Friday, July 22, 2011

That's one way to change the mood around here.

A sincere thank you to the burglar who attempted to break in through our basement last night.  What is your address?  No silly criminal, not to return the favor, we want to add you to our Christmas card list!  See, you found the one way to get our minds off of Sasha's heart surgery.  A good ol' fashioned break in!  Round of drinks for everyone!

But silly silly burglar, you might want to try a house that doesn't incase the following menagerie:
A fretful mother who is still awake at 2:00 a.m.  An off duty NYPD cop with a loaded gun.  And lastly, an alarm system.

Next time I will leave out a warm apple pie.  Thank you for the much needed diversion.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

True Grit. And I ain't talking cowboys.

I think anyone who decides to write, whether in the murky blogosphere or wrapped in the prestige of the New Yorker has a fundamental decision to make before putting pen to paper.  Or fingertip to keyboard.  We ask ourselves, in my case repeatedly, just how honest we want to be.  Honesty that has nothing to do with lies or embellishment.  Are we going to share our lives, the good and the grit, or are we going to play it safe and write about things more outside ourselves?  I could write a celebrity gossip blog that would put Perez Hilton out to pasture, doesn't mean I want to or should.

Being the type who prefers to hold my cards close to my chest, the thought of sharing (or even worse, oversharing)  can feel like one looooong bungee jump.  This, above all other reasons is responsible for the long gaps between posts.  Trying to tow the line between being interesting with a dash of wit (I try people, I try) and telling you what I really think about can be exhausting.  It can feel like work, and this isn't exactly paying the bills.

Despite all this, I'm going to start to write about some more serious stuff going on in our household these days.  I think there is something for us both to gain by my doing so, but hell if I know what that is as I write today...

Many of you are aware that Sasha had major heart surgery when she was 4 days old.  It was the kind of heart malformation that is rarely seen, and has a 90% fatality rate.  I'm going to spare you the tears and tediousness of the details.  Just know that Sasha showed what kind of stuff she was made of when at 4 days old and 4 lbs, she sailed through.  Not a single infection, not a setback to be had.   One month later she was home and I started to breathe again.

A year later she was diagnosed with mild aortic stenosis.  Not a complete surprise considering this heart defect often accompanies Williams Syndrome.  Years passed.  I prayed, I bargained with God, I did Reiki on Sasha, and when check up after check up passed without it getting significantly worse, I thought we had escaped the grasp of another open heart surgery.

Skid...brick wall...slam.  Wash...rinse...repeat...

Monday morning as I sat at my kitchen table I felt a wave of fear ripple through my body.  What the fuck was that?  Nothing had happened, all relationships and responsibilities were in check and at peace in that moment.  It didn't make any sense.  Then I remembered Sasha had her cardiology check up that afternoon and I just knew.  I probably just lost some of you who are thinking I'm going for dramatic effect.  I'm not.  If you've known me for a long time, and you really "see me", you know that of which I speak.  To all others, just go with it for now.

So when a few hours later the technician who was performing Sasha's echo said she had to step out for a moment, I should have been prepared.  I wasn't.  At least not really.  To get through the day to day parenting of a child you worry about dying, you have to lock some facts and fear away.  Push it down from our brains and into another part of our body.  I know where my lock box is.  It's tucked right under my throat and from time to time will press hard on my lungs to the point I can't suck in air.  When Dr. Steinberg came in the room looking far more tanned than any cardiologist should,  that lockbox bore the weight of ten boulders into my lungs.  Breathing would have to wait awhile.

Sasha's stenosis, the pinching in of her aorta, has gotten much worse over the last 4 months and will require surgery very soon.  Open heart surgery with a bypass machine.  I HATE YOU BYPASS MACHINE.  I mean, I love you for doing the work for Sasha's little heart while the surgeons will patch, stitch and sew.   I hate you for making me worry you will not relinquish your job when it's time to give authority back to Sasha's pure heart.

So.  This is where we are now.  I want the summer to be over and I want Sasha to be at her 1st grade desk at Primrose school.  I want this to be a distant memory that we will once in awhile talk about when we are brave enough to go back there.  What I want most is to just go through the fucking surgery myself.  Crack open my chest bone with your electric saw.  Forgo the anesthesia if it sweetens the deal.  Just leave the 6 year old alone.  Please.


OK, then let's play 'let's make a deal' once again.  Let's raise the stakes for good measure.  You let my daughter sail thru open heart surgery once more, and I will raise both of our children to have faith and love in God.  I think you know I would have done so anyway, so how about this:  Our family will perform service on a regular basis in our community.  I once heard Sgt Shriver talk about this being a basic responsibility of all Americans and it stuck with me.  I wish I could say we had been doing this all along, but time passes and what is not imperative slides off the bench.

So do we have a deal?  I hope so.

Monday, July 18, 2011

McMansions, Spandex, and Brie. Oh My!

Three years ago next month we moved from Park Slope in Brooklyn to Westchester, Katonah to be exact.  I am still not exactly sure how we ended up in Katonah.  Neither Z-Man or I had ever been here before we decided to make it the ONLY place in Westchester we would look for a house.  We knew of one family who had made the same exact move a couple of years earlier.  They seemed happy enough, so hell, we would be happy too!  This was pretty much the extent of our thoughtful contemplation and neighboorhood research.   Instead of calling us morons, let's choose to check the box that reads "Silly first time home buyers", deal?  I could expound upon on all we overlooked when choosing our first house, but this should give you a pretty clear picture:  The first May we were in the house we had a premature heat wave.  I turned to Z-Man with all the innocence of a newborn fawn and said "Honey, turn on the AC please?"  He kind of stalled for a minute, I guess trying to recall some of the information we had learned BEFORE we bought the house, and said "Oh yeah, we don't have central AC".  Now, being the apartment dweller I was for many years, this was not particularly alarming to me (oh, the adorable innocence...).  I would be happy as a clam with window units!  Old school style, I'm down with that.  Z-Man agreed and went to search out the best windows to plant our soon to be purchased AC units.  It was not a good day in Katonah when Z-Man had to tell me our oversized and horizontally sliding windows would not accommodate ANY air conditioning units!!! Insert horror movie genre scream here.

I will spare you the sweaty details of the next TWO summers.  Let's just say that I can cross "Sweat Lodge" off my bucket list.  We came to our senses and had central AC installed this past Fall.  Yes, that would be after I spent a hot summer pregnant in this house.  Apparently Z-Man and I lose any sense of logic as it applies to a free standing dwelling.

I still struggle with life in the suburbs.  Sometimes the struggle feels like I am a Gladiator in the Roman Coliseum.  Sometimes it is just an uncomfortable little whisper that says "what the fuck are you doing here, Woman?  There isn't a decent cheese shop for 20 miles,  get thee real Camembert!".  
I have come to terms with many parts of suburban life, or really Life Not In the City.  See, for me the struggle isn't so much about what I have now, it is more what I gave up.  I like having a car to drive to the supermarket and load my provisions into afterwards.  I just wish the food was from Balducci, not Stop and Shop.  I revel in having the space to store enough Christmas ornaments to decorate the Rockefeller Center tree.  I just wish I had a Starbucks downstairs instead of a basement.

My two biggest gripes with a suburban life still eat at me, despite my best efforts.  The first is this:  Many people in the suburbs seem to be suffering with a case of the "Still Not Enough's"  Me included (at times, then I punch myself in the gut until I snap out it).  Suddenly a 2800 sq ft house isn't big enough.  Doesn't everyone NEED a 4000 sq ft house??  This isn't the Middle Ages for Heaven's sake!  And while we're at it, my 3 year old luxury SUV isn't as brand spanking new as my neighbor's!  Where is the justice??  Obviously this exists in the city to some extent, but it is different.  It is more hidden.  Maybe that is because the cars are in a parking garage instead of a driveway.  Maybe because there is nothing a city dweller is more scared of than a 4500 sq foot gaudy McMansion.  I'm no sociologist, but I think I am on the right track.

My second gripe, and the one I vow to never, ever get over or accept is this:  When the HELL did workout wear become accepted street clothing??  NO, it is not OK to spend your entire day in clothing meant to wear in a gym!  If your outfit contains more than 5% spandex, it is to be removed BEFORE you exit the gym and enter the supermarket.  Understood?  Jeans, cardigans, and the like are your friends ladies, no need to be scared.  I promise.

I am aware of the somewhat condescending tone of the last part of this blog post.  Forgive me.  We are all works in progress, no?  Please send any hate mail to my manager at  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ruminations on Mob Wives

Am I the only one strangely captivated by this show?  I guess I can answer my own question- Hell No.  This show is attracting a massive amount of media attention from every outlet- everything from Good Morning America to CNN.

Part of the allure for the audience is the feeling we are peeking into a lifestyle that by definition is inclusive and secretive.  Another part, and the reason the show ultimately works, are the larger than life personalities of the stars of Mob Wives.  In particular Renee Graziano,  who is the daughter of Anthony Graziano. He is doing time for being the consigliere of the Bonnano crime family and is not speaking to Renee as a result of being part of the show.

Put simply, Renee is one tough bitch.  She grew up being the ultimate Mafia Princess, and still lives by the code and principles that govern mob families.   Not an episode goes by without Renee lecturing about Trust, Honesty, Respect, Loyalty.

Assuming the multitude of blogs, Facebook, and Twitter can be used as a reasonable indicator, then it is Renee that viewers most connect with.  And let there be no doubt that the majority of the viewers are women, this despite the underlying violence that permeates this lifestyle.  She has the sort of personality that draws people in- she comes off as super confident, funny, and the life of every party.  While this makes for great television, it is not the reason she is so popular with her female fans.  

Here is the hook, and this is why Renee will be the breakout star from this show:
When Renee goes on and ON about Trust, Honesty, Respect, and Loyalty, that message resonates with every woman who has ever been in a relationship.  Renee grew up knowing that her father would break the knees of any man who treated her badly.  Find me a woman who has suffered at the hands of some jerk-off and didn't secretly wish for his ass kicked, and I will show you a liar.  Renee grew up with the expectation that the men in her life would protect her at whatever cost.  All girls should grow up with that sense of security, and it doesn't have to lie in an undercurrent of violence.  As women we should demand Trust, Honesty, Respect, and Loyalty from our significant others, and too many of us can't summon the voice to command it.

Obviously my feelings about Mob Wives are complicated, something the network was banking on when they decided to air such a program no doubt.  On one hand we are entertained, on the other hand we know these women have been connected to men who have committed crimes.  We love it and yet feel guilty.  If good art (and yes, even a show like this is an art form.  Maybe not high art, but nevertheless art) is supposed to elicit an uncomfortable feeling in the viewer, then Mob Wives is already a critical success.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Every Mother's Day since Sasha's birth has been special, but with the addition of my son this day feels profoundly better than I could have imagined. Teddy didn't come easy, he was born on the fourth round of IVF. To those of you who have been through IVF, you understand what our family went through without additonal explanation. Those of you that have not experienced IVF, count your blessings (or healthy eggs and hearty sperm). IVF sucks balls. IVF is the last circle of hell. Until it works that is...

Giving birth to a healthy baby was like winning an Oscar, scoring the winning touchdown at the Superbowl, and finishing the NYC Marathon rolled into one. It was the accumulation of three years of our efforts. Holding a healthy newborn sealed a wound that had been torn open six years prior. I love both of my children fiercely, but they came into this world much differently. I needed Teddy as much as he needs me.

On this Mother's Day I want to celebrate giving Sasha a brother who will protect her long after I am gone. Today I will again thank the Universe for allowing me to give Z-Man the best Christmas gift of his lifetime*.

Happy Mother's Day everyone. Especially my friend Gina, who gave birth to a beautiful baby yesterday. I know our boys will be the best of friends. That thought just scared the bejesus out of me, actually. Let's try to keep them away from some of our past indulgences, I just had visions of margarita's in the sippy cup.**

*For those of you just joining me, Theodore Magnus (is that not a name of a guy who can kick someone's ass?) was born on 12/25/10.

**For those of you without a sense of humor, I was joking. Please do not call Child Protective Services on me. At least not on Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

One Smile

Before you judge, let it be known I do not usually dress my daughter like a cheap burlesque dancer. This picture was taken before a dance recital, and was chosen to accompany my post for one reason only- my floor looks relatively dog hair free and clean.
Sasha has many wonderful gifts and quirks, much like a typical six year old. She also has Williams Syndrome. If you don't know what that is, Google is your friend. I jest...Williams Syndrome is a genetic syndrome that manifests in many ways. Some are pretty cool- Williams kids tend to be super outgoing and happy. Happy for the sake of just being happy, not based on getting the newest toy, or eating easter candy for dinner ( although that last one makes me very, very happy). I think of Sasha as a weather vane for other people's emotions. She is more empathetic than most 40 year olds. If you are sad, she will do everything in her six year old bag of tricks to make you smile.
Other parts of having Williams Syndrome simply SUCK. Sasha has had major heart surgery, has had her share of smaller surgeries, and has all sorts of delays. We visit the local hospital all too often. I will leave the details for another time, but Z-Man likes to tease me on how unpopular I am at our local Emergency Room. Z-Man and I basically play good cop/bad cop during these ER visits. I act like a bitch from hell until I feel Sasha is getting all the attention and care she needs, while Z-Man calmly talks to the doctors and nurses. I would like to tell you I feel bad about the way I act in these situations, but the truth is I don't. In those moments I am Mama Bear and anyone who gets in my way is getting mauled. This didn't serve me too well when I broke my back in March. I don't think it is coincidental I waited 2 hours just to get some painkillers. I guess the nurses doled out justice to Bad Cop- but don't worry, just like bed bugs I'll be back.
Having a special needs kid means there are going to be good days and talk me off the ledge days. Today was all set to be the latter. Another specialist visit, another recounting of every illness over the last six years. Blah, blah, f*cking blah.
Right before we left for the doctor visit, I checked my email. My mother had forwarded me a portion of a college essay written by one of her neighbors who met Sasha last summer.

A ray of sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day.

This is what the email said:

One Smile
Have you ever looked at someone's smile and instantly known that you have changed their life and they yours? You can tell by an expression if someone looks up to you like you are their hero just by their smile. This past summer I had the opportunity to experience this feeling first hand. I met a five year old girl named Sasha. One day I saw her smile at me and immediately my heart melted. Sasha never asks for anything in return she just smiles even when things are difficult for her. When kids her own age wont play with her, she smiles, she loves, and she inspires. She inspired me to become a better person, a five year old girl has changed my life just by one smile.

Today was a very good day.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You say Kaftan, I say Caftan

I have decided to rock a lot of Caftan's this summer. I think they are perfect. They remind me of Morocco and I will feel exotic sitting on my deck in decidedly non-exotic Northern Westchester. There are a couple of gorgeous options online on Neiman Marcus, and a couple of cheapo options courtesy of Calypso for Target. Speaking of Calypso for Target, I plan on buying the entire line. Sold. No questions asked. The little girls dresses are BEYOND. The line for Women is perfect for knocking around town with the kids this summer. When I lived in NYC, Calypso was my fave, fave store. When Z-Man and I first started dating his (now our) dog Mario ate a full length lavender cashmere cardigan I had just acquired. As my revenge I convinced Z-Man to have Mario fixed. Bye-bye Calypso cashmere, bye-bye Balls.

If I happen to magically lose the rest of the baby weight, tone my legs and belly without actually spending a minute in the gym, then screw the Caftan. I am going to be in shorts so short you can see my c-section scar.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Yes, even "Nobody's" like myself can mingle with celebrities!

A little background is in order- I broke a bone in my back a few weeks ago and subsequently have A LOT more time on my hands than any woman with a 4 month old should. Before you feel bad for me keep this in mind, I have not had to do a night feeding or a load of laundry in over a month. A broken back doesn't seem so bad now, does it ladies? (men, disregard this sentence). I have spent the last 4 weeks in bed and as a result have been going down memory lane out of sheer boredom. So what has come up for me exactly?

The Good (ohh, they've been good...)

The Bad (screw the bad, unless someone who happens to be reading this blog contributed to the Bad. In that case, F*ck you)

The Funny (Z-Man has told me I Am Not Funny, pay him no mind, he is simply jealous. I am kinda very, very, very funny. Sometimes. Although admittedly not when I am premenstrual, pregnant, driving, eating, listening to Coldplay, tweezing my brows, with my kids, or with Z-Man). The rest of the time, I am HYSTERICAL.

The Funny got me thinking about all the celebrity sightings/encounters I have had over the years. Now I bet you are saying to yourself "I know (or don't know) SoooRacy. She worked in the dullest industry known to (mostly) man. Investment Banking. She's not on The Real Housewives of WhereEverTheHell (I can't afford the boob job nor is my house in foreclosure), she doesn't hang out with a glamourous circle of friends (no offense friends), so why her and not me?

I will tell you why. I have no idea. Well, that is not exactly true. Most of the sighting/encounters I have had were the result of living in NYC for 13 or so years in my 20's and 30's. So, if you live in Utah and were wondering why you aren't rubbing shoulders with celebrities, now you have your answer. You also have the Osmonds, I'd say we are even.

I should have known what lie ahead when just a few months after having seen Blue Lagoon at ten years old, I would stand in line to have my passport picture taken right behind Brooke Shields. Sidenote here- wasn't I little young for Blue Lagoon? Also, I did not travel abroad until I was 16, so what was up with my getting a passport photo taken? Anyway, back to the story. I was MESMERIZED. She was tall, gorgeous, and wearing jeans with a blue down coat. She was also with her batshit crazy mother. I remember wanting to approach her in someway, but my future cool (yeah, I'm cool and funny) self must have knocked some sense into my pudgy little head. If you live in NY or LA, you do NOT, I repeat do NOT approach, or even pretend to recognize a celebrity. Rule number 1 in the cool rulebook. Years later in sleep-away camp I would brag about this celebrity run-in to an older camper. She trumped me when she took her school Yearbook out of her trunk and showed me Brooke's class picture. She and Brooke went to the same Jr high school. She also showed me Brooke dressed up as a cat on Halloween. I remember thinking she should have drawn on whiskers.
Around 11th or 12th grade Mark Gastineau (former Jet player) was a big deal. At least in NY, and especially on Long Island. He lived on the beach in Point Lookout, and rode his bike around neighboring towns as part of his training many mornings. It was not uncommon for me to see him ride past me on the way to school. I really could have given a rat's ass. I was not into sports or impressed by athletes in any way. But then magic happened. Mark started dating Brigitte Nielsen. Now she was a very, very big deal at the time and raised Mark's star quality in my eyes. I was bussing tables at the time after school at a restaurant on the water, on an inlet to be exact. The same inlet where Mark Gastineau docked his boat. From time to time some of us from the restaurant would walk down the dock to see if Mark was hanging out on his boat. If he was, we kind of hid behind something and watched him for awhile. Think of us as peeping tom's if you will. Well, one night we saw Marky G, but he was not alone or with guy friends. He was getting it on (at least in my H.S mind, they were probably just kissing) with Brigitte Nielsen! I remember we lingered a little while, then went back to work. I may have been taking dirty dishes of stinky seafood off tables, but I had a glow inside that could not be put out!
I want to jump here to the list of celebrities who stopped to pet my dog Indy over the years. If you have been in my life over ten years, you know of Indy. He was a charismatic Siberian Husky with a penchant for human blood. He liked to bite people, and I was basically a dog warden for 14 years. He must have favored celebrities over normal folk, as I am happy to report he never caused any celebrities to get stitches.
All the members of the girl group TLC fawned over and pet Indy at a rest stop along I 95. Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. As Good As It Gets was filmed on my corner in Brooklyn most of that summer. My boyfriend at the time and I spent our summer evenings walking the dog as close to the movie set as we could without getting yelled at by some assh@le PA. After a few weeks I think we were regarded as basically Extras for the movie, and both Jack and Helen would walk over and pet Indy. I think my constant anxiety over Indy possibly biting Jack Nicholson's hand in those moments quelled my excitement over meeting Real Live Celebrities. I wasn't star struck, just anxious but excited too.
This is a good time to note my recollection of dates is pretty much shot. Too many years of hard studying (pot smoking) in college is to blame. I am going to share my celebrity stories from here on end pretty much out of order.
Tim Robbins. I was living in Chelsea and would get up early before work to give Indy a long walk before I had to leave for the day. On more than one occasion I saw Tim Robbins walking home after what I assumed to be a long night of partying to the apt he shared with Susan Sarandon at the time. He would always run a hand along Indy's back as he passed by. That dude is tall. Matt Dillon. Whatever. Marisa Tormei. She was wearing gorgeous red sandals and I wanted to own them badly. Frances McDormand. I was living very close to her on the Upper West Side. She would walk around with the kid she had with her Coen Brother husband. Her son was around four I'd say and had a head the size of volleyball- I hope he's grown into it by now. She must have been one of those people who was always trying to quit cigs so never bought a pack, because without fail she would bum one from me as she pet Indy. I was (and continue to be) a huge fan of her work, so I'd be happy to share a cancer stick. It got to the point I made sure to always have my pack on me if I walked the dog. You know, just in case. There are probably a couple of others who have pet (risked their hands being seen on camera again) but I can't remember.
I was going to NYU at the time I was living in Brooklyn (see Jack N.). I took classes on Saturday and one afternoon was rushing with a friend in between classes to get some pizza. We grabbed our slices on paper plates and ran down W4th to get to our next class. As I turned a corner, SLAM. As in full body slam with someone who felt distinctly lighter than myself. I looked up and saw that while my slice had remained on my plate (thank goodness, a girl's gotta eat), a good amount of cheese and grease was on the vintage style furry swing coat belonging to the person I had body slammed. I panned up to her face and quickly recognized the girl I could have crushed upon impact was tiny Kate Moss. I swear, this is exactly what she did next- looked down at her coat with zero expression and then asked in a kind of wanky British accent if "We know the time?" I guess we told her and then she walked a couple of steps and turned the key into a beautiful townhouse with a red door. I hope it was hers, it was the sort of townhouse every NY'er dreams of owning. I also hope she has a more posh accent by now (I think she does). I sat a couple of tables away from her a few years ago at Balthazar. She had very yellow teeth.
When I was living in Brooklyn at the time mentioned above (I say this because I would later move to Manhattan, and then back to BK), I met Steve Buscemi. I did not appreciate this pre-Boardwalk Empire, as I would post-Boardwalk Empire. My then boyfriend was friends with a firefighter who had died from Valley Stream LI, the same town the boyfriend was from. Buscemi had recently done a movie based on a bar in that town called Two Trees Lounge. Buscemi was a close friend of the deceased firefighter and held a fundraising viewing of his movie where he would host a Q&A. Boyfriend and I got an invite and were happy to help donate money to the family and see Buscemi. As I remember the movie kinda sucked, but afterwards boyfriend and I went to a local bar with Buscemi and a small group of about 10 people. I remember (and then don't remember) doing a bunch of shots with Buscemi. He talked about his family, the movie, and was all in all was a really nice guy. About 8 years later I was living in Park Slope Brooklyn, the same town as Buscemi. One morning I tied a little yappy dog I bought after Indy died to a tree outside of Connecticut Muffin. **Sidenotes- I got rid of that yappy little dog real quick. Not only was he yappy but he ate his own sh*t. That's a dealbreaker in my house. I don't know why this particular coffee spot is called Connecticut Muffin. It is on 7th Ave in Brooklyn. PETA, don't come after me for trying the dog to the tree. Everyone in brownstone brooklyn does this. I'm a follower, not a leader** Getting back to the story, there was a long line so it was taking forever to get my mediocre coffee. Buscemi was a few spots in back of me in the line (I was not aware of this at the time). Yappy dog is doing what yappy dogs do- YAP. When I guess Buscemi got to his breaking point and loudly said "Can someone shut that dog up?" My first thought was to remind him we had once bonded over shots. My second thought was to do what any self respecting animal lover would do- not turn around, wait to buy my coffee, bypass my dog, and then walk around the corner so Buscemi would not see my untie the dog and therefore peg me as the owner. By the time I had circled the corner Buscemi had left with his own mediocre coffee and Yappy and I went home. I muzzled him and read the New York Times. Just kidding, I read the NY Post.
Remembering what I said about memory loss, we are now going to jump back a few years before all that fancy city living. My good friend D.M and I decided to move to Boulder Colorado soon after college. D.M, feel free to chime in on the comments section, but I'm pretty sure we chose Boulder by closing our eyes and pointing to a place on the map. I guess that was the extent of my research capabilities before Google. Anyway, another college friend of ours had decided to move to New Mexico. Here is where it gets a little fuzzy- either she or a friend of hers worked for the phone company and illegally looked up and gave me George Clooney's phone number. This was during the first season of E.R. and he was getting a ton of press so it was probably pretty common knowledge he had a house in Santa Fe. There was a period of about 2 months that I called his house on a regular basis. Now, before you get all judgy pants on me for prank calling, let me explain. What may have begun as a desperate 23 year old waitress in CO prank calling a budding international star, would end up a deep friendship. OK, not really a friendship. BUT, and this is the great part - Clooney and the drunk group of guy friends that were seemingly there every time we called, LOVED IT. George would answer, we would make up some chicks name (he knew it was the same caller, but I guess it was part of the allure for him!) and he would kinda talk for about a minute and then hand the phone off to his drunk friends that would also talk to us. I think it is generally known by now that George Clooney is famous for being a prankster. I'm not sure if I started him down that path, or if we were just birds of a feather. Either way, I'm fine with it. I should let it be known that although I have lost just about every Blackberry and cell phone I have had in the last ten or so years, downstairs on my bookshelf is the address book with George's phone number. The best part- I put him under 'C' for Clooney, and wrote "George's house in Santa Fe". If one of my future grandchildren find that address book they are going to brag to their friends Granny was a personal friend of George Clooney's. I'm SO keeping that address book.
Other celebrity occurrences during the years I lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn- Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany on a pretty regular basis. They lived a few blocks from me and we apparently used the same local pharmacy. Paul is hot and just seems like a pretty happy-go-lucky guy. Jennifer, not so much. She looks moody and hungry. One day I was at the pharmacy at the same time they were and I remember the store was pretty empty. Paul throws a stick of women's deodorant into the basket Jennifer was holding and then LOUDLY starts sharing his thoughts on deodorant. I will pass his thoughts on to you. Paul does not see why ANY man would use anything other than women's deodorant. It comes in such lovely scents! Why wouldn't a man want to smell Powder Fresh or Summer Breeze! It was very evident he was trying to playfully embarrass Jennifer (but he was serious about the deodorant, they bought it). I saw John Turturro once in a while walking down 7th Ave. He was another really tall dude. It seemed he was wearing tube socks up to his knees, shorts, and was speaking loudly into his cell phone every time I saw him. He seemed kinda nuts.
When I was pregnant with my eldest, Sasha, I had a couple of very satisfying celebrity run-ins. Chris Noth tipped his hat to me exiting a restaurant I was entering. Leonardo DiCaprio (I love him, sorry Z-Man) said hello to me as we crossed paths on a lower east side side street. I took the following away from these encounters, even the hottest celebrities have a soft spot for a very pregnant (fat pregnant, not skinny Manhattan pregnant) woman. If you are in Utah and are thinking of visiting the Big Apple soon, get knocked up first. Your chances of having a celebrity story to share with your friends back home will be much, much greater. BTW, not picking on Utah at all, just using you repeatedly as an example. Salt Lake City is one of the most beautiful cities in the country in my opinion.
Eric Nieves from season 1 of The Real World spilled a drink on me at a bar one night. I remember being really pissed off and hoping his career would tank. I feel a wee bit guilty for all the powers I must have over the universe. Sorry Eric.
While working at Credit Suisse, Gene Simmons from Kiss walked past my desk and gave me a compliment. Where should we begin? Let's see- WTF is the guy from KISS doing walking past my desk at 8:00 a.m? Why is he wearing a shiny black suit with a bright red tie and a red carnation in his jacket pocket? Doesn't he know that an Investment Bank is WASP central and his color palate and panache will be looked down upon? Oh yeah, he's Gene SIMMONS, he doesn't give a sh@t what Chip and Buffy think. We made eye contact and he said to me...are you ready..."You my dear have lovely hair". I calmly said, "and so do you". He did. His blow out was better than mine. OK, so what was Gene Simmons doing in my office that day? I'm still not sure (I did Marketing/Publishing type of work, not finance), but I think he was trying to raise capital off of the KISS catalog.
Another big (but actually teeny tiny) celebrity sighting at Credit Suisse- Arnold Schwarzenegger. Dude is short. It was a big deal he was there that day, a lot of people found reasons to walk past the area he was in and gawk a bit. This is while he was the Governator, and he was trying to raise money for his state which we all know was in huge debt. Joe Namath came to the trading floor one day. Again, no idea why. He did have a football though, and was tossing it back and forth to some trader guys. They were rich and athletic!
I won tickets to VH1 Divas Live concert and sat a couple of rows behind Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. I actually witnessed the moment Pam and Kid Rock met (they went on to date for a long time in Hollywood years). Tommy Lee called Kid Rock over said hello, then introduced Pam's breasts, I mean Pam. I guess sparks flew. I didn't feel them, I guess I wasn't sitting that close.
A friend of mine became friendly with one of the guys in Billy Joel's band. A drummer I think. He gave us front row seats and backstage passes to an Elton John/Billy Joel concert at MSG. Everything about that night is pretty awesome. Going backstage during a concert whenever you get a little snacky, thirsty, or have to use the bathroom is awesome. Not being able to do that anymore is a bit like flying in First Class and then flying Economy every trip afterwards. Too many celebrities were hanging out back there to remember or name, but only one really stands out. Chris Rock and his beautiful wife. I was convinced he was there gathering material for his next stand-up show. When we were actually sitting (standing) in the front row during the concert we were next to David Furnish who is Elton's long term partner. Who knew that about 6 years later he and I would give birth to a baby on the same day (December 25th, 2010- yes, Christmas). Only one of us used our Vagina though.
I'm getting tired. Thinking about Z-Man up all night with the baby last night is really making me sleepy. I'm going to give you one last story. All other encounters will be shared at a later date.


One day during the time I worked at Credit Suisse I went outside with a co-worker during lunch. The guy I was with needed to stop at some bank on Park Avenue that only rich people use for everyday banking. I can't remember the name of it, and it probably has tanked since then anyway. My co-worker went inside to do his banking, while I stood outside near the doorway and lit a cigarette (I guess I smoked a lot back then, gross). I must have been having a very, very, very good day, because one of the Baldwin Brothers approached me and asked for a cig. I recognized him right away, took in his hotness, and gave him a cig. He starts talking to me in the most casual way, as if he is Joe Anybody. He asks my name, where I work, etc. He then goes on to tell me that he is in town because his mother has asked him to attend some kind of breast cancer event she is hosting. Baldwin Brother then asks if I'd like to meet up afterwards for a drink. During the time of this conversation my co-worker walked out the door, saw who I was talking to, and kind of stood back in perplexed amazement. In case I never got the chance, I want to thank this co-worker for not "C*ckblocking" me as they say in PTA. Now, that sounds like I actually met up with this guy for a drink, right? I didn't. I'd like to say it was because he was married and his wife was in some cheesy singing group that I secretly listened to. But, that isn't the reason. I was holding myself out for Alec.

More at a later date, but I would LOVE you to leave comments sharing your own celebrity stories. C'mon- you know you have some....