Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bye, 2008

Just like old times - looking at holiday windows with Heidi

Though I am not sad to enter into 2009, I am Thankful and Grateful for all the abundant blessings I received in 2008. As yesterday's video shows, (I really recommend you see it - just scroll down a bit!) there were some great laughs. My friends kept me afloat - thank you all. N. gave me unvarnished truth that I needed to hear ("yes you can, just go do it"). H and N (different N) taught me the meaning of grace. f.o.r.e.v.e.r grateful for that. Laurie, always my girl, always on my side. Tanya...partner in dance. My work peeps, especially R, helped me breathe when I thought there was no oxygen left. They put up with me with seemingly unrelenting acceptance and for that I am so thankful.

"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted"
That is so true. So thanks to all of you who offered small acts of kindness because it helped me get through the day. Danielle. Odinie. Ari. My new-found (re-discovered?) friends from HS. All of you. My heart is full.
Playing Lion Tamer back when my hair was long!

My Senseis, my training partners, especially Lori. No broken bones in six months! Let's keep that winning streak going!

And of course, one more year missing Robbie. Five years December 11 - can you believe it?
So healthy, happy 2009, y'all! Keep counting your blessings and making the world just a little better than the way you found it!
Peace out!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sober at Work

Meet Kristina. She is, apparently, too sexy for her clothes. But not too sexy for someone else's clothes...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Do you know who this is? C'mon, she's f.a.m.o.u.s. She is Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, New York's Secretary of State. I'm expecting a call from her any minute to discuss my new role as a Notary Public. Now it's true that she also must personally attend to those passing the rigorous exams for those interested in operating pet cemeteries; acting as a manufacturer, repairer-renovator, or rebuilding of bedding; performing nail specialty, natural hair styling, and waxing; or being a hearing aid dispenser (like pez?).

But still, I passed the exam (I had to get 28 of 40 correct - that's 70%!) and that is certainly worthy of a phone call, Lorraine....
Anyway, be warned. R. and I are beginning our sting operation to catch all you Notaries who are overcharging the $2 fee or taking depositions on Sundays.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

For Sensei Noah...and You

Notice the "whole grain", as if that mitigates the pound of sugar in each bite. They are so, so least until the sugar crash.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Jack Johnson

The singer, not the boxer. My Mp3 player looooves Jack Johnson. During shuffle it inserts him almost every other song. What's that about? There is so much to choose from, why him? Ideas anyone?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Free, Gorgeous Art!

There is a free Pol Turgeon (above) exhibit at the Society of Illustrators which was really well curated and just beautiful - really provocative and thoughtful. I encourage you to go!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Someone Else's Joy

Sometimes your greatest joy is being witness to someone else's joy. And so it was that I went to Harbor Yard Arena so see WWE Extreme Championship Wrestling and Smackdown. Because what kind of birthday present do you get for the guy who doesn't really want much? The one and only thing he really, really wants but wouldn't even hint at.

His joy and excitement was palpable. He was so damn happy.

A warning, though:

If you would like to keep your hearing, if you you have post traumatic stress disorder, if you feel even vaguely uncomfortable with racist stereotypes, if you have an aversion to seeing grown men wearing man panties, you might wanna skip a visit to WWE Live.

For the uninitiated, above is Jeff Hardy and Triple H executing a suplex.

WWE is like religious circus. There are rituals, calls and responses, hand gestures, music, special names for each of the characters, and a very definite codified system of beliefs and behaviors. There are founding fathers and mothers, to whom tribute is paid. There is smiting, banishment, betrayal, transcendance, and redemption. There are glow sticks. Also, there are incredible acrobatics, gymnastics, cages and costumes. (And like I said, lots of man panties).

Hey - wonder if Krishna Das and Sharon Salzberg wanna tag team against, say, The Undertaker and R-Truth? That I would go see.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Big Delicious Dosa

I went to Jackson Heights with N and P on Sunday. I've known N for years and she is a great girl (post on her Yoga teaching practice coming soon). I don't get to spend much time with P, so it was nice to see her. We were walking down 74th Street in a freezing wind when we heard some awesome Indian dance music. P ducked into the store, chatted with the guys behind the counter, and got 2 CDs. I am so impressed by her ease and ability to to operate like that. I can be intimidated and tend to shy away from those experiences, but thanks, P, for showing me how easy it is!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Scary Monkey

Sorry about the quality of this pic. It is a...uh...sculpture? A nick-nack? A rendering of de-evolution? It is about the size of a small toaster and had a gold-colored title plate on it: "The Mirella Collection." Clearly, the being on the left is a furious monkey. The being on the right is also a monkey (according to Heidi), a girl monkey to be specific - you can see her voluptuous breasts. There were no parallel indications on the other one. Lefty is fishing - I couldn't capture the fish at the end of the line without compromising the view of her/his face.
So here's my question: who walks into this store (in Woodside) and says, in all sincerity, "I want that!" Oh...the same people who buy this. Ok, that makes sense.
By the way, in the display case directly underneath this object d' arte was a box of condoms. Party size.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lying Liars Who Lie

Seriously, why bother? Unless it's like, "tell us where your children are so we can kill them", what's the point? And that's all I have to say about that topic.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Shrine at 138th and Alexander

St. Jerome School in the Bronx has this amazing shrine to Nuestra Señora de Guadelupe. It's just a beautiful little grotto in the middle of Mott Haven.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Magnitude of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Thank you to all my wonderful friends. I love you all so much.

I had the great good fortune to spend Thanksgiving with some of the most special people in my life: Laurie and her 3 girls (+ Filipe) and husband Mike, Osito, Melissa, & Dean. Heidi texted me with some simple words that touched me to the core.

I am grateful for SO MANY things, such as the ability to recognize that gratitude, in and of itself, carries with it an awesome power to transform, to heal, to evolve.

To add some fun to today's post, here is a favorite joke that I won't be telling after January 20th:

Q: How many Bush Administration officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: None. There is nothing wrong with the light bulb; its conditions are improving every day. Any reports of its lack of incandescence are a delusional spin from the liberal media. That light bulb has served honorably, and anything you say undermines the lighting effect. Why do you hate freedom?

Monday, November 24, 2008


Fact: one of Babe Ruth's nickname was "El Bambino", who, as you know, played for the Yankees. This very beautiful head was spotted in my beloved Queens, home to the New York METS, so maybe this should have been named "Mookie".

Be that as it may, those are three very beautiful cornrows. And her eyebrows do much to offset her fetal alcohol syndrome facial structure. Blue eyeshadow is very fashionable. What's that? It went out in the 70s? Oh... Anyway, If you need a retro makover, cornrows, and a throw-back nickname, I suggest this lovely little beauty parlor in Woodside.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Marcelo Lucero and Christopher Columbus

I swiped this pic from Newsday.

Unless your name is Sacagawea (mine isn't), or you mom's name is/was Sacagawea (again, nope), you're an immigrant. We are a nation, almost entirely, populated by immigrants. Talk about illegal immigration - you know, I went to the Smithsonian recently and nowhere did I see Christopher Columbus' green card. No visa or passport. Wanna know why? Because he was an illegal immigrant.

Fast forward to 2008 and the story of a man - Marcelo Lucero - from Ecuador who came here to make a better life for himself and his family. Just like millions before him who came to these shores - perhaps like your family, or mine (if we were even lucky enough to make the choice to come here, as opposed to being chained on a ship...).
Seven teens from Long Island are charged with his death. Seven. Teens. WTF? So here is the brilliant response from Steve Levy, Suffolk's County Exec:
'El plan de Levy incluye un lema de campaña en las escuelas que dice, “odiar no es chévere”.' The plan includes a school campaign called "hate ain't cool". That's it? That's how we combat modern day lynchings? My heart aches.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bad Day for Bears

Pobre! At 138th and Willis in El Bronx November 14th 2008

Yikes! 2nd Avenue and 12th Street in Manhattan November 14, 2008

The bear in the top pic has been attached to the lamppost for a while. It's a yellow Care Bear in a onsie. S/he has rosary beads, and used to have a beer can wedged between the legs, but its gone now.
Raggedy Ann or Andy is another story. Someone has drawn...male parts...on it. I think the artist is Jewish, if you know what I mean....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In Honor of Kim

Disclosure: I didn't get permission to use this pic, but I'm thinking its ok...this is Kim with her husband Dave and their son, Hudson.

Kim was my boss and a really great girl. She passed away on Sunday, November 9th, 2008. We hadn't been in touch too much, but I really want to honor her memory. She handled life with grace and humor. She was the kind of person who had your back and pushed you to have confidence in yourself. Kim will be dearly missed.

Reminder: now might be a good time to tell someone that [nice] thing you've been meaning know what I mean.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Keep On Keepin' On

Seriously? I just found out that my ex voted for McPalin! At least we're already broken up, because that's just unacceptable. Apparently his boyfriend pressured him into it. [insert muttering here.]

And just for fun, check this out.....

And here, watch this every day

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Can you believe it? Si se puede. Si hicimos!
Today has me thinking about hope, about renewal, about change. About what a newly imagined future for this country could and will be.
It also has me thinking about Sarah Palin. I deeply disagree with so much of her political ideology, and with what [I think] is her personal outlook on the world. She spoke a lot about god's will in the election. Does this mean that god likes Barack Obama better? Does she believe that god had a hand in this outcome or does she believe that this is the work of the devil? If things don't go her way, generally, would that be attributed to the devil? How does she decide what is god's will and what isn't? That's a nice, easy coin to flip, isn't it?
It's all pretty exciting, isn't it? Let's hope this ushers in a new wave of political engagement for all Americans. Let's hold our leaders to a higher standard. Let's hope none of them get caught in some horrible illegal activity.....

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Let America be America

Courtesy of REW

for Barack Obama

by Langston Hughes
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween 2008!!!

This Halloween take the opportunity to step out of constraining gender role steroetypes! Drag Kings, Drag Queens, somewhere in the middle...have some fun and push the edges!

I hope I get lots of candy...I know, I know...carbon footprint, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars...but its sooooo yummy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's a Dangerous World

Saw these in a store recently. Do you need armor - literally or metaphorically?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Palin Pee Stick and Obamaween

Recently I caught a few moments of conversation with Dail, my workmate and like-minded political sounding board. We were discussing the assertion by the McCain/Palin ticket that all babies born as a result of unwanted pregnancies would be "taken care of". So here's an idea...

Do you know someone who is pregnant? Would she be willing to pee on a zillion preg tests and distribute the positive sticks so we could mail, en masse, said sticks to the offices of the M/P campaign? You know, we would include a little note:

"Dear Sarah and John: since you have so graciously offered to care for my unplanned baby, here is proof that in about 32 weeks you'll be getting a bundle of joy. Not my joy, of course, but yours!!!"

I'm not sure if its legal to mail a "diagnostic" through USPS, so check it out before you do it. Be creative - this is guerilla artfare, people!
And speaking of art - its almost Obamaween! What? According to Dail, on Halloween you are encouraged to engage in an act of creative Obama support - think sidewalk chalk, puppets, blogs, car adornment, subway singing...again, it's guerilla artfare, peeps!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Boo! Ach!

Someone carved this on Saturday night!

Chris and Val's Octoberfest/Pre-Halloween/CD Release Party for Julie Corbalis at the incredible Marsh Sanctuary!

And that's the point of this post - to encourage you to go the the March Sanctuary...its beautiful. 'Nuff said.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Please click here for the best website EVER EVER EVER.
Click all over the page for remarkable fun.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Te Presento Ariana

Paleteria El Molino Rojo 86 Lafayette Ave.
Suffern, NY 10901(845) 918-1002

My friend (isn't she gorgeous?) Ariana, along with her family, opened a fantastic cafe. They serve sandwiches, ice cream, frozen and hot drinks - all homemade! If you live in a 30-mile radius, grab your scrabble board and go eat and hang out! In fact, if you're in NYC, its a great day trip on the MetroNorth. Kids are welcome, too. Y tambien, ellos hablan Espanol!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Astonishing Norge

I went to visit Laurie in Virginia. Now, you might pronounce it NORGE, with a soft G, but I think it sounds better the latino way - nor-hey...mas mejor!

Laurie took me to an...emporium. The Williamsburg Pottery Campground. As they state, "an astonishing array of handmade items made by artisans"...astonishing, indeed:

It of course begs the question, "what is an artisan?" Do you need to be able to pour plaster into a mold, period? Way more important is the question of target market: "I'm looking for a vase with an elephant. Yes, an elephant startled as he molests a tree."

And here's this little gem. Wait! do you mean to tell me I shouldn't eat plastic fruit? Are you sure? But its from China so it MUST be safe.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Honeymoon Destination!

I love the Smithsonian. We love their tongue-in-cheek (o.m.g. I. am. so. funny.) display descriptions. Well, now everyone (at least in Mass and Cali) can take this fabulous vacation suggestion.

I stayed near Anacostia, which had (has?) a tough reputation. Just like places here in NY, it sure is gentrified....The new Nationals stadium looks nice from the outside.

Taking the Metro in DC, and then the subway in NYC a few hours later, really demonstrates just how dirty NYC is. Fewer people riding in DC, I suppose, I didn't check census figures. And I think the Metro stops running at some point on the overnight, but still - what a difference. Since much of my casual wardrobe involves a Mets logo, I had lots of great conversations about baseball with local Washingtonians. Not one conversation about the bailout, thank goodness, because it was, after all, a vacation. There were lots and lots of Obama in '08 signs - yea!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Over the summer I tore the radial collateral ligament in my thumb. My brand new health insurance had just kicked in, so I called the 24-hour nurse line to ask about protocol.
The auto-answer had an interesting sequence: "If you are a doctor, please press X. If you are a member experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please hang up and dial 911."

I pressed neither X nor called 911, but instead opted for a live nurse with whom I could have a real conversation!
Nurse: How may I help you?

Me: I think I broke my thumb. I'm new to this insurance company and I want to know if I need authorization to go to the emergency room.

Nurse: Is this a life threatening emergency?

Me: I think I'll pull through.

Nurse: OK, let me get some information.

She asked me the standard questions - name, ID#, allergies. OK, all reasonable.

Nurse: On a scale of 1-10, how yould you rate the pain?

Remember, I practice karate. I've broken all kindsa body parts. When I was 17 I had a compound fracture of my 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae from a roller skating accident with David Shapiro. I've had kidney stones! I know #10 on the scale!

Me: If I don't move it, a 2. If I move it, a 4.

Nurse: Do you have any concerns about your weight?

Me: What?

Nurse: Do you have any concerns about your weight?

Me: Yeah, I'm concerned that I'm about to be a few ounces lighter if my thumb falls off.

I am so curious to know if they ask men this question. I called asking for a answer to a legit and concrete question and I had to talk about my weight? So I refused and told her that all I really wanted was to get my thumb sewn back on. She was nice about it but didn't actually know the answer so she looked it up on the company website. Any ideas about the weight question?
The pic above is the thumb monkey - the temporary housing in which thumb lived before Dr. orthapaedist got involved. Then it lived in a soft cast for 8 weeks.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Worn in the USA

When I first inherited this jacket in junior high from my brother it had a small explanation point on the back made of...metal studs (!). It slowly accumulated the detritus of personal and cultural references, not least of which would be the cap to a bottle of burbon - great reliever of junior high math class boredom - in the pocket (yup, still there). I paid Susan Yandell about $20 for the backpiece in my first year of high school.....

Somehow The Who became my buffer to the world. Who knew that just a few years later I'd be in love with LL Cool J (still am), dance to Big Daddy Kane, see Run DMC at the Roxy and LOVE Salt n Pepa (still do)?

My jacket had the above patch. My mom belonged to "Another Mother for Peace" and we had these patches, pendants (I think I still have mine) and, if I recall, a jigsaw puzzle. Of course that was the Viet Nam war era, but both the patch and the org are still relevant. Here are a few other jacket attachment faves:
  • Home-made "no nukes" button

  • Button that reads, "We have not come a long way, and don't call us babies"

  • Button that reads, "How dare you presume that I'm heterosexual?"

  • Handcuff keys attached by a safety pin (what? where did I get those?)
On the inside a bunch of my friends wrote their names and myserious messages in ballpoint pen. The thing weighs about 10 pounds and I never wanted to leave home without it. As I recall, I wore it to a job interview. Never underestimate the need for armor!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stop Hurting Your F*cking Kids!

Today jury selection begins in the murder trial of Nixzmary Brown. In the name of everything sacred - are you fucking kidding me? Hows about we print a roster of kids who have been abused, maimed, and murdered at the hands of their parents? And by parents I mean anyone who is supposed to know better. Anyone who takes care of a kid.

And what about the rest of us? We must be RELENTLESS in our efforts to protect children. Wait, wait, how about this - we must be relentless in our effort to protect eachother. If someone is being hurt it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY as human beings to make the hurt stop. You know, if someone, say a mom (could be a dad, agreed), is being hurt at home, (read my entry on Friday, August 1, 2008) and in turn she can't/doesn't protect her child, then it becomes OUR JOB to step on in. Help her escape the abuse and protect the kid/s. There you go. Not hard. Figuring out how to broker a peace deal between Georgia and Russia - very hard. Calling 1-800-298-SAFE for info on domestic violence - fucking EASY. Calling child protective services 1,000 times if necessary? Easy. I know that the cops don't always come when you call 911. Call the mayors office. Call the school. Call everyone until the kid is safe.

You know what I've learned as a martial artist? No one ever died of embarrassment. Ask someone you're worried about, "do you feel safe going home? Can I help you make a safety plan?" And then make some calls. It's our responsibility.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Just One of the Many People Smarter Than Me

Look, I can't be any more eloquent than Thomas L. Friedman was in this Op-Ed NYT piece. Go read it...please.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ring. Hello?

Mom [picking up my ring]: There's something wrong with this Hebrew.
Me: Yeah, its Sanscrit.
Mom: Oh. Well, they shouldn't make it look like Hebrew.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First of Six

Heidi tagged me: Name 6 things that make me happy...

#1: Chanting in the morning: Krisha Das and Ozomatli get me there. KD's "All One" is my current favorite. I've been chanting it for about a year not-quite-daily.
I like to start my workday hearing Raul sing "Cuando Canto". It makes me less lazy. Also, Ozo reminds me...

"We got faith in what love can do."

Interesting Sights on Today's Run

  • Teeny tiny dead baby mole
  • A whole coconut
  • Another teeny tiny dead baby mole
  • Man yelling at his garage door opener
  • A crow, who stared at me so I sang "A Dios Le Pido", which s/he seemed to enjoy
  • A family of deer, who did not like my version of "Otra Noche"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What's My Responsibility Here?

My friend N. was driving down a Brooklyn Street with her bf, R. The traffic knotted and after a moment they saw 3 individuals being brutally beaten by a tag-teaming group of 9? 12? 14? adult women. N. called 911 immediately. The 3 victims were: a girl about 11 years old, an older adolescent or young adult female, and a grown woman. The crowd was enjoying the show, ignoring the fact that the adult woman's head had been wedged under a car tire and she was being beaten unconscious and unrecognizable. R. jumped out of the car and tried to pull the perpetrators off the little girl, but the tag-teaming was too much.

Much credit to N. and R. They did all they could. Even after eight to ten minutes, the police never showed. It's unknown of they ever showed. The attack didn't make the papers.

My question to myself is this: as a martial artist, as someone who has some amount of training in self-defense, what could I do? If I encounter something like this, what do I do? I mean, I know to tell 911 that a cop is being beaten by someone with a gun, and that might encourage them to show. But more than that, do I jump in? Do I grab the most viscious attacker and take her down swiftly and completely - because there is no other way. Its all or nothing. Clearly those perpetrators had no fear of defenseless victims, but would they fear someone who took down their leader? Do I accept the possibility that I would die trying? Its not the movies, attackers don't wait in line for their turn at you, you gotta fight them all at once, so you have to go for the most disabling move possible in order to save 3 lives. What on earth would I do?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Forgiveness and Unconditional Love

I did a bad thing...well, a disloyal? unloving? thing. I bailed on some friends whom a) I've known forever, and b) have always been my bestest cheerleaders. Interestingly enough, they are married to one another, so I bailed on them individually and as a couple, and as a family, because they have 3 magnificent children.

Did you ever get tot he point where you don't return a phonecall because of...whatever? (In my case it was sadness and shame. I was in a bad spot - again.) And then, you keep not returning the calls and emails and then its been so long that you're just waaaay too humiliated to call? Yup, that's where I was.

So one day N. called and I answered. His compassion and kindness were overwhelming to say the least. I promised to call H., which I did. And do you know what she told me? "We don't care, we just want you back". And I could have died of relief and gratitude. These are sterling people who love me and I love them back. So here's to second chances...ok, 9th chances. And open hearts, and unconditional love, and the real meaning of family.
All credit to John McPherson for the snagged comic.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Niche Marketing

Elder Avenue in the Bronx

Goat isn't popular in the culture in which I was raised, (however, gefilte fish is revered - equally appealling - or repellant). As life-long vegetarian, I haven't developed much goat knowledge. So when I saw this sign, my first thought was of Georgia O'Keefe. My second thought was, "well, where's the rest of the thing?" Finally, I thought, "that bug squished in the window definitely makes me want to buy my goat head elsewhere."

Goat story: My friend Ivan was fascinated by my neighborhood, especially because I told him that we have lots of deer here. "Tenemos chibas aqui. Hay muchas chibas aqui!" He replied, "tienes chibas? Tus vecinos las comen?" Do my neighbors eat them? "No creo que. Es posible, pero, no." They could, I suppose, but no, I don't think so. Really, they are like quiet stray dogs who eat all the flowers.

The next day I went over the converation in my head....tenemos......chibas? No wonder
he asked if we eat the.....goats.
iAy venado!

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Women I Love Part L

Let's talk Laurie. Laurie is the smartest, nicest, bestest, funniest friend. One morning - and by morning I mean 5am - I called Laurie as my broken heart was leaking out, leaving crushed glass and gravel in its place. "Get on your knees and say thank you. This is the greatest gift you ever got, you just don't know it." And I did. Weeping, snotting, and desperate I thanked the universe. "Now come pick me up." We drove to the ashram and she spend 8 hours by my side as I chanted away all the ick. Laurie is a girl's girl.

Favorite Laurie story: we were on the phone one night and I hear her as she calls out to her youngest daughter, Sarah, "no, no, no honey, don't put that in your mouth. Mommy dissected a cat with that."

I love Laurie.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Until the Abuse Ends...

From My Sisters' Place website

National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Please don't call it "an abusive relationship". It isn't the relationship that's abusive, its the perpetrator. I prefer to call it "intimate partner abuse", but that's a mouthful. DV (domestic violence) seems a fair shortcut, though the realtionship isn't always domestic and there isn't always physical violence.

My prefered definition: Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior chosen and used by an abuser to control his/her victim. It can include physical violence, emotional, mental, and/or verbal abuse, humiliation (public and private), sexual abuse/rape, and economic abuse. The abuse keeps the victim in a state of fear and prevents her/him from making decisions that defy the wishes of the abuser. (I'll address the "why doesn't she leave" question another day.) DV occurs across lines of race, class, ehtnicity, and family configuraton. Men, women, and trans folks can be victims. It happens in strait, gay, and trans relationships. No group is immune.

SO, if you're trying to explain to someone who is not being abused why they should care, here is one more reason that appeals to self-interest:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Today, July 31st, 2008 would be the 45th birthday of Robbie Laufer. He died in December of 2003 of brain cancer. F*ck cancer.

Robbie was loyal, smart, piercing, affectionate. He was a friend, teacher, coach, mentor, and truth-teller.

Robbie taught me about some of the finer things in life, like Animaniacs, the WNBA, smurfs, and the joys of lounging in bed, watching movies, and eating pizza. Robbie connected deeply to Native American culture, tai chi, and the New York Mets.

In his absence I learned that, for me, grief is a state of being. It is a relentless physical presence, like a jacket I can't take off. When it mellows it alternatively casts a shadow and shines a light on everything I do. He is an undertow, a soundtrack.

I know you're there, Robbie.

First Blog = Flog?

Assuming you know me, you call me Ellen or Elena or Jules. Or Melvis. If you don't, feel free to call me anything you like. I am a writer by day so of course I came home tonight to...write.

A few things that will become painfully obvious:
  • I love bullet points

  • I overuse elipses and colons (not my own, mind you, and not the currency of El Salvador. Just the gramatical kind)

  • Although I are a writer, grammer and I are not well acquainted. (And I hope there's spellcheck on this thing)

  • I will often write in baaaad Spanglish

Thanks to Heidi for suggesting that I blog. Here is her blog - it's funny and fabulous and gorgeous: I have known Heidi since day care - many, many moons ago. I have known her since that picture up there was taken.

First tidbit: I rescued a dog using cheese doodles on Sunday and today there was a "news" story about a woman who saw Jesus on the cross on a Cheeto. The audacity of hope? Nah, the audacity of artifical orange coloring.