Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mimosas for Breakfast

NYC at 100 degrees is only fun if you go with your best girlfriends. I know. I was in NYC this weekend with my girlfriends while all the smart people were leaving Manhattan in hoards. Thankfully, in NY there is always a shop or a cafĂ© with air conditioning to patronize or a window air conditioner dripping condensation from above.

The weekend is a little hazy because the weather was hazy, and also perhaps because I started off each morning with mimosas for breakfast. I sweat a lot. On Saturday, I didn’t go to the bathroom between 1pm and 8pm, despite drinking over 40 ounces of water and one diet coke. This was shocking to me because I pee, on average, every 47.5 minutes.

My friend Lyd and I drove this time, hoping to save both money and Holly’s stomach, which is still funky after her flight back from Dallas. We didn’t even make it to Geneva before we got stuck in a 2 ½ hour traffic jam. We were upset about it. There was complaining. And then we found out a tour bus had pulled out in front of a tractor trailer, was immediately set on fire, and that the tractor trailer driver perished.

We felt a wee bit bad about complaining.

I have a love/hate thing going on with the British woman on the GPS. I love her because she knows where I am when I have no clue, but I hate her because she’s bossy and takes me through the Holland Tunnel when the George Washington Bridge is the better route.

We did find free parking one street away from Christine's apartment for the entire weekend.  This is a miracle akin to turning water into wine.  Or mimosas.

It took us ten hours to drive to the Upper East Side and six hours to drive home via the George Washington Bridge.

Lyd and I are not quite assimilated to the Big Apple, though we try to fit in. Lydia is, strangely, single. Otherwise I WOULD NOT be checking out handsome men in uniform on the street because I am happily married to a suit.  I'm trying to help out a friend. 

Holly: Lyd, did you see that cute pilot over there?
Lyd: Ooooh, yeah. Danny!
Christine: That’s a doorman, guys.

I was also concerned about how crowded all of the coffee shops were.

Holly: Is it always this crowded in these places? Even in the dead of winter?
Christine: Yes.
Holly: (Deeply concerned.) But then where can all of the writers go to pen their great novels?
Christine: It’s the stupid writers that make it so crowded in here. They sit and they don’t move for days. (Glares at girl sitting at table with laptop.)
Holly: Oh. I feel sheepish. (I did not say that. But sheepish is just how I felt.)

I took fewer pics than I usually do, but here are some of them with commentary:

On Saturday, we ventured out to Governors Island, which is located at the bottom of Manhattan near the Statue of Liberty.  Formerly a military base, the government is in the middle of preservation efforts, turning the island into a sort of park/ historical destination.  You can access the island via ferry (the port is right next to the Staten Island Ferry port.)  The island was pretty dead; of course, it was 100 degrees out.  Once on the island, you can rent a bicycle, fly a kite, enjoy a free game of mini-golf, eat lunch, and appreciate the view.  Here's me and Lyd at one of the many modern sculptures located throughout the island. 
A tourist boat sailing by the island.  The orange boat is the Staten Island Ferry.
View of lower Manhattan from Governors Island.

View of Libby from Governors Island

Castle Williams located on Governors Island
On Sunday, we had Brunch at Cafe Lalo, which is the cafe from You've Got Mail.  (Which I wrote about recently, right here. Tom Hanks goes to meet Meg Ryan, who sits waiting expectantly with her rose and a copy of Pride and Prejudice.)  The cafe is renowned for their vast dessert menu.  They offer an "Around the World" brunch.  Christine got the New York brunch.  Holly stupidly got the Irish brunch.  If you ever have the choice between a New York brunch and an Irish brunch, go with New York.

At Cafe Lalo.
I love corner flower shops.

There is a Food Emporium located under the 59th Street Bridge.  Wegmans has a nice ambiance, but this makes grocery shopping quite elegant. 

We went to Tiffany's because Christine had a return to make.  So, there you go.  The inevitable Holly Goes Lightly at Tiffany's pic, sideways, because she can't seem to fix the Blogger pic problem.  I'm wearing my brand new Angel Batista hat. 
  If you happen to go to Tiffany's with a same-sex friend in the next few months and want the Tiffany salespeople to simply fawn over you, pretend you and your friend are getting married, and you're both getting 5-karat engagement rings.  I swear, they will go nuts.

We did not do that, of course. 

Christine, by the way, lives one street away from Holly Golightly's fictional apartment building.  I failed to get a snapshop, yet again. 

We did too many things to list.  Some stops:  The GreenFlea Market, Zabar's (where I got Lydia a bag of coffee because John drank the last two brought home from NY for her), The Strand, of course, Pylos Greek Restaurant, etc, etc, etc. 

It was good times and noodle salad, despite the heat.

Walking around with my girlfriends, I don't feel like a 33-year old mother of four.  I feel fifteen again, wandering about with no resonsibilities, feeling a tiny bit rebellious having a mimosa with breakfast even though I'm of age.  For three days, it felt like no time had past between now and the tenth grade. 

Today, I feel very much 33.  Daniel is waiting for me to open the garage.  I better do that.

No one has their very own garage in Manhattan.  Poor saps.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Holly Should Get a Pool in 2012

1. The home in which she rears her children and works lacks central air. Yet, the long-suffering and meek individual that she is, she rarely complains.

2. She enjoys swimming and is exceptionally good at the side-stroke.  Her children ALSO enjoy swimming.  Studies show that families who swim together stay together, and children who come from homes with pools are 88% less likely to fall into drinking and drugs.  It's true. 

3. A pool is the perfect place to hold "2012 the world is ending" parties.  If should also be pointed out that since the world is coming to the end, concerns about paying off the pool are moot. 

4. She feels bad that every time a friend calls for a play date, she asks if they have a pool. She’s starting to feel desperate and rude.

5. She is currently undergoing a rigorous physical exercise regime that will ensure that by the summer of 2012, she will look perfectly acceptable in a bathing suit.

6. She gave birth to twins.


And one jumped of them into the world feet first.

She feels she should also mention the epidural was not working at full capacity toward the end.

It should be mentioned that she breastfed said twins for 15 months, saving $3000+ in formula costs. Of course she did it because it was the best thing for her babies, but she can’t help but also point out that a pair of perfectly lovely 34Cs were absolutely ruined in the process.

7. She acquiesced to becoming a dog owner and has, for the last 10 months, been responsible for 90% of poop-pick-up duties, despite promises made by certain individuals who shall remain nameless but know who they are. Yet, the long-suffering and meek individual that she is, she has not complained, even when picking up steamy feces before her rambunctious children run barefoot into the backyard.

8. Two weeks ago, she purchased a $50 Walmart pool with filter, commissioned a friend to help her put it together, and filled it up with fresh water from a reliable hose. Exactly 5 hours later, a certain individual who shall remain nameless let the aforementioned dog run outside, jump into new pool, and rip open pool with claws which resulted in the demise of the pool. Yet, the long-suffering and meek individual that she is, she has not complained.

9. She’s pretty sure that inserted into the wedding vows was, “after twelve years of marriage, I promise to buy my wife a pool. Not doing so allows the wife to run off with Timothy Olyphant who will provide her with multiple pools and cosmetic surgery to restore her boobs to their former glory."

10. Holly is "nice."  Niceness should be rewarded with pools. 


Holly reads post to husband.

Husband:  I feel like this post is leading up to something.
Holly:  What?
Husband:  You asking me for a pool.

Can't pull anything over on this guy. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What My 6-Year Old Would Buy If He Had a Credit Card

As I was cleaning out my purse last week, Ben stood next to me and looked intently at its contents. 

"I can't wait until I have a credit card."

"Really?" I asked.

"Yeah.  When I'm a man."

"And what would you buy with your credit card?"

"Man things."

"Well, of course.  But what man things?"

"Guns and swords."


Yesterday it was unbearably hot and muggy, but our basement stays nice and cool.  I allowed the boys to play Wii for the majority of the morning.  At one point, Ben marched upstairs with purpose.

"Mom?  We need more Wii games.  I'll need your laptop."  A yell came from the depths of the house.  "Oh yeah.  And your credit card."

"No.  Absolutely not."  Best to nip these thoughts in the bud.  Ben's shoulders fell and he wandered defeated back into the basement.  A few seconds later, I heard him shout the following to Caleb:

"Yes I was!  I was VERY CUTE!"

I'm hiding my purse.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Neurotically Yours

Woody Allen:  Neurotic Looney-Bird
Dear Blog,

Today, I was absolutely certain a man was following me in Wegmans. I turned down the soup aisle; he turned down the soup aisle. I skipped four aisles and went straight to frozen foods, which I never, ever do, and so did he. Then, abruptly, he grabbed a box of ice cream sandwiches and briskly passed me on his way to the checkout line.

I don’t know what his game was. It’s very possible he just needed soup and ice cream sandwiches. But that seems unlikely.

This incident prompted a conversation with the husband.

Holly: I think I have the neuroses.

John: Excuse me?

Holly: Neurotic. I think I’m neurotic.

John: What do you mean?

Holly: Don’t you know what neurotic means?

John: I know one definition of neurotic.

Holly: What?

John: Never mind. Why do you think you’re neurotic?

Holly: I’m not telling you until you tell me your definition.

John: (Sighs.) Well, when a girl starts acting all crazy, guys will say, “she’s neurotic.”

Holly: Oh. (Pause.) You never say that, though.

John: No. Never. I would never say that.

Holly: I should hope not. Okay- I think I worry too much about little things that don’t matter. I worry constantly. I’m highly anxiety-prone. I apologize like a fiend for silly things. All indicators of the neuroses. (Silence follows, followed by what sounds like snickering.) Are you laughing at me?

John: No! I would never.

Holly: See, now I’m feeling like it’s not neuroses at all. Perhaps my anxieties are well-founded.

It went on like this, but I’ll spare you the rest, and move on to a conversation that took place yesterday:

So yesterday, my brother and I were discussing Betsy Lerner’s classic book for writers, The Forest for the Trees. In it, Lerner addresses six different kinds of writers, including: The Ambivalent Writer, The Natural, The Wicked Child, The Self-Promoter, and The Neurotic. Despite my self-diagnosed neuroses, I do not quite fall into the category of “The Neurotic” writer. I’m an Ambivalent to the core.

(Josh never said what he was. He’s probably “The Natural.” That would figure. He’s hitting ‘em out of the park like Ray Hobbs while I’m picking daisies out in left field.)

Here’s the first paragraph of Lerner’s chapter on “The Ambivalent Writer.” My thoughts are in italics.

Do you have a new idea almost every day for a writing projects? (Yes!) Do you either start them all and don’t see them to fruition or think about starting but never actually get going? (Yes! Both! Indeed!) Are you a short-story writer one day and a novelist the next? (I wear many colorful writing jackets.) A memoirist on Monday (Well, there’s you, dear blog…) and a screenwriter by the weekend? (Nope. No screenwriting. Too technical.) Do you begin sentences in your head while walking to work or picking up the dry cleaning, sentences so crisp and suggestive that they make perfect story or novel openers, only you never manage to write them down? (Yes! Such a waste.) Do you blab about your project to loved ones, coworkers, or strangers before the idea is fully formed, let alone partially executed? (No. But only because I’m shy.) Have you ever accidentally left your notes, diary, or disk behind on a train or plane and bemoaned the loss of what certainly had been your best work? (Yes, yes I have.) Have you ever been diagnosed with any combination of bipolar disorder, alcoholism, or the skin diseases such as eczema or psoriasis? (No. Dear God, no. Maybe the first a little, but no skin diseases. I do abuse Benadryl.) Do you snap at people who ask how your writing is going? (Yes.) What’s it to them? (Indeed.)

Do you fear that you will someday wonder where the years went? (I do. I do.) How it is that some no-talent you went to high school with is being published everywhere you look? Or some suck-up from graduate school is racking up prizes and being interviewed in the “At Lunch With” column of the New York Times, a series you used to enjoy. Now you can’t read it at all without thinking back to your classmate and the fawning way he used to schmooze your professors. (I know just the student. He wrote magical realism novels. He thought he was freaking Marquez.) God he was so transparent. (He really was.)

If you can relate to the above, you certainly have the obsessive qualities, along with the self-aggrandizement (Ouch. Was that necessary?) and concurrent feelings of worthlessness (It’s true. I am dirt.) that are part of the writer’s basic makeup.

It goes on. It’s a great book.

In order to arm myself with evidence that I am neurotic (because neurotics are forever in search of tangible proof), I took a test by the foremost authority on psychological matters: the website Psychologist World. According to Psychologist World, I am 86% neurotic, and should probably have my head shrunk on a daily basis.

These results are rather shocking.

Thankfully, I do not have OCD tendencies like some neurotics (it seems like very hard work to be a neurotic writer. How annoying it must be to have to have 12 perfectly sharpened pencils and a coffee with exactly two teaspoons of sugar before you started writing at exactly 8:32 in the morning? Gore Vidal had to have coffee AND a bowel movement before he could start writing.)

Instead, I worry about bizarre things. Is spending an hour writing a travel article as lucrative as spending an hour clipping coupons? Will wearing my hair in a pony-tail every day make me go bald? Why has everyone forgotten that Arkansas was raining birds a few months ago?

All of this to say that for a person who is suffering from both the neuroses and the ambivalence, I wonder how it is I'm faring so well. In fact, I think the quiz results might be greatly exaggerated and I'm rethinking my fervently held for 1 hour conviction that Psychologist World is the foremost auhority on all things psychological. 
So- no major self-realizations in this post.

And with that, dear blog, I must go. I have to finish my novel before the man from Wegmans finds me, murders me, and throws me in a freezer right next to the ice cream sandwiches.

There are worse ways to go, I'm sure.

Neurotically Yours,


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Caleb Gets Political

At the 4th of July parade Monday, passer-bys in floats threw candy at the hoards of children, who scurried to nab as many tootsie rolls and dum-dums as they could before older, larger children swooped in. In a moment I am not proud of, I actually stepped on the stick portion of a dum-dum before a rather fat, vulturous child could pick it up in order to give it to Ella, who had chosen that moment to stare blankly at the sky.

When we got home, Ella had four pieces of candy while Caleb had half a bag full. I combined all four bags of candy, put it in a large bowl, and have been rationing it out at various points during the day.

“That’s not fair," complained Caleb.  "That’s MY candy. Why are you doing that?”

“Well, it’s not fair that younger or slower kids should suffer because you were greedy and would not share. Sometimes moms have to even out the playing field. This is the decent thing to do."

“I think that’s communism, mom.”

What really concerned him was that I had chosen to become a communist on Independence Day of all days. I explained that I’m only a communist on parade days- and Halloween. The rest of the year, I aim for benevolent dictatorship.

“That’s fascism, mom.”


Happy 4th of July just the same!