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Halloween II

Too cute!
This princess (pirate?) & police officer were giving away candy. They said they had way too much & didn't like Twizzlers. I wish the photo could show you how convincing the pint-size cop was.

Hmm, I think I just figure out how to get my iPod to flash.
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When I see adults in costume, I think how embarrassed I would have been if my parents had gotten dressed up on Halloween, instead of turning us loose on the streets of Sioux Falls to trick & treat (in what today would be considered completely unsafe: dark costumes, no adults, covered faces).

But really, what do I care if adults dress up? If all the parents in my neighborhood had done that, I'm sure I would remember it as a wonderful, quirky Sioux Falls tradition. It would be normal.

Expectations, context, societal norms aren't intrinsically OK or not-OK, U or non-U, right or wrong.

Except ... I read a remarkable piece in the NYT by American journalist Theo Padnos, who was kidnapped & tortured for almost 2 years by brutal, ignorant fighters in Syria. They sound like adolescents who've had no raising and hate anyone who's not on their team. They had no interest in rebuilding destroyed infrastructure or building, oh, schools & hospitals, & their big desire was for their little kids to become suicide bombers.

Where are the women? I can't help but believe that a society where women are oppressed is a much darker place. Not normal.  Read More 
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The Tompkins Square Poems III

3. The Girl Who Wouldn’t Say

Is that where you’re from?

Curt wave:
I’m here now.

Where do you live?

Here, here’s my stuff.

I gave away 50 kilos of beautiful dresses & a bicycle
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Coca Wine

100-year-old advertisement
Everybody loves drugs. Kids whirl around till they get dizzy & fall down or laugh till they throw up. What is that but changing one's consciousness & what else are drugs for?

That said, I am not a fan of cocaine. It's a cold-hearted drug that makes people selfish & greedy.

That said, I would try anything called the elixir of life.

Wouldn't you? Read More 
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The Tompkins Square Poems II

2. Running into Elroy

when I stopped to say hi to Marvin
& Elroy with bike tricked out for Father’s Day
walked me a block
where we ran into Jack
who recognized Elroy from the neighborhood
but mostly wanted to ask about Maggie
& I took pictures of
Elroy smiling & Elroy soulful
& sat on a bench & read Read More 
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The Tompkins Square Poems II

Early autumn in TSP
1. Where We Are Now

here every day
where we are now

with Chaucer

a little

all couples are interracial

tree of pink
girls in short frocks
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Giant mosquito invades NYC

The "tumultuous" Caldera is in the park until next February.
You'd think with the Ebola panic, people would know better than to plop an 18' bronze bug into Madison Square Park.

Unsurprisingly, the park describes it differently, calling Liverpudlian Tony Cragg’s three-part Walks of Life "monumental" and describing it as "supplant[ing] any longstanding art historical division between abstraction and figuration: his sculptural innovation is to fuse both styles in one work and to make bronze into a malleable material."

I know ugliness isn't supposed to be part of the conversation about art, but how can I avoid it? Read More 
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Love or else!

Saw my granddaughter Celeste's senior class production of Godspell at her high school yesterday. Impressed with how polished & confident all 16 kids were (can I say Celeste was the radiant standout?).

But wow, the play is so lame! I had never seen it before. It's an earnest, heavy-handed & contradictory recounting of the gospel  Read More 
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Little Debbie

Broadway & 125th Street
Little Debbie looks like she's aged right back into the 1950s since she stopped showing up in my neighborhood.
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My trip to Norway

Or 125th Street, which is about as Far North as I can imagine going, a downtown girl like myself.

Johnny & I went to hear Mia Simring's senior sermon at the Jewish Theological Seminary. We've known Mia since she was little—she came to our wedding when she was 10. She spoke (beautifully) about Noah—Noah as in ark & Noah as in her late brother. A plea & hope against destruction.

Then we came back downtown & now I can scarcely keep my eyes open. Such train lag! Read More 
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A not-as-perfect day

Even though it's my beloved sister's birthday & the weather is better than I expected & I had a not-bad class (meaning my knees held up) & a really nice lunch (salad of greens, goat cheese, walnuts & cranberries), & I got started on an article (only to find out that the expert I need is out of the  Read More 
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A perfect day

Slept late (till 6), took a nice soaky bath in which I finished a book called Riding with Strangers, about hitchhiking, Johnny brought breakfast from B&H (challah french toast), I got out of the tub & fell asleep for a few more hours (very unusual), Johnny & I giggled, finally got dressed & went  Read More 
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My first book, published in 1980 by Misty Terrace Press
Wow, I used to think about cars so much & now they have dropped out of my daily life the way the Yankees dropped out of the pennant race. I loved cars & now I barely can tell one square silver car from another. I used to go fast because I knew the car could do it—I just had to let myself trust it. The last time I drove, in the mountains of western North Carolina, I couldn't do it. My days of flooring every car I get behind the wheel of are over.

When the last car I owned got stolen (in 1998), I walked around saying, I'm a pedestrian, I'm a pedestrian. It was like trying to get used to suddenly being six feet tall. I'm a pedestrian. I didn't believe it, & now I'm not a driver at all. I loved driving, I used to drive cross-country at the drop of a hat, & now I get around on a bicycle.

I'm a pedestrian. I'm a pedestrian.  Read More 
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Oliver Nuse II

Rushland Quarry in Winter, Michener Art Museum (Roy Nuse)
Ollie's father was well-regarded artist Roy C. Nuse (1885–1975); his daughter, Judy Belasco, is a painter and his son, Ronald, is a photographer. Did I ever ask him about his marriage? his family? All I knew was that he had kids older than me. I didn't quite understand that people even had pasts. Stories, adventures, but not pasts. I do remember him telling me he finally figured out that work wasn't nearly as important as family. He never said things as advice, just musings. Did Ollie display his art or his father's in his place in Maine that I visited so often? If he did,  Read More 
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Oliver Nuse

Hills Beyond Wrightstown, Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia
I was a callow 20-something living in Maine when I met Ollie Nuse. He lived in a real house & made me real dinners. We were hippies who lived in an unheated shack (owned in part by Ollie) without hot water, an indoor toilet or interior walls. It's how we wanted to live, but I did love visiting Ollie over in Stockton Springs.

I'm the same age now as he was when we knew each other. That 38-year age difference now seems—what?— Read More 
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A sentence I like

Someone mentioned a blog where people post the most beautiful sentence they read each week. I couldn't find it but here's my candidate for today:

This cursed ground, which no one would have had as a gift to sow with a pinch of turnip-seed, is an earthly paradise for the Bees and Wasps. —Jean-Henri Fabre (1823-1915)  Read More 
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Cat snugli

My cat Buster loves to sleep on me. So I'm thinking it would be great to get one of those wraps that people use to wear a baby. Would he like it? Is he too heavy for it? I'd better give him a peticure first, in case he's inclined to fight while he's getting used to it. I want to bring him to work & around the neighborhood. Johnny & Karen think this makes me "a crazy cat lady."

If so, blame Toxoplasma gondii, says a Czech scientist named Jaroslav Flegr, a microbe in cat poop that "rewires circuits in parts of the brain that deal with such primal emotions as fear, anxiety, and sexual arousal," according to an article in The Atlantic. Flegr "believes that the organism contributes to car crashes, suicides, and mental disorders such as schizophrenia." In fact, his epidemiological research found that people who tested positive for the parasite were about 2.5 times as likely to be in a traffic accident as their uninfected peers. "When you add up all the different ways it can harm us, says Flegr, 'Toxoplasma might even kill as many people as malaria, or at least a million people a year.'” [click on photo caption to read the whole piece] Read More 
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This goes back close to 20 years: I met a guy from India & asked where he was from. "Mumbai," he told me. I politely said I had never heard of it. "It's the most populous city in India." Really? Wow, what a hick I am! He finally relented & mumbled that they had just changed its name from Bombay. Oh, Bombay!

For some reason, I was adding cities to my weather app the other day & found out that Mumbai is on a different clock. If it's 3:30 p.m. right now in New York, it's 1 a.m. tomorrow in Mumbai. Why?  Read More 
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Happy holidays

No blog till Sunday, October 12, & I'll be off again October 16 & 17.
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cups by Sally Mara Sturman
I feel like the guy who fed his horse a little less every day, & just when he got him down to nothing at all, the horse died. I gradually cut down on caffeine for a month before the holidays, mixing in more & more decaf, until I—well, I didn't die, & even better, I didn't have that coffee headache on Yom Kippur. I merely woke up every day as awake as I was gonna be.

Yom Kippur was Saturday. Sunday I overslept & was able to launch myself right out the door in 10 minutes, since I didn't have to make coffee. Then I went home &  Read More 
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Do Less Do Little

Do grasp this:
those big bellies
roll & flow
thanks to a 1998 steak

those waves
white & roll
thanks to
fingernail moon
white & curled
not yet in the sky

owls shark for mice
“waste, waste! dominates the world”
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String & can

I love my building, I really do. I even kind of love the half-assed repairs that the horrible, terrible George does. That is, I love that I don't live in an anonymous fancy place with, well, nothing to complain about. Nonetheless, I wish we had an intercom system that worked. This lame system has to have been his idea—maybe he was a Cub Scout in 1950. When we weren't around, he drilled a random hole into my wall from my neighbor's apartment.

Most people's intercoms don't work, buzz in a neighbor's house, or go off so  Read More 
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Asked the worst thing that's ever happened to me, & I can't think of any serious candidates. Or nothing that still lingers. It's all just scars now, not pain. Never even had bedbugs.
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The day after

Going to an antiwar (Vietnam) demonstration in Washington D.C. in 1971 changed my life—I met people who are still friends, it opened my mind to different lives (you're not in school? you work?!), & it was the start of my education: I realized that saying "war is bad because children get killed" to someone who thought the war a geopolitical necessity wasn't all that effective (hey, I was 19 & it was pre–oh, you know, pre–the days when kids know everything).

These days I'm less hopeful (& more claustrophobic about big crowds). Less hopeful that my presence is being counted, my shouts are being heard. Is showing up with a sign enough? "A thousand people in the street / Singing songs and carrying signs / Mostly saying, "hooray for our side."

I think of the unintended consequences of so many of our actions: good out of bad, bad out of good. How we all have different emphases for what should be done and Read More 
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Quote without comment

The Jews are a peculiar people: Things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews. Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people, and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it. Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey threw out a million Greeks and Algeria a million Frenchmen. Indonesia threw out heaven  Read More 
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