You're my favorite.

No, really - you are.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five years.

Five years ago I was 22. I lived in Queens with my college roommate, and I worked at a talent agency, spending ridiculously long hours there in exchange for a ridiculously small salary. I took the N train to Union Square every day and always came up at the north-west exit, on Union Square West, across the street from Coffee Shop.

Five years ago I’d started thinking about leaving New York because I missed my family and the mountains and having space.

Five years ago I left my apartment at the same time I always did, a little before 9 am, and walked the three blocks to the train. I saw the smoke billowing from the Towers and thought that Windows on the World must have had a fire or something. I didn’t think about how far away I was from downtown Manhattan, and how very big that fire would have to be.

Five years ago I was sitting on the train when they started to make announcements about service being delayed, then skipping the Cortlandt Street station, then stopping entirely. Someone was listening to a Walkman, and pulled off their headphones to announce to the car that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We knew that was absurd, impossible, insane. No one made eye contact with our informant. You didn’t, not with crazy people.

Five years ago I got off the train and started upstairs. At the top of my exit, Union Square West, I saw the bluest sky, with wisps of clouds, and a line of people, standing, silent, staring downtown at the column of gray that spiraled upward. I started walk faster and faster. I tried not to listen to what people were saying. I knew then.

Five years ago I started to cry. I hardly even knew I was.

Five years ago I got to my office and could hardly breathe. I called my mom, dialing over and over until I got through. I called my dad and left a message on his cell phone. He’d flown out of Washington the day before. I tried to stay calm. I tried to work.

Five years ago the LA office called and said we were closed and we should all go home. The bridges were closed, so I walked with a friend to meet a friend of hers, and then to that friend’s apartment. We walked from 19th and Park to 37th and Madison to 30th and 1st. We watched CNN and tried to call friends and family. The circuits were busy. The World Trade Center had been topped with cell towers.

Five years ago they announced that they were reopening the bridges to foot traffic. We walked. The trains were running in Queens, just between the outer boroughs, but thousands of people were waiting. I kept walking. One factory had its employees standing outside, handing out cups of water to people as we walked by. It took me two hours to get home.

Five years ago I made more phone calls. I went to the grocery store and bought water because they said that was how we’d be attacked next. I watched CNN until I wanted to throw up. Then we watched old movies. Eventually we slept.

Five years ago I was a different person. We were a different country. Is that trite? Does that make it untrue? Only three thousand people, but three thousand people.

Three thousand people.

Five years.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

So next time I'm playing "I Never", if someone says that they've never had a drunk stripper in their house who was arrested on domestic violence charges later that night, I'll totally have to drink.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Creamy frozen deliciousness

My sister is a brilliant, brilliant woman.

I always knew she was pretty bright – she got straight As (or close) in high school, graduated from college summa cum laude (I think. Maybe magna.) (Ha! I typed magma the first time! They should totally make that a type of honors – for people who are so smart that they are like molten rock!), and is currently busy getting her PhD in neuroscience. Clever, right? You'd assume someone like that would be pretty quick, and you'd be right.

But on Friday, I learned just how smart she is.

When I got home on Friday, I had a box sitting on the porch. I'd ordered some stuff from Crate & Barrel a few days previously and thought it had just come really quickly, even though I hadn't gotten a shipping notice. So I pulled the box inside and puttered around the house, putting my coat away, checking mail, playing with the dog. Finally I went to open the box and noticed a note on the packing slip that it was a birthday present from my sister. Ooh, I thought, a present. Fun! Little did I know how MUCH fun it would be.

After digging through some packing peanuts, I came to a white Cuisinart box. The picture on it kind of looked like a blender. Okay, a blender. Great. I don't have one. I started to pull the Cuisinart box out of the shipping box and realized that it was not a blender at all – it was 10 million times better than a blender. She sent me something I've often considered getting but never had. It's something that will do good things for my mental state but probably not my diet.

Amy sent me an ice cream maker.

I am almost unbelievably excited about this. I am an ice cream addict – one summer, Ben and I were at the local ice cream shop like twice a week. That was not a good summer for my pants fitting well, but it was a very delicious time in my life. And now I can make my own Jack Daniels Chocolate Chocolate Chip, my own Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, my own will be fattening but happy.

I'm making my first batch today – pomegranate sorbet to bring to a LUPEC meeting to which I am bringing a pomegranate-based cocktail (though not the POMtini). Unfortunately, the high today is only supposed to be 25, which some might consider too cold for sorbet. To them I say, well then, more for me! And since yesterday the high was only 12 and the low was -13, this is like a breezy spring day in comparison.

I told you my sister is brilliant. Possibly diabolical in her quest to make me eat my own body weight in ice cream this year, but brilliant. So, Amy, thank you. And next time you come to visit, you just let me know what flavor(s) of ice cream you'd like me to whip up. And I'm on it.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Pink-slipped pooch

Wilbert got fired by his daycare today.

Technically, they call it failing him. But they called Ben in the middle of the day and said he had to come get Wilbert and take him home and he wasn't allowed back. Which is pretty much getting fired, I think.

Details are sketchy – Ben was too pissed off to really ask much and I don't ever want to deal with them again so I don't want to call and ask. From what we know, he was playing a little rough and kind of got into a fight, which is what he does, so they put him in time out for fifteen minutes. After fifteen minutes, they let him back out. He got in another fight – we don't know if it was with the same dog or a different one – and they fired him.

We told him that he's still a good dog and we love him and it's their loss and we'll find him a better place. He didn't seem too upset anyway since, you know, he doesn't speak English or understand any of these concepts. But I thought it was important to say.

So now we have to find a new doggie daycare. Because we need a place to board him occasionally and it's good for him to get to play with other dogs all day every once in a while and go crazy and get all worn out and pass out for the night.

I just hope he doesn't get fired again.

Monday, February 13, 2006


We are in our twenties and thirties. We are different shapes and sizes, different hair, eye, skin colors, different politically. We are eight, now, but soon will be more, and still miss the two who ignored Horace Greeley and went east instead.

We are Bijou, Cuba Libre, Gin Daisy, Grasshopper, Kir Royale, Southern Ginger, Vamp and Velvet Hammer.

We are the Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails, Denver-style.

Once a month, we gather, usually in a member's home, occasionally in a bar, and we drinktalklaughrepeat. Once every few months, we throw a party or participate in an event, the proceeds from which go to organizations that we feel support women in an exceptional manner. We have raised money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, tsunami relief efforts, SafeHouse Denver, the Colorado Aids Project and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

We are artists, actors, writers, architects, publicists, designers, computer queens, teachers, athletes, dancers, health care workers, administrators, fundraisers, students and more.

Our mission is thus:
In a post-millenium world of beer and prepackaged Chex Mix™, LUPEC works tirelessly to breed, raise, and release cocktails that are endangered or even believed to be extinct.

The collecting of anachronistic recipes by women, and the resulting creation of endangered cocktails in an all woman setting is intended to achieve the following goals:

To create a secular "coven-like" atmosphere in which Classy Broads of today can invoke and honor the spirits of their Forebroads;
To continue the 150 year American tradition of dangerous women calling themselves Ladies and getting together in groups, clubs, and societies to work undercover while they chipped away at the patriarchy;
To protect the collective Joie de Vivre of LUPEC members by assuring them at least one good party a month;
To provide financial support to local and national organizations that look out for Classy Broads.

We owe our roots to the mothership in Pittsburgh, women we admire and respect. We owe our founding to Italian Stinger who found the mothership and knew. And knew we would, too.

We are married and single, in love, betrayed, content alone. We are responsible and flighty. We are funny and serious, intense and laid-back.

We are strong.

We are brilliant.

We are beautiful.

We are you.

We are LUPEC.

Friday, January 06, 2006

They make my heart feel different.

A couple of months ago, late one night, we saw a fox in our front yard. Today, we saw one in the alley behind the house a few doors down. At 8:30 in the morning. Sitting in the sun. With cars whizzing by a hundred yards away on Louisiana.

She was looking around calmly, swishing her tail every so often. She didn't leave when Ben and Wilbert walked out to the car. She didn't leave when I came out to see too. She didn't leave when Ben started the car and drove the opposite way down the alley. For all I know, she's still there now.

I thought about calling Animal Control – I was worried she might be rabid since she's out during the day and didn't seem nervous with people and a smallish but very intent dog standing there watching her. But apparently that's something foxes do. They hunt MOSTLY at dawn or dusk, but if they feel secure enough, they'll hunt squirrels during the day when the squirrels are awake and active. Guess this lady was feeling pretty comfortable and possibly a little snack-y, because she was chillin' right by where a lot of squirrels live.

Wilbert is at his doggie daycare today (we send him once every couple of weeks to get him all worn out), and I'm just as glad. Probably the fox wouldn't go after him; they're both part of the canine family and Wilbert is definitely bigger than the fox. But still. Foxes hunt to, y'know, survive, and this one is obviously quite good at it since she's still around. Wilbert hunts out of instinct and hasn't caught anything faster than a bug yet. He has high hopes, though.


I just went back outside to see if she was still there, 20 minutes later. She was behind our garage, walking toward me. As soon as she saw me, she panicked and ran down the alley, a bit past where we'd seen her in the first place, jumped and scrambled to the top of a six foot fence and just sat, watching me, clearly nervous but not running quite yet.

Except I don't think this was the same fox we saw in the first place. Because I pulled out my cell phone to take a picture, and while I was doing that, another fox wandered out of the yard of the home that's being built two doors down. She stood there and looked from me to the fox on the fence and seemed totally comfortable with me taking pictures. I think she was the first one, the one who didn't move when Wilbert was desperately straining to get to her.

I took two pictures, then ran inside to get our digital camera in hopes of getting a better shot. By the time I got back out there, maybe 45 seconds later, they were gone. Into a den, off on a hunt in a less populated alley, over to the park or the river, I don't know.

The pictures I got are not good. My little Samsung phone does its best, but it's not meant to show foxes a hundred yards away. But here they are anyway:

fox in alley

(She's by the white garage in the middle of the photo.)

fox on fence

(This one is on the fence in the distance by the telephone pole. You might have to squint. And use your imagination.)

I hope they've gone somewhere safe now. Somewhere people won't see them and panic and try to hurt them. Somewhere close. Somewhere near enough that they'll come back to the alley. Not to our yard, at least not while the dog is out, just to the alley. But I'd like to see them again.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I love the lingonberry jam and tealight holders and side tables and everything!

I am feeling a little betrayed.

Granted, it is by a huge multi-national corporation, none of whose employees know me at all, but STILL.

IKEA is opening a store in Utah in early 2007.

UTAH! Home of Mormons and.....I don't know, more Mormons. What else does Utah have? Oh, right, pretty soon, an IKEA. Bastards.

I found this out during one of my occasional checks of the “coming soon!” listings on the IKEA website. Yes, I check that periodically. Yes, I'm always hoping that a Colorado store will be on the horizon. No, it never is. But this time, I saw Draper, UT listed. Turns out that Draper is a suburb of Salt Lake City. A suburb that will soon offer affordable modern design of decent quality conveniently flat-packed for transporting ease. Lucky, lucky Draper.

Why not Denver, I ask? According to an IKEA spokesman, they chose Utah because “it had the company's requisite market of 1.5 million to 2 million people, and its location made it a 'natural extension' of IKEA's expansion. Plus, he said, the company's database of previous purchases indicated it had a ready-made market, with upward of 30,000 Utah customers.” We have the people! I bet we have the customers, or at least people with the desire to be customers!

The only thing we don't have is the location. Denver is currently at least 900 miles from the closest IKEA (I've done the Mapquesting, people. I know these things). And that 900 miles probably places us outside of their comfort zone for expansion. They've been moving into the country from the edges so far, and Denver's so close to the middle that it's taking a while for them to get to us. Which is the truly great thing about IKEA Draper – it's only a little over 500 miles away. Five hundred miles is totally roadtrippable. Five hundred miles could open this market to the wonders of IKEA. Five hundred miles could make us the next “natural extension.”

To give IKEA their due, they've tried before. Almost two years ago, I started an email campaign to bring IKEA to Denver. A few dozen people wrote in – it probably didn't make much of a difference but it gave them a little nudge. And a couple months later, the Denver Business Journal announced that IKEA was looking for land. My heart beat faster and I started to hope. A month or so after that, they announced that an offer had been made to the city of Lonetree....and turned down.

Lonetree didn't want a big blue and yellow store in the middle of all of their beige. IKEA offered to tone it down. Lonetree didn't want the 17 acre parking lots that IKEA normally has. IKEA offered to do below-ground parking. Lonetree hemmed and hawed and finally revealed itself to be a bitch-ass that just didn't want an IKEA, thankyouverymuch. And IKEA sighed and tipped its hat and went away.

I don't know why no other suburb pursued it. The sales tax revenue god. Maybe one did and IKEA was nursing its wounds and wouldn't deal. The Denver Business Journal does report that one developer is interested and IKEA does have a real estate broker here. But Draper could put us back into play officially. Draper could open us up again. Draper could inadvertantly bring the charm of cheap Swedish design to this side of the Rockies.

Keep your fingers crossed for 2008, people. It could happen. Soon we too could enjoy a kitchen table and four chairs for $99, an 8x10 rug for $79 and a couch for $189.

Draper, my hopes rest on you. Build quickly. Advertise. Draw in our side of the mountains. And help us someday live the dream that you will know all too soon.