A Midfall Night’s Dream

It’s November. Did you know that? I kinda knew that but it didn’t sink in until about two hours ago. It’s 2am. I’m up. I went to bed at 10pm after we caught up on Homeland (Carrie is off her meds and its super fun!) About an hour later I woke up and haven’t been able to sleep. My mind is reeling. October is over. But it feels like late September. It’s sunny and not too cool (actually right now it’s pitch black and nippy out but you get my point). The Fall foliage is in Technicolor – no filters needed.  I can’t believe I’m talking about foliage at 2am. Correction – 2:10am.

Here’s everything that’s happened in the last few weeks non sequitur:

  • We kicked-off college visits with my baby girl and I’m sad/happy/excited/scared/jealous/weepy for her. Who will be my partner in crime for all foods ethnic? Definitely not her father and brother, their idea of ethnic food is salsa. Who will tell me about cool new music and make me feel like I’m in the know? I know what you’re thinking. All these things are about me. But she’s about me. She’s mine. I’m not ready to let the world have her yet. The world isn’t good enough. I wish she could experience all those amazing things that are around the corner for her, but still come home every night and sleep in her bed. So now I cry randomly when I’m alone thinking about dropping her off at school. Good times.
  • I’m obsessed with Project Greenlight. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were supposed to be the most interesting thing about this show – and yet they are the least. Effy, the valley-girl-dreadlocked-feminist producer who lives to drive newbie director Jason crazy with her control issues is what’s interesting. The fact that Jason looks like a real life version of Jack Skellington from A Nightmare Before Christmas is just a bonus. Watch it watch it!!
  • Babes with Books is still going strong! In fact, it’s my turn to host book club next week and I’m excited to see the ladies. We picked Me Before You. Have you read it? Did you love it? I read it in one day. Couldn’t put it down. It could have been a predictable story but it wasn’t – even the parts that you can predict are slightly twisted. Read it read it!!
  • We hosted 8 birthdays in one day. 8. Birthdays. Efficient and crazy. That’s how we roll. See birthday cake as proof!
  • My baby boy was one of those birthdays. He’s 12 now. 12 years ago I woke up at 4am and hightailed it up to Vassar Brother’s Hospital in Poughkeepsie, NY. 12 years ago I brought home this little, strong-willed, creative, smart, kind boy who makes me laugh every day (when he’s not driving me crazy). 12 years flew by like 12 minutes. See his picture below –  at 9am, eating a hot dog and drinking an Icee on what he called his “cheat day”. I don’t even know what that means. But I’ll play along. Forever.
  • Fall in our town is my jam. One of our very good friends is a gifted photographer and generously shares amazing shots. Marcello you are the best!  I posted some of my favorites below.
  • So….Halloween down. 8 birthdays down. 1st college visit down. Bring on November! Or continue on with November!

jack! Delawarepic Canalpic 8birthdayscake

The Edith Chair

My husband Joe and I have been talking about getting a new couch for ages. Actually he’s been talking about it. I’ve been avoiding the talk. Not because I don’t want a new couch, I’ve been avoiding it because I know what one piece of new furniture means. It’s a slippery slope. It’s also not that I’m frugal and I don’t want to spend the money, it’s just that I’m fine with it all. Yeah the sofa wasn’t perfect, but wasn’t horrible. It didn’t smell. It didn’t have visable stains. Was it comfortable? No. But I got over that like 5 years ago.

In the end, we went down the slope and got a new coach and a new rug, lamps, a new recliner for him and a chair for me. And an ottoman. A small one.

Years ago, shopping with him for anything new in the house would be an experience full of all the emotions. Laughter, sadness, tears, yelling, forgiveness, and finally reconciliation. Joe’s got opinions. Lots of them. My girlfriend April and I talk about this all the time. Her husband Pat has opinions too. We dream of husbands who don’t give a shit about furniture, wall colors, curtains, etc. I know men like that exist. The kind that just show up one day and see a whole new living room and say,” nice” and then go back to their football game.

In our house, we have discussions before I pick up a new spatula. No joke.

But! (this is where I back track) He’s gotten better. Mellow(ish).

This time around it was pleasant, easy, dare I say…fun.

Or maybe we’ve just both gotten older and decided to bend. A little.

We knocked it all out in about a week. In addition to what we knew we’d have to buy – Joe found a chair for me. He calls it the Edith chair. Are you old enough to know what I’m talking about? As in Archie and Edith? As in All in the Family? Google it.

Anyway I finally have a chair of my own. But that’s not the best part. The best part is that we situated it, by chance I swear, right across from a window. Do you know what that means?

It means that on the weekends I can sit there with my coffee and watch the neighborhood go by. I can see all the dog walkers and joggers.  I can also see the teens getting off the bus with their huge backpacks slugging their way home. Seems boring to you? Not me. I love it.

Here’s a shot of my view in my chair (working from home and daydreaming out the window) and my chair. Sorry I said “my chair” like a hundred times. I’m excited. About my chair.



Some people.

In general – I’d say about 95% of time – I run into nice people. Decent people. People who like people. Yeah there are some roadragers (is that a word?) and cranky people out there – but one on one, face to face, you usually get nice. Am I right? Am I delusional? I don’t think so. That’s why I was so shocked at a little episode we had yesterday. Let me share.

Because my husband and I are 90 and can’t stay up too late, we tend to go to a Sunday morning matinée to get our movie on. This also works because my teen and tween sleep the morning away and we make it home in time to all have an early lunch together. I love an early lunch. There are lots of other pluses to this scenario. Less crowds. Cheaper tickets. Older audiences. We love it all.

So yesterday we decided to sneak away and see Birdman. We made it there in the nick of time, got our tickets and ran to the theater. To our shock and awe – it was packed. Really packed. Friday night showing packed. My husband spotted two seats and we made our way. There were two couples separated by the open spots we wanted. We asked both couples if the seats were taken and one of them said instantly,”nope all yours.” The husband in the other couple said nothing, but the wife said,”they’re taken.” Okey dokey then. We moved on. We found seats a couple of rows behind them.

As the previews started we noticed more couples trying to find seats. They went through the same interaction with those couples as we did – and they were both turned away the same way.

The movie started. My husband leaned over and said,”there’s no one sitting in those seats. No one is coming. She lied.”

He was right. She basically just didn’t want anyone sitting there. Not a big deal right? Wrong. It takes me about two seconds to go through my emotions when this stuff happens. Disgust, anger, annoyance, and then finally, acceptance of the fact that they are not nice people. Or maybe they have some sitting-next-to-strangers disorder. Whatever. This is not the case with my husband, who is bothered to his very core, his very soul about the injustice. He grapples with their entitlement, he struggles with their complete lack of empathy for other movie goers. He’s upset. And he stays upset.

It doesn’t help that the movie is dark and sad. It doesn’t help that we have a clear sight view of this selfish couple, or that he knows the other folks turned away had to sit in the very front. Their movie going experience all but destroyed (not really).

The movie ends. He turns to me and says,” What did you think? That was great right? Oh, I’m going to say something to that couple. They should know that we know.”

In the early stages of my marriage I would have tried to talk him out of this, explained that we needed to be the bigger person etc. All that talk would have incited him even more. The other thing the talk would have done is to get him angry at me too, how could I not understand how horrible these people were? How could I not see he was right? Now, 18 years in, I say nothing. I say not one word. If he wants to say something, by all means, go for it. He is right. Some people should be called out, no matter how much of a scene it would make.

So I watched him go down the aisle, pass the couple and keep moving. When we got outside I asked him why he changed his mind, he said,” eh, some people.”

Some people indeed.

Hope you had a good weekend!

The suck-it-up gene

The other day some very smart ladies and I had a quick workday lunch.  We talked about world peace, how to save the economy, the usual stuff we tackle when we get together….ah hem.  But then the conversation moved to the men in our lives. Our very significant others.

I was rehashing/retelling a short story about my husband’s complete lack of “suck-it-up”.  It’s like he’s missing the gene.  He’s a good man and I love him to bits – but that boy cannot make a bad situation better.  He’s better at spotlighting or highlighting or magnifying that bad situation.  To be fair – if you asked him – he’d say I was a “head-in-the-clouds” Pollyanna.  And I am. It takes a lot for me to think badly about something or someone. I go with the flow. He’s like a big, tall building blocking the flow.

The reason I fell for the guy is that he’s always been decisive and determined. And in all honestly, loads of good things have happened to us because he won’t stand for things going wrong.  Better dinners, easier weekends, stronger kids, etc. He’s got a mission. All the time. When that mission goes astray – he’s upset and not afraid to show it.

Not me –  I meander. I stroll. If something goes wrong, my first instinct is to see the positive from it. It’s very Asian of me. It’s not always a good thing and it’s exhausting.

You know that fight or flight instinct? I would always flight.  In other words, if aliens landed tomorrow, I would not be the gal joining the rebellion and fighting back. I’d be the one thinking,”gee, maybe the world will be better post invasion.” or “I wonder what they eat?”.

So he may be missing the gene, but I’m knee-deep in it.  I’m not sure which one is better.

Is a fair weather fan better than no fan at all?


(Doesn’t that title remind you of something Carrie would start her column off with on Sex and The City?  No? Just me?  Ok then….)

Although we live in Phillies country – we are Yankees fans all the way.  I mean…. we’re all the way once they get to the playoffs, or series, or bowl or whatever.  I married one of the few men in the world who is not a sports fanatic (he saves his obsessive behavior for music and technology).

When we had kids, he taught them all the important things:  Bruce Springsteen is a god, Elton John/Bernie Taupin are the best singer/song writer collaboration, the sound system in a car/house/yard/bar makes or breaks a good time, etc.

My girl was 12 before she knew who A-Rod was, and that was only because I had talked about his break-up with Cameron Diaz.  I was rooting for them.  Although I’m always rooting for Cameron, I have a soft spot for her.

Anyway – when my son was born, things started changing.  He loves all things baseball, basketball, football, he’s all over it. He wears only “sporty” clothes (no jeans or khakis, incase a freestyle game breaks out on the playground at recess).

So, to be fair-minded parents who don’t just hurl our own likes and dislikes on the kids – we became kinda-sorta fans of many different sports teams.  In the end, the only one that stuck were the Bronx Bombers.

Last summer, we took our kids to their (and my) first Yankee game.  It was super exciting.  The new stadium is beautiful – and the food!  Why didn’t anyone tell me about the food!!  Peanuts and Cracker Jack?  No way!  How about garlic fries with chipotle aioli …. how about double dark chocolate milk shakes with malted whipped cream…how about IPA’s from all over the East Coast?!!  Baseball rocks.

The game was good too.  Who played against them that night?  It was Baltimore, or Boston, or Birmingham I think.  It was a B name for sure.  Who won?  Hard to remember all those details.

Back to the initial question – is a fair weather fan better than no fan at all?  What if I told you we bought ridiculously expensive sporting attire to wear to the game?  Would that help our fandom?

Say Uncle!!

My mom is one of 5 – she’s the second oldest.  When I was little, I was basically an only child for 11 long, glorious years.  It was dreamy.   But I was a spoiled brat.  You need to know.

One of the people who had the biggest hand in turning me into this brat was my older uncle.  He’s always the life of the party.  I don’t ever remember him not laughing – or not trying to make other people laugh.  This picture would not be possible if I was standing next to anyone else.

He was (and is) so cool.  He ate dinner at 11pm every night (the height of coolness right?)  His house was full of noise.  It was loud and fun.  My house was always quiet and full of people reading.  I loved his house.

Here’s my favorite story of his awesomeness:  When I was 6 or maybe 7, we all went to India for a wedding (actually we went everywhere together.  There was never an outing with just 2 or 3 people.  It was always a caravan of 8-9 adults and me.  That’s how we rolled).  My grandparents still owned the apartment my mom grew up in.  They hadn’t updated any of the original features – think no AC and no tv.  Their neighbors, however, had completely gutted the place.  They had all the “Western” goodies.  Being the über brat that I was, I asked why the neighbors had a tv and we didn’t.  Although – full disclosure –  I didn’t ask…. it was  more like an annoying whine or a fitful tantrum.  My parents immediately started the “you have no idea how luck you are” lecture, wagging finger and all.

My uncle….no lecture.  Know what he did?  He went out and bought a tv.  Twice the size of the neighbor’s tv.  Who’s better than him? Nobody. This episode may also explain my massive tv addiction, but who cares!

This is one of my favorite pictures of us. Take your eyes off my smashing outfit and notice the war like conditions of the subway stop where this picture was taken.  What was happening in Queens!

It’s not that I don’t trust you…it’s just that I don’t trust you

Look at him.  Sweet, kind,polite, funny – and oh yeah, a liar.  Ok that’s too harsh.  He fibs. He bends truths. Not about big things – but that’s because he’s 8 and there are no big things to fib about ( like money or drugs or honor or something). His talent is half-hearted truths. He’s like a good defense attorney, finding an escape clause in every rule.

To combat this talent/dark passenger (for all you Dexter fans) – we rely on one simple truth, we require proof.  You cleaned your room – let me see.  You washed your hair – let me smell you.  You get the point.

One day, hopefully in the near future, I won’t have to do Columbo mothering. Until then, he’ll be treated like the delinquent he has the full-blown potential to be.

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