Calvin is my spirit animal


It happened.  I did it.  I went out and bought my very first, my very own…blender.  Hamilton Beach, two speed…the most glorious I’ve ever seen.

The thing I love about Blenders, especially this particular personal blender, is the opportunity for endless possibilities.  Like having a car means freedom, having a blender means flavor combinations.  It means smoothies.  It means homemade frappuccinos.  It means frozen alcoholic beverages.  It means…milkshakes.  Pause for a moment, close your eyes, imagine…taste that?  It’s excitement.
If you deem me overenthusiastic then I deem you no fun.
At one point in high school I got so obsessed with making smoothies I considered opening up my own smoothie shop called Smoothie Roo’s instead of going to college.  I guess I dodged a bullet there…though maybe not.  ANYWAYS-
Let me now share with you a few of my favorite blender staples:
1) Bananas
2) Pineapple
3) Frozen fruit: raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and cherries
4) Soy Milk
5) Nonfat Vanilla Greek Yogurt
6) Vanilla & Chocolate Protein Powder (Preferably one that has low carbs and is infused with vitamins, I’d recommend Whey brand)
7) Fruit Juice: whatever you usually drink, but the best are orange or cranberry
8) Edy’s Slow Churn Ice Cream: when it comes to milkshakes, best for smoothies are basic flavors like Vanilla, Chocolate, or Strawberry
9) Sherbet
10) Iced Coffee: personally prepped (best option) or International Delights

Some of my favorite combos:
1) Breakfast of Champions Smoothie: 5 ice cubes, 1 banana, 2 cups soy milk, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1/2 cup chilled coffee
2) Greek Retreat Smoothie: 1 cup greek yogurt, 1 cup frozen mixed fruits (strawberries, raspberries, & blueberries work best), 5 ice cubes, 1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder, dash of sweetener
3) Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie: 1 cup frozen strawberries (fresh work too you’ll just have to use more ice), 2 cups vanilla soy milk, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 5 ice cubes OR 3/4 cup lowfat chocolate ice cream
4) Cherry Good Smoothie: 1 cup frozen cherries, 5 ice cubes, 1 cup sherbet (whatever your flavor preference) & a splash of orange or cranberry juice
5) Trouble in Paradise Smoothie: 1 1/2 cups pineapple, 5 ice cubes, 1/2 cup sherbet, 1/2 cup greek yogurt & a splash of orange or cranberry juice

Do you like my clever names?  I do.  I’ll be smiling to myself when I think about them for the next few days.  You shouldn’t feel sorry for me because I’m so pathetic because I’m quite proud of myself.

It’s garbage day in Queens and it smells like sour milk outside.  It’s July and it’s hot.  It’s a Monday, only I’m not at work like I should be because I took a sick day, only I’m not sick.  Just tired.

In the morning I went to pick up a package from the post office.  I waited in line for half an hour and they had sent my package back.  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath so I wouldn’t get excessively frustrated like I tend to do.  Walking back home down I street I’d never been on before, I realize two things

1)    I love Astoria, and

2)    I have to leave New York.

I’ve been dreaming up exit strategies and googling statistics about other cities.  Mostly things like “cheaper cities than New York” and “city with highest concentration of  non-douchey men.”  All of them seem so far away which is a tempting thought but a bitter reality.  I found that out last year when I moved to Los Angeles.  At this time last year I had packed up my car and driven home.  Four days in the car alone not eating or sleeping, just driving.  My car broke down twice.  Once in Fruita, Colorado, the second somewhere in Iowa.  In the motel rooms I discovered Celebrity Ghost Stories, a glorious gem of a basic cable show that fed my sleep-deprived, stress-ridden state like hot soup on a winter’s day.  I digress.  When I got home I collapsed on the carpet in my living room and flapped my arms and legs as if I were making snow angels.

I’m trying to pretend things are better than they really are today.  It’s easy because I’m not a work, which is currently the biggest cause of strife.  Post-grad life crises and all that.  I have a month until I turn twenty-three and the disappointment caused by my current circumstances is overwhelming, at times even paralyzing.  The mornings are easier than the nights.

But nobody likes a sad girl.  That’s why my beloved Winona Ryder has faded into obscurity after that whole shoplifting debacle.

I’ve been relying heavily on sarcasm and a flimsy sense of humor.

My roommate, Abby, has the day off, too.  We brainstorm things to do.  We land on painting the living room.  We decide on a light orange, very light, like almost a peachy…whatever.  We walk to the Home Depot, 15 blocks in the sweltering heat muttering prayers for a breeze under our breaths.  We pick out the paint, the brushes, the tape, the spackle to fix the holes.  We walk back those 15 blocks with the bags and a gallon of paint each.  We collapse onto the floor in the living room.  If it were carpet instead of hardwood I would flap my arms and legs as if I were making snow angels.

I finish taping off the ceiling when the landlord decides he doesn’t want us to paint.  I assume it’s because he’s conservative and we’re two young women.  It’s like I have a superpower or something; I smell sexism!  I get to a level 7 upset about the wasted money because my problems are always written in dollar signs.  Abby gets to a level 6 upset about not getting our apartment painted and looking nice.  She had a vision of drinking a bottle of white wine in our “orange sherbet” living room at 10 o’clock tonight.  Expectation…reality.  We choose to laugh about it so we don’t cry about it.  About our ugly walls.  About our inability to change them, or anything for that matter.

I say, “I need to be positive so I don’t kill myself.”

She replies, “So dramatic.  Dramatic, dramatic.”

So I go, “Yeah, well.”

We decide to watch a scary movie.  I pick my favorite scary movie, The Orphanage, a Spanish horror film that makes it impossible for me to sleep without a nightlight (yes, I still have one, no, I don’t care that you’re judging me).  While watching it Abby clutches the blanket, the cat.  I have an epiphany…we should have watched a more light-hearted movie.  This was not a rational, well thought-out decision.  This was rash!  Much like the painting.  When the credits roll, Abby looks at me,

“Well, that was sad.  And disturbing.”

I say, “Did you like it?”

She said, “I would have liked it better in a room with orange sherbet walls.”

I laugh, “The real tragedy here isn’t about those dead people, it’s the fact that our walls are not the color of a fruity and delicious frozen treat!”

We go into our separate bedrooms and the reality of returning to work hits me like a Keanu Reeves driven bus.  The unpleasantness of responsibility reattaching itself to my brain cells like little leaches.  I’m dramatic.  Though really, my job is unpleasant.

There are many things wrong here.

It’s true.  I’m in an abusive relationship.  With New York City.  It hurts me.  Physically.  It exhausts me.  It puts me down.  It makes me feel too badly about myself to leave.  But when things are good here, there is nothing better.

Trilogy: Part I – Cut Short

There’s no protocol.  It’s not a typical thing.  When you know someone for a week and they die in a horrible, awful, violent way.  When the guy you’ve been on two dates with gets decapitated in his office building elevator.  He had cigarettes in his shirt pocket so officials determined he must have being going out for a smoke.  All these years trying to quit I rolled my eyes at “smoking kills.”  Apparently I was wrong.

His name was Dan Darcy.  I liked the name.  It’s a good name.  Had a nice ring to it.  When we met waiting for the R train at Lex and 59th and he asked for my phone number I said, “Okay, but only because you’ve got a good name.”  He smiled and took my business card.  I always thought chance meetings on subway platforms only happened in Hollywood movies.  Apparently I was wrong about that, too.  I started doodling his name on my calendar at work like a fourth grader.

We met on a Tuesday, he called me on a Thursday, we went out to lunch on Friday.  Lunch went well, so we went on to have dinner Sunday, then I didn’t hear from him.  I called my sister Lucy on Wednesday and said,

“Well I guess I’m not going to be Mrs. Darcy after all.”

“Jane Austen fucked us.  That cunt.”   Lucy said.  She’s bitter from her divorce.

I shrugged, “I liked him, though.”

She paused for a moment, her struggle for optimism audible, and finally said, “It’s been what, two days?  Maybe he’s busy.”

Turns out he didn’t call me because he was busy being dead.  He died Tuesday at 3PM, almost exactly a week after we had met.

I was sitting on the subway and some woman next to me was reading one of those cheap, trashy New York papers and my eyes flickered over her shoulder to a headline in bold that said, “MAN DECAPITATED IN ELEVATOR ACCIDENT.”  I was intrigued so I kept hovering.  Then I saw it.  His name.  Daniel Darcy.  It said, “The man, Daniel Darcy, 29…”  I gasped. One of those dramatic gasps.

The woman gave me a look and said, “If you’re so interested, here.”  And gave me the paper.

Despite being caught off guard by the news I was still offended by her rudeness, so I snapped back, “I knew him.”

She said, “Oh.  Sorry.”  Then got off at the next stop.

I read the whole article and then proceeded to vomit all over some businessman’s shoes.

When someone you’ve known for less than a week dies, you do a lot of what-if-ing.  What if he didn’t die?  Would we have gotten married?  Would we have had children?  A border collie?  Would we have gotten a house on Long Island?  What if he was going to be the love of my life?  What if he and I didn’t work out?  What if we got divorced?  And then I wrote a bestselling novel documenting our devastating break up?  What if I became a millionaire when my book was adapted into an Academy Award winning film?  Or the Sundance darling?

I’m not completely insane.  Dan Darcy and I probably would have dated for a few months and then fizzled out.  He probably would have gone on to marry some ex-ballerina with a tiny waste and lactose intolerance.  But I’ll never know for sure.  And that’s bothersome.

I followed the story in the paper.  His body (plus head, each sold separately) was sent back to his hometown in Indiana.  That’s where the service was held.  There’s no handbook, no guidelines…should you travel to Indiana for the funeral of someone you knew for a week?  For someone you went on two dates with?  Two good dates?  Should you take off work?  Should you buy a sympathy card for the family you never met that maybe possibly could have one day been your in-laws?  I didn’t.

There were no pictures in the paper.  I had no pictures of him, of us.  I’ll never see his face again.  And to think, I only ever saw it three times.

There is no Kubler-Ross: Abridged.  I know.  I googled.


Not to discredit the loss of a human life, but it almost feels like when you’re a kid and you win a goldfish at a Carnival.  You give it a name (like Goldie if you were a really fucking creative kid like myself) and take it home, set it up in a bowl, feed it little fish flakes and watch it swim around as your parents shake their heads, bite their lips.  A week later, you come down in the morning to discover it floating on top of the yellow water.  You flush it down the toilet and cry about it for the rest of the day.

At dinner that night you ask for a puppy.

It’s an emotional taffy pull.

Well, I’d liken this to an emotional Medieval torture rack.


Dan’s favorite writer was F. Scott Fitzgerald.  His favorite movie was ‘Jaws’.  He used to vacation to Martha’s Vineyard and said he was always a little afraid of the water.  He always kept an eye out for the remains of the Kitner boy.  On our lunch date he ordered a turkey sandwich with American cheese and tomato and on our dinner date he ordered a steak with a baked potato and asparagus.  He kissed me after our dinner date.  His mouth tasted like spearmint and cigarettes.  These are the things I know about Dan Darcy.  Knew about him.

I knew I liked the way he said the word, “right.”  I knew I liked the way he subtly checked his hair in the reflection of my sunglasses thinking I wouldn’t notice.  I liked the potential.  The possibility.

He seemed like a really nice guy.  He didn’t deserve what happened to him.  But I can’t really say, now, can I?


I haven’t experienced a lot of loss in my life.  There was Goldie, of course.  And there was my older half-sister, June.  She hung herself in a garage.  I’d only met her three times when I was a kid.  We lived far away and she didn’t have much of an interest in getting to know me or Lucy.  My mom said it’s because June’s mother poisoned her against us.  Gossip gossip.

 What’s strange is that I never had any what-ifs about June.  I was certain nothing I could have done could have prevented her from offing herself.  I was certain that even if she didn’t we would have never had a relationship.  It was what it was.  I didn’t even cry.  Maybe it was because it was suicide.

I was away at school when it happened.  I went to the library and researched death by hanging.  I read all about what happens to the carotid arties, the jugular veins, I read about the cervical fracture.  Maybe I was coping.  Maybe I was curious.  I put the book back and moved on.

But in the shadow of Dan’s decapitation I’m beginning to worry I’m a magnet for grisly death.  At my office I begin to take the stairs.  It was a freak accident, yes, but who knows?  What if I’m bad luck?  I avoid meeting new people.  I avoid eye contact with strangers.  I beg my family and my friends to drive safely, to look both ways before crossing the street, to use discretion.  Please, I ask.  Please.

The more time that goes by since his death the more the patience of those around me wears thin.   They think I should be over it by now.  They think, “Christ, she only knew him for a week.  It was two dates!”

But what if I never meet anyone else?  Or worse, what if I do, but they die in a freak escalator accident?

Smoking would probably calm my excessive anxiety, but, as we learned earlier, smoking kills.  Apparently.


There’s no protocol.  It’s not a typical thing.  I’m sure it happens but there is no support group.  No Someone-you-just-met-got-decapitated grief counseling.  Lucy says I should see a therapist.  From the divorcee who called Jane Austen a cunt.

It’s just something unfortunate.  I suppose one day the what-ifs will die down.  Pop into my head less frequently.  Then maybe not for months at a time.  Then maybe not at all.  Maybe one day I won’t think about it anymore.  Maybe one day I’ll forget.

I don’t know.

The absolute worst thing someone said to me was, “Everything happens for a reason.” I don’t think there’s any reason for someone to get their head cut off on a Tuesday at 3 PM.  Especially someone I’d been on two whole dates with. Good dates.

If anything, it’s just made me realize life is short.  And sometimes shitty.  And that’s just it.  That’ just life.

So savor your good dates.

On Traveling to Ireland with your family:

~On United Flight 22 nonstop service to Dublin sit next to a cute boy around your age.  Immediately get flustered; unprepared for this.  Trip over your words.  When he asks you what kind of music you listen to, you forget.  Spit out, “you know, like The Rolling Stones.”  Hate yourself.  Both of your extended families will surround you on the plane complicating attempts at flirtation.  Joke about the mysterious socks on the floor in front of your seat.  About the turbulence and Tom Hanks in Cast Away.  He’ll say he’s a nerd, you can’t see it, you think he’s perfect.  He’ll tell you a little later he likes birds while he’s showing you photographs he’s taken.  This is pretty nerdy but you find it endearing.  Fall asleep and don’t pull away when his leg touches yours.  Wonder what it’d be like joining the mile high club with him.  Leaving the plane, he won’t ask for your number.  Be too shy to give it to him so you can torture yourself for the rest of the vacation (/your life) about it.

~When you rent the car from Hertz, do NOT rely on the GPS.  Driving overseas is backwards enough.  Sit in the back, let the grown-ups drive, keep a map on your lap, and only speak when sure.  Everyone over forty will be excessively irritable over the GPS debacle.  Give the GPS a name for a more satisfying effect when cursing at it ie: Jill you dumb slut it was a left!  Just follow the map and keep squinting to see signs.  There are an abundance of cyclists in Ireland.  There will be tapestries of profanity woven in honor of these cyclists.  Go around them only not on a hill or a curve.  Keep a bottle of water in the front seat and granola bars in the back.  Don’t sleep.  Stay awake and look out of the window at the fog rolling over everything, the gray consuming green.

When encountering tour busses coming down the other side of the road, do your best to mask your terror.  The driver can see your face in the rearview and it doesn’t help.

~While heading south out of Dublin stop in Bray.  The beach is more stone than sand.  Stick your hands in the Irish Sea no matter how cold.  Collect stones on the beach and put them in your pockets before spotting the sign that tells you specifically not to do so.  Laugh about this with your family for the rest of the trip.  Brand yourselves rebels.  Throw a penny into the rising tide and make a wish.  It’s stupid but that’s okay.  Look for signs of it being granted.

In a church in Cork say a prayer.  Start with something like, ah-ahem, “Dear God, lately I’ve been having my doubts, well actually, I don’t really know if I believe in you…” realize it’s not the best foot to start off on. Proceed regardless.  End with, “I try so hard to be good but sometimes I just need help.  I just need some help.”  The prayers, the signs (which you always choose see when you’re looking for them), and the wishes…they all serve a sole purpose.  To feel as though God, the Universe, whatever…that it’s out there listening…and that it’s on your side.

At dinner that night think of a Jesus joke and scribble it on a napkin.  “I don’t know about Jesus, but I like any man who can turn water into wine.”  Wonder if anyone’s ever thought of it before.  Probably.

~Kiss the Blarney stone.  Take picture pretending to jump off the Cliffs of Moher. Get a Claddaugh ring because you think the legend is sweet and wear it to show your heart is open.  Stop on every winding road to take pictures of the views.  Views that can never been done justice, not even by the human eye.  Lose track of the days.  Feel homesick for New York City and everything there but your life.  Remind yourself to savor each and every moment.  You’ll never get it back.  You may never return to Ireland.  Definitely not to the exact spot you’re in right this second.  Not ever again.  Realize that’s why people do it.  That’s why they pair off, get married, all of it; to share the lonely truths of the temporary with someone they hope is permanent.

Promise yourself to accept the temporary.  Learn to value it above all else.  Because that is really only what is promised in life.  That all is temporary.  Have this epiphany while in line at the Shannon Airport, US customs.

~On the flight home, watch Casablanca.  Just because.