Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Where's Your Boyfriend?

I had the option to stop at the nice (and cheaper) Wawa in Glen Mills but no, I decided to wait it out and hit a gas station on 322 because I was lazy and didn't feel like getting out of my car so soon after piling groceries into it at Giant.

And for this stupid decision, I paid. Severely. I pulled off at the Citgo - the ghetto Citgo - in Chi and barely got out of the car when the WT boy at the pump next to me in his POS late 80s Cutlass sedan walks around to my pump and asks, "Where's your boyfriend?!" all smug.


"I'm married," I say in my snotty bitch tone.
"Oh. Where's your husband?," mouths WT boy.
"Home," I say matter of factly, turning around and ending the conversation.

He muttered something else which I ignored, started to fuel my tank and watched as he drove around the parking lot to leave, obviously to take another look at me.

I sigh loudly. "Can't a girl get gas without having to deal with that crap?!" I shout to no one. Who does this?! Who says something like that? Did he even for one second think that's a class act opener? He only said something because I was wearing a tube top. What goes through their heads?! So white trash. And obviously I'm not, so WHY bother? WT boys who think they can pick up cute classy girls at a gas station with lame ass lines in their disgusting wife beaters and POS cars DON'T EVER HAVE A CHANCE.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Ten Year Reflection: Part 1

Excerpt from July 13, 1997:

Best friends...what constitutes a best friend? It used to be a group of people to each lunch with, laugh with, be ourselves with. Then something happened...what was it? A selfish inconsiderate act? Immaturity? College?

Were we really ourselves? Or did we pretend to be something, want something that we never could be or have? I have watched friends change since freshman year. Even the way people were junior year was not who they were senior year and not who they are now. Actually, I don't know who anybody is right now. All I know is that I don't like very many people.


I wrote that at the shore the summer after my freshman year of college. Everything and everybody (including me) had changed and was continuing to change and I was lost somewhere in the middle of it all. I was drifting away from high school pals but those bonds of friendship hadn't yet matured with my college girlfriends yet so I felt alone. It was July and I had one more month before school began and I had that bittersweet feeling that comes when you realize it's time to move on, move forward, but in doing so, essentially must leave people, places, things behind you. I was excited to go back to school, to focus on my now familiar college environment and embrace that life, but I was sad at the challenge before me - to let go of the past and stuff I had hoped to fix or change or be what I wanted, but over which I had no control, so therefore, had to accept (and/or supress) and get on with my 19 year old life.

My next entry doesn't come until November 1997 but in the months leading up to it - I worked at the Gap that fall in Springfield and at the Deck the Walls in Granite Run, immersed myself in my Photography class, in visiting Linvilla (pre barn fire), listened to the Smiths, went to a few parties at B3, had my hair chopped to a shaggy pixie, still embraced alternative 90s girl style (thrift store cords, shirts, velvet blazers, vintage Puma sneaks or Docs) and tried my damndest to look like the cute Winona Ryder indie chick I wanted to portray for the cute boys (there were 2) I so adored at the time.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Behind the wheel of a large automobile

The Versa has gone missing. My poor red Nissan Versa has been held captive by the service peeps at the dealership for over a week. Over a week? Yes. Body work? You'd think. No. It's that bastard fuel pump. I know...It's a brand new car. Barely toppling 10K miles. The fuel pump went south in the Focus when it hit 80K so I've had plenty of experience with cranking starts, rough idles, the occasional stall, and me upset, crying, and cursing in the middle of an intersection. Typically replacing this would take a few days. Apparently not when your car is so new that the actual parts aren't even in the country. This stinkin fuel pump is still overseas in its country of origin, Japan. Who knows when it'll arrive in Concordville PA.

Meanwhile I've been cruising around in a Sentra (OK until the engine started knocking and I had to switch it out) and then the only vehicle Enterprise had available this past Monday was a crazy minivan. A Chevy Uplander. What the hell is that? I soon found out. It's a massive beast. I stared at it and then looked around to be sure no one saw this cute 29 year old in her Step Up outfit - sans kids of her own and soccer practices - get behind the wheel. For 2 days I drove this minivan. One that barely got over 70 miles/hr. and who's AC was never cold enough and who's back end continuously felt like it would bounce off when I put it in reverse.

For 2 days I felt like Sam in Who's the Boss when Tony unveiled her "new" car. You remember - the yellow 70s Olds with brake lights galore and the plate that read SAMS CAR. You probably also recall how mortified she was driving it and in the episode parked it miles from school until it was stolen! Well that was me parking that damn minivan clear across the Dilworthtown parking lot to trudge into Starbucks. If the van was blue and slightly older and boxier, it could have passed for the famed Tony Micelli van we all know from the opening credits.

My friend Melissa and I joked that I needed to pretend I was at SJU again, hauling a group of volunteers down to the Appalachian region of KY. That brought back good van memories. The kids I babysit, while appreciative of the roomy interior, were shouting at me from the back of the van "WE CAN'T HEAR YOU CHRISSIE!?!" When I retrieved Matt from his music lesson Tuesday afternoon, he greeted me (laughing) with "I was waiting for your big ugly dumb car! Even that's better than sitting outside in this heat!" I almost died laughing - it has to be bad when an 11 year old is making fun of you. Their dad, a 40 something car buff, I knew would kill to see me in this machine and enjoy every second of torturing me. I managed to slink off Monday evening undetected (and was SO hoping to do the same Tuesday) but we pulled into the driveway just as Chris was leaving - and staring and laughing - at me. Caught. Behind the wheel of a large automobile.


Finally Enterprise was able to get me out of the crazy minivan and into a Subaru Impreza. I'm on the fence about this sporty little sedan. It's not nearly as swank as the Sentra but I gladly sacrificed all that room and awkwardness for conversation and coolness (literally and figuratively). I just hope Japan can get my fuel pump here this century. I miss my Versa.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Misbehaving Munchkin

Juliet decided in the middle of crossing MacDade that she wouldn't have any more of this walking business and this highway was a prime place to drop down and refuse to move. Thankfully we were standing near the median and it was a green light so there was no oncoming traffic headed straight for us but after a few seconds of unsuccessfully getting her to stand and walk, I had to pick her up and carry her across the road. People in cars making right turns from Fairview onto MacDade stared. My dog is practically throwing a stubborn tantrum in the street and I'm yanking on her leash, she's on her back, thrashing and looking like she's dying and refusing to move! I must have looked like a horrible mother. Safely on the other side I hold her panting and racing body and calm her a bit. She won't talk about this episode and what prompted her to choose the street to misbehave and put both of our lives in danger. The rest of the walk home was just as stubborn. Twice I had to carry her. She refused to go more than 20 yards before plopping down and giving me that "I'm not moving, Mommy" look. So much for taking her to Dunkin Donuts with me.

Is it possible she was pissed because I didn't buy her any munchkins at Dunkin Donuts?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fashionably Socially Responsible?

You know once upon a time Acme used to inquire whether I preferred paper or plastic. I always said paper. With the little handles, they are easier to carry, they are sturdier and my groceries never spilled out over the seat and floor of my car, and they were recyclable. I only ever tossed chicken in the plastic bag. Sometime in my mid 20s between sampling a host of other socially responsible markets (co-ops, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods) and a few gourmet places in and around the city, Acme (and quite possibly the rest of the supermarkets) stopped asking whether I wanted paper or plastic. Suddenly, baggers assumed plastic and before I could get a word in otherwise, half my groceries were thrown into environmentally hazardous plastic bags. Untied. Lumped together in a cart. Rolling across the floor of the car. Half of which I tossed once I arrived home and unpacked, the other half I saved for trash (and in the last 5 months, a nice amount of them have been reused to pick up doggie droppings).

I even poked around the last time I was at my local Acme since I assumed control of my own bagging. There wasn't a paper bag anywhere. What the hell?! The problem with the big boys is that you almost never go for a few things. Like us, you hit that 6 week mark and realize there isn't anything in your fridge, pantry or cabinets. So off we go for an hour long trip to the supermarket marching up and down every aisle tossing in paper towels, canned vegetables, poultry, ice cream, toiletries, milk, yogurt, coffee, you name it. So we'd need about 10 of those canvas bags. We'd need to bring them with us each and every time. I'd like to think I'm responsible and motivated to do that each time. I'm not too sure about my husband. I can't see him remembering to take the canvas tote with him to the market. Let alone be seen carrying it.

The NY Times article this week about London fashion designer Anya Hindmarch, promoting social responsibility with her line of cotton totes got me thinking about this. On the one hand I support what she has done - brought the idea of recyclable grocery bags more into the public eye while spinning it with some fashion sense. However, I'm somewhat suspicious of a bag that literally screams I'm Not Plastic, and of the designer's remarks that it has to cool before the world catches on and does the right thing. For one thing, this article illustrates hordes of shoppers trampling over each other to get their greedy paws on one of these bags. To be socially responsible? I doubt it. Moreover, it means nothing to me if this one bag has the best intentions but the rest of your line is being mass produced in sweat shops under not so socially friendly conditions (note: I don't know if this is the case, but my point is to hold people accountable).

I'm also a tad insulted because not all of us are clueless and not all of us need to buy your brand and your tote to show off what we're already comfortable conveying and doing, and not all of us will feed your ego and say it was you who brought fashion and a socially conscious product and mindset to grocery shoppers. I know the goal of the article wasn't to insult my intelligence or insist that we are all trend followers. I was to make us think. I still support the idea of using cotton or canvas totes and recycling as much plastic as possible. Enough so that I will flock to Trader Joe's and snatch up a few reusable totes and (try) to remember to take them with me to Acme in another few days.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


For most of my life I've hated -- and I mean loathed - gardening. I couldn't walk on grass in bare feet until I was a teen. I shaded out when my mom needed help weeding the front or back gardens or I offered to clean all 3 bathrooms so I didn't have to weed or plant. Even when we first purchased our home, I insisted Vince do the real gross part of the gardening chores. He hated the hostas so much, he could remove them...and all the snails and worms and strange bugs that made their habitat beneath them. My best friend Jocelyn was in town for our friend's wedding the first autumn we were here and she and Vince weeded and planted mums. I went to Home Depot and loaded the mulch and supervised.

So it's been 18-24 months now and I'm finally getting past my prissiness of grass, soil, some bugs.

Some people are petrified of the ocean...of swimming in the sea for fear of what's beneath them and they either wear those embarrassing water shoes, enjoy life on a floaty, or don't put more than a toe in the shallow end. This doesn't bother me. A crab? A jelly fish? Seaweed (which does creep me out -- it's like grass. Obviously I don't like it)? But I swim around them. I can paint and throw a pot or smudge charcoal over paper and paint, slip, and charcoal covered hands and nails don't bother me one lick. Something about bugs - snakes, leeches, spiders, worms, the frightening ground creatures I learned about in Bio class...Gross.

But I'm armed with cute gardening gloves, the weed fork (which is effing fabulous), and the desire to make my house pretty and give it some curb appeal. The other day I cleaned out the shed and everything was humming along well until I reached this old piece of wet, rotted wood on the concrete slab. I knew...KNEW this was going to be bad. I gingerly lifted it from one corner. I peeked cautiously underneath. Instantly I dropped it and jumped back. Scary scary creatures under there...the kind that only exist in damp dark places. There was a white spider crawling around that I'd never seen in my life. I surveyed my organizational work - it was swept, clutter free. Sans this one piece of wood, my work was complete. I left it for Vince to haul.

These moments still find me. I'll be laying brick and suddenly a worm is staring straight at me. I weed and a snail surfaces. I back off and collect myself. Then I return. People make fun, but it's OK. They laugh that I still cannot touch dirt without gloves (but you paint?! Isn't clay the same thing?! -- NO, it is not. Clay and paint are CLEAN). But it's progress. At 29 I've come a long way from the prissy girl that would rather touch bathroom grime than the earth.

And after this week, my front and back yards will have petunias, lilies, and a host of other flowers. Good for me.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Most of my Juliet pictures are on myspace. I thought she needed some representation here as well.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Paradise By The Dashboard Light

It's taken me a few months to get to speed with this Comcast Digital Cable. Finally I can operate the remote. Finally my brain memorized a few favorite channels - The Soap Net, VH1 Classic and know generally where Bio, Travel and Hallmark fall (because they run reruns of Little House, Murder She Wrote, and some other classic shows).

Right now I am watching a behind the scenes/making of the album of (drum roll)...Meat Loaf. Bat out of Hell. And the craziest thing occurred: I realized why so many of us LOVED this album early in my high school days. This album is (and was built to be) and theatrical, opera-esque collection of rock. A rock opera like The Who's Tommy (but not nearly on the same level). Duh. Why didn't I see that then? It makes perfect sense. I was a theater girl for a year and then a theater goer for my remaining high school years. But Paradise By The Dashboard Light was played over and over in the Green Room before, during and after our productions and subsequently requested and played at every formal dance. And we rocked it. Obviously. Weren't we all aspiring actors, singers, Broadway stars?! We could assume the role of some character (like the backup vocalist) and appreciate the extreme mingling of electric guitar, tambourine, piano, drums, and overall dramatic layering of the instruments and vocals.

I totally forgot about this song's appeal and legacy. And up until now, didn't get the connection (I'm sure the fact that it's about sex was also appealing to hormonally charged teens). This is a funny reminder of days gone by when I LOVED musicals...before I became bitter and spewing venom at all musicals and operas. (Yes, there are issues here. It's a long story). However, to this day, I still prefer Paradise to any Greece song. That's for another blog. Long live Meat Loaf, especially in the world of high school dances.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Thank You For Being A Friend...

It's like the Golden Girls theme song...

We hung out the other night and I remembered how much I adore him and how much I learn from him. For so long I focused on moving forward, moving on, priding myself for always knowing when the writing is on the walls and getting out, not being afraid to embrace change and that everyone needed a little Chrissie inspiration in their lives.

I don't think I affect people that much. I just try to give little boosts of confidence here and there and share stories, good and bad. But it was still me focused on me and in some ways masking internal sadness that I never truly found job security and had to take matters into my own hands. I know to many it's ballsy and commendable, but it's scary too. Regardless, I always believe we have some control over our destinies and for a long time now, I've tried to be a positive influence and motivator for him.

In his presence the other night, I am humbled because he is older and wiser. He can see in me the deeply rooted burning issues and will laugh with me but also understand that they do exist and it's OK...but he gently reminds me to not over analyze situations, to relax. He allows me to be here now. He's that kind of person - I can tell him anything and he knows me well enough to talk me off ledges and call me on any BS. At times I've questioned the friendship, if it was real enough to withstand people moving on, but interestingly, it's made me more self aware. Once upon a time I would have projected unrealistic expectations onto him and onto the relationship and it would have imploded like a few previous friendships, but I suppose I am older and wiser too. I did that once last October - and we squabbled and I was so hurt I didn't speak to him for a week and cried - and then caught myself. Instead of internalizing emotions, I talked about it and I saw that for this to move forward I needed to relax a bit and let things just be. Accept this person for who he is.

And the best conversations and moments come out of me simply accepting and existing. It's a new thing for me :)

So I told him this. He tells me he's glad I feel this way, that he doesn't want to think he's the only one coming away with something. That when we sit and talk he forgets our age difference...except for when he sees all that I am doing in my life at the ripe age of 29 and what he has yet to do at 42. I smile and blush a little when I read that - I am my own worst critic, thinking what have I done? Most days I wish I was 42 with all that acquired knowledge. But I keep the faith - for me, for him, for others in my life. And I know the sense of awe we have in each other, for whatever our reasons, is real and sustains the friendship.

But then he offers me the biggest compliment anyone can ever give, one I heard once before, 10 years ago. He tells me "You do make me want to be a better man."

10 years later I am still filled with so much emotion that I can't find any words to express how that makes me feel.