Archive for March, 2009

stray thoughts

–I feel like skipping and hopping and skipping and hopping outside in the nice warm sun today. Instead, I get to take the kiddo to the dentist. Poor thing.

–I’m seriously craving lemon with lots of meringue. Guess what we’re having for dessert this easter?

–How thrilled am I that the kiddo discovered mama’s Calvin and Hobbes stash to read? She was a little confused regarding Hobbe’s stuffed animal-then-real-live-tiger states, but when I explained, she understood perfectly. I love it when she just kind of finds stuff around and adopts things. I’m kind of hands off, in many ways, with her. A gentle suggestion here, another there. Finding things is fun. Especially when you’re ready. In a sense, when I think of teaching art to kids, that’s the best advice I have to give to a youngster: “just go find it.” Whatever it is. That’s the fun. Not always easy to get that to stick in this day and age though. It makes me sad to see kids stuck on a very specific idea…like drawing the perfect picture of Spiderman, when maybe there’s something better yet to be discovered. In their heads.

 Thank heavens the kiddo and I have the same perverse sense of humor. Makes living together fun. Gotten cheeky though. And likes ickydisgustinggross things alot lately. I feign horror. But I don’t think Uncle Will is gonna have to bait the kiddo’s fishhook at camp the way he always did for me, back in the day.

–I’ve decided that I want to be Ruth Gordon (Harold and Maude)  when I grow up. I think I feel the purple hat already on my head anyway. Just need a nice field of daisies to go wander around in. Wanna come, T. and Pentyne? I bet I can find I can find us  some llamas and chickens and sheep out there. And if you’re reallyreallyreally  good, I’ll bring them home!



I was sitting at my patio the other day and scanning our yard, plotting where these flowers would go, and those would go. Ferns, maybe? And so on. Noted the two giant plastic playscapes, one passed along from new friends, the other, held onto for us by dear friends while we were in the shelter. The kids love to make all sorts of creative obstacle courses with them. And I think to myself, beyond all the pretty flowers and birdie stuff…we’re missing…games. How could that be? I love games! Playing. Games. In a good way. Fun, fun.

So I got two tennis rackets for me; one wood, another, metal (we live practically right next to a tennis court and I finally found someone to play with.). A soccer net for the kiddo, who’s obsessed with the idea, lately.  A badminton set. And I’m on the search for the croquet set of my dreams. I love lawn games. Very proper, but tweaked with a touch of competition and a mite of bitchiness (well, back in the day. Remember, Pentyne?).

I grew up playing games. When my parents got our house, the big lawn, though, technically; shared, right in half, was the selling point. There were many soccer games. Baseball, of course. My father would come home from a hard day’s labor on his construction job in the summers, and hit fly balls out for us to shag. Or, we’d play my favorite game, called Pickle, which was a variation on base stealing, in which a runner ran a length of distance between to glovemen, and tries  to beat the tag. Didn’t matter if you were the runner or the gloveman…it was fun. And Roz, my mom, played with us too…mostly softball or badminton. My parents were the only parents on my street who did that. Played with with their kids.

This summer, we will, the rest of us, in our family, go to the Adirondacks, probably my favorite place on the planet, and go play. We’ll swim, and canoe and take Roz out on the water and hope she doesn’t capsize dramatically this time (I secretly think she likes it. Seriously. ).  The kiddo will go out with my sweet brother Will, who’s a dead ringer for my late  father,  and learn to fish. And at night, there will be card games (guys, you really should consider Hearts or Spades. For me. I’m just not a poker player.), and Scrabble (T. will win 90% of the time). And maybe, just maybe, a new generation of kiddos will learn the joyful snarkiness that is croquet. Just save a game for Pentyne and I, please.


…is creeping up behind your child in her classroom and listening to her read a book aloud by herself

…and greengreengreen pencil thin asparagus! Roasted in the oven in olive oil and sprinkled with cracked pepper and salt. Splash with balsamic vinegar. Spring on a plate.

…Britney Spear’s If You Seek Amy amuses me.

That is all.

lightness and loft

Couple weeks ago, on a Sunday, there was talk of a big snow storm coming our way. And I was like a kid again, wishing and hoping for a snow day for Emm. Just one extra day where we could hang out, all cozy, and not have to go anywhere. And we got it. Emm bounced between playing Brother Bear on her computer, and watching the actual movie. She’s obsessed with the story, which features totems, as a key point. I collect deer (my grandfather used to paint ’em in all of his paintings. Unless they were the cow paintings for farmer’s barns. I don’t collect cows.). So she finds a stray deer ornament from Christmas, attaches a string to it, and wears it around her neck. “Look, Mama! This is my TOTEM!”. Always thinking and making connections, this one.

So I putter around the house. Get bored. Decide I need to read something. Perfect day. And maybe it’s because of all the ads and reviews in the paper for To Kill A Mockingbird at Hartford Stage, which feature Mathew Modine, I don’t know—but I remember that I have a copy of Birdy, by William Wharton–Mathew starred in the movie version—that I haven’t yet read. Recommended to me years ago.

I’ve always believed that things in life come when you’re ready/receptive to them. Want them. Need them, perhaps, for a particular reason. I’m reading Birdy at a wierdly coincidental time. See, Birdy, if you haven’t figured it out just by reading his name, likes birds. A lot. He’s actually obsessed. As am I, sort of. We divirge, he and I, upon the qualities of our shared obsessions. For me, birds are beautiful, fragile beings who operate on a plane of existence so very different than mine. I’ll never interfere, and I’ll never be a bird. They are separate. I’ve had cats that I’ve considered almost children, but the birds will never be. They are they. And that’s all. It is enough.

Birdy wants to be a bird. Quite simply. In the beginning of the story, he’s perched on the edge of a hospital bed, flapping his folded arms and being hand fed, like a baby bird. He’s just gotten home from Viet Nam. The rest of the story is a series of flashbacks narrated by his childhood buddy, that shed light on the origins of Birdy’s avian obsession. I haven’t yet finished the book. I’m feeling like my heart is going to be broken, and I sort of dread it. But it’s a beautiful book.

What Birdy most wants is to fly. He constructs a bird suit, with hand sewn feathers. He devises all sorts of flight experiments himself, and studies his many, many canaries (boy do I want a canary now). He takes meticulous records. I can’t quite relate to that. I don’t keep records much. Asking me to take even a snapshot of anything is a bit much. I’m not sure I have much of a desire to fly, either, though in my dreams, I’m often in flight, kind of zooming around. It feels so authentic sometimes, that I can’t believe I’m asleep.

But I relate to Birdy’s yearning to feel weightless, unbound. Particularly during my disastrous year at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan in the mid-nineties. I’ve just been awarded a big scholarship, and I’m all ready to go hard at the next step (never did figure out what that was actually going to be. Probably some other kind of award to “legitmize” my talent. Sigh). The city at first captivates me, particularly what I see as this wonderful, jazzy mix of what I think of as the sacred and profane, all mixed in together. Seediness and then your churches and your high end stores. Right next to each other. I liked that.

But a week into classes, I can’t seem to get the fuck out of my bed. I’m dragging, and I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps it was the solid two months of theatre work preceding my arrival…grinding, exhausting, meticulous crazy work…the comedown from that had been traditionally difficult for me in summers prior. Or it could have been the disintigration, second semester prior, of a fling that I wasn’t quite ready to shake off.  I didn’t know. I figured I would do what I always did when I felt a little off. Work more. Find a project. Something. Anything so that I didn’t have to deal directly with whatever I was feeling.

But it doesn’t work. Nothing does. Not even a new roomate (thank God!), who can’t understand why all I want to do is hang out in my slip all day, sleeping,  and eating Oreo cookies and diet Coke in my permanent new residence: my bed. And crying. Alot. Poor Felix. My instructors are beginning to get really pissed off at me for all of the missed classes. And it doesn’t matter. None of it does. I feel deeply, weep heavily. And then feel nothing. Sometimes, I feel nothing so much, that only a scrape of a razor along the insides of my forarms reassures me that I’m somewhere, and feeling something. And then I cry hard all over again.

There is only one class I regularly attend, and I have feelings of anticipation and dread about it all week. Wierd sexual tension with the instructor. I never present any work.  I fidget and sigh, and doodle and stab at my ever present journal, often taking notes rabidly and randomly throughout each seminar, every week. Finally, we have break. And I never leave from my permanent spot, while everybody else dashes outside for cigarettes or a coffee. This is my  favorite spot, in all the city. And I need this. Every week.

It’s just a gap. A gap between two tall buildings, whose view I covet and can’t find anywhere else but from the otherside of these huge windows in this particular classroom. I see, between the concrete, air. Space. Endless, infinite space. If I stare long and hard enough;  relax just enough, I am out there, between those two buildings, floating the way I’d yearned and begged for so many times in my journal entries. Heavy and weighted, no more.


Addendum, or a note to anybody, everybody: I’m fine! I’m fine, k? Just thinking outloud, now that I can, about a period of my life…a good 15 years ago. Yikes! don’t want to worry anyone.

peace out.


…I’ve decided to invest hard in the belief that if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

…But how much do I love, love, love that the kiddo asks me to play Simon & Garfunkel’s The Boxer againagain instead of Copacabana overandoverandoverandover.

…This article in Newsweek on Steve Wozniak was pretty good. I love him. Steve Jobs is supposed to be the Buddhist, but Woz has always reminded me of a laughing Buddha genius. Don’t watch Dancing With the Stars, but  go, Woz.

something about this…

says it all for me:

Excerpt of T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Man
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long
Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Hottie Alert

Isn’t he cute? The guy in the top left photo of the article? Charles (Chip) Esten.

I happen to adore Big Love. Especially Chloe Sevigny as Nicki. Complicated. All the most interesting people are. And Bruce Dern as crazy old Frank. Hilarious.

March 2009
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