Wednesday, August 31, 2011

... A Collector

My Grandad is a painter and a gentleman, a Civil War enthusiast, a lover of Chocolate milk shakes and oreos and a kind man. He is going to die soon and I'm sure it's for this reason that my mom googled him. What came up was an article that he had written for Reminisce magazine about his 1933 baseball card collection. He collected the cards as a kid, got rid of them, then as an adult worked to collect 239 of the 240. He still has the cards (including 3 Babe Ruths).

As I get ready for my Grandad to go I'm assembling my own collection of memories. I've got #192 the smell of pipe smoke and #2 a roll of Peppermint Certs, a #14 the time he tripped carrying me into the house, fell and scraped his hands,  #77 drawing lessons before school, the priceless #98 monkey face he'd make at the car as we'd drive away from his house and a #263 apology for not writing more letters. I've got the 1986 trip to Cape Cod and a rare 1998 "Pitch Proud".

I am so sad to think that my collection is nearly complete, but I'm proud to say that my Grandad was truly in a  League of his own.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

...Crying over New York (Magazine)

WARNING: With a post about threatening Astorian men yesterday and a 9/11 post below, this might prove to be a serious week. If you're looking for laughs check out If you think I'm taking myself too seriously don't worry. It's temporary.

November 2002 marked my first and only trip to New York (prior to moving here). Two friends from college were interning at not-for-profit theatres and I decided to take have an adventure before my own year long theatre apprenticeship started. I remember going to Ground Zero and feeling like an impostor. There were still missing persons posters hanging on chain link fence.

That trip I saw 5 shows, learned nothing of New York geography and fell in love with fried egg sandwiches. I went with one friend to look at apartments and was mistaken as a New Yorker by the realtor. I railed against a show in a heated debate with the other friend only to be startled, followed and scared to death by a homeless man. I was a kid.

Labor Day, four years later, I moved to the city. A week and a half later was the 5th Anniversary of 9/11. I remember laying in bed listening to planes descend toward Laguardia, terrified I would hear a crash. My roommates had been in college on Staten Island 5 years before. Their dorms faced the city. My fear was insignificant in comparison to their sadness.

Today, I got my New York Magazine, a special double issue of all things 9/11. As I turn through the pages I'm struck by how many stories I've never heard;The Falling Man, the last survivor pulled from Ground Zero, the impostor widow...

Today, catching up with a friend from home we discussed our work, our families and friends, her engagement and at the end of the conversation she asked me expectantly, "Well, do you still love New York!?!"

Love her? I hardly know her.

Monday, August 29, 2011

...Just Walking Home

There is a new trend on Broadway (in Astoria) of men talking to me late at night as I'm walking home.

2am Friday, a 5'4" Egyptian guy asked me the following questions in this order:
Are you Russian?
Where are you from?
What's your name?
Are you drunk?
How old are you? (When I asked him why he wanted to know he followed it with : "Just to be safe")

Finding myself not threatened by his stature, the fact that he was smiling, my Midwestern tendency to respond when addressed and I don't know... a confidence that I would walk in the opposite direction once I got to the intersection by my house I answered his questions and asked them of him. When I got to my place, I pointed down the opposite block and said, "I live that way."

"I'll just walk with you." He replied.
"No, I'll walk by myself."
"No, I'll just walk you."
"No you won't. I'll walk this way." I replied, and headed up the block in yet another direction that was not my towards my place. I ducked around the corner, waited to see if he had followed me, then headed home.

Today, I was returning the 3 blocks from my friend's apartment to my place. Two somewhat meaty guys were 8 steps ahead of me when one of them karate kicked a box of recycling. As my pace was faster, I quickly caught up to these guys.

"Hey, how are you?"
"I'm good, thanks." I said curtly, passing them.
"Well, thanks for answering me at least. Most people don't respond. Why is that?"
"Well, I'm walking by myself." I offered with an accompanying look over my shoulder; subtext "Dumbass".
"What, do we look like thugs?"
"You never know!"
"Yeah, things are changing, the first well dressed thugs!" he said, somewhat threateningly.

Now I've been told that in the case of the Egyptian, the thought process could have been, "What if?" What if he met this leggy, non-Russian, walked her home and she invited him up. What if it actually worked?

How about the beefy, box kicking guys. What was their aim? There's no way it was "What if it actually worked?"

In both of these cases, these men approached me to assert their dominance (especially tonight) and I am disgusted and angry that I feel threatened so close to my home. In pursuit of excitement, arousal or just a good story, these men leave me on the lookout for rape, stabbing, or at minimum objectification.

I know it gets way worse. I know these were mostly forgettable blips on my weekly radar, but the rapid succession of the events makes me think. Why can a man still so easily threaten a woman? What kind of man would treat a woman this way? Are people going to think me a reactionary wimp for writing this post?

"You have to be safe." my mom would say.
"You never know." my friends would say.
"Fuck these assholes." my heart tells me. I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more.

That'll work right? Only respond with movie quotes?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

...Carrie Bradshaw Part 2

Perhaps every single woman who moves to New York is in some way influenced by Sex and the City. Whether she likes the show or not, it is so culturally pervasive that comparison is unavoidable. While I know that the show is escapist and while I often have problems with the way it deals with gender I wondered…

What could I learn from Carrie Bradshaw and her friends?

I awoke on Tuesday at 10am. As soon as my eyes opened, I first thought about the bad dream I had had and then realized I had overslept, not moved my friend's car, and now had a $40 ticket. That explained the bad dream. I rolled out of bed, threw on some jeans and went to check on the car. Sure enough there was a $45 ticket.

When life gives you tickets, throw a ticker tape parade.

Or, in my case, come home, write a check for $45 and get back in your boxers to write. Determined to have a fabulous week, I put on my Carrie-esque attitude and thought about how I could spin this minor calamity. Sure I was out of $45, but I saved myself 30 minutes of driving around looking for a spot and I wouldn't have to move that car again until Friday.

The car taken care of I had time to focus on the goals I had set for myself on Monday.I had given myself the task of participating in 5 fabulous activites and one presented itself on Tuesday night. New York's hottest restaurant (at some point) is (was) Blue Fin. A co-worker’s wife waits tables at the restaurant and invited everyone in the office to come out for $5.90 mixed drinks in honor of the 5.9 earthquake that had hit (nudged, really) New York that afternoon. The drinks were usually $14 and Carrie Bradshaw would certainly never miss an opportunity for a fabulous drink, so I accepted. One discounted Lotus Flower later, my friend was bringing us complimentary champagne, an espresso cocktail and the dessert menu (on the house). My $5.90 drink turned into a feast.

Lesson #1: Never turn down an opportunity for fabulous freebies

Stunned by how opulent my treatment was at Blue Fin (most of it for free) I was happy to practice Lesson 2

And Lesson #2: Tip fabulously

Lesson #3 came when I finally checked something off my emotional to do list. A toxic ex had been trying to reconnect over facebook and after a couple messages it was clear that absolutely nothing had changed. I decided to end it (again). My message was concise and above the fray. I was satisfied. Within 30 minutes he had written back. His response was petty, mean and completely unnecessary. My message was final, but I guess he just had to have the last word. So, I defriended him on facebook. If this were tennis, the score would be 40-love.

Lesson #3: End toxic relationships, to make room for new ones.

One of my Sex and the City goals from Monday was to dress fabulously all week.  My go-to outfit is usually a pair of jeans and a cute tee shirt. There would be none of that this week. I would construct my image. No throwing things on. Instead I would savor cut, color, texture… I would plumb my wardrobe for fabulous pieces and pair them in interesting ways…and I did! Tuesday, I wore my cream Kenneth Cole blouse, army green shorts and big floral ring. Wednesday was this pink, beaded top with jeans and a low slung belt…ok the truth that was Thursday’s outfit. No rememberance of what I wore Wednesday and the fabulous flew out the window end of week…BUT I did learn…

Lesson #4: Clothes do no good hanging in the closet.

I realized that I have all these pieces that I’m saving for nicer occasions. Like what? Why not wear and enjoy my more interesting clothes. It felt good to get compliments this week. I felt comfortable eating in Blue Fin in my dressier get up and I didn’t spill a drop of food on anything! So why not wear my clothes? Why leave them nice and spotless and going out of style in the closet?

I did get a hair cut this week. I did wear heels (now counts, right? Cause that’s it.) and I did identify a Miranda and a Charlotte for myself. I may know a Samantha, but we never hang out… And brunch at my favorite crepe place today was tasty.

Plot- wise, this week was chock full. I survived an earthquake, a hurricane and the toxic spill from my ex. I had a great week at work, went to a late night faux wrestling themed, improv comedy battle, and spent 36 hours having a co-ed sleepover with friends. My “Charlotte” put her cat to sleep. My “Miranda” contrasted my story arc, with her breast feeding challenges. My Grandad took a turn for the worse (for all that SATC deals with, it rarely touches family). Through all of it, I carried my most important lesson:

Lesson #5: Listen to your own narrator.

I started this week asking myself, how I could best be Carrie Bradshaw. After setting cosmetic goals of wearing heels and being fabulous I immediately realized that I would never be exactly like Carrie, never wanted to be exactly like Carrie and had no desire to beat myself about failing in my Carrie-ness. (Recognizing what I want and who I am... Huh. How very Carrie.) So, I who never wears heels... I, who quite often goes 3 months celebate (gasp!) I learned the greatest lesson that the show has to offer:

This, above all, to thine own self be shoe true.

Monday, August 22, 2011

...Carrie Bradshaw

Having just received the Sex and the City complete boxed set 2010 including all 6 seasons of the show and BOTH movies I am issuing this week's challenge: to Bradshawisize myself. Carrie appears to work about 4 hours a week and experience life the rest of the time. So, ok, here I go. I will most certainly watch dozens of episodes of the show this week (what Carrie would call "research" and I will continue to write, but will only post once at the end of this week. I will sit at my computer, squeeze my eyebrows together thoughtfully, write a couple sentences, then close my computer. This will all culminate in a post that will succinctly and cleverly encapsulate my week and the week of my friends. In order to do so I will:

1. Find my Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha
2. Get a hair cut.
3. Wear fabulous outfits (perhaps multiple daily and heels at least once)
4. Brunch
5. Participate in 5 fabulous activities.

I can feel my hair curling and my chin mole-ing up already.

Friday, August 19, 2011

...Interviewing KF

Molly's Facebook Celebrities!
Interviews with my friends and family (with answers pulled from Facebook)
Friday, Aug 19th Kristin Farrell

Me: Kristin, thanks for joining us, especially with only a week and a half left in the city.

KF: Slam your body down a zigazig ahhh

Me: Our readers, of course know you for your activism.

KF: "If you don't like Gay marriage blame straight people, they the ones having Gay babies"

Me: So powerful. So why are you leaving New York?

KF: My new dentist is hot. I feel awkward ...

Me: Sure. Yeah. You've lived here for about 10 years. Do you think you'll miss New York?

KF: I miss the Mediterranean I want to go back!

Me: I'm sure you will. You also just went through a whirlwind marriage then divorce. What were the papers calling the split?

KF: Mt. Vesuvius.

Me: Ouch. Why did it end?

KF: If you still can't spell my name right after raising your child for 8 months I officially don't like you. Just saying

Me: I'd say that's a damn good reason. What lesson did you learn from this relationship that you'll take into your next one?

KF: If you wanna be my lova You gotta get with my friends. Make it last forever. Friendship never ends!

Me: Well put. Well, your movers are here. Any last words for the Big Apple?

KF: Dear tourists...
Friends was filmed in LA, Lennon was not shot IN strawberry fields and the exhibit at the met is ALEXANDER McQueen not Steve! Geez its 6:45 please stop talking!
Love, Farrell

Me: Thanks for that. Good luck with your move, Kristin!!!

And thank you, dear readers, for checking out this final edition of Molly's Facebook Celebrities!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

...Interviewing CC

Molly's Facebook Celebrities!
Interviews with my friends and family (with answers pulled from Facebook)
Thursday, Aug 18th my cousin, Chris Clabuesh

Me: Chris, thanks for joining me today.

CC: I feel real nice!

Me: That's great! Me, too! So, how's life in Chicago?

CC: I got a cheesedumper in burgerville!

Me: So much meat in Chicago. Sounds like heaven. So how are the ladies in Chicago?

CC: boom boom

Me: That good, huh? I hear you're smooth with the ladies. What's your best pick up line?

CC: I'm ready to retire here.

Me: Nice. Direct, bold, shows commitment...

CC: Pure

Me: What's another one?

CC: Home is wherever I'm with you

Me: Solid! Give me a third.

CC: this heat makes me feel like Florida Gator kid, Is this real life?

Me: might want to workshop that one. Oh! You mean David after the Dentist! That youtube video of the drugged up kid. Ok, yeah, that's pretty good. The wording's just off.

CC: Hot Dog Cart

Me: Oh, you say that and point to your pants? I dunno...

CC: I'm ready to face any challenges that might be foolish enough to face me.

Me: That sounds like you're insulting her and... em not your best...

CC: I'm not just saying possum ass is delicious, it is, I'm saying I'm true to my instincts.

Me: That's another one, huh? Ok, just me... I'd stick to the retirement one, the home one...So, I forget, what's your job in Chi-town?

CC: it's a sweet deal

Me: Oh, you're pointing at your pants again. God, is that another pick up line? Let's move on.

CC: throat steppin

Me: Gross, Chris!

CC: an hour ago a fireball consumed my face, which is far preferable to spending one second with you.

Me: Fine, ok. We'll just do this. You get 3 more lines.

CC: fish whistle

Me: Yep.

CC: anyone getting the fight tonight or going somewhere to watch it?

Me: Uh huh.

CC: hold my stones

Me: Great! Well, we're out of space and time, but thank you, Chris, for this insightful interview. I'm sure you'll be a huge hit in Burgerville.

Check in tomorrow for your final dose of Molly's Facebook Celebrities!
With 1 more interview...who knows? The next celebrity might be YOU!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

...Interviewing JE

Molly's Facebook Celebrities!
Interviews with my friends and family (with answers pulled from Facebook)
Wedsday, Aug 17th  Jane Elliot

Me: Hey, Jane! Thanks for joining me.

JE: So so tired. Nearly just brushed my teeth with clearasil.

Me: Yikes, I'm sorry to hear that. Well then double thanks for being here. Why so tired?

JE: greek yogurt fail. Made my life more complicated, didn't solve all my problems.

Me: What kind of complications did Greek yogurt cause you?

JE: aaaaaaaggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh harry potter aaaaaaaaaaaaagggggggggghhhhhhhhhh!!!!

Me: Woah! Greek yogurt turned you into Harry Potter!?! That is complicated and kind of exciting, right?

HP: I've always wanted to use that spell!

Me: Performing spells is a definite upside, but if you're Harry Potter, your parents must be...deceased.

HP: Sad the fammy is gone but had a great great time! Lake was great... performing for my crew was great, and seeing Jerusalem was great, too!! Now all I need is some sleep...

Me: I've always heard that Harry Potter was a Christ figure. Makes sense that you went to Jerusalem...and now you're on a bus tour through the United States.

HP: Definitely not a huge fan of Scranton after the last few days. (I think that the locals with whom I interacted this time were unusually frustrating - def more than those I have met on previous trips...) BUT I will say one thing: this is just an astoundingly beautiful part of the country. Green trees green hills green!!

Me: What else have you seen on your tour?

HP: Boo, boo, boo, boo!

Me: Tired of questions?

HP: has had juuuuust about enough of buses.

Me: Don't you have a snazzy coach get up?

HP: Greyhound thoroughly sucks as usual.

Me: Oh, wow, no wonder you're tired.

HP: could really do with a milkshake right about now.

Me: Yeah, we'll send someone out to get one.

HP: things it's funny to see a girl in a jamba juice apron drinking a mcdonalds smoothie.

Me: We'll set that up for you too, Har. Anything to make you smile.

HP: The Hudson River is sparkling.

Me: For me? That's awfully sweet. See, being Harry Potter has it's perks.

HP: Buh exhaustion/stress-induced cold buh.

Me: Fair enough. Well, thanks for the interview Harry/Jane! Good luck with the (CENSORED FOR SPOILER CONTENT)!

Check in tomorrow for another dose of Molly's Facebook Celebrities!
With 2 more interviews to come who knows! The next celebrity might be YOU!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

...Interviewing JH

Molly's Facebook Celebrities!
Interviews with my friends and family (with answers pulled from Facebook)
Tuesday, Aug 16th  Jonathan "Jon" Heffley

Me: Jon, thanks for granting me this interview. I know you're really busy these days.

JH: August is going to be one cluster fuck of a mess.

Me: Wow. What kind of stuff do you have going on?

JH: I am sooo psyched about this stunt class. :-)

Me: A stunt class, that sounds dangerous.

JH: This was called a suicide fall where you jump off and kick your feet out. This was from 3 stories above the air mat... "Falling!"

Me: Oh, please get down off that table. I really don't think you should do that in a restaurant.

JH: Feeling antisocial.

Me: you said you had a lot going on this August. What else?

JH: My mustache hair is starting to curl up into my nostrils. I'll keep you all updated.

Me: Ok.

JH: Hiccuping incessantly.

Me: Huh...

JH: I saw a huge cockroach carrying a rat on his back into a hospital. I could learn a lot from him!

Me: Those things could keep you busy...I guess.

JH: My MacBook Air is here! I'm going to look sooo productive!! AND PRETENTIOUS!!

Me: You love computers. You actually work with computers, right?

JH: Ethical Hacking Bootcamp begins today!

Me: Ethical Hacking that through work?

JH: "home"

Me: know I think we'll leave that...just in case the FBI is reading.

JH: Why did TSA take my toothpaste away?

Me: Right, you just went to Ohio. Maybe they heard about your hacking class?

JH: Do you think I'm white?

Me: Um yes?

JH: Excuse me. Do you think I LOOK white?

Me: I do... Oh, is that what you said when they took your toothpaste away??? I think they just do that to everyone. They took my 92 year old Grandma's toothpaste when she flew to Virginia.

JH: What the Fuck Dept.?

Me: Yeah, file it under WTF! Why would they ever think someone could cause damage with toothpaste?

JH: There is a yelling in my head.

Me: That might be why. Well, Jon, we're going to have to wrap this up.

JH: "'Men will always think rationally and act irrationally.' Someone tell people I said that smart thing when I'm dead!!!"

Me: We will, but that'll be a long time from now, Jon, right?

JH: Thanks, God. For everything.

Me: I think you've gone to a dark place, Jon. What's something that makes you happy?
JH: I would like to have bubblegum ice cream. (Yes, it exists.)

Me: Great. My treat!

Thanks again for reading Molly's Facebook Celebrities!
Check back tomorrow for another interview. Who knows...the next celebrity might be you!

Monday, August 15, 2011

...Interviewing JT

Molly's Facebook Celebrities!
Interviews with my friends and family (with answers pulled from Facebook)
Monday, Aug 15th  Jonathan "Jon" Thomas

Me: You recently bought a house in Michigan. How do you like it?

JT: Anyone know the going rate for a Bikram yoga class??? First class starts at 8 pm....up-stairs at my house currently about 110 and 100% humidity (guest instructors welcome)

Me: Yikes, sounds hot. You're close to a park thought, right? That must be good for the dog.

JT: Soccer practice = hot moms at the park....Ernie gets an extra long walk today.Pulled the classic dog park move tonight....pick up 'phone call' at first sign of squat. Good thing too...Ernie was in Frosty mode (original, not wild berry thankfully)

Me: Kind of a weird segue, but do you like Frosty's?

JT: Strawberry milk may be the most underrated beverage.

Me: I guess it is often overlooked. So, anything else of interest in the neighborhood?

JT: Really glad I don't currently attend a B'Ham Middle/High School because I would look like a complete d-bag in skinny jeans.

Me: Yeah, you're all grown up now, owning a house, retirement accounts...

JT: No better way to wake up on a Sunday than from an online bankin alert....yep credit card number

Me: Ouch. Did you get the alert on your phone?

JT: Things my cell phone current can't do: take pictures, text, or make outgoing

Me: Geez, a stolen card, a broken phone... just you and this leftover Chinese food.

JT: So what does it mean when you crack a fortune cookie and its empty? Probably should stay inside tonight.

Me: Heard there's a game on.

JT: Washington spent 126 mil on an outfielder this off-season and you are throwing Livan Hernandez on opening day? Nice staff.

Me: Sure, the Nationals. The Tigers are your team, though, right?

JT: Picking up some Cheesy G's to ease the pain of that loss

Me: Any thoughts on other sports?

JT: Message to any and all who feel the need to put a 13.1 or 26.2 oval sticker on their one cares how far you ran that one time......really, no one, except you. So keep it to yourself.
To the dude sporting the skin-tight LIVESTRONG shirt while riding a me a favor and hop on the co-pilot seat because you aren't fooling anyone....we all know who runs that relationship.

Me: Hey, just because he's riding a tandem doesn't mean he's a wimp.

JT: so you are trying to tell me Bobby Hurley isn't soft? Right....that's why he is a spokesman for Dove+Men...aaaaaaaaaaah boy.

Me: Oh, I don't know. I 'm not even sure who Bobby Hurley is to be honest. Um, working on anything new these days?

JT: I need to find Ernie a friendly primate.

Me: And who's on your i pod these days?

JT: Ray Charles...real good.

Me: Sweet. Well, I think we're going to have to wrap this up. Do you happen to have any questions for my readers?

JT: What dickbag invented the fitted bed-sheet? Trying to fold it = me getting pissed after about 20 seconds and just balling it up. F.

Me: I will be sure to ask them. Thanks for the interview and enjoy your new place!

I'll be presenting Molly's Facebook Celebrities all week.
Make sure to check in daily. Who knows...the next celebrity might be you!