- Stairmasters - Listen, Stairmaster sales force, no need to blow into this town. Coals to Newcastle, my friends. I mean, if any place on the face of the earth doesn't need any more stairs or steps, it's New York. I say this from the bottom of my little third-floor-walkup, subway-riding heart.
- Apartment kitchens - I've learned that I'm one of the three people in New York who actually cook in their apartments. Well, why would you want a kitchen, with a restaurant or food cart every 16.5 inches? And if you do want to cook, you have to actually go to a grocery store and lug the groceries down the street and up the stairs to said apartment. Don't even bother putting a kitchen in an apartment. There are better ways to use the space. (I'm still gonna cook, though. Such a rebel!)
- Cole slaw - It's everywhere, so don't bother bringing Aunt Ida's into the city. Whatever you order, whatever the Michelin Guide rating of the restaurant, you can bet yo' life there's gonna be a big ol' side order of cole slaw. Fortunately, most of it is A-OK, but how much slaw can one eat? Cabbage-growers must loooove New York! (And yet, they never bring mustard when you order a hamburger. You have to ask special. Hm.)
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Bailey and I had just finished our little afternoon jaunt in the park and had crossed Park Avenue on our way home. (So near, and yet so far.) I was in a bit of a hurry because I was meeting friends for dinner and an off-Broadway play in the Village. (Doesn't that sound cool? Well, it was. But I digress.)
So I'm walkin' and I see this woman a few yards ahead of me - streaky blond pageboy hair, seersucker tennis dress, and the obligatory tennis racket. I notice she makes some comment to a guy she passes - looks like she might know him, but no. Just being friendly. Still, I'm in a hurry and clippin' along. Bailey and I almost make it by her - women on a mission, doncha' know - when she stops me and says, Oh, how cute! Is she a Chow-mix?
Why, yes she is. Big mistake. Never stop. Never. Just smile, nod, and keep walkin'. So, I'm about to walk off, when this suburbany-lookin' woman, launches into a completely off-the-wall conversation about how she'd moved up to NY several years ago from West Palm Beach, her children were grown, she was divorced but had had two relationships with men since coming to the city, yadda-yadda-yadda.
Jeez. What does one do? I'm in a massive hurry - tick-tock-tick-tock - but this woman is talking to me like I'm her new best friend. I'm trying to be polite (which I'm quickly learning is big negative with taxi drivers and, I guess, Upper East Side matrons) - smiling, nodding, inching my way toward Lex. Yikes! I won't go into all the details of this poor lady's life, but it did go on for about fifteen minutes.
Finally, my sweet Southern girl politeness wore off - I mean, I had a dinner and theatre in the Village waiting for me, for goodness' sake! I wished the woman well, and Bailey and I jogged the rest of the way home.
But I kinda wonder about the tennis-chick who stopped me on Saturday afternoon. What kind of person pulls aside a total stranger (just because I look like a nice person . . . ) and tells her really private stuff? Not that I'm beyond a friendly conversation with a stranger. But not private stuff. I hardly do that with good friends or family.
Was she crazy? Depressed? Lonely? Frustrated? None or all of the above? Whatever the case, I lent what sympathy I could, and maybe that's all she needed. I do hope she finds some kind of peace with her lot in life or makes a big, positive change (besides stopping strangers on the street). Ah, well.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read. Make red the ones you've started to read but never finished. Italicize the ones you might read. Make green the ones you won’t. Star (*) the ones on your book shelf. Place (parentheses) around the ones you’ve never even heard of.
OK, here's how my list comes out:
* The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
* The Catcher in the Rye - J D Salinger
* The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
* The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
* To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
* Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J K Rowling
The Life of Pi - Yann Martel
* Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
* Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
* The Hobbit - J R R. Tolkien
* The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
* Lord of the Flies - William Golding
* Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
* 1984 - George Orwell
* Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
* One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
* Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
* The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
* Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
* The Secret History - Donna Tartt
* Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
* The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C S Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
(Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell)
* Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
* Atonement - Ian McEwan
(The Shadow of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon)
* The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
* The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert
Sula - Toni Morrison
* Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier
The Alchemist - Paulo Coehlo
White Teeth - Zadie Smith
The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton
The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
* Brighton Rock - Graham Greene
The Moor’s Last Sigh - Salman Rusdie
We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Schriver
(Disgrace - J M Coetzee)
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
(The Buddha of Suburbia - Hanif Kuresh)
Small Island - Andrea Levy
(Titus Groan - Mervyn Peake)
* Ivanhoe - Walter Scott
* Perfume - Patrick Suskind
(The Reader - Bernand Shlink)
(Father and Son - Larry Brown)
(Crooked Hearts - Robert Boswell)
She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb
Postcards - E. Annie Proulx
A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain (stories) - Robert Olen Butler
(Defiance - Carole Maso)
(Being Dead - Jim Crace)
(And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos - John Berger)
Holy the Firm - Annie Dillard
(Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance - Stephen Herrero)
(Desert Notes: Reflections in the Eye of a Raven - Barry Lopez)
(River Notes: The Dance of Herons - Barry Lopez)
* Ragtime - E L Doctorow
* The House of Sand and Fog - Andre Dubus
(The Last of the Just - Andre Schwartz-Bart)
* Zorba the Greek - Nikos Kazantzakis
(Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson)
* Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
* The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
A Bell for Adano - John Hersey
* The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Herzog - Saul Bellow
(Ripening Seed - Colette)
* Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
(The Woman Warrier - Maxine Hong Kingston)
(The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin)
(The House of the Spirits - Isabel Allende)
(The Lover - Marguerite Duras)
* Chocolat - Joanne Harris
(Labyrinth - Kate Mosse)
(Harold and the Duck - Bruce Robinson)
(A Gathering Light - Jennifer Donnelly)
(How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff)
(Something Invisible - Siobhán Parkinson)
What does your list look like?
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Dinner and a play in the Village tonight with good friends.
Have a wonderful weekend, all - cheers!
Friday, May 26, 2006
I'm a little confused by the mainstream promotion of the event, however. In truth, it looks kinda boring. Fleet Week is billed as the opportunity to take tours of the ships that are docked at the harbor. Now, this might be OK and certainly edifying, but it sounds like it will mostly be families with little kids or a bunch of old folks (and NO, I'm not an old folk).
But the Fleet Week put forth by primetime TV is something quite different. (Insert knowing wink here) C'mon! Sailors. New York City. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of something-or-other. Girls. Boys. Sailors. Samantha Jones and Carrie Bradshaw vs. Jack McFarland and Karen Walker. Now there's the Fleet Week I want to witness! Forget boat tours.
Just trying to decide if it's worth my while checking it out. And notice how I didn't say "Helllllllo, Sailor!" even once. Except for there. (Insert another knowing wink)
Ah, well. However you plan to spend the long holiday weekend, make it safe, happy, and a little restful. Now where'd I put the rum?
Thursday, May 25, 2006
And though everybody says to never look anyone square in the eye here (What'll they do? Knife me?), I still like to play my little "Hmm-Wonder-Which-Person" game as I check 'em out surreptitiously.
Hmm. Wonder which person . . .
- is keeping a really fantastically happy secret?
- is keeping a devastatingly painful secret?
- has the most money in her/his pocket? (Not that I'm casing them or anything. Just wondering, that's all.)
- is cheating on her/his husband/wife?
- has the most children?
- changed someone's life for the better today?
- has considered suicide?
- knows the best place to get soul food in this town?
- is in the middle of a great book? (And what's the book?)
- knows the most famous people?
- could be my new best friend if we had the chance to get to know each other?
- I'd most want to slap if I really got the chance to know her/him?
- has been to the most exotic place (in my opinion, of course)?
Well, you get the drift.
Another thing I do is wonder about people's stories. Say each person is given three minutes to choose one story from their life - funny, sad, sweet, ordinary - that sort of sums up who they are - what's the story?
What would your story be?
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Here's a thought. Why don't we let whoever wins tonight be President of the United States? Could we do worse? And at least the person could sing, which is one thing in his/her favor. Now, there's a way to turn out the votes!
Just say: Taylor/Catherine, congratulations! You're the new American Idol! And President of the United States! You get to serve until next week's Deal or No Deal winner takes over! Woo-hoo!
Just a thought . . .
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
My favorite big-city building is and ever has been the Chrysler Building. There's not a more beautiful skyscraper in the entire world. Its art deco style is incomparable. Very Wow-ee.
And now the very coolest thing is that I get to see it every day to and from work. I exit the subway via the CB's basement, doncha' know. In the afternoons I travel west on 43rd toward the building and get a marvelous, inspiring view of this gorgeous building. Fabulous!
I was in Atlanta the end of last week to attend a function in my new "official" capacity and ended up staying until Sunday morning. It was a weekend of packing up more stuff in the house and shipping stuff I've discovered I really, really need (like my own salt and pepper shakers).
And because you can't get real Southern food in New York, I made two trips to my favorite fried-chicken-collard-greens restaurant, The Colonnade. Yu-um! That should hold me for a while. Also had dinner with friends and took young Joanna to the movies - RV (actually funnier than I thought it would be).
When I wasn't packing, I was shopping like a maniac. Things are so much cheaper in Atlanta (no surprise), so I stocked up on everything from teabags to makeup. Also did a clothes run at good old SteinMart. It was nice to see colorful clothes again. Everything in NY store windows runs the vast color range from white to beige to gray to black. That's it. I swear, I'm the only person in Gotham who wears pink! Sheesh! I've got to bring color to this city, I mean it.
Still, I had mixed emotions about landing back in Atlanta so soon after moving away. Yes, I did perform my official duties, and yes, I needed to tie up some loose ends (not to mention hook up to the fried chicken IV-drip). But I was antsy to get back to New York. And once I returned on Sunday, things felt more normal.
So normal, in fact, that I even went to see The DaVinci Code Sunday night. ($10.75 a ticket! Yikes! Not much first-run movie-going in my future while I'm in NY!) But that's another story.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
I thought about doing a quick turn-around, returning to NY tomorrow afternoon. But there's still so much stuff that needs to be done with the house, that I'm hanging out for the weekend hoping to finish packing. Also, now that I've lived here for a couple of weeks, I know more about what I need to haul up from the house. I'm taking a gigantic roller trunk - empty now - to stuff for my NY return.
But don't tell anybody. OK, daughter knows, but she's got plans for most of the weekend, and sister Cindy's checking out California, so I won't see her. I plan to do my official duty, then camp out at my house (and my own bed - ahhhhhhhhh!) until I fly out Sunday morning.
I do have a dog-/house-sitter here in New York, for those of you worried about Bailey. The woman's references checked out, and I have met her (as has Bailey). Fingers crossed, I've found the right person to watch the dog while I'm out-of-town.
OK, so all of this is just between me and you, right? Have a good weekend all!
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Had it happened early in the day, I could've recovered by doing something adorable or factually fabulous. But no. It was pointed out to me at the end of the day, leaving me no alternative but to beat myself up all the way home and even well into my walk with Bailey to Central Park.
Don't worry, though, because I've shaken it off already. Food helps ya' do that, you know. I could've probably shaken it off sooner if I hadn't left a perfectly good bottle of Bombay Sapphire in my fridge in Atlanta. (Remind me to bring that back when I go home this weekend . . . )
Anyway, and to quote another perky Georgia girl, tomorrow is another day. For now, I'll put on my go-go boots and finish shakin' it off!
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Mama - and even we grandkids called her "Mama" because that's what our mothers and aunts called her - was a formidable lady, and I was always a little afraid of her. That's saying a lot, because I've always been a tough cookie myself. But Mama seemed to move about like a big battleship: organizing, lining things up, leading the charge - whether it was getting supper ready or herding us out the door to Vacation Bible School. That's not to say she was mean or nasty - she just had a powerful presence.
Unlike Mama, my own mother - we called her "Mother" - shared home rule with Daddy, but she was pretty powerful on her own. While Mama commanded actions, Mother commanded more subtle stuff like feelings and conscience. The very thought of disappointing her kept me in line for many years, and probably keeps me in line to this day. She was a wonderful mother - no one could've had better.
Love of family came first with Mother and Mama, though I'm sure they'd fight to say that love of God came first (I think He, indeed, ran a close second). Family was what both women were about - the more chaos of children, sisters, brothers-in-law, cousins, the better. And they passed that family love down to their children. I believe we have done the same for our children. We are a close family. That is no small thing.
This is my first Mother's Day away from Kate. Last night, the family gathered at sister Cindy's home for a cookout (sans me and brother Bill - what's your excuse Bro??). As they were unloosening their belts and top buttons after a fine meal, they called me to wish me a Happy Mother's Day. Each one in turn took the phone, asked about New York, and promised to visit. The family stuff is important. Probably the most important, as modeled by Mother and Mama.
I realize not everyone is so lucky. But family is not always blood. For those who aren't close to blood-kin, I do hope you have formed families with someone(s), somehow. Find your family - blood or no - and pass it on. Happy Mother's Day!
Friday, May 12, 2006
Early morning shot of the Upper West Side across the reservoir (the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, btw). Always lovely.
Here's the "Faces Building." Well, that's what I call it. It fascinates me for some reason - I expect those things to come alive, a la Alice in Wonderland, and start shouting "Off with their heads!" I'll try to find out more about it. It's on 5th Avenue (Upper East Side), and I seem to pay more attention to it in the evenings (LBG - "Lighting By God" - perhaps?).
And speaking of Alice in Wonderland . . .
That's all for now. Go out and have some fun! Me? I'm going to put my feet up - I'm pooped!
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Along those lines and in the spirit of the holiday, let's take a look at a few movie mamas we love to hate. Here are some of my favorite bad, bad mothers:
Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate (1962). The real Manchurian Candidate (sorry, Meryl). Talk about domineering mothers! Here's one of the best (worst?). She makes mincemeat out of Laurence Harvey and that weenie senator-wanna-be-VP hubby of hers. Woo-wee! Pure-T-evil. Angela always had to play the mother roles. Wonder why? At 37, she was only 3 years older than Harvey, who played her son. Who knew she'd grow up to be free-spirited Mame Dennis or lovable Jessica Fletcher?
Piper Laurie as Margaret White in Carrie (1976). Well no wonder Carrie was weird! Ooh, what a fanatical Queen of Guilt old Mags was. She'd obviously repressed one urge too many in her life. Start backing out of the house very slowly if your mom starts lighting an truckload of candles.
Tony Perkins as Ma Bates in Psycho (1960). Being your own mother could be a good thing or a bad thing. In this case, it was a bad thing. Why, I bet the real Ma Bates was a sweet old thing. Tony, however, was quite a sicko (even though that money-stealing tart Janet Leigh probably deserved a little shower-scare). Anyway, let this be a lesson to you on what can happen if you start wearing your mother's clothes!
Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in Mommie, Dearest (1981). Dearest, my hind leg! Yikes. I've been afraid of wire hangers ever since I saw the film. If the movie wasn't so hilariously over-acted, we'd've all been cowering masses of jelly afterwards. Why, the shoulder pads and eyebrows alone are enough to give you nightmares!
Shelley Winters as - well - a slew of mothers. Ol' Shel' takes the prize for portraying bad mamas. In Lolita - clueless, self-involved. In A Patch of Blue - mean, greedy, and self-involved (plus, she toted home an Oscar). Bloody Mama? Gun-totin' and self-involved. Though I must say, I always liked her as Grandma Mary on Roseanne - hard-drinking, hard-livin', and not so self-involved.
Got a favorite film or literary bad mama? Well, go straight to your room and think about it! (And come out and tell me about it when you're ready!)
Monday, May 08, 2006
Ready to live vicariously through me? Friend Jay and I went to an experimental theatre production in Brooklyn Friday evening (work-related for him, since he runs a theatre space in Lower Manhattan and is always on the lookout for suitable productions to fill the space). Anyway, we had a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant, then on to the production. I can't remember the name of it, only that it was kinda Billy-the-Kid-meets-Beetlejuice. And the Billy the Kid guy had really hilarious fake buck teeth. Oh, and there was a (male) nude scene. What more could one want for a first real-live off-off-off-off (to the 10th power) Broadway theatre experience?
The rest of the weekend was spent exploring Central Park (it does go on and on) with Bailey - found Alice in Wonderland and the big fountain that's used in every NY movie. We had gorgeous weather so the park was crowded, but it's so big that we were able to find secluded spots amongst the masses.
Here's what I'm enjoying about living in New York:
- Being within walking distance of just about everything (certainly within subway distance of everything) - deli, flowers, bagels, grocery, pharmacy, and lots of "big box" stores like Best Buys and Petco.
- Water tanks on top of buildings - very 1930's TCM-movie-intro-ish. You just don't see that kind of thing in Atlanta.
- Dogs. Everywhere. It's a very doggie city. Very empowering for Bailey!
- The lights at night. I'm so easily wowed . . .
- Central Park - endless opportunities for people-watching, strolling, exploring, resting.
Here's what's hard:
- Having to watch what I buy at the store because I have to carry it my-own-self back to the apartment and up three flights of stairs.
- Having to live in a studio apartment after so many years of having my own home. It still feels like a hotel to me. Guess I'll get used to it, though.
I do feel the need to get back to my writing. It's been too long; I've been all wrapped up in this life-change and want to return to a more normal routine.
But for now - work! (Still can't comment, by the way. What gives?)
Thursday, May 04, 2006
On the downside, the subway car was extremely hot. Time to turn on the AC, NYC! I'll just wear fewer clothes tomorrow. Ha!
Most things are running smoothly, both at home and at the office, but there are a few bumps along the way. Such as - yesterday was payday and I'd filled out all the direct deposit stuff a month ago so that the checks would slide right into my account at the Atlanta bank, but no. I got a "live" check. Which means I had to rush over to Bank of America and open an account. Still can't access the dough for five biz days. Sigh. Another week of mac-'n-cheese, I reckon!
Also, the laptop I have at the office keeps freezing up. Very annoying. Some computer dude is scheduled to look at it whenever he's got a moment. Argh!
Blogger still won't let me comment. Don't know what I've done to piss 'em off. And I have so many comments to make!!
Today is #23 for daughter Kate and I'm not around to celebrate. I know she'll be well taken care of today and tonight, but I still feel I should be around for her birthday. Ah, well, a new chapter.
What are you reading? I'm into Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (or maybe it's Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close, or some variation thereof) by Jonathan something Foer. Pretty interesting read - kinda weird. I think I'll just do an Agatha Christie next. Something comforting and tea-time-ish.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Still don't have my own computer yet - should arrive at the apartment today and then I can post my very own pictures. For now, this will have to do, since it's a familiar sight to us now.
Bailey and I hit the park once every 12 hours - 6am and 6pm. We enter at 90th & 5th Avenue, just up from the Guggenheim Museum and three blocks from my new abode. Anyway, Bails has already found her pee-spot and her poo-spot, which makes everything easier as we head for those first. Then we're free to roam the park, making sure to stay out of the way of joggers and cyclists (who are RUTHLESS, I tell ya'). But there are plenty of non-crowded spaces there - it's huge - and we have our favorite areas sussed out.
New York greeted me on Saturday with the most gorgeous weather - sunny and warm, but not too warm. Apartment living is taking some getting used to after so many years in a home of my own, but, well, we're adjusting.
The job is all go - thrown in at the deep end, as it were - but I think I'm keeping up and catching on. Everyone at the Church Center has been just super, which makes things easier. More about the job in another post
Anyway, thanks for hanging with me, all. I'll get back into the blog swing of things later this week. Can't believe I'm working in New York. Wow!