Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"Good night Sweatheart. Well, it's time to go"

This is my second trip to my doctor and it’s the last. It’s the end of our relationship.

After another hellish trip to 91st Street, I find out he doesn't take my insurance carrier anymore. "Well, you only have a $695 deductible. You can still see him out of pocket." I left pissed. I no longer have lost feelings for this broken relationship.

Now, I have to find a new doctor. I call Lrudlrick to rant and he proceeds to tell me about rentals on the eastside. Lrudlrick wants us to move again. I’ve spoken of this before but we always figured we’d stay on the Westside. We both work on the Westside. It would only be logical. Of course, I forget that logical isn’t always logical in my husband’s mind.

Anyway, I wasn’t about to get into it with him so I walked my butt over to the bus stop to get crosstown. At the opposite side of the street I noticed it sitting at the stop. I immediately haul butt and get to the front of the bus. I knock on the door and the bus driver doesn’t open the door. I knock on the door and he won’t even look at me. He just nods his head.

“What! Are you serious? You’re just sitting at the stop!” Then the light turned green and it started to pull away. Then I did something I never did in my entire life. It wasn’t planned nor was it of my own volition. Something took control of my right arm. The inconvenience of having to go to work for a meeting before my appointment hit me. All that frustration from the morning commute to the eastside came seeping in. All the aggravation of being in a waiting room for 20 minutes before being told my doctor doesn’t accept my plan. The arrogance of being told I could pay out of pocket poured out. My arm went up in a right angle and gestured upwards.

I looked at my arm as if it was possessed. Where the hell did that come from? At least my fingers stayed in a fist shape but still. I looked liked I was gesturing like an old man. I swear I heard my inner self say, “Damn, you must be really mad.”

A bus finally came 10 minutes later and I spent the time cowering in my seat. What if the bus driver radioed all the other bus drivers of what I did? “Be on the lookout for a 5’3” Asian wearing tan crop pants and a Yankee cap. She nearly flipped me the bird.”

Now I have to add this to my confession. Great.

On a quick note: I hope everyone on the Gulf Coast is safe. We got married in NOLA and have relatives in Alabama. Be safe all.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

"I got a rock"

Today is our anniversary. It’s not our wedding anniversary so there will be no presents or celebrations. Ok, there will be celebrations but not the type you invite people to unless well, I’ve had one too many mojitos and…

Today is our dating anniversary. It’s also the anniversary of my husband asking me to marry him for the second time. This was done on purpose by Lrudlrick. I guess he figured he had a hard enough time remembering how to spell my name. Which to this day, he asks me for verification. It's a common name. I don't see why he has a problem but...
I’ll go into my husband’s proposals another day.

Today and every August 30th, I like to think back to how he asked me to be his girlfriend. I had never had anyone ever ask me to be his girlfriend. Back then, it was more like a declaration than a proposition. “Hey Jimmie. This is my girlfriend, Pantrygirl.” “Oh. I’m your girl… Oh. Ok.”

I had just come back from a wedding with a guy friend. Lrudlrick called and asked if I could come over. It was a bit late and I didn’t want to walk alone but he was insistent. “I’ll meet you in front of the park so you don’t have to walk alone.” “Ok.” I said.

He met me at the park and walked me to this giant rock formation. He told me to look at the rock. So I stared at the rock like an idiot for what seemed like forever. “You don’t see it?” “Uh. No and I’m afraid if I stare any longer, I’ll see a bug.”

Then he pointed it out to me. At the far right of the rock, he had carved our names together. I know. I know. It’s cheesy but he really got me with that carving. I smiled and he helped me climb to the top of the rock. When we got to the top, he asked me to be his girl. He said that he’d never felt more sure about this. “We’ve become so close in such a short time. I just know that if I feel this way now, it’s just going to get better.”

I smiled a smile that could be seen in space. I said yes of course. He later explained that he wanted to put our name in something that would stand the test of time. It was something permanent and solid which he hoped our relationship would be. Of course, being the ham that I am, that set off the Prudential Life Insurance commercial references in my mind and “The Rock of Gibraltar” has now become incorporated in my memories of that night.

Monday, August 29, 2005

He's a smart man.

“Listen, we’re not looking for our first apartment. This is a great apartment for a newly divorced man and that’s what I’ll be if I sign a contract for this closet.” - Lrudlrick to a broker

Hot tumble dry action in the laundry room

Last night I did something I never thought I’d ever have to do. I sorted through some strange person’s laundry. Actually, it was my neighbor’s laundry but it’s still strange. Remember, how I mentioned how the laundry duties have been distributed between me and Lrudlrick? Do you remember how I said it’s sort of working out now that he does the actual lugging of the clothes down to the laundry room, sorting and washing as I fold?

Well, we hit a snag last night. As I was sitting in the bedroom watching 'The Courtship of Eddie’s Father', Lrudlrick comes in with an armful of wet clothes.

pg:“What are those?”
L:“Your delicates.”
pg: “They’re not delicates and they’re not mine.”
L: “Yes they are. They’re women clothes.”
pg: “Yes, those are women clothes but they aren’t mine.”
L: “Oh God! Are you sure? Quick, you need to go downstairs with me to sort our clothes before she comes back!”

As I stood downstairs with my head in a giant dryer drum, the first thought in my mind was, how can Lrudlrick not realize that the laundry tripled in size since it was sorted and washed? Then it got worse.

Clearly the clothing that belonged to the stranger was not for an under 60 year old. The clothing also looked to belong to a woman with an Amazonian build. Plenty of housecoat-like items and what I will describe as granny pants were mixed in with our laundry.

L: “Is this yours?” holds up a one piece bathing suit with giant Nurse Diesel foam pads in the breast area.
pg: “No.”
L: “How about this?” holds up a pair of orthopaedic stockings.
pg: “Are you serious? No.”
L: “This?” holds up a pair of large Bridget Jones granny panties with tummy control support.
pg: “I’m starting to get insulted now.”
L: “Shhh! Careful what you say.”
pg: “Ditto!”
After ten minutes of sorting, we placed our neighbor’s clothing in a laundry cart and headed to the stairs in silence.

L: “Remember, for better or worse. Right?”

I looked at him and we busted out laughing. Before next week’s wash, I think I might need to mark my clothes like I did before summer camp.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Finally finished.

I finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Lrudlrick now feels the need to find another book to occupy my time so he can finish some Xbox Star Wars game but obviously he hasn’t seen the stack of books on my nightstand I’ve yet to finish.

I start most books and then get sucked into another book. I’ve got 5 books that I still want to get through. It’s a vicious habit but I usually finish my books eventually.

I wont’ say much about HBP. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t finished yet. I will say that I 2 years is a mighty long time to wait for the final book in the series. So many questions and theories are looming in my head.

I got on the HP wagon in 2000. I remember this because I was in Boston on a business trip and wound up lugging a ton of HP paraphernalia back to Lrudlrick as a gift. At the airport, some security clerk smiled and asked if it was for my kid and I embarrassingly responded no, my boyfriend.

Last night Lrudlrick and I were discussing possible endings to the series when he said, “I don’t want to go into details anymore. I don’t want to picture myself as a middle aged man going to Potter conventions.” “We’re just talking. It’s not like you’re dressing up like Dumbledore or something.” “Well, this is how it starts. Let’s just continue looking through the Times.”

At least I have the film to keep me Pottertained.

Friday, August 26, 2005

I can't read fast enough. My eyes are going a mile a minute.

I just had three cups of coffee, a piece of chocolate pudding cake and macerated strawberries. (Yes, folks. We had another Elaine Benes party at my office.)

My synapses are sparking.

This must be what it feels like to have ADHD.

Someone pass me a Ritalin!

Thoughts inside my head as I try to wrestle the sugar high:

“I love bread. Bread is good. Bread. Bread. Bread. They have some good songs too.”
“This must be what Buster Bluth feels like. Maybe even Buddy the Elf.”
“I'm not blinking as much as I think I should be.”
“I love cream cheese. Cream Cheese is good. I love Cream. Strange Brew is a great song.”
“I so need a downer right now.”
“Time really goes by slower when you can’t concentrate.”
“I hate the sound of flip flops smacking the heel of someone’s foot. There’s no place for that sound in an office.”
"I need to buy stamps."

Thursday, August 25, 2005

“You are not complaining. You are standing up for yourself. There is a difference.” -- Lrudlrick

I’m not a complainer at work. I do my job as best I can and move on. However, I’m feeling compelled to bitch to my boss. See, there is this woman I shall call Fakey. Fakey is one of those people that speak in a fake low volume high pitched voice. A 35+ woman shouldn’t have clicks but she does. She forms clicks that make the Heather’s click seem tame. I know I've justed dated myself. Let's just say that when people mention Fakey, they all mention the fact that she requires her click to dress like an airline stewardesses. If you don't pay attention, you could mistake her office to be the United Airlines staff lounge.

Anyway, obviously, I’m not part of her click nor do I care to which means, I’m on the shit list. Well, every time I have a project that involves her click, no matter how infinitesimal a task, she makes a high holy stink to my boss about it. She doesn’t speak to me. She doesn’t respect me enough to do so, so she runs screaming to momma bear.

What the f&#%! I’m sorry but this pisses Pantrygirl to the point of major expletives.

So my latest project didn’t involve her and her click but because of job swaps, she’s gotten a hold of it. Sure enough, she calls my boss not 15 minutes ago and blasts that it’s too much work for her and that she should have been consulted.

First of all, she wasn’t part of the initial project plan. She just got the damn job handed down to her. The people initially involved were informed and still are being updated.

Secondly, if you simply called me and said you got the project handed to you, I'd fill you in on the status and add you to the weekly status report.

I’m so peeved by her childish attacks, I’m about to go in to my bosses office and plainly say, “I’m not sure what I’ve done to provoke her but it seems that every time I have a project that loosely involves her, issues arise around her end of the project and things get blown out of proportion.”

I’m so livid, I feel like steam is rising from my skull.

Ok. Breathe......

I just came back from my boss. It didn’t come out as aggressively as I thought it would. But essentially she agreed that she’s blowing things out of proportion. “You know how she gets. She starts panicking. Let’s just get everyone at the same table and make ourselves clear.” I then made sure to tell her that I kept all departments in the loop via emails, calls and even face to face time. I feel better but would feel better if I was able to attend the face time. I’ve made a decision that if I have to go in to work before my doctor’s appointment, so be it.

Oh, and me staying up from 3am-5:30am to read Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince has nothing to do with my short fuse today.

"I say, Lionel, catch."

I just met the only man in NYC who can get away with a seersucker baby blue suit.

I know it's the style for the metrosexual right now but by the looks of the guy this suit had to be vintage.

Too bad I didn't have my camera.

You rock it, Seersucker suit guy.

Monty Python's Sam Peckinpah's 'Salad Days'

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The sticker says, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Have a little faith.
So easy to say.
Not so easy to do.

I believe we all have faith but acting upon that faith is a totally different story. How many of us act upon our faith? Now, I’m not saying to do something you don’t want to do. Forcing yourself to do something instead of being compelled to do something is not true to the action.

A week ago I was asked by my priest to consider helping with catechumens prepare for Baptism, Communion and Confirmation. He wrote me a compelling letter asking that I as well as my husband jointly assist. To punch the point, he also dotted it with an assortment of smiley and inspirational stickers which I found humorous.

Here is a list of questions that popped into my head:

1. Why me?
2. What do I have to offer a catechumen?
3. Can I commit to such a task?

Then I began the internal, spiel.

I'm not very religious. I consider myself more spiritual than religious.
I don’t think I have much to offer for a person with questions re: Christianity.
I’m not an educator.
I may not be in the neighborhood next year.

After the initial self-deprecating excuses, my husband punched me with the overall question.
“Well, do you want to do it? That’s the first question.”

Well, thanks for the cold hard slap in the face, Lrudlrick.

Do I have the courage to say yes?

An open letter to Mayor Mike

Mayor Bloomberg:

I like what you’ve done so far with our city.   Now, I'm not a Republican and I don't always agree with you and your actions but after the tragedies in 2001, we needed a businessman who could focus on ensuring our financial burdens would not cripple our city.  Fears of economic slides similar to those from the 70’s were rumored.  Yet you were able to not only continue but increase the development to ensure the city continued to prosper.

However, as a young couple, living in the city it is getting harder and harder for us to stay.  Looking at the Sunday Real Estate section of the Times has made our Sunday mornings an expletive filled ritual for me and my husband.  It has become a reality to us that in order to start a family, in order to save for our retirement, we will need to leave the lovely comforts of the city.

To find a community in the rough and tumble city is no easy feat.  We have found a community in our neighborhood, a circle of neighbors, residents and friends whom I’d love to have my children know.  But the likelihood that he/she will not experience the spirit of the city is low because we simply cannot afford the sky rocketing real estate prices.

We are not alone in our sentiments.  Many of our friends, families and colleagues are leaving their homes to more affordable areas.  For the city to lose so many young couples and families will be a detriment to the economic well being of the city.  What will we have left?

I kindly ask you to look into your heart and help us stay in the city.  We’re a young, hard-working couple with the hope of starting a family.  Both born and raised in the city, we have spent most of our lives in NYC and hope to continue our professional growth here.  Our parents and grandparents came to New York with the hopes and dreams of prosperity for their families.  We would like to continue the spirit of our parents and grandparents held dear.

Through church events and community boards, we are active members of our community.  We hold our neighborhood dear to our hearts and commit our time and energy to better our city.

I’m sure you agree that we live and work in the best place on earth.  Please help us continue to contribute to her growth and spirit.

Is this something I want to read about before lasik?

Vehicle Crashes Into Operating Room During Eye Surgery

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I shower every day and no one gives me an ice cream cup.

I love my dogs but there is one thing I hate doing. It’s not picking up their poop and putting them in Ziploc baggies. It’s not waking up early to walk them. It’s not taking them out at midnight. I can even deal with cleaning up the occasionally puke. Of course the puke wouldn’t happen if Z would stop eating plastic.

It’s giving them a bath.

I hate giving my dogs a bath. Of course, my husband hates it more. Since we both abhor this task, we pamper our dogs and send them to a groomer for the full treatment. They get bathed. Their nails get trimmed and Z, my fluff ball of a dog, gets trimmed. BTW, why in God’s name would you do this to your dog?

OPI Pawlish

Twice Lrudlrick returned home with scented dogs. You know the kind of person that you can detect was in an elevator even without physical evidence? That was our dogs. Even P-man wasn’t keen on being all fruity smelling. He spent the next hour rolling on our carpet to rub the scent off of him. When that didn’t work, he kept rolling against our legs to share the Eau De Le Pew. Since then, Lrudlrick insists they don’t perfume our dogs.

There are occasions though where we don’t bring them to the groomers. In the summer, we frequent the park a lot more. Between the heat, humidity and dirt obtained at the park, we’d go broke taking them to the groomers every time we go romping. Then there is Z-girl’s hot spots. Z is part Chow, part Golden Retriever. She’s a fluff ball of hair. With this heat and humidity she develops heat spots on her belly. Frequent bathes with antihistamine shampoo are required in August for Z.

On Sunday, we had a particularly long walk in the park. I don’t know why we thought taking two dogs, both part Chow, out in the heat and humidity to the park was a wise idea. As we left the park and began our walk home, P-man, the eldest at 10, looked at me as if I was torturing him. At one point he looked at a cab longingly.
Lrudlrick and I finally made it home sweaty and tired and began the bartering. In the past it used to take two people to wash them but since they’ve gotten older, they have mellowed out. Still the task of bathing them is not in our list of fun things to do with your dog.

pg: “They really should get a bath.”
L: “Well, I did it last time.”
pg: “But… I bought the shampoo.”
L: “Good for you.”
pg: “It’s hard to lift them into the tub.”
L: “They can get in themselves, you know.”
pg: “I’ll make you a sandwich.”
L: “Great. By the time you finish the dogs, I’ll be hungry for a snack.”

Thus, too tired to fight, I resigned myself to washing the dogs.

Z-girl is by far the most difficult to wash. She’s skittish so everything from a paper cup to running water freaks her out. However, yesterday she didn’t put up a fight. I’m not sure if it was the cooling effect of the water or the after effects of running them ragged at the park but she stayed in the tub during the entire bath. She didn’t shake like a leaf nor did she shake herself dry multiple times.

Usually, the bathroom looks like the interior of a car wash after Z gets bathed. But this time, there was minimal water damage. The bath rugs were even in good shape.

P-man was less than thrilled but realized that this is the price he pays every so often to live under our roof rent free. Tail down with the look of a broken dog, he stood there and allowed me to wash him. On my part, I washed as quickly as possible and tried to keep the water from getting into their eyes as much as possible.

For such bravery, I awarded them with Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cups (aka Nutlys).

Here are my tips for washing a dog in a tiny bathroom:

1. Strip down. Your clothes will get soaked. If you want to, wear a bathing suit.
2. Take all extra rolls of TP and guest towels out of the bathroom. I don’t care if it’s dangling from the ceiling. It’s going to get wet somehow.
3. Keep the toilet seat closed and use it as a shelf for treats and towels.
4. Keep a fluffy rug on the floor for your knees. They will thank you.
5. Remove your shower curtains or loop them onto themselves.
6. Use plenty of towels. I use two per dog. You’ll also need a towel for yourself because you’ll definitely need a shower afterwards. But keep it outside until you are finished.
7. Don’t try to play with your dog unless he likes the water. This includes trying to shape your dog’s hair into a mini Mohawk. He will not appreciate the humor.
8. Use a plastic bowl to pour fresh water onto your dog.
9. After they are semi-dried, take them outside and brush them. Most of the stray hairs will naturally shed off.
10. Have a stiff drink ready for your after bath treat.

Courtesy of UComics

Monday, August 22, 2005

"They’d call us gypsys, tramps, and thieves"

The comments I heard from you regarding gypsy cabs got me thinking how much of my everyday is foreign to so many people.

Bodegas, gypsy cabs, Black Israelites. All are part of NYC lingo.

My day isn’t complete until I see the reformed homeless man handing out sandwiches to the homeless, the dancing hip hoppers on the train or the mariachi band playing the saddest Besame Mucho you’ve ever heard.

Chris at Metroblog noted that Loews to a New Yorker is not what Lowes is to most of America. BTW, my second favorite is Anna’s ‘You just want to go home.’

It’s true. A New Yorker lives in a different world than most of America. That’s why all my cousins loved coming to NYC in the summer instead of us going to Wisconsin or Indiana or even Chicago. I never understood what the thrill was for them to come here. Wasn’t everything the same there as well? Strip malls and full backyards that weren’t paved sounded like the best thing a kid could have.

So I pose a question to all: What’s the one thing that’s commonplace where you live that may not be so commonplace for others? Please include a description of said item/action.

You can add it in the comments section or use it as your topic of the day. If you do, please leave a message in the comments so I'll be sure to visit.

Need help? Check out Judy’s entry last week. Judy writes about a common courtesy wave that Texans have when passing.

"Long Distance Runaround"

August is the month for annual visits for Pantrygirl. With my laser eye surgery scheduled, it's time to visit my primary care physician.   

For me, picking a primary care physician isn’t an easy feat.  Like most on an HMO, it all starts with picking the appropriate insurance carrier.  My company offers a handful of plans, each with different prices.  Do I pick the cheapest insurance carrier my company offers and pray that I’ll be able to cover 20% of any of my accrued bills or go for broke and pick the 100% coverage?  Once I pick my plan, I have to wait for ‘the book’.  

In a city filled with major medical centers, the book of physicians that arrives in the mail looks like a JCPenney’s catalog but without the non-descript kids in corduroys.  
Since these directories don’t include ‘user reviews’, I spend a lot of time researching and doing a lot of trial and error.  Trial and error?  Yes, if I don’t feel comfortable with the doctor and his office, I transfer PCPs.  I figure, if this person is going to be monitoring my health and he/she will be probing me in very vulnerable regions, he/she better have a good bedside manner.  You can say that picking a physician is like a job interview for me.  After I pick out the best candidates, the make or break point is their interview, aka the visit.

There are a few criteria I use to narrow down my choices; the first two are not medically based.  First, the proximity to his/her medical office.  I’m not going to subject myself to endless transfers and crosstown buses when deathly ill.  So more or less, I’m relegated to the West Side of Manhattan.
Next, and this is pretty sad but I ask myself, can I pronounce his/her name?  I need to know that in an emergency, I will be able to pronounce my physician’s name as well as spell it no matter how muddled my mind is.  

From this list, I review affiliations, age and several other items found in the state physician profile.

The rest is based on customer service and the physician’s bedside manner.
Yes, I know that I’m a little obsessive compulsive about this but, you should know that about me by now.

So you can imagine my despair when my relationship ceases.  This has happened to me once so far and it was devastating.  After three years with my physician, I was finally settling into that comfort zone in the relationship when she sent me a Dear Jane note.  Ok, it really was an “I’m no longer affiliated with your HMO” note but it stung just the same.  I spent weeks asking “Why?”  It seemed so impersonal and cold.  I even called her office.  Maybe it was sent in error.  The abandonment gone, Thanks to a pint of Haagen Daz; I set out in the world, newly single and looking for my Trapper John, M.D.

I went through many a rebound relationship.  Finally I found him.
He was a little older than I had hoped but I was optimistic.  During my first visit, he sat with me before and after the exam.  He put me at ease and asked me what I looked for in a physician.  Ah, the classic interviewee turnaround.  Nice.
His secretary and nurse called me by name from the first visit.  They returned calls in a timely fashion.  I don’t know how they did it but they made you feel at home in the cold sterile medical offices.

Then I got the call.  At least it was a call this time.  “Hey Hon.  It’s Joan.  The rent was too high so we lost our lease and have moved.  Can you make it to the Upper East Side for your appointment?”

Ok, for those who don’t know Manhattan, there is a giant park in the center of the island.  It separates the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side.  Please do not ask me the name of this park. Its name is apropos.  In order for you to get crosstown (West to East or vice versa), you need to take a bus or travel down to midtown, transfer to a crosstown train and take an uptown train.  Since crosstown buses are notoriously slower than trains, I essentially have to take a bevy of trains to get to the UES.  Under most circumstances the quickest route is a straight line.  In Manhattan, the quickest route is most likely shaped like a ‘U’.

Even though he broke one of my cardinal rules, I didn't want the long distance to be the reason for our breakup, so I set off for my appointment Friday with Harry Potter to keep me company.  4 trains and 40 mins later, I make it to his office, sweaty, tired and hungry.  “I tried calling you but I guess you were underground.  The doc is stuck in surgery and won’t make it back to the office.  Can you come back next week?”

“You’re kidding, right?  It took me nearly an hour to get here.”

I left dejected.  I’m rescheduled for the end of the month but I’m not sure if this is going to work out.  This looks like the beginning of the end of our affair.   Doc, we'll always have Central Park West.  If anyone has a good PCP in the West Side, let me know.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Pay the damn surcharge or get a blister on your feet.

"No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get into '40 Year Old Virgin'. Wait. That didn't sound right." -- pg

Warning to all NYers, Fandango your tickets. I scoured Chelsea, Union Square and both Loews on the UWS and tickets were sold out hours in advance.

Ok, the Loews at Lincoln Square isn't showing it but doesn't everything play there? How was I supposed to know they weren't showing it? Sorry, Lrudlrick.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Slip of the tongue...

I'll tell you something. Everytime I read the real estate listings, I feel a twinge on my left side. -- pg on the high mortality rates from heart disease in the city

Thursday, August 18, 2005

"There’s a stain on my notebook, where your coffee cup was..."

Since we shut down LuxTV, I’ve been without newscasts at work. Lrudlrick and I are addicted to news. It’s sad but I’ll read, watch and listen to news even if it’s repetitive. (Hello, NY1.) Years ago, we were able to watch and listen to a live BBC News feed online. Then they changed platforms and connections sucked. That’s when Lrudlrick jimmy-rigged our Tivo to broadcast live news feeds through the internet. I remember Lrudlrick spending nights staring at broadcast grids to determine the programming schedule for LuxTV. Broadcasts started at 9am with NY1 followed by a 10am rebroadcast of The Daily Show. Then periodically through the day, programming switched to CNN, MSNBC, FOXNews, BBCWorld News, Nightly Business Report and NY1.

It was a news junkie’s heaven.

Then we found this program called, ‘Law and Order’ and it’s offspring. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this show. If you haven’t, crawl back into your rock. We were converted to LnO two years ago. Yes, we’re late bloomers. We may be late in the game but with the help of Tivo, TNT, NBC and USA, I honestly think we’ve caught up.

For the last two years, our Tivo has faithfully taped everything with ‘Law and Order’ on the title, including a Law and Order documentary on the Wild West. At the peak of this insanity, our Tivo recorded 9 hours daily of various LnO episodes.

Every time we opened our apartment door, we heard the ‘choong-chung’ sound that permeates every episode. At one point we contemplated changing our doorbell to that strange compliation of sounds.

Of course, with 9 hours of LnO being taped, LuxTV had suddenly changed from an all news format to a ‘Law and Order’ fansite. Watching LnO is one thing. Listening to it at work is another. It’s not conducive to productivity. You need to watch to see the facial expressions of District Attorney Adam Schiff. Yes, I know he’s not there anymore but I still like him.

Finally, the IT folks at Lrudlrick’s company complained about the bandwidth he was using to view his homegrown programming so he shut it down.

So now, to keep me entertained in my bunker I listen to XMRadio. It’s not the same though. There is no news on XMRadio Online. In the car, I get Bloomberg, BBCWorld, CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews plus local coverage. In my office, I’m switching between music stations.

I’ve discovered I’m such an oldies girl. Here’s my station list and XM’s description:

60’s – The Authentic 60’s sound
70’s – The Best of the 70’s
U-Pop – From the World’s Pop Charts
Fred – Classic Alternative
Lucy – Classic Alternative Hits (My favorite tag line heard occasionally is 'It’s all the songs you listened to with your college girlfriend because you thought you’d get lucky.')
The Groove – Old School R&B
Frank’s Place – Sinatra & Friends

Ok, I occasionally listen to 20 on 20 which is XM’s interactive top hits countdown but I refuse to believe so many people like Cold Play that they get played 3 times an hour. I sometimes tune to the 80’s which plays ‘The Awesome 80’s’ but I find I get embarrassed. I can’t believe I really liked Rick Springfield. ‘Don’t talk. Don’t talk. Don’t talk to him.’

Now, I find out that XMRadio has a Starbucks station, Hear Music: The Voice of Music at Starbucks. Holy crap. Does Starbucks have to be everywhere? Even in my radio? I love Starbucks but for an occasional beverage not for my music programming. Seriously, who goes into Starbucks and says, “Hey, Starbucks has great music playing. Too bad there isn’t a Starbucks radio station.” What gets played on Starbuck’s station? Perhaps, coffee inspired music? Cigarettes and Coffee or Coffee Shop or Black Coffee in Bed. Nope. As far as I can tell, there is no mention of coffee in any of the songs I’ve heard so far. They do play the soundtrack of ‘Ray’, alot. You can also listen to Anna Nalick spew out her diary.

Maybe there is a subliminal coffee message within its programming. If I leave it on long enough, will I find myself thirsty for a cup of joe?

Bitter and hypersensitive.

As I was brushing my teeth, those were the words that popped into my head. I’ve been doing the ritualistic bi-monthly calls to my mother. My last call was Thursday. I ended the call after the third mention of children not caring for their parents.
I thought I’d feel guilty about ending the call abruptly but I didn’t. It’s strange but instead of feeling angry or guilty I felt slightly liberated to the point of chuckling. I’m not sure if it was a nervous chuckle but it was something.
My husband was proud of me for not letting her get to me like I usually do. I suppose I was too. It doesn’t help the situation but I don’t anything short of my mother’s strange and high expectations would make it better, at least for her.
Now it seems as if she’s expanded her bitterness towards my brother. It seems the ‘loss’ of her daughter and the beginnings of a life outside of my mother for my brother have opened up another can of resentment in her.
She once told me that if it weren’t for me, she’d be free to do whatever she wanted. Now even as a young teen, I knew that was untrue but I now know that her resentment wasn’t just on me but on her life. I may have been the only physical thing she could lash out at.
She was uprooted from all she knew during the beginning of her adulthood into a foreign country. She felt lost and afraid but couldn’t share that with anyone. She repressed her feelings towards her parents. Everything she thought would be her life was turned upside down.
Through marriage she was able to retain a little bit of her past but as my father’s desire to acclimate to American society grew, she became more and more confused. Soon my father fond his passion and began vigorously studying. She didn’t understand my father’s passion.
She began retreating. Now what I see is a woman who is bitter and hurt. She finds herself in circumstances that she couldn’t imagine. A mother to two adult children. Her parents gone. Her first husband gone. The people she clung to when she came here at the young age of 18 have ‘abandoned’ her to fend for herself in America.
I can’t change that for her. The only thing I can do is try to reiterate time and again that I am her daughter and although I have a life outside of her, she hasn’t been discarded. Her anger and contempt though hinders our relationship. My hurt hinders our relationship.
Some people come out of this world with a strong sense of self and self discovery. Everyone has a story. What we do with our story and how we grow is the true test. As I try to open my eyes to why my mother and I are so different I hope my self-awareness grows.
I’ve always questioned, why the pity party? Why can’t she look outward and not in? Maybe I need to look in.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It's a New York thing...

pg: Let me walk you downstairs and help you hail a cab.

vendor: It's ok. I've got it.

pg: Ok but remember, if you get a gypsy cab, be sure to ask the rate first and negotiate. If you take the yellow cab, it's a flat fee.

vendor: How do you know it's a gypsy cab?

pg: Uh. silence You just sort of know.

vendor: I'll stick with the yellow cabs.

pg: Good call.

Observations made by a groggy mind:

I worked a 14 hour day yesterday. Needless to say, I’m barely functioning now. Of course, today’s another day filled with meetings upon meetings and tomorrow is filled with the same. I am beyond the point of crashing. Tuesday-Thursdays have now officially become meeting days. Gone are the 10-6 hours I work. I’m so swamped with work, I feel like I’m trapped in some factory line trying to wrap chocolates.

Before I head to my last meeting of the day, here are a few things I’ve learned about myself in the last 48 hours:

1. Gone are the days where I can stay up long hours and be fully functioning the following day.
My mind hasn’t stopped running. Someone seriously needs to mandate afternoon naptimes at the office.

2. I get really cranky without sleep. Petulant Pantrygirl comes out. This morning, the alarm went off and it began. I flailed. I screamed. I cried. I had a temper tantrum. Short of holding my breath and refusing to go to work, I was my 6 year old self without the braids and Wonder Woman underroos.

3. Gone are the days where I can stay up for long hours and not look haggard.
An 80 year old man offered to carry my bulky paperwork up the flight of stairs from the subway. Sure, I can think he was hitting on me or even better, trying to rob me but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t either that lead him to offer his assistance.

4. I can go the whole day with just a cup of yogurt, a venti latte, a pint of water and a stick of Dentyne Ice.
However, in the morning, my stomach had a concave appearance and the dog looked like a rump roast.
And yes, you can be too tired to eat.

5. Even though I’m a techno geek, I hate email, voice mail, instant messenger, intercoms, direct connections and any other communication means. I hate being so attainable. I know the day will come when I’m in the office loo with a Blackberry.

Monday, August 15, 2005

'Frickin' laser beams, baby..."

After putting it off for two years, I’ve decided to get laser eye surgery. The procedure has been scheduled for next month on my husband’s birthday, no less. Happy Birthday, Lrudlrick. For your b-day, you get to get out of work, drive me to the surgery, watch the surgery and drive your wife home. Supper-rise! If you haven’t submitted into the KITH scrapbook yet, get a move on.

Now, I have to eat baloney and cheese sandwiches for the next two months to save up. I signed up for a FSA at work but it’s not fully matured until December. Of course, I don’t want to wait until December. Multiple reasons have pushed this surgery forward. Some are work related. Others are related to Christmas and the amount of presents we have to buy yearly.

When I told my optometrist Saturday, he was more excited than I was. Honestly, I thought he was going to hug me. I suppose it wouldn’t be awkward. Nothing is as awkward as being in a darkened room with a strange man up in your face flashing a bright light into your pupil and breathing heavily.

I mean, it’s not like you can hid the discomfort. Your pupils are going to tell him you’re not in the ‘comfort zone’. Then I thought, well, I know this guy long enough that I’m sort of comfortable. I mean, I know it’s coming and well, he hasn’t done anything obscene so I suppose I’m ok with it. Then I thought, great, this man’s ear is next to my nose and I’m thinking whether or not I’m showing some sign that I don’t mind him being there by not dilating my pupils.

Then the Catholic school upbringing pops up and I’m thinking, great, I’m going to hell. Did I just have an impure thought about my optometrist? Well, I guess it wasn’t impure because all I thought about was if I had a problem with this guys face smashed against my face. I mean can pupils flirt?

“Wow, your eyes are really sensitive. You have hyper-sensitive eyes.”

“Uh, thanks?”

”I’m putting you on Patanol yesterday. Don’t forget to use it daily.”

I’ve never been good at standardized tests. The pressure becomes to much for me. For some reason I feel the same way about the eye exams. “Is the line going through the circle or above or below it?” “What numbers do you see?” “What number is the arrow pointing to?” “Well, if you just let me look at the card and not stare at it through this funky machine, I’d be able to tell you readily.”

For me, I get the most pressure from the eye chart. As an Asian, it’s inbred in me to be the best. But how can you really be the best in an eye chart? “Can you see that line?”

My heart starts beating. I start sweating and get nervous. Is the answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’? This should be frickin’ simple but if I say no, does that mean I fail? I guess this is common because my doctor always tries to calm me down. “It’s ok. I’ll do it again. Step back. Ok, now, look again. Can you see that line?”

Now the neurotic side really comes out. “Well, define see. See, I can see the line but I can’t read the line. Maybe you should be clearer. Yes, I can see the line but I can’t bloody well tell you if that’s an O or a C.” “I’m going to chalk that up to a no.” “Damn.”

My doctor is anal retentive too so I suppose that’s why I like him. He’s very thorough and explains everything. He also triple checks everything which can be a little aggravating especially because of my neurotic tendencies.

Darren mentioned that he hated the glaucoma test. It’s a test where they blow a puff of air into your eyeball. What this is supposed to measure, I have no idea but it’s the anticipation that is killer.

The most uncomfortable tests to take, in my opinion, are the lasik surgery tests. There are a bunch of preliminary screening tests that you need to go through to determine if you are a good candidate.

Some say the needle in the eye to measure thickness is bad. They drop some type of mild anesthetic onto your eye and stick a needle probe instrument into your eye to measure density. That was nothing to the vertigo-go test.

I think the vertigo-go test takes a 3-d photo of your eye. I’m not sure because, honestly, I was so wigged out after that, they could have taken blood, urine samples and a breast exam on me and I wouldn’t have known. The test is similar to the puffed air test where you have to put your chin on the rest and stare into a light.

The difference is this thing has a head strap. No lie. “Why does this thing have a restraining strap?” I inquired. “Some people move away from the machine during testing. In order to get a proper reading you need to be staring into the machine for a period of time.” “Have you ever had to use this?” “A few times.”

Great. Well I figured out right away why people back away from the machine. The light turns into a vertigo and you have to constantly stare at the center of it as it moves and speeds up. It’s like taking an acid trip but without the acid. "Yeah, that test was trippy. It brought me back to the 60's." said my doctor.

I’ll be honest. I backed away two times. See, you have to hold that position for what felt like 90 seconds. It’s not easy. I recall I started staring so intently that it nearly split into two separate vertigos. Of course, they have to do this to both eyes separately. So you’ve go to go through the dizziness again for another 90 seconds.

I only made it without the restraint when the nurse literally threatened me that I had one more shot before she had to strap me in.

In the end my tests placed me as a good candidate and I could schedule it whenever. I was excited until I heard I had to wear my glasses for two weeks prior.

I was hoping to not have to buy a new pair of glasses but according to pre-op assessments, I need to be off the contacts for two weeks. Two friggin’ weeks. I haven’t bought a new pair of glasses in three years. The only pair I have left are so weak and tattered, I can only wear them in front of my husband.

Now, I know I’m a pretty princess but if I could pass by with my current glasses I would. But well, you know that student in grade school that always had tape around his glasses? That’s what I’d look like in my glasses. The nose guard is broken off and being the lazy shmuck that I am, I’ve crazy glued the old guard to the metal. The paint on the wire frames is peeling and the lenses are all scratched up from nights passed out on the couch with a book pressed against them.

Even if I could by pass the vanity issues of looking like Velma, I can’t read a book let alone subtitles at the movies with them. I’m a project manager. I read at least 30+ pieces of email, manuals, contracts, memos and write as much in a given day. There is no way in hell, I’d be able to function work wise for two weeks with my current glasses.

So now I’m stuck hunkering down $200+ for frickin’ glasses that I’ll wear for two weeks. My optometrist sympathized and gave me sample contacts to hold me over until the glasses are made. Maybe it was sympathy or maybe it was my hyper-sensitive eyes flirting.

In less than two weeks, I’ll report on my pre-operative assessment. Apparently, one of the things he’ll do is knock my eyes out completely. Apparently this is more effective than the standard dilation. Joy. My hyper-sensitive eyes can’t wait.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Next he'll have us in a Winnebago.

My husband is preparing me for another move again. I guess I need to realize that as long as we’re together, we’ll be mobile people. I’m not adverse to moving, I just prefer to stay in one place for at least 5 years.

The major problem with Lrudlrick’s penchant towards moving often is money. The real estate market is insane. At this rate the only place we’ll be able to move to is Staten Island or the Bronx and honestly, there is no reason for us to move if that’s the case.

The only other option is to rent and wait the whole real estate boom out. I am not adverse to renting. Unlike my feelings last year that it would be two steps back in my plans, it would be ok for now. The problem is I’ve fallen in love with my neighborhood and I doubt I’ll find any place in the area as beautiful.

When I say prepare, I mean prepare. He'll throw a statement out and give me a few weeks to sink it in. Then he'll drop the subject. Then when I least expect it he'll throw it out again but this time with a plan of action that's been circulating in his brain for 4 weeks.

Do all men do this?

Essentially a woman’s verbosity allows for their spouse to know what’s causing the hamster wheels to turn. Men are the complete opposite. One day, you’re sitting there reading a book and from the across the room you here, “I think we should buy a new car.”

No reasons. Just a blunt statement. “Uh. Ok. Why?” “It’s time.” “But it’s only been two years with C4.” “Yeah, but we could trade it in and get a used car and save on the payments.” “Uh. Ok.” “What do you think about a beamer.”

What do I think about a beamer? I’d think monthly payments on a used beamer are probably the same or higher than our current monthly payments. That’s what I think about a beamer.

But alas, I refrain and say, “Ok. If we can save money, sure.”

So in a few weeks, I suspect I’ll be going to a bunch of open houses again and doing my Saturday ritual of going through the Real Estate section of the Times.
Going through the Real Estate section of the Times can send anyone who doesn’t have ‘Trump’ tacked onto their name into a spiraling depression.

I recently stopped looking at it just because it was so damn depressing. How the hell do people afford anything in NY? I used to share my dismay with Lrudlrick but decided there is not need for two people to be depressed.

“Look, there asking for $1.5 mil for a 450 square ft apartment with 1100 ft of outdoor space! That’s ridiculous!”

Thursday, August 11, 2005

"Cause it's time in time with your time..."

Would you or should you feel awkward about displaying your cross? That’s the question I found myself contemplating the other day as I got dressed for work.

Would wearing my cross be a detriment to my future advancement career-wise? There has always been an unsaid said about declaring your affiliations at all the companies I’ve worked at. Unlike political affiliations, memos are not sent out stating the office etiquette of religious symbols.

In corporate America, there is an underlying rule that your dress should be as ethnically homogenous as possible. Have we adjusted these rules to include religious symbols?

In times of uncertainty and corporate games of Axis and Allies, is it best to play the game or stay true to one’s desire to wear a yarmulke?

Honestly, I prefer to wear my cross but can go without it if I choose to. From time to time, I do not wear my cross. I don’t feel the need to display my beliefs with a metal object. I believe my actions should display my true beliefs.

In my career, I’ve noticed the difficulties for women in corporate America to get ahead. There is still an awful amount of ‘boys club’ mentality out there. Even women of prominence aren’t immune. I’ve seen intellectual, business savvy women pulled down. If you add to this gender struggle, children, family and religion, the climb up seems riddled with impediments.

Because of this, I’ve never seen myself or really wanted to climb the corporate ladder. I’ve seen too many women sacrifice home, relationships and family for work. Yet, I can’t help feel as if I need to concern myself with where I fall and where I should be in my career.

Loyalty and hard work don’t cut it anymore. If I want to keep doing what I do I have to decide if I want to play and unfortunately, this isn’t touch football.

Will wearing a symbol of one man’s struggles and sacrifices to save humanity become another impediment? If so, how sad is society? Would I want to be in that world?

As I continue to ponder this and the many choices I will have to make in my career, I keep putting on my cross. The day will come when I have to make a choice though. Family or career? Home life or career? Please let me never have to decide conviction or career.

Disclaimer: This entry is only a contemplation and does not reflect issues with my current employer. In addition, by no means should this be interpreted to be a statement on any single employer. This includes my teen years as a check out girl at the local drugstore.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Welcome the new additions:

Say hello to the two new additions to the family:


This is Ginny. Lrudlrick surprised me with Ginny. Hubby felt guilty for scolding me unnecessarily. He came home with these beauties. Just in time for the fall.
They fit my work personality to a tee. Sure they are a bit on the pricey side but it’s a timeless style shoe so they are definitely a keeper. Thank you, Lrudlrick. They are beautiful.


This is Jane. Jane is a present from my cousin Judy. After our weekend excursion, we made our way to the outlets at Lee and I found these pretty babies. Ok, they are a bit Jesus of Nazareth but they are super comfy and bring back fond memories of a road trip I took with my dad in the 70’s. My dad wanted to take me to Disneyworld. It was a father daughter trip and I had a blast. I think my dad did too. Well, for the trip my mom bought me these cool funky sandals. I thought I was the prettiest thing in the world with those leather sandals. Well, sure enough at a hotel we stayed at on the way down the 95, I left my pretty shoes behind.
These shoes remind me of that trip and although I won’t be able to wear them at work, these babies have become my uniform in the weekends. Thanks again, Judy.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Tip from your Native New Yorker:

Image courtesy of Gridlock Sam

So for some reason, you have a car in NYC.
After enduring the harrowing traffic on the Westside Highway/FDR, you make it to your destination.
Now comes the hard part, finding parking or what I like to call (avoiding a ticket).
Honestly, I swear parking is more about avoiding tickets than actually finding a spot. There are tons of spots just not legal spots in NYC.

After hours of circling the same set of 4 blocks to search for parking…
After accidentally missing your turn and having to cross town to turn back because of the gridlock laws…
After cursing out three yellow cabs, a biker and an out of town minivan…
After deciphering the cryptic parking signs…

you find a parking spot with a meter and the meter turns out to be broken, you are in luck, my friends.

By reporting the broken meter to 311, you can get authorization from the DOT to park at that spot for whatever time is allotted on the parking sign.

Paper bagging the meter won’t work; you’ll get a ticket.
Writing a missive to Mr/Ms. Traffic agent won’t work; you’ll get a ticket.

After losing $.50 in a meter on Union Square East and 15th, I called 311 with my plight. Lrudlrick had a doctor’s appointment and I couldn’t keep circling around Union Square without cracking and mowing someone down at the farmer’s market.

The 311 operator transferred me to the DOT. I gave them the meter number and he granted me an hour of parking.

Thank you 311.

This has been a public service message from Pantrygirl.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Pantry's letting some steam out...

An open rant to the idjits that think it’s ok to attack someone because of their ethnicity, race, sexual preference or religion:

What the hell is wrong with you? What makes you think you are so high and mighty that you have the right to judge someone and physically attack them? Did they offend you in some way by standing on the same block as you? Get over it.

You have no right to injure someone because they are different than you. You have no justification to do so. You are a meathead.

Don’t think painting swastikas on property is justified either. Hate is hate. The St. Ann’s statue in Brooklyn is going to take lots of donations to get it restored. How would you like it if I came to your house and beat the crap out of your family heirlooms?

Don’t we have enough to worry about with terrorism? No, we’ve got to hate each other too? Good grief. Everyday life for a New Yorker is stressful to all. Bag checking, extra patrols and endless announcements to look out for suspicious people and packages can wear a person down. But at least we had solidarity in our plight. Now you morons have to open up another can of stress.

It’s hot and sweaty. We’re all more pissed off than usual but that doesn’t mean it’s ok to scream out racial slurs and start beating each other.

I was hoping for a summer without incidents but instead all I hear in the news these days are children being injured or killed because of simple foolishness. If that isn’t bad enough, you idjits have to feel all superior to others and start beating up people because they aren’t your ethnicity?

Get over yourselves.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Miscellanies from the Berkshires:

Apple Orchards on Kripalu's grounds

The $2.25 tag sale
Where I got a Gap dress, a cast iron dipping bowl, a ceramic bowl and a set of bangle bracelets for $2.25.

Chocolate Springs Cafe
Where chocoholics go to die. Did I mention they make their own ice cream.

Lee Outlets
Where you can go shopping, find great deals, like a $10.00 picnic serving set at Eddie Bauer and not have to fight swarms of shoppers.

The Scenic views
The mills, the lakes, the blue skies and the farms

How to tell when you're in New York (Taconic area) vs. Massachusetts (Berkshire Area)
Essentially, when the traffic picks up, the road begins to get bumpy and the farms look unlived in, you’ve hit New York. Oh, and tailgating becomes the norm on an empty road.

Book to read:
If Buddha Came to Dinner

“I was talking about coffee.”
“Oh. I was talking about the act of coughing.”

“Your ass is dry?”
“Yes, let’s proclaim that at the sharing circle. Hi, My name is Pantrygirl and I’d like to share that my ass is dry.”

“Ok, now my ass is wet.” -- after a kayaking excursion

Butterflies like thongs too

British carwash offers "In 'n' Out and a Polish Off"

A car leaflet that will definitely get your attention.

Vishesh Swedna means thank you...


I love massages. You don’t need a reason to get a massage. This was my first foray into Ayurvedic massage. Ayurvedic massage is a Hindu based system of medicine and health that focuses on balance and natural rhythm. I was curious and signed up for a vigorous rhythmic massage with hot oils followed by an herbal steam. This massage is called a Vishesh Swedna. I don't know what that means in Hindu but that's the sound you make when you try to say thank you at the end of the session. It was one of the most relaxing all over body massages I have every received.

Most massages leave you relaxed and tired. This massage left you relaxed and invigorated (and starving).

Prior to your massage you shower and remove all makeup and hair products. It is also suggested that you eat a light meal and cleanse your bowels, which if you’re following along, was not do-able for me. I did however, eat lightly. I’m not sure if it was a combination of the massage and the mini-fast but I had a ravenous appetite afterwards.

When you arrive, you complete a self-assessment on your dosha. My therapist, Amy explained that all bodily processes are governed by a dosha. There are 3 doshas and although we all have all 3 doshas, our constitution has a dominant dosha. Our dominant dosha or for some their dual dosha helps the Ayurvedic therapist choose the best combination of herbal oils to help balance your bodies needs.

I’m sure this an oversimplification but I wasn’t going to pay an extra $155.00 for the full assessment. Anyway, from my one page checklist quiz, I was analyzed to be a Pitta which means I’m governed by fire and water. “Pitta controls our metabolism.” I wanted to tell her that my Pitta needs some help since I haven’t pooped in days but felt it was a little too much information.

Looking back, I’m sure this piece of information wouldn’t be too invasive seeing that she spent 20 minutes vigorously rubbing my breasts. I don’t know where she comes from but what she was doing to my breast in my world is called foreplay.

For the next hour, I was stripped naked, doused with the warmest herbal oil concocted and massaged until I had an out of body experience. Unlike other massages I’ve had, this massage consisted of a lot of oil. I mean a lot of oil. I’m talking stain the sheets oil and this oil was hot. I now know how a VO5 hot oil tube feels like. She started with a vigorous 6 point scalp massage that totally loosened my muscles. She then continued hemisphere by hemisphere to my feet. At one point, she massaged a point between my toes that sent a surge of energy up my leg. It was as if she released some blockage of energy that was stuck between my toes.

When I thought it couldn’t get any better, she placed a tent over my body and began a humidifier like contraption by my feet. They keep your head out of the tent so you look like your about to be sawed in half. Ta da. Am I the only one with Gob withdrawal? I can't wait for AD to start up again. It was like a giant clothes steamer but filled with herbs that are supposed to pull out the toxins from my blood. The herbs must be the same herbs my Grandmother used to make my special soup with once a month. They smelt just the same. According to my Grandmother the special soup was supposed to pull the toxins out of my blood and help replenish my system after my period. I just remember it tasted disgustingly bitter. Between oral consumption and a steam bath, I’ll take the steam bath.

“Now to regulate your temperature, we will be placing ice packs on your pubic bone and heart to avoid overheating.” “Oh, ok.” It wasn’t as shocking as you’d think folks. Those things felt wonderful. You know how you sweat profusely and sometimes have a hard time breathing in a sauna? Well, you don’t feel that way at all with the ice packs strategically placed. Sure you sweat. That’s the point of the steam tent but you don’t feel hot or cold. You just feel right. Periodically, Amy would place a cold towel on my forehead and face and it felt wonderful. Apparently the steam, the ice packs and the herbs did a number on me because I woke up a half hour later in a daze. Amy was toweling the sweat off me and wrapping me in a warm sheet.

Amy left me with a list of suggested massage oils and a note that the toxins may expel from my system that evening as loose stool. Apparently, shit seems to be in the brain here. Amy directed me to the door and I shuffled my way back to my room to meet with Judy who had a hot stone massage.

For the rest of the afternoon, Judy and I were in a euphoric daze. By dinner, I started feeling a natural high. It was like I was feeling the effects of caffeine except I was starving. I mean starving. Judy was surprised to see me eat everything in sight.

The after effects continued through the night. I was totally invigorated and was unable to fall asleep until 1:30am. Unfortunately, programs end at 9:45 so I was left to entertain myself with a copy of Oprah and a bag of half eaten chips.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Nothing beats floating on a lake

Most of our time was spent at the lake taking in the scenery, the sun and the warm fresh waters of Stockbridge bowl. We took the most relaxing, beautiful kayaking excursion during sunset. Ben(aka Gentle Ben), our guide and all around free spirit, took us and 6 other ladies out into the lake to watch the sun set over the mountains. Living in the city, you sometimes forget the majesty and the brilliance of nature. Everything exists for a reason and being out in that warm lake water watching the sun change the color of the water from clear blue to twilight to gold to crimson to dark blue reminds you of that. My favorite part of the ride was letting the current move me to wherever it wanted me. I closed my eyes, let my hands sink into the warm waters and listened to the wind gentle howl around me.

Being a city girl, the odds of me tipping over were high, so I refrained from bringing my camera. Even if I did bring it though, a two dimensional photograph wouldn’t be able to describe the atmosphere and the tranquility of the moment.

The peacefulness was only broken twice. During a moment of meditation, the all boys camp across the river announced, “Gentlemen, in the game of life, you have now entered the twilight of your life. Lights out in ten minutes.” We all chuckled and I turned to Judy and told her I felt like I was Kristy McNichol in Little Darlings.

The second time the silence was broken was actually quite appropriate. Ben suggested we begin heading back to the shore. As we all kayaked our way back, the orchestra at Tanglewood began practicing Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. Being the loud mouth New Yorker, I burst into laughter and nearly tipped my kayak. All they needed to add was a Viking ship passing us and Brunhilde in her breast plate singing and I would have tipped over.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

“I wonder if anyone ever tried to have Domino’s delivered here.”

So, pg, what was it like living without meat? It wasn’t a concern of mine. I’m generally open to all foods so I knew I’d be fine with it. What I didn’t expect was that the food would be so filling. The only time I felt hungry was on Friday evening after a self-imposed fast. The fast was suggested so I could prepare for my Ayurvedic massage.
Although I wasn’t keen on the scrambled tofu, the Spinach and Tofu Curry was delicious. Every meal offered at least 1 soup and the freshest bread I’ve tasted served from a camp kitchen. Judy, thanks for slapping a huge hunk of bread on my tray the first day. I felt like a giant pig but it was darn tasty.

Now, Judy swears this isn’t the case in a vegetarian lifestyle but I’ll tell you, I wasn’t able to go the bathroom while I was there. I’m not sugar coating it folks. I couldn’t poop. Lord knows I had enough fiber, fruit and vegetables to keep my tracks clear, but for the life of me, I never felt the urge to go.

My massage therapist said that part of the massage after effects would be loose bowels. Well, I’m here to tell you that my bowels weren’t loose or moving during my entire visit.
At one point I ate two grapefruits, a banana and bran crackers. Nothing.

During the last day, I tried an organic coffee. I figured coffee always makes me go. Well, I guess organic coffee doesn’t have the same properties of Starbucks because my bowels weren’t budging.

I didn’t even fart. I burped once but that was in the car on the way home after another weak cup of coffee.

Ok, pg, enough of the ass talk, tell me about Yoga. How was your first experience? Well, I didn’t actually get to take a class. I can’t explain it. The days were packed but not busy yet we never made it to a Yoga class. Whenever we’d look at the schedule of events, something always seemed more interesting. “We really should take a yoga class while we’re here.” “Yeah, but there’s always tomorrow.”

So what did you do? We hung out here:

The Lake

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

When did I suddenly become an adult at work?

3 days away from the office = 90+ emails, numerous voice mails, 2 meetings scheduled during your absences and a meeting at 9am and one at 10 up in Westchester county.

Welcome back...

“Hey Sam. You want Chinese?”

Kripalu’s land was once a Jesuit seminary. In 1983, they bought the property but there are still remnants of crosses and Christian statues. The atmosphere is extremely calm and lax.

Check in and check out is a breeze. Essentially, everything is inclusive. Any extra amenities, such as rental fees for kayaks and bikes are charged to you at the end of your stay. The only time you’ll need money is at the café for a coffee, the bookshop or for gratuities for your massage therapist, if you choose a massage.

There are tons of activities and they change day to day. You can check out the schedule on activity boards throughout the facilities.

They also have a day camp/care for children. The kids were adorable. We were sitting outside after breakfast when they came out and practiced a song they were planning to sing for their parents that evening. In general, that was the last time I saw the kids. Kripalu ensures that their guests are undisturbed during their retreat. I later found out the kids spend most of their day learning about nature at various locations in the sprawling property.

The cafeteria is large and the food is plentiful. Because it was so good, we spent most of our time scheduling our events around meal times. “We don’t want to schedule our day around meals. Or do we?”

The accommodations are modest. Remember summer camp? That’s it. You can bunk with a bunch of strangers in a dorm room or choose a two person room or even a suite which means you get a private bath. There are wings of single sex and I believe they also have wings devoted for families and couples.

In their brochure they said that bunking can be as small as 6 to a room and as large as 22 to a room. Since our days of hostel living are hopefully behind us, we opted for the 2 person room. However, we did peek our heads into the dorm rooms and they didn’t look packed to the gills with people. Still, if I go back, I may still opt for the 2 for room just for privacy sake.

Speaking of privacy, if you’re not comfortable with your skin, you may opted for a private room which gives you a private bathroom. Oh, and the sauna and whirlpool are clothing optional so I wouldn’t advise bringing your kids in their unless you want to explain body bits.

I lived in my sandals and stretchy pants. You really don’t need anything more than tees and stretchy pants. Oh, maybe a light sweater for the evening to combat the mosquitoes. Let me tell you, some mosquito in Lenox had a Chinese buffet courtesy of Pantrygirl. My left arm swelled up so much, I had to take an Aleve. It was warm to the touch too. It finally started dissipating on Saturday.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Honestly, if you were this man's cat...

...would you allow this to happen?

Courtesy of A Welsh View

Words to Live By

You are a rock star, baby!

Related tags:

If I'm Thelma and You're Louise, where's Brad Pitt?

Wow! What can I say but thanks to Michele and Indigo for the Site of the Day honor. Greetings and salutations to all who have visited and left warm greetings this past weekend. I came back from my RnR to a mailbox full of goodies.

I invite everyone to check each other out, especially Michele and Indigo. Welcome and I’ll do my best to visit you all as well during the coming weeks.

Well, as Indigo has mentioned, I was on a ladies only retreat for some much needed RnR. My cousin, Judy and I went to the Berkshires for the weekend to a Yoga retreat center called Kripalu.

Now, I’m not a Yogi nor am I a back with nature type of person. I’m more of a city girl but I’m not adverse to trying different things, especially when it involves food. Plus, any excuse to stay by a body of water is ok by me. Now, I know this doesn’t make sense coming from a girl who lives in an island but trust me, there is a big difference between The Harlem river, The Hudson river and just about any other water mass out there. Sure, they offer kayaking on the Hudson but I am not volunteering to marinate in the goo that is the Hudson river.

So on Thursday, Judy and I met at my apartment and with our backpacks filled with nothing but comfy clothes, our bathing suits, basic toiletries and a bottle of water, we packed ourselves into C4 and took the Taconic straight into Massachusetts.

We left the boys home. Apparently they had plans to hang out on Saturday. Judy and I placed bets on whether these plans would come to fruition or if they’d just stay home with there Xboxes, computers and televisions. The only thing I knew for certain about the boys being left alone was that by the time I returned, I’d have a new electronic device in the house. Say hello to our new television.

When the cat's away, the mice buy new toys.

I’ve learned one thing about road trips with women; there is no shortage of food. The drive takes less than 3 hours and yet collectively we had purchased: two bags of chips, a ton of fruit, hummus, spicy horseradish dip and crudités. Did I mention we had fresh blueberry waffles and coffee before we left the apartment?

The ride was perfect thanks to Judy’s idea to leave on Thursday morning to avoid the weekend rush out of the city. The Berkshires is quaint. It’s what upstate New York should be. Upstate New York just looks depilated and uncared for. Sure there are beautiful parts but there are also many towns left nearly abandoned.

The mills have all been converted to other businesses but the architecture remains the same. It’s rather nice to see that old time charm retained.

“I’ve been hanging out with my husband too much.”
Wherever you go though, I highly recommend getting away from your spouses for a day or two. I never realized how much of Lrudlrick’s traits rub off on me. Towards the end of the first day, Judy and I started calling each other our spouse’s name.

One of the many scenic views during the drive