i saw this commercial one morning last week, and then again today. it's amazing, but i literally have to turn away from the TV or mute it, otherwise i'll wind up in tears. i wish so much that i had the time and resources to adopt a dog from a shelter, but i just don't right now. if anyone out there can pick up my slack, however, please do. check out Pedigree for information on how to adopt a dog, and why you should.
(sorry for the PSA, but come on - the commercial...)
it's frickin' cold, man. but i decided it's easier to be cold in the city. sure, i have to walk several blocks to the subway, but at least i'm moving, generating heat. i think that's better than having to sit in a frigid car until it warms up, which must take forever when it's 9 degrees Fahrenheit. anyway...
it's a hard knock (kneed) life i've had troubled knees for years. it's part genetic, part clumsiness. last October, i fell on my knees twice in one week - extremely hard - due to my body always being a few steps ahead of my brain. i had angry bruises for many weeks. oof. and all the running has wreaked a little havoc, too. so i finally got them checked out this week, since i wanted to start training for a half-marathon. turns out my knee caps are funky. i'm knock-kneed, apparently born that way. the doc said some people just aren't meant to run marathons, and i may be one of those people. rats. but if not running 13.2 miles means less pain and no knee replacement surgery when i'm 60, i think i'm cool with that. and, hey - now i get to add knock-kneed to my resume...
the apex of dorkiness i actually posted a question on Meredith Viera's blog earlier this week. and guess what? she responded this morning. i admit, i got a little excited. it takes me back to the days when i used to get a kick of out my Letters to the Editor appearing in all sorts of magazines - Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, Oprah. and now Meredith Viera. wow. i can't believe i'm actually writing this for the world to see.
the state of the union i don't know why i watched it, but i did. i found another reason to love DVR, though. i recorded the speech, and then fast-forwarded through all of the applause breaks (62 of them, Brian Williams reported afterward). i must have saved a whole 10 minutes of my life right there. and thank goodness i got something out of it, because the speech sucked. the best part was Wesley Autrey getting up, blowing kisses to the crowd, pointing at the President and mouthing, "you're the man." just what the dreary event needed - a little New York oomph.
huh. i guess i don't have many complaints today. lucky you. happy weekend!
the ridiculous thing is, until i opened the paper yesterday afternoon i hadn't even realized Hillary Clinton had announced her plans to run for President in 2008. i had a busy day on Saturday, was nowhere near the internet or any TV news, and i missed it. but i caught up on all the details this morning via the newspaper on my way to work. and the one question i kept seeing again and again, the one that no one can seem to let go of - and that makes absolutely no sense to me - is: "is the country ready for a female president?"
a better question, in my opinion, is "why wouldn't we be ready?" what does "not ready" even mean? what more could possibly have to happen in this country, in this world, to prove that it's time to mix things up a little? when, do you suppose, will we be ready, if not now, if not this upcoming election?
it's one thing if you don't like Clinton as a politician, if you disagree with her values, opinions, her ideas. everyone is entitled to his or her vote. but being afraid of change is a lame excuse. the lamest excuse, in fact. for pete's sake, there are women doing everything else now - surgeons, CEOs, professors, pilots, scientists, stock brokers, sports reporters, cops, firefighters, astronauts, architects, et cetera - why not president?
the same goes for Barack Obama. some people think the country might not be ready for a black president. again, what needs to happen for us to be ready? and why does skin color matter more than his vision for America's future anway? why does the fact that Hillary Clinton has ovaries hurt her chances of sitting in the Oval Office?
why are people so damn scared? i really would like someone to explain it to me, because it seems to me that people should be extremely scared about what's happening right now, rather than about making changes in the future.
for a four day week, this one sure felt long. among the highlights: i hope you Romanians spend it wisely! so my week got off to a smashing start. first thing Tuesday morning i realized my entire checking account had been wiped out, courtesy of some nameless, faceless moron who'd somehow hacked his way (yeah, i'm assuming it was a dude) to my debit card info, after which he went crazy at WesternUnion.com. several phone calls later, i found out that multiple attempts had been made to transfer money - my precious, hard-earned money - to Romania. wonderful. thankfully, my bank has been incredibly helpful and the situation is on its way to being corrected, but i'm starting to think that old nutbag Ted Kaczynski had a point about technology. i don't click on suspicious e-mails, i'm not careless with my account information, i check my bank and credit card statements regularly. and still, somehow, i'm an easy target.
Idol meanness i keep seeing headlines that ask the question: Has American Idol gone too far? and while i think it's just the media trying to stir the pot, i feel compelled to answer anyway: hell no. if the meanness factor has gone up at all since last season (and i'm not sure that it has) it's only because 1) paula is too wasted to pipe in with her cheesy, glowing, way off-base feedback, and 2) these judges have sat through a bazillion bad auditions by now. wouldn't you be cranky? it's hard enough sometimes getting through two hours of clips! and besides, by now the auditioners should know what they're in for. unless they're like that guy with no teeth and all that red hair who'd never really watched Idol, they should expect to be rejected harshly if they can't sing. (but thank god most of them don't expect it, because wow it makes for great TV.)
work it out i got into a bit of a scuffle at the gym last weekend, and in all honesty i've been rattled ever since. it's too complicated to fully explain here, but the short version is that the class i take every Saturday morning (or attempt to) is full of cliques. i'm not even kidding. there are are at least three little groups who have banded together and turned the class into a bastion of lawlessness. one or two of them get to the studio super early and reserve spots for their cohorts. this is unfair to the rest of us who get there super early as well, but are denied a those spots (and, usually, mats and weights). it's against the gym's policy to save places for friends, but this doesn't stop any of them. i made a point to get there even earlier last Saturday, only to find most of the studio was set up - no bodies, mind you, just equipment - and i was so fed up, i went off a little bit on one of the women. she's clearly one of the ringleaders, but i didn't care. unfortunately, my ranting didn't make a bit of difference, as she and her minions just stared at me like i was ridiculous and i might as well have been a chubby sixth grader all over again. ultimately i wound up not getting a spot in the class at all, which really really irked me. of course i fired off a couple letters to the gym this week, and i am going back to class tomorrow morning, and taking the class no matter what. i'll keep my mouth shut this time, regardless if there are rules being broken. they know who they are now, and they know what they've done.
how many days 'til spring? i'm not wishing my life away here, but 19 days into January and i've had enough. the snow was pretty this morning, but already i'm tired of coats and scarves and hat hair. even everyone on the subway in the mornings look more miserable than usual. there's nothing really to look forward to this time of year. the Super Bowl? ehh. Valentine's Day? yeah right. i suppose i shouldn't be complaining, though, considering what's going on in California and Texas and Oklahoma. at least we expect this kind of weather here.
on that chilly note, happy friday. stay warm & toasty, wherever you are.
no, really. i've always been a little obsessed with reading (a friend of mine once remarked that if a piece of paper was stuck to the street in the middle of a freeway, i'd still stop to read it) but it's starting to become a bit of a problem. the mail guy at work is delivering Amazon boxes to my desk a few times a week, and i think people are starting to notice. they're beginning to stare and whisper. i've started hiding my books so they don't see just how many...
OK, not really. but i'm serious about my addiction. i decided this year to read a lot of different kinds of books. for a long time i was in a rut, reading only contemporary fiction. i felt justified in my narrow-mindedness, because i considered it research. in order to write something relevant, i needed to pay attention to what was being published now. that all went out the window when i finally got around to reading Pride and Prejudice. it was a bumpy transition to the 19th century, but once i got going i was transfixed, transformed, transported. and i knew i had to broaden my reading horizons - chase my reading rainbow, if you will.
only problem is, my reading list for this year (and yes, i do create reading lists for myself - are you at all surprised?) is growing out of control. this is what i have so far:
- Behind the Scenes at the Museum, by Kate Atkinson (currently reading & loving) - Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl - My Antonia, by Willa Cather - Where is the Mango Princess, by Cathy Crimmins - The View from Castle Rock, by Alice Munro - Strange but True, by John Searles - Stumbling on Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert - The Freedom Writers Diary - The Center of Everything, by Laura Moriarity - Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte - Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri - One Good Turn, by Kate Atkinson - Blowing my Cover, by Lindsay Moran - Forever in Blue, by Ann Brashares (shut up, i read all the others) - Only Child, by Daphne Unviller and Deborah Siegel - The Orange Blossom Special, by Betsy Carter - The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway - Summer, by Edith Wharton
and that's just what i have so far. i know it will continue to grow. i asked for a calendar for Christmas, one of those day-by-day deals, designed for "book-lovers." every day features another amazing-sounding novel or memoir or short story collection. combined with my insatiable appetite for fresh bindings and the smell of new pages, that's bad news. how can i resist? what have i gotten myself into?
obviously i know there are worse problems to have than a reading list. i just need to remember to pace myself, and that i'm not solely responsible for keeping Amazon in business. off the subject, if you've, you know, read anything lately that you loved or think i should check out, e-mail me the title. come on, i won't tell anyone. just this once...
and this is why i can't wait: Paula Abdul is insane. sure, the auditions are crazy and i even get into the actual competition. but the biggest reason i tune in? to see Paula's continuous displays of asinine behavior (aka, cracked-out drunkenness). there were some unforgettable moments last season, but if this interview is any indication, there is much better stuff in store this year.
i have to assume there are other people out there like me who tune into see what Crazy Paula is up to, otherwise wouldn't Fox be insisting she get some help? if she's sober, maybe the ratings go down. i do feel bad for her. if i had video of myself dancing with and singing with and making out with a cartoon cat, i'd probably have some substance abuse issues, too.
it finally got cold here in the Northeast this week, but i'm not complaining about it. i promise.
i hate barry bonds and i hate the MLB for letting him get away with everything he's getting away with. i hope there are a hundred asterisks next to his name in the history books, referring to all the various slimy and amoral things he's doing on his way to break Hank Aaron's record. or maybe we'll luck out and he'll somehow be prevented from breaking the record. fingers crossed.
did you see the clip of Tigger supposedly hitting that kid in Disney World? puh-leeze. first of all, chances are the guy inside the fur was just a dumb college kid. second of all, the kid clearly instigated the whole thing. most importantly - Tigger didn't even hit him! it was a playful sort of thing. god, what's wrong with people? they should have seen what Buzz and Woody (and the Grinch at Universal) did to Mikey when we were trying to pose for pictures together. they literally shoved him out of the way! it was funny. emphasis on fun. which is what vacations are supposed to be.
i saw an undercover arrest today on the sidewalk when i went to get lunch. super-cool. no idea what it was about, but there were three cops, in street clothes with NYPD badges hanging around their necks, restraining this rather slender, upset looking older man. that's new york for you - you never know what kind of exciting thing you'll see. of course, last week i saw a large pile of human poo on the platform of the 2nd Ave subway station. guess you take the good with the bad.
i know i said i was trying to stay away from celebrity gossip, but this i can't resist: Marilyn Manson is dating Evan Rachel Wood. i can't emphasize this enough: gross! i used to like her! she was so good on Once & Again and in all those indie movies. what is this about? i would love for someone to explain to me the appeal of Marilyn Manson. how could you go on a date with a guy who wears more lipstick than you do? finally, on a much nicer note, last night i was walking down my block on my way back from the gym. i spotted an adorable little girl on her stoop, waiting for her mom to open their front door. i saw her watching me, so i smiled a little and then she smiled a little, and then i smiled bigger as i passed by. i winked and kept walking and heard her say to her mom, excitedly, "that lady just smiled at me!" once i got over the horror of being called a lady, i felt all warm and fuzzy inside. what a dork.
OK, i have a confession: i'm a wee bit obsessed with the former WB show Everwood. i blame my WB (now CW) habit on my old job at Seventeen. i wasn't exactly teenager-ish when i was a teenager, so i sort of got a do-over the four years i spent there immersed in boy advice and prom dresses and embarrassing period stories and, of course, teen TV. hey, i was just doing my job.
anyway, i got hooked on Everwood a few years ago, not long after it debuted. i'm telling you, it was an amazing show. it was a simple enough premise - self-obsessed egomaniac New York brain surgeon Andy Brown loses wife he neglected in rainy-night car accident. with a new perspective on the important things, he quits his cushy job, packs up his city life and moves his moody son and tomboy daughter to Everwood, Colorado to start over. all sorts of great storylines ensue. much to my disappointment, the show got cancelled last season, when the WB merged with UPN. it had a sliver of a chance of surviving until "they" decided to un-cancel the barfy 7th Heaven and waste a precious time slot. (idiots.) but, while Everwood is officially over, the Family Channel has been airing episodes nightly since last fall, starting with the pilot. needless to say, my DVR has been working overtime and i've been having mini Everwood marathons whenever my schedule will allow. (it's gotten so bad that i've actually dreamt about Treat Williams, who plays Andy, once or twice - even worse, i've enjoyed the dreams!)
OK, so i've established that i love the show. switching gears for a second, i also established last week that i hate the month of January because of what it does to my gym. the crowds and annoying-ness hasn't gotten any better this week - these buggers are extra-resolved this year, apparently. anyway, last night as i was getting my membership card scanned, i spotted an available elliptical machine - one of the good ones. i practically ran into the locker room and was trying to do an extra speedy change-of-clothes when a rather tall, glam-looking blond girl walked in. she had on glasses and pumps and i figured she was just another cube-dweller, there for her after-work workout. she too seemed to be rushing, and i got it in my head that she'd spotted the same elliptical machine. oh no, honey, i snapped inwardly. don't you even try. that's mine-all-mine. i was here first! i pulled on my workout gear as fast as i could, all the while keeping tabs on her out of the corner of my eye. i closed up my locker first (yes!) and scooted over to a bathroom stall to pee. i almost skipped it, thinking i'd work out on a full bladder if it meant i'd get a good machine, but thank god i didn't - i realized in the stall that in my haste, i'd put my shorts on backwards. (brilliant.)
after doing a quick switcheroo, i emerged to wash my hands. of course Ms. Speedy-Workout-Pants was there washing her hands, too. i glared at her for a second and then it hit me - she was no cube-dweller. she was the actress who played Madison on Everwood! i stared at her for a second (definitely a beat or two longer than anyone should stare at anyone in a locker room) just to make sure, and she gave me a what-are-you-looking-at look and took off, while i stood there trying not to burst out laughing.
i looked for her (as inconspicuously as possible) as i walked to my elliptical machine (which was still free!) but she'd seemingly vanished. it's probably just as well, considering i may have accidentally blurted out, "so just how incredible is Andy Brown in real life?" and that would just be horrifying. but what a funny coincidence, right? only in New York. and, i guess, in Everwood.
it's a super-slow day at work, so i've been doing some, ahem, important research online. i just-just found this lovely quote from Angelina Jolie. go. read it.
is she kidding? she has less inclination to feel for her own flesh and blood? how loathsome! did she not realize Shiloh would be born privileged when she was mating with Brad-freaking-Pitt? hey, Angelina, guess what? you're, like, 31 and you still don't have a personality! i'm not even going to comment on the "blob" reference. at this rate, Tom and Katie's kid may wind up better adjusted than Shiloh. good god.
i made a silent resolution this year to read less crap about Hollywood, and so far i've failed miserably. but i think this has renewed my resolve. guh.
so i've been 30 for a whole month now, and it's painfully apparent that all my counting down and anxiousness last year was sort of ridiculous. i think i expected to mourn my 20s, to regret not doing more, to feel some sense of loss. in fact, i feel a tad bit liberated. it's true, what they say: you stop caring so much in your 30s. or, rather, you stop caring so much about stupid things in your 30s. and lemme tell ya, that feels pretty darn nice.
last weekend i took advantage of having zero social plans and decided to do a little cleaning out and organizing. my desk, dresser, closet, etc in desperate need. along the way, i found something i'd clipped out years ago that wound up shoved in a box of mementos. it was a list of ways to be happy, by Robert Louis Stevenson. obviously he had written them well over 100 years ago, but i was struck by how simple-yet-brilliant (not to mention completely applicable) they still are today. and i felt compelled to share them here:
make up your mind to be happy. learn to find pleasure in the simple things.
make the best of your circumstances. no one has everything, and everyone has something of sorrow intermingled with gladness of life. the trick is to make the laughter outweigh the tears.
don't take yourself too seriously. don't think that somehow you should be protected from misfortune that befalls other people.
you can't please everybody. don't let criticism worry you.
don't let your neighbor set your standards. be yourself.
do the things you enjoy doing, but stay out of debt.
never borrow trouble. imaginary things are harder to bear than real ones.
since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish jealousy, enmity, grudges. avoid people who make you unhappy.
have many interests. if you can't travel, read about new places.
don't hold postmortems. don't spend your time brooding over sorrows or mistakes. don't be the one who never gets over things.
do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.
keep busy at something. a busy person never has time to be unhappy.
perhaps i'm showing my nerdiness here, or maybe i'm trying to channel Oprah, but i'm a little obsessed with this list. the funny thing is, it sort of reads like a what-i-learned-in-my-2os. i think, without even realizing it, i've been trying to put each of these "instructions" into practice lately. i think i may have even been a little successful.
but - because i am, after all, only a month into 30 - i've already re-posted it up on the bulletin board in my apartment. i may a little be older and wiser now, but there's always room for improvement.
it's that time again - new year, new opinions. dig in...
greatest american hero OK, so of course i think that Wesley Autrey, the guy who jumped onto the subway tracks to save the ill 20-year old film student, did an incredible thing. he truly saved a life. he showed courage. yet, i can't help thinking he showed a little carelessness, too. he had his two little girls with him, on the platform, and they witnessed the whole thing. they had no idea for a while if their dad was dead or alive. isn't that a little traumatic for a 6-year old and a 4-year old? didn't he think about what would have happened to them if he'd died, which, in fact, he almost did? maybe what's really bothering me about this whole thing is all the fuss being made. Donald Trump is throwing money at him, he's a guest on Letterman - they're even going to Disney World! it just seems to me that helping your fellow citizens - in times of distress, in any situation - should be the norm. it should be expected. and blowing an act of bravery like this so much out of proportion taints it a little, sends the wrong message. like Mikey said last night, don't be surprised if a couple of idiots stage something similar, just to get Trump to toss $10K their way, just to see their name in lights.
step away from the elliptical machine i thought about writing an entire entry about this subject earlier in the week, but worried it might be unfair. then the Daily News did a whole feature about it and i felt vindicated. to all the lose-weight-get-in-shape resolutioners out there: good for you. congratulations. i really, really hope you're successful. but please, stay out of my gym. i dread the month of January, solely because i know i will be waiting in line for the elliptical machine that is absolutely free the other four-days-a-week, 11-months-of-the-year i show up. the locker room will be packed with women idly chatting, snipping tags off their new workout gear, not bothering to use locks (last night i literally tried eight lockers before i found one that was empty - i almost wanted to steal someone's stuff just to teach them a lesson!), leaving their used towels everywhere. perhaps i'm easily irritable, but it's like a bunch of strangers busting into your house and trashing it. on Tuesday night, my gym was so busy i had to settle for a painfully outdated machine in the corner. and i got stuck next to a girl who was clearly starting to develop the flu. i was sneezed on and coughed at for 30 minutes straight. arg. i wish there were special gyms that are only open in January. all the newbies - the resolutioners - could go there while the rest of us who drag our rear ends to the gym all year long could be left in peace.
maybe i'll save it just a little longer is there anyone else out there who gets as psychotic as i do about gift cards? i received quite a few for Christmas this year, and while i am thrilled about all of them, i have to admit i have a good amount of anxiety over using them. it defies logic (which is true of so many things i do). during the year, i rarely hesitate to put out cash for something i need - or, more often, want. but put a gift card in my hand and i'll hold onto it with a death grip. i will hem and haw and analyze and debate for months over what to buy. my father got three gift cards for Christmas and spent all of them within three days. me, i still have credits on cards i got last year. and i know, i know - after a while, most cards start penalizing you for not spending them. still, i resist. i keep waiting, believing the perfect item will eventually present itself and i'll be happy i held onto that gift card. why?!? am i alone in this? (maybe i should discuss it with my therapist...)
buh-bye, freakishly tall angry guy i guess if the Yankees weren't going to trade A-Rod away this off-season, the next best trade i could hope for is Randy Johnson. and i got my wish. the Big Unit will be on his way back to Arizona very soon, and i couldn't be happier about it. he never fit in here, and i gladly welcome some young blood in exchange for that old crankpot with the balky back. i have to give credit where credit is due, however: Randy's locker was the most entertaining in the clubhouse when my dad and i took the Yankee Stadium tour. whether it was a joke or not, let's just say his nickname suddenly made sense to me...
today is the day most people drag themselves back to work, officially start their new year's diets, and/or delve into the winter doldrums. but this date has a different significance for me, especially this year. today marks 10 years since my Grandpa Brady passed away, and i miss him more each year.
his name was Harry, and he was a true character. i think i miss him so much because i only really got to know him the last five or six years of his life. of course he'd been around my entire life, but after my Grandma passed away we spent a lot more time together. he moved into a little house in a retirement community by the shore, and we visited him often. he played golf there, and volunteered at the community newspaper, and became good friends with his widowed next door neighbor, Claire. he was as big a Yankee fan as i am now, read the New York Daily News from cover to cover, always had a dish of Peanut M&Ms on his coffee table, and his favorite restaurant was Old Country Buffet.
the best part about him was his sense of humor. he is where the infamous Brady Humor began, a mix of cornball and smart-ass and utter predictability. any time i sneezed he'd say, "God bless you if you're Catholic." when anyone asked him how he was doing he'd reply, "everyone i can and the easy ones twice." one particular zinger always sticks out in my memory. not long after i got my driver's license, he and my father were my passengers on a mundane errand. i was stopped at a stop sign, carefully looking both ways. after a few seconds of this, Grandpa piped up from the backseat, "what do you have, X-Ray vision?" he thought he was hilarious. and he was. every time i stop at that corner, i think of him.
he got terminal cancer not long after his 75th birthday and was in hospice care at our house for a month or two until he died. i was there, home from college on winter break, when it was time to say goodbye. it was incredibly hard, watching him slowly lose strength, and eventually pass away. but i'm always so grateful i was there, too. i'm so grateful for all the time i did have to get to know him, and even though my eyes still well up when i think he won't be at my wedding someday, that my children won't know their Great-Grandpa Harry, i still feel such a connection to him and i cherish that. whether it's when i use one of his silly jokes, or when i'm obsessing over the Yankees, or when my dad "pulls a Harry" as my mom and i call it, unknowingly invoking one of my grandfather's gestures or quirks, i know that - at least in spirit - he's still around. and i'm sure he'd agree that if the world needs anything, it's more Brady spirit.
i was born in december of 1976 via c-section. my father didn't know i'd been born until a few hours afterward. i asked him once what he was thinking all that time. "i was hoping your mother had had a healthy baby," he told me. "but if not, i was hoping she'd had an irish setter puppy." i have a good deal of his DNA. that says everything about me.