Casa de la Noche website. Barbara retains the history of the place, while updating it with current gallery shows, yoga classes and other events. We often stay there, as it is just a few doors from my mother's casita. When I stopped by to visit Barbara, she was hanging a new show, and, thankfully, retained my niece Eva's retainer, which she had left under her pillow in October.
|Taking off from Dallas yesterday.|
As is evident from past pix, I always sit on the right, over the wing. That is because I am obsessed with taking pictures out the window of the plane; I am on the right because it means I can hear if someone speaks to me; and I am over the wing because I am always in steerage. I have had to make the wing a part of the frame.
|Coming in for a landing over the Empire State Building at home.|
|The new motorcycle|
I don't know how many of you remember Rosio's old moto (below). She got a new one last year (above), but as you can see she still is going with the color-coordinated parking thing. The new one is a real motorcycle as opposed to a scooter, and she catches some flak from the macho types in San Miguel de Allende. She says many men holler "stupida!" at her as she rides along. Not to mention the one trucker who simply rear ended her at a stop—and then kept going. But she loves the new Honda, and says she likes the commotion she causes. "I am macha!"
|The old moto|
|The steeple of the Paroguia in the Jardin is upper left.|
The white breast of snow was splotched with blood, and my daughter had to step around iced red pools on the concrete as she walked, alone, to the school bus.
The evening before, Keri arrived, breathless, at the door of our New York City apartment. On the street outside she had seen a man who had just been attacked. Police were taking descriptions of a white male in a black baseball cap who had run away. The man who had been hurt lay there in a pool of blood. "I should have comforted him," Keri said. "The police were so cold. I should have knelt in the snow and just patted him or something."
My daughter ran over to the window and looked down to the street she walked every day. The blue lights circled, the ambulances waited. "He's gone," she heard someone say. She turned to me. "I think he's dead," she said. "This is my street. I thought it was safe here."
"Nowhere is really safe," I said.
This was a year ago, when Hannah was 12, the year she was beginning to realize that her parents were not all powerful, that we could not protect her from all harm. From stories about people with grave illnesses in the copies of the Reader's Digest she brought home from school she was learning that not all stories end happily, that people die no matter how much they are loved, indeed, sometimes because of how much they are loved.
She did not remember the incident when she woke up the next morning, nor did I, or perhaps I would not have let her walk by that place alone. Her fears were all for the Valentine's Day dance that evening. "You don't have to go," I said. "You are only twelve." Her fears were about sex, not death; both are part of growing up.
But I would have spared her the blood.
The man had lived in our building; I had stood on the elevator with him many times. On Valentine's Day his door five floors below ours was sealed with white police tape. He lay in a white hospital bed in a coma, dying.
Later that day my daughter called me from school. She had decided, after all, to attend the dance. Perhaps her "boyfriend" had come through with an invitation for the first dance, or perhaps her girlfriends, whom I could hear in the background, had talked her into it.
"Did you see the blood on the snow?" I asked.
"It was horrible," she said. "I almost threw up. The elevator man told me the man was dead. I called Dad to tell him I was going to the dance after all, but Dad wasn't home."
"Do you know where he was?" I asked. "He was here, at the office, delivering a valentine to me."
"Oooh," she said. "What was it?"
"Candies. In a heart-shaped box. Red velvet."
"Hey, everybody." I could hear her tell her school friends. "My dad went to the office to give my mom a valentine. Isn't that cool?"
Hearts. Blood. Love. Death. Splotches on a snowbank.
It was dark by the time she walked home again, after the dance, her father by her side. Too dark to see the salt soaking up the red to a fainter pink. A sketch of a man's face was taped to the door outside the elevator. The suspect glared menacingly under the words "Wanted for Murder."
A year has passed. My daughter is 13, and tall. She takes two city buses to get to school. The last snowfall is melting and gray. There hasn't been much snow in New York this year, not like last year or when I was young. The murderer hasn't been caught, despite the fact that a detective from the 20th Precinct papered the area with posters asking for information.
Neighbors speculated that the killing was a hit -- it had been too efficient, and the victim hadn't been robbed. It made all of us feel safer, to think that it was a personal matter, that the murderer wasn't lurking on the street. But I still don't like to think of the white male, 19-24 years, 5 feet 10 inches, 175 pounds, riding the bus with my daughter.
She remembers the murder when she walks down the street alone at night. But these days she is thinking more about love than death, though sex and drugs are on the short list as well. There was a seventh grade dance last night, "the Decade Dance," and her only concern was whether her make-up really looked like it was from the 60's. "My friends say I look too 90's," she said. In the year 2000, she will graduate from high school.
Childhood ends. No place is really safe. But we gird up and go out. We dance and dare to hope for days at a stretch that we, at least, are protected from terrible messages in the cold white snow.
|Betsy and I met by the staircase, but recognized one another anyway.|
|Celia, a mutual childhood friend|
|Douglas took a picture of Claudia's today. Is that a sink box on the porch???|
Lot of frozen water came out of the sky in New York, too. I just got hit in th head by some on the way back from the dentist. Hope the runways are clear by Tuesday.
So speaking of Johnny, his elder son (my nephew) William was working with entrepreneurs who have made a business out of getting Kickstarter goods to market faster than their originators. William is doing their websites. Not sure how I feel about this, but it definitely proves that having an idea is only half the battle.
Also, Johnny is interested in renting out the Adirondack-style camp he just bought in the woods near the beaches of Rhode Island. Check it out here.
Hannah's friend Rachel Hulin has been getting some good notices about her first novel, Hey Harry, Hey Matilda. Here is one from the Daily News.
And Hannah herself got a nice writeup here. Her Calm-a-Mama brand of herbal tinctures for sleep, teething, focus, calm etc. is doing quite well. She has the New England region of Whole Foods stocked, and is doing well on Amazon. She is looking for outlets in other regions and in small organic/baby/health food stores. If you are interested in repping, let me know.
|Johnny and crew got the walls up just in time for the storm.|
|Explication from Alaa after the film.|
It is such a powerful and personal story of passion and daring and death that much of the time the audience sat in stunned silence. It takes place in Syria between the years of 2011 and 2015, as the Arab spring disintegrated into rebellion, repression and civil war. It was shot by a young woman, a radio deejay, who found that the camera was a powerful motivator for people who wanted to get their stories out. It begins as almost a home movie of her artist friends, creating and playing music and talking and becoming radicalized. They could have been my college pals in the '60s. As the government cracks down on their protests, they are imprisoned, tortured and killed. The film increasingly covers a battlefield of snipers and ordinance and bombed out cities. And it all devolved so quickly, from chants and signs and peaceful protest to unthinkable violence.
It gives one to think. Big league.
Ding! The vision. A trip to Lowe's and a purchase of Rev-A-Shelf! Installs easily in 20 minutes!
"But it was never easy for me," moaned the DIYer. Some eight hours and two sliced fingers later—triumph!
|The Dream Come True|
|That's the town square of West Plains, Mo., behind us.|