August 17, 2013

Bananas are Magic

I'm on week 3 of training to run the NYC marathon and I still can't say it without adding disclaimers----

The scene: The interior of a Midtown boutique named "SBR". It's the "Swim Bike Run" store for hardcore Ironman types.

Me [Enters sheepishly. Avoids making eye contact with the Salesperson.]: Hi.

SBR Salesperson [Little wiry dude, cut from granite. Bald. Probably 100% hairless by choice, because of wind resistance or whatever]: Good afternoon, how can I help you?

Me: [blurts out] I'm training to run a marathon, but my goal is just to finish it because I'm not a real athlete and I understand that it's too soon to train properly to run 26.2 miles but I'm doing it for a charity that's very important to me and they just got spots for runners on August 1st which means only 13 weeks to train and I haven't even been inside a gym in close to a year and every marathon training website says that I should already be fit and running easily for 30 minutes at a time BEFORE I start training for at least 16 weeks, but I can't turn back the calendar so it is what it is and I'm going to do what I can even if I finish the damn thing last.

SBR Salesperson: M'kay.....

Me: Do you sell fanny packs?

SMASH CUT TO TRAINING MONTAGE VIDEO. What? You were expecting Rocky? Karate Kid?? Come on. Why would I fantasize that my thighs are going to look like Ralph Macchio's?

I've learned a couple of things in the last few weeks:

1.  Bananas are magic. Every day that I come into work after getting up and running at the crack of dawn and I feel like a lifeless sack of wet laundry, I eat a banana. Sure enough it feels like coming back to life. MAGIC. Or maybe Potassium. Whatever, I'm not a scientist.

2. Before I started running, I believed that this:

was just one of these:

for one of those:

And I still do. But now after a few miles, I'll drink out of it and really not care. And that is called perspective.

August 2, 2013

True Story

True Story: Years ago, a personal trainer fired me as his client for not being "serious". But today? Well today I'm still not what anyone would call an "athlete" or a "good runner". I actually only technically qualify as a "runner". What do I like best about running? When it's over.

This November 3rd, I'm running the NYC Marathon. [Yes, really.] When I first asked Hearing Health Foundation to apply to be a 2013 NYC Marathon Charity Partner, I had one reason in mind: my daughter, Marlowe.

When Marlowe was one day old, a hospital nurse handed me a pamphlet titled "Can your baby hear you?" She then informed my husband, Brandon, and me that our baby had failed the newborn hearing screening.

In a state of shock, for three months we had her tested and retested. Each time we were reassured that she did in fact have fluid in her ears. We slammed doors. We encouraged the dog to bark. We were overjoyed when a fire truck's blaring siren woke her from a nap. We were sure it meant her hearing was fine.

We were wrong. At three months old, Marlowe was diagnosed with severe permanent hearing loss.

A week later, she was fitted with hearing aids and immediately started speech therapy (which is more like listening therapy at that age). We were determined that she would live in the hearing world and learn to speak rather than use sign language.

That was four years ago. Today our little chatterbox attends the Auditory Oral School of New York and will be mainstreamed starting with Kindergarten.

Why have I chosen to run for Hearing Health Foundation? Because we are close to a CURE to permanent hearing loss and Hearing Health Foundation funds scientific research with the goal of finding the cure within the next ten years. That would be by the time Marlowe is a teenager. That's also a pretty amazing thing for the rest of us who were born with normal hearing, but have been wearing it away via concerts, clubs and ear buds since adolescence. 

Please click here to give what you can to support this cause that means enough to me to run, walk, cry and swear for 26.2 New York City miles on November 3, 2013.

June 23, 2013

How to Apologize. (What Paula Deen Should Have Said.)

Yes, we're all a little jaded. But we've earned it. It seems like there's a newsworthy apology every other week from the latest disgraced public figure. Mostly it's crocodile tears and bullshit under the watchful eye of an effective and soulless Attorney.

If YOU (Famous Person reading my blog) are the next person who must go down on his knees in front of the camera (likely because you got caught down on your knees in front of a camera) please take some time to consult with a professional first. Not a Lawyer, a Comedy Writer.

Sure, you need a Lawyer to help you cover your ass. His job is to tell you what to not say. The last thing he wants you to do is to admit any culpability. That's his job.  So here's the rub: DO NOT attempt to apologize to the horde of torch-wielding villagers, until you are ready to admit what you did. Now, listen carefully. "Hurt people" is not what you did. "Hurt Matt Lauer" is not what you did. (It actually may be one of the things you did, but just send the man a fruit basket privately. I hear he likes a nice Mango.) Do not make any sudden moves. Do not make eye contact. Do not say a word on camera until you are ready to give a better apology than a toddler being fed his lines by Mommy.

So why do you need a Comedy Writer? Should you take the heat off the situation by opening your apology with levity? NO. What a Comedian is good for is isolating the bullshit. His or her (yeah, I said it.) job is pinpointing what the Internet will be saying about you. THAT is what you have to address. BE SPECIFIC. Ideally, you should have Jon Stewart vet every major business or life decision you make.

In summary, Paula Deen admitted under oath that she has, in the past, casually used the N-word.  Additionally she imagined how charming it would be to host a true Southern wedding featuring a full staff of tap dancing Uncle Ben waiters, but had sense enough to know that the media would misinterpret her warm-fuzzy feels of nostalgia for slavery. You know, the good ol' days.

What Paula Deen Should Have Said

"Hi Ya'll. I'm Paula Deen. Earlier this week I got busted big time. The first thing I was going to say is to apologize to Matt Lauer because I stood him up this morning, but then Jon Stewart told me it would made me look out of touch with reality. That and also my idea for Bojangles themed events, would make me look out of touch. So, Matt, I'll say nothing more to you at this time. Mango basket's in the mail.

So against the best advice of my smart Jew Lawyers, what I came here to say to Y'all is this:

I am sorry that I am so unbelievably stupid. For real, Y'all. I am just an old lady who grew up in the South and despite building a multi-million dollar empire, never once read a newspaper or turned on the television set in the last 40 years. Honestly. I don't read! I didn't know that using the N-word in a happy joking way in the modern era still made me into a Southern inbred pig-effer caricature. Bless my heart!

I'm here today to beg for Y'all's forgiveness for a lifetime of racism. Not "mean on purpose" racism.  But racism none-the-less.

I know that some of you think I'm disgusting for teaching people to get Diabetes with one hand and then selling Diabetes medication with the other. But have you considered that I was dumb enough to ruin my own health at the same time, so maybe it wasn't the grand scheme of an evil genius?

See, I am actually not smart. Not at all. Like borderline retarded, Y'all. Now, I've been told I'm not supposed to use that word either, but I looked it up. And I'm using it with a little "r", not like a mean nickname. It actually means "slow". Did Y'all know that? See, I'm learning. I want to change, but I need Y'alls help. Please teach me. I want to learn from not just my African-American friends, but the Mexicans and the Orientals too.

God Bless Y'all. And PLEASE eat less butter."

June 15, 2013

Crushed (by) Fruit

I'm at my third-rate grocery store in my second-rate Brooklyn neighborhood examining pints of Strawberries. Why do I have to buy "Organic"?

I hate to be a sucker, but not as much as I hate imaging my kids exchanging I.Q. points for fiber because Mommy doesn't want to pay an extra $2 for the Not-Poison-Fruit. There's something wrong with every goddamn box. When they package a pint, they must toss one in from the batch of rotten furry gray Strawberries, just to sell those too.

Such a racket. There MUST be a Strawberry Cabal. I went from being a Texan who thought that the Mafia only exists in movies, to being a New Yorker who imagines Paulie Walnuts has his hand in every Smoothie in the Tri-State. Anxiety mounts. I wish I had a garden so I could grow my own fruit. Fuck! Will I ever be able to afford to buy an actual house?! And am I going to live in New York my whole life? Is this really where I want to raise my children? Will I be able to tolerate NYC winters when I'm elderly and frail, yet still quite impressively mentally spry? Am I going to end up buried next to the f'ing BQE for all eternity?!

How long have I been looking at these Strawberries? Christ. I can't NOT get any now. I've invested too much time here. I fake a phone call and walk away berry-less, with one eye on the stock boy who should really mind his own business. His shady, shady fruit business.

I take my righteous indignation home, vowing to schlep to Trader Joe's tomorrow. But today, I make the best Banana pancakes ever. 

April 8, 2013

Pieces of Flair

I haven't waited tables in over ten years. But every once in awhile, I'll wake up in a cold sweat from a nightmare where I'm in the weeds. And then, my station gets hit again.

Waitressing was my 'Nam.

...and I was definitely in the shit.

February 24, 2013

Little Surprises

When I found out that my second baby was a boy, I was terrified. I only ever imagined raising girls. I could never have imagined the joy of being startled by finding this in the shower.

February 23, 2013

You are Beautiful.

*The following link is NSFW (assuming that boobies are frowned upon by your place of employment): The Nuproject is a collection of nude photographs shot by Minneapolis photographer Matt Blum. If you like the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, you'll appreciate this. There's nothing erotic about the images. But come to think of it, if you find them erotic, I actually think that's fantastic. 

As much of a feminist as I think I am, I can almost never turn off that judgmental and particularly self-critical voice in my mind that only sees flaws.  I've recently started watching HBO's Girls. I love that the show makes me so uncomfortable. It's as painful as reading the journal you kept when you were in college. But honestly, what makes me most uncomfortable is how completely comfortable Lena Dunham is being naked. Constantly naked. She's not perfect and she's not covering up or turning over. It makes me cringe and then it makes me feel sick for cringing. But I cannot imagine any point in this life or the next in which I would ever have the nerve to play ping-pong completely naked. 

A girlfriend & I recently had a conversation about "good complements". Gentlemen, take note. "You look nice" is the limp handshake of complements. It means you found the soap. You used a comb. That outfit was properly ironed. The correct answer is "You are beautiful." 

"You are beautiful" is intrinsic, unwavering. Up five pounds? Sinus infection? Bad hair day? You might not look nice, but you are beautiful. We might argue, but we still love to hear it. So keep it up and one day we might believe it enough to play ping-pong. 

February 17, 2013


When I bought this Simplehuman kitchen trash can, it cost more than my sofa. Ok, second-hand futon. That was maybe 10 years ago. 

It made me sick to spend good money on a trash can. You should be able to just tell the cashier that you intend to put garbage inside it and she should let you take it for free. But it was going to be the last kitchen trash can I'd ever buy, so I went with the "best". And it was likely the nicest thing in my kitchen at the time.

So when the little bastard broke, I did what any reasonable grown-ass woman would do: I went through the five stages of grief, lingering in the Anger stage far longer than healthy. When I moved onto the Bargaining stage, I went Macgyver on it. After various failed attempts, I drilled a velcro tab into the lid to keep it closed. It worked! My trash can's little Hitler mustache was completely effective---for awhile. When we moved into our current apartment, the contractors had left behind a large, heavier-than-you'd-think dustpan. Perfect! That was two years ago. 

You might think that a woman in her 30's, a woman with two children, is an adult. You might think.

February 16, 2013

For Your Thighs Only

It's another rockstar Saturday night: Skyfall and a large box of Hot Tamales. Hot/Hotter/Hottest. [I'm only into Hottest. Which is about as extreme as cinnamon Dentyne.] The candy, a trophy for today's baby shower game victory. Who's the bigger badass? Dutch beer drinking James Bond? Or the bad mothershutyourmouth who bested a bunch of organic craft-loving Mormon mommies at a game of "Name That Baby Food"?

January 31, 2013

My Funny Valentine

Go ahead. You know you want to watch it.

Has there ever been anyone who is more of a Master of the Absurd, while also a heartbreakingly beautiful observer of the human condition than Steve Martin? If you haven't read Steve Martin's Shopgirl (I said READ, not watched the movie), do yourself the favor of reading the passage below.

The Conversation (from Steve Martin's novella, Shopgirl)
The Conversation consists of one involved party telling another involved party the limits of their interest. It is meant to be a warning to the second party that they may come only so close.

Again, Mr. Ray Porter takes Mirabelle to La Ronde. They sit at the same booth and have the same wine, and everything is done to replicate their first dinner, because Ray wants to pick up exactly where they left off, with not even a design change in a fork handle to break the continuum. Mirabelle is not speaking tonight, because she works only in gears, and tonight she is in the wrong gear. Third gear is her scholarly, perspicacious, witty self; second gear is her happy, giddy, childish self; and first gear is her complaining, helpless, unmotivated self. Tonight she is somewhere midshift, between helpless and childish, but Ray doesn't care. Ray doesn't care because tonight is the night as far as he is concerned, the night where everything is going to come off her. And Ray feels compelled to have the Conversation. It is appropriate tonight because of Ray's fairness doctrine: before the clothes come off, speeches must be made.

"I think I should tell you a few things. I don't think I'm ready for a real relationship right now." He says this not to Mirabelle but to the air, as though he is just discovering a truth about himself and accidentally speaking it aloud.

Mirabelle answers, "You had a rough time with your divorce."

Understanding. For Ray Porter, that is good. She absolutely knows that this will never be long term. He goes on: "But I love seeing you and I want to keep seeing you."

"I do too," says Mirabelle. Mirabelle believes he has told her that he is bordering on falling in love with her, and Ray believes she understands that he isn't going to be anybody's boyfriend.

"I'm traveling too much right now," he says. In this sentence, he serves notice that he would like to come into town, sleep with her, and leave. Mirabelle believes that he is expressing frustration at having to leave town and that he is trying to cut down on traveling.

"So what I'm saying is that we should be allowed to keep our options open, if that's okay with you."

At this point, Ray believes he has told her that in spite of what could be about to happen tonight, they are still going to see other people. Mirabelle believes that after he cuts down on his traveling, they will see if they should get married or just go steady.

So now they have had the Conversation. What neither of them understands is that these conversations are meaningless. They are meaningless to the sayer and they are meaningless to the hearer. The sayer believes they are heard, and the hearer believes they are never said. Men, women, dogs, and cats, these words are never heard.

They chat through dinner, and then Ray asks her if she would like to come to his house, and she says yes.

***Steve, You're brilliant and I adore you. I aspire to have but a small fraction of your silliness as a comedian and your intelligence as a writer. Between us, that Pink Panther thing never happened.