Monthly Archives: August 2006

The Loop of My Life

** WARNING – I’M GOING TO BE WHINING ABOUT MY NAME IN THE POST SO IF YOU’RE SENSITIVE TO THAT KIND OF THING PLEASE CHECK BACK SOON **

My name is Marisa. It is pronounced MAREE-SA. I always tell people that it is like “Theresa with an M”. 9 times out of 10 people will revert to calling me Marissa. It doesn’t have to be people that I’ve just met either. There have been people who call me Marissa even after working with me for years. The name Marissa has become quite popular over the last 15 years or so and this has caused a lot of problems for me. This is probably because of this woman. Don’t get me wrong. I really like her and was happy for her when she won her Oscar but she spells her name wrong (darnit!). This causes problems for me and the 6 other “Theresa with an M’s” out there like me. I’ve definitely been guilty of mixing people’s names up – I used to work with this woman named Kirstin (the KIR pronounced like the drink) and I’m sure that I constantly called her Kristin. But it drives me batty when people screw up my name. People will do it in emails – people I’ve never met or spoken with – will reply to an email from me where I’ve spelled my name correctly (at least I hope so) with “Dear Marissa”.

Typical conversation
I’m at work. I’m talking with a customer service person ordering something. She asks me for my name. I tell her.
CSP: How do you spell that? Do you spell it like Marissa?
ME: No, you spell it like Marisa M-A-R-I-S-A.

** END WHINING ** (for now)

45 Things About Me

This was question 2 of the meme I just did and it didn’t feel appropriate to have it in there with the other questions like, what’s your favorite candy, etc. I don’t know if it tells you 45 things about me but I do feel like my experiences that day changed me forever and certainly changed our world. I often categorize things as being before September 11 and after. I used to tend to quantify the before things as being better than the after but now since having P – I have an after that trumps all.

2. Where were you when 9/11 happened?
We moved out of Brooklyn to upstate NY on September 10, 2001. September 11th was my first day commuting through the World Trade Center.(I was working at a Global Investment Bank in the Wall Street area. My official title was Senior Business Support Analyst but I was really a glorified secretary. It was a great job but for many reasons – some you are about to read – I couldn’t go back to it after my maternity leave.) I had taken the Path train to the WTC and stopped at a newsstand on my way out of the building to see if they had a magazine that I was looking for. The magazine wasn’t there yet so I continued on my way. I exited the building and crossed Church Street heading East to my office. I remember looking around thinking, this is going to be my new route to and from work. It was a gorgeous day, just the most sparklingly beautiful day. I had just passed Century21 this giant discount department store on the corner when I heard the loudest plane that I had ever heard. I stuck my fingers in my ears. Then I heard a high pitch whine like when a bomb drops. Then the impact – BAM! I took off down the street and ran across Broadway with the ground undulating underneath me. I remember looking at the yellow cabs stopped in traffic and thinking, this is where you die. My back was to the building and I was on the other side from where the plane had gone in. I had no idea what had happened and neither did anyone around me. There was paper fluttering everywhere and I picked one up to see if it was some kind of weird propaganda campaign gone horribly wrong. It was just a paper off of someone’s desk. I was running to my office now, crying and desperately trying to get G on my phone. I couldn’t get through (which would be a running theme for the entire day) and I was freaked out. I passed a man on the street who saw that I was upset. He talked to me and gave me a hug and told me that everything was going to be OK. I called my friend who I knew was working from home and she turned her TV on. She told me that the early local news reports were saying that it was some kind of freak accident. I finally got to my office and was able to talk to G. From my desk I could see my co-workers looking out of the window. They were all standing there looking at the buildings when the second plane hit. I guess that some time passed – we were trying to get lines out on the office phones and we were listening to the radio – but looking back it feels like everything happened so fast. I heard on the radio (God Bless you NPR) that the Pentagon had been hit I wanted to find G and get out of there. He was working in Times Square and we decided that I would walk up there, find him and we’d figure out how to get “home” together. (All our stuff was in storage, our pets were at the kennel and we were staying at a bed & breakfast type apartment thing until we finalized where we were going to live.) I left my office by myself and started walking North trying to stay as far East as possible. Just as I was passing South Street Seaport the first building (actually the second building hit) started to come down. I heard the sound and looked up. I could see the top of the building exploding into itself as it started collapsing. People around me started panicking, knocking people over, running and falling down. I just turned around and tried not to look back. By the time we reached the Brooklyn Bridge the ash started to fall on us – like a light snow. Nothing like the total blackout experienced by those closer to the buildings. I met a woman with a cane who was walking home to the Bronx. I couldn’t get G on my phone again. The whole time I spent walking from the bridge to midtown I couldn’t reach him so I sent him mental notes and I counted the blocks. I was on Broadway above Canal St when the second building fell. I heard it and saw people stopping to look at it but I didn’t turn around. I didn’t want to see anymore. I stopped at my friend’s apartment around 14th St for moral support and she invited G and I to come back if we wanted. I set out again and finally got to G. He was standing outside his building. They had made them leave because they were afraid of the building being another target. I was so happy to see him. We found out that we had to head back downtown in order to get a ferry to New Jersey so down we went. We did stop at my friend’s apartment again to get information and she gave me a pair of socks. I was so glad that I had worn my clogs – comfy shoes – that day. There were plenty of women shopping for new shoes that day or walking in their stocking feet. I don’t think I ever wore heels to work again – just in case. It turns out that we had to go all the way back to South Street Seaport to get out. As we were walking down the air got thicker and thicker with dust and we passed one business man heading North – he looked like a ghost. He was white with dust with his suit and his briefcase all completely covered. My friend had given us dish towels to put over our faces. When we finally got to the Seaport we started running towards the water because we didn’t want to miss the boat. The whole place was now completely covered in a layer of chalky white. I remember looking down and seeing frantic footprints on the sidewalk. People must have been running in all directions when the clouds of debris came rolling down the street. When we were on the boat and traveling away from Manhattan I finally turned around and looked. The two towers, or what was left of them, were burning and sending a huge plume of black smoke into the sky above. It really looked like the end of the world.

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45 Things About Meme

I thought that I’d do this so that you’d get to know me a little better.

45 things meme
1. How old do you wish you were?
I’m ok with being 40 – but I wouldn’t mind being 30 again.

2. Where were you when 9/11 happened?
See my next post.

3. What do you do when vending machines steal your money?
Curse loudly!

4. Do you consider yourself kind?
Always kind to animals and children . . . sometimes I forget with certain adults . . .

5. If you had to get a tattoo, where and what would it be?
I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo lately. I used to date a guy that had lots of them and I gained an appreciation for them. I used to think that they were icky. I think I would like to have mine somewhere where other people could see it but could also be covered if necessary – like on my upper back under the bra strap. I’m not sure what I would get. It would take a while to figure that one out. I believe that they should have some meaning to you and not just be some lame design that you pick out of a book. I would probably do something with P’s name.

6. If you could be fluent in any other language what would it be?
It would be very cool if I could speak French – or any other language for that matter.

7. Do you know your neighbors?
We have a lovely neighbor across the street. She’s 89 years old and a widow. Her husband died in 1987 or something. Her only daughter who is in her 60’s is in a nursing home. She doesn’t have much family outside of her daughter so we try to invite her to all our family functions here. Now the neighbors to the right of us are another story.

8. What do you consider a vacation?
I love to go places and sight see but I’d love to rent a house somewhere (beach or mountains it doesn’t matter) and just live for a week. That would be a perfect vacation for me right now.

9. Do you follow your horoscope?
No, not really. In High School I had one of those daily horoscope books and found that if you read it everyday your life would start following the predictions rather than the other way around. If I’m reading a magazine in an doctor’s office or something and I see one there I’ll always read it though.

10. Would you move for the person you loved?
Yes of course.

11. Are you touchy feely?
I think I am but I don’t always like it when my husband tries to massage me or rub me. I’m always touching P though. She’s a good hugger. I’m glad that she got that from us.

12. Do you believe that opposites attract?
I suppose that G and I are pretty opposite in temperment and background. I do like the fact that we are the same age and both grew up in the tri-state area so our cultural references are similar.

13. Dream job?
I have to go back to my original dream of being a lead in a musical on Broadway. Gosh, that sounds so corny!! On the other hand I wish that I had pursued school a little more strenuously so that I had more options open to me – like medicine.

14. Favorite channels?
I don’t like everything they have but I’d have to say Bravo is one of my real favorites. I love Project Runway.

15. Favorite place to go on a weekend?
We’re just finishing up the County Fair season around here. I love going to fairs.

16. Showers or Bath?
Showers.

17. Do you paint your nails?
I like the whole idea of taking time out for yourself to get a manicure and pedicure more than I actually like having color on my nails. I don’t like any dark colored nail polish on me. I always feel like my nails look like Herman Munster’s. I have a deep unease and revulsion to all things Herman Munster.

18. Do you trust people easily?
It depends. In the workplace I tend to be a little stand offish with new people. In my homelife – I tend to be too trusting of potential new friends and usually let people walk all over me.

19. What are your phobias?
See #17.

20. Do you keep a handwritten journal?
I used to. I used to write everyday.

22. What makes you feel warm and safe?
Being with my family (P&G).

23. Heavy or light sleep?
Pretty light.

24. Are you paranoid?
What are you trying to say ;-)?

25. Are you impatient?
I can be. I’ve become much more patient after having P and now dealing with her pre-schooler’s impatience. I just try to remain as calm as possible. A lot of times it does no good to be impatient. You just add to your own anxiety by freaking out about things that you have no control over (most things).

26. How do you feel about interracial couples?
What do you think?

27. Have you been burned by love?
Of course.

28. What’s your life motto?
Fall down 7 times, get up 8.

29. Most recent movie you watched?
Capote. I thought that it was pretty good. Philip Seymour Hoffman was just excellent.

30. What color are your bed sheets?
Right now they are light yellow and green with a bamboo print. I have to change them soon.

31. What is your favorite part of chicken?
I love boneless chicken thighs on the grill – very juicy!

32. I can’t wait till…
. . .my little business venture gets off the ground (more about this later).

33. What did you have for dinner last night?
I bought pizza dough and we made our own. G doesn’t eat cheese so he can’t eat regular pizza. He puts Tofutti cheese on his.

34. Have you ever smoked crack?
Hell No! I love watching Intervention though.

35. Do you own a gun?
Hell No!

36. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
I love coffee but I’m currently off of it. I’ve been drinking green tea with jasmine.

37. Do you have A.D.D.?
No.

38. What time did you wake up today?
4:15am – The neighborhood skunk was dancing under my window again. A couple of weeks ago I think that it sprayed my mini-van. Maybe it thinks that it’s some kind of giant Cheerios dispenser and it took possesion of it and marked it. I have to remember to stop brushing the Cheerios out onto the driveway.

39. Current worry?
Money and that I’ll never have another child because of it.

40. Current hate?
Our current administration and all its good deeds.

41. Where do you think you’ll be in 10 yrs?
ACH – I’ll be 50! Lordy, I still feel like I’m 12 sometimes.

42. Last thing you ate?
Last night’s pizza.

43. Last person that made you laugh?
That would be G.

44. Worst injury you’ve ever had?
My cesarean incision? Not really an injury but it was painful to recover from.

45. What is your favorite candy?
Dark chocolate in all its forms. Milk chocolate over caramel or whole hazlenuts. Regal Crown Sour Cherry and Callard & Bowser Black Licorice Toffee. Are we sensing a theme here? Chocolate or teeth killers.

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Nothing Like Me

Just in case you were wondering, the lady in the haircut picture looks nothing like me. I don’t look like this either. I am hapa – half-Filipino (1st generation on Mother’s side) and half-Italian (2nd generation on Father’s side). Growing up on Long Island there was only one other Asian kid in my class. Hiro, an overly excited Japanese boy whose limited grasp of English consisted solely of the phrase “you porkie-pig”. He would yell this at you while attempting to grab your cheeks. This was back when if someone wanted to know “where I was from” they’d ask if I was Chinese or Japanese. My brother and I used to compete with each other over who looked more Asian – this was a not a positive thing in our minds. My parents were not a unified team. They fought constantly throughout my childhood. I believe that a lot of these identity issues came about because my parents did not know how to meld their marriage with the two personalities and two cultures at all. I didn’t really come to acknowledge and enjoy my Asian-ness till after college when I had a roomate that was also half-Filipino. She had grown up in the Philippines and only came here when she was 17 or 18 or so. My Mother loved her and I always kind of felt that she was the daughter my Mother never had.

P looks a lot like I did when I was her age but with blonde hair. It’s getting darker now though sometimes I still wonder if people think I’m her nanny, not her mom. I guess that I shouldn’t worry what other people are thinking – especially if they aren’t perceptive enough to see that she is my child – but I sometimes do. P doesn’t have a lot of other Asian faces in her life. I chose our pediatricians partly because two of the doctors were Asian. I wanted her to have some positive role models. G’s parents are from Norway and I feel like she’s getting a deeper Scandinavian experience than either Filipino or Italian. This is OK for now. We don’t see my parents as much as we see G’s. My parents live way out on the eastern end of Long Island here. They might as well live in a different state – it takes so long to get there. It’s not just that they live so far away – our relationship isn’t the best. I don’t feel like G likes to acknowledge that P is a part of them at all. As I’ve said, she doesn’t look anything other than white. I may not be so happy about my parents all the time but I do know that her heritage, who she is as a person and who she’ll be includes them.

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La Spades

I’m so late to the whole blog-o’-sphere — why not be late to a meme? The Lovely Mrs Davis asks
What television, music, movie or book from your childhood are you excited about sharing with your own children?

Last year I started pulling out some of my books from when I was little that I had saved. P’s favorite (and mine) is Miss Suzy by Arnold Lobel. I remember being fascinated by Miss Suzy’s little house and her little things (acorn cups, fire fly lamps, etc.) and I especially loved the old dollhouse. I wished I could climb into the book and go inside the house with them. P loved Miss Suzy so much that the book started disintegrating but fortunately it was recently re-issued – a 40th anniversary edition or something (how’s that for making you feel old?) and I got one. Now whenever we see a squirrel – it’s always Miss Suzy.

I also want to share some songs and games that I learned at summer camp and in elementary school. We started trying to play hopscotch which we drastically modified in order to avoid a frustration meltdown. This was not the case with jump rope. G has one and P got upset when she couldn’t do it. I always sucked at jumping rope even when I had to do it as part of my Karate class. I tried to tell her this but to no avail. I want to teach her a hand clapping game (kind of like Miss Mary Mack) that we used to play in grade school called La Spades. The words are kind of racy but it sounds so cool when you do it with the claps. I’ll share them with you:

La Spades are two lips together
Twilight forever
Bring back my love to me

What is the meaning?
Of all the flowers
They tell the story
The story of love
From me to you

I saw a ship sailing by, away
It sailed a year and a day, a day
My love is so far away, away
And I love him best
When he’s undressed

(*optional)Cross cross cross applesauce

I wish you could hear it. I wish my husband would let me teach it to him so I could hear it. I can’t wait till she’s bigger.

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Haircut in a Forest

Last Friday I got a haircut. It was a pretty drastic one. I went from having my hair down to the middle of my back to an approximation of the haircut you see here (without the highlights). I’ve been contemplating shorter hair for a while. I’ve never been afraid of “cutting it all off”. My hair grows really fast and I felt like I had given my long hair a chance. Once I get the itch to cut it I’ve got to get it done right away. I love long hair but I never like how it looks on me. Plus, I look quite young for my age already (and I’m OK with that) but when the local geriatric crossing guard gets all bent out of shape at me when I start to cross the street all by myself – it’s got to make you think.Ever since we moved out of the city I’ve had a hard time finding a salon that I’m happy with. I’ve been kind of a haircut slut. I’m OK with that. I might stick with this new place a while although I had my doubts when I first went in there. My haircut was incredibly cheap (man hair priced at $17!) and the stylist was very fast. I think that she was probably rushing because her next client had arrived – she looked to be about 85 but at least she’s still keeping herself up. Changing my hair has always been a signal that I’m looking for a change in my life. I’m not really sure what kind of change I’m looking for this time, but if I figure it out I’ll surely let you know.

I got a lot of postitive compliments from my girls in the office and from my husband. P hates it and actually burst into tears when she first saw me. She’s dealing with it. On Saturday I took her to her new Gymnastics class. We’ve been going for about a month now. There is a little boy in her class who is in her same class at school. I’m semi-friendly with the Mom (I wouldn’t classify her as a friend) and I sat down next to her when we arrived. Granted she was busy with her 2 year old son who had just attended the previous class but she didn’t say anything about my hair until after one of the Dad’s made a comment. It didn’t really faze (sp?) me that she failed to make a comment because as I said, we’re not really friends. But we have had numerous conversations about how our children love holding onto our hair and how we’re not allowed to put it up, etc., but still . . . anyhoo, I’m much more friendly with the commenting Dad – I’ve been to his house several times. His daughter and my daughter used to go to the same music class. This was back when I was a part-time-full-time Mom – P just turned 1. The rest of the Moms in the music class had babies that were about 6 months younger than P. They all met in the same birthing class, all stayed at home full time and all practice varying degrees of attachment parenting. We would often go out to lunch after music class and I met a few of the other birthing class alumni there. I’ve been to various birthday parties and get togethers with these women over the last two years. I never managed to schedule an actual playdate with anyone from this group. The schedules just don’t meld since I went back to work full-time. We were just at a birthday party for one of the little boys one week earlier. It was hot that day so I probably had my long hair twisted up. Then yesterday we went to another birthday party for commenting Dad’s daughter. The guests were almost the same exact group as one week ago – except that now I’m sporting my new haircut. . . and no one said anything to me about it at all. A room full of kids, Moms and Dads and. . . not . . . one . . . comment.What the F? Talk about feeling invisible! I can’t stop thinking about it. No one was unfriendly to us, everyone was very nice as always . . . but if it had been me and I saw that an acquaintance that I had seen just one week before had made a drastic change to their hair or some such thing I would have at least said something. Maybe I’m missing something in my gene collection for making friends with women but crap like this just bewilders me!

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