By MBPDLPayday Loans

Category: I Love NYC

Nov 10

{Respite.}

Nothing makes me appreciate leaving home more than visiting my parents.

We’re one of those oddly functional families that love each other dearly and do really well living far apart and visiting one another after long absences.

Maxine and I spent a “Weekend” {Sunday- Tuesday, because we have no sense of time} visiting my parents in Upstate. I’ll be home all of 30 hours before James and I head out to Washington DC for our two year anniversary, which happens to be tomorrow.We’ll be gone through Sunday, and I’m putting everything on hold for the long overdue getaway– even my novel.

I broke 20,000 words on Saturday of last week, {Day 7} so I don’t feel much guilt over it. {That and I’ll likely add another 10K today, before James gets home.}

I’ll see you next Tuesday, and next week I promise lots of photos and a summary of NaNoWriMo thus far. Have a safe next-few-days, folks. :)

-MM.

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Aug 11

Here come the Bride{smaids}

Maxine — the Maid of Honor– was a good sport and tolerated a lot of “Hey, turn and smile!” at J. Crew last week. She gets brownie points, and a post all her own over at The Wedding Blog.

Find it directly {here}.

-MM.

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Jul 02

Nora Ephron

Yesterday morning, before I left the house, I had to empty out the six inches of Stuff that had accumulated at the bottom of my bag. It occurred to me as I sifted that I was one of Those Women that Nora Ephron had written about– one who was Bad At Purses.

I paused for a moment to consider my bag (but not too long because we were already late out the door) and whether or not I hated my purse the way Nora Ephron hates hers (the reasons for which she chronicled in her essay, I Hate My Purse.)

I decided, as I took into account the pile of Post-Its (some used, some new, and who can really tell the difference?), business cards, the lone tampon, an old rumpled check, three pay stubs, two tubes of Carmex, a myriad of napkins, a handful of markers and one straw that had wriggled free of its wrapping– that I do not hate my purse.

I’m just bad at it.

As coincidence would serve, I managed to refill my purse a lot faster than I had emptied it. In went the wallet, the laptop, the Moleskine, the passport and the Thank-You cards I still need to write. It laid there, half-spilling, sort of lifeless on the bed, bloated again with Stuff. New Stuff. But still.

James looked at me: “Do you need a new bag?”

“I think I could use one with a bit more structure, toward the bottom,” I told him as I picked my bag up and set it on the floor. On cue, it flipped onto its side and started spewing its contents onto the bedroom floor. I nodded, “Every time I set this one down, it flips over and empties itself out.” As proven, this was not untrue.

But it was not until later in the day when I (also coincidentally) realized that I had forgotten to put all the writing I meant to edit into my bag that Bigger Things were set into motion. With nothing to edit and 2.5 hours to kill before I met Rosa, I had a lot of time to kill and a very short attention span. My phone was dying, so instead of reading my Kindle App I decided to wander from Bryant Park to 46th/ Fifth Ave to buy a Real Book With Pages at Barnes and Noble. Specifically, I was in the market for another dose of Nora Ephron. I wanted to get Heartburn.

I flirted for a couple moments with the idea of instead getting a Chelsea Handler book, but let’s be honest. Chelsea is funny and all, but she’s no Nora. The more I read, the more Heartburn made me want to write. The more it also made me want to write a cook book, or, anyway, any sort of book that would then somehow cross my path with Nora’s and give me an excuse to invite her over for lunch.

Lunch, I think, is the new dinner, where you can prepare almost anything without the meal taking itself too seriously. Lunch is my third-favorite meal, after Brunch and Dessert (which, in my opinion, is a meal all itself if you eat it properly).

I read on the steps of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral (because if you happen to be in that neighborhood and you’re clearly a local, then why not? So I did.) I often gravitate to that cathedral, anyway, because that’s where my father and I light candles for Mimi and Papa whenever he visits, which is exactly what I did after I read Heartburn for a bit.

Now, to be fair, I didn’t have the $2 cash suggested donation for the candle-offering. I had $.67 cents, total. But I also had a serious case of dehydration because I had given the water I purchased with my lunch to a thirsty-looking homeless lady (who asked me for change before I realized I had $.67 cents I could have spared). She needed the water more, anyway. I did the math in my head and reasoned that I had not only given water to the needy, but had given my last pennies as an offering. From what I remember of the Bible, Sweet Baby Jesus would probably have been satisfied with all this benevolence as Better Than $2. So I lit a candle and said a prayer for Mimi and Papa and headed out on my way.

Now you should know that I absolutely did not leave the church with the intention of buying a new dress, but these things just tend to happen to me, planned or (more often) not. Had I not popped into Ann Taylor, though, two very startling revelations may never have occurred to me, revelations that are certain to Change My Life Forever.

1. I dress alarmingly like my grandmother used to (and, moreover, this does not bother me in the slightest).

2. I truly believe that Nora Ephron is one of the best writers, ever and one of my life-goals is to one day have someone, somewhere, review my work and say, “This young lady is the next Nora Eprhon!” … or something to that tune.

She’s one of the Best Ever, and I’ll maintain that to my death, and I’ll tell you why: She writes in a way that really lets a certain kind of woman (the kind that are bad at purses and run commentary to themselves as they cook supper) really latch on to what she’s saying.

Her writing has it all– the meat and potatoes and even the pie (and sometimes, even the recipes). If you’ve ever lost something in your apartment only to look down after an hour of searching to find it was in your hand all along, her words are for you. If you’re perpetually a step behind on the maintenance of your cuticles, eyebrows, bunyons, under-eye circles or leg hair, her words are for you. If you have ever, a single moment in your life, spelled out your perfectly rational behavior only to have your significant other look at you like the lunatic you are, her words, my dear, are for you.

Which explains in no small way why her words are so much for me.

Every time I lose my voice or style or tone, I read Nora and I always find them again shortly thereafter. Her writing summons them back again like bashful children who wandered off without permission, their faces taught with timid smiles as they shuffle their feet. Hullo, they say. Sorry to keep you waiting.

How it took me so long to realize this about her and her writing and its effect on me is beyond me, but there it is, all because I bought a scarf along with my new dress– a scarf Nora would probably love.

And it’s not– as Nora might guess– because I’m starting to hate my neck.

I just also happen to really love scarves.

-MM.

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Jun 10

Self-Empowerment

I had the extreme good fortune of the Viacom shareholders meeting being yesterday in New York City. Not that I own stock, or would have been able to attend, but the event brought one of my most respected mentors and (now that we’re all pretending I’m a grown up) dearest friends down from CNY and I was able to turn off Real Life for a couple hours when we went out to dinner.

It got me thinking.

I had, sitting in her office one day, asked a simple question about an initiative our organization had been working on. The question was a bit of a tangent, and certainly there were more important things I should have been working on, but her response was as it always was: supportive and empowering. “Great idea, Mallory. We should look into that.”

Heather is a truly, truly beautiful person inside and out. I’m lucky to know her, and blessed to have her in my life.

Six years and several succeding generations later in the organization’s life, the question triggered a study that generated legislation that specifically accomplished what we had been looking to do, which was keep very dangerous materials out of the hands of children.

Win. And even though I was just the drop that blipped the ripple, it’s very very humbling to be told by someone you respect so much, “That? That started because you had fire and initiative.”

I realized that I need more conversations like that in my life, only stated in the present tense, and I need to have them with myself. I have a thousand creative I’m not entertaining– things that I truly think would make the world a better place– because I let myself believe I don’t have the time, energy, resources or talent.

Really, I’ve lost my drive. I’ve become this odd womanchild hybrid, enough naivety to begin to understand just how much I still don’t know. And it’s intimidating. I used to be an unstoppable force, ambitious and optimistic and stubborn and insatiably thirsty for life. Now? I’m just tired.

I don’t cut myself slack, sure. But I don’t make myself push anymore either. It doesn’t feel like there’s room to anymore. And what’s the point of pushing on walls? There isn’t one.

That shouldn’t, however, stop me from finding the door and allowing myself outside, into the sunshine where I can twirl with my arms out.

Now… Where did I put that key…?

-M.

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Apr 13

I am Woman.

Made a friend on the train to work today. How? Well, I smacked her with my bag.

Accidentally. I accidentally smacked her with my very heavy bag. And then we were friends.

I was late, train was full and nobody would move to let me get past the traffic jam just inside the subway doors. So I pried my way toward the back, and when I turned to take my spot, I hit a lady who was sitting in the knees with my heavy, heavy bag. Hard.

“I am SO SORRY!” I said in an urgent hushed whisper. The alarm and sincerity must have been apparent. “Oh, no. You’re fine!” she told me. She smiled. I smiled. I took a closer look at her and complimented her beautiful silk scarf. She thanke me graciously and we chatted politely for two stops until she exited the train. Her name is Nancy, and before she left, she wished me a good day.

She made my morning.

A couple weeks ago, during a bout of fairly violent emotional soul-searching, I came to a sudden and startling realization: I am here to help. I thought I had tapped in to some sort of higher cosmic destiny for myself, certain that Sweet Baby Jesus himself was endorsing this revellation.

“I am here to help!” I said out loud to James. He tries to piece together where it had come from. (Admittedly it was not part of our previous conversation, not that that stopped me.)

“You mean, like, with the dishes?”

Not quite. I see all the time people less fortunate, and it seems unfair, and I feel helpless. I’d like to save everyone. For a very long time I chalked it up to Being Crazy, which runs in my genetics much like freckles and pale skin and blue eyes, only in stronger concentrations.

Tutns out that instead of finding a larger cosmic purpose in life, I had really just struggled through a barrier of biological reality. The book I’m devouring about female psychology, Why She Buys by Bridget Brennan, acutely runs you through what makes women tick, as both consumers and human beings.

My want to over-communicate and rush to the rescue? All girlie-fueled. My ability to ask anyone for directions? Estrogen-based. Even my tendency to prefer one-on-one friendships over always being in a group is derived from the fact that my brain is set up to operate a certain way.

How awesome am I? I am Woman.

I’m eagerly reading on, learning an abundance about myself and my customers. Women… We’re a whacky bunch. But once you get what makes us tick, we’re a very interesting species. Read the book. Get to know us.

The search for the higher cosmic purpose continues.

xo
-M.

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Apr 08

Gettin’ Hitched

Let me just preface ALL OF THIS by saying NO FINAL DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE, yet.

At Easter dinner, James’ grandfather, who is easily one of the most intelligent, sweetest men I’ve even been fortunate enough to know, put me into a mild panic over not booking a wedding venue in time. I’m going to have to marry him at a banquet hall! I balked to myself, convinced that the only place left “this late in the game” (581 days to do, and all) would be in a trailer park. With pigs.

I tried not to imagine removing those stains from my beautiful dress. I tried not to imagine Maxine loudly declaring that this is the worst wedding, ever! (And, also not to imagine Rosa agreeing with her, while Kristin held both her children high above the pigs, and Renee and Christine dutifully tried to keep me from crying.) We got home that night and I pulled out my laptop. I was not about to get married at a banquet hall, in a trailer park or anywhere near barn animals. We were going to be civilized about all this nonsense.

We were going to get married like good Catholic City Folk do.

Ten minutes later I had decided that we were going to get married in one of my absolute favorite places ever, on the face of the earth: a book store.

Now, of course, it wasn’t just any book store that popped up in my desperate Google search. For any of the rest of it to make sense, I must now tell you that James and I are very uncomfortable spending upwards of $15K on an event that is really only meaningful to a very concentrated group of people. Not only does it seem a bit self-indulgent, but every day there’s something thrown in our face in this city to remind us how grateful we are for what we have, and how helpless we feel about paying those blessings forward to others.

It came down to this: If we’re going to pay all this money to hold this wedding, anyway, could we find a way to do it for the betterment of a community?

Turns out, you can. Ladies and gents: our top venue contender. We checked it out Monday evening, and both really like the space. It’s a little left of center, but so are we. I love the idea of holding a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in a vintage-feeling book store, and  their services are all-inclusive and very competitive. As an added bonus, all the proceeds from the wedding fees themselves go to support Housing Works’ homeless shelters.

It also happens to be right around the corner from Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is one of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever seen. St. Patrick holds a special place in my family’s religious culture (you know, being overwhelmingly Irish and all) and if I’m going to get married in a Church, I’d prefer it to be one of St. Patrick’s. I’m logical like that.

Renee and I checked out the cathedral on Tuesday, and she and I both alternately got giggly and goose-bumpy. I’ve never been married before, and we’re aiming to get it right the first time, but I’m fairly certain that that’s how it’s supposed to feel when you find the church you’re supposed to get married in.

Initially, we weren’t going to do 2 specific things. 1. Get married in a church and 2. Get married in Manhattan.

When people asked me, at first, what I wanted in a wedding, I said I didn’t care. I meant it. We had an outline, and plans have changed a little. We’re still hammering out a final wedding guest list (we want it to be as intimate as possible) and a final Itinerary of Events (we also want to do a giant pub crawl). But our type-A personalities have most of the necessary pieces in place.

And, as it stands now, I will not have to marry James anywhere near pigs. Unless the drunken Frat-boy types who drink at Gatsby’s on Friday nights count. In which case, I’ll still applaud myself for avoiding trailer parks and banquet halls.

Two out of three isn’t bad.

-M.

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Apr 06

Friendship, and Endurance

Renee is going to be so mad at me.

I spent half my day being overwhelmed and stressed out over things I can’t quite control, and the other half of it coming up for air, hanging out with Renee.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Renee is one and the same as Renee Frawley. Prom Queen. Soccer Star. Chronic Clutz. She has the purest heart I’ve ever encountered, and she thinks my fat little cat is cute. She’s a keeper.

Renee and I go all the way back to 5th Grade, which is a lot farther back than the overwhelming majority of my friends and I go back. She knew me when I was legitimately nobody, and she and I have been through a lot.

It wasn’t always pretty. High school in a small town is often a volatile place for teenage girls, and we all had to clamor to come into our own. Renee and I came out on top, friends after all the dust and drama had settled. Believe me when I tell you that I am a better, stronger, happier person for that one fact.

Renee and I toured SoHo and the Upper East Side, scouting out Catholic Churches for the wedding, a potential venue location and, most excitingly… lunch.

The best part of hanging out with Renee, aside from the constant laughing, is that she and I happen to be on the exact same page in our lives. And to have someone who just gets what you’re saying without having to “relate back” to that point in their life, or struggle to comprehend through some relatable metaphor. She says to me, “I just need one good girlfriend.” and I know exactly what she means. I tell her, “I woke up the other day and realized there are things in my life that I’m allowing to make me so unhappy, I don’t even recognize myself anymore.” and I get back more than just a sympathetic nod. She tells me, “Every day, I appreciate a little more all the things we were taught in Kindergarten. Especially, Life’s too short.

It is. She’s right. Life’s too short to put up with nonsense that doesn’t further your happiness and the success and happiness of those you love. I rooted through Facebook and found myself looking at her photos from waaaayyyy baaaaacccckkkk whhheeeennnn. You know what I found?

Renee and I at her going away party.

Before a graduation party. Renee is picking her sister Kimmie's nose, so it's acceptable. Just, you know. For the record.

I fully intend to earn each and every one of my laugh lines, through hard work and dedication to their development. :)

Look. That’s me. I’m really happy.

I recognize that girl. I saw her today, again, when I was hanging out with Renee, laughing through SoHo and looking at places to marry James. You know what else I recognize? That James isn’t the only one in my life who brings out the best qualities in me.

I suspect that this next phase of my life is going to really test me, in a way I’ve never been tested before. Things are in the works, and I can’t speak to them here, yet. Suffice it to say I’m getting by, and holding close to me the people who make my heart something I’m proud to acknowledge as my own through even the most trying, straining, daunting emotional growth spurts.

And that’s excellent. Because all I need to make it through is simply that: a few good people to hold close until I see the light of day again.

-M.

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Nov 29

Christmas

We officially have our first Christmas tree.

Elephant is convinced that it’s a delicious treat that we brought home just for her to play with.

Moose wishes he could chew it without being sprayed.

James is laying on the floor spraying them both if they try to eat and/or climb it.

Now. She’s a total fakey fake. The cats have already tried to ingest a bough each, and they’re pretty sure James is just playing with them with the water bottle. I boiled cinnamon with orange peels so it smelled like Mimi’s house used to at Christmas time.

James and I have our first Christmas tree. We built it together and tied ribbons through the globes and strung up all the lights. It’s beautiful. And it’s perfect. And it’s all our own.

-M.

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Nov 12

Meatloaf.

James is the best boyfriend, ever.

I was having a sort of crappy day. Sort of crappy meaning that I kept adding things to my To Do Or Everyone Will Die And Be Fired And Never Get Paid And MUTINY WILL ENSUE list faster than I could cross them off.

I did the schedule for next week five times. The first time it was perfect, except, wrong. And then the three times in the middle, it sucked, but was fine. Then the last time, it was perfect and sucked a lot less. So we kept that one. That one was the winner.

James texted me around 4pm: What would you like for dinner?

Kittens. Boiled. With a side of evil, evil spite.

Meatloaf ok? he asked. Yes, dear. Yes, yes it is. Now, to be fair, James does not know the history of me and meatloaf. My mother made the first Meatloaf Memory that I can recollect. It was inedible. I mean like, fork tines bent. The dog wimpered. The garbage disposal groaned. Mom’s brick meatloaf lives in infamy as one of our touchstone jokes. She still takes the chiding well, two decades later.

James’ was decidedly more delicious.

Now, I’ve been told that I have Paula Deen to thank for this juice hunk of deliciousness. And I did ask him why he didn’t use, oh, a meatloaf pan. “It was big.” Yes, yes it was. But I walked into my apartment after a sorta crappy day at work, and the delicious smell of seasoned ground beef and cheesy goodness and sweet tomato sauce mixed in the air and got me drunk as soon as I opened the door.

This is my perfect boyfriend. That’s my delicious, delicious dinner. It’s the reason why I’m now sitting happily watching Grey’s Anatomy with my evil kitten wrapped around my head on the back of the couch and a very full tummy.

Don’t judge me. It might not look as amazing as something Amy Cao came up with. But it’s PERFEFCT, and if you wanna make something of it, I’ll knock you on your ass and hold you down and tell you all the gory details of my sorta crappy day at work, INCLUDING my payroll matrix woes.

Yeah that’s right. Better that you just move it along. Go look at Amy’s cookies. You’ll feel better.

-M.

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Nov 04

Things I Can Spare.

He seemed to be in a hurry, the total stranger. He had styled hair and a nice camel-colored houndstooth coat. He looked like he had had a morning like I had had. He wasn’t smiling.

I saw his metrocard reader flash the most unholy of all error messages when he swiped it: INSUFFICIENT FARE. He was going to run very late.

I had a transfer on my card, because I caught the bus this morning. I had enough on my card to get the both of us on the train. So I did. He was turning, a bit wild-eyed, looking for the metrocard vendor, trying to get out of the way. “Sir! Sir!” I called. He turned to look at me. “It’s ok. I’ve got you. Go ahead.”

And I swiped him through. Because I had the extra ride, and I could spare it. I gave a homeless man my last $2 last night because I could spare that, too. I have the blessed good fortune that leaves me with the security of knowing that if I go to the ATM, there’s more money there for me. I choose to live with the belief that if I were running late and my metrocard expired and a stranger was in a position to help, she would. I believe that because I live that way as often as possible.

If you can spare it, say thank you for the blessing and pay it forward.

The stranger looked at me with such genuine surprise and gratitude… His day got better. It’s 9:30 AM and I’ve given that to someone already. Maybe I’m not off to such a bad start, after all.

Seeing the homeless on the streets, suffering through the colder nights and malnutrition… It breaks my heart. I can’t save everyone, but I can try to help.

James and I–me, especially– need to weed out the excess clothing we have laying around our closets and drawers. Cluttering up our floor and hampers and desk chairs and couch.

And then, I’m taking it all straight to the local charities. There are people out there who can benefit from my years of hoarding clothing. There are people out there who can find far more necessity in the garments I take for granted.

And, if we’re being really honest here, most of what I own are all things I can spare.

So it’s time to be thankful for my blessings, then take a look at where others can benefit and pay it forward.

-M.

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