the club

I went to the Metropolitan Club once. I can't remember who with (what when). All I remember is that you couldn't have a briefcase or papers on the table—nothing could look like you were doing work. It's not all that far from My Own Club.


the designer

The Designer Smokes

The Designer Speaks

The Designer Mugs

The Designer's Husband Waits to Drive Back to Providence at Midnight


coral relief

When is a piece of coral not coral? When it is made out of silver or gold rather than that diminish- ing natural resource of course. AZU is supporting the efforts of Sea Web's division Too Precious To Wear with a coral stand-in necklace for an auction to be kicked off tonight at the Rouge Tomate on the fashionable Upper East Side.
Check out the line at a new web site.
Bid on a piece at SeaWeb.

Ah, Azu.

PS Elaine has this report on WNYC today.


a less than phabulous photo

Though an atheist, I am considering what to give up for Lent. Yesterday—and even moreso today—is a good indication that Cote du Rhone should head up the list. I mean, even the picture has a list. Channeling Eugene Richards.


lo lite

Seventeen years ago, a group of seven women became one of the first groups of trekkers to visit Mustang, or the Kingdom of Lo, on the border of Nepal and Tibet. We walked up hills and forded rivers on ponyback and slept in tents and found salagrams and prayed in temples and drank chang and for some—me for one—the experience was life changing. After all these years the seven sisters are still (almost all) in communication. There have been weddings and breakups, illnesses and adoptions, career changes and many, many more travels. Five of us got together over the weekend. We meant to meet for a couple of hours, but six hours later we were still yakking. I don't mean eating yak meat, though we've done that, too.


real estate news

Serious count- down has begun: Wolfen has two more days as a non- property owner. She and the Cub have already begun taking on their new responsibilities—painting, spackling, cleaning, repairing, grouting—in the rental loft in their building-to-be, while moving out of their current loft (above).
Meanwhile, the Block Island houses are rented for the season. I have been trying to get some off-season rentals (deals available!) and have posted this ad on Craigslist. Off season rentals on Block Island tend to be anything up to Fourth of July weekend and anything starting Labor Day weekend and beyond, because of the school schedule. I am also now scheduling friends' and relations' visits, so book early!
I myself will be in the Ozarks until the beginning of May, when I will be ready to start putting in organic gardens and freezing my butt off in Block Island instead. Oh, and PS, Sam just reminded me to post this amazing cave house in Festus, Mo., for all of you working on the theory that everyone owning property in Missouri is just plain nuts.
My busker roomie will be holding down the fort in NYC.


is it me?

Elaine gave me this bag. She says, "It is so you!" Well?


the game is afoot

Preparing for a really great "What's in the Truck" this year, we headed up to Chris's mom's to load up about 90 glass bricks—thanks, Sara! What was in the truck as of yesterday morning was a new alternator, old brake lines and worn ball joints. Any thoughts about the urgency of attending to these matters for a 3,000 mile trip? Also in the truck: an electric weed wacker and hedge trimmer, a bunch more sheets and quilts, a handy set of hand tools, muslin curtains, and 100 votive candles. It will be for you to guess which of these items are going to the Ozarks. Later.


what's with the truck?

Right in the middle of H and C's move, and en route to its annual road trip, the lights flash, the dials blink and the engine dies. C wrestles it to a stop. Alternator.


green building

The panels are going up. There is blue board on the interior, which will be plastered, then a sandwich of plywood (or some kind of pressed board) and insulation. Then the trim goes on and the shingles and, voila, the shell of a house. The sandwich second floor leaves a space for electricals, plumbing, and the duct work for the geothermal heating system. See more on Erin's LEED house blog.



Yesterday, this is what Erin's house looked like: Douglas fir on the ground.
This is what it looks like 24 hours later. Viva la difference!


trains and boats and home depot

It felt like spring last week in New York, and so it was time to leave it and seek out Home Depot. Today the timber frame for my sister's house goes up. In a week or so H and C move into their new place. And within the month I take possession of the Goose. We are all thinking about ladders and paint and cleaning supplies. I have looked up my new local Home Depots and found that the Poplar Bluffs one, at two hours away, is a half an hour closer than the Mountain Home, Ark., one. I bought some paint here at the Massachusetts one.


b mine

Two of my three valentines this year (Deb left before the photo was taken), start the day right with a midnight celebration.

civilization comes to the ozarks

Chris G sent along this valentine to the Goose. Won't the neighbors be happy when the city slickers come to town!


home sweet home

And don't say anything if you can't say something nice.



There hasn't been enough sex in this blog lately. Of any kind—and lord knows I'm broad minded.
So Kathleen and I were sitting around the other day (was it before or after trying to watch The L Word at Donna's?) beginning a list of qualities for How to Recognize a Dyke. We didn't get very far.
Wallet in back pocket
Favorite retail establishment is Home Depot
Tosses peanuts into mouth
A steady, clear-eyed, almost naive, gaze
And then we had to quit, because the era of Birkenstocks is really way over, and your lesbians could be just about anybody with enough X chromosomes (see L Word). What do you see?


the only redneck in new york

While most people are counting sheep, I am thinking about septic tanks. More specifically, the nonfunctional one at the Goose, which I am scheduled to take ownership of on March 13. At 11:00 ayem. So I called the guy who used to own the Goose who thinks maybe there are a couple septic tanks on the property, though he doesn't really know where they are.
"Anyway, there's a guy who put mine in for me for about a thousand dollars," he said.
"How long did it take you to get the permits?" I asked.
"Permits?" he asked incredulously. "You really don't understand us hillbillies, do you?"


things i said i would never do

Go to Disney World
Get divorced
Go into therapy
Quit smoking
The older you get the more things you wind up trying. What things did you say you would never do?


does this suit?

Well, what do you think?
And speaking of headstyles, for some reason I find this news story hilarious.


10 days later

Given the controversy on the subject of cleanses and the curiosity about diets in general, I suppose I should report on the results of the fast I break today—or actually, just broke, with a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. Squoze by myself.
My knee is much better—happy, I assume, to be carrying around 12 pounds less weight and possibly also helped by the cayenne which, along with cinnamon, is said to be good for joints.
Heart rate has slowed and my blood pressure is down. Again, weight related and probably helped along by a no-salt diet.
Allergy symptoms like sneezing are gone. I have no exact knowledge of what I may be allergic to, but I have one very great fear.
Yesterday, Day 9, I finally felt sluggish and cold and very, very tired of lemonade.
My friends and roommate are more than ready for me to get off it already, because while I have been entertaining, I haven't really been participating. Also, for some reason, all conversations seem to revolve around food. H says I am the one bringing up the subject, but I don't think that's the case; I think many everyday conversations refer to food. After all, she is the one who just called up at 9:30 ayem to sing me, to the tune of that old chestnut (food reference—I'm still sensitive) "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire," a song she wrote called "Turkey and Provalone."


my craigslist theory

My theory is that all ads on Craigslist are really personal ads. I got this idea when I offered a free camera battery and a guy showed up who didn’t seem to know the model number of his camera and who seemed faintly disappointed when I answered the door. He also seemed to expect to be invited in. This theory was recently reinforced when a friend sent me the following ad for a staff reporter:
We are looking for individuals who love adventure and travel; individuals who are “up for anything” and ready to explore. This full time position requires extensive travel but with meaningful, paid, rest time back in NYC.
We are looking for reporters who
- Will travel to exotic locations – in this role you will be travelling up to 70% of the time
- Have an extremely strong work ethic
- Are charming – your friends consider you to be someone who can talk their way into anything
- BA Degree or higher in English, History, Political Science or other writing intensive disciplines. Graduate degree in Journalism or Creative Writing a plus
- A minimum of 2 years professional writing experience
- Ability to write clear, concise, and accurate reviews

My friend thought this was me. So I wrote them:
I am interested in talking with you about your staff reporter position. For years I was paid to travel the world by Life magazine and then by People Magazine. I have climbed (part way up) Everest and canoed a bit of the Amazon. I don’t always like the food (yak butter tea in Tibet and sheep eyeballs in Kyrgystan come to mind, along with some memorably yukky mush in Ghana), but I almost always like the people I meet.
I retired from People at 50 as a writer-at-large, and I still travel. I most recently went to Singapore for an exhibition of photographs by a friend and then to Taiwan. I like traveling in Asia because I speak Chinese better than Spanish or French—which is not to say I’m fluent in any of them. I like photographers a lot, too, and have roamed with some of the best from National Geographic and the classic Life. I also now take photographs myself, as well as video, which I got interested in as a producer at Oxygen.
I like exploring the U.S., too. I’m about to take off on a road trip in my Ford pickup through Alabama, Louisiana (don’t miss the UCM Museum), and up to the Ozarks, where I have bought a tiny defunct post office in a tiny defunct town. I live in New York’s Upper White Side most of the time and off season on Block Island, where I used to have a surf shop.
But I have been talking with other journalist friends about the fact that I miss traveling with a brief. I am not a good vacationer—I have been too spoiled by years of being taken into people’s lives and writing about them. I like to work when I travel, and vacation when I come home.

No answer. I’m thinking I was not relationship material.


not so long ago

This deed was written in 1922, and it was still the deed of record when the property was sold in 1982. If you read down to the bottom of the page (click to make it larger), you will see that one of the conditions of sale was that no person of "African descent" be permitted to buy, rent or even occupy the premises except as a servant. There is still plenty of prejudice in the United States. But at least we've come far enough to find this document shocking.


found in translation

A friend (whose voice on this blog is almost as pervasive and much more amusing than my own) sent me a translation program that is meant to help those im-ing in foreign languages (a nice wife from abroad maybe? a green-card husband?). It has an amusing feature wherein an annoyingly stereotyped avatar will actually say the phrase. It takes a while to load, but you can demo my phrase in French, Chinese and English. I don't know how good the translations are, but it's fun.
And while we're on the links, The Artist Known As Chang, has a brilliant story in National Geographic this month about North Korean escapees. I would post a photograph, but TAKAC is in a country that cannot be named at the moment. Check out the slide show on the site. Those of you in my intimate circle will also recognize the name of the photographer who shot the cover story about evolution. Actually, I have met all of the photographers featured in the issue. O lucky me!


what remains

Off and on for over a year now, I have been accompanying Ed over to his uncle's house in New Jersey. I initially thought it was "to help," but I finally understand that really it is to keep Ed company and prevent him from becoming his uncle—who died in the kitchen after all. It may also prevent me from becoming Ed's uncle, who gave the Collier brothers—those world class hoarders who saved every newspaper they ever read—a run for their money. Ed's uncle, for instance, redid the kitchen several times, and saved all the former kitchens in the basement. And then there are the files, floor to ceiling in every room but the kitchen. I come home and want to throw out everything I own. Those office files? A treasure trove of history? Maybe, but if even I don't look at them, why would H want to? You so can't take it with you. Start tossing. We may be having six more weeks of winter, but it's time for spring cleaning.


not an elephant

This is the cement that fills the tank that worried the DEM that prevented the bank from issuing the mortgage that pays the balance on the building that H and C bought.