Monday, October 24, 2011


glimpse through a doorway near 23rd & 9th, 2011


Much is neutral. Not a lot of color, yet as soon as you note it, there it is. A young man in a bright red and white checked shirt, just outside the cafe, smoking a fat cigar. It is 8:30 AM. And there was the beach ball, yesterday. And the young slim bright-lipped barista with the red bandana delicately folded and tied atop her pretty blonde hair.

People know each other here, in this cafe, the cafe where they hide dark chocolate in their pumpkin muffins. It's nice, the knowing each other, and one of the main reasons I've returned. During my first visit I found a disgruntled and handsome middle aged gentleman, weathered jeans and tweed blazer, showering the bright-lipped barista with all of his charm. I could tell it wasn't something he offered up often. Kind of sweet to see her draw it forth. He was sure to tell her when he departed that he wouldn't be back for a week because he'd be off on assignment. It sounded very important. I understand his desire. She hurries no one and elegantly glides to and fro behind the counter. Her description of their carrot muffin is downright eloquent.

I appreciate the comfort of familiarity, even if it is not my own. I'm feeling a little homesick and frankly, adrift. I'm between the place I was born and the place I currently call home. I'll return to that current place for a short while before traveling to the place I called home during most of 2008. I'll be there for my birthday, looking out from a glass tree house. I'm lucky, I know, but sometimes I wake up and have to look around before I know where I am.

Last night I dreamed I had an affair with the young Big Night era Stanley Tucci. I was knitting his wife a sweater. Yes, I said wife, it was an adulterous dream. Oh my. Adulterous, but tastefully edited. One moment I was trying on the sweater for dear Stanley and the next the film jumps straight to the frame where he is laying on my bed shirtless, all else is beneath the pristine white sheets, and I'm exclaiming oh no! what have we done? Next I'm relaying the entire drama to my good friend Isabella Rossellini.

And then I'm awake and trying to recall it all for Chris while laughing hysterically.

They are playing The Big Chill soundtrack in the cafe this morning. A film from 1983. A reminder of how quickly time passes. It's an appropriately cool and crisp autumn day, dead leaves scattered on the street and sidewalk. I'm about to walk back out into it, past three yellow barstools, four succulents, and a waiting scone.


  1. Just a guess, but I have the sense that something exciting and adventurous is coming to you :^) Good energy here...

  2. Janis, Well well well. I like the way you think. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!

  3. What a dream! :) Love this whole post.

  4. hidden chocolate inside of pumpkin muffins? love that. as always, i enjoy your writing and love these little glimpses into your day.

  5. Leave it to you to find the heart in NYC.

    xoxo jane

  6. Such a nice description of your visit, observations, and thoughts, all woven together in a lovely vignette.

    It is enjoyable visiting those places where people know one another, and to just soak up the convivial ambiance as a detached observer. I like being the stranger in the corner on such occasions, too; as well as settling in to the comfortably familiar spots that make up my own stomping grounds.

  7. it's fascinating and awakening to read about your living dreams, your daily visions, your parallel reality moments, your quotidian sightings... right around the corner. Life is too mulch-layered for us to see in 3D only...

  8. my. it's like what i wouldn't give to sit out an entire big chill soundtrack.
    also, i dig what you said about tucci now. i swear, i looked up the film trailer and couldn't for the life of me.
    your mind now, was a span further than mine, but the dream. oh wow!

  9. I'm in that cafe, listening and looking. adrift: it's a word that holds an uneasy appeal. what I love about your dream is that you're knitting..

  10. such a fine slice-of-life many ripe elements, rich details. adrift, or not, you are anchored in your writing.

    (ah, to Big Night--one of my all time faves!)

  11. what a perfect post! the cafe. the charming man in tweed. the feeling of being between places. and the amazing dream! happy day to you.

  12. reads like a letter. please write soon and tell me more about the glass treehouse.

  13. Lecia, I'm glad you are pleased.

    shari, My pumpkin muffin was found at the Van Leeuwen on Bergen St. (Brooklyn). They look like innocent pumpkin muffins w/ pretty seeds on top, but one bite reveals those delicious dark chocolate chips inside. Very good. And then there is the chocolate orange brioche at Bien Cuit (practically across the street from Van Leeuwen). What a heavenly brioche.

    Sofia, Thank you.

    Jane, You are too good to me...

    Sharon, I do enjoy being an observer.

    amelia, I love your perspective.

    n, I noticed later the soundtrack they were playing was a true vinyl record. It's such a cozy cafe.

    Kate, I was quite entertained by my knitting in that dream.

    nancy, Thank you. It is such a fun movie. I just watched it again recently.

    Rachael, I suppose life would be boring if everything were certain.

    Katrina, Oh, thanks. Happy day to you.

    melissa, Yes, a letter. That is what the blog feels like sometimes, writing letters to all of you.

  14. I love being immersed in your writing and being taken to the moments you choose to share. It's really wonderful.

  15. Looking out from a glass treehouse sounds like a wonderful way to spend a birthday. I hope you have a very Happy Birthday. And thank you for yet another beautifully penned post - I particularly liked your description of the gentleman in the cafe - he sounds quite charming in a quiet, unassuming way. Have a wonderful weekend, Annie x

  16. alexandria, I feel the same about your photographs and the perspective you share.

    Annie, I'm looking forward to the tree house. The gentleman in the cafe really caught my attention, like a character who had escaped from a good book.

  17. What a lovely post, such a story right there. I remember The Big Chill, it's one of my favourite films even though I cannot have seen it for 15 years or more.

  18. a lovely post-each word. i loved "the big chill".

  19. Poshyarns, It's been ages for me too. It might be fun to dust it off and watch it again.

    Christina, Thank you. Like Poshyarns, I haven't seen the movie in ages, but I do enjoy the soundtrack. I'm in the mood for a little I Second That Emotion right now...

    Anne Marie, "word candy" -- I like that.