Mission Six Miles
On change, on love, on determination, dick jokes

I can’t ever be serious for that long. Come on.

So I moved. And I won’t lie, it hasn’t been easy. I was thrown from a place where I was dead broke and lonely and miserable to another place where I was slightly less broke, more lonely and slightly less miserable. Springfield is an upgrade in all the ways that are non-feelings related, there’s no question. But that hasn’t made it easy. I miss my pre-2011 life. Jobs, friends, direction … and it isn’t even like I can pinpoint one day where I lost all that. It just all gradually faded away. I have maybe one friend here other than my roommates and if not for them, I’d never see another human being because I no longer work outside the house (freelancing rulez).

I got my toe back in the door of New York sports media. SNY, the network that carries Mets games has hired me to be a part time remote news desk editor. I’m not going to discuss the pay or the hours, but it got me back in the door. For awhile I was bitter towards my old line of work. I didn’t want to do it anymore. Some tough love and a great deal of separation later, I realized I was wrong. I was even further reminded of my wrongness when an ex, who for all intents and purposes doesn’t know me at all, tried to go all devil’s advocate on me and be like “well, I thought that sports and New York wasn’t what you wanted” after I had expressed my elatedness that I got back in. Still shitting all over my happiness. It’s fun to see that some never change. And the super fun thing is that I learned that I have. My first instinct was to go all bitch on his ass, about how he doesn’t know me anymore and he has no right trying to say anything. Instead? I made a silly joke about how it’s in my blood and how I can’t drain my blood, and that was it. I’m so freakin’ grown up it’s crazy.

Tonight I heard from the one person who’s always understood what all this struggle has meant to me and who has been there more than anyone and all he said was “I’m so proud of you. I can’t wait to hear more about it.” 

Now, if only everyone knew that’s the perfect response to someone who has walked through fire to re-bust down a door that had been slammed in her face so many times. Yeah, I’m blasting my own horn but you know what I deserve every obnoxious vuvuzuela sounding note. 

The moral of this story is I’m in a better place now than I was two months ago, so moving to Springfield hasn’t been a loss and it was the absolute right decision. I miss my friends dearly. There’s no one here like you and I can’t wait to come back on Monday and for most of August and make jokes that no one else gets about politics and food and how New York is the greatest place on earth (because it is. and anyone who doesn’t agree just doesn’t get it). I can’t wait to take care of some of my friends the way they’ve taken care of me over the last two years. I can’t wait to drink at the Riv and look south on 7th avenue and see the beautiful 1 World Trade glowing through the haze like a foggy beacon on a summer night. I can’t wait to visit my old Target and flirt with all the young kids and say hello to the women I bonded with while there. I can’t wait to breathe in the stench of the city on trash day when it’s 90 degrees with 200 percent humidity. I can’t wait to walk three miles up Broadway again just because I can. I can’t wait to give someone on the subway a dirty look. I can’t wait to get kicked by someone doing a backflip on a hand rail on the A train. I miss all this and more. I could go on forever. 

Onward and upward. Finally. 

Dick joke.

I can’t remember how many times I tried to tell myself to hold on to these moments as they pass

I’ve been wracking my brain for weeks now, trying to narrow down my favorite New York memories to 10. Drunken nights on the Upper East Side, drunken nights in the old Daily News building, the first time I laid eyes on someone I would fall in love with, the first time I laughed at something someone who would become my best friend said. My first trip to a professional sports locker room; my first kiss in Central Park. It’s all too much, so I’m writing down as many as I can remember so I can read this when the Western Massachusetts nights get lonely, cold and sad.

This list will grow, once people remind me of stuff or I sit up in the middle of the night and remember stuff that needs to be here. So if you think of something I should remember, tell me. I didn’t leave it out because I forgot, just a massive brain fart on my part. (rhyme)

My first time covering Fashion Week. It was a Betsey Johnson show. I didn’t know what to expect and what I got was a spectacle of the senses that gave me such a deep appreciation for fashion. The music, the colors, the 60-something year old woman doing cartwheels. I remember desperately trying to maintain my footing among all the smelly, middle-aged, foreign photographers. I couldn’t; I didn’t want to watch the show through the camera lense; i wanted to watch it as it happened. I would never toss my nose at the fashion industry ever again. 

The first time I was hit on by a celebrity. Though I imagine calling him that is a bit of a stretch. It was 2008, the Tin Lizzy on the Upper East Side. I’d probably had four vodka Red Bulls, wasn’t feeling any pain and was blasting my best white girl dance to anything by Usher. There was a flurry of people behind me, I remember a friend of mine grabbing my arm and being like “ohmigawd DO YOU KNOW WHO THAT IS” and me screaming “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” which was effectively no. I turned around some minutes later, and an older, black gentleman called me to come over. I bounced over, said hello and he grabbed my wrist. Placed it on his inner thigh. WHERE HIS FULLY ERECT PENIS WAS RIGHT THERE UNDER HIS PANTS. He then asked me “If I took you home, what would you do with this.” Well, my response was to look horrified, run to the bathroom, hide for 20 minutes, come back out, and then have a friend ask me what Charlie Murphy was asking me about. I probably shouldn’t have smoked so much pot in college while watching The Chapelle Show or I would have recognized him.

My first Subway Series game. It was June of 2009. Johan Santana got lit up. Jason and I had many beers and I met someone who’d become so important to me. It was such a perfect day; I remember using that word even now. It’s a day that I’d be comfortable reliving again in the moment I leave this life. 

The night Jorge and I sat front row at Wicked. January of 2010. I never win anything ever, and I won the rush lottery for Wicked. 

The night that me, Jason, and two of my other friends got Legend’s tickets from a good friend of mine. It is truly something else to experience a baseball game when you are literally part of the action. Also, we ate like 76 plates of food and cleaned the suite out of Swedish Fish.

The time that I was covering an event at Citi Field, during batting practice and waiting for the dog parade to start on the warning track a bp ball nearly took me out. I picked up the ball with my left, non throwing non useful for anything other than occasionally eating hand and throwing the ball to Derek Lowe. Wide right is a kind description, and he looked disgusted. Kind of an unfortunate way to encounter one of your baseball heroes. 

My first New Years with Jorge. Which turned into an annual event I’ve grown to look forward to more than any other holiday. There’s been a rotating cast over the years, but the staple of my two best friends, Jorge and Jason, have remained constant since 2007.

The time Becky and I went on the booze cruise. 

Marching in the Pride Parade just after New York legalized Gay Marriage. I can’t imagine what it is like to fight for such a basic human right, a right that I was born into. It was the best party I’ve ever been to and it’s not even close. 

who says you can’t go home

On July 1, 2006 as I steered my filled to the brim little Malibu onto the onramp of 95 south in Foxboro, that Jennifer Nettles and BonJovi song came on the radio. Tears pricked the back of my eyes, but I knew I was following my dreams of living in New York City by leaving sleepy Foxboro behind. Seven years, seven months and 23 days later, I’m sort of going back home.

My life started to come undone in 2011. I had taken a job with limited security, long hours while battling two separate major health scares and a chronic disease I only sort of understand. I lost my job two days before my birthday in 2012. It is now March 23, 2014, and I haven’t officially worked full time since then. I’ve been on countless interviews, and had my soul destroyed by two rejections that I had been told were sure things. My savings is gone. I can’t sleep. And returning to Foxboro hasn’t ever been, or will ever be, an option. I got by on a string of part time jobs and freelance gigs, generosity from family and friends, but I have to make my own way. Relying on other people to help me pay my bills is a terrible way to live. So some time in the coming months, pending a miracle, I will be moving back to Massachusetts, to Western Mass., where some of my best memories of life exist. My sister and my future brother in law have opened up their home to me and my two furbabies and have a job waiting tables ready for me. This act of generosity has moved me to tears, repeatedly, with my sister Ginny only responding to me “You know you’d do it for me.” And it’s truth. The blessing of family. I’ll be able to sleep, without constantly living in fear of how I’m going to survive another week. It kills me to leave, but it might actually kill me if I say.

I won’t be doing any sort of organized party because it’s not something I really want to celebrate,  but I do want to see everyone who’s made my life here so incredible, the stuff I only dreamed about when I was waking up in sleepy Foxboro every day. I lived the dream. I worked as a sports editor/writer/videographer. I covered the Jets, Mets and Giants. I learned so much from the incredible colleagues I had; they opened up their experiences to me and took care of me when I was overwhelmed and scared by my surroundings. I marched in the Pride parade. I wrote a national weekly baseball column. I lived more in four years than I ever thought was possible. But circumstances change and it’s time for me to retreat and get some rest and then make a new plan. Will I come back? Maybe. But I can’t think that far ahead right now.  

I’ve been accused a number of times over the last month of neglecting this blog. Which is true, but what I was mostly afraid of was sounding too self absorbed and pissy and without hope. I was all of those things a month ago.

Now? I’m still putting in my time at Target, but I’ve taken on a job with PIX 11 in New York. It’s TV!! And I had all these preconceived notions about TV, and I was wrong. Entirely. I might end up end up here forever, I might not. But I do know, that after 18 months, three weeks and 27 days, I am working a job that is a livable wage for me. And if I go full time? I’m set. The people are colorful, I was just told that it was hoped that I’d die in a murder-suicide car accident (it was funny. you had to be there) and I’ve reunited with some old friends. 

I’m putting makeup on in the morning. I do my hair. I find to the best of my ability clothes that fit me OK. I feel good. I’m happy. I never thought I’d be back here again. Sometime last fall I had pretty much given up. And I was picked up by my whole family, my friends, God, Lindsey, who were just like “get your shit together, pay your rent, and find a job.” Lo and behold that’s exactly what happened. 

Too many things …

Too many things are finally going right and I’m driving myself crazy because I’m sure i’m going to screw it up.

Things were going too well for a couple of weeks there. I thought I was finally afloat after months and months of drowning. Nope. 18 months of this. 18 months of rejection, failure and I don’t even have anywhere to go if it comes to that. I can’t go home, that has been made crystal clear to me. So where am I going to go? Sometimes I feel like I should just listen to the universe and give up. I messed everything up. It’s my fault and there isn’t anything in the world I can do to make it better.

Love, The Felines

Dear Santa,

I hope the North Pole isn’t too cold. I’m very aware that I’m on your naughty list due to all of the coffee cups I’ve swatted off Mom’s nightstand this year, but I am asking for something that isn’t for me. It’s for Mom.

Mom is having a rough time. She’s been in the house all the time for what seems like forever now. She used to be gone a lot so I could host litter sniffing parties in the bathroom. But she’s been here all the time. I don’t know why, but I do know she’s sad a lot, and pretty much every night she cries while she lays in the bed about not having something called a job. Santa, I’m asking you to bring my mom a job so she can stop being sad (and also so she can buy me the food that I like best). My sister is helping with this letter, too, and she promises she will stop scratching the shit out of the door jams if you just make our Mom happy again. Also, I’m sick of licking tears. They taste terrible. 

So please, take care of my Mom. She’s far more fun when she’s happy and this is something she’s been asking for for a long time. I love her so much and I hate that she’s sad and that taking a dump on the clean towels didn’t make her feel better. Please, Santa. Please bring our Mom a job.

xoxoxox

Lucille and Maebe

The Holiday Spirit … or Not

I haven’t written here much but anyone who would read this know things have been better for me. I ran out of unemployment, I got a holiday retail job that if nothing else is fun for the stories. But I haven’t been feeling the holidays this year. I didn’t really at Thanksgiving and not much had changed. Until I started looking at it differently.

Today a close friend called me and asked for my bank account information. I almost objected because she’d done so much for me already that I felt guilty accepting anymore help, but when she told me what, I started crying. Her boyfriend had given her some money to give to me because she talks about me to him a lot, that she’s constantly worried about me, to the point where he worried as well and decided to do something. I’ve never even met this man. Within an hour after, five boxes arrived for me from Amazon. All food, healthy, and gluten free, and more importantly, food and litter for my little babies. I won’t need crackers, granola bars, cereal, mac and cheese, diet soda or cat products for at least a month. I have a former boss that I call a second mom who is making sure I eat my vegetables. I have another friend who regularly sends me job postings. An envelope with money for my prescriptions arrived from my sister. On top of all this all of these people, plus others, are rooting for me to push myself over this. It’s been like spinning wheels in quicksand. And until I started thinking about this, it has made me quite bah humbug on the season. Why should I be happy? Are you kidding me? Why shouldn’t I be happy, even more so then when everything is going swimmingly. Because I have so many people picking me up when I’m down. I have long lost friends that I haven’t formally spoken to in 15 years sending me notes, encouraging me that this will pass and not to give up. Everyone believes in me except me and I’m hoping I get there. I will. It will. When everything I hear is the opposite of what I feel, it’s time to reevaluate how I’m thinking. Maybe everyone else is right. 

A little bright light

I’m not going to bore you with the details of how my spectacularly derailed life has gone over the last 18 months, because it mostly doesn’t matter. I’m currently sitting on pins and needles waiting to find out if I passed a writing test I took 10 days ago, just that this one could be it, and because I’m a little crazy, I spend six hours a day scrutinizing what was wrong. 

Well, for the last week or so, it’s been down to something around 2 hours. Except today. Back to 6. 

Every year, I go to spring training. The Florida warmth thaws my soul, and i get to check out what my precious Red Sox are going to put on the field in April. Much was said about they’ll be better than the abortion Bobby Valentine era (though how could it not be) but it’s unlikely they’ll be a contender. I showed up in Clearwater early on a Sunday morning to watch batting practice before a game against the Phillies. Shane Victorino was smacking them out, as was Dustin Pedroia, but who cares it’s spring training

Cliff Lee took the hill for the Phillies and that was pretty much it. Over the next 3 innings, the Red Sox took the future hall of famer behind the shed and repeatedly stole his milk money. I pulled out my phone and texted my Dad “Yo, I don’t think they’re going to be as bad as everyone thought.” My father responded “I know. I told you that a week ago.” That’s my Dad, the best Dad, and the Dad who took me to Fenway for the first time when I was 10 months old. I caught a Yankee game down there, nothing particularly interesting there, drove through central Florida to see a dear friend din West Palm, then flew home hoping father and daughter were right. 

The games have always been a distraction. I have a gang of displaced Red Sox fans on Twitter that have made this season so much fun, win or lose. It almost made staying home with my laptop and the games on TV far more enjoyable than going to my Beloved Boston Bar in the West Village. 

This run through the playoffs was a ray of light for me. I’m busting my ass every day to do a mind-numbing freelance project, in between surfing the want ads and an occasional interview. But I knew, at night, my funny friends would be on my laptop and the Sox would be on my TV. And that’s what happened last night when the ultimate release for everyone took place, and we all celebrated together. 

I’m hoping my new ray of light is a job, or at least a freelance job  that doesn’t make me want to kill myself. But all I know is I slept for 10 hours last night. That hasn’t happened since I had the flu. So thanks to my friends, and I can’t wait, good or bad,  to do it again next year.

I’m not a “cat lady”

I take a lot of crap from certain acquaintances over my fixation with cats. I grew up with cats; I had a dog, too but just always bonded better with the felines. My family was known to have four cats at a time, a dog, several fish and god knows what else. It was a thing. As much as my Dad will poo poo his feelings towards our animals, I saw his reaction when our beloved Einstein the fat, humping dachshund died (10 years ago today). 

Anyway, I resent the reactions I get; grow up, get out, make real friends, don’t be such a cat lady. They’re just ANIMALS. What? You can get a cheaper apartment but you have to give up your cats? What are you thinking? Give them up! No more cats allowed at home? Get rid of them.

I found Lucille in a pile of garbage. In the basement of my Harlem apartment that wasn’t in a very good neighborhood. She was thin and screaming and clearly not feral. A feral cat wouldn’t come near me. A cat that had been abandoned by some shithead owner for probably one of the above reasons would be dying to find someone else to take care of her. She wasn’t cut out for life dodging cabs and eating out of piles of trash, and she would have most likely died if my heart hadn’t broke for her back in 2008. The very first night she crapped on my bed. It’s been love since. I held her during her terrible bladder troubles; I desperately sought food that wouldn’t leave her in pain. In turn, she’s my protector, hissing at strangers and most men. Sitting in front of the door screaming when I got home from the hospital both times. Never leaving my side while I went through my recovery. Grooming my hair and cleaning up tears when I was hurting, she was there. Now, please, is that something you just ditch just because times get difficult? I held Maebe days after she was born. She always wants to play, and on days when I can’t bring myself to roll over, she shows up with her favorite fish toy in her mouth and demands we play fetch. 

Now, if you’re one to abandon responsibility, that’s you. That will never be me. I don’t always go out for a number of reasons, I’m not working full time yet and honestly? I like being home. I don’t need to be out looking at something or eating out or travelling all the time because I love my home, and my cats are very much a part of that. So, if you don’t feel that way because you don’t have pets? Fine. But keep your opinions away from me.