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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.

God Bless Suburbia

After dinner last night, right before we headed upstairs to get ready for bed, we realized we’d forgotten to run the errands we needed to run. We were supposed to pick up coffee, sugar, a GFCI electrical socket, and the required black pants/black shirt Mike needs for his new part-time job. (Yay for the part-time job!)

Luckily, it was only seven-thirty, so we tucked the dogs in for the night, grabbed sweaters to protect against the freezing sixty-degree weather, and hopped in the car.

Yes, we get ready for bed at seven-thirty. What can I say? We’re an old married couple.

By eight-thirty we were brushing our teeth and marveling at how we’d just run three hours worth of errands in one. It was because of the strip mall. And the trunk of the car.

You see, most people who live in suburbia take for granted their ability to run multiple errands in a short period of time. I know, because I used to be one of those people. And then I moved to New York and figured out how the rest of the world works. Or at least the part of the world situated in Manhattan.

If we were still living in Manhattan, we’d have had to make three separate stops, instead of the one we were able to make last night. First we’d have gone to K-Mart for black Dickies and a generic black button-up. It would have taken us thirty minutes to get there, plus a ten minute walk off the train, and it would’ve been a miserable experience because that K-Mart was never fully stocked and it was always so full of people there ought to be signs out front warning shoppers not to enter if they fear large crowds. Next we’d spend another twenty minutes on the subway, another fifteen minutes walking, and then we’d be at Home Depot, also terribly crowded, with checkout lines thirty people deep. Fifteen more minutes walking and an hour on the subway before we got to our neighborhood market, all while carrying everything we’d purchased elsewhere. By the time we finally got home we’d have spent at least three hours, probably four, and we’d be exhausted, sweaty, and praying for an early death.

Instead we hopped in a car, drove to a strip mall, purchased everything we needed at a Target and a Home Depot sitting back-to-back, and were home in sixty minutes. Yes, it’s a little freaky that we can buy groceries and clothing in one location, I’ll be honest. Target’s new grocery section makes me feel a little bit dirty, I don’t know why, but still. I do not miss the city at all.

P.S. There’s a wiener in the lantana.

wiener in the lantana

Behind Bethesda

Trish.Adam.Bethesda

Three and a half years in NYC and I finally got my boat ride in Central Park. Adam did all the rowing. I tried rowing, but I couldn’t make the boat move hardly at all. And certainly not in a forwardly direction. Adam, however, did great.

Adam

And while he was rowing, I kept an eye out for sea monsters. I spotted one, too!

sea monster

Ok, it wasn’t a sea monster, it was another boat. We were so focused on taking a picture of ourselves that we forgot to pay attention to where we were drifting, and right as the camera snapped was when I realized we were bow-to-stern with a boat-full of tourists and that’s why my face looks like that.

Bethesda

Bethesda Fountain. My favorite place in all of NYC.

August 12, 2010

(Are we home yet?)

Go Fetch

fetched

The last couple of days have been particularly windy in the NYC. And when I say windy, I mean that even with an extra ten pounds of meat on my bones I am having a hard time keeping my feet on the ground. It’s been several days since the dogs have had any real exercise because, lets face it, I’m a lazy slob. Or else I just don’t love them. I do, after all, let them fish their food out of the litter box. Hey, you know? Poop is like their chocolate. Who am I to deny them such a decadent pleasure? If that’s not proof of my interest in their well-being, I don’t know what is.

This morning I was feeling livelier than usual so I decided to peel myself off the sofa and take the dogs to the park to throw a tennis ball around. Of course I forgot our tennis ball, so I was forced to throw one of the matted, feces speckled tennis balls already in the park. You know the kind. It’s been slobbered over and chewed on by so many different dogs it’s hardly recognizable as a ball anymore. It’s lost it’s circular shape and most of it’s green fuzz. If it were a velveteen rabbit, it’d be real. This seems to make the ball all the more appealing to Valentine, and she’s jumping around in circles, eagerly anticipating my throw. I draw my arm back and Valentine races towards the other end of the park. She likes to get a head start on the ball. I swing my arm forward and release the ball. But the thing is, not only do I throw like a girl, and not only has the chewed on lump of rubber lost all the qualities that once made it aerodynamic, it’s really windy out. Really windy. The ball does not head in the direction I’ve thrown it. Instead, it launches right for Valentine and conks her in the back of the head. She reels forward and all four legs go out from under her. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” I cry out. I jog over to her and crouch down to make sure she’s all right. She responds by wagging her tail and nibbling my nose. Let’s try that again, I think. I pick up the ball, she does her happy dance. I hold the ball over my head and she races to get her head start. I launch the ball into the air, the wind picks it up, carries it right to her, and she gets another smack in the head. “Baby, I’m so sorry!” I call out, as if she understands English. I rush over to her and stroke her face, scratch her ears, apologize. She nibbles my nose and my ears and wags her tail to let me know all is forgiven. I reach for the ball slowly, not sure she’s still up for the game. The tail-wagging doubles in time. I stand up and bring the ball over my head and this time, she hangs back behind me. Girl catches on quick. I raise the ball over my head and launch it. She stands about a foot behind me and watches as it sails through the air. “Go get the ball!” I say, excitedly. And then she turns and looks at me and I swear to God, if she had the proper equipment she’d have said, “You get the ball, Bitch.”

Originally posted February 13, 2009

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!)

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.

Photographe

A Serious Photog

Saturday before last, Adam and I swapped cameras.

Now I see the world through his eyes…