Unique New York

Just like a regular woman, only crankier.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Details of My Awesomeness, in list form

1. This week, I mailed out several boxes to my mom. They were souvenirs she picked up in New York. This morning, the postman rang our bell, and Russ climbed out of bed and let me know that a package arrived. I addressed one of the boxes to myself. The return address? Myself.

2. Yesterday, on the way home from Target, I heard the death knell of a tire. I had that fleeting moment where I hoped that the obnoxious sound was emanating from a car behind me. So, I pulled over to investigate. In going home traffic. As the sky threatened to rain. In Bed-Stuy. I pulled over onto a side street, and began the process of removing the flattened tire. I lost weight yall, and now my body weight doesn't have enough torque when I tried to bounce on my tire iron to force off the lugs. Thankfully, a young man helped me out with this (although if he weighed much more than me it was because of his shoes). Anyway, I had a lovely Nancy Botwin moment when I decided whether or not it was patronizing to pay the guy for helping me out. I paid him anyway. White guilt. I was easily the whitest thing for twenty blocks. For chrissakes, I was wearing a red plaid cotton top. I could have doubled for Marianne. While I was bending down spinning handle on the jack, my hair got wet. Rain? No. Dog urine and motor oil, thankyouverymuch.

3. Do you know what epoxy smells like when it is heated at a temperature past its labeled recommendations? I do. It's like a tire fire, only the tires are made of hair and shame. I was trying to be helpful and I epoxied the spinning arm in our dishwasher (it keeps leaning left and coming apart during the wash cycle. Something smelled amiss when I ran the dishes 24 hours later. I now associate this smell with my pride dying. We opened up the washer, and the epoxy had coagulated and slunk off the area where it was applied into little gelatinous piles.

Epoxy still smells, even after the pots and pans cycle.

I will now avoid operating heavy machinery for the duration. And no, I have not been drinking.

Monday, July 27, 2009


When I decided to become a Jew, my hair got the memo. See children, when I was growing up, my hair was thick, heavy, and pretty much pin straight. I had what many call "Really frickin good hair". My mom was obsessed with my hair. I wasn't allowed to cut it until I went to college. Good hair. Grown out many times, cut many times, good, reliable, takes a curl, gets many compliments, hair.

So, imagine my surprise when a few months ago, I noticed that my bangs were sort of curly. As a younger person, I used to curl my bangs with the tiniest curling iron so that they wouldn't just hang in front of my face. Now they are doing it all by themselves, and I have no idea why.

But is the curl even and throughout my whole head? Not really. It's concentrated in the front of my face, and circles around my head. It's like a curly diadem. Perhaps on August 7th, when I pledge my oath to Judaism, I shall develop a head full of curls. Right now, my look is somewhere between Aileen Wuornos and a late 80's geometry teacher


My husband says that I am mistaking the sharp curls on the side of my head for something else. He says my horns will arrive in earnest on the day when I officially become a Jew.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Build a Fence around the Self-Checkout Lane

I recently heard that New Yorkers are the most angry drivers. I shall let the world know: Our anger does not stop from the safety of the dashboard of our beat up Honda Accords.

At Waldbaums today, I stood in the rush hour line for the self checkout. As a girl who has been inside many, many Super Wal-Marts, I loooove the self-checkout line. It is the perfect blend of neurotic control and avoidance of eye contact that I crave in a shopping experience. The line was about ten people deep and growing, and I watched bemusedly as I saw a woman scan a container of romano cheese over and over, until she tried to flag the kiosk monitor lady to let her know that she was unable to complete her transaction. I saw a woman who had a total of three things take about five minutes to get through the prompts, and then flip through a barrage of credit cards that were in that death grip plastic before she selected the correct one. And I saw a guy with a full cart of produce slowly scan a 5 pound bag of oranges, a five pound bag of apples, and a variety of other loose produce. He was five people ahead of me and I was finished paying and out the door while he was still figuring how to scan and not have to place the item in the bag.

I realize that a post about the grocery store is a little redunculous. Okay. But here's the thing...when you don't do these things, my eyeballs bleed, and the saints cry. Plus, when you have four people at four kiosks doing the same sad, ineffective motions, we look like a pile of apes trying to figure out fax machines. Blinking lights? Grunt, scratch, huh?

This leads me to the following: Criteria for the self-checkout lane. This means that if you endorse any of the following items, you must endure the snarling grimaces of the post-pubescent bundles of cheer located in aisles 13, 14, and so on. Here is the list of exclusionary criteria:

1. You have cataracts with the relative opacity of a cremini mushroom.
2. You are the age when you need reading glasses but refuse to wear them, and then cannot see the codes for produce without a guided audio tour.
3. You are unable to program your outgoing voicemail message because you frustrate too easily.
4. You have a syndrome in which you are unable to look behind you and see a growing queue of angry faces.
5. You are an obsessive coupon clipper.
6. You have no idea what a touch screen is, are unfamiliar with a bagging and scanning area that is also a scale...incidentally, if this applies to you, you probably cannot figure out why you cannot hear your child talking to you on speaker phone while you run water and continue to shout in frustration, "I can't hear anything you're saying!"

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, if you have avoided the above criteria (many of which can be avoided with modest interventions and/or surgery), here are some tips for successfully getting through the self-checkout lane, and successfully NOT pissing me off.

1. Treat each time you go to the checkout lane as a timed-lap trial where you are constantly beating your last time. People like this option because it appears fast. Those of us who like this lane secretly think that the checkout people employed at various stores are S-L-O-W. We want to beat them. We want to show them up at their own game. In addition, we want to make it easier for the aforementioned angry faces. Think about your last time at a bar when there was one bathroom and a really long line to pee. How happy were you when the person in front of you got in, tinkled, washed hands, and moved on? I love those people. They are aware of their surroundings and are trying to be considerate of a crowded situation. This is the same thing. Do something for your fellow man, and on your mark, get set, go!

2. Along with the fast theme, when you are in line, pay attention to the prompts, so you can speed through those. They take up too much time. You likely a) don't have a club card, b) don't want money back, c) don't have coupons, d) don't want cash back. Skip, skip, skip, skip. Beep, beep, boop, MOVE ON.

3. While waiting, pull out your card/cash (please let it be a card. Cash takes WAAAY to damn long).

4. Before you start scanning, get your plastic bags or sacks ready. Make a plan.

5. Get out with an awesome speed, and then smile and wave at the people whose lives you have just made a little better. Well done.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How to be married and other practical matters:

The following post is a combination of several things I have learned from being married my own self and to some degree a general response to some issues frequently brought to my attention from others. I apologize in advance if the language is a little blue; my thoughts are sometimes a little blue. Also, I should say that the bulk of this knowledge was told to me long before I experienced it my ownself by my momma, but being how those things are, I didn’t quite believe her until I had the head trauma (figuratively) to prove that the things she was saying were true. Some nuggets are from my mom, some are from Jill Connor Browne, and some are from women whose names I cannot remember at all. Just take my word for it that these ladies are a hell of a lot smarter than me. That should lend to my credibility.

Tip No. 1: Inspect the genital area of your beloved, and note it well.

This aspect of your significant other is unlikely to change. If unsure about the inspection results, simply ask your partner with which gender he or she identifies. If your partner says both, just know that all rules of gender will apply to your loved one. Buyer beware.
To the womenfolk: If you are ninety percent of the population, you have likely found yourself in possession of a male. Hopefully, you are satisfied with your product. If not, well what you see is what you get.
To the menfolk: If you are ninety percent of the population, you are likely tickled pink that you are looking at the opposite sexed genitals of your beloved right now. A celebratory “Whoop” is perfectly acceptable. If you are reading this online, you are likely examining your own genitals right now, and you may also let out a celebratory “Whoop”.

Tip No. 2: Your partner will likely be exactly like the gender he or she claims to be.

A dear friend of mine recently told me that his erstwhile significant other complained to him that his loving gestures were just a “means to an end”. I have heard this complaint from women before and this is the response that I have carefully formulated:


Women, be reminded that the “means to an end” was the reason that we have continued to propagate the species. So to men I say, “Thank you”. Yeah, it’s not rocket science that when men are tender and loving they also want sex. Most women like this in the beginning of a relationship, and then shift to being annoyed with it as the relationship progresses. Be reminded that the person you brought home the night before is still the same person the very next day, and the next, and so on. If you don’t like that when men are affectionate they typically want sex then I highly suggest you start dating a different gender. If you are not inclined to do so, I say don’t get a man, get a DOG. In fact, get several dogs. Small ones preferably. Become the Sharon Osbourne of your town. Head to your job hovering on a sea of Pomeranians. I digress.
From men, the common complaint is that the woman you dated/married/etc. is too obsessed with her looks. She spends too much time/money on hair/clothes/makeup. To that I respond with a resounding chorus of:


In my observations, I have determined that women are typically always interested in fashion and appearances. (And they say men are visual creatures.) This interest waxes and wanes and appears to go through the following three phases:

1. Highly fashionable, well dressed, while actively seeking relationship
2. Not giving a half a damn
3. Realizing that the not giving half a damn was related to the fact that for 18 years she was avoiding having her nice clothes covered in breastmilk/vomit/tempera paint/mud. That’s right, now it’s time for revenge of the fashionista, to make up for lost time!

So, dear male-types, even though you may have met your lovely opposite
gendered lady friend while she was wearing overalls, don’t think that those Osh-Kosh-Bgoshes weren’t carefully selected to attract you. They were. And also, even though a woman’s fashion interests may go through a latent phase while she is breast feeding, do not be surprised if her interests are sublimated by dressing up the tiny person you two created, her small Pomeranian, or God forbid, YOU. Maybe your hillbilly girl doesn’t start really liking shoes until she is fifty. She is what we call a late bloomer. Don’t get all freaked out, and if you don’t like it, date men.
If you need another reason to appreciate the effort women go through to look nice for men, remember that women evolved into having breasts just to attract men. You’re welcome.

Sidenote: Lady-types, if you don’t like the way your male dresses, dress him your ownself. If you are so critical that you couldn’t even think to go out with a man who doesn’t know how to properly attire himself, it is time for some serious reflection on the fact that you may be a gay man.

Tip No. 3: Sleep naked.

Why this rule? Men need to be touched. They need to feel the skin of their beloved, and they need it every night. If you don’t like this arrangement, refer to the portion listed above regarding Pomeranians.
So many things threaten to separate our relationships: Work, television and other electrical appliances, so the onus is on US to make sure that we stay together. Touching each other for comfort before we fall asleep is one way to keep the bond. Alter your environment as needed to make this comfortable.
There are times when you will need a hiatus from the nudity for practical purposes: Night sweats, various illnesses, and the monthly visitor. Once these issues have resolved, get naked again.
I also don’t care for the excuse that sleeping naked while one has little children in the house is a good enough reason to wear pajamas to bed. This is why Gandhi invented the bathrobe.
Be forewarned: If you don’t do the touching of your male oriented partner, someone else will.

Tip No.4: Accept this person as he or she is RIGHT NOW.
For women: Take a deep breath of acceptance. Let the acceptance flood you. Even all of the things that you don’t care for. All of it. Absolutely every last particle of your partner. Eat it, breathe it, drink it. This person will always be the variety of person you got. You didn’t get the Pierce Brosnan/Will Smith/Michael Moore variety, you got all of the man in front of you. He may get fatter, balder, or crankier, but the seeds of everything he will ever be are in him right now. Do not fall in love with a man’s potential. Assume that things will never get better, and if you can live with that, you are ready to be married. For me, I got the nerdy Jew type man, and it works just fine for me. If you prefer the macho type, don’t be surprised when he is an unstoppable jackass when he is 60. You thought it was cute when you were in your twenties. Choose wisely.
For men: Take a look at the lady in front of you. She will always be as crazy as she was when you brought her home, and her hormones aren’t helping any. If you don’t like it, get a hobby.

Tip No. 5: Sex is not love and vice versa.

When a man sleeps with a woman, he does not necessarily love her. He may love that she slept with him, but that is probably all. When a woman sleeps with a man, she would do well to remember that, and probably enjoy the sex a whole lot more. What I am saying is, give yourself permission to enjoy sex for what it is and love for what it is. When they mix it’s great, but recognize that it is really rare.

In conclusion, I am not an expert. I am happily married, but I recognize that the ink is hardly dry on my ketubah. When I learn more, I will let you know. Also, as I said, this information was gleaned from women smarter than me, so if it doesn’t work, blame them, not me.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


NYC is trying to convert me. Husband and I went to National Museum of the American Indian today. Russ is working on an assignment for school to see how to plan a class trip.

If you haven't been before, it's kinda cool....unless you're from Oklahoma in which case you've likely seen it all. However, let me just tell you: This museum is free.

That's right, something in Manhattan is FREE.

Really free.

You just walk in.

(And spend $100 at the bookstore.)

But it's free, people!

Anyway, as we were heading into the rotunda, there were some fliers that Russ was picking up for his assignment, and I noticed a publication that was out of place. Instead of well staged photographs of artifacts, there was a lone booklet on regular paper...and it said something about Jesus.

I debated before picking it up, having recognized publications of this kind.

So, for semantics sake, can we just call these things "Jesus 'Zines"? Or maybe Je-zines"? (Jeezy zeensy?)

So, I pick up the Je-zine, and start flipping through. It has those wonderful, colorful characters that always look slightly exhausted. It is as though these Christian artists want us to understand that when you are unsaved, you show it by resembling an insomniac zombie. Even the infants in the pictures look tired!

One of the panels looks like Colonel Sanders is tempting our damned hero. And for Some reason, Dennis Rodman is in the background. (Couldn't figure out how to get my webcam to not reverse the photo.)

See? The unsaved guy looks tired.

Of course, Colonel Sanders turns out to be the Devil...

So, I promptly removed this garbage from the otherwise pristine site of Native peoples, and placed it in my purse for later mockery.

And then, we got on the subway to go home, when we saw this across from us:

That's right, a Je-zine en espanol. So the city is trying to convert me, and it is covering its bases with appropriate language supports. This Jezine was just as awful, although I have to give it credit for illustrating what I think may be the best image of a pope I have ever seen:

Don't hurt us, Spanish Zombie Pope!

And of course, this Jeezinus reinforces the stereotype that Catholics engage in animal cruelty, baseball brutality, and infant waterboarding:

Look, if that baby would just TELL the nice priest where the sleeper cell of terrorists was located...

Also, apparently Spanish heathens are also underslept.

As a nearly Jew, I can say that I know it's just a couple of weirdos putting crap like this around in the hopes that they can save people. I mean, there's a quiz on the back with a little d-i-y let Jesus into your heart prayer just to make sure that they get credit for your soul (Crazies also work on commission). My only beef is, why you gotta make shit up about Catholics in order to sell people on this brand of religion? As a matter of fact, you don't need to fabricate a damn thing about humanity to show that we are nearly always one Starbucks closing away from total chaos. No need to extra scare people...there's always reality.

So, after a good laugh and some strong attempts to translate "Papi", I took these booklets out of the public domain and placed them in the recycling bin. Because if there's one thing that I think will toast your Crazed-Christian ass past redemption, it is littering in public places.


(No offense to my evangelical homies. I recognize that most Christians are not into this particular brand of soul-sucking art. Shalom.)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The bitch is baaaaaaaack

Like I could keep my trap shut forever. Puh-lease.

So I went stealth for a while, worrying my blog would be found by prying eyes. But now I have gone rogue. In terms of fun, rogue is way better.

So something must have propelled me to want to go public with some thoughts and feelings. New Pres? Nope. Environment? Nope. The fact that we're leaving New York? Pah. That's yesterday's news. Why are my panties in such a twist then? I will tell you why.


This morning while I was slacking off, I heard the news that the Connecticut Attourney General wants to ban erotic services from Craigslist. Ach!

I love craigslist. I have begun to assume that craigslist has magical powers. I input my desires, and it does it turns its magical wheels to deliver me with the following: Full size dishwasher, Air Conditioner, not one but two apartments, a supremely satisfying best friend, and oh yeah, let's not forget MY HUSBAND.

Okay, so Craigslist has been the reason behind many a timesuck, way more than facebook or myspace ever could for me. It's simply because if I have to choose between talking to people and shopping...well...

So, the Attorney General wants to ban erotic services on Craigslist, and I say to him, LEAVE MY CL ALONE! Why?

Well, to begin, the use of a recent crime as a rationale is totally bogus. One guy shits in the casserole and now the dinner party is over (Although I suppose if that really happened, I would probably stop the dinner party too, but I'm just speaking metaphorically). In any case, one serial killer uses an opportunistic site for his victims. So, one out of a kazillion transactions ends in death. Odds are, this site is still pretty safe.

Also, a serial killer kills a masseuse and now we go after masseuses? Huh? Maybe we should alert the Attorney General that people with nice things get robbed. That's right, I am insisting on a ban on nice things.

Going after erotic services takes the blame off of the killer in the first place. Let's put the blame where it is due. That's right, A-hole, you can't use the most wonderful internet site in the world for evil. People don't like it. So I am now instating a ban on serial killers using CL for victims. It is forbidden! I have spoken.

So since the logic is so screwy, it just makes me think these people are using this instance to go after one of the pure things remaining on the internet.

Remember the nineties when the internet was first hitting its stride? I do. I remember how exciting it was. There was this new innovation, and suddenly people my age could make a living doing creative things for creative people. People were connecting, both with services and with each other. Also, people were finding great deals on stuff. I remember getting free voicemail, free videos, etc. I know that's because a lot of these folks had bad business plans and basically gave shit away without a thought as to how to pay for it, but still...I like the spirit of just putting it out there and figuring out the rest later. It was innocent and exciting.

And then advertisers and whatever else started slowly siphoning out the fun of all things internet related. Pop up ads. And then really wicked pop up ads that would slow down your internet connection. Blogs happened, but then you would get a blog and someone from your job would find it, and then you would get fired for having a blog. Myspace...and then employers start looking at your myspace page to later judge you.

But Craigslist remained. I guess nobody really gave a shit about adults doing f-ed up things to each other, and it wasn't really being patrolled. You can post a rant or a rave? For free? I can sell something without some weird agreement and my privacy is protected? I think I owe a thanks to the culture of San Francisco for treating me like an adult as well as providing me with an awesome service.

So, to me, Craigslist is like the last cool thing on the internet. It is totally low-tech, but I have had so many great experiences. I guess I just want one way of connecting without worrying about interference, and I like the idea that anyone could post anything, from a date to a half-eaten box of cereal.

I reject not being able to connect. I reject the unnecessary supervision. I reject being afraid of nothing. In that spirit, I have removed the password protection from my blog. Let's have some fun again.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What do you say?

In more recent incarnations of my dissertation proposal, I was recently given feedback by one of my committee members that I need to use person-first language. This committee member vehemently said, "If you got nothing else from my class, I hope you learned person-first language".

Having utterly no idea what she was talking about, I went to the internet for a little education. Aha, says I, as multiple sites popped up, telling me about person first language. In essence, person-first language asks the speaker (or in my case, writer) to refer to a person with a particular diagnosis to reference the person first, then the diagnosis. For example, "The autistic kid" versus "The child with an autism diagnosis".

Let me say first that I agree with the majority of this endeavor to describe people's assets before we start a laundry list of things they can't do. Language is a very powerful tool, and it definitely shapes the way we think about things. Certain labels for various diagnoses connote inability, sub-humanness, or refer to an appliance over the person who uses it. These things are of course, not good. Moreover, they are not things that the general public think about when they are talking about their neighbors. They should. We all should.

And yet...

I am in the priviledged position of having been raised with seven brothers. One of my brothers was born with multiple disabilities. One of my other brothers, we later discovered, has language disabilities. As a sister of two young kids who were the focus of "special" and many times unwanted attention and scrutiny, I am very sensitive to labels. As an adolescent, I really knew how to put the brakes on a lunch room conversation by screaming at my friends, "Your pencil is NOT retarded!! Was it diagnosed with a syndrome? Has it seen a psychiatrist???" and then storming off in some inflated rage at the use of pejorative labels.

To be clear, I was shocked that I had used anything BUT person first language in my proposal about children with autism spectrum disorders.

Imagine my surprise when upon entering my externship this year when I found that the term "client" had been changed (I do not recall a vote) to "consumer". Okay. I like the word client because it denotes someone who receives clinical services...like from me. So consumer? I guess it's better than calling someone "The quad" or something like that. But is "client" pejorative?

Continuing on in my internet search, I found a website by a person who objects to being called "A person with autism" and prefers "autistic person" because the former implies that the condition can be separated from the person, when in fact, it cannot. (E.g., "The person with the blue shirt". Fair point.

Then, the author said that person first language feels like an attempt to cover up something that need not be covered. 30-Love.

This reminded me of when the population decided it was not okay to say American Indians anymore. Instead, we say Native Americans, which implies a certain amount of ownership to indigenous people. However, I object to the term, because anyone born here is a Native American, and it is therefore an inaccurate descriptive term. Also, we Indians don't call ourselves Native Americans. No one asked us. It's like we got a nice term instead of getting our land back. Or, I was gonna hate you white people and take back Manhattan, but you said "Native American" and then that some of your best friends were "African-American" so I called off the war cry. But, seriously, I don't begrudge anyone who uses it. I don't immediately think they are my friend either. Whatever.

I think the impetus for the person first language movement is simple. We object to being unnecessarily hated and feared. For whatever reason, it seems that the person who is so uncomfortable that they say, "The person who happens to be African American" causes the listener to think "Man, that dude is really fucking anxious" or worse, "Man, that dude must be really fucking racist". We object to the ire. What the general public wants to hear from any minority group is one person to be the representative and declare the linguistic rules. Then we as a people can use that language and never think about those icky people again. So maybe it is up to those groups to be constantly changing the language of the secret handshake that lets society know you're not a bastard. But I recognize the frustration of the general public. The bottom line is this: If you say "Person with autism" versus "Autistic person" but you really MEAN to say "The crippled motherfucker", everyone will know that you don't really like whomever you are talking about. People are great detectives when it comes to stuff like this. Thus far, minority groups have not been able to tell you what opinion to have of them (which would seriously cut down on the constant renaming). However, even among those groups there is dissent about how to proceed.