Monday, February 28, 2005

The Best-Dressed List

Well, after a trying day at my mother's, in which the aide dropped said mother on the floor while attempting to put her in her wheelchair, I came home and succumbed to the mindless Oscar telecast. Chris Rock was hosting and I was eager for a good laugh.

Alas, there weren't many laughs to be had. Rock's riff on Bush had me rolling on the floor, but that was it. In fact, we didn't see very much of him after the opening monologue. And this business of having winners accept their awards from the audience! Pathetic!

Salma Hayek looked great. So did Virginia Madsen, Halle Berry, Cate Blanchett, and Kate Winslet. Scarlett Johannsen looked out of her league, but that's what she gets for all those stupid comments she made last year about "older actresses." The older actresses blew her away, each and every one of them, with the possible exception of Melanie Griffith (Note to Mel: No more surgery, please. Please!).

I really admired Gwenyth Paltrow's response to a fawning Katie Couric, who asked how she managed to "squeeze into that dress" so soon after having a baby.

"I'm wearing a girdle," she said.

Ten points for Paltrow.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Paris Hilton Must Be Stopped

You read about how celebrities' lives are disrupted by fame. They moan about how they can't go to supermarkets without having their pictures taken, their sexual activities are captured on film (by themselves) and then disseminated through the media, and so on.

But my pity for these people is wearing thin. I would be delighted, for instance, if I never had to see another photo of Jennifer Lopez as long as I live. You can't turn on the television without being assaulted by Lindsay Lohan and her opinions on weight loss, partying, or her new cell phone.

You know a celebrity has crossed the line when she has the audacity to show up in dreams, as Paris Hilton did in mine last night. I can't even escape Paris Hilton in the safety and comfort of my own bed (and, no, I do not have a television in my room!).

Ratings for the recent Golden Globe telecast were down markedly. New York Times writer Frank Rich attributes this to the 5- or 7-second broadcasting delay (perhaps assuming that viewers would miss something like the hee-larious Jack Nicholson 'mooning' of several years ago), but I attribute it to something else: celebrity overload.

You're boring! Be gone. All of you!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Please Excuse the Sad Typo

Just noticed an inexcusable typo in the "Why I Hate Wal-Mart" post.


(Near) Death and Taxes

While I was at Mom and Dad's over the weekend, I picked up the current issue of Harper's and learned that Wal-Mart employees cost the US Government $2,500,000,000.00 in public assistance. So much for the great opportunities the family-friendly company brags about in its TV ads.

The bishop visited Mommy on Saturday. She was lucid and enjoyed seeing him. She slept most of the weekend, although my brother made her laugh out loud at one point. He keeps putting on music by bands with names like "Morbid Angel" to get a rise out of her. The doctor has put her on Ritalin, so she's a bit more alert lately.

Every now and then, though, she floats into her own world. She said to me yesterday, "So, what do you think of my family?" I told her I was her daughter, and she looked at me as if I came off a spaceship. But, earlier, when I crept through her room in the dark to get to the bathroom, she called out to me by name.

I left around 12:30 yesterday and got the train out to Merrick to meet Peter. We went to the accountant and had our taxes done. We expect a decent refund this year, thank God. Then we went across the street to a Communion dress store to see if we could find something for Child Two.

The store was jammed! Most of the dresses were dripping with sequins and fake seed pearls, so we left empty-handed. When Child One made her First Communion, my mother and shopped for the dress together and took the girls out to lunch afterwards.

I did a Google search for Communion dresses this morning and came up with something Child Two, Peter, and I like. It's pretty but simple.

Let's just hope it lives up to the picture

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Why I Hate Wal-Mart

1. Everybody who works there acts as if they're being booked for murder.

2. Everybody who shops their looks down on their luck.

3. Shopping there makes me feel down on my luck.

4. The company's exploitation of its employees and vendors makes me feel like I need to go to confession after I buy something there.

My mother said she'd drop dead before she stepped foot in a Wal-Mart store, and it appears she was right. I managed to stay out of our local store for over three months until last week when I returned to buy a specific pressed powder I have been unable to find anywhere else.

I discovered that Wal-Mart no longer carries this powder, giving me one less reason to shop there.

My amazing friend, V, and I went back yesterday to buy pet food. Yes, I know I can buy pet food anywhere, but I also wanted a bottle of Africa's Best hair and skin oil for my winter-dry skin and hair (works wonders, People, and it contains no mineral oil!). Like the pressed powder, I haven't been able to find it anywhere else.

But the experience was demoralizing. I keep hearing my mother saying, "I can't believe you shop there!" (Mom was an advocate of the poor and less fortunate and believed that shopping in places like Wal-Mart creates more of them.)

The cashier with the peach hair looked right through me after I smiled at her and said 'hello.' I may have to learn to do without my Africa's Best. If you know of a good substitution, do let me know.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

In the Market for a Sperm Donor?

My brother tells me the most painful aspect of dating is the women who so obviously just want to bag a man and have children right away. Their biological clocks are ticking louder than Big Ben. They make a guy feel like a sperm donor.

He says it's a major turn-off and makes a point never to see them again.

The irony is, he'd like to get married and have children. Soon. But he doesn't want to get married just to have children, and he doesn't want to marry somebody who just wants to have children.

Trust me, school soccer fields are loaded with born-to-breed married types (they refer to themselves as Moms and Dads, as in "I'm a Mom!" or "I'm Casey's Dad!" They're married not to their husbands or wives but to their children. The children are everything.

You know by looking at them they never have sex.

Want dating tips? I have a slew of them (and lots of opinions, too). Get 'em free at

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Slipping into Eternity

Went to visit Mom today. She's deteriorated in the three days since I saw her. She can barely speak. Mary, the aide, says Mom's skin is too tender to move her from bed to her wheelchair. Mary says she's had considerable experience with cancer patients and says Mom has about two weeks left, as opposed to the three to six months the doctors predicted.

Thank God Sibling One's little baby was there to distract us. He's quite remarkable, even if he's grumpy most of the time. He kept his eyes open for a couple of hours. That was entertainment enough.

Took the train home and sat next to a man with a wedding ring on his finger who was text messaging one person on one device, and another on his laptop. I was tempted to read over his shoulder, but I couldn't get away with it.

Maybe he was communicating with a couple of roommates from college, or maybe he's one of those freakishly insecure men who need to feel like a player. I guess I'll never know.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Mireille Guiliano and Her Freaking Leeks

David Bowie's Lodger is on as I write. This particular album always reminds me of the summer o f 1979, after I returned to New York from the exchange program in England. You don't get a lot of Lodger on FM radio, which is a sad thing.

I remember staying up one night in high school to watch Bowie perform "Boys Keep Swinging" in drag on The Midnight Special. Another time I tried to stay up to watch Greg Lake, but I fell asleep. I've always regretted that.

I'm going back to Mom and Dad's tomorrow. The hospice nurse, according to my sister, indicated that my mother should be hanging around for the time being. I like to see her as often as I can.

I have started this Magical Leek Soup fast that Mireille Guiliano, the author of French Women Don't Get Fat, advocates. I'm not fat; I'd like to drop five pounds, but let me tell you, this Magical Leek thing is a killer. I'd die for a tuna fish sandwich right now.

Monday, February 14, 2005

A Single Woman's Guide to a Happy Valentine's Day

The Today Show devoted all of last week to cheating spouses: why they cheat and how to tell if yours is cheating. They actually sent a reporter into bars with a hidden camera to see if she could pick up married men.

Today has devoted this week to romance: dating, proposals, getting married. No wonder so many single people are confused out of their wits. One week they're shown how dangerous marriage is, the next they're told it's the greatest thing on earth.

Oy. (And I'm not even Jewish.)

Spent the day revising my novel and sending my ezine (on love and dating, natch). If you want it, check out my website,, and click the link for Free Tips in Your Mailbox.

Today's subject: A Single Woman's Guide to a Happy Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 11, 2005

My Brother, Chicken Salad

The hospice people went to Daddy's today to discuss in-home care today. All the siblings attended the meeting, except me. I had to go to Child One's parent/teacher conference this morning.

My mother asked Sibling One to phone me, which I took as a good sign. I'm glad she even remembered I exist, especially since, according to S1, she referred to my brother as "Chicken Salad" today. She told the hospice nurse that my father's name is Omar.

It's Andrew.

I'm going back there tomorrow and will spend the night, as usual, on my father's couch. He has already informed me that I am not allowed to watch Saturday Night Live, which is fine because it was pitiful last week. I fell asleep and left the TV on all night, so he's penalizing me.

I think hospice is scheduled to start on Monday. I'm glad Mom will get care at home, rather than have to go to some facility. I know she would prefer to die at home.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

A Cute Baby is a Distraction

I watched Sibling One's new baby while she, my father, and Sibling Two took my mother up to Columbia Presbyterian for the second opinion. This doctor confirmed what the other said on Monday. Mom has three to six months. We're looking into Hospice.

B happened to be in Manhattan and leaving as I was, so we stopped into Parnell's for dinner before driving home. I had fish and chips. He had bangers and mash, which he allowed me to taste. The bangers were the real thing. Guess what I'm ordering the next time we go there?

Law & Order is on as I write. The episode is a fictionalization of the Bill O'Reilly sexual harrassment scandal of a few months back.

Time for a glass of Cabernet. It's been a day.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

But the Doctor Said She'd Walk Again in Two Months!

My mother's neuro-oncologist revised his proclamation of two weeks ago. My mother will not walk again. He gives her three to six months to live. She is no longer eligible for any clinical trials.

Here is the transcript of my conversation with her from this morning:

"Hi, Mom."

"Hi, Terry."

"How are you feeling?"

"Very well."

"I heard you went to the doctor yesterday. How did that go?"

"Very well."

"How's the doctor?"

"He's happy."

"What did you have for breakfast today?"

"Oh, I'm glad. That's great news. Oh, good."

"What did you have for breakfast today?"

"Corn flakes."

"I love you, Mom."

"I know you do. I know that, Terry. I love you, too."

Monday, February 07, 2005

Valentine's Day Sucks

It's not what you expect to hear from the author of "How to Attract and Marry the Man of Your Dreams," but Valentine's Day does truly suck. It's a Hallmark holiday. That's it.

And I'm so bad at it. I usually forget to buy Peter a card until the very last minute, and then I'm stuck choosing from what's left, usually something from the Born Again Christian or Horny Toad categories. I'm just not into it.

Don't ask me to go out to eat on Valentine's Day, either. What a freaking scam. Our favorite restaurants used to abbreviate their menus, so I couldn't even get what I wanted. Then they'd throw dinner at me and take the freaking plate before I even finished. The last time we went out to dinner on Valentine's Day was in 1991.

My favorite V.D. (if you'll excuse the abbreviation) was the year Peter and I made English muffin pizzas before heading to Tower Records to use the gift certificates Sibling Three gave us for Christmas. Then we bought a Nordic Track, which I still use. I found out I was pregnant with our first child four days later.

What I hate most about Valentine's Day is that it makes single people feel bad about being single. But they shouldn't feel so bad. My feeling is, if people need a holiday to express their feelings for one another, they can't be in much of a relationship.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

You Could Be Better Off Single

After a day in Manhattan caring for Mom and Sibling One's new baby, I had no intention of watching George W. Bush's State of the Union address. The guy lies like a rug. He's trying to push the panic button on Social Security, which was in fine shape until he took office and saddled us with a heart-stopping deficit. Who the hell does he think he's kidding?

And gay marriage? Anybody who is so consumed by what other people do in their bedrooms is a freaking pervert. And anybody else who determines the sexual orientation of cartoon characters needs mental help.

But enough of that. It's depressing.

My new nephew is almost a month old and smoothing out. No more of that scrunched-up newborn look. He's fascinating. He's not the most amiable infant, spends most of the day demanding something or other, but that doesn't make me love him any less. Besides, I get to say goodbye to him at the end of the day and go home to my eight- and ten-year-old.

I typed in some more changes to my novel today. It's coming along. I feel better for having done it.

On Today yesterday, they interviewed two guys who wrote a book telling women how to get guys to commit. I missed the interview, but here's my feeling: If you have to "get" a guy to marry you, you're going to have to "get" him to do stuff for the rest of your life. Who the hell needs it?

Toss the squid and move on.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A Really Bad Idea for Single Women

Debra Messing appeared on Today yesterday to discuss her new movie, The Wedding Date, in which her character hires an escort to attend a wedding with her. Debra thinks men-for-rent would work for real-life single women, as well.

Sorry, Deb, but that is the stupidest idea I've ever heard! If you're single and interested in getting married, a wedding invitation is a wonderful opportunity to meet new people. I know at least one woman who met her husband because she was seated next to him at a reception. You don't want some fake boyfriend blowing your chances to attract a real one!

Hiring an escort to attend social events implies that there's something wrong about being single. Let's get over it. A party without single women is like a glass of Champagne without bubbles.

The only way anyone enjoys success in love (or in anything else, for that matter) is to feel good about herself. Paying someone to pose as a date means she doesn't.

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