Friday, March 30, 2007

More Notes

There are other things I've learned...

  • if someone has a map in their hands, ask to help them. You meet interesting people that way.
  • always offer to take a photo when you see one family member taking a shot of the rest.
  • living and/or working in SoHo, Tribeca, the Village or pretty much anywhere in Manhattan means that the drivers in these areas feel you are fairly well off. Foolish people! Therefore, they will ignore the little while walking guy who lures you into stepping into the street. The driver will still turn at a fast speed, or run the light, not caring if he hits you.... you see, their idea is, you live/work here, you have insurance. Hell, the PETS have insurance. Lesson learned? Always walk with someone who has better i.e. more expensive clothes on than you do on the traffic side when you cross the street... with or without the light.
  • ignore the traffic light. Let's be honest, the little white walking guy and the red hand of death mean nothing. If the street is clear, you walk. You walk if traffic is backed up. You walk if you think you can make it. You walk so close to the last passing car, your clothes brush their bumper. You walk in front of cars, and when they move in on your, you hit the hood yelling "HEY!" even if it's your fault. You have the zealous rage of the pedestrian.
  • there are rules in New York:
1. kill the pedestrian
2. don't speak English or any other recognisable language, especially if you drive a cab
3. if their hand is out, put money in it. Don't ask why, it's for a tip, lord knows what
kind of tip, but, you've done something, and it must be tipped for.
  • learn the musicians, and you'll know your station, even when drunk
  • when a cop in the 42nd St station points out you have a dog, look surprised, and announce, "What happened to my child?".
  • Gypsy cabs are a hoot. Be prepared for dodgy seatbelts, to bargain on the price (go way low, I've gone from the UWS to Tribeca for $23 at noon) and again, unusual languages.
  • You never know who will hold your dogs when you get dog food, who will sit next to you on the train, and who you'll talk to in the street.

The End

The Ides of March...Pre and Post

Almost a month here.

In that month, I've discovered/had happen/realised;

  • arrived with no idea if I had a job or not
  • found out what a fifth floor walk up really was...I never want to see one again
  • was blessed with a good boss
  • was in an internet film, I'm still coughing from all those cigarettes
  • lost 14 lbs
  • discovered each station has it's own set of music makers, the best still being the sparerib man
  • craigslist and it's plethora of apartment listings, including the one who keeps asking for a woman to walk around naked a few times a month in exchange for free rent. He'd pay me not to walk around naked
  • Tribeca
  • the dogs, and with them, great biceps
  • walking onto the Law and Order set at the vets, because we needed dog food. Jesse Whatshisname was very nice and held them while I picked up what we needed. The whole crew was nice. The director was nice. They all said good-bye, and went back to their shoot.
  • the crazy man who shouts for me to wear a collar. I think he's flirting.. I'm not sure
  • emotionally eviscerating myself... and not regretting it
  • staying off Google
  • Canal Street
  • Manhattan men
  • a film in Brooklyn that took forever because the principle actor couldn't say his lines. It was still fun.
  • finishing classes on script supervision...okay, officially it's finished on Sunday, but, that will be April, and I want this journal entry done.
  • another film tonight
  • stage managing a play, The Checkerboard Chronicles, which is also seen on Public Access TV, for TSI Theater on E.24. We open May 4 & 5. Be there.
  • finding a new apartment, in a wonderful, serendipitous with an elevator.
  • new cowboy boots. woot.
  • new online journals to read, new books to buy, new acquaintances that may become friends
  • having the gut pain of missing Mrs. S and the sister wife lessen, making plans to fly back to can in the fall helped.
  • finding out my boy will be gone for nine months to a place no child should have to go
The Spring is ahead of me, the Winter behind, I hope for more to happen, more scents and tastes and sights. I've Central Park to fully explore, Museums to visit, plays still to see....

Life is good. Sad at times, but, on the whole, I'm content and waiting to see what happens next...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Manhattan Men....Part Deux

Take a chance, she said.

I write here for a number of reasons...for my family and friends, so I don't have to do all those cc's on emails, for people to stumble across and think, "What drugs is that woman on?" (a number of them, and all prescribed, thank you) and to remind me of what I did while here, when I'm in the home and looking at the same dress every day, going.."WOW, new clothes!".

I have such high hopes for my future.

A couple of friends rang me about the Men in Manhattan post, and said, "You know, you should just go ahead and flirt."

I've not flirted since a Tuesday in March in a year that had a 9 and a 7 in it.

I wasn't very good at it then. The nice young man came over, and said, "Would you like to dance?" and I said, "Why?".

That was the end of my flirting days... and I was raised in the South, mind you... a place where flirtation is bred into your genes. My mother is still able to have men follow her progress though a room when she walks by, and she's in her 70's. I remember men asking her out when she was pregnant with my youngest brother. She exudes pheromones the Yankee women exude flaky skin. All of my cousins are the same way. The girls I grew up with... they batted their eyes with the natural ease and grace that generations of women before them did...I tried it and got an eyelash caught, causing a sty.

Tonight, I took a deep breath, and thought, I'll do it. My friend said, "It's no big deal... you are the shyest person in the world... you are loyal and all that crap. It's a DRINK. Do it."

She's right..what can a drink hurt? The last time the idiot ordered champagne. I mean, really. Who orders that for a first meeting?

I digress. As always.

I sit on the train....feeding the terrier the french onion potato chips that came with my sandwich I didn't eat for lunch. I'd picked up a copy of the Village Voice to read. Now, understand, I always read periodicals and such from the back to the front. I don't know why, I just do.

I'd just started my backassward reading when a very nicely dressed man got on the train and asked if he could sit next to me.... the terrier was there, you see. I moved her to my lap and adjusted the space so he could be comfortable.

We did the polite social smile thing, he said I had a lovely smile. I blushed. That's when it started downhill.

I'd made the decision I'd not blush anymore. My skin is rather translucent to begin with, so, when I blush, I blush big time. I concentrated hard on not turning red. Hard. I glanced down at my chest, what I could see of it, and instead of my usual pink, I had splotches. I looked across to the window, and I could see red spots on my cheeks and I could feel my ears burn.

How attractive.

I opened my paper with feigned nonchalance as I crossed my legs, left over right.....dragging my left shoe over his beautiful, knife sharp edged pantleg... black pantleg....leaving a schmear of sidewalk and trainstation dust on said pantleg.

I leaned forward as he did, to dust it off... muttering those "Oh, my dear sweet mother of god in heaven" Catholic curses bumping his head and squishing the dog at the same time, who yelped in his ear for good measure.

Yes, things were going swimmingly.

I snapped open the paper, back pages of course, and again tried to look composed as my ears singed my hair into tighter curls than the curls around my hairline where I was staring to sweat.

Have you ever read the Village Voice? Then you know what's in the back. The back I had opened to HIS side.

Yes, indeedy.

How my hair didn't just catch on fire, I'll never know.

I quickly folded the paper, and shoved it into my bag, humming as if those kind of ads were commonplace... in retrospect, the wrong thing to do.

He tried again to start a conversation... we chatted about the terrier, always an icebreaker. He asked what I did, I told him. I asked what he did, he told me. We started to actually have a pleasant conversation. My face went to it's usual pale shade. I laughed, and didn't snort.. always a plus.

He asked for my number... my heart started to race....dare I? I'd mentioned I wasn't interested in anything, my attentions were held elsewhere.. we Southern women are so polite...he said, it's nice to have someone to go to a film with. I agreed. His stop was ahead. He stood up, blackberry in hand, my name punched in... I'd given my name!

I licked my lips... took a breath...and said the area code.

The potato chips didn't agree with the terrier's digestive tract, and a noxious odour wafted upwards from my lap and into his bent over face. She continued to look as cute as ever, black button eyes never leaving his blue ones.

The door opened, he smiled wanly at me....

....and left.

Maybe he'll meet another woman with my name, and can put her number there so there won't be wasted space.

I've a feeling he'll be checking the A train cars before he gets on them again.

Men...Everywhere You Look... Men

Men in Manhattan.


I am not a look at me person. First of all, I don't have the walk or the hairstyle for it. Nor the attitude. Nor any of the things I see in women in Manhattan or the Village or in New York, period. I'm pretty much a visitor to the passenger car on the train we call life.


Even I'm noticed in this city. Me. Men hold doors open, and give me their seats on the train, and talk to me on the corner and smile when they walk my way and they whistle and I know it's me because I pointed at myself and they nodded. Sweet bejeebers! And... and...and... they come over and reach things beyond even my arm's reach at the local deli, fetch it down and hand it to me...asking if they can get anything else.


What is in the water here? You actually start to feel delicate and ladylike and almost...frail. I'm thinking of practicing a swoon for summer.

I'm overwhelmed with all this niceness. This manliness. This, this....attention.

I am out of my league.. out of my comfort zone.

At first... I was startled, and blushed. Now, I just blush. I blush when they ask for a number and I say no. I blush when they ask my name, and I say no. I blush alot.

I'm flattered.... I blush....and I'm thinking, New York is full of some very polite, very sweet men. Men in overalls, men in suits, men in jeans... old men, young men, professional men, artist looking sorts, actors (they tell you, so you know)... rich, poor, brokers (they tell you, too)... every sort.

They are nice, kind, and they are immensely interesting to talk to.... and handy as hell when I can't reach that package of Charmin on the top shelf.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Waiter, May I Have Some Crackers With My Whine?

A friend of mine in the journal world said recently that New York had kicked her butt. I felt badly for her….and went on my merry way, savouring this fine city that has become my home, feeling my usual smugness over my perfect time here.

The smug fairy, who lives in Alphabet City, decided it was payback time...and this weekend, New York kicked my butt.


I am scrambling to find a new home, my current abode will be expelling me like the banks did the Joads from their farm on Tuesday…. I vacillate between sharing with yet another unknown roommate, or forking out the same amount of rent for a postage stamp of an apartment. The upside is, I’ll have my privacy. The downside is, I’ll have to sell someone’s kidney and be willing to live with Lilliputian furniture in order to have such privacy.

I went so far as to ask a friend who flies to this end of the world on occasion to buy something and let me sub-let and I’d leave them remarkable food in return for my small amount of affordable rent.

Since I’ve yet to hear a response, I think they are still laughing..

My roommate yelled at me. He yelled at my dog for chasing his cats. This is after I had to spend from 8P onwards Saturday night in my room because he had ‘company’. Excuse me? I pay rent, and I can’t use the communal living space? And the company was l-o-u-d.

Yes, indeed.

I was ill over the weekend….my heart hurt. Not in the “Why isn’t the person I’ve come out into the world ready to be part of life for not ready yet?” hurt…I’m okay with that delay. Not “My son is going to Iraq, fucking idiots who start wars and send our sweet young souls to fight it for them.”, hurt, although that weighs on my mind daily. Not even, “Where in the hell am I going to live after Tuesday??”, hurt. I mean, hurt, hurt. Physical pain along with my hands and feet tingling like mad….causing me distress, exhaustion and the knowledge I’m not taking care of myself in post cancer time. I've been smug and not been taking care of that issue, either... pleased with my good health and putting my 'pre-existing health condition' to the back of my mind.

Paid for that little maneuver too.

It’s calcium causing these symptoms. Well, lack of it, to be honest. I don’t retain calcium, and with the whole little gland that can being gone and the doctors trying to treat me 1100 miles from where they are and me being the worst patient in the world…my calcium levels are bottoming out. I’m now eating those horrid calcium pills you chew, that proclaim they taste just like chocolate.

No they don’t…they taste awful. If they tasted like chocolate, I’d eat the damn things every day like I’m supposed to do.

I’ve guzzled a quart of milk this evening to wash down the gritty bits from my teeth, and I still hurt.

I imagine if I ate more than once every two or three days, that would help. Oh! You think so, self?

Problem is, I’m saving my money….see the first paragraph. I won’t eat hot dogs every day, I’m down to my last few rides on my Metro Card, and my last $10 in the bank. Yesterday, when I went to look at a flat, and realised I’d left my never ending card at work, I walked the 1.5 miles both ways to save $4.

I can use the exercise. Besides, where else would I have met JoJo and his dog, Ricki. Yes, Ricki with an ‘I’. He made sure to tell me the spellings of both their names. We chatted while Ricki and Douglas smelled each other. JoJo squealed when I told him I walked a pit bull. He and Ricki were terrified of pit bulls, he said. They were just too butch for him. He was surprised someone that didn’t look that big (I almost kissed him on that one) would walk a pit bull. He invited us to go to the dog park, but, I had that apartment that was that big to look at, so, we declined.

The walk down to Broadway and 159th turned out to be a nice one, the weather was smooth, the music there put a bounce in your step. The flat was only a two floor walk-up! Hurrah! Sadly, I wasn’t impressed with it’s spacious beauty nor the 87 locks on the door.

Go figure.

I did, however, leave my keys to the apartment there....which means I had to get up and travel out to 68th in Brooklyn this morning...the A to the N to the R, then the R to the N to my stop to work...where I didn't get the poodle out in time.. and then missed an appointment to see a good place in the Village and...

For the first time, every person who saw me with the terrier told me I was supposed to have her in a carrier. Everyone. People on the train, a janitor, even an engineer came back to have me squeeze her into my computer bag with the computer. A cop at 42nd had me do the same, rest her on top. He didn’t give me a ticket, but, did tell me how to sneak her past the next cop. I think most of the cops in New York are in my age bracket. It keeps me from getting tickets.

It can only get better, right?

Tonight, I go back to craigslist. I’ve rested, consumed calcium, will call my doctor in the am, refuse to go to hospital, and life will carry on.

Maybe I can find a van down by a river at a decent price….

Saturday, March 24, 2007

My Blue Eyed Son

Last night, after two hours sleep in the prior 38, I had to come home and deal with my very drunk roommate who was so far out of line, if I had remembered to bring home my credit card, I'd have gone to a hotel, damn the cost.

When I turned the subject to the newsstory of the Royal Marines on television, and Taylor's going to Iraq...called my son, my blue eyed boy...a baby killer.

I used to sing to him, "Oh, where have you been my blue eyed son? Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?"

A baby killer.

That phrase screamed at the soldiers who came home from Vietnam, never the same...who left boys, and returned...well, what were they when they returned? Souls scarred, minds that shunned what they had happens in every war, every battle, every time man puts on a uniform of some sort, chooses a side, and goes off to kill in the name of their cause.

They come home, pick up the pieces of their lives, and move forward. Some recover, some don't. It stays with them, in the back of their heads... it colours who they are, how they react the rest of their lives.

No, they aren't baby killers, but, it kills a part of them.

A hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Friday, March 23, 2007

I'm Ready For My Closeup, Mr.DeMille.....

I have discovered a way to make money in New York.

No, not that... I said make money.

It is called being a paid extra. Yes, you, too can have the fun and pleasure of being on a film set, eating film food, sitting around for ten hours, being in two scenes, knowing your face will be seen by millions, you can put your name on IMDb, and in the credits, you are listed as Mama.

How cool is that?

Very, with the exception of the ten hours.

My first call was at 1A. No problem, I said. I'll snooze, be up at 11.ish, catch the L to Brooklyn, and be in time for hair and make-up. Hair and make-up. Heh.

I was then advised the call sheet was changed, and they wanted my scenes completed, so, my call was changed to 9P. It was 8P when this happened.

I raced...okay, I went from my usual meander to a brisk the A, changed over to the L, and arrived in time for the aforementioned hair and make-up.

One reason I was cast was my curly hair and Sicilian colouring. Since I'm part Sicilian, the colouring came naturally. Note the curly hair comment. The first thing the hair people did was straighten my curly hair. The director loved the white bit in the front, and he wanted it to stand out instead of curl about, so, bye bye curls.

With no time to go home and change, I went in my clothing for the day... tank top, light cotton sweater over this tank top, and jeans. It was a bit of a low cut tank top, especially for me. I was supposed to be a typical Brooklyn pizza parlour owning Sicilian mother... and, I had clevage. I did as I'd done all day, pull up the tank top, adjust the sweater. It was more than uncomfortable with the actor playing my 'son', coming over, kissing me on the cheek, then leaning over me, looking down the front of my shirt for the rest of his scene with me.

We shot the first scene, with me in the background, reading a newspaper.

That was scene eight... my next scene was scene ten, I'm thinking I'll be home by midnight. woot.

Scene ten was shot at 7.30A.

I earned my 60 bucks.

The other extras huddled about inside, discussing acting... they were ACTors. Me? I watched the entire shoot... amazing stuff, film. Interesting things, film shoots. This is an indy shoot, the director hopes to have it in the Festival circuit. His mom and I spent lunch together, chatting. I also had a nice time with the set photographer, a PA, the gaffer, the key, the sound guy, the best boy, the AD, and the director hung around for a bit and chatted theater. He wasn't a theater guy, he was pure film... theater was too unsure for him, he liked the fact he could put a film together, and know there was no uncertainty. I told him that was my favourite part of theater... the fact every night is a new show. He said it would make him crazy.

Most of the crew was from the area, the cast was from LA. It was amazing the difference in the attitudes, the approach in how they did things. What I found most interesting was the sameness in techie attitudes, be they film or theater tech people. A certain distance from the actors, respect if there is talent, disdain if there isn't. No matter how you try, you really can't get the two groups together... they may rub along, but, each thinks the other is the more powerful in the set-up.

I walk a fine line when I production manage, to keep all in harmony... I respect both for their skills, and trying to keep peace can be a headache.

Which is what I have now after only two hours sleep.

Still, I'm in a film, I have my name in the credits... and I made enough to pay for a play next week.

Oh, and the straight hair? It was drizzling all night... by the time it came to my scene, with the humidity in the air, well, let us say Mama had big curls again. Such is life in the world of film.

I wonder if they got my good side.....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Trains, Trannies, Travelers and Tags

Ah, the people you meet on the train.

Yesterday, it was Tuala. She saw me walking the terrier off, and warned me of the $65 fine I could face by no longer carrying the clever, yet heavy, wheeled dog case. I told her I'd try and talk my way out... she said she'd told the officer she was HIV positive, and broke..but, that didn't work. She went on to tell me how becoming HIV had changed her life, she'd gotten clean, went back to school at 23 and got her GED, then a certificate that let her work as a secretary, and was working 20 hours a week at an accountants office so she could still qualify for Medicare. She had days she couldn't work, but, still got up and got dressed. Many of her friends had died already, and the best thing she'd done was get clean, and find Jesus.

Her parents wouldn't talk to her still... it was the transsexual thing she had going on.

With that last note, this drop dead beautiful woman waved good-bye and turned on Canal towards Chinatown.

I should look so good.

Tonight, I went to the 13th Street Repertory Company, to see Fifth Floor Walkup.... a collection of monologues and two one act plays by some very good playwrights. There are hits and misses, with the bulk running on the former part. I'm not a reviewer, and either way, it's to save a great's a cheap ticket, $14.00... I'll go back, if nothing else to see their run of just found Tennessee Williams one act plays.

On the long, local ride home... I started chatting to the girl next to me when she had her petting time with the terrier...she was an exchange student who had finished her photography degree at NYU, and would be working for the summer. When she left her seat, a man sat down, and started to chat with me. His sister joined in, and lo and behold! she was the costumer for the big theater company in our little town in Utah! woot. We know a number of the same folk, we discussed the famous toupee, and had a good laugh about how small the world really is.

It was a long day, filled with vet visits for the poodle, office spaces looked at, lists crossed off, a play, an apartment visited, and a long local train ride made better by good company.

Oh, and it was the "Look for the clothesline tag!" slogan I played Heaven Beck, I've got to find out what happened to the company.

I'll wait until tomorrow, though. Tonight, I've more apartment letters to write... in 10 days, I'm homeless.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Slogans, Spaces and Spareribs

Too many things on the mind today, including forgetting the slogan I saw on a building above me on White Street.

I'd wanted to look it up, the advertising on this area where some of the construction was done in 1866, or so the masons who put the brickwork together wrote into the scrolled tops when they finished their labours.

This means tomorrow, inbetween going about looking for office space and walking dogs and running errands, I'll be like Heaven Beck in The Tontine, with my head tipped upwards as I walk, scanning for the faded sheet flapping on a line, and the elusive advertising logo that slips to the front of my memory, then slides back before I can grasp it.

I now know what the magic 8 ball feels like.

My current assignment is to find office space off Union Square. I'm learning the route of the R train these days. I meet with young men who have shoes that cost more than my entire ensemble, we shake hands, they hand me a card and look for mine.

I smile.

I smile a lot here.

I shake their hand and introduce myself, "Yes, I'm DR's PA. Please don't contact her anymore on this matter, I'm choosing the space. Now, let's go look."

If they have a limp handshake, I'm done with them.

It's amusing in some ways..... I'm walking around expensive office spaces in my jeans and cowboy boots, taking notes, looking nothing like what they think someone who can afford this kind of space should look.

A wealthy, very wealthy, friend of mine told me years ago...never judge money by the clothes.

They need to learn that.

Silly boys.

The R train is different from the A, not as crowded, different music in the station on Canal. Our guy plays drums. This man had slabs of ribs on his legs, and slapped them and the ribs and sang. I gave him money because any person who would put pork on his legs to use as a musical instrument earns my respect. I imagine they were quite tender by the time he got home to cook them for dinner.

Words typed remain text, delicate, worrisome, missing the changes a voice gives... we use them because we have no other at times. And, they are far, far better than silence.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Do They All Need A Title?


After a restless night, brought on by flawed communications, communications built on something as frail as the breath of a butterfly, coffee was needed.

Coat on, sweater on the terrier, my hat in place…who ever thought I’d put a sweater on a dog much less a hat on myself… we schlepped down the stairs and onto what passes for the day after a snow in New York.

Snow in New York is different than the snow I’m used to. I’ve only had one other real snow ‘storm’ here….it was the same this time. New York City snow isn’t the soft flakes I’m used to, it’s a hard brittle snow, driven by a harsh wind, slapping you in the face, a look at me wind, a pay attention snow, to put it bluntly; miserable. I’m glad now for my not pay attention to the length of it at the time I was knitting seven foot long scarf I am wearing. It covers my face up to my eyes and still lets me breathe. At one time, the wind was strong enough when we left work to actually push me backwards…but, a mild temperature, well, mild from where I’m from when it comes to snow. Without the wind, it would be a pleasant walk. Because of the low temperature, though, we walk though slush, not a crisp snow. It drags you down. There is no sound under your feet that gives you that clean feeling snow should give you. It is more a sad sound, one of grey and slog. The only thing so far I’ve not liked here. The only thing so far I find I miss from before. Real, lovely, power snow.

I discovered another thing when you walk in the streets of Manhattan, clear streets or snow filled ones…especially in some areas, such as the one I work in…the little white walking guy doesn’t insure your safety. Whereas in Brooklyn, with the exception of the guy in the gold SUV who tried to kill us, people honour the lights and the little white walking it’s okay, come on, you have the right of way to walk guy…there, they figure you are wealthy enough to live there, you must have decent health insurance, so, they’ll run you over as soon as look at you.

I’ve also discovered my glare will still stop a car in its tracks. woot.

When I arrived home, my roommate offered to draw me a hot bath, his concern over my walk to the train and my walk homewards in the snow apparent. Bless him for that. I advised him I was hot, stripped off the coat, scarf, hat changed to a teeshirt and promptly opened my window.

I sleep what little sleep I have with my window partially opened, the sound of hard snow hitting the glass the last thing I hear.

We go outside, the terrier curbs and I go for my blessed coffee…Dunkin’ Donuts, avoiding the Evil Empire that is closer.

Across the street, after leaping over a river of slush the size of the Bogue Chitto, there is a woman standing next to a fence enclosed tree, watching her child play in the snow. It is their version of a backyard here in the city, a little place for her child to build a small snowman in a small area and be safe.

She stands there, smiling down, while the bundled girl packs snow into a bucket, hands it to her mother who then upends it on the sidewalk, making a pattern of snow piles. An icicle is placed as a candle on each.

Her name is Elaine, her daughter is Madeline. They have the same large, amazingly beautiful eyes and smiles. She’s a native New Yorker, and loves it here. She knew everyone who walked by, and everyone who came in or out of the building behind us. She said she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world; New York had all she needed. They traveled, of course, but, the lights of New York were her home.

She asked what part of Manhattan I’d been born in, if I’d just moved to this area, because I didn’t have an accent from the UES. I told her I wasn’t a native, I’d only been here since the first of the month…I was from New Orleans, via Denver and Utah….she laughed. She said she’d never have believed it if I hadn’t told her, I had a ‘New York way about me’.

I passed as a New Yorker. FMD

We’ve made a date to meet again tomorrow, same time, and same tree.

You meet the best people on the street sometimes.

Coffee is purchased, the terrier gets a sinker and I read the Times while the cowboy boots are re-heeled, and then we sludge back though the slush home where the terrier is bathed and is once again a glowing power snow white and not a dim slush grey, and I still fret over tattered words.

As Scarlet said though, tomorrow is another day. I’ve my own room to tidy, a new acquaintance made, the Cloisters to explore and The Burning Bush to see along with my hat wearing mates to meet up with afterwards…life goes on, words are sorted out, and snow melts.

It is what it is.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

New York, It's A Hell Of A Town

Today, I read a blog that was about becoming a real New Yorker....Monkeys In My Pants

So, I was thinking about this on the A train home...

When do you become a real New Yorker?

My family landed here at Ellis Island in the 1870's and stayed a couple of years before heading by boat to New Orleans, so, I guess I could claim grandfather status... then, there are the great-Aunts who returned in 1890 to live, and start families...can I piggyback on their resident status?

I became a New Yorker when I stepped off the plane the first time in January of this year. The first breath of air I took, the first rat that I saw when it ran into the luggage area at JFK, the first subway crazy who played his version of You Light Up My Life with a comb and tissue paper made me a New Yorker.

I live on neighborhood coffee, I'm polite on the subway, because I'm polite everywhere. I live and breathe this place.

It's not how long you live here, it's how you absorb the City. This is a place that has welcomed new comers from the beginning... remember that big statue in the harbour? You either are or you aren't a New Yorker. It's in you or it isn't.

New Orleans will always be my heart...New York is my soul.

Bang The Drum Slowly

Usually, I tend to write about droll things and things that catch my fancy here in my new city.

Today, everything is dim and cold, a wind blows ahead of a storm that is do to drop snow during the night. On every corner in our area you see multiple police officers, all with drawn faces. There is an NYPD car parked on every block, with roadblocks ready to be set up to close off streets. Each and every one looks ready to deal with the aftermath that comes with the shooting of an officer.

Last night, two were killed in Greenwich Village, along with a pizza company employee and the gunman himself.

They weren't even 'real' cops. They were part of that unusual group called auxiliary police, a volunteer group that patrols the streets to help out an understaffed NYPD. Nicholas Pikearo, 28, who was a soon to be published author, and Eugene Marshalik, 19, an NYU student...who moved here from Russia as a child, were both shot. One execution style, one a number of times as they approached the gunman, who doesn't deserve his name to be said again, after he killed Alfredo Romero by shooting him 15 times.

I guess he didn't think once was enough.

He ran up to one officer, shot him six times, then chased down the other officer and shot him once in the back of the head. You see it on the tape, and, as always with these kinds of things, you can't stop watching.

There are the usual experts giving reasons...he was having problems, he'd moved from one place to another, he learned to use guns in the Marines before he was dishonourably discharged. Gee, aren't you supposed to learn to use firearms in the armed forces? Isn't the word 'armed' a hint? Otherwise, they'd call them the slap and tickle forces.

Call it what it is, a fuckwit got mad, had a gun and 100 rounds of ammo, and went after blood. What is left are families and friends in shock and with huge holes left in their lives.

I went through some blogs today, to see what would be said... and prevelant among far too many of the 20 something blogs was nothing more than the me me me shit. I was at a party, I got drunk, there was a shooting but we kept partying.

On our late afternoon walk... we stood next to a Sargent and a few officers waiting for the light to change. The terrier suddenly let go with a huge belch. She'd just had her hot dog, and pretty much had gulped it without chewing. They all looked at me, I pointed to her. The Sargent said, "Good excuse.". I offered my condolences for their loss, and we talked for a moment. I said my uncle had been a highway patrolman and with the National Guard, and how my grandmother had worried when he was guarding James Meredith to get him into the University of Mississippi, and had been beaten up.

I guess it's how you look at the world. At some point, you see that you are part of this place, not that this place is about you.

In New York tonight....and for many days and nights to come, this place will be about these young men.. all three of them, who died because some fuckwit had an issue with life, and decided to play God.

Light a candle for them, say a prayer, and let the smoke carry your prayer to heaven. May they rest in his presence, may their families find some peace...and with that said, as a mother, I cannot imagine how you could find peace with your baby boy's body lying bullet ridden in a casket.

But, party on, kids.... party on. I hope the shots didn't disrupt your shots. From what I read, they didn't.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spring Is In The Air

Today it felt like spring.

People were walking about in a daze. The air lured us to the outside. Come enjoy me, it said. Come see what it will be like in a few weeks... look at the ground..what do you see? Yes...yes....tulips! They are poking out of the ground! Well, most of them. One is under a juniper where I shoved it after the pit bull dug it up in a excited frenzy.

We won't mention that again, okay?

You can tell spring is coming, because the crazy people are coming out of the subways and seeing their shadows...and sitting in the parks to talk to you there.

Today, the crazy guy on the bench across from the pharmacy started yelling "Why don't you put a collar on bitch?? Yeah, let them dogs walk you, see how you feel!"

Now, one of these dogs has her own health insurance. She has had thousands spent on her. They are treated better than I treat myself. I buy them hot dogs every day, and mush one of those hot dogs up to hand feed it to the blind, toothless one.

I wouldn't mush up hot dogs for my own mother.

I might put a collar on her, but, I wouldn't mush up a hot dog.

They are walked, loved, they sleep on a bed with me, I coo to them, scratch them....they run me.

We went to the other side of the park, with the nice crazy lady who sits downstairs at the Canal A station, and chatted with her for a bit. I brought her a hot dog with mustard the way she likes it. She cooed over the dogs, we talked about the rays from the sun that fry your brain, and then, after a bit, she left.

It was time to head back.... no way to get around it... Crazy Man had to be walked past. He started up again.


I didn't think he'd really care if I pointed out it was sage green.


Let me point out, my ass isn't fancy. It is your average ass, nothing to brag about. I think he meant I was rich or something. Shows what he knew.


At this point, I noticed the pit bull sniffing his cart, then lifting his leg and taking a long pee.

I said, "I'll think about it... maybe something in a nice black leather?" The dog finished, I gave a pull on his leash, and we all left, with the words floating on the air behind me... "LOOK WHAT THAT FUCKING DOG DONE!! BITTTTTTTTTTCH!!!!!!!"

I love that dog.

Monday, March 12, 2007

What's Your Watch?

There is no street like Canal Street.

I grew up with a Canal Street. It, too, has it's hawkers, and store fronts and the smells you don't find anywhere else. My Canal Street is built over a huge pumping system, to keep New Orleans clean and dry.

It forgot how to work during Katrina... but, I digress.

You can find stuff you don't need on Canal Street....some of it is even purchased though legal markets. Clothes, records, DVD's, hats, pipes of all sorts, plumbing supplies, keys made, food from carts...I buy the dogs a hot dog every day from the same guy, he gives me a deal..two dogs with no bun for a buck. Then, you have the hucksters...the guys with the black bags under the tables who sell things that..ummm, fell off the back of a truck, shall we say.

I first ran into one of these on my trip to New York last March. A nice young man offered to sell me a Coach bag at a very low price. It was a fabric bag, though, and I asked if he had one in leather. He looked at me as if I were mad. "Lady, this is a COACH bag!" "Yes, I know...but, I like leather." He dropped the deal, and pushed me on my way. To be honest, I'm too honest to have concluded the deal... and, it wasn't my style.

There are big black bags everywhere. Kate Spade, Coach, Gucci. Men with more gold than Ft Knox are not even pretending to hide the fact they have hidden goods. Bootlegged copies of new films sit in the open. That part of me that is totally against bootlegging wants to run over and stomp on them... the outlined shape of a gun somehow stops me in my zeal.

I'm stopped on the corner by crowds and three men with watches.

"Whatchu wearing my sweet thang?"

"Just a watch." I'm not bright sometimes.

"Don't chu want a good watch? A Rolex?" He pushes up his sleeve and there are at least fourteen watches on his arm. I'm sure one has arm hair not his own caught in the wrist band.

"No, thank you." I'm nothing if not polite, "This one is just fine. I have a hard time with watches." I settle in to tell the tale. "I usually wear my old's a windup watch, and keeps great time. It's gold, I've had it forever. I tend to burn out, I use it or my granddad's pocket watch. I need to get it repaired, though. The Seiko was in the shop, and I needed a watch this past summer, so, I was in TJ Maxx... don't you love TJ Maxx? Anyway, I was in TJ Maxx, and I found this great Kenneth Cole man's watch for slim men, I guess... it's very small, see? I usually don't like silver watches, but, it was marked down from $300 to $20. What a deal! Plus, the battery lasted four months before I replaced it. That is amazing for me. I see no reason to buy another watch when this one works a charm."

I smile.

Stunned faces surround me.

"Man, girl.... you do some talking. Sheet. You always do like dat? Sheet. How white ARE you?"

I thought about it. "So white you could put peanut butter and jelly on me and have a brown bag lunch, I suppose."

Heads shook and they laughed. "Now, that's white. Somebody get this woman a coke or somthin'...she gots to be parched after all that."

We all had a coke and talked about watches. They looked at my Kenneth Cole, and said it was a good watch.

Afterwards, the dogs and I moved on.

I like Canal Street. Next time, though, I'll walk on the other side...I promised I wouldn't block their corner again. I'm bad for business.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Free Gym

I don't understand why people in New York work out at gyms.

During the cruise I make with the dogs, we go past one of these, people sweating in their very sleek, very expensive work out clothes, to spend their calories...those stair machines and the funny stair machines and the walking machines I once used. The look at me people, all of them.

I tried a gym once.

It wasn't pretty.

But, here... here, all you have to do is put on your shoes...or boots or red flats...and cruise around this place. I stand at the top of the street I'm on right now, and I see nothing but people for blocks. All of those people are stories. Faces and voices and things to look at and smells in the stalls and colours. Take a long walk, get off the train a few stops early and see what's above ground.

Take a dog or two with you rather than pay someone to do it for you. In a week, my biceps have gotten stronger, my legs are getting ace, and my ass is moving up from the back of my knees. I eat ice cream every night, and am still losing weight.

And, it's free.

Oh, yeah...the down side? When you are on that morning walk, and around the corner from the flat, there is a fire....and the people responding are the crew from the firehouse you entertained with your dive into the trash bags the day before.

And they remember you.

One shouted, "We gave you an 8.5!"


I've Only Just Begun

As I do part of the flat, I think of more to do.

Rearranged, reorganised, reshuffled, refinished, redecorated....and then, I think...oh, yes, that would be a good idea.

The poodle keeps walking to where the sofa was, and I have to redirect her to the new location. Jeans are where the tshirts were, sheets and towels exchanged places..I bought new, lovely hangers, no more wire hangers!!!

I think I just channeled Joan Crawford for a moment...I have an insane need to find George Cukor and make a film.

I've spent time in the bedroom, setting up the closet in genre, then colour order. I'm so sated, I may have to find a cigarette.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Rats Goeth Before A Fall

It was a beautiful day today....spring in the air, moist air, fresh and clean and all was good in my world.

The poodle stayed behind while the other dogs went for a long walk. I was feeling pretty, well....smug is a good word. I usually try to stay part of the background, and manage it quite well. this whole writing thing is about what is around me, not me. However, I had on this wonderful jacket someone gave me as a's a swing coat from 1942. Beautifully constructed, wonderful lines, good square shoulders, it will last another 20 years with care. In a medium weight, well woven wool, red, cream and navy plaid... I think this coat is amazing. And, in even this part of NYC, people stop and say something to me about it. That in itself is a compliment to the design and beauty of the garment.

So, I'm feeling smug. It's one of those times I'm thinking, "I look okay." I'm walking down the street, my nice swing coat on, my jeans fitting in a good way, my red flats slipping along the sidewalk, creating a sweet sound when they make contact with the concrete...nothing at all like the confident clip of my boots.

I come up to the curb, and across the street is an ornate firehouse. It's out of some old film, out of place in the high rise buildings around it... polished and marble and rococo beauty. Looking up, I see faces in the windows.... looking down on the dogs. Pointing to the pit bull. More faces join, and the light changes, meaning I'll be walking directly across and under these windows, now with a decent number of men watching. I have a little la-de-da smile...something I've not had in aeons. Last time was in April. A flirty smile, a look at me smile.

I slow down, let the dogs extend my arm, stretch out my legs, glance upwards under my lashes. We are being watched....waved to. I smile full on now.

Then, as we walk past the 42 black trash bags, I hear it. A rustle among the bags. A squeak. Two white heads turn as one.

Before I can do anything, they both leap over the mound of trash bags, taking me head first with them. There, before my second story audience, I'm drug onto the top of a mound of garbage bags as the terriers go after the rat. I managed to back down and get my feet under me, and then pulled to haul them out from under the truck where they had it cornered. I had to leave walking backwards, dragging them with me, a piece of paper stuck to my jeans that I removed when I was out of sight.

I'm pretty sure I heard laughter... I'd like to think it was the wind.

I felt it best to not walk back by our local fire station, and instead to go the two blocks out of my way on the return trip home. I doubt we'll ever go that way again, and, should the flat catch fire... well, things can be replaced, can't they?

MishMosh Life

I’m settled into the flat on Thursday, housesitting, organising, breaking up fights between the terrier and the big white dog who sits and drools over her, wanting her, needing her…knowing she’ll never give him the time of day.

I know how he feels. Unrequited love sucks. I’d offer him my way of dealing with it, but, chocolate kills dogs.

Instead, he lies on the ground next to the black hassock she’s on top of, chuffing his breath, rolling his eyes upwards as she studiously ignores his existence. Earlier in the park, he took his leash in his mouth as he likes to do, and she grabbed the end of it, growling and pulling it in a tug of war; her ten pounds against his 75.

He let her win. I wanted to say, “Don’t you have any gumption?? Where are your bal...?” Then I remembered the vet had removed them, and dropped the conversation. Besides, I looked a bit loony in my beret and coat, with my scarf whipping about, a blind dog walking into my legs, backing up, then walking back into them…talking to a love struck pit bull and a Westie who runs the show.

It has been the best of days. More things done, an hour spent at Staples…I shiver at the memory…papers in folders, a storage compartment now neat and tidy, and I found a place that sells Crunchie bars.

I bought three of them.

I’ve already eaten two.

Finding Staples was a trek…pardon me while I adjust my jeans as I sit here typing…funny, they weren’t tight before the Crunchie bars…anyway, I set out down the street, as I’d been told it was only a few blocks away.

They lied…every couple of blocks, I’d look to see the friendly red store front that was Staples. None around….so, I’d ask. “It’s just beyond the Starbuck’s.” was the usual reply.

What a stupid, stupid answer. Saying something is beyond the next Starbuck’s, or across the street from Starbuck’s, or around the corner from Starbuck’s or to take a right or left at the Starbuck’s is akin to telling someone to do the same thing at the Mormon church in Utah.

Which one?

I found out it’s the one two blocks past the old Emigrant’s Bank. I know it’s the Emigrant’s Bank because I tend to look up at buildings when I walk, especially in the older areas, you find a number of things on the buildings that say what they used to be. You have to wonder how many people lived in the area, how many of them had their savings in those kind of banks. Did it fail in 1929? Did they lose everything? I stood outside it for a minute, wondering how lives where changed.

Then, I saw it…STAPLES.

The hell with old lives and sad or happy stories, fortunes made and lost..that was years ago. I had STAPLES…and cash.

Pushing my cart, smelling the paper products, caressing the organising supplies, I spent a happy hour humming and wishing the world well. Then, I saw it….lime green, slightly scratched…dated for 2007. A new DayTimer…perfect for the new job.

I am a DayTimer whore. I have a purse sized one, in a beautiful brown Coach case…bought on eBay for a pittance…a maroon one I use when I’m in production, that I can refill…one on my phone that I have no idea how to use, and here was one in lime green leather with scratches.

It must be mine.

At the checkout, they wanted $21.95. No way was I going to pay full price…it was scratched, this is March, and, well, I never pay full price. I asked for the manager who offered me 10%. I stared. 12%? I stared some more. When the price hit $14.00, I pulled out my card and the lime green DayTimer was mine.

Going home put me past Olivia’s, a little food place that was not well thought out when it was designed. You push the door open, allowing a blast of icy air right onto the cash register area. The girl operating it (who speaks 15 ½ words of English) has on a down coat, two scarves, a hat and a pair of gloves with the fingers out. To leave Olivia’s, you put your ass onto the door, curve your back, plant your feet and puuuuuuuuush against the wind to get out. Thankfully, the pizza made up for the asinine entry system.

I went into a ‘Western’ store owned by an Israeli who scuffs up the toes of the overpriced boots he sells with sandpaper, and does a bad job in the process. While there, a woman approached me and asked where had I purchased my own boots, as they were aged perfectly... and, could she buy them from me. I advised her I'd aged them myself, and they weren't for sale. The next question came from her and the owner.... how had I aged them?? Ummm, I wear them all the time, every day almost for two years, that will pretty much do it. They both looked stunned. Next on my stroll home in my now fashionable boots, I bought my favourite NYC snack, hot coated almonds and was greeted at the door by three dogs who think I’m pretty spiffy. Unless I die, then I’ll be dinner.

I can only think of one thing that would make this city almost perfect….drinks and a conversation filled with a variety of subjects, including Limbo. I don’t, however, want it with anyone who has asked me out so far. I said it had to be almost perfect, not acceptable.


Wednesday Night

On Wednesday, I sat next to a very sweet man on the train on my way home. He sat next to me to protect me, he said, from the slightly…okay, he was dead drunk…short toothless man who kept calling me hot mommy. Who says I can’t get a date?

He found the terrier interesting, as many do, and he was among the many who petted her and worshiped her. I’m seriously thinking of starting a religion; we may make enough to pay for a flat in Tribeca. From Canal to 168th, all during our ride on the A train, he brought up his 16 year old cat, who was blind and deaf. He bathed her once a week with baby wipes…he said she liked to be clean, and was too feeble to take care of herself anymore. He had an endearing face.

He lives in a pre-War building, in a six room rent controlled apartment. Now, any New Yorker will start drooling at any of those words. When they hear ‘rent controlled’, a mild heart attack may occur, and when they hear he pays $100 a month for this amazing find, that it has a super on the premises, and that it has an elevator to take him to his fifth floor wonder of a place, they may offer to divorce whatever spouse they have to marry him only to dwell there. Either sex would seriously consider this as a viable solution to their renter’s woes.

His grandparents had lived there, then his parents, and now he lives there alone with the blind cat. He has all of the original furniture, even the perfect piano his grandmother brought over from England a long time ago. He doesn’t play, he said he wasn’t smart enough to learn, but, his mother could, and he would sit and lean against the instrument to feel it when she did.

He told me about the rich woods on all the pieces of furniture, how he polishes everything every Sunday, to keep it in shape. The kitchen has the same appliances; he keeps them in perfect running order. He’s not moved a thing since he inherited the place ten years ago and his parents never changed anything, either. The same wallpaper, same furniture…new slipcovers, but, that’s it. Hardwood floors, oriental carpets… I could see it in my head.

He looks out over the city, he said. He likes his apartment, it’s all he knows. The landlord regularly offered him a very large sum of money to move. He said it was enough he could move to Florida or something, and live there. His problem was, he’d have to sell the furniture. He was an only child, and there was no one who wanted it and no one he wanted to have these things. So, he stayed, content with his new TV, his cat, his Friday nights at the bar with his friends he’s known all his 50 years. It’s a good life for him. He had a girlfriend once, he said…she had a nice smile.

He wore very thick glasses, unusual accessories, considering his profession. He was a Master painter, specialising in air brushing…the delicate scenes you see on walls in restaurants and such. He told me he’d been given a new job that day, he was going to take his crew and paint the walls of a new exclusive dining club, members only. It was to be done in the muslin style, he said. I thought he said Mussolini meant the dictator, and wondered if it would include him hanging upside down.

Not exactly an appetizing sight when you are eating, but, to each his own.

He explained, no, it was a type of air brush, with the usual Roman scenes…they had 100 hours to do this work, and if he finished on time, which he expected to do, he’d make a $5K bonus. With that, he was going to England on a boat. He always wanted to take a boat to England. We talked about that country, and we discussed the things I knew; places to go, things to do. He’d never been there, but, he was going because he wanted real fish and chips, and a real pint. His eyes glowed behind their thick lenses with the excitement of being on a boat, eating with the Captain, seeing England where his family was from those decades ago.

His big worry was the cat. He asked what I charged to be his PA. He asked if I wanted to rent a room from him, so we could get to know each other and the cat could be comfortable with me.

I told him although I thought he was very nice, I was moving from the area, and it wasn’t something I wanted to do at this time. His face fell; he scratched the terrier, and said he felt comfortable around us. I wanted to help him. My heart hurt and my eyes welled up. I felt horrible that for once in my life, I said no.

We arrived at his stop….he suddenly hugged me and patted my back. I wished him luck and shouted to not forget to try mushy peas.

The train pulled out and I could see him walking away, slumped shouldered as he was when he sat next to me. The landlord would get his apartment eventually, all the furniture would be sold, and the piano would play elsewhere.

I kinda wish I’d not said no. I kinda wish I’d taken his name, maybe offered to stay with the cat. I kinda wish I’d remembered to give him the advice to practice falling face forward, in case he dies before the cat. In the end, no matter how much we love them, we’re just protein to them.

And, they eat your eyes first.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

I'm Loving New York

I found myself in a variety of different areas of life… all of them edged with a different colour and taste.

Over the last two days, a number of things have touched my daily life, each of them something to remember, something to talk about...
  • an internet film, with my clothes on (smart move on their part)
  • a hoot of a time walking the dogs, in which I actually was rendered immobile by the leashes.
  • each train station is unique, with ornate tile work showing where you are. The work is better as you move downtown; the Museum of Natural History is tiled even into the alcoves with bright colours, animals and fish worked into the tiles. It comes to a crescendo of master tile work at Grand Central. As you move downtown, the work gets less intense, less lovely to look at. When I arrived at the Bowery, having missed my train stop, the station name was spelled out in dead roaches and cigarette butts stuck to the walls with old gum.
  • I sank my teeth into organising a room, finishing it to my satisfaction. I’ve the closet to do, but, I have to wait until my heart can take the excitement.
  • I finally retrieved my piece of luggage from JFK. They opened a door just as I was saying, “Well, it’s blac..” and there I was, faced with 4,762 pieces of unmarked black luggage. Mine was the second to the last piece. Still, now I have shoes.
  • I discovered the best pizza place around. George’s. I love George. I do, really.
  • I met Tracey Smith and Meghan McClenaghan, who are the playwright/star and production manager, respectively, of The Burning Bush, a one person play showing at 94 St Mark’s Place in the East Village this weekend and next. We were trying on hats and judging them on each other. I was invited to come see the show and have tea and gossip afterwards.
  • I also met Goldie and her mother, Bertha, who broke her foot. They have a little dog, that Bertha fell over. Goldie lives with her mother, and I think she wishes Bertha had fallen down the stairs.
  • On the A train tonight, were two men who were discussing their rent controlled apartments. One paid $125 a month for a two bedroom place he had from his parents. The other had six big rooms in a pre-war building from his grandparents. He paid $100 a month. These days, they’d break it into three apartments, and the landlord keeps offering him large amounts of money to move out. He refuses. Both of them offered me a room to live in. I politely refused.
  • I looked at a room in the East Village in a rent controlled place for $250 a month. It’s not great, but, it’s not bad.
  • I was accepted into a script supervisor program. I’ve always thought this would be a great career, and I’m thrilled they took me after my resume and interview. The class is limited to 10 people, I’m looking forward to it…continuity stays something I always think about in films…I’m hoping to use my OCD to help me in this move in life. Or, I’ll drive some director to murder.
  • We’ve walked around 15 miles. It’s snowed, it’s blown cold wind. The terrier has had a bath two days in a row, and collapses when we get home.
  • I discovered Chinatown the same way I discover everything, I get off two stops before my planned stop, and walk. Amazing what you find that way.

I simply cannot get enough of this city. Everywhere I look, there is more to see, more to take in, more to want to see. Trains packed to the brim, languages rippling over the heads, I lean into the track when I wait for the train, to catch the cold air, it’s so heated at times on the platform.

I'm nothing special, nor is my life... it's the keeping track of these things that are important for me... to remember them later on. I keep it here, to look back on... and the thing I really find amazing is, it’s just begun.

And, it’s just begun.

In Which I Become An Actor

Yesterday, following an intense audition... okay, it wasn't that intense, I could do Russian dialect and smoke without coughing...I was cast in my first film.


I played Olga, a crafty, slightly insane (no, this was not typecasting) ex KGB agent who is rejecting her former trainee in favour of chess.

I had one line, and I was allowed to improvise as much as I wanted. heh.

I've gone from one line and two scenes...with me dead at the end of the last them writing an entire back story for me to be filmed later.

It's an internet film, which I understand it the new rage. Backing has been received, it will be played in segments, there is NO way I put my real name on it.... and it was a hoot.

I had to smoke ten cigarettes, which had all of us coughing, never inhaled...nor did I wear a blue was that lazy Russian kind of smoke out the mouth kind of thing. The props were cheap, the dog behaved, the crew was great.

Do they have internet film Oscars?

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

6 March 88~10.08 PM

Nineteen years ago, I spent the day with my then husband and my two middle children. My mom was visiting, she tried to get the Tall Boy to dance, and the Marine to play on his bittar. He said his tall man finger hurt, and he couldn't play.

She danced for the Tall Boy, and we caught it on film, a forever threat to her, that it would be put on national TV and now one that the children threaten to place on MySpace... her all dressed up, dancing a jig, thinking she's off camera, saying, "Come on, dance for Nana, comeon baby." in her syrup voice.

He looked at her and went back to his 123abc song on the piano.

Later, that lazy day, she and I went to a film. I declined popcorn or candy, a surprise as I'd only had one box of frozen Girl Scout Somoa's that day along with my usual meals. I wasn't hungry, my back hurt and I was irritiable.

On the way home, we had our usual fight, she slowed down long enough for me to lumber out of the car, slam the door, flip her off, and she sped away to Denver.

The husband decided to go to WalMart. This would be a three hour trip for one thing. He loved WalMart.

I put the boys to bed, sat on the sofa, and had a contraction.

I ignored it, the baby wasn't due for five weeks....and she was still breach. I had another one. I ignored it. Another one. At this point, they were five minutes apart. It was my third child, and I have Cesareans. Problem Cesareans. Major problem Cesareans.

I thought maybe I should do something, so, I washed out some underwear, and went back to the TV.

My water started to leak.

I called my mom, her phone was busy...and I worked for the phone company. Did I think to have the operator break in? Hell no. I started calling everyone I knew. Not a single person was home. Panic started to sink in.

I called my friend and doctor, Dr. Mary, who said, "What the fuck are you doing at home, get her now!!". I went and started to pack a bag... and cry. Around this time, my dear friend in that era, Nancy, called, I explained what had happened, and she drove over.

It was at her home that I fell when I was in labour with the Marine, and she was there all the way. She is one of those I wish I'd not lost contact with in my life.

The husband showed up when I was in the shower.

Now, we didn't always have a great marriage. Both of us hurt the other in many ways. This day, and the next few, though, remain a shinning oasis in my memory.

I refused to leave the shower, my legs were hairy.. it obsessed me to get them shaved. I was huge, realise. I always went straight out on my babies, never showed from the back, but, when I turned around, it was for days.

He stripped, got in the shower, and shaved them for me.

We dashed.... well, he did, I the van. I was having contractions at this point every 2 minutes. The trip to the hospital took 20 minutes on a normal day, we made it in 12....actually, 15. I made him stop for film. This man usually was quite calm...but, he drove down the highway yelling, "DON'T PUSH!! FOR GOD'S SAKE, DON'T PUSH!!". You see, I never dilated, so, pushing wasn't a good idea, even though I really wanted to.

We stopped at a corner store, he ran inside, grabbed film, and threw a twenty at the clerk, not waiting for change. For a man who could squeeze a penny until it cried, that was something.

Getting to the maternity ward was him running backwards and me meandering in, stopping every so often to pant through my 45 second contractions. We saw Mary up ahead. It had been over an hour since I'd called her. She ran over to me, stood there, five inches shorter and a good 70 lbs lighter, grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me saying, "You stupid bitch, where in THE FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN????"

Seems an operating team had been waiting for me and my breach baby.

We were strapped to a gurney, drugs, blessed drugs went into my spine, and an ultra sound was done...lo and behold! she'd turned. She was in proper position for birth. I asked if I could go home. Four heads turned, and as one said, "No."

Wheeled in, it was fast work. Even in position, she was five weeks early. She was a good weight, but, her lungs wouldn't be ready for this new world. Fast incision, usually Mary and her husband would chat during a delivery... I love them both. This was quiet, focused. None of Robert's usual jokes, Mary had her game face on.

They pulled her out, I said, "Does she have red hair?" Mary said, no, but, she's beautiful, so beautiful!"

She was almost black... and not making any noise. A quick gasp, and a wail. They worked on her, she wasn't pinking up right... I didn't hear more because they put me out.

When I came to, I could hear a crooning. I looked over, and in my room was a cot...on the cot was my little girl, wrapped up, with an IV and oxygen, and being held by her dad. He'd never stayed with me before, always leaving to go home after a birth. This one was so touch and go, he asked to have a bed in our room.

It was the closest I ever felt to him in our marriage.

He brought her over, and laid her in my arms... I fell in love there. So hard and fast. The boys took me some time, some getting used to. Her, it was...I knew I'd kill anyone, anything that hurt her. She was...she was my baby. Unplanned, unexpected, a girl. I feared I'd repeat what was done to me, and swore then and there I'd make sure I didn't.

I crooned to her our song...the one the woman, her great-grandmother, the first Katie, used to sing to me... "Oh, K-k-k-kattie, beautiful Katie, you're the only g-g-g-girl that I adore. When the m-m-m-moonshine is over the c-c-c-c-cowshed, I'll be w-w-w-waiting at the k-k-k-k-kitchen door.".

I kissed her for the first time... but not the last.

Happy Birthday, my beloved, my sweet, my sassy, my naughty, my dearest Cait.

You are the only girl I'll adore.

Monday, March 5, 2007

I'm Going to the Dogs

When you amble about in your nice black coat and your well worn cowboy boots, even when you ride on a train…those places where people don’t make eye contact…if you are with a small white terrier, people smile at you, scratch the dogs ears, ask you questions, treat you as someone who is obviously a nice person, gentle, friendly…look at the dog. No one with a dog like that would be a mass murderer or a flasher.

When you amble about with a small white terrier and a large white pit bull in the same clothes, with the same smile you always wear when you see people, they give you a wide berth…not knowing the pit bull is cowed by the small terrier.

When you amble about with the small white terrier and the cowed white pit bull and a blind, amazingly ugly, sweet brown poodle in a green sweater, people walk up and talk to you out of the blue as the three play lease maypole with you as the maypole.

I’d love to say something all warm and fuzzy here, something along the lines of the younger dogs gently nudge the sweet, ugly older dog into place as she shambles along, to keep her from running into something, or that they slow their longer strides when she lags behind…I’d be lying.

I struggle to keep them in check, while she is setting her front paws to not move. I beg, I plead, I coax…they pull me in two directions forward; she sits and digs her claws into the pavement.
I’m impressed, to be dead honest. For a dog with bad hips, a lower jaw that is caddywumpus to the upper one, four teeth and is blind, she’s got gumption.

We wrestle our way down the street, me with three leashes wrapped around my legs, praying I am not pulled into the middle of traffic when the big red DON’T CROSS NOW, YOU’LL BE KILLED sign is up. The thing is, where I am now, it’s very laid back, so, it’s more of a, “HEY, YOU MAY WANT TO BE CAREFUL HERE….OR NOT. NO ONE IS FORCING YOU TO DO ANYTHING. HAVE YOU HAD THAT WEED THEY ARE SELLING OVER ON JANE STREET? WHOA, IS THAT ROBERT DINIRO?”
We walk to the park, the large male running about, the terrier calling him back, the poodle waking in circles….me keeping an eye on them, and doing my usual blatant eavesdropping on whatever and whoever is about.

And I’m doing the curbing stuff when they do their stuff. Good grief, do they do stuff. That part, I can do without.

It’s a repeat journey homewards, tugging and being pulled and happy dog grins and marking territory. The stubborn one is in a brisk walk mode now, she’s going home. I struggle with the key and locks and they make a break for the elevator.

Our only other companion was the mailman.

I had a feeling it was his version of hell.

Inside the flat, I go into organising mode…the dogs walk about, deciding their places…t the poodle on the sofa goes into a fast sleep, snoring, her feet twitching in some long remembered run, the other two drop where they can find a place to keep an eye on each other, and I find a drawer to change about so that my friend and employer won’t be able to find a thing, but…I’ll be feeling sassy over how great it looks.

It’s a good gig.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Man and The Boy

I sit on my bench on the perimeter of the park, having finished a walk around with the terrier, letting her show off for her adoring fans.

Across from me two men settle into their seats, both bundled up for weather that has been predicted, not for what is now. One wears a practical down coat, and a great Elmer Fudd hat, his earflaps up and hooked over his head. It goes with his wonderful round face, and brown eyes under wiry eyebrows, a bald head is protected under that hat. Smile wrinkles spread from his small eyes as he snaps his fingers at the dog, who wanders over to accept her given due.

His companion glances down, and away. He is far more debonair, in a long, gray wool coat with a fur collar. Whatever animal gave it’s life for that coat can rest easy knowing it’s beauty is still appreciated all these years later. His trousers, for these are far too rich to be simple pants, have a knife edge crease to them, the bottom ending in a smart cuff. The only anomaly to his smart look is his shoes, which are rubber boots…cheap and tawdry in comparison to the other clothes. He has thick white hair, parted on the right that sweeps in a wing over his forehead. I can see the deep blue of his eyes from my place across the pathway. No smile settles there, not even at the terrier’s antics with his friend.

His face all pulls downward, in angles that don’t speak of anger or sadness or dismay….I realised if regret had a face, it would be his.

I go back to looking around, eavesdropping on the playground mating rituals, settling the dog back on the bench, leaning back to feel the sun on my face.

Cheers break out across the park, shouts in children’s voices. I look over and there is an impromptu tag race going on with the neighborhood kids. Two teams set up, running around the fenced in grass area. Mothers are standing about, watching both the race and the toddlers, arms folded, swaying with that movement you unconsciously do once you’ve had a child and you find yourself standing still.

They run around, arms pumping, heads back to catch the air. Younger sisters act as cheerleaders, shouting encouragement and doing tumbles. The men and I look over to watch these pretend Olympians. A boy in blue takes off, clearly in the lead….and the other team tags off to a slim boy in an orange shirt and bluejeans. He isn’t special, brown hair, perhaps ten or so….he takes the tag and moves into the race.

That’s all it took. The tag. One minute he was standing there, arm behind him, and the next, he was moving…strong, steady, smooth. No jerky pumping of the arms of his friends, no ungainly leg movements. No obvious breathing to get into place.

He just….ran.

Like Secretariat, he ran for the pleasure, for the feel of what his body could do. It was second nature to him. I saw his face as he rounded the far curve, as he’d passed his opponent. He wore a slight smile, not one of smugness…it was one of pure joy of the race. He flowed when he ran. I smiled with him, and leaned forward when he came into the line, to pass on the tag. He reached out, passed on his power, and glided to a halt, joining the others at the fence to lean and chat.

He wasn’t even winded.

With this, the man in gray stood up and moved to walk away. His friend stood too, looking at me, then in the direction of the boy, smiling and shaking his head. I smiled back. His friend, too, looked back, and moved on.

If regret wore a face, it would be his.

Sometimes, The Heavens Still

You've got to pay attention to the A train.

I found that out when I ended up on the wrong end of the line. This made me late for my appointment with my perspective new employer. Thankfully, she was okay with my delay, and I walked down W. Broadway into SoHo... unable to find her address.

That's because she's not on W. Broadway.

Never get an address from an employee who is quitting in a disgruntled fashion. It could be worse, she could have shown her pique by shooting people rather than giving me a wrong address. I can live with a fifteen block walk over a dance with an Uzi.

There I am, on the corner of a different section of town. And, praise sweet mary, there is an elevator. I'm in love already.

We end up spending three hours talking and laughing and realising we may just like each other. She has two dogs and a bad taste in her mouth from her last PA. He left her very loved dogs in the flat for two days, unfed, and without water. She came home from visiting her father to find, well, not a pretty sight.

Now, I have this really nice, stable, smart woman to work for who has the perfect job for me... letting me organise her amazing flat.

I may be orgasmic.

She says the magic words... "Sure, do what you want, move furniture, I need a new couch, new faucet, you can clear out cabin...." at this point, white noise is in my head. My pulse speeds up. I feel flushed. My eyes dart about... books, cabinets, clothing to sort by colour and season and colour within season. Dishes, a 'fridge, a bathroom.... sweet lord, I think my panties are damp.

I try and focus on her words... ", if you need something, check out the big stuff with me, buy it, and give me the receipt.". I'd sob, but, I want her to think I'm normal. ish.

I get to flatsit. I get to dogsit. I get to organise and decorate. I get to semi run someone's life.

Can it get any better??

Yes, it can. The dogs are great, a big floppy pit bull who slobbers on me and lets the terrier run him, and the ugliest poodle around, who is sweet and will fit in the dog case to be treated like the baby she is. And a woman who is my guardian angel. Who doesn't know it, but, has allowed me to find a place here, to be me again.

Thank you for that.

Sometimes, the Heavens still, and a prayer wings it's way to the ears of the Master of the Universe. I am not going to question my luck, I don't ever question luck, good or bad. I will give thanks, though.

I'm thinking about it again, and yes... yes... yes.... definitely orgasmic. Best I can do after ten years without a date.

That in itself is sad, isn't it?


Saturday, March 3, 2007

In Which I Go Exploring

Bennett Park

Set at the location of Ft. Washington, for those of you who are interested in history, at the top of a slight hill… well, a tad bit more than a slight hill when you are lugging a shoulder bag, a dog bag and being pulled by a terrier in the opposite direction. I’d like to say you can see for miles… but, you can’t. Feet, yes. Yards… sure. Miles…no. At that time in history you could see all the way past the river. Across to where the redcoats tried to take away our rights, our liberties, our refusal to use the letter ‘u’ whenever it saw an ‘o’ in a word. Now, the hilltop is surrounded by sturdy iron inside that there are two separate areas, both enclosed by chain link fences…one is official grass and the other a small, functional playground surfaced not with sand or grass, but with protective padding to prevent the City from being sued by parents who don’t watch their children and don’t realise a chin scar is something every child is entitled to…pardon me while I touch mine, formed when I fell out of our Chinese elm tree doing a hanging knee drop that failed.

Around the inside of the protected area from childnappers… where were these people when my children were at their worst, and I wanted someone to take them? … you’ll find benches, each occupied by a parent. Most of these parents spend time eying each other to see who is or isn’t wearing a wedding ring, rather than eying their children, thus the need for the padded surface in the playground area.

There is the strawberry blonde in the a tad bit too tight black teeshirt who makes the initial wedding ring walk past, on the pretext of checking out her offspring on the monkey bars.

“Whitney, be careful!!” Whitney is busy mining her nose, and pays no heed to what her mother is on about.

A well groomed man in expensive sports shoes and nice RayBans jumps up past the blonde to check on RayBan, Jr.

“Brooklyn”, he says, loving the fashionableness of the name, “Brooklyn, be nice to the little girl.” Brooklyn has no idea which little girl his weekend dad is talking about. He’s on the swings.

I wonder if there are any kids in Brooklyn named Manhattan. I tend to doubt it.

RayBay and TightShirt stand by each other, beaming at their children, who are across the playground from each other.

“Look how they are getting along. Wow. Amazing how kids just suddenly bond, isn’t it? If only the world found it so easy to, you know, talk and all. Where do you work? Really? I’m down in the Financial District. Yeah, I wish I had Brooklyn more, but, his mom has him in Montessori and I don’t feel it’s right to upset his schedule. No, Whitney’s dad is mostly unavailable. Um, maybe we should go get some pizza together.”

One day, I’m going to be hurt for eavesdropping.

By this point, Whitney and Brooklyn have discovered the tic-tac-toe game and are eyeing each other over the red stacked X’s and O’s. It doesn’t look pretty from my vantage point on the outer benches lining the park.

When Ray and Tight leave 20 minutes later, they are leaning towards each other… you can see the thought, ‘possible mate’ on each of their faces. Trailing behind are the kids, shooting looks and the whines starting already. They both know the game. Hook up, parents will ignore them and the opposite sex grown-up will over act concern to show how wonderful they are. A few dates, sleep overs, maybe as soon as tonight. It could go to a month or two….if it goes longer, you get attached. Conflict with your other parent, questions about the new boy/girlfriend, competition for your parent’s time, figuring out new space and what if they don’t like Sponge Bob? Hey, it’s the new millennium. It could be worse. Last year, Brooklyn’s/Whitney’s dad/mom dated someone 20 years younger/older than he/she was. That was really weird.

Playgrounds, they’re the new dating world.

On the outside perimeter, where the guns once sat are benches and trees. You can walk around the area on a nice walkway, with other dogs sniffing at your dog and your terrier running after squirrels and pigeons.

On the benches are the old people, old friends. Sitting and talking in various languages. Coats and hats and gloves on, even in this warm pre-Sping air. They nod and talk and smile as I go past with the dog. Some snap their fingers, and we walk over for them to et her. She’s patient, and will put her paws up on their knees to let them know she wants her ears scratched. They are glad to oblige her, and laugh because she nudges their hands when they stop.

Boys go whipping by on their bikes, riding and yelling. The only difference between my generation and this are they have cell phones attached to their belts.

The traffic is milder here. Only a few blocks from the flat, those few blocks, like so often in New York, make a world of difference. Families abound around the park. Small coffeehouses, restaurants, bookstores, it’s softer, smoother, a colour of peach is here, where I live it is more a harsh orange.

I like Bennett’s Park. I may not live here long, while I do, though, I’ll come back, watch the mating rituals, and let the terrier chase pigeons to her heart’s content.