Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Out of Sync: From a Whisper to a Scream to a Thud.


Let's see. Where to begin.

Yes, where to begin, indeed.

There were a lot of little things.

Well, an email came through - a particular e mail from my tenant in Los Angeles, stating that April would be her last month in my apartment.

My Aunt stated she had not been feeling well for the past 5 months.

My Doctor friend was to be in a town 20 miles from my Aunt in the next week.

My ID went missing.

So, I decided I was to leave to leave NYC, drive to my Aunt's meet my Doctor friend there so he could examine her.

I thought to make this trip worthwhile, I would film a birthday video for my Father's upcoming birthday in August. I would re-rent my apartment. I would get my ID squared away.

I had a mission, a purpose to this trip.  I had to. Because I didn't want to go. So I convinced myself if there was a purpose, all would be worthwhile.

I didn't want to leave. So much so, that I didn't depart Southampton until 5:30PM on a Wednesday night to be in Texas by Saturday morning.

That's 1700 miles.

I left Southampton on a foggy Wednesday night,
My dog on our last (very) foggy day in Southampton

but first stopped in the city to have a bite to eat with a dear friend. And with tears in my eyes I said goodbye and got in my car, headed for the Holland Tunnel.

But I wasn't feeling it.

And my inner GPS knew it - I managed to get lost in New Jersey FOUR times. Btw, this seems to be quite common according to my unofficial survey.  I think the NJ transit peeps do this on purpose. This is  probably how half the population ended up living there - they couldn't figure out how to get out of the state, and said screw it, this is nice enough, let's just settle down here.  Seriously, it's that bad.

On the fourth wrong turn, I pulled over and called my friend. It was 11:00PM. I told her I don't think this is right. I think I need to turn back. She reminded me of my mission. Reluctantly, I soldiered on. After 6 hours of driving and making wrong turns, I ended up only 200 miles away in Harrisburg, PA.

I drove, and drove the following day, ending up in Tennessee. Crushed and crestfallen, the further I got from NYC, my heart seemed to sink even deeper. I drove through the night, in silence. Single lane roads with nary a peep except for a semi or two streaming by.

In silence comes clarity. And, I knew. I knew that I had just left home. I reminded myself of my mission. I would be back. This would be a short trip. I mean, I left winter clothes in

My Doctor Friend texted me, the video camera that was supposed to be dropped at his home and that he was to bring to Texas, had not arrived.

Oh. One part of my mission had already been dismantled.

But there I was crossing Arkansas. Another forgotten state. And while we're all clamoring about birth certificates, I want proof that President William Jefferson Clinton was indeed born in Arkansas.

Because, I say: IMPOSSIBLE.

And if he really was born and raised there, well, it's nothing short of a miracle that he ended up President of the United States.

My favorite Arkansas sighting: I have pulled up to the gas pump in a town large enough that it can boast a Starbucks (btw, the only one I saw driving across the state, and if that says anything where Starbucks are as common as 7-11's, I don't know what does) and I look to my left, and I see a morbidly obese woman sitting in her sedan at the gas pump, smoking a cigarette. And I think:  Great. This is how I'm going to go, blown up at a gas station in Arkansas. And I look again, as something has caught my eye: in the passenger seat - a THREE year-old child.

I count all of the things wrong with this picture: We've got obesity; smoking; smoking at a gas pump; a 3 year old in the front seat. A three year old in a car with a smoking adult at gas pump. I am more enraged. I phone a friend

I cannot urge enough for all Americans to drive across this country, to really SEE what this country is, to see its beauty, to see its ugliness, its ignorance, its lack of education (See item above) I think if more Americans could truly see and experience this country, state by state, town by town, they may just have a different view point. To all of those that think the tea party is where its at, I implore you to travel to Southampton and stroll along Gin Lane, and ogle at the 60 Million Dollar ocean front estates that your "heroes" built, which by the way they use approximately 30 days a year. I urge you to speak to the youth in Tennessee or Virginia who cannot complete a proper sentence, who could not tell you where their home state is on a map. I want you to see those small towns with shuttered businesses and absolutely no hope except for a military recruiting office. I  want you to see the garbage that people casually toss out of their windows, the animals abandoned roadside, the smoking pregnant teen mom (Tennessee, that would be you) the rusted slaughterhouses with the cattle crammed ass to elbow in the adjacent field awaiting their fate. The Veteran's cemeteries that dot the country, with rows upon rows of white markers. I've a feeling if we mandated cross country road trips and a 2 year military service for every citizen and legal alien, we would be a very different country, indeed.

Did I get off track? Oh. Sorry.

I pulled up to my Aunt and Uncle's at 11:00 AM, my Doctor friend with his father arrived a short while later.  After lunch, it was the good Doctor and my Aunt discussing things al fresco, or rather, ranch side:

Then it was time to leave. My Doctor friend had plans, my Aunt had a guest from France  arriving the next  morning. 

I wanted to stop to see my Mother, but in my exhaustion, I couldn't remember where the cemetery was. I tried phoning my Aunt, but she didn't pick up. When she phoned back, I was well on my way east. Too far to turn around. 

I drove, and drove. I ended up in Wichita Falls, Texas in a flea bag motel with a hourly rate scent to the room.

In the morning I awoke to a message from NYC, about a job in a few weeks. 

I drove until I reached my Father's in Santa Fe. I was exhausted. It was 9:00PM on Sunday night. 

The next day, my tenant in Los Angeles called to ask a question of me: Would it be alright if she stayed for the month of May? I was speechless. My anal retentive tenant who always let me know well in advance if she was even thinking of walking across the living room was asking me to stay another month. After all of this, and here I was in Santa Fe.  I was gobsmacked. I said um, yeah, sure. Okay. 

My plan was to stay in Santa Fe for a few days. This turned into a week. My friends mother was in town coincidentally visiting her son, which was a nice surprise. I was scheduled to leave on Monday morning - but first a late breakfast with my friends mother. As we were getting out of the car at the restaurant, my phone rang. NYC was calling. About another job. Then another call. And a email. Was this some sort of cruel joke? Why was everyone calling at once? 

Apparently, I was out of sync. 

My friends mother advised me to stay put in Santa Fe until all got settled. 

And I did. 

Until the following week. In the meantime, I spent more time with My Father as an adult than I ever have. I bought a flip cam and was able to interview him here and there. He told me stories about his life, stories that I had never heard. He got a glimpse into my life, and the work I do. 

I visited him at  School and watched him with his students in their garden - this was part of their "Life Skills' class. Learning how to plant a garden, fill a pitcher with water, and feed the garden.  Some could barely get a word out; one was missing the lower part of her arm, one lumbered back and forth with determination to fill his pitcher without spilling to return to sprinkle the flowers with the much needed water.  Determination to do the simplest of tasks. And all done with a smile.

I strolled the hallways amazed at the texting the speaking of Spanish and  the same teen surliness that still exists in a large public high school. I wonder how these teens and others ever make it through - throw in family and financial hardships and that is an achievement in itself to get out with a degree.

As I prepared to leave on Monday, the Sunday prior, my Father asked if I would like to go to Church; I declined. When he returned he asked if he I would like to go to Starbucks with him; again I passed. I was taking my dog to the dog park, and I would meet him back at his place afterwards. When I returned, my phone rang, it was my Father. I picked up. Silence. I called him back, and said: "Dad? Did you just try to call me?" And my Father said: I've been in an accident. I asked him where, and said I would be right there. Thankfully  and I knew where he was and it was around the corner.

When I arrived, the paramedics were already there taking his vitals. His car was smashed, and they were lifting him onto the gurney. Nearby, I saw a White Pick up truck, and standing next to the truck was a woman and her 5 year old son. 

Apparently the woman  had blown through a red light and crashed into my Father. I attempted to get the insurance and registration information from the woman. The police wouldn't allow me to. 

I drove to the hospital, where Dad had all sorts of plugs and monitors hooked up to him. 

I called my brother's phones. No one was home. It was a Sunday after all.  My sister would have to wait. I didn't have her numbers.

And in true 2011 fashion, I googled my sister and found her office number, and then tweeted her to let her know.  I found her work email and included her on the group email.

My Father was alert, though his blood pressure went through the roof. After a few hours of monitoring him, the Hospital released him to my care.  A sore banged up in shock, but alive walking Father. He later told me how the high blood pressure scared him the most, as that is a sign that a stroke could happen at any moment. 

He kept saying: I guess it wasn't my time. 

No, it wasn't, Dad.

NYC was on hold, LA, a vague destination. 

We still had time, and for that I am grateful. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Birthday Wishes for The Legend and Diva Extraordinaire.

Today is a very special day.  And the person that makes this day so meaningful to me is unequaled. Unequaled, I tell you.

Today is my Aunt's Birthday. Oh, how I wish I was with her to celebrate such a fantastic day. Instead, I wish her the happiest of birthdays from the east coast, thinking of her daily with love and warmth.

She is magnifique, extraordinary, marvelously opinionated, just fabulously chic, funny, and I mean funny, smart as a whip, and a classic beauty. Someone I have always looked up to, and at the same time feared -- just a smidge. But, I think that is to be expected when you hold someone in such high esteem. She has never waivered in my eyes. Not once.

My Aunt 1950's. 
She may have my head for using this photo, but this is what I have here. 

And on a daily basis I think of my Aunt. I think of the life she has lead - the life that took many turns from Bordeaux all the way to Waxahachie, Texas.  I'm sure she never imagined as a young girl in France that she would end up one day on a ranch in Texas married to an all American Cowboy.  But I think most of us never envisioned the place or the people that we ultimately end up settling down with. We just don't. We can't.  Life has too many twists and turns to map out in a linear fashion and then adhere to.

I was on a plane the other day and I remembered a flight my Aunt and I took - I can't remember where, but there was horrible turbulence; of course I started to panic a bit - she took my hand, and she laughed -- that great laugh that has a little  bit of co-conspirator but also says "Oh, come on!" "Enough!"  "All will be fine", and at the same time the laugh is filled with sympathy. I love that laugh. Just love it.

Whenever she calls and leaves a message, I save the message. If and when I am feeling blue I know I can always re-play the message. The way she says my name in that sing song manner she has, with the accent on the é,  always, always warms my heart.

My Aunt has shown me strength, ethics, standing your ground (and watching her do it with elegance) and continued that no nonsense (or is it the no patience) familiar French way of looking at life.

She has cheered me on, laughed with me, and there's something to be said for someone who has experienced the life she has - a witness to the atrocities of WW2, to navigating a move to a rural farm town in the United States  - a far cry from her privileged upbringing and creature comforts. But she persevered. She created a mini-Bordeaux in the Baptist fueled dry town, tongue waggers be damned. I think most would have high tailed it right out of there and back to France to be swaddled it their Chanel and red wine. Not my Aunt.

After instilling her mini Bordeaux she set about creating a life, raising two children and somehow never losing herself or her identity in the process. Not many Mothers or Wives can say that. And I Imagine hardly any at all from my Aunt's generation.

My Aunt is a woman of courage and great strength, something I don't see much in my generation or the generations after me.Which to me is quite sad.  And it's not to say that her life has been smooth sailing; but it's the WAY she sails it (lipstick always on!)  that makes her so damn inspirational.

When her sister passed away so many many years ago, my Aunt inherited three additional children, whether she like it or wanted it. She didn't have a choice as far as we, the motherless (albeit, adult) children were concerned.

In total, she has five children and three grandchildren. I'm sure something she never envisioned.

So, to my Aunt, my love, I wish you the happiest of birthdays. This song is for you:

(In my dreams this is Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour, Edith Piaf and Serge Gainsbourg all singing at once to you -with a dash of Johnny Hallyday to add some edge!)

Happy, Happy Birthday!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Southampton: If they could see her now.

I was thinking yesterday that it has been almost two years since I adopted my former mess of a dog. I looked back in my e mails to try and pinpoint the exact date, and discovered that today was the day that she was dumped at the shelter in Baldwin Park, CA. a pound known as "high kill"  --- meaning: depending on the population of the shelter the animals can have a temporary home for few weeks until they are rescued, or more often, euthanasia.

I adopted her from a rescue group who pull animals for adoption fairs every weekend, but return them to the shelter at the end of the day when they have not found homes.

My friend picked her out at the adoption fair.  This is the same friend that can dine out with Satan, and return from the dinner in hell and tell you how "edgy" he was , and that the red outfit really is becoming and the horns are just fabulous. Oh, and the heat? did wonders for her skin. She's that kind of person. She sprinkles white fairy dust wherever she goes.

So, today was a day of celebration of sorts. A day to celebrate her liberation from her former life. A day to celebrate, indeed.

Here is her audition video: (which I didn't see until after the adoption.)

And a footnote: the name Lucky in the shelter world is as common as Kitty is in the Cat world.

  If you listen to what the volunteer is saying about her, NONE of it was true. Honest mistake with an inexperienced volunteer. They do the best they can. C'est la vie.

Her head shot wasn't that much better:


When I first adopted her, it became clear that her exposure to the world was limited at best.  She was frightened by her reflection, the TV, the phone ringing, stairs, sudden noises, a cabinet opening --  she was so unaccustomed to being outside and interacting with the world, that she actually tried to chase a military helicopter.
The instincts were there, just off base.
Way off.

When she saw another dog, she usually got on her hind legs and yelped like a hyena. Just sheer hysteria. I had more than one person yell at me from across a busy street: "You should call Cesar!"

I couldn't call Cesar, and I certainly did not want to be on his TV show, so we did the next best thing: enrolled in obedience class.

My dog listening intently in class:
We were asked to leave on more than one occasion. 
My dog wanted to kill the other dogs. 
Okay, maybe not kill, but body slamming and charging
 other dogs does not make for a nice classmate. 

It was apparent that her life consisted of living in a crate, only to be let out to use the bathroom and then back in. She was a page one re-write.

And there were days that I cried. What am I going to do with this dog? One day after an extremely challenging hike I was weeping when we got back home, and I just looked at her and said in frustration: WHO DID THIS TO YOU?! WHO? 

I wanted to find them. Them - rather they - were some people who thought doing some good ole' fashion backyard breeding to make some quick cash. They dumped about 30 different dogs at the shelter that they couldn't sell.  My dog was one of them.

We've both come along way; She loves stairs (They're fun!) TV, if it's good, and she admires herself when presented with her reflection; the phone means Mom can't play with me, I might as well rest; other dogs for the most part are okay and even fun. Cats are more fun to chase than birds could ever be. She's more annoyed by the sound of a helicopter than intrigued by them.

Today, on the beach in Southampton, NY 03/27/11

Her relationship with the beach here in Southampton has grown apace. In her first few forays to the beach, she would stay on the side with the homes until one day she decided to prance down to the water and run along side of it. 

Soon enough, I would toss the ball into the edge of the water - it was only a few inches deep, and she went happily in to retrieve her beloved ball. This was a dog who would not get near the water, nor the pool in  Los Angeles. Uh-uh. She wanted nothing to do with anything wet. Bath time was an ordeal leaving me and the bathroom soaked. 

I started throwing the ball further in - always making sure the water was never more than a foot deep. And a funny thing started to happen: when we would arrive at the beach she would start nudging her ball into the water to retrieve it.

Today was a good day in her world - she got a stranger to throw the ball for her for a good 10 minutes.

Later, I threw the ball in a small bay of water  not realizing how deep it went --  she had no choice but to swim. It was that deep. Oops.

Oh no, I thought, she's going to be trumatized. She wasn't. She went back in again, and again.

And I thought what a beautiful sight to see this dog so happy and so free, and so at one with nature. Just being a dog. I swear she was smiling. Soaking wet and 42 degrees out, but she was happy.  

She has experienced canyons, deserts, sagebrush filled hills, a ranch with cattle (and a lot of kitty cats) the sights of D.C., the urban pulse of NYC and the dog parks they call dog runs, and the dogs who rule them; the piles and piles of that white fluffy stuff they call snow which she at first wasn't too sure of, but then realized how much fun it really REALLY was. She discovered riding alongside a bicycle, she learned to respect the deer, and stare at them in awe right along with me. She learned how much fun playing soccer at the beach is, and to run free in the water and the sand.  She learned to accept affection from humans and other dogs. She learned to play. To be a dog. To just be.

Smiling on the beach in Southampton, 03/27/11

So, on behalf of her I say to those people that dumped her: Fuck you, Fuckers. Who's laughing now?

She is.  Happy Liberation Day.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

NYC: Part 2 - Journey to NYC - interrupted

Why haven't I been writing as much in 2011, you ask?

Have I been busy?

Well, yes, and no.

I am going to channel some of my more succinct friends and put this in what I hope, is a concise manner.

Prior to this, I couldn't write - I was too angry. I needed time to digest and process what had happened.

My apartment sublet was nothing short of a NIGHTMARE.

How's that?

I mentioned the fact that it was pretty dirty when I arrived in a post from December - I was still putting on a happy face, remaining optimistic, and thinking I will power through this. I will, I will, I will. After all, I was in the city! I was home.

The fact was, it wasn't dirty; it was vile. I was a tad upset. And it took me three days to clean. And, I am not a germaphobe by any stretch.

Now, I can see being a semi-germaphobe. I get it after experiencing that. I will never again make fun of another's obsession with cleanliness.


And there was a little situation living directly upstairs from me. A situation the person I subletted from was well aware of. But, chose to refrain from telling me.

The situation was a young-ish woman. An unbalanced young-ish woman.

The young-ish woman upstairs like to do a hybrid that I like to call the stomp-pace. Twenty minutes at a stretch. Up and down the length of the apartment. Wood floors. 11:30 PM, 2:30 AM, 4:30 AM, 5:30AM, 8:30 AM, and then maybe one around 4:00PM. 

Every night. Every morning. Sometimes she moved furniture back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. Usually the sliding of furniture occurred between the hours of midnight and 6:00AM.

I knew when her dog urinated in the apartment. Am I getting too graphic here? I'm going to stop. I haven't divulged the other details, and considering this is a family blog, I will refrain from revealing any other sordid details. 

Sometimes she had gentlemen callers. They usually arrived between the hours of 1:30 AM - 3:15 AM. 

Then there was the issue of being able to hear the tenants on both sides of my apartment, and the un-balanced woman upstairs. I could record conversations through the walls with my cell phone. The walls were that thin. I knew when they got up, where they walked to, and what they did when they got there. I knew when they went to bed. I knew when they woke up.

I had roommates and dogmates without the financial benefits.

All was not well.

I was sleeping on average 4 hours a night. Even with a sedative.

11 nights of not sleeping a full night through.

11 days of living there, I had spent three cleaning, 2 without heat and hot water, and 1 dealing with the police.  Twice.

Yes, police***.

Police were involved in the early hours of January 3. They had to be. Unbalanced neighbor upstairs, and all. She did some things to my apartment door. The police were not happy. They filed a report against her.

Apparently this wasn't the first time the police were called on her. I imagine it's not going to be the last, either.

I wanted out. Of course, I asked for my money back from the woman I subletted from; Of course she refused.

The person I subletted from turned out to be a bit of a hustler/con artist, as it later turned out.

I wasn't sleeping. I trudged through the month of January. I thought maybe I can get through this.

I went almost 40 nights of not sleeping a whole night through.

My hair was falling out. I broke out in hives, something I have never experienced.I was grinding my teeth. My shoulders were usually up at my ear lobe level. My breathing, needless to say, was shallow. My left eye stayed in a constant twitch.

I looked very cute.

Towards the end I started to sound like someone who has been on drugs. I couldn't follow a conversation.  My mind was leaping from place to place to place, never pausing long enough to, I don't know, breathe?

I suppose lack of sleep is similar to being on a drug bender.

I did discover I would be a horrid CIA Agent. If they ever used sleep deprivation as a torture on me to get me to talk, on day three, I would start flapping my gums like nobody's business.

Now don't get me wrong, I have worked many many long days and nights, have gone many weeks without sleep - but that is different. Usually there's some sort of compensation for the lack of sleep: food, satisfaction of a job well done, and I don't know -  that thing they call a paycheck. Yeah, that helps too.

I wasn't in my right mind to make any decisions. My friends urged me to come back to Southampton. 

So, at the end of January, I left.

I fled - yes, fled. I thought about staying until the very end of my sublet, but I just couldn't weather it.

Nor did I get my deposit back. Nor did she pay the landlord my rent money for Feb that I paid her in December.

And there's not a lot of recourse. She is gone, no forwarding address, nothing. 

And for the first week and a half in Southampton, I slept. I slept soundly through the night, and at times would still take a nap during the day.

I would still go into the city for meetings or to see a friend.

But it has taken me some time to get past this. I know I make light of it, but it wasn't. It was horrid. It's a horrid situation to be living underneath someone who is mentally unstable and has threatened you.

And that the person I subletted from was well aware of this. Had intimate knowledge of the situation. But that's another story for another time.

During that time, between these two women my compassion for human beings was tested. Severely tested.

Remember my earlier post about true New Yorkers? She was not one; she was a hustler by way of Brazil who was on her way to LA. She has no idea what she's in for in LA, and for that, there is satisfaction. She WILL be hustled so hard her head will be spinning. Right back to Rio. 

So, there's that.

Now, that that's out of the way, moving on.

I still love New York. Love it, love it, love it. Love the people. I still feel like I am home here, I still feel comfortable in my skin here, and love seeing my friends in the city when I am able to.

I love it when it snows, I love it when it rains, I love it when it's cold. Okay maybe not the cold when you're freezing, but you get the idea.

I love the food.

I love the conversations - whether it's with friends or someone in the park, or the cab driver. Love, love the conversations. Everyone's got an opinion and I love hearing all of them.

Southampton's not too shabby either. The people are lovely, the flowers are starting to bloom, and I have been biking around town.

Here I am the other day about to go biking with my dog:
Okay so it's not that warm, and you need five layers or so, and so what that you look a little heavier.  

The days have gotten longer, the sun is shining and the apartment debacle is becoming a faded memory. ***

*** NYPD rocked. They were lovely. Granted it probably has to do that I lived in the Mayor's precinct, but still. They even  gave me their cell number and email address if I needed anything.

*** Well, almost. I still can't stand to hear anything about Brazil or anything affiliated. I know this will pass in time.  I think. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

NYC: Holy Day aka St. Patrick's Day!

Today is a day of CRAZY celebration; New Yorkers treat St Patrick's Day similar to New Year's Eve. The city shuts down, work comes to a standstill and all of the city is green, if temporarily.

Now, growing up in the city, St Patrick's Day was the bane of one's existence. Stepping over the green vomit on the streets, snaking your way through the drunken revelers, trying to get to and from school or to and from work without a "KISS ME I'M IRISH" always, always, from some dude that you would never give the time of day to, sober, drunk, green, Irish, or not. We would be annoyed. Bridge and Tunnel we would say, and try to get out of the madness. 

Like these guys.
 (Tho, truth be told, these are cleaned up examples)

Being back, I am enamored with the festivities. 
The pomp, the circumstance.

The tradition.

The Parade! The Parade in NYC is really an art form.

I love the delight that people take in the holiday here; 
I mean, the local supermarket sold out of their god awful looking green cupcakes in a nano second. Everywhere it seems, are signs that proclaim: BEST Corned Beef and Cabbage! Guinness Beer on tap!

The parade has changed GREATLY since I've been away. There is a strict no alcohol in public, or on the street policy. Police are everywhere. The parade is orderly. 


But for one day across New York, there is unity. Everyone is Irish.***  

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

***PS. except for Donald Trump. He needs to go far, far away. And take that damn toupee with him. Idiot.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

In the meantime...

While I work on part 2, here are some random photo's from NYC.

Dog walkers and their charges.

All taken on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, 

January 2011.

Going on the afternoon stroll:

By the way, dog walkers usually get about $20.00- $25.00 per walk, per dog.

Note the boots:

Dogs waiting while one of their pals is returned to the doorman for safe deposit in owners apartment.

Looking down Park Avenue:

Looking up at a Church near Park Avenue:

And a man singing for his supper:

In the Subway Station:

That's it for now. 

I hope to have part 2 finished this weekend.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

NYC: The True New Yorkers™ Part 1

You know, I came to NYC filled with excitement and optimism. And, I still have those feelings for NYC. I love the people. I love the city.

Let me be clear: I LOVE True New Yorkers™

Now, there's a rule of thumb that says after 11** years of living in NYC, you are a "real" New Yorker.

I disagree; New York is a spirit. New York is a energy. New York is compassion. New York is smart. New York is funny. New York is fast. New York is fun.

Lately though, I feel as if I have been in a boxing ring:

I feel as if I bounced in each time only to be chased out, or almost chased out. But each time I returned with enthusiasm. Ready to go another round.

And there have been disappointments along the way.

Disappointments in the sense of people who happen to live in New York, but really are not the soul of New Yorkers.

THEY are not New York. Why they are here, I've no idea.

And, unfortunately, their actions have affected my livelihood here in NYC. No matter how many times I got back into the ring, there seemed to be a left hook swinging.

And I dodged, bobbed, weaved, and fought back.

I tried to stay in my bubble, my happy NYC bubble, and repeat to myself that

I WILL triumph.

The True New Yorkers™ have been nothing but warm, kind, and helpful.

And I hesitate to write in detail here, as since I started this blog - which was started as a spur of the moment kind of thing for me and friends which in turn developed into a GPS for family to check in to see where I was, where I was going, and how things were going.

But then, there was a moment or three, where I was alerted to the fact that some reading my blog who were not in my corner.

And, when you're in the ring no matter if the opponent is 7 feet tall or 60 pounds, you need all the confidence you can muster or fake; having the hecklers behind you when you are doubting yourself I realize is part of the sport; but in round 5 when you are wondering if it's worth it, you need all the supporters you can rally.

And that stalled me at certain times; I didn't want to blog anymore. Because all I could think of were the way those people felt about me. Finding out they were reading this or had access to the blog, well, deflated me.

I edited - heavily. I started editing back in New Mexico, and as time marched on and I realized more that were not on "my  team" were reading, well, the fun was sort of gone.

I know, I shouldn't give a hoot what people think.

This was done for fun, to share with those I loved, and for the people I know loved and cared for me.

Until part 2 where I will elaborate more, you can peruse this which I stumbled on after writing this post:  http://bit.ly/dxKGiM

**I remember the 11 yr  'factoid' from someone saying this to me as a teenager; I've no idea what the rule of thumb is.

Friday, February 11, 2011

NYC: Mr Bitchin', MoMA, and Mary.

A former co-worker and dear friend of mine flew into NYC from Los Angeles to attend the screening of a documentary she edited and received director credit on; the film is based on the Southern California fine artist Robert Williams and aptly titled: "Mr. Bitchin' "

Robert Williams 
Expectorating In A Fast Food Patron’s Double Burger Deluxe
oil on canvas
Courtesey of artnet.com/Tony Shafrazi Gallery
Explanatory Nomenclature: The Exhilaration Of Satisfying Spite Magnifies With The Degree Of How Far The Despicable Action Is Taken; Consequently, The Practice of Spewing Salivary Secretions Into The Food Products Of An Unknowing Consumer By A Restaurant Food Preparer Would Bring This Infectious Exchange Into The Sphere Of Clinical Animosity Ecstasy.

Poolroom Title: One Double Burger With Secret Phlegm, Hold The Antibiotics

Here is a description from The Whitney where his work was chosen for the 2010 Biennial:

Born in 1943 in Albuquerque, NM
Lives and works in Chatsworth, CA

Robert Williams’s watercolors picture a world in which the laws of physics wreak havoc on suburban neighborhoods and tommy gun–wielding cowboys with tomatoes for heads haunt the forests. Williams’s self-described “lowbrow” aesthetic is idiosyncratic and deeply rooted in the vernacular aesthetics of Californian subcultures. To create his meticulously crafted works, he applies classical fine art techniques to the visual language of underground comix and custom cars, informed by his early experiences of painting hot rods at Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s legendary auto shop and contributing mind-expanded drawings to R. Crumb’s Zap Comix in the 1960s. In the cultural space between the museum and the comic book convention, Williams’s work has fostered an audience for self-conscious, uncompromising art that can also be truly popular.

Instead of attending the high profile Biennial opening night party at The Whitney in NYC,  Mr. Williams chose to attend a small opening of his work at Cal State Northridge, in Northridge California.

That's just the way Mr Bitchin' rolls.

The NYC screening took place at MoMA with the respected art magazine Juxtapoz presenting the film  - which btw, Mr Williams is a co-founder of.

The magazine, that is.

Mary on the left with her sister in law in front of MoMA pre- screening:

The Screen

The crowd filing in!
Full house!

Mary, moments before the screening is to start
(and, why yes, those are my gloves and eyeglass case on the ledge!)

 This was Mary's first documentary - and she ended up at MoMA in NYC - not too shabby for the first time. Granted it took her three years to complete the film, but many others try for much, much longer and never even get in the same breathing vicinity as MoMA.

Congrats, MARY!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

NYC: Another Winter Wonderland!

The snow has been non-stop. I thought it was normal - per my memories. Apparently I am WRONG. This is the most snow NYC has seen in January in 86 years.

But the headlines and the news and the citizens of NYC are just done with it.

Done, I tell you.

I absolutely adore it. I know this is because I have not had to endure it year after year with no end in sight, I mean, I get it.

So, I played. What else is there to do with so much snow?

This is a snow angel I made for a friend who was "over it"

If you look hard enough, you can see the outline of the "angel" towards the bottom of the photo. Let me tell you something, trying to take a photograph in a snow thunder storm is no easy feat.

The snow raged on throughout the night, including the snow thunder. 

My backyard the following morning:

Here is Gracie Mansion and the entrance to Carl Schurz Park where I take my dog twice a day.

I happen to think this is quite pretty.

My dog about to conquer the tundra:

She's learning how to dig for a ball in the snow.
This ain't no Runyon!

When I got home that night, I took my dog back to the park and discovered a Winter Wonderland filled with snow sculptures. The citizens of NYC had been busy.

Now, this is a snow ball!

One attempt at a snowman. Sweet, no?

And there was this fellow donning a chapeau:

These are some shots from this night, and then the following morning. 

Before and after, if you will:

My dog in a snow cave. Or is it a snow artillery  holding station?
and my dog with the the snow artillery  holding station the next morning:

Then there was this guy.
I like to call him Optimistic Snowman.
He gave my dog optimism. 
She felt optimistic enough to climb him

Here is Mr Optimism the next morning;
Granted, a little worse for the wear, but who isn't after a night of someone trying to climb all over you?

Then there was someones interpretation of maybe of The Statue of Liberty? 

And here she is the next morning:

Do you see her size???
The creators of the snow creatures were not screwing around.

And then, there was this. 

This one made me stop in my tracks, and gasp:

Is it a horse?
Or a dog?

Pretty magnificent.

Again, the next morning, Mr. Dog/Horse was looking a little worse for the wear:

Not quite as regal as the night before.

But, again, I ask: Who is?

You know what's great? More snow is on the way!