Sunday, December 18, 2011

Crackin' Nuts

In an attempt to channel my cultured side, I invited some friends to the Nutcracker Ballet recently. We sat in the back row, compared men's packages, and snuck in wine. Typical.

Eventually we got caught and were advised to drink our wine in the lobby. "Why aren't we allowed to drink wine, and people are allowed to bring their babies in the theatre?" asked my friend Lizzard. The usher ignored us but as I attempted to chug my $5 cup of Pinot Grigio, I thought she had made a very good point.

Inside the theatre parents walked around holding their screaming infants in their arms. Smaller kids were running up and down the aisles. And I was being forced to suffer through this without a drink in my hand. I attempted to keep my comments to myself during the performance, but things took a turn for the worse in the bathroom:

Me: (coming out of the special needs bathroom)
Woman in line holding squirming toddler: Is there a changing table in there?
Me: What? Why would I know that?
Lizzard: (shooting me a dirty look) No, there's no changing table.
Me: How do you know? You weren't in that bathroom. And aren't you on my team?
Woman: That's okay, I can just use the windowsill. (begins to change baby on said windowsill)
Me: (to no one in particular as my friend had left)Why is this happening to me? Why am I being subjected to this? Am I the only one who thinks there's something wrong here? Babies shouldn't be allowed in the ballet.

As we left the theatre we ran into the same usher who had denied us entry with wine. To her I said: "I just want to let you know that while I was forced to remain sober throughout this ordeal, there are women changing babies on windowsills. Maybe you should have some kind of rule against that too."

"Guys, I'm thirsty" I whined as my friends pulled me out of the theatre. Thankfully I was able to quench my thirst with something other than breast milk.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A December...to remember?

I'm pissed. Aside from the economic crisis, protestors getting the crap beat out of them, getting through the everyday tasks that now seem ten times harder because of the impending doom of winter, I now have to deal with the reminder that Christmas is coming. Soon.

Actually, this reminder was already being forced down my throat right around Halloween. The costumes had barely gone on sale when the entire obnoxious Christmas display went up at my local Walgreens.

Soon after came the Macy's window display, followed by the official lighting of the Christmas (not holiday) tree at Daley Plaza. That was all before Thanksgiving, mind you.

Then of course came Black Friday, where bleary eyed, semi conscious nutjobs trampled over each other to fight for the latest electronics and unnecessary shit their kids will probably play with once and toss aside. Alas, the official inauguration of Christmas season. And it's not even December.

I get it. I understand the need for retailers to turn a profit. But, really, Lexus?? With about 49 million Americans presently unemployed, I find it incredibly hard to believe that most people could afford such a lavish gift. Yet the commercials come on, over and over again. Way to make me feel bad about getting my dad a gotdamn pair of socks this year.

What I find so aggravating is all of this commerciality has taken away from the true meaning of the holiday. You know, the feeling you get when you sit back on your couch and bask in the glow of your newly decorated tree. The look on a person's face when they see a loved one at an airport arrival gate. Even the familiar sound of the Salvation Army bell.

I'm not saying you should dress up as an elf and turn up at someone's doorstep ready to carol. I'm saying...instead of losing patience, getting aggravated, and treating Christmas like it's something that needs to be over with, let's focus on what we have to be thankful for.

And if you need a carton of egg nog to help you do that, by all means.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hip hop, ya don't stop

Hearing about Heavy D's passing today brought me back.

I was 13 yrs old when I learned about hip hop. I wasn't raised in the hood and didn't get a chance to listen to it sitting on someone's front steps. I learned about it when I got my first computer, subscribing to one of the initial online services called Prodigy Internet. In sifting through numbers of chat rooms, I found one that was centered around hip hop. I clicked to enter.

People of all ages were there. Men, women alike. East coast, west coast, down south, midwest, Canada. They talked about the genre's origin (South Bronx), the four pillars (emceeing, djing, grafitti and break dancing), and artists like Eric B. and Rakim, KRS-ONE, and A Tribe Called Quest. I heard joints like Microphone Fiend, Rapper's Delight and Bonita Applebum.

I was a novice, so I sat back and took it all in. Once I felt more comfortable, I asked questions. Why that sample? Why that beat? It was like a family in a way; the older 'vets', a fresh group of guys who called themselves Lyrical Militia, sassy females that spat out rhymes better than some of the men, and me. A Polish American teen bobbing her head to music people in my neighborhood had no idea about.

I bought my very first hip hop cd and it was Enter the Wutang (36 Chambers). I cranked Bring Da Ruckus, and my parents thought I had lost my mind.

From there came bulletin boards to post raps on, and wav files that were recorded on the spot. The words were passionate; about struggle, love, life.

In the meantime, more artists emerged and among them the one I most admired; Biggie. He pounded out rhymes so quickly and smoothly, I was immediately hooked.

I was also able to appreciate the talents of Jurassic 5, Nas, De La Soul, Blackalicious, Company Flow, Lauryn Hill and a number of others.

For nearly 4 years like clockwork, I closed my bedroom door at 7pm and went to go chat with my friends. Although the majority of us never actually met in person, that's what we really were. And no matter what we were experiencing and where we were, we knew two things.

We had music, and we had each other.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Polish joke, anyone?

(CNN) -- A Boeing 767 on a flight from Newark, New Jersey, made a dramatic emergency landing at Warsaw, Poland's Frederic Chopin International airport Tuesday after problems with its landing gear, an airport spokeswoman said.

All the passengers on the flight, from Newark Liberty International Airport to Warsaw, are safe and uninjured, she told CNN. Newark Liberty serves the greater New York area.

The LOT Polish Airlines flight, which had been due to land at 1:35 p.m. local time, circled above the airport for an hour before coming down in a belly landing at 2:40, she said.

"After noticing a central hydraulic system failure the standard procedure for emergency landings at Warsaw airport were implemented," LOT said in a statement, saying emergency crews were in place on the ground to assist.

Video footage from the scene showed the plane coming in to land without its wheels down and skidding along the tarmac to a halt. Emergency vehicles raced toward the aircraft and appeared to hose it down as passengers disembarked.

There were 231 people aboard the flight, 220 of them passengers and 11 crew, the airline said.

The passengers "stayed calm" during the emergency landing, and after reaching the terminal were cared for by support staff and psychologists, the airline said.

They are being allowed to go home after a medical examination and a brief police interview, it added.

Other travelers face significant disruption.

The airport will remain closed until at least 8 a.m. local time Wednesday because the damaged aircraft is blocking the runways, an airport spokesman told reporters.

LOT said all its flights scheduled to leave later Tuesday have been canceled. Incoming flights have been redirected to other airports in Poland, it said, and passengers will be brought from there to Warsaw.

The airport is Poland's busiest, handling almost half its air passenger traffic with about 100 scheduled flights a day, the airport's website says.

LOT, the Polish flag carrier and one of the world's oldest airlines, is currently offering special deals on flights from the New York area to Warsaw.

In 2010, it carried more than 4.5 million passengers, nearly three-quarters of whom were on international flights, its website says. The airline said it aims to offer quality of service and value for money.

Monday, October 31, 2011


The one holiday a year:

a. adults can regress and behave like children.
b. girls can dress like two cent hookers and not feel guilty.
c. guys can live out some version of a fantasy by wearing plastic penises and asking every woman they see to 'touch it'(and it's somewhat socially acceptable).
d. the homeless, maniacally laughing drunk on your corner looks almost normal compared to the freaks walking around.
e. little kids are adorable, even if they are wailing at the top of their lungs. you can shove a piece of chocolate in their face to shut them up.
f. you can walk up to a stranger's doorstep and ask them for free food. if they don't have any, you can toilet paper their home.
g. you have an excuse to buy bags and bags of candy and 'accidentally' eat too much of it.
h. you can finally bring your Thriller dance moves to the people. After all, you have been practicing for the last, what, 5 months?
i. you can howl at the moon...and there's a chance someone will join you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Distinguished courage

If you're like me, a Polish immigrant who came to America when she was 4 years old, you're lucky enough to have met Antoni and Bianca Rogozinski. They spent the majority of their lives together, and a large portion of those years looking after me.

From rides home to after school care to scolding me when I was watching soap operas, this was the couple that took the role of 'babcia' and 'dziadek.'

No matter if I was an awkward teenager or an adult struggling on her own, grandpa always said I looked beautiful...and like I had grown a few inches.

He told stories of the war in Normandy and showed us his medals. For 35 years, he wrote and published the Pancerniak with Bianca, a magazine for fellow veterans of the 1st Polish Armored Division.

No matter what he did, his loving and devoted wife was by his side.
It's amazing really, to have spent over 50 years with the same person. And it's also amazing that this man welcomed me, virtually a stranger, into his life.

Pan Antoni lived 99 beautiful years and while we will miss him, we can find solace in knowing that he's now at peace.

And no matter how tall I grew, he was always a giant in my eyes.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Devil Wore Revlon

Have you ever been under the leadership of someone so vile they made you question how you were making it to work in the morning? Why when the God-forsaken alarm clock rang every day, you didn't hit snooze and turn onto your other side? Or even better, lounge around in your favorite worn robe and watch soap operas for the rest of your days? A far cry from the glamorous and allegedly icy Anna Wintour, my boss stood in our tiny company bathroom glaring at me while she douced herself with perfume and slathered on cheap Walgreens foundation. She undermined the value of my work, manipulated the office to help cover up her laziness, and awkwardly told stories of her reconstructed face. I worked under the unpredictable wrath of this she-devil and it was worse than even an NC-17 version of Mean Girls. Aside from the fact that she was a grown adult and not a slutty teenager (or was she). She'd reel you in with stories of her personal life, only to spit you out when you forgot to refill the coffee machine. The coffee machine. As if I was some kind of personal assistant. I will have you know that my mediocre college education has allowed me to maintain the entry level title of account manager for 3 years now. Clearly I should have been held to a higher standard. Add a certain time of the month and you were a goner. If you were a woman, you were sure to end up hyperventilating in said bathroom and if you were a man, you were safest shrouding your genitalia. At some point though, the office realized we weren't the ones who were wrong. It was her, not us. No really. People had dropped like flies, but somehow the woman had lasted 15 years. She had even fired her own niece without a shred of sympathy. What could we do? We were doomed. Evil had prevailed.

Until the unthinkable happened.

After a number of complaints and proof of her utter laziness was uncovered, our vice president cornered me in the kitchen and announced that he had in fact let her go. Shock. Awe. Delight? Possibly. But then, I thought of her family. And the economy. Silently I wished her well and prayed she would turn things around.

Because in the end, the best revenge is living well.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Empire state of mind

I've heard several people say that they felt suffocated by the amount of media and news coverage there was for the 10th anniversary of 9-11.

I disagree.

During every other day of the year, it feels as though we don't talk about what happened. It's not as if we turn to a neighbor on the bus in the middle of April and ask them where they were and how they felt that day. Instead we've gone on with our daily routines and continue to live selfishly. We focus on trivial things. In a way, we've lost ourselves.

If for one day, the day, we can be transported back, I say yes. By all means. Show us the images. Replay the footage. Remind us.

Remind us that it's our responsibility to respect one another. To count our belssings. To say "I love you" more times than necessary. To appreciate diversity. To forgive.

Remind us that money doesn't matter. Remind us that peace does. Remind us that we're lucky...we got another day.

God Bless America.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Use your words

I've never been the kind of girl that was coordinated, popular or sought after by legions of adoring guys.

When I was younger I ungracefully bowed out of gymnastics, ballet, and even tennis (which I'm surprisingly good at now). Most of the time I was throwing up.

As I grew older and became much better at dodging basketballs being thrown at my head during recess, there was one thing that helped me get through the awkwardness that was (and still is) my life.

I jotted down the feelings and thoughts I'd never say into numbers of journals. I wrote poetry and ultimately took creative writing classes. I presented my work in these classes and drew tears from the audiences.

But I've never pursed it further. I'm 29 now and as people around me start families, I look at myself and believe I haven't given it everything. I've tried halfheartedly to write here and there but ultimately the dream gets thrown to the side.

I don't want that. I owe more to that shy, timid girl who stayed after school to write more on her essays for extra credit. She didn't rock those sassy coke bottle glasses for nothing.