Friday, January 30, 2009


...and I don't mean the fun kind...

Here I am in bed, sick, chilly, hot, miserable, feverish, raspy throat with no one to take care of me but my useless geriatric dog, who expects me to walk him in the frigid Brooklyn air at regular intervals and couldn't be bothered, in exchange, to make me a cup of lemon zinger tea with honey...and is now too old to climb up onto the bed and keep me warm...

I'm trying to find comfort in the small things--like the fact that I am wearing a very nice, fancy soft red t-shirt that matches my soft soft red blanket--I'm the only person I know who gets dressed up for being ill--ridiculous, isn't it, but somehow it makes me feel worse to be in sweats--

I'd ask you good people to offer up your ideas for a remedy, but I can't really hobble about the kitchen to make it, so that's no good--perhaps just a virtual remedy then, something with liquor in it?--

...I think I may be a bit delirious...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I'm Bringing Sexy Back

Check out the longest post I've ever written over at Just a Housewife. See whether you agree with me and Sarge about any of it. If you can make it through the entire interminable post, I will give you a prize. Well, no I won't.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Just sort of thinking out loud...

As I try not to smoke, I must occupy myself with other things.  Obviously, I have work to do, but I feel so fidgety and lost and crabbit (thanks Mr. Bastard for that quite expressive word, so much better than merely "crabby) that I know I have to come up with happy frivolous things too. Music is always good for me--I once wrote about my Gloom Playlist, the songs I love to have a good cry to. But I definitely don't want to encourage the weeping--my god, once begun, I might never stop!!! So instead I'm working very scientifically on a survey of songs of a different nature--and you can find this later here, on Just a Housewife if you care to join in the debate I've started with Sgt Pepper over what constitutes a truly sexy song.

I'm also finding that making dolls out of tiny bits of brightly colored felt is lovely, and much appreciated by Hedgehog, as is the construction of a gazillion origami stars

And knitting dishcloths

Bright cheery colors, things to keep my hands busy, and music that won't make me suicidal. That just about sums up my new and somewhat dubious approach to life planning.

A random end-note: Before I leave you, I'd like to poll anyone who stops by with the following question: What do you think of maxi-dresses (you know, the ones with a fitted top and an ankle-length flowy skirt)? I've been wondering whether they're pretty, or like an expensive version of dirty hippy, Holly Hobbyish or like Carrie's prom dress or what? You can go here to see the one that I've been oddly aquiver over...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

...a madness has seized me...

I pray that I've had my last smoke.  It was so sad really, that last wonderful drag.  But done it must be.  My confidante, yummy, soothing, my respite, my private moments, my dear cigarettes.  My seat by the window where I can write with one arm, hanging the other outside in the cold so that I won't inflict the smoke on Hedgehog.  Non-smokers won't understand the whole sordid love affair.  Smokers, past and present, you know how it is don't you?

I said a post or two ago that it's never a good idea to make public pronouncements, but announced this must be.  So here I am announcing.

I've quit before, at times for years.  This last setback lasted six months.  Maybe I was at a more vulnerable time of my life, more in need of consolation, but whatever--I just couldn't stay away.  The last time I was pregnant, nine years ago, I hadn't smoked in years so quitting wasn't an issue.  When Hedgie was two or three, I became grimly depressed, and returned to the habit.  I would sit outside on our stoop, hiding from motherhood, lighting up and daydreaming.  Then I quit again, then I started again.  And here I am again.

My love affair with smoking is like a horrible sexual attraction gone terribly wrong, a man who beats you but loves you too and to whom you can't help but return again and again.

I feel like screaming.  If this sounds overwrought, well, I tell you, a madness has seized me.  

This is definitely the sort of post that one takes down when one realizes how much one has embarrassed one's self.

Updated: Remember not to tell me it's a bad unhealthy habit, because let's be honest, it looks sexy, smells delicious, and helps smooth out the rough spots.  Those public service ads on tv showing the ill effects of smoking? They just make me run for my pack.  My breath is like an ashtray? Kiss me and you'll find it tastes sweet, I guarantee.

All that said.......heeeeelllllllppppp!!!!!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dialect Fetish

If you care to, please feel free to join me here, at my other blog for a bit of a discussion on my fetish.

If not, I'll see you in a bit.

And by the way, has anyone noticed that since I declared I would be taking a blogging hiatus to work hard on my dissertation, I've been blogging more than ever!?

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Lesson of the Moth

I was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires

why do you fellows pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
thing for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense

plenty of it he answered
but at times we get tired
of using it
we get bored with the routine
and crave beauty
and excitement
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get 
too close it will kill us
but what does that matter
it is better to be happy
for a moment and be burned up with beauty 
than to live a long time
and be bored all the while
so we wad all our life up
into one little roll
and then we shoot the roll
that is what life is for
it is better to be a part of beauty
for one instant and then cease to 
exist than to exist forever
and never be a part of beauty
our attitude toward life
is come easy go easy
we are like human beings
used to be before they became 
too civilized to enjoy themselves

and before i could argue him
out of his philosophy 
he went and immolated himself 
on a patent cigar lighter
i do not agree with him
myself i would rather have
half the happiness and twice the longevity

but at the same time i wish
there was something i wanted 
so badly as he wanted to fry himself


Last night I watched "Man on Wire," a documentary about Philippe Petit, the man who walked a tightrope between the two towers of the World Trade Center.

Petit had a burning need to perform an act so daring that in the moment of action he would exist in both life and death at the same time, willingly, compulsively.  It was so obvious to me that the walk itself was an ecstatic experience for him--in the mind-blowing sex sense of the word, but in the religious sense as well--that he had entered a place of "mystical self-transcendence."  He could only get there by suspending his regular life and going to a weird extreme that would be difficult for us to understand.  But it was his weird extreme.  For others with this tendency it might be something else...flying into a flame, for instance...I watched it and related so strongly that I began to wonder some strange wonderings...

Sarge, who loves Petit, and also has an encyclopedic store of poetry in his head, as well as an extensive collection of poetry books, and always the perfect quote for the moment, found this passage from "archy and mehitabel" and presented it to me today.  And we discussed the idea of these two styles of being--the moth, and archy.  Sarge, whose personal history includes a remarkable amount of adventure and bravery, although he wouldn't like me to say so (oops, flagged for blogging rule violation) it's true anyway, says he's archy through and through.  I asked him if he thought that I was archy or the moth, and no matter how hard I begged, he wouldn't bite.  He said that each person has to know that for himself.  So with that in mind, I've decided that somehow, I don't know how yet, or maybe I do but I can't remember, I'm the moth not archy.

So do you "shoot the roll"? Did you ever? Do you want to? Will you? Is your tightrope over the abyss a man you loved, a woman, a pursuit? Was it liquor or art? Did you put one foot on the wire and then hate it and turn back? Did you continue with clenched teeth or with reckless abandon? Or are you an onlooker on the ground, 100 stories below, whether like archy a bit jealous, or just happy that it's not you up there...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Some Personal Blogging Rules

I'm sure someone out there has done this, but I've been thinking a lot recently about some rules (or should I say proscriptions) that I should really keep in mind when I blog. Some I think are universal, some purely subjective. All of these I learned through hard personal experience.

1. Never make public pronouncements of intention that you may not follow. Example: You're a doctoral student, and you announce that you're going to take a blogging hiatus to devote more time to writing your dissertation. When you're back three days later, you will look like a royal ass.

2. Never blog angry. I mean really, really furious, not just pissed off or mildly irked. Don't do it. Just don't. No exceptions, none at all. Unless your anger is effectively masked in humor, which is really difficult to achieve. Thus far, I've avoided doing this, but largely through Sarge's interventions. At times he's had to physically restrain me from my computer.

Some corollaries, such as Never Blog Drunk, are not hard and fast rules. Drunk blogging can be fun for your readers; you must have a high tolerance, though, for personal humiliation. Also, it's best if you're of the "illllloooooveyooooumaaan" school of drunk and not of the "iiiiiimmmmmgooonnnnacuuutyooooou" school.

3. When posting something personal, always consider how people you respect would react to the disclosure: every blogger should have a personal gatekeeper, either real or imagined, someone whose very existence might keep you from posting something you'd regret. It's kind of like WWJD for the layman. When I'm feeling delusional, I like to imagine how Severus Snape would react to a post. He's not a bad gatekeeper, actually, because all those who have read the books know how guarded a character he is. He keeps himself to himself, giving away very little to those around him. I mean my god! we didn't even know about the massive torch he carried for that eyelash-batter Lily Potter, until the bitter end of Book 7 (although, and this is a complete digression, Sarge predicted that plot twist, in near-entirety, as early as Book 4 or he smart or did he have a secret communique with J.K.?)

In "real life" (and I use this term quite loosely), Sarge is my blogging touchstone. When I met him in college, at a time and at an age when I and everyone else was emoting all over the place, being touchy-feely, revealing all manner of personal secrets and shadows just to get attention or hook up, boys and girls alike, Sarge was dignified and loath to unload all his personal business. He's still like that, god bless him, and I aspire to his masterful circumspection. Let's be honest, though, I often consider his perspective and then go on to shamefully emote and reveal anyway...

4. Exercise extreme caution when blogging about politics or religion: This old truism holds for polite conversation as well as for blogging. I really like to hold forth on things, but it can get you into trouble in several ways. If people don't agree with you, it can make you mad and/or hurt your feelings profoundly. Also, I think you can make others mad and/or hurt their feelings. I keep uncontrollably blogging about politics, which I really don't think is a great idea, but I can't seem to stop myself. I've been lucky that the people who read this blog are so incredibly polite and tolerant!!!!!

5. Exercise extreme caution when blogging about your child: I'm not so sure I always adhere to this stricture, but as Hedgie gets older, it seems very important not to infringe on her privacy. My rule of thumb is, can she read what I wrote without becoming embarrassed/furious?

and finally, most importantly,

6. Don't eat soup over your keyboard as you blog: this one is self-explanatory, and goes also for overstuffed hoagies, chocolate eclairs, and of course hot coffee.

So, does anyone else out there have any personal blogging rules?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rev. Joseph Lowery: Magically Old School

I just came off the inauguration, and I loved it. Barack Obama is hawkish like he needs to be, enigmatic and stern despite the fact that everyone on earth thinks mistakenly that he's their boyfriend/friend. I loved the performances (hello, clarinet? Who knew you were an instrument of angels), the poetry, Aretha's beautiful hat, the fittingly dark and somber ghost-written presidential address, all the God references (hey, I'm religious--I'm not so sure the atheists out there were as comfortable with it as I was).

But the stand-out as far as I'm concerned was the Rev Joseph Lowery. He packed a wallop with his growly octogenarian voice and religious fervor. He also delivered the finest words of the day:

"I'm equally certain that we will continue to pray for justice to roll down as waters, and for that day when there will be peace in the valley, and for that day when every man and every woman will sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none will be afraid, and for that day when black will not be asked to get back, brown can stick around, yellow will be mellow, the red man can get ahead, man, and white will embrace what is right! Amen!"

In that moment, like it or not, formality went out of style, people had the sticks forcibly pulled from their butts, and even our frowny president just had to grin. Thank you Rev Lowery for cracking wise with such dignity.

My cynicism is intact, though, rest assured. I still wish that darned Obama had used his own words (see post below). Sigh. Maybe someday.

UPDATED: I'm already seeing the critiques of Lowery's rhyme round and about the interwebs--seems the stick is still wedged up there, at least in some cases. Why does everything have to be so careful? so precious? I guess this is exactly why Obama needs a speechwriter who reworks every utterance to death before it can be trotted out in public.

And on another note, Hedgie watched the inauguration at school, with great interest. I blew her mind out when I told her that Obama's speech wasn't his own. She said she was shocked--she thought that not only were those his words, but that he was speaking right off the cuff. I guess it's a testament to his terrific speaking ability. God I felt like I was telling her the tooth fairy didn't exist. She also told me that it was "hard to have a mama who doesn't always agree with everyone else about politics." (everyone else being the far left leaning liberals in our incredibly rarified neck of the woods). I told her "I'm a free thinker, Hedgehog, and it's good for you to grow up in a free-thinking household. You need to learn how to think for yourself and not always go along blindly with the herd." She said, "you're right, mama, but it's hard." I said "You bet it's hard, but it's the most important thing you'll ever have to learn."

This came on the heels of a conversation we had this morning when she said "all war is bad." I said, "what about when we had to fight the Nazis in WWII so that we could stop them from killing all the Jews?" She said, "Okay, maybe not that war, but all other wars. Like Iraq." I said, "why is Iraq a bad war?" She said, "I admit, I don't know that much about it." I reminded her that she could certainly have opinions, but that those opinions needed to be informed. I know that the parents of her friends, well by and large, offer their strong opinions to their children, but never really explain their reasoning. It's like they think the kids are old enough to take on their politics, but too young to really be offered facts and explanations. Drives me insane in the membrane.

Jon Favreau: Pete Townshend to Barack Obama's Roger Daltrey

Abraham Lincoln's 1861 Inaugural Address

Or as Sarge said, more like "Jon Favreau: Cole Porter to Barack Obama's Mel Torme."

To be a bit less opaque, why can't these presidents write their own speeches, like Churchill, or me for my Bat Mitzvah? What ever happened to good old-fashioned homiletics? I would love to hear an inaugural address written by the man himself. Why cannot he speak for himself? He's obviously capable, and I for one would rather hear something he labored over in his spare moments than a speech from the mind of a souped-up adolescent wordsmith-for-hire. Did Lincoln have a speech-writer? (okay, I Googled it just to be sure, and no he did not)

Come on Obama, I want to hear you in your own words! You're not someone's puppet! Let's call for genuine speeches people!!!!

*learns second lesson of blogging the hard way: 2. never make pronouncements like "I'm taking a blogging break to be more studious" or you're gonna embarrass yourself dude. (#1 is never blog angry/drunk/non compos mentis or otherwise compromised of sense and reason)*

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Working on My Dissertation

Severus has told me in no uncertain terms that it's time to find my discipline again--and if I won't, he'll find it for me.

I need a hiatus to take care of business. Hopefully I'll have the willpower to stay away from my blog for a little while; you know, refresh, renew. Let's see how long I make it dudes!

See you on the flip side!

Friday, January 16, 2009

missing you terribly...

...but at least, dad, I can see thestrals now!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Daddy: October 1943- January 2005

Empty-handed I entered the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going—
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.

(Ichikyo, written on the morning of his death, 1360)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Buffalo Dusk

The buffaloes are gone.
And those who saw the buffaloes are gone.
Those who saw the buffaloes by thousands and how they pawed the
prairie sod into dust with their hoofs, their great heads down pawing on in a
great pageant of dusk,
Those who saw the buffaloes are gone.
And the buffaloes are gone.

Hedgehog came home yesterday with this poem. For homework she had to answer some analytical questions about it. I asked her how the poem made her feel; she said "Mama, I was choked up with tears when I first read it." They are studying the prairies, the frontier, the Plains Indians, and the pioneers, and this is how they are doing it. This is what they do in their second grade classroom; and this is why I believe in progressive, unorthodox education for children, more strongly than I believe in almost anything else in the world.

Poem by Carl Sandburg, image by buckchristensen, Flickr Creative Commons

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Three Faces of Eve

Sometimes I feel integrated; sometimes I feel confused by my radically conflicting personality characteristics. I relate to this:

But then again I'm like a Fritz Eichenberg woodcut:

Alive, sparkling; wooden, haunted.

Eh. Vive la difference!

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Few Rejected Ideas for Posts

1. Incest?

These two people are some old once-or-twice removed cousins of mine. They are brother and sister. They were very weird, so I'm told. Does this look like an appropriate pose between siblings, or am I the weird one for thinking it's weird?

2. My Birthday Cake

My birthday cake was rich chocolate mousse with dark chocolate flowers all round its top. I bought it and even had them write "Happy Birthday Leah" on top. Then we brought it home and immediately cut it up. I couldn't stop eating it today, and it's nearly demolished. I feel a great deal of remorse.

3. I've Lost My Coffee Mojo

I'm a coffee snob. I need it strong and tasty, or not at all. I scorn and actually revile people who try to serve me weak coffee, whether it's the guy at the breakfast cart outside Hedgie's school, or my mother. Last week I had lunch with a dear old friend. After lunch, she offered us tea, saying "I don't know how to make coffee." I think she put a voodoo conjuration or malediction on me, because ever since then I can't make a good pot of coffee. How am I going to get my mojo back?

4. Roses

My cleaning lady brought me four red roses for my birthday. For some reason, I felt a need to hide the dozen red roses Sarge had gotten me. Why? I didn't want her to feel redundant. I guess.

5. Doctor Morbius: Is He My New Severus Snape?

Well, is he?

6. courtesy of Sarge Which Female Anime Character Does My Husband Have a Crush On?

7. The Gaza Problem: Should I Say What I Think?

No. Absolutely not. I don't want to hear any comments on this topic. For a Jew to post on this, it's like posting a photo of yourself and asking readers to tell you whether or not you look fat.

8. "Milk" the movie

A post specifically for bitching: I hate the very idea of this movie. There's a wonderful documentary on Milk, and when they make a movie like this with an actor, people tend to get confused and superimpose the real guy on the crappy actor, elevating the actor to a status way above his actual existence, and further emphasizing our loathsome Hollywood worship problem. Milk was worthwhile; Sean Penn is worthless.

So...which is the worst of these none-too-appealing topics?...No don't answer that...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Five Things: More Opportunity for Me to Expound on Leah!

From Megan, a fun meme.

If you like, after reading this, every single last word and punctuation mark, haha, and you would like me to ask you five questions, you can follow Megan's instructions (I quote verbatim, 'cause she's funny):

"1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions. If your profile does not include an email address, then send it to me. And if you don't know where to look for my email address, I wash my hands of you.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions."

It's a sort of question pyramid scheme.

Here are my questions from Megan. I really like these questions. And I'm supposed to be writing, but I'm taking a break to do this instead:

1. A wizard casts a spell and either you or Sarge must be mute for one week. You have to pick. Who gets this curse (or blessing)? (Note that it doesn't affect work outside the home, or anything. Just within the family.)

I would take the curse. Of the people in my household, I'm the most likely to say something churlish, curmudgeonly, cranky. I should be the one to shut up for a week. I bet life would be a little quieter around the old weatherinthestreets homestead...

2. Are you near-sighted or far-sighted? If you could get laser eye surgery would you? Or do you prefer glasses? (Kind of a dull question, I know, but as a glasses-wearer, I am curious!)

I am desperately near-sighted. I mean, without my glasses I'm disabled. I got my first glasses when I was 11. Sob. No, actually, I like glasses now. I tried contact lenses, and prefer glasses. I don't think I'd have laser surgery, because, well, I don't know why not exactly. I'd worry it would go wrong and blind me completely, which is an unreasonable fear. And my glasses are just a part of me.

3. I love U2 but as I mentioned, Joshua Tree is not for me. I have personal reasons for this, but even disregarding those, I have difficulty approving the album itself. Do you have a similar situation with a favorite artist? Who, What and Why?

Okay, it's about to get ugly all up in here for a sec. You can skip this if you still think I'm kinda nice. I have a HUGE, I mean HUGE ENORMOUS beef with anyone who supports Mumia Abu-Jamal. If you don't know who he is, you're probably better off. I become insensate with rage, and I'm not kidding here, when I think about the fact that this doofus is still alive on death row, bitching and moaning. Unfortunately, there are some music folk who support him--Sting, for one, but since I don't really care about Sting, that's fine. A real disappointment is the Beastie Boys. I once loved the Beastie Boys--they're from my neck of the woods and they're great. But I have a complete boycott since learning of their support of Mumia. Oof. Good question, Megan.

4. Hedgie graduates from high school with honors and a scholarship to university, but tells you that rather than go to college or get a job right away, she'd rather spend a year at home first, "thinking things out." What would you say?

Now I like to be as open-minded as possible (Mumia notwithstanding) but this would really throw me. If Hedgie had a really really good plan, for instance she wanted to do a wonderful internship that would lead to great things after college/grad school and was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, I might be inclined to be supportive. My family has always been dogged believers in a straight path to college and beyond, and I would have a super-hard time letting go of that. In my experience, too, once you're off a track like that, it's damned hard to get back on it successfully. So if she was just going to take a year to mull things over, with no real plan, I'd be strongly opposed.

That said, I don't think college is the be-all-and-end-all. Not going to, or not finishing, college, or not doing it on schedule, doesn't make a person less of a fine mind, a good human being, and worthwhile. But I was raised with the expectation, and I have it for Hedgie. I know Sarge does too. Plus, she's already planning to go to me and Sarge's alma mater...hmmm...

I'm going to have to pose this question to Sarge. It's a really excellent question, because it really goes much deeper than just the face of it--it gets into all sorts of things, our expectations for our children and for ourselves, exploring limits of tolerance and acceptance, questioning our own rigidity and bias and judgmental tendencies, fighting against those, doing what's best for our children, not just what we think is best for them...

5. The wizard comes back for more - you can either record a great song that will be sung by all the world, or publish your book (with no guarantee of success)?

No question that I would choose the publication of my book, even if it ultimately garnered bad reviews and was remaindered within the half-year!


So if you need some blogging inspiration, and are willing to take the gamble, let me know and I'll be delighted to interview you!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

How I Met My True Love

I found a little New Year's inspiration here: a challenge to write the story of how I met my best love.

My junior year of college, I came out of a failed love affair with a brilliant artist, a pothead, whose long hair I would put in french braids for him whenever he liked, he was funny and beautiful, but cruel and with a penchant for boys as yet unfulfilled. Our relationship ended painfully, and I was miserable, and miserably sought comfort in highly unsuitable beds. When I could see again, and had become disgusted with my own behavior, I began to notice a man, a friend of one of the girls I shared an apartment with, Lucy. He was older by five years, because, I heard, he had been in the army and then returned to college. I would watch him from across the smoking lounge in the social center, and I saw that although he often held forth with a noisy bunch of comrades, he had a quiet center and was mature. Don't ask me how I could see this across a room, through a haze of smoke and noise, but, somehow, I could.

I began to find ways to hang out with him, and just to be near him. I remember one night, I joined Lucy and this man at the little campus nightclub. I was working on a paper on Byron's poetry, and was tired of working alone. The three of us shared a tiny table and ordered coffee and chocolate cake, and I got out my pen and notebook and Complete Works of Lord Byron. I asked Lucy's friend what he thought of a particular poem, how he would interpret it--it was "So We'll Go No More A-Roving"--and of course, being that this was college and by this time he had probably noticed me too, he offered a very smart commentary. Ah, the heady days of intellectual foreplay...

He began taking me on occasional drives at night, to get off campus and to complain about our failed love affairs--but soon the conversation turned to other, more interesting topics, like what we wanted to be when we grew up. At that time, it was a toss-up for me between rabbinical school and the FBI, and I think that impressed him, as our college was chock full of mindless liberal drones, smart but all planning seemingly the same career in public service law. Fine career, of course, but not the only one in the world. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but still.

I began to think about him all the time, in between our car rides. But what I didn't realize then was that Lucy's friend was actually Sarge, my Sarge, the one with whom I would be forever after that, who gave me Hedgie, who is the love of my life, my only true man for the past 18 years. Or maybe I did know, after all, in some cosmic way.

One night, as I sat at one of my many boring college jobs, watching the desk at the social center, my phone rang. It was my other roommate, Emma, breathless on the line. "Leah!" she hissed into the phone. "I'm sitting with Sarge on his front porch, and Sarah is here with us--I think she's plotting her move on him--you've gotta get your ass here immediately--I can only hold her off so long!"

Sarah was a pale pretty blond girl, totally neurotic, like me, but fuck her! At this point, I wanted him for myself!

I grabbed a random freshman by the arm and sat them at the desk and told them to answer the phone, and I literally ran for Sarge's house. Ran! All the way across the darkened campus, the entire length of it, and out onto the streets of the town. Damn it, she would not get him before I had a chance! A block from his house, I had to pause to catch my breath and my dignity, to straighten my skirt, and then I sauntered casually out of the shadows toward the porch. My friend Emma gave me a wink, and a "hey Leah, what's up?" then immediately got up to leave--"see you guys later"--me with Sarge and Sarah. Sarge seemed glad to see me, but Sarah was definitely on the just waited her out. For like an hour. I remained unmoveable, like a coed menhir. Finally, when the conversation turned unexpectedly to me and Sarge's heretofore undiscovered mutual love of Tintin comics, Sarah gave up and said goodnight. I think I can still hear, after all these years, the silent whoop that resounded in my head. Funny thing is, Sarge told me years later that he'd never had any intention of hooking up with her. But well, hey, the drama of the victory was heady at that moment on the porch when I watched Sarah's retreating back, her swinging blond hair, turning the corner back into shadow past the street lamp...and I was left alone with Sarge.

We retired to his little room in the rambling off-campus house, eventually, where we listened to music--he played me "Candy's Room" by Bruce Springsteen--and finally, on the narrow twin bed, we kissed softly, and even later, fell asleep warm and close...

And that's the story of me and Sarge, at least the beginning of it.

Secret Joy

Today while Hedgehog was at a bowling party in Manhattan, I somehow found myself in Anthropologie, a store that has haunted my dreams for years. It is so exactly my taste in clothing that it's as if the designers entered my dreams and stole my aesthetic. However, the prices and the fact that often the clothes would make a coltish 12-year-old look zaftig, have prevented me from fulfilling my decades-long fantasy of owning a dress from this store.

Well, this afternoon I finally bought a dress. My favorite dress I've ever owned. Go check it out if you feel like it, HERE. I have many plans for this dress. I shall wear it with a thin drapey red long-sleeved t-shirt, boots, and tights in winter. In spring, with wedge-heeled sandals and a light sweater.

I love you, darling darling Secret Joy dress.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Please feel free to grab a partner and sing along...I did...

Baby, Its Cold Outside - Louis Jordan & Ella Fitzgerald

I really can't stay
(But, baby, it's cold outside)
I got to go 'way
(But baby, it's cold outside)
This evening has been
(Been hoping that you'd drop in)
So very nice
(I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice)
My mother will start to worry
(Beautiful, what's your hurry)
And father will be pacing the floor
(Listen to the fireplace roar)
So really I'd better scurry
(Beautiful, please don't hurry)
Maybe just a half a drink more
(Put some records on while I pour)
The neighbors might think
(Baby, it's bad out there)
Say, what's in this drink
(No cabs to be had out there)
I wish I knew how
(Your eyes are like starlight now)
To break the spell
(I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell)
I ought to say no, no, no, sir
(Mind if I move in closer)
At least I'm gonna say that I tried
(What's the sense of hurting my pride)
I really can't stay
(Baby don't hold out)

Ahh, but it's cold outside

I simply must go
(But, baby, it's cold outside)
The answer is no
(But, baby, it's cold outside)
This welcome has been
(How lucky that you dropped in)
So nice and warm
(Look out the window at that storm)
My sister will be suspicious
(Gosh, your lips look delicious)
My brother will be there at the door
(Waves upon a tropical shore)
My maiden aunt's mind is vicious
(Ooh, your lips are delicious)
Well maybe just a cigarette more
(Never such a blizzard before)
I've got to get home
(But, baby, you'll freeze out there)
Say, lend me a comb
(It's up to your knees out there)
You've really been grand
(I thrill when you touch my hand)
But don't you see
(How can you do this thing to me)
There's bound to be talk tomorrow
(Think of my life long sorrow)
At least there will plenty implied
(If you caught pnuemonia and died)
I really can't stay
(Get over that old doubt)

Ahh but it's cold outside

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Day in the Life

Here at Chez Weatherinthestreets, New Year's Day has been a stay-at-home day. It's absolutely frigid outside, I haven't been feeling great, and frankly we're all so over the holidays.

So let me offer a glimpse of a lazy day in the life over here in Brooklyn. I'm not sure where this is going, and it's sure to be dull, but I'll try to tell it like it is...

9:30: stumble upstairs like a hungover orangutan, despite the fact that I indulged in nothing more last night than a viewing of Tropic Thunder (brilliant by the way) and a glass of orange juice, New Year's Eve festivities cancelled in a moment of malaise. Oh and I went to bed at 11:30. Hedgehog is in a new phase of letting me sleep in on weekends, so that she can have an hour of privacy in which to sneak chocolate coins and read comic books without my nagging voice...

I am happy to note that Pippin has been walked by someone. And by the way, he's still with us. His condition has been upgraded from the appalling seizures of Death's Door to merely One Foot near the Grave. I'm relieved but wary, and I think he can hang on for a bit longer, but who knows.

9:30-9:45: groggily stumble around, make coffee, make toast and pour orange juice for Hedgehog. Debate whether to give her Damson Plum or strawberry preserves on her toast. The question is, which will be easier to pull the fruit pieces out of? Yes, every morning I revert her preserves from preserves back to jelly by fishing out all pieces of whole fruit. Why, you ask, would I not buy jelly to begin with? Well, I dislike jelly, and I won't compromise where my preserves are concerned. Why not buy jam and jelly? OH, I hadn't thought of that...the answer, by the way, is Damson Plum. I go with Strawberry; I like a challenge.

9:45-11: sit on couch with Hedgehog. Finish up invitations to my birthday party--I'm forcing my friends to come to my house and knit. I will serve hors d'oeuvres, however. Trader Joe's, I'm coming. Hedgehog reads her new Batman comic, given to her by Sarge. She comments to me that it is her first ever Superhero comic, and she really likes it. She says "Mama, Bruce Wayne is really handsome even when he's not in his Batman outfit!" She seems oddly surprised, and dare I say titillated...

In this time, I also begin a project for a knitting contest, but put it down to check on our sink drain, which has been mulish for a week now. We're very, very scared to find out what has lodged itself down there. Sarge votes one of his missing socks; I think it's a wad of old credit card bills. Dran-o, boiling water, whispered tender sweet nothings, and finally shouted imprecations have all been for naught. It's time for the makeshift snake.

11-1: This is the transitional time for our lazy days at home. It's a precarious couple of hours, because depending on level of moodiness/ leftover seething resentments/ feelings of boredom/ thwarted desire to watch Lifetime undisturbed, the day can turn sour here.

I make Sarge a breakfast/lunch thingy; he has been sleeping off his job, and I like to let him. Today it's a grilled cheese with cucumber spears on the side, and a glass of ice cold Dr. Pepper as he doesn't drink coffee (that savage). I bring it to him in bed, because that's just how I roll. I like to be nice when I can. He wakes up, and we discuss Tropic Thunder for quite awhile. For instance, Robert Downey Jr in blackface. We thought he was brilliant. I maintain that the movie is the Spinal Tap of Vietnam War movies. Transitional period, so far so good.

Upstairs, we play some of our fave 1950s "race music" and Sarge and I sing along very loudly. Hedgie begins to squirm with embarrassment. But that's our job as parents, to embarrass her!

When I call it "race music" jokingly, Hedgie asks about that expression, which leads precipitously to a discussion of the civil rights movement, which leads to perusal of pictures of segregated water fountains, buses, bathrooms, etc. Hedgie has never seen any of these photos, and for some reason the one that really brings a horrified look to her face is the classic "white" and "colored" water fountain signs. She knows a lot more about certain things than many children of her background, if not her age. She tends to run with quite a sheltered, privileged bunch of kids. But she knows about the Holocaust, and about the military, and about the war that's going on now (people, you'd be absolutely stunned to know how many of her peer group don't even know exactly what a soldier is. WTF?) Of course, Sarge's job and his background and his military service already set us apart from our milieu, but in a way that I think is salubrious. Hedgie has grown up knowing things about the world--age-appropriate things, but nonetheless...anyway...

Soon the history lesson about one of America's most complex and frightening and ultimately inspiring chapters comes to an end, as abruptly as it was begun. Such is life with an 8-year-old. Now boredom will prevail, tipping the delicate balance toward grump. When Sarge and I came upstairs, Hedgehog was dutifully writing 18 thank you notes for her birthday party gifts, it's a work-in-progress, but even bolstered with tons of brightly-colored stickers and a variety of fancy notecards, this task is a tall one for an 8-year-old. The first one contained the apology, "I would write more, but I have 17 other thank-yous to make." I had to explain to her why that wasn't entirely polite, even when I wasn't sure myself; I just knew it probably wasn't quite.

After the race music and the lesson, Hedgehog abandons her notes to strike up a squabble with her blameless parents. If I were a decent parent, I would have taken her to the playground at this point, freezing wind be damned. But with Sarge I took the lazy way out and waited out the semi-tantrum in order to be able to continue to languish inside like overgrown hothouse flowers.

Next, Whomper the hamster/guinea pig thing comes to the rescue, out to entertain the troops. He has achieved such immense proportions that he no longer fits through the tube between his cages, but that's a topic for another post. Hedgie feeds him some cauliflower, and then puts him in the bathtub for his run and scamper. She calls in with frequent updates on his playdate with himself.

1-2: The U2 Joshua Tree songbook emerges from the shelf behind Sarge's desk, and Sarge and I hold an impromptu sing-along; Hedgie seems to accept it, and works on her Mandala coloring book in silence. Singing inspires us to unearth the cd, which is then played very loud, while Sarge and I analyze not for the first or even the 7th time its merits as a Christian Rock album. We are in agreement that it is, but one of high caliber. One that could convert even a staunch NY Jew, at least temporarily. Don't think I didn't fall for Bono's fresh-Irish-faced moanings about Jesus, back in the day. That triple-entendre John Donne-ian sexy religion is pretty compelling. Half-way through the album, Hedgie retires to her room with "The Secret of Platform 13" and a little tub of Hubba Bubba. All our emoting is once again just too much for her, bless her heart.

Sarge and I make it through Joshua Tree, Sarge puts on some Vivaldi religious music, then we subside into other activities, Sarge with his newspaper in the dog's chair, I with my computer and blog and some yogurt.

2-present: classical music, Sarge and Hedgie working on a 1932 Chrysler Roadster model, and I still at my computer, multi-tasking over blogging and suffering premature performance anxiety over dinner preparations. I wish everyone would agree to eat scrambled eggs tonight.

And now I leave you to scan the contents of the fridge, hoping to catch sight of some culinary catalyst...

Happy New Year!