Wednesday, February 25, 2009
From "Lunch at the Loyola Arms":
"That was lunch at the Loyola Arms--on one or another of those days when nothing happened really but lunch--and yet I don't remember ever feeling more free, or more alone, than when I'd watch the children marching into school, surrendering the street back to the pigeons and shadow until it was empty and quiet again, and I sat propped in the window, draining the foam [his beer], with the length of an entire afternoon still before me" (232).
God, if I don't know exactly how that feels. Despite not living in a shabby temporary hotel, being a guy, or sleeping with women before lunching alone staring out a window.
From "Que Quieres":
"You're not talking about memory. You're talking about half-empty water glasses and dreams."
"You don't think dreaming is a kind of remembering? And if it is, then why wouldn't memory be a kind of dream?" (251).
Ummm. I want to write dialogue this fresh.
From "A Minor Mood":
"Those were mornings to be tucked away at the heart of life, so that later, whenever one needed to draw upon a recollection of joy in order to get through troubled times, it would be there, an assurance that once one was happy and one could be happy again" (282).
No words but "Stu, you playah."
From "Je Reviens":
"Perhaps from the moment I went into Marshall Field's I was looking for something to steal" (289).
This started a new story for me.
"The dancers whooped and whirled and stomped, but finally were defeated by the tempo and stood on the dance floor gasping and panting while the bridesmaids stumbled dizzily in their disheveled taffeta like deposed prom queens" (290).
The part about the prom queens just kills me.
Here's a few tastes of the story:
"I was the D. H. Lawrence of not doing it, the voice of all the would-be lovers who ached and squirmed. From all our contortions in doorways, on stairwells, and in the bucket seats of cars we could have composed a Kama Sutra of interrupted bliss" (245).
"We made not doing it a wonder, and yet we didn't, we didn't, we never did" (246).
2003 I Sailed with Magellan. New York: Picador.
My husband says bad things happen in threes. He was talking about all the plane crashing. He would know; he works for JFK. He explained to me about the plane that landed in the Hudson and about the plane that crashed in Buffalo. It sounded like this: "THE PLANE CRASHED BECAUSE science science science science science science science science science science science science science science . . ."
It may have sounded like this because of his air jargon or maybe because my eyes had glazed over and I wasn't listening.
I'm starting to think that, either way, I need to start paying more attention, because this whole plane-crashing situation is getting ridiculous: another crashed today in Amsterdam. I'm starting to think that we need to go back to the old romantic days of train travel. 'Course that would make it mighty difficult to go home to Hawai'i. Or boats. What was ever wrong with boats?!
All in all, though, I would like to urge the weather and the pilots to stop crashing the planes. You are ruining the magic of air travel for me.
Thanks v. much.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The New York Times has changed its house style to reflect sensitivity over the spelling of certain alcohols. (Insert joke about whether there is any sense in crying over [mis]spelled scotch, har har.)
So. Thusly. The word on the street, from Eric Asimov of The Pour:
Adds reblogger LALAU, from the Dining Blogs:
As of now, the spelling “whisky” will be used not only for Scotch but for Canadian liquor as well. The spelling “whiskey” will be used for all appropriate liquors from other sources.
Please remind me of this and the previous post about Obama's I versus me the next time I start groaning about how grammar and my job have no salience in the world. As Eric Asimov writes, "Words do matter." Well, phew, because I was worried there for a minute.
May I add that the Belgians, the Bretons, the Corsicans, the Welsh and the Spaniards always use the term “whisky,” and not “whiskey,” for their own versions of the drink. I am not sure the Scots always like it, but that’s the way it is. LALAU
(Thanks to Krissa's fridge, on which was posted a cut-out of the reblogging, for the tip.)
Krissa: It's the kind of mistake everyone makes.
Me: Yeah, but because he's him, we all pay more attention.
Me: Wait a minute. I think I mean "because he's he." Is that right? Does that sound weird?
Oh, grammar. Tricky stuff, that.
Monday, February 23, 2009
If you didn't actually have to write it, what might it be fun to write? A mystery?Short stories? A novel? Songs? Plays? Poetry? You may be attracted to many different forms of writing--and that is OK. It doesn't mean you are a shallow dilettante. It means you are multifaceted. Take fifteen minutes are write, longhand, as fast as you can, about the kinds of writing it would be fun to do.What would I want to write if I didn't have to follow through seems like a trick question. If I didn't actually have to do the writing of the writing, what wouldn't I want to write?! But okay. We can play this game.
Short shorts (complete stories in 1-2 pages), "good" poetry, humor pieces (like those in the New Yorker), lyrics for songs, plays, screenplays, opera libretti, memoir, absurdist fiction (i.e., Haruki Murakami and the like), semi-mysteries (again, i.e., Murakami; also Paul Auster's New York trilogy), really smart and complicated and time-jumping and epic novels (like David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas), tight and sparse short stories (like Amy Bloom), romance novels, paranormal romance novels, science fiction, fiction employing mythology, children's books, sermons, presidential speeches, Oscar speeches, literary criticism, book reviews for the Times or the New Yorker, editorials for The Sun Magazine. More point-of-view shifting stories. More stories from second-person POV, written skillfully so as to convert the unbelievers. Stories not about Hawai'i. Stories not about being part or wholly Asian. New York stories, but my New York, a specific New York that doesn't fall into step with all the great things that have already been written about New York. A trilogy or more-logy, some opus that covers a long enoug hspan of time so as to require a significant amount of pages but that makes best sense divided into separate volumes (such as C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia or Celestine Vaite's Breadfruit, Frangipani, and Tiare in Bloom). Something about Japanese Americans during World War II. More about airplanes and flying. More about those surrogates in India. A new novel with a separate world and cast of characters from the current novel. Something that makes me money. Something that makes me famous. Something that makes me happy. Something that feels, finally, finished.
The New York Times writes, "British aeronautical engineer Bernie Bamford sighted a mysterious grid of undersea lines while browsing through Google Earth’s new underwater search tool. The strange pattern was spotted off the western coast of Africa, apparently near one of the possible sites of the legendary island."
"According to CNet, Google waved off claims that the bizarre pattern could be linked to the fabled sunken city, saying the criss-cross pattern of lines were remnants of sonar-equipped boats collecting data from the ocean floor."
“'It’s true that many amazing discoveries have been made in Google Earth, including a pristine forest in Mozambique that is home to previously unknown species and the remains of an ancient Roman villa,' a statement from Google read.[**] 'In this case, however, what users are seeing is an artifact of the data collection process. Bathymetric (or sea floor terrain) data is often collected from boats using sonar to take measurements of the sea floor. The lines reflect the path of the boat as it gathers the data.'”
* Full text of article available here.
** Um. Hi. Cool enough for me!
Still not home.
But special thanks go out to the following:
Wife: For putting us up for 16 days of the homelessness in her cozy and "intimate" SoHo pad. For having us sleep on red satin sheets. For whiling away the mornings--actually, early afternoons--with me so agreeably, oversized mugs of coffee in hand. For resurrecting weekend brunch. For the convenience and for the laughs of walking Nahe in my PJs while glamorous and/or edgy SoHo-ans walked importantly by. For the click-clack of other people's heels on cobblestone streets.
Suz and Justin: For making Valentine's Day and the day that followed it about as special as it was going to get this year. It was so romantic to be not homeless. For a Queen-sized bed and downright delicious sheets. For beautiful morning Nahe walks alongside the East River. For so many books I wanted to cry--or read them all, simultaneously and instantly. For odd little trinkets of your travels and selves. And for your generosity, having only met us this year but still trusting us so kindly with your home.
Krissa and Stuart: For hosting us the last four and a partial days. For another Queen-sized bed and whisper-soft linens. For your companionship, Krissa, next to me on the couch, reading the Times and exclaiming aloud whenever something tickles your very smart brain, which is often, but what you exclaim is always so intruiging that I never want you to stop doing so. For you, Stuart, and your ridiculously good English manners, wherein you so kindly and genuinely offer to bring coffee, tea, and entire breakfasts to the ladies of the house that it could make me cry. For having the Nanito and thereby healing the last of the firetrauma out of Nahe, because watching them tumble the last four days makes even us forget exactly why it is we're staying at your place. For pizza and red wine and crumpets and tea. For windy and wonderful walks through Sunset Park.
Dave: For your patience and your evenkeel-edness and for being home to me.
Nahe: For being a reminder, always, that tomorrow is a bright and brand-new day full of things one cannot begin to imagine--in a good way.
2009: Answer A. For nothing.
Answer B. For getting all the bad shit out of the way now. March through December are going to be amazing and so filled with perfect days that I'm going to be glowing from gloating, right? RIGHT.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Go to Google and type in quotation marks your name and then "likes to" (e.g., "Steve likes to"). Post in your own note the first ten things returned.
According to Google, here are my top ten:
1. Mayumi likes to stay updated with the latest developments in music therapy.
2. Mayumi likes to rest during off hours and is trying to study her toes in order to get ahead professionally.
3. I recognize the voice of the woman who answers, an elderly woman "grown grim in the service of her city," as Mayumi likes to say.
4. The political appeal to SAGE-P is the efficient management of some culturally-defined e-values, or what Kozo Mayumi likes to refer to as the socially acceptable rate of entropy production.
5. Mayumi likes to listen to music.
6. Mayumi likes to tweak her standard uniform to make it cool.
7. Mayumi likes to keep the mystery alive.
8. Mayumi likes to write articles about this subject.
9. Mayumi likes to draw with him.
10. So, as Mayumi likes to say, "BWA HA HA! FEAR MY AWESOME POWER!!! ... *cough*. "
I'm particularly fond of #7 and #10.
Friday, February 20, 2009
I know my wedding is over, and I never want to do it again, BUT these Kenneth Pool/Austin Scarlett dresses are so pretty I want to eat them.
(Thanks to A Century of Nerve for the tip.)
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Admittedly, I wanted out of the burned apartment bad at the beginning of February. Wanted out of the bad karma and wanted to "stick it" to my landlord as hard as I could. Now I'm less sure. It's an awful ordeal to move, and a lot of money, and Brooklyn Heights is a lot to give up, especially as a dogmommy, with its two offleash dog runs and no equivalent of which I am aware in the Fort Greene/Clinton Hill area, and its obvious cushyness with all the brownstones and the tree-lined streets and the Promenade and the . . .
My mom has this saying, "When it's right, it rolls." Putting aside my first instinct as an editor, which is to query "what, pray tell, is doing the rolling here?", I know what she means. "It." The sequence of events. Life itself rolls, goes, forward-like.
And nothing has been rolling as of late. Neither the staying or the going.
The staying has been staved off by the landlord's failure to get his act together enough to get the gas and water turned back on, now 18 days after the fire. We tried to stay there Monday night, lay shivering under three blankets until we fell asleep for lack of any alternative, but eventually packed it in and at 11pm headed back to SoHo (poor Wife) because we knew we couldn't do without plumbing. "Roughing it"--in winter, in New York city--is highly overrated. I am having flashbacks to the LES Tenement Museum, only it's my apartment and I'm in period costume.
The going has been postponed by the ridiculousness that is getting approved to sublet a co-op from its owner. The number of hoops you have to jump through is incredible--in terms of paperwork, proof of economic stasis going back three years, the execution of an interview to prove you're not a psycho or an asshole, the fact that our realtor company did a bad and disorganized job of handling both us and the co-op, and the fact that this particular co-op board meets only once a month--and we missed the February meeting by one day and so now have to wait till March 4 to even begin the approval process.
Well. Not exactly "rolling," as you can see. So. What's a girl to do?
What's left to do but zen out?
If we get approved for the move, we'll move, and I'll put aside all misgivings.
If we don't get approved, we'll reassess whether moving or staying will be the best decision economically and emotionally.
It really is that simple.
It may sound so simple, in fact, that you're wondering why I didn't get to that conclusion sooner.
To which I'd say: Why, then, you don't know me at all.
All in all, though, it's an interesting, if seemingly slightly silly, exercise.
Here are mine. (Forgive the variations on a theme; at least I know what my constant hang-up about writing is.) Originals first, positive versions below in italics.
1. Writers are those who write.
Writers are those who write, yes, but who keep trying different things while writing, even more so.
2. Writers are those who publish.
Writers are writers even if they don't publish, as long as they consistently write.
3. Writers are those crazy 25-year-old prodigies who have already obtained their MFAs and written their first novel, which has been released to wide acclaim and which gets written up in the New Yorker, the New York Chronicle of Books, and the Times, and so forth, as "a stunning debut," etc., and if you haven't done this by the time you're 25, you may as well go home.
A writer is me, whether I get there at age 25 (too late), 29 (not likely), or 59, as long as I'm trying my best to be definition 1 (see above).
4. Writers are either glamourless struggling artists or . . .
Yes, don't expect the glamour, but no, don't expect to be broke.
5. Or writers come from families with money, with the ability to support themselves financially even if they don't ever make money themselves, which appears like it might take off some of the pressure to produce. Writers must also necessarily be well-off enough to have a private cabin, preferably near some pensive body of water such as a lake or ocean, at which the writers may seclude themselves.
Writers can be middle class or poor. You can have/find an oasis of your own invention, always, if you look hard enough. For example, a park bench in a neighborhood that is not yours and in which you know near to nobody. (Tudor City, I may be back . . .)
6. Writers are those who have learned "how" to write and therefore feel confident about how "it" works each time they set pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
Writers are those who keep trying to write.
7. Writers don't put off their art.
Yeah right. I didn't even believe that the first time I wrote it down. Writers are human, contrary to popular opinion.
8. Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can't teach call themselves writers and hide the fact that they cannot do or teach behind some invented myth that they are too highly evolved to do either.
Writers can, do, teach, and write. All above is a fallacy and an asshole statement to boot.
9. Writers are the ones who write who actually "made it": made publication, made money, made Oprah's book club.
Writers write, Self. Let it go. Be zen, already.
10. Writers suffer, on a daily basis, from how hard the act of writing is.
Well, kinda. Sorry, Julia Cameron, but I'm not quite on board with your opinion that it is easy to write, even if you take the pressure off. It is really hard, but maybe it can be fun, too, if you can learn to let go of the internal editor. Which is really, really, really hard to do for a writer who pays the bills by being an actual editor.
To which I commented back:
Pretty, we are such a mess. There I was, lying mostly naked in oil thinking about how I kinda had to pee while you were lying there mostly naked in oil thinking about how you might die. Wasn't the point relaxation?!
In the most vivid and saddest of these dreams--the other woman dream--there is snow on the ground. I am sitting alone on a picnic bench. I am strangely not cold and it does not occur to me to go inside. A beautiful black-and-white shiba inu puppy comes frolicking up to me. I coax him to give up his belly mere moments later, despite the fact that I can hear someone calling him. I keep petting the dog such that it won't leave me, and it doesn't, while the person calling the dog gets close enough for me to see who it is. It is the man with whom I am having the affair, a woman, and two girls. The woman is beautiful, quiet, restrained-looking, refined; the children are aged approximately two and six and are utterly in the image of this man and this woman.
I say to the man, "Sorry, I couldn't resist," indicating the puppy and likely a lot of subtext. "And once I get them on their backs, I know it's over."
This may be the saddest sentence in the history of the English language.
In my dream, I mean the puppy--that a puppy who loves tummyrubs can't listen to his master while getting petted because he's beyond hearing. But when I wake, later, the statement seems to me flooded with double entendre.
Anyway, in my dream, I finally stop petting the dog's stomach. He still lies there, hopeful, waiting for more, gazing at me. Finally, I release the dog, saying "up" and "go to your master," indicating with my pointer finger the man. The dog jumps up and without a backward glance is off to join the family, who are much closer now. We stand awkwardly.
"You know my wife, Tara," he says, and in my dream somehow I do know her.
"And who are these beauties?" I say, indicating the girls.
He gives me their names but even in my dream I instantly forget them.
In my dream it is clear--to the man and me, at least--that we've had an affair. Physical, emotional, spiritual. That it was meaningful and yet as thoughtless and impulsive as any affair ever is.
And it is also clear it is over, this instant. That the incredible evidence of why this man and I are less meant to be than he and Tara stares me languidly in the face, three times over.
It is a very sad dream.
But not without remembering that rueful apology, the depth in the man's eyes, the utterly cliche love for his wife and the other woman that is nonetheless genuine, all of which stir me upon waking even though nothing else about that dream is true once I am conscious.
I have theories about some of that, but I'm not sure I want to post them in-depth on the Internet. Suffice to say: Daddy issues, therapy needed?
It was the first homeless weekend and therefore definitely time to treat myself. (Do you see a reoccuring theme here?). I met Wife and Luke for brunch at Dos Caminos SoHo, just like old times. Ahhh, we have memories at Dos Caminos SoHo: like when Luke had an allergic reaction to either avocado or fish snuck into his food; or when Luke still wanted to eat there, like every weekend, for all of 2004; or that hungover 2004 Halloween sunday when Wife and I thought it was a good idea to wear trashy-mctrasherston outfits to brunch (she was a Playboy bunny in all pink down to the neon heels, and I was Sexy Dorothy down to the 3-inch ruby heels and stuffed dog in my purse).
Anyway, there we were, five years later, back at the scene of the crime. Thank god they've changed the brunch menu since then, because otherwise I still don't think I've gotten over how many times I ate the same damn meal (what else but a benedict) for weekend upon weekend in a row.
This is what I got this time around:
MEXICAN EGGS BENEDICT 13
jalapeño-cheddar biscuits, nopales, green chile and chorizo gravy
Wife and I also split the delicious guacamole for two. Luke didn't partake, thankfully, because otherwise his throat would have closed up. The brunch prices are inclusive of one alcoholic beverage OR juice plus coffee OR tea. Still pretty awesome, though I think five years ago it was a bit cheaper. Inflation, yadayadayada.
Verdict? Delicious. Definitely still a good brunch, even if you've eaten there nearly every weekend for a year. Also good there? The Rancheros, the Breakfast Quesadilla, the Breakfast Tacos, and the eaten-for-an-entire-year-of-weekends-nearly Smoked Salmon and Avocado Benedict.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Notice anything different?
I bought my own domain!
I am now the proud owner of mayumishimosepoe.com, which means no other person can have that domain.
I will now write and publish copious amounts of award-winning and awesome fiction and I own the domain on which I can brag about it! This is incredible! Who knew just paying $10 a year to own yourownname.com could make you more prolific and famous! Not me!!
But if you don't feel like plugging the new e-dress into your Google reader or whathaveyou, do not fear, because you will be automatically redirected.
Brace yourself for fame and fortune to now follow. I am now a dot com.
The Eggs Benedict Chronicles has been dying a slow and drawn-out death, I know. The last time I wrote about a benedict consumed was September 5, 2008--for shame! I let nearly half a year go by. Tsk, tsk.
Nolita House features a selection of Benedicts:
The Classic ~ 14*
two poached eggs, canadian bacon & hollandaise on an english muffin served with fries & mixed green salad
The Florentine ~ 14
two poached eggs, sautéed spinach & hollandaise on an english muffin served with fries & mixed green salad
The Low-Carb ~ 15
two poached eggs, canadian bacon & hollandaise on an portabello mushroom served with mixed green salad
The Norwegian ~ 16
two poached eggs, house cured salmon & hollandaise on an english muffin served with fries & mixed green salad
The Steak & Eggs ~ 16
two poached eggs, sliced hanger steak & hollandaise on an english muffin served with fries & mixed green salad
I went for broke with the Steak & Eggs Benedict.
The verdict? Excellent steak. Deliciously sweet onions. Eggs properly poached to pokeability. The side salad, even, had a nice tang to it from some kind of lemon vinaigrette. But combined with the blah of an english muffin (too traditional) and the rich/savory taste of the hollandaise (also pretty boring), not so good. After consuming the first half of the Benedict, I opted to eat just the salad, steak, and onions.
Final ruling? Skip it.
* All typos herein are directly from their menu. And they make me itchy. Don't think I didn't consider correcting them.
Well. I always stand by my man, so today I injected a few hundred to help out. Here is my idea of economic stimululation: Bliss's Herbie with the seaweed mask add-on.
Do I have the money to throw around like that? No way! But what else is plastic for than when you've been couch-surfing for 17 days, your body and soul not to mention your skin are all stressed, and your dog just chewed through your favorite tote bag?
Besides . . . What better way to reframe the whole situation than what followed? Wife and I stuffed our faces with brownies, cheese, olives, and eau de orange water. Then we each went off with our own Blissperson. I stripped naked except for what I like to call "fake panties": they are basically a thin piece of gauze-like material held between one's legs by a piece of elastic around the waist. I laid on my stomach and put a towel over my ass for modesty. When my Blissperson came back in the room, she very cordially asked if I was comfortable and when I affirmed that I was, the first thing she did was whip off that towel. Awesome. What proceeded was that I got rubbed down neck to toes in hot herbal oils, and then wrapped up in some crinkly foil-like material and two layers of blankets while she turned the heat up on the bed. I told her I felt like a burrito. Then she proceeded to wash my face, alpha hydroxy my face, clean off my face, exfoliate my face, clean off my face, mask my face for 10 minutes, clean off my face, perform extractions on my face, clean off my face, mask my face in this cool seaweed mask that 10 minutes later came off in one whole piece, and, finally, clean off my face. She then sent me into the waiting room to first pee (thankgod) and then again devour brownies, blondies, olives, and cheeses and rehydrate with water.
It was a tough job, but someone had to do it.
Quick note, though: If you even THINK you have to pee before a 75+minute long service, DO IT. I spent a majority of the time that I was supposed to be blissed out thinking about how I shouldn't have had that last pre-service hydrating cup of orange water. It was still very relaxing, but you know it could have been better if I wasn't thinking about whether I looked bloated while naked because I had to piss. Awesome.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...
You Are a Bette!
You are a Bette -- "I must be strong"
Bettes are direct, self-reliant, self-confident, and protective.
How to Get Along with Me
- * Stand up for yourself... and me.
- * Be confident, strong, and direct.
- * Don't gossip about me or betray my trust.
- * Be vulnerable and share your feelings. See and acknowledge my tender, vulnerable side.
- * Give me space to be alone.
- * Acknowledge the contributions I make, but don't flatter me.
- * I often speak in an assertive way. Don't automatically assume it's a personal attack.
- * When I scream, curse, and stomp around, try to remember that's just the way I am.
What I Like About Being a Bette
- * being independent and self-reliant
- * being able to take charge and meet challenges head on
- * being courageous, straightforward, and honest
- * getting all the enjoyment I can out of life
- * supporting, empowering, and protecting those close to me
- * upholding just causes
What's Hard About Being a Bette
- * overwhelming people with my bluntness; scaring them away when I don't intend to
- * being restless and impatient with others' incompetence
- * sticking my neck out for people and receiving no appreciation for it
- * never forgetting injuries or injustices
- * putting too much pressure on myself
- * getting high blood pressure when people don't obey the rules or when things don't go right
Bettes as Children Often
- * are independent; have an inner strength and a fighting spirit
- * are sometimes loners
- * seize control so they won't be controlled
- * figure out others' weaknesses
- * attack verbally or physically when provoked
- * take charge in the family because they perceive themselves as the strongest, or grow up in difficult or abusive surroundings
Bettes as Parents
- * are often loyal, caring, involved, and devoted
- * are sometimes overprotective
- * can be demanding, controlling, and rigid
(With thanks to http://toxicbreathout.blogspot.com/)
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
So writes Free Will for the Tauruses on the week of Valentine's (February 12-19):
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Gertrude Stein defined love as "the skillful audacity required to share an inner life." That's the perfect seed idea for you to meditate on this Valentine season. It suggests that expressing the truth about who you are is not something that amateurs do very well: Practice and ingenuity are required. It also implies that courage is an essential element of successful intimacy. You've got to be adventurous if you want to weave your life together with another's.
[Closes eyes. Clickclicks ruby slippers. Mumbles quietly because new/old roomie Wife is still asleep: There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like ... Opens eyes. Still here.]
The gas (for cooking and heating) and water cannot be turned on in our old building until the people from those two companies manage to meet with every tenant from our building to get into apartments to turn off those things before turning them back on. Or something. But how are they supposed to meet with the tenants when the tenants aren't living in their apartments because the gas and water is not turned on.
This, I believe, is where a landlord comes in. Ours does not.
We're so moving. We're done. Kaput. Goodbye, beautiful Brooklyn Heights. Promenade, we will miss you. Hillside Dog Park, we will definitely definitely miss you. Noodle Pudding, these long goodbyes are really hard, so I'm just going to go. But yes, we're leaving. Hopefully circa March 1-5ish and hopefully hopefully to a certain other beautiful building we've got our eyes and our deposits on.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
I decided to delve further into the issue with some serious research.
So I turned to Google--haha--and found dreammoods.com. And yo, check it out, because it is fascinating. The site reports:
To see a baby in your dream, signifies innocence, warmth and new beginnings. Babies symbolize something in your own inner nature that is pure, vulnerable, helpless and/or uncorrupted. If you find a baby in your dream, then it suggests that you have acknowledged your hidden potential.
All very well and good, but I still don't know what it means to dream a baby not for myself but for my friend? Is the dream still about me despite the fact that I'm dreaming about her? Hmm.
Friday, February 6, 2009
I made it, oh, two seconds.
From Kate's recent entry ("Doing Their Best to Get That National Divorce Rate Up Past 50%") on her blog: "Ken Starr, who led the campaign to impeach President Bill Clinton, filed a legal brief last month--on behalf of the “Yes on 8″ campaign-—that would forcibly divorce 18,000 same-sex couples that were married in California last year before the passage of Prop 8. Watch “Fidelity” and sign our letter to the state Supreme Court. Tell the Supreme Court to invalidate Prop 8, reject Ken Starr’s case, and let loving, committed couples marry. DEADLINE: Valentine’s Day."
WATCH the video above.
TAKE ACTION at couragecampaign.org/divorce
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Let me say how disappointed I am that, to Amazon.com, "women's fiction" means the following:
1. Drugstore/Dimestore Novels That Have Most If Not All of the Following in Them: sisters, a man over which the sisters fight, rape, incest, infidelity, kidnapping, and murder. (See, e.g., from the e-mail: True Colors, While My Sister Sleeps, Glamour: A Novel, One Day at a Time)
2. Danielle Steele. Never okay. She can't even string words together in any semblance of artistry. I knock not the romance novel industry but her, specifically. (See, e.g., from the e-mail, One Day at a Time)
3. Stories about Clothes and/or Clothing Stores and/or Glamour/Fabulousness in General, and the Crazy Women Obsessed with Them. (See, e.g., from the e-mail, Glamour: A Novel, Almost Single)
4. Stories about Women's Deep, Tried but Still True, Friendship, Yadayadayada. Dude, we all read the Yaya Sisterhood books. That ship has sailed. (See, e.g., from the e-mail, Bound South, The Spare Room*, Glamour: A Novel, A Year on Ladybug Farm)
5. Any Book That Has the Word "Single" as in "All the Single Ladies, All the Single Ladies, All the Single Ladies, All the Single Ladies ... If You Liked It, Then You Shoulda Put a Ring on It." (See, e.g., from the e-mail, Almost Single)
Where's the new releases in women's literary fiction? Where is the writing that tries to depict women as more than the usual cardboard stereotypes who love each other until a man comes between them. Who are BFFs until one gets married and the other doesn't. Who live for fashion and do incredibly stupid things to get their hands on shoes. Who are either Madonna or whore, either cutthroat bitch or innocent victim, either obsessed with dressing to the nines or fashion roadkill, either dying to marry so they can finally have good, clean, pure sex or wanting never to marry, because they are obviously also the kind of women who like to have lots of dirty random sex.
Please. You writers of "women's fiction," if you do nothing else today: just get rid of the either and the or.
* I have to admit I'm slightly intruiged by this, if only because Alice Sebold wrote a blurb for the book and because I so loved Amy Hempel's take on the same subject in "The Cemetary Where Al Jolson Is Buried," possibly the most widely used short story in writing courses, ever. But, then again, Hempel did write that story, and write it really really well, in her usual sparse economy of words, and she's a pretty hard act to follow . . .
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Mayumi: I guess I’m hungry.
Mayumi: Only it doesn’t sound like hunger; it sounds like war.
Mayumi: My stomach is a one-boobed Amazon, charging! That was her ululation.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I dreamed I was invited to "a fancy pahhh-ty" (as our now-roomie Wife would say) at my former writing teacher V's apartment. She lives on the upper west side and has a beautiful and (for NY standards) quite comfortably sized apartment. And she has thrown or been the honoree at some very fancy pahhhtys, indeed, like, e.g., her book launch parties for her novels or new poetry collections. Anyway. V's party was the height of fancy, and she was totally dressed to the nines in a skinny minnie mini-dress and four-inch stillettos, her hair all wild and big.
(Sidenote to say, V is a hot hot hot woman, way too hot to be the mom of two boys in college but there you have it. Life is not full of justice, it's full of being 20-something full of envy for the life of a 40-something.)
The party was in full swing. V had rented some of those rolling coat checks and placed them in the hallway, and the coats were black and red and yellow and furry and houndstooth and plaid and fabulous fabulous fabulous.
Some other stuff happened that I forget, but Sue William Silverman and a famous writer whose name I forget but in any case whom I've never in my life met were involved. It was funny because I've never met that famous writer, so I only know what he looked like from the dust jacket of his books, so when he walked around in my dream, he could only look like variations of the dust jacket.
V's apartment in real life is fabulous, but in my dream it was even more fabulous. There was a room just for a huge fireplace. Now somebody got stupid and drunk and decided to throw things into the fireplace. I don't know what they were throwing. Linen napkins? Cocktail coasters? Who knows, but they were catching fire and the fire was growing quick. Everyone rushed to the fireplace room and tried, in their fancy finery, to put the fire out, but rather unsurprisingly they being fancy important people who mostly hire people to do all their labor except their thinking they were pretty ineffectual. V was in the background, saying, "My god, people. I invite you for a party and then you burn my house down? Some thanks!" but she was actually remarkably calm. Finally, one single person managed to douse the fire somehow.
The crowd slowly began milling back to where the cocktails and hors d'oeuvres were still being prepared and served when V parted them. "It's okay, I'm here, I'm ready!" She was in her minidress and her tall, tall heels, her legs planted apart in a steady stance, her hair all awild, holding a huge white hose, ready to blast the fire. When she saw the fire was out, she simply said, "See? I'm prepared."
And then I woke up. Okay, all you amateur dream interpreters. Do your worst. Haha.
While I packed Nahe's stuff, Dave very thoughtfully packed me PJs and a week's worth of underwear ... and nothing else. Last time I let a man pack for me ever, I swear. He did remember hairbrushes and toiletries so I suppose I should be grateful.
Funny what you learn from the news. For example, the last name of "George," the to-me-mononymous downstairs laudromat owner. Before, he was George like Madonna is Madonna; now he has this other possession, a last name, Tu. And who knew that he actually lives in Queens and commutes every day to the laudromat he owns? Or that the laudromat might be history because his lease was up anyway? All things we didn't know before the newspapers wrote about the fire. I guess reporting really works.
My laptop still smells like smoke, but my puppy thankfully does not and I love all of you for sending e-mails full of cheer and offers of help. And I thank god for the generosity of Wife, who is letting us live with her and lounge around on her red satin sheets this week in SoHo. Amen.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Your home or other property will also bring news and possible change this month, in equally dramatic fashion. You may need to relocate to take a new job, or you may upgrade your home decor, thanks to the better income your new position will offer. ... Eclipses are never subtle, but rather they shout their news. Another hallmark of an eclipse is that they move up timetables dramatically. No matter what you thought you'd do, you'll probably have to revise your scheme. If you plan to move, buy, rent, or plan to start ripping out walls, ask many questions before you lay down plans. ... Pay special attention to your water supply and the possibility for water damage (and any other problems that would be a by-product of water) involving your present or future space. Investigate whether you need additional insurance. Talking to neighbors might prove helpful, as the lunar eclipse brings them into the conversation, too.
Dude. I hate it when psychics are right.
2009 has been beating me down from the get-go, and no matter who I ask--the Barry, Free Will, Susan Miller--seemingly it's only going to get worse.
Like take last night for example. I'd been home all day, except a few brief Nahe walks, and Dave came home in the early afternoon, and nada happens. Then, as soon as we leave the house for no more than 2-2.5 hours, with poor Nahe going it solo, our building catches fire. Yeah, you read that right. We were waltzing home from a lovely dinner with friends, including two rounds of delicious margaritas and a quick stop at Red Mango for dessert yogurts to go, and we come upon the fire engine-lined Montague Street. There are fire engines, plural, like not just many from Brooklyn Heights but also ones from other adjacent neighborhoods, like ones all the way from Red Hook. Still we were stupidly sure it had nothing to do with us. Until we got onto our block of Montague and could see where the ladder was reaching: straight onto our building, the top of which was emitting a curly plume of smoke. Grreeat.
Well, at that point, you know I remained 100% calm.
The one thing I'll say for times of crisis is they really make clear what's important. I didn't even think to ask the firemen if our stuff was okay, how bad the fire was, had they put it out, how it started, and whether or not we'd be able to stay in our apartment that night. No, all I wanted to know about was whether a little brown dog with white paws had been rescued.
There was a bit of a mix-up as to where she was. One fireman said they'd rescued her and pointed across the street to another fireman. That fireman said she'd made it out okay, but that she'd taken off running. At that moment, I panicked (again) and went hurrying down the street, while Dave, clearly the more level-headed of us two, actually stopped to clarify with the fireman how recently she'd been seen in the area. The fireman said less than 10 minutes ago, and at that very moment, Dave ran into our dear upstairs neighbor who had her in his arms. Now, considering how much she barks at, oh, everyone including our neighbors, I am surprised anyone had bothered catching, calming, and holding her. I can't even tell you how visceral my relief was to see her okay, and then to have her deposited back in my arms.
The rest of the night felt like a comedy of errors. We couldn't get into our apartment even to get Nahe's leash, so there we were carrying a 17-lb. dog around Brooklyn Heights at 9:30pm trying to buy a leash, collar, or even just a piece of rope from somewhere along Clark Street. Finally, we split up. I carried those 17 lbs. of dog to Hillside Dog Park to let her "offleash" (there being no leash to be had) to do her business. Dave headed back to Montague Street to try to beg a piece of rope from the firemen. He eventually scavenged one from a construction site.
We were allowed back into the apartment to gather our things. Nahe hated every minute being back in that dark smoky air and was in full panic mode: barking, circling us, pacing, and trying to bolt outside. I can't even fully deal with the fact that my office got the brunt of it: my carefully, anal-retentively kept work files all over the ground in disarray, with boot marks, smoky dust, dirt, and glass shards on all those important papers. My computer seems okay, but I had to leave the rest of my equipment, which should make it interesting and challenging to do my work. The large window I loved to look out was broken; there were holes in the walls from the firemen checking that the fire was not climbing up the insides of the walls; glassed photos, custom-framed art, so many things were lying smashed and face down. I didn't have time to process or panic or mourn. We just packed up our computers, valuables, charger cords, dog food, dog dishes, dog shampoo, dog pee pads, a dog carrier, and a dog towel--see where our priorities now lie--and packed ourselves into a cab, headed for SoHo to stay with Wife.
And here we will be, likely till next week, which is the earliest they may be able to let us come home. I slept horribly last night because Nahe spent the night pacing nervously between us and the door. Everything we brought with us, including our dog, still smells like smoke, even though we and she have bathed twice. I have a deadline on February 5, another February 17, and another February 28.
I know, I know, I know. I should just be grateful that the three of us are safe, especially Nahe who is never going to believe us now when we leave her alone and say she'll be alright. And I am grateful, but I am also now overwhelmed by the chaos and how long and how much it will take us to recover from this situation: in terms of work, in terms of clean-up, in terms of the giant loads of laundry we'll have to do because everything is saturated in smoke and our laundromat downstairs is out of commission since that is where the fire started, in terms of finances (how much will this fire cost us), and in terms of emotional sentimental type things destroyed in the ruckus.
Yeah. So. Sucks to be us. Oh, and 2009? Fuck you, you asshole.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
We’ve been back from California and living in Brooklyn for a year now. We’ve mourned our losses, celebrated our gains, and begun nurturing the timid roots of settling—though the roots know better than to get too deep or too comfortable. Already our feet are itchy. Already talk turns of other wheres at other whens, and pros and cons, and such flights of fancy.
Some things we hoped for came true. Some things we feared also came true. Now we have new hopes and fears and that familiar impatience to watch them play out, but we are mucked still by the economy and the less-than-at-all-likeliness of Dave’s job suddenly transferring him smewehre we actually want to go. Like Tokyo—believe it, I’d do it in a heartbeat, whether or not it makes sense. Or Brazil. Or Tahiti, where JAL does not even fly, I don’t think, but which would really be perfect because it’d be enough like home without all the difficulties of it. Or New Zealand, where I’ve never been but my husband has, and he’d go back in a heartbeat.
We are thankful for the friends we came back to, and we miss the ones we left. And we are humbled and grateful for the new ones we were given.
But a year later, looking back, I’ll tell you this one thing I still haven’t figured out: Why is a dishwasher a necessity in California and a luxury in New York?