Friday, November 19, 2010

Portrait of a marriage

Over a bottle of Chianti at dinner last week...

Mister: I walked past a lady and farted today but I think she thought it was her baby.

Chan: You framed a baby for your fart?

Mister: Yeah. I think I totally pulled it off.

Chan: You farted. On a baby.

Mister: He totally deserved it.

Ah, love.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I love quick time march.

 The real love of my life.

The Mister and I are on a serious budget right now. We are attempting to erase some sins of the past and also to learn the value of a dollar. If you live in or near New York, the value of a dollar is approximately $0.14. The exchange rate is horrendous. This has translated into a real crackdown and re-evaluation of priorities in the Chan household.

This is putting a serious cramp in my style as I walk around the city drooling over the boots and bags and flats and stretchy pants I can’t have. I can’t have stretchy pants anyway even if I can afford them (see previous post re: English muffins, butter, and the eating of said deliciousness by me), but that is neither here nor there when I’m busy coveting. I EL to the O-V-E fall clothes and I know J.Crew is sending me all of these e-mails full of heather grey felted jackets and hounds tooth menswear hats and tall cognac leather boots because they know I’m not allowed to go shopping and they get off on taunting me.

Confession - I only own 1 pair of pants that is truly appropriate for work. I haven’t done any serious shopping in nigh on 2 years. Part of this is the money thing, but the rest is due to the fact that I gained a considerable amount of weight after I started my current job. It was a combination of quitting smoking and going from a fairly active lifestyle in a country where drunken bicycle riding was my main mode of transport to sitting at a desk or in a car or on my couch about 98% of the time that did it. Confession 2 - I’m an indoor girl. The amount of physical activity I engaged in when I lived in Japan was almost entirely of necessity. If it were up to me, I’d have a team of oiled men carrying me Cleopatra style from room to room. Could we *please* all step on the same foot at the same time!

So here I was with my ass parked in a cubicle all day and I found that my pants were suddenly squeezing a little bit. More than a little bit. Ok, where do you buy maternity pants because this is getting serious. And while the smart thing to do would have been to go to the gym and maybe cut back on the Chocolate Chip Frappuccinos, (mmmmm…) I instead went into an intense period of denial and started wearing exclusively empire waist dresses. Not my finest hour.

I eventually lost the weight I gained and more with the help of some grueling workouts, an approaching wedding, and the intense months of sleep deprivation associated with housebreaking a dog. I celebrated by donating or tossing all of my larger sized clothes and treating myself to a small summer shopping spree. The thing is, in my excitement I bought several pairs of capris and jeans in size “You’re joking, right?” That’s what it said on the tag. Although I think it’s some kind of trick tag because lately it looks more like it says “HA!”

So now here I am, Miss One-Pair-Of-Pants. I seem to have settled somewhere in the middle where my body is comfortable but like Alice I'm suddenly too big or too small for everything. It seems that the only time I actually fit into size "Yeah, right!" was 9th grade and that actual day when I did a little turn in the dressing room and made my husband tell me how awesome my ass looked.

It did look awesome, I swear.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Two wheels. No sense.

The epitome of style

When The Mister and I moved to Japan, one of the very first things we did, after exclaiming over the beer vending machines and accidentally buying a bottle of “Pocari Sweat” thinking it was water, was pony up ¥6000 (Around $60 bucks) to get us a pair of used bicycles. These were not fancy bicycles with things like “speeds” or “brakes” that “worked”. They were rusted and worn, they had functional baskets and the seats were made of some space age super-hard plastic that had the ability to reduce your butt to one giant callus. These were hard workin’ blue collar bikes that got you from A to B, and helped you get your groceries home.

Our first apartment was at the top of an enormous hill and it was always such a rush heading into town, rocketing down that hill at the speed of light with no way to stop except to sacrifice your body or be hit by a train. The freedom! The exhilaration! The abject fear!

One of the downsides of the impeccably orderly and on-time train system in Japan is that it only runs from 5am until about midnight. Generally you were forced to make a night of it if your evening was going to extend past the witching hour and you were further than walking distance from home. I was a bit of a party animal back then – staying up until 11, sometimes even 11:30! PM! Even with my wild ways, nights out were typically over well before the sun came up. There are only so many choruses of “Hungry Like the Wolf” a girl can stand before bedtime. Besides, staying up until 5am always required drinking until 5am if I intended to stay awake (separated entirely from my intention to stay ALIVE) and I had already had the experience of being on the early morning train as everyone is headed out to work while I’m trying not to vomit in a stranger’s briefcase. The bicycles changed all that. They opened up a whole new world of staying out moderately late. I know, I'm a rebel.

This is how I learned about the true Japanese National Pastime. Baseball? you ask. Pachinko? Selling strange things out of vending machines? Those are all great guesses but the answer is no, my friend. Let me introduce you to the sensation that’s sweeping the nation (of Japan, that is).

Drunken Bike Riding.

You heard it here first, folks.

Now I know plenty of people are going to tell you that this is Very Bad And Dangerous Behavior, but I’m here to tell you the truth. IT’S SO! MUCH! FUN! Look at the facts – drunkenness? Fun!! Bike Riding? Fun!! So by the transitive property or the pythagorean theorem or something, there is no way that this could be bad. And anyway, aside from the time I ran over that vagrant* no one ever got hurt. We did however pop wheelies, scream and shout, ride on each other’s pegs (Hi, I’m 11) and cause the kind of general mayhem that made me finally understand why the locals looked so fearful every time they were trapped in a subway car with one of us.

Were those some of my dumber escapades? Oh yes. But good lord were they fun. And as we all know (from experience – don’t lie) smart and fun don’t always live in the same place.

*Absolutely 100% true story.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Reflections on an Icon

 The light of heaven shines down on the unsuspecting 
heathens of New York City

On my way through Grand Central yesterday on a whim I ran up the stairs to look out over the scene in the main terminal. It’s an icon, this place. Somewhere that most people will only ever see in movies, and I get to walk through it every single day. Most of the time I have my face buried in a book or I’m busy tapping away at my cell phone, but for reasons that are beyond my control I don’t know just how many more times I’m going to have the chance to walk through that echoing hall. I wanted to take a minute to reflect and really be in the space instead of just passing through in a hurry, rushing to catch my train which would be leaving in 10 minutes if it weren’t CANCELLED AGAIN.

These are my reflections.

Mmmm…. goldfish.*

Did you ever notice how goldfish stick in your teeth?

Man, those people are standing right in front of me for this picture. I am definitely going to be in this picture.

I just wish I could get these goldfish out of my teeth.

She definitely just got a picture of me picking goldfish out of my teeth.

A Bond Villain just stopped right in front of me to check his train schedule and/or assemble the detonator to a bomb he intends to use to blow up a train carrying some important government agent. Seriously - you should see this guy! Enormous shaved head, suspicious looking metal briefcase, trench coat with the collar standing up around his massive angry pockmarked face. He is DEFINITELY up to something.

At least he’s blocking me from these people taking another picture.

There are still goldfish in my teeth.

I wonder if I should attempt to thwart the Bond Villain’s plans. Maybe I should karate chop him. Or I guess I could just wait patiently until he inevitably starts monologuing in a Russian accent about where he hid the bomb and how I’ll Never Stop Him Now!

I wonder how many tourists now have pictures with me in the background picking goldfish out of my teeth.

Guesstimate: A Lot.


*They have goldfish in the office. The perfect heading to the train snack. Except, I don’t know if I mentioned they stick in your teeth.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mr. Charlie goes to school

 Plotting his next felony

We signed the dog up for obedience classes starting next week. He's got some minor doggy problems - jumping on unsuspecting children, cursing out the poodle up the block, 2 counts of breaking & entering and an attempted carjacking. I keep telling myself that it's because he's still young or it's just a breed thing. But I think the truth is, my dog is an asshole.

I know I shouldn’t be surprised - look who his parents are.

For me one of the unfortunate side effects of dog ownership was being forced to actually meet all the people in my neighborhood I’ve spent these last 3 years purposely avoiding. I was happy in my little apartment cocoon, snarling at the neighbors and throwing garbage at the local children from the upstairs window on Halloween. The dog changed all that. I was forced outside, into the cold cruel world. And as mentioned in a previous post, I am almost always under-dressed for the coldness. And the cruelness, for that matter. There is no ice breaker quite like literally running into the man you’ve lived next door to for 3 years and never spoken a word to as you chase your dog down the street in a robe and wellies with a Breathe Right strip hanging off your face. Hey - Mr. Jones, is it? Good to see you again! But there’s no way back from there. Once the neighbor has seen your bare ass you can’t just nod to each other in the morning and pretend it didn’t happen.

You know it, he knows it, your ass knows it, and you can be damn sure the dog knows it and he and the cats will have a good laugh about it later.

Friday, November 5, 2010


 Mama needs her special medicine!

I've been reading mommy-blogs lately. This is even weirder than my normal weird as I'm about 99.9% sure that I don't want to have kids. It's sort of like my lesbian roommate who loved watching gay porn. She didn't want to be involved in it, but found it completely fascinating in an icky, morbidly curious, watch-it-from-behind-your-hands sort of way.

This is just like that, but with less amyl nitrate.

I just love all the judgment that goes along with anything having to do with babies. Watching moms scream at and berate each other is better than even the best episode of Jersey Shore - better than the one where Vinny called Angelina "Trash Bags" for the whole show and then they smashed! And who knew there were so many ways to ruin a kid's life? You did/did not give your child a pacifier? RUINING THEIR LIFE! You did/did not breastfeed? LIFE! RUINED! You let you child cry for more than 5 minutes? LIFE RUINER! You went and comforted your child as soon as they made a peep? Well, you can imagine how RUINED their LIFE will be now!

When I was a kid, my parents had to resort to much more obvious ways of ruining my life. Like grounding me from age 11 until last week. Or embarrassing me publicly by breathing or existing in my presence during my entire high school career.

I think the real life ruiner might be the fact that all of these kids clearly have insane people for mothers.

I've also been reading some really great and inspiring stories at and, and for a second I started to rethink my No Babies policy. I was like hey - this lady did it - TWICE! She loves her kids and she's even still a person.

And then she started talking about how she hadn't slept for more than 2 consecutive hours in over 3 months and my ovaries packed up their shit and moved to Buenos Aires and just left a note that said


Thursday, November 4, 2010


 Grrr. Arrrgh.

Fall in the NY Metro area usually means a few days of crisp weather and crunching through leaves and a lot of rain. This is an area where it rains for days at a time. It’s the earth’s way of preparing us for the sun’s absence for the next 3 months. They might as well just ship out guns to the whole tri state area as soon as November hits.

The weather report on days like this shouldn’t even bother with how many inches of precipitation we’re supposed to get or what the temperature will be. A more useful report would look like this:

Monday, partly cloudy.

Tuesday – Thursday, THE TRAINS WILL BE LATE. All of them. Yes, yours too.

It doesn’t matter to me though because late trains are the least of my worries on days like this. You see I was born with a crippling disease called curly hair. Imagine lightening bolts and thunder cracking when you read that. And maybe Count von Count is in the background too. THREE! THREE FLYAWAYS! AH AH AH!

I never watch the weather so I’m usually dressed for whatever the weather was yesterday or for whatever temperature it is inside my house. You’ll find me out on the reservation walking Charlie in February in shorts and a sweatshirt because that’s what I was wearing in the living room, so WHY SHOULD IT BE ANY DIFFERENT HERE? But I always know the second I wake up if it’s raining because my hair looks like I’ve been sleeping attached to a Van de Graaff generator. If I was smart I’d just call in dead to work on days like this and go right back to bed until the sun comes back out. But instead I usually fight the losing battle with the hairdryer and my Chi straightener and then take bets on how long it will take for my hair to grow large enough to devour the unlucky person sitting next to me on the train or run for senate on a platform of Universal Conditioner. Internet, I have a confession. My hair is a socialist.

A few years ago the company sent us on a golf outing and while we were getting our first lesson this freak storm came out of nowhere and drenched us. My hair, my traitorous hair which I had worked on for an hour before leaving the hotel room, went from pin straight to a mass of Little Orphan Annie curls in the span of 45 seconds. Give me a sandy dog and a song about Sunshine and you wouldn’t know the difference aside from the murderous gleam in my eye as I searched the grounds for anything resembling a hat. You see that maniac trying to hide her Ronald McDonald hair underneath a piece of birch bark? Flee from her, lest the curls be contagious!