Archive for September, 2008

I went there

I was on the patio last night, discussing collage with my neighbor next door (we both collage), when the subject of Norway somehow came up. It is, apparently, her dream trip. Who knew? I’ve been to Norway. Sometimes I sort of forget that. It seems like another lifetime ago. It wasn’t my dream trip (Japan is), but the opportunity (and a man) came along. I pondered it for awhile. I’d never been to Norway before.  I was in love. I take that back. I wanted to be in love. Quite off topic, but isn’t the heartbreak of a broken relationship sometimes more about wanting to be in love than perhaps  any actual or imagined feeling of love that existed? I digress. But the wanting to be in love thing capped it.

Off I went (only after I made Pentyne pray for me on the eve of the trip. In addition to never having been to Norway, I’d never flown on a jet before across the ocean), on a six hour plane ride filled with beautiful Swedes and surly flight attendants. Logan Airport was enjoying a pleasant, warm day when I left it. I wore a mini skirt. It was freezing on a typical August day  in Stockholm, Sweden; capital of the most beautiful people who’ve ever graced the planet. I think we stayed a week in Sweden, at some spa type place that served a lot of fish. I remember being rather hungry most of the time, because I don’t eat fish.

We visited a Steiner (that would be Waldorf) school. And that was the beginning of everything relating to my anti-traditional learning philosophy (as an aside, there’s a great article by John Taylor  Gatto about all that’s wrong with U.S. teaching in one of my favorite magazines, ODE). The school was set right smack in the middle of a forest, with beautiful buildings done up in rich cobalt blues and adorned with stained glass windows and terracotta roofing. Everything about the atmosphere was gentle, warm, and yet engaging. The kids were self assured; different than the kids I’d worked with during my summers as a theatre teacher. The curriculum focus was more holistic than the academic heavy menu of U.S. syllabuses, and it revolved around nature and the seasons. Most importantly, it was dependent upon individual child development, instead of broad requirements that were dictated by grade level. Some parents will hear the term “child led development” and will misinterpret that statement as “coddling.” That’s not so. To put it simply, when you were a baby, and  you were ready and willing to walk, you did. And what ever month you did accomplich that developmental feat, it was accepted. Why can’t that acceptance continue into elementary learning?

O.k., I’m off of my soapbox. Norway was a great trip, twisty, motion sickness inducing roads and all. Norwegians are some of the most well read people I’ve ever met. I met farmers who could discuss philosophy with me. Artists get prime time on t.v.—though I could watch Seinfeld and Friends if I’d wanted to as well. They are among the most even tempered, practical beings ever, and yet they have this whimsical side that embraces trolls, sprites, and other spirits that reside in the snow. I love that.

“Did you ever feel like you wanted to stay?”, my neighbor asked. I think I felt that way for two weeks. Then I started missing American newspapers. And baseball….the world series got exactly one inch of column space in the newspaper there. I missed pasta, too.  And turkey. They’re not much for poultry there, though they do eat eggs. With fish(!) on top of them. For breakfast. Shrimp paste, too. For breakfast. Gah! But that didn’t make me run screaming across the ocean. I’d just realized that I wasn’t going to be in love with that man, ever. And I was feeling personally stifled on top of that. So, I left.

Besides the man, there were things I liked about Norway, though. I liked the sod roofs, and the warm golds, rusts, and cobalt blues, they’d painted their houses. There are very, very few white houses there. I liked collecting starfish by the sea, and making a berry sauce out of these berries whose name I can’t remember, and then eating them with ice cream. It amused me that to get to the capital, Oslo, I’d take a ferry, a bus, a train, and an airplane to make the trip. I liked eating lunch between two boulders at the top of the fjords I’d climbed to catch a break from the bracing winds. Couldn’t understand why my friend regarded  one of my favorite cars, the Saab, as a farmer’s car, and yet loved Fords (Winnie, now don’t be insulted. I love you. I do.). Wierd. I liked that Norwegians read so much, everywhere, in public, and liked John Irving in particular.

It’s a nice country. I’m glad I went. I hope my neighbor goes, too.



late to the party, again. I have a secret: I didn’t listen to or watch the last game played at Yankee stadium. I haven’t listened to many games this season at all, actually. I did buy commemorative newspapers of the passing event, though. For dear Mom, who collects such things. I have mixed feelings about the stadium closing. I truly believe is it is hallowed ground not to be messed with. Couldn’t they at least dig up the dirt and stick it over there? It’s practically across the street. They can afford the expense. And the right field tiered fence: take it, too.  And this bugs me. How can they not have  at least mentioned Joe Torre on this special night? Sheesh.

My first visit to the stadium was sort of a coming down to earth as far as the structure though. Once inside, past the facade that never failed to captivate me on passing trains and buses, I was let down by the somewhat discrepit interiors. Let’s hope that improves.

My favorite visit was en route in a stretch limo with dear Pentyne, alongside two Red Sox fans I’d never met. With the kiddo in utero. It was memorable even before we hit the stadium. Just like dear Roz (my mom) before me, any sight of cars moving in opposite directions brought out the morning sickness in full force. Thank goodness I thought to bring along a ziplock bag. I think the Red Sox fans assumed a hangover, until I confessed. Then they were all cool and got all nostalgic over their own experiences (they were middle aged and not the rowdy sort. At least I don’t think they were. But we didn’t sit with them at the game).

El Duque, the greatest post-season pitcher I’ve ever witnessed,  started that game and he was the only pitcher I’d wanted to see. It went into extra innings. We were late returning to the limo on account of our getting lost and  stuck at the barricaded exit for the players. Saw Jeter, natch. The best part was sharing with Pentyne the game I’ve so loved and studied since I was eleven years old. Oh, and the binoculars were handy for checking out the player’s bods. Seriously, they look sooooooooooo incredible up close. Distracting, but I wasn’t complaining.


Another secret: I almost accidently killed Clinca the gimpy parakeet. While trying to help him, of course. He has splayed legs that stick straight out, spread eagled. He can’t perch in the normal fashion, instead he kind of lounges on his tummy while clinging to whatever is nearby. So I’ve modified all of his eating/drinking stations flush with a platform for him, since he can’t perch on a normal feeding cup. Well, I came home one day, after insisting to the kiddo that we not stop anywhere. Walked in, and thought to check on Clinca, who was in a new location in the house, where he can be a more active part of our “family”. He was face down in his drinking cup, soaking wet. My blood froze, and something, probably my heart, sank deep in my stomach. But he was ok. He’d thrashed all of the water out of the cup, and was “merely” stuck in the cup, but alive. It still took me the rest of the night to get my bearings though. So, to anyone cruising by  this blog on the search term “parakeet”, “splayed legs”: a regular fountain feeder will wet your birdy’s beak without possibly drowning the little guy.


kind of not a secret, unless it’s the kiddo’s: Nathan has begun composing poems and gifting the kiddo with original works of art. Like the kiddo, he’s an Aquarius, and a talented artist. Anyway, if she’s anything like her mother, she’ll fall for this.


a book meme:

Total number of books owned:

I have no idea. Truly.

Last book bought:

Flea Market Style, it’s a great book that I can pick up again and again and draw inspiration from. Flea Market is probably closest to what my house is done up in. I love finding things and putting them into context alongside other discoveries.

Last book read: The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World, Michael Pollan

Five books that mean a lot to you:

  1. The Lines of My Hand, Robert Frank-The Americans is the more popular work and an acknowledged masterpiece, but I like this monoprint better because it’s more lyrical and personal, and full of fleeting moments. The photos have an honesty, and even at times, an innocence.
  2. The Hotel New Hampshire, John Irving-Even for enthusiastic Irving fans, this one’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Often, you either love it or hate it; it’s too bizaare for some. I never recommend it to anyone. But it reminds me, in an inflated, over the top way, of my own family and myself, in spirit, before my father died. Just about every character fits a family member, and the dynamics and history aren’t too far off from my own family, literally or symbollically. Franny is myself before I got all quiet and subdued by my father’s passing.
  3. Signs On the Wind, Lenore Tawney-I often take this one places with me if I anticipate a wait in line. She’s one of my favorite artists; quirky, playful. I never get tired of this one.
  4. The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy-The ending is not everyone’s cup of tea. But I read this and there it was: my inner life as a child, right down to the lyrical quality, the wistfulness and wonder, the cutting cruelties, the terrors, the word and sound play. Arundhati Roy is the writer I would like to be. I just wish she wrote even one more book. But she’s doing something more meaningful to her as an activist. Good for her.
  5. Written On the Body; Jeanette Winterson-For me this was her best book; not too clever as some of her books can be. It’s a long meditation on departure and loss; poignant, beautiful. It struck a nerve, and it comforted me and spoke my feelings when my sister was dying of cancer. The main character also stuggles with commitment. I related to that.

Sense and some sensibilities

I’ve been waiting for him to come along. A no nonsense, down to earth sort who takes no prisoners. Talks tough when he has to. Doesn’t kiss ass, or sway whichever direction the wind blows.

No, I’m not talking about a man. Or a candidate. I’m talking about an equal, my friends. For the kiddo. Heaven knows she needs one.

The kiddo is liked by many of her peers, but not until very recently, has she mingled with anyone her own size who doesn’t fuss over her and tend to her like the baby she prefers to be, or who (usually a male) lets her run the show and is more than willing to fight with others for the privilige of doing so. Know where we found him? Practically in our own yard, where he (Nathan) can be found often, hanging out with her on her Little Tykes playcube.

Nathan doesn’t relate to her on turf other than level, equal, fair and square ground. He will not be pushed. He is not a passive tourist in whatever play itinerary the kiddo attempts to force upon him. Her pouting moves him not. He’ll walk away when it comes to that. Of course, five minutes later, probably when there’s a commercial on, I’ll here the sliding glass door of his patio open, and he’ll be out looking for her again. This is guaranteed to happen at least three or four times an hour. But tedious as it is, I’ll take it. She needs a dose of reality on this level. They’re like siblings, spatting with each other one minute, clasping hands and proclaiming their mutual admiration for each other the next. Nathan wishes the kiddo were a boy, so they could have sleepovers. The kiddo just wants a brother. It appears that she’s found something like that. Good for both of them.

Toni Morrisson has another book coming out. As far as I’m concerned, she should just live forever so she can keep writing great stories and characters. And I’ve discovered Ghada Amer, a painter and sculptor whose works in embroidery on the themes of eroticism, pornography, the myths of beauty, and gender roles intrigues me. Her work can be seen  in the current addition of Fiber Arts.


I found myself rolling my eyes at yet another Sarah Palin cover. Is anyone having the same reaction? The more I see and hear of her, the more she bugs me.  

I love my kiddo’s school. The security guard marks the kiddo’s favorite rock with a twig next to it so that she can find it from the pile we pass every day.

I haven’t done it either….

stolen from dok h.

1. Never in my life: will I ever cede my independence to another person. My self esteem is dependent upon free will.

2. When I was five: the world was the world, unmanipulated, pure, and magical. Too much has happened since then.

3. High School was:  a blur of caffeine, bad beer, truancy, unmet potential (to the frustration of my teachers), exhaustion, lots and lots of daydreaming, and, thank heavens, an awesome set of friends who were a lot like me. Oh, and there was ART.

4. I will never forget: I still remember my grandfather’s optimimistic belief that if he drank more clam juice, it would help him cure his cancer. I think of that still, every now and again.

5. I once met: This was wierd, especially to those who knew me in um, high school. I was 22 and shopping at my favorite store, The Limited, in downtown Springfield before my voice lesson. I looked up and saw a very skinny, heavily made up Latoya Jackson, with a mannish looking Asian woman hovering close by. Her husband and manager, a very creepy older guy, struck up a conversation with me, which made me feel queasy. Anyhoo, Ms. Latoya started being a total bitch and began copping an attitude toward the poor store clerks, barking orders to remind them that she apparently was important. I arrived late to my voice lesson, told my teacher, a genuine diva about the faux diva, who was not amused or the least bit impressed.

6. There’s this girl I know who:  is from Indiana and hasn’t emailed me in a million years, ahem.

7. Once, at a bar: Hmm, if I can remember the last time I was at a bar. Well, there was the time me, Erooo and Moo convened to celebrate Frank (Sinatra’s) birthday and requested for the tv to be playing Frank movies on some channel. For some reason, I’d mentioned boxing and an old guy nearby couldn’t believe a chick would know so much about it. Whatever.

8. By noon, I’m pretty much finally awake.

9. Last night: I had a strange dream about one of my neighbors. Nothing erotic; just wierd, though I can’t remember all of the details.

10. If I only had: all the time I ever needed. Like, three or four lifetime’s worth to be everything.

11. Next time I go to church:  will likely be at a wedding (kind of unlikely, actually; I’ve trying to avoid weddings these days. Most are so boring.), or at a funeral, which I’d also rather be an unlikely event.

12. What worries me most:   Not living to see the kiddo grow up. For no particular reason, other than that my father and my sister didn’t see their kids grow up.

13. When I turn my head left, I see: books.
14. When I turn my head right, I see: books!
15. You know I’m lying when: I don’t do it often. In the past, it seemed to be when I said the famous last words “nothing will happen”. And something would. Which made a liar out of me.

16. What I miss most about the eighties: I miss the outfits my friend Bonita would wear, every day. She was into punk, dance, urban, and tribal stuff.

I just want to add that I don’t miss the big hair, make up, chunky jewelry, and bad movies. The jury is still out on the music.

17. If I were a character in Shakespeare, I’d be: This is bad, but I’ve always felt this kinship with Ophelia. I mean, just what does that say about me? I’m also very, very fond of Ariel the  wood sprite in The Tempest. The actress that portrayed her at Edith Wharton’s place in the Berkshires stole the show in a cast that included a young, young Keanu Reeves (who was actually good, too, and just of that Excellent Adventure movie).

18. A better name for me would be:  I’ve always felt like a Kate. My actual name….this early sixties, girly-girl name, which makes me think of bouffants and pale liptstick…makes no sense to me. But then, my mother’s name made no sense to her, either. She was named after a movie star, right down to the last name, and hates it. However, this weekend, I realized while reading a newspaper article, that this movie star was originally from my grandfather’s area, which might of shed some light on that selection.

19. I have a hard time understanding:  willful cruelty.

20. If I ever go back to school, I’ll: I’ll play and do what pleases me and not give a thought to grades and having the right answer; all of that.

21. You know I like you if:  I’ve nicknamed you. By a few names, especially. They’ll probably sound silly and be some sort of play on words or sound, and make no sense, except, that I like you.

22. If I ever won an award, the first person I’d thank would be: the kiddo, I think. She changed everything.

23. Take my advice, never:  touch me to wake me up. I’ve accidently decked those that do.

24. My ideal breakfast is:  I’m very fond of cookies for breakfast.

25. A song I love, but do not have is:  Patti Smith’s The Jackson Song

26. If you visit my hometown, I suggest:  watching it around the cops. They hate outsiders and will stop a car for anything.

27. Why won’t people: slow the fuck down? unless it’s an emergency, why? why? why?

28. If you spend the night at my house: you must love animals and kids, cuz I coo all the time over all of nine. Come hungry, so I can feed you. But good luck finding a seat. Everyone takes mine.

29. I’d stop my wedding for:  If I had a wedding, I’d have to be stopped.

30. The world could do without:  the sort of people that populate the town where my daughter goes to school. Elitist, pompous, and ultimately boring. But the school’s worth it.

31. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: talk to my ex.

32. My favorite blonde is:Moo.

33. Paper clips are more useful than: um, I don’t know….staples?

34. If I do anything well, it’s: find interesting stuff and put it all together in interesting contexts. If I’m ever absolutely sure of one talent I have, it’s that I have an excellent eye for that sort of thing.

35. And by the way:  I’m starving, and it’s a half hour before lunch time. Curiously, I crave sweet peppers, and cheese; grilled.


“I’m not eating them.”

“But they’re gooooood! Yummy!”


“No, they’re not. They’re delicious!They’re good for you! How can you say that about them?!? How do you think they feel?!?”


“Yes! Just do it……open up….here comes the plane!”

Gulp. Truly disgusting. Always were. Still are. Spaghettios. Yeah, the little munchkin stole my line. Here comes the plane.


So insistent, she was. Save the spaghettios!

Let us hope as she matures, she bestows a sense of good will and effort to a more, shall we say, worthy cause.

I think it’s just a stage. The one in which disgusting icky things become truly fascinating; obsessive, even. Let us hope it’s a stage. Only that. I have noticed that a more proportionate time at Petco is fixated on the amphibians and reptiles. I try to cop a cool, nonchalant attitude regarding it that betrays my horror, lest she catch on and this becomes yet another game to test my patience. And it works until an attendent arrives to take one of the critters out of their cage. Then I’m so out of there.

 After the rains here, she was out in the early evening hours, collecting slugs to go into the bug cage I got her. Slimy, icky slugs.

Just like slimy, icky spaghettios.

September 2008
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