Sunday, May 25, 2008


We are planting a garden, my J and I. J has cleared out the back yard of the sumac that until this summer had claimed the yard as its own, and we have dedicated an entire third of the space to herbs and vegetables. We have a bed of strawberries and cantaloupe. We have two rows of corn, one of cucumber, beets, and chard, each. There are two rows of radishes ("French Breakfast" radishes, tres chic) and four of spinach and carrots, planted together a la francaise for the spinach to break up the soil so the carrots can reach deeper into the ground (c'est le plus chic). We have tomato plants -- two varieties, and several varieties of pepper -- hot and sweet, planted far apart, so as not to cross germinate.

The herb garden takes up a small, triangular bed by the door to the mud room. There, planted around an old tree stump, are thyme, chives, and rosemary. The bed is bordered on one side by purple allysum, and in the more acute angle of the bed I planted lavender, Spanish and French (une fragrance tres sensuel).

I have not gardened in years, since I lived in my married house on Pearl Street, where I had grapevine and moneywort. In my days as a gay divorcee, I lived in a penthouse flat where I grew nothing, though I did take a class on indoor composting, hoping to preserve the gardening spirit in a closet or under the kitchen sink. There was never any room to compost in my flat, and anyway when you are cultivating a single-girl lifestyle, there is hardly room for any type of horticulture in your life. Your refrigerator is full of water, supplements, and doggie bags containing the remains of meals that restaurants have passed off as single portions but you know could each give you three lunches, at least. In circumstances such as these, your herb garden is dried and in jars on the spice shelf, awaiting an occasion when you and the date du jour might stay in. There were a couple of times when I helped boyfriends du jour in their gardens, but there was nothing of me in those gardens. I was just a couple of hands skilled at extracting a weed's whole root.

This new garden is an adventure. It is a review and it is new material. I'm remembering how to compost -- that there are greens and browns and there is a ratio. I am remembering that planing is easier when the ground has been watered the night before and is still moist, but no longer mud. From J, I learned how to plant seeds in little mounds, and not straight in the soil.

Indeed, the best part of this whole garden thing is that J and I are doing it together. I would have waited to plant a garden until at least next year -- until we could solve some vexing landscaping issues that now burden the yard (the huge concrete slab is just the largest of the problems back there). But J is a leader of people, one reason being that his enthusiasm for a project is his most convincing argument to pursue it. He is ambitious and confident in his ambition, so much so that everything he endeavors to do seems destined for success. For him, making a garden is a risk that will pay off. I am timid, and think of it as an experiment -- "Do we really have the fortitude to plant it, grow it, harvest it, preserve it, and eat it?" I am timid, therefore I reflect the light of J's confidence. The seeds will germinate, the plants will thrive, and their leaves and fruits will be delicious.

There is also something really ancient about making a garden -- something that connects us to our ancestors of a thousand generations past. Taking a rest from planting the chives, I looked up to see J on his knees, gently covering the seeds he'd just sewn with a light layer of dirt. I though to myself, "How many other couples have done this same thing we are doing?" I considered this question and concluded that garden-making feels so ancient (and I mean ancient, not primal, just old) because is one of the reasons couples are together in the first place. Garden-making is the first thing you need to do to survive, and it is easier to do it when you have help -- not help who you pay or who lend a hand occasionally -- but help that is dedicated to the same endeavors you are, and whose own survival matters not just to your survival, but also to your happiness.

Memorial Weekend Ensemble

Marc by Marc Jacobs denim shorts and silk top. Pug companion/accessory.


Last night we had a late dinner at the Wynkoop and then proceeded downstairs to catch our friend JW performing with Impulse Theater. I had never before been to Impulse Theater, which is a wonder, since I have been friends with various Impulse cast members for at least thirteen years. BW introduced me to JW when we were working together at the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District. She called him the funniest man in the world. JW introduced me to opera and to KA, who introduced me to my Beloved J. (These initials are making my blog read like a bad roman a clef, or, similarly weird in a different way, a story by Kafka. I need to do something about this).

JW recently returned to Impulse Theater. He left it years ago, probably around the time I met him, or maybe earlier. His first tenure was during the time when the improv was called Comedy Sports. He is indeed one of the funniest men in the world (I am lucky to know a few guys who qualify for this honor). He is also wicked smart. Last night's MC accepted my suggestion that the cast do a scene in the tradition of magical realism, and when JW came out wearing a sombrero and proceeded to do the scene entirely in Spanish, I knew I was watching brilliance. Besides the costuming and the linguistic nod to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the scene included a toothbrush that turned into a bird and flew away and an apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe, in the bathroom.

Afterward we joined JW and his lovely girlfriend, D, at the Wazee Supper Club, where we talked until they closed the place. They were stacking chairs on tables all around us, but we kept talking. It felt like years ago when we used to go to Damascus every Friday and stay so long after closing arguing and conversing that we became friends with the waitstaff and wound up having to overtip all the time.

We left finally, but we were only the second to last party to leave. On our way out we passed a couple on an early date. They were in that awkward place where they had fallen enough in love to not want to say goodnight, but the romance is too young to suggest something so gauche as to spend the night in bed together.

I wore my See by Chloe, dark gray, drop waist dress with my L.A.M.B. gladiator sandals in gold (four-inch stiletto). I carried my black, Isabella Fiore bag, and tiny, black, silk, no-consequence-designer sweater.

We finally slept at three.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

May Ritual

When May comes around, those of us in education don our robes and make the obligatory trek down the aisle to the sound of the band playing "Pomp and Circumstance." This is not an inherently "fun" activity. In seven years of teaching I have attended six graduations. (Last year I was getting a CT scan on graduation Saturday, an activity that prevented me from paying my respects to the class of 2007, and one that is also on the relatively short list of things I would rather not do than attend graduation -- attending a funeral is one, fighting a war is another). I have heard commencement addresses -- at least two per year -- and I have heard nothing new. I have listened to my colleagues read the first, middle, and last names of hundreds of children in that slow, ta, tata, ta, rhythm (followed by a single hand clap) -- a meter I am sure is dedicated only to graduation ceremonies. And of course we all love the students and of course we are all so pleased to see them succeed and go on to what we hope will be productive lives far away, but let's face it, sitting in the broiling sun in a black, polyester gown while representing with dignity your school and your profession is no one's idea of a good time. So you have to make it fun.

I am convinced that the master's robe is the most useful robe for having fun at a graduation. You have the hood, of course, which makes things even hotter than if you had just stopped with a bachelor's, but then you have the massive sleeves, in which, one of my colleagues insists, can be hidden a full pack of cigarettes. Not a smoker, I have tended to use my sleeves for a makeup bag. Though this year I had the idea to hide my iPod in them, along with my cell phone, so that during the ceremony I could run the cord up beneath my blouse, put one of the buds in my ear, share the other with the colleague sitting next to me, and listen to music and text to my heart's content. Not wishing to be meanspirited by mimicking the former students' whose day this was, I chose not to do the iPod/text thing. Instead, I sat with my ponytailed colleague J and he pointed out to me the birds by species as they flew through the amphitheater. We watched some falcons for some time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Another Warm Spring Day

Alldressedup light pink linen dress with empire waist, Elizabeth and James white linen blazer, sparkly gold ballerina flats by Marc by Marc.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Warm Spring Day

Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti sailor skirt, Marc by Marc Jacobs pink, swiss-dot top, Rebecca Taylor linen jacket, and blue sparkle Marc by Marc sandals -- inspired.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Flight of The Conchords

We saw The Flight of the Conchords in concert last night at the Ellie. We were late getting there for a variety of reasons, mostly that the DCPA parking structure was full -- something that I am usually too paranoid about being late to avoid. We had to park at the convention center, with its endless, winding ramp. None of that matters, of course, at a comedy show. It's just that I am so programmed to be on time at the Ellie because of the opera tradition that prohibits you from being seated after the doors have closed. (Once, when we were at Central City, we saw our friend, JW, slip in through the side door on house right just as the orchestra was beginning the overture. The main doors had been closed. We didn't realize it at the time, but JW had just pushed his way passed an usher who was standing there to prevent his last-second arrival). But there we stood, ten minutes after curtain and the lines for the bar were twice as long as they are at the opera. Another miracle: you could take your drink in to the theater with you. Not so at the opera where we are downing our wine as if it were a frat party just as the doors are closing.

The clientele was decidedly younger than when we usually go to the Elie by an average of about thirty years.

Last night we were seated in the parterre section, farther back and house left of our opera tickets. J was just happy to be away from "Norman," the old money, fifty-year old, bachelor patron who apparently accompanies "Mother" to the opera when he's not sitting in the seat next to ours. He once suggested that J might prefer to be watching football than opera. J nearly got into the second fight I've seen almost break out at the opera.

The seats were good, though, the wine made me warm, and the boys obliged me with a Turandot joke -- I might have been the only person in the theater to get it. I am really a nerd.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Green Gown in Atonement

I read the book this week. The green gown is described in the novel exactly as it looks on the screen.

Monday, May 5, 2008


The temperature was almost 80 today, so I wore a yellow, cotton shift dress from Anthropologie. The mornings and the air conditioner at work are chilly, so I covered up with my Marc by Marc Jacobs flowered sweatshirt. I had compliments all around. My students told me I looked cute today (to which I responded that I look cute every day). They pointed out that I wear a lot of black, and that the yellow was a good change. My boyfriend offered the same sentiment. He liked the happy feeling of the color yellow as opposed to all my black. I liked his compliment. I felt dizzy for few minutes....

Sunday, May 4, 2008

At Yoga Class She is Surprised to See Who She Really Is

Every Yoga class is an opportunity to understand who you really are. I don't mean that it is a place where you will be able to exhibit great courage, or overcome an obstacle in your life that was holding you back. Instead I mean the opposite. Yoga reveals to you that you have no courage. It places obstacles that you never guessed would slow you down directly in your path. The shocking thing about it is that those obstacles come from within your own body -- tight hamstrings, weak muscles, lack of endurance -- and, if you're lucky, within your soul. It shows you what you are hiding and exactly where.

Not Quite Warm Enough for Shorts, Too Hot for Anything Else

I'm really on a Marc by Marc roll. It was in the high 60's today and that fact, combined with the absolutely casual nature of my activities today, made my Marc by Marc oversized shorts just perfect with a pink cotton Marc by Marc top and and flowered, double-breasted, short-sleeved sweatshirt.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Friday Night

For dinner, drinks and a quick trip to the art museum last night I wore a Nanette Lepore Monaco dot blouse and Nanette Lepore tuxedo jeans. I finished it with a faux leopard jacket from Rebecca Taylor and a patent Botkier bag. It was so much fun!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Not a Stitch of Marc

Today was Friday and so I felt it would be okay to go casual. Besides, I was late getting started, so I had to just throw something on. I picked up my Citizens of Humanity skinny jeans from the floor, pulled on a black camisole with lace trim, and finished it off with a Rebecca Taylor, sleeveless, melange, a-line top with embellishment along the bustline. I wore yellow Steve Madden high-heeled sneakers on my feet. I kept warm with a Missoni scarf and a Lucky cardigan sweatshirt. (It's still cold out).

Thursday, May 1, 2008

More Marc

Today I wore a sleeveless, silk, polka-dot blouse by Marc by Marc Jacobs. This blouse has huge polka-dots that the Beloved said were "not afraid to be polka-dots." It ties in the front with a huge bow. I wore it with Citizens of Humanity skinny jeans, a black cardigan for warmth, and black booties. My hair was back, considering the bow and the high collar.

Yesterday was a Diane von Furstenberg day. It was much warmer yesterday and so I wore a short, kimono sleeve, wrap dress and gladiator sandals.