Friday, December 6, 2013


Last summer, I went on a vacation with some girlfriends. Our destination was the Arkansas Ozarks. We were going to hike, cook outside, and hang out in nature. Before the trip, if I had to plot the girls I was traveling with and me on a scale illustrating levels of "girly girlness," it would have looked something like this:

That's how I think I fall in most groups of randomly selected females.

Needless to say, I was taken aback when it turned out I was the girl on the trip that was in a constant panic about bugs.

I couldn't believe it.

I was the kid that used to get pleasure out of smoshing roaches. In elementary school, we were given an assignment that we could complete by making a bug collection or by doing a report. Ever the Tomboy, Daddy's Girl that I was- I was going to do a bug collection. And I loved it! I distinctly remember bragging about the prize of my collection: a huge red and black grasshopper that my Dad and I found in the woods.

Now, here I was twenty years later, in the woods again but on absolute pins and needles from fear that a bug might touch me. Apparently I had grown out of my masculine fascination with bugs. I still sweat like a boy, got uber competitive with anything that had a winner and a loser, loved bathroom humor, and couldn't do my hair or makeup to save my life; but I was terrified of bugs.

This fact quickly came to light during our hike. Luckily, it wasn't until the second half of the hike that I started seeing them- but once I saw them, that was it. There were katydids EVERYWHERE. I felt like I had night vision goggles on and the leaf impersonators were little balls of heat. They took a page out of the stinging catepillar's book and had conga lines going up and down trees (see below). They were chilling on rocks.They were sitting on the ground. I'll say it again- they were EVERYWHERE. And they were eyeballing the shit out of us.

Nasty nasty. Why must they impersonate human centipede? Why?

I felt like every time we stomped by a gathering of bugs, they would spring to life and erratically jump through the air. Sometimes at us. Sometimes not. It was enough to make me nuts.

I started positioning myself amongst my friends like we were in a haunted house--- I made sure there was always someone in front of me and behind me at all times. (Yep- I'm THAT girl). If these little green assholes were going to jump, I didn't want them landing on me. Nope. No sir.

Surprisingly, everyone else was pretty chill about the bugs. No one shared in my asinine antics. My unreasonable explanations- given with gritted teeth and dilated pupils that jumped from tree to tree and never focused on the person being spoken to- only furthered the "afraid of bugs/not of afraid of bugs" divide between my friends and me. I was the lone crazy one.

When we got out of the woods, I had a "come to Jesus" with myself. "Play it cool, Leila. That little scene on the hike was unreasonable. Just absolutely unreasonable. For the rest of the trip, you are not allowed to freak out over bugs."

I wish I can say the self talk worked. It was only about 68% effective. I did panic a few more times over some flying six legged friends, but overall I avoided anymore total freakouts.

This all came to a head on our final day. We were packing up and heading out and I decided to take a shower. I undressed, wrapped myself in a towel, and went to the bathroom. I hung the towel outside the shower, got in, simultaneously pulled the shower curtain closed and turned on the shower. I turned to see I was not alone. There was a rather large spider on the inside of the shower curtain. Just chilling.

I calmly turned off the shower, got out, wrapped myself in the towel and left the bathroom.

"Hey yall- I know yall are tired of me being afraid of bugs, but there is a big ass spider in the shower right now and I don't think I can shower with him in there. It's either me or him but we're not going to get clean together."

My two friends who are awesome and don't mind killing invertebrates when necessary went in the bathroom together (I'm sure they sighed and rolled their eyes- as they should have- they were tired of my shit). There was a loud noise as they tripped over each other trying to get out of the bathroom.


I shrugged and accepted the fact that I was not going to be showering before we hit the road.

You win some, you lose some. And on the trip to the Ozarks, I lost.

I lost a lot.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Words of Wisdom

A friend and I were recently in a wedding of mutual friend from college. The ceremony was romantic, the food was great, and the cake was delicious. (I may have used my bridesmaid card to get three pieces of cake- but that's better than any alternative I may have used to get three pieces of cake). All in all, it was a picture perfect wedding.
Except for this picture.... but you can't win them all.

I've been to a lot of weddings, and most of them fit the description above so you can imagine my surprise when an unhappy bride and groom (from another wedding) got on the elevator with my friend and me at the end of the night.

We saw them approaching the elevator and held the doors with big smiles and a few congratulations.

"Yeah.... thanks..." the bride responded.

The groom fumbled with the room key and let out a long sigh when he finally got it to make the elevator work and pushed the button for the third floor.

The bride looked--- "We just had an "oh shit" moment in the car."

I asked what she meant.

"Like we just realized we actually did this. It just hit us that we are married."

They both looked at us with eyes that screamed for help and I tried to make the best "Are you dumb?" face I could in return.

The elevator opened on the third floor and my friend, always the optimist, wished them a good night.

The groom clenched his teeth and said "Yeah- I may go jump out of the window now."

As the door started to close, I processed what he said, and immediately let him know that he may want to take the elevator to the top floor because jumping from the third floor wasn't going to do much.

The doors closed and my friend looked at me.

I looked back. "What?"

"Leila, you do realize you just gave that groom advice on how to kill himself."

"Well- he needed it. Jumping from the third floor is only going to break a leg or make him sore. It's not going to do much damage. And then he would have to deal with his bride after. And with all of these Halloween parties going on tonight- the EMS does not need to deal with some dumb groom with a broken leg."

My friend shrugged her shoulders and shook her head, "well at least you're thinking at a macro level here...."

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Flat Stanley ain't got nothing on me...

One of the perks of traveling for your job is sometimes you get to go really awesome places. One of the downsides of those trips is you are usually by yourself. I always find myself wishing I could share the experience with a friend or family member and, while I can't, I can always take selfies to prove to others just how cool it was. #whowouldntwanttolookatadozenselfiesofmeinfrontofthings

I recently got to enjoy this perk by squeezing in a trip to Niagara Falls. I drove about an hour and a half from Toronto to see the landmark and was totally impressed.

It was a beautiful day, with the high in the mid 60s. I could hear the waterfalls before I saw them. The air felt  clean and the town smelled fresh. I made my way to the waterfront and sucked in a sharp breath when I saw them. They were unbelievable. The experience reminded me of the first time I saw mountains; it was invigorating and humbling all at the same time. It reminded me of the power of nature and that we are, after all, only human. Our lives are but a blink of the eye.

Enough of the seriousness. YOLO, right!?

While I did have an emotional reaction to the Falls, they weren't the only thing I was reacting to. Let me guide you through my day at Niagara Falls through a photo blog.


Here I am nearing the waterfront.

OMG- There they are!

 And just to prove I was actually there....


So then I paid to go behind the Falls. I know, I'm a risk taker- what can I say? Aren't the ponchos adorable? They remind me of the shitty yellow ponchos from Disney. Except these were free. And you had to give them back at the end. That's kind of gross now that I think about it. 

Other idiots tourists in their ponchos.

Another selfie. You know what they say about selfies- you can never have too many.
Perfect shot.

There are some informational signs posted in the small tunnels behind the Falls. I stopped to read a few but then I got a little claustrophobic. I don't know if it was the idea that there were hundreds of thousands of gallons of water rushing over me at that moment or the pushy tourists that all smelled slightly of dankness and B.O. wrapped in yellow saran wrap that didn't give a shit about the idea of personal space that made me panic, but I didn't take the time to read all of the info. I did look at two of them, though.

The first outlined famous people that have been there.

Harry is unimpressed. "But Mummy, you said we would get to see boobs."

The second outlined people who have gone over the Falls. The first was a woman in 1901. She made the journey in a barrel with her cat. I immediately pictured doing this with Sophie and knew how the story would end. "Autopsy shows that woman was unharmed by actual trip over Falls, but clawed to death by the cat after they made the journey and were waiting for the rescue boat."

Annie Edson Taylor, the original cat lady.

Before I went, I did some research on Niagara Falls. Did you know that it's one of the top honeymoon destinations in the world!? Wow-wee. I was expecting to see some young lovers, but nothing could have prepared me for this:

This is just like a sex scene from gossip girls. A nice little clothes on romp in the grass.

I also bumped into a group of nuns who were nunning it up. I walked close to them for a while hoping for a bar or two of "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" but instead I just got to watch other people stare at them. Come on, y'all, it's just a bunch of nuns. It's not like you need to follow them and take pictures... 

On my way out, I had to check out the gift shop. It was packed full with all sorts of Canadian wildlife stuff- toy beavers, wood cut into the shape of wolves, moose things, and all of that nonsense. It also had banks for children that fit the "Niagara Falls Dinosaur Theme." Naturally.

I got excited when I saw the clever banks. EVERYONE CAN BE A SAVEASAURUS! EVEN ME, DINOBANK!? Wrong....

Screw you, then. I didn't want to save money anyway.

I left the gift shop disappointed in my non purchase and made my way back to my car. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the best part about Niagara Falls. It's a total Disneyworld/Vegas/beachinthesummer HAVETOENTERTAINTHEKIDS shit hole. The entire strip down to the beautiful natural wonder is covered with arcades, pizza joints, bowling alleys, and other places designed to be black holes for parents wallets. You literally had to kick the screaming kids out of the way.

Oh, you didn't have to kick them? My bad.

That boy has "I'm going to jail before the age of 23" written all over his face.

Before I made my grand exit, I stopped in one last shop hoping for a souvenir from the day (beyond the amazing selfies, of course). I was forced to leave empty handed because I couldn't choose between the clever t-shirts that epitomized Niagara Falls.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

He's Making a List, He's Checking It Twice, He's Going To...

Scare the crap out of me.

As a child, I was absolutely TERRIFIED of Santa. I hated everything about him. I didn't want to sit in his lap. I didn't want to tell him what I wanted for Christmas and I didn't want to bump into him when he was dropping off my gifts.

You can imagine my fear when I would go shopping with my mom around Christmas. One of the department stores in Baton Rouge, Maison Blanche, would set up larger than life moving Santas along the roof that laughed jollily and slowly moved their heads from side to side. They still haunt my dreams. During these shopping trips, my anxiety would start to build as we turned into the parking lot. I could see the red donning bastards above the rows of cars. I would avert my eyes as we made our way in but ignoring the real Santa set up in the middle of the store was a different story. He was situated perfectly in the middle of the aisle. I knew he was there before I saw his bearded face or his black boots. I felt him. He was inevitable. As we would make our way from one end of the store to the other, my anxiety would pique as we approached the line of idiot children waiting to meet him. I never understood it. I would position myself so that my Mom would block my view and, with my head down, would push by the crowd. I always feared that he would look out amongst the kids and call me out of the crowd. "Little girl- you- the one who is trying to pretend I'm not here... you- yes- you, come tell me what you want for Christmas."

It still gives me chills.

Unfortunately, my yearly encounters with Santa extended beyond just seeing him. He would call me, too.

My Mom's family got a kick out of the Uncles calling the nieces and nephews on Christmas Eve and pretending to be Santa. During our meal, I would tensely sit and wait for the phone to ring. I would hope that I would be in the bathroom the moment he called or that he would just forget about me for a year. It went on for a while but ended the year I hung up and, a little confused, looked at my parents and said "Santa sounds a lot like Uncle John."

While I hated being on the receiving in, I think my Dad enjoyed being on the giving end (of this and more practical jokes--- you can find them all in my parent's book Funny Things to do to Your Kids When You are Slightly Buzzed--- all proceeds go toward my therapy).

One year, my Dad busted my cousin. The conversation went something like this:

Dad (Santa): Have you been a good girl this year?
Cousin: Oh, yeah Santa.
Dad: Are you sure? I think I see something on my list here.
Cousin: No, I was good.
Dad: Wait a minute- I see a note here that you kicked your dog, is that true?
Dad: So you never kicked your dog, Latke?
Cousin: Here Momma, I'm done talking to Santa.

Another year, my Dad messed with the adults more than the kids. I think he had enough of playing Santa and decided to put in a special request. When he made the call to the family in Pensacola, he let them know that instead of milk and cookies he would need Dixie beer and white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies. Yep.

Who knew Santa had such fine taste?

Much to my Uncle's chagrin, he acquiesced to the cries of his children and went on a Christmas Eve hunt for Dixie beer and white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies.

I think they got another Uncle to make the call the next year. 

Moral of the story? You should never get a Jew to play Santa.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The blog's namesake

I am opinionated and I have a name that people don't quite understand.

And I think that the person who took my lunch order needs to be fired.



Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The New Cat Call

You know what gets old? Getting whistled at from vehicles. Yes- I realize I am complaining about receiving "compliments;" but- honestly- if a compliment were a body, the drive by whistle/honk would be the pale under belly. Lame and something no one wants any part of.

Most of the time, I receive the cat calls as I make my way to or from work. And I can't imagine my facial expressions at any of these points warrant a shout out. Apparently the men who are brave enough to hit on someone from a moving vehicle are also the same guys who would hit on someone with RBF (resting bitch face). I guess they are thinking "that girl I just sped by could be cute if she didn't look like she just smell a fart. At least she can't slap me from the side of the road."

A few weeks ago, though, someone was clever enough to win my heart over from a moving vehicle. I was standing at the light waiting to cross when a BMW made its way down the street. The driver started honking and some guys whistled out of the back seat. As I rolled my eyes, I caught a quick glimpse of the car. Then I did a double take. Someone was hanging their entire ass out of the front window. It was spectacular.

As I crossed the street, my phone vibrated. It was my Dad. "Guess what?" I asked as I picked up. "Guess what just happened to me?"


"Someone just mooned me from a car."

"Like full moon?"


"But it's a Wednesday..."

Thursday, July 4, 2013

God bless America

A few years ago we were visiting my Aunt over the 4th of July. She lives a few blocks from a country club that celebrates the 4th appropriately- with a pyrotechnical display of America's unyielding pride.

They shoot off fireworks.

We were planning on grilling and eating dinner outside so that we could enjoy the show.

There were other people coming over and we wanted to get an idea of the schedule, so my Aunt called the country club to ask when the fireworks would start.

Her question was met with a pregnant pause.

"After the dinner is served," the employee sighed as he rolled his eyes at the idea of a freeloading American plebeian.

My Aunt held back a laugh as she hung up the phone.

While we didn't have a set schedule, our 4th still played out perfectly: burgers, family, and fireworks (without having to wait in line at the bar or for the valet to get our car).

Can't hold us back. We've got style and big ass sunflowers.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Momma Wasabi

A few months ago my parents were in town for a weekend and I decided that we should have dinner at a sushi place that they had never been to. My mom isn't a huge sushi fan but always finds other things on the menu to whet her appetite.

While she is not a big sushi fan, she is consistently a fan of wrapping up the meal when she is done eating. And "meal" here applies to everyone's meal- not just hers. And this dinner was no exception. As is typical, she ate light and fast and was done way before my Dad and me. My Dad and I also tend to talk and eat a lot more than her, so that could be part of the unaligned feast lengths. Nevertheless, Momma-san had no use to draw out dinner at the sushi restaurant and, when she was done eating and done listening to us talk, she politely started combining the leftovers onto one plate to make it easier for the waiter. (She's nothing if not thoughtful).

The minute I saw her reach for my sushi roll in order to organize and combine, I made a snotty comment that probably made her wistfully muse about what life would have been like if she and my father had used a prophylactic about 30 years ago. (Sorry Momma--- I heart you!).

But- alas- the deed had been done. With ninja like speed, my Mom had cleared all of the remaining sushi pieces from the big plate to a smaller, more condensed one and had officially declared the meal over. Her hand motions were reminiscent to Jerry Lee Lewis banging out rock and roll and my Dad and I tried to focus as we watched her make a fatal error. As her right hand moved the final roll, her left hand swooped down for a nugget of wasabi and then popped it into her mouth. She was on autopilot. I heard my Dad try to get out a warning but it was too late. Our eyes widened as my Dad and I watched my Mom accidentally pull a "Jackass" like stunt. We were anticipating a Roger Rabbit moment, one in which her eyes bugged out and smoke billowed from her ears. Time at our table slowed to almost a stop and then suddenly accelerated as my Mom spit the green orb out with a large "PEHHHHHHUGHHHHHHHH."

I lost it. I couldn't contain the snorts or the tears and didn't even try to be respectful of the fact that other diners were sitting close enough to touch. I banged on the table and howled.


Momma, in between gulps of water, retorted: "I thought it was--- glug glug glug--- avocado!!!"

My Dad had tried to do the right thing by stopping her but still did not lose sight of the humor of the situation. He had the giggles too. "I tried to tell you- but you were too fast- and then that was it. We just had to see how long it would take you."

I recapped the scene no less than a dozen times that night to my parents. And it made me laugh every time.

I would wrap up with a life lesson, but none were learned. My Mom continues to end meals when she is ready but sometimes the abrupt ending is blog worthy. Thank you, Momma-san!

Friday, May 24, 2013

The dangers of slo-mo replays

I'm the first to tell you that I can dish it but can't take it. I do not like being the target of a prank or joke--- especially if there is more than one person in on it. But this one was good and played out much better than the pranker ever expected.

Last fall, I was at a very big college football game when I got a text from my friend, Michael.

*I just saw you on TV.*

I was pumped. I told my Dad and my Uncle that we had, despite our sub prime seats, been included in the shots of the crowd.

They both responded with the same question- "how did they get us all the way up here?"

"I don't know- the sky cam? They can do anything these days! I am not sure, but my friend told me he saw us."

Even with my excitement, a little apprehension sank in. How did they get us all the way up here?

I texted him back- are you sure it was us? Did you see the guy rooting for the other team sitting right next to us?

*Yep. Saw him and everything.*

My phone vibrated again. It was another friend of mine, Charles.

*I just saw you on TV at the game!*

I was beaming at this point! We had been sitting in the same seats for over two decades and I had never made the big screen and now----- I finally had-- AND--- at a moment where my team was winning, so I wasn't one of those "devastated beyond rational and acceptable belief that my team was about to lose" people.

"This is sadder than Granmaw's funeral."
I bragged about my new found fame to a few people after the game and went on with my life.

I was channel surfing a few weeks later when I came across a replay of the game.

PERFECT. Now I could witness my moment of glory. All it was going to take was a little bit of math. I paused the game and got out my phone to see the exact time that my friend texted me. I googled the time that the game kicked off and did some quick calculations to figure out that I needed to keep my eyes peeled during the middle of the second quarter.

I settled in and half heartedly watched the replay until the second quarter, at which point I turned on my hawk eyes and started scanning the crowd. (Aside- about me- I like looking for things-- shells, waldo, me at football games etc). At this point the game itself kind of became a nuisance. I didn't really care about watching any of the downs, TDs, or turnovers-- I just wanted to see my shining face in the crowd. I would scan forward anytime they annoyingly showed the players and field just to get to another crowd shot and then I would quickly pause and start perusing. Just to make sure I saw everything I would play the crowd shot on slo-mo.


I made it to the end of the second quarter without getting a glimpse of myself and checked my math. I had to have missed it. I started over. After 45 minutes of this, I texted my friend, Michael--- Are you sure you saw me in the stands?


At the game- you texted me and said you just saw me in the stands. Are you sure it was me?

*Oh yeah- yeah- no- I didn't see you. I just made that up.*


*Yeah and I told Charles to text you, too. Why?*

I just spent 45 minutes watching the second quarter in slo-mo trying to see myself.


(My response that is not blog appropriate)

*HAHAHAH Charles was certain you were going to know we were lying! But this is too great! I didn't even think about you trying to watch it. I just thought you were going to tell everyone. HAHAHAHAH*

I fumed for a while and garnished a good life lesson. It has nothing to do with being shallow and how spending the better part of the night trying to make sure I looked cute on national TV backfired on me.Or how technology has advanced to the point of truly allowing us to rot our brains in slow motion. Or how watching crowd shots over and over makes you realize that America really does  have a problem with obesity and the irony of the crowd juxtaposed with the players reinforces the ever growing issue that this nation is really unhealthy. Nope- it has nothing to do with any of that. Really it boils down to one thing-- Michael is a liar.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gotta know your quarters

A few weeks ago my Dad, a friend, and I were waiting for the bus to head downtown to participate in the Crescent City Classic (a 10K that is always won by Kenyans... wait-- is that redundant?). It was early in the morning and we were all carrying exactly what we needed and nothing more:
  • headphones and ipod----- check
  • house key--------check
  • $1.25------che....
The bus took a little longer than expected and we were kind of cutting it close by the time we saw it lumbering towards us. Anxiously (or slight OCDesque), I checked to make sure I had my fare (for the 4th time), and noticed something strange.

"Which state quarter has Elizabeth II on it?"

My friend, Michael, and my Dad both looked at me.

I inspected the quarter with some asinine sentiments.

"I bet it's some dumb state that doesn't realize we broke away from the British... oh, shit."

"I grabbed a stupid Canadian quarter! Why do I even have this in my change jar? I'm not going to be able to get on the bus. I can't go downtown. I can't run today!"

My Dad tried to insert a voice of reason: "Just pretend like you don't know. Play it cool and see if the machine accepts it."

Now that sounded easy enough, but playing it cool is not exactly one of my strong suits.

The bus pulled up and I got on. I put my dollar in and quickly put in the quarter. The machine spit it out the bottom. The bus driver told me to try it again. And again the machine said "peh- I don't want anything related to a LOONEY, you fool." The bus driver picked up the rejected quarter. "I don't know what this is, but it isn't a coin."

I panicked.

"I'm sorry!!! It's a Canadian quarter. But I live right there! I can run home right now and run to the next stop. You won't have to wait. I promise. I'll sprint. I grabbed the wrong change!"

At that point a good Samaritan stepped in. I think my flailing was making them uncomfortable.

"Here's a quarter. Here you go."

"Ohmygod- thank you so much. I have no idea how that happened. Here- take the Canadian quarter!!"

I got on the bus and sat down with a relieved sigh. The friendly passenger got up and gave me back my coin. "Thanks, but I don't really want a Canadian quarter."

I understood that. I pocketed my silly coin with an embarasssed look and let the lesson of the day sink in:

No state quarter has Queen Elizabeth II on it. None of them. Not even the "dumb ones."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Have Doughnuts, Will Travel

I definitely get it from my parents. My family has never thought a distance too great to traverse with local delicacies to share with others.

My mom has told me the story of flying back from New York with knishes (the whole plane smelled like them!). I was in Austin with my dad when he bought a Styrofoam ice chest so the brisket would make it back OK. We annually bring pasta and coffee to our relatives in Tennessee. One time I wrapped up the leftovers from Carnegie Deli, put them in my big purse, went to a show on Broadway, and the drove back upstate with them. (And let's be honest- left overs is an unfair term here- we ate on these for a few days after). If there's some amazing food from somewhere else, why not travel with it so you can share it with someone you love?

I put this familial theory to practice recently when I decided to bring my coworkers a box of doughnuts from Portland. That's right- doughnuts. From Oregon to Louisiana. These weren't just any doughnuts, they were Voodoo Doughnuts ("The magic is in the hole!"). And they were delicious. And they were in a HUGE PINK BOX. And were they worth it? I'm not sure.

I should have realized what I had gotten myself into when I returned to my hotel with the huge pink box and, during the one block walk, no less than three people nudged someone else to point out the Voodoo Doughnuts. "Look son, look what she's got." I smiled and kept going.

Things somewhat started to sink in when I was in the security line in the airport. People started to talk to me about my doughnuts. And the horrible thing was the line wrapped around itself so it would be the same people talking to me when the line moved up enough that we were eye to eye again. It would go like this:
  • First encounter-- "OOOOHHH, Voodoo Doughnuts. My favorite is the Grape Ape."
  • Second encounter-- "So where are you taking those doughnuts?"
  • Third encounter-- "New Orleans, hm? I've never been there. My friend went once. They liked it."

One woman, whose strong suit was not discretion, nudged her husband and pointed at me. "THAT'S where the smell is coming from." As she said this, she made a face like she had just stepped in a pile of T-rex shit. Really? I know sweets are not everyone's thing- but was the confectionery aroma that offensive?

I made it through security and walked my huge pink box to a restaurant. While waiting for my food, a guy approached me.

"Can I see your doughnuts?"

I half-smiled trying to figure out if he was joking.

"I've heard all about Voodoo but I've never seen them in person."

I put my bag down so I could handle the box with two hands and unhooked the cover.

A woman rushed in.

"I want to see them, too! I wasn't going to ask you but I am glad he did!"

They marveled at my bounty.

I kind of felt like a proud parent.

They thanked me and we all went on our way.

I made it over to my gate and it continued. My forearm ached as I balanced the big ass pink box and made small talk about pastries. I really just wanted to sit down and eat my lunch. I didn't want to talk about the doughnuts anymore.

Finally, I had enough. I moved away from everyone and called my Dad.

"I'll never make this mistake again."


"People are TALKING to me. Non stop. They want to see the doughnuts. They want to ask about the doughnuts. They all want to make jokes about the doughnuts- I'll buy the whole box from you for $50. If you need to use the bathroom, I'll watch them for you- wink wink. I hate it."

I finally got on my plane and made it to my seat only after grimacing to three more jokes from already seated passengers. I shoved the box under the seat in front of me as quickly as I could.

When we landed in San Francisco, the fiasco started up again. The flight attendants confirmed the rumors as I deplaned.

"We HEARD someone had doughnuts on the plane but we couldn't figure out who it was."

I'd had enough. I made my way through the airport looking as unapproachable as possible.

My face and body told people "No- I don't want to talk," but some people were still brave. Their curiosity prevailed. They still wanted to see the doughnuts.

Enough was enough. I got dinner and asked for a plastic bag from the restaurant. I put the bag around the box and finished my trip with a huge pink box in a slightly opaque THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU bag. You could still see what I was carrying but the veil was enough. People stopped asking. Or at least, for the most part.

Turns out I had the same flight crew on the second leg of my journey. I got on the plane and the flight attendants started laughing.

"We have the doughnut girl again!!!!!"

Right- the doughnut girl. I started to be bitter towards my coworkers. They didn't ask for any of this but for some reason it was their fault. I had made it this far, I was going to finish my journey. But I didn't think any doughnut was good enough for this day of travel.

I finally got to New Orleans and while I was waiting for my luggage, I got my last observer.

"Voodoo doughnuts, huh? Yeah- I actually flew from Portland to New Orleans once with a box. I'll never make that mistake again."

He got it. He had lived it, too.

The next day, my coworkers inhaled the sweets. They loved them. And my fresh memories of discomfort dripped away---just like the sweet sweet glaze on the Mango Tango, or the Grape Ape, or even the Miami Vice Berry.  Somehow it was all worth it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My love affair with my city

I think I've made a terrible mistake. I might have sealed my fate. I decided that if I  never married, never had a family, never knew what it was like to have a soul mate- that it was OK. I have New Orleans. I can't help it. Sometimes, when I'm in Audubon Park, I find myself letting out a small sigh coupled with an inward smile. It's like a furtive glance shared between a couple- words aren't necessary to express the emotion. They just know.

Except my furtive glances are not furtive and they are not at another human being. They focus on flowers and palm trees. On streetcars and cast iron gates. On ornate facades and on sidewalks made uneven from the roots of ancient Oaks.

I recently went to a New England wedding that was beautiful. It was cold and snowy. The bride went to school in New Orleans and many of the guests had visited at some point. Most of my conversations rotated around the trips they had made to NOLA and how much they loved it- which was awesome. I got to talk about my relationship without being THAT GIRL who stood around telling everyone how great her boyfriend was. (I was, however, THAT GIRL when I pulled out my phone to show people pictures of my cat... you win some, you lose some).

I always loving hearing people giddily recount their trip to Mardi Gras or their first experience with poboys. I also always love hearing the questions that come from people who have never been here. I got two doozies during the wedding weekend that were too good to pass up:

  • You're from Louisiana? So do you speak French?
    •  I think my "please stop making eye contact with me you idiot" look answered his question, but really I should have said "Si- hablo espanol." (Given his question, he probably would not have known the difference).
  • You live in Louisiana? Have you ever harvested wild boars?
    • I couldn't immediately make a face to this one because I wasn't sure I heard the question right.
      • Me: What?
      • Them: You know- boars?
      • Me: Yes- I know what boars are but what did you ask me about them?
      • Them: Have you harvested them?
      • Me: What the hell are you talking about?
      • Them: My friend went to Alabama once and did it.
      • Me: You do know there is an entire state in between Alabama and Louisiana and that New Orleans is a city, right?
      • ......
      • Me *Turn around to start talking to someone else.*

Ultimately, I guess my love affair with my city somewhat relies on the magic and mystery that comes with New Orleans. As long as I love it and am all too eager to talk about it, I am going to have to put up with idiotic questions.

Or, if things get really bad, I can always pull out pictures of my cat.

And here's one of her in my laundry...

Friday, February 1, 2013

That time I accidentally thought I was naked


Which means that I have been and will be beadwhoring it up for the best plastic POS that anyone is throwing off of a float. I will also be dancing to all of the bass drums and cheering for all of the fly girls with the bands. I LOVE THIS CITY.

And in the middle of my parade merriment last week, I was so overcome with that love that I decided just to take my shirt off.... or so I thought. And my reaction was priceless.

It was a nice night, one that required some light layering. And, after beadwhoring and bassdrumdancing, I had worked up a sweat, so decided to take my top layer off. I was talking to my friend in the process and totally unconcerned with what I was actually doing-- that is, until I felt air on skin that should not be exposed to said air.

I grabbed my shoulders and glanced down to realize that my short sleeve shirt had come off with my long sleeve shirt. 

I immediately hit the deck. 

My friend, mid sentence- stopped.

"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?" she asked me. 

I was in a schmiegel squat on the neutral ground feverishly trying to pull my shirts apart and yelling 'COVER ME! COVER ME! STAND THERE SO NOBODY CAN SEE ME!!'

"What is wrong with you!?"


She bust out laughing and as I told her to shut up, I realized that I still had a tank top on.....

I forgot that I had triple layered (for protection... you never know?) and that while I did not mean to take the short sleeve shirt off, I was not completely exposed for all of Mardi Gras to see. 

But my reaction certainly told a different story. 

And if viewed from an outsider, the story probably went "did yall see that crazy girl take her long sleeve shirt off and then freak out?"

Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy birthday, Daddy!

I am notoriously bad at keeping secrets and being discreet. So, when my Dad came in this weekend to celebrate his 60th birthday- I let everyone know--- even the band we went to see during their break. They then wished him a happy birthday during their last set. It was awesome.

Supposedly maturity comes with age, but I've yet to see my ability to not spill the beans improve. This year when I got my parents a bad ass Christmas gift, I only kept the secret until I actually picked it up. And then I had to call my Dad and tell him how awesome it was. One year, when my Mom got my Dad a sweet bike, I indirectly directly told him to go look in the shed for something (I didn't say what, though- so does that count?). I can't help it. Secrets (especially surprises) sit in the pit of my stomach until I'm talking to the person that they are about, and then they bounce around inside of me like flubber- until they finally tumble out of my mouth, immediately relieving me of the extra weight while also strapping me with the guilt of having just blabbed.

One year, when I was very young (5 or 6), my Mom decided to throw my Dad a surprise birthday party. A week or so before, we were out to dinner, and she coyly asked my Dad what he wanted to do for his birthday. My Dad, always the joker, said "I don't know, why don't you throw me a surprise party or something?" Momma, upset that all of her plans had been foiled by her kid that couldn't keep secrets, reacted swiftly.

"OK- no. That's it. I'm cancelling the party. You are not having the surprise party, Steven. AND YOU (turning to me)- you are not getting a birthday party this year either."

My jaw dropped and my eyes got wide. I immediately broke down-- Ben Stiller style in Something About Mary--- as my dad explained that he was just joking and had no idea about a party. (I really didn't ruin the surprise that time but my mom already knew me well enough to know I had a lot of trouble with secrets). I don't remember what happened, but I am pretty sure my Dad still got his party. I definitely still got mine.

And today, we celebrate my Dad's 60th. Twenty something years later, he's still a joker and my mom is still doing nice things for him on his b-day. But, if it includes a major surprise, she tries not to err on the side of telling me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A brief look at a summer job

Remember before you were an adult and people would ask you what your plans were for the summer?

I work with college students and a lot of them still ask me that. I always want to half smile and cup their face and peer into their ambitious eyes and say "sweet, sweet child... hold onto your youth forever." Instead I half grunt/laugh and let them know that in the real world (even in education) you don't get the summer off.

But I did get the summer off at one point in my life and I, like most people, had a series of summer jobs. In high school I worked for my dad (thanks, dad). In college, I was a camp counselor one summer, got a job at my University one summer, and was a sports camp counselor at the local JCC one summer.

That's right. Sports camp. Preteen boys and sports. And, despite going to day camp at the JCC, most of them were not Jewish. (You can't play basketball- it's too dangerous. You could poke an eye out!)

I fell into this job because I worked part time at the JCC during the school year teaching "biddy ball." What do you mean 3 and 4 year olds don't have hand-eye coordination? Sure they do! And I just couldn't wait to get up early every Sunday of my Junior and Senior year to help them hone in on theses skills. Nothing cures a hangover like young children and sports equipment.

Near the end of the school year, my boss at the JCC asked if I would be interested in working at their summer day camp. I didn't have any other plans lined up so I figured why not.

That question answered itself within the first week.

Little did I know there are only a few ways you can get the respect of a herd of pre-teen boys enrolled at a sports camp- you need to have testicles and to be in with the "cool" staff members (who of course have testicles and are cool by nature--- there is no science behind it -- it's almost a catch-22). The following flow chart will explain it better.

I found myself in the bottom box--- in with the "cool" staff members, decent at sports, but alas- just a girl. Therefore, it really didn't matter what I said or what voice I said it in. I was not going to be respected or listened to at all. In fact, out of both sessions, with about 40 campers per session, there was only ever one girl camper. So it was an entire summer of feeling like I was talking to hyper active brick walls.

My frustration climaxed one day during free swim. I was the sports camp counselor on duty. Our group was swimming with other camp groups and, naturally, our boys were the only ones who treated free swim as time to dunk, push,  and beat the crap out of each other under water. During one of these asinine displays, I walked over to the edge of the pool and bent over to tell one of the kids to stop semi drowning the little guy. It took me yelling his name three times to get his attention and when I finally had him and all of the other kids looking at me, I felt two hands on my back and the water hit my face.

I came up to howls of laughter and to see a counselor from another group who I had never spoken to before standing next to the pool with a shit eating grin on his face. I pulled myself out of the pool, gave him a look that killed a tiny part of his soul, and sloshed my way into the gym where my co-counselors were hanging out. They immediately got silent.

I held back tears of frustration and rage and told them I was going home. They tripped over each other to get off of the bleachers and find me a towel.  As my boss walked me over to the back exit, he meekly asked if I would be willing to get them lunch while I was out. I turned to him in amazement as he held out a sheet with their orders and some cash.

"We have enough for you to buy yourself lunch, too." Dumbfounded, I took the order and cash and walked out of the gym. I held the tears until I got to my car. As I battled with teary vision and grabbing my sun heated steering wheel, I swore on all of the per-pubescent testosterone in the world that I would never speak to another male again.

Or at least for a few hours.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I am woman hear me.... ughhhh....

In the age old battle of the sexes, I will be one of the first to admit that there are some benefits of being male.
  • Guys can pee standing up. (Well, women can too, but not without serious consequences).
  • Guys only have one area to cover up for an impromptu swim, sun bathe, etc. 
  • Guys don't give birth.
  • Guys never have to go through the hell that is buying a new bra. 
Recently a friend of mine had to invest in some new "over the shoulder boulder holders." (If that's the first time you've heard that one, pretend like I made it up). While the whole process was as awkward and uncomfortable as it always was, it was made a little better by the running commentary from the woman in the fitting room next to hers. She sent me continuous texts to keep me updated.

First, for all of you girls that are blessed with small tatas (and yes- it is a blessing) and for all of you guys out there, let me give you an idea of what it is like to buy a new bra:
  • If you really need support, you don't go to Victoria's Secret. I guess that's the secret- they don't actually fit well or hold up if they are holding up more than a C- cup. Surprise! Our bras only work if you look like our models and are a size 00 with a B and look great in push-up bras!
  • Good bras cost a lot of money. Anywhere from $50-$80.
  • Spending that much money on a bra means knowing the correct size. You wouldn't spend that much money on jeans or tennis shoes without knowing they would fit.
  • Knowing the correct size means getting measured. Which means having someone (usually an older woman that has made this her life career and has no shame---- yeah forget hot girls touching hot girls--- that ain't happening in the bra department) wrap a measuring tape repeatedly around your boobs to get the exact size. And the exact size means a taut measuring tape. Which means Gertrude/Bertha/Doris/Thelma unapologetically gets all up in your stuff. 
  • You then go into a fitting room with an array of bras, most of which look like they were designed to withstand the Apocalypse (at least the roaches will be around to enjoy the bras) and start trying them on.
  • Trying on bras include bending, shaking, twisting, jumping, and a series of other moves that would make Elaine from Seinfeld look like a ballerina. And all of these moves before you put your shirt on to see how the bra looks normally. So there is a lot of time in front of the mirror discovering what you really look like.
So now that you have an idea, let me bring you back to the dressing room where my friend listened to one of the best monologues in the world:

"Ooooohhh be positive. Don't get frustrated this time. I know, I know... Spanx are just not doing it. I need something here (sound of hands slapping bare skin). OOOOOHH- good lord- these must be baby spanx!! (very heavy breathing).......... Maybe I should just go all natural with no bra and really move my flesh. No, no, no, I can't do that. I really need something to smash my boobies down- this dress is just too low cut and I can't look like a floozy....... Oh, god, now that really is a new roll.... (Panicked, heavy breathing, sounds of struggling, muffled talking).... Oh no... Oh no... I can't get out of this dress... I HATE shopping... (huge sigh) that's it, I'm done! Now where is my old bra?....... Awwww, here it is. Look how dilapidated it is. Now that is some sad looking. Ain't that something...."

And to this lady, whoever she may be, I dedicate this post because I know I've been there and will be there again at some point. It's just a fact of life in this farmisht world.

To the rest of you that are cursed with the plague of bra shopping:

May your straps hold up forever
May your clasps never quit
May your cups always protect against THO
May you always find that one perfect fit

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Famous last words

My mom is a really good cook. She can put together 6 course meals or whip up fish en papillote. She makes excellent gumbo, amazing grillades and grits, and has mastered the art of producing fluffy matzoh balls. She is the queen of her kitchen. While my mom enjoys spending time in the kitchen, she does not like baking. Unfortunately for her, however, a tradition started decades ago when she baked an award winning cheesecake for one of my dad's customers around the holidays. I am almost certain that if she could time travel, she would go back to that December, put some cookies in a tin, and be done with it. But alas, her fate was sealed by that cheesecake.

Now this is not any ordinary cheesecake (or so I've been told- I don't know, I don't like cheesecake). People go nuts over this cheesecake. Back in the 60s, my Grandmother would sell these cheesecakes at fundraisers for $20. That's the equivalent of over $100 today. For a cheesecake. Cream cheese and sugar. And eggs and butter. My Grandmother did not give my mom the recipe until she and my dad were happily married. Oh yeah- it's that good. (Or so they say).

Throughout the years, my mom saw the list of loyal customers who were to receive cheesecakes grow. The once coveted family recipe became the cornerstone of our holiday kitchen activity as we would churn out literally 12-15 cheesecakes every December. My mom and I developed our own assembly line of crust making, egg separating, and flour measuring.

In recent years, things have changed and now only the very select few get a cheesecake. This year some of those select few included my coworkers. I went home one weekend to partake in the cream cheese sweat factory and to have my mom's support while putting together my own cheesecakes. Since the kitchen is HER room and she has made a gazillion cheesecakes over the course of time, she had an overly watchful eye on my doings. She was particularly attentive when I began assembling her Cuisinart Elite Food Processor (insert awe here) and I finally snapped when she told my dad just to grind the cookies for me.


She put her hands on her hips, raised one eyebrow and hesitantly relinquished some of the kitchen power.

I dramatically sighed and turned to back to the food processor. I put the cookies in and mashed the button. Nothing. I shifted the top and tried again. Nothing. I started getting nervous at the thought of replacing the expensive machine that magically broke when I touched it when I realized it wasn't plugged in.

I tried to play it cool and plug it in without anyone noticing. But my parents saw. Oh yeah- they noticed.

Two degrees.

But neither in cheesecake making.Or how to plug stuff in.