Tag Archives: childhood

locked outside a dressing room…in jeggings

it's amazing that with all this blogging, i still have time to model jeggings.

we all have our recurring nightmares. for some ppl, their teeth fall out. or suddenly they look down and whoops! they’re naked. in their old high school.  

me? yeah, i don’t have the “typical” recurring nightmares. but i’ll tell you what: if i did, they just might revolve around being locked out of an american eagle dressing room in jeggings.  

oh jeggings. what are they? you probably already know what they are b/c you’ve seen them pretty much everywhere. they’re jeans so tight they’re like leggings. except they’re denim, i.e. jeans. so they’re jeggings. (jeans + leggings = yeah. jeggings.) for children of the 80s, like myself (and holly), it’s like hello flashback.  

at first i was like, no damn way would i wear those. but then i see all these girls around in boots *over* their jeans and i’m like: those must be jeggings. i might need to get a pair of jeggings. and then i bitchslap my brain for even saying jeggings even tho no one else can hear. (isn’t it funny how you can embarrass yourself sometimes? i’m constantly doing that.)  

so we went to the mall last night (that’s mawl in my north jersey homeland), specifically to american eagle bc holly needed a new pair of regular jeans. i’m like, oh my. look. at all. those jeggings. (insert brain bitchslap.) and so many colors! i had to try on at least one pair, i thought. just so i’d know.  

holly has always been skeptical of the skinny jean things. (skinny jeans, as you may or may not know, are looser than jeggings.)   

“they look trashy,” she always used to say when i’d try them on. “you look like the ‘freaker girls’ back in my high school.”  

“oh c’mon babe,” i’d always say back. “they’re in. it’s different now. it’s not the same.”  

finally i have gotten her to the point where she’s ok with skinny jeans and doesn’t refer to me as a “freaker girl” when i wear them. and now i have to go and push it (oh and i am always pushing it) and try on an article of clothing that makes ppl squint at your legs and say, “excuse me, are those pants or have your legs and butt been spray painted to create the appearance of pants?”  

but i blame the cute gay guy store manager. he’s the one that suggested i try on the damn jeggings. he actually brought a pair to me.  

“i think you’re really going to like these,” he said.  

i looked at holly. she shrugged.  

“she’s going to think i look like a ‘freaker girl,'” i warned him without a full explanation, taking the jeggings. he looked confused but smiled anyway. i immediately loved him.  

i put them on (ok i had to pull them on; they’re…really tight) and i was like hmmm. i don’t know. i’ve never ever been one of those girls that needs or wants anyone else’s opinion on anything i try on. (holly is the exact opposite. we’re great life partners but bad shopping partners. she’s like, do you like this? which color should i get? i’m like i don’t know can we leave now please fer cryin out loud just get something! i’m not exactly what you’d call “a shopper.”)  

but for once, i truly wasn’t sure. i thought i’d ask holly’s opinion since a) she’s been so damn anti-jegging and b) she’s the one that’s gonna havta look at my ass (literally) in them. so i gingerly stepped out of the dressing room, pretty shy about being, you know, in jeggings.  

“babe?” i asked, hesitantly. “can you come out and…”  

squeeeeeeak.  

the door, which i had sort of propped open, started to shut. and i think these doors….
lock…
when they…  

click.  

…shut.  

sh*t! i was locked out of the dressing room–IN JEGGINGS.  

“babe i’m locked out! i’m locked out of the dressing room and i’m wearing jeggings.”  

i could hear her laughing inside her dressing room.  

“this isn’t funny!” i whisper-shouted. “i am very uncomfortable with this!”  

then the manager came back.  

“those are hot!” he exclaimed before i even had a chance to tell him i was locked out. 

bless him. there is nothing like a compliment from a gay man. b/c you know they mean it. and if your butt looked big they’d tell you. or at least roll their eyes enough so you’d get the idea.  

“really? b/c i’m locked out of the dressing room and i’ve been freaking out.”  

holly popped out and gave me the once over. she admitted they weren’t as bad as she had imagined and i didn’t look like a freaker girl afterall.  

i decided i’d wait to buy the denim jeggings until i find the right boots and decided instead to buy cargo jeggings since they were on sale for $20. and really, can you turn down a pair of cargo jeggings at that price? not really.

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oh my gosh we’ve become one of those households with nothing to eat

back in the day (and by “in the day” i mean roughly ’90-’96), there were “good” people to babysit for and “bad” people to babysit for. this black-and-white labeling system (there wasn’t any room for grey, as you’ll see) had absolutely nothing to do with the actual kid or kids you were babysitting for. oh no. it simply revolved around the food available to eat.

let’s face it. if you were lucky, the kid(s) would go to sleep either before or soon after their parents left. what was left to do on a saturday night besides eat and watch tv? 

the best family i babysat for undoubtedly had ellio’s pizza in the freezer. i was all about the frozen pizza back then. please, that sh*t was the bomb and you know it. the worst family i babysat for had freezerburned ice cream, weird little jars of organic condiments on the fridge door and, like, stone-ground wheat crackers. and jam. plenty of friggin jam.

“there’s snacks in the fridge and cabinet, jessica!” the mom would cheerfully announce on her way out the door. “help yourself to whatever you’d like!”

like hell there was, lady! what a trick. you go out with your husband  to go eat real food, leave your kid with me and expect me to have the wherewithal to take care of him or her w/out the proper nourishment? what if my blood-sugar drops?! do you really think a stone-ground piece of cardboard posing for a wheat cracker is really gonna help me? how do you think i’m going to run after your child if i’m so weak i can’t lift myself off the living room/dining room/kitchen floor? don’t you think chocolate ice cream would be more effective than, say, canned legumes? 

hello! i was a teenager! in jersey! i wanted chips and anything bright orange covered with artificial cheese powder.  going to the “all-natural” families’ homes were really the worst.

so i look in our fridge the other night. unsatisfied with what was in there, i opened our cupboard. suddenly my babysitting history flashed before my eyes. kind of like when your “life flashes before your eyes” except with mc hammer pants and brenda walsh bangs.

“oh my gosh, honey, we’ve become one of those households with nothing to eat!”

“huh?” holly replied.

[i’m always (loudly) making grandiose statements out of nowhere. i think she started tuning them out, like, nine years ago.]

“like when i was in middle school and high school, babe? and i babysat for these couple families that only had natural, organic food and therefore never had any decent snacks?!”

“oh. yeah.”

“don’t you see, honey? now we’re one of them! we have nothing to eat! it’s like mother hubbard up in here!”

“we have plenty to eat!” she said, suddenly animated. “you just have to make it!”

“i don’t want to make it! i want to reach in the fridge or pantry and grab something and eat it! i can’t believe we spend so much money on food and we have nothing to eat!”

i slammed the cupboard door to emphasize my point. holly raised her eyebrows as if to say woman, you’d better cool it. i decided to shut up and hastily ate a handful of unsalted organic sunflower seeds, then grabbed an organic gala apple out of the fridge, which i chewed noisily while i thought about our recent switch to organic, barely processed/unprocessed foods.

we started the switch for my migraines (a physical therapist told me not to eat anything i can’t pronounce; she had an excellent point) and now merged into mostly organic foods. i have to say i’ve been feeling better. but it really takes a toll on the snacks! plus you can barely buy anything, seems like, at a regular grocery store, and we have to go to whole foods, which is such a cliché but at least we have one nearby.

anyway, my point is, if i even have one, is that…let’s see…don’t throw stones. what you make fun of when you’re 15 you can become when you’re an “adult.” (i use that term loosely, hence the quotes.) also, if you hire a babysitter, at least have the decency to buy some good snacks, ppl! and man! ellio’s was good.

this is why i don’t watch horror movies

don't do it! she's evil!!!

 i remember the first time i saw a horror movie. it was the late 80s. jon bon jovi’s hair was still huge and frosted (oooh how i loved him back then). my hair, too, was enormous (tho accidentally) and i didn’t care. i still wore a size 5. i had a walkman with puffy earphones. times were good. 

anyway, freddie krueger, as you may (or may not) recall, was all the rage. and, without knowing any better, when my friend suggested we watch the newest “nightmare on elm street,” during our long-awaited sleepover i was like SURE! i flipped off my white keds and settled in for the show. man, i was dumb back then. 

i sat thru the movie, petrified. then, when my friend turned out the lights in her attic bedroom (it had to be the freakin attic, didn’t it?!), suddenly everything was scary. i remember laying there on the carpeted floor in my sleeping bag, eyes wide open, convinced freddie was going come thru the window or the wall or the plumbing and slash me. i kept hearing these windchimes. oh my gosh, the windchimes. needless to say it was a rough night for me. 

so fast fwd 20-some years to last night. holly and i walked up the street to vote in the maryland primaries. on our way back, she suggested we go relax on our roofdeck. i told her i was feeling too sick. she’s had a terrible cold the past couple days. i’ve had a weird headache i feel might be a cold coming on. in fact, i made us not one but two pots of my late grandmother’s chicken soup (w/matzah balls and egg noodles). we just had a couple bowls before we left to vote. 

“how about we just watch a movie on the couch?” i suggested. 

she agreed. i don’t know if she was on the phone or  playing on her phone or what, but i was fairly unsupervised (never a good thing) as i flipped thru the on-demand movie options. i went to hbo, then movies, then comedy. i come across “jennifer’s body.” hmmm. i had heard of that. i knew it was a vampire movie. but it was under comedy. and megan fox was supposed to make out with some chick. my homosexuality got the better of me (it usually does when it comes to these sorts of things) and i clicked “ok.” i knew it was dumb but i did it anyway. 

the sound came on and holly looked up. “what did you pick?” she said. oh all the sudden she’s interested.     

“‘jennifer’s body,'” i told her, innocently. 

“WHAT?! WHY?!! that’s a VAMPIRE MOVIE. you’ll never last five minutes!” 

“whatever, babe,” i said. “megan fox kisses a chick. i think i can make it at least that far.” 

well as soon as the scary music started and the camera panned over a backyard in the dark i knew it was a mistake. 

“maybe this wasn’t such a good idea…” i said. but for whatever reason, we could not stop watching. i swear movies like that are such a train wreck. 

have any of you seen “jennifer’s body”? while i suppose it’s kind of tame for a horror movie, it’s pretty gross and pretty damn freaky. in a nutshell, megan fox turns into this demon vampire thing that seduces high school boys and then rips them apart and eats their insides. (silence) yeah, i know. she also scares the begeezus outta you because she keeps showing up all bloody on the side of the road!!! granted, the kiss scene was damn good. but honestly, totally not worth all the carnage to get to it. by the time it ended, i was highly traumatized. highly. cold hands, sweaty palms, the whole thing. and totally scared. as was holly. 

“you feel hot!” holly said, touching my forehead. 

“i know!” i said. “i think the movie gave me a fever!” 

despite my aching head and her bad cold, we both started laughing hysterically. then i proceeded to try to recreate the kissing scene except for i suddenly leaned back, made my hands into claws, let my bangs drop into my eyes, opened my mouth really wide, bared my teeth and hissed which scared the hell outta holly. she screamed like a little girl then i screamed like a little girl and then we both collapsed into laughter. then i did it a couple more times. which i know was mean, but damn it was so funny. i wish you coulda been there. 

“STOP DOING THAT! YOU’RE SCARING ME!” she screamed. “you have black hair!!!! like a VAMPIRE! like MEGAN FOX! I WANT MY WIFE BACK!” 

by that point i had scared myself, too, so i demanded that she go back to the kitchen with me so i could put away the soup, which had cooled by then. i was not going by myself lest megan fox jump out of the oven, trick me into making out and then eat my insides and leave me for dead. 

i took a slotted spoon and started taking out all the vegetables and whatnot so i could just put the broth away. when i was on the second pot (the one we hadn’t eaten), about my third time in i found something red in the spoon. it was kind of big and red. from a distance it looked like a dried chili pepper or something. i looked closer. it looked like a… 

“ohmygosh. OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” 

“WHAT?” holly yelled from the couch jumping up (she had abandoned me in the kitchen after all–thanks, babe). 

“i…i…i think i found a GRASSHOPPER in the soup. or a CRICKET. a BRIGHT RED CRICKET IN THE SOUP.” 

a vampire cricket! 

“get. over. here.” 

as i held back gags, she took a look and screamed. then i screamed. we were both screaming when her mom and twin sister called. while she told them about the movie and how scared we were and then about the huge insect we just found in our CHICKEN SOUP, my gears turned. everyone has mice in this city. rats (and cats) out back. sure, some bugs. but never something like this. hell, crickets don’t even chirp outside, let alone land in your kosher chicken soup on a tuesday night. 

the parsley! i thought. the dill! THE DAMN PESTICIDE-FREE HERBS. (we’ve recently gone organic.) 

“dammit, honey!” i exclaimed. “it was the damn parsley or dill! i soaked them like three or four times but i never separated the leaves. i bet the bug was hiding in there.” 

by that point, heidi (holly’s twin sister; identical twin sister), was on a roll, laughing her head off about how scared we were over some teen vampire flick, and now the giant red cricket in our soup. 

“one, two, freddie’s comin for you,” she whisper-sang over the speakerphone (DAMN THE SPEAKERPHONE). “three, four, better shut the door….” 

i gasped. the freddie krueger theme song! 

“STOPPIT HEIDI!” i shouted. “YOU’RE A BAD SISTER-IN-LAW!” 

i drowned her out with the garbage disposal, which i turned on to grind up the vampire cricket. i turned my head away as i poured in the soup, but it was no use. i saw the damn thing out of the corner of my eye. 

at that point i’d had enough. i was ready for the sun to come up. i just wanted to go to sleep. it took a while to make my way into bed, however, since i flipped on every single light in the house after the movie ended. (oh please you’ve totally done that after a horror movie) 

“i’m scared,” i told holly after i got into bed. 

“you see?” she said, flipping on bravo. “i told you not to watch that movie. i told you it was a bad idea.” 

she was right. again. the moral of the story is that i need to ignore the hype and stick to the romantic comedies from now on. also that megan fox scares the sh*t outta me. and always wash leafy herbs carefully.

happy birthday, madonna!

52 today! how about *that*!

we love you today as we have loved you always! (i, perhaps, more than others)

to all my madonna fans, once again i share w/you an essay i wrote years ago: “my life with madonna.”

(enjoy the ittybitty video below; behind-the-scenes of her photoshoot for the big madonna article that ran in the may issue of interview magazine. it’s random but it’s awesome.)

you can call them “field mice” if you want to

don't fall for it! it is STILL a mouse. i know it's in an orange but it will bite you!

when i was a little kid–i think i may have been in second grade–i did my homework over the weekend and then promptly lost it. i noticed this sunday night, the most dreaded night of school-aged children, and proceeded to have a mini meltdown.  

“i don’t want to tell my teacher i lost my homework!” i told my parents, completely panic-stricken that i was going to get in what us kids called “big trouble.”

“tell your teacher you misplaced it,” they told me calmly.

misplaced, i thought. wow. that sounded so much better. yes, that would work, i decided. i would tell the teacher–actually, i think it was a student teacher–that  i misplaced my homework. it was much more mature and refined. i once knew where it was, but now i didn’t. which meant that i misplaced it and did not lose it like the irresponsible second grader that i was.

i took a deep breath, dislodged my wedgie, and told the student teacher that i had “misplaced” my homework over the weekend. i swear to this day i think i saw her try to hold back a smile. thinking back on it, i’m surprised she didn’t let out a laugh, too. what second grader comes into elementary school saying she misplaced her homework?? me, obviously. but it worked and i felt better. she gave me another worksheet, and i redid it. case closed.

i’m telling you this story b/c i crack up when people change language to make things seem…not so bad. take “field mouse,” for example. now that we’ve dealt w/our fair share of mice, it always cracks me up when people see/find/catch a mouse in their house and tell people that it is/was just a little field mouse.

i used to go for the whole field mouse thing before i moved to a rowhouse that shares walls w/who knows what. but as a tried-and-true resident of southeast baltimore, i’m not falling for it anymore.

i hate to break it to you, but a mouse is a mouse, folks. just like a roach is a roach and not a “water bug.” the mice we occasional caught in picturesque suburban new jersey look exactly the same as the mice we catch here in downtown baltimore (well, except for the gang tattoos…). 

if saying field mouse makes you feel better b/c it makes you feel like it came from a farm or is actually a talking cartoon mouse or just, you know, accidentally wound up in your house b/c it got sidetracked from the field it was crossing, so be it. but i say a mouse is a mouse is a mouse (even if it’s in an orange; see above). ugh, i can’t believe i ever had rodents (hamsters) as pets. of course i used to have lizards (ok, just chameleons), too. i also used to pick up worms. a lot has changed with me since the early/mid 80s.

as for the word “misplaced,” i don’t think i’ve used it since second grade. (if i ever go to england, maybe i’ll use it there. seems like a place where they’d use that word.) and i really don’t get many wedgies anymore either. in case you were wondering. which you probably weren’t. just saying.

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let’s talk about 90s music

we all have those things that calm us down. herbal tea. chicken soup for the soul books. those squeezy stress ball thingys.

no wait. all those things suck.

for most ppl, the list is more like: a cold glass of beer. a phone call with an old friend. some fresh air.  

yeah beer doesn’t work for me [i’m not a beer fan, however i am a beer supporter, thanks to holly (hey, what can i say, i like to encourage my partner’s interests)]. phone calls sometimes (since i tend to get myself riled up talking about what’s bothering me). fresh air helps, that is, if it’s not contaminated by baltimore’s feral cat population (often found spraying our back door).

i’ll tell you what always works for me, tho: 90s music. 

oh 90s music. “best of” 90s music–the stuff that’s on heavy rotation on comcast’s “90s” station (you know, one of those commercial-free digital tv “radio” stations)–is like a soft cuddly blanket to me. suddenly i’m taken to a much simpler time in my life. i’m not talking nirvana/soundgarden/smashing pumpkins/dave matthews here. i’m talkin the serious cheese. the “lite alternative,” the top 40 r&b/early hip hop, the “slow jamz.” the stuff you don’t want to admit you like but you do.

yes, admit it: 90s music is the elephant in the room. no one wants to talk about it, but it’s there and you love it. you love it so much.

you hear it in the car and if you’re (alone and) in your 30s/40s, you turn it up and sing along and think back to middle school/high school/college/post-college and bop your head and a little voice inside goes, “awww yeah! this was my jam!” if you were standing up (and alone) you’d probably be cabbage patching, too. and if you didn’t know better, which you do, you’d be rolling down your windows, singing at the top of your lungs with tears in your eyes, “anywhere you go! i’ll follow you *down*! i’ll follow you down but not that far!” ($5 to the first person that tells me the name of that song)

see, the thing i’ve determined about top 40 90s music, the reason it’s such a fuzzy blanket  to so many of us is that it was completely innocuous. if it was a food, it’d be…cotton candy. just melt-in-your-mouth, once it’s gone you don’t even think about it. but when you hear it again, it’s all pink and blue candy clouds.

what are some of the best of the best 90s artists/songs? well i just so happened to write a few down yesterday while i was jammin to comcast’s 90s station:

(i was at my computer working, just to, you know, save you from imagining me dancing around the living room)

-janet jackson, “escapade” (yes!)
-marky mark and the funky bunch (“good vibrations”; did mark and his “funky bunch” even have another hit?)
-color me badd (omg why?)
-wilson-phillips, “hold on” (specialsecretshoutout to a special friend w/that one; man i always felt so bad for the big girl in the video, stuck on
  the beach in a black suit while those two skinny b*tchs got to wear dresses! tsk.)
-anything by the gin blossoms
-taylor dayne (is she actually a drag queen? i feel confused when i see her)
-mary j. blige, “real love” (hell’s yeah, that’s an oldie but goodie!)
-tlc, “ain’t too proud to beg” (have you ever really listened to the words? dirty!)
-and while we’re doin 90s hip-hop i have to mention “shoop,” by salt n pepa
-i’d mention hootie and the blowfish but they’re just too annoying

(what’s up w/all the bad 90s band names, btw? hootie and the blowfish?? marky mark and the funky bunch? color me badd???)

oh hell, now i’ve got to put in some videos!*
if i missed anything let me know.

 
*it’s really not fair that they made her wear a suit on the beach. i’m really stuck on that. just saying.

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some things are an acquired taste

gefilte fish: what's in it? i'm not sure and i don't want to know or else i'm sure i'll stop eating it.

like gefilte fish. if you’re jewish–or an “honorary jew,” as i say, i.e. you spend so much time w/us jews that you’re practically jewish yourself and “oy vey” with the best of us–you’re no stranger to this food. i didn’t realize it was…well, a little weird, until holly and i were together a couple years and i introduced her to it.

“what,” she whispered discreetly in my ear as we attended her very first seder, “is this?”

“it’s gefilte fish,” i whispered back. “it’s…” i paused. suddenly i didn’t know how to describe it.

how could i get this girl from western pee-ay to try a food made from a number of fish–man i didn’t even know what kind of fish were in it. hell, some gefilite fish has carp (overgrown goldfish, basically) in it, something i purposely ignore or else i wouldn’t eat it.

to add insult to injury, it’s preserved on dusty supermarket shelves nationwide in fish jelly. (yes! fish jelly) it also has eggs in it. and matzah meal. and it’s boiled. oh and you slather it with horseradish (horseradish w/beets) before you eat it. and…yeah.

“it’s good,” i assured her as she stared wide-eyed at her plate. “it’s a traditional jewish food. try it. you might like it.”

sport that she is, she tried it. and…didn’t like it.

how could this be? i wondered. how could she not like gefilte fish? and this was the homemade kind. not even a hint of the gross, translucent jiggly fish jelly. (ok, now i’m talking myself out of liking it. i’d better stop w/the jelly talk or else i’ll never eat it again.)

suddenly it dawned on me: gefilte fish is an acquired taste. one of those ethnic foods you just grow up with and ignore its inherant grossness/weirdness b/c it’s been a part of your life for so long.

i’m bringing this up now b/c it’s passover. passover is the holiday for gefilte fish and other odd foods such as chocolate-covered matzah (omg i LOVE chocolate-covered matzah; the exact reason i didn’t buy any this year. i will eat it all.) yeah, passover is basically the festival of gefilte fish. if you love gefilte fish, this is your time to shine, baby.

please share your acquired, ethnic foods w/me. let’s see if you can beat minced whitefish/pike/grown goldfish preserved in a translucent fish jelly served with horseradish and beets. happy passover!