on the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy
it seemed fitting to dig out this post from rossirant
a year ago
I still can’t believe it happened
our basement is still not renovated..
water stains still on our lobby walls
piles of water stained photos still sit in boxes in my living room
and one of my neighbors was only just able to move back in to her first floor apartment this week!
but we are alive and we are well
so yeah…Sandy– you were the storm of the century for NYC
but we New Yorkers are a tough breed…and we still stand strong and proud
anyway, I digress…
flash back one year ago Sandy
The Sandy Aftermath
Greetings from zone A
My dears I can’t even tell you what this girl has been through this last week
I watched cars floating on my block, our basement took 15 feet of water, we had no heat, power, phone, internet, hot water for a week!
We still don’t have hot water and honey this shit has been freezing!!
Talk about a cold shower!
Downtown, the east village, lower east side, everything below 39th street was dark. It was the strangest feeling looking uptown and seeing all the lights, looking downtown and seeing black.
And my dears, I thought crossing the street in ROME was scary! Crossing the street in Manhattan with no traffic lights?!! Shit… at night, close to suicide!
but we waved our flashlights, prayed and stepped off the curb.
Today I am throwing away all my paintings, photographs, beloved possessions and so much more from my basement storage that I did not think would be affected because it sat on top of concrete slab that is nearly four feet high!
15 feet of water!!! Still can’t believe it. I thought I would go down the stairs to see the basement with a few feet of water, but the water was over the top stairs and a foot high in the first floor too!!
It’s been rough, but here are the good things…watching my neighbors (even one, who hasn’t exactly been friendly to any of us), band together to help each other, watching the entire hood share and help each other..watching people donate food to each other, lend generators, feeling more love and kind-ness then fear and anxiety all around me.
New York City really does have a heart and you feel it when disasters strike.
It reminded me of how kind everyone was after “911″
We really needed a bright light at the end of this terrible tunnel and we got it Tuesday night.
I couldn’t even get my TV to work until after the announcement, so I knew he won by the cheers in the street, but honeys, my dears, “Thank god OBAMA won!”
It’s the first happy moment I have had since October 29th when the east river flowed over avenue C down our block and into our lobby!!!
Please lord, heal our pains, save our basements, save our economy, keep our children warm, give us a hot shower one day soon and help OBAMA to be all that he can be.
To the Republicans, take a lesson from the east village this week and put aside your partisan crap, step across the aisle and help the democrats help this country. You didn’t want to help OBAMA get re-elected by voting yes to anything he wanted to do to help our country, well now he got re-elected anyway, so vote fucking yes already, this country can not afford blue and red, just like my hood could not afford US and THEM!
We are all in this together!!
October 30, 2013 Comments Off
I remember watching the last episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” 10 years ago, which ends with Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and her cronies barely escaping the implosion of Sunnydale. Standing on the other side of the crater that was her home, Dawn (Buffy’s mystically created baby sister) asks, “What are going to do now?”
Buffy starts to smile, knowing that for the first time in friggin’ forever, she doesn’t have to be the one to know.
But I wanted to know!
“Buffy, for crying out loud, what the hell are we going to do now?!”
The void that was left after “Buffy” was bigger than the Sunnydale crater.
“Angel” eased the emptiness for a little bit, but it started getting weird between his whiny son and Cordelia’s coma.
“Veronica Mars” gave a touch of Prozac to the void, but there wasn’t enough camp or blood letting for my taste.
No, dears, it wasn’t until a mild-mannered, Clark Kentish, boy-next-door serial killer came along that the heartstrings that had belonged to “Buffy” were pulled once more.
Darling, daring, dashing, dastardly, delicious Dexter!
For eight seasons, I have watched spellbound as Dexter chased down and killed killer after killer. For eight seasons, I have felt the complex tear that is caring for Dexter, really being on his side, but knowing he is a sociopathic killer, fixing for the next plunge of his knife.
When his wife, Rita, was murdered by John Lithgow’s wondrous character “The Trinity Killer,” I was horrified, but to be honest, Rita was getting on my nerves. (This although she was a shout-out to Buffy and Angel fans, being the same actress who played the vamp who turned Angel and gave birth to his annoying son.)
Far better suited for Dex was the haunted Julia Stiles character, but nothing, nothing compared with the love match of Hannah McKay. Hannah the poisoner was a perfect “shidduch” for Dex the stabber.
There were Dex moments I could do without, like when Deb realized she was in love with her adopted big bro Dexter. I shouted out, “Ewwwwww!” from a very intellectual place. It’s even creepy that the actors were married in real life.
And Elway. Yech, the only thing good about Dexter ending is that I won’t have to watch annoying, skinny-ass Jake Elway anymore. This guy put the W in weasel.
Sunday night has become our favorite night, with my gf by my side who is now even more hooked on “Dexter” than I am. This week, bundled up in bed, we watched the very last “Dexter.”
I won’t be a spoiler here, except to say this was a far better ending then “The Sopranos.” At least I didn’t run to my TV to see if it was broken. OK, I get it! It’s art! But not my kinda art!
It ended haunted and lonely and eerie and sad. When it was over, when the last precious moments faded into television past, I felt that familiar cavernous feeling in my solar plexus .
“What are we going to do now?!”
I have a full life. Between my catering company, my writing career, my painting career, my love life and the small social life I try to squeeze in when I have five minutes free, I don’t have time to have a void! But honeys, at 5 am after the last “Dexter,” I woke up with a darkness that I can only call mourning.
I was sitting emotional “shiva”!
Life without Dexter! It’s like a birthday cake without candles!
So what are we going to do now?
Go for a walk, smell the air, hit the gym, make love, write a book, make a great satay sauce, catch up with friends and pray for a serial killer, vampire slayer with a heart full of puns and a fierce right hook one day soon.
Until then, there’s always “True Blood.”
October 2, 2013 1 Comment
Ode to Norma Holt
I met Norma many years ago when I rented the smallest apartment I’d ever stayed in. We are talking little! I once almost dis-located my shoulder trying to use the bathroom. But it had a view, wow what a view of the Provincetown bay. It felt a bit like a cocoon. I rented the little place for 8 years and wound up doing some of the best writing and painting of my life there.
On the pier next to me a lot of folks rented by the week, including some great pals of mine, some owned, some rented for the summer. There was a seasonal renter of several years, a woman named Norma Holt.
On one my daily walks on the bay beach one afternoon, an old woman shouted at me, ”When you going in the water? Walking is fine but go in the water!”
I tried to argue, I wanted to clear my thoughts on a walk, the water was cold, bla, bla. She wouldn’t hear any of it and simply demanded I go for a swim. Once she got me to agree she also demanded I hold her hand and help her into the water, then after she submerged help her out of the water, then help her to her chair, then help her up the path to her tiny apartment in the back.
The next day I discovered that she had also enlisted her neighbors Andrew Sullivan and his boyfriend Aaron (now husband) as her dutiful solders to cart her here and there, feed her and entertain her.
“One simply does not say no to Norma,” Andrew explained.
For the rest of that summer, when Norma would catch site of me, she would wave me over to sit with her, swim with her, help her to and from the water. I have to admit there were days I hid behind the railing of my deck so I could have a little quiet time, but mostly I got a kick out of her.
I had no idea who she was, that she was a talented photographer of many decades and had lived a life that should be written about in novels and film scripts. She never bragged. I had to find these things out from others.
As the summer went on I took her out to dinner to The Squealing Pig and she told me what it was like to be in an inter-race marriage, I think it was in the 60’s or possibly 50’s I don’t recall, but certainly during a time that making that choice was dangerous. She felt she had much in common with the gay community trying to march to their own drum and not fit the norm and she was right.
I would escort her, by trotting along side her electric scooter, as she cruised down commercial street to T.J. Walton’s gallery for T.J.s artist’s brunch, which really was just an excuse to sit around and worship Norma.
On the way there, she would ride in the middle of the street holding up traffic and when they would beep, sweet little old lady looking Norma, would turn around in her chair and give the finger, with both hands!
Then she would spin off laughing at the shocked tourists.
I went with her to the Schoolhouse gallery in town and looked through the collection of her wonderful photographs. Michael the gallery owner knew I was Norma’s pal so suggested I ask her if she wanted to give me a discount.
I held up a darling photograph she’d taken of a sweet little old lady sipping a cup of tea totally naked and asked, “Norma can I get a discount on this?”
After a summer of buying her groceries, taking her to dinner, helping her to and from the water, I was kinda thinking she might make a gift of it to me.
Norma looked up at me sheepishly with her beautiful eyes and said, “Why on earth would I do that?”
You gottta love her.
September 15, 2013 Comments Off
so here we are 12 years later
it was another gorgeous, sunny, crisp magical morning
warm like summer giving up its final grasp in a last burst of glory
i woke up and actually, actually, for the first time since that morning, forgot what this was the anniversary of
then i made a cup of tea, turned on my computer and remembered in a bolt
i flipped on the news footage of the ringing of the bells, the reading of the names, the bagpipes, the many, so many lost faces
and felt ashamed that i had managed to forget for a moment what day this is
but maybe it’s all good
maybe, 12 years later, it’s time not to forget, no my dears not to ever forget, but to start thinking of this day as something else
I always remember the first wedding I catered right after 911
they were going to cancel their wedding, but the groom looked in the Talmud
the ancient book of Jewish Law to try and find some reason to go on
and he came upon an old law that says when a funeral procession and a wedding procession meet at an intersection
the wedding procession has the right of way
the law elevates, new love, new birth, new beginnings over mourning
so here we are september 11th 2013
i see school children that have just started the new year walking by my window
happy to be out in the sunshine
and it makes me think yes yes it’s a sad day, but it’s a new day
it’s a new chance to make the world better to make our life and the lives around us better
my dears i am not going to say my heart does not ache today
i still run past construction sites because the smell of construction dust reminds me of ground zero
i still can’t see any movies about 911
i still keep my 911 hard hat in the far top of my closet where i can’t see it but always know its there
but today i am looking at the glorious sun and the happy kids
and thinking it’s all open, it’s all un-written
and i am ready to live, live, live this gift of life
peace to you all
September 11, 2013 3 Comments
Today I am feeling inspired by Diana Nyad. This 64-year-old babe has accomplished her more then 3 decade long dream, by finally on her 5th attempt, swimming from Cuba to Florida. We are talking about 110 miles chock full of sharks and jelly fish!!
Honey I just turned 49 and I am feeling it. Lately I have noticed that my knees hurt after a long day of cooking, that my feet fall asleep when I sit at my desk too long, that no matter how much I work out and watch what I eat, I put on weight in seconds! Part of me says, “50 is just a year away! Then its down-hill on roller skates!”
But I look at Diana, at Diana who says she is stronger now then she was at 28 when she first tried the swim, at Diana who goes back into the water knowing what it felt like to be stung by jelly fish to have large predators swimming below her, knowing exactly what she is getting into; brave, stoic, humble and patient Diana. Imagine if she had given up at age 50.
She added 14 years to that 50 and kicked it in the butt!
On ABC today in her interview with Robin Roberts, (a woman who knows a lot about survival herself) Diana talked about the journey. She said the journey was thrilling, meeting the people, looking inside yourself and finding out what you are made of.
Painful yes, but she lived the thrill of the journey.
It got me thinking about this thing called journey.
How often do I get so caught up in finishing and hopefully (please lord!!) publishing a book that I forget to feel the experience of writing?
How often do I get so caught up in hanging my artwork in a show that I forget to inhabit the process of putting brush to canvas?
In reaching the end of a hard day of catering, I often forget to savor that perfect sauce I just finished simmering, or that marinade that came together like magic when I added just a drizzle of fresh lime juice.
Celebrating the journey, is a lesson I should have learned growing up.
My parents carted my sister, brother and myself in our white-trash motel on wheels; the camper, from South Jersey to North Florida every year. I guess some folks can do this trip on I-95 in 3 days, some folks can drive straight through in less, but it took my family a week.
This was a week of stopping at amusement parks, petting zoos, pecan pie stands, the South-of-the-border Mexican souvenir joint, the Thunderbird Inn all-you-can-eat Southern buffet and as many rest stops as my constantly having-to-go-to-the-bathroom family needed which owing to an ample supply of 3-liter diet soda was A LOT!
Arriving in Panama City Florida, was anti-climactic. A summer on the redneck Riviera? 120 degrees in the shade and all the water bugs we could chase out of our bungalow? Not exactly a thrill ride!
But the journey, had offered us an adventure!
Sadly my family as role models offered a mixed message in celebrating the journey in life. No one except for me indulged in this thing called chewing. We could be served the best pasta with the most sublime marinara and it might as well have been corn in a pig’s trough. My brother would suck the whole thing down without using his teeth once. Ditto for my mom and dad. My sister just pushed her food around and asked for money.
I was the only one who took a moment to say, “Wow that tomato sauce was really tasty!” Guess I was destined to become a chef.
I am certainly not saying Diana’s journey was a pleasant one by any means or anything to savor or enjoy. It was more excruciating then most humans could endure but she was living every moment of it.
She was truly living.
“Find a way!” was the motto she used to get thru the hard moments.
Diana said she was faster in her 20’s but stronger now in her 60’s. It’s another tale of the tortoise and the hair and slow and steady wins the race once again.
When she climbed out of the water to the cheering crowd, she said, “You’re never too old to chase your dreams!”
Thank you Diana for reminding us that dreams are ageless and that journey tromps destination!
Now if only I could get my family to chew.
Hmmm Find a way, find a way.
September 3, 2013 Comments Off
Every time I come to LA, I think the same thing; wow great weather! Gorgeous sun, great food and honey being a gluten free gal from a decade before it was hip to be sans gluten, La is def the place the be. Even the Jewish delis offer chopped liver with Gluten free toast!
For the same money you might land a studio apartment with a view of a back wall in Manhattan, you can wind up with a swank huge apartment with a terrace and a view of a yard filled with flowers!
There are cool rock clubs and great restaurants, fabulous beaches and really, really good people watching spots. Celebs are everywhere and so are killer vintage cars. For about a week, I think LA is just the best place in the friggen universe.
It generally hits me on about the 6th or 7th day.
I’m tired of having to drive everywhere.
I go on strike and walk, walk walk, hey I’m a New Yorker we would walk to mars if we could! But walking in LA is not so easy. The blocks are like 10 times longer then a normal block and walking across traffic is a death-defying feat. So what if you have the walk sign, we are talking about plastic surgeried mega millionaires sipping soy cappuccinos and texting in the intersection. Walking 4 LA blocks thru 2 busy intersections is like lowering your life expectancy by a decade!
Everyone, everyone, everyone is blonde. Everyone has been botoxed and lifted and lipo sucked. Everyone is in the biz or dating someone in the biz or trying to be in the biz or pretending to be in the biz of showbiz and not the least bit interested in you if you are not.
Everyone is on a fad, the Paleo diet, the juice cleanse, the fruit diet, no carbs, organic, vegan, raw food, on and on and on it goes. Yeah it’s nice to eat healthy but for crying out loud, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing!
I need to get my ass back to Manhattan where normal people wear black and walk 50 blocks a day and don’t want to have brunch with you if they don’t like you and can still crack a smile because they haven’t been botoxed into oblivion.
I don’t want to kiss every @**(@)))@ person I meet on both cheeks!
So yeah, LA is the best place in the world, man so awesome for a week, but after that, honey get me the fuck back to NYC!
August 19, 2013 Comments Off
The Highlight of my week in Provincetown was at the GLAD event(Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders) when I got to meet the adorable Edie Windsor, the 84-year-old powerhouse who became the poster-child for gay rights across this country.
When Edie lost her wife Thea, her partner for 40 years, she could not add being victimized by her government to losing her beloved darling and she fought for her federal rights.
Now, thank god, thanks to great legal work, fantastic organizations like GLAD, pioneer legal fire power like Mary Bonauto, Edie’s fantastic Lawyer Roberta Kaplan and the perfect face to put it behind, DOMA, the defense of marriage act, is dead.
You might think all this attention; calls from the President, being filmed and photographed by just about every publication, would go to a girl’s head, but not Edie.
She was sweet, gracious and kind and when I thanked her from the bottom of my heart.
She gave me a hug and a kiss.
I knew the moment I saw her face on television that she would win, who could say no to this woman. It’s like saying no to Betty White.
Provincetown greeting Edie Windsor is like England greeting the new royal baby! In this gay friendly town she is true royalty, as she should be, as she is.
All hail queen Edie!
Okay, okay, enough I’m making myself ill, but sometimes life is so short you have to take a moment to celebrate the great things.
I love that at 84 Edie gets to be a hero. It’s never too late to be brave.
maybe we can all start right now?
August 3, 2013 Comments Off
the closest I can come to knowing what it feels like to be racially profiled is what used to happen to me in department stores in my teens and 20′s
i guess my rocker chick look made store detectives think i was a shoplifter
and they would follow me around convinced I was going to steal something
i wanted to scream
“bastards!! i am here to shop not steal!”
“don’t judge a book by its cover!!!”
in the end, I stopped going to department stores
it bothered me so much
i try to imagine that only profoundly worse, with my life and body in danger because of the color of my skin.
is that how it feels to be racially profiled?
i used to get shocked by the way courts would rule
now ..well not so much
I was shocked when O.J. Simpson got off, but his quality of life, honor, career and bank account did go into the toilet after that, so there was some karma and the prick did go to jail in the end although it was for something else.
I was shocked when Casey Anthony got off. WTF!
I hope she’s pretty friggen miserable, the most hated mom in America and all that. GOOD!
But after Casey I don’t get shocked anymore by juries
I was not shocked when Zimmerman was acquitted of murder
I was surprised he didn’t get a lesser charge
But what do I know?
I know Zimmerman should have kept his ass in his car and waited for the police to do their job. He should have not gotten out of the friggen car!
Everything else, I couldn’t 100% swear too. That’s the problem. That was evidentially the jury’s problem too.
Who was screaming? Who was on top?
Except for Zimmerman and Trayvon, who really truly knows?? And Trayvon is not here, sadly, to tell his side of the story.
What happens now? Well Karma and a good civil suit may find some justice.
Zimmerman will have a huge bulls-eye painted on him probably for the rest of his life.
If he wants peace, the man will have to move to Mars.
But no, it was not the justice, people across this country wanted.
I keep coming back to one thing, over and over again..the gun
Trayvon should be alive today. If Zimmerman did not have a gun, he would be alive today.
“He brought a gun to a fist fight!” as my good pal said.
They acquitted Zimmerman and what else did they do? Gave him back his gun!
Why not honor the loss of Trayvon by fighting, for gun control?
Think of everything you have to go through to get a drivers’ license?
A written test, a road test?
Why can’t we have tests before we get a gun?
If Zimmerman didn’t have a gun, Trayvon Martin would be alive today, with his family, their hearts would not be broken.
It doesn’t end racial profiling, doesn’t bring Trayvon back or change the verdict against Zimmerman, but stopping gun violence in this country would be a nice step towards a better world
Say yes to gun control in America
July 17, 2013 Comments Off
The biggest piece of bull-doody that has come down the turn-pike in years; The Defense of Marriage Act- the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage legalized by the states, has been declared unconstitutional.
I always wondered why the hell they called it Defense of Marriage Act, it was so confusing cause honey the only thing it defended was racism against gays! It should have had a proper name like “PILE OF DRECK”
Well friggen Hurray honey, it was a close vote by the Supreme Court 5 to 4 but they did the right thing.
I never understood why an awesome president like Bill Clinton signed this piece of crap. I mean he was a fairly progressive guy but even Obama seemed to only stand up for gay marriage when practically being forced into it late in the game! But no matter he did finally do the right thing.
And it’s a lot of right things!
We are talking about a boatload of benefits that were denied gay couples; from tax write offs to social security benefits and more that will now be on the table!
Oh of course those republicans fought to the bone to defend this home-phobic piece of bung, well to all the DOMA supporters I’d like to say a hearty F-you but this is not a day of hate.
It’s a day of love of the law doing the right thing, of rising over old outdated values to do what’s fair.
It’s a day to celebrate love!
I loved gorgeous Edie Windsor, the 84-year-old glamorous hotty who sued the feds after the IRS denied her refund request for the money she had to pay after her wife died.
She was a glorious figurehead. Who but the worst monsters could deny this woman her rights! Edith in her own words, said “Marriage is magical!”
Next up to bat, Prop 8, the piece of super crap that haunted us since a 2008 ballot measure that limited marriage to the union of a man and a woman and effectively killed gay marriage in California..
I always thought California was a progressive state! But honey, even members of my own family voted for this pile of junk. Just disgusting!
Well the court did the right thing again and shot down Prop 8 saying it’s unconstitutional!
Yeah honey, here’s to a grand march of gay couples to the alters all over California not to mention the rest of this country sometime soon!
Today would be great!
To wondrous Edith mourning her life partner of more then 4 decades who brought her plight to the world. Rock on Edith, thanks for helping our cause help your cause!
It’s a great day to be gay, to be straight to be human to be equal, to be living in love.
Love love love rules!
June 26, 2013 Comments Off
There are certain moments that really do stop you in the midst of whatever you happen to be doing and give life to the expression “frozen in your tracks.” Such was it last night when my partner and I turned a corner and I heard her voice in a near scream; “Oh no! James Gandolfini is dead!”
It didn’t seem true at first I mean the man was only 51 had just starred on Broadway and I’d only recently seen him as the special guest of his beloved New Jersey’s film festival in my beloved Asbury Park.
It seems to make it all the worse that he was found by his teenage son, Michael and that they were on a bonding father son trip.
The poor boy, the poor family and poor us, for losing such a great talent so young.
He leaves beyond his baby daughter who now will never know her quite literally larger then life dad.
The accolades and testimonies of grief, praise and love are pouring in all around from celebs and every day folks alike and they all are well deserved.
Here’s my story.
I wasn’t the first one to tune into “The Soprano’s.”
No it took me a few seasons to get hooked. “Watch a fat, ugly, violent Mafioso talk to his shrink ?” Nah I’d rather watch Buffy the Vampire slayer.
But one night a few seasons in I caught an episode and realized I was watching perhaps one of the best anti-heroes ever seen on TV.
I was hooked and immediately starting catching up on back episodes.
When a few years later thru a magazine I was writing for called “The Flatiron News” I had the pleasure of interviewing Edie Falco his co-star, she was filled with praise for him. She said he was completely shocked to become a sex symbol.
The big, and certainly not handsome, cumbersome man, was seen as pure macho by thousands of women
Edie talked about how hard-working and kind he was.
I had the pleasure of listening to him speak at Convention Hall in Asbury Park and was blown away by just that, how kind and how humble and how sweet he was.
The gentle giant I thought.
I think we were blessed to have him and I’m sad he’s gone.
It reminds me of the fury I felt in that final episode of the Sopranos when my screen just went black…fuck fuck fuck what a terrible time for my TV to break!! I screamed, no no it can’t end like this!!
But of course my TV wasn’t broken and it was over, all over… fade to black. I felt that way last night too.
fade to black and it’s all over
you will be missed but not forgotten
June 20, 2013 Comments Off