Friday, May 18, 2007

Blogglets here and there

So, here's the usual excuse: I have been working a lot so when I get home at night, I try to avoid the computer a little so I can spend time with my dog and my husband. But the other half is off at a show, so here I am to catch y'all up. On what, I'm not so sure. Right now I'm just kind of trying to contemplate the place my belly is in, after me having eating nearly an entire bag of blue corn chips and a full jar of creamy southwestern ranch dip. Sounds good, right? It was.

Last Saturday, husband and dog and I went to the "dog beach" in Prospect Park. (That's the giant, huge, massive park in the neighborhood of Park Slope.) Park Slope is to Brooklyn what Lincoln Park is to Chicago, only a little crunchier and a lot richer. The strollers are big, parking is nil, and everyone has a dog. But I digress. We went to the Big Park and found the little, tiny dog beach. It was a portion of shore fenced off from the rest of the lake, perhaps thirty feet long and twenty feet deep. And for a dog who was used to frolicking up and down the longt beaches of Lake Michigan, it just wasn't worth it. If Jack could have given this beach the finger, she would have. Of course this led to me removing my shoes and wading into the putrid, icy water and trying to lure her in against her will. I did succeed in luring in a giant chocolate labrador, and was thusly splashed from head to toe. Good times.

Husband of mine is now officially done teaching for the year and has begun The World's Longest Summer Break. That is, of course, until he begins his second official job as a PhD student. Please wish him luck. Of course he's been getting email after email from his students professing how much they love him and how much they enjoyed his classes. What can I say? He's born to teach, for him it is truly a gift. My gift is an uncanny abilty to convince people not use comic sans or papyrus on their wedding invitations. See? We are each and all of us unique and wonderful snowflakes.

I get to attend the National Stationery Show here in New York this week... it's sort of like the Mother Ship is calling me home. Me and acres and acres of beautiful paper products... I might die of happiness. When I am not dying, I will be trying to suss out new and fun printing companies that we can represent in the shop. All other moments will be spent rolling around in piles of lovely letterpressed sheets and finely engraved papers. Yes, paper cuts may happen.

Summer is really trying to arrive here, but today it's been freakin' cold. I sense California wants to send me some sun, though.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

New York Movie

The neighborhood where I take music lessons is a largely Puerto Rican section of Williamsburg, just outside the super-ultra-hipster section but still cool enough to snag a great apartment above some scrappy little bodega without paying $2000 a month. There are all sorts of colorful characters peppering the streets and I am always reminded of the obligatory New York Movie scenes where kids are sitting around on porch stoops hollaring at each other or playing handball in a deserted school playground. Tinny-sounding music wafts around from where ever and it smells like all manner of fried, crunchy things. It is, like so many things, very New York. Or maybe, it's very Brooklyn.

Yesterday I arrived at my music lesson early, so I stood outside of the building just soaking up some sunshine and watching time pass me by. The building is big, the kind where you have to be buzzed in, and there is always a steady stream of people going in and out who always offer to let me in without knowing who I am. I supposed they assume the big, black cello-shaped back pack that I have strapped to myself is indeed actually a cello and not some frightening torture device with which I will terrorize the residents. So, yeah, as I am waiting in the sun about four people asked if I needed to go inside and I declined. Continued sunning myself.

An older grandmotherly-type woman was crossing the street toward the front door of the building and stopped to talk to some guy in a car as he waited for the light to change. I saw her reach into the car and warmly grab his hand, and then when he took off and she walked toward the door, where I was standing. In a wonderfully thick accent, she asked if I needed to be let in. I told her no, thank you, but I needed to wait. She smiled and turned to the door, but then she turned back to me. "He is such a nice young man now." I realized she was talking about the guy in the car that she had just been talking to. She continued, "I was so worried about him for many years... I didn't think he could get it together. But now, when I see him, I see that he grew up all right." I smiled at her and muttered something lame, I can't remember what. "I guess you grow up and you smell the coffee," she said and grinned.

"Yeah, I know I did," I told her.

"Okay," she said. "It's good to see you. Take care."

I told her it was good to see her, too. Even though I had never seen her before. Because it was good to see her. It's nice when someone shares a pleasant thought with you for no reason, you know?

So the time had gone by and I buzzed and then plodded up the five flights of cracked, sloping marble stairs to my lesson.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Photo montage

Happened upon some racks of free clothes that had been left behind by some TV costume crew. They were mostly mens clothes, and my husband is the happy new owner of the following items: a London Fog trenchcoat, a formal alpaca coat, three brand new pairs of Levi's and a nice button down shirt. He also got two new pairs of black leather gloves, which were hidden in the pockets of the coats. It must have been a crime drama shoot...

Some fleurs in the park...

This adorable little girl on a poster in the subway taunts me as I wait for the ever-so-slow G train.

Cool ships abound at the Southt Street Seaport. Sort of like Pier 39 for you Californians.

Urban turkey who seemed pretty content to hang around Lower Manahttan.

spring observations

You watch and you wait, and there in between the watching and the waiting you think about a time when the cold sticks that pretend to be trees won't be cold sticks anymore. You think about open windows and street sounds wafting through a lazy apartment on a lazy day, or walks to work that don't include puffy coats, silly hats and an ice cold wind finding the spaces that you forgot to cover on your self.

And then, all at once and altogether too slowly, the trees begin to have specks of green and puffs of pinks. The sun hangs around much later than it did in January and dares to remind you of steamy summer evenings that have yet to arrive. Spring is here, and my East Coast Spring (unlike my West Coast Spring) takes its sweet time to reintroduce itself to us. But I am ready.

I am reminded of the house that I refer to as my true Childhood Home on a little cul-de-sac in Fresno. When I think of Spring, I think of that house and it's wide open windows. I think of sunshine streaming in and catching specks of dust in the air of my bedroom and I think of green shag carpet and a backyard that offered endless opportunities. I think of Girl Scout meetings on the back porch and of bottle-brush trees blooming red and buzzing with bees. I think of open garage doors and hydrangas and calla lillies. Nostalgia is a beautiful thing.