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Overheard at our table

Me: If I had a blood clot in my leg, would it hurt really bad?

Him: It would be the worst pain you’d ever felt in your entire life.

Me: Really?

Him: Take the worst pain you’ve ever felt in your life, and multiply it by ten.

Me: Because I’m having this little shooting pain in my leg and I was worried it was a blood clot.

Him: It’s not a blood clot.

Me: You’re handy to have around.  I think I’ll keep you.

*kiss*

Officially Enchanted

My Milk Toof

It’s Wednesday and I feel like it’s Friday, so how about something wonderful?  My Milk Toof is a photo blog that tells the story of two little teeth named ickle and Lardee.  It’s like a comic strip, but in photos.  It’s fabulous.  Click here to visit the blog and click here to read a nice article about the artist.

And yet I dream of gardens to grow things in

Him: Can you hand me that plant so I can treat it for aphids?

Me: I’ll just get out of your way and you can get it yourself.

Him: Don’t get up! Just hand it to me.

Me: (Deep breath.) Ok.  (Picks up potted plant and …) Kind of freaks me out to touch this.

Him: What?  Why??

Me: Aphids are related to spiders.

Him: I’m pretty sure aphids are six-legged insects.

Me: They spin webs.

Him: Lots of bugs spin webs.  What do you think a chrysalis is?

Me: Psh.  A cocoon.

A little while later…

Me: You were right.  Kind of.  Aphids are six-legged insects, unrelated to spiders, and they do not spin webs. Spider mites spin webs.  OUR PLANTS HAVE SPIDER MITES.  THAT’S LIKE BEDBUGS FOR PLANTS.

Him: … I think you’re being a little over-dramatic.  And the treatment worked.  See?  The plants are fine.

Me: And that’s why you’re my hero.

*kiss*

Evoking 1960’s Iconography

Ann Margaret

Astoria, Queens

May 2010

“Is it too much?” she asks as she poses with an unlit cigarette.

On our favorite Thai place in Thai Town, Hollywood

Him: If I can’t see the little old Thai ladies cooking in the kitchen, we’re leaving.

Me: Ok.

Him: And the only reason I won’t hate you for dragging me away from them, all the way to New York where all the Thai food is heinously Americanized, is because they’d started the renovations before we moved.

Me: Wait … what?

Him: I’m just saying, it’s grounds for retroactive resentment.

Seriously Humbled

spider in the bathtubjpgPhotograph by Grendl on Flickr

The other morning the bedroom light bulb burned out. Normally I would just let Mike fix it whenever he got home, except I was working from home and it was so gloomy and gray that the bedroom was too dark to work in.  I tried turning on the snake light, but that didn’t help. I turned on the salt lamp, but it was still too dark.  So I climbed up on top of the refrigerator to reach the cabinet where we keep the light bulbs, then I climbed up on our bed and stood on my tiptoes to reach the light fixture and I was really impressed with myself, you know? I was thinking about how I used to be this mousy little twit and now I’m this tough chick who lives in Harlem and rides the subway and changes her own light bulbs.  I turned the little fake brass knob thingy to release the glass dome fixture-cover-thing, and right when I got the knob thing off, something fell out of the fixture and brushed past my face.  I blinked and sputtered and believing the fallen debris to be dust, resolved to immediately wash the fixture cover. I bent down to set the cover on the bed and that was when I realized that the thing that had fallen from the ceiling and brushed my face was a dead spider.

I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t completely lose my shit.  The worst part was that I knew the spider was dead, I knew I didn’t need to be freaking out, but I couldn’t help it.  I didn’t scream, not like a horror movie scream, it was more like a growl.  A roar.  I roared and jumped around in circles and clawed at my face and laughed, because I knew I was being ridiculous.  The dogs started howling and barking, I’m guessing because my roaring and wild flailing was pretty alarming.  I knew I was acting like a maniac, but I couldn’t shake the creepy feeling that there were hundreds of spiders caught in my hair that would soon be walking all over my face, so I ripped off my clothes and jumped in the shower. I stood under the water, hot as I could stand it, laughing, shaking, sobbing and repeating over and over again, “I’m ok, I’m ok, I’m ok.”

This is why whenever people tell me about how much they want to learn to fly a plane, or go sky diving, or climb Mount Everest, I just smile and tell them to have a good time.  As far as I’m concerned, being touched by a dead spider is a survival experience.

Gloom and Doom

It’s May.  It’s May 19, exactly three years and one day from the day Michael landed in the city permanently.  Semi-permanently.  Anyway, it’s May, and it ought to be sunny and beautiful and breezy, but instead it’s gray and gloomy and cold.  I’m still wearing my winter coat.

I’ve realized that the movie Splash, with Daryl Hannah, Tom Hanks and John Candy, is actually about a California girl, not a mermaid.  See, she’s from the Valley, which is why he can’t understand anything she says.  Anyway, I’m like Madison when they’ve been keeping her in that aquarium in the science lab and all her scales are peeling off. I’m beginning to wilt.  The only reason I have survived thus far is because I spent every sunny day this winter curled up on top of the radiator under the window like a cat, soaking up the sunbeams.  Only there hasn’t been any sun in three days.  THREE DAYS.

gloom and doom

I need the sun.  I am a girl who’s meant for sandcastles and tide pools, not skyscrapers and taxicabs.  I haven’t had tan lines in three years.  I am suffering from a serious case of Vitamin D deficiency.  My doctor swears my vitamin D levels are fine, BUT WHAT DOES SHE KNOW?

Oh god, please make the sun shine soon.  Please.  Please.  Please.

Not even kidding

double parked

How the people in my neighborhood park their cars on street cleaning days.

Not even kidding.

(p.s. This picture was taken last week.  Last week when the sun shone and life was merry.  This week it has been grey and gloomy every. single. day. I’m beginning to feel crazy.)

A Tree Grows in Harlem

A Tree Grows in Harlem

Because in our heart of hearts we dream of tree-lined lanes and vegetable gardens and evening skies full of stars, we started a worm bin last summer.  By December we had two bins, each full and weighing at least forty pounds.  We didn’t weigh them, that number is not factual, is actually based on the amount of effort it required to haul the blasted things in and out of the closet, but “fifty pounds” sounds better than “really f-ing heavy”.  So here we are in our little Harlem apartment, in the middle of an east coast winter, with a gajillion pounds of vermicompost.  That was when my mom suggested we give it away as Christmas gifts, because nothing says Merry Christmas like a zip lock bag full of worm poop.

There was much fussing and oohing and ahhing when Michael and I hauled the sagging bins from the closet.  My parents were both there, in town for the holidays, and as I harvested the compost I explained what we put in and what we didn’t, how long it took the worms to get through what, showed them bits of egg shell still at the bottom, the swarming, writhing worms. I was picking cherry pits out of a handful of partially digested compost when I realized that bit of green I was looking at wasn’t undigested vegetable matter.  It was a sprout.  Something we’d eaten and discarded had taken hold and now there was a tiny, perfect sprout.  I was so excited I stopped breathing.

I didn’t know how much I loved growing things until I moved to New York and couldn’t grow things.  After all, it’s hard to grow things in a place where your windows look out at other windows and four out of seven days a week the sun won’t even drive in.  In Los Angeles I had a garden, a rose garden and two oak trees and ivy and impatiens and lilies and I never ever went out there because I didn’t want to get dirty.

This weekend Mike and I were waiting for the D at 125th Street and a terrible stinking drip of city gravy fell with a splat on the side of my face and dripped down my neck.  The whole platform ceiling was oozing with city gravy and Mike got an ear full at the exact moment I was hit and we cried out in unison, “Dodge the gravy!”  Number twelve on my list of things New York has taught me is that cities are far dirtier than gardens, and not nearly as enchanting.

When we finally move back to Los Angeles, if we are lucky enough to have anything even reminiscent of a garden, even if it’s just a small window box that gets full sun a few hours a day, I will relish it.  I will dig my fingers into the dirt and I will plant things and one of the first things planted will be my sprouts.

Nooked

There were two of them growing in the bin.  We plucked them out and planted them in seed pots and they have grown over six inches in five months.  We have no idea what they are.  They’re obviously from something we ate, and they’re definitely tree-shaped.  Look at that picture and tell me that sprout isn’t growing into a tree that’s just perfectly shaped for climbing.  Tell me that bend isn’t a reading nook.

We can’t say for sure what they are, but we’re placing our bets on orange trees, because of the size and shape of the leaves.  And also because it’s just kind of awesome to be a California dreamin’ couple in Harlem, growing citrus trees on our windowsill.

A Serious Weekend

On our way to wonder at William Kentridge.

*love in an elevator*

*how to commute*

*how to commute*

Ladies Home Journal

*a perfect table in a perfect dining room for a perfect party*

birdling

*from the devil's gaping maw*

washing windows

*then the one on the left waved at me and I died from embarrassment*

*all photos courtesy of my Verizon Wireless Satan Owns My Soul BlackBerry