A Raccoon Grows in Brooklyn :(


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?

You’re Really Only Black? Just Black?

Men from Egypt say I look like I could be from there. Dominican men claim I could hail from that isle. So do Trinidadians and Ethiopians and Haitians. I’ve even heard this line from an East Indian Man. The most ridiculous turn of that phrase though is from Pakastanis. How exactly do I look like I could be from Pakistan with these dreadlocks? However, I’ve never argued with the Pakistani at the corner store because I’d rather we stay on friendly terms. He knows all of my after 4 AM habits (a Kit Kat if I’ve had martinis or wine; Potato chips if I’ve had margaritas).

Since the statement is only ever said to me by men, it’s quite obvious that it’s an unfortunate pick-up line. The worse kind of flirting. And offensive. If you’re trying to compliment my beauty, why is it necessary to compare me to a different nationality? Did you completely miss the black is beautiful movement?

Whenever I’m in Texas, I hear people say “African American.” It’s common in the media as well. I never say that in New York. If you say “African American,” you’re bound to get disagreement. The person from Jamaica says, I’m Jamaican. The person from Uganda says I’m African. The Canadian says, I’m Canadian. And so on. It’s just a terribly inaccurate term.

This brings me to another related question — “Where are you from?” It sounds like a genealogical query to me, so when asked, I used to answer with a dissertation on where I was born and the various cities I’ve lived in. New Yorkers don’t ask that question to learn what city, state or country you’re from. Instead, they’re really asking where do you live? Which nabe.

It’s an oddity because clearly most people aren’t from where they live. It becomes a circular conversation and up next is, “Where are your people from?” Saying Gary, Indiana isn’t the answer they’re looking for. They want to know what country.

So then it begins. Are you just black? Really only black?

Uh, yes. And that’s enough!

How I Found $1,000 in My Apartment

With all the freedoms of being an entrepreneur, one of the unfortunate aspects is the total unpredictable and infrequent nature of getting paid.

Luckily I’ve found a jackpot of sorts right in my apartment! Here were some of my finds — hopefully they’ll help you find some extra cash in your own apartment!

  • $150 — Sold sofa on Craig’s List. Started by asking for $350, but after posting it for three straight months, I finally got rid of it by lowering the price to this point.
  • $150 — Sold CDs to Second Spin and Abundatrade. They were just sitting around collecting dust anyway. Only bad part was how much it cost to mail the CDs.
  • $50 — Sold a boatload of books to the Strand. I thought I deserved more than that, but it was still better than what I was offered at the Korean store in Midtown.
  • $30 — Used a gift card from Petco. No clue where it came from.
  • $150 — Used a gift card I received from my former employer for taking a Health Risk Assessment. Thanks!
  • $50 — an American Express gift cheque I deposited right into my checking account (can’t do that with a gift card) and $125 in American Express gift cards. Sheesh, what was I doing curating a gift card collection? I don’t remember what they are from but clearly I’ve been collecting gifts for years.
  • $200 — Sold two handbags  to Bag Borrow or Steal
  • $100 — Consigned a David Meister formal dress. The snobby shop refused the rest of my collection, so now, I’m heading over to i-ella to sell clothes. I’m hoping proceeds can cover the after-Christmas sales!

If Women Ran Pharmas…

Given this year’s election and the obvious wish of some candidates to put women back into aprons and stationed behind a stove with our mouths (and legs) closed, my mind has wandered to how life would be if women were in charge (something that these candidates obviously fear).

So today’s thought… if women ran pharmaceutical companies.

For one, there would be a birth control pill for men.

They figured out a way to use hormones to stop a woman’s body from releasing an egg, yet they can’t figure out how to turn off sperm production or to create placebo sperm? I doubt they have tried. I appreciate that we have a CHOICE to use contraceptives, but think there should be an equal opportunity for men to pump hormones into their bodies to prevent creating more children. Let men share the burden of mood swings and other hormonal nonsense side effects.

While we’re on genitals…If women ran pharmaceutical companies, we’d stop creating new ED pills. Long gone are the days when men only had Viagra. There are now plenty of choices and in most cases, men would benefit more from a quick workout. The time spent on research for additional options would be better used in coming up with medication for women to enjoy sex more.

Men’s genitals are very user-friendly. Women’s, not so much. These brilliant scientists could be at work creating an enhancement for women. Let’s give women a chance to stop faking.

If women ran pharmaceutical companies... we would find a way to eliminate cellulite. I realize there has been a lot of research and new products and procedures to fight cellulite, but progress is slow. If we look at this realistically, there are two factors coming between woman and our desire for non-dimpled thighs: 1. Only women get cellulite, which automatically makes it unimportant. And, 2. men don’t generally care about cellulite. If they’re seeing cellulite, the clothes are off, so they’re not about to complain.

If women ran pharmaceutical companies… we would have solved baldness. I know, some women like a bald head — shiny (I don’t understand the shininess. Do you need an oil free moisturizer?), milkdud looking ones. Given the number of creative solutions we’ve come up with for our own hair — and even eyelashes — men could have an unlimited number of options as well. Plus, we’d push preventive measures. If you’re happy being bald, fine. But if not, take a pill daily to keep your hair. Sounds reasonable to me.

Of course if women really ran pharmas, we would concentrate on creating amazing, life-changing drugs, just like the guys are now. These are just outlier thoughts on the non-critical options we all deserve.

There’s a Pool! AND Men Who Like Women!

Have you ever felt like someone was watching you? I did the other day at the gym. At first I thought maybe I was singing out loud. That’s certainly a possibility — in order to be motivational, my playlist has all the hard-bumping tunes that either make me want to move my lips or hips. But that wasn’t it.

The treadmills and other cardio machines are facing televisions, and behind those is a mirrored wall. I looked more closely into the mirror and saw multiple pairs of eyes trained on me as I jogged on the treadmill. After seeing where the eyes were locked, it dawned on me — these were straight men! And they were watching to see if my bouncing breasts were either going to escape confinement or knock me out.

It may sound strange that I find straight men being at the gym a novel concept. All summer, I’ve only gone to the SoHo, Meatpacking and Chelsea location. So it IS an unusual experience for me to find more than 5 hetero men at the gym at once.

This particular day, I had gone to a different location because I planned to meet friends for margaritas in midtown after my workout. (Yes, I planned to rehydrate with margaritas. I’m sure this is approved under the most popular of-the-moment nutrition trends).

After this discovery, I decided to break out of my box and fully explore my gym membership by trying other locations. The next day I visited an uptown location (near my favorite cupcake place. You really should have carbs before a workout).

I headed toward the locker room. Sniff, sniff. That was a familiar smell. No, not a funky locker room smell. Equinox is fastidiously clean. It was the smell of chlorine! There was a pool there! Unbelievable. All this time, I could have been taking advantage of pool workouts.

Two visits and I’d hit gold! Unfortunately, I only have a few more weeks before my membership expires. But until it does, I’m going to keep exploring. No telling what else I’ll find!

When the Terror Is Tiny

Matilda v Cupcake

My dog is out of control.

Each day I leave, she gets a Kong filled with frozen treats. This keeps her busy while I make my escape. Recently, she got her Kong stuck under the couch and as soon as I arrived home, she was at the couch in downward dog, barking for me to retrieve it.

I got down on hands and knees to take a look, but clearly not fast enough as within moments I had a paw pummeling my face and head. She jumped on me with considerable force considering her eight pound frame.

This abuse generally continues as we attempt to live together peacefully.

If I take her out for a walk and start chatting with someone, she barks because she thinks they should be talking to her.

If someone hugs me, she barks and pushes them.

She goes through my purse and has been rewarded with gum, candy and a delicious lemon cupcake that she located and deboxed within the two minutes it took for me to use the bathroom.

She pulls brand new clothes out of shopping bags, freeshly cleaned clothes out of the laundry basket. And once when I was getting ready for a date, she peed on the outfit I’d layed out.

One Sunday, she starting nipping my ankles as soon as I walked in. Granted, I’d slept away from home all weekend. But still. Who is she to discipline me?

One weekend, she met her match — Matilda, a German wirehaired pointer.

We were visiting friends upstate and Cupcake did her normal diva routine — jumping up so that her public can stroke and adore her. Well she jumped on Matilda’s dad and Matilda wasn’t having it and started growling. Cupcake growled back and it was on. Matilda promptly snapped at Cupcake, scaring her her so bad that she yelped and quickly skittled across the room, begging to be picked up.

For the rest of the night, Cupcake was glued to me and squeezed her way into the chair right beside, putting on her best angel routine.

Matilda made the rounds, intently glancing at Cupcake throughout the evening, daring her to get out of line again.

Clearly, Cupcake has met her match. Next time she acts up at home, I’m calling Matilda.

50 Shades of CrossFit Training Zombies

There are three things that I’m going to need people to stop talking about: 50 Shades of Grey, CrossFit training and zombies.


Monster High's Ghoulia Yelps

Monster High’s Ghoulia Yelps — the only Zombie I like.

My feeling about this: Fear. Here’s why:

Ever since my sleepless-due-to-nightmares summer as a seven year old when I saw both Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Damien the Omen, I have had an irrational fear of non-human (admittedly fictional) things that can seem human, the only exception being vampires — maybe because they are usually sexy.

Now with the increased popularity of zombies — I blame The Walking Dead, the question “What would we do if the zombie apocalypse happened?” is a frequent cocktail conversation, followed by “Where’s the safest place to be in NYC if it happens?”

The other night, a group of friends agreed that the High Line was the place to go to survive.  They had good reasoning about being able to grow food, restrict entrance and push the zombies off the High Line (Can zombies climb?). But there are buildings attached to the High Line. Most of them with lots of glass that the zombies could just come busting through!

I don’t have a better alternative though. In Brooklyn, in your escape attempt, you’d either trip over a stroller or have the misfortune of being the biggest and slowest-moving person, and thus tastiest treat, in a hipster Mecca.

Maybe the place to be is Far Rockaway? Zombies wouldn’t go all the way there, right? The A train, when running, usually requires a shuttle transfer and zombies are just not smart enough to figure all that out. And probably even they are afraid of the Van Wyck. So that’s MY plan. Far Rockaway.

CrossFit Training

My feeling about this: Jealousy. Here’s why: 

Everyone is doing CrossFit training. And although I’m in a fitness phase, I can barely do a friggin’ pushup so I can’t even join in.

As much as I’m trying to improve, the situation is not changing quickly.  I’ve seen significant progress in what I can do in some of my fitness classes. I can do most binds in yoga and even now tuck my foot on my inner thigh in Tree pose. I’m even feeling like a pro during lunge intervals. Yet, I still can’t do Chatarunga or a decent set of push-ups.

I must have some kind of strange mutant arms. So that disqualifies me from CrossFit Training. And I don’t want to talk about it.

50 Shades of Grey

My feeling about this: Annoyance. Here’s why: 

Everybody is reading and talking about this book. I LOVED the SNL skit about it. I like the book cover. I even like the title.

But I HATE this book.

The writing is TERRIBLE. Yes, I know it’s not supposed to be literature. But this woman has no writing skill whatsoever. And apparently she doesn’t even have an editor. I’m not expecting Toni Morrison here, but at least she could have the same level of competence as any popular chick lit authors like Marian Keys or Sophie Kintella.

These are actual quotes from this book:

  • “My mouth drops open.” (Said 15 times and not at all related to a sex act.)
  • “Holy hell…what’s this about?”
  • “Holy cow – he’s leading me on to the dance floor.”
  • “Holy hell, he’s been working out.”
  • “This is wrong, but holy hell is it erotic.”
  • “Holy Moses — he’s ordered oysters on a bed of ice.’”
  • “Oh, for the love of all that’s holy.”
  • “Holy crap…I need to take my pill”

And then there are plenty more holy cow, holy shit and holy crap’s. No exaggeration. I admit, I haven’t read much of this book. Once I quickly discovered that the main character was so unlikeable (she’s insecure, clumsy, jealous of her best friend/roommate — great, another Bella), I started skipping around for the sex scenes. The first scene was okay. Although the unimaginative author made the girl a virgin which means that no matter what this man does (or what size he actually is), she will be amazed at his prowess.  But after the first sex scene, they were all the same. Not. That. Hot.

I have a recommendation ladies, try Zane’s books. They are mediocre at best, but at least she can write dialogue. There might, maybe, possibly also be movies you would enjoy.