04Dec

Thanksgiving was interesting. Two days before feast day, my back went out. I don’t remember a Thanksgiving when I haven’t cooked and this year it was supposed to be my show once again. Being the control freak that I am, I trust no one else to mash the potatoes, flay the apples, or puree the cranberries into proper submission. God forbid the stuffing has the wrong ratio of fresh sage to breadcrumbs. I personally break the fresh bread into stuffing sized pieces. Hansel and Gretel have nothing on me. Hence the name of this blog.

But this year, with my back seized up,  I moved more like Frankenstein’s Monster than cheery forest frolicking children. So I was forced to supervise the preparations from a recliner or the floor of the kitchen. Every hour or so I would get up and lumber from pot to pot, barking orders to my sous chefs. I was just like chef David Bouley (if he were a zombie) as I directed my minions. But everyone seemed to manage quite well without my actual hands touching the food. The only snafu was that they stuffed the turkey with lavender instead of rosemary. To their credit, herbs can be hard to tell apart in the garden.

The good news is that I still had my prescription pills from the last back-disaster squirreled away. They help. One unfortunate consequence of those otherwise enjoyable muscle relaxers: I bought a handbag made from an armadillo. I was doing some Christmas shopping on Etsy for my vintage obsessed daughter. However the handbag was purchased for me. I told Scarlett that next time I take muscle relaxers she must take away my computer.

Now we are in the opening salvos of Christmas. Although the city is decorated from top to bottom with the hopes it will inspire us to spend even more money- I still look at it with the joy and wonder of a girl from Small Town and stand amazed that I live here, rampant commercialism or not. Something about the twinkly lights and the smell of evergreen and I go all “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” However, that fat man in a red suit is me. A role I was born to play. I delight in hunting and gathering that perfect gift for my loved ones at Christmas. You really, really, want to be my friend in December.

On the home front preparations have begun. The tree emails have been exchanged with a lovely farmer from the Union Square Market. I am determined to acquire one fresh enough that it will not be dropping needles the week before Christmas. It kills me to see ornaments hanging on for dear life over still unwrapped packages.

Years ago I would go upstate somewhere to get the tree, but these past few years I’ve been at the mercy of the local Tribeca tree vendors, who clearly sell trees cut months ago. Those rosy red-cheeked, plaid shirt wearing, hipster vendors all lie like rugs, despite their wholesome appearances.  And this next bit may be politically incorrect, but I’m going to go there; I think they’re the modern equivalent of gypsies, selling inferior products for exorbitant prices and then disappearing into thin air. Until next year. I’m waiting for one to offer to tell my fortune.

I have a confession. My name is Kate and I have tree OCD. My needs for a tree are specific: tall and thin. This is not a Park Ave. affectation, it’s a matter of the tree going to the ceiling and yet not taking up the floor space of a Volkswagen Beetle. Once acquired, I spend days decorating it. I weave twenty strings of lights through to the trunk, winding each branch, and then add clusters of white and clear balls collected for years from a little store on Christopher Street. The ornaments representing our lives come out of their carefully labeled boxes and the kids and I recount the history of where they came from.  Each one has a story and part of the tradition is the remembering.

Wolf the Cat

It goes on from here, the garlands, the wreath, the monstrous gingerbread house, (which deserves a post unto itself), and the sweater for the cat. Yes, I did say sweater for the cat. The kids have outgrown the blinking antlers I used to put on their heads. The cat sweater is retribution visited on the “next generation.” Clay and Scarlett delight in embarrassing Wolf the Cat by stuffing him into a medium size dog sweater. He’s topped 28 pounds, so he may need a large this year.

Okay Real Santa, I know I’ve been naughty this year, and been remiss about posting, but I will rise to the occasion for this very special season. There are too many tales to tell not to share.

You could call this is my version of the Christmas letter. Be afraid, be very afraid.

ho ho ho

~kate

Last years creation.

 

 

04Apr

Here I go again, about to confess another one of my dirty little secrets. When I started this blog, I thought it was going to be for observations, musings on life and the creation of art, but instead I keep outing myself, confessing that I talk to chickens, see wizards and Jesus on the streets of Tribeca, have terrible OCD and a cat with a poopy butt. I’m starting to think that the name gingerbread crumbs might be better served as Kate’s confessions. It would certainly bump up my readership.

Okay, now I’ve done it. This big build up- makes the “big secret” seem a smidgen small. It has nothing to do with donning underwear of the opposing sex, (wow, Freudian typo, but I like it and am keeping it), stalking George Clooney, or turning the neighborhood bulldogs into ottomans (you know how I feel about George… and taxidermy). It’s so much smaller than that. Have I done a reasonable job of lowering your expectations? Good.

Here it is, my guilty pleasure: Game of Thrones, hereby to be known as Game of Boobs. For good reason. If you have seen it, you know what I’m talking about, if not, then for your edification, in pretty much every scene bosoms are bursting from bodices, de-corseted, or loosed from whatever filmy garment that didn’t conceal them to begin with. And there is not nearly enough reciprocation from the male gender. Very few torsos with fabulous musculature heaving and sweating, especially during those epic battles. So what if chain mail makes it harder to slice a man open from sternum to navel? Show us your pecs! You’re going to die anyway.

Which leads me to my next little confession. Who knew I was going to have a penchant for blood and gore? Medieval jousting, thundering hooves, all that macho crap? Who would ever think, that turn-your-head-away-at-the-slightest-beheading me, would embrace a show that has people getting impaled as often as The Desperate Housewives of Madison Bridges lose their sunglasses. (I do not watch reality television. Ever. This is one secret you couldn’t torture from me, because watching that trash would be torturous enough.) But speaking of such, there is plenty of it in Games. You’d think that would be another sticking point (pun intended) with me, because torture is not my idea of entertainment.

So here we are, blood and guts, boobs sans bodices and I can’t wait for the next episode. It all started because of my teenage son. Clay and I had watched Deadwood on DVD one summer. Talk about bonding over inappropriate entertainment. The word “cocksucker” is repeated 1200 times in those three seasons. Or was it 1200 times in one season? Don’t remember, but not only was the word repeated with alarming frequency, but so was the activity. Before you go calling child services, let me say that I think it was some of the finest writing to ever appear on the screen, large or small. It’s genius. And educational. Not in the way you’re thinking, get your minds out of the gutter people. Educational for writers. Inspirational. We loved it.

As for Game of Thrones, Clay begged me to give it a chance. I was reluctant, but we were searching for another Deadwood experience, a show we could enjoy talking about, even if we didn’t watch it together. (That would be too weird.) So I ended up trying it during two days I was down with the flu. Vomiting and mayhem, a winning combination. I was hooked and binge watched the first two seasons between trips to embrace the toilet.

From the wild west to medieval times. Who knew I’d find blood and guts my favorite way to spend an hour each week?

One last thing, I have a thing for Peter Dinklage. He’s adorable. And completely sexy. Google him.

 

21Feb

It’s the morning after. Well, not really, it’s the morning after the morning after, which is worse somehow. The morning after there’s an excuse. Today, I have none. What I refer to, for those of you who do not follow my writing career with breath bated, is the reading we did of my new play: Myself Is In Pieces at the Peter Jay Sharp theater earlier this week. The reading was a smash; out of the ballpark, rolling in the aisles was actually occurred. Of course I’m not at all biased.

The process is amazing; working with an amazing cast and director, creativity palpable, neurons firing, adrenaline gushing. It’s indescribable. With painting, I’m alone in the room. I often lose myself in the paint, go outside of my own consciousness, become a hand with a brush disconnected from myself, connected to the universe, tapped into a wider neural view- but absent from this place. There are no words.

With a play it’s different. We are a collective. It is necessary (delightfully so) to have others to make the art come fully alive.

Readings are the first step in that process. I’m no longer doing puppet hands, trying out my dialogue. I have real live people at my disposal. Hearing my words emerge from the mouths of others; I am Dr. Frankenstein! I lift my hands to the heavens, lightening strikes, and it lives! I am Gepetto! The strings I pull make magic. I am Rasputin!  They are putty in my hands!

Megalomania anyone?

In truth, writing a play is like none of the above. I write the words, the actors make choices and sometimes find intentions I had not even thought of. They dig into places that were purely unconscious when putting words on the page. There are choices I made that inform the work, but have not yet bothered to inform me. And suddenly through the craft and voices of the actors- they are there. It’s utterly magical.

Then the audience shows up. Another layer added to the process. I hear actual laughter. I hear them shuffle their feet if there is a slow spot. I hear them gasp with each revelation, and best of all, guffaw at the jokes.

Afterwards there are the congratulatory hugs and handshakes, the verbal accolades that are carefully spooned into my gaping artist maw of need and the exhilaration of having pulled it off once more. I am not a poser! I am an artist! All those days of sitting alone are rewarded by the validation of others. I know I’m not supposed to need that. But I do.

And the play? It’s a little like being half naked. Top or bottom you ask? Beats me, naked is naked, top or bottom, front and center, within or without, I have no idea. There I am, half naked, much of me mired in Snow, Helen, Eliza, Comfort, and Emerson, my characters.

My OCD is one of the major character traits of the Snow character. The churning need to keep things orderly, line up utensils beside my plate, sort my tee shirts into sleeveless, short sleeved, and long all arrayed by gradation of hue and color, all me. The need for control. Snow has been given a tap of the OCD fairy wand. Her socialite sister Eliza has a smidgen of me as well. Her need to fill the emotional void as quickly as possible. Find someone. I struggle against that impulse. I know the benefits of being alone when one is healing. Eliza does not, but she’s fictional, like her beloved unicorns.

It’s not just me that is splayed out onto the stage. My daughter Scarlett took great delight in digging her pointy elbow into my ribs at moments that belonged to her. It was she who brought the information about the “knees of egrets” into our home. It was Scarlett and I who witnessed the penguin stealing rocks from his neighbor to build his nest. It was our cat Wolfie that flew from beneath the ottoman to sink his teeth into a delectable passing Achilles tendon. Scarlett delighted in seeing bits of her life translated into character experience.

I digress, this was to be a post about the day after and not creative process, but I guess the two are inevitably intertwined. Without one the other would not exist.

I’ve been living in a world of my own creation- literally- for the past week. I created those characters and that strange universe somewhere between farce and reality. A world where body parts go missing and monologues on love are spoken from uprooted beds drifting across the stage. I invented it and we’ve all been living inside it for a brief moment. But now I’m back. It’s bills on the counter, cats needing to be fed, kids wanting edits on their English papers, and Con Edison on the phone, offering to lower my rates if I talk to their robot. It’s that light fixture that refuses to switch on no matter how many new light bulbs I feed it. Hi Honey! I’m home!

The day after, the adrenaline has worn off, the caffeine has left my system and the accolades are echoes far down the canyon walls. I am alone again. With my keyboard and the daunting task of “following up”. The energy is not five hour, or even 12 hour, now I’m come thudding back to earth and I’m exhausted. The only comparable event is the day after a wedding. For a little while, you were wearing a tiara, now you’re completely alone in the room. Just plain old me once more.

The reading is almost two days past. Yesterday I was busy with the due diligence. Making the cuts I heard necessary the night before. Thanking those involved. Meeting with the dramaturge.  Today, what I really want to do is climb back in bed with the end of the second season of Game Of Thrones and two very attractive men: Ben and Jerry. I want to get lost in a world created by someone else.

Not a bad thing perhaps. Allow someone else to tell me a story today, so I can get back to my keyboard and tell mine tomorrow.

~kate

31Jan

I hate the mail. It’s taken on Grendel proportions.

First there is its problematic arrival. My mailbox hates me, and the feeling is mutual. It’s recalcitrant at best. Every day I insert my key, jiggle it and curse for 2 minutes.  Sometimes it opens, sometimes it doesn’t and I have to come back the next day when it’s in a more forgiving mood. Even the lock is conspiring against me. Why don’t I have it replaced? Because it’s my not so passive and extremely aggressive resistance to what’s contained inside.

Open the mailbox- release the Kraken!

A vomiting forth of things I don’t want to deal with, things that are the boiled peas on my overfull plate. There are bills, bills, and more bills. There are three bills for the phone service alone. The local, the long distance and the mobile. I know, I can hear my Millennials out there sighing at my refusal to give up my landlines. I cling desperately to phones with actual wires, crisis-crossing the nation. I have a good reason- it’s because I live in a colander. My cast iron loft somehow reflects cell waves back up to aliens who are secretly eavesdropping (and I’m sure quite amused by my conversations). There are only small pockets in my home where I must perch unmoving in order to have a conversation on my cell that doesn’t sound like a rendition of “who’s on first”.

The miscellaneous other bills pour over me like molten lava, mortgages, taxes, energy, cable, doctors and health insurance for the family and myself. I run screaming from the room and toss my checkbook behind me hoping that pile of bills will devour it, burp, and leave me be.

I also get about a gazillion notices from every charity to whom I have ever donated even a dime. I really do care about feeding the homeless, the multitude of diseases plaguing us, and many other manner of social injustices- all too numerous to name. My heart does wrench with every plea. I love animals and really care about the reduction of their environments. I love gorillas who know sign language. I am horrified we still use primates for research, and I don’t want polar bears to drift off on a final ice floe. I can’t seem to throw away a single plea for funds and the stack grows ever higher. I’m afraid I am becoming a socially conscious hoarder.

The next category belongs to the arts. I’m actively involved in the theater community and as a gesture of support for them I subscribe to four (count’em four) not for profit theater companies. Their marketing people are no dummies- I am clearly a theater sucker. Each production, Broadway, Off Broadway, Off Off Broadway and Somewhere in the Boondocks, inundates me with postcards and pleas for additional funding. I can’t seem to throw those away either. And of course, being a painter, I get the glossies for every gallery and opening, complete with Emperors New Clothes.

This year we have the additional onslaught of colleges all seeking the consideration of my son who is a junior. A dozen each day- which I neatly stack on his bed. Whew, at least they aren’t for me. They do however add to the visual of the overflowing mailbox. I know, I know, I’m just whining now, but those additional envelopes make my gone-postal heart skip a beat.

What have I forgotten? Ah, right. There are the school newsletters, which are occasional, and letters from the school soliciting funds- which are incessant. Really people, tuition just isn’t enough?

And finally… the magazines. There are way too many. Of those, none of which I read, all gifts send by my well-meaning family who know that I am a voracious reader…of books. Magazines scare me with their needy piling up, week after week, month after month. They slip and slide and multiply when I’m not looking, unlike my well-behaved stacks of books. Books stay put and wait their turn, quietly talking among themselves and not breeding tiny novellas or thin volumes of haiku. Magazines are not nearly so well behaved and breed like rabbits. Especially … The Dreaded New Yorker.

 This one I have to own. I brought it upon myself. In a moment of overzealous weakness I subscribed. What was I thinking? It’s like a mongoose in its lair, waiting to leap out on the guilt that broke my camel’s back. In The New Yorker, I read two things each week, the theater reviews and the cartoon. Actually to be more precise- the caption contest. And I’m not reading the cartoon and caption winners any more. I am on strike because the bastards never chose my captions- which are vastly superior to the ones they pick each week.  I blow my nose in their general direction. Their mother was a hamster and their father smelled of elderberries.

I do get the occasional real live honest to god letter, but not really. It’s usually a thank you note from my mother. That doesn’t really count because I believe she just copies them from a little etiquette book. There are occasional birth announcements, bar mitzvah invitations, or wedding invites, not necessarily in that order. Those thick ornate envelopes mean slithering into a cocktail dress and crippling heels. But the hors d’oeuvres can be tasty, so I’m good with all that.

Okay, that’s the diatribe for the week. Any comments, opinions or rude remarks? Just stick ‘em in the mail to me….

~kate

24Jan

I’ve been naughty. Admittedly, it’s because Christmas kicked my ass, but that’s no excuse. Somehow that season, despite my best efforts, takes a tiny cobbler’s hammer to my head and the reverb doesn’t stop until the end of January. And now it is so. I realize it’s been several weeks since I posted, letting down my loyal readership of… a dozen. Seriously, I’ve been inspired by so many of you who have told me that you look forward to the posts and have shared them with a wider audience, as well as some particularly touching comments.  Thanks for supporting me. There are people in the forest. All good.

So here it is, the topic of the day. Social media. This horse has been led to water and she has drunk the Cool-aid. How did this happen? Let’s say I had some help.  I call them My Millennials. They are fabulous young women, who became my writing partners, and media gurus. It was they who encouraged me to stop blogging anonymously. The hell with the feelings of my grossly obese feline, the hell with the privacy of my kids! After all, they’re on Facebook, so they no longer have any privacy anyway. The kids, not the cat. A shout out to my kids however, so far they are pretty good at avoiding the adolescent habit of over-sharing. Although their mother may not be. I’m a conundrum in that way, even to myself. As an artist I spew out huge chunks of my interior- sharing is the very nature of the thing. And yet, personally I have a horror of anyone really knowing exactly who the woman behind the curtain really is. Go away Dorothy and take your little dog too. I imagine that is why I hide behind characters on the page and images on the canvas. It’s time to come clean.

My Millennials have put their sneaker shod feet on my ass and shoved me into the world of networking and social media (apologies to anyone who got one of those dreadful linked in invitations). I now have a Facebook page. I even have friends! It’s supposed to be a “curated profile of who I am as an artist and human being.” The idea terrifies me. I would rather go sit in the coat closet with my cat, pull furry beast and shearling garments around me like a cocoon, have the kids shove donuts under the door and live the rest of my days out in peace. But I’m not. Here goes nothing. I have even posted a photo, but I am never ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

My painter’s web site is under re-construction, and will be joined with this writer’s blog. If any of you have good reason these two should not be wed, speak now or forever hold your peace. Ahem. Anyone? Rats. The process daunts me. I have barely figured out how to cobble the posts and photos together and add paintings to my portfolio and now I have to learn something new. The bane of my existence. However, they insist, my young media socialites, that my site be representative of all that I am, writer and painter. I will no longer hide behind the gingerbread. Witches be damned.

So I’ll be having my make over now. Be afraid. I’m coming out of my coat closet.

~kate

01Jan

There amidst the piles of artfully arranged and carefully wrapped gifts was something for me. A pile of poop, a Christmas turd, deposited by the cat, perfect in its symmetry and ripe with a freshly minted aroma that only newly deposited shit can emit.

Was this his version of coal in my stocking? Was he doing Santa’s dirty work?

I know I should have been posting all along during these past few weeks before Christmas. I mean there’s serious fodder in the farcical holiday season and now it may seem a bit after the wise men have sailed, but I was unable to deal with the realities of the season, preferring to stay safely in the land of frenetic holiday denial. There’s so much about this holiday. It’s loaded. Just like Santa’s sleigh of expectations. I didn’t know where to begin and I had to process. But I’m ready now, so be afraid.

I’m torn between the happy-pants-let-it-snow Christmas post, and the reality that it truly is for all of us; a mixed blessing. Seriously, no one has one of those perfect families caroling around the wassail depicted in holiday specials and films. If they claim to, they’ve been into the eggnog big time.

As for me? I’m facing my second “alone” Christmas. And it’s all good.

Not really. I lie. At least before the separation we all knew what the script said, just what our roles were and our pretending came naturally because we’d been learning our lines for years. Now I’m faced with a blank page. I adore my ex-husband and we will always be a family, but we aren’t what we were and although everyone is better off, there is a sadness.

Let me tell you about my Christmas tree. The tiny blown glass wine bottle gifted to me by Astrid and Nic, a symbol of their profession and passion. The gaudy hula girl Jane gave Scarlett and I in commemoration of the victory hula dance we preform on the tennis courts after a victory. Green glass Tinkerbelle; chosen by Scarlett on our first trip to Disney World. It was a long hard decision for her back then, we visited each little kiosk searching for the perfect representation of the Magic Kingdom. She chose a fairy. Not a Princess. She was three.

There is Pooh and Buzz Lightyear, for Clay, as well as two tiny bunnies I bought for him on his fifth and sixth Christmases. There are Toot and Puddle, Sponge Bob and Madeline. There is a magnificent crystal acorn, from a long ago holiday party guest. There are many of those, hostess gifts from the days of the crazy beer and tequila fueled bash we threw each year, sometimes 150 people in attendance. I did the cooking. I did. I swear. That was a different life.

There are the numerous glass chickens, and the wooden reindeer hand painted and purchased by me at the Museum Of Folk Art some many years before the kids were born. There are glass icicles gathered a dozen per year, beginning when I moved to Manhattan, young and single. I couldn’t afford to buy a hundred of them all in one fell swoop, so as an optimistic 20 something, I started with a dozen, just as one starts with one push up at the gym with the expectation that in time there would be enough to make a difference. And now the tree is heavy with those glass spears, glittering and fragile. It’s survived numerous cats, a visiting Great Dane, and two toddlers. There were years where all the ornaments were hung in three square feet, and after the kids fell asleep an OCD Elf arranged them into a gorgeous tableau, complete with clusters of large clear glass balls, tiny opaque white ones, interspersed with cherry red globes all dangling between yards of white organza ribbons and 25 strings of tiny white fairy lights.

That same OCD Christmas Elf has over the years given each ornament a special box labeled with the year of gift or purchase and the giver. It’s been a tradition with the kids and I to take out each ornament and talk about the year it was acquired, the person who gave it to us or the year or time in my life when I purchased it. In other words, it’s a thing.

This year as I take each ornament off the withered tree I have great sadness. I feel as if I am putting parts of my life away in their neatly labeled boxes. I’ve left entire swaths behind, sometimes willingly, sometimes unconsciously, sometimes kicking and screaming. But in this case, it was a choice I needed to make and the most difficult one I’ve ever had.

I drop a particularly fragile and precious glass globe from the highest point on the ladder and in those moments of free fall I know it will break, and I am regretful and sad about the loss. In those ten seconds I accept it. And then it hits the hardwood floor and it bounces.

2013 begins in a few hours. I’m ready.

13Dec

I know that every one of you leaps from your bed in your little feety pajamas and runs to your computer to see what brilliance I’ve posted for the day.  And last week I let you down. Bummer. Get over it people. Read the New York Times. Then you can tell me what’s happening in the world because I can barely get past the first page and the Arts Section. You can also read The New Yorker and fill me in on the weekly witty round table stuff because I only read the cartoon and theater reviews. That would be review of theater and not the cartoon. I find the cartoons really stupid, mostly because they never choose my caption submission.  Morons.

Anyway, back to the grand disappointment.  Here’s the new deal:

Screw the Thursday thing. Its cramping my natural writing style- which is spewing out things as they come to me, and this whole deadline thing is making me self conscious and cranky. And no one wants me cranky. When I started the blog a trusted source told me that if I didn’t post on a regular schedule my “followers” (Hi Mom!) would stop reading my posts. Well I tried, and instead of enjoying this, which was the whole point- making me happy, (remember this and make it your mission in life) I’ve started to dread Thursday mornings.

So we’re going into relaxed mode. I’m going to try to post every week, and some weeks I’ll post more than once. The posts will be less formal (if that’s humanly possible). You know, if you guys actually registered, you’d get notified when I post and all this nonsense would not be an issue. It’s free. Remember? I told you that. Someone isn’t paying attention. And there is this thing called an RSS feed. I’m a luddite and not exactly sure how it works, but I’m told it’s easy and you can’t play the luddite card because I just did and there’s only one in the deck. So sign up for those things.

So that’s what I’m going to do, post a lot, but not on schedule, okay? It better be, because you’re not the boss of me.

I’m working on a few posts for the holiday season. Actually when I say working on- what I really mean is that they are little monologues in my head. I have so very much to share with you about the holidays. After I get into the eggnog, there will be some real honesty. In fact I might just post something small almost every day between now and then. You’ll have to check in and see.

For today I will leave you with this tantalizing thought; I purchased a Justin Bieber Christmas song and since my loving daughter keeps outing me to everyone I might as well just post it here. So suck it Scarlett, I’m shouting it to the world. But in my defense- I didn’t mean to buy it, and no, I didn’t steal it either. It didn’t just jump into my coat pocket and leave the store with me by accident, Officer. What I mean is that I purchased it from ITunes as part of a various artists holiday CD. What I was after was some holiday tunes by Norah Jones, Grace Potter, and The Fruit Bats. Justin happened to be part of the package. That’s the truth. Honest.

That concludes the first of my many holiday posts. I have a lot to say this time of year. It’s no accident that my first play was set at Christmas…

From the top of Mount Crumpet~

Kate

29Nov

I saw Santa, a Wizard and Jesus in Tribeca this week.

I admit, as an artist, I see things differently. I notice things others might not. A giant cockroach smushed on the sidewalk can occupy me for a full minute. Rivulets of rainwater bearing the flotsam and jetsom of overturned garbage cans, peeling paint on steel doors, weird dogs, ugly babies, I’ve stopped to revel in these. But sometimes I notice people that others might pass by without ever seeing.

I’m walking down Sixth Avenue when I spot a giant poster of Jesus on the side of the bus shelter just south of Canal Street.  It resisters as an oddity, but I think “Hey, if the republicans can say creationism is a valid theory of evolution, this isn’t such a stretch.” However half a block closer and I see it’s Brad Pitt hawking Chanel No.5.

A couple of blocks further I double take. It’s a wizard! It turns out to be a Chinese Man with extreme facial hair and a long queue. I don’t know why this says wizard to me, but I am not the only one. A passing toddler shrieks “Wizard” runs and hides.

Finally as I round the corner onto North Moore Street, Santa appears before me. Actually, it’s just a rotund white bearded fellow in a red plaid lumberjack shirt with a kindly expression, but to me he’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a real live Santa. The last Santa I took my kids to visit pinched my ass when they weren’t looking. Santa’s name’s mud in my book. The beatific look on this gentleman’s face restored my faith. Maybe Santa is real. Maybe this guy is just on some really good meds. All I know is hope springs eternal.

Come on. Admit it. Look quickly at this, the close your eyes and you’ll see Jesus too.

22Nov

It’s that time of year and all the Whos Down in Whoville are gearing up for the reign of holiday terror. Mayhem. Madness. Chaos Panic Disorder. My work is just beginning. For those of us with OCD the holidays are just a Xanax away.

We start the trifecta with Thanksgiving. Now this is a tricky one for me. My mother is DAR. For those of you who LOL, have BFFs and cats who haz cheezburgers this acronym might be a bit mysterious, so I’ll explain. It’s Daughters of the American Revolution. To be one you must trace your ancestry directly back to the Mayflower. Wasps R us. Here’s where my gene pool gets interesting. My father’s people are Mohawk. My grandfather left the reservation as a young man and up on the Reserve my sisters and I are all registered Mohawks. I’m humming along with Cher on a chorus of Half Breed.

With this particular set of DNA I’m required to either love or hate the holiday. I chose love. What’s not to love about a holiday that was prescient of a marriage that blew up 200 hundred years later? That said I always make the biggest turkey I can get my paws on. Who cares if we’re only 10 or 12 at the table? A thirty-pound bird please. It’s all about the leftovers.

I am a Rice a Roni and Hamburger Helper refugee. Having grown up in a family where stuffing was stove top and veggies meant the Green Giant was joining us at the table, I’ve become a Thanksgiving rebel. Since I’ve become the master of my own domain, there will be nothing at my table that even resembles a Dough Boy.

I love stuffing.  The kids and I always break a couple of the best pullman loaves Grandaisy bakes into chunks two nights before. Add a couple handfuls of sage plucked from my herb garden mixed with all the other savories and that’s my idea of carb heaven. For me, breaking of the pullman bread is always the real start to the holiday season. As my now hulking son used to say “Yum Yum Hum a Dum.” Don’t ask me why, it was just something he always said when I was cooking and either the impending holidays or my hormones are making me all squishy today.

What’s better than fresh cranberry sauce? Not much. I love that sound of berries popping free of their skins and the resultant spatter that looks like a forensic dream. Saucy-goodness all over my stove.

Potatoes. An homage to the other half of my kids ethnic makeup. We went off the reservation and added some Irish DNA with this generation.

Brussel sprouts with pancetta. Pork makes everything better.

Cauliflower. My daughter and Jane have been known to get into cat fights over the last floret. Strange for a child who once abhorred her veggies.  For Jane? No biggie. I’ll miss her at my table this year.

This year my cauliflower queen, Scarlett, takes over the pumpkin bread baking, in addition to her repetoire of pies. A few years back she challenged a friend of ours to a pie bake-off and she kicked his ass. She’s made pie her bitch.

All of this is created to the backdrop of the Westminster dog show. Fuck those stupid balloons; give me a Portuguese Waterdog any day.

When we were kids, my mother used to make a big deal about the Macy’s Parade. Living in Hicksville USA, New York and Macy’s was about as real to me as Oz. We obediently watched with her, but the voice in my head was always running the you-can’t-get-there-from-here loop and a two block long Underdog wasn’t doing it for me. The bands that played and marched simultaneously didn’t seem at all special to me. They were no ice-capades.

So for this family, it’s all about perky Pekinese and drooping bassets with the occasional mud football game tossed in if someone else is organizing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

15Nov

I hail a taxi. The driver asks me what kind of comedy I like. My first thought is that this is a lame pick-up line. My second is: I should stop flattering myself. I respond truthfully. (This is not always the case. I frequently fuck with prying cab drivers with complete fabrications. It’s my opportunity to be a proctologist or zookeeper. Sometimes both. ) But okay, I’ll play along. Louis C.K. is far and away the reigning comic genus. Anyone who says otherwise can come over here and box with my kangaroo. The driver then proceeds to tell me he’s a big fan of George Carlin and launches into one of Carlin’s monologues. I’d be cool with that… if it was the 1970’s. Don’t get me wrong, I think the man was a genus; his work was groundbreaking…when Flock of Seagulls was a band and not a reason to hide your French fries. Seriously people, not dissing George Carlin, the guy was a pants peeing ten on the Richter scale of humor. And okay, cool, if this guy likes George Carlin, that’s all good, but keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the street as you mangle bits of Seven Words You Can’t Say On Television. I secretly check my email as I listen to this intended entertainment.

Next up was his query about what kind of music I listen to. Definitely a pick up line. In fact the second most tired one ever. (Do not ask me what the first is, you should know this, Class.) I sigh, revert to fuck-with-the-driver- mode and tell him I have a rare congenital disease which makes all music sound like cats in a bag- hoping he’ll get the hint and focus on his driving instead of fantasies of picking up a woman who actually gets turned on by cab drivers.  He’s undeterred and forges on ahead with an offer to take me to listen to music one night. Still in kindness mode, (And not forgetting for a minute that this man held my life in his hands. A growing concern considering he kept swiveling around during his attempts to woo me). I opt for “No thank you.” (Instead of what part of cats in a bag are you not getting? The fact I made it up? Or the part that if it hadn’t I would not want to go hear music at all?) Then I foolishly follow with  “You probably should focus on women your own age”. What the hell was I thinking here? All I wanted to do was make him go away, and now I’ve opened a Pandora’s box. Although in my defense, tossing the age card may be cheap, but it’s frequently a really good way to get rid of unwanted attention. Women who mention their age usually have given up. It’s akin to saying; I’m Joan Rivers, and am so old, I’m not even trying to stay in the game. Not working this time however- the guy pulls a full on Linda Blair, turns all the way around to inspect me, and nearly causes an black Mercedes to nearly run us into the community gardens in front of NYU.

After regaining control of the vehicle he proceeds to tell me he’s 35 but doesn’t mind older women. (Maybe that’s why he opened with George Carlin- someone who might be in my wheelhouse, or wheelchair as the case may be.) I told him I didn’t mind troglodytes. As I paid the fare and hopped out, he asked if we could be Facebook friends.