Sunday, April 16, 2006

easter salad

i've had a rather uneventful day. organized my closest (or closets for those that can spell) & moved all my shoes & handbags to 'the dressing room', trimmed the excess butt hair off monty's behind in a futile attempt to 'keep things tidy' back there (it never works) & more or less spent a better part of the afternoon in my bathrobe & slip on vans flipping through the channels swearing maniacally over the fact that tv is utter rubbish. i did watch a few minutes of the german channel though- a riveting short on tulips from harvest to market (it reminded me of those 'this is how gum is made' spots on mister rogers & sesame street- so naturally i was enthralled from beginning to end) & then after that i watched the international weather, which i think i may tune into more often- they are so poetic with their forecasts. how sad is it that a country that doesn't actually speak english has an infinitely more eloquent grasp of our language when it comes to reporting on the rainfall across europe- more so than anything you could hope to find on the weather channel.

i spoke to my sister for a bit & confirmed that ham is the traditional meat of easter. i like to keep track of my holidays according to what animal is served. i wondered aloud if christians decided on ham simply to stick it to the jews one more time. 'take that... you can't kill the jeebus AND we're going to celebrate with pork products' my sister, the archaeologist, didn't have an answer for that one but she giggled at my naive acceptance of the fact that i learned all i know about the 'bible' from cecil b demille movies & as usual managed to get all of them confused with each other. "what's that one with the fog that kills all the kids???" (a resounding 'oi vey' on the other end of the phone) sometimes i like to call the angel of death 'steam' just to really piss her off.

but anyway.... over the course of 4 hours i finally managed to bathe & change from a damp robe to a very unflattering get up of mismatched pj's & tube socks. i pulled my hair into a pony tail on the top of my head & set out to make dinner. what started out as roasted potatoes with rosemary somehow morphed into a salad with bacon vinaigrette. all in all it was fairly satisfying- though i did slice my knuckle off with a surgically sharp grating plane (plain??) while adding a little mahon to my salad. it was a bit of a blood fest & i got a little queasy & light headed (which leads me to believe i may no longer be so great at giving stitches) & when all was said & done my knuckle chunk was nowhere to be found. i have a sneaking suspicion that i may have eaten it in my salad covered with bacon. oddly enough, that in no way makes me queasy or light headed. instead it just makes me giggle. i ate my finger for easter dinner. not quite ham, but as they say: the next best thing.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


the other night while sitting in bed riffling through a pile of notes & sketches a memory popped into my head completely out of nowhere... a benefit to curtailing interaction with reality is that it frees up a good chunk of my brain to sort through & file the piles of notes & sketches inside my head that have been cluttering the corners for years completely forgotten.
it started with the thought "B"...... "B" ...... "B"... over & over again in my head...
and then, "hector berlioz.... steven"
and suddenly it all came back to me:
'Hector Berlioz, symphonie fantastique, july 4th, 1991, 2 a.m., mt hope cemetery, rochester, ny. amy w, bill c and steve k"...
running through the cemetery late at night, climbing on the mausoleums, resting in a small sunken lawn surrounded by above ground tombs & perfectly manicured grass that glowed an odd green under an even more peculiar deep amber sky. we saw fireworks in the sky & laughed at 'rochester's skyline' made up of the genesee beer company & kodak industrial parks. there was a bit of confusion over why there were fireworks so late- big fireworks, not bottle rockets... big, real, booming fireworks... but we watched for the few bizarre moments that they appeared & then they were gone & once again the sky was empty & red. we laid on our backs in the grass & compared notes on different nicknames we had throughout our lives. i was monkey girl: having always had a proclivity for climbing anything & everything... which i later proved by making my way to the top of the slate roof on the main cemetery building in under 5 minutes & in complete darkness.
there was a great deal of very 'uncool' frolicking & jumping, running & leaping & general innocent mayhem that can only be had at strange hours of the night in even stranger settings & with people you either trust completely or don't know well enough to care.
steve & bill introduced us to their favorite spots in the cemetery. mt hope is a lovely park, full of graceful curves, archaic monuments & ethereal colors at night. it was like walking through a surreal landscape & as we entered into every new plot we were amazed by the light, the color & the swirling fog.
as the hours drew on the sky went from glowing red to black, the wind started and then the rain as we made our way through the maze of lanes deep inside the cemetery. we weren't scared but a strange 'lord of the flies' exhilaration came over us. mt hope is a cemetery best seen at night. it isn't eerie or creepy, it's just unimaginably beautiful in the dark.

it began to storm & we ran like wild animals, cutting through the hilly thickets & the rather treacherous military lots (all those damn tiny stones that hate your shins) the flashes of lightning gave us only the briefest glimpse of what was ahead & ultimately it proved a poor, albeit dramatic beacon... we charged ahead as fast as we could run completely unaware until it was too late... we didn't touch ground for the first 15 feet... 'ass over tin-cups' down the steep, tangled embankment- a plethora of yelps, curse words & a good deal of giggling in total disbelief at what was happening to our bodies as we crashed through dead trees & a hundred years worth of thistles & vines. if there had been any dignity left to be lost after waltzing around 'the thinker' it had completely vanished by the time we rolled to bloody, bruised stop at the bottom of a very daunting hill.

it took us a moment to gather ourselves & assess that there were no real injuries, 'only flesh wounds' & then we were left with the option of climbing back up the hill or seeing what lay on the other side of the high stone wall that had broken our fall. we peered over, a little anxious about what we would find (& i'm sure, hoping it would be something cool we could steal) but alas all we found was a dark parking lot- empty but for the lone car... naturally, it was parked on the far end.

getting OVER the wall proved a bit problematic in the down pour & there was a good deal of marx brothers like acrobatics as we scaled our way up the slippery iron spike topped stones- only to free fall 12 feet onto the pavement below. there was nothing graceful about it- even for monkey girl.

back at the house we huddled in steve's room in our jammies & giggled quietly like 4 little kids at a slumber party as we talked about our strange night. i found berlioz in his stash of punk & hardcore records- next to the gorilla biscuits of all things & thought it the most appropriate soundtrack for the nights events. we turned out the lights and fell asleep listening to symphonie fantastique & the storm outside.

we would never have another night quite like that one- though we had numerous late night adventures in the wild. we took turns taking the other 3 to our special, secret spots. it was our 'stand by me' summer. for a number of reasons it didn't last through the following winter. despite sporadic attempts over the years to find what we had once had with each other, it was never the same & finally we all went our own way.

a decade later i heard from steven. he found me in new york, he was living in oregon. towards the end of our phone conversation he asked me if i remembered the first night we had met.
'ahh, mt hope & berlioz, i loved that night. it was perfectly surreal.'
"yeah, i always think about when we were sitting in the car. i looked in the rear view mirror & you were all wet & looked like you had been crying. you had blood on your forehead & stick tights in your hair & then you bit your lower lip as you stared out the window. it was the most beautiful thing i have ever seen. that's how i always picture you"
"b", "b", "b".... hector berlioz.