Thursday, December 30, 2004

phantom lives

Hello Reader!

I must apologize, I feel I have been delinquent. My goal has been to blog something every day, and I have done half of that for the last week. The main reason for this is I have been busy with my annual homecoming to Detroit.

The main part of every visit historically consists of catching up with friends and family. I have to say this year has been spectacular, I got to spend the most time with the people I enjoy the most. It is so warming to see such awesome people happy and healthy, it makes the trip so worthwhile.

Then there are the ghosts. The people who used to be so influential in my life whom I have lost contact with. There are so many of them.

I took the time yesterday to drive through downtown. It reminded me so much of my life. There is currently so much new and sparkling development there. You can see the new baseball and football stadiums, and the developments that have been built because of that. Then kitty corner to them there are hallowed out boarded up broken down houses. These houses were once resplendent, indicative of a time when life was easy and booming. Now they are in such a state of disrepair that one cannot even fathom stepping inside.

The most haunting is the strip of Woodward closest to Jefferson Ave. The Hudson Store, the monolith that was torn down some years ago, used to reside there. When it was in its prime a load of stores had popped up along the same street, an avenue of capitalistic delights. This same strip is now mostly empty, abandoned, and lost. You can see the shadows of store names above the storefronts, paper and soap covering the windows. This goes on for a couple of blocks, and then BOOM, a brand new Borders or B&N building springs up from the ruins of the Hudson. Who will brave the ruins to go there?

This dichotomy of life reminds me of my lives lost past. In NYC I have a sparkling new life that encourages other new developments. But then there are those friendships that were once so close and nurturing, that since abandoned cannot be ventured on again.

There are also the friends who somewhere along the way I lost touch with, let the connections wither and die, whom I at some point was able to reconnect with and regenerate a whole new relationship. We have to brave the barren distance every time we speak to get to the beautiful new place we have built.

So much history, so much of life and time that does not stop, cannot be frozen. I am truly grateful for every person who has been in my life, without knowing them I would be ignorant of so many parts of human nature. All the fun and good times are imbedded in my very being.

I still have to wonder though, how much richer would Detroit or my life be if someone would have had the strength and insight to stop the negligence before it came to such extremes? Before the ties to the past were lost?

Next year maybe I'll have the courage to cross a few boarded doorways. Some of the beauty can possibly be salvaged.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


I'm in lurve.

Don't let me confuse you reader, we are not talking about love, but lurve. Love is something that only develops over time, patience, and understanding. We are talking that spark of excitement and intrigue. The energy, the draw. Its more than lust, and not quite to the level of obsession of stalker crazy. It's a more fun way to say I like a guy.

I went out on the town a couple of nights ago with a friend. The town was Wyandotte, downriver from Detroit, and the friend was one of my nyc girls out here visiting family for the holidays as well.

I met up with her at a Knights of Columbus hall, some of her local friends were having a party. And this is where I met the guy, lets call him mr man. Handsome, friendly, fun, and interesting. We all closed the K of C hall and proceeded to a bar. We closed the bar and went to mr man's home. The party is down to myself, my nyc friend, mr man and one of his friends.

Mr Man does not have a tv in his living room or bedroom. Love that. His hobby is photography. Love that. He has and uses a turntable. Love that. Basically like all kinds of things about him. Oh, and did I mention he is quite hot?

Anyhoo, I am a pretty direct person. I got him alone at some point and made a pass. Great kisser! There is nothing like a really good snog. We made out a few times, and I let him know that I had to drive my friend home, but I wanted to come back afterwards to play. Pretty much "I want to have sex with you."

Now you see why I said I'm direct?

So my friend and I get in the car, and drive off. She is trying to figure out where her grandmother lives so I can get her there.

And then I realize that I have absolutely no idea where the mr man's house is. Address, street, nothing. I of course do not have his phone number. So I drop off my friend and drive around helplessly for twenty minutes. Then had to give up and go home.

Yes, I am crushed. I also feel badly that mr man thinks I stood him up! Drat, it would have been quite the fun interlude.

At least now I have some good fantasy fodder.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

put the grinch to bed

Okay, time to take it down a notch. How about a good xmas story?

Reader, you may be unaware of this, but I was a Santa’s Helper for three years running. In a mall, of course. I did grow up in suburbia, after all.

This is humorous in that I really don't have a liking for children. I don't necessarily dislike them perse, they just aren't my thing. Thus, my employment as a Santa’s helper was pretty much a nice seasonal gig for some extra moola.

I started being a Santa’s helper when I was 21. Old enough to drink and vote, and pretty much old enough to have quite the cynical eye about what was going on.

There was the Santa Claus who worked there every year. He had been doing it for fifteen years, mostly for the happiness it brought the children. He was pleasant enough, though mildly lecherous behind the scenes. At least once a night he would offer me a "ride in his sleigh, ho ho ho".

Then there was the Santa Claus who had just gotten out of the navy. The ink was still fresh on his tattoos below the Santa suit. We went on a couple of dates, but I was a bit put off because this Santa was more interested in the naughty girls - if you know what I mean - wink wink nudge nudge. Yes, I was rather a prude once upon a time. Hard to believe now, but back to my story.

My favorite was the Santa who had an electronic tether on his ankle. You know, an at home prison monitoring system. He was allowed to get groceries and go to work, but that was it. I don't know what he was convicted of, but he did not have wandering hands so I'm thinking it wasn't necessarily bad for him to be around children. Just funny in that who would think your local Santa was a convict? Not a bad idea to ask around about that kind of thing, huh?

Santa had a pretty crappy job. Parents waited with eager children for over an hour for their chance to chat with that jolly figure.

An hour in line with sugar and toy crazy children could wear down a saint, and most parents when they got to the end were pretty much at the end of their rope.

There is a little known fact that there is a five foot force field that surrounds most Santa Clauses. It is not detectable by adults, but when a child crosses it they experience an unbelievable amount of terror and freeze on the spot. Thus the child not only tends to scream, cry, and flail in fear at Santa, but quite often pees on him as well.

When a child would pee on Santa what would we do? Why, put the kids on the other knee, of course. Santa got to change only when both legs got wet.

So now you have the terrified child crying horribly on Santa’s lap, and an exhausted parent who waited for an hour for this glorious moment to be recorded forever by photograph or video. (No DVD yet, this was some time ago.) The parent would not give in lightly, Santa had to keep each crying child on his lap for at least five minutes while we tried in vain to get a smile, grin, or at least a calm look for the photograph.

I became very good at the line "Can we just take the picture now? I promise some day when he/she is all grown up you will look at this picture and laugh..."

I offered to work the register a lot.

When you worked the video camera you got the best insight of all, because Santa wore a microphone. I overheard all kinds of requests for puppies, bikes, skateboards, and video games. But a few wishes stick out in my mind.

I remember the little girl who told Santa that she did not want any toys this year, she just wanted Santa to help her dad find a job.

Or the little boy who wished that Santa would deliver a gift to his little sister; he didn't need anything - he just could not bear to see her get let down.

Or the little boy who wished that his mother would get over her cancer.

These things really happened. The christmas spirt really does exist. There is kindness and generosity in this word, and children can be beautiful, gentle, and pure.

When you are Santa, how do you respond? You only have a minute to reply.

The Santas were pretty good, they would say something like "I'll do the best I can, but this is something that I don't know if I or the elves can really do anything about. You have been very good all year, keep praying and we will try our best."

The children believed that Santa would try, and that is what really counted.

The amazing thing is that the children had no idea how much they had given to us. Faith in humankind is hard to come by.

On that note, I wish you and yours a safe, merry, and happy christmas. And a hope that we all can believe that Santa Claus will continue to try.

Rockstar's health hisory

Here is the description of my saga:

I am not on any medications. Occasionally I take Tylenol.

I am allergic to penicillin. When I take it I break out in a rash.

When I was 17 (1989) I had an appendectomy. The resulting pathology report determined that I had Crohn’s disease. (Up until the results of said report, I was told that my appendix must have ruptured months previous and I had miraculously survived. One out of ten people ever.)

I was on Prednisone for a period of time, regardless the Crohn’s continued to develop, and when I was 20 (1992) I had a resection – in total a foot was removed from the area of the end of my small intestine and the beginning of my large intestine.

After this surgery I was very asymptomatic of Crohn's. I did not take any medication, or have any digestive troubles, but approx once a year would have a visit to the hospital with blockage symptoms. (Pain, vomiting, high white blood cell count, dry mouth) Typically the symptoms would last anywhere from eight to twenty hours. Once I was given an IV and pain and nausea meds the blockage would dissipate. These episodes were always attributed to the Crohn's. (Never once was the word "adhesion" voiced by a single doctor.)

On Feb 6th 2004, I had a blockage that did not dissipate after 24 hours, and it was decided that I be subjected to an exploratory surgery to diagnose and hopefully repair the cause.

The doctor found an adhesion from my earlier resection to be the cause of distress, and fixed the problem. He also noted that my bowels looked quite healthy (aside from the recent stress) and seemed Crohn’s free. At this point it was determined that I had been in fact in remission from Crohn’s disease for over ten years and had been suffering from the effects of the adhesion.

The incision from this surgery did not heal properly, and I ended up developing a hernia of approx 7cm in length. (This hernia was diagnosed when it caused another blockage - and subsequent pain involved - emergency room visit.) For those of you unschooled in medical ways, that is a HUGE hernia.

My hernia repair surgery was performed on August 13th, 2004 by Dr Wallack (general surgeon) and Dr Kolker (plastic surgeon). They reconstructed my abdominal wall using Aloderm.

I healed as expected, and experienced no further problems until March 12th, 2005, when I awoke with abdominal pain. As the pain progressed and vomiting began, I headed to the emergency room for care. The symptoms dissipated after nineteen hours, and I was sent home with the diagnosis of a new adhesion, and instructions to make a follow up appt with my surgeon.

Friday, December 24, 2004

all I want for christmas

Christmas is such a big deal for so many people, and frankly I just don't get it. I happened to go near a strip mall today. Near because I actually convinced my sister to let me part accross the street in the deserted bank parking lot. Living in NYC gives a whole new perspective to not caring about parking.

The strip mall consisted of a Whole Foods, Barnes and Noble, and Walgreens. I have no idea why the paking lot was jammed to such extremes, but we are talking major car wars here.

Frantic people driving around getting those last minute gifts, food items, finishing touches.

For heaven's sake why? You would think that the day of redemtion was near. It is a common joke that people rush around in preperation for this holiday, but when did it all become so serious?

More importantly, why can't the same care and concern for your loved ones be spread out throughout the year, or their lives? Instead of giving yourself a hernia packing in the gifts and caring into one or two measly days, if we all took the effort to show how much you care every day in a million ways, would christmas still be so crazy?

How much has to do with keeping up with the Jonses? When making holiday preparations do people think about how they wil l be percieved or compared? Or could it be about trying to maintain a certain amount of tradition?

Has the media blown this holiday out of proportion for us? I don't know. All the same, I wish all the best to you and yours, and for the joy and peace (if that is how you view the holidays) to last throughout the next year.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

you can't go home again

It is the night before I start on the annual trek back home. Or at least where I grew up. Detroit. The Motor City.

Every year it gets harder and harder. The place I grew up is not the same anymore. It seems smaller, dirtier somehow. Ironic, since I live in one of the dirtiest cities in the universe. But true.

I go home, and it is not familiar any more. Places I knew are gone, new stores and businesses have taken over my hometown. The people I knew have moved or moved on in their lives. The home I remember is but a ghost of what exists today.

The hardest thing to get used to is that the people I knew are gone. In spirit more than in person. The ones that have remained have "grown up". Most have gotten married, some have kids. The time we spent together, the good times and adventures are tales of nostalgia, and an era they have moved on from. I never moved on. I like that life and want to continue in it.

Some of the friends I truly enjoy catching up with. And then some of them look at me funny. To them I am a tourist, and get the courtesies and politeness reserved for strangers. To others I am entertainment. People who expect to hear exciting adventures from a glamorous lifestyle. A dancing monkey. I am who I am, if I had remained would I still be exotic or an outcast?

Or maybe I am avoiding thinking about the hardest part about coming home, remembering the dreams I lost. I simultaneously hope and dread that I will see my ex, the guy I fell in love with and left behind. How terrible is it that I hope to see him to flaunt what he lost? Yet I dread him because when I see him then I realize what I lost. One sensation does not exist without the other, yet the entire sensation so hollow and sad.

Thomas Wolfe said you can't go home again. Such a simple statement, but so true.

Monday, December 20, 2004

May the best blog win

I read the most interesting article from the NY Times today that was discussing the breakdown of privacy and confidentiality that has been occurring because of bloggers. I talked about how the web is being used more and more as a strange new form of gossip and rabid rumor spreading. But what I found really interesting was that it stated that most bloggers are, in fact, women.

This I find funny, as I was inspired to join in the great World Wide Web adventure because of one of my male friends who had started a blog. Since the creation of this site, I have been doing random browsing and had rather noticed the gender gap.

What really is the most intriguing is that it seems that the women talk quite openly and graphically about sex, while the men do not speak of it at all.

If you are a woman who openly discusses her active sex life, you are deemed quite metropolitan, chic, say world savvy. If you are a man and you discreetly forgo any details of your sex life in order to ruminate about your more emotional side, you are deemed a mature, world wise, and stable man.

I have to ask you reader - if the guys were to speak as openly about their sexual relations, would you think less of them? Are these people drawn to each other? Have the stereotypes switched sides?

I have to admit I find reading other people's logs quite voyeuristic, and really enjoy the guilty pleasure. Also, I find the concept of reading the inner workings and thoughts of someone I am dating, to let me in on what is going on, really tempting. But on the flip side, I would absolutely LOATHE to read anything negative about myself on a blog of someone I was intimate with!

Guess I'll have to resort to good old-fashioned conversation, huh? Of course, the upside is that it seems much easier to make out with someone you are talking to as opposed to his or her blog. Unless you are into that kind of thing... ;)

Sunday, December 19, 2004


Nothing worth having is ever easy. This is true of just about everything in life. I don't know whether it is because the effort makes you appreciate the prize, or just because it is one of the simple ironies of life.

Maybe it’s just a life lesson. People who never reach for the brass ring, who never try to break out of the safest mold, do they really live? What exactly is it to experience life to the fullest, and does it really matter?

About two times a week (oh, how I wish I was exaggerating) I ask myself why I am here and what I want to leave behind. I question what I contribute to the greater good. This level of self-evaluation is good for many things. I am often in a good mood, and try to be genuine and giving to people I know. I am a firm believer in karma, and believe that all kindness in the world starts in just one person.

I also tend to look around to see how the rest of the world copes with the existential dilemma. Then I see Paris Hilton, and realize people do not necessarily worry about these things. She definitely has quite a variety of experiences, but I have to wonder if any of the beauties and mysteries of life are seen with any depth or complexity when a life is so lacking of sincere effort. I also mourn the misuse of her level of fame. You look at someone like Oprah, whom I believe genuinely makes an effort to improve the lives of others. That seems to me to be the other end of the spectrum. Quite the better end, I would think.

Some people may not live life fully because they choose not work for it; some will not because without the effort the flavor is flat and the colors dull; some cannot because they are afraid to believe that they are deserving.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

A fine line

I happened to be listening to the Avenue Q soundtrack today, and heard the most amazing thing. It was in the song "There's a Fine, Fine Line". There are quite a few great pearls of wisdom tied into this comedic tune, but the one that hit home was:

"There's a fine, fine line between a fairy tale and a lie"

This is something I think about quite often. Most of the time I am resplendent in my singledom. However, every once in a while I read a book, see a movie, or watch a TV show that throws me for a loop. The romantic comedy type, mostly. The concept that someone will meet you, act a fool for you, and go to extreme measures to convince you of their everlasting love is beyond me. I know that it is fiction, but it always seems to cause a stirring of "why doesn't that happen to me?" that just ticks me off. Why am I such a sucker to go and draw hopes or dreams from the imaginations of others?

It always brings me back to fairy tales. The concept of Cinderella. Of Beauty and the Beast. Heck, of the Frog Prince. The heroine goes through a little hardship, but in the end the handsome prince is there to take care of them now that they have made it through the gauntlet. Happily ever after, they have found their true love and they can be content in their love for the rest of their lives.

What crap. Who is really ever rescued? Yes, it can be wonderful to be in a relationship, but do you ever have to stop working at it? Really? Heck, the prince always turns back into the frog, its just now you love him enough to help him keep his warts under control. You notice more and more that he has fly breath and keeps leaving lily pads in the tub. True love is the acceptance of those inconsistencies.

Which brings me back to the show Avenue Q. There is another song called "The More You Ruv Someone". The point of this happy tune is that you know you really love someone if they are so annoying they drive you mad enough to kill them. How brilliant of the creators of the show to wrap up childhood concepts of the sesame street crew with the realities of adult life. For once I am so relieved that there is a fairy tale with elements of real expectations. Now if only the couple didn't end up together in the end. So close.

So now you are thinking that I MUST love the movie "As Good As it Gets". Yes, this movie is the ultimate idea of accepting people for their faults, for loving them complete in all of their faults. But stop - rewind. The real point is to not have unrealistic expectations, just take anyone who will be kind of good to you. Again, not a good message.

What is a fiction whore as myself to do? Why, watch only action and horror flicks, of course. With an occasional documentary thrown in here and there. I am currently in love with "The Station Agent" if you are having the same dilemma as myself and am looking for a beautiful flick imbedded with truth.

Friday, December 17, 2004

my sister is famous

I suppose that having a boyfriend who works in design has its privledges. (click on link above)

The real question is, if you buy the frame, do you get the picture as well?

Who really cares?

I gotta ask ya - do you care about what you do?

Such a loaded question. Because the real question is - what results of your actions do you not care about?

And that is where what you watch on TV will answer the question. Do you watch CNN? Oh, then you care and act on political issues. You watch the comedy channel? You want to entertain those around you. You watch MTV? You are under 18.

What I really want to know is - what lasting impression do you want to leave upon this earth?

I only ask because I think people lose the big picture. I have a truly fabulous friend who will be moving to the other end of the continent. This is a person who finds something to enjoy in every human being that she meets. I know her through work, and she is terrific at her job. Not because she was made for it, merely because she is the kind of person who could not give any less than all that she is at every given moment.

And thus, the question.

When you are gone, what do you really want to leave behind? And what are you waiting for? To leave your job? Your hemisphere? Your school?

Every person defines him or herself with every moment, every decision. Never kid yourself otherwise; you will always regret the compromise.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

taking stock

It occurred to me today that another year is soon over. Yes, I am that perceptive. What really shocked me is that an actual chapter of my life was actually contained within these twelve months. Thus, a perfect measuring stick to perceive change.

I have had what some would call a rather rough year. Two surgeries, four hospital visits, and a shocking six weeks of six leave add up to some pretty harsh realities. First, that lightning can strike twice. Second, no matter how strong a will or a passion, the body is weak and ultimately fallible. Finally, that no matter how perfect the rose colored glasses may be, enough hardship can break a person down.

I am that annoying happy person you know. I really don't see the glass as half empty or half full, just that it needs to be topped off. (Why do I always visualize beer in the glass, I wonder?) There is always that bright side, that bit of growth or wisdom to be taken away from a situation. A relief in having learned something.

This past year, for the first time in my life, I was seriously depressed. And you know what? It sucked. For the first time in my life I understand why all those anti-depression drugs truly are lifesavers. Fortunately as my health improved my mood did as well, but I cannot imaging being plagued with sadness throughout my life.

Having come out sparkling white and gleaming on the other side, a thought occurred to me. How do you take stock in how you have actually changed? Have I become wiser? More cynical? Fatalistic? Jaded? Most changes take time to really take effect, and how do you truly understand their effects?

Then it occurred to me - by keeping a record of your thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. You could do this, in...oh, let me think......A BLOG. That's right, if you write down a diary the only way you sense the change is to disagree with yourself. I feel a vague sense of loss in the fact that I did not record my ideas in the past, and therefore am out of touch with my own growth.

Wow, I feel so fortunate that I learned that about myself..... ;)

Monday, December 13, 2004

beginnings of futile dialogue

I guess it’s simplest to start with the basics. I am a single woman living in New York City. And I have never lived an episode of Sex in the City; so don't get your hopes up. Don't get me wrong - like every straight single woman who lives in this burg I can relate to many of the plot points. It’s just that I just don't get the whole dating scene in that show. Yes, I date. Yes, it will probably come up as a subject in this blog. But the existence of my social life has nothing to do with meeting eligible bachelors. I like men, and I like sex. It’s just that my quality of life does not revolve around it.