Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Now for something a little lighthearted hmmm? How about a personality quiz? I know they're all poppycock, but it's fun to see the results, below are mine. And Tali who hasn't posted in some time, even posted her results over at muffin-land. For those new to this turf, Tali is my nine year old daughter/random blogger.

Your Personality Cluster is Introverted Thinking

You are:

Objective, honest, and credible
Intellectually curious, with many diverse interests
More inclined toward ideas than people
Fiercely independent and unapologetically unconventional

Before you take the quiz, you may want to listen to The New York Dolls from back in the day. Yes, when I used to sneak upstairs with my sister to raid my older brother's records and put on The New York Dolls and look at the album cover of them all glammed up half dressed in women's clothing with lipstick shmeared on the cover. Ah yes, the good ole days. Don't let them influence your results though. For instance, don't just say that you like spontaneous vacations best because David Johanssen has you feeling so carefree with his preening and prancing. Was there a section for control freak I wonder? Now go on, start your own personality crisis.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Anybody up for a Tragicomedy?

I am still spooked, disturbed, distraught and otherwise sick in my heart by something that occurred this past week. It occurred mainly because we live in times when people are afraid, strike that, have lost the ability to use good judgement. So children slip through the cracks and get beaten and starved to death in this fine city of New York and the caseworkers come a knockin' at my door.

I'll give you the very quick version. Julian had bumped his head playing in our home two weeks ago. The school was alerted so that they could keep a special eye on him the following day. Fast forward to 6 days later when Julian had a tantrum because Daddy had taken something from him that he shouldn't have at bedtime. He hit his head in - the very same spot. It of course, opened the wound and it bled anew. My heart breaks with each drop of blood this child has spilled. He has fallen more than a five year old should as he has balance issues. He's gotten much better, really; but they still happen. So much so that his IEP (Individualized Education Plan) has a safety para (assistant) assigned to shadow him in school.

The following day in school, we let the teacher know and she said "don't worry, I'll keep an eye on him." But Julian sees various therapists throughout the day and the communication doesn't always flow to all the people. As the physical therapist was working with him, she felt the bump and asked Julian about it, to which he responded "My Daddy pushed me". He got taken to the nurse whereby a conference of adults gather round and Julian reaffirms yes indeed his "daddy pushed me and I bled". What did Mommy do? "Mommy screamed at Daddy". Well I wouldn't say I screamed, but you know if my child gets hurt, I'm yelling at someone, sometimes even G-d. I only know this part after the fact when I finally spoke to Julian's teacher. What I do know is that Tuesday evening two caseworkers from Children's Services knock at our door with a complaint against my husband, which essentially means they come in, interview us, and take a look around.

It is at this point in the story that I almost passed out from the shock and fear of what was occurring in my home. My knees buckled and I had to sit down. I cried like I haven't cried since I had gotten a mistaken amnio result for Julian before his birth. I'm still crying over it, but I'm getting a bit less frantic and paranoid about it. Julian's teacher apologized as she knows us and sees us daily with Julian. She sees Julian as a happy outgoing sweet child in school.

Essentially the caseworkers after not too long got a sense of Julian's story as they didn't have the benefit of any of his background before they'd arrived and can see our family, our home, a fresh dinner just about ready to be served. It was even nicer than usual as my niece is in town for a work-study program through her college, Amherst and is staying in Manhattan but visiting us for the night. It should be noted that she was there for the initial bloodletting. But in any event, she's here for dinner and we aim to feed the girl.

They told us not to worry and to not lose sleep. It was all protocol and that they just had to go through the process once they receive a complaint. Not lose sleep? Don't worry? Are they insane? How can I not? How can this not be in my every waking worry and thought and fear - a parent's worst, losing their child. They tried to reassure me but I wasn't buying. The point they told me is that since a sweet little 7 year old girl faced a gruesome abuse death at the hand's of her stepfather last year in our fair city, things have changed. Everything is reported and investigated. Yet I still read of tragic children's deaths in the paper and the caseworkers are at my home.

Well they've gone and everybody is trying to reassure us.

In the meantime everything takes on a new meaning. For instance, I open the refrigerator to give Julian milk yesterday and I say absently, "we don't have any more milk?" and Julian says "No milk, just water to drink". Then I realize we have milk in our fridge downstairs. You see it's not enough to have one fridge, we have one downstairs for backup. But I realize how an innocent thing like that could be twisted. "Julian tells me he has no milk, just water to drink". He asked my niece after the caseworkers left the other night "Do we drink blood?" It's then in my tears and my fears that we both burst out laughing and I said "What next? We'll be accused of being Vampires." Scissors is from Transylvania originally after all.

Intellectually I understand how this happened. Really, I wish I could believe that this heightened awareness saved the children in despair. But emotionally, I'm wrecked. I sit here worrying how I need to document everything and what if Julian falls again? Not like the odds aren't good.

I pray that common sense will prevail. I also know I wouldn't think twice about relocating to another country if push comes to shove.

Stop stomping on my parental rights city of New York and go out and find the real abusers. Please.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Box of Rain

This week tried to chew me up and spit me out. That didn't happen.

Now something we all could use when life gets a little tough, a Box of Rain - "believe it if you need it or need it if you dare..."

The Grateful Dead, Madison Square Garden, NYC 1988 (maybe you were there - Mutha?):

Shabbat Shalom and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A few of my favorite things

If you don't know Mo'a, it's high time that you meet her. She is an artist/dollmaker who can be found here at LEIKUR OG LIST (which is Icelandic for something and I do hope Mo'a comes by and clears that up - it's something playful) showcasing some of her own lovely work or more recently, that of her fellow artists. She can also be found here at TO LIVE A CREATIVE LIFE.

In this post called White Mosaique, Mo'a talked about being inspired by some French blogs and she posted a collage of white items found in her home. That is what I do love about blogs - many are a source of inspiration in various ways. Mo'a just inspired me to look at things differently and to step back and do my own collage.

I'm not a serious photographer, but last weekend freshly inspired, I picked up the camera and set about shooting my white or light inspired "things".



Thanks Mo'a for the inspiration.

Monday, January 22, 2007

It was a Sunny Day

Now that is a winter sky the way one is supposed to look - cold, crisp, fresh. From the wilds of New York City baby.

Well, the boro of Queens which is not "the city" proper, but is still the city. With me so far? Good. But what I like about it is that we're not surrounded by "skyscrapers and everythang" just our own little slice of heaven. And if we were so inclined, we could hop into the car or onto the subway and be in the city in 20 minutes (on the weekend that is). Actually my daughter commutes to the city for school Monday to Friday. The school bus picks her up bright and early. Sometimes I feel badly for her having to get up and out so early. But I think I'd feel worse if she didn't get a quality education. Considering she won a scholarship to a private school, we all put in an effort to get her out the door with a minimum amount of stress for all.

So on any given day, we can choose to be either the city mice or the country mice. I think I am a city mouse for the diversity inspired creativity but a country mouse for the solitude. It seems I need both in my life to thrive.

Ah, don't we all?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The G-Dance

In the words of Monty Python - "And now for something completely different"!

It seems as if my timing is off this week. No, not my dancing avatar timing - she's one grooving chick, my post timing. Any time I've had a window of opportunity to post, Blogger's maintaining that they're maintaining and that's a lot of maintenance! Grrrr.

I'm nothing if not patient and well distractable, so I'm sure I then wandered off and never got back to the business of posting. And so it goes. Now about my groovy dancing avatar - Tom of Tom&Icy made this funky dancing avatar and I'm even featured in one of their posts right HERE! Isn't that fun?

Well, it's late and I just wanted to share this with you. And to let you know about Tom&Icy, although I suspect a lot of the crowd that traipses through here knows them, some of you don't. So go poke around a bit and see what Icy is up to. Tom is very talented with his doctoring up photos (photoshop?) and they're usually pretty funny as an added benefit. He has several blogs featuring people who may be real or composites, but the dogs are real. I know this because they write columns for newspapers, such as The Asinine News, one of their prestigious papers.

Which brings me full circle - what song do you think I'm dancing to?

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Soup Kitchen

These were cold damp winter days - not cold enough to snow, but cold enough to chill you right through to the bone, with a damp mist in the air. She gathered her children up closely and braved the weather for she knew if she did not, they would not eat that day. They trudged down Greenpoint Avenue in hopes of soup that actually had a taste of stock to it, but if not at the very least let it be warm. Yes, let it be warm.

She didn't recall exactly when life had become a search for warmth, she did remember when the cold had settled in permanently though. It was the end of August, when the bottle had taken the last of life that Arles had to give. From that point, the struggle became part of their daily routine. A routine whose only comfort was held in its predictability.

Life had once been kind to them. They had been young and in love. They had traveled the country and played music together. They had thought that to invest in a future was to not live in the present. So live they did. When this country seemed to confine them, they headed to Amsterdam and fanned out across Europe from there. They ended up their romp in Paris. And that's when she found out that she was pregnant - with Lola their sweet girl.

She knew that people would not believe the songs they once sung, but she also knew if they didn't get to the soup kitchen by noon, there'd be slim pickins.

She folded her head down resolutely against the cold and pulled her children in each close by her side and pressed forward.

NOTE: In case you hadn't noticed, the above little blurb was a fiction piece. The only truth to it was the bitter damp cold day that greeeted us in our various dances in and out of the mist today. The background on the picture above can be found HERE.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Well going away parties are usually given for a reason and it was with mixed emotions and a Metro Card that we sent DAISY packing. For one last trip with the average joes, Daisy and I boarded the E train to Manhattan. With such a crowd in one place, it was all I could do to restrain Daisy from performing right there on the subway. I assured her the spotlight was not far off (even if it was the light of the oncoming train). Once there we met NEVA and oh, look who happened to be in the neighborhood with gun and camera - AL!

Here is a picture of Daisy with the clock in Grand Central - the center of all activity, as a backdrop:

And although she seemed to think she'd be driven everywhere by a limo, Neva nonetheless encouraged her to acquaint herself with the train schedules:

Well, with one husband, two children and now four dolls to share my life, I am sure it will be quite full.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Well, much as we enjoyed having Daisy with us for this short time, it was time for her to move on. Her diva-ish behavior was working on all of our nerves now that she knew she would be both going to NEVA's "Greenwich estate" and being a spokeswoman on CENTRAL SNARK. As they say in Queens, "she thinks who she is". Indeed.

For those of you new to my blog or unfamiliar with the cast of characters appearing here today, I refer you to the ExPansi Files, once home of the cast and crew of Naked Gymnastics for Jesus. Long story short - MRS. WEIRSDO pretty much leveled the show and sought to place the dolls in appropriate homes. We had five of them come to us whom I will introduce in due course.

That said, it would not be fitting to send her off without a goodbye party and here are a couple of pictures from the gathering:

Our own Naked Poseurs for Warhol mannequin developed an affection for Daisy and presented her with his wood-en heart at the soiree. They promised to keep in touch.

The gang got together and partied with Mr. Banana keeping a watchful eye over Sissy. That's what he called it. I call it lurking. Now that I look at the picture, it seems he's keeping a watchful eye over Daisy! Hmmmm...

Well it did get a bit raucous and kept us up, so I think I'm going to turn in. Stay tuned for more on the dolls.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Enough of the tawdry...

...onto the pretty things.

It's right there in my profile - I love to pore over home design mags, articles, now blogs. If I keep going, my kids will raise themselves. Now, now, they're in bed and I'm stealing a little time for myself. Scissors has his Sunday night tv going so this is my time to veg a bit.

So now that we've discussed the upside of anger and the downside of home renovations, it's time to just appreciate the aesthetics - decorating and design. I could get lost in these sites as I do my magazines which then have nifty places for me to check out. One thing usually leads to the next and before you can say toile, I'm browsing little sugar spoons in Denmark that I must have.

We all have our soft spots or obsessions and so it is with a nifty blog that I have found called DESIGN SPONGE. They sort of find the best things in design and bring them to us everyday folks to drool over. I just found this site a couple of weeks ago, but coincidentally today (that's what they said last week, not up yet) they are unveiling a new design/layout and we all get to go browsing together!

Meet me for coffee first. Oh, and don't forget your tape measure.

UPDATE: Here's a picture above of the lovely spoon that I was pining away for. Did I say Denmark? Well, it was actually Holland, but another home of fine designs. Click on the link below to check it out for yourselves.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

"Revenge is best served with no sugar"...G

"Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge." Paul Gaugin

My dreams of revenge for Sonny are really over. I mean my daydreams, perhaps it creeps into my subconscious. But when I found myself strangling the waiter at a Malaysian restaurant in Queens, I knew it was time to let go. Well, to the waiter's neck of course but also to the sickening feeling of being had. And so I have. I really feel pity for the man as he has to wake up and look at himself in the mirror each day.

So just to update you all on The Meeting. We met with the "Kitchen Guys" yesterday who were very nice and only slightly intimidated by Mr. Banana whom we'd brought along for the intimidation factor. Mr. Banana came to live with us from THE EX PANSI FILES right before Christmas and he's been itching to get back to the life he's once known. This was close enough for him, he jumped at the chance.

Our guy with whom we'd worked on the plans couldn't be nicer really, and his manager even more so. So what does nice get you at the end of the day? "We have to speak to our lawyer since it's right now with him". Whatever happened to making a decision?

Bottom line is I really have learned to just go with the flow in life. I mean it's not like I can hasten their actions (and Mr. Banana did not have the desired effect because after all he is only nine inches tall). So we wait and go from there.

The truth is we've already dealt with our emotions (well I should say I have) regarding Sonny.

Now it's all over but the amount on the check.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tree Sugars Eddie?

In my head, this is very funny - join me there.

In June 2005, we undertook a renovation of our home. We got the contractor from a neighbor whose home he was just completing. We met with "Sonny", the price was right, his work was good, so we shook on it. He said it would take, hahahaha - 7 weeks. Seven weeks stretched into seven months.

Seven months of being upstairs while they worked downstairs and downstairs while they worked upstairs. Seven months of plotting things out, having them be wrong, having them do it over again. They usually waited pensively for me to return home after a tricky part of a job was completed and when I smiled, they all clapped. They clapped not only because they were happy to have gotten it right with minimal sweat, but because most of the workers spoke little if no English.

They spoke Malaysian and I would sometimes find Mr. Lim, the one with the best command of English teaching Tali phrases in Malaysian by writing them on the wall prior to painting. Phrases like "Good morning", "How are you", "Sonny hasn't paid us in three weeks" - common everyday Malaysian.

People working in your home become like family, I mean they were here with us for seven months! We all knew each other's rhythms - the Chinese food they ordered for lunch every day, Painter Boy's wife was home in Malaysia, Tile Guy (dubbed Smiley by Scissors) enjoyed the ponies. This last bit we found out through sign language by Scissors. Seems Smiley wasn't the only one.

As time went on, we saw less of Sonny - partly because the workers had it under control but mostly because he began to evade us. We found out why when it was too late. One of the subcontractors who provided our kitchen cabinets hadn't been fully paid, although we had paid Sonny for them months ago. Obtaining receipts became a slippery situation. Neither we, nor the cabient guys were the only ones effected by Sonny's thievery. Long story short, Sonny disappeared and a mechanics lien appeared. This has all been ongoing since last year. We have moved to resolve it by having a meeting outside of the "lawyer" of the cabinet guys in the hopes of settling the whole messy affair between us and moving forward. Said meeting will take place tomorrow morning and I can't get out of my head a scene from the movie, The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984).

The Pope of Greenwich Village is one of those movies that is not a great movie but in many ways a perfect one. Perfect in capturing the characters' nuances and they are very watchable. The flick fails on many levels, but the music brings it back up - that and New York City as one of the characters. The main characters are Charlie (Mickey Rourke before plastic surgery) and his ne'er-do-well cousin Paulie (Eric Roberts) as small time wannabe wiseguys. I watched it again a year or so back and it didn't hold up so well as when I first had seen it, but I still enjoyed it.

The scene I'm talking about is a pivotal scene near the end of the movie in which Charlie goes into the social club of Bedbug Eddie (the mob boss) to confront him about a certain heist of $150 large that Charlie and Paulie are fingered as being behind. In it, Charlie strides with confidence into the club and sits down at the table intently staring at Bedbug while Paulie serves them espresso (which is where the "Tree sugars Eddie" line comes from). Charlie says: "Mister, I am the Pope, this is your church. But right now I'm the Pope of Greenwich Village cause I got the tape alright?" thus establishing his upper hand and totally sealing the deal.

Why did I think of this you ask? Because tomorrow I'm the Pope.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A bottle of red...

The Setting: A nursing home in Queens/very late afternoon, early evening New Year's Eve.

The day had been a nice one, as December days go gorgeous. The weather somewhere in the high 40's so we took to the yard for some last pre-winter outdoor work. I had mentioned to Scissors that I wanted to visit Grandpa, his stepdad, who since this past April resides in a nursing home.

The circumstances that led up to his incarceration included his roaming the streets in the wee hours leaving the front door wide open. Actually he had taken to hanging out at a nearby 7-11 convenience store as an unpaid employee on their overnight shift. According to him, he was the store manager. He would give their home telephone number out and my mother-in-law would field subsequent calls about apartments for rent that did not exist. He has Parkinsons with Alzheimer's symptoms. While at home, he refused medication and by the time of his first mini-stroke which started his real downfall and hospitalization, he would walk in a completely stooped posture. It was sad to see. Scissors had gotten more than one phone call to come quickly as he had fallen and was unable to get himself back up. Considering Scissors is 5'9" on a tall day and Grandpa is 6'0" on a short one, this was not always an easy task.

He didn't go down easily and was not at all happy about being placed in the facility. Honestly - who would? But he had gotten so bad at home with the roaming and refusal to take medicine that his health was on a downward spiral. Months later, he still talks of coming home although not quite as vociferously, and has made friends, especially a new friend - Sally.

As my MIL announced in the car one day, "Sam (not the name we know him by but his "American" name) has a girlfriend". She said this with a wry look on her face, quickly followed up with "not that I care about that, just that it makes a fool of me". Theirs was always a marriage of convenience, or judging by the way she yelled at Sam, inconvenience. But still, it's sad. They do love each other in their own way. I offered gently, "well you can't really hold him accountable, he's not really in his normal frame of mind" (normal being a relative term as Grandpa always sort of reminded me of Chauncey Gardner in Being There).

So in we came last night, my little family to visit Grandpa. We found him in the dining room with Sally and another woman at their table. Sally seemed sweet and in true Jewish Grandmother form, tried to figure out what of their non-eaten dinner they could give the kids. Tali would have no part of it, but Julian happily complied and was lapping up chocolate pudding faster than you could say "medication time".

The dining room slowly cleared and we were the last ones along with another gentleman introduced only as "an opera singer" as he joined us, left in the room. When Julian heard opera singer, he took center stage and began singing in operatic fine form "I sing OP-E-RAAAA" to the delight of Sam, Sally and Opera Man. Then he began a dance to go along with it. Grandpa (still in fine voice) took to singing his repertoire of Jewish songs capped of with Those Were the Days. Sally smiled and Opera Man even sang along a bit. We joked about having our own New Year's Eve party and we were actually having a nice time. Julian took to speaking in a clipped Cary Grantesque voice (which Tali refers to as his Jewish Santa voice - inside joke) peppering his speech with "Yess darling's" which amused them to no end.

Opera Man excused himself wishing us a Happy and Healthy New Year as he was retiring for the night. We decided to take the elevator downstairs to a sitting room with a huge aquarium and aviary with finches flitting about. Sally seemed to regress into a childlike behavior when the nurse scolded her for standing as she had fallen recently and was not allowed to be out of her wheelchair just yet. When we went back by the Nurse's Station, and pressed for the elevator I asked if Sally could join us and the nurses said yes. Her face lit up as I wheeled her along with us. The party continued and then it was getting a little late so we wheeled them back to the elevator with Tali and Julian "helping" Grandpa with his walker.

On the loudspeaker some piped in music played Billy Joel's "a bottle of red, a bottle of white...I'll meet you any time you want in our Italian Restaurant".

The elevator doors shut and we headed for the car.