Photos

Where Ya Been, Mrs Freckle Fringe?

After much agonizing and whining, I booked a vacation.  So yes, Fringeland moved south for a week, and I’m now back on the terrace.  This will be the first of several posts about, and pictures of, our trip. I didn’t post about it beforehand because of weirdness. First of all, it had been so long since we took a vacation, all I did was stress about it. Second, right after we booked it, obviously, the girl started to not do so well, so…more stress. Packing up for a road trip to a beach break is simple, right? A few bikinis, a few towels, comfy traveling clothes, and you’re done.  Not in Fringeland. We don’t go out often, and we vacation much less often, so when we’re away, I like to have some nice clothes for going out, and all the makeup I generally don’t wear, and the hair dryer and the straightening iron that I don’t end up using, and no less than four anti-frizz products to keep my hair weighed down in the humidity and breezes. Then there’s an entire small suitcase of meds for Husband and the girl. Yes, I want the comfy traveling clothes, but I also want to look decent, just in case. My version of “wear good underwear in case you get into an accident” is wear decent clothes in case the car breaks down, or someone gets sick and I end up needing to meet strange doctors in a strange hospital, or or or.  See what I mean? Stress! Sure it’s self inflicted, but I can’t help it, goes with the whole vivid imagination thing.  And maybe a dash of experience.

Man Child wasn’t able to come with us, but we were still a crowded vehicle; me, Husband, Art Child, Nerd Child, one of my godsons (Mr Goodheart), Mother-In-Law, and all our assorted crapola. We didn’t bring Little Incredibly Dumb Dog, because I didn’t book said vacation early enough, and all the affordable places within walking distance to the beach that were pet friendly were booked.  A huge, huge thank you to El Fab for taking care of my little beast, the container garden,  AND the tank. I literally took thousands of pictures while we were gone, it’s going to take a bit to sort through them all. My intention was to blog and post pics while away, but once we were there, I just didn’t want to. Sorry! So I’ll break up my pics and stories into a few posts, and put them up here as I sort them. In other words, warning: the next few Mrs Fringe posts will be photo intensive.  Maybe by the time I’ve finished I’ll have stopped sobbing because I want to go back and stay there–but I doubt it!

While on the road, we always stay in low-budget motels, whenever/wherever we are when we just have to crash. Gives us a little more leeway while we’re actually at our destination, and it seems like a waste of funds to spend more on a room you’re literally only going to sleep in. On the way down, we stayed in what must have been the worst (though not the least expensive) motel we’ve ever stayed in. The manager was friendly and chatty, though. He generously offered to give me a tea bag from his personal kitchen, asked Husband “is that a Mexican name?” (all Latino names = Mexican, right? sometimes, and sometimes Dominican, Spaniard, Puerto Rican, South American…), and while I was telling our crew to get out of the car and unload, he proceeded to tell Husband about the woman who had walked in behind us–as she was standing there–how she asked to see a room, used the bathroom while she was in said “clean” room, and was menstruating and now he had to clean up blood.  Thanks for sharing a bit of your life, buddy!

And now, pics from this too-grossly-funny to be believed motel, and the first morning on the beach.

Dinner?

Dinner?

Pets were allowed

Pets were allowed

Anyone care for a yellow, crusty washcloth? I bet no one steals their linens.

Anyone care for a yellow, crusty washcloth? I bet no one steals their linens.

Yesssss, going over the bridge to the island.

Yesssss, going over the bridge to the island.

I wouldn't mind one of these.

I wouldn’t mind one of these.

Even looks like a sigh of relief.

Even looks like a sigh of relief.

Though the island is only about 13 hours from where we live, and we planned to break it up into two days of traveling, we hit every traffic jam possible (seriously–at our first coffee and pee break, we tried to get back on the highway and it was completely shut down because of an accident) and so didn’t arrive until early evening of the second day.

I could spend all day looking at these live oaks, truly magnificent.

I could spend all day looking at these live oaks, truly magnificent.

Even in road trip stupor, it's impossible to get a bad shot of this sky.

Even in road trip stupor, it’s impossible to get a bad shot of this sky.

And now, the first sunrise. I was a bit late getting out there, but still caught some pretty shots.

And now, the first sunrise. I was a bit late getting out there, but still caught some pretty shots.

The dunes are protected and respected.

The dunes are protected and respected.

IMG_5109

IMG_5112

Put your toes in, even at 6am the water is warm.

Put your toes in, even at 6am the water is warm.

IMG_5116

IMG_5117

IMG_5118

IMG_5121

IMG_5129

My little posing friend.

My little posing friend.

Still wondering why I’m sobbing about having to leave?

 

IMG_5134

IMG_5136

IMG_5139

IMG_5143

IMG_5145

IMG_5149

IMG_5150

IMG_5154

Why go home when you can pass out right on the beach, errr, watch the sunrise?

Why go home when you can pass out right on the beach, errr, watch the sunrise?

IMG_5159

IMG_5160

These seemed to be a beach/sand morning glory. Each morning at sunrise the buds were closed, by the time I came back out at 9am or so they were open.

These seemed to be a beach/sand morning glory. Each morning at sunrise the buds were closed, by the time I came back out at 9am or so they were open.

Thanks for the morning welcome song!

Thanks for the morning welcome song!

 

City Angles, Highline Edition

Yesterday afternoon we went for a walk on the High Line.  On the west side of Manhattan, it’s an old elevated freight train line that was converted into a public park/walk.  (It’s also the setting for the opening scene of Astonishing, “poetic” license to make it work.)  It really is the best of the city, squished in between residential buildings, old factories, and office buildings, incorporating the beams and concrete that were already there with plantings, art, and lookout points.  In quite a few sections, I mean squished quite literally, there are some buildings where you could reach over and touch the windows.  I’ll be honest, I couldn’t walk too far, but even a few blocks’ worth yielded many photos.

 

Not All Beach Days are Perfect

But somehow, all perfect days include the beach.  Today was one of those days, and the first officially unofficial beach day of the season for us.  Must be summer! Warning:  photo intensive post ahead.

This morning I charged the camera, Husband, Art Child and I threw towels and waters in the car, left our sleeping and completely-uninterested-in-all-things-beachy Nerd Child behind, and got on the highway.

Getting excited as we leave the city.

Getting excited as we leave the city.

Lucky souls sailing down the Hudson River.

Lucky souls sailing down the Hudson River.

Yes, that Asbury Park--and I was Born to Run.

Yes, that Asbury Park–and I was Born to Run.

Pfft, no umbrellas required.

Pfft, no umbrellas required.

Wouldn't be me without some macros thrown in.

Wouldn’t be me without some macros thrown in.

The water is still cold, but I couldn't believe how clear and lovely it was.

The water is still cold, but I couldn’t believe how clear and lovely it was.

IMG_4520 IMG_4521

Something about this one, I like it.

Something about this one, I like it.

I hadn’t been to Asbury Park since, well, a long, long time ago.  The beach and water isn’t just cleaner than it used to be, it’s clean.  And beautiful.  One of my beach obsessions involves the critters that live in the sand. Funny how one roach in the hallway will send me on a three-day scrubbing and freak out spree, culminating in 50 Combat traps, but I’m fascinated by the creepy crawlies in and around the ocean.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We didn’t stay too long.  First day out, why ruin it with sunburn? So we packed up and walked along the boardwalk for a bit.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Homeward bound.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ok, even I’ll admit these grains of sand are getting mighty uncomfortable.

Can’t Always Be Pancakes

Kale smoothie. Don't knock it 'til you try it.

Kale smoothie. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.

Seriously, it’s delicious.  I doubt it makes up for the mac-n-cheese with jalapeños and broccoli I had while out with Fatigue last night, but maybe it balances the beer.

I was awake ridiculously early today, spent an hour and a half on the terrace watching the clouds before starting yoga.  I kept thinking I should grab the camera, but I didn’t.  Sorrynotsorry.  Sometimes it’s good to not think about framing a shot, or cursing myself for being too slow getting that perfect wisp in focus. Enjoy the moment and all that jazz.

While I was having my breakfast, I looked over at my poor tank.

I love indulging my inner nature gal.  In a controlled environment, of course. Sadly, I’m not always good at controlling it all.  Ok, not all sad.  It’s interesting to see what happens, even when it’s things you don’t want to happen.

A recent mystery disaster wiped out all my SPS corals, and has left me a growing patch of cyanobacteria.

Cyano, or red slime

Cyano, aka red slime

A real nuisance, but it happens.  Time for a couple of extra water changes, and to change out the ferric oxide in the back chambers of the tank.  I’m not sure where these high phosphates are coming from this time, but they’re there.

At the same time, I was able to catch this moment.

Pair of skunk cleaner shrimp enjoying their breakfast.

Pair of skunk cleaner shrimp enjoying their breakfast. I couldn’t quite tell, but I think escargot was on the menu for them.

Back on the terrace, I checked on the progress of my little container garden.  A definite zucchini is growing!

I know, I know, those little bug things. :(

I know, I know, those little bug things. 😦

I first saw those little black dots (now recognizable as bugs) on my lily plants a few weeks ago. I immediately purchased a ridiculously expensive fertility spray that was labeled as an organic fungicide/insecticide. Needless to say, they’ve now spread to most of the plants/containers and are having the time of their fruitfully multiplying lives.  Who knew my terrace was the aphid (or whatever they are) version of a cheap Vegas buffet?

But look what else is growing,

Tom Hanks may have made fire, but I've got tomatoes!

Tom Hanks may have made fire, but I’ve got tomatoes!

And peas, real fresh, soon to be delicious, peas.

Yes, please.

Yes, please.

All in all, I’m calling it a good morning.

 

Exhaustion: It’s What’s for Dinner. and Celebration!

On the road, parenting style.

On the road, parenting style.

On Friday morning, Husband, Art Child, and I got in the car to head north for Man Child’s college graduation.  College! Graduated!  I did it!!!  Err, I mean, Man Child did it. And in all seriousness, he did it well.  Congratulations to you!  Naturally, life being what it is here on the Fringe, Nerd Child and all his stuff needed to be picked up from his school on the same day, a mere three and a half hours from where Man Child was graduating.

So we drove.

I've always had a thing for log houses. Wonder how one will look on the beach in HI. ;)

I’ve always had a thing for log houses. Wonder how one will look on the beach in HI. 😉

IMG_4142 IMG_4144

You have reached your (first) destination!

You have reached your (first) destination!

Lovely petunias in flower boxes outside our motel room–a mere one state away from where the college actually is.  Apparently the good mommies book their rooms six-nine months in advance, the fringe mamas end up 35 minutes away, across state lines, and pay a completely unreasonable amount of money for one of the most questionable motel rooms I’ve ever stayed in.  Not to fear, we shooed the five bees we found in the room back outside to the flowers, and established that one of the five lamps in the room was indeed working. Then Husband got back on the road to pick up Nerd Child while Art Child and I rested (or in my case, waited for the painkillers to kick in so I could straighten up),  got ready for the evening’s festivities, and sent panicked texts to Man Child regarding who would pick us up to take us to the school. His college puts on a lovely graduation, splitting it into two days so you’re never sitting for an unreasonable amount of time.

Man Child and Miss Music picked us up, I admired his new blazer, he admired my new (to him) cane, and we arrived in time for the dinner and speeches.

Thank you weather gods, for not being too hot or rainy.

Thank you weather gods, for not being too hot or rainy.

IMG_4181This is a small, arts focused but not arts exclusive liberal arts college.  I met several of Man Child’s friends–so full of talent, energy, and optimism.  Dancers, artists, biochemists, one I’m certain has a great future ahead of her in comedy writing, another who’s written a Japanese opera. Together this means I saw some fabulous fashion, spectacular hair colors, had plenty of vegetarian options to choose from, and *drumroll* Gloria Steinem was the featured guest speaker. Can a 40,000 year old woman squeal and fangirl? Yes, yes she can.

First the speaker from the senior class gave her speech. Clever, well timed, full of hope and witty comments about attending a not-quite traditional school that prizes individualism. This young woman is a writer, graduating from a school that has more than a few successful and prize winning writers among its alums. During her time at the school, in addition to her coursework she finished a novel and interned at a literary agency.

This is about when I started becoming very interested in the structure of the tent.  So much harder for the glassy eyes and sniffling nose to become full-on sobs when trying to determine how the cloth is joined to the poles.

IMG_4174

 

Then Ms. Steinem spoke.  I’ll be honest, she could have stood and read her grocery list and I’d have applauded and proclaimed her brilliance. C’mon, Gloria Steinem, forty feet in front of me! But she didn’t read her grocery list, and her speech was wonderful, inspiring to the young people (men and women) sitting and listening. I was thrilled to listen, but I’ll be honest again. I didn’t feel inspired. I felt smaller, further on the fringe, more frayed and broken. Plain old old. After telling everyone I hoped to meet her, when the speeches ended I walked away from the line formed immediately by those who wanted a chance to meet and take a photo with her.

After a few minutes of fresh air, Man Child encouraged me to go back and get on line. I realized there were just as many moms waiting as graduates, so I summoned my old mosh pit moves and got on line. We joked and waited, and then I was face to face with this woman who represents so much. Not only what she did do, but what she continues to do. I said hello and told her how pleased I was to meet her, and mentioned that I had told a mutual friend how much I was looking forward to this opportunity. She politely asked who the friend was and how I know her. And that’s where I metaphorically found myself on my face. Not my friend’s name, of course. But she’s someone I met through dog walking. I walked her dogs for years, she herself is a known, successful, talented journalist and feminist, and we have become friends.   Standing there, though, surrounded by all that youth and hope and talent; with this successful, brave, powerful woman in front of me, the only image in my mind was dog shit in the rain–and rejection letters oddly addressed, “Dear Fraudulent Feminist,”  I mumbled something about dog walking and fringiness, grimaced for the photo and slunk off.

When we got back to the motel, Nerd Child and Husband had arrived, and were already 2/3 asleep. I pretended for a few minutes that I’m a reasonably mature and graceful woman before Man Child and Miss Music headed back to school and I collapsed into the sleep of self-pity.

It rained all night, and was still quite cool and gray in the morning. Somehow, New England manages to be bright and beautiful even under cloud cover.

IMG_4204 IMG_4211 IMG_4213

 

IMG_4364 IMG_4366

 

The commencement ceremony itself was beautiful, and aptly positioned (for us) right outside the financial aid office.

Afterwards, of course, were more photos, and a celebratory lunch. Once again the deadbeat mom, it hadn’t occurred to me that in a small town, reservations would be needed way in advance when an entire senior class was there with their families, all going out to eat. We ended up back across the state border, in a restaurant not far from the motel we had stayed the night before.  While having lunch, Man Child brought it up.  Yeah, we know each other well enough that he knew all the speeches and creative youth would hit that melancholy nerve in my heart.  You can’t stay mired in self pity on such a beautiful occasion, and when you have an adult child who knows you well enough, and cares enough to acknowledge mom as a person. Said our goodbyes, then headed to yet another state to drop off Nerd Child at a friend’s–because they were going back to their school the following morning to cheer on senior friends for graduation (not theirs, thankfully, that’s next year).  With any luck the contents of his dorm room will find their way out of the car and into his bedroom before the end of the week.

We couldn’t be more proud of Man Child.  It isn’t easy to be a kiddo raised on the fringe.  For whatever opportunities he’s had, help and sacrifices offered and acknowledged, it sucked to be the one listening to classmates talk about fabulous vacations, watch others go off on school year abroad while he plowed through. He’s worked hard, not just in the classrooms but outside; connecting with others, joined the greater community and created opportunities for himself.  I’m hoping he enjoys this summer in New England, continuing to work in the restaurant he’s worked in for the past three years, now as a new graduate. He’s heading to Italy in the fall, so exciting!  Bottom line, he’s doing what I wish for all three of my children; not living by “I will,” all too quickly followed by “I would’ve/should’ve,” but living by “I am.”  May your future blogs never include the tag “downward mobility,” in any language. All the best and all my heart, Man Child, not just on ceremonial days, but every day.

IMG_4370

It’s Okay To Suck

Sometimes.

IMG_3554

I first began to get into photography when I got into reefing. Any coral reef hobbyist will tell you the two go hand in hand.  Reefs are beautiful, always changing, photography documents those.  More than anything, photos are necessary when you need help. Regardless of how broad your vocabulary might be, when you’re on a forum and trying to get an ID of a specific coral, coral disease, or algae, you need the visuals. I was a lousy photographer, but kind of liked it.  Every so often I’d get it right, such a good feeling.

Then I began blogging. I like blogs that include photos or artwork.  Makes it easier to read than a wall of text, and often adds a little something.  At first, I mostly used stock photos, embarrassed when I posted my own lousy pics. But then I began bringing the camera with me more frequently, making sure it was always charged, shooting photos of what was interesting to me, and/or what I thought would work well with specific posts.  Still lousy photos, but it was fun, and I got less embarrassed about posting them. Yet another aspect to blogging that I’m grateful for.

I like to try different things (as long as they don’t involve heights!) but alas, I’m not one of those people who are magically gifted at everything they try. I’ve always had a few things I was good at, and would quickly drop–certainly not publicize–what I wasn’t.  But yanno, there are advantages to getting older. Sure I’m more self conscious about my body, but I’m going to the beach anyway.  And not everything I do has to have the potential to be something I’m great at.  I learned to crochet. Sort of. I’m a truly horrendous crocheter, but sometimes I find it just the right type of mental masturbation, and I don’t care if I’m never going to crochet a fabulous whatever.

First zucchini flower of the season.

First zucchini flower of the season.

IMG_4116

This year I’m trying container gardening on the terrace again. I accept that some things will grow, and hopefully flower/bear fruit, and some won’t work out, because I don’t actually know what I’m doing.  That’s ok, I’m enjoying watching what happens.  Not so fond of the little bug thingies on my lilies, but I got an organic spray that is (slowly) killing them off.

In many ways gardening is similar to reefing, except I don’t feel the same pressure, the same sinking in my gut when I see something go wrong.  And things do go wrong in the reef, regardless of how long I’ve been reefing, how much I pay attention.  Just the past couple of weeks, something went awry and all but one of my SPS (small polyp stony corals) died. RTN, rapid tissue necrosis.  I want to cry thinking of those bare, white boney skeletons, but that’s another post unto itself.

I don’t have to be “gifted” at everything I do or share with others. Hell, I think I’m a kick-ass writer, and I’ve got a good number of people who agree, but still none who are in a position to offer me a dollar for my words.  Yeah, that hurts, and it’s always going to hurt. I want to be recognized as a writer, acknowledged as someone who can offer words of value, even if it’s a weirdo story about a smoking rat. I don’t want to be a chef, but I want guests who come over for dinner to enjoy my food, and leave feeling the dinner was part of a great evening. I want them to look at my tank and ooh and ahh about the beauty and vibrancy of the reef. If they see a stray crooked square of crochet work next to the couch?  It’s ok.

I keep taking pictures of everything. Digital photography offers an opportunity film didn’t, if only because of cost. I can snap a hundred pics to get 8 decent ones, and not stress about the money wasted on film and development. Much to my surprise, taking pictures has become more enjoyable as time goes on, and I’ve gotten better at it.  Try to take pictures of moving critters underwater, through glass, under led lights, you have to learn. Not great, and I’m still lousy when it comes to people, but better.  I can and do recognize the difference between the pictures I take, and the ones from people who are actual photography artists. I’m proud of many of my photos now, anyway.  And if some of the photos still suck, but I wanted to post them anyway because of the subject? That’s ok, too.

Tomatoes! I've never been successful with them, maybe this will be the year.

Tomatoes! I’ve never been successful with them, maybe this will be the year.

First tomato flowers.

First tomato flowers.

Sweet peppers

Sweet peppers

Carrots and beets

Carrots and beets

Love the leaves of the beets, so pretty.

Love the leaves of the beets, so pretty.

Lilies, will I ever get a flower?

Lilies, will I ever get a flower?

This was supposed to be a box of ranunculi, but I had a few extra blazing star bulbs so I put them in and they're choking out the ones I wanted.

This was supposed to be a box of ranunculi, but I had a few extra blazing star bulbs so I put them in and they’re choking out the ones I wanted. No clue what the shorter grass looking stuff to the front is.

Peas. I should have used a larger container. Live and learn.

Peas. I should have used a larger container, it’s choking itself. Live and learn.

Blazing stars.  These things must be freaking weeds! But apparently there were morning glory spores (?) still in the container from a couple of years ago, because I'm seeing a couple of definite morning glory vines push through.

Blazing stars. These things must be freaking weeds! But apparently there were morning glory spores (?) still in the container from a couple of years ago, because I’m seeing a couple of definite morning glory vines push through.

Walk in the Park–leave your blues, take in the greens

It was such a glorious weekend here in NY, going into Central Park felt mandatory.  I missed the spring blooms this year, but there’s plenty of beauty in the greenery.  Unless you go deep into The Ramble, you really can’t forget you’re in the middle of the city for more than five minutes.  People, the detritus of people, shadows of buildings and artfully placed pipes remind you.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I kind of love that.  Makes a statement.  Not sure what that statement is, but I know it’s there.  Yesterday, though, I gathered the girl, the dog, and the cane, and focused more on the greens. We went to The Pool, a manmade pond on the north end of the park.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another set.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ok, yes, I took a lot of photos yesterday.

Happy start of summer, Fringelings.  Soon it will be beach days!

Special Occasion: Yanno, Thursday

Canned biscuits

Canned biscuits

The other morning I stuck these in the oven for Art Child’s breakfast. When she woke up and came in the kitchen she asked, “Is today a special day?”

Ooof.  I was never the picture of the Happy Housewife, never cooked breakfast daily, but I used to actually make breakfast regularly enough that no one thought anything of it to wake up to eggs or muffins on a weekday.  The above wasn’t making breakfast, this was popping open a tube and sticking overly sweet pre-made discs of dough in the oven.  I’ve been pleased with how I’ve forced myself to relax over the past several years; not everything has to be from scratch, the world doesn’t end and I’m less stressed if I’m busy or my back is hurting so I buy leaves already trimmed and washed in a bag for salad.  (Still make my own dressings, that bottled stuff should be banned.)

For Art Child to look at those biscuits and think we were either celebrating or there was a state test she forgot about…let’s just say it made me take a closer look at myself, in a broader sense than in the kitchen. Have I relaxed and adapted or have my standards dropped?

Both. Yes, it’s good to relax, not put so much pressure on myself. Some of this “relaxing” is due to enforced lessons of hurry-up-and-wait, both in the world of writing and in the world of medical needs parenting.  Wait for responses, call-backs, appointments with specialologists scheduled six months out, test results, watch and see how things develop.  As a parent in the specialized medical world, generally bad news comes fast and good news comes slow. As a wanna-be writer, it’s the opposite. Again, these are generalizations, there are exceptions both ways. In either world that bad news feels like a sucker punch, even if you’re sure it’s coming. And in both worlds, sometimes the ball gets dropped, and you don’t hear news until months after you could/should have. Either way, you learn that most things are not the emergency they feel like in your own mind.

And yes, my standards have dropped. I think it’s been necessary for my sanity. When I first began writing and sending queries, it was done through snail mail with SASEs. It often took a long time to get a response, but 99% of the time, you got one. I took long breaks, lots of gaps in my efforts to write and submit queries. The next time I was querying, most were done through email, and more agents were straightforward that if they weren’t interested, they wouldn’t respond. Ugh! For a little while.  Then I got used to it. I had to. It’s like sending in a job application, right? If they’re interested, they’ll contact you, if not they won’t.  Put into that perspective, it makes sense–though it’s still absolutely appreciated to get a response, positive or negative.  Lowered standards or preserving sanity, call it what you will. If they requested a full, you were pretty much guaranteed a personalized response.

Now?  Even on a request, people are now seeing bare bones form rejections, the same as on a query. This latest go-round I saw agents who don’t respond at all even to requested material. I have a hard time with this one. Requested means you sent a query and opening pages, they (or their intern) liked it enough to send you a note and ask for the full manuscript. I checked with other wanna-bees to try and read the coffee grounds between the non-existent lines, and it isn’t just me. A request for a full doesn’t mean anymore than what it is, so don’t start practicing your acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in literature, you crazy-overactive-imagination-writer, you.  And yes, I know I shouldn’t be saying this out loud, let alone posting it on my blog, the internet is forever, some magical publisher or agent in the future could come across this and say hey! I was going to make Mrs Fringe an offer, but now I won’t. Obviously she’s whiny and difficult, a gnat of a wanna-be. How dare she try to hold on to any standards, think she deserves a little courtesy of a response?

I don’t mean to be difficult, though I’m fully aware that I’m whining. In many ways I’ve been lucky, received a fair share of requests, and gotten many lovely responses, personalized and complimentary. No one has ever told me my writing sucks and I should go submerge my head in my tank, stick to writing grocery lists. Thank God, because I am the worst shopping list writer on the Upper West side–three chicken scratches on the back of an old appointment card, and walk out of the store with $200 transformed into three environmentally friendly reusable bags.

I decided it’s time to slow my slipping standards, so I went to the Farmer’s Market the other day.

IMG_3960

Saw mushrooms that looked like they belonged in the art fair.

Passed on these.

Passed on these.

Made a wish on a particularly resilient dandelion

These things really do spring up everywhere.

These things really do spring up everywhere.

Said a little prayer

IMG_3977And set about making a fresh baked breakfast of rhubarb muffins.

I can still chop, if uneven.

I can still chop, if uneven.

Oops, no sour cream.  Ok, not dropping standards, adapting with greek yogurt.

Works out the same

Works out the same

Ready?

Fold the rhubarb in gently, Mrs Fringe!

Fold the rhubarb in gently, Mrs Fringe!

And then I couldn’t find one normal muffin pan. I found my teeny mini muffin pan, too small for those rhubarb pieces, and too annoying with such a thick batter. I found my muffin top pan, too shallow for the rhubarb. I found tart pans, springform pans, pie plates, and cookie sheets. No muffin pans.

Give up those expectations, and adapt.

Can I interest you in a slice of rhubarb bread?

Can I interest you in a slice of standard dropping rhubarb bread?

 

 

 

Taking it to the Streets

Art in the Village

Art in the Village

Yesterday I took my cane and my girl, and went to one of my favorite New York events, the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit.  It’s a biannual outdoor art show that’s been running as long as I can remember, Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, with a lot of amazing art and artists. This is not a street fair, no sausages, zeppoles, blow up rides or knock-off handbags. I’ve heard the original idea came from Jackson Pollack when he was broke, and took some of his paintings and sold them on the street. Something about being in the midst of creative people who are living their art, and others coming to see, appreciate, and purchase the work is inspiring.  Plus, it’s fun and free, leaves me near all the places I used to frequent when I was young–can’t beat it. I’ll share a few of the highlights here, but if you’re in or around New York this weekend, or Labor Day weekend, go!

IMG_3985 IMG_3986

As much as I’ve always loved this show, there’s an extra dimension to it for me now, attending with Art Child.  She chats with the artists and asks questions I wouldn’t think of.  She responds to this type of venue and it shows. No less than five artists commented on her style, a couple asked to take her photo for portraits. I could see her wheels turning, wondering when she can set up a booth and sell her own work.

Like Art Child, many artists use trees as subjects for their work, and we saw quite a few styles and interpretations.  We even found an artist with both paintings and sculptures of what Art Child calls “treeple,” trees with human features, and something she draws frequently in her charcoal sketches.  The artist, Anthony Santella, was lovely and patient, with work ranging from realism to surrealism to fantasy.

If I had the money and the room I would have purchased this piece.

If I had the money and the room I would have purchased this piece.

IMG_3997

One artist, Lisette P, was showcasing jewelry that was all made from New York photographs she has taken, resized and set behind glass.  How can you not love jewelry you can Windex to keep clean?

IMG_3992

We spent quite a while at her table, and I was happy to see many other people were doing the same. There’s just something about New York street photography when it doesn’t look like a cleaned up postcard.

One of the first booths we stopped at was marvelous, a mix of paintings and jewelry that we both loved, and it turned out the two artists are mother and daughter.  Olga and Daniella Bacskay. Perfect, no?  I’ll admit to being a bit envious. I appreciate art, and thrill in Art Child’s joy and accomplishments, but can’t share the experience in quite the same way.

IMG_3987

Art Child purchased a small print of this powerful mixed media painting. The original has volcanic ash in the tree limbs.

Art Child purchased a small print of this powerful mixed media painting. The original has volcanic ash in the tree limbs.

Moving on, we spent time chatting with another artist, this one with the kindest smile. I loved the work, another person displaying both paintings/prints and jewelry. Handblown, painted vases that blew me away.  Dudley Vaccianna, the scenes he paints just seemed to radiate female power. The earrings were all hand painted on brass, beads from Nigeria.

I think I could grow ten stories from his pose.

I think I could grow ten stories from his vibe.

Sadly, the show is much smaller than it used to be, but even still, my back and hip gave out before we were able to see everything.  So we walked back around the park to the west side.

So clean nowadays.

So clean nowadays!

And of course, because by then we were hungry, and so close, getting a late lunch was mandatory.

The peanut butter restaurant, simple and brilliant.

The peanut butter restaurant, simple and brilliant.

By the time we got home, I was unable to stand up straight, but completely inspired. There’s a story I’ve been playing with, building in my head for months. I now have the opening completely in focus.

 

 

Smells Like

Street Fair Season!

Street Fair Season!

Sunday was a beautiful day, one of those days where you feel the promise of summer. Art Child and I went for a little walk.  Or in my case, hobble. We even took Little Incredibly Dumb Dog with us so she could be appropriately traumatized. Got to the corner and the familiar, peculiar mix of zeppoles, barbecue smoke, and exhaust was unmistakeable.  Spring is peak street fair season in the city.  Some of the fairs are fabulous, with interesting crafts, unique art, live music, and an opportunity to sample great food. Small children and tourists are certain they’re scoring goods that would otherwise be here:

IMG_3821

 

But really, the booths contain a lot of what you might otherwise find here:

IMG_3825

Most seem like a collection of the various street vendors scattered throughout the city gathered in one 7-10 block radius for the day, selling the usual crap–some useful crap, most not–and added a couple dozen deep fryers and barbecues.  I have on occasion bought some great earrings, once bought a pair of gladiator sandals for $5 that lasted 4 years, and used to buy all my socks from these tables.

These are great days to be in the city, the first days of flip-flops and running into friends you haven’t seen since the first snow fell, warm enough to feel glorious but before it’s so hot all you smell is old dog piss rising from the grates as you walk down the street.

This was a pretty average fair, but the first one is always fun. Walk with me, Fringelings.