Okay, so it was yesterday. I live in a high rise in downtown Manhattan. I have no car, therefore no driveway and any walkways in my complex are shoveled by others long before I step into the cold brisk air. There are no kids to entertain, except Max but he’s inside no matter what the outside world is like, the only difference being I’m home when I shouldn’t be. I could have walked over to the office even though it was closed, as the storm wasn’t quite as bad as predicted and my area was not hit hard. But I didn’t. The only thing I had to worry about was if the power went off. And it didn’t.
Power going off is not a good thing when you live on a high floor. The last and only time it happened in this apartment was during Super Storm Sandy. I was supposed to have my surgery the very day that Sandy hit. The ex had called the day before to tell me he thought I should cancel it. I had to laugh as I imagined him imagining me on the operating table with dim lights flickering on and off and a surgeon wearing a miner’s hat. I informed him that the Governor would have more of a say in that than I did, and besides, my wonderful round surgeon kept in touch with me before and after, as we did eventually have to reschedule it for the next week when they got their power back. It just so happened to be on the day we then got hit by a nor’easter that started that afternoon. I would like to now extol the virtues of my friend, the financially irresponsible one who had to move back to Connecticut recently, who was a most dedicated friend that afternoon, getting me home by finding the one available taxi during the snowstorm, getting my medication and buying the things that I could stomach after the anesthesia – a package of supermarket bagels and chocolate chip cookies. She stayed with me the entire night.
But, getting back to Sandy, my building is right on the river and a surge flooded the basement shorting out the power for about 700 apartments on that Monday evening. On Wednesday, when we heard that it was going to be another four days without electricity, I had to go downstairs. I needed more candles and a flashlight and thought I would walk to the office and use the phone to call my stepmother in Holland to let her know I was alright. It took 15 minutes to get to the ground floor and while it was doable, my legs were like rubber as I wobbled over to the office only to find that they were operating with limited power so the elevators were not running. I did find candles and a flashlight, and hung out a bit before attempting the climb back up to my apartment, which I was not looking forward to. I had only quit smoking about five months prior, but even when I was younger and barely smoking at all, I still didn’t do stairs well. A few others were using the stairs which were now dimly lit with emergency lights, and I was a little embarrassed having to stop every two floors to catch my breathe. Two men were approaching and the younger one scooted ahead while the older, older than me and pretty fat, stayed with me. Turns out he’s a vascular surgeon and instructed that when I started huffing and puffing every two flights, we would stop on the landing and chat until I could talk without gasping for air. We did that for near 30 flights until he departed on his floor two below mine. I got home with legs a’throbbin’ and stayed put until sometime in the wee hours of Friday morning when the light woke me from my sleep making me think it was sunrise. I looked toward the window with its blinds raised to take advantage of the lights of other apartment buildings, but it was still dark. There was no daylight coming in. It was coming from a lamp left on in my apartment. And so ended that saga.
The point of that story is yet another, but thankfully very short story about how the other day while going up to my apartment, the elevator stopped four floors below mine and while people were getting on I noticed it had indicated it was going to go back down. Now it could have been that I forgot to press the button as I work in a building where you press your floor number to summon the elevator and just get in so it can take you where you’re going, or the elevator just decided on its own that it didn’t want to go up that high. Either is a plausible explanation. So I got out and decided to just walk up the four floors. And – here comes the point – I did, and only became out of breathe when I neared my floor. I have now doubled my capacity to walk up stairs without getting winded. And I owe it all to rock ‘n roll.
The other night a friend told me that, like her I have to tell the backstory first before I get to the point of the actual story. She was undoubtedly being kind as she is nowhere near as bad as I am, plus I don’t just have backstories, I have side stories going in all sorts of directions. Yes tangents, but with help I can find my way back and figure out the connection. I’m currently trying to write something, one of those things that reaches back and messes with one’s head a bit, dredging up stuff that takes me astray and clogs up the story’s gist. I can take it, I’ve been there, but for your sake I shall shake loose those clinging little side stories with deference to the larger ones. Not yet being there, and it being Sunday, a posting day, I thought I would treat you to some personal trivia about my likes and dislikes.
Inspired by a member of the WNEW-FM Fan Club, who touted “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Elton John and Kiki Dee as a great old song, I decided to think of other songs that have been very popular which I cannot stand. That song my friends, is number one on my list. I’m really surprised at Bernie Taupin, who has been John’s writing partner and lyricist from years ago, for this piece of tripe. Some others that have made my list over the years are Stephen Stills’ “Love the One You’re With,” Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town,” “Brandi” by Looking Glass (look where that got them), and Carlos Santana’s “Evil Ways.” C’mon, the woman is “evil” because she’s hanging out with her girlfriends when he comes home to an empty house and no one cooking him dinner. You think I’m going to like that? Then there are songs that I really, really like by very popular artists that I just never got into. As we now know, I am crazy about The Grateful Dead’s “Truckin’.” I also like “Pump it Up” by Elvis Costello, who I saw in concert in the early/mid 80s because Vicki was a big fan and got a bunch of tickets for a show at Jones Beach. Boring, boring, boring. Oh, except that was the concert we went to when Amy was flirting with the ex, or vice versa, as I was there with my new boyfriend at the time. That was the one who resembled Springsteen. I’m sorry, I don’t remember when I mentioned that I had a boyfriend who looked like Bruce, but I have a few times. I did get back with the ex afterward. Then we broke up again, and so on.
One of my all time favorite songs is “Whipping Post” by the Allman Brothers. And even though I also like Gregg Allman’s “I’m No Angel,” I don’t like him. He done Cher wrong and wasn’t there for his kid. Ptooey.
Another little bit of trivia about me that has nothing to do with anything, I sometimes try to end my workouts by 8pm so I can watch reruns of reruns of The Big Bang Theory, which is just about the only thing I do watch on TV these days because it never fails to make me laugh, and oddly enough, it has helped me understand certain people that have been in my life just a little bit better.
I still don’t have Tom Petty’s new album, which I have said I would purchase as soon as it hit the discount rack. That may be a while. You may have thought that one of my close local friends would have gotten it for me for my birthday or holidays, but no. Since most don’t even read my blog I can say whatever I want about them and have gotten a dig in before that went unnoticed. I will again when so moved. Like now. This though is no reflection on my old friend who runs a bar up in Chelsea and has loaned me some very important vinyl, and also provides me the opportunity to say that I have an old friend who runs a bar up in Chelsea.
I did find Full Moon Fever, Petty’s first release sans The Heartbreakers, but filled with Wilburys, to be enjoyable, though not as much as the first record by the whole group that we listened to a short while back. This does contain hit songs like “Free Fallin,” “Yer So Bad,” The Byrds’ “Feel A Whole Lot Better,” which sounds more like The Seekers I think, and “Runnin Down A Dream.” It may or may not make it out again for a workout, probably more for company, but what I find puzzling is that the inside booklet is dotted with half moons. Why is that do you think when the album is called Full Moon Fever?
It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down
I had the radio on, I was drivin
Trees went by, me and Del were singin Little runaway, I was flyin
The Best of Sting was one of the recent dollar CD purchases from Housing Works. I like Sting and I liked The Police, whose songs I can sing along better to than those from Stings solo career. However, I own no music of either, till now. My friend Amy liked The Police very much. Her musical tastes ran the gamut: classical, rock, new wave. Her interest in The Police I think was largely due to her finding Sting to be quite appealing indeed. Did I mention that before when I wrote about her around Halloween? Or perhaps when I found The Police CD in the library that time. In any case, she wasn’t chatty about her attraction to certain men, at least not to me, but she didn’t have to be. I understood in the few words she would slyly offer that she was attracted to Sting, Peter Martins of the New York City Ballet, and enjoyed flirting with my boyfriend, better known these days as the ex. Let it be known though that as a longtime flirt myself, something I believe I have a talent for, I genuinely support the practice and its benefits as long as both parties understand that it is just healthy flirting. I knew that Amy would never cheat on her husband and could appreciate that others found my guy attractive, so I had no problem with her benefitting from his charm.
There are some beautiful songs on Sting’s best of, like “Fields of Gold” and I like “Englishman In New York.” Not the best and not the worst to workout to, but I forced myself anyway, thinking about Amy and old times. By the way, last time I wrote about her, I mentioned that she had a trench coat named Basil but neglected to note that it was herringbone, an important fact to omit. And another by the way, my favorite Police song is “Wrapped Around Your Finger,” but I will always be pissed that Sting’s collaboration with Eric Clapton, “It’s Probably Me” from one of the Lethal Weapon sequels wasn’t nominated for an academy award. Stupid Disney year.
The Housing Works near my City cousin is great. Lots of stuff, good turnover. Plus they have a big CD collection. Nothing I could get too excited over, but hey, they’re a buck each, and for the five I bought there I could get one from the discount section of Barnes and Noble.
Last night, I wasn’t feeling that desire to exercise or write. I tried watching Knight and Day, a movie that always cheers me up, but turned it off less than midway through and forced myself into the kitchen to do the dishes. I was running out of forks and coming dangerously close to having to resort to what was left from the old set of glasses that are kept for those times I can’t get myself to wash dishes. I didn’t want to get to that point. I thought I’d put on the King Crimson CD that was among the five and came without its cover so I’ve little notion of what it is. But I remember me some King Crimson, “Court of the Crimson King” and all that, and they were among the favored bands of those high school friends who liked The Grateful Dead, The Kinks and Pink Floyd.
The music on this particular CD, which began with background noise of some sort, sounds like someone, or possibly more, learning to play a few different instruments. A lot of that abstract stuff. Just the kind of thing I hate. Okay, dislike a whole bunch. Hate is such a strong word. The first of the three songs or compositions, was a half hour improv. Needless to say, I was not inspired to exercise to it, or move about even a tad, but I did get the dishes done and then some. Problem is they don’t stay done.
Tonight – Back to Sly.
Let’s face it. The Beatles were magical. We all loved them no matter what we said, and our parents made fun of them, but they knew who they were. Our mothers dutifully took us to see their movies and I don’t think they minded sitting through them with us. The lads were adorable after all. I can speak for my own mother when I say that she found them much preferable to the likes of Jerry Lewis.
When Hard Days Night came out, I was still way too dopey a kid to get many of the jokes, but when I saw Help I was a wee bit more aware and maybe a wee bit more mature, or maybe Help is jus the better movie, as I’ve always felt. It has that wonderfully bizarre storyline, the charm of its four stars and the character actors like Leo McKern and Victor Spinetti, who also had a pretty meaty role in Hard Days Night, and the performance by the most excellent Eleanor Bron in her very first movie. Her character, Ahme, double-agent and champion of the Beatles, was the hero of the movie and an impressive force as a cool, confident, courageious and really smart woman who was also exotically attractive and impecably dressed in fashionable yet somewhat unusual attire. She has a delightfully droll exchange with Paul on the dance floor, but my favorite scene is (and I am doing this from memory as I haven’t seen Help in quite some time, though Hard Days Night has been showing up on television lately) later in the film when the Beatles are blown into the water and find themselves swimming in the ocean not knowing which way to go. Then on a reef or a jetty we see Ahme clad in a black leather caped maillot (that’s a one-piece bathing suit – fancy, huh) and a jeweled black bathing cap. She waves her arm way up in the air and delivers the memorable line, “Beatles! Hello!” to perfection, and she rescues them yet again.
Tidbit: The character of Eleanor Rigby was named for Eleanor Bron.
Bron was also the female lead in the Peter Cook/Dudley Moore film Bedazzled as the object of Moore’s nebishy shy Stanley Moon’s silent affection and the reason he makes a deal with Cook’s cunning devil for his soul. Bron is required to play several versions of her character and holds her own with the clever comedy duo. Tidbit: Raquel Welch turns in a magnificent performance as Lust.
That was only the second time I saw Eleanor Bron in a movie, I think, and after seeing her in the Albert Finney/Audrey Hepburn movie Two For the Road, and performing with Monty Python’s Flying Circus, I knew I would be a fan for life. For those of you Ab Fab fans, she also played Patsy’s mother.
Eleanor Bron has not just died, nor is it her birthday, but let’s salute her anyway, just because she deserves it, gosh darnit. I’d love to have my friends over to watch the movies I have mentioned, but I’ll bet that if this ever happens, I’ll wind up having my own private Bronathon alone.
“Both men and women are fallable. The difference is, women know it.” – Eleanor Bron
I’m still hangin’ with Sly and the Family Stone these days, and I do have a few things I want to write about that are connected to the music, but not necessarily what I am working out to. However, they’re scribbled on bits of paper, half written, or have lost my interest and I need to give my motivation a good kick in the butt. So today, as I have gotten used to now posting on Wednesdays and Sundays and this is after all Wednesday, I will write about what I did today because it wasn’t a normal day. Nothing earth-shattering, except maybe to me, and then that is certainly an overstatement.
Now that I am two years and two months cancer-free and that ever present lump in my thyroid is nevermore, I am concentrating on that odd thing with my feet. Ruled out circulation a while back, and today went for an EMG – electromyography. I know, I never heard of it either but the test consists of a very nice technician taping things to my feet and legs and giving me the most annoying electric shocks in various places, then the doctor coming in to utilize the thin needle I kept hearing about to stab me repeatedly along my left calf and low into the ankle and telling me to lean into the weapon as hard as I could during each jab. Two more, she’d say, then last one. I’m no dummy. I knew she meant until she got to the right leg, but no. She didn’t have to. The reason she explained didn’t matter to me as she could have said it was because she didn’t like my perfume and I would have accepted it. Good news/bad news is that it looks like I have healthy muscles and nerve cells. So the doctor sent me across the street for blood tests.
It was just before noon when I got there with only one person ahead of me. I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t had any water since last night so I grabbed a cup and downed it as my name was called. “I have difficult veins,” I explained to the phlebotomist. “You think that scares me,” she wheezed (and she did have an awfully pronounced wheeze). “No, not you.” Turns out the doctor ordered nine tests and after the phlebotomist finally got the popular vein to start spurting, I ran out of blood at seven. I watched as the waiting room filled up with the lunch crowd who also needed the phlebotomist, who all looked at me with vexation and ire. But she had that never say die attitude and found two more vials in me upon searching throughout my right arm. I forget about my uncooperative veins until times like these, after the ordeal when I say that I must remind myself to hydrate well the night before and the morning of any doctor’s appointment at all no matter what it’s for. And then of course I forget, or only remember for those times it turns out not to be relevant. I won’t bore you with what happened next as I worked my way back downtown with both arms wrapped in shocking pink gauze at the elbow, collecting Max food (he’s cheap but particular, or vice versa) and stopping in at the Landmark Diner on Grand Street because, while I would never use a utensil that even touched the table slightly, they have good coffee and pleasant employees. Foods not bad, but I’ve only had their omelets.
My last stop for the day was for a facial. I had a Groupon (don’t tell Agnes at GemVie) closer to home and I wanted to treat myself as I had the day off anyway. And I was a really good girl. Again, I won’t bore you with the details but it was a fine facial. After the treatment, for some reason I don’t remember, I told the aesthetician the street where I live. “I live there,” she said, then mentioned the address of her building. “I live in that building,” I said. “I’m on the 35th floor,” she said. “I’m on the 35th floor,” was my response, and I wasn’t joking around. I half expected her to say she lived at the same apartment number as I, but of course no, though she is right down the hall. How weird is that? It is a small world sometimes. And this is New York.
I came home amused and at 5pm found there was absolutely nothing on the television I wanted to watch so I turned on the radio. I preheated the oven and prepared three yams for cooking, as yams are my new must haves, found myself dancing around to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and then put on Sly until dinner was ready.
And that’s what I did today. By the way, those are not my legs in the picture.