Saturday, April 23, 2011

American by Birth. Jersey by the Grace if God.

Florida may not seem like "the South" but we keep running into reminders that we are a long, long way from home. These include:

* A LOT of Confederate flags
* Even better - Confederate flag with "redneck" embroidered on it
* Country music. How many times have you heard 'Proud to be an American" where you live? Point.
* A much slower pace. Frustrating and kind of great too.
* Actual friendly people.
* And the worlds best bumper sticker: American by birth. southern by the Grace of God." It's everywhere.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

On this most holy day, I am going to lounge on my balcony with this cool guy, read some books and swim in the pool. Maybe I will contemplate...something. Most likely not. Or maybe I will contemplate if I should go to the beach later or just stick to the lanai. Such sacrifices.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Puttin' On The Ritz

YG and I are poolside at the Ritz. No kids. Early anniversary present. Life doesn't suck.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Recently Read: A Lot of Meh

A couple of books I really wanted to like. One I did.

1. South of Broad by Pat Conroy: I couldn't decide if this was terrible or not. The thing keeping me from declaring it truly terrible was the fact that I couldn't put it down -- it just kept getting more and more outrageous. I like Pat Conroy. Is he a genius writer? No. But everything of his that I've read before, I enjoyed. With this book, it seems like he took every theme that was popular in all of his other books and threw it into one. You have suicide, mental illness, church abuse, mommy issues, etc. Then add in some AIDS and a hurricane, and wow, sort of a mess. Disappointing.

2. Beginner's Greek: A Novel by James Collins: I probably should have saved this for the beach. I might have enjoyed it more. It had promise -- Jane Austeny chick lit. And overall, I liked the characters. But man, this book was long. I found myself speed reading through certain sections just waiting for something, anything to happen. While the love story was interesting, I liked what I interpreted as a love letter to New York City a bit more.

3. Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran by Roxana Saberi: I saw Saberi speak at last year's Simmons Leadership Conference, and bought her book on the spot. She chronicles her time in prison as a journalist in Iran, detailing her interrogations and her so-called court case. She is very respectful of Iran, but I found myself alternating between "what the hell is wrong with these people" and wanting to laugh because the Iranian government's level of paranoia was preposterous. The book ends rather abruptly and I wanted to know more about what she is doing today, but I guess that's what the Internet is for.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Travel logging: En Route to Florida

We are in the airport, heading down to Florida for a week. Traveling with a toddler and a pre-teen while 33 weeks pregnant on a crappy airline with a stopover may not sound like your idea of a great time, but I can't wait to get the hell out of here. Hopefully in a few hours, I will be poolside at my parents' condo, letting other people fawn over these kids. When I was a kid, we went to Florida every April to visit my grandparents. I already detailed a few memories in the post about my brother, but here's a few more:

* I only remember flying once when I was really little. We drove down every other time, stopping in Maryland to see my aunt, and then taking 95 the rest of the way down. It's a loooong drive in a minivan from NJ. Becky and I always had to sit in the back, and Brian had the middle seat. I wrote an essay about these trips called, "Carolina Pottery and Other Adventures on I95," that I have been pitching relentlessly. Seriously, who WOULDN'T want to read about my families' road trips? It's pretty goddamn funny.

* What is Carolina Pottery? Wow! You Gotta See This Place!

* We also did South of the Border a lot, spending more time there if my dad wasn't traveling with us that year. He is too highbrow for a Sombrero Tower in a place called Pedroland Park. When I was 10, I bought an aqua blue South of the Border half shirt with flourescent pink palm trees on it. I would pair this with layered aqua and pink socks. It was beyond hot.

* I also had a flourescent yellow Mickey Mouse tank top that I bought at the Red Barn flea market in Bradenton. I would wear this with matching hair clips.

* I still think that Coquina Beach in Bradenton is one of my favorite beaches in the world.

* My grandparents lived in a mobile home. Everyone in their park was from someplace cold, and would hang signs with their names on them inside an outline of their home state. Betty and Joe from Michigan, Al and Sue from Ohio, Peg and Jack from Pennsylvania and of course, our house, Tony and Cookie from New Jersey.

* Everyone in a mobile home park goes to sleep early. It would be dead quiet on the street after dinner.

* My mother always had this misguided idea that she should do our own taxes, but being a member of my family, she would always wait until the last minute. Tax day almost always fell while we were in Florida. We would haul a box of papers down from NJ and she would stay up all night in my grandmother's kitchen drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes until she got them done.

* We would have fresh orange juice in the morning. My grandfather and dad would eat grapefruits from the tree, halved and sprinkled with sugar. Everyone in the neighborhood came to our house for morning coffee.

* We went to the pool in the morning because children weren't allowed to swim between 11 and 3. Sometimes we played shuffleboard. We also played a lot of mini golf.

* When I was older, in college, my sister and I flew down to Florida with my parents. We were late, as always, getting to the airport and my mom shoved us toward the gate while she was waiting for my father to park the car. "Wait for us in Tampa," she shouted. This was before cell phones. Luckily they busted through the doors just as they were closing.

* I always remember my grandfather's peanut butter pie when I am down there.

* My grandfather's sister had a house on the same street as he lived on. Now my aunt has a condo a few doors down from my parents, and my other aunt also owns a place in Bradenton. I guess we are up next, in about 30 years.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Three Dreams

he pregnancy insomnia is KILLING me. I am blurry eyed and zombie-like during the day and ready to polish our floors at 3 a.m. Three dreams I managed to have last night:

1. I was running the Boston Marathon. YG and I were on Boylston Street on Saturday night and saw the finish line which is probably why it was on my mind. Also, the weather is glorious for running right now, and I not-so-secretly hate all the people who are not waddling. In my dream, I was in some sort of competitive run with someone my size, meaning another Clydesdale, and I wanted to beat them. Even in my dreams, I know I am not an elite runner. We made our way onto Boylston Street and the last few blocks of the marathon, and I tripped and bloodied my knee. I got up and took off. I flew. It was exhilarating.

2. This was followed by a typical “the technology doesn’t work” dream. I was trying to send emails, but I couldn’t remember how to push send and when I called the help desk, I couldn’t find a way to explain the problem. “But it just doesn’t want to GO,” I kept saying.

3. I had a dream about YG and that we were back in The Birds and Ships night at The Milford. We were there, and then I woke up, and I was holding his hand really tight. I wrote this down, “I dreamt about Birds and Ships. You didn’t know me that well then, or maybe you did. I read enough crappy women’s magazines to know that confidence and self-assurance is supposedly more sexy than anything else. I think I had that then. And now I freak out because I can’t cook the chicken right. I am not confident right now – I woke up clutching your hand like a life raft. Forgive the cliché. And the worst part is that even with ‘for better or worse’ and all these kids and basically all your emotional support and financial backing, I still find myself wondering about the inane, bad feminist things like, ‘does he think I am pretty?”

We ALL need a vacation right now. We leave for Florida in less than 24 hours.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

More Tina Fey: Prayer For A Daughter

This one is making the Internet rounds right now. It's from Tina Fey's "Bossypants," which I have to have right this second. Thanks, NN, for pointing it out. Given recent conversations in our house, this is very apt. Also, sorry Mom, for years 12-22, that first husband, for teenage angst in my 30s, etc.

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.