Friday, May 28


This whole moving process has left me completely addled and scatterbrained: two times in the last 40 minutes, I forgot that my parents are going on their annual Memorial Day golfing extravaganza, and asked Omma if she wanted to come by this weekend and see my painted rooms.

But there are still people my brain won't scatter against ...

... Hooch-a-rama and her big bad pneumonia ...
... Wonger and her exotic honeymoon and kick-ass massages ...
... the Ardsley Schools Superintendent who better call JKA, like, now, and offer her a job ...
... the Little Alien and his various ailments, which he loves to pass onto his poor, unsuspecting parents ...
... the Noodlets and their various stages of crawling, climbing and general rabble-rousing, alternating with excessive drooling and occasional puking ...
... Soybean and her upcoming months of discovery and learning ...
... my soon-to-be-just-three family, watching their oldest and only little girl move on out ...
... Cheech and his impending medical training on the Wrong Coast ...
... Mrs.G and Le Petit Melon who shall be making her grand debut this weekend ...
... Banana and her upcoming NHF Wedding of the Year ...
... my bestest and dearest LOLs, Ha, C, Little Women, PT ...

Home is where the heart is ...

It was everything I hoped it would be and more.

ML, NL and the Alien, J2, JC, C, Soy, Jaime came over to my place to paint the town red ... or the office "Appalachian Trail" and the bedroom "Harlequin Blue." It was too much fun, though I think we'll all need a break before hitting the next house and the next major project. After a rocky start in both rooms -- C writing his name on my bedroom wall does not count as proper painting technique, and JKA stepping in paint repeatedly was just downright goofy -- everyone got into the rhythm of things pretty quickly. The local Pizza Hut (and a free pizza) followed, as did a wild and crazy second coat. I have never seen Soy and Nancy do anything so furiously before in my life, as I saw them blend and reblend and roll and roll again last night. They are powerhouses. You all should hire them and pay them lots of money. JKA was, of course, the most phenomenal light director ever (if she would just stop hitting people over the head with the lamp). As for the men ... well, I don't really know what they did in the other room, but it turned out beautifully.

Because I can't tell you in accurate terms what last night meant to me, I offer an excerpt from the email I sent to my painting team instead:

there was a moment towards the end of the (long) night where i sat on the window
sill of the bedroom watching the men finish up the edging, looked up at my
awesomely blue walls, and felt tears welling up in my eyes as i realized that i
have awesome friends who don't care that the ceilings are bizarrely high, who
don't care that there isn't enough light, who don't care that blending is harder
than it seems, who don't care that they have paint spatters (not to be confused
with spiderman) all over their feet, who don't care that they had pizza instead
of steak for dinner, who don't care that it's almost midnight and there's still
cleanup to be done, who don't care that they have to take out the garbage, who
don't care that they are surrounded by people who have never painted before, who
don't care that it's not their house.

i love crying tears of happiness.

thank you for my rooms.
thank God for yous.

Thursday, May 27


All it takes is one simple email -- "can you help me paint and move?" -- and I have an inbox full of replies:

"You don't even have to ask."
"Anything to promote your independence!"
"We'll be late but we'll be there."
"I'll be there early."
"I can't come on time, but I'll stay late."
"What else do you need?"
"I'll bring dollies and mover's blankets."
"I don't know how to paint, but I'll come hang out with you."
"All I want in payment is a cold bottle of beer."
"Here's a website that will tell you everything you need to know."
"Don't move the heavy stuff by yourself -- we're men, we can do it."

No other questions asked, no compensation requested, no resentment over less-than-glorious work or heavier-than-normal boxes.

Painting tonight, moving next Tuesday night ... with my generous team of crazy but reliable friends and family by my side ... my home is already blessed.

Wednesday, May 26

WAHOO!!!! . . .


There IS justice!
And I'm sitting here bawling like a baby.

And Simon looks HOT HOT HOT.

Tonight was clothes-packing night. And pack it, I did.

Thank goodness wool and cotton and linen articles of clothing smoosh into less than half of their original size. This phenomenon allows me to believe I don't have that much clothes ... but I have a lot. I might have as much clothing as I might have books. No, I still have more books, but they don't smoosh as well.

My only consolation: Big Brother/Big Sister of Westchester is going to get A LOT of clothes in their bins this weekend.

Jarring thought of the night: if I don't have enough shelf and drawer space, I will be dressing myself out of boxes. I'm annoyed already.

All that's left: all the little things that are too annoying to sift through and pack, and then unpack. Would that I could simply beam them over, Scotty.
COLD . . .

I'm disappointed in myself.

After returning from lunch, I logged onto the Internet and pulled up The New York Times webpage to check the most recent news. To my dismay, I discovered that ... I am no longer moved.

I am no longer moved by this dumb war in Iraq. I am no longer moved by terrorist threats and color-coded vigilance levels. I am no longer moved by rising fuel prices. I am no longer moved by Quinnipiac University polls telling me John Kerry is edging up on President Bush. I am no longer moved by prisoner abuse, high-level North-South Korean cabinet meetings, deadly storms in the Caribbean, kidnapped college students, murder-suicides, bank robberies or major drug busts. Even my fervent fascination with the Italian crime families? Even them -- no longer moved.

I don't know if this is because I am moving, and have too much other stuff to think about and pay attention to. Or maybe I have become just as A.D.D. as everyone else around me, and reading the same news every day, every hour, just isn't fun or interesting anymore. Or maybe my distrust of the media and everything it tells me is running too deeply for me to take anything I read and hear seriously. Or maybe today just isn't a day for me to be reading the news.

I've never been one not to care, to be unmoved. I have scoffed at those who don't care, who don't feel, who are not on the edge of their seats waiting for breaking news from the four corners of the world. But here I am, unfeeling, uninterested, even disinterested. Now THAT is interesting ...

Tuesday, May 25


I started packing tonight. I love packing. I love finding that last little nook inside the box for that one oddly-shaped trade-paperback novel. I love layering just the right-sized piece of bubble wrap between china plates and glass picture frames. I love sifting through all that I have accumulated, saying goodbye to things, reacquainting myself with other things, clinging desperately to aged but precious other things. I even love UNpacking and putting everything in its rightful place.

In this next segment of my life, I have resolved to live simply. I don't mean just in financial or materialistic terms. I mean in terms of not having so much STUFF around me. No more tiny little candles everywhere. No more stray papers and pens stuck in wire holders. No more mismatched picture frames. No more indecision in choice of color scheme. All of my individual photos are going into black Pottery Barn-esque collage frames and are going to be hung on the walls. All of my little knick-knacks and collectibles are going to be in one dust-free cute little cabinet. All of my papers and files and stationery products are going to be neatly contained in proper containers and drawers and boxes. Of course, it could be a while before I can afford the collage frames, the curio cabinet and the containers, drawers, and boxes ... but as Appa just reminded me, I'm a homeowner with a 30-year mortgage. I have thirty years to neaten up my place into a mini-museum for big, chunky and bold items.

As I prepare to move, though, I must offer a deep, heartfelt, humble and most sincere apology to those who unwittingly volunteered to help me transport my belongings from hither to thither. I have lots of books. You think you have lots of books, but you don't. I have lots of books. I have lots of heavy cookbooks. I have lots of oversized baseball books. I have hardcover biographies and non-fiction social-study books. I have lots of trade-paperback novels by John Irving, about 19th-century English history, about women surviving in the ghetto, about New York City history. I have multiple copies of the same books, in different editions and by different publishers. Hey, it's not my fault -- everyone translates Shakespeare differently. I have books still in boxes from when I moved from my apartment in NYC back home right before law school ... six years ago. Oh, I have my law books too. I know I don't need them, but the red bindings comfort me sometimes. I have old journals and Bibles and study guides and photo albums. I have scrapbooks and notebooks and even magazines I have saved because Princess Diana looked radiant on the cover and now she's dead. I even have one morbid scrapbook devoted entirely to 9/11, just because I refuse to forget.

So I'm sorry. I promised you dinner, anything you want to eat, anything you want to drink. But it just doesn't seem adequate for how much you're going to hate me when you pick up the first box of books. And yes, I'm labeling the boxes "Books," "Cookbooks," "More Books," "More Books and Cookbooks," "Do You Hate Me Yet Because Here Are More Books." Perhaps I should offer my movers a day at the spa instead ...
BEWARE . . .

I am highly emotional lately.

1. Things are changing around me and I don't like it one bit.

2. I own a home. Which means my parents' home is no longer my home. Well, it is, but not really.

3. When I move, I could potentially take every little thing I own out of my parents' home and put it in mine. That means nothing of me will be left in my parents' home.

4. When I move, I won't be able to eat dinner with my gran or help arthritic mom with the dishes or listen to dad practice the saxophone at night or surf the Internet on their behalf.

5. I can't spend money on all the stupid frivolous things I want to spend money on.

6. I have "to-do" and "things to keep in mind" lists that keep on growing ... and I don't know how I'm going to get through it all.

7. I'm PMS-ing.

Monday, May 24


Sorry, all you fans of Anticipation, Caesar Salad, and other assorted colors (none of which I could visualize).

Today, I picked up "Harlequin Blue" and "Appalachian Trail." The former I find quite appropriate because I read quite a few Harlequin romances back in the day. In fact, about three of us in middle and high school traded our little paperbacks on a weekly basis. We were such sappy cheesedogs. The latter I find appropriate because I like to hike. It's just that simple.

I don't know what they'll look like on the wall, but the dollops that the Wallauer's Paint Man smudged onto the paint-can lids look nice.

So there you go.

I own a home.

Well, as C likes to remind me, the BANK owns a home and my name is on the papers, but as long as I can scrounge up the monthly mortgage and common-charge payments, the Bank and the condominium association let me live there.

But it's MINE until they take it away from me. It and everything in it: the lights, the ceiling fan (which isn't as atrocious as some of the ones they remove routinely on "Trading Spaces"), the fridge, the dishwasher, the range, the built-in shelving, the closets, the mailbox, the carpeting and the window treatments, the lovely patio furniture that the prior owners kindly bequeathed to me. And the three gallons of paint and painting supplies currently sitting in the living room, the bottle of water in the fridge and the roll of cheap 1-ply toilet paper I installed this afternoon.


Wednesday, May 19


Pick my blue for me:
Dejå vu
Twinberry Blossom
Velvet Morning
Violet Ice
Laughing Lilac
Vivacious Violet

Pick my green for me:
Pleasant Pasture
Shady Grove
Ivy Trellis
Hawthorne Hedge
Green Pond
Green Bough
Tinted Spearmint
Smoky Emerald
Caesar Salad
Tortoise Shell
Frog's Jump
Homestead Resort Spa Aqua
Tranquil Bay
Woodlawn Valley Haze
Green Crystal

What in the world have I gotten myself into? ...

Tuesday, May 18

WOW . . .

Arizona Diamondback Randy Johnson pitched a perfect game.


I bought a bed over the weekend.
One down, everything else to go.

It's amazing to be on the cusp of home ownership. I have so many worries -- financing, not being suckered by handymen, not being suckered by my bank or my lawyer or the sellers or their lawyers, buying the right amount of paint, moving, paying for furniture, separation from family, being financially responsible for the rest of my life -- that I can't really focus on the joys right now -- being independent, having a space of my own, taking luxurious time to determine my style and make the place my home, organizing a painting party, having family and friends over for dinner or a late-night barbecue on my teensy outdoor deck.

It doesn't help that everything looks alike.

Really, how many different shades of blue and green paint can there possibly be? Oh Lord, don't ask. I'm blind in one eye already and the other one's going fast ... And how many different shades of dark wood stain can there possibly be? And why does no "mahogany" match with any other "mahogany," and why do all the "walnut" stains look different from each other, and what the heck is "honey" anyway? I wish I was into Korean black lacquer furniture, because then I could just take J2's inheritance off their hands ... but no. I can see it now. My vain efforts to decorate tastefully (as well as piecemeal) will result in a home full of furniture that kind of matches but mostly doesn't. Oy.

It really doesn't help that I have no talent for this at all. When I listen to Soybean and Mrs.G envision my space, their space, anyone's space, I am rendered speechless. They have vision, they have eyeballs inside their brains, they have the drafter's paper all laid out and the color-wheel spinning, they have fingers inside their skulls feeling different textile textures, they can space furniture and picture frames, they can calculate paint gallons and roller nap sizes, they can see vertically and horizontally as well as on the fourth plane. It's amazing. Simple ol' me -- I see something I like, buy it and hope it kind of goes with other things I have. Usually it doesn't. Blue is blue, green is green, and I don't know what color "Anticipation" is supposed to be.

My small consolation -- which also freaks the bejesus out of me -- is that I have this place ostensibly forever. It's mine. I can do whatever the heck I want with it. I can paint it again and again and again until I get the colors right. I can move furniture and do all sorts of crazy things. It's mine.

Wow. It's mine.

Friday, May 21st, kicks off the first ever "Shop 4 Class Week". This is an opportunity for all you New Yorkers to shop at participating stores and restaurants, and a portion of your spendings will go towards purchasing books for Kindergarten - 3rd grade classroom libraries in New York City's public schools.

So, from Friday, May 21 to Friday, May 28, WHIP OUT THAT PLASTIC AND GO NUTS at these places:

ABC Carpet & Home (Bway @ 19th St)
Alphabets (multiple locations)
Bank St. Bookstore (Bway @ 112th St)
Betsey Bunky Nini (Lexington Ave b/w 71st & 72nd Sts)
Betwixt (W. 10th St b/w Bleecker & Hudson Sts)
Big Fun Toys (Hudson St @ Horatio St)
Bliss Spas (multiple locations)
Blue Bench (Duane St b/w Hudson St & W. Bway)
Bond No. 9 New York (multiple locations)
Books of Wonder (18th St @ 5th Ave)
Borders Books & Music (multiple locations)
Brooks Brothers (multiple locations)
C.O. Bigelow Chemists (6th Ave b/w 8th & 9th Sts)
The Compleat Strategist (E. 33rd St b/w Madison & 5th Aves)
Crumbs Bakeshop (multiple locations)
Cynthia Rowley (Bleecker St b/w Charles & Perry Sts)
Daffy's (multiple locations)
Dinosaur Hill (E. 9th St @ 2nd Ave)
Fetch (Greenwich Ave b/w Perry & Charles Sts)
Fishs Eddy (multiple locations)
Flight 001 (Greenwich Ave b/w 7th & 8th Aves)
Forbidden Planet (Bway @ 13th St)
Gracious Home (multiple locations)
Harry's Shoes (Bway @ 83rd St)
Hershey's Time Square (Bway @ 48th St)
Homboms (1st Ave @ 78th St)
Jack Spade (Greene St b/w Spring & Broome Sts)
J&R Music & Computer World (Park Row)
Kate Spade (Broome St @ Mercer St)
Macy's Herald Square (W. 34th St)
Manhattan Dollhouse (2nd Ave b/w 24th & 25th Sts)
Mommy Chic Maternity (Bway @ 90th St)
Nicole Miller (multiple locations)
No More Eggs (E. 9th St b/w 1st & 2nd Aves)
Our Name is Mud (multiple locations)
Kidding Around (W. 15h St b/w 5th & 6th Aves)
Li-Lac Chocolates (multiple locations)
Lisa Shaub (Mulberry St b/w Spring & Prince Sts)
Paragon Sports (Bway @ 18th St)
Pearl River Mart (Bway b/w Grand & Broome Sts)
Peanutbutter & Jane (Hudson St @ Jane St)
Penny Whistle Toys (multiple locations)
Plain Jane, Inc. (Amsterdam Ave b/w 85th & 86th Sts)
Pondicherri (Columbus Ave @ 82nd St)
Portico (Spring St b/w Crosby & Lafayette Sts)
Posman Books @ GCT (Grand Central Terminal)
Saks Fifth Ave (5th Ave)
The Scholastic Store (Bway b/w Prince & Spring Sts)
Selima Optique (Wooster St @ Broome St)
Shoofly (Hudson St)
Space Kiddets (E. 21st St b/w Park Ave & Bway)
Toys "R" Us Times Square (Bway @ 44th St)
TSE (Madison Ave @ 69th St)
Vivaldi Boutique (3rd Ave @ 79th St)
West Side Kids (Amsterdam Ave @ 84th St)

Sunday, May 16


My world has been rocked.

I discovered this weekend that "ironical" is a real word.
Jaime read it in a C.S. Lewis book.
M looked it up and it was listed.
(We also found out that "genetical" is a real word too.)

This has ruined "ironical" for me.
It's only fun to mispronounce a word when you know it's NOT a word.
Now that I know it's a real word, I have to find another word to mispronounce.
"Conversate" is already over-used ...

Sigh, the search is on ...

Friday, May 14

WHAT THE . . .

So, South Korea's President Roh Moo-Hyun (it's actually pronounced "Noh," so I don't really know why it's written as "Roh") is not to be impeached, according to the nation's Constitutional Court. That means President Roh/Noh can get back to doing his leading-the-country thing, and I just read that one of the items on his upcoming agenda is to move the country's capital from Seoul to somewhere closer to the middle of the country. WHAT THE ... ?!?!?!

That's so weird. I guess it makes sense in a way: Seoul is kind of way up on the northern end of South Korea, and it's so damn close to North Korea, and there's too many damn secret tunnels from the DPRK running right into Seoul, and that's just scary. It's good to be among the people, right in the middle, where everyone can have access. But ... that's so weird! Seoul, as far as I know, is the most developed urban center in the country. What, they're just going to leave all those palaces and gardens and museums and government buildings and culture and history and legislative centers behind and go build some more elsewhere? WEIRD.

On the other hand, I guess it's not that weird. In 1996, my college friends and I were taking a cross-country road trip from Fort Lee, NJ to the Pacific Ocean coast in Oregon. As we drove through North Dakota, we stopped for Blizzards at a Dairy Queen (about 15 minutes from the Canadian border -- don't ask) and to see the Geographical Center of North America. My friend EMS had been there before with her family (don't ask -- they're all educators) and she told us it would be to our right, a few feet away from the Dairy Queen. Well, we got to the Dairy Queen, purchased our Blizzards, and walked outside to look for this mini-monument, but it was nowhere to be found. We turned in all directions, wondering where the heck it went. Then EMS exclaimed: "WTF! It's across the street! They moved the geographical center of North America across the street!"

It really was a mind-boggling moment.

Thursday, May 13


Not really ... last night, on "The West Wing," an American delegation's motorcade in Gaza was hit by a car bomb. Donna was injured, but Admiral "Fitz" Fitzwallace was killed. That makes me irrationally sad. I know it's just a television show, but ... Fitz was cool.
BY THE WAY . . .

The irony slays me.
From The New York Times:

Abu Ghraib prison, for decades the scene of murder and torture under Saddam Hussein, has now become, in photos circulating the globe, a symbol of abuse by American military jailers and a stain on American pride.

Really? Does that concept really exist, and do people really believe it?

Al Qaeda says its people beheaded Nicholas Berg in revenge for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners-of-war committed by American military police. An eye for an eye. Great. So does that mean we're done? We're equal now, right? Both sides whipped out their big ol' penises and peed all over the fire, proving their manhood, their power, their strength and domination. Can we all go home now?

Noooooo. Silly me, the idealist. American forces are not going to stop their abuse; more evidence and photos and confessions are going to come out. Then Al Qaeda and/or Iraqi insurgents are going to commit more atrocities in "revenge." Then we're going to retaliate for their "brutal acts against humanity." Then they are going to bomb some more embassies and fly more planes into buildings. Then we're going to instigate another senseless, endless, purposeless (where is Osama bin Laden, again? Remember him?) war. And we go around and around and around on this f*cked up, stupid carousel from hell.

An eye for an eye, my ass. I'm waiting for the next big man on campus to whip out his dick so the pissing contest can escalate. Winner gets to say he won, and drag a whole lot of body bags home with him. Congratulations.

(Do I sound pissed? YEAH I'M PISSED. I'm pissed that my people are dying at the hands of terrorists who don't have the balls to fight a real fight, and lie in wait for their enemies to come to them and set hidden traps instead of going hand-to-hand. I'm pissed that my government ducks and rolls and weaves side to side to avoid responsibility for a really messed-up war against who, exactly? I'm pissed that my country is seen as a bully and as a renegade, willing to do the irrational for some stated lofty moral purpose. I'm pissed that we're no better than the people we're fighting. Really. I'm pissed that my country has lost all credibility in this world. I'm pissed that we finally bullied the world one bit too much and now everyone hates us. I'm pissed that I no longer feel safe traveling, or having anyone else I love travel, to Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East. I'm pissed that everywhere I go, outside this country, from now on, people will hate me, and some will want to kill me. I'm pissed that this will probably happen inside my own country. I'm pissed that people are dying and people are suffering and children are left parentless and spouses are left spouseless and parents must bury their children and homes are being levelled by bombs and lives are being changed in the worst way possible. Yeah, I'm pissed. This is CRAP.)

Wednesday, May 12


1. Rub their gums with your finger. Maybe they're teething and need the itch to be scratched. Remove finger when they bite down and leave imprints.

2. Rub their bellies with your hand. Maybe they're gassy and bloated and need to fart for relief. Stop rubbing when they pull the "I'm going to go as stiff and flat as a board and start to slide rapidly out of your grip" and lunge to catch them before they drop onto the floor.

3. Feed them formula from a bottle one at a time. Maybe they're hungry ... both of them ... at the same time. Realize that popping one bottle from one mouth to another every ten seconds is probably not going to soothe them much or quench their hunger. Stop feeding when they open their mouths wider than ever and shriek louder than ever, slapping the bottle with their open hands to get it out of their faces.

4. Change their diapers. Maybe they had a poo emergency or pee build-up. Realize that their diapers are completely dry. Try to catch them before they throw themselves over the side of the changing table.

5. As you change their diapers, fan their naked butts with a new diaper to try to cool them down. Maybe they're hot and uncomfortable -- wouldn't YOU be? Realize that if you keep doing that, they might just pee in your face. Slap the new diaper on as quickly as possible. Again, try to catch them before they throw themselves over the side of the changing table.

6. Wipe their faces with a cold, damp paper towel. Maybe they're hot and sweaty and not accustomed to the suddenly warm weather. Use the towel to wipe their chins when they throw up instead.

7. Place them in their Exer-Saucers with the scary toys attached. Maybe they're sick of you holding them and just want to be let alone to play. Remove them from their Exer-Saucers when they start launching themselves backwards in the little sling-seat, shrieking and crying and flailing their arms and banging their heads on the backrest.

8. Sit them on the floor, place their favorite toys and books in front of them, and turn off the "Baby Einstein" DVD. Maybe they just need peace and quiet. Scoop them back up as quickly as possible when they droop and shriek and threaten to fall backwards in protest at not being held anymore.

9. Place a baby biscuit in their little fists. Maybe they just want something fun to munch on and slime. Realize the biscuits probably aren't going to cut it when they FLING them across the room. That was actually amazing to see.

10. Struggle to pick up both babies at once, hold them in a comfortable position, and rock them back and forth without dropping them or dislocating any limbs. Maybe they just need to be coddled. Realize that they are calming down and rubbing their exhausted faces into your shirt. Walk, sweating and disheveled, over to the folding chair conveniently placed by the French doors overlooking the front yard, and plop yourself into it, both babies clinging to you. Rock back and forth in the chair, singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" in a low, soft voice. Perceive that the babies are totally calm now; one is enjoying dancing back and forth on your leg, the other is placidly staring out the French doors at the wide world beyond. Stop singing. Maybe the babies want to sleep. Realize that they will start crying again unless you start singing again. Sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" for the next twenty minutes, rocking back and forth, losing feeling in both arms, until their mother arrives home. Be mortified that both babies' faces are tear- and snot-streaked, clear evidence of major meltdowns. Chuckle in frustration when both babies laugh hysterically at seeing their mother. See, everyone needs their mother. Gleefully hand said babies over to mother, limp out the door, and realize on the way home that your arms feel like noodles and will be sore when you wake up the next morning.

Tuesday, May 11


So said a masked and hooded Iraqi to Shrub, before beheading a 26-year old American civilian on a videotape now famous and infamous around the world.

Ominous words, from an ominous anonymous being, during an ominous time.

When will it end ... when .. when ...

Monday, May 10


There should be news like this every day:

Inviting the Public's Embrace, One by One

Jayson Littman is not especially lonely, or religious, or in need of cash - things that strangers might assume upon meeting him.

He is a financial analyst who happens to think that New Yorkers could use a hug. So it was, a month ago, that Mr. Littman began distributing hugs - free - from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village.

"At first I thought no one would respond," said Mr. Littman, 26, who lives in Manhattan. But on his first Sunday, standing before a giant hand-lettered sign that reads "Free Hugs," Mr. Littman and a friend embraced 200 people in two and a half hours. "There's a lot of war and blood in the world right now,'' he said, "and this helps to even it out."

On first impression, Mr. Littman seems more salesman than pacifist. Wearing a T-shirt that echoes his sign, arms outstretched, he stands near the dog run and yells to passers-by: "Hey! Need a free hug? It's cheaper than a subway ride. Come on! Everyone needs a hug."

More often than not, people keep walking, or stop and stare, searching for the catch. They look for a hidden donation box, or a stack of religious pamphlets.

"People ask me if I'm wearing deodorant," Mr. Littman said. The answer is yes. Mr. Littman is almost antiseptically clean. He has close-cropped hair and a light scent of cologne, and tucks his shirt neatly into his spotless jeans. His smile is blindingly white.

"Last time I didn't hug him, and I felt so bad I hugged him today," said Nicole Cavender, 23, a dog walker who was accompanied by two French bulldogs. Mr. Littman hugged them, too. (Dogs are a big part of his clientele.)

"First, I was like totally paranoid," said Elizabeth Singer, 48, a psychotherapist who watched Mr. Littman from the distance while her Maltese played in the dog run. "But he seems to be really happy and generous. Of course, being a New Yorker, you wonder what happy and generous really is."

Between hugs, Mr. Littman spelled out his rules: "No dates, no numbers, no money. This is a nonprofit organization."

Mr. Littman's other rule is no discrimination: anyone who wants a hug gets one. He hugs the homeless.

"Need a hug?" he asked a woman smoking a sweet-tipped cigar.

"I don't, but you sure look like you need one," she replied, wrapping her arms around him. "He looked lonely," the woman, Jo Copasso, 43, said later.

On typical Sundays, Mr. Littman is accompanied by his friend Sipai Klein, who also gives out hugs. But because of Mother's Day, Mr. Klein could not be there yesterday. Mr. Littman said he was "not in touch" with his own parents, who live in Brooklyn. The subject causes a brief, sad lull before he charges on.

"How about a free hug?" he hollered at a man, woman and small boy dressed all in black. "How about not?" the boy shot back.

"I'm trying to cut down," said a banker from Kenya.

"Nothing's free," said another man, as he brushed past with his golden retriever.

The rejections seemed to bounce right off Mr. Littman's toothy smile.

"Ahhhhh!" screamed Faith Smith, 15, of Queens, as she sprinted toward Mr. Littman's open arms and delivered an almost crushing embrace.

"Nobody wants to give him a hug,'' she said. "I feel so bad."

Melanie Griot, 27, watched Mr. Littman for 20 minutes before succumbing to his arms. "I had a really bad morning," said Ms. Griot, an aspiring writer who had had a fight with her boyfriend.

Halfway through the afternoon, Mr. Littman's friend Jeffrey Greenberg, a teacher who lives in Toronto, walked up and said hello, then stepped back to watch.

"He told me he started this a few weeks ago, so I had to see this with my own eyes," said Mr. Greenberg, 27, who stood with his arms crossed. "He's a little bit quirky at times, but I never would have expected this."

In less than an hour, an unexpected transformation had occurred in Mr. Greenberg. He, too, was soliciting people for hugs.

"It's contagious," he said.

Soon, an actor, Langdon Bosarge, 35, walked up to the pair.

"Why are you guys doing this?'' Mr. Bosarge asked. "Hugging strangers is, like, weird."

"What's your name?" Mr. Littman asked.


"My name's Jayson. Now we're not strangers."

They hugged.

"It felt O.K.," Mr. Bosarge said as he walked off. "It was kind of the half-body-contact hug versus the full frontal."

It was what Mr. Littman has termed the "duck hug," when a person ducks in and out. There is also the "three-tap hug" - a cautious, back-patting type. No matter what comes at him, Mr. Littman always seems to respond with the same calm, noninvasive embrace.

Among those surveying Mr. Littman yesterday was Carolyn Howe, 54, a professor of sociology at College of the Holy Cross, in Worcester, Mass., who happened to be walking through the park.

"It makes a lot of people think about themselves, about why they're afraid of getting a hug," Ms. Howe said.

Mr. Littman hopes to start a national hugging movement. For the time being, he is trying to recruit "cameo huggers" to help fortify his presence in the park.

"The elderly are the hardest grab," he said. Every Sunday, an 87-year-old woman hobbles past him about five times during the course of the afternoon, each time dismissing him with the flick of a hand.

Sure enough, yesterday was no exception. "She's my toughest one," he said before bellowing, "Every Sunday you turn me down!"

The woman, Lynn Logan, sat on a shaded bench, nearby, wearing an Ebenezer Scrooge scowl beneath her red-wool hat.

"He oughta get a job. He has nothing better to do," said Ms. Logan, a retired telephone operator. "I can't be bothered with this nonsense.''

But asked why she would not relent, she paused and said, "He's not my type."

Saturday, May 8

I SPY . . .

I took my parents, Gran and my grand-aunt out to dinner tonight at -- gasp! -- Todai, a Japanese-style sushi buffet restaurant. I gasp because I felt like an absolute traitor, giving money and even a tip to the restaurant chain that is in direct competition with Jaime's Minado, run by the Masheta Group. But our friends assured me I would be serving a valuable purpose and fulfilling a lifelong dream: TO BE A SPY.

So here is my top secret report, based upon two hours of reconnoissance:

Todai -- at least the one in NY -- is small. It is decorated with many neon lights and bizarrely electric colors (such as electric blue and yellow) that lend the dining area a very commercial and frenetic ambiance. The overhead lights -- pendant-style opaque fixtures reveal the shadows of dead bugs lying in the lamps' trays. Gross! For a small restaurant, the layout is spacious enough, but the tables are set together haphazardly, so that a table of six guests sit at three tables, but they will not reconcile evenly with each other. This makes for many jabbed ribs and snagged sweaters. The buffets lie along the far rear wall, but are half the length of Minado's buffets. Human traffic does not flow easily back here, as it is difficult to determine where one is supposed to start lining up for food. In addition, the bright neon lights above the food products cause a condition similar to sun glare, in which the patrons are blinded and bump into each other. I'm not kidding. Plus, I hate having to fight small children for cooked shrimp and cocktail sauce. Really, I always end up looking like the bad guy.

The food gets a solid C-. I have only been to two Minado outlets, but in each one, I have been overwhelmed by the mere size and variety of the dishes and sushi choices offered. At one Minado, I could not even see the end of the buffet and wondered if I could burn enough calories walking the buffet line to justify how much dinner I would inhale. At Todai, I was underwhelmed. Not only could I see all of the restaurant's offering in one glance, I could also note that there wasn't much of each dish.

Each roll was sliced into only about ten or so pieces, and spread out pathetically on a large white sushi platter. Note to food service outlets everywhere: if you want to make a little look like a lot, do not -- DO NOT -- put it on a huge platter that dwarfs the food and enhances the fact that you only have a wee bit of it. Doi. Get some snotty 11-year-old kid in front of the California rolls, and of course he's going to grab six pieces in one snatch. There's nothing sadder than four slices of California roll sitting in the middle of a 14" x 14" plate. Oh, and speaking of California rolls ... try to spell everything correctly. It's not "Callifornia." (I also noted "arrugula" and "nooodles.") The rolls tasted fine -- I am no sushi connoisseur; I just eat it if it is edible. But they were WEENIE-SIZED. At Minado, I am often faced with the dilemma: how can I bite this roll in half without (1) getting everything stuck in my teeth, or (2) breaking it up and making all the insides spatter all over my plate. At Todai, I popped each roll into my mouth and still had room to carry on a conversation without disenchanting my dinner companions.

The cooked shrimp were mushy. That's just weird. I've read that you are not to overcook shrimp, so that they are crunchy and totally firm, but that's how I like it! Todai's cooked shrimp LOOKED mushy on the platter, and WAS mushy. In fact, it reminded me of the frozen cooked shrimp that you buy at BJ's Wholesale Club or Sam's Club -- when you thaw it and don't use it immediately, it gets kind of mushy and emits warm shrimp juice. I have concluded that Todai must get its cooked shrimp from one of those wholesale clubs, then leaves it out until it melts, then lightly rinses it before putting it out for public consumption. Bleh.

The udon noodles were overcooked and mushy. Blech.

The pickled ginger was generic, but the wasabi (1) was dry and flaky, and (2) didn't have the nice design swirled onto the top of the wasabi pile with a butter knife. I don't know why, but the decorative swirl makes all the difference. Isn't that why people get Master's Degrees in icing cakes and cookies?

Todai offered maybe seven cold or salad-ish dishes, and maybe eight hot dishes, to which I say "BEH!" with utmost scorn. I guess I wouldn't be as critical if I felt that the presentation was abundant and beautiful, but it didn't even have those basic qualities. I stood in front of every dish (1) wondering why no one bothered to make it look pretty and inviting and appetizing, and (2) feeling bad that I would soon be spooning some onto my plate, because I had a sneaking suspicion the kitchen didn't have enough food to put out. For a buffet restaurant, there was no sense of "I can go back as much as I want, and there will always be enough food for me." All of the food tasted alright ... but I just did not feel emotionally well eating it.

The desserts were decent, though the creme brulee was overcooked. However, there was a crepe station. That was kind of cool.

Speaking of plates ... we initially could not find them. At Minado, the plates are either stacked at the beginning of a buffet station, or are contained in little rolling carts at the start of every buffet station. At Todai, dad actually had to ask the manager where he was hiding the plates. FYI: they are under the counter in random spots. Just look for them.

The service gets a solid D-. There wasn't any. They never cleared our used plates. It took three go-arounds to catch someone to order beverages. They never refilled our water. They never asked if we wanted tea or coffee. They only paid fervent attention to us when it was time to pay the bill. Naturally.

Go to Minado. Better ambiance. More attentive staff. Better and more food. Fresher fish. Lighting that is easier on the eyes. Also, I lifted many non-essential items, including the drink menu, the paper placemat, a Todai Bonus Card application, and business card. I have placed them in an envelope labeled "Jaime's Top Secret File." Hehehe.



There are friends in the world that you don't see all the time. But it doesn't mean you don't love them any less, or that the friendship is any less important to you.

I was reminded of that today, when I saw my L.O.L.'s for the first time in months. I saw Yang briefly through my car door -- a quick hello with just enough time for a peck on each other's cheeks. I kidnapped the Chief of Staff and nearly killed her while running a red light on Houston Street (again, this doesn't mean I love her any less). I was greeted with a big hug by my Janey as I walked into Wonger's bridal shower. I watched Wonger be surrounded by her beloved lady friends for the next three hours. I commiserated with Snoozy about work and ... toddler potty training. I don't really know how or why I commiserated about toddler potty training, but I did.

It was refreshing. When you don't see supposedly close friends in a long time, you are -- or at least, I am -- struck by a small sense of insecurity. Are you still friends? Are you still close? Can you still make each other laugh and be each other's shoulder to cry on? Do you still have stories to tell and things to discover about each other? Do you still like each other? Are the differences that cropped up over time divisive, or do they make each other more interesting and well-rounded?

Today, I learned yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. And, the former. And there is no "supposedly." It is in these moments of revelation and warmth that I realize that for all that I don't have, I have more than I think I do. And that's just freakin' fantastic.

Friday, May 7

UPDATE . . .

Melanie's surgery went well; doctors removed her thyroid and surrounding lymph nodes, leaving her voice box and other important things untouched. Thank the Lord. She'll be home tomorrow ... but this whole process leaves me with remaining questions. In particular ... can one live without a thyroid? That's just weird.



Must sign papers. Must find plumber. Must find electrician. They must not rip me off. Must buy essential furniture. Must not get ripped off buying furniture. Must recruit friends to move me in exchange for dinner and beer. Must paint bedroom and office. Must choose paint colors. Must not be overwhelmed by the 8,935 different paint color samples. Must fix window blind that I broke during inspection. Must not tell anyone about that. Must not let C tell anyone about that. Must power-wash the deck. Must bribe C into power-washing the deck in exchange for beer and free baby-sitting. Must hook up cable modem. Must not be without Internet connection for longer than absolutely necessary. Must not lose sleep over all of these things that will eventually work out. Must hire consultants to do all this for me.



Six days without running. Six days of getting by with the bare minimum of aerobic activity: walking to and from my car, walking to and from the chair, walking to and from the sofa, walking to and from the dinner table, walking to and from my bed, walking to and from the bathroom. Enough is enough.

I don't know what warped logic would justify a "rest period" from a measly 5k -- a mere 3.2 miles. But I have rested and I'm sick of resting. The scale reads the same number, but in the span of a week, I have totally flabbed out. I'm not sleeping as well, my skin is not as ... glowy or something, my endorphins are not coursing through my body as energetically, and basically, I feel like crap.

You heard it here first, and I commit this to you: tomorrow, before heading to Wonger's fete, I run.



Watched: "Love Actually"
Reading: "Truman," by David McCullough

... Melanie, going in for surgery on her thyroid, to try to beat that cancer ...

... JKA, going in for her first Westchester interview, to try get a fat teaching job closer to home ...

... Little Alien and family, sick, sicker, uncomfortable and sleepless ...

... Hooch, struggling with asthma, allergies, bronchitis, and God forbid what else ...

... Mrs.G, juggling a squalling newborn, a new house, myriad paint colors, and lovingly meddlesome older folks who think they know better ...

... Wonger, counting down the days to a new life, and the big circus event that will jump-start it ...

Thursday, May 6


If you haven't heard yet about the U.S. military's abuse of Iraqi prisoners-of-this-bullshit-war, then YOU ARE LIVING IN A CAVE OR ARE EXTREMELY IGNORANT.

To read about it, check out the New Yorker's coverage of it.

And be outraged at the utter hypocrisy that just oozes everywhere ...
ETC., ETC., . . .

A bed
A sofa
A coffee table
A television
A DVD player
A television stand
Some bookcases
Two rooms' worth of paint
Patio furniture
A nighttable
Storage items
Wall hangings
Hanging picture frames
Tasteful design and decorations
Area rugs
A new fuse box
A shower caddy
Bathroom accessories
Closet organizers
A vacuum
Cable hook-up
A dead-bolt lock

Sigh. Home ownership's a bee-yatch, and I don't even have a lawn to mow! Anyone wanna go to Home Depot, BiF, Ikea, Crate&Barrel, Bed Bath & Beyond, and the Container Store with me?

Wednesday, May 5


Having dinner at Camp Capio on a non-event night is always ... an event. On the one hand, I feel like and am accepted as 'family', so I feel completely at home. On the other hand, I feel like the most intimate of voyeurs, peering into the lives of people who are so like me in some ways, so very unlike me in others.

Take tonight, for example: I pick up a small Thai dinner -- thank God for the end of Lent and the ability to eat pad thai again -- and head over to Camp. M is home from work, upstairs having quality time with CA. C is puttering around downstairs, hauling MJ around like a sack of potatoes. So far, so good -- everything is standard. After settling the Noodles down to be fed their final solid meal of the day by C, M and I dig into our grown-up dinner. But those Noodles sure are entertaining -- far better than television. Between MJ moaning and grumbling for quicker food delivery from jar to his mouth, screwing up his face in horror after sucking on a slice of lime, and CA shaking her head back and forth and cracking herself up in the process, I didn't know if I should swallow my food and laugh or just open my mouth and let it all spew out.

But then the dog got loose and chaos reigned.

The Popstar came trotting up the stairs from her playpen in the basement, as if it were perfectly alright for her to be roaming the house freely with a big ol' marrow bone wedged in her jaws. The thunder and lightning had roused her, and she spent the next few minutes attacking the window panes around the family room trying to get at the lightning, her leash trailing and whipping around behind her like a spastic extended tail. Damn dog didn't even say hi to me. Then M joined CA in the head-shaking, crooning "dori-dori-dori," a common Korean nonsensical phrase used with children who, well, shake their heads incessantly as a form of self-entertainment. MJ's moaning and grumbling got louder; he stopped only to laugh when M sang him the "Horsey" song (which I have been forbidden to repeat in the workplace, lest I get locked out of chambers again) or blew raspberries in his face. And finally, because C just could not bear to be left out of the madness, he joined in the head-shaking.

There I sat, surrounded by a frantic Jack Russell terrier trying to eat lightning, a moaning and increasingly shrieking baby boy with sweet potato souffle mush oozing out of his pursed mouth, a messy rice cereal-covered baby girl shaking her head back and forth and cackling in glee, and two grown adults, shaking their heads and giggling for no apparent good reason. What the ...

I shudder to think what the evening would have been like had we all had wine with dinner ...

Tuesday, May 4


... but that don't mean I gotta like it or be comfortable with it.

1. JWu is leaving the East Coast in exactly twenty-six days to start his family practice residency on the Wrong Coast. I don't like it.

2. Wonger is getting married in exactly seventeen days, the fourth of the L.O.L. to get hitched. I like it, but I'm not comfortable in a dress and high heels. Plus, I gotta get my hair did. Hee, hee!

3. I'm on the very verge of moving out and living on my own, without the prospect of "going home for vacation." I like it, but the planning and preparations and financing are driving me crazy! Plus, where does one really get a good deal on furniture?

4. NHF is going to implement new care groups and really ramp up the programs that have lain dormant for a couple of years. Of course I like it, but (she says in a whisper with a sheepish and shy expression on her face) I kind of like where I've been and who I've been with.

5. Cheech follows JWu to the Wrong Coast in three months to start his medical training. I like it, but who's gonna look out for my little one?!?!?!?



The Honorable Constance Baker Motley sounds like one totally hip and cool lady. The ninth of twelve children born to Caribbean immigrants, she went to Columbia Law School (Class of 1946), became the first African-American woman to serve in the New York State Senate, the first woman elected as Manhattan Borough President, the first candidate for that office to be endorsed by the Republicans, the Democrats and the Liberals, the first black woman appointed to the federal bench (she currently sits on the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, baby!), the first woman to serve as chief judge of that Court. All that, AND she was part of the NAACP team that litigated and argued the Brown v. Board of Education cases before the Supreme Court.


Talk about a swift kick in the pants. I'm sitting around thinking about what to make for lunch tomorrow and worrying if I'm ever going to get married and fretting over who is going to get booted from "American Idol" and trying to motivate myself to get up and run in the mornings, when there is so much more I could be doing with my bad self.

Duly chastened.

Monday, May 3


As a team:

And for Melanie:

Sunday, May 2


1. Women are bitches. It doesn't matter if she is Christian or not. It doesn't matter if she's your sister or not. It doesn't matter that one day she professes to love you and to consider you family. It doesn't matter that she's black, white, Asian, Hispanic, something else, a mix of all or some of the above. It doesn't matter that she's young or old or really really old. It doesn't matter that she's successful or downtrodden. It doesn't matter that she's single or married or somewhere in between or formerly one or the other. It doesn't matter that she's pretty or ugly or somewhere in the middle. It doesn't matter that she's poor or wealthy or ridiculously one or the other. It doesn't matter that she seems to have it all or that she apparently has nothing. None of that, and none of anything else, matters.

Women are always going to be competitive with each other: for men, for jobs, for popularity, for attention, for money, for the love of another, for friends, for time, for the tangible and intangible, to feel better about themselves, to make the other woman feel bad, to make up for an insecurity, to foster an insecurity in the other woman, to exact revenge, to exact personal satisfaction, to make a point, to win or at least not to lose or at least not feel like they lost something.

I suppose I shouldn't feel disappointed when I encounter a woman -- friend or stranger or complete foe -- who competes with me for any of the above things. But I am, for two reasons. First, it just sucks and it makes me feel bad, and then it makes me angry, and when I get angry, the root cause festers inside me and makes me sick and tense and agita-ed to the max. And that turns ME into a bitch. And I hate being a bitch because then I take out by bitchiness not on the woman who turned me into a bitch in the first place, but on the innocent bystander. And then I feel worse. Second, it makes me realize I am the exact same way, and it seems hopeless to try to change myself or to change the attitudes of women around me, my friends, my family, my coworkers.

Women in this country struggle with self-image, self-confidence, being paid 75% less than men for the SAME EXACT JOB. We struggle with being married, being single, being ugly, being too pretty, being overweight, suffering from an eating disorder. We struggle with loneliness, abuse, low self-esteem, emotional distance, illness, and so much more. And though we like to talk about building each other up, and certainly in the Christian context, being each other's "sisters," we aren't. We seemingly can't. That just sucks. I refuse to believe and accept that we suck, that we women suck ... but don't we, kind of?

2. When one is deprived of hope, one turns into an animal and resorts to desperate, unthinkable measures. I just got back from watching "Silmido," a Korean film running on limited released in NYC this week. This film is entirely in Korean, with no subtitles -- I hope that changes because it's really a film worth seeing, even if you have zero ties to Korea or Korean people. The enthralling thing about the movie is ... it's based on true fact, history, that was hidden away and forgotten (or maybe not) for the last forty years. Finally, someone(s) discovered the truth, wrote a book and turned it into this movie, telling an incredible tale ...

In the 1960s, 31 North Korean soldiers? mercenaries? murderers? political pawns? were sent into South Korea to assasinate then-President Park Chung-hee. They almost succeeded and got scarily close to the Blue House (the Presidential seat) before being caught and killed by the South Korean military. In revenge (though no one will admit this, I'm sure), in 1968, the South Korean government started training 31 hardened prisoners -- men on death row or sentenced to life imprisonment -- on the island of Silmi-do, off the coast of South Korea. They endured over two years of the harshest military training -- reports say that the movie, while mostly accurate, could not wholly depict the exact training procedures because the actors would not be able to endure filming and the audiences would not be able to endure viewing -- for the sole purpose of being sent into North Korea to assasinate then-dictator Kim Il-Sung. With the mission accomplished, they would be given new lives, their sentences commuted.

These 31 hardscrabble convicts became a troop, a team, a brotherhood, and as one united body, they departed for North Korea one stormy night (no kidding), seeking not only to destroy Kim Il-Sung, but to start their lives over once they returned to the South successful, as heroes. Mere minutes after their departure, their military leaders pushed out to sea after them to turn them back: the word had come from on high that the government's policy towards North Korea had changed. Instead of elimination and invasion, the South was going to try a peaceful policy. The assasination attempt was moot.

The rest of the film portrays the downward spiral of the 31 men and the troops guarding? befriending? training? with them. With nothing to live for anymore, the men became desperate, and like starving dogs, they turned on each other, going slowly but surely crazy. After discovering that their own government wanted them executed -- these 31 unknown, lost, nameless convicts trained to murder and kill -- the men turn on the military in a last-ditch effort to avoid certain death. They determine to get back to mainland Korea and tell their story, so that they will not be lost in anonymity, a blank chapter in the country's history.

The end is predictable and now widely known. They die, all together, blowing themselves up in a bus as they try to get to President Park to tell him the whole truth, but prevented from doing so by the very military that trained them. They are branded Communist infiltrators by their own goverment. The Silmi-do project is forgotten, its official report shelved and locked away in a government filing cabinet for forty years. Until some dude discovers it ...

Apparently, in real life, they did not all die. One of the military trainers lived ... a handful of the convicts who made it to the mainland lived ... and this was their story. It's so crazy, it's like a movie or something ...

Anyway, my point was ... films like this make me think about humanity and inhumanity, and how very fine the line is that separates the two. People can be born a certain way, then trained, then changed, then broken, then remade, then given hope, then lifted up, then made human again, then deprived of hope, then made into animals. How different the course of the universe would be had we no capacity for rage, revenge, fury, desperation, hope, dashed hope, deception ...

3. My cousin Jake is far wiser than I had initially thought. He is going around telling his second-grade classmates not to vote for the Shrubbery in November. Hee, hee!

(OK, OK, never mind that second-graders can't vote, so Jake's campaign is moot. You have to give the kid two snaps in a circle for being more aware of current events than most adults I know!)

Saturday, May 1


We did it!

Team NHF Fights Cancer met up, laced up, powered up, and ran and walked its heart out. We also broke the $1500 mark! (But they are receiving pledges until June 1st, so keep on giving!)

The race seemed easier and shorter than Komen, despite a much-delayed start -- the runners couldn't really get going until several hundred feet after entering Central Park, and even then, we had to maneuver around the majority of the crowd, walking. But that did not deter us or me, and certainly having company by my side keeping pace with me made the 3.2 miles seem like buttah.

My moment of inspiration struck after I missed the humongous sign that said "3 MILES" and was wondering to myself "when is this damn run going to be over because I'm STARVING?!" I asked C if we could stop and walk for a little bit, to which he responded "NO! [He is so brusque.] The end is almost here! The end is right around the corner!" I thought he was bluffing me, trying to get me to keep running, but I persevered anyway, thinking "I promised to run for Melanie, I promised to run for Melanie, I have to run towards the water bottles, I have to run towards the water bottles." Lo and behold, we turned a curve and there was the finish line. At this very moment, seeing "FINISH LINE" right in front of me, I was hit with a wave of emotion and tears and something burst into my legs that propelled me forward faster than I thought I could run in a half-sleepy, half-starved state. I thought of Melanie, of myself, of my friends, of my friends' daughters, and I flew over the finish line to the applause and cheers of strangers. C and I high-fived, then strolled quickly to the water and lunch bags. Please, priorities.

This morning was humbling, not in the physical sense. Running, though boring and sweat-inducing, is fine and even fun if you have the right running companion(s), and it certainly isn't hard. But seeing cancer survivors run and walk on a glorious Saturday morning they might never have seen, or seeing "In memory of" placards with dozens of names written on them ... THAT is humbling. And though I was proud that I had done my second 5k (and run almost 100% of it) and that everything had gone smoothly, I was more proud, as I looked at the other runners and walkers crossing the finish line behind me and the hundreds of Revlon volunteers cheering us and thanking us, to have been part of something incredibly special and important, and to have shared it with tens of thousands of other people who care as passionately as I and we do.

Komen Race for the Cure ... we'll come and git you in September ...