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.