Another confessional

If you hadn't already figured it out, I am a single parent, and am once-divorced. I did not *want* to divorce. But it was an impossible situation where one of us was incredibly mentally ill, so much so that he became physically violent and his parents were left with no choice but to send him to a hospital. Multiple times.

There. I've said it.

In my religion, for centuries, a pre-nup is a part of the marriage contract, or ketubah. If the marriage does not work out, it says, the wife is declared owed a sum of money for her trouble. The biblical sum is currently equivalent to a penny (not Donald Trump standards by any means). But you get the idea. Divorce happens. It's allowed. Forgiveness need not be asked for if a divorce is granted.

(Those of you who follow this blog regularly might know that I have directed the above paragraph to a certain family who have authored a book and who insist on remaining in a marriage no matter what, because marriage is sacred, even in the case where a spouse sexually abuses a child. Which LaMai believes is absolutely ruckin' bonkers.)

Anyway, LaMai is not a reckless person -- most of the time. I am a single mother, who works full-time (plus!) and I have taken control of my child's education, damned be the Department of Education and all their intimidation.

So forgive me the pleasure of divulging a little more about myself (i.e., dating), to not always post about educational stuff, because it's cathartic for me to do so. If you don't like it, you may switch your bloggy channel.

And another confessional: Becky in Alberta, please know that I do not always post comments on your blog because your blog intimidates me. You must be a Trinity alumna. Hah hah.


tap, tap [is this thing on?]


Lynne at Road Schola is in Australia and has had a bit of a blogging snafu -- I mean -- hiatus. She presents this message to the bloggy readership of this blog:

"Would you mind letting everyone know that I'm trying to set up another blog back on good ol' Blogger, and I'll be back as soon as I get a reliable internet connection? Thanks!"

No, I do not mind, and now everyone knows! Hee, hee. So glad my Australian crocodile nightmare (where A got eaten) did not factor in Lynne's blogging hiatus!

In other news, my friends are desperately working to introduce me to all the hot available men in New York City. Last night was such a working night. I showed up to an art show, and I was quickly introduced to Mr. Russell Crowe Look-Alike (RCLA). Of course, my friend T. gave me funny/smiley big-eye looks right before she made the introduction. After RCLA uttered several, "Yeah, dude"s while talking to me, and after which his friend suddenly emitted the word "gnarly," I began shaking my head uncontrollably while muttering, "No, please G-d no."

It has actually become a physical reflex now. Woe is me.

The artist whose work was showcased at the gallery asked for a friend to take a group photo, then suddenly pulled me out of the crowd and declared he wanted his photo taken with me, and only me. Then Mr. Artist quickly disappeared into the streets of SoHo with a young woman in a yellow dress.

A young Matt Damon look-alike (yes, this is the city of look-alikes) began chatting with me. I got a distinctly Ivy vibe about MDLA. So I asked the question.

"Um, where did you go for undergrad?"



He didn't leave me for a good half hour, after which his girlfriend came up to us, grabbed his arm, and dragged him away.

The rest of the evening I spent totally bored in the company of a very long-winded photographer who just returned from a photo shoot in Mongolia ("Dude, like, I am so going back to the Gobi Desert in September"), who seemed not to notice that he was talking politics for two hours straight, and that none of his three companions had gotten a word in edgewise.

And so began and ended another chapter in LaMai's non-dating life.



A took this photo in NoLIta on Sunday. It was overcast but that turned out to be perfect for this photo.



I haven't been feeling so great of late, hence my lack of posts. I have bills to pay, power outages to gain, and friends to lose.

There is a young male co-worker who sits immediately next to me, whose company I have found to enjoy. A lot. We go to lunch together, shoot the proverbial potty, he picks up whatever ridiculous piece of paper that happens to slip off my desk, and gets me coffee. I am not sure why we get along so well; there is a bit of an age difference, and he behaves impeccably, so I do not think there is anything beyond the Platonic. Is it because he is funny, cultured, or maybe a lot like me? He goes home to France in 20 days. That's right: 20 days. But no, we're not counting.

Not counting the number of wine glasses and free wine-tasting lessons he'll offer me (he's from Burgundy).

Not counting the poker lessons he has promised to give me, with dinner.

Not counting the number of times he asserts that his accent is cute. And perhaps -- he's right.

20 days.

Life is so unfair.


nothing to report today (or yesterday)

Sorry for the lag in posts.

I really have nothing to report except that A wants to row in Canada, and I think that I just might book him a 2-week summer camp that does not include Outward Bound, due to the severe discount the camp is offering me.

Off to knitting and margaritas.


Oh, no no no NO

"Russia's a big country, and you're a big country."

Please tell me he didn't say it.


Say what?

Right after I arrived home from doing laundry and discovered that Nappo ate the ingredients of ALL OF OUR DINNER FOR THIS EVENING, I logged on to CNN. This article was interesting. In part:

The G-8 called on Israel "to exercise utmost restraint, seeking to avoid casualties among innocent civilians and damage to civilian infrastructure and to refrain from acts that would destabilize the Lebanese government."

Um, say what? Lebanon has a government?

Did the Glenlivet go out early during the G-8 summit?

These are times when LaMai wishes the Middle East could be a little more, um, Buddhist. Or as my friend might say, more "Jew-Bu." As in, "I have a nice Jew-Bu friend I'd like you to meet for a possible date. He's tall, dark and handsome..." But, I digress...

I send wishes of strength for peace in the face of provocation. That is true strength. Even if -- provocation takes the form of a young New York City Weimaraner.


Look at what A text-messaged me...

These are the "before" and "after" pics of his lunch-making experiment today. Seen are Trader Joe's pizza dough, flattened out to the size of a pizza, tomato sauce that A used, and mozarella cheese that he chopped up himself.


What we're reading...

A just finished The Telling Pool, a bar mitzvah gift he received from my senior editor friend. He is now reading Ender's Game.

I am reading The Known World. My goodness. What a cast of characters. What an incredible read. And for anyone who says that Africans were better off in our country as slaves than in their native Africa (as that dude who called in on NPR several years ago, one 4th of July, said was the case), ought to do himself a favor and read this book. 'Nuff said.

Australian nightmare

Last night I dreamt I was in Australia. Which was cool, because L at Road Schola is there. I was somehow on the edge of a body of water, facing an island that I was certain L was on. Which was when I started shouting, "Yoo-hoo! L at RoadSchola! We're here!"

A was standing next to me. And an Australian lady next to us told us, "There are crocs in them waters."


Which was when I suddenly saw a blub in the water in front of us, then a few more blubs in the water, and a tail of something. And that was when I noticed that A was not standing next to me anymore.

I woke up shouting for A.

That was when Napoleon climbed on top of me on the bed and put his head on my chest.


A Well-Trained Mind...

...might actually save me some bucks. I am considering private school for A this year, as we've been assured by the private school consultant that a place is possible ("I am not making any promises, but your son seems to have a few things going for him that elite schools will find desirable"). What with the fee I am paying her, "possible" had better be the reality. And voilĂ , La Private School Consultante, zat ees her peeecture.

But private school? Oooof. So cher, cherie. LaMai is thinking long and hard on this one, as much as she can before September arrives.


This news is unnerving to me. I try not to "go there" on this blog, and I try to keep things apolitical, keep things "Oprah." I do not believe in trading kidnapped souls for money or prisoners. As a mother, watching the whole situation is heartwrenching. I have been to Israel and Gaza several times. There are lovable and peaceful Israelis and lovable and peaceful Palestinians (and Druze and Bedouins, lest I forget). And there are horrifically hateful Israelis and hateful Palestinians. And there are mothers there like me, who wish all the madness would stop so that they could see their kids grow up, live prosperous lives and bear children.

Alex and I often talk about situations like this in the context of the Hatfields and McCoys, the Capulets and Montagues. What could possibly break the cycle? It saddens me when people say, "It's impossible to fix." I disagree.

Anyway, we watched the film Paradise Now this weekend, I guess to balance our having watched Munich last week (maybe also because A said he wanted to join the Mossad, or maybe I imagined that?). Both Abu-Assad and Spielberg seemed to do very good jobs at providing fully-fleshed characters, and views which tackle both sides of suffering, and the terrorism operations which result. A enjoyed Paradise Now, and commented that he thought it was a more convincing film that Munich. I will say that each film is different and they are both worth watching. Parental discretion is definitely in order for both of these adult-themed films.


Remember that French-market felt bag? I am finally finishing it this week.

I also started the green sweater (yes, there's only one) featured in the most recent issue of Knit.1. I figured I'd get a head start on our winter wardrobe...


Same as it ever was

Co-worker to me: "I saw David Byrne on the subway last week."
Me: "Oh yeah?"
Co-worker: "Yeah. He had gray hair, but he looks the same. He was looking at the posters in the subway doing that thing with his head. " [co-worker demonstrates looking in different directions in bird-like motions]
Me: "Wow."
Co-worker: "Yeah. I thought I'd do that arm thing (demonstrates down-the-arm-chopping action that accompany the lyrics "same as it ever was") but I thought that'd irk him."
Me: "It probably might."


Today, A and I woke up at 4 a.m. to head out to the boathouse for early morning rowing. No power saw weirdness was seen anywhere near our Columbia University stop.


I returned home (okay, I have to pre-empt this story to the bloggy audience and explicitly state that we live in the outer boroughs) to land myself in another LaMai Goes Vigilante Situation.

I was walking across a tiny laundromat and Montessori school when I heard a blood-churdling scream. Judging by the high-pitched sound of the scream, I thought it was a) a woman at the laundromat, or b) a child at the school. A woman ran out of the laundromat and a tall man ran out behind her. "Whassa mattah? Huh?" He was yelling to her. She was crying, visibly upset. As was expected, passersby continued walking up and down the sidewalk as though nothing happened. The woman was Mexican, and I spoke to her in Spanish. The man who was casually saying, "Hey, what happened?" had just kissed and fondled her, and forcibly tried to get her to do things in the tiny laundromat when no one was looking. The man walked away as I began asking her for information between her hysterics and tears. I opened my cellphone. He walked away faster. I called the woman's manager at the laundromat and asked the manager to come immediately. The manager agreed, and arrived within minutes.

I am getting sick of this &^%$t.

I mean, seriously.

I was mugged not once, but twice, in Miami. I was pro-active and stopped the thievery from happening (this must be in the archives here somewhere, I won't recount the insanity of what I did right now). But I cannot save all of New York. Unless someone hands me a Wonder Woman suit and subsidizes my do-good actions.

I want to live somewhere cosmopolitan but less ridiculous.

From an article regarding the power saw incident:

Steinberg said no one in the subway station attempted to help him. "That's what upsets me more than anything else," he told The News.


Anyway, I have hired a private school counsultant. Don't ask.


Eating Japanese

It seems that New Yorkers who live in the City tend to be much more slender than their middle-America counterparts. And yet, New Yorkers eat out alot. Perhaps it has something to do with the amount of walking New Yorkers endure. Very difficult (and not very economical) to drive SUVs around Manhattan.

Cityfolk can gauge where tourists are from by the size of their bellies. One can stand at any given point in Times Square, and a conversation like this will occur: "What do you think? Wisconsin?" Nah, gotta be Wyoming. The thighs. Just look. We see the American appetite gone bad, first-hand, on a regular basis.

But hubris has a way of correcting things. It happened when Taeko, my Japanese friend, came to visit New York City. And when I offered Taeko a serving of Belgian fries, she gasped.

"I forgot how much food Americans eat! I have to adjust my appetite for this visit!"

I stared down the rather benign-looking portion of "large" Belgian fries and mayo, and realized they were the size of maybe two McDonald's large fries.

"Oh," I said.

Then we went to Mamoun's and ordered a falafel.

"Still so big!" uttered Taeko. "I can't finish!" She must not be made of the stuff of that Coney Island hot dog-eating champion, I thought.

Then after Taeko left for home, which is somewhere near Osaka, I decided to adjust my portions of food to more, um, normal-sized portions. Bigger is not necessarily better. But I still eat the same types of foods. Pasta, cheese, wine, rice, beans, eggs, etc. (Note: because LaMai's household is not fond of industrial meat farming, we choose to purchase meat only from small farms, which is hardly ever. So our diet is largely vegetarian. But it's very starchy. I am, after all, Cuban.) I am happy to report that "eating Japanese" has made a lighter LaMai.

Perhaps we should aim less to eat (and walk) like New Yorkers, but more like the Japanese?


I hope everyone is having a super 4th of July long weekend...

or short one, if that is the case for you.

Some photography viewing for you: Zana's site. Yep, it's Zana Briski's work!

My mother was in town and went home to Miami today. It was not a bad visit. For those of you who have been here before, you know that "not a bad visit" is great news. We sat together, talked over pasta with gorgonzola and walnuts, and a mellow French Merlot. We had a serious conversation about the immigration situation in the United States. My mother surprised me with her views on immigration -- she herself being an immigrant. We tackled so many topics within the subject of immigration, that I decided to make it a lesson plan for me and A, and I'll post it here later.

We plan to see Shakespeare in the Park on the 4th. Warning: if you live in New York and plan to do the same, on any other day, arrive EARLY. Like, 8 a.m. - 9 a.m. for 1 p.m. ticket pick-up, mkay? Because Liev Schreiber is performing. And, for you Jane Austen/BBC fans, so is Jennifer Ehle.

As for Meryl Streep, I imagine the lines will begin around the cock's crow. Good to bring games, books, etc., with your blankets and lounge chairs while you wait. Come to think of it, now is a good time to learn to knit. I saw a gentleman knitting socks waiting in the Macbeth line this weekend (you guessed it: we showed up too late, at 11 a.m. for the 1 p.m. ticket pick-up!).

Alexander and I are figuring out our Halloween characters for this year. I am adamant that I be Frida Kahlo. A wants to be Ansel Adams. Now is a good time to get to work on our costuming.

I love costuming.

Films we've been watching this weekend: Munich, Amelie, Chariots of Fire, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (with the lovely Helena Bonham-Carter). Munich and Frankenstein being the "discussion" films.