Monday, July 31, 2006

Esther Miriam

Despite my intentions to keep this blog fluffy and leave the heavier stuff to my own venting grounds, I didn’t want what’s been going on during the last several weeks to go unrecognized: My beloved grandmother, Miriam Ferst, died on July 21. So I’ve been with my family in Detroit, saying goodbye to her while she was still relatively well and then mourning with them once she passed. I can say that, although she had been sick, she went on her own terms when she was ready, and I think she felt that her life was a full, rich one. We certainly did. And I can say with passionate gratitude that the support of those who surrounded my family this month has been overwhelming and deeply appreciated. It’s an incredible testament to the person my grandmother was. There’s an awful lot that I learned this past week about family and the dedication that goes with perpetuating relationships among relatives beyond one’s immediate unit; my grandmother had it down to a science, and I hope to make her proud.

I’ve had a very hard time writing about her — my sisters scooped me up and wrote our eulogy without much help from me, and they did Grandma proud — so I’m just going to say that her absence leaves a considerable void for all of us, and I’m going to miss her terribly. I can’t put into words how all of this makes me feel. I will in time, but I can’t right now.

What I’m not going to miss is people who show up to funerals and say things like this:

“You'll always have memories of your grandmother to share with your children [insert pronounced eye-roll and condescending tone here] IF YOU EVER HAVE ANY.”

There’s always one.

But beyond those who are disappointed with my unoccupied womb, there have been countless others who have been just so damn nice. Today when I came back to work, Lisa gave me a peach. It was a simple, sweet gesture (and super-yummy!), but what she didn’t know is that the peach itself meant something: Around the time Grandma was starting to get sick, she was falling a lot and cutting herself — her skin was fine like phyllo dough. She never wanted to be a burden to anybody and therefore tried to hide her injuries from us, both so we wouldn’t worry and so she could avoid the hospital. One day, her hand was bleeding profusely from a fall. When my mother asked her what happened, Grandma said she’d cut her hand on the stem of a peach, a rationale that made sense to Grandma at the time. When Lisa gave me the peach today, I noticed that it did not have a stem. It was a safe peach. No cuts, no hospitals, no pain, the perfect peach.

Another thing I learned is that you’re not supposed to say “thank you” to those who offer their condolences. This makes no sense to me. I’ve been groomed my whole life to thank people when they do something kind for me, and now when I’m at my most appreciative, I have to express it in another way? Perhaps I’m tacky, but I thought it odd. I couldn’t get used to it. I suppose there are problems worse than the automatic blurting of “thank you.” Like, for instance, Mel Gibson’s automatic blurting of the equivalent of “Yay, Nazis!”

I was grateful to return to work today. It’s a breath of normal when everything outside of work isn’t normal. I do want everyone to know that at my job today, my boss and I discussed where to add the hyphens in “sugar tits” in an item about Mel Gibson. Changing the world I am, one hyphen at a time.

Also at work today, I came across the entry “Babbage, Charles” in the dictionary. He was an English “mathematician and computer pioneer.” It also quite naturally reminded me of one Edna Babish from “Laverne & Shirley.” I mean, duh. So now I look at it as concrete proof that Edna was the true brain behind the Pizza Bowl and Cowboy Bill’s, and that Frank DeFazio was too stubborn to take heed in her savvy business advice. There’s no way that Edna would have approved of Shirley throwing knives at Laverne just to bring in business. Knife-throwing is so gauche. I mean, duh. Again.

So for now, I close with two quotes-of-the-week:

Wednesday was my sister Lauren’s 22nd birthday. We were getting ready to go out for dinner, our first night out after shiva ended, and Lauren was playing with my mom. “Thank you for giving birth to me, Mom,” she said. My mother humored her and said, “Um, you’re welcome.” Then Lauren said something like, “I hope I haven’t been a problem.” To which my mother smiled and said a hesitant, “Uh-huh.” And then Lauren said, “I hope I haven’t disappointed you.” My mom paused, and in the greatest delivery, put down her hairbrush and said, “Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined you.”

And from Grandma, one of our favorite musings of hers on one of her favorite actors, Harrison Ford: “He can leave his boots under my bed anytime.”

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I bet Congress would pick Ace of Base

Josh and I had the following discussion this morning, and I still haven't picked one:

Death is not an option: Roxette or Ace of Base?

I know I'm terrible at making decisions, but this is just cruel.

Friday is Anne Who Is Awesome's last day at work here. She told me that the interview for her next job went well and that her new boss seems really cool: "She seemed to like me, which is always a good quality in a person."

That? Is very true.

On Tuesday, Josh and I were watching CSPAN, as it can often be educational and reassuring to see our elected officials put their talents and problem-solving skills to work to make our government a functional entity. In addition, it's good to know that at a time of war and political unrest, we can turn to CSPAN to watch Congress:

1. Spend 45 minutes recognizing National School Bus Safety Day
2. Spend 15 minutes voting on naming a post office in Utica, New York, after a fallen soldier; and
3. Spend another 30 minutes voting on whether to officially congratulate Italy on winning the World Cup.

Thank god they voted yes on #3. I was beginning to worry that my tax dollars weren't being put to good use.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Are flip-flops considered hot shoes?

At A-list hot spot (do I work at a celeb mag or what?) Bar Pitti on Friday, Lauren Hutton swooshed past me as she headed for a taxi on Sixth Avenue. Here's the the thing with Lauren Hutton: She's a mutant. Her hair was up and disheveled, her clothes were loose-fitting and a little wrinkled, she was wearing a random backpack, and her shoes were this glaring neon chartreuse color.

She looked amazing.

Lauren Hutton is one of those dazzling women who has fairies swirling around her head, sprinkling Pretty Dust about her person. And then she has her own effortless style, independent of the fairies, that I covet. I moved a little closer to her with the hopes of catching some of that Pretty Dust, and I'm proud to say that my hair held up for an hour longer than usual in the afternoon heat.

Those who know me know I do adore a good celeb-sighting, as I am a certified starfucker. I hadn't seen anybody (to my knowledge) in years. When my friend Rebecca (another effortlessly beautiful person) arrived for lunch, we were seated at a table diagonal from Wes Anderson. A twofer! And later that day, in front of the Union Square cinema, I walked past Stephanie March from Law & Order: SVU. I always thought she was pretty in an actressy way, but my gawd, I've never seen such luminous skin on a human being. She's breathtaking.

It was an absolutely lovely day. Rebecca and I stopped for ice cream and walked from the West Village toward SoHo. We turned onto (I think it was) Sullivan Street and came across a festival. As we approached, we saw sand-filled rectangular pits and realized people were playing boules to celebrate Bastille Day. A couple hundred people were sipping champagne and chatting, playing games.

Yet another I Heart NY moment.

On Saturday, I met up with Also Effortlessly Beautiful Lisa

at the Grand Army Plaza farmer's market so we could find inspirational fruit for the ice cream we planned to make that day. I wish I loved to cook, because nothing makes you appreciate good food more than a farmer's market. And honestly, it's peach season, and that's just so nice. Anyway, since I'm a freak with my camera now, I couldn't take enough pictures. Also, gooseberries look like tiny little watermelons, but they taste like sour ass.

I wish I could say Lisa and I made the greatest peach-blueberry ice cream south of Boston, but my brain had apparently removed itself from my head and it hadn't occurred to me to freeze the insert on my ice cream maker. (What the hell is the plug for, anyway?) So we're planning a rematch on Tuesday. The asskicker? Yesterday was National Ice Cream Day. Jeebus.

Rumor has it that tomorrow morning, a TV show is visiting our office to tape a segment on summer office wear. I could sit here and moan about how I let last summer's body go to pot or that I completely wussed out of buying some hot shoes today because it was 508 degrees outside. Instead, I'm going to sift through my closet and spend the next hour looking for an ensemble that will make me look effortlessly Lauren Hutton-ish oh who am I kidding. If I look like shit, they won't film me. That's the plan.

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Monday, July 03, 2006

You can't write a song about orange; nothing rhymes with it.

This just in, from my friend Lisa:


I am so into the “overheards” lately. The other day on Bedford Avenue in unfortunate Williamsburg which I unfortunately call home, one of the izod-wearing no-asses (boy, in this case) was barking into his cell phone, “Like, I achieve erection but NOT orgasm!”

I just got back from Boston, where the ice cream is nearly perfect and absolutely shames everything NYC has to offer in the frozen dairy department. Just sayin’.


Along those lines, Boston has supreme foliage.

On the way into work this morning, I was listening to Johnny Cash’s “Man in Black”:

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black
Why you never see bright colors on my back
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone
Well, there’s a reason for the things that I have on
I wear the black for the poor and the beaten-down
Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime
But he’s there because he’s a victim of the time
I wear the black for those who’ve never read
Or listened to the words that Jesus said
About the road to happiness through love and charity
Why, you’d think he’s talking straight to you and me

And while it’s not a new realization or anything, it occurred to me that this was one more reason why Johnny Cash will always be cooler than anyone else. The man was so generous with his ideals, he wore them around. I, on the other hand, am not so sartorially giving. See, if I were to sing a song about why I wear so much black, it would go more like this:

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black
Darkness covers my whole body, front to back
It’s not that I’m afraid of colors or of certain trimming
It’s just that black is so completely slimming
I wear the black to cover up my rolls
To smooth down drooping, for I’m getting old
I wear it when I’m bloated, to deny my water weight
Or just to cover what I recently ate
I wear it for the better of mankind
Who doesn’t want to see my huge behind
I wear it as a visual distraction for the human eye
And thus it will be the only color I will buy

Yet another reason why I a) am shallow; and b) will never have a record deal.

Josh has a major exam at the end of the summer, so I've been helping him study. We're on a strict regimen: He reads for a couple hours, then we discuss what he just read because verbal reiteration helps memory, and then he sends a synopsis to his advisor when he finishes the book, and then we make flash cards for each book before he starts the next one. (There are 12 in all.) Not only am I learning a ton about economic upheaval in 1970s England (inflation was 25% in 1975!), but I have grown horrified that I never studied this effectively when I was in school. Hindsight is 20/20, I guess, but only if you're wearing cuter glasses.

Also, I fixed the "comments" setting on my blog, which, being often doltish, I didn't know existed, so you no longer have to register to leave a message. For the scores of you clamoring to write in, hop to it!

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