Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Reading Red Flags or If you feel like you’re going to throw up, just leave.

April 24, 2013

I’ve just had the absolute worst dental experience ever which was confirmed to me not only by a yelp review (seen after the appointment) calling the him the absolute worst dentist ever but also by this I might have to throw up kind of feeling happening in the region of my mid stomach. Another thing this yelp review said is the only reason you should go to this dentist is to write about it so he did. And now, so will I.

This is a lesson in red flags.  Red flag number one. Today 11am there was one other patient on the sign in list and the date next to that name was yesterday at 11am.  I almost questioned whether or not the date today was yesterday’s date instead because it seemed so unusual to me that no one had come to the office since the day before.  But because the office was so close to the coffee shop I went to this morning and because I thought that was a sign, I stayed.

Red flag number two.  I had to take a full set of X-rays even though I said I had a full set of X-rays in the past year and a half and I wanted to minimize the number of X-rays I have and could I just have a cleaning.  The receptionist told me that the kind of radiation their machine puts out was exactly as safe as going out into the sun one day and that she could use the machine every day for 10 days and be just fine.  That sounded like something I hadn’t heard of before so I felt a little compelled to give it a try.  But when I questioned further she said to me that even pregnant women had X-rays so I shouldn’t worry so much and I said out loud but more to myself: that isn’t true.

OK when you’re saying things to yourself but out loud is when it’s time to just walk out.  Which I did but only after I went to the doctor and saw him sitting in a wheel chair with an amputated leg and felt his not so fresh breath on my face and let him get mad at me because, “please it’s 11:30, time is passing!”  So why did I walk back in just a few moments later, you might ask? Because I hate the dentist and I didn’t want to take my whole day finding another one and besides which how bad can it be.

Answer, very. When then doctor was reviewing my sheet of my health history with me I noticed that his left hand was shaking.  And he was talking to me like he was giving a performance, beginning with – Ms. Kramer, have you seen the movie Kramer vs. Kramer.  I saw it in London in – and he paused to see if I could guess the year – and when I didn’t he filled in the time with the word – eighty….and then dragged his voice out until I said two.  Eighty two, yes, he said, very good.  And he said that was a good time, a very good time, when things were good and the leg was still there, gesturing toward his waist.

Then I stopped counting the flags. My eyes glazed over.  I started feeling nauseous.  Are you sure you are OK, he asked, but for the first time, any breakfast? as if that a banana milk shake in the am would have helped to put me at ease.  How is a dentist going to perform his service with a shaking hand? Can I trust a dentist with stale breath?  And why is he called everyone Momo?

Which he was.  First his receptionist was Momo and then the dental hygienist was Momo and then finally, when his hands were in my mouth, I was Momo too.  The trouble is that I do think this dentist was very knowledgable.  He saw things in my mouth that were a little unique and showed that he cared “See these holes, these are genetic and they happen with people who like lemon or acid” but because he kept micro-managing his dental hygienist to make up for the fact that his left hand was shaking the side of the mirror into my gums, I just don’t want to give him any credit at all.


If you hide from yourself the truth hurts no less

September 24, 2012

I found out that I am NOT a 34C, like I’ve thought ever since I got out of college and started buying my own bras.  Pretty much before that I wore this one set of Victoria Secret bras my mom bought me and sent to me as a care package when I was 15.  Or I wore no bra.

I actually really like no bra best, but not in a slutty way.  If I can wear a shirt that’s like a tank or something that kind of keeps everything held together I will because that’s when I feel most comfortable.  But then again the woman giving me my fitting asked me if I had children.  (as you know, i do not).

Iris Lingerie @ 366 Atlantic, underneath Kimera clothing store is where you can get a fitting too, if your’e into doing this kind of thing in public.  Although the store is more like a nook and there’s not really anyone else in the store expect for you for some reason.  It seems like there’s some rule that there’s only one person that’s allowed in the store at once.

It turns out that I have some kind of concave thing that some women have that makes it difficult to get a bra to sit flat in the center. That kind of made me feel grossed out a little, like there was something there I should want to fix.  To me that represents a folding in, a hiding, a scarcity, a hole, something to fill.

My tendency is to find a meaning in almost anything, whether or not there is meaning there to be found.  The good part is that there’s always another through line to anything that’s happening in real life, an invisible string that seems to tie things together even when you’re not dolling out the thread.  The bad part is that there’s a constant yearning to figure out what it all means which takes one, like me, away from what’s happening in the moment.

Iris says that’s just what some women have, and it’s up to her to find a bra that works no matter what kind of funny thing your body throws her way.  She puts all my info into the computer so that she can be on the lookout for other styles that will fit.  I walk out with a nice bra that I won’t wear that much because that’s my other tendency, to hold off on pleasure as long as possible because there might be some time when I’ll really need it and it will be gone and then what.

Three Fair Questions for Siri

September 11, 2012

The iPhone 5 is about to come out and I still haven’t had time to properly get to know Siri, my mobile assistant, included with the release of the iPhone 4S last October.

So I sat down with her for a few questions about the facts of life, the importance of beauty, and the upcoming election.

As it turns out she’s more than a little bit surly.  Can you imagine how an assistant would be chastised for that cheeky response about how I look?  And with such a skeptics attitude too!

Question: Siri, Where do babies come from?

Answer: From Their Mothers. (Wolfram Alpha)

Question: Siri, How do I look today?

Answer: I can’t see you (emphasis Siri).

Q: Siri, What does my future hold?

A: Sorry, Emily, I can’t look for places in Canada

This was not at all what I expected to hear from someone who is there to help.  In fact, if Siri were a human, she very well may have been fired.  Might we not expect the new OS upgrade to come with a little attitude adjustment?

Time Management for Dummies

September 6, 2012

Sit down one morning in a silent place with a notebook and a pen. Make sure your space is clear of all books, cell phones and computers.  Write down everything you want or need to do.

Travel to Spain.  Buy new tennis sneakers.  Take my daughter to the Zoo.  Write a list until you get to 100 items.  If you want to stop writing and start counting you know you have more writing to do.

Make each one doable.  For instance, “Stop drinking coffee” goes into the calendar as: “Pick up a box of green tea.”  Circle the most important ones and put them on your calendar for the coming week.

It might take a month to knock off the first three on your list so be patient.  Hell, it’s taken me six months to get to selling an old projector. Because it’s hard to trade in the person you once knew and loved for the imperfect person you are today.

When you finally get a few things out of the way, give your self a moment to do song or dance or however it is you show happy.  Did you celebrate? Now begin again.

Other People’s Lives

September 5, 2012

A Williamsburg storefront space on North Third houses the Sketchbook Project: a collection of thousands of journals submitted from all over the world. Inside the library there’s a large wooden table complete with library chairs and a reading lamp.  Once you get yourself a library card, a librarian will gather the journals for you from the shelves, two at a time.

Spend less time on the internet, one person writes over and over again on one page with a strip from a tag maker with the same words glued down below. Later on in the same book she writes down a list of women to research: Tina Fey, Miranda July, Queen Latifah, Kathleen Hanna, Parker Posey make her cut. One of the last pages in the journal is a double sided collage of “dudes holding shit.”

Another book I appreciated had every page devoted to significant moments in a girl’s life so far. Being a nerd changed this girl, she writes on one. Falling in love changed this girl, she writes on another page. Getting her heart broken changes this girl, she says on the next.

And a sixteen year old girl created a comic like character of herself to explain to the reader that she “really has no idea what she wants to do in the future.” Her thoughts are illustrated by her character dressed up in different costumes and include her first idea, a mermaid, and subsequent ideas like a writer, library or fashion designer. There’s also a possible “computer person,” and finally, the fantasy of running away to join the circus.

But these are just my favorites. The whole collection is archived online so you can go look at the journals without visiting the library itself. Or you can wait until a part of the present years collection comes to visit a city near you. Either way, there are some gems available for you here if you take the time to explore.

Five Things To Do From 8am-9am That Aren’t The Internet

August 15, 2012

When I stopped checking my email / txt message + blog reports first thing in the morning I found I was more likely to do these five things:

Write at least 750words.

Before I get totally neurotic and explain how to save separate simple text documents titled by date,  I’ll say I don’t think it matters much how you do your 750 words.  By hand. On the computer. Voice recorded with Photo Booth.  It’s just a place to tell yourself the truth.

Drink one cup of tea 

I drink mine with no honey and little ceremony.  One tea bag in some boiling water and we’re off.  To get excited to make your own morning beverage, try buying a special mug you’ll look forward to using when you wake up, either for its color, shape or photo of a toothless nephew.

Read  one story or an article. 

This morning I read one essay from Cowboys Are My Weakness, by Pam Houston, one of three writers that are new and dear to me.  She commented on the inside cover of The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller so I had to fast take and photo of the book with my iphone just to keep myself from making an impulse buy. There’s also a sci-fi issue of the New Yorker (with a story written in 140 word installments by Jennifer Egan) to look through + some John Cheever short stories that make me both sad and happy at the same time.  Soon I may give letters from Saul Bellow a try.

It’s probably best to replace morning reading with meditation.  I don’t know much about doing meditation every day but I know that people I like and respect swear that things they wanted to change in their life did once they committed to meditation.  So stay turned for more on sitting still instead of reading in the morning hour.

Brush teeth, floss, wash face and maybe shower. 

So simple right?  But how many times do you just press that title envelope icon on the bottom of your phone before you even get out of bed?  Imagine talking to those same people in person with that same breath! Vanity = behavior change.

Take a batch of notecards and write down a few important things, one per card.

Sometimes I have so many left over cards from the previous day I don’t need to write new cards every morning.  If this happens to you, then make your cards or task lists more specific.  So sell old computer on crags list becomes: take a photo of old computer. Something that’s possible to tackle in one day rather than a bunch of days.

Add these all up and you get at least one hour before you even have to do anything online. Sometimes I am crazy edgy to get to the keyboard and sometimes it’s not till after lunch that I feel the need to check in with my pixel perfects friend.  What would you do if you were stay offline for one hour in the morning a try?  If you are a mom, please ignore.

Next time on Five Paragraphs: Rediscovering the library.

JoJo gets a new job

July 16, 2012

Jojo had just begun to get herself back on her feet again.  PIcked up a job from the classified, if you can believe that.  From the back of the weekend Oyster Bay Herald.  Circled that shit with a red colored pencil and then tore it out and slammed in on the fridge with a banana shaped magnet.  Come organize my old stuff, $20 / hr.

What a scam, Gerald had said, when he reached in the fridge for a snack. Like you see on those flyers taped over telephone posts nearby the stop signs.  YOU can have a chance to make $400 / week working from home!  Or, what of about those pyramid schemes where they want you to sell a bunch of plastic boxes to your neighbors. Who’s they, JoJo had asked? Whatever, Gerald said. It’s not like this person is going to be able to pay you for forty hours a week.

But the hourly rate was higher than when JoJo worked for The Creep.  So that morning, she pushed her pointer finger over the square plastic buttons in the order of the numbers on the ad. And the voice at the other end of the line drew her in close like a whisper from the start. Hello, said the voice. JoJo imagined the woman answering with feet in feathered slippers up on a lounge chair in the middle of a spacious and well decorated room.Hi. Um,  I’m calling to investigate, i mean I’m curious about an ad that I saw in the back of the Herald this weekend.

Curious, are you?  Well I was curious too, once. Now-a-days that curiosity’s all curled up and dormant like a bat asleep in the crevices of the cave over top the clear cool waters of a tropical lagoon.You mean a cenote, Jojo says, pleased with herself that she had visited such a cave many years back on a trip to the Yucatan and remembered the term. Well dear I don’t know what it’s called.  The memory goes too at a certain point.  You’ll see.

Why don’t you stop by tomorrow.  It’s been over two years since my husband died and I just can’t face sorting through his things.  Don’t know if it’s that because I don’t want to find out what I never found out if you know what I mean. JoJo did in fact know what she meant, crunching the trophy of her last evening out in her pocket of her housecoat, a note to reminder her of the moments that had come between the last drink of the evening and her long walk home.


I’m not scared, are you scared?

September 24, 2011

There’s no reason to make websites for “men” or for “women” anymore.  We used to think advertising was demographically driven, but data from social media has proven us wrong.  The best bet to get more women readers is to talk about gender.

The only purpose in making a women’s site is to make fun of what people think of as women sites.  We do that as a hook, and then we turn around and write whatever we want.  Be careful, we’re tricky like that.

Babies will work too, but not as well. Women take about 15 years of their life to have babies and another sixty to do everything else.  We can talk about how to get babies till the end of time but unless you have them or are thinking about having them, babies are boring.

Gender is what we do with our outsides selves to communicate messages about what our internal self wants and needs.  We want – love, acceptance, belonging – are eternal longings so we’ll keep changing in our pursuit.   All of us use gender, but Lady Gaga does it best.

Print whatever sports and entertainment pieces you want.  You can even talk about picking up girls.  But if you’re really interested in getting our attention, you’d give yourselves a healthy little self analysis in the process.

Have Guts, Show Yourself

September 19, 2011

If you’ve ever taken a writing workshop you’ll know it’s like having strangers tear your ego apart.  And by ego I mean that thing that you carry around with you like a heavy cloak on your arm – ready to duck behind at any moment.  Or maybe it’s over your shoulders, like mine is – hiding most of what I think of as unbearable for others to see.

The first fifteen pages I submitted was what I thought of as writing.  There were complicated phrases and long passages – all of which added up to a few moody characters that I had become attached to over time.  Once I showed them to my fellow workshop participants, I thought differently.

Getting ripped up by a bunch of strangers is as difficult as it sounds.  Still, after the first critique I felt exhilarated.  I had shown some people I didn’t know more than I had shown some people I had known my whole life. I owed them a revision, one that made the best use of their comments – or I’d be stuck with some shredded up pieces of wool standing in for a shawl covering well into the winter

So I spent a week or two replacing most of what I thought was good about my writing with new writing. Instead of being writerly I tried being readerly – talking more to myself and the people in my workshop – then some wide audience I hoped would someday read a book that wasn’t even written.  The results were much better.

I am starting to see that writing is a constant practice of removing everything you thought was worthwhile and revealing everything you’re sure is not.  People liked the writing better because my desire to show myself came through.   But now that I have this new outer layer that’s silky and flowery, with a nice neckline and a modest waist, can’t I just stay covered?

Fare thee well

September 16, 2011

It brings me a vast amount of pleasure to begin today’s post with a brief and unexpected announcement:  Two warm souls have send me words of encouragement through the graces of wordpress.  These joyous alerts arrived at 11pm last evening, when I checked, by happenstance, the status of my email inbox.

Pray tell, you say – but your email inbox?  Is that not a breach of your promise to us.  It’s true my honored friends, I did promise to you in better times to spend evenings with family and friends and it’s this promise that I have broken.

But please, I beg of you, applaud me for the little restraint I managed to muster.  It wasn’t until this morning that I looked to see who it was that had contacted me from the abyss.  And though the anticipation kept me awake through the late hours of the night – I was happy to find that one, a story telling nomad, and the other a clever little kitty, are both invested in intrepid adventures through the world of their imaginations with determination.

And from another side of W, I ask you also to consider Ms.Rabbit Blog – a wild and feisty animal grown old but not soft.  With the wisdom of a well traveled gypsy, she sends calm to the hearts of all twenty somethings, fearful of their own traitorous path. Carry on young ones, she cries, with your hearts empty and wounded, until you find a way to love – our only redemption.

Now, my fine readers, both new and old – I release you from the burden of betterment for two days.    Revel in your time away with the debauchery of devils.  May safe and benevolent winds carry you back.