Monthly Archives: April 2008

A Doctor Today

Finding a physician in a new city is not an easy task. Especially when you are married to one. As an adult, I’ve never been a person who goes to the doctor for my annual check-up but instead on an as needed basis. I’ve been fortunate in the eighteen months+ that we’ve lived in this dump important/center of the universe/think Saul Steinberg’s famous New Yorker cover city of power brokers not to have fallen ill. But when itch came to lack of sleep for a few night’s running, I was inclined to make an appointment.

One UES doc, “in private practice,” which means he or she takes payment upon service (i bill my insurance, okay, i’m used to that, no different in la but we had the good fortune of being linked to the UCLA medical center who took insurance, can see me in late June.

And before I can schedule an appointment, I’m indulged with the rules of the office road:

Count on about an hour for your first appointment
Fee for first exam $800, doesn’t include any tests or additional fees.
Everything else gets added on.
Payment (as I mentioned above) is at time of service.
They will accept all major credit cards
furnish the patient with a super bill
patient may submit it to her insurance provider.

My head is a blur as I envision yet another sleepless night filled with itching and scratching my hands and feet.

“Would you like to schedule an appointment?” asked the scheduler.

Yes, I would like to schedule an appointment. Mid-August is the next mutually convenient date. The doc isn’t available until late June at which point I will be away and then she will be away. We settle on August 18, 2008.

In the meanwhile, I need a doctor. I’m itching and scratching and the cursory google search last night delivered lupus, a circulatory ailment like raynauds as possible explanations. My doctor husband thinks these are unlikely causes. The itching began, as far as I can recall, five days ago. Onset in the evening (at sunset, not when I climb into bed), no one else in our house is itching, no rash, no bumps, hands and feet primarily but just writing about it makes me itch. We haven’t switched detergents, no new creams or meds. Clearly, I’ve thought this through.

In response to my query if there might be a possibility that the physician would extend a physician’s courtesy to my husband who is a new recruit at a major medical center in this dump city?

“It’s a function of the doctor’s very busy schedule.”

Gee, I hadn’t thought of that. This experience comes on the heels of an unpleasant experience securing pediatricians for our school aged children. No one takes insurance, that’s a given. Fortunately, we have insurance and we have credit cards. In my experience, docs in this town, for the most part, don’t take new patients. They go for the newborns. Both kids have had their checkups, are in good health, whew, and the 14 yr old even had the benefit shock of a breast exam, sans explanation. We won’t be visiting that doctor again.

so that’s part of the back story. The bottom line is I’m not mad, I’m itching.

The doctor’s office will call me later today to inform me if the doctor can see me sooner or with a reference for someone else who might.

My lips begin to quiver, eyes well with tears as I look out onto the rain drops falling from a gray sky. Mud colored, red and gray brick buildings face toward me, closing me into this concrete jungle where one of the pediatrician’s office told me, “it’s all about who you know.”

Does anyone know someone who can relieve the itching?

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Baby Mama, Movie Theater Drama

After seeing the very funny movie, “Baby Mama,” last night, I was afraid I’d leave the theater pining for a kid of my own. Luckily, my seat mates quickly squashed that fear when, throughout the entire movie, I was told by them to hold their toy, their sippy cup and was asked “Hi?” as if it were a question that demanded a response. Yes, I had to sit next to three children, who seemed to be between the ages of three and five — the theater was packed. The movie was an hour and 40 minutes long. All three children had bladders that seemed to only hold ten minutes worth of liquids. Their attention spans were just as small. While watching Tina Fey try her hardest to create a human being of her very own, I was also treated to a car crash along the arm of my seat, courtesy of Jayden, the four-year-old sitting next to me. When his parents finally deemed him “unruly enough” to sit next to a stranger, they switched him out with his three-year-old sister, Destiny, who was quietly brushing her doll’s hair. I settled back into the movie, babies floated before the screen, there were laugh out loud montages of Amy Poehler having to swallow a giant pre-natal vitamin. After a little while, I realized I was being watched by Destiny. I tried to shake it off, but couldn’t. Finally, I turned and stared right back at her. “Isn’t my doll’s hair shiny,” she asked. (Might I remind you, we’re in a dark movie theater.) I made the HUGE mistake of answering her with, “yes, it is,” before turning away. This opened up the floodgates for conversation. “Want to see me dance?” Destiny asked me.

“No.”

“Well, I’m gonna go to dance up there and you’re gonna watch me.”

Next thing I know, Destiny has climbed over the seat and skipped in front of the theater and starts to dance to the music from the movie. I can’t believe it! I look over at her parents, hoping to make eye contact, but clearly, since they’re sitting next to each other and not their children, they can enjoy the movie and let everyone else act as their babysitter.

The song ends as the club scene in the movie fades into a more serious one with Kate (Tina Fey) and Rob (Greg Kinnear) discussing children. Kate kisses Rob. Destiny observes this from the front row where she found some poor sap guy and his girlfriend to hold her doll, while she watched the movie. “Ohhh,” squeals Destiny as she watches them kiss, “they’re gonna make a baby together!”

And as funny as “Baby Mama” is, as insistent as the critics are that somewhere in the movie lay political, social and economic struggles and feminist underpinnings (which there are), it clearly isn’t clever enough to be surprising, even for a three-year-old.

P.S. The word “Baby” might be in the title, but mamas & dads, should really leave their under-13 kiddies home when they go to see this movie. I admit it, the poster looks fun and kid-friendly with colorful building blocks, a Slurpee cup and two funny ladies, but “Baby Mama,” is PG-13, not PG-3.

— Downtown

Up On the Roof & Down in the Temple

The roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the least touristy parts of the museum, namely because tourists don’t realize that as New Yorkers, we utilize every available inch of space — even in a museum. Right now the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden is holding an exhibition called “Jeff Koons on the Roof.” This past Friday I headed uptown and walked across park to meet a friend for drinks & to check out the giant “balloon dog.” Though we expected the roof to be packed, it was filled with a surprisingly mixed crowd of people: young and old, post-work, pre-dinner crowd. The art lovers, the downtownies, uptownies and even the borough people. It was really amusing to stand with a glass of wine in the setting sun, surrounded by a 360 degree view of Manhattan and a sea of people to watch. After an hour of taking in the views and conversations and lamenting on the future of a publishing house, my friend and I headed down to the Temple of Dendur, before heading further uptown to dinner at Sarabeth’s.

The temple, which is housed in the Sackler wing, is one of my favorite rooms in the museum. My first memory of the temple room was when my mother took my sister and I to the Met. I was ten and my sister was six years old. Every time we went to the Met, we were treated to a new “wing” or period of art. That particular dreary March day, my mother decided we were ready to tackle the Egyptian art. Two hours later, after reading almost every placard, gazing at every vase, piece of jewelry and mummy, we finally worked out way to the temple. Weighed down by two very cranky, hungry, thirsty children, my mother was determined to get us through that one last room. As tantrums set in, she told us, “if you don’t see this temple today, you won’t be able to ever see it again. It’s a temporary exhibition.” Even then, I was never one to miss an opportunity, so I reluctantly agreed. My sister agreed after being bribed with the promise of candy. That day, we spent an hour at the Temple of Dendur, my mom reading every card, fact and date out loud to us. She set the scene visually, making us imagine the Egyptians visiting the temple, and later, more mischievous visitors adding their graffiti in 1908 and again in 1921. Though I might not have enjoyed that first visit outwardly, I always remember it every time I visit the room today. And in case you didn’t pick up on that, the temple is still there, 16 years later. Which only proves that mothers can be very good in the art of lying to their children.

–Downtown

The Pope Wears Prada

The question on my brain and the answer from London’s Daily Mail:

Why the Pope Wears Red Shoes

“Benedict XVI’s red loafers have drawn attention since he became Pope in 2005.

Dubbed the “Prada Pope” after the maker of the shoes, Benedict has been seen wearing the ruby red shoes during his trips and other important events.

The loafers are seen as a statement of his desire to demonstrate continuity with the symbols and history of the Church.

His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, wore brown shoes, which stood out. Though wearing red shoes is a papal tradition, the practice is optional.

Theology Professor Lawrence Cunningham of Notre Dame, in a podcast for NPR.org, said the Pope’s red shoes symbolize the blood of martyrdom.

“Traditionally, in the Catholic Church, the color red commemorates the blood of martyrdom … Fire and red are identified with the Holy Spirit,” Cunnigham said.

The shoes cost around $640 a pair, but the Pope gets them for free.”

P.S. The watch is Cartier.

— Downtown

Miss Popularity

Given that this day is about bringing my dysfunctional sibs to the table, I was inspired by today’s Daily OM to express the following:

Oh, to be loved. If only I’d learned such a thing as a kid. Instead, I took care of my parents whose shortcomings and lack of confidence put them in a position to live the lives as pretenders. Rather than accept who they were, love who they were and BE who they were, they aimed to live in a town where they were NOT welcome and that was after this UT girl was rejected as a City girl from one of this City’s prestigious ALL-girl independent schools. Please note, first rejection on record.

Granted NYC in the 1960’s was not much to write home about if you aimed to be part of an establishment to which you were not born. S and S were NOT of the City but rather Long Island (one of the Five Towns) and the north shore of Chicago. Their “privileged” upbringing(s) means that they were educated as in the case of the Long Islander, a first generation American, and the North Shore Suburbanite, a fifth generation American. The New Yorker was raised by a nanny, the MidWesterner wasn’t. In coming of age, having met while they were both in graduate school in “Cambridge,” yes, Cambridge, MA, they moved to NYC together and set out to create a life together on the Upper West Side. I suspect that had they been true to themselves, they might not have moved out of the City or perhaps moved to Brooklyn or MAYBE Scarsdale, where “people like them” were welcome. Where a blonde hair blue eyed daughter might have accepted her heritage and NOT aimed to be like the blue blooded Wasps with whom she played. But then, a kid is a kid and at a certain juncture, all she wants to do is “fit in.” Which is precisely what happened to S & S. They wanted to fit in. BUT had they embraced their inner selves, they might have found a community where they could BE themselves and not TRY to be something they weren’t.

Despite my rant, I understand that as parents, they did the best they could. Now that they are no longer here, and believe me, I miss them dearly despite their shortcomings, it is incumbent upon me to accept myself for who I am, from whence I’ve come and to do my best to encourage my children to like love themselves and just be the best they can be, whatever their aspirations, now and in the future.

April 19, 2008
Easy Attraction
Libra Daily Horoscope

You are likely attracting a great deal of attention and praise from your loved ones and peers today, so you may feel more charming than usual. A sense that you are captivating others with your wit or wisdom can inspire curiosity within you, prompting you to question the origin of your new magnetism. You may discover that the answer is simple and lies in your smile, your laughter, and your openness. As you express your amiability and generous spirit, you will likely find that you never want for company and are bombarded with friendly overtures from individuals who are cheerful and buoyant. If you allow your natural ebullience to shine forth today, you will unconsciously invite good people into your life.

And with that, i have to say, it’s good to be loved but most important is to love yourself. And since I turned 40, I’m doing a fairly good job. There’s one problem though, I’m getting a bit frustrated over the ideas I generate and inability to be monetarily compensated. As the husband tells me, it’s all in the execution. So, on to execution…

peace, love and executionally yours,

UT

The Colors are Changing

DT,

Is it me or is wordpress playing with the palette? Day before yesterday the “write page” was filled with hues of blues, mostly on the light side, while today it’s blue with orange – perhaps as a testimony to the Knicks need for a new manager. Isaiah Thomas was let go… no, I’m not a sports fan but the ten-year old shared the news with me before he said good morning earlier today.

Color is VERY important to this uptown girl, which might explain, thanks to the spring flowers in full bloom, why I’m so much happier these days.

The popeFEST continues at this end. Lot’s of motorcades, traffic stoppages etc yesterday. My favorite was upon crossing town from West to East yesterday afternoon on the M79 bus, the ten year old and I opted to walk South on Fifth Avenue rather than take wait for a bus. Once we hit 74th street, however, the metal barricades were up across the sidewalks (east and west sides of Fifth Ave) with multiple police people standing guard. The ka-razy thing was that we were able to board a bus and ride through the barricade, motor traffic was at a near standstill, however foot traffic was curtailed between 74 and 72. Guess how long it took us to travel two blocks… answer at end of post.

The 10 yr old and his dad are at Randalls island for baseball this morning, the 14 yr old slumbers. Plans for the day include a visit to Bloomingdales so that the 8th grader can finally purchase her spring dress for “middle school graduation” and my long awaited visit to Fifth Avenue for the Pope Parade. Then home to set the table for the sibs, cousins and elijah who will be joining us for dinner. Disfunction at it’s best. My plan is to make an effort to NOT take what anyone says personally, to celebrate freedom (honestly), and commit to not serving traditional Seder food ever again. I don’t like it and since my juice fast of two weeks back, the thought of eating meat repulses me…

By the way, I learned yesterday that His Holiness traveled from DC to JFK in the PopePlane. haven’t seen an image. Do you suppose it has an extra high ceiling so that he can stand throughout the journey, pope hat on. or is a 747, bubble top, sufficient?

The answer to the length of time it took to travel 2 blocks yesterday: 10 minutes.

It was fun, this is all fun.

next year in jerusalem.

xo UT

ps and speaking of changes in the layout of this page, what happened to the tags box??? this disarray is surely due to my generational handicap. i don’t suppose that you have encountered the same? have you?

The Colors are Changing

DT,

Is it me or is wordpress playing with the palette? Day before yesterday the “write page” was filled with hues of blues, mostly on the light side, while today it’s blue with orange – perhaps as a testimony to the Knicks need for a new manager. Isaiah Thomas was let go… no, I’m not a sports fan but the ten-year old shared the news with me before he said good morning earlier today.

Color is VERY important to this uptown girl, which might explain, thanks to the spring flowers in full bloom, why I’m so much happier these days.

The popeFEST continues at this end. Lot’s of motorcades, traffic stoppages etc yesterday. My favorite was upon crossing town from West to East yesterday afternoon on the M79 bus, the ten year old and I opted to walk South on Fifth Avenue rather than take wait for a bus. Once we hit 74th street, however, the metal barricades were up across the sidewalks (east and west sides of Fifth Ave) with multiple police people standing guard. The ka-razy thing was that we were able to board a bus and ride through the barricade, motor traffic was at a near standstill, however foot traffic was curtailed between 74 and 72. Guess how long it took us to travel two blocks… answer at end of post.

The 10 yr old and his dad are at Randalls island for baseball this morning, the 14 yr old slumbers. Plans for the day include a visit to Bloomingdales so that the 8th grader can finally purchase her spring dress for “middle school graduation” and my long awaited visit to Fifth Avenue for the Pope Parade. Then home to set the table for the sibs, cousins and elijah who will be joining us for dinner. Disfunction at it’s best. My plan is to make an effort to NOT take what anyone says personally, to celebrate freedom (honestly), and commit to not serving traditional Seder food ever again. I don’t like it and since my juice fast of two weeks back, the thought of eating meat repulses me…

By the way, I learned yesterday that His Holiness traveled from DC to JFK in the PopePlane. haven’t seen an image. Do you suppose it has an extra high ceiling so that he can stand throughout the journey, pope hat on. or is a 747, bubble top, sufficient?

The answer to the length of time it took to travel 2 blocks yesterday: 10 minutes.

It was fun, this is all fun.

next year in jerusalem.

xo UT

ps and speaking of changes in the layout of this page, what happened to the tags box??? this disarray is surely due to my generational handicap. i don’t suppose that you have encountered the same? have you?