Friday, December 29, 2006

Magpies United

Every time I come home to my family, it's a bit of an emotional roller coaster. It's been that way for as long as I can remember; since I left for college and the place where my parents were became a place that I visited rather than where I lived. Part of the drama stems from the fact that my parents are divorced and thus necessarily live apart from one another, requiring my siblings and I to shuttle back and forth between two houses whenever we come home.

Since the 8th grade, I've had two bedrooms, two houses, two families, and two of every holiday celebration. Growing up - in my middle school and high school years - my brothers, sister, and I rotated between both houses on a two-week schedule designed to give all parties a fair share of weekday and weekend time together. Though it was a cause of frustration at times, I give my parents a lot of credit for creating and sticking to that schedule. It is not every child that is lucky enough to have two parents so committed to being there for them, despite the obvious logistical difficulties.

For the holidays we split the key days in half and alternated the split in favor of a different parent each year. For example, we generally spent a few days before Christmas, Christmas Eve, and Christmas morning with one parent, and then Christmas afternoon and the days after with the other parent. The following year we would flip it, so that whichever parent had us for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning the year before would get us instead for Christmas afternoon and the days following it.

No matter how carefully the time was divided, someone was always alone and someone was always missing. That is the one truly sad thing about divorce to me; once a divorce occurs, unless your parents are those rare individuals who can tolerate being in one another's company, there will always be someone missing at any given time. I wish it wasn't like that. I wish my parents could get together on the holidays; that we could be one big extended family, instead of two disconnected ones. I wish that, even though I have accepted that it's not going to happen.

Another cause of emotional tension is that my parents, and my time in each of their homes, are so different from one another. At my mom's house, there's just the four of us kids and my mom. She spoils us, tries her hardest to make every minute she has with us perfect (an impossible goal), and showers us with a lot of love. There's excitement, joy, and affection, as well as stress, irritation, and sometimes anger, and it's all genuine and out in the open. I love that about my family; we don't hold things in and we don't believe in sugarcoating. I always know where I stand with them. At my dad's, things are a bit different in certain respects. There, the house is filled at Christmastime with my entire stepfamily, including infants and tweens, along with my dad and the four of us kids. In my dad's house, there is a great deal of love, but a lot more rules. Conflict is kept more hush-hush, and my siblings and I are often far from the center of things. Neither house is better than the other, and I wouldn't give up either one. They both have things I find wonderful and look forward to whenever I visit. However, the differences can sometimes be disconcerting.

This Christmas, my siblings and I spent the days before Christmas and Christmas morning with my mom, and then drove 45 minutes from The Woodlands to Katy to spend Christmas afternoon and the days following it with my dad. I sat in the back of my brother Bacchus's car watching the stripmalls of Houston pass by, catching snippets of my brothers' conversation over the thumping bass of Bacchus' car stereo, thinking about other times the three of us, with Bean, had traveled from one house to the next. I heard a Blind Melon song ("All I can say is that my life is pretty strange") and "Everything's Zen," by Bush, two songs I hadn't heard in years, and thought back to times when I used to drive my mom's white volvo across town in Connecticut with my brothers and sister in tow, when Frey and I were home from college and Bacchus and Bean were too young to drive.

I found myself thinking about how much I loved my brothers and sister, and how lucky I am to have them. Through all of this family drama - the good, the bad, and everything in between - my brothers and sister have been right there with me. They have their flaws (like me) and sometimes drive me absolutely insane, but I could not imagine my life without each of them. If roller coaster is what it's got to be, there is no one I would pick over them to ride along with me.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Great Success

I've been in Family Land for the past week and am on my way home today. Overall, it was less emotionally tumultuous than usual with several pockets of solid bonding and happiness. Everyone appeared to like their presents and there was only minor yelling. Great Success (Thanks to my brothers, several of Borat's phrases have taken up permenant residence in my brain. I'm hoping the condition is temporary).

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today, shockingly and unbelievably, I turned 32! I have all these thoughts percolating about my 31st year and where I am right now in the present moment, and eventually I'm sure a decent post will come out of it all. But for now, I have no time to indulge myself in looking anywhere but at my Christmas to-do list, which still contains a few gaps that I need to fill in with gifts for family members.

Thankfully, traveling from New York to Houston came off without much delay. I feel for all the poor people stuck in Denver! I was so tired this morning because after Em's party I ended up going back to my place and cleaning and packing until almost 3 am. Waking up this morning at 7:30 was not fun. But, I rallied and since I got to my destination on time I really have nothing to complaint about. Em's party was great and the food was delicious. She and her boyfriend M made vegetarian stuffed shells and asparagus just for me! So sweet! She also had these delicious chocolate-mint cookies that a friend of hers had brought (made with melted andes candies swirled atop each chocolate cookie) and Mississippi mud pie. Not a bad spread by any standard.

In terms of birthday celebrating, my mom gave me my presents after we got back from the airport. She got me a beautiful cashmere sweater from Ann Taylor and a gift certificate to Ohm Spa, a spa Bean discovered for us, along with a book of three of Jane Austen's novels. My mom's awesome like that. I'm so excited to get back to the city to use my certificate. Heavenly massage, here I come. I also just recently heard (at Em's actually) that the Red Door and Oasis Spa were also good spas in the City. They're now on my list. I also got wonderful calls from my friends wishing me Happy Birthday. Two even sang in their messages! I'm a lucky girl. Nothing else of note has happened today, except that the guy sitting next to me thought I was 26 or 27. Excellent! Apparently his eye sight is failing him which explains why he did not note my traitorous smile lines and grey hairs.

But enough of that, it's my birthday and I'm off to shop and then going out to dinner with my mom at some snazzy place in The Woodlands. I might see my brothers too, which would be cool. Today, when Bacchus asked me how old I was, I said "28," and he said, "I didn't realize we were twins." Yep, it's true Bacchus; we've reached that point. This is as old as I'm getting. Bacchus and Frey will soon have what they've secretly coveted, the uncontested right to call themselves the oldest in the family. I no longer feel the need to defend that title.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday Thirteen # 21

Happy Holidays Everyone!!

Thirteen Things I Need To Do Before December 24th

1) Work. Draft a response to a counter-claim in an insurance case. Kill me now. I have 6.5 hours before I have to get out of here. Wish me luck.

2) Pop by the knitting store, Gotta Knit!, after work so that I can figure out how to finish my scarves before I wrap them up as gifts.

3) Pick up party supplies. I need to buy a bottle of wine and some goat cheese from the market in Grand Central for my friend Em's holiday dinner party tonight. She's making stuffed shells based on an old family recipe and cooking for 16!

4) Arrive at Em's on time come hell, high water, or a 6 pm call from the partner on my insurance case.

5) Par-tay. There's going to be a great group of people at Em's tonight, along with a healthy supply of drinks, food, and good music. I'm ready to kick off the holiday celebrations, and if I do say so myself, I look pretty damn fine today.

6) After Em's, I'm stopping by another party down in the village for a friend who's coming back into town. That should also be fun, but I can't stay out too, too late because of #7.

7) Pack. I have an early flight tomorrow morning out of Laguardia to Houston, where I'll be spending the holidays with my family.

8) Pack. Yes, it's on here twice. I have a lot of packing to do, and at this rate it will all probably happen in the wee hours of the morning. Not that there's anything unusual about that.

9)Arrive at the airport on time (are you getting the sense that I'm a little stressed about the timing of all of this?). I've never taken a cab from the UES so I'm slightly nervous, but I'm sure it will go fine. It's New York after all, and there are cabs everywhere.

10) Celebrate my b-day! Tomorrow, December 22, I turn, eh hem, 32. Ok, technically, celebrating my birthday is not something I have to do, but it's something I'm going to do because, hello, it's my birthday! I'll spend most of it flying, as I do most years, but then I'll arrive in TX, relax, and do something celebratory with my Mom that evening. Since 40 is the new 20, I guess I'm turning 16 tomorrow. Yeah! Now if only I had a car.

11) Finish my Christmas shopping. In light of the fact that I started my Christmas shopping on Saturday, I'm in excellent shape. However, I still have a few things I need to pick up.

12) Wrap all of my presents. It's become a tradition of sorts that I spend part of the 23rd or 24th wrapping presents, usually assisted by Bean, with Bacchus acting crazy in the background, and all of us listening to our latest music mixes. Last year there was a lot of rap; this year, I'm expecting electronica. It's something I look forward to every year because I get solid one-on-one QT with them.

13) Finish my freakin' hours. God, I hate billables.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Me Underneath Me

I'm in disguise today. On the surface, I look like a somewhat dressed down attorney in black slacks, black walking shoes, and a black zip-up sweater. (All black because I take glee out of wearing mourning attire to my job). But, underneath my conservative-looking garb is actually the subversive statement pictured at left. Yep, that's right, and I'm damn proud of it. My uber-sweet friend Wood sent me a care package a few days ago that included this t-shirt from Mighty Girl. I think it's hilarious and I plan to wear it out soon to the bars just so I can blog about the response.

In other news, Dragon Lady is still a complete and utter bitch! Shocking isn't it? The nasty wench called me up today out of the blue to bitch me out for having to "track me down" after sending me an email request "a week ago." What's the biggest problem with that, you ask? She's confused. The bi-atch sent me the request at 9:21 pm Thursday night. I replied first thing Tuesday morning. By my count, I responded to her with the answer to her question in 2 business days, not 5. And, do you know how hard it was for her to track me down? She picked up the phone and dialed my extension. Oh my god! That must have been such an ordeal for her. Fucking Bitch.

Through gritted teeth, after saying that I did not think a week had passed and that I did not realize she wanted the answer immediately, I added a terse, "I'm sorry if you were waiting," which pretty much felt like I was force feeding myself gravel. She responded after a moment of tense silence punctuated only by her heavy breathing, "I have another call," and then hung up. God, I hate that woman.

I called my friend Essa immediately after the nasty wench hung up on me to vent my rage. Every time I have to interact with her every single cell in my being decides that I have to leave this firm RIGHT NOW.


Per the counter at the end of my blog - that I haven't yet changed - today would have been only 15 days until I was going to give my two weeks notice to this hell-hole under my original plan. Alas, with the chaos of the last couple of months, I had to change the plan. I'm ok with that because I know that I've been doing what I need to be doing, and I'm supremely impressed with myself for how I've handle everything so far.

The truth is that I would have had to change my original plan even if all of the personal issues hadn't exploded in November. I have two pro bono cases that are lasting longer than expected, and as they stand right now, I probably won't feel comfortable leaving them until at least February. My new revised plan, Plan C if you will, is to go enjoy the holidays and then come back and make finding a new job my #1 priority in life.

Now, if only the fucking bitch from hell would leave me alone, everything would be just fine. If she calls me one more time, she's going to leave me no choice. I'm going to have to walk into her office with my sweater zipped open and show her who I really am and what I really think of her.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Male Monsters, Polygamy, and Inequality

Below are my impressions of the last three books that I read. In writing out my thoughts, I realized that all of the books have a connection to feminism, though in the case of Frankenstein the feminist connection is through the author and less so through her novel. In all of the books women are murdered by males, and in two of the books, polygamy and its use in the subordination of young girls and women is explored to varying degrees. I highly recommend Under the Banner of Heaven and Princess.

Under The Banner Of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, by Jon Krakauer: I'm a huge fan of Jon Krakauer and years ago devoured Into the Wild and Into Thin Air, both powerful, gripping books. In Under The Banner of Heaven, Krakauer takes a different path and explores the relatively recent foundations of the Mormon religion and the roots and present-day practice of polygamy through an examination of the murders of a mother and her child by her Mormon fundamentalist brothers-in-law, the Lafferty brothers.

Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, allegedly received the infamous "Celestial Marriage" (aka polygamy) revelation from God on or about July 12, 1843. God allegedly instructed Joseph that: "If any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another..., then he is justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him... And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore he is justified... But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to this commandment." (Under The Banner of Heaven, p. 127).

How singularly convenient for men and inconvenient for women! The back story on Joseph is that by the time he disclosed this divine "revelation" he was married, having affairs with multiple women, and his wife, Emma, was growing increasingly enraged with his infidelity. Krakauer writes, "Emma harangued Joseph so relentlessly about his philandering that the original intent of the revelation canonized as Section 132 seems to have been simply to persuade Emma to shut up and accept plural wives - while at the same time compelling her to refrain from indulging in any extracurricular sex herself." (Under the Banner of Heaven, p. 126).

I give Joseph props for coming up with such an outrageous justification for his infidelity, but I'm appalled that his followers decided to believe in the divinity of his twisted rationalization. Of course, it was in the interests of Joseph's male followers to believe in the revelation because like Joseph they stood to profit mightily from a male-dominated system of polygamy. For some time, Joseph and the leaders of the Mormons kept the revelation and the practice of polygamy a secret from the rest of their followers. The disclosure of the revelation ultimately lead to a schism between what is today the modern Church of Latter Day Saints ("LDS"), who publicly denounces polygamy, and the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints ("FLDS") who continue to practice polygamy openly in towns throughout the Midwest and in Canada and Mexico.

I was most disturbed by Krakauer's accounts of the present day practice of polygamy - a practice that is marred by, in addition to severe gender inequality, incest, child abuse, and pedophilia. Krakauer repeatedly described instances of young girls as young as 12 and 14 ordered to become the plural wives of men old enough to be their grandfathers. He described accounts of fathers and other relatives raping their daughters and committing other types of physical abuse. The young girls who grow up within the FLDS are taught that the way to attain salvation is to practice polygamy; to them, the choice presented, if any, is the choice between hell or plural marriage. It seems understandable, given those choices, and the fact of women's inequality within the FLDS, that young girls and women continue to participate in polygamy.

So horrible are the accounts that I found myself wondering why I hadn't heard of an outcry against the present-day practice of polygamy. Why aren't feminist organizations in Utah staging rescue operations in polygamous communities like they do in the brothels of Cambodia, or reaching out to the media to drum up awareness about the human rights violations being perpetrated against young girls in the name of fundamentalist Mormonism? Everyone should read this book and then try to figure out how to help the girls and women of the FLDS.

Princess: A True Story of Life Behind The Veil in Saudi Arabia, by Jean Sasson: My brother Bacchus gets credit for recommending this book to me, and I in turn want to recommend it to all of you. The book is a fascinating, appalling, and deeply disturbing look at the life of one of the many princesses of Saudi Arabia (her real name is kept confidential for obvious reasons). Through her story, we get a glimpse of the life of seclusion and subordination even the wealthiest and most privileged women in Saudi Arabia must lead.

For me, the book was incredibly eye-opening. I had not had any idea of the level of gender inequality in Saudi Arabia, and was also unaware of the political and social structure within the country in which a ruling class of thousands of princes and princesses live off of the proceeds of oil money. I had not realized that Saudi men take on plural wives, and had never read about the practice of bringing over domestic servants from countries such as the Philippines to serve not only as servants, but as the sexual playthings of young Saudi men. The level of inequality that women face in Saudi Arabia is breathtaking. They observe purdah (or seclusion) strictly and must be veiled completely before going out of their homes, are not allowed to speak with men unrelated to them, are forced into arranged marriages with older and sometimes abusive men, and are subjected to harsh and often-times fatal punishment for even the appearance of bringing dishonor upon their families.

In an interesting section, the author talks about the hopes held by some Saudi women at the start of the first Gulf War - when they saw female American soldiers in positions of power and other Arab women doing things, such as driving vehicles, prohibited under Saudi law - that the restrictions upon them might be relaxed. However, their hopes never materialized and according to this book women in Saudi Arabia continue to live today under the same system of oppression described so vividly in Princess.

It makes me sick that this level of gender inequality is allowed to persist in the world, let alone that the perpetrator is an ally of the United States. Women in Saudi Arabia are subordinated and disempowered, yet the media makes almost no mention of that reality, and GW, in the pictures that have been circulated of him shaking hands with and embracing male Saudi Royals, seems completely unconcerned about the status of Saudi women. As long as the U.S. has its access to oil, the lives, deaths, and disempowerment of women are apparently politically inconsequential.

The world needs to wake up and realize that the rights of women are human rights. As my young female clients so often plaintively point out, women and girls are human beings, and they deserve equal rights. Governments that deprive women of equal rights should be treated as violators of human rights and sanctioned accordingly. They should not be allowed to prance around as best buddies of the United States President. No price, however high, should justify the subordination of an entire group of people.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: I'm one of those kids who in school was too busy reading all of my books to be bothered with the assigned reading of English class. I was able to get "A"s on my papers based on class discussion and skimming the books, so for the longest time I was completely unconcerned about the books that I hadn't read. Now, however, I see the gaps in my education that skimming those classics produced, and I'm going back to fill in the holes left by my younger self.

One of those classics that had been on my list for some time was Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I had been particularly interested in Frankenstein because of the author's identity. Mary Shelley was the daughter of an early feminist theorist, Mary Wollstonecraft, the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Women.

Shelley's novel tells the story of Dr. Frankenstein's efforts to create life, and the well-known horrible consequences that occur upon his success. The creature Frankenstein causes to come to life is hideous in appearance, but gentle and "good" at the time of his creation. Scorned by Frankenstein and other humans he seeks to befriend, and grappling with loneliness and the fear and hatred his appearance generates in the hearts of those that behold him, the creature's nature turns vengeful. When Frankenstein refuses to create a female version to assuage his loneliness, the monster turns on his creator and vows to destroy Dr. Frankenstein's happiness, just as Dr. Frankenstein has destroyed any chances for the creature to find happiness.

I enjoyed the novel because it clarified details of the story of which I had been unaware. I found the creature to be sympathetic, and Dr. Frankenstein to be almost wholly unsympathetic. Dr. Frankenstein attempted to play God, and when he realized he had created something monstrous in appearance, he turned on his creation. As a result of his failings, his creation was irrevocably poisoned against him and against humanity. At any point, Frankenstein could have taken responsibility for his egregious mistake and informed the authorities of his creation and the fact that his creation had become a threat to those close to Frankenstein. In taking responsibility, he could have saved several lives. But Frankenstein never comes clean, and thus ends up much like the creature: alone, unhappy, and driven by one motivation, revenge. He becomes a reflection of the monster that he had created.

Frankenstein should be a cautionary tale against those who toy with the idea of tinkering with creation. I do not know how it is that we as humans came to be, and I do not know if there is a Creator somewhere out there in whose image we were made. However, I believe there are bounds that we should not cross, and one of those is the line between living and creating life through such artificial means as cloning. Frankenstein warns that attempts by humans to create life could result not only in the creation of monsters, but in the transformation of humans into reflections of their monstrous creations.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Dating Ageism

I've been guilty of dating ageism for some time. In the last couple of years, it has popped up in the context of me being mildly sickened by men my age (late 20s, early 30s) trying to get into the pants of early 20-somethings who are generally, but not always, far from their equals in life experience, education, and financial independence. Knowing the men, often it's abundantly clear that they are too intimidated or insecure to handle a relationship with a women their equal, and prefer trying to dive into girls they believe, sometimes amusingly in error, will be more easily managed and molded.

In the last week, I've come upon a new twist that pushes this scenario to new extremes, and I do not know what to make of it. My new flatmate, a 30-ish year old woman who is cute, fit, intelligent, well-traveled, and sophisticated, is dating a man who is more than twice her age. Her boyfriend of more than 2 years is, drum roll please, 70 years old. Before you make the obvious assumption, let me assure you, for what it's worth, that she does not strike me as the gold-digging type. There's no question that her boyfriend is insanely wealthy, and that she benefits in the form of trips, dinners, and being able to stay in his 5-bedroom townhouse, but she does not seem like she's in it for the money. She actually comes off quite strong and independent. I swear! I also really like her, and other than this minor blip, she seems completely normal.

When I heard about all of this, the two questions that popped immediately to mind where: (1) What about SEX???; and (2) Aren't you concerned that he might get sick and leave this earth long before you do? I didn't touch the sex issue, but asked as diplomatically as possible a few questions about her thoughts on the future prospects of the relationship. She told me that she hopes to one day marry her boyfriend, and added - perhaps in response to my thinly disguised look of incredulity - that people can not control who they fall in love with. She also said that she would rather have a short time with someone she really loved, than to have no time at all, which seems eminently reasonable.

But, when I envision getting married, I picture the excitement of building and sharing a life and family together with someone; not being attached to someone for 5 or 10 years with the expectation that they might soon become too frail to function or possibly die from old age. In this situation, her boyfriend, an incredibly accomplished, successful, and charming gentlemen has already built a life for himself. He's been married and divorced, he's made millions of dollars, he's traveled the world. I have to wonder, what is left for him to build with her?

It seems likely that he's looking for someone with whom to share a part of his already built life; perhaps even the remainder of it. Maybe all he wants and needs at this point in his life is an attractive companion, and if so, the deal is not a bad one for him. But what about for my flatmate? What about the hordes of attractive, intelligent, confident, kind, sophisticated, sexy men under the age of 70 (or say 38) that she could be dating and/or sleeping with? (Caveat: I have not actually seen these "hordes" of eligible men, but I choose to firmly believe that they exist). Can a 30-ish year old woman really be satisfied sexually with a 70 year old man? Even with viagra, and even if he's in excellent shape for a 70-year old, he's still 70. Maybe I appreciate my male eye candy, smooth skin, and muscles a little too much, or have a sexuality charged too much on superficial characteristics? Call me crazy, but I think a nice ass is hot, and I like my boy to be able to toss me around in bed. I don't want to feel like I might hurt him if things get a

I can not go any further down this mental path. Though I'm trying very hard not to be judgmental, I can not imagine being physically intimate with someone so much older than me. It would be one thing if I was 60 or 70 or 80; at any of those ages, I'm sure I would think my flatmate's distinguished boyfriend was hot. But, at the age of 31, 70 year old men remind me of my grandfather. The way I'm wired, that connection - to a grandfatherly image - results in every sexual circuit I have clenching up and collectively squealing "ewwh!"

I couldn't do it. Could you? Have you?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Six Eclectic Things About B&B

We've been tagged bySparky Duck, the Philly Transplant. The rules: You list 6 weird/eclectic things about you, and then tag 6 other people to do the meme. Don't forget to leave a comment on their blogs letting them know that they have been tagged! Bean and I decided to mix things up a bit, and came up with 3 eclectic things about the other person. Here are the results:

3 Things About Buttercup (By Bean):

1) Buttercup went through a punk phase post-college where she pierced multiple body parts including her eyebrow, tongue, nose, and lip. She thought she looked "sparkly." During the same period of time, she dyed her hair frequently. One time, she decided that she was going to dye her hair a dark purple and mine a strawberry-blonde. Her hair came out a dark, almost black purple, and mine came out a bright red. My mom flipped out and dragged me to the salon to get it fixed. Buttercup refused to "fix" her hair.

2) Even though Buttercup is a huge feminist, she loves shows like America's Next Top Model. I don't understand how a feminist can love a show about all those skinny girls obsessed with their physical appearances whose greatest ambitions in life are to become a model. But, Buttercup loves it. She also thinks men should pay on "dates" and does not believe in "going Dutch."

3) Buttercup reads tons of fantasy and sci-fi books, and loves shows like "Charmed," about witches, wizards, and dragons. She also genuinely wishes that she had magical powers. When she was younger, whe was convinced that she did have magical powers, and that in order to access them she had to focus on unlocking the 90% of her brain that Einstein says we don't use. She would sometimes "practice" trying to unlock her powers by attempting to cause things to move with the force of her will. As far as I know, she has not yet been successful in unlocking her magical powers.

3 Things About Bean (By Buttercup):

1) Bean does this weird things where she sidles up close to me, as if to hug me, and then, while she's gently clinging to my body, starts tickling me. It's really weird and very hard to describe, and it drives me insane because I'm very ticklish. If she attempted to tickle me forcefully, I could deal with that. But the way she kind of attaches to me, it's very difficult to combat.

2) Bean loves whole milk and she drinks at least a glass of it each day. Gross! The super weird thing about this is that she drank whole milk before she got pregnant, and is not just doing it because of the pregnancy. She drinks whole milk straight, with no chocolate mixed in. To me, that would be the equivalent of sucking on a cow's udder, something I don't fancy doing anytime soon. But, she loves it.

3) After finding out that she was pregnant, Bean decided that it was a perfect time to get a second dog. I don't know if that fits into the weird or stark-raving-mad category, but it's definitely odd. She swears that it made perfect logical sense because by bringing in a new puppy into the family she was making sure that her other dog would not get lonely once the baby arrived. That kind of makes sense, but for someone who can not imagine taking care of one dog, let alone a dog and a baby, the idea of adding another dependent creature into the mix seems just a tad crazy.

The following people should consider themselves tagged: Heather, Starshine, Lass, Gypsy, Artemis, and Baraka. We're looking forward to reading your posts!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Is My Id Preggers?

I usually don't have pregnancy dreams, but in the last week I've had two! In the first dream, I was pregnant and struggling with overwhelming guilt because I had been drinking beers during my pregnancy. WTF?? I knew that I was pregnant because my stomach was growing larger each day and when I rested my hand on my belly I could feel the dream baby kicking against my palm. In the dream, I was having heated, horror-struck conversations with my friends where I was telling them how I had been drinking one or two beers per night for a few weeks, and I was terrified that I had somehow harmed my baby's development. The bizarre thing was that it was like I had just suddenly realized that that might be a possibility. My friends were trying to reassure me, but failing miserably.

I understood part of that dream. I had it my first night in my new apartment, after spending my last week at my ex's place packing up my belongings, watching SATC and HBO marathons. During that somewhat trying week, I pretty much survived on pizza and the best beers ever, and had at least one, if not 2, beers each night. Interestingly, I had no dreams during that last week; at least none that I recall. Drinking beer by myself, at home, during the middle of the week, was unprecedented for me, and apparently it generated some guilt in my mind - even though at the time I thoroughly enjoyed it. I remember thinking randomly at one point towards the end of the week that I was happy the move was finally going to happen because then I could go back to more healthier habits. So, I understand the beer. But, the pregnancy? I have no idea where it came from.

Last night, I had another pregnancy dream. In the second dream, I was pregnant but no one knew. I had started to show (even though no one knew), and I was coyly trying to hide my somewhat obvious bump (that everyone should have been able to see, but somehow didn't). In the dream, the baby was my ex's, which was somewhat ironic. At some point in the dream, my swollen belly hardened, and started to hurt. I was becoming worried and didn't know what was going on. At some point, I sat down on a bed covered in white sheets. When I got up to leave, I looked back and discovered that I had left three bloodstains behind. It turned out that the cramping and pain had been because I was getting my period, and not because I was pregnant. My subconscious provided no explanation for the bump or the hardening of my stomach.

What the heck does that mean? (Here's one possible interpretation).

As if that was not enough to ponder, I just got an email from my ex on my work email, out of the blue, telling me that he thought I would want to know that two of our friends are pregnant. He has a knack for doing things unthinkingly that I find completely inexplicable. The last time I spoke with him was last Saturday, when I politely called to let him know that I had removed all of my belongings from his apartment, and that he could move back in. Getting back to whether I would want to know from him that two of our sort-of-mutual friends are expecting... No, not really. Thanks anyway, but I actually do not need him emailing me that others are engaged in happily wedded, expectant bliss. After years of trying to make it work with him, I actually don't need or want him for anything anymore, thank you very much.

I can hear great news like that from others fine, and be thrilled for them, like my own sister, Bean (who I'm so happy is engaged in happily wedded, expectant bliss). But, from him? I don't think so. Sometime ago, Jennifer Aniston, talking about Brad Pitt, remarked that he was missing a "sensitivity chip." Apparently, many men are missing the same chip. Watch out, Angelina!

Despite the possible cravings of my id, thank God my ego kept me from going down that road with someone who so clearly was not right for me. The man I choose to have a baby with will have to come with a built-in sensitivity chip for sure!

Update: I was just talking to Bean about the picture I posted with this post (not Bean's tummy) and telling her how I thought it was fake, but wild. She started telling me that apparently this can happen, that mothers can see the limbs of their children pushing out against their stomach! Is this true? She also said that our Mom said (this is now third hand) that when she was pregnant she could see our feet pushing out against her stomach, similar to the posted picture. As Bean was telling me that, I started to feel faint and like I was going to vomit. I don't know if I could handle that. It's too alien-esque for me.

Thursday Thirteen # 20

Thirteen Issues/Questions Regarding Blogger

1) Some people - I'm not naming names - have switched over to Beta Blogger (the "new version" of Blogger), and it's causing me problems when I attempt to comment on their sites.

2) Although the "new version" says that you can sign in with your Google or Blogger password, for some bizarre reason several sites that have switched over to the dark side do not accept my Blogger password for commenting purposes.

3) I have a google account but it's in my actual name and signing on with it would defeat the anonymity of my blog. My firm would not like that.
4) Neither would I; I like my anonymity. It's fun!

5) In order to leave comments on those sites, I've had to leave them "anonymously" and then write in my name and http address into my comment. That takes forever.

6) Is this all part of Google's master plan to googlize the world?

7) This is all making me think that maybe I would like to switch from Blogger to somewhere else. Any suggestions?

8) But, if I switched to somewhere else, then I would still have the same problem commenting upon sites that have switched to the new version of Blogger, right?

9) Blogger has been pretty good to me, but there have been numerous problems with publishing. On occasion, I've lost whole posts, or been shut out of the system for hours. Does this happen on other systems, such as Typepad?

10) Bean & I have been wanting to revamp our blog with a new design. If we do this while we're still with Blogger, will that carry over to a new system?

11) I'm reaching now, to make it to 13, but I have been aggravated on occasion when Blogger refuses to let me post pictures. Often times that's what takes me the longest, not writing, but waiting for my pictures to post!

12) My last point of frustration has nothing to do with Blogger, but it has to do with my inability to reach it as frequently as I could before I moved into my new place. Frey was holding my computer for me in safe-keeping, and we have not yet worked out the logistics of me getting it back. That means that my only computer access since I moved has been at work!

13) At work, since our computer system limits our ability to download, not only can I not play solitaire, I can't download the tags from or bloglines that let me organize my links. Oh, the aggravation!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Luscious Night Cream

Looking for a great night-time beauty treatment? I highly recommend Origin's "High Potency Night-A-Mins," a soothing, mineral-enriched cream that I've been using for over a year as my night-time moisturizer. The cream contains B-Complex, C, E, and A vitamins, minerals, and exfoliating extracts. According to Origins, with Night-A-Mins, "Skin awakens rested, renewed and richly replenished." Based on my experience, I have to concur.

In addition to recharging and hydrating my skin, I love that the cream smells faintly of the delicate fragrance of oranges. I find the scent very relaxing when I anoint myself before bedtime, and have found, on occasion, that others enjoy the scent as well. This is in stark contrast to another one of Origin's night time products, Plantidote: Mega-Mushroom Face Cream. The cream was great, but the smell was a bit too earthy for my tastes.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I'm In My New Place!

The move from Chelsea to the UES came off, largely, without a hitch. I owe most of that to my brother, Frey. He was awesome! He came down Friday night from Connecticut, helped me pick up the truck Saturday morning, and then carried what I'm sure seemed like a million boxes and pieces of furniture up and down many, many stairs for about 5 hours - all without a single complaint. He just dug in and helped me get everything I needed to done. In addition, he rallied up a bunch of friends to help, all of whom were essential. Thank you Frey!!

I spent much of the remainder of the weekend unpacking and getting to know my apartment-mate. So far, she could not be better. She has been warm, welcoming, flexible and out of the apartment for huge stretches of time. What could be better? We actually had several great conversations in between me unpacking my kitchen stuff, and together we helped reorganize the apartment. I also got to meet her Mom, a wonderful Irish lady from California who knits like nobody's business. I found this out Sunday night when my roommate dropped off her Mom after dinner and went to spend the night with her boyfriend. Her Mom and I ended up gabbing it up for an hour and a half, and she showed me the meanest knit-stitch technique ever. It was amazing; the yarn was just flowing through her fingers. Apparently, when she was growing up in Ireland, all of the girls had to take knitting, so by the time she was in 3rd grade she was already making gorgeous sheep's wool sweaters. Very impressive.

The only detriments of the apartment that have become apparent are the large windows and skylight in my bedroom and the enormous amount of light they allow to shine down upon me at the ungodly hour of 7:30 am, and the odd lack of privacy I've been experiencing due to the fact that I don't have a door to my bedroom. My room is at the top of a spiral staircase without a doorway, and initially privacy concerns didn't even cross my mind because my room was on a separate level from the downstairs area and my roommate's room. However, now I'm thinking it would be nice to have some kind of physical barrier between my room and the open stairwell. I'm toying with the idea of dark purple floor-to-ceiling thick velvet drapes. Yum.

Hopefully, I'll have a bit of time this weekend to do some shopping; both for my place, and for Christmas gifts for my family. I'm starting to get stressed about Christmas shopping. This whole past month was so trying, and now I'm way behind on shopping. Work has also been quite demanding for a number of reasons, but I'm hoping by the end of the week I'll have a bit of time to breathe. I'll give myself a few hours to relax, and then I'm hitting the pavement. No worries; I far prefer looking for gifts, than for apartments.

Here's an important question, speaking of boys, what do you get for the men in your life? My brothers and Dad are so hard to shop for. What are some great gift ideas for the boys/men we love?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Baby Boy and Christmas

The baby is moving and getting bigger and bigger; he's about a pound now. I thought I wrote a post but must have dreamt it. So for you all, we are having a Boy! A little precious baby boy! We had a doctor's appointment today and everything is fine. I have gained the appropriate weight...majority of it in my belly. As well with the frontal gain, my boobs are huge now, I wish they would stay a while but already I am too nervous of sagging so I sleep in a "bra-tang-top" for support. I am even more excited that in only 3 months and 20 days approximately, I will be holding my first son in my arms.

It is overwhelming to think of the day when his lease is up and he moves out of his current home and he is welcomed into this world; right into my arms. (I guess I will share him with my family too. Oh yeah and his dad can hold him.) I am going to have so much fun with our little one and I am so happy for him that he is already loved so much by all the family. I am jealous that he can start with a clear slate and paint whatever picture he wants. There are tons of things on my slate that I wish I stopped before I painted them, but then again, if it wasn't for those events, my whole mural could be different and I wouldn't want that.

Other than this new human being that I so far have been taking very good care of, things are well. I will see my family soon, which I am very excited for. I hate not having them around. I wish I could go grab a movie with my brothers, a soy chai with my sister, dinner with mom , and maybe a swim with my dad. Or perhaps, I could just decide to grab the dogs after work and head over to one of their homes to go for a run. Well, not at my sister's. The weather there is like the weather here. I woke up to another 6 inches of snow. I HATE the cold and it is freaking cold. And it sounds freezing in Manhattan. But a Chai latte sounds good. Or maybe we could knit together with Smores.

This next week is full with stuff to do. We have finished 50% of Christmas shopping...YAH! I always look forward to getting my family gifts, but I always enjoy checking them off my list too and hope they enjoy what I have gotten for them. I am so excited to spend time with my family. I just hope that I am able to see everyone and no one feels cheated. Especially me. I hate feeling cheated that I don't hang out with someone enough. Like last time. I felt as though I didn't see my mom enough. I also didn't see my brother and sister alot but they were only there for a short time, so it was reasonable that I only saw them so much. I anticipate my vacation so much and anticipate hanging out with each family member and then for whatever reason, I don't feel fulfilled in the end. I guess that is life.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Boxes Galore

Only half a day more until I move! All of the materials contents of my world are currently either packed tightly away or strewn across the surfaces of my old apartment. Needless to say, the apartment is a disaster area and I have a lot left to do before I go to sleep tonight.

I'm crossing my fingers about a few things for tomorrow. Most importantly, I'm praying to all of the gods and goddesses that the arctic freeze that settled over Manhattan last night dissipates by tomorrow morning. I'm chilled just imagining the horror of moving in this weather.

Thankfully, I have a whole posse of huge, strong boys who are going to be at my service tomorrow. Seriously, all five of them are at least 6'2" and have really big muscles, including my brother Frey who is coming in from Connecticut to help me. Now, that's sibling love. I owe them all big time. Thank god for Moving Karma.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #19

Thirteen Things I'm Looking Forward To About My New Apartment

1) Being surrounded by pale purple walls in my bedroom.
2) Private bathroom with tons of storage.
3) Everything about my balcony/roof deck.
4) Exploring a new neighborhood.
5) Decorating it exactly how I want it.
6) My skylight.
7) Being close to Central Park.
8) Running along the East River.
9) Hanging out at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
10) Floor space to do pilates and yoga.
11) Closet space.
12) Sharing glasses of wine with my new apartment mate.
13) Meeting new people.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Extraordinary Girls

I think I just got a taste of what it feels like to have kids, and it was heartwrenching. It's one thing to deal with your own heartache. It's quite another thing to deal with the effects of that heartache on a child, or in my case, on two teenagers. How do you parents out there do it?

I've spoken before a little bit about the two extraordinary young women that I've become close with while working on their asylum case over the last 9 months. For purposes of this blog, I'll refer to them as Leila and Zahra, which of course are aliases, as are all of the names I use on my blog. Several months ago, the girls made the decision to leave their family in order to protect themselves from further abuse and probable death in their home country. Since that time, they have been living in a confidential domestic violence shelter, cut off from everyone except for me, my co-counsel, and a team of counselors and social workers trying to help them transition from a life of hopelessness, isolation, and abuse into one of empowerment, independence, and self-sufficiency. These girls are two of the strongest, most amazing people I have ever met, and it has been incredible to watch them grow over the last several months.

I see them about once a week, and always try to do something special with them. We go out into the city, spend time in the park, see a movie, go out to dinner, or just laze around my apartment chatting and watching movies. I love spending time with them. Two weekends ago, I took them for haircuts - their first professional haircuts ever! It was so much fun, and thank goodness they were both happy with their cuts. Having survived many a traumatic haircut, I had told them they could do whatever they wanted (short of a perm), as long as there were no tears. Of course I had nothing to worry about. They came armed with pictures and single-minded determination. It was so cool.

The day we went for haircuts was about a week and a half after Raj and I had broken up. I was very sad at the time, but hid it away because I didn't want to bring any additional stress or sadness to the girls. They've been through far too much already. During the last several months, while spending time with me, they had also spent time with Raj and gotten to know him a little. I was worried that they may have grown attached, or that they might be affected in some other negative way from having someone close to them (me) go through what I knew they would see as a traumatic situation. They know what it means to lose people.

I finally had to tell them tonight because, with all of the time I've had to spend on the moving process, I haven't been able to see them for about two weeks and they were starting to wonder. Though strong, they are also sensitive and fragile, and the last thing I wanted to do was to allow them to think I didn't want to spend time with them this week. So, I had to come clean. I told them that Raj and I had broken up, and that I had been very busy dealing with looking for apartments and packing.

They were shocked and both of them started to cry. They told me that they had thought Raj and I were going to get married, that we seemed so close. They remarked that Raj had spent time with my family, that I had spent time with his, and that I knew "everything" about Indian culture (*smile*). They wanted to know what had happened, why we weren't together, and what problems we had had. Delilah asked, "Is it because of us?," which was horribly gut-wrenching and made me feel terribly guilty. She (erroneously) thought Raj might have been upset at the amount of time I had spent with them, and I did my best to reassure her that my break-up had absolutely nothing to do with her and her sister. Both of them wanted to know if I was okay.

It took about an hour, but I finally convinced them that I was totally fine, that I was excited about the future, that the loss of Raj and our relationship was sad but that I believed that it was for the best. It was an Oscar-winning performance, that though genuine, hid the sadness that I of course still feel. Even when Delilah said through her tears, "But you're going to be alone at night. You're going to remember and you're going to be sad," I did not waver. I admitted that parts of it were going to be hard and sad, but I convinced her that I was absolutely 100% certain that I was going to be happy being on my own, focusing on myself for a while, having tons of girl-time, and surrounding myself with positive people and things. By the end of our conversation, I had them laughing about the silliness of boys and picturing the three of us having tea on my new balcony. I was laughing too.

I feel terrible that I allowed a situation to develop in which they experienced hurt. I allowed them to spend time with Raj, to see us together as a couple, to get used to me being with him. I imagine this is a bit of what a single parent would feel like after allowing her children to get close to her boyfriend, and then having to tell them that they were never going to see the boyfriend again because the relationship had ended. Children need to be treated with care, and I wonder if I treated them with enough care in allowing them so far into my life that they could be affected by the end of my relationship?

Hopefully, they'll take more positives than negatives away from this. I want them to know that they do not need a relationship to be happy, and that they can be completely fulfilled and happy on their own. This is incredibly important for them to believe, because they do not have anyone except for each other. It's also incredibly important for all girls to believe (fine, boys too, but boys generally have no problem internalizing this lesson). Happiness starts from within. That's what I've always believed, even in the times when it's been hard to find.

I know, that despite my recent heartache, ultimately I'm going to be completely fine. That's what I'm going to try to show them; that you can go through loss, allow yourself to experience the sadness of that loss, and then come out the other side even stronger and more extraordinary than you were before.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Flawless Eye Shadow

I'm starting a new feature on B&B on my favorite beauty must-haves and secrets. I don't have a name for it yet, but the plan is for it to be fabulous. It's in the spirit of Fab-Sugar's Fab Finds, which I adore and find quite edifying (and which you should all check out), but it's focused only on me and my discoveries. After years of diligent research, I've made a number of noteworthy discoveries and I want to share them with all of you! This will help me keep track of my beauty finds as well, so it's a win-win situation. Please share yours, too! That way we can all help each other be the spectacular, gorgeous creatures that we are. Boys, eat your hearts out. (I'm serious, eat them. Ha, ha).

First up is a must-have for perfect holiday party eyes, M.A.C.'s Paints Peintures, a "high tech, high performance eye shadow product which goes on creamy [and] dries to a powdery finish."

Here's why I love it: This eye shadow does not crease. You all know what I'm talking about. With most eye shadows, they look gorgeous for a couple of hours, but after a while the color inevitably cakes in the creases of your eyelid. But, not this eye shadow. Throw anything at it - office stress, rounds of Jack & Gingers, 8 straight hours of apartment hunting in Manhattan - and this eye shadow stays perfectly put, as if you had just applied it. It's amazing.

Here's the best part, I use the shade "Untitled" as a primer, and then use my other eye shadows on top of it, depending on my mood. Again, beautiful, crease-less eyes for the entire day. "Untitled" works well with my fair skin, but the product comes in a variety of other nuetral shades that I believe would work well with darker or lighter skin. Prior to purchasing this product, I had never used primer, and considered it an excessive waste of time to put on two coats of anything on top of my eyelids. But, I've been converted.

Sparkly, crease-less holiday eyes, here I come.

Update: I apply this with a brush. It sounds like a pain but it's quick and easy, and it comes on very smooth. This one works great.

The Tower

You are The Tower

Ambition, fighting, war, courage. Destruction, danger, fall, ruin.

The Tower represents war, destruction, but also spiritual renewal. Plans are disrupted. Your views and ideas will change as a result.

The Tower is a card about war, a war between the structures of lies and the lightning flash of truth. The Tower stands for "false concepts and institutions that we take for real." You have been shaken up; blinded by a shocking revelation. It sometimes takes that to see a truth that one refuses to see. Or to bring down beliefs that are so well constructed. What's most important to remember is that the tearing down of this structure, however painful, makes room for something new to be built.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

I took this test twice. The first time I chose more aspirational choices and I was "The Empress." The Empress was awesome, but a little too nurturing and creative for my current state of being, so I took the test again, this time trying to be completely honest with my answers as of this moment in time. I was thinking about what that fortune teller told me, that Tarot Cards are only a reflection of a person's state of being in the moment the cards are shuffled and dealt.

The second time around, I found out that I am "The Tower." Frightening, not completely accurate, a little over the top and dramatic, but ultimately fitting. The part I'm focusing on, ever so optimistically is: "What's most important to remember is that the tearing down of this structure, however painful, makes room for something new to be built."

Four more days until I move. As you can imagine, I have a host of conflicting feelings about moving. With all of my heart, I wish I did not have to say goodbye. But, I have to.

What Tarot Card reflects your inner state of being right now?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bag Smitten

I just recently rewatched the SATC episode where Carrie realizes that she's spent over $40,000 on shoes! She had bought about 100 pairs of fancy shoes like Manola Blahniks, and spent several hundred dollars on each of them. In Carrie's case, $40,000 also approximated roughly all the money she had earned, and she was thus faced with a closet full of shoes and no home in which to put them. (Aiden was forcing her to vacate or buy her apartment after they broke up. Nasty Aiden).

I confess I don't understand the shoe obsession, and I can not imagine a day when I would spend more than $150 on a pair of shoes, and that's my absolute uppermost limit, including what I would spend on knee-high length boots. I'm just not a shoe whore. I have better things to spend my money on, like traveling and investing.

Until recently, I was not a bag whore either, but unfortunately I think I've been bitten by the bug. So far, it hasn't caused any damage, but it has created great temptation where before there was none. For the longest time, I've had a few bags that I use all the time and most of them are black - it's classy, practical, and matches with pretty much everything I own. Most of them are Coach; none of which have the logo plastered tackily all over them. The most I've paid for a bag is $250, which to my credit is on the lower range of the designer bag market. I know, hold back the applause for my huge accomplishment.

But, for the last few months, I've found myself popping in to bag stores with greater and greater frequency. After being satisfied with black for years, suddenly I'm craving bags in dark blue, eggplant purple, or sea-green. I'm a vegetarian and an animal lover, for god's sake. I limit my milk intake so as to avoid supporting the veal industry, yet my eyes light up at the sight of smooth colored leather. It's terrible. Where does this desire come from? I swear I didn't even have the bag gene before moving to New York, but clearly a mutation has occurred.

Not that I would do anything crazy. A friend of mine recently bought an awesome bag, and I recognized it's utter awesomeness. It had a thick, round braided handle, tons of pockets, a beautiful enormous interior, and was made of soft smooth black leather (not gold, the gold is hideous!). I found myself coveting it and eyeing my much smaller sized black hobo with a flicker of disappointment. That was before I found out how much she had paid: $2,000. Yes, $2,000. On a bag! Not a car. The price tag made my covetous feelings vanish instantly. Thank god.

This morning, another bag caught my eye and I complimented it's owner. It was a gorgeous pale, but deep, purple color and looked a lot like the bag pictured at the top of this post. She told me that it was a Balenciaga (Ally Bean, everyone does that), and I filed the name away to look up later. Imagine my disappointment when I realized the bag costs $800.

Hmmph. At least I have good taste.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Dismantlement Begins

I'd like to say that today I was strong and empowered, and for the most part I was. I wore my sassy "Boys Lie" shirt, armed myself with coffee, and, with the help of a friend, an Ani Difranco mix, and a "Sex and the City" HBO marathon, started the dismantlement process.

Of course one of the episodes had to be the be the one where Aiden moves out of of Carrie's place. It didn't bother me that much; I never liked Aiden. I always thought he was kind of sappy. I did note, however, that Carrie and Aiden participated in the dismantlement process together, and somehow that seemed right. It's odd to dismantle a relationship all by yourself. It makes everything seem a bit unreal.

I made a lot of progress. Boxes were packed, forks were sorted. The apartment now looks less like the place I shared with Raj, and more like the epicenter of a cardboard box explosion.

At one point, unfortunately, my resolve was momentarily shattered when Raj stopped by to get something from the apartment. Upon seeing him, my heart, which had been pleasantly numb for a while, started beating frantically and hurting again. Of course, I also dissolved into a mass of tears; understandable, I think, as it was the first time we had seen one another since we had broken up. He looked terribly handsome and sad, which only intensified my sadness. I don't want him to hurt.

After he left, I went back to my friend who somehow managed to make me laugh through my tears and helped me continue the packing process. My friends, both the ones I knew I had and the ones I didn't know about, have been awesome throughout this situation. I'm grateful for all of their support. That goes for all of you, too. Thanks for all of your comments and for being so supportive and kind. It's nice to feel a part of a sisterhood (boys, that includes you too).

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Making Sad Mixes

Today was not hard until I came back to the apartment (the old apartment, not the new one). I was very productive at first. I did pilates, did the rounds of grocery and liquor stores charming clerks and collecting boxes, and then met a friend for brunch, before coming back to what used to be home.

I wish I didn't have to be here. I wish I could be setting up my new place and starting a new chapter of my life, one that does not involve being in love with him. But, before I can do that I need to say goodbye to this one. I alternate between feeling like it's unfair and strangely cold that he is not here to wade through the remnants of our relationship together, to feeling like it's for the best because seeing him would be too painful. It would muddy up the clean break that he so effectively and deliberately created. Despite my protests. Despite my desire to talk. He said there was nothing else to talk about, and I guess he was right. Males can be so callous.

Being here alone, it's impossible to escape the feelings of sadness and loss while confronted with the emptiness and all of the memories that used to fill up this space. The couch I used to lie on next to him, our pictures and books, his baseball caps, the empty bedroom, the fridge that gets emptier day by day. It's like a tomb.

Tonight, I drank two of his beers, Harpoon I.P.A.s. Surprisingly, they were good. I would have had more but there were only two. I was supposed to be packing and cleaning, but I couldn't do it. It's too sad. Instead, I made mixes I'd been meaning to make, and let myself be carried away by the sadness. I knitted a little in between waiting for songs to download. I know this hurt will pass, but tonight, in this moment, I miss him and I'm so sad he didn't want to make this work.

Some of the songs I listened to reminded me of a long time ago when we used to go out in Michigan. I used to love dancing with him. I regret that we didn't go out dancing in New York this past year. What a waste. Remembering how much fun we used to have, I got pissed at him for throwing this all away. It seems like it would have been so simple to make it work. But, obviously, for him it wasn't.

This would all be so much easier to deal with if there hadn't been - in between all of the the disappointments and hurt - all of the moments when I felt completely content and happy to be with him. I'm having one of those moments when I'm remembering the softness and scent of his skin. It's a bad moment. I don't want to think about those things. They make me want to hold him and then they make me cry. Ah, love.

This is the song that we listened to while driving around Canada on vacation a month and a half ago. At the time I didn't know the words, and I didn't realize how prophetic it was. It's a terribly sad song.
Karma police
Arrest this man
He talks in maths
He buzzes like a fridge
He's like a detuned radio.

Karma police
Arrest this girl
Her hitler hairdo
Is making me feel ill
And we have crashed her party.

This is what you'll get
This is what you'll get
This is what you'll get
When you mess with us.

Karma police
I've given all I can
Its not enough
I've given all I can
But we're still on the payroll.

This is what you'll get
This is what you'll get
This is what you'll get
When you mess with us.

For a minute there,
I lost myself, I lost myself.
Phew, for a minute there,
I lost myself, I lost myself.

For a minute there,
I lost myself, I lost myself.
Phew, for a minute there,
I lost myself, I lost myself.

What are the songs that make you sad and why?

Friday, December 01, 2006

I Found An Apartment!!

I'm sitting at my desk stunned and, dare I admit, feeling a bit excited after just speaking with the girl from whom I decided last night to sublet her place. Yes, I found an apartment!! Before I get to the details, let me give you a small recap of the hell that was yesterday.

Yesterday, I was at a very, very low point. I was demoralized, discouraged, depressed, sad, mad, and fairly despondent as I slogged through the streets of Manhattan looking at places. I'm not ashamed to admit that I dissolved into tears more than once, and had frequent phone conversations with my friends and sister where, through my sobs, I told them that everything was ruined. I had nothing and my life was destroyed, and it was all Raj's fault (although deep down in my more mature moments, I know it's not - I'll get past this eventually, but not right now). I was feeling very sorry for myself. As I said, I was at a very low point. Apartment hunting in Manhattan will do that to you even without dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of ending a relationship.

In the course of the day, I saw three apartments in Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen, most of which were within a 10 block radius from the apartment in which I used to live with Raj. The apartments were either oddly shaped, dark, or way too expensive (one of them had a broker's fee of $3,000 on it), and all of them left me feeling like they were too close to my former life with Raj. I couldn't imagine waking up each morning have to walk within blocks of his place on my way to work, passing all of the places we used to go together, and wondering what he was doing. It would have been far too depressing, and not a healthy way of trying to deal with getting over him.

At 5:30 pm I took a break from my apartment stress and went to the knitting shop where I had taken the knitting class, Gotta Knit, for a wine and knitting hour. Everything Thursday evening, the store has wine and snacks and customers bringing their knitting and sit around the table and chat with one another while working on their projects. I only stayed for 45 minutes because I had to run to see some other apartments, but it was a pleasant break and I enjoyed meeting the other women, two of whom gave me apartment leads. How sweet is that!

From knitting, I raced up the Upper East Side (UES) to look at another apartment, the apartment that I ultimately decided to get! The apartment is a shared apartment - meaning that it was a 2 BR and one of the girls was moving out, so if I moved in I would be sharing the place with her roommate - and it was actually the only shared apartment that I looked at. As I've mentioned, I really treasure my privacy and my own space, and after living for so many years in a single, the idea of sharing my space with someone I wasn't sleeping with seemed very risky.

But, immediately upon entering the apartment, I got a positive feeling from the space. Both of the girls - the one moving away and the one staying - seem like cool people. The apartment is a two-level space, so upon walking into the front door you see an open space with a kitchen to the right and a living area to the left. My roommate's bedroom and bathroom are farther off to the right. To get to my bedroom, you have to walk up a black spiral staircase that takes you to the second level of the apartment that has a large bedroom, private bathroom, and -here's one of the best parts - two french doors that open up onto a balcony/roof deck! It's actually pretty freaking amazing. I could grow vegetables and herbs out there. The other best part is that the room is painted a beautiful shade of pale lilac, which as you all probably know is my favorite color. Immediately after walking up into that room and being surrounded by the pale purple walls, I could see myself in that space. I could see myself healing, relaxing, and getting through this very difficult time.

So, I made the decision, after about an hour of looking and chatting, to do it. I put in a deposit, and I'm going to be moving in the weekend of December 9th. Holy Crap!! I can't believe it. I had to call the girl this morning before I posted this blog or told any of my friends that I had found a place, just to confirm for myself that it was real and that this hellish part of this transitional time was coming to a close. I can't tell you the relief I'm feeling at the moment not to have to look for more apartments. It's also such a surprise to feel a flicker of excitement about the place I'll be going to next. My heart is still filled with sadness about Raj, and probably will be for a long time, but at least now there's a tiny piece of hope amidst the sadness.

* * *

And you know what, thinking about this more, I'm realizing that I f---ing kick ass. On Monday and Tuesday, I was in a state of despair, but then, with the support of CG, my family and friends, I rallied. Wednesday and Thursday were utterly miserable, but ultimately, through a ton of work, I found a place. In three days!! I took care of myself! All by myself!! I am fucking awesome, and you know what, I'm proud of myself.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things I Was Thinking As I Hunted For Apartments in Manhattan Today

1) This is not fair.

2) It's immature of me to think this isn't fair, and it's probably unhelpful.

3) I should be working right now, but I don't even know if I could work because I'm so upset.

4) I'm so angry with Raj for doing this to me.

5) I shouldn't be feeling sorry for myself, but I am feeling sorry for myself.

6) I wish I could lie down and cry somewhere.

7) I hate brokers. They are all slimy bastards.

8) I hate the fact that brokers charge 15%, which comes out to be approximately $3000 for an apartment with a monthly rent of $1800.

9) That's a cute coffee shop.

10) I hate that I have to be looking for a new apartment right now.

11) He shouldn't have had me move in to his place and move all of my stuff into his place if he was going to quit on me.

12) Our apartment was finally looking cute. It's not fair that I have to leave it, and it's not fair that I have to do all of this work myself because of his decision to stop trying.

13) I'm never moving in with another male.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Kicking And Screaming

I would like to say, for the record, that I am having a bad freakin' morning. Really, I'm having a bad f---ing morning, but I've been thinking that I probably shouldn't swear on my blog as a general matter because it sounds ugly, so I'm trying to restrain myself. However, if I was talking to you in person, I would definitely be saying that I am having a bad f---ing morning. By way of background, I always thought swearing for emphasis was fine until I started working with Dragon Lady and had to stand by as she cursed violently under her breath. I realized that when someone is sputtering out curses left and right that it can make others feel really uncomfortable, and it can stress people out. It's also tacky and completely lacking in class. So, I'm trying not to replicate Dragon Lady's annoying (abusive) habits in my own life. Bitch.

So, back to my morning. I'm discouraged. I've been looking for apartments around the clock for two days. I'm now intimately familiar with Craig's List and a host of posters, and yet, a solution to my apartment dilemma has not yet materialized. Nothing seems right. They're are problems with all of the possibilities, and maybe that's something I'm going to have to accept: I'm not going to find anything close to ideal because of this shitty situation that has been foisted upon me. Speaking of foisting upon me, don't think I'm only blaming Raj. Far from it. On my way to work this morning I was berating myself for deciding to move in with him and giving up my lovely, gorgeous, beautifully decorated apartment.

But you know, even now when everything has fallen apart, I wouldn't have done it differently. I loved him and I wanted to be with him. And, though I'm surprised to be having this thought at the moment, I don't regret living with him. I don't regret trying to share my life with his. Ok, enough of that mushy stuff that is going to send me back into a pit of weeping despair.

When I moved in with him we were in the midst of working through our "issues," but that didn't give me any pause because I was convinced that we would work out our issues and, basically, live happily ever after. Was I sniffing anything at the time? No. Do I consider myself to be a flighty, naive person? No. I just knew that I loved him, and I believed he loved me, and it seemed that we had come back together for a reason: to be together for the long haul. I never would have got back together with him after being apart for a year if I hadn't been sure that this time it was going to be forever. In that mindset, moving in together seemed like a natural step. Especially in New York when paying two rents and spending most nights together doesn't make a lot of financial sense. I totally admit that; we both took into account the financial benefits of combining our living space.

What I didn't bargain on was that the relationship would not work out. What I also failed to consider was how the ending of the relationship might impact me when suddenly I found myself without a home to call my own. I didn't think about how I would feel trying to come to terms with a break-up and trying to grieve while at the same time trying to find a new place to live. The reality is, you can not grieve while trying to find an apartment in New York. There's just not enough time! The last two evenings I've spent hours on Craig's List, pouring over ads and leaving messages, and I've done that because, frankly, I don't have any choice. Ok, I guess I do have a choice. I could choose to stay in a really shitty situation and do nothing to take care of myself, or I could choose to try to find a new place to live. I've chosen, wisely, to pursue the latter course, but the latter course (especially in New York) sucks.

I don't want to be looking for an apartment right now. It takes up almost all of my energy, and what I want to be doing right now is crying, getting perspective, grieving, drowning my sorrows with friends, and doing pretty much anything other than slogging through the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn trying to find the next place to which I'm going to have to move my stuff. I don't want to think about what to do with my bed, or how much stuff I can get rid off. I don't want to go through my clothes and sort the ones I can give away to goodwill. I don't want to be in this mindset like I'm on a sinking ship and in order to survive I've got to cut off all the dead weight. I'm not ready to cut off all the dead weight in a mad rush. I want time to sort through my things and get things in order. But, unfortunately, I don't have time.

I also need to work, which is incredibly difficult while being super stressed out about finding an apartment immediately. I think it's complete and utter bullshit that I (and only I) have to be in this frenzy to extricate myself from what used to be "our" life, immediately. He made this decision not me, and because of his decision my entire life has been turned upside down. Yes, I'm feeling sorry for myself. And, yes, I do not think this is fair. I did not know that we would be breaking up. But I guess you never do.

I'm pissed today. Mostly I'm pissed because, as a result of Raj's decision, I do not even have time to be pissed. I need to work, I need to find an apartment, and neither of those leave much time to revel in one's emotions. Now, after this blogging diversion, I have to go back to my f---ing work, so that I can finish it as quickly as possible so that I can continue my f---ing apartment search. I'm pissed, sad, and angry and I think all of this is unfair.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Apartment Hunting: The Upper UWS

For those of you unfamiliar with Manhattan, the place where the red arrow is pointing (125th Street), is far, far away from where I currently live. I'm down in Chelsea, which is on the west side of Manhattan about midway down the island. 125th street is almost 100 blocks north of where I live, or approximately 5 miles. In most places in the United States 5 miles would be nothing. In Manhattan, it's the difference between being happy and feeling like you're stuck in Siberia. It's even North of Central Park!

Not that I'm being negative at the moment. On the contrary, I'm extremely impressed with myself. I had never been that far North. I took off the afternoon from work (fuck 'em) and explored the border of Harlem! I have one friend up there who swears it's the greatest because it's away from the buzz of the city, you get more space for the money, and it's just "cool" in the way that neighborhoods in the process of gentrification are that haven't yet become hip.

However, I happen to like the buzz of the city, and as I was exploring the area between 100th to 125th street, my overriding impression was one of depression and isolation. It just felt so damn far away from everywhere I want to be (i.e. The Village, Chelsea, Soho, East Village, Union Square, UWS, etc.; basically anywhere on the West side up until 96th street, and many places on the East side).

Despite not being enthused by the upper, upper West side, I'm still really proud of myself for getting my butt in gear and checking it out. I saw two places, neither of which was anything special and way to small for the money and the location. CG told me yesterday during our session that I could feel miserable and sad, but that I had to "empower" myself while at the same time allowing myself to work through those feelings. Basically, she was saying that I needed to take some control of the situation, and even if I continued to feel sorry for myself (which I was totally doing two days ago) I still needed to take some action and act like the competent, bright, confident woman that I am. She suggested "educating" myself about the available rental options as a way of empowering myself and damn it, she was right. I do feel empowered because even though this situation totally sucks, I'm taking action to try to get myself out of a bad situation and into a better one. Go me.

In educating myself today by tramping all over the upper, upper West side, I learned that 100th street is my upper most limit. I also realized that I need to consider my mental health and the impact the darkening days will have on it. As the sunlight faded on 125th street, the area began to look even bleaker than it had earlier, and I thought to myself that though I could bear not snuggling with who I thought I was going to snuggle with this winter, I don't think I could bear it if I was trapped all the way up in Siberia. The isolation would wreck me. I'm just not ready for that. I'm a Manhattan girl, what can I say. And if I'm going to live in Manhattan, I want to live in Manhattan, not Harlem (even if it is the new cool place to be with slightly cheaper rent). I prefer veggie stands over fried chicken and a steady stream of cabs over vacant streets.

In addition to looking on Craig's List, I've contacted almost everyone I know in the city and enlisted their assistance. Shockingly, for a girl who has been convinced that she doesn't have close friends here, there are a large number of people on my list and almost every single one of them has come through. In trying times, you always find out who your true friends are. Lucky me, I have a good number of them.

Tomorrow, the search continues.