Sunday, November 25, 2012

A little of this, a little of that...

I am not a very good blogger...I admit that to myself. I still think about things all the time and want to write about them.  So I'll keep going when the notion strikes me...

Some other highlights about New York which now seems like a year ago...

Walking miles and miles in the city, taking more subways than I ever have before, exploring more cool places like Harlem, Brooklyn, Chelsea, and SoHo.  We spent a glorious morning in the most beautiful guitar shop I have ever seen called Rudy's. There was a sweet salesman there named Gordon who helped me surprise my husband with a new guitar for his birthday. That was the most fun I have had in a long time....  Name what you are looking for in NYC and there is a specialty store that has it all crammed into a crazy small space... I can think of a store with just pickles, another just caviar (I don't care for either of those..). My favorite discovery of specialty stuff this summer had to be Jacques Torres Chocolates. He has a few shops peppered around the city, we visited the one at Rockefeller Center and the one in Brooklyn.  My niece was in the city on business and she joined us on the trek to Brooklyn.  We managed the multiple subway rides and the meandering into town to dine at Grimaldi's where we waited an hour and a half in line but holy cow was it worth it!! Best pizza I ever had and the cherry soda was a local bottler and it was the best I have ever had... Now onto the chocolate.  We found Jacques Torres' place and my husband ordered the yummiest hot chocolate ever made and I split an ice cream sandwich with my daughter.  Let me just tell you that I have dreams about that ice cream sandwich... it was made with two Jacques Torres chocolate chunk cookies and some store made salt caramel ice cream. My only regret was that as we were walking along back to our subway it started to rain and we were walking very fast and stuffing bites down as fast as we could...I wish I had just gotten drenched and eaten that thing a little more mouth is watering....

Okay, tube tops. New York is a mecca of fashion, of course, and if something is "in" or "trendy" it is in spades all around you and you suddenly think, wow long pearl strands must be "in" or lace tops etc.  I can vouch for seeing many things I had not noticed until it was everywhere in that city.  But not all styles are optimal for everyone....and maybe if you ride subways often and have a size triple H bustline you might rethink the trend in case you end up having to hold your hands over your head to hold onto something to not fall down in the subway and because it is so crowded and your bust is in the face (literally) of multiple strangers... um. anyway, the other memorable subway trips (and they are all memorable in some way) include the one with the strolling mariachi band, and another with the disgruntled citizen vocalizing and preaching LOUDLY, and most bizarre the man in the NYFD shirt who was seated and asleep and then rolled forward and bumped his head (hard!) on the floor of the subway. He woke up only briefly to reposition...

Now I think of all the areas in and around NYC that have suffered so much from the big storm and
wonder how in the world it will all recover.... I am grateful for the chance to explore that city the way we did.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.  I have much to be grateful for...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Little bite of the Big Apple

A Little Bite of the Big Apple We are spending a nice chunk of our summer in New Jersey, which affords us many opportunities to venture into 'The City.' It's as if there is only one city in all the world. For many New Yorkers, I am sure this is how they feel. I am getting a passion for it myself... On our first trip, we decided to drive to Staten Island and take the ferry. Everyone should make this trip at least once I have been told. Glenda the Good Garmin got us there and all was fine except that Staten Island is home to the worst drivers I have ever seen. The metric seems to be: the closer to The City, the more treacherous the driving. The parking area all around the port was under construction-something the GPS can't anticipate-and went around and around trying to figure out how and where to park. We finally followed a bus into the orange cone abyss only to find the lot full and with many sections roped off...We rolled down our window to ask an NYC construction worker what to do and I think he looked at our panicked faces and two kids in the back seat and he MOVED a traffic cone and made a space for us! I had to restrain myself from giving him Texas-sized bear hug....we did thank him profusely. We dashed down the ramps and up and down stairs and finally hopped on the Staten Island Ferry. Splashing by the Statue of Liberty, I could hear the poem in my head and it made my throat tighten up. As the breathtaking view of The City got closer I realized that the two buildings under construction, rising from within the midst of all the others, were the new towers. I felt the anvil of sadness the rest of the ferry ride. Once the ferry ride was over, we were off to the subway. We messed around Midtown most of the time, found a street fair(!), took the NBC Studios Tour and went to the Top of the Rock. Rockefeller Center is 63 floors high with an elevator that gets to the top in 45 seconds! The views were amazing and the weather exquisite - especially for July. We ate the best soul food on the planet at Sylvia's in Harlem. We made it back to the ferry with only two minutes to spare to catch the 9:30 back to Staten Island. The view of The City at night was a beautiful way to end our visit. The drive back to New Jersey was harrowing, as usual, but we made it. A few observations of the day: don't go to The City if you are claustrophobic; there are rats; subways are full of crazy people; I heard great live jazz, Irish and mariachi music in/on the subway; I heard so many different languages spoken I lost count; there was lots of honking at pedestrians who crossed against lights...they kind of asked for it...; no other city like it on the planet...I loved it! Coming soon...more in NYC, fashion observations and reasons not to wear tube tops...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Musings of this week:  The moonrise on the Fourth was as spectacular as the fireworks! I would have sworn it was the Great Pumpkin... I love to see the flags lining our sweet Main Street and the little citizens with ribbon-covered wagons and bikes, and everyone dressed in red, white and blue.  We are far from perfect, but I am so happy to live here. I thought a lot about when I was little and my dad would drive me to Fair Park in downtown Dallas.  We wouldn't go in the Cotton Bowl stadium where all the crowds were. We would park on a really scary street and watch the fireworks from our old Chevy Impala.  I, of course, would be in the front seat with my window rolled down, marveling at the display and not minding that I was sticking to the seat. The minute the finale started he would fire up the engine and we would take off for home. He just lived through his 91st Fourth of July.

Here is a little something I wrote this week:


Melting pot
Of individuals.
How does that work?

Citizen, can vote
Or not.
Do you feel power?

Has its place,
But US is better.
What is your declaration?

Fly a flag
And watch the sky.
Was gunpowder ever so beautiful?

Happy Independence Day,

Sunday, November 13, 2011


A Poet of Math

A muse of numbers
Figures and symbols that
have meaning for a select crowd
Striking phobia chords in others

Subject to interpretation
see in it what you want to see
But in math
 you need proof

Elegance in the algorithm
the Everests are in the theorems
and the peaks sometimes elusive

A stanza of comfort
when all the columns add up
all the symbols make sense and
you feel as if you touched infinity.

Why in the incalculable meanderings
of this world did the lines intersect
in such a way that
made a problem unsolvable?

We scratch our heads
get out the erasers
try to do it better, make the corrections
and pray we get it right this time.

 I dedicate this to a fine math professor Robert Whitton. His life and talents changed the lives of many. A car struck him on a dark and rainy evening. He passed away on Friday. He will be missed. Be careful out there. I mean it.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Will I ever learn? or Harvest 2011

After last year's wondercrop, I wanted to burn my gloves. Then spring came and I got caught up in the excitement of the planting frenzy. It wasn't that bad last year...was it? I decided to keep it simple this year and I only planted three tomato plants, two squash and about 20 onions. You are looking at all I got from all of the plants. A friend of mine who watered for me while I was gone in July says she got one tomato about the size of a small plum. I tried harder to attract bees this year. I pollenated the zucchini. I planted a coneflower. I endured my daily attack of mosquitos. I am starting to understand the mass use of chemicals in the food growing business...I am not happy about it but I understand it. It is just harder than it looks to grow things well. Although my next door neighbor's garden was busting at the seams...After some observation, she gets more sun. I chopped up my little onions and had them in a taco. Viva la jardin...

Friday, October 21, 2011


Multi-tasking I am the first one to admit that I love working on a project at home when the washer and the dryer and the dishwasher are going too. It just feels like I am getting four things done at once. Women seem to be good at multi-tasking. I think this stems from a long history of having to take care of children and doing any and everything else that goes along with that. Babies were strapped on with a cloth or animal skin while the women cleaned carcasses or boned fish or swept the dwelling... When a friend recently told me about how she cleans the shower while she is taking one (I do that too) and wonders if the fumes are bad for her (I wonder that too, every time...) I didn’t feel like such a lunatic. I think I am in good company. Studies show that multi-tasking doesn’t really pay off, but most women I know are constantly multi-tasking: putting on make-up and driving, talking on the phone and driving, digging out a pacie from a four cubic foot diaper bag that is in the floorboard of the back seat and then, with amazing accuracy and a move that would impress Stretch Armstrong, successfully shoving it in the babies mouth and driving...writing lists while in the bathroom, listening to audiobooks while doing housework (I really like this one...); trying to write a blog while making a schedule in my head of all that I need to get done tomorrow. Men (I generalize) do not seem to multi-task as much. They seem to have the ability to block out a lot of stuff and approach life in a more linear fashion. Does it go back to the days of survival and hunting for food and not resting until you had conquered the beast? And while the hunt was on the women figured out how to strap animal skins to their feet to clean out the cave, while nursing their babies and stirring a pot of water they fetched from the river and seasoned with the herbs and berries they picked... I wish I would become better at being in the current moment and tasting it for what it is worth. I miss a lot of things in my daily thrashing. I wish for more linear moments. Something to work on. Coming soon: The Harvest of 2011 or "Will I Ever Learn..."

Friday, September 9, 2011

Not a Saint, Maybe a Poet, Definitely Crazy

Something compelled me to pursuit a full-time job. Oh, maybe something to the effect that I am not getting any younger, I have no retirement plan and it’s time for a shake down. Well, I got it. I am working full-time in a self-contained classroom composed of autistic children. They are amazing beings. I personally am wired in an odd way with the MS business and all, but I can only imagine what the electrical impulses look like in their brains. It is fascinating and frustrating all at the same time. You see the manifestations of their misfirings in everything from trying to hit you because they can’t express their frustrations and pains, or by screaming because they cannot move from doing one thing to another without utter chaos in their minds. The chaos pours out as bad behavior in their bodies and sometimes you have to be quick to not get the brunt of their feelings. I have never been more physically and mentally exhausted from a job. I hope I can keep going. I am already attached to the kids and wonder how each day will go and hope for the best. As a parent of a child who is mildly “on the spectrum” I understand how hard it is to see the future for these fragile little people, because first, you have to get through today, or the next thirty seconds. We hope for the best and for a tolerant world that will support and embrace these unique children. The crazy part is dealing with the bureaucracy of a big school system and the struggles of the teachers to mesh as much as possible with the mainstream. With no planning period and no actual breaks at all, the days are long (esp. since they are 45 min longer than last year) and beyond comprehension in terms of physical output. Currently, the district is trying to figure out how to measure these teachers in the “Pay for Performance” metric. Too bad sweat equity isn’t quantifiable in this case. If anyone is still out there, thank you for reading!