year and providing assistance to nearly 1,700 non-profits in the state – the stability of replenishment of the CFBNJ is essential to ensuring that individuals in need have access to food.
If everyone could just do a little, it would help those in need a lot. To help, people can:

-Make a monetary contribution: Visit

-Donate food: Drop off a bag of food at your local food pantry. Click here to find a food pantry

- Organize a food drive: We can help explain the logistics of starting a food drive. Just call 908-

- Help "Check Out Hunger:" Look for the "Check Out Hunger" coupons at your local
supermarket and donate. No donation is too small!
Doing a little bit can make a big difference!

Friday, December 12, 2008

You See How It All Evens Out For Me?

My roommate is going on a date to night with someone she was set up with and hasn't met in person yet. Needless to say she's a little nervous. How do I offer my support as a friend? I tell her not to worry, it's a win-win situation; if it goes well, great, if it is disaster it will be hilarious fodder for my blog. I'm Even Steven!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Update- Phlegm-y Neighbor

So I think he actually puked this morning.

Monday, December 8, 2008

You Think It's Funny But It Snot

When you live in an apartment building, it's kind of inevitable that you're going to have some interesting neighbors. Some people have the neighbor who cooks funky-smelling food, some people have the porn star neighbor they can hear at night (or morning, or mid-afternoon) through their bedroom wall. I have the neighbor who hocks loogies every morning like it's going out of style.

I don't know if he is a heavy smoker, has a super-sensitive gag reflex or just produces an excess of sputum but every morning I'd swear he leaves a piece of lung in the sink.

It's almost become part of my morning routine to hear him. We get ready for work at the same time. I go in and start brushing my teeth and sure enough, by the time I've gotten to my molars, there it is- UUGHHGHLLUUHH! I wait- did he actually start to vomit this time? No, not quite. I continue brushing then; wait for it, wait for it- UUUGGHGHGHLLUUGHGH, he really get's ahold of it that time, really starting to make some progress.

Now you may wonder, if I can hear everything so clearly, don't I worry that they can hear me? Not really. I mean I'm sure they can but I have nothing to hide. But some days I am definitely tempted to cheer him on or do color commentary like "he's going deep for this, it's up, and it's green!"

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'll Be Sitting at the Kid's Table on Thursday

My brother and future sister in law put a bid on a house yesterday and it was accepted. I don't think that means it's theirs yet but I guess it's pretty close. I am so excited for them and can't wait to see it. But them taking that step just reminds me how un-grown-up I still feel.

They are purchasing something (granted not with one lump sum, but still) worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. I think the most expensive things I actually own are my TiVo and my iPod- and I didn't even pay for either of those, one was a prize (thank you, Coyne PR) and one was a gift (thanks Mom and Dad).

As much as I like to think of myself as an independent adult, things like this- my brother buying a house, my friends getting married, make me think of all the adult things I don't understand or know how to do or just don't care about, for example:

- I don't know what "escrow" is, or what it means to be in it
- I have no concept of what it happens when you roll over a 401K
- I don't send out Christmas cards
- I wouldn't know how to apply for a loan if I needed one
- I've never really done yard work
- I've never done any of the processing of my tax return
- I call my mom after my voice lessons to tell her the encouraging things my teacher said
- I don't save receipts or file important paperwork
- I never iron clothes; if they are wrinkled I just wet them, lay them out to dry and hope for the best, or if I'm already wearing them I use a blow dryer

On the other hand, I guess there's something to be said for not really owning anything, I don't have to worry too much about losing stuff and I don't have as much personal responsibility. Maybe ignorance is bliss.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

'Godfather! The Musical'

I had a really fun Friday night. I actually got out of work by 5:30 and went to the city to meet my friends Natalie and Laura. We had dinner and drinks at Blockheads and then sat there drinking margaritas until 10:00 when we went right next door to see a really funny off-Broadway play called “My First Time,” the name is pretty self-explanatory- it was hilarious.

After that we were a little tipsy and a little giddy and hopped in a cab to go across town to meet Natalie’s boyfriend and a few other people at a bar where they were doing Karaoke. Anyone who knows me knows I can’t resist a microphone and a crowd of drunks so I was pumped.

On the cab ride over we tried to get a picture of the three of us- didn’t work out too well but it was a fun ride.

The first thing I noticed when we got there was the group of large, shiny-suited, slick-haired, bejeweled Italian men congregated around a couple of tables.

“Oh my God,” we said to each other. “Do mobsters like Karaoke?”

Indeed they do, my friends, indeed they do.

I have since christened them the Judy Garland Mafia and do they ever love their early ‘90’s power ballads.

I didn’t get to talk to any of them but I’ve given them my own names and I would like to tell you briefly about each one:

Joey the Sparkler- my personal favorite. While walking around with a fruity drink in a wine glass filled with ice, he always made sure his left hand was held up next to his chest so that his large pinky ring could catch the light at every opportunity.

Vinny Windpipes- what a voice- from Billy Joel to Whitney Houston, he didn’t even need a microphone, but that didn’t stop him from using one.

Tony the Hangnail- wouldn’t let anyone have the spotlight, tried to grab a mic while Vinny was singing and when the Karaoke mistress wouldn’t let him he went and stood right behind Vinny so everyone would be looking at him too.

Frank- seemed like they just kind of let him hang out but he wasn’t really part of the group; maybe someone’s cousin from out of town.

We really didn’t know what to make of these gentlemen, should we cheer for them? Should we just listen respectfully? Should we only sing Sinatra songs?
After a while we couldn't take it anymore and had to leave, it was just too mixed a bag of nuts in that place, but it was fun while it lasted. I may have to go back, though just to see if they are there again. Also, I would just really love to Vinny’s rendition of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” again.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Petroleum Nostalgia

The price of gas at the station right by me is $1.87 for regula!- It makes me feel like I'm in college again...except that I can't get by on four hours of sleep anymore and I can no longer handle warms shots of cheap vodka chased with Capri Sun.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


A slight addendum to the previous post. I need to thank my parents for making this trip possible by...uh... pretty much bankrolling the whole thing. They generously gave Jackie and I this experience that we will still be talking about when we both have long grey hair that we wear in braids tied with ribbon.

Yes, we have discussed our old lady hair, among several other details and elements of our dotage.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Version of Eat Pray Love i.e. Eat Drink Eat

I can't believe I haven't really posted anything about my trip to Italy. After so much build up you'd think I'd have a lot to say about it but I just got distracted by so much other stuff when I got home that it just didn't happen.

There's too much to document it all here but I thought I'd list some of the highlights:

- Climbing up to the top of the Duomo and seeing the incredible views from the top

- Meeting one of my sister's local friends who, when learning I was her sister replied
"Seeester? Ah yes, I see it, same as beautiful."

- Eating gelato at least once a day

- Eating an entire pizza in approximately 11 minutes after a day of touring Rome (with
mushrooms, sausage and onions, in case you're wondering)

- My sister and I forcing ourselves to finish a half liter of red wine eventhough we were full and
drunk and then somehow finding room for gelato

- Having a picnic in the Boboli Gardens behind the Piti Palace

- Getting an Italian haircut from a hairdresser who turned out to be a Yugoslavian named Bob

- Going to a bar that looked like an Irish pub, where the employees looked Goth and they played
Reggae music

- Creating makeshift pirate costumes for Halloween from stuff we found at the 99 Euro cent

- Hearing the couple behind me in the customs line at the airport arguing about where to go to
get to the official the fastest, it sounded something like this:

Wife: "Get ovah there, Morris, get in that line!"
Husband: "Where do you want me to go- they all go to the same place!"
Wife: "For God's sake, Morris, move ya feet, all these people are getting ahead of us"
Husband: "Will you shut ya mouth, I'm movin as fast as I can, Jesus Christmas."

- Waiting for my car service to pick me up and seeing, through the sea of black sedans, a long
white limosine pull up in the distance and knowing, deep down, that it was my ride and then, in
fact, seeing a sign on it's dashboard with my name in all caps
All in all, a great trip.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I had another outing with my "Little Sister" today. We went bowling. I totally dominated, won every game, but I got her cheese fries and Pepsi so she was happy.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ciao Bella

I feel like my blog has arrived. My most recent post (before this one) was read via someone's cell phone on a street corner in Italy at 2:30 in the morning and elicited laughter loud enough to warrent an Italian woman opening her little bedroom window and yelling that she would like to go to sleep and could we please shut up.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Teach Them Well and Let Them Lead the Way

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with my little sister. Not my biological sister but my "match" through Big Brothers/Big Sisters, I'll call her T. We have been matched since early this summer and I always get a kick out of hanging out with her.

We went to a farm where they had hayrides, pumpkin picking, a corn maze, a petting zoo and pony (well actually it was more like a Clydesdale) rides. We, of course, partook in all they had to offer. I think there is a mutual understanding between adults who don't have children of their own and the children they spend time with that the kid will have no shame in asking for (or at least hinting at) things they want and the adult will have no self control in dispensing money or treats to the child.

I don't know if T doesn't get junk food very often or is she is an addict but either way, when she's with me we can't pass a food/beverage purveying establishment without a swivel of her head and a comment such as "Ooh, they have Fanta," or "mmm, I sure do love some cinnamon sugar covered soft pretzel sticks dipped in caramel sauce."

Whatever it is we, of course, stop to get some. My justification is that I give her the money so she can conduct the transaction and figure out what bills she needs to use- I'm teaching her, it's all for the sake of the future.

Yesterday it was hot dogs and popcorn and apple cider and caramel apples. Although in this case, I totally lapped her on the caramel apple. She was still nibbling the peanuts and I had hit core and she stopped and said "You sure are hungry."
It wasn't so much hunger as that I have it down to a science, which took years.

Sometimes she actually buys things for herself, which I love because that means she is going to bust out her purse, which has a lovely bedazzled key chain clipped to the outside and also contains the following:

- Another key chain, with no keys on it
- A cell phone (she is nine)
- A Nintendo DS and multiple games, which she usually tries to show me while I'm driving
- Assorted candy
- A small bottle of bubbles
- An assortment of crumpled dollar bills

I've been trying to think of what to get her when I go on vacation next week- I'm starting to think some Kinder oughta do it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Next Customer, Please

So I went to Whole Foods yesterday to get some soup and my total came to $5.27. Uncharacteristically, I had cash on me, and even more unusual, I had exact change. I handed the money to the cashier and he said "Perfect." Without realizing it was coming out of my mouth I said in a low voice kind of in the back of my throat, "That's how I do it."

"What?!" I thought to myself. Where did that come from? I typically don't engage in too much banter with cashiers and service providers, since I figure they just want to keep things moving until they can count out their drawer and go home. They don't need more people making the same jokes, asking the same questions.

Like when I went to rent a car recently and when they said "we'll bring your Toyota Camry right around." I had to fight the urge to reply "What, no Porsche?" I was so glad I did since about 30 seconds later I heard one of the Enterprise guys on the phone, totally fake laughing saying "aha, I don't think the Corvette is available today, sir, but we'll have the Taurus washed and waxed for you."

They probably get that joke once an hour- but I wonder if they've ever put someone in a full-size sedan and heard the customer remark, almost to themselves, "that's how I do it."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What Seems to be the Problem, Officer?

The other night I had a dream that I was wheeling my suitcase down the sidewalk (not sure where I was going) and a cop on a navy blue Big Wheel with reflective stickers and flashing lights rode up behind me and "pulled me over." It was an adult man, riding a Big Wheel, wearing a helmet and I was worried about what I'd done wrong.

I would love to have that one analyzed.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I don't wear much jewelry and I almost never wear any type of ring. So I'm always confused when I'm out with my friends and I get asked if I'm married. Married?! It happens more than you'd expect and definitely more than is appropriate. I don't have an issue with marriage and it's not like I wouldn't like to be married someday but the number of factors indicating non-married status way outnumber any factors that would say "yeah, she's legally committed." No wedding ring, no engagement ring- not even one of the Irish ones your turn around after a few good dates. No husband or children in tow and, when I'm asked this, it is usually when I'm out with a group of equally single, jewel-free girls.

So, with all of these factors pointing to single and a disproportionate number of inquiries about whether I have hyphenated surname, I started to wonder- what could it that is saying "married" to people?

Do I look like already decided to let myself go? Do I give off the vibe that I'd rather be painting a living room or shopping for sconces? Did I unwittingly purchase and wear mom jeans?

I don't know the answer- although that time I forgot my fannie pack when I went out to the bar I did see a drop in questions about my marital status...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Nobody Puts Chad in a Corner

The other day I was walking home from the gym and I passed a guy sitting at a red light. He was in a very masculine truck, had a scruffy beard, was smoking a cigarette and I believe he was even wearing a shirt with the sleeves cut off.

But as I passed him I heard familiar sound, I strained my ear to recognize it and finally I realized- he was listening to this:

Totally made my day.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Let's Just Order In

For the past week I've been on vacation at my family's beach house in Sea Isle City. Whenever I'm here, any thoughts I have of eating well usually go right out the window. We eat hot dogs on the beach, my dad makes pancakes every weekend morning, pizza and cheese steaks are ordered with frequency. Since we don't cook that much, the groceries we do have tend to stick around for a while.

After sneaking into the pool at the hotel down the street the other day, my mom, sister and I came home looking for a snack and I was struck by the contents of our kitchen. Some of the standouts were as follows:

- Three jars of peanut butter of various consistencies
- Three half full containers of cream cheese
- Approximately seven boxes of crackers, all open
- A jar of ginger spread and two unopened jars of mint jelly
- Two bottles of Italian dressing, both with about a tablespoon left
- A can Keystone Light, a can of Natty Light and a bottle of some sort of blue wine cooler
- A head of iceberg lettuce with a large brown slimy spot
- One cubic inch of mozzarella cheese wrapped in about two feet of Saran wrap
- Two half full bags of crab chips
- Five bottles of syrup, four opened
- An assortment of small plastic cups with lids containing dressings and dips that accompanied salads and sandwiches long since digested and forgotten
- A container of marshmallow fluff that was described and "grainy" ...which has not deterred anyone from eating it or putting it back in the cabinet when they finish eating their spoonful

Needless to say I'm pretty sad to be leaving.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'm Back...and Sore

In addition to being a negligent blogger lately I've also been slacking on going to the gym. But last night I finally went to kickboxing class again and tonight I feel compelled to write about it.

So I was finally able to get to a class on time, which was great; unfortunately it was with my least favorite instructor. There are so many reasons I dislike him that it's difficult to get them down in an organized manner, but I'm willing to try:

1) He looks like an albino rat

2) He has a creepy blond moustache

3) He is way too enthusiastic about teaching this class, punctuating every shouted phrase with

a piercing, drawn-out "WOOOOOO!!!!!"

4) He abbreviates the phrase "No pain, no gain" into just "no pain," and I don't think this is just
his take on it, I actually don't think he knows the whole saying

5) He'll count down on whatever we're doing and then add extra sets just when we're finishing,
i.e. "Just five more squats, five, four, three, two, one, nine, eight, seven..." I don't mind doing
25 of anything, just don't tell me I only have to do 15 and spring the extras on me just when I
think I'm done

6) It seems like he only has us do certain things so he can show off how well he can do them, like
kicks in a direction that I can barely look in, let alone get my leg flail to

All of this, combined with his general hyper-zeal for cardio kickboxing puts me in an ornery mood as soon as I enter the fitness studio and hear the first beats of a Celine Dion ballad dance remix. I am rarely the sullen girl in the corner glaring at people- but ten minutes into the warm-up there I am, rolling my eyes and muttering "shut UP" while looking around for someone to make eye contact with so I can shake my head and make a "what is with this guy" face.

So why do I keep going back? One, like it or not it's a good work out and two, I keep hoping when we do kicks and he comes around with the target pad that one day I'll miss and give him a Nike to the Adam's apple.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I have the sense of humor of a twelve year old boy

I must not be as cultured as I have always liked to think I am because while reading the below review of "The Love Guru" by Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal this morning, all I could do was giggle and think to myself "I can't WAIT to see that!"

'The Love Guru'
Compared to "The Love Guru," "Get Smart" is "Citizen Kane." Mike Myers, as a blissed-out self-help charlatan named Guru Pitka, gets to ride a bejeweled elephant and an electric carpet and talk with a funny Indian accent. But his character, and a ramshackle plot about a lovelorn hockey star (played by Romany Malco) are only crude pretexts for crotch humor, toilet humor, sexual outuendo and a merciless succession of scenes involving flatulence, urination and a dislikable dwarf. This from Paramount, the studio of Cecil B. DeMille, W.C. Fields, "Sunset Boulevard," "Rear Window," "Psycho" and the road pictures of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. The road taken by "The Love Guru" could hardly be lower, and leads nowhere.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

There will not be a sequel to this scary movie

For anyone who read this post, you might interested (horrified) to know that I received a text message a couple days ago from the antagonist in that story which read "hey...pretty hot out...we should get together again soon."

I will not be responding.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

After Two Years of Anticipation...

I got home today from my friend Maleesa's wedding up in the mountains in PA. It was a great time and I am too tired to write too much about it but I just wanted to get it down that it was a beautiful wedding and I had a lot of fun.

The ceremony was scheduled to take place at 5 pm outside by a lake. At 4:40 clouds started to roll in and we heard thunder. At 5 it started to rain but by 5:20 the rain stopped, the sun came out and the ceremony went on as planned.

As we were taking pictures after the ceremony it started to rain again and I'm sure the photographers got some nice shots of the bridesmaids hiking up their dresses and sprinting across the lawn to the club house.

I'd have to say the highlight for me was pulling the father of the bride on to the dance floor to dance with the bridal party after we were all introduced. He did a very dignified version of the pointy finger dance to "Sexy Back" The crowd ate it up. Just got a picture of it so I had to include it in here:

It was great to see old friends and have everyone together to celebrate...and to dance to Love Shack with my college roommates and shout "tiiiiiin roof- rusted" in unison like the old days. A good time was had by all...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Shave and a Bong Hit, Two Bits

I got my hair did today by a 26 year old Italian fellow named Pete, and I think I learned more about him in that 1.5 hours than I've learned about all the people who have ever cut, colored, styled or looked at my hair throughout the course of my entire life. For example, he always wanted to be a barber but was so good at doing women's hair he stuck to that instead. He met Carmen Electra in Atlantic City and said she was so tiny she "only came up to my nipple." His mom just got a Wii. He'd like to have kids before he's 30. He goes to New York Sports Club in downtown Montclair, he got chicken pox when he was nine and his favorite color is matte beige.

The thing that stood out to me the most, however, was how freely he discussed smoking weed with someone he did not know while he was on the clock at work. During the course of our conversation, he referred to smoking no fewer than five times. Case in point, he told me how when he met Carmen Electra he didn't say anything witty or clever because he'd just smoked three blunts and wasn't thinking clearly.

Then he asked what I was doing tonight. I told him probably nothing as I was tired and had to get up really early tomorrow morning (I didn't feel compelled to tell him "I'll probably write on my blog about your gratuitous mentions of recreational drug use while highlighting my hair"). He replied that he'd probably lay low too- finish work, go to the gym, smoke with his 'boys' then make it an early night.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I have a problem with people smoking weed, I'm just surprised that he'd be so open about it with someone he didn't know at all who was one of his clients at work... maybe I look like a stoner and just don't know it...

Monday, May 26, 2008

How I Spent My Memorial Day Vacation

There are those things in life that you worry about happening but rarely do- locking your keys in your car, walking around with your zipper down, sharting in public. But yesterday one of those sort of things happened to me. It wasn't even one I'd actually considered before but it turns out it is something to add to my list of life concerns.

I went to the gym and decided to stop by the bathroom before leaving the locker room. When I turned the lock it seemed loose but I didn't really think anything of it. Then I tried to open the door- no dice. The little lock knob just kept turning and turning. I knew it wouldn't unlock but still I turned it. I heard someone washing their hands and I kept turning the knob hoping they would wonder why and ask if they could get me some help, they apparently weren't worried about the constant turning of the lock and promptly left.

So then I had the decision to make- waiting for someone else to come in and asking them to get someone to help or take advantage of the fact that nobody else was in there and gracelessly crawl under the stall to get out through a door that worked. It only took about thirty seconds to make the choice. I took one last listen for anyone else in the bathroom, got down on my side and tried to keep my face as far from the floor as possible.

After I got out and washed my hands I honestly considered skipping my work out and going home; I figured I'd had enough excitement, but instead I brushed myself off and put the episode behind me.

At least now I know a little more about what type of person I am- one totally willing to slide around on the floor of a public bathroom rather than ask for help...not sure how what type of person that is, but that's me.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Working On My 27 Dresses

I had my final bridesmaid dress fitting for my friend Maleesa's wedding today. It fits. Phew.
I was really worried that I'd gained 20 pounds in the last two months without realizing it. I just pictured the motherly Irish seamstress trying to zip it up, clucking her tongue at me, tapping her finger to her chin and saying "we've got a problem here, love."

I had a scare, too, because I didn't realize that part of the tag was caught in the zipper and it wouldn't go up (that's what she said) and I had a panicked moment thinking my nightmare had come true. But then I found the seamstress and some scissors and all was well.

I actually think it may have fit better this time than last time. But maybe my expectations were lower after the reaction I got the first time I tried it on.

The seamstress had come in after I was already zipped up and after tugging here and smoothing there she stood back and said "It doesn't need to be altered or let out or anything but maybe if you wear some Spanx it will look just right."

"I already am wearing Spanx."

"Oh, well, it looks just fine then."

"Can I take it off now?"

Today she said it looked perfect and I chose to believe her. Now I just have to avoid gaining 20 pounds in the next two weeks and I'm home free.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Give My Regards to Kanye

I got back a little while ago from a whirlwind trip to Chicago- most of which was spent at gate E4 in O'Hare and in seat 24F in a plane on the O'Hare runway. It was a great trip, though, despite the travel time. I went to the BSM Media Mommy Blogger Monologues. I got to meet some wonderful people who gave me some great insight into the blogoshpere and Mommy Bloggers. Stephanie from Adventures in Babywearing was nice enough to introduce me to Arianne and from there I got to meet each member of the panel one on one. Everyone was so nice and willing to share advice and tips. Ashlee, Jaymi, Julie, Amy, Emily, Jory and Kim were all really helpful and I'm looking forward to getting to know them all better.

There were a few highlights to my trip aside from the panel, especially considering that the panel was the shortest leg of my journey. Highlights are as follows:

- Seeing a group of overly enthusiastic youngish people accompanied by two or three harried baby boomers and trying to figure out from external clues who and what they were. My first guess was missionaries but after I heard several of them singing to themselves in that way that says "I'm just singing to myself because I like to sing but I know you're probably listening and really enjoying it so I'll just continue and pretend I don't notice that you're noticing" I decided they were more likely a high school choir group on their way to perform at a competition or sporting event or at the very least a 4-H Fair

- Turning around to look at one of the singing students/missionaries and her stopping as soon as she caught my eye. It made me feel kind of mean...but then I got over it

- Encountering a group of what appeared to be young military school... students- recruits- privates? Not sure what you call them but they were standing in three very straight lines while men in uniform instructed them to speak now if they were carrying any weapons or aerosol products. I had to walk past them to get to the exit and found myself giving them a very wide berth as though I was worried that if I got too close they'd pull me into their formation and I'd never be heard from again

- Getting into a cab for the 40 minute ride to the hotel (mostly high speed highway driving) and realizing as it pulled away from the curb that the window (which was all the way down) would not go up. The driver seemed to think that locking and unlocking the doors would solve this problem- as though engaging one button would make the other feel left out and thus compelled to do its didn't work

- Being called "Ms. Greco" when I checked into the hotel and getting a sweet upgrade to a fancy room

- Sitting next to an older lady while waiting for my plane to arrive and listening to her talk on her cell phone with it held up to hear ear while it was on speaker

- Sitting next to a professional gentleman on the plane who looked very polished and slick but smelled distinctly of deli meat

Hopefully I'll get to go back to Chicago some time when I can spend a little more time there and see the city but for now I'm happy with my windy city adventure.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Boy (who failed chemistry) Meets Girl (who failed basic social interaction)

If you're on a date with someone and you're just not feeling a spark but you get the impression they feel differently- how do you get the message across that the chemistry is not there without being rude?

If you're me, apparently, you avoid eye contact, speak nonsensically (and fast) and hold you car key poised like a weapon when he walks you to your car.

What if then he still doesn't get it and slyly maneuvers himself so that he is strategically positioned between you and the haven of your car interior and you can't even reach for the door handle without leaning directly into him?

It seems in that situation that I would try to inch around to a place where I could reach out a hand and make a grab for the door handle. Also I'd continuously hit the unlock button to make sure the door was ready for me when I made my move.

What then if, in your attempt to get close to the car door you inadvertently got close enough for your date (being totally incapable of picking up on nonverbal signals or body language) reached out to cup your face, said "Come here" and went in for a kiss.

Well, if you're me, a recent study shows that you would duck your head, turn away and when he says "what, no kiss?" you would reply "Uh, sorry, I'm awkward. I'm awkward and shy."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

No Sweat

I was at the gym tonight and for some reason kept noticing the varying sizes and severity of the sweat stains on the clothing of people passing by my elliptical machine. It got me thinking about this, the body's natural self cooling system, and how people deal with and react to excessive perspiration.

I heard a statistic once that the majority of people, or at least a large percentage, think that they sweat more than the average person or more than is normal. If that is the case- wouldn't that mean that sweating what we generally consider an inappropriate amount actually is normal and average? And, as such, should be accepted- even expected?

Is it just a hyper-sensitive perception of perspiration rather than a hyperhidrosis of the axilia and other gland-rich regions? Not to say we should pat people on their clammy backs and cheer on the discontinued use of sweat reduction products and services- but maybe just be a little more accepting of ourselves and each other's bodies in their instinctive quest to keep us cool.

Just something to think about...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Catch Phrase

While getting ready to go out to the bars in West Chester, PA for my sister Jackie's 21st birthday recently, a bunch of us sat around her apartment drinking beer and playing electronic Catch Phrase. Some of the things people came up with for this game were pretty funny and I want to note them here for posterity.

I think they are best appreciated when read as a dialogue so I'll try to make it as clear as possible who said what and who was providing the clues, what the correct answer was and what the guesses were...if it's not funny then I guess you just had to be there...

Correct Answer: Tony Blair
Clue from my brother, Matt: "Former Prime Minister of England"
Guess from my sister's sorority sister: "Madeleine Albright!"
My brother's response: "Let's hear it for a West Chester University education"

Correct Answer: Vin Diesel
Clue from me: "He's an actor...but not really..."
Immediate guess from my sister's friend, Craig: "Vin Diesel!"
Response from Me: "You just blew my mind"

Correct Answer: Principal
Clue from my sister's friend, Ashley: "He owns the school"
Response from everybody: "uuhhh"

Correct Answer: Exaggerate
Clue from my sister: "I used to do this a lot when I was little"
Guess from me: "Dance naked on your bed in front of the mirror"
Guess from my brother: "Steal sticks of butter out of the fridge and hide behind the couch to eat them"
Guess from me: "Demand that Mom and Dad drive you to your imaginary friend's house"
Guess from my brother: "Tell on yourself to Mom and Dad if you even thought of a curse word in your mind, even if you didn't say it out loud"
-Timer buzzes, indicating time is up
Response from my sister: "It was exaggerate. I hate you guys."

Monday, April 28, 2008

How Much Is That In Euros?

Is it wrong that the money I'm going to receive from the US government as part of an effort to stimulate our economy is all going to be hoarded until Fall and spent in Italy? I mean, I'm OK with it, I just hope the Fed doesn't mind that what they were hoping would be spent on baseball games and apple pie is going to go toward gelato and wine.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Salmon Diet

One day during the summer when I had finally decided to make a serious attempt at weight loss and had actually started to see some results, I got into a conversation at the beach with a family friend. Mrs. Chandler* was pleasant lady, she and my mother got along really well, though, as my dad said, “a little bit of Mrs. Chandler goes a long way.”
Quick wits and tact not being her most outstanding features, she was often the subject of good-natured joking among my admittedly hypercritical family. Once while out to dinner with my parents she asked a waiter to repeat a few of the specials and then asked for elaboration on the preparation and presentation of a certain salmon special and commented on what a good choice that was. When the waiter asked what side dishes she’d like with her salmon she looked at him wide-eyed and said matter-of-factly “I’m not having that, I don’t like fish.”

She was in fine form the day we stood by the water’s edge chatting about my school year and her job while we watched my sister doing gymnastics in the sand. After a short lull in the conversation she smiled and said “Jackie is turning into such a lovely young woman isn’t she? She’s absolutely beautiful.”
“Yeah, it’s awesome, I’m really happy for her,” I replied, with all the enthusiasm of a death row inmate when asked what he thought of the new shade of green on the hallway floor.
The subject of my younger sister’s attractiveness had long been a sore spot for me, since I saw it as a direct lead-in to an appraisal of my own looks and always imagined the appraiser concluding the evaluation with “but Ali sure is smart, knows all kinds of words- and what great dental hygiene!”

About a minute after she made this comment, as sort of an afterthought, Mrs. Chandler said “And you’re looking good these days, your program is helping, you can tell you’re really working hard.”

I suppose one could take this as a compliment. I am not that one. The translation to me was, “Your sister is so beautiful, just gets prettier every day…oh, and you’re less fat now, must be pretty tough for you to lay off those fried Oreos, eh?”
I held my tongue and just said thank you and walked away. I'm sure she forgot about immediately but you can bet that from that day on, not one wrinkle, not a single cellulitic dimple on her escapes me and every imperfection I notice makes me feel a little better...that and suggesting my parents serve fish whenever she comes over.

*Name has been changed to protect, well, honestly, me- from the stink eye

Saturday, April 12, 2008

In No Particular Order- 25 Coolest Things

- I went to a bull fight in Spain

- I went on a tour of a rural village in Morocco

- I lost my driver's license at the shore and the next day it washed up on the beach and a lifeguard who knew my sister found it, recognized me and got it back to me

-When I was twelve I told off my neighbor who was hosing off his driveway in the middle of the afternoon during a severe drought and he listened to me and turned his hose off and swept the driveway instead

- I sang "Midnight Train to Georgia" at a Karaoke bar and got a standing ovation

- I did the Running Man in the aisle of a train to Philadelphia on New Year's Eve and everyone in the car chanted my name (after my friends started the chant- the passengers didn't just happen to know my name)

- I snuck a picture of the David in Florence

- I won a TiVo at my company holiday party

- I won class representative in third grade by running an honest, clean campaign

- I read the most books of any girl in my school in fifth grade (it doesn't have to be cool to the general public, only to me- I acknowledge that I am a nerd)

- I got the number for Tina Fey's direct line at Saturday Night Live and called and left her a message (still waiting on the return call)

- I had a whirlwind romance with a handsome Italian man on a trip to Florence that included running hand in hand down a cobble stone street- very Roman Holiday

- I sent a tape of myself singing to a radio station for a contest and they played the whole song on the radio and the DJs said it was good

- I played with the monkeys on the Rock of Gibraltar

- When I was 11 I learned how to sail a sailboat, I've since forgotten but that's not the point

- When I was in eighth grade a radio station had a call-in contest looking for the best new campaign slogan for Bob Dole, my slogan won: "Bob Dole- America's right-hand man." (if you don't get it, just Google Bob Dole and hand)

- I taught a muscular Russian boy to speak fluently in Philadelphia vernacular

- I got asked to audition for lead role in Hairspray on Broadway

- I emceed the pep rallies and assemblies my senior year in high school and actually made them fun

- I met my favorite author, David Sedaris twice and had an extended conversation with him the second time

- I let Rachel Dratch from SNL into the seat next to me to watch a comedy show

- I caught a bagel- if you want to know the story you'll have to ask- it requires too much description to write it in this list

- On a trip to Universal Studios when I was six my brother and I got picked out of line to be in a show riding the giant bee from Honey I Shrunk the Kids

- I was the "May Queen" in the May procession in second grade

- I started this blog

Quater Century

I am about to turn 25. I am not totally sure how I feel about that yet but to help cope with it I have decided to write a retrospective on the 25 coolest events of my life, either stuff I have done or that has happened to me. Feel free to leave your own stories about things you've done that have made you feel awesome, or stuff that has happened to you that made you think you're not a loser.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Like A Treadmill Cowboy

I had 15 minutes to go in my elliptical machine workout when in the mirror I saw a large man walk up to the treadmill beside me. He seemed bigger than he was because of the stiff leather jacket he wore, with fringe on the sleeves and several metal embellishments. The jacket looked as though it could fully stand on its own with no bodily support from its owner. He wore a grey hat that looked like a cross between a cowboy hat and a fedora, but grossly inappropriate for the traditional wearer or either of those fashions. He removed the jacket and hat and set them on the out of order treadmill next to him. I wondered what he would have done with his things had there not been an idle piece of machinery next to him, since the 300 empty lockers downstairs clearly weren’t a secure option for such valuable pieces.

His black hair was secured around the forehead by what looked like a black ace bandage wrapped once or twice straight around his head. The hair beneath the band fell in soft waves almost to his shoulders, but was short enough in the front to reveal the dangling silver cross earring that swung from his right ear. He began a brisk walk and as he did his clothing began to shift with his body, as did the fancy earring. The large white T-shirt he wore hung down to the knees of his dark grey tapered leg sweatpants, the elastic bottoms of which just met the Velcro straps of his black hi-tops. The neck of the shirt was cut out Flashdance-style so that it draped at a saucy, flirtatious angle over his rounded, creamy shoulder. The sleeves and sides were also cut, revealing the white, dimpled flesh from his armpit down to the bunched elastic waistband of his sweatpants. After ten minutes of walking he stepped down and walked over to a machine on the Strive weight training circuit. I’ve mentioned the Strive circuit before, but I don’t know if I’ve fully explained how passionate many people are about this training. Avid Strive athletes are very touchy about keeping up the flow of their set. I almost came to blows once with a 53 year old librarian because I failed to stay two machines ahead of her, thus throwing off her timing. When this man arbitrarily sat down at the 5th machine on the circuit and began grunting out 15 pound reps he was abruptly chastised for butting in by a svelte salt and pepper-haired man in wire frame glasses. He gave the man a blank look while mumbling an apology. He feigned interest in the posted rules of Strive etiquette on the opposite wall until the collective focus of the room shifted away from him. As soon as everyone was back to checking their heart rates and numbers of calories burned he quickly exited the room, his glistening shoulder proudly leading the way as though he’d been planning an 11-minute workout all along. It was difficult to maintain such an air of self possession when, 30 seconds later, he returned to the room to retrieve his urban trail boss outerwear from the non-working treadmill. I think we all knew he wouldn’t be back.

Friday, April 4, 2008

One of My Heroes is Back

I may need to get Showtime just so I can watch the new Tracy Ullman show.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Use Your Illusion III

A couple times a week I try to go through the Strive circuit at the gym- a series of weight machines that provide a full body work out. Not too long ago I was making my way through the circuit when a person sat down at the machine next to me. I was immediately convinced that the person was Axl Rose. Now this wasn’t the Axl I’d seen most recently, with microbraids and a ruddy goatee. This was the Axl of my youth, with stringy blond hair under a bandanna, the glasses he wore in the “November Rain” video and dirty T-shirt with no sleeves. The one thing that was confusing was- I was also pretty certain that this person was a woman. I tried to slyly check out how much weight she/he/Axl was putting up on the chest press and it didn’t look like too much…maybe it was just a woman trying to keep her split ends out of her face. But then again, Axl wasn’t ever the picture they’d put in the dictionary under the phrase “bulging pectorals.”

Could it be? Could I really be getting my swell on with the front man of Guns N’ Roses?

I tried making eye contact- no luck, the bandanna really reduced peripheral vision. I started softly humming “Paradise City” to myself to see if that got Axl’s attention. Nothing. Then I figured it out- I’d wait until Axl got up to go to the next machine and then I would watch for any evidence of the sweet side to side shuffle dance move that would be a dead giveaway.

As I waited for this I started to think about how absurd this was. I mean, if any ‘80’s/early '90's rock star was going to be unmasked as a woman posing as a man, you’d have to assume it would be Bret Michaels, with his golden mane, pouty lips and stuffed crust jeans (you know there’s definitely a huge collection of mismatched socks in the Rock of Love mansion). But Bret wasn’t here, Axl was, I think, so I forgot about the unlikely nature of the situation and kept my eyes peeled for the shuffle.

Finally, the last set. I held my breath, not even pretending to do my bicep curls. Axl got up, flicked back some stray hair and moved on to the next machine. It was too close! The machines were right next to each other- pretty much anyone using them would have to do the Axl dance to go from one to the next. I was so let down. I left the gym that day still relatively sure that it had indeed been Axl- and not so sure about how I felt knowing that I was a lot stronger than a musical icon. I haven’t seen him/her/Axl since, but I always bring my copy of Appetite for Destruction and a Sharpie with me to the Y, just in case.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Welcome to the Jungle

Is it possible that Axl Rose is actually a woman and works out at the Montclair YMCA?

I'll explain later.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Love at First Spew

So I’m at the gym stretching out in the empty boxing room. I finish and right before I lay down to do my ab workout I make eye contact with a cute guy standing outside the room. He smiled at me before I turned away to get a mat. 30 seconds later he rushes into the room, sets up a mat about two feet from me and starts doing the exact same crunch but like 10 times faster, then he gets up, drinks from the water fountain for about a minute straight then comes back and picks up on the next exercise I’m doing. I’m wondering, "what the hell is going on?" Is he making fun of me? Trying to flirt with me? Or is he just weird? So I finish my last set and get up and leave, I walk out of the room and then stop and think- “wait, he probably was trying to flirt with me and I just ignored him and wouldn’t look at him, that’s not nice.” So I decide to go back in there, get a drink and at least give him a chance to talk to me if that was his goal. I walk back in and see him bent over next to the water fountain like he’s trying to take a mat out of the middle of the stack. I think “oh ok, he’ll have to move out of my way so I can get a drink, this will be a perfect opportunity to strike up a conversation and see if he is the love of my life.” As I get closer, though, he hears me and lifts his head- that’s when I notice that, yes he is bent over, but it is because he is puking his guts out into the trash can that sits between the water fountain and the stack of exercise mats. He looks up at me with glazed eyes, his mouth glistening as a thin string of drool stretched from his bottom lip to the trash can. "Are you ok?" I asked.
"Yeah" he mumbled, then he fled the room, a trail of spittle flying behind him.

I peered into the trashcan at all I had left of him, wondering if a chance at true love had just passed me by in a wave of nausea. After thinking about for a while, though, I determined it was not meant to be after all- I could never love someone who would eat that many hotdogs in one day.

Young Man, Young Man What do You Wanna Be?

I've noticed that I see a lot of stuff at the gym that I find funny. I think I'm going to do some blogging on entertaining YMCA experiences.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I have a blog

I have a blog. I am a blogger. Maybe now I'll understand what all the fuss is about.