Month: October 2012

Sandy, Part II, After

Well, the first pic is during, because it made me giggle.

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Flower Child wants all my Fringie followers to know she was very, very scared. But brave.



These photos show just some of my crappy photos that came out the least crappy.  They also show only a few blocks worth of damage, in a part of the city that was very lucky, not nearly so effected as other neighborhoods.

My thoughts and prayers are with the thousands (millions?) of people who were more than frightened and inconvenienced by Hurricane Sandy, but have suffered devastating losses, and are without power and limited access for an indefinite period of time.

Who Invited Sandy?

In case you didn’t hear, the East Coast was hit really hard by Hurricane Sandy.  Over here in New York, still sporadic rain and some significant winds. Many are without power and looking at major damage from winds and flooding.  I hope all are safe, I’m sending good thoughts into the universe for those who are unable to check in right now.  I am lucky, we live uptown and didn’t lose power, uphill from the river so no real flooding threats.  But New York overall is a mess. Schools are closed, the MTA is closed, subway tunnels are flooded, as are some entire neighborhoods, water was literally pouring out of the Battery Tunnel,.  The Ground Zero construction site was flooded. Let’s not forget the collapsing crane 80-90 stories up, on 57th Street.

So, another crappy photo perspective by Mrs Fringe. I’ll do it in 2 or 3 parts, I’m fairly lousy at the whole uploading pics thing, and guaranteed to lose patience before I’m through.

This batch is before the hurricane actually hits us, some yesterday morning, some in the afternoon.

Odd looking sky a few mornings before, connected?

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Big Senile Dog Asplodes

Big Senile Dog in better days

He’s getting up there in age.  Accelerated due to an unfortunate incident several years ago, when he drank the saltwater from the sump of our tank.  With age, comes more illness and accidents, just like people.  Guess what I’ve been doing for the past 18 hours?

They’re still predicting this storm is going to hit New York.  OK, I can be a good mommy and start getting prepared.  Made sure we have plenty of meds, food, distilled water for the tank, gumbo for the beasts dogs, and I figured I’d buy some stuff to make cookies or some kind of treat with Flower Child this weekend.  So, one of the things I bought was a small bag of sugar.  Really, I try to remember to have all food put away if and when I leave the house, I know Big Senile Dog is a counter surfer.  Silly me didn’t think he would decide to go after an unopened bag of sugar.  In plastic, so not even like it was one of the paper bags so he’d smell it easily.  Heh.

You know I came home to find sugar e-ver-y-where. We have pseudo-wood floors, many places where the seams between the boards are a little too big.  Get the picture?  Sweep, wash, sweep, wash. I had to go back out at this point, so I’m sure I’m being clever by giving the dogs an extra walk first.  I’m not that dumb, I know Big Senile Dog will be sick from the sugar he ate.  Ummm hmm.  I’m out with Husband and Flower Child, maybe 45 minutes, come home to find the freaking dog has puked. E-ver-y-where.  To make it perfect, copious amounts of drool were mixed with the puke, and both dogs had walked through the puddles.

O-Ceder - Sponge Mop

O-Ceder – Sponge Mop (Photo credit: Mid-Century Pretty)

Wipe, wipe, wipe. Begin washing again.

Now that this is the third time I’m washing, not only am I cleaning dog drool and puke, but the sugar that had fallen into the cracks of the floorboards is starting to come up, forming a lovely, slippery glaze.

I want to kill the dogs. Not just kill them, but reach my hand down their respective throats and rip their intestines out.  No intestines=no puke, no diarrhea, no problem.  Oh, calm your jets, any lunatic animal activists who might be reading; I said I wanted to do this, not that I did.  I’m a loon who actually cooks for my dogs.

Obviously, the woman in that ad didn’t actually own any pets. Or sugar. Actually, I don’t own a mop. They take up space and smell foul after you use them a few times.  So all this washing the floor was done with a sponge. When I thought it was reasonably clean, I gave up.

All the time I’m wiping and washing, I’m thinking of the bottle of Bailey’s tucked behind the vinegars at the back of the fridge. I deserve a shot, right? Not a perfect Friday Night Madness, but I can make do.  Only now I open the fridge, moving the yogurts, the soy milk, the vinegars.  I’m ready to join Big Senile Dog and start crying, errr, drooling.  Guess what? No Bailey’s.

“Husband, did you drink my Bailey’s?”

“What Bailey’s? We don’t have any.”

Steam is now starting to escape from my shriveled fingertips. “The bottle in the back of the fridge.”

“Oh. I drank that a long time ago.”

“You don’t even like Bailey’s. That’s why I buy it for me.”

“But it was in there for a long time. If you wanted it you should have drank it.”

I’m now entertaining visions of ripping out Husband’s intestines. This is the point where Mrs Fringe’s head asplodes.

Got up this morning, took the dogs for a walk, came back into the apartment to realize the floor didn’t look or smell clean yet. Anyone have stock in Murphy’s Oil Soap? You’re welcome.

Sugar and Spice (Madness song)

Sugar and Spice (Madness song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thwoka thwoka thwoka

English: NYPD helicopter patrolling New York C...

English: NYPD helicopter patrolling New York City. Photo taken from the Empire State Building Observatory. Deutsch: Ein Helikopter des NYPD patrolliert über New York City. Das Foto wurde von der Empire State Building Sternwarte aufgenommen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hate the sound of those blades beating the air. When I was younger, it was a sound I associated with wit and laughter, the opening credits of M*A*S*H.

Now? Forget it. When I hear a helicopter I look up to see where it is, and assess which direction will take me away from it. Leftover PTSD from 9/11, I suppose. But it seems as if it’s never neutral. I don’t live in a part of the city where tourists would be taking rides, and I’m not en route to the Hamptons. So a helicopter means something is happening; police searching for someone, news crew filming, either way, I don’t want to be out in it.

Yesterday evening I was out walking a dog in Central Park when I heard them. I felt that unwelcome pitch and roll in my stomach, and then realized the odds were excellent that the choppers were part of the Parks Dept, doing a recon mission to see what trees it would make sense to trim in case Hurricane Sandy does hit New York and have the impact they’re predicting.  Does the Parks Dept have helicopters? I have no idea, but the thought worked for me.  I reminded myself to buy a couple of gallons of water just in case, and kept walking.

After I was home, I found out why the helicopters were out. A mother’s nightmare, every mother’s nightmare. Two young children were stabbed to death in their apartment, allegedly by their nanny, who was also stabbed but not killed, while the mother was at swim lessons with the third child. The entire Upper West Side, a neighborhood is filled with families, dogs, and nannies. I don’t know the circumstances, don’t know the family, don’t know the nanny, but my heart breaks for their loss.

I heard the mom is a successful blogger, documenting her children and family life in the city. I can’t even imagine the push-pull that will take place for her, not wanting to see the documenting of a happy and complete family, and yet maybe she’ll be glad to have those moments enshrined in cyberspace.

I’m not sure why I feel especially captured by this tragedy.  My youngest is considerably older than this mom’s oldest. I don’t live a similar lifestyle. This is, after all, New York.  Things like this do not happen every day, but violence is a part of the city. This type of violence, or at least what it appears to be at this point, can and does happen everywhere, city, country, suburb; someone “snaps,” and there are victims: young, old, innocent.

As I am typing, I hear more of those evil blades.  Please tell me the Parks Department does in fact have helicopters.


It’s Aliiiiive

Zombie (novel)

Zombie (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think exhaustion is the reason zombies have taken over as the “it” characters.  That has to be why, cause let’s face it, vampires are much cooler.

But I don’t feel like a vampire. Hell, I don’t even feel like Sookie.  I am, however, so freakin tired I’m having difficulty stringing thoughts together.  Over the last thousand years or so, I’ve gotten used to a certain level of exhaustion, but every so often I go beyond my usual sleep debt, and the sound of my alarm going off in the morning makes me want to howl.

My must-be-done list is beginning to rival my to-do list. I think whatshername from the RHoNY has the right idea.  Sure I have no paying job and I’m a stay at home mom, but I need interns.  Including one to take Flower Child shopping for a Halloween costume.  I don’t need one, thanks.  I’ll just grab a sheet from the toppling laundry mountain and wrap it around myself. Call it a shroud, no make up, and voila!

Soccer Mom Zombie

Soccer Mom Zombie (Photo credit: juco)


Go Play In Traffic

Lower center of the The Last Judgement by Mich...

Lower center of the The Last Judgement by Michelangelo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several years ago, I read “A Complaint Free World,” by Will Bowen. In it, there’s a challenge to go 21 days without complaining, gossiping, or criticizing. You put a bracelet on, and when you catch yourself in one of the aforementioned activities, you switch wrists, and begin the count again.  It wasn’t magical, I didn’t “start enjoying the life I always wanted,” but it was enlightening, to say the least.  Now, I don’t think anyone will nominate Mrs Fringe for sainthood, but the exercise left an impression on my brain, if only so I’m aware, and recognize when I’m engaging in these behaviors.

So, I’m quite aware I’m about to be judgmental.  Mea Culpa.

The other day I was walking up my block, when I heard, “Hey, hey, HEY STOP!” I looked across the street to where the voice was coming from, and saw a man yelling and running towards a toddler who was running into the street, with a truck coming pretty fast. There was a group of people in front of a building, the little guy was obviously part of that group and had wandered away.  Maybe he lost his ball, maybe he was following a pigeon. It was fine, little guy was spotted and safe before the scene was a script for the evening news. It happens.  Dad thinks Mom is watching the baby, Mom thinks Auntie is watching the baby, Auntie thinks Grandma is watching the baby, etc. Frightening, but not shocking or cause for judgement.

But then, I was walking along Central Park West and saw a man in a snappy suit, riding his bike.  Nice, thanks for saving the environment while getting your workout in.  His baby was on the bike with him.

English: Looking north past AMNH along Central...

English: Looking north past AMNH along Central Park West. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you aren’t a New Yorker, let me tell you, Central Park West is not part of the park, it’s a big, busy avenue. And it was dusk, when visibility is worst. Aww, look at dad, doing his share.  Only one problem, baby wasn’t in a safety seat designed for a bike, she was strapped to Dad’s chest in a soft, front carrier. WTF are you doing, Dad? I see you had a helmet strapped on your own head. This is not safe, can’t possibly be legal.

Suddenly, it all made sense to me. All those ridiculous labels on walkers (which I don’t think exist anymore, “don’t leave baby unattended near stairs”), the danger of bath seats. Heh, imagine, you shouldn’t walk away from your 5 month old in the tub, even if they’re in that nifty seat? There really are adults who can read who need these warning labels.

I can’t say that was a regular sight, but it wasn’t surprising. I don’t get it. New York parents are the most paranoid bunch you’ll ever see. Inside. God forbid their toddler should learn not to touch something. There’s an entire industry, not just comprised of safety products to pad those corners, but of people who are paid to “consult,” come to your apartment and make it safe for baby.  The earlier the better, preferably long before baby is born. Because, you never know, baby could slip out of your irritable uterus at 26 weeks, just when you’re standing near an outlet, amniotic fluid spraying into said outlet just as baby flings out his arm in a startle reflex, poking one delicate finger into the open socket. Could happen, right? What a racket.

So in the apartment, all is non toxic, organic, non breakable yet sturdy, soft and yet firm enough not to suffocate, elegant yet flaccid–no wait, that’s Mom’s wine, out of reach, of course.

But outside, on the streets and sidewalks, suddenly a different story.  These same parents seem quite vested in proving to the world that even their toddlers are sophisticated New Yorkers, eating edamame at snack time, and intuitively understanding the flow of traffic patterns in New York.  Except they don’t. Because even if they did, often they can’t be seen by a driver or bicyclist. So these parents who have spent hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for a baby proofing consultant to divulge the secrets of padded walls and common sense don’t think any of these rules apply outside. Every day I see kids running, scootering, or wheeling their little wooden scooter bikes down the sidewalk on their way to school (of course, morning rush hour when sidewalks and streets are busiest), half a block to a block ahead of the parent, while mom or dad calls out a gentle stop-at-the-corner reminder. Watch and give it a minute, then you see the same mom or dad running to catch the two, three, or four year old who didn’t stop and is now crossing the street by themselves, or forgot they were going past an active parking garage.

And let’s not forget the other pedestrians, who are expected to move out of the way for little Susie and Johnny so they can enjoy their childhoods unfettered, and show their suburban cousins they get just as much time playing outside, and it really is worth paying $3500 a month for a two bedroom apartment.

I get it, to some degree. The same child who will whine about walking seven blocks to school will happily pedal there. It’s nice to give them an opportunity to burn off some energy before they’re indoors and building their SAT vocab skills.  Can’t start too early, yanno, competition is fierce.

If you haven’t been to Manhattan, let me tell you, all the horror stories you’ve heard about driving in New York are true.  The streets are crowded with cars, buses, taxis, bikers, and pedestrians. Don’t forget the ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars on their way to an emergency. Lots going on, every driver has to be aware of every possibility.

wrong way, lady!

wrong way, lady! (Photo credit: *Bitch Cakes*)

For the most part, I think they do a great job.  But with all this going on, so much congestion, parking, double parking, taxis stopping and starting without notice, delivery guys on bikes who don’t watch where they’re going but say a prayer instead, ummm, accidents happen. All the time. People get hurt.  Car vs bike, bike loses. Bike vs bike, both lose. Car vs pedestrian, pedestrian loses. Bike vs pedestrian, pedestrian loses.

Parenting is hard, nobody makes the right call all of the time. Parents whose children are diagnosed with epilepsy are cautioned by pediatric neurologists about bathtubs and swimming pools; NY parents are cautioned about bathtubs and the subway. Parenting in NY does carry extra challenges, I’ve made decisions that my suburban counterparts don’t understand.  But I can say with a clear conscience that I’ve never sent my kids out to play in traffic.


This has been a Public Service Judgment by Mrs Fringe.

20070901 - Greg Z's birthday party - Nicole - ...

20070901 – Greg Z’s birthday party – Nicole – new tattoo – the more you know – (by AE) – 1306312142_8cf5b6332e o (Photo credit: Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL))


Blog Award Nominations

In the past couple of weeks, Mrs Fringe has received 3! blog award nominations.  Thank you!  These are lovely acknowledgements–they like me, they really like me! I will try to get all three acknowledgements and nomination forwards (yes, I just made up the term, but I’m not sure what to call this) completed over this week.


one-lovely-blog-award (Photo credit: Valdecor)

So, I was nominated for One Lovely Blog Award by SnapInTime, who writes The Voice From The Backseat. If you haven’t already done so, please check out her blog. It is a truly lovely chronicle of a special mom juggling three beautiful, medically complex children, focused on her daughter. Her sweetie has Cystic Fibrosis along with other challenges, and this is one mom’s perspective on trying to navigate.  Thank you, Snap In!

The rules for this nomination…I think it’s to list 7 random facts about myself and then nominate 7 more blogs that I read and recommend.

*I’m terrible at math. Blame this if I don’t hit the correct numbers of nominations, questions, or facts.

*I hate syrup on pancakes, waffles, etc, because I don’t like my hands to be sticky.

*I never truly understood the word covet until I became a reefer, and starting paying attention to other reefers’ tanks.

*I would have offered anything in exchange for a second bathroom this morning.

*In response to the age old question: Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? I have trouble staying asleep.

*I love to walk, but if you call it a hike, I ain’t moving.

*I’m wondering if struggling to come up with 7 random facts about myself means I’ll run out of things to blog about.

Blogs I love to follow, and believe my readers will, too. And the nominees are:

Arty Old Bird Original Art and Thoughts from a woman I find fascinating and interesting.  Also, she replies to comments, which I love.

The Other Side of 55 Margo is (drumroll, please) on the other side of 55. A Canadian writer (my .02, all the best female writers are Canadian–must be something in the water). Funny, observant, well worth the read.

Talk to Diana I’m quite certain she’s already received this nomination, but it’s well deserved. A positive, hopeful blog written by a truly lovely woman, she’s all about connections and encouragement.

Fly on the Wall Daily observations, life and love, I’m always smiling as I read.

The Eff Stop Beautiful photography from another beautiful spirit.

OK, that’s it for me.  I think my limit for nominations will be five, though I promise to post what the rules dictate for each nomination.  That’s right, I am a rebel.

James Dean

James Dean (Photo credit: Francesco Carpi)


True Love paper 1 (6)

True Love paper 1 (6) (Photo credit: Marky Mark V)

Ever have a day where you wake up, ready to write, ideas in place and notes in hand? Of course, right?  How about when nothing actually gets in the way, and you’re productive?  Now we’re rolling.

Only then you look at what you worked on, what you’ve been working on, and realize it still sucks, and is likely unsalvageable.


Art by Bill Barminski ca 1996

Art by Bill Barminski ca 1996 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maiden, Mother, Crone

The fates like to play with scissors

The fates like to play with scissors (Photo credit: shellgreenier)

A few weeks ago I read an article that referenced Germaine Greer and crone culture. If you’re unfamiliar with her, Germaine Greer is an academic, a journalist; a feminist and a powerhouse in the women’s movement. I didn’t remember hearing that term before (though I’m sure I must have, perhaps I was busy weaving flowers in my hair while I read The Female Eunich), but I fell in love with it, fascinated, and because I’m certifiable a curious gal, I’ve been doing some research in my free moments. Crone culture. Imagine, an enlightened world that might choose to see older women, post menopausal (gasp) women, not as impotent and invisible beings, but as valued and valuable members of society. Possible? Is it even possible for us to see ourselves in that light?

And what does it mean to be a crone? Is it pure biology? Age? Children’s age? Fatigue? Wear and tear? Cause let me jussay, this vehicle is only middle aged, but its got a lot of mileage. Is 40 really the new 30, and 50 the new 40? Why does it have to be, why can’t it just be fine to be 40 and 50?

For the average first world woman, there’s quite a bit of time, 20-40 years, in between our roles as Mother (Lachesis, if you’re into Greek mythology) and death: the Crone (Atropos) role. Is it possible to embrace that phase and use it as the period of fertility for the mind and soul, instead of spending the first half pining for our prior roles and the second half waiting to die?  Is it realistic to think about using this time to deepen connections and understanding, broaden our world when we’re still fully occupied with getting by?

As I think, I’m thinking of women like myself, on the fringe. Women whose adult worth has been not just tied but knotted with wife-ing (whether you stayed a wife or not) and mothering. Women who have jobs–paid or unpaid–but not careers, who don’t have initials after their name to proclaim their continued relevance. I don’t pretend women of privilege don’t face some of the same issues, after all, they’re still women, but I think it’s different; easier to remain relevant for a longer period of time when you’re respected in a field of study, know you still have quite a bit to say that’s worth being heard, can purchase the right clothes, cosmetics, surgeries to present yourself the way you wish to be seen.


Copper-Boiler-for-Distilling-Brandy__15665 (Photo credit: Public Domain Photos)

I make no judgement about that last bit, by the way. If I had the money and freedom, I think I’d have a little tweaking done at this point in my life.  Not to attract or please anyone but myself. For me. Can that be distilled, separated from the society I live in which dictates what is or is not attractive? Probably not.

There is a difference in how women of different socioeconomic brackets see themselves and present themselves. When I was at that lit bar the other night, I was chatting with a woman, another friend of the friend I was there to hear. She asked if I was a writer and I said, “Well, I’m a wannabe.” With great confidence, she told me not to say that; if I write, I’m a writer. I’m not so sure. Do I write? Yes. Do I have skill and talent? Maybe, I think so. But I’m a pretty good cook, too. I’ve left restaurants wishing I had stayed home and eaten my own sauce. But I certainly wouldn’t identify myself as a chef.  Even as I argue for recognition, I question my validity.

Imagine a crone culture. A culture that valued women as they age; saw experience, caregiving, and connectedness as valid alternatives to degrees earned for 30 year old, forgotten lessons. What if those experiences could be used for opportunities?

Maybe, though. Maybe. Maybe in my imaginary world where crones are empowered.  Instead of being reduced we are a reduction–as in cooking. Thickened and intensified, adding richness and bringing the individual components of the dish together.

Hecate's Wheel, the symbol used by Hecatines, ...

Hecate’s Wheel, the symbol used by Hecatines, Dianics and Aquarians. It is a representation of the Goddess and of her three aspects: the maiden, the mother and the crone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mrs Fringe is a Dirty Stay Out

English: Natalie in Fur Cape (ca. 1905) - A po...

English: Natalie in Fur Cape (ca. 1905) – A portrait of the writer and salonist Natalie Clifford Barney. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s true, I left my apartment at 5:15 yesterday afternoon, dropped Flower Child off at Mother In Law’s apartment, clip clopped to the train station in a kick ass pair of boots, and didn’t get back home until 9:30.  I was invited to a reading at a lit bar down in the East Village, very cool. Even had a gin and tonic. Look Ma– it’s me, Virginia Woolf!

The East Village is definitely outside of my usual zone these days.  The only time I have reason to find myself there is to go with Nerd Child and his guitars to the super secret, super cool luthier off of Avenue A.

Mom's Tattoo Heart

Mom’s Tattoo Heart (Photo credit: Smeerch)

I was going to take a picture of one of the piercing/tattoo parlors and text it to Man Child, asking his opinion of whether or not I should get a new tattoo while I was in the neighborhood, but alas, coming out of the train station I turned the wrong way, went East when I should have gone West, and had no time to play.  You could blame my advancing age for the misdirection, but instead, I’ll blame the annoying train ride.

The subway was unexpectedly packed for early evening on a Saturday.  Maybe due to the recent cab fare hike. So there I was, smashed onto the 2 train, making my way downtown. The other passengers were a typical New York mix; young, old, all ethnicities, styles of dress, and of course, aromas.  A particularly ripe group of young men were squooshed right next to me, looking like they were coming from a soccer game.  Or basketball. Or polo, or something.  Mrs Fringe doesn’t follow athletics, couldn’t tell the difference between golf shoes and football sneakers if there was a publishing contract on the line.

I don’t mind riding the trains, you could say I like the subway.  Sure it’s dirty and stinky, but I don’t have to drive, don’t have to think about parking, and the cost is reasonable.  It’s also an excellent time to read or people watch, two of my favorite pastimes. New Yorkers are a skilled, creative lot.  We know how to maintain boundaries and anonymity, even when jammed in nose to armpit. Usually.

I honestly wanted to slap each one of that group of young athletes upside their collective heads.  If I had to guess, I’d say they’re young Wall Streeters, probably still in the operations departments, putting in their year or three of work experience before going back to school for their graduate degrees. One was holding a neon green bottle of what I assume was an electrolyte drink, to prepare his body for an evening of heavy drinking and peacockery. Unscrewing the cap, he fumbled it into the lap of a man sitting in front of me, not with their group.  Glad I don’t have any money on his team. Another kept his backpack on, very rude on a crowded subway car, packed full of shit with yet another pair of sneakers coming out the front pocket, poking me in the chest.  WTF?  Personal space, guys. But the prince of this crew of entitled young shits, well, he was extra special.

He kept jamming his hands down the front of his nylon shorts. Adjusting himself? Fondling himself?  Checking that his dangly bits were really his and still attached?  I’m old enough that I could be the mother of any of these kids, but I’m not their mother. As such, I didn’t find his self exploration to be endearing, cute, or thrilling.  I think he got the wrong message back in preschool, when admonished to keep his hands to himself. And their conversation, the verbal equivalent of his masturbatory display.  My end of the train car got to hear all about his sexual exploits; who he banged when and where, which one of his buddies texted the results to the rest of their crew and everyone else on their contact list, and their tag line after each story, “Did you shower?”  Maybe that’s a script reference I’m unfamiliar with, maybe it references an incident from their dorm days. I could barely contain my excitement. Ooh baby ooh baby.

I’d say I hope they missed their stop and ended up lost in Bushwick, but that would be uncharitable. And I think that’s become yet another hipster neighborhood.