I Hate New York.

I had a professor in college whose job it seemed was to make every one of his students as stressed out and angry as possible. The night I was accepted into the Graphic Design program I got a phone call from one of the seniors. He said, “Congratulations! You will cry. You know that, right? He makes grown men cry.”

Our professor worked hard at making our lives absolutely miserable. We lost sleep. We worked through days and nights. We had nose bleeds from darkroom chemicals, spray adhesive, fixative. It was like boot camp only without all the potential death and war. (Ok, maybe a little war.)

Naturally, we hated him. Everyone bitched and moaned about how difficult he was and how he was going to kill us all. We collectively hated him. And we collectively talked about it.

And then one day, right before I graduated, I realized something.

There were 23 in my graduating class. We spent countless hours together, sometimes not bathing for days at a time. Sometimes we went 48-hours without brushing our teeth or washing our underarms. We all did this in a studio together, sometimes working over top of one another in the darkroom or the computer lab. Yet, we rarely fought.

Under most circumstances, 23 people living that closely and for that long would have fought. But we spent almost all of commiserating about how much we hated our professor (who was a very smart man and an even better teacher). Did he do it on purpose? Was he merely acting as the tyrannical drill sergeant? Was he getting the best work out of his students by having us direct all of our stress at him instead of at one another?

The idea blew my mind because (even if he didn’t mean to do it) it worked.

I complain a lot about living in New York. I complain on here, to friends and to family. My friends and family (I think) know that I’m just blowing off steam most of the time. But there are some who probably just think I’m a resentful, hateful, cranky bitch.

And I am all those things sometimes, but not most of the time. I am only just now realizing that I may not have painted a very accurate portrait of myself. And judging by the email I receive and some of the comments I get, I know that many people have it very wrong.

So. Here goes nothing.

I’ve given some people the impression that I don’t have any friends who are mothers. That’s untrue. I have actually met several local mothers whom I really like. We try and hang out regularly although nap schedules, partners’ schedules, and overall exhaustion tends to get in our way. But whenever we do find time, we hit the park and gab as our little ones run around for an hour or two. I really enjoy their company and if our living conditions were slightly easier, I think we’d get to spend even more time together. I’m going to miss them so much whenever we leave here, so very much.

I don’t write about them for a number of reasons. The main reason is that I try and respect their privacy. I also don’t have very much time anymore to write coherent essays (or essays at all).

I realize how annoying it can be—trying to fill in the blanks. I get annoyed that people even try. There are far too many blanks to fill in! On here, lately, I paint the smallest portion of a picture representing my life. That may change soon and I hope that it does, but for now, I just don’t have the time. For what it’s worth, I don’t think I’m a bad mother. I don’t think everything is falling apart around me. I am not suffering from self-hatred most of the time. I just tend to bitch a lot on here I guess.

I know that one thing is for certain, I simply need to illustrate somehow that I have a lot of joy in my life. Most urgent, however, since we’ll be leaving New York soon, I must, for the sake of history, illustrate just how much I’m going to miss this place. (I am wiping a tear from my eye as I write this.)

It occurred to me recently that Greenpoint, Brooklyn is the one place that I have lived the longest. (When you add in the time I spent living here before I met Tobyjoe). I love this place. After all, I think (hope?) that it’s pretty safe to say that this is the only place I’ll ever live where I’ll be able to watch a hobo take a dump in my backyard and then wipe his ass.

What’s not to love about that? I mean, as sick as it may be, it’s temporary and slightly hilarious, so I might as well file it under the “Things I Tolerated And Even Laughed About When I Was Younger” category. Also in this category is my difficult and absurd parking fiascos, the half naked man I watched snort heroin at 1 PM at the local public track, and the crack bag I intercepted from my son on the children’s playground. I tolerate the smell of the human waste facility not too far from here and the fact that it wafts up from our sewers at least twice a week making morning walks downright third world. I deal with the loud construction taking place out back now that the hobos are gone. (Is it wrong of me to miss them?) I tolerate the toxic waste dump in our backyard as well as the water bugs (American Cockroaches, you ain’t foolin’ no one, New York) the size of small cats. I even tolerated the crack head that ripped my antenna off of my car so he could smoke up. I even tolerate the insanely high rents and even higher mortgages.

I have tolerated all of this and I continue to do so. And I do think it’ll end up being hilarious one day (assuming that none of us get leukemia from the benzine leak in our backyard).

You simply must tolerate the good, the worse, and the vile if you wish to live in New York. (Switch the city, however, and people might call you insane for putting up with such nonsense.)

But this is New York! New York gets away with being the drunk aunt at the wedding party, the rich 90-year-old with the 24-year-old wife, the strange 7-year-old boy who touches himself too much in public, the gassy grandfather at the dinner table. You shrug it off as expected, maybe joke about it to a few people and get on with your day.

I’m going to miss it. I am going to miss all the weirdness and grime. I am going to miss the fodder for stories to tell people whenever I see them. I am going to miss the defecating hobos, the laughing hipsters with stupid haircuts, the Polish kids who collect sticks.

New York is tolerated because it’s New York and it has a stigma attached to it, whether you agree with it or not. And New Yorkers get to bitch about New York and blame everything bad going on in their lives on the city, like it’s a living thing (or a graphic design professor). At the end of the day New Yorkers all have one thing in common: we get to collectively bitch about how much we hate the city we love.

Photographs are from this series.

Edited to add: I have gotten a lot of email asking where we’re moving and when. We don’t know yet and we don’t know yet. But we know we have to leave here. I’m sorry I have been so vague. It’s not intentional. I am vague because I don’t know the answers yet myself.

Empty Cages Collective

It’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote about Empty Cages Collective. Since then quite a bit has changed. Thanks to many of the people who graciously visit this Web site, ECC received a great number of donations. Lisa has had her arms full with kittens, cats and adoption events, but she expressed to me several times how grateful they are.

Thank you so much.

They also got some press! I’m hoping that’s just the beginning. The more people in New York City who hear about what they’re trying to do, the better life will be for all of us, fuzzy or human.

Last but not least, ECC held an adoption event at The Beehive recently and 7 cats were adopted! Seven. That’s outstanding! They still have a lot more and there are many other colonies out there breeding and breeding, but that’s pretty remarkable for a one-day event.

Anyway, ECC is holding another adoption event this Saturday at Muddy Paws here in Greenpoint. Stop by if you are in the area. We’ll be there as well!


I take Em to the playground a lot. He uses the kiddy swings and I let him run around for a while even though it makes me nervous and I usually need an antacid afterward. You see, Em doesn’t always have the physical ability to necessarily do what he wants to do without causing himself harm. He climbs things and sometimes has no idea how to get down. He trips over unleveled ground. Sometimes he gets shoved to the ground accidentally by the older kids. I constantly walk after him, erratically. Trying to figure out the motions of a toddler is like trying to model fluid dynamics.

He enjoys talking to squirrels and pigeons too. But I think one of his favorite pastimes is picking up sticks. Sometimes he picks up big sticks and sometimes they’re small ones. Usually they’re prime eye-poking instruments and so I snatch them from him before he gets too attached and break them down. I end up giving him a smaller piece in return.

Sometimes he picks up a sticks that are really long—long enough that they don’t pose too much a threat of impalement. So I’ll let him hold onto them for a bit until he grows tired of lugging around such a large item. I’ll then take the stick and sometimes I’ll put it on his stroller. I have learned that if I keep a stick around and he fusses later, it will appease him for at least five minutes. This is a perfect item to have around if I have run an errand or he starts screaming on our walk home.

On Monday we were at the park and Em ran over to the fence to grab two long, lovely sticks up from the ground. They were in that gray area. What I mean is, they were short enough that he could fall on them. So I traded with him. I gave him two smaller sticks and took the longer ones away. I sat there holding onto both sticks.

A brown haired boy walked up to us.

“Give me those sticks” He said.

“What?” I asked him a little shocked.

“Give me that stick. I need it. I neeeeeeed that stick.” He whined and pointed.

“I’ll tell you what, I’ll give you one stick but I want to hold onto the other one.” I handed him a stick.

“Give me the other stick. I need it.” He said.

“No. This is for my son.” I answered. I felt like I was doing somebody else’s job.

“I neeeed that stick!” He said.

“No.” I looked away from him.

He gave up and walked away.

That’s when two aryan poster children walked up to me. They must have been related. One was a tow-headed boy, the other a tow-headed girl.

The thing about children that I have always been wary of and it’s also part of the reason why I never really wanted one of my own, is how downright ignorant they are regarding personal space and privacy. These kids walked directly up to my nose, unaware of my body and its real estate. They’re freakishly direct.

“Give me the stick.” The sister said.

“Yes, we need that stick.” Said the boy.

“We need that sick. We need it.” The pale-headed girl demanded.

“This stick is for my son. He picked up the stick and I am going to save it for him.” I said.

“But we need it. We need that stick.” The girl continued.

“No one needs a stick.” I said. “This one is for my son. There are plenty of sticks. Why not go get your own stick?”

“Because we need that one.” The boy said.

I was arguing with children. What’s wrong with me? I thought.

Finally the aryans gave up. They walked away empty handed.

A third child walked up to me.

Now, I know this next part is going to come off as really politically incorrect. But I have no idea how else to tell it. I’m going to just tell it like how I saw it. Forgive me in advance.

The third kid was just weird looking. He looked like someone you might find after generations of inbreeding. He had blond hair as well. He was tall and very lanky. One arm was under his coat tapping something he had shoved up there. The other one dangled lifelessly next to his body. His hair hadn’t been touched by a brush in some time. And his eyes were so far apart, an entire finger could have rested on the bridge of his nose lengthwise without blocking his view. He was a perfect example as to why drinking during pregnancy is a terrible and risky idea.


He wasn’t particularly mean about it. It was more like I had entered a game he had been playing in his head, one where I had a specific role, a role I was very unaware of.

“You want this stick? Let me guess, you need it?”

“YES I NEED THAT STICK!” He yelled back, squinting.

“I’ll tell you what, how about we split the stick?”

“OK!” He was very excited.

I broke the stick in half and gave him the longer part. “Here you go. Now run along.”

He didn’t leave. Instead, he started to hit himself in the chest with the stick. He hit whatever hard object lay underneath his shirt repeatedly.

“I’M TOUGH! HIT ME WITH THIS STICK! SEE! I’M TOUGH” He yelled this as he beat his chest with the stick. “I AM SO STRONG! WATCH ME HIT MYSELF WITH THIS STICK!”

As he continued to beat himself in the chest with the stick, I broke up the other half and threw it down. I looked around and saw that the first kid who wanted the stick was urinating on the ground with his father’s instruction. His pants were down around his ankles and he just stood there, pissing, while the bums on the park bench across from him drank from brown bags and tried to focus on something they do regularly as well.

I sat there defeated and stickless yearning for a yard of my own, a yard dressed in urine I’m familiar with if dressed in urine at all. What was I supposed to do? How was I supposed to react to these children? Was it my job to tell them no? Is it right to ask a kid to go away? Is there a class one can take to learn playground politics?

Was I dreaming?

Where were this kid’s parents anyway? Had they taken a few minutes to do a couple of shots at the local bar? Were they copulating with other relatives? I know, I sound unfair, after all you can’t pick your parents, but I was irritated. Where were his parents? Did they think I asked him to beat himself with half a stick, the half I wasn’t going to take home with my son?

And more importantly, is this what need means?

I need a stick a stick that will thwart poorly supervised children.

I need a stick that won’t hurt my son.

I need a stick that will direct us home.

A Pumpkin on a Beach?! That's Crazy!

I left for the Jersey shore on Tuesday morning to visit my parents and relax a bit. I also wanted to give TobyJoe some “time off”. That doesn’t mean he’s not still working—he’s very much at work and working—it means he gets to sleep all night long and wake up later than 6 AM (which is when I leave for the gym in the morning).

Incidentally, my stay here has a LOT to do with how I was able to completely space on what day of the week it was. I want to apologize to all of you who waited to read about Murray. I will make it up to you (and him). I gotta say, however, I am constantly heart warmed by the number of people who like Murray and look forward to seeing him. It always makes me happy whenever I get an email demanding to know where Murray is. (You have no idea how happy.)

So. Thank you for your email. Thank you for the comments. Thank you all for thinking of Murray.

Alas, what have I done while visiting South Jersey? I ran. I shopped. I ate fatty, caloric food. I sat around. I wrote. I took Em to the beach for the first time. We took him to Long Beach Island—a place I used to hang out as a kid. We vacationed there every summer. I also grew up deep sea fishing right off the island with my father. I have been doing that since I was knee high to a grasshopper. I used to ask him if there were skulls “down there” or big whales. I used to ask if there were treasures (not of the pharmaceutical waste variety either). I used to ask about dolphins. We used to catch flounder and blue fish. I grew up on that beach, more or less.

And so we thought it’d be nice to show that beach and its elephant ears to my son. We dressed him in a pumpkin shirt and took him to the sand. He loved it.

I was a little surprised that he’s so fearless. You see, there’s a storm brewing off the Atlantic (the same one making its way into Brooklyn on Friday and Saturday) and it’s causing some pretty rough seas off the coast. He loved it anyway—the wind, the sand in his face, the cold—he loved it all.

I love the fall. Right now, I’m wearing a wool sweater my mom bought for me. I’m sipping an ale and my belly is full of pasta. My feet are propped up. I’m reclined.

And my toes are stooping toward October.

Happy second day of Fall, my friends.

Moving Pictures.

The year was 1998. I was living in Washington, D.C. in a small, one bedroom apartment on 16th Street. I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 2 years. In less than 24 hours, our apartment was nearly emptied. I was living alone for the first time in my life.

Missy and I decided to go away for the weekend and visit our alma matter in order to spend some valuable time reminiscing with people around a keg. It was during that trip, I decided that to buy a massive, 2-ton television set.

I met Toshiba at Sears.

The TV weighed a lot. So the strong men working for Sears helped us get it into the back of the car. I never once thought about how Missy and I would get it into my apartment back in D.C. The building had an elevator, but how would we get it to the elevator? And then how would we get it to my door? And then how would we get it onto the TV stand? These were not questions I thought about until much later when we pulled up to my apartment building.

“How are the two of us going to get this out of the car and into your building?” Missy asked.

“Great question.” I said. “Maybe we can do it?”

Missy looked skeptical.

But we managed. Somehow we got it out of the car. I have no idea how. After that we rolled the box from door-to-door hoping the styrofoam casing would protect it. We rolled it onto the elevator, down the hallway on the 4th floor, and then rolled it right through the front door. And with every last bit of our strength, we hoisted it onto the pedestal.

All I had to do was never, ever leave.

In 1999 I began dating a guy whom I had been friends with for well over a year. And while our friendship may have lasted indefinitely; our romantic relationship ignited, sparked, exploded, smoldered and then fell to the ground in a heap of black ash in less than 5 months. Our main goal at that time was entrusting ourselves with the task of not trusting one another. That was imperative, and a relationship destined for failure.

But he did have the same TV and used to joke that the only reason I got mine was to one-up him because mine was like an inch larger. TV Envy, is what he called it.

We broke up. And it was tumultuous. It was harrowing. And I decided one night for no reason whatsoever that I was going to move to New York City.

Just like that.

A day before I was scheduled to move, I asked a friend of mine—a very strong friend of mine—if he’d help. I told him I’d buy him dinner, drinks, and give him a place to stay. I’d even pay for his train ticket to get back to D.C. He agreed.

Getting the TV into the truck at the DC end wasn’t difficult for him at all. He simply had to lift it up once, move it to the cart we had borrowed from U-Haul, and then lift it onto the truck. I helped. But barely.

I hadn’t thought to tell him about having to get it up the three flights of stair once we got to Brooklyn.

When we pulled onto my new street, it was already after 8 PM. And it was raining. We hustled and moved everything we could upstairs as fast as we could. The rain steadied as we began to wobble. I had hit that point during a move where giving up seems probable. I began leaving boxes and items on the street for passersby.

“How are we going to get the TV up three flights of stairs?” Todd asked me scratching his head.

“Us?” I answered stupidly.

“Are you kidding me?” He looked shocked. And he should have been. I couldn’t even hold the TV set let alone bring it up three flights of stairs.

“Missy and I rolled it into my DC apartment. Maybe we could do that?”

“UP the stairs? Roll it? Are you fucking crazy?”

I stood in the rain and kicked at nothing with my feet. I felt stupid in my new city. What was I thinking? Breaking up with him was a great move, but uprooting everything and moving to a new city was not the best way to be alone.

Todd went to the truck and got the TV out onto the sidewalk. The rain fell down onto its plastic casing. I didn’t care.

He lifted the TV up the three steps that led to the front door and stopped. “I can’t do this alone. There’s just no way.” He was out of breath.

We waited on the stoop in front of two propped open doors, which tossed 40 watt foyer light at us as the rain continued to fall. We were to meet friends for dinner in less than an hour. I was starving, cold and damp. I was tired from moving and driving all day. And it was suddenly becoming very clear to me that I had just uprooted my entire life—TV and all—and moved to New York City.

And that’s when I made up my mind. We had to breakup. This was going to be my third break up in 1 year.

“Let’s just leave it here. The fucking thing is too heavy. I hate how heavy it is. I don’t need a TV. I definitely don’t need that TV. I’m going to be too busy here and I can’t afford cable. Just leave it. Let it be somebody else’s problem. I’m sick of it.”

Just as I was getting to the meat of my sermon about how the TV and I weren’t meant to be together and that the TV and I never got along anyway, a 7-foot tall, muscular monster of a man walked up to the stoop.

“Can I help you?” The man said. He was German. “Looks like you could use help some.”

“You sure you want to do that? She’s on the third floor!” Todd answered.

“Not is problem.” He assured us. “It’s rain. Let’s go.”

And just like that, the gentle German giant and a friend named Todd brought the TV and I back together again.

That night we joked about whether or not our German was real.

(It’s been 8 years and I’m still not sure.)

On a day in September of 2001 I witnessed the worst day of my life so far. A month later (to the day) I met the man of my dreams. He and I were inseparable. We watched movies from my love seat. The first movie we ever watched together was “You Can Count On Me”.

We knew each other for three weeks before deciding to move into a loft together. The loft was roughly 4 blocks from that apartment, but it was zoned commercial and was on the fourth floor. There was a freight elevator but the hallways were long (almost a block from door to door).

I hired movers.

Moving day arrived. Three men showed up in a big white truck. One of the men was knee high to a grasshopper, Jamaican and dark as night. He was by no means someone I’d call muscular. The other two were much bigger in size. I worried about the smaller man. I worried about him right up until I watched him carry that TV set on his shoulders by himself down three flights of stair.

“He’s a fucking beast!” Said a taller man.

When we got to the loft, he carried it up into the freight elevator and then down the long hallway and into our loft.

I suggested twice that he be careful, that his back would surely break beneath that TV. He said, “Oh, you seely gurl, muh grandmummy could carry this TeeVee.” And he had a mighty chuckle. As did I.

I have for years wondered what would one day separate the two of us, take that TV down once and for all. After 2001 it moved back to DC and then again to another apartment in DC. In 2004 it was boxed up by movers and loaded into a wooden Door-to-Door Mover’s storage bin. It made it to San Francisco three weeks later unharmed.

Six months later it was loaded into a big wooden container once again and then shipped back to a slightly larger railroad apartment in Brooklyn where it has lived ever since.

My 10-year-old Toshiba died sometime late Sunday night. The last thing it saw was a member of the Colts fumble a football. I was in bed at the time. I heard Tobyjoe mutter a few OHMYGODS! at the TV. He then shut it down for the night. The next morning it projected nothing more than a thin white line.

Tobyjoe beat it a couple of times and it was able spit out one final image before taking its last breath. It projected a weather map of the United States.

Smart Indeed

This is for egirl because of what she responded with on this post. The trucks were there last night with a big ol’ spot in between them. We woke up to this:

I actually left a note on their car letting them know they made our morning. Hopefully they get to it before Hanna does.

There are so many massive cars living on this block. The juxtaposition here astounds me.

He's In Dirt. And I Don't Care.

I grew up playing with dirt. I grew up lifting rocks, collecting salamanders, crawfish and wooly bears. My nails and hands were always filthy. I was constantly outside digging and exploring the woods around our Central Pennsylvania home. I loved the outdoors, which is why I am really itching to get out of Brooklyn and find something a little more environmentally satisfying for my son. Plus, I think I’m making poor decisions as a city-dwelling mama.

Yesterday I took Em to the park. I take him to the park every day at least once. Our afternoon jaunt usually consists of some exploration. I wrangle him into some shoes and I let him run around a bit. He always goes straight for the dirt. It doesn’t matter if it’s a foot-wide patch of dirt surrounding an out-of-place tree or a bigger patch worn down by soccer matches. He will find the dirt. He loves dirt. He loves picking up sticks and pieces of bark. He carries them around like souvenirs. It’s adorable really.

I generally try not to concern myself with how other parents raise their children. Unless it directly effects me in some way, it’s none of my business. And I should hope that others aren’t judging me for how I raise my own. But sometimes I have to concern myself with what I’m doing when dealing with other families. It’s the whole social contract thing. If my son is playing with another child, I should keep an eye on what he’s doing and how they’re reacting to what he’s doing. I won’t lie. This is very difficult especially for someone like me who spends too much time worrying about what others think. And it’s becoming increasingly more difficult as he gets older. This is perhaps the most trying aspect of having a toddler for me so far—figuring out what the other parent is thinking and if I should react.

Yesterday Emory was running around with another little girl. She was probably five months his senior but smaller in size. They were playing with her rubber ball. He stopped every now and again to pick up sticks in the patch of dirt surrounding the tree. I let him. I figured that since the little girl’s guardians where letting her play with a rubber ball that had been all over the dirt and pavement, letting my kid play with dirt while playing with their little girl was OK. At one point, a bit nervous about the situation, I said, “Em, why do you have to play in the dirt all the time?” (Incidentally, it’s funny the number of times I ask Em a question which is really meant for the person listening in. But that’s a post for another day—”talking through the baby” is what we call it.)

The girl’s guardians shrugged and said, “He’s a boy.”

So this continued. Em picked up dirt and sticks and giant pieces of bark as the little girl teased him with her rubber ball. He’d touch her face with his hands, and her hands to his. There were a few times Em would grab the ball and try and put it in his mouth. I would snatch it up right away and wipe the spit on my pants.

“Em, do you have to put everything in your mouth!” I said.

“He’s a boy.” They shrugged.

Fifteen minutes into our spontaneous play-date with complete strangers, the little girl bent down and picked up a handful of dirt. Her father ran over and lightly slapped the top of her hand. “NO! CACA!” He said.

Realizing the error of her ways, she immediately dropped the dirt, sticks and bark, which Emory proceeded to collect. I mean, who would let perfectly good dirt go to waste like that? Not my kid.

I need to have another child. That way, I can let my filthy children run around, eat dirt, slobber all over one another and I won’t have to worry about whether I’m poisoning someone else’s child.

I’m gonna breed me my own little filthy family.

Do you let your little ones play in the dirt at a public playground? How do you teach them not to? I can’t figure this out. I realize that city dirt can be questionable, but how do you keep a toddler from playing in the dirt? You’d have to keep him or her inside all the time. I can’t allow for that. He simply has to get outside time. But I can’t stop him from playing with dirt either. Am I not being cautious enough while parenting and living in the city?

Parenting is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. That’s all there is to it. (But it’s awesome too!)

Tuesdays With Murray (Chapter 56)

Murray was orphaned at a very young age. I’m sure many of you know that already. He was so young he had to be bottle-fed by human hands. I talked over Chapter 56 with Murray and he agreed that those human hands are what I need to write about today.

Murray was nurtured by two people: Lisa and PJ. Though PJ doesn’t quite remember Murray (due to the number of cats he’s cared for before, and since) he is responsible for much of Murray’s trust of humans.
When Murray was a few weeks old, Lisa took over. Because Murray is unable to thank them personally, I’m going to try and do it for him.

PJ and Lisa have dedicated themselves to starting a unique animal advocacy group, and I’m attempting to contribute what I can to their effort.


“The Empty Cages Collective (ECC) is a New York-based animal and environmental advocacy organization. ECC aims to cultivate a culture where animals are recognized as fellow sentient beings worthy of respectful and compassionate treatment. Through advocacy, education, hands-on rescue and assistance, the ECC envisions a world free of animal exploitation, abuse, and ecologically destructive behavior.”


They Trap, Neuter and Release animals back into their natural habitats. Here’s where being a realist can actually make a difference. As opposed to someone like me, who can only see the big picture, someone who wants ALL animal abuse to stop, all homeless cats to be adopted, all things to wrap up perfectly. It’s never going to happen that way. Instead of doing something, I get overwhelmed and give up.

PJ isn’t like that. Neither is Lisa. Sure, they want all of those things as well, but they’re a bit more level-headed about it. They take it day by day. They’re hoping that with every cat they trap and neuter, a dozen less will be born next season. They’re hoping that we city-dwellers can one day coexist with our city-dwelling friends. They’re hoping to teach people that animals living within the city aren’t a nuisance and that it’s not necessary to kill every stray or feral or wild animal you come across.

There’s room for all of us. Hell, they were probably here first anyway.

The problems they’re facing is that they’ve found so many adoptable kittens during their trapping efforts that they’re running out of room and resources to continue with their TNR efforts. To put it bluntly, they need some help.


When I asked PJ what they needed the most, he gave me the following list: donate, volunteer, and adopt. He reiterated twice to me that donate and volunteer are head-to-head in urgency. Granted, if they can get the cats they have in-house adopted soon, they might have more money to use for TNR. Obviously, adoption is important as well.

I’m writing this today on behalf of Murray and all the critters out there that are needlessly killed. Can you help Lisa and PJ and their cause? Do you have a dollar to spare? Do you have some time to donate? Do you have a Web site you can use to help get the word out? Can you write them some kind words? Anything will help, any amount, any number of hands or hours, any advertisement—big or small.

If you have some extra paypal cash and/or an Amazon gift card you’re not using, visit this link and send some stuff their way. (Some of the items on that list run as low as 4 bucks.)

If you’re interested in adopting a cat, here are the animals they have up for adoption. I’m going to put up some pictures as well.

And if you got some old balled up dollar bills you washed in that pair of jeans from last winter, they’ll take monetary donations as well.

For those of you who have some cash but don’t have a lot of time and just want to click a button and be done with it, here’s a link to their paypal account.

To read more about what they’ve been doing click here.

From here on out, I’m going to be donating as much as I can out of the money I make from advertising on this Web site. It’s not much, but it’s something. I purchased 90 pounds of cat litter for them yesterday. Like I said, every little thing matters right now. It doesn’t have to be a huge sum—or cash at all.

At some point in the near future, I plan on designing some banners for them so that other bloggers can add them to their site. I hope that you will join me getting the word out for them. I realize that they’re Brooklyn based right now, but if this works out—this model—it could become a nationwide advocacy group.

If you have a dime or or some time to spare, do it for Murray. He wouldn’t be here had it not been for these two people and their great big hearts.

Em's First Birthday Party.

We’re back in Brooklyn and this is a brief (stand-in) update.

I was really excited to be back home until this morning when we went to McCarren Park and the smell of trash was so unbearable we had to leave. And up until about a month ago, I’d have thought, well, trash is just trash. But after reading this story about a badly decomposed body that had been rotting in a storage shed near the kiddy park for several months, I’m more wary of rancid smells.

We visit the park each and every day. Who knows what we’ve been smelling all along.

Em’s birthday was a hoot. We actually had two parties for him. We had a small one for him on Friday evening. We ate lasagna and watched the opening ceremony of the olympics. We consumed ginger cake and ice cream. We fell to bed early.

On the 9th, we held a larger party for him. Relatives came from all over to celebrate. He ate chocolate for the first time. Nico made the cake. She actually made two. One for Em (shown) and a bigger one for the rest of us. It was awesome.

I was a little disappointed at his chocolate eating performance, however. He did not bury his face in the cake as I imagined. He was actually kind of confused by it and entirely too delicate. But it was really fun to watch and equally as hilarious to clean up. A bath was had before bedtime.

There was a lot of diet-unfriendly food.

With the amount of wine I consumed once he went to bed that evening, you’d have guessed it was my birthday and not my son’s. After the way I felt the following day, I’m pretty sure booze is devil piss. A friend once said to me, “You don’t realize that you really need the babysitter for the following day as well.” So true. Devil piss, people. Devil piss.

Now it’s back to the basics—the grind. Diets need to be revitalized. I stopped losing weight weeks ago. (Still working out, however.) Em and I will continue our daily walks to the park and back. We’ll continue fighting with our neighbors because he’s a toddler living on the third floor. We’ll continue fighting with the men on our street, the ones who refuse to park their cars like decent human beings. We’ll continue our daily routine of chase the baby around the house to make sure he doesn’t eat cat poop. We’ll continue getting to know one another and I’ll continue to fall more and more in love with him. We’ll continue living here, doing this, until December when our lease is up and we have no choice but to get out.

The question still weighing heavy on my mind is: where will we be whenever Em turns two? Where will we be next year at this time? Will there be corpses near where he swings? Will he eat chocolate like it’s an olympic sport?

Where will we be when he sees 24-months?

The empty field next to that question leaves me pensive.

Tuesdays With(out) Murray (Chapter 54)

I’m in South Jersey without my computer. You see, we’re having Em’s first birthday party at my parent’s house. They happen to have a backyard with some of the plushest green grass you’ve ever seen. Plus, they don’t have those viscous tiger mosquitoes that have taken over Brooklyn this year. If those bugs aren’t a sign of an apocalypse—even a small one—I don’t know what is.

The party is Saturday. I came down a week early. I planned on relaxing, working out, and seeing every movie out right now including the sinfully corny Mama Mia.

I’m here for a week. I’m without my computer, my husband, and most all of my clothing.

I’m also without my Murray and I’m embarrassed to admit how much I miss him. I miss him, everyone. I really, really miss him.

Especially today.

My pinkie toe is broken. I didn’t realize it was broken until last night when I suddenly could no longer walk on it. You see, about two weeks ago I stubbed it on the makeshift boundary we have set up in our (railroad) apartment to keep Em from entering the dining room. I stubbed the hell out of it. But it didn’t hurt the following day at all. I forgot about it. I’ve been running 3.25 miles each and every day since and nothing has happened. There’s been no pain. Nothing.

Now it hurts like hell. I didn’t change my workout yesterday (or the days leading up to yesterday for that matter). Why now? One would think the damned toe would have warned me before giving up entirely. No?

I’m depressed. I’ve been busting my ass to get into shape. I run every single day for at least 40 minutes. Even last week, sick with a cold, I made it to the gym. I’ve been so afraid of breaking out of the routine and losing ground. Literally.

I can’t believe a toe—the small toe even—has stopped me.

I miss my fat lovable Murray. I want to smooch him up. I want him to make me laugh.

I want Murray. Someone bring me Murray. (You can send my Tobyjoe as well.)