Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I couldn't think of a better name

What I saw: in the woods in late autumn, the somber palette won out over fall's riot of color. It wins every year, taking hold as the days shorten. 

What I did beforehand: We had a second day of rain the day before and it seemed like we only had a couple of hours of daylight, around noon. It was pouring and dark before I realized I hadn't walked the dogs.

What I wore: who cares?

Who went with me: the dogs.

How I got permission: I joined the local trails organization as soon as we moved in. I have tags for my leashes. I almost never see any other people out there. 

Why I saw this show: there wasn't anything else on.

Where I sat (after): in the big bean bag chair in the living room, staring at the walls, wondering where the Bacon Provider was. Arizona? India?

Things that were sad: I got a tick bite on my leg.

Things that were funny: when we turned around and headed home, Cherry got a burst of enthusiasm for going faster. 

Things that were not funny: when the wind comes from the wrong direction, the freeway was louder than my thinking.

Something I ate: cereal, probably. Or toast. Maybe bread and cheese. A banana. Something like that.

What it is: gray. Brown. Brown-ish gray-ish. Dead leaf brown. Bark gray. Mushroom gray-brown. Dead moss brown.

Who should see it: persons with leashes and dogs attached to them. Subscribing members of the local trail system only, please.

What I saw on the way home: the weekdays (five deer that congregate on the property across the street).

Monday, December 5, 2016

I couldn't help but hear

What I saw: a layer of wet snow on the ground this morning. 

What I did beforehand: woke up early from a dream in which Beyoncé was complaining that she didn't want her children to wear saddle shoes because it would make them look like "black hillbillies." I asked her how she got her costumes to fit so well. I didn't argue with her about the saddle shoes. Or ask about "black hillbillies."

What I wore: the pink gown with the opening in the front.

Who went with me: three women who booked their mammogram appointments together every year.

How I got a referral: from the Lady Parts Doctor, who told me she thinks everything is fine, nothing has changed, the lights are on and people are going to work and people really oughtta stop freaking out about the election. "The hate crimes will stop when the economy recovers," she told me. "When people have money they're happy," she continued. "This is why socialism doesn't work."
I didn't mention Sweden.

Why I saw this show: I was on time. Early, even.

Where I sat: in the waiting room, where I heard one of the receptionists discussing medical insurance providers with a patient, and referring to one of the offerings as "Obamacare."

Things that were sad: the sound system. The pictures of flowers. 


Things that were funny: when the third sister went to get her mammogram, the two remaining sisters lowered their voices and continued to talk about their legal and accounting issues. Everything they said was perfectly audible to me, though most of it didn't really make sense. 
"You should talk to Little Carmine," said one sister. "You need a corporate accountant....And, not Brian! He's fresh out of school. He's a little pecker-head." 
"I'm writing 30 checks a week, and he wants two thousand. ...And he says, 'Whatever.'
'It's not whatever!' I said. He said, 'Well, we'll find out.'
"I'm going to Florida February 1st for fiddy days. I gotta be able to write checks. ...but, you know what?  Life don't work that way."

Things that were not funny: I'm pretty sure I haven't heard anyone called a "little pecker-head" before. Maybe I've been missing out.

Something I ate: cereal when I got home.

What it is: is it eavesdropping if it's so loud you can't not hear it?

Who should come up with an emoji for mammograms: you.

What I saw on the way home: fine rain falling that would wash away the snow before the morning was over.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

I saw “Vietgone”

What I saw: “Vietgone,” a play with some songs, dancing and rap at the Manhattan Theater Club City Center Stage 1 on W 55th between 6th and 7th Avenues.

I forgot to get a picture of the cookies. 

What I did beforehand: went to a German Xmas party at the apartment of  French friends where we admired the view, drank glühwein, and exchanged stories about near-accidents involving our children. 

What I wore: Fluevog boots, brown tights, Lilith pinstripe dress that is difficult to zip, my mother's gold bracelets, my own gold bracelets, my grandmother's watch, mascara. 

Who went with me: my friend S.

How I got tickets: online, very recently, since this plan was hatched only once I realized that the Bacon Provider would be on yet another international trip where he would lose two weekends--one getting there and the other getting back.

Why I saw this show: I read a review that said this show was an excellent companion piece to Viet Than Nguyen's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, "The Sympathizer," which I read on the recommendation of a woman who I sat down next to in a theater earlier this year because she was reading it on her phone and could barely put it down.

Where I sat: A 108, or thereabouts. A woman next to us orchestrated a three-way trade so she could sit next to her husband, who had a seat in the same row. Everyone was more than happy to re-arrange themselves.

Things that were sad: the show closed 12/4/16.

Things that were funny: a character named "the playwright" starting the show by scolding the white audience for accepting racist portrayals of asians. Jokes about life in a refugee camp. A fight scene with slow-mo punches and ninjas. A dance number about wanting to have sex. More cussing than #ragecook burning dinner. 

Things that were not funny: the two delicious lead actors had more chemistry than all the other couples that were supposed to be in love in all the plays I've seen this year put together.

Something I ate: German Xmas cookies.

What it is: a very funny, profane, slightly uneven, but lively and likable show with rap, singing, and some dance, running over two hours with a 15 minute intermission. This show features actors using contemporary slang to depict events in various locations in the U.S.and Saigon in the 1970s.

Who should see it: people who can tolerate not always being perfectly clear about when scenes take place.  Audiences that are prepared to revisit what the Vietnam War means as a metaphor.

What I saw on the way home: a buck with huge antlers on the shoulder of the Saw Mill Parkway, trotting in the direction of traffic.

Just imagine the deer

Thursday, December 1, 2016

I let him have it

What I saw: Captain having the new dog toy.

What I did beforehand: the Bacon Provider got home from a business trip in time to catch a late dinner with me. Then, he had to unpack (and re-pack) his suitcase.

What I wore: dirty jeans and the sweater of intermittent self-pity

Who went with me: Captain and the Bacon Provider and even Schwartz.

How I got Captain: we took in Captain as a foster dog in the fall of 2008. 

Why I saw this show: a colleague of my husband who I met on election night gave him a gift, saying it was "for his dogs."

Where I sat: on the floor because I didn't want to miss any of it.

Things that were sad: that this made me feel better.

Things that were funny:


Things that were not funny: 

Something I ate: toast.

What it is: a stuffed dog toy of ordinary durability, in the grip of a dog that is determined to rip the face off of every toy, empty out the stuffing, and pull out the squeaker.

Who should see it: as of this writing65,228,264 American voters, or, 2,554,576 more than the "winner."

What I saw after: Schwartz made his inspection.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I had my annual

What I did: went to the doctor for the yearly lady parts inspection.

What I did beforehand: dreamed.



What I wore: the jeans I found on my closet floor, collapsed into a pair of conjoined denim rings; enormous gray-brown I-can't-even sweater.

Who went with me: my iPhone, which is a SE, which is like 6 guts in a 5 case, which I got because I broke my 6. 

How I got on the schedule: every year they have you address a postcard to your future self, which they mail in 11 months. I am often perplexed by the arrival of a postcard addressed in my own girlish printing. The postcard is a reminder to call for my next appointment. The calendar in my phone could also do the reminding. Like, I have an entry on November 16th of every year to order a 16 lb. turkey.

Why I saw this show: I would like to think that submitting to the yearly lady parts inspection will keep me from succumbing to a preventable lady parts illnesses. 

Where I sat: on the table, with the paper dress opening to the front. 

Things that were sad: I had to put a couple of 1s on the questionnaire (pictured below), but when my doctor and I discussed it, she said a lot of her patients are reporting all 3s. And canceling appointments because they can't bring themselves to show up. 

Things that were funny: when I'm at the doctor I always take off my clothes in a very bizarre order like my bra before my shirt like I'm changing into my swimsuit in the car or something and then I snap out of it and feel obliged to try to tidy my clothes on the chair like oh you know I can't leave them in a weird inside-out heap like I'm at home because the doctor might think I'm a nut job and but so I'm rolling clothes like that's actually folding. The only reason my shoes come off first is because they always weigh you. Everything seems new and unusual every year, even though I've been around since the 60s and this visit was awkward but entirely predictable. I managed to make it like I'm 8 years old at my first sleepover or something. Also, I attempted to exert my will on the situation and kept my socks on even though the nurse said to take everything off.

Things that were not funny: last year at this appointment, the doctor ordered an ultrasound and I had a very memorable and unpleasant experience involving a tired technician who couldn't get anything to save, an impatient and imperious doctor stuffed into a three-piece suit with a lavender shirt and enormous gold cufflinks who was not my regular doctor, a discussion of things in my body as if I weren't a sentient being present in the room, and an unanticipated and abrupt encounter with Vice President-elect Mike Pence's favorite government mandated, medically unnecessary ultrasound device. 

Something I ate: the second to last bagel when I got home. There's a strip mall near Bedhead Hills with a decent bagel place with a Jewish name and flirty Latina women behind the counter who call me "Sweetie" and make me glad I stopped by.

What it is: probably too much information already.

Who should see it: no, actually. I took a selfie in that pink paper gown and it's so very remarkably terrible I'm not including it.

What I saw on the way home: it started to rain again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I changed

What I saw: all the color was washed away. I woke up alone, except for the cat, and he did that thing where he sits on my chest, purring, and puts his paws on my mouth. I hit the snooze button five times. The sky outside was white, the bare tree branches black against the morning sky. Bird-shaped silhouettes shot by, too fast to capture. A squirrel ran along a branch from one tree to the next, its tail straight out behind it. Do they do that for balance?

What I did beforehand: dreamed of clutching a stainless steel handrail in a long, tan brick hallway as I failed to outrun the collapse of the white linoleum tile floor.

What I wore until 8:30 a.m.: purple long-sleeve robot t-shirt that I got at Bumbershoot several lifetimes ago that now has a satsuma-sized hole in the right elbow, Lunya black pajama pants (so comfy, you can sleep with them on backwards), wedding ring, retainer, nightguard. 

Who was with me until 8:30 : Schwartz.

What I thought about: exactly how much longer I could stay in bed. Also, where was the Bacon Provider?

What I wore until 11:00 a.m.: black Pikeur full-seat breeches, hot-pink ProCompression knee socks, custom Vogel field boots, black Tanner belt, pink Lululemon top with too-long sleeves and annoying thumb-holes, long sleeve olive Ralph Lauren polo shirt, ponytail.

Who was with me until 11:00 : barn people.

Where I sat: on Hado.

What I thought about: being asked to do a canter half-pass when I don’t know how and feeling like a 2nd grader sitting in on a high school calculus class. 

What I wore until 1:30 p.m.: James stretch jeans, Doc Martin pilgrim strap shoes that I’ve been stomping around in since the 90s, indigo-dyed Tanner belt, black tank, brown Eileen Fisher jersey top, black loose knit Steve Madden sweater, citrine earrings, mascara, just enough eyeshadow to make it look like I care about my appearance.

Who was with me until 1:30 : lunch date. 

Something I ate: soup and salad. My friend didn’t get dessert so I felt like I couldn’t. 

What I thought about/Things that were sad: going out to lunch and not getting dessert. Also, that my friend isn't as alarmed as I am that Wall Street seems to like the idea of the accused-rapist president-elect just fine. Also, my friend’s recent bike wreck.  

What I wore until 3:30 p.m.: re-soled Asolo hiking boots with custom orthotics, black Helly Hansen full-zip rain pants, black tank top, blue Irideon zip-neck base layer top, red men’s Gore-Tex waterproof jacket that one of my kids brought home from a NOLS program, gray wool hat.

Who was with me until 3:30: the dogs.

What I thought about: ticks. Also, how my dad once told me that if you go in the woods when it's raining, the trees catch most of the rain. 

Things that were funny: the autumn trees have flung off their leaves and can catch the rain no better than I can. 

Why I saw this show: you have to walk the dogs every day or they poop in the house. If you have the right rain gear, a walk in the rain is as good as a walk on a fine day. 

Things that were not funny: I had to stop and pick a tick off Captain. Also, how bad I am at selfies.

What I wore after that: Sweaty Betty lounge pants and giant gray-brown sweater.

Who went with me after that: mostly alone in the house with Twitter, although I guess 19 was rattling around upstairs.

What I didn't put much thought into: deleting "Giving Tuesday" solicitation emails, zombies, Xmas gifts, writing this.

What it is: Tuesday.

Who should do it: people who like to change their clothes.

What I saw on the way home: this decorated gourd.

It has feathers. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

I lied

What I did: lied at the dentist's office.

What I did beforehand: took the train to Grand Central. 

What I wore: jeans and sneakers.

Who went with me: 19.

Why I was there: 19 cracked a filling.

Where I sat: the lobby, watching one of those game shows where they ask people harder and harder multiple choice questions.

How I learned to lie: I was born honest, not knowing how to lie. Forbidden to touch my mother’s sewing machine, I sewed through my finger when I was 4, breaking the needle off and requiring stitches. Twice. 

When I was 5, I stole a decorative cardinal from my mother's craft supples and inserted the wire on its foot into the hole of an electrical wall socket; I found out what getting shocked feels like. My mother discovered me trying to wash away the terrible burning feeling, and I refused to tell her what happened. 

When I was 9, I was friends with the popular girls in my elementary school class, and my mother pointedly instructed me that if any of them ever ask me to do anything I wasn't comfortable with, I could say that my mother wouldn't let me.

Things that were sad: when I was 12, I was sent to a summer camp in Colorado where I went horse camping and did not learn to cinch my girth tight enough and the other girls were extravagantly mean to all newcomers, and if I had known enough to be a malingerer, I would have invented stomachaches. Conveniently, I did not have to invent stomachaches, for I spent days on end in the infirmary with diarrhea.

When I was 13, my family went to a friend’s cabin on a lake in Missouri and my brother and I exaggerated our experience with horses and talked the wranglers into giving us a string of sour trail horses to go ride unsupervised. One horse bolts back to the barn with the youngest of us. Mine bucked me off onto a gravel road. I got stitches but will always have rocks in my head.

When I was 15, my best friend B-- who taught me all the right details about wearing preppy clothes-- took real English riding lessons and wore a black velvet helmet and tan jodhpurs and I was so jealous I avoided speaking to her for seven years. 

Things that were funny: When I was 17, I was late for French class several times a week because Excusez-moi, Monsieur Masson! Je suis tres désolée parce que je suis en retard. J'ai aidé mon amie Aimee à monter les escaliers. Or even, I am so sorry Mr. Masson, I have terrible cramps today. No matter what my excuse, he reddened, shook his jowly, understanding face and allowed it.

When I was 20, I talked my way into a summer job waiting tables at the Rosebud, promising that I would definitely, positively stay on through the next school year. I was terrible at waiting tables, forgetting orders, dropping huge trays of food, and crying. I made big tips and quit in August. 

When I was 21, I wrote a fake-serious letter to a small brewery in Pennsylvania describing in hyperbolic terms a nearly-disastrous power outage saved only by a six-pack of their delicious cold beer. They sent me two cases, via their distributor, but upon arrival they almost did not give it to me because I did not appear to be of a legal age to drink. 

Things that were not funny: when I was 10, I breathlessly took strangers into my false confidences on a chair lift in Breckenridge, Colorado and said I was an accomplished gymnast hoping to make the U.S. Olympic team and almost never allowed to ski. 

When I was 18, I worked for a family in Wellesley, Massachusetts doing light housework and caring for their young children in the afternoons. The more days they asked me to come, the more I grew to hate them; they gave me migraines. I quit abruptly, concocting a story I no longer remember.

Something I ate: when I was 11, I made decent money babysitting, passing the hours snooping in peoples' drawers and tasting their food. I spent it on plastic model horses.

What it is: one of the receptionists at the dentist asked after my middle child. I might have had time to be honest if we hadn't been walking out the door, but it was so awkward to tell the truth. "He's fine," said I, invisibly cringing at my laziness.

Who should lie: I got out of the practice of lying when I got married, though once we had kids I pretended to be both the tooth fairy and Santa. 

What I saw on the way home: more rain.

Actually, this is a train bound for Grand Central