Tag Archives: travel

well apparently i’m 60 because i started shopping at chico’s

before nicole’s wedding, i went to chico’s looking for a dress. i went to chico’s b/c they make “dressy” clothes specially designed for ladies with curves. sometimes, but not all the time, these “curves” are actually rolls. (not dinner rolls, folks; the other kind) other times, they are actual curves. the kind that used to be revered, but are now frowned upon b/c ppl think they represent a poor diet and lack of exercise–even if your diet is actually pretty much fine and you occasionally drop-kick bathroom locks in the ladies room at under armour–when you’re actually just of eastern european descent and hello, hispanic guys totally love you.

chico’s gets a bad rap amongst the younger set, and it really doesn’t deserve it. here’s why:

first of all, chico’s makes clothes you can roll up in a ball and they won’t wrinkle. it pretty much blows my mind. (see “travelers collection.”)

they also have fives sizes: 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4. size 4 is actually, like, a size 22. for example: i wear a size 2 and i’m basically like hell’s yeah bitches! i’m a size 2, kiss it! kind of like going to a weight watchers meeting in suburban baltimore (like i did before our big fat gay wedding) and you look around and think: damn i’m fine! which prompts you to leave early to buy an 8,000-calorie celebration frappacchino no whip (hello, whipped cream probably adds like two points!).

chico’s also has the best damn salesladies on earth. they are so friggin attentive i can’t even deal with it. i want to be like YES! yes i’ll take The Big Lady Belt–in black and silver! b/c i love you. b/c you are not judging me like those skinny bitches at Express. and you remind me of my mom. and i want to hug you, let’s hug right now, i don’t even care that i don’t know you, let’s just hug.

so i go to chico’s looking for a dress–this is, yeah, like a week before the wedding. and they don’t have anything for me. i wind up finding a dress at macy’s. oh but what did i find at chico’s? i zero in on this silver sparkly tunic sweater that i decide i really need to have. hello, it’s a TRAVELERS piece, which means i can take it to san francisco without it wrinkling to wear for…something!

oh it’s so sparkly, i say to Judy the Attentive Saleslady.

oh i know, isn’t it *fabulous*? she says back. and it looks wonderful on you. just wonderful.

ohmygoshthanks, i say breathlessly. but it’s too expensive, i continue. i…i couldn’t. 

i’ll give you $25 off, she says.

how could i possibly say no?

ring it up, judy! i say. ring it up before i change my mind!

so i bought the damn sparkly tunic, much to holly’s dismay. and i bring it to california, and of course need to wear it to the pre-wedding party at nicole’s parents’ house in sebastopol. as soon as we arrived i knew it was a mistake.

you know how, at every party, there’s that girl who’s overdressed? you try not to look at her but you have to? i was…that girl.

that’s because it’s a *holiday sweater*, holly told me when i got back to baltimore.

what, because it’s sparkly? i said.

holly: yes because it’s sparkly! it has sequins in it! 

me: so you mean to tell me that i wore a chico’s holiday sweater to nicole’s parents’ party–in october. in california. because i felt really overdressed. 

holly: yes, honey, you wore a chico’s holiday sweater to the party.

me: why didn’t you tell me i was buying a holiday sweater at chico’s?!

holly: i tried but you didn’t listen to me! it looks good but it’s for the holidays!

me: so you mean to tell me i spent $75 on a sweater i can only wear one month a year?

holly: yup. i tried to stop you. you didn’t listen.

ladies, this is the magic of chico’s. while everything else there fits like mom jeans, there will be that one item that absolutely dazzles you. you will be blinded by its beauty. an attentive saleslady will bring it to your dressing room, pump you up with compliments and then give you a coupon. bolstered by a false sense of self-esteem from the fact that it’s a fake size 2, you purchase it and then wear what turns out to actually be a sequined holiday sweater to san francisco in early fall.

so yeah, i play bingo. and i stare out our windows at our neighbors. i shop at chico’s. i’m a senior and i don’t even care. and so help me i’m going to rock that damn sweater the entire month of december. so if you’re here in baltimore and you’re blinded by a silvery tunic’ed figure, it’s actually me. and shut the hell up b/c i’m still from jersey and i’ll kick your ass or hire someone else to do it for me.


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.

“well i don’t like your moccasins” aka jessica gets lost in the woods part 2

by now, you know me. you know that, despite my best efforts not to (and holly’s unreasonable aversion to them), i like the jeggings. you know holly’s from western pee-ay and that once i got lost in the woods (by myself) behind her twin sister’s house while on a quad, got stuck between two trees b/c i didn’t know how to do a k-turn and then thought i heard a big brown bear that would inevitably maul & kill me in my low-blood-sugared state.

in other words: yes, i am a city girl. (and there’s a reason i brought up the jeggings.)

so we went to pee-ay for thanksgiving. one of holly’s family’s traditions–at least among the women in the family–is to go out shopping at the local mall the day after thanksgiving (Black Friday; just the thought of it makes me shudder). if that’s not bad enough, they go out at the crack of dawn. literally. actually they went earlier than dawn this year–at 4am. (i know. i threw up a little when i heard that, too.)

shopping in general is not something i love to do. perhaps it has something to do where i grew up–in north jersey, home of the eff-you eye socket punch THAT’S  THE LAST ONE AND IT’S MINE (ok, maybe i was never punched in the eye socket but it sounded funny and i’m basically trying to tell you that ppl are rude there). it also has more than a little something to do w/where i live now–baltimore, maryland, home of I’M ON MY BREAK cashiers/salespeople that throw daggers at your from their eyes (again w/the eyes) and give you looks that say why are you bothering me? i’m sexting my boyfriend right now and if there weren’t security cameras in here i’d totally cut you. (ppl can be pretty rude here, too. the difference is that they’re armed.)

yeah so i’m not so into shopping. i have zero patience for crowds, dressing rooms and food courts. so i didn’t go w/the rest of the girls friday morning. holly did, however, convince me to go later in the day. i was frozen w/black friday fear from the looks of the packed parking lot. but for whatever reason, the mall wasn’t even that crowded. and hot damn! the salespeople are really nice in butler, pee-ay. even the other shoppers are nice. it’s very disarming. and i actually found myself…(gasp!) having fun (!).  

soon i was in a poorly ventilated dressing room surrounded by at least 15 variations of these new-ish strategically droopy yet strategically clingy sweaters and sweater dresses. i haven’t truly shopped in a very very long time (despite my two entries on going to one of our local malls–total blip) and, must admit, was pretty jazzed to try on any and all 80s throwback sweater gear since my tomboyish ways back in the day kept me from wearing them the first time around (well, that and the fact that i was like, 10).

i decided on one that i liked, proud to have zeroed in on a good buy in less than 10 minutes. holly was with her younger sister and her new niece. when i found them, i mentioned my new buy to holly and she was happy that i was happy.

“can’t wait til you see it on me!” i said.

“i can’t wait either,” she said.

all smiles, hugs and butterfly kisses, right? sure. (ladies, you know what’s coming next.)

when i tried it on for her later that night, she was pretty much half asleep from waking up at 3am (!!??) that morning. she told me she liked it, but didn’t seem elated (and she *must* be elated when she sees me in something new–ladies, do you feel me on that one?) or anything. i blamed it on her exhaustion. it had to be the exhaustion, right?

the next day (saturday) holly announced that she and i were going to make a special trip to a local tree farm, a christmas tree farm, to pick out a fresh tree to bring back home. not only b/c it seemed like a fun thing to do, but b/c they’re about three times more expensive in baltimore. if they didn’t have one in the lot that we liked, we could actually go and chop it down, she said.

chop it down! woah!

“bundle up!” she said with a smile. “it’s cold out there!”

oooh! i thought! how rustic! bundling up to go tree-hunting! i buttoned up my most rustic flannel (western-ish; purple with pearlescent buttons) and added a multi-zippered black vest under my pea coat for good measure.

we jumped into holly’s stepdad’s red pick-up (ok i didn’t so much jump as gingerly step into it–but “jumped” sounds so much better) and started down the windy road to the tree farm. holly took  my hand in hers and looked at me.

“babe,” she said.

she’s going to tell me how much she loves me and how excited she is to go to the tree farm with me, i thought. the only thing that could make this more perfect is a thermos of hot chocolate.

except for she didn’t tell me she loved me.

“babe, i don’t think i like your new sweater on you so much.”


was she KIDDING?! this felt like a repeat of our ill-fated “perfect ten” episode. (if you’re unfamiliar w/the whole “perfect ten” debacle, i strongly suggest you read it.) my first instinct was to elbow her in the mouth or kick her in one or both shins. but she was driving. safety first, i thought.

instead i took a deep breath and told her that i actually thought it looked good on me and i couldn’t believe she was ruining a potentially perfect afternoon by dissing my new sweater that i was really excited about.

“you had to choose now to tell me that? thanks. a lot.”

“honey! i just…i just wanted to tell you! when i ask your opinion on something i’m wearing i always want to know what you really think.”

“yeah but i don’t randomly bring it up out of nowhere when we’re going to do something new and fun like go to a tree farm!”

“but you tell me when you don’t like something and i don’t get offended.”

i was silent for a moment.

“well, i don’t like your new moccasins ,” i said flatly. “i wasn’t going to even say anything b/c they make you so happy but i’m saying it anyway.”

she started laughing like she does when i’m being ridiculous, which is often, according to her.

i told her that this wasn’t funny and that she had ruined everything and let’s just go pick out a damn tree and i’m wearing the sweater anyway and i’m going to get more jeggings while i’m at it and wear them all the time whether she likes it or not. afterall, they make me happy like her friggin moccasins make her happy.

i dropped it when we got to the tree lot b/c damn, it smelled so good there. (“like candles except real!” i told a bewildered tree farm lady who smiled at me politely.) within about five minutes it became apparent that we’d have to go out into the wilderness (ok, the tree farm but still. it’s really big) and chop down our own tree. which would prove, of course, to be an adventure.

and b/c i just realized this entry’s already long enough, i’m going to have to leave you hanging and finish the rest tomorrow. in the meantime, pls feel free to express your annoyance with or at holly that she chose our special tree farm experience to tell me she didn’t like my new sweater.

holly and i both have one shiny fingernail thanks to the hot israeli girl at the mall

if you were a jersey girl in the 80s/early-to-mid 90s who went to “the city” w/your street-wise mom on an even a semi-regular basis, you probably grew up with the following advice:

“listen to me. are you listening? walk fast and stare straight ahead. don’t talk to anyone, don’t look at anyone and don’t make eye contact. AND HOLD ONTO YOUR BAG.” (holding onto your bag was key.)

considering that i got those pointers hammered into my head at a fairly young age, i’ve gotten pretty darn good at avoiding anyone who appears even remotely like a threat. holly, once a western pee-ay girl who used to say hi to everyone and “stare at the crazies” (as she did on our first date almost 10 (!!??) years ago), has followed in my footsteps and now also excels at walking fast, staring straight ahead and holding onto her bag. (psych! you know she never carries a bag! i’m the bee-otch always stuck carrying everything in whatever bag/purse i’m dragging around.)

anyway, the story. so if you’ve been at any mall in the past 20 or so years, you know the hallways are full of these kiosks. jewelry kiosks. family photography kiosks. bath fitter (omg, still don’t get that one) kiosks. (i’d like to take the opportunity here to note that a disproportionate amount of kiosks sell cellphone cases. how does one make a living selling cell phone cases?!) and then there are the hair straightener kiosks. and the nail care kiosks. and for whatever the hell reason i don’t understand, the great majority of these last two are manned by israelis.

oh israelis. i love the israelis. i love israel. been there twice. gorgeous, magical place, unbelievable food. but hot damn, israelis are pushy! it’s their “way.” their “charm,” if you will. they are also disproportionately good-looking. this combination makes them extremely good kiosk employees. almost deadly.

here’s a typical exchange at an east coast mall for holly and i.

(handsome israeli man zeros in on two potential customers. they’re both female. double whammy. we make eye contact for .02 seconds. dammit! this is what my mother warned me about!)

(it’s too late. he’s walking towards us. he singles me out.)

“excuuuuse-me! MEEEESS! [“miss”],” he shouts across the hallway. “meeeess! excuuuuuuuuuuse me do you straighten your HAAAAIR?!”

(of course i straighten my hair! i’m jewish! i want to yell. instead i focus on a an invisible spot across the mall and walk faster.)

“keep walking, honey,” i tell holly w/out moving my lips. (suddenly i’m a ventriloquist, too.) “just. keep. walking.”

MEEEEES! deees will only take a meee-nute! you have very beautiful hair! i make you even more beautiful!” (what he doesn’t realize is that his swarthy charms won’t work on us the way they do on other girls. we are immune.)

“THAT’S OK NO THANKS WE’RE NOT INTERESTED BUT THANKS ANYWAY!” i yell back, trying not to sound rude but failing. i sense holly’s defenses crumbling simply bc she is too nice. i, on the other hand, was raised in new jersey. i grab her arm and drag her. we finally make it out of the danger zone. we both breathe out.

this scenario is repeated fairly frequently. but last week [when we were prowling every hair place in white marsh looking for the perfect product for holly’s hair (don’t get me started, don’t even get me started)] there was a crack in our usual plan. it was…a woman.

we were passing a nail kiosk and a pretty olive-skinned girl spotted us.

“shit honey! she saw us.”

“excuuuuse me!” she shouted. “are you two seeesters?” [“sisters”]

seeing how i’m friggin tired of ppl asking if we’re sisters (hello, we look totally different. but we both have brown hair, are caucasian and under 5’5″ so sure, i guess we look like sisters), i was like, “no. we’re married.” i don’t usually do that, but i figured, what the hell. maybe she’d give up b/c gay girls don’t care about manicures bc we all work on motorcycles when we’re not fixing cars and building ikea furniture. (false, btw. i totally do my nails and hello, i’ve never put together ikea furniture. i get holly to do it for me!)

anyway, i don’t remember what she said, but her accent was so cute and she was so pretty (ok, gorgeous), that, yup, you guessed it. holly and i both stopped.

“let me ask you a queeeestion,” the hot israeli girl asked us both. she knew she had the married girls hooked. “are you reeeady to see something unbelievable?”

“um…yeah?” we both responded. i wanted to run but my legs were glued to the marble floor. i couldn’t move them. it was like a bad dream except not that bad.

she asked to see holly’s hand. i knew what was about to happen. yup, and out came the three-sided puffy nail file (ladies, you know the one i’m talking about). she filed and filed and was talking and talking and honestly? yeah, i don’t remember what she said, just that she was unbelievably pretty.

“try not to yell too loud when you see this, okay? you will simply not belieeeeve dees.”

she lifted the nail file and holy crap, i could practically see my reflection in holly’s nail. then she did it to me while i stood immobilized, unable to tell her to stop or no. when she removed the file, my nail (index finger) was shinier than it’s ever been in my entire life. then she took out some special bottle of oil and put it on our cuticles. and still, we could not run.

“beautiful, no?”

“wow,” i said, looking at my  nail, preparing to tell her that under no circumstances were we going to buy these nail kits. or even one nail kit for that matter.

“only $34.99!” she said, smiling her thousand-watt israeli smile.

“no…it’s ok, maybe next time,” i croaked, clearing my throat.

be strong, i told myself.

“ok! for you, i give at special price! $29.99!”

“no, seriously,” i said laughing. “we’re ok. no, thanks.”

but no. this didn’t work either. she just thought i was playing hardball.

“come here, come into my office,” she told us, moving towards the kiosk chair. and what did we do? we followed her. like little lambs.

“for you, only for you, i give very special price.” (only for me? geesh.)

she tapped some numbers into a big calculator and turned it around to face us. it read $24.99.

this was my big chance to say no. ain’t no way no how uh-uh not gonna buy it. what did i say instead?

i asked if she worked on commission, for her name and told her we’d be back next week. until then, we each have one insanely shiny fingernail. all of this could have been avoided if we’d just stuck to the plan and run like hell.

city girl goes country

yeah. not me. in case you didn't already guess.

i am a city girl. this is not news to anyone that knows me or has spent two to five minutes with me. even if i try to pretend to be a country girl, my bangs, aversion to all bugs and need to have a purse and hair straightener with me at all times will give me away. however, the city can even get to a person like me–esp. baltimore and esp. when it’s suddenly nice out–and make you pine for fresh air. 

by “pining” i guess i actually mean “get stupid.” case in point: monday morning. we were in pee-ay for a long weekend, and i was demented enough in my imminent need for “fresh country air” to decide that yes, i would ask holly’s 6’5″ brother-in-law if i could ride his quad, you know, by myself around a wooded path thru his huge-o property. 

“are you sure you don’t want to ride with me first so i can show you the path?” holly asked. 

“no,” i told her, suddenly feeling very independent even tho i didn’t know, oh, how to start the thing or where the gas or break was. “i want to go by myself. we’ve gone on the path before together.” 

once. like five years ago. like i said: demented. 

“o-kaaay,” she said slowly, sounding concerned but ultimately–surprisingly–resigned to my sudden bout of strong country will.   

then shawn, the aforementioned huge country brother-in-law, started the thing for me (the “thing” is a quad, also known as a “four-wheeler” or an “atv,” i.e. all terrain vehicle) and showed me where the gas and break were. that is, after i managed to climb up on the damn seat b/c it’s made for a 6’5″ man. but these are details. 

“be careful,” he said. “the gas is…” 

then i zoomed off into the country distance. his last word must’ve been “sensitive” b/c hot damn, i was really flying. 

wooohooo! i thought in my mind, as holly’s four and two-year-old nephews peered wide-eyed at me from the bottom of the yard. if this episode was a movie or cartoon, one of them would have dropped his sippy cup.  while they couldn’t put words to it, i see now that i think they sensed danger. they must’ve known that a girl like me shouldn’t be riding a quad by herself in western pee-ay. or anywhere for that matter. they knew this and yet, they couldn’t tell me. 

i went around and around this big horseshoe-shaped clearing. i knew it wasn’t the trail but it was fun. then i saw shawn running up the hill. 

“that’s my neighbor’s yard!” he shouted over the booming, smelly exhaust. “trail’s over there!” he pointed. 

oh the crazy old lady neighbor. the one you were talking about inside about 10 minutes ago. that’s watching me drag an atv thru her perfectly manicured horseshoe-shaped yard. oops

“k! sorry! thanks!” i yelled as i entered the path. 

i zoomed past tall grass and trees and flowers. the air smelled great. this was really what i needed. then i passed a big powerline shawn had mentioned. i was on the right track. until, that is, i got to a spot where it looked like there were two paths. and both of them went straight into the woods. ummmm…. 

i entered one and immediately panicked b/c it suddenly didn’t feel like a path anymore. it felt like…the woods. i stopped and decided maybe i would turn around and go back. except for i was stuck in between trees and couldn’t turn around. i twisted the handlebars around in a sad attempt to do a 180 and stopped midway b/c i was about to get my eyeballs poked out by branches and, you know, hit a tree. 

this was bad and i was starting to panic. 

i sat there with the motor running (b/c if i turned it off i was sure i wouldn’t get it started again) and looked down for a gearshift. this thing has got to have a reverse or something, i thought. yeah, this from the girl who learned how to drive on a highway, like, two years ago. that’s just learning how to parallel park. that mixes up her windshield wipers with her blinker. yeah. me. 

so i find shift-type thing and move it back to the letter R and try backing up but it seems like i’m in neutral b/c i’m not moving. i play around with it some more and finally go backwards a little. then i can’t go forward. i’m stuck between trees and there are branches that are obviously going to scratch my retinas and i’m going to asphyxiate from the diesel or gas fumes coming out of this machine and i’m going to collapse. right here in the woods. 

i sat there for what felt like a really long time deciding what to do. i felt holly worrying about me. why did i think i could drive around an atv in the woods w/out holly? i wondered, panic-stricken, mad at myself for my unusually rash behavior. what was i thinking? i am usually so level-headed. oh my gosh i think i just heard a bear. i’m going to die out here. a quarter mile from her twin sister’s house. 

“i told her not to go by herself,” i could hear holly saying, crying, when they found me hours later, half-conscious and dehydrated, mauled by a pennsylvania black bear (do those even exist? they probably do) lured by the fruity smell of my garnier fructis-flavored hair and the shiny studs on my flip-flops. 

i could get off of this thing right now and walk back, i thought.  just leave the motor running and go back. but who the hell knows how long it’d take me to walk back and holly’s probably already wondering where i am.  

what i really wanted to do was cry. but i resisted and instead decided to do a k-turn right there in the woods between the trees. i backed up, i went forward. i got stuck in neutral. i backed up and turned and went forward and backwards and forward again until, omg, i actually did a 180 and made it out of the goshdarned woods. 

i zoomed out and started back the way i came, cursing myself the whole time. fresh country air my a**. jersey girl in the woods. what a joke. i’d had had enough of the damn country. drop me off in the friggin city. i was ready for an overly complicated coffee drink and some wifi.

i came down the big hill that is shawn and heidi’s yard. the boys peered out at me. holly and shawn looked up. i would pretend nothing happened. that’s what i’d do.

 i slowed down and shut the motor off next to the house.

“well?” holly said.

“i…i got stuck in the woods,” i whispered. “there was a fork in the road and i couldn’t figure out where the path was! i…got scared. i panicked. i had to do a k-turn in the woods except for i was stuck and almost scratched my retinas and,” i held my breath, trying not to cry. “i think i heard a bear.”

 “you see? i told you we should have gone together. you could have gone yourself after that.”

“i know.”

 i was very grateful to see her smiling instead of crying over my mauled, famished and dehydrated body. this relieved me and i was able to contain my emotions. she convinced me to go on a ride with her on the actual path even tho i didn’t want to anymore b/c i was sick of the country. i hopped on and put my arms around her and suddenly felt kind of excited again. until i told her not to go too fast at which point i felt like a wuss.

moral of the story: jersey girls don’t belong in the woods and they certainly don’t belong alone in the woods on quads. from here on out, it’s my rav-4 only and i’m going to pay more attention b/c i’m tired of the damn windshield wipers scaring the hell out of me every time i make a turn.

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remember when a wrong number was just a wrong number??

back in the day–the day being, like, just a few years ago–getting a call from a wrong number was, for the most part, quick and easy to deal with.


you: hello?

stranger: hi, can i speak to jamie?

you: uh, i think you have the wrong number.

stranger: oh, ok, sorry.


done. over. easy.

now, thanks to text messaging, the wrong number isn’t just a phone call. it’s a friggin text.

case in point: on thursday afternoon, holly and i were driving thru the sticks of western pee-ay and i get a text message. i pick up my phone and take a look.

Wat u doin?? it reads. it’s from an unfamiliar number. unfamiliar shorthand, too. call me a dork, but i still write out “what” in its entirety. hell, it’s only four letters.

“who’s it from?” holly asks.

“i don’t know,” i say. “wrong number.”

i start putting the phone back in my bag.

“find out who it is,” she suggests.

i shrug and pick the phone back up. i’m curious, but also feeling squeamish about text messaging with a potential stranger. i think the rest of my text-messaging-with-a-stranger episode speaks for itself, so i’m just going to give you the transcript. don’t worry, it’s short. i’ll start from the beginning. names have been changed to protect, well, me, probably. words have been bleeped out, too. ok, just one. anyway.

stranger: Wat u doin??

me: Who’s this?

stranger: <insert fake name>

me: Sorry, i think u have the wrong number…

stranger: N***a dis ma new numba

me: This is jessica, you have the wrong number.

and that, fortunately, ended it. look, i’m all for communicating w/new ppl, but c’mon now. i sighed and told holly i missed the days of just picking up the phone and telling someone they have the wrong number and that’s that. now you get erstwhile text messages from wrong numbers and you need to convince them they really do have the wrong number and they’re rude and use slang that you, as a jewish ex-jersey girl, feel uncomfortable even putting on your blog, which is fairly irreverent anyway, so that’s really saying something.

if you have similar stories, please share. i can’t be the only one out there getting wrong number texts and i need a good laugh.

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so there you have it.

on the way home from the holidays in pee-ay, holly and i took a quick verbal inventory of the new stuff we were bringing home. 

 we got some presents–always wonderful, as you know. we got gift cards, holly got jeans, i got a steelers jersey (troy polamalu; i love him. he’s cute, has great hair and is close with his mom. he also seems really nice. oh yeah, and he plays well, too, ha. you see my priorities in football! i also unintentionally call uniforms “outfits.”).

holly’s family, her mom’s side, also does a grab bag game at christmas. the gifts need to be at least $20. if ppl aren’t putting in gift certificates/cards, $20 bills or lottery tickets (scratch-offs; omG i love those. i get them whenever i can. always lose but it’s the thrill i’m after, i keep telling myself…) they usually choose gifts they’d like to win themselves. i mean, why not, right? we put in some pyrex containers (i know, hold your excitement, but we do a lot of cooking, so bear w/me) and some flannel sheets, as it sometimes seems to get exceptionally cold in our room during the winter. holly assured me this was a good choice. i’d never slept on flannel sheets before. i was worried they’d be too hot, but holly said they’re really cozy so i was in. anyway, we won back the sheets.

we bought holly’s grandma a new electric blanket for christmas to replace a new-ish one she bought that wasn’t warming up as hot as she’d like. she gave us her old one, which seems barely used. (never used an electric blanket before either.)

then, before we got on the road back to baltimore, we went to the local walmart (SO much nicer than any walmarts in baltimore; shocker, i know) to look for some salt for her grandma’s front steps and porch. but of course we have to look thru the whole store first, right? since we’re women and naturally drawn to “the marketplace.” (it’s in our genes, even bypasses the gay gene.)

“hey look at those travel pillows!” i said.

 i get excited about travel pillows b/c i need massive neck support on long car rides b/c of the neck/nerve condition that causes my migraines (i was recently diagnosed; if you get migraines that start in your neck and shoot right thru your head to your forehead, behind your eyes, etc. click on that link).

considering we’re about to take the autotrain down to florida to take a cruise with great uncle ben, i figure we both ought to look into some good travel pillows. we also looked at these small, figure-eight-shaped pillows that go between your knees while you sleep (if you’re a side sleeper). the physical therapist i went to in oct/nov for my aforementioned condition recommended that i sleep with a pillow between my knees for proper spine alignment. holly and i had never seen pillows like that so in addition to neck/head travel pillows, we bought the “knee-spacer” pillows.

so, as i was saying, we were taking that verbal inventory of our new stuff.

the gift cards, the clothes, travel pillows…

“oh and the sheets,” holly said.

“the knee-spacer pillows,” i said.

“oh right, right.”

there was something else, we kept saying. what was it?

“oh! my grandma’s electric blanket!” holly said.

“right! the electric blanket!” i said.

we sat there driving along the highway for a minute or so, pleased with ourselves that we remembered everything.

“honey, did you realize those last three things we listed?” i said. “flannel sheets, electric blanket, knee-spacer pillows? WE’RE OLD!!!”

we laughed til we just about peed our pants.

“honey, we’re old,” i said, holding my stomach, barely able to breathe thru the laughter. “we’re officially old.”

so there you have it. we’re old now, i guess. now if you could just reach over and get my prune juice over there for me… yeah yeah, right there, next to my walker. thank you. you’re a dear 😉

no dead mice, no dead people

holly tells me this is a disrespectful thing to write (disrespectful to our late neighbor if you’re new to this blog), but i mean no disrespect. i really don’t. i’m being serious. we just got back from pee-ay a couple hours ago and we’re both relieved that things are ok here (we’re rarely away for this long; we were gone over a week since we were snowed in). a part of that is really and truly no dead mice inside and no dead ppl next door.

last year when we arrived home from the holidays in pee-ay we were greeted with not one, but two dead mice. one was in a trap along a wall. i didn’t know there even was a second until i realized there was a funky smell floating around and the puffy, gray thing i almost stepped on nestled in our area rug was actually a decomposing rodent. wtf, right?? we’re still trying to figure out what the hell happened. it wasn’t even in a trap. really odd and also gross. (but looking back with 20/20 hindsight, not all that bad; our theory is that it must’ve busted a leg in a trap and dragged itself to the rug. but this is just a theory.)

even tho we have a pretty serious alarm system, every time we get back to the house, even just after a long weekend, i hold my breath as we come up the street and turn onto our street. once i see our picture window and door in tact i’m like yesssssssss. score one. then we check the windows of whatever car we left here. wait, back a step. then we check to see if the car is there. once we confirm that it’s there, we check to see if the windows are in tact. another breath out. then we walk in and sniff. and this evening all we smelled was….christmas tree! holly’s car was in tact. no dead rodents, house still boarded-up next door (i.e. not broken into). no water in the basement (this is a biggie since most of the snow has melted around here.) we are snug as a bug in a rug. i can’t believe i’m saying this but i’m thrilled to be back. the cows have come home, everyone. jessica is happy to be back in baltimore.

in other news, i’ve officially turned into my grandmother

b/c i drank coffee with dinner tonight. with dinner, not after. with italian food, no less. manicotti! salad?! garlic bread?? only old jewish ladies that apply ruby red revlon lipstick right before they hit the local diner drink coffee with dinner! and now i’m one of them, omg.

i do have an excuse, i feel like. we are snowed in in western pee-ay. and it. is so. COLD here. like, stupid cold! we came back to holly’s hometown for the holiday and have not been able to leave for baltimore b/c  it has been snowing (and snowing) and the roads have been crap and i have been chilled to the bone for days. today i hit my breaking point and i was like: coffee please. here, set it right down beside the manicotti and penne and garden salad and keep it coming.

it’s so funny b/c it was only a couple years ago that it suddenly dawned on me–as i was passing a giant group of white-haired ladies in hats and lipstick (some w/walkers, others with canes…cuuuute!) all lunching at this fancy greenspring bakery in baltimore, i forget the name of it–that really and truly, the only ppl i’ve ever seen order coffee with say, sandwiches. and salads. are (besides my art professor mom who always orders black decaf with everything) women of a certain era, if you will. basically my late grandmother  (who went to “the beauty shop” every week and wore great hats and also lots of red/coral revlon lipstick; the old school kind in the green tube). these ladies at the bakery were going to give the dishwashers a real run for their money, too. tons of lipstick around the rim. adorable.

anyway, i drank it fast and piping hot just like grandma did. like it kind of burned my esophagus but it felt goooood after being so damn cold. holly was feeling a similar way across the table from me except it was with beer. which she has needed. like i needed the caffeine. and the near-burning heat. the holidays can do that to you. is all i’m saying.

ok, so there’s that. now to the elephant in the room: you’re probably wondering what in the hell happened to me over the past month b/c i essentially disappeared. i’ll tell you: i needed a break.

november–with the death smell and sadness/horror and the moving out and the laundering and everything else–just drained me. it drained me and left me pretty much a wet noodle. at least in my brain. everything we had to do around the house [we had to hire people to finish our moulding, caulk absolutely *everything*, every little hole, seal our exposed brick, steam clean all of our furniture and our carpets and wash every single fabric item in our entire house. (why all of this has to happen after two household layoffs is beyond me but i guess that’s murphy’s law for ya)]. it was all consuming. and every time i felt like i might sit down to blog, i was going to blog about “it.” and i just couldn’t do that anymore. i mean, how much do readers really want to read about that?? i think we all reached our saturation point. i know i did. plus i just haven’t been feeling funny. i mean, i always joke around but not funny enough to sit down and write. not that i have to be funny all the time b/c you know i just love to tug at the ol’ heart strings now and then. but my general joie de vivre, if you will, i think it’s coming back. finally. so here i am.

random thoughts for the day:

1. have  you ever  noticed that with the exception of really really fancy hotels, the “facial soap” they give you in hotels is essentially the shower/bath soap but just a smaller size?  you kind of expect it to be, like, especially for the skin on your face and it’s not!!! i am mentioning this b/c we stayed in a hotel last night (long story) and i was thinking about it this morning. hotel soap usually sucks anyway. it sucks doubly for your face. don’t call it facial soap, folks. false advertising. it’s micro-mini body soap and that’s all there is to it.

2. one of the many reasons i love holly is that she’s really low-maintenance in terms of “girl” stuff. (i, on the other hand, am high- maintenance; oh you didn’t guess?? ha) for example, this morning i saw that the hotel only gave us two bath towels. i have long hair that’s thick and i always use one towel for my hair (a towel turban; i excel at making these) and wrap one around the rest of me. holly is so great b/c she’ll always take the hand-me-down towel that i used for my hair. it’s always pretty damp but she doesn’t care and never complains. i know, right? it’s the little things. ladies, i know ya feel me.

3. i’m really excited about the new year. 2009 was sh*t. 2008 kind of sucked, too. but i think this year is gonna be our year. it’s a brand new decade! i’m launching my own writing business (website to come!!!). i’m about to start pitching literary agents. holly’s going to finish school this year. two of my oldest, closest friends are tying the knot. oh and to kick things off, my great uncle ben–one of my aforementioned late grandma’s baby brothers; the very last one of her brothers (she had four)–is taking us ON A CRUISE next month! to the bahamas! this is going to be OUR VERY FIRST OFFICIAL VACATION IN OUR ALMOST NINE YEARS TOGETHER. he’s paying for us to take the amtrak autotrain down, even! (holly’s not too keen on flying and i don’t blame her; plus this way we’ll have our car w/us all around miami cause you know we’re gonna be whoopin it up w/uncle ben and i am not kidding! he is kind of a party guy. oh and did i mention he’s 88?!!! 88! he still swims and cooks and is basically adorable and awesome and the male version of my grandma that i miss like crazy.) as my teeth chatter here in pee-ay, i just keep thinking: FLORIDA! BAHAMAS! i’m gonna be one of those b*tches who has a REAL TAN in the winter! ha!

so bring on 2010, baby! if you’re excited about anything–c’mon, you know you are–tell me. resolutions count, too. ttys! xo!

back in baltimore

east baltimore, amtrak train window, 12/1/09


our house is still kind of stinky.

it’s kind of like, if you didn’t know what you were smelling, or weren’t looking for it, you might not realize the smell. but since we do and we are, we smell it. this is disappointing after so many days away and the work the city has done (see previous entry) but we remain hopeful. the painters/carpenters are coming back tomorrow morning to finish the moulding and caulking (when you gut a house down to original bricks and ancient joists and then rebuild it, there’s always things to finish). soon we’ll have our exposed brick sealed. if the house still stinks after we do all that AND they remove parts of the first floor/basement ceiling next door, i….i don’t know what we’ll do. but as i was just telling nicole, what *can* you do?? we own this house. we live there (for now). so…we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

amtrak was crazy today. i still managed to nab a window seat tho. oh i do love a good train ride. esp. w/some good new music to listen to. so funny how i used to stare out those same amtrak windows while attending umcp going either to or from dc. i used to sort of gawk at all the boarded up, bombed-out looking houses when we passed thru baltimore. and think all the broken down industrial sites looked ugly. but now they’re sort of comforting to me, despite all the crap we’ve endured here. kind of wild now, all these years later, i’m married and living not all that far away from those neighborhoods…

while i’m thinking of it, i’d like to mention that the new music i was listening to was none other than the new lady gaga album, the fame monster, which, for the most part, is so good it literally gives me goose bumps. i shall wax poetic about lady gaga some other day, i suppose, but i must say it’s nice to have a real musician–all musician and just as much performance artist–making pop headlines these days. not since madonna has someone pushed the envelope this far. not that there will EVER EVER be a replacement for madonna, mind you (you may know about my undying love for her, winkwink). but it’s about doggone time we have something really fresh out there. plus she is a major friend of the gays (also a tad gay herself). also ppl pop out of pods in her new video (below). and she loves ellen (also below). love you, gaga! glad you hung in there. keep it up, girl. you are totally boosting my spirits.