City Angles, a birthday pilgrimage

Every year around Art Child’s birthday, we head downtown to the big art supply store so she can get some new supplies.  This year I brought the camera.  Note the green metal panels over the windows in the alley shots.  I was told those were to protect the residents in case someone dropped an atom bomb on the city. Along the lines of being told to get under your desk in case during the old air raid drills.  Not that I would remember such a thing, of course.

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Since Husband drove us, and we were already downtown, heading over to the village for a slice was a given. Later shots are along the West Side Highway, headed back uptown.

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And a few more random photos taken on my way to PT.

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Happy Friday, Fringelings, have a great weekend!

 

Spring From the Terrace

Ubiquitous NY bloom

Ubiquitous NY bloom

Sure things get caught in the trees year round, but in the spring, there’s a ragged plastic bag for every other tree.

Between my current limited mobility and my perpetually limited budget, I decided it was time to unpack the flower pots and containers, and revive my role as (urban) Farmer Fringe.  Ok, so maybe half the pots were just sitting out on the terrace, and hadn’t actually been emptied since I last used them two years ago.  I confirmed with friends who know how to garden and my special friend Mr Google that I could reuse the old dirt, mixing in new and some food. Fertilizer.  Whatever those little pellets are called. I used my little gardening tools (no, I don’t know their names either) and attacked the old dirt to loosen and aerate the old soil, and remove the long dead plants that I certainly should have removed long ago.  I always mix up perennials and annuals, so honestly I’ve never bothered to pay attention to which category I’ve planted.  The interesting part is that in one of the pots, I could tell what had been in there (nope, don’t remember what) was the type that could grow back, because the dirt was different. Once I got below the first few inches, the soil was darker, moist, and seemed live.  Is live the right word?  I’m thinking in reefing terms, like live sand.

A couple of months ago I had purchased some flower bulbs that I found on sale.  Husband drove Art Child and I to the big box store in the Bronx so I could get fresh soil without going broke,

I may need this to be a miracle.

I may need this to be a miracle.

and some seeds.

Appropriate for this zone? I dunno.

Appropriate for this zone? I dunno.

I also found this neatogroovycool seed starting kit.

On sale, it seemed worthwhile.

On sale, it seemed worthwhile.

I know myself well enough to know I’d never remember which seed I planted it which little pod, and I surely wouldn’t recognize the sprouts, so Art Child labeled Post-It flags for each square.

Unfortunately I didn't account for the havoc the moisture would play on the ink and the glue. Going to be sprout surprise!

Unfortunately I didn’t account for the havoc the moisture would play on the ink and the glue. Going to be sprout surprise!

Nor did I account for the energy and physical effort required to get the seeds and bulbs planted–even though I did all from a chair, and spread it out over three days. One of the bulbs planted needed to soak for a few hours before being planted. By the time they were ready, I couldn’t bend at all anymore, so I waited til the next day. Wow, do those things absorb water!  The next morning, they were unrecognizable.  It’s possible I planted them upside down.

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But look what’s happening now, a week and a half later!

Urban gardening at its finest

Urban gardening at its finest

One last photo, just because the other morning sunrise felt especially promising.

I will hold this moment in my head as I do battle with the PT exercises.

I will hold this moment in my head as I do battle with the PT exercises.

Shhh, I’m Hiding

This is Mrs Fringe, a little out of focus, sticking close to my hiding spot under a rock.

This is Mrs Fringe, a little out of focus, sticking close to my hiding spot under a rock.

Hello, Fringelings!  I hope all are well.  I’ve been sniveling so it seemed prudent to remain quiet.  Not much to say, really.  I’m lying low, pain, a gala of self-pity.  In order to keep myself occupied, I’ve been researching college options for Nerd Child. A fun and exciting time, right?  I have to say, after 8000 rounds of school admissions for each child at every school entry point, this isn’t as much fun as it used to be. Honestly, this whole multiple fractures gig is quite a nuisance.  Next time I’m going to opt for door number 2, maybe a 72 hour stomach virus.

Nope, haven’t done any writing, but the longer my arm is casted, the more my ideas for that short story are being pushed aside in favor of horror stories that involve rotting flesh.  Move over, Stephen King, Mrs Fringe has owies just begging to be fictionalized.

Two days ago I thought hey, I’m doing a little better, I think I’ve turned a corner.  Yesterday I had to go back to the orthopedist to be checked.  Hah! Sure I’m doing better if I don’t move, but by the time I returned home from a couple of hours of new X-rays, limping down hospital corridors, and being asked if “this hurts” I was ready to forcibly remove the jawfish from his tunnel and claim his residence.  Someone do a water change once in a while, ok?  In any case, the ortho now wants me to start non weight bearing physical and occupational therapy.  I have no clue what this will entail, but if it’s going to put me further along the path to recovery, I’m all for it. So I thought, until I got a phone call from the PT office to set up an appointment.

I know I’m cranky, and I know not everyone has a strict budget, but really, wtf?  I’m moving slow, no matter what I have to get the girl to and from school, and I’m having to take cabs because going up and down the subway steps is still out of the question. The coordinator from the ortho’s office assured me she would let them know I needed PT and OT scheduled together.

The PT clinic has other ideas.  I told the woman clearly, I have a budget and time constraints, so no, I can’t schedule PT and OT for different days, leaving me to get back and forth across town every day of the week–not to mention an additional co-pay every time I go. She offered me a PT appointment for this morning.  Fine, let’s get this started. Then she offered me an OT appointment for Thursday, exactly when I have to pick Art Child up from school.  No can do. She recommended I hire someone to take Art Child back and forth from school for the duration of my recovery.  If I were a different sort of woman, I’d have been flabbergasted.  Being me, I was pissed. I was watching the tank while I was on the phone, and the jawfish must have heard my thoughts, because he dove back into his hole and spit sand at me from the entryway. From a fresh perspective this morning, it’s a good thing I was still in a daze of pain from the morning’s appointments when she called, or I likely would have said some things that would have led to me needing to find a different clinic.

It occurs to me I don’t own sneakers that are real umm, sneakers.  Hopefully, since I won’t be running or doing anything with weights, or, yanno, standing, barefoot will be ok.

I think I’ll just keep losing myself in watching the reef.

skunk cleaner shrimp

skunk cleaner shrimp

anemone, still waiting for the clowns to discover him

anemone, still waiting for the clowns to discover him

bird's nest coral, growing fast

bird’s nest coral, growing fast

setosa coral, happy polyps extended

setosa coral, happy polyps extended

Queen of the tank

Queen of the tank

Acan, two new heads

Acan, two new heads

Acropora

Acropora

The jawfish venturing out of his hiding spot

The jawfish venturing out of his hiding spot

Fire shrimp

Fire shrimp

Is It Over Yet?

I ate all the fruit, I must be healed by now.

I ate all the fruit, I must be healed by now.

Isn’t that the loveliest fruit basket?  Sent to me by a friend, and it didn’t have strawberries, so I was actually able to eat it.

I’m working hard on staying, well, if not positive, at least fatalistic. Yanno: life happens, accidents happen, what can you do, blah blah, blah.  And in the scheme of things, I was lucky.  I fell forwards instead of backwards, which would have been worse for my back, and most certainly would have cracked my skull, thick as it is.  Nerd Child has been home this week (Spring Break), a huge bonus, getting Art Child to and from school, keeping me company, and generally helping out.

Art Child has been feeding the tank, and Husband and Nerd Child even got the water change done yesterday, so the fishes and corals are taken care of. I think Little Incredibly Dumb Dog has given up hope that she’ll ever be taken for a walk again.  I’ll just be grateful for pee pads, and she’s learning to enjoy sitting on the terrace.

No, I haven’t written anything, still feeling scattered and shattered.  Unless checking my Submittable submissions and lurking on the writing website counts–in which case, I’ve been hugely productive.

I’m impatient, and refuse to believe a multi-fractured pelvis is going to hurt for as long and be as much of a nuisance as predicted.  Every night I go to bed thinking, tomorrow I’m going to feel much better. By yesterday I was feeling fairly blue about the whole thing, and then Husband came upstairs with a package that had been left with the doorman for me.

I have the best friends.

I have the best friends.

Seriously. The best friends ever. This was sent by a friend who is laid up herself, how incredibly generous is this?! Chocolate heals all, doesn’t it?  It has calcium, that has to go a long way towards getting my bones back where they belong.

So yeah, my everything still hurts, and the road to recovery is longer than I want to admit, but the support, check-ins, and well wishes (along with the above treats) from friends is greater. Thank you!!

 

Suck It Up, Ya Weenie!

The latest must-have accessory for the woman of 40,000 years.

The latest must-have accessory for the woman of 40,000 years.

I tried.  Tuesday afternoon I was shaken but feeling positive, “oh, a few days of rest and I’ll be ok.” Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, not so much.  I made a bunch of calls on Wednesday morning, trying to find an ortho who could see me that day. No luck–and apparently most of them super specialize, and the offices all insisted I choose if wanted to see someone for my arm or my pelvis.  “but they both hurt like hell.” “Well, you have to decide which specialist you want to see.” Screw it. No appointment, the pain seemed like it was easing up, I figured I’d just tough it out.

10:15 Wednesday night, I was lying in bed trying to pretend the pain had not increased by multiples of thousands, and my back doctor returned my call. Bless this woman. I told her what was going on, and she told me to come in first thing the next morning.  I did, she checked me out, and sent me off to the imaging place, with more concerns than I thought.

I may not have been able to tough this out, but apparently I’m pretty fucking tough.  The next ten hours involved 4 MRIs, 7 X-rays, 1 CT scan, and 3 exams.

At the first MRI stop, after being told it would take 2-3 hours. Umm, do you have a chill pill or something?

Sorry, Mrs F, we’re an outpatient facility, so we don’t offer any medications.  We have headphones and music, it’s on classical already.

Find me the classic rock station and we’ll be in business, I can get lost in my youth–where I didn’t humiliate myself by breaking and tearing my body from a simple slip on ice.

Between the music and the two hours of sleep I was running on, I was able to stay very still, no panic in the tube.  Could have done without Van Halen’s “Jump,” though.

The doctor was in touch with the imaging center throughout, and it seemed that every test finished sent me to another.  Everyone was nice, but suspiciously nicer as time went on, particularly since I had to have been screwing everyone’s schedule, being pushed (figuratively) to the front of the line, staff and techs waiting for me to hobble in at each new stop.

Can I please go get tea before the next one?

I’m sorry Mrs Fringe, they’re waiting for you.

Again and again.

Finally, one woman said I could get tea while they burned the images of all the tests onto cd.  Yay! When I limped back in, she told me my doctor was waiting for me to call her. I know, I know, by this time it was clear I’m looking at some serious injury, but by then 7 hours had passed, 8 since my morning coffee–a woman needs a cup of tea–and some of us need several!

Every time I thought I was finished, I was sent to the next test, the next building.  I stripped so many damn times by the time I reached the last X-ray tech I expected her to stick dollar bills in my underwear. By then I knew I had 4 fractures, why did I need more X-rays? The day ended at the office of a special trauma orthopedist, his physician’s assistant, his orthotist, his secretary, and the cleaning crew–clearly waiting and wondering when this patient would leave so they could do their jobs.

So. Despite that first X-ray done at the urgent care place, my arm is fractured, and now encased in a super duper molded to my arm but removable for showering cast.  The rest of it….As I understand it, there are three types of bones that make up the triangular shape of the pelvis.  I have fractures in all three, including one that extends to the hip socket. I would make a joke about not doing things half-assed, but I’m pretty sure this yields the very definition of half-assed.

Dogwalking is out of the question for the time being. I didn’t actually ask about typing, I figure I’ll just go slower and less verbose than usual, stop when it hurts.

On the positive side, even though I feel like I’m completely out of shape, all the past yoga left me in good enough shape that I don’t need total bed rest, can hobble with the cane when I need to, yanno, live.  And I think this gives me the perfect opportunity to catch up on my reading.

Downturn on the Upswing

Lucky day.

Lucky day.

Yesterday I woke up and smiled.  43°F felt like spring compared to the single digits I’ve been waking up to. I was exfoliating my pits trying to scrape the last bits of deodorant on, when I remembered I had a brand new stick in the closet. The sun made an appearance and stayed out all day. I walked a dog through  Central Park, and enough ice had melted so the paths were wet but relatively clear.  We learned that Art Child was accepted to a high school she feels good about, as do we.

This morning when I woke, it didn’t feel as warm. Sunrise came and left behind a gray sky. Disappointing, but still not bad. The mounds of snow at curbs and corners are disgustingly black and slick, but they’re melting.  I took Art Child to school, and I slipped. Luckily, I broke the fall with my face.

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Oh yes. I went down hard and fast, didn’t have a chance to try to break the fall with my hands. See the black chunks that look like slabs of asphalt? That’s snow in Manhattan after a couple of weeks, and I slipped on a very similar looking mound.  My entire left side was covered in black muck and who knows what else.  I could just cry thinking about how I’m going to get this crap out of my beautiful sheepskin fingerless gloves. I opted to go home and shower before heading to the urgent care place for X-rays. A good thing, because it also gave me a chance to stop shaking.

My face is bruised and hurts, but not broken. My arm is sore and swollen, but probably not broken. The urgent care didn’t have the right machine (?) to X-ray my pelvis, if my lower half gets significantly worse I’m supposed to head to the ER for more X-rays.

After loading up on ibuprofen and acetaminophen, I figured I’d blog about my little adventure.  Turns out I’ve used up all the storage available with a free domain.  Upgrade time, we’re now at mrsfringe.com instead of mrsfringe.wordpress.com–this should also mean if you saw ads before, you won’t now, and you should automatically be redirected if you’re visiting from a link or bookmark.

I think this is now me.

I think this is now me.

Fuck spring, I want summer.

Nope

Little Incredibly Dumb Dog

Little Incredibly Dumb Dog

I refuse to turn towards the terrace and see the snow.  The snow that’s been falling and sticking for hours now, on this Sunday, March 1st.  Nope, I’m not looking, and neither is Art Child, or the dog.  Instead, we’re all watching the tank, pretending we’re on the beach.  Join us.

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Don’t Look Back

Closest thing in the house to a pillar of salt.

Closest thing in the house to a pillar of salt.

Art Child and I have discovered the joys of Netflix, and marathon-watching tv series.  Earlier this week, we finished Buffy.  I know it was hugely popular in its prime, but I had never seen it.  I wasn’t much of a tv watcher until the last 7? 10? years.  I’ll be honest, through the viewings of the first few seasons it was mostly me reading while Art Child watched.  With the later seasons it caught my interest more.  I don’t think I’d say this is a must-see series, but it was fun, and while I thought Buffy’s character was pretty much a yawn, I value the message of girl/female power and I did enjoy the way Spike’s character was developed.

Why am I talking about this?  Because it occurred to me if this was a book–or more accurately, a book series, it would be Young Adult.  That demographic of fiction that has experienced such a huge explosion of devoted readers (and writers) but holds absolutely no interest for me.  So if Buffy was a written series, would I have enjoyed it? I don’t think so.  If a book starts angsting in a way that makes my mind wander, I close the book.  If I was watching this show without Art Child, I don’t think I’d have made it past the first season.

Between spending a lot of time, thought, and in conversation about the how and why of Fifty Shades of Grey being such a hit, watching this tv series, and watching Nerd Child navigate his junior year of high school, I’m thinking about this popularity of Young Adult fiction with adult readers.  Regardless of what angle I use to approach, my overriding thought is, why?

I want to be clear, I am not bashing young adult fiction or young adults.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I like teenagers.  It’s pretty damned cool watching my kiddos and their friends navigate the world, figure themselves out, develop their interests, values, priorities, and become adults. Young adult fiction can be light and fun or serious and thoughtful, general fiction to romance to sci-fi and fantasy, same as children’s fiction or adult.  Of the first two novels that jump out out me when thinking of novels I read and loved this year, one had a woman in her forties as the main character, the other is written from the perspective of a 5 year old boy. But what makes young adult fiction young adult isn’t just the age of the protagonist, it’s the focus, the grappling with becoming, discovering who you are, losing your innocence and finding your place in the world–whether that world is in the South Bronx, a suburb in the midwest, or the planet XCTHRGH.

When I was a teen I read and loved Forever, by Judy Blume, and the works of Paul Zindel–My Darling, My Hamburger comes to mind.  I wished there were more of these books and authors then, and I’m glad there are more for today’s teens.  I haven’t been a teenager in a long time. Tastes change, interests change.

Being a teenager is hard. Dealing with high school is hard. I guess I think about it a lot because I’m-the-mama-that’s-why. Fun as it can be, parenting teens is hard. As an adult, I know this stage doesn’t last forever, though it feels that way. As an adult, I know things change, and growth and maturity have more to do with resilience and flexibility than anything else. I also know there’re a lot of pitfalls at this stage, pitfalls that can throw someone off course for the next 10-20 years (or more), pitfalls that if handled well can set someone up for a better life. Different choices make for some different challenges.  Both of my boys went to high powered boarding schools on scholarship–one long graduated, one attending currently. It was a decision Husband and I made because we wanted them to have every opportunity possible, and we believed they could each handle the workload, responsibility, and independence.  Along with these amazing opportunities and education is the early knowledge of exactly where you and your family sit on the socio-economic food chain, no parent on hand to provide chicken soup when you get sick, or help you out and run a load of laundry for you when you’re in the midst of finals. Did we make the right decisions?  I think so, I hope so, but I still question it every day. As I recently told Man Child, the worst kept secret is that none of us know what we’re doing as parents, we’re all doing the best we can, trying to avoid the out and out worst decisions and not fuck up too badly.

Positive and negative, there’s built in conflict, drama, and emotion with teens.  These are also musts with fiction to make it interesting.  But honestly, for me, mama-ing teens is enough.  Are there things I miss about being a teenager? I suppose.  I miss that oddly emphatic combination of hope, swagger, faith and conviction that my adult life would be what I wanted it to be, complete with multi-book publishing contracts and boobs that would remain firm and resilient forever.  Can I look back and recognize poor decisions I made, points when I wish I had gone right instead of left? Yup. Would I actually want to go back in time to do so?  Not a shot in hell.

And I’m not looking to regularly settle into the head of a teenaged main character when I have me time for reading.  An occasional foray, maybe. I don’t need the featured protagonists of novels I read to be direct reflections of me, i.e.: women who are forty thousand years old living broke urban lifestyles. I have friends of different backgrounds, ages, and experiences, so why limit my novels? I do need the protagonists and their conflicts to hold my interest, and for me, most fictional teens do not.  When I read it, I loved White Oleander, by Janet Fitch.  I wonder if it was published today, instead of in 1999, if it would be shelved as young adult. I think it’s likely, and I would have missed it. Yet I still don’t “get” what is it about these books–well written as many of them are–that is so compelling for many adults in their thirties, forties, and beyond that people are specifically seeking them out.  I don’t often feel I have much to look forward to, but looking backwards isn’t my answer. Except, of course, for the music.  I’m never growing out of the music I loved as a teen.

 

Ouch, Sloth-Style

Admit it, looks tempting.

Admit it, looks tempting.

I’m still adjusting to life with a dishwasher again.  This means that last night when I decided I was hungry and would make a sandwich, I planned said sandwich with the idea of using no dishes and slapping it together as quickly as possible so I’d be finished before the commercial break was over.

But the tomato looked so beautiful, I needed a couple of slices. Maybe not so much the tomato as the thought of the salt I’d now be justified in adding. Being lazy, in a hurry, and now jonesing at the prospect of Himalayan sea salt, I skipped the cutting board.  Picked the tomato up and began slicing.  I do things like this all the time (as long as Art Child isn’t watching, because I don’t want her to think this is a safe idea), never a problem.

Where, oh where have the band-aids gone?

Where, oh where have the band-aids gone?

 

I sliced right into my thumb.  Most little kitchen mishaps don’t involve more than rinsing my finger under some cold water for a couple of minutes, maybe some pressure with a paper towel. Most. Not a terrible cut, but in a bad spot, I bled for a good hour and had to toss the tomato.  Then I had to find the band-aids.  Applying pressure as I searched, I found gauze pads sized for cardio-thorassic surgery, plumbing tape, ace bandages, corn removers, face masks, dental floss.  Gave up, changed the paper towel–four times–threw a couple of slices of cheese on a piece of bread and finished watching the Housewives.

Went to bed, and saw the box of band-aids blowing me a big old Bronx cheer from Husband’s desk.

Today is a water change day for the tank.  I can’t put it off any more, as it is I’m two weeks behind.  Salt water is good for open wounds, right?

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The clowns were so cute this morning, cuddling in their little corner of the tank.  Now I’ll mess up their world by changing out water, filter media, and scraping the glass.

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Ramblings of a Day Off

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes

Oh, Sunday.  It isn’t always true, but today is a blissful day of nothing needs to be done.  So obviously, my best plan was to get up and stand at the stove to make 8000 pancakes.  That’s ok, because I’m still in my pajamas.  9 in the morning, in my pj’s with saltwater mixing for tomorrow’s water change, I must be dreaming.  My back tells me I’m not.

It’s also Man Child’s last day at home before he heads back up to school for *whee* his last semester of college.

On my way home from taking the girl to her art class yesterday morning, I took some photos.  For the first time, it occurred to me why I set so many of my stories at this time of year.  Let’s face it, late winter in New York–not sexy or invigorating, not pretty or enticing.  The dominating colors are gray and gloom.  The season of train delays and wind tunnels, when I walk with my head down, hood eliminating all peripheral vision and calculate the odds of getting clipped in the head by a chunk of ice falling from a building.

A good time of year for hibernating, spending the day without getting dressed, thinking about what we do and why we do it.  Because I have this ridiculous compulsion to make up characters and write them down, it dovetails nicely with the introspection.

Yes indeed, I do have a new character who’s been knocking at the back of my brain.  At the moment he’s barely more than raw, a yummy mix of foolish and ludicrous.  I may have to bring him forward soon, see how he can take shape.

For now, I have filthy-New York-in-February photos for you.  Enjoy. And have a pancake while you’re at it–since I took this photo 20 minutes ago, my kitchen was apparently invaded by pigeons, and there aren’t many left.  I’m going back to my beach house in Hawaii fantasy.

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