Central Park

PTSD of Snow

Everything on mute.

Everything on mute.

It’s well documented that I hate winter but really, it’s just the cold.  I never minded the snow, always figured if we had to have sub freezing temperatures, might as well have the beauty and quiet that comes with snowfall.  There’s always something a little magical about snow, not to mention the throwback to being a kid, hoping for a snow day.  And let’s be honest, if you live in the city, it’s likely you skip the bad part of snow–shoveling.  (Unless you have a car and park on the street, in which case you’re screwed.) Sure if you have a brownstone the steps and path need to be shoveled, but it seems like most hire that work out.  It has to be a LOT of snow to interfere with public transportation or cause any real inconvenience.  Say, for example, 26.8 inches, like we saw yesterday.  Even with that, we were warned well in advance (though we didn’t expect as much as we got, it isn’t like we were expecting a dusting), and it was a Saturday, no school anyway and many people off from work.

Look what we get in exchange, clean and lovely scenery, cool ice patterns, etc.

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All good, right?  Biggest concern dodging the icicles and avalanches of snow sliding off the rooftops in the days after the storm, as they melt just enough to slide off and hit the ground–or the nearest head.  Except not anymore.  Every step on the snow, every glimpse of an ice patch…makes me think of the ice patches I won’t see, how hard those snow piles are after sitting on the curb for a couple of days–or weeks–and flash back to my face hitting the ice last spring, when I fractured my everything.  Ridiculous.  I’m not young, but I should be too young to be literally worried about busting a hip.  Should be.

Maybe I should just stay in and write.  Winter has traditionally been my most productive time in terms of fiction.  I think it’s the excessive heat pumping through the radiators, puts me in just the right stupor to lose myself in my imagination.  Except.  Recently every time I open the damned file intending to do more than read the few pages I’ve got, I flash on the mountain of rejection letters I’ve accumulated over the years for various projects.  Dear Fringie, Intriguing story, great characters, thanks so much but no thanks and good luck. 

Maybe I’ll just kick back on the couch and watch Netflix with Art Child.  Mmm hmm.  Remember the avalanches I mentioned?  Sometimes they happen and you hear them during the storms, from winds blowing and drifts settling.  They make quite the sound on impact, and mostly it’s just background noise, though sometimes it can be startling, depending on the size of the chunk of snow, and how far it has to fall. A few years back Art Child and I were home during a storm, and there was a particularly loud snow-muffled thud.  It wasn’t snow.  Someone jumped from the roof.  Despite all the years and storms where those thumps were just snow and ice, now I jump.

Nervous staying in, nervous going out.  I took the girl and the camera and went to the park this morning.  I’m too damned old to be scared of boogeymen, especially when they’re decked out like Frosty.

Click on the photos if you’d like to see them full-size. Happy Blizzard, Fringelings!

 

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.

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Another set.

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

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

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.

Wah Waah Waaah

Little Incredibly Dumb Dog knows what to do with a snow day.

Little Incredibly Dumb Dog knows what to do with a snow day.

The Northeast was expecting the blizzard of the year last night, with predictions of epic snow accumulations.  The NYC DOE announced public schools would be closed for today, and the city effectively rolled up the sidewalks at 11pm Monday night.  A big deal. A very big deal.  Buses were taken off the streets, the trains were shut down. I took these shots yesterday around 2PM, just as the storm was picking up.

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My Facebook feed was filled with photos of empty grocery shelves and menus detailing who would be cooking what, whose schools had been canceled when, most people moaning about the snow, harrowing tales of 3 hour commutes home during rush hour, slipping and inching down the roads.

As it turned out, the storm hooked east, and we didn’t get slammed here in Manhattan. I think 6.5 inches in Central Park.  Now my Facebook feed is filled with moaning and groaning about the inaccuracy of the weather predictions, how the mayor was paranoid and jumped the gun, inconvenience, no school, no work, blah blah blah.  First of all, it’s weather. Regardless of how sophisticated the satellites have become, they’re called weather predictions for a reason. Second, a lot of areas were slammed–not far from each other, friends on Long Island were hit hard, some in NJ were, some weren’t. And those up North of us are still being pelted.  Third, so what?

Yeah, I said it. How many of us are so important (outside of emergency workers, snow removal, hospital workers) that the world collapses and people die if we don’t get to work? How many truly believe that one snow day is going to make or break the children’s test scores?  Yes, it was the wrong call in terms of how much snow we actually got here in the city.  But what if they didn’t announce school closings yesterday, and we got as much snow as expected, and it was announced this morning? Well, then everyone would be complaining about the late notice, many scrambling to figure out child care. If they didn’t tell everyone to get off the roads last night? Everyone would be complaining about how long it’s taking the city to clean the streets, not to mention the inevitable accidents and cars stuck on the highways.

It was odd for the subways to be shut down, it’s true.  But my first thought was for the homeless for whom the subway tunnels and trains provide a relatively warm and dry place to be during bad weather. Six inches of snow and thirty mile per hour winds has to feel like storm enough when you don’t have somewhere safe to shelter you.

Are we so entitled that inconvenience is prioritized over safety? Is it really so terrible to have a bonus day off?  Many won’t be paid for this day off, it’s true, and that sucks. Many more will work extra hard, and/or extra hours to catch up later in the week.  But, oh, wasn’t it delicious to sleep an extra hour or two today? To go play in the park, or cook something special, or play a game with the kiddos, or just stay warm and dry?  We are the only “advanced” nation that doesn’t guarantee its citizens paid vacation time and/or paid holidays.  Huffing and puffing about the inconvenience of weather seems to fit right in with that philosophy.  If you don’t have a hill to trudge up backwards in the snow pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps on the way to work, find one! I don’t think anywhere in the US embodies that spirit more than New York.  The show must go on, after all.

I walked through Central Park earlier, watched others walking their dogs, sledding, taking photos, and smiling. I didn’t hear one person complain about how miserable it was to have the day off, even though snow flurries started up again while I was there.  And I saw plenty still at work: in small businesses, police cars, driving buses, building maintenance and doormen, running the snow plows, shoveling the walkways for brownstone owners, and yes, even delivering groceries. I really hope whoever couldn’t be bothered to wait on line with the rest of us peasants yesterday are giving big tips today.

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And watching Art Child listen to Stevie Ray Vaughan with Husband this morning? Priceless.

Have Yourself a Merry

Please don't let this die now.

He came, he saw…

and he left behind more food than this fridge has hosted in months.  I’ve been keeping the refrigerator sparse due to its now sensitive nature.  Trying to coax it along for another year or so before I break down and replace it, but in the meantime, to minimize losses I try not to keep much in there at a time.  Man Child came home last week, took one look, went shopping and got to cooking.  And baking.  Because he was leaving to do some traveling and meet up with Miss Music for the holidays, he wanted to be sure Art Child was covered for Christmas.  She now has approximately 8001 assorted, homemade cookies to share with Santa.

There’s good and bad to having a large span of years between the first child and the last.  The bad, I’ve kind of run out of steam for all the little extra touches during the holiday season.  The good, the oldest doesn’t want the youngest to miss out, so he picks up the slack.

Having him here was great.  A friend of his also came to stay for a couple of the days, so fun!  I’m glad I’m no longer one of them, but the passion and enthusiasm of young adults can’t be beat, and we had a great political discussion one of the evenings.  That’s the thing about allowing your teens to go to boarding school, there are fewer opportunities for these moments.  So yes, even now that Man Child is in his senior year of college, I can honestly say I treasure these times.

He left, and Nerd Child arrived.  I’m hoping he’ll play his guitar for me a few times while he’s home–another one of those experiences I wish I had more of–but it’s unlikely.  And that is my fault, I get too excited.  Really.  I always tell myself I’m going to be blasé and just nod and smile, but then I burst with the fabulousness of it all, asking him to play another and another, and why doesn’t he sing, too?  Mmm hmm.  My enthusiasm is received like a zit exploding mid-performance.

Art Child and I got a little tree this year.  Barely more than a table top.  On the stand, it just about reaches my rib cage.  It feels right.  Low key.  I haven’t done one thing to decorate the tree or the apartment. Honestly, I’m still too busy feeling the relief of the extra space.

Do I have to consider myself behind on the holiday shopping if I’m never done at this point? I say no. Besides, I’m still busy angsting (took 4 tries to type angsting, spell check is insisting I mean to write ingesting) over what I am or am not doing with writing and submitting, checking email 43 times an hour to see if I’ve gotten any responses.

I did drag myself away from the screen yesterday, spent some time in the park with Art Child to check out the bare trees and the holiday booths by Columbus Circle.

I'll stick with tea, thanks.

I’ll stick with tea, thanks.

I never knew horses could have curly hair. Fur?

I never knew horses could have curly hair. Fur?

The park, tony Columbus Circle, the artisan booths, older buildings behind, to me this shot caught NY.

The park, tony Columbus Circle, the artisan booths, older buildings behind, to me this shot caught NY.

Art Child and I both loved this tree.

Art Child and I both loved this tree.

At long last, I now have a favorite park bench.

At long last, I now have a favorite park bench.

Wanna Tour NY with Mrs Fringe?

Where’ve I been?  Playing tour guide, of course.  I mentioned a while back one of my longtime reefing friends was coming to visit.  I’ll call her Bella, because she’s a beautiful person. She came, she stayed, we walked, we rode the subways, and I laughed a whole lot.  And of course, lots of eating.  On a tight budget, many of the more traditional attractions are off limits, but there is still plenty of NY flavor to be experienced. Gave her a New Yorker’s NY experience, complete with 5am wake ups and a high school open house.  Whaddya mean that isn’t a real tour?  It’s city life once you’re beyond clubs and late night bars when you aren’t one of the wealthy and fabulous.

I didn’t take photos of all the food consumed, but I’ll just say between me and one of our other reefing friends–I’ll call him Blue, because blue is my favorite color and he’s currently sporting a fabulous steel blue mohawk, Bella was able to experience a broad variety of international flavors unavailable in her southern town.  Yah, yah she says it’s a city, but population < 30,000 = a town to me.  The first day was all about the food–and a little walk through Central Park.

Fall flora

Fall flora

And the fauna

And the fauna

Look! An authentic city rat

Look! An authentic city rat. Aw, c’mon, he’s just a little one.

 

The second, I took her to the Met–after introducing her to the subway, Metrocards, and a city bus.  The Met is my favorite museum, and the admission price is a recommended donation.  In other words, you can give what’s comfortable and still enjoy the full experience.  Sort of. The Metropolitan is huge, I don’t recommend trying to cover the whole thing in a day.  Better to choose a couple of exhibits and take them in fully.  Which we did.

Beautiful art to see and study no matter where your eyes land.

Beautiful art to see and study no matter where your eyes land.

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Prints and copies are lovely, but there is NOTHING like seeing the real deal in front of you.

Prints and copies are lovely, but there is NOTHING like seeing the real deal in front of you.

After the museum, I had to introduce her to a dirty water hot dog and a knish in front of the steps to the museum.  I don’t care what your budget is or isn’t, what the weather is or isn’t, these are integral NY experiences.

oh, the pigeons!

oh, the pigeons!

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Bella was able to explore further with Blue, traveling by subway to the outer boroughs, experiencing a smaller gallery exhibit, and even catching the LIRR to meet with another friend and see Oyster Bay.  We had a small gathering of fishy friends at my place over the weekend, such a treat to laugh in person–and of course, show off my new tank.  Our Long Island friend even brought me a cup of live sand from one of her incredible reef tanks to “seed” mine.  Yes, we’re nerds and proud of it.

Yesterday was her last day in the city, so I took her back to Central Park and headed uptown, then to St John the Divine–one of the most breathtaking sights of the city, in my opinion, and certainly my favorite church.  Bonus, it’s another “recommended” donation, you pay what you can to enter.

How is scaffolding erected with signposts and trees already there? Like this, of course.

How is scaffolding erected with signposts and trees already there? Like this, of course.

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Outside the cathedral, I never tire of this one.

Outside the cathedral, I never tire of this one.

I posted exterior shots here on the blog several months back, now I’ll take you inside.  In addition to the incredible architecture, stained glass, community classes offered, and private school (love the way you hear children singing and giggling from below as you walk through the cathedral), it is used as a gallery, and there are usually a few temporary exhibits on display in addition to permanent ones.

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One more exhibit I want to revisit before it leaves–and take Art Child and Blue with me–It’s a collaborative effort of interfaith and international artists (along with some other photos of the Cathedral mixed in):

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Bella had only one request for me this visit, she’d heard me mention, maybe seen photos, of the rice pudding I make.  No problem.  It takes hours to cook, but it isn’t labor intensive.  I made it on Sunday while she and Blue were out sightseeing, since they planned to come back here for dinner.  Of course, my oven has been acting up, and when I dished out the pudding, more than half my arborio grains were, well, crunchy.  Oops.  We were still able to share and enjoy my favorite part of the new apartment.  Sunrise or nighttime, clear or cloudy, it’s a hell of a view.

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What to Do?

When you’re frustrated as hell with life and what is or isn’t happening?  Today was going to be the day I ran away to the beach by myself, but due to more life and clouds, that won’t be happening. So. Shut the hell up and wander around the city with a camera.

We’ve had some really great, southern feeling storms recently.  The kind that come through quickly, pour while the sun is shining or make afternoon feel like night.

Over to the east side yesterday, along 5th Avenue and wandering the eastern edges of Central Park.

The birds and the bees.  Which reminds me–city pro tip:  If you’re going to watch porn in a dark room at night, close your blinds.  Oh, apartment life.  It was really hot and humid in the afternoon, caught my attention to see the flowers in all the stages of blooming and dying on the same day.

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And then, at the end of the day, I sat on this bench, just outside the park.  It’s a thing here in NY, you can “buy” a bench, and get a plaque attached with your name or the name of a loved one.  I’m always intrigued, sometimes there’s a hint of a story, and you know this was someone who spent a lot of time enjoying park benches, other times I’m free to imagine whatever I’d like for the name attached. Many are “in memory of.”  It’s unbelievably expensive, I looked into it about a year ago for a friend.  In any case, on this one bench were two plaques, on the same slat.  I wondered what the people who paid a gazillion dollars each to buy a bench thought of this.  More than that, I wondered about who Mopsy is/was.

Yesterday

Ready for a walk?

Ready for a walk?

My plan was to write.  But it was beautiful outside, a perfect spring day.  So instead of working on the short story, I took a walk through the park and thought about writing, instead.  Sometimes this makes everything click into place, gives me a title and clear direction.  Not this time, but it was still beautiful.

I walked south, and ended up by the turtle pond.

When headed out of the park, I realized it was cat day.  Who knew? I’m kidding, as far as I know there’s no such thing, but I did see a few people walking cats.

This owner was trying to walk, but the cat was not interested in doing anything other than rolling on the ground, enjoying a dust bath.  Sadly, she wasn’t much more interested in posing for a picture, but wow, what a beautiful animal.

Some special breed, I didn't catch what.

Some special breed, I didn’t catch what.

I think the word leopard is in there.

I think the word leopard is in there.

And then at the exit, I saw this. He was eyeing a lively collection of pigeons and morning doves, then turned his attention to one of the old gated tunnels.  I think equipment is stored in there, along with many plump rats.  At first I thought oh, poor kitty is lost, he’s going to get eaten by a raccoon if he doesn’t find his way home soon.  Then I wondered if he was, in fact, a strangely colored raccoon.

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And this concludes today’s pictorial on the floral and fauna of Central Park.  Have a good Sunday, Fringelings!

Walking Through Fringeland, Part II

Above were just a few of the hidden paths, nooks and crannies.  Central Park is 843 acres, there’re a lot of them.  The set below are from just outside the park, on my way home.

Snotting Against the Wind

 

It isn’t raining or gray and I’ve been so damned sedentary since I hurt my back that I needed to go for a walk this morning. Dropped Flower Child off at her art class, and headed into Central Park with my camera.  A nice day for a walk–you’ll all be relieved to know I wore my sensible shoes, with support, without heels.  Glad I had a hat and was wearing layers because it is windy out there. Just shy of cold when the sun goes behind a cloud.  As expected, it was crowded with bikers, runners, kids, dogs, bird watchers and photographers.  But one of the nice things about Central Park is how big it is, if you don’t go to the popular, touristy spots, you can still find some peace.

Except for the two runners who were stopped right where I wanted to take some photos of the newly seeded ball fields.  One even treated me to the sight and sound of her blowing her nose onto the ground.  You know, one finger laid across one nostril, lean forward and blow out the other one.  I’m sure someone will tell me how it’s necessary, you don’t carry tissues to go running.  You know what?  It’s fucking gross.  I’ll bet she had her cell phone tucked in somewhere, she could throw a few Kleenex into the case.  By the way hon, if you’re reading, you might want to get checked for a sinus infection.

I would love to photograph the playgrounds, but they’re rarely empty, and it’s creepy to stand there and take photos of other people’s kids.  I like to get shots of birds, but that rarely works out for me, I don’t have great photography skills.  If you’re a longtime follower, you might know I’m obsessed with trees, especially the patterns of the root growths, and this time of year, just beginning to bud, when you can see the shapes and shadows made by the branches.  Plus, I find trees to be cooperative subjects, they rarely blink or move at the moment I press the shutter.  I also shoot a lot of the various bodies of water.  They’re always moving, but that makes them interesting to me, even the blurs. I took a lot of pictures, I’ll probably break this up into two or three posts.

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