Merry Christmas to all

And so it arrives, faster than ever, sneaking up on me every year. It's never a surprise, yet I'm never quite ready. There's always something left undone, always some loose-end. Unavoidable, no matter how well I prepare. Every year I vow to start Christmas shopping in July, and every year Christmas Eve finds me in a near frenzy.

So before another silent night passes into the history books, and I'm left wading knee-deep in the detritus of holiday revelry, I'd like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

And to all, a good night.


Will run for food..

I'm standing on the boardwalk, the cold wind is biting into my reddened cheeks and my eyes are watering mercilessly. The surf is rolling in the distance, and the wooden planks beneath my feet are thrumming with the rhythm of eager footsteps. Does this all seem a little familiar?

So, as if it wasn't enough for my sweetie to begin the running season with a gust of icy wind in his face, he's decided to end his season with one as well. On a chilly Sunday morning, we made our way to the Cosme's Coney Island 5K Turkey Trot, for what we believed would be a spirited and entertaining competition. What we encountered instead were about sixty hardy souls shivering on the boardwalk, waiting for the race to begin.

As I surveyed the group, I picked out one or two individuals who appeared to be capable of besting my beloved in this footrace, and I immediately became confident that we would once again be bringing home some 'hardware'. And then I remembered! A glance at the race brochure confirmed my growing apprehension. For this particular race, the prize, awarded to the first three finishers of both sexes was - A BUTTERBALL TURKEY.

Yes indeed, I had forced myself from a warm, comfy bed, to travel to the very edge of the city, to watch my boyfriend run 3.1 miles for fourteen pounds of frozen poultry. Always being one to make the best of a bad situation (stop giggling), I began quietly planning the methods by which I could thaw, butcher and cook the bird in question within a 12 hour period. The reason for such a rush was two-fold:
  1. Our refrigerator is 3 feet tall, and I wasn't willing to gamble that it could safely house such a large item, and

  2. Even if it could fit in the fridge, it would thaw just in time for Thanksgiving, when we would be about thirty miles away in the process of consuming another turkey, lovingly prepared by the future mother-in-law.
So, I had to find a way to mitigate the sheer 'turkeyness' of our situation. It goes without saying that I entertained the thought of asking my boyfriend to come in 4th on purpose, and lest you think me a vile shrew for even allowing such a thing to enter my mind, my lovely speed-demon confided in me after the race that he also seriously considered slowing to a crawl once the finish-line was in sight, and the prospect of having to eat nothing but turkey-based meals for the next five days became a very strong possibility.

Yet there he was, effortlessly sailing across the finish line in third place. Our fate was sealed, and so was my plan. The wings and back would be made into a stock, the legs and thighs would be stewed, and the breast would be roasted whole. As we rode the subway home, with a rock-hard bird at our feet, desperately searching the eyes of our fellow passengers for the tiniest shred of envy, longing, or even hunger, eager for any opportunity to spring forth, turkey in outstretched arms and proclaim "Please take this, you look like you need it more than we do!" reality tightened around my heart. We were stuck with this bird, and there was nothing, short of tossing it in the garbage, that we could do to get rid of it.

For the next two hours, I crouched over the frozen mass, running warm water over it, first in the bathtub, then in the sink, coaxing, clawing and heaving its joints into fluidity.

Here I must strenuously interject that this is a highly dangerous method of thawing raw meat, and should never be attempted in any situation - do as I say, not as I do!

Once freed from the ice, it was only a matter of minutes before the various parts were severed, seasoned and dispatched to their various cooking vessels, and I was able to collapse, wild-eyed and trembling, into the sofa for a few restless hours, to await the outcome of my efforts.

It has been one week since that fateful day, and not including Thanksgiving night, we have consumed a total of six turkey meals each. And to my surprise, each and every one of them was absolutely delicious. But tasty or not, there are limits as to how much gobble-gobble a girl can gobble in a week. The few remaining shreds of meat will be discarded tonight (I've been afraid to open the fridge for the last few days). And this story will become fodder for drunken conversations for many months to come. Until the next Turkey Trot, when I will be fully prepared, crouched on the boardwalk, bee bee gun in hand, aiming carefully and steadily at my boyfriend's kneecaps.


Oh crap!

I just found out that November is National Blog Posting Month. Oh well, maybe next November.


at x-large?

A few weeks ago, while I was clearing out a bookshelf, I came upon a chart I had created over ten years ago to document the progress of a weight-loss regimen. At that time, I was approaching a 'milestone' birthday, and having decided that I was unacceptably overweight, I propelled myself into a serious diet and exercise plan, fastidiously recording every morsel I ate and drank, every weight I lifted and every mile I ran. My plan was an amazing success, and I showed up for my birthday celebration looking more fabulous than I ever had in my entire life. I was lean, I was fit, my body was smokin', slammin' and all the other adjectives that one could possibly apply to a woman as stunning as I was.

Then, something happened. I'm not quite sure when, or how, because I didn't actually witness the event myself. If pressed for an explanation, I can only conclude that sometime in the past ten years, my brain was removed from my body, kicked about on the floor for a while, then placed snugly into the cranium of someone 50 pounds heavier. Strangely, I bear no surgical scars from this procedure, so I can only deduce that this was the work of an alien civilization far more advanced than the human race. I can only speculate as to their reasoning for this macabre experimentation. Perhaps they wanted to document the effects of this transformation on the human mind, and I'm sure they were soundly disappointed by my chosen response of ignoring the whole thing and pretending it never happened. "Just how silly is this human?" they must have wondered "Hasn't she noticed that she's gone from petite flower to roly-poly pumpkin overnight?"

Well, quite honestly, no, I didn't notice!!!! Or rather, my conscious self didn't notice (but that part of my brain was probably damaged in the kicking-about-the-floor bit). For quite a long while, I seemed to carry the weight quite well, or so I've deluded myself into thinking. None of my friends or family ever commented on the weight-gain, and they're usually the first to pipe up about that sort of thing. The only evidence, it seems, was photographic. My reflection in the mirror never revealed the true gravity of the situation to me, but over the years, the snapshots would show and extra bump here and there (especially THERE) that my addled mind would simply dismiss as photographic artifacts - an odd camera angle, the lighting not-quite-right.

Slowly but surely, the veil of denial was being lifted. Clothes didn't fit anymore, construction workers didn't whistle anymore (but seventy year-old Puerto Rican men still find me very attractive - go figure), and little health problems started popping up. And then I found that chart, and gazing at my 'unacceptably' heavy starting weight with ENVY, the truth was finally hammered home.

Of course, knowing you're too fat and actually doing something about it are two entirely different things. I've had many little weight loss victories in that 10 year interim, but each one was progressively more difficult to achieve, and totally impossible to maintain. The tactics that had been wildly effective on my young, nimble frame were barely making a dent in my lumbering carcass as I slouched towards middle-age.

"You're too gung-ho!" argues my significant other, "You do too much, too fast, injure yourself so badly you can't work out, and then you're back to square one". And he's absolutely right, of course. His logic is impeccable, but logic and desperation rarely go hand-in-hand, and true to form, I've gone off once again on some poorly defined diet and exercise plan that after only a few days is showing significant signs of decay. And the only reason I haven't injured myself this time around is because I am so enfeebled that I am unable to do anything intense enough to cause damage! How pathetic is that?

But even in the face of near-certain failure, I must persevere. The mountain grows ever higher and the rock grows ever heavier, but I must continue to push, or I will most certainly be crushed - and trust me, nobody wants to have to clean up that mess!


I remember the sky

I remember the sky, six years ago today, was an almost otherworldly shade of blue. I remember stepping off the unfamiliar crosstown bus, not wanting to be late for my software training, but stopping anyway, and removing my sunglasses for a moment to look up. The sky was perfection, not a trace of cloud, and an amazing crystalline clarity that is highly uncommon in the summer months.

I remember scurrying into the lobby of the ABC News building, eager to get the class over with, so that I could escape early, and luxuriate in a few precious hours of daylight before returning to the regular workday drudge that the rest of the week would bring.

I remember looking up at the jumbo television screens in the lobby, and seeing a tower in flames, and asking myself "What movie is this? and why is ABC broadcasting it at this hour? shouldn't the news be on now?" I remember the fog of surreality descending upon me when I was informed that "This IS the news!", that somebody had crashed a small airplane (that was the story at the time) into the World Trade Center. I remember thinking that it was an awfully huge fire for a small airplane, and hoping that the casualties were few.

I remember sitting in class, entirely distracted by people running back and forth in the corridors, but trying very hard to concentrate on what the instructor was saying. I remember a hurried knock, and the door flying open, and someone breathlessly announcing that another plane had crashed into the second tower, that this wasn't an accident, that we were under attack.

I remember frantically calling my boyfriend, whose daily commute took him directly under the World Trade Center, and gratefully finding him running late for work, but staring in horror at his TV screen.

I remember crowded buses, panicked phonecalls, stunned, silent crowds moving, ghost-like over bridges and down hollow avenues. I remember sheets of paper, charred around the edges, descending into the streets of my Brooklyn neighbourhood, a testament to the labours of the minds that were suddenly torn from this world. I remember the smell, like the angry, persistent fume of a pot that's been left on the stove to boil dry. The heated, metallic stench that hung in the air for weeks.

I remember the plume of debris that violated that perfect, infinite veil of blue. The irreparable gouge in the firmament, belching forth ashes, tears, horror, agony and death. Visible from space, and hanging, like the end of life itself, over every breath, over every thought, over every hope and prayer, and lingering like a the imprint of a flashbulb flare in my vision, in every cloudless blue sky I have seen since that moment.

I remember the sky.

Dedicated to the memory of firefighter George Cain, Ladder 7, Manhattan


Bad, bad blogger

Yes, I have been delinquent, and I apologize most profusely for not posting more often. But it's not been for lack of material. In fact, lately I seem to have too many ideas/opinions/observations bouncing around in my brain and I appear to be in the throes of a mental traffic jam.

So, as soon as I can get my thoughts to line up in an orderly manner (or at least stop bumping into each other) I will return to regularly scheduled programming.


Oh, say, can you see..

..by the dawn's early light..

So, on the 4th of July, I'm up at the crack of dawn (about 5 a.m.) trying desperately to wake my seemingly comatose boyfriend while packing my beach bag and trying to ignore the ominous clouds gathering in the cold sky. Yes, it was madness, but there was indeed a method to it. The aforementioned boyfriend had signed up for a 4K race on the boardwalk at Long Beach, Long Island, and the only way to make the 8:30 start was to be on the very first train of the day. We were also hoping, weather permitting, to enjoy a little sand and surf after the race. The weather reports made it abundantly clear that we were hoping against hope, but it was Independence Day, damn it, and there was no room for pessimism in our emotional arsenal.

Eventually, I was able to extract my sweetheart from the tangle of blankets and pillows and set him to packing and getting into his racing gear. We made the train with plenty of time to spare, but naturally, the employees of the Long Island Rail Road did not know, or care to know about the urgency of our situation, and decided to operate our train at the slowest possible speed, possibly in protest of being forced to work on a national holiday. This precipitated a little pre-race sprint from the train station to the boardwalk, with me in flip-flops, with a painful case of plantar fasciitis, and lugging a very unwieldy (and totally unnecessary) beach bag.

I am quite happy to report that our efforts did not go unrewarded. My boyfriend won first place in his age group, and 8th place overall out of a field of 363 runners. These accolades were accompanied by some lovely hardware, which now sits proudly atop our television.

Since we had both worked up quite an appetite (he, from blazing up and down the boardwalk at a blistering pace, and I, from grasping frantically at the railings to keep from being blown into the dunes by the gale-force winds), we headed back in the direction of the train station for a delicious brunch at a local diner. As I finished up my glass of iced tea, I stared out the window at the darkening sky and the trees being whipped back and forth, wanting nothing more than to collapse into a three-seater row on the next departing train and be lulled to sleep by the sound of the engine. But it was not to be.

..thro' the perilous fight..

With salvation from the cold wind just within our grasp, my sweetie, no doubt still high from 'the thrill of victory' recommended a return to the beach, and I, no doubt still high from the corned beef hash with two eggs, home-fries, bacon and butter-drenched toast, agreed to give it a try. Half an hour later, as I lay crouched behind my beach bag, buffeted by high winds and sea spray and assaulted by frequent showers of sand kicked up by some horribly hyper-active little boy, I came to the realization, that I had been totally and utterly bamboozled. I bolted to my feet, and while scraping sand from my cleavage, began frantically signalling my boyfriend, who in some sort of adrenaline fueled fugue, was frolicking blissfully in the pounding surf like a pink, goose-pimply dolphin. I'd been intrepid enough for one day, and I was more than ready for a hot shower and a soft bed. As we beat a hasty retreat from the swirling sands, I was amazed to see that there were ever increasing throngs of people pouring out of each arriving train, and I hoped, for their sakes, that they really enjoyed the taste of sand.

And the rockets' red glare..

Back at the homestead, after a long, hot shower, I had hoped to sleep for a couple of hours before heading out to visit some friends of ours, who had invited us to dinner and to view the Macy's fireworks from their balcony. But in spite of my exhaustion, I lay wide awake, terrified that I would sleep through the alarm. The boyfriend did not share this anxiety. Before I had even stepped into the shower, he had already tumbled into bed, sandy and unwashed, and was snoring within a matter of minutes. As dusk, and rainclouds, descended, I again began the protracted exercise of waking the man, and, decked out in our holiday finery under our trusty raincoats, we ventured out yet again in search of fun. This time around, adversities were few and far between. We were treated to a delicious meal and wonderfully entertaining conversation, not to mention a great view of those amazing fireworks. Even the incessant honking of horns from the lunatics stuck in traffic on the street below seemed to add to the festivities. And miraculously, it never rained a drop at any time that we were outdoors, a phenomenon which is absolutely unheard of in normal life. Emboldened by our good fortune, I seized the opportunity to do some frolicking of my own, and insisted that we stop at a neighborhood bar on the way home. I knew I wouldn't be denied a nightcap, given the sacrifices I had made that day, but I do have my limits, and I was willing to call it a night around 1:30 in the morning.

And as I stumbled out into the world the following morning, with bleary eyes and aching bones, not quite ready to face the work day, I could honestly say that I had no regrets about how I spent my 4th of July. But I have been besieged since then by the grumbling of my friends who took one look at the weather forecast and decided to stay inside and do nothing, and are now wishing that they had made some attempt at making the day special. And while I have nothing at all against laying around like a lump, I think it should be a matter of choice, not necessity.

Though many may find the association rather trivial, days like yesterday are a reminder to me that there is nothing to be gained without some risk. Of course there's no real danger in getting sand in your hair, or losing a few hours sleep. But not all sacrifices we make in life are small, and certainly not all of them are rewarded, so we should appreciate the value of all the sacrifices we make, and the rare benefits we reap from them. Nothing ventured, nothing gained folks! After all, this is..

..the home of the brave!


Crazy from the heat!

In case you thought that the reason I haven't posted in so long is because I have been slaving away trying to create order out the piles of boxes, clothing and wayward furniture that have turned my apartment into a knee-gouging, hip-bruising odyssey of obstacles, allow me to disabuse you of such a belief.

I have been indulging most heartily in what is commonly described as 'goofing off'. Indeed, my office workload has not abated, and it is a rare occasion (such as this) when I have time to blog from my desk. But once I leave this building in the evening, pure silliness is the order of the day.

In the past few weeks, I've feasted on juicy brisket and pulled-pork sandwiches at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party, I've lounged on the grass while being serenaded by the likes of The Neville Brothers, and Joan Osborne, I've eaten and shopped my way through the mile-long Seventh Heaven Street Fair, and the list goes on and on. I've even managed to squeeze in some running in Prospect Park in an attempt to mitigate the effects of the never ending onslaught of calories.

On the agenda for tonight? "Rumble on the River" - outdoor boxing matches staged on the Hudson River waterfront. And I am just getting started!!

Do I feel guilty about having my house in the exact same state of disorder as when my boyfriend moved in three weeks ago? Certainly! But I would feel even more guilty about ignoring all of this brilliant sunshine. The world could blow up tomorrow, you know! Nobody ever lay on their death-bed wishing that they had taken that extra moment to Swiffer under the sofa. But I'd wager that many a soul has departed this world longing, just one more time, to feel warm sand between their toes, sunshine on their shoulders or the gentle, briny mist of ocean spray against their faces.

I will get back to my domestic responsibilities sometime soon (my knees just can't take any more battering), but I plan to pack a lot of dilly-dallying into the spaces between office work and house work this summer.

So kindly excuse me now, the Summer Solstice has just arrived, and I'm going outside to meet it.

Weather Update
Sadly, 'Rumble on the River' was a washout, as afternoon sunshine gave way to evening thunderstorms. No biggie, my calendar is still overflowing with lots of great ways to waste time this summer.


The thud heard 'round the world

It wasn't my plan to make any grave commentary on current events on this forum, but I found this particular experience so very unsettling that I felt I had to set it free from my mind:

While I was busy compressing time and space this weekend, a small bit of grist for the YouTube mill was coalescing on TV screens all over the world. Rachel Smith, the USA delegate at the 2007 Miss Universe competition slipped while traversing the stage and fell on her backside. I didn't watch the broadcast myself, I've grown rather weary of beauty pageants lately, and this year's lack of a Trinidad & Tobago delegate all but guaranteed that I would be paying no attention at all to the night's proceedings.

But even I, amid the jumble of boxes and disassembled furniture that have overrun my life, could not escape the news of the (in my opinion) unfortunate event. The general lack of decorum and hospitality exhibited by the Mexican audience was also a source of controversy.

Now, I am certainly not above the odd bout of schadenfreude (who doesn't appreciate the occasional proof that even the beautiful people aren't perfect), but it seemed that I was one of a tiny minority who didn't find the evening's developments all that funny. Good for a momentary embarrassed giggle perhaps, but not gut-busting hilarious by any means. And I most definitely thought the booing was in poor taste. It's a freakin' BEAUTY PAGEANT for crying out loud! Hardly the place for you to express your deeply entrenched loathing for a country that thousands of your citizens are fighting to live in on a daily basis.

But the thing I find most disturbing about this entire episode, is the realization that a lot of people found this entire event uproariously funny, until they learned that Miss USA is black! Lo and behold, the same people who were cackling with glee in between clicks of the 'replay' button are now speaking out in sympathy and regret at 'sistah' Rachel Smith's plight. And they don't seem the least bit conscious of the dramatic flip-flop that they've performed.

Am I so far out of the loop that I've failed to realise that racism and hypocrisy are no longer things to be ashamed of? Or maybe these people are trying to follow in Ms. Smith's footsteps - if you fall down, get up immediately, shake it off, and act like nothing happened. Well, it couldn't win Rachel a crown..


Mergers and Acquisitions

It's finally here! The long Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. All over the city, barbecue grills are flaring, flip-flops are flapping and you can almost hear the snap-snap-snap of a million tubes of sunblock flipping open. New York City is gearing up for fun in the sun. Lush, green spaces are beckoning, with grasses plump, cool and healthy from copious (and some would say excessive) doses of spring rain. The lunchtime crowd jostles daily for precious fountain-side seats. The very air, it seems, is trembling with anticipation.

But for me, at least for the next few days, anticipation is all I will have. You see, my boyfriend of many years, my sweetie, my honey bunny, my one and only, is moving in with me this weekend. And while the vast majority of Gothamites will be heading off to their summer retreats, sprawling their winter-pale bodies over every available inch of grass, consuming tremendous amounts of grilled meats, or raiding Old Navy for cargo shorts and tank tops, my sweetheart and I will be re-arranging furniture, packing and unpacking boxes, and sneezing our way through a truckload of dusty knick-knacks.

This move has been a long time in the making. I rejected the original plan of each of us vacating our apartments for a bigger space. The expense, and the trauma, would have been just too much for me at the time. But he kept pushing, and I kept rejecting, and finally he hatched a dastardly plan. If he moved in with me, he surmised, I would be so maddened by the cramped quarters and lack of privacy that I would eventually cave in and start searching for a bigger place for us to live. In the meantime, we would save money on rent and utilities, which will come in very handy for the inevitable rental deposit for our next 'crib'. In light of the fact that I've pondered a hundred different ways to fit all his worldly goods into my Hobbit-worthy domicile, and come up miserably short every time, I think the evil genius might be on to something.

But before we start thinking about the next big move, we've got to get this one out of the way. This weekend, I must become a master manipulator of space and time. I firmly resolve to have a place set aside for every scrap of clothing, every stick of furniture and every electronic monstrosity that he chooses to bring to the party. And I will do it all in the space of three short days, not because I want to prove I'm some kind of superwoman, but because I really don't want to risk tripping over a guitar and cracking my skull open when I get up to pee in the middle of the night.

Who knows, maybe we'll do such a good job that Memorial Day will actually turn out to be a real holiday for us. Or maybe we'll end up having to share the bed with a microwave and a set of stereo speakers. Whatever happens, we are determined to make it work. Summer is calling, and we're not about to let a few wayward appliances stand in our way.

Save me a hamburger!


Much Ado..

Just to give everyone a quick update:

The biopsy results are negative. Just some surface irritation that should go away eventually. I have to schedule another pap test in three months to make sure all is well.


Now I can get on with the business of having a fun (and very hectic) summer!

Thanks so much to everyone for your good wishes and support. It truly meant a lot to me.


The Phantom Debt

A couple of months ago, with the help and support of someone very dear to me, I became, for the first time in about 10 years, entirely debt-free.

Of course, there should be high-fives and abundant celebratory toasts at this momentous occasion. But instead of being at peace, and revelling in my new found financial freedom, I seem to have become downright terrified of spending money.

I can only compare this to the phenomenon that many amputees claim to have experienced, a sensation that the missing limb is actually still there! I still feel the weight of the appendage that I carried for over a decade. In fact, I've found myself checking my credit-card balance several times a week, each time believing that my burden would suddenly re-appear, and each time finding the balance at zero, and each time being strangely disappointed that there was no balance due. And I've taken to wringing my hands in anxiety over the 'extra' money in my bank account at the end of the month. Was there a bill I forgot to pay? A check that hasn't been cashed? Surely there must be something I've missed!

In the weeks leading up to my liberation, I made a very modest list of items that I planned to buy (with cash) when I finally reached my goal. But to this day, not a single item on the list has been acquired. I feel as if the slightest indulgence will send me spiraling into a sticky pit of finance charges and ever growing balances. I know this won't actually happen, but I can't seem to behave in a rational manner when it comes to spending money.

And why does this insanity not manifest itself at the supermarket, or the drugstore? I won't scramble to find the cheapest brand of cereal or toothpaste if the one I prefer is more expensive. But I'll be walking down the street in a pair of sandals that are about to fall apart, stop at the window of one of the many neighborhood shoe stores, stare longingly at the wonderfully colourful offerings on display, then just continue walking along - or rather, shuffling along - as if nothing had happened.

I know I'm going to crack sooner or later. Summer is just around the corner. The dresses are to-die-for, the sunglasses are Jackie-O-fabulous and don't even get me started on the handbags! But I think the splinter of ten years of debt is too deeply imbedded in my psyche to be shaken loose by a flashy pair of shoes. I'm very confident that I will be able to spend within reason, if and when I finally get started. Because even though I'm still feeling my phantom appendage, the joy of being debt-free is beginning to grow on me.


There's a little chunk of me floating around in a test tube somewhere..

The colposcopy was not as painful as I anticipated, but it was a lot messier! Results in about two weeks.


From the ashes

I am just emerging from a blistering, hectic week at work, followed by a Saturday replete with "I really should do [insert boring weekend chore here], but I'd rather take a nap" moments.

I will post again soon. I promise!


They say ignorance is bliss.

And it WAS, for a while, but sooner or later, reality was bound smack me in the head (or a more southerly body part, in this case). The results of my follow-up exam are abnormal.

So, in three weeks, I must submit to a colposcopy. For those who want extensive, clinical details about this procedure, click here. For those who do not, let's just say the doctor's going to poke around in my hoo-hah for a few minutes to see what the hell is going on down there.

It's NOT cancer, they told me, but they need to see if it's anything of concern. So I'm just gonna chill, and put this out of my mind until the time comes.

Yeah, right!


Test anxiety

Four months ago, a routine doctor's visit, a routine test, followed by the routine 'we'll send you the results in two weeks'. And the two weeks go by, and nothing. Did I miss the e-mail, did my answering machine go wonky? But hey, no news is good news, right?

Week three, there's the e-mail 'Results abnormal. Please schedule a follow-up appointment in three months.'

Abnormal? What does that mean? Is it minor? Is it serious? So I wonder, then I worry, then I scour the Internet. As they say - six of one, half a dozen of the other. For every article I read that scares me, there is another that eases my mind. But still, I worry, because I'm really good at it. And I ask a close friend. "Abnormal?" she says "No reason to panic. I've had those before!" And she goes on to say that they have to do X and they have to do Y, and then you're fine. No reason to worry. So I worry a little less each day. Things become all blurry in my head, and they stay that way for three months.

Then there is the reminder letter, and I schedule an appointment, and I wait, and I worry. And my appointment is cancelled due to an emergency. Doctors have emergencies all the time, you know.

So I make another appointment. And I wait, and I worry. And tomorrow, I will see the doctor, and he will perform the test, and in two weeks I will get an e-mail saying everything is normal, and I have nothing to worry about. And I will go on with the routine business of life. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.


The Joy of Pizza

So, the boyfriend announces that he is going out to dinner with a few co-workers tonight, and the first thought that runs through my mind is 'great, I don't have to cook tonight!' I was immediately disturbed by my reaction, simply because I count myself among the dwindling group of people who really LOVE to cook. And now I'm starting to wonder if I actually do love it anymore.

Back in my youthful and carefree days, I would often cook for fun, even for adventure. I remember peeling my first tomatillo as fondly as some people remember their first kiss. Cooking used to be a pleasure, a form of relaxation and most importantly, something I almost never had to do. Back then, I could exist on a diet of greasy take-out food without any fear that my waistline would expand, or my cholesterol skyrocket. But that was many years, and quite a few dress-sizes ago, and my culinary focus has turned to healthful, tasty, well-prepared foods that are pretty hard to come by in take-out form.

Back then, I think I would have jumped at the chance to be able to cook for a living. In hindsight, I'm glad I never got that chance. Over the years, I've come to realise that just the thought that I have to do something automatically makes it much less fun to do. Occasionally, cooking a meal is still a pleasant experience, when I don't have to watch the clock, or when I'm trying something new. But I really do appreciate having the choice, on some nights, between making bolognese and making a phone call.

So, unless I win the Lotto and can hire a full-time chef, or my metabolism retuns to that of a 20 year old, or my boyfriend suddenly becomes capable of handling a razor-sharp chef's knife in a way that doesn't make me want to rush for the first-aid kit, I will toil away in a kitchen, at least a few nights a week, for the rest of my active life. And every now and then, I suspect, I might just catch myself smiling.

That's all for now. There's a pepperoni slice on the kitchen counter, and it's getting cold.


Erin Go Bragh

Contrary to the results of this quiz, I'm probably MORE Irish than I think. As far as I know, I have no Irish ancestry whatsoever. But the love of my live is an Irish-American cutie, so I think that counts for something.

You're 45% Irish

You're probably less Irish than you think you are...

But you're still more Irish than most.


Spring has sprung?

Yesterday, the first verified wave of spring fever descended upon Gotham. The afflicted (myself among them) were easy to spot, parading in shirtsleeves and bare legs, as the temperature soared to a delightful 70 degrees. Even though New York City lucked out tremendously this year as far as winter weather goes, the frigid temperatures over the last few weeks left us itching, literally and figuratively, for balmier days.

But Mother Nature proves to be a fickle mistress indeed, for as I write, temperatures plummet, and a thin veil of snow-like precipitation begins to whiten the night sky. If forecasts are to be believed, it's possible that the city may be blanketed by six inches of the stuff within the next 24 hours, and we'll have to wait yet another week before temperatures venture back into flip-flop territory.

So I wait patiently. And from time to time, I console myself by gently stroking the crisp, white skirt that peeks ever so bashfully from the back of my closet. Soon, my pretty, soon....


with all due respect to christopher meloni

So, if I show up at my boyfriend's apartment with no makeup on, my hair in a bun, wearing an old t-shirt, baggy jeans and trainers, he immediately wants to go out for a night on the town! He wants a fancy dinner at a swanky restaurant, and a visit to the neighbourhood jazz club.

But if I'm fully made-up, with flawless hair and a dressy outfit, his reaction is usually this - "let's order in and watch some TV".

Is this his (not so) clever way of avoiding having to take me out? He knows there's no way in hell I'm setting foot in a nice restaurant or club looking busted. I'm just not that kind of girl. Or does he genuinely not care how I look when we go out? It his ill-timed exuberance just coincidental?

The next time he goes into couch-potato mode after I've gone through the trouble of applying liquid eyeliner, I'm putting my stiletto-clad foot down! I am not wrestling with a flatiron for half an hour so I can spend the rest of the night on the sofa watching 'Law & Order : SVU'.


Ponce de León, eat your heart out!

As I made my way home tonight from a mind-numbing day at the office, shivering and tired, I decided to stop in at the small supermarket near my apartment to pick up a six-pack of beer. With nothing more on my mind than how this small action would save me from having to trek out into the cold later on for the inevitable beer-run, I shuffled down the aisle and made my selection from the beer case.

I plunked the six-pack down on the cashier's counter and started rummaging through the bottomless pit that masquerades as my handbag when the cashier uttered a phrase that shocked me into a stupor:

"Can I see some I.D.?"

It seemed to take forever to fish that little laminated card out of my wallet, my hands were shaking so badly. What happened after that is a complete blur, because by the time I came to my senses, I was hanging up my coat in the living room.

Was that cashier completely insane? Or maybe she had poor eyesight? How else can I explain the fact that I've just been mistaken for someone half my age?

However.. there is one explanation that I would like to submit for your consideration, good people of the blogosphere. It may very well be that I have stumbled upon the fountain of youth. And its name is Yuengling.


moulting season

The good news: I lost about 2 pounds today.

The bad news: It was 100 percent skin!

I held out for as long as I could, slathering my body with gooey, oil-laden body-washes, applying handful after handful of thick creams, shunning the loofah, the pumice or any device or method that threatened to breach the ever so thin line between 'bronze, sun-showered goddess' and 'peeling reptilian hag'.

It's been 11 days since I returned from Trinidad, and, as is my custom after this annual pilgrimage, I have been living in denial of the natural process of skin renewal. Hoping to hold on to my deep almond glow for as long as possible, I abandoned my regular exfoliation regimen while my scrubby bath gloves lay neglected on the edge of the tub. But tonight in the shower, I bit the bullet, and scrubbed every reachable inch of my skin with reckless abandon. IT FELT GOOD!

Not wanting to immediately witness the resulting carnage, I remained cloistered in the the steamy bathroom for half an hour afterwards, coaxing drop after drop of body oil into my stripped epidermis, until I was satisfied that I had staved off the inevitable, itchy aftermath.

So here I sit, heavily oiled, swathed in toasty garments, and contemplating how I will react to the spectre of my naked, peeling self in tomorrow's cold morning light.

Please excuse me while I search for a suitable shroud for my wall mirror...