Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Curse of the Credit Slip Has Been Broken

Just in time for hurricane season: The Aquasport

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another Stupid Human Trick

I'll have to make it a point to watch Letterman tonight if I'm still conscious. I passed by the 53rd Street side of the theater just now on my way to the post office and it looked as if they were setting up for a major stunt. There were two limousines and ambulance there, so either it's a dangerous stunt or Dick Cheney is one of tonight's guests.

In other news, I just had my third root canal in 8 days and yesterday I pulled something in my lower back that's making me scream. I'm up to my eyes in painkillers. Maybe the ambulance should be for me.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Curse of the Credit Slip

I'd bought a pair of peep-toe wedgies in a shoe store on 57th Street back in June. I wore them around the office the next morning and my toes kept sliding through the peep, so I returned them to the shoe store. Only instead of giving me my money back or crediting my charge, they presented, to my horror, the dreaded Store Credit.

When a store gives you Store Credit, it's a guarantee that you will not see anything you remotely like in that store for the next year. (See also: Gift Certificate.)

For the past two months, I haven't seen anything I like in that store except for sneakers, and I don't need more sneakers. I need office-worthy shoes, which I've seen in droves in dozens of other shoe stores. But I don't buy them there because I feel guilty spending money on shoes when I have a credit slip I could be using instead.

The only way to break this impasse is to give in and buy another pair of sneakers, whether I want to or not. Perhaps this is a sign from God that I am meant to embrace the Sneaker Lifestyle.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Awwww Man, We're Not Gonna Have to Run With the Wolves, Are We?

I was looking up some info on fitness vacations this morning and I found a place in Vermont that looked interesting, except for stuff like this:
Women who struggle with emotional eating, compulsive eating or binge eating often have overly dominant inner masculine sides that are critical of their feminine selves. The result: "Their lives are filled with activities, chores, and endless list of things they must get done. Moments of reverie, relaxation or quiet time are either condemned as a 'waste of time' or avoided because feelings or desires may surface that might question or in some way interfere with their ambitions or goals.

Masculine sides? Do people still say that? Is that why Hillary Clinton and I wear pantsuits?

At least they didn't blame it on too much yang, or my moon being in Leo.

BTW, I've heard the phrase "reaching out" to a tremendous extent lately. "Try reaching out a little more for support." Reaching out is the new black.

The Mix Tape Never Died

It just became the Mix USB Drive.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Leona: Homophobe?

Lots of news stories in the wake of Leona Helmsley's passing. The one that caught my ear when I was getting ready for work this morning was an assertion by gossip columnist Cindy Adams. Adams' elderly, disabled mother was staying as an invited guest at Leona's Palm Beach estate until Leona found out that some of the mother's attendants were gay. Then she called federal marshalls to escort the elderly woman off the premises.

This seems like one of those apocryphal stories about the Queen of Mean, and easy to believe, except it flies in the face of something I know from close secondhand experience. My mother used to work as a secretary at one of Helmsley's companies and a lot of the executives were gay. In fact, the only story I distinctly remember my mother telling me about the Queen saying "Off With Her Head" was about a temporary receptionist who said, "One moment, Ms. Hemsley," making the real estate mogul a distant relative of George Jefferson.

But by all accounts she was difficult to work with, and a real character, and the stories about her will perpetuate for many years.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Drug Pusher

When somebody dies after a long illness, you have a lot of leftover medications. Jim was taking a cancer drug called Tarceva, which comes in a little pill and can cost upwards of $3,000 a bottle if your insurance doesn't cover it. Our insurance, thank God, covered it.

He ordered it three bottles at a time through a prescription mail order service, and had just received a new 90-day supply when his scans showed that he wasn't one of the lucky ten percent for whom the drug produced results.

So when I was clearing the medicine cabinet of everything except regular cranky normal middle-aged people medicine last week, there I was with nearly $9,000 worth of Tarceva. I could have sold this medicine to somebody with lousy or no insurance at a tenth of that price and recouped my husband's investment but for one minor detail: Reselling prescription drugs in this country is an offense liable to land you in federal prison.

I also could have gone to a lung cancer support group and given it away, but that carries a similar penalty to selling it.

I also could have stood on a street corner with the pills under a raincoat and hissed, "Epidermal Growth Factor Receptors," but that also seemed ripe with potential for humilation.

So that left me with disposing of them, which made me uncomfortable in two ways: The idea of dumping these pills that could be worth somebody's life savings, and the possibility of polluting the reserviors so badly that people would be born a hundred years from now with two heads.

I called the doctor's office who had prescribed the pills.

"Oh, just drop them in the mail," the medical assistant said.

But I'd brought enough small packages to the post office lately to know that the clerk would ask if the package contained a dangerous substance. I don't know if cancer drugs can cause anthrax scares, but I wasn't taking any chances.

I went up to Mount Sinai Hospital at lunchtime this afternoon to drop them off with the doctor. I took the bus up Madison, the way I had so many times before. I entered and got a whiff of what I've come to call "That Sinai Smell" that brings up all those memories of surgeries, Jim's and mine, and chemo and radiation and God knows how many scans between us. It's a smell I've associated with countless anxieties. Sadly, his game is over and the bad guys won, or at least the good guys lost. But it also means the association has lost its power to make me uneasy...for now, anyway.

I walked into the Ruttenberg Cancer Center and gave the package to the receptionist. "These are from Jim Konrad, who unfortunately won't be needing them anymore."

"Oh, I'm so sorry." She was, too. They liked Jim there. Also, I have the good insurance.

Before I went back downtown to my office, I stopped in the cafeteria for a Real Deal Meal of two Hebrew National Franks and a Diet Pepsi. I used to do that a lot, too. And as I finished my meal, I reflected on how Memory Lane twists through some very strange neighborhoods.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I Love Being Reduced To A Cultural Stereotype

I dumped HBO and Cinemax, since I wasn't watching them and I'm ridding clutter from my life. I've been watching this station a lot:
AmericanLife TV NetworkSM , your Baby Boomer TVSM choice, speaks to the interests and values of the unstoppable Baby Boomer generation; delivering entertaining classic programs and award-winning originals.

The unstoppable Baby Boomer generation. Far out, give me some of that groovy Lipitor.

I discovered it one night while channel-surfing after I got my HD high-def digital hookup. They were showing "My Favorite Martian," which I hadn't seen in years and which was one of those shows where somebody was an alien or a witch or a ghost and nobody was supposed to know. Except maybe Tim, Darren or Mrs. Muir.

They also have not only the "Man" but the "Girl from U.N.C.L.E." and "I Spy." Last night was a slew of MTM comedies from the '70s and '80s. The great thing is that now that the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" has been off Nick for a few years, where everyone had seen each episode a hundred times, now I kinda miss it and want to see it again.

P.S. Like Mary, I actually have a sunken living room, although mine is unintentional.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Prettiest Prettiest Prettiest Room I Ever Saw

It's from the new Ikea catalog. Maybe I'll get some ideas.

Meanwhile, I washed my sink last night the way the FlyLady tells you to. And I threw in my stove for good measure.

Building the New Normal, one wipe at a time.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


When I heard about the Minneapolis bridge disaster on the 10 o'clock news last night, my first thought was, "Oh God, how awful!" followed by "I'll have to read what Lileks says about it on"

So I went over there this morning and the Comments section was full of posts from people whose first thought, upon hearing the news, was "I hope the Lileks family is okay."

And my first thought was, "Wow! Imagine having that strong a connection with your readers!"

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