23 7 / 2014

Have I told you about high fives? For a long time I performed very poorly at them, very poorly, and nothing kills a high-five mood like a limp-wrister or a hesitater. I was the latter. But Mr. Z set me straight a few years ago, with some patient lessons. It’s a good thing, too, because my bosses love a good high five, and I feel the skill has bolstered my career success. 

But I’m newly enthused about hand-expressed enthusiasm today because of this thrilling short video from Grantland, on the origin of the high five. There is an origin, and it’s a great story!

Go watch it, and relish your next gesture of mutual victorious glee. Give me one when we meet again. I probably won’t flinch!  

22 7 / 2014

Yesterday was the birthday of poet Hart Crane, to whose work I was introduced only a few years ago by a fellow bookstore employee. There is something bleak, pale, and gleaming about his poems, lots of moonlight and longing. Lots of things that seem very modern.

His life was short and tough (though his father was a chocolatier, sigh) and ended in the Gulf of Mexico. 

This one isn’t my favorite, but I find it adorable and old-west evocative.

The Great Western Plains

The little voices of the prairie dogs 
Are tireless … 
They will give three hurrahs 
Alike to stage, equestrian, and pullman, 
And all unstingingly as to the moon. 

And Fifi’s bows and poodle ease 
Whirl by them centred on the lap 
Of Lottie Honeydew, movie queen, 
Toward lawyers and Nevada. 

And how much more they cannot see! 
Alas, there is so little time, 
The world moves by so fast these days! 
Burrowing in silk is not their way —
And yet they know the tomahawk. 

Indeed, old memories come back to life; 
Pathetic yelps have sometimes greeted 
Noses pressed against the glass. 

21 7 / 2014

The rich, noisy city, fat with food and drink, is a spent thing; its chief concern is its digestion and its little game of hide-and-seek with the undertaker. Money and office and success are the consolations of impotence. Fortune turns kind to such solid people and lets them suck their bone in peace. She flicks her whip upon the flesh that is more alive, upon that stream of hungry boys and girls who tramp the streets of every city, recognizable by their pride and discontent, who are the Future, and who possess the treasure of creative power. 

(Song of the Lark)

21 7 / 2014

Yesterday I missed my blob due to sloth, I guess, or great activity followed by sloth. Part of the afternoon I spent in the park, which was full of bubbles, BBQs, French bulldogs, etc. 

And I read two articles about blood, in different forms (thanks, lopatto), and made chicken dinner. 

19 7 / 2014

Mr. Z and I bought large sea sponges to shower with—beautiful dead ocean creatures that make one (me, at least) feel like a mermaid to use. Here are the varieties of sponge among which one may choose:

18 7 / 2014

The sun has bleached shadows onto the bulletin board in my office, even under that lizard there.

On Monday I met in another office with a gentleman whose hair was high and shirt unaccountably crisp. I feel that I’m at last old enough to understand why men opt for starched shirts.

But monogrammed cuffs? That I saw on Tuesday, on the arm of a man holding onto the same subway pole as I did. Did the man buy the cuffs-shirt for himself? Was it from his mom or lover? I don’t get it.

The sun has bleached shadows onto the bulletin board in my office, even under that lizard there.

On Monday I met in another office with a gentleman whose hair was high and shirt unaccountably crisp. I feel that I’m at last old enough to understand why men opt for starched shirts.

But monogrammed cuffs? That I saw on Tuesday, on the arm of a man holding onto the same subway pole as I did. Did the man buy the cuffs-shirt for himself? Was it from his mom or lover? I don’t get it.

17 7 / 2014

Again, with the roof work—but look closely. Yes, that is a man working with a box on his head. At midday, to see silliness in operation at such a great height warms my heart. 
Three of my coworkers, at about this time, put boxes under their keyboards to fashion standing desks for themselves. I couldn’t be bothered. But the sight delighted me. 
Mr. Z and I are thinking of moving into a new apartment at the end of our lease this year, and in anticipation he purchased a set of flattened cardboard boxes (I, inveterate trash-thief, could hardly abide it), which arrived today, bound together and thankfully not contained by their own cardboard box.

Again, with the roof work—but look closely. Yes, that is a man working with a box on his head. At midday, to see silliness in operation at such a great height warms my heart. 

Three of my coworkers, at about this time, put boxes under their keyboards to fashion standing desks for themselves. I couldn’t be bothered. But the sight delighted me. 

Mr. Z and I are thinking of moving into a new apartment at the end of our lease this year, and in anticipation he purchased a set of flattened cardboard boxes (I, inveterate trash-thief, could hardly abide it), which arrived today, bound together and thankfully not contained by their own cardboard box.

16 7 / 2014

Workers sweep the rain on the roof outside my office window. I have never seen them do this before, and I find it both troubling and soothing, like monks raking sand.
I’ve been wearing my (train) engineer-ish cap in the rain, to keep my glasses free of water spots. But it is not possible to feel dry in NYC in the summer. 
This afternoon I walked with my usual businesslike swiftness through all manner of selfies and grand Brooklyn-Bridge portraits. I got to peer into Etsy HQ and quench my thirst on their seltzer. 

Workers sweep the rain on the roof outside my office window. I have never seen them do this before, and I find it both troubling and soothing, like monks raking sand.

I’ve been wearing my (train) engineer-ish cap in the rain, to keep my glasses free of water spots. But it is not possible to feel dry in NYC in the summer. 

This afternoon I walked with my usual businesslike swiftness through all manner of selfies and grand Brooklyn-Bridge portraits. I got to peer into Etsy HQ and quench my thirst on their seltzer. 

15 7 / 2014

Coveted an old lady’s shoes this eve on my way to book club.

Coveted an old lady’s shoes this eve on my way to book club.

14 7 / 2014

In Song of the Lark, I’ve found today, the word “lunch” means strange things. Take note of these (riveting, I know) passages, and be thankful for the (I hope) flavorful, varied lunches you all enjoy. 

First, one railroad man says to his colleague, “‘Of course, I don’t dispute your right to haul women in this car if you want to, but personally, so far as I’m concerned, I’d a good deal rather drink a can of tomatoes and do without the women and their lunch. I was never much enslaved to hard-boiled eggs, anyhow.’”

Five pages later, the protagonist’s mother has a short conversation with a pair of rail-yard hobos: “‘I wish I had enough lunch to provide you, but I ain’t. The station agent says he gets his provisions over there at the post-office store, and if you’re hungry you can get some canned stuff there.’ She opened her handbag and gave each of the tramps a half-dollar. 

The old man wiped his eyes with his forefinger. ‘Thank’ee ma’am. A can of tomatters will taste pretty good to me.’”

Again with the can of tomatoes? A new meaning for “slim pickings”?About ten pages after that, late on a cold evening, “Mr. Kronborg always had a lunch when he came home from prayer-meeting, and his pumpkin pie and milk were set out on the dining-table.”