Friday, April 29, 2011

if it's good enough for kate bornstein...

Nick and Evan and I went to see Mariah MacCarthy's The All-American Genderf*ck Cabaret last night.  I went, I have to admit, in part out of an odd twinge of obligation to see this play written by the girlfriend of a man with whom I was once upon a time very good friends.

I left wishing I had gone earlier in its run, the better to force all of my friends to go see it too -- preferably with me, so that we could exchange sideways glances and giggle raucously (is that even possible?) and cry and hold hands, me with a dumb-ass grin plastered across my way-too-normal and non-descript face to feel at home in such a hip and beautiful downtown crowd.

I wasn't expecting to love it and yet I left laughing, almost giddy at the thought that theater could make me feel this way.  (And not only because Mariah employs to such perfect satisfaction one of my all-time favorite songs, though that was certainly a particular pleasure.)

Kate Bornstein*, awesome author of Gender Outlaw, My Gender Workbook,  and Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws (years before the It Gets Better Project phenomenon), described it as triumphant.  Also a "fierce, funny, smart, theatrical call for the next generation of gender revolution."  She was, as usual, right on.

There's one last performance tomorrow night at 8pm, at the Paradise Factory on East 4th.  I'm sure it's sold out, but go anyway, put your name on the waiting list, offer to stand in the back or sit in the aisle or cuddle on someone's lap.  You won't be disappointed.

*For whom I harbor a special fondness dating back at least to this near-ancient email from my Ari-love, which is the kind of thing one keeps when one is an email hoarder such as myself and one has had the same email address since 1994:

Subject: Where are yoooo?????
From: Neuroticmessiah
Date:  2/29/2000 8:33 AM
To: Emma
Hey baby,
I just realized that i can find you here since i have no fucking clue where to call you!  I  miss you. What's going on? Are you ok? I ran into Cindy at a Kate reading (what a fucking shock!) and she, or rather her boyfriend told me that you're homeless and couchhopping.  Come hop on my couch!  Well, I'm actually sort of on a roll with this email thingy, so write to me. I love you sweetie.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

it's a monster kind of a morning

Spent the bus ride down to work reading 'Salem's Lot, in which vampires abound.  Skipped across campus in the quiet morning sunshine and down the stairs into the cool of Hamilton Deli, where I caught my coffee guys, my dear deli men, singing along with great gusto to this:

Smiles abound today as well.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

food (again)

Library employee: I'm sorry, but you can't have food in the library.
Library patron (defensively): How do you know it's even mine?!?


Sunday, April 17, 2011

another april eighteenth, almost

I think and write about my father a lot, in all sorts of random contexts -- have been doing it for years.  I don't imagine that changing any time soon. Tomorrow marks eighteen years since his death, more than half my lifetime ago.

Evan is chopping vegetables up in the kitchen behind me, preparing them for roasting and eventually for lasagna: a late Sunday supper made with his homemade ricotta and accompanied by a bottle of Spanish red from our beloved little wine shop just across the street.

My father would appreciate this ending to a beautiful spring Sunday, and he would chuckle at what I bought, completely on impulse, for dessert: Ciao Bella malted milk ball ice cream.  Because man, did he love malted anything, and man did I ever inherit that from him.  (You should've seen me the last time I was in Bud's Big Burgers in St. Maries, Idaho, shamelessly attempting to flirt with the waitress just to get more malt in my chocolate malted.)

It's nice to imagine laughing with him over a pint of ice cream.

elementals (water)

Now available on Etsy, the first in a series of element-inspired pieces.

Friday, April 15, 2011

bad morning noises

The cat, so often sweet and adorable and funny, went on one of her pre-dawn rampages this morning, howling and yowling and skittering and crashing, taking flying leaps off dressers and closet shelves and flying leaps onto the bed, whinging and whining as if the very gods were torturing her everlasting soul.

We finally locked her out of the bedroom.

She spent the next hour alternately scratching and clawing at the bedroom door or mewling so pathetically it both broke my heart and made me want to wring her (not so) scrawny little neck.

Then there was the woman on the street corner below, shouting her rage presumably at her boyfriend into her cellphone, flickering through my semi-consciousness gesturing maniacally and flinging her head about, long hair flying in the early morning breeze.

Then it was 6:45, cell phone alarm clock vibrating violently against the wood of the bedside table, and time to wake up for real.

I think I really need a second cup of coffee this morning.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

smells (out of place)

This morning the pungent, salty, unexpectedly tantalizing odor of soy sauce wafting through the bus on my way to work was practically overwhelming.  One smells a lot of food on the bus, but generally it falls in the realm of fried grease: egg & cheese sandwiches, McDonald's french fries, Wendy's hamburgers.  The soy sauce was a first for me, and a particularly strange one at 7:37am on a rainy Wednesday morning.

Which made me remember last night, and the moment we stepped out of the train at 181st Street.  I think I was the first to notice (being finely attuned to such things after years in Mohegan Lake*), but within moments dozens of hardened urban commuters were wrinkling their noses, sniffing, and peering around suspiciously.

It was the unmistakable odor of skunk.  Again.

The funny thing, though, is that while everyone was groaning and wondering what had happened (Was the culprit still wandering the dank tunnels of the train station, ready to let loose in our midst? Was it dead somewhere? Should we call 311 to report it?), no one looked particularly disgusted.

I found myself wondering if they, like me, found the smell oddly nostalgic, even comforting in its way, and it made me laugh to think of these tough New Yorkers being reduced to mush by a furry little black & white creature, tail raised high, spraying out its odoriferous perfume with the power to drag us all back to our childhoods.

*Our Mohegan Lake cat, Star, had a penchant for hanging out with a family of skunks under our neighbors' back porch.  He was black & white, they were black & white, it's an old, old story.  He never got sprayed, but he would come home somtiems with an ever so subtle hint of skunk about him.  Much more offensive to our sensibilities was the fact that our Mohegan Lake dog, Maccabbee, had a tradition of managing to get skunk-sprayed on the eve of our annual departure for Idaho.  He would run away and come slinking home hours later, whining and reeking, and we would spend the night dunking him first in tomato sauce baths and then in coffee baths in never-entirely-successful attempts to make him presentable in time for our flight out of New York at the crack of dawn the following morning.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

first traditional estonian lace

First traditional Estonian lace project, involving grafting!  100% alpaca in a light creamy beige, with champagne-tinted beads throughout.  Now available on Etsy.

In other Etsy news, one of my wraps was chosen for this spring collection.

Friday, April 08, 2011

i am so old school

(By which of course I mean outdated.)

Evan and I got into a heated discussion last night about (this is almost excruciating to admit) the social protocols of using Gmail Chat or other online chat forums.

I treat Chat more or less as if it were a phone conversation.  You call someone (or answer a call), you give it your full attention (or at least partial attention), and when it's done you end it.  You say what you have to say, you say you have to go, you say goodbye, whatever.  It's a wrap.

Evan, though only a couple years younger than me, thinks about online chatting as if it were one continuous ongoing thing.  There is often no hello or goodbye, no beginning and ending, no formality or recognition that it can be or should be or is a finite thing.

I know in my head that his way is the modern way, the more common way, of thinking about these things.  My brother is the same, as are most of the other people with whom I chat online now and again.

Yet it irks me so.  I like hellos and goodbyes.  I like to know that a conversation has reached its completion, that questions have been answered, that the exchange of words -- whether mere pleasantries or more meaningful conversation or simple sharing of information -- has fulfilled all that it was supposed to fulfill.

I do not do well with change; I am not fluid or flexible about, well, much of anything.  But I guess one of the things about dating an adorable hippie internet geek is that you have to absorb at least a little bit of that which makes him all hippie internetty geeky.  (And learn to not take it so personally when there isn't a formal goodbye.)

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

you can tell

You can tell it's been a rough & windy week by the schools of plastic bags caught up in tree branches like mutant airborne jellyfish.

And also by the way so many of the daffodils finally blooming along upper Broadway have been laid low.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Sunday, April 03, 2011

'we laugh until we think we’ll die, barefoot on a summer night...'

Just about ten years ago now I started dating a man I'll call CML. Every so often, during the five years that we spent together, he would ask me about a faraway look he claimed I sometimes got: a look that seemed to lurk, he said, at the core of my being.

I always found it difficult to explain back then, but now, years after we parted ways, it's easier somehow to look back even further than him.

Cat, my CLM, is getting married this weekend.

When we were seventeen years old her name, those six lilting syllables, rolled through my thoughts like music.

Seventeen years later I am counting on both hands all the years that lie between now and our last meeting, and even then there are not enough fingers for the years between the end of our friendship and today.

It seems sometimes there are adolescent roads that cannot be followed together into adulthood.

We would head north on the Taconic in her truck, windows rolled down, fingers dangling cigarettes out into the oncoming night, shouting along to Cornflake Girl and Sober and Head Like a Hole.

Hers was the home I ran to when the chaos in my own felt sometimes like shards of glass.

We wrote on each others' arms and legs and clothes in Sharpie ("I was bored, you were bored, it was a meeting of the minds...").

We spent a year sleeping with the same man (though much to his disappointment never at the same time).

She was the first girl I ever kissed, the first person I ever cared about kissing.

She's the reason I've got this tattered old tattoo.

We got drunk for the first time together -- on a shared six-pack of Coors Light down at the lake late one spring night (bought for us by our friend Ben, who always looked older and never got carded).

She was the recipient of many a melodramatic teen-angst-filled letter.

There were times I wasn't sure either of us would make it to twenty, and yet here we are: grown women, thirty-four years old the both of us, and her a married lady.

It's funny the way we carry people with us: people who, despite years of silence and years of change, carry with them a sense of home we will never get over and never forget.

I am wishing her and her wife all the happiness I can muster which (somewhat to this jaded heart's surprise) is actually a lot.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

vernal equinox shawl

50% silk, 25% baby camel, 25% merino, with silver beads in the yoke and border, knit on size 4 needles, now available on Etsy.

Friday, April 01, 2011

april fools

I want to say that it is 36 degrees this morning, on this first day of April, and that it isn't quite raining and it isn't quite snowing and it isn't quite hailing, but that the sky is spitting some unpleasant mixture of all these things, and somewhere up there the powers that be are laughing at us.