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.