Sunday, April 30, 2006

Four Years: Part One

Four years ago today, I moved from Pittsburgh to Boston so I could pursue my career in publishing.

spiceboy could not move with me, as he had to take care of his lovely and very busy resaurant, Spice World.

Making the decision to leave was not an easy one, but I knew I had to give it a shot, or I would spend the rest of my life wondering what it would have been like.

From the beginning, spiceboy never discouraged me or questioned my decision, though I'm sure he had his concerns.

Just go, he said. I know you'll be great, and we'll figure the rest of it out eventually.

Saying goodbye to him on the morning I left was awful in just the way you'd imagine leaving someone you love is awful--tears, hugs, fear, uncertainty, etc. I remember that it was very rainy, and that we kissed goodbye on the tiny front porch of our apartment on Forbes Avenue. And then I walked to my car and I climbed inside. spiceboy stood in the doorway of our apartment, looking out through the screen. And I took once last look--at him, at our apartment, at the street that I'd come to think of as our street. I looked at it all very hard, so I wouldn't forget my life there.

Then I turned the key in the ignition, put the car in gear, and drove away.

I didn't know if what I was about to do was worth the price of what I was giving up: a great guy, a comfortable life, family, friends, and stability.

I only knew one thing: I was never so frighened in all of my life.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Excessive Baggage

I noticed upon moving to this fair, fair city last July that most of the women on the streets carry multiple bags around with them: A standard purse, a tote bag (usually Longchamp or Herve Chapelier) and in addition to those bags, some even sport carrier bag from some shop (Citarella or Ann Taylor if you’re common folk, Tiffany or Hermes if you’re posh).

What the hell are they carrying in there? I used to wonder, watching them swish along as I hurried down Third Avenue toward my office. Whatever it is, I’m never going to carry that many bags around with me.

I was so innocent then!

Though I've managed to avoid the Longchamp/Chapelier clique, today I realized that I too, have joined the bag-carrying masses. It wasn't a conscious decision on my part. It happened gradually. An extra bag here for a lunch or change of clothes--an extra bag there for a manuscript or a change of shoes.

No big deal, right?

But this morning, as I jostled my no-name bags for position on a corner of Third Avenue amongst the Longchamps and Chapeliers, I realized that I was carrying no fewer than FOUR BAGS with me.

I had my everyday handbag, which contains the usual suspects—wallet, metrocard, cell phone, lip gloss, emergency tampon, etc. I had my $2 ratty-ass black tote, which contained my work ID card, a partial manuscript, a legal pad, some spare change, and my umbrella. I had a carrier bag from Anthropologie, in which I had shoved my work shoes, which were wrapped in a plastic grocery store bag (this is a shield of sorts, preventing my shoe stench from wafting out all around me, as I have very stinky feet). And finally, nestled on top of my shoe bag was another plastic bag in which I’d wrapped my lunch.

There were bags hanging from my shoulders, my forearms, and my wrists.

I’m a bag lady! Sure, I’m prepared for just about any situation, rain or shine, but every step I take is puncutated by the sound of rustling plastic, paper, and canvas.

I must downsize. I must formulate a plan. I must stop the madness.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Just Say No


I mean, it’s just a tiny little word, right?

no no no no no no no no no

So why is it so hard for me to say?

No is final. No is firm. No can be assertive without being rude—but not always.

And I’m TERRIFIED of being rude.


Instead of saying no, I try to find different, more creative ways to decline various invitations or duties that are foisted upon me.

But that NEVER works, and before I know it, I’m attending a lunch I have absolutely no business attending. Or a meeting that has nothing to do w/ me at all. Or helping out at a function that would have been better suited for someone else.

All because I couldn’t suck it up and say the one word that would make my life so much easier:


There’s a difference between being a good friend or good coworker and being a pushover.

And I know I should say no more often.

I promise to say yes to saying no.

I'll start right now.

Oh, wait--I forgot.

I'll start this afternoon--just as soon as I get back from that lunch date I couldn’t say no to.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

spiceboy Saves the Day

I awoke today with dread in the pit of my stomach. You see, I have to go to Long Island to do presentations for about 14 books this afternoon, and there is NOTHING I hate more than speaking in front of people. NOTHING. Well, except flying. And eating tripe.


So I woke up, turned off my alarm, walked to the shower, and pulled back the curtain only to find THE HUGEST icky disgusting prehistoric-looking bug just hanging out in the tub. It was at that point that I ran from the bathroom an into the farthest corner of the apartment (which is about 3 steps), screaming like a little girl.

So I guess I learned something today. There’s NOTHING I hate more than speaking in front of people. Except flying. And eating tripe. And prehistoric-looking black bugs in my bathroom on a day I have to speak in front of people.

As I stood in the corner and screamed, I evaluated my options:

Option A: Devise an elaborate plan to kill the bug without having to physically touch it, watch it die, or remove it from the tub. But devising the plan would take time, and would make me late to work, and I would miss the car service to Long Island, miss my presentations, and probably get fired.

Option B: Skip my shower and attempt a sponge-type bath in the kitchen sink, which would mean I’d show up to my presentations sort of smelly and disheveled and with greasy hair, and I’d probably get fired.

Option C: Crawl back into bed and pretend the bug and my job didn’t exist. Which wouldn’t really solve the problem at all and which would surely get me fired.

Option D: Keep screaming until it woke spiceboy up and let him take care of it.

As you can guess, I chose Option D.

spiceboy rose from the depths of his peaceful slumber like a pajama-clad superhero and shuffled into the bathroom to investigate the source of my angst. The bathroom door creaked open and the shower curtain rustled as he pulled it back. There was a moment of silence, and then:


45 seconds and a wad of paper towels later, spiceboy had disposed of the icky bug and crawled back into bed. I was overcome with relief and I jumped on him, thanking him and showering him with kisses. His face was still all scrunchy from sleep, and he patted my leg as if to say: Okay, calm down, it was just a bug, dude. But I know he felt all heroic and good deed-ish about it.

So thanks spiceboy, for saving me from the bug—and from getting fired.

Now, if I can just get through these presentations without having a nervous breakdown, this might turn out to be a pretty good day.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I've Been Chosen

I've been chosen as a featured wedding blog on a website called Top 10 Sources.

Isn't that funny?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Categorically Speaking

Yesterday, spiceboy and I met with the Rev. Dave, the reverend of a Unitarian Universalist church in Pittsburgh. For those of you who aren’t up on the lingo, Unitarian Universalists represent spirituality without religion. And since spiceboy doesn’t really have a religion and I’m a lapsed Catholic, that suits us just fine.

In just 47 short days, Rev. Dave will perform our wedding ceremony.

I was nervous about meeting Rev. Dave. And my nervousness was heightened when I first laid eyes on him. Because although he has a very young face, Rev. Dave’s hair is completely gray, a la Taylor Hicks on American Idol. And though Taylor Hicks can sing, the whole gray hair thing kind of freaks me out.

But once we got to talking, Rev. Dave didn’t freak me out at all. In fact, he was actually kind of fabulous. He sat across from us at a large wooden table and asked us questions about our relationship and how we interact with each other.

The whole experience was quite nice.

Toward the end of our discussion, Rev. Dave had us do an exercise in which we examine the 5 ways in which people receive love.

The 5 categories are:

Gift giving
Spending time
Service (doing the laundry, cooking dinner, etc.)

Since then, I’ve been thinking about all of the ways spiceboy and I act out each of these categories in our relationship:

Verbal: I’m the verbal one. Put simply: I talk. A lot. I start talking as soon as I wake up and pretty much keep talking until I fall asleep. I even keep talking when I’m in the bathroom. If spiceboy is in town, I simply yell through the door to him. If he’s out of town, I take the phone into the bathroom with me. He thinks that’s weird, but I like to think of it as multitasking.

Physical: While I’m the verbal one, spiceboy is more physical in his loving expressions. For example, when I’m walking around the apartment in my pajamas, he often sneaks up behind me, yanks my pants down, then runs away. It’s his own special way of saying I love you.

Gift Giving: I’m a good gift giver, but a lousy receiver, b/c I’m nosey. spiceboy is an excellent gift giver. Except for the year he bought me luggage for Christmas. That was no fun.

Service: We have a pretty good system worked out in the service area. spiceboy cooks, and I do the dishes. Except for when I complain that I’m really tired and “leave” the dirtiest dishes in the sink to “soak,” knowing full well that spiceboy will do them when I’m at work the next day. See? Pretty good system.

Spending Time
: This isn't a problem for us at all. Despite our semi-long distance relationship, spiceboy and I spend tons of quality time together, mostly sitting on our futon and laughing at our own bodily functions. Isn’t love great?

Once we’re married, maybe we’ll cross a barrier into some magical marvelous matrimonial world in which I stop leaving the grimy pots in the sink for spiceboy to wash, and in which spiceboy stops pulling my pants down at inopportune moments. But what fun would that be?

Sure, we each have our imperfections, but when things get tough and when life is not looking so funny, I know that we’ve got each other’s backs. And that’s just about the coolest thing ever. It’s not a category Rev. Dave mentioned to us yesterday, but I think it’s a really important one.

Maybe next time I see him, I’ll ask him to add it to his list.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

License to Wed

This morning, spiceboy and I went to get our marriage license. It was a simple, rather sterile procedure.

We sat in a dingy cubicle. We showed our picture ID's.

The marriage license lady asked if we were under the influence of alcohol or any other controlled substances.

We were not.

Next, she asked where our fathers were born. Mine was born in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. spiceboy's father was born in Rangoon, Burma.

We raised our right hands and solemnly swore that we were telling the truth about the information we had provided. Then we signed a piece of paper.

Then weleft the office, linked hands, and stepped out into the sunshiny day.

And that was that. All of the paperwork is in order. And in 50 days, we'll make it official.

Bye Bye, Bucky

Oh, God, I'm so happy right now.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

In Preparation For My Long Drive Pittsburgh tomorrow, I have not done the following:

Packed clothing, shoes, or necessary undergarments.

But I have ...

consumed 1 glass prosecco
consumed 1 glass nebbiolo
consumed 1 plate fancy wine bar snacks
consumed 1 (more) glass nebbiolo
consumed 1 glass heffweizen
consumed 1 plate German sausages

Back on Sunday. Until then, Happy Passover/Easter!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Second Official Celebrity Sighting

I can't believe I've lived in Manhattan since last July and I'm only now spotting my second real life celebrity. My first was Howard Stern last November.

Anyway, last night, I saw Kelly Ripa, of Regis and Kelly fame, in the lobby of her apartment building near Columbus Circle.

She was so skinny! I wanted to feed her a sandwich. But I didn't.

Instead, I fed myself a sandwich at the fabulous Bouchon Bakery next door. Yummy! And then I followed up with some chocolate cake. Yummier! And I also bought a pastry to go, so I could share it with the lovely spiceboy. Yummiest!

I'm sure neither Kelly nor her trainer would approve. But screw 'em. The pastries were dee-lish.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Idol Worship

I try to resist but I can't help it...

I am powerless in the face of it...

I get weak in the knees at its mere mention...

I will gladly skip a dinner out at the most fabulous of Manhattan restaurants just so I can watch it...

That's right, I'm obsessed with American Idol.

And I can't stop watching until Bucky Convington gets voted off of the show--even if it means watching that annoying Old Navy commercial over and over again.

I'll do what I have to do.

Bucky has got to go.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Best Wedding Present Ever

For any of you who read this blog regularly, you’ll know that the wedding process has been stressing me out a little bit.

Okay. A lot.

Last Wednesday, my stress level reached bridezilla-like proportions when spiceboy and I FINALLY mailed out our wedding invitations. In the days and hours leading up the the mailing, I double checked the guest list at least six times. And after spiceboy very carefully helped me stuff and stamp all of the envelopes, I double checked his work. Twice. He was not impressed with my attention to detail.


Anyway, last Saturday, we received our first official reply cards—both from close friends.

And with these cards, I got best wedding present I could have gotten. And no, I’m not talking about the Cynthia Rowley plates or the Reidel wine glasses (although those would be nice, too).

I got to laugh. And let me tell you, I can’t remember the last time I laughed about something concerning the wedding.

On our reply cards, we left a requisite blank line so potential attendees could write down their names and the names of their guests. Only our friends weren’t satisfied with merely writing their names. Oh no. They also felt compelled to write strange little notes on the cards, for which I will be forever grateful:

Card #1: Paa-leez, bitches! You think I’d miss dis?!!!?

Card #2: Fuck yeah, man, of course we’ll be there!

After reading the cards, I stood in the living room/kitchen/bedroom of my 350 square foot apartment, and I laughed out loud.

After all of these months of planning and stressing and obsessing, I suddenly felt very loved. Receiving these cards reminded me of the fun part of this whole thing: I am in love with a wonderful man, and we are going to get married.

And all of the people we love most in the world are going to be there to celebrate it with us.

And really, how cool is that?

Is it going to be a fun wedding? It’s soooooo going to be a fun wedding.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

New York Minute: Part Five

Last night, I went with spiceboy's fabulous cousin to see the Goya exhibit at the Frick Collection. There we also met her friend Jane, who is a professor at NYU.

We arrived late and purchased our tickets for Goya, and as the main part of the museum shut down all around us, Jane rushed us from room to room, pointing out her favorite paitings. "Oh, and the Vermeers!" she cried. "You must see the Vermeers! They're just lovely!"

I liked Jane instantly, with her shock of white hair, her bright lipstick, her easy, vibrant manner.

To pass the time before the 7:00 show, we three took a walk in Central Park. I walked without my jacket on.The sun was just going down, the sky above the West Side streaked pink and gray. The trees in Manhattan are just now starting to bloom, and the air smelled of magnolias, sweet and crisp.

In the flower beds, the daffodils bobbed, cute yellow harbingers of spring.

By the time we walked back down Fifth Avenue toward the Frick, it was almost fully dark. Jane stopped along the low park wall facing west and breathed deeply.

"Oh, just look at it!" she said, and I could tell by her voice that she is in love with her city.

I looked. The park grounds were dark, dotted here and there with the small white lamplights that line the sidewalks. It looked like a black velvet blanket studded with diamonds had been thrown over Central Park.

Beyond the park, the buildings of the West Side reached into the sky, the spires gothic and creepy in the darkness.

Seeing everything like that, it dawned on me that I haven't looked at the city--really looked at it--since last fall. I've been hiding behind my hat and scarf, just waiting for winter to end.

And now it has.

Here's to spring, and to all of the magical things that are about to happen.