Tag Archives: jewish

remember that one time we were on a low-carb diet and robbed a dunkin donuts?

first, the (big gay) elephant in the room: i kind of (read: totally) fell off the face of the earth for a minute. i told you about holly’s short sweatpants back in march and then i left you hanging for months.

  • was she still wearing the sweatpants?
  • did she cut them into shorts for the summer?
  • did she forgive me for encouraging her to buy them in petite when she clearly should have bought them in regular, thus saving her from the type of shame that only comes from wearing any kind of pants that are obviously too short for you?

the short answers to all of these are a. no (it’s been too warm for sweatpants) b. no (they are still whole and intact plus holly would never wear cut-offs; i’m not saying this is the right way to be but this is how she is) c. yes, she forgave me but i have yet to forgive myself. they’re pretty damn short.

where did i go? well mainly i was working. (if you’re self-employed the way i am, being busy is a good thing) and also life just wasn’t seeming all that funny. i mean, there have been many many funny moments, but it just wasn’t feeling funny enough to sit down and write about things, which is a major bummer for many reasons. if this blog has a purpose, it’s to make you laugh. to help you forget about whatever you’re dealing with in life and just sit back and have a good ol friggin laugh.

so now that i’m back, let’s just launch right back into things, shall we?

here’s what’s been going on since march:

we went on a low-carb diet and robbed a dunkin donuts.
the details are fuzzy because i was so weak from low blood-sugar. all i remember is waking up  covered in crumbs (old-fashioned cake: my fave), vanilla cream (cream-filled: holly’s fave), and raspberry jelly (jelly-filled: mutual fave). i had bite marks on my arm, which, if i remember correctly, i had tried gnawing off the day before. i realize that my arm would be considered “low-carb,” but i  hallucinated that it was a hot dog bun, so i tried to eat it.

(no seriously: it was “phase 1” of the south beach diet. it went well but…yeah, after 10 days we totally fell off the wagon. however, it was a good learning experience. like, a good way to learn how to creep out of dunkin donuts on your hands and knees after you have no idea how you got there. also we learned how to make cauliflower pizza, an odd but strangely addictive low-carb delicacy.)

i got in a fight with the sushi guy at whole foods and can never get sushi there again.
it sucks but look: i don’t need to be buying overpriced sushi from whole foods anyway. it’s kind of awkward now, but whatever! don’t try to charge me $4 for single sheet of soy paper! so i don’t like seaweed! do you really need to punish me for that? jews don’t like seaweed. it reminds our collective subconscious of crossing the red sea, which you know was uncomfortable for everyone involved, especially us jewish women because, hello, our hair. anyway. next!

i brought more natural disasters to under armour.
last time i contracted on-site at under armour, there was an earthquake and i split my pants right down the middle. this time i brought a tornado. well it was actually a “waterspout.” either way it scared the sh*t outta me and i hid in the basement until it was over, where, oddly enough, i learned there was a much better snack machine than the one on the third floor where i was working. holla!

i accidentally gave holly caffeinated coffee for like two weeks.
she kept saying she felt nervous but we couldn’t figure out why. i think i switched the bags or something? or labeled them wrong? oh i don’t even remember how i did it. honey, i am so sorry!

i got a retainer.
well actually it’s a night guard but it’s funnier to say retainer. apparently, when i sleep my jaw clamps down like a vice, resulting in phenomenally bad headaches. i finally relented to the idea of a mouthguard, which i imagined would be this big behemoth of a thing, like the kind of mouthguards football players wear, and i was concerned that, you know, instead of helping me, it might choke me while i slept. but when i went to go pick it up, it was this cute, teeny-tiny, dainty clear thing. like, it should have an english accent or something.

going in to get it molded at the dentist wasn’t as bad i thought it might be. to avert a new-jersey-jewish-control-freak panic attack, i kept telling holly “THLLLL MAA AH NNNLK,” my mouth full of this weird kind of…blue goo? and a big plastic mold-type thing.

“babe, i can’t…i can’t understand you,” holly said, laughing, while the dental assistant shot us weird looks trying, but failing, to smile.

(if i could have spoken i would have told that assistant to mind her own bees-wax and that if she didn’t look away i would punch her in the throat.)

“THHLLLL. MAA. AHH. NNNLK!” i kept saying.

this, of course, meant “tell me a joke.” which holly never did, as she couldn’t understand me. the exchange was ridiculous enough to avert anxiety, and now when i go to bed, i’m super sexy. i put in my mouthguard and it mathhes me tawlk like thiithhh. nicethhhhhhh.

i got fever & we almost missed jamie & jamie’s wedding.
i came down with a mean 36-hour flu on friday, may 31st. the day before our friends’ jamie and jamie’s wedding. (yes, they’re both named jamie. i know. the gays, constantly throwing you for loops and destroying the universe.) it came on in the span of like 10 minutes. i swear my body felt like it was shutting down. holly was irritated because the wedding was going to be fun and she didn’t want to miss it. (hello, i didn’t want to miss it either!) she also said i was complaining a lot. however, i couldn’t hear her because i was under three layers of blankets, shaking so bad from how cold i was because i had a 101.7 fever.

(holly, you’re mean. if you weren’t so cute i’d punch you in the throat, too.) 

i tried dry shampoo.
total bullsh*t. i felt like i had lice for like four hours and it made me smell like old lady.

i made a short-lived decision to become a charm city rollergirl.
i announced this in the car last week. it was a sudden decision but seemed like a sound one at the time.

“i mean, i’m not really athletic enough. right now. but i could, like, train to be,” i said, twirling my hair thinking of my cool future rollerderby name (Jersey J.? Jess The Jerk?) and all the tattoos i’d get and then have to hide from my parents.

 “i’d also need to learn how to skate backwards. and learn how to stop.” 

“you’re not tough enough to be a rollergirl,”  holly said.

“yes i –”

then she poked me in the arm.

OW! HEY! THAT HURT! THAT WAS LIKE, A PRESSURE POINT OR SOMETHING.”

“see? you’re not tough enough. you can’t be a rollergirl.”

“yes i am!” i said, rubbing the spot she just poked. “that’s going to leave a mark.”

and then, just to emphasize how i upset i was, i added the clincher:

“i’m going to blog about this.”

and so, here i am. blogging. again. gettin fevers. robbin dunkins. cussin at whole foods. makin tornados waterspouts. pullin out weaves. cuttin b*tches who be frontin me. wearin pajama t-shirts in public.
(note: i only did one of the last three things listed here.) (you’d never even know. it’s like, a regular t-shirt.)
(we also never actually robbed a dunkin donuts.)
(i’ll tell you what: if we did ever rob a store, it’d definitely be whole foods. and i’d rob the sh*t outta their sushi bar.)

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holly, i’m sorry i told you to buy those sweatpants in petite

as a spouse/significant other, you are depended upon for both a) tasks and b) opinions.  in our household, one of my tasks is that i make the coffee because you’re so good at it, holly says, batting her eyelashes. (i need to note here that she’s actually pretty good at making it, too, but she’d rather i’d do it, which is totally fine, as i’d rather her take the recycling and trash out to the black hole that is our alley.)

anyway, sometime within the past six months or so we were perusing our local jcpenny’s–wait, no: JAYCEEPEE–perusing the aisles of our local JCP, when she stumbled across a pair of particularly comfy looking grey sweatpants.

ooooh these are nice, she said.

yeah, i said. nice.

now, you may or may not recall this, but i’m not much of a shopper. it’s like, the “gayest” thing about me (besides, you know, the obvious). i mean, i love a trip to target, but at least there i can make a quick getaway into the greeting cards/ cleaning products/make-up aisle to get away from all the clothes.

holly loves to shop. oh she loooooves to shop. (“i DO NOT love to shop,” she just said. whatever, she likes to. i don’t care what she says.) and she loves to get my damn opinion on everything. so that’s the context here. as i was saying:

do you think i should get them in a regular or petite? she asks me as i walk behind her, distracted and instagramming (is that a verb? i’m making it a verb.)

you’re small. get a petite, i say. otherwise you’re gonna havta get em hemmed and that costs as much as the pants. 

so i should get the petite?

yeah, get the petite.

ok, i’ll get the petite.

great, can we leave now?

no, not yet, i want to look in the kitchen section. where’s the escalator?

at which point i groaned and we had our usual but-i-don’t-want-to/pipe-down-babe-it’ll-just-be-a-minute,-if-you-want-me-to-cook-for-you-i-need-kitchen-tools exchange.

after a couple of washes the pants shrunk. holly noticed first. i looked up from words with friends and agreed that yeah, they were a little on the short side.

now, weeks later, i see that they’re actually not just a little short, they’re painfully short. she likes to wear them, because they’re a great color and they are indeed comfortable, but, like an inside voice or an inside cat, they are inside pants. she’ll occasionally wear them for a walk to the park and immediately regret it, saying she feels like rocky balboa (see below).

Rocky Balboa runs up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum in the first Rocky movie.

rocky balboa’s short pants in the first rocky movie. i guess it was ok because it was the 80s? anyway, holly’s aren’t quite as short, but it’s close. it’s really close.

anyway, now i feel kind of guilty. even though i laugh and call her “short pants,” i really do feel bad. she depended on me for input and i lead her astray. she should have never gotten the petite. babe, i should have never told you to get the petite. i’m sorry and i love you, even in your short pants. especially in your short pants.

i’m also sorry i was accidentally making you caffeinated coffee instead of decaf for like a week last month and you kept feeling anxious and we didn’t know why. i didn’t properly label the ground bulk coffee we got at whole foods. completely my fault. it was my task and i failed. i’ll take the trash and recycling out to make up for it. wait no. i can’t because i’m scared of our alley. but i love you and i’ll be more careful from here on out.

in other news: we’re getting MARRIED this weekend. THIS TIME RIGHT HERE IN OUR HOME STATE OF MARYLAND! on st. patty’s day (sunday!), the three-year anniversary of our first legal wedding in dc.

it was kind of a spur-of-the-moment decision. we ran over to the baltimore city courthouse earlier this week and were like HOLLA! we’re here to get our marriage license! (well, we didn’t say “holla” but we could’ve) and the lady was like HOLLA! here it is! (well, no, not really but she was nice). anyway, the rabbi that married us the first time will do it again, except this time she’ll be able to sign a license. full circle right? and this time in jeans! (if you’re new to this blog and you’d like to read about our nuptial adventures–and oh, we’ve had many–in one fell swoop, check out this essay i wrote for the current issue of baltimore bride.)

until then, folks, take your spousal/significant other-ly duties seriously! if your partner’s pants seem too short, for crying out loud, pay attention and speak up. and if s/he can’t process caffeine, don’t confuse the bags. you know it can only end badly.

what is it with jews and seltzer anyway?

if i have a choice between plain water and seltzer i will always choose seltzer. why is this? i really have no idea. for starters, seltzer doesn’t even have a taste. second (secondly?), it has virtually no advantages to one’s health, only disadvantages, namely gas.

i’ve been thinking about seltzer a lot lately, as my parents very kindly gave me/us a seltzer-maker (a sodastream) for my birthday. well actually, it’s more of a soda-maker (you add flavored/colored powder), but since neither of us really drinks soda, it’s basically a seltzer maker.

we got it a while ago, back in the fall, but only started using it a few weeks ago. i think holly may have forgotten we had it at all. i, on the other hand, was simply scared of the carbon dioxide canister exploding in my face. anyway, it turns out it’s not all that scary (and quite simple to use, i may add). and let me tell you: since then, i have been drinking a lot of seltzer.

as i walk around the house hiccuping wildly proclaiming to holly you know, i probably shouldn’t drink so much seltzer, it’s got me thinking: what the hell’s up with jews and seltzer?

for some reason, there’s an inexplicable link between the jewish people and seltzer. or maybe it’s just jews in the northeast? or tri-state area (ny/nj/ct)? i have no idea. but i’ve met very few people in my life that drink plain (or flavored) seltzer that aren’t jewish. even the word seltzer sounds jewish. like it’s someone’s last name. as in: “honey, who was at synagogue today?” “oh, you know, the usuals: the rosenbergs, the greeblatts, the goldsteins, the seltzers.”

i honestly think there’s a jewish seltzer gene (JSG, if you will). i really do. every jewish household has or has had seltzer in the fridge. and it’s always “seltzer” to us. not “club soda.” it’s seltzer.

sometimes when we go out to a bar, since i’m not much of a drinker, i’ll order a “club soda with lime*” because we’re not in kansas anymore (kansas, of course, being new jersey). but truly, in my mind, i’m the jewish grandma shouting GIMME A SELTZER WITH LIME, DAHLINK. OY VEY DOES YOUR MOTHA KNOW YOU WORK AT A BAR? YOU’RE VERY PRETTY HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT MODELING INSTEAD?

*please note that i won’t be ordering anything with sliced lemons or limes at a bar or restaurant until at least april, as most, if not all, restaurant or bar-sliced citrus have norovirus all over them and, as G-d as my witness, i will do nearly anything to avoid the norovirus. 

the JSG (jewish seltzer gene) makes no sense to me, since jews, by their very nature are a) gassy (ok i made that up but it sounds about right) and b) complainers. we have very sensitive systems and complain about everything. why would we be inexplicably drawn to a beverage that will not only give us gas but compel us to complain to our spouses, friends and family about how gassy we are? it seems all wrong. and yet….we just can’t stop ourselves.

(is it because we’re bad swimmers? an…evolutionary adaptation to protect us in the event of a shipwreck? so we float to safety?)

one of my earliest and fondest memories of my late grandmother is the two of us standing side by side at her apartment’s kitchen counter–yellow formica speckled with gold–as she taught me how to make “orange soda,” my curious five-year-old eyes just barely making it above the counter.

“orange soda” was, of course, just orange juice and seltzer. but oh i adored it. anyway, i have continued to make it ever since (and think of my gram every time i do).

in conclusion (is there a conclusion here?), seltzer does have a taste. it tastes like seltzer! yes, it tastes like bubbles. thousands of teeny tiny bubbles. which beats the hell out of regular water. i’ve also started to make a less carbonated seltzer (two shots of carbon dioxide from the sodastream instead of four) to protect my sensitive jewish system.

p.s. about downton abbey (the subject of my last post)

WHY LADY SYBIL? WHY!!!!!!!!!! she was the nicest one! DAMMIT THIS IS WHY I DON’T WATCH SHOWS LIKE THIS.

also: lord grantham is an idiot! he’s always making the wrong decisions! AND THOMAS IS CREEPIER THAN EVER! WHY CAN’T THEY JUST GET RID OF THAT GUY? HE’S IMPOSSIBLE TO GET RID OF! LIKE A ROACH! HE JUST KEEPS COMING BACK!

did i tell you how holly cut her fingertips off on christmas?

oh, i didn’t? yeah that’s right because i tried to and then i fainted.

warning: if you have problems with blood (like i do) i suggest you stop reading and go watch funny cat videos.

really. right now. do it.

(i know you’re still reading. i can see you.)

(fine. keep reading. but don’t say i didn’t warn you. i’m dizzy and i haven’t even started writing yet. just try not to hit your head on anything on the way down.)

so it was just an average christmas in butler, pennsylvania (or “pee-ay” as the locals say). and by average i actually mean less-than-average. a ray of light in the darkness was holly’s fancy new french au gratin recipe, which she saw on the cooking channel, her second favorite tv channel after bravo.

she decided she’d try it out on christmas day. i should note that holly has a habit of trying out new recipes on holidays, when we’re having visitors, on special occasions, etc. it doesn’t always go so well. but i digress.

this recipe, it’s actually called, get this, pomme de terra a la boulangere, french for “potatoes a la bakery,” which is equally as vague, if not slightly ridiculous. it calls for a lot of thinly sliced potatoes and onions. a whole lot of them. especially onions. so holly packed her oxo brand “v-blade” mandolin slicer and off we went to pee-ay.

at the time, holly had only used this slicer (pictured below) one time. and the entire time i felt myself getting dizzy and paced around the downstairs saying things like babe, we really don’t need julienned beets. i can do without the damn julienned beets just come here so i can hold you.

the slicer features an alarming array of sharp blades, all of which could easily slice off and/or shred one to four of your fingers and/or digits. what i’m saying is: just looking at this thing makes me picture pints of my blood on the floor, which, in turn, gets me light-headed and forces me to frantically search for a hard candy in one of my thousand purses to distract me and raise my blood sugar, which drops in times of severe stress. (hard candies are a jewish thing used to treat all ailments. kind of like windex for skin problems in my big fat greek wedding. don’t ask me, i don’t get it either.)

oxo v-blade mandolin slicer

anyway, holly and i are alone in her parents’ kitchen. the rest of her family is downstairs in the basement hanging out. as she’s slicing onions with the mandolin, i’m peeling potatoes with an ancient peeler repeatedly inquiring about how many i should peel. i should note that holly was not in the best of moods. she really shouldn’t have been using anything sharp and dangerous. (and i probably shouldn’t have been asking her annoying questions.)

i hand her potatoes and she slices them into gorgeous, even, thin slices. things are going well. she double checks the recipe, and it turns out she needs even more onions. she switches from slicing potatoes to slicing onions, reducing the depth of the blade since they’re thinner than the potatoes. this is the move that probably saved her fingers.

she’s in a hurry and grabs the onion and begins slicing it without the guard. if you’re familiar with mandolin slicers, you may already know that the first rule is to use the damn guard. that’s why they make it! the guard (the round thing in the photo above) attaches to whatever you’re slicing, thus protecting your hand and fingers from complete annihilation.

i’m not sure how long it took for her to hit the blade since i’ve already repressed the memory of almost the entire afternoon. all i remember is her suddenly shouting F*CK! F*CK! F*CK! then jumping up and down holding her hand and me shouting WHAT WHAT WHAT!

i went into panic mode immediately, ran to the sink and put on the cold water, shouting PUT YOUR HAND UNDER THE FAUCET, which, of course, didn’t help at all seeing how she had just cut both nail and flesh off her left middle finger, ring finger and pinky. (i had done something similar, in the very same kitchen, over the summer, cutting off a significant chunk of flesh off the right side of my right thumb with a (*gulp*) apple corer, and the first thing holly did for me was put my thumb under cold water. i almost fainted but couldn’t since her little nephews were there, so we played “i spy with my little eye” in order to keep me conscious.)

by the third “F*CK!” her younger sister, heather, thank G-d, ran up from the basement, followed by her parents.

there was a lot of blood, most of which i didn’t see because i had to turn away. as holly’s stepdad (once a cop, always a cop) went through the sliced onions looking for fingertips to put on ice  (she didn’t cut off enough flesh to reattach; all he found was (ugh) fingernails), heather and holly’s mom tended to holly’s bleeding and i ran around in circles panicking.

it was quickly decided holly would go to the emergency room to stop the bleeding and for a tetanus shot. holly, of course, was fairly calm. she was mostly a) in an extreme amount of pain and b) irritated at the thought of getting a tetanus shot–and the fact that she had had the accident at all.

i, of course, was far from calm. this was not the type of health crisis that called for a hard candy.

after handing holly–who was standing near the door waiting to leave–a superfluous amount of paper towels to replace the blood-soaked ones she was holding and promptly running away from her, i ran around the house in tears looking for what she’d need on the way to and at the hospital.

i grabbed her cell phone, a charger and her driver’s license. remembering she hadn’t eaten lunch yet, i also found the rather large square of what could only be described as artesian caramel we purchased at the wexford, pa whole foods the day before. because when you’ve chopped off both nail and flesh in a mandolin slicer the thing you really need most is artesian caramel.

“heather,” i said to her sister, who works in the medical field and who was therefore acting normal, unlike me.

surely i had ramona crazy eyes by this point. the fact that heather did not run from me is a testament to her love for her older sister.

“here’s stuff holly’ll need at the hospital: her cell phone, charger, driver’s license,” i plopped everything down in her open hands.

“and caramel. she hasn’t eaten and her blood sugar’s probably low.”

heather looked at me, blinking. she may have laughed a little, i have no idea, i’ve blocked it out.

then it was time for holly and heather to go to the hospital. i couldn’t hold it together any longer. i grabbed holly around her neck and blubbered something about how much i loved her, i’m so sorry this happened, i’m so worried about you, i love you so much, i love you and i love you and etc. i swear you’d think she was about to go into battle.

her mother may have had to pull me off her. again, i have no idea, i’ve blocked it out.

once they left, i sat down on the couch and sobbed into my hands. it was a crap week and this was the cherry on top. she was bleeding and in pain and i couldn’t do a thing to help but hand her sister a piece of artesian caramel.

her mom told me that it was ok and not to worry, that’d she be fine. susan (her mom) and frank (her stepdad) threw out the onions holly had been slicing, cleaned up the accident scene, finished up the recipe, and went to visit with family downstairs.

i stayed upstairs, immobile with worry. incapable of doing anything else, i picked up my phone and played words with friends, then walked around in circles. honestly, i don’t really remember what i did until they came back. luckily they weren’t gone for long (about an hour).

when i saw holly’s fingers (below), of course i burst into tears again.

holly's fingers after her mandolin accident

as instructed by heather, i met them both at the door with two glasses of guinness –and a rather large shot of whiskey for holly.

soon, more family came in for christmas dinner. despite her cooking injury, i’m pleased to report that almost everyone ate the pommes de terre a boulangere. the ironic thing is that most people thought it was “too onion-y,” so i guess holly didn’t need to cut up all those extra onions after all.

i can say with great certainty that this was our worst christmas ever. however, there is much to be thankful for: her injury could have been much, much worse. if she had been cutting the potatoes, she would have sliced off way more and this would be a much different blog entry.

since christmas, holly has changed her bandages many, many times, and, now that the bleeding and oozing has stopped, i’ve forced myself to take a deeeeeep breath and look her fingers and i gotta say: it’s pretty damn bad. seeing them kind of makes me want to hold her and tell her to never slice or julienne anything ever again.

when she got home from the hospital, i told holly we’d be throwing out the slicer. but frank said it was “operator error” and that there’s nothing wrong with the slicer. it was, in fact, the operator. which was holly. so, despite  my pleas, we brought the damn thing home.

last week, when i was upstairs, and holly was downstairs and therefore unsupervised, she secretly julienned zucchini and yellow squash for a pizza. i got kind of mad that she was using it again, but what can i do? she’s a chef, she needs to express herself through her culinary creations and has vowed to never, ever use the mandolin slicer without the guard again. i, on the other hand, am investigating blade-resistant gloves.

this concludes what i hope will be the bloodiest lunch at 11:30 post ever. if you fainted, you can wake up now. here are two funny captioned hamster pictures to help ease you back into consciousness.

funny hamster picture

funny hamster picture 2

haha. until next time! happy 2013! and if you need to use a mandolin slicer USE THE DAMN GUARD.

p.s. if you live in the baltimore area, be sure to pick up the current issue of baltimore bride, which features my essay, “Four Weddings And a Referendum: A love story about two women and their many weddings,” which chronicles our multiple nuptials (including some of the less-than-perfect things that happened on the way to our first wedding–the BFGW, if you will. kind of like the “dvd extras” you never got to read the first time around.) the entire issue is pretty goshdarn gorgeous and i’m honored to be a part of it. (plus they drew a picture of us!)

holly and i as CARTOONS!

us! as cartoons! (look at my shiny hair! FABULOUS!)

this is what happened when i met jennifer weiner, part 2

the fourth and final installment of the “what i did this summer” series.
[part 1 (shot guns/cooked a fish) is here. part 2 (flirted with siri) is over here. part 3 (took a 30-minute flight without xanax, made a scene) is over there.]

you may recall my post a few months ago in which i met my literary idol, new york times bestselling author jennifer weiner, and promptly turned into a blubbering idiot, scaring her by saying things like, “i think i’m going to faint.” and the very unique “i’m a writer, too.”

it was my mom who wound up rescuing me from myself, miraculously and stealthily popping up behind my shoulder, announcing in a way that only a jewish mother can that i really was a writer, making me look far less crazy and perhaps only emotionally deranged.

when i found out that jen would be stopping by the philadelphia public library on tour for her fab new book the next best thing, i called my mom immediately on her new iphone (that she bought at best buy for $49; please oh please don’t ask her about her iphone–more on that later) and told her we needed to go. a longtime jennifer weiner fan, she immediately agreed.

we got to the library and there was already a line to get into the auditorium. once the doors were unlocked and everyone filed in, it soon became absolutely packed. despite the crowd, i knew with great certainty that i was still jen’s #1 SuperFan.

what i’m saying is: if she had a fanclub, i’d be president and i’d make holly treasurer and we’d hold bake sales. i’d make holly bake everything, of course. and we’d name the baked goods after her books, like Good in Bed Brownies and Fly Away Home Flan (ok wait: flan’s probably not good for a bake sale.)

my mom and i found seats towards the front right, and after this funny library guy gave an introduction, jen walked out and the crowd went wild. well, as wild as a library crowd can get.

she started speaking and five minutes later, i see my mom covertly open her purse and unearth a small mass of chocolate chips. and they’re wrapped in plastic wrap. she “secretly” unwraps them, then begins sneaking them out a couple at a time.

she’s trying to be quiet, but it’s no use. she’s the kid in synagogue trying to wrestle a hard candy out of a crinkly wrapper in the middle of the torah service. (if you’ve ever been to synagogue you know this isn’t a good thing.)

mom,” i whispered.

“do you want some?” she whispered back. (and by “whispered” i mean not whisper. jewish mothers are not renowned for whispering. it’s like an evolutionary mechanism to protect their children from wild animals and cold weather.)

“they’re ghirardelli,” she said, pushing them in my direction. like the fact that they’re a name brand was going to make me want to snack on chocolate chips during a jennifer weiner event.

“no thanks, mom.”

then she informed me she had “cheese wedges,” in her purse, too, which i could only surmise meant laughing cow cheese wedges, which are actually meant to spread on crackers at home or at the office, or even at a picnic, not enjoy on their own in the philadelphia public library’s auditorium during a jennifer weiner event.

“mom, what? cheese wedges?” i whispered, my eyes wide.

“well, it’s protein,” she non-whispered back . “and carbohydrates.”

“oh i am so blogging about this,” i told her.

“do you want one?” she asked, trying not to laugh.

“no, mom, i don’t want any cheese wedges!” i said, trying not to crack up while simultaneously trying to remember what she was saying, since i knew i’d be writing it down.

then she offered me chocolate chips again, which i declined–again.

after jen’s talk, (which was hysterical–you can listen to it here) all us superfans ran out and got in line for her to sign our books. i guess the problem with sitting in front at an author event is that you’re pretty much dead last in line for the signing.

i really didn’t mind, as i feel a special kind of kinship with other jennifer weiner superfans (JWSFs). i quickly befriended my fellow line waiters, thrilled to discuss my fave JW books without holding back. we also animatedly discussed jen’s foxy new look, which featured glamorous extensions and fabulous shoes.

my mom joined the line, also thrilled to be part of the JWSF excitement. i don’t know how it came up, but one of my new JWSF friends started talking about coupons and wouldn’t you know, my mom has an app for that. on her new iphone. that she got for $49 at best buy.

“i have the greatest coupon app!” my mom told my new friends. (this from the woman who never figured out how to use a VCR–and yet she’s mastered the world of apps. i know, i don’t get it either.)

“i got my iphone for $49 at best buy,” she continued.

mom,” i implored, gently touching her shoulder. but it was too late. the levy broke. the i-got-my-iphone-for-$49-at-best-buy-yes-i-really-did-no-i’m-not-kidding speech had begun.

“…you see? it’s a real iphone. yeah i really did get it for $49. i can’t believe it either.”

“i think you’re calling someone,” one of my new friends, i think her name was emily, politely informed her.

“what? i am? how can you tell?”

“look, the call counter’s on,” i said, pointing to the screen. “it’s ruth.”

in her coupon app excitement, she had accidentally called her friend ruth. i love ruth.

she held the phone up to her ear.

hello? HELLO? ruth? hello?”

when it comes to cell phones, jewish mothers have no volume regulator. it’s only loud or LOUDER. it’s like they think whomever they’re talking to is connected to their cell phone by a piece of string and if they don’t speak loud enough the other person will not hear them.

“i think she hung up,” she told us.

then my mom did what any sensible jewish mom would do after accidentally calling her friend ruth while waiting in a jennifer weiner booksigning line at the philadelphia public library: she called her back.

“ruth? HELLO, RUTH? hi, it’s susan! IT’S SUSAN. right, i called. by accident. uh-huh, i’m at the jennifer weiner event right now with jessie. oh it’s so fun! yeah. ok i can’t talk. but i’ll…what? what? i think we’re…hello? right i’ll call you, i’ll call you back. ok, talk to you later.”

“that was ruth,” she said.

“i know,” i said.

i think everyone in line knew it was ruth.

the line was moving at a decent pace. before i knew it, it was our turn.

jen greeted us warmly, and i mentioned that i was the crazed SuperFan that blogged about meeting her months earlier.

“and this is my mom. again,” i said, smiling, proud of my effervescent champ of a professor mom that, if i invite her, will come with me to any and all jennifer weiner events in the philadelphia area, come hell, high water, or chocolate chips. she will get there three hours early with me to sit in the front row (like she did last time), and she will stand in a book signing line with me for who knows how long, make friends with other JWSFs, and educate them on handy, money-saving apps.

jen laughed and said it was nice to see us again and yes, of course she remembered my blog post. (how could she not? if you had a psycho fan write a 1,000-word blog post about how she met you for two minutes, you’d remember it, too.)

then she asked me why i was so nervous about meeting her the last time.

i blubbered something about…oh hell. i actually don’t remember what i said because i’m probably repressing it as it most likely sounded mentally incompetent or at least slightly demented. however i do remember saying something about madonna. (i have the unique ability to insert the topic of madonna into any conversation.) 

jen announced that i needed a beach towel. before i knew it, i was holding a huge JW towel.

then she mentioned something about thinking about her when i was hot and steamy just out of the shower and then i really forgot everything i planned to say.

in my JWSF stupor, someone handed me a JW tote bag. then, tote and towel in hand,  i waved goodbye to jen and my new JWSF friends–just another 30-something emotionally deranged superfan with her sensible mom.

i put my JW beach towel in my new JW tote and stepped into my dad’s waiting highlander, amped up from the delicious combination of literary celebrity, community, and free fan merchandise.

suddenly i felt my blood-sugar dropping.

“mom, do you have any of those chocolate chips left?”

of course she did. and man was i glad they were a name brand.

as the chocolate chips melted in my mouth, i held my new JW tote close and thought about all the fun things my mom and i have done over the years: playing hooky when i was a kid to hit the MET and the hard rock cafe on a school day (YES REALLY!); getting miraculously bumped up about a hundred rows closer to barry manilow when he played madison square garden a few years ago (yes i took my mom to a barry manilow concert; it’s called love, people–and besides, he still has a voice like buttah and moves very well for a man his age); countless mall outings, coffee shop chitchats, and trips to buy me bare escentuals make-up and warm winter coats (jewish parents live to buy their children warm winter coats).

i suddenly kind of wanted a cheese wedge, too.

“i love you, mom. thanks for coming with me,” i said.

“i love you, too, honey. i had a great time. i knew you’d eventually want some chocolate chips. that’s why i brought them. here’s a cheese wedge. the chocolate’s not enough. you need protein, too.”

aw, mom.

——–

this concludes the what i did this summer series. it was a busy summer full of mystery and intrigue: grilled cheeses. guns. flirting with female robots. a 30-minute flight to pittsburgh without xanax. literary celebrities. moms. chocolate chips. free totes.

special thanks to jennifer weiner for once again being a good sport with her more…excitable fans. and the towel. and the tote, which i proudly tote around, proclaiming my superfan-ness.

an additional special thanks to jen’s fab assistant meghan, who not only remembered me, but didn’t run away when she saw me coming towards her. i believe she orchestrated the free towel and tote, but i was too excited to understand it at the time. love the towel, love the tote, love that you didn’t kick us out for chocolate-chipping. (do you want some? i’m sure my mom has more.)

next up: tacos with the in-laws. and how i thought i just scratched my throat with a corn shell but wound up coming down with a two-week cold that’s resulted in me becoming an alcoholic.

hurricanes upset my hiatal hernia

(a breaking news interruption in the what i did this summer series)

like most jewish girls in the 21st century, i’m not known for my hearty nature. my straightened hair frizzes easily, my joints tend to ache before rain, and i need to eat every three hours or my blood-sugar will drop severely and i will undoubtedly act out.  (trust me, you don’t want me to act out.)

i also have a hiatal hernia that gets irritated during stressful situations. so you know i wasn’t happy to hear there was the worst hurricane in like 50 years headed our way.

to be quite frank, even before sandy’s arrival, i’d kind of had it with the natural disaster type things around here. we’d already had two hurricanes and we’ve only lived in baltimore since 2006. oh and then there was THAT EARTHQUAKE which i mistakenly thought was an underground gas explosion, which propelled me to make the wise decision to stick my head out of our second-floor bedroom’s wide-open windows and shout at the jackhammering work guys outside WHAT THE F*CK ARE YOU DOING MY HOUSE IS GOING TO EXPLODE.

as luck would have it, a drugdealer across the street looked up at me and shouted EAAARTH-QUAKE!!!!!! oh so it wasn’t a gas explosion, i thought as i my socked feet slid across the rumbling floor. relief quickly turned to guilt, as i really gave the confused-looking workers a verbal lashing. i kind of felt like a dumbass but whatever. it could have been a gas explosion. what the hell do i know? i’ve never felt a friggin earthquake before. this isn’t california, it’s maryland. so i did what any jersey girl would do: i threw on my sneaks and jean jacket, grabbed  my purse and ran the hell out the door. it doesn’t matter that it was 90 degrees out. hell if i’m going to let our house crumble on my very best jean jacket.

anyway, as soon as i heard about the hurricane, my hiatal hernia started acting up. (have you ever had bad gas pains? yeah, it’s kind of like that but higher and it burns.) i put on my brave face (and yes, my jean jacket) and went to safeway friday afternoon to buy water only to be confronted by soviet-era empty shelves, then promptly threatened to cut a girl and pull out her weave for two bottles of smartwater. (no i actually didn’t do that but i could have don’t tempt me)

i bugged holly all weekend about getting ice, buying more drinks, buying more food, making sure the gas tank was filled, recharging all the rechargeable batteries we bought before the last hurricane that we haven’t used yet. i also bugged her to cook me hearty hurricane food like guinness beef stew and chili even though they would probably all upset my hiatal hernia.

i finally remembered to fill up the bathtub sunday night, when the hurricane was already well under way, of course. i’m not exactly sure why you should do that? because storms make the water go out? and then you use it to flush the toilet?

whatever, they kept mentioning it on the news and it was stressing me out. so i turned on the tub then went downstairs and started doing dishes until, panic-stricken, i remembered OH MY GOSH I LEFT THE WATER ON BABE TURN IT OFF HURRY!

“oh i love how this is my responsibility now!” holly shouted as she frantically ran up the stairs.

i knew she was right but i was also in the middle of doing dishes. sue me, i panicked and she was closer to the stairs. anyway, in those moments before she got to the bathroom, i had visions of the tub running over and telling people, yeah we had a really bad leak and our ceiling collapsed but no, it wasn’t because of the hurricane, it was because i left the bathtub on for like 30 minutes.

“IT’S OKAY!” holly shouted downstairs.

i breathed out, eternally grateful for our oversized tub.

i rewarded myself for getting through such a stressful time by drinking some cranberry-lemonade honest-ade, which we bought in case the water went out and/or became poisoned, so it was strictly off-limits. i took a few gulps and irresponsibly encouraged holly to do the same.

then we decided to go downstairs to our children-of-the-corn basement, which, yes, once smelled like dead people but doesn’t anymore, to check how much water we were getting.

we quickly discovered that we’d sprung a new leak, which was saturating the ceiling. i immediately started worrying about how much it would cost to fix and would it lead to structural damage, simultaneously patting myself on the back for even knowing such a term. then i realized holly had been talking to me for like a minute asking me to help her pump the water out of the basement through our street-level basement window.

while we were pumping, all i could do was think about how much i wanted to wash my hands and would i get a spider bite and would patient first be open and what if i needed antibiotics?

we went back upstairs to the living room, and by then the wind was really going. between the howling winds, the leak downstairs, and pounding rain, i doubted i’d be able to fall asleep.

suddenly holly was next to me on the couch in her pajamas wanting to watch one of her dumb comedy/action movies. you know, the kind where one thing after another goes wrong? (this one was “the sitter,” which, though kind of annoying and crude, was also kind of funny.)

she’s always stealthily changing into her pajamas. seriously, i turn my back for a minute and the girl’s in her pajamas. i don’t even know how she does it but it never ceases to amaze me.

“you really want to go to sleep in your pajamas?” i asked her wide-eyed. “what if we need to run out in an emergency in the middle of the night? i’m sleeping in my clothes. i’m not even taking off my bra.”

“what kind of emergency?” she said, trying not to laugh.

“well…like if the windows break. if the wind blows the windows out and we have to run out of the house away from flying glass!”

“i think we’ll be ok,” she said, settling into the movie.

i gave her the evil eye, jealous of her cozy pajamas. my jeggings suddenly seemed restrictive, and my ironic flannel shirt felt too hot. but whatever. i was prepared. she’d be the one sopping wet in her pajamas outside with the neighborhood perverts if our window blew out, not me.

when the movie was over, we went to bed. i decided to wear sweatpants to sleep because hell if was going to run out of the house in the middle of the night in boxer shorts amongst the perverts and whatnot. i had a moment of hesitation regarding my bra but decided i could put it on while running out of the house if need be.

i’m happy to report that besides the new basement leaks, our house withstood the wind and rain. and i did manage to sleep. and there were no emergencies causing us to run outside in the rain amongst the perverts. i was relieved i didn’t have to put my on bra on the run. to be honest, i’m not sure if that’s even possible.

my heart is heavy for all the folks that lost their homes, lost everything, even their lives. i spent many happy times with my family at the jersey shore. but, as a one-time jersey girl, i have to say: new jersey folks are damn resilient. if anyone can rebuild, it’s them. the same goes for those in queens.

last night i thought about posting this entry, wondering if it was too nonchalant considering the damage that’s been done. but then i decided everyone could use a laugh right about now. and what better way to cheer up than to read about my multiple neuroses (and my hiatal hernia) during a hurricane? exactly.

in unrelated news, if you love lunch at 11:30, and i know you do!, please help me win best personal blog in the baltimore sun mobbies competition. signing up takes about…5 seconds. and voting takes about the same! just click on the badge below and look for lunch at 11:30. you can vote once a day, every day! not to try to bribe you or anything, but i’ll totally send you leftover halloween candy if you vote for me. i promise it won’t have any needles in it. promise. and no raisins. i don’t believe in giving out raisins. or pennies. just candy. THANKS.

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not taking xanax on my 30-minute flight to pittsburgh was a really bad idea

the third installment of what i did this summer.*

*(two to three more installments to follow.)
**(part 1 is over here. part 2 is over there.)
***(can we start now? good.)

if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may recall that just over a year ago, i bought a holiday sweater from chico’s, got a prescription for xanax, and boarded a plane to san francisco for my dear friend nicole‘s wedding.

(then i proceeded to wear that sweater–which was both unseasonal and inappropriately sparkly–to her pre-wedding party, burning out several people’s retinas in the process. SORRY ABOUT THAT.)

anyway, a couple weeks before leaving, i called my doctor saying i was nervous about the flight and could she prescribe something gentle and extremely low dose to help calm me down before and during my trip.

“xanax,” she said without skipping a beat.

she explained that it was the lowest dose available on the market, and i could even just take half.

i picked up the little white pills at the pharmacy later that day and stared at them. LORD, i thought. i must really love nicole because i do not want to take these pills nor do i want to take this flight. 

(and i do love her!!! hi, nicole! mwah!)

i decided to do a “test run” at home, and took one (well, half, ok i’m a sissy and actually only took half) on a sunday afternoon as holly and i were watching a movie on the couch.

my immediate urge was, of course, to gag myself and throw it up. but alas, as a neurotic jewish control freak, i avoid throwing up at all costs, so gagging myself was not an option and i was stuck there on the couch with the xanax melting in my stomach.

i immediately started to panic. kind of like that one time i took caffeine pills i found in a freebie welcome-to-college pack when i was a freshman and collapsed on the floor next to my sleeping roommate.

“it’s ok, babe,” holly said, her eyes fixed on whatever annoying action-comedy she had chosen. “you’ll be fine.”

and…i was fine. i was actually fine! it felt more like my old migraine medicine, but better. it just sort of…took the edge off. and it worked perfectly on my flight. except for when it wore off somewhere over colorado but we’re not going there right now.

so when holly bugged me til i agreed to let her mom book me a flight to pittsburgh a couple months ago–while holly was there helping her gram–i was like, ok, yeah sure. i can do this. i’ll take a xanax, i’ll be fine. 

but then i started thinking stupid things like: wait. do i really want to use xanax as a crutch like this? it’s just a half-hour flight. i can do it. i want to see how i actually am on a flight. maybe i’m not that bad anymore. it’s just half an hour.

folks, this was deranged thinking. a half-hour flight is still a half hour flight! you still have to board the friggin plane, sit the hell down, wait a long time for it to take off. then you have to take off (omg i hate taking off), fly and land.

i woke up at 5am nervous as hell, even though my flight was at 4pm,  so i started off my day by downloading a bunch of songs from itunes on my new iphone to calm me down on the plane. they were what some might call comfort songs. the musical equivalent of…toast with jam. a slice of your favorite pizza. birthday cake. ok carbs. they were the musical equivalent of carbs.

here’s what i purchased:

(i’ve had) the time of my life (yes, from dirty dancing)
waiting for a star to fall (yes, 80s)
so emotional (yes, whitney houston, yes, 80s)
i wanna dance with somebody (yes, whitney, yes more 80s)
bette davis eyes (and yet…more 80s!) (that is one DAMN GOOD SONG btw)
hammer and a nail (yes, indigo girls; yes, very lesbionic of me, i know)
now or never (gotta throw a little dance in there, too) (also a GREAT SONG)

so. i get on the plane. and i get a seat right in the middle on the wing like i wanted. and this businesslady is sitting next to me. she’s in sales and flys all the time and i’m totally making her talk to me even though it’s clear she’s really not interested.

i mention that i’m a nervous flyer but decided i didn’t want to take xanax.

“i just don’t want to use it as a crutch, you know?” i tell her.

she looks at me and smiles politely, as if to say: lady, i really wish you would have taken your xanax. i’m really doubting my decision to sit next to you.

she assures me that the flight is short. you’re up, you’re down, you’re there.

then it starts to rain. hard. and i fear there’s lightning. there’s only one thing that scares me more than flying and it’s lightning. but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

anyway, the storm passes and we finally move onto the runway. convinced the roar of the jet engines will cover it up, i start doing deep breathing exercises. we lift off the ground and suddenly i realize:

THIS WAS THE STUPIDEST IDEA OF MY LIFE. I REALLY SHOULD HAVE TAKEN XANAX.

i start frantically searching for my homeopathic stress spray and dammit i’m out! i’m spraying it in my mouth and…NOTHING. JESUS MARY JOSEPH WHY DIDN’T I BUY MORE OF THIS WHERE THE HELL IS MY XANAX.

and then, out the window, maybe a few hundred feet from the plane:

LIGHTNING.

HOLY G-D GET ME OFF THIS PLANE I AM GOING TO DIE.

at this point, i think the grumpy-ish sales lady begins hearing my deep breathing exercises and so she starts to make conversation with me. this helps a little. i thank her and start to calm down.

they make an announcement that we can turn on our electronic devices so i bust out my new iphone and my brand-new, never-before-used earphones.

i decide i’m more in the mood for dance music, so i choose “now or never.” (don’t ask me why, sometimes pounding dance music calms me down.)

i put in my earphones and crank up the tunes except for…i can barely hear it.

man these damn jet engines are loud, i think as i turn it up. and up. and up. til it won’t go up any louder. DAMMIT I WANT TO HEAR THIS SONG WHAT THE HELL.

a guy turns around in the row in front of me and gives me a dirty look. i glare back at him as if to say WHAT MOTHERF*CKER?! YOU NEVER HEARD A JEWISH GIRL FROM JERSEY DO DEEP BREATHING EXERCISES ON A PLANE BEFORE? I JUST SAW LIGHTENING I’M ABOUT TO FLIP MY SH*T DON’T TEMPT ME I LIVE IN BALTIMORE NOW AND I WILL CUT YOU AND PULL OUT YOUR WEAVE.

never mind that he wasn’t wearing a weave. but if he was i would have pulled it out to set an example for the plane.

i feel a tap on my shoulder. it’s the grumpy-ish saleslady.

she leans towards me.

“we can hear that,” she says, smiling.

i look around the plane. everyone’s looking at me. this one lady across the aisle, she’s looking at me, smiling as if to say, sweetie, it’s ok. we all know you’re nervous. you obviously don’t know how to use your iphone yet. 

my face gets hot. ohmygosh. i didn’t have my earphones plugged completely in my iphone. MY PHONE WAS BLASTING DANCE MUSIC AT FULL CAPACITY.

it was really loud. i can’t emphasize this enough.

i quickly hit pause, take out my earphones and explain to the saleslady that i got an iphone like a week ago and i was still figuring out how to use it. there are still a lot of people looking at me. i suddenly feel bad about thinking how i was going to cut that guy and pull out his non-existent weave.

i thank her for alerting me, push the earphones in and start listening to “waiting for a star to fall,” wishing i could disappear.  i’m suddenly extremely grateful i hadn’t been blasting “i had the time of my life.” i mean, can you imagine??

not even five minutes later, they announce we’re starting our descent into pittsburgh and to please turn off our electronic devices.

the grumpy-ish saleslady has her eyes closed with her head back and she’s still laughing. i kind of want to pull out her weave but her hair looks real.

we land in pittsburgh. my half-hour ride is over. i’m chilly with sweat. i vow to myself: never ever again without xanax. never. again. without. xanax.