Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Rosa Mexicano!


Oh my, oh my I do so love this restaurant! I have hit all three Rosa Mexicano locations in New York City - but my favorite remains the original on First & 58. It's the warmest and homiest and though the other two, newer, locations are just as fabulous and the food is just as amazing - give me the homey, comfortable atmosphere at the original spot any time.

The first time I went was a couple of years ago on a date, to the Lincoln Center location. It was stunning, and delish but the guy I was with was pushing their specialty drink: the Pomegranate Margarita. I had just begun taking Zoloft - a month in or so - and I was waaaay to afraid to risk a drink. Here was this amazing wonder drug that I opted to try as an alternative to suicide - thanks to my big epiphany at, in my opinion, the best musical ever created
Wrong Way Up - and my doctor, and the drug's label, warned heavily against drinking alcohol while taking it. Because Zoloft is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor and alcohol messes with the serotonin there was no way in hell I was going to mess with the serotonin! This shit was keeping me ALIVE. Do I love Tequila? Well, hell yes people. Was it worth risking the benefits of the medication I was taking, hell NO! Sadly this fellow enjoyed his alcohol, which, you know is fine... but not when it makes you uncomfortable if your date isn't drinking. If you're drinking and someone you're with isn't and it BOTHERS YOU, you might want to think about your drinking habits.

Any way... although the Pom margaritas sounded great, I passed. And I also passed on that guy - who, while interesting and funny and involved in a profession (comics) I found incredibly cool ('cause I'm a big geek) made me feel really uncomfortable about my not drinking. I mean, I don't care what someone's reason for not drinking is, it's their reason. Why the hell are people so hell-bent on changing people they date? What the F is that? I mean, seriously, if you like someone, you want to see them, great. But if there's so much about them you want to change... why do you want to see them? Or do you just want to be with someone... anyone? That's just sad. I'd rather not, thanks. I like you as you are, or I don't. I'm not in the business of changing anyone - I have enough work to do on myself!!

Wow... off on a tangent much?

So the other night my friend, owner of the fabulous Miss X, took me to Rosa Mexi as a thank you for having Miss X stay with me while she was away. Frankly, I feel like I should have taken her to dinner for letting me spend time with the little puglet. But nonetheless it was off to dinner we went.

It was, as ever, GREAT! And it was her first visit - so I was glad she liked it!

The Margarita Macho

Six months ago my doctor told me it was perfectly fine for me to have an occasional drink. And that is what I do - occasionally. Like for a special occasion (hence occasionally). Since this was a special dinner, and also a little celebration of some very good news I received this past week, I had a margarita. The Macho. Arggggh - make mine tough!

It's made with a chili infused tequila - any drink that puts a jalapeno on the side of the glass instead of a measley lemon wedge is okay by me. The spice of the peppers hits long after you drink it, and leaves a delightful tingling on your lips. Nice.

Pescado al Guajillo
Pan-seared filet of Chilean sea bass with a jalapeno potato cake, swiss chard and Guajillo chile-pineapple-passion fruit sauce.


Rollo de Pechuga de Pollo
Chicken breast filled with huitlacoche. Sauteed and
served sliced with a chile poblano sauce.

Sadly as I've mentioned before, one drink and I'm done for - so I forgot to take photos of the desserts until it was far too late. Still... you get the idea.


Empanadas de Manzana
Warm apple empanadas served with vanilla-mole swirl ice cream
and spiced Mexican chocolate sauce.



Paraíso de Chocolate
Warm chocolate soufflé cake and vanilla ice cream
with sweet tomatillo dipping sauce.

Luckily I took the empanada home and had it the next day. It was just as good.

So there you go. It's not so much a restaurant review as a "Omigod you HAVE to go eat here!". And although there isn't a photo of the guacamole, I cannot stress strongly enough how you must order it. You won't find better guacamole ... unless you go to Mexico.

Have I mentioned I want to go back to Mexico? Really? Haven't mentioned it in the last 5 minutes? Okay, I'm saying it now!

Special note to Miss X's mom -- Muchas Gracias, Amiga!!

Monday, February 26, 2007

12 Steps... or Baby Steps...

I'm a saver. A hoarder. A keeper. Always have been. Possibly it's the natural result of having Depression Era (in all senses of the word) parents. You kept what you had, because you might never have anything again. Waste not want not and all that. At least in this one thing, I became the child they wanted. Unfortunately I took it to an extreme. I have been a hoarder of the most useless stuff. And I hoard memories.

People remark at my memory - it's pretty spectacular actually, the mundane and bizarre trivia that I've got stocked away. (I was THIS close to being a contestant on JEOPARDY - I will spare myself the embarrassment of admitting the question that blew it for me.) But hoarding is not particularly healthy.

I read a lot about feng shui and how clutter blocks our Ch'i and holds us back. How most of the holding on is about fear - like my parents' fear of being without... about fear of forgetting our past... fear. Something I'm always working on, my own fears.

I have read, and I believe there's some truth to it, that if you end a romantic relationship that it takes half as long as the relationship lasted to fully get over it. Example: if you were with someone for 5 years it wouldn't be unreasonable to think it would take 2.5 years to get past it. So I'm going to take that theory and apply it to my particular illness. I lived with Depression for approximately 25 years of my life, off and on. You know how it is, you try to break up ... you can't ... you try ... you can't - cyclical depression/manic depression it's a similar pattern to the on-again-off-again relationship. Of course I'm being simplistic, but I think it's a reasonable illustration.

I've got 2 years and 4 months down. Do I think I'll actually need 12.5 years to be fully free of suicidal tendencies and Depression? I sure as hell hope not!! But it might be the case. I might never know if I'm fully safe from slipping back, but I'm hopeful. And I have some safety-nets set up for myself... just in case. But I still worry. Worry being my second-best skill after hoarding.

Working against my hoarding nature has been difficult. It's the reason I'm still selling stuff on eBay 2 years after I started. Yes, I have a lot of stuff I don't want around - but I still have those deep rooted hesitations about getting rid of it. I might NEED THAT! Um. Of course I will never need THAT (whatever THAT may be). But I still have to fight with myself a little.

I have found that the feng shui principles of clearing the clutter to allow better things to come in, to trust that letting go will lead to having more, to having better, are actually frighteningly valid. Which begs the question: why do I still hesitate to let go of some things? And here we come circling back to that theory on relationships. Sometimes you really do just need the time. Time to let go -- and then really let go -- before you're ready to let the new, better things in.

I take baby steps. Everyday I take at least one teeny baby step, and each step brings me closer to knowing for sure that I'll be able to stop worrying. And stop being afraid. It may take a long time... but eventually those little steps can take you miles.

**********
BONUS:
Here's a step:
The Jeopardy question was about Star Wars. I could not for the life of me think of Natalie Portman's name. I'm a geek. Admitting this is HORRIBLE. The shame! The frustration!

But it feels okay.
Baby steps, Baby!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Enough is enough...

I realize this may be getting redundant, but honestly I do not understand what is going on with me and the laundromat lately.

I got a whole lot of nothing done today because yesterday was a doctor day and I was whipped today. But this afternoon I finally had to DO something productive so I decided late afternoon on a Friday might be a good time to get a load of laundry in... plus it's down the block from the pharmacy where I had to pick up a new prescription (and it had better help!).

So okay the place is in fact EMPTY. HURRAH! Not entirely empty, but I consider less than 3 people in the place empty. So in go the sheets, I go get the scrip, I come back and once again the dryer becomes a source of cheap theater. WHAT IS THIS???

Yes folks, once again my very boring laundry - seriously, we're talking sheets here. SHEETS for crying out loud - is the most exciting thing happening on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. There's nobody in the place, right? There's no reason to be on top of each other, right? Someone please tell me why then the one other customer in the place needed to stand DIRECTLY in front of me and stare as I put my stuff in the dryer. Why has my laundry become so much the new thing? It's seriously strange - I'm not making this up. It's w-e-i-r-d!

It is not like I'm new to laundromats. I'm sooo not. I have WORKED in laundromats! Seriously, a B.A. in theater, it's a money-maker. No lie.

So it's not like I haven't seen a lot of unusual human behavior in the vicinity of soap and fabric. But never, in all the time I've spent in laundromats, whether working and doing other people's laundry or doing my own, have I encountered this brazen checking out of the laundry that has happened to me the last 3 times in a row.

Did I miss something in the New Yorker? Is this a trend? Is it some New Age way of determining personality-type? Or are people really so bored, and oblivious? Probably the last one, huh?

I find it really amazing that these laundry-voyeurs don't seem to think they are in any way invading either my space (which they ARE) or my privacy (which they ARE). I wonder if they are so hypnotized by the swooshing sounds of the washers and the hum and heat of the dryers that they think they are at home watching some kind of three-d, hi-def television.

All I know is I do not like it. The next person who crowds in on me and blatantly examines my laundry is going to get a Bounce (with Febreeze) fabric sheet stuffed in their mouth... along with my fist.

I know, not charitable... but I'm getting seriously annoyed!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Special Request Posting - Mitsouko



I was asked by a fellow blogger to write a review of my favorite perfume, Mitsouko. You can, of course, find information on the top notes and formulations any where on the web. What is harder to find is history so that's the angle I'm going to use. Just to shake things up a bit.

Mitsouko debuted in 1919.

I discovered Guerlain's Mitsouko somewhere in the '80s, because of my then-obsession with Charlie Chaplin. I read every book I could find on him (this was pre-internet) and apparently this was his signature scent. It is mentioned in at least two books on Charlie.

from p.92 of Lita Grey Chaplin's memoir MY LIFE WITH CHAPLIN

[...]"The room had two exposures. We went to the windows on the west. Near one of them, on top of a decidedly masculine bureau, stood a bottle of cologne marked Guerlain's Mitsuko. "Is that what I smell all the time?" I asked. "In your dressing room at the studio, in your car, on your clothes, on -- you?"

"You like it, eh?"


"Oh, yes! I've never smelled that scent anywhere else but on you."


I hadn't meant it to sound that way, and I began to explain what I did mean. Charlie laughed, picked up the bottle and lifted the stopper. "Here," he said, and rubbed some of the exotic-smelling cologne on my arm. "It is quite a remarkable odor, isn't it?"

"Mmm," I nodded, smelling my arm. "I guess it'll always remind me of everything about you." [...]


Mitsouko is also mentioned in Charles Chaplin, Jr.'s biography of his father, aptly titled MY FATHER, CHARLIE CHAPLIN. Unfortunately I do not own a copy of this book so was unable to pull a direct quote. But trust me, he mentions it, and how the scent was everywhere and always reminded him of his father.

Because of these mentions of a perfume I'd never heard of before, I hit the Guerlain counter to get a whiff. It was not easy to find. Mitsouko, unlike its heavier sister, Shalimar, is elusive. It is an uncommon scent, but those who discover it and can wear it seem to become die-hard devotees. The name Mitsouko itself means 'mystery'. How exciting to find a perfume so long-lived that nearly a hundred years after its creation it is still available.

Even more exciting was the chance to find out what Charlie Chaplin might have smelled like. Okay that might sound weird, but here's this incredible historical figure - who was dead at least 10 years by the time I really discovered him - and though I can never meet him I CAN have a sensory hint of what it would be like to be in a room with him.

Happily I fell in love with Mitsouko at first sniff.

I am usually a fan of heavier, orientals - but Mitsouko (a chypre) has enough of the 'spice' of an oriental to hold my interest. It is a varied fragrance that alters throughout wear and is difficult to describe... but my favorite note is the bergamot for sure. Mitsouko was my first non-drugstore perfume, and still my favorite. And of course, every time I wear it, like Lita Grey, it reminds me of what I was up to back in those days... and of the fun I had discovering Charlie.

for more perfumery check out Tangled Up in L'Heure Bleue

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Space Bags!!!

So if you've been here before you know I'm not only in the process of recovering from some serious issues, but I'm ALSO doing a crazy-assed Apartment Therapy. I'm a big slob... I can't help it! I'm very clean... just not particularly organized... or tidy. I get distracted!! BUT I'm working on it. Part of my general dichotomy is that although I'm very bad about picking up after myself, my drawers and closets are a big point of neatness and well organized. Strange, yes? I'm big on being tidy on the inside... the outside... not so much. But I'm working on it.

My closets have actually been in pretty great shape for a long time, but not excellent shape. I have an enormous collection of vintage dresses that are simply living in my closet and the stuff I wear regularly gets hung on a door. yeah. I said I'm working on it!

So today I got these crazy things I've seen advertised for ages. I didn't believe they would work, but since I ditched a dresser I need more closet space and the only way I could see to get it was either ditch the clothes (no.) or try these Space Bags. I also thought they would be really good for protecting clothes from any moths that might come along. I lost a gorgeous cashmere sweater to moths. Who knew moths lived in Manhattan? Not me.

Here you see a pile of 12 vintage dresses going into the Space Bag.



Here they are after I sucked the air out of the bag. WITH a vacuum. C'mon. Stop that now!



This is the closet before. It's less than ideal because of the aforementioned dresser ditching.



This is the same closet. With ALL the same clothes in it. But they are now tucked into their safe little hanging Space Bags.

VOILA!



There are two rods in this closet. Now only the back one is stocked and I have the entire front one empty!!! I love these things!!!

it happened again!

This is not weighty, not important in the grand scheme of life but I have to get it out there.

I was doing my laundry yesterday - and I'm two for two on someone wanting to look at my laundry!

Has this happened to anyone else? Are Wonder Woman underoos** for adults so very rare that people can't look away? Is there some sort of voyeurism pheromone in the detergent I'm using?

I'm used to somewhat odd incidents in my little life... but this "I want to stare at your laundry" business is getting me a little freaked. If it were the same little old lady from last week I could chalk it up to her unique fetish... but this was a middle-aged guy so that broadens my demographic.

Honestly, the dryers are full of clothes -- if that's your thing -- and the owners are not there to be weirded out! I say go look at the pretty spinning colors and let me take my boring sweatpants and leopard panties out of the dryer in peace.


**I'm kidding about the underoos. Although if they actually existed I might be tempted to buy them.

Trust

Is everyone out for themselves? Sometimes it seems that way. The sheer lack of manners and simple consideration, say in a line at the post office or walking down the street seems to prove it. Do you need to stroll 3-4 abreast on the sidewalk when people are trying to get by? No, of course not. But if you're selfish, or inconsiderate then yes, no one else exists and you don't even notice that there is an elderly man attempting to get on the bus - you just push on ahead of him and then sigh loudly when he takes 'too long' to insert his metro card in the slot.

If you grow up in a family that is made up of selfish people (alcoholics may not be innately selfish, but it sure seems that way) it does indeed feel like everyone is out for themselves.

Sometimes I wish I felt sad that my parents are dead. But they are the ones who taught me, exceedingly well, to be cold and to trust no one. So I don't feel sad. I don't miss them. I don't really believe they were 'bad' people. Just bad together. And I was not what they wanted in a child. A bad mix all around.

Family: the people you feel safe with, the people you can trust, or turn to in a crises. It's how it's supposed to be, right? It's not how it was for me. Actually in a lot of cases I felt safer with a total strangers, simply because those strangers had never had the opportunity to hurt me, or disappoint me. Family however, the list of hurts and disappointments is long and varied. Reason enough not to trust 'em. And reason enough not to miss 'em. Still, part of me thinks it would be nice to feel more loss. But I don't. There's nothing I can do about that.

My parents, hell my whole extended family, were masters of secret-keeping, avoidance and non-communication in general. I have attempted since the third grade to be as opposite to them as possible. The fact that I have blogs seems to be the culmination of that attempt at opposition. Being human, however, means that perfection is impossible. Damn. And I have been 'guilty' of secret-keeping... to some degree.

It doesn't sit well with me, hiding things. Which is partly why I have this blog - feeling suicidal is something a LOT of people keep secret. We are ashamed of our feelings... so we hide them. Sadly it's the worst thing you can do - because no one can help if they don't know. Unless you happen to get very, VERY lucky like I did. Usually that kind of luck is reserved for bad screenplays, not real life. So yeah, I know exactly how lucky I got. Being big with the mysticism and synchronicity of the world I cannot help feeling I got lucky because there is something I'm supposed to do. Some big thing that I need to get accomplished in this lifetime. I have NO idea what that might be. I'm hoping it will come to me eventually. I intend to stick around long enough to figure it out.

I finally spilled one of the secrets I was keeping, though it was really only a secret kept from one person. Ass backwards as I always am, this was the one person who I should NOT have been hesitant to tell. And now that he knows, I feel a weight lifted that I didn't even realize I was carrying. Funny how secrets work, isn't it?

From time to time I have attempted to bypass my genetic training, I have attempted to trust people. It is a rare thing for me. Being open about things and trusting people are not the same thing. Not at all. I can tell anyone who asks anything they care to know about my life. Or tell stories about my crappy childhood and make them funny, even to total strangers. But I can count on one hand the people I actually trust... and still have a finger left over. So you see, trust = rare.

On two occasions I have trusted the wrong people, one was a 'friend' uh, not so much evidently. The other, the supposed love of my life - that one broke my heart into such tiny pieces it's pretty much dust now and unlikely to be usable before the next millennium. The worst part of that for me was the fact that here was a man I thought I knew, thought I could trust - it took me nearly 10 years to REALLY trust him - and I was sure, my instincts told me I was right about him... and it turned out I was never so wrong in all my life. Surprise!!

This left me feeling I had no anchor, and that the single person I had always relied on, always trusted when I trusted nobody else on earth had completely let me down. Of course that person was myself. And losing trust in yourself leaves you in a very dark place. If I couldn't trust my own instincts, how could I possibly navigate through the world? Why try? And that, in large part, contributed to my decision to kill myself.

I was very sick when I trusted this man, and since then, since I've gotten better, I have had proof that I actually can trust myself - and my own instincts about people. That may well be the best part of getting better. I don't doubt my ability to determine who I can trust, deep down serious trust - of course I'm still choosey - but I'm not afraid to trust my first-impression, gut reaction any more.

You don't need more than a handful of people you feel safe with, that you trust with your really big, "shameful" secrets. That you trust to be gentle with your feelings and to take your side when you need it. You may be wrong sometimes, you may trust the wrong one, maybe more than one, but if you can hang in, hold on, learn to trust yourself you'll find that not everyone is out just for themselves. Some people actually do care about other people. Trust me.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

speck from your friend's eye...

I spend a lot of time thinking how best to approach this blog and how to make my daily goofiness somehow relevant and meaningful to the theme that I set for it. I get ideas on the bus, walking down the street, in my sleep, and try to find a way to make it work here.

So I'm all little miss guiding light over here. Trying to help anyone who is in the shoes I used to wear with my perspective on it all.

And then I fall apart.

Sometimes I just let myself get caught up in my emotions or hyper and hysterical (though you'd never know it because I mostly keep it inside) and I forget all the so-called advice I try to impart here.

Last night I had one of those bouts of hysteria. So silly really. I'm not sure why, I guess I let my thoughts run to the worst-case scenario and then I let them do a marathon instead of an easy little jog. And I get to a point where I need to calm down and can't until I DO something tangible about the thing that's making my thoughts run in circles. When what I should do is take my own damned advice: chill and calm down.

Here I am trying, not always succeeding, in making this blog about accepting things and being happy to be alive and not stressing stuff... yet I keep stressing myself! I've actually said it here: you can't help anyone else until you help yourself first. Uh-huh.

I had an anonymous comment here from someone this morning - and it couldn't have come at a better time. It mentioned how life is 10% what happens and 90% how we react to it. So, THANK YOU anonymous commenter, because this couldn't have come at a better time.... I needed, very much, to be reminded of this after having gotten myself a little hysterical over something that I have absolutely no control over at all. All I can do is calm down, hope for the best and deal. It's not that hard when someone points it out to you. It's funny how I'm trying to help others and someone popped in out of the blue and helped me. I guess this blogging thing really can be useful. Thanks again for your comment Anonymous. I feel much better now.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Reading aloud...

Intimacy.

Last night I went to a reading hosted by one of my favorite authors, Alice Hoffman. I did not go because I enjoy literary readings, because I don't particularly. The ones I've attended have been somewhat dry affairs lending neither spark nor wit to words that danced on the page. I have no memory of being read to as a child, because as soon as I learned for myself it was me and the book - no middleman. And I learned early. There were no bedtime stories read aloud to me. So for me the written word, the book, has always held an especially important place in my heart. The writers of those words vary in intimacy. There are acquaintances, there are lovers, there are friends; varying degrees. I went because I wanted to see Alice Hoffman in person. More importantly I wanted to hear her speak.

I have heard her speak before, though not out loud - not her actual spoken voice. I have heard her voice far more intimately than that, for close to twenty years... maybe longer, I'm not sure exactly when I first heard her 'voice'. But I do remember what I heard, and I remember feeling like I'd met someone important, someone whose voice moved me and I wanted to 'listen' to it over and over. And I have. Luckily she's written a lot of novels!

Lest I sound like some whacked-author-stalker, let me explain.

There is an intimacy between the writer and the reader that is not often discussed. I don't know that I've ever read anything about it - but it's universal whether we are aware of it, or whether we discuss it or not. It happens to greater or lesser degrees depending on the reader... and the writer. Just as with relationships, some intimacies are greater, some are lesser. And no matter how great the connection, neither party ever really knows what the other knows.. not one-hundred percent. But you know a little. You know enough. Sometimes that's all you need.

The same holds true for the other arts, of course. Whenever an artist creates something, be it a painting, a sculpture, a dance there is an intimacy between the artist and the viewer. It may seem one-sided, the artist doesn't know who looks at their work, can't possibly know the effects it has on everyone who sees it: but it is there nonetheless.

Of course with music there is an understood intimacy, because poetry always gets in deeper than prose can... and is harder to explain. Just like intimacy. Just like understanding a person with a look. And of course there's that primitive reaction to a particular note of music, a certain beat, a particular pitch that goes far beyond simply 'hearing a song'. But here we get into a gray area of performance vs. the writer.

But with the written word, I think there is another type of instinctive reaction. Although the action of reading is a solitary one, it is never completely singular. Someone tells the story - someone else reads it. It's the story around the campfire that can transcend centuries. The words may be fiction, or they may be partially factual, they may have been written yesterday or by an author long turned to dust, but the soul goes into the words, onto the paper and when read, there is a connection made. The storyteller, the story told, the reader.

Hearing stories read aloud tonight, by three very good actors Mia Dillon, Jill Eikenberry and Joanna Gleason was entertaining, fun, but not intimate. Hearing Alice Hoffman introduce each of the three stories read, that was. (Not in a weird psycho way - stop thinking that way, right now!! Geez, people I'm working on the deep stuff here - stay with me, will ya!!!)

I was, in truth, slightly worried. Worried that I'd hear this woman speak ... and shudder. (Valentino destroyed by 'talkies'!) How awful if her voice grated, or shrilled. Would that forever ruin my enjoyment of her books? Would I never again be able to read her without hearing the disenchanting 'real' voice? Would the magic of the written word be forever revealed as mere trickery? As usual, I worried for nothing. She spoke and I was eased. Her real voice matched her written voice and I was only disappointed that someone other than she read her story aloud.

But really, it's okay, because I know I can open one of her books and hear that 'voice' I know intimately any time. And knowing that is enough.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Gift

Just a quick one here to say that if you love dogs, want to help with the dog overpopulation in shelters, but cannot adopt right now you can help out here

For the duration of the Westminster Dog Show (which means through Tuesday, February 13) Pedigree will match all donations to the Humane Society of America.

What a bargain! You get a tax deduction and the Humane Society gets double the amount you pledge. Everyone wins! And every dollar helps.

Do it. You'll feel sooooo good about yourself!!

Survivor



Endurance. That was survival to me. Always was. Put up with, deal with, bury issues, bury slights, indignities, insult, cruelty. Punch me and I'd bounce right back like the Bozo punching toy I had as a kid. Because I was tough. I could take it... and take it... and take it.

Pow
I'm back
Pow
Is that all you got?
Pow
That's nothing.
Pow
It's okay... I must deserve it.
Pow
ENOUGH!!!!

Pow back
I cut you out of my life.

And that is survival. Endure until saturation is reached and then amputate. Coldly, efficiently and permanently. No looking back, no regrets and no forgiveness.

My M.O. in a nutshell.

I have a temper. It's vile. Unspeakably cruel. And vicious. But it does not show often. It takes years and years of build up before it explodes. Because I am a survivor. I can take it. I can take bad treatment, I can take insensitivity, I can take and take and take.... it's how I was brought up. The good girl who shuts up and takes it. Until she doesn't any more. Then it's my turn - and you'd better duck.

I let stuff build up because it's a matter of belief.

Belief that the person causing the 'bad' must eventually get it. Must eventually understand what they are doing. Do you really need to be told when you are treating a 'friend' like shit? Let's say you actively attempt to seduce someone that your 'friend' is involved with; let's say you do that in FRONT of that 'friend'. Do you really need to be told that your behavior is inexcusable? Of course not, you know it is - if you choose to do it any way you no longer get to punch the bozo bag. It punches back. And you don't get another chance, because you used up all your free shots.

I am no one's mother, therefore it is not my job to impart to anyone a sense of ethics or morality or justice. I often joke that people can say anything to me - even things that others might take offense at, or be hurt by. It's a little bit of a joke, but really I have a pretty thick skin and I give (most) people the benefit the doubt with foot in mouth disease. I also take it as something of a compliment that people feel free enough to say what they want to me, so I don't take offense. Unless it goes on for a long period (and by long I'm talking YEARS- endurance, remember?) untempered by thoughtfulness and kindness. Then it becomes clear that this is not simply a thoughtless person, but someone who has no respect for me. . . don't dare to call me friend if you do not respect me. Don't try it.

This happy little post was inspired by a moping, whiny post I saw on another, very popular, blog. Apparently this blogger is bemoaning the loss of a high-school 'best friend'. Someone who cut her out of her life... and she "just doesn't know why". This is years after the fact and she's still whining about the "why". There is considerable evidence in the post itself that the friend who cut her off is a lot like me. She took a lot of selfish, thoughtless, self-righteous, judgemental behavior (which blog-girl actually recounts in her post but still doesn't see as disrespectful to her 'friend') until she couldn't any more and as it was not her job to teach selfish blog-girl how to treat people, she simply did what she needed to survive. She amputated the crap out of her life. I think she did the right thing.

I have cut a lot of people out of my life. Friends, lovers, family... and I do not regret any of them. The people I choose to have in my life now are gems, and none of them ever make me feel bad, or insulted or disrespected. The wheat from the chaff as it were. I feel no loss, no sorrow or melancholy at the absence of the those toxic people from my life. In fact, what I feel relief at not having to deal with their crap any more. And I like myself a helluva lot more without them than I did with them.

They may feel some loss and sorrow towards me, in fact I'm sure a couple do. However, I do not believe they actually miss ME, because they did not respect me, did not care about my feelings; what they DO miss is Bozo. They miss the sounding board they could say anything to with no repercussion, could treat in any cavalier way they chose, the idiot who would help out on a dime, who was so careful of their 'sensitive feelings'... but did not merit the same in return.

To those people I am delighted to have OUT of my life (should they ever stumble upon this blog) I suggest this: get a Bozo bop bag - they work really well and never get fed-up. And if you ever wonder why I cut you out of my life without an explanation, be grateful: the ones who have heard the explanation heard it through the filter of my extremely nasty temper. You got off easy if you got no explanation. Trust me. You'll survive.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dog Show

How foolish of me not to mention this earlier.

Today is the first day of the 2007 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show!

Alas I am not attending this year, but it is broadcast on television -- and breed judging is done in streaming vid online so check it out!

I will always love mixed breeds best, because just as in humans, when you mix things up you get the prettiest, happiest pups.



But I can't help being in awe of the sheer number of dogs under one roof. For dog lovers it is a heady experience. Next year, I'm there again! For now, I'll be glued to the USA network.

Why not watch... and think about this. Dogs rule.

Woof!!!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

LOL

I was cracking myself up earlier today and this made me remember a conversation I had with my friend Doreen (who does not often read this blog because she is a very busy woman who is not enamoured of computers).

We were literally LOL-ing. Something we did every day because we worked together and face it: we are both funny. No really. REALLY funny. (Not being vain here, it's just a fact.)

The conversation was about laughing aloud alone... or making yourself laugh out loud. Seems this is something we both did on a regular basis, but turns out it is not a universal phenomenon.

WHAT?!

I have been making myself laugh since I was a little kid playing by myself in my room. Being an only child does that to you. But never did I consider it unusual or odd in any way. I know there are lots of things about me that are odd, sure, I accept that - hell, I embrace it. But this one got me. I could not believe that not everyone laughs at themselves.

Okay, rarely have I been on my own laughing uncontrollably... but it has happened once... okay twice, I admit it, stop pressuring me! But I do laugh - out loud - frequently. Hey, if I don't think I'm funny who else will? I think it's important to laugh frequently - even if it's just at yourself... or your wacky pets. Laughing at movies or books while alone doesn't count - that's outside interference, I'm talking self-induced hilarity here... pets count if you crack yourself up with the stand-up you're doing for them. Oh come on! Tell me you don't do stand-up routines for your pets.... okay, again, that's just me then. Never mind.

Laughter is absolutely free and as cathartic as crying (and it doesn't make your eyes puffy... though it can make your nose run... okay, just me again? Alright.).

When I was sick, I still laughed. I did it because it covered the bad shape I was actually in. It's a lifelong defense mechanism and a simple case of suicidal depression wasn't going to make me stop working the room. But I didn't laugh when I was alone. Not at all. Not even a grin. I sure did cry though.

And so we come to LOL. How often do we write this in an email, an IM, or a txt msg. Pretty often. Check your old emails - you'll see. This should indicate an abundance people sitting in front of computers laughing the walls down... and yet, how often do you laugh? Are you really LOL? Probably not. But it's become the accepted expression of 'yeah, that was amusing'.

I wish people were laughing out loud as much as they type that LOL. What a wonderful thing that would be! People thumbing away on their blackberries on the street with tears of laughter running down their cheeks. People in offices chuckling and trying to suppress the 'church laugh' (you know, that crazy urge to laugh in inappropriate settings... does any laugh feel as good as that one???)

If we really meant we were LOL we'd all feel so much better, our moods would improve at least a little, and the world might be a happier place for everyone. Don't you think?

No one would ever have guessed how laughter deprived I was in the years I was sick. You couldn't possibly guess, I was laughing ALL the time... in public. But if you'd had a nanny-cam on me when I was alone you'd have known... even when I typed LOL.

Of all the things I have found about life that I love now... new things I never even thought of, old things I'd forgotten I loved... the most important one is laughter. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I got it back. Of course I got it back in public, but I knew the second it happened that it was a real laugh again... and it was an earthshaking experience for me. To finally feel something good in the midst of absolute soul-crushing misery. To hear myself laughing out loud and realize it wasn't part of my act. Startling? Life altering? To put it mildly.

I've been laughing in public and private ever since that laugh. And nothing is going to make me stop ever again. Nothing. LOL

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Can I get commissions for this?

I'm not sure why it is, but there is not a single day that passes that I am not asked by a stranger for directions. There have been days I'm out with the dog at 3:00 a.m. and it occurs to me that nobody has asked for my help all day. Wow! Is this the day I am NOT asked for directions? Sure seems like it... then *boom* out of thin air, on an empty street at 3:01 a.m. someone is asking me "which way is 2nd Avenue?" I smile. I point them in the correct direction. And I realize that this is just a thing with me. Every single day. Even if it's that late in the day, someone gets in there. It seems I have a cosmic quota. Who knew?

I don't really mind it. It's actually become a tiny source of amusement for me. How many today, when will it happen, will I actually know the answer. Usually it is one per day, though I have had banner days with up to 4 (usually around holidays), and almost always I do know the answer. This is the most absurd aspect of Joy as Tour Guide: I have absolutely no sense of direction and I can get lost if I go west of Fifth Avenue. I mean totally dead lost. It's pathetic. Yet when I am stopped for directions or information or whatever, I almost always know the answer to the poor lost soul's query. It's like I become a walking Ouija board - I just somehow know.

How is that possible?

Ya got me.

Of course as with most fortune telling 'gifts' this does not work for my benefit, only for others. If only it would - I wouldn't get lost going to places I've been to already and should KNOW how to find.

I often feel I have a neon sign on my forehead that says "I can help, ask me how!" Because I know my body language and facial expression is usually "GET LOST"... but for some reason the sign wins out and the questions keep a-coming.

It's not that I mind helping out when people are lost or disoriented on the subway or whatever, in fact I like it. It makes me feel useful and like I'm somehow contributing to the "New Yorkers are REALLY nice" stories that tourists can take home with them. I once had a Japanese woman asking for directions on the subway. She didn't speak but 4 words of English and I speak... sushi. But she was going to the same place as me! So she just stayed close, I pointed and it worked out.

But I do find it odd. I mean I have been standing next to police officers on a corner and someone will ask me where they are rather than the more logical choice of the uniformed public assistant. What's that about? It's the sign, of course. Neon trumps uniforms. Always.

But it's not just the directions. It's chit-chat. For a long time I thought this happened to everyone. I really am sort of oblivious sometimes. I'm one of these, if it happens to me it must happen to everyone, if I know it, it must be common knowledge types. I just find it shocking that I know things that other people don't or that things happen to me that other people don't experience on a regular basis. But I'm finally getting it. For some reason I will probably never understand, I'm a walking magnet. I get the talkers, I get the questions, I attract the nuts.

Just this afternoon for example.

I'm doing my laundry. Yes, the steroids seem to be helping. Still have tingling, but it seems to be a little less frequent (yay!!) so I decided it was time to stop dipping into the goofy Halloween and Christmas socks and do some laundry. Really, when you have to go to the doctor wearing sparkling green socks because nothing else is clean... it's time to pull out the quarters and Tide and get some washing done. So today was the day.

As I'm pulling stuff out of the dryer this little old lady comes by and it appears she wants to go from the back of the laundromat to the front. This means I'm blocking her way (narrow laundry) so I shift from the front of the dryer to the side to let her pass.

"Oh I'm not passing", says she. "I just wanted to look."

Silly me. I thought the fact that she was practically rubbing shoulders with me meant she wanted to get by, not that she wanted to snuggle.

Okay, so she wants to look out the laundry's front window, or so I thought that's what she meant.

Nope.

Little Miss Sunshine wanted to LOOK AT MY LAUNDRY!

Okay, now seriously, what is that about? Nut magnet. Just like I said.

But I guess I encourage it somehow. I let her watch me take my laundry out of the dryer (whatever thrill that may have given her) and then we had a little chat. Yes. See, I guess I do encourage it. We discussed my enormous heavy coat. This coat I wear seems to be a big topic of conversation every where I go, so I'm used to it. Once I was at the theater with a friend and a woman actually came over to me, interrupting our conversation and asked about the coat. It's reversible. I gave a demonstration. My friend cracked up.

"I can't believe you just did that!" she said.

"I'm used to it," I replied. And continued where we'd left off.

So the Sunshine Lady at the laundromat enjoyed my clean socks, my coat and apparently our little chat. It's what I do. I don't get paid for it... damn... but it gives me a chuckle.

Though for the life of me I'll never understand it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Two Days, Three Doctors, No Heat

If you're not in the mood for diagnoses and general babbling, stop reading. Catch me later. I need to babble and vent a little. Thanks for understanding.

The past two days have been a whirlwind of fun times. I saw the human-speaking doctor on Monday who explained my MRI results.

Yes folks it is the all hoped-for pinched nerve! WHEEE.

If someone can explain to me why dr. douchebag couldn't actually say those words to me over the phone, I would love to hear it.

I now have a prescription for many, many hours of physical therapy (from two separate doctors) and another prescription for the steroids... which I dropped off at the pharmacy on Monday.

On Tuesday I saw my fabulous internist and had a consult with a rheumatolgist (referral by dr. douchebag -- sorry 'bout the language people, but honestly it's the nicest thing I can think of to call him) because "you have rheumatoid arthritis!!" says he of the psycho communications skills. Yes, exclaimation points are necessary there, because he yelled that at me. Nice? Oh yeah. Now I know damned well that I do not have RA, and I'm very happy about that. But I've known it for years, so how's about we SHUT UP on that one and look elsewhere, eh?

So I decided to go to the rheumatolgist. She was -- folks, sit back -- NORMAL!!! She actually acted like a human being. Listened, responded to questions, asked questions that made sense... what a lovely experience. So. Guess who has nothing like RA? Well, yes that would be ME. She just sort of shook her head. I thought, yeah, well maybe if Dr. D. actually listened to my descriptions of my symptoms AND (here's a good one) LOOKED at my history and blood work, I wouldn't have gotten the referral to the rheumatolgist in the first place. Ah well. I went mainly because I wanted to hear if there was something interesting going on with my wonky knee. She actually wants an x-ray. Well hallelujah, someone actually wants a lookie-loo at Joy's funny breakfast cereal knee! (as in "snap, crackle and pop").

My primary doctor is just a trip. Love the hell out of her. She's funny, but no nonsense and pays attention and REMEMBERS what you've told her and explains and REASSURES. Thank you, Hippocrates!

After discussing the steroids with all three of these non-communication-skills-depleted doctors, I decided to try the steroids. Started 'em yesterday and it is only for 6 days so I feel a little less terrified that I'll be swinging from the chandeliers, buying out Pottery Barn's stock of hand-made Indonesian napkin rings, and listening to sad music while drawing a razor blade across my various arteries. (My doctor in particular didn't see any issues coming, but of course, I'm to call if I feel the need to shop excessively, sleep with strangers with accents - hey, I know my weaknesses, or discourse with people at the drugstore on whether Schick or Gillette is sharper... I have her on speed dial.)

Interesting point on my other ridiculous and varied symptoms, most pointedly odd aches and extreme fatigue - it may be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome... it might also be my thyroid acting up again.

Now why it never occurred to me that it might be my thyroid is beyond me. So much for detective school, miss smartie-pants.

Here it sits, plodding along as it does, my thyroid is a real princess and sees no reason to stress herself, for close to 15 years... when suddenly it gets even SLOWER (very suddenly like it retired just about ... um... 4 months ago.... hmmmm).

I KNEW THIS! WHY did I not think this might be the cause of all my bizarro symptoms? Because I was busy looking for something more terrifying. How silly. And I know that they teach doctors to look for the most obvious, most simple explanations first and then move up the ladder of scary shit that can happen to the human body. Yet instead of looking at a common cold, I went for the Ebola virus. And I say I'm not a hypochondriac. I hang my head in shame.

It's because I've lived with this lackadaisical thyroid for so long I had forgotten all the 'start-up' symptoms. Which, naturally correspond to MOST of my recent issues. (not the pinched nerve, but it can definitely explain most of the others, if not all). It seems everyone else sort of by-passed this option as well. The hypothyroid as white noise as it were.

My thyroid is lazing around, filing her nails and yawning and everyone is running around trying to find out why the house is a mess (that's just a really bad metaphor.. sorry, blame the thyroid, that bitch!)

So. I still have tests out there pending, but I FEEL much relief in that I do not have the illness I thought I had, nor the one Dr. D KNEW I had, and in fact I just have a pinched nerve and a thyroid that decided to live on Mexican time. And maybe a little osteoarthritis in my knee... maybe just a pulled something or other... either way's okay by me.

I have to say that after one day's dosing of steroids my tingling arm seems a bit better. Not 100%, but the pins and needles seem a little less severe. Then again it is FREEZING cold and I may just be too cold to feel anything!

The heat in my building went out sometime around 2 a.m. It's 10 a.m. now... and 15 degrees outside. Needless to say I'm grateful I opted to buy a down comforter.... but I don't think the dog loves wearing his coat indoors.

Oh well. In the words of the Great Gilda Radner, "It's always something".

But it doesn't always mean it's something bad.

.... ooooh the pipes just started clanking. Seems like heat is coming up again. Oh Happy Day!!!

Now all I have to do is get my thyroid to give up her pedicures and get on the treadmill...

Friday, February 02, 2007

Groundhog Day

I love the movie Groundhog Day. I think it's charming, sweet and funny; and wraps it all up in a good moral.

That being said: I do not care to live Groundhog Day.

Apparently this is something that the doctor from hell doesn't seem to understand.

The schmuck doctor who yelled at me a couple of weeks ago called me yesterday with 'the results' of my MRI. Now I am pretty well-versed at understanding medical mumbo-jumbo. I've been to enough doctors in my life (for myself and others) that I am not in the dark when they start explaining things. I follow pretty easily.

That is when the doctor is actually making sense.

This bozo calls me and starts off by calling me "Mrs." -- I am not, nor have I ever been, nor do I ever WANT to be a "Mrs." anything (unless it involves an extremely elderly and ill man who dies directly after the "I Do", dying happily wed to the enchantress that is me... and leaves me stinking rich.)

Otherwise, I'd rather not. Thanks so much for asking.

But aside from that minor insult the thing that was most frustrating was that the first thing he said after that was "Have you taken the steroid pack?"

Um. Who now?

He then SIGHS in exasperation -- as if I was a small child asking why the sky was blue. I'm wondering what the F he's talking about.

You didn't give me a prescription for anything how can I have taken it?

He IGNORES that. Yes, IGNORES it. And then starts to 'explain' my results.

When I get the Rosetta stone that includes dumfuck doctorese I will let you know what he said.

In fact what he told me was nothing.

OH, except that the results show that there is something that would be causing my numbness -- so I was right about that. UH... yeah, 'cause I was making it up.

This person has no business dealing with people. EVER. God help his family. Really.

I am going to meet with one of his associates, they who speak HUMAN, next week and get the skinny on the results.

In the meantime he 'decided' to prescribe this corticosteroid pack he was saying I should have been taking already. Thanks, Buddy. Well dandy, I'm willing to try something that will make me feel better, of course.

I checked out the stuff he prescribed online. Because people, PLEASE do not just trust your doctor. Look it up, find out what it is they are telling you to ingest.

Apparently this stuff has more side-effects than cyanide. Not the least of which are weight gain and DEPRESSION.

Guess what? I've been through that without any assistance from a prescribed medication. There is NO WAY I'm taking some pill that could potentially make me cycle into a depression --- oh, and better still -- it also can cause a MANIC reaction!! WHEEEEEEEE - call me Bill Murray and let me head back 2 years and do all that fun fun fun one more time.

I do not think so.

I would rather be in physical pain the rest of my life than go to that dark and awful place in my brain ever again. I've come too far to let that happen. I don't care if this drug would make me look like Selma Hayek in two days -- I'd rather not be eyeing razorblades as my new BFF. Thanks. But no thanks.

I'm going to my REAL doctor next week. We'll talk. I actually understand the words she says to a simple "Miss" like me.

Only relive the good stuff people. Tell anyone who wants you to go the other way to go straight to hell.

Happy Groundhog's Day.