Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I Married A Walrus

Our apartment has radiators all over the place. I think maybe this building was originally designed to be a hatchery for baby chicks?

Luckily, they can be turned off, separately.

Now that we've moved from a "Loft Like Alcove Studio" into a proper place with hallways and doors, I can keep some heat going and my walrus husband, high over the ice-chunking Hudson, can keep the bedroom door shut (while I vampire it) with the heater completely off. You can almost see your breath in there. I am afraid that uptown necrophiliacs will mistaken him for a love object.  But I digress...

The beauty of being able to have different heating zones is quite fine. And when I do end up joining the sleeping area each night--I throw on my extra blankets and we sleep like the damned. No one should have to sleep in a heated room. It's just too life destroying.

The chilled sleeping works well. I am glad I married a walrus.  Even if he is full of abalone.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Water, Cardboard, Paper Towels

As winter loves to get dry
As Cardboard is desiccating
As Paper towels are rough and moisture absorbent,
As so much in a move has to be touched that should never be touched:

My thumbs and some fingers are split into the kinds of slices that throb 86,400 seconds of every day.
Lately, in public, when something rips open again, I am happy to let the blood pool and dry brown-red because this makes the pouring stop. Doesn't matter who sees it. They have their own wounds that are hard to staunch. People get it.

"This is just how it is right now."
Thanks K.F.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Moving Thrill

Today's blog is brought to you by:


That's all we wanted.

We succeeded.

Let's make 2014 the best quiet year ever.

Fresh fucking Hudson River Air coming through our bedroom window.

And silent. Like, in the trees.

Frosty. Adirondack purity.

I could scream with mother fucking gratitude.

To sum up:  So glad we moved.

16th Century Dutch-Indian Pelt trading fresh.

All around, good.

Today. On a bluff above this great wet chasm.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Anasazi Over Eighth

This is our last weekend in our midtown shack.

It has been felt and discussed that we have lived like the Anasazi cliff dwellers in New Mexico. Carved into the side of a canyon, we clung for life.

Slotted on earth.

Both demoralizing and enlivening at once.

Thankful for:

The convenience to any train or other vehicle out of here at any moment.

Big suburban appliances.

24 hour everything.

One key, one lock. Doorman plays sentry.

Big from stem to stern. Felt like a roller rink. Kind of.

Always wanted to be in the exact middle of things.

And done.

See you with stories from the Northern end. #ManhattanPastoral

Stay warm. And free.

Thank you, white whale, for a strong jaunt looking west. It was never meant to be forever. Thanks for not being too clingy. Leaving on good terms.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What I Like About Winter

It snows.

Everything is basically dead.

No allergies.

It’s cold and you know it.

Crocuses start to show up the end of February, especially in sunny spots.

You can stay inside and get things done and not feel like you are missing anything.

The air is clean, fresh, you name it. It’s fantastic.

You feel the water table is rising.

People, and other things, are not so loud.

Pot Roast is an option.

You get to wear big heavy boots that make you feel powerful.

Time slows down.

Every day, after December 21 or so, gets longer.

You can rely on Ground Hog Day to always yield the answer, “Yes, there will be more winter.” So you get to keep enjoying the cold.

Weather struggles galvanize purpose.

Children like the snow and they are often brave in this weather.

Other people complain but you can feel smug about your good circulatory system.

You can lean up against a heater or a fireplace and appreciate it.

Bing television watching was made for this time of year.

You burn more calories just sitting still.

You can then, obviously, eat more cheese.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Some May Call You Lazy, Others May Call you Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett was so "lazy" that his one-time girlfriend, Peggy Guggenheim, nicknamed him Oblomov after the Russian character who barely got out of bed.

He did not produce a lot of work. But the work he produced...

Fuck quantity. Go for quality. And if you fail, at least you will be well rested.

"Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better."

"I can't go on. I'll go on."

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Iceman Cometh: August Dietrich, my Great Grandfather--the story of Irene Grace

Thank you, cousins, for providing this little article which tells the story of my Great Aunt Irene, whom we called Aunt Reeney.

I only ever knew her when she was in the wheel chair. The accident happened before I was born. She was the first person I knew who had something majorly wrong with her body. She got around fine in her chair. She had some caged birds as pets. She was a widow. She was exotic. And she was tough as hell. Her sister, my father's mother, was a much softer Dietrich.

Aunt Reeney was sharp and tart. You got the sense that no one would ever cross her. I think everyone was afraid of her? I don't know. But you certainly wouldn't think to do anything untoward or childlike in Aunt Reeney's house. She was sweet with cookies and candy. She was not at all self pitying. She had very long white hair and looked just a little like my grandmother, her sister. She was a hero. I can just imagine the day she tossed that baby carriage to safety and took on that oncoming car with both legs.

What is surprising is--I never knew my great grandfather had an ice business. Even more surprising is that it was cold enough to support that kind of business.

Read the little town newspaper story--written in 1983 about a time way before that. It's sweet. I guess clicking on the image to get it even bigger makes sense.

"I only have ice...for you."

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Unbearable Disorientation of Moving

Though the news is mostly good and we are looking forward to living on the Hudson in a quiet apartment, we have managed, in this maze of movement, to make some stupid mistakes because we are in new territory and off our centers.

1. I bought a ticket for a friend to see a play with us this past Saturday night. All excited to see her, I texted her a "See you at 6."  She went, ??  I went, Tell me you're joking. She called. She isn't going to be here for two more weeks. I just mis-shoved her schedule. Years ago, I bought a plane ticket for a trip I was taking a week later than I purchased. There was no excuse for that one.

2. Relying on the A train has been completely fine and we get to midtown in 18 minutes and it is no big deal. We have done it often. However, on our way to a screening on Sunday evening with plenty of time to get to the lower east side, the A train took forever to show, went local, and only got us to Columbus Circle. By then, the Screening was about to begin. We had to bail, figuring it would be more rude to show up toward the end than to not show up at all. Nasty. And we really wanted to see this flick. We were very close to it. Disappointing.

3. I just went online to do the address change thing. I've done it before. The post office. It costs $1. I was scammed by some other unofficial site, which charged me $39.95. Now, I have to go fight with these numskulls, if not, too, cancel my credit card and start over.

Well, it's lose your rhythm. It makes sense to lose it at a time like this. Humans. The new place is clean and we are about to pack up our rental.

Mistakes were made. There will be more. I think I left my shoes in the refrigerator.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Closed: Escape to Skunk Mountain

Je n'ai pas souvent Blogge sur ce sujet, mais:  We have closed on our apartment up on the Hudson near the woods. You get superstitious going too public until it closes. Today was the day.

Last year, we almost bought a beast on Riverside at 107th. The banks were, well, a problem.
(Or they thought we were a problem? Either way--)

So in October of 2013 we went into contract on a sweet 1930s trapezoidal art deco romantic thing up near Fort Tryon Park in Hudson Heights, which is really just Washington Heights above the bridge but the realtors got now we are living there. In two weeks we shove off.

You get into real estate transactions and you sort of want to kill or die. When we bought our house in Los Angeles in 1998, I remember sitting in our apartment in Santa Monica, as the seller taunted us with a walk-away-fuck-you-I'm-gonna-foreclose attitude, and I got like an armadillo, curling up on the couch waiting for failure to pass. But it did not. It happened. Nice surpise. Then, after all the wanting-to-kill-the-guy, it turned out so sweetly. Best thing we ever did.

This time, it sort of dragged on because we bought from an older woman, M.W., who wanted to get through the holidays without disturbance. But we were impatient. And banks are still scary. But it worked out. Frustration at times, yes. But it was worth the wait.

The apartment entrance is right on the river but high on a bluff. So you get to have a Hudson experience whenever you go in or out. Which is romantic. And makes you wish the Dutch would trade in beaver right in front of  you.

But this is the fun thing we learned at closing today. M.W. is a widow of the man who invented the magic peep hole. You see them all over the place. Why, there's even one of his magic peep holes in our apartment. He also had the patent for the lock down bar for apartment doors that used to be so prevalent in the 70's and 80's. But they illegalized them because people were burning in fires behind them, they were so good, and firemen couldn't break the doors down.

So let's hear it for the peephole.

Now, every time I go near that door, I will look at that magic peep hole and think of Mr. W., who is currently dead. We saw his urn. A plasticy/ceramic filigree thing that sat on shelves in the hallway with his name in calligraphy.

Hudson Heights is known for wildlife. There are hawks. There are skunks. There are humans. There is a flyway of birds from the edge of the river, across the top of Manhattan, to eastern trees. This is right outside our windows. But mostly: it is quiet. And right now, we need it to be quiet.

We'll be checking our magic peephole for disturbances.  Do come visit.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Christie, Sung to the Tune of Misty

Sing along with Johnny Here:

Look at Me
I’m as gentle as a sick pig in a tree
And I feel like I’m screaming really loud
Don’t you understand
It’s me, Christie, the king of the land

Walk my way
‘Cause no car can cross that bridge, I’ve had my say
Don’t compete with me, Fort Lee
Is it traffic, you fear
It’s me, Christie, just getting in gear

I’ll just say that I’m innocent, now
Sure, I shoved orange cones in your lanes
And look how rotten your traffic has grown
We smile when we cause you these pains

On my own
I won’t wander through this wonderland alone
Never knowing my right foot from my left
Can’t see below my heft
It’s me, Christie, and now you’re bereft?

On my own
Lost the chance for the big White House to call my home
Never knowing my right foot from my left
Just my mouth, and my ass
It’s me Christie, I'm toast, and I waste gas.

Look at me…

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Polar Schmortex

When I was a kid, we called this weather condition, "Winter."

It's not like we were made of tough stuff. Our feet got cold. Our noses froze. It was truly uncomfortable. But frankly, it was just how life was.

We never did not go outside because it was too cold. And it was this cold, at times.

Frankly, if you don't embrace what it is like outside, how can you really call yourself an existentialist or a person?

I felt compelled to be on the streets today. First, because I had a couple of things I had to do, but secondly, it seemed like the perfect day to get my hair done. My great stylist in Chelsea surely would have an opening on a day like today because people would be dropping like flies, afraid of a little weather. I could call last minute and get an appointment, and I did.

Then, naturally, Fred and I had lots of time to talk since everyone else was in hiding. He gave my hair extra sauce and spent over an hour sculpting it into something bobbed and not unsightly. A perk to the big freeze. Additionally, we got to know each other better. He was born in Italy, in the same province where my grandmother's family came from, Avellino. He said the place is loaded with crooks. He didn't charge me for the hair sauce and I gave him a large tip.

I came home and worked on this thing I'm working on for a couple hours and then humped out to Brooklyn for my Tuesday night writing extravaganza. Was it cold? Sure. Did I lose the tip of my nose? Not even close.

The news is making us afraid of things. And people use the weather as an excuse to fear life. I say--get the hell out of the house and get your hair cut! Or something. Put on your long underwear and an extra pair of wool socks and you'll frigging live.

I love when NYC is overrun with nature's desires. It brings people back to their basic selves. I fear that people fear revealing who they are, really.

Extreme weather can make you kind. And warm.

More vortexes. Sure. Anytime. We'll survive.

(As for my Northern Midwestern friends: Please stay inside and pretend you didn't read this.)

Monday, January 06, 2014

The Colorado Wedge

When I was in Junior High, our neighbor went to visit cousins in Colorado for a month in the summer and came back with stories about how fun that Rocky Mountain State is and how lucky she was to go to an Eagles concert and how everyone just drives around at all hours with no supervision and is free and easy and, it seemed, sensual.

Unlike the burgh where we were living, where everything was seasonal and planned and a bit oppressive, Colorado sounded amazing. But more importantly, our neighbor seemed so fucking happy.

And I wanted a part of that. That looked good. It looked free. It looked easy. It looked like a big relief.

It was, perhaps, my first experience with what someone feels like getting to the Rockies and beyond and it certainly had an affect on my desire to live out West.

Later on, in my early twenties, I met people from California and they were calmer, more open, loosely exotic and what seemed to me, way less neurotic (at least on the surface).

In general, these people were sensualists as opposed to stuck-in-their-brainiacs. Surely, many of them were less interested in the spiral geography of the arrondissements of Paris or the definition of a gerund. But who the hell cares about gerunds when you could be riding around in your car with the top down, with this satisfied feeling that heaven really is on earth and there is no one who can put a stop to it.

Plus, people got high and no one thought it was wrong.

I hate to be some old duffer who can’t believe what’s going on. But I kind of can’t believe it. I am very interested in how this is going to play out in Colorado and soon, Washington and to see what “hits 50” first. 50 states offering gay marriage or 50 states offering Blue Dream and Sour Diesel.

Gay marriage is ahead.  Now. We’ll see.

I don’t know if marijuana really is less harmful than alcohol. I don’t even know if we know how harmful string cheese is. I do know that business wins and this weed thing is going to make a lot of people a frigging Mount Shasta of money. It concerns me. I do know that when you are high, you can barely read, but when you are drinking, you can at least shoot off very coherent needy and/or nasty emails.

But what makes me happy is—there is a choice toward sensuality in this country which is greatly needed. Besides the folks who require marijuana for certain diseases, people also seem to need something to stop their list-making worried minds from marathoning on that hamster wheel of fear and obsession. And pot does stop that—and it does increase sensation. I do think, though, that it would be great if we could increase sensation by simply opening up to it, without the drug. But it’s legal now. And it’s going to get more legal everywhere, so we all just better get as much empirical evidence as we can, find out the down side to this drug, really, and do what makes sense: live moderately.

Colorado, you big square state: Even though you don’t look like it, you are the thin edge of the wedge and you’re so groovy, you don’t even care what it means to the rest of us. And all I can do is smile for the sensual libertarian joy the West brings to the nervous, ambitious, linear college grads pumping it hard up and down the upper I-95 corridor. Balance. We’ll find balance. Well, everyone except the Deep South. But that would be asking for a miracle.

Sun, pot, cars, happiness. Sure. The American way. Enjoy yourself. When do we invest?