Where You Going? Barcelona? Oh.

If you remember the lyrics of “Company” by Stephen Sondheim you’re dating yourself—or are a theater geek. But it’s an apt description of my leaving for Barcelona, the first part of my fiftieth birthday celebration/vacation. Utter indifference and a trifle of irritation. It’s not that I’m not excited about going to Spain or sharing the trip with The One. It’s all the stuff that goes into getting there. Travel would be wonderful if it weren’t for the traveling. I feel like a cranky old carnival lion that’s been poked and prodded and forced to jump through a bunch of hoops before he can finally sit down, relax, and eat a huge amount of animal flesh (in my case, turkey and mayo on ciabatta). And I present exhibit A, the photo of myself above in Newark International Airport before I left, after having battled a deranged NYC cabbie, an incorrect New Jersey Transit train schedule, indifferent Lufthansa personnel, and a heat wave so bad it caused the air train at the airport to break down.

Every time I travel, I tell myself that this time will be different. This time I’ll act civilized, normal, and give myself plenty of time to prepare. I imagine The One and me—like those folks in those god-awful General Mills International Coffee commercials from the ’80s—cupping warm mugs, the cats figure-eighting around our legs, as we laugh over our upcoming trip and grow misty-eyed over past ones. Read more »

If It’s July Fourth, It Must Be Deborah’s

Fourth of July is a bit of a sad holiday for me. I’m reminded of my friend Deborah Murphy, who passed away far, far too young several years ago. It’s not that she died on the Fourth, or was born on the Fourth for that matter, but that she owned the Fourth. Entirely, consummately, possessively.

In my circle of friends, we’ve come to a hard-won détente about hosting holidays, and pity the man who tries to wrest them from us. The calendar: Thanksgiving is shared between us and our friends the Rosellis. Canadian Thanksgiving is a no-brainer; it goes to Danny, our goose-loving expat. Christmas is all Gingy. She contends not only with friends, but her entire clan of in-laws lolling about the house from sun up to sundown. The one holiday no one laid claim to was July Fourth. So about a decade ago, Deborah tucked it under her wing and nursed it from a wobbly gathering of a few nibbles by the pool to a brute of a daylong, never-ending feast that put all-you-can-eat joints to shame. Read more »

I Have Taken a Lover, the iPad

The One (Who Brings Me Love, Joy, and Happiness) likes to joke that I have a boyfriend: my Apple laptop. His comment, wrapped in a crackling tempura coating of snark, is usually lobbed my way if my surfing squashes one of our regularly scheduled activities, like betting on which people featured on “Antiques Roadshow” will fake excitement when auction estimates of their family treasures don’t live up to their expectations. Although I hate to admit it, when the computer blinkers are on, it’s like a stolen glance from across the room. Suddenly I’m sucked into wormhole after wormhole of technological eye candy, bewitched by the pixel, lost in the throes of m4v grandeur.

I’ve been hearing this you-have-a-boyfriend rant for years now, ever since I bought my first laptop in 1993. And if The One’s comment is true, then my past is littered with all sorts and sizes of boy toys: the hairy brute with tats on his arms and legs (my G4 desktop tower), a dandy with a penchant for bright colors (my tangerine iMac G3), and my current fascination, the sleek, handsome, and understated silver fox (my 17-inch MacBook Pro).

But if my laptop is my boyfriend, then my iPad is definitely my lover. You know the kind—that slender iTalian in a black Armani suit who has a gun-slinger walk, is just a tad bit louche, lights your cigarette by bringing it up to his, and haunts your reverie years after the last time you tumbled out of his bed. Read more »

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