Tag Archives: lunch

my modern love essay that the new york times didn’t publish

i know, i know. i kind of suck b/c i haven’t been blogging lately and you’re sick of seeing that androgynous goth person staring at you every time you visit to see if i’ve updated. (in all honesty: not a clue if that’s a man or a woman.)

i’ve been so busy working (pbbbbt! work! i know, right?!!) that i’m going to cheat and in lieu of one of my typically ridiculous entries, i’m going to share my modern love essay recently submitted to and politely and promptly rejected by the new york times. not a huge surprise they didn’t publish it, as i’m sure they get about a trillion submissions a month, but a bummer nonetheless.

the great thing is that essays like this don’t go to waste when you have a blog. so i am self-publishing my essay. please enjoy all the capital letters and proper punctuation and i promise i’ll be back soon…

You’re Gonna Meet a Prince(ss) 

Throughout my youth and adolescence, my grandmother predicted three things:

1. If I ate any more than 10 grapes (red or green, didn’t matter), I would get a “bellyache.” (This wasn’t just me, either. This was all people.)

2. I’d meet and marry a prince. A “Jewish prince,” she declared, despite my argument that Jewish princes hadn’t existed for at least a couple thousand years, if they ever existed at all.

3. That using a blow dryer every day would ruin my hair.

Which do you think turned out to be true? (I’ll give you a hint: It doesn’t have anything to do with fruit or princes.)

When she died nearly 11 years ago (she was 91, I was 21; “A babe in the woods,” she’d say), I probably had never eaten more than 10 grapes at any one time, and I was still on the fence about the hairdryer thing. But even in high school, I secretly knew in my heart of hearts that the prince she predicted I’d meet might actually turn out to be a princess. And who knows if she’d even be Jewish.

Losing my grandmother was devastating to me. Our coffee klatsch of two was now a coffee klatsch of one. I had lost my best friend.

Who would I have toasted bagels and lox with? Who would I call at midnight just to say hi? And now that she was in heaven, what would she think of the fact that her granddaughter was a rainbow flag-waving homosexual? Surely she would find out (after she hit the Heavenly Diner all-you-can-eat cheese Danish/macaroni salad/pickles and smoked fish buffet, of course).

I tried not to focus on what she’d think, and kept my head down and focused as a young community reporter in suburban Washington, D.C.

And then it happened: I met my princess. I met Holly.

It was an unusually hot April night in downtown Washington. We were both wallflowers at ladies night at a gay bar on 17th Street. Soon we were talking outside. She wrote her email address on a square napkin in blue ink. I emailed her a week later. She wasn’t Jewish. I went out with her anyway. I mean, how long could it really last?

That was 10 years ago.

Since then, we’ve been married twice (once “unlawfully,” once lawfully—both times in Washington, just up the street from where we met in 2001). We bought, gutted and renovated a boarded-up crackhouse in southeast Baltimore, which we now call home. Our life is one big adventure. I love her more than life itself.

While Holly never had the pleasure of meeting my walker-pushing, hell-raising, unfiltered Pall Mall-smoking grandma, I’ve kept her a part of our lives by reminiscing almost daily about our times together. Sometimes I’ll even call someone a bastard (“bas-tid” in Grandma’s Jersey-ese) in her memory. Usually behind their back, but not always. This would have made her incredibly proud.

I don’t wonder anymore what she’d think of the fact that I’m gay. She wouldn’t care. I don’t wonder what she’d think of Holly. She’d absolutely adore her.

My grandmother had four younger brothers. My 90-year-old Great Uncle Ben was the baby of the Leibowitz clan, and is the last sibling standing. He’s become like a grandfather to both Holly and I. He’s been our biggest supporter, and was up front and center—fresh off the plane from Fort Lauderdale—at our legal wedding in Washington in March 2010.

He is the male incarnation of my grandma—kind, funny, generous and always ready with a dismissive “ah-who-the-hell-needs-‘em” hand wave to anyone who does me wrong. I love him so much my eyes fill with tears when we’re together. We both do. And he loves us back.

Holly met him for the first time in August 2009, and he gave her a huge bear hug from his couch.

“My new niece!” he announced, holding her hand, his eyes shining with delight.

He took my parents, Holly and I out to eat that first evening. As he and I walked into the restaurant, he paused—his wheelie walker (the kind with the breaks) and south Florida humidity between us—and turned to me.

“Are you happy? Does she make you happy?” he asked, touching my hand.

“Yes,” I said, tears in my eyes. “Yes, she does.”

“Well, that’s all that matters. If someone doesn’t like it, they can go to hell,” he said. “Let’s eat.”

And with that, I knew. It wasn’t just Uncle Ben speaking. It was Grandma, too.

I’d like to think it was more than serendipity that brought Holly and I together that warm April night 10 years ago.

“That one,” I imagine Grandma saying from her regular booth at the Heavenly Diner, her mouth full of potato salad and beets and everything else she loved from Jersey diner salad bars that I couldn’t stand as a kid.

“She needs to meet that one,” she said, pointing down at Holly. “That’s the one. They’re going to have a wonderful life together.”

And we really do have a wonderful life together. I have my coffee klatsch of two again. Sometimes, when we’re lucky enough to all be together, it’s even a coffee klatsch of three—me, Holly and Uncle Ben.

cry for help: i can’t stop watching “i shouldn’t be alive”

trust me, without the proper snacks & hydration, i probably wouldn’t be.

i’m not a big tv person. sure, i love my today show. i love a little ellen here and there. cooking shows even tho i have no patience for cooking b/c i’m always too damn hungry to follow directions and wind up screwing everything up. obviously i love my golden girls reruns even tho holly won’t let me watch them anymore, don’t ask me why. (i’m sure she’ll be annoyed i wrote that, but whatever. that’s what the comment section is for.)

but i’ll tellya what: every now and then a show comes along, and you cannot. stop. watching it. for me, that show is “i shouldn’t be alive.” it’s on animal planet. hell if i know why, as the stories are always about humans but whatever.

if you’ve never seen it, the scenario is usually something along the lines of a couple/few dumbbutts go on a backwoods/water-oriented/mountain, etc. adventure and something goes terrible wrong and then they’re stranded and in a race for time to a) survive and b) get rescued somehow. it is damn good tv.

they weave interviews w/the person or people that went thru the ordeal into the narration and have actors dramatize the whole thing. it sucks when all of the people aren’t interviewed b/c then you know one died. i hate that.

anyway, our household television viewing usually goes something like this: holly’s watching something downstairs. i shout BABE WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING three or four times from the sink (where i’m doing the dishes) until she hears me over the running water and whatever’s on. (i’m sure she now regrets the tragically hip open floor plan she designed for us, which allows to me to yell like a jewish grandmother across the entire first floor whenever i want.)

she pretends not to hear me until i become unbearably loud and then she says something along the lines of stop asking so many questions/sit down and watch this, will you?

i have a very short attention span for tv, but sometimes i’ll actually sit down and watch whatever she’s got on. that’s how i started watching the new york/beverly hills/new jersey housewives. also america’s funniest home videos, which i used to really not like but now kind of enjoy b/c holly’s taught me how to laugh when ppl fall down (except old ppl and little kids; we don’t like that–hello, we’re not evil).

anyway, “i shouldn’t be alive” (ISBA) was one of those shows. and on the weekends it’s like these ISBA marathons. we try to get up but we can’t. my fingers and toes and the tip of my nose get freezing cold even tho duh, i know they’re going to be saved!

on more than one occasion, i’ve told holly–as i shiver w/nerves next to her on the couch–that i’m quite sure i’d be the first to die in one of those scenarios. holly says people surprise themselves in those dire-straight type situations, but i’m telling you, low blood-sugar runs in my family. if i don’t eat every three hours i’m toast. i get migraines w/out the proper amount of caffeine and water. not to mention the fact that my overly sensitive cervical spine (i.e. neck), which will undoubtedly get irritated w/out at least one feather pillow. the sad thing is here you think i’m kidding but i’m actually not.

i’m like the 21st-century jersey-girl version of the princess and the pea.  “oh my gaaaaaaaawsh. ew, i can’t sleep on the ground! is there a starbucks around here? oh my gawsh how do you know those berries aren’t poisonous?” oh and let’s not forget the lack of my precious straightening iron. if i don’t wind up bear food and actually manage to get rescued, my hair would be a mess.

oh i also failed to mention that i can only tread water for like three minutes tops so if this is an ocean adventure gone awry, i’d drown almost immediately b/c i’d be too panicked to take off my shirt/jeggings/whatever and blow it/them up into a flotation device however the hell you do that.

i’m going off-topic here. what i’m trying to say is, if you haven’t watched the show, i doubledog dare you to turn it on, watch for 5, 10 minutes and then try to turn it off. it’s nearly impossible. kind of like american idol tryouts except worse. and with wolves.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“huh?” holly replied.

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

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

“oh. yeah.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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this is how you know technology has gotten to you

spam: now in special mailslot size.

when you call actual paper junk mail–the stuff that comes thru your mail slot, that you can, like, actually touch and hold in your hands–“spam.” i have done this more than a few times lately and, frankly, it freaks me out a little.

“what’d we get, babe?” holly asks me across the house (our first floor is one big open space) as i crouch down to pick up the pile on the floor under our mail slot.

“just a buncha spam,” i say, stopping myself. “i mean JUNK MAIL. oh my GOSH why do i keep calling our junk mail ‘spam’???!”

at this point, holly, however, isn’t listening to me anymore. i talk so much she stopped listening to me about eight years ago. (ha. i need to pause here and tell you that TODAY is our nine-year anniversary!! happy anniversary, baby! oh wait. she didn’t hear me. lol.)

anyway, it kinda makes sense, the junk mail/spam thing, as the garbage-type paper mail we all get is indeed called “junk mail.” and junk mail in our inboxes is also called spam. so i guess i’m getting my lines crossed. still, it’s weird. kind of like when i’m laughing at a text message or IM or facebook-y thing and holly asks what i’m laughing at and i really wish i didn’t have to speak and could just, like, email her about it instead. so much for technology making us more effecient. talking is so…two years ago.

(shout out to fellow blogger t. for making me think about spam.)

(any of you out there actually try spam? as in, the food? or processed food byproduct or whatever it is. it seems…jiggly.)

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bring on the pizza!

passover ends tonight and omG what a week’s it’s been. i genuinely like passover but this year was tough. i’ve actually been looking fwd to it ending. we’ve had…a rough eight or so days. i can’t even tell you about it. you’re going to have to wait for book #2 for that info. [now, if only our lives could quiet down for like, five minutes, i could actually finish the proposal for book #1. (tho all the sh*t going down in our lives sure does make for good book #2 material.) i am so close to finishing that proposal, btw. (hey it’s hard summing up your entire life in a creative business proposal!) i’m telling you, folks, this is gonna be good. you all can say you knew me way back when.]

i’ve been distracting myself from thinking about puffy pizza crust and crunchy breaded fish sticks by reading ozzy osbourne’s memoir i am ozzy. talk about crazy! i don’t even know how that guy’s still alive, let alone functioning (ok, some could argue that point). hell, i can barely wrap my mind around the fact that he’s fathered multiple children! you’d think that, at a certain point, his sperm would yell, OZZY! ENOUGH! YOU’RE KILLING US DOWN HERE! but no. like i learned in slash’s memoir (and a million little pieces; oh that one’s a real doozie, too), the human body has an amazing capicity to process toxins. it’s mind boggling. and makes me feel a hell of a lot better for hittin’ the advil. (man i am such a dork.)

in any case, YES, bring ON the pizza. tonight at sundown, baby. poor holly’s been trying to convince me to eat pizza all week. she’s such a sport for going along with the passover thing. tho she did try to convince me it was tuesday yesterday, simply to eat pizza. i nearly fell for it, too. little stinker. ha.

extraordinarily ordinary (license to wed!)

we did something so ordinary today that it was absolutely extraordinary:

we applied for a marriage license. in DC. we went to the courthouse, found a parking spot, went into the building, got scanned at the metal detector (got my camera temporarily confiscated but that’s ok) and…asked where we–my partner, my longtime female partner, and i–could apply for a marriage license.

“fourth floor,” the security guy said as his metal detector beeped over my wedding rings. “and congratulations,” he added with a smile.

i smiled back and said thank you. i felt like pinching myself. it was just…so ordinary. so normal. so everyday-weekday-just-another-couple-applying-for-a-marriage-license. i felt so happy (absolutely elated, in fact). i felt like part of the crowd, like everybody else. i felt…respected.

as a same-sex couple in america, you just get used to feeling–in “official” situations and everyday situations, too–less than. as not valid. i mean, for crying out loud, i still have to mark “single” on medical forms! and taxes! even tho we had a *huge* wedding and holly and i have been together almost nine years. but today we weren’t less than. today we were on equal footing like all the other couples in the marriage bureau. we had the same paperwork. the same people processed our information. we have to wait three business days for our license like everyone else. just like everyone else. oh my gosh how i love saying that. just like everyone else.

we got up to room 4485 and got in line. luckily there wasn’t a crowd (or protestors outside) like there was wednesday, when DC began issuing marriage licenses (or, rather, taking applications; regardless of gender, all couples have a three-day waiting period until a license is actually issued). there were a few couples in front of us, and then, eventually, behind us. we all stood on the institutional tiles together, waiting. i kept joking with holly that she could still back out. b/c, until this point, we have been, as i like to say, “unlawfully wedded.” i played a lionel richie song for her on the way to DC, “stuck on you” (i’m sure you know the one, even if you don’t realize it–good song!).

“you ready to be stuck?” i asked holding her hand, smiling mischievously as baltimore’s industrial scenery whooshed by.

you ready to be stuck?” she asked back.

we both laughed and sang along a little. yeah, we were ready.

eventually it was our turn, and we were called into the tan-carpeted, downright drab government office. it could have been the taj mahal as far as i was concerned, i was thrilled just to be there. we signed in and handed off the necessary paperwork (which we got online and filled out at home to save time), our drivers licenses and sat back down. then a worker with a thick accent called us up. he asked us to check out the forms to make sure he had inputted all of our information correctly. we told him it was and then, without warning, asked us to raise our right hand and pledge that everything we had written down was correct.

we raised our right hands and pledged yes. just as he was reciting his lines, i noticed they had a radio on, close by, it sounded like. it was that great new train song, “hey soul sister.” everything felt so perfect. even tho holly was so tired from a trying week (see my previous entry; we just got back yesterday afternoon) and was a little grumpy. and it was hard to understand exactly what the guy was saying with his thick accent. and i was hungry (hey it was past 11:30 and i hadn’t eaten lunch) and there were still little mounds of dirty snow piled up on the sidewalks here and there all over the city and i had the hangover of a five-day migraine…i swear it felt so perfect. more perfect than our wedding day, even, which was so rife with stress and worry. i started tearing up. i looked over at holly to see if she was, too, but quickly averted my eyes just in case the guy thought i was trying to hide something. i practically had to bite my lip to hold back tears.

we left and stopped to pay $45 at a cashiers office. then we went downstairs and picked up my confiscated camera.

“you do what you came to do?” the same security guard asked.

“we sure did,” we said.

and with that, we walked out into the cold and back to our car, which, thankfully, wasn’t towed or even ticketed since we parked it in a spot that we weren’t for sure certain was 100 percent legal. a miracle, i thought. a special present for our marriage license application day.

as we were driving away, i was like, did you hear our song? they were playing our song! holly asked which song. “hey soul sister,” i said. that’s not our song, she said, annoyed. i thought you were talking about our wedding song (technically, we have two, since we each dedicated one to each other at our wedding reception). i explained that although it’s not our song per se, it’s a song we both like and sing along with. and since i’m basically still five years old, i consider this one of “our songs” and figure she does, too.

“it’s one of our songs,” i said.

“no it’s not,” she said.

we agreed to disagree, and i told her to stop being such a grump. i couldn’t help laughing a little bit inside. we were really annoyed with each other for about 30 seconds there, not even 15 minutes after we, for all intents and purposes, were finally were legally bound to each other. the more things change, the more things stay the same. i’m smiling now as i write this.

so our day wasn’t perfect (we had other “moments” on the way to the courthouse; holly had some…road rage issues, we’ll just say–love ya, babe, no worries), but what day is? marriage isn’t about perfection. it’s about patience and love and understanding, even when you’re tired from a long week and the chips kind of feel down b/c life has had more climbing than coasting lately.

we wanted to have a celebratory lunch. i told holly that it was up to her, just not chinese, and she really couldn’t decide. we finally settled on raku in dupont circle. i surprised myself by ordering actual sushi, like with (a small amount of) raw fish inside (tuna–always a benign choice–and no seaweed; they now have a soy paper option, thank goodness) and topped it off with a tofu salad. holly ordered a huge japanese beer, which took the edge off and had her relaxed and smiling. i silently cheered once more as we got back to our car, which, again, was parked in a spot that was…mostly legal. another gift.

we stopped at our kosher butcher (they catered our wedding) and got a hug and a mazal tov from one of the owners that we’ve become friends with. we bought some chicken, one of the workers gave us a good deal on a couple nice steaks, and we picked up a few cookies at the bakery. we stopped at starbucks to get some coffee to enjoy them with, and drove home, the sun warming our knees along the highway. we were in maryland, and i felt a certain peace in my heart knowing that once our license is issued, we’ll be able to drive back and forth from dc to our home in maryland and still be married. what a huge couple weeks it’s been for us. i don’t take any of these victories for granted, and realize that there’s still a chance they could be taken from us. but for now, we won’t think about that.

no, for now, i’m going to sit here on our couch–next to my partner, my soon-to-be-legal spouse–who’s sleeping at the moment, actually, and keep living like we have, keep blogging, keep climbing until we can finally coast a little. i’m going to savor these victories we can one day tell our children about, who will, upon hearing about them, shake their heads with wide eyes that same-sex marriage wasn’t always legal in this country. the same way we shake our heads with disbelief that segregation even existed in this country. tonight i’m going to sleep well knowing that today we were part of a very significant time in our nation’s history. small victories, i keep telling myself. b/c rome wasn’t built in a day, you know? we each have to do our part to build it. we built our tiny little part of it today in a drab, tan-carpeted downtown dc government office sometime between 11:45am and 1pm. and all for $45.

(oh and for the record, yes, holly was tearing up, too. and whether she wants it or not, we totally have a new song now. sing along if you know the words! haha. goodnight!)

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.

in other news, i turn 31 tomorrow

wait, what?? what??!

wasn’t i just, like, 15…yesterday? it really feels that way. it seriously does. (the fact that i act like i’m 15 half the time only compounds this. the ashlee simpson circa 2005 haircut doesn’t help matters but oh i do love it so)

my dad warned me back when, gosh, i think i was a senior in high school or early in my college career that time really flies faster and faster once you get older. you all remember back when you were in high school (or maybe you’re in high school now): time. moved. soooooo sloooowly. like, you couldn’t wait to be done with it all. “older” and…”mature.” and then you’re finally older and you’re kind of wanting it to slow down.

my mom says that life just keeps getting better and better with each passing year, and i have to say i see where she’s coming from. ok, so i’m laid off. and i kind of live…in a…transitional neighborhood. where i can’t even take a decent walk  by myself  during “business hours” (omG what is w/all the crazies in the park between 10 and 4?!; also, haha, i remember business hours! they suck!) and the dead rats in the alley outnumber our friendly neighbors (ok, i’m exaggerating. kind of. but not by much.) but i have my wonderful unlawfully wedded partner by my side, i feel more sure of myself than ever and i’ll tell you what: i am having a damn good time.

i’ll tell you another thing: i have felt better the past three weeks than i have in years. i am not exaggerating. i went from having migraines two, three times a week to…well, i don’t want to jinx things, but let’s just say a whole helluva lot less. it’s amazing what stress and basically being unhappy from roughly 9-5:30 monday thru friday can do to a person. three weeks into this new chapter in my life, and i feel like a new person. i was full of knots before. my brain was a clenched fist. my days have taken on an entirely new rhythm. and i can devote myself entirely to what i love to do: write. i have just been so…happy. it’s a new feeling (i guess you don’t realize just how unhappy you’ve been until you’re actually happy) for me, this happiness that’s not just on a saturday and/or sunday. let’s just say i’m getting used to it quickly.

so here’s to this new chapter in my life. a new (jewish) year. and a new 31st year here on planet earth (wait, wasn’t that a duran duran song?!). i’m already thinking it’s a pretty doggone good one. and the fact that i’m eating lunch closer to 11am now makes it even better 😉