Grampa Hillson doesn’t have any teeth, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have bite.  The man opens his mouth and the bon mots, mean as they are, tumble out like teeth do in dreams.  This guy’s got a way of excoriating even the most self-proclaimed tough guys, those who with wide, booze-created grins displaying a wide variety of dentition, have called him names they’ve pulled from their ample asses.  It’s a beautiful thing to see, from my vantage point under a tattered sleeping bag on top of a cardboard box in the corner of the abandoned playground we call home.


Yesterday marked my eighteenth anniversary in this apartment and patio.  Every year, just when I think they’re not going to, the hostas’ purple flowers bloom.

Several years ago I rescued a desiccated plant from someone’s curbside trash.  I felt it still had life, so I brought it home, watered it, and told it it was safe.

When I woke up one morning, its bright pink flowers, which I hadn’t known even existed, had bloomed.  They didn’t last long, and the plant died soon afterward, but I know it was the plant’s way of thanking me for giving it a chance.


I will never tire of this view, this park, or NYC, even as the city changes in ways I don’t necessarily like and I renew my plea for a time machine. Central Park is a balm that calms me, a therapist who “centers” me without my having to ask.

P.S. If you’re a tourist and your tour guide tells you that the fountain toward the left (to the right of the thick tree) was used in the opening credits of “Friends”, request a refund pronto before he or she takes you to Starbucks and tells you it’s Central Perk.

(No idea why this text is so big. Fucking WordPress.)

Coffee Shop

When I lived near the Flatiron Building (2000 to 2004), I passed this place all the time and always marveled at the sign but never patronized the business. I took this photo in 2015, years after I moved to another neighborhood, and either that day or shortly thereafter, finally set foot inside.

It was everything I wanted it to be. Magnificently low-key. I was smitten with its complete lack of pretense, frills, or “ambience”. It wasn’t asking for attention, let alone begging; it wasn’t shouting “Look at me, look at me!” It just was. It had the attitude and vibe of the people, places, and things I have always held most dear.

Unfortunately, the coffee shop is no longer in existence, and neither is the sign. I will never forget it, though. I just wish I had passed through its door sooner and more frequently.


When I’m out and about in the city, I don’t plan my route even if I have a destination. I keep it loosely structured to allow for the whims of walking. If I’m out for a run or workout walk, I leave all decisions up to my feet, and they know that if presented with two options, one of which includes a dog, we take that one since that’s one of the major incentives to leave the house at all. Otherwise, we Robert Frost it (yes, I used his name as a verb and deserve censure), and see what happens.

September 21st was a workout walk. My only “goal” was Whole Foods on the way back, about a mile from home, to pick up some salad greens. Other than that, the city was my oy-ster and my only “rule” was Ten Thousand Steps Before Going Home, or TTSBGH, or, further, Titsburgh (you’re welcome).

My fleet feet took me down Central Park West. At the corner of 62nd and CPW, I saw a little bird on the sidewalk, on his side, and was glad that I’ve begun carrying a sheet of paper towel in my running belt for occasions like this.

I couldn’t tell if he was alive or not, but when I picked him up using the paper towel, he was warm and I could feel his tiny heartbeat, which made my own heart break and burst simultaneously. I talked to him, telling him it’s okay, it’s okay, little love, I’m taking care of you, and placed him in a square cement planter about hip height, several feet from where I found him. He rested among the plantings, and I instantly texted a friend who works with documenting birds who have crashed into buildings to ask how to handle this.

In the meantime, I Googled the World Bird Fund, on Columbus Avenue, and read what to do. I needed a paper bag to put him in, to transport him to the WBF for whatever attention he needed, which opened at 9:00, about an hour and a half away. I told him I’d be right back and ran to Whole Foods at Columbus Circle, bought two containers of salad greens using self checkout, where I procured the bag that was the real reason for my trip. I dashed back to 62nd and CPW to help him, praying he was still there.

He was there, and had moved from where I’d positioned him on his side, to an upright roosting position, much more alert. I opened the bag to scoop him into it and fold it over twice, per the WBF instructions, to walk him up Columbus Avenue. (My friend had messaged me back while I was running back and forth from Whole Foods, and I updated her on my progress.)

When I made contact with his little body with the paper towel, he flew away without hesitation, his wings flapping strongly, and flew across Central Park West to the park side!

I flailed with so much delight that I almost took flight as well, and clapped my hands, and said, “Good boy! Good boy! Good boy! Go! Go! Go!”, tearful and grinning like an absolute lunatic, gazing off into the part of the world where my little charge headed, relieved, elated, and filled with awe for his resilience and pluck.

I named him Thor in that moment, because it was a Thursday, he was a mighty warrior (even if he may have been a she), and he swung the hammer of his beautiful wings into the heavens like a tiny god.

Pillow Talk

I’m not a “No one’s going to see me; I’m just at home bingeing on Doris Day movies all weekend” kind o’ girl. If, knock wood/god forbid/etc., a fire breaks out in the building and I have to evacuate, I want to look cute when I’m out on the sidewalk, especially since I’m sure one of the firemen would be looking for a girlfriend while he’s doing his job and fall in love with me pronto because, “Wow,” he’d think, “dig those pajamas, and hey, she’s kinda cute too, especially because she offered to bolt back into the burning building to get me a nice glass of pink lemonade.”

Anyway, these darlings are from the ’60s and never worn. YET.

A dressing down

I’m so sick of the abundance of “athleisure” and people schlumping around the city like slobs. Where’s the fun in looking like you just rolled out of bed, literally, shuffling down the street in shoes that look like slippers because they probably are, pants that are probably pajamas, and an attitude to match.

I can’t imagine anyone, years from now, looking back at this shitshow, getting nostalgic for the non-existent style, panache, and elegance that, when I look at old photos, makes me ache for a time machine.

I refuse to devolve. Give me real shoes and clothes any day.

O, so proud

Super-proud of myself for not only not devouring the entire package (family size!) of “peanut butter pie” Oreos last night but limiting myself to four, which I ate slowly enough to actually taste rather than wolf down like a rabid hobo. At room temperature, they were too easy to deconstruct, though, meaning nibbling off one of the cookies, revealing the filling, then scraping a bit of that off with my front teeth, leaving the other cookie and some filling for the next step, so I placed the remainder in the freezer and am already daydreaming about my next round of “fourplay”. (Ew.)

Cereal thriller

A “gentle reminder” to myself to stop eating more than one serving of Kashi Go Lean daily, not only to keep down expenses but to eliminate the fallout from consuming too much bran in one day.  My cereal of choice used to be raisin bran (Trader Joe’s with clusters), but after I demonstrated an alarming inability to not devour the box in one sitting, I banished it from my home.  I don’t want Kashi Go Lean to suffer the same fate, so after two egregious episodes with it, I’m enforcing limits.  My wallet and my digestion system sigh with relief.