Friday, September 28, 2007


An appropriate song considering this is what we were every time we heard this song: Passengers. I'm not sure Elton John's 1984 album Breaking Hearts ever left the cassette deck of my parents Chevy station wagon. Everywhere we went - to school, after school activities, our friends houses, the grocery store, this album followed. When we made the 4 hour trip from hell from our house in Suffolk County Long Island to my Nana's house in Delaware County PA, every last one of us knew (and still knows) the words to this song (and all the others) because this plus Lionel Ritchie and Neil Diamond were played until all us passengers eventually fell asleep. I never could sleep in a car so I would listen and shove a sibling's nodding head off my shoulder until I couldn't take it anymore and then I'd climb into the back of the wagon and sprawl out over bags of clothing...since we were only on the NJ Turnpike and it was the longest leg of the trip and useless for me to wonder if we were there yet. We were far from the burnt out ghetto of South Brooklyn and Staten Island, but not close enough to civilization. It was me, plains, trees, a stretch of highway, and Elton. Passengers until we pulled into Nana's driveway.

Here's the video (this makes me understand why my mom forbade us from watching MTV in the 80s).

As I surfed You Tube for Elton's videos, I also unearthed this fantastic rarity:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bark Park Showdown

It's like when I took Jocelyn's bike out in the city many moons ago and I hadn't been bike riding in forever and careening down Kelly Drive felt awesome. I did the whole loop and things were humming along smoothly until I reached Spring Garden St. where we lived and attempted to jump the median strip (it's similar to how Boulevards are set up) and didn't quite have the upper body strength to get that front wheel up and over the 6 inch median so the front wheel colided with the concrete and the bike and I went down, sprawled across the grassy median and me, disheveled, sat up, looked around, and calmly picked myself up (with my now scraped and bloody knee) and grabbed the bike and slinked off (walked across the street and up the steps) into the dusk (my apartment).

Such was Juliet's experience yesterday at the Bark Park when she got in the middle of a scruff - thinking she's bigger and bolder and cooler than she really is - and went down. Some black lab that really didn't want to be there was all freaked out and snapping at another dog and in runs Jules to get a piece of the play and my poor doggie was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got bit. There was a pinch, blood and a yelp. Then she went charging after this black lab, teeth (fangs?) showing, snarling and barking. Vince snatched her before she could do herself anymore damage and whisked her away.

She's at home now, the pathetic wounded injured dog (it's really not this dramatic - a tiny cut on her inner lip) but of course we're making a big production over her recess showdown and giving her toys and treats and attention. Just like me and the bike - these spills are bound to happen when we are little dogs with big attitudes.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Alternative Gear

The Salvation Army in downtown Wilmington was a favorite thrift store jaunt for years. There was also the Goodwill in Swarthmore, the Bryn Mawr Thrift and the Salvation Army at the Delaware beaches. I scored some of the coolest shit there: 1970s vintage track sneakers, my grey-purple wide wale cords that were several sizes too big for me in high school, my red cords that were also too big for me my freshman year of college, tons of 80s tees (that would well with dark denim), little snap up blouses like the brown plaid one that I wore so much it ripped and I couldn't part with it so I sewed it back together and the rainbow checkered one I wore my sophomore year of college, velvet blazers, grey cords, crew neck sweaters that hid the back pockets of my cords in high school, adorable cardigans like my tiny red one that rocked with Jocelyn's red and blue striped shirt and my navy cords. And my Docs. I wore those blue 8 hole boots everywhere from 1996-2001. Even to shovel snow.

Over the last 12 years, I slowly parted with these items. At 18, I was about 118-120 lbs. A size 4. My body also just looked different and stuff fit me differently. The cords that once hung so low now fit at my waist. The sneaks that were a comfy size 8 now didn't fit my size 9 foot. I may have even grown an inch. It's hard though to part with these fabulous duds. They conjure up tons of memories from the moment my eye caught it and I had to have it, to days of high school and college gone by. I had to have those Docs because my crush had a pair in red. Had to be as cool as him. My purple grey cords that I'm certain I wore twice a week to school my senior year saw me through the never ending hell of Physics class. I bought the red cords in Newark DE with my equally fun and funky boyfriend that summer and that fall, I wore my sewed up shirt and my ivory cardigan to my homecoming and remember being all distressed because that beau and I were on dire straights. My little red cardigan I wore to the City Line Diner with my family before it closed...the bad ass bell bottom jeans in a dark rinse with a big ol' star on the back pocket. Fabulous duds with tons of stories echoing from their threads.

When I hear the Cranberries play through my car stereo or I watch Reality Bites, I am reminded of these "alternative girl" days as I like to call them. Then I didn't think I was that weird or that hard core artsy. Now I look back and I see this great creative spirit that embraced so much - not just in the clothing but in how I felt, and how I perceived myself no matter how messy, artsy or alternative I looked. Who cared? I'm not a true hipster by any means but my inner old school college girl does come out and play when I get my hair highlighted now...when I decorate my office spaces...when I bust out my red furry boots with an otherwise business attire...or when I find the perfect Russian fur coat at a vintage shop in Philly.

In a way, it took 10 years for that girl to grow up a bit and splurge on the funky hair and nails and nicer vintage finds!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Coming Home

We went away for a few days to the shore and left our doggie with Vince's cousin. I was heart broken when we left. I knew my dad was giving me a hard time about bringing her to the beach house, swearing there was a clause in the lease screaming NO DOGS ALLOWED. Of course after we arrived, there was dog evidence everywhere - little chew toys, a ripped comforter, and the big tell tale sign: a crate in the garage. No dogs, dad?!

Juliet would have behaved and been a delight. We could have taken her to the beach and walked her along the Wildwood board walk. As it was, she remained in PA wondering where her mommy and daddy were for a few days.

She greeted us yesterday with a combination of confusion and happiness. She's a real mommy girl but gave me a bit of a cold shoulder early yesterday afternoon. I guess seeing her arcade prizes made her forget all about being left behind and by the time I arrived home from babysitting at 7:30, she was all over me. She's a lap dog, a sleep with her face as close to your head (if not buried in your collarbone) sort of dog. Right now we are on the new king bed. I'm typing this blog and she's curled in a ball next to me. In classic Jules style, her whole body is pressed up to my thigh. Must touch someone. Make sure they are right next to me.

Silly dog. I love her to pieces.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Regrets Only

I come from a pretty big family and I was born and raised on social etiquette. I'm the one planning, scheduling, RSVPing, marking calendars with showers, weddings, birthdays, etc. and making sure the card is there with check or gift in tow and once at the social event, stay for an appropriate amount of time (at least 2 hours if it isn't a wedding) mingling and socializing before I gracefully depart.

Part of this is that I usually like get-to-togethers. I like people, I like to talk. Another reason is people have come to my parties (and I want them to keep coming) so I give back and go to their thing. 95% of the time, I can handle social obligations.

Today I joined a friend of mine at a wedding in Center City. It was for a young 20-something couple and it was very sweet. I'm used to over the top fancy $15-20K weddings, so in a way it was nice to experience something very chill. I still feel strongly that no matter what your budget, food/beverage and music are priority: It's what people remember and what makes a good time. When I planned my own wedding, I remember going through selfish moments and not wanting to care about my guests. It's our day, I thought. It's all about us. It is. To an extent. But my point above about the give and take, people coming to your events and bringing gifts comes into play. You do want people to have a good time and say thank you too.

So while this wedding was cute and I appreciated all the hard do-it-yourself work that went into it that made it about them and their moments and I was aware and respectful of their budget, I couldn't help but be bored and disappointed after 1 hour. Yes, 1 hour into the reception and I was ready to leave. Me. How did I suddenly become the bored guest checking the watch and fidgeting?

The crowd was OK. The food was nibble food. The jazz quartet was good but no one could dance to the tunes. There was one bar station with beer and wine and naturally, a line. There wasn't a logical flow - some tables with chairs were set up outside as were cocktail tables. Inside, aside from the food stations, nothing was happening. It made it difficult to converse. Aside from the actual museum and its gallery, things were boring and unstimulating.

I love my family but when I see them 6 times over the course of the summer -- enough is enough. I'm a great date when you need to bring someone somewhere who doesn't know a soul - I mingle, make friends, dance. I don't need a babysitter. But something has to keep this brain stimulated no matter what the scenario. Maybe I'm over the social obligations for some time. What would make things more enticing and interesting? Spreading them out over the course of a year? Different people? A guarantee that I'd come out with a new cool friend? Different food? I don't know.

I digress. I'm over it all until Turkey Day.