27 April 2011

Wonderful World.-No, Really.

As usual, my day began with surrealism.

Am staying on my friend Erik's couch in the Village, a charming little mansion he's had since 1967. Erik Frandsen is the straight Cole Porter, a songwriter of bittersweet wit. And Erik has a New York Mouse, which is to say, a Mouse With Attitude. This is not Mickey. This is a mouse with a tiny leather jacket and a scale model switchblade. This mouse likes to stroll sneeringly across the floor in front of us and whistle "Lush Life". He's jaaaaded.

And this morning I stepped in the mouse trap.

"AAAAGH!!" I said calmly, while hopping across the floor on one foot. The other foot was being waved in the air with a glue covered mousetrap on it. 

"ERIK!" I shouted. "Why is thing on the FLOOR!"

"Well, that's where the mice are," he pointed out reasonably. 

I was grumpily scrubbing my toes in the sink. "Well, you should get taller mice," I grumbled.

From an undisclosed location in the closet, a tiny voice derisively fluted "Lush Life". And giggled.


Have decided that a good thing to call your informal boy/girlfriend is your "bounce".

"Meet the bounce."  -Right? Yes.

Pithy. Yet slightly raffinee. 


"Life has a holy contour."
                             -Jack Keruoac

     Keruoac has been appearing in today's particular series of serendipities. My great friend P. took me for a top-down ride in his gorgeous 1993 BMW convertible. We went on a frolic-and-detour ride through Gotham, and he pointed out the bar that Jack and Neal Cassady used to hang out at, at 47 and 8th. [Would like to take this moment that it wa the CAR that had it's tp down and not your humble correspondent.)

   Then I literally stumbled over a book on the floor in a bookstore (AFTER the car ride, that is. It wasn't a drivethru bookstore.) and picked it (and me) up, to find it was "Quotes from Jack". Well, okay then. Opened it to see what serendipity had to teach me today.
           He talks about "moviebooks" as the most American form of communication. It's funny to look at an iPad after reading that...what is it but a moviebook?  But "Life has a holy contour" is my new favorite quote.


My new book is writing me. It's exhilerating and a little unnerving. But mostly just sheerly exhilerating.

When I made a choice recently to transform my existence in a nothing-but-positive-energy-here-folks-please way, the Universe stepped right up to take my order. Making a complete commitment to something, is like placing a heavy object in the middle of a suspended rubber sheet....it bends reality towards you in a good way. The "heavy object" is one's declared commitment; the "rubber sheet" is reality. (Though it does sound a little kinkier, on reflection.) When one declares an intention with no loopholes or excuses, it has the effect of "rolling" coincidences down the "rubber sheet of reality" towards the "heavy object" of your you and intention. In other words, Good Stuff starts happening, if you're ready to be open to it in all forms. -And sometimes, even if you aren't. Just keep saying "yes".
        So: Suddenly, my work ethic and confidence, which had been off napping for a bit, came back.
They didn't just come back--they kicked the door down and ducttaped me to a chair, while they rearranged the furniture. Suddenly I was working 16-18 hour days, with huge enthusiasm. 20 pounds dropped off. The book seems to have it's own agenda, and is both dictating itself and giving the energy, clarity and focus i need to take dictation. It's very very cool.

       wishing you love.




10 April 2011

Tales of a Phoenix: The Annapolis Days

The day began, as many of my days do with someone being baffled.
I was walking the dog- a Bichon Stupide-and ran into a neighbor on the court. Like most avid birdwatchers, Lee looks like either a heron or James Thrurber, depending on your frame of reference.
(I have noticed that many lady birdwatchers resemble deepchested pouter pigeeons, or contented starlings, but that's another blog.) 
Lee stopped me. "I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad", he said, kindly and thinly. 
"Thanks so much", I said sincerely.
"I only know your Mom," he said. "We meet in the woods every evening."
He seemed unaware of the implications.
"Sirrah!" I said. "I would have you know that it is my mater of whom you refer to! I demand satisfaction!"
"Huh?" he asked, not unreasnably.
"I and my seconds will meet you at dawn in Clearwater Park, where this matter may be resolved to our satisfaction."
"Seconds?" said Lee. I noticed his glasses were fogging with bewilderment.
"Alright, thirds, then. I can't afford seconds. But until then- huzzah!"
"Huzzah?" He was wellmeaningly at sea.
"I'm jes' joshin', Lee." I said.
"Oh. Okay. You have a real nice day now, you hear?" he said, and pulled away his black cockapoo much to the relief of both of them.

I'm not sure i fit in in the suburbs.

Later that day, I changed into my Shopping Outfit. Mom needs to be tenderly fed three times a day, as she recovers from viral pneumonia and Loss;  and my foray into a Safeway the size of a citystate needed to be dressed for. In order to buy the ingredients necessary for  a light, refreshing dinner, I changed into a secondhand Chanel denim  supermini; leggings; combat boots; and a 1940's Lanz handknit sweater with little Austrian people on it, bowing to each other in what i choose to assume was an apology fo what they'd done to the Jews. Perfect for shopping for spinach! Hooray.
On my way out the door,ran into a hitherto unmet neighbor, a Simon Pegg Briish lookalike (for Simon, that is) and flirted with him shamelessly. We compared the relatve merits of European Soccer teams, tho he looked a little gobsmacked when I went into my rant about Barcelona choosing "tall" over ""can actually play". But he was cute, and flirting alays gives a spring to one's step.

The day proggressed quietly, as days caring for an invalid tend to: doctors frown on the introduction of unnecessary excitement, so I had to cancel the male strippers and the bocci Ball tournament. I did get many smiled for my outfit, and some out and out laughter, but genius will always have to withstand the scoffing of those who wear sweatsuits voluntarily in public.

After a lovely dinner, Mom and I retired to the back garden, her with her Pinot Noir, me with myt Gauloises, and watched the dusk colored cat hunt insincerely amongst daffodils. Mom and I recited sonnets, and told stories about Dad, and wept happily. I opened my laptop and concluded the evening by reading aloud Mary Oliver's beautiful poem "John Chapman."

Mom has gone to bed. I will stay awake, watchful,checking in several times a night to make sure she's breathing. She was bossy today: a Taurus, that's a sure sign of recovery. But one can never be too careful of the wellbeing of those we love. 

Tomorrow: another outfit, another set of meals, more poetry and I go to the local gym to see if they ned a yoga teacher. Onward: upward;sideways and through.

I miss my friends in the city. I hope they don't forget me. But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, for heaven and the future's sakes, as Robert Frost once put it.

Love the ones you love, and above all? be kind.

06 April 2011

Tale of a Phoenix: Getting Off My Ash

Annapolis Days.

I am very appreciative of this suspended moment in time, where I get to live in the country and take care of my beautiful Mom 24/7, until she feels better. Life doesn't often afford one the time to breathe, to think, and to love. I have been amazed to the point of delight, to discover that what I thought were a series of "Does-the-Universe-dislike-me-or what?" hardships in the last six months, was actually the Universe preparing me in the most sensitive and loving way possible, to be exactly where I needed to be, at exactly the right time. Which is: Here. Now. I went from being the Gold Medalist In Competetive Misery, to being someone who is actively happy and grateful, every damn moment. -And yes, if I was you, I'd be raising a skeptical eyebrow right about now. But...

Today, 3 weeks after the death of my justifiably-worshipped Dad, I went with my  Mom for a walk in the frail, hyacinthine twilight. She's getting over double pneumonia, and, I suspect, making up her mind whether to live or die. Dad waited till two days after their 60th anniversary, to make a graceful departure...he was her life, and she was his heart, and how does one renegotiate so delicate a deal as that?

But we walked, and talked, and all of the mother/daughter/family bullshit and neuroses fell away, and we discovered something as amazing as the sighting of a hitherto unknown star: we discovered a friendship worth exploring and savoring. Sure, she's my Mom, and I have to love her, but we found out we LIKE each other tremendously. I was always Dad's girl: same gray eyes, eccentricity, and messiness...but when one "chooses" a favorite parent, one unconsciously does the other parent- and one self- a grave injustice: one unconsciously rejects the aspects of that parent that could really add immeasurably to both of your lives.

Mom knows about nature. I, um, don't. She can look at a plant and say confidently "that's a daylily", and I will say, "Dude? You're on crack. That's an unidentifiable green thing. " Then she'll show me how she knows that that anonymous green shoot has a history and identity of its own. It's moving, (and would be even more moving if I didn't have a mild version of traumatic brain injury that both makes me a world class psychic and gives me the shortterm memory of a concussed duckling, so tomorrow I'll ask the same question about the same damn plant.)

Mom was a history professor at a variety of Ivy League schools, and has, it seems, pretty much all of human historical doings at her fingertips. I was discussing Ghenghis Khan (and his lovely wife Sylvia), and she brought up the Assyrians, who had previously set the GK record for Most People Slaughtered Pointlessly For Reasons That Aren't Immediately Clear.

"They killed at least 3 million people," my ethereally beautiful blonde Mom said, dreamily.

"3 MILLION?" I gasped. "But there weren't actually three million people ALIVE at that ppoint, were there?"

"Not for long," she agreed, and said that there were enough folks left over to repopulate, although for a couple of hundred years or so, it WAS noticeably more difficult to find an extra man for dinner parties.
"Bob?" -"Nope, we slaughtered him."  Silence.
I forget how we got onto the subject of patholgical mass slaughter, but it was a beautiful April evening and the daffodils were nodding pleasantly at us, and the pansies, velvet purple and yellow, were singing show tunes as we passed....anyway. The fact is, we got along. Very nicely.

I will return to my life in NYC, and be Fabulous (or possibly not-who cares?) again. But for now I'm cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner for Mom. I take her to doctor's appts. I'm getting a driver's license. I've learned to pump gas. I know how to work a blood pressure gauge. I found her a grief counselor. I've lived through the chaos that follows the death of a magisterial patriarch, and learned to have love and compassion when I really didn't f#*king want to, thank you very much.

And I'm a size four! Woo hoo!

I don't know what the point of this piece is, except that the last six months--which at the time, seemed like the worst possible ever, on steroids--suddenly make a very beautiful sense. I'm learning what a benificent and not very patient Universe wanted me to learn. I've learned to turn poison into medicne. I've learned to love and forgive when it makes no sense to do so, because that's what I'll want someday. And I've learned that my Mom kicks ass and takes names when it comes to knowing about genocide, botany, and flirting.

There are worse legacies.

I love you. Good night.