Monday, April 5, 2010

I think it's time to shake the dust off this old blog. For the last year or so I have been busy. Tragedy struck a few times, then there were some really sweet happy moments. One time I got really lucky and the luck kept up, but then it went into the pooper. Then I was busy. Very, very busy. I was so busy, in fact, that I completely forgot how to write in a manner resembling coherent.

Then I trimmed the fat.

Here I am, trimmed and feeling a bit awkward. It's not going to be pretty in here for a while, but it will get better. I have time. My sense of adventure is waking up from an extended hibernation. The sun is shining outside my windows and my apartment is bright and cheery. I went to the gym for several consecutive days and I've been eating my fruits and vegetables. I see good in the world around me once again. I want to create more good in the world around me once again. I want to create.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Feeding Your Face in New York

It's been a few days since I updated and I have a million things to write about as a result. Today, however, I only want to talk about food. I'm a huge fan of good food. As my husband will happily confirm, I am a power house in our kitchen and love feeding those I care for. Food is a major part of my southern roots and to deny such would be nothing short of blasphemy! Lately I've been on a Thai food binge. New York is full of Thai restaurants, it's true, but I have a favorite. And that's what I want to talk about today.

Pam Real Thai Restaurant is a tiny hole in the wall on the corner of 9th Avenue and 49th street, tucked behind a bodega. The food here is unbelievably good and, even better for those who come to New York to chase their dreams, it's cheap. The entree prices range from $6.50 to $18, the most expensive being the whole fish items. The name of the place, however, should be your first clue that something special is about to go down in your face. With the plethora of Thai resaurants in this city, there are very few who tout an original menu. Pam, however, gives you all the "American" staples of Thai cuisine and then some. From pad thai to pla lui suan, there's something sure to tickle your fancy on the menu:

Pam Real Thai

I'm quite glad this resataurant is not in my neighborhood, darlings, because I would undoubtably have my ass parked in a seat there daily. As it is, I have designated this joint as my official lunch spot when meeting friends in the city for more than a cup of tea, and it's certainly one of my favorite things to eat when lazing about with friends who live in midtown.

I'm absolutely mad for this place and, if you haven't had the pleasure of putting Pam's food in your face, then I suggest you go now. But call me first, because I'm hungry!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Leroi Moore, I'm Gonna Miss You...

Last night the most disturbing text message rang through on my phone from a friend. Leroi Moore, a founding member of the Dave Matthews Band, died yesterday due to complications from an ATV accident in June. He was 46. He was also a fine musician, and I had the pleasure of hearing him play many, many times over the years with one of my favorite live bands of all time.

Moore was extremely passionate in his playing but still managed to possess a child-like quality in his live work that endeared his audience to him. With his music he celebrated the naivety we are sometimes ashamed of in a world where sophistication is the mark of credibility.

I'm not the only one who feels this way. Matt, of WMAT, made comment this morning of the little additions to Moore's solos that reminded him of child-hood and, consequently, of good days long gone. I recall dragging Matt to his first DMB show many years ago in Virginia Beach. This was a particularly amazing show with an appearance of "Say Goodbye." At the time, this song was a rarity at shows and somewhat of a treat to hear. The band delivered the song with the raw passsion and technical perfection they are known so well for in live performance.

I don't know what this means for the Dave Matthews Band in terms of their future as a band, but I know that a light in the band has been extinguished. As I spend today celebrating my memories with the band and, especially, my favorite Leroi moments, I will mourn the loss of a good man and great musician.

Goodbye, Leroi Moore, I'm gonna miss you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Working It Out

I, like every other New Yorker, have a gym membership. I go to the gym almost everyday and punish myself for the bagel I plan on eating in two hours. Before you judge, you should really try the bagels at the shop down the street from my apartment - they're worth the workout. I'm not here to talk about bagels, however.

I'm here to talk about the new cardio machine they recently installed at my gym. I've recently opted to change up my cardio workout to add a little spice to my workout. I hit six machines at ten minutes a pop, with an ab workout in between. I'm now burning about 200 more calories each workout and have increased my ab routine by 300 reps. It's positively glorious, this new workout. It's even more glorious with the new cardio machine. Behold, friends, the most delicious piece of cardio equipment to grace my gym in, well, probably ever:


I'm not sure exactly of the best way to explain how it works. I can say that, when I use it, I feel like I'm running with zero impact on my joints. With a high resistance setting, this machine will kick your ass.

If you belong to my gym, then you probabaly already know how amazing this new addition is. If you do not, then you should surely tell your gym's management to giddy-up and update with this sassy piece of equipment!

Happy calorie burning, darlings!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

To Kid or Not to Kid...

I should begin by letting you all know that this post is actually inspired by the lovely Kari who posts her own high-larious blog at (check it out if you haven't).

Childfree. For those of you who have not heard of such, it is a movement of people who have made the decision NOT to have children of their own. Now, there are a list of nazi-esque rules a woman (or a man, this is about equal rights here) has to follow in order to be considered truly childfree. I call them nazi-esque because, although I have chosen NOT to have children of my own, even though I have chosen to keep my reproductive bits childless, I cannot be considered child free. I recently acquired a step daughter.

Here is where we run into gray area in an arena where the combatants want nothing but the good ol' black and white. Pay attention.

When I state to the child bearing community that my husband and I have chosen not to have children together and, even though I have a step-daughter from his first marriage, I am considered defective. Why? Because I don't want to have children of my own. The "breeders" consider me defective because I choose not to spit the little wiggly things from my apparently starving womb.

This portion of my ramble boils down to the fact that I don't fit into either group. Neither the childfree or the breeders want to claim the likes of me and so, like the shy kid with braces and zits in junior high school, I walk off to sit in the corner, never truly having an online community who will accept my own special brand of breederfree. *sniff*

Either way, both groups are important because balance is key in all things, even this very black and white war.

The above actually has nothing to do with Kari except that she is, very much, childfree. As a matter of fact, we meet in secret because, if her fellow childfree cohorts find out she's been hanging out with me, they'll string her up and label her a fence sitter. I'm kidding (wait, I'm NOT kidding! that's what this post is all about! To kid or not to kid! That is the question).

Despite making the decision to be childfree, there are certain challenges we face as people who choose not to have children OF OUR OWN. Baby lust is one of them. Everyone has their own very personal reason for opting NOT to have a child of their own. As a woman, I could tout any number of reasons: Financial, political, social, etc - these reasons, for me, all center around a woman's reproductive rights. Despite these rights, however, we're all human. We all get urges. It's a lot like dieting. You see the brownie, know the brownie looks good, your stomach even growls for the brownie; but you simply do NOT eat the brownie because you made a conscious decsion not to consume things that would compromise your ultimate goal. Making the decision not to eat the brownies doesn't mean you're ignoring your body's natural purpose, it simply means that we, as a human race, must adapt or die out. Brownies are not good for everyone's diet. We know this and we change our diets to reflect this. But not everyone has the self knowledge to see these things. Some people who should never be eating brownies consumes them anyway (because ignoring our primal urges is BAD!) and then find themselves riddled with a case of type two diabetes, clogged arteries, or obesity.

And baby lust is a little like that. Some people should not have children and many of them don't even know it. They get baby lust and commense with the seed sowing whether it's right for them or not. I had baby fever in my mid 20's. I denied it and it passed. I shudder to think what I would be like as a parent. I have, at 32, so many goals that have nothing to do with having children of my own. To bring a child into this world anyway would be devastating to the life I created. I'm crazy, but I ain't no Frankenstein, ya dig? Even now, married to the most wonderful man on the planet, I think of babies in a very practical sense. Having a child means I am responsible for the formation of their LIVES. It means sacrificing my own life for the life of another (and more so than I would with my husband or any other family member). Opting out of having a child of my own means that I know I cannot do such.

Now, does this mean I am turning a cold shoulder to my beloved step-daughter? Absolutely not. If something happened to her mother tomorrow and we suddenly found step-daughter in our home full-time, I would step up and take care of her as I have promised I would. I love her very much. But she will never call me "mom." I'll be "Shannon," just as I would if I were some crazy childless auntie with an adventurous spirit and a reputation for being too carefree.

Does opting out of having a child of my own mean that I hate children? Nope. I love kids, as a matter of fact. One of my biggest arguments in my academic life centers around ensuring children are empowered, educated, and taught all the intricacies of the past because, ultimately, they will want to know these things to secure a brighter future for themselves. This is a subject for another day, though...

As you may have picked up from my writing, I'm a disorganized train wreck most of the time. But I really do have a point to all the rambling. We are strengthened by the power to make choices. We use our own wisdom and experience to decide if and when we have children; but this in no way means that our decisions are easy. Just as it is not easy to be a parent, it is also not easy to be childfree. Life is about self discipline in a lot of ways.

Life is also, at times, about feeling secure in our own choices. We have fought for centuries to have choices (let freedom ring, darlings!) and sometimes I wonder if our fighting is in vain. We seem to fight for the ability to remove ourselves from one box only to crawl into another. Now, I've paid in spades for my choices and I've felt happy and free when I realize that a few of those choices were the right way for me to go. But I have admittedly felt a little sad, in the past, at not being able to fit in with either the "breeder" or the "childfree" group. Careful consideration has brought cause to feel satisfied with not fitting into either box. To quote ( as I often do) Lewis Black, "We are all snowflakes!" We really shouldn't box ourselves to validate our choices and, thus, our lives.

I will not feel bad for being a step mother despite opting not to have children of my own. Additionally, I will not feel bad for deciding not to have children. Do not tell me in that condescending, knowing voice that I will change my mind. That is none of your business and quite rude to sell short a person's power of choice. On the flipside, do not tell me that I sold out on being child free. The last time I checked, I still have the option to choose whether I reproduce or not. And again, who are you to judge my choices? You be the best parent or non-parent that you can be and let the rest of us work our lives out - after all, we are the only ones who can do that. In the end, it's ok to want the brownie. If you choose to eat the brownie, then eat it and enjoy every bite. If you choose not to eat the brownie, then you have a really good reason for turning it down and it's probably for the best.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ONCE UPON A TIME, I had very idle hands. Blogging on livejournal had become old shoe. Myspace was so 2004. Posting "notes" on Facebook was the new Myspace bulletin. I needed something new, something fresh, and something exciting. I needed something that would put that spark back into my blogging and, just when I was about to settle, it came to me: Why not start my very own blog?

I was giddy. I had a tickle in my tummy and a silly grin on my face as I rushed over to my trusty iMac and set up my brand new blog. My fingers rushed across the keys with a lust I hadn't felt before in my other blogging locations. I don't know what the future will hold for me and my new blog, but I can tell you that, for right now, it's love. A love between a girl and her blog-space is unfolding here. If you're easily offended you may want to cover your eyes. It could get dirty.

This is my first post. This is where I invite you in, offer you some sweet tea, and settle in to tell you all the stories you won't hear about while standing in line at the Pawleys Island Post Office with the other happy housewives. So, welcome to my blog, Sweeties.