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    I’m Approved! I Can Receive Video Calls from My Jailed Deaf Dad

    Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a few frustrating phone calls* with customer service for registering my cell phone with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Purple Video Relay Service. My last name is different from Christian’s who is the account holder of my AT&T cell phone account. Hoo boy, did the patriarchy take umbrage with that one. That meant we had to be in the same room to call in and register. Harder than it should be as we’re often together after business hours.

    Anyway, I got word today that I am approved. I can receive video calls from My Jailed Deaf Dad. Great! Great? Grreeaaat. I don’t know. We’ll see if I immediately regret this. I can confidently say that I won’t have any problems with the rules, thankyouverymuch. Egads.

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    Country Mice: Thanksgiving at the Rock House

    Grateful to have QED closed for Thanksgiving so Christian and I could enjoy a quiet holiday at the cabin. It was just the right balance of work and play as I banged through my inbox and reading list. We decorated our new tree, hung garland and wreaths, enjoyed a fire both in real life and on Netflix, and kitchen time for making turkey dinner, brownies, ice cream (recipe in the next post) and a perfect looking omelette. We also started the Haunting of Hill House which is great TV while at a cabin in the woods. Our country mouse time is over…back to the city we go!

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    Fly Away Home, Dinah.

    For Thanksgiving, Christian & I drove upstate to our cabin to bury my sweet little budgie Dinah who passed while I was on vacation. She brought us a lot of joy, especially when she played with our dogs, Paquita (2001 – 2013), then Griswold and lately our silly Billy. 

    The playlist below my post has a few really short, but fun and cute videos of Dinah interacting with all three of them. It was always hard to capture just how funny and brave she was as getting the camera always caused a break in the action.  

    Dinah and Griswold were like Woodstock and Snoopy. She followed him everywhere, “fed” and groomed him and they both regularly teased each other and played together. She would dive bomb him or sneak up and peck him while he was sleeping. It always scared the bejeezus out of him but she was always too quick and flew away before his eyes were even fully opened. They would even play a “hide and seek” chase game around the coffee table.

    Dinah was impulsively purchased around 2007 at a crappy pet store on Steinway Street for $14. Who knows how long she’d been there or how old she was, but she was never afraid of anything or anyone and was always free to fly about putting herself to bed at dusk and waking up with the sun. Her cage door was rarely, if ever closed.

    My hope in bringing her home was that she could be a friend to my other budgie Larry who was getting up in age and not enjoying life. She opened up his whole world. He almost starved to death feeding her every bit he could, so I had to separate them until his love for her calmed down a bit. He went from never leaving his cage, to regularly joining her on adventures around the apartment, including playing with Paquita.

    He passed in Spring 2010 and within the year Griswold joined the household. It was interspecies love at first sight. She loved his wiry, wild fur and his supreme laziness which meant he was unwilling to move even as she annoyed him. She traveled with us to and from the cabin where she loved the wide open floor plan, high ceilings and all the treasures she could find buried in the sheepskin rug.

    Griswold grew less tolerant in the last few years as he gets grumpier with age. Chief Billy Bowlegs, however, is a young (maybe 3 years old now) pup we adopted in 2017 and isn’t aware of the option of simply walking away. This meant Dinah had some fresh meat to peck. Billy is a silly thing, always down to play. I’m certain that the two of them would have bonded, if only they’d had more time. 

    We hope to bury her next to Paquita, not far from a bird house and at the cabin they both so enjoyed. Right now the ground is too hard to dig, so she’s in an iPhone box in the freezer. And, as much as I loved her, we’re still planning to eat the turkey that sits in the same ice box.  

    I’m not sure if I’ll ever have another bird. She was so sweet and special to me. My live little fascinator who perched on my laptop, watching and sometimes helping me peck at keys. There is a budgie-shaped hole in my heart and home that can only be filled by her bright white light.

     
     
     
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    Come From Away to Grant’s Tomb & Riverside Church

    I will remember this day as a wonderful example of the things Life brings, good and bad.

    I walked through the park and paid a visit to General Grant, an American hero and patriot who arguably did more for the advancement of civil rights than any other of his generation. Afterward, I saw the original Hoffman paintings of Jesus donated by John D. Rockefeller to the Riverside Church. They’re worth over 100 million dollars and are just there…not even shown or guarded. I asked Raymond in the gift shop if I could see them. He opened a couple of cabinets and voila! He said he gets asked about 15-20 times a week. Not that often! I told him I’d tell people.

    It’s a beautiful and vibrant area with the park, Hudson River, Barnard and Columbia Universities, Grant’s Tomb and the Riverside Church where MLK Jr gave many sermons including his very famous anti-war speech not long before his assassination.

    Afterward, I enjoyed a slice of apple pie and vanilla ice cream at Tom’s (famous for Seinfeld but really just a great, fast diner) where I & two other diners shouted at the TV incredulous at the Brett Kavanaugh inquiry. I hit up the Morningside Heights Library where I knew they wouldn’t have TV and recharged batteries, answered emails and wrote in my journal.

    Finally, I meandered to Times Square where I took in “Come From Away,” a musical based on true events that occurred on and after 9/11 when 7k passengers were rerouted and stranded in Newfoundland. It was good. I got a rush ticket for only $30.

    I got rained on a little bit as I walked to meet Christian for nachos. While telling him about my day, a live mariachi band played “Happy Birthday” three times in a row and then other songs I didn’t know.

    At home, we played with the dogs and watched the news. I cried and got wound up about it all so then watched “Fargo” and now it’s time for bed.

    What a day.

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    Cover Girl

    “Change is good for the soul,” Mom texted me a few days ago. She was talking about table runners, but she’s right. Change is good, except for pennies. Seriously, why do they still even make those?

    In the spirit of change being good, I pitched myself for a makeover for First For Women (think Cosmo for the menopausal). I actually quite like my beachy shoulder-length waves but I’ve been rocking that look for a couple of years now. Opening QED nearly killed me, and I’m finally back to feeling like myself and fitting comfortably into all my old clothes. It’s time for a new look and the pictures that come with it.

    The good people at First For Women are kind and efficient and graciously gave my pitch the nod. Today was the day and I had to set an alarm and commute to lower Manhattan during rush hour. I do not miss that one iota.

    Cate The editors chose this pic of Cate Blanchett as the inspiration for my makeover. I haven’t had my hair this short since that brat Laura gave me lice in 2nd grade and my inspiration was Dorothy Hamill. Even when 1/3 of my head was shaved to remove skin cancer, I managed to keep it shoulder length.

    I emerged with a super short, chic haircut by Sho (a “ninja” as his co-workers call him, thanks to his deft scissoring skills) at James Corbett Studio. I scream, “I’M RICH, BIATCH!” Like a cross between Ruth Madoff and a Fox News anchor but not, you know, an asshole. Cate Blanchett better watch out or else I’ll, umm, be her stand in?

    It makes me look and feel younger which is what that whole makeover thing is supposed to do. The cut was followed by a little boost of color to my naturally dirty blonde hair and makeup by Berta Camal. She’s a lovely talent who loves animals and gardening. As if all that weren’t enough, I got to play in front of Eric McNatt’s camera. The pics he let me preview were a knockout. I hope they pick one I love and that I can keep some to use.

    Neck pillowI’m ever grateful they said yes to my pitch. What a great day. Now I’m going to wrap my hair in silk and sleep sitting up like those weirdos on planes using these things that look like elephant skin, so I can save this beautiful blowout till tomorrow when people I know will actually *see* me!

    Keep your eyes peeled for the September 7th issue of First For Women next to the batteries, candy and horoscope scrolls at your local grocery checkout line!

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    Jim Henson’s Studio Visit

    We had a lovely visit with Christian’s old high school pal who is working across the street from our apartment at Jim Henson’s Studios while her daughter is at a two-week intensive at the American Ballet. The studios aren’t open to the public so it was a nice little coincidence that she was working so close to our apartment making it easy for us to horn our way into a private tour. We weren’t allowed to take pictures of any of the creatures beyond the entryway (see my photos below) because they’re all disembodied and/or hanging on curtain rods as they’re built or repaired. Gotta keep up the illusion that they’re alive, ya know?

    This I learned: Big Bird’s feathers are all individually hand-stitched along the stem (?) to reinforce them and help slow down the decay and prevent breakage. Each and every individual feather. THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS. He’s huge!

    It’s not a big warehouse or studio and actually is a quiet little creative space tucked behind an unassuming door on a generic floor of the Standard Motors Building. Everyone is relaxed and happy because, DUH, they work making Sesame Street, Muppets and Fraggle Rock characters among other things, but also because there are no computers. They don’t need them. They’re making stuff with their hands. So nice.