My sister recently had a baby...his name is Felix Paul, and he is fucking perfect. He smells amazing...the way that only babies can; its a mixture of sweet milk and powdery rose petals-even his farts smell amazing. No joke. It's a celebration each time this kid passes gas, because it's his new body's way of figuring out how to remain comfortable inside itself. In no way am I exaggerating. He makes cute little noises that is one part kitten and one part pterodactyl.
and Johannes are amazing parents. They love him beyond words and coo
sweet nothings into his ear, even when his screams break through noise
barriers only understood by deep sea mammals. They kiss him and love him
and take billions of photos.
They have been preparing
for little Felix, and have prepared well. They have been reading books.
They have spoken with doctors. They were ready to have this child.
should mention that between Anna and Johannes I think there are like, 4
degrees. They're not just average. They are brilliant, logical and
Now they have a kid. And there is no
reasoning with screams that challenge solid glass not to break. The
most refreshing thing to see about this new little man in their life is
that everything is new to everyone: Johannes, Felix and Anna. Anna is a
Sitting down with Anna on the first
day in Berlin, she explained everything. How birth is not glamourous
(she was going to birth Felix naturally, but on the 26th hour of
labor...yes, 26th hour...the doctors said, well we're going to do a
c-section now...are you kidding me? That's like running a marathon and
at the 26th mile with only .2 to go, medics say: well, it looks like
you're getting a cramp in your calf. Better take you out of the race.)
that her boobs were so sore that she had cool cabbage placed on them to
calm their pain. How does everyone say how connected to the earth, to
their babies they are when they breast feed? She asked me. It's like, I
have multiple degrees and can run construction sites single handedly,
but as soon as I hear my baby cry, my boobs start leaking. What the
Also, she is not used to her body changing and
morphing back to it's original shape post baby. How are you feeling
physcially? I asked. Ugh, Margaret, I'm serious...it's like NO ONE talks
about what happens to women's bodies after they have a baby. I smell
different, I constantly have my period and I sweat so much at night. My
body is ridding itself of the 9 months it took to grow my baby-- I only
just recently was able to shave again because my stomach got in the way.
How do people that don't know each other have babies together? I am so
thankful I have been with Johannes for 4 years because I know I can
share this with him...but what happens when people have kids by
accident? It must be so awkward!
right. There are so many blogs and articles about the joy of motherhood,
and how great it is etc etc...but the real truth is hushed up behind
pacifiers and contained in soiled diapers. It's loud and it stinks.
not referring to (nor is Anna) postpartum depression, which is a very
real thing. It's just that there is this grand arching joyous dialogue
about how centered you suddenly become once you birth a child. Like you
are a woman. You can conquer. You are now complete. There is another
human on this earth: because of you. (Cue wind blowing through hair with
a soft glow of light on cheekbones with a crimson hued tint on lips
with wild flowers floating all around.)
Last night I was
sitting in the office and turned around, looked at Anna while she was
breast feeding and she proclaimed to me: I mean, this is so boring! I'm
just supposed to sit here and take him to the Milkyway Bar, feed him liquorless
White Russians and watch him fall asleep afterwards!
with a new child suddenly becomes broken up into 3 hour intervals: feed
him, hold him, wipe his ass, let him sleep, rinse, wash, repeat. It is a
drastic lifestyle change from what was before--as an architect who
traveled all over Europe and Russia designing high end retail stores and
now she sits and watches her son drink her breast milk, burp him over
her shoulder, congratulates him when he spits up and puts him down for a
Anna is a loving and doting mother. She has
definitely sofented with the arrival of little Felix, but she is not a
different person; she is still pragmatic and opinionated. It's refreshing.
Little man Felix is a champ. And so is his papa and proud mama. I'm just glad I can still shave whenever I want to.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Travel. Specifically through the air. The concept was once glamorous. Full of mink coats, stewardesses (not flight attendants) and those National Geographic ads that proclaim: Alaska! Come here to experience all of America's vast wilderness! Or: Choose Pan Am, a classy way to travel! I always envision red lipsticked women traveling to Paris to choose their next season's wardrobe and men with straight ties and slicked hair drinking bourbon reading the newspaper.
Now it's lines and ropes that I'm convinced are designed to make us all look like idiots: zig-zagging through like rodents in a plastic tubed maze. People double, triple check their inside pocket for the ticket they just felt in the same spot 23 seconds earlier. Airports these days create a sense of worry and urgency so tangible--it's a potent elixir for explosive behavior that often times becomes activated and expressed at the wrong people.
I am not claiming to be an easy going or calm individual. Somehow though, when I enter an airport I become a more zenned out version of myself. It has been said that my actions can sometime mimic my father's when I'm walking somewhere; (talk about Travel Mode...Colin will find his gate before he realizes that his family is not with him anymore...he just fucking goes, man. I once told him a story about how a man followed me into the woman's bathroom when I was connecting flights in London-I was all of 16 and had short hair. I was so frightened that I had no other choice to just turn around and say to the guy: get out of here, you don't belong here. And he left! Expecting a paternal smirk of pride or something, I was astounded when he said: well look atcha, Mahgrett. He prolly thawt you wir ah boy! Thanks dad. Glad you're pumped I'm not hacked up somewhere in England.)
In my mind, traveling is like adding salt to food: it enhances who that particular person is and draws out the water, the outer layers of social politeness and strips that person down to the core of their true flavor. Travel mode has two flavors: Asshole and Kind. More often than not, the Asshole flavor rises to the top more so than the Kind...but when the Kind does manage to be spotted, it's that much more satisfying. Like the random dude that carried two large pieces of luggage all the way to a gate for a single mother with two kids, all the while carrying his own shit. Kind does exist.
Yesterday while checking my luggage I noticed a man that was trying to force his clearly too-big-for the-carry-on-size bag into the example of: if you can't fit your carry on suitcase in here, it ain't being no carry on. He was trying to re-arrange shit in his suitcase and his wife, waiting at the counter watching him along with the desk clerk said: Baby, maybe it's just time to accept it--it's not joining us, and there are people behind us. It was almost as if she said: bBaby, I know you wanted your son to be a pro athlete, but he has scoliosis--it's not going to happen. It was a mixture of Kind and Asshole, because the wife was being calm and patient while the husband was just too stubborn and blind. It should also be mentioned that the suitcase in question had written (in masking tape) on the front: Jesus Saves.
There are many more stories from yesterday's journey to Berlin (one involves a Brooklyn based band called Karizma-5 guys wearing sunglasses on an over night flight sitting around me, as well as a tale of a passive aggressive bitch that got put into her place...)
...but then I'd write for hours...and there is a new nephew to dote over and really really good cheese to eat.
So. Travel Mode. It exists. Hopefully you're the Kind flavor.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
The biggest distinction between humans and other mammals is our ability to convey emotions to other humans of all kinds. We can communicate and articulate what exactly is on our minds. Do we always do that? Fuck no. If we did, then there would be no war, no anger, no grudges held.
It’s not a secret my relationship with my mother has been one of hurt, anger, resentment, miscommunication and mistrust. I am not saying this has all been on her shoulders; it’s been my responsibility as well. There has also been times of happiness, pride, laughter and love—and at times, sometimes I really doubted her true maternal care or instinct for me. While a frank that is not meant to be cutting. It was a genuine question in my life.
11 years ago today was the 14th day of my college career. I was in the Bronx at Fordham University, rushing to get to my sociology class and realizing humans were walking around in a daze, as if they were headless chickens. Students, adults, crying, hunched down in abject anguish. I soon discovered the cause and my life (and the rest of the world) was never the same again.
Cell reception was terrible. The only thing I wanted to do was hear the voices of my family. I couldn’t even try to cry—how could I? My friend’s father was missing. So was another’s uncle, brother, sister, mother. What right did I have to cry, when I knew the ones I cared about were safe?
Finally, around 11:30, I was able to get through to my house. If I ever had any doubts about my mother’s love and care for me, the two words she repeated over and over on that phone call answered any lingering doubt. The phone barely rang and she answered it and I said: Mom?
My baby! My baby! My baby! She cried over and over. As I type this I regret any questions I had regarding her love. On that day, hearing her voice was the only moment I almost cried. Her voice was fraught with pain, with anguish, torture and relief. And love.
No relationship is perfect, and there will never be a perfect relationship. I am actively trying to be a better daughter to my mother, and I believe she is striving to be better as well. Especially on this day, I always thank God that I have two parents, two sisters and friends I am able to love and I try each day to let them know my feelings.
I’d like to think that those passengers on the planes 11 years ago were feeling love and not pain or fear. I hope (and always have) those firefighters, police officers and civilians whose lives were taken were, on their last breath, thinking of their families feeling love and knowing they have loved. What an experience. Love.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
It’s no secret that I’ve never been shy. I genuinely dig meeting all different types of people and it’s always been that way. We’re an interesting breed and the more we can learn from each other, the better.
Within me lies a need to always reach out and communicate with others (I think I get that from my mother—her Midwestern roots give her the brazenness to say whatever is in that head of hers, and for the most part, she does.)
So it’s no surprise that when we moved from one house to another in the same town, it was my mission to get to know the neighbors. And I did. One sunny afternoon I toiled away with my crayons and construction paper creating what I deemed art work. Upon completion, I took my wares on the road. Literally.
With my masterpieces under my arm I was ready to conquer the world. I left the house shouting after me: Bye mom, off to sell my art! And that was that. I was gonna meet the neighbors and make some money.
I went door to door, rang the bell, and each time someone answered the door they looked out and then realized I was…down. Probably wondering if they should call the cops, they listened to my shpeel: Hi! I’m Margaret Kelliher. I just moved to 12 Tack Street. My parents are Colin and Adrienne, and my sister is named Hannah. Nice to meet you! Would you like to buy some artwork? (Kill ‘em with cuteness, I figured. Who’s not gonna buy shit from a 2 foot tall blonde kid?) This lasted about 1 ½ - 2 hours; with an extra .26 to my name I was ready for some r&r and hard earned cookies.
I should let you know that the day before in my kindergarten class we learned how to call the cops in case of emergency. It was 631.1212. Pre 911 shit, yo. I have an uncanny ability to remember phone numbers, and I think this was the start to it. Ok. Got that? Good.
I strut back to my new house with some brass in my pocket, art work sold. I get back and yelled out to my mother: Mom! I’m home! I sold all my art! No response. I didn’t hear her voice or her foot steps…Mom? MOM?? I began to panic running from room to room, and realized that I was alone. In a new house. My mom had left me. Flipping my shit, I ran to the phone and of course dialed the only number I knew: the cops. I fucking called the cops on my mom, citing that I’d been abandoned and I’ve never been home alone before. I was told to wait outside for the police to show up.
I ran outside, waiting in front of my house. A cop showed up on a motorcycle and was asking me questions when all of a sudden my mother’s gold Mercury Sable wagon comes screeching down the street. She throws the door open freaking out screaming: MY BABY! MY BABY! flkJ OFIWEJFOH WEIOfh.
Turns out, she didn’t hear me shout that I was going to sell my artwork. So she tries to find me and realizes that I’ve either a)flown the coop (which could have been a reality--I did do it once before at an even younger age; she was gardening and had me next to her in our yard, when I decided to make a break for it and wound up in the middle of an intersection being held by a woman who stopped her car for me. I was then tied to the tree from then on out.) or b) I got snatched. She did the only reasonable thing she could think of to do which was tear around the surrounding areas: the beach, the main streets….which is when I decided to return home.
At the end of the day, the cop left, my mom returned and I made some money. Win win all around.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
The term hipster has become relatively mainstream, but it should be noted that its primary origin (I believe) to be in the borough of Brooklyn. Its numbers have multiplied so much so that there is a site devoted to the absurdity of this group. It is hysterical, and a tad spiteful...but but so spot on. I didn’t realize it was more than a fashion statement until I moved back here and witnessed it first hand.
Upon initially moving back to the city, I was afforded a very unique experience: I was a wall flower, a voyeur. I went to different neighborhoods, walked around, ordered food at the bar and enjoyed truly amazing experiences unfolding before my eyes.
One such night I stopped into a lovely local boite (I.couldn’t.help.myself.) to enjoy a crisp beer with a childhood favorite: grilled cheese. Happily immersed in my caloric binge, a dude sat himself down beside me and ordered 3 neat whiskeys and a rolling rock. Seriously? All at once, dude? Sure, whatever. As soon as his neat-shmeat bullshit was delivered, the can of rolling rock cracked open, he drew from his Freitag messenger bag a book about 3 inches thick with a title on the spine boldly claiming its name: Existence. What the fuck? I looked around me, seeing if anyone else was laughing, or paying attention. I was silently shaking, and the people around me just kept on living their lives—but all I got was crickets! What the fuck! I promptly texted a friend in Boston who was quick to respond: Strike up a conversation. Tell him you train iguanas. Hipsters love that shit. I openly howled at this bar, by myself unable to contain my laughter. She was spot on, but due to such incredible comedic timing, I made an ass of myself. Eh, I didn’t care that much, as I ordered one last beer to continue observing.
Another evening, I ventured to another spot by my apartment. The bartenders were friendly and welcoming, and I felt like I’d found my spot, you know, like, the Cheers cliché. Next thing I know I’m witnessing what I think may be a first date. Guy: So, what exactly do you do? Girl: I’m a poet. (She said this dead serious.) Guy (a little bewildered): like, for a job? That’s how you make money? Girl: Yes. Guy: Uh, ok, like what’s one of your poems? Girl: Life. Grey. Your eyes: Grey. Your shirt: Grey.
I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.
I think the reason I find these exchanges so fascinating and truly comedic is that this new strain of speices take themselves so goddamn seriously. They are the equivalent of Boston Yuppies, but with a disdain for polo shirts and a love for plaid. It’s as if they never stayed in on New Year’s Eve watching the Three Stooges. They seemingly were out creating woven quilts with frozen blades of grass only to watch it melt away with the dawn of the new day, sun—whatever the fuck it is they did as kids on New Year’s Eve.
So I’m enjoying my meal, chatting with the bartenders and the poet up and leaves her conversation only to come back gleefully 35 minutes later with a tattoo on her wrist in American Typewriter font with the German words: Seig Nein. Which I don’t even think is grammatically correct. She left the date to get a tattoo.
These instances happen all over the place, everywhere you turn when you live and hang out in Brooklyn. It’s rich with metallic hued Doc Martens, men sporting loose striped tank tops (which is a fad that men should NEVER under any circumstances participate in, yet all too frequently they do) and everything is local. I got an overwhelming urge to shove a snickers bar into the porcelain face of a 20 something as she was eating a bag of kale chips while riding the F the other day.
Hipsters (or almost neo-hipsters, actually) even compete differently. At a dive bar in Williamsburg with the words Country Club in the title, a group of intellectuals were circled together drinking PBR’s on a grimy run down mini-golf course in the back (it’s too much, I know) singing happy birthday to their friend. Not to be out done, another cluster NOT sitting on the fake grass closer to the bar entrance in plastic lawn chairs started singing happy birthday seconds after the first group, only louder and with a trace of snarky elitism gleaming in their eyes.
It was a new age Jets and Sharks rivalry, but with thick rimmed glasses and opinions regarding the latest documentaries.
Make no mistake, I am part of this weird mix of people, but have enough sense to realize I’m a fucking moron. Hopefully they’ll catch on as well, but in the mean time, I’ll continue watching this interesting breed and be sure not to laugh too loud.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
One of my favorite humans on this planet decided to pick up and move to San Francisco. Needless to say, anytime she makes it back to the East Coast, I do my best to get to where ever she is, if only for a brief time. Since moving to New York, all real conversations with friends have been subject to forgetfulness. So it’s no wonder that Friday, June 29th, Lindsey calls me in the morning to say hey! Just letting you know I get in tomorrow! Me, all baffled (see forgetful comment above) is like: Oh! shit! I forgot! Since I’m single and have a cat, my schedule is pretty flexible. I reach out to Linds’ brother and his girlfriend who are also going up for the weekend (and live in New York), call their sweet mother and basically invite myself up that night, with 2 1/2 weeks worth of laundry. (It was bad. I was on the reserve underwear. I hope you all know that i would not have lugged nearly 60lbs worth of laundry to another state had it not been that dire of a situation).
As I’m wrapping my Friday up, exiting a great meeting with a client, I check my phone and there are 9 texts from Jesse, Lindsey’s older brother. One says: You’ll earn immunity from my teasing for a month and the last one says: Answer me. At this point, it’s 5:15, my train is at 7:45 in Manhattan and I still need to pack my shit at my apartment in Brooklyn then get back in to the city, as I didn’t realize I would be away for the weekend. Call Jesse (who’s all: Hey! How are you? How are things?! So...I need a favor...I forgot my backpack at the office...if I messenger it over to your apartment in Brooklyn, could you bring it with you tonight??) I of course say yes. Jesse: really? I mean, you’ll take my backpack?? Me: sure! it’s just a backpack, dude. Don’t worry about it.
Turns out Jesse the wonder-kid didn’t messenger it over to Brooklyn, he had a loyal co-worker hop in a cab and deliver it to me. On a Friday night. During rush hour. In New York fucking City. The time is getting closer to 7 than I’d like I’m still waiting and I get anxious so I call his friend who STILL hadn’t made it over the bridge yet. Panic beginning to set in, I said: I’ll hop on the subway and meet you at Atlantic Avenue. I myself have: my work messenger bag, my bag full of weekend stuff, and let’s not forget my 890 lb bag full of dirty clothes. (And I’m in a dress. In literally 99 degree heat.) I get out of the subway stop, see the cab, and what happens next in my mind is a montage of torture rooms, psychological warfare and a very dark vivid red color, because Jesse’s backpack? The one he so innocently asked me to carry? It’s not a backpack like I was envisioning. This wasn’t a Jansport that you carry around campus with, oh no. This was a: I’m going off to discover who I am for 7 months as I trek across the outer mountain chains of Northern Mongolia backpack. Laura, Jesse's co-worker, handed it off to me like a kid she was glad she was done babysitting, and I pointed my finger in her face and said: I am going to fucking murder Jesse MacDougall. Laura (the chick) giggled nervously then hopped back in the cab. So I strapped the fucking beast of a backpack to my back, slinging my other bags around me and went back into the subway. It’s 7:25, and I’m still in Brooklyn. I have to be at Penn Station in the next 15 minutes, other wise my 7:45 train is a joke. As I get on to the subway, I sit down, taking up approximately 4.6 seats and realize that when I put Jesse’s backpack on, the hem of my dress went with it, and I’d been walking through the subway station with my ass exposed.
And ps: who the fuck forgets something as important as the bag they carry away for the weekend?
Long story longer, I had resigned myself to missing the train, but thank christ it was delayed. I hopped on and began to relax.
Get off the train, Jesse picks me up and is like: awww, thank you! here, let me help you. fuck that, dude. don’t you touch a thing. if I made it this far, i’m gonna carry it all the way to the fucking house, you slick mother fucker.
The weekend was amazing. I was able to spend time with Lindsey, catch up, laugh, sleep, and laugh some more. Summer at its best: egg tosses, volley ball, beer, family and happiness. Paula and Kevin (Lindsey and Jesse’s parents) are so lovely, kind and welcoming. I love the way the MacDougall’s only have one speed: go. Whispering to them means not using a megaphone. Relaxing to Paula means wearing a bathing suit and shorts while she vacuums the whole first floor at 8am. While most consider yard work to involve a rake and a bucket, Kev gets one of those electric company buckets to hoist himself in to cut down a branch. Lindsey wakes up, wants to go for a 10 mile run then plans her day.
The first time I ever visited the MacDougall compound I noticed a few signs around the house: DON’T LET SHAINA IN. After having no luck figuring this mystery out on my own, I asked Lindsey: Who’s Shaina? (I’m thinking it’s like, the town nut who stumbles into people’s homes to sleep on their hallway floor) and in an ever so nonchalant response: oh, Shaina’s our cat. She’s so lazy, doesn’t kill enough mice, so we try and have her stay out as much as possible in the summer. WHAT?? A synonym for a house cat is lazy. Not on the MacDougall watch, no sir-ee. Shaina needed to pull her own weight.
I get home from the weekend, make my bed with clean sheets, sleep soundly. Wake up the next morning covered in hives. I have never used fabric softener before that weekend, and now I know why. Head to toe hives.
I guess my father called my godfather (his brother John) and told him the story. Uncle John calls me on Tuesday night and says: MAH-GRETT! YAH FAH-THAH TOLD ME WHAT HAPPENED! JEEZE! WHO YA BEEN DATIN’??
All in all, it was a successful weekend; I got to see a best friend, hang out with her awesome family, and do laundry get hives and get made fun of by my godfather.
Monday, June 25, 2012
This is my first full week in New York--and so far I can say the feeling I have is that of a foreign exchange student.
I arrived around 9pm last Saturday night with a dear friend who helped cart my shit into my apartment, woke up the next morning at 645 am due to my new upstairs neighbor b-l-a-s-t-i-n-g Otis Redding. Don’t get me wrong, I love Otis Redding just as much as the next girl, but when you’re camping out on the living room floor with a pillow and nearly dead from stress cat and a house guest you cant give clean towels just yet, you’re gonna want to sleep for as long as you can. I promptly went up stairs to the offending neighbor who opened his door in boxers holding a blue solo cup wearing a grin bigger than the cheshire cat. I politely said to him: dude, you gotta turn that shit down, people are trying to sleep. That was my first morning in new york.
The next day, the movers (Rudy and Dmitri, god bless them both) delivered my furniture and it was time for me to set my life up. What is the biggest difference right away between Boston and New York? Your main transportation becomes your legs versus a car. That first Sunday, I got to work organizing and reassembling my life; I quickly realized that the 12 or 13 foot ceilings plus my 5 foot frame and a 2 foot stool wasn’t really a super equation to hang curtains. I recalled passing a Home Depot on the first trip down to Brooklyn...it couldn’t be that far away....right? 40 minutes later I was there--bought a huge ladder, screws and a tension rod. I looked awesome carting all that shit back home, and thankfully a cab pulled over and i happily threw my shit in the back and rode shot gun.
Being an outsider has afforded me the ability to be a keen observer, a wall flower. Each day after work last week I walked through different neighborhoods, seeing the men sitting in their folding chairs outside bodegas listening to salsa music, monks commuting next to Wall Street execs with their earbuds in, mothers teaching their toddlers manners while protecting them from the other humans on the subway.
Upon my way home last Wednesday, I stopped into a local pub to grab a drink and food (I forgot to call National Grid before I got to New York to have my gas stove turned on, so it just got turned on this weekend...yikes) and ate at the bar. I happened to be sitting next to a dude that ordered three ‘neat’ whiskeys and a rolling rock, and was reading a book titled Existence. What!! I looked around, looking to see if anyone else thought that this was hysterical. No one batted a mascaraed covered eyelash! The thing is, these fucking hipsters nestle in to New York because no one stands out--everyone’s a weirdo. So they can be heard, understood even. I texted a friend of mine that I knew would understand the humor right away and her response? Tell him you train iguanas. Hipsters love that shit. Well that made me howl enough to cause a scene and have people stare over at me...but oh no, no one gives a shit about the Existence guy.
On Saturday I was wondering around aimlessly in nolita when I was passing a man wearing a python (a live one) wrapped around his arm and neck. I didn’t even register that the thing was real until I saw the glimmer of sun reflecting off part of its swamp colored scales. I’m pretty sure my reaction was exactly what this snake wearing asshole wanted (I jumped about 4 feet in the air and quickly made a left in a 45 degree angle into the street, not caring about traffic) and he smiled and chuckled. I relayed this experience to a friend in Boston, and his response: The same thing happened to me in Boston, except it was a kitten. Again, I cackled so loud I am fairly certain a mother shielded her child from the crazy woman (me) on the street cracking herself up.
New Yorkers carry snakes, Bostonians: kittens. Little different.
Like all new endeavors, it takes time to feel steady and confident in your role....it’s thrilling to know that I will soon be fluid enough to speak New York without pause in the (hopefully) near future; and that is fuel enough for me to strive to be better and to appreciate all the daily stories that play out in front of me.