NauenThen

Whew!

March 31, 2016

Something has been wrong with my blog/site the last few days, in case anyone has been wondering where I've been. Now it's 5 o'clock on Thursday & I have to leave to teach in just a minute. I did think about writing something ahead of time, separately, but, well, I didn't. I can tell you, however, that I finally figured out that the cold that didn't get better or worse for 10 days was ALLERGIES & I am finally feeling a little more human. Tomorrow it's back to blogging for real.

Pre-raphaelite sisters

March 27, 2016

Classic illustration of little sister looking up to & annoying older sister. (Why does she have to do everything I do?) The patterns & roles are so obvious here. S can climb a tree. Part of her enjoyment is that J can't yet.

Not enough!

March 25, 2016

Just back from a four-hour lunch & talk with my old friend (from high school, not OLD) Bessie. I have a lot of friends & each one is unique & wonderful, but there is something in going back as far as high school with someone that makes it pointless to embellish or hide. Or maybe (more…)

Still got it

March 24, 2016

I was on the subway & a handsome young man was making eye contact. Just as I was saying to myself, Oh yeah, I've still got it! he said, "Ma'am? Would you like a seat?"

Sea shanty

March 23, 2016

Tags: sea shanty

Thinking about Lisbon & the one place there that I really loved, the tower of Henry the Navigator, where he watched his ships sail away (& used Chaucer's "Treatise on the Astrolabe" to send them safely south) made me think about shanties. My people come from England, and although I don't know that we ever had sailors in the family, I grew up singing "Blow the Man Down," "What shall we do with the drunken sailor," and my favorite, "A Capital Ship" (for an ocean trip was the walloping window blind... I'm off to my love with a boxing glove 10,000 miles away...). (more…)

A poem from the past II

March 22, 2016

Tags: baseball, Portugal

Here's another poem that turned up while I've been going through files. This one I've edited from the version I first wrote 25 years ago.

Away Game


the Lisbon of Henry the Navigator
     cobblestones, tiles with the colors of isolation,
          baleful pigs on a truck

romantic Lisbon on the Atlantic
     where endeth land and where beginneth …
          but

no one to talk to
     blisters (why these shoes?)
          alone, travel’s effort not adventure

hotel TV: smarmy British game show
     Bogart flick with Portuguese subtitles
          & suddenly baseball

heaves into sight
     so unexpected it (more…)

Famous friends

March 21, 2016

The Newly Famous Friend I know is not necessarily the NFF the public does. That people are impressed that I even know this person is just a trick of timing—we were young together. It's as though your accountant's secretary is Art Buchwald's sister—it doesn't mean anything.

Some of, a lot of what people say about her, I recognize, but even when (more…)

The world's smallest disco

March 20, 2016

Johnny brought home a disco lightbulb. "Someone threw it out, and it was brand-new!" he marveled. Buster stood a few feet from the bathroom staring at the hippety-hoppety reds and blues then backed away. We jump, bump, & laugh.

A poem from the past

March 18, 2016

Been finding some treasures & near misses. I know that all the good ones must be in books, so anything that's better than awful is fun to find.

Before and After

I used to walk around
     but now I sit around
I used to lie around
     but now I lie a lot
I used to tie my shoes
     but now I wear star socks
I used to drive a car
     but now I park my car
I used to have a cat
      now I have a canary
I used to be a book
    but now I am an exit
I used to be Boston
    but now I’m Elizabeth
               New Jersey
I used to be a shortstop
      but now I’m underhanded
I used to be a Patsy
     but now I’m Ruby

3/85

My 10 worst ideas

March 17, 2016

Tags: Pilates

* 7 a.m. Pilates session.

Oh, that's funny, I can't think of any others.

Huff puff

March 16, 2016

Meetings, assignments, deadlines, & in between, as much of my sister as we can manage. Hence the short shrift I've been giving to me blog.

Jersey girl

March 16, 2016

I had to ask Joel Lewis why I'd been considered an honorary Jersey poet, & he remembered better than I did that I used to work in Englewood. It was so much fun to have my family at my reading in Jersey City; to hear Sanjay's terrific story & some of the open readers; (more…)

Arty

March 15, 2016

I don't want to say what this is beyond it being an image I like

UK-bound

March 14, 2016

Just bought my ticket & am going in 4 weeks. I am too excited to think about anything else. I haven't been in such a long time & I have lots of relatives to see. I'll be visiting people in London, Liverpool & Wales, & plan to do some fun things as well. I used to go so frequently (more…)

The Cloisters

March 13, 2016

Tags: The Cloisters

Why don't I go up there all the time, other than that it's a rather long train ride? It's so wonderful to get lost in the medieval art & stones, with that view of the Hudson & the gardens of Fort Tryon Park along the way.

We stopped into the Mother Cabrini shrine just south of the Park. Her actual remains are there in a glass case. She died in 1917. She had a very nice face & is the patron saint of immigrants. I wish all those wall-builders would stop in & talk to the lovely nuns (sisters? is that the same thing?).

Crumpet cravings

March 11, 2016

My sister's in town & we're feeling veddy British. Also, I have been looking all over for crumpets, yummmmmmm, which I remember my mother making, but she says she & her mother bought crumpet pans & it was such a pain that they only did it once. Is that the time I remember? Turns out they're available at an all-things-British shop just a block away from me. Yummmmmmmmmmmm.

Frenetic

March 10, 2016

We decided to play hooky & see the new Tina Fey movie, rushing to make the 10:45 show. (Half price! $8 + 29¢ tax.) Noticing that she'd given us tickets for the 11:45, we went back down many flights of stairs, only to learn that the 10:45 referred to p.m. Since we were so crazy early, we decided we'd watch (more…)

Grove Court ("The Last Leaf")

March 9, 2016

Tags: Grove Court, O. Henry

How is it I never saw Grove Court before? Set back off of Grove Street, between Hudson and Bedford in the West Village, it is so unexpected to come upon as we were strolling around.

I've since discovered that this beautiful, charming set of houses was the least desirable place to live in mid-19th century New York City (they were built 1848–54). They "lacked all the vestiges of respectability—the houses were small, lacked the stoops so common among the brownstones of the day, and, most glaringly, were devoid of any prestigious street frontage." Its denizens were so poor that they couldn't afford a proper pint of ale and "had to resort to drinking a foul concoction—the nasty dregs that remained in their local barkeeps' beer barrel. Literally the 'bottom of the barrel.' Hence Grove Court's old moniker—'Mixed Ale Alley.' (It was also referred to as 'Pig Alley.')" (more…)

March 8, 2016

My sister is in town. Yay! Much running around, not so much blogging. More tomorrow.

Overheard, 5th St & 1st Ave

March 7, 2016

Man with cane: When you get old, you just worry about walking.

Young person: How old ARE you?

Man with cane (in tone of "I'm the oldest person the world will ever know"): FIFTY!

Sunday, Sunday III

March 6, 2016

The cat jumped onto Johnny's crotch, who flailed me awake before 5. I had to clean the kitchen table & stove before I could find a library book that's due tomorrow. I ate half a cheddar-apple omelet. After Pilates, Maggie & I set out in search of a kitten, but (more…)

I still Heart snow

March 4, 2016

It was a snow-hater's snowstorm this morning. Not a lot came down, it was clear it wasn't going to last, it wasn't cold, and it was pretty as hell. Also, it was a late-winter snow & we've already had some spring-like days, so this seemed like a treat rather than a harbinger (again, for those who aren't excited about winter).

Speaking one's mind

March 3, 2016

I admit I frequently hesitate to say what I think, in print, when it comes to charged issues. For one thing, I feel like I never have enough information to be sure enough of my opinions; they're in process & I may find another nuance or side if I wait, if I choose discussion over monologue. (That's a little chicken, I know.) (more…)

Lierati

March 2, 2016

This is one of our better boards, with some of the commentary.
Lierati was invented at Blue Mountain Center in the Adirondacks around 20 years ago. It's Scrabble but with made-up words. The rules are that they have to be "real" English words (no "qzvwiix") & you have to provide a definition.

Different schools have developed over the years. Some people make up words that are needed but there isn't already a term for: the scrapings left after a stirfry, for example, or the specific noise made in reaction to a New Yorker cartoon. Others (more…)

A little poem from the past IV

March 1, 2016

March 10

hey!
don’t stick your tongue
in my mouth

when we social kiss
why do beautiful women
fall so hard?

“he doesn’t treat them as though
they’re beautiful”
our band was noise

thinking
we were rock
once you swept me off my feet

to a payday lunch
staying on your relaxed side
is like pulling elephant’s teeth