Tonight I left work and walked to yoga in my python heels. I was carrying a leather tote plus two other bags––large, shiny cardboard-stiff boutique bags full of manuscript, Elle magazine, flats, yoga clothes, tupperware, and sneakers.

The brick buildings glowed in amber light. I was lulled by the easy click-clack rhythm of the heels; first gritty and stacatto, on cement; then, when I hit the West Village, drawling on slate. It was still 45 minutes till class.

I stopped at Miguelina on Bleecker and ran my fingers down the silk blouses: violet, ginger, aquamarine.

I strolled to Magnolia Bakery. I picked the cupcake with the largest icing crown: a huge helmet of lemon-colored sugarbutter with tiny pebble sprinkles, all perched on a little round of yellow cake. Two dollars, please.

I slipped 2 bags to the crook of my arm, squeezed the cupcake gingerly in a sheath of wax paper, and slowly crossed the street. I sat down on a green wood bench, my bags spreading out and nestling in on all sides. Dry leaves scudded over bricks and cement.

I peeled back the wax paper. A little icing was stuck to the paper. I combed my teeth over the spot and felt the sweetness dissolve between my tongue and the roof of my mouth.

I leaned in and lopped off a chunk of icing and cake with my front teeth.



Doubling down

This weekend I learned that in blackjack, if the first two cards you are dealt look favorable you are given the opportunity to double your bet, or double down.

The caveat is that if you decide to double down, you receive one more card only.

One decides to double down by quickly calculating that odds are favorable for reaching the ideal (that one's own hand will come close to 21 without breaking, and that the dealer's hand will break).

It's a combination of strategy, luck, and faith, with a pinch of audacity for good measure.

And if it all comes together, you hit paydirt.

Doesn't that sound lovely.


More On That Subject

But first: This ad made me burst into tears in the laundry room.

Re: the poem below: I reached for it last night without thinking of anything in particular. It means more to me now than it did when I first read it a dozen years ago.

Courage is the secret to happiness -- Courage to love, wisely and unwisely; courage to believe that others are putting forth their best intentions; courage to have compassion when others can't escape their own destructiveness; courage to pursue a dream even when it seems indulgent and silly; courage not to let the gut-wrenchingly bad things that happen freeze you solid.

The words hope, faith, and love sound so horribly trite. But when your life starts to hit the skids, they appear out of nowhere like Charlie's Angels and totally kick some ass.

Ah well -- I'll leave it to Marianne.

Apropos of nothing, I remembered that my computer has a photo booth function:

{Self-portrait with Liza-cut Hair}

{Self-portrait as Lint Roller Mummenschanz}
What Are Years?

What is our innocence,
what is our guilt? All are
naked, none is safe. And whence
is courage: the unanswered question,
the resolute doubt, -
dumbly calling, deafly listening - that
in misfortune, even death,
encourage others
and in its defeat, stirs

the soul to be strong? He
sees deep and is glad, who
accededs to mortality
and in his imprisonment rises
upon himself as
the sea in a chasm, struggling to be
free and unable to be,
in its surrendering
finds its continuing.

So he who strongly feels,
behaves. The very bird,
grown taller as he sings, steels
his form straight up. Though he is captive,
his mighty singing
says, satisfaction is a lowly
thing, how pure a thing is joy.
This is mortality,
this is eternity.

- Marianne Moore



At first I was alarmed, but then I realized that a found cat probably is better off than a lost cat.

I like the artist's rendering.

. . . To aid in animal identification, of course.


Here, There, and Everywhere

Once the alien octopus resurfaces in your consciousness, you start to see it everywhere.

Walking across the Williamsburg bridge:

And then, perhaps the mothership: