Monday, August 27, 2012

A Pre-Labor Day Miracle

I don't know how it is that I missed this before, for all of these years. Tonight, Dan and I noticed, while grooming Emma, that perhaps she had been touched by God in some way. Tell me if you see it too.

She seems like a normal cat, at first glance.

But then, I held her up and Dan saw something miraculous.

Do you see? The face of the Virgin Mary? Look here first. This is Greco's version.

In this close up of Emma Carol's belly you may see, left eye of the Virgin, just above her nipple.  I am certain that tomorrow, others will come to pay pilgrimage. 

(This is what comes from having too much time on our hands).

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Things we did in Park Slope in 4 hours time yesterday:

Headed into Brooklyn. The drive was a breeze.

1. Had a delicious meal at Mimi's Hummus with more food than we could finish including delicious mint iced lemonade. The decor had this cool wall of old black and white family photos.

Blurry, yet still glamorous Liz with her mint lemonade.

2. Liz bought a rolling pin at the 99 cent store for $1.99. Pretty much nothing in the store was under a dollar.

3. We went to a nearby stable and petted some horses and JJ rode a pony for $3. All of the horses seemed to be named after treats--Snickers, Smores, Chocolate Chip.

Chocolate Chip.

4. Walked through Prospect Park and petted lots of dogs and JJ walked up dozes of concrete steps until we reached the very top. It was like we weren't in the city anymore--surrounded by trees and giant sunflowers. In the distance, you could hear someone beating a drum for a drum circle.

JJ, age 2, on Smores.

5. Bought Italian ices from Luigi's. Dan got pina colada that he said was amazing. I had soft serve with hot fudge.

6. Browsed a toy store blasting the first Star Wars over the speakers. They had an amazing selection of hand puppets. Liz bought JJ a Thomas the train. She also bought these two little mini-animals for me to give to Dan's Luke (a meerkat and a penguin--69 cents each).

7. At a street flea market, found a brown and white, off the shoulder dress for Liz ($25) and a squeaky rusty, funky office armless office chair for Luke ($27).

8. Liz found 3 colorful frames for JJ's drawings ($1) and a toy tool box ($2) at a sidewalk sale outside of a brownstone.

9. Also grabbed up some free plastic whales and a sea lion that another somebody had left out for free.

10. Rode the subway back and didn't give money to a slight little begging for change with a fat baby strapped to her chest.

Liz also gave me a cat toy to give to Emma Carol and Ernesto---that round circle thing with a ball in it that the cats can chase. I tried to get Snake (below) to play with it, but she would just lay on the circle, blocking the ball with her giant body.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Newest New Yorker Story

It's "Amundsen," by Alice Munro and I haven't read it all the way through yet, though I did skip to the end and guess what? They don't end up together. Many of her short stories are these cataloging of relationships--how people fall in love, how they break up--and they're usually set in another time period. I wish I could tell stories like that. I am trying to figure out what could be wrong for this character I'm working on--but also, what's her story? Like, what is the story about? I've been reading a lot of literary crime (MUST clarify that it's literary, b/c I'm such a book snot and wouldn't want you to think it was, like, V.C. Andrews), and in crime stories, there's a clear search---must find the killer, must discover a motive. In the thing I"m working on, I can't figure out what the general plot is, which is kind of a problem The character's job is interesting and all that, but who cares if she doesn't want something or if she isn't on a quest of some kind? Must be interesting, must be purposeful, must be significant. I don't have it yet.

Here's two descriptions/snippets I love from the Munro story:

Matron herself was short and stout, pink-faced, with rimless glasses and heavy breathing. Whatever you asked for seemed to astonish her and cause difficulties, but eventually it was seen to or provided." 


"I said I hadn't come into town for fear of meeting Mary.

 'Because of missing her concert.'

 'That's if you're going to arrange your life to suit Mary.' "

And here's a picture of sled dogs in Amundsen, Alaska taken from the National Geographic site.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Book Club of Plays

We're going to discuss the John Patrick Shandley's Doubt today in the Sweeten House book club--read it last night and though I haven't seen the movie, I couldn't stop picturing Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the role of Father Flynn. Great writing--I want to figure out how Shanley makes the strident sister likable--she shouldn't be. She's telling the younger nun to stop being so innocent, to focus less on music and the arts, to look for suspicious activity, essentially. But then you're still on her side, probably because you start the story with a presumption of guilt on the part of the priest.
What will we read next? I would like to suggest some short stories, but I'm worried that my co-workers won't like any of the stories I think are good. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Monday, August 20, 2012

To Post or Not to Post

No excuses for not writing more often here, except I'm busy at work and I write every morning in that 750 thing (201 days in a row, give or take 10 days of vacation since January and 2 or 3 times cheating by just cutting and pasting). Have been trying to work on a novel--would it be possible to write a book by doing a lame 20 minutes of blather every morning for a year? Don't think so. It helps in getting lots of content, but much of it is crap. I found an old notebook of mine from 2006 this weekend and it had a scene for the donation story that I would like to use. This makes me think I should go back to all of my old notebooks and search for scraps of salvageable writing, but reading old journal entries can be depressing or discouraging, especially when you know how things turn out. Stuff like, "Can't wait to move in with Shawn..." Followed two years later by "So glad Shawn and I broke up. Why did I move in with him in the first place?"

I found these two pieces of cardboard in a garbage heap today while walking in to work on Walnut Street. I like them both--I want to alter them somehow.

And then Dan bought me a bunch of books at the Princeton Library that I can't wait to read or give away. Finished one already--While I Was Gone, by Sue Miller. Very good. Seven thumbs up.