Monday, October 24, 2005

Banana Bread

I just finishing baking banana bread while scanning the web for data on the most power corporate women in America. The two projects blended nicely together.

It's raining out and finely getting that dank chill in the air that reminds us that November is just around the corner. Why do so many people die in November? That's a pattern I've noticed throughout my life. Maybe it's just this part of the country.

I had a college housemate whose beloved mom died of cancer at a relatively y0ung age. She died on November 7th. Every year since her death, my roommate would automatically lose her voice on that day. I witnessed it twice. It happened like clockwork. Her voice would get raspey the day before and then disappear with the dawn.

My housemate was a very powerful, smart, beautiful woman. I suppose I saw this annual illness as a tribute to her mom. I suppose that her love and grief were so strong it silenced her.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Flying Solo

Brian is away on business in southern California so it's just me, Ben and Saki.

I would be a terrible single mother.

Brian and I split everything down the middle. Careers, childcare, housework, cooking - you name it. Having him gone is like giving up the use of a limb. Sure everything gets done but frequently in a state of triage. I've heard many a mother say things run a bit more smoothly when their husbands are out of town for a few days....frankly I'm doing my best not to have Brian come home to a parched dog skeleton, a runaway son and a wife going to work without her pants on.

I was making Ben's bed a few days ago when I bent down to tuck in the sheets. At that precise moment he rounded the corner into the bedroom. He was making a turbo sound with arms jutting out like airplane wings, pretending to be a World War I "Spitfire" coming in for a landing on the bed. Needless to say my son's knee rammed into my face smashing my nose upward. For five seconds I slipped out of mom mode and started crying from the sudden impact. My son became exptremely upset to see me doubled over in pain. Like all moms, I immediately switched gears assuring him "It's all right. It was just an accident. I'm fine, don't worry..." - as I waited for blood to gush out of my nose.

When you have a son - motherhood is a contact sport.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Here Comes the Sun

I had a nice day today.

Brian was at NYU for a few hours so Ben and I ran errands around the neighborhood. We don't usually do that together and it was fun. Of course the fact that our rain marathon finally ended contributed to the good vibes all over the city.

First we bought stuff at an art supply store. Then we went to Whole Foods at Union Square and came across Drew Barrymore every time we turned into a new aisle. It's nice to know we share the same food groups.

We then proceeded to the green market across the street where we bought much needed indian corn, a gord and a miniature pumpkin. Ben immediately started lobbying that we take the extra long bus home so he could stand in the center accordian part when it turns onto Avenue A. It wasn't difficult to cave in on this request. I was loosing circulation in both my hands as I carried four bags and a large plastic art portfolio case that I purchased for Ben's artwork "archives".

Brian and Ben took off for the afternoon on the scooter,while I agreed to walk around with my sister while she went shopping. I spent $240 and I wasn't even three blocks from my house. Sure hope my husband isn't reading this post.

Then I went to the dog run and looked on compassionately as my dog Saki made multiple attempts at mounting Mario - another male dog. Saki is totally into Mario and Mario can't be bothered.

We've all been there.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

My Life as a Dog

It is raining cats and dogs out!

I had such a great wonderful time at the small dog run the other night.

Brian and Ben were en route from my parent’s house outside the city, so I took Saki (our magazine cover dog) to Tompkins Square Park for an extended walk. It was about 8 p.m., and I was surprised to see a few people still hanging out in the small dog run. As our white dogs frolicked in the muddy wood chips together, we four humans started talking about food, the green market at nearby Union Square and the best places to eat nearby.

Although most downtown New Yorkers don’t cook, they love to talk about food and we did so for one hour.

I could kick myself for not having a pencil and paper handy! The recommendations were non-stop. A great taco shack on Avenue B, an even better empanadas shack on 1st Ave and 4th street, the 4th street food coop between 2nd and the Bowery, Madras- a vegetarian Indian restaurant, then a ten minute jag on barbecue that led to a tangential discussion of barbecue in St. Louis and Kansas City (two Midwesterners contributed their insights). The list just went on and on until someone said, “Clinton Bakery is great”. There was dead silence, and then someone said “no, we’re talking about the East Village, we hardly ever go below Houston.”

For non New Yorkers reading this post, you should know hat Houston Street is eight very short blocks away from the park. All the dozens and dozens of places we listed were in a five block radius of the park – much to even my surprise. What made me laugh is that I am one of those uber lazy, provincial East Villagers who rarely go below Houston Street. Note: Houston is a street I can see when I look down my block!

These exchanges remind me how great Tompkins Square can be . Not only because of the multitude of places to eat but the fact that I could hang out on a week night with three or four strangers in the middle of a downtown city park and not be dealing drugs or performing oral sex.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Are We Having Fun Yet?

So there I was up at work this afternoon, ready to pack up and split for home when my crazy Italian mother calls me and says:

"Put on the news. We are on high terrorist alert! The subway system has been threatened with evidence of specifically planned bombings! Can you find another way home?"

Granted New York is a very provincial town when dealing with its own people. I work up in Morningside Heights - W. 120 street and Broadway area. I live in the East Village on Avenue A. In Manhattan terms, that's kind of like living on earth and working on Pluto.

Sure. I could walk three billion blocks home but it would take me a few hours. I could take a bus or two home and that could take me a few less hours.

But without a subway....I'M SCREWED. I got off the phone and weighed my options. My colleague and I decided to head for the subway and if we freaked out at any point -we'd just jump off at the next stop...assuming nothing exploded before we made that decision.

I called my mom and husband when I got off the subway a few blocks from my house. I could see on my cell phone that my husband already left several messages. I wondered where my brother and sister were (the two who live in my building). Both live alone right now. I wanted them to know someone was concerned about where they were, so I called them at work and pretended to be freaked out but I really just wanted them to know they were loved. Even if someone might not be there to welcome them in the door.

I guess that makes me a crazy Italian mother too.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Red Sox Fan Scorned...

I used to love the fall and in many respects I still do. But I married a Red Sox fan and lived in Massachusetts for fifteen years. October is just this huge flaming anxiety attack to me now.

Ultimately I returned to NYC, my hometown, and I gave birth to a beautiful boy who I actually helped pull out of my own body during delivery (that's another story). When the doctor handed Ben to my husband, he raised him in the air and announced "another Red Sox fan is born".

Having survived hours of labor and natural childbirth, I was too tired to even react to that spontaneous sports baptism. I was far too busy wondering how they'd sew up what sure felt like a tear that started at my vaginal canal and ended somewhere between my shoulder blades.

Of course my son is also a true believer in the Red Sox. I can see that little ulcer starting in his seven year old tummy already. I can't begin to describe the fights he gets into at school about this issue.

One day Ben and I were walking down Hudson Street. Ben was wearing a bright red Sox tee shirt. A middle aged woman walked by and said under her breath - but certainly not out of earshot - "the Red Sox suck".

I was stunned. My son squeezed my hand and looked up at me looking completely insulted and a bit freaked that an adult would say that to him.

Luckily, I'm a very even tempered mommy and never lose my cool in front of my son...I simply looked up at the woman and suggested that she take a flying fuck.

I suppose she set off something in my working class Irish gene pool. Blame it on Darwin or Intelligent Design (which sounds like the name of a Soho contemporary furniture store).

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Before it gets buried in my subconscious where I keep everything else important.....

Brian and I got duded up on his birthday and went to the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel in midtown. I surprised him with dinner and a performance by Maude Maggart, a young cabaret singer whose focus is on songs of the 1920’s and 30’s. She has an unbelievable voice. We originally saw her last year when I took Brian to see Prairie Home Companion hosted by Garrison Keillor at Town Hall (he comes every Christmas).

Going to the Oak Room felt like a trip back to the Manhattan of the 1940’s. The room is dimly lit, with beautiful dark wood along the walls, deep red cushioned seats and crisp white table clothes topped with little lit lamps. I was waiting for Dorothy Parker or Tallulah Bankhead to stroll in and light up a cigarette.

It’s such an intimate performance space with the grand piano and mike stand just feet away from the guests. We both ordered cocktails, kicked back and had a wonderful time.

I don’t care how much it cost because my husband’s happiness is worth it. And he was very happy indeed.