Friday, August 29, 2008

The Better Day

The better day to go to the beach was last Friday and that is when I went. Down to Penn Station, get the ticket, not ticketS which was weird, but okay and just as weird as making my own beach lunch of turkey and swiss sandwichs and nectarines and not even thinking about hitting the Burger King on the way to shore. The train lets you off four blocks from the water. I got there very early.

Wait.... this post was supposed to be about art.
How about this?

Before you vote, I must tell you I cannot have this work in my home because it's on another wall.
This one:

Art is where you find it.
Joe(But only if you are looking for it)Nation

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Genius Judas Goat

So she called early this morning and asked if she could come and get the cats.
"Sure." I said.
I should tell you all that one of the cats, Ruby, is about as wild a cat can be and still be a housecat. She will allow L to give her a drip of ice cream on the carton lid, but not to stroke her back. I am allowed (after months of training) to pet her head and rub her back, but only two to four times. Neither of us has ever picked Ruby up, not that she would allow such a humiliating experience to occur. We often said if there was a fire, we would grab Max (the other cat who thinks it is her job to be petted.), the Suzie Orman Big Book of Your Most Important Crap and the hidden money stash. Ruby would be left to fend for herself.

I didn't want there to be any problems. I wanted the kitties to be okay. So, for the past two nights when I fed them, I put the food bowls inside the cat carriers. Nothing doing for the first five minutes from Ruby, but Max happily gobbled hers and then, backing out, headed over to the other carrier to see what was up. Ruby, uh, elbowed her out of the way and streeetched inside the carrier to get to the food, leaving her hindend outside. I knew that wouldn't work.

As luck would have it, I was roasting a chicken. As soon as it was done, I took many chunks of chicken leg over to the carriers and, as soon as a cat arrived, I would toss the piece waaaaay into the carrier. Like a charm, my friend, Ruby went all the way, time after time after time. Then I tried it with Kitty Fish Treats. Um. Not so much. Lots of hesitation and giving me the eyeball, so it was back to thigh meat. Yes. I am the Judas Goat.

So I told L how to hold the chicken piece where the Rube could see it and toss it way in.

The cats were gone when I got home and there was a nice note saying that I was a genius. duh.

On my bookcase there is a little clear box containing a copper belt buckle and a jade heart charm my father made in his "metal-working as a hobby"life. It now also contains my wedding ring. I haven't had that ring off more than five times in twenty years. I hadn't had it off for five minutes when my left thumb started asking my third finger where it was.

It will take some getting used to.

Joe(so will all this quiet.)Nation

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Comes

Good morning all,

My apartment is full of tightly packed boxes, stacks of shelves and the guts and rails of a closet hanging system. L is sleeping in our, well, my bed. She was packing until 3AM or later, I don't know because I was fast asleep. I was fast asleep because .uh... I had a beer, a martini and two fingers of Scotch plus a big Bleu Cheese burger in the company of Thomas, Kickycan and his author friend, Ray and HighSeas.

(I must say it's a very good thing to have a Swiss woman with a cigarette bouncing around her mouth scream at you at the top and bottom of her lungs about Alsace and Lorraine when you yourself are trying hard to find things to occupy your mind and heart. It was wonderful white noise and I thank her for it. I also thank her for the kind words she did say and the two fingers of Scotch. yum.)

We called Frank, he called back. I'm not sure he understood a word we were saying (there are helicopters landing and taking off at full volume.) so he still may not know about the breakup. L and I just had dinner with Frank on the Pan about two weeks ago, so he'll be as surprised as I was. Oh, and Thomas called Bernie and Lola and shouted into the phone at them.

Thomas and I will be running in the same half marathon next month in Queens. Right, Thomas?Ray, (we've got to get him to join us here on A2K) goes on a job interview this morning, so that's at least one person in New York who has more to worry about than me. Kickycan was disappointed to hear I was going to be single. "Crap," I could hear him thinking, "How can I compete with guy? No way." He's got until after the first of the year then all Manhattan is mine, mine, mine.

I only started to cry once during the get-to-together and it wasn't while HighSeas was screaming (Yes. You. Were.) but no one noticed. It was just a brief upsurge. It was great to be with friends.I got home about ten thirty, helped L get the last screw out of the closet wall. We stood amongst the boxes and boxes. She had too many hobbies, she said brightly, -- knitting, beading, painting, scrapbooking and more.

She smiled.

Joe(Uh huh, I said and went to bed.)Nation

Friday, August 15, 2008


So as luck would have it, I had an appointment scheduled with my doctor for this morning. I haven't been sleeping very well (gosh, wonder why... .) and there were a couple of other things that have been bothering me, I'm off my feed and my regularness has not been.
ANYway, I am prattling along, watching him write down my blood pressure 120/74 (Yes! I am 25 years old!) when he asked me if anything else was going on in my life.
I cratered into mush before his eyes.About a half a box of tissues later:I told him the story of this coming Monday. (Maybe that should be the title of something- This Coming Monday- ?)
Gabe, that's my doctor. You should always have a doctor whom you can call by his nickname. Gabe asked me if I had a support system. Someone I could talk to or get some friendly advice from or just ears to listen.
"Oh yeah", I said, "there's a bunch of people: there's Ossobucco."
"Oh?", he said, "like the entree?"
"Yeah, I said, "and this ex-rocker, Bear, who is also the blue-veined throbber and Drewdad and Freeduck and a guy named Nimh. "
"Like the National Institutes of Mental Health?" Gabe asked as he wrote 'some delusions ... imaginary friends.....?'"
"No, well, yes, but Nimh's name is just a coincidence. Did I mention Pheonix?"
"The city of Pheonix is your friend?"
"No, she a nice person who lives in Florida with the alligators, there's also Gus who says he lives with capybaras, but I don't think that's really so. Can I have another Kleenex?"
"Who else?" said the doctor I have known for a dozen years as he moved just a little out of my reach."
"LittleK and Kickycan"
"Rappers of some sort?" he asked."
"UM, no, I don't think so. Oh yeah, dlowan who is a bunny in Australia but not the Hefner kind. And Roberta and Eva and lots more."
"Why don't you lie down here for a moment while I go check on something."
"Oh, oh, there's Dagmar who's LittleK's friend and a boxer!"
The door shut.I lay there a long time it seemed. Tissues from doctor's offices do not have the same staying power of regular tissues. I guessed I should have mentioned that my brothers and sisters live nearby and my four oldest friends in the world have been in contact these last few days, but I thought Gabe should know that I'm in touch with the very best people in the world.
Thanks, everyone.
Joe(the very best) Nation


Grief, if that is the right word for the emotions I'm feeling, has odd habits.

It sleeps for hours at a time only to waken at a completely unpredictable moment. I hadn't cried at all, or not much, during the first "meeting" when she told me she was leaving.

During the second meeting, when we were discussing bank accounts, how much of the furniture she would take and whether she would take one cat or both, I didn't shed a tear until she asked if I wanted to keep one or two of her paintings.

That makes me weep a little now, but mostly I've been able to hold myself and what little dignity I have left fairly intact, but this morning,
after forgetting my cellphone again and having to go back home and get it and
after returning to the turnstiles only to have my MetroCard rejected as "just used,
after asking the sleepy eyed attendent how long I would have to wait before I could use the card, knowing I would miss the next train and be late,
after he said
"I've seen you around, go ahead and use the gate."

... .
This one small act of kindness broke open all my resistance and I had a nice, long cry on the train.

The train is a good place to cry. For one thing, crowded or empty, the other people in the car with you don't give a ratsass what you are doing so long as it doesn't do anything that might stop or slow down the train. So you can cry or you can yodel while shaking a can with three dimes in it, you can be a three hundred pound man wearing a giant sunflower costume or two very tattooed women chained together at the waist, New York commuters will contine to work on their third Sudoko of the day, thank you very much.

For another, if you are wearing headsets, the others can't tell if you are crying at the last chapter of "The Great Gatsby" or because of something else. It could be some real tragedy in your own life or you might have just read in the Daily News about the little girl swept away from her church group after falling into the Niagra River.

For me, it was grief.

I'm pretty sure that is the right word for the feelings you have when your world, previously small and tidy and a bit boring, is melting and shattering, full of flames and ice and tears.

Joe(both cats. so they won't be lonely.)Nation