I sleep with a blanky.
I'll be 30 in November.
After I was born, a friend of my parents' sewed baby-me a quilt. I think I liked it fine. But it wasn't until I was about 4 that I really developed an emotional attachment to Blanky. I'd bunch it up under my head or over my eyes, snuggle it to sleep. I had trouble sleeping without it.
Wait. I'm going to back up. A weird old aunt of mine knitted me a baby blanket after I was born. I carried it everywhere. I was so dependent on it, my mother feared I would lose it. So she cut it into three parts to ensure that there would always be a back-up blanky. It was pink and knobby. I think a piece of it can still be found around my parents' house. I don't remember too much about it. I outgrew it maybe around two, but then we moved to Florida when I was four, and I regressed. I took up with a second blanky, that quilted number with my initials stitched along a side panel. It looked like this, only much younger.
Old blanky was called I.E. (or, Iyeyee). This was short for Iolanthe Lamb, and was named after a plush lamb toy my older brother had had and loved. The plush lamb toy was named for the Gilbert & Sullivan play by the same name. I am not sure whose idea the name was, but I'm guessing it was my parents', who are tremendous Gilbert & Sullivan fans. I was a tremendous my-older-brother fan, and so naturally I called my baby blanket by the same name.
Fast forward now. New blanky. Quilted blanky. I worried when I would be too old to sleep with Blanky. I figured I would stop after my Bat Mitzvah, when I was a woman in the eyes of the Jewish Community. But I didn't. After I started high school? After I started College? When I finished graduate school? When I got married? As I mentioned before, I will be 30 in December. Between college and graduate school, Blanky started looking a little long in the tooth. So I made a number of trips to the fabric store and bought swatches of cloth that most matched Blanky's original patches. I sewed each one on by hand, over the original patch. To protect it. To protect the essence of Blanky.
After we moved to Maryland, Blanky was looking even worse. Its entire back side was almost threadbare. As a gift of the most special kind, my mother-in-law bought me a substitute Blanky. I folded Blanky tenderly and put it away for safe-keeping. I began sleeping with Substitute Blanky.
Though Substitute Blanky was not nearly as magical as Real Blanky, I didn't have to be so delicate with it. Because it was only Substitute Blanky.
Recently, I told the story of my quest for New Substitute Blanky to one of my closest friends, Marc Rothschild. Marc has--not a blanky--but an Ewok he's been sleeping with for about as many years as I've been with Blanky. Ewok is, as his name suggests, an Ewok doll. He was a plush toy once, and probably looked something like this. But Ewok is no longer a spring chicken, and numerous trips through the washing machine caused him to appear more shrunken and worn.
Recently, I mailed Marc a postcard which was shaped like a monkey doll, because it reminded me a little of Ewok. Marc photographed the two together. Notice the gentle way Ewok's limb is caressing Monkey Postcard’s face. How sweet!
I asked Marc if he ever feared he would outgrow Ewok, if he ever thought he would reach an age in which he’d finally have to give Ewok up.
"Never." Marc said.
"I'm almost 30 years old, Marc, and I still sleep with a blanky."
"You're almost 30 too, you know."
"I'm never giving Ewok up. Never."
I realized Marc was right. Bring on Adulthood. Bring on job, reponsibilty, even children. Should I stop sleeping with a blanky simply because society frowns on it? I am still on a quest for my New Substitute Blanky.
I got an email the other day from friend and former coworker Anna Martin.
I thought it was so nice, I'm posting it below:
Who doesn't love an interview with Deb Schwartz?
I'll tell you who doesn't NOT love an interview with Deb: DEB SCHWARTZ! But also a kindly fellow named Cody Meirick, who is the managing editor of a new online literary magazine called Artists' Lair.
About a month ago, he contacted me because he thought my rejection page was nifty. Later, we did a little interview. It can be seen here. Check it out. Tell me how witty I am and how classy my self-portraits look. Tell me I am not a complete idiot for getting pick-pocketed not three blocks from my apartment.
I made American Express next-day mail me a new credit card. Now, in my new wallet, I have a MetroCard, an Amex card, and about $40 in cash money that Brian gave me from the ATM. I feel like I'm eight and I'm trying to find things to put in my wallet so I can look like a grownup.
But this isn't about me feeling sorry for myself. This is about me pretending that I am famous. Oh! How I miss that cute little photo I.D. of mine. And you know, I have a scanned-in image of my driver's license, but I blurred out the number and never bothered to write it down. I took the trouble to scan in the M.F., but I can find no record of my driver's license number anywhere. When I talked to the police about this, they looked as if I were a genuine yokel. And why not? It is ridiculous. All I could say was, "Why would I know my driver's license number? I live in New York City. I never drive.
What a world, what a world . . .
I woke up this morning to a public radio story which mentioned a Tibetan nun who had been sentenced to 12 years in prison for singing a song about the Dalai Lama.
It sounded pretty lousy for the poor woman. Still, I was not shaken out of my spiral of self-pity and self-loathing. I called the MTA lost and found, which had actually closed at noon yesterday. They gave me the number of one bus depot, which gave me the number of a second bus depot. The guy at the second bus depot went through his box of found items with me on the phone. He said, "Black wallet. . . Blue gym bag. . . . t-shirt. . . ." As I had suspected, it wasn't there.
I walked down to the police station to report my wallet as stolen. Just in case someone tries to do something crafty with my driver's license.
In between calling the bus depot and walking down to the police station, I posted these pictures:
This morning, a bird pooped on my arm.
I had the day off of work. Brian and some coworkers have some joke about boxed wine. So I bought a 5 liter box of Franzia, and was heading downtown to meet Brian for lunch. I was about a block from our apartment when a bird pooped on my arm. This is the second poop in about a month, but also the second in all the almost five years I've been living in the Land of the Rats with Wings.
So I went back into the apartment to change shirts. On my way in, I told the doorman (who had just seen me leave) what had happened. He said, "This is good luck!"
"To be pooped on?"
"Yes. It is very good luck to have a bird poop on you. It does not feel like good luck to have been pooped on by a bird, but you will see . . ."
About twenty minutes later, I left the apartment again. I was carrying a tote bag with the box of Franzia inside, a shopping bag with a pair of shoes I needed to return, and my large, cavernous purse. Because what I was carrying was very heavy, I picked up the bus on the corner and rode it the three avenue blocks to the subway.
Let's talk about what happened once I got on the bus: I paid the fare with my MetroCard. Then I put the MetroCard back in my wallet. I distinctly remember doing this. I walked to the back of the bus. I hit someone people's shins with my many bags. I apologized to a few of them. I sat down. I put in my earphones. I put on some lipstick. We were nearing Lexington, so I stood up and walked to the back door. When the bus stopped, I disembarked.
As I was walking out of the bus, I put my hand in my purse. . . but my wallet was gone. I was outside on the sidewalk, and I started going through my purse. No wallet. I looked inside all my bags. No wallet.
The bus was getting ready to pull away, so I jumped back up through the back door. I looked around where I had been sitting, under the seats, around people's feet. I said, "Has anyone seen a wallet? It's tan colored and it has a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge on it (this is true)." No one even looked up. I walked to the front of the bus. I told the bus driver that I appeared to have lost my wallet. He said, "Did you look around for it?" I said, "Of course I did."
The bus started moving again, and I made another announcement. To the entire bus. "I APPEAR TO HAVE LOST MY WALLET. HAS ANYONE SEEN A WALLET. IT'S TAN AND HAS A PICTURE OF THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE ON IT."
Hardly anyone even looked up. I started peeping around on the floor. I looked under people's legs. There was a man sitting where I had been sitting. I asked him to stand up. He said, "What for?" I said, "Because I just lost my wallet. I was sitting right there before I lost it."
A woman sitting close by said, "What are you looking for?" She sounded annoyed. She looked a bit wall-eyed and her mouth was bulbous and puckered. She looked like she might be slow. I said, "My wallet. I just lost my wallet."
She said, "What are you looking for?"
I said, "MY WALLET. I was just sitting right here, and now I can't find it."
She said, "What did you lose?"
"Well, where were you when you lost it?"
I pointed to the pear-shaped man in the ball cap who was now sitting in my seat. I said, "I WAS RIGHT THERE. I WAS SITTING RIGHT THERE!" I pointed violently at the seat, at the pear-shaped man in the seat, but he barely even looked up. I put down my bag of Franzia and my bag of shoes to be returned and started going through my purse again. I called Brian. I walked back to the front of the bus, and I tried speaking to the driver again. I said, "What happens if somebody turns my wallet in?"
He said, "Well, if somebody finds it, they give it to me."
"And then how do you give it back to me? How do I know how to look for it?" He looked at me blankly. "Is there a number I should call? Or should I take your name? Or does this bus have some sort of number I should use as a reference?"
He just kept on looking at me with that same blank face, saying, "If someone finds it, they'll give it to me. And I'll be sure to give it back to you."
"You don't even know who I am," I said. Then I noticed we were stopped at the light at 5th Avenue. We were about to go through the park. But I didn't have a MetroCard. I had no money to buy a new MetroCard. I had no identification whatsover. Just a bag of shoes to be returned and a heavy tote full of boxed wine. If I didn't get off the bus now, I was going to have to walk back through the park. Or wait until this one made its turnaround. So I said, "THE WALLET IS TAN AND IT HAS A PICTURE OF THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE ON IT. REALLY IT DOES." Then I got off the bus and walked home.
I stopped at Lexington briefly to make sure it hadn't fallen in the gutter on my way off the bus. Brian had already begun cancelling my credit cards. He even begun the process of ordering a new driver's license online. I was miserable. I loved that wallet. I also had a decade-old student ID inside. My identification. About $120 in cash. Any card I owned that might get me some money. A business card from a respected writer with the names and numbers of connections I should try. I felt naked and stupid. Had I dropped it? Had someone really pick-pocketed me? I kept replaying my four minute bus trip in my mind. Where could it have gone. If I dropped it, I would feel like such a doofus. But then it might actually turn up. If someone had filched it, then it would never turn up. I am usually so cautious.
I cried to Brian that I was trapped in the apartment, because I didn't have any money for a new MetroCard. He said, "Do you have two dollars in quarters?" I did. He said, "Take two dollars in quarters and go buy yourself a one-trip MetroCard. Meet me downtown, and I'll get you some money and a new MetroCard. Then we can get lunch"
So I did. On my way out, I told the doorman, "I lost my wallet. Or someone stole it. It's gone."
He said, "No. Something good was supposed to happen. This isn't right." I told him I had a pocket full of quarters to get a new MetroCard, and he said, "This is really terrible. You have lost all your money and your identification. It could not be worse."
I was a little surprised by his attitude. I said, "I could have had my purse stolen. Then I would be out my keys and my cell phone too." A coworker of mine recently got mugged, and though he lost his cell phone and his wallet, he still considered himself lucky, because he had not gotten beaten up. He had told me, "I have friends who really got the shit kicked out of them. That's definitely worse."
The weather was clear and gorgeous. This all might have happened in a cold driving rain. I could not have had Brian to help me out, to talk some sense into me. To meet me and buy me lunch and money and a metrocard. It could have been worse. It almost always could be worse. Still, I'm feeling pretty low.
When are you going to learn?
From: arthur schwartzWow. He didn't even hit "reply" to this person's email, because then he would have been sure to get the correct address. And he's always signing his emails "Love...." What's up with that?
This isn't something that happens too frequently. My last email from Arthur was back in November. Before that, October, and before that, June of 2004. So I don't think I have to write back to let him know about his mistake.
Brian, on the other hand, has been receiving frequent misdirected emails meant for a Brad Geller. The person is obviously trying to buy a house, and is attaching all sorts of personal information containing income amounts, social security numbers, telephone numbers and addresses, and all manner of neat-looking charts and spreadsheets. Brian thought it ammusing at first, so didn't say anything. But he's becoming increasingly more nervous.
Brian said, "I really think I have to let this guy know that he is emailing all this personal information to the wrong address."
I said, "But then you won't get his emails anymore."
Brian said, "You've got a point."
Besides, who wants to be the harbinger of that kind of news?
Being as it's Pesach, I've finally gotten around to posting pictures from my extended family's Chanukah Party. The family is looking a bit morose in these pictures. I wonder if it's because my battery was constantly dying. I would snap one picture, then the battery would die and I would have to plug in the camera, unable to travel further than the cord would let me. Maybe this created some sort for awkwardness for the party-goers. Or maybe it was because there wasn't any booze at the party. Either way, enjoy!
Brian and I organized our second Passover Seder
The first one was nine years ago. At that time, Brian and I were just friends. We were friends by way of mutual friends. We had on several occassions hung out just the two of us, but mostly our relationship consisted of seeing each other within the context of a larger group of friends.
Passover fell in the middle of finals week that year. So Brian and I organized a Seder, which was attended largely by our gentile friends. We spent at lot of time together preparing for the Seder, and grew much closer in the process. And several months later . . . well, we've been together now as a couple for almost nine years.
My grandmother originally said she would try to stop by, but when I called her yesterday afternoon, she back-tracked, saying that she had already changed into her robe and slippers and wasn't feeling up for going out (note: we live three floors beneath her in the same building). She did eventually wind up coming down, and ended up derailing the Seder with her blue jokes and pointed criticisms.
Brian and I had been preparing for the Seder since Sunday, and some of the food turned out well, and some turned out less-well--the proverbial plastic wrap accidently being left on the proverbial kugel while it cooked in the proverbial oven.
But still, we managed to have a very good time. Thank you, Moses, for leading the children of Israel from bondage in Egypts so that Brian and I might throw a fun, unleavened dinner oarty.
ps: Happy Birthday, Mom!
An email message from Kristin Kovach in Murfreesboro, TN: