MERRY CHRISTMAS! Here's a blender.

Well, Christmas is over. As I do every Christmas night (after I pray and thank God for baby Jesus and everything), I review my gifts. This year, as I surveyed my stack under the ole pine tree, I realized I had a pretty boring Christmas (in terms of gifts, that is. In terms of family drama, it served up a well-rounded, entertaining feast of dysfunction).

I'm becoming an adult. Perhaps I've already arrived, based on logistics alone. I've graduated college, secured a full time job with benefits, have not yet gotten fired from said job, and I've signed a lease on an apartment without any financial help. Logistically, I'm doing well. In terms of maturity and life experience though...well....you read the last post.

This year though, my gifts were not cool. Nor fun. They were just artifacts of my life. A cardigan for work; a blender for my new kitchen; plates, dishes. I felt like I was at a bridal shower (my bridegroom being Brenna). I mean what do these gifts really mean? Is this it? Am I stuck here in New York now? Where will these dishes go if I want to move abroad for a year? Do I take these glasses to India? Did David Foster Wallace have European style cutlery at my age? I appreciated the gifts, and they will go to great use in my apartment, but I found myself looking longingly at my sister's new iPod. That little pink nano was my youth, my former Christmas wish. And now, NOW, I had a blender.

I know it's stupid that a blender could freak me out like this (but not completely abnormal--see "Father of the Bride"), but perhaps it indicates a certain domesticity that I never really saw myself possessing. I don't think I'm settled down in the very least. I still make very poor decisions and do things such as drink too much in front of Derek's family and then throw up while driving on the Belt Parkway (yeah...that happened today).

I'm sure I'll figure this out someday. But for now, I'm going to go make myself a cocktail (or chocolate milkshake) in my new blender. Excess calories and alcohol are my go-to cure for every situation!


Stupid Matt and His Stupid Weight Loss Competition!

I didn't even want to lose weight.

Well, I mean, I always WANT to lose weight. But for once I wasn't actively trying. I had lost weight by accident and I felt good, you know. Okay about my body. Not worrying about it.

And then my STUPID cousin Matt had to go and make a stupid weight loss competition.

Now if you know me, you know I am VERY competitive. I can't even bowl a game of bowling (that does not sound right) without getting all huffy and scary. Derek nearly dumped me after an ill-fated game of darts that may or may not have ended with me calling him "bitch". Oooh, boy, was he mad.

Anyway, so Matt decided to have a competition in the vein of NBC's show "The Biggest Loser". (Side note: This blog was just interrupted so that I could eat penne vodka and dip half a loaf of bread in the sauce. Oprah, girl, I feel your pain!) I joined in the spirit of competition. But as soon as I start thinking about losing weight, I start gaining it. Today at lunch? Chicken parm! Tomorrow? Shake Shack! The next day? I envision marshmallows. Not sure with what, but just marshmallows. And pizza. And sauce. Ooh and Christmas dinner is in one week. Yahoo spiraled ham! I don't even think I like ham, but hell, I sure am excited to eat it!

I swear, I barely had an appetite prior to this little competition. But NOW, I can hardly go a minute without thinking about my next feast. I'm already looking forward to next year's Thanksgiving. I mean really. I have the hunger of a rabid dog, and the belly (and height, sadly) of an Irish leprechaun.

Thanks a lot Matt, thanks a lot.

Update: I didn't gain or lose any weight in a week. Not bad!


An Ode to Shake Shack

Dear Shake Shack,

Thank you. Thank you for being you. Thank you for entering my life on a whim, and changing it for the better. Without you and your awesomeness, I would have never experienced the delight of your burgers, shakes and fries. Without you, I'd be empty inside, a shell of a woman, searching for the perfect french fry. But now, with you, I know I have found it! There is joy in my life now, light surrounding my face, a beauty that has made people stop in the streets and exclaim " You woman! You are beautiful! You must have eaten Shake Shack!".

Even though you have caused me to gain four pounds in a week, it has all been worth it. You make working 9 hours a day worth it. You are...my everything.

Shake Shack!

Go to NYC people, just for Shake Shack.




Something I wrote awhile ago

Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin. For some people, this sounds like a night of fun, or the perks of having your wisdom teeth removed. Although I’ve experienced worse ailments than tooth removal, these drugs never appealed to me. Even in my darkest moments, I resisted their allure. It was mostly in an attempt to be “macho”; above all those other sick people who clamored for them, who self-medicated. Wimps, I thought. I hoped that by willing through the pain, I was making myself stronger and better prepared for life’s truly troubling maladies. I also realized what a slippery slope it was. I was afraid I’d take a Vicodin for a serious problem one day, and wake up the next needing it for a stubbed toe.

It wasn’t until after my surgery for cancer at 21 that I took my very first painkiller. After a four-hour thyroidectomy, I was beaten, swollen and sore. Not knowing what to expect, I succumbed to the pain and swallowed down a Percocet. Immediately, I felt as if a screen had come down, protecting my body and mind from the hurt it was enduring. I was light and free; I was Cool-Whip. I had shaken the trappings of my small stature and clumsy coordination; I was a freakin’ ballerina! I flung my arms around my boyfriend, kissed my dog, ran into the freezing January air just to feel the chill on my skin. Everything was different, and everything was grand.

I volunteered to go to the grocery store, forgetting that I was bed-ridden an hour before. Once there, I skipped through the aisles, ebullient and joyous. Food stores, with their bright lights and bland music, usually give me headaches and obscure my vision. But today, my knees weren’t yelling at me to sit, my head wasn’t begging for quiet, the ulcers in my mouth weren’t clamoring for more Anbesol. I was free of the constriction, the grief, and the weight of it all. My brain took notice and shifted into fourth gear; I started spouting out ideas for the weekend, trips I wanted to take, places I needed to see. I vocalized a desire to go hiking, which looking back now, was certainly drug-induced. I reveled in this newfound freedom of limb, this glorious transition from swollen and tired to energetic and youthful.

And then… the drugs wore off. When I came to, I found myself back in New York, two hours away from my warm (Tempur-Pedic) bed in New Jersey. In my daze, I had convinced my parents that merely 10 days post-op, I was well enough to watch my beloved Giants in the Super Bowl. After all of the excitement of the big win, my friends went out to the local pub to celebrate. But I suddenly felt exhausted. I rushed everyone out the door and went up to bed, depressed at the quickness of the crash.
Like many others before me, I had made the fatal error of mistaking drugs for happiness. In the back of my mind I knew it was the medicine that was making me feel so great, but a little part of my childhood, innocence and faith wanted to believe that I was cured. I had let myself hope, after a few glorious hours, that my life had changed. My real life had finally begun. That after 21 years, I had set forth on a new, easier journey. As the pain kicked back in, I realized that I had merely glimpsed at a painless existence; a reality many people take for granted. But to me, pain is as familiar as blinking. It’s my spooky sixth sense. It is always there, talking and shouting and yelling and pissing me off. And as much as I wanted it to be gone, I was going to have to live with the fact that it will never go away.

As humans, we all want something; we all hunger. It is this hunger that can lead us down dangerous paths, popping painkillers like candy and abusing their power. I learned how tempting this sensation could be, especially since I have an addictive personality (I once went through 3 bottles of hot sauce in a week). For me, drugs are merely a temporary fix for a chronic problem. While I hate the sensation of pain, I appreciate the honesty it brings. I trust in my body and the ache of my bones; it keeps me grounded, alive. I see now the importance of living in reverence to your mind, body and spirit. We must listen to ourselves, and take what we have, what is tangible and wholesome and honest, and live our best lives with it. And on those rare days when the sky clears and that black cloud vanishes, I appreciate the sunny freedom that much more. It gives me the will, the power, and the vigor to survive. I am living a full life through the pain, and I don’t need any expensive drugs to cushion this wonderful reality.


Adventures in Real Estate

The time had come to begin apartment hunting with my trusty friend and former college roommate, a one Ms. Brenna Hogan. Brenna is currently teaching at a school in Brooklyn while staying with Erin. Erin so graciously offered her couch for Brenna to stay on while we looked for
a place but it's getting cramped. She compared them to a lesbian couple, like Ellen and Portia. My question is though...whose Ellen and whose Portia?

So on Saturday (as I vomited profusely), we began our valiant quest to find ample living space in New York City this past weekend. And it did NOT go well. After respective nights out, we grabbed breakfast and headed to Brooklyn. With stars in our eyes and money in our bags, we just had a feeling we'd find our new home.

The forty dollar cab ride should have been our tip off that the day was not going to go as planned. We headed through beautiful Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and Park Slope. And we kept going. To the ugly side of the street, to the ghetto-ish part of the Brooklyn often seen in Spike Lee movies (or joints, as he calls them). We finally met up with our broker, who was nice even if she was large and with questionable fashion and music taste. I'm not one to make fun, but a 4X Unisex coat doesn't flatter the figure the way you'd hope.

The first apartment that we saw would have been fit for a drug dealer, working his way up through the ranks of the system. Or maybe a journalist undercover, studying the disgusting living conditions in New York City. It was a ground floor railroad style (one room led into the other). The street wasn't bad, but all you had to do was stick your hand in the window and you'd touch one of our sleeping heads. It was not suitable for more than one person, at the very least.

The next place was one hundred times worse. We pulled up and noticed the distinct smell of chicken poop. Turns out the apartment was across the street from a live poultry shop. I nearly called PETA and became a vegetarian, but then I remembered my love of fried chicken.

We walked past the chicken butcher when Brenna gave me the eye. I looked over and saw a nice, normal, hearse. Except it was "tricked out" and it had "GOT BODIES?" written on it. I thought I was leaving this kind of stuff when I left the Bronx, but apparently not.

After the hearse, and the dead chickens, and the rotting smell of what I hope was dead chickens, we got on the subway and headed back to Jersey, the land of suburban dreams. My parents fell in love with Brenna for some odd reason, going on and on about her manners, her quick laugh, her willingness to ignore the fighting (kidding). I told them she was stoned the whole time....but they didn't believe me (Kidding, Brenna). Why else would she eat a whole bag of my favorite chips?? (Stupid mouth sores!)

On Wednesday we look at more apartments, and hopefully no hearses will be involved. Although a fried chicken store so conveniently located would be nice. I love me some chicken wings!


Pukey Pookie

Since I was a child, I've been a vomiter. A puker. A hurler. A spit up queen, if you will. My parents nicknamed me Pookie at birth (really guys...you couldn't think of ANYTHING ELSE??) and soon changed Pookie into Pukey Pookie. I ruined many a shirt as a baby (sorry Dad) and was likely ostracized even as an infant due to my penchant for puke. Unfortunately, this vomiting hasn't really stopped as I've moved past the formula stage and into adulthood.

And it's gotten way worse since I had the radioactive iodine.

It's like perpetual morning sickness for a pregnancy that hasn't occurred (thank Jesus). I KEEP THROWING UP. Yesterday, I puked at the Wall St subway station while Brenna gagged (how nice) thirty feet away from me. Then I ruined the bathroom and garbage pails of NJ Transit's fine motorcars. When I got home, I still threw up, even though there was nothing left in my system. This morning, more puking. At work, puking. EVERYWHERE, puking. I'm afraid my new coworkers are going to catch on and think I'm bulimic (though this would be quickly dispelled as they took one look at my potbelly).

And the worst part is, I have hardly lost any weight! As I see it, the upside of a stomach bug is the loosening of the pants. The bulge disappearing. A sudden welcoming party into the size 0 section of J.Crew. But nooo...my lovely stomach seems to magically and miraculously retain the calories even as I puke everything else out. Another example of how my illness has failed to serve me! A fat puker...I mean who would have thought??

I've been to dozens of doctors who can't quite seem to figure out why I keep puking. I've turned off many a man with my vomiting, and frightened my friends with my constant nausea. When people see me, they'll soon hand me a plastic bag and move away from me. The puking has become so common that I don't even think much of it; it's just another day in the life of ol' KPB.


The Grand Trip, Part One.

After leaving work early on Tuesday, November 25, I boarded my flight and headed toward the great city of St. Louis. I had an hour layover there, allowing me to meet the Midwest’s best as they prepared for the holiday. Nothing much happened there except I observed that everyone in the airport knew each other! I always knew that hicks inbreeded. After leaving St. Louis, I got onboard my flight to LAX. I was sandwiched between two very large men who each should have gotten two seats to accommodate their large statures. Fortunately the flight wasn’t full (Yay for the recession!) and I moved out of that seat quickly thereafter. I curled up in the back row and was asleep as soon as we took off. LAX was nothing short of miserable while I waited for Rachel to pick me up. It took over an hour. She blamed the weather, but ever since she got her brand new car (a white Jetta—we call her Pearl) she’s been an extra cautious driver. Quite a departure from the girl we used to call Crash. We hit the road and proceeded to experience the famous LA gridlock. It was awful out, which didn’t help the traffic. I overheard someone say that it hadn’t rained like this since September. I bring the rain, bitches!

The next day we headed off for the city of dreams, mullets and dysfunction, Las Vegas. Fittingly, we stopped at McDonald's to fuel up on grease before hitting the town. Five hours in the car (desert traffic) led to a lot of picture taking as I was quite bored in the passenger seat. We finally arrived, delayed since I gave Rachel the wrong directions. I seem to trust my GPS on my BlackBerry more than common sense or human intelligence. I paid so much money for the damn thing; I’ve forced myself to trust it more than I really should.

Our little setback only cost us an hour of miserable bumper-to-bumper traffic but we finally arrived at the glorious Tropicana hotel, brushing crumbs off our laps as we exited Pearl and checked in. I had looked at pictures of the room online, so I was prepared for a lovely garden view room. In Vegas I guess they count a parking lot and Hooters casino as a garden. That town really needs some horticulture. The lovely ground floor room looked like Carol Brady had decorated it (on a budget), and the TV was probably new in 1991. But we weren’t there to hang around the room! So after mixing multiple drinks in our room (Vegas on a dime, people) we set out to the town’s greatest hotspots.

We crossed the wet and damp footbridge in the pouring rain into the MGM Grand where I promptly won 20 bucks at my old favorite, the Wheel of Fortune slots! I swear Vanna White and Pat Sejack must have a thing for me, because I am awesome at those bad boys. I also wasn’t aware that you get free drinks when you playing the slots and it’s possible I may have taken a little bit too much advantage of the service. Damn margaritas kill me every time! But I was on a hot streak thanks to Pat and Vanna and feeling good. After awhile, the MGM was getting a little bit too pricey so I had the brilliant idea to head to downtown Las Vegas, dragging Rachel alongside me in protest.

I flagged a cab, NY style, and told the driver to “take us to the Casino Royale, Vegas’ premier gambling destination!” Casino Royale is located downtown, which is not so nice. The area looks like a ghost town of strippers, drunks, and whores. Apparently prostitution is legal out there, so I know where to go if my advertising career fails (KIDDING!). He looked at me with a face full of fright and disgust, but away we went. We entered the casino, which looked and smelled like my grandmother’s basement, complete with stained shag carpet and faded posters on the wall. I headed to the blackjack table, where a lovely brunette with a mullet cut dealt me my cards. The old men in Harley Davidson jackets seated at the table looked at me skeptically as I took my place, but the $1 margaritas I found there made me brave enough to show ‘em I could handle ol’ blackityjack. The dealer dealt and it was at that point I realized it was some variation on the game called switch blackjack. I looked like a teenaged fool (I got carded four times) asking questions but soon waiters were soon bringing me free margaritas and mojitos (don’t try that mix at home, kids) while I went on to win mad bills! Harley and Davidson claimed I had beginners’ luck but I didn’t care; my winnings paid for our hotel!

While I was winning, Rachel was beginning to feel a bit iffy. Several people asked her if she was a. on drugs or b. dying. Since she was a lot closer to dying then drugs (though I’m sure we could have found some there), we decided to go to back to the hotel and grabbed a cab. Our driver was very nice, but his mettle was about to be tested as Rachel, the best drinker I know (puke free since ’03), started to look a little green. “Rach…are you okay?” I asked with concern. “Uh no…I’m going to puke.” I scooted away from her as she rolled down the window and threw up all over the side of the cab and the Las Vegas Strip. The cab driver hollered, and pulled up hastily to the Tropicana. Eager to get out of the vomitcab, I threw him a ten (which was sadly a meager 70 cent tip). As I left the cab, he screamed at me and called me a bitch due to my lack of generosity. To further embarrass myself in front of Vegas’ finest, I slipped on the rain puddles on the marble steps and fell up the stairs of the Tropicana, resulting in various cuts and bruises. Whoops. I got into bed at 12:30, and uttered what would ultimately prove to be true about Las Vegas:

We tried to own Vegas, but Vegas owned us.

ALSO: We had Thanksgiving at a Hooters. Whose more classy than us?



I am in an interesting economic situation.

I'm employed (barely), but I have no money.

Frankly, I blame the Jersey Shore Premium Outlets. They somehow scouted me out (I blame the Internet) and decided to build a J.Crew outlet, knowing that I would provide them with enough money to stick around for a very, very long time. It is due to their fiscal prowess that I now sit here (at work), writing about my very real lack of funds.

And I'm going away this week. To California. With Rachel. Which surely means that my limited finances will take a Depression-sized hit.

The worst part is that I need to move out of my house. Badly. (See post about my commute). Why oh WHY didn't I save my money? I had a nice chunk of change post graduation, but four months of laziness and no income has depleted my stash of cash. And now I'm going to have to turn tricks on the street.

Not in the Ashley Dupre way, but maybe with some overturned pots and a drumstick. Maybe I'll even get discovered!


Shoot! I've got to commute!

The bowels of Penn station.
The ungodly line for a metrocard that makes me just a minute late for work.
The unhappy sighs of a thousand middling business managers, stuffed in too small suits, smelling of coffee.

Oh, how I love commuting.

I try to look at the upside. Look at all the time I have to sit! I love to sit. it's so much better than standing. And to read. I also love to read. Buuuuut it's kind of hard to focus on Junot Diaz's wonderful prose when the snores of the middle aged and overweight are buzzing at your ear. And the train...it smells. Like days old coffee, newsprint, and general dysfunction and unhappiness. If they could bottle that smell they'd make...no money. Because it sucks. Oh, it is not pleasant.

And then there's the conductor, blaring down the aisle, so clearly in control of his hands, ripping tickets off the seat, fingering the dirty cash to give out to those unlucky fools who have to face the onboard surcharge. I'm amused at how quickly they give their change, flipping the coins from their belts. Those belts are so cool; they're a wondrous Batman-like fixture of change, tickets, and awesomeness. Those damn belts are probably(definitely) the highlight of my trip.

The worst part of the ride, I would say, is the absolute SNAILS pace it takes to get from Secaucus Junction to Penn Station. I often see Mexicans whiz by us on their ten speeds, as we languidly push our way across the NJ-NY border. I could probably walk faster than we go on that train. And I walk slow (I have the legs of a chubby toddler). It's at that point that I've really had enough of the train. I am looking forward to work at this point; my comfortable chair, the free coffee and soda, the expense reports, the internet. That little stretch of turnpike looms in front of me and it takes. so. long.

But it's not that bad, I know. I sound like I'm complaining, but I'm not. Well, I am. But I'm also somewhat grateful for this opportunity to observe the backbone of our economy, hanging onto their jobs with a white knuckled grip, enjoying the morning paper before reporting to work. It's an experience, for sure.

Plus...sometimes I find free magazines. And that's a perk no smell or long line or on-board surcharge or smelly homeless guy could ever ruin.


The First Week...

Well, it's over. Not just my first week of work. My life...as I formerly knew it. What was once a parade of sleep, partying and watching television has now become a tired charade of early morning alarms, daily showers, and movies on a Friday night.

I miss my youth.


Back home

Corner of Home and Escape, originally uploaded by Kelly Bergin.

ny was fun, as always. sick now. work monday. recover tomorrow.

btw, i did not follow through on my promise of taking halloween easy.

if anyone knows how i ended up in a fight with a large gentleman in a mets outfit, please let me know.



Life is a rollercoaster...

And I may puke.

In other news, I start work on Monday. The vacation known to others as "unemployment" (what a silly term) has finally come to an end. I received my official offer letter today, and it's a good offer with lots of perks. (Hello discounted gym membership and 20 days off and a week for Christmas and summer Fridays!) So I am excited, but nervous. As in I may puke (see above).

Today was a mixed up kind of day, with feelings and emotions and events that I have yet to reconcile with.

It was long, and I must learn how to sleep normally before I start my job. I don't think I can stay up until three every night anymore.

I may take it easy for Halloween this year, and not like act like an ass in a costume as I have every year prior (dating back to Halloween 2003, when my mother called me stupid ass for the very first time). I think it'd be best to start preserving my energy, health and spirit for something productive. Like work.

Interesting thought, eh? I'm going to sleep on that one.


The Walk Around The World Tour

Today we took a one mile barefoot walk in Asbury Park with Hanson and a bunch of other fans/ AIDs activists. Hanson donates a dollar for each person that walks a mile barefoot. It was pretty cold, and my feet are pretty sore, but it was awesome. I talked with Taylor and Kristie about their trips to Africa (fine, I said one word while Kristie went on about her awesomeness) and told Zac some lame Asbury Park trivia that I didn't even know that I knew. God, what a loser!!! I seriously embarass myself all the time. I need a muzzle.

I think I need a pedicure.

The show was amazing too. My camera died (of course) but I have lots of pictures inside my head. But you really don't want to get in there...


Raynaud's Phenomenon

A perk of lupus...

In the cold weather, my hands and feet are perpetually frozen. I've tried three pairs of socks (with Uggs...explains the smell), gloves, hand warmers, hot towels...everything. But they stay cold and turn purple/blue (it's really quite attractive...I have the hands of a corpse) and I can never really get warm.

I think I should move to California.

Anyway, so to stay warm I have developed a new habit. I...well...I stick my hands underneath my arm(pits). So now I've turned into Molly Shannon (Superstahhhh!) from SNL.

What's next, people, WHAT IS NEXT?!


Random words

At dinner last night...

My mother, to my brother and I...

"Are you two having a competition to see who can grow more zits?"

Enough said, Mom. 'Nuff said.

(I'm applying a ProActiv mask tonight. I swear.)