Monday, July 31, 2006

Adjective City

We were discussing wine lovers the other day and how sometimes they have a suitcase full of forced adjectives to describe the drink. And then an excellent point was raised by my brilliant brother: There is probably a equal range of complexity in other foods and drinks, but people choose not to describe it with such pretentious zeal because it does not have the same cachet. Tea, beer, cheese, bread and the list goes on.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Fiction Fridays: Lost and Found

Cleaning out the lint traps on the dryers was her favorite thing to do. The lint colors were a subtly graded continuum of all the muted tones in the world, or in the neighborhood’s fabrics anyway. She liked that they were woven together by the dryer’s repetitive tumbling cycles; they were a fabric of fabrics. Yes there was dust and dirt but she knew it was best for her not to think about that kind of thing.

She had worked in her parent’s laundromat since high school. Essentially, she hated it, but over time she encouraged herself to find the quiet comforting spirit in objects and processes. It was her only attainable hope.

It was very hot in the back by the dryers, the quarter machines jammed at least 2 times a day, on Sundays it was most crowded and wet clothes were very heavy to carry, especially when they were not your own. Jeans were the worst, always twisting into a nest of black and durable arduousness.

Her most deeply hibernating dream lie in the bruised tupperware container that sat in the back by her Mom’s favorite orange upholstered chair. This was the lost and found bin. None of these objects had been claimed or remembered for months and in some cases years. It was never cleaned out, and Petra liked it that way. It represented all the dispensable things that people had in their lives, but didn’t know it and probably never would. Pennies, screws, earrings, beads, pencil stubs, barrettes, paper clips, buttons, unidentifiable metal curiosities, stones and other assorted pocket sized treasures.

Petra dreamed of creating jewlry from the fragments people left behind. She wanted to organize the remains of the lives she had touched, to string them together piece by forgotten lonely piece. This dream was maturing in her head a little more each time she thought of it. She was starting to work the details out in her mind. Thin golden wire wrapping around baubles of miscellany, uniting and honoring them, giving them a restored raison d’etre. Charms of the charming, pieces of the peacemakers and trinkets of the truthful all woven into a new precious gift.

“Petra! Petra! The dryers need cleaning!” her Mom wailed from the back. She scurried back there and began the task again, this time more peacefully than the last, because she was beginning to realize that her captivating dream was truly at her fingertips.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Old Friends Sat on Their Park Bench Like Bookends

We spoke about people who steal energy away from you like a thief in the night. Slowly and clandestinely weakening the architecture of your being. You speak to them, probably smiling without your eyes.

As we get older we realize that our time is too precious to interact with people who require too much energy.

But isn’t it always a rare and exotic treat to find people who actually energize you.

Tonight I had dinner with some old and wonderful friends who no matter how time changes our situations or perpectives we always respect and cherish each other on a deep and unpretentious level.

They have a refreshing faith in me that I dont have the strength to carry with me every day, but if I did I would do all the things I wanted to do with unwavering confidence.

The Exceptional Strength of Imagination

I liked you yesterday evening, but I love you today.

Is it possible to arrest reality in your head and not blow something up over time to make it better or worse than it actually is?

This is a recurring theme in my life I have found, when it comes to a lot of things. Being capable of abstract thought is both a virtue and a vice.

Last night we went to see a potential space for the wedding and I liked it very much. But as I think about it more and more today and imagine clusters of glowing tea lights and laughing loved ones around I am finding that I am falling in love with it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

In A Sentimental Mood

What do you do when you receive a gift that is not your style?

Do you accept it willingly into your life and let it gently yet persistently peck away at the vision you had for your living space?

It sits there like an incontinent puppy, innocent and sweet-tempered but soiling your floor.

I suppose we are collections and reflections of the people around us, so maybe our bookshelves, cabinets, closets, walls and drawers should proudly display that diversity.

These knick-knack sentiments create a mosaic of good intentions that glitters with the graceless charm and generous humanity that our life has provoked.

And just as life does not always turn out exactly as planned, neither does our living room.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sweet Replaceable You

When I spoke of leaving my last job, where I spent countless days on my knees untangling computer cords and restarting the router, I would say, “they are going to miss me when I am gone!” with haughty emphasis.

I would say this in my head and and out loud to some. Until someone pointed out that I was wrong. That they weren’t going to miss me and all the menial, detailed, cryptic tasks I performed would be happily done by the next schmuck that came along.

We may think we find a purpose for ourselves, but that does not mean that someone else cant fill the same niche when we are gone. And only a delusional fool would convince themselves otherwise.

Most work that is done does not allow for enough creativity that a person can serve a unique enough function to be recognized as indispensable.

Your taped up sincere photographs can be struggled off the walls and your favorite steady pen and perfectly sized coffee mug packed in a to-go bag.

The job can never be lucky to have you, you are always lucky to have the job. Something to keep another body busy, which just happens to be the stupendous, original and passionate You.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Fiction Fridays: Rained Out

There will be no Fiction Friday post today due to inclement weather.

Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Boomerang Tongue

I have found that one of the most powerful and moving forms of communication is when you repeat something back to someone that they originally said to you. Never have their ears been so responsive and alert and their heart so open.

They are probably flattered that you remembered what they said, but mostly they have never been in such perfect agreement with your words. In fact you might even see them sit up a bit straighter and notice a pure sparkle of pride in their eyes as they turn their head and smile a little at the poetic and sensible sound of their own words.

And I don’t mean it as a dirty trick, I mean it as a sincere and direct way to reach someone.

Yesterday’s Word of the Day


“all week there had been singing in her ears, summer songs of ardent skies and wild shade”-F.Scott Fitzgerald

Party of One

Joe and I were in a restaurant last night and I noticed three separate people who came in and sat and ate alone. They each had a magazine or a blackberry to keep them company.

Maybe they were relieved to be alone after a long day of work and dealing with difficult people, but I felt sort of bad for them and wanted to get them all together to sit and talk.

I am never really comfortable eating alone in a restaurant. If I have a magazine, I still end up flipping through but ignoring the words, because I am too conscious of my alone-ness.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Remembering Our Most Faithful Friends

Today a friend told me about the loss of her cat. I felt sad for her.

Anyone who has ever had a pet and who also has warm loving blood bustling through their veins will tell you that a pet is like a member of the family. But this is not the only reason why a pets departure makes me sad.

The death of a pet marks the passage of time. We remember when they were small and fuzzier, we watched them grow (maybe while we also grew) and then enjoyed the gentle hum of their presence around our feet for years.

Their life frames a portion of our life that we can look back on like a chapter in a book or a ring in a tree.

The Melanie Years: So soft long haired and sweet, with tranquil kind-hearted joy we saw the world through her eyes.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A Marvelous Microcosm

In New York there are so many people who all have separate goals, destinations, styles, lifestyles and lives. But the great thing is that although they may appear as distinct organisms, fiercely ripping their way to get off the train and walk to their uniquely important places, they are not really separate at all.

New York is like a hill of dirt that is undulating with a carpet of curious and conscientious ants.

People form a sort of ecosystem of personalities. In a natural ecosystem there is a balance that is achieved on some level, between animal and plant species and their environment, the beauty of symbiosis emerges and the maintenance of the life of one depends on another and so on and so on.

Personalities cannot be categorized into large groups like species (although even species are not always as neatly defined as we would like them to be) so the interaction of personalities is not a clear and absolute one that can be analyzed in general trends I think (although a sociologist might challenge me). It can only be said that the health of the “forest” is in fragile harmony supported by the marvelous and mysterious acrobatics of each individual interaction.

How you act affects another human and how that person then acts towards a third, and so on and so on.

It makes you think that you have the ability to trigger concentric waves of emotions from each decision that you make to say something or act a certain way.

And thinking this makes you feel a little less insignificant.

The Discerning Harvester

A fairly obvious thought was kicking around in my head all weekend and I just want to write it out so I can see it in words:

When you avoid people who have certain qualities that you cant seem to tolerate, you also miss out on their good parts.

It is up to you to figure out if you are up to the challenge of patiently gleaning the good parts.

And a lesson learned from Frodo- no one is completely good or completely evil, we are all virtually seamless alloys of both.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Fiction Fridays: The Constant Doorman

Day after bustling lonely day he stared out onto Park Avenue. His hands were clasped behind his back in a regal yet comfortable pose, legs slightly spread, shoulders back but not far enough to make him look menacing, just sturdy. Green suit with epaulettes, no hat because of the heat and probably the only item that made him uniquely dressed in any way, his gold watch that was half a size too big. The watched drooped like a bracelet and the face stared at the marble tile floor as it showed the steady passage of time.

He was not a man particularly inclined to deep thought, but this job and so much time to think made it almost impossible not to think about things. But generally thinking made him anxious.

He was originally from Long Island and his old mother still sat in the dark yet welcoming house that he grew up in. She was as proud as a double-blossom cherry tree in bloom of her son. She didnt know exactly what he did, but she liked the green uniform he wore, it made her feel like he was accomplished and she didnt need to investigate any further.

So many people came in and out of his building, so many people walked by. In this part of town, people were very distinct in attitude and appearance, there was nothing indecisive about the fashion of their lifestyle. People were extreme. Extremely thin, wealthy, rude, polite, generous, educated, well-traveled, intelligent and needy.

He wondered “since I am standing here watching and occasionally helping and talking to so many people during the day, does this mean that I have experienced a lot? Even though I stand in the same place every day am I watching the world go by or is it just a peaceful window to watch and reflect on the world, something everyone would like the opportunity to have?”

No resolution was to ever come of this question for The Doorman and he just continued helping and watching and thinking for minutes, days, and years. His mother passed away and the day of her funeral was the most eventful day he had had in a while, a few people who lived in the building that he worked in came. Their expensive clothes pulsed with out-of-place-ness in the deep burgundy and gold funeral home on Long Island. She was buried in Queens and he was surprised and touched that the folks from 788 Park were willing to get dirt on their shoes.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Homing Earrings

I have these rectangular turquoise stud earrings that I wear often. I bought them about 9 years ago at my first college, somewhere in town but I dont exactly remember where.

There is something strange about these earrings, I can never lose them.

I have dropped them so many times in odd places where I expect them to be inhaled by their surroundings and never seen again. I have dropped them in a deep drawer full of clothes, on the floor in a large room, in bed, behind a desk, but they always turn up.

Maybe it is because they are brightly colored, but I have dropped so many other studs and I hear the clink of silver on one end of the room although they have launched themselves clear in the opposite direction. I am humiliated by their deftness, and they vanish.

These turquoise earrings remind me of my first college when I wear them although they suit me many times better than the college did.

Yesterday a man commented on them, "those are great earrings" and although I wanted to explain their magical powers as we were on line at the grocery store, I thought it would be better if I didnt, so I smiled and said "Thank You."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Seat of One’s Own

It is so important to have a seat on mass transit if you want to read. Although my father reads the New Yorker standing up on most days, I just cant seem to concentrate as well when I am standing. And I certainly have not mastered the crucial newspaper oragami that is necessary for a successful yet polite newspaper read on a crowded train or bus.

When the obnoxious and yet partially charming child and her mother get off of the bus at 96th street, I finally sit down. It is only then that I can really hunker down with the light from the window beside me illuminating the grain of the page that I am reading as it sits curled in my lap waiting breathlessly to be turned.

The hardest part now is not missing my stop.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Note

I had an epiphany two days ago. I was speaking to my Mother on the phone and we were discussing various people who we know and love and who are sick, very sick with all different sorts of mysterious and sad illnesses.

As we talked my mind drifted, as it sometimes does when I talk to my Mother-although I like to think of it as more of a coping mechanism than being rude, I thought of all the small beautiful moments that these people would not have the opportunity to enjoy in life.

The people who we were talking about are from completely different sides of our lives, they had no contact with one another but suddenly I really knew they were all warmed by the same sun.

I have learned a hard lesson since I have left my parents house, that the world can be an awesome and magnificent place. The hard part is that not everyone has the opportunity, perspective or health to enjoy it.

Which led me to a path and at the end of the path a house and in the mailbox of the house a letter addressed to me and in the letter a note that said ”You should try your best in science, even though it will be difficult because in some far off way your research might help someone harvest the sweetest tomatoes that they have ever grown"

And it all made sense, and it was the the most encouraging and inspiring conversation I have had with my Mother probably ever.

Now to figure out more specifically what that research is...

The Difference Between Wrong and Wrong

Which is worse?:

1) Doing something incorrect because you dont know any better and when you are in the process you think it through carefully and all of your actions are calculated and deliberate...but wrong.

2) Doing something incorrect because as you were doing it you were daydreaming about the day that you move to Paris and sit in cafes all day and night drinking coffee and wine only and you totally and absolutely mess up because you were not paying attention.

Folly of the Wise

You know when you are talking to someone about a subject that you are very familiar with and you are sure the person you are talking to does not know it as intimately as you?

So, you may simplify things and avoid certain esoteric vocabulary or concepts in attempt to smooth the surface of a potentially lumpy one-sided conversation.

Did you ever realize when someone was doing that to you? It’s as if you see their brain down shift into fool mode as they pluck the idiot words from the whipped cream of their deep layered thoughts. It is not a great feeling to be aware of this.

I guess the trick is to make your mode shift so discreet that even the intelligent fools wont be able to detect your dumbing down. That would be really smart.

Monday, July 10, 2006

100th Anniversary

This is the 100th entry on my blog, so I thought it would be a perfect time to mention a few words about my life as a blogger.

When I started blogging, just a few short months ago, I had no idea what specifically I was going to write about on my blog, and I still have no idea. But the experience of blogging every day has proved to be so much fun and so relaxing for me.

If I know that I am going to write a blog post at the end of the day, it forces me wrap each day up in a poetic or cynical bundle of observations. Each day has a different voice to me. Blogging helps me appreciate things and bring my thoughts into focus.

My older, wiser and much more literary minded brother mentioned the other day that it is important to have an audience when you write. So that is why writing to yourself in a journal does not have the same impact and clarity as a blog can. This, like a staggering amount of things that he says, made a lot of sense.

Now if you will excuse me for a moment I am going to feed the fire of my narcissism and tell you a few of my favorite entries so far: Ribbons of Light, Garden Song and The Man Who Saw A Million Pizzas.

So, thank you for reading, I hope you are enjoying it.

The Lesson of Leo

I saw a woman reading a book by Leo Tolstoy on the subway the other day and it reminded me about yet another author who I dont know enough about.

So I have decided to do a little research about his life and then read a book by him. It will be Anna Karenina, which has been referred to as "The Best Love Story Ever Written" and I think War and Peace is just too heavy for the summer.

I found this quote of his below that I liked very much and thought I would share it.

"If I were told that what I shall write will be read in twenty years by the children of today and that they will weep and smile over it and will fall in love with life, I would devote all my life and strengths to it."

Please share any thoughts on Leo or his works that you might have.

Friday, July 7, 2006

The Eggplant Sits

I recently purchaced an eggplant for the first time. I really like the taste of eggplant in all of its forms, and I like the way it looks too.

I remember my Mother going through some kind of prelimiary salt soaking process before cooking eggplant to remove its intrinsic bitterness.

So, in my head it is a difficult vegetable.

Then I was speaking to some coworkers about how to prepare it, they gave me some good, simple ideas. But I still have it in my head that it is too labor intensive.

So it still sits in my fridge, with its perfect deep purple shiny skin, throbbing with difficulty.

If I were a vegetable, I would be an eggplant.

Thursday, July 6, 2006


I have taken to reading more fiction in the last few years, once I emerged from the stranglehold of my father's influential aversion to it.

There are two things that I would like to point out about characters in books:

One is that I am often impressed and wooed by the noble, upstanding, charismatic, and absolute qualities that a character is given in a book, but I always wonder if that character were real, how would they handle new situations outside of the book? How would they handle mundane obstacles? Because in the book they are usually solving bigger, more important issues and never have to worry about tying their literary shoes. What would they do if they were cut while waiting in a line, or made fun of?

The second point I would like to make is that a character in a book is allowed to do more evil and be weaker than a real person and still be revered and admired from a literary standpoint. I suppose it is because they are not real, but some of the themes echo real life obviously. Yet I feel infinitely more willing to politely pity the weak in a book, than I do on the bus, for instance.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Purple Garland Majesties

"Oh Oh Oh those are my favorite" were words heard all across the country yesterday. I have noticed that people have this urge to point out which firework style they like best. There is a shimmering, sparkling, scattering, cascading, booming one for everyone.

We were on a rooftop yesterday waiting for the fireworks over the East River at 9:20. The view was superb, the food and drink plentiful and the crowd was eclectic.

At about 6:30 four virtually unknown men staggered up to the roof, they were significantly older than the rest of the crowd and had clearly been drinking since about 9 in the morning. The leader of the pack, who wore a paper stars and stripes hat in the style of Uncle Sam, came in carrying a pizza in a box. He offered it to everyone when he came in, he was in sort of a mad hatter theatrical stance and strangely confident. He began to bedeck the rooftop with purple garland. He mumbled under his breath that he had stolen this garland from someone he hated and he seemed disgustingly satisfied with himself as he flashed a protruding thorn-like incisor.

The night went on, the strange men were asked to leave, I was hit in the head with a piece of asparagus that was intended to hit my fiance, the host brought his trusty crowd pleasing guitar out, we chatted and laughed a bit and then the fireworks came, they were nice and sufficiently sparkly, but maybe not quite as spectacular as last year. Then afterwards I found myself in a vaguely awkward conversation about lactose intolerance with someone I hardly know. It was time to go.

When we were on the train going home we heard someone playing The Star Spangled Banner on the trumpet and I realized that I like the sound of that song much more than America the Beautiful.

Oh and the shimmery golden willow type are my favorite.

(I apologize for not posting earlier today, but I was exhausted from yesterday's festivities and just in a general funk because of the rain.)

Monday, July 3, 2006

3/4ths of an Inch Worm

Yesterday we sat under a tree in the park, it was very hot out and the tree’s roots seemed to be determined to make me gently uncomfortable no matter how I shifted.

We noticed a tiny inchworm on my arm, it was as dainty as a piece of fishing line, but it moved. And it did not just move, it pranced wildly as inchworms do. They only have legs in the front and in the back, so this gait is a necessity even though it looks slightly too theatrical to be practical.

It strutted to the end of my arm and then stood out straight eagerly reaching toward a new surface, and then it fell. It produced a tiny silken string to ease the fall.

I was very pleased and impressed that it survived.

Inchworms are the larvae of moths of the family Geometridae. So this is just their awkward phase I suppose, although there is something quite sweet and endearing about them, it must be the walk.

Saturday, July 1, 2006


I have found that when people have dietary limitations, whether self imposed or physiologically required, sometimes the conversation about it can be ever so slightly awkward.

Which is exactly why I had hoped I would not have to explain my aversion to fiddlehead ferns. Some people don't eat meat or can't digest dairy products. I dont eat fiddlehead ferns.

It is not because I cant, its because I wont.

They are so full of potential, just seeing them on a plate, decapitated fools of their former selves makes me sad.

So, I was in a botanical garden with family and someone pointed out a fern unfurling and we remarked at its beauty only to lead us down the grim path of talking about frying it up drizzled with oil.

I had to represent the ferns I knew and loved, so I had to say "I dont eat fiddlehead ferns." The statement hung out there like a dragonfly who hovers in one place for a moment and then speeds off. It was met with a puzzled look and a mocking pursed lip.

I never want a fern to die by my mouth, let it be known.