Monthly Archives: December 2007

>Sheets at Year End

>It is the last Saturday of the year and I am in my country house attempting to organize the sheets. This is not a complaint.

I decided that if ONE has two houses there can never, jamais, never be the moan
“Oh, poor me, I can never recall what is in my rural residence and what is in the city.”
What a crock.

If ONE is lucky enough after years of work to purchase, rent or borrow a home out of the city and in the midst of trees, crickets, snow and lots of back breaking work, then ONE needs to shut up and only comment on the glories.

If it is such a hardship to remember in which house you have a micro-grater, a garlic press or a baking pan for fancy sweet potatoes, either get a double or give up the damn house and give the money to charity because you are way past S_P_O_I_L_E_D.
And you have tipped over into spoiled ROTTEN.

I ran away a few days ago to be by myself, to write, to walk. But, truth be told, I have read novels and stayed up until 2a.m. neither cooking nor eating real meals. I have eaten chocolate and drunk coffee in the after noon knowing it would keep me awake but reveling in the fact that I wouldn’t bother anyone. I thought Huey Newton, the saved barn cat, might even like having me awake to share his nocturnal perambulations and be an aural witness to his killing fields in the basement.

But I also wanted to do some year-end cleaning. I enjoy an organizational flurry to usher out the old year, rather than the ritual welcoming of the new. Everyone loves the New Year; I want to celebrate the old, before she shuffles off. And thus it was that I set about organizing the linen closet. AHH what luxury to say that. The loft, where I have lived for over thirty years, was a factory and has no closets others than the over stuffed IKEA stand ins. There is a solitary book self for sheets and pillow cases in the city. But a linen closet holds wonder.

When I open it the rush of lavender fills my head and also wafts some of the lingering sandalwood odor from my mother’s closet, now closed for over six years. When I purchased this house in the Hudson Valley I culled sheets from my mom’s home, mix-matched extras that had accumulated over the years in the loft or from kids beds and moved them to the country. As if they were retiring to a sheet farm. But they were not arranged rather thrown higgledy-piggledy into the closet across from the upstairs bathroom. (AHH again to more than one bathroom.)

My daughter has accused me of pilfering her sheets when she comes to the country to visit and DO WASH. I certainly haven’t done it willfully, but stuff does tend to get shuffled. I had promised to see if there were suitable bed dressings for her rather than resorting to the modern default of “ Oh let’s just go to the newly opened Bed Bath and Beyond and get new” That is also a New Year’s resolution. Really check to see if you need it before you buy new.

And thus I began taking everything out of the linen closet and opening, labeling and refolding. A job for too much coffee. And as I began to make labels:
Queen Bottom
Single Top
Single Flat
Queen Top
King interchangeable, meaning flat, but I wrote interchangeable and I began to giggle.
I felt as if I were writing a personal ad

Middle-aged woman with a closet full of queen bottoms would like to meet a King sized man who is interchangeable.

Of course this laughter meant I had to run downstairs. AHHH downstairs not across the floor, but actually to another room where I couldn’t see the mess I had left on the floor of the foyer (AHH foyer) outside the linen closet.

Now I am writing watching the birds at the feeders, (AHHH birds) but you get it by this time. I do love it here, but everything I undertake and I suppose this is a ubiquitous element of life, every task reminds me of two others that need to follow. And thus I often never get on my walk or sit down to my writing or my luxurious bath ( AHHHHHH bath tub) Instead the laundry is folded, the birds fed, the silver polished, well at least it is at Christmas time and food is cooked and cooked and cooked again.

But I made a pre-resolution to stop what I am doing and do what I DESIRE. And so last night I ran to the bath at 1a.m. Today as I stooped, chortling in the closet, sorting Queens into tops and bottoms (still funny to me, maybe because last night I had dinner with a friend who worked in the male porn industry and we always make silly jokes) I stopped and came to scribble this.

Nothing momentous. It is more the action of ceasing doing tasks and taking the time to divert. It is about making myself take a U-turn, just for me, for something that is fun for me and not a necessity to someone else.

Happy New Year whether you are a Queen top, a single or a flat King.
We all deserve a warm, happy bed, a good giggle and time for ourselves.

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>What makes you happy?

>Last week I had a meeting with a potential client. A woman who works in skin care, very fancy high-end skin care. This woman has a practice so evolved that she requires interviewees sign a confidentiality statement before even starting chitchat.

I was talking to her about ghost writing, and in order to see if there was a click I asked her about her practice, why is it different? She explained that she practices holistic skin care and few others work the way she does. She sees the skin, the body’s largest organ, as a map to the wellness of entirety of a person.

Our skin wizard, can look at her patient and see if perhaps she is not having enough fun, is closed minded, or holding grudges that appear as dark circles. Yes she often performs miracles with chemicals, creams, peels and others tricks of modern magic. But she also asks her clients questions.

Her keystone is this:

What makes you happy?

Does this seem easy at first?

It isn’t a rainbows, walks on the beach and puppies kind of query; she really wants to know what rings her client’s chimes emotionally.

And she says very few can answer it without prompts from her.

In fact when she asked me, I was somewhat stumped, I suppose from the notion that happiness needs to be a combinations of selflessness, doing good, and care, of ourselves and others. But as I left, convinced that I didn’t get the job, and reemerged into the cold, rarified Upper East Side atmosphere, heightened by the bevy of Christmas shoppers plunking down dollars beyond my wildest imaginings, I knew ineluctably what makes me happy.

I got on my bike, my old bike, my trusty bike, not something I need to replace after a decade or even three; I sat upright on the seat and started to peddle home. And it was then that the rush hit me.

Going home. Going home at Christmas. Going to where it is warm and yes worn down and crammed full of love and memories. And taking myself home at 57, in the cold, with the crepuscular promise of deep dark coming upon me. I am peddling my old legs, ones that aren’t replaced or enhanced, but have just worked, been fed and occasionally cherished and now they take me home.

I peddled my bike downtown; it is about five miles and takes about three quarters of an hour. I pass lights and shoppers and traffic and I am inured to all of it as I whiz down or slog up hills; all toward home. I revel that I make my own heat, as I observe women clutching furs, their hose covered legs looking for all the world like twigs emerging from a bear. And I peddle, warmer with every glide and stroke.

I move through Mid-town and into Greenwich Village, the low buildings auguring my imminent return home. I see the trees; the occasional menorahs and I feel my center returning. I love to propel myself in wind and cold and coming night. I love taking myself home year after year, mile after mile. I often feel, after a particularly harrowing ride, with black ice or errant cars, that I should exclaim, “ HOME FREE ALL!!’ the way we did when we were kids and had avoided capture in games of hide-and-seek. There was a magic about touching the tree that was base; home base and arriving home / home free all.

And so I am home now writing, no I didn’t get the job writing about beauty for a tapered twig who boasted caring for president’s wives and other leaders of the world;
I am just writing. I am here with the smell of a big balsam and the snuffling of my goddaughter wrapped warm in her carriage as her mother shops to haul goodies home to Scotland.

Home, where, if the gods and goodness prevail, is the notion that must make us all happy. Especially in this season.