June 2005 Archives

Solstice Wedding (and a full moon)

Congratulations and Best wishes to P and S, who tied the knot in front of a crowd of family and friends at the Tenney Park Pier last Tuesday. The ceremony was brief yet moving and beautiful. The wedding was followed by a lovely reception in the home of M and D (also recent newlyweds). It was altogether to perfect evening, and everything that a wedding should be: dignified yet fun. It is a memory that I will carry with me for a long, long time.

A Week in the Big Wahooni


Day one: My flight out of Madison was an early one. Unfortunately, it was also late. We got held up on the runway for 15-20 minutes, and that was just enough time to eat up my brief transfer time in Detroit. To make matters more fun, we landed rather far down the "A" terminal, and my next flight was taking off rather far down the "B" terminal. I raced down A, through the tunnel that connects the terminals, and up B, making it to the gate, panting and with a stitch in my side, at 10:07. My flight was scheduled to depart at 10:08. The plane was still attached to the jetway, but they wouldn't let me on. Now instead of arriving at JFK at noon, I'd be catching a flight out of Detroit at 12:20. Grrrr.

The flight I finally got was a tiny plane, and just about everyone else on it was either going to Berlin or Beruit. There was a group of young people (a school group, I think) heading to Berlin, and a large family group for Beruit. I had also been transferred from Northwest to Delta (or else I wouldn't have left Detroit until after 3!). This meant that I waited for a while in one terminal at JFK before realizing that my bags actually had made it onto the plane (though I didn't). I then had to travel via Airtrain to the next terminal to find my luggage. Fortunately, nothing was broken and my cold stuff (cheese and bratwurst) was still perfectly cold. I was very happy that B, with whom I was staying, came and met me at the airport. I was in no mood to try and deal with my my bags and the subway by that point.

After we'd arrived back at her apartment and I'd been able to unpack a bit, eat, and generally unwind, I took a walk down 34th St to get my bearings and soak in the surroundings. That was great. I walked from 9th Ave down to 1st and back and the energy of the night was truly electric.

Day two: The morning started out slowly as I recovered from the long day before, and started making up my itinerary for the rest of the week. My only real goal for the day was to be at MoMA at 4PM, for the "Target Free Friday Night".

I grabbed a couple of bagels from a 34th St. bakery and started meandering uptown, taking in the sights and sounds as I went. These sights included Herald Square, Grand Central Station, and Damien Hirst's rather gruesome Virgin Mother at Lever House.

MoMA was fun, but I was very definitely glad that I went for free. It isn't quite the Met, and $20 would have given me sticker shock (especially since the photography area was completely closed to install a special exhibition).

That evening A and L came over, and we dining on the brats, cheese, wine and beer that I'd brought, along with a beautiful salad from L. The brats made quite a favorable impression. Hurray for Klements! Twas an evening of good food and great conversation.

Day Three: L and A were taking part in a 6 mile race in Central Park, after which B and I joined them for lunch. We went to Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, where the line was long, but the wait was worth it. I had a 'Shroom Burger (portabella mushroom cap stuffed with cheddar and muenster cheese, then breaded and deep fried) that was to die for. The fries and chocolate shake were also tasty, though they didn't leave me with the same longing for a second.

B, A, and I got caught in a bit of a downpour on the way back to the apartment, but it was a welcome relief from the muggy heat.

Later that night, B and I took in the Roundabout Theater Company's production of A Streetcar Named Desire at Studio 54. Excellent performances all around. It was both moving and disturbing.

Closed out the night with some excellent food at Mexican restaurant whose name escapes me.

Day three: B and I met with L on the A train to explore the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park. I was particularly excited to see the Unicorn Tapestries. Beautiful. Stunning. Amazing. And yet there was a tiny part of my that was furious with the rich bigwigs who had basically looted these works of art and architecture from Europe everytime I read a "generously donated by" plaque.

Later that evening, B and I enjoyed cuisine from Trinidad at Mama Jean's. I had some very delicious, very crispy accra and wonderful homemade ice cream. The flavors that evening were coconut and Guiness, and I got to try some of both. I now have found a couple of recipes which I am going to try this summer, if I can get ahold of an ice cream maker.

Day four: "I would walk five hundred miles and I would walk five hundred more." is pretty much what it felt like by the end. I took the E train down to the WTC and walked the rest of the way down to the Staten Island Ferry (with a brief detour through the South Street Seaport). The ferry ride over and back was great. The breeze off the water was particularly nice, as it was a hot, sunny day.

Followed up the ferry ride by trekking up to and over the Brooklyn Bridge. While crossing the bridge, I decided that I would walk back via the Manhattan Bridge. Woo. The Brooklyn Bridge is nicely designed for pedestrain crossing. With the walkway in the center, those of us who are inclined to vertigo still feel ok. The Manhattan, on the other side, has pedestrians walking along the south side of the bridge. Crossing to Manhattan, a walker has trains to the right and the water to the left. Gulp! I didn't enjoy the view as much as I should have, as I spent a good portion of the crossing staring straight ahead at the center of the sidewalk, so as not to freeze up.

When I got off the bridge, I was in Chinatown, so I wandered through that, then Little Italy, then up Soho and into Noho before catching a train back to the apartment. So many different sights, sounds, and smells! But that was not the end of things for the day. After changing into fresher clothes (twas quite a sweaty day) I walked down the street to 5th Ave and the Empire State Building. The line up to the observatory went fairly quickly, and I got to watch as the sun set over the Hudson and the lights came up all over the city.

By the time I left, it was after 9 and I practically had to drag myself back up 34th, I was so tired.

Day five: Tuesday was Met day. The morning began with a stop at the grand and lovely 10001 post office to send out my post cards. As is the way of postcards, I would still get to Madison before they did.

I had originally planned to stop at the International Center for Photography, but they were close for an exhibit change. (Story of my life, no?) I did get to visit St. Patrick's Cathedral. Very beautiful and very peaceful. However, as much as I would have love to, and as much as I saw other people doing it, I couldn't bring myself to take out my camera in the church. It may be a tourist destination, but it is also still a working church and it felt somehow disrespectful to treat it like any other "sight". I did get some nice shots of the outside of the building. (At least, I think I did. We'll know for sure when I get the film developed.)

The walk up 5th Ave. to the Metropolitan Museum of Art was pleasant enough, especially since I was walking in the shade of the trees along the edge of Central Park.

I could very definitely move into the Met. Gawjus. I saw as much as I could which, of course, was not nearly all there was to see. I was sad to discover that the Costume Institute was not currently open, and the Chanel exhibition left much to be desired. The Van Gogh's were jaw-droppingly amazing. Reproductions of his work have always pleased me, but the real thing is beyond words. Degas also drew me in and held me. His sense of motion and gesture was like none other. I was particularly attracted to the the bronzes that had been cast posthumously by his heirs from clay and wax studies that had been found in his studio. Rough and crude but yet so full of life--they perfectly captured the essence of the pose. I could easily go on for pages about the Met, but I won't. Suffice it to say, if I lived in New York I would be a member.

I left the museum shortly before closing time and made my way to the Park to find and ride the Carousel. However, through a number of wandering blunders, I managed to make it to the Carousel just as it was closing for the day. Bummah!

I meandered down the rest of the way through the park and out into the city again. On my way back to the apartment I took a circuitous route that took me through Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station (for the second time), Bryant Park, and Times Square. Due to the overwhelming garishness of the place, I made my visit to Times Square rather brief.

Day Six: I started off the day with a Krispy Kreme in Penn Station. It was not "ho now" but it was still fresher than any KK that I have had so far. Tasty, but I still don't see what the big fuss is about. I'll stick with the Greenbush for now.

The next stop was the Public Library where I snapped pictures of the Lions, examined
Before Victoria:
Extraordinary Women of the British Romantic Era, and explored the building.

I made my way back up to Central Park and went directly to the Carousel (now that I knew where it was, I was taking no chances) and went to two rides right in a row. It is a beautiful carousel, and yet I found myself wishing I was at Ella's. The ride feels rather claustrophobic in the little brick house, which is also a tad on the untidy side. (Also, don't believe the "Each ride is 90 cents." Rides are $1.50 each.)

I had another slow, satisfying meander back down through the park, climbing over the glacier rocks (which made me feel as though I were in Baraboo) and past many dog walkers, nannies, sunbathers, and lunchers. Of course, like so many other things, I saw only a fraction of the Park. It will be something to do next time.

After I left the park I wandered down Madison Ave. to 23rd St and Madison Square Park. Yes, friends, I returned to the Shake Shack for another Shroom Burger (still to die for) and a concrete made with the flavor of the day: mocha nut. That carried me back to the apartment with a full and happy stomache, so I could change out of my sweaty morning clothes and set out for the next part of my day, which involved catching the C train down to Canal St.

A rather back-and-forth stroll southwards brought me to the TriBeCa Bridge. The Hudson River Parkway lead me back to the north, past skaters, bikers, kayakers, lovers, and trapeze artists. This took me up to Chelsea, from which I wandered back down through Greenwich Village to the Spring Street Station, just in time to catch another C train back to 34th.

Another wonderful dinner cooked by fabulous B, and then it was time to make sure that my luggage was ready to go for the next day's travels.

Day seven: My last day. Though I was catching a late afternoon flight, I stayed in the neighborhood. First stop was a brief tour of B&H for a "gosh I wish I had money and a darkroom" imaginary shopping trip. On to Macy's for a Quixotic quest for a skirt that I have seen in many places, except for store. I had a lot of fun riding the escalators all the way to the top, especially the really old wooden escalators. Final stop was at Lush, where I admired the scents (though not the proces) of the soap. (Call me a cheapskate, but at $29/lb, that soap better grant me superpowers. Eh, who am I kidding. I'd buy it if I had money.)

And then, so soon, it was time to go. I maneuvered my bags down the street to the station and caught the A train to Howard Beach. Twas a bit of a juggling act to get them there, especially with the stairs and the crowded train. However I managed it and (I think) was not a hugely annoying git in the process.

My trip out of JFK was blissfully unremarkable, as was my four hour layover in Detroit. I really like that airport. However, I do not recommend the "Online Cafe": indifferent service, dry hamburgers, and high prices. Next time I'll try the Guiness Irish Pub.

The flight to Madison was also unremarkable, though the view from the plane of the light-speckled earth had me glued to the window the whole time. Magically, one of my bags had arrived at the airport several hourse before I did, which led to a bit more luggage searching, but before long I was reunited with my suitcase and on my way home.

Big thanks go out to B for being such a gracious hostess, to N for watering my plants while I was away, to N and M for loaning my their suitcases and for being willing to pick me up at the airport when I though I needed it, and Mom for rides to and from the airport.

Spring Cleaning

I have a lot of saved emails. Folders and folders of them. Some (many) go all the way back to early 2001, when I opened my current ISP account. Some of them contain substance worth re-reading, some that was worth re-reading at one time, and some that really should have gone straight to the trash.

I've been going through all of my old emails and deleting those that are no longer worth keeping. Of course, this has led to my re-reading many, many old things. I've deleted several entire folders that had been dedicated to "friends" who decided to stop being so when they figured they had to choose between me and someone else. It is kind of strange to read the blasts from the past from friendships that fell by the wayside (especially when they make references to various stages in the relationship between my Asshat Ex and I).

Other emails contain multiple back-and-forth conversations. I'll have three or four emails in a row that end up as a re:re:re with the previous emails quoted in the test of each successive email. When the conversation seems worth saving, I pick out the mail that is most representative of the whole, and delete the rest. Some contain links to articles and websites that are long since dead. Some contain details for plans long since carried out, or changes of address that have long since changed again. And some make me extremely happy to read and be reminded of wonderful things.

It is a strange process; part turmoil and part catharsis. The past is gone. Preserve the wheat but toss out the chaff.

Bout damn time, no?

Fuse, seen on April 3 at the Wisconsin Film Festival...reviewed a wee bit late. What can I say?

From the bit of blurb that I had read before seeing the film (small Bosnian town tries to get things together in preparation for a visit from Bill Clinton) I guess I had been expecting a screwball comedy. After all, that kind of set-up (getting ready for a visti froma famous visitor) has been a staple of sitcoms for years. In actuality, though there were plenty of comedic moments to the film, the darker, more somber edge is what carried it. Death, sadness, prostitution, explosions...

At times moving, at times confusing, this movie definitely made me think.


Well kids, I'm off to the Big Apple for a week. Try to behave yourselves.

Warm fuzzies


How sad a state of affairs is it when I read about women under the Taliban or in Kyrgyzstan and think, well I guess we don't have it too bad here in the US.

FRONTLINE/WORLD correspondent Petr Lom -- a professor at Central European University in Budapest -- first traveled to Kyrgyzstan to investigate Islamic extremism. But he stumbled across a strange local custom, which he decided to explore.

With his translator and friend Fatima Sartbaeva, a young Kyrgyz woman, as his guide, Lom sets out on a journey of discovery, driving deep into the countryside to a small village just outside the ancient city of Osh.

Petr and Fatima arrive as a wedding is about to begin. Women are busy making traditional Kyrgyz bread for the occasion, and men sit in chairs outside, talking and sipping tea. The groom confesses he has had some difficulty finding a bride, but he is hopeful that "this one will stay."

When the bride does arrive, she is dragged into the groom's house, struggling and crying. Her name is Norkuz, and it turns out she has been kidnapped from her home about a mile away. ...

Well, at least we don't have *that* to worry about. Boy oh boy. We American women should just shut up and be happy about how good we have it. So what if in some areas cockfighting carried a stiffer penalty than domestic violence? So what if it is becoming harder and harder for women to control their own fertility? So what if you can be gang raped on videotape and still have your your named dragged through the mud be defense attorneys who dig up your past and call you a slut? So what? It could always be worse. We should just lie back and relax.

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