Birthday Confessions

As I turn another year older, I’ve officially entered the “late” part of a decade. (It feels good to have survived the 27 club.) Since today’s the start of a new year for me, I figured it was a good time to come clean on a few things — to make some confessions and head into  my next 365 a refreshed person. So here goes…

This is why I prefer to walk...
This is why I prefer to walk…

I can’t ride a bicycle.  (this one isn’t entirely true. I can ride a bicycle, I just can’t turn — not around corners and certainly not in a circle)

I am addicted to dark chocolate covered raisins.

I hate make-up. It takes me precisely 3.67 minutes to do my workday morning make-up and I only wear foundation on days I have meetings with people that can effect public policy/my funding.

I frequently succumb to sidewalk hustlers selling me stuff, like never-expiring comedy club tickets.

Cab drivers hit on me more often than drunk men at bars. If I’ve had one too many Manhattans, I’ve been known to give them my number and then panic ten minutes later realizing a cab driver can now probably hire someone to find out where I live.

JTT didn't know it, but we were gonna get married...
JTT didn’t know it, but we were gonna get married…

When I was 9, I had a crush on JTT and used to practice signing my name Kathleen Thomas in preparation for our eventual happily ever after.

My Ken and Barbie had a healthy sex life.

I don’t go into my guestroom at night without a flashlight and a stick and my cellphone. It’s haunted.

I probably can’t run for congress.

I don’t know what Post-Modern actually means and I never read any of the Deluze my professors assigned in grad school.

I always sing in the car, in the kitchen, and in the shower. Loudly, and usually out of key.

I still really want a pony.

I still really want a pony.
I still really want a pony.
Advertisements

Some Call it Art. Some Call it Just Another Day at the Office. I call it Training for the Amazing Race.

Without fail, every season on the Amazing Race, there’s a challenge in which teams have to carry heavy, awkward things over long distances. I’ve always wanted to be on the Amazing Race and so I watch each episode with half a mind focused on how to prepare for when it’s my turn. But carrying heavy awkward thing over long distances is not the kind of thing you can easily train for.

Living as an art handler is like training to be an elite athlete.

Unless of course you’re an art handler.

Standing in the storage area of my gallery Tuesday morning were two 6-foot canvases. They were awaiting transport to an off-site location where my team was installing an affiliated exhibition. Given that I have a compact SUV with moving blankets in the back, I was the designated transport.

“Are you going to bring your car around?” my assistant asked.

My car was parked half a mile away. Down a hill.

“No. I’ll just carry them to the car.”

I ignored her doubtful/cautionary expression as she handed me the white gloves.

Curating and art handling develop good forearms. Thanks in large part to a power drill.

I had only walked five feet from the gallery when a gust of wind and a traffic light made me realize that this might have been one of those lapse of judgement moments. The canvas under each arm had transformed me into an urban sailboat, with only forearms for rudders. My floaty skirt that was keen to pull a Marilyn Monroe over the subway at any moment had to be ignored.

The old man who sits with his walker on the street corner and calls me “Cupcake” was, thankfully, enjoying the early bird special at the Legion.

With each block the canvases grew heavier. The wind, wilder. And all I could think is: Why, oh why did I insist on the extra set of bicep curls!?! The half mile to my car was the longest half mile of my life.

waiting for my life line.

People paused to gawk. Others dove out of my way. A few got bashed with the frames of the canvases’ stretcher. A beautiful man in a Mercedes convertible pulled over to ask if I needed a ride. He was wearing a Rolex… and a wedding band. I artfully (haha!) declined.

When I finally arrived at my car, I folded the seats down. Laid out the moving blankets. And proceed to attempt to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Neither canvas fit.

I sat down on the parking lot asphalt. My arms were shaking — there was no way I was carrying these back to the gallery.

Eventually, thanks to a “phone a friend” lifeline, I found a solution. The paintings did not have to be abandoned in the parking lot — a threat I had thrown at them as they leaned against the side of my car, mocking me.

When I arrived at the satellite site, I expected to find a world map welcome mat and Phil Keoghan waiting for me. Instead, it was just a series of white walls and another Road Block — a very large picture puzzle.

I expected to find Phil and the map waiting for me at the off-site location. Instead, it was just another Road Block.

When You’re Having a Bad Dating Week Just Don’t Read “He’s Just Not that into You”

Jack Berger was my favorite S&TC boyfriend... even if he was insecure and emotionally handicapped

I’ll never forget the first time I saw that episode of Sex & the City where Jack Berger (incidentally, my favorite of Carrie’s emotionally inadequate boyfriends) bursts Miranda’s bubble with the simple phrase “He’s just not that into you.” The scene struck a chord as I had recently tired to tell a good girlfriend exactly the same thing:

“Listen, Jess, he took the evil red-headed stick figure actress to his office party. And the book signing. And dinner. He’s not dating you. He just d0esn’t, ya know, like you.”

Albeit, my phrasing was perhaps a big meaner. But frankly, we had consumed so many bottles of sake that she didn’t pay much attention to my solo shake-up in a chorus of “He’s totally waiting for the right moment to tell you he loves you.”

Gag me with a spoon.

Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy claims: A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment.” I’ve never been one of those girls. But that doesn’t mean that once in a rare, rare while, I haven’t found myself face-to-face with a man who ignites daydreams of the possible. Once in a rare, rare while, this pragmatic romantic loses the pragmatic and becomes a full-fledged romantic.

I think the post-it notes say it all...

And it was one of these rare, rare moments that sent me running to the book that came out of that Sex & the City episode, that book “He’s Just Not That Into You.” I had bought it to give to my aforementioned friend. I kept it instead. She clearly had no intentions to read it anyway.

The writers confirmed my intuitions — his lack of follow-up to our enjoyable early dates were sign that he wasn’t interested enough. The reasons were irrelevant, all that mattered was he didn’t like me as much as I had liked him. Ouch.

The book may have been right on some points, but it was wrong to tell me not to chase a little. Years later, when he was on to someone else, he confessed:

“I didn’t think you were that interested. If you had called, I absolutely would have seen you again.”

Some women are barracudas -- flashy fighters worthy of a trophy mount

New York is a man’s world when it comes to dating — this was a conclusion a male friend and I came to not so long ago over coffee. In NYC, an accomplished man with taste and half-way decent looks is the fisherman that doesn’t have to drop a line into the water to catch a fish. The fish just jump into the boat.

In a sea full of well-educated, well-dressed, good-looking fish, a man has options. Some of those women are barracuda — flashy fighters worthy of a wall mount. Which means sometimes, if you don’t want to lose out on a happily ever after, you have to get in the game and hop into that boat.

Woes of the Newly-Minted Working Woman, No. 231

“How are you adjusting to life as a  full-fledged working woman?” –> This is the question I’m most frequently asked by those that know me. Not “how’s the new job,” or “what’s your boss like,” but how are you coping with this foreign concept of a 9-5.

Standing in the locker room, in nothing but a towel, I realized I'd have to go to work braless. This wasn't an option.

Overall, I’d say I’ve adjusted pretty well. And then I have days like yesterday and I realize adapting to my new lifestyle is still a work in progress.

This time last year, I was a full-time athlete. My 9-5 involved wearing no make-up, traveling abroad, and working out twice a day.

Since I started my job as a gallery coordinator, my biggest challenge has been balancing the regimented fitness routine  I’m used to with the new demands of a workweek. Despite not being a morning person, I’ve committed to a morning gym schedule — a decision that reminds me why I try not to face the world until I’ve have my two cups of caffeine.

Yesterday, standing in the change room post spin class, wrapped in a towel, I assessed the contents of my locker:

  • Linen military jacket: check.
  • White, curve-hugging, scoop-neck top: check.
  • Printed linen ankle-length skirt: check.
  • Custom made cowboy boots and Navajo belt: check and check.
  • Outfit resembling costume for an extra in the movie of Custer’s Last Stand: assembled.

But wait… where’s my bra?

Had I gone bra-less, I would easily have been mistaken for another kind of working woman.

I held the skin-tight shirt in my hand and considered my options. Being small chested, I’ve frequently ventured out into the world sans support wear. But the elasticized and someone transparent material I was about to don made the decision for me.

Going bra-less would make me look like another kind of working woman.

It was settled: I’d wait for the Victoria’s Secret between my car-park and the gallery to open and buy a new bra. I’d be late for work, but at least I’d be setting the right example — only the day before I had lectured my assistants about “gallery-appropriate quantities of boob-age.”

I inherited 2 filing cabinets at work. One came filled with loan agreements and checklists from past exhibitions. As of today, the other is stocked with clean undergarments.

A working girl must always be prepared.

To avoid future post-gym forgotten underwear calamities, there's now a filing cabinet under my desk that looks like this.

April Showers Bring May Flowers, and Awkward Workplace/Romantic Encounters

April showers reportedly bring May flowers. April, 2011’s spring rains were absolutely ones of renewal, bringing with them a new blossoming job and a budding new outlook on romance, the sum of which equated to countless new possibilities for awkward social encounters.

Apparently, there are mug theives in my office. Even personalized mugs aren't safe.

Scene: 9:45AM, Day 2 at my New Job. I walk into the staff kitchen with my spill-proof, porcelain coffee mug with an intent to fill it. There’s a petite blond woman kneeling on the counter top, straddling the sink, blocking the coffee pot while she rummages through the cupboards.

“Have you seen my mug? It has my name on it.”

“No…”

“I ordered that mug especially with my name on it so no one would take it. You’d think that if someone saw someone else’s name on a mug they would think ‘this mug belongs to Kate, so I won’t take it.’ But no! Not here. People just take your mugs. Do you have your own mug?”

“Yes…”

“Let this be a lesson to you. Keep it with you always, otherwise someone will take it. Sometimes they even break it. The coffee is fresh, by the way.”

So much for my plans to get to work early

Scene: 8:30AM on the first real springy day in April. I’ve decided I want to leave work early, so I wake up extra early to get to the gym extra early so I can get to work extra early. Post workout, I’m standing in a Diane von Frustenberg skirt and Cole Haan loafers in the parking lot of the gym. The car doors are locked and my keys are staring at me from the front seat, laughing.

Thanks to the keys locked in the car incident, I arrive at work late, only to discover the artwork hanging in the window (the piece that was the lead for a NYTimes review of the exhibit) has come unhung. To rehang it, I have to mount an 100-year old radiator, in a skirt. The burn on the inside of my knee was, luckily, hardly noticeable.

Scene: Late night Saturday, there’s a monsoon raging outside and I’m inside a cozy restaurant on a date with a guy nearly 10 years my senior who might, arguably, be classified as a “player.” Being rather forward, he kissed me. A metallic object suddenly bashes against my front tooth with an audible clunk. Concerned about the integrity of my incisor, I pause.

I saw the scarf and thought Parisian, my boss saw the scarf and thought "She's hiding a hickey." Imagine if my date's tongue ring had chipped a tooth...

“Do you have a tongue ring?”

“Yes.”

“A warning would have been nice. These teeth aren’t straight but they were expensive…”

Scene: It’s the Tuesday after the monsoon-bathroom-tongue-ring debacle, and I’m wearing a white collared blouse and have a magenta silk scarf tied around my neck in a bow. There’s cake in the staff kitchen. My co-worker and I are stuffing our face. She turns and asks:

“Are you trying to hide a love bite? WhoisheWhat’shisNameWhatdoesHedoforworkIsHegoodenoughforyou?”

“Umm… No? It’s a rainy Tuesday in April. I’m just trying to cultivate my inner Parisian.”

Lessons in Conquering Addiction and Smart Investing

Anthony would agree, this cartoon was written about me.

Anthony had the most angelic set of kinky golden curls I’d ever laid eyes on. All it took was one compliment on them and his magenta blush and I was in, set for life. We quickly developed a special relationship: I was a junkie and Anthony was my dealer.

I was addicted to organic, fair-trade coffee, and he brewed the best espresso on the Upper West Side.

“Girl, you know I love you, but if I were a real bartender, I would have cut you off weeks ago. Do you have any idea how much you spend here?” I appreciated his concern, but I was in a hurry for class and he was taking his sweet time topping off my latte and counting my change.

“Ant, just gimme the cup and I won’t tell Madge about those ‘missing’ double-fudge brownies in your handbag.”

The quarter and penny slapped against the stack of “Perks” cards sitting in my wallet. In addition to Anthony’s cafe of employment, I held Coffee Club cards from Whole Foods, a local deli, and another small NYC gourmet coffee chain. Each were one stamp away from my free cup. None were a first-time membership.

I quickly did the math. Ant was right to be embarrassed for me — I was spending, on average, $12 a day for coffee. When I measured my monthly caffeine expenditure against my monthly college student income, I understood why I no longer had a shoe fund. It was time to seek help.

This little machine may have cost me some credit card debt, but it was going to save me thousands in the longrun

Luckily for me, this economic epiphany coincided with a home-sale at Bloomingdale’s. Rather than quit the bean cold-turkey, I decided to reinvest my coffee stocks.

I bounced home from the Lexington Avenue department store with a french press, a DeLonghi espresso machine with built-in milk frother, a pound of course-ground medium roast, and a can of Lavazza espresso. I was out about $250, but had enough supplies to get me through 3 months of caffeine consumption. Despite accumulating some credit card debt, in the long haul, I was scheduled to come out ahead.

I knew Anthony was going to miss me, but Gary, the shoe guy at Saks, was glad to finally have me back.