Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year's Eve Plans

Whether you're attending a bash or staying home to fence with your dog ("Touche!"), have a v. happy last day of 2005.

Remember that tonight doesn't matter much (wear whatever); it's tomorrow, the first day of a fresh year, that should be made special. Last New Year's Day, we ice skated in Central Park with Tara and Liesl, then dined on corn bread and black-eyed peas at Liesl's place, then relived, over and over again in our mind, that New Year's Eve kiss--two soft mashing together of lips in Andy's kitchen. You only get to kiss him for the first time once. And even if you stay together your whole lives, the first year together dies, and then each moment afterwards does too. You know that advice, that we should live each day as if it is our last? Jeesh! Almost impossible to follow, but also impossible to avoid following, even if by accident. Which reminds us...

It is true, as someone has said, that in
A world without heaven all is farewell.
Whether you wave your hand or not,

It is farewell, and if no tears come to your eyes
It is still farewell, and if you pretend not to notice,
Hating what passes, it is still farewell.

Farewell no matter what. And the palms as they lean
Over the green, bright lagoon, and the pelicans
Diving, and the glistening bodies of bathers resting,

Are stages in an ultimate stillness, and the movement
Of sand, and of wind, and the secret moves of the body
Are part of the same, a simplicity that turns being

Into an occasion for mourning, or into an occasion
Worth celebrating, for what else does one do,
Feeling the weight of the pelicans' wings,

The density of the palms' shadows, the cells that darken
The backs of bathers? These are beyond the distortions
Of chance, beyond the evasions of music. The end

Is enacted again and again. And we feel it
In the temptations of sleep, in the moon's ripening,
In the wine as it waits in the glass.

-Mark Strand (From Dark Harbor)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Travel Tips

"What am I supposed to do? Just buy a brand new handgun when I get to Columbus?"

Dear Jeepers:

What do you suggest wearing
on an airplane?
"Flying home for Christmas"

Dear Flying,
Jewelry with sharp edges, fur,
a lot of perfume, pointy boots with
steel-enforced toes, delicate hosiery,
linen blouse, short-shorts.
Happy holidays,

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas Or Bust

Dear Jeepers:
I own a gift shop in Soho. Yesterday, a shopper had a breakdown in the scented candle aisle. She ripped the fur hat from her head, swept a whole row of $40 fig oil infused candles from the display table, and started hollering about world poverty. My sales clerk and I had to wrestle her to the floor. The worst part is, this isn't even the first time this sort of thing has happened this holiday shopping season. A man who was shopping for a gift for his wife broke into silent sobs last week and we had to guide him into the inventory closet until he got a hold of himself. He was really disturbing my other customers! What's going on? Also, what sounds like a better deal to you: "$43," or "%20 off $59"?

Ralph Bebeneck

Dear Mr. Bebeneck,

Surprisingly, the problem isn't too much gift giving, it is too little. Our current set-up has us ignoring generosity, surprise, and presents for loved ones eleven months out of the year, only to shift into gluttonous, panicked giving in December. Unused to asking ourselves, "What would she want? What would make another person happy?" the question rears up enormously, indicting our normal selfishness. Naturally, the rush of magnamity reminds us of the whole, wide world, and that there are billions of humans who live off less than $2 a day, millions of men and women who would have to do three months of dangerous coal mining to afford a single scented candle in your store.

Consider going out of business (for real, this time). Or, you could do something less drastic. Like provide health insurance to your employees. Bah dum dump.

Merry Christmas,

Friday, December 09, 2005

Pete's Candy Store

Tonight's the night! Marshall "Lightning Studio" Hopkins is performing with his bluegrass band, The Dougless Trio, at Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn! He just left the apartment with a mandolin slung on his back and a tote bag in the crook of his arm. The boys will start strumming and crooning at 9 o'clock. The Dougless Trio is our favorite New Yorker cartoonist band and it features the angelic voice and mandolin playing of one dreamy hunk of man, Marshall Hopkins, plus the hilarious Eric Lewis on guitar and vocals, and the brilliant and hard-working Matt Diffee on banjo. (Hmm, is this all there is to show biz public relations? The cold hard truth?) Anyhoo, we must go get dressed!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A New Day

This morning we wish we could wear winter-white boiled wool with colorful gemstones on our fingers and ears. Sort of Native American princess in ceremonial garb meets my expensively dressed mother at Christmas wafting Chanel and recently manicured glossiness. Definitely not a day for jeans. (Check back soon for a diatribe titled "Jeans Are Dead," or "We Grow Weary of Other People's Butts")

Monday, December 05, 2005

Dear Jeepers:
Last year I spent nearly $2,000 on Christmas presents, so this year I want to make all my presents for people by hand, inexpensively. I can't weave baskets, I can't sew, I can't draw...what can I make? Also, what should I wear to my parent's annual holiday party, which last year ended with a fist fight in the kitchen between two old men over some real or imagined insult to one of the caterers? My mother, who is very thin and beautiful, told me last year: "You look like a flight attendant in that dress."

Veronica Bruce

Dear Ms. Bruce:
If your mother was referring to a Jet Blue or USAir-type flight attendant of contemporary times, then we can't really see how her remark was all that insulting. It's just as if she had said, "You look mildly attractive, although not truly hot."

Darling, you can weave baskets, you can sew, and you can draw. Get some straw, thread, and paints and sit down and do it!

Other handmade gift ideas: faces, animals, or beautiful patterns carved into Ivory soap. (Our mother still has three soap faces, carved by our great-grandmother, framed behind glass.) Ginger bread. Homemade perfume (made with vanilla, crushed flowers, cinnamon, etc.). An illustrated family tree. Hand-sewn purses. Hand-forged autos. Homebuilt computer equipment. Homebrewed antibiotics. Personalized advice booklets. Coupons for nonexistent services.

We're really getting in the holiday spirit over here! We hope you are too!


Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Quick Quiz

Match the woman to the handbag. Then, assign each purse a number from 1 to 7--7 meaning exquisite and 1 meaning foul--multiply by 3. If a friend called to ask a favor, would you: a) Cackle b) heave sigh c) run right over in the snow barefoot, without locking your front door or finding a babysitter for your infant, or, d) give yourself a few hours to thoughtfully consider the request, then politely call back and explain to your friend that you feel she is overstepping the bounds of friendship and making unreasonable demands. Add the scores of the two highest scoring handbags, then add 8 points to that sum if you answered "a," 6 points if you answered "b," 4 points if you answered "c," and 17 points for "d." You glorious darling! You adorable reader! You England.

It's Snowing in New York!

We gave our favorite man a kitten for his birthday. You take a chance, when you do that: You'll either end up with a cuddly bundle of purring fur, serene cat gazes, voluntary nose-to-nose touches, or you've got a wild animal in your apartment. We ended up with the wild animal scenario, which has its own pleasures, Jane Goodall moments, with us crouching in the corner scribbling observations into a notebook and the young cat specimen dashing out of reach.

When the radio announcer says it's going to snow overnight, you'll either end up with a gray, wet morning, or with a Winter Wonderland. This morning we got the wonderland! The corner grocery has only "soy eggnog," So make your own eggnog! (The recipe is surprisingly gross: Three dozen egg yolks, one vat heavy cream, a Tequila worm, nutmeg, and some phlegm.)

Oh, we've sighted the cat!