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…

 

04Nov

We emerged from our cave horrified to find out there are so are many in such dire straights. We were busy just living from cell phone charge to cell phone charge- having no idea what was happening in other parts of the city and New Jersey. It was a shock to see the images on the television. We had heard some bits and pieces, and mea culpa; I figured it was another case of media fear mongering. There have been so many cases of The Media That Cried Wolf, I underestimated how bad things were. The brutal reality sprang from our television screens last night.

I’m a trifle abashed to have been so nose-from-joint over our minor saga of life without power.  We exist in our own niches, and even knowing that there are others out there in a very bad way- we have to deal with our own concerns that affect us on a daily basis.

The galleries of Chelsea are distraught over the great loss of so much artwork. The  downtown theaters were closed for the greater part of the week. Broadway was dark for a couple of days. Our grocery store is slowly restocking. I’m behind on deadlines. This is my world. Thankfully these inconveniences/losses are all we still suffer from. We survived the threat of Zombies in the darkened stairwell, being unwashed, or bored to death. For us, normal is returning. All good.

I’m grateful my friends and family are all intact with little damage- not a single board game related injury or candle catastrophe. As I step carefully over curb-puddles of melted freezer items, I count my blessings. My thoughts are with those who lost so very much.

03Nov

The disclaimer: I know this post will make me sound like a spoiled bitch. People lost their homes, some people lost their lives and my piddly travails are nothing at all. But I’m a writer. I write and I document, and what’s a blog for if not a good whine? And perhaps some of you will laugh inside your own newly lit apartments and identify- just a little bit- and that’s what it’s all about. What we went through during the hurricane is a speck, but it’s my speck.

After a last restless night spent in midtown- mere blocks from Penn Station- in a hotel half filled with confused tourists and the other half power-refugees like myself- I am home again- home again- jiggety jig! I am now gleefully running the dishwasher, tossing candle stubs and used batteries while intermittently stroking the freaked out furry cats. Thanking my lucky stars neither one ignited during the candle hours.

Yesterday:

Today has been enlightening. I now have tourist-empathy. They must feel so gouged. For $380.00 a night our bathroom is Lilliputian.  One tiny square sink- very chic, but the water pools in it and since the vanity is only inches wide, I’m afraid the blow dryer will fall in there and electrocute one of us. Teeny tiny stall shower has the water pressure of a kinked garden hose and the toilet is in a niche and requires dislocation of one’s shoulders to reach the toilet paper. You have to ask for fresh towels in the morning. I get the whole conserve water issue and always defer clean sheets every day, but with a Barbie sized bathroom there isn’t anywhere to dry the towels so they can be re-used. And no cotton balls? What is my teenager daughter going to do without cotton balls? I secretly think she eats them. I open the mini-fridge to find it completely empty. Not one miniature bottle of booze on the wall. When the extra cot is brought in and the couch unfurled there is not an inch of floor space and I bounce from mattress to mattress to cross the room. I stop drinking water after ten so that I won’t wake the kids by leaping on them during a nighttime bathroom mission.

When I emerge onto the street I felt like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. This has never been a neighborhood in which I’ve been comfortable. The streets are awash with those poor tourists and hustlers taking advantage of them. The stores are all chains and so are the restaurants. That burger that was such a treat in the Financial Center (Wow, was that only yesterday?) is now joined by another. That’s my meat quota for a month. The kids know 5 Guys Burgers, so that’s what we eat. I just feel so out of sync. I guess massive power outage will do that to you. At least we weren’t having Zombie discussions any more.

Tonight the kids have gone off to bunk with friends who gotten their power back, so I’m camping out by myself. I know I should be reveling in not having to spring from one mattress to another, but it’s lonely. The gigantic bag of peanut M&Ms and I will have to manage all by our lonesomes.

I stay awake into the wee hours dialing the home phone repeatedly, hoping my own voice will greet me on the other end. I long to hear it announce no one is home- duh- but a live machine would indicate power had returned to my place. No joy. We live in one of the very last grids to be re-powered, but I kind of figured that.

I put in the earplugs purchased at Duane Reade (along with a bag of cotton balls) and try to sleep.

This morning:

I wake at 6:00. Before even opening my eyes, I hit the phone and pray. Never was I so happy to hear the sound of my own voice!

I pull on my jeans- the same ones I’ve been wearing since the hurricane- I don’t know why. For the first three days I had my entire wardrobe at my disposal, and could have been weathering the blackout in Dolce and Gabbana, but somehow it just felt right to pull on the same jeans each morning. Black ones of course. I add a black tee, black combat boots and my black leather jacket. I would say this is my be ready for anything in an emergency outfit, but it’s just everyday wear. Clothes horse I am not- at least in the daytime and this utilitarian ensemble just works every day, blackout or not. Plus I think it makes me look dangerous, like Laura Croft Tomb raider. I am seriously deluded, I know.

I stuff the meager wardrobe I’d packed in my dark apartment Thursday into the single bag I brought, concerned we might have to hoof it up here. I do a quick glance around the room, grab the do not disturb sign off the door and toss it. Dance from foot to foot waiting the the elevator. Fly though the lobby dropping “keys” in check out box with an audible good riddance. The staff calls out to me as I run past “Please join us another time” and I think; Seriously people?

A taxi sits in front of the hotel and I leap into it like my doppelganger Laura Croft being chased by cannibals. As we drive downtown I see lights blazing in storefronts, traffic and street lights, and I have never been more grateful. A refrain of “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” keeps cycling through my mind. I am even grateful for my taxi driver leaning on his horn, despite the fact the streets are still deserted, because it’s normal.

I use my laser key to enter the building- never more happy to hear the once annoying buzzing sound. The pinging of the elevator is music to my ears. I walk in and find two lights blazing. Cave woman see fire for the first time. I burst into spontaneous tears. I have no idea why.

The Ruby Slippers worked Auntie Em. I’m home.

01Nov

Diary of Ghost town Tribeca

Monday: Hurricane. Need I say more?

Oh yes, one unusual thing: a keening sound, unlike anything I’d ever heard before. It rose and fell crystal clear over the howling wind. It’s the Trade Center.  (It will never be the Freedom Tower to us.)  The wind is shrieking through the girders which don’t have skin yet- making a hundred story whistle. Eerie doesn’t even begin to cover it.

My kids are hibernating. They emerge blinking from their rooms for food as the storm continues. As it intensifies they emerge more often, I think for the comfort of my companionship. Mom is still good for something.

At 8:30 the power flickers and dies. Because my natural mindset is “the sky is falling” we have multiple flashlights and batteries. I have a huge stock of candles, Yankee Candle has nothing on me. None of which were actually purchased by me, but are nestled in the hostess gift graveyard. These are tokens of appreciation from the Guests of Christmas Past and were never used because having large longhaired cats- makes candles less atmospheric and more feline death trap. Being of good frugal Presbyterian stock, I never threw them away so they are stockpiled in a cabinet. It’s a very well fragranced blackout.

Tonight we resemble clan of the cave bear, huddled around our modern version of fire- the Ipad. We went into a restless sleep early, hoping morning would bring good news.

Tuesday: The Mole People

We decide to venture outside to the river to see what the storm hath wrought. Obviously no elevators- we head to the stairwell. We discover the emergency lights are not functioning and we venture into the pitch black with flashlights- feeling very Indiana Jones. We burst from the stairwells into the street happy to find much of the neighborhood doing the same thing. We are all somewhat festive- and happy to see each other. The last time we emerged after a disaster, we’d all lost friends and were being herded out as evacuees in a cloud of dust- in fear for the safety of our homes and families. This seems like small potatoes. We are pretty freaked out by the power loss, but hey… no terrorists. Let’s have some perspective.

We assess the neighborhood. The river seems fairly benign and is below the seawall, as innocent as can be. I have not yet heard of the tragic fatality up the street. We note the uprooted trees with a frisson of “phew” and move on. The rain starts again so we return home. The apartment is gloomy. We set up camp near the south facing windows to take advantage of the gray light trickling in and began a marathon of board games. Thankfully my kids are beyond the Chutes and Ladders and Candyland phase, or I would be forced to resort to tequila.

We are a competitive and lively group and we entertain ourselves without bloodshed for hours. We pick our way through five molten pints of Ben and Jerry’s. I start to pace myself knowing that my only exercise will be those long spooky flights up and down to the basement to charge the phones. We are more fortunate than most having a car on the premises. The down side is that stairwell looks like Zombie territory.

The exodus has begun. We see out the window people loading cars to head uptown to hotels or friends or perhaps out to country homes that may have fared better and still have power.

By 5:00 the light has waned. Time to light up. Tonight’s aroma is lemon verbena.

I look outside the window. It’s very eerie. It appears post apocalyptic here. The buildings are completely dark, candles flicker in about half the windows.  We are all abiding by an unspoken curfew of 6:00 because the streets are terrifyingly dark after that time.  Police cruisers drift by but they are the only movement. We feel so utterly isolated. There are no lights for fifty blocks north and the only indication we are not totally alone in the city is a dim glow from above 34th Street. Traffic lights are out and there is nothing but blackness.

The kids have begun a discussion of which one of us should be feed to the Zombies first.  I say one of them because of their large Walsh heads; one of their brains could feed many Zombies, whereas I would merely be appetizers.

We go to bed and cross our fingers tomorrow there will be light.

Dark and Scary

Wednesday: The Financial Center Lives!

I wake to the good news, that generators are powering the Financial Center.

The other good news is that I scored one of the rare hotel rooms for tomorrow and through the weekend, thanks to my friend Karleen. She texted me at early bird hours this morning and gave me the get-off-your-ass-and-book-something lecture.  I wasn’t able to get a room for tonight, but did manage for Thursday. Just having that light at the end of the tunnel helps. That and having my teenagers suffering from electronics withdrawal out of the house.

I told them they have to get out and walk today. No more cave creatures. The sun has come out- (Can I get a rousing rendition of the chorus from “Annie?”) They have taken off with friends in search of an open Starbucks- the haven of choice for teens. I am using this time to write and conference call with my writing partners. Our show will go on. This semblance of normalcy is good for my hunkered down mind-set and helps dispel the mental gloom.

We see more people loading up into cars and the rare taxi. Those remaining are either unable to afford/ locate a hotel room or have large dogs, the kind you can’t sneak into a hotel in a handbag.

Scarlett got on a city bus and took the long journey uptown to powwow with other kids and hang at her friend’s place. It took her an hour and a half to get from Tribeca to Upper West. I wish I had been more proactive and had been so bold as to call some of our uptown acquaintances to ask if the kids could sleep over. I know other downtown families did that. I’m a little more reticent.  Anyway she’s up there for the day and Clay has meandered off with his girlfriend and all is well for now.

Evening. We pile into the car to retrieve Scarlett from uptown and have a hot meal having eaten all the perishables in the fridge. The last of the Ben and Jerry’s soup was consumed last night. It takes us an hour to get to 65th Street. There is a huge line for gas on the 8th Avenue that crosses all lanes and it ties up traffic for blocks.

We come home and as we drive past the power outage line, normality recedes and we once again enter “I Am Legend Territory.” It’s amazing how in just a few blocks we go from laughing and normal to subdued and anxious. There is an odd feeling of the haves and have-nots in effect as well. Going to the Upper West where people were laughing and going about their business was a mind bender. We feel even more isolated as we return to our cave.

Thursday: Elvis leaves the building

I wake. Leap into another stone cold shower. My hair has not been washed since Sunday and if I do say so myself it looks kind of amazingly fabulous. A shout out to my hair stylist: Taylor. After admiring my coif, I open the fridge hoping for milk. The smell that wafts out tells me that I must admit defeat and throw out everything from fridge and freezer. It was sad (Presbyterian wastefulness gene at code red) and liberating. A cleansing. That bottle of breast milk had to go; my youngest is turning fifteen this month.  Some memories are harder to let go of than others.

Later:

I am now sitting quite happily on the floor of the Wintergarden eating a Shake Shack burger for breakfast. Thank heaven for Danny Meyer and the generators that got this place powered up. We bivouacked down here as soon as the kids got up. I packed a power strip and all our electronics and made camp in a corner where I can sit on the (unheated) floor and look up through the palms trees to blue sky.  I’m liberated to be able to write on my computer without anxiously watching my battery level dip. I’ve been rationing my time with my tech-lifeline. This new freedom does wonders for my spirits.

The posse.

I have accumulated a wheezing old man from the Lower East side who was drawn to my power strip and the aroma of French fries. The kids and I are happy to share.  We’re a motley crew. In addition to the old man, we have my son’s girlfriend and a couple of other Stuyvesant HS refugees from Battery Park.

We eat. I write. Time passes.

The marble floor of the Wintergarden is becoming uncomfortable now and my battery is nearly charged. The line at Shake Shack has reached epic proportions so our early morning oasis may be done. I hate to leave the skylights behind. And the feeling of community.  But we should go pack up while we can see and go claim our stake at the hotel. Plus I can smell my kids. They are less enamored of the cold shower.

Thursday evening: The Eagle has landed.

Hotel check-in achieved and we are in for a whole new kind of togetherness. The hotel is lovely but incredibly tiny. The fantastic news is that hot showers are imminent and there are lights.

The best part of all is that we got through this with not single cat immolation.

It’s dinner out tonight without the gauntlet of fifty blocks without traffic lights and Mongol hoards invading gas stations. We plan to dine at the fabulous I Trulli. The intrepid folks there have gone out and scored a generator so that partially dark mid-town will be treated to amazing home-made pasta and I plan to get me some! And later,  I am having a cocktail in the rooftop bar with my dear friend Astrid and we will laugh together.

Fingers crossed for us all that the power comes back tomorrow.

~kate

 

25Oct

Lately I seem to have morning disease, so if you’re not bored with more tales of me in my pajamas read on. Otherwise go back to doing something more important, like playing words with friends, mixing up the low sodium/sodium soy sauce, or denying doing both of those things to your boss. The one with high blood pressure.

A pajama backstory:

I wake. I focus my eyes. There is a large smudge upon my white comforter. Okay, that’s either chocolate or poop. Cat poop. Not people poop. I don’t know why that makes a difference, but cat poop- despite being really gross doesn’t carry the stigma of why it would be there. It’s cat poop. Cat. Need I say more?

Anyway, the smudge in question is brown. It could be chocolate. It’s likely chocolate. After all what woman worth her estrogen doesn’t eat chocolate in bed on a daily basis? But I suspect it’s probably cat poop. Wisely I refrain from tasting it to find out. My suspicions are confirmed when the cat leaps up by my face and the smell overtakes me.

I grab him and subject us both to the wet paper towel treatment. This involves a series of run and hide moments, half roll of Bounty, and a lot of cursing.

Now I know you’re wondering why I don’t channel my inner Cruella DeVille, but we adopted him for better or worse.

This cat, one of two in our house, is a rescue- and probably a breeder dump. When I first laid eyes on him he was the most adorable kitten I’d ever seen. It was clear he was a Bengal cat, and that alone should have aroused my suspicions. No one dumps a pretty little purebred unless you’re Brad Pitt with Angelina on the line or an unscrupulous breeder.

My daughter was in love and I too fell for his spectacular markings and jacked up hindquarters. We filled out the papers and claimed him after we were vetted. Pun intended because we immediately began our close relationship with the vet to cure his laundry list of maladies. All these issues were treatable with the exception of what has come to be known as “poopy butt.” Cats do not use toilet paper, so this is a problem.

Now if you are not cat owners (and if you are not, you never will be after this post) you probably don’t know that cats chose a pack leader. This is the dominant cat (or person) in the house, the one they generally curry favor with or come to with problems. I am this Cat Godfather. “Fredo, you must share your catnip with your bother.” They leave me little surprises in the form of dead wildlife trophies. This is the currying part. The problems are even more disgusting. I’m the one they cough up hairballs in front of, or the one whose bed they vomit upon. They’re smart, they want to make sure I- dominant cat- see it and cure whatever ails them.

Today’s pajama report:

I feel something cold sliding up my arm. It rallies my consciousness. Eyes still squeezed shut, I pray that it would not, could not, be what I suspect. I crack open my eyes, hoping against hope… horrors. My worst fears are realized. Cat!

Running to the bathroom now to scrub what’s left of my skin off…again.

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….

 

 

11Oct

This past weekend I added to my flock. No, I am not a preacher, heaven forbid. In every way. The flock to which I refer is an avian one. Poultry to be exact. And no- we do not eat them. My chickens are for egg production and Zen instruction only. I spend hours sitting and watching them go about the business of life, trying to learn the secret of their equanimity while eating hard boiled eggs.

There is no rooster. What? No rooster, you cry? Then how do you get eggs? Ha, silly people. One does not need a rooster for eggs, merely for baby chicks. Now, being prescient, and knowing how your perverted little minds work, I predict your next question is about how chickens have sex. My answer to you is: I have no fucking idea. Literally. No rooster. No chicken porn. Google it.

What I do have is a decent sized henhouse, a predator proof chicken run (wire fencing above and below), and a yard in which the girls are allowed free reign during daylight hours.  At night they dutifully put themselves to bed and huddle close upon their roost dreaming of a world filled with tasty bugs. I close the predator gate, as during medieval times- up the drawbridge at night to repeal the invading hoards, which in this case are raccoons, possums, and fox. Sleep tight ladies. In the morning those magical eggs appear and life is good.

Archimedes

The girls have names, absurd ones, but they own them. The big white one? That’s Archimedes.

Thing Two

I don’t know many chickens could make a name like Archimedes work, but she does it.  She is truly the ruler of the roost. It must be her ability to turn ordinary metals into gold. And Gigi? She’s the one with the feathery Manolo Blahnik feet.  Things One and Two are exact replicas of the Seuss characters unloosed by the Cat In The Hat. Our flock is completed by Einstein, our resident dumb blonde, and Helen. Her name may be ordinary, but she is nothing of the kind, sporting a multi-hued headdress and the loudest squawk in the coop. Life was good in the Ritz Carleton of Coops…

Stop! Hold the cyber presses! I must digress right now! A mere two minutes ago my personal newsgirl/best friend Jane Hanson brought to my attention that Neiman Marcus has just listed a henhouse for $100,000.00 in their Christmas catalog! This is news indeed, first because it’s stupid, but even more distressingly, it reduces my henhouse to the mere Motel 6 of coops.  My girls will be hopping with indignation. Or perhaps not. A safe environment complete with worms, corn cobs and a life span of more than six months- they are already living the high life. I should also bear in mind that they are my Zen masters. They live completely in the moment and want for nothing more than an overly ripe banana from the compost heap and a disoriented June bug for dessert.  My girls spit upon the preening pretensions of Neiman Marcus and thumb their beaks at chandelier lit brooding boxes.

Back to our story. Life was good. But then…

Disaster struck in the form of a hawk attack.  Two of my girls were killed and my flock reduced to four. It happened in daylight and in the blink of an eye. We now remove our hats for a moment of silence for poor Einstein. She never saw it coming. Her gorgeous hairdo obscured her eyes and perhaps led to her undoing. We lost our whimsical Thing One. And what’s Thing Two without Thing One? We do not like it Sam I Am.

We soldiered on, the four survivors and I. Sad but not inconsolable, until summer when the lack of eggs started affecting my social life. I had been a sought after guest amongst our crowd. Little did I know it was my hostess gift of a dozen eggs fresh from the chicken’s butt and not me that was so desired at dinner parties. I found myself wrestling my football playing son for the last egg in the box each morning when egg production dropped to three a day.

I looked into obtaining more hens but laying hens are not easy to come by. For those of you who have never channeled your inner Old MacDonald, the process of the chicken and the egg goes something like this: You order newly hatched chicks from a hatchery and they arrive via post office. Yes Virginia, babies come from the post office. Not all of them survive being shipped, but chicks are cheap and that’s how it’s done. I went online and chose a variety of “heirloom” chickens. I am an artist and if I was going to raise chickens, regular old chickens were not going to cut it. I was interested in diversity. I chose a variety of exotic birds and pressed “purchase”. I was duly informed that I must chose another 18 chicks if I wanted my order to be processed. Two dozen was the minimum order. The other difficulty lay in the fact that new chicks require months in an incubator. This was not going to happen. I am part time farmer, part time city dweller, and the idea of bringing them to an apartment during the week and having 24 cheeping hopping chicks in my apartment- just wasn’t going happen. Long story short, I had a chicken surrogate, someone who raised them until they were out of the incubation stage.

Increasing my flock was not going to be easy. Then last weekend at the local farmers market I happened upon a guy who wanted to reduce his flock. He had ordered a couple of dozen Araucana chicks- desiring those blue green eggs made famous by Martha Stewart pre-ankle bracelet. He was willing to sell me a couple.

So now, I am the proud chicken mama of three more ladies by the names of: Jane, Sacagawea, (don’t ask) and Lola. Right now, my original chickarinas are busy hazing them. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve raised a flock of mean girls. But pecking order with be re-established and the cliques will break apart and hopefully the sky won’t fall.

In memoriam.

Einstein

Thing One

 

 

 

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.”

18Sep

Beware of Witch

They say the first one is always the hardest. I’m a painter but also a storyteller. I make things, on canvas, or with words.

Now as a writer- I always want my narrative laid out, the resultant arcs defined, blah blah blah, insert boring writer talk. I know you’re out there going “Who cares? Write something interesting/funny that we actually give a shit about.” Okay then, fair warning; there will be no arcs, character growth, or lightening bolts of realization. There may be guilty secrets, tales of raccoon invasions, outpourings of artistic angst and head banging. A good head banging is worth a thousand words. We live in anxious times, and I’m an anxious human being- all the better to amuse you with my dear. Humor seems to be an excellent outlet for inner mayhem.

Let’s call today’s topic getting to know you. No Julie Andrews. In fact no singing at all. There will never be singing. I suck at singing. And no notes need be taken. No pop quizzes, and no name-tags please. I’ve wandered away from too many functions with my name emblazoned across my chest wondering why people are checking out my boobs. I always imagine it’s because I’m having a particularly good day in that department- the girls are riding high and looking particularly perky. But once I realize my name’s scrawled on a white rectangle highlighted by whatever black garment I’m wearing, I curl my shoulders and remind myself to buy a new bra.

So, what do I know about blogs? I’m a bit of a Luddite. To me, blogs were the domain of those who sport fedora hats and corpse colors on their nails. Blogs belonged to people who were raised clicking things besides their teeth and mice that didn’t require glue traps. It’s old dog, new tricks time. There’s a lot of that in my life lately. Besides, it’s good for me to write every day and when writing plays, there are days when the characters go into seclusion and the words refuse to stick to the page. So in the interest of keeping my writers muscles flexed and making me feel less like a failure, I will always have this default setting of cyber-therapy. I can put it out there and know that at least I’ve written something that day. And perhaps someone will laugh, just a little. Or maybe see themselves on the screen. Not in a Gloria Swanson way, (I am never ready for my close up) but see some tiny aspect of their own lives in the words I’ve sent winging onto their computer screen.

I started the ball rolling by sending an email to 300 of my nearest and dearest. Some of whom may have said:  “Why the hell is she sending this to me? What have I done to deserve this?” thinking it was an invitation to join a recipe chain,  a plea for funds supporting an ousted African prince, or the honey badger link on youtube. (I can’t help it, I love the honey badger and I plead guilty on that one, but only that one. The African prince gets no love or money from me.)

So here are the rules. My rules, not yours. You are lawless and unbridled. You have my permission to go take off your bridles right now. But here’s my rule and promise:

I will post every Thursday. Pinky swear. So please become a subscriber and stay in touch. I love feedback as long as it’s about my great wit, genius intellect, or sensitive nature. Negative reviews must be kept to oneself. I’m a delicate flower. Not a wallflower, and no shrinking violet. But delicate. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Listen to your mother’s voice from decades ago, some adages are actually worth hanging onto. We all know running with scissors is a bad thing and crossing your eyes will make them stay that way.

So please add your address to the subscriber box, and I won’t have to keep cyber-poking you to remind you to check out my posts. Those of you who know me are familiar with my very pointy fingers and elbows.

Now I am going to get a pedicure. After all, if a girl’s got pretty feet, it’s easier to put one foot in front of the other. That’s what it’s all about these days. And I’ll keep tossing out bits of gingerbread along the way.

~ Gretyl