Thursday, January 15, 2015

I Didn't Think Anyone Would Do Anything

The end of 45.

I turned 46 last Friday. Had a fine time. Took some pics to post here but haven't posted them because I wanted to say something to go with them. Today, though, I really want to tell you this other story...and include the photos of me at 45 (top) and newly 46 (bottom).

This morning I wasn't in a great frame of mind. I hadn't slept well and I had a lot of thoughts. So many thoughts. I got to the subway and remembered that I had to put more money on my card. When I approached the credit card only machine it was out of order. As I turned to the cash and card machine a man stepped to it and punched some things on the keypad. He'd been standing by the turnstiles a moment before and clearly made his move as I tried to use the downed machine. A second later he stepped away from that machine and there was a code on the screen about an audio transaction in process and not being able to use it. I knew he'd caused that.

And right on cue he asked if I wanted a swipe. (If you don't live here it's a transit thing, it's illegal to sell swipes on one metro card at a markup but it's a pretty common scheme. The thing where you fuck up the machines to force people to buy your sweep is something I've suspected but not seen so clearly until today.) I said no and scowled at the stuck machine for a bit until he approached another customer. Bless her heart he offered her a swipe and she replied, "That's so nice of you!" I didn't hear him run down the price points because I had figured out that I'd have to go aboveground again, cross a busy street, go down into the station on the opposite side, use those machines, and come back to get on the train going in my direction and I was pretty mad about it. Even though I was kind of glad to be mad. It was distracting from my other thoughts.

While I did that I dialed up the city agency for transit complaints. In my head I was thinking, "They won't give a shit!" but I dialed anyway because I had to tell someone. I had to do something that felt right. Before they picked up, though, I was in the station on the other side of Flatbush Avenue and I'd forgotten that side has a manned token booth! (No tokens, though.) Someone to tell!

So I told the attendant. She held up a finger but didn't look at me. She got a piece of paper and a pen. She was quiet a long time. I thought, "She does not give a shit." Right before I walked away she waved me closer and handed me that piece of paper with a phone number on it. She told me that was the number for the transit police in this district and I should call them. They knew about this guy. She went on to say she thought he was doing it like a career, which was stupid. Then she asked me was he dark skinned? About 5'11"? What was he wearing? I could vouch for the skin and the height and even that he was thin and had a hood up but that was it and I started to get all the usual guilt over that. What if they asked me to ID him? I couldn't because I hadn't really looked at his face because I was trying to avoid contact with him and because I didn't think anyone would care.

I didn't think anyone would care.

I wanted to call to make myself feel better but there didn't seem to be any point in gathering specific information because I was absolutely sure that no one would listen to me and do anything about the problem. I got surprised. In a really good way. I wish I'd been more help.

The beginning of 46.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Photo Challenge

Aaaaaaaaand we're back! Happy new year! I'm excited for these photos and all the pictures to come in 2015.  Here we go!

What? Someone offers a pic of a giant dog nose and I'm not going to feature it? Our Ana totally knows me!

There's something about the combination of hard edges and soft focus in this that draws you in, right? I think Our Cindy is practicing her hypnotism!

I'm having a bit of a crisis of confidence with certain aspects of my photography. I'm proud of this one. Thank you for letting me share it.

This makes me feel like Our Janet is clairvoyant! It's like she knew the prompt I was going to add for next time!

I find this both super spooky and totally romantic. It makes me want to do something like go speed dating in this room. Do they do that there, Our Sue?

It's hard not to go with a prompt that has to do with the weather. It's just that my feet are so cold! I'm not going to fall for it, though. Since it's a time of making plans and starting fresh let's make the prompt TO DO. See where that takes you!

Please enter by 9am Tuesday January 27th for posting on January 28th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and TO DO. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Wrapping It Up Another Way

Another beloved meme, first lines from each month. Before I even start to populate it I want to say that I'm scared that the first post of most months will be the photo challenge. I love the photo challenge and am committed to it but I let it carry the blog a lot, I think, and I should have supported it more.

January: I am thrilled to be starting my blogging year with one of our photo challenges.

February: In the past few years I have been learning about addiction.

March: Several months ago someone stopped following me on a social media platform I use  regularly.

April: Today is National Dog Fighting Awareness Day (NDFAD).

May: Heh, I opened up this page and realized that I haven't submitted my FAITH photo yet

June: I used to work for a billionaire.

July: Forgive my tardiness, please!

August: Little did we know that on the day before this photo challenge came due we'd get awful news about a boy shot down by police and the death of the kindest clown.

September: When I was in New England a few weeks ago MamaKizz gave me some photo albums with the understanding that I would scan them so we could keep them safe and look at them whenever we wanted.

October: If all goes according to plan I will have all of Sunday to myself.

November: This is one of the ones where I twist the rules.

December: Stay tuned for a very special announcement at the end of this post, please.

That September one might be my very favorite in a long time.

Photo Credit: Sara Gardens.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

End of the Year Meme - Early or Late?

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
Performed a house concert. Had paying dog training clients. Produced a Listen To Your Mother Show. Attended jury duty in Federal court.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I crossed off almost everything on my list of things to do in 2014. The things that didn't get done were mostly shows not seen, which is fine because I saw a lot of shows I didn't intend to see! I've started a list for 2015. Oh, and I've chosen my word for the year, Forward.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, and I gave that kid a blanket and I let him blurp up half digested milk all over me and it was good.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, I was once removed from the grief this year. Fortunate.

5. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
More confidence. More consistency. 

6. What countries did you visit?
No travel this year. Travel budget was spent on dog training school and was totally worth it.

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
June 22nd was the day we completed our dog training course. December 10th was the night of my super fun but somewhat ill-fated house concert.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Not only completing the initial stage of learning to be a dog trainer but putting that learning into practice both on my own and as part of a community.

9. What was your biggest failure?
This is one that comes up in all different contexts. I have trouble speaking out about things I know in a kind way when I am challenged. I default to being defensive and my argument is always diminished by that.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I burned myself a couple of times. I took steps to work on the breathing/acid reflux issue and feel better.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My dog training course. Any dog walking I paid for so that I could continue to do my learning and my own dog wouldn't suffer. Both of my trips to New England this year.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Everyone who has spoken out and protested the unchallenged killing of black citizens.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Darren Wilson and all of his compatriots who allowed their prejudices (unconscious or not) to strip others of their humanity. Anyone who donated money in support of Wilson.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Same as last year, "Food, training, health care, and accessories for the pets." Seriously, I did the math at tax time and I spend a lot of money on these guys. I don't begrudge it but it's a sobering number.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Dogs and talking about dogs and nerding out on training information. Completing a super fun concert in a home I adore.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
Someone Else's Dream by Carolann Solebello

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?  Happier
ii. thinner or fatter?  Thinner
iii. richer or poorer?  Tiny bit richer perhaps

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Performing, fiction writing.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Scheduling, worrying, being a know it all.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Though the experience was not at all the same I think I'd still describe it as I did last year, "I spent Christmas in New England as happily usual. Super low key this year, in a good way. Much time for eating and knitting and chatting."

21. There was no #21. I don’t know why there was no 21.

22. Did you fall in love in 2014?
Heh. This was my answer last year. "Nope. I'd like to in 2014, though." You all saw my smitten temp tattoo, right? So I guess I'm right where I was a year ago on this one.

23. How many one-night stands?
Zip. Nada. Zilch. A big goose egg. (Probably just fine.)

24. What was your favorite TV program?
The Good Wife.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
This is somehow an even tougher question in the year that Michael Brown and Eric Garner died. I have a lot of strong feelings. I don't know that hate is the right word but it's in there somewhere.

26. What was the best book you read?
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and/or The Magicians Land.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Karyn Oliver and The Ya Yas.

28. What did you want and get?
Real, honest to goodness clients.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Still Alice.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
On the evening of my 45th birthday I asked a very few friends to go to a wine bar I'd never been to before in our neighborhood. We had a couple of drinks and then I got a ride home where Pony Express and I ordered in food and watched TV. It was exactly what I wanted in that moment.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
As I said last year, more kissing. More writing. Winning the lottery.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Comfortable, presentable, able to withstand dog drool.

34. What kept you sane?
Another that will not probably change, "Friends and dogs." At least I hope it doesn't.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I would probably actually have changed this one this year but, since Craig Ferguson ended his run on the Late Late Show last month, I have to stick with him. I let my crush run rampant since I'm not likely to watch his game show as faithfully as I did his late night one.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The unchallenged deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford and so many others. Also the subsequent lack of legal investigation of their killers.

37. Who did you miss?
Auntie Blanche and Emily. They've both been gone a long while but this year brought them up for me a lot.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
I finally go to meet in person some folks I've known only online for many years. Adding this face to face component to our friendships was deeply satisfying.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014:
If you think it's going too slowly, SLOW DOWN! (That's a dog training maxim that I find relevant to pretty much every area of life.)

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
From Susan Werner's I Can't Be New

I can be your girl through the best and worst times
But I can't be the girl you notice for the first time
There's so much I can do
But I can't be new

Monday, January 05, 2015

(Photo) Challenging News!

I suddenly decided that next week is the week for the next prompt. Surprise! And by next prompt I mean, there is still no prompt, just share something you love or that you think is interesting or dammit just share something to share it and get in the groove. There are no bad reasons.

Photos due in the Flickr group by 9am on Tuesday January 13th for posting on Wednesday January 15th. Good times!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

New Year, New Word

I'm a sucker for rituals. I love them. I love little rituals like the order in which I wash myself in the shower and I love grand rituals like the weird Christmas tradition we have of singing happy birthday to my grandfather who died in 2000. Rituals keep me pointed in the right direction while helping me to feel like I can explore places off the beaten path.

Anyway, last night I was going to a masquerade party. I didn't have the means or the motivation to go all out but I wanted to look a little special. I don't remember what it was but something reminded me that I have a whole huge bunch of temporary tattoos.  I sifted through them and found I couldn't choose between two of them because they felt perfect for the concept of holding/wearing/intending the things you want for the new year at the moment that year begins.

This one is for my word of the year, FORWARD. You would have laughed to see how long it took me to work out which arm to put it on because I wanted to be certain sure that the greyhound was pointing toward my fingers. That's where the words come out, you know.

This one...I don't know if I'm ready to talk about it but I guess I am ready to show it so here it is.

Or maybe the new year just makes me sentimental. One never knows.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ringing Out the Old

I've been quiet here but I've been thinking about you. I've wanted to write but not had time or space to sit down and do so.

I find that with a deadline I get absolutely obsessed with finishing things. Sometimes the things I'm freaking out about finishing have nothing to do with the deadline. There's no need for me to finish the book on my bedside table by midnight but for two days I've been itchy about it. I'm not going to wear the hat I'm knitting to tonight's party so why do I feel like the last thread needs to be woven in by the time the ball drops? Sometime between the 2nd or 3rd glass of wine last night and the dog park this morning I was able to let those things go.

Fortunately posting something to the blog stayed with me. I want to be here. I want to say one more thing, anything, before we head into the new year and say the next things.

This Christmas season I was wildly grateful to have the friends that I have. We had opportunities to make people's lives better and we did it with speed, efficiency, and grace. We had members who needed help, a lot of help, and they've been needing a lot of help for a while and together we figured out how to keep giving it. We celebrated the season. We enjoyed our families. We didn't exert the pressure on ourselves or our loved ones that it's so easy to use. I am proud to know them all.

My apartment is a mess. My animals are insane. I haven't looked carefully over 2014 or decided what I think about 2015. But I have a party to go to tonight and a tradition to observe and some things I'd like to do before it's time to get gussied up. Tomorrow is another day. The first day of another year (something someone pointed out we can say about every day) and I'm ready to move forward into it.


That might just be my word for 2015.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Photo Challenge: THANKS

Stay tuned for a very special announcement at the end of this post, please. Take your time, though, don't rush by the pretty pictures by me and Our Cindy.

There's so much to be thankful for in the only snap I took of a party at my house last week. The surprise guest on the left, the laughter of those two goofballs in the middle, my house all spiffed up by Queen Bee. My cup of good fortune runneth over.

If it were my job to title Our Cindy's photos (and it's totally not) I'd call this one Perspective. Or maybe Perspective On Clarity? No, what about Clear Perspective? I'd call it something, though, because I'd want to find it again because it's very cool. (I am terrible at this titling job.)

This dude is crying out for me to be grateful. Well, he's crying out for everything but that is, I suspect, because his thyroid is way out of whack again. He's a mystery. Should have died before he was 6 and he's chugging away into his 15th year now so I'm not making any predictions, I'm just enjoying him while I can.

Our Cindy claims this shot is from a camping trip but this does not look like camping to me. Regardless of the living conditions I really want to know what this young chef is saying. I expect she has wisdom to impart.

Here is the Very Special Announcement: There is no prompt. Also, it's not two weeks until our next display. I'm going to take off from the photo challenges for the holidays. I am including my birthday in the holidays so the next photo challenge will be posted on 1/14. I'll remind you before then, don't worry. In the mean time please keep taking pictures and noticing the world around you and being grateful for it as I am grateful for you.

Happy snapping!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Photo Challenge: PREP

Some just amazing shots in this one. I've really loved the choices. Since we have 3 photographers entered this time around I'm going to go ahead and post 2 pics each so you can see more of what I love. Still, go to the Flickr group and check out what you're missing! I couldn't feature everything.

This is a hard working squirrel up in Our Janet's neck of the woods. He should be envious of the Brooklyn squirrels who are already so porked up they can hardly be bothered to run away from my dog!

I don't even have a clever caption for this tableau in Our Bethany's yard. I mean, doesn't the whole scene transcend language?

This was a fabulous photo shoot prepping for the release of an album entitled Sticky. I love being a concrete part of my friends' projects.

While technically this is not a photo that I took (I'm the one in blue here) it is a favorite of mine, the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Our Janet always honors the care that goes into making delicious food. My mouth is watering. It's been far too long since I've had creme brûlée.

Our Bethany's husband smiles most of the time but rarely this big pipe-eating grin. Some of the paintings in this photo (and many others) are still available as part of the S.T.A.S.H. sale Michael is conducting to help them kick off their next big family adventure. (Sale ends Nov 21, do not delay!)

You can probably guess the next prompt easily. THANKS! I don't even care if you interpret that sarcastically.

Please enter by 9am Tuesday December 2nd for posting on December 3rd. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and PREP. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Oh Sonny Boy The Pipes, The Pipes Are Callin'

We lost another one today. He was 16 and he didn't feel well and it was the right thing to do for him but for his people... Well, we all know we never have them long enough. Even the terrors, even the freaks, even the ones who bent us to their will are too, too sorely missed. This guy was no terror, though.

OK, actually there is this one story about how his girl came home one day when he was about a year old and found him in the kitchen sink (he's a 90lb dog!), all four feet in the damn sink, and he was chewing on the wooden spoons in the utensil jug on the counter. But he wasn't a terror. He was determined and smart and he loved attention.

So, today is a good time to remind you of a very important tradition here at 117 Hudson. I call it Treats For Everyone. It goes like this: On a day when someone's pet dies we give treats to our pets just for breathing. For standing there. For giving us the proverbial puppy dog eyes. They get treats because we are fortunate to still have them here and we know that won't always be the case. There but for the know?

Please, treats for everyone today. The good stuff, don't half-ass it. Because today we lost one of the greats and our hearts are broken.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Photo Challenge: SAFE

This is one of the ones where I twist the rules. We only had 2 entrants so I'm showing 2 photos from each of us!

 Watching your youngest boy jump from 130 feet in the air. Our Bethany has nerves of steel.

I've had several conversations this week about how fantastic the tap water is in NYC. Leaving the city and confidently drinking from a tap can be a huge disappointment.

What a cozy little world some of Our Bethany's family members made!

I was incredibly lucky to have this theatre and this particular festival incubate some of my work. I miss it.

I am in preparation mode for so many things these days. Since our next challenge period ends right before Thanksgiving let's use PREP for a prompt. You can work with that, right?

Please enter by 9am Tuesday November 18th for posting on November 19th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and PREP. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Honorable And Mentioned

I feel a responsibility to explain why I still dress my dog in costume even once a year and how I went about it. Then I went down a bad rabbit hole on the internet and I feel a stubborn refusal to explain myself to anyone about anything.

The short version is that we worked hard to make this costume as comfortable as possible for Ed. He didn't love wearing it but he was comfortable enough to pee and bark and take treats in it. I feel ok about my decision.

Were you to have seen his appearance on stage, though, you might not have believed all the work we did. I shielded him slightly from the audience, walked over to the emcee and borrowed her mic to announce, "And now, whether you want her or not.......HEDWIG!"

The crowd roared!

I carried him downstage center and offered him a piece of cheese.

No thank you.

I walked away from him thinking he might get up.

No thank you.

I offered him more cheese.

No, he replied turning just his head around to give me a look over his shoulder.

I called him and knelt down and patted my knees and....


The audience laughed.

I laughed harder.

It all took maybe 30 seconds and then I lifted him up, toured him past the judges, and left the stage.

He was happy to be down on the ground again where he was perfectly able to walk and pee and bark and eat some cheese.

We didn't win one of the big three prizes. We did get an honorable mention. I think he's had one of those three out of his four years entering. We were, I think, a cult favorite. Several fans of the Broadway show stopped us and asked for photos. We had a good time, cheese equals a good time, right?

Photo credits (in order): Amy Frankel at Gothamist, Fort Greene Focus, Mark Allen Berube.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Photo Challenge: RED/READ

Whew! Sorry I'm so late. I got this complicated and time consuming internet research job tossed on my desk and it scrambled my brain a bit. I haven't even seen who entered the challenge yet. I'm going to be as surprised and excited as you!

New photog alert! Do I know Beekeepers2007 under another screen name? S/he seems to know me really well. Of course I would choose the pic referencing my Sox.

I can't help but wonder if Our Cindy is the first person to read these. Look at the bold NOT HERE notation.

There's something really visceral about the color and texture of these berries in Our Sara's front yard. I can feel them between my teeth.

I love to read. I use it sometimes, though, as a pacifier. I'm embarrassed to say that looking at what's on the pictured pages I can't remember reading this at all. No bells are ringing. What's wrong with me?

Occasionally we get a video. We need a little variety! Here's one by Our Bethany, featuring one of my very favorite storytellers.

It so happens that while I'm doing this I'm monitoring a news story where people are having to shelter in place at the Canadian capitol. So, let's call the next prompt SAFE. That's weirdly appropriate for Halloween and Election Day, too, right?

Please enter by 9am Tuesday November 4th for posting on November 5th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and SAFE. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Round 'Em Up!

Do you guys know that I've had a tab open in my browser for months? It might be as many as 6 months. It's an old post of Our Bethany's about parenting. I wanted to share it but, I guess, wanted to read all the comments first. Then the comments became hard to read and I stopped and it's just been sitting there, waiting for all these months! Here's the link. The comments aren't like incoherent crappy spelling video of someone getting punched in the nuts comments. They're honest comments and emotional ones and the discussion gets a little heated. That's all.

While we're on the subject of Our Bethany. Her family is embarking on an adventure. You can follow along here.

On being afraid of the word FEMINIST.

Neil Gaiman's thoughts on good people and bad people.

A nice info graphic about how much money is saved when we spend money on family planning.

The dirty truth about what you're saying when you say that we can't raise the minimum wage.

The next like 17 hearted posts in my BlogLovin' feed are from Inkdot so you should probably just make a habit of checking in with her regularly.

Here are some guidelines for napping. I have a very hard time sticking to these guidelines.

In case you haven't been keeping up with the continued goings on in Ferguson, MO I've been doing it for you. It's not very efficient this way, though. You should be all over Twitter and blogs and news sites because this is where the revolution is starting right now and we need to build on this momentum. First job: Learn the name Vonderrit Myers Jr. He was 18 years old. 18. Not even old enough to drink in a bar.

Neil Gaiman boosting the signal on a double standard for religions.

xkcd did an informative panel on the parallel between interracial marriage and same gender marriage. It's not all that fucking parallel.

You should also just follow Neil Gaiman in all his media forms. But I'm sharing this bit about Doctor Who writers anyway because, SERVED.

This is a mildly sciencey article on a science blog about dogs and dog training. However, the subject is turkey and tryptophan so it's relevant to humans as well. The conclusions may surprise you!

Sometimes it's the little steps your kid takes that blow you away more than the milestones you prepare for. Go Schuyler!

I have been cold all summer. Yesterday I heard a dad and daughter on the way to school chanting, "We want autumn! We want autumn!" I had to physically restrain myself from shouting back, "You had autumn all summer! Don't be greedy!" I love the photo of Abbie Lynne at the bottom of this post and I love the way Sueb0b is writing about the heat, both internal and external, so I'm sharing this anyway.

This is a really interesting query about medical instruction procedures for discharging patients. They may have come to a conclusion in the comments but it's still worth reading.

This is a post about baseball songs. Part way through there's a bit about a song called A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request. I want to read the lyrics but can't find them anywhere. I will watch one of the videos as soon as I have a minute.

So, unsurprisingly some FOX News commentators said some foolishly nasty things about a female pilot in the UAE military. A group of US Military folks chose to respond. Their letter is basically what I always think of about 2 days after any argument where I'm totally right and the other person is a shithead. It's really a joy to read the whole thing so click through from the Feministing article to get the full scope.

That's my high note. I'm leaving on it.

Photo: A small portion of a gorgeous installation by my friend, Anne.