Thursday, April 27, 2006

THE PHOTOS YOU MISS

So many photographers I admire often talk about the photographic moments they miss in a day. Some keep records of them. I can see why. If you can't capture them you can at least write about them. Here were mine today:

- A velvet painting like cake with an exact replica of a woman's face on it given to the woman featured on the cake

- A man carrying the body of a tuba in one hand (no case) and the giant bell of the tuba in the other in the subway

- A woman with pearl white hair in the exact shape of a basketball

- A young guy carrying a brown paper bag with a pot plant in it (I know because I thought I was seeing things and then ran into him again moments later in the deli where he caused quite a flurry of giggles)

- An old man with a sad face sitting in front of a window featuring vintage Marilyn Monroe posters

- A man resembling the stereotype of a 'mobster' chewing on a toothpick with aviator shades on and a white T-shirt that read "I'm a Psychic"

- A man dressed in a blazer with many buttons on it eating a tiny pink donut with sprinkles

Sometimes I think to myself, "Only in New York!" but then again I'm not so sure.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

MY 10TH GRADE BOYFRIEND

E is in San Fran. I miss him. Our home seems darker. Less light. Quiet. I sleep with a pillow on its side flush against my back. A pretend man. I lock the front door from the inside. I leave the dining room table a mess. Jane the cat and I walk from room to room. She gives a long "Meow" looking around and I say, "Yes Jane. I know."

We look at E's things around the apartment - a shirt still on it's hanger from the dry cleaner, a pile of papers, his bulletin board of random photographs, a photo of him on the fridge, things that we see every day when he is here but now seem in a different light.

The phone rings. E calls. I tell him he got a package. This is our exchange:

E: Oh it's probably some shirts I ordered.
K: Shirts? Wow. Big spender. This is a big package.
E: American Apparel was having a sale.
K: I like American Apparel. Good shirts.
E: Yeah
K: What colors did you get?
E: All kinds of colors.
K: Wow. Cool.
E: Yeah.

We proceed to talk like this for a while. It's like a Seinfeld episode. A lot about nothing - but definitely something.

K: You know what this conversation reminds me of?
E: What?
K: Being in 10th grade - two teens talking on the phone about nothing...
E: (laughs)
K: They like each other but neither will admit to it...
K: Ok well bye. Have a good night.
E: Ok you too.

When we hang up I do something I never do. I check the call timer on my phone. We talked for 18 minutes and 56 seconds. I loved and already miss every minute of it.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

TALENTED FRIENDS

I am lucky to have so many talented friends. I was reminded of this last night when we attended the annual bday party of F who not only served as the bday girl but also the chef at her own party. Lucky for us she is a great cook and the food was better than if it were a catered party.

Also my pal A made the cake. She has made many cakes and each is a creation of it's own. One of my favorite bday cakes from the past:



and our wedding cake:


Enjoying A's set of cake photos on her Flickr here.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

SKY

In Maine on our honeymoon E and I rediscovered puzzles. I'm not sure I ever liked puzzles or even had a memory of doing them as a kid. E and I spent nights sitting by the campfire, listening to the ball game on the radio, drinking beer - our bellies full from a warm meal - doing puzzles. E said we were practicing for our retirement. On some level I think he was right.

In the week we were at the cabin we put together countless puzzles. Kittens in baskets. Cornucopias of fruits and nuts. A coastal Maine scene complete with a mama and baby moose. A red barn on a lake surrounded by trees in their autumn peak. No matter what the theme was for the puzzle it had the same results. Relaxing.

Putting together a puzzle says a lot about a couple although I'm not sure what exactly. E often holds the box, likes to find the core bits - the red barn, the orange kitten, the green grapes or the cornucopia basket. His results are crucial when it comes to bringing our whole puzzle together. Without his solid core our puzzle has no direction. Lucky for me his core compliments my edge. I always start with the edges. I don't like them but they have to be done. Yet despite my love of boundries I never look at the box. I like to dive right in and start matching shapes with other shapes with a casual but positive outlook that everything will come together eventually. Neither of us have the patience for the broad, boring and less inspiring sky.

This week something pieced together for me. It was a flashback of sorts. A moment of clarity about a time when I didn't have clarity. Oddly enough it was related to our wedding invitations.

At the time of getting together our wedding invites we had the great fortune of having them designed by a super talented friend of ours Khoi. Having recently done wedding invites for other good friends Khoi suggested we use the same printer this other couple did. They were cheap. They were in New Orleans. They went to art school with so and so. Give them a call. Ask for Jenny and Kyle. We did.

I talked to Kyle and Jenny at different times and both of them were humble, helpful and realistic in their ability to deliver the goods to me - the occasionally hysterical bride. For the most part things went pretty smoothly despite a small delay due to disorganization on our part. During the brief delay of wedding invites I wrote an email to E that I just recently found. Looking back on the weeks that came afterwards it seemed so foolish of me. The email said something like this,

"Having some troubles with New Orleans printers. There may be some delays. Will look into NYC printing companies as back up should we come across any further printing troubles. These invites need to get out."

The invites arrived from New Orleans on 8/8/05 in PLENTY of time before the wedding. Not only that but they were the most beautiful things E and I could have ever hoped for and exactly what we wanted if not better.

Two weeks later hurricane Katrina obliterated most of New Orleans including Kyle and Jenny's entire printing press. Five and a half feet of water destroyed all of their artwork and their personal belongings. They were forced to evacuate their home and begin again. While E and I were starting our lives together on some level so were Kyle and Jenny to a more severe degree.

We followed their story through their company web site and still to this day get updates on how they are doing. Recently their company Hot Iron Press, was featured in an audio slideshow on CNN.com which also included an interview with Jenny about their experiences as both artists and Katrina survivors. It also featured images of their recent work, “A.R.M. (Art, Ready-to-Make),” and its installation at Colby Sawyer College in New Hampshire.

Click HERE:

This link was a reminder that life and material things as Jenny says in the interview - are fleeting. A reminder that as couples you sometimes have to dive back in to rebuild what once was. Piece together the sky.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

LETTER OF THE WEEK: URBAN RAGE

Dear Selfish Man On Crowded Early Morning Subway,

Call me crazy - but I'm pretty sure your toasted poppy seed bagel with cream cheese doesn't need a subway seat of it's own while you read the paper.

I'm guessing your bagel didn't work a double shift last night like the very tired looking woman dressed in a nurse's uniform to my right leaning against the pole as if it is truly holding her up.

I'm guessing your bagel...didn't have to stay up late after coming home from a full day of work to bake three trays of cupcakes for your young son's bday like the woman to my left who is doing her best to balance the cupcake trays while also holding on to her young son's hand, his jacket and his tiny backpack.

Shot in the dark here - but I'm pretty sure your bagel...isn't wearing high, uncomfortable heels and carrying a heavy looking black portfolio on it's way to what appears to be a job interview like the woman directy in front of you.

And oh look. A pregnant woman has just come aboard. If I had a seat I would give it to her but no. Whatever you do don't let your bagel step in. In fact let the woman wearing a baby Bjorn carrier on her chest complete with newborn - offer her seat to the pregnant woman and you poppy seed bagel...you have a nice ride.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

BEING HELEN

You've heard me talk about Helen the older but spry woman who lives next door to us in Brooklyn. She was the one that asked me on our first meeting, "You two Catholic?".

Helen has a thick Brooklyn accent. She has lived on this block her entire life. She tells me stories about how we currently live in what used to be her Aunt's house. How all the kids - her cousins used to run from yard to yard by going through doors in the fences their uncles cut out just for them. Those were good times. She misses them.

Helen has lots to say. Sometimes she tells me stories from when she was a 'working girl' for Merrill Lynch. "We didn't used to dress in denim" she once said and looked down at the pair of old jeans I'd thrown on to go to work. Some days she tells us about her knees hurting or how she has Sciatica in 'both butts'. Helen has a lot of advice to share. Especially when hanging laundry, "I'd be careful about leavin' matches out by the grill. The little boys upstairs might get 'em."

Perhaps you recall the story how Helen has created her own story of what she thinks E and I do for a living. She thinks I'm a teacher and that E 'works in computas'. E and I can't quite pinpoint how she came to thinking this. One time E went on a photography adventure in Texas. When he returned she asked me in a low tone, "Did he get the computa job in Texas? Market's hard right now."

Most mornings Helen is out in a nightgown sweeping the entire block's sidewalk. She often wears slippers and picks up cigarette butts and pulls weeds from the cracks. Her grandson lives with her. He works at the airport. I know because she told me how many washings she does a day so he has clean uniforms.

In the winter I hardly see Helen. A sure sign of spring happened this week as I spotted her on my way home from the subway. She was wearing a bright red jacket, had on a little lipstick and her hair was brushed back. She was coming out of her gate middle of the block and just stopped and stared my way squinting until I approached closer.

K: Hello Helen! How are you?
H: Oh hello! Hows things with you?
K: Good. Haven't seen you in a while.
H: I know it's been foreva!
K: Where you off to.
H: Church. You going home for Easta?
K: Yes I'll be going home for Easter.
H: That's nice. My grandson wants to bring his girfriend to dinner.
K: Oh he has a girlfriend! That's nice.
H: I told her a girl should be with her motha on Easta!
K: Yes well...

With that she kept it brief. Before departing she pointed to three Key Food grocery store flyers sitting in a puddle outside my house and said,

H: Here...hand me those...

She stuffed them in the garbage can, put the lid on firmly and was on her way.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

UR-OK

Last week my OBGYN sent me for a trip to the Urologist. She was at a loss. Not able to treat my 3 week UTI symptoms and thought it best I get a further exam.

If you don't know what a cystoscopy is it's a test that allows your doctor to examine the interior lining of your bladder and urethra by sticking a cystoscope (thin, lighted viewing instrument) into your urethra which is then advanced into your bladder. Good times.

The Urologist's office was an odd place. Nothing about it was modern or new. It's decor was stuck somewhere between 1979 and 1980. There was a lot of mauve. Plants hanging in crocheted holders. Mauve pleather seats with faux wooden handles. A carpet that had seen a lot of traffic.

The oddest part was it's small interior. When I was buzzed into the office I crouched down so as not to hit my head on the door frame. And when I checked in at reception I had to bend down to peek in the window and give my name to the receptionist who was no bigger than an Ompa Lumpa. Was this the only Manhattan real estate the doctor could afford?

When my name was called I was reading a Yankee magazine article on the secrets to making a hearty beef stew. The nurse who looked my size and like the only other amazon in the place pointed to a sign on a door that read, "Exam Room #2" and said, "Please remove everything from the waist down, wrap yourself in the robe provided for you and the doctor will be in shortly."

When I got into the room I kid you not - it was slightly bigger than a Starbucks bathroom. Starbucks bathrooms are quite big so close your eyes, imagine the bathroom at your local Starbucks, add some square footage and welcome to my Urology exam room. As I removed everything from the waist down I kept saying strange things to myself like, "You are not naked from the waist down in a Starbucks bathroom - relax." and "You should remember that beef stew recipe."

The longer I waited for the doctor the quicker I launched into my usual panic routine. This happens to me each and every time I go to a doctor's office. I start thinking things like, "Wait...am I in the right room? Did she say Exam Room #1 or #2?" and then "Wait...did she say take EVERYTHING off from the waist down including underwear or did she just mean my pants?" What if I had it wrong. The doctor would think I was a creepy perv. This reminded of an experience my American girlfriend had in London when getting a massage. The London masseuse gave her a few minutes to get ready for the massage. My girlfriend took everything off from the waist up including her bra. When the massuese entered the room she gasped, "Oh my gosh! We don't do THAT here!" Note: bras with massages in London. Or at least that place.

I did my best to distract myself from my silly fears and took in the decor of the examination room. I wished I hadn't as everything white around me seemed to have a slight yellowish tinge to it. The tiny white stool had yellow stains. The white tubes had yellow stains. The white tiled floor had yellow stains. I know she was a pee doctor but come on. Couldn't she afford a little Soft Scrub with her salary? I decided instead to focus on the glass shelf of various knick knacks I assumed the doctor collected on her travels around what appeared to be all of Latin America.

The doctor soon came in. She was tiny - no surprise really. She fit perfectly in the room like a tiny little doll in a white coat with a friendly smile. The minute she walked in I freaked out and said, "Doc - you said everything off from the waist down. Underwear too right?" She didn't even flinch and nodded yes. She also seemed a tad hippie - her hair grown to an inappropriate length for a woman her age. A beaded necklace I imagined she'd picked up from a road side stand in Mexico. Some silver earrings and a multi-colored woven bracelet. Her husband - maybe a pan flute player at puppet shows for chidren.

When she gave me my exam - her head under my paper robe - we talked about every single good restaurant in Brooklyn even down to their menus. It was a strange out of body experience as these exams often are. The mere fact that such lines like "when I stick my finger in there you will feel pressure on your bladder as if you have to urinate" mixed in with "if you ever get the chance to eat at Chestnut I really recommend the duck salad with pomegranate seeds".

What can I say? Being a woman is a surreal experience. Sometimes painful.


powered by SignMyGuestbook.com