the west side

Since this is the West Side (though not the upper west side today, thankfully,  since it's 15 degrees there right now), sunsets are a big deal. I know it's trite to take pictures of them, but I can't help myself. When we lived out at Polihale, we were always waiting for the green flash that supposedly occurs as the disc of the sun slides into the ocean. In any case, I try to be at the beach at sunset. There is a wide array of beaches to chose from, but I particularly like Salt Pond, so called because Hawaiian salt is made in flat beds there as seawater dries. There are also a lot of homeless campers there these days, though I suppose I can't complain about that given my history.
   Anyway I was sitting there last evening with Clifford, a friend from pig hunting days back in the mid eighties.
  "I always heard about the green flash," I said. "Have you ever seen it?"
  "Yes, baby," he said.
  "Well I watched and watched, but I never saw it."
  "Maybe only certain people can see it, baby."
A silver flash 
Tourists on a sunset sail.


the swinging bridge

 We stood in the middle of the night in the middle of the swinging bridge over the Hanapepe River arguing about guns. Having been raised a Quaker  in the suburbs, I was agin 'em. Having been raised  a cane field worker in Hawaii, John was for 'em.
   We met at the Sunrise Cafe, where I worked as a bar girl. When the Midnight Rambler had to go to the dump—it was unregistered, and the policeman very kindly followed me there and gave me a ride back to town—Laura and I got sick of being JonJon and Marty's moms and took the job from Dotty. Housing came with, and no men were allowed in the chicken coop. Dotty's modus operandi was to hire new bar girls often. She knew the men would come in and drink until the girls hooked up with someone. Then trade would fall off.
   So she discouraged my relationship with John. She said he was no good and neither was his family. Plenty trouble. She was right, of course. He scared me sometimes, like when we were alone on some dark beach, and he started playing with firearms. 
    Like now on the swinging bridge. 
    I was trying to break up with him. I can't  remember whether there was a moon or not.
    Finally he said, "Sweetheart, if this gun is coming between me and you—" 
    He grandly hurled the pistol off off the bridge, and we heard it splash.
    "Oh shit," he said. "That gun cost me a hundred fifty dollars."
That's the sunrise cafe, where I worked, behind all f those cars on the right. Club Morroco, on the left, was a tough bar that Dotty told us never to go in. Stabbings. We never did, of course. Dotty was our goddess.


under kingdome

 This is Kingdome, named after its builder/owner, Jo King. You can see the lanai (balcony) where I am writing behind that palm tree. And you can see Jo, a former boxer, skater and film editor, on my (her) lanai. I can write in the shade here in the ayem, but come 11 o'clock I have to find a new spot. Computer can't take the tropical sun and neither can I.
  Yes, this is the dry side of the island, where I wound up because we were living outside, with no tent. The lush side is about an hour away, if traffic is kind.
I also have a bathroom, fridge and microwave in my cave.


sacred ground

Kapu. Keep out.
 This is Polihale, the end of the road that goes around most of the island. From Polihale through Kalalau to Ke'e, the terrain is just too rugged for a road. Not to mention, protected land as well as sacred.
  When I first came to Kauai at 22, with my friend Laura, we hitchhiked out and camped here legally at the state park for two weeks. We then moved down the beach and camped illegally for several months, acquiring a car—the Midnight Rambler—and an entourage of gay men, including Lizard, Sufi Bob, JonJon, a former prostitute from New Orleans, and his friend Marty. Krishna, who may or may not have been gay but was celibate, lived in an old school bus where we played endless games of hearts.
If you look past the truck, you will see a track leading up a dune. At the top of that was a bowl in the sand where we camped until finally kicked out by a park ranger.


from there to here

 Stage the aloha shirts, the bathing suits, the shorts and underwear and drugs. And computer. Pack everything. Wake up at 3 ayem and travel for almost 24 hours, and then here you are. Put on bathing suit and buy some tuna sashimi and papaya and boiled peanuts and head to a beach or too or three. Have tempura with a friend.
    Vow to write tomorrow. This is tomorrow.



Product as design. And vice versa, in the case of the copper mug that Donna's Moscow Mule was served in. Does every bar in New York have to lay in copper cups for one drink? Seems like it.
   And, yes, I hit the nail salon too. I mean, after tomorrow's 14-hour flight to Honolulu (and then the hop to Kauai) I will be barefoot.


any questions?

Why didn't I stay out to watch the eclipse? See above.


olden days

Trying to grapple with the fact that my former (and always) husband (at right, above) turned 75 yesterday. Dreamed about him all night. We're getting old.


indoor plant life

 It made me very sad to see these poinsettias being thrown away. I would have taken them to add to my collection of strays but that I'm going away. Happily my neighbor changed her mind and took one of them back. She must have seen how beautiful and lonely they looked sitting by the freight elevator.


running on empty

Not sure why an empty tour bus was idling outside the gym, but I liked the creepy gaze of dude behind the no parking sign and the Mondrian-ish quality of the window frame. But it's probably as well I'll be changing the scenery soon, since I have been uninspired by New York lately. Or maybe it's just that I don't like to go out much in the cold. Looking forward to several days upcoming where we'll really have to hunker down.


mind warp

How many times have I walked by this animal (eland? antelope?) on the gates of the Apthorp wihout seeing it? I have lived on the Upper West Side, after all, for 45 years.
   That's scary!
   But maybe I did see it, and I've just forgotten. Also scary.
   For instance, last night I reread a kind of Noel Coward bedroom farce/thriller set on Kauai that I must have commenced in the 1980s. It started out kind of lame, but then it got pretty funny. And there was so much detail about the setting, the language, the geography that I don't remember. I didn't even remember the characters or the plot—it all came as a surprise.  Wow. Mind on rinse cycle.



Boro Manhattan
The snowflakes here may be fake (fake snowflakes!), but it has been getting a bit chilly. not like it will when the polar vortex comes to town in a week or so. Yes. I'm gloating.



Jose and Ana
Can't resist reposting this pic of the newlyweds. They work so hard most of the time that it's great to see them relaxing. Not sure I have ever seen this before!


they got pinned

 My beautiful Ana Santana, who I have known for two decades, and her husband and the father of their five children, Jose, got hitched again in their Catholic church in the Dominican Republic. It looks like it was quite the party, and I'm sorry I missed it.
  In other news, Citibank has a commercial about Block Island's windmills. I have not yet added up last year's electricity costs, but I think they were lower post-wind.
   My pal Keri is renting out her place in Minneapolis on Air BnB. Check it out.
   My Pal Peter is also Air BnBing. In Hudson, NY. Check it out. And visit Kate Knapp's gallery while you're there.
   And finally, my brother Chris also got pinned. Clothespinned. Apparently he made two of these!


baby, it's—ahem

Home surroundings
Does it look cold? It isn't that cold, except for the 40 mph wind. Then it's weeping cold. And we're not even talking the polar vortex yet. I'm so out of here.
  But my sister wasn't going to Mexico. And my friend in Hawaii (86) isn't getting any younger, so I thought maybe Kauai. And since I'm dreading the 14 or so hour flight,  I thought I'd better stay awhile. Say, like, a month. But what would I do all that time? Ah, I know! People have been urging me to write a book! (They must not have read the recent article talking about how you can't earn anything doing that. And PS, who reads any more?)
   So I rented me a part of a dome walking distance from my friends' house. It's in Smoky Valley, Kauai, one of my favorite places in the world. And, since I'm writing my memoirs, not incidentally, it is a place I spent a formative year as a hippie before I fell into a career in journalism. You could almost call Kauai the reason I moved to New York City. I was looking for its opposite. I found it. But I'm still boinging between the two.
Dome surroundings


on broadway

And then my sister-in-law arrived from Santa Fe for a weekend of theater and took me out one night to see Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine. She also made a wicked good cauliflower-cheese  pie with potato latke crust from party leftovers. You can find the recipe in the Moosewood Cookbook.


since i've been gone

View of Manhattan from tanker Mary A. Whalen
 It looks like I've been going all over the place. But really, what I've been doing is to get out of bed, go on an excusrion, pretend to bustle around, and then crawl back into bed. Only now am I feeling more the thing.
   So when Jamie and Peter were here for non-Christmas, we went to Brooklyn to Ed's favorite restaurant for Jamie's birthday lunch. Yes, everyone I know practically is a Capricorn. And afterwards we went to the decommissioned oil tanker Mary A Whalen at her berth in Red Hook before taking the ferry back to Wall St. It is now a waterways outreach project, which you can read about here.
Carolina Salguero is the captain of the ship and lives aboard with the ship's cat.
 Then, the day Jamie and Peter left, I rented a car and went to Brewster, NY, for Roberta's 80th birthday party. Yes. Many people I know are Capricorns.
The Big Oak in Bedford, on the road to Alan and Roberta's old house.

Not showing this pic to Roberta, who wouldn't care for it! Still, looking good for 80!
 And then on the first of January, we held Hannah's birthday party. It seems like so many people close to me are Capricorns! About 25 people dropped in, not including Hannah and family, who stayed home in Providence.
Innocence and experience. Transwoman Isabella has done about everything, perforce.

Ellen brought bagels and salmon. Debby brought brownies, with and without walnuts. Donna (with Ryan) brought the pasta master to make ravioli. Hannah, in absentia, brought the occasion.


happy boo day

 Thirty-seven years ago, in Chicago, Illinois, I gave birth to a beautiful Buddha Baby, aka Boo. I wanted to name her Albertine (I was in my Proust phase then),  but knew that was crazy. Douglas and I were waffling between Emily and Hannah. There was another Emily in the newborn nursery, so Hannah it was. And is. Born with remarkable intelligence, creativity, kindness, charm and health, version 37.0 is more fab than ever.
She'll have to take a newer selfie that includes the nose ring and tattoo.