Thanksgivingful

Once again, a plan for a blog post has been foiled. I had an idea, started writing down thoughts related to the idea, wrote my first paragraph, and revised the first paragraph several times–and then I didn’t turn on my computer for three days. Now that I have, what I want to say is completely different from what I originally thought I wanted to say.

Here’s what I thought I wanted to say, summed up in only a few words to make it sound as simplistic and uninteresting as possible, which it probably was: Money (or to be more precise, the painful lack of it) is oppressive, but I should stop whining about it because the truth is that I’ll be alright and there’s too many people in this world who can’t say that. Sounds boring, right? Right.

So here’s what I want to say now: The movie Frozen let me see the world through the eyes of my child self for a couple hours and think in cliches, and it made things seem a little better than they were before. It was also the first movie I saw with my mom in a long, long time, and that’s just a nice thing. So I guess where I’m going with this is that I’m thankful for things like that–nice moments and fairy tales that put things in perspective for a little while. I realize I’m probably giving Disney undue credit here, because it’s really Hans Christian Andersen’s story, and I could have just read the story for free instead of giving a corporation my money to feel feelings that some may say are illusory. Fine, I get it. But I also think that’s a very cranky worldview, and if Thanksgiving means anything at all anymore besides doorbusters and binge-eating and listing your personal blessings via Facebook status, it’s that if we’ve got at least one or two good reasons to not be cranky, then maybe let’s try not to be.

I’m also the last person who should be saying any of this. I also acknowledge that I’m basing my statements on naive logic. I also can’t tell if I sound preachy or judgy. I also know deep down that I probably do, and I feel bad about that because all I really wanted to say is that Frozen is a good movie.

A Short Story, by Colleen

A few weeks back I had an idea for a blog post, so I wrote it and rewrote it, and the more I edited it and re-edited it the less I liked it. So I decided I would start from scratch, but I couldn’t come up with any good scratch. I felt really bad for this blog and bad for myself, because it was so clear to me how bad of a blog writer I really was (am–still am). Then I had an experience over Labor Day weekend in which the order of the universe was revealed, and which convinced me of the existence of a divine being in ways that fifteen years of Catholic school never did. Here’s what happened:

My car broke down in Harlem.

My car broke down in Harlem, but I–along with my friend and boyfriend, who I had the great fortune of being with that fateful night–was aided by at least two guardian angels. One was a kindly gypsy cab driver, and the other a kindly NYPD officer working the night shift. I was so touched by the kindness and concern of these two gentlemen that I had my whole essay planned out in my mind before the tow truck had even arrived. It would be about the human connection, and the mysteries of the universe, and the divine plan that affects each of us in ways we can never anticipate or fully understand. This was it! The time had come! My time had come to blog!

Before I hopped in the tow truck with Jose that night, I made sure to scribble a quick note of thanks to the kindly police officer. The kindly gypsy cab driver had sped off into the night with $10, which is all I had left after an eventful day at the zoo. (Dippin’ Dots)

Fast forward about four days, lunchtime. I am with the same friend from That Night, and she hands me a folded-up piece of paper. She explains that this paper had been hanging on the lobby wall of her Harlem apartment building for the last few days, and it had only just occurred to her today to take a look at it, since papers don’t typically just hang out on walls all day.

Confused, I opened up the note. To Ms. _____. I got your note. Call me. XXX-XXX-XXXX.

No. Oh no. Nononononononononono.

The kindly police officer and all his fatherly concern wasn’t kindly and fatherly after all, I realized. He may have been a guardian that night, but he hadn’t been trying to be angelic about it. And his interest in helping didn’t have anything to do with the human connection or the mysteries of the universe.

Consequently, I didn’t write a blog post and I retained my title as the Worst Blogger of All Time.

I hope this anecdote clears up any and all questions you may have had. I also hope you’re having a really good day and are doing something more exciting than I am doing, which is watching the finale of America’s Got Talent with my parents.

America

America

 

July 4, 1995: There’s no way to ever be sure, but I’d like to think that my outfit choice here was intended to be subversive.

Also, in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m terrible at being a blogger. I attribute this to my lack of energy, dedication, and interest-piquing topics to write about. I did, however, see a man throw up on another man in H&M this week. So, that’s something.

I’ll be back for real once I‘m up-to-date with all that’s going on with Jon Snow.

A Tribute to My Mom As She Curses At the Shower Curtain

Mom and Colleen

This is my mom. Over 26 years ago, this woman gave me life while my dad, ever the sentimentalist, ran back and forth between her (us) and the waiting room to watch the Jets game.

One of my earliest memories is of my mom in a long red trench coat walking up the driveway of my grandma’s house, where I stayed while she went to work as a fancy auditor. I never looked forward to leaving Grandma’s, since she did Richard Simmons workouts with me and gave me peach cobbler every day. (My grandma is also an amazing lady and deserves her own blog post, but I have to stay on point. She’ll understand.) But when I got older and started going to school, my mom was the person I couldn’t wait to see.  She gave up her day job for a Day job–staying at home with three kids and volunteering at our elementary school. She ruled that lunch program with an iron fist, and I would count down the minutes until lunchtime, when I’d be able to see her blonde head from across the cafeteria and immediately feel at ease because I knew I’d get the right Pudgie’s chicken order. She was also there when I got lost in the Touch Tunnel at the Liberty Science Center, and when a seagull pooped on my head during Field Day in 1993, and again when a pelican pooped on my head in 2012. (In the latter case, she did far less consoling than she had after the first incident.)

As recently as a couple years ago, I fancied my mom and I as a sort of odd couple. After all, she is a staunch Fox News viewer, while I prefer to carry on my life as though sequesters do not exist and Rand Paul is just some lovable farmer in a John Steinbeck novel. She orders the same thing–a bacon cheeseburger–every time she eats at a restaurant, and I like to keep things fresh by ordering a different kind of chicken sandwich and side salad at each place I dine. Whereas balance sheets make her giddy, I still can’t wrap my mind around percentages. And while Mom sports the signature Long Island accent (“Happy Eastah!”), I have been asked by many a guy at a bar if I am Eastern European. (I don’t think this had anything at all to do with how I talk, but still.) In my mind, my mom and I were two distinct personalities sharing only a last name and nose shape.

It’s only been in the last year or so that I’ve come to realize that this is not true at all. I am my mom. Maybe it happened gradually over time, or maybe all at once when I decided not to vote for Obama again, or maybe I’ve been like her all along. But the fact remains–I am my mom through and through, and even though she won’t believe me, I can’t think of a better person to be like.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I guess I should offer to help you with the shower curtain now.

You can’t spell conscience without science

Today is Good Friday, the most solemn day on the liturgical calendar. And despite my twenty-six years as a Catholic–sixteen of which were spent being educated in the traditions of the Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Mercy, and the LaSallian brothers–the day might have passed without me noticing had it not been for my mom sing-songing, “Remember, fasting and abstinence tomorrow!” as I cut into a raspberry danish last night. Okay, I probably would have realized at some point–perhaps while biting into my favorite chicken-laden Panera salad–that I was violating a dietary rule on not just any Lenten Friday, but the Lenten Friday, and that, though seemingly arbitrary and never explicitly dictated by Jesus himself (Right? It’s all just conjecture that he probably wouldn’t be into eating animal flesh on Fridays during Lent?*), said rule is still critical to follow if for no other reason than that it would all but destroy Grandma if she even suspected I was doing otherwise.Continue reading →

I’ve been waiting 364 days for this.

DISCLAIMER: When I set out to write this, I didn’t want it to be emotional, because who wants to read a love letter to a boyfriend, right? I don’t. I hate love letters unless they are written in nineteenth-century prose and recited in a British accent by someone devilishly handsome, like that revolutionary radical guy in Les Miserables, who is the only good part of that movie. But an intrinsic feature of Art is its inability, its refusal, to be controlled! It lives!

Therefore, this post gets a little gross. I’m sorry.

But not that sorry, because I’m still posting it.

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Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of my first date with my boyfriend. This is significant not only because my current relationship is the longest I’ve ever had, but also because it’s the only relationship I’ve ever had. Not a typo. I’m 26,  I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was 25, and–as I informed him long ago–I won’t be kissing him on the mouth until I’m 27. Just kidding. Mouth but no tongue. Just kidding.

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That time I quit another job.

February 21, 2013: A brave new day that marks a brave new Day–or a dumb new Day, depending on your point of view. What happened was this: I quit another job. My second. My second in a month, in fact. Here’s what happened:

About two months ago, I went on an interview for an adjunct professor job. Okay, fine, adjunct instructor. It sort of came out of nowhere (read: connections, right place at the right time, desperation on the part of the institution of higher learning at which I interviewed), and after 2.5 years’ worth of detachment from academia and all things intellect-related, I was ill-prepared. My specialty was pharmaceutical-grade supplements and how to write 3,762 variations of the sentence, “It’s best to consult your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen.” It was no longer thesis statements, “brainstorming,” or literary motifs, and it was definitely not pants from New York & Co., which I had been allowed to eschew at my place of employment in favor of my favorite jeans with the teeny tiny pin-sized hole in the crotch region. But since I was planning on returning to the world of higher education anyway, and because I thought I might be through with staring blankly at a computer screen while perusing Google News every three minutes, I decided to give it, as they say, the old college try, pun absolutely intended.

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Post #1

Major bone to pick with WordPress because they offer too many template options, which means I will forever be second-guessing my choice.

Anyway, hi. Wilkommen. This is my blog. I’ve wanted a blog for a long time, and by “long time” I mean ever since I decided to quit my job two weeks ago and go back to my old job, which left me in a panic about whether I was giving up my dream that Lena Dunham is currently living (no hard feelings), namely, being a famous writer and twitterer and et cetera. “What happens to a dream deferred,” you know? That’s what I’ve been wondering every day in the shower for the past two weeks. And while driving. Also at my desk at work. Also in the bathroom at work, which is where I go when I need to take a power nap or have a brief existential crisis. And while I don’t have any answers, I do have this blog now. So my soul-searching hasn’t been entirely fruitless.

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