ArchivesCategory: A long day’s journey…

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

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.

08Nov

This morning I am worded out. Perhaps is was the hurricane and I am suffering from post-no-power-partum, or perhaps I am just being me, but no matter what it is, I’m struggling to put words on the page. I’ve been sitting here for hours, writing and re-writing the same passages, putting a word in, taking a word out.  A walk might do me good.

I almost made it. I averted my eyes as I strolled by the donut man who lurks on the corner of Hudson Street. No donuts for you- myself told myself. A second temptation arose as I walked by Sarabeth’s.  The sandwich board outside taunted me with the announcement that homemade donuts had been added to their pastry menu. I am an upstate girl at heart, and I still maintain a bizarre fondness for the most appalling kinds of junk food. I, am a junk food purist. This gave me the strength I needed to resist the artisanal donut and I walked on by. The third siren call came from Dunkin Donuts and at that point my willpower stretched too thin. These are the donuts of my childhood, full of additives and crap; baked not by cooks in the kitchen but machines somewhere- my kind of treat. My chocolate glazed and I are enjoying each others company as I write.

Perhaps now words will come…

 

18Oct

The kids are old enough that they no longer require the hot breakfast that I once force-fed them. They were the fois gras of children. Unlike the unfortunate geese however, the kids grew up and are now large beings able to grab a bagel and hit the ground running.

So I slept in today. Until 8:00. I haven’t done that in years. However, sleeping in didn’t make me feel more rested, it merely left me feeling guilty. I thought about heading to a 9:00 yoga class, but one more Namaste from a woman who cuts me dead ten minutes later in the changing room just won’t make my day. Unless of course, it’s Clint Eastwood style. Is it wrong to contemplate homicide during a downward dog?

I go brush my teeth and while I am there, I accidentally mist my pet orchid with hairspray. This is why I don’t have a dog.

I discover we are out of coffee. I pull on a pair of jeans with my pajama top and head to Starbucks. This is not good. It occurs to me if you’re 28 and still are wearing your pajamas and have sleepy bed eyes, it’s sexy. If you’re over forty it’s merely pathetic and the first step on the slippery slope to underwear from the old lady shop.

Horrified at the thought, I go home to inspect my lingerie, comforting myself with the large assortment of come hither thongs. The fact that most of them still bear their price tags shatters my illusions.

As I stand fondling my own unworn scanties, I find myself wishing I had spent my 20’s being a slut. As an adult I now admire that kind of fearlessness. Well…  fearlessness or a complete lack of self-esteem. And now that ship has sailed. Far far away.

I muse upon what I would have wanted chiseled on my fearless Facebook page:

Kate is a slut! She grew up in Chastity Ville and moved to Decadentity after getting her degree at the University Of Flaunt It If You’ve Got It, majoring in: teeny tiny outwear with a minor in thong crocheting. Her interests include corsets and not much else.

Large sigh for my responsible and unwasted youth.

Then I go to work. After all I’ve got a giant painting to make and later that pot roast won’t cook itself….

 

 

04Oct

She’s not red but she’s mine.

The Little Red Hen. Is she the one who plants the wheat, tills the wheat, and harvests the wheat, all by her lonesome? Or is she the one who runs around shrieking, “The sky is falling?” Either way, I have an affinity for her. I always think the sky is falling. And I’m the one who plants the wheat, constantly asking the lazy duck, pig, mule, for help- only to receive disdainful looks and derisive snorts. In this case, the farm animals being a metaphor for my teenagers.  I am convinced that if they do not clean up after themselves the sky will fall. I admit it. I am Kate and I am a control freak.

I beg borrow and plead with my kids to make their beds, reduce the garbage in their rooms to a single layer- or even just get the wet towels into the hamper before they sprout mushrooms. Perhaps they like mushrooms. They never ever pull up the shades; cave being their preferred environment.  And said cave- should not grow stalactites.

My daughter’s room is awash with bra-revealing shirts (insert a chorus of “Put On A Sweater” key of C) and a running river of moisturizers that smell of a perfumery controlled by Keebler elves. My son’s room is a repository for every known piece of sports equipment, one of which requires tongs to be handled. You know which one I’m talking about.

I could do what every sane parent does and post a hazardous waste sign on their doors and pretend that behind it lies the three-headed dog from Harry Potter, but I don’t. My OCD insists I try to instill some sort of order- or at least curtail the smell.

This morning I made their beds “In case there is a fire and the firemen might see that a sloth lives there.” Then the dawning realization- this was my version of my own mother’s wearing clean underwear “In case you get hit by a car…” Oh, the horror of ambulance attendants seeing your shameful dirty panties held together with safety pins. Alarm bells! I will become my mother if I don’t put the skids on this right now. OCD be damned, let it go. Let it all go.

The sky will not fall, and there will be wheat. I’m going to take my hands off the wheel and hope the world doesn’t crash.  Somehow I think it won’t.

27Sep

This morning as I headed to the bagel store, I noticed a woman lurking at the entrance observing me. It was clear she was poised to speak and based on her appearance I gathered she was indigent. (Okay, I know, I know, first bad thing- do not judge people by how they appear. Four namastes and a hair shirt for me.) Anyway, this woman appeared to be a little not all there. She was neatly and cleanly dressed but had a couple of overfull shopping bags. (Always a tip off for New Yorkers.) I didn’t want to be accosted, although not so unwilling I would forgo bagels. So as I neared I put on my “stranger face”. We all have one, and I have many variations. There’s the “Don’t fuck with me I am a badass despite my yoga clothes stranger face.” The “If you’re lost and don’t speak English I will have patience for you for up to three minutes while I explain to you where the Ghostbusters Firehouse is stranger face.” And of course the “I know you have power tools and appear to be working on a construction site but if you say something rude I will scream at you like a banshee but secretly be pleased because I’m not twenty five any more stranger face.” In this case I reserved the one I use for people asking for money and when she said to me “Can I ask you something?” I replied “Good morning” and sailed by into the bagel store -whereas I promptly felt like shit. She clearly needed something and I blew her off.

So, I bought my bagels, tucked a well intentioned small bill into my hip pocket and headed back out. She looked at me with defeat, knowing I was that savvy New Yorker who said “good morning” instead of stopping. To her credit she rebounded quickly when I stopped and said “I apologize. Was there something you wanted to ask me?” She immediately replied, “Yes, I was wondering if you could loan me some money.” I, even quicker than she, whipped the bill I had put aside out of my hip pocket and told her I was happy to give it to her, and there was no need to repay me. I then asked her if she would like a bagel.

Her response was; “I don’t like bagels. I like muffins.”