Life


My mom has never made a big deal out of Mother’s Day, which is certainly pleasant for me and Dad.  A card is nice, flowers are always appreciated but not necessary, and you can pretty much stop right there.  No breakfast in bed (she would hate it).  No fuss.  No brunch or shopping or spa treatment (not our style, anyway).  For her, it is a made-up holiday to be tolerated.  Her refreshing approach cuts down on guilt and expenditures – I think it means more to me now that I’m older than it does to her, so I usually send an e-card and some flowers and, when long-distance, give her a call.  She’s always pleased and reminds me, sincerely:  “You didn’t have to do anything!”

Baby Me climbing Mother Mountain, roaring with delight

This year she got, in lieu of flowers, a $30 Amazon gift card, which she will hopefully spend on herself.  So given her low-key approach, I don’t have a soppy Mother’s Day message, but I do have some beautiful pictures my father sent us of Mom playing with me on the bed as a baby, and I wanted to post a few.  (more…)

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This is Adam doing something I saw a lot of as a young girl — playing lacrosse. This was taken in the mid-’70s. I used to watch him play lacrosse, but he was a lifelong pal playing with a bunch of other lifelong friends, never a boyfriend. While I might have sensed he liked me, he never told me, and he never sent any messengers to tell me, and so I never assumed otherwise.

Look at those legs!

Adam was a really cute boy, a redhead with freckles and a great smile and laugh, an amazing athlete with an athlete’s body,  great dancer, and he had a kick-ass last name that made him mysterious to me — it sounded almost Inuit. We knew each other from kindergarten on; our older siblings grew up with one another. If anyone ever picked on me, Adam had my back. A bitchy redhead named Margaret Conrad once slapped me across the face in middle school. Adam appeared out of nowhere, took her by the arm and made it clear she was never to lay a finger on me again. Duelling gingers!

When we got into high school, Adam was always lurking in the shadows, looking out for me. We got drunk once and made out; his was the first boner I ever felt, albeit over top his jeans. He still played lacrosse, I still went and watched. If he really tried to woo me, I can’t recall it. I don’t know why I didn’t make a move, but I think, when I look back, I might have assumed he was a little off. He would stare at me strangely and not speak. He would start to say something and stop. He would withdraw completely, for weeks, if he saw me hanging out with new guys. He didn’t hang out that much with my crowd. He was a slow talker, sort of stoner-ish, and maybe I wondered if he was a druggie (fool — that would be considered a bonus in later years). I didn’t know what to make of him once we got into high school, and I didn’t worry too much about it, and proceeded to go out with a complete tool named Robbie for three years. He was dumb, shallow, a cheat and lousy in the sack. To this day, I am embarrassed I went out with him. (more…)

Note: Not me, I just relate to the face.

Yesterday I was really tired from a tedious Sunday flat-cleaning, still nursing a tinge of hangover from a weekend wedding, and my left eye was studiously applying itself to the development of an infection via clogged oil glands.  The main reason this was different from a typical Monday was that I had a hot job interview scheduled this morning (Tuesday) with the COO of a company in which I’m quite interested.

In preparation, I spent time reviewing their website and sector, but was admittedly feeling mentally fuzzy and physically icky.  Saturday champagne and Sunday bathtub-scrubbing make for dreary Mondays, especially combined with client tantrums and not enough rest.  Obviously, I needed to whip myself into interview-ready shape, like a Cosmo article for your most fab, fearless self, but without the ice cube enemas or whatever it is they prescribe.

The one thing for it, I sensibly decided, was a solid night’s sleep, especially given that the interview was at 7:30 am and I needed to get up extra early to anchor-bob my hair and pretend to be someone who is professionally pert at the ass-crack of dawn.  I was home from work Monday by 7:00 pm, ate a high-protein dinner, painted my nails, and ironed made my boyfriend iron my blouse in readiness.  By 9:30 pm, I was tucked into bed with a “demanding” Sudoku puzzle and an Introduction to Venture Capitalism.  Normally, that would be sufficient to dull my senses towards comatose, but I wasn’t taking any chances.  A refreshing sleep was crucial, so I took a quarter of Clonazepam to aid my efforts.  Ahem. (more…)

So, I’ve been in this long-term relationship – five-and-a-half years, to be exact – and things haven’t been going well recently.  To be honest, it’s been a rocky relationship from the start, and I can only ascribe its duration to my own complacency, oft-misplaced loyalty, and perhaps a mutual recognition of tenacity.  There have been good times, no doubt, but also a fair share of bad times, and throughout it all, a nagging sense of boredom and of things left undone and unsaid.

When Johnson and I got together, I was 22 years old and coming out of a nasty patch; I latched on to him with enthusiasm.  He was a foreigner in my hometown, we were both looking for some security, and the mutual benefits were immediate and obvious.  It didn’t take long for me to invest my heart and time, shrugging off the occasional errant suitor in the face of Johnson’s promises of longevity and fulfillment.  If I was good and devoted to him, he would be good to me, and together, we would go places.

It didn’t take long before I could see we were going to have problems.  He had a roving eye, as is his wont, and I was going to have to fight to remain in his affections.  Over the years, other pretty girls came and went, but I continued to declare my commitment and one by one, they dropped by the wayside.  I wanted to prove I was dutiful and in it for the long-haul, but sometimes the frustrations of all this struggle to stay visible and important overwhelmed me.  I didn’t understand why we couldn’t just sail on an even-keel; maybe we weren’t so well-matched after all, and I should be seeking attention elsewhere. (more…)


From my experience, there are two types of atheists. The first group are just naturally predisposed to question everything immediately and probably realize they are atheists by the time their eighth birthday comes around. Generally, though, these enlightened young ones were not brought up in any particular religion. The second category is the one that I fall into (and perhaps many of you do as well?). This atheist is one that is raised in one religion or another and becomes an atheist in (usually) early adulthood. I was raised fundamental Baptist . If you come along, I’ll tell you a little bit about how a southern Baptist is indoctrinated. I may be a Latino woman in New York, but I have a special connection with these homophobes for Christ.
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Recession or not, it’s a hard world out there in general, and there are few things I hate more than turning away eager job applicants.  As a sub-middle-management type (more like the hiring front lines), I am inspired with a great deal of pathos on a regular basis.  I’ve placed a few Monster ads seeking administrative support in my time, which basically makes me a combat veteran (never again).

I’ve suffered the Walmart cashiers applying for highly-specialized technical roles, and the desperate immigrants with PhDs applying for janitorial jobs in a pitiful bid to stay in-country.  Having all these people call you on the phone to plead their cases will make you want to claw your soul out, as you have no lifeline to throw them; your false words of encouragement ring in jaded ears, and you reveal yourself as yet another, seemingly heartless, dead end.  Never include your contact number, for your own sake.

I don’t often find mirth in poorly-written resumes, or people battling for positions above or below their qualifications.  Mostly, it makes me feel sad, and then lucky to have a job, whether I like it or not.  In times like these, a good friend and I sometimes turn to a certain resume that made its way to our inboxes some years ago, and I have decided to share it with you here.

It goes without saying that names and locations have been changed to protect the witless.  However, the content remains unchanged, and so does, I hope, the enterprising spirit of one Miss Petunia Alexander:

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Right Arm and Hand

A few months ago I started taking weekly classes in hand-to-hand combat.  I needed some exercise, hate gyms, fantasize about being an action star, and “have a lot of aggression,” so it seemed pretty logical.  I’ve also been assaulted in real life and nurse an obsession with horror films and literary thrillers; I am fully alert to the presence of danger! walking down a city street and have a tendency to plot evacuation points whenever I am in a room for a prolonged period of time, so why not put all this occasionally justifiable paranoia to use and actually learn how to defend myself rather than just fantasizing about it?

The classes have been everything I hoped for and more.  I mix it up by attending beginner’s-level classes to work on my basic skills and advanced-level classes for variety.  While already outnumbered 10:1 in beginner’s, I am usually the only woman in advanced classes, and I thrive on it.  Aware that I may be regarded as weaker, more delicate, and less intense (and therefore an undesirable sparring partner) intensifies my aggression and need to prove myself.

I am not just a girl, I think, I am a threatI may be physically weaker, but I can be faster, smarter, and unexpected, and that is what makes me more dangerous.  It’s getting into a mindset that I think will serve me well in life in general.  Focus, train, emphasize your strengths, protect your weaknesses, and if ever cornered and in doubt, go for the balls.  Hard. (Note:  That’s not the playground tip – read on).

Particularly in the advanced sessions, I am often outclassed by people who have been training months and even years beyond my experience.  Almost all these guys are gracious partners and, while still challenging me, offer useful tips and assistance.  In turn, I do my very best to learn from them and give them the opportunity to get the training they are paying for by being a good partner (and it is a lot easier to attack than defend, so I think I do alright).

And sometimes I get the shit kicked out of me, if it’s a good class.  What follows are a lot of pictures of bruises, and a few thoughts on the nature of injury. (more…)

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