guess who's coming to dinner?

Hints: A pair of sisters. A pair of twins. A pair of newlyweds. A pair of two-year-olds. Seven people from Massachusetts. Seven people who used to live in the building. Three people associated with Hunter High. One shrink. Five photographers. One actor. One Shakespeare scholar. One Syrian.  Three people who worked in the Time-Life building.
Total: 31
Age range: -1 to 75+.
Turkeys: 2
Appetites: Hopefully hearty.


the amazing purple sky

The buildings in the background lit up as if by stage direction. Then the color spread out until the sky was purple. It was the only time I have seen this color bloom of an evening, and I finally understood the song lyric "When the deep purple falls over sleepy garden walls. . .. " And it was so evident that a city is as subject to natural forces as any rural retreat.


one room at a time

Not exactly Tnxgvng-ready

Getting there.
Yes, The Great American Eating Ceremony (according to Mr. Li) is coming up. Oh shit.


the end of time

End of an era
The following came in from Otra Rubia (that's her, with glass, above):
"They rolled around a drinks cart an hour ago. Yep, an old fashioned drinks cart pushed by a handsome, meticulously attired bartender (bow tie, starched white shirt, starched white apron).  It's Time magazine's last close in the Time-Life building before we move downtown. I'm sipping my martini as I fact-check how many terrorist attacks France has suffered this year alone. (Seven—I think. I have to call the embassy to be sure since we don't have a Paris bureau anymore.) Oh well…  Here's mud in your eye."
   Explanation: The times they are a changing in the magazine world, but this is a trip into the wayback machine. In the bad old days when editors were emperors and price was no object, there was always a drinks cart and sometimes even someone playing piano. By the time I arrived in the Time-Life Building for the first issue of People magazine in 1974 (cover: Mia Farrow) there was no drinks cart, but there was a refrigerator full of Heineken and wine. Later on at People, there were lines of cocaine on desks, catered gourmet meals and free massages on closing nights. And you wonder that some of us (not Otra Rubia, however) wound up with drinking problems!
   And a Vanity Fair article.


as the days grow shorter

Getting chilly
The bears need warmer fur these days. How recently have you dressed a toddler for winter? It is SO FUN! By the time you get out of the house you will be totally frazzed. And holidays are the time for Calm-a-Mama, which just got a great writeup (as well as interview with the company's princpal) on Hippie in Disguise.


guess who came to dinner

aka "the beady-eyed cruet set"
Is is doubtful that any of you remember Mr. Li, who courted me relentlessly with repugnant gifts and threats to his rival Ed (who he called, as I recollect, "Dangerfleece"). Should you wish to see the course of this courtship, I recommend that you go to the search bar on this site (top left), search Mr. Li and read all comments.
   Here, however is the link that shows the above couple in their original form when I received them, entitled "What is this, Mr. Li?" He called it a beady-eyed cruet set, but in actuality it was a shit-brown set of salt-and-pepper shakers with a mustard pot. Hideous.
   For ten years, I moved the thing to increasingly hidden locales where my eye wouldn't fall on them unwarned. Somehow the mustard pot got broken—I swear not on purpose. This spring I took the big step: I gave them away.
   Judy has a kitchy shop on Block Island, and she took the ugly things off my hands. "I hope CBA doesn't see these," I said. "She'll kill me. But she hasn't been on the island in a couple years, so I doubt she will."
   Naturally the things didn't sell over the summer, and of course CBA showed up in the fall and became best buds with Judy, stopping in at the shop so often that she came to know the goods as well as the shopowner herself. She found the beady-eyed cruet set. (Sans beady eyes, as Judy had hoped they would sell better as the blind originals.) Irate, CBA decided that rather than hoping a serial killer would punish me for my ingratitude, she and Judy would face me with the truth. And when we gathered at Claudia's Surf City for dinner, they produced this loathsome couple. Ack!

"Ingrate," CBA (left) accused me as Judy looked on. "You thought I would never know! But your karma is to never be rid of the beady-eyed cruets!"


wear your musician

Hannah and Ani DiFranco
Although she deals with famous musicians (well, their people, mostly) all the time, Hannah has always passed up the backstage passes, the free concerts—hell, when Jason Mraz wanted to stop by her house to give her some guitar strings, she said she was too busy! However, she said she was returned to her 16-year-old self when she met Ani DiFranco after a concert last night.  Thrilled! Even though it's busy Christmas shopping season at Wear Your Music (see the back story from her partner in Hong Kong and their new website), she got a babysitter to put the kids to bed (for the first time!) and headed off to see a real live guitar hero.


without whom it would not be possible

As a last hurrah before leaving Block Island, Ana (at left, with her eyes shut in maroon) and her beautiful family came to dinner. It was her son Waldyn's birthday, and her daughter Abra (above) is looking at a forthcoming birth day number three. Ana's husband Jose started cleaning Claudia's Surf City 15 years ago, and when Ana decided that at $35 an hour they could make more money with a cleaning company than she could make working at the Pharmacy, she made it a family biz.
   Ana and Jose winter over in the Dominican Republic, but Abra's kids go to the Block Island school and most of the rest of the kids live in the U.S. Thank goodness, as it makes Ana keep coming back.


going, going gone

I am on this boat, as photographed from shore by CBA.

I think the tiny white dot near the antenna is CBA.

Last view of the island as we sail away on a beautiful day.


past lives

She was a sculptor, a sophisticate, a world traveler. Married to a prominent anthropologist, Ruth could also rough it on digs in barren arctic isles. Those women are still inside of her, but she is old now, in her nineties. A few months ago she moved into assisted living, leaving her sculptures and artifacts, files and photographs behind. I have seen many similar apartments, filled with the things that you can't take with you. This one is more exotic than most, and is also that of my son-in-law's grandmother.
    So for the past couple of days we spent some quality time going through her treasures, from Limoge china to walrus tusks. It was sad to do so Ruthless but also an exhilarating record of a life well lived. Her great grandchildren will see her next week after swimming lessons in the assisted living facility's pool.
The heirs


Last rose of summer

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daylight waning time

Well, I thought another ferry pic was better than another pic of the last three windows, which I finished today. Interesting to see the 4 o'clock boat coming in in darkness. . .
(FYI the boat time refers to the departure time, so it was actually five o'clock in this pic.)