Category Archives: good intentions

A List of my Latest Failures

This list is not by all means all inclusive – who has time to list ALL of my failures, even the most recent ones? No, this list is for the twelve of you – my loyal readers who think that I am just sitting back somewhere drinking Mai Tais and ignoring Sticky Jam Hands completely. This is not true – I think about it ALL the time it’s like the 2nd child that I’ll never have, I want to nurture it and fill it with only the best quality stuff, I don’t want it to get all fat and bloated with shitty writing that springs forward from me even when I try to squash it.

The list below encompasses all of the entries that I have started and wisely deleted before anyone else except Pinky could see them (Pinky is the name of my laptop – she is pink – I am very clever):

  1. “If I Were in Charge” This was a post based on what would happen if all of your dream came true and I was suddenly in charge and could makeup all of the rules. I thought it would be funny – certainly the first paragraph was really good but then the entire thing devolved into ways that we need to help the environment. I mean I know I have some strong feelings on the way we misspend our resources but come on – get off your soap box you know? I eventually deleted this post and saved some of the good parts in a word document – I feel like its material I can use if I ever go back to undergraduate school and I need to stay up late lecturing my fellow co-eds on how we can save the world.
  2.  “With no Benefit” this was a post I wrote in my head on Sunday night as I was throwing up over the side of my bed thanks to a stomach bug that Lucy picked up somewhere and selflessly shared with me – the entire thing was about how vomiting was completely unfair if not preceded with a night of black out drunk drinking – it was also a reflection of the strength of willpower that people must have to be bulimic*. Anyway – this entire thing was pretty funny but was not set down in paper so when I finally did manage to stop dry heaving and pass out the entire thing was deleted from my mental cashe file. This sadly, is what happens to a lot of my writing – it’s not really written anywhere and thus can be lost as soon as something shiny enters my field of vision.
  3.  “Dear David” This was an open letter to David Sedaris after I read his book Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls – this book was fucking funny as was my letter to him telling him so – but then I thought ‘I don’t really wasn’t to pigeon hole myself here’ – next thing you know Sticky Jam Hands just becomes an entire website devoted to letters to Authors that never read them – maybe I’ll still finish this but wait 3 or 4 months to post it – maybe I’ll completely forget and move on, Maybe I’ll decide to write to Laurie Notaro because I just finished her latest book – it’s a nail biter my friends, stay tuned!
  4.  “Down With Facebook” – I’ve been working on this post for like 2 months now ever since I decided to delete the app from my phone – it’s kinds like a follow up to Facebook is An Asshole and in it I ranted on and on about inappropriate postings (starving dogs and children that die in frighteningly bizarre and terrible ways) there are things in this world I would rather just not be aware of – you know? This post went on and on and for the majority of the time I was writing it I was only occasionally going in to Facebook on the sly – you know to see what my memories for the day are – but then a friend of mine from High School was about to have a baby – a good friend who is my age and whom I’m terribly jealous of and I started checking first thing every morning to see if he was born yet (he was born yesterday) and now I feel like I have no choice but to reinstall the app so that I can keep up with baby pictures – oh and also all of the obligatory ‘back to school photos’ oh and so I can post about how yesterday on the train I sat next to a girl dressed in leggings, a long sleeve flannel shirt and over the knee boots – I so wanted to take a picture of her with the caption “Too Soon!” and post that shit – I mean come on it was 86 degrees outside!

So there is it – at least four unpostable entries that I won’t subject you to. Please feel free to send me subject topics that you would like me to go on and on about!

*I’m in no way condoning eating disorders – I am sure they are really really bad – I’m just saying that I have always admired people’s willpower to stick with something that makes you feel so terrible.

A Message for the Future Me

I can’t wait for Lucy to start giving herself a bath – I want to put that out in to the Universe (in print) because I know there will come a day when I am old(er) and nostalgic and I’ll turn to someone near me (perhaps a stranger on the bus) and lament about how I miss when my daughter was young and I bathed her. But for the record, it’s hard. First, bath time is 8:00pm, by 8:00pm I have been awake for 14 hours – 10 of those hours were at work or trying to get to work, an hour was spent trying to coerce Lucy in to doing 15 minutes of homework, an hour was spent prepping and/or cleaning up a semi-wholesome meal. Bottom line is by 8:00 I am tired. TIRED.

So I’m tired and Lucy’s hair is about 3 ½ feet long and needs to be washed well, conditioned copiously and brushed out – she doesn’t like water in her face and I need to use professional hair products so when shampoo accidently seeps in to her eyes she reacts as if it were bees and not Paul Mitchell’s moisturizing serum. She doesn’t like to wash herself, she’d much prefer that I act as her handmaiden and do it for her – same with her teeth, so when I insist she does it herself she cries. She is also tired so she can cry really easily and for long, extended periods of time… this goes on seemingly FOREVER.

By the time she is clean and ready to get out she no longer wants to get out she wants to play in her dirty, soapy bathwater and will only remove herself when I promise her a good story time that I’m frankly, a little too tired to read.

She’ll get out of the tub and instantly be FREEZING TO DEATH, she will overdramatically fall into the fetal position on her bedroom floor and not move to help you dry her or dress her but the second she is warm and dressed she will suddenly be FULL of energy and will jump on the bed repeatedly until you have to yell and threaten to take something away from her for her to calm down.

She will want to snuggle while you read which is great except that her hair is still very wet and she will ensure that whatever you are wearing will get very wet too, she will only half pay attention to you as she asks every 15 seconds for you to hand her the milk that she refuses to hold on to but needs placed on her dresser after every swallow.

After the required two chapters of reading she will once again get very weepy and insist that you sleep with her, that she misses you and that she can’t POSSIBLY FALL ASLEEP without you. At which time you will firmly but gently extricate yourself from her bed feeling shitty that you don’t spend enough time with her but also very very ready to go downstairs and drink the glass of wine you poured for yourself that is waiting on the kitchen counter.

You spend 5 minutes reconnecting with your husband before you both fall into a semiconscious stupor and turn on mindless TV until you are too tired to drink anymore wine and you’ll head upstairs and check in on Lucy who is snuggled and cute and quietly snoring or muttering to herself and your heart will melt and you will almost bring yourself to tears because you feel like you are not doing enough, not there enough for her, you will brush her hair out of her face and kiss her on the forehead and try very hard not to think of the 5,673,128,789 ways that life can hurt her and you will want to keep her young and protected forever. You will feel this way for about 24 hours until its bath time again and you are tired and her hair is dirty and all you want to do is relax.

How to Fix the World with Kittens and Beer

The fact is there is nothing good to read on the internet. Seriously, I scroll though blog after blog on wordpress and you know what I find? A lot of political ranting, some uber feminist babbling followed by more political ranting. Sometimes there is a side note in there about environmental ruin and the destruction of life on earth as we know it.

This makes me feel personally responsible for bringing joy and light to my fellow human beings, which is hard because I’m not really full of joy and light, mostly because so many things piss me off.

Also, why do we need so many blog posts about politics and the environment? Seriously, if you have been alive for… (I’m guessing) 20 years and have paid attention to anything than you already know that we, as a species, are ruining everything and that we cannot collectively elect a leader that makes anyone happy. I don’t really see the point in belaboring these facts by blogging about them. That is what the news is for. Want to see how terrible everything is? Turn on CNN.

I know I’m coming across and trite and glib but fo’ real – in a world of mass shootings and terror extremists what we really need to do it shut the fuck up and stop feeding in to it. We need more pictures of kittens, we need more stories of families and communities coming together for something good (like beer).

We should all go out right now and buy some random person a beer and hear their story and if we all did that everyday than we’d all be happier and probably 15 pounds heavier and have lost our job because I’m writing this at 8:42 in the morning. But honestly people, if your job doesn’t support you buying strangers beer before breakfast than you need to rethink your job.

I have no proper ending to this post; here is a picture of a cute kitten:



When my husband and I bought our house many years ago it came with a big hole in the front of it. This hole served as a home to several families of neighborhood birds and also made it affordable to us and our shoestring budget. After moving in we hired some very nice contractors to evict the birds and fix the hole, mostly because the birds where not friends with the squirrels that were currently residing in our attic and also the hole created unwanted air conditioning in our master bedroom.

The hole was fixed right away and we spent the first summer in that house scraping and repainting the front facade but the damage done to the interior walls and the 85 year old plaster was pretty bad. We learned, like any good homeowners to simply stop looking at it. I parked a big chair in front of that wall and spent the next six years piling giant loads of laundry on top of it.

Last year the adjacent wall that lines the chimney also began to bubble and get soft, again a very nice masonry contractor came and fixed the problem but that wall continued to sit there and mock us with its damage. Eyes averted we continued to pretend that everything was okay.

Finally, with not so distant dreams of selling the house and buying something  more spacious and less water damaged we finally concluded the time had come  for action.

To that end, this past week my husband took off of work, moved our bed into our cramped back office/library/guest bedroom and endeavored to fix the problem.

My husband is awesome and has a number of excellent traits, working fast on a small deadline is just not one of them. He is… meticulous and precise in everything he does. When we first got together he once saw me making a salad by ripping apart lettuce all haphazardly with my hands  our relationship nearly ended there.  He brings order and organization to my otherwise chaotic and deranged life.

Needless to say I was dubious about how this whole project would go on a tight seven day deadline. I decided to document the experience – please excuse my blurry cell phone pictures (I believe I own the last phone manufactured without a flash) :

This is what our walls looked like pre-project:

Last Sunday - notice all of the variations in this blurry photo are sift spots on the wall that when touched crackle like tissue paper
Last Sunday – notice all of the variations in this blurry photo are soft spots on the wall that when touched crackle like tissue paper
Notice how here the plaster is completely disengaging itself from the pesky wall...
Notice how here the plaster is completely disengaging itself from the pesky wall…

When I came home from work on Monday night, this is what I walked in to:

Look - we live on a set of an episode of the Wire...
Look – we live on a set of an episode of the Wire…

When I arrived home on Tuesday, this is what I saw:

This may appear to the untrained eye that the only thing that happened on Tuesday was that the ladder was moved... but I was ASSURED much work went on that I could not see...
This may appear to the untrained eye that the only thing that happened on Tuesday was that the ladder was moved… but I was ASSURED much work went on that I could not see…

On Wednesday dry wall started going up:

sweet sweet progress
sweet sweet progress

On Thursday my sweet husband turned 39 and I found him in the shower drinking a beer when I got home (he got thirsty while showering – he wasn’t just huddled in the tub drinking alone) mostly he was celebrating getting this done:

Whao! What is that? A wall....
Whao! What is that? A wall….

We went out Thursday night to celebrate his birthday.

A quick side note to all of this: for his birthday I bought my wonderful husband a pair of slippers and a humidor. (Apparently I married my grandfather.)

On Friday I came home to find him painting the banister of our staircase, evidently the bedroom project was far enough advanced to move on to something else. I’m sorry but I didn’t get a picture of the banister.

Yesterday in preparation for his parents arrival (and my departure) later this week, we moved our bed and belongings back into our bedroom:

Look - how pretty!
Look – how pretty!

So now, I am referring to our bedroom as “Heroin Chic”… Maybe I’ll leave the really big chair that normally lives in that corner for the next owner. Two loads of laundry and you probably won’t even notice the wall.

28 days to go

Oh Jillian Michaels – how I hate you so… In the spirit of new beginnings and life changes, I have decided to transform my Pillsbury dough boy body. So you know… I don’t have to keep avoiding mirrors when I’m nekkid. In an effort to do this I have purchased Ms. Michael’s 30 day shred program and I am on a mission to get it the hell over with.

Today was my 2nd day and I must say that even though I was barely able to heft myself out of bed this morning because EVERY singe muscle in my legs were screaming in pain – I managed to get through it with only 4 or 5 breaks for water and breath catching. This is an improvement over day 1 when there were 8 or 9 breaks for water and breath catching.  I am seriously struggling with some pretty basic things – you know like getting all the way to the floor when doing push ups, I have about an inch and a half range of motion, but it’s a start right? Push ups I can work on but there are other things that really annoy me that can’t change (aren’t there always?) like her voice, it’s like nails on chalk board and if she tells me one more time to stop ‘phoning it in’ I might just start screaming and never stop.

Really, my new goal now is to get in shape and fit enough to jog my way out to hollywood and kick her stupid monkey ass just to show her how strong and in shape she made me. Okay, reading that line over again I do realize how totally messed up that is, but whatever – the heart wants what it wants.

I have managed, unwittingly, to set up some road blocks for myself (awesome). The biggest one being the GIANT bowl of Halloween candy taunting me from the dining room table. You see, our neighborhood is serious about Halloween and every year when get HUNDREDS of kids grabbing handfuls of reeces peanut butter cups from our giant fruit bowl. So, this year I went out, like usual, and bought two army sized bags of candy. What I didn’t realize is that if we go out trick or treating there would  be no one  here to hand out candy and it would all be sitting here, taunting me…

 Despite my idiocy I am determined to finish this thing and to stay away from the candy so my husband can stop poking me in the stomach to hear me giggle.

The Amish don’t have internet access right?

my sister and I are always looking for a way to escape the corporate grind… so to speak. We would love nothing more than creating a cash cow and being able to sit back and take a break from the M-F 9-5 world.

At some point last year she emailed me this article about how Amish businesses don’t fail, it sparked this email trail:

her: “Business idea — be Amish.”

Me: “Being Amish makes me beileve my hair will alwayd be dirty and I’ll be itchy all the time…”

her: “They’re not hippies — they do bathe.  But maybe a line of natural Amish soaps?  BTW — my new neighbor owns a cheese-making business.”

Me: “I know they bathe but how good is homemade soap for your hair? These are things I worry about…
Maybe we could make a good natural soap for your hair – with a beer base (beer is really good for your hair) people are into natual/organic beauty products…”

her: “Maybe a whole line of natural beer products — beer to drink, beer for bathing, etc.  We can even start growing our own organic hops.”

Me: “This seems like a lot of work, lets just go drink some beer…”

I guess this also serves as a great example of why we have never been successful at starting our own business.

Because they probably think I’m making this all up…

Pretty soon after I got bitten  by that monkey in Spain the Red Cross stopped asking for my blood. They left me alone for over a year – presumably with a giant red circle with a cross through it on my chart. About the time they started calling again I had recently returned from a malaria hot spot on the coast of Mexico – and I was once again put on their bad list and then just about a year later I had the nerve to get pregnant (I’m such a jerk).

Yesterday they called me for the first time in about six months, and we had this lovely conversation:
“I’m calling to tell you that the need for blood is particularly bad right now – we were hoping you could give…”
Long pause… “Well…”
 “I suppose you’re going to tell me you are still breastfeeding?” *exasperation*
“Well, actually…yes. Why don’t you call back in 3 months?”
“Are you planning on getting any new tattoos” * sarcasm*
“Hm, that’s not a bad idea… why don’t you make it 9 months…”
It’s not that I mind giving – its just all these rules they have – and it has been a long time since my last tattoo.

What’s in a name

I used to work with a man named Harry, he was a decidedly ‘interesting’ character, spent most of his lunch hours at the bar across the street drinking multiple scotch and waters – this made him very chatty and I’ve lost track of the countless afternoons he spent leaning over my desk sharing information I probably didn’t need to know.

My favorite Harry story goes a little something like this:

Harry’s mother in law died and his wife being just an ‘interesting’ as Harry was trying to make decisions and sense of what was left of her life now that she was gone. Her Mother had lived in a little house in Germantown, a town a good 30 minutes away from where Harry lived. Her Mother had a cat, a very old, crotchety cat.

Instead of bringing the cat to live out the rest of it’s life at their house, they were afraid that it wouldn’t get along with their cat – cats? (I cant really remember but they remind me of the type of people that would have a small hoard) so they decided to let it stay in it’s familiar territory. They never tested this theory , they just assumed it would be all chaos and mayhem.

In order to make this work Harry left the office everyday and drove from center city out to Germantown (30 minutes) to feed and hang out with his dead Mother-in-laws cat. He would  give it dinner, play with it – turn on the evening news  and then leave and drive home to (presumably) do the same with his wife.

I remember Harry and I having conversations a lot like this:
“Wouldn’t it just be easier to have one of your Mother in Law’s neighbor’s just pop over to do this for you?”
“Don’t you think that would upset it – To have strangers over there everyday?”
“Why don’t you make your wife go over during the day to feed it while you are at work?” (she didn’t work)
“That would never work she gets upset going over there and I think she’s decided she doesn’t want to drive anymore…”
“Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to sell your mother in laws house so that you dont have to keep up with it and pay the taxes?”
“Oh yeah”
“How long do you think you are going to do this?”
“I don’t know, how long to cats live?”
I bring this up because Harry’s wife’s name is Lucy and when we were picking baby names I thought ‘Lucy, I don’t know… someday she might make her husband spend over an hour of his day hanging with my crotchety old cat in the house they have essentially given it so it wouldn’t get lonely.’ And then I thought – awww, my cat would probably really appreciate that.

A flashback to the single life

I celebrated Mother’s Day all weekend long and part of the celebration was a girl’s night out with my lovely sister on Saturday night. We had a great dinner at our favorite small BYO bistro and then bar hopped our way around Rittenhouse square just like we were ten years younger, childless and able to stumble two blocks home.

While we were having dinner a young good looking guy walked into the restaurant, sat down with his bottle of wine and nervously stared at the door for the rest of our meal… the last of our Chianti… and our round of cappuccinos. I felt so bad for him; all dressed up and so obviously hopeful.

It made me think about the time I was on a date in the restaurant just next to the one we were at. This of course was way before I met my husband and realized I would be a fool to ever let him go, knowing there are only a few good looking,  rational men in this world willing to put up with someone like me.

I had become a serial internet dater, mostly because I’m lazy and I just wanted to date people in slippers from the comfort of my own home. I had been chatting with a guy named Jay… Somethingorother. He seemed nice enough and so we had agreed to meet at a restaurant just around the corner from where I was living at the time. I got there early and Jay arrived shortly after – clearly 15 years older, 6 inches shorter and a good 20 pounds heavier than his profile and picture marketed him as. Now, I try not to be shallow but I truly believe that if you’re a 40 year old single man you are just setting yourself up for failure by using your high school graduation picture as your current photo.

But I had already had a cocktail or two so I was willing to ‘give it a go’ so to speak… It didn’t take long before I realized that it just wasn’t going to work out, we clearly had nothing in common, and I think he even made a comment about how much I was drinking… eh hem

About 45 minutes into our date, I legitimately got something in my contact lens – you know when you are tearing up and your nose is running and the makeup is half sliding down your face – it was obviously not a problem I could fix with a cocktail napkin. I decided that since I lived around the corner the smart thing would be for me to run home, remove my lens and come back – it would take less than 10 minutes.

So – I went home and swapped my lenses for my glasses. I had my hand on my front door knob just ready to hurry back to this unbearable date when I thought “Hm… do I really have to go back?” Jay Somethingorother knew I lived close but not exactly where, I mean wouldn’t I be doing us both a favor if I didn’t encourage it?

So – I stayed home and put on my slippers, poured a glass of wine and sat in the dark, you know just in case.  I felt bad, I really did – I mean I do have feelings.

The next morning I was barely awake, still lying in bed when the phone rang and guess who? Jay, bright eyed and cheerful asking if I wanted to meet him for brunch. “Huh?” I groaned into the phone, “But I left you at the bar last night…” Apparently he didn’t care, he wanted to buy me brunch and have me meet his dog.

It took three days of unwanted phone calls before I convinced Jay that it was never going to work out – I had never seen anyone try so hard and it just made me feel like maybe I was being unreasonable, why shouldn’t I date someone I don’t like, I mean if he’s really into me?

Fortunately for my husband, my daughter and my current lifestyle – I’m not that lazy -I decided not to settle. I am hoping that whoever that guy was at our restaurant Saturday wasn’t waiting for someone who changed their mind at the last minute, and if he was he moves on and finds someone awesome, did I mention he was really cute?

Hero Worship

Yesterday I attended a University symposium on the problems facing urban populations they covered everything from childhood hunger, comprehensive healthcare, sustainability, urban violence and AIDS. And as I sat there listening to these speakers who have dedicated their lives and careers to helping others, I than had this conversation in my head:

I really need to do something more meaningful with my life

you probably don’t make a lot of money handing out free healthcare services to the indigent population of our city

I really like the lifestyle that I have created for myself

Some people don’t have any kind of lifestyle – they deal everyday with housing and food uncertainty

Yeah but if I start handing out food to the poor how will I ever get my house in the suburbs so Lucy can attend a good school?

You’re so incredibly selfish 

Shut up

I would like to say that this is the first time that the voices in my head have argued this same point, but who among us hasn’t wanted to do something more heroic with their life? But if it were possible for us all to be heroes than who would we even be helping?  I’m going to write a check to Philabundance to clear my conscience and try and keep my own family healthy and safe – sometimes thats all we can do.