Tuesday, March 24, 2015


I passed a getting older signpost today. My grandmother is dying and I'm taking to acting like everything is normal: going to work, eating dinner, chit chatting. Adults do this. I'm an adult.

I tried my old standbys: eating too much. I ended up getting sugar free froyo and a Greek salad big enough to wear. I bought a chocolate bar just b/c it was for charity and it sits unopened in my car. My other go to in times of stress is spending money. But I only spent $38 on two dresses and I looked for and used coupons. Not precisely the carefree, careless experience that used to bring me such comfort. I am too old to self-destruct in a frenzy of food and wasted money; I'll likely end up just crumbling apart like gluten free bread. I'm going to try getting drunk but I don't get out of work until 9pm and then I have to drive home which takes about an hour. By the end of my drive, I'll just want to take off my bra and go to sleep so I fully expect that to fail as well.

Prudence dictates I should talk about how I'm feeling but what is there to say? My grandmother is dying after a long illness of fading away right in front of us. There's no way to poeticize that. In the last few weeks, my conversations with my mother and father and grandfather and sister have been a rotating roster of rarely used words, words that taken out of context sound beautiful: hospice, palliate, ease, sleep, alleviate, relieve, let go. Context is everything. When you put them all together, they only mean one thing.

The sun is out and it is warmer than it has been in months. I've assigned a personality to the weather today, the day when we stop giving her medication: oblivious and spiteful and inappropriate. If I were writing this story, the sky would be a heavy handed metaphor to all the insignificance of the characters. They'd feel a damp chill on their skin and a dreaded rumble of thunder in the sky. If I were writing this story, this wouldn't be a plot.

I don't really know what to do with myself. So I'm putting this on the internet.

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Blanket of Lettuce and Feta Cheese

I think, after 38 years of walking around and observing (translation: living), I have honed in on what would make up my ideal life. Or at the very least, a few key essential components that would have to be in place if I were to have any hope of coasting through the absurdity of the human experience with any semblance of purpose. Naturally I'd have to include volunteerism and the occasional travel time from one place to the next (on a train or bus or with someone else driving me and I will not compromise on that). Anyway, I record them here for the glory of all posterity:

  1. Two hours of uninterrupted reading, without exception, every morning with a cat on my lap, followed by
  2. One hour of truly productive writing, also in the morning (I don't mind doing these things in the wee hours)
  3. Some form of exercise that doesn't make me want to sleep immediately afterwards (if you are reading this and have any suggestions and/or insights about whether or not such a thing is possible, please share in the comments) followed by
  4. A perfect shower. I'm still working out what this will include however, the following adjectives will be involved somehow: pounding, scented, functional, massage-y. I AM still talking about a shower or so I tell myself.
  5. French press coffee with another hour of late morning reading. (I don't THINK I've run out of morning yet.) For this section of reading, I'd prefer a magazine or newspaper or some poetry.
  6. Brunch or lunch with a friend or family member or six. I'd like for all of my relationships to consist of a perpetual feeling of catching up and checking in; I want to always be learning something new about people I know everything about already.
  7. Watching a film, preferably alone in a theater surrounded by empty and plush seats. I like being alone, with the knowledge that other people could be there. You know, if they wanted to.
  8. More writing, a few hours in the early to late afternoon. I'm neither a morning or night person but an afternoon person. 
  9. Dinner. Mediterranean food with little variation. I'll die clutching a bowl of olives, pita bread, avocados while smothered in hummus and tucked into a blanket of lettuce and feta cheese. (Side note: I should really come up with an ideal death list.) Again, this meal would be with a group of people. Think of the dinner scene in "Before Midnight" which I include at the end of this post for your entertainment below. A long leisurely lunch in warm climate with no where to go and nothing to do but talk about love and the future and the only things that actually matter to everyone and the luxury to do so. 
  10. Guess how I'd round out and finish up my day! Go on. 

"We appear and we disappear."

Reading over this list of essentials, it occurs to me that I've described a vacation. I hate that life has to be the inverse of what it should be: work all the time with short breaks in between. When I am queen, we will turn that inside out, by decree of me. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bernadette Peters in "The Jerk"

For absolutely no other reason than the closing of my job today due to inclement weather, I have whittled away the afternoon watching DVDs. I just finished watching the 1979 classic "The Jerk" and  while I have always and will always have the hot 'n' tots for Steve Martin in a big way (something about a hilariously funny, smart musician, writer, painter and art collector does it to me every time) I find myself with a crush on Bernadette Peters and her outfits. From the heart shaped sunglasses:

To her beginner's knife throwing, Indian sari inspired costume:

The 1940s-ish first date at the carnival outfit:

The randomly placed be-jewel on her fancy dinner dress as she avoids looking at the snails on her plate (and that HAIR):

Her jaunty travel cap when she brings Navin's family to his homeless spot on the stairs:

And of course her sailor's cap and jacket during the cutest recorded duet in film history:

The film was made in 1979 and apart from the iconic disco scene, it looks like it belongs in 1940. Or maybe that's just Bernadette Peters and her kewpie doll looks.

Actually there is one indication that this was filmed in the late 70s.

I wonder what ever became of that carnival train hijacking child....

Monday, March 2, 2015

Observable universe

I've been quiet on this blog awhile, it's true. I don't have an excuse. I haven't been traveling or writing other things, haven't been in a new relationship or dealing with some crisis or pending deadline. I've just been in what I like to call "absorption mode." I'm taking it all in, as I usually do. However, much like weight loss, my information absorption becomes slower and more laborious as I get older and it also makes me out of breath at inconvenient times.

I'm finding that lately I need time away from blinking lights and clicking keyboards to digest my thoughts and maybe that is what is finally going to turn me old: not solely my exhaustion at being unable to focus (that is also a plight of the young 'uns, after all) but my undaunted desire to focus. I want thoughts and images and words to last longer than they seem to be allowed to these days. Does anyone under the age of 20 want that too? It seems like the world has been hyper for their whole lives.

Lately my commute has allowed me time to walk in and around and through the winter scenes of NYC and Long Island. I find myself regarding my own observable corner of the universe from a distance, like so many View-Master scenes through the two inches of my face I can leave uncovered. I navigate the city sidewalks and their utterly random ice patches with what I can only describe as gingerly panic. (It is a hallmark of older age to be so afraid of slipping on ice that one is willing to leave one's home 40 minutes earlier than necessary just to ensure that there is ample time to walk slowly.) I have not, as of this writing, succumb to the ice everywhere, despite my will to live slowly being frozen out of me. But slipping and breaking some essential part of my body feels like a credible looming threat, some political directive spoken aloud from some armed country overseas. The Ice will take me out before it melts in a pathetic mutually assured destruction. I'll probably go down with a strangled croak.

I don't really feel a part of any one place lately. Being the resident part timer at my two jobs and being the temporary inhabitant of my sister's 2nd bedroom has given me the habits of someone who knows her time is temporary. I suppose those with Buddhist leanings would call that a good thing. And in a way I feel like it is a good thing. Getting too attached to temporal things always ends in heartbreak after all. Add to that winter. Winter has that alienating effect on me. I'm an outside observer by nature and it is the position I am most comfortable in but even I have a threshold that every year, February does its damnedest to breach.

And though happens every year around this time, it always surprises me when I get reminded of it, regardless of where I am or what I'm doing. For example, I went to a concert lastWednesday night at this small venue in Brooklyn. The stage was lit from behind with colorful gels and flashing, epilepsy inducing light patterns. I stood in the back and as I watched the person on stage fiddle with this and that I had the clanging notion I was nobody nobody nobody... sorry, but that song is appropriate. Anyway, I had this sense that I was watching a play in one of those black box theaters, for which I was the sole audience member. All of the bouncing heads in silhouette in front of me seemed for a moment to be two dimensional props. I couldn't see anyone's face. The performer was hunched over and I couldn't see his face either. I fell into a reverie, feeling right smack in the middle of things and feeling not quite there or anywhere at the same time.

Winter, thy name is dissociation.

That's really the crux of what's been going on with me lately. Just tooling around, bundled up, not really here, not really there.

Oh, I learned how to ride a bike. So there's that. I'm ripe and old and ridin' a bike. There's got to be a poem in there somewhere...