Wednesday, September 25, 2002


For the second time in my life.

Is this a good thing?

More to follow.

Monday, September 23, 2002


The Spanish phrase "las esposas" literally translated means "the wives."

But it actually means handcuffs.

Thursday, September 19, 2002


I want to write about walking with my mother through lower Manhattan, from the Irish Potato Famine memorial (wonderful, wonderful, but will somebody proofread the quotations so I NEVER have to see the word "Ghandi" aghain?), past the almost-open Winter Garden, past Frank O'Hara and Walt Whitman's New York-drunk words, past a block below Ground Zero, to the gleefully bland South Street Seaport, and mostly, about how people can't resist talking to my Mom, but later, later, alligator.


From an interview with Conan O'Brien.

"You know, I think the genius of Dave was this reality based comedy. ‘We’re going to go out on the street with a camera and find this guy who is making a falafel or making keys’," said Mr. O’Brien, but he added, "Everyday life has been something I’ve been trying to hide from since I was born. "

Tuesday, September 17, 2002


That would be me and my mom, Martha Jr. and Martha Sr. Being at liberty as I am, I volunteered to close up our little cottage with her this past weekend. It was a lot of fun, though a smidge distressing to understand just how much the mice and the chipmunks actually own our place, and let us know it.

We folded folding chairs. We stripped beds. We encased mattresses in plastic. We tipped over drawers, put them back in dressers, and decorated the edges with mouse-hostile mothballs. We took one last pontoon boat ride, and I drove a good bit of the way around the lake. Cousins dropped in, with tomatoes, gossip, and invitations to dinner. We ate lunch at the local snack bar shack, which, beyond burgers and footlongs, boasted pulled pork and clam bellies. All the service guys seem to know my Mom, from the guy who clips our lakefront hedge to the local hardware guy. Mom revels in it. When my father was alive, he used to refer to Mom's desk as "the battle station," and it is true. Mom's deeply, passionately organized, and it used to drive me crazy, and now it just comforts me: to know that things will be in their place, that things will be returned to their place.

Plus, she turned me on to honey nut shredded wheat.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002


There are days I really wish Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were still alive. Lots of days, actually. This is one of them.


Back from the Berkshires, which we bravely visited without computers, without cable, but not without coffee. Faith dug it big time; she and I swam and ran almost every day, which made me think it's about time to invent the dog and human biathlon. Hey, it'll be more fun to watch than the hot dog eating contest. I think.

So, yesterday, the day before the Day, I volunteered. This is what I did: (I am posting this from another e-mail list I am on);

Hi: I'm Martha, new to the list. I was a Brooklynite for 19 years, and then moved to Hoboken, over the river from lower Manhattan, 11 days before 9/11. Re: 9/11: Hoboken has the distinction of losing the largest number per capita (1 per thousand) of any zip code. I work at home, so the media temptations are strong. Already I am tired of the promos, and even of the nice guy on NPR who is telling us NOT to listen to him tomorrow.

But today I was given a great gift; I turned off my t.v., my radio, my computer, and I volunteered at the Town Hall Wall, which is a temporary wall set up in Union Square Park (this is a park that is at the northern edge of lower Manhattan). People were invited to write their thoughts about 9/11 on pieces of paper, and I, along with two other women, stapled them to the Wall.

It was very moving. Nearly everyone had something graceful or poignant to say. I met the sister of the guy who was trapped, along with his EMS partner, 3 times in WTC rubble...and survived, along with his partner!--survived to get to introduce Mick Jagger at the big music benefit last year! People wrote fragments of song lyrics, drew the towers, asked for different color markers. Many notes mourned specific people lost. One note celebrated the dogs who worked at Ground Zero. I stapled missives in German, Chinese, Russian, Polish. Lots of people just read all the notes that people had written. One guy, dressed in a wizard costume, quoted from the Lord of the Rings (I do so love New York!). A student from the Urban Academy interviewed us volunteers, asking us: what was the best way to memorialize 9/11? I had to say I didn't know, but I was glad I was doing this.

That's the end of my post. One thing I want to add is, yes, a certain number of people posted angry things, but it was very much in the minority...and they generally had the worst spelling. Plus, only in New York, kids, only in New York: two construction workers insisted that they absolutely had to dig a hole RIGHT THEN in the middle of the area where people were composing. And one shirtless, charismatic homeless guy briefly appropriated one of our plastic tubs and labeled it "9/11 peace fund"--and snagged a dollar...but he gave it right back when he was chided. The tub, not the dollar.

Monday, September 02, 2002


Online oxymoron? Maybe not. The latest news from Weight Watchers-land is that those sympathetic to the GLBT (Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Transgender) group are asking that WW Online create an icon that reflects their identity. WW Online is pretty icon-crazy. If you love your dog, ride your bike, and are obsessed with coffee, well, WW Online has avatars galore. If you like curling...yes, the rather esoteric, mostly Canadian sport of have an avatar. If you are GLBT, you do not. So the clever GLBT rabble-rousers have appropriated the curling avatar to make their point until WW Online gives in. Or the curlers protest. Or both. Emma Goldman would be delighted.