Monday, December 31, 2007

You've seen one've seen them all.

At least that's how I feel about the ball dropping in Times Square.

I sometimes think my relationship to New Year's Eve must be how non-Christians relate to Christmas in our culture. Everyone else is at a party that I have no interest in attending. Sounds terrible doesn't it?

I wouldn't mind standing on a sandy cliff overlooking Longnook Beach at the stroke of midnight. The crashing waves and pull of high tide in the frosty moonlight would wash away any trivial thoughts of mankind out there counting the minutes that take us from one year to the next.

Maybe something beautiful will happen this year. Some wonderful miracle that will end suffering somewhere on the planet - - anywhere.

I propose a toast to the possibility of miracles for 2008.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

I have work coming out of my....

Sorry folks. Work has been insane.

If it isn't on the internet, Santa won't be bringing it on his slay.

Is it the Christmas season? Who knows. No time to buy a tree yet. And sadly no playing of Christmas music....which is the highlight of the holiday for me.

No sooner do I exhale then I'll be jumping into a car for my 20th anniversary ride down to Maryland and North Carolina for Christmas.

The other day I saw groups of people in Santa outfits roaming downtown going from bar to bar. It's an annual ritual and a pleasant spectacle to behold.

One gang of Santas was wearing kilts instead of red pants and black boots. That particular gang was hanging out with someone in a big Easter Bunny outfit.

Brian and I came out of a party on the lower east side at about 1 a.m. and encountered a good many santas who had been drinking for hours. Luckily no barfing Santas!

Sunday, December 02, 2007


After a very long week, I convinced Brian and Ben to have dinner at Christine's Friday night. It felt like seventh heaven. I love that place. It's one of my last East Village cozy places still standing.

Christine's sells mostly diner food with specialty Polish dishes. I ordered sauerkraut pirogies and kielbasa. I recognized the wife of the couple at the next table. She works at the pirogi shop a few blocks down the street. Lots of unfancy people enjoying their dinners.

It felt as nice as Thanksgiving.

Speaking of which....we had a wonderful time celebrating the holiday up in Phoenicia, New York - - a poor cousin to its neighbor Woodstock (15 minutes away). The weather was mild enough for us to go hiking in the mountains surrounding the farm house we stayed in with my brother. It was a beautiful, run down true farm house - no fancy stove, no high tech stereo system, etc. The house sits on the edge of a huge stream with the foot of a mountain beginning across the water. You could hear the stream through the closed windows....beautiful, peaceful music.

I brined a turkey and we cooked up a feast while listening to WAMC - North Country Radio. I listened to a Bob Dylan documentary, Alice's Restaurant , a James Taylor performance up in Stockbridge and lots of great local shows. Come to think of it. That felt like seventh heaven too.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Proceed with Caution

My younger sister is learning to drive after all these years.

I'm really proud of her because it's always been a challenge she was reluctant to take.

So she's taking lessons here in Manhattan. After two or three classes, they put her on the friggin' FDR Drive!!!! Then they drove through the South Bronx.

They say that fear can be a great motivator.

My younger sister on the FDR Drive is like teaching Janis Joplin to drive during a NASCAR event.

But hell, she's still alive and so everyone else.

Go Speed Racer!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

May the Force be With You

Ben and I were talking about the problem the Catholic Church is having recruiting men to the priesthood.

He started to chuckle to himself and said "Maybe in the future they'll develop robot priests who can marry people."

Now that's something I'd like to stick around for.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Veteran's Day

the CBS five-month study found that vets were "more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 as non-vets." Chillingly, though the Veterans Affairs Department estimates that "some 5,000 ex-servicemen and women will commit suicide this year,' that's a lowball estimate. Said Keteyian: "Our numbers are much higher than that, overall."

Update, 5:30pm: CBS has just released some of those numbers: "At least 120 Americans who served in the U.S. military killed themselves per week in 2005, CBS News learned in a five-month investigation into veteran suicides. That's 6,256 veteran suicides in one year, in 45 states."

- I'm not very good at statistics but do those numbers mean that more vets return home from war and commit suicide than have died in the war each year?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Good Night Sweetheart

The working mom gig is presently in overdrive. Sorry for being out of touch so long.

Tomorrow morning I leave for a business trip for three days.
I just kissed my son good night and told him I'd miss him.

How many moms and dads in the military have done that - will do that? Are having to do that more than once? What about the single parents who are saying goodbye to their kids and leaving them with whoever they can after signing up for the National Guard?

Do people give a fuck about this war and the toll it is taking on these children? Not to mention the children of Iraq?

Monday, October 29, 2007


RED SOX ARE #1!!!!!





Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cool Poem

Poem: "35/10" by Sharon Olds, from Strike Sparks: Selected Poems 1980–2002. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2004.


Brushing out our daughter's brown
silken hair before the mirror
I see the grey gleaming on my head,
the silver-haired servant behind her. Why is it
just as we begin to go
they begin to arrive, the fold in my neck
clarifying as the fine bones of her
hips sharpen? As my skin shows
its dry pitting, she opens like a moist
precise flower on the tip of a cactus;
as my last chances to bear a child
are falling through my body, the duds among them,
her full purse of eggs, round and
firm as hard-boiled yolks, is about
to snap its clasp. I brush her tangled
fragrant hair at bedtime. It's an old
story—the oldest we have on our planet—
the story of replacement.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I've always felt that advertising copywriters are the bottom feeders of our society but I must admit to being a bit moved by the Liberty Mutual "personal responsiblity" ad campaign that they keep running over and over again during the ball game.

I don't know...maybe I'm just cracking under the pressure of the World Series.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


If I read one more article asking the public "has New York City lost it's soul?!", I will most definitely puke.

Where was the glare of the media spotlight for the last several years while unbridled gentrification efforts drove out just about any bohemian/working class/old immigrant/edginess left in the East Village?

My family has been in the East Village for five generations. I'm not naive to all the ups and downs this neighborhood had faced. But it always had a creative soul....until now. It's gone and it's unbelievable to me. Ann Magnuson once said that the East Village was becoming a theme park for the privileged. It's true. How sad.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Red Sox Nation

Red Sox 3 / Indians 2 bottom of the 6th.

How many post seasons can this little family of mine take? It's getting a bit frightening.

Ben is getting older and louder. Brian had made a radical break from his WASPY demeanor with cheers and jeers going off the testosterone charts as each inning progresses.

Without prior discussion with yours truly, Ben informed me that his father now allows him to use the word "asshole" when referring to the opposing team in post season Red Sox Games.

I don't have the energy to challenge male tribal rituals. I'm sure Margaret Mead would agree.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Something else happened when I lost my bag with all my ID and important stuff in it.

As I was hurriedly peeking into every friggin' garbage can from Tompkins Square Park to Cheyenne Wyoming searching for my stuff, a weird realization came over me that made me pause - if only for a few precious minutes.

Now that my wallet, keys and phone were all gone - I was without formal proof of my identity - or at least it felt that way for a moment.

A profound feeling of relief swept over me.

I didn't have to be who I am anymore. I could just say fuck it and start again with a new name and any other new things I could think of.

I could have a karmic do-over.

Remember do-overs when you were a kid? How wasted they are on youth!!! Somehow the prospect of wiping the slate clean made me feel expansive and liberated.

Then I got it all back. And life went on as planned.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lost and Found

Over a week ago I lost my bag.

It was Sunday and I was going to the gym. My bike is not in the city so I used a spare that didn't have any baskets in the back like my trusty cheap old girly red bike does.

So I took a bungy cord and wrapped it around my gym bag and onto the bike rat trap. I optimistically left the building and about three minutes and ten blocks away from my house, I realized my bag had fallen off my bike.

My heart stopped as I frantically rode back home retracing my steps. It's a miracle I didn't get killed riding into oncoming traffic as I barely took my eyes off the ground. Alas, the bungy cord was in front of my building which meant that the bag fell off the minute I left.

Brian and Ben were playing catch in Tompkins Square Park. They keyed me into the apartment and the canceling of debit and credit cards began. I was more terrified at the prospect that I also lost my keys together with all my ID - extending a generous invitation to be robbed at a later date.

I didn't care as much about the IPOD, the cell phone, the two monthly metrocards, and the cash.

I just wanted my keys, my ID and my loyal and good hearted red wallet. It was a purchase I made at a street fair at Astor Place.....after I got robbed in the Columbia University area after my second day at work three years ago.....also in October.

It's funny what really matters to you.

Well, I sat on my bed, drenched in sweat and despair and burst into tears....and I do mean burst. I cried like a school girl. Ben looked frightened at first, then came over and wrapped his arms around me. In his nine years, he'd never seen me fall apart before. I apologized for freaking him out and explained why I was freaking out.

"Mom. It might be a good idea not to put everything important into your wallet."

Sage advice.

I gained my composure ,went outside and started checking all the garbage cans in Tompkins Square Park, figuring that anyone who took my bag wouldn't be too keen on marching around town with "Barnard - Women in Leadership Conference" emblazoned on their knapsack.

One hour later someone rang our bell and announced "I've got an ID for you". Some guy from the park staff across the street handed my husband my ID and basically took off, insisting that they didn't find anything else. Thirty minutes later, he rang the doorbell again. This time I went down to speak with him. He said they did have my bag and that he'd take me to pick it up at the office in the park.

So I got my bag back and trust me folks, in New York that is nothing short of a miracle.
Apparently it was left hooked to a fence sans IPOD, phone, cash...etc.

I was just glad to be reunited with the stuff I cared about most.

Let's face it. That cell phone was a dead end relationship from the start.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Net Flix

I LOVE Net Flix.

Some stuff I've rented and loved

Waiting for Guffman (Seen it before but still love it)

Garden State

Blades of Glory (Will Farrell and my husband are soulmates)

And after much encouragement from fellow bloggers, I will rent St. Elmo's Fire if only to pay tribute to Demi Moore's outfits and hairstyles.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


The other day I stayed home from work with a fever and bronchitis.

Of course my cold doesn't stop the world from turning and since I live in the city that never sleeps I got to stay home and do five loads of laundry. I then had to pick up my son from school and walk over to Pier 40 on the west side highway where he has his baseball afterschool session.

There's nothing like having a fever in 90 degree heat with no voice or breathing capacity. And like all devoted 9 year old boys, my son couldn't give a shit. As long as the old broad shows up with a sports bar and a Gatorade - life is as it should be.

So I sat there baking in the afternoon sun like any other masochistic over compensating mom with a high pressure career would. After a point even the nannies started taking off for some shade and water.

I wandered down Washington Street and found a dunkin donuts on the first floor of a carpenter's union building - talk about excellent product placement. The store must be making money hand over fist. I sat there for 10 minutes in the glorious air conditioning listening to the theme of St. Elmo's Fire blasting out of the sound system. I must have been near the end of my rope because I actually became nostaligic for the 80's....which was actually a great decade for me. It's just that St. Elmo's Fire had nothing remotely to do with it.

I resigned myself to return to the Sahara like sports complex I escaped from and and began walking behind a lively young woman in beautiful athletic gear. She had the word STRIVE tattooed across the back of her neck in all caps. I stood behind her waiting for the light that would deliver her to the bike/running path along the Hudson River and me to another thirty minutes in the blinding sun.

Here she was. A young hopeful twentysomething - inspiring the world with one word. STRIVE. All I could think of was - what happens if she runs into a jag in her life (like we all do) when we sit on our asses and deconstruct after the loss of a job, a relationship, a family member, or a dream?

What happens when she doesn't live up to the back of her neck and it shows? What if she became a heroin addict or an anorexic?

I've decided that if I have a tattoo placed on the back of my neck it will either say:




Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Bitch is Back

I've been totally out of the blog mode for the last few weeks. My life is seriously insane. I just need to get into a routine and things will be cool again.

The original title of this post was supposed to be "Fuck My Fucking Cellphone". My beautiful, nice, low key cellphone died a few months ago. I replaced it not knowing that I could keep my old number.

It's been chaos ever since. This new rogue phone of mine has a terrible number that I just can't embrace. I'm an 8 girl. I've always been an 8 girl and this new phone number is a friggin tribute to the number 7.

7 is just so nowhere with me. I refuse to memorize this new number. It's like I'm dating down with this number and I just don't want to invest the time.

But I'm not dating down. It's more like I have an arranged marriage with this new phone number and there is no getting out of it. I have a bloody mental block against my cellphone number! Insane.

And to boot, my new phone can take photos (who cares) but it has NO icon to tell me when I have messages SO I never check my messages until it is toooooo late. Friends look at me oddly because I never refer to their calls. One of my closest friends lives in L.A. The phone plays a critical part in our relationship. He just told me I could basically F Off for not returning his calls in the last two months.

This is NOT good.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What? Me Worry?!

I need to do all this stuff at once

1. Get to cruise control with a big fat promotion and the huge fundraising responsibilities that go with it.

2. Find a new home in a foreign non east village place.

3. Find a new school for Ben maybe in NYC maybe not depending where we live so I have to apply out to four distinctly different schools.

4. Get all our finances in order....and I use that term loosely.

5. Have total responsibility for school drop offs and pick up (for the first time in seven years).

Welcome to the hell that is my life right now. Now you know why my blogging has slowed down to a halt.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


It's been six years. And each year as it approaches I wonder if this will be the year that I don't feel the tears welling up in my eyes the night before.

I was so happy that it was raining and gray out this time around because it was so spectacularly sunny and beautiful in 2001.

I'm lucky to have an office with an expansive window facing the mammoth Riverside Church - a beautiful landmark along Riverside Drive by West 120th. They rang the bells to commemorate when each building collapsed (around 10 am). I was so thankful to them for not forgetting or putting it behind them like so many New Yorkers have (because they must).

In the morning I was listening to WNYC discuss 9/11 - what small events were planned, coupled with a few brief interviews. My son Ben kept on shutting off the radio - which was really odd. Then I asked why and he said "mom, I don't want to hear about 9/11 anymore, it's in my life everyday." So we turned off the radio for good.

9/11 had a terrible impact on Ben. He was almost 4 and stood on the roof with us as the second plane crashed and the first tower fell and chaos began. He watched his parents freaking out and started crying and hitting the television when it showed the second tower crumbling - and sensed his parents confusion and fear. For months afterwards he crashed his planes into his building blocks and drew pictures of the towers falling. It was very hard on him.

He must have overheard some of our conversations with concerned parents and friends about whether to get out of the city (we refused to), what the hell the white dust was covering our windows, the terror of the anthrax scare that killed someone on the subway and the neighborhood plastered with pictures and flyers of lost loved ones, having to wear surgical masks for two weeks because the air was unbreathable and having to show an I.D. to get to our homes below 14th street. And all of the firemen and emergency workers driving up and down the empty avenues digging up the dead in the debris. Now they are dying and begging the government to recognize their illnesses. A fine thank you.

I know I'm going on and on. It's gone. But the scar is permanent.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Coney Island Cyclone(s)

So, where were you on Labor Day? I'll tell you where I was.

First I was here watching the Brooklyn Cyclones beat the Staten Island Yankees.

I MORTIFIED my son by bringing carrot and celery sticks with us...can't help's the Alice Waters in me! He chomped on them discreetly but was almost certain that someone in the park would find me out and make a citizen's arrest. He literally forced me to cover the veggies with my hands for fear of being discovered.

Then I was here with Ben as we watching Brian practicing his own brand of therapy:

I love watching my husband on the Cyclone. He's so liberated and thrilled to be there. I love watching everyone on the Cyclone. I guess it's my brand of porn. I love watching people being absolutely thrilled and out of control.

Brian insisted that I have to join him on this plunging colossus for his birthday. I used to LOVE rollercoasters but after a wicked bad middle ear infection followed by a severe case of vertigo, I put rollercoaster rides right up there with pelvic exams. Looks like I'll be saddling up for both this fall!


Glad to hear the Coney Island will be open for the next few least that's what I understand from the news.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The 2007 Howl Festival

One of the last relics of the East Village that somehow managed to survive gentrification.

But where is Wigstock 2007 to go with it?!!

It's like a eating a cupcake without the frosting.'s like a eating a cupcake without your six inch heels, false eye lashes, sequined miniskirt and Dusty Springfield wig on.

Lady Bunny....say it ain't so!

For more info on the HOWL Festival click:


Friday, August 31, 2007

The Cake that Dare Not Speak Its Name

My birthday is on August 28th. My brother Mike's birthday is on August 11th.

We are definitely two people who NEVER treat our birthdays as "just any other day".
For his 40th birthday this year, he and his boyfriend traveled through Guatemala, Belize and part of Peru (cut short by a bit of an earthquake that killed several hundred people).

My brother travels all over the world all the time for work. For fun he likes to travel through developing countries, especially the ones prone to terrorist alerts and natural disasters. He spent most of this last vacation traveling through jungles, climbing Mayan ruins and meeting assorted mountain mystics. He saw huge snakes, tons of monkeys and slept in the jungle at night with all of the loud jungle sounds blasting through his hut window.

Me? Well I went to Cape Cod and tried to channel Edna Saint Vincent Millay between swimming, biking and eating ice cream cones.

The point is that my brother returned and asked that I bake him a birthday cake - since we were both away on the sacred date.

He wanted a coconut cake. AND IT HAD TO BE MOIST. And bits of fresh pineapple in the cake would be nice because he enjoyed eating that in Guatemala....when he wasn't stepping on frogs the size of chickens in the rain forest.

So I baked him a cake last night - angel food. And made the coconut frosting to go with it.
I was tired and feeling sad about not being super excited to move somewhere that is not here.
I felt my best vibes were not going through that cake.

When it was done I showed it to my husband and announced that it sucked. It was not as picture perfect as I wanted it to be. Sometimes when I'm bummed out by something I cook, I immediately chuck it.

The cake was on the fence. It could go either way. Brian knew it and demanded that the cake be allowed to live out its natural life.

This afternoon on my way home from work I bought some individual coconut cakes from Black Hound (a FABULOUS bakery on 1st Ave between 10th and 11th). I presented Mike with the three perfect mini cakes and my snowball explosion cake as evidence that I did indeed try to fulfill his wish. He and his boyfriend cast the gourmet cakes to the side and dove into my coconut cake. They loved it.

But boys love coconut cake no matter what. A fact I've noted throughout my life.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

OK I admit it....

It's my birthday.

And there's a lunar eclipse that is blowing everyone's socks off today.

Something about this day brings me back to eight year old Ellen every time.

Makes me smile.

Which is why I never work on my birthday.

It's against the law for eight year olds to work.

Unless it's at a lemonade stand.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sweet Summer

Our three weeks in Truro will come to a close tomorrow morning.

Today's forecast was overcast - - which always translates to warm and sunny. Spent the morning at Longnook Beach. After lunch, we had a quick glimpse of the Red Sox game and a trip to the beloved Wellfleet library before heading out to the bay.

Saki joined us as we stayed on the beach until sunset.

The end of my sacred vacations up here always bring on a sudden sense of grief - - that feeling before losing or letting go of someone/thing precious. My senses become so acute - wanting desperately to absorb the salty sea air. the firey sunset, the beautiful water and all of the sounds of summer.

I spent the late afternoon sitting on the shore reading poetry. Brian and Ben swam and played in the water as the sun was hitting the horizon. It was an exquisite farewell for us.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Gentle Reminder

Last week over 500 Iraqi Yezidis were murdered in a refugee camp area by savage terrorist efforts.

500 people.

Out of respect for these lives, please take a moment to read this article.

And pray for peace.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

By the Sea

Away until the end of August with very little internet access (to my surprise). Probably a good thing.

Need to keep my head periodically dunked in cold salt water between reading, writing and bike riding.


Stay well until I get back.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Crazy Hot

Is it just that my life is so crazy right now that I'm noticing the abundance of mentally ill homeless wandering the East Village and Tompkins Square Park?

Many of them are dehydrated and disheveled. Right here in the financial center of the world.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Go Fetch

Day Five in Captivity

We are winding down our dog sitting bender for my in-laws in Annapolis.

Seven months ago, they were encouraged by my step mother-in- law's grandchildren to take on a puppy born at a farm in rural MO - near the farms of my in-laws and relatives through marriage.

Long story short. This dog is huge, stupid and totally out of control. It appears to be part pit bull, part lab, part crystal meth addict.

It chews everything in sight and is constantly threatening our dog Saki, trying to snap at us and bite our feet.

This dog is not east coast material. It needs to be shipped to Branson, Missouri.

I've also come to believe that in a past life the state of Maryland was the color beige.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dusk in the City

I love this time of day.

I just took my very stubborn dog Saki for a walk. We went down to Two Boots to return and rent a video. I must have chatted with six people on my trip- didn't know any of them - just friendly chatter. Saki is white, fluffy and plump - a real ice breaker in this neighborhood.

The weather is perfect with a light drizzle that comes and goes. Perfect weather to walk in at dusk. Tompkins Square Park is filled with beautiful blooming flowers of all kinds. Come and check it out if you're nearby. It was so peaceful and green in park.

God gave me a perfect evening and this time around I had my eyes open to see it.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I don't usually notice when yet another small eatery opens up on Avenue A but I have to confess to really liking one that opened up very close by.

The place is called Mamani and it's located between 9th and 10th on Avenue A.

The menu is authentic Persian homestyle cooking and your usual take out American fare. They have an extensive menu with something for just about everyone, including kids, vegetarians, people looking for ethnic cuisine or just a quick sandwich, burger, falafel, etc. They also make their own pita bread.

It's a family owned and family run. Check it out if you have a chance.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Take a Tip From Eleanor

Last night my son slept at my parent's house. It was nice to goof off with my husband all night and to sleep as long as we could the next day.

In the morning, we decided to go up to the Whitney to see the show on the Summer of Love/Art of the Psychedelic Era. It was great. Great show. Works challenging traditional perceptions and cultural mores of the time abounded. The messages came wrapped in naked bodies amidst wild flowers, psychedelic music, and installations involving electronic light shows of all kinds. Beautiful colors everywhere.

I liked it. But I wonder how I would have fared during that time, especially the invitation to unearth yourself, to remove the obstacles that prevented you from enlightenment, a weightless voyage into your mind and your soul via hallucinogenic drugs.

It's all I can do to keep my two feet on the ground.

The way my mind works, dropping acid would be redundant - and extremely dangerous. My many drug using friends would become absolutely Mormon when someone tried to insist that I smoke or swallow something. Before I could politely decline - they intervened faster than an AA sponsor - even when they were stoned - which always impressed and amazed me.

There weren't many female artists represented at the exhibit...if any...another sign of those times.

Come to think of it - I would have definitely burned my bra. I would do it now if I had a match.

But this is not the point of my post. I've been thinking about Eleanor Roosevelt lately - and her encouraging words to do those things we think we cannot do - those things that scare us and challenge us to the core.

That said. I took a ride on my husband's Yamaha all the way uptown. I normally avoid riding on the back of Brian's bike. I'm afraid of what might happen. My son has been riding on it for years - daily - to school and back.

So I hopped on and tried to act very nonchalant about it. Brian was really happy because he loves riding. I kept my eyes closed for the first ten blocks up First Avenue then I started looking around and thought "Fuck it - just enjoy yourself. Who cares? If I go, I go."

We went up to 76th and Madison (to the Whitney) then returned on Park Avenue where we rode through the winding Grand Central passage. It was awesome to experience New York this way - especially the architecture. The towering buildings blow your mind along with the rows of beautiful brownstones and boutiques and grungy places too.

It was cool. And it made me feel good. A little more fearless. A little more alive.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Thank God!!!

My niece came out of her bone biopsy this morning. They removed a significant section of her tibia for analysis. The surgeon said that although the bone has a lesion, all tests this morning were coming up benign. The previous diagnosis was something called a false positive (hopefully I'm stating that correctly).

Folks, my family doesn't have this kind of luck.

I'm not sure what all of this means exactly but it sounds like she will be okay. Whatever this tumor is about (and its damage to the bone) seems to be a serious issue that will have to involve further surgery and monitoring - but it's benign.

My Irish Catholic side makes me far too cautious about good luck to shout for joy.

But I'm shouting on the inside.

Thank you for keeping her in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Don't thank me. Thank the Colonel.

I spent five minutes in utter confusion talking to my son the other night. He kept on asking his dad to make Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Fried Chicken is treated as a religious ritual in our house. The recipe Brian uses is from his beloved late Grandma Mae of Southern Illinois. Its sacred value comes in just below breastfeeding a newborn.

There are no buckets o'chicken in this house.

I finally realized that Ben thinks the proper term for homemade fried chicken IS Kentucky Fried Chicken. I haven't corrected him yet...I could use the laugh these days.

Jesus. Maybe he thinks I'm Betty Crocker?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Thoughts on the Hamptons...

I hate the Hamptons and do everything in my power to avoid going there. Unfortunately, a trip out at least twice a summer is unavoidable due to lovable, well meaning friends who beckon us with open ended offers and puppy dog eyes.

We visit but never sleep there.

I love the ocean. Brian's love of the ocean probably rivals his love for me (truth be told, I probably come in a close fourth behind Ben, the ocean and music...but before the Red Sox - I hope).

So instead of going bike riding on some remote bike trail upstate this morning, I will be joining my comrades on the Long Island Expressway followed by the Montauk Highway to spend what is left of the day sitting by chlorine water.

Did you know that people in the Hamptons don't usually swim in the ocean? I find it extraordinary. It feels like I'm going to a souped up New York suburb but everyone has a bathing suit on.

I'm much more the Edna St. Vincent Millay type. Stick me in a shack high above Longnook Beach on the Cape with some books and my bike. Then go away and let me melt into the landscape for three weeks.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Miracle of Womanhood, Part II

I wound down the first day of my period by telling my family in no uncertain terms that "EVERYTHING HAS TO CHANGE!" and that I'm a bit sick "OF BEING TAKEN FOR GRANTED" and then put my beloved husband on "RED ALERT".

No one seemed too surprised when I stormed out the house at 9 p.m. to go "DO SOMETHING FOR MYSELF FOR A CHANGE!"

God then took me by the hand and sat me down at the Sunshine Theater on Houston Street where I saw the film Paris Je T'aime.

It was beautifully done. Please go see it. You'll feel much better.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Miracle of Womanhood

I'm going to be 45 years old in a month.

Should I be getting sentimental over that the fact that I'm still a fucking bitch the first day of my period?

Which, I think you may have guessed by now, is today.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I was able to stand at 9th Street and 5th Avenue to take in a bit of NYC's Pride March - Unity in Equality 2007. It couldn't have been a more beautiful day. The Grand Marshals were a female rabbi of the country's largest jewish gay congregation and a male bishop affiliated to the christian organization Dignity. Religous groups played a prominent role, including St. Luke in the Fields - my episcopal church!

Earlier in the day at about 8 a.m., I rode my bike west on 9th street and crossed 5th Avenue en route to Pier 40 and my son's little league game. It was still very quiet downtown, with few cars and even fewer people. There was a freshly painted lavender line going down the center of 5th Avenue. Guard rails were not yet in place. I thought about how wonderful it must be to see the beginning of the parade coming from uptown with all its colors, music, costumes and people. I must be getting old because I almost started to cry.

I rode a bit further west where 9th street turns into Christopher Street. The guard rails were all in place. Older gay/straight people were already unfolding their beach chairs positioning themselves in orchestra seats in preparation for the parade three hours later. The Stonewall Bar was quiet, a place I walk by every morning.

It was nice to be alone and to have this time to soak in the specialness of this great day. My heart was filled with emotions that took me back to 1982. At that time, I lived in Cambridge with my best friend Joe. I had a longtime girlfriend and he had lots of boyfriends. We went to Beacon Street to watch a bit of the gay pride march - we'd never seen one before and felt curious about it. Neither one of us was at all political about our identities at that point in time.

In 1982 - the Boston Gay Pride March (if it was even called that back then) wasn't so much a feel good event as a march for equal rights to exist event. Many of the spectators looked on in curiousity or disgust. I stood on the sidewalk taking in this convergence of courage, disgust, celebration, fear, humor and beauty.

Joe and I were there solely as spectators....until someone standing behind me said "look at these freaks passing by - they're disgusting." I looked over at Joe - he looked sad - very sad. That's all it took to get my shanty Irish blood up to a boiling point. I took a deep breath and grabbed his arm. He said "Where are we going?" I looked straight ahead and said "Out there where we belong."

We just plunged in! Both of us 20 years old and totally terrified that we'd be burned at the stake somewhere on this march to an unknown destination. I remember that by pure luck we fell in line behind a bunch of women holding a banner that read "Nice Jewish Girls For Gays!"

That day changed my life. And I finally understood down to my very bones that the personal is political. A few years later, I helped lead a rally into the Boston State House in support of the Gay Rights Bill (it took several years to pass). A conservative legislator came out of his office shouting insults - I led a chant and pointed at him saying "the whole world is watching!" Hundreds of voices came together and repeated these words.

The Boston Herald and Boston Globe were there taking pictures. And although I led the chant, I was edited out of each photo. My friends and I always thought it was because I looked like a nice Irish girl with a gold cross prominently placed across my sweater. An image that wouldn't have played well in Boston.

Wow. That was 25 years ago. How wonderful to see all these religous groups head up the parade in loving celebration and support of equal opportunity for human dignity.

What would Jesus do? He'd march or maybe dance on a float that had a lot of multicolored balloons on it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Key Food on Avenue A Rocks

It's funny where you experience enlightenment. God doesn't have preferences.

Last night Brian and I were walking Saki together. Ben was sleeping over at a relative's house, leaving us in a rare and temporary state of childlessness.

Brian wanted to get ice cream and suggested ducking into Key Food instead of spending more money at a bodega or yuppie ice cream shop.

I ducked into the Key Food on Avenue A and looked around at the shabby decor and its half baked attempt at marketing new food products with uneven pyramids and a confused cornucopia of fading fruits and vegetables.

The wonderful array of Key Food customers glided by me - a distilled group reduced by the likes of Whole Foods on Houston Street and Associated on 14th Street.

Everyone had their own thing going on - all walks of life - it was the end of a working day and people looked at bit tired and run down. This hodge podge loserville - people so far out of the box that they don't even know where the box just filled me with such bliss and peace. These are my people -- the neighborhood I grew up in that informs me to the core. A place to be whoever you want....because anything goes. A brief peak at what use to be the norm here.

This feeling of love and appreciation just flooded me. A feeling I'd taken for granted for many years.

The teenager at the cash register rang my ice cream up and with a very somber face looked up at me and said, "Two for one."

She needed to repeat it three times for me to understand that you get one quart of Breyers ice cream free with each one purchased. I was so psyched that she started laughing. I just didn't see it coming!

My husband is a thrifty WASP -- and you should have seen the look of righteousness on his face when I delivered the goods.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


I've been holding back on this issue for some time now, but after three solid hours shopping in Soho with my beloved Icelandic niece....the question must be posed

Hey New York City!

Could you girls please get your titties out of my face!!??

Everyone's boobs are hanging out everywhere I go - uptown, downtown, like never before.
Everybody and their mother is wearing spaghetti straps, strapless or plunging V necks with a friggin' push up - push out bra - or just letting their jugs of any size fall out of their dresses and tops.

I don't find it offensive but I do feel that if you shove your boobies in my face I have every right to stare at them - something I usually don't do.

What is the protocol here folks?!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Neither More Nor Less - Bob Arihood

I followed my blog friend Michael's (One Foot in Front of the Other - see link on the right) advice and checked out the blog Neither More Nor Less (also linked on the right).

The blog just blew my mind. It made we want to cry at some points. He had pictures of a mass at Mary Help the Christians Catholic Church - where my uncle was a priest for years. He showed pictures of a torn up St. Brigid's Church engaged in a battle with developers to somehow gain landmark status in its final hours.

He even knows who Hotdog is!!! How in the world does he know her!? Of course he knows the Mosaic Man - but Hotdog - that is just a whole other level of knowingness.

There was a guy who basically lived on our stoop for years. We called him "Married with Food Stamps". Every time one of us gals would walk out of the building, he'd come out of his haze, compliment us and say "Marry me...I have food stamps!!"

This guy even knows that Bernard Goetz has been active in animal rescue at Tompkin's Square Park.

I'm surprised he doesn't take pictures of all the Yemen guys who work at the bodega near my building on A. They are such a big part of the world here - and I love them!

It's been a very long time since I've felt sad about leaving my bought out neighborhood - - but he got me there.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Stay out of my kitchen

I've been doing a lot of thinking about my son Ben's diet. He's nine but is tall, solid and looks a year older than he is.

He also has a little tummy but I figure that has to do with the onset of adolescence and some parts of his body growing faster than others.

What bugs me in the last year or so is the shift in his food tastes. I've been too careless about his relationship to sugar - and now I think it's a problem. We don't drink soda or have sweets in the house - - but sugar has a way of sneaking its way into the ingredients of just about everything you buy outside of organic fruits, vegetables and meats.

We eat breakfast and dinner together as a family and I make everyone's lunch. I think it's important to eat together and to put love and care into the food your family eats. It keeps us feeling close and on the same wave length with each other.

Avoiding the sugar infused products of the food industry isn't easy - but I have to take it on. I truly believe American food culture and the industry/advertising behind it is killing us.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


This is a petty observation but I've just got to flame about it.

The world is divided into two types of people; the people who say "hi" first and the people who don't.

I've spent my life always saying hi to someone the minute I recognize them. I can't help it.

Today I bumped into a dad at my son's baseball game. I don't know him well but he seems like a nice person. Every time we cross pathes I ALWAYS say hello first and then he immediately responds. I can tell he's just waiting for me to acknowledge him. Because this behavior confuses me, I try to keep our exchanges pleasant and brief.

Being a "hi" first person isn't always as easy at it looks. Maybe it's wiser to be more reserved - then you're not vulnerable. Unfortunately, that's not a world I can live in. It would make me too depressed to start screening people at this point in my life.

So I guess I'll just keep saying it.


Friday, June 01, 2007


as David Bowie would kind of say.

My husband just got offered a faculty position at a school about 90 minutes away from NYC - in Connecticut.

For one day we were scared and argued a bit.

Even though this decision dictates a host of significant changes in our lives, somehow, after the initial fear passed, I was glad that something came along that forced our hand.

My biggest fear/problem is feeling stagnant. It drives me mad. I'm not afraid of change most of the time - as long as it's creative or thoughtfully approached.

Stay tuned.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend

I had a pretty nice weekend and started this post ready to give you the play by play of all we did.

My son stands in front of me as I write, watching his Ken Burn's Baseball documentary for the thousandth time while swinging his bat at an invisible pitch - smacking it out of the park.

And it's hitting me like a wave right now that some mother's precious son or daughter is not standing in front of them today. Because they are dead...casualities of war. Maybe it was last month, last year, in Korea, Vietman, the Pacific, the Battle of the Bulge or friendly fire in the desert. The breathless moment when their world came to an end can be buried but memory is a harsh wind capable of unearthing whatever comes in its path.

I'm humbled by their grief. My stories can wait for another day.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Cool It!

I am in desperate need to get my air conditioner jammed into my window...and fast. I just can't stand the urban heat and NOISE emanating from the sidewalks of my beloved Avenue.

On Wednesday I am going to look at spaces to live in Jackson Heights. Frankly, I have no idea what I'm doing but I must start somewhere. My 450 square foot apartment is beginning to feel like a coffin...a cluttered coffin with a west highland terrier jumping in and out of it.

We will also need to look north of the city where there might be some worn down cottage with our name on it.

My Kingdom for an installed air conditioner! Any takers!?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Day of Mommyness

My special day of Mommyness began with a painfully early morning little league game, followed by a very relaxing picnic at the Hudson River Park.

It was a beautiful day in New York. The city blocks west of Hudson Street were surprisingly peaceful and I somehow managed to be acutely aware of the rare tranquility I found myself in.

I actually recall thinking "Oh my God. I'm living in the moment - how did this happen?"

My very wise and caring husband made sure to give me two swell books I've been wanting. One is the new biography of Alice Waters and life at Chez Panisse and the other is Julia Child's reflections on her years in France.

My gifts were presented to me in an ultra pink canvas Strand Bookstore bag coupled with a perfect mom's day card. You see, my husband appreciates that at my core I am a super girly girl. This recognition helps when I spend most of my time being a super bossy boss of lots of people and projects and money and blah, blah, blah.

Sometimes I just want to drive off in my Barbie camper....with my new pink book bag.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Pumpin' Up the Volume

The buildings next door just got purchased by a real estate company that is notorious for pushing people out of their apartments.

Ugh. This news is depressing. I guess this is the final stage of gentrification. The real estate scum bags driving old people, immigrants and regular working people out of their homes.

Manhattan has become a Disneyland for the uber wealthy of Wall Street and the world. The emerging art/counter culture communities are a thing of the past. I guess we're Los Angeles.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Up in Smoke

It's a beautiful sunny Saturday in New York City. We completed our rounds of baseball and bike riding with lots of time left over to enjoy the day.

There seems to be a rally to change the marijuana laws going on across the street at Tompkins Square Park. There is a respectable crowd in attendance - far from menacing. So why are there about seventy cops in and around the park?

I'm definitly in support of the legalization of marijuana for medical use. If you have ever been face to face with someone in the throes of chemo or AIDS medication - there is no way you could deny the comfort of cutting through the extreme and endless nausea they deal with.

When I was pregnant with Ben, I suffered from severe morning sickness for my entire term. Now there is a name for it - Hyperemesis Gravidarum - back then they basically told me to suck it up. I wonder how many men could throw up at least four times a day while holding down a full time job and a commute that includes a crosstown bus and a twenty minute subway ride while their tummies are expanding into solid basketballs?

One day I was walking towards Avenue A and someone in front of me must have been discreetly smoking a joint. I somehow inhaled the second hand smoke and for a shining moment - I wasn't sick. I almost started to cry because it was such a relief.
Of course marijuana is no remedy for morning sickness - but I fully support its use for those poor souls dealing with chemo or AIDS medications.

Sadly, no acupuncturist or shiatsu practitioner would go near me for fear of liability issues.

Does my son appreciate any of this struggle? No way! I'm only as good as the last meal I cooked!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

None of Your Bee's Wax

Colony Collapse Disorder....apparently a whole lot of bees are dropping dead in the United States. If there aren't any bees to pollinate fruit and vegetable plants we are screwed. Much to the surprise of many New Yorkers, we cannot live on diet coke and survive.

Some possible reasons for bees dropping dead - genetic engineering of plants, pesticides, other weird stuff that sucks.

The United States seems to be going to hell in a handbasket.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

And speaking of baseball

We all woke up at the horrific hour of 7 am today (on a Saturday - mama mia!) so that Brian and Ben could go to baseball practice by 8. Ben is playing in the Greenwich Village League this year so he can play with his friends from school. Until now he's always played in the East Village.

At Opening Day for Ben's team last week, I couldn't help noticing how few non- white kids were there. Maybe I'm not being fair - but it appeared that way.

Today after practice we headed back east and rode our bikes along the East River Park. It was a beautiful day today and the breeze off the East River felt good (if that's possible). The park is a long series of playing fields along the river with a broad walkway adjacent to the FDR Drive.

It was Opening Day for OLS (Our Lady of Sorrows Baseball League). There must have been over two hundred boys running around in their adorable little baseball uniforms.

The baseball fields are broken up by several small small soccer fields where guys of just about every nationality were going at it. How interesting it is to see soccer being played really well.

I love my neighborhood and wish it could stay this diverse - but it's not likely.

So where do we go from here?

Friday, April 20, 2007

My Weekend in a Nutshell

The Red Sox and playing the Yankees ALL weekend. My son and husband are already positioned in front of the television.

While I was making dinner, Ben declared "Mom - I'm eating in the living room because I'm not missing one minute of this game."

Eating in the living room is a big no-no in my book.

And yet I am powerless in this situation. No point fighting the inevitable.

Monday, April 16, 2007


I am horrified by the news of the shooting spree down at Virginia Tech. 33 dead. Jesus Christ. How is it possible that it happened in two parts? In the morning then two hours later? I guess we'll learn more as it happens.

I can only imagine the nightmare the parents of those dead kids are living in right now. It's all too much.

I'm not letting Ben out of his room until he's thirty. If you're not safe in the Virginia countryside then where are you safe?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

For reasons that I cannot explain, I am obsessed with the idea of making Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes. Just look at the picture! If that isn't proof of God - what is?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

East Village Church Bells

It's the evening before Easter and church bells are ringing all over the East least those churches that have not yet been converted into apartments.

If you stand in the courtyard of my building facing north, you see the back of a Russian Orthodox church. Half of the wall is made up of ornate stained glass panels with a bell tower on top. During evening mass (which is rare), you can stand in my courtyard and look up at the brilliant stained glass brought to life by warm lights behind it.

Those bells are ringing right now.

Down the street, at Most Holy Redeemer Church I can hear their bells ringing. My parents were married there 55 years ago. Both churches keep their doors locked unless mass is being celebrated.

My son was baptised by my uncle, a Salesian priest, at Mary Help the Christians Church on 12th Street - just a few blocks away. The inside of that church is beautiful. Figures of saints are encased high above your head in a semi circle around the church that ends on either side of the alter. I've heard that church will be closing soon.

These celebrations are coming to an end in this neighborhood.

East Village Church Bells

It's the evening before Easter and church bells are ringing all over the East least those churches that have not yet been converted into apartments.

If you stand in the courtyard of my building facing north, you see the back of a Russian Orthodox church. Half of the wall is made up of ornate stained glass panels with a bell tower on top. During evening mass (which is rare), you can stand in my courtyard and look up at the brilliant stained glass brought to life by warm lights behind it.

Those bells are ringing right now.

Down the street, at Most Holy Redeemer Church I can hear their bells ringing. My parents were married there 55 years ago. Both churches keep their doors locked unless mass is being celebrated.

My son was baptised by my uncle, a Salesian priest, at Mary Help the Christians Church on 12th Street - just a few blocks away. The inside of that church is beautiful. Figures of saints are encased high above your head in a semi circle around the church that ends on either side of the alter. I've heard that church will be closing soon.

These celebrations are coming to an end in this neighborhood.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

My 4 Year Old Nephew, Spider Man

Brian: Tommy, stand away from the TV. You don't want to get exposed to too much radiation.

Tommy: Don't worry Uncle Brian. I have radioactive blood.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Nails R' Us

Yesterday Ben and I walked up to 14th street to buy some baseball cards. It was a beautiful and unusually warm March afternoon. As we walked down Avenue A, I noted the grand opening of yet another nail salon.

How many nail salons can this neighborhood support? There must be one on every block. As a matter of fact, I live next store to one. At that particular nail salon, the nail drying machines are lined up along a bar counter at the front window. Women sit on stools and stare out at the pedestrians walking by. I can't tell you how disturbing this image is. Everyday I walk by this window and look over at the row of women - each of them daydreaming with a remote and forlorn look in their eyes. I've never seen them actually speak to each other - which I find odd. Where is Diane Arbus when you need her?!

I wish they would take their manicure money and

1. buy a book
2. buy a cd of great music
3. buy a movie ticket
4. buy a museum ticket
5. make any of the above purchases and give it to someone who can't afford them

Perhaps my reaction to nail painting is over the top. It just seems like yet another huge waste of time and money targeting women.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Beautiful Boy

About a month ago, a doctor suggested I send Ben to see a specialist about a blemish on his mid-back that seemed to be hard with the hint of something larger under it. We went to the specialist who then directed us to a surgeon. The surgeon confirmed that Ben either had a cyst or a tumor and that it needed to be removed and tested.

Until this point, Ben had never been to a hospital or emergency room other than the day he was born. He has never taken prescription drugs. He's almost nine. It never occurred to me how lucky we were.

I was with Ben during the surgical procedure - - we squeezed hands as the surgeon inserted a huge needle about three or four inches into his back (at an angle). The pain was intense followed by the anesthetic that burned until it numbed the area. I clenched his hand and stared into his eyes the whole time. He didn't cry or scream - - he sucked it up just like I have in those situations and braved it out. I saw a side of him I'd never known before. Perhaps it was new to him too. It was a trait we both share. I'm not sure what I think about that.

The biopsy report finally came through on Friday afternoon indicating no malignancy.
There are no words to describe the relief and thankfulness my husband and I feel right now. I am very aware that not all parents receive such news (as I witnessed during my first visit to the surgeon).

Of course Ben has no idea of what this week was all about. He's just indignant that the stitches across his back are preventing him from engaging in gym, recess kickball and BASEBALL. In his mind, this whole situation is an exercise in adult ineptitude. "Of course nothing is wrong with me Mommy! I could have told you without getting my back split open for crying out loud!"

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Saturday in the Park

Isn't this a cool photo? It was taken by Michael - you can see his work on One Foot in Front of the Other (check out my link list). His photos of the East Village are phenomenal! This shot is one of the many skateboarders who rule the blacktop area of Tompkins Square Park on weekend afternoons.

I spent three hours in the park yesterday quite unexpectedly. Ben's playdate managed to segue from one friend to a series of new ones. At one point an Egyptian dad was leading a pack of 7 and 8 year olds in a pick up game of soccer. It was a pleasure to watch someone so nimble and graceful with the ball.

I got to spend time with other moms who have lived here for years and who, like me, were living in very tight living quarters. It just felt so nice to be around friendly neighborhood moms. It's been a while since that's happened.

Ben couldn't have had a nicer day. And there was nowhere else I rather be. It felt good - like it was still home.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Erin Go Blaaaaahhhh.

I'm sitting here watching Visions of Ireland on WLIW Public TV. Just me and thousands of 80 year old Irish American's in the greater metro area.

Today is day four of the worst tummy virus I've had in ages. It's left me weak, depressed and extremely cranky.

Work is non stop and home life has its own worries lately.

I just want to cry.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Sleep is the New Sex

Sadly - this fact is true for many parents of children under 12.

A few weeks ago the NYTimes had an article on the "family bed" syndrome. It was such a relief for me to learn that Brian and I are not the only parents on the planet dealing with musical beds at night.

Sometimes I put Ben to bed after a long day at work. We cuddle together, I sing him a song and he falls fall asleep. Then at about 2am, I open my eyes and focus in on a fleet of WWI model airplanes. I drag myself into my bedroom where my husband (and dog) are fast asleep on our bed.

OUR BED....what does that even mean anymore!!! One day, Ben laughingly corrected me as he climbed beneath the covers and said "Mommy, it isn't YOUR bed, it's the FAMILY bed!"

The mere thought of going to sleep at 10:30 and experiencing eight solid hours of sleep ....well, it's just beyond the Holy Grail.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Nobody's Perfect

Sometimes I like to look things up in Wikipedia. Don't ask why. You can't trust it as a source.

But there's something about it, particularly the tone of the language and all of the ridiculous links that make me feel like I'm posing the question to the person next to me - - not really looking it up.

Sometimes I laugh at the editorial undertones - especially what is omitted - love that part the best. There's something about half-knowledge that seems very American to me. I'm sure Benjamin Franklin would have agreed.

Baseball, apple pie and Wikipedia.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tabla for Two

Brian and I celebrated our seventeenth anniversary (gulp) on Saturday, February 10th. It turned out to be one of the best ever. We made reservations earlier in the week for Tabla - a Danny Meyer's restaurant overlooking Madison Park (24th and Madison).

The ambiance was warm and inviting. The food was fabulous. Each dish I had was superb (try the tabla crab cake then move on to the tapioca crusted shrimp and scallops with braised fennel in a coconut curry - mama mia!). We had a split of champagne to start off the meal. Is there anything nicer to drink than champagne? Not for me folks! Dessert was great - I had a cranberry concoction with a little scoop of rosemary sorbet - and naturally Happy Anniversary was beautifully written across the top of the plate.

We asked for the check and the waitperson replied "M__ would like to wish you both a very happy anniversary with his compliments". My brother had called ahead and paid for the whole thing! He didn't want me to know beforehand because he knew I'd end up ordering a glass of water and piece of toast - if I knew he was paying.

That was pretty darn nice. And of course I immediately burst into tears of appreciation - leaving my waiterperson a bit speechless and Brian rolling his eyes at my corny bad-ass self.

We then returned home and got very silly for the rest of the my perpetually pregnant Italian Catholic mother would say.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Freak of Nature

After school yesterday, I took Ben to Tompkins Square Park so he could play with his friend before starting his homework.

It was Arctic out. My friend Claude and I did all we could to keep our circulation going while our sons frolicked about the playground as if the first day of spring had arrived.

Now I realize they were in constant motion so their bodies were heating up a bit but what I noticed more is that they were laughing and totally delighted to be playing with each other. Joy, not temperature, was the dominating factor here.

It's been a while since I've been so lost in a happy time that I didn't realize that I was freezing to death. That's life at it's best.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Ennio Morricone

Last night my husband and sister went to see Ennio Morricone, the extraordinary Italian soundtrack composer, perform at Radio City Music Hall. Despite a career that spands over 40 years, last night was Morricone's debut performance in the United States.

How cool for them to be seeing this musical legend during such an historical event!

Ennio Morricone has a singular gift for combining contemporary and classical musical forms into truly unforgettable soundtracks. Even in the spaghetti westerns he worked on, you can hear fine threads of Italian influence in the music.

I LOVE the song Providenza (which I'm sure I'm spelling wrong!). And if you've ever had the pleasure of seeing The Mission (Jeremy Irons/Robert DeNiro), Once Upon a Time in American or Cinema Paradiso (which I also LOVED) and found yourself bursting into tears like I did periodically through each film - - well you can thank Ennio Morricone for ripping your heart out of your chest - kissing it - and returning it safely back where it belongs.

My husband is a musician who writes and performs music beautifully. I'm so happy he had a chance to fuel his soul last night. My sister Elizabeth - - who loves all things Italian and studies the language and culture -- was super nice to invite him as her guest.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Temperature v. The Real Feel

Yesterday I rushed to pick up my son from his after school art class. It was dusk and the wind was wickedly cold. The chill didn't bother me because with ear muffs on, I can face down just about any winter weather.

I stood at the corner of 1st Avenue waiting for the light to change. The weirdest thought entered my mind. I get more comfort from my earmuffs than I ever have from my mother. An odd comparison but I'm not sure how wrong it is.

Maybe I should get her some nice earmuffs.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Thanks...but no thanks

The other day I was thinking about a screening device that I used during my single years. We all have certain tests that people need to pass to move up the relationship ladder and certainly this test was one of least for me. Oddly enough, it has to do with the British Invasion.

This is my British rock hierarchy:

1. The Beatles
2. The Kinks/The Who
3. The Rolling Stones

If someone liked the Rolling Stones more than the Beatles, it was clear that the relationship would not be going much further in my book - of course I never actually articulated that thought to my date- but it was a clear undisputed fact and a deal breaker.

I could never really have meaningful intimacy with someone who didn't understand the nuances that make the music of The Who and The Kinks so great. If I had to explain I was merely wasting time that could be spent with someone else.

My husband passed that test with flying colors on our second date, among many other quizes, exams and experiments!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Russian Turkish Baths

I am super cranky and depressed lately. Too much work and too much to worry about. They are raising tuition at my son's school and if I don't get financial aid this year - well - this will have to be the last year. $26,000 is getting a bit surreal in my book. I've spent over $115,000 in post tax dollars in the last five years. Jesus, think of all the subtle cosmetic surgery I could have had by now!

As it is, I can barely afford to spend $25 at the Russian and Turkish Baths around the corner from my house. I remember the first time my brother took me there. I was intimidated at the thought of wearing a towel or skimpy robe among strangers (men and women) fears were quickly dispelled. If your looking to meet Leonardo DiCaprio - he might be here - but he'll probably be sitting next to a big old Russian man who is sitting next to a big old Ukrainian woman who is sitting next to a model who is sitting next to the Polish guy who runs the video store who is sitting next to some cute gay guy who is sitting next to me.

One of the saunas is hotter than hell - a darkish colored room with a big furnace thing in it. You can sit on different level stairs - although sitting on the top stair would be like sitting on the surface of the sun (a quote from another visitor). They have large plastic buckets and a faucet so you can periodically pour freezing water over your smoldering head. Don't dare go in without a bottle of water! There is also a hot steam room, pool and regular type sauna room. You can also have a variety of old fashioned massages and scrubs if you so desire. I haven't taken that leap of faith yet. Back on the entrance floor you can help yourself to some traditional eastern European fare - at some table set up front. If John the Baptist lived today - he would probably work there. It's a great place to clear your mind. I especially like how people sit on the front stoop and smoke cigarettes with their robes on.

I better stop by soon.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

College Town

Last night we went to visit friends in Hoboken and took the Path home at around midnight. We got off at the West 9th Street stop and proceeded to search for a cab in vain.

It was drizzling out and I didn't have high hopes - but Ben was with us so we didn't give up. Why was I surprised to see the streets filled with college students everywhere? Both the East and West Village - wall to wall kiddies.

Are there more students? How can there be? Do they just look different so you can spot them? Maybe. Or are they venturing farther off from their dorms because it's safer? That's part of it. But it seems the demographics have changed. These kids are rich kids - with no trace of a counter culture among the group. Very well dressed young people going out to spend a good deal of money.

I know this cultural shift is old news. Just humor me while I try to catch up. Sigh.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I'm Contacting Human Rights Watch

....if the god dam car alarm outside my window doesn't stop in the next two minutes. I'm realizing that I haven't really had a good night's sleep in ages....seriously....ages.

I wish I could think of a quiet place to live around NY where the people are nice and creative (that might be too much to ask).

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Soho = Hell on Earth

Granted I never go there. Never went there. Didn't have the desire and certainly didn't have a reason to. It's a HUGE mall.

Only this mall is one floor with two narrow sidewalks. At one point Ben saw the huge Scholastic Store and exclaimed with some urgency "Mom, look! We can go in there for a while." - like we were seeking shelter from the shadow of a soon to be cresting tsunami. A tsunami of shopping people.

So why was I there? Well, I took Ben to the Museum of Cartoons and Comics. It's on the 4th floor at 594 Broadway. The whole musuem is basically a large room with a permanent collection on one side and an exhibit on the other. It was okay. Not well curated. Lots of illustrations and flat screens with cartoons from across the decades playing. It's a small space so it's hard to distinguish who is saying what from what t.v.

Of course that didn't stop Ben from sitting in front of an episode of teenage mutant ninja turtles and falling into a trance state. He mentioned how much he enjoyed watching "vintage cartoons" like that.

For the record. I totally missed the whole Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles era. Yet another cultural void I share with my son.

I think I want to move to Concord, Massachusetts and become a Transcendentalist.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year Y'All!

The holidays are finally over. No casualities! Just nice visits.

Christmas in North Carolina grows on you after a while. Even though we break it up with a day or two in Annapolis, the drive is still a long one with a little boy and chunky dog coming along for the ride. It amazes me each year how Ben never complains or freaks out. By the time we get to Sanford, North Carolina I'm ready to file for divorce. Brian says that exit is my official breaking point.

We brought back huge boxes filled with Brian's childhood train set and all the toy cars and trucks he kept so well taken care of. He pulled them out of his mom's attic and sorted through them for hours. When he looked up, he didn't even have to say it....

We're skipping the condo and coop world and looking for a house. Gulp.

On one level it feels good to finally have clarity on the situation. On the other hand it means a very different least it might mean that. But then - what neighborhood am I talking about?

On New Year's Eve, we walked home from a friends house down Avenue A. A really super french/dutch couple with wonderful kids around Ben's age. There was such a great mix of people - I don't want to lose that. As we walked home someone shouted out of a fancy SUV "Happy New Year Everyone, and I hope 2007 is a wonderful and productive year for each and every one of you!!!"

Granted - that's a lot nicer than saying "Bite my ass in 2007" - - but to have someone shout out an internal memo salutation on my street's a bit heartbreaking and sadly funny.

This place is changing. I'm changing too - though I loathe to admit it. But Jesus Christ - I'll never change that much!