Monday, March 30, 2015

"With our palms cupped like shovels"

Spring is here, so why not enjoy a music video where notes mushroom out of the earth and trees to float in the sky? I've liked this song for a while now.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Week in Seven Words #250

They prefer being spoken to sincerely, not smothered in pats and hugs and baby talk - a tone-deaf sort of love.

He's wearing a seatbelt, driving at speed limit, and taking his eyes off the road to check sports news on his mobile device.

He murders an otherwise good presentation with jokes about mental illness. The laughter that ripples through the room is faint and disbelieving.

His parents are too polite to discuss the issue publicly, but he's overheard them hash it out at home. He doesn't understand everything they say, but he knows enough to know they'd be embarrassed. He knows how to make the next family get-together more entertaining.

She's brought paper shopping bags full of winter clothes and toiletries to an elegant restaurant. The waiters pretend not to see any of it poking out from under the tablecloth.

His small feet thrumming on the back of my car seat.

To what extent would my life have been different had I grown up next door to him? I consider this as we sit on opposite benches and pick at our salads. He might have been an advisor or advocate. Or maybe still too much removed from what was going on. I might not have listened anyway.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ides of March Hike: Tarrytown to Van Cortlandt Park


This past Sunday, I went on a group hike from Tarrytown, NY to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The hike more or less followed a segment of the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail.

It wound up being 18.5 miles (the hike leader had initially estimated 16).

It also should have been scheduled a month from now. The trail was in terrible condition - a sludgy mix of snow, ice, and mud that the hike leader hadn't anticipated (at least not to that extent). And I wore boots that were only casually waterproof; they'd keep your feet dry on a walk home from work in the snow, but not on a messy trail for miles, so my feet got soaked early on.

Had I wanted to (and it was very tempting!), I could have dropped off at a few points before the end. We passed through towns with Metro North train stations that can take you back to NYC. But every time I got to one of those towns, I thought, "I've come this far… so…" And admittedly, had I known the hike would be 2.5 miles longer with the same kind of nasty trail conditions to almost the very end, I maybe would have bailed out at the last drop-off (which was around mile 11). Ignorance can help courage along.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week in Seven Words #249

Even when discussing happier memories, her eyes have a wounded look. Much of what she's seen, she can't explain and doesn't want to think about.

Pouring tea is her escape from uncomfortable conversation.

The cobwebbed elegance of the small café. Bats soar among ruby-red plants. A prim little cheesecake bathes in golden light.

land mine
It's startling when during a conversation with a mild-mannered person you stumble on the one topic that brings a savage light to their eyes.

Confounded by 'which' - is it 'which' or 'wich'?

A slow swirl of his spoon in the coffee, the way planets revolve around the sun.

He screams at the supermarket cashier because the store closed two minutes ago, and now he can't get his groceries. He hollers into the night. The cashier could be a parent, a boss, a lover who's just walked out on him. He stalks away, after promising a harsh review on Yelp.

Friday, March 13, 2015

13 short stories for Friday the 13th

I don't believe in the Friday the 13th superstition or that 13 is an unlucky number, but I thought I'd have some fun with today's date (especially because this weekend it's the Ides of March too!).

So here are a bunch of stories that are dark, disturbing, or otherwise strange, exploring fears and tragedies. The characters might be unlucky. They might also work to make themselves unlucky.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Week in Seven Words #248

The wind, fierce and fretful, throws a tantrum among the trees.

The trail overlooks people's backyards. What do they think about the strange hikers who can peer into their windows at any time of day?

There is sweat on her upper lip, and her smile is blinding. She would prefer if you look at her smile and not at her eyes.

Leaves and loose rock underfoot. Gold spreading gloriously overhead.

All that's left of a home: two stone walls, roof tiles littering the ground, a chimney decaying like a tooth.

The river throws the sunlight off its back and into our eyes.

Learning the contours of a river from a train, a forest ridge, and two bridges.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Week in Seven Words #247

The restaurant feels impersonal, all the furniture spare and made of metal, but they serve rich comfort food.

When I see the number of missed calls that have accumulated in my cell phone, I'm glad I kept it on 'silent.' Otherwise, I wouldn't have had the morning to myself, to explore as I like.

Plum-colored houses with white picket fences. Cobbled lanes and sunken gardens.

Tourists licking ice cream in the salt-flavored air.

A lonely giant on a charcoal ledge looks away from the moon.

Back-to-back episodes of Shark Tank, the TV flickering in a dark room. My mind gently wiped clean of the day's emotions.

His wife strikes me as hard and bright, a woman who's difficult to get to know but worth knowing.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dragonballs: Harry Potter as a much different movie...

Not only is this funny, it's also a good example of excellent video editing skills.

Week in Seven Words #246

Head fogged with a light fever, I open the door and hope that, for once, she'll say nothing and leave quickly.

His parting emails, echoing an earlier confusion about what he wants and how he means to act in a relationship.

Pencil shavings in a pink pencil case.

laugh track
They watch the episode again, this time to revisit all the parts they found funny the first time around and see if I'll laugh too.

The fourth and fifth fingers burn with a muffled electricity, as if they're stuffed with poorly insulated wires.

The persona she adopts to protect herself is the bright girl who doesn't have patience for adult silliness. She knows everything and let's every taunt roll off her. That's what she wants you to believe, so that you don't look more closely at her.

She writes a sentence, stops, stares at the book spines, forgets how she meant to continue. She crosses out the sentence, begins again, stops, stares at the far wall, the pencil tip wobbling on the lined paper.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

18 songs that lift my mood

Songbook by Davide Restivo

Not all of these are happy, but in one way or another they lift my mood. I've listed them with the preferred performer for each song.

Autumn in New York - Billie Holiday

Black Rat Swing - Precious Bryant

Brave - Sara Bareilles

Dance Me to the End of Love - Madeleine Peyroux

Don't You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds

Feeling Good - Nina Simone

Goodnight, New York - Vienna Teng

Impossible Dream - Andy Williams

Jumpin' Jack - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Kind and Generous - Natalie Merchant

A Little Less Conversation - Elvis Presley

My Funny Valentine - Ella Fitzgerald

Nobody But Me - The Human Beinz

Non, je ne regrette rien - Edith Piaf

On the Sunny Side of the Street - Ella Fitzgerald

The Only Living Boy in New York - Simon & Garfunkel

Tightrope - Janelle Monáe

Upside Down - Paloma Faith

Image credit and license: Wikimedia Commons