Microblogging (Bringing It Back For All The Feels)

Coat Versus Museum

Taking myself on a date to the Nassau County Museum of Art has become an at least annual routine. On the docket this time: Heroines of Abstract Expressionism and FEM, and also the Manes Center for the first time with the promise of a juxtaposition of works from the Manes collection.

The real focus of the day did not turn out to be art, however. The focus of the day turned out to be how many times I needed to be told I was not allowed to hold my coat. My options were to wear it or to check it. No coat holding allowed.

I made friends with the first security guard right away because I said Good morning to him, and he then directed me towards the wall where I could read about the exhibit. See? Friends! I then checked out the beginnings of the exhibit, at some point sliding my coat off. I’d made it halfway around the room when my new friend moseyed on over and explained I couldn’t hold my coat. Ah, okay! I looked around at all the artwork on the pedestals throughout the room. I got it. I put the coat over my shoulders and kept going.

The next room and the hallway are always brighter, and the starkness of the white walls behind whatever art is hanging offers a stunning contrast. I struggled to keep my coat on my shoulders while simultaneously taking pictures. The struggle is real, friends.

In the back room after the one-person-at-a-time hallway, I found myself not only climbing into my coat but wrapping it tightly around me because this room was an ice box.

The art on the second floor offered a more contemporary and different mood. There’s also a bathroom up there, so I took advantage of being the only person on the second floor. Upon coming out of the bathroom, a new security guard found me. She told me to put my coat on. Seriously, I was out of the bathroom for two seconds and she was all over me. I looked around as I put my coat on. Unlike the first floor, there was literally no artwork that I could accidentally bump into, and I was literally the only patron there. At least I was giving the guards something to do in a fairly empty museum.

I made my way to the Manes Center. No one was there yet, so I hung out by the front doors. The security guard from the first floor of the museum showed up and opened the building. Fast friends, we two! Another patron came in behind me, and we waited in the front hall while the security guard went to put the lights on.

There was a light issue. He couldn’t get them on. There was a lot of flicking of switches and moving from room to room. The woman who works the front desk showed up and also couldn’t get the lights on. Flicking. Switching. Room to room. Then suddenly, all the lights popped on at once. They promised juxtaposition, and we got a light show to boot! They apologized profusely, but really, what was there to apologize for? It’s not like there was a huge rush of a crowd anxiously trying to ram the doors down.

Manes is loaded. Or was loaded. I don’t know anything about him other than he is/was an art collector and his collection includes Warhol and Lichtenstein. The center also includes an art library that is chock full of every book about art imaginable. No one gave me any instructions about my coat, so I took it off and carried it around just because I could.

Outdoors was still a little brisk so I didn’t go for the long walk around the grounds, so I’ll take myself back on another art date for the next exhibit in warmer weather. No coats and outdoor art is always a fun plan.

I’m Going To Be A Martian Soon

Maybe that’s not how it works. If I go to Mars, am I a Martian? No, that doesn’t make sense. Like, if I go to Iowa, I’m not an Iowan. None of this really matters. What matters is that I’m going to be on Mars soon! Not me physically, but in spirit. Remember when I got that boarding pass for the rover? Touchdown is soon. I’m gonna be on Mars!

February 18, 2021 Perseverance will arrive to its destination near Jezero Crater at around 2:15 PM EST. NASA has it all planned out. I am so ready. So are the astronauts. The ones that need to be liberated.

Outdoorsy Part IX: Not Getting Lost At Caumsett

You know how hiking became the thing to do over the summer? Apparently, people hike year-round! I know! I’ll give you a moment to take that in.

That’s how I found myself all signed up for a guided hike in September, which is the dividing line between summer and autumn, and which is also the time of year I climb into a cuddly winter coat (I’ve got a big red coat that someone once referred to as wearing a sleeping bag, and he’s totally right).

I met up with the Captain at Caumsett. I did not wear a big red coat. After a slew of texts the night before about what to wear, I went with new leggings, high socks, hiking boots, and layers on top. I did not wear a hat though I brought one along with extra socks and sneakers and an extra shirt. I did not bring extra underwear, though now that I think about it, that’s not a bad idea. I also had snacks. Capt. had on like a hoodie. I was overprepared for this summer-into-autumn weather.

Side note: I don’t usually wear leggings. I find that they make me look like I have quad-butt, you know, like when you have visible panty line and it looks like you have four buns instead of two. These leggings were a bit thicker, so avoiding quad-butt seemed to work out, but they also have pockets that I think were made for taller people even though the leggings were supposedly my size because my phone was down by my knee instead of at my thigh. Is that normal? Legging wearers, lemme know.

It was windy and overcast, which meant I was cold at first. We stood in one place waiting to see if we could find the hike leader. We’d decided to try a guided hike because the last time we were at Caumsett, I was all, Let’s go that way, and we wound up on that path that I can describe only as a real life rendition of that pig head in Lord of the Flies. If you haven’t read that book, then first, for shame!, and second, it’s kinda buggy. There’s also a wild boar. In the book, not at Caumsett. At Caumsett, there are trails that we figured the good folks at the Long Island Green Belt Trail Conference would be able to show us through.

We found the hike leader easily. Then a small group gathered. Then we were off. And when I say we were off, I mean like warp speed off. These people walk like they are on a mission. I was fine; all the working out and walking I do had prepared me for this moment of power hiking. I mentioned to Capt, This is a moderate walk? He was like, the hikes have only two labels: easy and moderate. I was like, Oh, then yes this makes sense.

Our hike leader immediately took us to places we hadn’t seen. We were around and through fields and woods. Then we were at the beach. Then we were on a small path deep in the woods where we all had to walk single-file. That’s when I realized, wow this really is a hike hike. Not like a walk in the woods. Several times over the summer I had found myself in this position—realizing in the middle of doing something what I was actually doing. I think it’s better that way. You can’t be afraid of something you’re completely oblivious to, amirite? (I’m probably wrong, but let’s just go with it).

The grounds were gorgeous. The sun came out. There were times where we were protected from the wind, so I was not freezing. It still amazes me how we can be in the woods and then at the beach. Nature. Kinda magnificent.

I was, however, in need of a bathroom. This should come to no surprise. When we were about to come through mile five, two women veered off. Capt overheard that they were going to the bathroom. He was like, we should go with them. I was like, Are you sure? My bladder was like, Why the heck are you asking? Capt was like, yeah. I was like, But we’re cutting it short. My bladder was like, I’m going to let loose if you follow the group back into the woods again.

So off we went, chatting with another hiker about her excursion last year to Nepal where she hiked to the base of Mt. Everest. This is the benefit of hiking with a group. You get to meet neat people. She also informed me that if ever there’s an older woman in the group, I can guarantee a veer off towards a bathroom at some point. Good to know!

The veer off was at a good time, too, because my lunch was back at the car. Apparently, if I’m not sweating or peeing, I’m eating. I’m very primal, y’all. Since I’d gone grocery shopping the day before right after teaching yoga outside when it was like 40 degrees and I couldn’t feel my feet, I’d bought a lot of soup. Now that the sun had come out, I was eating soup and running from yellow jackets in weather not meant for soup. And that’s Autumn.

Art, Books, Friends, Go

Remember when I was inside a museum? Guess what. I was inside another museum! Art and writing have always coincided for me, so getting back into the groove of visiting museums and galleries is getting my writing brain back into gear. All art one art.

BG and I met at the Heckscher Museum of Art. We’d reserved our slots in advance. Also important to know: admittance was free! They took our temperature and opened the door for us to go inside. Then we saw the art. Most of the museum was artwork by local students. When I started commenting like, “This is eleventh grade” and “This is twelfth grade,” BG didn’t realize I was reading the descriptions. Then he was like, “Oh! Like these are literally students!” I was like, “Yeah, I wasn’t being judgey about their abilities.” We both agreed that these students are super talented. Also, their artist statements sound like they have been making art for the past two decades.

We were allotted 45 minutes to take in the entire museum, which is plenty of time for a museum of that size. I think we actually spent an hour inside anyway. There weren’t a lot of people, though the two of us managed to create a crowd as we got enveloped in conversation and someone on staff had to remind us to stay away from other people. We were acting like there was nothing wrong in the world even though we had masks on and had had our temperature taken.

Sidenote: I call this the abnormal. It’s not the new normal. There’s nothing normal about having to wear a mask in public and not be able to jostle your way to the artwork when someone tall is taking too long and refuses to move.

Sidenote to the sidenote: I didn’t jostle anyone. We simply got too close. However, in normal times, I may jostle a few people.

Sidenote to the sidenote to the sidenote: Jostle is a fun word to say. Go ahead and say it out loud. I’ll wait. Okay, done? Wasn’t that fun?

After the museum, it was gallery time. We headed over to B. J. Spoke Gallery, a haunt for us when we go to poetry readings. This time, it was all for the art. One of the newer artists is a collagist, and so is BG, so we dug her work a lot. The artist behind the desk told us about her own artwork when we commented on her photograph. She was like, “I snuck into that guy’s backyard to take that shot.” It was well worth it–some rusted out trucks in a yard filled with vibrant green grass entitled Retired. Loved it.

Up next, all the books. Book Revue has all of them. However, BG was like, “Food?” I was like, “I brought some.” He was like, “Really?” I was like, “I don’t go anywhere without food.” I grabbed my food and met him outside Burgerology where we also met up with VS and stayed for hours with the danger of people who don’t know how to parallel park always at our backs and falling leaves from the trees above landing in our laps. Worth it. P. S. the staff there worked their asses off, and their bathroom was immaculate.

Up next, all the books, round 2. Back up to Book Revue. An hour of book browsing and asking, “Hey have you read…”, “If you like that one how about….”, and “Did you see the new….” We devoted a lot of time to boxes of books that were 1 for $3 and 5 for $10. I found a novel I’ve wanted to read that my library always says is on the shelf but isn’t. Then I found another book by a poet I’ve wanted to read. I grabbed a third book, another poetry collection, because I liked the cover and the shape of the poems inside. This is definitely how you should choose books, covers and shapes. VS combined ours into 5 and then BG created his own little haul.

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The sun had begun to set, and it felt like one of those summer nights when the world is normal and you’ve done all the things you could possibly have wanted to do. With the crosswalk voice urging us to to wait and then move, we found our way back to the glitter of the parking lot and headed home. Summer days. Summer nights. Art. Books. Friends. Perfection.

Inside A Museum!! It’s Glorious!!

I had one of the best dates of my life back in February on Leap Day when I took myself into the city to go to a bunch of galleries, walk the High Line, and then visit the Rubin. It. Was. Glorious. And then the world shut down not even a few weeks later.

I’m happy to report I had another glorious art experience. The Nassau County Museum of Art opened, and I was INSIDE a MUSEUM again!! What’s better is that I went with my friend BG, and he’d never been there before, so it was as if it were the first time I was there, too. New eyes on new art. Hooray!

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Inside A Museum!

The main exhibit right now is Blue. I don’t know if I didn’t get the memo or if it was just coincidence (if coincidence is a thing) or maybe serendipity (which definitely is a thing) that almost everyone there but me was wearing some shade of blue. I was decked out in a brown skirt, purple shirt, and pink heart-shaped sunglasses because I’m an 11 year old.  I noticed the blue phenomenon when BG walked up to a painting, and I was like, You match! The security guard got a kick out of me, offering a chuckle behind his mask. Then I looked around the room–everyone was in blue. Such is life; I’m always the non-fitter-inner, and it’s taken me a while, but I’m super okay with that. Here are some shades of blue in the art.

The most striking pieces in the first room were by artist Antonio Santín. Three pieces looking like rugs, bejeweled and wrinkled up, dazzling and beaded. The claim on the placard was that they were each oil on canvas to which I replied, Nope, this is magic! I don’t know about painting or how paints work, so maybe someone with more expertise would understand how these paintings were made from oil on canvas and not a hot glue gun and a fabric store inventory. I’m convinced it’s magic oil on magic canvas, which makes sense because their descriptions compare them to flying carpets.

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Oil on Canvas with Magic

The next room had a punching bag hanging in the center. It had fringe and bedazzlement as well, a found/repurposed plus mixed media piece. My first instinct was, I wanna punch it. There was a little rope tied in a square around its base, indicating that maybe we’re not supposed to punch it. BG pointed out a sign that said Please do not touch. We agreed that punching would be a violent form of touching, so it was a no-go.

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However, that room also was full of magic in a different way: a surrealist piece that had children seemingly floating over mountains (by Christopher Winter called Huxley’s Guide to Switzerland) and other pieces that had glittery goodness. There was also a huge untitled piece that was clearly a cow print, and why it wasn’t simply called Cow we couldn’t figure out.

We then got into the section based on Wallace Stevens’s “The Man With The Blue Guitar” and exhausted our wows. There were instruments deconstructed and painted. And then, right there on a wall, was a Lichtenstein, so I immediately texted my brother a picture of it because, you know, Lichtenstein.

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Not the piano, the painting!

The second floor has smaller galleries, so there were signs about waiting for other parties to exit before you enter. We entered the first one, and I was highly disturbed by a photo of a girl sitting with an arm in her lap that was not attached to a body. The title was something like Girl with an Unattached Arm November something something (look up Andrew Sendor). BG suggested it was a story among the three photos–girl finds an arm, girl freaks out in Hallucination, girl has a dream to work it out. It was all a bit out there, and also very blue, and that’s what art is supposed to be. We hadn’t spent too much time in there, but apparently it was too much time for the couple who came barreling into the room after waiting in the doorway maybe one minute. Signs and Covid protocol be damned–they wanted to see the girl with the arm in her lap, I guess.

One of the other rooms had these ethereal blue hangings (cloth? paper? I don’t know because I’m not allowed to touch, or punch, things) with white silhouettes of people (the artist is Han Qin). One reminded me of that last scene in Ghost when all the demon souls come up and grab that terrible best friend, dragging him down to Hell. (If I just spoiled Ghost for you, for shame! You should have already watched that movie. Whoopie won an Oscar! And Patrick Swayze is in it). There was one in particular that I was like, I don’t like that one, and BG was like, it kind of looks like two people. And then it dawned on us at the same time: ohhhhh, that’s two people clearly having sex. So to be clear, the one I didn’t like was the sex one. Got it.

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This is not the sex one. Or is it? My camera doesn’t do it justice. Go see it in person.

Then there was the Buddhist room with shiny Buddhist pieces by Bettina WitteVeen and a poem. So that makes it two poems in one art exhibit!

The back room on the second floor usually shows films, but there were no films. We checked out some paintings by Andrew Calder, Robert Rauschenberg, and some others. Then we found the best title for a painting: Large Head of Vincent. Do you really need the visual? The title itself is worth the price of the art. (if you really need to see it, here ya go).

Art Museum July 31

We visited the gift shop, which seemed less cluttered than usual. Maybe Covid rules or maybe my misremembering. I asked the guy at the register if they’d been busy. He said they’d had some good days. A lot of people were coming in from the city, realizing that it’s not such a far leap. The musuems there are still closed, so this museum being open is a treasure.

Outdoors in the sculpture garden were sculptures and large flying bugs that I was terrified of going up my skirt. All that hiking has really changed me, huh? Outdoors art is fun because you can get closer to it, and also, the sky.

The world is slowly coming back to life. I know, I know, everyone I talk to keeps telling me, Just wait until November. As if November is a definitive date of requarantining. It could happen before that. It could happen after that. It could not happen. Maybe a huge lesson here is that life is completely unpredictable, so while taking precautions and planning carefully are important, also important is now, this moment, and celebrating it in the ways we live. That’s what art does; it shows us all aspects of life, and we get to share it and enjoy it and think about it and explore it and then go home happy.

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FRIENDS!!!

 

Microblogging Part 3

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Making friends as an adult is not easy, especially for a socially awkward introvert who can’t walk into a room of people without hyping herself up.(You should see the hype routine). Looking back, I now know I lost a lot of my life and who I’d been while I was married. A lot of friendships changed—as they do anyway—and some of the closest friends I had then were his. I’d lost a group of artistic writer friends before him, and after him, I felt like I’d lost my best friend—because I had. Still, those friendships I’d seen as drifting away did come around. When my dad died, they were there. When my wasband left, they were there. Still it wasn’t the same because I’d changed. Climbing back out of the wreckage, I’ve made acquaintances and strengthened bonds that I thought were at first frivolous or forced. Then I returned to the writing scene. Then I returned to the social scene. I returned to live my life as a new person, backed by therapy and Buddhism. Then this workshop came along. Here was a monthly gathering for not only reading but creating. The pandemic hit a few months later and my upward climb to building all who I am plateaued. Then suddenly, a friend I’d grown close to decided to not be part of my life, and losing someone special when we’re in these strange times is a greater loss than usual. And then all the losses piled up at once. And also, so did my friendships. I would not be able to be living this life if I didn’t have the most wonderful people surrounding me with such generosity, kindness, and heart. I am an adult, and I’ve made new friends, the kind I can call in the middle of the night if I need to, and also the kind who wouldn’t be into that, and that’s ok too. People need people in all different ways. Sometimes when you’re lost and you don’t know where to find your tribe, your tribe finds you. I am so grateful for the friends I’ve had for decades and the new ones I’ve made and for this writing workshop that lifts my spirits with every single word. #gettingthroughit #grief #gratitude #grateful #heartbreak #friendshipismyfavoriteship #thankyouforbeingafriend #longisland #longislandpoetry #longislandwriter #southbaysundays #writingworkshop

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Here’s the sun and the clouds unfiltered. And now here’s me unfiltered: I once had a seven year friendship with an artist whose work stunned me. Through her, I met another poet, whose work was also stunning. Those years were filled with impromptu artistic salons, bridal showers and a wedding, long days of hanging out at the preserve, eating African peanut soup, yoga, and the tribulations and sagas of men. Then one of those sagas took a turn. For months, maybe even a year, she’d been seeing someone I’d dated that ended with him simply never calling me. It wasn’t the guy that shook me. It was the lie. It was the getting the email that said I need to tell you something and the story of how they were going to Venice because they were in love. It was realizing that all that time, I’d been the only one in the room who didn’t know. Maybe I knew on some level—found it odd that he’d show up in places where we were. Felt our friendship being strained by something I couldn’t figure out. That friendship ended abruptly. My poet friend then said if it truly was the lie, then I wouldn’t be speaking to her or anyone in their circle. And she was right. An entire world of artists cut out. I know I’m better for it, but to lose that much all at once devastates the soul. And now, it’s coming back to me, like all the other losses that continue to pile high, and so I walk, always looking up, continuing to go through to get through. #gettingthroughit #grief #gratitude #grateful #essayist #creativenonfiction #longislandwriter #nofilter #amwriting #grantpark #alwayslookup #lifecoach #lifecoaching #lifecoachingtips #reikipractitioner #yogalife #Buddhistlife

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Four weeks makes one month. No, I’m not over it. We are never over it. We get through. I’m not through yet, either. The other day I got angry at myself, thinking I’m overreacting. I wrote a list of recent losses. It went twenty deep and I hadn’t reached all the deaths yet. So no, I’m not overreacting. I’m grieving everything all at once, and that may be a silver lining. Go through it all at once so that when I’m through, I’m through. Which isn’t realistic. Things happen. Remember when the tree fell on me? I could have died, and I didn’t. Anyone can die at any time. People leave. Love changes, or maybe chemistry shifts. So when I go through to get through, that means everything. It means life. It means always moving forward into the sad and into the joy. It means taking chances knowing that hurt exists and could happen, and so does beauty and bliss. It means I am so grateful that I’ve found gratitude, truly and genuinely, and I know it’s real because blue skies make me tear up with awe, bunnies make me gasp and giggle, and a smile returned makes me believe the world is good and still can be a better place. I want to be part of that, and through this maybe I already am. #gettingthroughit #grief #gratitude #grateful #longisland #heckscherstatepark #alwayslookup #essayist #creativenonfiction #longislandwriter #fitspo #piyo #piyobod #ispyny #lifecoach #lifecoaching #lifecoachingtips #reikipractitioner #yogalife #Buddhistlife

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Today I made new memories. I went to this park once by myself. The second time I went was with someone, and it was my first time out in the world after quarantine started. I was freaked out by all the people living their lives. This had all been going on as I’d been holed up in my house for months. I felt safe only because who I was with made me feel that way. Today I went back a third time, found the long path around the lake, and walked that as well as some of the trails I’d previously taken. I was alone and felt safe because I finally remember my own strength. New memories to replace the samskara. New memories to build new neural pathways. I’ve become attached to the walking, which is the opposite of vairagya, or non-attachment. At the same time, walking is helping me practice Aparigraha, non-possessiveness, because slowly I feel the non-attachment to the brokeness emerge. This is the duality of yoga. This is the duality of life. Letting go of letting go. Going through to get through. The other side is more life of the same. Life doesn’t change. The true self doesn’t change. The only real change is how we choose to react. I’m making choices that work. I’m making choices that fail. Along the way, I’m learning and laughing and crying and being, and I’m so grateful for all of it. #gettingthroughit #grief #gratitude #grateful #essayist #creativenonfiction #longislandwriter #longislandyoga #longisland #longislandparks #hempsteadlakestatepark #fitspo #piyo #piyobod #alwayslookup #lifecoach #lifecoaching #lifecoachingtips #reikipractitioner #yogalife #Buddhistlife

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Microblogging And Essaying

The big news is I’m writing a creative nonfiction collection. I realized this when I started microblogging about two and a half weeks ago. In case you missed it, here they are.