The snow started early yesterday afternoon -- first just a few wet, scattered flakes. Then dirty slush piles started to gather on the black pavement. Then the snowflakes started to swirl, whip, and pelt crosswise in the wind. Then the wind started to scream.

The view from our window went white, then pinkblack as dusk set in. Lightning stuttered. Thunder and wind.

I curled up on the couch, writing and watching Marilyn Monroe movies, an odd John Candy drama and later, together with John, remastered old Super-8s of Wings. All of the window blinds were pulled all of the way up. Snow filled in the corners of the windows.

We stayed up late and, when we turned out the light, the bedroom lit up in pink snow-glow.

I woke up late to bright white walls and icy blue sky, the smell of coffee brewing, and Wings on the stereo in the other room.

All of the blinds were still pulled all the way up. Sun warmed the apartment: the honey-colored floors, the baby blue couch, the white blanky.

John continued with Wings on the headphones and I curled up with a novel and some coffee. No plans.

All is well.


The 2010 mix is here

Hi all:

So, at the end every year I make a music mix. Many people compile their "best of" the new releases of that year, but I tend toward capturing the songs that were in my head and in my life, and the new memories that have formed around them. Usually I keep these mixes strictly for personal use, but here -- have it and enjoy it!

[Clicking above will start a download of "2010.zip."]

I hope you enjoy these 51.2 minutes. It was a pretty terrible year, but if the music is good, it can't be all bad.


The Big Ride, Part 3

Corlears Hook Park and the ampitheater. I had to go back and take pictures since they weren't on the original roll. The park has mellowed nicely as autumn has rolled along.

Park entrance looking east from Cherry St.

Looking southeast from the park entrance

The mall as you enter

The bridge over the FDR drive lifts a little


The Big Ride, Part 2

Once you get outside with the bike, there is a decision to be made: Right or left. I usually go right, which is the opposite direction from my destination, but has its advantages.

Unlike other people, who seem to accept riding in traffic as a necessary danger, or a welcome thrill, I avoid it at all costs -- sometimes even doing the Bad Thing and riding on the sidewalk. The choice comes down to a quick equation involving how many other objects you are likely to encounter. Under the bridge there is a bike lane, but there are also cars backing out into the lane without looking (on the right of it), cars whizzing by (on the left of it), and double-parked cars and even schoolbuses (on top of it). I'd prefer not to get a rear-view mirror stuck in my ribs, so up on the curb we go. Unless a corporate softball game has just ended and there's a small mob coming back from East River Park to party at Boss Tweed's, you're unlikely to encounter more than one or two people.

There are times I've continued straight on Delancey and pedaled up and over the bridge that spans the FDR Drive. I don't like it, though. The bridge has a steep incline and then a few hairpin turns on the descent. The first day I started riding again after 25 years, embarking on this bridge was goofy indeed. I was still piddle-paddling with my feet along the pavement every so often, trying not to fall over. Once I hit that first angle on the bridge, it was hard to keep upright and keep my dignity.

So instead of hitting the bridge, I cut right onto Lewis. There is a bike lane here, but far less activity -- it's a side street. And after a few beats, I make the momentous (for me) left turn onto Grand, and then cut behind onto Henry.

This part of the neighborhood is unfamiliar to me. It's behind the supermarket, so I never need to go there. It's nice and quiet. I can hop the sidewalk without encountering anyone. And within the space of a few pedals, I'm at Corlears Hook Park, with its long, virtually empty mall and slow ascent to a run-down ampitheater. Heaven.


The Big Ride, Part I

On Saturday afternoon I was feeling a bit restless. The house was kind of a mess, but it was nice out! The perfect day for a ride. But there was just one problem: traffic on the bike paths. I've only been out a handful of times and don't feel ready for the weekend warriors. From the kitchen we can see a serious uptick of riders on the Williamsburg Bridge once Saturday rolls around. Would the East River path be the biking equivalent of the Cross Bronx Expressway on a Friday afternoon?

As I was mulling this over John and I drove down the east side to drop stuff off at the storage space, and we didn't really see that much bike traffic on the path! So John encouraged me to go, as he was heading off to Brooklyn for a few hours anyway. So I suited up in my Saturday best: leggings and t-shirt and track jacket and windbreaker and sneaky sneaks and, of course, helmet. The helmet, as well as the bike, belong to John. He also has leather riding gloves, but they're too big so I don't bother with them. In my backpack I put house keys and water bottle and wallet.

When I get the bike out it's a bit of a procedure, as I have to roll it around the boxes of books on the floor awating rearranging and then across the apartment and into the vestibule, and then press the elevator button and wait for the elevator which is an extra-long wait on Saturdays because of the Sabbath, and once the elevator comes it is sagaciously slow, and once the digital numbers count from 12 to B and the car touches down I roll the bike through the gray-painted cinder block hallways and out the door into the sunlight. And we're off.


A Note on Hegel, and women and men, courtesy of Rebecca West

From BIRDS FALL DOWN, in which the 18-year-old female protagonist is being lectured on the dialectic:

“The dialectic,” echoed Laura. It was one of those words to which she never troubled to attach a precise meaning. Teleology, oolitic, proportional representation, symbiotic; what they stood for was part of the world, and might once have been bright like the world, but the dust which falls wherever there are males had buried them in its dingy drifts.



East River Park Bike Ride

Looking north

Looking south

Looking up


Pins and Needles

Once a week I lie on the acupuncture table with some combination of needles sticking out from my body parts.


one needle in each ear
one in the crease between each big toe and second toe
one in the soft concave spot under the knob of each ankle.

Lucy the acupuncturist is very small and slight, like a needle. After getting me all set up, she turns on 2 gooseneck heat lamps and positions one over my torso, the other one over my legs, and sets the timer. Then she turns on bland Chinese music and slips out.

Three seconds later the florescent lights go out. I cook for thirty minutes or so until the timer dings.

This is supposed to be a time of meditation and relaxation, but often I feel profoundly anxious. As your body lets go of tension, it sometimes feels as if you are in an elevator that has just gone into a 5-floor freefall. I grip the sides of the table, then ungrip. Grip, ungrip. I study the black squiggles on the ceiling tiles.

Once Lucy put a needle in the underside of my wrist and advised me not to move my hand. That was hard. Sometimes I get needles in my belly, and after the needles plus heat lamp, my belly looks pink as a piglet.

Last week I didn't feel anxious at all, but I had spent time the few days before upset and yelling. (Lucy softly tells me that I have a lot of stress "inside.")

Score one for emoting.


The Big Drop

It's a good thing I have my husband, family, and friends, as well as (perhaps to a lesser extent) my wits. So much else seems to have slipped away.

Earlier this year: Medical issues (all better), the loss of our beloved Dave, and finally in June, laid off. Wow.

My employer gave us 24 hours to leave the premises. After that: exhilarated, confused, elated, free. (And freelance.)

Today, 3 months later, is the first day I felt bored and anxious.

After a brutally hot summer: It's finally 72 degrees, breezy, and clear, and I'm freaking?

It's time to start sizzlin'.

(ABOVE: Confetti courtesy of Sir Paul McCartney. NOT PICTURED: Magical Mystery Tour piano, McCartney's Hofner bass, well-timed fireballs)