The cheesecakes, I must admit, are beginning to make me a little nauseous, and yet I can’t stop eating them. I’m too afraid.
I’m going to be thin in three months. I swear on everything holy. Isn’t that great news?
I worked it all out on paper. I have a full diet plan. And the good news is that it includes cheesecake! I know it sounds as though I’m kidding myself there with the cheesecake, but it’s sugar free! They sell it at Whole Foods. I almost didn’t want to tell anyone about it because I’m typically selfish and peculiar when it comes to food, but, in this case, I feel compelled to share my little secret. Actually it’s more like a little obsession than a little secret.
As a matter of fact I was planning to go to Whole Foods today to get some. The thing is Kim has a stomach flu today, so technically I shouldn’t leave her. . .
Three hours later:
I waited until she was fast asleep to leave the house (I swear) but God punished me anyway. Whole Foods, which is exactly one half hour from my house, was sold out! They had cappuccino but I don’t like that flavor. I almost started crying. So I did the unthinkable. I called the manufacturer, which happens to be a baker in Glen Rock (only 40 miles from Whole Foods). This is a true story; I actually called them to see if I could buy them direct. And as fate would have it, the recording on their voicemail said they are a wholesaler and a retailer. Can you imagine how I felt? But the voicemail also said they were closed on Mondays.
So I drove there anyway.
When I got there, as one might have thought, the door was locked. So I started frantically banging on all the doors to the entire warehouse until one actually flew open. I don’t know what came over me. I’m normally much more reserved.
Tears filled my eyes when I spotted the two little women in the back of the kitchen wearing matching hairnets.
“Are you open?” I called to them. My voice was shrill.
“No, we close. I sorry.”
So then I said, “Can you help me anyway? It’s sort of an emergency.”
I could tell she was nice or I wouldn’t have begged.
She walked over to me, slowly, and said, “How I can help you?”
I know, I love her too.
“Well,” I explained. “I’m on a diet, and I need to eat one of your little mini cheesecakes every day.”
“I understand,” she said.
Still all true.
“So anyway,” I continued, “I drove all the way from Demarest to Edgewater to Whole Foods to load up on cheesecake, but they’re not getting a delivery until Thursday.”
I then went on to explain about Kim having the stomach flu and how I used to weigh 108, but that I gained some weight with the birth of each of my children and books that I just couldn’t seem to take off, (and then I whispered in her ear what I weigh now)and so forth and so on, and then I remembered that I didn’t have any cash, so I said, “Oh, and I don’t have any money.”
So she said, “Let me see what I have in the freezer and you can pay me with a check.”
So far so good, right?
So I went with 25 plain and 15 strawberry. I wanted marble but she was all out. So I wrote her a check and told her I’d be back once a month or so depending on how many cakes my children stole from me. We hugged and that was that.
A happy ending, I’m sure you agree. But that’s only because you don’t know me very well. You don’t know that I was converted to Catholicism by my babysitter, Helen Todd, at age five(unless you’ve been reading my blogs for a very long time) and that even though I’m still Jewish, I live in fear of God every minute of my life and assume I’ll be punished for so much as saying a curse word. And because I think this way and live my life in utter panic, I am always punished. As I was today.
On the way home, I felt as though I had to sample one of the cheesecakes. True they were frozen, but I was desperate. Turns out I got 40 no carbs cheesecakes when, in fact, the ones I get at Whole Foods are sugar free with a tiny bit of carbs. This is a sad story I’m telling you because the no carbs cheesecakes are bright yellow and they taste like Play Doh. Again, I felt like crying, but I deserved it. I hated myself for leaving Kim, for being a slave to cheesecake, for working so hard for something I love only to be once again made a fool of in the eyes of our Lord. I mentally flogged myself the whole way home until I was bloody and exhausted . . . .mentally.
I took the box of the wrong cheesecakes and shoved them in my garage freezer, and called Dan.
“You know those cheesecakes I keep getting from Whole Foods. The ones that I love so much that you can’t talk to me while I’m eating them?”
“Well, they were all out of them at Whole Foods so I went to the bakery in Glen Rock to get a case.”
“Nope. I spent ninety dollars.”
“I’m working, you know that, right?”
“I know, but I need you to exchange them. I got no carbs instead of low carbs. It’s a long story, but I can’t go back there and face that woman. I showed up there on a whim, without any money, and she still let me have them. They weren’t even open. I can’t bother her again. It’s just wrong. Can you get me 40 plain or 40 marble, and make sure they’re sugar free, and not carb free, and return the ones I bought? You have no idea what this means to me. I know it sounds silly, but I can’t live without these cheesecakes and I’m sick of being punished every day of my life!! I’m a decent human being. I’m just hungry. And please understand that I would do it myself- but I’m just too shy.”
“You want me to return 40 cheesecakes?”
“How about if I just eat them and get you the kind you want?”
I’d never even considered such a thing. Helen was right. God does work in mysterious ways. He punishes me every day, but, at the same time, he gave me a husband who saves me.
That’s the beauty of being Catholic and Jewish at the same time. You get to have your cake, and eat it too.
You’ve read about my trips to Paris and London. You’ve heard me panic and order a salade verte for breakfast. You know firsthand that I once paid seven dollars for a banana. You know that I got in a cab at Kensington Square and asked the driver to take me to the exact location where I was standing. You know these things because I tell them to you, hoping that if I do decide to travel again, you’ll use this information as a way to stop me.
And normally, I would listen to you. But this time it’s Kim who wants to go Paris, and I can’t say no, because she’s going with a group of friends, which means I need to go too, so I can follow her. When her friends leave for Amsterdam ( you know, because they love the Dutch) Kim and I will be alone in Paris for a full week.
What a dream. A mother showing her daughter the most beautiful city in the world for the first time.
I’m scared too.
Wait until she hears my French.
“Oh, Bonjour there mister. Do you speak English? Oh, thank Dieux.”
I just couldn’t risk it. The thought of Kim losing all respect for me forced me to think fast. And so I did the unthinkable. I called the smartest person I know and begged.
“I have to go to Paris and I’m terribly frightened,” I explained.
And you know what this person did? She wrote me a little cool people’s guide to the entire city. I actually know where to go now. I know where to stay, eat, shop and hang out. I even know where to get the best hot chocolate in the entire world. I’m not kidding. Do you have any idea how much Kim and I like hot chocolate? Forget it; you don’t even want to know.
It just goes to prove that even if you are completely inept, you can still fool your children into thinking you know what you’re doing. You just have to know who to ask.
You want to know who I asked, don’t you?
Okay fine. I asked Nicole. Nicole Berrie. Yes, that Nicole Berrie. The one with the bangs that hit her right below the eyebrow and right above the cheekbone—who works for Elle, who speaks fluent French, and who can get away with wearing boots in the summer. She knows everything; and now you can too.
Go there, or be square.
It’s been so long, I’m thinking perhaps I should reintroduce myself. I’m 5’11", blonde, emaciated and I like to play all sorts of sports, especially golf.
I’m also really into jazz.
Just kiddin’. I’m still fat.
I was actually trying to post a review (with book cover) here about the upcoming Judy Blume anthology to which I am a contributor, but I don’t know how to post pictures. I can only do it if Jesse is home, and, unfortunately, he’s not. But, when he does get home, I will go ahead and take care of that.
In the meantime, I hope you’re noticing that I’ve recently begun using commas. It’s sort of a way of life for me, now. I even think in commas. And because I’m enjoying them so much, I’m seriously considering reinstating the question mark as well — something I abandoned quite a while ago for no apparent reason and with no warning– along with the turn signal (a.k.a the blinker). I didn’t use that either for a very long time. I just went.
I still feel, on some level,that it’s my right to turn left, or right, without announcing it to the entire world, thereby showing my hand, so they can all just cut me off. But then Kim started yelling at me all the time about what a horrible driver I am, and what a poor example I set, so now I use it even if I’m just switching lanes. It’s all part of growing up–which brings me back to the Judy Blume book.
There were 21 of us authors who contributed to this little masterpiece. We all wrote about what Judy Blume’s books meant to us as we were growing up. The theme of my essay was that while reading Blume’s books I became acutely aware that there was something very wrong with me.
You’ll see what I mean. . .
Dan and I went to see the Kiki Smith exhibit at the
Whitney, where I stood in front of the little wolf girl the entire time.
want to look at anything else?” he asked.
everything already. I’m ready to start sculpting.”
“I’m sorry. What did you say?”
“I said, I want to go home and
sculpt something. Maybe a full-length
statue of Kim.”
“Why not start with something
smaller, like an ashtray?”
“Because I know I can do this, but
I have to move quickly, before I lose the urge.”
Dan is a perfect husband. He rarely laughs at me. He took me to Pearl Paint that night where I
asked the man behind the counter if he had a wire aperture the size of a
seventeen year old girl. HE
didn’t. But he had one the size of a
large doll, so I took that and a fifty pound box of clay.
That night I
started my sculpture of Kim. I began by taking a small ball of clay and rolling
it out with a rolling pin on a plastic cutting board on our dining room
table. I cut out the shape of a person —
roughly — and was planning to stick it on to the aperture and work from there.
A few minutes
later Kim came in the room with two of her friends.
“Look at what
my mom’s doing,” she said, covering her mouth.
gingerbread cookies?” one of the boys asked.
working with clay,” Kim said, as though the boy were an idiot.
“I know, but
it looks like she’s making clay cookies.”
Dan walked in at that point and
looked at what I was doing.
“That’s way too
small, Steph. What are you doing?”
“I’m practicing first.” But I
wasn’t. I have no sense of
proportion. Dan took over and started
attaching little clumps of clay to the aperture in all the right places so that
a human form was now available for me to begin transforming.
you can do your thing,” he said, and sat down to read the paper.
“But her feet
aren’t touching the ground,” I complained.
“You have to
add the feet,” he explained. “I only gave her legs.”
I sat down and
started to sculpt the small figure who appeared to have hung herself in my
later I was done! Except for the hands
and the feet and the face. I haven’t
mastered that type of fine work yet. But I do have a very realistic figure that looks exactly like my Grandma
Actually I just thought of
something that’s been bothering me. Call me a flaming heterosexual but other people’s vaginas make me sick
and I’m really sick of hearing about Brittany’s, so can everyone please throw
away their old magazines?
It’s been so long, I’m not even sure what to
I realize there was a time
when people didn’t blog, but that doesn’t erase the guilt I feel when I neglect
my blogging responsibilities.
The thing is I can’t blog
and write a book. Blogging uses an
entirely different side of the brain then book writing. This is not a medical fact, it’s just a
hunch, but I’m willing to stand by it. So, you see, by writing this I’m screwing myself up for tomorrow. I
might even have to take the day off. If
I do take the day off I will do many things including showering. See how poorly written this is? That’s because I’m trying to write without
breathing so I won’t mess up my brain. I have many things to blog about: Kim getting her license, Kim losing
her first bumper, Kim singing in the school concert, Jesse performing bells in
the school concert and refusing to wear a jacket, the smell in my car and the fact
that we’re driving to Florida so we can introduce our dog to my sister’s new
puppy. Many, many things, but not
now. I need to breathe.
Last night we saw “High Fidelity,” the
musical, with Kim and Jesse. We went out just the four of us. At first Jesse didn’t want to go and that
made me not want to go, because the whole night was supposed to be my (belated)
birthday present, and it made me feel horrible that he was trying to get out of
But then Dan forced Jesse to go, which
lifted my spirits immensely, and the next thing I knew, we were eating pizza at
Cassie’s, laughing hysterically at Jesse’s incredible observations about
everyone and everything around us. He’s
got one of those minds that replays everything that’s happening, in the
completely inappropriate cartoon version. If I didn’t know better, I would
swear he was the originator of South Park.
And Kim, a huge musical fan, (despite the
myriad of implications, including the possibility that she’s a gay male), was
beside herself as soon as we hit the theater district. She takes on a completely different persona
as soon as she sees a marquee. Almost
as though she’s having a religious experience of some sort. How could we
possibly understand her world? All we
do is make fun of it, and she just smiles right through the verbal assaults, as
though she knows she’s the only one going to heaven.
“People are waiting in line to see Tarzan?”
Jesse asked, “Oh my God. And they’re old people. What the hell is going on here?”
“People of all ages go to musicals,” Sister
Kim explained, eyes glazed over.
I was sitting back, enjoying myself, still
anxious to see how Jesse, held captive in the car, was going to escape before
he had to sit through two hours of not funny musical entertainment.
“Can I bring my laptop?” he asked Dan.
“Are you kidding?” Dan replied.
“How about my phone?”
Once seated, the Lessings were all smirking to themselves, looking
straight ahead, as one by one, we each got wind of the group of ladies sitting
directly behind us. There were probably
four or five them, traveling alone, early sixties, hairspray, whooping it up.
They’d already been to Carmines and eaten at Sardis. They’d already admitted
they were from Ohio.
“The meat packing district,” as they call
it, “is actually the meat. . .packing. . . district, where they pack the
meat. That’s why they call it
that. I think it starts at about
fourteenth street, if I’m not mistaken and goes all the way to —- oh excuse
me, Miss,” she was calling over the usher. “Can you recommend a place where we
ladies can get a martini after the show?”
“Oh, I’m not sure, but maybe if you look in
”OH! That’s a very good idea! They list restaurants in here. How could I forget
that? How many shows have we been to? Now as I was saying, we should wear
comfortable shoes when we head over that way. The streets are paved with cobblestones.”
“Is she reading this or something?” Jesse
whispered to Dan.
”Never mind that,” Dan said. “Just listen to how much fun they’re having.
That’s how much fun we should be having, every day of our lives.”
“Dad, those women are insane.”
“No, they’re not,” Dan explained. “They’re from the mid-west.”
I watched Jesse process
that little tidbit of information, wondering what he would make of it.
“So does that mean you’d
like to have a drink with them at Sardis after the show?”
“Maybe,” Dan said.
And then the lights went
down, and Kim squeezed my hand, and the next thing I knew, both of my kids were
young and innocent again. Jesse was
actually laughing at one point, and Kim had that look. The look she always gets at any “show.”
“Do a puppet show for me,
We coerced them into
going out for dessert after the show. Jesse was telling us how much funnier the
show would have been had they made a few minor changes, all of which he
explained to us in great detail, using his fork and napkin as props, while Kim
tried to convince him to, “Write this stuff down somewhere.”
Right before bed, Dan
looked at me and said, “Do you think we could get them to do this again?”
I didn’t want to tell him how sorry I felt for him for thinking what I was
thinking, so I said, “Maybe we can do the same thing for your birthday.’
We’ve been married for a
long time. We were cool once. And now we’re not. For us, being with Kim and Jesse alone, for the entire night, was
like getting a back stage pass to a concert and having the band actually pay attention to us.
Back stage passes are usually a once in a lifetime thing.