Thursday, November 25, 2010

Just For Men

I'm giving thanks today that I'm not a guy. Over a glass of wine with friends and the second dog I know named Bug (at Washington Commons in Prospect Heights), I learned that there is a man in a friend's office who uses Just For Men (dye) to create a dark mustache. As a young jewish girl, I was introduced to Jolene to touch up my own fringe, creating the ever lovely blond mustache. But that's different.


Monday, November 22, 2010

When Our Grown Kids Disappoint Us

I snagged this book at the library, while hanging with Ma B. It screamed out from the shelf. I wonder why?
It's by Jane Adams and oddly perceptive. Some favorite chapters include:

Whose Fault is it, Anyway?
We're Waiting...and Waiting...and Waiting
They're Ba-a-a-ck!
The Limits of Love

Overheard from living room...Dad in kitchen, speaking to dog:

You again?

You're going to put on weight. I'm eating cake. I shouldn't say anything.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Ditmas Park? Sign me up. It was like a little taste of Portland: Victorian houses, tiny yards, parking as far as the eye can see. If you're not afraid of the B/Q, it could be a slice of Brooklyn heaven.

Checked out The Castello Plan. We didn't eat, but at the cozy bar, watched food being prepared and more importantly, smelled it. My god. I repeat: my god. A religious experience. Pumpkin gnocchi. A mushroom spread on crispy toast that looked like a recipe my mom's made for 30 years (the secret ingredient? half-n-half). Yum.

Also, excellent white wine. Lots of free pours. Mellow crowd, solid music, Saturday night.

A free yoga class with Y. on Sunday. Lovely, lovely.

Strolls through Prospect Park. Bands of men playing soccer. Also lovely, lovely.

Then shangri-la came to a screeching halt. On the train from Penn to NJ picked up about 1,000,000 Jets fans. I inserted earplugs (don't leave home without them), but they weren't the miracle I was hoping for.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Brooklyn Delivers

Highlights, and I'm not talking hair.

FOOD First.

Luscious Food:

I like that the icon for Press is a fish. Then you click on the fish and get...a larger fish. New York Magazine rated these cookies The Best. Up there with monoliths like City Bakery and Jacques Torres. And, (insert pat on shoulder), I stumbled upon this little joint. No iphone! No internet! No article! Simply, walking down the street like a normal person before meeting a friend @ Flatbush Barn/Farm. Another cute, candlelit place, and a good find at 6:30pm with plenty of empty tables, dark wood, and a long bar - a ridiculous GLASS of red wine from Oregon priced at $14, but still.

By 8pm, I counted seven sets of women getting drinks together and one couple. Guess it's no newsflash that ladies may outnumber men here. But it couldn't ruin my night. Luscious had amazing split pea soup and a huge bowl (5 bucks), fresh, soft bread with a crunchy crust and vanillas cupcakes with star-sprinkles. All homemade. Who's home? I don't know. I don't care. Yum!

Park Slope Yoga Center

This place is perfect. I've long regaled friends and family with my yoga tales. Cliche as it may be, I really fell in love with yoga in the East Village over a decade ago at Bhava Yoga, a small studio run by a lovely couple. The room was, how shall I say this? A dump? But a brightly, purply and orangely, painted, cheery one, and nobody cared - it was always, 100% packed, and hot, with the exhalations of yogis. They had 2 hour classes that were cheap and well done with amazing music - no Enya-rock garden, drops of rain stuff, more like R&B, Guns'n Roses, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young.

Sadly, the couple got priced out (though they re-located to Brattleboro, Vermont and one day soon I hope to re-visit them and their classes). Park Slope Yoga Center - located on the second floor of a brownstone, is the closest I've come - in my years of searching East and West Coast - to Bhava. Nothing fancy, nothing chic. Smart, mellow, larger type, earthy lady instructor who adjusts you, excellent pace - challenging, and they offer 20% off a 10 class card if you join after your first drop-in class ($10). When I told them I didn't have a job yet, I got a coupon for a free class & a note on it, that I could apply the 20% discount any time.

Free yoga? My heart almost exploded from happiness on the spot.

Portland, Brooklyn, Coffee

Cafe Grumpy. Second time visiting the one on the 7th Ave in Park Slope. Met a lovely barista there a few weeks back, who, when he heard I moved back from Portland said that he hoped he'd made my Americano okay and gave me lots of encouragement about living North Slope/Greenwood area. Nice and quiet, as quiet as say...a cemetery.

This visit, two lesbian punk girl baristas/children (one from PDX). I ordered wrong. I wanted something chocolatey and so got a macchiato but i meant a mocha. I know. How pedestrian of me. Well, I received the smallest cup of coffee/espresso I have ever seen. The saving grace? A tiny white heart made of foamed milk. Love lives.

I still want to check out the Greenpoint Grumpy, where they serve a $12 cup of coffee and they roast their own beans right there. I'd been considering Greenpoint as a new possible home but I heard nightmares about the G train, there is no real park for my furry monster baby and there was a huge oil spill there, apparently, a sewage plant and a nature walk along the sewage plant.

Not exactly Mount Tabor Park.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fact Fiction

Visited with a life-long Brooklynite yesterday - wonderful K.'s aunt-in-law, who suggested I refer to her as "Auntie" and I shall! She invited me to her sprawling apartment (she's had about 30 yrs - apartment turned coop situation). I met her daughter. Auntie walked me all over Prospect Heights with her dog, Brooklyn, a near replica of my furry, white monster, A.

Auntie was so lovely and warm, and though she would likely not be a kidney-match, she is now an aunt. Voila! Wandering her neighborhood gave me hope that I would find a cozy, nearby home, for me and my little dog too. (Insert evil cackle. Throw head back.)

Hearing about her career (similar to mine), got me thinking about much longer-term hopes and goals, like writing goals, and also how private I am, despite the mini-blog presence. Really, I include a tiny portion, a certain sliver - as ephemeral as a parental fart, for which my mom is none too pleased, by the by.

So much remains absent here. And that stuff lives on paper. Real paper...maybe some day it will see the world.


I'm reading an excellent novel now (Ship Made of Paper) & thinking about solid writing. These themes lately:


Stumbled upon this...

Dr. Pankratz got his start in “mysteries” by studying deceptive patients. He began with a study subtitled “Summering in Oregon,” about patients who were wandering from hospital to hospital, telling false stories about their lives. The next critical paper was about veterans who claimed to have been traumatized in war. He found that four of five had never been in Vietnam, and two had never been in the military. This work was subsequently expanded into an exploration of other claims by imposters.

(pasted from

Internet profiles. Imposters. Stories.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Young People Bullshit

Dad: Overheard on Phone

"The keys are too small. Text? My son has a blueberry. Young people bullshit."

"First class punks, A-holes and momzas."

"They gave him the ax."

"They charge you an arm and a leg for everything but they're very nice. Very nice. And furthermore, I can say without contradiction..."

blowin' up my phone

Driving to X-Treme Fitness this am where real men grunt while lifting weights and orange-tan women speed-walk on treadmills, their elbows high, I heard a fantastic song by Lady Gaga.

I know, I know, I'm a pinch older than her target market and over-educated, but this song made me car-dance. It made me move, people. And, it reinforced a little dating lesson: men find women more appealing when they are a bit unavailable. I both hate this fact (yes, fact) and know it to be true. I've done my research with many friends, neighbors and friends of friends, and perhaps crossing some boundaries, even my own parents - my mom was dating two other guys while she dated my dad. I've shared that tale a while back. The other two men are sunning themselves on the riviera now, or searching for a well position helipad to land on, you know how rough that is & my mother is perfectly ecstatic, cutting out Shoprite coupons and napping in New Jersey with my dad who can often be found staring into a stuffed fridge and screaming up the stairs, "What's for lunch?"

And back to my point. I have one! Why is it a bad thing? It's good to have a life. It's even better to have a life where you're too busy holding a drink to text. Anyway, Lady G. says it brilliantly:

Just a second, it's my favorite song they gonna play
And I cannot text you with a drink in my hand, eh?
You shoulda made some plans with me, you knew I was free
And now you won't stop callin me, I'm kinda busy

Boy, the way you blowin up my phone
Won't make me leave no faster
Callin like a collector
Sorry I cannot answer

Some call me a wise sage. I had to share.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Isn't She Lovely?

And I thought I was having a bad day.

Sometimes NYC will eat you up and spit you out. Sometimes literally. I had that thought while riding an elevator into the nether regions of a Barnes 'N Noble on the Upper East Side. Meeting my friend, B., after her doctor's appointment. I had a job interview that morning & an appointment to see a cute, one bedroom in Park Slope that night.

How shall I describe the job - the job which I have not even been offered? No benefits. No definite hours. The pay was less than I was making as a temp, exactly one decade ago - at a job where I completed an entire novel. The woman at the agency told me cheerfully that people often take this job until they find something better.

Next, I got a text from a friend that said: Showing Off. I wondered what she might be showing off? What parlor tricks had she been amusing her office-mates with? But no. The showing was off - in text speak. Between the night before and that afternoon - less than 24 hours some person swooped in and stole my apartment.

But what's worse than a shitty interview and losing an apartment you never had? Getting ricocheted out of a NYC bus. My petite new friend, who had tried to find me a nice apartment in this cesspool, attempted to board a rather full public bus. I imagine the driver did not like that or maybe did not see her, and closed the doors on her, forcing her from the vehicle, into the air, and plopped back down on the sidewalk. Like a day old bagel.

I guess I'm lucky: I've boarded all public transportation unscathed thus far.


I got to hear Stevie Wonder in a bodgea.


I got the chance to walk with B. along 5th Ave from 86th all the way to the big cube/Apple store, where we descended the clear, plastic steps and found...lots of Euros. Some cute, with scruff and well knotted ties.

And of course B. made me laugh so hard I couldn't speak. Thank you, B. Can't buy that.


With manic energy, that night I went to a little networking event at NYU and met a gayasian (they flock to me & me to them), a lovely black gay man (same) and a woman doing the exact same work I hope to do and doing it in Brooklyn. She has since been helpful and we are getting together next week to check out her office space.

So, not every person here is evil. Exactly. At all.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Secret Key to Getting Along with Parents: Sangria

Yesterday I decided to be seen in public with my parents; it doesn't happen often. They wanted to check out a 55 and over community and I liked the idea of being the youngest person in the room. Apparently after a certain age, stairs are out and elevators are in. We spent over an hour touring unit after unit, all crazy-expensive like 7 figures and each elaborate. By the end I felt the walls coming in on me. After the visit we hit Trader Joe's and then a nearby Italian restaurant.

The air hit us in the face; it is crisp and cool around here, dropping more than a few degrees. The leaves are piling up, some trees are already bare. So the time is right for my mom to wear her ghetto-fly-mac-daddy hat. It is black, puffy and really loose on top, not unlike Snoop Dog's. Paired with her mirror sunglasses, and wow. So, take that ensemble and my dad's: fedora, replete with feather, and hounds-tooth scarf, and you've got one smokin' couple. My fashion plate move: my purple fleece zipper up vest, which makes me look like a lesbian, but it's just too comfortable not to wear. And with pockets that zipper? Who could resist? The check-out lady at Trader Joe's quite liked my dad's outfit.

Some snippets of conversation over dinner:

Mom: "If you die and I have to clean out the basement, I'm going to be cursing you out."
Dad: "Yes, I like the chicken here too."


Me: "I feel bad. A. hasn't had her dinner yet."
Dad: "You're welcome, sweetheart. My pleasure to take you all out for dinner."

My all-time favorite...

Mom: "Why do you think he needs a hearing aid?"
Dad: "They're five thousand dollars! They don't work and medicare doesn't cover it."
Mom: "He hears when I pup in the other room. That, he hears."
Me: "Wow, that's impressive."
Dad: "I'm sorry? You're mumbling again."

Sangria, sangria, sangria

Sunday, November 7, 2010


First off, I apologize to friends who I did not get to see during this trip. It was just a few days and I would love to have connected. Alas, I miss you all and hope to be back or to have you visit me soon.

One of the funniest moments of my recent trip to Portland. I had only 3 full days there, and had to cover work concerns, get official fingerprints, and other tedious errands but I would not miss a trip to Powell's (or Lovejoy Baker's of course). Perusing the fiction then psychology aisles I heard the announcement, "Whoever lost an umbrella please come to the yellow room and describe it and we will return it to you."

Who has ever lost an umbrella in Portland, Oregon in November? And at Powell's?

As if that was not silly enough, on a hike turned walk with L., from Mississippi to Alberta, we spied a bike rack cozy. That's right: just what Portland needs. A person (who I don't know, but who I know I love, I know it) is knitting pretty cozies that fit perfectly on bike racks and running around Portland applying them.

Lest our metal bike racks get chilly.

FYI: Apparently a friend of a friend in Brooklyn knit a sweater for a tree in Prospect Park, because "it looked sad without its leaves."

This gives me hope, people.

Another fun moment: arriving back at JFK airport after the red eye. 5:30am. Man in line at Dunkin' Donuts cuts in front of me, proceeds to bump me two times. On the third, I tell him, "Excuse me. You've hit me three times." But I settle down as he apologizes and offers to buy my coffee. I don't let him. And soon enough...

LL Cool J is overhead and I'm at the baggage carousel about to hop on the $5 AirTrain. Dunkin' Donuts in hand with the C-S scrawled on the side:

cream, sugar
Welcome back.

And another FYI: Turns out things are better with MLAM as friends, and it is something I've chosen not to write about on here, for now, since he may be reading this. But maybe some day I will share. Funny enough, I re-posted my dating ad and within 48 hours a guy I met 5 years ago through friends emailed me.

Strange times.