I found my long lost cousin – 4/23/06

  The biggest thing to happen in my life, besides moving to the city with Elle, happened this past Monday night. There is a restaurant across the street from our building that we have been dying to try, it looks so cute. So finally on Monday we make plans to go. I was taking a little long on my walk home because I stopped at Lord and Taylor (typical), and Lim decided she was too hungry to wait. I begged her to wait– I said I would take the subway (I usually walk to and from work), so she said if I took the subway she would wait.So we go to the restaurant, it is so nice out so we sit outside. Across the street, a great view of our building. Above us, a great view of the Roosevelt Island tram supsended in the air. For hours.We eat our food (yum!) and then order dessert– chocolate fondue! However, they gave us like 6 tiny pieces of fruit, and there was SO much chocolate left. It was so warm and sooooo good, so being the gluttonous beast that I am, I was scooping up chocolate with my prongs. Repeatedly. They are tiny prongs, so I couldn’t get more than a drop of chocolate each time. So I am focused on the task of eating as much chocolate as I can off tiny little sharp pieces of metal, when a girl at the next table says, “Excuse me, what’s your name?”  


I say, “Dori.” She freezes, her expression was incredulous. I say, “Do I know you?”, which I have been saying a lot latey. What can I say, people know me. Anyway, she says, “I’m Danielle.” It took me a second or two to register what I just heard. I look at the woman sitting at her table. I stand up and slowly walk toward her, not even sure if what is going on is actually going on.I can’t clearly remember the next events, just that I hugged her, kept saying “Oh my G-d”, and at this point her mom didn’t even realize who I was. How Danielle recognized me, I have no idea. I haven’t seen either of them since my Bat Mitzvah, 10 years ago… and before that, since I was little.

Danielle is my cousin. My first cousin, my best friend from when I was born until I was 6. I have so many pictures of us, one which is in my room here in the city. Her mom was my dad’s sister. For certain reasons, we have no contact with them at all. But I have always wondered about my cousin, who is as innocent a player in the drama that is our family as I am.Her mom only realized who I was when I introduced her to Elle as “my dad’s sister.” Her eyes became so wide, and she jumped up and hugged me. We all talked, I cried (I am not usually a happy crier), I even ran across the street to bring out the picture of Danielle, my father and I that I keep on display in my room.

So just like that, I have a cousin my age. Who lives in the city. I am still in such shock– shock over how she could have possibly recognized me, shock over how Lim and I wanted to eat there and chose that day and almost didn’t make it because I was shopping, shock over the entire situation.

Danielle has a younger sister, Lindsay, who I will probably be in contact with as well. I have spoken to Danielle a few times since then, tried to make plans to get together but it hasn’t happened yet, but I am sure we will see each other soon since we live so close to each other and have 20 years to catch up on….And the first image my cousin has of me after 10 years is me desperately digging into chocolate with prongs.



Give me back the last 35 pages of my life

When it comes to the books I read, my range is pretty broad—I read memoirs, chick lit, literary fiction, books abour grammar, nonfiction, thrillers, mysteries, and the list goes on…. I will read just about anything you give me, and I will usually enjoy it. Today I picked up a book I’ve been curious about for awhile. That book is Bergdorf Blondes.

Let me start off by explaining that I didn’t go into this book blind. I wrote a newsletter to Literary Guild book club members about Plum Sykes, the author of this book. Contact me if you’re interested in reading that. I also have read her second book, The Debutante Divorcee. And while not the greatest chick lit book I’ve read, it wasn’t THAT horrible. And Bergdorf Blondes was a much bigger book for her. It was a New York Times bestseller, and extremely popular among many women. I like to keep up with the popular chick lit among my peers and dislike being too behind. So I decided it was about time I pick up the copy I’ve had sitting on my shelf and get it over with.I started reading. The first thought that came to my head was, “This is annoying.” The more I read, the more annoying it became. Please allow me to paraphrase a section:

“. . .here are a few character traits you might want to know about me. . .(I’m) always concerned for others’ well-being. I mean, if a friendly billionaire offers you a ride from New York to Paris on his PJ (that’s a quick NY way of saying private jet), one is morally bound to say yes, because that means the person you would have been sitting next to on the commercial flight now has two seats to themself, which is a real luxury for them. . .if someone else’s comfort is at stake, I say, always take the private jet. “(I’m) tolerant. If a girl is wearing last season’s Manolo Blahnik stilettos, I won’t immediately rule her out as a friend. I mean, you never know if a super-duper nice person is lurking in a past-it pair of shoes.”

Aren’t you annoyed? Imagine reading 310 pages of this. I certainly can’t; I stuck it out for a solid 35. I read all about the difference between Chloe Jeans happiness and Harry Winston happiness. I learned about the British aristocracy and the brown signs they post to get people to donate money to house repairs. I read about how the main character not only learned about Brazilian waxes, but uses them as reason #4 why the U.S. is better than England.

I removed myself from this slow torture after reading this line:

“The only sexually transmitted disease I wanna contract is fiance fever.”

I just can’t. I read a LOT of chick lit, I understand how it can be and accept that. I usually love it. I am familiar with the more annoying chick lit, like the Shopaholic series—one of which I couldn’t get through either. And remember, I read Sykes’ second book, so I know her writing and can be okay with it. But this book just isn’t good. In fact, it’s really, really bad. Bergdorf Blondes was a 35 page waste of my time, and I want that time back.

I’ve read some not-so-nice things about Sykes during my newsletter research, and I know she is a snobby bitch who is overly consumed with name brands and name dropping. Bergdorf Blondes is merely a compilation of all the ultra snotty/snobby/obnoxious things she has encountered in her work at Vogue (both British and American). It reads like a list. And it seems like Syke wants to educate the masses on the types of people she spends time with—and the type of person she is. Of course, this book has got to be an exaggeration (at least I hope it is), but the overall theme is clear.

Thank you, Plum Sykes, for using your talent (and you do have talent, as we see through your work at Vogue) to write an annoying book about annoying people who are more superficial than I care to read about. Maybe one of them gets a heart at the end, perhaps in a visit to their own type of Oz, one where people are less fortunate than a department store heir who shoplifts from her own store as a pastime, and gains some redeeming qualities. I won’t read this book long enough to find out.

Please give me back the last 35 pages of my life. Thanks.  

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