pink in the night

I always believed the best medicines hurt.  I used to pour the brown bottle of fizz on my open wounds, despite being told not to apply hydrogen peroxide directly.  If it hurt, it meant it was working.  When I have a sore throat, I drink grapefruit juice.  If it stings, it’s healing something. Of course intellectually, I know none of this is true, but it feels true.

My life, as evidenced by my recent entries, has been on auto-pilot with memories of sickness and blood donation and thoughts of death by ‘rhea, wondering if my beneficiary forms have been updated.  I realized today that I was in the same clothes for the past three days.  I hadn’t left this apartment, or this room.  I’ve been writing and re-writing.  I hadn’t seen my friends or brushed my teeth until tonight. Shut up.

“Do you know, baby, that it would be okay if it were just us?  Go lick my blister.  Go on, right there.  Yeah, that’s my good moo shoo.”  This is still my life.  The same story.  Another Linus licking story.  I can’t help it; it’s what I’m living, with the Linus curled into a comma, ears pinned back, going to town on my blisters, healing them with his magical canine saliva.  It hurts, but it feels strangely like it’s working. When he finished licking my salty wounds, he climbed onto my stomach and looked up at me.  “It really would be okay, you know, if it ended with just us Linus.”  It won’t, but it’s nice to know that I’d still be okay if it did.

I’ve just come from dinner at Compass.  I ordered the crispy skate wing with peanut sauce over something that tasted like a citrus Asian slaw, but wasn’t.  I consumed it with two glasses of Gewurtzaminer, alone with my laptop, until my friend Kim joined me for my second glass. She opted for green tea.  It had been too long, three weeks, since we’d last seen one another.  I needed to see her, to be near her, to swap stories and hear her laugh.  She is one of the most beautiful women I know.  Sometimes you don’t know how much you’ve really missed someone until you see them.  This wasn’t one of those times.  I felt her absense while she was away on vacation.  I kind of ached for her.  Maybe it was good for me, made me appreciate her more.  The kind of medicine that hurts.

Afterwards, I arrived home to the notorious D.O.G., and I realized, I am happy with my life.  I’m perfectly happy, living with my dog, writing full-time, coming home to those ears and that FACE.  I NEED to grab that face and hold it.  Then I instruct, “On the brown!  Gimmie the belly.”  “On the brown” means Linus needs to move toward the edge of the bed, onto the brown towel.  “Gimmie the belly” gets him to quickly roll over, belly exposed for some rubbing.  He has a bald spot on his chest I like to kiss.  I know this sounds absurd, but it makes me happy.  And even if there weren’t a man across time or town waiting for me to meet him at his apartment, so he’ll have someone to come home to, I’d still be happy.  I feel fulfilled, as if someone just irrigated my wounds and kissed me where it hurt.

sky reflection


  1. I'm realizing more and more, in the 15 days since my 30th birthday, that this is what it's about. Not wanting it all, or having it all, or working your ass off to get it all, but just… enough. Just what counts. Doggie bellies, warm friends, fine wine, and a consistently high quality (if not quantity) of sex.

  2. I recently read the following: "My old friend. . . once tried to define a moment of perfect contentment and came up with the idea of opening a vintage wine while settling down to read an undiscovered work by P.G. Wodehouse. Another comrade identified bliss with writing or reading very hard in the afternoon, knowing that someone really, really nice was coming to dinner."
    Now, I'd change the author and perhaps the potable (an ancient scotch, probably) but the sentiment of the first option is beautifully sound. And the second, unimprovable. The simple things, love. The things you inhale because they sustain you. Writing, reading, a drink, a terrier, etc.

  3. This was really great to read.

    It's hard to sustain an existential crisis with a Linus on your lap. I should know, I have a Linus, too. Not a terrier, but a Pug.

    And he just sneezed on the computer screen.

    All is right in the world. For now.


  4. I actually had a conversation about being happy with what life has shown me so far with a friend a little while ago.

    I realized that being happy with my life and still hoping there might someday be more was where I was (and wanted to be). I don't expect there to be more. I do hope there is, but could be perfectly content if, at the end of the day, all I have is TheDog's full body wag to greet me.

    of course enveloping kisses would be nice, but not absolutely necessary for happiness.

  5. I used to do the same thing with hydrogen peroxide — I liked to see it make my skin bubble and turn white.

    But girl…come on. Brush yo teeth. Your man across time and town will greatly appreciate your still having a smile when he finally traverses time and town to get to you.

  6. Did you and Phil break up??? Noooooo….don't tell me!! Why have you been home for three days with no mention of Philip?? Please, don't make me cry! I was totally rooting for you guys!!

  7. Sex. Sex. Sex. What is that? I don't know, you get a couple babies, who can remember how you even got them to begin with. Hm. That is ringing a bell . . .

  8. I would like to know if Gewürztraminer is a well-known-wine in the US or a quite a new grape? Why is it called Gewürztraminer? It was made in Tramin, South Tyrol, and "Gewürz" means "spice".

    I really like it and it has healed a few wounds in the last years. But take care with the dose: otherwise your sorrows learn to swim ;-)

  9. Steph, you're probably freaking out the non petowners, but I know exactly what you're talking about. Your dog sounds great. Click my link to see a picture of my Samantha, may she rest in peace.

  10. I'm working on, lately, trying to be content with life because compared to a lot of people around the world, I have it reeeeeally good.

    Yet, I seem to be dissatisfied.

    Someday, I'll work through this. This post helps. If anything, it made me smile.

  11. Nothing makes me happier when I'm feeling blue than when my pit bull puppy nuzzles his head into the crook of my neck for a hug. Sometimes that's all you need–puppy love.

  12. ok – one your google ad has something to do with early armpit hair growth. Wha???

    two – thanks for sharing. good story. you make me want to learn to write well. I could never express my love for my pup like that… but it rings true.

    keep up the good work!

  13. U love your canine friend oh so much…he's fulfilling and there for you when you are down…maybe you should consider taking the poor dog out a little more (3 days at home in the same clothes!!) especially given the nice weather instead of spending time sipping wine in fancy places. Take the poor dog out!! I'm sure he's sick of doing his "business" on the floor of your apartment. Doggy play dates are a great way of meeting people…including available men. Yeeesh. Life is OK even when it doesn't revolve around a man or longging for one.

  14. I'm glad I'm not the only one that struggles with life and being happy with what I have currently. I always think "would I be happier if…" I think reading this has helped me realize that I have a great life and I need to love it NOW. I mean, I have a cat that plays fetch! What’s not great about my life? I'm printing this one off and saving it for those down days. Thank you.

  15. By the way, the peroxide fizzes (and smells vaguely of sour dairy), but it's the alcohol that stings like a motherfcuker. I AM SENOR NUMBNUTS

  16. My suggestion to you is live away from New York for at least 18 months. This is what you need more than anything Stephanie, in my opinion.

  17. This was my most fave post ever. I really want a dog but my parents won't let me get one which makes me get my act together and stop spending my salary on clothes and save up for an apartment. But then I think what if I get a dog and then I can't take care of it and I have to give it away? That saddens me. I want to get a pug and name it Lindsey Lohan or just Lohan for short.

  18. Skate wing? I know skate is a fish (I think?) They have wings? I'm confused, I'm such a burger-guy.

  19. Procrast? Your advice is as smooth as sipping a glass of Maker's Mark – thank you for sharing that – it made me smile.

    Stephanie, it's a good shift to a better track today. Glad to see you holding fast to the simple stuff and enjoying your exhale…

  20. I agree with Shady: it does not sound like Linus gets walked at all. Apparently he is forced to spend his energy by licking. Poor thing!

  21. You have an enviable life but you and your blog are boring. You are on top of your game and you are full of remorse about what, divorce? Being 30 in NY? My god girl-you need to get over yourself. No man wants a downer for a gal pal or quickie-I hate to think all 30 year old New Yorkers are so depressed. Take a Prozac-better living thru chemistry.

  22. So you don't "always go with him" on his walks? Dog walker we must assume. Clearly can afford some of the extravagances in life that many people can't (including a nice dinner at Compass). I agree with Kathleen in that you seem to be well off in life and doing what you enjoy so should have no need to feel sad and lonely. Take a step back and be thankful for all that you have….it really isn't so bad.

  23. Anon, you assume wrong about the luxury of a paid dog walker, though you're correct in assuming that I am "well off in life." That has little to do with money. This post was about being thankful for all I have, hence the whole, "I feel fulfilled" bit.

  24. I guess it was more the tone at beginning of your blog that gave me the impression of some sadness you are experiencing. And again at the end where you make mention of "irrigating wounds" and "kissed me where it hurt". Call me crazy but it just implies or rather directly states some sort of wound or hurt you suffer from……This whole post starts off with a sad and lonely tone but you wrap it up with the self realization that you are in fact happy. I was simply stating that it seemed odd that you seem morose to begin with.

  25. I agree that a 4-legged friend is what life is all about. Your cue is "On the brown! Gimmie the belly.", mine is (in a baby-esque tone)"ReegawegawegawegaRegal!" and my silly horse comes running across the paddock. If I ask, "How's my big mushy pony?(he is a 16.1 hand Thoroughbred, not quite a pony)", he just puts his head down in my hands and insists upon some rubbing on his ears, cheeks, and on his neck. And then, he smiles.

    Regal reminds me that I am pretty lucky to have even had the opportunity to have him for my relaxation. I saved him from a life of malnutrition, poor living quarters, and a owner who couldn't care less and a handler who was abusive. In exchange for often not buying stuff for me or doing other things that used to bring me pleasure simply to afford my horse, I have received the love of a creature that should hate everybody, but brightens my day, simply by being himself. He reminds me that if all I have is my life, a few friends and my horse, I am a rich man indeed.

    Great post Stephanie-I too was counting my blessings like this today.

  26. interesting how people often assume that a woman having dinner alone – someone reflecting, creating, and be open to new experiences- is morose, an undesirable weidro, a "gold digger", or a "slut" attempting to pick up a man? while they see the pack of aggresively chipper coworkers: the ones talking loudly about nothing, bantering the superficial networking small talk while scanning the room, recreating the status quo they'll wake up to the next morning, as "healthy" and "fulfilled".

  27. A dog walker is not an extravagence – it's responsible ownership. How would Anon feel if he/she was left to pee on the floor and taken out once a day?

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