Wednesday, May 31, 2006

In Fond Memory

For Daphne, who left this world much too soon.

Woman who didn't take any crap from anyone.

You will be missed.


I have managed to survive the week from Hell. The Pit of Despair (my job for those just tuning in) is moving sometime this summer so we are having two big sales, partly to get rid of some things but mostly to make a pile of money to tide us over while we are closed. The Pit has a big sale every June in the parking lot next to our building. We put up a tent and fill it with a ton of stuff. Some of the deals are really good but there's also a lot of junk. We process about 600 customers on average and make some good money. The Saturday of the sale is always the busiest but this year was something else. I have no idea where they all came from but it was a madhouse. You could barely move in the tent and the line to pay stretched out the door and down to the next corner. And they bought everything. Not just the good stuff like cookware and appliances but shelf liners and spoons and mismatched napkins and cobalt blue cow butter dishes (really). One woman proudly told me how she had "snatched victory form the jaws of defeat" by grabbing a pan that she wanted from another woman when that woman left it unattended for a minute. I waited all day for a fist fight to break out over something but we managed to avoid that. We did this for three days, three 12 hour days filled with madness. But we made it, along with a serious pile of money.

We do it again in 2 weeks.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

One More

Today I went and opened my business accounts at the bank. Another step on the road taken. With each step the business becomes more tangible. It's really going to happen. And then, no matter what happens after that I'll know that I tried, gave it my best effort. It may be trite but it makes all the difference. I have mostly taken the path of least resistance if not always the road well traveled. Now I've changed that and I feel pretty good, in spite of the lingering fear and anxiety.

The small business manager at the bank was very nice. She's lived in this neighborhood for 30 years. We agreed that we needed a good coffee bar and a bookstore. Anybody ready to start one? It's a sure thing.

On a different subject, the cats have been careening around the place after a fly. Plants have been knocked over, last minute saves made during leaps but so far the fly has gotten away. Nick stared at it for quite some time making these small growls and meows. The hunting instinct is alive and well here in the big city.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Today I met up with my sister and two of my cousins. We had dinner together. During this dinner a subject came up that is dear to my heart. Now I will be the first to admit that I like to argue and I like to be right. I get this from my father. I try to control it and not play devil's advocate too often. And in fairness to myself I am often right. I try to think before I speak.
Anyway. My sister's older child has troubles. He is very bright and loves to read. His vocabulary is advanced for his years but his social skills are lacking. He does not see when his opinions and pronouncements are not welcomed. He gets beaten up as a result. My cousin Mark said that he should be taught how to get along, how to conform. I swear he used that word. That's when I got on my soapbox. (I have a portable one, ready to be taken out at any moment.) I said that you should never give up yourself and change yourself for others. I said that with time my nephew would learn how to be more diplomatic and more aware of how other's felt but he's only 11. He has to mature. My cousin said life would be easier if he learned to get along. I said that it was true life would suck for a while but he would be glad later. My cousin said, who would know if you behaved differently in the group? I said, I would. I said that I had to look at myself in the mirror every day and that although a lot of school had sucked for me I was so glad I hadn't tried to fit in. The argument ended there. They laughed and said I was my father's daughter. I tried to say that this was serious to me but it was over. They couldn't see what I meant. Mark in particular. He kept insisting it would be easier to learn to fit in.
Now this is from a man who stayed in the closet until he was 50. He worked in a corporate world and thought that would be better. Yes, he has made a lot of money and he retired at 51 but what did he lose? Who did he miss along the way? What could he have done and been if he had accepted himself and been true to that? There were places he could have worked that would have accepted him. I think he just couldn't accept it.
I found on the way home that I was truly upset. In today's world there is sooo much pressure to conform, to be like everyone else. Kids who don't fit in get medicated. Adults medicate themselves. Any deviation from the norm is anathema. Individuality and imagination are disappearing. Where will we be if people cannot think outside the norm? Do you feel different? Treasure the feeling. Hold it to your heart like the truly precious thing it is. And if your kids are different, celebrate them, encourage them to be all they are.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


The other day as I was walking to the subway I saw a bulldog that had a champagne cork in his mouth. He had it by the bottom so the just the top was poking out. He looked like he'd been corked. Weird.

As some of you know I am attempting to toilet train my cats using a thing by It's a toilet shaped plastic tray that you put over your toilet and then fill with litter. You gradually remove parts of the tray (in a concentric pattern) until there is no litter left and your cat is using the toilet. When I think of never scooping litter again I feel almost beatific.

As for my cats, so far, so good. There was a brief bit of trouble initially but now we are happily using the litter in the toilet. The company suggests one week for each stage but I think I may go two weeks. We'll see how it goes. The bathroom is a bit messier now and the cover is harder to scoop than a big litter box but I think the extra work will be worth it. If I manage to get a picture of a cat on the toilet I will post it. No promises, they're kind of shy about it.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

More Walking

Yesterday I chose to walk uptown, up into Riverdale all the way to the Westchester County line. The route took me past Van Cortlandt Park. Though I had passed it many times in a car I'd never been to the park. It's pretty nice. At the south entrance there is a statue of a coyote. Apparently a coyote wandered onto the Deegan Expressway some years ago and they decided to erect a statue. A little odd but kind of nice.

Then there's a pool and a picnic area. It was completely deserted but in the summer time it must be filled with people. I like the idea of a pool but you'd probably have to go early in morning to avoid the screaming crowds.

Further north I found a big open field. There was a low hanging mist yesterday and the place looked a bit otherwordly. At the south end of the field there is a stone house. The Van Cortlandt House Museum. I didn't have time to stop but I want to go back and check it out.

The field itself was partly occupied by Canadian Geese. (I thought of John.) Further down the path there is a little set of bleachers and a statue of a tortoise and a hare. I didn't stop to read the plaque so I don't know why it's there. Another item on the "to do" list for future walks. Perhaps some planner has a penchant for animal sculptur

The only problem with the park is that the on-ramps for the Deegan and the Henry Hudson go right through it. Probably Robert Moses' fault. That man had highways on the brain. It's a shame because the park could really be spectacular.

Once you get by the on-ramps and into the top half of the park you find the Riverdale Equestrian Center. I intend to call them and find out what they charge for riding lessons. Probably more than I can afford but you never know.

I didn't go much further than that, just to the end of the park. I walked back on the other side of the street so I could peer into all the little shops. I also passed several senior housing centers. They've got a fabulous view of the park.

There were several very pretty blocks with flower-filled gardens. It would be a nice place to live except that it's missing so many things. The subway is a good 10 blocks away and there didn't seem to be any grocery stores or good restaurants around. I think you'd have to have a car. Not exactly suburbia but close.

By the time you reach the county line the neighborhood begins to change again, looking more run down. I know that it then changes again as you head further into Westchester. It's like the city is striped.

I want to go back on a Saturday, to see the park filled with people and dogs. It had a lonely feel yesterday with only a few people in the mist.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Wrong Map

As some of you know I have chosen to walk in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. The walk is 39 miles over 2 days. I took my first training walk today. A short walk, only 5 miles or so. I piled my Goodwill donation into the cart and set out. I had looked at a map to pick a route and found one that seemed nice. It would take me past some park land and into a neighborhood that I hadn't been to before. What I really needed, however, was a topographical map. One street I had chosen is named Fort George Hill. And they weren't kidding. It is a serious hill. In fact, it seemed to go on forever. The hill never really levels off. You get to the apex and then it starts down. The people coming down looked at me with surprise and a bit of pity. Crazy woman, why didn't she go a different way if she had to push a full cart? On the way back, walking down the hill, I could hardly believe I'd made it up. The upshot of all this is that the 5 miles felt more like 8. It's all to the good though. I need to get into better shape. I may go back. Without the cart.


Thank goodness this week is over. I worked 6 days in a row and that is no good at all. Judge my state by the fact that yesterday I would much rather have been with Lady Epiphany at the Two's and Three's Reading Party at the public library. I would cheerfully have made elephants on sticks and listened to children's stories rather than be at my desk in The Hole. I remember a time, in my former life when I worked in theatre, when I frequently worked many days in a row without a break. But as hard as that labor was it did not make me want to stab out my eyeballs just so I could go home. And of course it is not just the actual work. It's true, entering numbers endlessly is no fun. But if the environment was pleasant it would be much better. My employers do not understand the connection between environment and productivity. They expect you to do your job well in spite of the fact that they undermine you at every turn. In the end even a staunch Protestant Work Ethic gives up in despair.

No matter, I am getting out. I will be free.

In other news I am finally getting rid of a big pile of unwanted clothes and shoes. They have been sitting in bags, waiting patiently for me to take them to the Goodwill store where they will become wanted. Who knew I had so much space? I met a woman the other night who owns a company called The Spacialist ( She will, for a fee, help you organize your home, your office, and possibly your life. It is an intriguing idea. Normally I think of myself as able to organize but once you've been staring at your own space for a long time I think you stop seeing it. You cannot imagine how it could be different. But on the whole I think I would rather spend the money on organizational stuff.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Not Another One!

We have a new employee at my job. He is the new assistant manager. I like him but he has an unfortunate tendency to pun. And we already have one of those. That one spends time thinking them up and then he comes and tells me. I get more gray hairs every time. Now I've got two of them. One a planner and other a spontaneous punner. What were their parents thinking? I urge you all, don't let your children become punners. Just say NO.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Tag I'm It

I have been tagged for the Weirdness Meme.
6 weird things about me. This was tough. Hard to distinguish between weird and just idiosyncratic. Here goes.

1. I talk to myself, a lot. Though not usually in public. Comes from the days when I was little and had an imaginary friend I would talk to. Lost the friend, kept the talk.

2. Whenever I leave the house for an extended period I have to make sure that the stove is off, the fridge is completely closed and the kitchen faucet is off. If I go out the door and I haven't done it I have to go back in and do it. I call it my "idiot check". And if I'm going away for a few days I also unplug anything that can be unplugged.

3. I like rats. I think they're cool. I wouldn't want an infestation but I'd love to have them as pets. However, my cats would probably eat them.

4. This is a an OCD thing but I'm including it. If I have 3 or more books by a single author on my shelves they must be in chronological order (by publication date). I can't stand it any other way.

5. I really want to own a pair of thigh high shit kicker boots. You know the ones, with the high high heels all in leather.

6. When I get old I want to be the weird old lady with several cats and a spooky house that all the children run by on Halloween.

There. How's that?