Friday, June 16, 2006


I have always contended that living with another person is a good thing because it's much harder to get set in your ways, curmudgeonly so to speak. Indeed, when I have lived with roommates my naturally controlling nature was subverted to my sweet considerate self who had to acknowledge that there were other people under the roof and sharing the rent who had a say in how life went in the house. I did pretty well with this as long as they were easily manipulated, er agreeable to my preferences, and for the most part they were because I like to live a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing life. I also owned all the furniture and appliances and dishes and art work.

There was this one time when I went away for a week and came home to find that my manic depressive roommate, the one with 5 years of sobriety in cocaine annonymous, had decided to redecorate the living room. She had a penchant for plastic flowers and also felt that pushing all the furniture against the walls was a way to create more space. Consequently when I came home, late at night on a Sunday, it was to a room that looked a lot like what I imagined rehab to look like - everything was oriented around the television set instead of the fireplace. As soon as she left the next day I "fixed" it and it actually looked better than it had when I left.

Outrage proved to be inspiring.

I've been living by myself for the last 7 years because I got into a great apartment that is perfect for one person. It has two bedrooms, but only one bathroom and so it's better for a single, or possibly a couple. I say possible because A. moved in with me back in February when he started his remodel and things have taken longer than he thought so we've been cohabitating at my place for the past four months. During this time I have become aware of how curmudgeonly I've become, or plainly speaking, what a weirdo I am.

We get along exceedingly well for two people who spend almost 24/7 togther but there have been times while he's been...visiting, that I thought I was going to lose it. Like when I came home and he'd re-organized my bedroom. Or when I get in bed at night after he's "made" the bed in the morning, only to find that the sheets are wadded up under the comforter. Seriously? I can't sleep unless the bed is neatly made and the blankets are put on in the proper order. Can you say OCD? I'm letting stuff go because I don't want to become one of those tight lipped ladies whose face gets more and more puckered with distaste. But some of his foibles could use a little examination as well.

He doesn't throw food away. Ever. There are cheese rinds in my refrigerator. They're sitting next to the container of juice leftover from the tomatoe and cucumber salad. There are no more tomatoes and cucumbers. Just juice. Maybe he's going to drink it. I don't know. When he takes a shower he leaves his underwear draped over the side of the tub. Each day there's a new pair sitting next to the pair from the day before. As I mentioned he insists on making the bed, but this is more of a covering of the covers wadded from a night of sleeping. I mean, why bother? He spends hours shopping on Ebay. I didn't really know how many hours until he moved in.

It's one thing to go stay at someone's house. It's another thing when their space is your space, or as I interpret it, my space is their space. This is why I am choosing to see the occasional annoyance or irritation as a gift. It's my opportunity to stretch and go with the flow.

Cuz, I'm not getting any younger and flexibility is something you've got to use.
Or lose.

Monday, June 12, 2006


My friend Nanette was one of the first serious music fans I ever met. She turned me on to Jackson Brown and Nils Lofgren and Rod Stewart. Not spandex pants Rod Stewart but post Jeff Beck, singing with the Faces Rod Stewart. She also had a major thing for Bruce Springsteen that did not translate for me although I thought he was a total babe. (Years later when he walked in on me taking at pee at a party that fact was confirmed, but I had no idea how short he was.)

I developed big, big love for Rod, as Nanette called him, when I would babysit for the people around the block who had the album referenced above and an extra large stash of marijuana that my friends and I would smoke as we listened to it over and over. Maggie May, Mandolin Wind, and his cover of Tim Hardin's Reason to Believe sung in an amazing soulfull voice that we just knew had the cutest british accent ever when he spoke.

We ignored the rumors involving gallons of semen and multitudes of cylindrical pant stuffing stories and pursued him relentlessly through the hills of Beverly. Yes, that's right. Nanette and I stalked Rod Stewart although back in those days it was still innocuously thought of as groupie love. Not that we were groupies because that would require a level of hotness that two freckle faced girls from the suburbs didn't have. This did not deter us because we really just wanted to see him. Like up close and personal.

Over the years we did see him although I don't think he saw us because we were always in the bushes with our cameras. I have lots of shots of blurs in the distance behind crisp, sharp pictures of emerald green leaves. We knew where he played soccer on Saturdays and we would pack a picnic and go hang out on the nearby lawn to watch the game in sidelong stares so that we wouldn't appear to be stalking.

In the early 90s when he was dating, I can't remember which blonde, I finally met the man. He was pushing 50 then, a fact that became very apparent as I moved drunkenly across the very posh bar at the top of our hotel in San Francisco. I'd had enough vodka to think that it would be a good idea to finally go and meet the man whom I'd adored throughout the years. The singer who sold out with Do Ya Think I'm Sexy in the 80s and broke my heart because I used to think he was really sexy, but he put on spandex pants and made a video, and it was more scary than sexy.

He was very kind and stopped to say hello as I went on and on and got really confused because he didn't look at all the way I thought he would. He had make up on for Christ's sake and fake blond hair and more hairspray than I've ever used. And even though I was clutching my camera because I'd thought that at last I'd get my picture and maybe even be in it, I didn't ask for one.

I'd rather keep the pictures in my mind from the Faces concert at Anaheim stadium where he rocked my world.

I'm posting pictures I do like at Flickr and you can check them out at

Friday, June 09, 2006


My nephew is graduating from high school today. A. and I are not going. I will miss seeing David walk across the stage, but I will not miss watching the 500 other kids in his class doing the same thing. When his sister Michelle graduated her mother started a tradition which I'm sure will be carried on for all the other kids to come. Everyone contributes a page for a book commemorating the journey thus far. Since I'm not the attending kind of person, not one who makes a point to go to homecoming games, etc. I don't really have memories to evoke so I try to dispense with useful advice. The stuff I wish someone had told me when I graduated from high school. Not that I would've paid attention, but you never know. If you keep it simple enough something might stick. When Michelle graduated and was heading to college I warned her in great detail to stay away from the evil credit card dealers that hang out in front of the bookstore and in the quad, offering the opportunity to dig a deep hole of debt to entering freshman. I also advised her to never leave the house without #30 sunscreen on. For David, whom doesn't seem to be as academically directed I offered some thoughts that he may or may not find useful. I'm hoping that some of it may come in handy, but mostly I just want him to know the last part.

The years after high school are often fraught with fucking up and the most important thing to remember is that you are loved.

No matter what.

June 2006

Dear David –

As you climb into the catapult that is graduation and prepare yourself to be launched into the world – wheeee! I wanted to wish you well and offer some words of wisdom from a little farther down the trail. The standard stuff still stands; credit cards continue to be the work of Satan and sunscreen is more important than you can know right now. Melanoma is not your friend, so use anything that’s a 30 or higher and pay cash. And floss everyday.

But there’s more.

Don’t be afraid to try something and fail. It’s how you succeed and also how you learn so it’s all good. Travel as much as you can to places you know nothing about and meet the people who live there. Don’t stay in your comfort zone because you can grow old and bored there before you know it. Move it or lose it. Learn to listen to your intuitive self and discern what’s true for you. Live in that truth everyday even if it makes you and those around you uncomfortable. Stop and ask yourself if you’re happy, if you’re not then figure out how to get there because life is way too short. Find your passions and pursue them passionately. These are the things you would do if no one told you, or paid you to do them. Be compassionate and kind to yourself and it will be easy to do so with others.

When it comes to love practice good personal hygiene and you will be ahead of the game. Your natural scent is always better than cologne, but if you must splash on the smell well, do so sparingly. Take responsibility for birth control unless you want to have children. Communication is key and if you can communicate well you can navigate through almost anything. That said there will be times when dealing with the love of your life where you’re just plain confused and/or scared – ask questions, it’s always a good way to go.

There’s all kinds of other stuff I could tell you, but I am trusting that you will learn for yourself as you go because that’s the best way. My wish for you is that you have as much fun and adventure in life as you possibly can and that you know you are loved and supported whatever you do and wherever you go.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


It's starting to bother me that I don't have an Ipod. All my friends have them. They download music from Itunes and they make play lists and have all the cool adapter stuff. I was in the Apple store with Inbar when he was was here and he bought himself a nano. I was amazed at all the things you can plug an Ipod into to create home stereos, to play it in the car, to take it to the beach or to a party and share your music with others. There's an armband you can wear that it slides into.

There are lots and lots of accessories for this gadget and that really makes me want one.

The thing is I'm only just now figuring out how to work my cell phone and I can't really manage it while I'm walking and it's super dangerous if I try to use it while I'm driving. It takes all my attention to see what I'm doing and to press the right buttons. The Ipod challenges the same skillset as the cell phone and therefore carries with it the same risk of accident.

With each new generation these products get smaller and cooler and more gadgety. I totally missed out on the Playskool training toys for todays technology so until they make it so simple the toddler set can swing it I'm going to be listening to music on CD.

Or vinyl.

Monday, June 05, 2006


We got back from Israel a couple of weeks ago.

The day after we returned A. got violently ill. He though it was food poisoning. I did too until I got the same exact food poisoning complete with violent hurling and flaming muscles and the ass-id spackling of the toilet while puking into the trashcan. And then there was the crying and prayers for merciful death - that was A., I moaned and rocked myself like a catatonic mental patient.

This was after the grueling flight home; twelve hours from Tel Aviv to Toronto and then an hour and a half layover in "the room" where El Al places it's passengers, sort of a holding cell between flights, and the final leg which takes about five and half hours but it feels like forever, especially that last hour.

Our flight was scheduled to leave Tel Aviv at 1am on Sunday morning. We arrived with an hour and a half to spare, but A. had to return the rental car. As I sat in the airport with all of our luggage, tickets and passports, the time passed. At first I was kind of fascinated by the hordes of Hassidic Jews. It looked as though the entire cast of Fiddler on the Roof was shuttling luggage through Ben Gurion. Actually more like the cast of about 10 different productions of Fiddler. There were just tons of them everywhere. And they get very miffed when you stare at them which is strange considering that they're wearing knickers and white stockings and shiny bathrobes and fur hats. What else are people going to do but stare.

Adi finally showed up after about an hour and 20 minutes and El Al doesn't look very kindly on passenger who show up when the plane is boarding, out of breath and spewing excuses about the rental car. He had to drive to a completely different terminal to return the damn thing and then shuttle back to our terminal and Ben Gurion has about 30 miles of road circling it so it was lucky he made it back when he did. After some pretty intense grilling we were allowed to put our luggage through the x-ray machine and then get our boarding passes whereupon it was discovered that they'd given our window aisle seats away. We were provided with an agent to walk us through security and someone came up in a special elevator to take our luggage directly to the plane. When we arrived at the gate A. everyone was on the plane but us and A. started throwing a fit about our seats not being held. I just wanted to get on so I plopped down next to this very sweet boy who was on his way to LA for a vacation before he started his military service. He and I got to talking and he offered to give A. his seat so we were able to sit together. This didn't necessarily make the flight more comfortable, it was 12 hours in coach after all, but at least we could lean against one another.

We landed in Toronto at a tad after dawn. As the sun's first rays gleamed on the wings of the plane the many Hasids among us began praying and davening in their seats. How are you not supposed to look at this? It's not something you see everyday or even on the LA to London flights. As soon as we land A. is all over the El Al employees at the Toronto terminal. He wants to sit in our original seats and he isn't going to stop until they give us those damn seats. I on the other hand have noticed that a group of Orthodox Jews are starting prayer service in the corner. These are regular looking guys who've pulled out their prayer shawls and the teeny, tiny top hats that they wear at a jaunty angle on the front of their heads, attached with straps that wrap all the way down the arm. Kind of like bondage gear. I move closer to watch as they bob in prayer, chanting aloud and facing the wall. I ask A. what the teeny tiny top hat is for and he tells me that it allows God a direct line through their foreheads and into their brains.

I believe him for like two minutes.

I very much want to take pictures of these guys, but I got in so much trouble taking pictures of the Hassidics in Jersualem I'm afraid that they'll yell at me too. And I will have a long ride home with them so I don't want them hating on me. I actually aooreciate all the praying by the Fiddler crew and by these guys too. When you're flying on a plane, up at 35,000 feet, you can never have too much prayer.

A. made a huge scene with the El Al people and I left him at the gate to go the the seat that they assigned me. They found two seats together in the center section for us and, note to self, when flying in the 2-3-2 configuration with another person ask for seats in the center section, aisle and aisle, at the rear of the plane. Odds are you'll get the whole three seats to yourselves. A. wore down the El Al agent and got himself upgraded to first class which serves me right for leaving him, but I did get both of our seats for just me and slept for a good three hours. He roamed the plane because he doesn't like to sit without me, and I do believe it turned out that there was no room for him up there.

When we landed we blew through customs and our bags were the first ones off the plane. They were freezing cold as if they didn't actually make it into the luggage compartment, but were strapped to the outside of the plane. I didn't really care because our luggage came down the conveyor and then they shut it off leaving everyone else to stand there for who knows how long while we jumped into a cab and got home by 11:00am.

I managed to stay up until 8pm that night and woke up on Monday at 6am raring to go without a bit of jet lag. Yeah! A. was puking by 2:30 and moaning and crying all night. I took care of him and he was just starting to feel better when I crashed. He wasn't quite well enough to take care of me although he did totter out to the kitchen to get me some ice chips, but it was hell for 24 hours and as we laid there in agony he looked at me and said, "it's against the rules for you to get sick at the same time as me - who's going to take care of me?"

Oh puhlease.

The jet lag came on with the virus and neither one of us felt well or human until after Memorial Day. I spoke with A.'s brother at the end of last week and he told me that his little boy had a horrible stomach virus the week after we left so we probably got it from him.

And gave it to all those people on the plane with us.

I certainly hope their prayers included good health and no airborne diseases.