Friday, August 31, 2007


I'm neglecting my friends. I haven't seen Pele for weeks, haven't written Lakshmi back, and haven't gone climbing with Sage.

I'm neglecting my family. I've only had snippets of conversation with my mom, and when I did I didn't even thank her for the sweet note she sent me a few days ago. At least I remembered to call Bean on her birthday.

I'm neglecting my whole health-kick. Whatever.

I'm neglecting dating. Ditto.

I'm neglecting my blog and my blog friends, but I trust you will understand.

Two young people need me right now, and I'm doing my best to be there for them. They're moving away and I'm going to miss them far more than I can put into words. They are extraordinary and they deserve to have a normal life, but that's all they want. They want a normal life free of abuse, where they can have a place to live, the opportunity to pursue an education, and the ability to work.

It's not much to ask for, and it oftentimes makes my chest hurt that I can't do more for them than I'm doing, that I can't magically fix everything that they need fixed.

One of my favorite things is making them laugh. I don't care if I'm being silly and they're laughing at my silliness. I don't care at all if they're laughing at me. Seeing them smile and laugh until their stomachs hurt, for a few minutes their faces free of the usual clouds of worry, fills me with a sense of perfect contentment, and a deep conviction that if nothing else, with respect to them, I've actually done something in my life. I've done something good. I've made a contribution.

But, it's the kind of contribution that doesn't come to an end at a finite moment in time, something that I've come to realize many people do not understand (including many people who work in the dark underbelly of the non-profit world). It's like that with human lives. You can't just pick one up, fix a part of it, and then drop it back into the ether to fend for itself. Helping has responsibilities when you're dealing with a human life.

I have that sense of responsibility and I am not burdened by it. What they have brought in to my life in terms of meaning, purpose, and happiness is as great or greater than anything I've been able to give them. If you knew them, you would feel the same.

I just want them to be OK. And, for right now, that's all I can think about.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


The Man For Me

What type of man do I really want?

That's the question I've been pondering since my most recent date last night. I seem to be of two minds on this question. On the one hand, I want a man who is not superficial, not materialistic, sensitive, socially aware, intelligent, a bit of an intellectual, and someone who appreciates books. I'd also like him to be progressive, liberal, and a bit artsy (by "artsy" I mean something other than a lawyer with no outside interests). Stereotypical traditional men need not apply.

Or, so I was thinking until last night.

My date was a 34-year old European-American with a background in theater and film. Good age, check. Interesting background, check. Cultured, check. Decent job, check. We had good conversation about law, America's obsession with designer handbags, travelling, music, the challenges of supporting oneself through public interest work, and the dark underbelly of non-profits. He's tall (6'4"), blond, and relatively good-looking (with the exception of one errant tooth - but the Europeans aren't as into braces as Americans so you kind of have to let that slide) . He also seemed considerate, like a good listener, and over all like a decent, interesting guy.

The problem?

No chemistry. Not a flicker.

Instead, while he was talking about fashion, I was musing to myself that he might be gay (which didn't make sense because no gay man in New York would have been caught dead in his multi-colored shirt). I decided he wasn't gay, and that he was just European and artsy, but then we started talking about sports.

He, like me, hates sports. Readers of this blog have heard me express my disdain of sports on numerous occasions. You've heard me talk about how my EXBF inflicted Michigan Football upon me against my will (and also chose it over me on many occasions), and you've heard me complain how wretched it is to come home to my apartment to find Sven glued to the TV watching one sports show after another, day after day. In light of this history, one would think that my date's dislike of sports would have been a plus in his favor, right?

Wrong. Instead - and I swear this is true - when he said he hated sports and never watched football, I viscerally became less attracted to him than I had been up to that point in the evening. What's wrong with me? His comments struck me as effeminate and slightly suspicious. Did I just call a guy effeminate? That is not the type of reaction an ardent feminist who vehemently believes in the abolishment of traditional gender roles should have. I say again, what's wrong with me??

It's true that as a general rule I'm not a fan of sports. But, I'll admit (just to you) that I've enjoyed, on occasion, curling up with a boy while he's watching sports, even if that sport was Michigan Football (there's a lot I'll do as long as I'm being continuously petted). I've enjoyed the back and forth that comes with having different interests and bargaining over what he'll do for me if I do something nice for him, like snuggle with him while he watches a game. I think boys are kind of cute when they get all riled up about a team, as long as they're not choosing sports over you or planning their activities around sports every minute of the day. I also really appreciate getting an occasional dose of this and this.

The idea of a man not liking sports at all strikes me as a little strange. Or not even strange, per se. It's actually worse than that. It strikes me as ... not sexy. Right, because beer guts and Superbowl parties are so sexy. Clearly, I have a lot of ambivalence about this and need to process.

But, getting back to my date. I definitely had a negative reaction in response to learning that he did not like sports. It was the last straw that made my body (or my gut?) say, "Oh, we can't like this type of man." This happened despite actually enjoying this male's company.

And that's the thing that's got me atwitter. If on the one hand I'm actively looking for men that are atypical men, but on the other hand turned off by qualities shared by those same men, we're going to have a problem. I'm going to be single for life!

In actuality, both my body and my mind know what they want. They want a man who is traditionally masculine on the outside but sensitive on the inside. That man does not have to like sports. But, he does have to know how to pet me...

...along with being socially aware, sensitive, a bit of an intellectual, progressive, cultured, considerate and emotionally available.

Is that so much to ask?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Slightly Envious of Sleeping Beauty

How quickly things change: Three weeks ago my biggest obsessions of the moment were random boys that I was sort of dating and the whole nutritionist-weight-loss-rebellion debacle. For the last two weeks, work has eclipsed all of that. I find myself longing for the days when I had nothing more than food and boys to plague my dreams.

I still like my new job about 10,000 times better than my old job, and it is rewarding enough and the late nights are relatively infrequent enough to make it worth it for now. But, be that as it may, I have been getting killed at work. My sleep is suffering, and when my sleep suffers, I suffer. My little jaunt to Fire Island and the world of everlasting college-dom, drinking games, and raucous partying did not help matters. And, I just found out yesterday - 6 hours after booking a flight to visit my friend Wood over Labor Day weekend - that I have to fly to California this weekend for work instead. I was so looking forward to chilling in D-Town with Wood and her family, but alas, no break for me at the moment.

Despite the busy work schedule, I'm squeezing in another date tomorrow evening. My first date went remarkably well. The guy was friendly, fun, and entertaining. We talked a lot about music and shows and very little about work - amazing as we're both corporate lawyers and work's often all corporate lawyers have to talk about. He also taught me two random things, one of which was that the northern part of Texas is called "the panhandle" because it looks like a Panhandle!! Who knew! I can't remember the other random thing, but it was interesting at the time.

A funny thing happened on the way to the bathroom when I was crossing a stretch of heavily polished floor, thankfully out of sight of our table: I totally bit it. My heel slid on the glossy floor and I landed flat on my back in the middle of the hotel lobby (we had met at a hotel bar for drinks) surrounded by a crowd of milling gawkers, none of whom offered me their hand. I'd had three drinks so it was no easy matter rebalancing myself and getting back up on the slick surface. Yikes. I was still laughing about it by the time I got back to our table.

Tomorrow night, I'm meeting another guy from for a drink after work at a place near where we both work. He sounds smart, interesting, and relatively normal. He's also bi-cultural (one European and one American parent - like me!) and 6' 4". Very nice. Overall he seems like a nice guy, so I'm almost - but not quite - looking forward to it. One can't get too crazy about these things, as I learned several weeks ago when one of the boys cancelled on me 4 hours before the date! Hmph.
I'm headed to bed now to get my beauty sleep, and I'm crossing my fingers that work goes relatively smoothly tomorrow.
I'm starting to feel like I need a vacation!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Tuesday Eye-Candy

You know those Mondays that leave you so exhausted, drained (and in my case seriously pissed off) that you feel as if the week has already been a long and torturous one even though you still have four more days left?

On those kind of Mondays, there are very few things that will bring a smile to a girl's face short of a fantastic partner who's made her dinner, drawn her a bubble bath, and offered to give her a foot rub later on in the evening.

But, here's one of them: Behold the latest picture of Mohinder Suresh, courtesy of Popsugar, in all of his eye-candy glory. Here are some older ones.

And, just for fun, here's another one:

Sendhil Ramamurthy is one devastatingly attractive male. He also looks kind of chilly. I think he needs some Buttercup action to warm him up. I'm an excellent snuggler...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Kat's Cool

As you may have noticed, last week was so busy that short of a post on rambunctious turtles, I had no time to write. I was completely swamped at work and stayed late every night, until around 1 am, and as late as 3:30 one night. In the end, I got everything done that I needed to by Friday, just in time to take off for Fire Island for the weekend.

Fire Island is a small, picturesque island somewhere in the vicinity of Long Island (I'm NYC-geographically challenged) that feels a little like the Cape with no cars. On the train headed out to they ferry, I was imagining a relaxing weekend filled with lazing around on the beach and solid sleep. Instead, and in large part thanks to "Rocket Fuel," Fire Island's drink speciality, I spent Saturday night dancing, drinking, and bar-hopping around the Island's four bars until 5:20 in the morning. It was a lot of fun.

When I woke up today at noon, I felt like I had been run over by a 747. It's sad to say but I'm getting too old for this. My body no longer bounces back from copious amounts of alcohol and little to no sleep.

Now, it's 9:30 pm Sunday night and I'm trying to prepare for tomorrow by looking over some work while watching "10 Things I Hate About You." I really enjoy that movie, mainly because I love Julie Stile's young feminist character, Kat. I also love Heath Ledger as the bad boy that falls for Kat, and when Kat's little sister Bianca punches out this guy.

I was once a lot more like Kat than I am now. I miss that. I think it has a lot to do with being a lawyer, living in New York, and having a job that requires me to work, on occasion, until 3:30 in the morning. How is one supposed to be a balanced, whip-smart, cool, young feminist while so sleep deprived? I'm telling you, it's very difficult.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Turtle Rocking

Over the weekend, I took my two honorary little sisters to the Bronx Zoo. We were mesmerized at the following not-for-children's-eyes display of attempted turtle-making mojo:

Look at the full-body positioning, the arms powerfully gripping the contours of Mrs. Turtle's shell, and the way Mr. Turtle is bracing himself by digging his feet into the sand. I couldn't help myself; I had to take a look at the action from the side view. Check out the body-rocking action:

Unfortunately, Mrs. Turtle did not seem to be enjoying all the attention being given to her caboose:
On closer examination, neither did Mr. Turtle. His ferocious intensity along with his uncanny resemblance to E.T. was a little disturbing:

My advice for this couple is simple: Mr. Turtle needs to loosen up a bit and add some fun back into his love-making. I would suggest slowing down turtle-style and taking the time to rub Mrs. Turtle's shell the way she likes it before diving in for the rhythmic penetration routine. If he relaxed, took his time, and didn't rush in for the back-end action immediately, Mrs. Turtle would enjoy it a lot more, which in turn would make it a lot more fun for Mr. Turtle.

Come to think of it, I've encountered a number of men who could benefit from this advice.

Line Crossing

I've been dealing with an emergency on one of my pro bono cases since Friday, and also trying to take care of all of my other work, so I haven't had much of a chance to write. After a very stressful weekend, I feel more hopeful today about my case.

Pro bono cases are challenging for many reasons, not the least of which is that lines often end up getting crossed. Your work as a lawyer melds into that of a counselor, a big sister, and a friend, and back again. People tell you not to cross those lines. They tell you that getting emotional could negatively affect your clients by influencing your ability to be objective. Other people tell you that your line crossing has saved the lives of your clients, and encourage your passion and commitment. Everyone has an opinion about how you should act and what you're doing wrong. Some have praise for what you're doing right.

So, what do you do? You keep focused on the best interests of your clients and you try to do what's right. When they come into the office for meetings, you feed them. When they call feeling hopeless, you listen and try to remind them that they are not alone. When they need support, you provide it to them.

You do it because it's the best thing for your case, because even the most successful legal action is worthless without a client around to benefit from its success. You do it because you care, and because not doing anything when you see someone in so much need is impossible. You also do it because if you didn't, no one else would.

At least that's why I do it. The Evil Empire doesn't scare me. I just wish it didn't make things so challenging for me and my clients sometimes.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Off The Sauce

I think we all learned a valuable lesson yesterday about the pitfalls of going to therapy slightly sauced on Pinot Noir. I know I did. Never again, my friends. I'm just thankful I didn't get mugged on the way home over my bottle of organic vodka. Now, that would have been a pity.

Clear-headed and bright-eyed today (particularly since I rediscovered an eye gel that appears to actually minimize fine lines - better than St. John's Wart at boosting one's mood), as Willow instructed, I'm gearing up for the weekend. On this weekend's agenda is a comedy club, a party, the Bronx Zoo, bouldering, running, and perhaps some Swedish-conversation time. Should be fun.

No dates, only a bunch of plans with friends. For this weekend, that suits me perfectly. I'm due for a rebalancing Boy-Break.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Issues Galore

BC: Hi, My name is Buttercup and this is not a cry for help.

Peanut Gallery: Hi Buttercup!

BC: Today, I went to an after-work cocktail event and I had two glasses of wine and lots of green jelly beans (they were free and lying around everywhere). Immediately after downing my second glass of wine, I jumped into a cab and headed uptown for therapy.

Peanut Gallery: Ohhh...

BC: I was buzzed which was bad enough, but what was even worse was that at the event I had played a game and won a huge bottle of organic vodka. It was organic! So, not only did I show up at therapy buzzed, but I was also carrying a large bottle of vodka with me. My therapist asked whether it was a cry for help.

Peanut Gallery: Was it?

BC: No! I told Therapist that of course it wasn't a cry for help; my issue is food, not alcohol. Duh. But, then a few minutes later I started to cry and Therapist asked me whether I was going to remember our discussion tomorrow. I reminded her that I had only had two glasses of wine and told her that I was way less inebriated than she seemed to think I was. The problem is that in those situations any attempts at denial just make you look worse.

Peanut Gallery: *collectively nodding sagely*

BC: Therapist tried to get me back on track by asking me what had been kicked up for me related to food during the past few weeks that had made me start rebelling. I summoned all my powers of focus and tried to think of all the things I had been thinking I should tell Therapist during the last few days. I ended up telling therapist that I felt sad and like I had no one in the universe who was there for just me. *glaring at Peanut Gallery*

Peanut Gallery: What? Continue.

BC: I told Therapist, after warning her several times that I was about to tell her the most corny thing she had ever heard, about a story I had read somewhere - perhaps some Buddhist script or possibly some random piece of internet trash - that explains the struggle of human existence like this: Each soul is born with half of a heart and spends their life longing for and seeking their other half. I said -

Peanut Gallery: Yes?

BC: I said that sometimes that theory on human existence, suffering, and love made sense to me. Sometimes, I feel like I'm missing something. Sometimes, I feel more powerfully than other times that I would like someone to be there just for me, and I would like to be that someone for someone else.

Peanut Gallery: Um hmm...

BC: We talked some more about dating, and food issues, and how at the moment - possibly exacerbated by the fact that alcohol is a depressant - I felt sad and wanted to binge on chocolate. Therapist suggested that perhaps I could weigh whether the value I would get from binging was worth it to me. She also suggested that I consider calling someone I love as I had just talked about the importance of connecting with those I care about, and how relationships are the most important things in life.

Peanut Gallery: And?

BC: So, I muttered that I would think about it, gathered my resolve, felt ridiculous for contemplating a drunken binge immediately after therapy, left the building cradling my enormous bottle of vodka, and called Bean. We talked for 40 minutes, and it was good and we laughed a lot, and then my phone died. Then, I had some frozen grapes which made my teeth hurt. But, I didn't have chocolate because I didn't need it because Bean had made me feel better.

Peanut Gallery: Good work.

BC: Eh.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thursday Thirteen (I Heart NY)

Thirteen Places I Heart In The City

1) Franchia - This adorable, totally zenned out Korean tea house is a soothing oasis of tranquility in the Middle of Midtown with fantastic vegetarian cuisine and a mean mocci dessert.

2) Souen - Super healthy, simple macrobiotic food just South of Union Square with the best cardamon cookies I've ever tasted and an ambiance that makes me happy just to be there.

3) Annies' Restaurant - Their egg-white omelet with salmon, spinach and a dollop of goat cheese, side of fruit, whole wheat toast, and coffee is sublime perfection for brunch.

4) Aroma - Delicious Italian food (try the artichoke pasta dish), excellent wine pairings, and a secret back room down a narrow flight of stairs for group dinner parties.

5) Swift - Unpretentious East Village pub with large picnic table seating in the back, a large beer list which includes my new favorite, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, where the waitstaff doesn't bat an eyelash at lime throwing fights.

6) Demarchelier Restaurant - Cozy French bistro on the Upper East Side perfect for a romantic - but not too romantic - first date.

7) Candle Cafe - Delicious, creative, healthy, and unique vegetarian-only food in a cute setting.

8) The Campbell Apartment - The vaulted ceilings, intimate atmosphere, and semi-hidden location make this the coolest bar in Midtown. Check out their passion fruit cocktails.

9) Bookends - This charming enclosed rooftop bar, complete with sunny lounge area and fireside nook, sits atop the Library Hotel and is the perfect place to relax over raspberry champagne cocktails or mojitos.

10) 230 Fifth - Massive rooftop bar complete with palm trees, an incredible view of the Empire State building, and an amusing but semi-intoxicating L.A. vibe, and the best-tasting Asian apps in the restaurant in the hotel below.

11) Angelica Kitchen - Possibly the best vegetarian food in all of New York.

12) Le Pain Quotidien - European style bakery with strong coffee served in cups without handles, communal seating, and the most exquisite hazelnut-praline spread.

13) Buddha Bar - Uber swanky lounge with a giant golden Buddha statue overlooking a lavishly decorated dining room and lounge area, delicious apps, and the best cocktails in the City.

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Roommate Weirdness

This is so weird that I had to break my one-a-day post habit and post twice today. I just spent the last 5 hours lying on the sofa downstairs. During that time, I watched 7 episodes of Sex and the City and the Wedding Crashers, had some grapes, and made two bowls of air-popped popcorn.

I made a lot of noise.

I thought I was by alone.

The fridge and the air popper are 1 foot away from the door to Sven's room, which was shut. The lights stayed off the entire time in Sven's room, which as a reminder is only about 6 x 6.

Ten minutes ago, during the end of Wedding Crashers, I was astounded when I saw a light go on in Sven's room. A few minutes later, he came out of his room. I had had no idea that he was in there. For five hours!

Who does that?

What healthy person in their right mind sleeps in their room for 5 hours a day?? And, doesn't make a sound so their roommate has no idea that they are not blissfully alone as they thought they were?

It's super weird.

And now, of course, when I'm finally ready to go to bed early and try to kick this cold, Sven has just woken up and wants to watch TV. I decided, eff it, and though I knew it was kind of bitchy, asked him to turn it down. It's not my problem that he chose to sleep the entire afternoon away. Plus, I'm SICK. I. Need. My. Sleep.

I'm beginning to detest roommates with a passion. Especially roommates who do not have lives. Grrrrr.

Sick of Sven

I'm still sick. I woke up this morning at 7:45 am (early for me as I usually wake up at 8 or 8:30) to let the superintendent in to look at the black mold, the leak, and the broken dishwasher, and then crawled back into bed.

At 10:15 am, I woke up again. My glands were swollen, my head hurt and felt swimmy, I had dark circles under my eyes, and my body felt weak. I decided to stay home for a few hours to try to rest.

But, then I heard something from downstairs. What was that? Was it the ubiquitous "Scrubs" that Sven constantly watches? Was he home? Seriously, I didn't like that show before he started force-feeding me episodes, but now I really can't stand it. It has a completely stupid, moronic sense of humor that I have grown to despise over this summer. I hate it almost as much as I hate Michigan Football, and that's a lot.

I went downstairs on the pretext of making tea (which turned out quite delicious actually - peppermint tea with honey) and confirmed that yes, Sven is at home today. He doesn't have to work until the afternoon. All I wanted this morning was a quiet apartment so that I could rest today. Instead, I have effing "Scrubs."

I know this has more to do with me (I want my own place and I am sick) than it does him, so I am now attempting to control my seething hatred for Sven's very existence.

Monday, August 13, 2007

See Sicko Before You Get Sick

I'm sick, which is actually quite apt because I had been planning to post about Michael Moore's new film, "Sicko." I'm one of the lucky members of the privileged class in the United States who was not featured front and center in "Sicko." Not only do I have a well-paying job, I also have health insurance through my job. I even have dental insurance, though all it covers is the cost of a cleaning or two, and since I hate the dentist I rarely take full advantage of it.

Under my health insurance plan with Oxford Health care, I'm allowed to choose my primary care physician and I have only a $15 co-pay each time I see her. My plan covers only 30 mental health visits each year (apparently patients are only allowed to be suicidal or clinically depressed for 7 months out of the year and then they have to get over it), but the co-pay is significantly more than for my primary care physician. It costs me $40 each time I see my therapist. It's worth it to me because I'm worth it, but the cost does not escape my notice.

My prescriptions cost me between $10 and $20 under the plan. Thankfully, Ambien is covered. I'm not sure what I would do without my Ambien, but I'm sure life - not to mention me - would not be as pretty. Gardasil, the vaccine against the most common forms of HPV - the sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer - and a drug which Texas made mandatory for girls younger than me - is not covered. However, since I actually care about my reproductive system and because I believe in preventative health care, unlike my insurance company, I paid over $600 out of my own pocket to get myself the vaccine. To my knowledge, I don't have cervical cancer or HPV, and I'm planning to have other sexual partners in the future, so - with the exception of the rather large $600 fee - getting vaccinated was a no-brainer. My plan also does not cover other vaccinations, but because I didn't want to contract Malaria, Typhus, or Hepatitis C when I went to India a few months ago I paid approximately $350 for the pills and shots necessary to protect me during my travels.

Getting back to that bit about having a well-paying job. I would wager that a large section of the American female population does not have $600 lying around to spend on an HPV vaccination, not too mention sleeping pills, travel vaccinations, or for that matter trips to India. Until 3 years ago when I started working as a lawyer, I most didn't either. I also didn't have enough money for health insurance. Shhhh, don't tell my parents. It makes me shiver now to think back on all the potential catastrophes that could have befallen me during my uninsured periods of time, the most recent of which was - gasp - three months ago while I was in between jobs, traveling to foreign countries, flying on airplanes, and braving the traffic of New York on a daily basis. A poor decision, no doubt, but I simply could not stomach the idea of paying $800 to continue my plan in between jobs. It was too outrageous.

Aside from the prescriptions that aren't covered, relatively high mental health costs, and the hazards of limbo-ing in between jobs, for the most part I've been lucky, covered, and had little to complain about with respect to my own health insurance. But, as "Sicko" makes clear, many in America are not so lucky as me. Of course I knew that before I watched the movie. It was not news to me that there are many people in America who don't have insurance, that managed care leaves many dissatisfied, that there's far too little emphasis on preventative care, that the poor suffer the most, and that insurance companies will go to great lengths to deny coverage. I have siblings and friends who's jobs do not provide benefits, and as a lawyer I've worked on insurance cases in the past (and I've hated them).

There were a number of things from the film that were new to me though, including:

1) Universal Health care Exists! It's not impossible. France, England, Canada, and Cuba provide FREE universal health care to everyone, even to non-citizen Americans. It's been 24 hours since I learned this, and I'm still astounded by the implications. I guess a part of me was dimly aware of the fact that other countries provided universal health care, but at least in our country the idea has been painted as a feat too impossible to even imagine. Over and over again we're told that the health care system is rife with problems, that the provision of free care would cost an exorbitant sum, and that privatization is our only hope. Not surprising for a country that views Socialism as anathema.

But, here's a thought: Instead of allowing the CEOs of insurance companies to become billionaires, and instead of allowing insurance companies to employ 4X as many lobbyists as there are congresspeople, why don't we just take that money from the insurance companies and give it to the people who are actually providing the medical care, the doctors? Putting aside the perhaps overly rosy pictures of other nations' health care systems, "Sicko" made me stop and really start thinking about the health care system in which I'm participating. Under our current system, patients aren't winning, and neither are the doctors. The ones making out like bandits are the insurance companies, and that's just wrong. It's also inefficient and misguided.

* Excuse me, I had to go chug some NyQuil. I'm back now. *

2) Rescue Workers From 911 Are Not Receiving Medical Care. I don't know anything about this other than what I saw in the film, but to the extent it's true it is an absolute disgrace. I was not in New York the day the Twin Towers were attacked, but I watched the coverage around the clock of the rescue workers' efforts to locate survivors. I did what I could from far away; I sent money and I donated blood. I cried when I read the stories of the fire fighters and police officers who lost their lives trying to save the lives of others.

The rescue workers who came to the aid of their fellow human beings on 911 were and are still genuine heroes. They're heroes because they saw a need and they jumped in to offer whatever assistance they could despite the terrifying and devastating circumstances. In doing so, they put themselves in grave immediate and future danger, and now, apparently, many are suffering from respiratory and other illnesses that they contracted as a result of the work they did on 911. Worse than that though, is that apparently they are not receiving the medical care that they need for the medical problems they contracted as a result of 911. I find this so shocking and sad that I can't even comprehend it.

I guess really it's no worse than not taking care of the poor and disadvantaged in our society. But, in a sick way I can almost understand how our society can turn a blind eye to the poor (not that it's right, mind you). But, the idea that our society would also turn a blind eye to those that it has labeled as "heroes"? If that's the type of society we have, that treats both its poor and its heroes with so little regard, it's not a society that I can be proud of. Instead, I feel ashamed.

3) Guantanamo Provides Free Universal Health care to It's Detainees: I suppose I'm glad that Guantanamo provides health care to its detainees. That's one positive thing I've heard about Guantanamo. However, in quintessential Michael Moore flair, he demonstrated how absurd it is that 911 rescue workers are receiving worse medical care than alleged members of Al-Qaeda.

Now, I understand that this comparison was made for dramatic effect, but I have to say, it worked. This does not lead me to conclude, however, that we should take the health care away from the suspected terrorists at Guantanamo (many of whom are innocent, but that's the subject of another post). Rather, it leads me to conclude that if we see fit to provide our alleged enemies with health care, shouldn't we see fit to provide all members of our society with at least the same level of care?

* * *

There are more things that I learned from Sicko, but my glands are feeling swollen and sore, my head is feeling swimmy, and the NyQuil is beginning to kick in. I have to go to bed. If you haven't seen the film, go see it and let me know what you think.

What about you? What do you think about our health care system?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Me and My Rebellious Alter Ego Are Free!

My tortured attempt at a six-week weightloss program has finally come to an end. What a relief. I had my last my appointment with my nutritionist yesterday and it went something like this (similar to how it had gone the last 4 weeks):

Nutritionist: How did you do?

BC: Bad. I cheated almost every day, didn't write anything down, and just had a big lunch with dessert. I also had wine last night, a brownie, and pinkberry late at night, and the night before had 3 Bacardi and diet cokes.

Nutritionist: (smiling and at a loss) BC, Really?

I weighed myself with slight trepidation, knowing that I did not feel "skinny," and confirmed that feeling when the scale flashed 135 in big, glowing, red numbers. That's about 5 pounds less then when I started the diet, and about 7 pounds more than I ultimately want to weigh. It didn't phase me that much because over the weekend I had been consistently weighing 131 pounds (does anyone else's body fluctuate so dramatically?). The nutritionist congratulated me on losing 5 pounds (and for what we think is really more like 7 as a result of random weight fluctuations and temporary water/waste weight gain), and then we started talking about why I had not been sticking to the diet. Because, seriously, I was the worst on this diet. The. Worst. Em says I was the "problem child" of the program and she's right.

I got several positive things out of the program. I lost some extra weight, got back in the gym, started thinking about what I was eating, and came up with some healthy options for meals and snacks. But, in causing me to really think about what I was eating and why, the program also pushed pretty much every single food issue I have out onto the table. Food issues have dominated my last four therapy sessions, and have also been the source of innumerable conversations with friends of late. On the program, I developed a number of unhealthy habits such as weighing myself approximately 7 times a day and thinking about weight and calories all the time.

I also started to rebel, massively. My wilful fudgsicle consumption is a perfect example of my blatant rebellion. I didn't even try to stop myself from eating the entire box. I just did it because I wanted to and someone had told me not to. Someone also told me I couldn't eat wine, fun alcoholic drinks, chocolate, candy, chickpeas, peas, beets, sugar, carrots, or too much soy, and I didn't like that.

Last week, my nutritionist told me to completely cut out sodium. Her instructions were very clear: NO SALT. That was a Wednesday. Do you know what I did on Thursday? I made myself a large bowl of air-popped popcorn with 1 tblsp butter, salt, curry powder, and cayenne pepper (Indian-style, the way I like it) and ate it for dinner. I was craving salt like mad and it was absolutely delicious. I also didn't overeat or make myself sick so it was totally fine. I brought this up to my nutritionist yesterday and she kind of sighed and smiled again, and then admitted that a bowl of air-popped popcorn and a mango (I had also had a mango) was a low-calorie meal and that "once in a while" it was fine (at which point the ravenous, scary, and super intense 16 year old inside of me jumped up and started shaking her fist, threatening to eat air-popped popcorn ALL THE TIME!!!).

Shortly after I told her the air-popped popcorn story, the nutritionist asked me, seemingly out of a genuine sense of curiosity, "Do these rebellion issues come up everywhere in your life, or only in food?" Good question, right? I'm still thinking about it, but I told her, and I think it's right, that the rebellion issues only come up with food. And, even with respect to food, they're a new thing. Before, I used to eat pints of ice cream on occasion as a reward, to procrastinate, or because I was depressed, but as an act of open rebellion (against who?), no. In fact, I can't remember ever using food to rebel before I started this diet.

(Which is making me ponder whether and to what extent I've rebelled in other areas in my past, but I'm going to have to save that for another post).

This whole development (although I'm sure it relates positively to my emotional and psychological growth as a human being) of using food to rebel, is somewhat unfortunate. This diet seems to have unleashed this rebellious force within me, a force in the form of a 16-year-old alter ego who's balanced on a razor sharp edge between silence and impassioned and indignant rage, who goes ballistic at the faintest whisper of deprivation or grumble of hunger, who can not be controlled, who bristles at the idea of control and wants to ram it down the throat of whomever it is she identifies as attempting to exert the control, who has the power to stomp all over my rules and efforts at self-restraint with her grit-encrusted combat boots, and who can eviscerate my willpower with a single, defiant glance. It's funny how food raises control issues, isn't it?

I'm hoping my alter ego won't feel so put upon now that the diet is over, now that there's not a nutritionist telling her what to do, or the specter of a weekly weigh-in to piss her off. However, I'm slightly worried that she'll continue to feel rebellious and will, in the absence of the nutritionist, see me (and the parts of me that want to be healthy and focused), as the last remaining enemy on the block. She's powerful and if she wants to go to war, I'm pretty sure she'll win. If she wants me to be all rolley-poley and filled with chocolate, so be it. My only hope is that I think she rather likes it when we're all strong and skinny, and feeling sexy and good. I think we want the same things... But, maybe not. Maybe she just wants to eat fudgsicles all day. I really have no idea. She's a mystery.

Time will tell. But, for the moment, I think I'm as relieved as she is that we're done with the stupid diet. Yay!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Beastie Boys Still Intergalactic

Last night, I went with Em to the Beastie Boys' concert in Central Park at Summer Stage. They're all about 40 years old, which is frightening because that means I'm (gasp) at least 30-ish!, but they sounded exactly the same as they did when they first started rapping about fighting for the right to party and wanting girls in the kitchen. They were great and Em and I had a blast.

I have vivid memories of lobster bakes during one summer in the early '90s when my brothers were totally obsessed with the "Girls" song and played it non-stop, I think in part in a misguided effort to piss me off. We had a deck off the back of our house and a big backyard that lead up to our pool. Along one area there was a stone wall and my brother Frey had removed stones from a section of the wall and fashioned a fire pit over which we used to heat up an enormous pot filled with lobsters, potatoes, and corn. We had a stereo out on the deck, and for that summer "Girls" was on nearly constant repeat. Up in my room, laying out by the pool, sitting on the deck, doing my nails, reading a book, watching TV, all I heard was:

Girls! To do the dishes,
Girls! To clean up my room,
Girls! To do the laundry,

Girls! And in the bathroom,
That's all I really want is girls!
Two at a time,
I want girls!
With new wave hairdos,
I want girls!
I ought to whip out my -
Girls, girls, girls, girls, girls!

It's an infectious song, and even though I at first pretended to dislike it, by the end of the summer I loved it. Plus, it's all about them loving girls. Putting aside the obvious references to girls performing traditional female labor, serving as sex objects, and the joys of having them two at a time, I think secretly and subversively the song is about the power of girls. The Beastie Boys say it themselves, all they really want is girls. More indisputable proof that deep-down men really can't live without us.

The Beastie Boys also evoke vivid memories of the second summer after I graduated from college, when I was living up in Boston with Drummer, sharing his bed, his room in a 4 bed-room house in Jamaica Plain, ideas and our selves, and everything else in 1998. It was the summer of "Hello Nasty" and Soul Coughing's "El Oso." I was bar-tending, gardening, selling clothes in a consignment shop on Newbury Street, working for a lesbian-owned sound company, seeing shows all the time, eating ice cream at J.P. Lick's, painting and drawing in the afternoons, getting over a friendship that had fallen apart, and struggling with whether to pursue law school and what I imagined (rightly) would be akin to working for "the man."

I had almost no money - neither of us did - but felt like I didn't need it. I lived in some t-shirts and a pair of shorts, wore almost no make-up, didn't get my hair done, and felt free, relaxed, in tune with myself, and in tune with what was important in the world. All of which is rather perplexing from my current vantage point, but also quite alluring. I was so young and hopeful and my heart was in the right place. It was before that relationship ended, before Law School, before Ex-Bf, before the Law Firm From Hell, and before I picked myself up and changed everything (much of which you witnessed, my beautiful, supportive friends).

When I hear "intergalactic," like I did last night (which was awesome by the way), I imagine myself as I was back then and I see everything I didn't know. I want to beam myself back in time so that I can go tell my younger self, "A lot is going to happen, but it's going to be okay. Enjoy it now. Don't stress, don't be anxious, it will all be okay." I want to tell my younger self that the relationship with Drummer won't work, that she's going to love law school, that she's going to make many incredible, enriching friendships, that she's going to become an Auntie and become really close to Bean, that Bean's going to be okay, that her relationships with Ex-Bf is going to hurt a lot, and that working for a big law firm is not for her. (I could try to tell her not to go out with Ex-Bf and not to go work for the Firm From Hell but she would probably ignore the advice, and I suspect that if I hadn't learned those lessons one way, I would have learned them another equally painful way - so it's probably for the best that time travel is currently impossible).

I told an abridged version of that to Em last night in the middle of the concert, and then I started thinking about it. If that's true, that I would go back in time and tell my younger self not to worry because everything was going to be okay, then it must mean that I think every thing's okay now. That was something of a revelation, and it made me happy to realize that overall that's genuinely how I feel, happy about where things are in the present. That's not to say that I don't stress, because as you all know, of course I do!

It also made me think that if that's what I would tell my younger self, then maybe I should be taking that advise now. Presumably, 5 years from now an older version of myself will be looking back at me thinking, "If I could go back in time I would tell her 'A lot is going to happen, but it's going to be okay. Enjoy it now. Don't stress, don't be anxious, it will all be okay.'"

It's all about being present, relaxing, enjoying life in the moment, letting go of the past, and not worrying about the future. All easier said than done, but since that's what I would tell my younger self, and it's what I'm fairly certain my older self would tell me now, clearly it's what I should attempt to do. Maybe then my older self, five years from now, instead of feeling like she wished she could go back in time, would instead be off somewhere enjoying herself, thinking fondly of the time many years ago when she learned to accept and enjoy life for what it is.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Fake Crab

Do you know what imitation crab meat is made of?

According to Ask Yahoo!, imitation crab meat (which I just ate in my salad for lunch) is made of Alaskan Pollack fish which is skinned, deboned, ground into a thick paste, and then combined with the following ingredients: Sugar, sorbitol, wheat or tapioca starch, egg whites, vegetable or soybean oil, (for form), natural and artificial crab flavorings, carmine, caramel, paprika, and annatto extract (for color). It's ridiculously high in sodium.

I can't believe I thought I was picking a healthy lean protein choice. I suppose the "imitation" part of the imitation crab meat should have tipped me off.

I'm supremely grossed out.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Date Antidote For Chocolate Addicted Personality Disorder ("CAPD")

Wow, thanks for all the support and great ideas about my apartment! I can see that the black mold really freaked y'all out. Me too! You guys truly are the best. I love and appreciate all of your comments so much. Thank you!! Candyminx, I'm totally buying a mini-pedicure tub. Awesome idea.

* * *

This past weekend was so-so. It limped by on Saturday, owing in part to the fact that I completely and catastrophically BINGED Friday night and was still in a food coma and too ill to rouse myself into action on Saturday. OK, so it wasn't "catastrophic." I mean that's being a little dramatic. It was however 12 fudgsicles, some cottage cheese, blueberries, and a pile of cherries. Twelve Fudgsicles! And you thought eight was bad!!

Actually, after just re-reading that post, I, err, don't think I even told you I had eaten 8 in an earlier binge. Dang it. Well, the truth is out now. As I said, fudgsicles should come with a warning label. A huge one, similar to the skull and cross bones that the Senator in "Thank You For Smoking" wanted to put on the front of cigarette packages. Except the skull and cross bones should be an obese person who is at least 800 pounds, like a "Feedie," who has sacks of flesh hanging down their legs pooling around their ankles. Or better yet, that naked guy from the Borat movie who rolled around the bed with Borat and gave me an image of what some men look like that I'm still trying in vain to forget.

So... I binged and I don't know why. I had had a great week, a good day, and had just come from seeing the Bourne Ultimatum with Em (it was AWESOME by the way). Life was good, I was craving something sweet, and after foregoing my usual junior mints at the movies I felt like I deserved something sweet. I was feeling so good and strong that I conned myself into thinking that I could handle buying a box of fudgsicles and eating just one.

Hah! I showed Me! To Me's horror, I ate the whole box. That'll show Me next time she thinks about tempting us like that. Humph.

... But, that's not the whole truth. It's the truth, but it's not the whole truth. The whole truth is that in addition to feeling happy and good about myself, I was also feeling just the slightest bit ... discouraged about other things in my life. I was feeling a tad blue. It was Friday night, I was home by 12:30 am, had no one to snuggle with, my friends were all going out of town for the weekend, and me with no date for Saturday night. Need I say more? It's funny how your feelings can ping-pong around so rapidly from one day to the next, or maybe that's just me?

Anyway, why did I not leave town with my friends, you ask? Why did I not have a date for Saturday night? In response to the first question, I could have left the city and gone to the Hamptons or out to Long Island but I didn't want to. Instead, I wanted to stay in the city, get some good rest, and go running in Central Park both days. I was really tired from last week and needed to chill. I also didn't want to eat a lot of junk, and I didn't want to get trashed. My intentions were pure, productive, and positive. It's in the actions that everything fell apart.

Now, on to the second question, the date-less issue. I suppose there are many reasons why a relatively good-looking and fairly spectacular human being like myself would not have a date on a Saturday night. I mean, I'm only in this boat with thousands of fantastic women all over New York (and the rest of the country). A lot of the reasons have to do with the fact that this 32-year old has standards, isn't into meaningless hook-ups, divides men into the kissable and non-kissable category and in the past has only gone out with the former, refrains from dating cocky male-chauvinist pigs, and would rather be alone then spend her time with someone she wasn't interested in.

Putting those reasons aside, the two other main reasons I didn't have a date last Saturday night were that (1) I had been putting my dating energy into texting with a dashing though unavailable 42-year old who's currently living in California, and (2) I had refrained from seriously considering going out with anyone from, mainly because all of the internet prospects were dull, old, totally incompatible, or not cute at all (and I was crushing on IP - the dashing 42-year old).

Now that I've dragged you through this tortured post about binging and boys, allow me to leave you with something positive. This week, I decided things were going to be different. I am not going to be a slave to my ping-ponging emotions, and I am not going to drown my sorrows in fudgsicles, at least not for another month. Instead, I resolved this afternoon that this was the week that I was going to go on a date with some lucky gentleman from Yep, this week's the week.

As of two hours ago, I had 2 dates set up, one for tomorrow night, and the second one for Friday, and I'm angling for a third. The best part of all of this is that all three guys, at least from their pictures, emails, and profiles seem cute, interesting, and relatively cool. Maybe they do exist in cyberspace?

Take that fudgsicles! Take that Me! We're going on 2 dates, maybe 3. You're sneaky, but even you couldn't find the time to binge on that schedule.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Apartment Angst

Remember way back in December, approximately 7 months ago, when I was all happy about moving into my new place after leaving the Ex's? And then, remember when Sven moved in and I thought it was going to be a positive aspect of the summer?

Well, those days are long gone.

Gone, gone, gone.

I feel a an anti-apartment rant coming on. Here goes:

I am sick to death of having no air-conditioning, of the constant whir of fans, of my body being slick with sweat as I lie half-naked in bed with no covers on trying in vain to fall asleep.

I'm sick of the cramped quarters, of not having a real closet, of my clothes ending up everywhere because they have no place to be, of the tiny beat-up table tucked away in the corner that I use as a "desk" for my computer, of all the unpacked boxes I have crammed under the bathroom counter because they don't fit anywhere else.

I'm sick of the leak in the ceiling that happens every time it rains.

I'm sick of the grimy shower with its falling tiles, the holes that reveal what can only be massive growths of black mold, the way the mold spreads across the floor and forces me to clean it all the time or wear flip-flops like I was taking a shower in a nasty school locker room instead of in my own home, and the 3 x 3 space that makes it nearly impossible and always awkward to shave my legs.

I am sick to death of not having a bath tub. Sick, sick, sick. I miss my Kiss My Face Stress Relief bubble bath. I miss soaking. I miss shaving with my legs stretched out luxuriously over a sea of fluffy foam.

I'm sick of having to cover all the windows for fear that someone could be lurking out on the roof on the other side of the aluminum box that I live in.

I'm sick of having a torture chamber for a basement. I'm sick of being too afraid to throw the garbage away, and I'm so sick of being unable to do laundry unless I walk a block down the street.

I'm sick of the 5-floor walk-up.

I'm sick of the upper east side, of having to walk 12 minutes to the subway every single day, of $16 cab rides home from anywhere decent, of being in an area where my friends rarely want to visit, of not being downtown or on the upper west side or anywhere else in New York where things are much cuter, cooler, and convenient.

I'm completely and utterly sick of subletting. I hate being surrounded by all of these things that are not mine. I'm sick of her coach, her TV holder, her too-small coffee table, her plates and utensils, her paintings. I'm sick of dealing with her every month, and I'm sick to death of the fact that she's charging Rumi and me an extra $500 each month. Bitch.

I'm really, really sick of having a room mate. Rumi was awesome, Sven's not. I'm sick of checking the peephole as I'm unlocking the door to see if there's a light on in the apartment signifying Sven's presence. I'm sick of coming home and finding him making out with random girls on the couch that I used to relax on after a long day at work. I'm sick of his things, his food, and his mess. I'm really sick of him using my pans to cook meat. I'm sick of him watching TV late at night, leaving movies on when he takes a girl into his room to make out with her, and always being here.

I'm sick of things not being neat, not being perfectly clean, and just looking dingy.

Above all else, I'm just sick of not having my own place. I'm sick of not having control, of having to share and be considerate, of not being able to decorate, of being limited in what space I can take up, in not having anything organized the way I want it to be, of having this apartment feel like an aggravation instead of the cute refuge that my home used to feel like to me.

I need a new place.

Friday, August 03, 2007


This week was intense, filled with a lot of working and playing hard, and now that it's finally Friday I find myself filled with relief at the prospect of a weekend to chill, relax, work-out, eat healthy, and catch up on some much-needed sleep.

I went out every single night this past week, after going out four nights in a row last weekend with IP. Monday I went out to dinner with a co-worker, Tuesday I had therapy and a facial (which sounds relaxing and didn't include drinking which was a plus, but also did not constitute an evening of unadulterated downtime), Wednesday I went out with my co-workers to a fabulous sit-down wine tasting dinner followed by bar-hopping, copious amounts of alcohol, and a massive lime-throwing war (don't ask), and last night I had the first meeting of a book club that I recently started with a friend of mine in which we discussed Jane Eyre (excellent).

All fun, but I'm exhausted! Add to that a relatively stressful week at work, and I'm really exhausted, and in desperate need of some solid down-time.

It was funny because last night, while I was flying up the East side in a cab after just finishing up my book club meeting, I happened to look out the window and catch site of a Blockbuster and I was suddenly filled with a wave of nostalgia and an inexplicable feeling of longing. It was as if the fleeting image of the Blockbuster had conjured up some pleasurable, relaxing memory of the past that I had somehow forgotten or lost. Thinking about it, trying to place the feeling of longing, wondering what it was that I was remembering that was making me feel a sense of yearning, I realized that the last time I was in a Blockbuster was almost two years ago.

During my first year in New York, I used to go all the time. After moving to the city, not knowing anyone and not having much time to do anything except for work, one of the few things I did for pleasure, along with wandering through the city and visiting museums, was to watch movies. During that time, my first year in the city, I was quite lonely. Back then I keenly felt the emptiness left behind from everything that was missing in my daily life, including friends, activities outside of work, relationship prospects

A typical week back then included working the entire week with no breaks and oftentimes no human contact beyond work associates (one of whom was Dragon Lady), breaking down on Saturdays, and then picking myself up and trying to make something positive out of the last few hours of freedom left to me on Sunday. It was a very difficult period for me, and I never would have dreamed that almost two years later I would have found myself looking back at any part of it with a sense of longing.

Astounded as I was, I sat for a second with the feeling of longing as the reflections of the city lights flashed across the window of the cab and the reflection of my face mirrored there, and thought for a moment about how far I've come since that time when movies served as poor, but much-appreciated, substitutes for human contact. Now, almost two years later, I have a job and friends in the city that I love, too many activities to fit in each week, and hardly any time to do laundry, much less to rent a movie.

Comparing the two, I'd have to say that I choose the present state of exhaustion over the past state of loneliness, hands down. But, just for old times sake - and because I have a massive crush on him - the only thing I'm planning for this weekend (so far) is to go watch my man Jason in the Bourne Ultimatum.

Art found here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Zenning Out

If you're sick of me talking about dating, skip this post. If you're not, read on!

As of today, I'm adopting a new aspirational goal in terms of my dating philosophy: I am going to be zen about dating. Zen, zen, zen. From here on out, Buttercup + Dating = ZEN!! (Imagine a chorus of red-robed monks raising their voices to the heavens and crying zeeeeeeeeennnnnn in perfect chanting harmony).

I know a lot of you are shaking your heads incredulously at what you no doubt imagine will be a fleeting sentiment on my part. You're aware of my penchant for over-analyzing everything, for parsing texts and spoken words, for agonizing over the possible meanings behind a delayed call or text back, and for constantly pondering the meaning behind the smallest actions or omissions.

It's true, I'm guilty as charged of all of those things. Although those are all facets of my personality, and in fact part of my considerable charm, I'm personally sick of the knots in my stomach, I'm sick of the worrying, and I've decided that the over-analyzing MUST END. It's either this, or I get out of the dating game now and resign myself to a life of spinsterhood (which frankly, when compared to the knots in my stomach looks quiet peaceful and appealing).

Now, in terms of what it means to be "zen" in dating, as this is a new concept for me, I'm still figuring that out (and I'm open to ideas). For starters, I'm going to try to channel my thoughts into the now instead of worrying about possible future repercussions of this that or the other [insert dating issue]. I'm also going to try to focus less on how the male in question might be perceiving things, and more on what I want in the present. I'm going to try to have faith that all of this will work out eventually, and focus on having fun in the present.

How's that for a philosophy? What's your dating philosophy? (Or, for you taken types, what was your dating philosophy?)

Art found here.