Saturday, April 29, 2006

I am Woman - Hear Me Bake!

So remember how my beloved son's birthday was a MONTH ago?

Well, he spent several weeks badgering me about a classroom cupcake party because "all the kids have cupcakes or ice cream or stuff that we eat at snacktime to celebrate their birthday...blah blah blah."

I pointed out the fact that we celebrated his birthday THREE times with THREE different cakes and THREE different sets of guests. He was unphased by this data.

The next day (Friday) I went to work and shared my pain about having to buy a bunch of cupcakes to bring in the following Monday. Of course, I keep company with wonderful over achieving uber mommies...they looked at me blankly and in unison said "But aren't you going to make the cupcakes from scratch? It only takes a second and it's really worth the time." my life it's far more valuable than money. Which is why I took a huge paycut and career downshift to have time to be the mom and creative person I wanted to be rather than another high strung, anxiety driven executive management droid that I was.

So I spent last Sunday looking for all the ingredients I need. What an education that was. Did you know that the East Village is NOT a really great place to find cake one point I was tempted to throw up my hands and ask "who do you have to f*ck to find baking ingredients in this neighborhood?"

You see, I live in an area where most people have an oven in their kitchen only because it came with their apartment. Many of my childless friends/couples use the oven part for storage. When you live in a neighborhood that has ten zillion places to eat within a two block radius - sweating over pots and pans doesn't make much sense. Of course, it's also true that in the East Village - diet coke and coffee have their own dedicated space in the food pyramid.

Long story short. It's Sunday night at 9pm and I 'm toiling away, stirring the batter, getting the cocoa out for the frosting when I look at my husband and say "do you think that Ben will remember how his mom made cupcakes from scratch for his class snack/celebration?"
To which he replied "No. He'll just remember that he ate a chocolate frosted cupcake."

So I gently woke my son up, brought him into the kitchen and said "Look Ben. This is your mommy making cupcakes from scratch because she loves you more than anything in the world. So just in case I kick off sooner rather than later - I really want you to remember this."

He rubbed his eyes and said "okay" and returned to bed. The next day Ben woke up with a fever of 102. He and the 27 cupcakes stayed home from school.

No good deed goes unpunished.

Will write about today's anti-war march soon. Brian/Ben and I marched from Union Square to Foley Square down in the financial district. It was a beautiful day and there was an ocean of people.

Support Our Troops. Bring Them Home Now!!! Not Another Death For Oil...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

This Bus Rules My Life!

Let's get something clear upfront. I suck at technology. I don't have flickr or whatever the hell people use to put pictures on their blog. It just isn't going to happen in my lifetime.

My husband knows what a luddite he's dealing with and puts pictures up for me whenever I ask/beg/cajole him to. Nice guy, my Brian...and easy on the eyes to boot!

I took this snap. Frankly, I don't think the M8 bus ever looked better - posing there all duded up as it waits to turn onto East Ninth Street.
The M8 takes all of the East Village to least the 9 to 5 type jobs. Writers, artists, self employed, merchants, old people - they get to live up here and leave whenever they want.

The beloved M8 starts on Avenue D and E 10th Street swings down to E9th then crosses the East Village into Greenwich Village into the West Village ultimately turning around at the Westside Highway.

Each block is a lesson in varying degrees of gentrification. I never thought I'd be riding by a KMart everday and yet there it stands in the heart of Astor Place. I'll never forget when it first opened. I was taking a crowded bus back home one evening. As we crossed over Broadway at St. Mark's Place we passed the huge blazing red "K" lit up for the first time. Everyone stopped and stared - as if it was a burning cross. Thankfully a drag queen broke the tension. She stood up and blurted out "Attention KMart Shoppers!!!". We all howled.

The morning bus drivers rarely change so you get to know them pretty well. I suppose that's why I supported the MTA strike. Driving a bus in NYC is friggin' hard work.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

It's Easter, baby!

We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Nelson Mandela

It's sunny and beautiful and Easter out today. There were several churches that emptied out at about noon. They merged onto the streets with other neighboring church goers. Everyone was carrying long pussy willow'll have to check with the catholic church on that one.

I LOVE looking at all the cute children decked out in pink bonnets, puffy dresses and light blue suits. When I was a little girl growing up in this neighborhood in the sixties, my Easter outfit was more along the lines of the picture book character Madeline. A navy blue spring coat and a matching wide brimmed hat that had a long black ribbon tied in a bow trailing down the back.

I was a total fem in my little girlhood. I would have worn that outfit everyday of the year if I could.

Benjamin found his Easter basket hidden in our courtyard garden. I'm so glad that he still believes in the Easter bunny. In his little world, miracles occur periodically throughout the year.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter. Christians remember it as the day of the Last Supper, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and established the ceremony known as the Eucharist.

The night of Maundy Thursday is the night on which Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The word "maundy" comes from the command given by Christ at the Last Supper, that we should love one another.

On Thursday night we got a call from my husband's brother David.

He and his partner live in San Francisco. David was diagnosed with HIV in 1987 and developed AIDS in 1994. He takes excellent care of himself, has a career, eats right, excersizes and uses all the medical cocktails and medications he should.

He learned last week that his liver has deteriorated badly. They'll try chemo to slow down the hepatitis. It appears to be a condition that he cannot recover from. We're all pretty much in a state of shock - he didn't feel ill and looked fine when we saw him a few weeks ago.

I have a favor to ask. When you have a moment, please take just a few seconds to pray for his comfort and well being. I would deeply appreciate it.

He is a beautiful sunflower of a person and needs all the love and blessings we can send him right now.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Window Dressing

The probability of moving from my east village neighborhood and family home is increasing as each day passes...unless of course the miracle I filed with God kicks in.

And so I begin my retrospective. Here's what I see when I wake up in the morning. Tompkins Square Park. Lots of it is green - just not the part I stare at after I rub my eyes at 6 am. It isn't a very big park - just one long city block (between A and B) by three street blocks (from East 10th, 9th, st. mark's to 7th).

My mom's family lived in this building. My dad was born in 1928 across the park next to St. Brigid's, a catholic church his Irish grandfather helped to build for their community.

People use the black top from dawn to midnight. Every type of person is out there at some point in the day. There's the old Chinese couples doing tai chi in the early morning hours, the homeless who wander in at dawn when the park gates open taking their seats near the chain link baseball backstop, urban catholic school students coming in double file for gym class before noon, babies learning how to walk and chase their shadows, teenage skate boarders of every shape, color and size flaunting their ability to defy gravity after school, immigrant workers playing a quick game of soccer or baseball and kids playing basketball, learning to bike, kick and throw a ball.

Give New Yorkers a few square feet of open space and they'll give you a show that never ends.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Sometimes I miss it there.

I know I'm a hard core New Yorker at heart but Cambridge will always feel like my first great love. New York Times articles like this one - discussing the commonwealth's attempt at universal healthcare for all of its citizens makes me nostalgic for a place that doesn't get lost in celebrity gossip, Wall Street, shopping and

Why do they recognize gay marriage and we don't?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

What to do....

Put Ben to sleep last night. Sang him a few songs and we both fell asleep together. At eleven I managed to drag myself over to my bed. Brian was still working on his lap top.

The only problem in that equation is that it's five in the morning and I'm ready to start my day. Of course when you live on Avenue A, you're never totally alone. Outside I can hear a few hard core clubbers walking home and chatting away. The cabs drive by and in the relative silence they almost sound like waves coming in at low tide. A few birds just started chirping out there in the darkness.

All in all 4 to 6:30 am is the quiet time around here.

It's looking like more and more like we'll have to move. Unless a miracle occurs and someone in our building moves out. Someone who lives adjacent to my apartment in some way. The likelyhood of that is about as slim as Dick Cheney joining a vegan commune in Vermont.

Our space is about 450 sq feet. At this point we are literally living on top of each other...what am I saying...once Ben was born we were already living on top of each other. It's becoming an increasingly impossible situation.

Of course, the three of us are sentimental fools. The thought of leaving this building and neighborhood terrifies us. It's very hard for East Villagers to go somewhere else. There isn't another place like it anywhere...on the planet.

I was born here, my son is the fifth generation of my family to be born here. This building and garden has been in my family for four generations. Each day we wake up and look out onto Tompkins Square Park.

Well...maybe a miracle will happen.