Stories from my molehill life.

This is the house on the corner of MacDougall Street and Bingham Avenue, about six blocks from my house on Long Island. I would be happy to live across the street from this house just so I could look out my livingroom window and see this Wonder Wall every day.

You know what also makes me happy? Knowing that I have the BEST readers out there: it makes me happy to read all your Comments, especially because you have moose walking up to your front porch ,  and have entertained at the USO, and had a childhood in Africa, and you have the Rocky Mountains in your backyard, and you live in England .

(Remind me again: Why am I writing about me when I’m clearly about the least interesting person reading this blog??)

It’s been a GREAT 2009 (for me) because of youse.

Thank You, everyone who Comments. And Thank You everyone who reads and don’t remind me that I am the least interesting person etc.

I am always trying to make my blog better and for 2010 I have a few ideas that I’ll be throwing up for discussion. But that’s for future posts (suggestions are welcomed)– for today I am leaving you with this picture of the front of my house the morning after the Great Blizzard of ’09 because it makes me happy that Top Cat painted the whole shebang this Summer to make one of my life’s dearest wishes come true: I now live in my own yellow house.

With coral-tone shutters and lime green doors (the house has two front doors: this is the old one , which came with the original front porch 100 years ago) because I’ve also always wanted to live in a house that has New Orleans colors.

P.S. I live on a street with a lot of 100-year old houses. Those lime-green doors didn’t go over all that well with the neighbors.

Sazeracs for everyone!

Read more

If you’re hankering for quince jelly this Thanksgiving (and who isn’t?)  run, don’t walk, to the nearest Western Beef.

Western Beef is a grocery store, in case you didn’t know. It’s full of delicacies from around the [Third] world. Look for it on the wrong side of the tracks. No, really.

Here in Nassau  County Long Island, Western Beef is literally on the wrong side of the tracks, the Long Island Rail road tracks. And I mean literally literally.

P1010117

Here (below) are some soft drinks on the shelf: Mango, Cocnut (with bits of coconut flakes suspended in what must bo the gooiest beverage imaginable), and something called “Peru Food”.  All from Ecuador.

P1010154

These are jars of Cactus, some kind of leaf that looks like a by-product of raking the lawn, and vegetarian tentacles.

P1010155

This (below) is the sign that says, “Ethnic Cookies”.  And that’s a cactus in a cowboy hat pointing down the aisle. (I don’t know; does this seem a little, oh, insulting to Ethnics?)

This is where me and my camera where spotted by the manager, who asked me to stop taking pictures of the store. In an instant I was all attitude, rolling my eyes and asking him sarcastically “Are you kidding me? You’re worried about my camera??”    because I was raised in the ’60s: I always question authority. Also, I’m a very unpleasant person, in general.

P1010115

So then I asked the manager where he was hiding the quince jelly and he kindly took me straight to a shelf with about four different kinds of quince jelly, and he apologized for not letting me take pictures and I started to feel kind of crummy that I always get so snotty at the drop of a hat  like it’s my default setting, and I thanked him kindly.  To make up for me being such a douchebag.P1010116

And as soon as he was gone I took this picture of the two quince jellies I couldn’t decide between. I liked the label on the left the best, but the brand on the right was more expensive (the on the left was $2.49 and the one on the right was $6.00). When it comes to foreign foodstuff, I equate expensive  with less likely to have been cooked by workers who shit in the batter. So I bought the expensive stuff.

And so far, my digestive system tells me that it was worth it.

And I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, with or without the quince. But with all the good food, good friends, and good talk that comes from gathering around a turkey and copious amounts of wine.

And remember: look here for my stupendous new announcement to be be published on December 1 at 7 AM Eastern Standard Time.

Until then, see you Monday! That’s Monday, November 30, A FIVE DAY WEEKEND FROM NOW.

Hey. Even bloggers blow off Thanksgiving week.

Read more

drain

When you live in a 100-year old house, there are things that go Boom in the night REAL LOUD.

Most recently, what went BOOM was a 50-year old shower door, and it had heaved itself right off the wall. Poor, tired, 100-year old walls can’t fight a suicidal shower door.

So Top Cat got to demolish the old shower and with the help of the plumber next door, he put in a whole new shower for us.  That, in itself, is a whole other saga. The less said, the better.

Today Top Cat  put the finishing touches on solving one last problem with the new shower ( a persistent leak  through to the dining room ceiling), and the drawing above is his illustration of the talk he gave on the topic (to me).

Now, listening to a detailed explanation of the inner mysteries of household plumbing is not how I want to spend ten minutes of my life. But Top Cat was so pleased with his ingenuity that he asked me if I wanted to hear all about it and I said “Yes, oh yes!” and he got out his pen and he started to diagram the shower drain, the bathroom floor, and the dining room ceiling — all which you can see, above.

He even said, at one point, looking at his sketch, “Hey — that’s a pretty good drawing!”, and I listened to it all. Because Top Cat married me when I had five cats and I owe him.

So tonight, Top Cat and I are celebrating our new shower. We’re having my favorite dinner (champagne and pizza), and the Toppermost of the Cattermost  has just put an old Michael Jackson album on the turntable.  I know what comes next:

tc

The Moves.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Read more

 coyote

My first-ever show of my art work will be held in that little village on the Long Island Sound — Pelham, New York — next month, so I’ve been going through all the original illustrations from my book lately.  It’s the first time I’ve taken a real good look at When Wanderers Cease to Roam, page by page, since I shuffled the finished manuscript off to my publishers two years ago.

I’m looking for pictures that I can pull out of context, or re-c0mbine in interesting ways, to put on display.  All the paintings in the book are reproduced in their actual size,  in the same dimension that I painted them, so even if I find a picture that (I think) can stand alone, it’s a small bitty “canvas”.  This should be interesting: an exhibit of pictures you have to squint at.

coyote too

For those of you reading along at home, these two pages are from October, page 162 (and page 163 .  None of these images, I think, can stand alone, so they won’t be in the show, but I wanted to talk about them today because it’s my last post of October and these pages are the heart of my October chapter.

If I had to do it over, I’d leave out the “sideburns” in my list of Coyote things. I wrote that list back when I had a huge crush on an English musician called Paul Weller, and it was his sideburns I was thinking of:

paul

I could have used an editor who actually took the time to read my book…but that’s a whole other story.

And I could have used a little self-control that night when I jumped on stage at a Paul Weller concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London during his “Town Called Malice” encore, but that’s a whole other story, too.

Read more

P1010141

Actual Manhattan cocktail in actual Chinese restaurant on Long Island. I ordered a Manhattan because I thought it would be funny. You know, drinking a MANHATTAN on LONG ISLAND. Ha ha.

This might become my new thing.  I could become  “That lady who sits in the Chinese restaurant off Exit 37 on the Long Island Expressway on Friday night drinking Manhattans”.  Of course, I’d rather be  “That lady who writes those books that all of America loves”  but the ways things are going I’ll probably need a Plan B and sitting in the Chinese restaurant off Exit 37 knocking back Manhattans on Friday nights looks like as good an alternative as any.

So last Friday night I went to the Chinese restaurant off Exit 37 (from now on called “The Scene”)

P1010144

The “scene” at night.

I noticed that there was a guy sitting at one of the three tables in the bar of this Chicese restaurant, a paunchy middle aged guy, with two drinks on the table in front of him. Looked like he was waiting for someone. And moments later, when she arrived, she looked like the kind of girl who meets a guy for drinks on a Friday night at a Chinese restaurant at an exit of the L.I.E. She was wearing a tired-looking leather jacket, had fluffy layered hair, and was carrying a large, baggy, leather purse that had lots of  shiny metal bits decorating it. Not young, but not old. Looked like she’d come from work, looked like she worked in a used car dealership. I’m just guessing.

She picked up her drink and sipped it through the red straw that was tilted against the side of her glass. I always wonder about women who drink cocktails through a straw. Are they trying to be refined? Or what? The guy picked up his drink and took a small sip and set it down and leaned back in his seat, his arm resting on the back of his chair. He seemed interested in what the girl had to say, but he had a half-smile on his face. The venetian blinds behind him were letting in an interestingly fractured view of the night, slick with rain and shimmering with the line of headlights from the cars passing by. That old Don Henly song was playing in the background, “The Boys of Summer”.

I watched them drink and chat to each other, wondering if this was a date, or were they already half-way through their affair, or are they just friends; what were the circumstances, the long series of cause and effect, coincidence and misunderstandings, the history of failure and second chances that fill the life of any of us who end up in the bar of a Chinese restaurant at Exit 37 on the Long Island Expressway on a cold and rainy Friday night.

And then I heard her say, “That’ll keep him out of jail until December.”

P1010150

The “scene” by day.

Oh, great, I sighed to myself. That’s what’s going to make this moment one of those memories that I’ll never be able to get rid of. Like my mind isn’t already cluttered with too many superficial and haphazard remembrances, a guy, wearing a cloak, who I passed on the street in Dublin in 1985; some girl I saw in a paisley halter top at a Santana concert the day that Richard Nixon resigned, etc.

This means that I will not have any room for stuff I really should remember, like what the dentist said about that molar I’m worried about, or where my husband told me he hid the Krugerrands.

I’ve been humming “The Boys of Summer” now, for days.

 

Read more

This is the most boring house in America. I live on Long Island, so I should know from boring suburban tract housing.

P1000924

I walk past this house many days, on my mosey to the library where I put books on tape for The Blind, the blood donation center where I give my O+, the children’s hospital where I read stories to the little ones, and the homeless shelter where I spoon out lunch to those less fortunate than I.

OK. The truth is, it’s on the way to the liquor store.

Still. I see this house and I wonder, Who could live in such a non-descript, basic linear house? Who?

Then I saw the them. The family who lives here. Now I know.

stick family

So it’s Friday, and what that means.

Happy Hour at Exit 37 on the Long Island Expressway.

Full report on Monday.

Read more

bigbang

We all know that “ear worm” is a song you can’t get out of your head.

“Earworm” is German, of course. Because the French would have come up with something sexier, the Italians with something more edible, and the English with something less disgusting.

But we’re Americans, dammit, and we’re going to call it something STUPID.

My suggestion is “song tumor”.  What’s yours?

And FYI:  if you are prone to these things — to letting  a melody with words you kinda sorta know whizz in your brain for days and days at a time — I advise you to NOT watch The Big Bang Theory.

The Big Bang Theory is a half-hour comedy on NBC.

I watch it religiously, and then I can’t get the theme song out of my mind until Thursday. Here, you can sing it with me:

Our whole universe was in a hot dense state,
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait…
The Earth began to cool,
The autotrophs began to drool,
Neanderthals developed tools,
We built a wall (we built the pyramids),
Math, science, history, unraveling the mysteries,
That all started with the big bang!

I’m 53 years old. If you had told me, thirty years ago, that I’d spend my middle age singing along with a situation comedy theme song, I would have taken a lot more drugs just so that I’d have at least a good reason for this sad diminishment of mental capacity.

Read more