Monday, March 22, 2010


Life. The mysterious phenomenon that engulfs us all. Many seek its true definition while others run through it with wild abandonment.
Life. That unclassifiable morphing structure which is limited only by our imagination and genuine desires. Deeper than any ocean, more vast than the endless depths of space, so large that despite humanity's collective efforts to capture and suspend it in time, it will inevitably manage to elude us all, maintaining its control. We expend much time and energy on looking for the answers in the star-encrusted universe. We search for new life on distant planets while we ignore and destroy our neighbors on the one we inhabit. Often, it is not until we witness the diminishing form of life, carrying them into the unknown horizon of existence that we finally voice appreciation for the people and things we once took for granted. But the acknowledgement that should have nurtured and cultivated these beings during the spring can do nothing more than mark the wintery grave of what once was. The swift evolution of life's phases waits for no one. Isn't that reason enough to shower one another with love while we still can as we go through the turbulent rotation of life's seasons? What is the sense of hoarding it until we fade into the sunset?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Poem: One Final Contribution

An earth-bound celestial creature, born from another,
Initially helpless and in need of nurturing during my infantile stage.
But when strengthened, I venture deeper into the world;
fading in the day, shining brightly in the depth of night when I'm most needed.
At my prime, I use my light to guide others,
but there are days when I regress, needing illumination from others.
This symbiotic exchange endures years of tumultuous changes.
Then comes the day for me to leave it all behind.
Before I return home, I make one final contribution;
I reinforce the earth with my burdensome exterior,
it is not needed for the trip I am to take.
But the memories of my experiences are all my own.
That, and the emotions they trigger, are the only parcels I carry with me.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Some Exceptions May Apply

New York City has some of the best restaurants in the world. Still, some exceptions may apply...

During my second year of college I received homework assignments that required me to visit areas of the city with which I was unfamiliar. My husband (boyfriend at the time) accompanied me on one such adventure. I figured since he was still relatively new in town it would be a good opportunity for him to see the sights. We made a day out of it and had a good time at a museum--the exact name of the museum escapes my memory due to the unfortunate experience that followed it.

Evening was rapidly approaching and the rumbling of our tummies signaled it was nearly suppertime. In retrospect, I now wonder if the gastro-internal turbulence was actually a desperate warning of things to come. After wandering the area in search of sustenance, we decided to visit a small pizzeria. The fact that we had bypassed the place twice before finally venturing inside should have been a warning, but we were both tired, young and naive. The first thing we noticed that was a bit odd was the smell, or lack thereof. Being a native New Yorker, I had never been to a pizza shop that lacked the fragrant aroma of garlic, herbs and freshly-baked dough. Then again, I was still recovering from a cold so I thought, perhaps, that was to blame. The food choices looked decent enough so we both ordered chicken slices. The man behind the counter, presumably the co-owner was very friendly and happily prepared our order. As we waited, we noticed how empty the place was, but we rationalized it by figuring it was either due to the location or the time of day.

After receiving our food--and I use the term loosely--we took a seat by the window and started our punishment. In the middle of the first bite I was hit with the fact that there was something unusual about what I was eating. It was the smell. As I mentioned earlier, I was getting over a cold, so I thought my sinuses were doing weird things to my olfactory senses. I locked eyes with Max. He seemed okay and we continued eating. All the while I figured I needed to make an urgent doctor's appointment to get some medicine for whatever the hell was going on with my nose. Each time I went to take a bite, my nose was bombarded by a smell reminiscent of moldy gym socks and stray wet puppies. It led me to question the true origin of the meat used to prepare this highly-disappointing meal.

My stomach got the signal and my nose waved the white flag as I surrendered eating and concentrated my attention on my soda. That's when Max dropped his slice on the tray and said: "I can't eat anymore. This shit stinks!" to which I replied: "Seriously? I thought my nose was playing tricks on me." That said, we decided to high-tail it out of there. However, Max, who was not yet fluent in English had a few parting words for the inept pizza maker. "Thank you for your services, but you need to do something about your pizza because it STINKS!!!" he proclaimed.

Clearly irritated, the thickly-accented man defended his stinky wares by retorting: "My pizza doesn't stink! YOU stink!" He was still yelling after as we made our exodus. If only he had put as much passion into his food as he did defending it, we would never have gotten into this altercation.

At least ten years have elapsed and Max and I still bear emotional scars. If we think about it long enough, which we try not to, we can still smell the horrifying stench of the attempted meal. Now, every time we go out to dine we make it a point to do a thorough scent check upon entering any restaurant. If it doesn't smell like food, we immediately reverse course and seek food elsewhere. We don't know what ever became of the shop, but we strongly doubt they're still in business. I can't help but think what a travesty it was for such an establishment to call themselves a pizza shop. Honestly, I feel if the Italian mafia ever got wind of that place it would have been on the news; the owners' skeletons found inside the burnt building with their kneecaps mysteriously broken, or something like that. One positive thing to be said about the experience, aside from our obvious survival, is that I gained a burning desire to prepare my own meals and to prepare them damn well so I don't have to rely solely on restaurants for my culinary pleasures.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Five years after my husband, Max, and I got our cat, Bazik (aka Bazilio), we finally came to the point when we could no longer put off having him neutered. The first four years were tolerable, but Bazik's temper was quickly becoming unmanageable--I have many a scar to prove it. He always preferred to hang out with my husband rather than me, which is probably why we disagreed over the procedure for some time--I was for it, he was against it.

Although I'm 5' 6" and... I won't say how many pounds, it was becoming abundantly clear I was outmatched by this nearly 2-foot, 16-pound feline beast. One day, after enduring a particularly maniacal attack, I vehemently decided that this 4-legged ankle biter had tasted my blood for the last time. After careful research, I found a vet and we headed off to the appointment.

The environment was clean and the staff was professional. Max and I took notice of the prominent sign which stated: 'PLEASE KEEP YOUR CATS IN THEIR CARRIERS'. We half-joked that its placement was the result of prior chaos in the waiting area. When we were called I couldn't help but feel concerned for the doctor and her assistant since they were both about a foot shorter than me and didn't have a whole lot of body mass to them. Then I noted there was a 2 to 1 ratio and figured it would even out since the two women had each other for backup.

I was surprised at how Bazik allowed the doctor and assistant to place him on the table, pet him and perform the superficial examination without any major fur flying through the air. 'Perhaps this isn't going to be as bad as I thought' I figured. Then they brought out the thermometer and proceeded to take his temperature from his second business end. That was the plan, anyway. In a split second, my cat went from the male version of Hello Kitty to the feline equivalent of Cujo. He made it abundantly clear he was not willing to become anyone's bitch. He lashed out, prompting the veterinary staff to resort to Matrix-style evasion tactics. And, just like that, Bazik quickly dispelled any suspicion I had of him being homosexual. From a safe distance, Max and I attempted to calm him down, but Bazik wasn't hearing any of that. Seeing that taking his temperature would be impossible without risking life and limb, the doctor decided to skip it. Bazik, however, was still pissed and voiced this fact with a barrage of hisses.

The next part of the checkup was to take a blood sample. I knew that would be an impossible task. I told the doctor: "I think he'll take your blood before you take his." She agreed. It was decided to take his blood once he had been knocked out for the procedure. Max and I were told to return in a few hours to pick him up--by then, we were told, the drugs will have mostly worn off.

During this time I felt guilty about the whole thing. Maybe it was the fact my husband and I were dining at an Italian pizza shop while our beloved cat was losing his meatballs. I really love Bazik and didn't want him to go through such stress, but we were left with no other choice. When we returned to the vet, we noticed the doctor was no longer wearing her hair out. It was tied in a high, messy bun and she looked as though she had been to the gym. The doctor who had performed the procedure was now wearing fresh bandages on his hand that weren't there when we had left. There were a couple of other pet owners who had come and gone, inquiring about their companion's behavior, to which the doctor gave answers such as: "She was a little nervous, but did well" and "Oh, he was very well behaved!" When it came time for us, the doctor's smile faded. In as polite a way as possible, she said Bazik "...was a challenge"

Finally, he was brought out. As we looked into his carrier we could see he was obviously still loopy as he swayed his head like Stevie Wonder and staggered around like Captain Jack Sparrow. Immediately after Bazik's recovery, Max and I noticed an immediate change in his behavior.

Two years later, he's still as active as ever--perhaps even more so--and he now naps on my lap frequently (something that was once unheard of). Every now and then he still eyes my fuzzy slippers, blankets and robes, no doubt reminiscing about the salacious times he used to spend with them. But he still seems puzzled as to why he no longer gets beyond second base.