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NauenThen

A walker in NYC

I took this picture for the cloud but it is NYC
As a walker’s city, New York is a place where you run into people you know (& celebrities: Dennis Quaid in Central Park! Sigourney Weaver on 57th Street! Billy Crystal in Chinatown! Bill Murray in Soho! Lou Piniella in a beautiful full-length black cashmere coat in the West 40s!).

But it’s more fun—and more frequent—to run into your friends, stop & catch up. A peephole into our everyday lives—there's X on her way to work, Y with a loaf of bread ("where'd you get it?"), Z wearing cool new shoes. A living Facebook.

And then there are the people from around the nabe that I see regularly. We recognize each other, sometimes nod, sometimes even chat (though only if something weird is going on). Those familiar unknowns are a part of the texture of every city walker's life. Once in a while, it goes a little further: I was taken to a party last winter & it turned out that the hostess was someone I chat with on the block.

OK, headed out to see what I see.  Read More 
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Pilates practice

My brilliant Pilates instructor deserves a shoutout. I couldn't do karate if it weren't for Jeremy. He keeps me aligned and pain-free. (Well, as pain-free as it's possible for someone who does an overly active sport at possibly too advanced an age.) I crawl in & dance out. Jeremy is also a really nice person, who laughs at my semi-witticisms & is funny himself; lets me rename exercises after birds (Herr Pilates for the most part gave them boring names like Upstretch and Roll Up—we call them Ibis & Oystercatcher); and reminds me not to despair that I'm no closer to my dream of becoming a contortionist.  Read More 
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Almost too easy

Hear that lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds all glazed with rain
Someone ate the plums in the fridge
I'm so lonesome I need not explain

David McGimpsey did this mashup the Williams boys, Bill & Hank, who share a birthday today. It's as good as it gets, eh?

My other favorite pair of birthday twins: Sam Cooke & Lord Byron, on January 22.

I'm kind of excited to get birthdays in here, almost 6 months before mine on February 18. I like other people's birthdays almost as much as my own. I like running into someone & finding out what day it is: it's a little gift from them to me. I like that today—and every day—is someone’s birthday.  Read More 
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Word of the Week

From all the nominations that have been pouring in, we have chosen SILHOUETTE as this week's Beautiful Word. Don't forget to vote! —March 11, 1969, from my column "Nauen Then" in my high-school newspaper, The Orange & Black.

Do I need to point out that my sense of humor hasn't changed, that I still swoon over favorite words, & I continue to needle people to vote?  Read More 
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Questions

I love the internet. Man, you can find everything. Not just information of the sort many of us google for dozens of times a day, but inspiration, suggestions, community. Today I answered the last of 10 questions on a site called 10Q (www.doyou10q.com).

"Reflect. React. Renew.
"Life's Biggest Questions. Answered By You.
"Answer one question per day in your own secret  Read More 
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Finding my place

I was in New York City 10 minutes when I knew I would move here, live here the rest of my life, and always feel the same excitement and appreciation that I did in those first moments. That was in 1976, and so far I’ve never once imagined abandoning this city. I don’t know  Read More 
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Stranger in a strange land

I had a short meeting on the Upper East Side this morning, after which I went home & crashed for a few hours. Something about the scrunched little faces and polished bodies up there. Or maybe it's the crazy clothing for sale—lamé with net sashes, glitter dresses, $160 socks. Could be the 90° & 190% humidity.
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Black Behind Blue

* I am presently in love with Leonardo DaVinci.
I understand that he’s gay.
I also understand that he’s dead.
And that he was a paranoid dyslexic who wasn’t the first man to invent a flying machine. In fact, he was a great pretender compared to the three Banu Musa brothers of  Read More 
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Blue September

And I still miss someone.
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Vote early, vote often

As the middle of 5 kids, with us 3 in the middle very close in age, there wasn't a lot of alone time with either parent. That's one reason that I loved to go vote with my dad. We'd go up the block to our polling place at Sioux Falls College Read More 
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