Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Things that happened to me driving across America 1988 with a girl friend. (Part I) (Short and sweet version)

Things that happened to me driving across America 1988 with a girl friend. (Part I)

1. I swam naked in the Rio Grande while a heard of wild goats watched

2. When I stopped to use the bathroom in a gas station in the middle of nowhere, the old man who worked there followed me to the bathroom and waited patiently outside the door until I was finished. I opened the door to the dark dank room and the blinding summer sun  took away my vision for a moment in which he asked me “can I buy you a coke, dollface?”

3. We narrowly escaped a maniac who was trying to kill us or worse. It was late and we pulled over to sleep on the side of the highway. We moved everything in the back of the car to the front seat so we could lay down in the back. It was a tedious chore. Almost done, we heard a car stop on the other side of the highway and heard someone get out and start walking towards us. It was a man moving fast. We yelled that we were ok and did not need any help. He silently kept approaching and the hair stood up on my arm. We jumped into the front seats but could not get the car into drive because the cooler was shoved up against the stick shift. The guy was a foot away. I was pulling and pushing the cooler but it was stuck. The guy put his hand on our door handle, just as the cooler gave way and my girlfriend threw the car into drive and drove away, seconds away from a different fate. (fate: the three goddesses who preside over the birth and life of humans. Each person's destiny was thought of as a thread spun, measured, and cut by the three Fates, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos.)

4. Got my blonde hair stroked in awe by a young boy in the mountains of a very remote Mexican village because he had never seen blonde hair before. (We veered into Mexico and back, on that trip.)

5. Saw my first colored lightening storm (red and orange!!), my first field of sunflowers, my first desert, my first so very many things. It was the first time I had traveled really and it opened up my tiny deprived life even more than music and punk had.

tune in tomorrow for part II.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

one run-in with the police

It was a rainy day. When I lived in the east village I used to store my bike in a friend’s back yard on my block, so when it started raining I walked over to her place to cover my bike with a plastic tarp to keep it from rusting. On the way over that day I found a dollar on the street. I had her key so I let myself in to her building, covered my bike, and was walking back home one minute later with nothing in my pockets but a key and a dollar.

I came into my building through the locked downstairs door and had a tiny spark in my mind that something was not right. I heard a stampede of feet running hard somewhere on the street. As I walked down my hall the stampede got louder and I noticed that the heavy front door did not click shut behind me, the way it did every other day. Shit. Something bad was happening.  Before I could even turn the stampede was in my building coming down the hall towards me. I froze, while mentally surveying the situation and my options. Guys were shouting that they were the police. They were plain clothed, no uniforms. I put my hands up like they asked.

The police were yelling at me to give them the drugs. They knew I had drugs on me. I was explaining calmly that I did not do any substances, not even alcohol. I was in trauma, scared as hell, shaking but acting calm. I told them exactly what was in my pockets. They were in my face, screaming at me. There were six or more of them in the narrow hallway. I asked to see a badge and one of them shoved something in my face, but not long enough for me to read it. I really did not know if they were really police. My mind was working as fast as it could, trying to figure out what to do, how to escape, what might go wrong, what were my choices. I did not do anything wrong, so I was really confused. I wasn’t sure if I was being set up or robbed or if something more dangerous was going on, or what exactly was happening.

The main cop told me to give up the drugs because they would find them part o me also became strong. I asked for them to bring in a woman officer, I said I would be happy to be searched by a woman since I had nothing on me. We went back and forth a few times. Him: OK, we’re bringing her in. Me: Good. Him: When we find the drugs…Me, interrupting: You won’t.

I was strong and unafraid and with that, all of the energy left the room like a deflated balloon. The guys looked at each other and mumbled and started filing out of my building. The main officer said OK, meaning he was finished, and then he asked, Are we cool? I did not answer. He put his hand up for a high five. I stared at his hand in disgust and he kept it there and made it clear that he was not leaving till I high-fived him. I waited it out but he seemed to have all day.  Finally I high-fived him with the lamest gesture much to my chagrin, just for it all to be over. That was the worst part for me. I had stood there scared but honest before that and hated doing a fake friendly interaction. I did it and they left.

I am still not sure if they used me for a training or if they really suspected me of buying drugs. My friend lived next door to a bodega that sold drugs, but I went into the door next to the bodega. Poor stake out? Easy target for training, small female, etc? Not sure. Not happy but glad it was over. It could have been so much worse.

Monday, March 30, 2015

compare and despair

I read this post of “42 lessons life taught me”. I read the post because they said it was written by a woman who is now 90 and they posted a photo of fashion icon Iris ApfelI by the post. It looked like iris wrote it and I indeed read it because I wanted to hear what an older woman had to say about life, her image already said a lot, and I loved the way she looked. I have mixed feeling about pop advice and internet shares. I am super cautious with the internet as facts really get thrown around out there.
The 42 tips were standard fare, wise enough, mostly great slogans, nothing new. It is fun to run a list like that as a tiny tune up, so bring us back on course in case we veered a bit. I quote my self on veering “They say that rockets veer fro their course 90% of the time, but they keep correcting. The course is there to guide. Keep coming back to it. We will always veer, but if you have a course to keep coming back to, you will get to your destination.”

Anyway I googled the list because I wanted to write about one of the slogans and I found out that the author is not Iris Apfel and she in not 90. The author is Regina Brett, 56 years old. And a Pulitzer Prize finalist, according to one source. That may be true. I did not feel like doing more research. I am not that interested. The words, as I mentioned were, wise and standard. She seems lovely. You can read her here:

Anyway, the one slogan I really got something from was “Do not compare yourself to other people, you have no idea what their journey is about” I never hear it said that way. I did not even think that someone else might have a different aim, that their purpose might be different, in which case means that all of their experiences are weighed differently. The same experience can mean entirely different things to 2 different people, so there is no yardstick to measure anything by. You can’t compare apples and oranges, as they used to say in school, and which I did not understand at the time. Got it.

I do not go around comparing my life to anyone else’s anyway, but I am really digging the idea that each of us has our own purpose, unrelated, and we are all here together doing it. For some reason the whole world is illuminated for me by that concept. Everyone who has died too young or has lived in a way that seems tragic, they all had a purpose. Their journey was about something else. It takes away the self despair for some, but for me it takes away grief, sadness for others less fortunate. despair for those who have left me too soon or tragically. It does not take away compassion for the less fortunate but the sadness that may or may not belong. That makes so much sense to me right now. Perfection.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


As a foolish young childless person, I imagined parenthood would be like the end of Minnie and Moskowitz where I, played by Gena Rolands, am enjoying my magical children dancing around and blowing bubbles and wearing cool glasses and having great hair and everything is pink and rosy. Alas, those tricky rose colored glasses.

I had no idea that parenthood was akin to single-handedly working on a farm for survival. That I would plow the earth from dawn to dusk and never get it all done. That I would be exhausted to the bone daily, so tired my feet ached, and never get enough sleep. On top of what a farm owner/worker might experience physically, I would also be challenged to my core on the emotional and spiritual levels, daily. Yep.

I had no idea that parenthood would ask me to face all of my issues daily, that it would drudge up so much of my childhood pain, my family dynamics, my anger issues, my boundaries issues, my perfectionism issues and my self worth issues. WTF! I had no idea that wanting to be different from my parents did not mean that I would just be able to execute that different behavior. I did not know that awareness did not mean anything other than I could witness myself acting in ways that were not ideal. I had no idea what I was in for.

That being said, today was amazing. I am writing this post from a great place, after an easy day. Many days are amazing, beautiful, perfect, touching, satisfying and easy. Parenthood is brilliant and I feel thrilled and lucky on a daily basis, along with all that other stuff. Maybe that is what climbing Mount Everest for 15 years feels like.

Anyway, this morning was exactly like the end of Minnie and Moskowitz. I made scrambled eggs and bagels and wore my heart shaped glasses and flowers in my hair and we all danced around in our underwear to Beggars Banquet (on vinyl) and everything was rosy! Lucky to be alive. So happy to be blessed with a family. I bow my head to the ground with gratitude. I had no idea what a range of feelings this experience encompassed. The good, the bad, the ugly and the sublime. All transformation is possible.

then there's this version:

Viet Nam!!!!!!!!!!!!

So it is official, my husband is the first Vietnamese person to win an Oscar. From what we hear, the country of Viet Nam is all a buzz and his photo is everywhere. The reason anyone even know that he is Vietnamese is because of MY BLOG! Because I blogged that he is representing the non whites at the Oscars this year, which was referred to as the whitest Oscars ever, his Wikipedia page says “Cross is of half Asian descent (Vietnamese). His wife is Latina.” ( I am loving this!) I am really proud of his representation of diversity. His family and the country of Viet Nam are so proud of his achievement. This is just all round cool. I sure hope some official or commercial enterprise offers to hosts us for an all expenses paid visit to the homeland paradise of his ancestors.

On top of that Tom was invited to participate as a mentor in a diversity-in-film type program. Forgive my lack of details, it is late and I am tired. We have no free time between his industry hours and a one year old and a five year old but somehow we will make time for that. So important!! Way proud of my husband. In the words of dear Leonard Nimoy, "Infinite diversity!!!!"

Friday, March 27, 2015


The low-waisted jeans thing is over, I know, but there was indeed a time when you could not get anything but high-waisted pants. You did not have a choice. Ah, vital and beautiful choice. Before the mid 1990’s I used to have to cut the top off of every pair of pants I owned and re-sew on the waistband to make them look attractive. It took a lot of time and energy to hand sew my entire wardrobe. On the rare occasion I came across a pair of vintage hip huggers in my size I snatched them up. Rare indeed. I searched high and low and found maybe only 3 pairs ever.  Two were from The East Village store Love Saves the Day.

One pair was green velvet. My pal Bob Roberts bought them for me in 1988, pre-Delite, when wearing green velvet hip huggers was trend setting. The other pair I bought myself around the same time, brown suede super low-waisted bellbottoms. I took in the leg to make them fit tight over my motorcycle boots and I wore those pants into the ground. At one point Piki, East Village superstar extraordinaire and tailor to the rock stars, relined the ragged and torn suede and reinforced the waist with a leopard skin print. I got a million compliments in the pants.

Love Saves The Day closed a while back. The building where it used to be collapsed in the explosion yesterday. I am devastated by the photos of the corner or 2nd ave and 7th street, yet another part of my hometown swept away without notice. It is startling to see the corner I passed a million times become just a pile of rubble.

I do not know if the building was co-op or rent stabilized or whatever, but I know that an apartment in nyc is not something you can easily replace. I pray for everyone injured or possibly killed, I pray for any pets lost and I pray for everyone displaced, especially the elderly. Losing everything is devastating. I hope that everyone finds peace and the support they need in the difficult process that lies ahead. In times of tragedy it is indeed LOVE that saves the day, and I know that it will again.

I understand why there is a black market in nyc and that people do illegal things to make money or get around what seems unreasonable.  If nothing else, I hope this incident can serve to help someone to use their head and make a better decision in the face of temptation and to a reminder why there are codes and laws to follow.

Sending lots of love to the old neighborhood.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Two-lane Blacktop

You know how James Taylor was when he was young? Exactly my “type,” long dark haired hippie, dark eyes, could play jesus, super unavailable, messed up, acts like he couldn’t care less about anything, coincidentally addicted to heroine, so hot. That was my default setting.

My older cousin had this friend named Johnny C. I changed his name a bit but anyone who knew him and reads this will know who I am talking about. He was the first to fit the bill. Long dark hair, could play Jesus, blab blab, everything I just wrote about James Taylor. He was maybe 6 years older than me, so when I was in sixth grade and made my Holy Confirmation, he was a senior, if he wasn’t a drop out, I don’t know which. He was drinking a beer when my cousin Colleen said, “Hey Johnny, Holly made her Confirmation today.” He took a drag on his cigarette, beer in hand and said, “Fuck that.” My heart skipped a beat.  Yep.

What makes us attracted to a type? Who knows, but those first few paragraphs were fun to write.  Things are so different now, as you  dear readers know. What I wanted to write was that I LOVE James Taylor TODAY. He is shining like new money, to steal a line from August Wilson. Something happened to that man that reverberates with me. He beams transformation. Palpable. So cool. I love transcending my default setting, or actually changing it. I love getting to be alive for such a long stretch and seeing it all evolve. I love seeing others do it too. If we could do it, anyone can. Can’t wait to see what happens next.


I remembered his name! Remember last night when I wrote about a guy who was just a ghost? Well today in yoga class I remembered his name. Andy C!!!!! Pretty sure he was a photo or film major and that’s how I knew him. I love how the brain and mysterious memory works! Now if only I could remember about the babysitting....