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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

I keep my word

Spring in New York will not ever cease to amaze me.  Each year I’m struck by the insane beauty of the flowers that bloom out of nowhere and the tiny buds that sprout and the lush calls of the birds in the trees.  Laid out at the feet of this steel and concrete metropolis, the saturated colors are all the more breathtaking.

orange lillies

This year I’ve noticed that the flowers have an entire life cycle of their own.  First bloomed the tender daffodils and tulips, then the irises in all their midnight blue, now lillies on stalks as tall as me, or perched on top of pointed green crowns…

pink lillies

Then there are — are these daisies?  I think they’re wild flowers.  Michael says they’re just weeds, in which case I say, grow me a garden of these beautiful weeds!

daisies

Inside the apartment we have all sorts of green thumb experiments going on as well, and also our CSA starts up again tomorrow! Expect some very green posts in the near future.  Happy Monday!

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

And Done And Done

The last few weeks have been amazing.  Amazing as in, Mike gets up every morning at six, wakes me up at six-thirty, he leaves for school and I start work by seven, we get home from work/school around five-thirty or six, fix dinner, eat dinner, wash dishes, do chores, crawl into bed, pass out.  We’re working our asses off and it feels pretty damn good.

This weekend was all about doing the little things on my to-do list, the little things that fall at the very bottom, get buried beneath piles of GET THIS DONE BY 9 A.M. and SHIT I WAS SUPPOSED TO FINISH THAT YESTERDAY.  One of those things was banishing the months-old Valentines Day banner I had up on Frosy-Licious, and writing a better ending post than the last one I wrote, which was a little whiny, let’s be perfectly honest.  The new one is great, you should check it out, it’s called “Last One. No Really” and contains a photo of dogs snuggling.

Anyway, I’ve got a couple of tricks up my sleeves, including some big news that I’m not sure how to tell you yet, but no, I’m not pregnant.

And in case you haven’t seen any flowers today…

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Harlem, April 2007

Fleurs de Mai

This morning I was suddenly overcome by the feeling that I’m finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do.  I’m Living.  Breathing.  Working my ass off for something I’m proud of and still finding time to stop and admire the flowers.

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Not Van Gogh's Irises, but still.

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Like wild strawberries, or burning eye sockets. You pick.

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Just before Theo peed on them.

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And just in case you needed to be reminded that HOLY SH*T Nature is Beautiful.

Four Things

1. My building has bed bugs. We don’t have them, I don’t think, but yesterday I found out about them and last night I woke up seventy-three-thousand times because I thought bugs were crawling all over me. This is not good.  If we get bed bugs we will run screaming back to the west coast and we will never look back.

2. Yesterday I was chased by a growling homeless man. Story to come.

3. Today, the thing that made me laugh out loud, so loud Mike asked what was wrong with me, was when I found out I could use “Theo Eats Penis” as my pay phrase* on Amazon.com. I had tried to choose “Valentine Eats Feces” but the system wouldn’t let me. So then I tried “Theo Eats Feces” but it wouldn’t let me use that either and I thought, it’s because it thinks I’m trying to type something dirty! So I tried “Theo Eats Penis” to see if that was the issue but no, apparently there are just other people who also have dogs named Valentine and Theo who eat feces and are willing to use those phrases as their Amazon.com pay phrases.

4. Number three was more funny if you were there.

*Obviously I didn’t use that phrase.

The Season of Dirty Feet

I love spring in New York City.  As a child growing up in the San Fernando Valley I never had the opportunity to witness the absolute stunning beauty of the first yellow tulip after six months of freezing gray.  But now?  For the rest of my life, when I see yellow tulips I will remember the City in spring.  But there is something else that comes with the creep of spring, there is a darker side.  Something sticky and grisly and black as oil.  That something is Dirty Feet.

Our first spring in the City I documented the phenomenon on my Flickr site.  Over the next two-plus-years a photo of my dirty feet received 4,312 unique views.

That is ridiculous.  My dirty little feet have gotten more clicks than any post I’ve ever written ever.  Apparently there are a lot more of you interested in how dirty my feet are then how cute my dogs are.

The thing is, I do not like being dirty.  There is a funny family story that my sister likes to tell about the first time she took me to the beach when I was eight months old.  I’d been lathered in sun block and made to wear a hat and sit under an umbrella and I’d taken it all like a champ.  I giggled and cooed and waved my shiny red shovel and then the wind blew and five or six grains of sand were swept up onto the blanket six inches from my knee.  And I began to scream.  And scream.  My sister leapt up, shook the blanket, put it back down, and still I screamed.  She offered me water, a new toy, something to eat, was my hat too tight?  Was there sand in my eye?  No, no, I was fine, perfectly fine, but there was sand on the towel and I do not like to be dirty.

Perhaps you can understand how horrifying it was when I took off my shoes last night and found their outlines traced along my foot in grisly black grime.  It was so horrible, so awfully terribly horrible, I almost cried.

This is a first-world problem, I know.  I realize that if having dirty feet is the worst thing that happens to me in a day, I’ve had a pretty damn good day.  But it’s that time of the month when socks on the floor and a glass on the table make me froth at the mouth, so you can imagine my reaction when I realized that even the pumice wasn’t scraping the black grit out from underneath my skin cells.

But then, there’s this …

tulipsbehindbars

And these …

tulips

And can you believe how beautiful this is?

tulipmutant

New York in spring.  Holy shit.  I will miss the City when we move.

blooms