Friday, August 20, 2010

Nerd Badge

I wear it proudly. You see, Matt and I decided to ditch the cable box for the Wii box that so ingeniously streams Netflix through my television. After our initial discovery of the library of all the new and old not lost episodes of Doctor Who, it became apparent that the only thing to absorb our viewing pleasure was every episode available of that lovely, science fiction, longest running television show ever, brought to you from the other side of the pond, and arguably one of the best networks ever, the BBC, is this show. It helps that David Tennant is so freaking irresistibly charming. Matt Smith...not so much.

This new obsession fits quite well in influencing the sci-fi manuscript I have labored over for the last 9 months (and still no polished end in sight). The longer I take, the more nerdy, science-fictioney gobbley gook gets dragged in and the more Doctor Who I watch the more convinced I am that I (deep breath) am working on a master piece that will explain to the world why snowboarding, love, and parallel universe jumping go so well together (why the hell else did I spend all that time watching my twenties roll down the slopes of Mt. Baker in a cloud of smoke--it all had to be for something).

Friday, August 13, 2010

What cool means to a 6 year old

Me: "Oh c'mon Otto, I'm not that bad."

Otto: "Mom, you are not cool."

Me: "Not even a little?"

Otto: "Nope."

Me: "Look I know the second I became a mother, I would lose most of my coolness, but you can't tell me I suck that bad."

Otto: "Really, you aren't cool. At all."

Me: "Why not?"

Otto: "You're on the computer all the time and daddy says the music you listen to isn't very good."

Me: "Like what music?"

Otto: "Well, there was that one time you made me listen to The Oak Bridge Guys, or whatever they're called. Not cool."

Me: "Noted."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Random Pets - Triops

A few months ago, Matt and I decided we'd like to get some sort of creature habitat for the boy. I had always wanted an ant farm, Matt had always wanted an ant farm and in order to vicariously relive our childhood through the boy, we wanted to give him an ant farm. One day, off we set to Toys 'R Us in search of said item only to end up with a habitat for a prehistoric creature called a Triops (it is meant to be plural).

We get home, follow the instructions to the letter: rinse rocks until water is clear, fill tank with distilled water, drop half the triops egg bag into tank and wait two days for them to hatch.

Each day my son was peering into the tank perched on our bedroom window sill with bated breath hoping to see some form of life. And after a few moments of staring into a lifeless tank, he would quickly remind me "MOM - it said two days! It's been five! You've done something wrong!" Yes, I know. I do a lot of things wrong. I generally have no patience for instructions, but this time I know I did it all correctly so pardon me for wanting to jump up and down screaming till red. in. the. face. "NO I DIDN'T! THE BATCH WAS BAD. THE BATCH WAS BAD."

Then, something magical happened. This minuscule little creature started swimming around the tank. It was so tiny and transparent, a person could go blind trying to look for it. The boy was thrilled! We grew a triops! Daily we would watch it flit around the little, clear plastic bowl and after a few days we could count many more. Three, ten, sixteen...before we knew it, we had a swarm of translucent little creatures swimming in our tank--too many to count. We thought, "triop success"!

After a week or so of strange creature enjoyment, I told my son to be prepared, that one day they would be gone and he seemed cool with it. Day after day we would regard the triops tank and just watch them numbly. Algae began to grow and a new little organism appeared out of nowhere--A little orange round thing with tiny little feelers. It was fast and appeared to be cleaning the algae from the tank. Then more little orange things and more translucent triops. I'd seen pictures of triops and though our little creatures looked a little different, I didn't think much of it. Damn it, we had hatched little living creatures!

And then it all changed. A bigger creature suddenly showed up after a month of watching this family of creatures in a tank no bigger than a soup bowl. Upon inspecting this newly hatched being, I immediately thought DINOSAUR SPERM!. It was maybe a quarter of an inch long, with a rounded, shelled-like upper torso, two eye dots front and center, and a long tail-like body with lots of little feet on its underbelly that seemed to be filtering the tiny rocks along the bed of the tank. This was a triops. This is what we were waiting for. And this little thing was growing. Fast.

But if this was a triops, what in the heck were all the other things swimming around? Were they all variations of dinosaur sperm? After some digging around on the web, turns out we were mistaking daphnia for triops (the little orange things are maybe, not certifiably, clam shrimp).

And. And. They are all dead now and only the sole triops remains. Yep, our little triops is a carnivore. A daphnia, orange thing eating carnivore. It took one night and a following morning for "Big Ben" to eat everything in sight. Now, her main food source are tiny food pellets we drop in the tank. She promptly devours each pellet by spinning it around and around with her 'legs'. She likes to swim upside down while eating, grabbing it from the waters' surface and gracefully falling to the tank floor, resting on her back until she's had her fill.

We've now scoured the internet for information on this little creature and in all her spermy ugliness as a prehistoric being, I find her fascinatingly beautiful. And though the internet tells me she'll only be around for 20-90 days, I think we'll all enjoy watching her a little bit longer--as long as the tank is big enough to hold her.

Friday, July 30, 2010

An open letter

Dear [insert name],

Thank you for the invitation! I would love to join you for [insert event]. Unfortunately, I've recently discovered that my bank account has a giant crack in the bottom of it and all I can hear is a sucking sound.

Please know that I would love to be there, but until this economy turns around, I am forced to live off of [an embarrassingly small amount of money] per day.

Best wishes,

[Anyone currently living in America who use to call themselves middle class but is now classless and/or poor]

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Recipient of best birthday present ever

My super duper creative and awesome husband somehow finagled his friend, Matt Carr, to take pictures of our children as super heroes in backyard style costumes as a birthday present. This is going to make turning 35 much less painful because slap my ass and call me Sally they are just the cutest little pictures of the cutest little kids I've ever done seen.
Hats off to the two Matts for pulling this one off. Lord knows that little two year old girl of mine is the most uncooperative little creature and I now have a contact sheet full of images to prove it.

Anyhoozle, here is one of the final shots as a teaser.

Photo credit: Matt Carr

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Paging Nancy Reagan

Republican tendencies notwithstanding (not me, her) I am hearkening back to my childhood days of hearing Ms. Reagan's incessant "Just Say No" campaign -- against alcohol, drugs, sex, and chocolate (ok not chocolate) and all other fun things and entertaining -- and using it help take off all these lovely unwanted pounds amassed from two babies and a nine year marriage. I mean let's face it, I live in a city that dually encourages and discourages healthy living. People walk everywhere -- to the nearest pizza parlors, hot dog stand, Mr. Frosty ice cream truck, candied nut stands -- and the city is biker friendly, and the subways are a plotted distance for the ambulatory. The problem is, I am really good at saying "no" to others:
"Mom, can I have a piece of candy?" - No,
"Mom, can I get a kid's car?" - No,
"Joey, can I get a coke?" - No,
"Joey, can I get a bottle of scotch?" - No,
"Joey, can I go to a strip club?" - No,
but not to myself:
"Joelle, you want a cookie?" YES!,
See what I mean?
(Btw, these are excerpts from real conversations)
If that little word come so easy for all the little people in my life, why in the world can't it come from me to the area where I need it most? I can do it. I can just say no.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Darkness is a menacing stranger.
When the lights go down, I am not as visible.
My light is not so bright to illuminate the sky.
I have to rely on my senses and wits and dimly lit streets to carry me back home safely.
Darkness is a menacing stranger.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Inter(view) Gina - Writer, Kick-Boxer, Mom

Not everything on here is about me. I mean, the biggest factor in making Brooklyn "Brooklyn" is its people and I am just one of millions. Therefore, I found it prudent to ask a handful of them a few questions.

Gina de la Chesnaye is a writer, kick-boxing and yoga enthusiast. She also surfs, has two gorgeous little girls, a glass blowing husband, and a cat.

MBL: Where in Brooklyn (do you live)?

Gina: Windsor Terrace (note from MBL - I too live here. It's a little hood sandwiched between Prospect Park and Greenwood Cemetery. Brownstone and limestone houses layed out on each street with it's old Irish Catholic dwellers resting on stoops in the blazing sun. We have two stops along the F line, two public elementary schools, two large catholic churches, Dub Pies, Farrell's bar for cops and fireman, and Double Windsor for all the aging hipsters in the hood. It is also rumored to be home to Steve Buscemi.)

MBL: Where do you hang: Coney Island, Prospect Park, or WIlliamsburg?

Gina: Um, Williamsburg, Ft, Greene, Carrol Gardens, Redhook and very rarely the Slope.

MBL: Brooklyn for life or love?

Gina: Both.

MBL: Best place for coffee? Food? Drinks?

Gina: Dub Pies for coffee, Mission Dolores, Union Pool (great shrimp tacos too!)and Sycamore for drinks, Grocery and Walter's for food.

Side note: Dub Pies is really the best place in all 5 Burroughs for coffee (Fine - Gorilla is 2nd best). You can take me out of Seattle, but you can't take away my coffee snobbery. All other coffee shops can blow me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

SP!ppp!Lrrr!!! (or the sound of someone spitting at the world)

None of this would make any sense if it didn't have a point. Right? I mean, how many times does an individual have to re-evaluate everything before they get where they need to go? Wherever that is.

I am at home today with baby girl. She has a slight fever and while I, of course, feel terrible for her, I am also enjoying the cuddles. It seems, though, every time I spend more time with her and the boy during weekday hours (which isn't very often), I try to make sure I believe in what I am doing here. For the most part, I absolutely do. But I'd be lying if I said there wasn't hesitation. And, I think most of the hesitation would go away if I felt I was using my time here better.

I'll be 35 next month. 35. 35. 35. I love and hate aging. Love: wisdom, maturity, perspective. Hate: feeling like I haven't done enough of what I want to do.

Don't get me wrong, what I have done, what I've accomplished is nothing short of wonderful. College, a wonderful marriage with someone just as nutty as I am, two gorgeous kids, an accomplished move across the country, a nice employer. But what's missing is success as a writer. And it's my own damn fault, because I am really good fucking off, and totally fear failure.*

So while baby girl naps, I am watching a documentary on writers and how much gets written that never see the light of day. At least I know I'm not the only one.

*These posts are both practice and therapy for me to keep me focused on the road ahead. So often you will find me very self-deprecating, Internet.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another shade of may-be-abandoned-with-no-notice

Over four years ago what started as a pipe dream grew into a full-blown mission resulting in my husband and me selling our house, uprooting our 3 person family (it is now 4), and moving across the country from Seattle to Brooklyn. Crazy right? Did I mention neither of us had jobs? Yeah. Anyway, we drove across the country in our little VW Golf with a car top carrier packed to the gills, a potty training 2.5 year old and an aging lab/newfie mix (R.I.P. Buddy). As soon as we got here, we found a crappy livable apartment in a nice neighborhood (we've since upgraded), I took a job as an executive assistant with a private equity firm in Manhattan (I didn’t even know what private equity was and not sure I do now) because the money was good, the work stable, the benefits amazing, and I thought it would temporary. You know, a day job to make the dream possible while we toiled away at “making it” – him as an artist and me as a writer or lawyer. Four years later and I am still at the same job. He’s “making it” or something like that and my writing has been sporadic at best. Oh, and law school? It got nixed. Maybe I’ll tell you about that one day after a couple glasses bottles of wine.

There have been a couple of now abandoned blogs, a drafted manuscript, a couple short stories – all drawing from some form of funk and dysfunction in my life or the fact that we are so poor we live on $12 a day in one of the most expensive cities in the world – but what remains consistent is that I wake up every day in Brooklyn and there is always something to say about life here.

Gush Gallery was my first and best attempt to commit to practice writing everyday but as these things go, I couldn’t afford to keep up the URL and I admittedly suck at HTML. There have been a few other blogs since, but as I’ve mentioned I am really good at starting blogs and abandoning them (it’s always good to recognize your faults as something other than a major character flaw isn’t it?). It is likely I will do this again, but until then, welcome to My Brooklyn Lyfe. You can also follow me on Twitter, or not. It’s your life, people.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

summer nights a la brooklyn

Friends are a wonderful thing. Especially when they have kids the same age and have movies in their backyard and bbq's and special drinks for restless hot summer nights. Sweating to the outside heat at 9:00 pm is always better when you have others to enjoy it with. And vodka. And beer.

Friday, July 16, 2010

the door and lock universe is against me

Have you ever seen the kids movie Monsters Inc? It's all about Monsters in the business of scaring kids through closet doors. They have warehouses full of doors and at the climax of the movie there are a lot of opening and closing of said doors. In order for one to be rendered useless, it must be shredded. Now, if I'd have been in that movie, cartoon or otherwise, they could just let me touch it and I would render it useless through my sheer ability to, well, render a door useless.
Why? Well, it's because I keep managing to lock myself, and many others, behind the doors of and inside sweltering apartments. Don't ask me how. I couldn't even begin to tell you. But the amount of sweat I've seen pouring off the men trying to fix my mistakes is enough to, well it's just enough. I am not sure what all these locked doors are supposed to tell me, but I am fairly certain it is along the lines of "be content with where you are cuz' you're gonna be here a while."