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All Hallows’ Eve

Halloween

Me and Adam, Halloween in NYC, 2010

Photo by Christine Lindebak

We were going to go as Jackie and JFK, but I couldn’t find a wig or a pill box hat, so we went as Extras from ‘Mad Men‘ instead. I wish I had a great clear picture of us because our costumes were killer and totally authentic. The white suit I’m wearing was purchased in China in 1962 by my grandfather, as a gift to my mother. Sixties fashion at it’s best.

Oh man, you guys. This is long.

When did I last post? I have no idea. It could have been forty-eight weeks ago. That’s what it feels like for sure.

Life has just been so … life-y lately. I haven’t wanted to write about it because blegh. What a downer. I know I’m in the middle of a transition, and transitions can be messy, but I don’t want to post all kinds of self-pitying garbage every week. So I haven’t been writing at all. And not writing makes me really unhappy, which means I can’t write because I’ll just write self-pitying garbage. It’s an ugly circle.

Anyway, I’m in New York to see the revival of Angels in America, and celebrate Halloween with Adam, my BGFF. We were texting about our costumes last week:

  • A: Do you have your Jackie Kennedy wig yet?
  • T: No, we’re gonna need to go shopping.
  • A: Totally. :-> I can’t wait to give you your birthday present!
  • T: Seriously? My birthday’s not until January.
  • A: Omg, you’re gonna die. It’s the best birthday present in the world.
  • T: Is it alive?
  • A: Kind of? :-/

Last night over pizza he handed me a gift wrapped in gorgeous hand-made paper.

“Open it!”

“I can’t! It’s too pretty!”

“Here’s scissors, just cut into it. But be careful.”

“It feels like ….” I felt the gift all over. Fingertips on hard edges. “A book!”

“You’re so funny. Open it.”

“You do it.”

“Here.” He snipped the tape seals. “Now rip it.”

The first thing I saw was my name, “Frosty” in white glossy letters. “What is it?” I laughed, my eyes welling over because it couldn’t possibly be what I thought it was. It couldn’t be.

“It’s your book. It’s every single blog post you wrote on Frosty-licious, with all the pictures, everything. It’s your entire three-and-half years in New York. It’s all the moments you and Michael shared, with photos, it’s everything.”

It’s everything. It’s incredible. It’s my words on slick glossy paper. It’s warts and all, because let’s be honest, there was a while there when all I did on Frosty-licious was whine about how I wanted to stab myself in the face with a fork because being a grown-up was sooo hard. It’s everything. All the humiliating shit I wish I could wash myself clean of and it’s all the beautiful stuff too. It’s how I climbed out of the cesspool of misery and how Mike and I fell in love all over again, as a family, just him and me and the fantastic army of creatures we call our pets. It’s how we built a life with nothing but our hands and our love. It’s beautiful.

Adam wrote a forward for it, and when I read the first line I started crying so hard I had to put the book down until I could catch my breath again. Happy tears, tears of sweet nostalgia for what’s behind me, tears of gratitude, because it’s incredible that someone sees in my story something precious and worth holding on to. Tears of shame because there are parts of me in that story I wish I could hide, but why should I be ashamed of my humanness? Why should I be ashamed of my darker moments? Maybe I didn’t need to type them out into the Webisphere for anyone with access to the internet, but who cares. We’re all human. We all have our own sewage to sludge through sometimes. It’s what we choose to do with it at the end of the day that counts. I think I’ve learned how to try and choose “deal with it and move on” as an appropriate response to those times in my life and I guess that’s really why I haven’t been writing lately. I haven’t known how to write about my shit without wading in it and I’d like to write about my shit and laugh at it.

Like, for example, how my entire family expects me to cry at the drop of a hat. I totally earned that, I have always cried at the drop of a hat, so they have every right to expect it. I still do cry whenever I feel big emotions, but not like I used to. I think. It’s still up for debate. The other day I cried all during lunch at Goucho Grill, so it might be harder to live down than I thought, but still.

Whenever I start to speak really passionately about something, my brother will jump up and point at me and shout, “No crying! No crying!” and I’m always so surprised I have to start laughing and it breaks up the moment, you know? In a really good way. We have to be able to laugh about our shit.

Have a wonderful Halloween, you guys. I’ve gotta go find a white pillbox hat.

Self Portrait and a Sabrett Cart

57th and 8th, July 2007

sabrett cart 2007

Nothing says NYC like a dirty water dog. Miss you, Sabrett!

Wondering how the cross-country drive is going? Click here!

Little Harlem Garden

Do you remember our little tomato plant? It was a gift from friends when we first moved to Harlem. Our first vegetable plant. You might remember when we designated it our official Christmas Tomato Tree?

It finally yielded it’s very first fruit.

the sole tomato

It was delicious.

urban garden

I’ll miss my little Harlem garden.

Where are we today?

So much for the tree theory

pepper blossom

Remember when I was convinced that I was growing orange trees on my windowsill?  It turns out they’re peppers. And apparently, as I am just discovering thanks to the macro setting on my camera, they are peppers with spider mites. Fantastic.

so much for the tree theory

Oscar and Meyer, the Mite-y Peppers, inherited by Josie S., a good friend. (Sorry about the mites!)

Between Boxes

We went to the Bronx Zoo last weekend and had this amazing Gorilla Experience. I capitalized Gorilla Experience because that’s what the attraction is called: The Gorilla Experience. It was amazing! I took this photo, flash off, standing that close to those gorillas. You can totally see my reflection in the glass.

primate pow wow

Were there not glass between us, I could have leaned over and kissed the fuzzy wuzzy’s on the face! I wanted to, I really wanted to. I spent so much face time with the gorilla in the middle that I walked away feeling like she’d become my best friend. I was completely enchanted.

tiger paw

Then we saw the tigers. I was really this close to a tiger. Take away that inch-thick layer of glass and we were practically nose to nose.

tiger face

Be still my beating heart.

tiger ear

There were other animals too, a mole with a pig nose and the biggest buck teeth I’ve ever seen, a thirty pound cat-shaped rodent, and a tank full of hissing cockroaches to name a few, but I didn’t get a whole lot of fantastic pictures because I refused to use my flash. It’s ok, though. At least I didn’t blind the beasts.

It’s Thursday

You guys. It’s Thursday, it’s my brother’s birthday, – HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR BROTHER! – and it’s eleven days until we pack up our truck.

Totally unrelated: Can anyone tell me why I suddenly have 70,000 spammers flooding my site with comments that say things like:

“Thank you for special advice. Thic post was ecactly what I researching. Good news!”

It’s interesting how these comments always include links to websites for electronic equipment, discount designer hand bags and car parts. Seriously. Annoying.

It’s been a week since I last wrote, but I’m sure you understand because you are very understanding and you know we’re getting ready to move and training our replacements at work and yesterday we sent our cats off to Los Angeles, in the care of my super-patient parents. But amongst all the wild and crazy, (because when you’re buying plane tickets for your cats it is both wild, and crazy), there’s also been some really great fun.

like father like daughter

On Liberty’s pedestal, the shores of NYC and New Jersey behind us.

My folks were in town for a conference in Rhinebeck, NY and their visit happened to fall on my father’s birthday, so I took him to visit the Statue of Liberty. He’d been before; he visited in the sixties and in the nineties, but since her crown opened back up, he’d been eager to visit again. Unfortuantely her crown sells out many, many months in advance, so we didn’t make it up there. But we did make it up to her pedastel and the museum, thanks entirely to my father, who befriended a park ranger, who then scribbled on our tickets so that “NO MONUMENT ACCESS” became “OK for 2. Mark.” and up we went!

This is what Lady Liberty looks like on the inside:

Liberty's skeleton

This is Lady Liberty’s second torch:

original torch

The first one was made like the rest of her, thin copper sheets over an iron framework. After she’d been around awhile, some BigWigs thought Liberty should function as a lighthouse, so they cut a bunch of holes into her torch, stuck in glass plates, and put fifty-two lightbulbs inside. Fifty-two lightbulbs. At the turn of the twentieth century. (And they were surprised when no one could tell the torch was lit up at all.) The artist, Bartholdi, kept suggesting they gild her torch, that way the sun or moonlight could flash off it’s golden surface. But no one listened to the artist. Over time, water leaked through the cut-up torch and ate away at Liberty’s insides. It wasn’t until the big restoration project in the eighties that Bartholdi got his wish and Liberty got a brand new, gold-guilded torch.

broken windows

This is a fantastic abandoned building on Ellis Island

the tablet

An alternate view of The Lady

illustrated newspaper

A newspaper headline decrying the murder of thousands of birds by the light of Liberty’s fifty-two lightbulbs. The illustration is brilliant.

view from ellis island

The Lady, as seen from Ellis Island

NYC and NJ

New York, I will miss you when I’m gone. But not enough to make me want to stay.

Not to put too fine a point on it

once upon a time

Soon we will be once upon a time…*

Yesterday Adam picked me up in his little blue bug and we  drove down to SoHo to go to this little shop that he’s been dying to take me to, and that I’ve been dying to visit since I read about it three years ago. It’s called Evolution and they sell taxidermied animals and human fetal skeletons and cheese-dusted grasshoppers for eating. It’s amazing. I bought myself a pair of earrings made from the wings of jewel beetles. They are so fabulous I wasn’t going to buy them because I didn’t think I could pull them off, but Adam talked me into it and I’m really glad he did. It didn’t occur to me until afterwards that maybe the wings aren’t responsibly collected and that I’ve ignorantly supported an ecologically unsound endeavor, but Mike insists that beetles are beetles and they way outnumber humans and always will, and I did a Google search and couldn’t find any information leading to the devestation of jewel beetle colonies, so I think I’m in the clear. In any case, I’m going to wear them and love them and give praise to the spirits of all the little dead beetles, for I have the most fabulous earrings in all the land, thanks to them.

Afterwards we headed back to Adam’s where we listened to Audra Mae’s new album, which is incredible, and which led to us having one of those weighty heart-to-hearts that is the verbal equivalent of looking at your vagina in a hand mirror while sitting in a circle with other women who are also looking at their vaginas with hand mirrors, whilst everyone talks about their feelings. Sorry for that visual, I suppose I could have likened our conversation to belly-button-contemplation, but whatever you want to call it, it helped me realize why I‘ve been in such a funk lately. And I feel so much better now. Once the monster is out in full view, it’s not nearly as scary.

Mike and I are about to completely change our lives. Again. We’ve finally gotten comfortable in New York and now we’re turning everything upside down. And it’s wonderful, and it’s what we want, and we’re really excited, but it’s a big hassle and there are a lot of unknowns and  we are going to miss this life we worked so hard to build. On top of all of that, there is the fact that we are moving to Los Angeles to settle down and start a family and I am acutely aware that if things go according to plan, and yes, I know how often things go according to plan, but if they do, this is the last year of our childless life. And I can’t wait to have a child, I am so excited to meet the person who is an extraordinary 50/50 combination of Mike and me, but I am mourning the nearing end of my sleep-late-on-Sundays, stay-up-late-talking-over-glasses-of-wine, run-out-for-icecream-at-midnight life. I mean, if I think I’m busy now, what is my life going to look like when I’m living with someone who depends on me to wipe their ass for them?

Then I think about what it was like to play with Olivia, my cousin’s two-year-old daughter, and the wash of love that swept over my heart so that I felt I’d never loved anyone as much in my entire life, and I am overcome with thrilled anticipation to watch my own children grow, to help them discover the world, to teach them and care for them and love them forever.  I know it will be awful sometimes and I know I will have days when I’ll dream of running away and days when I’ll secretly wonder WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING, because that’s life. That’s life no matter what we do. But the rest of the time? I am really excited about that.

Of course, I’m getting way ahead of myself. We’re at least a year away from even attempting to conceive, so what I should be worrying about is moving across the country in five weeks, not what our life might be like two years from now. It’s time for us to start packing, we need to reserve the moving truck, we need to get our ducks in a row so we can make a clean break. We’re nervous and we’re sad but mostly we’re so excited we can’t believe it’s really happening. And I think now that I can admit it, now that I can say out loud what we are knowingly giving up, it will be easier to roll with the punches and land in L.A. with our feet first and our hearts open wide. Keep your fingers crossed. It’s going to be an interesting ride.

*photo by Christine Lindebak

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.)