The Day in Pictures

Today, POB and I went to the marriage bureau in New York City, 141 Worth Street.  We asked for guidance at the information desk and a City employee who did not speak English very well kept repeating the instructions, growing louder and slower with each repetition.

Sidebar:  I learned something new:  it is not merely an unfortunate American custom to try to communicate with someone who speaks no English by repeating the same words, each time incrementally louder and slower.  We may have spread this linguistic disease like cholera, but now we don’t own it anymore.

We ultimately understood that we had to take the ticket

and go wait by the second TV monitor, where it said, “now serving C 678 at Station 6”.

We passed the wedding space with a painted backdrop of the New York City skyline and thought fleetingly of eloping.  But we weren’t dressed for the occasion.  And POB wanted to be a June bride and as the saying goes, we were a day short.

I felt like we were at a family-style restaurant in a strip mall.  Someone calls out the name 3 times, each time putting the emphasis on a different word:  “BLOGGER, party of two.  Blogger, PARTY of two.  Blogger, party of TWO.”  Then you go to the station as indicated on the big screen.  And you best get there by the third call or — or — or you go to the back of the line (maybe).

Except there was no pleasant Musak (ok, oxymoronic) or harried “lounge” server asking for your drink order.  Nope, just the din of waiting room.

I was fascinated by all of the people there:

  • The two men getting married with twin sister bridesmaids in identical lime green short dresses, which matched the color of their ties.
  • The proper Southern woman marrying her woman partner who had the most atrocious Long Island accent.
  • The man who lost his family on the way to the counter when called to the numbered station:

  • the tragic straight couple with the veil thing

  • the adorable little boy watching his parents get their license.


Then, we heard: ” A zero 96, A zero 96, A zero 96.  Station 2.”  We ran to the station.

The clerk was so lovely.  He said he was proud that same-sex marriage is legal.  He asked if we were changing our surnames.  I said no, but I would happily answer to “Mrs. [POB]”.  POB blushed.  He wished us well in a heartfelt way that I extend my hand to shake his.  He smiled and squeezed my hand a little.

I am no longer angry at having to be grateful for a right that the state had no right to withhold.  (See, IFOB, I have come around.)  Now, I am just so happy that the big day is upon us.  I never, ever, in my life (after coming out) thought this day would come.  I am getting married in my hometown to my hometown sweetheart.  And our son is walking us down the aisle (at his request).  It doesn’t get better.  

Well, maybe it could get better if I didn’t have to drink the detoxifying elixirs POB gives me as a condition to her making me coffee in the morning.

Right after the wedding, I am going on strike.  But until then, hmmmm good.  And I will have a shot of espresso in that coffee, please.

A Present From My Son

POB, SOS and I were walking along the Hudson River this evening, talking about the upcoming wedding.

SOS started speaking haltingly, not knowing whether to raise a topic.

“Tell us what’s on your mind, buddy.”

“It’s a surprise.  For the day of the wedding.”

Uh oh, I thought.  I don’t need surprises at our wedding.

SOS noted my deep breath.  “I can tell you but you need to act surprised on the day.”

“Sure, bud, tell us.”

“I can tell you in clues and hints.”

Okay, he is reading too many detective books.  “How about starting with a big one?” I offer helpfully.

“It will happen in the morning before we leave the house.”

My sigh of relief was heard ’round the world — no surprises AT the wedding.

“That will have to be really early, then, because we have to leave for our hair and make-up appointments,” cautioned POB.

“That’s not a problem.  Just leave out the fruits you like.  Actually, if you could fill up the blender with fruits, yogurt and the protein stuff and then leave it in the refrigerator the night before, that would be great.”

Ok, so SOS is making us breakfast in bed — as long as we make it.

Sidebar:  I have visions of a future of “happy birthday, E-Mom, I got you a present.  I charged it on your card.”

“Bud, that is terrific.  SOooo sweet of you.  Mommy will set up the coffee maker.   Remember to push the button, ok?”

“I can do that.”

“You know, buddy, it sounds like a GREAT surprise.”

My new trainer

My fitness trainer abruptly left the gym and I think the city about ten days ago.  I am worried about him.  But enough about him, let’s turn it back to me, because I need Michelle Obama arms for my wedding.

He texted me and suggested one of the other trainers whom I will call FTOB (fitness trainer of blogger).  FTOB is very, how shall we say, vivacious.  She spontaneously lifts people off the floor when she is happy.  She likes to take dance breaks, which makes me think of the Ellen DeGeneres’s show (the episode I saw) during which she danced with her guests. 

Still, the clock was ticking and I have an unforgiving dress.  I called FTOB and scheduled an appointment.  She is high energy and very effective.  But while I was learning from FTOB, I had to teach her two things: (i) I don’t have a booty and (ii) I don’t have ta-tas.  As to the first, I have a tushie, behind, derriere, butt or any number of variations of those words.  As to the second, I have breasts, a chest or, if necessary, boobs. 

No-no-no to ta-tas.

FTOB was awesome about this.  The second session contained no references to the “b” or the “t” words.  Strong work, FTOB.

FTOB has a FauxHawk (modified Mohawk, where the the sides aren’t shaved, just very short).  In this last session, her hair was slicked back and it looked like it was all one length.  “I love your hair!!” I exclaimed, almost matching her general exuberance.  “You think so?  It got wet and I gelled it back.  I am getting it cut soon.”  Ahhh, it was only a temporary NoHawk. 

So, in a moment that can best be described as my mother inhabiting my body, I blurted out, “You know, I asked [my old trainer] once to introduce us, because I wanted to say to you, ‘You have such a lovely face, why do you have your hair cut that way?'” 


“A good haircut can make all the difference,” I said.

I think we were both shocked at the exchange and I was a little weirded out having had a Freaky Friday moment with my mother in my body.  And FTOB is so good natured that she took it in the spirit in which it was meant — concern.

It turns out she has a girlfriend who likes her hair.  “Well, then, don’t listen to me; listen to her.  But if you are single again, listen to me.”

Oh, Mom, next time, give me some warning, ok?

A Silent Cacophony

After work, I rushed for my 7pm appointment at Bliss.  Facial with micro-dermabrasion (who knows how that is spelled).  POB had one and, because she does not want to be a Bridezilla — in contradistinction to my Bridezombie — I had to have one, too.

So, I changed into my robe and slippers and joined others in the quiet room permeated by lemon and sage scents.  There were healthy (and not so healthy) snacks and lemon-infused water.  I ate some sliced cucumbers and drank the water (Bliss’s version of Kool-Aid).  There were four of us in our matching robes and slippers waiting for our treatments, with the new age music and the scents filling the air and I thought this must be a high-end version of an insane asylum.  Judging by how the “technicians” greeted the other inmates, I was the only non-recidivist in the bunch.

Then, my name was called.  Nanetta was my technician.  Did I fill in the new inmate form?  She asked with an Eastern European accent.  No, the concierge didn’t ask me to fill anything out. “Come with me,” she said, in a tone that suggested that I had been transported from 57th Street to the gulag.  Why again did POB need me to endure this?  Nanetta told me to take off my robe and get under the sheets on the table.  Oh, no, I am prisoner in Soviet hell.

She asked me about the moisturizers I use.  I told her I don’t really use moisturizer and, if I do, it is whatever POB buys.  She shined a beaming light into my eyes.  “You don’t know moisturizer?”  she said in an accusatory tone.  Omigod, I am going to die for the sin of taking my good genes for granted.  “I do what I can!” I said in a way that is the intersection between emphatic and meek.  The crashing you hear is the tension underlying post-USSR Eastern European and the descendants of those who fled the USSR in 1921.

Nanetta took pity on me and put cucumber slices over my eyes.  “I just snacked on cucumber slices in the waiting room!” I said to bridge the divide between us.  She laughed, in a slightly un-amused way. The gulag, for sure.

She started the micro-dermabrasion.  “Does this hurt?”

“As much as vacuuming my face with sand paper hurts, I imagine.” (what else was I supposed to say?)

“Would you like the anti-aging collagen treatment? It only costs —-”

“If you say, ‘anti-aging’ I don’t care how much it costs.  Do it.”

Now we could relax because I was an easy mark for anything that promised the Fountain of Youth.

We chatted about life and her story about coming to this country.  Nanetta is Romanian and was pleased that I knew a little about the country’s history pre- and shortly post- USSR’s implosion.  She struggled to learn English and put her daughter through school.  She has endured hardships, but she makes a living through the self-indulgence of people with money.  I wondered if she smirks at the irony.

She asked about my beauty treatment history and I told her that I was getting this done because I was marrying my partner.  Whoa, that took a little time to sink in.  (But this is New York, why?)

When she finished, my skin felt great.  I went into the changing room and, having only a robe on, shed my robe as I prepared to get dressed.  One of the house-staff asked me, as she was picking up my robe from the bin, “did you have a good visit with us?”  Is this woman — a stranger — asking me to have a conversation while I am naked?  Really?  Really?  “It was terrific.  Excuse me while I put on some clothes.”  I think that she realized that I was not one of the usual inmates who would chit-chat naked with a person who was fully clothed.

Call me the uptight Americana.  I am totally good with that.  Because if you want me to talk to you when I am naked, then you need to be naked, too.  For the record, there aren’t that many people I want to talk to while either of us is naked.  It sounds like a stress dream.

I dressed and walked along 57th Street with glowing skin, as a result of good genes from Mom and the efforts of Nanetta.  I thought about a manicure and pedicure and all the other things that would make me feel even better about the trials and tribulations of life.  But then I looked at expensive stores and expensive half-built high-rises and felt defeated and under-privileged (but with great skin).

I hopped a cab.  My cab driver asked me if the buildings we were passing were Lincoln Center.   I said “yes” and asked how long he has been driving driving.

“Three weeks but I have been in this country for one years [sic].”

“Where are you from?”


“Where in Africa?”

“Sudan. Darfur, ma’am. One years [sic] ago since I left.”

There is nothing to say to someone who has been to Hell and back.  I sat quietly and then had to say that the reason for my silence was that I was overwhelmed that he survived and escaped Darfur.  I asked him how the rest of the world can stop the violence.  He said that Save Darfur was a blessing (

I listened as he tried in broken English to tell me that the government does nothing but kill its citizens and the people are starving and there is no water or schools.  And I offered lamely that I descend from survivors of atrocities and that there is hope for the generations to come. Then we passed a Pinky Nail Salon.

“Our nail salons must seem stupid.”

“Life is different here than in Sudan.”

The understatement in this conversation could make a person cry.

He said his sister and nieces and nephews have a better life in CHAD.  Let’s all stop for a moment and realize that together we earn more the gross domestic product of Chad.

Life is better in Chad.

Life is better in Chad.

Hug your spouse, your children, your-pets-who-are-children and be amazed at where you live and what you have.  Because, in this world, there are places for which CHAD is a step up.

Such was my day in the extremes that intersect in New York City; silently at first, but then with a great emotional burst of noise and pain, acknowledgement of plenty and nothing, experience of joy and sorrow, and of personal triumph and communal defeat.

A day full of lessons to remember.

The Moment Arrived

Last week, a new friend told me that every woman has a bridezilla moment, whether you’re 22 or 48.  I did not believe her, because, after all, I have been pretty low-key.

POB has looking for a wrap to wear with my wedding dress because I tend to get cold in air-conditioned rooms.  Yesterday, POB texted me, “Got you a grey pashmina shawl for $5 from the toothless lady at 71st and Broadway.”  Did I need to know that I am wearing a $5 shawl that I am sure I could have gotten for $4.50?  Nooooooooooo.

No matter.  I saw the shawl when I got home.  It will look LOVELY with my dress.   All was right.  I kissed POB and thanked her profusely.

“Sweetie?”  POB said tentatively.

“Yes?”  I wondered whether a shoe was going to drop.  (Where DOES that phrase come from?)

“It’s about your dress.”

“What about my dress?”  Apprehension is rising.

“Well, I was walking by Pottery Barn and it is doing a promotion with Nicole Miller — you know the designer of your wedding dress — and . . . . we’ll, I took this picture to show you.”  Silence as she fiddled with her iPhone.



Right next to the pillows and woven baskets is my wedding dress.  Ok, so I might as well wear a wicker clothes hamper and my off-the-street pashmina shawl.

“Well, I guess you are getting married without me.  Because I am not going to walk down the aisle in some Pottery Barn wedding gown!!!”

“Sweeeee-tieeeeee.  Don’t.  It’ll be fine.”


Then I thought about what it would be like to look for another dress. 


This day in Bloggerville

Forgive me, Joni Mitchell.  But it is my birthday and I can’t help but fixate on my mother (z”l) and these ten birthdays since she died, so I made up a verse:

♪ And the seasons, they go ’round and ’round . . .♬

♪Ten birthday cakes and candles come ‘n gone now,
brown hair has turned to gray hair ’round her crown.
She is joyful, even happy ‘though not completely,
’cause Mom won’t see her in her wedding gown.♬
♪ And the seasons, they go ’round and ’round . . .♬ 
The Blogger family 1966 (I was 2).


Dear Mom:

Ten wishes on ten birthday cakes that will never come true.

Every year on your birthday, SOB recounts what you said on your last one, December 11, 2002: “if only my wish could come true . . . ”  I get it.  Hope, reined in by reality.

Dad remembered to call (SOB reminded him).

Remember my short-lived practice of sending you a “thank you” note on my birthday?  The first year, you thought it was very clever.  And then, as you did every year, you launched into the apocryphal story of my noble birth.

SOB and HOSOB sent flowers.  I am giving SOB the silent treatment because I told her to focus on her re-certification exam tomorrow and that she was excused from familial obligations.  If SOB doesn’t realize that I am giving her the silent treatment, I will wait until exactly one minute after her exam to tell her.  It is the least I could do for my big sister.

BOB sent me a positively hysterical email:

“Hope you are having a good day. Maybe you are even playing hooky from work, having a leisurely breakfast with [POB], planning to have lunch with [SOS], getting a relaxing workout in or nap after lunch, then go out to a nice sushi dinner and enjoy a nice glass of wine, read with [SOS] at bedtime, and watch an old movie before drifting off to a relaxing night sleep… or NOT. You are probably getting worn out by some asshole lawyer or ungrateful client and worrying about getting paid or getting business. The life of a lawyer.

Seriously, I hope you do get to enjoy your day. We are all looking forward to coming up in a few weeks. Everyone here sends love and hugs.

I love you,


BOB nailed it. Very funny and very true tableau of life as a lawyer.  But actually I did take the day off, because you and the wedding loom large on my birthday and I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.

This is our unique day; we were one, and then we were two.  48 years ago, I emerged from you, cranky and crying.  plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.  That’s what POB would say if I said this to her.  Yep, she’s right.

I blew out one candle for me and lit another (a Yahrzeit candle) for you.  Because this is our day.

Now that you are gone, I carry you inside of me.  (Just so you know, you are looking slim in our wedding dress.)

I love you,