Thursday, September 27, 2007

I'm in Love...

With this daybed:
Also, this one, except it looks like a crib for Rosemary's Baby.
I realize that if I make an investment in this bed, I will be committing to the Single Bed Life. So I can always get this Ikea bed instead, since by the time it breaks I'll be ready for a relationship.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Why? Why?" Said the Junk in the Yard

I found this story via

Man, 90, pulled from mountain of clutter

Junk accumulated for decades in home

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My New Favorite Song

The lyrics are here.

P.S. You can't find this version on the soundtrack CD. You have to pick it carefully off the DVD with a pair of tweezers.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pride and Joy

I have a couple of those "use-them-or-lose-them" vacation days this week. I used one today to do something I've been putting off for a couple of months: I took Jim's favorite guitar over to a well-known guitar dealer to be sold on consignment.

My delay wasn't for purely sentimental reasons, although my husband was so close to this instrument that when I picked it up, I felt like a pallbearer. "He must be dead," I reflected, "because the only way he would have let somebody else carry this guitar would be over his dead body."

I had been putting it off because I was afraid of rejection. Let's face it: Anyone who's ever watched "Antiques Road Show" or tried to sell their stuff on eBay or Craig's knows that their precious belongings have great them. To everyone else, it's worth considerably less, and to a city like New York that has everything, sometimes your treasures, material and otherwise, aren't worth anything.

But the well-known guitar dealer thought he could move it. "We sold one like this for Bob recently." I thought, "You mean, the Bob?" But I was cool. Yeah, right.

He took the instrument out of the case and tenderly removed the cloth that Jim had wrapped around the body to keep it from being damaged.

"This is very well cared for."

"Yeah. It was his pride and joy." I felt my voice beginning to break and I tried to remember whether being a weeping widow was supposed to get you more money with this type of transaction or get you taken advantage of. To avoid a meltdown, I thought of all of the times that Jim wouldn't let me within ten feet of that guitar if I'd just come out of the shower with a wet head--and in a 300-square-foot apartment, that's not easy. And all the times I couldn't walk within ten feet of the guitar if the cats were awake, because they would follow me. And all the peaceful reveries of me typing and him playing, interrupted by a sudden, startling "No! No! Get these cats out of here!"

It's times like that when you realize how much your possessions own you.

I left the store, agreement signed, free from the care of worrying about the guitar the way I'd been freed from worrying about Jim as much once he was safely at St. Rose's. Both guitar and musician were useless without one another, and if I were going to take up playing some time in the future, I would pick another type of guitar anyway. This one was right for Jim's hands and Jim's style, and it'll be right again someday for someone I don't know. Meanwhile, guitar and player are together again on my tapes and in my memories, and I have a little more valuable closet real estate to hold whatever is next for the living.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Who The Hell Gets Stoned and Goes to Target?

Me, that's who.

I had root canal work on my lunch hour yesterday--today I'm getting my spleen removed on my coffee break--and by 4 PM the Novocain was starting to wear off. I took a Percoset, which I had left over from a previous pain, and at 5:15 I was standing on the F train platform when it hit. I said to myself what anyone on narcotics obsessed with discount shopping this week would say: Instead of going home, let's go to Tar-jhay on Queens Boulevard. Like it's my idea of wilding.

Once there, I partook of all Target-related experiences: Into my cart went Sonia Kashuk make-up and Boots body wash, Method room spray and acrylic drinkware. It's as if Target were some exotic destination and I were bringing home souvenirs. I even tried on some separates from the new GO line of women's sportswear and they were surprisingly well-made, comparable to similar things I've seen at Macy's. This is also because a lot of the stuff I've seen at Macy's lately is crap.

At the checkout line I threw in a Rachel Ray magazine. Rachel Ray is, of course, Martha without the stick up her butt. Martha you can only aspire to. You can actually achieve Rachel Ray in your own home. Tonight, maybe I'll take a whack at one of the 30 Minute Meals. Preferably one that doesn't involve heat; it's unseasonably warm today.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Green Day

I spent Saturday on Fire Island with the Appalachian Mountain Club. It was the "Annual International Coastal Cleanup/Board Game Weekend," and a group of volunteers was cleaning up the beach and sifting through the sand for stuff that shouldn't be there.

Most interesting item found: A pine cone wrapped in duct tape. (Somebody didn't want the pine cone to talk.)

I missed the Board Games part, although I saw some volunteers from Mitsubishi playing Uno.

I joined the AMC recently to get up out of my cubicle and spend some time outdoors doing something besides running from one discount store to another. There are some local hikes coming up, so I'd better go shopping for hiking shoes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

They're So Meen 2 Me...And I Love It

I want to be a make-over on TLC's What Not To Wear. Even though I know that beauty is only skin deep. Even though I'm not world's worst fashion offender. And even though I know that Stacy and Clinton will say "Don't talk to me" after watching me peruse Loehmann's for three hours and emerge with a pair of socks.

There's just something magical in believing that my life will be totally transformed by a new haircut, kitten heels, and that piece that looks great on every woman, The Wide-Leg Black Pants. In fact, I'd just like to find a really good pair of wide-leg black pants. Everything in the stores is boot cut. What do I look like, a cowboy?

Unfortunately, they're not looking for anyone in New York right now. And also they're looking for triplets. I know some guys who are looking for triplets, but that's another thing.

You can get downloads of all the shows here. Thrill to the sight of real, everyday average gals--and a couple of guys--beaming with new-found confidence in their appearance, and in their lives. Would that it were so easy. And meanwhile, to Loehmann's for socks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I Didn't Have a Cell Phone Yet

I'm repeating this from last year because I'm very busy, but it's a good kind of busy.

Surprisingly enough, many civilized people didn't. But I had a pager, and carried it around all the time. I had been laid off in the spring and needed to be notified of temp assignments at a moment's notice. And then if the two of us were out together, we would have our calls forwarded to the pager.

On the morning of September 11, I had set the alarm for 9 AM. I had an interview with a headhunter at 11:30 and figured that would give me enough time to pull myself together.

At 8:45, I was awakened by the phone ringing. Once.

"I forgot to take the forwarding off," I said to my groggy spouse. "And I turned the pager off."

"They'll call back."

"What if it's a temp assignment? They'll think I'm unreliable." I got out of bed, took the forwarding off the phone, and turned on NY1.

"Oh no, the World Trade Center's on fire." They were saying a plane flew into the building. Drunken pilot, I thought. Private planes do that a lot. Although that hole looks too big for a private plane. I wondered how they would fix the hole.

I went into the kitchen to make coffee. When I came back, the other tower was on fire.

"Oh look, the fire spread to the other building." But as I became more awake, it dawned on me that the other building was a tad too far away for a fire to leap. Then I heard Patrick Kiernan on NY1 say something about a second plane.

And then: Sirens. Nothin' but sirens.

I didn't have a blog back then. Surprisingly enough, many civilized people didn't. But almost everyone I knew had e-mail. And as I ran to the computer, I was transformed in an instant from unemployed person to war correspondent.

We found out later that the 8:45 phone call had been from a neighbor who worked at the Equitable Building, across the street from the South Tower. He called us after the first plane hit, and everyone was looking out the window of the conference room. And then everyone in the building ran screaming as the second plane came straight at them before banking and hitting the tower.

That was one story that day. We would hear dozens of others. And today, I'm reading hundreds.

Friday, September 07, 2007

"The Douche"

Okay, it's Hot Teen Sex Week here at brunobaby.

This item at, which I found courtesy of The Consumerist, got my Inner Insecure Adolescent thinking, "Would the Teenaged Me have been enough of a babe to have gotten hired by Hollister?"

The answer, probably:

1. Yes, provided I wore my shirts low and my jeans tight;
2. Yes, for about a month, after which I would have told The Douche to shove it and crawled out of there on my elbows from lack of food; and
3. Yes, but I only would have been there even that long just to spite my parents.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Feed Me

A couple of years ago, I bought the DVD for the cult classic "Times Square" so I could rip "Damn Dog" for my iTunes. I'd remembered the movie fondly from 25 years ago because of its teen rebellion theme and punk rock soundtrack, a first in a mainstream picture. Watching it as an adult, I quit about halfway through. Yeah right, I told myself, armed robbery is a hoot and believe you me, the topless place would make a 13-year-old girl dance topless or they would throw her little tweener ass out on the street. Bye bye, honey, go back home to Daddy.

I checked Amazon last week and the DVD is out of print and fetching upwards of $60.00. So I finished watching it last night and if you take it as a gritty version of those old MGM movie musicals, it's kinda fun. The director hadn't intended it to be that way, but producer Robert Stigwood was looking for a punk version of "Saturday Night Fever" and grafted some Bee Gees cuts onto the soundtrack to create a double soundtrack album--now also out of print--and also played down the lesbian angle between the two young protagonists. Also, Pammy doesn't have to dance topless because Trini Alvarado, who played Pammy, didn't want to dance topless.

I learned these salient facts from watching it with the running commentary by director Allan Moyle and Robin Johnson, who played streetwise manic-depressive Nicky. I'm only about halfway through this, but that's for lack of time, not interest. I'm going to finish watching it sometime this week and then put the video up for sale.

In the years since I first saw this movie, I've met all too many people like Nicky Marotta and their charm wears thin after a while. In the end, the Establishment is going to win, and the proof of this is to look at the Times Square in the movie, and then look at Times Square now. But a Nicky tempered by Prozac and Pammy's common sense wouldn't be a bad way to go through life.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


The Telethon has begun, and as has been my custom for the past few years, I tuned in with morbid curiosity to see how awful Jerry would look this year. He actually doesn't look that bad. His appearance is nowhere near as shocking as it was two or three years ago when he entered looking bloated with an enormous head, the result of massive doses of steroids for a collapsed lung.

But he looks old and worn, even though his voice still sounds as robust as it was when he played that character he calls "The Monkey" in all those movies of his heyday.

My cool friends and I mock Jerry--and, oh Lord, Tony Orlando in New York--but the Telethon's done a good job in raising money and raising people's awareness of neuromuscular disease. So much awareness that for a week after seeing the Telethon I will say to myself, every time I trip or drop something, "Oh my God, I've got Lou Gehrig's Disease. I'm the right age for Lou Gehrig's Disease. Look at the ages of the people who died from Lou Gehrig's Disease; they're all around my age."

Jerry will be taking frequent naps during the Telethon, and so will I. Jerry has co-hosts to fill in while he's napping. I don't.

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