Monday, September 3, 2012

oh yeah, i'll show you a bike load.

i will admit that riding a bicycle to costco sounds at best ill-advised, at worst, just plain stupid.  hourly zipcars litter every new condo complex in this land of newly built towers and car service van drivers loiter the exit doors of the warehouse behemoth like spiders ready to snare the vehicle-less brooklynites into their web of convenience.  

but i was only making the visit for one item.  one measly item!  a bike would do for one item, i told myself.  to this, you shake your head again and think me ridiculous to make the 8 mile bike ride with a shopping list that  contained only one item.  but when 50 tablets of that item cost $25 at rite-aid and 180 of them cost $11 at costco, i think you know where the starving artist is heading.  

the simple problem with costco is that it's impossible not be be bombarded with things you suddenly NEED to buy, even when you're wearing imaginary blinders against this likely pitfall.  the dirt cheap allergy medicine for jade was a no-brainer, and no problem.  same with the two and a half pound bag of coffee.  i had a canvas bag. 

but then IT caught my eye.  the necessary and completely stupid thing i told myself, rather, screamed  at myself that i HAD to have.  it was a plastic filing bin for $7.69.  only hours earlier i had contemplated making the ride to staples to pick up this very thing that i actually did need for more than double the price.  i had vetoed this earlier trip for the ridiculous reason that i had only just heard the night before of staples co-founder, Tom Stemberg, campaigning for Mitt Romney.  now i realize this is a ridiculous trap.  i understand that the chances that  the owner of costco isn't some evil denizen of the underworld are slim.  but having those words fresh in my mind, i could not, with a stable stomach, walk through the automatic doors into the super-chilled aisles of staples that day.  plus, how would i get the plastic bin home on my bike?  

of course, that last quandary still held true at costco, only worse, considering staples sits half a mile from my apartment, and costco, 8 times as far.  but did that stop me?  no!  i was in the COSTCO BRAIN.  must have!  such a deal!  

so i stood at customer service for 25 minutes while 8 different supervisors searched for string, or rather, opened and slammed the same drawer, shaking their head with incredulity and glaring at my bike helmet.  The ninth finally found it (naturally, a costco sized box of it) sitting on the floor beside all of their feet.  

so i set to work tying knots like i was the boss.  

as i pedaled home over the pulaski bridge, hands forced down to the full speed racer posture, my precious plastic booty forcing my actual booty to barely balance on the front tip of my seat, other riders laughed at me.  i felt ridiculous and a little tough at the same time.  

then i remembered the men and women i witnessed DAILY in shanghai, hauling loads like this one i saw outside of a fish market--meaning, some of those boxes have ice in them.  and fish aren't too light either:  


and i was truly humbled and felt ridiculous for thinking i'd pulled off some great feat of engineering.

Friday, August 31, 2012

hang it up.

just swam my last outdoor adult swim for the summer.  with much sadness i retire this trusty and bedraggled season pass and give thanks to the city of new york parks & recreation department, who gave me a beautiful summer, for free.  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

confessions from a failed guppy

i've been writing entries to this feature in my blog for two years.  you just don't know it because i do it in my head while i'm swimming.  i guess i don't have the app yet that instantly translates thoughts into blog posts.  but i'm sure they're working on it!

nevertheless, the big revelation of this morning's swim is that i've been counting my distance incorrectly.  which in this case means that i've swam twice as far as I thought I had!  so instead of averaging a quarter mile a day, which sounds pretty pathetic, i've actually be swimming about 2/3 of a mile a day!  nice one, guppy!   can i pat myself on the back for a second here after a summer of committed daily swimming?  i think yes.

so that means that in the big lap contest that i was too shy to enter, i haven't come so far from missing the final prize--a mccarren pool early bird swim champ tshirt--which would require swimming 30 miles total.  i'm only missing the mark by a little, coming in at just under 25 miles!  now i wish i had signed up, because knowing that, i would have pushed myself harder.

next year, the t shirt is mine!  

Monday, July 2, 2012

what poodles skirts and 900 old cars mean to me.

sometimes I joke that I grew up in the 1950's as well as the 1980's, on account of my dad being the president of the redwood empire classic chevy club.  the club met once a month at Round Table Pizza, which was the big deal dining opportunity.  they had a salad bar there.  and yes, that's the kind of kid that i was.  i was more excited about the glamourous salad bar than the pizza.

on weekends i donned a red felt poodle skirt held up by the most boisterous petticoat my mama could find and a high ponytail for the 'chevy runs', driving all over california in a long line of sometimes breaking down classic cars, turning people's heads.  In parades my sisters and I wore roller skates and skated around the car with food trays.  my dad had us convinced that his 1956 chevy's antenna only picked up the oldies station.

naturally, there was no air conditioning.  this wasn't ever really an issue in sonoma county, land of the mild.  it was more of an issue on long trips, like when we drove down to flagstaff arizona one august for a convention in my dad's 1956 red and white bel air 9-passenger wagon.  let's see, there was dad, amy, abbie, our french exchange student marie-claude, naomi, and me.  that only made for two people per bench seat--practical luxury.  until you take into account that naomi and i, being the youngest, were always relegated to the back third seat.  the one with no windows and interestingly, no carpet on the red painted metal floor.  this was the trip where i first saw a sky full of summer lightning (astounding!).   this was the trip where i first learned the temperature could break one hundred (and beyond!  all the way to 125 through the appropriately named death valley).  and this was the trip where i learned you'd better damn well pick up your feet and sit indian style (oh wait, that's not pc anymore, right?  criss cross apple sauce?), if you didn't want to get any more car burns on your eight year old spider legs.  that counted for the sides of the car too,  where you'd better not let the probable interior temperature of 150 degrees lull you into a sweaty sleep, lest you accidentally slide up against the unopenable window and sizzling metal wheel well.  and by the way, complaints?  not allowed.

clearly, the chevy club functions were a huge part of my childhood, so i was happy to be home for my dad's annual extravaganza, in which 900 plus classic cars overtook downtown santa rosa.  and to share the madness with jade.

click on the link below to see the complete flickr set.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

american flagggggg

subway shuttle at beach 98th street in the rockaways.  it took me four trains to get out there to shoot some images of the the mta installation that i oversaw for four years.  beautifully satisfying to see it installed in the station.  and a beautiful quiet morning just me, my camera and some mta workers.  taking the A to the shuttle to the rockaways is a total departure from the city.  the subway car skims over jamaica bay.  houses on stilts.  birds.  breath.
set my faithful camera on the tripod for the straightforward shots.  but the most fun are mistakes like these when the subway car blurred by.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

rose colored iphone

slowly making my way back to reality after two months spent mostly in shanghai.  re-orientation to new york has included several walks to the river and much gazing at the sky.  despite the fact that the weather since my return has been described as 'mostly cloudy', i've still seen more blue sky in these few days than in two months in china.
i feel guilty being so negative about my experience in china, but the truth is, the apocalyptic level of pollution thoroughly colored my time and mood there.  call me country girl--i couldn't deal.  i felt like i'd visited the future of our planet.  and it was scary and depressing.
so this photo seems like it's supposed to relate, but really it doesn't.
ever get excited about the sky and clouds then realize it's just because you're wearing sunglasses, and the person next to you thinks you're crazy because all they see is grey?
to remedy this, i held my sunglasses in front of my iphone to take the above image.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

america's most wanted passport thief

i knew that i couldn't access facebook from china, but i hadn't realized that blogger would be off limits too.  so i fell into an internet black hole, despite my ambitious plans of blogging my riveting thoughts from china.

how about stale journal entries then?
02 march 2012
london.  sixteen years old.  thought i had my shit together.  i had, after all, spent my free period for an entire semester researching and planning this odyssey, this gaggle of teenagers who would descend on ireland for a month.  i was the president of model united nations.  we were pretending to represent ireland.

clearly i was already the person i am today.  in charge of every detail, except loose when it came to me.  but we'd made it, miraculously, intact--minus me having an allergic reaction to an antibiotic in kilkenny (a vacation standard for me) and andrew getting conned out of some cash on a black market doc marten scam in galway.

but nonetheless, a month had passed mostly successfully and we wandered london for a bit before flying back to the states.  i reached into my money belt (oh so prepared and safe!) for a reserve of cash.  that's when i noticed it.  or the lack of it.  my passport.  that precious document that i'd just received a month prior.  my key to the world.  and it was noticeably not present in my sweaty, month-worn tan pouch.  where could it be?!  i'd SLEPT with the damn thing strapped around my waist like any good, wide-eyed youth hosteler.   but logic or not, it wasn't there, and there were two days till we got on the plane.  or they did.

so i spent that last day in london rushing around from the consultate to the embassy, being scolded but also priding myself on traveling with a photocopy of my passport, two fresh passport photos, and an emergency fund.  go youth hostel!  they issued me a one year temporary passport and that was that.

or so i thought.

more than two decades have passed and here i am blazing through the toronto airport with a tsa escort, shoelaces clicking underfoot, pants hiked up over neon green and black striped socks, my name being called over the loud speaker (at least i'm in canada, the only place they don't fumble over the STE in my name) because i've been pulled into an interrogation room for the umpteenth time to explain my foolish youthful mistake.

cayman islands

on the way back into the us from all of these places I've been stopped.
i've been 'flagged', 'watched', 'on the lookout list', detained,  questioned, delayed, luggage searched, strip searched, shoes torn open, and tonight, after already traveling the better (or worse) part of twenty-four hours, my stomach in knots, so desperate to get home, i rush to the plane just as they are closing the doors.

and the brilliant, classic kitty joe thing?  i never really lost my passport back in london.  as i unpacked, sixteen years old, along with the contraband cans of hard cider i'd accidentally bought on the train from dingle, then panicked and hid in my luggage to bring home to my 'wild' sister, i opened up a shopping bag with my treasured aran sweater.  and there it lay, nestled in the wool.  my original passport.

twenty one years later...and i'm still running through the airport.