Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Request for Advice

I started this blog a few years ago, and when I started, the blog had no purpose at all. AT. ALL.

Then it developed a purpose. It got me through the death of my father and all manner of other related crapulence. I have maintained the blog - though it had no clear purpose - and since those events (see: crapulence), I have tried to write.

I think we all agree that the better posts are in the archives.

The advice I request has not to do with whether I should keep blogging. I shall. Really. (Please don't look at me like that).

What I want to know is this: as I embark on the book project unrelated to this blog (but not without overlap)... can I, should I, shall I... write about the book?

And what is the book...?

It is a novel. It is not the Whole Story of Why I Sharpen My Knives.

It is just a story.

(In which perhaps one character will maintain a shocking collections of very sharp knives).

Can I blog about it... ?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Things I have learned this year:

1) People really can change. I have changed several times this year.

2) It is possible, with the proper motivation, to eat an entire bag of Veggie Booty.

3) And then drink a beer

4) Good grammar is wholly unnecessary if the sentiment is sincere.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Place Holder

In order to maintain my "back" status, I am posting this uselessness.

Is it useless?

It depends.

Have you heard of Joseph Arthur?


Good heavens.


Get you some.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Yes, Jane

Yes, Jane. I am back.

Although to be fair I am working on acquiring my own URL and to be fair I am fairly sure I am going to transfer few (if any) old posts from here. But Nina, so far as Nina goes, is back.

So very back.

(But not the old Nina. The past is over. I didn't know. I really didn't know. Meaning: When I started this blog with a careless post about making out with platonic friends... I didn't KNOW that this blog would be the public record of the most fucked up {to date! to date!} time of my life).

I just didn't know. But now I do. Now I can blog with a little more self awareness. Although... seriously.... I am making no promises in the area of promising. Which might be construed as unpromising.

But I am going to write.

And also: no one answered my question. How are you?

ps. I know. I should check your blogs if I want to know how you are. I will. I will. I want to, and I will, and soon you will see me there, but right now I am just sticking my toe into the water. But yeah, see you soon. Meantimes, how are you?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Welcome to Latvia!

I was in the airport last week for six hours. And while I was there, I had a moment of pure ______________. It occurred to me that I had my passport and enough funds on my person to get out of the country. Options: Casablanca, Lima, Sydney, Riga, Hong Kong, Ulan Bator.

Seriously. I could have been gone. Just gone. Deferring problems so great and terrible that the very wizard himself would have fled the curtain and run screaming from the set. I could have been drinking fermented horse milk (and stuff like that). In Ulan Bator. (Latvia, I hear, is also an excellent option. Someday I will go).

I did not board a flight for some foreign land. I exited the airport and took my passport and my small accumulation of cash (some of which isn't even mine) and went... home.

Instead I am going to try to make my life work. Fix up the broken pieces and toss out that which cannot be fixed. All from right here: New York City.

Latvia will have to wait, but when I do make it there, I sincerely hope that I am wearing a set of raggedy overalls.

And how are you?



PS Photo from some recent decade when overalls were fashionable (at least among us Target dwellers). I still wear those sometimes...)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Track Abandoned

"I am a railroad track abandoned."

You could know, of course, by googling.

On the other hand you try to relate to Buckley's insights. What do you have to add?

Thursday, August 6, 2009


There is a commandment somewhere on the tablets the anthropologists can't manage to find. It says (reportedly): don't lie.



I lie all the time. I do it to protect other people from truths I fear people cannot - or should not have to - handle.

Sometimes I lie because the truth would break the hearts of people I love.

But I also lie to make money. (I have two jobs and neither employers knows the other exists).

Other times I lie about where I am going (Kate doesn't need to know that I am going out at 9pm for a cheap bottle of hootch because I can't sleep and oh dear God please tell me that in heaven, everyone sleeps, all the time. Please? Thank you).

My lying concerns me. It is true that I can go to confession and bore some sweet old priest with a list of all the times I told my brother I was really feeling fine, and thank you for asking, when the truth was I was sharpening my knives and looking for a way to commit the deed - and still look pretty in the casket.

But we - the priest and I - would be there in that hot and uncomfortable cell for a long time if I gave all this information. And sometimes I think to myself: how terrible for the priest who has to listen to people's sins.

"Bless me father, for I have sinned. It has been three months since my last confession. Twice I drank a bottle of Night Train and ran naked through Cooper's Square. Nine times I interfered with myself while thinking of Anna Nicole. I hate animals and children because they are loud and smelly. I rarely bathe and I have not flossed in a year. Oh! And I got fired from my job for drunkenness and something they call sexual harassment. Bastards! Is that their sin, or mine? Okay! That about covers it. What's the penance?"

Where was I?

Oh. My lying. There has been something (lately) that I lie about all the time, to everyone. Even to Lindsey.

Sometimes when work is slow and I have the inclination, I go to Woodlawn - all the way up there in the Bronx. There, I sit in the cemetery (it's a big one). Because my parents don't have graves, looking at those of other people gives me peace. I do not know the people buried at Woodlawn, but I wonder who those people - all those people - are. And I hope they don't mind that I come and sit with them, even though my visits are for my own benefit - that at best, their resting places are a proxy for the graves of my deceased parents.

It is not a sadness thing. I don't go up there and cry or cling to a stranger's headstone. But I do spend hours and hours there. I sit and think about there people buried there, and I wonder who they are, and I ask myself if I could talk to them, what one thing they wished they had done differently before it was all over.

My mother, who went out with real style, said on her deathbed, "I wish I had worried less and laughed more."

My father probably said something but I'll never know what it was. I wasn't there. But I can damn sure tell you what he would have done differently, and if you have been reading my internet diary this long, you know, too.

But that was not my point.

Lying. I lie far more than my conscience allows.

How much lying do you do? Do you have regrets? And if lying is ever legal, when? why? how?

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Love is in air, or at least the air between my ears.

His name was (is?) Torrey. I could just go for it and embarrass myself, but the post would confuse us all.

But I will divulge that there was a man named Torrey and though I have not spoken with him in years, I loved him like I have never loved anyone else, ever.. He brought me back to myself and made me feel again. In that sense, he saved my life.

Of course, that is not the whole story.

But oh, Torrey, Oh lord. I loved Torrey. Writer, poet, lover, vagabond, boy of no fixed address. My darling.

The relationship is over. But the love, the innocent good intentioned kind, is forever. I have never stopped missing him.

What about the rest of you? Who rearranged the workings of your heart, forever? Who do you miss?

Come on, tell. I did, after all.



Sunday, July 26, 2009


I have been thinking. (I know. I know. Drink more, think less: happy life). (But I have been thinking anyway).

I have questions for God.

No, the are not questions such as "why have you been so not awesome to me?" and they are not questions like "is there a paradise for Cathead -- even though Cathead was a dirty, dirty sinner (even in his most charming moments)?

My questions are:

1) God, what if the fall angel, Lucifer, the evil one, requested a meeting with you and repented of all his pridefulness and bad behaviors and begged forgiveness? Would you grant it? And if you did, how might that decision impact the whole everything? (I am serious about this question. I really want to know if the fallen angel has ever said to him or herself: gosh... I probably made a serious error, here. Can I fix it?).

2) Catholic theology teaches that if you skip Mass to go bowling with your friends and you get hit by a car on the way home, you are damned just as surely and completely as mass murderers and and child rapists. Are you serious?

3) God, I believe in you. I think you exist and I think you are powerful and probably good looking, too. But love you? I am sorry, but I don't really love you. Don't get me wrong. I want to love you. I am told that I should. But love is something people feel for their friends, their family, their Catheads - maybe even their favorite board game. The fact is, God, I cannot picture you, unless you count the endless images of Jesus stretched out on a cross and looking for all the world like he was of Swiss descent, even though the overwhelming likelihood is that he was short and dark and certainly had brown eyes. Oh wait. Where was I? Love is personal. It is big hearted and faithful and hopeful. However, in your case, my images of you are ephemeral and my understanding of your influence in my life is at best... confusing. Frankly, I am terrified of you. Love? Where do I even start? I mean thanks that I am I fat, white, American person. Thanks that I am not deformed or prohibitively stupid. But I think you know I would rather have had other challenges. More on that later.

I ask these questions well aware that if I die in the next ten minutes I will be pulled to pieces by demons and roasted alive (dead) for the consumption of demon-types who love the taste of fat white girls. But I still have to ask.

Comments: if you have one (or two questions) that you would ask God (assuming you believe in God and assuming you would get an answer), what would it be?)

Sunday, July 19, 2009


This post reveals facts I am uncomfortable sharing. OH! My blog is (nominally) anonymous.

Though Cathead died on Saturday morning, I did not dispose of his body until today. Why? Because the humane society closed early, a development I welcomed.

Por Que?

Because I was not ready to let go.

Internet, I did not like my cat very much. I loved him a lot, but like him? No. Herewith, some highlights of Cathead's life:

1) When he was a kitten, he bit my dad so badly that only a trip to the emergency room prevented my dad from losing his right arm. (No lie).

2) The night before my best friend's wedding, Cathead bit said friend so badly that she had to go to the emergency room. And when she got there, the ER doctors put her on anti-biotics so serious that her birth control was rendered ineffective. That's right, people. Condoms on her HONEYMOON.

3) Once, when I was asleep, Cathead chewed off a large hank of my hair. Then he decorated my apartment with it.

But we did have our good times, too. The night my dad died he slept in my arms and patted my crumpled face with his tiny paw. The day we moved into Bob and Kate's asylum for middle aged refugees, he did a charming rendition of "The Sun will Come Out Tomorrow" on the pool table. He scattered about 50 puzzle pieces onto the floor, but the sentiment was genuine. And as Julie notes, back in his happier days, nothing pleased him more than to steal my rosary beads and entangle himself in their sparkly goodness. In the floor of my shower. Where (I assume) he prayed all day that I might turn my heart and mind back to God - or at least get some compassion skills. (It did not work).

I am trying to get to the comedy of today. The segue is just not happening, so sloppy segue. Here it is.

This morning, I had to take Cathead to the Humane Society for cremation. I put him in his cat carrier (please, oh please don't ask me how I kept him cold all night. Use your imagination. Or check Twitter). I was composed during the loading process and I was numb during the walk to the M15 bus station. It was the activity on the bus that did me in.

Cathead died with his eyes open. Therefore, people could see his eyes, and because lots of people who ride the public bus are not very bright, many of them wanted to stick their hands into my cat carrier and pet my deceased cat.

I kid you not.

Please note, internet: cats who do not blink are DEAD. Cute they may be, but they are DEAD.

I managed to keep the hands of my fellow metro riders out of the box of death by explaining (lying). I told them Cathead was sedated, you know, since he had just been to the vet. It worked. (Have I mentioned that some people, while children of God and possessing excellent hearts, are stupid?)

I arrived at the Humane Society, I stood in line for a few minutes. That was ok.

Until the woman behind me spotted the dead cat in my carrier and started sobbing. For my loss.

"Oh, I know you are grieving," she said. (Have I mentioned crying is contagious)?

"Yeah," I sobbed.

"How old was he?" she said.

"Seventeen," I sniffled.

"OH! Mine is seventeen. It could be any time!" she sobbed.

So we cried and we made asses of ourselves at the Humane Society. I cried for Cathead and she cried because she knew very soon she would be just like me, standing in line in an animal shelter carrying a box of DEAD.

Here is my last living picture of Cathead. I like it because it captures both his repose and his restlessness. He is chillin' because he is in his favorite chair. But his ears are up because he is about to smack the shit out of an unsuspecting spider.

I think about justice all the time. It is the only thing that offers hope that we live in a world with meaning. If my hope is not in vain, Cathead is at peace, praying the rosary, and beating the ever loving shit out of whatever displeases him. That's what he loved to do, and though he was... challenging... he was my kind of challenge. He was my first, my last, my only. My Cathead.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Waiting, part two

My cat is on my bed exactly where I placed him last night. The food and water is untouched. And my cat is dead.

I feel surprisingly emotionless about it... so far. I keep telling myself that I have cleaned up my last sand dollar of cat puke. I keep telling myself that he will never scream at me again and again and again for no reason. I keep telling myself that he was old and that he was tired. (He was). Also it had to happen someday. And he was (obviously) suffering (last night, anyway). But I still feel like shit.

Should I have taken him to the vet last night when I realized he wasn't breathing right? Should I have gotten on the cat boards and hoped that cat fanatics on the west coast had an answer? Should I have been done something other than shove food and water at him? What could have saved him?

Well, whatever the case may be, he is not saved. I have stressed tested him and he is most assuredly not living.

As I write this, he is just where I left him on my bed last night, and yes, I know that is a violation of something or other. I'll have to take him to be cremated today (isn't that what I am supposed to do)? But right this minute, I am just waiting until I feel up to putting him in a duffle bag and taking him to the vet. Let's hope I get that going before the flies arrive.

Bon Voyage, Cathead. I loved you. I liked you. I wanted to feed you to other, foul-tempered animals.

But mostly I loved you. (You were darn cute).




Today I walked into my bathroom to find my cat curled up behind the sink. He was not moving and he appeared short of breath. I watched him for a few minutes and then I came back half an hour later. Same thing. Labored breathing. Glassy-eyed. And not liking me at all. (He has always hated me, so... whatever).

I decided to pick him up and move him to a more comfortable section of my apartment.

Uh oh.

He hissed when I picked him up and placed him on my bed. When I placed a clean bowl of water under his chin, his face sank into the water until her snarfed it up his nose. Then he drank a little and glared at me as if I were the Worst Person in the World.

So I put some food near the water. On my bed. Next to the water on my bed. And he is still motionless, breathing. And hating me, I am sure.

I sincerely do not expect him to live until morning. He is 17, which is probably about right for a pure bred cat, but I don't know. I do know that if he does go, I will have an ocean of guilt to wallow in. He is a pain in the ass, but he is my pain in the ass.

Anyone else had a cat behave... like this and magically be ok in the end?

It's going to be a long, long night.



PS: By the way, he has faked dying before... just never this convincingly. Last time it was swaying and drooling for about three hours - and then eating two pounds of cat food. (I don't see that happening this time).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More Again?

My family continues to shrink. My sister's husband has abandoned their marriage after 9 years. They dated 5 years before they married in 2000. I would post a picture if it were not a violation of their privacy. And I have to say that although my sister is her own special snowflake, I couldn't be married to her for ten minutes. This post is not about blame. It is about grief.

Regardless of my feelings or opinions about Chiara and her marriage and her spouse, I am heartbroken.

Is it normal to feel heartbroken when a marriage fails? A marriage that is not your own?

I suspect I am suffering from transference; am I making all the sad I won't let myself feel about the loss of my mother and my father come out through this seemingly ordinary civic event.

So much loss. So much regret. So much sadness. So little to hold onto. My sister's husband was (is) just a regular guy, but once the gates of my family corral close behind you, they close behind you forever - or so I thought. It breaks my heart to think that anyone would want to get out, to no longer be one of us.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Then again

I don't want her to die. What a hateful thing to say. And not what I meant at all.

What I am resenting is that no one in my entire family is willing to confront her except me, and frankly I feel that since I have already told her off, I am no longer obligated. I should get to log off this problem.

Except that I don't, but for a different reason. It is a reason I don't like at all.

The reason is that forgiveness is a problem, and it is not a tiny little irksome fly in the ointment kind of problem. It is a genuine fat ass issue. And thinking about the issue has brought to my attention a certain defect of character that I can no longer avoid confronting.

I suck at forgiveness. For years I just didn't do it at all. People who wronged me got cold and stony irreversible nothing from me forever and ever and ever and ever. I did more than just hold grudges. I completely removed offenders from my life. (This is the reason why so very many of my ex-boyfriends haunt me for years after we break up - often well after they have married other people and had children and the whole show. It is because they hurt me and I shunned them and they feel... like... crap. As they probably should. Oh I am sorry. I am digressing. Let me stop that.

Oh wait just a little more digression. Please note that I still shun people who hurt me and I defend my right to do this because I don't think there is anything in the bible that says you have to let people kick you in the face twice. There is that thing about turning the other cheek but I think whoever put in the bible should have left it out. I hope it wasn't Jesus. Was it Jesus? Ugh).

Back to my story. One fine day, I made a great stride, a breakthrough in the forgiveness area. I was reading a book about the last words of Christ and some incredibly smart person pointed out that there is more than one way to take this one thing that Jesus said. Here is the thing:

"Forgive them, for they know not what they do."

At first glance, this just looks like forgiveness muckity muck. Nothing special. However, if you look carefully at the grammar of the sentence (which is exactly the kind of thing I like to do in my spare time), you will see that the word "for" in this case could be translated as "because". When one reads the sentence as "Forgive them, because they know not what they do" or even closer to today's vernacular "Forgive them, because, seriously, if they knew exactly how bad the thing they are doing right now was, WOW. They would SO not do it." Jesus put things with more elegance, even when in terrible pain. He was... well. Let me just get back to my point.

So I got much better at the business of forgiving because I got to apply the idea that the people who were kicking me in the face simply wouldn't do it if they were aware that they were hurting me so very badly. And so then by that logic, well, of course I could forgive them. No one who knew they were being such a total ass hole would behave in such a way, so obviously they were under the influence of a terrible portion of ignorance - a portion so enormous that I could even feel kind of sorry for the person who kicked me in the face.

So now I can forgive people. Some of them. The ones I can find ignorance or error with, the people whose real intention wasn't to kick me in face.

But her?

She knew. And my dad?

He knew too.

And they both did it anyway and I can't forgive them. And that is likely to be the biggest spiritual problem of my entire life. Good thing I got to it this early. If I live to be 100, I might maybe work it out. But I am not hopeful.

And anyway, is anyone else as sick of this subject as I am? I am so tired of it. I am tired of writing about it and I am sorry for continuing to dwell on it. The fact is, I am mentally better all the time. It just doesn't show here because it's hard to write about being happy or feeling better because everything is fine over here posts are pretty boring and I am pretty sure that is not what you come here for. Is that what you come here for? I don't even know.

Whatever your reason for coming here, thank you for reading.



Sunday, June 14, 2009

Time again

What happens next?

Seven months after moving into Bob and Kate's Asylum, I have been thinking a lot - probably more than is healthy for a girl like me.

Everything I assumed would happen in my life did not happen, and a whole lot of other things happened instead. Let me assure you that this is not whining; it is a simple statement of facts.

I wanted to graduate from college without having learned anything temporally relevant, and for the most part, I succeeded. Byron, Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath - cool. I even composed a performance art piece during which I extinguished candles on various parts of my body. (I got an A on in that class).

I am not constituted to solve world famine, genocide, dirty terrible people of other cultures were the jurisdiction of other young idealists. I just wanted peace. Green grass. Leafy trees, waterfalls, smiling babies. This makes me a lightweight. Morally speaking, of course.

And of course, because on the very best of days, God thinks I am fit for... what? a spittoon? I find that I am the person my family and my therapist believe is responsible for confronting the evil of Erika. Why? Because of everyone in my family, I was the one most injured. Also, because no one else in my family wants to explain it to her because it's all so very untidy and Gosh, what to say? So Nina should just do it.

Normally I am up for a writing project, especially if I can be vituperative and profane.

But this time? This time... internet, I confess that I simply would not know where to start. I just want her to die. But before she does, I want her to know perhaps for the first time, what she did to me, my family, and my father, the love of my life.

Crazy train? I'll be at the bar.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sweating in the Oldies

Kate returned from Sweden two days ago.

(I know I made a quasi-promise to post every day while she was gone, but I found myself the accidental participant in a medical experiment that required me to do nothing harder than take a few pills, try with all physical, moral, and spiritual resources applied, NOT to take some other pill, and the observe my behavior carefully to ensure I wouldn't throw myself off the roof. I am out of the woods. Thank you for your concern).

So Kate came home a few days ago; in fact, she came home twenty four hours before I expected her, so I was unprepared with the flowers and wine and fine foods I had planned to have ready for her. She did not seem to notice.

I thought we could use an outing, so I suggested we got to Lord & Taylor and buy work out clothes. Fun, healthy activity, no?


She did not want to go. But if it's work out clothes I want, why not just go through the boxes of old clothing that belonged to her husband and wear his? He doesn't need them anymore. And I need something to sweat in. Fashionable considerations unimportant. So, I, uh, have a box of work out clothing recently belonging to a man who used to live two floors down and who is now dead.

Please someone tell me how to feel about this.



ps Next post I will explain the medical experiment in full detail.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Nina's Dewey Decimal Section:

495 Languages of East & Southeast Asia

Nina = 4941 = 494+1 = 495

400 Language

Linguistics and language books.

What it says about you:
You value communication, even with people who are different from you. You like trying new things don't mind being exposed to unfamiliar territory. You get bored with routines that never change.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at

Huh. Ok.



Thursday, May 28, 2009


Kate left today for Sweden, which means I am on my own in an enormous house for 12 days. To most people, such circumstances would translate: horray! or party on! or naked time! Bah. I'd rather she had just stayed home. Being on my own means no one to talk to and masses of time I normally spend puttering around with her that I can now spend checking myself for suspicious moles or calculating the number of seconds that have passed since the last time I flossed my teeth. Being alone is not what it is cracked up to be.

Kate left today for Sweden so between 10 and 2 on this fine day, I ran all her errands, which were: drug store, eyeglasses place, hardware store, cleaners, shoe repairman. I did all those things and then somewhere on the west side I got confused about where my train station should be and because I felt in no particular rush to figure it out, I witnessed the following.

Another look:

That is Times Square. With blocks closed for the purpose of allowing people to sit in lawn chairs and just... be.

One person I asked explained that it was a symbol of a deep rooted New York City civility; tourists could come there and be seated and experience Times Square without being run over by bicycle messengers, and oh, the rest of us who will mow down a disoriented Ohioan just for breathing too slowly in that neighborhood. Another bystander claimed it was a conspiracy to keep traffic out of Times Square and that those dirty Republican bastards who run the Mayor's office were to blame. To blame! For lawn chairs!.

One more picture:

In case that is unclear, it is a bicycle adorned stem to stern with Metrocards. Someone must have spent a good deal of money on subway fare before buying a bike. And then had a sense of humor about himself.

Such is New York. And since I will be all alone in it while Kate is gone, you, internet, will be my company. I plan and promise and really do intend to post every day until Kate returns.



Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Today I was walking to the Cooper Square Post Office and I was breathing the delicious new summer air and feeling just excellent. I thought it could get no better. But then it did.

About ten paces ahead of me was a kid, black variety, about 14 or 15 years old. T-shirt so big the sleeves ran on past his elbows. He was carrying a big bouquet of flowers - many peonies and roses and daisies. Just excellent.

So I walked about ten paces behind him for a few blocks, and then as happens often in New York, the traffic light stopped us at the corner of 6th and Bowery. There were three of us on the corner: me, kid, and woman, white variety, who had to be 100 years old sporting a sassy straw hat and pulling a wheeled back pack.

Of course, normally when people stop at corners to wait for the light to change, nothing happens between the stranded pedestrians except maybe eaves-dropping or shoe examinations.

This was so much more excellent.

The kid, standing between me and the sassy hat lady, surveyed his enormous bouquet, selected a beautiful, perfect daisy, and handed it to Sassy Hat, and said. "This one is for you, beautiful lady."

Sassy Hat was so delighted. She giggled. She threaded the stem into her hat and strutted across the street with her wheely pack as if she were the most beautiful creature in the world. And it made my day, which was already excellent, much more excellent.

How was your day?



PS I am little bit racist maybe to identify their varieties. I think. Maybe? I can't tell. If I am a little bit racist you can tell me and I won't get mad.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Check, check

This is an empty post where I say little other than that I am grateful, incredibly grateful that anyone still reads this blog.  I am also grateful that I am not feeling as terrible as I felt this time last year.  Oh! 

I also went to Chicago to visit my darling LAS.  A few pictures from the trip:  

Yes, that is buttercream frosting. Good heavens.

Better, substantive post to come tomorrow. Meantime, have a cookie.



Thursday, May 21, 2009


I left the house tonight to go buy intoxicants.  (We'll talk about that later). 

As I rounded the corner, I threaded my way through a half dozen guys.  

Internet, in case you were not aware, I attract the attention of people who linger on corners.  The usual greetings are variations of: 

Baby, you fine. 

Mama, take me home. 

Bring it, sistah. 

Baby, I'm your man. 

Etc. Etc. Etc. 

Most women find this kind of attention insulting.  I do not.  Why?  Because these mildly disrespectful greetings acknowledge that yes, I exist, and yes, despite my vice-like grip on celibacy and a single life, men still find something, anything about me worth comment. 

Today, however, was different.  As I rounded the corner, the guys did their gawking and I did my walking and I heard, plain as glass:  "Girl, you go on with them 40DDDs. " 

And internet, something happened.  It happened in the region of my brain responsible for poor decision making.  Instead of chuckling inwardly, I turned and faced the man and his poor estimation of the size and character of my breasts.  

I said, "Are you kidding me?  Not even close.  Want to hold them?" 

And the man who had spoken the numbers to me laughed so hard I thought he might lose a lung.  His friends laughed too.   And frankly we all had a good laugh about my boobs and then went on with our evening.  Half an hour later as I passed those very same guys on my way back from the store, they treated me with reverence typically reserved for nuns.  The very corner dweller who guessed my bra size tipped his hat and said, "Good evening, sister." 

So to him I said, "Good evening, sir." 

And a good evening to you, internet.  



Wednesday, May 13, 2009


If you are still reading (bless you), please comment so I know who you are.  Include also any recommendations regarding content, style, design, polish color - whatever.   Rethinking things and I need some ideas.   Help Nina out, por favor.  

I love you more than ever.  

Monday, April 27, 2009

.... in Translation

I had a post almost ready to go about how happy I am that things are settling down and how glad I am that I can live my life free from all interference from the recent abhorrent and improbable events characterizing the last three years of my life. The first three sentences feature the word "happy" in multiple usages.

Too bad I am not going to publish that one.

Herewith, an email received from Erika, the woman I introduced to my father, the woman my father married, the woman my father lost all interest in his children over, the woman who gained power of attorney over my father, transferred all of his assets into her own name, and finally, drafted a will (she got the template from!) calling herself sole beneficiary and executor of this will. (The part where she took control of his assets beforehand was just good planning).

Was I about to show you an email? Oh yeah. Here it is along with my translations in the interleaves:


As we hurtle toward "the"
are the quotation marks supposed to denote the date of my father's death as superlative? Because guess what? In terms of the agony his death caused my family, the actual dying part ranks pretty low. The death march out onto the deck to have our "last" ever conversation with him probably wins the prize)  anniversary, things here are pretty raw are you fucking kidding me? It's raw sitting on your ass in the million dollar house that you did nothing to earn -- in your windsock of nightgown, all day -- because you don't need a job because you are literally drowning in cash - ie, all the money my father made while he was married to my mother? THAT is raw? You want to know what's raw, sister? Raw is living in someone else's attic because you can't afford to support yourself.... because your credit card bills for all those visits to the ICU were stratospheric. Raw??? here. THERE??? You mean out on the deck overlooking the lake, shoveling food into your mouth that you didn't pay for? Maybe it's the same where you are. I wish. I would vastly prefer to lay on my ass and do nothing -- except for the really challenging part of the week when I had to go visit my grief counsellor. Must be nice. There's a really bad stretch up ahead, but some of those memories are of us sticking together and helping each other. You want to know what I remember about that "stretch"? I remember paying $1200 for a plane ticket, $400 for a rental car, and $120 for a hotel room in order to see my dad, and I remember, as I walked into my father's house, you, Erika, putting your arms around my father and saying, "You never have to talk to her again" before you pushed him, against his will into the bedroom for a "nap." A superlative one, you betcha. Was that the "sticking together" you were thinking of? Or was it the part where you fled my father's funeral because one person from my mother's family dared to show up and wreck your delusion that my father actually loved someone, ever, other than you? As hard as this anniversary is, maybe we can bring something good out of it, something that Harry would want. OMG I can hardly wait. How many buckets of blood do you want to bet that the really special and virtuous and right thing my father would supposedly want is actually something YOU want for yourself? So I will say to you all please forgive me for anything you feel I did or did not do. Never, ever, ever. Now go put a bag over your head and drown yourself. If you look into your heart and can't quite find that forgiveness, I looked. Nope! then look inside Harry's heart and things may look different to you. Well, well, well. There it is. My father would want us to forgive you... for alienating him from us, appropriating all of his assets, and making us strangers in our own house. Except to be technical, it wasn't our house anymore anyway. Bitch, for you to invoke the love and respect we have for our father and then endeavor to manipulate us into forgiving you for dismantling my family, taking what you wanted, and going out for a latte, illustrates in hi-def that you know nothing about forgiveness. You don't know what it is, what it is for, or what it means. My father was a man - not Jesus Christ himself. And you, dirty pirate whore, don't get to drop a bomb on someone else's life and then say "if you could only see this from your father's perspective, you would see that he really did want to destroy you. And who are we to question his will? Or is it His? I get so confused between Jesus and my husband. But I know they both wanted you to get fucked over, so none of this is my fault." He was the most forgiving person anyone of us will ever know, As far as I know, the only crime I committed against my father in the last years of his life was loving him so much my hair fell out - that and "bothering him" by visiting him while he had cancer. But whatever, dad. Since forgiveness is such a strong attribute of yours, sorry. I really regret having that much faith in you. If Erika got you a little confused with God, I got you a lot confused with God. 100%, actually, which is why a nine months later, I still can't believe you abandoned me, all for a piece of ass. So yeah, I am sorry. A lot. I should never have made that mistake and we all learned more about God from watching him the last couple years of his life than we'll ever learn anywhere else. If that was supposed to teach us about God, no thanks. I think I'll just be secular humanist or something. I hear those people are at least nice to each other and believe in justice. I could use a little of both of those, or a lot. Whatever is available.

We can't fix the world, but we can fix our little part of it. Solve my problem for me by saying you are cool with with what I did to you. Then we'll go to work on what? Gaza?

I love you all.

(... translation: I love that you were all foolish enough to trust me. That makes you good people.)

Yeah, I know. I know. I know. But if I can't do this here, where can I do it?

Thank you for reading.

Saturday, April 11, 2009



I have complained a lot lately, and I should (perhaps) explain myself. Or at least elaborate on certain circumstances that (sometimes, but not always) threaten my equanimity.

Issue the first: Living situation.

After my dad died and the final round of bills associated with his illness and death hit my mailbox, I realized there was about 25 cents worth of financial cushion between me and total ruin. Many people, including you, helped me avoid actually presenting myself at the courthouse for judgment with my remaining one (or two) quarters. Instead, I moved in with a couple in their 70s who needed help cleaning out their house so they could move to a smaller one. Result: Nina starts getting financially better off, and the couple has someone around to do basically whatever they can dream up for her to do. Go ahead and notice that "help cleaning out their house" was about the last thing they actually wanted Nina to do, and forgive Nina for not elaborating on what they really wanted. Use your imagination. (Stop that! Don't be so gross). Result: frustration. But also a fair amount of comedy, because whenever you move in with new people who are absolutely nothing like you, funny things happen. Like the day when I brought Liam over and Bob refused to believe Liam was boy because Liam is so pretty. And so for the entirety of the visit, Bob called Liam "girlfriend" - which offended Liam so much he just sat down and cried. Awesome.

Issue the second: Bob's untimely exit.

Death finds me. Bob and Kate were on vacation in Montenegro, Bob came down with a little itty bitty infection and as sometimes happens when people are 76, the infection got really big, and Bob died. If you read the preceding paragraph, you know that "cleaning out the house" was low on Bob and Kate's list of things for me to do for them. In fact, it never made the list. So you can infer that a good portion of the preparations for getting Bob properly memorialized and publicly adored were left to me. Now, to be fair, I didn't do that much because there was a mountain of things to do. I only did what a person could do in twelve hours a day for the 10 days leading up to the funeral. Did my job get done? Oh, sure. But only because I skipped the heavenly sleep inducing medicine and crammed it all in - or because I snuck upstairs for 10 minutes here or there to grade a test or a paper. In the end, we buried Bob a month after he was repatriated - an event that turned out to be just about as dramatic and emotionally wrenching as the funeral. Here's another picture for you:

Issue the third: My sister.

Since my father died, I have removed my step mother and every other person associated with her from my life with surgical finality and precision. My sister called me last week, and she was hysterical because she had just found out that my dad stopped contributing money to her IRA when he got married. When she told me this, I said, "Duh. You didn't know that?" And then I carefully and tactfully explained to her that our dad really did disinherit us and that I thought she might really might be able to get her brain around it if she simply read the will, of which I have a copy. Then suddenly she said, "I am less and less ok with the will." To which I said "Then perhaps you should remove your nose from that bitch's ass crack and join the rest of your family -- you know, the other forty or so odd people who are united in their hatred of the bitch dad married. And then my sister said, without a trace of irony "If I do that she won't leave me any of dad's money when she dies."


And then I had to carefully and tactfully explain to my sister why I can have no further contact with her as long as she continues to betray her entire family all for a chance at getting dad's money. Her response was "Well, you and I have never had much in common anyway. Bye."

Issue the fourth: my job.

I had a great meeting with my boss this week. Awesomely good. It turns out that despite all my fears to the contrary, I am not on the short list to be laid off. And they are not even that annoyed with me because I live in New York. Whee! Except not. For those of you unaware of the history, my dad met the woman he eventually chucked us in the wood chipper for because I introduced him to her. She was my boss at the job I still have. Think about that for a minute. Ok that is enough; you can stop now. After my current boss gave me all this good news about my job security, she told me that I have a new supervisor (which in this case is a mini-boss). And guess who it is? It is the only person at Sweet Little College who still keeps in touch with my step mother. So it's clear: I have surgically removed everyone connected to that bitch from my life - even my sister. And now, because God is apparently not done shredding me yet, I am FORCED to have professional contact with one of my step mother's best friends. And I can't do anything about it. Not one thing.

And so that is why lately I am dramatic and self pitying. I guess you didn't need all this explanation and I suppose I could have written more stuff about being attracted to inappropriate people, but hey, at least now you know why I still require big piles of sedating drugs to sleep at night. The fun just keeps on coming.

Oh but in case it is not clear: I am fine. Those meds really work.



Monday, April 6, 2009

Like father

A while back I met a man in his 60s. Due work circumstances, we spent a day together that long while back, and on that day, his work was easy and mine was not. But side by side we got through the day and then at the end of it, I thanked him for all the encouragement and advice he gave me. As we worked, I noticed the dark, restless quality of his eyes, as if there were a hundred thoughts all beneath the surface despite his calm demeanor. He offered to take me around the block for a coffee or a glass of beer. I declined, thanked him, and went on my way home.

I am going to say something interesting soon. Just keep reading.

So anyway since that day, I have run into him several times on the job and he is affable and gentlemanlike and every time our paths cross, I shake my head and say something to myself that surprises even me: If he were not married, I would make my attraction to him super obvious. Age? Who cares. Obvious psychiatric malady (mine) known in the vernacular as having "daddy issues"? Heh. Who cares. Obvious inappropriateness of the idea even if his wife and entire history simply vaporized?

Internet, if his wife and his whole life history simply vanished, I would brush up on my man attracting behaviors and go get him. I seriously would.

Gross, right?

It's about to get worse. Keep reading.

A while back I met another man. This one still had about him the glow of something I'll just call mid twenties, a certain high energy and stamina. We crossed paths due to work, and we spent a day together. His work was difficult. Mine was easy. But we helped each other through it and at the end of the day we took a walk around the block together. We held hands, despite the impropriety of doing so. (I justified this either because he was unmarried or because I was drunk. Maybe both). On the second lap around the block, someone started talking (probably me) and by the time were around the block three times we had exchanged our utmost saddest stories and due to the liquor and perhaps the howling wind and the desolation of the block at one in the morning, we were both in tears. We got to our various train stations and I rode home in the empty train car congratulating myself for leaving him be despite his apparent "gameness" you know, for whatever happens between unmarried people in a booming metropolis at 1 in the morning. I tried to figure out what about this young man I liked so much.

Reader, I just ran into his father on my way home from the grocery store. I know this because as his father leaned over to give me to customary cheek brush that we all do on the block, I got a good look at his eyes. Dark, restless and absolutely the eyes he had passed to his son.

So there you have it, internet. I broke up with my last boyfriend resigned to live single and celibate forever, and in four years I have been attracted to exactly two men. See above.



ps the flowers are there to perhaps take the edge of your gross out factor. If it didn't work, I am sorry. As it turns out, I am gross, and I am in this case unwilling to hide it. See you tomorrow (maybe).

Monday, March 30, 2009

Oh Dear Jesus God have Mercy

I will explain later why many families had made the last 3 weeks of my life... challenging. For now, I leave you only this:

A preamble to the photograph I mean to post about the burial.

More on that later.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The good corkscrew

This won't be one of those posts where I make an effort to make sense or hope for coherence. I just have not been available lately, even to myself, for reflection. So I am just going to start typing.

I have been lowering the amount of the heavenly sleep inducing medication that induces sleep but also causes serious metabolic problems for 8 - 9% of patients. Go ahead and infer that I am in the 8 (or 9)% of people experience serious metabolic problems due to the heavenly sleep inducing medication. To be fair, it also caused most of the other harmless but still irritating side effects, so I am certain, even if I never sleep again, that cessation of this particular (heavenly) medication is necessary.

Speaking of heaven, I am not going to get in. Lately when I do sleep, I have dreams that are definitely going to prevent my admission into anything like life after death paradise. I am not even sure they take people who have these kinds of subconscious constructions in limbo. Curious? Well, I suppose I intended to arouse curiosity. I either have raunchy, perverted, vivid and scandalous dreams about sex, or I have dreams about exacting bloody and merciless revenge on... certain people. In my defense, I will say this: aside from that one real life incident where I might have kissed that man who was (and is) in every conceivable way grossly inappropriate, I have been a perfect gentlewoman with regard to sexual behavior in real life -- for like, a huge number of years now. Five? Six? I don't count anymore. Nuns would pretty much behave the way I do, (aside from that one real life incident where I might have kissed that man who was (and is) in every conceivable way grossly inappropriate). And yet due to the perverted things I make up in my brain when I am unconscious, I am totally screwed. EXCEPT TOTALLY NOT. How is this fair? Feh.

Which brings me to this: you know you have a bad relationship with alcohol when you have two corkscrews, one of which works really well and doesn't annoy you - and another that is too sciency and doesn't work very well and annoys you consistently - and the one you really like? You keep that one on your desk. Where you spend 16 hours a day. The other one? Hell if I know. I think it is in the kitchen. Somewhere. Maybe. But boy, howdy, I know where the good corkscrew is.

And how are all of you doing? Have I told you that you are beautiful, and I love you? Have I said so lately? Let me do so now: you are beautiful and I love you. Thank you for reading.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Nina says more about death and stuff

We have just concluded the interminable living room cheese eating event that characterizes the days between the moment of death and the detailing of the body. Now we are detailing ourselves to go to the funeral parlor, which is just around the corner. And this makes me happy. And this fact, that of my happiness, I do not have to keep a secret from the People's Republic of Blogistan: Of all the death events common to most American households, my absolute favorite is the Viewing or even better, the Wake.

Those days of endless cheese calories are necessary, to be sure, but they provide only distraction, not closure.

As for funerals, I have been to my share, and the results, at least for me, are always the same. It is a public display of the mourning family members, who get to sit in the front row and try not to make complete asses of themselves while the rest of the people in the church do whatever letting go they have to do - while, of course, watching the family lest someone come totally unglued and require their laces cut. (No one ever admits that they secretly want to see at least one person lose all composure, because hey, it's the FUNERAL - the LAST GOODBYE to whomever it is everyone put on all the itchy and uncomfortable clothing for. Somebody, anybody be in pain. Show some hurt, please. Otherwise we could have stayed in our sweatpants and watched Antiques Roadshow.

No, funerals are just not good.

I like wakes. Viewings. At a funeral parlor, the deceased is actually in the room, open casket or no, and I still believe that human beings are just enough percentage of monkey to actually need to let go of the bodies of our dead. At a wake, it takes a special kind of selfishness to lose track of the point of the event: someone is dead, and that someone is not you, and though you might be missing Antiques Roadshow right now... it's not about you. And if you are having trouble not thinking about yourself, there is a dead person in the room to remind you to cut it out.

And then by the time the funeral happens, any residual letting go can and does happen, and maybe someone freaks out and requires smelling salts, which is at least sort of interesting. And then everyone goes home and wonders how long they have to wait before it is acceptable to do something normal, like go to a movie.

I saw my mother's body, and the funeral was just an afterthought -- expect that everyone was staring at me and waiting for me to wail and throw myself into the aisle and have a seizure.

I did not see my father's body. I would like to have seen it but I was not allowed to. And truth be told, by the time of his death, I had not really seen the man who raised me and was married to my mother in a very long time. My presence at my father's funeral felt more like an imposition on my step mother than anything else. I could have happily skipped it.

Is it just me, or does anyone else find funerals as useless as I do? Go ahead and disagree - I am pretty sure I am in the minority here.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Who's with us?

Instead of writing about death all. the. time... today I will write about a conversation I had with my beloved LAS about language. About words, to be more specific - and their ability to change the way people feel. We got to talking about words today because damn it, there has been a lot of dark and stormy news coming our way lately.

After some discussion we decided we would attempt to lift the gloom by banning certain words and replacing them with others. We are starting with five:

Annoy (and all related forms)
Damn it

Lame has no acceptable substitute. Suck can be iterated as "not ideal." Hate can be expressed as "do not prefer." Annoy? Inconvenient. Damnit? No acceptable substitute.

We are going to squelch the defeatist and sad making words for a few days and see if we start feeling, well, better. Feel free to join us and comment here with your results. We need more than two people to achieve anything like statistical significance.

Happy Monday, and thank you more than ever for reading.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

What we know

Some smart person somewhere said that a miracle is that which inspires faith. Many of you are already aware that my own stockpile of faith has been under serious assault since like, um, 2006, year of the bitchening. Life has been... rugged. And not at all scenic.

Yet another terrible and unexpected thing has happened, as you know: Bob, of Bob and Kate's Asylum for Wayward (Middle-Aged) Women, died this week. Of all the things I thought might happen today, Bob leaving us was in the basement. I knew he was feeling unwell but I never thought that he might be checking out.

I moved here out of necessity; I was absolutely broke after my own father died, and Bob and Kate agreed to this arrangement because they had room for another person and they thought I could be of some help. Well, I have been here three months. I have helped, I guess. Somewhat. For the most part, however, I have felt unequal to giving Bob and Kate the kind of help they really need. Bob needed someone to be available to help him 24/7. Kate needed someone to tie up loose ends and errands for her so she could care for Bill.

I did the best I could. Often I felt my best was not good enough. Many times I wondered how all this would turn out.

Shame on me. If I had been paying any kind of attention, I would have known that Bob wasn't well. If I had any kind of sense, I would see that Kate is well and able bodied and Bob was in a wheelchair. I would have seen Bob sleeping 16 hours a day and I would have noticed how little he ate.

I didn't notice any of these things because I wrongly believed that I had met my death quota for some uncalculable amount of time. DUH. And yet the DUH factor has left me feeling detached and philosophical about Bob's death, even though I feel on some level absolutely sick about it.

And then last night I came back from the funerary planning session to find that in fact, I can have two people I adore die in the same week. Lisa left us late last night.

And when I got that piece of news I cried until my contacts popped out like shrinky dinks. I have tried to explain to people who I am crying over and it all comes out wrong. "She was a person who I never met but she was awesomely funny and smart and gorgeous and wise and well, perfectly excellent. I never met her. But I want her back. Very. Badly."

No one knows this feeling except for other bloggers. My brother and his wife find it distressingly post-modern and hopelessly dorky that I have friends I have never met that I count among my top echelon of most beloved people. My in person friends who don't blog just stare at me blankly. Then they say something to the effect of: "Hold up. We went to college together. I knew you when you used to do upside funnels at frat parties. I have cleaned up your vomit. How is she like, in my weight class, friend wise?"

And I can't explain that. At least for today, I am too teary eyed and distracted. And then part of me still thinks it can't be true because I already had someone die THIS WEEK.

What the f? Seriously.

If you are of the praying kind, just say something, anything to the almighty. Say something about Bob. Say something about Lisa. Each of them were excellent examples of holding up gracefully under terrible circumstances and both, for me, inspired faith in the most rocky and unlikely territory. That makes each of them, in their different ways, a miracle.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mixed News

Three nights ago, the boiler (sort of) exploded and silty water spewed all over the basement floor. By the time I caught it, the flood was an inch high. (I would have photographed this disaster for you had I clearance to violate the privacy of Bob and Kate's basement). (I don't).

So Bob and Kate's daughter and I spent some uncalculated number of hours doing the hazmat dance in her parents' basement. Then we got tired of hazmatting around and left the rest to be dealt with later this week.

Only later this week, as in right now, got exciting and busy is a way that no one wanted it to. Somewhere in the Monday time frame, we learned that Bob was not feeling well and that he and Kate would be returning from their vacation early so that he could see his own doctors. At the time I thought this an odd choice. Why fly all the way back to the U S of A just to get some antibiotics and a blood culture? Don't they have that stuff over yonder?

Well, duh. Leave it to me to miss the main point, which was, of course, that his condition was so serious that they did not think he would survive without the aid of his own team of doctors.

The "duh" factor was of course the main obstacle to me fully comprehending what all was said to me two days later, when my friend called me to tell me that her father had died. Of an infection. While awaiting medical evacuation.

Folks, I still don't have my head wrapped around this, but I have just enough brain damage to remember what today is like for people who loved Bob, in particular his daughter. So I am doing what I can: answering phones, taking messages, running the vacuum cleaner, sweeping up the crumbs, and hoping I can do something, anything right for the many family and friends who are grieving.

If you consider how often we, the friends of the deceased, feel like we just wish desperately that there were something we could do, I feel incredibly grateful to be in a position to do something for the family, even if it is just answering the phone and putting fresh flowers in the all the vases. Oh and casseroles. Making a lot of those, too.

Now that I am at the bottom of this post, I realize that the title makes no sense. There is nothing "mixed" about death. So the mixed part, if there is one, is that for at least right now, I don't feel helpless and ineffective. This feeling is not likely to persist, but I will take it for now.

Rest in peace, Bob. You are deeply loved.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Nina is naked

Ok, not really.

But take a look anyway:

I left here some number of months because I feared I could not speak the truth about the day to day everything going on in my life without injuring others and bringing Nina (who is, after all, me) into personal relationships with readers - and finding myself by way of such conduct - unable to live up to whatever it was I thought Nina was. I felt unequal to the challenges I saw looming ahead if I continued to write here.

That feeling of inadequacy, more rightly called ineptitude, was easy to spot (and easy to despise) when I held my own blog up against those of people who did not work so desperately hard to maintain anonymity or privacy - in other words, people grown up enough to lay it all out there and say "take it or leave it." I love their blogs and I admire their transparency. In no particular order:

Neil Kramer, famed author and standard bearer for our beloved Citizen of the Month. Neil is,first and foremost, a wonderful writer. To prevent myself from rambling further, let me say that Neilochka is what we who despair of ever finding such call a good man. Go instantly and give Neilochka the worship that is his due.

What can I say of Avitable? I have knitted the gentleman one sock - and declared it not nearly pretty enough for his excellent left (or right) foot. So I still owe Adam a pair of handmade socks. I have committed other crimes against Adam that I will not describe here. What I love most about Avitable (aside from his extremely forgiving nature) is his openness. Those of you familiar with avitable know that what you see if what you get when you read Adam's blog. He writes about any and everything and somehow manages to protect his marriage and his business from the becoming involved in the blog. I resoundingly failed at doing what he seems to do effortlessly.

Everything I just said about Adam, I want to say about Lisa. If you have followed her story, you know she is fighting cancer for the third time, and doing so in a heartbreakingly public way. And yet she, like Adam and like Neil, has managed to share her life with other people while still protecting her privacy and that of her family. Lisa's time left is limited, but she has Karl (also an excellent blogger) updating her blog. Go see these excellent folks and appreciate their greatness.

I thought I would never return here, but I do so now. Naked. (Sort of). Why? Mostly because it is time for me to grow up and take responsibility for what I have to say online. If people get pissed or run screaming away from my internet diary... *yawn. * It can't be nearly as tragic as I previously imagined. In any case, if my cover gets blown or someone figures out where I work or where I live, hell with it. I ain't Princess Diana. It's simply not that important. The blog is mine and I belong to the blog and I'll take whatever consequences arise, whatever they turn out to be.

Summary: I am back. Long time no see. I have missed you. How have you been?