A Love Letter: Ten Years Old

June 16, 2000

My task was to fill a nightclub with people.  There was a hotshot DJ coming into town and the owners of the club wanted that place packed.  So I called all of my party people, told them they were on the list, and asked them to bring their friends.  At the time, I was operating on no-nights of sleep for the past 2 nights, because of a rigorous party-throwing schedule.  But, I was resolved to get through the night and had an unlimited tab at the bar for Red Bulls.  Not the healthiest of lifestyles, but legal.  And sustainable because I was in my 20′s.

My friend Martin walked in and I spied him from the DJ booth.  Behind him walked sauntered strutted in a boy I’d never seen.  He was strikingly beautiful, and clearly trouble – CAPITAL “T” Trouble.  I watched him for about 1/2 hour from my perch, with Red Bull after Red Bull piling up in front of me.  Martin made his way up to me and I immediately asked him who his friend was.  He told me he’d bring him up to introduce him.  Soon super-swaggar man was in front of me and told me his name.  For the next two weeks, I called him Hanson, because that’s what I heard over the mmmm-ssssss-mmmmmmm-sssssss of the banging House Music.  Turns out when he finally corrected me, the name was A-N-S-O-N.

I had to write Hanson/Anson off that night because Martin-the-big-mouth had told him I was into him.  It was clear that Anson was feeling confident about his chances with me, and that just couldn’t be.  So when I left the club that night, it was with a somewhat extinguished flame for that guy – but not entirely.

Backing up a little, I have to also explain that I was on a self-imposed dating hiatus.  My goal was to go one year with no relationship no nothing because I was re-examining how and why I seemed to be collecting endings of relationships that were not so happy.  About 2 years before the night I spied Anson, I had gotten out of a seven-year very dysfunctional relationship and moved to….lovely Seoul, Korea!  I went a little cuckoo with my new-found freedom and was slightly boy crazy.  I had a great time meeting boys from all around the world until I met one who really and truly knocked my socks off but then he got deported back to Canada, and so I was outta there.  Onto…..lovely Nagano, Japan!  Where I met a sweetheart of a Japanese guy who just couldn’t have been more kind, and who followed me back to the US.  Our relationship didn’t translate.  When he finally left (breaking up gracefully and effectively with the handicap of a very significant language barrier is so much harder than you would think), anyway, when he finally left I put the one-year hiatus into place.  Dunzo!  It lasted six months.

Lori, Jess, Gma, Hanson, Me, Mom, Christy, Kellene

I ran into Anson two days after our first encounter at the club.  We happened to be attending the same BBQ my friend Leroy was throwing.  Anson was funny and goofy and not too-cool-for-school which I loved, and he adored me.  He asked me out, I said yes, we had our first date a few days later, and two weeks later he was assuring me that we’d be married within the year.  The dating hiatus was over, and I did know – this guy, as complicated as his life was – and as complicated as my life was – this guy was a whole new story for me.  Anson and I were married within the year.

We got married on the North Carolina shore – the same beach my family vacationed on every summer of my childhood.  The ceremony included just our family and very closest friends.  It was a beautiful day, relaxed and happy.  That was on June 16, 2000.  Which just happens to be ten years ago, today.

Had I known how hard marriage was, had I known how complicated it is to put two lives together, had I known how many compromises would be made, had I known how many times I would scream in frustration – I would have jumped in again, with both feet.  My life with Anson is hard sometimes, so happy sometimes, tiring sometimes, and is something I would not trade for any other life in any other time or place.

Yes, he's cleaning my feet. Why do you ask?

Things I’d Do Differently

There are people in my life whom I’ve wronged.  And there are people of course, who have done wrong by me. Do I need apologies from everyone?  Nope.  But there are a few events that remain unresolved, things that were said to me or actions that were taken against me that I’ve had to just put aside, and move away from, because they will not be made right.  And I remember those people, I remember them none too fondly.

Sadly, there are things I’ve done as well.  There are people who caught me at the wrong time, when I wasn’t quite far enough outside of myself to know my own impact.  There are people in my life who were not treated well by me, and who probably still bear me some type of grudge.

There was a time, in my early twenties, when I was well-known in my community.  I owned a few businesses that were pretty cool – nightclubs, clothing shops, coffee shops and record stores.  It was at this time that I had no awareness at all about my impact on people.  Instead of reaching out a welcoming hand to those around me, I sort of cultivated this “cooler-than-you” attitude.  I created a community where those who were in with me were “in”, and those who didn’t have the good luck of being on a first-name basis with me knew they were just visiting our good times.  Maybe this is just part of being young, capricious youth and all that.  But I look back on those years with a lot of regret – I wish I would have been the person in the community who made people feel welcome the moment they peeked in on what was going on.  I wasn’t awful to everyone, and have heard from people that there were things I did that positively affected them, and for those people, I am so grateful.  But there are so many ways I could have reached out to more people – could have helped them be more safe, have more fun, feel more accepted.  I regret my mean-girl attitude of those days.

There are relationships I was in where I wasn’t at my best.  Guys who I treated poorly, took advantage of, and took for granted.  Again, I can chalk part of these actions up to not really knowing better, being new to the world of adult relationships and love.  But there were many times where I did know better, but put my own whims way ahead of the things I knew were the right things to do.  To pretty much everyone who dared to date me from the age of 18 – 26, I’m sorry you were part of my learning curve.  I know better now – and hope you’ve had better luck in love than when you were with me.

Gotta Get It Right

And now in the present, I still am learning.  My aim is to get to a point where the way I interact with people around me only has positive effects.  Still, there are so many situations presented where people can be made to feel less-than,where those who are not comfortable in their own skin can be made to feel even less comfortable, and where misunderstandings lend themselves to a great place to start a fight.  My recent navel-gazing sessions have given me some perspective on these pitfalls, though.  Being loud and right isn’t always rewarding.  Making someone feel the fool because they hold different priorities isn’t always redeeming.  And holding a consensus on other people’s mistakes is begging for the same to be done to you.

These are lessons I’ve been learning my whole life.  These are the lessons of things I would do differently.  These are the lessons I’d like to teach to my son(s) before they every have the chance to regret how they’re hurt someone.  They’ll have to learn on their own, I know, through their own experiences.  But  isn’t it true that as parents we have the largest impact on our children to by modeling behavior rather than giving it lip-service?  I think so.  Is there anything you’d do differently?  Is there anything you’d like to change now?  I’d love to hear it.

This Will Probably Make Her Cry, Too

My Mother and Hep-Cat Father

Last night at dinner, we were talking about Roan’s Grandmother, who will be getting married this summer.  He thinks it’s pretty revolutionary that a new Grandfather will be added to our ranks, and then began considering construction of families.  If Grandma marries someone, they become a Grandfather.  And since Aunt Kellene’s daughter is going to have a baby soon, then Aunt Kellene becomes OLD Auntie Kellene, because (really no way of working around it) Kellene will be a GRANDMOTHER.  Let me just type that again, maybe in italics:  Kellene will be a GRANDMOTHER.  Love it.

It was all fun and games until Roan decided to make up his own category: “Half-Grandmother”.  And then he pinned this title to ME.  I actually wasn’t very amused and told him that he was talking crazy talk, but his point was this:  when my son (Roan) has a child, I’ll be a grandmother.  Since Roan exists, I’m half-way there.  And so.  I am a “Half-Grandmother”.  That actually will not be repeated, in italics or otherwise.

Roan is currently living in time-out.

But back to my mother.  How cool is it that right when she is about to re-marry, she will also be  turning into a Great-Grandmother?  Strange how these titles used to mean things that they don’t really mean anymore.  My mom, to look at her, is a beautiful lively pistol with reddish hair and cute freckles.  Not really what you’d think of as a Great-Grandmother.

She does have a few wrinkles, ones that I must take credit for.  My mother and I had some pretty, hmmmm….how shall I say…..volitile?  Tumultuous?  Tortured?  Let’s just say we had some pretty difficult years.  I was an adolescent in the grips of Erikson’s 5th Stage of Development (oh man do I sound smart or what?  I DID take a psychology classes in college.  This last sentence brought to you courtesy of my unfinished college education.)  The bulk of my teenage angst was aimed at my  mother, who somehow came out of it still loving me.

Though I am still living in time-out for the following reasons:

  1. Language unbecoming of a young woman
  2. Having a party at the house across the street, of which I had been given the responsibility of house-sitting.  My understanding of what that meant was a little different from the expectations of my mother, or the actual out-of-town-home-owners.  Heh.  Ooops.
  3. Torturing my youngest sister.  I would like to now issue an apology not only to her, but to her goldfish who suffered a fate that should have probably landed me in a psych-ward.  Let’s not speak of this again.

As Mother’s Day is right around the bend, I think it’s probably time to wipe these transgressions clean, and just leave it here – I love my mother.  I love her for pulling me around in a wagon when I was a screaming infant in the hospital.  I love her for teaching me to read.  I love her for sewing matching dresses for my dolls and me.  I love her for taking me to finally get my long locks cut in the 7th grade, though the results were um…unfortunate.  I love my mother because I made her cry more times than is fair, and because she still cries when she sees me.

My mother has been many things to me over my life, but the one thing that has never changed about her is that she has always been my no-questions-asked, go-to person when I needed someone to save my day.  That is the thing I most aspire to be with my son.  For that, I say thanks to my mom, and Happy Mother’s Day to her, and all my mama friends out in the world.

Poetry in the Park

Poets

Another field trip under my belt with Roan’s class.  Today we headed to amazing Prospect Park (via school bus and I’m wondering, do they only hire stunt drivers?  I mean, I’m not saying, I’m just saying, and that’s all I’m saying.)  The trip was to get the kids outside, so they could write poems about what their senses were taking in.  Amazingly, Roan’s magical teacher produced a perfectly gorgeous day, and a super-cool rainbow in the sky.

It was a great morning for me.  A sort of break in a lot of mental chatter that’s happening in my head.  There are great big cool and scary and fun and challenging things in store for me in the next little while which I’m under oath not to write about….yet.  But I really do find that being surrounded by these six and seven-year olds, with their mischievous natures and testing boundaries and adoration and love really always just sets my head right.  And hanging with them in the park on this gorgeous day?  Perfection.  To me, this is what perfection looks like:

Sharing poems about rainbows

Writing about a worm he saw, which was cut in half. Still, it's poetry.

Taking it in.

Names Have Been Changed and I Am A Mac

First things first – today is my birthday!  I’ve been treated to a weekend of celebrating and hugs and kisses from my boys.  Anson made me a four-layer cake and Roan picked out some clothing for me.  That poor kid.  He really would like it if I would dress a little more like a stripper.  He wants me to rock high heels and shiny dresses and all he gets are t-shirts, jeans and converse.  Still, he picked out a few tops that are a decided compromise.  Pretty, without being too much.  My kid has style.  Probably got it from his dad.

Looks like a lot of candles, huh? Hmph.

And now, in the spirit of all the times I’ve complained about Big Business – the Insurance Company, the Credit Card Company etc., I have another experience to share.  But let me just say that the main character involved in this story is mortified with what went down, and has asked to remain anonymous.  So.  The six-year-old boy I’m writing about will be called: Mr. Blondie.  Who you think it could be is entirely up to you.

Sunday morning, after I got my coffee and snuggled up to Mr. Blondie and Anson on the couch, they put down their Wii controllers, and said they had something to tell me.  Mr. Blondie’s eyes filled with tears immediately as Anson related to me that Mr. Blondie had bought some Apps on my iPhone while playing on it, unsupervised.  Before you start asking yourself if we, as parents, had been stupid enough to let Mr. Blondie know our iTunes password, the answer is “yes”.  Let’s move on.

So Mr. Blondie had played on the iPhone and purchased some Apps.  The receipt was emailed to Anson, and it turns out he had spent $70.00.  I rubbed my eyes with one hand while trying to figure out how to respond.  Was I mad?  Yep.  At Mr. Blondie?  Yep.  At myself?  Yep.  Ugh.  Mr. Blondie sobbed that he was so sorry, that he didn’t realize he was buying them, that he was so sorry, that he wasn’t trying to be sneaky, and that he was so sorry.  I didn’t quite believe him that he didn’t know he wasn’t buying them, until I looked at the program that the bulk of the money was spent on.  All the purchases were labeled “Fish Bucks” instead of $, so he thought they were play money.  So we arranged a system for Mr. Blondie to earn the money he had spent, through doing chores at home.  His iPhone access has been restricted until it’s paid back in full, and yes, his brilliant parents have changed the password.  I should probably write a book on parenting, what with all my skillz.

As sort of Hail Mary, I sent this email to the iTunes customer service address:

Hi -

My name is Jodi Call.  My son who is six years old, purchased $65.25 worth of apps on my iPhone yesterday, 04/08/10.

Order: XXXXXXX

Invoice: XXXXX

I’m wondering if there’s any way I could reverse these charges?  He found our password (and is now suffering a fate of no computer use) and purchased these without our permission.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

My expectation was to get a form letter in a few days, outlining their policy that these purchases are final.  As they clearly state in their information section.

But instead, within a few hours, I received this email:

Dear Jodi,

Greetings from Apple iTunes Store support! My name is Ashutosh and I’ll be assisting you today. I am sorry to hear your son purchased apps under order number XXXXXX without your permission. I know this can be disheartening for you and I would like to help.

I have reversed the charge for this order. In three to five business days, a credit of $65.25 should be posted to the credit card that appears on the receipt for that purchase.

In the meantime, I strongly recommend you change your account password immediately. Changing the password will help to prevent anyone else from using your iTunes Store account to place orders without your knowledge. To increase the security of your account, choose a password that has at least eight digits and includes both letters and numbers. You can change your password using this website:

http://iforgot.apple.com

Jodi, I hope this helps you resolve the issue. If you have any concerns or queries regarding the same issue, please feel free to write back to me by replying to this email. Have a nice time!

Sincerely,

Ashutosh
iTunes Store Customer Support

Please note: I work from 07:00 AM to 04:00 PM CST from Sunday to Thursday.

Well.  Holy cow.  Not only did The Man get right back to me, he gave me what I asked for, was kind, and offered to help me with other stuff.  So now, I must say that forever more I stand with Justin Long, I am a Mac.  While Mr. Blondie is still fated to be indentured to me until he earns the amount of the purchases back, he feels immeasurably better that the money wasn’t charged, and had actually deleted all the Apps out of utter guilt and shame, even before they were deactivated.  So it’s a happy story, with a lesson learned and no one the worse for wear.  Except the shysters that labeled things Fish Bucks.  Hope they didn’t spend our 70 Fish Bucks all in one place.

My Kid Would NEVER…

I just got home from being a parent chaperone for Roan’s school field trip to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.  What can I say?  I love doing these things because of course I love to be involved in my son’s life, but it’s also a lot of voyeurism on my part.  Most parents think of other people’s kids as potential bad influences or wonder how their little angel is going to withstand the peer pressure on them to misbehave.  I’m no different.  I fall into the trap of thinking that there’s no way my kid would be the one to behave mischievously or encourage others to do so because well, he’s a rule follower, and that’s that.

Rule Follower.

But it’s not actually that simple.  I’m beginning to learn that the kids we write off as “bad” are actually just the ones who unabashedly put themselves out there.  And the kids who have their parents convinced of their impending sainthood are maybe just a wee bit more skillful at hiding their dark side.

I have a friend who recently said to me about one of her daughter’s friends, “I just have to remind myself that she’s a little girl”.  No doubt.  These are kids, learning to read social cues, learning that things have consequences, and not pre-made with filters.  Children are, in short – imperfect.

While we were riding the bus home from the field trip, I was sitting across the aisle from Roan and a few friends, who were laughing hysterically at each other.  They were all having fun, all playing their part in some game.  I thought it was so insanely cute that I got out my camera and started video taping it.  The wild laughter and knee slapping and high fiving was more cuteness than I could almost take.  I was thinking that I’d have to send this cute little video to Roan’s grandparents and friends.

That is.  Until.  I got home and reviewed the video, without the distraction of a wild bus driver and city noise, and found out that this cute song they were singing and laughing at was not actually called, “Mr. Peanut”.  No.  It was not.  Indeed.  Surprisingly, they were laughing at an entirely different thing, which I will not spell out here but if you’ve ever been a six-year-old and thought the word “Penis” was a pretty awesome punchline for pretty much everything….well, hells bells I just spelled it out for you.

So my kid – turns out he can be inappropriate with the best of them.  Not only that – he will do it in front of me, and thinks that I’m deeming it worthy of video taping.  I think we’re going to need to have a little talk tonight.  My biggest challenge will be to not crack up – because while it is totally inappropriate, it is also funny as hell.

It’s Not You, It’s Me. No Wait It’s You! OK Hang On, I Think It’s Me.

Don't Harsh My Groove

There are innumerable things that go into how we feel on any given day.  There’s chemistry happening in our bodies.  There are environmental factors all around us – the sun, the rain, a messy house.  There are days that mark sad and happy occasions.  Sometimes there is just something absolutely unnameable that influences how we feel.  You know those days – where no one can do right by you, including yourself.  Or when you feel like the universe is conspiring in your favor – and no one can do any wrong.

So I was having an “off” day not too long ago.  Couldn’t put my finger on it but I definitely felt an edge.  I was bugged about being late, bugged about not knowing exactly how to navigate to my way to where I was going, bugged that I was being grumpy on such a pretty day.  Roan chose this time to ask me the same question about one million times, (ok ok maybe it was only three.  Could have been two) to which the answer was “No.”  I then snapped before he could push the question out of his mouth out one more time – and said in a calm, quiet but very very stern tone, “Roan.  Stop.  Please.”  And it wasn’t a nice “please” more like a “Bitch, Puh-leeeez“.   Also, not what you would consider a blinding rage, but the words were spoken with the tone that every child instinctively knows means, “I am going to become a very bad mommy if you cross me now.”

And then Roan’s eyes filled with tears.  And then I wanted to crumble into a million mean-mom pieces because I knew: I was totally out of line.  I made quick work of apologizing to him, and told him that I make mistakes!  Surprise!  And this was one of them!  Yay, a Learning Opportunity!  Roan bounced back and was right as rain within 30 seconds.  But I still feel guilty.  And let me clarify – this was around two months ago.

It’s not that I don’t allow myself space to screw up.  I’m self-aware enough to know that I need puh-len-ty of space for screwing up.  I’m a mess a lot of the time.  But I just can usually divert my bad behavior to a better target (Read: my husband Anson.  Read: that’s just real talk.  Read: It’s called marriage.  Read: don’t kid yourself you’re no different.)  When Roan gets the wrong end of my bad mood I just feel well…bad.  Apparently the shelf life on that extends past two months, awesome.

My question to my people is this: when you are having a bad day or you are in a bad mood, how do you differentiate between it being you or it being them?  And if you can figure out that it’s actually yourself, how do you keep it in check?

Ouroboros (And yes, I had to look it up.)

Update: I forgot it was pandering time again.  The Bloggies are open for nominations, and Fat Cyclist has some great suggestions for you.  One of his suggestions is me, for “Best Writing of a Weblog”!  Please click here to get some ideas for nominations, and then go do it.  I know it’s a little complicated, but it really does mean a lot to me and also helps keep the sibling rivalry alive.  (Although, to be fair, it’s not actually all that competitive when Fatty goes around trying to help me.  Sucker.)  Nominations close on Tuesday so puh-leeeeeze do it soon.

Ouroboros

Sure we look fat + cute. But is that powdered meat we're eating?

I was raised in a conservative household, with two devout Mormon parents. It’s not surprising that I considered my upbringing to be strict beyond belief, and cruelly so in my tortured adolescence. I’m aware that in the enlightened state of adulthood, one is expected to look back on their childhood with a new understanding of the motives and techniques of one’s parents but there are still a few things I find wonky.

For instance, there was a spell of time where breakfast was always the same: cracked wheat (milled in our own machine) that was bland as hell and only made it down my hatch because I would get (after begging) a dab of honey. Insult to injury – the side dish was always 1/2 of a grapefruit, sprinkled with a tiny bit of sugar. And the final blow? The milk served to wash it down was not real milk. It was powdered milk, which I don’t even know if it exists still but it probably shouldn’t. Powdered milk aside, this is a breakfast that I’d love to have the time to eat now in the glow of my sophisticated adulthood, but as a kid I really felt that every day started out as a punishment. My poor mother. That’s a lot of work to put into a breakfast for five complaining children who probably didn’t once say, “Thanks for breakfast”.

While we were engaged as a family in the 1-2 TV punch of The Love Boat and Fantasy Island on Saturday nights, we were forbidden to watch Charlie’s Angels and Cheers. We could watch Happy Days, but not Laverne and Shirley (I blame the mysterious, ominous Yiddish chant, “Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!”) Now, I don’t think Farrah Fawcett’s wiggling would have been any more damaging than the “Coochie Coochie!” of Charo or Doctor Adam Bricker’s womanizing, and the fact that Cheers takes place at a bar probably wouldn’t have turned me into an alcoholic. But the parents had their reasons, and I was assured that I would understand them in the future. I have to admit – I’m still looking forward to that future.

Early curfews, withheld permissions to go to parties, denial of super-tight Jordache jeans, rebuffed requests to shave my legs, to wear make-up, to listen to anything other than Donny and Marie or Barry Manilow. Eventually the parents became absorbed into their own problems and while they weren’t looking I sling-shotted to the other side, with blue hair, a pierced nose, a mouthful of Lucky Charms and a Walkman playing a Black Flag; I finally felt that I had broken free of a tyrannical grip, and made the trite promise that I would not, ever ever no never, be a strict parent.

Nintendo World. See? I'm cool.

Yet, here I am.  It’s finally occurring to me that there is truly no way to not be strict, if you’re going to be engaged as a parent at all.  Roan already feels the difference between when I’m a mom (Fun!) and when I’m a parent (Not so much with the fun!)  He gets breakfasts I could only dream of as a kid, but he also is required to eat more greens than I ever was.  He watches inappropriate anime more often than I’d like to admit, but he also reads out loud to me every day, sometimes for hours.  He is required to complete his homework every day, with me pouring over it with him.  He gives me a huffy breath when I enforce my idea of social manners, forcing him to turn the volume down on video games on the subway, as to not drive all the passengers cuckoo with his Alien War, and he gives me the classic eye roll and “whatever” when I deduct minutes off his bedtime for leaving clothes on the floor.

In short, I of course have become my own parents, in my own way.  I have ideas and methods, some of which probably are not all that well thought out.  A few will probably make it into Roan’s first screenplay about his own tortured youth (fingers crossed that my character is played by Johnny Depp!).  But I’m oddly ok with being a strict parent, because my parents were strict – and I couldn’t love them more.  Except maybe for the powdered milk thing.  I would probably love them a little more had they not forced me to drink that.

Career Suggestions for the Unemployable

BooneRoanPixieStick

Too Much Sugar?

“Dad!  An auctioneer!  Auc-tion-eeeeeeeer-ing!!”

These words came out of my nephew Boone’s mouth last night as I arrived at my sister’s house.  Boone was jumping from his bedroom floor to the living room table (we can do these kind of things in our limited-space homes in Brooklyn) and was clearly on white-hot fire about an idea.  I can only guess a conversation was happening prior to my arrival regarding employment and Boone’s dad, Dan.  Maybe a conversation wherein my sister, in her Nelson-Girl style was gently suggesting that Dan start looking for work outside of his entrepreneurial comfort zone.  On a side note, if you’re not married to one of The Nelson Girls, or one of our kind, be just a little grateful.  Because just then….where I said “gently suggesting”?  That actually means we are the bossy bosses of our beleaguered husbands and while they all know it and deal with it in their own ways, each man married to a Nelson girl has a special burden to bear.  Anyway – I can only assume Lori was talking to Dan about him going into the world, in this economy, and getting some work with The Man.

Dan has been more successful in his own business endeavors than anyone I know.  He’s an amazing idea man, and has a brain that comes up with things that even when spoken SLOWLY and LOUDLY to me make no sense, but do make money.  Still, even with Dan’s Midas Touch, his family is suffering the same lean reality as most people…in this economy.  And while Dan is easily one of the most intelligent men I know, he (like Anson!) is a High School Dropout.  This fact is not lost on Boone, who was carefully sculpting ideas for his dad’s next professional styling.

“Auctioneers,” Boone began “only really have to know how to talk.”

“I can do that,” agreed Dan.

“Really fast, though Dad.” Boone cautioned, and then continued on with the hard sell, ”And you’re really good on eBay”

“True.  I’ve been on eBay a lot and can buy almost anything.” Dan honestly seemed to be considering this idea.

“And the best thing is that you don’t have to have a college degree, or even a High School Diploma to be an auctioneer!” Boone was triumphant, if only a little condescending.

It was a beautiful thing, this career advice earnestly being given from a son to his father.  Possibly Dan doesn’t quite quite have the right stuff to make it as an auctioneer, but how lovely that his son can craft dreams for him.  Is there anything your kids are hoping you can be?  Anything you hoped your parents would make the professional jump to be?  I remember lying to friends that my mother was a nurse, and that my father was the King of a small country.  That was around the 1st grade, Roan’s age now.  Dreaming of a nursing-royalty combo isn’t quite as practical as dreaming of auctioneering, but still a dream.  Anyone else?

It’s All a Lovely Blur

FattyJodiCity

Elden + Jodi Brooklyn Promenade

While Roan was at a photo shoot for the new Appaman catalogue (which by the way I have a copy of and it is superfine, with my cute little blondie mugging it up in a very hipper-than-thou way).  Lynn, who is one-half of Appaman mentioned that her family would be leaving town during December, and that if my brother, Mr. Fatty himself, wanted to visit he and his crew could crash at their place.  Let me just explain something to anyone who has never lived in New York.  This offer is the Holy Grail of offers in friendship.  Traveling to NYC is crazy no doubt, but when you add in lodging, it becomes even supercrazier.  Lodging for eight?  Cuckoo.  I texted my brother with the idea, and he jumped on it.

I admit that I hadn’t quite thought it through.  There were  eight of them, three of us, and four of my sister, Lori’s family.  When we would go places together there would be fifteen of us.  Anyone who has been to NYC, particularly during the tourist-laden Holiday season would tell you that’s just crazy talk.  Undaunted, Elden bought about one-million-dollars’ worth of tickets for various Broadway shows.  He informed me they would be in “full tourist mode”, and also asked if he could skip packing for his twin daughters and just have me shop with them for a Winter Wardrobe?  I of course, instinctively knew the basics of the wardrobes would come from H & M, with the high-impact items coming from Appaman (Hey, I’m not only their friend.  I’m a fan!).  Duh.  And I started worrying more about getting around.  What are the chances I can successfully board and exit various subway cars with a crew of fifteen?  I literally had nightmares of my nieces and nephews barreling down the F Train tracks, fingers pressed to the glass.  I also worried about food.  How do you feed fifteen people?  How do you get them out of the door in a reasonable amount of time?  How do you agree upon what to do where to go and when to see things?

Elden/Fatty is in here somewhere.

It was easier than I thought it would be.  The Utah clan was a natural at getting through the turnstiles and onto various subway cars.  They weaved in and out of crowds and stuck together – we never lost anyone – which if you knew how amazingly packed the city was, is totally merit-worthy.  They were happy to eat the delicious street vendor hot dogs, pretzels and knishes.  They smiled at pizza and bagels.  Elden listed all the things we did here, so I won’t repeat it.  I actually don’t recall a few of those activities so it could be that I blacked out parts of the trip.  But only parts.  That’s also merit-worthy.

The thing I walked away with though was the distinct feeling that my brother is happy.  The last few times I’ve seen him, the circumstances were so dire.  This trip was such a treat to see him smiling, joking, laughing, and excited to see new things.  I took Elden and his girlfriend, aptly called “The Runner” on my usual run.  It was the first time I’ve been running with him, and it was awesome.  At one point, Elden uttered the phrase “Alpha Female please slow down”.  Though it was directed at The Runner, it gave me a great big smile because I was next to her, and with my feet being fueled by sibling rivalry, hope for the New Year, and general competitiveness, I’m pretty sure this was my best performance on the six mile loop.

Oh Really? Fatty thinks not.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Mastering the F Train

Staten Island Ferry