Monthly Archives: October 2011

Bye Week My Week

On Sundays from the first week of September to the first week of February I jokingly refer to myself as a “Sports Widow”.  As my boyfriend watches his beloved NY Giants and keeps up with his fantasy football teams, my Sundays are usually filled with brunches with girlfriends, catching up on my periodicals (US Weekly, InTouch, NYTimes Sunday Style Section), and watching one of several Nancy Meyers movies undoubtedly running on loop on TBS.

Thankfully, the NFL schedules each team a bye week.  I’m sure it is for the benefit of the players and their fanatical fans.  Give them time to rest, refuel, and recharge for the rest of the season.  In my 2+ year relationship, I have learned that games are as tough on the fans as they are on the players themselves.  WHO KNEW?!?   I like to think it’s for the benefit of me and my fellow “SWs”.  It is the ONE Sunday in the season where we are in charge of the day’s schedule and not the NFL commissioner. Yes, I understand that teams also play on Monday nights-but if the football fan in your life is anything like mine, that Sunday is an anxiety filled day awaiting the next evening’s match-up.  For NY Giants “SWs” our weekend to claim was this past Sunday and all I wanted to do was to go apple picking ***BUCKET LIST ALERT***.  There is something that is so quintessentially autumnal about going apple picking.  Luckily, my boyfriend has an apple addiction, so it wasn’t TOO hard to convince him to go on this bye-week adventure.

We researched nearby farms and took my parents’ car straight up the Taconic Parkway.  The weather was spectacular, the changing foliage was breathtaking, and the line-up on Sirius Classic Vinyl had us aggressively dancing in the front seat.  Since my dad doesn’t believe in GPS (the family Robin has an internal compass) and Google maps doesn’t believe in giving exact exit numbers we circled Yorktown Heights for 40 minutes before finding our apple orchard oasis.  Actually, it was more like apple orchard mirage.  Apparently, the picking season begins right after Labor Day and this farm was all out of fruit.  Luckily for us, we found an alternate orchard just down the road that still had apples.

The boyf and his cage-picked apple

We grabbed a large bag to fill up and a cage-picker and we were on our way.  With the help of a friendly parking attendant we were able to find the one patch of orchard that hadn’t been picked through.  We harvested as many Idareds and McCouns as we could get our hands on-but these were like the “picked last in gym class” apples.  They were small and dented and not what I had envisioned collecting during my apple adventure.  Thankfully, inside the farm stand were barrels upon barrels of pre-picked apples that you were allowed to fill your bag with.  I know, I know, I could’ve gone to any supermarket if I wanted to just pick apples off of shelf-but hey, this is my bucket list fantasy, not yours!  We also treated ourselves to apple cider, fresh donuts, and a homemade apple pie that we ate during the week (and it was AMAZATORY!).

Apple "picking"

I am sure that I wasn’t the only Sports Widow to take advantage of their bye week.  According to my “research” on Facebook, I saw many an uploaded picture from wineries, flea markets, and pumpkin patches.  I even saw that someone got married! I don’t know if her husband is a Giants fanatic or if it were just a coincidence, but if I wanted to get married on an autumn Sunday, I would have to wait for the NFL schedule to be released first.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I LOVE that my boyfriend is so passionate about football.  When he wakes up the day of a Giants game it’s like Christmas morning!  He is never happier than when speaking of his beloved…team.  But for this one Sunday his mind wasn’t on touchdowns, passing yards, and field goals.  Thank you Mr. NFL Commissioner for giving me my boyfriend for the day.  The Giants’ bye week turned into my week!

**For a glimpse into the boyfriend’s fandom check out his blog New York Sports: Our Love-Hate Relationship**


BBF: Best Bully Friends

Over the summer, I spend a lot of time at my parents’ beach house in Amagansett.  The “guest book” usually fills up pretty quickly with their friends or our family, so it is rare that on a prime summer weekend we would have bedrooms to spare.  I took the opportunity to invite two of my closest camp friends for a relaxing weekend in the Hamptons.  After a long car ride out east, they finally arrived at my house.  Without so much as a breath of hesitation, my mom looks right at them and says “Well, I never thought THIS day would come”.  You see, 20 years ago, my first summer at camp, these were not my friends.  These were my bullies.

There is no “woe is me” here, but I was NOT one of the cute campers.  I was an incredibly shy (if you can believe it) chubster who was not very athletic – AT ALL.  I made awkward jokes-if I even spoke at all that day. I didn’t have the latest trendy Umbro shorts or the cool 90210 pillows on my bed.  I was from NEW JERSEY!  None of this would help me one bit.

Me at 10 years old-Visiting Day 1992

There were two girls in my bunk who had started camp the year before.  They were athletic and outgoing.  They were blonde and beautiful and had all of the coolest stuff.   All of the older girls and counselors knew who they were, where as sometimes I STILL don’t think they know who I am. They were everything I wasn’t and that was incredibly intimidating…and they knew it!

It wasn’t like they would purposely trip me as I was running at track & field or short sheet my bed when I was out of the bunk. It wasn’t that kind of bullying.  It was more of a subtle bully.  I would get to our table in the dining room and one would say “Oh, I’m saving that seat for someone”.  No one would ever end up sitting there.  I would be in line to play jacks only to have the game conveniently end when it was my turn.  They would be sharing their candy and run out just before I could get some.  If I were picked to play on their team, I would fear getting yelled at for not doing a good job.  If I was on the opposite team, I would fear that the ball would be aimed directly for my head.  It was a lose/lose/loser situation.  I had a fellow chubster in the bunk who had fallen upon a similar fate.  We would commiserate nightly over a shared love of Lipton’s Cup O Noodle soup.

I never did anything about this.  I never confronted them.  I never went tattling to my counselors.  I never called for a bunk discussion because X and Y were mean to me. I could have switched bunks but that wouldn’t have solved any problem.  I just kept trying. I kept trying for the seat in the dining room.  I kept trying to play jacks with them.  I would share all of my Tate’s cookies (sometimes only getting one for myself) in hopes of a Chupa Chup lollipop in return.  This went on for a couple of summers, yet I would keep going back to camp.

And I kept going back for another TWELVE years.  Yes, you may think “Was she crazy? Stop being a doormat”.  You see, if there is one thing about myself that I am truly proud of, it is my perseverance. I do not like to give up and let things or people hold me back.   Wise beyond my tween years, I knew that if I kept showing up every summer and TRYING and being myself I would be bullied no more.

It was hard-but I did it. The same ol’ Rebecca would show up every summer.  And as the years passed the “bullying” seemed to as well.  I can’t give you an exact date it happened or even how I knew the tides had turned.  I don’t know if they changed or it was just because we were older.  But as we got older, we grew closer and closer.

And now, I don’t even know what my life would be like without them.  They are my confidants, my shoulders to cry on, my personal tv critics, and my test audience for my new jokes.  They encouraged me to write this blog and are some of my biggest supporters.

Me and my bullies-Our Family Portrait

I sent this post to the two of them before I posted it.  I was super nervous that they were going to be upset that I was telling our story to the world (talk about an emotional flashback!).  After reading it they, both emailed me back hoping I wasn’t upset with THEM. The thing is, I could never be.  I am a stronger person because of my “bullies”.  But, a game of jacks and a few Chupa Chup lollipops would make me love them even more 🙂


Closer I am To Fine

It comes as no surprise if you know me or have been following the blog, that I’ve been going through a little bit of a hard time.  Searching for a job while fighting off the fears of getting older can really bring a girl down.  In an effort to resuscitate my spirit, I did the one thing that I knew would absolutely bring me back to life.  I went to see the Indigo Girls at the Beacon Theater!!

The Indigo Girls are folk rocky duo lead by two long time friends from Georgia.  Their melodies are soothing, voices are hypnotizing, yet I have ZERO idea what most of their songs are about.  To be honest, I don’t love the Indigo Girls because of their music (though, they are spectacular).  I love them because with one note, one chord, they can instantly take me back to my summers spent at camp.  At this point, it should also be pretty apparent if you are a follower that I LOVE CAMP!

Indigo Girls *Photo by S.Gaffan*

I went to the concert with two of my camp friends, both of whom I have known for 20 years, and one of their cousin’s, who was about to experience her FIRST Indigo Girls concert.  I, on the other hand, have been to countless shows! The first one I went to was with my dad and another camp friend at Madison Square Garden.  It was the camp “off season” and we were from New Jersey (where NO ONE would visit) so it was such a thrill for us to see so many campies!  There is a rush that comes over you when you unexpectedly see a camp friend.  It’s shock, excietment, and joy all wrapped into one.  You are usually greeted with an intense shriek of enthusiasm followed by a really good hug.  And boy, was I in need of one of those.

We got to the theater and within 30 seconds of getting our tickets scanned I heard one of the familiar shrieks.  We had spotted one of my all time favorite counselors and her HUSBAND! Yes folks, you read that correctly.  This amazing man(who also went to camp with us) got his wife Indigo Girls tickets for their anniversary.  I’ve always loved this couple-I have a soft spot for couples that meet at camp like my parents did-but now I love them even more! He clearly wasn’t a fan of the “Girls” (admittedly, he was having second thoughts about his generous gift) but he knew how much they meant to his wife.  Of course, after the usual pleasantries their next question to us was “who else have you seen here?”.  It is not enough for us to just have ONE sighting, we were on the hunt for camp friends.

Luckily, our hunt wasn’t too difficult. I have a very distinct voice that travels above normal sound levels and  my 5′ 11″ blonde friend can be spotted a mile away.  We were an easy target.  We stayed in one spot and let everyone find us.  And that they did!  Another favorite camp counselor, a co-counselor, a camper and her sister, a college friend…it was glorious!  The lobby of the Beacon Theater had now turned into a private mini-reunion.

Me, Sari, Stefanie, Dani, and Amy-CAMP REUNION

We finally headed upstairs to our seats for the show to begin.  Unfortunately, they opened with a song I didn’t know, so it was a bit anti-climactic.  Something else I should probably clue you into is that though the Indigo Girls have released several albums since, I have not listened to any of their new material after1997.  It isn’t that it’s bad, it’s just that they don’t have the memories attached to them.  But then, three songs in, with just one note, I was no longer sitting in center loge row H.  I closed my eyes and I was magically transported to a rainy day in bunk 6, sitting on my bed sorting a laundry bag of socks as I listened to the rain hit the tin roof tops.  The next song I was walking up the hills at camp.  I could feel the gravel crunching under my flip flops.  I could see towels lining the porches of the bunks and smell the clean air of the Adirondacks.  What was even better is that I knew that my other campies were flashing back to their own camp memories.  They could smell the smells, hear the sounds, picture the places that I was seeing too.  I was in my happy place.  My soul had been brought back to life!

I left the concert last night with my cheeks hurting from laughing too hard and my throat sore from signing too loud.  For the those three hours I wasn’t worrying about hearing from someone I had sent my resume to or the 118 days (who’s counting?!) I have left in my twenties.  My spirits had been lifted and my soul revived.  Last night,the Indigo Girls had helped me feel a little Closer to Fine.


You Are What You Eat

I am Jewish.  I am not very religious-though if you looked at my life on paper you would think otherwise.  I went to Hebrew school through 12th grade, at sleep-away camp we had Friday night Shabbat dinners and Saturday morning services, and I had even applied to college as a religion major!! Could you imagine!? Me-a clergywoman?  Rabbi Rebby does have some phenomenal alliteration–though I digress.  For me, its not so much the religiosity as it is the traditions.  Most of those traditions are centered around food…and what GLORIOUS food it is!

A few examples of Jewish food

If you aren’t familiar with Jewish cuisine, it’s usually very rich and decadent.  Most of the food is braised, broiled, slow-roasted, fried, or cured.  There are eggs and/or Schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) in almost every recipe.   There is no such thing as “fat free” on the menu.

If you want real deal Jewish cooking, I don’t suggest looking through the Zagat guide.  I would, however, suggest maybe perusing your local temple’s directory.  The best Jewish food comes right out of any Jewish grandma’s kitchen.  Recipes passed down from generation to generation.  Everyone thinks that their family’s recipes are the best but I KNOW mine are.  We have actually sourced out my Grandma Net’s brisket recipe to friends and they even say it is the best. This year that recipe was passed onto me.

Earlier this fall, my mom took a spill after our “Mission for Missoni” at Target, leaving her unable to cook for the Jewish holidays.  I, with the extra time on my hands, was pulled up from the ranks to prepare our feast.  It was something I had always wanted to do and now was my time. This was like my own personal episode of Iron Chef and this was battle “Rosh Hashanah”. In my mom’s Upper West Side kitchen, with her and my grandma looking over my shoulder, I battled the brisket.  It wasn’t as if the recipe was so intense or the directions especially confusing.  It was actually incredibly easy.

But there they were- like two members of the CIA Brisket Division passing down classified information.

brisket

This is not my first time at the holiday rodeo.  I have been making other Jewish delights for the last few years now and (not to toot my own horn, but TOOT TOOT) they are pretty freakin’ amazeballs.  Potato kugel, noodle pudding, broccoli kugel souffle, chicken soup, roasted chicken-you name it, I’ve made it.  But the brisket is like a right of passage.

A few days later we sat down to eat our Rosh Hashanah dinner. **WARNING, family secret exposed.  Brisket is better prepared ahead of time, frozen, then cooked again.**  Everyone knew I was the chef du cuisine that night and if dinner wasn’t good the guilt (another joy about being Jewish) would plague me forever.  We said the prayers, ate some matzoh ball soup and challah bread, and then was then it was time for the main event.  As my dad walked around the table with the platter of perfectly sliced brisket with carrots and potatoes, my heart was racing a mile a minute.  It certainly looked and smelled the same as Grandma Net’s, but would it taste the same?? I took the first bite and it was as if my taste buds were getting a big hug from grandma-it was exactly the same!!

They didn’t have to say it out loud, but I could tell both of my grandmas (Grandma Rosie also makes a brisket that dreams are made of) and my mom were proud of me that night.  The traditions they had learned  from their  grandmothers will live on and get passed down through me now.

People have said “You are what you eat”.  I already know that I am Jewish, but I guess after that night I’m an almost 30 year old on the verge of being a Jewish grandma.


Everybody Dance Now

Last night I was watching one of the new shows on my extensive prime time line-up, “The New Girl”.  If you aren’t watching it (which you should be), it’s the story of a quirky girl, Jess, in her late 20s who moves in with three guys she met on the internet and their life adventures together.  On last night’s episode, the guys took Jess to their college friend’s wedding.  Because she is a little kooky, the roommates ask her to tone it down (especially when it comes to dancing) as to not embarrass them- “Suppress the Jess

Jess, her fake fangs, and her roommate at the wedding

If you are in the “Radius of 30” (that is plus or minus 4 years) it is safe to assume that you have a couple of weddings on your social calendar.  For some it could be four over the year and for others it could be four in four weeks!  This last year I went to four weddings; next year I have three more on the horizon and I’m SURE there will be more. I couldn’t be more excited. I LOVE WEDDINGS!!   I love getting dressed up, I love the endless champagne and pigs in blanket (more on that later), I love the love in the air, but most of all I love the dancing.

The minute the cocktail hour ends and we are let into the main event, I am making a B-line to my table to throw my bag down and hit that dance floor!  From the first note the band plays I am getting my boogie on.  I dance so much I even come with back up dancing shoes–I can’t risk dancing barefoot amongst all of those stilettos.  Now, I know that you are thinking “everyone likes to dance at weddings”, but I’m not talking about the usual white girl lower-lip biting, shoulder swaying, toe tapping dancing.  What I am talking about is what my friends and I like to call “Aggressive Dancing”.

My Dancing Shoes

Aggressive Dancing involves a lot of foot stomping, box stepping, grape vining, serious eye contacting, and floor sliding usually around a dedicated spot of the floor called “The Hot Spot”. This is not all at once, don’t worry!  I’m not sure who came up with this type of dancing, but when I was growing up at camp it was what ALL of the counselors were doing.  It was weird and cool all at the same time.  You didn’t have to have rhythm or gracefulness or even much talent.  It was just about having fun with your friends!

Now, this is clearly unconventional dancing.  I know that.  I am usually VERY aware of my surroundings and what people think of me.  But when the music starts, all of my inhibitions are thrown to the wayside  and I hit the floor.  Yes, I literally smack the floor.  It’s an Aggressive Dance move I learned along the way.  It’s almost like summoning the other Aggressive Dancers to the alter of the dance floor.  Let the games begin!

The thing is–most people think we are out of our minds.  “Look at those wack-a-doos over there box-stepping around each other as if they are about to start some sort of fight a la West Side Story”.  But we are having fun.  We are are saying to the world (or at least the other wedding guests) “We are who we are.  We don’t care what you think”.

Please note the woman presumably judging to the left

If there is one thing I took out of the half hour sitcom, it’s that I am doing JUST what I should be doing-being myself.  I don’t let anyone “Suppress my Jess” (or Rebecca as this case may be).  I’m sure most of my non-Aggressive Dancing friends are embarrassed by my moves sometimes.  Though I think I’m a great dancer, they probably think I’m on some sort of  hallucinogenic.  But no matter what anyone thinks, at the end of every wedding I always come out having the best night!

Elaine Benes lets it all out on the dance floor

There are many things that I want to do before I turn 30, but this is one thing that I hope you all put on your bucket list. Be who you are.  Let your freak flag fly.  Dance the way you want and be who you want to be.  Don’t Suppress your Jess.


On the Verge

On the Verge: (idiom) about to experience something positive

I am turning 30.  Yes, you heard it here first.  3-0!  To be honest, since I turned 27 I’ve been telling people “I’m almost 30”.  I think it made me feel older and more mature, especially at work or around my parents and their friends .  But now that I’m really almost 30, I’d like not to be.

But I will not let thirty define me.  Besides my age, I’m an Upper East Side-er (think Joan Rivers meets Carrie Bradshaw meets Fanny Brice), a sleep-away camp-a-holic, an amateur television critic, and wanna-be Barefoot Contessa.  I’m a little neurotic, a lotta funny, and always have something to say (just ask my boyfriend).

There’s  a lot of changes in my life I am going through right now.  Besides the fact that I’m 4 months and 7 days away from turning 30 (but who’s counting), but I have recently lost my job.  Don’t feel badly for me as you read that line, because honestly I don’t.  Well I did…don’t get me wrong.  For all of my life I have ALWAYS been doing something.  I went to school during the year and sleep-away camp during the summer.  Yes, I went ALL THROUGH COLLEGE and the summer afterwards.  I even secured a job for after graduation before the first semester of my senior year was finished.  I have had three jobs since, but only had a few weeks off in between.

Now here I am.  No job and tons of time on my hands.  Everyone kept saying to me “this is a blessing in disguise” or “this is the best thing that could’ve happened to you”.  All I kept thinking was “ARE YOU NUTS?!?!”.  But were they?  There was always so much that I wanted to do but never had the time.  I live in the greatest city in the world and rarely venture outside the 10 block radius of my apartment.  Why not seize the opportunity and do everything that I’ve wanted to do?

So that’s EXACTLY what I am going to do! I’m going to use this time to do all (or at least most) of the things I’ve been “too busy” for.  I’ve been compiling a Goodbye 20s bucket list and now it’s time to get started*. Watch out world, I’m an almost 30 year old on the verge of something I’ve never done before!

*NB: Writing a blog has been on my bucket list forever, so I can now now check that off of my list*