I have spent a lot of time and money in New York City eating food. Sometimes the food is good, some times it sucks, it’s usually somewhere I’ve stumbled on while walking around between jobs, and I finally decided I needed to start telling everyone what I think, cause lord knows I never do that.
Today the stumble upon is The Bowery Diner, on bowery and prince, next to the New School art museum or whatever that thing is.
And OMG, any place that already has A1 sauce on the table gets a win from me. I love A1 and NO ONE carries it anymore. I don’t like it for my steak but it’s better than katchup on fries. Which means I had to get a burger and fries.
They mention the beef is handground, all the burgers medium, on the menu, which I think is just neat. The fries were golden and crispy, the pickles were ROUND CUT SO YOU CAN PUT THEM ON THE BURGER! The lettuce was shredded and nested on top so it didn’t spill and the entire bite had all the right layers in it with the meat being the right amount of chew. And nummy nummy flavor. Fry, dip, sauce in mouth, burger, bite, OMG!!!!
Plus the service was incredible. May have helped it was a couple of days after the huge storm in which this area of town had now power and way too much water and people needed to make rent but seriously, finding a restaurant that clears, cleans, fills coffee and checks up on your table is magic in New York City.
Now I think I may have had better actual meat burgers around town – and the burger-off between Pianos, Mikeys and 5 Guys is going to be my favorite day ever but over all this place is delicious. I give it 4 pizza foots.
A couple of tuesdays ago I wrote. I sat at Whole Foods and I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. And i hated every stinky word of it. I had made a plan, announced it here, and was going to be self-disciplined, write and perform another section of my life story every tues.
I do an open mic every tues in Nyc – Penny’s Open Mic. 7 min of time to develop on stage, experiment and after an afternoon of writing shit that I couldn’t bear to read on stage I did 7 random minutes of general whatever.
And it nagged. and I thought. and there was some stewing.
and oh yeah, it occurred to me, the next part after father isn’t the litany of minuscule things I had done next, it was mother. Which is a problem.
Of course when you figure out the next part of the art thingy that blobs on and creates what you want the ideas for it come fast and furious, the words bubbled in my head of what about mom and me, our life, the two of us, the siblings. Early years examined, problem, people still alive.
I love my mom. LOVE my mom. Respect her, admire her and as any child does have issues with her. Not even really anymore, HAD issues is the better way to put it. Still have issues based on her and me and childhood but not WITH my mom, totally love and get it.
But that is tricky terrain to write. Pretty callous to stick on the internet I think. So I may doom my poor blog to be an unread journaling of the artist’s journey, as all good mormons are spose to do about their lives, but while I’m going to write it, and possibly perform it, I’m going to keep this part to myself for now.
My father’s death is my life. It is my reference point for what bad is. It is a memory that streatchs behind me, always there, always leaving a quiet inner seed of panic, “When will this end too?”
To write about a father’s death is to tease out the pieces of a relationship, if you can remember it. My mom says he doted on me as a baby, that I was just the cutest baby, and my father adored me.
I can’t remember it.
I feel I wanted more from him as a child, more heart to hearts, more affection. I recall work and bishopric duties and a closed bedroom door where he watched HBO propped up in the coveted queen size bed. I remember dinners, him at the head, offering discipline for poor table manners, in his den tying flies on little silver pedistals and with butterfly threads.
I’m a Bishop’s daughter, born, blessed and baptised into the Mormon religion, my memories starting at 3, the day we moved to Cody, Wy. A western life of trout fishing, cow hustling, walking hills and going to rodeos. Running wild and free in the summers and then bundled, wobbling snowmen, to trek to school in the freezing sparkling mornings, home for lunch in the afternoon.
I can’t say I wasn’t miserable. I was. I think I was born miserable, or maybe it’s sensitive. Whiney. My feelings were hurt a LOT. My siblings picked and mocked, as siblings do. I read a LOT. I loved books. The stories and how I just was IN them and they weren’t this life. Escape! from knowing things weren’t fair and feeling somehow it was all against me. A father dying doesn’t help this issue.
Before he was gone I would lay in bed crying many nights, or up til 2am reading. Or crying then reading. I felt I was horribly unliked and misunderstood at 8 years of age. There was also the months before my baptism when I read the book of mormon and prayed to know if the church was true and how tortured I was not to have a breast that burned with a testimony of the church of jesus christ of later day saints.
There may have been a first grade cheating with the deaf girl fiasco that ruined my good social standing as well. These things can be devastating. All I know is by second grade no one would talk to me anymore, couldn’t be my friend, I should know why! I tried to pick on the bottom of the totem pole, the odd duck that everyone picked on and immediately my old friends, the “popular” girls whirled on me, accusing me of being a horrible meanie to pick on such a one…
And I drifted, and read, and still had friends when I look back, and felt the world would be happier without me, and cried and I imagined great tragedy falling on our family, my death, running away, SOMETHING for sympathy, true kindred understanding and sheepish acceptance back into the main fold.
And then my father died.
During the next 30 years of life it has been an ever present fact, fiction, memory, portion, thing, there, nudge it, see where this string leads oh right back to that day. A miserable grief that an eleven year old holds onto and stuffs down and pretends isn’t there, never connecting it to a life that felt like it was lived in a tunnel. A wedge of eleven, the part of me that remembers it all, hiding out behind my heart, thumping against the rib cage sometimes.
I know there is suppose to be healing and “closure” but how do you let that piece of you go? Why would you want to close that up? Oh hell, who thinks you can? I’ve done my inner child rituals and therapies, visualizations and cried, oh i have cried, always thinking this round will be the one to get it all out but She/me is always there, sad, frightened, resigned and beaten because I Lost My Dad.
I still have all the stages of grief, denial, depression, rage…the rage of loss rearers it head often, still, some years more than others.
The older I get the stronger it can be, as I see the screwed up choices that trace straight to the loss. The Rage at what I could have done with my life by now if I hadn’t been so lost and maudlin, so detached and over invovlved. So fucked and numb just dreaming of some one who could see it all. Some one to fill the hole, fix the eleven year old, explain that life can be a happy ending. Maybe.
The betrayal, the being cheated. No real knowledge of my father as a person, being so young and so stunned by events. Frantic greedy grasping at the few people who knew him to give me a memory or two, all of it thin and watered down by time. I think it’s reasonable for this to make me ANGRY.
I will never stop missing him.
The smell of old spice and scratchy jackets and m&ms by the bedside for a handful before teeth brushing at bedtime as we hugged and kissed him goodnight.
What else do you want to know? My internal emotional temperature isn’t enough?
Of course not, how boring just to read for pages about how sad I am.
He died an interesting death. I feel like I’ve described it a hundred million times. I sound rote and bored as I speak about it to others.
He was water skiing, on the skiis, at a lake, a remote shore, a mormon weekend, labor day actually, the final summer hurrah, families with boats and waterskies and my father, he wasn’t bishop that year, he had given it up, was going to be a youth leader, I was turning 11. He would be spending time with us. (I forget about that. That was the year we were gonna get him back, from his duties in the church, from a pretty deep depression, from issues with Mom. I forget we were getting him back.)
Out on a speed boat, tired of waterskiing our group headed back to shore and the engines died and us kids were climbing out into the water as a man rush/splashed up, Brother Nelson, owner of the boat, possibly Bishop Nelson at that point, I think I remember now he had just taken over for my dad, or had a year ago or, something, yelling “in or out, in or out!”
I was off the boat standing in warm lake water, my little sister was on the edge frozen between getting out and getting back in, my Mom had already jumped out of the boat at the hushed air on the beach, just knowing something was wrong and was probably halfway to finding my Father laid out on another boat, where she took over the CPR on him leaving a bruise on his forehead. It didn’t work.
So my sister stayed on the boat my mother and I had just departed, and it sped back to the mainland to call an ambulance – my mother was in the boat that held my fathers body performing cpr and heading back to the mainland- I was 10, going on 11, my birthday only a month away, up to my thighs in warm early Sept lake water and everything was silent. The water was lapping the sides of boats and a girl I knew hung over the edge of another boat, a Nelson i didn’t like much, but I hollared anyway, to test the silence. “Shandeee!”
“Shhh, don’t you know someone died?” in her snottiest little girl voice. And I stood bewildered with dread. I still hate her.
I went to shore, got hugged, found my brother, someone at some point said something was wrong with my father. My older sister was there too. I tried to cling to my brother, he didn’t like it, shook me off, sent me under decks. It had gotten cold and I shivered in a wet swimsuit and towel, my flipflops lost. I prayed and I prayed but it felt futile and finalized. I knew somehow that he was gone and my faith, whatever there was or wasn’t of it, wouldn’t bring him back.
A small child said “I bet he died” and I whirled and said no or we don’t know or something. I used to know exactly but the words have faded, even with reliving them at regular intervals, making sure that day DID live on, that last piece of something of him even though the actual memories start clearly at his absence. His sudden, graceful exit. He floated down on the skies. I forgot to tell you that, he was in the water actually skiing, and just let go and sailed on down to rest like good water skiers do. 5 mins is what I remember being told. He was in the water for about 5 min between letting go and people realizing something was wrong and being pulled onto the boat to be given CPR.
I think everyone agrees it is an amazing way to go. Drifting down, sun in your face, beautiful day out with friends and family, and hopefully whatever momentary awareness took place between life stopping system failiure and his going it invovled a beautiful feeling of peace and love and that everyone is going to be safe and happy and there is a better place.
Unfortunately that is not the feeling that gets left behind. And learning to survive life began on a whole different level.
My Life – Sorta – at least a strange sampling of photos I scanned in after the last cleaning fest.
brief sunday respite: an afternoon movie Unexpected re-viewing of Look Who’s Talking.
Much different movie as a single mother in new york city now then as the hilaroius romance comedy it originally seemed to be to me as a 19 year old in, um, utah? New mexico? Or was that mississippi.
I have no recollection of when and where I saw this movie orginally. I’ve watched most of the franchise as well. None of them recently. And I always remember the first one as charming and romatical.
What I didn’t remember was that it’s all about one very real person. It’s a story about a single mother in new york city. It’s a story about a smart, strong, angry, uptight, funny, warm, likable, etc woman in new york city.
And it’s told with complete sincerity. It interrupts a sex scene with travolta burping. Brilliant.
The scene with the baby in an old-timey auto-seat with a lap belt across it in the front seat was a bit surreal. Remembering that we used to ride all over in the car, with out belts, climbing on things, holding friends, etc.
Another scene, with baby strapped to chest, three bags and a stroller trying to hail a cab and my most recent [original mistyping was "resent"] baby urgers went OH RIGHT! that part is hard. Trying to do it all with baby and job and etc. I once again put my plan to get knocked up some drunken night on hold. Still not quite ready for last-minute baby plan after all. (I tend to be very aware my eggs are on a count down clock, as is my ability to want to be a mother of a teenager at 60.)
It’s weird to watch the internal motivation being “finding a father for my son.”
But incredible to watch her angrily stand up for herself.
Great Action scene with Mikey heading off in a towed car, and the ensuing car chase to an end point of interception, so you watch an old style nyc taxi hurtling through an alley, crossing streets missing death by whiskers to get to the goal and bam, still no kid!
Then the kid is in mortal danger, the center of a busy street, walking through traffic and as travolta’s and kirstie’s runs to save him both fail, the trafic has to swerve to avoid, and a pile up happens around him, no heros, just a magical miracle of life that does happy sometimes, a person escapes disaters unscathed.
and then the kiss. not the first kiss between them but the first important one, the one that says i love you, no i love you more.
frankly, i’m giving this a 10 on the on screen romatical moment grading scale. 10 = that’s how i most like to kiss now do me.
and black out and cheesy yet satisfying end cap of baby sis, hahha, how cute, bet they do a Look Who’s Talking Too.
But frankly it’s a much better movie than I expected to watch again.
These pigeons did a dance around me. A disaster of crumbs was tumbled feet away. Too far to see what it once was but I waited patiently for the pigeons to see it and a picturesque dinning frenzy to ensue. No such luck.
Apparently these broken lumps of baked goods held no appeal.
I wait for a bit and as I left I passed by the ruins. A chocolate chip muffin, pressed into the asphalt, without a label. I want a label, a wrapper with bakery insignia. I really want to know where food not even pigeons will eat lives so I will never buy it by mistake.
trying to get down to work. Somedays there are so many things brewing and exciting it’s hard to settle down and do work.
I have been meaning to write a lot of things down but never do. like everyone. Intentions scattered in thought patterns. Sometimes it bogs down in a morass of does it matter if I write at all. The hardhitting opinion pieces, the fanciful stories, the things I think i know, why bother. Even if read, even if my grandiose idea of an epic novel succeeds wildly what will it gain the world really.
it also seems that the creative process takes about 8 hours down time to kick in.
maybe not for everyone
maybe if I did make myself get up and scribble feverishly every morning at 5am.
struggle, wrastle, “reasearch”, try not to judge the first go-round. try not to self censor. mull. consider. re-read. clean. facebook. talking to, back at the grindstone, random picking a place to begin and WRITE!
ahhhh there it is. a moment of satisfaction, of feeling that the words you see contain a moment of where your head is at, hopefully clever enough to be found “groovy” by other blogminded individuals,
if the[y] ever come to you your page.
ignore stats. those are pointless. write to write. write to play. write to remember how words string together to convey thoughts and ideas to the masses and that this written structure of communication is incredible and powerful and amazing.
write to be comfortable in the world of narration and over-blown prose. to remove the internal masks that get in the way of WHAT THE FUCK AM I TRYINT TO SAY!
Still, even given the rush of commuters at that time of day and the rigors of the trek in from Grant Park, I arrived back at the storefront recruiting station no later than 9:20 A.M. (albeit covered with snow again), to find no one else there from the prior day except the same Service recruiter, looking even more exhausted and disheveled, who, when I came in and said I was ready for advanced processing, and gave him the forms from the homework I’d plowed through, looked from me to the forms and back again, giving me the exact kind of smile of someone who, on Christmas morning, has just unwrapped an expensive present he already owns.
- The Pale King, David Foster Wallace.
I do not often write in books. I almost always read paperbacks so I can haul them everywhere and not feel too guilty when I destroy them with water or chocolate sauce. I can dog ear pages to find where I am but I mostly don’t. I usually memorize a page number or find an approximate area and skim until I find my spot. When it comes to books I usually devour them, often of the science fiction sort, though I’ve read all kinds and adore writing, the different way people write.
I’m not always sure why I will buy (sorta guilty) the next Patricia Briggs, “Mercy” novel but by book two of Charlene Harris I just wanted to hit her. A lot. With hammers.
Why I won’t even look at twilight or shades of grey but admit to still having all three of the Sleeping Beauty series on a shelf, though I haven’t touched them for years, and adoring the Interview with A Vampire series after I was turned onto it by Sting in some sort of article or liner note.
My favorite authors are Bradbury, Ecco, Calvino, harper lee, Connie Willis, Rowling, Irving, Frank Herbert, Octavia Butler and that lady who wrote the Handmaids Tale. Taylor? hmmm…no Atwood! Margaret Atwood! (and others that i always forget until I stumble on a book I haven’t read and I go I LOVE THIS AUTHOR!)
My reading style is one in which I lose the whole world and live in the fiction. Analyzing it now I think I can see why I love who I love. It’s people who not only write beautifully they also move me along the story. I notice the writing style as I go as an aura but the stories and books grab me and keep me moving. It’s great writing, amazing atmosphere and engrossing so that the actually noticing of the writing itself usually only is understood in retrospect. on the 3rd, 4th read.
Mr. Wallace has his own way of making sentences work and thoughts combine and as I read The Pale King I can not get lost in it like the others. Not because it is jarring. Or a poor story. I’m caught up in everything I read. but then a thought comes out, a character described, an emotion we’ve seen on faces over and over but has never ever been described before, I’m guessing, called out on the carpet, after a chapter of exposition and set up and detailed genius settings and scenes, and the opening quote on this blog is at the end of all that, and come up for air and look for a pencil to underline my book with because it is just so fucking beautiful to me. How he can smooth me along so brilliantly on a naration of self-revelation and then run me smack into a – I don’t know, i’m sure there is some literary decription somewhere for what I’m trying to say, and you’ve probably already understood it but i’m FLOORED by it.
A book like this makes you think you can know the author. He makes it intimate. He writes from a point of view that is fictionalized but he tells you is him. ( I think, halfway through so we’ll see where that goes.) It is a masterpiece, no matter it’s unfinished. It is profound about the mundane. Yes, that is what it is about, all the above. The profundity of mundane life. (Does that mean what I think it means?)
I wish I had known him. I wish someone could have saved him. I can not imagine what it means to live inside the mind that encompasses so much human experience with so much empathy and understanding. I do not believe for a minute that I have any idea who David Foster Wallace was. A mind that can create the internal worlds between these pages would never have to show itself to anyone.
I’m just grateful he wrote all that he did.
pure and simple procastination.
I have a short list of things to do, people to get back to, a job to finish up but I don’t wanna.
I don’t hate on my procrastination. i find the more I beat myself up for not just getting it done the longer it takes for me to get to it.
Usually I just procrastinate. and then at some point a switch in my brain twigs and then done, fine, i’ll do the junk.
nice to be me I guess
today the procrastination is being put to good use to keep up with this getting used to writing again thing I seem to be doing.
I like it.
See it’s weird. what’s happened is things are ok now. And all this incredible tension i’ve have built up for YEARS of trying to figure out how to help someone incredibly important to me thrive is gone cause thriving is happening. and life is smoothing out for a minute. Oh sure general stuff of head colds, and broken toilets and right now a teen boy who is still snoring on the couch when he needs to be doing the laundry but that is cake at this point.
there is always the reaction to the loss of tension though
as the emotional bubble of vigilance and worry that surrounded me deflates i find myself just worn out. a bit blasé. dare I say it, soft?
able to relax and write again, apparently. my silly internet scribbles
I have migraines. It was once a month for most my life, just before I got my period, though it took forever to figure out THAT association. Then they went to twice a month, before and after. So I’ve had a lot of experience in the non-insured treatment for a migraine.
In recent Facebook advice to a friend I spilled about my favorite treatment: cold compress on forehead, heating pad on back of neck and a combo alka-seltzer and advil. dim room, old familiar video playing somewhere so you can ignore it or be distracted by it as your migraine sees fit.
It seemed like nice advice to share. P.S. I AM NOT A DOCTOR.
Now the real key to the hot/cold treatments is to freak out the blood vessels in your head and shock relax the neck muscles. I don’t know if this works for anyone else.
The key to migraines is to catch them early. Notice the vague feeling, the little bits of vision you can’t blink back into focus. or Spotted. (I am such a literalist I didn’t realize that’s what spotted meant. I was looking for polka-dots as I tried to figure out from a medical book years and years and years ago if my symptoms match migraine parameters.) If I notice one early I take 4 advil and go chill. That usually fixes it but if not a boost of 2 more in a couple of hours totally wrecks it on out.
However, if one sneaks up, a clever migraine who gathers it’s forces during the night and wakes you with pain, then it’s a bitch to get rid of.
Often it is a day on the couch, a glass of one tablet alka-seltzer being firmly sipped, trying to get pain meds in before stomach contents come back out so dull the pain enough to get a little more in. Once moving is optional again I run a hot bath and a bag of ice. I climb into my big, hot, steaming tub and put the ice on my head and lean back and feel the hot climb up my body from the water and the cold sink down my spine and somehow it starts everything relaxing enough to get fixed.
Then I down strong coffee and advil, stomach permitting, put the ice away for later if needed and dunk under the water to get warm all over.
This may be more superstitious ritual than a cure I am thinking, now that I’ve typed it all out. I have no science behind it, but it works so I will cling to my placebo. Anything better than 2 day migraine.
ok, I take that back. not “anything.” but yes a cozy bath and sucking down pain meds with a tepid movements is alright.