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When I was between apartments, sleeping on a friend's sofa, I'd lie awake, plotting how I’d arrange my stuff in the new place. It's remained pretty much the same since , with slight modifications to accommodate a full-size keyboard and several "incidental" items rescued from curbside trash. The setup has served me well for over eight years, and it ain't broke, so why fix it, right? Still, it often makes me sad that, thanks to the arrangement, I haven't seen the purple side of my multi-colored dresser for years, and I can't come up with a way to rectify that.
The day may come when I am able to write about the recent "passing" of the family dog, but for right now those enormous emotions are best left not expressed or even thought about too much because I don't want to deal with the pain. Even typing these few words here, under cover of the predawn darknesss, in this room lit only by very soft light several feet away and the glare of these two computer monitors, makes my stomach churn, my heart pound, and tears well in my eyes. Fuck the "circle of life". I can't handle this stuff.
After I broke the "wet food/bonito" bowl in my cat's three-bowl "buffet" lineup (dry food, wet food/bonito, water), I substituted a cute little blue floral bowl I bought in Philadelphia's Chinatown over 20 years ago. Every time I saw her eating out of it, I was happy for the understudy bowl having its time, but felt like I was cheating her out of something bought expressly for her. I spent an inordinate amount of time online searching for one to coordinate with her dry food bowl and finally found (and bought) the perfect one. I think she appreciates the effort.
My clothes deserve better treatment than they're getting in my closets. Every time I open them and witness the mayhem, I am overcome with a sense of sadness for their plight, disgust with myself for letting it get this way, and panic over remedying it. I am not one of these people who delights in organizing jumbles and jangles, who takes pleasure in color-coding and making up a "system". Still, I know I have to do something about it, so I can finally stop worrying about it and feeling an odd sense of dread every time I open the doors.
Thanks to the escalation of my delightful bilateral adhesive capsulitis (sexy!) earlier this year, I wasn't able to clean up my patio this spring/summer to take advantage of the space at all. Physical pain prohibited/inhibited activity that ordinarily wouldn't even make me flinch, so I suffered emotional pain over the neglect. I feel sorry for the plants whose company I didn't enjoy, the table at which I didn't sit, the dinner for two friends I didn't host. The only consolation I have is that I know that had I not been limited physically, I would have readily tended to it.
My sexy work attire for the day consists of old, oversized flannel pajama bottoms on which various dogs frolic on a light blue background, the drawstring doing very little to keep them from slipping off my hips, a stretched-out gray V-neck T-shirt that is close to 25 years old, and bare feet. Yeah, I think it's pretty safe to say that I'm not one of these people who prescribes to the notion that being productive requires those of us who work from home to dress as if we worked in an outside office. Unless, of course, the outside office is a company run by groovy whippersnappers.
He's playing guitar and singing under a bridges/arch in Central Park and sounds fantastic. The last (and only other) time I saw him was on the steps near Bethesda Fountain, without the benefit of acoustics. I tell him I remember him from a few years ago, and we chat a bit. He needs new speakers through which his accompanying iPhone music streams, and I offer him a setup that I no longer need because I no longer use an iPhone. He accepts but doesn't seem that thankful. I conveniently "forget" to bring the item the next time I see him.
If you think you've never met someone who, upon peering into a Tyvek® tote bag she hasn't used for ags, notices part of a desiccated/mummified/fossilized/ossified/petrified chocolate chip cookie, lifts it out of the bag, brings it up to her eyes as if examining a rare archaeological artifact (and who would have used a loupe if only she had one), and then, satisfied that it is indeed a cookie albeit one from another Era, lowers it to her mouth, takes a small, careful, and difficult bite, and is disappointed that that's all she's going to get from it, well, think again.
I'm surprised to see it's only 5:32 p.m. It feels at least like 8:16. I'm as thrilled over this as I am when I wake up without an alarm on a Sunday at 4:12 and realize, no, I don't only have 18 more minutes to be in bed and ugggh, now I'll never get back to sleep, and instead go back to sleep for however long I like because today I have nowhere to go and no one to see, and it will be raining all day and I have all the ingredients I need to make chocolate chip cookies.
Your kid's music is fine because your kid is still a teenager. It's lovely to hear her tiny voice and see her shy smile, to regard soft hands that are incapable of carrying a dozen eggs without dropping them treat the strings of a guitar with such reverence. It's great that she gets so much encouragement at powwows in your living room and at the local open mic. You have to know she's not good enough to make this a post-high school career. Are you supporting it because this way she'll never be able to afford to leave your house?
For ten years I'd been saving "Paw Points" from every box of Fresh Step kitty litter that ever crossed my threshold. I finally decided to redeem them because, knock on wood, how hideous would it be if something happened (shhhhh) to my 15-year-old cat and she never benefited from this undertaking? I chose stuff directly for her, so now she has a soft purple brush, a squiggly rainbow toy on a stick, and two "cat grass" kits. And gets to see me in a T-shirt that says, "You have [drawing of a CAT] to be [picture of a KITTEN] me."
The first time the guy who tends to the spices section (among others) at Whole Foods noticed me rooted in front of the display, gazing at the arrangement as if regarding a painting in a museum, he asked if I needed assistance. I'm not sure if it was that time that I was in search of marjoram, but I do know that he made a special trip to a secret spice stash to find it (successfully). He likes when I tell him that I'm just there admiring his work and "visiting all the friends". It's lovely when appreciation is appreciated.
Enough Brussels sprouts for four people, washed, chopped in half lengthwise, placed into a lidded plastic container, sprinkled with sea salt, medium grind pepper, a touch of garlic powder, and a bit paprika, shaken (with lid on!) in the container, and then deposited onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet to roast at 400 degrees for however long it takes to get it browned and a bit crispy. Dump onto a single plate, and gobble the entire pile like you grew up the youngest in a family of 12 and had to fight for your food, even if that's not the case.
I've already had Indian food downtown, but when I get home, I'm still hungry, and he knows me well enough to know that I'm in the mood for leftovers even though I don't have any from my own dinner, so as I'm getting out of my coat and unzipping my boots and changing into pajamas, he slinks into the kitchen and within 30 seconds appears by the sofa with a plate he'd kept warm in the oven full of saag aloo, rice, garlic naan, and a samosa. "And there's more where that came from," he says. "But for breakfast tomorrow."
I hate when I commit to plans for an evening and then, as the time approaches, I have no desire to do what I'm supposed to do and would rather just stay home with my cat, order in Indian food, and watch a movie or two in my pajamas. I'm usually fine once I get to my destination, and most of the time wind up having a great time, but the thought of getting dressed and actually doing it makes me cringe. And the ride home on the subway, after a certain hour, is repellent. Wake me when it's over.
I suppose if the pedestrian plaza on the west side of Times Square insists on being a permanent part of the landscape, it's better that it's paved nicely, as has been done recently, than to leave the street painted a shade of plastic-y blue best left to inflatable kiddy pools. Still, that doesn't mean I'm a fan of the plaza. Times Square should be jam-packed with cars, chaotic with automotive traffic in both directions, not the white-sneakered fumbling foot traffic of some many befuddled, slow-moving, camera-wielding tourists. Bring back the risk and the risqué. Times Square is too damned square.
There are those who, when it's pouring, automatically raise their umbrellas higher when approaching other umbrella-wielding pedestrians on a narrow sidewalk in order to avoid a potentially perilous tangle and accommodate easier passage for everyone. Then there are those who blithely regard the subway or bus seat next to them as a location more suitable for their weary wet jangled umbrellas than another passenger's flesh and bones. You have a choice in this life to be a kind, considerate soul or to be a mean-spirited, self-centered brat. There is no silver lining in being a thoughtless clod of a cloud.
At long last, a year after my driver's license expired, I dragged myself to the Express DMV at its new location West 30th Street. (Or at least it's new since the last time I went in 2006.) Everyone on Yelp was amazed that the service was so incredibly zippy, but I thought, yeah, right, I'll go and I'll have to wait 15 minutes and not the 1 minute they'd indicated. But nope! No sooner did I start bending my knees to sit down to wait than my number was called. The round trip was 41 minutes, including an ATM stop!
A friend and his girlfriend recently bought a puppy from an Amish breeder. Although everything about that makes me cringe, because I am a huge advocate of rescuing and adopting, still, the puppy shouldn't be penalized, so I'm happy that the little fella has a loving home. However, they required their dog to look a specific way, right down to the space between the eyes, the shape of the snout, the color of the nose. That I cannot condone or support. But I guess that's why there are people like me out there, who will always root for the underdog.
When Mina tells me her butterscotch-colored cat's name is Butters, I say "Awww" but really mean "Ugggh". I cannot stand when people use the color of their companion animals' fur to inform their names. When Mina is in the kitchen getting us coffee, I whisper into Butters' felt-like ear that I'm sorry for the stupid name and that, when she's around me, her name can secretly be Miss Buttress Fortress Witherspoon Lockport IV". She winks her assent and starts kneading my arm as if preparing bread in the shop she runs in the village with her husband, Mortimer Schnell, Jr.
My fabulous vintage cake carrier started its journey from Spring, Texas on November 14, arrived in North Houston that same day, then Dallas on November 16, and left Dallas on November 17. USPS Tracking estimated delivery here in NYC as *yesterday*. One day later, and the package is still not here. Should I be worried? I mean, of course I *am* worried, because, well, I'm a Jew and that's what we do, and on top of that, I've been a prize-winning worrier since birth on my own terms. And then, well, it's USPS, a/k/a "U Surprised Package Strayed?", right? Oy.
I suppose it's very bad form to cut off a piece of a cake you're bringing to someone's house for Thanksgiving, because you haven't eaten anything all day except a bit of the ingredients used to make the cake, including a few walnuts and chocolate chips and batter licked from the beaters, and you want to make sure that it's just as delicious as the "test cake" you recently baked and that the whitish-clear glaze you added this time wasn't a bad idea, right? And filling in that gap with a Polaroid of the removed slice doesn't cut it, correct?
Color me impressed. On Monday I went through USPS's "Where the Fuck Is My Package Already?" system and submitted a query about the package that had shipped on November 14th but hadn't yet arrived. Well, a few minutes ago a woman from USPS called to confirm that my package did in fact arrive. She was apologetic and genial, so of course I was compelled to supply a brief rundown of my cake carrier saga. By the end of our chat, I wanted to invite her over for cake, but she probably hung up thinking, "Damn, girl, shut *up* already." Yay!
VERY EXCITING UPDATE!!! The new cake carrier arrived this morning, and the vintage one arrived a few moments ago. As I was opening the box containing the vintage one, the new one, which has been roosting comfortably on the red Parsons table that has been in my family since about 1968, said, "Is that my competition???" I told him it was no competition, that they'd be best buddies, and then cut through lots of packing tape, rustled through pink packing peanuts, and removed the bubble wrap from the vintage one. The new one gasped and said, "Are you my mom???"
SERIOUS question, guys. Do you think the DMV Express office on West 30th will be un poco loco tomorrow morning since it's the day before Thanksgiving, or will it be sedate and subdued like a beige chiropractor's office since it's the day before Thanksgiving? I need to renew my driver's license already (it expired in October of, um, last year) before it's *next* October and I have to take a driving test with someone who isn't buying my nervous Robin Williams Mixed With Woody Allen shtick and who won't overlook the fact that I can't perpendicular park let alone parallel.
My mom reminded me this morning of a person she used to work with who, after witnessing gay men holding hands in New Hope, came home and had to take a shower. This same woman and her husband hold meetings to "pray away the gay". My 78-year-old mom's take: "What difference does it make to them? It's not like these guys are coming to their house and sticking their dicks in their mouths! And hey, even if they were, maybe they'd find out they liked it. Or even more, maybe they'd be hooked on dick. Who cares? Who fucking CARES?"
I am grateful for people who are grateful the other 364 days of the year too, and who don't just trot out the sentiment on the one day prescribed for it. For those who believe in giving thanks even when they may not get thanks in return. And for those who say, "My pleasure" after being thanked. I am thankful for those for whom grace isn't just something that is said while seated around a table before filling their stomachs but who live a life full of it. And for those who don't think twice about a good person first.
You post a video on Facebook of a baby pig romping in a house with a dog, and you're typing "OMG" and squealing with delight and commenting that you soooo want a baby pig. And then you post an Instagram photo of last night's pulled pork sandwich. You are outraged that people in China are eating dogs, yet you have no problem chewing on a cow. You're depressed over the animal slaugher in Nepal done in the name of religion yet your Thanksgiving dinner featured turkey. How can you possibly reconcile all of that if you say you love animals?
One month ago, we were sitting in the audience, part of the "congregation", whispering to each other about how much fun it must be to be part of the onstage action and telling each other we'd have to do something to make it happen. Now here we are, backstage, in the dressing room, standing in a circle with the others, hands joined, mere moments before we go on. We take our places in the hallway, lined up single file, and on cue, strut and sashay and stride into the theater to raucous applause. I'm so elated, I'm barely even nervous.
My hair, left to its own devices, enjoys making me look like a stand-in for Amy Irving in "Crossing Delancey". Although I'm told that many girls would "kill" for the natural curl, I prefer strangling it and forcing it into submission by way of a flatiron. Lately, though, with the aid of YouTube tutorials led by pretty girls with marvelous motor skills, I've been curling it with that same implement, with intermittent success. I haven't managed consistency of curl, though, so it inadvertently looks natural, as if I didn't do anything. I can't decide if I like that or not.
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