Tag Archives: friendship

“how does it feel to be a married woman?”

that’s what my 88-year-old great uncle ben asked me–with a bright, wide smile, his blue eyes shining–early thursday morning as i padded into the kitchen to pour myself a cup of coffee. it suddenly occurred to me it was the very first time, after nearly nine years with holly and huge jewish wedding a year and a half ago, that i woke up fully married–under the law. vindicated. respected. protected.

i smiled back at him and held back tears.

“it feels good,” i said. “it feels really, really good.”

it still does. the glow of our simple, st. patty’s day ceremony in dc’s dupont circle–just feet from the very bench we sat on during our very first date in early may 2001–has not left me. despite my mind-altering pms. and the stress of our day-to-day. and the fact that we’re really not sure about how our dc marriage will be recognized by the state of maryland (health insurance, for example), the glorious sunshine (the whole city seemed aglow, like it’d be under a dirty window wiped clean with windex for the first time in years) that seemed to fill my entire body, warm all of my skin at once and reenergize my winter-weary mind hasn’t left me.

i am still so happy. i am still pinching myself to check if this is real. am i really married to my partner? did i dream this all up? but then i see the big white envelope that holds our marriage license, the one with both of our names on it, and our joint address. and a big silver seal stamped (tuesday afternoon) by a grumpy dc marriage license worker (the same one that did our oath while “hey soul siter” was playing on the radio) with a piece of ancient manual machinery just before he handed it to us and said in his island-accented monotone, “congratulations.” i see that envelope and i know what’s in it and i know i’m not dreaming and this is all real.

i thought i saw a smile–not a half-smile, even, maybe a quarter-smile–creeping on his very unsmiley face, if only for the fact that it was the third time we’d been there in a week (once just to ask a question about officiants–yes, we drove all the way from baltimore simply to ask who, exactly, could marry us–b/c the office has been so busy no one’s been answering the phone).

yes we want to be married that badly, that visit said. we want to be married so badly that we drove the 45+ miles here and got stuck in who knows how much traffic just to ask you guys a question.

we held up our signed marriage license for photo after photo wednesday afternoon, a few close friends and uncle ben in the wheelchair we rented for him surrounding us. yes this is ours, i kept thinking. no, i can’t believe it. man this was so much better and more fun and less stressful than our first wedding. 

we brought that license with us where we are now, holly’s hometown in western pee-ay, to show her family. and yes, uncle ben’s with us! he is a road warrior. we’ve been taking him everywhere. in fact, he’s sitting on the guest daybed right next to the computer i’m sitting at right now. he just asked what i was doing, and i told him writing a blog entry on the wedding ceremony.

“oh,” he said. “well, why don’t i see you writing anything?” then i showed him how the screen scrolls down and he totally got it. we’re both still up and the rest of the house is asleep. we both eat constantly. we both share his mother’s, my great-grandmother’s, blue eyes. it’s really really nice to have him around.

we watched “slumdog millionaire” tonight (i had never seen it) and i’m just feeling so inspired. i feel like my life–our lives–are off to a brand new start. it’s like this big, gaping hole has been finally filled with this legal marriage and we can move on now. like all the hurt of our last wedding is over and the slate’s been wiped clean. i feel like everything and anything is possible. i never thought marriage could feel like this. i never thought a piece of paper with a stamp and a signature could change my life so much.

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isn’t it crazy what can make you miss someone?

scientists say that it’s our sense of smell that can bring back our most poignant memories, but that’s usually never the case for me. usually it’s a song or a sound or just the look of something–maybe a combination of the two. it happens out of the blue, too, and almost always at the wrong time. and if the memory is connected to someone you’ve lost, it can really bring you to your knees.

we’re up in western pee-ay right now. we came here suddenly over the weekend. holly’s grandma–she’s 80 and still works full-time; she can actually run circles around people half her age. hell, she can run circles around us–had a bad fall at work. we jumped in the car as soon as we heard and made the five hour drive up. she’s ok, thank goodness, but pretty badly bruised on her face and hands. we’ve been staying with her while her parents are on their annual vacation (they go away just one week a year), and i’m so glad we’re here–she’s needed some tlc.

there’s so many special things about grandmothers. too many to count, really. if you lucked out and got a really great one–and had the privilege of spending many years w/her–you know exactly what i’m talking about. i’ve written about my grandmother quite a lot on this blog b/c she was, and still is, even almost a decade after her death, such an important part of my life. since i lost her in august 2000, i’ve sort of been…collecting grandmothers. holly’s grandma is now my grandma, too, and i take care of her as gently as i would my own.

i love spending time w/joanne (holly’s grandma), but sometimes it’s hard b/c it makes me miss my own so badly. usually the feeling creeps up on me. i got a huge, whopping dose of that sunday night while i was making myself a snack. i made toast. it was white bread (something we don’t usually keep in our house), similar to what my own grandma used to keep in her apartment. on one slice i put peanut butter, on the other, i can’t believe it’s not butter. ha. so cute, i know. my grandma didn’t keep that in the house. heck, i don’t even know if it was around back then. what she did have was tub margarine.

i used to go to her house on saturday nights when i was growing up. back when there was the saturday night lineup on nbc or abc or whatever it was. there was 227 and amen and empty nest–but the shining star of the night was the golden girls. omg how we loved the golden girls. hell if i could understand half the jokes back then (all sexual; most involving blanche or sophia calling blanche a slut or rose not getting that sophia was calling blanche a slut). i didn’t care about the jokes, tho. i  just loved being by her side. we would sip sugar-free swiss miss and eat white toast with margarine. i just loved it. looking back, i see that those were some of the happiest moments of my childhood.

i’m standing in holly’s grandma’s kitchen sunday night and i start spreading the butter spread on the toast. and something cracked in me. it was like…the looks of the toast, white bread with just a little golden brown, and the sound of the butter knife scraping against it. it was like i was whooshed back 20+ years in my own grandmother’s kitchen in new jersey. i was 10 years old again and my grandmother was in the living room waiting for me as our shows–our “programs,” as she would call them–were just about to start. it was just a split second but it split me in two and i stood in the kitchen and just started quietly crying and couldn’t stop. it just made me realize how something so small–just the look of a piece of toast and the sound of a butter knife scraping against it–can make you miss someone so badly it feels like your heart’s going to break in two.

it is so hard losing people. so so hard. i just hope that my grandmother knows how much i still miss her and how thankful i am that i had her in my life the 20 years that i did. i’m sorry this post is kind of a downer but it’s what i’ve been feeling and i try to write things here that a lot of ppl will identify with, happy or sad. if you’d like to share your thoughts on all this, pls do. you know i love it when you guys chime in. xo.

step *away* from the fries

everyone has that food. that one food that is nearly irresistible to them. i’m not talking about your favorite food. b/c i, like most of you out there, have many favorite foods (some of them are vegetables. dorky, i know). i’m talking about that one particular (usually sinful) food that, when directly in front of you, is nearly impossible to resist.

for me, that food is french fries.

i have to say that most times, i’m pretty good at avoiding them or turning them down. if i’m out at a restaurant with someone and he or she gets a whopping, mouth-watering mountain of fries and innocently asks me, “want some?” what i normally say is, “do i want some? yes. should i have some? no.” and with that, i’m able to resist.

yes, i’m the gal who asks for a side salad instead of the fries. b/c if i do get the fries, i just can’t stop myself.

case in point: last night we went to Equality Maryland’s 2010 lobby day, where lgbt folks and their allies go out and meet with maryland legislators in their district to discuss legislation pertinent to the lgbt community (same-sex marriage is a big one but not the only one). it was a busy evening, and i spoke up in our meetings. being busy and speaking up inevitably makes me hungry. it made our friends hungry, too. so we took up the organization’s invitation to swing by rams head and celebrate our efforts with some food and drink.

i ordered a veggie sandwich. i saw that all sandwiches were served with fries. i was too hungry to even care. i’ll only have a few, i thought. only my a**.

not only did i eat every single friggin fry in sight, i even ate the soggy ones under the pickle. plus the loser fry drowning in ketchup. the one that you usually leave over b/c it’s so soaked. yeah, i ate that one, too.

they were delicious. but then i felt sick and disgusted.

see, that’s exactly why i avoid them. b/c i can’t control myself! it’s exactly the same reason we don’t keep doritos in the house. or fritos, cheetos or tostitos (basically corn-based fried snack foods that end in “o”). if i have one, i have to have them all. so today’s question: what’s your danger food? the food that you have to avoid at all costs or else you’ll wind up eating them all. do tell.

“it’s your lucky day to be baptized in the greek orthodox church”

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introducing...evan!!!

yes it was evan’s (see above) lucky day yesterday, as rochester ny’s most fabulous new resident was baptized (much to our local delight!) in baltimore’s own greektown. he’s got quite’a set’a lungs, that kid, as he let out some serious howls after he was dipped in holy water a few times. (umm, if you were cold and naked and wet (and most likely hungry) in front of a crowd in a church, you’d probably be crying, too.) then he peed on his godmother, poor kid. ha. it was adorable, tho. we love him.

what i am esp. loving these days is my friends having kids. we have plenty of friends with children, but it’s only recently that some of my very oldest friends are having babies. what i am loving even more is that my very oldest guy friends (greg and simon/simos, that’s you;) are having babies before my girlfriends. and what i am loving even more, if that’s possible, is watching them as new dads.

ok, so i am not just watching, i am, as the jews say (in yiddish), is kveling [say: K (as in: c‘mon!) K-vel (like “bell”)-ing], which basically means (b/c there’s no dictionary translation for yiddish words b/c us jews take so darn long to explain everything) bubbling over with emotion–like…bursting at the seams. they are already the best dads to these little boys (grant & evan). and what’s even cuter is that they’re both really big guys and seeing them hold these little babies and coo all over them is like…….well, i kvel. and then i get a little verklempt. then i plotz. and then i need a nosh. (when don’t i need a nosh?)

ok, WAIT. stop. i have referenced too many funny ethnic things in this post to go on any further b/c 1) i’m laughing too hard and 2) you need to know what i’m talking about if you don’t know already b/c it’s too funny for you not to know.

the title of this post is one of my favorite lines from “my big fat greek wedding” (one of my all-time favorite movies), which is said more along the lines of:

 “it’za your’a LUCKY DAY to be a-bapTIZED in the GREEK [tongue roll] ORTHODOX CHURCH.”

the dad (Gus) said this to the fiancee (Ian) in the movie–b/c he had to be baptized as greek orthodox before he married his daughter (Toula). holly had to whisper “don’t say that to anyone today, ok???”  to me at least three times yesterday at the church and then again at lunch afterwards (you can’t take me anywhere. really, you can’t), esp. since a grown man was being baptized (JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIE!) at the same time (simon’s soon-to-be brother-in-law; it was a two’fer yesterday. total baptism two’fer) as evan.

i wound up breaking down and telling evan it was his a-lucky day to be a-bapitzed in the greek orthodox church at the restaurant after lunch. i was high on greek pastries. luckily he’s three months old and didn’t get it. ha.

in honor of evan and yesterday’s festivities and this blog post and new babies and ethnic ppl in general, i am posting one of my favorite scenes from the movie. (YES. IT WAS MY TWIN. you know the one! ha.)

i am also posting a classic clip of coffee talk with linda richman, she of verklempt. (this is the one with *madonna* and roseanne!!! and BARBARA. like BUTTAH! like two sticks’a buttah!)

simos/lena! love you guys! LOVE EVAN. greg/susan: love YOU guys! LOVE GRANT! love that you guys are dads!!!

love the greeks! love the jews! (WHY ARE WE SO SIMILAR? WHY DO WE TALK SO LOUD?!!)

 turn up your volume & prepare to laugh. these will make your day.

(ok, i just watched both of those again and i have tears, i’m laughing so hard. tears. omg i love it.)

break the cycle of meanness

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my original flow chart: break the cycle of meanness by turning around and being nice to someone. (no, i'm not NEW AGE. hell, i wear black every day!)

back when i was a wee intern, i can say with great certainty that, for the most part, i was treated like sh*t. kind of like a doormat–but worse. this cycle continued to my first job, where my editor literally made me break down in her office. months later, as a temp in dc (for an eye-opening year and a half), i came into close contact with a great number of people that seemed to take great pleasure in demeaning me. in other words, ppl were mean to me. and yes, some of them made me cry.

but you know what i did? instead of taking it out on someone else, i’d wipe my eyes, turn around and be nice to someone. i started doing this all the time in my day-to-day activities. nasty-as-sin cashier at cvs? big smile to the person walking in as i’m walking out. hateful colleague does me wrong? a complimentary email to someone i think is doing a great job. the list goes on.

so i’ve been doing this for years now, and i came up with a flowchart that i finally put on paper (well, my computer screen; see above) today. see, when one person is mean to another, the recepient of that meanness will often be mean to someone else. my theory is to break the cycle. break the friggin cycle of meanness and turn around and be nice to someone. chances are that person will be filled with such gladness that they just might reach out and be nice to someone else and so on and so forth.

think of the power of this! i’m completely serious. i’m about the least new-agey person you’ll ever meet, but i honestly believe it could change the world.

i started supervising interns a couple years ago. the first one i had said to me one day, “i can’t believe how nice you are.” and i got chills. i told her that ppl were so mean to me when i was an intern/recent undergrad in the workforce, that i pledged to myself that one day, when i had ppl reporting to me, i’d treat them how i wish i had been treated back then.

i think a lot of ppl, they figure, hey, i was treated like crap when i was young and just starting out. that’s how the cookie crumbles. so they treat their employees like sh*t. or their interns. whoever. but it shouldn’t be that way. (it’s like these ppl forget how it was to be young and scared; they should take a moment to remember those days)  i’d like to think that my teary days as a late teen/early twentysomething have paid off to those i supervise now. and to strangers when i give them my seat on the subway b/c some jerk just shoved me.

so yeah, try it. if you get flipped off by some friggin idiot on the road, let someone out of a driveway on a busy street. you’ll feel a lot better. and if my flowchart is right, you might just make a dent in the world.

happy friday!!! GOOOOOOOOOOOO STEELERS!!!!

i miss you guys already

i didn’t anticipate crying the way i did this weekend. all weekend. at the indian restaurant when we first got into rochester (and upon hearing some wonderful, wonderful news). in the lobby the next morning, as nicolina (bff/MOH) and i sipped overpriced coffee on puffy couches. in the driveway of the happy couple’s home as Mrs. S (formerly Ms. JG, aka hottie social worker) and n. put their sweet arms around me, and kept reassuring me that yes, everything’s going to be ok, the wedding will be amazing and you will look spectacular and yes, you’re normal and no, don’t feel bad you’re crying. then again in the restaurant as we gathered for a post-wedding breakfast and said farewell (til november). and again (this time really badly) about a half-hour later on nicole’s shoulder at the rochester airport before she headed back to her beautiful city by the bay…

to be honest, two of those instances (indian restaurant and hotel lobby) i managed to keep the tears in–but just barely. and i’m not even mentioning all the times over the weekend i teared up privately w/holly. and now, as i write this, i’m crying again. these days, i seem to be a bottomless well of emotions. literally. i’ve never felt this way before. it’s almost like my feelings have formed this tight ball deep in my chest– somewhere between my heart and my throat–and it’s constantly unravelling and winding back up again. 

it’s so hard to explain exactly why i’m crying. and when i try to start explaining–or even start thinking about it–i get emotional all over again. but after seeing some of my very best friends this weekend, i think it boils down to the following:

i love my friends. i love them more than ever. i loved them before but i love them more and more every single day. and when i think about their participation in this wedding, i swear, i just start losing it. see, the great majority of these friends i met in college. and i spent a lot of college joking around and having fun and doing crazy things to my hair. but, (like a lot of other ppl, i imagine) i also spent a lot of time in college holding things in, too afraid to let the tough jersey-girl guard down. nearly a decade later and seven+ yrs into a relationship, the tough-girl act is long gone. sure, i still do my share of trash talkin, still wear lots of black and yeeees, still rock the spiky belts pretty much every day. but anyone who knows me knows that i just might be one of the most sensitive ppl in the universe. some days i honestly feel like an open wound. like, i can barely even watch tv news. and i’m so used to showing holly that side of me, of not holding anything back, that–as odd as it sounds–showing it to my oldest friends–the ones who knew me way back when–is tough for me. but i finally let ‘er rip this weekend. and it felt good. so, as we reach the official two-month mark til our wedding (today; gulp), i just want to say to my friends: thank you. i love you. and thank you for loving me. looking into your eyes (but mostly looking down, i suppose, considering all the tears and nose-blowing) in simos’ driveway, under the gray skies of rochester, receiving your hugs on his stoop, was more than i could have ever asked for. i’ll see you girls soon. xxo.

omg idk! iJs!!!

seeing how i’m perpetually 15, i’ve been obsessed w/text messaging (txt msging) as of late. this has everything to do w/nicolina and now also kate (the hott mapmaker). together, we’ve come up with some new txt msg acronyms.

to start things off, here are our popular favs, which many of you are probably familiar with:

idk[i don’t know; fun to say outloud fast! make you sure you really pronounce the “dee,” a la this cingular commercial(of “idk, my bff jill” fame. don’t forget the other version, w/granmaw txting her bff rose. omG we loves. she also says “myob” (mind your own business; she’s so sassy! we loves.)] which brings us to, of course…
omg (oh my gosh. i like to write this omG, as to emphasize the GOSH. i use “gosh” b/c i’m jewish and don’t like to throw around the whole lord’s-name-in-vain thing. i know, i’m weirdly old-school.)
wtf [what the @#$!; this is very helpful (and oddly satisfying) to write in irritating situations.]

now for the new ones:

ijs! (i’m just saying! helps to capitalize the J here. as in: i’m just saying. veeery teenage. loves.)
wai, cl?! [what am i, chopped liver?!; if you’re from jersey or nyc, you might be especially fond of this one. very jewish. ppl in my family used to actually say this. (roughly translated: “WHAT? i’m not important enough?!!”) props to the mapmaker for that one.]
witym (word it to your momma!)
-and the newest, longest one, via an earlier im fb chat (instant msg facebook chat) w/kate: ydkwyjgyi (you don’t what you just got yourself into) yes, it’s long, i know. but friggin a, it’s so funny.

if you’ve got any favs, bring ’em!

here’s to the long weekend! omg ise! (i’m so excited!)