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NauenThen

In the neighborhood

Johnny is OK with the heat. We even managed to sit outside & read The Iliad. Too gory. Isn't there an epic with morality? 

In the neighborhood because here I am, but it's too darn hot! 

 

Someone I work with just wrote: I never yearned for a pool before, but this summer I've suddenly morphed into a weather-driven capitalist who wants the pool, a beachfront property, and central air.

 

I found myself looking at cabins for sale in Norway. 

 

When I go outside, all I want to do is go home & lie down. 

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In the neighborhood

I could probably write pretty much the same thing for this picture as I did yesterday. The thing is, all the zany surprises of my neighborhood keep me awake & alive. 

 

Today at karate practice we invented Senior Olympics. Or thought we did. There really is such an animal. It's embarrassing: shuffleboard? power walking? cornhole? OK, I understand dropping gymnastics, although there are plenty of extremely spry 50+-year-olds. But where are the real sports? Sleeping, Remember Where You Left Your Keys, Texting with Those Tiny Little Keys on Your Phone.

 

I bet I can win the Gold in the category of "Staying Married to Johnny Stanton."

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In the neighborhood

This was near Tompkins Square Park, when I was ambling by. You could write a book explicating all this info. Weird & wonderful, yet another reason I love New York. Keep your eyes open, you never know what (or who) you might see. 

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Monday Quote

As birds' wings beat the solid air without which none could fly so words freed by the imagination affirm reality by their flight

~ William Carlos Wiliams, from Spring & All

 

Williams! My main man! Want a treatise? We are all his heiresses, right, Alice? No time today to write what's in my heart. The father of us all. 

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In the neighborhood

Hard as it is not to be stressed by the many weird, unsettling surprises & non-surprises that are going on, I did feel great peace walking on 9th Street the other afternoon, having a great catch-up chat with a good friend, the sun & mature trees & mellow buildings buoying us. Yesterday a different friend and I rode our bikes very early up an unvehicled Park Avenue to 72nd Street, as it was Open (car-free) Streets. (No photos or that would get its own entry.) Even though I'm busy at the moment, I'm getting some R&R too. Summer in the city. 

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A photo

I found this photo on my phone. I didn't take it, though I suppose I must have. Why do I like it? Maybe because I wish I had a car. I dreamed I was driving 400 miles an hour, but the speed limit was 800 mph, so everything was copacetic. 

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In the neighborhood

Every time I go for a walk, I am surprised. Today it was that Emma Lazarus lived in this very nice building on 10th Street west of 5th Avenue. 

 

I also just learned that 77 St Marks Place, where La Palapa is, was home not just to W.H. Auden but earlier, a Russian newspaper called Novy Mir, one of whose staff writers was Tolstoy. 

 

And now I get to tell you one of my favorite jokes:

 

Q: What's the difference between a Trotskyist & a Trotskyite?

A: Same as the difference between a socialist & a socialite. 

 

Why is it funny? I can't say but it cracks up everyone. And people who know say it's accurate as well as funny. There ya have it. 

 

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Poem of the Week

Haiku for Carol

 

A half-glimpsed glitter 
Songbird droops in a gray sky
Moon starts her ascent

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People who died

The Times had two terrific obits today, one on French Cannoli, "Evangelist for Hash," and the other on George Forss, a New York street photographer with terrific work & a life right out of Joseph Mitchell. I don't so much wish to have known them as I'm thrilled to know about them. 

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Monday Quote

I'm going to pretend I don't know Kelly (left) is using a filter in this picture & that this is what I look like. 

We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.  

~ Denis Diderot

 

 

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Beach training!

Photo of Kaicho & Nidaime by Kelly Hirsch. 

Left my house at 3:58 this morning to meet Alan, my neighbor, fellow karateka, & ride to Rockaway at 4. Lots of greetings, then meditating on our beloved dead (like yizkor) till the sun came up. Next we did basics and kata in the sand. For some reason we didn't go into the water as usual, though I ran in & splashed around when everything was finished. A slice of watermelon & we headed back by 8. I was asleep again by 9. 

 

Naturally we couldn't be as physical as usual, both because the black belts now train with the color belts & because we didn't go into the surf. So it wasn't as full of wild abandon as previous years, but still great to be by the ocean + see a lot of people I haven't seen in a long time. 

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En litt norsk til deg

Ikke bruk Google Oversett... Jeg vet ikke noe å skrive på engelsk, så jeg skal skrive på norsk. Hmmm. Jeg er hjernedød på norsk også. Jeg føler meg søvnig ... glemsom ... litt sulten... ensom ... blå... God natt, Irene. 

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From the vault

It was very exciting to get stopped by a young man one day a few years ago who asked if I was local. He turned out to be James Maher, a photographer doing a feature called "Out & About in the East Village" for the hyperlocal (& still going strong) blog EV Grieve. I had forgotten about it, but the picture popped up today & I went back & read the whole thing. Really nice comments too. Here it is, if you're interested. I'm too sleepy to get that picture wrangled into my blog, but it's nice. 

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Challah, por favor

Cucumber soup: food stylist I ain't.

Signs of summer: wanting to go home after walking 20 feet & lie down in the air conditioning; people wearing wisps of clothing; cucumber soup from B&H, my favorite restaurant. It's made with buttermilk, a dash of cream, lots of fresh chunks of cucumber, a little dill. Quenching! 

 

I learned enough Polish to thank Bagushka, who makes the soup, but then instead of "tasty soup," I could only remember how to say, "I am an old woman" ("jestem stara kobieta"). So I said that to her by way of thanks, & one of the Mexican guys who works there turned & said, You're not an old woman! How do YOU speak Polish? I wanted to know. He shrugged: I work in delis.

 

And there you have a great New York story to go with the fact that B&H, a kosher restaurant, is owned by a Muslim couple who are Egyptian and Polish. 

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Monday Quote

To see ourselves as others see us is a most salutary gift. Hardly less important is the capacity to see others as they see themselves.

~ Aldous Huxley

 

Which really means to see the best in people, because isn't that how we see ourselves? Even when we're hard on ourselves, we're often a little proud of being more rigorous (or more lame, more scatterbrained, more clean....)

 

 

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Poem of the Week

Lovely

            for Irene Phillips (11/7/1921 – 7/23/2021)

 

 

when the heart breaks

everything hurts

my hair hurts

 

my face is someone else's ~

someone without an aunt

someone who was loved 

 

when the heart breaks, the fear starts

the fear, the anger (the unfairness!)

I needed you, I need you

 

her laugh full of mischief

holds me

in a glitter of love

 

much larger than sorrow

the lovely love

of peaceful Irene

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High school reunion

It was a vacation into memory, all us nice kids who studied Latin & shop, were cheerleaders & homeroom monitors, did synchronized swimming & played basketball, listened to our teachers, walked home in blizzards wearing nylons... A different time. Yet we were the same, except with better conversations, 50 years of thoughts & events to share. Tolerant, kind, interested. I went to a big cliché of an American high school, it turns out. I loved it then & I love that it's my past. I got to apologize to a boy I beat up in 4th grade. He didn't remember it, thank goodness, or else I gave him a brain injury. How many people were there that I've known since kindergarten? A good handful. I didn't take enough photos, for sure, but their faces are locked in my brain & heart. It doesn't mean anything to be there but it means a lot to have gone. 

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Going away

I went to a going away party for a friend of my sister's who's moving to: see the arrow on the flourless almond cake? Yes, Tunis. She is legendary for being the only one (along with her husband) to follow a wedding invite's direction to come dressed in the costume of your native land. She rented a St. Pauli girl outfit, & ended up getting in free everywhere afterwards, as it was Oktoberfest. A good sport. The cake was pretty good too.

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Uff-da!

My wonderful sister got me this mask in our long-running private Scandinavia fest. (Thanks, Vee!) I want to say that I am grinning my face off in this picture. How is it possible that I look so gloomy? 

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Restless

Isn't this little hacienda the cutest?

I felt a surprising burst of envy for my family's nice lives in big houses, with cars, orderly, full of dinners & activities. We drove by this duplex on Cleveland Avenue & my future changed. Luckily, it's not for sale.

 

Well, I'm home & NY looks pretty good, even without any food in the fridge. It took the cat about 20 minutes to realize who I was. It took Johnny no time at all. 

 

I loved my reunion, loved catching up with my oldest friends, some of whom I've known since kindergarten. We're ready to meet up again in 4 years. I love how Sioux Falls looks now ~ both shiny-new & gritty-old. I guess that's all the analysis I'm going to manage. It was a warm bath of love & remembering, a spa vacation on memory lane.

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Monday Quote

You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.

~ William Faulkner

 

I don't know if it was courage as much as the inability to stay. I set out for new horizons, which turned out to be the intention to have an interesting life, mostly because I didn't want anything on offer in Sioux Falls. I had to go because I couldn't stay. It may seem like courage but it would have taken more to stay home when I knew it was wrong for me. 

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The Nioux Sioux Falls

I've never seen the water in the Falls so low.
 

Really something to see all the bike & walking trails, how the Falls area has been beautified. This is not my Sioux Falls of 50 years ago in so many ways. It's great to see that the city has been smart about development. 

 

As for my high school reunion: why didn't I take more pictures? Still processing but I'll have highlights soon enough. 

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Sioux Falls

The federal building, Sioux Falls, a block from my dad's office & my high school. 

Reunion doesn't even start till tonight & I've already seen many of the people I most want to. I like easing into it, getting some talks before it's all a jumble of "oh my goodness" & "how are you?!" & "where are you living now." I kind of love being this old & able/willing to be real with people. Realizing again why I like the people I did. I only have an hour before the next event so I will pick this up again later. So very happy to be here!

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A cool day in Minnesota

My mother enjoying the fresh air & lilies outside Sholom Home in St. Paul.
 

The nicest part of the day was sitting outside in a soft rain, chatting & remembering. The most exciting was meeting my 6-month-old nephew Levi, who is the most responsive baby with more expressions than a ham actor. What fun! And in a little while I set off for Sioux Falls & yet more fun.

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Minnesota!

Jackalope crossing, St. Paul, near Summit Avenue.

Easy & in the end normal to fly & now I'm in St. Paul. Already saw my mom, who is doing great, Janet, who is leaving today for a week & I'm glad I had a chance to see her at all, & had dinner with a side of tater tots (tater tots!) that could have fed four hungry people. I'd forgotten midwest portions. Luckily my sister cooks moderately & healthy so my breakfast was an egg white omelette with veggies. And even thought covid is back in my mother's nursing home, they gave me emergency authorization to see her whenever I can make it over. All good! 

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