Monthly Archives: February 2010

Naughty Little Girl

Most of us have done our share of naughty things.  You can’t reach 40 without being a little wicked at least once.  Although I think I can safely change that number to 30 for many.  I can even change that number to 20 for me – but I’ll probably be going on yet another tangent.  In any case, I’ll save the really juicy “stuff” for the novel as this blog is mostly rated PG.

So how naughty were you?  I don’t even like to think about the state of my wayward youth.  I can say that I NEVER killed anyone, I NEVER cheated on my husband, I NEVER had group sex, I NEVER tried H – nor do I ever want to and I NEVER slept with a friend’s ex.  I guess that’s not a long list but it’s an important one.

So what constitutes being naughty?  What tips the scale towards risqué behavior?  Sex, drugs, rock and roll?  Hot candle wax, bondage, little white lies?  Pole dancing for your husband, spending the night in jail, cheating on a boyfriend?  Lying to your parents, staying out all night or all week, skinny-dipping?

Does inviting 4 out of the 8 boyfriends you have, all at once, to a party at your house – but still you manage to spend time with every one of them without anyone catching on – add up to wicked?  I don’t know.

Is being naughty such a bad thing?  I think it might keep things interesting because stagnancy I can’t handle.  Every appealing relationship I’ve had has been tumultuous.  I know I would get bored otherwise.  Does naughty matter if you’re over 21?

I know EVERYONE has met naughty at least once in their lives.  Tell me what you think of him because I think he’s great!

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February 27th

On February 27, 2005 I lost my mother.  It has been the worst day in my life to date.  I don’t think I’ll ever recover completely.

Every year in the month of February, like clockwork, I start to lose my mind.  I get very weepy and sad, and cry all the time.  I know it’s coming but I refuse to admit why I fall privately apart until I’m sitting alone looking at old photos or movies and miss her with a deep pain in my heart.

If the 27th is a work day, I always take a personal day and make the trek to Bloomfield to spend it with my father because I don’t want him to be alone and I don’t want to be alone.  We hang out and bullsh** then head over to the cemetery to visit Mommy.  Her grave is on a small hill under a tree to shade her from the sun (she always hated baking in the sun), but in the winter the ground is usually snow-covered and hard to trudge through.

When I go to visit on a cold, frigid day I can hear her yelling at me for coming out in the cold.  I always hear a plethora of choice comments in my head when I think about her, visit her at the cemetery or do something really stupid.  If you knew Phyllis, you know exactly what I mean.  She was a straight-shooter and would tell it like it was – and if you didn’t want to hear the truth, don’t ask her.

This year her death anniversary falls on a Saturday so I’m free and clear to spend the entire day with Daddy and do our usual.  I drive up to see him around lunch time and sometimes we have lunch and sometimes we don’t.  If my dad is in a lunching mood (he usually likes to eat his homemade vegetable soup every day) he asks me to go to McDonald’s or Burger King for a nice, fat, greasy (yet yummy) burger and fries.  My dad is not into anything fancy so getting something from Bobby’s Burger Palace is pushing it a little.

We have our grease-fest and head out to Glendale to visit my mother’s body (because I know her soul is somewhere else – but maybe for that day, she can be there).  We stay for a bit and chat with her and fill mom in on all the happenings, but we’re careful not to stay too long in the cold because she would get mad.  We drive back to the house and talk and putter around.  We watch family videos and look at old pictures and reminisce.  I always go into their bedroom and smell her light blue cupolina (knitted hat) that she wore, still laying on  her pillow, and I catch a whiff, a slight smell of her that’s still hanging around the house 5 years later.

After a couple of episodes of Judge Judy we’re ready to order dinner from the Chinese place at the top of the hill where Channel used to be.  We order shrimp toast, Harvest Chicken & Shrimp, steamed chicken, shrimp & veggies for me (it usually sucks) and maybe some other pickings.  Daddy always insists on paying so I stopped arguing.  Since my dad doesn’t believe in delivery, we pick it up.  They always screw up our order and I get irritated but I enjoy my needed ritual.

I long to see her again some day and I know I would be completely devastated if I never did.  Sometimes when I dream, like last night, Mommy is always in my dream but never stays around very long.  It’s like she’s teasing me.  My dad says that she’s probably busy up there and can’t visit too long because there’s too much to do.  I think that’s hysterical but he makes a good point.

So, with that said,  I can only hope to catch a glimpse of her or have a conversation with her in my dreams long enough to know she was there.  I can hope that she’s okay and in no pain in Heaven.  I hope she’s watching over our family as our guardian angel and then some.  I hope she doesn’t see the stupid things I do and that she is not disappointed in me.  I hope that she forgives me for the lousy things I did in the past.  I hope she hears me pray to her morning, noon and night.  And I hope that she will always consider herself MY MOTHER.

Does it do it for you?

Can a song really make someone feel a certain way?  Really feel a certain way.  Whether it’s sad, horny, sexy, loving, guilty, reminiscent, happy or whatever brews down deep – Is it real?

Personally, I know that when I hear Mama by Connie Francis my emotions are so profound that I sob continuously while my chest heaves and my eyes infinitely run from tears.  I know that when I hear Apache by The Sugar Hill Gang, I want to bounce up and down and do the Fresh Prince dance.  When I hear Red House by either Buddy Guy or Jimi Hendrix I want to have crazy sex with my husband no matter where we are.

Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me makes me want to grab a pole, slide up and down and dance like a stripper.  When I listen to Planet Queen I crave a Whiskey Sour and want to move to California.  Crowded House sends me into a reminiscent frenzy when I hear Don’t Dream It’s Over.  It reminds me of my first dance with Philippe in Paris at Le Saint a disco on rue St. Severin in le Quartier Latin.

Great Speckled Bird sung by The Blue Sky Boys makes me think of my family and all the wonderful people I’ve lost.  When I hear Ballroom Blitz I want to backwards skate at USA again.  When I listen to 99 1/2 won’t do I think about making out in Lucho’s Camaro in the eighties and when I hear Clarence Carter’s Strokin’ I want to go back in time and dance at The Hop in Bloomfield.

Does anyone feel like this?  I have vivid memories when a song is playing.  The music takes me back to another time and place.  When I blast (and I mean blast) my IPOD or pop the earphones in my ears I am completely transported somewhere else, no matter what is going on.

So why can’t we use it as a method of escapism from out daily grind and our ever suffocating problems?  Because they would never go away – our problems that it.  I’d love to lose myself in music every time I need to be lost – especially at work – but I realize I can’t sustain to the behavior and be responsible at the same time.

I love music.  Maybe that’s why I’ve always had a fondness for musicians – namely guitarists.  So I’m asking… Does it do it for you?  …. because music definitely does it for me.

Aversion or Perversion?

From time to time I get food aversions.  Whether it’s eggs or steak or pork (like yesterday), I can’t seem to get over it.  The mere smell of the food in question sends me into a whirlwind of vomitatious thoughts and dry heaves – just thinking about it makes me completely sick.

Food aversions are not the only issues I have.  I can always swing the other way.  I become a total stuff-your-face pig.  A porker of enormous proportions – like today.  Since home instruction was cancelled again, I decided to stop by Petsmart and pick up food and litter for the kitties and some munchies for my backyard birds and squirrels.  Ninety-eight dollars later on an “eenie meenie moed” credit card I drove over to Famous Dave’s BBQ.

I pulled up to the take-out parking and went in with ribs on the brain.  I ordered an XXXL rack of ribs complete with potato salad, baked beans, corn-on-the-cob and a corn muffin.  That was just for me .  I ordered John some pulled pork and sides and headed into the bar for a beer while I waited for my food.  To my dismay they had no Guinness Draught, so I settled for a Blue Moon and some interesting conversation with the practically toothless man sitting next to me.

My take-out came before I finished my Blanche, so I waited and hung out a little longer.  Now… there are a lot of other places to visit in this particular strip mall, and Stone Cold Creamery is one of them.  I couldn’t resist.  So I further indulged in a small Cheesecake / Chocolate-Strawberry with raspberries mix with no lid because I ate it in my car while I was driving so there would be no evidence of my faux pas.

The phone rang on Van Zile and my husband asked me to pick up a couple things for him at CVS.  When I arrived I threw my cup in the garbage and grabbed toothpaste, a carton of half & half and a small bag of Munchos and headed home.

The smell of the ribs in my car was making my mouth water so I couldn’t wait to tear open the package when I got in the door.  I fed the cats, opened a Guinness and hoovered my meal.  Thank goodness I didn’t devour it all.  By this time John came home and yelled at me for eating BBQ.  After he ate and went upstairs, I swallowed another Guinness and opened my bag of potato chips and crunched on all their salty goodness.

My belly is like a Buddha’s and I feel awful, yet I keep craving french fries and gravy from the diner – but I’ll suppress that thought.  So instead of an egg white omelet tomorrow morning, I think I’ll stop at the coffee shop and get a pork roll, egg and cheese please.

So you tell me…. is it aversion or perversion?

Americans & Parisians: A Top Ten

My husband started his new job today after being laid off since mid-December.  We are luckier than most.  With this renewed prospect of a second paycheck, all I can think about is moving to France – Paris that is (unless the South of France beckons in the meantime).  I watch House Hunters International and tape all the “Paris” episodes so I can watch them over and over again.  Anytime Anthony Bourdain travels to France for one of his No Reservations shows, I dream and hope that some day I will end up at home.

You have to understand that living in France is not just changing your geographical location, it’s changing your lifestyle.  Europeans live differently.  They don’t have a lot of “stuff” like Upper Middle Class Americans do.  They live with less and embrace a totally different attitude.

Every time I go back to Paris I feel like I never left.  I feel at home, even though for most of my life, my home has been in New Jersey – back in the States.  There are noticeable differences between living in France and living in the U.S..

Here are my TOP TEN:

1.  In the U.S.A. we cause our electric bills to soar cranking up the AC all summer.  In France, if you get to eat in an American-friendly restaurant, that’s about all the air conditioning you’re going to get!

2.  In N.J. we shop for carloads full of food (for the giant fridges) and other amenities.  In France you shop for the meal you’re eating that night – because let’s face it, the refrigerators are all dorm-style.

3.  An American kitchen is equipped will all our necessities.  A French kitchen has 2 cooking rings and may have an oven that looks like a microwave, so cooking a turkey will probably be a no-no.

4.  In America you’re rushed out of a cafe if you’re just people watching and nursing a beverage.  In France you can stay there all day with only one glass of vin blanc.

5.  When we go out to dinner we have to leave our dogs at home.  In Paris you can bring your pooch to dinner, and from time to time you might see a cute canine running out of the kitchen towards you for a quick pet.

6.  We eat a 1 or 2 course dinner between 5pm – 8pm and are still overweight.  The French eat a 3 to 5 course dinner between 8:30 pm (when kids are involved) and 11:30 pm and are still naturally thin.

7.  I monopolize every closet in my house and even had a shoe closet built.  The French have maybe 5 good outfits they wear over and over.

8.  Americans live to work.  Les Francais work to live.

9.  The democrats in the US want to tell you what you can and can’t eat and everyone (including me) frowns upon smoking.  The French walk around in a cloud of smoke while eating some fatty pork product or intestines perhaps.

10.  If you don’t live in a “town type” environment you can’t walk anywhere for fear that you’ll be run over.  Look at Brick, NJ, it’s the strip-mall capital of the world.  In Paris you walk everywhere no matter the weather.  You enjoy the beautiful architecture and the cafes at every corner where you can park-it and rest up with une coupe de Champagne or un cafe creme.

I was dreaming about my future flat during my in-service today until the bank e-mailed me with a low-balance alert that brought me back to my current existence.  Mais en tout cas I refuse to let my dream not become my reality.

Deep Thought

As my remarkable world turns into a monumental adventure, I seem to drift farther and farther away from reality.  With all its twists and turns, it’s no wonder that I can still survive.  Sometimes my mind transcends my words in lustful abandon and keeps me from perfectly sinful consequences.  Blind progression is not only foolish but it is also dull.  It becomes extraordinarily tiresome and banal when we do not know which end we will merit or how we will get there.  The result could be a fabulous triumph or it could be a devastating catastrophe.  No one really knows.

Life is a series of acts where each scene leads to another.  We play our part making mistakes along the way enduring a constant quest for the “answer”.  Searching for a solution to our feeble problems and our worthwhile needs while probing every aspect of existence only making us more hungry for a gratifying finish.

Childless By Choice!

Growing up I always hated to babysit.  It was torture for me to play mommy at 15 but I did it for some extra money.  Maybe it was that diarrhea diaper I changed at that age that swayed my decision or maybe my choice was made when I became a teacher.

The last time I remember dreaming about having babies was when I was still playing with my Baby Tender Love and ironing board.  I can’t remember wanting children for more than a day in the last 10 years.  I never got the Mommy Bug.  When my Aunt Mimi was dying in the hospital because she was brave enough to stop dialysis, I told her that I was going to have kids and I meant it.  After it was all over I lost the feeling once again.

After my mom died I asked my dad if he or my mother were ever disappointed that I didn’t have children and he told me that they never even thought that I would get married because I was always so independent and free-spirited.  He told me that they always knew I hated babysitting and knew that I frankly never liked to be around kids.

Even as a young child I always wanted to be with the adults.  Little kids annoyed me yet I was a small child myself.  What I could never figure out is why kids actually like me.  They always come over and try to get my attention.  Maybe it’s because I sort of ignore them.  I don’t know.  That’s why I think it’s so funny that I became a teacher.  I really do love my kids.  Maybe they give me the fix I need in the mommy department.

My husband wanted to knock me up as soon as we got married but I always had some excuse:  I’m not ready.  Wait until I get tenure.  Maybe next year. There was always a story.  Finally, I assume, he got tired of asking and gave up on me.  When I finally made the decision not to procreate, he said he was fine with it and that was fine with me.

I always said that if it was meant to be that I would have the baby – never going off the Pill was a sure way of NOT multiplying, so I never stopped.  Recently I thought I might have been pregnant and lost my mind.  I really didn’t know what I wanted to do even though I said I did.  I bought a test and it was negative – a relief for both of us.  I don’t think that my husband thinks I would be a good mother – but I KNOW he’s wrong.  I think I would be a great mother.

I know this.  I can’t hold a newborn without crying.  It tears me up inside.  Why?  I haven’t been able to figure it out.  The emotional unrest that (the act of just holding a baby) this puts me in, is phenomenal.  I can’t explain it or maybe I don’t want to explain it – but I think it’s the former.  Then it all disappears.

I’ve lost a lot of friends to the Mommy Club (you know who you are) and the list keeps growing.  I will never be 100% sure that I made the right decision but I think I did.  I don’t want to have my own kids and I’m ok with that.  There are so many things that I still want to do before I no longer exist on this earth and having a baby will not fit into my plan.  But is that reason enough?  I don’t know, but I have to live with my decision – preferably in a loft in Miami or a Paris apartment.

So unless God miraculously bestows a gift upon me, I will remain childless and probably die alone.  Although I don’t think having kids is any guarantee that they will be there for you.  I’ve seen so many  children abandon their parents.  It saddens me.

I give parents a lot of credit.  I couldn’t imagine worrying about another person 24/7 in such an intense way.  If I can’t find the cats (they are house cats), I panic.  If I can’t locate my father, I panic.  If I can’t find my husband (he’s either pissed off at me or ignoring me), I panic.  So if I had a child I would never sleep and NEVER stop thinking about them.  I saw how my mom worried about me – and I tortured my parents.

I like to come and go as I please and find myself drifting farther away from  my friends who can’t do that anymore.  I live as a mom through my bffs and know without a doubt when I’m with them, that I can’t wait to go home.

Things That Make You Go F***!

If you’re going to be stuck in the house in a blizzard, make sure you’re snowed in with someone you actually like.  This will not even ensure a good weekend as many things can go wrong and Saturday morning takes a nasty turn.

I was so excited to be bunkered down in the snow with my husband.  I went shopping on Thursday to pick up some food.  I didn’t have anything in the house except crushed tomatoes and tofu shiratake.  So I went to Pathmark and spent $114 on essentials including some meat.  I had a wicked headache since Wednesday and I ran out of Advil so I asked John to pick up a few things at the store on Friday.  I asked him to buy wine, Advil and eggs.

On the way home on Friday I called him and asked him if we needed anything else and that I would stop and pick it up before I came home.  He told me that he forgot to buy Advil, so I stopped at CVS to pick it up.  Later on that evening I was cooking and ran out of paper towel and asked him to get me a roll in the garage.  To my surprise he informed me that we didn’t have any left.

WTF?  I asked you Thursday before I went to Pathmark.  You shopped Friday.  And I called you Friday before I came home to pick up any last-minute items.  Again WTF!  I bitched and moaned so Dr. Jekyll ran out to get me some later that evening.

The next morning John got up to make coffee and I trailed about 20 minutes behind.  The coffee smelled great and I couldn’t wait to make eggs with cilantro, swiss and soy crumbles.  I opened the fridge and asked, “Where are the eggs?”  He went to the garage and brought them in.  We had a dozen left.  A dozen.  Did I not ask you to pick up eggs and you didn’t?  So of course I started to rant and rave and as usual he immediately got mad at me and proceeded to make my day miserable because I got annoyed.

A day turned into a weekend, now we’re facing storm number two and Mr. Hyde has reappeared.  Thank God it’s Tuesday and not Friday or I’d have to drive down to the beach and rent a room, with WiFi of course, so I can be stress free for a couple of days.

I don’t know about you but I hate walking on eggshells in my own house.  When I talk, I talk too much and when I’m quiet, there must be something wrong with me.  I can’t win no matter what I do.  I cook, I clean (not according to him), I pay all the bills, I run the house, I shop for food, I feed the cats and wipe their asses and I work full-time, do home instruction and tutor on the side.  I used to coach cheerleading but I gave it up a couple of years ago to spend more time at home – now I’m questioning my decision.

In all fairness, I’ve never been the type to be up someone’s ass 24/7.  I need my space and my privacy.  I love my alone time and haven’t been getting enough of it lately.  When a woman does all this and takes care of herself, the psycho treatment is totally unnecessary and frankly daunting.

Enter blizzard number two.  Still stuck in the house with cranky, I start to drink early.  I’m feeling no pain, then my kitchen drawer collapses and all the forks, knives, spoons and other paraphernalia crashes into the bottom cabinet.  Sh**!  F***!  John spends the better part of the morning and afternoon trying to fix it.  We have a little lunch of oysters and crab cakes, a few games of Mario kart and then he heads out to clear the snow.

So John is out there snow-blowing and I ask what I can do.   He says “Put the stuff back in the drawer, but just essentials.”  So that’s what I do.  Ten minutes later I open the drawer and the GD thing collapses again!  Muther!  I poke my head outside to tell John who is furiously shoveling – he gets annoyed.  I scream, “Why aren’t you using the snow-blower?”  He yells, “It’s broken.”  Great.  Now he has to shovel the mess.

He was getting soaking wet outside and I was inside baking a ham.  As I basted my spice-rubbed pork with Sprite and other pan juices, my friggin’ baster falls apart and lands inside the oven and I have to fish it out.  What a day off!

As snow days go, it was typical and getting boring, but leave it to the brain surgeons on my block to provide entertainment.  I look outside and there’s a big truck stuck in front of my house, spinning out and grazing my mailbox.  As I look in the cul-de-sac I see a small white car completely immobilized by the deep snow in the street.  Who the hell would attempt to drive a low-to-the-ground car or any car for that matter, into a foot of snow?

My young car accident prone neighbor.  Beautiful but dumb.  The truck finally manages to free himself from the grips of the frozen mess and drives up the block.  Two minutes later he’s running down the street with a shovel.  What the hell was he going to do?  Shovel all the way down the street?

Yes indeed.  He shoveled and shoveled to create a path for her to drive into.  One by one, people started showing up to help.  John and I were looking out the window laughing.  Cruel but very entertaining.  The kid next store came to our door to dis them as well.  While we reveled in their stupidity the girl’s father took over driving, armed with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and proceeded to burn rubber every foot he travelled.

We decided to have dinner and when we went back to the front window, the car was now stuck in front of our house and the dad was veering head-first into a snow bank.  I swear someone was going to be killed tonight.  He was flipping the car into reverse without telling the two boys who were pushing him from behind and almost ran them over.  Finally he broke loose spraying snow all over the good Samaritans and fish-tailed up to his house.

The spectacle was over and now for entertainment we have each other.  Thank God Direct TV and Wii are up and running!

Culture or Torture?

I was born to be rich.  I know how to spend money.  I know how to eat, to act, to dress, to speak and to culture myself – whatever that means.  Let’s just say I have Champagne taste – and not the cheap stuff.

When my Aunt Tootsie lived upstairs from my Nanoo, I would always go visit her because she too appreciated the finer things in life.  We would watch Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous and eat Boursin cheese on fancy crackers.  That’s where I got my first taste “something different”.

When I lived in France I went to a soiree chez Monsieur Proulx where I reluctantly tried caviar for the first time.  The burst of fish eggs in my mouth was torture but I swallowed it politely and refused to eat caviar again.  I eventually developed a very discerning palate but sadly never for caviar.

I love to go to the theatre.  I hate musicals but I love plays and the opera.  Fortunately I married someone who also enjoys putting on your best and going to the Met for a fabulous show and a $17 glass of Champagne at intermission.

I can spend all day at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and meander around absorbing all the great works of art in my view.  I used to go there weekly by myself and get lost in the beauty.  In Paris the are museums everywhere and I took full advantage whether it was at the Louvre, the Picasso Museum, the Musee d’Orsay or the Musee de Carnavalet.

I feel like I’m bettering myself.  I feel like more people need to experience things that they may not normally do.  Go to a poetry reading, a museum, an opera.  See a great play based on a famous book like Huis Clos – one of my faves.  Drink wine or a fine Champagne instead of beer and if you can’t leave the beer behind, leave the Bud behind.  Try a Belgian Blanche or a Raspberry Porter or a fabulous Lambic or Kriek.  Open your minds and treat your taste buds.

Experience and live, for life is too short.

If You Want To Be A Teacher…

If you want to be a teacher you must have a sense of humor, you can’t take yourself too seriously and you have to love your job.

As a teacher, I always try to remember that I was once 12, 13, 14 and so on.  There was a line back then.  The stories I could tell!  The stories I DO tell – changing the names, of course.  You have to laugh about it.  I mean, you might scream at the time, but when it’s all over you have to laugh.

I’ve had so many interesting things happen in my 13 year career.  Kids pleasuring themselves in class, humping the chair, sticking a toy up their butt and making the class smell it, simulating “from behind”, refusing to stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance, crying boys, farting, burping, swearing, dropping pants, runaway girls, nose-hair curling B.O. and the list goes on.

It’s not only the kids you have to deal with (they’re easy) – you’ve got their parents, your bosses, your colleagues and the whole friggin’ community!  It’s a hard profession to live up to but somehow we do.  There are so many variables thrown into the mix when you’re dealing with kids and the enormous lot of people I just mentioned that your head may sometimes spin at the end of the day (if you’re lucky) and sometimes the entire day.  That’s when you know you’re going to have a LONG week.

Long weeks are the worst!  You know you’re going to have a long week when:  your boss screams at you within the first three minutes of the school day, there are four subs in your wing alone, Joe S.  just de-pantsed Billy B., you found a pile of “sh* *” in the stairwell, you stopped off in the bathroom to pee and sat in someone else’s piss, you got stuck in the elevator for ten minutes, the internet is down, you can’t access your files, you hear your name on the P.A. and wonder what the hell they want, your voicemail light is blinking incessantly and you can’t bear to check it, you have 50 new e-mails from parents and the CST, you have an IEP meeting and the parents don’t show, you forgot to run off today’s quiz, someone got their period and there’s evidence of it in your room, two kids just left your class with a stomach virus and didn’t make it to the bathroom, there’s an 8th-grader crying in the bathroom because her boyfriend dumped her, some kid just got sent home drunk and you broke your heel in the shoddy floor construction.

If you go back after all that it means something because you’re going back for more and more and more.  Many first year teachers don’t make it far because it can be a circus.  In my opinion, a circus that is definitely worth it.  I love my kids despite all the drama.  And I do repeat…

If you want to be a teacher you must have a sense of humor, you can’t take yourself too seriously and you have to love your job – and I for one DO.