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 them...at 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)...my 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 neighborhood....at 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 well....it'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!