Life can change in a day, and one day in September, when she is almost three, Camilla's life is going to change. She got a glimmering last weekend when she saw her parents holding another baby. She did not know a baby would be so small, or so unable to do anything like walk or talk or even sit. However, she is practicing diapering on her monkey.
   Tomorrow mama Hannah launches her e-course for artists and other financial incompetents about how to make a budget. It is a series of written steps with instructional videos. Only $14.95! Maybe some of you need to take it.



My Donna and her Madonna and her husband. And the cat. Quite a hit of NYNY 10013. And now to a less exclusive zip code. With a truckload of definitely downscale shit.


four managing editors

Including People founding editor Dick Stolley, who hired me three times at Time Inc., Lanny Jones, Jim Gaines, Pat Ryan. All but Lanny were also my bosses at Life. And thanks to my date, Ed Barnes, Time and Life. Below: Mentor Dick Burgheim—who also hired me several times—and my most recent enployer, David Grogan.


action central

So today is the ex-People people reunion. Looking forward to seeing a lot of people I won't recognize who won't recognize me. It's better than a high school or college reunion because we had a common goal, profession, product and, for the most part, background. I said to my mentor back then, "I feel comfortable with the people here—they're like me." He said, "You mean WASPy?" I said, "Oh, no! Is that what it is?"


past lives

Seems like only yesterday I was roadtripping with Frank and Dianne, and today it's all bills and laundry all the time. And repacking, of course. Going backwards in the season, though spring is in the air in New York too. Next stop: Rhode Island, the most stressed state in the nation, according to this article sent in by DaDa. But however, the tenth to OK gay marriage.  Maybe some proportion of the population will be less stressed now.


the road home 2

 So, there was the damn loveseat in the truck, a different seltzer maker, the rotary sander, one Block Island rock, a new Waterpik,  couple of returning uneaten Zabar's cheeses, six cans of Rustoleum spray paint (white, red and chrome) and, um, oh heck, way too much other stuff. I swear from now on it's airplane all the way. And I have a load for Block island that may not even fit!


the road home

That's T'ville in the distance, now behind the tailgate. New York City here we come. Any guesses on WTF's in the truck?


wtf is in the truck?

In situ, NYC
It's been a long road. Leather from Alabama to NYC, couch and leather from NYC to MO, and now back to NYC. I will never do this again.
Out of situ, Moody, MO


Photographs by Frank Martin (2)

People in areas of Arkansas are serious about their yard decorations. As can be seen here, they work with what they have. . .
However, the days in Arkansas are waning. A trip to Moody, Mo., today to hopefully pick up cargo, and then packing up the truck to head  East.


normality so far away

Like everyone else, I am gripped by the drama in Boston.
Well, not like everyone else. I am a journalist and thus inclined to run towards the fire rather than away from it.
For one neighbor, the real drama today is whether her sister will live through surgery.
For the neighbor kids, it's this.
Building a teepee in the back yard

Catching tadpoles
 This is America, folks, where people have never heard of Chechnya and barely of Boston. Where dogs and kids run around town unsupervised and sometimes get hurt, often by cars or their relatives. It is a place where your own backyard is all that's important, and the rest of the world is something on TV. But today I'm in Boston.


going native

photo by F.L. Martin
Here I am wearing local costume in front of yet another disused gas station, this one in Saddle, Ark. We drove through glorious greening hills, across clear creeks, past town after town losing businesses and population. We ate meatloaf and fried pies and bought guns.
    You people on the coasts have no idea: Ammo has become the new gold. As soon as Obama was reelected, they started hoarding, and now .22 ammunition is unavailable except on the black market.
    "She's from New York, and she doesn't like guns," Frank said as the guy in the gun shop ran Frank through the computer to see if he was wanted for anything. Frank could as easily have said I was from Arkansas, where I spent my formative years, but he likes to be incendiary.
     "I've never been to New York—never want to go," the guy said.
      That's what everybody out here says. I don't tell them that nobody in New York can understand why anyone would come here either.
     The gun store guy, upon being drawn out on gun legislation, allowed as how he thought if shops like his had to do background checks, gun show dealers ought to have to as well. He also said he thought it was unfair that bombers were blamed for bombings, but guns were blamed for shootings—the old "people kill people" argument. Which brings us right back to where we were, with way too many guns floating around and easily available to kids and wackos.


road trip!

Sorry, just got home from a day-long Adventure into Arkansas. More manana. Or maybe not—thunderstorms expected tonight and tomorrow, which often means no Internet as well as no cell or phone.


bear sighting

For those of you who have asked after Bear, here he is. He gave me an arrowhead he made and the first of his iris. That's his family's house behind him. He's lived there alone for years, but it's the subject of sibling disagreement and he won't fix it up. I can't imagine what it looks like inside, though I know he has no running water and a microwave. No tv. What he calls a raddio, sort of rhyming with patio, which he also does not have.  He does have four "rides" though.
   "Ride" is a modern locution, but Bear still speaks an old-fashioned Ozark dialect ("ideal" for idea). It is distinctive, as you can see in this map of American dialects. If you would like to test yourself to see where your speech indicates you are from, you can take this quiz.



What with the new party lights, the Goose should host an evening affair on the deck. Sadly, most of the Goose guests, like the Goose hostess, are of an age where they don't care for driving 45 minutes  through deer country after dark. Thus the enter- tainment yesterday was lunch. Once the umbrella blew over, however, the Goose guests were cooked, and we adjourned to the downstairs.
   One of the guests was the editor of the local paper, the West Plains Daily Quill who hosted me years ago (perhaps he might not have been so welcoming had he known he was forming a lifelong familial relationship with me, but that's another story) and who also helped the New York Times reporter do this story about arming teachers. When the Quill's story came out, I didn't see a single letter of complaint or shock. I suspect reaction to the Times story will be quite different.


local color

I have a thing for disused gas stations. The weeds growing through cracks in the pavement. The broken windows. And, of course, the junk trucks. There are a lot of dead convenience stores around here. Bear says it's because anymore gas is too expensive for people to buy. I guess if you run on a narrow margin anyway, being a storekeeper out in the middle of nowhere, that's true. Cheapest gas in the area? You got that right: Walmart.


spring river

You too could own this river frontage and 50 acres for about $120,000. It's a couple miles downstream from Mammoth Spring, Ark., which produces almost 10 million gallons of water an hour to become Spring River. When we were there dreaming, the skies were already lowering, as you can see. I arrived home to the following weather bulletin:
However, so far we have escaped fire and tornado, hail and high water. Spring is exciting in many ways here in the heart of the heart of the country.


sucking the river dry

Firetrucks were filling up with river water until late last night. Must've been quite a blaze—this is the season when folks burn branches and catch fields on fire. Don't know where it was yet—I'm done chasing fires.
We have some video news.
Vienna resident  and pal Chien-Chi Chang has Escape From North Korea up on the Magnum site. Timely.
Young relation (if I tried to describe to you how she is related it would take up several blogs) Milena Pastreich has a short film about teenagers, I Feel Stupid, screening on PBS this week. Check your local schedule.
And finally, in a promo using AMC movie theater employees as musical theater performers, Kansas city pal and financial officer Carly Larson dances in this video. She's the cute one with the funny hat in the still at the beginning and in the red clamdiggers in the Grease entry.
Huzzahs to all!


gals with guns

CBA (right) with Stella and their Alaskan trapper mentor @1970

Madison, champion shooter of the riflery club, April 2013
 Many of you know how anti-gun I am. Let me clarify that I am not opposed to the use of guns for hunting and target shooting but rather as "personal protection." Perhaps that's because I have not run into anyone who has faced an armed "intruder" but have known several who have put a bullet through themselves or a loved one either by accident or on purpose. (This just in.)
     And now I want to boast about my niece, who beat out all the boys to become the riflery club's biggest trophy winner! (She may be Queen of the Gun Club, but her mother is President of the Garden Club!) And that's just a way cool picture of CBA back in the day. Could have been taken in the Ozarks insted of Alaska.


more morning light

Like most of the rest of the country, the Ozarks have been whipsawed between frost on the pumpkin and sunburn on the arms. Which makes for a lovely morning mist on the water. Later in the day, what Bear calls the "galley nippers" came out. Who knows what a galley nipper is?
   And PS yesterday we foiled the starlings building a nest in my ceiling by hammering a piece of board over the hole, before they finished the nest and laid eggs. And I saw my second bluebird.


this old couch

Many of you have sat (sitted? why do some past tenses just sound awk?) on this loveseat. It lives in New York. However, as you may be able to see in the pic, it has deteriorated since I last covered it. I therefore decided to buy a new loveseat. Then I decided, instead, to buy leather to recover it in hopes that it would then last as long as I will. Purchased in Alabama and carried back to NYC on the plane. Three and two half hides. I then priced recovering it. $1200 bottom. I then priced recovering it in Missouri. Circa $300. Done. Well, there are the transportation costs: to date much work on the truck, including $800 worth of brakes and possibly new tires all around. Bear helped me load the thing (with its raincoat) in the truck last night, and I left at dawn this ayem. I drove an hour to Moody, Mo., across two low water bridges, past the fish ponds and the old house, up to the yellow  doublewide and the uphostering shed and there deposited the thing (FYI Hannah and Erin, Carla's husband backed the truck out for me).  She says she loves leather—and that's a good thing.


monetize that road

Hannah's got a business consulting to people in business who have no business sense—mostly artists and other creatives! You can pay her by the hour to plot out your life and money, or you can take such on-line courses as the one above about making budgets, whether for your business or personal life. You're just a spread sheet away from clarity! You can sign up for $45 at hwgarrison.com You can also download a meditation for 99 cents to help you stay clear.
   Speaking of Hannah, here's a fab video made by one of her schoolmates at Hunter College High back in the day.


the road home

The road home is always quicker. And the closer you get, the more you seem to pick up speed.


ozark sunrise

From my bedroom window yesterday.


can you follow this?

I'm not big on putting my personal business in this blog, but. . .
So last week, my ex husband stayed at the New York apartment (which used to be his and is now mine) on Monday, I think. (I'm not there.) On Wednesday, one of my ex-girlfriends stayed there with the woman she dumped me for and the woman the-woman-she-dumped-me-for was marrying. That's them getting married this weekend (above, photo by the ex-girlfriend). Soon, the ex-husband's first ex-wife (I was the second) and her current husband will be staying at the NY apartment.
Is there a way to monetize this? I am in the hospitality business, after all.