Tag Archives: friends

i know you’ve been waiting for over a week to hear about how i got lost in the woods, but i need to tell you about this annoying thing that holly does to my coffee first

if you have a significant other, or you’ve had one in the past, i’m sure there’s something that s/he does or did that is/was meant to be loving but only proves/proved to be annoying or frustrating. i’m going to talk about that today, and of course by “that” i mean holly and something she does, and bless her heart she is so damn patient w/me and this damn blog. i keep telling her that it will make us rich one day, and that for some reason people (and by “people” i mean you people) like to read about the ridiculous crap that goes on in our relationship more than anything else and i must give the public what it wants. which brings me to this post.

so this morning, we were eating breakfast at our favorite diner, eastern avenue’s famous broadway diner, where you can get not one but two large breakfast specials (eggs/home fries or grits/meat if you want it/toast/coffee AND juice) for under $10 (!?!) as long as you get there before 11am (and hello, we were there at like 7:30am b/c holly gets my ass up early simply b/c if she’s up, i need to be up–kind of like a puppy except not).

anyway, the coffee arrives and holly first pours milk into her coffee (we get milk not cream; i know, high-maintenance) and then, before i can stop her (she’s fast–stealth, actually) reaches across the table and lovingly pours it into mine.

i sigh. no actually i don’t sigh. i whisper-shout babe, what are you doing?! then i sigh.

we have been thru this before. i’m picky about my coffee. not only does it need to be hot (i inherited this; i swear, my late grandmother would actually send coffee back at pretty much every jersey diner (and Friendly’s–oh, Friendly’s, remember that place??) we ever went to, much to my teenage embarrassment, if it wasn’t “piping hot”), sometimes i want it black, sometimes i want milk in it–but not too much milk, lest it lose its coffee taste and become anything less than mouth-scalding, blistering hot.

holly, on the other hand, likes a lot of milk in her friggin coffee. she actually turns them into lukewarm lattes. i honestly don’t even know how she drinks them. but i guess that’s none of my business. to each their own.

anyway, we decided years ago that i didn’t want her adding milk or cream or whatever we have on hand to my coffee. i know she does it out of love, but it drives me crazy. if i wanted milk or cream, i’d add it on my own. not to be rude but i’m just saying.

the first time she ever did it, i think we were at our old favorite diner (endearingly called “the diner”) back when we lived in dc’s adams-morgan neighborhood. our coffee arrived, she picked up the creamer, poured some into her mug, reached across the small table and poured a whole lot of it into mine.

i asked her, somewhat horrified, what she was doing, and she responded that she didn’t know what came over her. she just…did it. and that was the beginning. so every now and then, and come to think of it, it’s usually when we’re grabbing breakfast at a diner (as i former jersey girl, i pretty much live for diners. esp. if they’re greek-owned), holly will get possessed by the dairy…i don’t know, the dairy fairy, and inexplicably pour milk or cream into my coffee.

i feel like she does it out of love. which is nice, really, if you think about it. but dammit it doesn’t make my coffee taste any better–or make it any hotter.

in all fairness, i need to add that i do plenty of annoying things out of love. for example, if holly feels the least bit under the weather, i ask her if she’s ok or needs tea every two minutes or less. i’m also constantly saying hi to her around the house and asking (yelling) where she is moment i can’t actually see her. (i think this is a north jersey jewish trait.)

if you have any similar stories about past or present significant others, please share. in the meantime, keep your coffee away from holly b/c if she cares about you, she might turn it into a cafe au lait.

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whatever you do, don’t panic

i need to say something: all the energy drinks and “shots” on the market these days are scaring the hell outta me. i mean, how tired and strung-out and overworked are we as a society if you can’t even walk into bed, bath & beyond w/out running into some weirdo twisted energy concoction at the cash register? (true story; totally saw 5-Hour Energy “shots” there last week. they probably tasted like candles, i.e. the way my clothes, hair and skin smell after five minutes there)

i mean, i can’t imagine downing one of those things. not even a red bull. not a monster drink or whatever they’re called. nothing. i remember my freshman year of college (shoutout umcp! holla!), student housing or some such organization sent out these little packages full of samples to all the kids in the dorm. “helpful” things like, oh i don’t know, deodorant, painkillers and No-Doz. b/c college students don’t already have enough issues w/out free, scary pills that make your heart beat fast.

 anyone out there remember No-Doz?? No-Doz was the go-to college all-nighter stuff long before red bull and the 5-Hour shots. little white caffeine bombs. and to 17-year-old fresh-outta-jersey me–that hadn’t discovered the joys of coffee yet–full-on panic pills.

why i decided to take them, i have no idea. i took them in the morning (morning? on an empty stomach, probably) and before long, my heart started pounding out of my chest.

“jess!” i whisper-yelled to my sleeping roommate, yanking her covers. “i…i took No-Doz! i’m…i’m freaking out! i can’t, i can’t breathe! i think i’m having a heart attack!”

she, of course, mumbled something about calming down, patted my shoulder and went back to sleep, leaving me to fend for myself. who knows how the hell i talked myself out of that one, but i did. this was the first and last time i took “energy” pills.

why did i tell you that supremely dorky story? i told it…well i told it to make you laugh. also to prove a point. that sh*t is scary! and now sophisticated commercial chemists are mixing caffeine with, like, panic-inducing jungle roots. plus they make it taste like soda or candy or both.

i’ll tell you what tho: the marketing folks at 5-Hour Energy (or whomever they hire to do their advertising) are brilliant. you’ve probably seen the 5-Hour Energy commercial, right? that “2:30 feeling”? after working in quite a few boring offices, i am quite familiar with that 2:30 feeling. especially after a sizable lunch burrito when you’re sitting in a warm conference room w/annoying ppl discussing crap you don’t care about. (wow! i think i actually fell asleep for a nanosecond while writing that!)

have any of you drank this stuff? were you whirling like a tornado til 7:30pm or did you pull a jessica circa ’96, fall to your knees and weep to your cubicle mate that you were having a heart attack? i hope you whirled b/c, trust me, if you have a panic attack at 2:30 in the afternoon on the floor of your office you will never live it down.

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.

if i wanted it to be this hot, i’d live directly on the equator

i interrupt this blog hiatus (omg wtf’s up w/the blog hiatus? i know. it’s annoying me, too) to say that my car’s already reading 94 friggin degrees and it’s not even 9:15 in the morning!!!! 

yes, baltimore–and every other city w/in driving distance–is trapped in a heat wave right now. and i am not a fan of the heat. and srsly? if i wanted it to be this hot i’d live closer to, or directly on, the equator. i am not kidding. i could do very well in an area that’s consistently 60-70 degrees. (does a place like that even exist? if so, pls tell me where it is.)

yesterday was weird. first of all, it was so hot that the city, well southeast baltimore at least, felt like a ghost town. not everyone around here has air conditioning, so when it’s hot, ppl usually hang out on their stoops or the sidewalk to get some relief. but the sun was beating down with such intensity that even the usual stoop suspects stayed inside. i didn’t even smell one bbq. not even the drunks in the house by the alley were out. total silence save for some sirens here and there. like i said: weird.

then, late afternoon, our power went out. in the almost-four years we’ve lived in our house, our power has never gone out. never. the lights went out. dishwasher stopped. the hum of our air conditioner disappeared. holly and i looked at each other and were like: uh-oh.

turns out the entire block was out. within 10 minutes, the temperature in our house went up two degrees. then i started thinking about all the pricey frozen stuff we had in the freezer. and the two new half-gallons of milk in the fridge. and that our cell phones had weak batteries. and both of our computers weren’t charged up. and all the assignments i had to finish.

wow, we are so dependant on electricity, i thought, suddenly filled with deep thoughts about modern life and its luxuries. this, of course, was followed up with a loud “THIS SUCKS” to holly. so much for deep thinking.

she, of course, concurred.

“the silence is deafening,” she said from the couch.

“i know,” i said. i was about to start humming top 40 hits to fill the dead air, but instead suggested we go out for pizza, since we decided that even cracking our fridge or freezer would put all of our cold and/or frozen food in jeopardy.

we went out and came back and the power was still out, tho the BGE guys were working on it. (major props to those guys.) thankfully our neighbor lori the teacher opened her home to us like she usually does (hi lori! love ya) and we charged an extra cell phone battery and holly’s computer. everyone was out on their stoops and sidewalks by then. and i guess the darkness and boredom drove everyone that had leftover fireworks to light them off almost simultaneously. most of the ghettofabulous fireworks around here sound like machine guns, so between the darkness, silence and bursts of uzi-like explosives i felt like we were in some kind of urban warfare movie.

we broke out the flashlights and then lit all the little tealight candles we have left from our wedding (almost two years ago now! can you believe it??). it could have been a romantic moment if it hadn’t been like 90 degrees in the house.

we went up to the roofdeck and since it was so dark and on the way up, i did a little flashlight signal to jerry the drunk (who was hanging out his second-floor window, like he usually does; tho he did have clothes on this time, seemed like, anyway. note: he doesn’t always have clothes on) as my way of saying hi. he waved. (i gotta say, he really is the nicest neighborhood drunk)

we didn’t last long up there b/c honestly, the fireworks (in such close proximity) combined w/the darkness all around was freaking me out. we went to sleep, to the sound of the guys working, on top of our comforter, and holly woke me up around midnight to tell me the power was back on. i went downstairs to check on the stuff in the fridge (food: always my biggest priority) and everything in the freezer was still frozen solid. whew.

then i got some crushed ice and poured myself a cold glass of iced tea, turned up the ac, went back upstairs, turned on the ceiling fan and turned on the tv. (i would have fired up my 450-degree hair straightener, but, you know, we weren’t going anywhere.) ahhh. creature comforts.  man i love electricity.

so today it’s supposed to be even hotter (104 degrees, msnbc is telling me) b/c of the humidity. and it’s not cooling down anytime soon. do you hate this heat? do you love it? and if you love it, why?!

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more proof that i’m actually a senior citizen

my bingo card at the sons of italy club. this is when i was playing only one card at at time. i already had my money out for more.

in the body of a 31-year-old.  

case in point: saturday afternoon. we were at the annual feast of st. anthony festival in little italy (my yearly excuse to eat eggplant parmesan out of a  paper container on foot), and just behind the bocce ball tournament there it was. the sign i’d been waiting for my whole over-18 life: 25 cent bingo.  

“BABE!” i said to holly, with more excitement than anyone should ever have over a game many of us played in first grade. “LET’S PLAY BINGO AT THE SONS OF ITALY. IT’S ONLY 25 CENTS A CARD!”  

that was the kicker. 25 cents. i pictured myself at a table with four to six cards in front of me, surrounded by piles of those little transparent red bingo chips i used to always find on the synagogue multipurpose room floor as a kid. i pictured myself shouting BINGO! amidst a sea of set senior hairdos and winning the whole damn pot and then buying another serving of eggplant parmesan and then an italian ice (the one in the lemon!) for dessert.  

“really?” said holly, surprised. “you really want to?”  

“YES REALLY.” i told her. “i’ve always wanted to play bingo!”  

she happily obliged, and we made our way past the bustling bocce ball courts and festival crowds and walked into the famed sons of italy lodge. it smelled a little like a basement and a little like a church. i loved it immediately and couldn’t stop smiling.  

there were round tables with lots of senior citizens sitting and talking (pros!) and ladies with those old-timey cloth money holders waitresses sometimes still tie around their waists going from table to table collecting money. there was as cute bar in the back, and a big light-up bingo board on the wall. it was like a real-life scratch-off lottery ticket (i love scratch-offs). i had finally found my crowd. i could barely contain myself.  

we bought one card each. then two. then worked our way up to four. this was a lot for me to keep track of, as the heat had sort of melted my brain (i’m notoriously flaky when it hits 90 degrees) and my blood pressure was already pretty high, i’m sure, from the excitement of it all. i should mention that there were no transparent red bingo chips. instead, they were these neat red slidey things. i was disappointed for about a nanosecond, realizing quickly that picking up chips and placing them on the correct coordinates would only slow me down, and thus felt grateful for the technology.  

i swear, every time we were remotely close to winning, some other person would shout “BINGO!” i was trying to be a good sport about it, but considering we had already spent like five bucks on about a million cards, i usually wound up calling each winner (never a senior, oddly; always some loud newbie visitor from the festival) a name or two in my head. (whaddaya want from me? i was high on lemonade and eggplant parm plus probably dehydrated  so cut me some slack.)  

the winning pots ranged from $10.50 to $13, so it’s not like we were missing out on anything major, money-wise. i just wanted to experience the sheer thrill of shouting BINGO! in the sons of italy lodge. still, just like scratch-offs, it’s the thrill of the chase. plus now i know the mystery that is senior bingo (oh you know where i’ll be hangin out in about 50 years!), and i treated myself to another eggplant parm anyway.  

playing four cards at once. i know. i'm a shark.

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oh my gosh we’ve turned into the costanzas

"GEORGE LIKES THE BANANAS!"

if you’ve watched seinfeld (and who hasn’t?), you know who i’m talking about: frank and estelle constanza, george constanza’s parents.

case in point: this morning.

location: our kitchen, baltimore, md

time: around 8 a.m.

me: at the stove.
holly: sitting at the island

me: i’m making your egg. how do you want it? fried?

holly: yeah. but i think i just want an egg white.

me: just an egg white?

holly: yeah! just an egg white!

me (louder) :  just an egg white?

holly: YEAH. JUST THE WHITE.

me: why? why do you only want the white?

holly: what’s it matter why! i only want the white! i want an egg white who cares why?

me (shouting) : OK FER CRYIN OUT LOUD YOU DON’T HAVE TO SHOUT AT ME.

at which point i announced that we were acting like an old married couple. we are an old married couple, holly said. and then i said we sounded like the parents on seinfeld and i was going to blog about this.

you really need to watch the videos below.

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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