Thursday, March 5, 2015

Fun and Serious

One of my best friends, Emma, has a blog (Verbal Melange) through which I met her. Emma is exceptionally bright and very sweet. She's also about to get married.

After holding back for a year, Emma finally came forward and asked to participate in the pink boxing gloves project. She explained that she was reluctant to join until she got a mental grip on the symbolism of the gloves. An insight popped into her head recently and she became eager to display it.

Emma was pondering female strength -- what is it? Where does it come from? What does it represent and mean in our lives?

These are serious questions and Emma tackles them with intelligence. At the same time, she illustrates her insights with a very funny, whimsical photo of herself wearing the gloves. The picture is below and the insights are on her blog. Go visit! Now!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Trip To The Twilight Zone

I had a wonderful visit with Jen and her family in Atlanta last weekend. It was so good that I'm not going to write about it until I have time to do the trip justice. The visit was special and warrants my best effort.

We took lots of photos that I want to share with you but my camera is in my luggage which was mistakenly sent to the wrong airport. It's whereabouts are currently unknown. I'll let you know when the bag and camera are found. (These pictures were taken on Jen's phone.)

In the meantime, let me describe the outset of the voyage which was unusual. You can hear Rod Serling's voice saying, "When Ally embarked on her flight in New York, little did she know that her final destination was... the Twilight Zone."

The three major airports around New York City are crowded and difficult to get to. There's a tiny airport out east on Long Island which is uncrowded and easy. For those reason, I chose to fly out of Islip. A downside of that choice is there are only a few airlines there and only one goes to Atlanta.

That airline is cheap. I learned why. The first leg of my flight was on a plane from the past. Literally. It was 80 years old, stained and banged up. It was kept together by duct-tape. Really! The cabin was full of strips of duct-tape covering holes and dents. I didn't realized the FAA allows duct-tape to patches holes in aircraft.

Normally when you fly, you walk through a tube onto a large plane, the jet engines start, you climb smoothly up to 30,000 feet and then the unremarkable process is reversed. By contrast, my plane was tiny and powered by two propellers. No jet engines. We walked out onto the runway (not through a tube) to reach the plane and walked up its rickety stairs to get inside. I felt like a character from "Casablanca," hoping to get inside and take off before the Nazis started shooting. It felt so weird.

I noticed there were only 8 rows of seats in the plane. And only one flight attendant. The attendant was an attractive middle-aged woman who I suddenly realized has only one eye. My airline was so cheap they couldn't afford a stewardess with two eyes. My attention was transfixed on the attendant's face because her painted glass eye kept roaming around in unexpected ways, like a kitten darting after shadows.

I sat next to a propeller. I could have touched it if the window was open. When the plane started, a roar came from the propellers that was overwhelming. It was impossible to hear anyone talk. When the one-eyed stewardess came over, leaned close to me and moved her mouth, I heard nothing and tried to read her lips. There was no food or beverages served; I was relieved they didn't ask me to load luggage onto the plane or wipe snow off its wings.

Back in the 1960's, famed comedian Bob Newhart did a routine about flying on the "Grace L. Ferguson Airline and Storm Door Company." My flight to Atlanta reminded me of that. Bob spoke about arriving at Miss Ferguson's home, being told to weigh his luggage on the scale in the bedroom, and proceed to the backyard for boarding. The pilot came out of a bedroom holding his head, muttering "Have you ever had one of those hangovers that lingers for days?!"

The happy news is I survived. We flew at 1,000 feet the whole way because the plane couldn't go any higher. The whole experience was surreal and as I stepped off I thought I was entering the Twilight Zone.

Have you been on any memorable flights?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

I'm off to see the Wizard! The wonderful Wizard of Oz. Her name is Jennifer and she lives in Atlanta. I'm bringing my dog Toto, too.

I hope the Wizard can find me a heart. And a brain. And courage. Then, I hope the Wizard will help me find a way home.

For the journey, I'm bringing pretty girl-clothes. I don't know if or when or how I'll be able to wear them but, as they say in the Boy Scouts, "Be prepared."  I'm ready!

It's time to sing a song. Sing with me if you know this one...

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pee-Wee's Back!

I'm a serious cinemaphile and can lecture on auteur theory, the history of film, and various aspects of this art medium.  So it surprises people to learn that one of my favorite movies is "Pee-wee's Big Adventure".  Directed by Tim Burton, the 1985 film is a talented work of art which made Pee-wee an overnight star.

Before that, I'd seen Pee-wee do late-night shows and was entranced by his extremely odd man-boy persona.  He's both mature and immature at the same time.  You've never seen anything like him.

Pee-wee made a second movie which was so bad we won't talk about it.  Then, in 1991, Pee-wee was caught with his pants down and he quit show biz.  The actor who portrays him (Paul Reubens) appeared in cameos since then (e.g., "Batman Returns"; "The Blacklist"; "Murphy Brown") but they've been under most people's radar.

Well... he's back!  Pee-wee is making a new movie with Judd Apatow.  Bow-tie is the new black!

Do you know Pee-wee?  Do you like him?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Beating Winter Blues

When the snow is higher than your car, you know it's Winter.  New York and many other places have record lows and lots of snow this year.  Short days, dreary skies and slippery sidewalks can be depressing.

What do you do to combat the Winter blues?

I focus my attention on long-term projects, like designing my costume for the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island.  Even though the parade isn't until June, the work necessary for a costume is extensive and doing it is fun. 

This year I'm also going to try something I've never attempted before -- gardening.  I plan to grow jalapeno and habanero peppers to use in spicy cooking.  Even though the actual outdoor growing must await Spring, the project needs preparation now -- drying out seeds and starting their indoor germination.

I'm also catching up on movies that I overlooked in the past.

What are you doing to brighten your mood?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My Past

When I was in college, I fell in love with an artist named Maura. She was smart and cultured. Her round face was cherubic and her fiery red hair was strikingly beautiful.

Maura knew at age twelve that she was going to be a painter. She vowed to create art for the rest of her life no matter how impractical that would be. Happily, she has been able to do this for five decades. (She's the same age as me.)

Maura and I lived together for twenty years. She is a real genius -- and I use that word carefully. Of all the bright people I've met, Maura is the smartest. She sees things the rest of us don't. Maura now lives in rural Wales which is a good place for her. Quiet, contemplative and full of animals. Maura found New York much too stimulating. Like many artists, Maura is hyper-sensitive to her environment and couldn't handle the media-saturated culture here.

Maura is visiting me now for a few weeks. Being with her transports me back to my youth. We repeat our inside jokes, recall old friends and times, and generally feel connected to each other and our shared past. I snapped this picture of her today in Starbucks.

Are you friends with any of your former-partners?

Thursday, February 19, 2015


We all like to receive comments on our blogs.  Some of us enjoy leaving comments.  Making and getting comments is an interesting subject.

Why do we enjoy getting them?  Probably 'cause we work hard at our blogs and it's nice to know people are reading.  When visitors announce their presence and say something meaningful, it validates our effort.  For me, there's an added benefit because you guys are more experienced with female life and fashion so your feedback educates me.  I learn from you, almost every day.

Why do we like to leave comments?  Sometimes it's a way to be friendly.  To tell our online comrades that we support their efforts. 

Checking in on our friends is mutually-beneficial.  I take great pleasure in commenting on your blogs.  It feels like we're having a conversation.  My happiest moments are when a funny idea pops into my head while reading your blog which I can organically weave it into a humorous, relevant comment.  The prospect of making you laugh puts a big smile on my face.

What do you think about comments?  Do they matter to you?  Why?  Can you remember any that meant a lot to you?

P.S., I'm bringing this dress to Atlanta!