lördag, maj 31, 2008

Car window smashed in, purse stolen.

Dog injured and on "be still" medicine.

Road trip to Wisconsin, via Columbus, for niece's graduation. Twenty-five hours of within 72 hours. The other 47 hours spent in front of a computer Photoshopping ten years off of all the relatives in the graduation photos. I can still feel my hips spread from that seat feast.

I returned from the trip and sat at the table, in a fog. The phone rang and I heard my eight year old daughter say, "Yeah I like my life! I mean, there are sleepovers, the trampoline, my yard, my dog. I like to plant flowers and there is playing and my mom and dad and sisters and friends..."

It was nothing short of excellent to hear her say that. But what prompted the kid on the other end of the line to ask the questions in the first place: "Are you happy? Do you know what happiness is?" Anyway, sleepovers and puppies, at any age, is a good answer.

2. Having a transcendentally happy white retriever, on the other hand, is weird. So big, so hairy, so witless and goofy, so spring-up-in-the-air energetic, and so white she looks like the perfect dog companion for Space Ghost, but big white hairy Pyranees-type dogs are usually humorless thugs, leash-walked around the city bearing a "Get out of my way before I stomp on you," attitude. Her energy is sufferable in the house only if she gets in two or three miles of grossly inadequate duck hunting and fishing a day (if only she had opposable thumbs or an understanding that, no - the animals do not want to play with her). So regardless of weather or schedule, she must get out and usually it is to Rumsey Field, as I did on Friday.

I rounded the park lake, and walked by a group of teenagers with down syndrome. The kids saw the dog and wanted to know about her. London went up to the last kid along the water and stopped. The boy took her head in his hands, then slowly worked his way down to massage her massively thick neck. London's entire back-side wagged. The boy lifted his head and smiled to the sky, then closed his eyes and kept rubbing the dog. If I had a puppy in my pocket, it would have been his. Heck, I walked away from the kids wanting to give each one a puppy. I was proud of my dog for giving some stranger such joy.

Best dog. Best dog ever.

I walked another five minutes up out of the park feeling the bright moment of the day, when I spotted my car with a window smashed mostly into disappearance. I didn't usually leave a purse in the car, but I was multi-tasking that day. It was gone

Stupid dog I have to walk. Stupidier me. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

3. Mood ring after-purchase talk of eight-year-old: "I wonder what mood I'm in." At least now the ring will let her know. I should wear a mood amulet, as a warning sign for others.

4. Posh, called to tell me she had finally had enough nerve to say hi to one of the guys in her NYU summer program accounting class. His response, "You must have some kind of networking scheme going on to go from FIT to join us here at NYU."

Yeah, cause he just proved what an Einstein he is. Smooth. I'm thinking of suggesting to her that she gather what resume insight she could from the comment and then screw his best friend. Ok, maybe I should keep that to myself.

What's it called when you're not the cool mom, something way more dangerous?

onsdag, maj 21, 2008

When filling out the Scholastic book order forms. Edit picks everything that has a bracelet, cd, or animal charm attached to the book.

"What is this, a 'Littlest Pet Shop' figurine?" I ask. "And this fairy bracelet?"

"Oh, I don't want that," She said, looking closer at the newsprint order booklet. "I thought it was a necklace."

I ordered her a rhyming dictionary instead. Give me four more years of parental overlordship and I'm sure I can produce a Silvia Plath.


Comments from the Middle Child that almost get her killed, ##1-5:

"In the future, I would appreciate it if you would bring me my mail."

"I'm kind of ready to stop school and start my life now."

"Do you think that the rooftop outside my bedroom window would support the weight of a human being?"

"I find that teacher so frustrating. I think in the future I'm just going to do all the assignments and contribute in class. He'll be sorry."

"I know you said I couldn't go, but listen to me. I'm 150 miles from home and I think I'm driving the wrong way on the highway. You're not half as upset as I am."

(There are so many more, but they are temporarily repressed.)

tisdag, maj 20, 2008

More Proof that Photogs Sleep With Models

The Danish Day, by Birger and Mikkelsen, enchants me. I finally figured out why. When I see the clothes I have a fairy princess flashback.

Not fairy princess as in prom dress or wedding cake topper. It's in the fabric - even without encrusted diamonds the pieces seem bejeweled and look as if they should be accompanied by a knight. This season the look is Marrakesh, which means Princess Jasmine. The sweater I have in my closet from three seasons ago is more structured, more Princess Aurora. (Do I really know my Disney this well?)

But getting to Day today was unintentional. I wanted to talk about Acne Jeans.But one of the Acne collection shots got me searching Scandinavian lines to see if Acne's approach was now the norm: actually seeing the outfit is so pedestrian.

I suspected this with my first Filippa-K catalog. It would arrive and get passed around the office. The shots looked of after-party parties, outdoors, tilted and in shades of dark grey, de-saturated indigo blue, and muted hunter green. "Tunic" the page descriptor would read. We would see only the toe of a shoe starting to come around the back of a tree. "We must have that tunic," we would say.

Here is Acne's denim jumpsuit on the left and a Day top on the right.

Party on. Cross posted at Spree blog.

måndag, maj 19, 2008

Or Knitting. Knitting is Good

Note to self: wait for The Landmark Herodotus to come on on tape. I barely made it through the New Yorker review, and it was terrific. Plus, going back in time means I'm going to have to relearn the map. Again. And that's frustrating. I like the name Persia, so it sticks. I listened to Thucydides on tape. It was a lot of "Then the ships landed at the seaside village and everyone was massacred," only in a deeper voice. It got to the point where I figured there had to be only 150 people left on the planet, all big, hairy mean guys.

"Listen to this passage," I said to my husband, who was trying to sightsee while I sat in a Taxi reading: "On hearing that the Persians were so numerous that their arrows would 'blot out the sun,' one Spartan quipped that this was good news, as it meant that the Greeks would fight in the shade. ('In the shade' is the motto of an armored division in the present-day Greek Army.)"

"Sure," he said. "All six guys."

"Yeee-ouch," I thought. "Euro-snotting." Life could be such fun.

I'm not completely Western centric, the love of "Persia" notwithstanding. I know there were like, eleven other continents with populations on then. Or penguins. But think about it. If it was happening on the tiny Aegean in such epic proportions and with a steady rollover from one century to another, it had to be going on everywhere else, too.

The next time someone complains about the evils of television, throw "The Landmark Herodotus" at them and remind him or her how important it is for some people to have a pacifying hobby.

söndag, maj 18, 2008


"We're going to the opera," I said. "Macbeth." I started to pretend to hold a skull in my outstretched hand.

"That's Hamlet," my friend corrected.

"Oh, right."

"MacBeth's not such a Danish name," he mocked.

"Neither is Hamlet," I defended, completely defeated. "I know, I know. Macbeth's the one where the mom was bad."

"The wife. The wife was bad," he corrected, again.

"She looked like a mom the last time I saw it," I replied, faintly recalling some poor PBS production from two or three decades ago. Had I never actually read it? I must have. "But I remember the witches. There were three of them and they shared an eye."

"Greek. You're doing the Greek Graeae now," he said, suddenly keen on hearing my next plot twist, but I decided to stop talking.

"Go on. Do you know what the witches told MacBeth?" he pushed.

"Unto you a child will be born?"

In the week that led up to me accompanying some opera fans to hear the Metropolitan Opera sing Verdi's Macbeth at Lincoln Center, I heard a lot of debate amongst others over who was worse, MacBeth or his Lady. Fortunately by that time I had learned enough to know to offer no opinion at all.

When I get alzheimers, no one will be able to tell.

Tweet Tweet

Everything in print these days seems to be gaga over superhero costuming. Michael Chabon provided his caped apparel perspective in his New Yorker's "Secret Skin." Cathy Horyn of the New York Times reviewed the Superhero show at the Costume Institute at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I don't have a cape.

I don't have any interest in wearing star-encrusted underoos and a red bustier when filling the gas tank and manning the copy machine.

Can't I just pretend to be the Black Canary on parent teacher conference day?

How much I would kill to be able to do that for my kids, as long as they never found out.

Cate Cate Abate

I've had a bunch of wine and discussed bad sports parents with complete strangers for the past few hours. I love being the single person at the couples dinner table. I always end up drinking too much.

Oh, heck. I always end up drinking too much.

I have a stack of product literature to get through, like a brochure from J Beverly Hills. It's a collection of necessary hair care products from the think tank capital of the world. I'm not above the study of good product from any tank, but the company's owner is Juan Juan, and he created the Juan Juan Salon. The product names are, "Leave On," "Everyday," and "AddBody."

Mystery is apparently overrated. I'm thinking the same of alliteration.

It's over. My research is stalled. I cannot get past the "Juan Juan Salon" and its "Leave On" conditioner without the aid of a Shel Silverstein and Brian Regan.

lördag, maj 17, 2008

Product Finds

Great desk, comes with a name: Milk. Clean, with its pedestal and capable of supporting a small fish tank. There's a catastrophe in here somewhere, which is half the desk's charm.

Or the Seed lamp, something more inviting to sleep with than bare alumunium.

Balenciaga Up On Blocks

I ventured into the Balenciaga shop in Chelsea almost by accident. It looked like a whitewashed cave entrance, guarded only by a vault-shaped glass door. An auto repair sign hung on the building wall above the entrance. At first I figured BMW or Rolls repair. Then I saw the name on the glass and started to jump up and down like a four year old in front of the Disney store. I walked through, with a solemnity reserved for an art gallery, because the pieces seemed exactly that: extremely not massed produced, pieces of art.

Founder Cristobal Balenciaga died in 1972, and family ran the business for years afterwards. In 2001, Gucci Group, in partnership with Nicolas Ghesquière as creative director, acquired the House. Such big business, such little pieces. I can't really wear the look, sometimes like Chanel (and often more saccharine), other times more S&M (and often S&M with lolipops.) Always novel and inspired. What I saw in person was a bit more office friendly, acid-colored, and big floraled than what I clipped here. But no matter what the pattern, it is very itty-bitty and structured like a child's colored building blocks.

torsdag, maj 15, 2008

When GD II (the second Great Depression) hits, I'm sure that spas and cable internet access will be the first to suffer. For the love of Google we need to be doing something to fix this mess.

I don't know why I'm so pessimistic about the state of the economy. but I suspect it has something to do with excess. I just found a piece I had ripped out of some Sunday paper magazine about over-wealthy mothers taking their pre-pubescent daughters to a salon for a "But there's nothing there yet!" bikini wax. (No, really. They should list it on the spa menu that way. How fun!) I vaguely recall wanting the reference for some piece I was writing, but it didn't get used and now the tale it contained is nothing but a sad suggestion of "Let them eat cake."

Let us spend money on something unnecessary with psychotic undercurrents and neurotic results.

They'd All Starve

I hesitated to visit Free Rice out of concern that it might turn into a new solitaire addiction. No worries. I felt like I was playing Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader or the Millionaire show, breezing through the first few then SMACK, a word I'd never seen or heard uttered or made up on a bad spelling day. Then I began wondering if I was taking too long to dissect the etymology of the word - actually thinking that someone might think I was looking up the correct answer on the Internet.

Either the game's too hard and I'm too stupid. But either way, people will starve.

I'll make my kids do it. That'll make for some good material.

onsdag, maj 14, 2008


Crate & Barrell Ikea, or as it prefers itself to be called, CB2 has Andy Warhol butterfly plates for $1.95. This is an item that I will never own. I'm not washing those things curvy odd-shapen things, and can't you just see the spillage? Put the heavy steak on one of the wings and start sawing away. "Plop" and "Fido, stay away from that" will be the next two sounds you'd hear. Hurry, before they're sold out. www.cb2.com.


Sorenstam is leaving the LPGA tour, Henin is retiring from tennis, and Robert Rauschenberg has died. Rauschenberg, whose American Flag painting might be the most readily recognizable, grew up so poor that his mother often pieced together his clothes, making them from scraps of material she had sewn together.

Art - no matter how abstract - is always firmly planted in reality. Someone's reality.

Sorenstam is 37, about to get married, and wants to start a family. Oh, and she is designing her fifth golf course and plans to produce a line of golf clothing, too. Living the good life of hotel rooms and elevator dings just doesn't have the luster it once did. I know nothing, really, about her. Nor do I get any sense of her beyond appreciating that she was the shot of youthful Wie before Wie. I just spent the morning out on a golf course doing a fashion shoot with pretty young non-players who could make even steel blue polyester look great, a local hall-of-famer pro who did her own stint with the LPGA and could wear clothes like a mannequin, and two stylish boomer players who generated more energy and pop than a room full of Fisher-Price kindergarteners. With so few stars to look up to, it's a shame to lose one. "I'm second on the money list," said Sorenstam. "People who know me know I don't settle for second."

On the other hand, maybe it is time for her to leave.

But as for Henin, I am saddened. A regular, slight, fit, quiet, hardworking professional athlete solid enough to win Grand Slams and grounded enough to not try dress to entice a male audience to yell out, "Show us your tits!"? She may be the last one and at 25, she is done.

tisdag, maj 13, 2008

Current Events

I just spent two hours explaining to the Dean of Students why my high-schooler is tardy a lot. Now I'm going to be late for bed.

I shouldn't have offered any excuse. As my high-schooler says, "There is no excuse for being late." But she's up until midnight studying every night. (Lately she's been falling asleep to the Confederacy of Dunces assignment.) The alarm goes off at 6 am. She is getting dressed by seven and she has to take her younger sister to elementary school. Any worse hours and she might as well be a farmer. I suspect straightening every strand of hair on her head each morning doesn't help the rush hour flow so much, and then there is the time it takes to find the top that reveals the most cleavage possible, but the morning sounds around here are happy, energetic sounds and I don't want to mess that up with a lot of yelling "ARE YOU READY YET" up the stairs. We are so civilized lately, I can't stand it.

And that's not easy. I have two modes (just ask the dog): sweet and yellalish. Really. It's hard to explain. I'm nice and almost calm most of the time. But if I have to educate someone on something they should already know, like a clean white towel is not a eye-make up remover pad, or about something ridiculous, like the fact that piano keys are not wider and hence the location of the notes at variation from one Steinway to another, I can go straight to loud without any warning.

And because being loud is as stupid as being stupid in the first place, trying to stay calm is important. And to do this I cannot disturb the current operations of the household, no matter how dysfunctional they may appear to someone on the outside. The girls and I are all quite fine 'round here, and that's a very, very good thing.

Ohhh, I miss you, blog.