Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Devil and Ms. Dish


So Scott, of The Devil's Playground and I finally had our long-overdue tete-a-tete Friday night at Nobu 57 and Tao. Quite a good time was had by the two of us, his friend of "finger in the ass" fame (What are you doing back there?) and a few of my girls.

He implored me to break my entries up into paragraphs. Are you happy now Mr. Devil? To him and his friends, apparently I am "Dish," not Stephanie, therefore I shall refer to him as Mr. Devil. He also had a lovely cell phone convo with my mom, who he pronounced a MILF, and I think the two of them may have a dinner date the next time she's in town. Perhaps my dad and I will give them some space;)

Friday, December 30, 2005

Art, Anyone? (AKA Shilling for Friends)

I am extremely fortunate in many respects, as I have previously stated. One of the things I am most grateful for is my parents and their amazing friends, all of whom, as I have also said before, rock. I consider many of my parents' friends, especially the lifelong ones, my own friends. They love me, they always have my back, they put up with my bullshit, they set stellar examples in life, love, morality, attitude. I in turn, adore them, admire them and have just as much fun hanging out with them as I do with my own friends, my own age. Now, it should be said that my folks and their friends are a whole hell of a lot cooler than most other parents I've encountered. They're funny, down-to-earth but sophisticated, intelligent, worldly, laid-back, and they all like to have a good time.
My dad's best friend since college, let's call him Ben, is like my uncle. A more quality person you could not find, and, my dad and him are so close, that we all refer to them as one another's boyfriend. They are like female best friends, in that they speak on the phone at least once a day, often more. Ben was actually the first man to see me after I was born, as he beat my dad to the hospital. And, throughout my life, Ben has been like a second dad to me and has always been a part of my family. This is a man who, each time he visits the city, throws $100 bills in the cab at me; who, on the occassion of my 30th birthday, called our restaurant in Bermuda, had the maitre d' send over a bottle of Jordan wine, and then, along with his wife, proceeded to sing "Happy Birthday" to me on the phone. Anywho, Ben married a woman who my dad grew up with in Jax. Let's call her Jen. (For some reason, I find coming up with pseudonyms one of the most challenging aspects of writing. Go figure.) I am also very close with Jen, and consider her one of my girlfriends. Jen happens to be one of the most talented, amazing artists I've ever known. I've always been her biggest fan. Jen is typically self-deprecating about her talents, but trust me when I say that she is incredibly gifted. I've always thought she should show in New York, but I don't believe she ever has. So when I was at their beach condo this week, I decided to take some photos of her work to post here. She's given me permission and if anyone who happens to read this would like to know more about her and her pieces, please feel free to contact me. Her main medium is collage, and she is quite well-known locally in Fla. for her work, but I happen to greatly adore her paintings. She gave one of them to me as a college graduation present and it hangs proudly in my living room here. And, in the scheme of the art world, her prices are quite reasonable. Enjoy. Pics posted below in separate entry.





Tangled up in Tessie Lou Blue




As promised, better pictures of my parents' new shih tzu tangled up by her leash thanks to their ingenious, revolutionary potty-training method.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Water, Water Everywhere and Too Much to Drink

So I have not been feeling well and thought I was extremely dehydrated. Genius me decides to combat this "dehydration" by sucking down water like, well, wine. I go from drinking my normal amount--probably about 75 ounces a day, I've always drunk a lot of water--to like 200 ounces a day. Just yesterday, during the course of my 50-minute session on the elliptical trainer, I consumed literally 75 ounces. I kept sending dad to refill my bottle. I wasn't sweating, and normally I'm a sweater, so I figure, the more water, the more likely I am to sweat it out. This has been going on for a few weeks now; I work out, I don't sweat a lot, so I drink more water. Then after I workout, each time, I begin to feel really lightheaded, like I'm on drugs or something. I've been chalking it up to dehydration, cold medicine, etc. I could not have been more wrong. Go to the doctor today, a family friend, so I totally trust him, unlike my ghetto, HMO docs in NYC. He tells me I've been drinking TOO MUCH water and THAT is why I'm feeling so weird and lightheaded after my workouts. The point here, cause I know nobody gives two shits how much water I drink, is that it is actually possible to drink too much water, FYI. I never knew that. You learn something new every day. Yes, Jacksonville really is this boring. And apparently, 64 ounces a day really is the magic number. Girls, this is why I've been feeling so weird when we're out!!! Phew!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Jesusville






Above are the photos of the doggies, the urn, and my loner dog, Wally. I'll post better ones of poor Tessie Lou tangling herself up when I have some more time and patience.
One of the few reasons I love coming home--my folks are up in Manhattan every month, making it unneccessary for Michael and I to visit Jackassville/Jesusville often--is that I get to dig for treasures, not only of the gemalogical and sartorial sort, but of the "literary" sort. I've always kept journals; probably since the age of 10 or so. Yesterday I found my journal from my first trip to Europe, when I was 17 and had just graduated from high school. I went as part of a group tour organized by a friend from sleepaway camp. It was one of those whirlwind, 7-countries-in-two-weeks kind of trips. Lori and I were the only Jews on the trip, and it wasn't exactly an Abercrombie & Kent-level sort of journey. It's kind of scary to realize just how little my personality has changed in 13 years.
"32 Things I Learned in Europe"
1. How to flush a toilet in six different ways
2. That I prefer to stay in the Ritz-Carlton as opposed to the Hotel de Belfort (a piece of crap hotel in Paris)
3. That I am more mature and just as intelligent as many adults (even then, I was humble;)
4. That I miss my dogs
5. That people in Europe are "in touch" with their sexuality
6. That Van Gogh is God (We visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam)
7. That most teenagers are immature and ignorant
8. That I don't give a shit about cathedrals (We visited cathedrals in every, single city and town and not one synagogue)
9. That I am dependent on bellmen, maids, hair dryers, sleep, irons, taxis, elevators, telephones and my car
10. That uncultured people do not suddenly become cultured by going to Europe
11. That Lou Lou is not just the name of my dog (I think one of our guides was named Lou Lou)
12. That everybody should be multilingual (And yet, I still am not, sadly)
13. That some people DO still wear acid-washed clothing
14. That most people have atrocious table manners
15. That I belong in taxis and not on subways (Again, sadly, still true)
16. That even the people in McDonald's in Paris are chic (That's probably highly debatable)
17. That I am doing my junior year abroad in London (Never happened)
18. That I am a snobby bitch and proud of it (Probably, some would say, still true, but I am certainly not proud of it)
19. That I can never forgive the Germans
20. That I hate looking like a tourist
21. That most people who should read Vogue don't
22. That finding hair in your food is repulsive no matter what part of the world you're in
23. That every man who works in a Versace store is gay (Yes, I started buying Versace in high school. So sue me. Oh, wait, somebody has.)
24. That I will have an apartment in London (Don't know quite what I was thinking with that one.)
25. That my parents spoil me waaay too much (Still do)
26. That a good shower is really hard to come by
27. That I have found myself and from hereforth shall only improve upon myself (Oy, remember when "finding yourself" actually seemed to be a legitimate task?)
28. That the Mona Lisa is truly overrated
29. That I shall return to Paris, stay at The Ritz and do the same in London
30. That I am an absurdly large tipper (Most likely because I couldn't figure out the exchange rates)
31. That I am most comfortable in a large city
32. That next time, I will stick to Musiker or American Trails West (Members of the tribe know whereof I speak.)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

More Dog Drama; Early Evidence of my Elitism

Mom has just informed me that Lou Lou, our deceased Lhasa Apso, is "on the desk."
"What do you mean?" I asked reflexively, as I'd just woken up and the coffee had yet to kick in.
"She's on the desk," She said again. Then it hit me; her ashes are on my mom's desk.
So I walked over to the desk, in our kitchen, nonetheless, and sure enough, there was a small, black, urn-type thing. Oy vey, could my family get any weirder? Yes, actually.
"We have to put them outside around the big oak tree," she said, seriously.
The big oak tree is where we scattered both my grandmother and great-grandmother's ashes, whilst saying the Mourner's Kadish. Nevermind the fact that Jews are not supposed to be cremated.
I just asked mom whose ashes were out there in our backyard, and she replied, "Just Roxy and Schwalbe; It's not like we have a big cemetary out there or anything."
No, cause that would be REALLY weird.
I've unearthed some priceless journal entries from my inaugural trip to Europe when I was 17; will post them later. Don't hold it against me ... BTW, Jacksonville is in the heart of the Bible Belt, which means that everything, from gas stations to grocery stores are closed today and tomorrow, therefore I am essentially homebound. Mom and dad are having a party tonight for all the lonely Jews.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Freaky Florida

It's true what "they" say--people's eccentricities do indeed increase with age. Especially those of our parents. I'm now firmly ensconced at my parents' house in Florida, after a rather trying travel experience; 9 1/2 hours door-to-door from LaGuardia. I grew up in East Bumblefuck, aka, Jacksonville, Fla., so it's quite a feat to find direct flights home. And, being that I really only fly Delta domestically, today I had to connect through Atlanta, which was worse than Times Square on any given Saturday night. Though I did run into an old friend of my brother's at LGA, and we ended up chilling in the Crown Room, so all was not lost. The Greens are dog people, and after our childhood dog, Betsy, (see obit below) died earlier this year, mom and dad got a shih tzu pup to give their other shih tzu, Stella, a companion. I'd yet to meet Tessie Lou before today, but was present on the occassion of her naming. While we were in Bermuda for my 30th in September, my mom got the brilliant idea that the name of their new, as-yet-to-be purchased dog should be an anagram of our two childhood dogs, Betsy and Lou Lou, as an homage to them. So, while dining at our resort on the last night of our vacay, mom was scribbling anagrams on a sheet of hotel stationery. We got a little carried away and came up with some rather funny, if not really anagrammatical, ones: Boozy, Floozy, Toulouse, Loosey, Bluesy, etc. I can't remember the best ones, but we managed to amuse ourselves, and garner the scorn of other diners. Anywho, the name they settled on was Tessie Lou. Apparently, my folks have come up with a totally new and utterly bizarre method of potty training little Tessie Lou, which I was unprepared for. After I walked into their house tonight and all the dogs said hello to one another--my dog, Wally, is with me--I was introduced to this new, um, state-of-the art method. What does it involve? Oh, let me tell you: They attach one end of poor little Tessie's retractable leash to the bottom of a chair in the kitchen, where our family, like most good Jews, spends the majority of its time at home, and let her stay like that. Now, the leash is a good 30 feet long, but, still, It's quite amusing. She's running around trying to play with Wally and Stella, and she keeps twisting her leash around various chairs, tying herself up like a phone cord. When not "tied up" she walks around the house dragging the leash behind her like a literal ball and chain; the handle of the leash is quite heavy, and she's probably only seven pounds. Wally is extremely bewildered, as Betsy was alive the last time he was here, and now there is this weird, semi-chained up newbie in her place. My dad just came in to wish me good-night and he had Tessie in tow, on the leash. They actually walk her around the freaking house on a leash. Now, I honestly think I've seen everything. I'm going to post some pics of the poor thing all tangled up as soon as I figure out how to upload to this PC. Michael, were you aware of this???
Oh, and I've just read the letter that mom received from the jeweler in response to her letter--quite humorous, but she won't allow me to post it. ...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Crazy Mary Strikes a Nerve or Two?

I seem to have hit a nerve with Crazy Mary. Apparently her story has been making the rounds amongst our circle. So, please, if you do know her, don't direct her to my site. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. On the other hand, a small part of me thinks she needs a big, fat wake-up call to shake her out of her stalkeritis. And I love the idea EMS has about texting Don't Answer this blog address. But then I would feel REALLY guilty. Too bad she was so mean to Jeffrey, the waiter/psychologist, he probably could have offered her some pertinent advice. But my impression is that this girl is a little too far gone for therapy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Oy Vey—Stalkers, Seat-Fillers and Succubi

OK, so now my mom is making Scott's blog, which I think is absolutely hilarious, but he seems a little scared that all these yentas will be privy to the details of his sex life! The Devil's Playground
So I've noticed a disturbing pattern lately that's popping up in the Manhattan/Internet dating microcosm: Stalking. I don't mean, scary, microwaving-bunnies kind of stalking, but somewhat more innocuous occurrences, played out via e-mail, text messages, phone calls, cyber-stalking, etc.
Following is the most interesting, pathetic, disturbing story I've heard of late, notwithstanding Scott's story of actual stalking, which I have yet to get the details of.
So there is this girl who is tangentially connected to my circle of girlfriends. She's pretty much a tagalong, who only comes out with us when one of the girls is feeling particularly sympathetic. This girl, let's call her Mary, stalks my girlfriends, calling, e-mailing and texting them about what we are doing until one of them feels compelled to respond out of sympathy. In the past couple of weeks, she has been out with us twice, mainly because someone felt sorry for her and then we made the mistake of talking about future plans in front of her. So she heard of the future plans and then made damn sure she was included in said plans.
Now, for months, Mary had been involved with some guy she met online. From what I can gather, she met this guy, they had sex a few times, which she mistook as them "dating" or being "in a relationship," while he probably just wanted to get laid and she was an easy target. The guy then disappeared, stopped taking her calls, removed his profile from the Web site. She called, texted and e-mailed to no avail; the guy had vanished. Then, she did the unthinkable—she snail mailed him?! Apparently, after he received her letter, written in pencil to boot, he got back in touch. Yeah, I don't blame him; he was probably scared for his life. He feeds her some story about being back with the ex or having lots of family obligations, blah, blah, blah. They hook up a few more times; she relentlessly pursues him, he continues to ignore her. Finally, after her repeated e-mails, phone calls and texts, he texts her back and tells her to leave him alone, that he is back with the ex once and for all.
She doesn't take no for an answer, continues to doggedly pursue him. She calls his cell; he hangs up. The other night, she was out with us. She takes my cell phone and calls his number. He picks up, then hangs up. He calls my number back; I let it go to voicemail, for I don't know the guy and don't care whether he gets my voicemail. She puts his phone number in my phonebook so that should he call me back, I'll know not to answer. She actually labels his number "Don't Answer!" The next day, she calls one of our mutual friends like five times to see if "Don't Answer" has called me. While out that night, we made the mistake of talking about Sara's birthday, to be celebrated Thursday at a restaurant on PA South. Despite our best efforts to ignore her, she repeatedly contacts several members of our crew to nail down Thursday's plans. And, she informs the girls, there is a new twist to the "Don't Answer" saga. Now, Don't Answer claims that the ex is pregnant with his child and is threatening to move to Florida with the unborn child. It's my personal belief that Don't Answer doesn't have an ex and is just pulling shit out of his ass in order to make psycho Mary leave him alone for good. But does the ex story stop Mary? Nooooooo. We manage to have a good time at Sara's birthday dinner by being ourselves and pretty much ignoring crazy Mary.
Mary, a narcissist who needs to be the center of attention, gets fed up by our exclusion of her, and, after one of us accidentally spills a glass of red wine, some of which gets on her hideous, rabbit-fur coat, storms out of the restaurant. This is not before however, she berates our adorable, sweetheart waiter, for her steak being undercooked.
"Relax," I tell her, "It's not Jeffrey's fault. He's not the chef." We've been served by Jeffrey before, and we like him. He's a nice, Jewish, boy with a master's in psychology from Columbia. The last time we were at the restaurant, he offered up some armchair psychology, free of charge. So, then, we were embarrassed at Mary's behavior, and, frankly, happy when she left.
"I'm so sorry, Jeffrey," I say after Mary's scene. "She's not really one of us. She's the tagalong; the toxic frenemy."
"Ha! I totally get it," he says, then recommends a comedian, Dane Cook, who talks about "the friend nobody likes." (More on this subject later, because I think we all have so-called "friends" we really don't like very much.)
Anywho, we think that Mary is pretty much done with us after this night, but, again, the girl just doesn't give up. The next night, she calls several of the girls to see what we are up to. Nobody returns her calls.
I kind of feel sorry for the guy; here he thinks that he can drive crazy Mary away by concocting this meshuga story, but instead of driving her away for good, it's making her pursue him even more. I think it would be less painful for both of them if he would tell her, in so many words, "Look, biatch, you are one insane motherfucker, I was just using you for sex, now get over it and leave me the hell alone." Let's just hope there aren't any bunnies in the vicinity of Don't Answer's apartment.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Finally a Valid Excuse Not to Use Public Transportation


Of course, come Friday when I will need to head to LaGuardia, I could be severely screwed. I don't understand this whole taxi "zone" plan; I need the Cliff's Notes version. For, standard car services do not allow beings of the canine variety in their stinky sedans, which means that Wally will either be going incognito or, or, I really don't know. Let's hope this ridiculous situation gets resolved before the holidays. MTA Strike
Unrelated: I am now convinced that, aside from Curb, Arrested Development is the most brilliant show on the air. If you haven't seen it—and, given the fact that it has been cancelled, you probably haven't—do yourself a favor and rent the DVDs. I think it's the funniest show since Seinfeld, and it will make you and your family seem completely normal. Lucille Bluth is my dead grandmother reincarnated; truly scary, but extremely entertaining.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A Pox on Your House, Asshole


Um, yeah, I did actually have a point to the previous post, and it was to introduce the following anecdote. Typically, I've been reserving the sordid details of my personal life for "literary material," but, what the fuck? This story is funny enough to be shared with the masses. And I can't remember which friends I've told the following to, so this will save me some phone calls. OK, so the Asshole in the previous post managed to not only infect me, but also my family. As like most Jewish girls who get along well with their folks, I reveal all to them, which usually comes back to bite me in the tuchas. Anywho, mom, dad and brother were privy to most of the intricacies of my dealings with said Asshole, and therefore were just as outraged over his treatment of me as was I. Mom, it seems, took his actions most personally. Dad just thought him a complete fuckwit unworthy of my time. If we were, say, the Gottis instead of the Greens, there would no doubt be a contract out on the motherfucker. And, in anticipation of the comments from male readers, yes, I am bitter—so what of it? Here goes; and this piece is not exaggerated in the least bit for comedic effect. Truth, in my family, is very much stranger than fiction.
A month or so ago, Mom and dad are at a TEP reunion in Gainesville, at the University of Florida. The Asshole was a TEP at UF, as was my dad and all his friends. So I tell mom when she’s in the TEP house to look up the composite photos for the year that Asshole was there and see if there’s a picture. I JOKINGLY tell her to bring a Sharpie and draw horns on his photo or something equally symbolic. Alas, there is no photo, but she locates his name. So I’m speaking on the phone to her, while she's in G'ville; I am sick. My voice is but a whisper, and it actually hurts to speak; it kills to laugh …
“So I’m like looking all over for the composite photos from the years you were here and there is only one photo from all four years,” she says.
“Really, only one photo?”
“Yeah. So I find the photo, and of course, there is no photo of him. But his name is listed under like ‘not pictured above’ or something like that.”
“Figures,” I say, “He’s such a weirdo like that.”
“Well, I’m like trying to think of what I can do to his name—"
“Mom, oh my God, when I told you to cross out his picture with a Sharpie I was totally kidding! Please tell me you did not.”
“Well,” she says naughtily, “I know you were kidding but I wanted to do something to the bastard after what he did to you. I didn’t have a pen with me…”
“Oh. My. God. Mom, stop,” I say laughing so hard I’m crying. I'm screeching like a 75-year-old, four-pack-a-day smoker.
“So I had a little piece of tape in my bag, so I take the piece of tape and put it over his name.”
“Oh my God. Stop!”
“And there are like, you know, 50 people in the room with me, so I’m like sneaking and doing this. And your dad tells me that I am acting like a teenager or something. But I had to do something, it’s like, you know, when you go to the Wailing Wall or something and stick a piece of paper in it.”
“Oh my God,” I am dying with laughter. “I cannot believe you did that! That is so fucking funny! Was it clear tape?”
“Yeah, it’s clear, so if anyone sees it they might think it’s a mistake. But you know how gross that house is; It will probably be years before anyone ever notices it, if ever. But it made me feel better.”
“Oh, God, that is too fucking funny. And the fact that you're comparing it to the Western Wall is just disturbing. You're 57 years old mom! Even I wouldn't have done that!”
"Weeelllll, I just had to do something. Who does he think he is treating you like that?!"
I can just see mom, standing in the filthy, ancient TEP house, surreptitiously placing a piece of tape over the name of the guy who broke her daughter's heart, thinking "A pox on your house motherfucker!!!!!!!!!!!"
Gotta love the mom who always has your back. And gotta love the fact that no matter how together, successful, accomplished, chic, sophisticated and intelligent a woman is, she can be reduced to a bit of a wacko in the face of heartbreak. If anyone happens by the UF TEP house in the near future, keep your eyes peeled for a name obscured by a piece of Scotch tape;)

Market Fluctuations

I know that I've said in the past that I'm back on the market and that I wouldn't talk about my dating life here, but I'm renegging on both those statements as of today. Frankly, I find the whole dating process nearly unbearable. Given the choice between a first, blind date and a visit to the dentist, I'd choose the dentist. A first, blind date and a job interview? The job interview. A first, blind date and a visit to the gyno? Um, debatable. My point is that I HATE dating; abhor it. The artifice, the games, the awkwardness, the hurt feelings, the rules. The truth is that I am a very, very bad dater. If it were a class I would get an "F" or maybe even an "incomplete." And, in general, I have a very low tolerance for bullshit. I've discovered, over the past several years, that being single/alone is much easier than putting yourself "out there." I don't often let down my walls because when I do, someone brings the pain. Also, I don't fall very easily for guys. In fact I think I've really only fallen hard for one guy over the past few years. And I'm still trying to recover from this painful precipice. With this guy, my defenses lay dormant; the fighter in me was not en guarde. And, as a result, my heart was torn out, shredded into a million little pieces, and then slam-danced upon. I don't relish ever feeling this way again. These are the lessons I've learned from The Asshole, who was arrogant/stupid enough to give me permission to write about him. (Are verbal aggreements binding in the state of New York? Anyone? Bueller?)
Lesson 1: It is NOT better to have loved and lost; If you've never loved, you don't know what you're missing.
Lesson 2: If something seems too good to be true, it is.
Lesson 3: Never let your guard down.
Lesson 4: It all goes back to your family; if your significant other has MAJOR family issues, above and beyond the normal, Jewish eccentricities, he's probably a whack job.
And on a marginally related topic, a question:
Has anyone noticed that art and wine are to New York businessmen—especially finance guys and traders—what clothes, jewelry and accessories are to New York women?
If I hear one more guy go on about the prices of his art and wine collections, I think I'm going to scream.
Do you hear us talking about the prices of our jewelry, handbags and shoes? What? Oh, that would be gauche? OK. The next time a guy pontificates on the value of his art or wine, I'll be ready.
"Does it taste good and is it aesthetically pleasing?" I will ask.
Oh, you don't know because these things are merely status symbols to you and have no inherent value of beauty or flavor? Then please, just stop talking. We are not impressed.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Jews and Jewels


So this is the big scandal in the Green family of late. Mom and her friends have been frequenting the same jeweler on 47th Street for more than 20 years now. This jeweler, mom always insisted, gave her and her friends the "best" prices on their baubles. And, over the years, mom has referred many a client to said jeweler. These clients have in turn referred other buyers to the jeweler, making mom a mini marketing machine for this business. Now, prices on 47th Street are somewhat of a sticky subject. In general, what you'll pay for a piece of jewelry on 47th Street is typically about 40% less than what you would pay at a retailer such as Cartier, Tiffany, Van Cleef or even at places like Bergdorf's, Barneys, Saks, etc. However, when you're a "good customer," or a really amazing customer such as my mom or her good friend in Palm Beach who's been her partner in crimes of the gemalogical sort over the past few decades, the prices are supposed to be even better than what the average Joe Schmo coming in off the street would be quoted. Mom and her friends, however, don't just take the jewelers' word that they are getting "the best" price, they comparison shop diamond prices like most yentas compare grocery prices. And, in the past, their jeweler has always come out on top. Cut to Thanksgiving week. Mom swore she wasn't going to buy anything new, which is a good thing because the woman has enough jewelry to cover a Sotheby's auction, but she was going to the jeweler to help my aunt pick out some things. Here it should be noted that my deceased grandmother's jewelry stash was legendary and now rests in the hands of my mom, my aunt and myself (thanks, Roxy). But mom and aunt still buy fresh baubles regularly. Aunt was looking for a pair of emerald-cut, several carat diamond earrings. The price our jeweler quoted her, was, in my humble opinion, absolutely ludicrous—I believe it was the equivalent of a BMW 325Ci Convertible or roughly a year of rent on a nice one-bedroom apartment in a luxury doorman building on the Upper East Side. Anywho, we all thought the price on these earrings was a tad high, especially for 47th Street. So my aunt and uncle—wisely, it turns out—decided to think about it.
They left our jeweler and paid a visit to a diamond wholesaler on 47th Street who they'd met at a jewelry show in another state. At this man's studio, they managed to score a similar pair of earrings, a diamond ring (pictured above) and a necklace, for roughly the same amount they would have paid for ONE PAIR of earrings at my mom's longstanding jeweler. Well, when mom heard this, it was as if she'd been sold an acre of land on top of a sinkhole. She did not know whether she'd been taken advantage of over all these jewelry-buying years, whether the jewelers were just starting to be more price-conscious because they are expanding their business, or, worse yet, whether the jewelers saw my aunt as a "whale" and were just price-gouging. The cell phones were abuzz from Jacksonville to Palm Beach to New York. Mom just couldn't reconcile her jeweler's price with what the wholesaler came up with.
Thanksgiving came and went; I was sick as hell and had other concerns, so I'd nearly forgotten about the Great Jewelry Debacle of 2005. The other night while on the phone with mom, though, I remembered and asked her whether she'd said anything to the jewelers about it. She and her friends typically use one salesgirl when they shop there, and they thought that she ALWAYS gave them the best price. It's always a little unclear who sets the prices there. Anywho, "Whatever happened with The Jewelers?" I asked innocently.
"Oh my God! I haven't filled you in! You'll never believe this."
Oh, I'm sure I will. When we were there over Thanksgiving, mom selected a pair of chandelier earrings for her aforementioned friend in PB, Lisa. Lisa wanted a pair similar to the ones my mom had bought a couple years ago. The Jeweler shipped the earrings to Lisa in PB for her perusal. Mom and her friends do this a lot. Lisa got the earrings and got the price, which came in under $1,000; fairly reasonable for a pair of nice diamond earrings. Well, this caused an even Bigger Jewelry Debacle, because mom had paid nearly three times that amount for her very similar earrings a few years ago. This was gasoline on the smoldering fire, people. Mom had had enough.
"Oy, mom. Well, did you say something to the Jewelers and to Jennifer [the salesgirl, also not her real name]?"
"You bet I did! I wrote them a letter!"
Oy, again. My mom and her letters. A few years ago, she did the same thing to Bergdorf's; and again, Lisa was involved. Mom and Lisa are obsessed with Loro Piana shawls. Lisa bought one at Neiman's in PB; Mom bought the same one at Bergdorf's. Bergdorf's and Neiman's are owned by the same company, therefore their prices should be comparable on the same goods, and they usually are. Except this time mom paid a couple hundred dollars more than Lisa for the same item. Enter the letter, written in longhand, to the Bergdorf Goodman Customer Service department. I don't remember what came of that letter, but I can't imagine it made much of an impact at Bergdorf's, where the wealthiest, most powerful and most famous women in the world shop, and drop a lot more dough than mom does. But I digress.
Her letter to the jeweler was much more appropriate, as she has always been one of their better customers, and has indeed referred many, many clients to them over the years. Apparently the letter had its intended effect—the salesgirl feels horrible and has offered to prorate some past prices. And, as of today, the two owners of the business had written mom a response letter, which she eagerly awaits. She's gonna kill me, but here's the letter. More proof that I'm really not that insane when viewed in the larger context of my family. But we're nuts in an innocuous, mildly amusing sort of way. At least that's what we like to think....The names have been changed, though I'm sure I'm still going to get into trouble.


Hi Jennifer! Hope you are well.

Thanks for your help the other day! I wanted to let you know that my sister and her husband ended up buying the earrings (and other things) from someone else on 47th. Apparently they had the name of someone and went there after leaving you guys. I wasn’t with them unfortunately, but according to them, they were able to buy a better quality stone in the earrings for almost $10,000 less. They ended up buying a ring (with a center stone over 3 carats), a diamond bracelet and a necklace too for about the same price as what you were going to charge them for one pair of earrings—they may as well have bought a Mercedes CLK!!! I am sharing this with you for two reasons…..First of all, I feel badly you “lost” a sale that had a lot of potential after spending the time you did with them. I do know, however, if they had felt they were getting comparable prices, they would have preferred to buy from you and give you the business. I believe they came fully prepared that day to spend a great deal of money with you guys!!

Finally, thanks for sending Lisa her things, all of which she liked. I selected the chandelier earrings for her because they were very similar to the ones I bought about a year and a half ago, and I knew she would like them. Out of curiosity, I asked Lisa how much you all were charging her (we always discuss the price), and to be quite honest with you, I was extremely shocked that hers were less than $1,000 when I paid close to $2,000.

Over many years, I have enjoyed a long relationship with you and the Kleins. I expect, in turn, you feel the same way and appreciate the business and referrals from me which have grown over time. Because I do respect the business relationship we have had, I must let you know that the vast discrepancy in the pricing of these earrings is really bothering me!

On the other hand, I know that much of the pricing is not in your control, so I don’t want to seem unappreciative for all of the fairly priced things I’ve purchased from you. I really am thankful and know you always go out of your way to help me get “better buys.”

I’m not sure what you can do with this information or to rectify the discrepancy, but I felt it was important to share my thoughts with you after doing business for so long. You may also share this letter with Mike, Dave and Ned if you wish! If you would like to discuss this more or have any questions, please feel free to call me.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Adieu to Anonymity?

People have been beseeching me to post more, so I shall, if only to entertain my friends and friends-of-friends while they work. A strange thing happened the other night, though it should be duly noted that most of my social life seems to be tinged with a bit of oddity, probably not such unusual territory for a single person living in Manhattan. Thursday night I am having drinks at my neighborhood Italian joint when I am approached by a girl, who says that she recognizes me from the photos on this here blog thingamajig. As it turns out, she is actually a friend of my aforementioned blogger buddy, whom I have never met in real time or space. This girl got to my blog via his, and apparently recognized me from the pictures posted here. I have to say that I was a bit taken aback, though this girl was perfectly nice and we both found humor in the situation, as cyberspace provided the venue for the introduction. Now, I'm new to this blog thing, but, from what I hear, it's not that uncommon for bloggers to meet one another in such a fashion. But, needless to say, I'm not exactly used to being "recognized" from my photos or my writing or anything like that. After my book made the papers and I caused a bit of a scandal amongst media types, I would get the occassional, "Oh, you're that girl" comment, but that was only after I'd recited my now mundane story. And frankly, I was really not aware that people I do not know are actually reading my drivel. So now I suppose I have some obligation to keep things interesting, because the last thing I want is to be responsible for other people's wasted time. Anyway, it was nice to meet you, Amy, and I'm sure that since many or most of the readers of this site are members of the tribe and probably reside on the UES or in the surrounding city blocks, this will not be the last of such encounters. The cliche is so true—we really do all know each other. So I especially encourage the single, male, Jewish and nice—they have to be nice—readers to say hi to my friends and I when we are out;)
On another note, the daughter of one of my folks' college friends made the NYT wedding section today and my parents wondered why she and her husband were of note. My first response was, "Did she go to an Ivy school?" The answer, was, natch, yes. And second, "Was she married at a notable venue?" Why, yes, it just so happens that she was married at The Breakers. An Ivy school, prestigious parents or a chic wedding location are, as far as I can tell, the only formula for making it into the Times' wedding section. I really hate the Times' pseudo-intellectualism and ridiculous elitism, when, really, newspapers are meant to be consumed by the masses. Also, in journalism school, we are taught that newspaper writers should gear their stories toward an 8th-grade audience, and that said stories should be easy enough for such an age group to understand. Do eighth graders care that she went to Penn? I have an irrational hatred of the Times and I really have no explanation for it, aside from the fact that I just think it's overrated, plain and simple. I'll take The Observer any day. Paige Kahn and Jeffrey Perkins I do, of course, read the Styles section fairly religiously, but that's the only one, I swear, and the stories contained within it are usually about six months behind the trend anyway.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

To Russia with Love




Friday night was my first night out with friends in more than a week, as I’ve been seriously ill, and not just in the head. The plan was to take it easy; the doc said it may take a while to feel completely like myself again, that I should do what felt comfortable, but not overdo it. So we head to the Guggenheim, which has, in partnership with Flavorpill, begun to host a party the first Friday of each month. There’s a well-known DJ, cash bar, etc. Well, Gawker, which probably gets hundreds of thousands of readers a day, put the event on its “To Do” list Friday afternoon, so I should’ve known that it would be absolutely packed. We arrive at about 10:15 and the line is already backed up nearly to Madison Avenue from the entrance on Fifth. We end up waiting in line for about 45 minutes, and, of course, genius me once again chooses fashion over comfort. Decide to wear my fall, not winter, coat. Also don my hottest, but somewhat open, 3” Manolos, so that by the time we reach the entrance, my tootsies are so cold they are literally numb. I’m sure my doctor would be proud.
And, since I’ve been severely dehydrated due to my illness, I’d consumed, oh, probably 100 ounces of water prior to hopping in the cab. After we finally get inside, after it’s begun to snow, after the temperature outside has dropped another ten degrees, after my bladder has reached capacity, I bolt for the restroom. There is one stall; there are about seven girls ahead of me. By the time I reach the single stall, I’ve bonded with all the other urinators and wasted another 20 minutes; I’m hopping from numb foot to numb foot like a kindergartener. I finally get some relief and join my friends at the bar. The party is totally rocking; the entire first floor is packed with people, varying in age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and sartorial expression. It’s the most diverse crowd I’ve seen in a nightlife environment in a long time. In short, it’s fucking awesome. The coolest part about the experience is that the museum and all its galleries are open, so that you can walk through the museum and peruse the current exhibition to the soundtrack of pulsating electronica. The exhibition—RUSSIA!, the most comprehensive collection of Russian art outside Russia since the end of the Cold War—is phenomenal. And I’m not a big fan of, well, anything Russian, except maybe vodka. People are dancing; people are drinking; people are schmoozing; people are looking at art. It is the perfect, quintessential New York experience. Well worth the line, the numb feet, the full bladder. Well worth the wait—and I’m the most impatient person ever.
And on a completely narcissistic note, a funny tidbit about cyber-friendships from my new blogger buddy: The Devil's Playground

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Friendster or Foe?


While e-mailing with another blogger today, whose site is very funny and definitely worth a read—http://www.theidlemind.blogspot.com/—the subject of e-stalking came up. This other blogger found my site through a mutual friend on Friendster, that bastion of wasted time and cyber-stalking. Not that there is anything wrong with that; we are certainly all guilty of it, myself included. I think that Friendster is particularly funny, entertaining and genius for several reasons though. First of all, it's a prime example of the inter-conectdedness of all people, most especially the Members of the Tribe. Because here's the strange thing—there seems to be a ton of crossover between JDate and Friendster. Two separate guys have e-mailed me on Friendster and JDate, totally randomly. I don't know if they know I am the same girl, but it's interesting. Moreover, while perusing the Friendster friends-of-friends, often I have seen a photo and thought, "Hmm, where have I seen that head shot before? Oh, JDate!"
Frankly, I use different photos for each site because of this whole crossover thing, and what can I say? I'm a little stigmatized by being on JDate. And, also, I am a little paranoid, I suppose, and worry that a potential suitor may look me up on Friendster, read my blog and be scared off by me before he even meets me or goes on a date with me. But obviously now I am outing myself; what the hell? Life is too short, and as the RENT song goes, "Take me as I am, or leave me." Any man I am with would have to accept the fact that I'm a writer who uses her personal life as literary material, as all writers do. And within minutes of conversing with me, people can tell that I'm a straight-shooter and speak my mind, so I don't know who I think I'm kidding anyway by trying to keep my personal life and "career" separate. It will all come out anyway in the manuscript I'm working on now, which incorporates the blog and various JDate/dating horror stories of myself and my friends.
Another reason I think Friendster is so fucking funny is that a couple of months ago, completley out of the blue, Friendster decides to initiate this new feature that allows members to see who's viewed your profile. Now, this would not have been so scandalous had Friendster actually given members warning that they were going to do this. But, nooo, this feature just popped up one fine day, and to boot, it was RETROACTIVE. Meaning, members logged in on this particular day and realized that they were sooo busted cyber-stalking ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, the ones who got away and frenemies. Myself included. For about a day, we were all pretty scandalized by this new, shockingly revealing feature. And, in fact, the day it happened, my friend and I were dining al fresco at One in Meatpacking and I was telling her about the site and what it had done that day, cause she is not a member.
There were two girls sitting next to us, and they were pretty much eavesdropping on our conversation. So when I began ranting about this new Friendster feature, one of the girls butted in and was like, "Oh my God! Can you believe Friendster did that today?! I am soo humiliated and busted."
We proceeded to have a long convo with these girls next to us on the subject of this wonderful—and sometimes malicious— time-waster. Friendster eventually made this feature non-retroactive, so that now you can only see who's viewed you if you don't view people anonymously. I'm a chicken, so I have mine set to anonymous. Though luckily none of my exes, at least none of the ones I'm still interested in cyber-stalking, are on the site. Oh, the Internet age, gotta love it.
Anywho, I've been sick the past couple of weeks, unable to write, workout, go out, hangout, talk on the phone, etc. But I'm back now, ready to par-tay and be normal again. Thank God—I miss my girls! You guys rock;) And thanks again to all the randoms who take the time to read my dribble and actually compliment me on it; it means a whole hell of a lot to me, believe it or not. And more thanks to my fabulous fam for literally baby-sitting me while I was sick, malnourished and unable to function. I honestly don't know how people who don't have great families function on a daily basis.