surf is so not up

We're coming to the end of the road, guys.
I started this site to document the building of Hannah's Party City. Hannah's is built, and it's been two years this month since I debuted this blog with the following:
surf's up
A new feature of my new site is that you can now check out your horoscope in the New York Post or the latest news with the links. So before you do anything, surf over to Claudia's to catch that wave. Also, hit the word "comments" below, and post easily with your own stories and thoughts.

I have enjoyed keeping in touch with all of you through this medium. I thank you for making Claudia's Surf City part of your day. Mahalo. If any of you want to take over the site, let me know and I will give you passwords to post in my stead. I have a twinge of regret that just as I seem to have three regular readers in China (plus a couple in France, one in Italy, and one in Portugal), I am bagging it. Keep your eyes open for my next web effort. There will be one, though what it may be—why I can't or what is my fucking problem or Azu— quien sabe? Now would be the time for you to reveal your identities as readers, so I can put you on my list to inform of a new site. If you don't want to post your e-mail addresses, please send to my pseudonomenous (sp?) account: cgdowe@gmail.com (btw, this doesn't work as a link—you have to paste it in as an address) and I will let you know where I settle. For now, surf's down.



I bagged the brown. Obviously.


The Blood Outside Our Window

Twelve years ago in the New York Times:

The white breast of snow was splotched with blood, and my daughter had to step around iced red pools on the concrete as she walked, alone, to the school bus.

The evening before, a friend arrived, breathless, at the door of our New York City apartment. On the street outside she had seen a man who had just been attacked. Police were taking descriptions of a white male in a black baseball cap who had run away. The man who had been hurt lay there in a pool of blood. "I should have comforted him," my friend said. "The police were so cold. I should have knelt in the snow and just patted him or something."

My daughter ran over to the window and looked down to the street she walked every day. The blue lights circled, the ambulances waited. "He's gone," she heard someone say. She turned to me. "I think he's dead," she said. "This is my street. I thought it was safe here."

"Nowhere is really safe," I said.

This was a year ago, when my daughter was 12, the year she was beginning to realize that her parents were not all powerful, that we could not protect her from all harm. From stories about people with grave illnesses in the copies of the Reader's Digest she brought home from school she was learning that not all stories end happily, that people die no matter how much they are loved, indeed, sometimes because of how much they are loved.

She did not remember the incident when she woke up the next morning, nor did I, or perhaps I would not have let her walk by that place alone. Her fears were all for the Valentine's Day dance that evening. "You don't have to go," I said. "You are only 12." Her fears were about sex, not death; both are part of growing up.

But I would have spared her the blood.

The man had lived in our building; I had stood on the elevator with him many times. On Valentine's Day his door five floors below ours was sealed with white police tape. He lay in a white hospital bed in a coma, dying.

Later that day my daughter called me from school. She had decided, after all, to attend the dance. Perhaps her "boyfriend" had come through with an invitation for the first dance, or perhaps her girlfriends, whom I could hear in the background, had talked her into it.

"Did you see the blood on the snow?" I asked.

"It was horrible," she said. "I almost threw up. The elevator man told me the man was dead. I called Dad to tell him I was going to the dance after all, but Dad wasn't home."

"Do you know where he was?" I asked. "He was here, at the office, delivering a valentine to me."

"Oooh," she said. "What was it?"

"Candies. In a heart-shaped box. Red velvet."

"Hey, everybody." I could hear her tell her school friends. "My dad went to the office to give my mom a valentine. Isn't that cool?"

Hearts. Blood. Love. Death. Splotches on a snowbank.

It was dark by the time she walked home again, after the dance, her father by her side. Too dark to see the salt soaking up the red to a fainter pink. A sketch of a man's face was taped to the door outside the elevator. The suspect glared menacingly under the words "Wanted for Murder."

A year has passed. My daughter is 13, and tall. She takes two city buses to get to school. The last snowfall is melting and gray. There hasn't been much snow in New York this year, not like last year or when I was young. The murderer hasn't been caught, despite the fact that a detective from the 20th Precinct papered the area with posters asking for information.

Neighbors speculated that the killing was a hit -- it had been too efficient, and the victim hadn't been robbed. It made all of us feel safer, to think that it was a personal matter, that the murderer wasn't lurking on the street. But I still don't like to think of the white male, 19-24 years, 5 feet 10 inches , 175 pounds, riding the bus with my daughter.

She remembers the murder when she walks down the street alone at night. But these days she is thinking more about love than death, though sex and drugs are on the short list as well. There was a seventh grade dance last night, "the Decade Dance," and her only concern was whether her make-up really looked like it was from the 60's. "My friends say I look too 90's," she said. In the year 2000, she will graduate from high school.

Childhood ends. No place is really safe. But we gird up and go out. We dance and dare to hope for days at a stretch that we, at least, are protected from terrible messages in the cold white snow.

Copyright 1995 The New York Times Company

two years ago

winter island


and about home improvements

This is J's new kitchen in France. It took some doing, because everything in the house is made of stone, but here it is. The stove alone was a three-day wonder in the village.
I will relate the actual names of the colors no one seems to want me to paint their bedroom after the Mack Attack wakes up and I can get in there.
He just woke up.
1) Peanut shell
2) Woodstock Tan
3) Mudslide(!)
4) Beach House Beige
5) Copper Mountain
At the moment, Wolfen and the Cub are voting for 1 and I am wavering between 1 and 4. Thanks to all of you who advised me to paint the walls blue, maroon, red—anything but brown.



Well? The painters and plasterers are coming on Tuesday. This is Wolfen's room, which has needed some serious work for a while. I decided that since it is as dark as a tomb anyway, I might as well try to make a virtue of it. It was Woo's suggestion to use a kind of coffee color, since the only other color in the room will be red. The trim (all four doors) will be bright white. There's one picture with flash and one without, but neither is utterly representative.

I won't tell you the names of the colors lest you be swayed by the words (though feel free to make up color names—they couldn't be stupider than the ones they actually have). So which shall it be?


aloha, pepito

The following parargraph appeared in the Honolulu Advertiser yesterday:
ALBERT "PEPITO" KEKUA MAKUAOLE, 81, of Makaweli Valley, Kaua'i, died Feb. 8, 2007. Born in Waimea, Kaua'i. A U.S. Navy coxswain during World War II; powder man for the U.S. engineering department. Survived by brothers, George Keoki and Melvin; sisters, Grace Acain and Eula Sapir. Visitation 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Garden Island Mortuary chapel; service 11 a.m.; burial at the family plot at Kanekula, Waimea Valley. No flowers. Casual attire.

"He was the last of the old timers," said Jimmy, when he called to tell me.
Pepito taught Jimmy, and all the other kids in Makaweli Valley how to hunt. They would saddle up their horses and mules (with plenty of Budweiser in the saddlebags), pick up their rifles and skinning knives, whistle to the two-score pig dogs, the trackers and the grabbers, and hele off "up the volcano, into the interior." There they would track the feral pigs and goats, packing out the meat several days later to smoke and eat and make luau. It was not an easy matter to kill an angry boar. One door of Pepito's shack has boar jaws nailed all over it, the tusks long and sharp.
Pepito lived in a shack in the middle of taro fields. You had to cross the Waimea River to get there, thread the dirt paths and make it through the pack of snarling, mangy, dogs and flies. "Get back here," Pepito would shout. "Cut that out." His shack was small, without electricity or running water, and it squatted over thousands of Louis L'Amour and other paperback westerns and war stories. Pepito sat in a lawn chair under a tree, a cooler or three filled with ice and meat and beer nearby. He was a wild man in his youth, who once rode his mule into the local bar and ordered him a beer. By the time I was working in Dottie's bar in 1973, he had been barred.
But he settled down as the years passed. In the 1980s, he graciously took me, my husband and in-laws on a pig hunt for Life magazine, mounting us and guiding us and instructing us for free. By the time I saw him for what I suspected would be the last time, three years ago, he had given up the cigarettes and beer and was not hunting regularly any more. He tended the irrigation ditches in the taro fields, took care of his bored hunting dogs and mule, read his novels and entertained his frequent visitors with tolerance and grace.
Pepito was ali'i, royalty, and a wise man. Mahalo for your counsel, Pepite. And much aloha for the aloha you shared with us.

A longer piece appeared in the Honolulu Advertiser today: Jan TenBruggencate article
Garden Isle obit


i love you

rose and thorns
Who Do You Love?

I walk 47 miles of barbed wire,
I use a cobra-snake for a necktie,
I got a brand new house on the roadside,
Made from rattlesnake hide,
I got a brand new chimney made on top,
Made out of a human skull,
Now come on take a walk with me, babe,
And tell me, who do you love?

Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?

I rode around the town, use a rattlesnake whip,
Take it easy babe, don't give me no lip,

Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?


two years ago today

C Jacket gates The way we were:
What is the sound
of one fax waiting?
Finally, Septic Maestro got back to me saying that he had a map, and the septic system was within the Coastal Resources buffer zone so he didn't know whether they'd approve it and that the Department of Environmental management had to act on it first and he didn't know whether they would do so for at least six weeks, and so...
I think I will shoot myself. This basically puts the project back a year.
And indeed it did. But it's done. Ish.
Meanwhile... Dolores wants to buy the first property in the Bronx she's seen
I didn't let her, though.
Desperado has rented two (count 'em!) apartments.
She still has two, but not the same ones!
Dangerman is still in his brace.
Well, his back is ok now, and he's broken and healed a foot since then. That horrible TV station is still trying to eat his soul.
The Artist shows up tonight.
I just talked to him in Korea. We argued about what day it is. But he definitely won't be showing up tonight.
The ex-Pat is in from Paris Tuesday.
Who the freak is this? Obviously in two years I've lost my mind.
The Drummer arrives from Chicago.
He was here a couple weeks ago. He's on about his 106th girlfriend since then.
My Chinese sister (plus four) arrives Saturday.
She finally got her divorce, thank the Goddess, but life is still tough.
And that's the two-year update.
Oh, and yeah, I am still wearing that same damn jacket.



Now, if I could just get to Queens and Staten island. . .


this is ikealand

No, we're still not done with Otra Rubia's cabinets. But almost.
PA Dada points out that there's a bitchin site called Ikea Hacker. Aren't people wonderful? Check it out.


kareoke night at the vega alta

I met so many fabulous people and took so many fabulous pictures in the Bronx I hardly know where to start. But here's Eli, channeling Barry White.


so bro

On February 7, 2005, I wrote the following blog entry:

Dolores's dreams cloud the apartment. This morning they flung her off the bed to the floor. Yesterday we went adventuring in the South Bronx, exploring the Next Big Thing in NYC real estate. Nothing looked that up and coming to me but the prices.

That was two years ago. Tonight I am going up to the South Bronx to visit Dolores and La Otra Rubia, both of whom now own apartments in the same building. They are there partly because when I walked into the place Dolores now owns I said, "But look at the view!" In such serendipitous moments, everything can change. Gives you pause, doesn't it?


ony 8 years til the oldest can drive

Received the following from Sis, who has two daughters in the burbs.

Okay, so now the youngest has taken up tap dancing. That makes:
1. Tap Dancing Tuesday
2. Piano Lessons Tuesday
3. Hip Hop Dancing Wednesday
4. Judo Saturday
5. Swimming Lessons Saturday

Hey! There's lots more room! We can still fill Monday, Thursday and Friday with two more activities each, then go on to fill in the slot on Wednesday with another thing! Think of all the lessons we can have! And I haven't even counted Sunday and gosh, maybe we can make it three activities a day instead of two.

Or, we could try fitting in dentists, doctors, homework, book reports, shoe shopping, and other things in between. And to think that being the mother of two or more children is NOT a prerequisite to becoming an Admin Assistant. It sure ought to be. At least they're not into team sports. . .

The way I figure it, today is tap dancing day. At least. Given Sis's day and CBA's day yesterday, I figure, with only a dentists appointment in a half hour, I'm on vacation.


the musician aka prince is a genius

everest schmeverest

It appears that CBA found the Discovery Channel overly bombastic. She describes her upcoming day in the same style:

Today, and today only, one of the most brilliant and underappreciated human beings on the planet will brave all to make the treacherous and near-unprecedented drive to Monroe, where she will focus her astonishing creative energies on the work of world class retail magnate Stephanie. Can these two extraordinary women bring themselves back from the face of near-certain financial ruin by selling million dollar bed linens to vicious Republicans? Why do they do it? Is it worth it?
What drives them to risk alienating friends and family by insisting they simply MUST produce a line of high end fur-trimmed pink semi-automatics? Can they pay their bills, buy everything in sight and still keep their sights focused on the Ultimate Goal???
Stay tuned for the Discovery Channel's new series:
"Visa: Beyond the Limit."


beyond the limit

To me he's just a guy who saved my life some sixteen years ago, but to others he's the hero of Discovery Channel's Everest: Beyond the Limit. He blew into town with the sleet last night for a quickie, um, dinner with some British climbers at Indochine. To see the living legend himself, check out
the Discovery Channel preview.



. . .it is warm. somewhere it is spring and, if the little feller who appears on Zam's birthday (happy birthday Zam!), is any indicator, and he's held to be, the lack of shadow means it will soon be spring even here. haven't you noted the days growing longer?


another life

I spent last night in the metaverse. I read about the on-line world in Fortune magazine and decided to see if Wolfen should open a jewelry shop there. I mean the Swedes have an embassy and IBM holds corporate meetings on their private islands there. No kidding. But when I showed up (my name there is claudia Ling, styled like that, alas, in case you want to find me), I couldn't seem to get anywhere but to hall o' porn. I was rescued by a kid named Roy, who held my hand and walked me out of there, and now he will be my friend for life. Second Life, anyway. But I still can't figure out how to maneuver, and I never did find the mall! It's nice that you can fly there, though. And then I fell asleep (at 3 am) and dreamt that I was playing the game for the rest of the night, still looking for Roy, and I invented a dedicated mouse with a lot of buttons on it for playing the game with instead of the stupid arrow keys. If Linden Lab wants to get in touch with me, I will be happy to draw a picture of it.