Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy Easter: I'm becoming a Jew.

A while back I dated and fell in love with a friend’s roommate.  The first time I saw him, I literally couldn’t feel my limbs, didn’t remember how to put one foot in front of the other. It’s the crazy stupid all encompassing love you see in movies, the kind you read about, blah blah blah. As our relationship progressed, I soon realized that his being Jewish was a big deal. Like, his dad’s a rabbi big deal. Like, I can’t even think about being with you if you’re not a Jew big deal. So, like the love sick idiot I was, I began reading books with titles like: To Be a Jew, Welcome to the Family and the best: Judaism for Dummies. I even went to his temple, listened, observed, saw his father be a rabbi to his congregation, signed up for conversion classes.

My family is Catholic. Not the kind of Catholic that just goes to Christmas Eve mass. My father goes to church 6 days a week, and my mother at least 5 days a week. They still cringe when I say jesus christ when I’m chopping onions. Growing up, my father would come into my bedroom and kneel beside me at night and we would say our prayers together. That kind of Catholic.

On Easter Sunday of 2007, my family is sitting around the dining room table eating lamb and roasted asparagus when my father starts asking me about my relationship, why I’m reading Judaism for Dummies, don’t I believe in Jesus Christ rising from the dead to join his Heavenly Father? I responded, as any know it all 24 year old would: because I don’t mind one religion or the other, I would convert to Judaism for him, and I’m going to. Seriously Margaret? I think if I had said: Hey, Dad, I’ve decided to be a dominatrix and I’m moving to a basement apartment in Bayonne—that would have gone better than me saying: I’m gonna be a Jew, because it just doesn’t matter to me that much. 

Fast forward to a month later, I’m in the car with a friend when I receive a call from him: hey…um…we need to talk. For the record,  get a better fucking line. I just don’t know where this can go…with you being catholic…and, my family doesn’t want…and then things just went black. I experienced my first true heart ache that night from the man I thought was going to be the man of my life.

To others, heart break is eating chocolates out of a box and watching bad TV, or going out and surrounding yourself with tons of people so you forget your pain. I chose silence and nothingness. I called Anna in Germany, and it must have been 3 am her time, but she picked up, and listened to me wail and sob. (come to think of it, I am pretty sure that only whales would have been able to understand me, but somehow, she understood my language.) Anna called me the next day and asked what I was doing, and I plainly told her I was staring at my toes.  She said, ok, but pick me up from the airport first. She fucking flew across the globe to be by my pathetic side while I stared at my toes.

Other dear friends left words of encouragement on my doorstep, along with food. If someone walked by my front door, they would have thought someone had died. Loss of love is like a death; and the mourning process is unique in the fact that everyone that cares about you and you them are still in your life.

So the moral of the story is this: don’t fucking change yourself for shit, ‘cause they’ll come and go, but you? You remain. And you have to live with you. And don’t tell your Catholic Dad you’re converting to Judaism on Easter Sunday. Bad move.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Air Conditioning Codes

So you’ve gotten a peak into all that is my Uncle John. He is so much more that can be put into words…you can tell he has a little bit of wise guy in him, but at the end of the day, he’s a big ‘ol softy. (but don’t tell him I said that.) A few years ago, my sister and I were over at his house to say a quick hello. HI! HOWAH YAH GUYS! GOOD SEEIN’ YAH! We were catching up on family and how their latest trip to the British Virgin Islands was. Oh my gawd, I’ll tell yah somethin’…it was fantastic. Clee-yah blue oceans-ow-wah own private captain. Yah. (Let me just interject right now, if I may—the use of the word ‘yah’ encompasses everything in a conversation. How are yowah  parents? Good! They’re good! Response: Yah. Good. Yah. I heard that (insert name here) got a great job promotion. YAH?! Oh yah! I heard that (insert name here) is battling cancer. In lower voice: Yah…yah. ) ‘Yah’ is the perfect response for everything.)

So we’re chatting with Uncle John about his vacation, and he wanted to show us some photos he took of the trip, and of course they were on his computer upstairs in the guest room/office.  The three of us trek upstairs and go to the room where the computer is.  He’s finding the pictures in a file when I notice that there is Bic Pen numbers and letters written all over the wall behind the computer. We’re talking A Beautiful Mind here. Uncle John? I ask cautiously. Why is there um, numbers and letters written on the wall?

Oh! Those ahh my passwords and codes. Yah. Yah nevah know what wee-doh is gonna go dumpstah divin’ fo-wah my passwords, that’s why yah can’t trust a notebook. Even if I shred the pay-pah, you don’t know who’s gonna go through and tape it tugethah! Hannah and I exchange glances at each other and continue to look at pictures of the vacation. At the end of the slide show, I can’t help it. I just can’t. I go back to the codes written on the walls.  So…why do you write them on the wall? And why are there so many? Oh, I change the codes every two weeks, and you know, aftah a while I fo-wah get them, so I write them down! At this point, Aunt Joyce walks by the room on her way down stairs, hearing our conversation and chimes in: I took a week off of work to re-paint and wall pay-puh this room, and what does he do? He writes all ovah my wall pay-pah.  Uncle John continues: I don’t put ANYTHING on the intah-net. ‘Cause it’s all out theh-yah fo-wah people to steal all yo-wah identity. I’m not gonna let that happen!  At this point I can hardly contain my giggles when I notice that there are even codes written on the uninstalled air conditioning unit. Um, Uncle John, why do you have passwords on the air conditioner? Oh yah! Look at the wall Mah-grett, I ran outta room,  (hello? I should have already deduced that fact) I need a place to write down the codes! He thinks this is normal. Like, he’s looking at me like I have 8 heads. Hey, whatever works. This is a man that brings ritz crackers and cheeze whiz to a bar when he’s betting, and does pretty well for himself.  When all’s said and done, my money’s on Uncle John.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Definition of Masshole

Recently, Boston was voted 50 out of 50 for being the meanest city . Even though this article is extremely short, I’d like to take a deeper dive on the matter. Mean (or in other words: Masshole) can encompass so many different qualities, so many different attitudes--that it’s not fair to just peg the word ‘mean’ on us, is it? There are certain principles one must understand in order to exist in this great state (and more importantly, city) if one wishes to thrive, or even, survive.

Driving. People that claim Massachusetts drivers are the worst drivers don’t know shit. Believe me, when you get cut off in the middle of an intersection by a man driving a Crown Vic smoking a cigarette with an oxygen tank seat belted in shot gun attached to his nostrils, you’ve gotta grow some balls. Fast.  We Bostonian drivers know our roads well and are not afraid to let you know it. Why should we be bashful? After 20+ years of the hell that will forever live in infamy as The Big Dig, we’ve earned it.  The Buick La Sabre in front of you doesn’t need to put his left turn signal on, he already knows where he’s going, so fuck you for not figuring it out. The problem with tourists and travelers is that they think they’re driving a vehicle on a road. As soon as you realize that Bostonians are all in one big game of Super Mario Kart, the roads will seem a lot friendlier. I’d like to think of myself as Yoshi.

The Sarcasm.  Just because someone says something with a straight face does not make it acceptable to believe them right off the bat. Hey hun, I could really use anothah Mastah cahd bill that’s ovah a thousand bucks this month. Shocked (and new to the area) bartender: Really? No, but I’ll take anothah bud heavy. In many cultures, it’s custom to refuse to eat a platter of food if it’s past in front of you once, even twice, but on the third go around, you indulge in the gorgeous  stuffed grape leave offered. Upon seeing an old friend, you might hear: What the fuck! Who the fuck does this kid think he/she is? What a fuckin’ knuckle head, ohmygawd jesus christ!!! (large bear embrace ensues.) Midwestern or West Coast Translation: My goodness! It’s been so long since I’ve seen you, my long lost childhood friend! How are you doing? My heart is swelling with happiness! Some might cringe at the gruffness of it; that’s ok. If you’re not interested in what’s underneath the sandpaper exterior, we’re not interested in showing you.

Whether you are black, white, purple, green or magenta, Boston is and will always be a sports town. It’s literally in the water, air and food we consume. You can’t exist one season in Massachusetts without a game being on of some sort. My father gets so excited watching a Sox game, he’ll forget to sit down in his chair in the den. He’ll just stand 2 feet in front of the tv for the better part of 45 minutes.  Only after three or four attempts of shouting at him will his ear canals clear of sports jargon and register that his family is yelling at him to get out of the way. People plan their weddings, christenings, engagements and various other life milestones around sports. Sure, I’ll drive down to the Cape, but if the Bruins make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, I can’t. I need to be at my bar wearing my lucky socks. Sports events create long lasting friendships, relationships and babies. Plus, everyone in Boston knows that beer just tastes better inside the park.

So that’s that. If you get it, great. If you don’t, who gives a shit.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Santa's Got a Boston Accent.

As a child, Christmas was my absolute FAVORITE holiday. Everything about it made me happy: my father making Aunt Mil’s famous fruit cake (it’s literally a brick of flour). Watching my mother wrap elaborate gifts to send to her home state of Wisconsin. Wearing puffy holiday dresses that would invite me to act as a human conductor and then zap me if I touched anything.  Decorating the house with Christmas paraphernalia…the list goes on and on. The most distinct memory I have for Christmas growing up was calling Santa at the North Pole on Christmas Eve and waking up with a bright orange kiss mark Santa had left on my cheek. 

Every Christmas Eve, my father would pull out the yellow pages and theatrically look up Santa’s number. I’d beg and plead with him to let ME look him up; after all, I knew the alphabet, and I knew that his last name started with a C. This wasn’t exactly heavy lifting. But each time he’d say nope, Mah-grett, only paya-rhentts can look the num-bah up. I would squirm as he dialed the numbers and called Santa’s home at the North Pole, ask to speak to Santa, and finally, he’d hand the phone to me. SANTA?!!! I would exclaim. Hi Santa! It’s Margaret! Santa would lovingly proclaim: MAAH-GRETT! How ahh yah! Have yah been a good girl this yee-yah? Have yah been nice teh yah pah-rents?  Yes, Santa, I have. I HAVE! Well, ok, Mah-grett, I’m gittin’ pretty busy up he-yah at the Nawth Pole, so what is it you REALLY want this yee-yah? I would smile and giggle and tell him what I wanted while he promised that our house was the first house he’d deliver gifts to; and of course I believed him. One year, my father dialed the number, handed it to me, I salivated while listening to each ring, and someone picked up. HELLO? The brusk voice answered. SANTA!!! I exclaimed. Oh!!! This must be Mah-grett! This is one’ve Santa’s elves…yah…he’s really busy Mah-grett, but he was expectin’ yo-wah call! (Some shuffling of hands and muffled voices ensued and soon, Santa was on the phone.) SANTA! I squealed.

This tradition lasted until 3rd grade, until Esme and another guilty party whom shall remain nameless cornered me in Mr. Pisani’s class at recess. Santa doesn't exist they proclaimed. Children have such a blind faith, such a trust that is felt with their hearts and not the physical realm that surrounds us; why wouldn’t I believe in Santa? I loved and trusted my parents, and if they told me he was real, then he must have been. Not just the blind unadulterated faith, but he left physical evidence of being in my house: trails of candy canes from my room down the stairs arriving at a bountiful stocking with gifts pouring out of it; half eaten cookies were strewn in the fire place, and even carrots were nibbled on and found in our front yard. Let’s not forget about the orange kiss mark found on my cheek on Christmas morning. Santa totally existed.  But alas, he was a mere fable. I had a lot of questions I needed answered.

Who was Santa? How did I talk to him? How did he leave a kiss mark on my face? Turns out, the orange kiss mark was my mother (I always thought it odd he had the same Estee Lauder Florida  Orange as my mom).  One mystery down and one to go. Who did I speak to all those years? How did he know me so well, and where I lived? What my sister’s name was? Turns out, Santa was Uncle Kevin in Melrose. Jimmy (my cousin) was the elf.

Years later I was watching a holiday movie when it dawned on me:  in my mind, Santa always had a Boston accent. He still does, come to think of it.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I never really have ever felt thin. Even at my thinnest (the end of my freshman year of college I was 98 lbs…and when the scale hit 100 I cried). Body image and perception of the way I feel has always been negative. Granted, there are days when I feel gorgeous, but it’s usually due to a new pair of shoes or some external material thing. Well, at 28 years old, I’m fed up. It’s bullshit.

I’ve taken up a couple activities to try and untangle my mind into more of a cohesive supportive organ helping my body become healthier and happier rather than the roadblock it has become.  First, I’m seeing a therapist. It’s the best fucking thing in the world. Think of your head as this messy cluttered mason jar: you go to therapy, dump all the shit out of the mason jar and at the end of the session, you don’t have to clean it up; you get to leave your mess in that space and have a clean jar for the rest of the day/week. Amazing.  I just want to say to all skeptics out there, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. If you break a bone, you go to the doctor.  If your head is a mess, go to a doctor. It’s that simple.

Another exercise I’ve begun is yoga. I know. I know. I’m probably the most sarcastic beast on this planet, and I’m the one attempting to focus on my breathing. Life is funny. Liv (my instructor/teacher thing) is my best friend’s girlfriend and is new to Boston. You could say that I’m being the nice one (what with me helping her get her practice off the ground in Boston and all…) but in reality she’s saving me.  I’ve become uncomfortable in my own skin and want to take control of my health and body image. I figure yoga could be a good way to do that. When people roll their eyes at the notion of yoga, my response will be a challenge: you try the warrior pose or plank pose and I DARE your muscles not to quiver with pain.  Yoga is all about breath, and the focus of it. When you can breathe and focus solely on your breath in a sitting position, different poses help you feel other parts of your body. Well, the morning after my first class, I felt everything. I woke up feeling like Roger Rabbit after being steam rolled. Yoga is a practice that is meant to be calming, (I suppose it will get that way in time) but let me tell you one thing: it is a work out. After 30 minutes, my heart rate is jacked and I’m sweating more than what can be called glistening. It is not pretty, but I’m with a teacher I trust and believe in, and I know I will get to the better version of myself I want with her guidance.

So slowly but surely I’m building my confidence and health. Let me tell you one thing: it’s a bitch, but at the end of the day, if you can say you treated yourself well, it’s all worth it, one breath at a time.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Butter Knife

This is going to be one of those make or break things. Like, I’m putting this out there and maybe no one will want to know me after this. I’d like to point out that I am a lady. I wear mascara and high heels, and use curse words appropriately. Hear me out: we all have extremely mortifying instances that happen in our lives, I’m just dumb enough to tell you. That’s it. That’s my disclaimer.  

The last week of June Anna came to stay with me. (She is basically my sister. Not biologically, but pretty much). Anna lives in Berlin, Germany, and pretty knows everything about me. Like, everything. First heartbreak, insecurities, what makes me laugh or get me really pissed off. We have the same sense of humor and even kind of look alike. At any rate, I’m telling you this because there is literally nothing I would hide from her. Almost.

Anna’s last morning I woke up before her and had to go to the bathroom. Like, goooo to the bathroom. So I wake up, tip toe to the bathroom and go. Fine, perfect, whatever. We all do it. Problem is the toilet wouldn’t flush it down. I tried four or five times, but nothing was moving this thing. And no, I didn’t have a fucking plunger at the time. I could hear Anna stirring in the other room, and I panicked. I could literally feel my pupils dilate with fear. This is the type of fear that happens when you’re 5 and get nervous you’re going to get caught taking another cookie after you were specifically told only two. This type of fear is instilled in you and comes out at moments like these. It waits until you’re at the brink of despair and motivates you to do the worst possible things, and you agree to it.  The rational part of my brain quite simply shut down.

I had to get this thing gone, because I didn’t want her waking up, going into the bathroom and be greeted by a poop that wouldn’t go away. In the most remote and frazzled part of my brain, a voice shouted at me like a drill sergeant: GET A BUTTER KNIFE.  So I ran to the kitchen, pulled out my worst looking butter knife, rushed back to the bathroom, out loud said “what the fuck” and sliced the poop as if it were banana bread.  It flushed, and the crisis was averted. Don’t worry, I threw away the butter knife (first I doused it with Clorox, shoved it in a plastic bag and then wrapped it with paper towels. )

Three minutes later, Anna woke up. She didn’t have a clue. Until I told her an hour later.

When in doubt, butter knives do the trick. Trust me on that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Three's No Crowd

You read correctly. I am one of the many that have given a shot to online dating. I've tried, but the one and only date from that site I had was of the crash and burn genre. (True story. He took me to a liquor store and bought a 6 pack of pabst and we sat first on a park bench drank a beer, then we walked back to his apartment, I sat at one side of the couch and he at the other while watching the end of Training Day and drank another beer. Awful.)

So, after I dated someone for a bit (not from a dating site) and suffice to say, I'm no longer with said someone. (praise be to jesus.) I recently decided to give online dating another shot. Well, that's not quite true. Bonnie convinced me to sign up one night because she had recently met someone that was cute and funny. And we both had some Syrah coursing through our veins. Ok Bonnie. Sure. I'll sign up.

I can't tell you the types of people that have emailed me. One gentleman emailed me and offered to clean my whole apartment top to bottom. There was a catch, however. I had to watch him clean. In my underwear. I actually gave it like, 3 seconds worth of consideration.  There have been many South American dudes writing to me and saying: You pretty girl. We meet? Uh, sure! No problem, Carlos! (for the record, one of their name's was Carlos, and I'm not being grossly politically incorrect.)

Then there was Jonah. Oh Jonah. We met at the Trident Book Store, and as soon as I sat down he immediately began hysterically coughing, and was complaining the heat was up too high. It was the end of April, and the heat wasn't even on. So Jonah urged me to move outside, to the patio which was so uneven i had to hold my teapot in place. The thing about Jonah was a)he didn't blink. Like, not even a little. b) he didn't talk, so I had to literally down shift to "So...(throat clear) what kind of music do you like?" (I'm referring to genre, as I'm assuming you are as well...)Jonah's response: Oh, primarily the fiddle. THE FIDDLE? ok. I would judge you if you said the Dixie Chicks, or even Van Halen, but I didn't ask what type of instrument you like, and who says fiddle? Are we in King Arthur's Court or some shit? I realized this date was not to be repeated, so I said in a saccharine and horrified tone: Oh my god! I can't believe it! I left my black berry at work! I have to go! so i escaped the crime scene back to my lovely little apartment. Crisis averted.

The absolute best though, was an email I received about 3 weeks ago. The participant(s) screen name? Threesnocrowd. The message went somewhat along these lines:
Hi! We are a married couple who recently moved to Boston. Your profile interested us, and if you're up for an adventure, write us back...;-).

Ok. first of all, the smiley winkey face is a no no. It's as if to say Hey! Maybe you're leaning towards our offer, so how about we add an extra wink to really convince you.  Next, I don't know where Threesnocrowd got the impression that I was up for their antics. I specifically state in my profile: If you still do keg stands, I'm not the girl from you. NOT: I dig married couples with kinky appetites.

I suppose if worse comes to worse I could always email Carlos. And for the record, the guy Bonnie was dating up and moved to Argentina without telling her.