Archive for November, 2006

Nov 29 2006

All I Want for Christmas…

Published by under Dogs,Rita,Special Occasions


…is already under the tree.

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Nov 28 2006

Silver Bells

Published by under Uncategorized


Twenty-five years ago today, my twenty-year old sister got married. Her husband suggested that she try him out for 50 years and then decide, a very generous version of the test drive.

Halfway through the trial period, I am pleased to announce that they are still married. They have weathered many storms together, but the strength of their love and the courage of their natures prevailed over every obstacle thrown in their path.

They have two wonderful children, my fabulous niece Cat and my adorable nephew Ben, who will be the first to tell you how great their parents are (and how wonderful their aunts are!).

Here’s to the next twenty-five years, you two. May they be filled with love and happiness.


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Nov 27 2006

On the Eve of Construction

Published by under Dogs,Rita

When I arrived home, I noticed that the scaffolding used by the brick grinders was conspicuous by its absence (yay!) but had been replaced with a giant skip full of old roof chunks, and the work wasn’t done yet (boo!). In fact, they’ll be right back.

When I picked up Miz Rita from Charlie (and rewarded him for babysitting with a cashmere scarf from the magic kingdom of Century 21), he told me that the tar’n’brick brigade had been at it since I left, so even if I hadn’t braved the madding crowds of Gotham, I’d have had the maddening crowds right here in the courtyard.

And speaking of maddening: Rita’s Actual Owner, he who has not seen her or called or emailed to inquire about her welfare for the past several months, swooped in to “borrow” her from Charlie while I was away, putting Charlie in an awkward position and confusing the hell out of the poor puppy. He further stated that he’d be spending more time here, suggesting that his relationship isn’t going too well, so he’s repo-ing Rita as a fallback.

That’s what he thinks. So I have one of those awkward Relationship Talks to look forward to, in addition to the construction.

Oh, and the doctor called me while I was in New York to tell me I’m seeing a cardiologist next month. I tried to get her to explain the ultrasound results, but I was on my cell phone and there was New York in the background, so it was hard to hear, but the expressions “regurgitating valves” and “whether the muscle is healthy or sluggish” were mentioned. Regurgitating never sounds good, unless you’re a baby bird, and as for sluggish, I fail to see how my heart can be too fast and too slow at the same time. I’m seeing her on Tuesday and she told me not to worry. Why is that as soon as someone says “don’t worry”, you do?

Welcome home.

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Nov 25 2006

Escape from New York

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San Francisco is a city. Los Angeles is a city. New York is a city on crack*.

It’s speedy, speedy, speedy all the time. It’s insanely crowded. It’s not just the city that never sleeps, it’s the city that never stops. New Yorkers must be an incredibly tough breed to cope with all the craziness every day, especially all those chicas racing past the sky-high buildings in their sky-high heels.

The traffic is a constant dull roar (as my father used to say, usually in the context of telling his children to quiet down, as in, “Keep it down to a dull roar”) in the background. Car horns are not, as you might expect, the exclamation marks to the traffic sentence; they are the commas, listing each car. Car, honk, car, honk, and so on. The exclamation marks are the police and ambulance sirens, and good luck pulling over to let them pass.

Apparently, there is something to my “city on crack” theory. As reported in the ever-classy and reliable New York Post, New York City is number one in cocaine use in the entire world. It all makes sense now.

Imagine my relief when I hauled my exhausted, NY-battered self to Laguardia on Friday morning and found that there were no lines anywhere. If the day before Thanksgiving is the worst travel day, the day after is the best. I didn’t even have to wait for my bags or get hassled by security. I was thankful indeed.

*Remember this public service announcement? When I was young, it kind of made me hungry, and now it just makes me admire the guy’s egg-breaking technique.

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Nov 23 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

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Q: How does a girl who’s 3,000 miles from her family spend Thanksgiving?

A: In a more or less traditional manner. This morning, I read the papers in my bijou hotel room with the 80th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the flat-screen TV, while sipping room service coffee and feeling really quite thankful.

Holiday shopping starts early in New York, and when in New York, go shopping. My hairdresser told me of a mythical place called Century Twenty One (no, not the fashion-challenged realtors in those dreadful gold jackets), where designer clothes and other delightfuls are drastically on sale. Think $450 cashmere sweaters for a paltry $60.

I was a little hesitant to go at first, when he told me it was right near Ground Zero. I had no intention of going there. A place like that should not be a tourist site. (In my opinion, they should have the two blue beams of light there forever, and not rebuild on a gravesite. Of course, I also believe that every single flag in the entire US of A should fly at half-mast until every single soldier is home from Iraq, but that’s just me.)

In the end, I could shop without gawking, and after all, shopping is a New York tradition, especially this time of year. I have to say, the city looks so pretty in its holidaywear that I can hardly wait to get home and put up my tree.

Tonight, I’ll head on over to PJ Clarke’s, the delightfully crowded and friendly 120 year old saloon nearby. Johnny Mercer wrote “One for My Baby” there, and Buddy Holly proposed to his wife-to-be there, saying prophetically, “I don’t have time” when she asked to think it over. I’ll have dinner at Frank Sinatra’s table (Number 20), and think of all of you, my family and friends, who I love, and who, more remarkably, love me back.

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Nov 22 2006

Dead from New York!

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It’s Sleepy Hollow Cemetery!

When the day’s duties were done*, my colleague Ken and I repaired to the charming village where he lives. It’s just 30 minutes by train from Grand Central Station, but a world away. It’s also where Washington Irving had his delightful cottage overlooking the Hudson (and now overlooking the train tracks; apparently Irving traded his peace and quiet for unlimited free train rides and the ability to flag the train down like a taxi, instead of going to the station, which is less than a mile away).

In addition to Washington Irving, other dead local celebs include Madame CJ Walker, Stan Getz, and the cast of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. Turns out Irving bagged the names for Katrina Van Tassel, Brom Bones, and Ichabod Crane from the graveyard of the Old Dutch Church (it really is old: built in 1685 and still in use).

While looking at Katrina’s grave (with its cheery, yet accurate, inscription “Death Conquers All” – and you thought it was Love), the groundskeeper approached.

He was from Central Casting, with a weathered face, long white beard, matching hair, and teeth looking much like the tombstones he attended to. He said, “Young lady,” (I immediately felt like I was in trouble) “do you know what happens at 1:15 every afternoon?” Not surprisingly, I didn’t, so he filled me in. “If you sit in front of the grave, the light makes her face come alive! And that, ” he said ponderously, “is exactly what happened to the 15 year old Washington Irving!” And with that, he got back on his John Deere tractor and drove away.

*This reminds me of a Gilbert & Sullivan song from The Gondoliers:

“But of pleasures there are many and of worries there are none;
And the culminating pleasure
That we treasure beyond measure
Is the gratifying feeling that our duty has been done!”

My father used to sing it, usually when he wanted us to do our homework. Despite the fact that he was tone deaf, he loved G&S and he loved to sing around the house.

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Nov 21 2006

Live from New York!

Published by under Uncategorized

It’s Suzy!

Starring the Not Ready to Get Up So Damn Early to Work Suzy!

“Hmmm, these bagels are good, though.”

Spent the day yesterday having meetings and doing my off-Broadway performance of Faux Adult.

“Despite countless repeat performances of “Grown-Up”, Suzy’s most famous role by far, there is still something lacking. She is not very convincing in this role, despite the excellent wardrobe, hair, and make-up. She should go back to acting school and prepare for this, her most challenging role.”

— Anonymous Reviewer

The hair part is true, anyway. I had it cut and highlighted last week (making me late to meet up with my nephew and his pal, whom I hadn’t seen in two years – clearly I made the right choice in assessing my utter lack of parenting skills), and it looks so great I’m almost tempted to post a photo.

And cleavage and heels do help a girl to get a cab, even at rush hour.

When the day’s work was done, I rewarded myself with something rare, and legendary (no, not Suzy doing housework): Mr. Bob Dylan, live and in person (he’s the little dot on the left. And you can’t tell, but he’s wearing pants with a sparkly stripe on them, just for me). I can now tell you from personal experience that being in the next-to-last row at a Dylan concert beats the hell out of being in the next-to-last row on the plane it took to get there. And total strangers, including a visibly pregnant woman, danced with me on the precipitous stairs of New York City Center.

I &hearts New York!

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Nov 18 2006

Work in Progress

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At first, I thought the construction site across the street had decided to get up close and personal. Turns out the purpose of this endeavor is to find and correct the leaks that cause my kitchen floor to mildly flood whenever it rains. The workers have been at it for several days, and the rain is still taking a leak in my kitchen.

They’ve been applying concrete to the edges of some bricks, removing others and replacing them, which sounds something like a massive cavity drilling (though much less painful). The best part of the whole irritating and pointless (so far) procedure is that I can eavesdrop on their conversations without even trying.

So far, discussions have included: the exorbitant price of coffee at the doughnut shop; the cheapness of the building’s owner, and surprise that Aaron, whose glass-blowing workshop is next door to me, got upset when he discovered that they had removed his air conditioner and bricked up the hole without asking or telling.

My favorite so far is two of them ganging up on the other and telling him he’s a “fucking old lady”. They start yelling “Granny” at him, and he chases them up the scaffolding.

I think I better pull up a chair and supervise.

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Nov 14 2006

Have a Seat

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Nov 11 2006

The Impatient Patient

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Well, my results weren’t quite as good as these. I expected the wiretap to reveal that my heart was about the size of a pre-reformation Grinch’s and as lazy as the rest of me. Turns out that my heart is the only overachieving part of my slothful self, racing away while the rest of me idles.

The doctor, while telling me not to worry, sends me for another test. As a child, you naturally fear and loathe tests, even the word “test” or thought of it, and believe me, there is no reason to change your opinion on that once you grow up. In fact, the tests get worse, and the grades are a lot more important. Forget about that permanent record*!

So I had the test, and the test administrator refused to give me results. I think she was a bitter doctor wannabe or has-been, because she informed me that my doctor “gets a big salary” to tell me. Oh, and I have to wait yet another week to get the results, and you know how patient I am (not at all).

In fact, my lack of patience has led me to turn off the comments again. I couldn’t take the spamstorm anymore, and looking at them in order to delete them made me annoyed or grossed out, and it seemed to take forever. Told you I was impatient.

*Hey, kids: your “permanent record” does not exist. It’s just something they tell you at school to scare you and try to keep you in line. Don’t tell your parents I told you this deep, dark secret!

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Nov 05 2006

Street Seen

Published by under Uncategorized

The abandoned sofabed on my street, missing its cushions, is opened to a bed this morning.

A young man calls to a girl on a bicycle, ?You have to finish telling me about your drugged out professor!? as she rides away laughing. She waves as she disappears around the corner, perhaps promising to tell him the ending of the story, or perhaps ending the story.

In a window at the side of my building, a beautiful white cat with black spots sits serenely, gazing at me with calm amber eyes. ?I?ve seen better,? she seems to be saying. She?s right.

A woman in her car, idling at the red light, rolls down her window and calls out to me, ?Your dog is beautiful!? I smile, acknowledging this drive-by compliment. I think so, too.

My Italian neighbor stops to say good morning. He doesn?t speak English, but with the way he clasps my hands with both of his, he doesn?t need to.

A small boy skips across a busy intersection, unafraid because he is holding his father?s hand tightly. He looks up at his father, not the traffic, his face glowing with happiness and trust, his father?s with utter love.

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Nov 01 2006

Just Desserts

Published by under Detroit


It wasn’t all bad, despite Hotel Hell (yes, I diid get my deposit back) and the Tigers’ heartbreaking World Series loss.

For once, I had a non-Chevy, non-blinding blue rental car. It was a white Pontiac Grand Prix (at least Pontiac is a city in Michigan) and not at all a clown car. Best feature: the butt warmers in the seats! Rita and I both give them two paws up.

Dinner with Kathleen was fabulous, of course. She is one of the most interesting people I know. It was great to catch up, the food was wonderful, as always, and we had a bottle of nicely chilled white Bordeaux from Graves (90% Me, 10% Kathleen, the designated driver). I even had dessert and ate some of hers. Dessert fans: if you’re ever in Detroit, go to TJs. I had double berry crumble and Kathleen had housemade seedless blackberry ice cream with hot fudge sauce. Being such a good friend, I helped her out with the sundae, and it was a little piece of heaven. They make all their own desserts, and it’s worth the pilgrimage.

You probably won’t believe me after that rhapsody, but I rarely eat dessert. It was so worth making an exception!

And finally…what’s not to love about the giant Uniroyal Tire?

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