Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Miracles and Wonders

"Dude, these are real butterflies," the guy says enthusiastically after calling his friends over to the booth where I'm selling Katie's sculptures.

One of them looks around blank-faced, nods a little.

"We live in a world of miracles and wonders," I tease gently. "Moving on!"
One year ago: Lasers
Two years ago: Taste the Rainbow
Three years ago: The Gift
Ten years ago: Wealth, I Don't Has It

I Was Thinking The Same Thing

The alarm goes off just as I'm walking by the car, and it's indicative of the day I'm having that I jump a little and then grimace.

A guy sitting on the low wall outside the church says something I can't hear to a woman walking by him, and the two of them laugh. Then, as I'm walking by him, he catches my eye.

"Shut up!" he says in a gruff voice, looking at the still wailing car, and then he smiles.
One year ago: A Discussion On Lane Bryant
Two years ago: LA Cops
Three years ago: Enabler
Four years ago: Expressing Attitude
Ten years ago: "It Just Keeps Getting Worse!"

Monday, January 29, 2018

Keeping Up The Pace

Gray day, Brooklyn sidewalk, I'm carrying a couple of pretty heavy, bulky bags that require some energy to maneuver, so I'm walking pretty slow, trying to take up as little space as possible.

She passes me on the left: fur-lined, hooded jacket, jeans with giant yellow and red flowers embroidered on the cuffs tucked into her boots, striding fast.

Though she's enough faster than me to stay in front, she's not quite fast enough to beat the lights, so at each stoplight, I end up standing awkwardly next to her, or just back from her left shoulder. I'm careful not to pass her, but I can feel my usual competitive spirit getting riled. 
One year ago: Standing O
Two years ago: (Not) Going My Way
Three years ago: It's a Living
Four years ago: Stars Don't Care
Ten years ago: Trying Too Hard

Sunday, January 28, 2018

This One Might Not Read to Those From Out Of Town

As we come off the West Side Highway down Canal, we drive past a site where we've sold Katie's art, and suddenly two formerly separate pieces of the city come together with Katie saying, "Click."

"Soho my ass," she adds, referencing the attempt of the site owners to brand the venue as part of the tony neighborhood, when clearly it's pretty far west of there.

"Well, to be fair, it is South of Houston," I say.

"So's Brooklyn," she snaps back.
One year ago: Heated
Two years ago: Admit It
Three years ago: How To Walk
Four years ago: Whole. Hearted.
Ten years ago: Scotty In Furs (Or Pleather)

A Little Before

We haven't been to this restaurant for many years. The food is still good, but the view from the enclosed rooftop, which was the draw back when we visited before, has changed substantially.

Before there was nothing out there but the water, the cacophony of the Financial District of Manhattan, and New Jersey, but now, shipping containers and giant cranes to lift them off of ships fill the horizon.

When we ask our server if she knows when all this came in, she says, "Well, I've only been here about five months, so... before that?"
One year ago: Strangers in the Crowd
Two years ago: Plans and a Carpet Spoiled
Three years ago: The Road Is Actually "Polhemus" But the Rest Is Probably True
Four years ago: The Government Sure Do Take a Bite, Don't She?
Ten years ago: Unresolved

Saturday, January 27, 2018


"Yeah, man, I used to work at a doughnut shop, too," I tell the guy behind the counter in the dimly-lit diner with the display case of pastries and doughnuts.

"So you know what I'm talking about," he says as he goes to get us our order (a marble twist for me, a chocolate covered eclair for Katie). "I used to come home every night smelling of the things, and people would be like, 'Oh, you gonna bring us doughnuts?'"

"My friends would say that thing, you remember the old commercials: 'Time to make the doughnuts?" I tell him, and he looks down and shakes his head grimly.
One year ago: The Importance of Being Earnest
Two years ago: Smiling and Waving
Three years ago: Better Unsaid
Four years ago: No Romping For You, Buddy
Ten years ago: Old Testament R&B

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Meowmento Mori

The cat is curled up on the chair in the living room, a picture of peace with her floof of a tail tucked perfectly around her.

"I'm going to have you stuffed exactly in that pose," Katie says to her. "No," she says, "I just want your skull."

After some discussion, we decide that having the skulls of our deceased pets on display would be a comforting thing, and not creepy at all.
One year ago: Lockout
Two years ago: You Just Made It Mad!
Three years ago: Class Concerns
Ten years ago: Gloves

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


"I follow several gods on Facebook," I explain to Katie.

"I'll follow more gods, and you should follow more animals," Katie replies, scrolling through her phone as we lie together before bed.

"Yeah, I should follow more gods, too," I say musingly a bit later.

"I think you're saying 'dogs' wrong again," Katie says.
One year ago: Rude
Two years ago: In the Night Kitchen
Three years ago: Bird Poem
Four years ago: Remembering My Future
Ten years ago: Yesterday, The Day Job

Thinking of Others

My mother is home from the hospital, having, as she says, "convinced" them that she was well enough to leave, and I'm on the phone with her, checking in.

"But keep your thoughts on Anchorage, Alaska," she says in her rough voice. "The earthquake and the tsunami there."

I admit that I haven't read up enough on it, and she says, "Well you should do some research on it for your Four Each Day."
One year ago: "I'm Here To Rescue You"
Two years ago: Pocket Picked
Three years ago: Bird Poem
Four years ago: A Crowded Subway Is No Excuse
Ten years ago: L'esprit de l'escalier and The Power of Music

Monday, January 22, 2018

Don't Engage (Even If They Have It Coming)

The guy pushes his way up to the counter next to Katie with a "Yeah, just move over there, why don't you try that," to the bewildered fellow who was standing there minding his own business a moment ago. Katie does a slow turn to take our new neighbor in, and while his scruffy beard, sandy feet, general unkemptness, and spiky, weird energy mark him as to-be-watched, his youth, necklaces, and painted fingernails give him up as one of the dissolute party-boys of the beach and boardwalk rather than some possibly more dangerous species of homeless person that drifts the streets of Miami Beach.

As he tries to bully the counterperson into giving him a sandwich for less than listed price, I interrupt Katie's build up to confront the guy with a "Hey, you know how you tell me not to correct strangers on factual errors even if they really need it? Don't engage."
One year ago: Scold
Two years ago: The Kindness of Strangers
Three years ago: Different Streams
Four years ago: Okay, But It's More Fun Down Here
Ten years ago: Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off, Start All Over Again


The gulls hover low over the sand, making visible the shape of the wind blowing in off the waves. Katie sleeps next to me on a towel, facing away from me down the beach south while the sun warms my skin. Just up the beach from us, a couple does acrobatic yoga, thereby demonstrating the complementary nature of the universe by balancing out our utter laziness with absolutely baffling and unnecessary physical activity.

I watch for a while, admiring their fitness and grace, as the woman of the couple slowly, carefully shifts on her partner's hands and feet, moving from a handstand, to plank, to standing on his palms as he holds her up in the air, until I grow bored and close my eyes.
One year ago: For A Change
Two years ago: That Time Of Year
Three years ago: No Standing Under $100,000
Four years ago: Good Problems to Have

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Every Bistro Needs a Cat

Having finished shaking down all the patrons at the sidewalk tables, the gray cat walks back into the bistro and, after a moment's consideration, jumps up on the banquette just out of Katie's reach and begins to wash himself. I make a tsk-ing noise to attract his attention, but he ignores me completely and, if anything, washes with even more concentration.

"Why you using his government name?" Katie says. "You know how many people must waste his time every day by trying to get his attention without giving him food?"
One year ago: Just Like My Father
Two years ago: What a Fool Beliebs
Three years ago: The Virtues of Illness
Four years ago: What Am I, A Child?
Seven years ago: The Prisoner

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Cold Shower Method

I take a couple deep breaths and step into the shower. The water is bitterly cold, but I've felt kind of weird all day - a little achy, a little emotional - so instead of feeling painful, it drives out all the other feelings and leaves me hollowed out and empty.

I hang with it for as long as I can, until my skin is chilled and my joints ache, and then I spin the faucet over to warm. The pipes begin to squeal as hot water goes through them, and all this tension I was carrying around without knowing it melts away, washed down the drain with the soapy water as I start to lather up.
One year ago: One Last Time
Two years ago: A Momentary Truce
Three years ago: Seen That Trick Before
Ten years ago: The Sweetest Bitters

Friday, January 19, 2018

A Compromise (Of Sorts)

When I arrive back in the waiting room after the nurse has taken my vitals (blood pressure decent, weight unfairly high since my shoes and clothes add at least a good five pounds), I see the cup of water, seemingly untouched, where I left it on the table before I went into the office.

Sitting on the other side of the table, an Asian woman gives me a polite smile as I sit down in my former seat.

Now I'm faced with a decision: I'm thirsty, and the cup of water is still here, full and ready for me to drink, but this woman doesn't know it was mine, and what will she think at this random man picking up a seemingly random glass of water and draining it.

After a minute or two's hesitation, I grab the cup and walk it over to the sink where I dump it out and refill it, which seems like a good compromise, for some reason.
One year ago: Tourist
Two years ago: Dread Imaginings
Four years ago: And We Probably Won't Do Much On Saturday Two
Ten years ago: That Which Does Not Kill Me Or My City

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Our Younger Selves

I finish up my daily yoga session lying on the floor, breathing deeply, thinking about a young friend of ours who's going through some stuff right now, and it gets me wondering what I was like when I was his age.

But I have a record of those days, in the form of literally dozens of notebooks that I kept with near daily entries on what was going on, and how I felt about it, so I can actually find out exactly what I was like.

I rummage through the shelf of Moleskines of various sizes, accounting books, hardbound artist's ledgers and spiral bound notebooks with pages falling out, until I find a small black leatherbound notebook with the words "Corporate Whore" pasted to the cover.

I flip through the pages with, at first, fascination, then growing horror, until I slowly close the book, retie the strap that keeps it shut, and place it back in its place on the shelf, before going back and moving it to the back of the shelf, behind some other books.
One year ago: Bizarre Nostalgia
Two years ago: Hot and Cold
Three years ago: Thanks
Four years ago: Back and Forth
Ten years ago: Who's Laughing Now?


The stacks of clothes, while somewhat neatly folded and sorted on the bed (sweaters, shirts, pants, t-shirts), are really only a transfer of textiles from where they were piled on the floor to a few feet higher. And trying to figure out which ones to keep and which ones to donate to charity is seriously stressing me out.

Katie's doing her best to help while staying out of my way, but when I finally just give up and start putting things in drawers, only to find that I don't have the room, I get a little despairing.

"Okay, if you need me to help you with your drawers, that I can do, because those things are a nightmare," she says.
Two years ago: Deep-seated Guilt
Four years ago: Irish Farewell
Ten years ago: No Rest For The Wicked

Monday, January 15, 2018

Sleeping Late

I wake up with a dry mouth and sand in my joints, but comfortable curled up under the comforter in our hotel room. We couldn't figure out the thermostat (or at least I couldn't) and the room just stayed kinda cold all night, but the alcohol and the insane amount of food we ate last night ensured that I was in no position to get out of bed to do anything, so I just burrowed into the warmest bed ever.

I turn over and throw an arm across Katie, bury my face in her shoulder, and, still moving carefully to make sure that my entire body except for my head stays under the covers, wrap my arms and legs around her sleeping form.

"You are so snuggly," she says groggily, and then we fall back asleep.
One year ago: Quiet Please
Two years ago: Things Between Us
Three years ago: Hashtag Yes All Wineglasses
Four years ago: She'll Be Glad To Know

Unicorn Train

“You still trying to get to 23rd Street?” the conductor says to the rest of the subway car, but she’s only talking to us.

She spots us at the other end of the car and says, “You’re gonna have to get off at 14th Street and take the 6 up.”

I give her the thumbs up, she smiles and goes back into the cabin of the train, and Katie and I turn to look at each other in shocked disbelief.

“What kind of unicorn train is this?” Katie says.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


The dog has good nights and bad nights. After a painstaking climb following her walk, she finally arrives on the landing at the top of the stairs and then tries to take another step, lifting her paw only to step on thin air.

Having done the same thing, I know exactly how she feels, that weird panic as you step through nothingness, the way the earth tilts a little even after you've found your footing again.

I feel a stab of sympathy as I realize she's felt like this for years.
One year ago: I've Been Wanting to be Nice to Someone All Morning
Two years ago: Firewall
Three years ago: Inspired
Four years ago: The Shameful Science
Ten years ago: Flea Market

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Doctor Somebody

The gray, foggy day turns to rain as we walk down 4th Avenue in Brooklyn after Katie's eye doctor appointment. Her pupils are still dilated, so I'm holding her hand to make sure she doesn't trip or fall, since she can't see.

"What was the doctor's name, again?" she asks as I dig through my bag for an umbrella.

"Roger," I say.
One year ago: Pebbled
Two years ago: Literally
Four years ago: I'm Not Worthy
Seven years ago: Anatomy of a Fight
Ten years ago: Angels and Douchebags

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Following Directions

On the way to the post office, the driver suddenly stops with a exclamation of dismay, and makes to turn the car around.

I realize he thinks he's going the wrong way, and I reassure him that we're on the right street, going the right way.

"I usually work in Manhattan," he says apologetically, turning to drive up the avenue, the way I originally told him to go.

"We'll get through this together," I say.
One year ago: Revenge
Two years ago: Cancer and Entropy
Three years ago: Making Friends These Days
Four years ago: A Block is About 100 Steps
Seven years ago: Bad Mood Meanderings
Ten years ago: A New York Moment

Different Types of Sad

"It's just so incredibly sad," I say, after the episode of "Black Mirror."

"What is?" Katie asks.

"Well, the way that they portray humanity as basically awful," I say, struggling to explain exactly what I find so unpleasant about the show.

"You know, some of the things you write make me about that sad," Katie says matter-of-factly.
One year ago: Distrust
Two years ago: Wake Up
Three years ago: Another Thought on Teeth
Four years ago: Both Wrong

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Blaming the Victim

We put the pillow up in the doorway in the middle of the night to keep the dog from barking her stupid head off.

In the morning, though, it turns out she's peed on it.

I wash the pillowcase and drench the pillow itself in Nature's Miracle so it doesn't stain, and then go to the living room to do yoga, only to find that the cat has thrown up on my bag.

When I tell Katie about the presents left by each animal for me, she asks incredulously, "What did you do?"
One year ago: Milking It
Two years ago: Another Timeline
Three years ago: Twitching Whiskers
Four years ago: Think Skinny Thoughts
Ten years ago: Lions and Common People

Monday, January 8, 2018

Look Up

The sidewalks are relatively clear, but the snow is piled in foot-high banks at the curbs and the sidewalks, with narrow paths cut through them where folks have worn them through. Sometimes you have to take turns walking through the cuts with your fellow pedestrians to avoid having to navigate the more treacherous berms between the streets and the sidewalks. 

Then there's this asshole: paused at the crosswalk right in front of the narrow pathway through the snow pile, scrolling through her phone as the foot traffic stacks up behind her until finally, with a tsk of disapproval, somebody tromps over the ice to go around her, leading the rest of us to do the same.

She looks up from her phone guiltily when she realizes what's going on, but it's already too late, and everybody on the street has decided she's the worst human being they know.
One year ago: Snow Globe Sunday
Two years ago: So, Like, Sushi?
Three years ago: Compression
Four years ago: The Play IS The Thing
Ten years ago: Open Heart Surgery

Forced Perspective

"You know that moment when you've been inside all day?" I ask Katie. She's a few steps ahead of me, walking quickly toward the grocery store, as she neglected to wear a hat and the cold is getting fierce. "It's like your eyeballs have to get used to seeing things at a distance again."

"Like a baby!" Katie agrees.
Two years ago: Startled
Three years ago: I Love You, MTA
Four years ago: Frost/bite
Ten years ago: Meta-bragging

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Blameless Produce

"Cash only," says the lady monitoring the self-checkout lanes at the grocery store, to general groans from the sizable number of people already waiting in line. "Machine's down."

One guy, who hasn't even been waiting as long as some of us have, throws up his hands in outrage and slams his groceries, item by item, into a nearby cart, then stalks out.

"Acting like it's the food's fault," the lady mutters as she walks by me, but when I laugh at her joke, she brightens up a little, and gives me a smile.
One year ago: As Usual
Two years ago: Short Women
Three years ago: Gospel of Thomas, Saying 70
Four years ago: Might Keep Her Warm, Might Not
Seven years ago: This Story Is Missing Some Crucial Element, But I Can't Remember What It Is
Ten years ago: Destroy All Cockroaches

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Shower Feelings

"I was sitting on the toilet when I realized I was super depressed," I tell Katie. I'm in the shower, hot water hissing around me, and she's by the sink silently taking out her contacts.

"But then I realized it was my body that was depressed, and that I didn't want my body telling my brain what to think," I continue as I scrub my chest with a soapy pouf.

"Makes sense," Katie says, but I think we're both still a little sad.
One year ago: Entering
Two years ago: Desperate To Connect
Three years ago: Voyeurism
Four years ago: Good Night
Seven years ago: A Little Not Music
Ten years ago: Out and About

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Butterflies Take a Snow Day

"I left the window in my studio open!" Katie cries in dismay. "It's snowing inside!"

I follow her voice into the studio and, sure enough, snow has drifted up against the screen and sifted through, and is now blowing around the tiny, freezing room.

"I was gonna work," she says, shooing me out as she shoves the window closed, "but I guess it's a snow day for everyone."
One year ago: Invisibility
Two years ago: All For The Best
Three years ago: Last Day of Vacation
Four years ago: Attention to Detail (Taking Things Too Seriously)
Six years ago: God Helps Fools and Drunks, So Don't Expect a Lot of Sympathy
Seven years ago: Cold to Warm
Ten years ago: Asian Pub Rules

Health Bully

I'm feeling well enough to walk the block to the store, but when I get outside, my neighbor takes one look at me and says, "You still don't feel well, do you?"

I admit I don't feel super great, and my landlord, who's also there closing up his shop for the night, says, pointing at my throat, "I still see exposed skin!"

Yes, it's cold, but my neighbor is already on to the next thing: "You need to drink that ginger, garlic, lemon, cayenne tea," she insists.

"You're kind of a health bully," I say, laughing, and she happily agrees.
One year ago: The Tumor Was Keeping Me Skinny
Two years ago: Tit For Tat
Three years ago: The World We Live In
Four years ago: Why Should a Photo Fade?
Six years ago: It's Really Cold, But Only For Some
Seven years ago: Ascension Day
Ten years ago: Dream A Little Dream

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Down With The Sickness

I wake in the morning with a heaviness in my chest, but a half-hour of yoga and breathing exercises, along with a cold shower, seems to get me out of the woods.

Until, after an afternoon of rearranging stuff in our storage space and inventorying the handful of pieces we have left, the train ride back home suddenly goes south.

Muscles begin to cramp, chills, heat behind my eyes, a stabbing headache, and a marked lack of oxygen in the 2 train to Grand Army Plaza all hit at once, and I wonder, for a brief second, if I'm going to die like a small sparrow, shivering in the cold.

I shrink down into my jacket, breathing shallowly, and, as Katie pats me on the shoulder and says, "You're doing really well," I close my eyes.
One year ago: 5:30 PM
Two years ago: Have They Seen Me Naked?
Three years ago: All One Moment
Four years ago: Never Going Back Again


Even wearing multiple layers (shirt, hoodie, scarf, overcoat, hat, heavy boots), I still feel the frigid cold creeping in as I descend to the vestibule of our building with the doge in my arms like a sack of fur and bones. Her head lolls to one side like her neck is broken, her tongue hangs out, but as soon as I reach the bottom floor and make to set her down, she rights herself and slips out the inner door with only a slight lopside to her lope. 

Through the window, I see the empty New Year's street, asphalt dry and white with cold, void of cars and sidewalk scattered with salt. The doge and I stand at the glass, my breath shaping clouds of vapor in the air, and consider our lack of options, steeling ourselves for the stinging chill as I open the door to let us out into the night.
Three years ago: Salty Teeth
Six years ago: A New Kind of New Year
Ten years ago: A Tiger, A Jacket

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Slow Procession of Winter

The in-flight movie I picked ("Atomic Blonde", a solid "B") is over, and I'm listening to a playlist I found on my phone that makes it seem like 1994 or so all over again.

I look out the window, and see the ground far below us covered in snow glowing pale in the moonlight. The occasional town sprouts from the earth like a bacterial growth or a computer chip, reaching out brilliant, glittering tendrils into the darkness of the surrounding countryside.

In between, there are rivers that divide the snow-covered surface and the cities, and the rivers snake and splinter through the frozen landscape while we hurtle through the air far above, hardly related to anything going on below in any way at all, when all of a sudden a song comes on, and everything makes sense.
One year ago: Good Job
Two year ago: Ivory Soap
Ten years ago: So This Is The New Year