Monday, October 31, 2011

The Eight Ways a 13 year old who is Not Allowed Out on a Saturday Night is Similar to an Addict who is Detoxing

Reasoning: Really, it’s ok, I’m allowed to do something wrong and not have consequences. Pshhheesh, it’s fine. There’s no problem.

 Disbelief/Denial: Wait, what?

 Crying: Why? Why? Why? This is so unfair.

 Hating You/Blaming: YOU ARE RUINING MY LIFE. How does it feel being so mean and horrible, you fat ugly IDIOT? (door-slam)

  Hating Self : Oh my god, I’m so stupid. What was I thinking? I shouldn’t be allowed to live. I hate myself.

Negotiating: Do you need me to walk the dogs? Do The Dishes? I love you.

Begging: Please. Please. Pleeeeeeease. I will never ask you again. I will stay in for the rest of my life. I’m the only person who isn’t going, I need to go.

 Crying Self to sleep: I HATE MY LIFE WAAAAAAAAAA zzzzzzzzzzz.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fucked Up

I just found a book of old Halloween photos called Haunted Air by Ossian Brown. It turns out that back in the day, kids knew about horror! How else could you explain these freaky costumes. Nowadays it's princesses and spiderman. Once in a while you see a zombie or an ax in the side of the head, but there's not too much that makes you uncomfortable. I grew up in an apartment building with an elevator and I remember running into it with our paper bags and rustling clothes, standing there breathless and pumped  on crack going up and down; 20 floors with 10 apartments on each: we'd have candy for months. When we moved to the suburbs, we still travelled as a group, but there was something more every-man-for-himself about it. Someone was always falling or getting their cape stuck in the thorns. I remember the way I could hear my own breath behind the mask, how my face would sweat if it was a rubber one, the way my voice sounded when I yelled, Wait Up! There was one year where someone's Dad hid under the hedge and grabbed kid's ankles as they walked up with their bags open. It was completely random and sometimes he wouldn't grab at all, he'd just shake the hedge. Someone else, it sounded like a parent but was probably one of the older kids said, "That's fucked up", and for some reason, the way he said it, without any humor, was the scariest part of all.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Talent Show

I’m still crying all the time. Last night we went to the talent show at Darla’s school and of course that didn’t help. Both she and Harry moved away from me and then kept glancing back and shaking their heads in disgust. But come on, this was at a performing arts school, not the regular kind where you keep checking your watch and have to bite your tongue from yelling, Next! These kids were amazing, and not in a slick show-off way but simple and sweet. There was the Michael Jackson song and dance and the song Beautiful (both pretty easy to mess up) and then there was the autistic kid who played Mozart on the cello and then yelled laughing for his mother to come take a bow with him. I don’t know how I made it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


A few weeks ago we hired an unstable crazy person at work. Long story short, we fired him for being unstable and crazy. You can only overlook that kind of thing for so long. It’s weird how humans have had to civilize things like gut instincts; we say things like let’s give the guy a chance or well, he does have that intense eye contact thing going on and he never smiles but we need someone right NOW. Gut instincts don’t hold up in court either; you can’t say he just had this weird energy and he called me ma’am at the beginning and ending of every sentence even though he’s almost the SAME AGE AS I AM. It doesn’t go over well. In fact it makes “the authorities” give each other side- glances and call for the man in the white coat.
Just the facts ma’am.
Once, I interviewed a police officer who worked in the Canine Unit. His partner was a German Shepherd named Hunter and they worked together for five years. He said that in his assessment of suspects, Hunter was correct 100% of the time. Come on, I said, wasn’t there a time when he was depressed or a little pissed off with you, agitated from too much caffeine? He didn't answer me, just gave Hunter a side-glance and let out a sigh.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Good Morning!

Unlike both of my daughters, I don't need an alarm to wake up because I am part rooster, part fisherman, part insane but this song makes me so happy that I can't understand how it is genetically possible for both of them to hate it as much as they do. This song could divide the entire world into two groups. If we were able to understand the strong emotions this song inspires in each, we would get along so much better.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Things That Make You Feel Like You're in a David Lynch Movie

Noticing that your waitress has a black eye and a chipped tooth while she pours your coffee and talks in a super cheerful voice.

Hearing the sound of your feet on the pavement as a car drives slowly by and you and the driver turn your heads to see each other at the same time.

Hearing the tinkling bell of the door to the little market as you walk in to find it completely empty. Standing in silence while you notice the outdated products and then hear someone yell from the back, “No it was HAVARTI”.

Being woken up by a little person who has sleepwalked into your bed-room. As you sit up and turn on the light, he lifts his head and says “Mennepshen vre shaylu” and then walks back out. A car beeps twice outside.

Seeing a person you knew in college crying, wearing a black suit, and walking through the grocery store with an empty cart.

(Send me one of yours! Post below or tweet)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On Seeing Things Differently

When I was in college, I lived in a gay neighborhood across the street from the hustlers. A few blocks up was Rittenhouse Square, which was a fancy area with huge brownstones and expensive boutiques, and a few blocks down was Broad Street, the busiest connector street in the city. The boys that stood out there were different from the loud, colorful trannies that worked around the corner. They seemed a little sad and hungry, basically just standing around waiting with their hands in their pockets. It was the only place I ever lived where my home was broken into. There had been nothing to steal really except for my roommate’s back-pain medication and a jar of change. They came in through the fire escape and washed their hands in my bathroom sink, the soap was blackened and there were still grey drips everywhere when I returned. I remember calling the police and telling them I had been robbed and they said Ma’am you weren’t robbed, you were burglarized. Anyway, the boys, they were always there, quietly getting into cars, or standing with one hand on the pay phone.
I watched them. A lot. I watched the guys who picked them up too, most of them were men in suits, with nice cars, men who probably had wives and kids and german shepherds. It was all very peaceful and gloomy. One night I remember coming back from dinner with friends and I saw the father of a kid I went to school with walking towards the boy-corner. He was actually the minister at a church I went to for a confirmation class when I was 14. I went to the class mainly because of the barely supervised retreats we took where we smoked pot and made out for two-day stretches. There may have been a few discussions about religious studies but I don’t remember any of them. I do remember giving a string of hickeys to the minister’s son with another friend of mine. It sounds like an orgy but nothing sexual went on; we were like eighteen puppies in sleeping bags. The minister scolded us and made us feel ashamed but then we’d do it all over again at the next retreat.
I had always liked him, both the minister and his whole family really. My own parents were divorced and my family complicated, and he seemed kind and happy and easygoing. “Sure we’ll take the kids on a hiking trip, it’ll be fun”. His wife never went with us, just he and “Tom”, another guy who worked at the church. Then, there he was out of the blue. Without a thought, I yelled out and waved “Mr H. HEY!” I was so happy to see him. I started to cross towards him but he immediately turned and walked away from me, not knowing that in one swift motion, he told me so much more than if he had just said hello.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Feeding The Miniature Wolf

A friend of mine sent me a Cherokee story about a grandfather talking to his grandson about how there are two wolves battling inside of everyone. One of the wolves represents anger, sorrow, lies, jealousy, superiority, all things bad basically, and the other represents love, peace, joy, kindness etc. The boy says, Which one wins? And the old guy says, Whichever one you feed.

I love this story so much but just to give you an idea of the routes I travel inside my head, I want you to know that it made me think of (in no particular order) the following:
Duran Duran
Why is it easier to feed the bad wolf?
The Indian Chief in the old pollution commercial who looks at our trashed up earth with a tear in his eye.
I really need to stay positive and not criticize myself.
Drum Circles.
The sound of a tom-tom and a guy singing/chanting.
Two strong wolves battling while a miniature wolf runs around them in circles, giggling and hiccuping and farting.
Sherman Alexie, I love him.
Ok I only have one steak left, who gets it?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bigger Than We Were part 2

In the summers we stayed in a two story cabin/camp-house that was buried off the side of the road in the woods. It never occurred to us that our grandparents were trying to kill us. In fact although we occasionally talked about "the man with the ax" we were rarely scared. I think of it now and I know I could never walk down that dirt road by myself at night in the pitch black, the kind of black where you don't see anything until you bump into it. But we did then. I remember pockets of cold air, like in a lake, and our signal call to each other. We memorized the road with our bare feet, which side had fewer rocks and where the divots were. We walked quietly in single file, once in a while snapping a green branch into the face of the person behind us. My aunt and uncle stayed there with us, but we rarely saw them unless it was raining and we spent the entire day inside together. Mostly it felt like we were on our own. We needed grownups to feed us and take us to the beach, but everything else we managed. We drove a VW bug from our grandparents' house to the camp, sometimes straight through uncleared green stalks until it would get stuck and then we'd leave it there like a wet sneaker. When we needed it again, we'd spend an entire day trying to figure how to get it started. Sometimes we just needed gas. It's weird to think about how much we were alone, how we didn't feel unsafe, how we jumped out of trees and threw rocks and fixed the engine in a car when at least three of us still peed the bed at night.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bigger Than We Were

 I remember being at the beach with my grandmother and 6 other sibling/cousins all under the age of 9. I don't know how she managed to sit there reading a magazine and smoking a cigarette, but she did. She didn't hover or interfere or want to "play" with us. She left us to our own devices and in return we did not throw sand, run away, or drown. It's not to say we didn't do stupid or dangerous things, we swam too far out and jumped off rocks and held each other's heads under water, but it always felt, I don't know, like we were earning something. We felt bigger than we were. I spent this past weekend at the beach and was thinking about that. If you grew up in the late 60s and 70s, chances are you had at least one experience where your adult supervisor could have had charges filed against them for reckless endangerment. In fact, if you grew up in the late 60s or 70s, chances are the term "reckless endangerment" is a subtitle for some of your best memories. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Still Working

Still working on this site. Sorry for the delay... If you get these emails sent to you and you haven't checked it out so far, X this out and have a look. Bye. Love you.
PS Sorry for the title of the last post. Me and 6 million other people used that quote. I liked it though.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stay Hungry Stay Foolish

I have to write about Steve Jobs for a few reasons. First, I'd been thinking about him a lot the past few months because I had problems with my computer and I spent a few full weekends in the Apple store, and I can't go into an Apple store without thinking of him. I mean yes I feel ashamed and inferior  (Steve would be disgusted if he saw the dog hair and cracker crumbs in the keyboard, the greasy smears on the screen) but I also feel inspired and amazed (How did he come up with the way you can make photos bigger and smaller, the way you can open up the battery in the back with a penny, the way everyone in the store seems happy and stylish and intelligent... How did he do that?).

Second, it is because of Steve Jobs that I take a monthly inventory of all the weird seemingly unconnected and random things in my life. I found his famous commencement speech when I was making a book of different inspiring stories for Mo to read when she graduated from college. One thing he talked about is how all your experiences, good or bad, lead you somewhere else, that you shouldn't be afraid to fail or take chances or be miserable because there's always something about them that will connect you to another experience. To the next one. He said " have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."  For someone who likes to sit around (and possibly waste time) wondering why something happened or what I should have done to prevent it, this was really profound to me, and I heard it like a foghorn.

Last of all I had to write something about him because he was "the inventor" during my lifetime. Because he was fearless and inspirational, and because, even though I knew it was coming, I gasped when I saw his face and the dates below it when I turned on my computer last night. 

 "Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."
-Steve Jobs

Monday, October 3, 2011

Not A Cheetah

I went to a strip club called Cheetahs on Saturday night. This after going to two kid's birthday parties and sitting in a highway parking lot of traffic for an hour. I would have been asleep except for the crack high I still had going from the red velvet cake/brownie/pinatta candy combo I took. So when I got the text to come see a friend sing at the bar down the street in 15 minutes, I said Let me just change out of my jams, I'm on my way.

Cheetahs. If you say it with an English accent it sounds like the same word for people who cheat.

It probably seems like I go all the time, but except for the Chippendales, I have never been to a strip club. Josh met me outside. The place wasn't too crowded but the lights and mirrors and music made it seem like there was a lot going on. The first thing I noticed was three policeman (real ones not Chips) standing in the back, then the girls in bikinis, then oh my god there's the pole!

Put your arm down, Josh said before going to get some drinks. Jason was there too but I didn't feel like talking, there was too much to look at. One girl with a spray tan and a muffin top walked around like a zombie offering lap dances. I was surprised at how unenthusiastic everyone was. I slumped in my chair and tried to fit in. It was a strange crowd. An old guy in a Brooks Brothers button down shirt walked by; he looked like someone's grandpa, like he read the NY Times and had a golden retriever. He was just there having a cocktail by himself, checking the titties, the buns. Across the room two girls sat together at a table, they were both dressed like oldtime newsies, one was doing a crossword puzzle the other was talking to a skinny girl with a mohawk and tattoos. We tried to figure out their story: they were buddies we decided, possibly room-mates and the skinny girl was their pet they kept in a cage during the day.

Once I felt adjusted to the pace and the rhythm of the place, I wanted to see The Show. No more talking, no more listening to music, just shut up and take off your clothes. I felt like a grown man. Two girls came out on stage, they looked exactly alike, in the same way that soldiers do, and they started their presentation. One of them strapped on a red glowing penis and pretended to jerk off while the other one got down on her hands and knees and gave the first one a blow job. They were all serious and businesslike, there was nothing fun about it even though the face of the girl sucking the glowstick lit up like a christmas ornament.

It was hard to get lost in this. I tried to man up and get serious but I couldn't. I know there are other clubs where the dancing is great and the girls look like Jessica Biel but I couldn't help feeling like I was at another kid party, waiting for it to end.