Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I think I may have come up with a suitable solution for the naming of my new man.

Many different ideas came to mind but were discarded for one reason or another. The truly great nicknames - like "The Chinchilla" and "Hank" - were taken, while others - such as "TPMIM" - weren't very appropriate, considering he's not Portuguese.

I thought of some loftier names: "Uber-Mensch", "Wunder-Schlong", "Dr. Spleen" or "Mr. Boombastic". But such names might put undue pressure on the guy (that is, assuming he even reads this blog -- as if he's got nothing better to do) and I surely wouldn't want to cause him stress. I also briefly considered some cheesy, sappy names such as "Soul Mate" or "The One" - but come on. Even I am not THAT nauseating.

So I decided that from now on, I will simply refer to him in the appropriate male pronoun, in caps. Like HE or HIM (or HIS, possessively). It's important to distinguish HE from He, as I do not want to infer any biblical meaning or - God-forbid - give HIM a Jesus complex.

I think it is subtle, yet significant. It seems accepted that when you write something REALLY IMPORTANT, you tend to capitalize the WHOLE word. Emphasis. Yelling. Yeah. YEAH!

So henceforth, the amazing man in my life has a name. And we like HIM. A LOT.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Big weekend approaches. On Sunday, I am meeting the 'rents. I don't know that it's ever been this big a deal to me before. I'm trying to remember a relationship of any significance when I got all nervous about meeting his Mom & Dad. I can't think of any. That's a little disturbing. But it also makes this whole thing that much cooler.

The Brit's family was all in England. And it took almost two years for ME to arrange a trip over there to meet them (long story, not worth the effort). I think when you meet someone's family, you can gain a lot of insight - learn how they became who they are, who it was that helped to shape them. It kind of gives the person a past - makes them seem a little more "real". I dunno.

He met my Mom last week. Again, I don't remember ever being more excited for her to meet someone that I've brought home. I even CLEANED!

So Sunday I meet his family. But before that, he will get to meet my "other" family on Saturday night. My good friend D is having a housewarming party, and all my school peeps will be in attendance.

When you think about it, you really spend a large majority of your life with the people at work. Most of your waking hours, in fact. I am so very lucky to be able to consider these people my family, albeit more like a sitcom family. The cast is hilarious - each role adding its own flavor to the mix. I love each and every one of them (even the ones that I hate -- they all have a place). I can't wait for him to see this part of my world, cause I know he will fit right in.

Monday, January 23, 2006

(I swear to God I am not making this up)

I belong to the local World Gym, and have been going regularly for the past 7 or so years. I like my gym a lot. Yeah, like any other chain gym, it has its share of Meat-Heads. But since I have the coveted "teacher's schedule", I am usually in and out before the evening muscle crew comes in to tear things up.

One day a few years back, I had just finished up my workout and was heading into the locker room to get my stuff and go home.

It was a day like any other day.

I walked into the bathroom area to wash the millions of germs and bacteria off my hands, not thinking too much when suddenly -- I was face to face with this:

At first I thought I had somehow wandered into the wrong locker room. Here was this amazing spectacle of a man, standing before me wearing nothing but jeans - pecs glistening, abs rippling - blowdrying his ... shoulder-length hair?

"Hey - how's it going," the creature asked in a not-very-feminine female voice. I just stood there - gawking, confused - for what seemed like hours, until it finally registered that this was some sort of ... woman.

I maintained eye contact with the beast as I slowly backed away, out of the locker room, and ran like hell to my car.

I later learned that the creature was indeed a woman - a lawyer, in fact! And, obviously, a professional bodybuilder.

I even found she had a website where I learned that she has a 50" chest and can bench press 500 lbs.

I know I may be putting myself in danger by posting this -- she may hunt me down and swallow me whole. But I feel I somehow owe this to the world.

* If you don't hear from me again soon, please send help.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Ten years ago, I would not have ever thought I would be someone who could say that and mean it, unless perhaps it was followed by - "out to the store to buy ice cream, alcohol or both." But somehow, and over a long period of time, I have become a runner. And I can say that now and love it and believe it.

Initially, I guess I started running as part of a fitness regime. I'd do laps around this creepy little indoor track they had that ran around the upper level of the YMCA in Rochester, NY. I think it was something like 24 laps around = 1 mile. You can imagine how exciting that became. When I moved back down to NJ, I took my running to the local high school track.

Anyone else remember those dreadful spring days as a high school student? When they dragged us out - once a year - and made us "Run The Mile"? Absolutely no training for it. Nothing to compare it to, aside from the previous year's humiliating time. Do you know that THEY STILL MAKE KIDS DO THIS TODAY?! Let's just say I was not the stellar athlete you might think. I usually prided myself on being the only kid in class to take the full 42-minute period to crawl my four laps. My gym teacher despised me. But I digress...

Being back on that track as an adult was humbling. When I actually ran an entire lap without stopping, I almost cried. And so it began.

I started running routes around my town, alternating days on the treadmill. The treadmill is a good tool for crappy weather, but it takes away the very best part of running: the meditation. After my body figured out its natural gait and I realized that the discomfort fades, I became aware of my ability to kind of just 'lose myself' in my head. Body on autopilot - lungs filling my blood with oxygen - feet hitting pavement, leaving pavement.

It's truly hypnotic. It's healing. I do my very best thinking while out on a run. Sometimes I will be so caught up in my head that I will have no recollection of how I end up where I do - the miles and scenery just a backdrop to my thoughts.

I never ran with music until this summer, when I started to train for my first big race. Until then, the longest one I'd done was a 5-mile boardwalk run at the NJ shore. I did tons of local 5Ks, but really wanted to challenge myself. So I registered for the inaugural half-marathon in Rochester, NY [significant and all, right?] I followed Hal Higdon's training program to the tee, and realized that running lost a little something when it became something I HAD to do. But I pressed on. I bought an iPod Shuffle and it got me through the weekend long runs.

The half marathon went amazingly well. Better than I could have ever imagined. I planned to take a week off from running, but found I could only go about 4 days til I was itching to get back out there. Something about being done with the training made me sad - like I'd lost a little part of me. It was hard to make that transition back to running for the sake of running.

But I got there. And today - the 40 degree weather a gift in the middle of January - was a fine day for running. Out there on a Sunday morning, before the rest of the world rolled out of bed - just me and my head. Two old friends spending some quality time together. And I say again -- Life is Good.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


*DISCLAIMER* - This may be the gayest thing I ever post.
Remember... you've been warned.

I have a confession. I am a closet "American Idol" fan. I mean -- like, REALLY bad. I've been trying to figure out the draw. I have deduced that the only reason I watch it is for Simon Cowell.

He is the ultimate cynical bastard. Yeah yeah - people hate him, people love him - whatever. But I truly think he is fucking hilarious. His insults are both bizarre and brutally brilliant (points for alliteration) - like the other night when he told one guy that he sounded "as if he were temporarily possessed by a 6-year old." FUCKING BRILLIANT!!

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum for me are Paula and Randy. They are clearly the most useless sheep on the planet. Paula Abdul is retarded. I mean, I really think she is retarded. What qualifies her to be a judge of anything, least of all "talent"? How was she chosen - out of the millions of ACTUAL successful entertainers - to represent a musician??

And Randy Jackson? Who the hell IS he?? A Google search and subsequent IMDb profile reveals absolutely NO credentials, aside from being Samuel L. Jackson's cousin, and starring (as himself) in a bunch of stupid award shows. WHO IS THIS MAN??

Maybe part of the reason I watch the show is because I am some sort of masochist. Perhaps a sick little part of me enjoys the humiliating, squirmy feeling I get when one of those two imbeciles tries to offer legitimate criticism. Or maybe it's just the look of absolute disbelief Simon wears after either one of them speaks -- confirming my own feelings.

Whatever it is, I don't know and don't care. All I do know is that I am happy as a clam that my favorite show is back on for another season. Yes, life is truly good indeed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


So today I turn 31 - at 8:01 AM.
31 is not a bad age to be. Feels a lot like 30, perhaps a little more enlightened. I didn't freak out when I turned 30. 29 was definitely worse for me, although I'm not exactly sure why. I don't think I've ever fallen victim to the "biological clock" bullshit. Maybe because I am pretty satisfied with my career & life at this point (yeah, yeah -- I know I live in my Mom's basement... shut up) - and I don't want kids, so I don't care if my eggs are drying up.

I actually feel very content in my life in all areas -- possibly for the first time ever.

It's interesting, the phases we go through. The teenage years where everything is so easy. You go off to college where life is just a great big party for 4 (or maybe 5) years. And then WHAM! you graduate. For me, that summer after college graduation was a huge turning point. All the innocence and fun I'd become accustomed to was suddenly snatched out from under me and I was left facing reality. Due to shove off to grad school up in the Great White North (Rochester, NY) - and the resulting fear and depression of being all alone for the first time. It was a really hard time, but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything in the world.

The next phase hit me when I returned home to join the working world. After the initial thrill wears off, you realize you're kind of at the end of some mysterious journey. All those years in college spent grooming and shaping for a career - and there you are. Mid-20's and completely disenchanted.

I went through a period of years where I didn't know what came next. I guess for most people, the logical thing is to find a mate, buy a house and begin to spawn. But it just didn't feel right for me. So I fought with myself - battling between trying to fit that mold and finally being okay with being single, rather than settling for a situation just to fill a void. Around 30, I finally became content just to be. And wouldn't you know? Life sure has a funny way of working itself out.

I haven't gushed much - perhaps I haven't wanted to jinx anything. But a couple weeks ago (literally) I met an incredible man. Somehow the planets aligned at the right moment. Somehow, someone somewhere knew that I had reached a level of OKAY within my self - perhaps the very moment when it clicked that I really liked me. And I met the someone who is in that very place within his self. And it's simply amazing. Because, for the first time, I am able to just be ME. And he likes that ME. And I really like him. And life is good.

"31 - The Year of Liking Life". So far, things have exceeded expectation.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

While containing no actual lemons, Crystal Light lemonade is highly acidic, and should therefore be kept away from the eyes.

Sunday, January 15, 2006



...and he's even better than that.

Friday, January 13, 2006

This past week has been a little nuts for me. Every year we do an “Area Band Festival”. An extra-curricular, honors-type kinda thing, made up of the best band kids from 30 area schools (hence the title, Area Band. Clever, huh?). 8 of my kids are involved, and I somehow got myself roped into the role of Manager for the junior high band. Which means I’ve had to attend all these rehearsals. The one I’m at now started at 9:00AM (though I got here at 8:15 to set up) and goes until 4:00. I’ve certainly made some interesting observations, which naturally I feel obligated to share in this forum.

For starters, middle-school kids stink. I mean literally. Imagine if you will, 110 kids in a very small room – with no doors or windows – for 7 hours. If they could somehow bottle the smell of “puberty”, this would be it: a combination of sweat, fart, dirty laundry and cheap aftershave. Oh, and some unidentifiable, hoagie-like odor. It’s just not pretty.

Secondly, I’ve realized that for the most part, middle-aged band teachers are big dorks. I am wondering… is this my fate? If so, when do I cross that threshold (assuming I have not already done so and am just completely oblivious)? Is it a gradual descent? Or does one just wake up one morning – fat, badly-dressed and boring?

Finally, it’s occurred to me that I have become sickeningly dependent on and addicted to technology. The fact that I am sitting here typing a blog post – while compulsively checking and replying to text messages on my cell phone – and blatantly neglecting my managerial duties, is a clear indication of the horrible human being I am. Shame on me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Not too long ago, I had an interesting conversation with a [heterosexual] male friend about how the world would be better if it were run by women or gay men.

His theory is that the underlying driving force for all [heterosexual] men is to get laid. That every single action is motivated by the penis: the root of all evil. [Heterosexual] men go to war to gain wealth or power or land to attract women, thereby pleasing the penis. Women, he said, seem to have their sex drives better under control. And since gay men are men and attracted to other gay men, there is no shortage of penis supply.

He made a very convincing case. After seeing ‘King Kong’ last night, I think he may be on to something.

The movie itself was standard “Peter Jackson Epic of Grandeur.” Amazing cinematography, special effects, etc., etc. 3 hours long? Yes, but I didn’t get bored so that’s saying something (though it may have had something to do with the company…*ahem*..)

Having never seen the original, I was unfamiliar with the story. I enjoyed all the ironic and moral lessons. Like Ann’s initial comment of doomed love and the irony of it pertaining to her relationship with Kong. And Denham (Jack-Tenacious D–“Fuck Her Gently”–Black) turning out to be the true beast, representing that inner evil of man (penis).

The irony of the two sacrifices: Ann to Kong (in a very Lord-of-the-Ringsy scene) with the natives in their ceremonial garb, beating drums, cheering – and the sacrifice of Kong to the Broadway audience in their ceremonial garb (tuxes), beating drums (pit orchestra), cheering. Is there really such a difference between the jungles of Skull Island and Depression-era New York City?

On a personal note, Kong’s little temper tantrum when Ann told him “No!” on top of the mountain was disturbingly reminiscent of an evening involving a Brit, a PlayStation and a hole in the living room wall, while the ‘bug scene’ in the cave gave me a new appreciation for my grotto crickets.

In adhering to my friend’s theory, the movie was chock-full o’ phallic symbols and scenes – my favorite being when Lumpy, the cook, gets eaten by a giant, un-circumcised penis with teeth.

All in all, an excellent film, albeit a touch sad. I guess if I wanted the happy ending, I could have left while Kong and Ann were sliding around the ice together. But really, how could that relationship have ever worked? Eventually she would get sick of all the hair in the shower drain.

Btw, I think there may be a conspiracy going on. It seems Naomi Watts and the girl who played Kelly Taylor on 90210 may be the same person. Hmm…

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Within one day's time, I have experienced the pain of loss
coupled with an overwhelming sense of the peace.
I have felt the security of family - the warmth of a child on my lap.
I've felt the serenity in solitude - wind in my hair, the sun on my back.

And I have felt something within me explode into life.
A part of my being that has lain dormant for so long has awoken,
and is shining brighter than I could have ever imagined.

In death, in birth; in peace, in love - my spirit grows.
It has no limits, no boundaries -- its wings are free.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

One day a few weeks back, I was working a shift at the ECE with a high school girl we'll just call "Christy" (cause that's her name). I think she's 16. Tiny, adorable little Asian girl - although not the sharpest tool in the shed. She was filling me in on high school antics in the 21st century, and I was apalled at how freaking naive I have become. Here are some snippets from our conversation:

"Yeah well, I have like mid-terms or something but like, I didn't really know any of the stuff or anything. So I got a couple Adderall from this guy -"
"Wait, isn't that ADHD medicine?"
"Are you ADHD?"
"No, but everyone takes it. People just bring in their pills and sell them."
"What?! Did it work for you?"
"Eh - I dunno. I could concentrate better, but I still didn't know any of the answers."

Then there was the time she asked:

"So you're a teacher? Does it bother you to know that your kids talk about you?"
"Huh? Why would the kids talk about me? What would they say? I don't think they talk about me."
"Of course they do. Didn't you talk about your teachers?"

That made me paranoid for a few days. I'd hear kids whispering about something (anything) and I'd feel a surge of guilt. As if they knew what I had done the night before or something. I was a little skittish and weird, but it eventually passed.

Come to think of it, not only did I talk about my teachers, when I was in middle school, my friend Danielle and I actually used to write short stories about them and their secret lives outside of school. I must say they were pretty creative for 13-year olds - funny as hell - and mostly revolving around my teachers' habits of sexual deviance. I really hadn't thought about any of those stories in years, and CERTAINLY never considered the possibilty of my being anyone's main character.

Then again, kids these days have a whole lot more to keep them occupied -- internet, PSPs, iPods. We never had any of that stuff so we had to amuse ourselves any way we could. Things are different now. My kids are a lot more mature than I was.

So no, I'm not worried. Much.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Since I was a little kid, I've had a recurring dream which I like to call "The Bathroom Dream". I'll be chugging along, doing whatever I happen to be doing during a dream, when all of a sudden I find myself in a public bathroom - having to go. Typically it's a big bathroom - in some sort of locker room - and there are lots of stalls. But every time I go to a stall, I find that the toilet is unusable. Some are filthy and clogged up, some have no doors, and some have weird contraptions that don't even resemble toilets -- in retrospect, they kind of look like bidets or something.

A little while ago I developed a theory for the reason behind "The Bathroom Dream". I think that I probably really DO have to go to the bathroom. And my brilliant psyche and lazy body are somehow working together to keep me from actually getting out of bed to do so. Since I obviously can't be wetting the bed at 30 (albeit tempting), these two have devised "The Bathroom Dream" to trick my poor, stupid bladder from doing its job. In case you didn't already know it, the bladder is one of the the least intelligent organs. It's only slightly smarter than the liver, but only because the liver has endured so much abuse.

A second, somewhat - but not completely - unrelated story:

Today I took one of my infamous field trips during my prep period. Sometimes I have this driving need to just get the hell out of the building. I went over to the local WalMart to buy some little gag gifts to bring to my friend D's housewarming tomorrow night. This WalMart is user-friendly, with the bathrooms right by the door, and I had to pee.

It's become my preference to use the handicapped stall. I like the high toilet seat and the fact that the door opens OUT. But most of all, I like the space! Sometimes I dance in there - just because I can. Okay, not really... but I've thought about it. I tried the door of the hadicapped stall at the WalMart, but it was locked.


So I crammed my big, unhandicapped self into the small stall next door and was sitting there sulking, when all of a sudden:

"Can you help me?" A voice in a foreign accent asks from the handicapped stall.

My God! It's an emergency situation!! I am not prepared for something like this -- what if she's sick? Or suicidal? A million possibilities unfold in my imagination in the space of the 2 seconds it takes me to ask, "Uh..yeah?"

Pleaseohpleaseohplease don't make me have to pick up a naked, elderly, handicapped, foreign woman...

"I uh - where do you-a push? I do not know where do you-a push?"

It took me a minute. Then I realized she that she couldn't figure out how to flush. The automatic toilet.

Tragedy averted, sighs all around - I saved the day. We had a good chuckle about it at the automatic sinks and then parted ways. But she'll always remember me, and I her. It's a damn good thing I was in that WalMart today, my friends.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Life is so very interesting.

My 80-year old aunt has been in the hospital since Christmas Eve. She was a smoker most of those 80 years, and is now paying the price in emphysema. This woman is amazing, and it's only over the past year or so that I have begun to realize that I am more like her than anyone else in my family.

She had a rough childhood. My grandfather (who I'd never met) was a graphic artist. When The Depression struck, he was one of the first people to lose his job -- ahh, who needs artists? He did the noble thing and bailed, leaving his wife and two kids to fend for themselves. Naturally, my grandmother had a mental breakdown and ended up in some sort of institution while my Dad and aunt were shuffled around different foster homes. My aunt became a guardian of sorts for my Dad at a very young age.

When they three were reunited, my aunt spent a lot of time still looking out for my Dad. He wasn't the most confident of kids, and their being the only Jews in da 'hood didn't exactly make him the most popular lad either. So he got beaten up a lot. And I imagine she spent a lot of time beating up those who beat HIM up.

But my aunt has had a pretty amazing journey. From the stories she's told me, she's done everything from creating and selling jewelry - even having her designs in store windows in New York City and in magazines - to owning a dress shop - to selling real estate. She's travelled all over the world - Europe, Russia, Egypt - and dated all kinds of men, but has only truly loved one.

My aunt has lived.

Growing up, she was always the "wild one" -- my Mom's antagonist and polar opposite. There was always this air of resentment my Mom had towards her, and I often felt guilty for wanting to hang out more with my aunt. As if in some way, I was making my Mom feel unimportant (Mom's good at guilt - she's made an art of it). Now as an adult (at least on paper), I am finally able to loosen the noose of guilt a bit - see where it stems from - and step around it enough to really get to know my aunt.

I've been visiting her more often these days. She loves to hear about what's going on in my life. And she always has a tale to relate to my own. Through labored breaths, she'll recall an experience from her past and the lesson she took from it. She has wisdom beyond comprehension and is not afraid to tell it like it is. The fact is: she's the person I want most to be like - the person I want to know more about - and I have a burning need to know as much as I can while she can still get it out.

I'm sad I was not as close to my aunt as I should have been, growing up. But she felt the vibe from my Mom and kept her distance cause she was smart enough to know how to read people - how to treat people (it gets more complicated, but that's for another time). The good thing is that I've come to realize the treasure that she is. And I am grateful for every moment - every lesson - that I am granted.

Last night I told her I wanted to be to Bean what she has been to us: the "cool" aunt who LIVES. And she said, "you already are."

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Laying here watching "Fiddler on the Roof" on PBS. What a great damn show -- why do I like this so much?

I guess I owe a recap of NH Ski Vacay w/S&W Jason. Here's the abbreviated, chronological account:

MONDAY - Left NJ around 10:00 after exchanging presents and stopping for coffee (he got me a DVD of 'Amelie', a couple books of Nietzsche and a pedometer). It took about 7 hours to get up there -- 7 hours filled with thought-provoking questions and 80s music from my iPod. When we arrived, we went out & got dinner at a local pub, then came back and chilled in front of the TV. Amazing how tired you can get sitting on your ass in a car for 7 hours. We got into bed and started fooling around. One thing led to another -- yadda yadda yadda ("What? I mentioned the bisque...") Sex was mediocre -- left me feeling worse than before because it confirmed the fact that I have absolutely NO romantic interest in the boy. Suffice to say, I was less than warm & cuddly after the event.

TUESDAY - Got up, had breakfast and went skiing. We did Loon Mountain -- somewhat crowded, but NOTHING like the crappy NJ slopes where you wait 45 minutes for the lifts. Things were quiet between us, luckily there was the distraction of skiing. When we got back to the hotel, we took a soak in the jacuzzi. He started getting a little frisky, but I was quick to put the kabosh on that. Dinner was tense, as you can imagine. Wine gave me the courage to tell him that I just wasn't into the situation - not looking for a relationship, etc, etc. No sex Tuesday night.

WEDNESDAY - Tense breakfast, skiing on Cannon Mountain which was less crowded but more icy. Post-ski soak in the jacuzzi (tense) and dinner. He was sulky, pouty, and poor-me-I'm-gonna-give-up-and-become-a-hermit. Luckily, LOTS of wine gave me the courage to tell him to get over himself. I am clearly not the only fish in the sea and he shouldn't be so quick to give up on life. "Sweet&Wholesome Jason" became less sweet and wholesome and grew a set of profanity balls. It actually became fun to just talk shit with him. Ah, the power of alcohol -- praise you, sweet alcohol! We decided it was a shame to waste a sweet hotel room and a good buzz, and went back and had more (mediocre) sex. Yadda yadda yadda...

THURSDAY - The longest car-ride EVER. The thought-provoking questions lost their appeal before we got out of Massachusetts, and I was about ready to kill him by Connecticut. I began to think of what could possibly be worse than the droning drive, but all that came close was having my uterus surgically removed through my eye socket... and even that didn't seem so bad.

He wanted to hang out on New Years Eve but I wasn't game. I stayed in -- yes, big loser. But I just need space - I NEED SPACE, DAMMIT!! So that's that. School tomorrow, 'cause apparently my district doesn't feel obligated to honor national holidays. Bastards. Ah well -- cheers to all as we venture into 2006. I always like to ask myself, 'where do you think you might be a year from now?' Your guess is as good as mine.