Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Not quite farewell but we're getting close

7:40 am
My eyes open and look at the clock. Oh my god, I forgot to set my alarm and I’m supposed to be at work at 8 am. To say that I NEVER do that is a huge understatement. I can’t ever remember being late to work ever for anything. Obviously I had a rough night but whatever…like you never did?

8:52 am
I dash into work with my wet hair in a pony tail and sporting Birkenstocks and a Swiss Army messenger bag on a non casual Friday. Oh, the shame. No one said anything but I got some raised eyebrows and lengthy glances.

9:03 am
Me (picking up phone): Soon to be my former employer, Inc. this is Michelle
Mom: I just wanted to say hello. We’re on our way to the airport.
Me: OK, have a good time on your trip.
Mom: I guess this is it. This is the final countdown. One more week and you’ll be out of there.

I hang up the phone. You know how sometimes when your mind is not completely present where you are physically and chooses to go elsewhere? Well my mind was stuck on my mother’s last words and I’ve had the chorus of an appallingly bad late 80s song running through my head all day since; Europe, The Final Countdown. It doesn’t get much worse than that. No matter what I do I can’t escape it. I’ve put my ipod on and played completely different music. It doesn’t help. It’s taken on a life of its own and fueled my negativity all day. It’s been in the background of countless thoughts running through my mind:

1. Walking down the hall I pass by antagonizing bitchy co-worker. I smile and say “Good morning,” but inside I’m saying one more week and I won’t have to look at that peroxide train wreck with black roots you call hair anymore.

2. I have countless graphic design files for brochures and package labels that I designed and the company has produced on my hard drive. I’m not a graphic designer and this was never my job description. They just kind of got this work out of me as a bonus because I’m that good. So I decide I would enjoy it more if they couldn’t find these after I leave. I burn them on a CD and toss it into a very deep file. I forego moving them to the network. One more week and it won’t matter. Ha Ha.

3. About 3 weeks ago there was a huge scandal in the office. Someone who has yet to be identified was leaving their empty Sweet ‘N Low packets on the kitchen counter instead of throwing them away. Thankfully signs were made and emails were sent out to put an end to this debauchery and all returned to normal. This morning while making my daily green tea I left my empty Sweet ‘N Low packet on the counter instead of throwing it away just to irritate them. Not even twenty minutes later the Sweet ‘N Low police were back out trying to apprehend the culprit. They were unsuccessful. This brought me great joy.

I could go on further but you get the idea. I’m taking off Thursday and Friday to try and salvage some of the vacation time I’m getting screwed out of. Join me in hoping the song in my head will go away soon because if I have to spend my entire four day weekend singing The Final Countdown in my head I’m going to be even more irritable than I usually am.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Why is this weekend different from all other weekends? (a.k.a. The Passover Post)

My mother’s sister is having Passover this year on Saturday night. I’ve chosen not to attend. I have no problem attending a function that my aunt is at somewhere else but I feel that going to her house means that I want to be included in her life and that I want her in my life and I don’t want either of those things. I have no ill will towards her but for numerous reasons I just choose not to associate with her and so rains down the guilt storm from my mother. In her mind I should just go ahead and attend because what’s one night of being somewhere I don’t want to be? She will be there and so will my grandparents who are getting older you know… And it’s important to them and so on. I make a concerted effort to see my grandparents every week and a half to two weeks. I do not feel that I need to sit in a room where I don’t want to be eating dry crackers, bitter herbs, and the turkey my grandmother successfully drains every ounce of moisture out of for every Jewish holiday in order to show them that I love them.

Many see Passover as a time when we deprive ourselves but you know what? It’s not. It’s a celebration of our freedom. We follow the Haggadah (telling of the Maggid or the story) for the Seder in order to arouse questions and answers. This night will be different than the others for me because, for once, I have some answers. I’ve resisted the lure of the better position at my current employer and will be moving on in several weeks. I have not based my decision solely on what my income will be and know that I’ve followed my heart and made the choice that I believe will bring me the most personal satisfaction. I have a plan for the other changes that I’d like to make right now and how I’d like to go about making these changes. While I still continue to question organized religion, and even the existence of the G-d I’m not sure I believe in every single day, I think I can safely say that I’m also at a point where my faith has never been stronger. Spending the evening somewhere that will culminate with three grown children searching for the Afikomen my grandmother will insist on hiding has no relevance to any of this.

My intent is not to mock those who choose to have a traditional Passover Seder or to urge anyone to take a less traditional path but to attest to the fact that faith and observance come in many different forms. That’s the telling of my story and I wish you a Happy Passover with a lot of insightful questions and fruitful answers.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

I'm doing Runway now

Originally uploaded by Meshuggenah.
Of course I'm just kidding. I got this dress in the mail yesterday. It’s the bridesmaid’s dress for my friend’s wedding in New York. My dress is dark purple though. Actually it’s “fig.” I will be wearing a fig strapless bobbinette Vera Wang dress down the aisle. If you know me outside of this blog you know this isn’t me. I’m not the flawless, slim Vera Wang model with shiny hair. I’m the zaftig Jewish girl with big hair who will be praying she doesn’t trip over the fig strapless bobbinette Vera Wang dress as she saunters ever so slowly and carefully down the aisle at Chelsea Piers and tries to stay awake at the after party at The Soho Grand. This all seems so cosmopolitan and chic to me, the girl who occasionally spends the weekend feeding the family catfish ponds in Gasconade County. I bet not many JAPs who grew up in West County can say that, can they? These are the subtle little differences that make me who I am… But I digress…

What’s the one thing I find enticing about getting this dress in the mail yesterday? That’s right! I have to buy a new pair of shoes to go with it. We all know how some shoe shopping can instantly put a smile on a girl’s face. And so it is… I decided to go to St. Louis Mills. I had been there right when it opened a year and half ago and thought I’d give it another chance because I assumed I’d find something different and it’s very close to where I work. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s so disheartening to see this beautiful development in the middle of nowhere (a.k.a. Hazelwood) filled with a few of the usual mall stores for little girls, sketchy mom and pop outfits that look like they’ll be history as soon as their free rent incentive period ends, and so many chain restaurants they needed to start building them on the outparcels to accommodate them all. Half the spaces still seem empty and there’s a minimal amount of people walking around. It looks like a house of cards and one tiny little breeze could take it down at any moment. Needless to say I did not find shoes worthy of the Vera Wang dress there so I got out of there and hit The Galleria on my way home. I got a lovely pair of bronze strappy high heels that look great with the “fig.” Metallics are big this season.


Monday, April 18, 2005

The Weekend After Tax Day

Originally uploaded by Meshuggenah.
No decisions made on the job front as of yet. I've charted out the pros and cons and compiled a list of questions for each party involved. My new favorite phrase is, "I have another offer on the table."

I had a great weekend though. Between Friday evening and Monday morning I did not touch a computer, check my email, or even leave my cell phone turned on. I didn't start out with that intention but by Saturday afternoon I realized that I hadn't done any of those things and decided to keep it up throughout the remainder of the weekend. I'm all about technology but I do think that sometimes it can be both a time waster and a crutch. It amazes me how I'll sit down to check my email and when I look up from the screen two hours has flown by. I'm trying to be proactive and control it. I can't sit by and let it control me. At least not while the weather is this nice.

All this extra time I had over the weekend was well spent on taking a walk in Forest Park with my step brother Isaac, getting drunk, trying that new pizza place in Kirkwood, and exploring some Southern Missouri locales. Isn't Isaac one of the cutest dogs you've ever seen? Look at that face. He's a French bulldog and I know that's the dumbest picture you've ever seen but he's cool despite having posed for that picture. My father's fiancé never had children and obviously she overcompensates with her pets.

Today I took a long lunch and had the Chirashi lunch at Tachibana. Just because it's Monday doesn't mean I can't get out and appreciate the weather and have some sushi, right?

Friday, April 15, 2005

I’ll see your position and raise you a better one.

I have to share my afternoon because my ego is pretty big right now. As I said I resigned from my current place of employment this morning. So this afternoon the two big bosses called me into the office, closed the door, and offered me a completely new higher paid position to stay. I really wasn’t expecting it at all. I have a lot to think about but either way it’s a huge ego boost. The thrill of negotiations, whether it’s about my entire livelihood or a pair of $5 Chinese slippers on Canal Street that I got for $3, gives me a total rush. Really, it’s better than drugs. In the immortal words of Wayne and Garth, “Game On.”

Simple Pleasures

Friday is jeans day at work. Jeans day is my favorite day. Soon it won’t really matter though and everyday will be jeans day because I quit my job this morning. I have some flexibility though and I, quite generously I may add, offered to stay up to four weeks so there won’t be any immediate changes. I’ll give you more on that at a later date.

This weather is amazing. It’s so rare that we actually see spring-like, or even fall-like, weather in St. Louis that I feel it’s mandatory to take advantage of it. That humidity is coming people so don’t get too used to opening those windows. You’ll need the A/C on any second. I got a pedicure and the flip-flops and slides are coming out this weekend. It’s time. I ♥ summer shoes.

I’m very sad that last night was the season finale of PoweR Girls on MTV. Will they be coming back or was this it? Does anyone else love this show? I can’t take my eyes off it. It’s such a train wreck and those girls are so stupid yet so entertaining. I’ve heard comments about how Lizzie is such an idiot. Wake up people. She took her little PR firm and jobs that she was doing anyway and leveraged it into an MTV series. That’s brilliant except that then her clients got to see what went on behind the scenes of their events. The big question in my mind is do these girls really want to be in public relations or was this just their vehicle for celebrity status albeit C list celebrity status? Only time will tell. I know I’m too old to be watching that crap on MTV but I don’t care. Plus if you figure that I watch it on Tivo and MTV is nearly 50% commercials anyway it’s only about 15 minutes a week out of my life. So just let me indulge and get over it.

That’s all I’ve got today. Have a nice weekend. Shabbat Shalom and a very early Shavua Tov to my growing number of religious readers because I probably won’t post over the weekend.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Sibling Rivalry

He’s two and a half years younger than I am. I do have very vague memories of when my mother was pregnant and going to pick them up at the hospital with my father. To say that we were never friends is putting it lightly. I can’t really remember a time during our entire childhood or adolescence when we were nice to each other. The times when we were just civil were few and far between and usually were a direct result of some kind of threat or bribery regarding television, Nintendo, or some other coveted privilege from my mother.

I think the only thing we ever had in common, other than the obvious, is that we both wished to be an only child. I used to think he was switched at birth and that my real brother was floating around somewhere else. If he hated it then I loved it. If he said it then I didn’t. If I went somewhere then he didn’t. If I excelled then he failed. I was neat and tidy and he was messy. I was an honor student and he never turned in homework. Many a game of Super Mario Brothers turned into a fist fight. Sometimes my parents would separate us in the car so they could drive in peace. I had no rules and he had every rule there ever was. I had a car waiting for me when I turned 16 and they didn’t let him get his license until he was 17 ½. When he got sent home from summer camp for buying a hallucinogen from a VW van in Yellowstone Park I thought it was hilarious. When I went through my first bout of teenage girl angst over a guy he mocked me endlessly. I went away to college on the East Coast and he went to a technical school in Phoenix. He was married and divorced by age 22. I’m 29 and I’ve never brought a serious boyfriend home to meet my family. I had built a million dollar company by age 24 and he enlisted in the army after his divorce at 22. I’m 5’6” and he’s 6’4”. I have dark hair, dark eyes, and olive skin and he’s pale with lighter hair and hazel eyes. And so on… The term “polar opposites” seems fitting here.

He got his discharge papers in January. It’s amazing that four years could go by that quickly. In the last four years we’ve reached a new point in our relationship. We can be in the same room when he’s in town and not clash. We can mutually ignore each other or even have polite small talk. In January when he was home we were both at my mother’s house. She left to go out with friends for the evening. We ordered pizza and hung out watching movies while she was gone. When she got home and found out we had done that there were tears in her eyes and she kvelled over it for days.

He made the choice to work as a contractor for an American company in Iraq after the army and left in late January. His reasons are not political. He does the same thing in the same place that he did for the last few years in the army except now he makes about six times as much money. As you know I don’t watch local news and get whatever pertinent national and international news I feel I need to know in the five minutes I spend on the internet every morning but yesterday I happened to be in an office where CNN was on and the breaking news flash read: “U.S. citizen working for a contracting company was kidnapped from a construction site in Baghdad.” My heart skipped a beat and a knot formed in my stomach.

Monday, April 11, 2005


It’s my best friend, my lover, my problem, my biggest hurdle, my enemy, and so much more all at the same time. I’ve been “settling” personally and professionally for quite a while now. I have a new professional opportunity on the horizon. It’s such a difficult decision. My gut says to go for it but my brain says you need to seriously consider it and weigh all of the pros and cons. It’s not glamorous but then I’m not really a glamorous girl. It’s a sure thing but then maybe I should think outside of my self-imposed box and take a chance for once? I’m complacent but not satisfied with where I currently am. The change would take me away from it but would it be the answer? I have no way of knowing unless I try it. What do I have to lose by trying it? I have a lot to lose personally. It involves a lot of people who will always be in my life. People who I can never escape but would never want to escape. Cryptic? Yes. A tough decision? Yes. Am I capable of making the decision right now? I don’t know. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


Originally uploaded by Meshuggenah.
Do you ever go through your music collection and choose something that you never choose to listen to? We all have those CDs that we just can't bare to part with but we never really listen to for whatever reason. Maybe they're sentimental, maybe we just feel like we'll want them one day, or maybe we just like to hoard CDs€ Today I pulled out the original Violent Femmes circa 1983 and just listened to it in its entirety. It's fucking awesome. The range and depth of emotion astounds me. A song can go from entertaining to frantic to heartbreaking in just a few lines. It has a lot of attitude and really holds up. It's worth revisiting. I'm sure you have a copy. If not, I'm sure someone you know does.

Have you revisited anything lately you'd like to share?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Berkshires seemed dream-like on account of that frosting.

Three of my friend’s sorority sisters were already at her house when I arrived on Friday and I quickly realized the five of us would be spending the day together on Saturday. I was glad I had my rain wear on Saturday. To say it poured all day is an understatement. We weaved our way in and out of the stores and stalls on Canal Street in the pouring rain. Same drill in each store. There’s a young Chinese girl in the front. You make eye contact with her and then suddenly you’re being hurried through a little door in the corner into a backroom so packed with so many women you can barely breathe and you find yourself gawking at a large group of knockoff bags that differ only slightly from those at the previous store; Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Fendi, etc. They walkie talkie each other in an operation that’s so covert you’d think they had some kind of security clearance. Fake is fake to me but the fervor that this situation elicits in some women is absolutely mind boggling. Two of the girls made quite a haul. I don’t understand why someone would want a knockoff of a $1200 Louis Vuitton Murakami bag. When you see a $30,000 millionaire at J. Buck’s with one you know it’s not real. She didn’t suddenly jump to the top of the waiting list and spring for one or receive a complementary one after her photo shoot. Sorry for that tangent. No knockoffs for me but I can’t get enough of those beaded slippers in Chinatown. They’re the best thing ever. A few more blocks and we’re sitting in Little Italy and having a nice lunch out of the rain. After lunch I insisted on a stop at Ferrara’s because when you’re right near the best desserts in New York you really need to give in and go for it.

Saturday night was the bachelorette party. The maid of honor planned the party and she did a great job coordinating drinks and dinner at the house for 16 women and had a sex therapist as the entertainment. Sunday was the shower at Ruby Foo’s Uptown. There were over 50 people at the shower, they served a 4 course meal, and it was a beautiful affair. I even got to be the mediator when a brawl broke out amongst some of the other bridesmaids. You have to love a group of New York women in their late twenties. They can’t be accused of being afraid to tell you what they think. By Monday morning it was just the two of us and we were exhausted so we leisurely strolled through the upscale Americana Manhasset shopping area in Long Island and hit the Westbury Century 21 in the afternoon. Nothing wakes you up like the thought of real designer clothing at discount prices!

As it turns out my anxiety over this weekend was all for not. I got to spend some quality time with my friend and even made an interesting new connection. We’ll see where it takes me if anywhere at all. I had a nice time and actually enjoyed *some* of the sorority girls I went to college with. We’re all adults now and that sleepy town in Western Massachusetts, in that little valley in the Berkshires, seems like a lot more than ten miles behind me and I know I have a lot more than ten thousand more to go but I’m on my way.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Catch Bull At Four


Oh I'm on my way I know I am, somewhere not so far from here
All I know is what I feel right now, I feel the power growing in
my hair
Sitting on my own now by myself, everybody's here with me
I don't need to touch your face to know, I don't need to use my
eyes to see
I keep on wondering if I sleep too long, will I always wake up
the same (or so)?
And keep on wondering if I sleep too much, will I even wake up
again or something
Oh I am on my way, I know I am, but times there were when I
thought not
Bleeding half of my soul in bad company, I thank the moon I had
the strength to stop
I'm not making love to anyone's wishes, only for the light I see
'Cause when I am dead and lowered in my grave, that's gonna be
the only thing that's left of
And if I make it to the waterside, will I even find me a boat
(or so)?
And if I make it to the waterside, I'll be sure to write you a
note or something.
Oh I'm on my way, I know I am, somewhere not so far from here
All I know is all I feel right now, I feel the power growing in
my hair
Oh life is like a maze of doors and they all open from the side
you're on
Just keep pushing hard boy, try as you may
You're going to wind up where you started from
You're going to wind up where you started from