Saturday, August 31, 2002

special thanks


I just need to take a minute here
to thank the following most excellant folks for their wonderful words and great support of yours truly.

I'm just a little blonde newbie in this great web world but these heavy hitters have taken the time to be very kind to moi. So go read their sites and learn something.

Tell em I said thankee while you're there.

acdouglas
jillmatrix
buzzmachine
asparagirl

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Considering the fact that this has been a site almost exclusively dedicated to the way September 11th has affected this one little wacky life ... mine ... I guess you may be wondering why I've been so quiet about the impending one-year anniversary.

The thing is ... the closer we get to September 11, 2002, the more I realize how far I really am, and how far perhaps many of us are from moving on. I've been quiet on the subject lately because, well shit ... I'm just tired of dwelling on it. I want to get up and get on with things.

I've had some great validation in my writing and painting career. My catering life is back on track after a post 9/11 dip. I've paid my bills and still have something left over to get out of town with. I've got people in my life who love me. I've got a really amazing set of ... hmmm ... nevermind.

My point is, there are things to celebrate. There are huge things to celebrate. The very fact that I'm alive and well is cause for a party, but I can't celebrate.

I have survivor's guilt.

Don't know why this comes a surprise to me. I can suffer a guilt complex at the drop of a hat. You get a headache; I think it's my fault.

I'm convinced my mother would be alive today, if I'd just called a little more often. Well, she would!

I've thought a lot about what I want to do on September 11th. Part of me wants to make sure I'm not alone for a second. One of the hardest things about that day, was how incredibly alone I felt. I've made my cubana promise to spend the day with me. She has a friend who has an office overlooking
ground zero. His totally illegal terrace literally protrudes over the site. I'm planning on trying to go there on the 11th. Maybe watch some of the memorial service from that perch.

I also have a project I finished some time ago that I'd like to deliver that day. I made prints of a painting I'd done last year dedicated to the brave men of Ladder 3. It's called Heroes Never Die. I made 12 prints, one for each of the families of Ladder 3's fallen heroes. I want to deliver the painting and the prints on the 11th. I figure the guys will need a cheer up that day.

But then ... if I were to really re-live that day as it went for me nearly one year ago, I'd climb up on the roof again at roughly the same time as just after the second plane hit ... close my eyes and watch the towers burn again, open my eyes and look at the hole in the sky, close my eyes and watch them fall again, open my eyes and scan the clouds remembering the thick billowy smoke that lasted for days and days.

Then I'd remember what it felt like to be so helpless, so horrified and so frozen. I'd remember the panic of my neighbors running to buy canned goods and water. I'd remember the women in my neighborhood pushing baby strollers ... so ordinary ... except that that they and the babies were wearing ventilation masks.

I'd walk west to the highway again and remember the dust and the terrible smell and the sea of news crews for as far as you could see and the first buds of red, white and blue like tiny little flowers pushing through the cracks of concrete.

I'd call my friends and family and remember what it felt like to know that they thought I might be gone but have no way to get word to them.

Sigh.

I have no idea what to do on September 11th.

I want to do all of these things and I want to do nothing.

Part of me just wants to stay home and hide under the covers, with the phone off.

I want to lie there perfectly still, in total quiet and listen ... listen ... listen ...

Shhhhhhhh.

Maybe this time I'll hear them.

I'm still waiting for those nearly three thousand souls to answer.

I've been asking them the same question for almost a year now.

I always ask the same thing.

Why?
----
Oh FYI, I just have to take a minute here to say thanks to Jeff at buzzmachine. ... Jeff has been one of my web heroes, and I got to meet him live and in person, and he is NATCH truly fabulous. ... Thanks, Jeff!
Considering the fact that this has been a site almost exclusively dedicated to the way September 11th has affected this one little wacky life…mine…I guess you may be wondering why I’ve been so quiet about the impending one-year anniversary.

The thing is…the closer we get to September 11th 2002, the more I realize how far I really am, and how far perhaps many of us are from moving on. I’ve been quiet on the subject lately because, well shit..I’m just tired of dwelling on it. I want to get up and get on with things.

I’ve had some great validation in my writing and painting career. My catering life is back on track after a post 911 dip. I’ve paid my bills and still have something left over to get out of town with. I’ve got people in my life who love me. I’ve got a really amazing set of…hmmm..let’s skip that.

My point is that there are things to celebrate. There are huge things to celebrate. The very fact that I’m alive and well is cause for a party, but I can’t celebrate.

I have survivor’s guilt.

Don’t know why this comes a surprise to me. I can suffer a guilt complex at the drop of a hat. You get a head-ache I think it’s my fault.

I’m still convinced my mother would be alive today, if I’d just called a little more often.

Well…she would!

I’ve thought a lot about what I want to do on September 11th. Part of me wants to make sure I’m not alone for a second. One of the hardest things about that day, was how incredibly alone I felt. I’ve made my Cubano promise to spend the day with me. She has a friend who has an office over-looking ground zero. His totally illegal terrace literally protrudes over the site. I’m planning on trying to go there on the 11th. Maybe watch some of the memorial service from that perch.

I also have a project I finished some time ago that I’d like to deliver that day. I made prints of a painting I’d done last year dedicated to the brave men of Ladder 3. It’s called “Hero’s Never Die.” I made 12 prints, one for each of the families of Ladder 3’s fallen heroes. I want to deliver the painting and the prints on the 11th. I figure the guys will need a cheer up that day.

But then…if I were to really re-live that day as it went for me nearly one year ago, I’d climb up on the roof again at roughly the same time as just after the second plane hit…close my eyes and watch the towers burn again, open my eyes and look at the hole in the sky, close my eyes and watch them fall again, open my eyes and scan the clouds remembering the thick billowy smoke that lasted for days and days, Then I’d remember what it felt like to be so helpless, so horrified and so frozen. I’d remember the panic of my neighbors running to buy canned goods and water. I’d remember the women in my neighborhood pushing their baby strollers, as if nothing had happened at all, except that that they and the babies were wearing ventilation masks.

I’d walk west to the highway again. and remember the dust and the terrible smell and the sea of news crews for as fare as you could see and the first buds of red, white and blue like tiny little flowers pushing through the cracks of concrete.

I’d call my friends and family and remember what it felt like to know that they thoguth I might be gone and have no way to get word to them, that I was okay.

Sigh.

I have no idea what to do on September 11th.

I want to do all of these things and I want to do nothing.

Part of me just wants to stay home , hide under the covers, with the phone off.

I want to lie there perfectly still, in total quiet and listen…listen…listen…

Shhhhhhhh.

Maybe this time I’ll hear them.

I’m still waiting for those nearly three thousand souls to answer me back.

I’ve been asking them the same question for almost a year now.

I always ask the same thing.

Why?


Friday, August 23, 2002

Very few people who know me these days can believe that I ever lived anywhere besides New York City.

I am often called by my pals "The Quintessential New Yorker" and they're right. After 21 years in NYC, I more than live in NYC; I am NYC. The fact that I ever lived anywhere else, was just a freak of nature. I was born to live in New York.

I grew up (in another life) on the Jersey Shore. If it weren't for the fact that my parents had some sort of white-trash wanderlust that kept us perpetually taking off on road trips around the country, I might have gone mad, well ... a little sooner.

You see, no offense to you Jerseyettes, but I was always way to ... um ... avante garde to live on the Jersey Shore. Especially in a town called Rumson, which was and is very beautiful and evidently is NOW having some sort of moment in the sun as a New York Ex-patriot Camelot these days, but back then it was so conservative you could get run out of town on rail for flipping the color of your Izod alligator shirt up.

I hated alligators and I certainly didn't want them on my shirt. I spent my high-school years determined to wear only two things, black t-shirts and blue jeans. For accessories; a bandana wrapped around my neck (rockabilly style), a pink fuchsia feather earring hanging off one ear and shoes had to be either Frye boots or California hikers.

My t-shirts proudly bore the emblems of my favorite bands. Some were deemed acceptable by my peers. ... (Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones) and some not (Blondie, The Sex Pistols). Having an interest in punk rock was a tad too "out there" for my high school circa 1978-1981.

There were other things that seemed far to out there for my high school, too; I remember distinctly the time I walked across the freshman cafeteria (white kids only) to sit in the sophomore lounge (black kids only). Every perfectly coiffed white head turned as I walked across that barrier. It was the best lunch I ever had. Have no idea what I ate, but the pride was delicious.

Don't get me wrong here, I had a lot of friends there. Some of em are still in my life.

It was a strange place to grow to young adulthood. Two-thirds of my peers, might just as well have been the same person. The dressed the same, talked the same, listened to the same music, went to the same beach clubs and country clubs. Their parents drove the same cars. They were destined to have the same jobs (stock-broker, lawyer, doctor or junior vice president in Dad's company). It was an eerie feeling to walk past a hundred or so kids all wearing either alligator shirts or cashmere sweaters, all wearing corduroys and either dock-siders or Bass shoes.

I wasn't like you had to die your hair pink to be different. All you had to do was not buy from the L.L. Bean catalogue.

The good news was that the kids who did manage to exert their individuality had to be ballsy as hell. You had to more than go against the wave, you had to smash it to smithereens. I'm still proud of my gang of no nonsense nuts.

I had great friends: Lauren the diva of punk rock who never ever backed down, Jenny the preppie with the cool edge, Sue, the ballet dancing hippie, Carolyn who turned every occasion into a party, sweet Joan from grammar school who never said a mean word to anyone, ever, Sandy V the rocker from hell, the list goes on and on. These cats were just cool to their soul.. They had to be.

I think "rebel" must have been stamped on my forehead in those years. Between my conservative town and the fact that my folks were trying to get me to be an Orthodox Jew, there just was no were to turn. So I lit a joint, cranked up David Bowie and put safety pins in my clothes.

A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

I think of this part of my life like a past life, something I might remember in hypnosis, but it all came crashing back into my world this weekend when I went to that strange right of passage known as High School Reunion. Since you've probably already done the math I might as well tell you it was my 20-year reunion.

Yeah ... I'm gorgeous but I'm no spring chicken, more like an autumn hen.

I'd been to my 10-year reunion and found it to be somewhat dull except for Carter who had become a wild child fashion model since her high school days
and really whooped things up.

I coerced my old pal Lauren of punk diva days who lives in NATCH Manhattan to come with me. My babe the Cuban rented a limo and off we went. I was prepared
to not only have a good time but to French kiss my woman lover and send a few yuppies into cardiac arrest.

We arrived late, but it was fine, they were all there. A sea of folks in their now late 30s most of whom looked like they'd never left Rumson. Preppy L.L. Bean button up shirts, khaki pants ... the whole shebang.

But there were surprises. Cary who'd been a 4-foot-tall nerd boy the last I saw him, turned into a 6-foot buff hunk who owns an "adult novelty company." Cary the porno mogul ... I just loved it!

There were some of my ol pals; Joan dressed head to toe in black (how chic) showing pictures of her gorgeous 17-year-old daughter. Carolyn who (damn it) hadn't aged at all since high school ... and yes ... there she was again. ... Carter ruling the dance floor and nearly dropping dead when she saw Lauren and moi.

"Yay!!!" she screamed. Later on Carter told me that Lauren and I were her
high school heroes. Shit it's not often someone tells you that.

The bar was cash (cheapos) the food was ... well, let me just say that my cubana gave me a bite of what they were calling dinner and I think, days later, I am still digesting it. Yech, how can you burn the outside of a turkey breast and leave the inside raw?

Everyone was friendly although I didn't recognize most of the people who seemed to know me, even after I looked at their name tags. "Who the hell was that?" I asked Lauren all night long. "Not sure."

I think some of the kids from the Izod army just didn't make a lasting impression on us.

A woman who had been my worst enemy in the 7th grade came up to me and hugged me as if we were long lost best pals. It was so strange I just had to walk away.

The rocker dudes who had been my smoking buddies in high-school were there. Jamie who still looked like a hard core rebel, long hair, beard and all, had never sold out, as he might have said. Ricky's long blond hair was now (oddly) short black hair, but he was still mellow as ever.

Jill was wild and perky and I'm pretty sure I saw crayon red highlights in her hair -- you're as young as you dress I always say.

Jenny who coaxed Lauren and I out on the dance floor by screaming our names into a microphone must have had some sort of voice change. She made Kathleen Turner sound like a soprano. Who was that man hiding inside Jenny's throat. I told her to do voice-overs immediately.

The dramas of the evening were: Lauren kicking some jerk named Ricky in the shin because he managed to insult her while apologizing for insulting her 22 years ago and me making the aforementioned worst enemy cry when I reminded her of how evil she'd been to me when I was 12.

There was also an odd moment when this sweet guy named Willy reminded me that I'd actually gone out with his older brother Billy and I'd completely deleted the memory from my files. "Billy who??" I asked at first, and then I remembered. We had d gone out for about 3 months and I had just removed him from my brain. Kinda made me feel like a big blonde HO.

The highlights were when we crammed Carter, Jill, Joan, Lauren, M.E. and moi into the limo and drank ourselves silly.

Also loved finding out that two cheerleaders were lesbians and so was the young lady standing next to me who seemed to know me very well. I have no idea who she was, but she was cute. Don't worry I just looked, well maybe smiled a little, too, but my cubana was waiting in the limo.

I never had that shocking French kissing close dance with my babe, actually she and most of the other spouses wisely disappeared while we all played, the "who looks better" game, but it's ok.

Funny enough, whenever I told anyone I was there with my girlfriend, they just thought I meant a girl that I'm friends with. Ha. ... Oh well.

The sad part of the evening was all the short (not short enough) chats I had with people who had been uptight boring preppies and had grown into uptight boring yuppies. I guess I was hoping for a few more surprises, but it seems that most people really didn't change that much.

"Wow, you live in Manhattan!" they would say as if it were a distant exotic land. They lived in Rumson, only an hour and fifteen minutes away, faster by ferry.

Anyway, I was glad I went and glad to catch up with my old excellent pals and glad that Lauren lives like 15 blocks away and now we're back in touch and mostly, mostly, mostly, glad to be back in New York Fucking City!

Monday, August 12, 2002

If you want to take a break from the atrocities of terrorism, anti-Semitism and strong feelings of "what the fuck can I do?" then just do what I did: Get an inner ear infection.

I think this is the third one I've had this year. My doctor says they're brought on by my allergies, which somehow quadrupled after September 11th.

I'm fully expecting to turn on the television one day and see a special on the airborne disease downtown New Yorkers caught in September of last year that was all hushed up.

But enough about conspiracy theories. My point is, having an inner ear infection sucks if you want to have any balance whatsoever, (ballet and tight-rope walking are lost to me, alas) but it's great for zoning out from life.

Hell, I feel like it's the '70s all over again, and I didn't have to smoke anything.

I had another one of my fabulous roof parties, at which I grilled steak for 50 people and fed it to 13. Everyone was talking at once and floating in and out of conversations and I couldn't focus on a single thing anyone said. So I just sat there and smiled and agreed. The really weird thing was everyone thought I was totally entertaining.

They thought I was ^%$#& charming! This weekend, I went to my pal Joanna's wedding. It was truly beautiful. She went with a Pacific Rim theme, and everything was jade green or bamboo brown with chopsticks and candles and lots and lots of tropical drinks. Joanna looked glorious, and the Asian-inspired food was beautiful (even though GASP, I didn't cook it).

The food, FYI, was prepared by Caroline, who occasionally works as one of my sous chefs, but clearly she's been holding out on me, since she never once shaved a jicama or pickled a ginger on my watch.

M.E. says I intimidate kitchen babes. ... Must be the army boots, but I digress.

Anyway, the point is that all this gorgeousness was made magical and dreamy and, well, rather blurry by my inner ear infection.

It was great!

Normally, (whatever that is) I feel far too guilty about the thousands of lives disappearing before my eyes those many months ago in September to allow myself to truly enjoy something as shallow as, say a celebration of love.

How can I possibly allow real joy to settle in, when so many have suffered? I should put down my margarita immediately and mourn!!

Yes, and all that self-sacrifice does exactly what?? For anyone??

I'm quite certain the innocent lives lost on 9/11 will not be brought back by my lack of joy and their families will not gain happiness by my suffering. So why not have the fucking margarita?

'Cause I'm just nuts, that why, and I've been nuts since September 11th, and I don't care who knows it anymore!! Which brings me back, yet again, to my inner ear infection.

It let me have fun.

It even, took away so much on my inhibition that I was finally, (after 3 and half years of her trying) able to truly let my Cuban mamasita lead on the dance floor. Honey, you should have seen the white-haired family contingency from Germany. At first they thought we were just being, well ... European.

The dizziness in my head took the fight out of my spine, and I just let go. I let M.E. push me and pull me through the dance floor, twirling and swaying and shimmying and, I might have dreamt this, but I'm pretty sure M.E. even got me to dance to Spanish music without looking like a gringo idiot.

"You were amazing!" she said shocked and confused. "It's called an inner ear infection!" I said, radiant and still spinning in my head from the spinning on the dance floor.

An elderly, but SPUNKY, woman who'd been close dancing with her husband a few feet away came up to us.

We prepared ourselves for some sort of "Don't do that in front of the children" lecture.

"You girls are so courageous! I'm so proud of you!" she beamed and kissed us both. "I see so many couples like you who are too afraid to get up and dance. Don't ever stop!"

She kissed us several more times, and hugged us, too. Then, for the rest of the night, gave us the thumb's up sign whenever we hit the dance floor. Now that was a rush.

One moment I was getting carried around the dance floor while my brain spinned and then next I was a gay role model.

The night was delicious and sweet and surreal and loving, and never once in all that jade and bamboo did I remember the demons that interrupt my thoughts whenever I start to feel at peace.

I guess if I were well, then I'd have to admit to you that letting myself go like that means I'm some sort of a traitor to 9/11, but I had an excuse; really I did. I've been sick. This inner ear infection, you see, and so I think it's OK for me to be dopey and happy until it goes away.

Maybe I'll catch a cold by then.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Been a bit of an old home week for moi. ...

First of all my (AAAAKKKK) 20-year high school reunion is coming up next week. Yeeesh. Well! Actually my 20-year reunion was last year, but that's only 'cause I skipped a grade. The class all my chums are in is this year's big Two Oh, so hence I go, and yes, I am going to this year's reunion.

An old high school gal pal of mine hooked me up with the reunion web site, and as soon as I added my name to the RSVP list another old, blast from the past e-d me up.

Suddenly I'm hearing names I haven't heard in 20 years, some of them single moms, some of 'em single dads, two of 'em suddenly dead, some of them rich, some of them poor, some of 'em coming to the reunion to brag about their lack of body fat, some of 'em not going because of a severe lack of things to brag about, and then there's me.

I'm going for the most noble of reasons: revenge.

Yep, you see, chitlins, while I did fairly well in high school when it came to having friends, fun and mayhem, I also just hated to my very soul the homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and general uptight, uptown cunty-ness that went on in my school.

So I'm going ... with my girlfriend.

Yep should make for an interesting evening. I'm trying to find someone with a video camera to film a few of the not so young babes going into cardiac arrest the first time Miss Thing and I slow dance.

My old pal L is coming with us; she says she doesn't need revenge. Her life is revenge. You see, L took a certain amount of shit in high school for being different, and now she's turned out to be what all those uptight bitches dream of being; successful, glamorous and young looking without Botox.

I'm looking forward to watching her strut to the buffet in her size 6 leisurewear.

I'm told 20 years can make people more progressive, but the first thing I received after I RSVP'd was a phone call inviting me to a pre-reunion keg party.

A keg party??? Who has keg parties after the age of 21??

So as if there wasn't enough nostalgia floating through my vents, I wound up taking my goddaughter to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, for a day at the beach. Sandy Hook, FYI, is my old teen-age (wasteland) stomping ground. Suuuurrree, it's all cutesy, cuddly kiddy park now, but when I used to hang at Sandy Hook, we called it double vision beach ... for ... um ... well, obvious reasons.

I kept expecting to look up and see one of the rockers I used to date, or shall I say tease, sitting on a rock banging on a guitar, joint hanging out of his furry face, but nope it was like the rated G beach, and I don't mean G for gay. Not a single bong, guitar or long-haired freak in sight. Even the lifeguards were clean shaven and polite.

So as if I haven't been in retro over-kill this past week, I’ll go one further, Kathleen (of downstairs-neighbor fame) took me to a concert in Madison Square Garden. It was The Who with Robert Plant opening for them.

20 years later, we've got money, so Kathleen got us seats about 50 feet from the stage, best seats I ever had in a rock concert. The first sign that I was truly in a rock fest for the over 35, under 55 crowd was the waiters. ...WAITERS??? ... walking around selling plastic cups of champagne with strawberries floating in them.

WTF man! Champagne and berries at a rock concert??

But this was a champagne and berries crowd.

So what's a girl to do? We had three glasses each.

Anyway, while Robert Plant looked like he really needed to stay out of the sun and stop perming his hair and get a new wardrobe and maybe just stick to the Led Zeppelin tunes, the Who were amazing. Roger Daltrey's voice was strong and gutsy. Pete Townsend still did his wild-ass guitar thing, and if it weren't for the pictures of John Entwhistle projected next to the stage, I might never have known he was dead.

Really the band sounded great. There was one moment when Roger Daltrey's hearing aid fell out, but other than I totally forgot these boys were pushing 60.

The best part of the concert was the audience; thousands of middle-aged men trying to dance and playing air guitar, women with bleached blonde hair and retro '70s were screaming and swaying. It was tacky and kitschy and passe and all of that, but it was just plain fun.

I'm proud to be a '70's rock babe, and I don't care who knows it.

"Finally!!!" Kathleen screamed through much of the concert as she ogled Daltrey, "A sexy middle-aged man!!"

She was right, really. Daltrey looked good, grandpa-elf ears, hearing aid and some sort of hernia scare aside, the man really did pull it off.

So I shook and shimmied and hooted with the rest of the mostly suburban crowd and almost choked on the damn strawberry, too, but I had a blast.

Oh, and by the way, I had a birthday, thru all of this ... yep turned 38. I'm an old bird now what can I say. But you know all this retro, reunion, '70s rock, tie-dye and keg party stuff Is reminding me of one thing: You're only as old as you dress.

That's right, baby, and you can ask anyone who knows me -- I dress like a 16-year-old boy.

Talking about my generationnnnnnnn ... my generation babyyyyy ,,,

My generationnnnnnnnnnnn. (always loved that song). ...