I'm prettier than you are.
Tuesday, 26 February 2002
Jack, of all traits ...

Like most people, I at one time had two sets of grandparents. Two of the four people I actually adored, and fortunately for all parties involved, they were both in one set. The other two I couldn't stand. And no, I don't feel guilty saying I couldn't stand them, because they're dead now. But even if they were still alive, I wouldn't have any qualms about saying I wasn't crazy about them.

Bubby and Poppop were the cute grandparents, the parents of my mother. Bubby was from Kiev, a seamstress, and stood 4'7" if you didn't count her black bouffant hair. Poppop was from Warsaw, a baker, and towered over her by about eight inches. The two of them came here from Cuba in the early '40s with my mother in tow, and both retained their very distinctive accents for as long as they were alive. These were the grandparents who cooked (both of them) and whose food was scrumptious, whose wonderfully ostentatious apartment smelled like kasha and brisket and all things Jewy. They were the grandparents who spoke Yiddish. They, Clara and Isaac, were my "real" grandparents.

Ann and Jack (who I always had a difficult time even referring to, let alone addressing as, "Grandmom" and "Grandpop") were, well, how do I put this delicately? -- goyish. I could never quite convince myself that they were really Jews. I don't know if Ann cooked. If she did, it was certainly, obviously, forgettable. I do know that Jack ate, as his girth evidenced. I had a feeling they didn't know what a bagel was, or, if they did, they bought them prepackaged. (Bubby and Poppop, on the other hand, always had amazing bagels, which were the product of Poppop's hands and thus that much more delicious.) Their apartment was never redolent with the comforting aromas of food, but infused with a certain mothballian mustiness.

I never felt at home (in any sense of the word) with Ann and Jack, and never felt as if I shared anything in common with them. The opposite was the case with Bubby and Poppop. Now, every day when I put on lipstick, every day when I put on my shoes (always with at least two-inch heels), every week when I get my manicure, I am reminded of Bubby, who never left the house without any of the three. When I examine my reflection in the mirror, the dark circles under my eyes are the same ones that shadowed Poppop's eyes. And the few times that I've made kugel, I've used their recipe. (It's fantastic. Email me if you want it.)

Anyway, the point is that until recently, I didn't think I inherited any traits from my paternal grandparents. But just this weekend, I discovered that maybe I did. What it was, was this: Jack used to chase me and my brother and sister around his and Ann's apartment with a camera and insist that we have our pictures taken. It must've traumatized me, because I really can't remember if he actually succeeded. And I certainly can't remember seeing any of the pictures. Anyway, I've become somewhat obsessed with my new digital camera. I've been chasing the dog and cat around the apartment, calling their names out like some sort of deranged paparazzi. The dog doesn't seem to mind, and in fact he'll sometimes even pose. But I'm sure that quite a few times the cat murmured a rather pointed and nasty "Fuck mew" before turning her back. Or ducking her head at the exact moment I think I'm going to finally catch her.

So this past Saturday afternoon, when I saw my sister, I tried to take a picture of her, several times. I heard myself insisting. And felt myself even getting a little annoyed when she would turn her head every time I approached. Then I tried another tactic. I pretended to be Jack. I pretended to chase her, and held the camera up to my eye as if I were going to snap a shot. But it was only when I jokingly said, "Who the hell am I? Jack?" and we both shuddered, that I realized that I don't share Jack's obnoxious trait. Whereas Jack would hound us until we cried, I stopped -- and had a good laugh.

fresh-baked at 08:27 AM
Friday, 22 February 2002
Still Life

I feel like I should do something to herald the new month, but I'm not quite sure what that would be.

A fresh calendar page, serene as a suburban lawn blanketed in pristine snow, touched only by God's gentle and loving hand ...

Ptui. Feh. Kaka.

... five minutes, three dogs, and two cars later -- yellow-orange and slosh slushy. A combo that reminds me of a summer many years ago, when I was obsessed with orange Slurpees (™ or ® -- I don't know -- remind me to ask my intellectual property attorney brother) and would drive miles, "after hours" (whatever that meant in stunning Feasterville, Pennsylvania), up and down Street Road in frenzied search of a 7-11 that sold that flavor. (Adorable name, "Street Road", isn't it? If I had a child [god forfuckingbid], I would consider naming it/him/her something similar, a la "Lane Parkway", because by the time I finally came to my senses and realized I just couldn't live without being a Mommy, too many parents would've beaten me to my first choice: the every-popular "Y9*J0.3#x" --or "Kaitlin" for short).

Anyway, I feel as if I should do something fresh and new and fabulous to welcome March. I feel like I should break a bad habit. (Oh, if only I had one! Don't drink/Don't smoke/What do you do?) Or start a new one (bad or otherwise). It just seems like such a waste (no, I will not say it's a "sin") (if I ever use that phrase, you have my permission to chop me into bite-sized chunks, skewer me, and dip me in Stilton cheese fondue) not to do something special. But then again ... March 1 is a Friday, and I don't like to start something new at the end of the week, so I suppose I should just wait until the next month that starts on a Sunday, which would be ... September.

See you then.

fresh-baked at 05:35 PM
Wednesday, 20 February 2002
Able was I ere I saw ...

WOW! KOOL! LOOK! WOW!

fresh-baked at 04:37 PM
Meow

Remember how a few weeks ago, in the item entitled "Hit Me", I showed you two "search strings" that led people to my page? As you will recall, I had thought the next errant searcher would find me via yet another titillating search string.

Well, today someone found me via Google by searching for "cat poster hang in there baby". (I mentioned that poster in a recent item.)

I'm just mightily amused that someone out there is actually searching for that old poster. And here I'd thought that, given the previous people's searches, my readership would expand to include porn-lovers, not whimsical poster-lovers.

Maybe if I'd used "pussycat" instead of just plain ol' "cat" ??

fresh-baked at 03:33 PM
Monday, 18 February 2002
Fire Thrill

So I was visiting a friend in Philadelphia one afternoon recently, and while she was at the gym (I elected not to go, because I knew the paparazzi would have a "field day" with me, and I really didn't feel like addressing the recent allegations that I was caught shoplifting on 57th Street -- I still maintain that one of those celebrity look-alikes is the offender, because I wasn't anywhere near Burberry that day anyway), the fire alarm sounded in her condo (yes, that's right -- "condo").

The first thing I thought, after the expected "What the ____" (fill in the blank with whatever you like; chances are, you're right), and "OK, so which early bird Jewess is already starting on the kasha?" (accompanied by my flinging open the door to the hallway and sniffing for fried onions), was, "Do I go out like this [gray drawstring pants, black ribbed tank top, fun little socks] or do I change my outfit?" Of course, you know the answer. And of course you know that I had to brush my hair before slinking into my coat and flipping my scarf insouciantly around my neck. And grabbing the fabulous Kipling bag I'd just bought, and the little Lord & Taylor shopping bag containing items I'd also bought earlier. I have my priorities.

Or do I? I mean, wasn't I missing something? Didn't I forget to do something?

It wasn't until I got downstairs that I realized I hadn't put on lipstick. Now, I'm not a big makeup person (in fact, earlier that day, at the Clinique counter, I almost suffered a nervous breakdown when, under continued pressure from my friend and the counter girl, I finally, grudgingly, applied a shimmery eyeshadow to my right eyelid -- you would've thought I'd been traumatized by eye shadow in my youth, given that when the two of them merely suggested I try it, I instantly started to panic) ... but I do like my lipstick. I can't leave the house without it. As much as I deride people who wear makeup to the gym, I must confess that I never go there without at least a swipe of lipgloss.

But there I was, in the lobby of a lovely Society Hill high-rise, poised ever so coyly on a cushy leather(ette?) chair, sans lip accoutrements. I felt absolutely naked, despite the fact that I was one of the few people down there fully dressed, complete with stunning, shiny black boots (new!) and a crisp little white shopping bag.

"I hate to be mean," one young(ish) woman said to her friend, half-jokingly, "but there'd better be a fire for all this trouble!"

All this trouble? I thought. You didn't even take the time to dress nicely for the event, my dear, let alone apply lipstick. Please. If anyone deserved to complain, it would be those of us who were so concerned with our safety that we even neglected, in all the excitement, to take care of what's really important. I mean, I must really value a certain higher sense of self-preservation if I was willing, even for 15 minutes, to join the ranks of these girls.

fresh-baked at 09:32 PM
Thursday, 14 February 2002
No No, Netscape

For some reason, the "home" page (the one with the most recent entries, where you are now, and where you can automatically go any time by clicking on
"Now Playing" next to my charming graphic) has decided, when viewed in Netscape, to take up the entire width of the screen without leaving much of a margin on either side. If it were a person, it'd be hogging the covers.

I apologize for Netscape, that boor.

NOTE: And now I humbly apologize to Netscape. The problem has been resolved! Netscape and I are "spooning" happily once again. And just when Internet Explorer was starting to get all cocky! -- 10:58 p.m.

fresh-baked at 10:51 PM
The F Word

What is the world coming to? Or, more properly -- To what is the world coming?

And no, I'm not talking about the Massachusetts woman who was arrested for allegedly beating up another woman for bringing one too many items into an "express" supermarket checkout line. I mean, that I can actually understand. And no, I'm not talking about the recent incidents in New York involving the mowing-downs (or is it "mowings-down"?) of pedestrians by a crazed motorist. (Update: Police say that one man is suspected of being responsible for both "accidents".)

No, the object of my dissension is the word finalize, which apparently is becoming an acceptable word in our language. As noted in The American HeritageŽ Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition:

Usage Note: Once considered objectionable because of its association with the language of bureaucracy, finalize is steadily gaining acceptance. In the late 1960s, 90 percent of the Usage Panel found the example finalize plans for a class reunion unacceptable; in the late 1980s, 71 percent disapproved. By 1997, only 28 percent of the Usage Panel found it unacceptable in the sentence We will send you more information once we finalize plans for the reunion. Although substitutes for finalize can be found among complete, conclude, make final, and put into final form, none of these is an exact synonym. This may be why resistance to finalize is eroding.

What frustrates me even more is that the word's existence has been accepted by spellchecking "tools" in word processing programs. Yet my favorite other "F" word (oh no, don't make me say it!) is still questioned by spellcheckers, even though the dictionary accepted it (albeit with the "vulgar" notation) quite a while ago. (I know because when I was awarded a dictionary in 1977 as a prize for winning a spelling bee, it was the first word I looked up.)

I object!

On whom can I take out my frustration?

fresh-baked at 09:56 PM
Wednesday, 13 February 2002
STAY TUNED

Hey, kidz. I have stuff to say, I really do, but I went to bed late last night and woke up early this morning, so I'm really beat and don't want to write something just for the sake of writing. I promise that I'll have updates for you tomorrow (Thursday, Valentine's Day), and will give you the scoop on my new CPU, today's episode of "Live With Regis and Kelly", and any other escapades from which I can somehow manage to wring an ounce of excitement with which to thrill you. So don't despair. I'm here.

By the way, despite the anthrax scares of the past few months, I am accepting perforated-edged Valentines in the red and pink construction paper mailbox taped to the side of my desk. Feel free to stop by and sneak one (or more!) in when I'm not looking.

fresh-baked at 11:10 PM
Monday, 11 February 2002
Raise your hand

All right, kids. It's been two months since I started this darling little website. By now you should be fairly familiar with it, if not downright intimate. So. Do you notice anything different about it? Anything? Is anything missing?

Anyone?

Yes?

OK. You. You, in the floral frock with lace insert and self-belt.

"The quick 'n' easy recipes for busy working moms?"

Uhh.

Anyone else? Yes? OK. You, brooding by the window, in the jaunty beret, smoking the clove cigarette.

"The haiku?"

Umm.

Yes. You in front.

"Is it now delightfully sugar-free? Can I eat it with abandon without fear of advancing avoirdupois?"

Hmmm.

All right. Someone else. Yes! ("Ooooh! Oooh oooh!") You, in the mismatched sweater vest and button-down shirt, ersatz afro, flailing your arm above your head to the point of dislocation.

"The hideously obstrusive, inch-and-a-half high advertisements that besmirched the purity of your good page? The insidious, often-blinking, incessant intrusions that distracted me from your witty bon mot and clever turns of phrase? The gargantuan word BLOG*SPOT in those ads that somehow managed to vaguely nauseate me?"

Ding ding ding! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!

fresh-baked at 11:22 PM
Sunday, 10 February 2002
The Charmer and Her Dell

Well, supposedly my brand spankin' new CPU is arriving tomorrow via Federal Express. (The whole computer saga is one I definitely don't want to recount. If you truly want to know, I may be persuaded to tell you if you offer me something pretty and shiny as compensation.) This time I have a bona fide tracking number, and it actually works online. This time I don't just have the vague assurance from yet another faceless Dell Technical Support representative that my order is "pending". This time it's for real.

But I suppose I'm speaking too soon. I shouldn't jinx anything. In fact, just moments ago, I knocked on wood, twice, once with each fist. Hey, I'm not takin' any chances. I just hope the thing actually gets here tomorrow and that it's what it's supposed to be. And I hope that the transfer of files from the old "unit" to the new one goes smoothly. I don't know if that's possible, though, given that I have the patience of a flea and the frustration level of a cloth-diapered infant. I hope there are no hitches. No glitches. 'Cause I don't wanna hafta bitches. (You know how I hate complaining.)

So keep your fingers, toes, eyes, and everything else that's crossable, crossed. (And here an image so hideous just flashed across my mind that I don't dare share it with you ... no matter how pretty or shiny the compensation may be.)

C[P]U soon!

(By the way --- I can't stand that kid in the Dell commercials. I think I'll be well within in my rights if I decide to go ahead and beat him if things don't go smoothly. In fact, I should be allowed to beat him regardless, as a reward for having put up with Dell's bullshit for so long.)

fresh-baked at 11:28 PM
Thursday, 7 February 2002
Oh, and P.S. ...

I'm sorry to disappoint, but the tirade to which I referred at 12:35 a.m. never quite surfaced. It sputtered, it simmered, yes ... but I didn't want to burden anyone with it (except the ever faithful and terminally understanding Distinguished Older Gentleman) unless it reached full-blown lunatic frenzy status. If the occasion does present itself, however, please do know that you'll be among the first to know. After all, I wouldn't want to disappoint, and I do so hate being on the receiving end of bile. (Green just isn't my color!)

fresh-baked at 11:50 PM
Don't you forget about me

Well, supposedly my brand spankin' new CPU is arriving tomorrow via Federal Express. (The whole computer saga is one I definitely don't want to recount. If you truly want to know, I may be persuaded to tell you if you offer me something pretty and shiny as compensation.) This time I have a bona fide tracking number, and it actually works online. This time I don't just have the vague assurance from yet another faceless Dell Technical Support representative that my order is "pending". This time it's for real.

But I suppose I'm speaking too soon. I shouldn't jinx anything. In fact, just moments ago, I knocked on wood, twice, once with each fist. Hey, I'm not takin' any chances. I just hope the thing actually gets here tomorrow and that it's what it's supposed to be. And I hope that the transfer of files from the old "unit" to the new one goes smoothly. I don't know if that's possible, though, given that I have the patience of a flea and the frustration level of a cloth-diapered infant. I hope there are no hitches. No glitches. 'Cause I don't wanna hafta bitches. (You know how I hate complaining.)

So keep your fingers, toes, eyes, and everything else that's crossable, crossed. (And here an image so hideous just flashed across my mind that I don't dare share it with you ... no matter how pretty or shiny the compensation may be.)

C[P]U soon!

(By the way --- I can't stand that kid in the Dell commercials. I think I'll be well within in my rights if I decide to go ahead and beat him if things don't go smoothly. In fact, I should be allowed to beat him regardless, as a reward for having put up with Dell's bullshit for so long.)

fresh-baked at 11:01 PM
Oooooh, I feel a tirade coming on!

And it's not going to be pretty! Not wrapped in shiny paper and topped with a big, frilly pink bow. Not presented with a curtsey and a demure smile. And I definitely won't be the soft-spoken, coquettish Southern belle you all know and love.

Those miscreants at Dell are raising my ire. Again. Still. And I do not like anyone toying with my ire.

Wait and see. You may be treated to a luscious sample of my bile soon! (Weight Watchers, fret not ... it's only 1 point!)

fresh-baked at 12:35 AM
Tuesday, 5 February 2002
The thrills are alive!

You know how when people are acting all zany and wacky, inevitably someone is bound to say, "Oh, there must be a full moon"? Well, today I did something zany and wacky, and I'm not sure what phase the moon is in, but I'm willing to bet that it is, indeed, blue. I mean, how else can I explain my sudden urge to get out the dust broom and pan, get down on my hands and knees (take it easy, boys!), and relieve many of this apartment's corners of the cuddly bundles of dust that have been nesting there for what seems like an eternity?

There's just something so ... humbling about cleaning the way I just did. Yep, I may think I'm the cutest thing since Hello Kitty when I'm strutting down Seventh Avenue after a particularly good Pilates session and all sorts of men who are actually normal are smiling at me and I'm humming a little showtune to myself ... but compare this to me in another situation, hunched and crouched on the kitchen floor, hair every which way, still wearing the same schmatas I wore to bed last night, picking at an obstinate dried-up anonymous clump of I-don't-know-what with my fingernail.

I'm so multi-faceted!

fresh-baked at 02:11 PM
Sunday, 3 February 2002
Variations on a Dream

I don't know what's going on here. The good people at "Live With Regis and Kelly" have sent me a ticket-letter for the February 13 show. I didn't request it. I must confess that I was going to send away for more tickets, but I didn't actually get around to doing it yet.

It's weird. The first time I went (November 13), I won the audience prize. The second time I went (January 9), I received a call later that afternoon telling me they couldn't accommodate my request for January 11 (which I never requested), so they sent me tickets for another show, on January 23. Of course I went. (Yes, that makes it three times. Loser. Yes. I know.) And now I have the new tickets, which I didn't request at all. What's going on here?

Could it be that I'm on some sort of automatic list now? Have I become a "regular"? Will I finally become Kelly Ripa's best friend in real life, the way I am in my actual dreams -- the dreams where we laugh raucously about how we finally came to meet and marvel over how we're now the closest of gal pals ... and then we're called back to the "All My Children" set for our next scene ...?

Uhhh. Yeah. I mean ... ahem. I do have those dreams. I hate to admit it, I'm embarrassed to confess it, but I do. I've been having them for quite some time. Years ago I used to hobnob with Shanen Doherty and the cast of "Beverly Hills 90210". Sometimes I hung out with them as their characters, and I was actually a part of the show. But in the dream, of course, we didn't know we were in a show; it was reality, and the actors were really the characters, not just actors playing the roles. We'd laugh by our overly decorated lockers, talk about our boy problems at the Peach Pit. Our hair was swingy and shiny. Other times I hung out with the cast as themselves, as the actors, and we would all be wonderful and gorgeous and glamorous and wearing fabulous sunglasses.

Lately, though, as I mentioned above, I've been Kelly Ripa's best friend, and the same sort of situations exist, but of course "All My Children" is the show and I'm traipsing around Pine Valley instead of Beverly Hills.

It's really ridiculous. I mean, it was bad enough when the dreams were about "90210", but that was ten or so years ago, when I was in my 20s (yeah, true, I was in my late 20s, but still ...). Now that I'm somewhat older, I thought the dreams would stop, or at least I'd start dreaming that I was part of the "ER" or "West Wing" casts. (I don't watch those shows, though, so maybe that's part of the problem.) Lately I've been watching reruns of "Friends" (I know, I know). I suppose it's only a matter of time before I'm hanging out on a squishy sofa at Central Perk, playfully dabbing mochaccino froth on the noses of Monica and Rachel.

What's particularly embarrassing is that when I wake up from these dreams and realize that my "friends" still don't know I exist, I am actually disappointed.

I just had a vision of a poster I taped to the back of my bedroom door, circa 1976. A tabby cat napping in a wastepaper basket on which a lion's face was pictured. When you dream, dream big, it said. (For your information, yes, I did also have the "Hang In There, Baby!" poster.)

I guess I am taking that poster's advice, because I must now confess that I recently had a best friend dream about -- *gasp!* -- Gwyneth Paltrow!!!

So what do you think? When Kelly and I eventually do become the best of friends, and I'm co-hosting on "Live" with her when Regis is out of town, do you think we can have a good laugh about my old dreams? Or do you think I should keep them to myself? And do you think I should tell her about Gwynnie? Girls can be so possessive about their best friends.

fresh-baked at 10:03 PM