Friday, May 26, 2006

Some New York Snapshots

Walking back through the park, trees in full blossom, pollen wafting through the air like lazy snowflakes, one can see the result of our having refused the ports to Dubai. Turned away from our waterfronts, they are taking over our hotels. Next to the green Mansardish rootop of the Hampshire House, where I live when i'm here-- oh how long have I hungered to be able to say that, my new calling cards reading Bi-Coastal Free Spirit--, stand in letters stretching to the sky in bright red, two, maybe three stories high, ESSEX
Like that. Standing atop each other. It is now known as the Jumeirah, the same symbol that gilds their airplanes painted gold on its canopy.I don't mean to sound racist, but the truth is The very Arab are different from you and me. When the Shah of Iran fell, his entire entourage or company or whatever the right word is, those thousands who had dined lavishly in tents nights before the Ayatollah took over, moved en masse to Beverly Hills, jacking up real estate prices, and managing to find the only colors in Nature that did not go together. So fuchsia was planted in clashing profusion alongside orange. And, as Rodney Dangerfield's tombstone at Westwoood Memorial reads, "There goes the neighborhood."
On the other hand, or, in the other direction, taxiing through the park on my way to an appointment, feeling sort of sluggish, I noted a group of youngish women doing yoga, so I got out of the cab and joined them. It was very Bangkok, the last place I got into a class with people yoga-ing in public, the postures moving faster than the traffic. The woman in the park conducting the class was about seven months pregnant, her belly naked over her tights, beautifully ostentatious, as Demi made pregnant bellies be. The park was full of gorgeous little flaxen-haired children, and mothers telling them "Good sharing!" One toddler in sagging jeans near the children's zoo was lagging several feet behind his mom, older brother in the pram, and I suggested she hold on to him so someone wouldn't steal him, including me. Then I told him to grabd on very tight to the bottom of his mother's shorts, and not let go, and he did, I am incredibly effective with other people's children.
Then came the good news about the Enron boys, unfree at last!unfree at last! Last night I went with a friend to The Da Vinci Code, and with every ponderous scene congratulated myself on never having been able to read the novel, my eyes locking from the bad prose. Miraculously they managed to translate every ounce of setentiousness onto the screen, the only thing more ridiculous than the scenes in the present being the flashbacks, rife with double exposures and all manner of costly historical reconstructions as pointless as they must have been costly. Poor Tom Hanks. The ridge over his nose deepened with every improbable dialogue exchange, as he seemed to hear it, and wonder what has ever made him agree to be in the picture. At one point he actually said "What am I supposed to do?" and I wanted to cry out "Get a haircut." But I will admit the film affected me-- I awoke at 5 AM in a state of terror, the terror being I dreamed I was going to have to see the movie again.
Mimi joined her little buddies this morning in the park,--New York dogs are much more social than the ones in LA. On the path by the pond, a woman looked through binoculars at the trees. "What did you find?" I asked her. "An oriole," she said, and told me she had heard that about New York, that she would enjoy it even if she wasn't a shopper, filled as it was with exotic birds. "That's what's so great about this city," she said. "Something for everyone,"
Oh, I do hope so.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Some Birthday Wu Wu

Shirley MacLaine, the Princess of Wu Wu, was kind enough to tell me what to do on my birthdayto ensure that the year ahead brings me all I want it to. Shirley always goes into the mountains or someplace peaceful and meditates on her birthday(she is also a Taurus), and it must work, because she is still going strong. So my instruction was to find a quiet place, and a half hour before my birth time in whatever zone it was(Pittsburgh, so EDT) and a half hour after, to meditate and write down three times what it was I wanted.
I was to have lunch with my friend Steven at the Beverly Hills Hotel, so he was going to find me a quiet place in the garden for my visualization. Unfortunately I took a wrong turn, found myself on the highway to the Getty, and had to come back on a jammed freeway, so when the hour was approaching I had no choice but to pull into a quiet street off Sunset and begin. Unfortunately again I am not sure whether I was born at 3:35 or 3:25 so the heavens came in for a little extra quiet and loving energy from me, and the lady whose house I parked in front of looked at me tolerantly, gave a frightened, fake smile, but at least did not ask me to move on. I will report at the end of this year how much of what i asked for actually came to be.I had to write what I wrote three times with an eyeliner pencil as it was all I had in the car.
Then I went on to lunch with Steven and his partner, and we ate well and gossiped merrily as one will in LA no matter how spiritually evolved. But besides the meditative instruction, the Daily Word, which I do read every day as I failed to get a Ritz Diary this year and the Lord works in mysterious ways, had the word for today being 'Pray for Others.' So we did that in-between courses. I prayed for my darling friend Carleen that she should get a good job, and I prayed for Joie, and I prayed for my lovely friend Pat and her puppy who's having a hard time. Then Steven said he wanted to pray for Mohammed Ali since we haven't heard much about him lately, always a bad sign. Then we allprayed for the Democrats, that they'd pull it together. Then we had two birthday cakes as Tom, Steven's friend.has a birthday tomorrow. So we got a chance to make yet another wish, candles and all.
Scenic report on the Beverly Hills Hotel: all the young girls look like Lindsay Lohan, with cell-phone attached to ear, even as they stand talking to each other while talking to someone else. All the old girls look like Cloris Leachman, probably because that's who it was. A woman pianist(a pianistess?) played songs from an era when there were songs, wearing a straw hat. Everyone was very upset about Chris being thrown off American Idol,and I was even more upset that I have actually been watching. The couple who have been most welcoming to me here are a darling pair, Tom and Pam, who are addicted, and it has rubbed off. I am ashamed of myself, but even more ashamed that he lost, as he could really sing. This is my self-consciously self-condemning while really being self-congratulatory take on 'O what a rogue and peasant slave am I.' My embarrassment at what I have become knows no boundaries except that I am very happy and highly productive, so if I am a moron in the evening, I forgive me.
Then I came home where Jamie brought me the gift of a tiny iron teapot from Japan that sits on a prayer wheel, and some mint to pass the water through. Very simple, as she pretends to be.
Next I am going out to dinner with a friend to Toscana, where the other night I ate with Vicky and we saw Tom Hanks whose hair looks really silly, long in back as if it will make people not notice it is gone in front. That's all the news from Hollywood, which is not exactly the Rialto, but we do get a lot more done, and the flowers are fresher if you get them at Trader Joe's.
Thank you all for your birthday greetings. and doooooo join me in praying for the Democrats.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Further Miracles

As I wrote of the Gerber daisies, giving us a sign that all things are possible that we didn't think were, since they stood straight up, never bending or drooping all that week, I must tell you now that the miracle continues, three week-fold. They still have their heads high, and I compliment them daily, as human beings may not be the only things that need affirmation and praise.
But it certainly doesn't hurt us. I have had the great good fortune to have my once and future editor, Bob Gutwillig, who edited The Pretenders, on my case lo these many semi-uncommunicative weeks, supporting me as I stumbled toward the finish line on the novel I am writing. I have 72, 507 words but who's counting. So I am within sight of my goal on the eve of my birthday-- Thursday, no gifts or flowers but please send me wishes as I'm not sure all of you have transferred to gmail, and my early morning messages are strangely silent, The New York Times, Peace and Social Justice,, and the Democratic party having been trapped in Earthlink, which as you probably know has been outsourced to India, so we may never hear from any of them again.
I have hardly been out of my apartment which I love, both the apartment and hardly being out of it, I am having such a good time writing this novel and hope all of you will, too,reading it-- will tell you the title and what happens to it when I'm finished-- but have been a few times to the Barrington dog park with Mimi, who still hasn't interacted much with the other dogs, though a corgy named Blaze fell in love with her and she had to be rescued. A trainer of a pack of huge dogs-- he walks about 13 of them and they swirl around him like fish-- said it is very like a little girl's first day at school, that she has to get to know the other kids before she will be comfortable letting go of Mama.
The jacaranda are finally in bloom along my street-- it has been unusually cold this April May, coldest since the '50s, so the fiends who run this home owners association won't turn on the heater in the pool, and I have had to drive a distance to a friend's house to swim these past mornings, as it does clear my head. Hope her gas bill doesn't kill her. I would rather it killed the board of this building, where I am not even allowed to speak at board meetings as I am not an owner-- I was told I could go but not speak. Still these are not really hardships-- I am lucky I have a friend who turned on her heater, I am lucky I can swim, I am lucky I can breathe, I am lucky to be alive,especially now as I near the finale of the book. I am nervous about even writing this, nervous about flying, nervous about doing anything to break the rhythm, nervous about this fucking administration, but otherwise life is good. My Jewru Jack is working in east Marin with the Dalai Lama on prison meditation and gave me the good news that Al Gore is alive and well up there and, more important, not a stiff, that he is apparently at last at ease and funny as he travels around with his Green documentary, so we do have someone to think about that we can like, and Jack said as he already won the presidential election once, maybe he can win it again. My friend George-Anne said not even to think about that, that we have to unseat people in the congressional election so we can impeach this jerk, but my doctor Keith said that would be the waste of a year, as it was with Clinton, and people would throw the government's not moving ahead back on the Democrats. He also said the war is the least of it-- the true sins of this administration are the killing of the middle class, the collusion between the government and oil interests, the collusion between them and the drug companies so that Plan D kills the old people on Medicare. He thinks they should stop Saddam's trial, put him back in power so that all those over there who want to kill each other can, and he will take care of Iran and find bin Laden. It was an interesting lunch.
Ahead lies an interesting dinner, and a journey to New York next week. And as it the season of jacaranda, when I usually wrote a novel when we were living in Beverly Hills, all signs are encouraging. On top of which I have baby-sat twice for my little grandboys, my son is acting almost like a human being, so all is surprisingly well. Now if we can just get rid of these dangerous morons. Love to you all,and Hi there, NSA!