Christmas, Holiday Season, Life, Simplify

Christmas is Canceled

images-34Captain Clam and I have cancelled Christmas. It’s just too much this year. After being bombarded by it since well before Halloween, I cannot hold on to any Christmas cheer. We tried to get into the holiday spirit. We even built a Christmas tree out of lights and decorated it with all the cards we received this year as well as some of my ornaments from childhood. The tree is on our kitchen wall. It looks stupid, but some how makes us happy, especially at night with all the lights off.

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It looks better in person.

Le Clam and I have been sick. I caught a cold from my nephew over the Thanksgiving break and it is just NOW starting to recede… I got half of my office sick and was called Typhoid Stephanie, which was one of my bosses funnier jokes to date (he’s really not that funny). I missed three days of work and suffered through all the rest either cold and gross or hot and sweaty. Then I got not just one cold sore, but two! I only get those when I am ridiculously sick, and even then, they are small and not noticeable. These are small, but super irritating, and I can’t kiss my Clam for a whole week. Fuck. Plus the medicine cost $26. I don’t have $26 to throw around on cold sores…. plus all the expenses for the Puffs Plus, Cough Syrup, Vitamin C and Vitamin C powdered drinks, Epson Salts, Carmex Lip Balm, and minus 3 days of work. I still don’t get sick days, so this is mounting to be a really expensive cold… the most expensive in history.

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Christmas was always my favorite holiday, Christmas Eve being the most magical night of all time… now I look forward to the 4th of July. Somewhere along the way, I became old and bitter, and started to hate the cold and snow and magic of December. February is even worse. It’s is THE worst, and perhaps that’s why it’s the shortest month. It’s the coldest and most depressing place in the world. I’ll finish this rant when February slugs it’s ugly little face around in a month and a half. I am already angry.

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It’s official. I’m still so angry already…

I canceled Christmas once before. It was 2005. My former boyfriend and I were broken up but still occupying the same space. He went away to see his family (because god fucking forbid we ever went to see mine) and I stayed up half the night drinking wine, dismantling a closet, and painting my bedroom orange. I almost regret canceling that Christmas, but reveled in the alone time and reflection (and complete productivity) of the night.

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Clams cancel Christmas, too. My Captain canceled a few holidays after being stuck in China/Italy on business for the worst employer in the history of human beings. The Clam is resourceful though, and entertained himself with wine and bad movies… much like this evening festivities.

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Pretend this has a red line through it.

So. This is Christmas. We have eaten a small dinner for just the two of us. We cooked chicken that the meat market guy cut up into way too many pieces… I added BBQ Sauce… basically the most un-Christmas-like dinner you could ever imagine. We’ll have leftovers tomorrow and they are going to amazing. I have insisted on watching Rudolph, since it has always been my favorite Christmas movie (my Clam is taking a Clam rest, since he has never seen this amazing movie and has no interest in ever seeing it… ever). I am hoping that it picks me up and compels me to change my mind and warm my heart with some good tidings. I am doubtful that it’s gonna happen.

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I thought Rudolph could save Christmas… not this time, with that big wonderful nose. We are living in the land of misfit toys today. This will not be an ordinary Christmas. This will not be Christmas at all. No gifts, no friends, no family, no cheeky Christmas carols…. just each other, a chicken, the tail end of a bad cold, and a longing for the Christmas magic of our childhoods.

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Merry Christmas, everyone, if you decide to celebrate it this year. And to my amazing family who knows how complicated and overly-dramatic I am… I’ll see you very soon, and the cards loaded with Lotto tickets are in the mail… tomorrow. Heart.

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Adventure, Bucket List, Change, Contest, Humor, Lotto, Opinion, POOP, Winning

You’re a Winner

I have always been pretty lucky. When I was a kid, it seemed that any raffle I entered would be a winning experience for me. One time I won a bike kickstand at Bike Safety Day. My parents would take us kids to the Jersey Shore every summer and we would play games on the boardwalk. I’d come home with a zillion stuffed animals. Actually, we all would. The only difference between my sisters’ dolls and mine were how we won them. While my sisters would play games of skill, I’d play games of luck. I always had a knack for knowing what number to put my dollar down on. I once walked up to a claw game, stuffed a dollar in and instantly won a talking Steve Urkel doll. The claw went down and came up with a tiny piece of his rubber glasses holding on (almost literally by a thread). It’s like I just knew I’d win, so I played with complete confidence. Sadly, my 6th Sense has dimmed as I have grown older, but I do manage to carry some luck around with me every once in a while.

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He always made me feel like a winner.

Every time I play the Lottery, I am beyond sure that I am going to win. I immediately start planning my life as a millionaire, convinced that I could buy the entire state of Maine if I wait a few years before splurging and let my money sit and collect interest. When I talk to Captain Clam about it, he brings up all of the places in the world we could possibly live, if even for just a few months of our lives.

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Investing in Hope and Chance.

My first purchase would be a new pair of pants to replace the pair that I had soiled upon learning of my amazing luck. Then, of course, I would wear those pants to my new lawyer’s office to discuss what the heck was about to happen to me. I might buy a sandwich or pizza somewhere in between the pants and the Lawyer.  I am confident that I would opt to be paid out immediately, meaning I’d receive a little less that half of the entire sum after taxes (I’m okay with that).

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Poop Jokes: Around since the beginning of time.

My next order of business would be typing lessons. If you have ever g-chatted with me, you know I am a drunk kitten on the keyboard. I can remember having maybe one lesson as a child, but never understood how many hours of my life would be spent clacking away at plastic letters, so I never took typing seriously.

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Typing = Not Serious

My second order of business would be to move my home base. While the Brooklyn Studio apartment that Le Clam and I share with 4 kitties and 2 beta fish is very cozy, it also totally sucks. I think it’s fair to say that we deserve at least a one bedroom…. maybe even an extra half bath. I don’t know if we’d rent or own, but I would sure kiss this apartment (and most likely Brooklyn) goodbye.

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Fit for a Clam Fam.

The third order of biz would be to get the hell out of town. I don’t know where we’d go first (and I certainly don’t want you to follow us there) or how long we’d stay, but I do know that I don’t want to live life without seeing wild zebras or the Pyramids in person. I want to feel small and insignificant (more so than I do now).

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Captain Clam might be jealous, but the world will be our Oyster!

A priority would be donating some of the winnings. I would donate to my Alma Maters, SUNY Stony Brook and the Fashion Institute of Technology, and ask that they please design a bad ass bathroom with my name on it. Ideally the bathroom would be one stall with mood lighting and music playing, but that might be overkill (at least at Stony Brook). I would also hold a contest for prospective students who cannot afford school, but really really want and deserve to go. As a former Professional Student, I truly understand the passion for learning and the hunger of a starving artist/business school student. The contest would vary each year and would be the greatest contest of all time.

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There is precedence for this request… and that last name is so close to my own…. Perhaps bathroom humor runs in the family?

I’d also like to spend time on making art. It’s an activity that I love doing, but have had to give up for the past few months due to laziness and lack of creativity. I don’t think that money will inspire me, but it might help me inspire myself by giving me the resources to afford to even step out of my house.

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The good old days.

Of course I’d make Captain Clam an honest man and wear his pearl and become Lady Clam (if he’ll have the company of course). Then we could settle down and have an animal sanctuary in Alaska or Canada or somewhere cold (maybe even the entire state of Maine!). He has talked about wolves and snow leopards and I am thinking more of babies, but I’m sure our issues would be worked out rather harmoniously (as long as there are cats involved).

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Apparently it IS a thing!

Another dream of ours is to own a vintage furniture shop. This dream will probably happen even if we don’t hit it big with 5 lucky numbers. You see, His Clamminess and I are huge furniture nerds. We met in a furniture studio and fell in love while talking about writing tables and chaise lounges (with or without tufting?). It’s all very romantic (as romantic as a Polished Espresso Mahogany finish will allow).

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It’s true… Clams included.

I do also think that somewhere between the orders of business 1 and 3 , I would abandon facebook. Sorry, but it’s none of your business what I am doing with my money, and I would just irritate myself if I became one of those people who boasts about how rich they are. Boasting about awesomeness is a different story.

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Of course our incredible families would reap from our ridiculous stroke of luck. They deserve SOMETHING for having to put up with the two of us for 30-something years. Clam and I are both the youngest of 3; his family is all boys, and mine is all girls. God Bless both of those sets of parents and siblings (I am at a loss in the picture department. Sorry!).

I have been reading up on winning millions and have come across stories where people ran through their money so quickly. I can see how spending money can become an easy task. I wonder what people spend their loot on, and look to celebrities and sports stars for assistance. It’s all CRAP for the most part. I’d like to think that money would not change me, but that would be a silly thought. I do, however, understand that money will not solve all of your problems, and you can only numb the pain for so long with huge toy purchases and other shit no one actually needs.

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I do not need this.

The following things would not be on my shopping list, as I feel no sense of need or desire for them:

Caviar – Please google “caviar” and see how brutal the process of harvesting the caviar is. No thanks.

McMansion– That’s so 2004. Plus, I doubt that we need 18,625 SQFT of inside living space. I am dating a Clam for Christ sake!

Tiny Forks– I don’t understand them, don’t need them, and don’t want them.

Super Duper Cars– I don’t have a car now. I don’t really need one, let alone 6 (can you imagine trying to park in NYC with that many cars!?). If I did buy a vehicle, it’d probably be a little pick-up truck. That way, I can help my pals when they have to move!

$450,000 Crack Party– Tyrone Biggums, as portrayed by Dave Chapelle, lost it all! According to my research, a lot of people who lose their winnings do so on account of alcohol, strippers, and bad decisions made on drugs. I love to throw a party, but I think I’ll stick to wine, beer, and fancy tacos.

Cosmetic Surgery– I don’t want to be any other character but me. I might, however, consider Lasers to permanenty remove my mustache, and also removal of my tramp stamp (since it’s no longer 2002 and I am no longer 20).

Friends– Because that kind of weird shit happens. No thanks. Buy your own damn drinks!

Among the obvious expenses (like paying off student loans and other miscellaneous debt), here is a list of Weird must-haves in my millionaire shopping cart:

An Awesome Sofa– As stated above, Captain Clam and I love furniture. I also happen to work for one of the best Upholstery Workrooms in the universe. I think we could get a bad-ass deal on something beautiful, and even add our personal touches by having Le Clam himself design the rump rester.

A Bad Ass XEROX copy machine/scanner/printer- This is the only thing that I miss from my last job. I still think about it quite fondly.

Instant Photo Booth- Sometimes I get sentimental.

A Tree Farm– I love trees! I want to grow and raise all kinds of wood species so we can built our furniture sustainably. It’d also be nice to eat some home grown apples and other yummy stuffs.

Stained Glass Windows – Because why not?

Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz Painting/Drawing– Wanda is a friend of mine from half a lifetime ago. I met her because she was the previous tenant in my old Loft in the South Bronx. I have a few art pieces that were salvaged (one from the garbage and one was literally chopped out of a wall). I’d like to one day actually pay her for a gorgeous creation.

Well, this post has escalated out of control, but then again so has my imagination. On the eve of one of the largest Mega Millions drawings since the last largest Mega Millions drawing, I can’t help but be psyched. I never play Lotto (except for Scratch-off Fridays with Captain Clam every once in a while (75% of the time I win my money back – at least)), but I have a good feeling… kinda like I had when I walked up to the claw machine and won that Urkel doll. Even if I win my $5 back, I am content. If I win nothing, then I am out $5, but blogged up a storm, so it measures itself out somehow.

I am reading back and realizing that my dreams aren’t so far fetched. I mean, I already own some stained glass and just bought a really nice fancy futon (it has cup holders built in!). My advice to all of you, if any of you ever do win, is to sign the back of the ticket. I have seen too many documentaries about Lottery fraud (okay just one hour long show, but whatever) and I would hate to see that happen to me or you or anyone else (unless they were total dick-holes and deserved to be ripped off).

Mega Millions is 400 Million dollars, the drawing is Friday the 13th, and I’m feeling incredibly lucky these days… I better go find myself a good lawyer and sturdy pair of pants.

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Adventure, Employment, farts, Humor, Life, POOP, Uncategorized

It’s OK to Poop at Work

The other day my feet got wet on the way to work. I had these cheap little Payless shoes on, so, naturally, my feet started to smell. They smelled so badly that I could smell them through a stuffy nose. I ran to the closest shoe store on my lunch break (which just happened to be Payless) and bought some shoes. Now, when I say “some shoes” I mean 4 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of slipper socks and $2 bracelet donation for Breast Cancer awareness. When I spoke to Captain Clam, I only told him how much money I saved. Oops! Of course, I was happy to have had the stinky feet debacle of 2013 while Payless was having a BOGO sale, so the $60 spent was not too shabby for all those things (except now my feet are starting to stink again on their own accord (damn plastic shoes!!)).

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These are them.

As I was leaving the store, I saw this awesome Diner right next door. I am almost positive that the universe would have ended if I did not have a grilled cheese immediately. About an hour or so later, the belly rumbles started. There was simply too much stuff in my belly. The inevitable was about to happen: The Work Poop.

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It moves your bowels.

Oh Man. We have all been there. I previously worked at places that had private bathrooms, where the bathroom was just a small room with a sink and a toilet (and one time, strangely enough, a full bathtub and shower). My new work facilities are three stalls, two poorly working sinks, and a hand blower that produces hurricane force winds.  Sadly, no one actually uses the hand dryer, they use toilet paper, which sometimes (very rarely) leaves the bathroom without any TP under the sink (a catastrophe in wait, if you ask me).

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The smallest stall is for women who are under 4 feet tall. It hurts to use. This stall is usually void of any TP as it the closest to the sink and completely uninhabitable by most of us. Of course, you can make yourself fit with minimal effort, but it’s a little claustrophobic and extremely dark. The door, however is always closed. And since no one uses it, it has become the best pooping stall in the ladies bathroom. The only drawback is the toilet paper issue.

I generally don’t like to poop in public, but will definitely do it and shine as I recount the tale of my bathroom adventure. According to my cousin, Girl Ryan, there is a phobia known as PIP, which is the phobia of Pooping in Public. She has written extensively on her blog HERE about the fear and overcoming it. I have read her post a million times and was shocked to learn that I had been doing some of the things that ALL women do.

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Pooping in public can sometimes feel like this classic scene from “Bridesmaids.”

For instance, I really thought I was the only lady to flush the toilet if I had to poop and someone was in the restroom with me during extreme emergency. I do that at work sometimes if I think someone will come in while the deed is being done. If someone walks in just as the deed is about to be done, I get stage fright and the deed gets pinched. If someone does come in before it happens, I seriously pussy out and leave. No guts, No glory, right?

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Where the magic happens.

When I started dreaming up this post and writing it in my head (where it sounded hilarious and witty), I reached out to That Girl Ryan to ask for a link and her blessing (after all she did write her poop post first). Of course she obliged because we are all interested in getting the message out there, and told me that she has a new poop post in the works. I am so excited for it and hope that this poop post inspires her to get that shit together (so many puns, so little time).

When I was a teen, I worked at the Pancake Cottage in my town (Riverhead, Long Island (the greatest shit hole on earth)). I was lucky enough to work with one of my best friends. We had nicknames that we would call each other (she still calls me Goober to this day). Well, I was really good at making Milkshakes. Whenever anyone ordered a Shake, I was the go-to girl. One (or both) of us  dreamed up the perfect concoction: The Coffee Milkshake, which is self- explanatory (mind you this was the 90’s and frappaccinos had not yet taken off in our small town). I proceeded to make the most deliciously bad ass Coffee Milkshake ever. After exactly 20 minutes and 36 seconds, my dear Ferox and I looked at each other and KNEW that the milkshake was a really bad idea and we were about to pay for our milky sins.

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Instant regret.

I actually had to email her about this story to remember how we handled the Pancake Cottage Coffee Milkshake shit-storm. I needed to know if we both used the bathroom at the same time and flushed the entire time or if we had guarded the door, pretending that it was a single toilet water closet and we were simply waiting in line. Both of these false memories were wrong. According to her memory, we ran the water for each other. How simple (and what great friends we are!)!

I learned a great lesson that day: It’s OK to poop at work.

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Even today, I walked into the ladies room and someone blew that shit up ( I won’t name any names, but it was a small woman  who looks like she smells like apricots and chap-stick made out of sunshine). The bathroom was a fog of farts and residue. It was hard not to tear up from the burning stench, and even harder not to acknowledge this woman’s feat with a high five. It was simply ignored as if there was no awful odor seeping it’s way into the fibers of my clothing. The worst part about this type of work poo is that it’s not yours, but if timed properly, you can and will be blamed for it.

It happens more frequently than I’d like, but I do go into the restroom (to rest, of course) and someone is in there trying to get their business done. I walk in and I can feel them cringe, knowing that I know that they are trying to do the do (sometimes they are also just on their phones, which makes it hard for me to even go number 1, knowing that the party on the other line might hear my tinkle). It’s at that awkward point where people are clearing their throats or fidgeting with the TP that I just want to say” It’s okay to poop!” I really don’t care. We all poop (I’m pretty sure there’s a children’s book about it).

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Awkward for everyone involved…

I have no idea why pooping is so taboo. I mean, if we didn’t poop, we’d die a horrible death. I can understand why farting is funny. It’s loud and sometimes comes out unexpectedly (and it can be so foul that you can’t help but laugh at just how disgusting you are), but pooping? It’s like, “Oh no, she’s totally excreting in this room built for excreting. How dare she!”  You may often feel like if you are discovered, you will be forever shamed for the rest of your term of employment as The Pooper. Why does it have to be like that? Whaaa!!!!

Unfortunately, it is like that. Too bad there is not some noise machine in the bathroom that cancels out all noises or keeps noises restrained to the inside of the stall. Or perhaps mandatory fountains in every bathroom that run loudly enough to muffle the sound of splashes, but gentle enough to relax all the right muscles.

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Just looking at this makes me have to pee so bad!

Air freshener is always a nice commodity for a good cover up, but it’s a dead give-away. My air freshener trick is to spray in a random corner of the bathroom – just a squirt (after you wash your hands of course), then run like a bat out of hell so the fumes don’t stick to you. I advise using the air freshener every time you go. People will be thrown off and will either think you poop every hour or think nothing of it since the bathroom will always be fresh. Suckers!

No matter what happens… Ignore and Deny! Whether or not you are indeed the Pooper or not, just act normal like nothing is wrong or different in the atmosphere. Ignore it. Don’t mention it. People will notice and might follow suit and get over the fact that bodily functions are not put on hold just because you are at work. If someone is like”Damn, Girl!” Just smile and give ’em a High Five (after hand washing, of course).

THIS is a great read for anyone interested in learning how to poop at work effectively.

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Adventure, Christmas, FUN!, Holiday Season, Long Island, Stereotypes

Your Long Island is Showing

Happy Holidays!

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can finally give into the Christmas season that has been calling since long before my Jack-o-Lanterns were even carved. Captain Clam and I spent a relaxing couple of days at my parent’s house out on eastern Long Island. My sister lives right across the street from them, so I got to get my “nephew on” while I was there. I have a 6 year old mad man and a 7 month old adorable (but very rude) baby who keep me busy whenever I visit. I was a very happy Auntie and the Clam was overjoyed to discover his baby whispering talents.

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Whisper. Whisper. Rude Baby is now asleep!

As soon as plans are made with my parents, there are weeks of confirming that we are, indeed, going to pay a visit.  Every week my mom will ask me “Are you coming for Thanksgiving?” And I answer, “Yes Mom” in that sarcastic little kid voice that we all have when we say yes to our moms when she asks a question that has been asked one million times.

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CAT PICTURE!

Once it’s down to the wire, we check the weather and train/bus schedules. I am always on the train an hour AFTER the train I intended to be on. I don’t even lie about trying to be on time anymore. I even tell my parents the time of the train I WANT to be on and then the time of that train that I will most likely be on. There is just something in my brain and body that prohibit me from leaving the house on time. And no matter how much I prepare I am always late, I always over pack, and I always forget something. This year it was pajamas.

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It’s always this time of year when I talk to me family the most. Between my birthday, my dad’s birthday, and all the holidays, we all call each other a million times to say hi or solidify a loose plan. It’s this time of year that my Long Island really starts to show. Whether it’s from the phone calls to an over serving of eggnog, that ear throbbing accents falls out of my mouth and I just can’t do anything about it. It would also seem that the closer I get to the homestead, the more lazy my language skills and manners become. It’s a Long Island thing.

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Greetings, Douche Bag!

It seems that as soon as I step foot on that train to Ronkonkoma, a switch flips in my soul. I am homeward bound and hurtling towards my roots at 75 MPH. Out comes the beer and that harsh accent that makes us all feel a little bad ass and sound a little trashy and undereducated.

If there is one thing that my family is, it’s Long Island. Captain Clam has invisible ear muffs because we are just SO DAMN LOUD when we all get together. It’s true. All Long Islanders are. I don’t know why, but it’s inherent throughout the native population of Nassau and Suffolk, and being around anyone from Long Island somehow makes me very comfortable. We could live on opposite ends of  Island, and somehow still have a connection.

“Oh, you’re from Long Island? So am I. Where abouts?”

“Levittown”

“Oh cool. I’m from Riverhead.”

“Oh wow, that’s way out there.”

“Yeah, it’s not too bad.”

BOOM. Immediate Facebook friends for life.

Riding on the train towards home, I always feel like I never left and the people have never changed. You can find many of the same characters who are named Theresa, Joey, Bobby, or Jamie (or something like that). We all talk with our hands and say ridiculous things way too loudly. Most of us are crude and censor-less. We say things like “Douche bag” and “asshole fuck face” in front of babies and grandmas. I have no idea why that is, but it just is.

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There are a few (but not many) stereotypes about Long Islanders that are not true. We are not all rich. There are very few places where the rich reside, and most of us are middle class hard working schmucks who want to live near the ocean and the farms on our 1/8th acre of semi-suburban paradise. Of course, Long Island is a very expensive place to live and property values are sky high due to the lack of space available, but it somehow seems worth the expense.

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Another falsity… All Long Island girls have tramp Stamps… NO! Well, I have one, but it was pretty cool in 2002 (but mine is terrible and I hate it and can’t wait to get  it removed). In case you DO want a Tramp Stamp, the are only two suitable tattoo parlors that you can go to… Lou’s and Cliff’s. That’s it, argument over.

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I wish my Tramp Stamp was this awesome…

Now, there is a mystery surrounding the Uncle that everyone has who works in Sanitation. NOPE. Not buying it. Unless sanitation is code for some illegal activities (which it very well could be), then this is another Long Islandism that is simply not true.

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That is NOT my uncle!

I have been reading up on “You know you’re from Long Island if…” blog posts, and some of them are just plain stupid. I DO NOT have a Billy Joel “sighting” story (although it would be nice to have one), and have never had a problem “Changing trains at Jamaica.” No, I don’t know Lindsay Lohan, but do find the Hamptons  to be a snooze-fest high school reunion (I’m more of a North Shore kinda gal anyway). And saying “Strong Island” is super douchey. We are douchey enough, so we avoid that phrase altogether.

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The full extent of our douchiness.

Long Island is a great place to be, and even though I live in Brooklyn currently, I am STILL technically ON LONG ISLAND!! No Brooklynite or Queens dweller wants to admit this fact… Why? I asked Captain Clam. He told me that Long Island is like being in New Jersey, but Seven times worse. But how can that be? I simply don’t believe it and refuse to hanker around with any such thoughts.

Long Island is Long Island. It’s super special and super douchey, just like any hometown in America. What I do love about Long Island is the dark, starry night skies and the fresh air that smells like bonfire and fresh seawater wind. There are expansive Ocean Beaches, Rocky Sound Beaches, Lakes, Rivers, The Bay, Farm Stands, Buffalo Farms, Duck Farms, Adventure Land, Splish Splash, Aquariums, the Long Island Medium, Pine Barrens, Roadside F-14’s, National Cemeteries, JONES BEACH, Petting Zoos, Vineyards, State Parks, Whale Watching (should I keep going??)  … Plus, WE HAVE THE BIG DUCK!!!

And you really just can’t beat the accent.

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Happy Holidays, Long Island Style.

Tell me, what do you love and hate about Long Island?

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