Category Archives: Travel

somewhere…

On my laptop in the car, on a 3G card + car power inverter…somewhere in the middle of foggy Arizona. Sometime before the fog, we saw red cliffs and lots of tumbleweeds.

Before Arizona, we were in Vegas, staying with family, catching our breath before continuing our journey. And sweating. Because my dad likes to keep the house thermostat at 85F. And then commences to don his slanket. Only my wiener dogs like it that hot.

Before Vegas, we were in Baker at our favorite road food stop, The Mad Greek, where we ate gyros and banana shakes, the only splash of color that wasn’t blue and white. Oh wait. There was something else that wasn’t blue or white; a red suitcase labeled with an Asian woman’s name, ala “Cindy Chang”…guarded by 2 boisterous and nervous Israelis. What was that all about? There’s something about being out and about late at night (this was midnight)–where so few comingle that all our oddities become stark in solitary.

Now…our wiener dogs are in the car, choosing to dogpile together in the crate like long-time mates (oh wait–they are longtime mates). We are headed east.

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Setting

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(Old Faithful Geyser)

Settings: Impressions from the places/cities in which I’ve lived, visited, breathed–inspired by wmc, whose strengths as a writer includes setting…

New York City 1973-1978
Pizza emerging from a window, a hole, in the wall. Me, a toddler, walking in pink plastic clogs, pizza in hand, under the El. Watching karate in the neighborhood karate studio, holding tightly onto my grandmother’s hand, frightened at the violence.

First day in school, not speaking a word of English. Hysterical. Being locked in the school bathroom; somehow I could understand when the teachers would ask me, “Are you done crying yet?” before hearing the door latch shut.

Being born.  I do not remember.

Walking outside all day.  Living a life on sidewalks, an apartment only for sleeping.  They break up on the sidewalk, too.  He walks two feet behind her, pleading.  She answers only reluctantly.

My favorite city in the world.

Tokyo, Japan 2005
Tsukiji Fish Market at dawn: Have they emptied the ocean of its fish?

Weird.  In a good way.

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on the road

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Sometimes I regret having an anonymous blog because there are details about my writing I’d like to share–I’d like to share my real name when I have writing successes, like litmag publications. And in my most optimistic moments, I think about being a Famous Writer and having this forum attached to my real name…

But most of the time, I’m glad I write anonymously here. For starters, there are a couple of people in my life I’d like to avoid, for my own safety, and having a blog with my real name–well, I’d feel real vulnerable knowing they were aware of my emotional fluctuations, my whereabouts, you get the idea.

So I can write more freely as a result of my anonymity. Of course, there are friends who know who I am here–and I suppose if you really really really try, you can figure it out. I can share! Like details about vacations–this is something I would not share if I wrote using my “irl” name because I am paranoid about being burglarized while out of town even if we have someone watching our house (in addition to fires, floods, and other disaster scenarios). And because of my anonymity, I can share with you this fact: we are going on a road trip.

Yes!

The hubby and I have been passing the idea of a road trip back and forth for years now. It’s not exactly a cross country trip (we want to do that someday too)–but it’s more than an in-state jaunt. It’s more than picking me up from Hedgebrook in the car (oh I was sooo homesick! And he wanted to drive) and driving me home. This is a trip with several destinations, and several nights stops..complete with our dogs!

The highlight of the trip will be Yellowstone National Park. Woot. :) I’m sooo looking forward to the sights, to taking photographs, to getting inspired by the experience and landscape, to spending quality time with my awesome husband and best friend, to belatedly celebrate our 10th anniversary.

I’ve promised myself to make some writing time on this trip. I will be doing so. I’ll also be blogging at least once, because I’ve just signed up for this group writing exercise/game of “Consequences.” And I’m second in line, so there’s a big chance my turn will come up this week.

(This is an example of Consequences–each successive entry begins with the closing lines of its predecessor. Entries are 250 words long, and thematically linked).

I am still going to hit my minimum word count goal of 2,000 words/week this week.

And before I leave town–yes, I’m going to go running. I’m taking my running shoes, too, even though I know there’s a slimmer chance of my going running than getting writing done (it is after all a vacation).

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some of the best days of life

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I had one of the best days of my life in New York this past weekend. It contained no sex, no winning of the lottery, and no awards. It did involve three terrific meals (not all of them expensive and the best one was the cheapest meal of all), friends, the kind of hard-rocking, perpetual laughter that makes me surprised that it did not result in washboard abs (*sigh*), New York City (pretty much the ENTIRE island), and lots and lots of synchronicity/serendipity/magic/whatever you want to call it.

I met a friend for the first time “irl” with Randa that day, a Saturday, for brunch in Greenwich Village. We probably astounded C with our boisterous laughter but hey, when we talk hysterically about urinal cakes (“Is that like…a CARROT CAKE?!”) on our first meet, it can’t be all bad, right? I hope the magic from our day transferred onto her person and that she is forever blessed, as much as I feel I was blessed from that day.

After we looked at costume jewelry for like an hour (I gave in and bought a little rhinestone hairclip and now I wonder if it’s a magical clip and so I shall wear it), Randa and I then took a train uptown, in search of Topshop but instead we found her wedding dress (or maybe it found us) from a baffled sweetheart of a Persian Jewish shopkeeper who asked, “If she is Palestinian, how does she know Hebrew?” and then asked me, “You are Jewish?” and after asking about my husband’s family (they’re Israeli but ethnically Polish and Iraqi) he asked Randa who she’s marrying (someone of Irish descent). Wobbedy wobbedy wobbedy–you could see the look on his face! It was supersweet.

We never found Topshop. It didn’t exist.

We ambled on uptown and she murmured, “Yaddo.” Wuh? Dude, Yaddo is in UPSTATE New York. “Yaddo,” she said, now pointing at the sign saying “YADDO” on the side of a building portico with multiple columns that reminded me of the scene in “Sex and the City” where Carrie runs down the stairs in her wedding dress. Um. Because it was the New York Public Library.

And now come to think of it, there’s now a wedding theme going on in this story, too.

Oh. Daaaamn. “That’s the Yaddo exhibit!” I squealed. Yes, the exhibit with all the artifacts from Yaddo (including letters (Flannery O’Connor, Henry Roth, Clyfford Still, etc.) and original applications from James Baldwin (poor dude didn’t pay his phone bill and also partied so hard they never let him come back) and Truman Capote, etc., etc.)…I wanted to take so many pictures! But I didn’t. Because it wasn’t allowed. And because the guards kept a close eye on us. (Why is it wherever we went, security guards would smile and say, “Uh OH!”).

We’d just seen Clyfford Still’s work in the MoMA the day previous. And talked about Henry Roth at breakfast. Magic. Oh come on, there were more coincidences too, not just those two, in the entire day. It was MAGIC, I tell you.

Having obsessed over Junot Diaz’s Gourmet magazine article from two years past (I emailed him from my crackberry to let him know–like he would even CARE!), we continued uptown, towards Dominican food at Margot Restaurant. Or rather, we continued towards where we THOUGHT it was, and ended up at 125th and Lex wondering, “Where the fuck is the Dominican food?!”

And took a cab. Crosstown.

The wrong cab.

But not so wrong that we weren’t entertained by the self-pitying newbie taxi driver whose first day on the job was…that very day. We were the last customers on his 12 hour shift. He had NO IDEA where 159th and Broadway was. He had NO IDEA where Washington Heights was (dude! get a MAP!).

We got lost, we got a great tour of Upper Manhattan and of Dyckman, and finally navigated him (the slightly less blind leading the blind) to our destination. Where we had AMAZING Dominican food at Margot’s. And laughed our asses off for a couple more hours, hogging a table at a crowded restaurant, and eating up all the res guisado and beans and fried plantains and morir sonando. I would call it ‘da shit…but I feel awkward commending food by calling it shit. But it was amazing, and we were on a high.

The wind was coming in freezing cold, and even I, the person who LOVES the cold found it “kind of chilly,” and so we made our way quickly to the subway which we took to 80th and Broadway to Zabar’s (where we got mugs) and then we walked to a liquor store (where I greeted the old Korean shopkeeper with a smile and a Korean greeting and he looked at me like, “Why don’t you speak ENGLISH”–so funny because earlier that week, I asked for a map of the MoMA and the docent asked, “What language?” And I said ENGLISH!) and then we walked along the park, and we never stopped talking or laughing until we got back to the apartment in which I was staying (the pipes that play morse code!)–and then we went out again and had sushi in SoHo and I drank water (yes water, because I am so afraid of hangovers) in a bar at last call and then oh so reluctantly, I fell asleep, afraid to end the blessed and magical day.

The rest of the trip was so sweet too–I hung out with my fairy g*dmother, loudw who has blessed me with such goodness and opportunity and met her little doggie and of course chowed down on Korean food (tofu dolsot bibimbap!) with Nova who also makes me feel like goodness exists everywhere. I saw an old high school buddy for lunch, and met Alex for drinks with Randa (the day of 7 meals!), and went to Queens and soaked up everything I could for my novel. The only thing I forgot to do was go visit a synagogue.

Oh well–I guess like after a good date with a hot person, sometimes you leave something behind so that they’ll call you back…I told New York to gimme a call.

It was one of the best trips of my life. Those days were pitch perfect and I will cherish them and all the people and events in them forever.

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in new york and so happy

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that’s it. that’s all i had to say. in new york and so very happy. it’s cold and that makes me happy too. i’m meeting up with friends and that makes me very happy. another friend is flying into town to stay with me the remainder of my trip here and that makes me incredibly happy.

the one thing that did not make me happy but still amused me: a garbage truck drove by and spewed poo-colored gooey liquid out its back (on accident–the sanitation workers looked HORRIFIED and then their faces melted into helpless smiles) right in the crosswalk by the apartment.

noted to my OCD self: do NOT walk through that crosswalk the remainder of this trip.

p.s. Randa summed up the whole garbage truck incident in one adept sentence, “The garbage truck took a shit?!” Yes. The dump truck took a dump.

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twitter-style!

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short post!  so excited about heading out to New York tomorrow.  see you soon, NYC peeps! i’m bringing my woefully bright ice blue but VERY WARM Cali-Sierra-style parka with me to brave the chilly temps so that if there’s a google satellite picture of New York being taken when i’m out on the streets..i WILL be VISIBLE to the NAKED EYE, so obvious will my bright blue parka be in the black, grey, and navy blue wardrobed sea of Manhattan.

and triple yay for the trip: not only am i going to see my beloved NYC and the wonderful friends who live there…i will ALSO hang out with my A2 BFF who’s flying out to NYC to rendezvous with me!

booyah–two checks off my fun list.

Update: uptop is a picture depicting my one light blue jacket in a sea of dark jackets.

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New York here I come!

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*hop hop*

I’ll be in Manhattan from January 28th through February 1st.

I am sooo excited. I’m going to relax and enjoy life for a few days, and also venture over to Queens to do some research for my novel. It’s all I can think about, it’s even surpassed my dread over a grim week to come.

Thank you to a good friend who HOOKED ME UP (the luck! her generosity!) with a place to stay in New York City for those few days.

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