giaportfolio

Archive for September 2011

One day, during my senior year of college, my roommate and best friend said, “I need a wife.” Meaning: someone to take care of all of the little things so she could concentrate on the bigger picture. A personal assistant, so to speak. I realized that I did, too. There was just too much to do, with college and two internships and trying to find an entry-level job. It would be useful to have someone take care of everything that was annoying and inconvenient. Enter my brilliant idea that began the era of “The Assistant.”

My roommate and I were both avid readers of Craigslist, a relatively new phenomenon at the time. We originally used it to find an apartment, then got into entertaining ourselves with “Rants & Raves,” and then eventually started posting for shtz and giggles.

I created an ad and posted it under the “Platonic W for M” section, seeking a man who wanted to work for “two beautiful females” as “an assistant.” Someone to run our errands—the grocery store, the pharmacy, FedEx/Kinkos, the post office, the book store, the dry cleaner’s—so we could focus on “the more important things in life.” Which would be, who knows, getting good grades or looking for post-college jobs…I mean, really it seems ridiculous now, but both of us had the bad habit of posting things when we were bored or tipsy, and I’m sure this ingenious idea had a wine infusion involved and therefore was only half-serious.

However, I got such a plethora of responses (who knew?), that it was almost too tempting not to back down from the whole idea. Thus began the “interviews.” We weeded through several men who seemed to fit the bill (”serious and not creepy”), and we met them for coffee in populated city spots and asked many questions. What kind of maniacal young women meet face-to-face with strangers from cyberspace so they can “interview” them to be their bitch?

We wanted to be absolutely positive (as much as we could be anyway) that this guy wasn’t a sick f. We eventually found our guy—Charlie. Charlie was in his mid-forties, a Brooklynite, Jewish, Republican, and an AA spokesperson having spent more than half of his life being an alcoholic. Grown men who use little boy nicknames, have conflicting views of the world, and have a history of drug addiction are probably the type of people you would meet online and therefore the type you would never want to actually meet. But he seemed reliable and not at all creepy. Why not try it out?

We began by giving him weekly lists of everything we needed him to do. The rules were that Charlie ran the errands, paid for everything, and delivered the goods to our apartment in a timely manner. He was not allowed upstairs; we would run down and bring everything up, and then we would also give him the next to-do list.

He was not paid. He did not get any love. I remember the first time we gave him a list; he got us, like, six of everything. He really wanted to go above and beyond.

In addition, he also gave us weekly “allowances” of cash, usually $50-$100 each, he took us clothes shopping, and he treated us to restaurant lunches and dinners on a fairly regular basis. I was stunned and amazed. A sugar daddy that gets nothing in return except the company of two college-age girls? That just doesn’t seem true. There must have been some price to pay. Nothing is ever free.

But I lived it, so I know the truth. It was awesome. We had this power over a man twice our age with no strings attached. All of the benefits of being spoiled: demand, take, take, take, give NOTHING.

Maybe he was just a lonely old man, or maybe he just had a sick fetish of being taken advantage of. Whatever the case, we took full advantage. We let him go sometime before graduation because we didn’t need him anymore. I think he was sad about it. A freshman girl came up to me at some point while we had him (even though we tried to keep it on the DL) and said, “I heard about your assistant. How did you pull that off? You amaze me! I idolize you.” I said, “Thank you baby girl, but oh please. You can have whatever you want. You just have to have the courage to go out and get it.”

This dish is super easy to make and always pleases fall palates (for meat eaters, at least). It all cooks together, so another one of my “throw in the oven and you have a fantastic meal” dishes. It looks a little weird in the pics, but it’s quite delish.

Click below for recipe…

Read the rest of this entry »


When speaking of a certain ex and why I broke up with him, I always say, “He was a dreamer and not a do-er.” What I mean by that—and I’ve known a few other men like this in my life—is that though he was brilliant and had many interests, he never materialized all of his wealth of talent and opportunity into anything. You can only live in a fantasy world for so long. I could no longer listen to the passion if there wasn’t the action—the ambition and drive—behind it. I was moving forward in one direction; he was in limbo, moving slightly forward, laterally, or back into the past. I had a relative idea of what I wanted, and I was moving ahead in that direction. He was not.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh. We were only in college; at least I was, anyway. He didn’t really believe in the system and never applied to college, but he did take other classes here and there. I am not suggesting you need a college degree to make something of yourself in this world; most top CEOs do not have one. I learned most of my useful knowledge at boarding school. Boyfriend went to a different boarding school, but I’m sure he would say the same, or that he learned most life lessons on the city streets. It’s not that you need to be in a bureaucratic system, or have a “regular job;” I would never say that. I love individual, creative, intellectual people. You are either born that way, or you are not.

What I don’t understand is not cultivating your talents, and more importantly, not having the desire to build upon your God-given gifts. Watching someone with so much to offer yet not utilizing it is tiring and sad, and I could no longer handle it.

I remember thinking when we broke up: he would soon achieve greatness, and I would not see it as a part of his life, his other half, because I gave up hope. But here we are almost a decade later, and he is more or less where he was then.

There are dreamers in this world, and there are do-ers. I am of the latter group.

Dreams are good. Make them happen.

One night, Anne and I decided nachos would be an awesome dinner. Looks crazy, tastes damn good. No measurements need to be exact. Just be creative and do what suits you. Here is the recipe we came up with:

We spread 3/4 of a bag of blue corn chips on a foil covered pan. We added chopped tomatoes, onion, shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend (mild cheddar, monterey jack, queso quesadilla, and asadero cheeses). I think we also added parmesan for bite. I layered one corner with baby portobello mushrooms. I would have added jalapenos, olives, and black beans if I had had them, but you’ve got to work with what you’ve got. Our salsa had beans and corn in it,  (which I added Sriracha to on my end, because I like things more spicy than A), and A also made some guacamole separately for dipping,  so there was plenty of flavor. We baked for <10 minutes @ 350 degrees. Party in the mouth.

Update: I made these recently and added, pepperoncini, banana peppers, onions, black olives and ground beef over lime-flavored tortilla chips. They were fab! Here is the pre-cook pic: 

IMAG4930-1

After about five days in a helmet, I went to the doctor’s bright and early before my first day of my new job. He removed the helmet and put on a smaller bandage from my scalp to my chin. It was well-covered by my hair, so all of my new coworkers wouldn’t notice.

The doctor was confident it would heal really well, and the pathologist on the surgery did frozen slides, and I had clean borders. He is very thorough though, so he took more samples back to his lab where he stains them and does these other tests that are more accurate. The pathologist wouldn’t know for another week if I was cancer-free, or if it had spread, or how bad it was. Now was just a waiting/healing game. After a few days, I was able to take the last bandage off.

Really, there’s just a pink mark on the side of my face that looks like a big birthmark but will eventually look like my skin. Behind my ear is a scar that is healing. My hair covers all of this. But my new conversation starter is “Wanna see my cancer?” I mean…it is sort of fascinating to look at when you know the extent of the surgery.

Two weeks later, I found out I was cancer-free.

So pretty little melanoma, if you ever knew anything about me, you’d have never entered my territory, because I always win.

After about two and a half hours, the surgery part was done. My dad was back. My head was wrapped in bandages. Lots of cotton and tape and gauze that basically formed a football helmet. I was woozy. The nurse went over the post-op care with me, and then my dad and I walked out to my mom. Mom grabbed me because I was walking oddly. It was a beautiful summer day. How I would miss the summer sun.

We went home, and Dad went to pick up my antibiotics and then came over to Mom’s to drop them off. She invited him in for coffee and surprisingly, he stayed. We sat in the living room while my divorced parents reminisced/caught up/laughed. This was kind of amazing—not their civil attitudes, though that, too—but their ability to have a conversation like old friends rather than exes with shared parenting responsibilities. I have friends who have divorced parents that remain friendly. Mine, for the most part, have not.

Anyway after that, my younger brother Will came home from caddying. He and my mother totally spoiled me. Mom went to the store and bought the current issue of every single magazine for me (I’m a magazine editor because of my childhood obsession), and maybe eight different kinds of ice cream.

The three of us watched episode upon episode of “Damages.” Will was totally attentive to me like my mom, somewhat out of character for him. “Can I get you something? Water? A blanket?” Like he clearly wanted to help me but didn’t know what to do. I’m like, “Bro, relax. I’m cool.” He cooked dinner for the three of us, and it looked and smelled fantastic, but I started violently vomiting so I wasn’t able to have it.

Since I haven’t gotten sick like that for 10 years, I was disturbed, but felt much better once it was over. I went to bed. Around 7am, I noticed I was bleeding through all of the bandaging. (And for the disgusting full-disclosure record, had been losing a lot of blood elsewhere all week.) I called the doctor at home; he’d made it clear that if anything was suspect to contact him immediately. He thought the bleeding was probably normal, but he wanted me to come in just to be sure.

The pressure to my head from the vomiting instigated the profuse outpouring of blood, so he re-bandaged the wound in a way that applied more pressure. It was completely uncomfortable and cut off a lot of my circulation, causing these marks on my neck and in the words of my mom and brother, “Your face looks really fat.” Thanks, guys. I really wanted to kill my worried family for making me go through this. If it were up to me, I would have let nature take its course. In a way, I hated the confidence of the doctor, because it tricked me into believing that the surgery would be no big deal and I could get back to my routine the day after.

Cancer, meh. I was more likely to die from the trauma of getting it removed. I can’t believe I lived through that.

To be continued…

https://giaportfolio.com/2011/09/13/recovery/


Follow giaportfolio on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: