Thursday, January 18, 2018

An Unfathomable Tragedy

I can't believe I have to write this but here it goes....

So, E has been going to Jeff to get his hair cut since he was two and a half years old. It took awhile to find someone too. I'd gone to all the "kids" hair places in the immediate area. All of them. Rita's, Charles, David Alan Kids. I had someone at Rita's for awhile, but then he went missing. Literally, missing, to the point where I wrote a blog looking for Ricky, but to no avail. Then I was like, why am I paying twenty-five dollars for a child's haircut. That's the going rate at all these kid places and it's a racket.

B, E and I would go to eat dinner in Garden State Plaza and Plaza Salon was right there in the mall. It was easy to either eat dinner and then get a haircut for him or vice versa. None of these kid places are open at seven or eight o'clock on a Saturday evening.

After going through a few hairdressers, we found Jeff. With E doing acting, he has to have his hair relatively the same all the time. He has to look like his head shot photos. Jeff totally gets that and cuts his hair perfectly every time. Plaza Salon left the mall, but it's still on Route 4, just on the other side, so it's still extremely convenient with they're late hours during the weekend til nine and Saturday until eight.

Jeff always takes E on the fly, gives him a great, quick cut, we chat about life, and we're on our way. Even B started going to him. It's been like six years now. We've known Jeff before he was engaged, before marriage, before kids. We knew how happy he was before and during all these milestones.

We've never met Danielle, but we'd hear about her all the time. I remember him telling us they she was pregnant. Then when she was pregnant AND uncomfortable, and I told him to go get her a Snoogle pillow from Buy Buy Baby after work and surprise her with it.

He is always interested in what E's doing on TV and what auditions he's gone on. He's just a really nice guy. I don't want to get him in trouble, but he never even raised the haircut cost on us even though he knew E would've aged up to the next price. I know it was hard for him to tell us he had to charge us a dollar more because that's what the minimum is now. He could've just said on E's birthday last year- "hey, happy birthday, now you owe more for your hair". But he didn't. And we really appreciated it.

We knew Danielle was having the new baby (we didn't know a name, just that it's a girl, Gia Rose!) between Christmas and New Years. B had gone to get a haircut and said that if E needs one, Jeff's out after X date. I timed it so he wouldn't need one until Jeff would definitely be back.

We went there last night and when we pulled in, B said that he didn't see Jeff. Jeff's chair is by the window so we always look to see if he's there. We went in, heard what happened, and were shocked. I immediately Googled them to see if there was anything online (my first go-to). Jeff is kind of private and hates social media, even though I've tried to get him to promote himself on Facebook for years! So I knew I couldn't find anything on Facebook (except now would be a good time to go on Jeff...). I saw the article in the Daily Voice and knew I'd be writing this today. I texted Jeff to ask if it was okay, told him it would be shared on Facebook and Twitter, and he still gave me the go ahead.

Long story short- Ten days after having her baby girl, Danielle had a thunderclap headache and bleeding on the brain. She went into a medically induced coma. Last night I believe we were told she's out of the coma, but I'm not 100% sure on that. Regardless, she's going to need a lot of therapies and who knows what else. She's a teacher, and obviously can't teach. Jeff is a barber who doesn't get paid if he doesn't work. He can't work while his wife is fighting for her life and he's taking care of a two year old and a newborn. I'm sure he has some help from friends and family but there are still going to be tons of medical bills and things they'll need that insurance just doesn't cover.

Someone set up a Go Fund Me account so I'm sharing it. Any amount can help ease some of the financial stress that this is putting on this young family. Jeff is the nicest guy, and I can only imagine how hard this is for him and the kids, not to mention Danielle who has a long road ahead of her medically.

Friday, January 12, 2018

That's So Marvelous

After yet another day where the news of the real world makes me want to take to the bed, I'm here to discuss television. Our only escape now.

I don't know about you, but I'm always reluctant to try new TV shows. It's the whole getting invested. That first investment- figuring out what's going on, learning everyone's name, the whole drill. I want new shows, but getting into them seems like work sometimes. Then, there's always the fear that if I invest, it'll be cancelled. Sometimes, I just DVR like half a season or a whole one, being that some "seasons" are now only ten episodes (WTF?). Then I binge them when I'm done with all my regular programming- either by hiatus or just timely watching.

What's funny is that I get casting calls for E for many of these new shows. I'd gotten numerous ones for The Marvelous Mrs Maizel. The times and dates never really worked for me and it didn't sound interesting. I hated Mad Men. YES, I HATED IT. It was boring AF and SO slow. I'm not into the fifties in general. I don't like the music, the clothes, or the lifestyle. I would've jumped out a window being a fifties housewife. So a period show like that had no appeal for me. I COULDN'T HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG.

I hadn't really read the premise. I just saw fifties, housewife and I was over it. Then I heard it was really good. I saw previews for it. Over the holidays, when all our shows were on hiatus, B and I decided to give it a whirl.

Ok, if you're not Jewish, I don't know if you'll *relate* to it as much as we did. You'll still think it's funny and great though! When I talk about being Jewish by culture, this show is exactly what I meant. I don't know much about actual religion, but I got every reference and both B and I laughed our asses off. No one gets using a fabulous brisket as collateral more than I do!!

I read articles (editorials?) on Kveller sometimes. One lady recently wrote how much she loves the show BUT.... But, she has an issue with how uninvolved Midge is with her kids. Well, did she ever see Mad Men? Season one (all I got through), Betty Draper sent her kids out to play with plastic bags on their heads or something like that. That was the times. And some parts of fifties parenting doesn't seem that bad. We could use a little more parents not being up their kids behinds so much. This was a time when kids were not the center of your universe, but just part of it. I think that was a positive. Midge is supposed to be twenty-six and a newly single mother, living with her parents. Her mom doesn't work so she's around to watch her kids. I'd call it more, benign neglect.

I'm the first to bitch, and HAVE, mercilessly (Ambig-jew-ity), when we can't have a good, funny, show with intact Jewish families. Where the joke doesn't come from the typical nebbishy Jewish guy married to the blond shiksa. Or on Odd Mom Out, which was supposed to be semi-autobiographical, where of course, the very Jewish Jill Weber (Jill Kargman) is the Odd Mom Out because she married into a wealthy WASP family. Except that in real life, Jill Kargman is married to a Jew. I asked her why an intact Jewish family couldn't be a good show and she just gave me a bunch of excuses.

But this is a whole show filled with Jewish characters! We FINALLY GOT ONE. So quit complaining that all the actors aren't Jewish. I'll take the characters. I'm good on this one and the Jewish quotient.

Of course, I think the success of the show, and why it's so damn good is all Amy Sherman-Palladino & Dan Palladino. The genius also behind Gilmore Girls, if you didn't know. Where do you think all the super wordy, ultra quick dialogue comes from?? Kudos on another winner Amy & Dan.

Jewish or not, getting the references or not, you should check it out. It's a phenomenal cast. Rachel Brosnahan, while not part of the Tribe, plays a amazing Jewish Midge. The rest of the cast is superb too. Alex Borstein, who I only know as Dawn from Getting On, is hysterical as Midge's reluctant friend and eventual manager. Tony Shalhoub plays Midge's dad. I didn't realize that Michael Zegen grew up in the town next to where I live and his mom is the Hebrew School coordinator at the Jewish Center in my town. I hate his character, but he's great as Midge's philandering husband. Last but definitely not least is Kevin Pollack, who plays Joel's father, and to the letter- like every Garmento you've ever come across in this lifetime.

I CAN'T WAIT FOR SEASON TWO!!! How could they only give us eight F'ING episodes?? (Amazon Prime)

Another one we picked up to watch in December is SMILF. You should know what that stands for. It's about a single mom in Boston- a "Southie". Her life is a MESS. She has an amazing kid, food issues, a mentally ill mother, played to perfection by Rosie O'Donnell, a mess of an ex- her kid's father, and the best of television BFFs I've seen in a long time. It's a half hour show, written and starred in by Frankie Shaw.

This show isn't for the conservative or prudish. It's has truly some of the most messed up scenes I've ever seen on TV. I wasn't sold on it at first, like in the first episode. But I HAD to see where it was going to go. I'm glad I did. The cast is awesome- Connie Britton plays Frankie's extremely wealthy, totally narcissistic, lonely, needy boss. Frankie tutors her children and is sort of like an assistant. Rosie O'Donnell certainly knows how to play mental illness. Raven Goodwin is my favorite. As Frankie's best friend, she is ride or die, hysterically.

I don't know where Frankie got all this to write about- she's playing Irish Catholic, relatively uneducated, and poor but in real life, she's Jewish and very well educated (Barnard College of Columbia University). The only things I know (hope) she has in common with the character are that they're from the Boston area and they each have a young son. She’s very convincing as a hot mess though! You believe she IS Bridgette Bird- a SMILF who named her kid Larry Bird because she LOVES basketball and always dreamed she'd play for the WNBA. This is on Showtime.

We just started 9-1-1 on FOX Wednesdays, which is only two episodes in. Also a great cast- Angela Bassett, Peter Krause and (AGAIN!) Connie Britton!! I do love me some Connie. We may not have Friday Night Lights anymore, but she's everywhere right now. 9-1-1 is a show from the perspective of the paramedics and firefighters. Since I watch all the Chicago shows (PD, Fire, and Med), this is right up my alley. It's graphic and emotional, edge of your seat kind of stuff, but it's great.

On episode two, you'll say to yourself, "Where do I know her from?". You'll be talking about Autumn Reeser who played Taylor Townsend on The OC. I still miss that show. This show is a real nail-biter and it reminds me a lot of Southland actually. Another gone-too-soon fave.

As far as new shows that started in the fall, we really only have The Good Doctor on ABC. That's quickly become a favorite for both of us. I didn't realize the star is Freddie Highmore from August Rush. B and E love that movie. That has a great cast and premise. If you haven't started it, I definitely recommend that.

We were watching Wisdom of the Crowd, but thanks to Jeremy Piven being pervy or sexually harassing women, that's cancelled. It was a really cool premise, but whatever. That's done. I have one left to watch but I don't know if I'll bother. I don't know if they're going to wrap it up or what. Maybe they'll move Monica Potter over to 9-1-1 to reunite with Adam...oops, I mean Peter Krause.

That's all I got for now. I have The Brave DVR'd but haven't watched one yet.

Happy TV watching. I'm going back to checking on whether my old clothes are selling....

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Not Even Gonna Lie

Seriously, I'm not even going to lie. I just opened my blog to see the last update was Dec 8, 2017. I am SLACKING. On this. I had said I previously wasn't writing because of politics and the state of the country, world, etc. And that's partially true. However, that's not the whole deal. I actually have a decent amount of things to write about. Happy New Year, by the way.

I'll give you a little teaser of some things to come- I found awesome French Macaroons. I got my genetics tested or something - by a company called Gulf Stream. It's testing to see what medications work with your body and which don't, in every part of your whole system. Yeah, in this context, that may not make a whole lot of sense, but I'll explain further in it's own entry. Greg- I got you. I'm just slacking. (Greg is the guy who does my testing). The holidays happened. We saw some movies. We watched some tv shows. Awesome tv shows. Some of my shows got cancelled because sexual harassment and allegations of rape. Not me, but the actors in the shows. I went to a 40th birthday party at a cool place I want to tell you about.

But I need more time for all that. Instead I'm going to just talk about shopping. Or selling. Or both.

What I've been obsessed with, and spend all my time dealing with, is selling my old stuff. I talked about Tradesy before. And I talked about Poshmark recently. But Poshmark is a totally different animal than Tradesy and eBay. I tried to sell on eBay once. It was so confusing and a rip off, that I posted a few thing, they didn't sell, and at the end of the listings, I owed THEM money. Tradesy was good when I started with them. Their site is the most professional looking. They also used to only take 9% commission. It was 2.9% to deposit into your bank account. Then they went to 14.9% commission, without doing much else to help sales. Now they're just over 19%, not counting the 2.9% bank fee, and there's NO help with sales.

I keep my stuff on Tradesy just in case something sells, but Poshmark has a "feed" like Facebook. So people are liking and sharing your stuff all day long. I started selling on there in mid-October. I've sold fifty-four items. FIFTY-FOUR (update that to fifty-eight only 24 hours later). Now, because Poshmark seems to run on haggling, some of these things went for ten dollars, so the profit is ridiculously low with Poshmark's cut taken out. But it's fine- the old stuff is leaving my house and it adds up. I'm also not in any hurry to sell these things, so if someone really lowballs me, I just don't accept the offer.

Potential buyers do ask QUESTIONS. They might ask a lot of questions, even before they buy that ten dollar item. Someone asked to see a photo of the inside of a kid's practically new coat. Then, *crickets*. Yesterday, while the person was super cool in general, she wanted to know if a pair of E's shoes "smell". I told her I didn't think so but I'd go home and sniff them later. I did, they didn't, and *crickets*.

All of my stuff is stored where we don't allow the cat. Not specifically because I want to keep it cat-free, which is just a bonus, but because we just don't want her in these spaces. When someone wants measurements, or the only piece of info I don't have listed about something, I have to battle Kitty-High-Five to get to my things. Really- you're buying an Express shirt with stretch from 2000. Do you have such abnormally long or Cee Lo arms that your purchase hinges on the arm measurements?

I've bought only shirts from Poshmark and I've never needed measurements. I just make it work. Or re-sell. But whatever- I'll have it out with Kitty to do some "pit to pit" measurements for whomever asks. I should've recording measurements when I first started listing but I'd never asked when buying and I've never been asked when selling on Tradesy so I didn't really think about it. I'm starting to think some people ask questions just to mess with you. To see if you'll do it. Like being hazed. Especially because when they do buy it, I'm supposed to make it pretty like a ZTA "do-nice".

Of course I found a "group" or two- like message boards, but on Facebook, of other Posh-ers as I think we're called. The one group has been great for bitching and goofing about situations that arise, and general questions and whatnot that have helped me make sales. I didn't realize though, the one annoying thing about that group is that the admins need to approve your question or post before it's posted. So if you want a quick answer, that isn't happening. They really police what you can and can't post about too. Yesterday we got the rule that we can't post about lowballers "because there are too many people in the group". I have NO IDEA what one thing has to do with the other and the whole idea of "groups" is to bond with the other members. Part of bonding is bitching and lowballing is what there is to bitch about when talking Poshmark. I guess I'll be limiting my time in that group.

The pros of selling on Poshmark are many. You have access to SO many people seeing your stuff. I have almost ELEVEN THOUSAND followers in the almost three months I've been selling. The more followers, the more shares I get from them, the more chance that someone is going to buy something. If you have a lot of stuff to sell, without making your own website, it's a platform with a lot of users in general.You also are dealing with people from all over the country, people who may not or flat out don't have the access to the kind of shopping we do on the coasts & metro areas.

I haven't really experienced the cons except for the exorbitant commission they take. Apparently, there are buyers who are shady- some sellers have talked about buyers who have gotten an item, it didn't fit or they just didn't like it, so they damaged it themselves, then opened a claim against the seller. You can't return something just because you don't like it or it doesn't fit right. Only when an item is damaged or not as described. I haven't had anyone do something like that, so far. Fingers crossed that doesn't happen, but I guess the more you sell, the more chance of encountering someone unscrupulous like that is possible.

It's also VERY time consuming if you want to be successful. I'm sharing people's stuff whenever I get a moment during the day. I'm sharing my own stuff. I'm watching tv and sharing. I'm listening to you talk, I'm just not looking you in the eye because I'm hitting share. It's not like reading Facebook or looking at Instagram, not engaging. I'm listening to every word but I'm also hitting share on items I'm not even looking at.

I also didn't really take my photo taking very seriously at first. I've always had a dress form but I didn't think about background or lighting. Some photos I originally just took quickly and on hangers. Some were really wrinkled. B has a light box he set up in my little "dressing room"- our small spare bedroom where I keep my clothes, get dressed, etc. A light box sounds like something small, when it's more like a tent that could fit like 2-3 adults sitting in it. It takes up like three quarters of the room. It's cool though and I've been spending time re-taking most of my photos. They have to fit in a "square" on Poshmark and their photo editing is beyond primitive. Most of my old photos didn't fit into their square so some were cut off and looked bad. Now, most of the photos look awesome, especially in comparison.

Again though, time consuming. I've been in that bedroom with the door closed, so the cat doesn't come in, for hours on end. The cat is throwing herself at my door, meowing like someone is stepping on her tail. Meanwhile, I'm like, in a schvitz, because the heat is pumping and I'm trapped in there.

When you spend all this time taking photos, storing items properly, etc, lowball offers are annoying and you take them personally. The post office is up the street from home and work, luckily, and it's not a hardship going there. I know people want their stuff quickly, because we're in the Amazon Prime age of 2-day shipping. When someone purchases one of my items (or more), I make sure to get that thing out the same day unless the post office is closed. I'm not running for you when you're offering me eighteen dollars on something I have fairly priced at fifty-eight dollars.

Speaking of pricing, I also spend time researching prices. A lot of my items I had on Tradesy first. When you input the brand and the condition it's in, Tradesy gives you a range of what items like it are selling for. I also look up items online to see what they're selling for. I'm like the damned Price is Right. I know what things cost from food to my clothes from 1998. Don't offer me eleven dollars for near perfect Nike's you know cost one hundred and ten from a retail store when I have them priced at twenty dollars. It may be what you want to pay, but it's insulting when I look in your closet and you have everything priced super high. You're not willing to be lowballed either. My advice as a buyer and seller is just to be respectful. If you look at any Poshmark seller's offer chart, you know what a fair offer is and what is lowballing.

All in all, it's been a really good experience so far. I can't believe my clothes from the nineties and early 2000's are selling but they are. Fifty four things have left my house, gone to new homes and I'm making a decent dollar that I need. I'm listing things like crazy which is really opening up room in all our closets. I would've never been motivated to clean out the closets so quickly. I have my bags of stuff separate that E and I give to homeless people on the street in NYC- this is all just....MORE stuff. This is decades worth of stuff. Even with the bags of stuff I've marked for the homeless, I still have almost SIX HUNDRED listings right now. I give some, make money on some. If Rita was still alive, I really could've gotten some "vintage" items like scrunchies, denim button-down shirts, and fanny packs....

I'm still learning the ins and outs. In the past two days I've gotten offers given to me on size six boots when I'm a nine and a half and on tops I'd never wear. I figured out that somehow I added them to a "bundle" (when someone wants to buy more than one item from the same seller they save on shipping cost this way) by mistake. The seller then has the opportunity to send someone a private offer on cost or shipping when someone adds one or more items to a bundle. Yeah, like I said, learning. XYZ in Florida has no idea I wouldn't wear five inch heels and must have clicked bundle instead of "share". 

If you want to buy or sell on Poshmark, you need to make an account. Whether you do it in your browser or you get the app, and you want to give me credit, you can't sign up through your Facebook account. You have to do it with your email address. It's so annoying, but when you do it via Facebook, there's no input area to give someone credit. When you sign up with my closet name for credit, you get five dollars to spend and I get five dollars if you ever make a purchase. It's a win-win. And I'm more than happy to give you all my tips and knowledge. They don't call me know-it-all for nothing! My closet name is tsdk74 - just copy and paste it right now.

Ok, writing this today took up my allotted writing time. Tomorrow my goal is something else. Totally unrelated to my new selling hobby. At least it's not an MLM!! (NEVER)

Friday, December 8, 2017

Kidney 4 Alex

I'm not even sure how to begin so I'm just going to go right into it. My friend Alex needs a kidney. Not two, just one will do. What better time than the season of giving to change someone's life?

This is hard for me to write. It took my living in town like ten years to meet "my people". I have a lot of people I'm friendly with and I have a LOT of acquaintances but I finally found my people over the past two years or so. Alex is one of them (as are her husband Mike and her daughter). She is the one I spend the most face to face time with, and who we hang out with most, as families, with. We're the unicorn "only child" parents. When everyone else has two or more, closer to four, we're the one and done crew. Six fits quite nicely in a booth at Grand Lux Cafe, where you can find the six of us, for the early bird special, most Saturday evenings. Apparently, Alex isn't on time for anyone, but her butt is in that booth at six o'clock sharp, for me and my senior eating habits. Anyone that knows me, is fully aware that punctuality is my most prized quality in other humans. B still tells people that his ability to be on time or early is why I married him.

Back to Alex. I love her. And Alex has Polycystic Kidney Disease. I'm not going to go into a whole long boring thing. I'll just give you the basics- Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a genetic disease (passed from an affected parent to their child) causing uncontrolled growth of cysts in the kidney eventually leading to kidney failure. It affects all racial and ethnic groups equally.

There are two types of PKD: autosomal dominant (ADPKD) and autosomal recessive (ARPKD). ADPKD is the more common type and affects more than 600,000 Americans and 12.4 million people worldwide. ARPKD is a rare form of the disease that occurs in 1 in 20,000 children worldwide.
A typical kidney is the size of a human fist and weighs about a third of a pound. PKD kidneys can be much larger, some growing as large as a football, and weighing up to 30 pounds each. The number of cysts can range from just a few to many. The size of the cysts can range from a pinhead to as large as a grapefruit. Although the primary sign of PKD is cysts in the kidneys, there are other symptoms that can occur in various areas of the body.

You can find info here-

That's the short of it. I know that I can go on long as it is, so I don't need that taking up space. The bottom line is- Alex needs a kidney. And she needs it like yesterday. Apparently things can go downhill fast with this and she's quickly approaching the bottom of the hill.

Alex is very private, (how I'm so attracted to friends who are like a vault, I don't know). For her to let me put this out there means the disease has progressed to a point where she has no choice but to let those of us who love her to put her business out there for help. So here I am, throwing her business out there. There is no more luxury of being tight lipped in this case.

Alex is a mom, a wife, and an awesome friend. She's a great cook, who makes enough for a village when she only has one kid, and is always happy to share the leftovers. She loves her bags and shoes like they're her other babies, but didn't hesitate to hand over a vintage Valentino when I needed an accessory for my one and only tv background actor debut. She will watch your kid for hours and treat them like they're her own. She will take you on a tour of Brooklyn, taking on rides at Coney Island and then introducing you to the REAL Russian market. And like I said, if she really wants to show her love and affection, she'll eat with you at a ridiculous hour and even be on time for it with a smile. She'll also make sure to text you every time she comes across a five foot metal chicken you've been yearning to buy as outdoor home decor.

Once she gets a kidney, she'll even attempt to make your dead mother's spectacular turkey recipe. Err, maybe that's just for me? Really though, she will be much appreciative and I'm fairly certain she'll bake you her double chocolate cupcakes with homemade buttercream frosting. I *know* she doesn't just make those for me. She'll also cut your onions (for brisket cooking) faster than the guy on the Ginsu commercial so you don't have to wear ski goggles (that also might just be for me).

You can get tested to be a living donor. Living donation is when a living person like you chooses to donate their organ to someone in need of a transplant. More than 6,000 organ transplants a year are made possible by living donors, with kidney being the most common organ transplanted.

There are many reasons living donation is better than the alternative (deceased donation). These reasons include:
  • Scheduling the transplant at a time optimal for both yourself and the recipient.
  • Better genetic matches between yourself and your recipient may decrease the risk of organ rejection.
  • Kidneys from living donors usually work immediately, as the kidney is removed from a healthy donor and transplanted right away in an operating room.
  • The gift of an organ can save the life of someone in need. The experience of providing this special gift can serve as the ultimate positive aspect of the donation
Who can be a living donor?

Living donors must be in good overall physical and mental health and at least 18 old. Medical conditions that may prevent a living kidney donation may include: uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV, hepatitis, acute infections or a psychiatric condition requiring treatment.

When considering if becoming a living donor is right for you, it is important to understand the process. To start the process, you will contact the transplant center where your recipient is listed. You don’t have to tell the recipient you are getting tested if you do not want to.

The first step will include an initial screening and blood tests to determine if you are compatible with the intended recipient. If you are not compatible, there may be other options to donate (see types of kidney donation). If you are a match, a nurse coordinator will contact you to continue the process. As you navigate the process, you will be assigned an independent donor advocate (IDA) who is not part of your recipient’s medical team. Your IDA will assist you through the process, answer your questions and focus only on your well-being -physically, mentally and emotionally. All conversations with your IDA are completely con fidential; your recipient will never know the questions you ask or the concerns you have.


Go to to fill out your information. You need to do that at least seven days in advance of your appointment. It takes about 5-10 minutes to fill out.
You need these answers for direct donation:
Name: Alexandra May
DOB: Feb 25, 1975
Not on dialysis but needs transplant
And yes she's with Cornell currently

I'm going to thank you in advance for reading and for possibly screening. I'm going to think positive and just know she's going to get a kidney. But I still need your help. If you could share this entry as much as possible, I'd really appreciate it and I will update as I get any further information. If you have any questions or whatever (or a kidney), email Mike (her husband) at 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Lips, Fat, Gums, & Vagina Eyes

I know there's irony in the fact that I love the "Mean Tweets" bit on Jimmy Kimmel more than anything. I look forward to a new Mean Tweets more than I do a good cupcake. However, I think it's because the celebrities reading them have a sense of humor about it. They're okay with poking fun at themselves and watching their confident reactions to the tweets make it all even funnier. As an aside, I didn't really enjoy when other celebrities read the mean tweets ABOUT Jimmy, for his birthday, because it's not as fun when the person isn't reading them himself. Except, of course, Larry David, because of his overwhelming laughter at what he was reading. That was funny as hell.

I watched some of the American Music Awards last night. Or, I should say, I put it on, and I was half listening. I just wanted to see Kelly Clarkson and Pink's singing collaboration. I didn't know they opened the show together. I thought it would be at the end. I watched as much as I could before falling asleep. I did catch Christina Aguilera do the Whitney Houston tribute. I thought her voice sounded great. I didn't really feel any kind of way about her look. She looked pretty. I was more focused on her voice and seeing whether she was going to sound like Whitney, or change things up.

On Wendy Williams this morning, Wendy talked about how mean people were about Christina's look on Twitter. Mostly about her lips. People were tweeting that she sounded good but she should stop getting lip injections. I'm sure there were worse comments. I thought Wendy was going to defend Christina or something but she jumped right in. She wasn't awful about it, but I just thought- Why?

Mean Tweets is a bit that came out of way people feel it's okay to just pick people apart, publicly, TO them. Or about them. I thought it was brave of Christina to take on Whitney. Watching all the singing reality shows, we always hear- you don't take on Whitney, Mariah, Celine, or Adele. People are especially protective of Whitney's memory, so that had to be a scary undertaking for Christina. Yet, people wanted to just attack her look.

How about Kelly Clarkson, who always is a powerhouse, yet, most of what people want to talk about is her weight. Luckily she doesn't seem to care, as she recently said in an interview when she was on Howard Stern. It can't feel good though! It would be better if people didn't find it necessary to tweet about someone's weight.

This movie Wonder came out, that I know is from a book. I don't know the book and didn't read it obviously, but I've seen some press on it. I gather the meaning in it is to be kind. To accept people no matter how they look. And I bet some of the people who tweet about Christina's lips, Kelly's weight, or Gwen Stefani's gums (I saw that in a Facebook group this morning) are going to go see the movie Wonder. They'll cry, they'll feel all warm and fuzzy, but then the message will be lost as they walk back into daylight. They'll go back on their phone and fire off a tweet about how People Magazine must have been blind to pick Blake Shelton as the Sexiest Man Alive this year.

Psst...Guess what? No one is agreeing on the Sexiest Man Alive. I'm not sure I've thought any of the men on the cover were the Sexiest Man Alive.  But I also don't CARE who People Magazine crowns this honor. But people get CRAZY about People's choice. CRA-ZY!

I guarantee that no one Mean-Tweeting would say any of their observations about appearance TO Christina, Kelly, Gwen and/or Blake. If they were to run into any of them, you know they'd be asking for a selfie.

Many will say it's no big deal. They're celebrities, this is what they signed up for. I just don't think that's true. All of these people have talent. They have talent that the average person doesn't possess. They're famous because their talent somehow brought them a platform to be in front of millions of people. I don't think just by being born with talent should make you a target for being what I'd call cyber bullying. Yes, they have the choice not to be on social media and not to engage, but the comments are out there, whether they read them or not. The comments get talked about on the news, in magazines, and who knows where else. It's everywhere and probably really hard to escape unless you live as a recluse.

I guess I just don't get the motivation to be mean just for mean's sake. I'm not immune to gossiping and judgement of celebrities. I read People Magazine and US Weekly. Yes, I have opinions about the clothes, the styles, and I have thoughts about how people look. The difference is, while I might have that conversation with a friend in passing, I don't feel the need to tell the world in a personally directed Tweet that someone's eyes look like vaginas (that was a Mean Tweet last week- don't remember to whom it was directed!).

Sadly, I don't see things changing. We are where we are. Pandora's Box has been opened and people feel like they can say anything behind a computer screen. It would just be great if people would realize that no one needs their public opinion on how someone else looks. I'd like to see all the photos of people who tweeted about Christina's lips. I am going to venture to guess that Christina, with or without lips, would still look better on her worst day. I thought she looked great.

Christina's Whitney tribute:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Really Bad Moms Movie

I saw A Bad Moms Christmas last night. I wasn't in any hurry to see it. I went because my friend C asked me to go and I love her. As social as I seem, if I have the choice not to go out, especially during the week, I choose not to go. No one wants to eat dinner with me at five-thirty or six o'clock and no surprise here, I'm highly routined. I'm well tucked into my couch by eight and my DVR is at 91% at all times these days. I went to the movies because I thought I'd try on being social, and I did think the last Bad Moms movie had some funny moments. I didn't relate to it- like blogger KatyKatieKate-, I agreed with everything she said. I did like the supermarket scene though. Maybe it was because I love that song.

 I've said- I don't feel guilt. I don't have Mom Guilt. It's not a "thing". I do me, and don't get bogged down in mom drama nonsense. I listen to a lot of it, I just don't want to be IN it. As a mom, I do my best some days, and some days I probably suck. My kid knows me as his only mom, and I've asked him, at times when he's annoyed at me, if he wants a different mom and he always says no. #winning

Ask your kids if they want a different mom. If they say no, take it at face value and give yourself a pat on the back. If they say yes, then your kids are assholes.  Simple as that.

I'm not gonna even lie- I love Carla. She's my favorite and the only one I could semi-identify with. I was kind of raised by wolves and I would make a gingerbread penis when everyone else is making houses. I know you're supposed to love Mila's Amy the most, but her character is a real crybaby wuss. If I had to pick someone to hang with, it's Carla. She gives no F's and frankly, neither do I. However, I think we're supposed to judge her as the worst mom of all. To me, only if the bad in Bad Moms is supposed to mean Bad-ASS. No, I don't think EVERYTHING she does is getting her an award for her parenting skills, but I think we're all lucky there are no awards.

Back to the movie- in the first one, I thought Amy's kids were lazy, spoiled jerks, especially because she did everything for them. I didn't get where in the end someone praised her on what awesome kids she has. I thought I missed something. They were rude and fresh to her and blamed her for anything that went wrong. Then she felt bad about it. Did not compute. The whole working mom vs stay at home mom thing is real and relevant, for a lot of people, and we're beat over the head with Mommy Wars, so I got the concept. Same kids this time, same little assholes.

This Christmas thing? The family thing? Nope, nope, no. I didn't get it at all. All three of their moms were awful and ridiculously cartoonish. I'm sad that the amazing Christine Baranski read a script like this and agreed to do it. I mean, they made her racist. She thought her daughter's boyfriend was the help. As a joke. Used throughout the whole movie. She and Mila Kunis had no chemistry together whatsoever. Susan Sarandon, I get why she'd do this movie. I think she really IS high all the time. I totally understand why Katherine Hahn would do this- it looks fun as hell to play Carla.

So, like I said, again, Amy's kids were whiny, spoiled jerks who turned on a dime. They seemed fine at first, then not. Nothing even made sense. The older set of mothers were terrible - Ruth was nasty, belittling, and showed no love the whole time. She just handed out expensive gifts to the kids here and there. There was no emotion. Yet in the end, when Amy finally stood up for herself like I wished she would the whole movie, and tried to give her kids the Christmas they asked for, everyone was pissed at her and she AGAIN, felt guilty, like SHE was wrong. NO!!! Her kids were angry that Amy kicked grandma out, said awful things to her, and stomped upstairs. So what does Amy do? Go find mom, apologize, and then bust her ass to make her house a Christmas wonderland. To quote her overused-supposed-to-be-funny line- "What the F*CK?!"

Ruth was a giant bitch and I can't imagine why the kids would talk about how much they love grandma, except for the gifts. We got no prior inclination that they ever even saw this woman. Or that she was capable of any kind of warmth. In 34 years, Amy never heard about her mother's childhood? Then Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher, The OC) swoops in and tells Amy that mommy was treated poorly as a child so she does the same and all should just be kittens and rainbows after?

Poor Carla had a completely absent mom, Isis, who only came around for money and then took off. She did the same thing this time. That was some heavy sh*t for a movie like this. Then in the end she came back because she felt bad, and said she was quitting gambling and giving her back money. Sure. Talk about having to suspend disbelief. I'll also just add, I was really uncomfortable with the stealing of the food from people outside the grocery store. I know it was supposed to be funny, but it just wasn't.

Kiki's mom was just a weird loser and it seemed even more strange for her never to say anything before that. It was just a lame plot line. She was the most cartoonish of all. I get the whole smother mother thing. It just wasn't funny because none of the things she was doing were even remotely relatable. I know a lot of co-dependent mothers and daughters. None of them have shirts made with the other's face all over them. Maybe I just know healthier co-dependent people?

The best part of the whole movie was seeing a lot of Justin Hartley naked. I liked the Carla/Ty romance but it did remind me of a copycat Fat Amy & Bumper (Pitch Perfect 2, an equally horrid sequel) I also always get a little nostalgic when I get to see Sandy Cohen. OH, and Christina Applegate's line- "Did she have a broken dick on her face?" was one of the funnier moments.

I think the movie was supposed to be about the pressure to make holidays perfect, specifically Christmas. I guess there are people out there that feel that pressure? I don't know. I'm glad I don't feel the pressure to make anything perfect. Perfect to me is being with people I love, and making sure there is good dessert. Beyond that, I certainly don't care about decorations, perfect gifts, watching a five hour Russian Nutcracker, or Kenny G.

All I have left to say on this is, that you can tell that these Bad Moms movies are written by men. There's no way any woman would write movies like these. I doubt women were even consulted for opinions unless it was about how hot Justin Hartley is on a scale of one to ten. The moral of this sequel was to just suffer as much shit as your mom/family can lob at you, forever, to make a holidays "perfect". No thanks! I'm good!

Thursday, November 9, 2017


This is a blog entry better told in photos....

After we left Catsbury Park last Sunday, we noticed this interesting little nook across the street. I'm calling it a nook because I don't know what else to call it. It was an empty lot between buildings that was once a small community garden. I guess that was abandoned at some point and new people decided to pay rent just to use it as an outdoor space to sell art made out of "junk". I say junk because I don't know what else to call it. The art that it's made from is really unique and cool, but it's made out of stuff like broken down, old plastic toys, laundry detergent containers, old instruments, tv sets, Halloween plastic fang teeth, and other things. It's really quite amazing.

I heard the proprietor talking a little to another family or to B but I was taking photos. He said there are lights that go on around dusk, but I think they're solar? Some kind of lights that can get wet. Someone asked the guy what happens when it rains and he said- "Everything gets wet". He'll move some stuff when the weather gets really bad, but most of it is okay to get wet.

If I had one of those Victorian houses that I could paint funky colors, I could see putting this kind of stuff all out on the lawn. I'd be THAT house. All this stuff alongside my very own Beyonce (five foot metal chicken). I can just picture it...

Instagram: gARTen713
713 Cookman Ave
Asbury Park, NJ

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Top O'the Muffin To Ya

I hadn't been regularly in NYC, especially hanging around eighth avenue, in the thirties, in around two years. We're in the city for auditions weekly, but we're in and out. The area I just mentioned is where E's acting class is located. On eighth ave, between thirty-fifth and thirty-sixth streets. I was there almost every Saturday or Sunday, during the school year, from 2013 through 2016. I would see random homeless people here and there, closer to Penn Station, but not like the epidemic it looks like now! I even took some pictures because I didn't know if anyone would believe me. I think you need to see it to really feel how messed up it is that this is how people have to live.

Most people don't realize that it's not just as cut and dried as poor choices. There is mental illness, addiction, and other reasons that people are down and out and this is their only option. I don't really care WHAT got them there, E and I care that they ARE there and we feel a responsibility as humans to do SOMETHING. We may not be able to do a lot, but we can do more than just step over them.

When we get there, no matter where I park, I'm seeing full on mattresses on the sidewalk, homeless of all ages, sizes, colors, ethnicities, at varying stages of deteriorating mental health or drug abuse. It's hard to walk by people with signs saying, "Help me", with my eight year old child, who thinks we should all contribute to buying them homes, without doing something. #bornsocialist

Years ago, I think I even wrote about this- I saw one of those tv shows, like Undercover Boss, but not that, where a millionaire would go into a depressed area for a week, listen to people's stories, then give people in the community money to do good with it. On one episode, there was a guy who made "blessing bags" and gave them out to the homeless. These are small bags with trial size necessity toiletries, socks, change, etc. After I saw this, I started making these bags. I don't use the word "blessing" because as an affirmed atheist, I'm just uncomfortable using that word. I don't like it. Whatever. They're bags of useful stuff for people who have nothing.

I'd amassed a lot of hotel samples and also the ones from magazine ads/coupons. I don't know why- I never go anywhere I'd need trial sizes. In my mind, I might. Anyone that knew Rita, knew that she was a hoarder. B would claim that I'm one as well. But anyone who knew my mother could attest that I am nowhere NEAR that level. #shehad100000vhstapes

I keep these bags in my car and when I see someone on the street, on Rt 46, in Paterson, wherever, I stop my car and hand them out. I only have two bags left. Of course I went overboard and went rummaging through my house for more things. Each bag has most of the following items: scarf, hat, gloves, socks, protein bar, shampoo, conditioner, hand/body lotion, travel toothbrush, toothpaste, four quarters, and other random things. Some have a tampon, some BB cream, and other sample items. Like I said, I'm down to two bags like that. Then I made some small Ziploc bags of just two or three granola or protein bars, a one time use shampoo & conditioner set from magazines, and a bag of Halloween pretzels. It never feels like enough though.

E has class now from twelve-thirty until three o'clock. His acting school is Actor's Technique NY otherwise known as ATNY. They've paid it forward to us, in many ways, over the years and I can't thank them enough. They've allowed him to come to class and workshops for free, for a discount, and on payment plans when I haven't been able to swing it. They helped him get an agent, then when dropped by said agent, picked up by a new manager. They've coached him and made him better at the craft of acting. We are very grateful for them.

I also feel like he's a lucky kid to even be able to take acting classes. We're not on the street. If he's going to be in class for two and a half hours, I may as well be productive instead of sitting on my behind just playing on the internet. I can also use the steps (walking). During his class, I walk outside the front door and there are numerous homeless people within spitting distance. I walk up and down from thirtieth street to fortieth street between seventh, eighth and ninth avenues and just hand stuff out. Trust me when I say I've learned that the smaller bags are a lot easier to trek around with. I was sweating last week with what I brought with me.

I stopped in this place that looked new-ish, called Market Crates. The address is 224 W. 35th St. It's like a healthy food store but not overly healthy where it's out of my comfort zone. They still have muffins and desserts and such. Their tagline on their menu is "Greens & Grains, Responsible". I went in to get a salad. I ended up talking to Elona, who was ringing me up, who is a cute young girl who I believe is originally from Kosovo. I mentioned what I was doing with the bags and she immediately smiled and asked if I wanted more stuff. I asked what she had because I really was loaded up like a pack mule. She had muffins that I guess they'd be throwing out at day's end. I asked her if I could wrap them individually, because it seemed weird to just hand out uncovered muffins. And what if they wanted to save it for later?

She asked her manager (I think that's who it was) and they set me up at a table, with the big Saran Wrap cutter, and just let me wrap the twenty or so muffins, of all kinds, they had to give. I wrapped, thanked them, and went on my way. #justcallmethemuffinlady

They're super nice in there, so I'll be going back there to get my weekly Big Salad. In NYC, trust is hard to come by. I could've been out selling the muffins on the corner and they'd never know. For people to just give you anything is rare.

Of course there are also those "Only in NY kids, only in NY" Cindy Adams moments too, like the week before, when I handed a lady in a wheelchair a bag of healthy snacks, she looked it over, looked back at me and said, "I don't like it, but I'll take it....". To which, I just laughed and told her to have a nice day, because it totally was a Cindy Adams moment for my archives. The people I handed the muffins to were super thankful though. One guy even told me he loves me.

I'm writing this not for accolades or not to illustrate that an atheist can do just as much good as those who pray to a God, but to let you know that I'm almost out of stuff. If you unnecessarily collect trial size toiletries, feel like going to the dollar store and/or ripping samples out of magazines, and making some of the smaller bags - I'll take them if you want to drop off to me, or if you're nearby for me to pick up. I use Ziplock or whatever kind, quart or sandwich size bags, just not the fold over kind. I like the bags to close. And then any of the above things I mentioned, you can put in the bags and I'll take them when I go on Saturdays.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Broad Street Dough Co

I mentioned in yesterday's post about Catsbury Park Cat Cafe that we originally came down the shore because I'd been wanting to try this doughnut place - Broad Street Dough Co. It's in Oakhurst and I knew that was by our shore haunts during the summer, but we'd never been able to make it there in our limited time on Sundays. We had E's swim meet in Perth Amboy, early last Sunday, so we knew we were more than halfway to Oakhurst from home and could easily make it down there.

It did not disappoint. From the decor to the doughnuts, it was top notch. It's in a big shopping plaza on Rt 35 so it was tricky to find, but happy we did! I guess doughnuts are the craze now. There are a few doughnut places that have popped up down in that area, so I guess I'll just have to work my way around.

In the little industrially decorated shop, it was BUSY! We were there for at least thirty minutes, getting the lowdown on the flavors, how they're made to order, etc. I'm loving this "made to order" scene. At the one gourmet or specialty-type doughnut place by me, it's a first come, first served kind of thing. You snooze, you lose. You have to hope they still have what you want in stock. At Broad Street, you pick what you want and they make it there. There isn't that rush to get there before the selection is all picked over. That happens with cupcake places too. Come toward the end of the day and you're stuck with whatever is left. With cupcakes, since the cake flavors differ, you can't really make them order or you'd need like ten ovens. With doughnuts, if you start with a plain base and just dip, fill, sprinkle and drizzle, you can make them to order.

The owner, a pretty blond whose name I didn't catch, was friendly and more than happy to discuss all our doughnut options. She accommodated all my packaging needs, since I was bringing doughnuts to two different Bergen County families. Just call me Doughnut Santa. She even did an "Instagram Story" with us. I don't know how to do that, or how it works, but now B wants me to learn for our store. But I did take a screen shot of it and now it's on here.

All the employees were super nice and helpful. You can add or subtract toppings even on the "specials". I got a cookie dough special but it comes with non-pareils on it. I hate those. I don't like the way they feel on my teeth. They made E one with and me one without.

I also got another special which was vanilla icing with Fruity Pebbles and a "Shrewsbury Fields" which was like a Strawberry Glazed. I'm not sure which was my favorite but I liked them all.

They offer many doughnut options including Vegan, Gluten Free and Parve. They are certified Kosher Dairy, under JSOR Supervision. While they are not a nut-free facility, they can accommodate most nut allergies since their actual doughnut is made without nuts.

We didn't over-buy like we did with Duck Donuts at the end of the summer. We realized then that doughnuts don't really "keep" like cupcakes do. They're more something to eat right away- even better when they're warm. I didn't try to make these last- we got them Sunday and they were finished by Monday so I can't say whether these would keep better than the other ones. I suspect that these specialty, fresh doughnut places have less preservatives so it's not like a Dunkin' Donut that you can probably put in a time machine and it would be fine. But who wants time machine doughnuts? I'm happy to keep going back for fresh, made to order ones!

Sunday's specials