A Raccoon Grows in Brooklyn :(

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Emerging from a hipster bar in Brooklyn the other night, I encountered a rodent. But not a rat, squirrel, mouse or other unwelcome, yet expected creature.

At first, I thought, that humpedback cat is huge! Then my double-take identified a masked face and hand-like forepaws. The realization stung: it was a RACCOON. A huge, casually walking-in-my-neighborhood raccoon.

And I just paid $9 for a craft beer.

My true instinct to scream is finally – after many years – disappearing. I’ve been beaten down by New York City nonchalance. Like the time I was in the locker room at a New York Sports Club and a mouse streaked across the room. I screamed, but the other ladies didn’t rush to put their clothes or even stop talking.

Or the time I was at the movies at Lincoln Center and someone announced that a rat was in the auditorium. There was no screaming or a mass exodus. Instead, the moviegoers simply lifted their legs and kept munching popcorn. (I guess they’d been doing core-strengthening exercises.)

Yet, still after 15 years, I’m still not cool about the rodent situation.

So back to that night… I grabbed my phone to take a photos of the masked bandit. He was walking pretty slow, but I fumbled and soon he was between cars and I was too afraid to follow his hump-backed, masked ass.

So missed my opportunity. I wanted to immediately post on social media about my sighting and warn my neighbors. Before doing so, I ran a quick Google search to see if raccoons were a common sighting in Brooklyn. To my surprise, they are!

The search revealed stories and photos of Brooklynites and their pesky visiting raccoons. One of the more chilling stories was of a Brooklyn family who was watching TV and heard the cat in the kitchen eating. Only then, they realized that the cat was sitting on the couch with them. A raccoon had figured out the cat door and helped himself.

There were other stories and photos I’d prefer forgetting. Like this one. And This one. Although the video commentary about this drunk raccoon spotted at a Brooklyn workplace (“YO, this son is liiitttt”) is definitely more entertaining than my last Netflix binge.

So now, in addition to the bears, giant rats, abundant, constantly proliferating and apartment-dwelling mice, alligators in the sewers and coyotes on the loose, raccoons are added to the list of things we just have to deal with.

What’s next, armadillos?

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My gym confessions

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I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions (I’m more into intentions). And I’m not trying to lose weight.

Nevertheless, I’ve stepped up my gym game for two reasons: Dancing and butt-shaking music make me FEEL great. 2. I visited a client and was so badly out of breathe on arrival, that the building security guard asked me where I was in town from (there is no worse insult for a New Yorker).

One of the relentlessly difficult things about New York is all the stairs — subways, walk-up buildings, Duane Reade, gyms. And you never notice them until you’re out of shape. Today on my way to Zumba class, I seriously debated taking the elevator to the class on the third floor. I started to chide myself for being the out-of-shape train wreck I am, but it occurred to me then that was far from my first infraction. I LIKE the gym. I really do. But we have a turbulent relationship and break up a lot. So, I’ve had more than my share of shameful moments at the gym.

I must speak my truth.

1. I’ve gone to the gym just for the wifi. #entrepreneur

2. I’ve gone to the gym just for a shower #walkofshame

3. I’ve gone to the gym just to use the bathroom. #nyc

4. I’ve eaten a donut at the gym.

5. I’ve taken a different class to avoid another flight of stairs at the gym. Oh, yoga is in this studio and Zumba’s upstairs? #namaste.

6. One of my sports bras gives me a uniboob.

7. Another one gives me 4 boobs.

8. Instructor, thanks for the extra help. But I’m not actually confused about the move, I’m just taking a break. #justsaynotoburpees

9. My feet hurt in both pair of my athletic shoes, but in my search for a new pair, I bought these $468 shoes instead. Maybe going to Barney’s for gym shoes was a bad idea. #feetstillhurt 

10. I have paid a $190 monthly gym membership and not gone. #moneyisnotamotivator

11. Sometimes, in the shower at the gym after a weights class, I just let the water run through my hair, avoiding raising my arms to shampoo.

10 Best Things Heard During the Marathon

The New York City Marathon came back in a flash this past Sunday, November 4 after being cancelled last year due to that bitch Sandy.

My girl Patty Pion, 3 time marathoner, at the finish line

My girl Patty Pion, 3 time marathoner, at the finish line

I posted up on Bedford Avenue at Mile 11 to cheer on several friends. The conversations happening around me, were memorable, indeed. Plus, I’m an excellent eavesdropper, thus the list below. You’re at somewhat of a disadvantage not being able to hear the actual voices, but I think you’ll get a laugh out of these gems anyway.

1. 

Girl 1: What do you think they’re listening too?
Girl 2: Hip hop. Some really cheesy hip hop.
Girl 3: Or, Beyoncé.

2.

Girl 1: Who are we looking for?
Girl 2: Her name is Carlie. She has short blonde hair. She’s a lesbian.
Girl 1: OMG, then why haven’t I met her?

3.

Girl: These people are amazing. All that training! Look he’s in a wheelchair. <Pause> I feel teeeeerrible about myself.

4.

Man scampers across the street clutching a small table.
Girl: He totally just got that from the flea market.

5.

Little Kid: Cookie Monster!!
Runner dressed as Oscar the Grouch: NO, I’m not Cookie Monster. He’s blue. I’m green.

6.

Guy: I really should just run down the block or something.

7.

Man with a CitiBike walks it across Bedford Ave. cutting runners off.
Angry Man: Get off the f**king course. Angry mob scene ensues, supervised by amused NYPD officers.

8.

Fashion girl:  OMG! Amazing shorts! (She said this three times).

9.

Girl 1: Holds out hand to high five a runner.
Girl 2: OMG, he totally wanted that!

10.

Girl: Aww, she runs so pretty.

Why I’m NOT Sad Even Though I’m Single on Valentine’s Day

It seems that everyone thinks I should be sad on Valentine’s Day, as if it’s a natural state for a single woman. My email box has been filled, not only with reminders to buy a gift or to book a table for this eventful day (I’m sure that yours have been too). No, there’s more. These are the subject lines I’ve been bombarded with over the past few weeks:

  • Sick of Valentine’s Day? Here’s How to Get Even with Cupid
  • No Valentine? Find The Right Man Now
  • Don’t miss NYC’s LARGEST Anti-Valentine Singles Party…15 years running!
  • My Best Valentine’s Offer Yet – A Lifetime of Love
  • Oh no! Lamenting on Valentine’s Day
  • How I’ve Helped Women Find Real Love After 50

You might be thinking that I’m on the wrong email lists. And you’re right. Yet the question remains, why does everyone assume that single people are pitifully sad because it’s Valentine’s Day? Like we’re destined to put on our gray sweatpants, throw our hair into a messy ponytail, grab a pint of ice cream and a box of tissue and sit in the corner until we rock ourselves to sleep. Why ARE some single people sad sacks on Valentine’s Day? I’m surprised at the number of singles who spend the day feeling sorry for themselves (maybe that’s why people assume it’s all of us), or worse, angry.

When the bouquets begin to show up at work on Valentine’s Day and everyone huddles around oooing and aahing. “Four for you, Glen Coco! You go Glen Coco!”* Do I feel something? Of course! Despite my mother’s argument that black women don’t like flowers (her thought, if you’ve got $75 to spend, don’t send something that dies) — I LOVE flowers. They’re beautiful. They smell great, what’s not to love?

Yet, as you’re giggling and clipping those long stems, walking around a bit more than you really need to, I’m thinking about the time you told me the sender, your beloved, ate your last Jenny Craig cheesecake — the dessert you’d been thinking about all day as you ate your cardboard, flavorless food — and any longing to be in your place wisps away faster than a $200 size 38 Louboutin platform heels at the Barney’s Sample Sale (in it’s last year for women, quelle horror!).

There’s not one married woman whose life I’d rather have than my own. Despite my extreme fandom, NOT even Beyonce. I could have traded with her for a good long while – smart, uber talented, beautiful. Her voice is a little like Lurch’s sister trying to sound sexy, but I figured I could pay someone to correct that. But then, she got a ring on it and any desire I had to be Beyonce abruptly ended. Can you imagine rolling over in your bed and seeing Jay-Z sharing your pillow? It’d be like waking up to a camel. And beyond that, given his past, I’d be scared to know what skeletons are stuffed in his closet and would fear whether I’d ever be joining them if we disagreed. Plus he seems mopey. So, no, not even Beyonce.

Isn’t the point of Valentine’s Day to acknowledge your love for people? That love can be from people all around you. I want to see and feel — and most importantly recognize — that affection all the time – all year long. PLUS, it includes love for yourself. To me that means IF you’re going to stay in, put on your favorite pretty lounging items (seriously ladies, I can’t with the sweats. Where are you even finding those schlubby things?), order in your favorite food, pop open your favorite bottle of wine or mix up your favorite cocktail and watch your favorite show or read your favorite book. Sounds like a better plan to me. So thank you very much, but I’m not going to spend Valentine’s Day at an anti-Valentine’s Day Party or figuring out how that woman can find me love after 50.

I’ll be at LINCOLN CENTER at New York Fashion Week. That’s right, I’m in the tents (or the stage, really), baby!!!! Loving fashion all these years has finally paid off! I will be feeling love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient  consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.** And it’s hard to imagine the relationship getting any better. xoxo

*Mean Girls reference, of course.

**Sex and the City, final episode.

Straight men, I put the footnotes in just for you.

Grammar Police Need Not Report for Duty

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It’s definitely related to the crowd that I run with. First, I majored in English, next Technical Communication. And then, I had the nerve to follow that up with various careers related to communication. As a result, I’ve developed a sometimes persnickety, but always joyfully opinionated circle of friends. However, there are an inordinate number of people on my Facebook Newsfeed who complain about bad grammar. And I need it to stop.

I can relate to your  almost physical reaction to bad grammar, but can you GET OVER IT already!?

I used to be much better at grammar, spelling and punctuation. I rarely misspelled similar sounding words (their instead of there, etc.). My spelling was on point and every punctuation mark resided in the sentence exactly where it was supposed to. Now, I find that it’s not so perfect anymore. It bothers me somewhat, but I got things to do [sic]. I propose that there are legitimate reasons when the grammar police need to sit their arses down. I submit these examples for consideration.

The offender is communicating too much, too quickly or their mutli-tasking has gotten out of hand. You’re not living that life and can’t relate? How are things back in ’94? Between six email addresses (and that’s not even counting the “dating” email address), three blogs, social media, text messaging and business-related communication, I’m churning out more content than ever. Most of us are! With the sheer number of words, some mistakes are going to creep in.

I am rather dumbfounded when people complain that no one communicates anymore and that our society is forgetting how to talk to each other. It begs the question, what society are they living in? I interact with more people than ever! Even before leaving my bed in the morning, I’ve already communicated with at least 10 people (and I’m not talking about bed partners). By the time I’ve walked the dog and had Starbucks, that number has climbed to easily 30 people. Add in a workout or a stop at the dog run and I’ve interacted with more people than I had in my first pre-school. I don’t believe that back in the day, people talked to 30 people over the course of their entire day. Yes, social media is making us communicate differently. It’s called evolution. Please come along with us lest you be turned into a fossil fuel.

The offender is, good god, human and made a mistake. Personally, I have given up striving for perfection in things that, in the end, don’t really matter. I suspect that anyone who’s ever worked for me is calling a party foul right now. You might even be flashing back to an episode where I asked you to redo something or got mad because of a mistake. Maybe I even made you miss your furniture delivery or dinner with friends or a yoga class due to extra work. I know, I know, I’m meticulous and expect everyone else to be, too. But that’s for work. I think you should do whatever it takes to provide polished and high-quality communication that maintains your professional brand. 

An email to a friend — I’m not going to labor over it. They are a friend, afterall. They know what I meant to type and they certainly noticed the 3 AM timestamp on the email.

The offender was typing on a mobile device. I find that I’m not as accurate when using my iPad, iPhone or blackberry (may it rest in peace). These devices allow us to do everything on-the-go, which is beyond lovely. Yet between autocorrect, fumbling fingers, wet nails from a fresh manicure, the small screen and unpredictable apps, chances are, mistakes are going to slip in.

The offender is using slang. “You don’t know who the ef I is? [sic]” “Where you at? [sic],”  “Where they do that at? [sic]” — and similar phrases are all perfectly understandable and exempt from grammar rules. What’s more, using these phrases doesn’t automatically make the person stupid. It does put them in the running though.