Friday, April 30, 2010

Piece Meal

I think I'm going to this movie this afternoon.

Today is the last day of service at Freddy's bar. Tomorrow they move to Park Slope after losing the fight to Bruce "More! Useless! Buildings!" Ratner.

I weigh in at 136. It's no movement from last week. I've still got about 10lbs to go and, my progress, she is not in the right direction.

I wrote about feminine odor at the Colony today.

In that piece I linked to one of my favorite Mark Allen Berube songs. (It's playing on the widget in the lower left of that site.) Two people have already commented on how much they like it, too.

I'm eligible for a phone upgrade in a couple of weeks. I'm leaning toward this phone but they might force me to buy a data package. If they do that should I bite the bullet and get a smartphone instead? Blackberry now and be locked in for two years or wait to see if I Verizon is really getting the iPhone in a few months? Or switch to AT&T for iPhone now?

I seem to have chosen a Queen Margaret monologue from Henry VI Part 2. I have a lot of reading to do this weekend.

It's going to be in the 80s this weekend. I cannot wait!

How are you? What's up? Talk to me, please, I'm going a little stir crazy.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day Late. Here's a Dollar

I meant to post this yesterday for Nearly Wordless Wednesday. Who needs words when you've got such a pretty picture?

alexander skarsgard
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How Old Is Spring, Miranda?

Earlier this month Chrome gave me the heads up that the 29th, today, is Poem In Your Pocket Day. I almost forgot but luckily Mameres was on it this morning, tweeting the occasion. Inspired by Clemo's recommendation, I just copied out The Romantic Age* by Ogden Nash and slipped it into my pocket.

Now what do I do?

*It was a close race between that one and A Lady Who Thinks She Is Thirty.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NWW: Commoner

I've been using The Commons at Flickr a little more lately for my posts at the Women's Colony. I'm always fascinated by what certain search terms will bring up. For this one I was just searching People, 'cause I love photos of people. I want to write a play about these people now. They seem to have a lot going on.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Without Bombast

Went to class last night. This is the first exclusively Shakespeare class I've taken in America, I think. It's definitely the first new Shakespeare teacher I've had since I met my teacher, David Perry, in 1994. He passed away a few years ago and it became clear I'd have to explore other avenues.

1. I am taking this class from my friend April.

2. It is 3 Mondays in a row from 6:30-10:30. I get home around midnight.

3. David had diabetes so you could always count on him giving you a break every 60-90 minutes so he could get some tea to regulate his blood sugar. April kept going Energizer Bunny-style with just one brief bathroom break. I am seriously not used to that.

4. We did articulation exercises to this Barenaked Ladies Song. I haven't checked my iPod yet but really hope I have that already. It's fun!

5. There are 6 people in class. 4 women and 2 men. I am the oldest. There are 2 college students who are, I'm sure, the youngest. Experience levels vary. All American save one Brit.

6. April says I read mid-thirties (for theatre, I'm sure it'd be different for film). This is very useful information to have. I can never tell how old people are supposed to be so making that call for myself is especially difficult.

7. I worked on a monologue from this scene. It sort of starts at "Boldness comes to me now and brings me heart." I had worked on it a lot with David but that was many years ago.

8. We worked a lot on specificity of place, which was a revelation for me. I did actually know where I was but I'd never told anyone or set it down anywhere for myself and doing that made for a lot of differences.

9. I was given direction and asked to put it immediately into practice and I was able. I've still got a long way to go but I made a lot of fairly ginormous changes to the way I'm working the piece.

10. Homework is to work on the same piece and approach a new one. April brought me one from Queen Margaret (can't remember which play) and a very famous Titania speech which I've worked on some before. I can't decide. It would be nice to work on something I'd not dealt with at all before but the very fact that I'm shying away from Titania suggests I should give it a shot. In a third, entirely different direction, she also suggested Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing. That intrigues me mightily. I would love to work on that. But it's prose not poetry so.....I don't know.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Why I Am Me

On my way to open my first NYC bank account, way back in 1987, my new Texan friend turned to me and said, "Now Miss Kizzy, what do you think about that?"

This was just days before that whirlwind first week of college. We were in a partial conservatory program for acting, though. Our studio was a bit of a hodge podge and, at the time of our appearance, on the low end of the undergraduate drama totem pole so our classes were small. Our largest class had under 20 people in it. The group we spent most of our time with was 8 people strong.

You know those first-day-of-class exercises where you go around the room and tell everyone your name and where you came from and something about yourself? We did those with the same 8 people in every class all week long. Finally, in our last class on Friday of that exhausting week I had my turn and I gave my full name and the boy we'd already identified as our smart ass piped up, "No. Tell him your real name."

Not to be shamed and having always desperately wanted a nickname I proudly said, "I'm Kizzy."

Over the years that nickname has gotten nicknames (Kizz, Izz, Kizzbeth, KB, Kissy, Kizzybeth, Tizzy...) but it has stuck.

So, Hi, my name is Kizz, I'm from 117 Hudson and I like to blog.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I wrote a piece about "intimate personal grooming" over at the Colony. In the lead-in I made a joke about the smell of vaginas. Just a joke. Honestly not a huge percentage of commenters got bent about it. It was certainly not the worst brouhaha the Colony has ever seen. Probably not even Top 10. They're always annoying, though. You're going along, doing your own thing, knowing yourself and where you're coming from and you accidentally hit someone's reflex with that little rubber hammer doohickey and suddenly your whole weekend is spent icing your balls, you know?

The one that's been sticking in my craw, though, is the woman who said, "Shame on you!" at the end of her incensed comment. From her seat in the balcony I'm perpetuating stereotypes and denigrating women and ruining the whole vibe of the column. I can see how she might think that. I can't see how she might think that on the strength of one stupid joke after reading what I've written for the past seven months but I can see how it's a possible interpretation of my one liner. But, "Shame on you!" That fucking gets my goat. I'm 42 years old, I am not an errant kindergartner, even when I'm making childish jokes in the name of lightening the motherfucking mood.

You know when a child is in a situation when they're given something and they don't say thank you right away so the parent will say, in front of both parties, in that grating, ascending tone, "Did you say thank you?" thereby completely undercutting any apology? (Yes, I know, it's about learning to say it every time and it has to happen that way for many kids, let's not start that discussion.) I bring it up because my parents have been known to jump in on me with that one even after I reached the age of majority. It's not that I don't say thank you it's that, apparently, they occasionally disagree with my timing. And that, one of the more frustrating things I experience, is exactly what that woman's "Shame on you!" made me feel. I, unwittingly, pushed her button and she managed to fucking body slam mine. I wanted to take the reflex hammer and crack every single one of her school marmy shame gesturing knuckles until she apologized.

But I didn't. Because, though I disagreed most vehemently, I could see how she could have misinterpreted things. Not to mention that succumbing to the freak out when you get your buttons pushed never helped anyone. Instead I had to let it roll around in my own mind all weekend, when I had other, better (SHAKESPEARE CLASS!) things to be doing, until I could write about it objectively.

Sometimes being a grown up sucks stinky vag.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Love, Stamped and Sent

I was just finishing up reading the comments on my waxing post at the Colony when someone just called my phone looking to speak to a Ms. Dawson but knowing that it would be my phone. They thought this was a store. Er...what?

But that's not what I want to talk about before I race out the door to class. (Yes, cats, after I feed you, too.) Misti introduced me to the fabulous M-Girl a few years ago and she is a gem of a woman. She's in the ICU right now trying to get a scary brain/blood thing figured out. So I was hoping that, if it's not too much trouble, you might have a good thought for her today. We're all worried and want her to heal up soon.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Don't Talk To Me

A lot of people, especially in our e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, text, blog-driven world say, "The meaning gets lost when you write, though, there's no nuance, no body language so you can't really get your point across." (I'm paraphrasing but I know you've heard it.) These people far prefer their "important" conversations to occur vocally, preferably in person.

Wow, do I ever not agree. If you're going to have an important discussion with me, especially an emotionally charged one, I really think you're going to like me better (and I know I'll like you better) if we have it in writing. I can talk, I can quip, I can lecture, I can hold my own in an argument but to grasp the short and long term of a defining conversation while it's happening? I'm not good at it. Better than I was, working on it all the time but not good. I get hurt, I get confused and I don't have immediate recall of all research ever done on a topic so eventually I'm just going to fade away. I'll be able to grasp my point fully in a couple of hours and I'll e-mail you. I like to be able to go back to an e-mail or comment thread to see what was said before, to check my work, if you will. I often remember things incorrectly because I went off a feeling so it's easier for me to allow for the possibility that I am operating on feeling not fact if I can see it in writing. I often need time to count to 10 or re-read what's been said or simply think about what I really think before I can respond. If you've got me tethered to a phone or cornered in the living room I don't have the space to do that.

Now, as far as which way you prefer having your conversations, it's just that, a preference. I know you can be misunderstood in any medium. There are always exceptions that prove rules, mistakes made and planes flying overhead that interfere with reception. No way of communicating is perfect. But I've been thinking about the people who feel that one simply can't be fully understood, in a conversational way, in writing.

I think they just don't write very well.

To be fair that can mean a lot of things, maybe they think better on their feet so they concentrate on talking instead of writing, maybe they don't hear the words as they write them, maybe they don't revise every little e-mail or comment or text (I do, OK, I just do, because I want to get my point across), maybe it's harder for them to grasp how they "sound" on the page, maybe it's something else about writing that I don't even know because writing is so natural to me, even when I'm doing it poorly. So "well" could have a number of different meanings but...

What do you think?

Also, don't you think we'd all write better if we did it at a cool desk like the lady above? (Photo courtesy of The Commons at Flickr.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Beer Me

 That's Walter. Perhaps if you're not a dog person you don't think Walter is very cute. Maybe it's that he's in that gangly teenage period, maybe it's because you don't know how sweet pit bull mixes usually are or maybe it's because some devil incarnate doused Walter with gasoline or bleach or some other corrosive substance so his fur is nearly all gone.

Do you know what they did when that didn't "fix" him? ( I don't pretend to understand what "fix" would mean in their world.) They dumped him out of a moving vehicle onto a Brooklyn sidewalk.

The story gets happier now. A bartender picked him up and took him to the vet and found him a permanent home and started raising funds to get him to that home. Fur acts as part of the immune system for the canine set and without his fur (he's got mange which, presumably the gasoline was thought to cure) he's facing a host of problems.

He's a real Brooklyn dog now, though. He's got a blog and a Facebook page and one of the greater bars around is holding a fundraiser for him tonight. Kath, Bobby and I will be there and two of us will be downing some suds on Walter's behalf. Bobby (another dumped and rescued Brooklyn poochy Cinderella story) doesn't like beer. Which proves that Bob is full of surprises.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Things, Things, Things, 10 Of Them

1. Has anyone else gotten a whiff of publicity stunt off of the "lost and found" G4 iPod? Seems especially lucky that it was lost somewhere that someone would know enough to make sure that it got into the hands of folks who could dismantle it, dissect its inner workings and also have the readership to distribute the information widely. Doesn't it? Just me? OK.

2. My friend Aaryn was asking about facial hair on your lovah the other day. I feel about all body hair that a little is nice, (like 2 day scruff) but a full pelt is off-putting. To me. Just to me. Everyone has their own preferences.

3. When blogs collide!!!!! Pamela Ribon (aka Pamie) did a Big Idea piece on John Scalzi's Whatever about her new roller derby/divorce novel.

4. Speaking of Pamie, she revived the Dewey Donation Drive to make the wishes of libraries come true. I still haven't donate yet. I've retweeted about it a lot but not donated. Must get on that.

5. Kitty clued me in that you can buy police auction items on line! This may be where I get my next camera lens.

6. I know that people have issues with Facebook. Heck, I have issues with Facebook sometimes (for those of you who have been friended with ulterior motive by a certain ex-schoolmate of mine, I apologize again and again) but this story transcends all of that. Facebook powers, when used for good, are extraordinary.

7. You guys all know that Obama scored a big hit in support of same sex partner visitation rights in hospitals, right? Via Feministing.

8. Next Tuesday night Chrome and I are taking a sushi-making class. It's all very exciting! Can't wait.

9. It's still National Poetry Month. Must read up on some of the people you mentioned last week. Anyone got any more for me? Can't believe I forgot to include Dorothy Parker and have to admit I've never read any Ogden Nash. Not yet. I will. Promise. Remind me.

10. The tenth thing is a toss up but both things are ridiculously frivolous. I want a hat from this company that will fold up and come along in my bag. Also, boy did I have to scroll through a lot of fan fiction in my starred file to get to the important things I had saved.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Not Until

Today someone asked me how my career was going. I said, "Slowly." And he replied, "Shouldn't it be going more robustly?" And I struggled not to cry.

Being a careful observer before I act has a lot of drawbacks. I know I can't be other then I am but I am in a constant state of trying to gently shove that boundary open a little more. I must act more rather than wait. I am too old to wait. I always have been.

Perhaps you've read about Jen Lemen. She's part of the force behind Picture Hope and Mondo Beyondo and Shutter Sisters. She has a very good friend, Odette, who is Rwandan and has been living in the United States for four years now while her two daughters have had to remain in Africa.

Stephanie Roberts, Jen's partner in Picture Hope, posted a beautiful shot today with some words about what Jen is currently doing. When I got to this line, "I don’t know… but I’m not coming back without them.” I wept.

I am thrilled for them, in awe of Jen and Stephanie and Odette's family, frightened and ashamed of my own life. I should move beyond all that, though, because I will be so happy to see these girls I've never met reunited with their mom and I will continue to try to take a page out of their friend's book of life.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Multiple Choice

I have strained whatever that muscle is that runs along the back of one's knee. For your homework today please select which answer best represents the source of this injury:

A. Running of a 5K race in today's sunny and slightly windy conditions.

B. Yoga.

C. Lying on the couch playing mahjong on the computer.

Your answer will comprise 100% of your grade.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Shake Your Money Maker

Have I told you about my million dollar idea? I want to set up a service where regular tax bracket folks can purchase a New York City travel support package custom designed for them. You can get written instruction plus web site access, you could add e-mail support, you could add phone & text access to tour supporters. All packages include a "welcome meeting" with a tour supporter to go over your written instruction and the web site.

Today I did my level best to make the dreams of approximately 24 one day field trippers from New England com true. I showed them Central Park, a real New York deli, David Letterman's marquee & Times Square. 24 people through Saturday crowds and we made it back to their bus in plenty of time. It wasn't perfect, we had glitches of course, but all in all I think we did pretty well. I taught them to jay walk!

OK, so I probably won't publicize that last lesson.

This wasn't for money, it was a trip for which a friend was one of the chaperones. I was allowed to tag along to an author talk and a beautiful Broadway show with the incomparable Kristin Chenoweth. I didn't have to take any sort of responsibility or steer the ship at all but it was a great way to test my abilities and my motivation for this crazy scheme to help others love New York as much as I do. 

So, here's an idle question. Would you purchase such a service and if so, what sort of pricing would seem fair to you?

Friday, April 16, 2010


What should one put in a pre-scheduled post that will publish all on its very own while you are spending the day at a funeral mass?

Please leave your suggestions in the comments.

Extra points if it's something that inspires a lot of discussion so one will return to something interesting to read on the internet.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

One Ringy Dingy

The Joint Council on International  Children's Services put out a call to action for April 15, 2010. This Campaign was developed in the aftermath of a high profile incident concerning international adoptions between Russia and the United States. Our very own JRH is an adoptive parent and she requested the use of this space to participate. The following is her contribution to the call. I would be grateful if you would link, tweet and talk about her story. Please also feel free to leave links to other positive adoption information in the comments.

My almost-four-year-old is a silly, clever, passionate, adorable, loving force of nature.  He's added a completely new dimension to my life, and for that I am grateful... which includes being grateful for the process that brought him into my life... adoption.

I’m not going to tell you it’s easy, or cheap, or convenient.  I’m not going to tell you it doesn’t require trust and faith, in others, in the process, and in your own decision making.  I’m not going to tell you it doesn’t come with doubts.  Because none of those things are true.

Adoption isn’t easy or cheap or convenient.  Adoption requires trust and faith.  Adoption does sometimes make you wonder if it’s a good idea.

But.  Who told you any sort of parenting was easy or cheap or convenient?  Who told you it wasn’t a leap of faith?  Who told you that you’d never wonder what the fudgesicles you were thinking?  (Who told you that you could drop an F-bomb in front of your kid and not have it be repeated?)

I’ll admit that the process of adopting isn’t biological or organic or natural. (And it most certainly will not give you an orgasm.)  It’s human and political and highly regulated, and as such, there are flaws and loopholes and frustration.  On the other hand, pregnancy and childbirth don’t come with guarantees and promises either.   

As is often the case, it’s the scary stories, the sad ones, the mind-boggling ones about adoption that get attention.  Today though let me turn your attention here.

He’s challenging, he’s expensive, and he’s often inconvenient.  He makes me trust my parenting instincts and summon faith that my best will be sufficient.  He sometimes makes me string every grammatical form of the word fudgesicle together in a sentence.

Yet he's affectionate, he's imaginative, and he's smart.  He inspires me to create and perform and dance around the kitchen.  He motivates me to be and do my best.

He’s my forever family.  And adoption made us possible.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bits, Bobs, Bites and Blather

Today is JRH's birthday. She doesn't have a blog of her own (gasp!) so please feel free to wish her well right here. If not today then tomorrow when she will go all Guest Blogger on our asses for the first time in far too long. She's got a hell of a good reason, too, so please stay tuned and, if you see fit, link, retweet, Facebook or otherwise promote said cause tomorrow. I've already been in touch with her this morning so I know she's already opened her present which means that I can spill the beans here without ruining the surprise. I got her this. Hurray for Etsy!

I'm over at the Colony today with the most recent Photo Challenge. Our prompt was Spring. You can check out the featured photos here or go straight to our Flickr pool to see all the submissions. Those shots got me through some rough days the last couple of weeks.

Speaking of which, I'm headed out of town again tomorrow night. ChemE's father-in-law passed away yesterday after an illness. I'll drive upstate tomorrow after work so I'll be there in time for the services on Friday. I would stay a little longer but...

Queen Bee is chaperoning a field trip to NYC on Saturday. They're just in for the day attending an author talkback, seeing a matinee (CHENOWETH!) and wandering Times Square for a bit before they head back home. I'm lucky to have been asked to spend the day with them. You guys know how much I love to introduce people to the city.

Oh, and tonight I'm headed out to deepest Williamsburg to go to this swanky-seeming joint to celebrate my cousin's engagement. Rather than clutter their lives with a physical gift for the engagement I donated to complete a book-related project on Donors Choose. After I'd hit the Check Out button I realized I probably should have donated to Dewey Donation instead. I'll do that, too, though, just not specifically for their engagement. Want to join me?

Lastly, it turns out that these pants are green not black. Surprise!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

10 Things Metered

It's National Poetry Month. It's also a lot of other months, like Humor Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month and  National Financial Literacy Month and Autism Awareness Month and National Volunteer Month. OK, I'm on page 3 of the google results for that search, I think I'll leave it up to you to read the rest and make sure you don't miss anything.

I usually don't manage to say anything about the Poetry Month until it's practically gone. This year, due to a glitch in programming (I can't find the link I want to one of the 10 charities I was going to list), I'm getting here even before the smack dab middle of the month. Go me! Read on for a list of 10 poets, poems and verses that turn my crank.

1. Any Shel Silverstein will do, really. It's hard to find much of it online because he's got some very strict enforcement of copyright rules. I haven't read much of his adult work but he wasn't a warm and fuzzy Mr. Rogers type. He got his start at Playboy, I believe. You can read Weird-Bird here, which I like. Of course Listen to the MUSTN'TS, is the best ever and I thank this blogger for getting it on the web.

2. I actually really like T. S. Eliot. It's dark and plodding in a way that's rhythmic like your heartbeat. Little Gidding is my favorite. "We shall not cease from exploration/And the end of all our exploring/Will be to arrive where we started/And know the place for the first time."

3. Shakespeare. 'Nuff said. Here's a good moment from King Lear:

Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say
They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed,
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty:
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.

4. Ever heard of Algernon Charles Swinburne? Yeah, me either until I went to drama school. We studied A Forsaken Garden and I fell in love with it. The last stanza is, predictably, the kicker:

Till the slow sea rise and the sheer cliff crumble,
Till terrace and meadow the deep gulfs drink,
Till the strength of the waves of the high tides humble
The fields that lessen, the rocks that shrink,
Here now in his triumph where all things falter,
Stretched out on the spoils that his own hand spread,
As a god self-slain on his own strange altar,
Death lies dead. 

5.   Bob Dylan is no slouch verse-wise. I am toying with the idea of learning to sing You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go. "Dragon clouds so high above/I have only known careless love,/It's always hit me from below." I mean, seriously, how does that not break you?

6. If I'm being honest I don't really know enough Whitman to recommend one thing. If Michael Cunningham's Specimen Days did him any justice, and I think it did, then he's delicious and probably anywhere is a good place to start.

7. I like the Bartholomew stories best of Dr. Seuss's books. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Maybe it was the medieval setting. Maybe it was all the things you can rhyme with Oobleck.

8. I know it's common of me but I'm not ashamed, I love e. e. cummings' i carry your heart.

9.  The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow / Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below. / When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, / But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

10.  I, truly, cannot complete a list like this without Ms. Dickinson. A fellow New Englander, a recluse, unlucky in love and late to publish. She and her "amethyst remembrance" are beautiful.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Walking Towards A Cure?

Don't worry I'm not soliciting donations right now. Maybe tomorrow.

I just have this tip that I can't keep to myself any more. I heard it a bunch of times before I believed it but I am now fully converted so I want to spread the love. And the petroleum jelly.

Right now, this very second, I have a layer of Vicks Vaporub on the bottoms of my feet.

I'm loving it!

I get allergies. It's the tree pollen. Those pretty buds? Want me curled on the couch in a fetal position begging for an auger and the courage to use it. They aren't the worst in the world, I'm not being hospitalized or anything, but they do suck donkey balls. My allergies manifest mostly as sinus pain and pressure. Occasionally I nearly choke but that's rare and fixable with getting out of the area and drinking some water. Or a margarita. I think I get that inflammation of the sinus tissue. Gross.

The headaches, though, are untouchable. I try to steer clear of decongestants for a lot of reasons. (My chronic dehydration, my sensitivity to the sleep aid in one kind, my high sensitivity to the uppers in the other, etc.) I've put Vicks on my face (topical analgesic!), I am a strong supporter of Fisherman's Friend lozenges, I use any steam I can get up to and including standing in my tiny bathroom with the shower blasting. In pretty short order I wind up with a pervasive muscle ache problem down my neck and along my shoulders. I think that before I realize the pain of the sinus problem my subconscious becomes aware of the fullness and that I alter the way I hold myself and carry tension in my head, neck and shoulders so I've got a double shot. Anyway, I was having trouble with one of these a few weeks ago and I put out a call on Facebook for any solution short of trepanning. OK, I may have said that trepanning would be welcome. It hurts. A lot. And I have a very low pain threshold.

A couple of people mentioned putting Vicks on the bottom of my feet (and socks over all, don't want you sticking to the floor). I had heard it before but couldn't see why it would work so I hadn't tried it. Seemed gross. (It is.) One Facebooky friend, though, explained that it has to do with the large pores of the feet sucking the eucalyptus (and probably the turpentine) into the system more quickly. That began to sound logical and I hate pain so I tried it. Huzzah!

It's not quick and it won't fix the ancillary muscle tension problems but it works wonders on the sinus issues. If you hate the smell of Vicks this will not be your favorite. I kind of like it, though. Smells like relief.

Next up? A little eucalyptus oil in the water of the neti pot. Pretty sure that's going to be a miracle, too.

What old wives' takes have you proved true?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Friend Titled A Song Once

It's been a long week. I've worn makeup for 6 days straight, very unusual for me. Also have had an alcoholic drink at least once per day for 6 days. That, too, is relatively unusual for me. Not sure whether I want to call either of them a trend.

The reason for my trip was that Nanny, Queen Bee's mother, died. The Bees are family to me. Losing Nanny, while expected on some level, was hard. With the timing of the trip and the amount of stuff that needed to be done and what's going on back here I never really found a moment to be able to truly mark her passing in feeling. (That's a fancy way of saying I haven't much cried yet.)

Usually my brain and my soul prefer space between things. I like to have one day per week where I truly don't have to do anything. This sounds wildly luxurious to most, I know, but it keeps me sane and (I'm willing to bet) off meds so I try to do it. I've been flat out since last Tuesday morning, somethings to do and someones to spend time with every day. The outings have been wonderful, no question, if I hadn't really wanted to go on them I would have stayed home. Heaven knows I had a good excuse.

Getting up today and getting myself together to go to brunch, though, was slow going. The weather is spring-like (read: impossible to count on) so I couldn't trust what I wanted to wear. I was cold last night and stranded waiting for the bus. We were brunching down by the water. I wound up in a t-shirt with a cardigan Queen Bee knit me and a jacket. Most of the day I was wildly over-dressed. Standing at the mirror to do my makeup I got a whiff of something off the sweater. I leaned down and took a deeper sniff of one chest panel and it smelled exactly like Nanny's house. Nanny hasn't lived in her house for almost a decade and Joe the Barber has been gone from it just over two years. Someone else entirely lives there now. That smell is, as they say, in the wind. I sniffed the other side of the cardie and it was just as good. With that behind me I could get ready and head out.

We had a lovely day. Pony Express and I arrived early and sat watching hoards of children chuck rocks into the river. Then our group of 8, some expected and some not, just the way I like it, sat down to a delicious meal. We took photos in a photobooth. Then we walked to the new park and checked it out. Despite a long line we persevered for the sake of ice cream and sat in that golden late afternoon sunlight eating our dairy delights. A long walk later found me at the bus and home again.

I smelled my sweater just before I left the house, not 10 minutes after I'd first gotten a wind of Nanny's house. It just smelled like me. For just a moment, though, she was here and thank goodness.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Sleeping In Rocks

Have managed to do almost* nothing this morning. Well, unless you count whittling down my google reader from 500 unread entries. Dance class and Rangers v. Flyers in my immediate future! What are you up to on this Friday?

*I processed and uploaded a few photos.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Stories to Tell

This was supposed to publish yesterday. I don't know why it did not but I think it's safe to say that operator error played a large part. Better late than never?

My mother is delivering the eulogy at today's funeral. It's going to be a good one, full of love and humor. She called me this weekend to read me a few sections of it. It was disjointed and just fine and I didn't have anything really useful to say about it except, "That's a great one. I've always loved it."

After I hung up I had a flash. You get those, too, right? Those thoughts that laser through your brain like a particularly accurate drive by shooting. I've never given a eulogy. I may never be asked. But for that one second I realized, I might be. That might be me, recounting the love and laughter of a lifetime of friendship after my friend is too far away to hear.

Maybe it'll never happen. On the other hand, maybe my time is drawing nigh.


Any travel day that starts out in the dark on a scant couple hours of sleep, includes a nap in a rest stop and numerous stupid traffic slow downs (learn to merge) then ends with the elevator getting stuck half a floor from your destination is....well...perhaps it is indescribable.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

10 Things Between The Covers

I have had a great windfall of literature in the past week or so. Enough, I think, to warrant its very own 10 Things post.

1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy - This is perhaps not the correct go-to book on a week when one is to attend a funeral. It was the right size to fit in my bag on the day I finished the previous book so...reading it I am.

2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson - This is a perk of hanging out with rich folks. My boss fell in love with this trilogy and when I found out we could get a paperback copy from the UK before it would be released in the US he told me to order it. It arrived yesterday and he is in the middle of a few books and some traveling so he's lent it to me to read first! I'm thrilled to be able to devour it and sad that this will be the end of the line for anything from Larsson. (Larsson died shortly after delivering the manuscripts for his trilogy to his publishers.)

3. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon - This is the 3rd book in the Outlander series. I decided to treat myself to second hand copies of this and one other book and I got a super deal on it from Powell's. I plan to read this series thoroughly but not to gobble it. If I read too much of Gabaldon in one go I get critical. If I go easy then I enjoy.

4. The Unicorn Hunt by Dorothy Dunnett - This is the other treat from Powell's. It's the 5th book in the House of Niccolo series. It isn't nearly as delectable as the Lymond series but it's a good dose of Dunnett and I love her. I'm going to have to really work to get back up to speed because I read book four probably over a year ago.

5. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell - I have trouble trusting my instincts but know that in a lot of cases my instincts are very good. For instance that time I waited to see if I could get into NYU and didn't go to Brown. That was a good instinct. Brown would not have been good for me.

6. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell - The same people who recommended Blink liked this one. I'm interested in what he has to say. As with most self-help kinds of books, I assume I'll find some things that speak to me but it won't change my life. We shall see.

7. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells - It's a terribly slim volume. I've never read anything by Wells before so I'm kind of excited. If nothing else I feel certain it will be better than the movie based upon it.

8. The Secret History by Donna Tartt - This was very big a while ago, wasn't it? I read review after review of it and kept thinking, "I'll probably like that." If someone hadn't been giving it away for free on the sidewalk I don't think I'd ever have gotten around to it.

9. Fodor's Guide to Italy (2005) - I turned in my passport documents last week. In 4 - 6 weeks I fully expect not to be trapped in America any longer. Phew! I'm ready to start planning the Italy trip. I'm thinking, hoping, for something this fall, even. October hopefully. Finding this book on the street was like the universe saying, "Yup, it's time to go."

10. Speaking With The Angel edited by Nick Hornby - This is a collection of short stories by all manner of fun people like Dave Eggers, Helen Fielding, Colin Firth, Roddy Doyle and Zadie Smith. It's sometimes hard for me to handle short stories. They ought to be perfect for my short attention span but I think the swift change of pace can be hard for me to keep up with. I'm looking forward to these, though.

What are you reading?

Monday, April 05, 2010

Traveling Shoes

It's probably time to tell you that I'm going to be traveling most of this week. Due to the death of a dear family friend I will be driving Bat Out of Hell-style in a northerly direction from Brooklyn very early tomorrow. I will commune with old friends (and babysitters and teachers and acquaintances and pillars of society), I will read aloud a verse from a book I've never fully read, I will eat mercy and I will, eventually, drive in a similar style but equal and opposite direction to return right here to my office chair by lunch time on Thursday.

It's all too familiar, this trip. I'm sort of used to it. As used as one can possibly be to something that is exactly the same and thoroughly different every time you try it. There are traditions and protocols and ways to make it all work, though. It's nice to see people and remember and laugh but it's not nice to know that she won't be with us, this time or any other.

I'll leave you some posts and thoughts. This space will not be empty.

It felt odd that you didn't know where I'd really be, though. It's the internet, I can be here from anywhere, know.

Enjoy your week. Bask in some sun, pet your fuzzy creatures, stick your hand out the window while you're driving. Absence will make our hearts grow fonder.


Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Reseurrection and the Light

Twenty-two years ago today I celebrated Easter by having pizza and a fountain coke in Washington Square Park with a boy on our lunch break from our tech assignment for our college major (drama). As I remember it I was wearing gray sweat pants pulled up to just below the knee and a short sweatshirt in some peachy pink sort of color and I can't remember but will bet you actual dollars to real live donuts that my heavily permed hair was in some version of a side ponytail. It was the end of our Spring Break and I had been working 16-18 hours a day in a darkened theatre the whole time and for the first time in months it was warm enough to sit outside.  Some might have called our impromptu picnic lame but it felt anything but.

Looking back from the vantage point of today I can see how goofy and out of control we both were in word, thought and deed. At the time, though, there was spark. Or something. Whatever it was we stayed together for either 5 or 7 years after that point depending on how you count it and we marked Easter and/or April 4th as our anniversary.

It took us a few years to bother about the date. I said to ChemE, "We just celebrate on Easter because who knows what date it was back then." She replied, "It was April 4th."

We stayed together for one more anniversary after the year we forgot it entirely. Somewhere around the 8th we sat side by side on a subway car talking about something else. One of us mentioned the date and we both went silent and looked at each other. Then we looked away. Then we made extremely lame plans to make it up to each other. In that moment of silence, though? We both thought, "Ding! This relationship is cooked."

And it was and I don't spend every April 4th wishing myself back into it. If anything I take a moment to thank my lucky stars I'm no longer at the same place I was on that subway car having determinedly stopped counting my life sentence. I think about the pseudo-picnic, though. The pizza was delicious and my veins ran with coca cola and Easter never meant anything to me but that seems like the nicest celebration of it I've ever participated in. It was a new beginning, it was something briefly special.

And then we crucified it.


Better luck next time.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Correct Me

Correct me if I'm wrong but I have this idea about suburban areas that you never leave your house at the crack of dawn and don't come back until bed time unless you're in a marathon day at work or going on a road trip. Does that make sense? I feel as though in the suburbs if you go on a multi-disciplinary day or an errand day you swing by the home front once in a while. That's often not possible when you live in a public transportation situation. For instance my day yesterday went like this:

9:00am - left house
10:00am - dance class on the Upper West side
11:45am - pay insurance bill in coffee shop
12:15pm - meet friends at movie theatre in Lincoln Center area
12:30pm - Ghost Writer
3:00pm - Purchase theatre tickets for May at Studio 54
3:20pm - get bangs trimmed, midtown West
4:00pm - subway to Brooklyn
4:40pm - arrive Brooklyn, walk to bar
4:45pm - pick up way too many free books off the street
4:55pm - arrive bar to find out that an outside seat would have required arriving at 2:30
8:30pm - depart bar with 2 friends, one human and one canine
8:35pm - ride mechanical horse outside grocery store
8:45pm - walk into bar to hear funk band
8:45:02pm - walk out of bar with panicked barmaids screeching about dogs behind me
8:50pm - wait outside of Chocolate Room for brownie deliciousness to appear
8:55pm - continue walking, fortified with chocolate
9:10pm - arrive at friends' house to collect the heavy things that were ferried home by car for me
9:30pm - arrive home and feed extremely angry cats

It was a good day. A very good day. But long, you know? And I didn't get all my errands done.  So will you tell me, does it work like this when you have a car?

I'd write more but I have to head out, get a computer cord, meet people for dinner and listen to some live music. Back in a while!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Can't Keep It In

I shouldn't have hinted at it on Tuesday. I was supposed to keep it a secret for just a little longer but I thought I could just mention it and it would be enough.

Clearly not, I can't keep it in any longer.

I wasn't lying about the marriage thing! Ridiculous, right? But..well, it was just...different. Part of why I didn't say anything is because it was so unlike me and he's so special and I couldn't explain properly.

I'm thinking of something like this:

Or maybe this:

On the one hand white seems perhaps disingenuous but you only get married once, right? And I think it'll show off my new tattoo nicely (pictures to come, ring too!).

I already know that calla lillies will be the flower of the day. It's what Auntie Blanche said she would have chosen for her bouquet so there really isn't any other choice.

Who? Well, again, I really should keep it quiet for a while longer out of respect but, I mean, come on, that cat is out of the bag. Even though we've got to wait until his life settles down a bit I know he's worth it. He's ready for a change and for once we both agree that I'm it!

Oh, and one more thing?

Poisson d'avril!