Saturday, June 6, 2009


I'd complained about twigs in the corner of my eyes. My pal, sister, daughter in-law handed me a small blue box , saying "It's just a little gift, under $40 -- eye cream, 15 ml."

(I'm fossilized like a bug in amber -- an eighth of an ounce I can picture -- mention ml and I'm hopeless. Inside the box was a one inch diameter container. )

Albolene sat on the backstage dressing room table, next to the grease paint, rouge, shadow, liner, and powder. It was a summer resort in the Adirondacks -- Carol Burnett got her start there. As the "swing girl" understudying everyone, I was earning $125 for the summer, plus room and board.

How do you do stage makeup? You watch! Do what the other guys are doing. Layer it on, take it off with Albolene -- icky wonderful stuff that stays on your face forever, unless you rub vigorously with a wet, hot washcloth.

Those were the days when I hoarded the name brand makeup that I wore every day without fail. Store ran out of it! Woe! Finally got a substitute -- bought five jars. Years after stores ran out, I was still wearing it. 'Tis a tale told by thousands of women!

Woe -- Albolene went up in price. Okay -- Johnson's Baby Oil more or less did the trick.

Daughter pal Shareen (, who knows absolutely everything about what's the latest in glamor-beauty-health things, bought the blue box at a fancy store. It's a well-known place that supplies the high-price, best cosmetics to those who believe the higher the price, the better the ingredients -- "better" ingredients are BETTER!

Those who don't believe, like me, think you're buying better promises -- proof is what you see in the mirror. Spend more or spend less? Either way, you're seeing what you want to see.

I used a pinkie finger's daub on my eye twigs. Didn't check the mirror. Used it two more times. The blue container's booklet described in romantic terms, the "soothing" aspects of the product. Googling Albolene, I saw its relatively low price, and a new slogan: "It's what your grandma loved and used!" Looked up Baby Oil -- a blogger said it left a slightly irritating residue on her skin, that came off with washing.

Aii Yi! All the words above this line, tell the story we've all heard. The super best: Probably a gyp. Familiar brand name: A rose by any other name .... But hey, "You're worth it."

So here's Em, fossilized in amber.

Every once in a while
I pat on baby oil.
Or do nothing.

Friday, June 5, 2009


He's reaching out and touching the world.

Does it bring tears to your eyes? It does to mine.

Young, he is -- strong strides, always energetic. Have we ever seen him tired, really worn out? Oh yes -- we've seen PR photos of him with some of the guys, showing us that like all guys, he and his cabinet and his advisers relax once in a while.

He is like a young Daddy, full of piss and vinegar, taking on the neighborhood gangs, taking their punches, even brutal, ugly, below-the belt attacks -- not always with a grin, but he always stands up to them, looks them in eye, and tells them --"You are wrong!" Says it strongly, clearly (maybe a flicker of anger showing), but he's a Daddy, teaching them even when he reprimands.

How often have we shivered and worried, and inside ourselves, wished the people who hate us, the foes, the enemies, who are people like ourselves, would stop hating us and be friends....

While Obama is over there with them, we're praying, hands clasped. Praying like needy children ... fix it ... didn't Daddy fix the top when it wouldn't spin ... pick us up when we fell and hold us ... make the pain go away? The awful possibly of a bully somewhere pushing the red button that could destroy the world. The ruthless furious members of gangs who would kill themselves rather than let us win or think we're winning a fight that none of us want.

All that, all the crazy killing, murdering -- can he, could he, will he make go away?

We know he's trying, want him, desperately want him try and keep trying.

We, the needy children, we're standing back, as you have to when the chief is taking charge and trying to take care of us. And praying that he'll be okay. That no crazy person will hurt him. That he'll keep going, looking them in the eye, telling everyone, even those who hate us, that we're have to stop hating and live together.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Remember when "one glove" Michael Jackson first appeared with kinky, long, wet looking hair? It looked like recently un-braided, braided hair, and became very stylish. Some people still wear their hair that way. It never went out but other styles have come in, way IN.

I don't know if you noticed, but I certainly have -- females these days wear their hair Like H E R.

Blond-brown, shades of golden brown or light bronze -- it's been getting more and more popular. It started after 1994, got hot, and hotter by 2004, and now, right now, it's more than ever T H E LOOK.

Shoulder length, sometimes longer, randomly wavy ends, center part that is not neatly parted, so no part works fine.

Is it her hair style, or her that made her the most memorable friend in "Friends?" Believable actress, comedic, touching, able to dance, sing, cry, be boisterously rah-rah, hugely seductive or prissy prim -- all that, plus a ideally proportioned shape, and neat, right, perfect facial features. (But not one of those typical movie star faces, out of the box of perfect faces, all of which seem similar.)

I didn't see the show in its heyday. I'm snobby -- anything with canned laughter gets me clicking other channels. And in the mid-nineties, we lived in our Malibu log cabin -- no cable, just two local stations. But when we resettled in NYC, I caught a bit of the show, then started looking for bigger bits, and "Em," who isn't a fan of anyone on TV, belatedly became a fan.

I have long hair that's been long since I was twelve. Even when other styles are IN, I know my pulled-back hair style, the way I make two ponytails into a double bun is fairly unique. When I wear my hair loose, it usually attracts attention.

Well, the days of attracting attention with my long hair are gone.

Yoo hoo Jen! If you get blue over those two, (you know who) -- its you, not HER that women all over the world have been imitating for more than a decade -- grandmas, lady execs, moms, teachers, actresses, models, chic young woman, wild girls, teenagers, kid sisters, famous females as well as ordinary females.

Is it your spirit? Your hair? Who knows exactly what it is, but YOU are the one, Miss Jennifer Aniston!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


JC and I were fighting. It was serious. We couldn't get rid of the problem. After we'd talked about it for a week, nothing was solved.

He'd been doing "Hamlet" while I was finishing a tour of England with my dance company. The girl who played Ophelia kept phoning him. I wanted him to tell her "'Don't call me anymore." He knew she was seriously depressive, suicidal, and didn't want to hurt her.

We sat at a coffee table we'd inherited from B. (My friend B had just gotten married, and was building a new life with an architect who designed rectangular furniture, modules that contained your bed, desk, closet, shelves -- you name it, it was in the module.) So, we were sitting across from one another on B's Danish chairs, foam rubber covered with a pleasant brownish-orange tweed.

Before JC had gone out of town for "Hamlet," before I'd gone to England, we'd bought orange mosaics, sheets of one-inch squares -- a ten pound box, enough to re-do the bathroom floor.

"JC, you said --- "
"No, Em, that's what you said, and I said ---".

Back and forth, we argued and fitted mosaics in a circle in the center of the coffee table. What do you discuss, if there's a needy neurotic girl interfering with the balance of husband and wife? Husband's audition for a new project, as you lay an orange square next to the previous one in the ever-enlarging circle? Wife's new choreography idea, as you position another orange square, passing a box-cutter back and forth, chopping off corners that have to be excised, so the mosaics can lay in a circular shape?

With interruptions for normal things, in between circles of mosaics, we exhausted his Hamlet, Ophelia, auditions, and Em's choreography ideas --iff'ed, maybe'ed, and planned a trip to L.A. where there might be new opportunities for us both, and created a beautiful coffee table with an orange mosaic top.

It sat in the center of our living room while other trips, choreographies, plays came and went, and successes earned us money for renovations, and everything orange and brown and worn in that living room, became spring green and fresh white wicker.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I give myself a blue ribbon for being able to handle a bunch of jobs and responsibilities that keep changing. Like helping my man keep his appointments, be on time, ready, willing, and able to do the job.

JC can be an absent-minded professor. I can't.

Because I don't have a go-to-work job with regular hours, I rarely take a day off. I cook and clean (too fast) and do the ordinary things of running a household -- but mostly -- I write.

If you write, you've got to have your mind free and able to focus on an idea. So I like to have -- no, I've GOT TO HAVE -- a schedule, an objective for the day. Especially lately. When who I am, and where I think I'm heading keeps changing.

Okay! I'm flexible! I give myself awards for handling ups and downs, for turning a nothing day into a something. At this moment, for instance, I don't know what I'm writing about, or why. I started this post a week ago. It's a nice word, and I felt I was acting a little nutty!

I say I need a schedule, and spur of the moment, throw out my schedule. Make a new construct, justify an utterly changed routine. Is that good? Bad? Am I praising myself, because I create logical reasons? Not only do I change my mind about where I'm going, I reverse directions.

Hey, if necessary, I'll tell a white lie. Later, I'll admit it's a falsehood. Even when it's awkward, and upsets the other guy, I can be bluntly truthful. Or just plain simply matter-of-fact, honest.

Do I get a gold star? Or are medals stripped from me (by me, the giver or stripper)? It's a fact. I do this! Praise myself, applaud myself! Scold myself, berate myself for being inconsistent!

It even annoys me, that my inconsistencies bother JC, who's Mr. Inconsistent himself.

(Wait ... I'm trying to think of someone who is always reliably predictable ... can't think of anyone. Maybe inconsistency is the way to go, and the other side is boring and dull, not human and friendly, with a sense of humor?)

Can you count on me? If we made a deal, you can. Absolutely. If you need help, and call me, will I help? I will! Write me a letter, send me an email, and I will always always answer. Almost immediately. So you can count on me -- for consistency despite my inconsistencies.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Child's Time ... Never will I forget the feeling ... slow slow ... how long it took Mom to get things on the table for breakfast, how hard it was to chew and get it down ("Chew, don't gulp it down," said Mom), when outdoors was beckoning, next door neighbor's kids were hooting and calling.

Cruel it was, to fold my napkin, roll it, and fit it back into its napkin ring, and ("Finish your milk," said Mom) -- take that one last gulp of milk, and then, only then, there was a whole huge day.

Hop Scotch, Hide and Seek, skinning my knee, getting Mercurochrome and a bandage, Giant Steps game, lunch, nap on the sun porch where my sister's potato plant vines grow visibly longer as I close my eyes, wondering when I'd be old enough to stay up all day till bedtime?

Grown up Time ... ten, fifteen years later? Never enough time. Off to class at 10 A.M. learning Hindu gestures, dashing to 1 o'clock intermediate ballet, rush-rush shower, five minutes to eat and head for the launderette, hurry home, time for bed.

Lover Time ... Waiting for the mailman ... Waiting for the phone to ring ... Listening for footsteps on the stairs ...

Curtain Time ... arriving always at least 3 hours early; makeup; change clothes, warm up barre; costume, waiting in wings, stretch, leg lifts, little jumps ...

Dancer Time ... thirty-one, two, four... am I'm over the hill ... thirty-five, seven, nine, is it too late, it's too late to be major, important, famous ...

Hospital Time ... 3 hrs till the next pill; making conversation with nurses, counting chimpanzees, watching the big clock on the wall -- its minute hand circling, little hand inching, big hand not moving at all.

Writer Time ... month, half year, year, plotting plot, re-plotting, re-revising waiting for agent, editor response, planning when to e-mail, how to remind them, what to say about a new project ...

Internet Time ... a river it is, sometimes a pond, with flotsam and jetsam to jump into, or leap over ...

Today, waking, planning what to accomplish today, I thought -- ought to do more, work faster, it's already summer and next month ... My goodness. it'll be Christmas in a minute!

Sunday, May 31, 2009


The cup in the picture says: World's Greatest Landlord and that's me!

Aren't we lucky to own a building in the heart of Manhattan! If my mother hadn't lent us the money, I don't know how we would have managed. But with her help, we bought it, paid off a first and second mortgage, and have ourselves a home.

It's old. Five floors. Built in 1905. Some of the original gas fixtures are still in the ceiling. The building is hard to heat. Our home on the top two floors is quite cold iu the winter. But it's nice to have a home in the center of the city.

Its a commercial area. When Con Edison is digging in the street -- noise, traffic jams -- that's a problem for all the businesses surrounding us.

When the furnace stops working, I say--"I need help!" And my do-it-all guy, JC, grabs some tools and heads for the basement.

When there are water problems -- the main on the corner breaks down -- water floods into the basement. Heavy rainstorms -- gutters on the roof get clogged -- the ceiling leaks. Got to race up to the roof, clear the gutters while it's raining.

Rust on the metal front steps -- serious symptom -- time to repaint them and the fire escape -- a lot of money involved in rust proofing, checking the bolts on a five storey fire escape, repainting it and the front stairs.

Still, we feel lucky. We have learned how to handle most of the emergencies. We've got tools. And over the years have gotten a list of people who fix these problems.

Our courtyard in the rear is a trouble spot. Five 12 storey buildings surround it. Their tenants toss trash into our yard -- bottles, cans, garbage, pet cages, dead dogs, cats, and quite a few rats. Since it's our yard, keeping it clean is our responsibility. Things we can't handle, Phil, super for us and our neighbors, takes care the nasty stuff, (if we pay him extra).

It's annoying but the yard's outside. The inside where we live is like a 14 room country mansion. Colorful. Spacious. I designed the curved wall that separates the kitchen and green living room with its white wicker furniture. The doorway's shaped like a keyhole. All our walls are cloth covered -- blue room, red room, dark brown kitchen with matching enameled metal ceilings. (It's been described and photographed by magazines. I promise -- one of these days I'll post some pictures.)

Landlady-ing isn't a overwhelming chore. Our money managers collect the rents. One tenant didn't pay for almost six months; and owes us $20,000. It's something to deal with that I'm not dealing with -- lawsuit eats time, and will cost about 75% of what we might get back.

The new tenant, an angry girl -- called the police, Dept. of Bldgs. and WABC-TV, complaining that her place was too cold. (Her customers, opening her front door, let freezing air in, affecting the 68 degrees that our furnace provides. She's got a side door, won't use it -- claim's it's "ugly." ) TV commentator, cameras, and crew rang our buzzer. When I answered, they filmed me as a cruel unfair neglectful landlord.

It was a nightmare, till she bought (goody goody!) some portable electric radiators.

Still, we're lucky. Lawyers, leases, answering service, and caller ID protect us.

But, this is New York. Old violations can't be fixed in a building born in 1905. The money-hungry Environment Protection Agency will cite us if any debris is found in the front gutter; sidewalk, or on our front steps, where neighborhood employees love to eat their lunches.

If you protest a citation, you must prove with photos and affidavits, that your building is swept 3 times a day. We paid $100 for the first violation, $200 for the second, if we get a third it'll be $300 ... Well, we're hoping to get by for a while longer.

It's our home. Bought it for $70,000 and it's worth.... Put a row of zeros, each year it's worth more.

Yep, there are disadvantages . But golly, it's a lovely place -- bright pink and orange hall ways, red carpeted stairs, bright yellow ceilings -- just entering lifts my spirits. We're pleased, proud, tickled that its ours ! Okay, it's unusual, there are small disasters that require unexpected, remarkable rising to the occasion, but our home in the heart of the city -- it's truly a home sweet home.