the difference three years makes


But of course, neither of these (obviously assigned) essays are really truthful, because the most important person in these kids' lives is their mom, obv.


neighborhood news


I mean, who can deal with national news today?

I guess the wigmaker to Broadway is finally moving out of the house that was on the market for $15 million. (Can this be right? That's what it says on zillow.) I have always wanted to go inside, but have never even seen inside the door until now. Movers have been toiling for days. 

In other news, my former upstairs neighbor is upstairs with her baby, visiting her mother. She and family are moving to Germany, where she has a university grant to work on something maybe involving neurotransmitters. She doesn't even bother trying to explain it to us. She says her baby timing was perfect. Arthur was born just before the coronavirus hit California in March, and she got maternity leave and then could work from home, as could her partner.

And speaking of coronavirus, ahem, I have an appointment to get the vaccine on this Monday in the Bronx! Thanks to Ed who walked me through the extremely frustrating on-line process. He scheduled his for Tuesday.


shopping fail


I need more ear candles. You know, those woo-woo things that are dangerous and don't work? Except that I am convinced that they do. I think they really help your ears and help you to hear better, though the boxes make no such claims for fear of  lawsuits. But being deaf in one ear, I am sensitive to hearing, pressure, tinnitus and other ear problems. I confessed my use of ear candles to my new otolaryngologist and she said that I had the cleanest mastoid cavity (a hole from surgery) she had ever seen. She suggested I come before and after candling so that she could take a look. Have not done that. Pandemic.

Anyway, I ran out after a candling session with Donna. I went to Amazon to buy some more and searched ear candles. I came up with a screen full of what I assumed were ear candles. I looked through, found a box that looked like the ones I had before that claimed to be beeswax, and pushed go. 

The next time Donna came over I got out the box. They were solid beeswax tapers. NOT ear candles. Donna said she had bought the exact same thing by accident a couple days before. "They tricked us!" She suggested we try searching ear cones, so we did. 

"Look! These are much cheaper and come many to a box," she said. "Organic. Plus they are made by Raw, the rolling paper company."

Cut to the chase. They were rolling papers shaped in cones. Fail 2. Duh. At least I can burn the tapers, whereas I have no use for the papers. But Donna found some real ear candles yesterday at a Woodstock health food store. So we're good.



 I'm not surprised. This is, after all, the good old US of A, and a frontier anarchy is in the nation's DNA. Not to mention frontier "justice." I arrived in Guns and God Land in the 1990s, when Ruby Ridge and Waco were battle cries against the republic. The government had tried to take their guns away, and in retribution, Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck full of explosives in front of a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.

On a Sunday in August 1997, I was sitting in a borrowed skirt in an old clapboard church full of "Christian Patriots" listening to a sermon inveighing against "mud people," i.e. nonwhites. And then the congregation started attacking a local judge and a newspaper editor. Both my friends. Both still my friends. And then I learned that Princess Diana had just been killed by the the evil media. 

And there I was, a card carrying member of the evil media, a woman married to a Jew and, perhaps worst of all, a New Yorker. I felt like I was in an alternate reality.

It was and is an alternate reality, and every so often it erupts into ours. And it's always the same: The government is evil, people of color are the enemy, liberals are trying to install communism and take our guns. And god is on our side. We are going to save the nation from these forces of the devil.

The thing that's different this time is that we had a president and a whole political party playing along, reinforcing such beliefs and whipping up anger. And that does surprise me. Or it did, five years ago when they carried an election. I have watched it building since. And here it is. And here we are.



 Today this by Bill Dugan makes me think of Stacey Abrams. It looks like she delivered the goods in Georgia, all right. Still in suspense, but feeling hopeful. 

It also could be taken as Donna Ferrato's motto. She is starting to get press on her book, Holy. There is an interview with her in a British photography magazine here along with a gallery of pictures from the book. You can buy the book, prepublication, on her website here. Parental discretion advised.


helluva town

So I'm having this argument with my neighbor. She says NYC is over. Without Broadway and ballet and restaurants, no more New York. Of course, she hasn't been outside in a couple months,
 so she hasn't seen the people sitting outside at restaurants bundled up in their coats, the cafes with their tents and heaters taking up a lane of Amsterdam Avenue, the people on the streets—yes, wearing masks—going briskly about their business. She says people are moving out. I say they are coming back. I told her a year from now the theaters will be back open and, if we're lucky, New York will once again be a place where artists can afford to live and the rich people will follow. Yes, retail is dead, but it was dying before. And midtown is somewhat deserted without the office folk. Those buildings may have to be repurposed. But you can't kill this town. People like to be together with other strivers. When I first moved to the UWS in the 1970s, you had to carry a $20 in your pocket in case you were mugged. Your cars were stolen or had their windows bashed in. There were needles on the sidewalks and bars on the doors.

 When I was out of town, the newspapers made it sound as if it was like that again. It's not. 


meanwhile, on new year's eve


I don't ordinarily celebrate New Year's Eve. On my most memorable one 39 years ago I was in labor and at the hospital. They told me I wasn't dilated enough and I could have my choice of spending the eve at home or in the hospital. We went home. So since that time, I have held a New Year's Day birthday party and stayed in on New Years Eve, known to drinkers as Amateur Night.

However, with large gatherings discouraged and a garage for the truck and a destination with parking, I ventured out to TriBeCa. We had a Mexican feast (with designer tequila and authentic tamales), Scrasbble, music and dancing. And I was home before midnight since my garage was closing at 11.

The cat remained under the light source.


new year's baby


Happy birthday to my kind, smart, literate, beautiful daughter. And to think, in a year she will be 40!


once upon a time

Not sure exactly what's going on here—yard sale?—but I know when it's going on. That baby is 50 now. That's my ex husband, Douglas, with his firstborn. Behind them is baby Adam's mother (and Douglas's first wife), Jamie, whose birthday was the day before yesterday. On the left I believe we have cousin Roberta with her daughter Lizzie. In the lampshade, my and Jamie's mother-in-law, Shirley. 

I didn't yet know any of these people. but I'm sure any gathering I would have been a part of would have shared the vibe, a kind of longhaired, bellbottomed, potsmoking, hangloose groovy scene. How times and we have all changed. If you could get in the wayback machine, would you?


christmas dinner

 It was, with two photographers present, along with one amateur and one on the rise, a much photographed event. Had any noteworthy subjects been present, we could have been paparazzi. But no, we were driven to photograph one another. Fanny took pictures of Donna and Ryan and me in the kitchen.

I took a picture of Fanny in the kitchen.
Donna instructed Ryan in some of the finer points of photography.

We ate. And in a nonphotographic event, we did some ear candling while Ryan read Harold and the Purple Crayon.


merry facetime!


I asked Chris to take this pic of Isaac with his new ("nonbinary") doll in Camilla's new doll bathtub. But in fact, my Christmas morning looked more like this. That's Chris's mom, FaceTiming from the back yard, on the right.


Meanwhile, I am prepped for a somewhat distanced Christmas dinner with Donna and her daughter Fanny and grandson Ryan.