It's not about the house.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Not-Very-Christmasy Random Collection of Thoughts that I Promise Will Pay Off, Somehow

I made pizza for dinner last night. I wanted to do it on Friday while it snowed -- stopped on the way home Thursday night and bought mozzarella cheese and everything -- but then when I went to make it I found we had no yeast. And it was snowing. And so we had macaroni & cheese that night instead (warm, soft, bad for you comfort food is warm, soft, bad for you comfort food, no matter how you slice it). Then I stopped and bought yeast on my way home yesterday and we had pizza last night. I'm having it again for breakfast now. And you know what? I don't care what you think? As soon as I finish this first cup of coffee I'm making me a big old Kahlua Sombrero to go with it!

Oh, hell, it's Christmas Eve. And besides, it's not like I'll be drunk at 8:00 a.m. You can't get drunk off Kahlua sombrero. And besides plus also, I make mine with coffee: equal parts Kahlua, cold coffee, and milk. One ice cube. So maybe it's not technically a sombrero. Maybe it's just a hat.

Speaking of hats: I dreamt this morning that I bought a bunch of hats and had a fashion show for My Lady. I've been thinking of hats a lot lately because I got a stupid haircut that I'd really like to hide, and these were fabulous. One was like a steel-grey fedora with a sparkly rhinestone buckle. One was giant -- I mean giant -- and black, and shaped like the big scalloped seat-compartments on the tilt-a-whirl. One I don't remember much about except I thought it made me look like a nun, so I pursed my lips and mimed rapping knuckles with a ruler. And one was black and big and soft and floppy and made me feel like a French (and white, and feminine) Sly Stone. I adored them all, though I allowed I'd probably return the tilt-a-whirl, seeing as how it took up half the room.

My Lady's on my mind today, too, because her kitty died last night. The poor old thing. Her heart just grew three sizes and gave out. The vet wanted her to go to Angell Memorial for ultrasound and surgery, but My Lady did the decent thing and put her down.

I should probably explain here that I technically have a pair of Ladies. I composite them here and refer to them as She, because I don't write enough about their personal lives for it to matter, and it seems more respectful mostly to fiction them up a bit. But for now, I want to tell a little truth.

Although my Ladies coincidentally attended the same boarding school (Westover, in Connecticut), they didn't actually meet until forty or so years later, when they both had apartments in the Dakota in New York. If you don't know what the Dakota is, it's the famous big old apartment building where both Rosemary's Baby and John Lennon were shot. This is my favorite picture of it:

It's called The Dakota because when it was first built, it was so far beyond the limits of the city (as you can see) that people joked it was like living out in the Dakota Territory. Needless to say, the city has since managed to find its way around:

I love this building for the story behind it, and also for the Miss Manners tradition that says if one lives (or lived) there, one never says so. You say you live at 72nd and Central Park West. If people know what that means, then they'll know, and if they don't then you aren't bragging. (Just like one never says one went to Harvard; you just say you went to college "in the east.") But when one has framed, signed pictures in one's bathroom, hand-signed "Merry Christmas, Lady! Love, Yoko and Sean," well, certain nosy Ones do tend to ask.

So there are stories I could tell you -- about Yoko, about Lauren Bacall and Jason Robards, about all kinds of other famous people (My Lady was on the board; she knew the what-what) -- but I won't. They aren't mine, they're only hearsay, and I wouldn't want to wind up getting sued. I do, however want to tell you about Jing.

Ages ago -- in the '70s and '80s -- My Lady had a pair of Siamese cats. They used to get out of her apartment all the time and go visiting. If someone in the Dakota was having a party, the pair of Siamese would inevitably show up, acting like they'd been invited. No one objected, but they did tend to overstay their welcome, so My Lady would get calls all the time when the party ended, telling her to come collect her cats. And then one day, two years after the second Siamese died, she got a call informing her her cat was on the roof.

At first she thought it was a cruel joke, or a spectre of some sort (the Dakota's full of both), but sure enough, there was a Siamese kitten on the roof, wet and sad and sitting in the gutter. You'd have to be a non-cat-person to confuse this poor wee thing with either of the other social bruisers, but you'd have to be a non-person altogether to say "she isn't mine" and leave her there.

So my Lady hung out the window and dandled a bit of something until the kitten inched forward far enough for her to grab a hold. And nobody ever claimed her. And that's how she got Jing. That was in like 1990 or something like that, so it's not as though the poor dead thing didn't lead a charmed existence while she led it.

Now, okay, let's see: how the hell am I going to bring this mess around and make it pay off in a Christmasy sort of way? Dead cats and big hats, murder and demonic possession, cold pizza and coffee drinks (oh, yeah, you bet your ass I've commenced with the Kahlua by this point)? Think, Erin. Think, think, think.

My thinker's sore.

Oh! I know!

Ta da...?


I took a picture of my festive drink, and it's in a festive glass and everything. It has a festive swizzle stick (which I stuck in it just for the festive photograph) and I set it up with a festive Christmas card behind it for the sake of the festive scene. I took the festive picture, but before I could transfer it over, the battery in my festive camera died. And I know I have another one, but I can't festive find it.

So instead, I give you this:

I got bored drawing the card. But that's a pretty accurate rendition of my drink. Not quite so to-the-brim full anymore, though, naturally...

Merry Christmas!


su said...

What would Miss Manners tell us to say about living in Oxpatch? Hee hee Merry Christmas

Robert said...

I know I'm hopelessly late with this comment but any mention of the Dakota always reminds me of Jack Finney's novel Time and Again. Time travel to 19th century Manhattan via the Dakota. A very fun read.

ege said...

I read it! It made the idea seem so possible, didn't it? Just close your eyes and pretend...

No! Wait! I'm in the AssVac! Wake up! Wake up!