Monday, January 29, 2007

Jury Duty

It's official, I have the jury duty. On the grand jury. All you Law & Order watchers will know that the grand jury decides if an indictment is warranted. No decisions about guilt or innocence, just whether there is sufficient evidence for a trial. I won't be able to give any details as I have been sworn to secrecy but I probably will be ranting about my frustration with people and the process. The paneling was tiresome enough. People kept asking silly questions that were merely a variation on the question asked just before. There are three morning panels and one afternoon. Each has 23 people. I am curious to see how that will work. Do we all hear each case? It seems like a lot of people. We all know how hard it is to get just a handful to agree on anything. Even simple things like, where should we eat? Fortunately each session is only 3 hours. This will not eliminate silly behavior but it will limit how much we have to take in one day. My retail trained radar went off a couple of times as my panel was filled but hopefully most of the group will be reasonable adults. I also hope this experience will be more interesting and less mind-numbing than my last service which was a civil trial about plastic surgery. I can only presume that court reporters stop listening to actual speech and focus on just getting each word in. Otherwise they would go stark staring mad early on in their careers. I have no idea how judges stand it. They must have the frequent urge to beat people with their gavels. Maybe you get some special training when you become a judge that enables you to tolerate endless repetition and frequent loss of common sense. Maybe that's what law school is really for.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

First of Many

The first pillow is done. I have a bunch more to go but the first is always the hardest. I had some angst with the sewing machine which was misbehaving. Then I did the sensible thing and dragged out the manuel. It seems that when I put in a different needle for the heavier fabric I put it in back to front. After fixing that things went much better. Always check the manuel. It will save you a lot of swearing.

I know what you're thinking. You're surprised by the fabric choice. Recently I've found myself attracted to more traditional, more romantic prints and colors. They feel warm and soft and sensual. It's probably my closet romantic coming out. Next thing you know I'll be buying floral print skirts and poet's blouses.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

New Flor

The new Flor came and has been installed. As you can see, I opted for a more neutral approach. I had a problem with the texture of the House Pet. It's kind of hairy, like a terrier. To keep it clean one would need to vacuum at least every other day and better yet every day because of all the little crumbs and bits of food. I know that I am not going to drag out the vacuum every day. I do sweep every day though and the Working Class is smoother, more sweepable. It does not come in as nice a red so I got the tan instead.

I like it. It's nice and flat and sooo much better than the nasty blue carpet. It was easy to install too. I think I still prefer real rugs for a livingroom or bedroom but this stuff would be great in a kid's room or utility room. And it is a neat alternative to wall to wall carpeting.

And look, the new floor coordinates with the cats.

Monday, January 22, 2007

More Oddities

My walk from the subway takes me through a park and today in that park there was a piece of coconut in a tree. It was just sitting there, perched on a branch as if it had been carefully placed there. I couldn't help but wonder, why on Earth would you put coconut in a tree? On Saturday I had seen a man break open a coconut on a rock. This was in the same park though not in the same place. I wondered, did this man put the coconut in the tree or was it some other random coconut placer? I intend to go back tomorrow and see if the piece is still there. It might make a nice nest if a bird could manage to get it higher up in the tree. Maybe if he got some of his bird friends to help. Promised them bird seed and nectar if they helped with the move.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


I had a real Mormon sighting today. There is a Church of the Latter Day Saints here in Inwood and I had some neighbors who are Mormon but I have never seen a missionary pair. Today as I headed to the farmer's market I saw them. Two young men in black suits and black coats and earnest faces. They attempted to speak to one man who ignored them completely and then a couple who I suspect replied that they belonged to the local Catholic church. The young men did not speak to me so my aura was functioning properly. I do feel for them though. I know the missionary work is a two year commitment. But I don't know much else. Is there a quota? If you don't sign on enough people you don't get the merit badge? I have some relatives who are Mormon though they are pretty low key about it. Once, when I was about 13 and my folks were away and my cousins were babysitting, we got a visit from Brother Smith and Brother Love. Since we had these Mormon relatives we decided to be neighborly and invited them to dinner. We also figured they didn't get much in the way of good food so we made lasagna. Brother Love was round, blond and cherubic while Brother Smith was dark and thin but he ate a prodigious amount. It transpired that he was one of eleven children and if you didn't eat up and quick you got shortchanged. I think they knew from the outset that we were a lost cause but they did get a good home-cooked meal and had a nice evening. Maybe someone will feed those two young men I saw today.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


As you may know, I read Rob Brezny's Free Will Astrology horoscope each week. It is always entertaining. And sometimes, like this week, it can be maddening.

"When are your cats old enough to learn about Jesus?" asks The Onion, America's finest newspaper. Think about that question for a while, Aries. Then, once you've worked yourself up into a riddle-solving frame of mind, move on to these other, more pressing brain-teasers: When will you finally be old enough to figure out what you want to do when you grow up? When will it be the right time to reveal your secret super-powers to the world? How long are you going to wait before you get around to being completely committed to what you were born to do?

I ask you, is the man trying to make me crazy? If he wanted to be helpful he would answer the question for me.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

You Must Go See This

It's a little video of a scuba diving cat. Really, go see. Just scroll down past the rat in the pocket and the duck in the shoe.

The Answer

And we have an answer. The voice from the past is a guy I went to college with named Bill. He lived on my floor freshman year-he was a junior. After he graduated he got married and moved to Florida. Now he is living in Rhode Island. He was at work and so we didn't speak for long but I passed on my email address so we will see what he's been up to.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Random Stuff

A couple of weeks ago I got this message on my voicemail from a man who said he was a voice from my past. He did not identify himself and said he would call back. He did, again when I was not here. Once more he did not identify himself. But I have the technology. That's right, I used *69. Now I have a phone number. Unfortunately the reverse lookup was only slightly helpful as the number is unlisted. I did learn that it is in Rhode Island. Having listened to the voice a couple of times I still have no idea who it might be. I presume it is someone from my high school days but we will see when I call the number back tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

As I sit here writing this I am also listening to a program on Discovery Health about a woman who is both pregnant and (you'd better sit down mothers) paralyzed from the waist down. Now, you might think that this would have its advantages. No pain from contractions, for example. But in fact when the body has a contraction and then cannot communicate that to the brain it has a freakout which can result in a stroke. This is called autonomic dysreflexia. She will still need an epidural to combat this. Needless to say, she has a whole host of troubles including a difficult time regulating her body temperature, a susceptibility to blood clots, and she has managed to get a bladder infection in her 8th month. So far she has had 17 sonograms. She is now at 38 weeks and they are inducing labor. This is a long long process. She has to hang out for 15 hours while the baby drops and she dilates. The delivery itself does not take that long and between her and the doctor they get the baby out. It's a boy. Poor little thing, he is having trouble breathing and has been taken to the ICU. Fortunately he is out pretty soon but mom is having trouble. It is now 6 weeks since the delivery and she cannot sit up in her chair for long because her blood pressure is very very low. Dad is taking care of it all. It seems she has a uterine infection. Now that dad has gone back to work she has attendants to help her. She does not know if she will ever be as functional as she was. Maybe they will revisit her and we can find out.
Does this make your nasty experience seem a little less nasty? Probably not. But it is amazing what people can and will do.

My last random thought is certainly not least. It is a BIG THANK YOU to Lady Epiphany and The Queen of All who have graciously put an ad for my business on their blogs. They are the best. We should all have such good friends.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Kind of heavy wasn't it, that last post. I wish I could say it was also cathartic. It was liberating, for someone like me who usually keeps things very close to the vest. But cathartic? No. I have done something which did make me feel better but more on that later.

I was very excited a few months ago as the business went live. I expected that I would remain excited but I haven't. Having spent some time thinking about it I've come up with several possible reasons for this.

Maybe it's the fact that I have no way to share the business. Oh, family and friends are interested and want to know how I'm doing but that isn't quite the same thing. There's no one else who is really part of it. I didn't expect that that would be a problem, quite the opposite.

Or maybe it's the fact that I have to be much more of a proactive people person than I know how to be. Going to chat rooms, commenting on blogs, and creating this persona for the business is difficult. I'm not really all that interested. I'm glad all these people are knitting and having fun but it doesn't hold my attention. I marvel at the long long lists of blogs people have on their own sites. I wonder how they can possibly have time to read all of them. It's a whole subculture and I feel out of step.

Or maybe it's the fact that I spend most of my time alone. I need to find more ways to get out and about. I've joined a knitting group but I think I need something that is not knitting related. This is another area where I feel out of my depth. I've always loved New York but now it seems too vast, and too expensive.

I know what you're thinking. It sounds like what I need is a partner. Someone who's as good at the public stuff as I am at the backstage stuff. A nice thought. But where do I find this person? Taking on a partner isn't like finding a knitting buddy. It's a serious step involving paperwork and people with briefcases. Perhaps instead of envisioning the business as successful I need to envision the perfect partner.

Now you want to know what I did to feel better. I made a decision. I'm going to get a job. I think it will solve several problems. And since I have some time to do it I'm going to get a job working for someone I can like. Some crunchy, tree-hugging, pinko, liberal place like the Lower East Side Ecology Center or channel Thirteen. Any and all suggestions gratefully accepted. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Warning: Self Doubt Ahead

I'm not sure if it's my stomach troubles or the lack of sunlight or something else, that has brought my darkness to the surface, but I feel empty. No ideas, no will, just a deep need to feel at peace, to feel content. One of the blogs I read is based in Lisbon, Portugal. The author and her husband just took a trip to Italy and Croatia. She had a bunch of pictures of Dubrovnik and Plitvice. They were beautiful pictures of places I've been and would like to go back to and all I could do was cry. I thought that by starting this business I would find my way. But it hasn't turned out that way. Oh, I know. It's early days yet, right? But I feel so tired, not in body but in spirit. I've always cherished my independence but I would give almost anything at this moment to be able to hand over the burden, to have someone just take care of all of it. I am filled with doubt. Not only that I can do this but that it is the right thing to do. I am wracked with a great longing for peace of mind but I don't know how to achieve it. I have tried to think positively and to live as if the business were successful. I try to be grateful every day for all that I do have but my mind rebels. I want someone to tell me what to do. I understand as I have never understood before why people seek to have faith in a higher power. I also can't help thinking that the answer is there if only I could see it, hold it in my hand. I suspect that some people would be surprised to know that I am in this state. It's odd for me too. I've always thought that I really knew who I was, that I was not defined by my job or by any other outside thing. But I'm no longer quite so sure about myself. Perhaps I need some help but from whom?
There. I'm done. And I'm going to resist the urge to delete it all and I will send it out into the Universe. As someone said, the Universe will provide. I must believe that is true.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


The toilet is fixed, the toilet is fixed, the toilet is fixed!!! I am doing the happy dance around the house. New York Replacement Parts did not have what I needed but George Taylor Specialties (in SoHo) did. I had been there before a couple of years ago to buy a new stem piece for the hot water knob in my shower. I probably should have gone there first. No more gurgling! It's wonderful. I can barely stand it. Now I have to get the sink fixed. It is leaky as well and needs new fixtures. I have been procrastinating because there is no cold water shut off in my apartment or under the sink so I will have to get them to turn it off for the whole block of apartments. I hate to do it but I think it is necessary. It feels so good when something gets fixed.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Happy Birthday Elvis and Stephen Hawking. Wouldn't that have been an interesting joint birthday party? Can you see it, a big bash at Graceland? Jailhouse Rock playing in the background while a seminar on astro-physics goes on down in the Jungle Room. I knew that Hawking had been diagnosed with ALS at an early age but I didn't realize that his doctors gave him only 3 years to live. Maybe they were confused and really meant to say 30 years. Not only did he become a well known physicist and author but he appeared on both Star Trek TNG and the Simpsons. That's when you know you've really made it.

Warning: Non Sequiter. Go here and check out the moose. Really. It's a moose farm in Russia. I really want one now but I don't think it would fit in my apartment even though I have de-cluttered. And the cats might not like it. I am thinking of getting some fish though. Fresh water. Any advice Alec?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Odd Priorities

I just finished watching Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2. It was TBS. They dubbed out all the swear words. I find that almost unbearably funny and unbearably sad.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Water Torture

For the last few months my toilet's been gurgling. It's a kind of torture really. As soon as I turn off the radio or the tv, there's the sound, drilling softly into my head. And if I got involved in something and forgot the noise for a while it always came back, louder than ever. The most annoying thing was that I couldn't figure out what was causing it. The gurgling was accompanied by a hissing sound so I thought maybe it was air traveling through the pipe. Then I took the flush valve apart and put it back together. The gurgle stopped. I was elated. But my victory was short lived. A couple of weeks later the gurgle was back. Then I discovered that if I blocked one of the holes in the bowl (the one leading to the water source) that the sound stopped but water started leaking from the rim holes. Proof that it was water leaking through the valve. But how? In an earlier effort to appease the toilet gods I'd bought my toilet a new diaphragm and new vacuum breaker. The offering was unsuccessful but I new that the parts were new and shouldn't be failing. Now, I was really trying to avoid calling a plumber. Who wants to pay a bunch of money for what might be a simple thing? So I posted on a plumbing site and got a couple of suggestions which weren't really useful. Then I went to this plumbing supply place on the upper east side. It's called New York Replacement Parts and that is just what it sells. It's one of two places in the city that sells parts for old fixtures. They can also custom make stuff for you. I thought I would ask their advice. They weren't able to help but a plumber who was there suggested that there might be a nick in the brass that the diaphragm sits on. This morning I took the nasty thing apart again. No nick in the brass. At least in that part. Turns out there is a tiny hole in the bottom chamber of the valve and the water is leaking through. And there's just no way to repair that. I'm going to have to buy a new valve. At least I know now.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I've been cleaning and getting rid of clutter. I know that it's a cliche at this time of year but I'm enjoying it. The yarn is now arranged in labeled boxes and is all in one place. No more huge boxes blocking the view. I'm also getting rid of a lot of stuff that I just never use. I'm a bit of a hoarder so I often keep things much longer than I should. I have a big bag of books ready to go to the library, a bag of clothes going to the Salvation Army, and old tapes to be recycled at Union Square this Sunday. I've also been really looking at the place. There's lots of stuff that really needs some love. Chipped and cracked paint, stains, cracked switch plates, etc.. After you've lived in a home for a while you get to the point where you stop seeing all those things you meant to fix when you first moved in. Every now and then you have to really look around, pretend you've never seen it before. You'll probably be horrified but then you can set about making it beautiful.
I'll be making a trip to the store for some spackle and paint as well as some fabric. I also have a brand spankin' new chair on its way here. I will post a picture as soon as it arrives. I can hardly wait.

On another topic all together I just saw a commercial for a new animated series to air on Spike. It's called Afro Samurai and stars (of course) Samuel Jackson. I can't wait for that either.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Brain Trouble

I discovered today that while good train karma is nice it will not save you when your brains turn to jelly causing you to forget important things. Like jury summonses. I had purposely left the summons out so that I would not forget. But somehow I didn't really grasp that today was the day. Not until 9:30 this morning. I was supposed to appear at 9am at 100 Centre Street for Grand Jury selection. I arrived at 10:45 and the court officers sent me away to 60 Centre to re-schedule. I suspect that if it had been a regular jury selection I would have stayed. Often there is no selection until the afternoon. But the Grand Jury is different. There is no voi dire. Jurors are picked randomly and serve a half day every day for 4 weeks. So I duly went to 60 Centre, which is the big building with columns that always appears in Law & Order (though it is the civil court), and into the Jury Commission. The nice lady behind the desk rescheduled me for the end of the month. I'm sad about that. I would rather have gotten it done this month but what can you do when your brains start leaking out of your ears? Like the man said, all's well that end well. When I get the next summons I must put it in Outlook and possibly hang a big sign on the wall that says, "Don't forget to go to court!"

Monday, January 01, 2007

Ringing in The New

Remember I wrote that the best New Year's parties involved sitting around with good friends and good food? That is just what the party at Lady Epiphany's was like. We ate yummy fried chicken and drank a bunch of wine and champagne. Karen took some pictures (I'm not sure why we let her do that. Probably post-prandial stupor). In the past year or so I have come to the sobering conclusion that I will never be a heavy drinker. Too much and my body just rebels and rejects the alcohol. This is not pleasant. I go straight from tipsy to huddled in the corner. Now I pace myself and have less than I think I can. This is paying off as I felt just fine last night and this morning. I also managed to have incredible train karma. The NJ Transit train was right on time and made it into Penn Station early. Then an A train showed up just as I got to the platform. This bodes well for the New Year.