Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Bitter and Sweet

2008 was a tough year for me.

My mettle was tested to the limit professionally. I came out of it stronger, wiser and recognized for my value. If we could only become wise without the struggle!

Cancer scares - some real, some mistaken. some battles won, some battles lost.

One brother's new union not recognized by law, one sister divorces.

A decision to move on from my little East Village apartment in 2009 in search of space, quiet and nature.

The economy collapses. In terms of my sisters and brothers, three out of five lost their jobs - an investment banker, a marketing research expert, a top magazine editor.

Then November came and the spirits that built this beautiful country came alive again.

We have tremendous challenges ahead and I look forward to being part of the solution.

Cheers to all of you! May the New Year bring you good health, courage and much laughter.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Missing Link

I woke up at 6 am to share a cup of coffee with my husband before he headed off to work.

As is his custom, I watched him jam whole slices of bacon into his mouth.

During my second cup of coffee, I sat across the table from my lovely tween son Ben.

As is his custom, I watched him jam whole slices of bacon into his mouth.

Why don't males like to bite and chew food in the morning?

Ben's response "it tastes more bacon-y when you jam it in your mouth."

My husband nodded in agreement like Yoda.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I am sitting on my couch writing by the light of my beautiful funkadelic, slightly slanting Christmas tree.

It is almost 11 p.m. and snow is falling gently across Tompkins Square Park.

I love that park like it's a person.

It is quiet outside, except for the sound of taxis driving by and the sound of stray voices scattered here and there.

I feel like I've slipped inside the soul of the city.

Just for a little while.

And it's blissful.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Where the heck have I been?


Still getting used to the job, the commute, the new routine picking up Ben blah blah blah.

It's warm here in NYC. At least for today. I can't believe that Christmas is just 10 days away.

I don't feel it right now.

But I will once I turn on the lights of my Christmas tree which is taking up 15% of my living room.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Am I Friggin Hallucinating?!!

Has the Obama Era already kicked in?

I woke up this morning, looked out the window and my head started to spin. Avenue A has bike lanes on either side of the street! At first I thought it was a prop device for yet another Law and Order episode. But it looks too legit.

Folks, this is a friggin' miracle. My little family has spent so many years biking at our own risk here in Gotham City!

What next?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Business

I finished preparing the brine for the turkey and threw the bird right in -- breast first as they say.

Folks - I promise, it's one of the best ways to prepare a turkey. With all the turkeys I've roasted you'd think my favorite part of the bird would have evolved from being the wing. What can I's a decision I locked into in second grade and I've never looked back.

Have a Peaceful and Content Thanksgiving. Let's remember all the military families who are without their mothers, fathers, sons and daughters tomorrow. If you have any ideas or contacts on how to help them - please let me know! I can't seem to find a way to help.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


We are hanging out the windows celebrating with the crowds out on Avenue A and Tompkins Square Park - cheering, howling, clapping, honking their car horns, lighting fireworks, and shouting out our gratitude and pure joy over this historical and blessed day!!!

Monday, November 03, 2008


"Mommy, I don't understand why adults keep talking about if a person is black will other people vote for him. What difference does it make what color someone is or if somebody is a boy or a girl? It just matters if they are the best person for the job. Why do adults waste time talking about this stuff?"

--- Ben, my ten year old son

He'll be coming with us when we got to vote tomorrow. We always bring him to vote. It's important and we want him to know it's important.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Life on Two Acres Meets Life on 450 Square Feet

This week I had the great fortune to meet Jodi aka Life on Two Acres. I'm pretty sure that Jodi responded to the second blog post I ever wrote somewhere back in August 2005. We've been following each others blogs ever since.

She suggested we meet at Joe's Coffee in the West Village - - which just proves that you could stick this woman in the mountains of Virginia or the middle of NYC and her good taste would always prevail.

Jodi and her husband (also a super nice person) obliged me as I dragged them from the West Village to the East Village. I'm sure I proved that native New Yorkers are the worst tour guides on the face of the earth.

I have always found Jodi's blog to be a comforting and authentic space to go to. She writes about her life and surroundings without pretense. It's through this lense that I see her sons, her home, the beautiful Virginia countryside, her beehives, her buckets of strawberries, her travels and all that we share as two women living at the same time, in the same country with much of the same joy and grief that life has to offer.

It's poetry. And it's beautiful.

But don't ask for a taste of the homemade strawberry jam or honey she gave me because I'm not sharing.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


It's been a while since I've felt unsure about how to deal with an issue when it comes to my son.

Ben has always been a very good student. Fifth grade is a big jump at his school. Work becomes more demanding and the adjustment has not been easy for him. Until this year, he never needed to review his work before handing it in and by not doing so, he is not seeing the usual grades he is accustomed to.

Today my husband picked him up at school and Ben burst into tears over a math test result. He was so upset he forgot to bring home some of his school books needed to complete his homework...

I wish I knew exactly what to do. All I can think of is to focus on his skills in terms of keeping organized and reviewing work before handing it in.

How much do you push and how do you know when they are doing the best they can do?

Monday, October 20, 2008


I just got wind of a great website called www.TED.COM

It has the most thought provoking presentations and lectures. Each about twenty minutes long.

It's like giving your mind a milkshake. Check it out!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Viva Viagra!

...or so my son sang as he ran naked down the hallway with his towel flying over his head. He just jumped out of the shower to catch precious innings of the Red Sox play off game.

This is the fall out of a ten year old boy watching ESPN during any key sports games. He is battered with Viagra and Flomax ads to the point of nausea. But does he understand what these drugs do?

So I asked about Viagra and got this response - given to me after a thoughtful silence...

"Well mom...Viagra, I think, blocks illness...while making you look more attractive."

Viva Viagra!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Autumn in New York....

I love this time of year. Finally a crisp day.

The leaves have the slightest hint of yellows, reds and browns.

We are heading out to a gathering of friends up in Connecticut. The same NYC friends we see everyday. Only this time we won't be talking, walking and drinking coffee at the speed of light as we jump onto the subway or grab a cab.

We will sit together relaxed and capable of completing a full sentence.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sex In the City - March of the Tin Broads

A few weeks ago, I went out with my friend Mike for a night o'fun in the East Village. It had been a long time since I wandered the streets after 11 pm (even with my husband).

Much to my surprise, I witnessed a phenomena that made me laugh and scared me at the same time. Down every street DOZENS and I mean DOZENS of young women in super high heels and short fashionable dresses were marching down the street - usually four or five abreast of each other. Each one walking in time with the others.

At first sight of this marching brigade of gals I thought "oh isn't that funny, college girls reenacting the opening scenes of Sex in the City." ....but then they were an army of robots..a military infiltration of high heeled Carrie Bradshaws.

At one point I was wondering what would happen if one wall of girls rounded the corner and marched head on into another. Who would flinch? Who would stand still in her 5 inch heels? Or would it be like the days of Napoleon where soldiers marched right into each other with their bayonets pointed?

As I witnessed the brigades of stiletto heeled beauties pass me by in waves, I prayed silently and earnestly... "Ladies, may you all get laid tonight - the sooner the better - just so you can get off your aching feet!"

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Chapter

Sorry I've been out of the loop.

Since my last post, I had to decide among three great job offers. Each place had something wonderful about it and would lead me in a unique direction professionally.

After much thought, I decided upon a position that will take me a few miles out of the City. Moving out may be part of the equation...and we are pretty okay with that. At this point, the cost of living and extreme gentrification of my little East Village feels like....the time has come to break up and just be friends.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Is it just me....

...or are we spiraling into an economic depression? How many more times am I supposed to believe the bullshit that Wall Street and Corporate America are shocked and stunned by the nosedive the economy is taking.

The writing was on the wall over a year ago....

"Get government off the back of business" McCain....sure buddy but first let the American people take on the corporate debt as never before while paying for a pointless mutilating war. I can't believe my tax money is going towards this crap.

Whoever does not believe that this country is run by a corporate oligarchy is kidding themselves.
The American Empire is drawing to close. Looking forward to discovering what the "new normal" will be.

Saturday, September 13, 2008 I haven't done a f*ckin thing all day....

Well Ben and Brian are camping and I have 48 whole hours to myself!!! I packed them up and sent them on their way this morning. I then proceeded to pour myself a cup of coffee and draft a "to do" list. It went something like this:

EVI To Do List

go to the gym
do the laundry
go to the green market buy groceries
go to duane reade (drug store) get batteries
go see the Dark Knight w/ Mike G
purge Ben's room of old toys

And now a look of what EVI actually did

bought a lot of songs from ITunes
listened to them over and over and over again
did a little bit of laundry
got a call from my friend Winsome
ate lunch with Winsome and her kids at life cafe then goofed off at Tompkins Square Park with them
downloaded a show from the first season of MAD MEN because I wanted to see what the hell people were talking about.
watched it
walked my dog around east village
came home and fell asleep
made two beds
started writing this post while listening to classical music
got a call from Mike to go see the Dark Knight

I am such a friggin goof off. Blame it on arrested development. I hit eight years old and I stayed there.

When the Walls Come Tumblin' Down....

Lot's of friends losing jobs on Wall Street this week...friends with kids, tuitions and mortgages.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It was seven years ago today....

Today I woke up and went about my day. Brian woke up at the crack of dawn and got coffee going. I soon followed by jumping into the shower and jumping out to make breakfast and get Ben into a wakeful state.

There were a number of features about 9/11. We listened to some but I could see that Ben was getting unsettled so I shut the radio off for while. Ben needed to be at school a bit earlier since he serves as an acolyte during chapel....Ben is agnostic at best but he enjoys the pageantry of mass, especially when he is carrying a large flaming candle or swinging a large crucifix on a stick up and down church aisles like a misplaced pirate.

Why didn't I wake up with the same sick feeling I usually do on the anniversary of 9/11? I suppose the cloudy gray weather threw me off. It's those sunny, crisp days that make me feel sick and sad.

The twin lights are up. I hope they always have them there.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Summer Love

Today I returned to the Union Square Farmer's Market to do some quick shopping before the remnants of some wicked hurricane hurls its way up the coast toward NYC.

I have something to confess. I always get a bit depressed at the end of the summer months because that means the tomatoes will be going away for a while. Eating a good red or yellow tomato can be a religious experience. Feeding family and friends good tomatoes makes me feel grateful and closer to God.

Alas, September always arrives and my tomato romance must come to an end until next summer. Apples and squash just feel like dating down.....

Sunday, August 31, 2008

EVI returns from planet vacation

Whew! Two and a half weeks of no technology, no cable, just ocean, bike riding, hiking and sleeping in a secluded cottage on a country road WITH NO TRAFFIC.

Truro was a very welcome respite for me this year. I had no idea that 2008 would be such a major drag. I had lots of time to decompress and make some MAJOR decisions in SILENCE.

Every time I went to the beach, I made a point of running into the water as soon as I got there. It felt like a baptism every time. Nothing like the mighty power of the Mama Atlantic to slap some sense into you. And it did.

I loved the sensation of submerging myself into cold salty water as the waves swells rolled past me-- a force that couldn't give a shit about the day to day worries that piled up in my life for last six months.

It's nice to be able to check on all my blog friends. Especially one down in Louisiana who is getting ready for the storm that's brewing.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

So that's how babies are born...

Ben had his yearly physical this week. Last year when Ben turned nine, his doctor suggested that we begin to discuss puberty with him.

Keep in mind, my son still marches around the house naked with the total abandon of a five year old. He can frequently be found standing in front of the TV nude with a long forgotten bath towel at his feet, far too mesmerized by ESPN to realize his position in the time/space continuum.

A pre-teen wrap session?! Ben would have none of it. So we moved on.

Ben is now ten. He is a big tall boy for his age (in the 98 percentile - where he always is).
His wonderful fabulous doctor suggested that we begin to discuss the birds and bees with him.

I just don't see it happening, but I had my husband take a crack at it.

Ben said he didn't want to learn about the birds and the bees because he already knows about it.

Reproduction according to Ben:

"A mommy and daddy sleep in the same bed. A mom gives the daddy the eggs, then a mommy gets pregnant and a baby pops out of mommy somewhere down there."

What do you mean "gives the daddy the eggs?"

"I'm not sure about that part. But who cares."

Better luck next year.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Word to the Wise....

Don't EVER do yoga when you are in a bad ass mood and hate the world. You just might fuck your knee up and pull a muscle in your lower back...why didn't I find solace in drugs or alcohol like the rest of the genetic pool I hail from?!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Kids are Alright

My professional life is keeping me super duper busy these days - - away from the many blog updates I would love to share. So time for a bit of catch up.

Years back when Ben was a little less than two years old, I brought him to a dinner party at the home of some friends in Brooklyn. They all thought him utterly adorable - which he is - and said he looked like a little angel with long auburn curls.

I stared down at my sleeping son, splayed out on their couch with his belly hanging out of his tee shirt, and I responded with total honesty...."Really...a little angel? When I look into my son's eyes I feel certain that he will grow up to be Keith Moon....hopefully a less excessive version."

My friends were shocked and could not understand how I saw that in him.

Fast forward to 2008. My son Ben is ten. He is OBSESSED, OBSESSED,OBSESSED with The Who. My husband brought him to get his haircut at the Israeli barbershop around the corner. Ben opened a rock book pointed to Keith Moon and said "please cut my hair EXACTLY like that!"

A mother always knows.

Ben wants to be a Mod. He has asked for purple round sunglasses and feels certain that I have the ability to SEW him a British flag jacket (note Pete Townsend above). He had Brian take him to Ben Sherman's in Soho to buy a tee shirt with the Mod target design on it. How did he even know where to find such things?!

He spends countless hours on YouTube playing "air" drums to Who clips.

And of course I will oblige him.

The vendors on St. Mark's Place have the sun glasses and I will order him the Union Jack jacket...all in time for the first day of school where absolutely no one in his class will know what the hell he is talking about...which is just another day in the life of my beautiful, quirky boy.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Help Me Beet the Habit!

Every time I see beautiful beets at the green market I fall in love with them. Beets are my favorite color. They are tastey. So I buy them....and proceed to watch them rot in my fridge. It's becoming my little ritual.

How do you cook beets? I like to eat them cold maybe with dressing on it. Any ideas? Help save innocent beets from dying in my fridge!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Fourth of July

Remember that song from X? I always loved that song.

Yesterday was a quintessential NYC day for us. We got on our bikes and rode over to the East River Park. Tons of families were out there grilling and relaxing - just a huge mix of everyday people. There are these tents you can set up - basically a roof on four poles that everyone seemed to have. Seeing all these families and friends together made me wish that I was at a gathering like that myself. I'm sure my mother and her family did the same right along this park years ago.

We proceeded down the pathway that takes you passed the Manhattan Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge and South Street Seaport. At that point, we navigated our bikes into Chinatown for a stop at Dim Sum GoGo. If you come to the City - you must go there. It isn't fancy but it also isn't intimidating (as in you must speak fluent Chinese to enter).

They have a standard menu which we forgo for the one page dumpling menu where you can check off what you might like. Each order of dumplings has about three or four dumplings that are delivered to you in a bamboo steam basket. We usually get two orders each of some kind of shrimp, chicken, veggies and fried pork dumplings. Basically, the waiter comes to our table with two towering columns of bamboo steam baskets....we are not a proud people.

After lunch, we got back on our bikes and rode down to Battery Park where we were joined by the rest of the population of NYC. It was packed - but again, I just loved seeing everyone. I love New York. I love the diversity of class, race and ethnicity. As I get older, my love of this city has become deeper and more personal. On these sorts of days, you feel the love returned.

So it's getting hot and we keep on riding. Ben is being a real sport. We ride along the Hudson River and reach the West Village, where we cross over and ride into the East Village. There we celebrate at Ben and Jerry's over well earned ice cream cones. Later that night, we barbequed hot dogs and watched the Macy's Fireworks on our roof.

Nice Day in the Big Apple.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Blind Leading The Blind

Today I was coming home on the L train when I noticed a young woman beside me playing solitaire on her ipod or something that looked like an ipod.

I'm sorry but how the hell do people play card games, video games, watch movies and read the friggin newspaper on screens that are essentially two inches high and three inches wide?? Why put yourself through that hell? I'd rather daydream.

Why would I watch a movie or t.v. show on a screen as small as the palm of my hand - - or smaller? It just amazes me how much time people spend on their technology. It frequently seems like communication that is less about content and more about technology.

Just tons of noise and visuals being pumped into our eyes and ears non stop.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Remember Me?!!

Short staffed and work has been non stop for quite some time. Not fun. Not fun at all.

I miss all my beloved blog friends.

Went on a tour of Ben's new day camp. It looks pretty nice. He seemed to be warming up to it in his shy way.

Glad to be back.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Now THIS is New York

It's 6 pm.

I'm sitting by my front window and there are about 300 people across the street learning how to salsa together in Tompkins Square Park. The instructor is guiding them from one step to the next. To see all these people moving in time with the salsa and instructions echoing across the park is beautiful.

It looks like they are moving into the Rumba! Now I want to take lessons.

I'm on my own this weekend. The boys are up in Boston making a pilgrimage to Fenway Park so I'm flying solo.

As my first act of defiance, I woke up at 8:05 (about 11 am non childrearing time). I walked Saki all over the park and hung out with my friend Martin for a while. He is an artist and a surfer.
I did a few chores then took Saki out to check out the...

UKRANIAN FESTIVAL on East 7th Street afew blocks away. My dad is part Ukranian and spent many years as a child living on or near 7th street.

I dropped my thirsty dog home and went to St. Mark's Place to watch the Dance Parade that began somewhere in Chelsea and shimmied down to Tompkins Square Park. That parade did me a world of good. There must have been a zillion different dance troupes, dance schools, dance groups and a few dancing drunks shaking their groove things for blocks and blocks.

What I LOVED best about it was that the people dancing all had different bodies - sure there were the lean and tall legions but they were way outnumbered by the wiggily, jiggily let it all hang out baby brigade. There were disco dancers, followed by South American traditional dancers. There was a group of black women in black unitards and plumed masks on roller skates doing disco moves. At one point I saw a guy in traditional Greek costume hanging out with a woman who was one of the multitude of bellydancers who showed up. It was just insane, sloppy and great.

They all marched into the park where...they danced some more! At the water fountain of the three graces - three women each wrapped long wide red pieces of cloth around the sculpture and then wrapped themselves in it, moving position very slowly while someone played the violin. It was cool!

After parade watching, I got a slice of pizza and went to the read that right. Then I wen to Trader Joes and came home and plopped myself down. In two hours I'll be going over to the Pearl Theater on St. Mark's to see the Importance of Being Earnest.

It's a good day in New York.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Baby

Today I walked down the stairs of the subway en route to pick up Benjamin after work. I'm going into week two of a crummy sinus infection and work continues to drain the joy out of me these days.

I walked by the magazine stand on the platform and glanced at all the gossip magazines that seem to rule our culture. Don't people get bored sucking in all that garbage? I take it too seriously.

I looked over and saw the front of the New York Times and it showed a pair of Chinese parents who made a make shift cover of cardboard around their eight year old son's face. He was dead. A victim of the earthquake. It looked like he also had a blanky they brought to comfort him on his journey home. They sat together tenderly attending to him. Doing right by him.

So many of these families have only one child in China. I can't imagine the grief hanging over these communities.

Needless to say, my job and health woes began to shrink down to their proper scale. Here I was running to pick up my beautiful son. And I was dam grateful.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mommies Rule Daddies Drool!!

.....Or so my son Ben claimed this morning.

It is Mother's Day -- a day which is part of my holy trinity (Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, My Birthday). After 18 years of marriage, Brian stands at the ready with flowers, cards and a gift - - all the tools necessary to feed the beast that is Mommy!

Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful mommies out there. You make the world go round.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Yep. That's what I did.

I was making the rounds and read writermama's most recent post (see link to writermama in the column to the right). Check it out.

It's an interview with some local downtown friends of hers who chatted a bit about life and style back in the late 70's/early 80's when the big apple was a lot grittier.

For me - nightlife began in 1980. Going to Danceteria, the New Peppermint Lounge, CBGB's. Having wide streaks of purple running through my thick dark hair. Army boots, Doc Martens, heavy black eyeliner, used tweed coats with big black guy belts. Impromptu huge parties in warehouses downtown. Wearing about fifty black rubber and silver bracelets on each wrist. The music, the nightlife and the fashion felt so sloppy, beautiful, interesting and alive.

The feeling that anything goes. What the hell feels better than that? I can't see that here anymore ... that feeling is the key to paradise. There isn't a day I didn't cherish it.

A good friend gave me sage advice. She said, "You didn't lose anything. You are your own East Village."

God knows I'm tryin'. Sometimes I just feel like the Cross Bronx Expressway.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Free Love in the Park

Don't be fooled. It is very easy to have a personal relationship with a park. This weekend I got to spend some precious time across the street in Tompkins Square Park. How spoiled I am to have this beautiful green square to look out on every day....well maybe the noise of Avenue A balances it all out.

The other day I was walking Saki through the park. The volume of blossomed tulips was extraordinary. Red and yellow beautiful tulips everywhere and so densely planted together. It almost looked like an error in landscaping. Either that or the bulbs were planted months earlier by someone on speed. The daffodils made a strong second showing. Regardless of the back story, I still enjoyed the flower explosion.

I'd also like to confess that I have become an owner that chats with their dog while walking around in public.

On Friday evening, Brian, Ben, Saki and I went out to the park to shoot some hoops at the corner of the park by 10th and B. The sky was a deep blue violet and the courts were lit by the dim gold lighting that goes on as the sun sets. I felt very happy to be exactly where I was, doing exactly what I was doing. It's been a long time since I've felt that way. It was one of those zen moments that comes out of nowhere. Moments of unintentional bliss.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Shakespeare's Birthday today. And for that reason I consider it a personal holiday. Even if I must go to work.


It is feeling very work like these days. Feeling more like "a job" than work. Very sad.

And yet I remain stubbornly hopeful that I will one day soon resume my usual custom of skipping to work.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


If you look to the right of this post, you'll see a list of bloggers I read quite a bit. One of them is
Writermama. I really enjoy her blog about city life, librarian-in-training life, writing life and mama life.

Every Monday she posts a Monday style post. Most of the photos are girls and guys on the street - mostly downtown wearing something neat. These posts have made me more aware of what people wear as I take my long subway ride to work from downtown to way uptown.

The verdict is that every day New Yorkers dress cool and with great style. I would wager that they dress cooler than any other city in the world. And it isn't only one type of cool. The diversity of class , age and ethnicity make it even more fascinating to me.

A good reason...a great reason to love New York.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Recession? I think so!

I am a woman who enjoys cooking. It is probably the one thing that I do without looking twice at the cost.

Boy is that a thing of the past.

Every time I go to the grocery store (from the glamorous Citeralla to the crunchy Commodities to the supermarket of your choice) I have become more and more amazed at the prices. Orange juice costs $5, cottage cheese $4.50 - I went somewhere and saw lemons for $1 each? Are you fucking kidding me? I think it's time to grow my own lemon tree.....

Which brings me to my backlash strategy. I am so going to the greenmarket now for everything I can...even meat - which I never did. I'm also seeing more meat/poultry at the Union Square market. I'm trying to cut the shipping, packing, gas overhead out of my grocery bill and hand my cash over to local folks....I'd rather they had it any way. Driving it down from upstate NY has got to be less than shipping it from CA.

I saw a small container of guacamole at Whole Foods priced at $8.99.
Whole Foods can kiss my ass. Where did those avocados come from - Mars?!! Were they hand picked by Christian Bale and placed in a wicker basket that was Fedexed to NYC?
I think not.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ben Ten

Yep. My baby has entered into the double digits just a few days ago.

We celebrated with his band of cousins and grandparents singing/shouting Happy Birthday to him.

The cake was HUGE. I ordered a 12 inch cake that looked a helluva lot more like a 16 inch cake that was six inches high. Basically it appeared to be a Dr. Seuss cake. Something you might see eaten in Who-ville. The outside was chocolate ganache with a devils food cake and chocolate mousse filling....I am not a fan of chocolate but even I enjoyed it. We ordered it at Ciao for Now on East 12th Street between Ave. A and B. They did a teeeeriffic job.

We gave Ben an electric guitar, an Epiphone - "like the one John Lennon had". I realize I may live to regret this purchase but I married a musician so I stand unafraid.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


It's Spring Break!! Two weeks of keeping my son entertained while not losing my job!

We finally decided to bite the bullet and head on up to Cooperstown, NY for three days. I'll be honest, the prospect of devoting my life to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 72 hours seemed less than promising.

And yet it was wonderful. Cooperstown, New York is a quaint small town sitting on the edge of Lake Otsego - about four hours north of New York City. I love going places off season - whether it be Cape Cod, Europe or Cooperstown. The air was crisp, the lake clear and beautiful and the surrounding hills (foothills of the Adirondacks I suppose) pristine.

Upstate New York is stunning. You can see how artists fell in love with the landscape and writers continue to be inspired here. The Native American spirit is everywhere.
Check out the Fenimore Art Musuem and the Farmers' Museum - - they really are cool.

Coming back to the City feels less and less exciting to me. Those Cooperstown people seemed pretty happy to be nestled in the splendor of nature and the life of a small town.

I guess I would miss the Arab guys who run the bodega two doors down from me. They make me feel like I live in a small town.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hey Neighbor!!!!!

I was rounding the corner of A and 14th on my way home and for the first time in about five years I looked across the street - the east side of Avenue A.

My eyes locked onto a place that looked like a precious coffee spot. Remember when a coffee spot usually meant sixty year old waitresses, the Daily News, donuts as big as your head and cheap coffee? Not anymore baby...that went the way of the dinosaurs years ago. Even Dunkin Donuts is pimping itself out with Milky Way Hot Chocolate. What the hell is that about? Who would drink that besides a jonesing heroin addict?

Which brings me back to gramstand - the place I "discovered" today. You see that particular side of Avenue A was the home to one or two heroin hang outs masquerading as bars for so many years that I literally blocked out that part of the street from my line of vision....just a few short blocks away from me.

Now we have gramstand which is not a coffee spot but a tea spot with a website and a mission statement. The young man who sold me my coffee for $2.70 was very nice. What can I say. It's a new world order.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

A Mover And A Shaker

Some big changes at work.

My boss is moving on to the women's college for super duper smart girls in the Boston area. This leaves her job opened and a few dozen people asking me if I'll be throwing my hat in the ring.


Throwing your hat in the ring isn't always everything it's cracked up to be. My happiness comes in people (like the president of the college) encouraging me to consider it because they respect my work. Receiving this affirmation from so many people is a huge gift to me.

As for my hat flying into the ring....well my generation has learned the hard way, we can't do it all --- especially not at the same time. I realized this tragic fact when I had problems recalling what my son was like from the ages of two through five.

I figure I've got about three more years before he starts ignoring me - - no brass ring is worth more than what the two of us share right now.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

In Memory of Michael

Living life to its fullest isn't about
checking off thrills from a list;
It's about being fearless in following my dreams,
courageous in accepting
that some will go unfulfilled
and taking the time to savor
something as simple
as a cup
of tea

A little over a year or so ago, I tripped over a blog . It was the blog created by Michael, a talented writer, photographer and zen follower. He was also slowly dying of a rare form of cancer. He took extraordinary photos of the East Village. He managed to capture its fading essence through photos of the neighborhood regulars, its buildings and colorful events in such a way that made even cynics like me moved.

He loved Japan and immersed himself in the Zen life. I so enjoyed following him on his spiritual path.

He was honest and compassionate in his honesty. I learned so much from him. He accepted his death with a grace that I cannot do justice in describing.

Michael died in January. The poem that begins this post is his.

I don't think I will ever forget him. I know that I don't want to.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Basic Training

During the weekend Ben takes an art class in Chelsea. Brian drops him off on his scooter and scoops him up afterward for lunch. Each week the ritual is the same. They pull into the White Horse Tavern for burgers and root beer....sometimes Dad's beer has less root in it than Ben's.

This location is famous for being the old stomping ground of Dylan Thomas and other formidable drinkers and writers who passed through Greenwich Village through the years.

I'm sure Brian is drawn to it a bit by the nostalgia but not totally. He's far more invested in being in an old New York bar in the afternoon when it's just the longtime bartenders, a handful of regulars and some routine news or sports show on the small t.v.

Benjamin, at almost ten years old, is a regular.

He's been going there for almost two years now - - usually on a Sunday right after baseball practice. The bartenders greet him with "hey - pitchers and catchers!"

This greeting continues throughout the year well beyond the baseball season and into the School of Visual Arts class season.

Maybe it's just the old East Village in my blood, but I'm happy to know that Brian is indoctrinating Ben into the male rituals of pub life - - the banter, the customs, the food and one day when he is over 21 - - the beer.

It's important to have a true New York bar - a pub-like bar - to call your own. A place you can hang out in the early afternoon and read the Daily News.

A special place you can be with your dad - especially when your dad is your best friend.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Lame! At Least For Now.....

We gave Ben a subscription to Sports Illustrated for Christmas.

He was thrilled and looks forward to receiving every issue. This week I pulled the mail out of the mailbox and handed it to him, taking little notice of any the items I handed off. After coming through the apartment door and throwing off our coats, Ben gave out a shout of disgust. "THIS IS SOOOO LAME!"

He turned the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue looking more and more disappointed. "All these stupid girls sitting around in bikinis. They aren't even doing any sports! What a waste!" He then proceeded to toss the magazine into the recycling. I stood there speechless.

I had forgotten that the swimsuit issue even existed! Then I wondered how much longer my almost 10 year old little boy would be calling girls in bikinis lame. Three days later we got the NASCAR issue and life was as it should be.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

18 Years and Five Tiffany Pendants Later

Yes folks, the preceding title is a direct quote from the gift card coupled with the lovely necklace that my husband gave me for our 18th anniversary this morning.

I have been with Brian for twenty years. Jesus Christ. I can't believe I've done ANYTHING that long besides breathe.

And yet here we are. Together on this lifelong Outward Bound Trip along with our trusty dog and ten year old son.

Love. Loyalty. Possibility. Compromise. Laughter. The ability to bite your tongue without completely severing it from your mouth. That's what makes a least mine.

18 is a lucky number in the Jewish tradition. God knows we've earned it! Cheers.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Old Times

I haven't been posting much because the "big job - mom gig" leaves me so exhausted for the last month that I haven't much to say to you least nothing that's of any value or humor.

I know people all across this country are working hard - many much harder than I am in many circumstances. I've never been good at juggling it all. Much of my time is spent keeping the balls up in the air AND picking up the multitude that fall.

This afternoon I left work the usual time and got Ben from school. I was dead tired. When I got home I fell on the bed and the feeling of profound fatigue came over me. I was giving myself a moment to actually realize how tired I am and started sinking. I called my husband and asked when he'd be home because I really hoped he could take over soon.

Idiot me forgot that he teaches on Wednesday night (working a 12 hour day) and stays at my parent's home which is 45 minutes closer to his job than we are. I wanted to crumble into pieces.

Instead, Ben and I took Saki for a walk in Tompkins Square Park. It was already dusk and quite beautiful. Walking through the park always gives me a second chance.

Ben and I went to our favorite Italian place down the street and had dinner. The owner (who we like very much) started speaking Sicilian to a customer. I listened and understood parts of their light conversation.

Their words had a unexpected effect on me. Not the meaning - - just to hear them. Layers started falling away and I could remember how I felt to be young and clinging to my Italian grandmother's dress. It was home base for me as we traveled about the neighborhood or entertained guests unfamiliar to me. The sound of the words and the tone of their Italian disarmed me. I stared out the cafe window that looked onto the corner of my street. My eyes filled with tears.

Maybe my grandmother was reaching through time and soothing me. I miss her very much tonight. She taught me from the beginning that the deepest love can be felt just being in the company of someone. Just being with they do their chores, schoolwork, writing...anything really.

Thanks Nonna - I needed a good cry and you helped me find it. XXOOO

Saturday, January 26, 2008

House Huntin'

So I've decided I will kinda stay here and kinda not.

We've been searching for a dirt cheap cottage/farmhouse near Brian's job up at a university in CT. That way we can go there on the weekends and vacations while Brian can also use it on days when he has to work or teach a class in the evening.

Maybe I'm nuts but it feels right.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

That was then. This is now.

This weekend we all went up to the Metropolitan Musuem of Art. Thanks to the wonders of technology, we split up and agreed to meet in forty minutes or so. I went off to the new photography gallery and Ben/Brian went off to the knights, weaponry and musical instruments.

My mom gives us a family membership to the Met every year. Ben has practically grown up in the Met and feels the same way about it that most NY kids feel toward the Museum of Natural History.

I've always thought of this museum as New York's wise, beautiful matron.

After lunch in the cafe, we took one last look at the medieval armor, Revolutionary War swords and ancient Japanese military head gear. After an obligatory purchase in the museum shop, we walked out into the warm sunshine of a NY winter afternoon.

Brian and I reminisced about our pre-Ben days of meeting at the Met after work on a Friday night and walking all the way home it the East Village (approx. 3000 miles - 4000 with heels on).

Brian said "Things changed in the City after 9/11. In more ways then we realized. It isn't the same place."

I'm still thinking that one over.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Small World

I picked Ben up from a play date on Wednesday afternoon. It was the first truly cold day in a long time. We scurried down 10th street and I stopped into Kmart for some luxury items - - rubber gloves and glass cleaner.

Ben was coveting my earmuffs for the last few days so I offered to buy him a pair before we got to the cashier. He didn't take a moment to check out the merchandise before saying "Mom, I don't want to buy my earmuffs here. I want to give my money to small, local businesses. Let's go buy them from one of the street vendors."

Now this approach to consumerism has been my husband's creed forever. Only in the past year has he walked into a Starbucks (out of desperation). In all of Ben's nine years, I've never seen him take a political stand on any consumer issue that stood in between him and the desired object.

A street vendor was selling his winter goods right outside of Kmart. It was freezing and he must have been standing out there for hours. He was covered from head to toe except for his eyes peeking between a hat and scarf. Ben got his three dollar ear muffs and explained his new philosophy.

He just finished reading The Pushcart War, a children's novel written by Jean Merrill and illustrated by Ronni Solbert. It was first published in 1964. The plot focuses on a war between pushcart peddlers and delivery trucks in NYC. As traffic becomes increasingly horrendous in the city, three huge trucking companies try to alleviate their parking problems by running the pushcarts off the curb and out of business. Needless to say, the NY pushcart vendors unite and push back... so the story begins.

What Ben didn't know was the Jean Merrill and Ronni Solbert lived in East Village and were very good friends with my dad. Ronni also wrote and photographed a super cool book I Wrote My Name on the Wall (1971) profiling city kids in their words, kids who never went beyond their neighborhoods.

What goes around comes around. Especially with art.