Friday, December 5, 2008

An Open Letter to Governor Ed Rendell Regarding Wine and Spirits Stores

Dearest Eddie,

I hope this letter finds you and Marjorie well. I have been meaning to call on you, but then just today I was in a Wine and Spirits Shoppe and it became urgent for me to write to you at once.

Now, you know I don’t fully understand your reasoning for only allowing state owned stores, but this is not the reason for my letter. I was wandering around a state store (as my mother calls them) looking for a nice bottle to unwind with tonight (it was a really rough day). As I strolled up and down and up and down, through California and Chile and France and Italy, not really impressed by anything I saw.

I heaved a big sigh, wondering why I never had this problem at restaurants or bars. That is when it occurred to me – Ed, our state stores are organized all wrong.

Hear me out.

Okay, so I will admit, I know nothing about wine. NOTHING. I don’t know what a tannin is, I don’t know what I am looking at when I swirl wine around in the glass, and I never, ever, note hints of cherry or smoke or nutmeg. I have once tasted grapefruit in a sauvignon blanc and on another, separate occasion detected grass in a different sauvignon blanc (this is why whenever I want to look smart about wine I order a sav blanc and drink mostly Guinness in the winter).

However, I do know what wine I like and in restaurants it is always easy to find. Why, you ask? Because they organize it by type, not region. Merlot, Cabernet, Pinot Noir and (my personal favorite) Interesting Reds (or blends).

Now, you may worry, about wine snobs that care about where their interesting red comes from. Well, I have thought about that, and one, most of my acquaintances that know anything about wine buy it in New Jersey or Delaware (apparently it is cheaper there and the selection is better). Also, the wine connoisseurs that are still shopping in our state, well, they are going to want to inspect the bottle anyway. Unlike me, who buys based on type and then label/name cuteness/cleverness, those who are in the know will pick up a bottle, check the year and the valley and ruminate on soil conditions and then put it back on the shelf and move on. Does it really matter if they are pulling that bottle of merlot off a shelf labeled “merlot” versus “domestic”? Hell, they wouldn’t care if you put all the red on one side, the white on the other and the pink in the middle. This way the could just shop around the perimeter like they do at the grocery store.

Big Sigh.

Sorry, this whole thing gets me very upset. Okay, that’s all. I hope this doesn’t dampen your holiday spirit and that I will still see you at my Mummer’s Party – this time I promise to save you some tomato pie. If not, I will be sure to high five you on Broad Street in May.



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stay Tuned

I am so sorry readers (all seven of you) for neglecting my blog these past few weeks. For those of you that are living under a rock (or completely oblivious to all things sports related) the Philadelphia Phillies are in the World Series. And, while no, Charlie Manual has not asked me to play (a huge mistake on his part), in addition to all my other social and professional activities I have had to go to bars to cheer on the Phightin’ Phils (most notably Pat Burrell) and even hosted my very first World Series Party. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel as we approach the last few games. Then I promise, I will be back to you, my readers, with stories from the bars and parties as well as the subway, the city and of course the office – of which, you will never believe who got her boobs done.

Keep the faith.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pretty Woman

I have often wondered why I am still single – and not just when some lame ass guy in a bar asks me in lieu of a cheesy pick-up line. Seriously, I am smart, funny, at least a six on a scale of one to ten, so why then don’t I always have a date for major holidays.

When I was younger, my mother would tell me it is because I am too intimidating (now she tells me it is because I am too picky). At the time I shrugged her off, blaming it on something more tangible, like my small breasts or my big nose or my protruding chin.

Now, though, I wonder if my mother wasn’t on to something. Now I think that guys don’t often approach me because most guys don’t think they can afford me.

Let me explain.

First, I don’t often go out on a Friday night wearing dirty jeans and work make-up. Even on Friday nights that I go out straight from work I usually put on a good face. But this Friday night was different.

I was home with my hair pulled back, wearing my glasses, boy-shorts, a zip-up sweater and Uggs. I had two glasses of wine and had spent my evening watching the debate and texting the Republican. I knew there was a chance Stanley would text wanting to hang out, but I guess most of me figured, after a long train ride back from New York, he may prefer to spend the rainy Friday night home with his dog.

Second, as noted above, it was raining. And we were only headed to a neighborhood bar to wait for Bridie to fill us in on her crucial is-there-any-chemistry second date. I saw no point in making a pair of clean jeans filthy, especially when the ones I chose had at least one more wear in them. The sweater I was wearing that night, well there is no excuse really for this sweater. It is a work sweater that my mom bought me. Practical enough, but not something I would ever wear to a bar on a night that I was looking to pull. Of course if I was looking for a boyfriend I also wouldn’t have walked out of my apartment with my bangs clipped back.

Okay, to recap, it was 10:45, on a rainy Friday night. I was wearing dirty jeans, an ugly purple sweater, flip flops (why not) with my bangs pinned back and only eyebrows on my face. I needed a cab and so I stepped out into the "loading only" spot in front of my apartment and stared at the oncoming traffic.

I wasn’t out there long when a big, white Mercedes-Benz with an equally as large white man pulled up along side of me and rolled down his window. Later, Stanley would ask if I thought the guy was going to ask for directions. Actually I thought the guy wanted to park illegally as I stepped back toward the curb.

But he wasn’t looking for directions or even a parking space. Instead he yelled out the window, “Looking for a date?”

I don’t think it immediately registered what he was asking because it took me a minute to respond. And even when I did muster “No, I’m looking for a cab.” I don’t think I was all that convincing as he remained double parked in front of me as if waiting for me to change my mind.
When he finally did pull away and a cab pulled up it hit me -- I was just propositioned on Broad Street.

The next day, when I got to tell Bridie about my night (as it turns out there was chemistry) she said she was relieved this happened. She had wanted to tell me for sometime now that I look like a high-class hooker, she just didn’t know how to bring it up.

I told her I was going to make myself a t-shirt that read “20% off.”

Monday, September 15, 2008

Welcome to the Charles Townsend Agency

I imagine a number of you wonder where I work; or at least what it is I do. Well, in the interest of maintaining my anonymity, I’m not going to tell you. I will tell you, however, where I sometimes fantasize that I work. There are times, okay a lot of times, when I like to pretend that I work in a private investigator’s office; particularly one Charles Townsend Agency.

For those of you that don’t know, Charles Townsend was the Charlie that signed the Angels’ paychecks.

See, like the Charles Townsend Agency, we have a head honcho that finds the clients and introduces us to them and doles out assignments, but for the most part remains a voice over a speakerphone. Though I have met our Charlie, even spoken to him face to face; at our holiday lunch last year he even stopped by for a record 15 minutes.

We also have a Bosley. He knows Charlie the best, hangs out with him, calls him; rumor has it they have even chilled together outside of the office. On a day-to-day basis, Bosley provides us with all sorts of direction and encouragement. He even lends a hand when our caper requires a man.

And then of course there are the Angels, though our group has more than three. Nonetheless, we Angels are all young, all varying degrees of attractive and, oh right, all women. Now, since the departure of Theresa, all of our Angels are brunettes. Something Bosley has tried to correct by suggesting I return to my natural, blonde coloring. And while I have considered it, especially after he told me I look younger with lighter hair, I don’t think I have the body to be our Farrah or Cameron.

Plus I much prefer to be the tough one, who is never in a bikini but is always getting into trouble by falling for the wrong sort of man.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Say I Shouldn’t See Your Thighs If You Are Over 35!

A long time ago in an office way up high, there worked an adorable, little intern that liked to wear pink mini dresses and Pucci heals. Sometimes she wore turquoise mini dresses with Jimmy Choo slides. Other days she wore white mini-dresses with knee-high boots. Her skin was perpetually tan, her hair perfectly coifed. In other words, the personification of a gum drop.

Then, one day, the evil office manager walked into Gum Drop’s office, closed the door and had a very brief conversation with her. She opened the door, crossed the hall and sat down in front of my desk. Office Manager explained to me that she had to have a talk with Gum Drop about the length of her skirt. It seems clients were complaining that they were just too short and not professional.

I looked across the hall at Gum Drop, wishing I had her courage to wear coral, and wondered when she ever met a client. I then wonder which of our clients complained considering most of our clients are men and I couldn’t picture any of them complaining about having to look at Gum Drop’s legs.

I then looked back at the Office Manager, a woman that also liked to wear dresses, though hers were mostly neutral tones, and heals, but in black or brown.

And then, one day, Gum Drop left our drab and dreary land for a place (that I hope) appreciated her South Beach Barbie ways.

I bring up Gum Drop because today I had a client meeting. And because I am very serious and very professional, I put on my black suit and I straightened my hair and I wore pearl earrings and a neutral toned lipstick. I did everything I believed one should do when meeting a client and wanting to win them over with one’s brain, not beauty. My outfit would make Office Manager proud.

A few minutes before the meeting my coworker and cohort for the next hour step into my office. I was just finishing up some work when she asked if I was ready for this meeting.

“Yeah,” I responded. “I just need to finish up this one thing.”

To which she responded, and actually she responded before I could finish, “I even wore my special dress today.”

This was when I looked up to see what my senior, in all the ways that implies, co-worker was wearing.

Do you remember the green dress JLo wore to the Grammy’s? Well it wasn’t that bad, but pretty darn close. On top, I could see her bra and at the bottom, I could see a whole lotta thigh. Actually now that I think about it, while it wasn’t as revealing as JLo’s dress, the green dress might have had more fabric overall. It certainly was more fashionable. And had my co-worker selected this dress for a night out with the girls, or an eighth grade dance, perhaps I wouldn’t be so shocked.

Instead, she chose to wear it into my office. I quickly averted my eyes, hoping I had looked away in time to avoid any face contortions. I then told her to go ahead without me, as my last couple of things would surely take me more than a few minutes.

When I finally did leave for the meeting, I left my suit coat at my desk in an effort to not look too dressed up next to the Brat Doll’s Mom that would be running the show.

Later, as I walked out of our meeting, wishing BDM (Brat Doll's Mom) would not get up to shake hands with the clients, I wondered if there would be any “complaints” made about her and her mini dress.

My money is on BDM remaining un-reprimanded.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Road Map to Washing That Man Out of Your Hair

When Houdini disappeared I fell apart a little bit. I was despondent and drunk and in general, just asking why. The following morning, despite Svetlana’s advice, I went into work. Big, puffy eyes and all. Marie, who had recently experienced a similar disappearing act felt terrible for me and halfway through the day sent an e-mail checking in on me. I responded that I was fine, that I had a plan. Well, this plan just tickled Marie to her very core and so she sent it off to her best friend, whose boyfriend had just dumped her (there must have been something in the water that week).

Anyway, fast forward a month and Marie has another friend sitting through another vanishing act. Her friend asked just how long one should be miserable about this, to which Marie sent her my trusted timeline. And because this timeline seems to be helping all of Marie’s friends through their time in need, I thought I would share it with you.

Keep in mind, this is not tried and true or tested at a top-notch University. It doesn’t date back generations. It is just what seemed reasonable to me the morning after. For ease of reference, I was dumped on a Tuesday. Those of you dumped on a Thursday or Friday or Sunday may need to adjust accordingly.

I just told Bridie, today and tomorrow I get to be gross about all of
this. I get to drink and eat whatever I want and cry if I have to and
wonder what the eff happened and be a total drain to my friends. Then
Friday, during the day I get to be hungover. Friday night, Bridie and I
are going out with the gays and that is when I am going to celebrate being
single again. No more feeling sorry for myself or wondering what the eff I
could have done to change things. Saturday and Sunday I jumpstart new me
-- back to the gym and the pool and writing and reading and all the other things
that fell to the side since Houdini.

Oh, Saturday is when I officially stop smoking (again) too.

In the interest of total disclosure, I didn’t stop smoking for another two weeks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Big Hands Trump Expressive Face

I was recently in a meeting with my boss when she said something so absolutely horrifying I felt the need to retell it to Bridie over a couple bottles of wine.

Bridie asked, “Oh my word, what did you do?”

“Nothing. I just sat there and pretended to take notes. I couldn’t look up at her for even a second. I was so afraid I couldn’t control the look of horror that was surely distorting my face.”

To which Bridie responded, “Tatiana! God gave you big hands for a reason.”

Let me explain.

My face expresses every thought I am having at the very moment I am having it. And it is almost impossible to control, because most of the time I don’t know it is doing it. Rather, I am now aware that this sometimes happens, and can even sometimes fake a blank look (that really isn’t blank so much as a cross between upset and bored). But there are other times when I have a thought that I wasn’t aware there was a face you could attach. Like the time a co-worker walked into a client meeting wearing pink pants. I thought (not out loud) “ Really, pink pants to a client meeting?”

He looked at me to say hello, but instead asked, “What is wrong with pink pants?”

Until recently, my only remedy was to look away until I thought I had it under control and even then I would often have to look away again to make adjustments.

That is until I learned my big hands were the antidote to my anti-poker face.

Oh, right, I also have abnormally large hands for a woman.

I was dating Houdini for about a month when he come over with a “surprise.” Only seeing bags and fearing the worse, I hid in my bedroom until everything was in place, trying to focus all of my strength on keeping a straight, excited face. A happy, you-are-the-best-boyfriend-in-the-whole-world face.

Houdini finally gave the all clear, I stepped out and much to my wondering eyes did appear a coffee table covered with happy holiday hoopla. Really, hokie holiday hoopla. The sort of set up you would have for a seven-year old.

And here's the thing, for me, faking an expression is worse than just having the negative one. Because the negative one is still there, underneath the "oh so happy" face, thus mixing to create a face that makes babies cry.

So I threw my hands up over my mouth, exclaimed, "oh my god," and then ran up to him and kissed him so my face would be too close to see. While we kissed I tried to compose myself. Then I looked again at the coffee table, felt my face twist up into "what the fuck" and pulled him close to me to kiss again. That went on for another fifteen minutes.

The next day I was over at Bridie's drinking more wine in an effort to kill the brain cells that harbored the memory of that coffee table. We were out on her deck, smoking, laughing and retelling the story as more and more folks joined us. Each time my hands covered more and more of my face until Bridie pointed out -- my hands can cover my whole face.

Seriously. My. Whole. Face.

Our eyes grew wide at this discovery. Never again would I have to worry about reacting to anything. I would just overreact and cover my face until I could compose myself.

See, sometimes alcohol really does make you smarter.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Well, At Least I Didn't Catch the Bouquet

Friday morning, my source at the City Hall subway stop told me the party was in Philly this past weekend.

Of course none of my friends could confirm this. No, they were either down the shore or sitting in air conditioning.

I was at a wedding in Pennsyltucky.

It was a lovely wedding, for all the reasons that everyone always lists. Oh, the bride was radiant, the groom so handsome, the flowers were gorgeous and the view of the golf course and surrounding valley at sunset, with a cool breeze blowing on a hot July evening was absolutely breathtaking.

And I really do mean all of that. But that is not why I thought it was lovely. I mean all of that was nice, but it paled in comparison to all the young, lovely men that were surrounding me. See, the groom was a rower, and all of his friends are rowers. And for those of you that don’t know, rowers make the most excellent wedding guests.

See, rowers are tall with broad shoulders and sun-kissed skin. They are born and bred to wear suits and look good doing it. And there I was, suddenly single and surrounded by young yummies. It was as if I was starring in my very own J. Crew spread.

But along with looking so good, Rowers have a tendency to be whores. Oh of course I don’t mean the groom. Or most any of the married rowers I know. Mostly I just mean the young and/or single ones.

So even as I breathed in all the young dudes, I smiled, knowing I was much too smart to fall for their charm.

That is, the radical feminist me that everyone at that wedding thought I was, smiled and ignored just how good they all looked. Real Tatiana, the same Tatiana that has fallen for their charms oh so many times before, worried and sweat. . .a lot.

Let’s fast forward to the reception. I knew a large number of the guests from my days on the water, but I hadn’t seen many of them since I moved out of the neighborhood (Fairmount then, East Falls now) and so, all of the conversations went a lot like this.

“Hey, Tatiana, you look great. Are you back in Philly?”

“No, well, yeah, no. I never left Philly. I’m still there.”

“I thought you moved.”


“No, really I thought you moved out of the area.”

This is when I would purse my lips, shake my head and swallow some more wine.

But as tedious as all of this was, I welcomed the distraction from the really smoldering hot, tall, well-dressed rower in the corner that just looked like he was born to get me in trouble. This is the part that the real Tatiana worried about. The part where you mix a really hot rower with music and me, add alcohol and shake well.

The result is Radical Feminist Tatiana’s kryptonite.

It’s the reason why I am not allowed in Fairmount after midnight. No, I don’t turn into a pumpkin – it’s much worse. The next morning I find myself hailing a cab, sans my dignity and at least one item of my clothing.

Fortunately I made it back to Philly with my bra, underwear, dress and both my shoes and most of my dignity.

But what can I say, I hear Bon Jovi and I have to dance.

But back to the reason I didn’t jump across smokin’ hot rower’s table and sit on his face. It had less to do with my own resolve and more to do with a) his date; she looked like another rower and probably could kick my ass; and b) my best friend from college would catch my eye, every time I tried to catch his, to remind me what a really, really bad idea that would be.

And while I am glad I made it back with the matching lingerie I had just purchased; don’t think for a minute I haven’t thought about the big dumb animal almost every minute since.

I’ve tried not to. I know it is a really, really bad idea. But then I think this may be just what I need to celebrate the big 3-0. A himbo.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hair of the Dog that Bit Ya

I am hungover.

We went out last night for Center City Sips and kept sipping ‘til just past my bedtime. So, on mornings like this one, it's the little things that get me through.

My pretty, flirty skirt to make me look nice on the outside, despite feeling haggard on the inside.

My neighbor singing along to the 60s hit, “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” off-key with her windows open and without a care in the world. It got stuck in my head as I walked the pooch this morning; a welcome relief from “Amish Paradise” which was stuck in my head since Saturday.

Yes, “Amish Paradise” by Weird Al Yankovic.

Then there is the guy that sells newspapers in City Hall. Not talking to anyone in particular, he gives passer-bys a taste of what they are missing not buying the newspaper – complete with his own editorial. Today he was rather cantankerous about all the press coverage of Christie Brinkley’s divorce, noting that literally thousands of people get divorced, why should anyone care about Brinkley’s? I don’t know why, but that man makes me smile.

Oh, and of course, the first thing in the morning e-mail exchange with Bridie and Salty about plans for this evening, since they both missed out on last night’s festivities.

And here I thought it was going to be a bad day.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Be the First on Your Block to Own. . .

On Sunday mornings I love to read the comics. After cruising through the rest of the paper and separating out the circulars with good deals from the ones I am totally not interested in, but before I get to clipping coupons, I read the funnies.

A few weeks back there was a strip that had two boys at the mall forced to overhear someone’s cell phone conversation. The boys agreed that the mall should have a space where one can go for some privacy. Maybe a little room, with a door, and then the one suggested that this small room, with a door could also have a book that lists everyone’s number and a spare phone in case your cell phone dies.

Hahahahahahaha. Get it? They were describing a telephone booth. The very thing cell phones made obsolete? Oh (imagine me wiping tears from my eyes) man, I love the funnies.

Anyway, our company has recently moved away from plastic utensils to cups and cutlery made from corn in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint. The fact that they are slowly driving everyone insane is just an ancillary benefit.

You see, this corncob concoction was powerless against my pretty soft and spreadable cream cheese, it even folded under the slight pressure it took to spread my very soft peanut butter. Heck, it wasn’t even capable of moving my sugar-free preserves around an English muffin. You can see how this could lead to some frustration, first thing in the morning, before one’s coffee has had enough time to kick-in.

Now I had recently read, in a book about being a better employee that someone anonymously left on my desk chair, that instead of reporting problems, I should find solutions. So I sat there, spreading my cream cheese with my finger and wondered if there was a way to make everyone happy.

Biodegradable utensils did not make me happy because I found them to be as useless as spell check when the language is set to German. However, billions of plastic knifes taking up space in a landfill makes Al Gore sad. So, what if they weren’t sitting in a landfill? What if we bought super sturdy, extra durable plastic knifes that we could use again and again. Maybe ones made from the same sort of plastic that my water bottle is made out of.

Then I remembered, according to recent reports my Nalgene bottle is trying to kill me. So maybe instead of a durable plastic, we could find some other sturdy, reusable, washable material, like stainless steal. Eureka! We could mass produce knifes from. . . and then I laughed (out loud of course).

So that night I got home and slipped a butter knife from my utensil drawer into my pocketbook. I just hope our office’s zero tolerance weapon policy doesn’t stand in the way of using it on my bagel.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

With Age Comes Crowsfeet

I’m getting old.

This morning I had to pluck (another) gray hair from my head. Yes, yes, I know I pull one out and seven sprout up in its place, but I have found that the ones that grow back are smoother and more apt to lay flat against my head, blending in with my other, not gray hair. The ones I have to pull out are the crazy, scraggly, rebel grays that defy mousse and shine serum and gel and straightening irons to kink up and out at all sorts of crazy angles. I personally think these rebel hairs get their strength (and shape) from the journey they must go through to grow two inches over night, but that is just me. And it doesn’t really matter, as they all meet the same, dastardly end.

Also this week, coming back from lunch with a bag from a local retailer, my boss asked if I weren’t too old to shop at said store. I was moderately peeved and said as much. It wasn’t like I was carrying a “Forever 21” bag or a “Delia’s” bag or even an “Abercrombie and Fitch” bag (though I do own a pair of their jeans and I have to say they really are lovely). Still as I laid into my boss about how such a comment could have me owning his house one day I wondered if part of my anger wasn’t masking that when I was there shopping I had worried about the very same thing.

Then the final straw hit the camel’s back when I shared the elevator of my building the next morning with a colleague and five or six summer interns. As the summer interns stepped off at their floor, the colleague, who I have only spoken to once before over cocktails at some reception, turned to me and said, “Are they getting younger or are we getting older?” My eyes spun behind my closed eyelids. I reached out to the elevator wall for support. It was a comment I specifically recall my mother or my father or one of their friends making on any number of occasions. Not to mention until that moment I would never have placed myself in this guy’s peer group. He was in a suit, carrying a briefcase. He had slicked back hair, a wedding ring and I would bet a calendar packed with meetings and lunches and kids’ soccer games. Worse, with only a moment’s hesitation, I responded back “they’re getting younger” because I knew it was what I was supposed to say.

I was just glad that the elevator doors opened to my floor before I passed out or threw up all over his shoes. Of course, had I passed out or thrown up, he probably would have assumed I was pregnant and not out late partying like a 22 year old the night before.
So maybe this age thing does have its advantages.