Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thanks for making my day, sir

Late this morning, as I was dutifully visiting one of my favorite clients and attempting to not only secure an order, but also pick up some fresh fish for dinner, I found myself in the middle of a conversation with an older gentleman who was waiting for his rockfish to be filleted.

"How are you today?" he asked, innocently enough.

"I'm good," I quipped, wanting to be pleasant without turning the encounter into a full-blown conversation. "And you?"

"Let's just put it this way," he said exuberantly, "I feel like you look."

"I hope that's a good thing," I blushed.

"You know it is," he smiled. "Have a great day!"

And I am.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

An overdue apology

Almost two years ago, I met a boy at a party. We didn't hit it off right away, but there was a lot of drinking involved all around, and by the end of the night, as they do, people started pairing off. The boy and I started talking, then we started kissing.

That was about it. Some drunk talking and mild making out. At some point it got boring for me, so I decided to head on home. The boy tried to convince me to stay, but stood my ground and walked out to my car. He walked with me, playfully pleading the whole way, even going so far as to dramatically flop down on his back onto the grass above the slightly sloped curb.

Then his lighthearted begging got a bit more intense, and he did something I hope I'll never forget.

He unzipped his pants, took out his penis, started masturbating in front of me, and said, "Why don't you come over here and give me a hand finishing this?" After a shocked thirty seconds or so, I shook my head in disbelief, got into my car and drove away.

It may seem odd for me to say that I hope I never forget that moment. Some would think that that would be a memory I would like to shelve, and not ever think again about how fucked up and sad of an act it was, what level of desperation someone would have to be at to do something like that. Not even sexual desperation, but desperation for love or some kind of connection. However, since the execution was played out in such an odd way, it seems like it is actually a desperation for the rejection that he must be used to on some level.

On my end, the act was despicable and disrespectful. It was, and still is to this day, shocking that someone would behave in such an... an... well, ungentlemanly way towards me. How has our society become so jaded that this act seems like not that big of a deal, like something to laugh about, rather than an extreme insult to the person to whom it was done? Well, to me it was not funny, and I hope that I never forget it so that I never slip into the mindset where that might in some way be ok. It is not ok for someone to do something like that. It's gross.

So last night I found myself at a similar party, with an all-too-similar guest list. I had not seen the boy since the last incident, although I knew he had been teased about it on numerous occasions by his friends. (Who oddly enough say that he is the one who usually brings it up, probably as a way to circumvent the ridicule. A laugh at yourself before others have a chance to beat you to it, kind of thing.) Needless to say, I was not much looking forward to seeing him again.

A couple of hours into the party, he and I found ourselves awkwardly positioned near each other on the deck outside.

"You don't have to worry about me doing anything obscene tonight," he gingerly began the conversation.

"I wasn't worried about that," I half-joked back.

"I apologize for doing that. I really didn't mean to be offensive that last time."

"Accepted. Thank you."

And then, after a couple more mumbled explanations and apologies on his part, we thankfully moved on.

I was happy that he apologized. As cliched as it may sound, there was definitely a sense of closure on my part. I don't think that my level of disgust was unwarranted, and in this jaded era where acts like that have for some reason come to be accepted, it feels liberating to have stuck to my guns and let it be known that what he did was not ok.

After all, if you don't assign a value to yourself and learn to set your own boundaries, no one else will do it for you. And even if the respect that comes from that is long overdue, it is worth it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Great, yet another website where I will undoubtedly be able to waste hours and hours

Fellow bookworms, alert!

Check out this site, Good Reads. Everyone sign up, because I need friends and groups and such.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

When people tell you how they are...

One of the fun things about visiting with my friends H & A is that somewhere along the line we usually run into their friend with whom I have had a few romantic encounters in the past (i.e. - hookups).

The first time we met, Brian and I hit it off instantly - complete with the electric spark the second your eyes meet, the jump of energy after the first witty banter is exchanged, and the full-on burst of can't-hold-each-other-tight-or-kiss-hard-enough make out session. These sessions didn't go long without being interrupted in a movie-scene way, and therefore never went all that far. Just far enough to whet my whistle, so to speak, and make me always look forward to the possibility of seeing him.

But alas, he lives there and I live here, and our lives went on without each other. He has now been seeing someone for a while, and when we do see each other, while genuinely happy to be in each other's company, we are appropriately well-behaved.

This weekend, deep into Saturday night, we all found ourselves out in a bar on the Lower East Side. Sure enough, Brian and I somehow gravitated towards each other, innocently chatting. I did mildly wonder if his girlfriend and her friend noticed how much he was talking to me (I was careful not to instigate the conversations), but decided not to bother myself with it. When the two of them left to find the bathroom at our second stop, Brian leaned towards me.

"Man, I hate it when people do that," he said.

"What? Go to the bathroom?"

"No. Try to pay. Her friend tried to pay."

"What do you mean? Why do you hate that?"

"Because. I like to pay for things."

"Well, that's nice of you. But it's not like you have to pay for your girlfriend's friend all of the time."

And then the kicker -

"Yes I do. It's how I distinguish myself. I make up for having no personality with money."


"Why do you say that?" Genuinely shocked, I waited for a laugh, or some signal that he was joking, even if he really wasn't. But he didn't give it. It appeared that he was really telling me this about himself.

"It's true. I don't have a very interesting personality, so I make up for it by being the guy who pays." His tone was completely matter-of-fact.

I was really floored to be hearing this. Brian is a successful, smart guy in his early thirties who has always been nothing but nice, sharp and sweet. He has traveled all over the world, and always has a lot to talk about. H & A truly count him among their best friends. And yeah, he's loaded - but how could he truly believe that money was all he really had going for him? And furthermore, why was he so blatantly telling me all of this?

"That is not true. You've always seemed very witty to me."

"Well, there has always been alcohol involved."

"Ah... the old liquid confidence, huh?"

"You got it."

"Well, if you ever need to buy your way into someone's heart, I'm available," I said in a jittery and slightly sarcastic voice, trying to make light of the awkward (on my part, anyway) exchange.

"You got it," he said with the cute and warm smile that had always made my heart skip.

The conversation was over, but my confusion was not. How is it possible that this great guy with whom I had always felt a strong connection really thought so little of himself? Is his opinion skewed, or is mine?

I remember a Maya Angelou quote that I once heard Oprah say* - "When people tell you how they are, believe them."

This is so true. Whether they pretend to be joking, somehow hide behind it, or are dead serious, people will often tell you exactly what they are like, if you listen. So unfortunately, my crush on Brian has to end. I'm choosing to listen to what he told me. That despite everything that he seems to have going for him, he's a pretty unhappy dude with some issues. And there wouldn't be anything I could realistically do to change that.


*I tried to look this quote up online to make sure I had the wording right, but couldn't find it anywhere, so please forgive the paraphrasing if it's incorrect. Or better yet, let me know what it really is.

Like a moth

I used to come back when I was upset and needed a venue that was good for talking furiously fast, releasing stress, and getting out energy.

I used to come back when I was missing friends and needing a pseudo-intellectual fix.

I used to come back, even though I was afraid to, worried that I might miss it too much and start to ache.

I used to come back to escape the dullness of everyday life.

But my life isn't dull anymore. I'm not upset, or unhappy, or afraid. However, I still come back.

I realize now that I am drawn to the city, without excuse or reason. Part of me belongs there. The energy. The people. The rhythms. The intellect. It is like a flame, and I can't help it.

I just go back.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Lusting after...

Today, I started a new category in my Bookmarks - "Things I Want".

Head of the list is this bag. However, considering the price tag, I seriously doubt it will be arriving on my doorstep anytime soon.

Thanks a fucking lot, Daily Candy, for introducing me to yet another gorgeous product that is way too chic (i.e. expensive) for me.

(Just kidding DC. You know I love 'ya.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ladies Who Lunch

A certain friend and I have had a joke for months that our goal is to become the ultimate Ladies Who Lunch.

She is closer than I to living the stereotype, being recently married and working part time for her husband, and I just happen to have a job that allows me to take leisurely midday breaks, so once a week or so we treat ourselves to lunch at a different restaurant. We sip white wine, order dessert, and gossip. I have to admit, those broads are onto something - it is a truly pleasant way to spend the early part of the afternoon.

Last week, over our delicate sandwiches and sparkling water, instead of taking my usual passive stance of asking her what she and her husband have been doing lately, and then trying to make my own life sound meaningful, but always feeling like I was falling slightly short, I went off on my new tangent of late. I started telling her about how inspired (there's that magic word again) I had been recently after spending some quality time with certain people. I talked about the different projects I had in the works, some of the trips I was planning, and in general how excited I had been lately about my career and the new ideas that I'd been exploring. When I finally came up for air, I felt the flush in my cheeks that had been brought on by my enthusiastic talking.

And then I realized that this conversation was different than one I've had with this particular friend in a long time. Usually I just sit there like Eeyore and wish that I had what she has. In fact, I've spent a lot of time in the recent past lusting after other people's lives - lives that I had never actually dreamed of for myself, except in the last few years when I've seen them as a way out of the hopelessness that I was feeling with my own life.

What a waste!

Now I am finally turning a corner and reclaiming what it is that I want, and relishing in the power that comes with that, and it feels amazing.

Holy shit, I'm actually finding the strength again to live a life of a woman doesn't know that marriage will ever be for her, and is truly ok with that. A woman who goes after what she wants. A woman who feels passionate, not desperate, on a consistent basis. A woman that other women should look up to.

And a woman who finds amusement in donning a different persona like a hat, and once a week spends a few hours being a Lady Who Lunches, and catching up with a good friend.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Of Mushrooms and Men

Tonight I had dinner with a potential mentor. A woman we met on our trip to California who owns her own importing business, she was in town pitching to my boss so that we will eventually carry her wines. We talked about a lot of things - her company and career so far in the wine business, my background and some of the freelance writing that I've done, and a little bit of personal stuff. She told me about how on their first official date she and the man she is marrying came back to her house and left a literal trail of clothes to the bedroom. He woke up the next morning and hasn't left since.

"How about you, are you seeing anyone?" she asked.

"No," I replied, "I've sort of decided to bring the snobby back and take a break from spending time with men who, for lack of a better phrase, aren't good enough for me."

"That's great," she said. "Seeing the wrong man is kinda like watching TV. It can provide some amusement, but overall it's boring and generally a waste of time."

"I love that sentiment," I grinned as I stole another morel off of the shared plate in front of us. "Can I quote you?"

"Absolutely. Now, when are you going to come to Italy with me to see the castles?"

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pew etiquette

Do you think it would be considered a sin to stop at Starbuck's before church and grab a latte to sip in between hymns?

I'm just askin'.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Things that are better solo

Eating in diners
Diners are a true gem of American culture. The rough-looking waitresses who call you honey when they drop off your coffee, the ring of the cash register, the authentic American menu, the big, flat grills that make everything from pancakes to meatloaf - all of these things add up be quite the experience. I love sitting at the counter pretending to read my book, while actually stealing glances at the cooks as they fry eggs and eavesdropping on conversations between the owners and their regular customers. Yes, diners are a great place to gather with friends - especially perfect for regaling tales of the previous night over the necessary grease to beat a hangover - but I also love flying in under the radar, sitting quietly and observing various slices of life while savoring my omelet and cheese grits.

Going to the movies
Movies that I want to see in the theater become part of my perpetual To-Do list. If it is really something that looks compelling, it will continue to weigh on me until I've mentally checked it off. So, as most with most aspects of my life, if there is something that I really want to do, I don't wait for someone else. I just go. Because the thing is, who's got the time to try to coordinate schedules with another person? And forget about going with a date. When I set aside the time to spend with someone special, friend or otherwise, I'd rather be engaged in an activity where you can actually engage with the other person. Talking is frowned upon at the movies, so as far as I'm concerned, you may as well head off to it alone. That way you can go whenever the hell it's most convenient for you, and you can completely disappear into the world that someone else has created. With a kids sized snack meal of popcorn and candy.

Saturday mornings
I suppose it can be nice to wake up and automatically have someone to chat with, but truth be told, having an overnight visitor sometimes just stresses me out. I prefer to do my own thing in the morning, and to me there is nothing better than a free Saturday. Left to my own devices I'll usually start the day off by reading in bed. Some kind of light exercise follows, lately in the form of a jog and then some herb garden weeding. I'll make a cup or two of coffee and piddle around the apartment tidying up, making grocery lists, and generally reorganizing my life after a typically mayhem-laden week. The Food Network is constantly blaring in the background, so that it can be heard in every room, the theory being that even if I am not a captive audience for every show that I am at least being inspired by osmosis. The time is idyllic, relaxing, and best of all - all mine.

I know that most women shop in packs, and there is definitely something to be said for level of bonding that can occur during these outings, but when there is something that I seriously need to purchase, I'm better off with just me. I tend to feel awkward and guilty making someone wait while I try something on, and need the time to myself to hem and haw over important questions, such as "Do I really need another pair of espadrilles?" or "Wait a minute, how many black V-necks do I already own?" Not to mention the fact that I inevitably end up getting talked into things that I really don't need and shouldn't be spending money on when with a co-conspirator. Important distinction to make here - browsing with someone else is great, but when I have serious shopping to do, it should be on my own time.

So there are a few of mine. Now you tell me - what are some everyday activities that you prefer to do alone?

Rees Reviews: Straight Up and Dirty

On my nightstand right now is Stephanie Klein's first book, Straight Up and Dirty. She is another in the line of blog mistress-turned book deal clutching author. As hard as I tried, I could never really get into her blog. It is a bit too stream-of-consciousness for me, and I had a hard time following the posts. However, being such a blog fan, whenever I find out that one of my favorite writers pens a novel, I usually add it dutifully to my Wishlist.

I started her book this week, and have to say that so far I am blown away. She is deep and insightful as she recounts her dating mis- and adventures, making such observations as "being esteemed and having self-esteem are not the same thing" when talking about people (herself included) who search out relationships desperately. Her refusal to budge from her standards on the kind of man she wants and how she should be treated is inspiring, not to mention incredibly entertaining to read about.

Light enough to read on the beach, but heavy enough to really make you think - I'll conclude by quoting Travis Birkenstock:

"Two very enthusiastic thumbs up. Fine holiday fun."

*PS - on a completely random note, isn't there something delicious about wearing your laciest panties when you know no one will appreciate them but you?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Over analyzing the Inbox

"So I got an email from K today," I said to my good buddy, Jack as he walked me to my car after Happy Hour.

"Really? Saying what?" I smiled, knowing that Jack had been the perfect person to tell. A dude through and through who genuinely wants the best for his favorite girl friends, shares my delight in over analyzing mundane scenarios, and gives the ultimate in guy perspective, we often swap dating stories.

"Totally random and weird. One fragmented sentence saying that he was sorry for not coming over and talking to me when we were at the same bar two weeks ago."

"Wow. Pretty high opinion of himself, huh?"

"Yeah!! That was completely my first instinct! I mean, hello?? Did he not realize that I also did not go over and talk to him? For a reason - I have no desire to talk to him!"

"When did you run into him?"

"Two weeks ago to the day."

"Wow. Talk about a guy that has no game." (See why I love Jack?) "Yeah, you definitely don't want anything to do with him. You need a guy who has his shit together."

"Yeah," grinning.

"So don't respond to the email."

"Nope, I have to respond."

Jack gave me a quizzical look.

"Because if he really does for some warped reason think that I would somehow care that he didn't come over, then that thought must be squashed. Plus, it would be an added bonus if he tried to get together with me and I got to reject him. So I was thinking that I would say something like..."

"No. I know what you're about to say. If you have to respond, you must not sound defensive."


"Short. Quick. Flippant. 'Yeah, maybe we'll get another chance to catch up. Have a great summer!' Something like that."

"Should I mention..."

"No!" He really does have a talent for reading my mind at this point.

"You're right."

"I know. Are you sure you won't come with me?"

"No thanks. Enjoy H Potts."

"Cheers." His standard closing as he shuffles down the street towards his car. As I watch him go, I once again thank my lucky stars for friends who can get me out of the way of myself.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Guilty Pleasure #8928

Is anyone else obsessed with reading their city's Craigslist "Missed Connection" section?

What is your favorite Craigslist section?

Monday, July 09, 2007


It's funny how easy it is to lose it. To become bogged down with the everyday, or swept up with people that you don't even like that much. To become influenced by people who don't really get you, rather than surround yourself with those who do.

Maybe it's because living downwind of the breath of inspiration can easily become exhausting. Being around people who actually challenge your intellect and force you to consider possibilities can be... well... challenging. Like when their constant support and excitement, probing questions and insightful observations actually just prove to be overwhelming? Or when their own goals and projects seem more purposeful and important than yours, and insecurity creeps in?

So sometimes it just becomes easier to just sweep some of that stuff under the rug and become involved in more mundane tasks. (Like, oh, I don't know... Hosting a Princess House party for your aunt so that she can try to convince your friends to buy random houseware shit. Some of which, you actually kinda like, God help you.) You surround yourself with people who seemingly have no real aspirations of their own, and who simply stare blankly if you even start to answer the question, "So what have you been up to?" truthfully.

It's just that, there are very few people who can relate to some of the things you have in mind, so it becomes easier to just go with the flow, and soon you are working less and less on your goals and ideas.

Until you suddenly reconnect with an old friend who is in a place of chasing after their dreams. Someone who is so passionate about what they are doing that it becomes truly inspiring to you, and you get giddily excited for them. Then when they ask about you, you do something you hardly ever do anymore - you answer truthfully. Well, I've got this idea... or Hey, the coolest thing happened at work the other day... And they listen. Excitedly.

So you keep going. And suddenly you are excited again. And inspired. And you end up talking over each other, asking the other questions about their projects, but hardly able to fit it in because they are asking so many questions about yours. And the next thing you know, there isn't enough time in the day to do all that you want to do.

And your idea of self-worth is right back where it belongs. Through the roof. And you can't wait to keep going with the rest of your life, and for your old friend to do the same.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Heatwave Hibernation

This particular species seems find the heat to be completely oppressive, so when the temperatures start to slyly creep into the upper 90's for more than two days in a row, it tends to do what most mammals do in the extreme cold - hibernates.

No guilt is felt - only a mild curiosity at being exhausted every night and falling into bed at ten o'clock for no particular reason. Outdoor activities are completely banned, and entire days can easily be spent on the couch. Social activities are kept at a minimum, since the laziness apparently carries over into almost every facet of life.

Well, almost every facet. Because during hibernation, this species tends to do things that are warming to her soul, while trying to cool her body. Reading, for one. Finally, some progress is made on chipping away at the mountain of books on the "to conquer" list. The side-effects of this are great, as reading tends to provide something other than recreation for this species - inspiration.

With the quiet and peaceful isolation that accompanies the hibernation, there also comes time to act on those things which are inspiring. So plans to earn more wine writing assignments are launched. Contact is made with those who fuel desire within, and plans are executed for events in the near future. Dreams are rediscovered, and self-awareness is once again in the forefront of the mind. Curtains are hung, and laundry is done, therefore the living space is made into even more of a haven to enjoy. Cupcakes are baked and savored, reminding the species of little joys in life.

So it appears that hibernation is not only good for protecting the body from the extremes of nature, but also for feeding the soul and providing a break so that when it is over, the species can once again attack the world with the gusto that others have come to expect as customary.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Top Ten Restaurants: Chez Paul

For me, the list of Top Ten Restaurants is about more than just the food that was consumed - it is about the essence of that particular moment in time. Few moments in my life were as exhilarating as the evening spent at Chez Paul on the Rue de Lappe in Paris.

Completely high on just being there, Leah and I were determined to take advantage of all that the Paris culinary scene had to offer (to the albeit limited extent that babes on a budget were able to). Armed with Chris' recommendations, we set out to conquer the Paris restaurant scene, one baguette at a time.

After consuming what became our customary late afternoon snack of stinky cheese and table wine from a farmer's market around the corner from our hotel, we suited up and hit the town, ready for a night of decadence.

Walking into Chez Paul, I took a deep breath and inhaled not only the wonderful smells coming from the tiny kitchen, but the entire atmosphere as well. Dark wood all around, an intimate bar, and tables crammed into every nook of the slightly underground hovel made the room seem so perfect it was almost cliche. The place was packed, and everyone seemed so chic and... well... French, that we oscillated between shamelessly gawking at our surroundings and attempting to cooly fit in.

After a short wait we were sat at a small, cozy table close to the bar area and we quickly secured a carafe of wine* from the waitress. We studied the menu and proudly ordered with relatively little translation from the waitress.

To be totally honest, I barely remember what we ate, save for some kind of cold terrine appetizer and a rabbit dish as one of the entrees. But I do remember eating everything in very small bites in an attempt to savor not only the rich, authentic dishes, but the whole experience and evening. I wanted the meal to last forever.
Which, given the size of the dessert we accidentally ordered, it probably could have.

*I'm not too fancy for this. As far as I'm concerned, just go for the carafe of house wine. It's probably decent, saves you a few bucks, and is part of the overall experience.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Simply Not Interested

You know, I tried. Really, I did. It's just that... well... I'm not interested in you.

I don't think it's because it's too soon after my last less-than-stellar experience.

I don't think it's because you ran out of gas on the way to our first date, and that I'm too unforgiving of weaknesses.

I don't think it's because I'm subconsciously pushing away someone who could be really sweet.

I really did explore all of those things as possibilities for why I can't get excited about you.

It's just that, for whatever reason, I see hanging out with you as more of a liability than a fun thing.

It's just that, when you reach out to touch me, even just a pat on the shoulder, I cringe.

It's just that, I'm really getting into the groove of doing my own thing right now, and don't want to invest myself into anything that isn't 100% electrifying.

It's just that, there's too much friend-fun-potential right now in my life to waste time on something that isn't just as gratifying, if not more.

It's just that, I'm finally embracing my standards again and allowing myself to follow my instincts.

And the truth is, I'm simply not interested.

I'm sorry.