Tuesday, July 31, 2007

No, this isn't the New York post.

It's not the Times, either. (Geez, I'm sorry. I couldn't resist.)

It's a little it related, because I realized I never showed off a picture of my favorite souvenir. Most everybody has seen it by now, but a few people haven't, and that's a shame. Here it is:

Yup, it's real. No, it didn't hurt very much. Every American over the age of 15 is now legally required to have one, unless you can prove an exemption. Not really, but it seems that way anymore. That's not why I got it, though. Even though all of you know that I am indeed obsessed with being cool, this had very little to do with the coolness factor. If it did, I would have gotten the swallows with the banner that I love and which means nothing to me. Instead I got this little picture, which is exactly what it appears to be. Say it out loud to yourself it you have to. That's right. I got my kids tattooed on my arm, right where I can see them every day. All together now: awwwww.

The thing is, I found that I liked it. A lot. No, not the pain - how many times do I have to tell you that's not my game? - but the idea that I could have a thought seared into my flesh, and it would be permanent. I could change myself with art. Stunning. Nerve-wracking. Now I want more. My first instinct was to get a bass clef tattoo. I am pretty committed to this band now, and it seems natural to commemorate it. But after consideration, I think my next one will be this:

That's orange blossoms, in case you're wondering. My mom is from Florida and her dad had a citrus farm. He did all kinds of weird experimental horticulture in the 1950's, but they still had plain ole orange trees, with blooms like this one. Have you ever smelled an orange tree in bloom? If I were a believer, that's what Heaven would smell like to me. So orange blossoms for my mom. She doesn't smell like orange blossoms. If there were a scent I associated with her, it would be leather gloves, Marlboro cigarettes, and Windsong perfume.

Any great tattoo ideas out there?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Big Apple, Part Deux

Wednesday was the Fourth of July. Independence Day. Our country's birthday. What else could we do but go to Coney Island? We took the F train all the way down to the very bottom, wearing fabulous outfits even though it was a little chilly. Okay, H. and A. were completely sensible and wore jeans and t-shirts, but I went for a cherry print dress and victory rolls, which I have finally mastered. H. sprayed them really well for me and they survived the entire day, which included the Nathan's hotdog eating contest, the sideshow, the wind at Coney, a few rounds of skee ball, and the Scrambler. A. and V. took off for Battery Park to watch the New Pornographers, and H. and I took off for the Village, after eating hotdogs and French fries and attempting to find a penny squisher that worked. No luck.

It was starting to rain a little bit by the time we got to the Village. We found the closest bar and went to have a beer - are you noticing a theme yet? The bar was called Crime Scene, and they were playing 80's music. We were enjoying ourselves immensely and chatting about walking around to find the corner where CBGB was so we could pay proper homage, when V. called. We had had tentative plans to go to a rooftop party with her, but the weather was crap,and we didn't feel like hanging out with strangers, so we met up with her and A. at the Strand, but soon parted ways. V. and S. went on to the party, and we went to eat Indian food. It was terrific. We were back in the room watching One Hit Wonders by about 9:30 and completely missed the fireworks, but what do you do? It was a fabulous and tiring day.

On Thursday we decided it would be a good idea to dry run the route to the school. We ended up in the right place but thought we weren't, so it took us a bit to decide to trust our instinct. When that was accomplished, we went back into Manhattan into the Village. I had a moment when we turned the corner and the Blue Note Cafe was in front of me. Then we went to a record store that H.'s dad used to take her too, and I spent a long time just smelling the vinyl I wasn't going to haul all the way back to Alaska with me. We had a good time wandering, went into a little vintage store, and met up with V. at a Cuban restaurant that was wonderful. Then we decided to go to Midtown, because the whole of my previous experience with New York was a few hours in Times Square, and it just seemed right to see the things from the movies in real life. We went to Macy's and rode the wooden escalator and bought new lipstick at MAC, and then we went to Rockefeller Center and saw the ridiculous sculptures and the amazing Rivera mural. I had never seen a Rivera in person, and was suitably impressed and dizzy from it. We walked to Central Park, and somewhere along the way we lost H. and A. in the teeming crowds of humanity when V. and I stopped to look at the Tiffany's window display. It was frustrating. Finally we found them at the entrance to the Park. I really wanted to go to the little zoo that's there, but we showed up too late, and the zoo was closed. I paid $4 for a tiny bottle of fizzy water and the girls got ice cream. We sat on a bench and watched a few passersby. V. suggested we go back to her apartment and eat pizza and watch a movie about New York, so we did. It was raining so hard by the time we got off the subway that we had to run inside a deli and grab umbrellas. I picked a hot pink one with Barbies on it. Some parts of my brain will be six forever. When we were finished eating the vodka and fresh mozzarella pizza, we settled in to watch Woody Allen's Manhattan. I think I would be perfectly content to watch almost every Woody Allen picture ever made with the sound off. I fell asleep a little in the chair, and when I woke up, we called a car to take us back because tomorrow we had an agenda. Tomorrow was finally Rock Camp.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Where do I begin? New York, the first 2 days

Anyone who just sang, "To tell a story of a love that once was true..." gets a cookie.

But I meant, to tell the story of my trip to New York City. So much happened in such a short amount of time!

The first thing that happened is we climbed in a cab, and he was already on the road when he asked where we were going. There was disgruntled muttering when we told him Brooklyn. The directions we had were kinda circuitous, and it took us a long time in rush hour traffic to reach the general area where our bed and breakfast was located. After circling the block for several minutes, and arguing over whether or not there were streets behind us, we called Val and she told us where to have him let us off. I was on the phone with her when we saw her. She and Shelley had come to greet us at our place, Awesome Bed and Breakfast and we were really happy to see them. We went to dinner with them in a lovely garden that served Italian food, and then Shelley decline our invite to participate in Kuntry Karaoke at Hank's Rootin' Tootin' Saloon. The lead singer/MC/dude in charge insisted on calling us the Sugar Mamas and seemed sorta put out when we sang Jackson and didn't invite him to sing along. Ham. Cute, but a ham. Then Princess Japonski swallowed her fear to take to the stage for her rendition of Coal Miner's Daughter. I had never heard her sing before, and she was great!

I didn't sleep at all the first night - our room was really hot, and I can't settle down the first night in a new place - so I was already cranky on Tuesday morning when we woke and started moving. I was meeting a friend from high school in the Financial District for lunch, so if we wanted coffee and breakfast, we had to move. Luckily, V. knows how to handle my moods and she deftly loaded me onto a subway and then into Chelsea, where she took us to a little French place that made terrific crepes and nuclearly hot cappuccino.I felt a little better, but after I got on the subway by myself to proceed to my appointed place of meeting, I realized that I'd had one more drink the night before than I'd thought I had. This set the tone for the rest of the week. Eighteen hours in the city, and I was living like a rock star.

I almost didn't recognize D. when I saw her. I was looking for a shy, long haired girl in ripped blue jeans with a Walkman lodged firmly in her ear. The woman who hugged me was confident and pretty and easy with herself in way I hadn't seen before and that I quite liked. We found a really crappy cafeteria to eat lunch in - I had just had the better part of a croissant and the remains of last night's beer and whiskey were arguing with it, so I didn't order anything to eat - and sat down to talk. We reminisced a little, and talked about our kids and our lives now. There was a time when we had lost touch, and I worried about her, because she faced some stiff odds, but seeing her made me realize my fears were for nothing. She always had the strength of character and the drive to make her own way in the world. We left the place and I made her go shoe shopping with me. She laughed because I kept picking out things that were impractical and silly, like a pair of Lulu Guinness wedge heels in bubblegum pink, printed with pictures of candy. Then we bought slushies (for me) and iced coffee (for her, 'cause she's a grown-up) and sat in the shade of a little park to talk a bit more. She made me a beautiful hat - she stalked this blog to find out about me - and I gave her a circular needle holder. We walked back to the train and said goodbye. I hope we keep in touch.

That's when the real New York adventure began. I managed to put myself on the right train, heading the wrong direction. For some reason, even though I realize the north gets bigger street thing, I still got turned about completely. I did realize my mistake, and got on the right train going to right way to meet up with H. and A. in Union Square. Hmmm. I got off at the right place, checked my address and turned the way I thought I should go. It was a fairly nice day, warm but not hot, not too humid, and I was enjoying the walk, frankly. After many blocks, I thought to myself, this can't possibly be right! I stopped and asked someone on the street If I was going the right direction. "Sure, just keep going. You'll run into it eventually," she said. I am not certain if she was deliberately misleading me, or if she misunderstood what I was asking, but I found myself a few minutes later at the Beth Israel Orthopedics Department. Dammit! I wanted the magazine department of Barnes and Noble, not knee surgery. Crap. I turned myself around, walked back to 14th street and started hoofing it back the way I came. It took me a while. I was seriously late now, with no way of getting in touch with my peeps. I finally stopped at a coffee stand on the street and asked directions. I was still five blocks from my destination, but headed in the right direction. I kept going. I was in the bookstore, on the escalator to the 3rd floor, when my phone rang. It was A., wanting to know where I was. I was hungry (remember my slight hangover?), hot, and incredibly annoyed at this point. I restrained my urge to yell really loudly, and agreed to meet them at the Sephora next door. H. offered to buy me a slice of pie, and we headed for pizza. The food and air conditioning did me real good.

It was time to go in to Williamsburg because of my tattoo appointment. H.hailed a cab, but he laughed at us when we said Brooklyn, so off to the train again. No delays, no foul-ups. We arrived in the part of town that looks like the places I am accustomed to hanging out in. The train stop was close to the tattoo parlor, so we took a few minutes exploring while we made our way down the street. A. stopped for juice and H. and I went into a little shop next door with pin-up cowgirls on the windows. All of their clothes, including sale clothes, were 20% off, so H. tried on this dress. It was a little tight in the waist, so I tried it on. It fit, and I bought it. I need to practice in it, but I think it will make a decent dress for shows.

Finally it was time for my appointment. Hold Fast Tattoos is, simply put, marvelous. The girl at the counter was nice and brought us Coke in glass bottles, and Bailey, the artist who did my ink, was professional, meticulous, and clean. The space was beautiful, and I was enamored of all the classic flash on the walls. He spent a long time sketching my design and bringing it to me to make sure I liked it, and then he scrubbed me down and started. It hurt a little, but less than I feared. It was fascinating. V., who was more nervous than I, held her breath a little, I think, but then H. came back and they got to chatting. I think they actually stopped watching the process while they were laughing about the three breasted mermaid flash on the wall behind them, and H. complained that I wasn't being dramatic enough. Bailey was done with all of it in about 20 minutes. I adore it. It is so delicate and small - it's better than I thought.

Then V. took us to am awesome barbeque place. We let H. order for us all, and she did. She ordered pounds of meat. We are hearty ladies, but we really couldn't do the platter justice. We washed it down with more beer. Then the "chefs" sitting next to us asked A. her opinion of the food. She immediately explained she was a vegetarian, so they turned their attentions to us. We escaped when S. joined us, all the way from Harlem. We left in search of more drinks (!) and went to a little bar where we thought there might be live music. There was - a hippie with a shaker egg and a guitar who called himself "Summer of Love" and played a song entitled "Love is the Mantra." V. ran into a friend who promised better music later in the evening, but we were tired and I wanted to take a shower, so V. helped us onto a bus and we went back to our little room in the B and B. and fell asleep.