Thursday, December 30, 2010

The beauty of the Snowpocalypse

Shot by filmmaker Jamie Stuart in Queens during the snowstorm on the night of December 26th, this video has been called "Oscar-worthy" by Roger Ebert.

Idiot With A Tripod from Gothamist on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I dare you...

...not to find this funny.  (Click here to make with the funny)

What a huge pecker!

Just spotted this guy outside of my home office window.  He's a Pileated Woodpecker - only rarely spotted in this part of the Northeast.  Very impressive guy (or gal)!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In case you missed the Snowpocalypse

This video captured 20 hours of snowfall in 40 seconds - probably some place like New Jersey, closer to the ocean than we are.

December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow Angels

We're waking up to more than a foot of snow in Eastern New York this morning, our first real snow storm of the season.

It's just a few minutes past 7:00 am.

About 45 minutes ago, I was practically hurled out of bed by the mass pandemonium of the three younger dogs losing their minds (plus the elderly one being agitated and confused and randomly slamming into various pieces of furniture).

I listened as the barking ceased and heard only the faint sounds of snow being shoveled up the street.

I returned to bed.

"Knock-knock-knock" from the front door.


Not even half awake - having spent the previous six hours alternately snoozing and tossing and turning, dreading the shoveling awaiting me in the morning - I pulled the closest thing resembling a bathrobe around me and rapelled my way downstairs alternately using the wall, banister and stairs to change my direction, bearing and speed - much as I imagine Helen Keller might have, had she been awaken suddenly, violently and without a frantic explanation made to her palm.

I struggled to open the front door, with three snarling and yapping demons behind me, leaping around under and up into the front hall Christmas tree, ornaments pinging and shattering against the oak desk and paneled staircase.

In the periwinkle darkness of pre-dawn, a slight and mildly spotty youth stood without, his nose red with cold, the faint odor of stale cigarettes hovering round him.

"Sorry to be coming by so early - did you want us to clear your sidewalk and driveway?" he inquired.

"Who am I?" I thought, "...and why are these magic wolves destroying the tree of light and fantasy?  Why am I here - who is making those speaking noises?  Is it God? God - hello?    No?  Then be QUIET or the Cafeteria Lady will HEAR you - and you know what she's like!! "

(Brian will absolutely confirm that this is spot-on in terms of how I dream and then wake up)

Out of my mouth, however, came, "Great!  Just the sidewalk and in front of the cars where the plow came by would be great, okay?"

Off went my snowy savior to join his two comrades who attacked the snow with an energy and vehemence of hobgoblins disemboweling an unwary traveler.  Snow flew this way and that as I watched blearily from within.

After a few minutes of wakefulness, I glanced around outside and realized that a good hour of back-breaking shoveling and snow clearing still lay ahead for us.

So, I made espresso and waited patiently for the hobgoblins to finish their grim task.

When the head youth returned to my front door, I was able to see him much more clearly.  Young, fresh-faced - seemed a decent enough kid/young man.

I apologized for having been out of it when I first spoke with him and asked how much he was owed.

He said "wow - I don't know - um. $10 each?"

I thought - okay - fair enough.

"How much more to clean off the cars and shovel the driveway?" (we have a small parking strip - just big enough to get two cars off the street)

Him:  "Hmm - I don't want to hurt you, man - another $10?"

Me (thinking):  "Hurt me?  Hurt me for another $10.  You're actually helping me avoid thousands in possible medical bills when I shatter my spine, slide under Brian's car and am then dragged on floral deliveries for the next three days."

Me (speaking):   "Okay. Cool. Thanks."

With that, I handed the $40 in cash to the earnest young man. He then rejoined his compatriots and within seconds, I saw the roofs of our cars emerge from the snow.  Then the windows and hoods, and finally, the tires.

And with that, they were gone.  Piling into their battered black Isuzu Rodeo, they tore off into the still-dark morning - destined, no doubt, to aid other out-of-shape and confused middle-aged people before the sun rose.

Brian thinks they're crackheads.  I like to think they are smart and entrepreneurial young go-getters who know the value of hard work.  And maybe beer.  Okay - and maybe an occasional dime bag or so in there somewhere.

But more than anything, they are my snow angels.  Allowing me to sit and write this blog entry in warmth and comfort while my neighbors toil away.

And like other mysterious creatures - such as Bigfoot and Extraterrestrials, all I have is a memory and a grainy photograph to remember them by.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Christmas Eve star turn

Brian's business partner Liz and her husband wanted their granddaughter to have a memorable "possibly last year to believe" by having her sneak a peek at Santa when she came home form church on Christmas Eve.

So - guess who agreed to be Santa?  Yep - yours truly.

The setup was that we would leave the church service early - arrive at the granddaughter's apartment, - then leave the front door open and let her find me leaving presents.  No speaking role required.  Then I was to leave via the back door and disappear into the night.

As it happened, we had a few slight improvisations:  the boyfriend of the mother of the grandchild was home sick, vomiting.  And after I sent him to the basement to pluck meaninglessly on his guitar, I had to wait an extra half hour beyond what I expected  in a suit, wig and beard  made of 100% man-made fibers (i.e., sweating my balls off) with a beard that refused to stay up on one side and red velvet Capri pants that refused to cover my substantial ass.  Add to this, the fact that I had overindulged the night before and had wicked gastro-intestinal issues, it was a scene ripe with unfortunate possibilities.

Fortunately, the entire family arrived shortly before I bitch-slapped the boyfriend into assuming my role so that I could have some privacy in a bathroom somewhere.

The plan did not go entirely as hoped - upon spotting my ample backside while placing presents under the tree, the granddaughter ran to the door and said "Hello."

I had to improvise and - fortunately - was not wearing my designer glasses.

Tugging my wig down as far as it would go and scrunching my eyes and face as much as possible, I held up a white gloved hand with my index finger - indicating a "shush" gesture - while covering as much as my face as possible.

I heard her gasp - and I returned to placing presents under the tree.

As I headed towards the kitchen and the back door, I paused to wink at her and wave with a gloved hand in front of my face.

I'm told she lost her little mind and had the most amazing Christmas Eve ever.

And I am so pleased to have been a part of that.  Merry Christmas everyone - I can only hope you love someone as much as these grandparents love their grandchild.

And as much as I love you - Happy holidays, all.

Santa is in the hood, yo!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Made my very first amuse bouche for our annual neighborhood progressive dinner party (meaning we go from house to house - not that we're like liberating people or anything).

Anyway - made a lovely spicy curry tuna with dill and chives - a major hit!  Yay!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

An early Christmas gift

Just got this from - you can't buy it here in the States yet.  It's been a long time since I've enjoyed an entire CD so much. 

And it didn't cost an arm and a leg, even with Royal Mail international shipping.  Highly recommend!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I went to our unique "farm stand plus high end grocery" (Adams Fairacre) a favorite destination for people who weekend in Woodstock or the Town of Ulster, and the cashier - swear to God - almost assumed a Sumo position and wished me a Merry Christmas like "say Happy Holidays and I will rip your throat out with my false teeth".

Now - my gay BFF's roommate  has posted the "if you cant 't say Merry Christmas, you're fucking communist" on Facebook.

Please - don't we already have enough anger and stupidity to deal with?

Whatever you celebrate - I wish you my very best.   Screw the haters.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tiny Tots....

...with their eyes all aglow....

I really should get back to work......

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Retro Christmas

We're totally digging our new retro ornaments on our vintage 1950s aluminum Christmas tree (rotating with color wheel).  They came from our favorite local garden center, Victoria Gardens.

Monday, December 06, 2010


For my non-UK friends - I have the biggest squishy gay crush on this group - they are fantastic.

Ladies and Gentlemen - The Unconventionals.   I dare you not to tap your feet to the Christmas song. (and I generally despise pop music)

There are at least two potential future ex-husbands in this group. This always makes me love music more.