Month: August 2013

Dinosaur Jr. — On Entering the Puberty of Old Age

It happens to everybody. But when it happens to you, it’s the oddest feeling in the world. You got “old.” You’re not quite sure when this happened, but it’s a fairly recent phenomenon. You’d been going about your life as usual: Revving up at 7 a.m., hopping on the elliptical, feeding the dog, making plans for a week’s worth of dinners, creating a PowerPoint for that meeting, buying the cute pants from J. Crew… And then somebody shouts you out of your somnambulant texting: “Ma’am! Excuse me!” A skinny young dude cruising down Flatbush Ave. on a skateboard nearly knocks you over. He looks a whole lot like that guy you dated in 1992 only it’s 2013 and, oh right, he’d be 46 now, with much shorter hair, three kids and a penchant for button-downs and khakis. And he lives in Michigan. You’ve since confirmed this on Facebook. Which, by the way, is for old people. Hang on, hang on. You still know what’s up. You’re on Spotify, Pandora, even This Is My Jam. Hell, you …

Cataloguing: The L.L. Bean Backpack

When it comes to shopping for my kids, thank goodness for the wonderful world of the Internet. There are a dizzying variety of colors, hipster styles, Euro shapes and eyeball-searing prints to choose from. But it’s overwhelming. And personally, I long for the simpler styles of the 80s. That’s, of course, about the time I was buying my own backpack as I entered high school. I already owned one — a nylon Eastpak that my mother bought for me at the Jewelcor showroom. It was fine for junior high, but it didn’t have the cool factor a freshman truly required. Back then, there was really only one place to find the “must-have” backpack: the L.L. Bean catalogue. But this required some work. It’s hard to remember a time when catalogues did not fill our mailboxes unbidden, but back then, you had to request to be on the mailing list, and our family was not. I think I must have cribbed the L.L. Bean address or phone number from The Official Preppy Handbook and ordered a …

Packing It In: My Perfect Purse

Let’s be clear: I’ve never really been a purse person. My checking accounts or credit cards were never stretched to the breaking point in pursuit of a soft, buttery clutch or Swarovski encrusted tote; I’ve never gazed wistfully at the accessories on display in the windows of Barneys, Louis Vuitton, Bergdorf or any other number of the luxury goods palaces that line the streets of the Upper East Side or Soho. I had a hard time identifying with the more consumerist themes in Sex and the City. I don’t like Marc Jacobs and I strongly believe that the term “hardware” belongs in the aisles of retailers like True Value or Home Depot. I’ve owned bags, yes – canvas totes, small leather purses, maybe a pocketbook or two picked up from Forever 21 or DSW – but the particular sort of  “must have” style statements that found popularity in the mid-to-late ’90s and retain a relentless grip on the Western female imagination never got my pulse racing. Still, I am a creature – and product – …

Tri Hard: How I Woke Up to “Go Time”

Before the start of my first triathlon, I had a couple of random thoughts. As I waded into the Hudson River, the first was that the water looked really murky, and equally disgusting. The second was, “Oh, just get over it.” Dipping my body down into the brown water, I put my face under for just a second. The water was cold through my wetsuit, and my feet squished on something underneath through my dive socks. Ewww. When did the jock in me get this precious? In our black wetsuits and yellow swim caps, bouncing up and down in the water, all of us women in the first wave looked nearly identical.  I remember thinking how comical it must appear from the shore. Waiting for the horn to sound, I looked quickly up at the beach to see my husband, family, and friends, who had come to cheer me on. Like a distant safety blanket. *** At some point in my mid-40s, I began to notice myself aging at a rate that seemed like hyperspeed. …

The Next “Gone Girl”

Welcome to “Front-to-Backlist,” my attempt as a book reviewer to help you find more titles to love. The concept is simple: I’ll take one or more present-day titles (sometimes bestsellers/buzzed about, sometimes not) and tell you why they’re terrific — then tell you about another book from the past that you might enjoy as well. For this first column, let me be blunt: Everyone is looking for this year’s Gone Girl. Gillian Flynn’s third novel set beach blankets ablaze last year with her incredibly suspenseful tale of a marriage gone wrong. Is there an equivalent for 2013? I think I’ve got it — but you probably haven’t heard of it yet, and that is in no small part because Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls, lives in South Africa. We’re notoriously bad in the U.S. at promoting authors who live outside of our own borders (the few exceptions, like Helen Fielding, Stieg Larsson, and Oliver Poetzsch, just prove the rule), and even though this novel of Depression-era Chicago and a time-traveling serial killer is …

Day Job: Baby Wrangler

Who: Meryl Salzinger, 40s, from New York City. What is your day job? “I’m a baby wrangler.” What the heck is a baby wrangler? “The person who gets the babies or children to do what they need to do on a still photo or TV commercial shoot, all the while keeping them happy and safe.” How does your job work, exactly?  “A photographer, client, or ad agency brings me in to use my bag of tricks that get the babies or children to do what the ad requires. I try to be the first person a baby or child sees when they arrive so that I can give them a friendly, loving welcome. Then I pretty much run back and forth from the kid to the camera lens to get the expression and position the photographer needs.” How did you get the gig? “For five years I was a photographer’s assistant at an in-house studio for a children’s textbook company. I also produced, styled, and wrangled shoots. After that, I did studio management for a …

Just A Moment: Ok Doggies

Ok, ok, I’ll get up to walk them, feed them, bathe them, pet them. Ok, ok, I’ll bundle up when I’m sick with a fever to take them out. Ok, ok, we’ll go for a walk even in a snowstorm or a downpour. Ok, ok, because no matter my mood, my health, my energy level, Dailola is always there for me, unconditionally. Dailo makes me feel ok and Lola, she makes me feel pretty damn ok, too. (More on Dailola)