Friday, December 30, 2005

KEYS TO A GOOD PARTY

Nothing screams AWESOME PARTY (E and S's bday) like...LOTS OF DRINKS...

an amazing cake from A...


and duh...a Banana Guard

Yes it fits all shapes. So don't ask.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

TRANSIT NIGHTMARE



I almost don't want to write about the stupid transit strike because secretly I think it will give the whole situation more power somehow but what...a complete bummer.

Yesterday I left our house around 8:30am. Luckily E was able to drive me in a friend's car to the Flatbush LIRR station in Brooklyn which took up 30-40 minutes (normally 15 mins). From there I ran into my old co-worker who had waited on the ticket line three people away from reaching the machine and I cut in. (Horrible I know) Right before we were about to get tickets the train pulled in and we overhead a cop telling people that you don't need a ticket afterall and to just get on the train. So we did. We got on the LIRR train to Jamaica Queens (20 mins). When we got out we had to cross over several platforms, go down several steps and come out into the street where we were cattle driven into a S shaped line about seven rows deep. A man with a megaphone yelled, "TICKET HOLDERS THIS WAY. EVERYONE ELSE NEEDS TO WAIT ON THAT LINE!!!" We turned our head to see what 'that line' was and it was grim. Super grim. This photo doesn't even do it justice. It was MILES long.



It was FREEZING. Not just cold but the kind of cold where it's possible all of your ten toes have snapped off inside your shoe but you won't find out until later when you take your shoe off and they spill out like marbles. Awful. We waited on this line for 45 minutes and kept punching ourselves that we listened to that stupid cop guy at the last station about not getting a ticket in advance.

After finally weaving our way through we boarded a train from Jamaica to Penn Station which CRAWLED along. We were going so slow it's possible we could have walked to Manhattan and gotten there faster.

Once we arrived at Penn Station we had to hoof it up 15 blocks to an edit and then I had to hoof it back another 15 blocks back to my office.

Luckily a co-worker was able to give me a ride home in his car although a normal 1/2hr ride back to Brooklyn instead took 2.5 hours.

My normal commute in a day is a bit over an hour and back. Today took 5.5 hours.

I look forward to doing it all again today, tomorrow and possibly all next week when I return back to work until this thing ends.

Happy holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2005

JANE


If Jane our orange tabby cat came with a tag this is what it would say:

Hello. My name is Jane. I like to eat cobwebs and sit in empty laundry baskets. I like to wake up my owner two seconds before the alarm goes off each and every morning. If my owner pushes snooze then I will jump on their pillow and yell MEOW at volume ten in one of their ears until they get up. If that doesn't work I will then stick my paw in the plastic cup full of water on the bedside table and knock it to the floor each and every time until they sit up and yell JANE!!!!!!!!!!!. I love to lick photographs especially precious old ones that should not be in my reach and can never be recovered. I will know when you are sad or sick and curl up in a ball next to you. When you are eating ice cream I will try and stick my head in the bowl or if you are eating pasta with cheese sprinkled on top I will try and lick the cheese. I like to sit in suitcases that are open and currently being packed but only after they are full of black clothing I can leave my orange fur on. I like to sit on magazines and then run like I am on a treadmill scratching as I run in place until the magazine cover is full of white scratch lines and torn to shreds. I like to cuddle with you on the couch but only when you are turned on your side and I can go under your arm otherwise I will meow until you turn over. I love visitors especially women. I love parties and will be sure to hang out in plain site so as to get attention rather than hide from the noise and the crowd like most cats. I like to drink water out of the Christmas tree stand. I like to chew on the ribbons of all the gifts. I will let you know when it's time for bed before you do. I will stand by you giving you three sharp MEOWS that linger a bit at the end and then I will walk and stand by the bed looking at you with a cold stare. In other words I am Jane. I run this house.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

EVEN



Some of you may recall from a previous post that recently I went to look at an apartment for one of my best friends J moving back from London with her husband and baby. The apartment is in the neighborhood and only a ten minute walk from my place. They ended up getting it and will be living there as of Monday. Still seems too good to be true.

On Friday I offered my services to take a personal day from work and receive her shipment of stuff coming from storage. Her place is gigantic - five rooms, great light with a backyard and a basement with washer/dryer. It wasn't the shipment coming from England but rather stuff she had put into storage before going to England there over a year and a half ago. It would be easy. The boxes would be clearly marked with what room they should go in. I was to just to oversee that the movers put them in the right rooms for the most part. The moving service they hired would actually open the clearly marked boxes and put things away in the proper rooms. No worries! Have a coffee and relax. Read the paper. Everything will be simple and great. Heck, I'll even wear a long clean white sweater since I won't be getting dirty.

UM.......

Three moving guys arrived and the main guy immediately gave me a clipboard of several pages - an Excel sheet of 99 boxed items over half of labeled MISCELLANEOUS or something vague like TABLE. What kind of table??? Dining room? Living room? Bedside? I frowned and scanned the document on the clipboard with a look of concern. The main moving guy looked at my long white sweater and me holding the clipboard and said - dead serious...

M: You look like a docta.
K: Huh. (scanning through all the pages)
M: Are u a docta?
K: No I am not a doctor.
M: Are you sure? Cause you really look like one.
K: Sigh. I didn't realize how many boxes there were...
M: You a nurse?
K: No I am not a nurse.
M: ...you sure?
K: (now looking up) YES I am sure
M: Ok sorry. You just reeally look like you work in the medical proffesion.

He shrugged and walked off.

Moments later the real stress began. One by one each moving guy would come in the room and yell out a number BINGO style "SEVENTY FIVE!!!"...."NINETEEN!"....TWO!!!!" and I had to quickly scan the clipboard, check off that the proper item had arrived and perhaps the most stressful part of all - make an immediate decision which of the five rooms the 99 boxes of MISCELLANEOUS crap would go in. In close to every situation the box was labeled wrong. Out of the corner of my eye I would see one guy uwrapping a set of champagne glasses in the bedroom, the other setting up a blender in the living room and the other coming in the door yelling with the gusto of a hotdog seller at a ballpark, "NUMBA FIFTEEN...I GOTTA NUMBA FIFTEEN!"

As things quickly started to spin out of control, perhaps it was the doctor instinct in me that decided I needed to find a remedy for this nightmare situation and I mean FAST.

I told the main moving guy that moving forward they could call out a number but I needed them to open each box, unwrap one item and then I would determine what was in it and what room it should go in. As a result to save time once the box was in the right room I would rapidly unwrap the 30 items per box and quickly start to put things away, gather the newspaper and throw the one moving guy an empty box as the other yelled out the next number.

By the end my back was KILLING me. I was FILTHY. I was EXHAUSTED. I guzzled the Snapple Ice Tea I brought with me, a large water and a coffee as I went along and at one point quickly went to use the bathroom and opened the door to see THERE WAS NO TOILET. Or SINK. Or BATHTUB. Apparently they were to be installed the next day. Great...I went back to unpacking.

My friend J has done many things for me in my life. And despite the 50 gallons of liquids putting pressure on my bladder as I unpacked each and every posession she ever owned over the course of her lifetime, I was able to still be sentimental as I came across those reminders of our friendship in the form of photographs, college yearbooks, clothes once shared and even household items.

Over five years ago, I arrived unannounced at the doorstep of J's tiny apartment having just left my husband, my home, all my posessions, my cat and my marriage. I was devestated, lost and confused. Her now husband was there the night I arrived and hauled my suitcase full of random crap up five flights. They made me tea. I slept on the couch that night but moving forward the nights she was home and he wasn't there, we often slept side by side like sisters in her tiny, tiny bed. Months went by and not a question asked. No rent asked for until I began to rebuild my life, get a new job and thanks to the support and love of other close friends and family I got up and going again.

When the movers finally left, I did one last sweep of the place and rearranged a few items. I placed a tiny live Charlie Brown Christmas tree in the corner of the living room with a gift under it for the baby from E and I. I put on my jacket and turned off the lights. As I walked down the steps I realized that despite my bladder about to burst, my cell phone dead, my white sweater covered in filth, my body in utter pain, that perhaps I was finally able to give a little something back. A cozy place in Brooklyn all set up and waiting for them to come home to.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

MOVE (click on me)



Originally uploaded by KDUNK.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

LETTER OF THE WEEK: MR. S


Dear Mr. S My Male Flute Teacher From When I Was A Kid:

I'm sorry I was always ALWAYS late for flute lessons. I'm sorry for all the times I would show up for flute lessons...without my flute and would have to use your spare often right after eating a sticky Jolly Rancher or something equally as horrible.

I'm sorry I was a child spaz. I'm sorry that sometimes I would ride my bike to your house with my flute and a loose check (sorry Mom) in the basket of my bike, the weight of my flute holding down the check but then the check would blow away out of the basket without my noticing by the time I got to your house and then you would be nice and say 'Just bring it next time'. Sorry I would never remember to bring it next time. Ever.

Sorry for never practicing my scales and pretending that I did. Sorry for faking it in musical competitions and recitals - some of them quite highly competitive and just barely making it by the skin of my teeth. Sorry for making second chair and not first even though I didn't deserve either.

Sorry for when I got to high school (still playing the flute god knows why) I would cancel last minute on you to go make out with my boyfriend instead. Sorry for never giving you any of my medals much less my John Phillips Sousa Award - the premier award given out to one high school kid a year. Sorry for not inviting you to the John Phillip Sousa Awards dinner with my parents so you could clap and saw into your very own rubbery piece of Chicken Cordon Bleu. Sorry for the time you invited me over one weekend to watch an opera with you and your lover B - your favorite one of all times - me and two gay men sharing a bowl of popcorn and I yawned and sighed through the whole thing and felt like I was about to die when all you were trying to do was show a small town girl a thing or two outside her very, very tiny Long Island world.

Sorry for never reading the book you wrote and gave me a signed copy of. Sorry for the year B your lover died. A kind man with a lovely soul and a beautiful garden. Sorry I never wrote you a card or came by to tell you in person how much I would miss him.

Sorry I didn't invite you to my first wedding and then you found out from a friend of a friend that I got married and told my mother on the street downtown that it hurt you not to be included but you did wish me a happy, happy life. Sorry for the thoughtful Christmas cards you wrote me every year on cards featuring an ink drawing you did that was so creative and amazingly talented and I never wrote you back.

Sorry for not stopping when I drive past your quiet dark house when I am home for the holidays. The gardens overgrown. The occasional shadow of you shuffling past the windows while I put the pedal to the metal and pretend I don't see.

So many sorries yet also so many thank yous. Thank you for your patience for all of those strange years. For your ability to make my heart swell with love and creativity and powerful, passionate feelings for music as I sit in a midtown office during the middle of the workday listening to Debussy's Claire De Lune and thinking of no one but you.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

THE HUNT


Yesterday we had our company holiday party. Part one started off with a day of volunteering at the Food Bank For New York City warehouse in the Bronx. A bus carted us out there and seventeen of us packed boxes of food in a cold warehouse for close to 5 hours. It was actually quite tiring and straining on the back but in the best possible way.

This is how it worked...a beep beep beep forklift would wheel in 8 refrigerator size bozes full of cans of all kinds of canned food possible every 15 minutes or so. Within these boxes were various Duane Reade bags, Old Navy Bags, Macy's bags full of canned goods. These are the bags that people like you bring to work to donate to that one giant box at the end of the hall at your office or local mall. We then take this giant box and break it down into categories:

Meats - lots of canned clams (ugh), canned salmon, tuna.
Breakfast - cereals hot and cold
Complete meals - Ravioli, canned soups, chili - oh my so many cans of chili
Beans - black beans, pinto, etc.
Baby Food - formula, baby food, etc.
Snacks - cookies, crakers, candy, etc.
Vegtables - corn, peas, etc.
Fruit - canned pears, applesauce, oh so many pineapple rings
Other - really random crap that was from another country or things we never heard of

The first group of people made boxes. The second group of people were handed seven different empty boxes for the above categories and then would take from the giant forklifted fridge boxes and start dividing out the goods. The third group would then pack and seal and label them. I was in the middle group, unloading cans and putting them in the right category. This was a fast paced job. It was no unlike working in a supermarket flying through inventory. The pace was fast and hard. Exhausting. Occasionally your brain would freeze despite having been in a rhythm for a while. Beans...beans...what category are beans...oh yeah. Beans.

In the end these boxes get delivered to various shelters and soup kitchens where volunteer staff unload the goods and make a 'mini-supermarket' where homeless families and the working poor can pick up food from each category to bring to their families. It makes you think...when you put something in that food bank box...try to remember that the food is actually going to human beings that will serve it to their families. Would you want to eat a can of clams? A can of evaporated milk?

At the end of the day, dirty and sweating...as a group of 17 we repacked 6,600 pounds of food, enough to provide 4,400 meals for the hungry in New York City.

Part Two - the bus headed to Central Park in the snow where we had a heated tent and wine and beer and food and hot chocolate and skated around Wolman Rink. I got a call from E,

K: Hi
E: Hi
E: So I got a photo gig for a magazine. I'm traveling to NJ around 3:45am to photograph bear hunters. Bear hunting is now legal in NJ.
K: Huh...
E: Yeah...
(silence)
K: Um. I don't know how I feel about this one. You know I try to be supportive cool wife but...you in the woods...in the dark...crazy people with guns...hunting bears. Will you be wearing orange?
E: I know...I know. I will wear orange

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A DAY

A day can be many things. Mine started with a seaching hand looking for my husband who is usually next to me when I open my eyes. A momentary scare. He was only on the couch reading. Not the usual early bird so I was worried. A stomach ache brought him out there. Didn't want to wake me while he tossed and turned.

A pretty normal shower although the tiled floor felt extra cold. A kitty meowed for morning grub. Nothing new there. Got dressed. Went back to talk to husband now back in bed. Most mornings I'm groping along in the dark and don't get to see him. Kitty pissed. What's with all this talking and attention towards someone else.

I opened the blinds and the front door. Husband laughed at my morning rituals he is never privy to. Told him that most mornings I feel suffocated by the heat in the apartment. Need to breath fresh cold air. Feed kitty.

Say goodbye. Husband says have a good day and that he likes my outfit. It's prob a good outfit because I finally had the light on for once getting dressed. Ha. It's hard to leave a warm home. A husband. A kitty. Cozy home.

Police car waves me across the street. I cross. Too cold to buy a paper and take my hand out of jacket. Jacket needs a cleaning. Pass guys that are in the middle of a drug exchange. $2 left on my Metrocard. Behind a dad who was concerned his daughter was bundled up enough and asks her, "Where did you get that piece of candy?"

On the train. Look out window for a while at the snow covered rooftops. See animal prints on one. A dog? A cat? How the hell did they get all the way up there? Their trail makes a giant L. Whatever happened to Laverne & Shirley? Same guy and girl on the train every morning. Guy has a cold today. I am just getting over mine.

Morning oatmeal and an OJ. To go? Yes. Every day but feel free to keep on asking.

Non-stop working and working and problems and tapes wrong and calls and things to be Fed-Ex'd overnight and calls and meetings and work stuff and work stuff. Was responsible for bringing a girl to a surprise bday gathering of cupcakes in a conference room. Brought her to the wrong place at first. Surprise. Everyone at work asking how I am feeling? People I never talk to. Must have been annoying them all this week with my non-stop hacking away.

Mom calls. Crying. Our family dog is sick. Disoriented and going blind. Tumor? Hope not. Not sure. The conversation seems surreal and unsupportive on my part as phones ring off the hook and the sound of the copier blares into my ear. People anxiously awaiting for me in a meeting.

Meeting. I am the writer. Of a script. There are revisions.

Phone call: husband calling from a meat locker in Brooklyn. Yes a meatlocker. He is shooting a photo of a comedian for a project. In a meatlocker.

E: Great news!
K: What is that?
E: A baby has been born

Welcome to the world Henry Rogers Carter to two very wonderful and loving parents.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

DEEP THOUGHTS

Why do people blow their nose in a tissue and then look in the tissue? What do they think came out? A set of steak knives?

Monday, December 05, 2005

MARRIED PERSON'S SNOOPY SNOW CONE MACHINE



Over the weekend E and I received in the mail my dream come true and his personal nightmare....a red Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker off our wedding registry. There weren't many things we fought over in regards to the wedding registry but let me tell you...this was one of them.

After attempting to make lemon sorbet - (for the record - the thing makes frozen yogurt, ice cream, sherbert, sorbet and frozen drinks...come on!!!! how great is that!!!) in the '20-30 minutes' as advertised in the directions it became quite clear quite fast that well...this was SO not going to happen.

First of all the freezer bowl that actually is the crucial element in making the sorbet had to be in the freezer for '6 to 22 hours' prior to making anything. Huh?! Having already put the freezer bowl in there overnight I thought it would be enough but it wasn't. I turned it on and waited...and waited...and waited.... What was meant for a nice relaxing night at home, reading and watching TV as I waited for our fresh lemon sorbet to gel in the kitchen turned into a head bashing continuous grinding sound that was not unlike the rhythm of a child's toy train looping around a Christmas tree on a track at full volume. Ugh. At least I can blame my childhood.

As a kid, there were two items I longed for in life. The first was for my family to own a 70's style van of Scooby Doo/Don't Come A Knockin' type origin. The second...a Snoopy Snow Cone Machine.



After a string of diasappointing, wood-paneled vehicles parked themselves in front of our family home, I soon realized the van dream was no longer in the cards if it ever was. Same with the Snoopy Snow Cone Machine. My mother wouldn't let us eat sugar cereals much less grind ice cubes for hours in an usafe device not unlike a garbage disposal to then smother in blue food coloring.

It didn't help matters that I lived next door to Laura Luke - my next door neighbor who had just about everything. A constant reminder of things I didn't have nor knew I wanted. You know Laura Luke. There is a Laura Luke in every neighborhood. She had the Snoopy Snow Cone Machine, The Easy Bake Oven, The Barbie Dream House. Her brother Larry Luke had the Green Machine, that mini-car with an actual engine that kids could drive and even the Knight Rider remote control car that was IMPOSSIBLE to get one Christmas in the 80's. Larry's parents were only able to score him the Spanish version. I'd hear the Knight Rider car revving up their gravel driveway, KITT screaming, "Hola! El Coche Fantastico! Que Pasa?!"

I never got a Snoopy Snow Cone Machine. And Laura Luke got pregnant right out of high school. I'm pretty sure my life long quest for a Snoopy Snow Cone Machine manifested itself in the form of our new, red, loud, so not relaxing sounding, 6 to 22 hours to any form of satisfaction ice cream maker. It just proved once again to me that material things don't always live up to the dream. And most of them just end up on eBay.


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