Monday, December 31, 2007

Mo' fun with the religious right...

I can't help myself. I get bored, I look for things to crusade against. This is going to get much worse once I give up celebrity gossip, mind you.

Start your new year with these wicked bumper stickers and craaaayzee tees!

This of course, from my new FAVORITE website,
They just have so much to say. And I wanna spread the word, yo.

Warm and Fuzzy Holiday Mammories

Marisol, Kristin and Lisa mug it up on Christmas Day. Note my holiday bowl full o' jelly. Love me, love my tummy!

The Holiday Hot Sisters in Full Effect. Dear god, I am tired.


What a week. To the lovely people at the Starbucks on 23rd and Park, I tip my hat in gratitude. You make it all worthwhile. And those folks at the Bux on Steinway Street in Astoria? Cheers to you as well. Without you and all that scrumptiously rich Free Trade Christmas Blend you pour down my eager throat every day (not unlike a baby bird receiving nourishment from its mother), I would not have made it through this week of holiday high jinks.

My week consisted mostly of travel, cooking, (oddly tolerable) family togetherness, and diffusing the occasional outburst of an overstimulated, undernapped 4-year-old whose present-opening and cookie-intake levels became so dangerously high that her behavior began to mirror that of someone who'd smoked too much meth.

I've been "working" but not really--just catching up on my bloggin' and YouTubin'. Also been trying to binge on celebrity gossip, because as of Midnight tonight I am going cold turkey, and I cannot imagine what tomorrow will look like without my daily feed of Britney, Nicole and Mischa. But No More. No more Perez (I'm sorry, baby!), Gawker, Defamer, Us Weekly, Star...gone, all gone. My January 2nd workday will begin with a bran muffin, a deep yogic breath and a glance at It's a new dawn, a new day...I have subscribed to Yoga Journal and Body + Soul magazines in the hopes of redirecting my insatiable need for glossy mag consumption down a more constructive/healthy road. We'll see, folks.

So now there's that strange post-holiday letdown that seeps out like a virus all over the city; I've spent the last week in lala land, suspended in this vacuum of little responsibility or consequence, freewheelin' all over this foreign New York--the New York that, in the hands of friendly, warm, camera-totin' tourists, becomes more like Dollywood than Manhattan. I hate to admit, as a fully invested, card-carrying New Yorker, that I kind of like this New York, but it's kind of like being on vacation without ever having to leave home. But now all the pretty lights come down and the gawky midwesterners decamp and New York once again insulates itself in its giant Pashmina of paranoia and sedate resentment. And everything is as it should be.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Nuggets of Wisdom from Lily Alice, Part II

"It's okay if a boy and a boy marry, and it's okay if a girl and a girl marry, and it's okay if a boy and a girl wanna get married, because EVERYONE gets to pick a choice who they wanna marry!"

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Years Eve Resolution #3: I will try, try, try to focus good energy inward...

...And be just as nice to myself as I am to other people.
It's high time, mofos.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

...And to all a good night

WELL. Here we are. December 28th. Christmas day, the day I was anticipating with tight-throated, white-knuckled, acid-refluxy, lip-bitten apprehension has come and gone and I am absolutely at peace with it.

That's saying a lot. A LOT, my friends.

Christmas Eve
This day, all things considered, was really good. I worked, my job had a kick-ass Christmas soiree for all the employees' kids---the whole bottom floor of the building was converted into a sports complex, complete with employees dressed as referees, basketball hoops, and a giant, yoga ball-sized soccer ball that the kids could push/roll into giant goal posts. Awesome!!! And there was this dude who totally humiliated me, wearing a ref costume and hobbling around on stilts (stilts make me really uncomfortable, like you could just fall on top of me at any second and break every bone in my body and yours; nobody's legs should ever be that long. it's like you're a giant human insect), and the guy was holding a baseball on a rubber string. So he threw it right at my face and said,

"Here Mom, CATCH!!!"

Of course I immediately did what I always do whenever I sense danger, which is to curl up into the fetal position and throw my arms around my head to protect myself.
The ball flew out and back into the guys hand, and everyone around me laughed, especially Shawn, who knows that if I am ever to be attacked alone at night I don't stand a chance because I seem to be devoid of the fight or flight instinct completely. When danger abounds, my first instinct is not to run or attack, but to flail my arms and cover my face and stand on frozen legs, screaming like a banshee. It was really funny. Not to me.

So when I got home Lily, Shawn and I ate a nice stir fry dinner and each said a little extra grace before we ate. Lily said her usual "Thank you for the food on the table and for the love in our hearts, and thank you for Jesus", and Shawn and I said out loud, mostly for each other's benefit, that we were grateful to be able to celebrate Christmas together as a family (not said: despite the fact that we are separated and sometimes want to rip out each others throats with our bare teeth and spit the bloody gore back out at each others faces).

Lily left out two homemade cookies and I set up a pot of coffee for the next morning (YES, I love the automatic timer), and she dicated a note for us to leave for Santa:

Dear Santa,

Here are some cookies.
There is a pot of coffee
for you if you want.
You can have a cup if you want.
Be careful tonight.



Bedtime was the only dark spot on an otherwise satiny smooth evening, because Lil was so jacked up on Christmas that she would not go to sleep. Also, she refused to let Shawn read her The Night Before Christmas, which hurt his feelings, because he said his mom always read that to him on Christmas Eve. He offered to sit in the rocker with Lil and read it to her, in the hope of continuing a sweet family tradition, but she wasn't havin it: "I! DON'T! LIKE! THAT! STORY!!!!"
So we read a couple of other lame non-Christmas books, Shawn tried to hide his disappointment, and finally Lily fell asleep, clutching my hand and muttering about the Dora sippy cup that Santa was going to bring tomorrow.

As soon as she was out, we dragged our tired asses into the living room and went into a wrapping frenzy, and were too wiped even to have a glass of wine before Shawn went home. I made a couple of phone calls, laid out on the couch, and stared at the tree, kind of losing myself in the lights, listening to the quiet, feeling a sense of accomplishment and serenity and utter exhaustion.

To Be Continued...

What the Shizzle? It's another QUIZZLE! This one's about CHRISTMIZZLE!


1. paper chains made by Lily

2. plastic white sparkly sportscar ornament that used to be my favorite thing on my parents' tree (I think my dad got it at the car wash or something; I even stole it off the tree one year and hid it in my room so I could enjoy it in private); this ornament was passed on to me when I started getting my own Christmas tree. I absolutely cannot explain its appeal.

3. Wooden soldier ornament with one leg

4. ceramic figure of little girl with brown hair and bell on her head my mom made when I was little (it's supposed to be me)

5. assorted cheap plastic dollar store silver balls


1. Dirt Devil (thanks, Barb!)

2. books

3. gift certificates

4. Perfume

5. peace of mind and/or new boots


1. pumpkin pie

2. hummus

3. mom's lasagna

4. coffee

5. green beans with onion rings and/or durkee fried potato sticks on top


1. I can come to work and do nothing all week and get paid for writing in my blog

2. People are nicer to each other--well, a little less NY Asshole-ish

3. All the beautiful lights in NYC

4. Family chill out time

5. the baby Jesus

6. great food and no guilt for eatin it

7. an excuse to buy a pretty new outfit


1. Leave cookies for Santa, then gobble cookies and leave Lily a thank you note

2. Wrap EVERYTHING (goddamn it! Why do I always wait until the last goddamned minute????!!!)

3. Make calendars for everyone on the computer, then curse the printer for sucking ass and making the job take 10 hours (again, WHY do I wait on this? Oh yeah, b/c I'm a full time working mom)

4. look at the tree, sit on couch, drink tea, pass out early

5. Eat a nice dinner

6. Take time out to be thankful and introspective and stuff


1. watch Lily open presents

2. Feel bitter at Shawn (though this year we avoided it quite nicely)

3. Drink too much coffee

4. Eat nice breakfast

5. chill

6. Talk to parents

5. Golden: showers
4. Calling: prostitute
3. French: poodle
2. Turtle: head
1. And a: partridge in a pear tree


1. I think I will refrain from answering this one, since people who buy me thoughtful and generous presents read this blog. I love EVERYTHING I GET!!!!!

1. Amazon, Amazon and Amazon

1. Inner peace
2. enough money to pay my bills

my mom

Monday, December 24, 2007

Dear Sweet Baby Jesus

Well, I just had to share some of the very interesting children's art I came across, quite by accident, when I was googling pics for the preceding post. I googled "creepy santa" and "mean santa", and I was somehow taken to this site:

Sooo interesting. Here are some of the wonderful children's pictures that Objective Ministries would like to share with you in its most noble attempt to spread love and tolerance for all walks of life and belief systems. I know Jesus would be proud.

A Christmas hill 2 die on

Dat be a creepy ass Santa

It has been brought to my attention that perhaps I might want to consider not taking on so many "causes" and trying to be one woman changing the world with her "bare hands". Although it gives me a sense of "control" to feel as though I'm making a "difference" with my "alternative opinions" and "non-mainstream perspectives", it's possible that I might want to let some of that shit go in order to "not lose my mind" and "ruin everyone else's good time".

This all started with Santa Claus. My parents were over on Saturday. Lily was drawing in her new fairy coloring book with her princess crayons and my mom started to jump around, excited, asking Lily what she'd asked Santa for (Lily and I had made a list, and she wrote, simply, "Sippy Cup" and "Princess Watch". I was so brimming with pride at my little nonconformist's lack of interest in Christmas chattle that I did a whoop-whoop all around the kitchen). Dad, the equally-excited grandfater, said something like of course Santa will bring Lily everything she wants because she's been so good. Then I kind of brought that train to a halt with my (probably misplaced) idealism:
"Um, no..." I said under my breath, looking right at Dad.
"No?" Dad said, confused.
"um... mmm mmmm" I shook my head.
Dad: "I don't get it."
Me: "I just... Ok, I don't want to give Lily the idea that if she's a good girl, she'll be rewarded with lots of presents from some strange fat guy."

I said this half-kidding, but there was definitely an element of seriousness to it. I am on the fence about the whole idea of Santa; I like the idea of St. Nicholas, a real guy who brought gifts to needy children and their families once upon a fifth century, but I'm not sure how St. Nick morphed into this mythos of an obese old fucker in a red suit sneaking in the open window of my fire escape on Christmas Eve to eat my cookies and leave Lily lots of plastic things made in China.

This pissed my father off. Taking Santa away from Poppy on Christmas is just plain mean. He turned red. "Oh, for Christ Sake!!"

" know, I just don't think it's a great thing to teach..."

"It's Christmas, Kristin! It's Santa Claus! Come on!"

I immediately regretted saying anything, and I realized that, as usual, I'd gone a little too far, offended my dad, ruined Christmas for everyone (well, not really).
Mom and Dad aren't guilty of anything except wanting to be good grandparents and getting excited about sharing our family Christmas traditions with little people again. Why do I have to take that away from them???? What is wrong with me???

So, I tried to smooth things over:
"It's not that I dislike Santa per se, it's just that I want Lily to know that she's always a good kid, and that Santa will bring her presents no matter what, ok?"

But the damage had been done. I might as well have poured rum all over my father's Christmas tree and lit it on fire. "Yeah. Fine. OK. Whatever".

I'm no scrooge. I do love the holidays--I do. I love the lights and the music and the silver bells and everyone being a little sweeter to each other and the family time and all of that. I just hate the commercialism of Christmas; I hate how the holiday season makes the poor (me) feel crappy for the better part of a whole month just because all the "normal" people are whoopin it up blowing their dough on excessive material goods. I think what bothers me most is how few people really stop to think about why they are spending spending spending. Sure, I want Lily to have wonderful Christmases, filled with happy family memories and tradition. But there must be a way to teach her that it's about more than the STUFF. That's all. I just want to do it without offending everyone.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

New Years Resolution #2: I will not spend my hard earned money on celebrity magazines, even if it makes me feel better to read about their problems

I mean it. I am done with you. You awful, glossy, candy-colored cheap-thrill-offering dastardly vacuums of stray dollars in the bottom of my pocketbook.
Won't stoop! I don't care how shockingly wonderfully awful your headlines are...there are better ways to boost my own esteem about the state of my own life! I do like to see what the celebs are wearing is kind of cool to see Jennifer Garner pushing little Violet Affleck on the swing, it's a gentle reminder that, hey, Kristin, you CAN have it all, see? Beauty, fame, fortune, a wonderful little girl...wait, NO! No, I am not falling for it! Me and the newsstand are breakin up. That's it. 2008 is the year of Yoga Journal, and nothing else. Done.

Family: It's what's for dinner.

The older I get, the more I'm able to accept the reality that there are many, many different ways to define "family". I was raised on the notion that a family is a mom, a dad, a pet (most likely a female black lab), and a couple of children, and maybe some grandparents who visit but never actually move in with you, but bring you suitcases stuffed with exciting gifts like Cabbage Patch Kids, Virgin Mary night lights, and footie pajamas. This is what my family pretty much looked like, as did the families of most of my friends. This was the reality of life in the suburbs. Nothing wrong with it--it worked for me, my childhood was fine; my parents are still married, ours is a family in it's most socially acceptible form.

What happened next was that I set out to start my own family. I did this much along the lines of what I was taught was appropriate; I found a guy I thought to be an acceptable mate, one with good bone structure and a strong back who I figured could help me breed a race of superhumans to help take over the planet. Just kidding. But Shawn does have good bone structure.

We married. We had a baby.

But things didn't actually go according to plan.

Circumstances forced our family dynamic to shift substantially--I'd even go so far as to say it could easily have ripped us apart had we not been the people we are. But so far, we've been able to scrabble ourselves back together in a (somewhat) healthy way, and love one another because we're the only family our daughter's ever known. And actually, I'm pretty proud of the family we've built and continue to maintain. I believe that a family can really be anything you create it to be. If there are people present who care for, support and nurture each other, and actually want to spend time together, then that's absolutely a family to me. I count a number of my friends as my family. I love them wholly and there isn't much I wouldn't do for them. My parents are my family. Shawn's parents are my family. I feel it when we are in a room together, you just know it. And for that I'm grateful.

Friday, December 21, 2007

New Years Resolution #1: I will not be bitter, jaded and a know-it-all with regard to the perceived naivete in the idiotic romantic notions of others

Yes, I've already started to stockpile these "goals" in support of last week's post referencing 2008 kicking the ass of a certain year which is about to end.

Conversation overheard in work cafeteria this morning:

Girl 1: He made me sushi last night. Sushi. Can you believe it? He. Made. Me. Sushi.

Girl 2 (notably impressed): Is he a keeper?

Girl 1: Of course! I plan to be engaged by February.

Girl 2: Did you give him that timeline?

Girl 1: Oh, yes. I thought you knew all about this? We've already picked out the ring
and everything.

Girl 3 (brown-haired single mom with nose ring and clutching hot Starbucks and bagel, muttering under her breath):
Ya. Duh. Good luck.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Back it up

I feel like maybe posting silly musings from my college diary the other day was the sorta the equivalent of a television show in a mid-season slump bringing in a new character to spice things up. (I don't have anything interesting to say today, so why don't I recycle "funny" and "dorky" material from my "crazy" college days? People won't believe what a wild n crazee nerd I was! It'll be like on Family Ties when Meredith Baxter Birney, who had three grown children, suddenly got preggers with a new baby when the show was beginning to get boring and it got good again!!! Wait, no it didn't.)

TV show writers are such narcissists. God forbid you should just admit that your brainchild has run its course, had 5 great seasons, maybe it should be laid to rest...nooooo! Let's see if we can squeeze another 2 or 3 seasons by adding a random character to the mix--a spunky, niece or nephew could come live with the family, or a middle-aged character could have a "surprise" baby, or a peripheral friend could suddenly slide into the main actress slot when the previous star leaves to start a film career or spinoff (Jenny Piccolo on Happy Days? I think that was Season...twelve? And wasn't that the season they Ted McGinley joined the cast, as Marion Cunningham's --um--nephew or something? Poor Ted, he was forever a mid-season replacement. Same thing happened with him on The Love Boat).

It also irks me when TV shows try to pull the wool over our eyes and do a presto-change-o that they think we won't when they added a baby girl on Growing Pains, then she suddenly aged 6 years between seasons. What, do you think we are stupid, people? Come on.

I didn't even know how I gots me on this tangent. I don't even have cable. Interesting to try and figure out how my college diary led somehow to the vivisection of popular 80's television. Whoa.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sometimes it's fun to go back in time and then I realize wow, I haven't actually freakin' changed at all

College Senior Me. Thems were heady days.

So I'm kinda bored tonight. Wednesday. I have a shooting pain down the right side of my neck and into my arm, I think because I spend more time than I should on the computer, hunched over like a hobbit, pounding away at the keys and swishing the mouse back and foooorth baaaaack and forth, it has caused me to have some kind of early-onset arthritis. O no! Or it could just be a pulled muscle. Probably.

So, like I said, I'm bored. And when I'm bored, I go digging. Tonight I pulled out my college diary. Here are some precious excerpts:

October 20th, 1994
Whoa. In class, Travis was like, "I'll call you later, we'll go to the bars later." He's pretty confident, huh? So I'm like, whatever. He looks kind of like a duck or like Percival from "Little House" (a hot Percival). Got to to the Griffon. Went straight to the bar. Travis was nice but I didn't really expect him to hang out all night. I was feeling kind of self-conscious and couldn't act stupid and hang out with Sam and Jen. Eventually Travis said, "Where to?" it was all very--planned? Mechanical? Expected, maybe? I suggested we go sit on my porch. We were talking and the leaves were all over the ground and the moon was so bright and then he just went in for the kill. He is a good kisser, though not that imaginative. He's got gorgeous hair. I wonder what kind of conditioner he uses. We were making out, very politely. It was nice. Warm. We stood up, kissed more, standing in the leaves. He has a little, smooth bod and a tiny butt.

October 26th
We went to see "Pulp Fiction" and it was weird and stupid and brilliant.

October 29th
An empty bed means more bed for me. MEN ARE ALIENS. Why do we like them so much?

Halloween, 1994
(editor's note: This excerpt is from the one and only time in my life which I ingested hallucinogenic drugs. I certainly don't condone this type of insanity. And you can absolutely tell by reading the following...)

Phase I: So we all ate the shrooms with water, this ritualistic thing...and waited. They were dry and powdery and shriveled up and didn't taste that bad, actually. Anyway, at first, we felt nothing. For, like, an hour. Then we smoked that pot we found in the street (editor's note: I have no memory of this. Pot from the street? Well, it was New Paltz...)
Brown root beer candy. Basic dumdum lollypop and white cup. Peach snapple. The porch. Trick-or-treaters. A group of high school kids came up to trick or treat and I felt really mature and cool, like, "Yeah, when you get older, you'll have a house like this and trip with your burnt guy friends on Halloween instead of going out. Like me." Then the beginning of the very scary self-consciousness started.

Phase II: Matt's couch. Keri is crying but not voluntarily. Tears are flowing from her eyes, and she keeps saying, "But I'm not sad!" Seth shows up and gives her his stuffed hippo to make her feel better. Why don't these guys do things for me? (self-examination: the huge rips open up in closed-off portions of my brain)--laugh, laugh. Matt is doing slapstick. I think I'm laughing more at myself laughing at him. We go to Mobil. Everyone in town is dressed like a zombie, it seems. They were all in Mobil. My whole body was kinda tingly, kinda numb, like it fell asleep? Keri was clutching these black beads, and her cup of iced tea, still crying, but not sad.
Bubbles. Cigarettes. Paranoia. Like everyone not tripping "knows". Matt and Chris saw a bike across the street and went, "That guy dressed up like a bike is so cool." Us: "That IS a bike!" Them: "No, no it is not. We're going to go talk to him." The idiots went across the street and stood there for ten minutes, talking to a bicycle. Come back. Chris: "Yup, it was a bike."
Then I started to see things perfectly clearly, like weird. I am strange. No one will love me. Thank god I didn't start thinking about forever or something. I put a pillow over my face and freaked myself out. Keri took me home. We layed on the bed, listened to Nine Inch Nails and I cried for no reason.

Phase III: Awful stomach pains. Bathroom. I'm on the toilet, struck with fear that Keri will call an ambulance, "We've got to help her!" The door breaking down, while I'm broken out in cold sweats on the bowl. The feelings are all so foreign, scary, moving through me like monsters and I couldn't control them. The guys come over again. They want ice cream. Go to Mobil again. Chipwiches. Back to the porch. Ran into Jay, he said, "How did you like it?" I said, "I like it, I'm okay," like a little girl. We held hands for a moment, then the spell broke.

November 14th, 1994
My room smells like sour peaches from that fucking stickup I have behind my bed. I am laying here in the yellow light, reminds me of Oneonta. I am thinking about a night in Walt's room when we stayed up all night, until like 7:30 AM and laid wrapped in the sheets, talking about our families, our friends, things we loved. I am thinking I never really knew the boy and he never really knew me which is terrifying because I thought for the longest time that he knew me better than anyone. Does this mean that no one really knows me?

November 24th
In Performance of Lit class. On my desk it reads, "Hey, are you troubled? --(no doubt some fucking concerned hippie)--Write it out, then throw it away - if that doesn't work, tell God. He listens."
Then under that, someone has responded, plainly,
"God is dead. We killed him."

November 30, 1994
Shit List
1. People who hog the copy machine when you only have one page to do.
2. Being in desperate need of coffee but having no change.
3. Boys who play head games
4. Boys who don't even realize they are playing head games
5. People who obsess about one thing and talk about it constantly (boys who play head games)
6. white baseball caps and flannels
7. People who are rich, but only buy clothes at the salvation army
8. Having a creative idea you cannot express
9. When I eat saltines right before bed
10. Itchy hat head

December 1, 9994
Manny told me I'd be making a mistake if I didn't student teach. he told me I was dangerous. He said that a woman who is beautiful and intelligent is dangerous. It wasn't even a come-on. I appreciated his advice but I think my mind is made up. I want more time.

December 7th, 1994
I cannot sleep. I have just decided that when I go to Seattle with my word processor, I am going to bring all my journals and formulate one whole year of my life into some kind of book. Some sort of thing, and show it to a million editors and keep writing and get rejected a lot, until someone tells me there is "something about my writing" and decides it would make a brilliant book. That's me. Thats....yeah.

An intense poem (I think I wrote around Christmas 1994. When pot smoking made me an undiscovered, raw, brilliant poet):

"In a world of warring sexes,
of men who hurt and women who analyze,
we found truth.
We made sense. We found a soul ship that cannot so easily be destroyed."

Shit, reading this stuff it's kind of painful to realize how dependent I have always been on approval from dudes. This is something to work on. I am working on it. I have the backpack filled with all the provisions, and I am prepping to climb the mountain. But it sure is a high mountain.

Nuggets of wisdom from Lily Alice, Part I

On the way to school, I comment on forgetting my gloves.
Lily: Mo-ooom, did you leave your brain somewhere?
Mom: Hee hee, yeah, I guess I kind of did today.
Lily: Well, maybe you should look in the place where all the other Mommies and Daddies leave their brains.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Things that churn my butter right at this moment

Favorite Things
12/18/07 3:27 PM

1. Orbit Mint Mojito Gum
How can you get the effect of sitting in a balmy outdoor cafe in June whilst actually sitting in your cube at work in December? Why, I'm glad you asked. This gum is the shit, and no annoying rummy headache after the fact, because, well, it doesn't have any alcohol in it, of course.

2. Mika
OMG, I love love love this little man. He is the most kick-ass combination of Freddie Mercury and Vincent Clark that ever was. His music makes me so happy. I can't stop moving to it on the crowded subway. People seem to love this.

3. The bomb squad episode of Grey's Anatomy
This is a two-parter, and I downloaded both parts onto my ipod so I can watch it on the train. This gives me a reason to live when I get up in the morning. Naw, I am exaggerating but it does make standing the whole time on the train a lot less crappy. I am halfway through the second episode. I already know what happens but the suspense is still killing me. I just can't wait to cry at the end like I did when I first saw it. I plan to keep watching this over and over until my tear ducts are simply too dry to release any more tears and people on the train hold their bodies as far away as possible from the crazy crying woman watching her ipod.

4. "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis
I am not a huge fan of hers, but this song reminds me of something my hip ass Aunt Gio would have listened to in the 80s, groovin in her Miami kitchen and making something with tofu in it.

5. Diablo Cody
She is a goddess. If I could be half as good a writer as her I could die happy right now. I cannot wait to see "Juno".

6. Dwight Schrute
When I die. I want to be frozen. And if they have to freeze me in pieces, so be it. I will wake up stronger than ever, because I will have used that time, to figure out exactly why I died. And what moves I could have used to defend myself better now that I know what hold he had me in.

Hands down the most brilliantly written character on tv to date (in my opinion)

7. New York City
I am renewing my love-affair with you. It's easy to love you when you are all sparkly with lights and filled with commuters and tourists alight with goodwill and you aren't coated in gray, slushy snow yet. But nothing's gonna change my love for you. You're my first, my last, my everything.

8. Craig's List Personal Ads
I sometimes like to comb through these when I'm bored during the day.
Nothing like free online dating to attract the most interesting specimens:

I've seen my share of ads looking for someone with my name, so now it's my turn. I'm looking for a woman, named Catherine, who's comfortable in her body. She may have her scars, but knows how to carry them. Ideally she should be around 5'9-5'10", over 200 pounds (the classic "double hourglass"), have long blond hair with hazel eyes, look good (to me) in vinyl, and love showing her legs off, in tights and otherwise. It also helps if you have a taste for trash 80s culture, and your childhood was dysfunctional enough that some of your fondest memories include shows like the Magic Garden.


I'm seeking Romance and a Committed Relationship w/ a Slutty Nympho - 46


Here's the deal for cute women only -- I'll drive to your neighborhood. It can be almost anywhere: Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn ... even Bay Ridge! :)
We can park the car nearby, or, I can pick you up and we can drive around. I have a very clean and comfortable 2003 BMW.
Either way, we'll play some good tunes on my iPod and you can jerk me off. Nothing more!! A very fun adventure without getting too crazy.
I'm 29 y.o., a white, straight male, well-educated, well-employed and sport a very generous "package."

A very fun adventure indeed. I love that this guy thinks his cock is so money that women will be willing to come out of their apartments in the bitter cold and jerk him off in his car, just, you know, because. Generally I think women actually get paid to do that in your car though. I believe they're called, um....oh yeah, hookers.Wow. I think I just peed on myself.


Holy crap.
This is freaking scary. Click the link below to watch Republican candidate Mike Huckabee's new ad, wishing voters a Merry Christmas and reminding them of "what matters most". Pay close attention to the way the camera pans left, enclosing the window pane behind him and making it look an awful lot like a glowing white cross. Subtle, Mike. Subtle. Why don't you just set it on fire?

Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Ball

Christmas sucks the life out of parents, man. I am so glad that Lily only asked for a princess watch and a sippy cup. Done. It is impossible to find ANYTHING that our children play with that is not made in China and coated with lead or liquid ecstasy.
It's enough to make me wanna go chop down my own tree, whittle some building blocks out of the wood, and paint them with organic food coloring. I think I'll do that. Tomorrow. I've got time.

"Mama, is the earth dead?" "No dear, but it will be if you don't do something about it"

"Mama, is de earf dead?"

Lily asked me this this morning as I was pouring my first cup of coffee. Again, an invitation to teach, teach, teach.
"No, baby. It's very much alive. The oceans, the trees, all the animals, all alive."
"Can I draw de earf?"
Gulp, gulp. Why can't they invent that IV coffee drip, goddamn it?
"Can I have my big hard ball?"
I get down the schoolroom-sized globe that I pulled out of someone's trash last year and we look at it together. I point out the continents, trying to explain in four-year-oldease the difference between a country, a state, a town...not easy.
I switch to something easier: conservation.

We had the sad Indian guy who cried on the trash heap, and Lily has Al Gore. She is much better off. I wonder at which point it will be appropriate to screen An Inconvenient Truth. Maybe next year.

"See all that blue?"
"Well, that's water. That's the ocean. We need to keep it blue for all the fish."
"We need to take care of the earth, because it is beautiful and we want it to be here for a long time."
"Okay." Pause. "Can I have a pink clip-on hairpiece like Stella?"
"Um, ok, well maybe Santa will bring you that."
"No, I want a purple one. Blue."

End of lesson.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Weird, wonderful city (or Daytrippin up in this bitch)

I just went for a walk uptown on my lunch break and saw:

1. A woman who can only be described as a "crackhead", teetering on impossibly high boots while wobbling all over 23rd street, smoking a camel like a big fatty

2. An electronics store with two giant hi-def TVs in the windows showing dual graphic footage of a snake swallowing a big rodent whole (to the tune of Wham's "Last Christmas", which was beckoning from inside the open doors of the store)

3. A girl standing in the doorway of SVA's west campus, leanin her hip out, tiltin her head and smoking a cigarette, wearing a gorgeous grape-colored knit hat. She looked at me and we had some weird unspoken exchange. It was so odd. I totally felt akin to her somehow. Then I proceeded to make up a story about her in my head, like she was this beautiful, mizunderstood art student with all this raw creative energy overflowing and not enough places to put it all...and she was just in charge of herself, she knew she was beautiful, she knew she was talented, I could just see in the way she stood, the way her jeans hung off her hips, the way she had her hat tilted off the back of her head just so. And I thought jeez, I could so have been that girl at 22, why did I have to wait until I was 34 to realize how it could be to be beautiful and creative and have the world at your feet?

Kristin Rice is a Caring Nurterer

I have a bodily urge to take care of others. It kind of drives me, like the need to pee drives a person to pull over at a rest stop and empty his or her bladder. I would venture to say that this drive/desire keeps me chuggin' along in life, but then we are border crashing on patheticland and I don't even like visiting that state. Admittedly, I sometimes put my energy into others at the expense of my own emotional health (ok, like a lot), but I'm working on doing this less. Someone reminded me recently that it's really important to get the oxygen mask over your face before you put it on the child's, otherwise you're both dead when the cabin pressure drops. I know that sounds gross and cryptic. But you get the idea.

Anyway, I generally like this nurturing quality in myself, and I think it's a good thing (I'm so not that girl that stubs her cigarette out on the sleeping homeless guy holding a cardboard sign that says "fucked". I'll give him gum or a mint from my purse).

I get off on knowing that the people around me are doing ok. It's like enjoying a really satisfying meal for the spirit.

Last night I went to Whole Foods with my friend Jeremy. He wanted to do a big grocery overhaul and stock his fridge with lots and lots of yummy, healthy foods prior to doing a major New Years body cleanse. It was so satisfying. It was kind of like doing the Supermarket Sweep, you know, that old game show where you get to fill an entire cart with stuff and use somebody else'd credit card? I did not expect it to be that fun.

First off, Whole Foods is my dream store. Once I got over the endorphins pulsing all that blood around my brain, I was able to stave off the anxiety attack that was looming due to the unbelievable amount of wonderful shit that is available to you in that store (150 different kinds of organic lip balm!!!! Raw tahini!!! An entire aisle of organic wine!!! And how about 45 different organic cheese wheels to go with that??? Fuck me!!!)

Anyway, When we got to Jeremy's house, I felt like Julia Roberts in "Dying Young" -- you know, when she loads all his cupboards and shelves with wonderful vitamins and wheat germ (token "health food" of the 80s), determined to help him get well--except, you know, Jeremy is already really healthy and he didn't just undergo massive chemotherapy like Campbel Scott did in the movie.

Putting rice cakes in his cupboard, stocking his crisper with a variety of vibrantly colored vegetables and fruits, and helping him to generally feel good about doing something healthy for himself made me feel reallllllly goooooood.

Maybe I should have stayed in social work. Nah. I'd have gotten burned out. Maybe I'm kind of addicted the the high of putting my positive energy into others. That's not a bad thing, right? I think if it feels good, go with it. Just as long as I'm not compromising any part of myself to help someone else feel good. That's just the way that I see it, folks.

Out of tragedy........cookies!

I just wanna give props to my girl Liz, who did a kick-ass job with yesterday's First Annual CS07(Cookie Swap 2007). I have to say I wasn't relishing the idea of making 10 gazillion pounds of peppermint fudge on Saturday night but when I saw the work that everyone else had put into their cookies on Sunday, I felt kind of bad for even bitching about it.
What a spread! I have never seen so much deliciousness on one table in my life. And mine's been a long life with lots of food, so I think I am duly qualified to speak on the subject.

There was a festive, luminous glow about Liz's apartment that I can't even really describe(I love the foldup Ikea Christmas tree, and I want to know how the HELL you keep your shag carpet so clean? How do you not get cheerios smashed into it???)

Plus, the jaunty medley of holiday music eminating from the kitchen speakers added just the right touch of Chriskwanzmakuh spirituality; what an assortment! From "Feliz Navidad" to the happy songs from "Oy! To the World" (Klezmer music never sounded so good), we were all kept in the mood.

Liz's charming boys were in full regalia too. Justus came flying out to greet us in his Batman costume, and he and Lily shared the doll stroller in a most diplomatic and commendable way. And Ronan, oh, Ronan! Buddha boy is basically a giant smiling mouth, swimming in big fat delicious cheeks, sticking his feet behind his head in an attempt, I suppose, to show up Mommy.

There was a warmth in Liz's house, surrounding her family; there was an air of peace and calm that was really palpable. Liz was dressed in her hottest Pimp-my-Martha-Stewart holiday attire, complete with new burgundy highlights in her shiny, shiny hair and the coolest green tulle skirt I've ever seen. She looked gorgeous. You just don't expect a widow to look that hot at the holidays. Or ever, really.

But everything about Liz defies any stereotype one might presume when they consider what she's gone through recently. At the risk of sounding like I'm blowing smoke up her ass (which she would hate), I have to say that I find her inspiring. Yes, inspiring. I'm so lucky. At least once a day, I am struck by how my good fortune in knowing the wonderful people in my life. Each of my friends brings me joy and clarity and perspective in his or her own individual and unique way. I learn so much from the each of them.

Liz especially shows me regularly that the things that happen to you don't have to necessarily define you. The way you live your life and touch the people around you, that's what's important. So...I love you, Lizzie. Here's to the beginning of what I hope to be an ongoing holiday tradition.

Oh, and can you give me the recipe for the vegan foie gras?

xoxoxo Krispy

Saturday, December 15, 2007

On a good Saturday my kitchen is kind of like Coyote Ugly

Except, you know, without the hot bartenders and body shots. Instead, there's my ipod, plugged into my new speakers (which kick ASS), a cup of coffee, some half-eaten oatmeal and OJ. And Princess pajamas. And sometimes wooden spoons/spatulas if we feel like lip synching.

I love dance parties with Lily. Thank goodness my daughter seems to like music as much as I do. I have a playlist of our favorite "rock out" songs, and the two of us just go nuts. Sometimes I think I'm a little frightening but she's gotten used to the head-banging, hair-swinging, high-kicks and air-guitarin' that generally accompany such classics as "Come Sail Away" by Styx, "Cars" by Sheryl Crow, and "99 Luftbaloons" by Nena.

Is it bad that I encourage my four-year old to climb up on the counter (we have such a great counter for such dancing extraviganzas) and rock her little butt on the high stage until she feels totally spent? (I don't leave her unsupervised or anything. Jeez, people)

It's how we work it out.

Friday, December 14, 2007

This isn't okay with me.

I've just learned Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year 2007.


That's right, people. Read on:

Merriam-Webster's #1 Word of the Year for 2007 based on votes from visitors to our Web site:

1. w00t (interjection)
expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word "yay"
w00t! I won the contest!

Thousands of you took part in the search for Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2007, and the vast majority of you chose a small word that packs a pretty big punch. The word you've selected hasn't found its way into a regular Merriam-Webster dictionary yet—but its inclusion in our online Open Dictionary, along with the top honors it's now been awarded—might just improve its chances. This year's winning word first became popular in competitive online gaming forums as part of what is known as l33t ("leet," or "elite") speak—an esoteric computer hacker language in which numbers and symbols are put together to look like letters. Although the double "o" in the word is usually represented by double zeroes, the exclamation is also known to be an acronym for "we owned the other team"—again stemming from the gaming community.

We've got to get George W. Bush out of office now. Or there will be no end to the murder of the English language.

How to pretty much guarantee not to get a response from me on an online dating site

1. Write me every day for a week requesting a "full body shot" of me, while your profile has only a picture of you inside your car, taken from about 50 feet away

2. Post pics of yourself holding up your shirt to show off your "pecs"

3. Write me poems with the word "princess" in them

4. Give my your cell phone number, IM address, work number, and hours you're available to talk before I even write you back

3. Send mysterious messages that don't say anything, but carry mysterious/sexy come-ons or just single words in the subject line like "Beautiful", or "You are my Astoria Queen"

3. Misspell the word "soul" (ie "I have a very kind sole")

4. Request any of the following in your criteria for the perfect mate:

a. "Janet Reno's brain in Jenna Jameson's body"
b. Someone "with no baggage"
c. Someone who wants to engage in "discreet, intimate activities"
d. An "older woman who's willing to teach a younger guy new tricks"

Just something to chew on, guys.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Our bodies, ourselves

A really fun way to spend that precious half hour or so between bathtime and story time with your four year old is to look at pictures of the human anatomy online.

Tonight Lily was in the tub and she said, "Mama, what does my body look like on the inside?"

I love getting asked a question like that, because that is one I can actually answer. That is not like some of Lily's regular questions, so often asked at times when answers don't just flow off the tongue (mainly when I've just poured my first cup of joe at 6 am and the coffeemate hasn't even hit it yet...)

For example, here are some typical 4 year old questions I've heard:

"What color is everything?" (Lily)

"Why are sharks alive?" (Devin, my nephew, at an aquarium in the Outer Banks)
or, "What's up with the sharks?" (Lily, at the same aquarium)

"How did you find my skin?" (Devin, asking my sister about how she was able to create and carry him/feed him/grow him in utero for 9 months)

"How did I say 'elephant' when I was a baby?" (Lily)

But give me a straightforward question about the human body, and I can draw upon my (limited) memory of 8th grade bio, 9th grade reproduction, and some of what I picked up on the street along the way. Also, I can call up Dr. Google Image Searcher to help explain stuff too. There is so much cool shit on the internet! I don't know how the hell we learned anything when we were kids. I guess we just had to read them things called books.

So anyway, we spent some time looking at some pretty detailed pictures, and we even came across photos from the Bodies Exhibition at South Street Seaport. Lily thought they were totally awesome. My kid kicks ass. I mean, at her age I was so goddamned frightened of everything and this is a child who likes to watch medical shows. (Because we don't have cable, an evening treat of tv for Lily usually will consist of some telethon on PBS, a cable access cooking show, or footage of someone having surgery. So lucky.)

Anyway, it was cool to sit with her on my lap, explain the different body parts and what they do, and know that she is actually absorbing EVERYTHING. It's corny, but it's so true that we are our children's first teachers. Sometimes it just blows me away how much she learns every day and how much there still is to teach her. And her desire to learn doesn't wane; in fact, she can't get enough. As we were climbing into bed to read stories, I asked her what she thought of the body pictures.
"Cool," she said, nodding. "Mom, now I wanna know, what does the inside of a pig's body look like?"

A mother's job is never done.

Maybe I'm actually not as cool as you think I am

It occurred to me today while walking around Union Square while icy spitballs rained on my hair and my cloth thrift store coat that I spend an awful lot of time trying to project this air of coolness. It's a defense mechanism. I'm not really that cool at all. Sorry, people.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

And then my coffee exploded up in this bitch

Oh, today is really not my day. Not my day at all. Wake up, Patter around a messy house, step on a Barbie shoe that sticks in the bottom of my toe, the cat decides to come in and defile his (already overfilled)litter box just when I am putting on my makeup (thanks, Sea Monkey, you fucker. Now my eyes are watering whil I am trying to apply liquid liner), Lily has PMS, and Shawn forgot to give me the car key back so he has to take a cab over this morning to drive us to school. Sweet. It's really shaping up to be a kick-ass day. I'm wondering why yesterday I felt like I had my life under control and today it feels so unmanageable. Is this normal? This up and down, up and down, up and down? Is this what I can expect to experience for the remainder of my life? How do I learn to ride the tides of this stuff and not feel like my head is going to explode off my body like some kind of Tom and Jerry sight gag?

So I get on the train. Spin the ipod dial to mellow Native American music, try to meditate. Drums, chanting. light, airy flute music. Good. Breathe in, breathe out. Healing energy in, baaaaad, negative spirits out. Good. Keep it going. Ask for a little clarity, get centered. Come on, give it to me, god. Hook a girlfriend up. Someone gets up, I slip into their seat. Things are looking up.

I Get off the train, walk the couple blocks to work, psyched cause I'm a little early, decide to stop at my coffee cart guy. Small Hazelnut and a bran muffin, please! I am super-pleased with myself. The paper bag holding the breakfast items feels a little damp on the bottom. Oh, he must have overfilled the cup. That's cool. I try and rearrange the way I'm holding the bag. Hold it from the bottom instead. Support it. Wow, that's really leaky. Walk into the building. My hair looks good. I like these earrings I'm wearing. My pointy black boots make me feel sleek and tall and like I'm a powerful business woman. I can be a powerful business woman today. I can be anything I want to today. I Swipe my id, walk through the turnstile, wait for the elevator.

Then I notice a small stream of hot liquid start to trickle from the bottom of the damp brown bag. Ow. That hurts my fingers! Immediately I hold the bag far away from my body, so as not to a. get coffee on my nice black pants, and b. scald the shit out of my legs. This is no ordinary leak. The bottom of the coffee cup suddenly gives out, and the contents just vomit forth -- unstoppable, scalding hot, like a relentless steaming hazelnut flood. I stand there, helpless, overcome with a shameful feeling as if I'd peed my pants right there on the lobby floor, and was standing immoble in a puddle of my own mess. Resist the urge to cry, go upstairs, and my co-worker kicks me in the ass (metaphorically), gives me a plastic bag, and tells me to walk my butt back out to the coffee cart guy and get a new one. Why didn't I just do that? Why do I need someone to tell me to stand up for myself? I feel so small. But I go back out, the guys are cool of course, they give me a bigger coffee for free. On my way back to the building, I pass a dude who is holding a leaking coffee cup away from his body so as to not burn himself, and he is angrily marching back over to the coffee cart. I give him a knowing look. "Tell them to use two cups today," I say.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

8675309 Jenny

Last night I spent over an hour on the phone with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Miz Jenny mac. Jen and I have stayed in touch through the years, the boyfriends, marriages, births, deaths,the strange states we have lived in (both mentally and literally); one thing I can appreciate about Jen is that no matter how much time passes, she still makes me laugh my ass off. Loudly. And she gets me. Thank god. And there's something magical in knowing that I can still elicit hearty guffaws from her that I feel are reserved just for me.

So I wrote her this poem. This one's for you, Jen.

I met you at the tender age of fourteen
And you were the coolest fuckin girl I'd ever seen.

Your laugh filled the room up and you liked to eat Sprees
and you knew all the words to Stand By Me.

I was the writer, and you were on stage
and together we alienated everyone our age.

We liked to watch movies ("Do you have Christmas in France?")
And we made up some songs ("Pull my strings, watch me dance")

We saw Squeeze and Erasure, we went to the city
In your cheerleading uniform, you looked oh-so-pretty

We met us some boys and we kissed with 'em too
but at the end of the date, I always had to call you

Remember when we were playing that game
at Liz's house and you got so mad, it was lame
You threw that golfball and hit me in the arm
and I said OW, JEN! Why you wanna do me harm????

Well, I forgave you and it was all totally cool
Because you and me, well, we totally rule

Bitch, we been thru thick and thin
and yours was the only sleeping bag I ever peed in

I'm so glad we never tripped on shrooms
when we were drinking Bartles and James at Peconic Dunes

I'm sorry to hear you broke up with Scott
But girlfriend u know we have been thru a lot
and I think to celebrate a friendship 20 years long
we should throw that damn party and sing that Bette Midler song


Sunday, December 9, 2007

Why 2008 is Gonna kick 2007's Ass

For those readers who know me (and most of you do, otherwise why would you be reading this anyway?), you all know that 2007 will probably go down as the most asstastic year of my career as grownup person. Or maybe even as human being. It totally blew. I mean even if you don't know me, if your mom were to bump into my mom at the grocery store and Mom was to relay the story of Kristin's year straight up, your mom would suck her breath in in horror, clutch claw marks into the package of ground chuck she's holding, shake her head in disbelief, then go home and call her daughter and tell her never to get married. It was that bad.

But no one really knows how a person is experiencing the events in her life. We can speculate, sure ("If that was me, I'd be destroyed right now!!! OMG!!!"), but you never really know. And sometimes it's not what you think.

Funny, but if you look at the arc of the shit that went down this year and follow it to where I am now, you might even find that things are getting quite bright. What do they say, out of tragedy comes...? Anyway. You know what I'm trying to say. There is no denying of course that my life changed drastically this year. Someone thought it would be funny to kick out the legs of the (already unsteady) chair I was sitting on, and suddenly my ass hit the ground. Hard.

I got the wind knocked out of me, but the way I saw it, I had a choice. And I chose to get up fast.
Occasionally I'll be struck by the fact that I'm faring really well. In fact, I'm actually doing pretty kick-ass. I get down on myself sometimes and I feel overwhelmed, sure... but overall, I am feeling for the first time in I can't remember that my life is going in a pretty positive direction. Imagine. It's nice to be back.

My goal in the coming year is to simply let life give me the things I deserve. Take a breath. Be present. Let myself feel happy. I deserve to be happy, dang it! So let's see what's in store.

So, here is where I am at at this moment, at 11:04 PM on Sunday night:

Mood: Contemplative, calm, nowhere near tired

Soundtrack: the swishing of cars going by outside my window as they slosh through (freezing?) rain; the suspicious hum of my computer (time to call the Mac guys?), Dar Williams, the scratching and pushing of the gerbils trying to inch their tank closer to the edge of the table behind me so as to finally see their escape plan come to fruition; clicking and hissing of heating vent

Smell: champa incense; detergent wafting up from my freshly (and countless-times) laundered tee shirt

Snacks: Trader Joes honey sesame sticks and detox tea (god I hope it's decaf. I forgot to check)

I am Thankful for:

Lily. Keeps my head on straight. Makes me laugh. Loves me with a largeness that amazes me. She is total promise.

Friends. They pull me up, they listen, they don't judge. I can laugh my ass off with them. How did I get so lucky?

Family. You never go anywhere, no matter what a crappy job I do sometimes at being a daughter, sister, cousin, granddaughter. And you still want to go on vacation with me.

My bod. I have all my limbs. I walk upright. I'm not afflicted with any life-threatening illness. It's getting more flexible and strong, and it is an instrument of pleasure (ooh la la!) Of course I wish now that I hadnt wasted so much time loathing it throughout my teens and twenties, but that was then, this is now, baby.

Having creativity, making stuff, new ideas, being able to share them.

New books.

Decaf Green Tea


FRESHDIRECT. Thank you for allowing me to avoid Trade Fair again this week. Thank you.

Christmas lights. They throw a warm, delicious glow around my living room and remind me that we are in the most peaceful time of the year, a time to reflect, to plan. A time when anything is really possible.

G'night y'all.



I'm writing this quickly while Lily is splashing in the tub, whispering to her giant rubber duck and her blue seahorse, who are having a quickie, hush-hush wedding. I don't think Seahorse's parents approve of Gi-ducky.

I've been thinking about how yesterday's blog wasn't terribly well-thought out. It seemed at the time like it would be funny to talk candidly about how disgusting it is to be hungover and 34 and a mom. But I'm wondering if it just ended up sounding defensive and like I was making excuses for bad behavior. So if anyone took offense, sorry. Sometimes I get so caught up in the fun of descriptive language (and there are so many wonderful ways to expound on the many experiences one can have with nausea and a thrumming headache) that I lose sight of the real goal: To make excessive wine drinking sound like a wicked party!!!

Nah, just kidding.

More later.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Sex Bomb

I don't know why I gave this the title "Sex Bomb". This posting will have nothing to do with sex. Ha ha! I guess I just wanted to see if you were all paying attention. Maybe I wrote it b/c that Tom Jones song is thumping through my head like a broken strobe light. Or because my hungover ass is feeling anything but sexy at the moment.

Spent the better part of the morning nursing a whale of a wine headache, something I don't deal with often (thank god). Hangovers nowadays make me feel really out of control. It's like I'm walking sideways on a slanted street in the middle of an earthquake while sucking on some nitris oxide (descriptive enough for you? Oh yeah, and add to that a skull that feels like it's been splintered with a sledgehammer. Yum.) I don't do much drinking these days mostly because no matter how much I indulge on a given Friday night, Lily will still sit upright in bed at precisely 6:30 the next morning, asking if it's Christmas yet. So what's the point? It's enough of a challenge to force a smile and grope blindly for the Cheerios on a normal morning; why complicate things with a searing bullethole to the brain and the unflinching urge to dry heave into the sink?

Occasionally, however, I do do a little playing. Like last night, at the annual wine and cheese party/auction for Lily's preschool. There was and endless supply of red wine---bottles and bottles of it (and vodka...and...bagels? yes, bagels; seems an odd choice but boy did that pumpernickel taste good chasing my cabernet). We, the parents, all swigged out of little dixie-sized cups (they go down awful fast), did some socializing, and sat our big-people butts on our kids' tiny wooden chairs. (Somebody's been sitting in my chair!!! And now my chair is broken!!!) I started to get a little too familiar with one of Lily's teachers; I think I made some comment to her about sex. The principal, with whom I have a close bond due to the fact that I kicked butt on last year's yearbook, kept asking me on the DL if Shawn and I are going to get back together. She seems to have a personal investment in reuniting us that tops the agenda of all four of our parents combined. Dear christ.

We then meandered into the adjoining classroom, where we were given paper plates to use in bidding on a wide variety of donated items. Wine and a checkbook are never good together. That's how come I ended up with a huge basket of newborn baby girl items. Damn it.

At the break, I marched my drunk ass up to Shawn, who was doing a great job as auctioneer (though how he allowed me to end up with a giant basket of pink baby dresses, pink blankets and booties I am still not sure). I felt the need to be taken home NOW. I'd hit a wall. I was finished. I've always been able to do it knowing my own limit (or being able to recognize total shitfacedness), but I've been known, more than once, to walk out of the living room in the middle of my own party to curl up on my bed like a contented cat and be done with the whole thing.

I got home, spent some time chatting with a friend (mainly about lactating), and fell into a peaceful sleep, muttering to myself and clutching a bag of Pirate's Booty. The night passed surprisingly quickly (I think it was about 5 minutes long), and suddenly I was bolting upright in bed, as if just coming to life after being shocked by a passing electric eel (in my bed? What the...?) My pulse was thunking in my chest, my throat; I was afraid if I lifted up my head, the heaviness of it would cause it to rip right off my neck. My mouth felt like a hundred city pigeons had used it overnight as a nesting ground. Fuck. Why, why, why?

Luckily, we had a birthday party today for Lily's pal Addie. At least there were other parents with whom to commiserate.
At one point there were a bunch of us splayed out on the couches in the living room, clutching glasses of seltzer and housing leftover pizza while the kids paraded through the house dressed like dinosaurs and princesses. Addie's dad commented that the room could have been mistaken for a methodone clinic. Ah, misery loves company.

I guess you've got to cut loose every now and then. But there's a reason we don't do the same dumb shit we did in college anymore, now that we are responsible grownup people with kids and homes and school loan payments. We find pleasure in different things. I suppose that's what growing up is all about.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cat Lady

I just learned the meaning recently of a term called "compulsive disclosure". I think the term needs no explanation and I realize that I sometimes am quite guility of this. I run at the mouth, reveal too much too quickly, scare people off. Of course, as with so many things, once I was able to put a name to this way of communicating, I have become hyper-aware of other people around me doing it too.

Tonight I was on line in Rite Aid buying --er--lady products, and there was a woman in front of me who just broke my fucking heart. She had milky blue, runny eyes. She was wearing a very worn and seemingly hand-crocheted brown hat and was clutching a religious calendar. "I'm just standing in line to ask them to scan it, and if it's a good price, I'll buy it. I love these."
She flipped over the calendar to gesture to all the serene and spiritual photos on the back of the calendar.
I nodded. "Mmmm, pretty, " I said.
"Well, it's better than looking at a calendar of a cat, if I want to look at a cat I'll just look at my own cat. And I don't like doing that, because she just bit me so hard on the foot it's still swollen, let me tell you," Cat Lady said, wiping her nose.
"Oh, that's terrible. I'm so sorry," Suddenly was feeling a little trapped, awkward, why wasn't the line moving?
"Oh, that's nothing. She bites me and scratches me every day. I have so many scars from the last few years."
"No. Wow."
"Yeah, she has diabetes (pronounced diabeetis), and I have to give her insulin shots every day. Twice a day. They cost $17 a shot, let me tell you. They have to air drop the medicine. That and the needles, $30 a month for those. And some people have people in their house to help with things like that, but not me. I have to give her the shots myself. And she attacks me. She's a bad girl."
I nodded, cocked head sympathetically. So hot in here. Unwrapped my scarf.
"That and the Hills Science Diet food, $200 a case every two weeks! But it's worth it. Do you know no cats had diabetes years ago? Now they all get it. It's because of the food. Let me tell you."
"Sure, that makes sense. All that...salt? in the food?"
"And the trips to the vet. I have to take her once a month. I have spent so much money on this cat. She has ruined me on cats. There's always one that ruins them for you."

The line finally opened up, and Cat Lady got her calendar scanned. I think she bought it. I am not sure b/c I got called to a different register and jetted out of there as soon as I paid for my tampons.

I felt kind of guilty...I always feel guilty when a profoundly lonely person catches my ear and I can't seem to get out of my own personal mental shit enough to just really be there for them. I know I don't need to feel guilty about this. But I find myself in this situation often enough that it makes me feel like I wish I could do something more than I do. I wish I could understand how people get like this. How do they become so alone that an interaction with a sweating, PMS'ing mom in a Rite Aid line becomes your only sounding board, your only source of communication? Nobody should ever be that alone.

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime

Hey guys, I'm feeling a little scroogy today. So.....

Top 10 Worst Christmas Songs Ever

10. Dominic The Donkey
As an Italian American, I am personally totally insulted by this song. An Italian Christmas Donkey --heehaw! heehaw! -- who helps Santa when he visits the "paisans" because "Reindeer cannot climb the hills of Italy"? At least he leaves a sweater for Josephine (The labels on the inside says "Made in Brook-a-leen".) I can't help but see Santa in a dirty wifebeater. Carm! Where's the goddamn Capicola???

9. The Twelve Pains of Christmas
Meant to skewer vapid American Christmas traditions, this song is nothing but 12 dysfunctional grownups with bad Staten Island accents bitching. (Facing my in-laws!!! Hangovahs!!!) And it's not even funny.

8. Bells Will Be Ringing - Bon Jovi
Pop this one on the juke and line up some shots. Better yet, leave me the whole bottle, Nick. It's gonna be a long, lonely Christmas Eve at the biker bar.

7. All I want 4 Christmas is U - Mariah Carey
All I want to do is turn off the vision in my head of Mariah in an uncomfortably tight "santa's helper" costume, coated in glitter (or coke residue), looking suspiciously cheerful (and slutty).

6. That Alvin and the Chipmunks song
This needs no explanation.

5. O Holy Night - Celine Dion
Or anything by Celine Dion, any time of the year.

4. I wish I had a River (I could skate away on) - Joni Mitchell
Not really a holiday song, but it always gets played this time of year. I have a theory that a bunch of DJs have a running bet every year to see how many people they can get to hang themselves in the shower before Christmas Eve.

3. Santa Baby - Madonna
Nothing is grosser than a 35-year old woman crooning in baby talk to a bearded fat man in the hopes that he will shower her with extravigant gifts. This song should really be called "Santa's High Priced Escort Makes Unreasonable Demands".

2. Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time - Paul McCartney
Simply put: There is no earthly reason for this song to exist, except to annoy me.

1. Same Old Lang Syne - Dan Fogelberg
Hands down the very very saddest and most depressing holiday song ever. Nothing evokes desperate loneliness like the description of meeting an old girlfriend in a grocery store, splitting a six in your car while it sleets outside, and talking about how desperately lonely you both are. And not even getting laid after all that.

Top 5 Best Christmas Songs

Here we go. Now a little holiday cheer...

5. Father Christmas - The Kinks
Dark, funny, festive.

4. Merry Christmas (I don't want to fight tonight) - The Ramones
I can actually see Joey Ramone pleading with his wife (if he even had one, I suspect not) to please be cool this year and don't throw that carving knife at my head. Think of the kids.

3. The Band Aid Song
Something about that scratchy record sound at the beginning, followed by the lonesome, wholesome voice of a (very young) Paul Young telling us not to be afraid, cuz it's Christmas-- it just makes me feel alive. And think of how many ignorant, hungry African people learned the meaning of Christmas just from that one song. We are a great people.

2. Little Drummer Boy- Bing and Bowie
It can get Shawn to cry every time.

1. Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses
Now Lily's favorite Christmas song too (we listen to it every morning on the way to pre-school), this poppy tune is reminiscent of the technicolor 80s, when all I wanted to do was be like one of the chicks in "Valley Girl" and sound as cool as the lead singer of this band-she was so disaffected and sexy.

Just for good are some songs that I think would be great holiday tunes with a little tweaking:

Elton John and Kiki Dee - "Don't Go Breaking My Heart (at Christmas)"

Journey - "Don't Stop Believin (in Christmas)"

Britney Spears - "Gimme More (presents)"

OK, I'll stop now.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Margaret Thatcher in a Hyundai

I think I'm a really good mom. I'm loving, consistent, a total hug-it-out kind of modern mama. One of my (loftiest?) parenting goals is to have that kind of open-door policy in my (warm, scented-candle filled) home where all of Lily's teenaged girlfriends wanna come over, drink herbal tea, and have mad discussions around the kitchen table on any and all topics under the sun. I'll flitter around, serve organic snacks, and they'll watch me in awe as I flip my long, naturally wavy salt-n-pepper hair and strike a spontaneous-yet-complicated yoga pose against the counter. They'll stop their conversation about Ethan Frome or why cheerleading is totally lame, and ask me straight-up questions about sex, which I will answer with grace and honesty, careful to emphasize the need to love ones body before sharing it with anyone else. They'll thank me profusely, in between emphatic whispers to Lily about how totaly uber-cool her mother is.

Yeah. Like I said, it's a lofty goal. There are several flaws in that vision, of course. Mainly, I have to acknowledge the sad fact that no matter how close Lily and I are right now, there will inevitably come a time about 10 years from now, when I will become an asshole. Even if I'm a cool asshole, who did all the right things up to that point, fostering her self-assurance and self-esteem, I'll still have to be banished to MomLoserLand for a significant period of her adolescence so that she can learn to separate herself from me. I get it.

For now, I can revel in my motherly awesomeness though. Most of the time.
However. There are times, be thems rare ones, where Mommy loses her shit.
I do sometimes--albeit rarely-- crack like 2 dozen eggs on a shiny-slick grocery floor. I'm not talking about the kind of cracking that warrants a call to child protective services, or the need for a mommy-time out (ie Bellevue). Just...well, occasionally I hit my breaking point and it just feels awful. Yesterday was one of those times.

Mornings, as a general rule, suck in my house. Hectic. Exhaustified. Trying desperately to dress two people, brush two sets of teeth and hair, make lunch, maybe even iron a pair of my pants before work...I walk a tightrope between a streamlined assembly line and total chaos. Yesterday morning started around 5:30 AM. I knew I was fucked b/c the minute Lily opened her eyes she started whine-crying. She didn't get enough sleep, but refused to lay back down (where does she get this pigheadedness???)

Her bleary-eyed punching bag was, of course, me. Her toast wasn't toasy enough. She wanted to wear a summer dress ("It's 25 degrees outside!!!!" "I'll wear a SWEATER, Mama!!!"), she wanted one random ponytail sticking out of the front of her head. I just couldn't win.

By the time we swathed ourselves in outerwear and rolled into the Hyundai, my nerves were as frayed as the elastic of my pregnancy undies. I was Thanksgiving turkey. Done, baby. Then came a blood-curdling scream. Lily could not get the seatbelt of her carseat buckled over her giant faux-fur coat and all hell broke loose.
I whipped around and opened my mouth. And the voice of Bitchmother came vomiting forth like an unstoppable toxic stream. It was the kind of hair-raising loudness that made me thankful the car windows were rolled up. It was over as soon as it started, and of course what followed was immediate, wrung-the-fuck-out guilt.

Bitchmother is an incarnation of me at my very worst. She doesn't come out to play that often, but when she does, hooo, watch out. She's a lethal mixture of stressed- Kristin, sleep-deprived Kristin, where-the-fuck-is-Shawn-when-I-need-his-ass Kristin, and a little bit of my own mother's inner Bitchmother peppered in for good measure. Bitchmother isn't British, but she always sounds like she is when I recreate her for friends and family later on to demonstrate how off-the-wall I sounded when I raised my voice in a moment of weakness. Bitchmother sounds like Margaret Thatcher on a booze-fueled rampage with a tire iron.

I am not sure why I always portray myself as an angry member of British aristocracy when I replay these instances in my head or for an audience. I have nothing against the English. As a people, they are fine. My sister even does the same impression of herself when she gets upset, only her Bitchmother is a little more Lynn Redgrave than Maggie Thatcher. I really can't explain it.

Anyway, the only good thing to come out of Bitchmother's limited engagement appearance ("Thank you and good night!") was that it enabled me to take a second, breathe out, regroup, and then really have a heart-to-heart with Lil. I'm lucky that I have such a bright, engaging and well-connected little kid. We talked about what happened and I feel like we got to a good place about it. Best of all, we avoided the emergence of Bitchmother this very morning when, as we were getting in the car on the way to preschool, Lily again started writhing in her carseat like Regan in the Excorcist because she didn't like the way her scarf felt around her neck ("IT'S CHOKING ME, MAMA!!!! AAAAH!!!"), and I gently reminded her (not even through clenched teeth) that neither of us wanted to go down yesterday's road again. I then made a silly, cheesy face and said, "Mkay? MMMMMKAAAAYYYY????", crossing my eyes, pulling my hair, trying like crazy to elicit a laugh (ClownMommy trumps Bitchmother!!!)...the moment passed, and we zoomed off to start our day.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Saturday night Lily and I went up to Westchester for a holiday/housewarming party in Westchester hosted by my friend Manny and his main squeeze Maria.
Manny was one of my closest boy friends who was never a boyfriend in college, and I just love the guy. (Yesterday my friend Kara and I were waxing on the merits of having had lots of male friends in college with whom we never actually did the nasty; these are the guys we can call upon now in our 30s to still make us feel young and girly, b/c we never shattered their illusion of us with casual drunk sex).

However. I don't know what weirds me out more, the fact that Manny The Ramen King hosted a very classy wine-and-cosmos houswarming party, with homemade, gourmet-quality food (set out in sterno-heated platters!!!) and a private cigar bar out in his back carport, or that I had to drive to WESTCHESTER to get there. Manny lives in Westchester. Both equally chilling. But wow, what a soiree.

All of my early memories of Manny include a Marlboro light and a 40 of Crazy Horse, so to see him in a sweater vest, chasing my daughter around his three-story condo in Tuckahoe, I had to stiletto myself in the ass a few times to be sure it was real.
Time, she's a cruel mistress. Amazing to turn around and be 34 years old and find myself at a party where the same tub of ice holding the cranberry for the cosmos also is piled high with juice boxes all bearing the same candy-colored photo of a bewildered-looking Big Bird. Now that's progress.

Strange also that Manny, who, being the good boy friend he was, diligently walked my drunk ass home countless late nights in college, now actually owned a really good dining room set.

Here we were, years later...Manny, now a salt-n-pepper haired banker, and me, a suddenly swinging single mama, slurping Perrier from a wine glass, muttering about the cost of private nursery schools and the ills of dressing a strong-willed 4 year old in the morning (I WANNA WEAR A SUNDRESS!!!! NO PANTS!!!! RUBY SLIPPERS!!!)
Our 22 year old selves would have been ashamed.
Actually, maybe not.

Anyway, Lily and I soon found ourselves turning into pumpkins after a good-natured 8 year old came bounding down the stairs to inform me that Lily had peed on the bathroom floor. I put my drink down, managed a weak smile, and made my way to my child, who grinned sheepishly at me from beneath her red taffetta poufy skirt, which was hiked over her head in a failed attempt to get the damp thing off her little body. "I missed the toilet, mama," she shrugged.
This is how so many of my parties end these days. At least it's not me who's peeing on the floor now. Oh, I'm just kidding.

So, on our way out, as Maria and I called for her beloved, the door to the carport swung open and Manny and Ollie, another dear boy friend from New Paltz, peeked out in a haze of acrid cigar smoke- a tame, 30something spin on Jeff Spicoli and co. rolling out of a van before class at Ridgemont High.

Manny cried, "Nooo!" with disdain as I informed him of our departure. Cigar in mouth, eyes reddened from either smoke or too much wine or both, Manny completely forgot that the little person standing next to me in the faux fur coat was a 4 year old girl. "You can't fucking leave!!!"
Oh, the more we change, the more we stay the same.
I smiled awkwardly, gestured down toward Lily with a bob of the head.
Catching himself, the civilized banker returned, if only for a moment, until he could return to the smoky male energy of the cigar lounge. My wonderful friend wrapped me in a loving hug, thanked me for coming. Then texted me several times later that night to be sure I got home safely. This is why I know I am a lucky girl. Thank you, Manny. For everything.