Friday, May 26, 2006

Brooklyn Bridge

Colin and his Pa (aka Himself) set quite a furious pace on foot. These two have climbed the Sierras together on one of their wilderness backpackie camping trips; you know, the kind of camping trip where you take no water, just a little water purification kit. These two can walk for miles and miles and then walk some more. I quite like walking, too. I'm just more a stroller than a strider, but on our marathon walk from Brooklyn to Chinatown, I became a strider. I didn't want to get lost so I kept up.

At one point, before we even hit the Bridge, Himself looked back at me and I mimed drinking a cuppa coffee. Colin said he thought we could stop in Dumbo, grab a coffee at a riverside restaurant and sit in this new little patch of green along the river. Dumbo isn't like other neighborhoods I'd seen in Brooklyn. There's no lively street scene. It's lofts, old warehouse space and a restaurant or two. And now a little park, right by the water. Sitting in that little park, listening to the roar of traffic on the two bridges flanking the park, The Brooklyn Bridge and The Manhattan Bridge, I listened to Colin and his Dad planning the rest of the walk. I stared up at The Brooklyn Bridge, remembering footage shot of the hundreds of thousands streaming over it and away from Manhattan on 9/11.

We wound our way through Dumbo and back into whatever part of Brooklyn houses the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge and made our way up. It's a beautiful bridge with ample pedestrian and cycling space well above the traffic level.

We quickened our pace. Chinatown beckoned.

Why I Love The Nation

"Normally, I am a 'bleeding heart' when it comes to long prison terms," writes William Greider, "but an appropriate sentence for the Enron boys might be six trillion years. Kenneth Lay with his million-dollar smile and Jeffrey Skilling with the cold, confident eyes of a viper made their company into the symbol and showpiece for a glorious era. It was the hyper-modern and market-efficient 'new economy,' in which the concept of wealth falling out of the sky became briefly hip and widely believed in respectable circles."

Moreover, asks John Nichols, "Now that Kenneth Lay, the man who paid the bills for George W. Bush's political ascent, has been convicted, with Jeffrey Skilling, of multiple counts of fraud, isn't it time for President Bush to end the fraud of claiming that he was ever anything less than a political partner of Lay and the Enron team?"

Last night on the local Los Angeles news, ordinary folk whose lives were forever changed by the Enron fiasco were given some air time. Why doesn't this happen more often? Why aren't the victims given just a little more substance? Anyway, those questions aside, several ladies were interviewed: two teachers and a secretary, all retired, and all still angry and in bad financial shape because of the greed of the Enron bastards. One woman who was easily in her mid-70s put it this way. "If I saw one of them walking down the street, I'd kill him." Lots of folks will go to the grave with emotions they never expected to hold this late in life.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

2,811.18 Miles to Our Son's Place in Brooklyn: Estimated Driving Time 42 hours, 8 Minutes

We decided to fly.

To all of you parents who still know exactly where your kids are when you go to bed each night, it is a concept that is hard to grasp when they are little...that one day you will have to fly over five hours to see your kid. Parenting little kids is so tough that it feels like it will go on forever, but you know it's just short-term, in the total scheme.

Colin and Anne moved to NY from Minneapolis 18 months ago. Drove a truck with all their stuff to their new flat, third floor of a Brownstone in Brooklyn. There are about 10 steep steps that take you to the front door of this Brownstone. Odd, tilted-back steps. Then up two narrow flights of wooden stairs to their flat. They did it themselves. No movers, just Anne and Colin. After climbing those steps several times, I can't believe Colin didn't make a bigger deal out of that complex achievement.

Showing his Pa the view. His whole street and the view beyond is like one big "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." Leafy, fresh greens sprouted above the streets. The effect was charming.

On every corner delis or wine shops or restaurants beckoned. It felt rather like neighborhoods in London. Lots of pedestrian street traffic...constant movement. So very different to my corner of this Canyon and because of that, just wondrous to experience.

We arrived late on Thursday night and Colin took Friday off work. The agency he works for (an ad agency that has an environmental slant...very cool) encourages their employees to take a day off when family visits. Encore cool. We took a taxi from our hotel in the Financial District/ Battery Park/ fronting the Hudson/ a block from the old World Trade Center over the Brooklyn Bridge to Colin's Cobble Hill flat and worked out a loose plan for the day.

The plan appeared to be Let's Walk At Least Seven Miles from Cobble Hill to Dumbo (acronym for down under the manhattan bridge), Where We'll Get a Coffee, Find a Way to Get Up to the Brooklyn Bridge, Walk Across It and Then, Hey, It's Only Another Mile so Let's Walk to China Town for Lunch. Here's what it all looked like.

If you look hard, you can see the Brooklyn Bridge way in the distance. It had rained an hour earlier, but the sky and our spirits were clearing nicely. I still had no idea that we were going on such a huge walk.

To be continued...

Dotty Nana...She's Back!

No real, solid excuse for letting a month elapse between postings but I'm back...just like the poppies. Not as bright or glowing or beautiful, but back nonetheless.

This is going to be short because I'm going to write more later today, but can I just get it on the record that CHARTER CABLE bugs the crap outta me and I'm trying to figure out if having one of those nasty dishes on top of the house is the answer. I call the dish nasty so that gives you an idea of how it offends my design sense. I will call it beautiful, though, if it will promise to provide me with as much crap as I want to watch on TV, including BBC America for me and Fox Sports World (with as much soccer as can be broadcast in a 24-hour day for Himself).

Unfortunately, Charter Cable is also our internet provider...our, ahem, supposedly high speed internet provider and for the past month, it feels like it's been down as much as up. So...who do we call for alternate internet service? Our only other choice, up on top of this mountain, is Verizon and I am constantly seeing their trucks up here in this Canyon, as well as Charter's. So it obviously isn't easy for either provider to get consistently good service to me...that's my take. What are my other options? Well, a guy on the other side of the Canyon ran a little ad in the Topanga Messenger that sounded just perfect. It stated that he was local and provided a good solid internet service to Topanga residents. What wasn't stated was that while he was on a high peak, there had to be a sightline between his peak and your house.'s beginning to sound more and more like the 'telephones' we'd make as kids. You know the ones...two cans and a string. The only way we'd be able to get a true connection would be to cut down the trees around our house, and the trees are what make it possible for us to get through 90% of the summer season without turning on the AC. Damn.

So, that's my main excuse. I've had service, on and off, but I've also lost more postings that I care to admit because of sloppy internet behavior on my part. I could have created these blurbs in a word document, but that obviously didn't happen. So Charter promises to get to the bottom of the issue and has credited us for ALL of last month and we are so happy to have service right now that for the moment, they will remain on the payroll.

Later today, our New York trip to see our son, Colin and his fair lady, Anne.

It's good to be back. xoxoxoxoxox