Friday, November 30, 2018

Thank you loyal readers! (No)NaBloPoMo Day 30

Success! 30 days of NaBloPoMo in the can. I would like to thank my entire fan base, which basically means Tom, Sean and Wanda, for their support throughout this journey.

I also would like to thank the many readers who arrive at this blog by searching for "Is Cher an Indian?" I love these readers, who have no idea who I am or how they got here on their quest for answers. They don't stay long and leave confused, but I cherish their tiny digital footprints during their one and only visit.

I especially love the reader named Julie Bless who became incredibly irritated with me for insinuating that:
  • Cher may not be a true Native American considering it looks like she can barely ride a horse in the half breed video; and
  • Cher may not be entirely trustworthy about her ancestry given that she also claimed she was a gypsy, tramp and/or thief and that turned out to be a lie.
I leave you with Julie's comment, the longest and most heartfelt comment I ever received on this blog. Bless you, Julie Bless. But one tip: you know that site called the Onion? It's fake news.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Bullseye of Friends - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 29

When I was studying in Stockholm, I recall a lesson about the difference between friendships in the United States and in Scandinavia.

Imagine different levels of friendship on a target with a bullseye. Picture your best most cherished friends smack inside the bullseye. These would be friends you talk to all the time and share your deepest secrets with. The ones who would sit with you in the Emergency Room all night.

Then as you move outward, the first ring are good friends, but not as good as in the bullseye, continuing outward until you get to the outermost ring which is basically for acquaintances.

In Scandinavia, there will be a few friends in the bullseye and then like, nobody else.

In the US, basically nobody is in the bullseye but then dozens of people are in the middle rings and hundreds in the outer ones.

I've discussed this concept with Swedes and Americans over the years and everyone agrees that it's largely accurate.

I just thought of something tonight. You could call it a determining factor maybe. A way to understand which ring someone is in for you.

Inner rings: Sometimes the person calls you up or texts with suggested dates to get together. The friend makes actual arrangements. They pick a restaurant and make reservations. They figure out an itinerary. They make an effort.

Outer rings: The person texts and says they hope to see you sometime. But you know you won't see them unless you take it upon yourself to make the plans and all the arrangements. Basically, they'll show up if you do all the work.

Outermost ring: You only interact with the person if you do all the reaching out as well as the arranging.

Sometimes I wonder if people realize that if they want to be someone's friend, they have to actually share the leg work. I think this is true in any country.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Deep Thoughts by Me - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 28

Am reading the Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky. I've been reading it for days and hours and weeks and am still only 45% done. If I were reading the hard copy and not the Kindle I'd probably have major guns hoisting that fat ass book around.

In Brothers Karamazov, the Father Zosima died. Spoiler alert there but the book is 150 years old. If I've now ruined it for you, I'm not overly sympathetic.

This Father Zosima was a really respected Elder and everyone loved him when he was alive. Because of this, the town had the expectation there might be a miracle and his body might not stink in his coffin. I guess this is the mark of a saint, that your coffin doesn't stink up the place.

Sadly, Father Zosima stunk. No miracle. And everyone started to question his greatness. Whereas the day before the town defiantly and wholeheartedly loved him, suddenly people began to doubt the worth of what he'd done for them.

It reminded me of an article in the Onion about how someone found a lost Beatles album that sucked and so concluded that "New evidence reveals Beatles actually a terrible band."

This probably has to do with this phenomenon I read about in the Daniel Kahneman book. Kahneman says that whether we ultimately enjoy something or not has to do with what happens at the end.

Say we listen to glorious amazing music for 20 minutes that we are in awe over, but then there's an earsplitting screech right at the end. Most will say that the music was not enjoyable and the whole experience was ruined. Even though the vast majority of the whole experience was hugely enjoyable.

More deep thoughts:

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

100,000 Words - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 27

Historic moment, my treasured blog readers. I just wrote 100,000 words and put them in some semblance of a format. I may have even spellchecked.

Here's a snippet:

From where I lay, I could see the bottom of one soft black leather boot. My eyes peered up. And up. The boot went thigh high. Above the boot were dark green leggings, a skirt made of raw leather skins, and a glimmer of sharp metal and white gold hair.

Afraid to move from my spot on the floor, I cowered at the feet of the slender woman occupying the middle of my bedroom. 

She rose up on her toes and then settled back upon her heels. She cocked her head to the side, lifted one eyebrow and her violet eyes stared down into mine. Her movements rolled with sinuous grace and raw power. I knew right away she was not of the Earthen. 

“By what name are you called?” the woman asked. Her voice sounded like chocolate milk. It took me a heartbeat to realize her mouth had not moved. She spoke to me inside my head in that language, the one that I didn’t understand except I did. The one Alsaece had used. The language of the Lost.

“I am,” I gulped, “Danielle. I am called Danielle.” I squirmed backwards and shoved myself up to a sitting position, my back leaning against my bed frame. I spoke aloud. I barely had gotten used to Dylan hearing my thoughts, let alone whomever this woman was. I saw no need to throw a party for strangers inside my brain.

“I seriously doubt,” the woman purred, “that I would choose to attend any party of yours, even if you begged me to come.”

So much for privacy. And my party-hosting self-esteem. 

The air quivered on either side of the woman and separated like curtains. In the dark empty space that remained, two enormous lionesses appeared. They looked like Alsaece, the SiniCat, except different. They were white as snow, for one. And for two, red runes etched into the sides of their necks and ran down their forelegs. They stared at me with deep violet eyes. Their tongues flicked like lizards before the hunt. For the first time I’d been face to face with Sydcats, live and in person.

I hunched as far back as the side of my boxspring would allow. In the past six months, I’d survived a lot of dangerous encounters, the one with the Drakken most notably, but this was in a league of its own. 

I knew instinctively that this woman before me was one of the most powerful beings I had ever met. Maybe even as strong as Qilin, the Unicorn, and that was saying something. One drop of Qilin’s blood could unlock any door, and one hair from his shining mane could empower a creature from the Earthen to see Fyire. When I had met him last year, I’d been completely overwhelmed by his immense presence. 

But I knew Qilin was completely and utterly good. I knew as surely as I knew myself that he would never harm me. So although I was overwhelmed, it was with joy, and pride at standing by his side. 
That was not true now. 

Now, all I felt was a towering and pure danger. I could feel its heavy touch prodding me, testing me from all angles. The level of potent force in my bedroom was so gigantic, I couldn’t even be afraid. 

If the being before me wanted to do me in, I knew I was a goner with one wag of her little finger. Or claw. Now that I looked more closely, her graceful hands might actually be tipped with claws, judging by her dagger-pointed fingernails.

“Do you know me from your dreams?” the woman interrupted my mental tornado. “Have you seen Tekel and Ursch in your wanderings?”

I grunted a sort of unintelligible mumble. Because truth be told, I did know her. I had been her. Tekel and Ursch had been my loyal SydCat guard. 

I had worn the soft leathers the woman before currently had on, and I had felt what it felt to kill an enemy in cold blood. I had felt her power course through my veins and the pulse of the serpents twined around my arm like minions glowing with the excess of my power quivering beneath my skin. Seeing and hearing and reporting back to me like the loyal servants they are. 

I knew what it was like to breathe in and out knowing that nothing could stop me. That no creature could withstand the brutal force of my will. I relished and coveted that strength. I could taste how much I wanted it on my tongue and my skin twitched with my desire to possess it. I felt like an addict circling around my own special kind of poison.

The woman smiled at me, that kind of smile that sends chills up through your shoulder blades. “What do you call me, when I fill your thoughts?” asked the woman. The dragons twisting around her forearms spiraled, looping to face me, not quite in unison. Their color shifted from blue to an iridescent green. Four glowing reptilian eyes blinked to stare into mine. I shivered.

“I’m sorry,” I said, the sound of my voice coming as a complete surprise. My mind was so far behind processing the scene I think my mouth just decided to strike out alone. 

“I’m not sure what to call you that is the most polite.” I spoke with wide open eyes and what I hoped was a sufficiently humble expression. There was zero way I wanted to upset the woman or her two sharp-toothed and gigantic Sydcats.

“You may call me Cornelia,” said the woman after a pause. “Most call me Queen and grovel at my feet. But you. You are, of course a friend of the family.” 

I tried not to act surprised.  “A friend of the family?” I repeated, hoping for some clarification. 

Tekel licked his teeth with a blood-red tongue and Ursch cocked his head to the side. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

In the Operating Theater for an Orchid C-Section - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 26

My orchid had a baby! Here's a photo of the orchid while she was still pregnant. I should have removed the purple ribbon so you could see the baby better, but it grew right off the stalk of the mama orchid. It got so big! It had gangly roots flopping everywhere. 

The baby orchid growing
from the Mama orchid's stalk

At some point, conversations ensued about when the baby would be ready to get clipped off and planted. Or born, if you will. The orchid resides on the table in my office, so of course this decision required at least ten people to weigh in and took a week to finally pull the trigger and induce labor.

Someone brought in all the tools necessary for a successful orchid c-section. Hydrogen peroxide and alcohol to swab off the clippers (orchids are prone to fungus). And then cinnamon to dab on the "open wounds" if you will, because cinnamon is a natural fungicide.

We laid out the equipment and got to work:

The operating theater

We planted to baby orchid in the same pot as the Mama. Someone had read that the Mama orchid would regulate the moisture for the baby during its early life.

Mama and baby are alive and well!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Shoes (No)NaBloMoPo Day 26

I was talking to Petrina about shoes. She wears a size 14, which isn't all that surprising when you consider she's 6'2.

Petrina said it's mostly her in the shoe store aisle and then a whole bunch of crossdressers.

While we're on the topic of shoes, here's a video that at one point I thought was totally hilarious. It doesn't hold up:

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Pop on the loose in the city - (Na)BloPoMo Day 24

After Ma and I headed into the Met to see the Armenia exhibit, Pop decided to walk back to Chelsea all by himself. He documented the journey. Here are the sights he saw fit to commemorate. 

BTW - Pop enjoys the selfie. I'm just not exactly sure if he realizes he will be in the selfie.

Pop took a keen interest in the signs
hanging around Central Park

Then this happened.

"RockaCentaFella" as my grandma used to say
my uncle called it when he was a kid.

Arriving in Chelsea from 7th Avenue.


Pop blows past our place and visits the High Line.

He likes Chelsea Market, but only from the outside.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Warhol at the Whitney x2 - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 23

Went back to the Warhol exhibit at the Whitney for round 2 with my entourage. Mom and Dad decided to pop into the city for the weekend. 

Except Mom has a concussion and should not be exposed to flashing lights or quick movements and so our visit was punctuated by my brother texting with health tips. He's had like 19 concussions so he's familiar with the ground rules. He suggested we cover mom's eyes. That makes the visual arts somewhat less interesting, but we did forego Andy's movies out of an abundance of caution. I say an abundance of caution because I watched one of the movies the last time I was at the exhibit. Nothing much happens during these movies.

The introduction to the exhibit.

Cool! The original screen for the flowers.
Collaboration with Jean-Michel Basquiat

The second Basquat joint effort.

Now this was a danger zone for the concussed.

Andy into skulls in the 70s.
Definitely ahead of his time.

I love these shoes. I saw them all at the University of Washington in the 90's.
Loved 'em then, still think they're great.

A bouquet in a shoe.
Another shoe drops.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving - (Na)BloPoMo Day 22

Many years ago I decided that Cards Against Humanity would be a great game for the whole family. There were certain cards, like three quarters of the deck, which needed to be removed, of course. Grandma was definitely up for a game and so were the niece and nephews. That's usually all the peer pressure it takes to make everyone else grudgingly show up at the table.

But tonight I finally roped in the in-laws. I decided it would be a good idea to take a conversational pause because. Some people don't quote Bill O'Reilly and don't complain about the price of ammo these days while others certainly couldn't fault anyone for praying to a god who is ignoring all the starving children in Yemen. Things were heating up, is my point.

Tom's dad was suspicious about the whole game idea at the start, but Tom's step-mom is a fierce competitor, so she was fully in.

We had fun.

But I have a lingering fear. What if they go out and buy the real uncensored game? That would cause a major apoplectic situation amongst some parties.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The short week Sprouting Problem - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 21

Photo credit:

It's Thanksgiving week. I quit work on Wednesday, so Wednesday is like the new Friday. Which is why I was all confused this morning when I inspected my bean sprouts. I usually start the sprouting on Monday morning so by Friday, the sprouts are very sprouty. Salad-ready.

But this morning, the bean sprouts were totally small. I said to Tom, "Something is wrong with my bean sprouts." There I was, all ready to harvest, staring at stringy and very tiny vegetation.

It took me a good minute and a half to realize that although it feels like Friday, it is not Friday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Drinking with the Buddhists - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 20

Friday night we went over to the Rubin to drink with some Buddhists. They're a lovely bunch, these Buddhists. Or at least they are when inebriated. The Buddhists have collected many groupies, such as ourselves, who turn up at the Rubin too.

Everybody over there knows that I'm not a buddhist. Not that I look the part or anything, but one time I turned up at an alleged Buddhist book reading. I recall the title of the book was a very long word with a lot of squiggles above the letters. One of the Buddhists told me the writing was great, so I decided to pop in on the book reading. Why not, right?

Except it was a book CLUB not a book READING. These terms are not synonyms.

It became abundantly clear to most during the book club that not only had I not read the book, I had no idea what the book was nor did I have any intention of actually reading the book, at least by myself at home. I like drinking with Buddhists but I don't think I could be one. I have too many pairs of shoes and I'm not giving them up.

Back to Friday. We met another friend of the Buddhists named Matt. We hadn't met Matt before.

Matt somehow got on the topic of Matt, the name. He said that Matts are never friends with other Matts. Matts do not like one another. It's like a rule.

I had to know what Matt, our friend Matt, thought of this new Matt's strident proclamation. I texted him.

Matt said that he has had other friends named Matt over the years, but it's very possible he wouldn't like this Matt -- due to a general distaste for proclamations, I'd assume. He said if we wanted to arrange a test we could tell him the new Matt's name was Pete or something and then contrive to introduce the two of them and see what happened.

I doubt this meet-cute will ever happen, realistically. But if it did I'd enjoy it because I like scientific studies.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Poor Photo Choices - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 19

Photo you do not want to use when selling a coat on eBay:

If you ask me, the part about how you were snug despite the chilly morning probably doesn't outweigh the part with the dead fish.

Recently I met the director of photography at Century21. Next time I run into him, I'll confirm my thinking on this matter.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

What happens when you call your Mom's cell and your dad picks up - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 18

Pop with Mom in background this
summer getting ready to leave for a bike ride.
In the middle of a conversation with Pop, he says he has to go. He and mom have lunch plans. I hear Mom in the background yelling to hurry up.

Dad abruptly says goodbye. He's irritated, I can tell. He's half way through a good story and now the last part will have to wait. The ending will be ruined when he has to rehash the whole thing next time we talk.

In my imagination, I see my pop press the button to hang up.

Then he walks out to the car and gives my mother her cell phone back. She tucks the phone in her handbag.

They drive off.


Friday, November 16, 2018

The incident at Tom's gym with the jacket - (Na)BloPoMo Day 16

When Tom was done running his three miles on the treadmill, he went into the locker room to retrieve his jacket. He had hung it on a hook on the far wall.

Except his jacket, not on a hook. He stood there for just a second before he realized the terrible truth: He had not hung his jacket up in this locker room.

He must have turned right instead of left in the hallway and hung his jacket up in the women's locker room.

Tom hatched a clever plan. He would loiter outside the women's locker room and wait until someone came out. Then he would tell her that his wife had hung up his jacket in the women's locker room, but then I had apparently left in a hurry and forgot my husband's jacket hanging on a hook in the women's locker room. Admittedly, it was not the perfect story, but he felt it was good enough for the situation.

Unfortunately, Tom never got the opportunity to test out his ploy. No one came out of the women's locker room and he gave up. There were like zero women in the entire gym. He went up to the front desk and said to the two employee dudes, "I did something really stupid."

Both of the dudes turned around and their eyebrows went up, just waiting for the stupid thing that they'd probably have to go wipe up with rubber gloves.

After Tom related the tale, the one dude said, "You can just go in and get it."

Tom immediately felt tremors of PTSD. He vividly recalled the sheer terror of the only other time he'd accidentally walked into the women's locker room. He was 12 at his dad's racquet ball club. "There were ladies in there," was all he said when he explained the incident to me.

Tom told the employee dude that he didn't feel comfortable marching into the women's locker room. So the dude went with him and knocked on the door. They waited awhile and then he sent Tom in to get the jacket.

Tom got his jacket. He left right after that.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Half Way! Phoning It In! (No)BloPoMo Day 15

Yesterday I was so excited to be T-1 day until half way, and then today I totally forgot about the entire endeavor. I have been completely distracted by the snowstorm and I’ve been lighting candles. Not because I fear the power will go out, but because I’ve decided that fire freshens up damp and/or dusty air. Tom believes this is spectacularly false. If you do too, then fine. I’m lighting candles in case the power goes out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Just call me Mikey (No)NaBloPoMo Day 14

We were out to dinner with a friend awhile back, let's call her Tracie. She said, "Have you tried chlorophyll drops? They're amazing."

I was like, "Seriously? What do they do for you?"

There are a lot of benefits to chlorophyll, it turns out. A lot of benefits.

I like remedies with long lists of non-evidence based benefits, so I pretty much had a bottle in my shopping cart by the time we finished our entrees.

Maybe a month later, I get a text. "Did you try the chlorophyll?"

I write back, "Yep!"

Tracie replies, "Do you like it? Because if you like it, I'm thinking about giving it a go."

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Spicy pants - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 13

I bought these cotton reusable bags for vegetables and herbs instead of plastic. You wash your veggies and then toss them in the bag. When you use up the veggies, you put the cotton bag in the washing machine. Good as new.

Except sometimes you might put the bag in the wash when it's not quite exactly empty.

Tom: "Why is there cilantro inside my jeans?"

Monday, November 12, 2018

Thanks for the mansplain, asshat - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 12

I cruise over to an empty bench at the YMCA and put a weight down on it. Just as I lean over to start a set of rows, I hear an "excuse me."

I stop and turn around.

photo credit:

"This is my bench," says a twenty-something bro.

I stare at him. It's the only free bench. The gym is busy. The bench had sure looked unoccupied from all angles.

"So can I work in?" I say in my most snotty voice.

"Uh sure," says the bro. He looks surprised that I hadn't just pushed off. He clearly doesn't realize I've been lifting since probably before he was born. I probably joined this YMCA when he was in kindergarten.

As I'm finishing my set, another bench opens up. I turn to the bro and motion toward it.

"Oh no," says the bro. "That guy is coming back. You can tell he's coming back because he didn't wipe down the bench. You should only use equipment after someone lets you know they're done with it by wiping it down. It's like an unspoken rule."

Ha ha. Yeah right. This is the ratty YMCA we're talking about, where only the rare soul wipes down equipment and it's kind of a pain in the ass when they do anyway. There's always a line for things and the wiping just smears around years of germ buildup while prolonging the down time.

I leave to go do lat pull-downs or something.

I come back for my next set. The other nearby bench -- still empty. I roll up to it and do a whole set. Then I decide to do a couple of bicep curls. I do another set of rows. I rattle around a whole lot on that bench.

Bro looks over.

I shrug. "Guess that guy left," I say. "Thanks for the tip though."

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Enter the Dehydrator - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 11

A few months ago I went back to that doctor, the one who looked at my tongue, shook his head in dismay and proceeded to write me "prescriptions" for books I should read, vitamins I should take, and key dietary edits.

Among other strong suggestions, the doctor said to drink celery juice in the morning. "Fresh," he said.

Leprechauns invented celery juice.
So I went home and bought a juicer and some celery.

I learned pretty quick that when juicing, there's pulp left over.  A lot of pulp. Like you wind up with more left over than you do in your juice glass. Of course this was a problem for me. I'm not going to buy celery and throw away a whole bowl full of perfectly good mashed stalk.

Some other thrifty type must have solved this problem, I thought because I trust the interwebs like that. My instincts were spot on. There are pages of juice pulp recipes. A lot of them are for crackers. Juice pulp crackers.

Delicious, I thought!

The recipes recommended using a food dehydrator for the crackers. But most said that if you were so out of it that you didn't have a dehydrator, you could stick the crackers in the oven at the lowest possible temperature for approximately a fortnight.

I tried this. And the crackers always turned out more like floppers. There was nothing crackly about them. Maybe the oven never totally cleared out all the moisture or something. I told Tom they were fruit roll-ups. Except not fruit. They were small rectangular fruit roll-ups made out of celery.

I ate them myself, is the bottomline.

I told Tom I really needed to get a food dehydrator because, seriously, crackers. He rolled his eyes and pointed to my blender (important!), my instant pot (best thing ever!) and the new juicer (doctor-recommended!). He asked where we might put this new appliance.

I reminded him that he wanted to get a new toaster. Also an appliance. He said, get this, that when he got the new toaster, he would throw out the old toaster so the purchase would be appliance neutral and also. Our old toaster had gone up in flames on more than one occasion. He seemed to think this was a good justification. Srsly.

Meanwhile, I logged into Amazon and stared longingly at the food dehydrators.
The Excalibur Food Dehydrator
Kerry said Susan had the Excalibur and she said it was great. It's expensive though. I didn't pull the trigger for a couple more months of soggy crackers.

But then, Labor Day rolled around and guess what? There was a huge Labor Day sale. Perfect timing for Labor Day gift giving! I bought myself a food dehydrator.

I think it already paid for itself.

potato chips, apple rings, pineapple rings, banana chips.

The crackers are amazing! Plus we'll be fully prepared for the zombie apocalypse.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

the mystery of the onion rings - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 10

Last night we were out with Matt and Helen. We went to Foragers on 8th in Chelsea. Foragers sort of resembles a vegetarian restaurant. It’s got a cocktail made out of beet juice and an old-timely grocery section up front. Matt immediately because nervous. 

Somebody brought up my birthday dinner, when we went to Candle 79 on the upper east. Candle 79 is a full-on vegan place. It was Matt’s first time in such an establishment. I felt very honored by his fortitude in the face of so much bean dip and radicchio.

The Candle 79 waiter had gone by with a platter of onion rings.
The food in question.

When he swung back around to our table, Matt asked him, “What were those things that looked like onion rings?”

“Ummm. Onion rings?” said the waiter.

It will be many years before anyone forgets this incident. 

Friday, November 09, 2018

Misadventures in lower limb photography - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 9

One of my most underrated skills is taking accidental photos, mainly of feet, shins and an occasional torso.

This must be someone's home. Or maybe a hotel.
I have a vague recollection of this flooring somewhere.

I'm pretty sure this is MoMA.
Hey, there's a wheelchair.

No clue if ceiling or floor.
Could be a moonwalk.

This was at Basilica Soundscape in Hudson at the bar.
No idea what comprises the foreground. It looks like a grocery bag.

Somewhere between West 12th and Tribeca.

At first I was thinking this is a subway platform,
but then reconsidered.
Way too clean.

Definitely a television set.

Autumn Asphalt

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Welcome Bumpy - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 8

Tom impulse bought the new Shark robot vacuum cleaner on Amazon. It was the deal of the day - half price. He unboxed it and set it up immediately.

"How's the shark doing?" I asked when I got home.
"His name is Bumpy," said Tom.

Tom got the app and set it up so that Bumpy exits his dock at 6am and vacuums for an hour.

Wild beeping at 6:15AM:

Me, groggy: "Bumper is stuck on something. I think you have to get up and rescue him."
Tom: "His name is Bumpy."
"That's what I said," I said.
"No, you said Bumper. His name is Bumpy."

Bumpy is oddly charming with his little brush flippers and twirling gait. I can watch him bang into the walls for hours. But all the while, I fear for his safety. So much danger-- cords, ledges, ridges, socks. I breathe a sigh of relief when I hear him roll down the hall and find his dock, all by himself. He's such a smart little robot. So proud.

"I think if I added up all the time we've spent staring at Bumpy, we could have vacuumed this whole place like 9 times already," said Tom.

"Empty his chamber!" I cackled. "Let's see how much dust he picked up this time!"

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

When Spring becomes Winter - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 7

The worst kind of deaths are the ones that seem senseless and showcase the cosmos at its most cruel. You can always tell by the funerals when the young have fallen. The parking lot overflows. The queue to pay respects weaves through multiple rooms and there are teenagers and grandparents and everyone feels the cold flutter of the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead.

A crystal clear light surrounds every coffin filled with a beautiful child. Its glow illuminates life's list of Most Important. All the bullshit fades into the shadows.

Or it should.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Reporting on Yoga Pants - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 6

First it was yoga pants that clearly had not just entered or exited a yoga studio. Unspoken rule: the yoga pants were always worn with sneakers, Dansko clogs or possibly Birkenstocks. Period, end of list. Even if everybody was fully aware of the lack of yoga amongst those panted up for it, the pretense was maintained.

Sometimes it's important to maintain pretense. That's what civility generally consists of - not letting your freak flag poke out the eyes of innocent bystanders.

A few weeks ago, I had a sighting of yoga pants, the kind with the shimmer and the see-through panels, worn with regular shoes. The sighting occurred near Chelsea Market and the woman in question was definitely a tourist.

Although I made a mental note of the incident, I didn't think much of it. The perpetrator looked like she came from Des Moines, and, while in Des Moines, had envisioned her "I'm going to look like a New Yorker" outfit.

But today. Today I had another sighting on 6th and 31st, definitely not a tourist. She had a really zealous pair of yoga pants tucked into a pair of army-style black boots with a heel.

I feel like I should report this somewhere.

My mother is currently on high alert for these Spotted Lanternflies and sent me the flier. I wonder if the USDA is also tracking the spread of yoga pants transforming into no-adjective-needed pants. Like how overalls distanced themselves from dairy farming.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Going around ma'aming people - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 5

Today I became annoyed while stuffed into an MRI machine. At the part where you need to hold your breath, the technician kept saying, "Ok, ma'am..." He must have "Ok ma'am'ed" me something approaching 20 times.

This was not some random patient drive by. That technician and I were like best buddies. How could we not be chummy after spending at least an hour of quality time together?

I know he knew my name because he made me verify it while they were weighing me with my coat and boots on.

The good news is that maintaining a baseline level of annoyance is very distracting. It can make you forget that you've been sucked into a fancy electric straw that is aggressively beeping at you.

Maybe distraction was his plan all along and I should thank him for the clever patient-centric ploy.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Actually it was Kind of Great - Blacksmithing with Children - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 4

Allegedly, back when he was six, Jackson asked me how old he had to be to blacksmith and I said "in five years." So ever since the kid turned the big one one, meaning 6+5=11, he was on me like white on rice to try out the forge.

I was pretty sure I had a one-year reprieve. He was seven when we had this conversation. I knew this mainly because I wrote a blogpost about it. I didn't even bring up this factoid though. I figured I had an ace in the hole: "Go ask your mother," I told him.

"Sure," said my sister-in-law Mary. "Ella wants to try too."

That didn't go as planned.

Not that I wasn't loving the idea of schooling the kids in the art of bending steel, but to bend steel, you need a fire that is two thousand degrees Fahrenheit. That's fucking hot. You get your tiny eleven-year-old fingers anywhere near that roaring white-hot scorcher and you have a 3rd degree burn worthy of an inpatient stay. Plus, my shop is not OSHA compliant. By a long long shot.

So then I said to Jack, "You need 100% cotton clothes. No synthetics. Synthetics burn like plastic and stick to your skin. It's very dangerous. So make sure you dress right otherwise no dice." I guess I was thinking he'd get distracted sometime between my proclamation and the day of his visit.

Jack was not distracted.

He came flying in our front door and showed me the label on his pants.

I took Jack and Ella down to the forge and we practiced not reflexively picking up things we've dropped, which is a fantastic way to either smash your head or burn yourself or both. Then we practiced tossing off a glove if it felt hot.

Jack made an S hook and something we decided after the fact was a marshmallow skewer for open fire roasting scenarios:

Ella at the forge:

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Major First World Problem - (No)NaBloPoMo Day 3

"Have you seen the news?" they asked me. "Did you get my email?", "Did you see the meme with the rapper face tattoos vs passed-out-at-a party-in-the-90's-magic-markers?" 

No. Nope. What?

I cut my finger. The entire week, I couldn't open up my iPhone or my computer without the whole type-in-the-passcode workaround. 

It was harrowing.

Friday, November 02, 2018

NaBloPoMo-NOT - NaBloPoMo Day 2. Or maybe (No)NaBloPoMo Day 2

This post acknowledges the commencement of NaBloPoMo - National Blog Post Month. It used to be a big thing. Or it was a big thing back in the day when I actually took actual time engaging with the blogging community.

Then all my blogger friends slowly vanished like white shoes after Labor Day. Lots of very fine people have a blog for a while and then one day you visit their dusty page and it has been hacked by the Chinese and infects your computer with malware.

But this year marks the end of an era. There is no more official NaBloPoMo. The leader of the whole shebang quit year before last, I guess. Someone stepped up in 2017 but afterwards, she did a little survey and most bloggers were not into the whole post-a-day-for-30-days thing.

It's a time-suck, they said. Too much pressure. Too much chance of failure. Why don't we do something easier so we can all succeed, they wondered.

I'm sorry, but that's the whole point - to do something risky and push yourself. That's what makes an achievement an achievement. I could not be less on board with taking away the prize because some people want participation trophies.

So Long Live NaBloPoMo -- underground style. I'll call in NoNaBloPoMo
If you're a blogger who is with me, let me know!

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Box Seats at the Halloween Parade 2018 - NaBloPoMo Day 1

After an approximately 9 year hiatus, Tom and I were back at the Halloween parade last night. We're no amateurs. We were out, decked out, on a Wednesday night. Things I learned:
  • CareBears take up a lot of room on the subway. 
  • It takes 10 times as long to walk anywhere when the barricades are set up like a really boring corn maze. 
  • Halloween eve is a really poor time to move a giant mirror into your apartment. I did not learn this lesson personally, but the two guys who did probably will pass this advice on to their grandchildren.

The lure was mainly Wanda and Derek's apartment. It's on 6th Avenue, 1st floor right in the middle of Soho. We opened up the windows and halloween in all its LED glory rolled out beneath us. It was like having box seats to a really disorganized flash mob.

Wanda entertained herself by chucking candy at unwary children. Tiny Samuel L. Jackson was on to her though. He got two fun-size snickers bars and so did his little sister, John Travolta.

Tom dressed up as a priest. He wore the same shirt that Ed from his office wore to a party last Saturday. It was an actual priest shirt, which was cheaper to buy online than a costume priest shirt. Tom said the shirt was completely not breathable. He'll be washing it before he returns it to Ed. 

I went as an extra from the Mary Tyler Moore show. I wore Grammy R's pink silk shirt with the giant bow in the front and her blue velvet 70's suit with a white beaded handbag.

You might say we phoned it in.

A dragon goes by:

The patch of sidewalk right below our window perch held a mysterious appeal for ninja coolies:

It took about 19 tries for batman to get the perfect batman photo:

Meanwhile, this dude wins the prize for single-minded focus. He played an intense game of candy crush for half an hour while coolies, batmans, half-naked witches and a 6'6" Cruella Deville pranced practically across his feet. I hope he leveled up.


Monday, October 22, 2018

Quiz to determine if you're no longer a young newlywed

I was talking to a newlywed recently and she told me that she and her husband don't do flowers.

Jan Davidsz de Heem

"They just die," she told me.

I recall thinking the same thing back in the day. What a waste to spend money on something you know you're going to chuck in a week.

I have revised my outlook.

I like flowers because they die. I cannot recall exactly when I changed my mind, maybe it was about the same time all our drawers and shelves and cabinets started to cry softly at the sight of another candle holder headed their direction. Our house is slowly sinking into the earth under the weight of extra table cloths and cables for unknown devices. It's especially tough to get rid of gifts, even if they have zero utility. It feels like a betrayal.

This is why flowers are magnificent. Flowers do not require any decision-making. In a week, they head back home to Jesus. Plus they smell great. I'm feeling like it's feng shui-ey to indulge in the ephemeral as an antidote to hoarding. This all has a very Marie Kondo ring to it.

It's inevitable right now that I'm going to bring up memento mori and vanitas because I don't know about you, but I'm a fan. If you're unfamiliar, let me explain. Painters in the 16th and 17th centuries would paint beautiful bouquets of flowers and juicy deluxe fruits on silken table cloths with golden cups and gemstones. And always somewhere, was a rotten pear or a dead rose.

Paulette Tavormina

Momento Mori is supposed to remind us not to get too comfortable with what we take for granted. Like breathing, for example. Anyone could wake up in the morning and be dead.

Every now and then, when I go to the Met I take a zing by that gallery in the way back where they keep the Dutch paintings. I pretend it's a scene from the GoldFinch. I like to purchase books on my kindle. Especially really fat books like the Goldfinch.

Buying kindle books instead of real books means more room on shelves for feathers my grandma gave me and bowls of ten-sided dice.

Sadly, digital purchases don't smell great.

Abraham van Beyeren
(Dutch, The Hague 1620/21–1690 Overschie)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Things I keep thinking of blogging about but do not

Before I kick into the list of things I have failed to blog about, let me begin with a list of the critical barriers paralyzing my blogging effort:
  1.  I am also writing a book. Ha, yeah. Stick that between your judgy squished eyebrows.
  2. I got a food dehydrator that I need to amortize. Turns out, I wholeheartedly enjoy dehydrating practically anything and then stuffing it into little plastic baggies for the zombie apocalypse. On the downside all that chopping and zip locking is a hella time suck.
  3. Other miscellaneous pursuits which I cannot recall at this time.
That was sort of a bust, so let us transition to the part where I list all the things I haven't been blogging about:
  1. Pascal's wager
  2. The twelve pack of colorful socks I recently purchased online.
  3. Basilica Hudson Soundscape
  4. Getting mistaken for a minister and having someone's father confess to me.
  5. The guy with the Gay AF t-shirt on and the high altitude straddle kicks
Also other things that may or may not happen.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

I believed you, dude

I wanted to talk about the time I was supposed to have a video Skype meeting with this guy. We got on the call and he said that unfortunately he had to go. 

He had badly burned his foot. The burn had turned into a huge blister and the blister had just popped and he needed to go to the emergency room. 

He lifted his foot to the webcam and I got to see the bloody wound.