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birthday party in manhattan

In ALL, FRIENDSHIP by Stephanie Klein2 Comments

Click here to see all the pictures from that night. The chicklets gather to celebrate our beautiful Jen’s 28th at Zitoune on Gansevoort in the meatpacking district. Somehow I ended up eating a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery with my wine. It’s all good. Then, I headed to Rhone with some of the ladies… then home to cuddle with Linus come 3am. Jen and Erin took off to Marquee. I abhor clubs… really, just kill me now. All in all, oh what a night. Love my girls. And of course best birthday wishes to our lovely Jen Choi. Thanks to her new fiance Richard Kang and to the ultra fabulous Kimberly for putting the bash together!

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you are what you listen to?

In ALL, LIFE OBSERVATIONS, MUSIC by Stephanie Klein10 Comments

All morning I’ve been listening to Tom Waits sing “I hope I Don’t Fall in Love with You.” Repeat. I was never a Tom Waits fan, and I’m still not. I first heard Natalie Merchant sing it, and once I learned it was a cover, I had to hear the original. Tom Waits does it better. Once an ex seduced me by playing it on his guitar. Point for him. The music I listen to might as well be a chick flick. I’m such a sucker for acoustic guitar. If my life had a soundtrack, all the songs but one would be played with an acoustic guitar. The ACDC pole dance song, You Shook Me All Night Long, would remain hard. When men meet me for the first time, they sometimes ask, “What do you listen to?” Notice when women meet for the first time, we never ask this question. And the thing is, if you’re a woman and interested in a guy who asks you this, you’ll answer something safe most times. U2, Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band. A better question, “What’s on your ipod recently played list?” I believe that we all have this deep desire to connect with someone, and to do it, we look for common interests or tastes. Wow, you like Pearl Jam too? Big deal, who doesn’t? And any guy who right off the cuff tells me he likes Norah Jones, Dido, or The Indigo Girls… I’ve got to look down at his drink and make sure it doesn’t have more color than a dirty martini. Fruit Salad. There’s so much judgment passed on people based on what they listen to (and what they drink). And those of you who answer back, “I listen to all different stuff.” Just come on. We all listen to myriad types of music. Duh. Pick something, will you? Anyone who gives you that answer… they are a people pleaser… be warned. Red Flag. See, I told you. Judgments. And just FYI, I listen to The Shins, Colin Hay, Coldplay, Dido, Nick Drake, Amel Larrieux, Barenaked Ladies, Crash Test Dummies, Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald, Erika Badu, Eva Cassidy, India Arie, John Mayer, Joni Mitchell, Kasey Chambers, Lauren Hill (I LOVE HER, BUT WHERE IS SHE?), Louis Armstrong, Moxy Fruvous, Nikki Costa, Patsy Cline, REM, Remy Zero, Radiohead, Renaud, Simon & Garfunkel, Susan Tedeschi, Taj Mahal, The Postal Service, They Might Be Giants, Tina Turner, Tori Amos, Tracy Chapman, Train, Travis, The Wallflowers, Vonda Shepard, and of course my Natalie Merchant. Please, no judgments. It doesn’t mean we wouldn’t get along… um, except if you listen to White Fang, White Snake, or any other band that sounds scary. Then you can just forget it, you whack.

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in a cab headed north, he was headed south

In ALL, DATING & MATING by Stephanie Klein11 Comments

We’re in a cab headed north. He is headed south. My pants are pulled to my ankles. I assume he tipped the driver well. We’ve arrived at his apartment, and suddenly we’re even past his doormen and in his elevator. I’m going home with this guy. I have never in my life done anything like this.

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not another Knicks game

In ALL, LIFE OBSERVATIONS by Stephanie Klein2 Comments

1. Larry Johnson made an L signal with his arms only during Knicks playoff games. 2. Baseball is only team sport where: a) manager wears uniform; b) playing fields are not the same from stadium to stadium; c) you can fail 65% of the time and be considered the best in the business; d) where the offense does not have the ball 3. Stephon Marbury, who was just traded to the Knicks, grew up in Brooklyn and went to Lincoln High School. 4. Karl Malone is the “Mailman” cause he delivers. 5. Julius Erving is “The Doctor” cause he makes howze calls. 6. Kobe Bryant is named after Kobe Beef 7. Peyton Manning is quarterback for The Colts. His father Archie was a great NFL quartback for the Saints, and Peyton’s younger brother Eli will be a first round draft pick in this year’s NFL draft. Keep it in the family boys. 8. Yao Ming, who is from China and plays for the Houston Rockets is 7’6”… his mother is 6’3”, and his father is 6’10”. 9. I love grandfather clauses, which permit old-school players, who joined the NHL prior to mandatory helmets, to now play without any protective headgear. So old school. 10. I sometimes call my dog Linus “Lebrinus” after LeBron James because the boy can catch some air. People say athletes are thugs during interviews, perhaps as well spoken as last night’s Best in Show champion Newfoundland (pictured above), but Sprewell is very articulate. Go ahead and add Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacque Wamutombo (Dikembo Mutombo for short) to that list. He can answer in English, French, Spanish, Portugese or any one of five African dialects. Well done, gentlemen. Now, if I could only say the same of their spectators. At any sporting event in Madison Square Garden, it’s no surprise to find men wearing sports jerseys and duo-toned face paint screaming about the ref’s wife. They’re the type of men who go to Irish pubs and have goatees; they have definitely mooned more than one person in their lifetime. They use toothpicks after meals. These men all played football or hockey when they were younger, but now, they play softball. Take that scene and reverse it. You now have the spectators at The Westminster Dog Show, housed in Madison Square Garden. The space is the same, but the players have changed. Security isn’t just checking bags for explosives; they’re ensuring no one is smuggling in another dog. Bouffants, powder puffs, hairspray, I’m talking about the women, not the dogs. Lots of white haired women with spackled makeup wear their fur coats; it’s becoming cliché. Fur to a dog show is like wearing red to a funeral. Bored married men wearing Hushpuppies smile a little too long at me—their heads turn, and their Chanel-pin-wearing, Manolo’s-even-in-the-rain, I-get-my-hair-blown-smooth-every-third-day wives notice. They clutch his arm and lead him. They become their husband’s handler for the night. Since when is a Dachshund a hound? Excuse me, but they’re Gray’s Papaya’s bundled in knit and should not be in the same ring as a Bloodhound whose shite is bigger than the dachshund by two. The Briand is not something you smear onto a baguette and pair with a tasty Chianti; it’s a dog. What the hell is the difference between working and sporting groups? Every time I attempt any sport, it feels like work. These poor dogs get an unfair wrap. Like the above list of interesting sports tid-bits, you’ll hear similar facts (and rumors) in Madison Square Garden… about dogs. The dog nerd beside me (yes, the kind that buys the program) drip-feeds me information throughout the evening. “Pulik” flashes on the board in lights as a mop of a dog struts his rump. “Aw, what a cute Pulik.” Dog nerd corrects me, “It’s pronounced Puli.” Her voice is nasal. “Pulik is plural, like oxen.” Dog nerd goes on, “And that dog’s owner brings terrible shame to the community.” She then leans in closer; I can smell her breath. She whispers in a voice reserved for dreaded things, “puppy mills.” She brings a new meaning to “Dog Whisperer.” (If you enjoyed this post, check out Dogs & Their Owners)

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a heap full of life on your hands

In ALL, LIFE OBSERVATIONS by Stephanie Klein3 Comments

I had a project in kindergarten to make a cookbook. Everyone in the class had to bring in a typed copy of a favorite recipe. Cheese Puffs. Photocopies were made–hole punches included. We had to bind the recipe pages with yarn and create our own covers, which would later be laminated. Some kids traced their hand and made a turkey. Some drew fish or family members. Rainbows were popular. I told the teacher I wanted to sew. I sewed two pieces of construction paper together, sewing my name in thick colored yarn. The e came out backward: very Toys R Us. Construction paper, rubber cement, yarn and glitter contained behind the lamination. Cooking 101. Kindergarten is about playground carpeting–sprawling out on your stomach, sore elbows, your first rug burn incident. Small chairs and wooden desks. Monkey bars and glue. Concentrating, yet lost in time–your tongue curls itself outside the corner of your mouth. Finger painting. At what age do we stop getting dirty–stop digging our hands in? Brushes get introduced to keep fingernails clean, like a fork or a knife. The only time now I get my hands dirty is when I cook or have really dirty seex. Crushing tomatoes in my hands, letting the jelly and seeds seep through my fingers, pulling the pulp into strips. Viscous and lovely. I suppose they make hand blenders and food mills for this task. I know why I stopped jumping on the bed. I broke it having seex, so jumping on it wasn’t a good idea, but when did we get so clean? Freud would have so much more to get wrong these days. The sublimation of fecal fixation as displayed by artists and chefs is no longer apparent. We’re not getting in it anymore. We’ve become sterile. And now, we’re aware of every hour, minutes are accounted for. Time sheets submitted. My New Year’s Resolution was to let my tongue hang out. It’s not about panting, picking fights, or making a pass. It’s about letting hours feel like minutes. Getting dirty and involved, letting my tongue out. It’s just not living anymore with neatly arranged catalog lives, polaroids taped to shoe boxes, everything in it’s place. Manicured nails and lawns–a holder for your kitchen sponge. I miss wearing a smock. I’d be wary of anyone who can cook and keeps their hands clean. They can’t fcuk at all, and when they do have “intercourse,” it’s probably clean and orderly, like boxes of soap. Get dirty, sing with your eyes closed; let your tongue do what it wants. Get a heap full of life on your hands.

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appease me please

In ALL, FRIENDSHIP by Stephanie Klein0 Comments

Hair in a bun, big tee shirt, sweats. Bundled beneath white down, ready to read, “Bird by Bird” resting open on my chest. My little bully comes along, decides he’d like to be my necklace. Pushes the book closed with his paw, swift as wind he’s in my face, his warm pink belly on my breasts, his tongue lodged in my nose.

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hassidic heaven

In ALL, PHOTOGRAPHY by Stephanie Klein3 Comments

Here’s what you don’t know about B&H Photo. They have food stands to keep you there. Restrooms and food stands. Free Coke, seltzer and lots of pretzel nuggets. And sugar, bowls filled with hard candies on nearly every corner. They’re not dumb, fueling you full of stimulants. Shop, shop, damn it, shop! If you know what you want, you can walk right up to a man, wait for a cue, “I’m listening,” then bark your list, he types, you’re done. A green plastic basket is then awaiting your arrival at checkout. 5 minutes flat. I went in control this time. In and out, easy. Going to B&H Photo is a little like grocery shopping when I’m hungry. Before going next time, I’ll check my Amex balance first, maybe print it out and pocket it. Today I went with a list. The list was strict and written on a folded index card in black pen. No pencils here. I brought with me every bit of camera equipment that I own, pulled over my shoulder, just incase I questioned straying from the list. The weight of it all would keep me questioning any reckless purchase. 105 Macro lens was third on my list, but definitely the most expensive item. Fujipress 800, Kodak HIE, 105 Macro lens, 500w EBW bulbs (2) with brackets, gold/silver reflector card. What I left with: 81A Amber filter for a 62mm, Fog Filter 62mm, Close-up filter kit of 3, Filter Case, 105 Macro lens, and all the film, plus two more. $570.79 bill in hand, 2 hours later. Okay, sure, I rationalized that the new digital camera that I just spent $2,000 on would save me money in the long run, right, no more film to buy or develop. Wrong. With a digital camera, you feel like you’re cheating. Photoshop it up if it’s not what you hoped for. It’s like re-writing an old story with a few strokes of a red pen. It doesn’t count; it’s not original. All week I was somehow too busy to shoot for my photography class… the one that meets on Monday nights. Assignment: to shoot 2 rolls of film in the style of your favorite movie or movie director. The problem, of course, with this assignment is that I have too many favorite movies, yet none of them seem classic. The one movie I recalled as being beautifully shot is Unfaithful. Modern crops, some grain, good aperture. The trick is not picking a movie just because it’s beautiful. I certainly can’t replicate Antarctica, Africa or Thailand. It’s about replicating style, not subject matter. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, too cliché. I came home and watched Unfaithful until it was time for “Sex and the City.” Then I cried. I want babies. So that leaves Monday afternoon for my photo shoot. Hello Grand Central Terminal. Unless any of you have any good ideas… “I’m listening.” Here’s where I ended up, an homage to Pleasantville.

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hundreds of facts all about me

In ALL, INTROSPECTION, MY LISTS by Stephanie Klein

1. I wet the bed until I was in 6th grade. 2. I ate dinner with Jack Nicholson. There were 5 of us. I don’t recall if he actually ate, but he didn’t talk. 3. I get diarrhea more than a normal person and have no qualms about sharing it with everyone in the shorthand version ‘rea.’ 4. Chris Noth (Mr. Big from Sex in the City) asked me out on a date, while his friend (my date) was in the bathroom. 5. Anyone who can play acoustic guitar rocks my world… as long as they sing, too. 6. I don’t like vibrators, but I love dirty talk in bed. 7. I’ve been known to dress up as “the other woman” complete with wig, contacts, and fake name all in the name of “keeping things exciting.” (see image above) 8. Julie Tesser accidentally broke my nose in the 4th grade. I never got it fixed. 9. I had a pet bird that committed suicide by sticking his head between the cage bars. 10. My sister forgot to feed her pet gerbils, so one died. Then, the one that was alive ate its dead friend. 11. I have never tried a cigarette or done any drugs, including marijuana. 12. I don’t know where Wyoming or Montana are on the U.S. Map. Oklahoma, neither. Okay, now I know where Montana is because my sister moved there. 13. I was always afraid of ducks when I was little. Their feet scare me. 14. The second toe on both my feet is longer than my big toes. It’s called the Royalty Toe. 15. I once weighed 168.5 lbs. And wore a size 16 pants, a men’s size 36. 16. When I drink alcohol the bridge of my nose turns bright red. 17. I still worry about my weight but I somehow manage not to puke up my food after every meal like most of Manhattan. 18. I was a vegetarian for 9 years until I was tempted to eat a chicken nugget. 19. I lost my virginity when I was 15 to a boy named Eric Fink. 20. I hate tuna fish or salmon out of a can, but I will eat both as fillets or sushi. 21. I won’t date anyone who can fit into my jeans. 22. I hate the gynecologist. Nearly every time I’m there, I faint out of fear. 23. Receiving oral sex does nothing for me. 24. I got alcohol poisoning when I was 14, and I didn’t drink after that until sophomore year of college. 25. I can touch my tongue to the tip of my nose 26. I hate barbecue chips and sauce, but I like dry rub ribs from Memphis. 27. I hate learning history. 28. I have always excelled in math, even though I was an English major. 29. I love karaoke. 30. I have never shoplifted. 31. I have never lost money gambling. I always win at Roulette. 32. I am ¼ Greek, ¼ Puerto Rican, ¼ Russian, and ¼ Austrian 33. I was raised Jewish, had a bat mitzvah, went to Hebrew school, yet my mother is Greek Orthodox. 34. I once worked cold-calling people at home to sell Chimney Cleaning Services. 35. I am a distant cousin to the person who sings the theme song in the movie Manequin (Nothing’s gonna stop us now—Starship) 36. I know all the lines in the movie “When Harry Met Sally.” 37. I have seen every single episode of Three’s Company. 38. A photograph of me appeared in Newsday when I was protesting power lines 39. When I’m sick, I stay home and watch the entire Anne of Green Gables series. 40. Yes, my hair is naturally red, and no you can’t make me prove it. 41. The same day I had all 4 wisdom teeth pulled, I ate eggplant parmigano. No swelling. 42. While ordinarily I am not a pious person, sleep away camp was a religious experience. 43. I had an abortion, and it’s more than just some item on a list. 44. On a stormy night, when I was 9 years old, I said aloud that I wanted a sign there was a god. I turned over a deck of well-shuffled cards, and I pulled out 2 aces in a row, then I put the cards away. 45. My dad is my best friend. 46. I wear a 34C. 47. I detest any type of beer, including Apple Jack. 48. I had the opportunity to cheat on my SATs. I didn’t. 49. I called in sick to work one day because I was up all night playing Final Fantasy. 50. I have tweezed my entire pubic area because I was bored. 51. “Woman on Top” was the worst movie I’ve ever seen next…

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foreign affairs

In ALL, BREAKUPS & BREAKTHROUGHS by Stephanie Klein1 Comment

I can taste him sometimes, mineral, a hint that disappears like a whisper, I’m not sure I heard, a fine bead of sugary pear inside my cheek, a hum of memories like rain, he is familiar, yet unexpected, like the taste of your own blood. His voice reassuring, like a shoreline, puddles of speech, linger in me, permanent, water stains on paper. Tender and calming, engulfing me with rapture and envy, a suffocated ship without aid. I can smell him sometimes, warm with soap, mingled in his chest, hair like broken stitches, curled like seashells. Scalp, saliva, and sandalwood. Deer eyes reveal a man who had settled for less, hands as tender and strong as his voice, tanned skin with a sheen like pressed Egyptian sheets, a brownie mole that escaped my eyes in the dark. I can feel him sometimes, beneath the cup of my hand, filling me like dough when it’s pushing into cold stone, warm and buzzing with yeast and elasticity, melted wax, soft as sifted flour, rhythm, kneading, needing.

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gobbler’s knob

In ALL, LIFE OBSERVATIONS by Stephanie Klein1 Comment

It’s a crock. We all agree. It’s like the Easter bunny but without the dye, Cadbury eggs, or plastic grass-filled baskets. Some underground creature with the ability to prognosticate, yup, right up there with Claus. However, it is a holiday, and as such, a celebration, or at least an acknowledgement must follow. Bring in the films. I tip my hat to this holiday by loading my DVD player with a double feature film viewing of Groundhog Day followed by Caddyshack. I challenge you to come up with a better afternoon duo. I can just see Punxsutawney Phil, peeking out, shaking like a Chihuahua to shed his slumber, then a sunlight flinch. Interpreted: Phil has seen his shadow: six more weeks of winter. Newsflash: He has seen his shadow 94 times since the tradition began. It’s rooted in a German superstition that if a hibernating animal cast a shadow Feb. 2, winter will last another six weeks. I think the Germans should stick to bratwurst.

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be a pepper

In ALL, PHOTOGRAPHY by Stephanie Klein4 Comments

Like men with hot cars, I am compensating. I have no seex life. Assignment #1 photography class: shoot a pepper. Boy did I ever. View the results in the album.