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, 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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9/11, Adventure, Change, New York City

This Week: A New York Minute

 

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…not even ashamed…

What a fucking week.

These past 6 days were quick for me and not-so-much for everyone else…. and anyone who lives in “the country” is still pushing through Wednesday. But New York City? We are already getting ready for Christmas!

I jest, but am also totally serious. This will be a short post, since I have had “it” (or not gotten enough) but wanted to get a few thoughts out before these brain movements turn to jaded dust (is that an exotic stone?).

What a week for this great city. We had Voting Day, Back to School, September 11th, Fashion Week, and Friday the 13th. I have no idea which day was more more important to the majority, but I suppose it really depends on what demographic you belong to. I cared and was interested, but what I really noticed the most was the jump in energy in the city. There was a kindness that was shown at the beginning of of the week that did not exist at the end of it, but the people were out and being alive. It felt good.

Of course the energy also sucked with the 7am invasion of Children and super-model types who, somehow, have no manners, which made Friday the 13th  a very warm welcome (is that even a thing?). The Mayoral election will not be addressed at this moment (but please read my previous post to feel my feelings about 9/11)).

I can’t even begin to say what I want to say. This was an extremely important week for New York City, and yet it slipped by like most things do here. No matter what people say or think or do or respond to, the city is alive and this week was a lively one. You didn’t have to vote, or notice those kids on the train in the morning (ruining your morning quiet time), or those lights in the sky, honoring the heavens, or those way-too-skinny gals parading around like they didn’t have to let anyone off the train before they got on… and Friday the 13th? No one even noticed. But the City noticed, and it was full of energy.

This week was hard, but just what everyone needed; Hope, New Beginnings, Sadness and Remembrance, Fashion, and Fear. As hard as this week was to get through, it was easy. It was brilliant. Next week will be the same, as will the week after that (until it’s February and we all want to relocate to Florida, but we know we will always come back…).

I love you, New York City, you always surprise me and never let me down. 

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9/11, Change, New York City, South Bronx

My City of Change

Cindy-Sherman

Cindy Sherman

My childhood dream was to live in New York City. I wanted to be an actor and a fire-woman and a lawyer and a hippy and an artist and a flapper all in the same moment. Truth is, I didn’t really care what I was, as long as I was here.

The city has always given me a sense of connection. I remember coming in on the LIRR Ronkonkoma line from Long Island and smelling newspapers and popcorn at Penn Station (every now and then I catch a whiff of that and I am 10 years old again). Every once in a while I am overcome with the nostalgia that my former life was once played out on the silver screen with New York City as the timelessly sexy metal and stone backdrop (jazz, of course, being the official soundtrack).

New York City has always been waiting for me. I will believe that always no matter where in the the world I may be. It is always hard to leave, but very easy to come back. The city itself calls to me. There are places and times that I revisit over and over again; Minetta Lane in Early Spring (where that one little bend in the road makes me feel like I am in 1920’s Paris), Poets Alley in Mid-Summer (where my lover holds my hand and I wonder how the leaves could ever be so green), Bleecker Street in Autumn (where the youth swarm the city to revive some life and style to the already teaming energy), and St. Mark’s Place (anytime of year, where I reminisce with old friends and wonder what that bohemian neighborhood would have been like if I had lived there once upon a time ago).

This city is somehow always and never the same. It is it’s own universe, changing it’s face and the attitudes of anyone who wants to be or is part of the city, even if for just a moment. New York City changed me more times than I can count, and that is before I ever even lived here. The beloved skyline is always changing…. sometimes because of progress and sometimes because of tragedy. I could never forget September 11, 2001. It is a story for (and of) our time. I remember not believing that it could be real, even a week later, driving over the Pulaski Bridge with an iron fist pressed into my stomach. I am still filled with sadness during this time of year, but always find warm hope in the light-filled memorial downtown.

That day, New York City changed everyone’s lives, it changed the world.  And even with that horror in the back of my mind, I still couldn’t fight it. I turned my collar up, rolled down my sleeves, bought some mousetraps, and moved to this manmade paradise.

I spent my first 7 years shacked up in a raw, industrial 2,000 Sqft loft in the South Bronx. I made art and the best of friends and neighbors, collected way too many things (like cats and couches and holes in the walls) made at least 3 tons of tacos, and never once ever realized that I was changing; life was changing. It wasn’t until I moved to Brooklyn that I saw a very different me. Like a mountain growing over the course of millions of years, it was a gradual growth that I barely saw happening. I can’t really say exactly what happened, but somewhere along the way I grew a pair of balls that were larger than the ones that I thought I could grow (or even needed) and stopped taking so much shit from friends, family, and even people I didn’t know. It’s an amazing growth and people love me for who I was and who I have become.

This city has made me tough, but not aggressive. I am still a sweet and shy girl from Bumble-Head, Long Island who loves kittens and sad movies and nerd talk and Jay-Z collaborations. I still say good morning to strangers in my neighborhood or on the way to work in Chelsea. I still excuse myself when someone won’t get the fuck out of my way on the train and most definitely wave to kids on school buses or peering out of apartment windows (is that creepy?).

This city hardens you, but not to be jaded, just smarter, more careful, and down-right sassy as hell. You can still be a push-over, but know when to use that little knife you’ve been carrying around in your purse for the last 7 years (and it really does come in handy if you need to open a box or something).

Change is always happening. It is the inevitable force that keeps us all on our feet. Sometimes the dream will sway you, and sometimes it is just the circumstance.  From time to time I dream of a big farm in Maine (with horses and zebras and chickens and a gratuitous camel), but I know that’s just the homesteader that I once was in a different former life. So, to my dear, sweet New York City that I’ve pined for since before the first time I ever smelled Newspaper and popcorn, I love you. Please keep the magic and the madness, and keep me safe and sound and somewhat lost and I will never forget you.

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Adventure, prose, summer

I Love You, Summer

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I wore black today to mourn the end of the summer. I was so sad that I cried a little, but then I went outside and it was hot as balls. The calendar also tells me that we have at least 3 more weeks of summer, and I am sure a New York City Indian Summer is just what the doctor ordered, so no fretting, friends. The summer is not yet over.

As of tomorrow I am still going to wear flip flops. I will probably still wear flip flops until December, when it finally sinks into my brain that the summer is indeed over and that the days are actually getting longer (it is the only way to stay sane when you wake up before the sun rises and get home after it sets). I will also still wear white (because I am pretty sure nobody cares). I will still sweat profusely and might even get my ass to the ocean to dip my toes in it for the first time in a long time.

The summer is not over. I will definitely still eat barbecued food items and wear little to no make-up everyday. I will still pound beers like it’s 90 degress (um, because it is and I really like beer) and stay up late trying to hear the crickets. I will still wear cotton dresses and keep up with shaving my legs. I will still get mosquito bites and crank my A/C on full blast when I am home. I will beg for rain via dancing and look for fireworks towards the southern sky. I will still go up to the roof to watch the planes fly by and listen to my neighbors do their dishes and watch their tv’s and play with their children.

I will still sit on my fire escape admiring what used to be my flower garden before the Squirrels came and started burying their winter stash and eating my sunflowers. I will still go for walks and bike rides with Captain Clam, taking pictures of whatever comes my way.

I will still treat every party I go to like it’s the 4th of July and I will pet every single dog that crosses my path (they totally want me to pet them). I will still ride in a cab with the windows down and wander around slowly through the booths at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. I will let summer linger in my mind because the next 75 days will be the poetic dance of Summer’s desperate plea to hold onto itself.

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