Saturday, April 28, 2012

Scenes from the Greenmarket

I thought I'd let the pictures do the talking again today.

This morning's adventure: The pup and I hit the Union Square Greenmarket.

Despite the chill in the air, we weren't the only ones in search of early spring produce. The flowers were vibrant, the pea shoots were verdant, and...wait for it...there were ramps!

I know, the pup could hardly contain himself.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Better Living Through Alka-Seltzer Cold Medicine

On Monday, while suffering from a horrible head cold I caught on a plane, I trudged out in my gigantic black puffy parka to walk the pup. It was an attempt at normalcy as I sneezed, sniffed and snorted out an ungodly amount of…never mind, enough said.

Anyway, off we went, the pup at a happy trot, me sluggishly trailing behind. We walked up one street, the pup sniffing and marking his territory, me blowing my nose, eyes tearing from repeated sneezing. We continued along in this fashion until we got to East 58th Street, which turns into a weird, one-block, lane-less free for all during rush hour as cars simultaneously try to jam their way onto the Queensboro Bridge or head further east for…I don’t know, breakfast doughnuts.

It was in this Thunderdomic stretch of block that the pup decided to really get down to business. As dutiful as can be, he headed to the curb for his intent sniffing of the perfect spot while I wiped my nose on my puffy sleeve. It was then that a horror-on-wheels started beeping maniacally as she barreled toward us, Cannonball-Run style. She was intent on cramming her four-wheeled hell machine into a space it couldn’t fit, and for her to do that, she needed the curb, you see. Also, it was a red light she was racing to stop at.

So, I yank the pup away, process what was happening (snot now dripping down my face) and then realized that this hellacious driver stopped her tin can three feet ahead of where the pup and I stood (eyes at this point watering out of fury). Again, it bears mentioning, she was stopped at a red light. Not only that, but she was typing away at her Blackberry. In other words, a captive audience to whatever I had to say to her.

For the three people who read this blog, you’ll recall that my patience runs out pretty fast with driving mishaps. It runs out doubly fast when I’m nearly run over with the pup.

So I stood where she could see me. Admittedly, I looked like a cross between the grim reaper (sans scythe) and Dan Ackroyd in Trading Places when he’s dressed up like Santa Claus (I’m referring to the hair, not the salmon). 

There, on the sidewalk, snot dripping down my face, eyes watering, I looked at her, gave her a two thumbs up and said, “Great job! YOU ARE AWESOME!” At which point I raised my arms above my head as if at a sporting event and yelled, “YEAH!” And then, the cold medicine clearly doing all the talking, I pointed at her, “THAT’S THE STUFF! YOU ROCK!”

Green light. She sped off.

I think the sarcasm made it through the passenger’s side window, which was closed. Also, I’m certain she thought I was crazy—will blame that on the cold medicine. The point here is, I considered the moment--however bizarre, medicine-induced and off-kilter it was--to be one of personal growth. Why? Because nary an expletive was used. It's the small victories in life.

So, today is Friday and I’ve stopped wishing that woman’s thumbs to fall off (another great leap forward). Also, my cold is gone—just in time for the weekend! Used properly, cold medicine can indeed be a transformative thing.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spring Forward

After a cold snap, spring is making another go of it here in New York.

The season has cleared its throat a few times in recent weeks, but still hasn't managed to fully find its voice. Although I tend to dedicate this blog to words (most of the time), I thought it might be nice to let some pictures do the talking for once.

All of these snapshots were taken today a handful of blocks around my apartment building. I don't live near Central Park, but even surrounded by concrete, it's impossible not to see spring peeking out from the cracks and crevices around you. A burst of bloom here, a growth of greenery there. When those little early season crocuses muscle their way up through a packed bit of dirt beside the street, you can't help but be reminded that there's an energy here that's vibrant, sometimes pugnacious, but quite often, gorgeous.

Soon, the season's vocal cords will be warmed up and we'll be treated to a cacophony of color. Until then, enjoy a few brief bars as spring starts humming anew.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lucky 7

The ever-prolific Isabel Costello has tweeted another writing assignment. This one is pretty neat—it’s a curtain-raising of sorts on what people are writing. And it works like this:

Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
  • Go to line 7
  • Post on your blog the next 7 lines, or sentences, as they are – no cheating
  • Tag 7 other authors to do the same
I chose the page 7 option to pull my seven lines from my manuscript, The Cookbook. Because it can be a bit jarring jumping into the middle of something without context, here’s the logline for the novel: When Lena Blake receives a handwritten cookbook from her grandmother’s estate—along with the instructions that she read it with her estranged sister—the 35-year-old undertakes an emotional project that forces her to reconcile sweet childhood memories with her soured, adult existence, forever changing the course of her life.

So, on page 7, we find Lena at her grandmother’s funeral, watching her sister, Lexie:

"It was amidst this collision of unfortunate past and painful present that I spotted Lexie, her thumbs moving over her BlackBerry keyboard in a flurried rat-a-tat-tat of efficient multi-tasking. Her brains, her patents, her genetically superior family, her egregiously large house in an upscale Chicago suburb and her annual salary with multiple commas compelled her to be doing something every moment. Moments like now. Mourn grandmother’s passing? Check. Greet group of bereaved relatives? Check. Schedule conference call with Mid-Atlantic team to review rollout plans for annihilating every competitor on the eastern seaboard? Check."

That’s seven lines of what I’ve been working on. I’m tweetin’ and taggin’, so get your seven ready!