Tuesday, December 30, 2008

GACOYA (Part 4): House of Cards

The Shakespearean nephews.

GACOYA (Part 3): Bastet

My favorite, most meaningful Christmas present this year was a small Egyptian "Bastet" cat sculpture that my mom brought home from Germany, from the house of her sister, who just passed away.

I didn't know anything about this mythological creature, but my mom had printed out some online information to go along with the sculpture:

Bast is the daughter and/or wife of Ra, the God of the Sun.
Bast was responsible for joy, music, and dancing, also health and healing. She also protected humans against contagious diseases and evil spirits.
Her cult can be traced back to about 3200 BC, and she became a national deity when Bubastis became the capital of Egypt in about 950 BC.
Bast expressed the qualities of the lion or cat family, beauty of movement, agility, strength, caution, fidelity to the pride, all of which could equally be interpreted at the spiritual level.
During the New Kingdom (1539 - 1075 BC) she became equated with Sekhmet, the lioness deity of war.
Into the Greek period, she would be equated with the virgin huntress Artemis and considered the protectress of children and pregnant mothers, musicians, and a goddess of all sorts of excess, especially sexual excess.

GACOYA (Part 2): Country

On my way home to San Antone from Newark, there was a stopover at the Charlotte airport, where I saw these kindly rocking chairs in a waiting area! How friendly and rustic is that!

Speaking of "rustic": When we "Newarkians" deplaned in Charlotte, there was no "tunnel" for us to walk through to get into the airport; we all simply climbed down the stairs of the plane onto the tarmac and then, if we had carry-ons that had been stowed, we waited outside for those to be unloaded.

Another woman and I both grabbed our luggage as soon as it appeared, headed toward the building, and then stopped short in the same spot, puzzled. Neither of us could figure out how to actually get INSIDE the airport! The woman looked at me, shook her head, and said, "We in the country."

Going All Christmasy On Your Ass! (Part 1)

This isn't actually very Christmasy at all, but I noticed it on my mom's back porch while I was in San Antone for Christmas. (That counts!) A mutantly large rubber-tree plant! The pictures don't adequately capture how kind-of-creepy this thing is. Here's what happened...

Years ago, during one of my moves, I gave my mom my little rubber-tree plant to keep. It was about 1-1/2-feet tall at the time. She put the plant, in its planter, on her porch, where it grew normally for a while... And then, about a year ago, it decided it didn't like just being in its planter any more... It snuck a tendril outside of the pot and burrowed into the actual ground between the planter and the cement of the porch... And now look at the friggin' monster-of-a-thing! Its "tendrils" are now more than an inch thick, and the plant itself towers about 13 feet high!

(Gee, the symbolism... Like, you know, a daughter leaving her home, er, POT of Texas and sneaking a tendril out into the Great Big World... Ha! I can only dream of being as mighty as this guy!)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chelsea Styles/Frank O'Hara


Some of you might remember my first forays into "Chelsea Styles," the tiny "Blue Velvet"-esque beauty shop I discovered by accident when I first moved to NYC. (See above link, from 4/28/07, an account of my second visit there. My first, equally odd, visit was in March of that year; there's also a blog entry for that, if you want to look it up.)

After nearly 2 years, despite my initial befuddlement at the lack of hair gel and blow-drying, and at the bevy of 80-year-olds who frequented the place... I've been coming back, with only one exception, ever since!

Only now, my friends... I am a regular.

And the formerly-known-as-"Robert Goulet-man" (Vincent) who runs the place now says "Hiya, Stephanie" when I arrive, and asks me if I want a drink, and how's Weehawken, and how's my new job; my regular stylist Mayra knows to put gel on my hair while it's wet; AND, best of all, I now get my blow-drys for free! (Unlike the $30 they charged a newbie way back when.) And, for Christmas, today Vincent gave me a 2009 address book, embossed in gold with "A World of Thanks" and the shop's address/phone...It's 225 West 23rd (just across from the Chelsea Hotel), for anyone who wants to visit.

I still, though, have yet to see any customer under 70 in there...

Today the ladies were really acting up, on account of the Christmas music playing on the radio. The "Noel" song came on. So one lady started shrieking "Noel, Noel" at the top of her lungs to be funny. It was indeed humorous.

But then another lady got jealous of the attention the first lady was getting. I happened to be sitting there in the pedicure chair, completely defenseless, when this second lady decided to serenade me. Personally. I have no idea what the song was, but she said it had been in her head all day...I smiled politely, trying not to crack up, a la what I'd done to the singing guy at the Christmas party.

Luckily, Vincent saw what was happening and called over to her to come RIGHT NOW to get her shampoo. She went immediately, but then started in on him about the Christmas songs on the radio: "Are they trying to compete with me? They can't compete with me! [la-la-la] Is this a contest? I'm gonna win this one! [la-la-la]"

She eventually quieted down. And I was left with my thoughts in the pedicure chair while I waited for the polish to dry, staring out the window at the passersby and at the famous Chelsea Hotel directly across the street: "Here I am at Christmastime in New York City, getting a pedicure, looking out at the snow and the people and the Chelsea Hotel..."

Wow. It wasn't exactly an epiphany, but it was a moment of contentment. I was so full of LIKE for everything: for the ladies in the shop, for Vincent, for my getting a pedicure in the winter (which I'd never even gotten before until this past summer---getting one in winter just seems, oh, decadent!), for the people who stared in the window while they walked by, for my view of the Chelsea Hotel out the shop window...

It reminded me of this Frank O'Hara poem that I first came across in David Wevill's class at UT-Austin in the '80s when I was a kid:

Autobiographia Literaria

When I was a child
I played by myself in a
corner of the schoolyard
all alone.

I hated dolls and I
hated games, animals were
not friendly and birds
flew away.

If anyone was looking
for me I hid behind a
tree and cried out "I am
an orphan."

And here I am, the
center of all beauty!
writing these poems!

I don't feel like a freak now. Thank you, New York. I am so grateful.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Stephanie Rule: One Word For Snow

And that word is... "snow." At least in America. I don't care what the TV anchor- and weather-people tell you: It is now verboten to call it "powder" and, worse, "the white stuff"! (I know, I know...the Eskimo have, what is it, 50 words? That's very creative. But until we in America can come up with some equally creative alternatives, I hereby declare that only "snow" is permissible!) :)

Anyway, Friday was the first snowstorm of the season here in Joisey/NYC. We got about 4 inches in Weehawken. Our office had word that a storm was coming, so we all got work to take home and didn't have to come in on Friday. It was really relaxing to be all warm and cozy and leisurely doing editing while watching all the slipping-and-sliding and snow-plowing and car-scraping and sidewalk-shoveling/salting outside my window. People were busy out there!

I looooooove this weather! Being from Texas, seeing maybe an inch or two of snow every 2 or 3 years, if that, it's all still very ghostly and exotic to me. (And I've always loved winter clothes more than summer clothes---the hats, the boots, the gloves, the sweaters... I love shopping for them and getting all bundled up.)

These first two shots are from my front window, the second two from the back kitchen window, and the last, just my plants enjoying the white light.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


In late October of this year, someone I knew from my college years 20 years ago came back into my life, briefly. Here's a poem I wrote for her last October:

The kid in her, at 46
Still smoking "wet"
Still screaming at the stars, coating the walls
with quotes from Ted Hughes
Bemoaning lost love and the god
she'd never given up

There was a walk we never took
A swim we never had
We never got wet, despite my wanting

And now we are not kids, I am so glad.

A Christmas Memory: Rinder-Rouladen

The most succulent, tender, best-tasting beef meal ever, a Christmas staple in the Jones family, thanks to my mom's German recipe. The name translates to "Beef Roll-ups." And I cannot wait to eat it when I go home this Christmas!!

The below is the best alternative recipe I could find online, though the inclusion of dill pickles (!) is ridiculous! (It's just extremely tender, red-wine-marinated steak rolled up with chopped onions and bacon, dammit---no freaky pickles! Though, one time, just for a test, our family ordered this dish at a San Antonio restaurant... It came with pickles, the meat was tough...It was nasty! The test proved that it wasn't the dish that was so good, it was my mom's cooking!)

When my mom first came to America as a new bride in the early '60s, her own recipe for this dish was featured in a local Texas paper. We still have the clipping in a scrapbook. I don't have that with me now, but here's the pickly online recipe I just found to give you a general idea of what it is:


I will always remember my mother's rinder-rouladen, pot-roast, and home-made pizza. (And I will always hope to forget those godforsaken stuffed bell peppers that kept showing up on the dinner table! To this day, when I taste bell peppers, it reminds me of what "cramps" and "evil" must taste like!) :)

Guess Who

You'll never guess who this is (aside from my Dream Girl, that is)... (Hint: Very famous, posing as 20s vamp Theda Bara.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

My most favorite goosebump-raising Christmas songs


"Tonight thank god it's them instead of you..."

Fruitiest Christmas Songs Ever

While driving to the company Christmas party this afternoon, my boss thought she'd get us in the mood by tuning in to her Sirius radio's Christmas station. Unfortunately, this was the first song we heard:

We were all listening, aghast: WHAT is this "ba-noing-a-noing"?! How fruity is this?!

Psychic that I am, I said, while the Jewel song was still on, "I've only heard ONE Christmas song that's fruitier than this..." Famous last words, because as soon as the Jewel song ended, what should come on but...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Baby, it's bad out there!

I love Dean. How smooth is he! (At a Christmas party a couple of years ago, this song came on. I was sitting on a couch next to an Irish guy, who commented wryly, "It's not like Mr. Martin would ever try to bust a move or anything.") :)

"Get over that hold-out,
Baby, it's cold outside..."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kiki Meets Kervorkian: A Christmas Songbird

The company I work for had a huge Christmas luncheon today, and for entertainment while we ate was an ancient 80-something Dr. Kervorkian-lookalike in an undertaker's suit hunched over a tiny keyboard and belting out the Christmas tunes! The man was so into it that I constantly had to stop eating and just watch him in action! (All the while ecstatically fearful that he'd jump up and start singing to individual tables.) Occasionally, he'd even pick up a trumpet and play that, while still playing the keyboard with his other hand! The best part was his vocals, though, which sounded an awful lot like Kiki's (of "Kiki and Herb"---see video below). And his interpretation of some of the Christmas songs...A sample lyric of his from "Winter Wonderland":

We'll walk unabashed
while we get smashed
walkin' in a winter wonderland!

I'm sorry, but at that, I started laughing so hard that people at other tables were staring at me. I laughed so hard that I cried and had to cover my face. Every time I thought I'd calmed down some, he'd toss something else like that into the mix, and I'd start all over again. (By this time he'd noticed me and my reaction---since I was sitting at the table closest to him!---and started grinning and winking at me, which of course set me off even more.)

Then my boss and I noticed a wedding-ring on his finger, so my boss launches into a spiel, pretending to be his wife at home while he's practicing his act: "Edgar! Enough with the Christmas songs!! Yer driving me crazeeeee!!! Would ya come eat your dinner!!!!" (When I mused aloud about how I wished I'd worn a red-velvet prom dress to lunch so I could lie across his keyboard, an earnest co-worker said, "Do you really still have your prom dress?")

Oh...my...god. Now I'm obsessed with him. I'm going to the Human Resources Dept. tomorrow to find out who he is and where the hell they found him. I wonder: Did he used to play Atlantic City 50 years ago? Does he spend all year practicing his Christmas tunes? Does he get other gigs? Does he have a CD out that I can buy? Any publicity photos available? I'll let you know what I find out!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Poor Rhett

This song's for Rhett, always having to listen to Scarlett's stupid pining for Ashley.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Hardwired/Water Signs

With age, I see how my sexual preferences cross-reference over the years:

In 1986, I was madly in love with a woman: Scorpio, painter/poet, dark.

In 1989, my first girlfriend was a Scorpio, painter/poet, dark, with hands exactly like the 1986-woman.

In 2000, my first "Internet love" was a Pisces (aka, watered-down Scorpio), whose INVENTED back-story was almost exactly like the REAL life story of the 1986-woman (that's pretty uncanny), and whose communicating with me online was/is eerily similar to the other, recently-in-touch-with---mostly nuance and image and maddening-ness...but extremely, subtly sexy at the same time, and prone to burst out with the most odd/interesting/profound thoughts that make you think and laugh for days and ever...

I went to lunch today with my boss and a co-worker, and we were discussing their kids and genetics---my boss's little 2-year-old girl hangs her foot outside her bedcovers every night, just like her dad; my co-worker's now-grown daughter has always stuck her tongue out of her mouth when she's concentrating, just like her dad...

I didn't mention for their lunch-time consideration: "Well, Little Steffie always seems to like these psychologically complex women who get her off in a myriad of ways..." Nah. I think, instead, I just said I thought the salad was really good.

p.s. The above Water Signs were/are also hardwired---unfortunately, not one of them for ME! 1986 likes old rich men; 1989 likes teenaged punk girls; 2000 likes teenaged gay boys.

Goddammit! ;p

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I miss my furniture!

I used to be a girl who owned red velvet furniture.

"The Girl From Hateville"

As soon as I saw this postcard on my soon-to-be-boss's wall back in October, I just knew she'd hire me! ;p

Today we had fun trying to figure out what to contribute from our small, poor copy editing group for the Silent Christmas Auction coming up at work. She'd already bought a big basket, and had a bottle of champagne, so we were trying to go from there. Voila! A girly "movie-night" theme for the basket, based on Marilyn's "How to Marry a Millionaire": a copy of the DVD, the champagne plus 2 glasses, popcorn, bubble-bath, a toy-store tiara and bracelets and boa and evening gloves...

Christmas is a kick! That is... when you're from... HATEVILLE!

Travel Time/mighty fine copy editing

OK, nobody out there cares about this (aw, SHUR ya do! thanks to the 25 or so regulars who keep coming back for more trivial crap about ME-ME-ME!), but for me it's a great big deal! :) I finally whittled down my travel time to work by another 15 minutes. So now, sans car, I'm able to make it in an hour-and-a-half each way, rather than the initial 3 hours, and then hour-and-45-minutes, when I first started attempting it 2 weeks ago.

What USED TO happen when I tried to get further upstate in Jersey from Weehawken, NJ, and then go home again: Mornings: Catch a bus to Manhattan, walk 8 blocks, catch the company shuttle to work, which travelled back through the Lincoln Tunnel that I'd just come through, BACK to Jersey... Afternoons: Catch the company shuttle to the GW Bridge. Get off shuttle, pay a "gypsy bus" $1.25 to get me to the A Train on the Manhattan side of the bridge, take the A Train to the Port Authority (42nd and 8th in Manhattan), then a bus home to Weehawken..... WHEW!!!!

The secret to my newfound success: I finally figgered out that there's a damn bus that takes me from Weehawken to the GW Bridge, where I can then take the company shuttle on into work. In short, I'm saving myself 15 minutes and $5 a day ($100 a month)in bus/subway fare.

What's crazy is, if I had a car, I'd be at work in about a half-hour. But nooooooooo, when I left Texas for, ostensibly, Manhattan, I sold the car thinking I wouldn't ever need one again!

In other work news: When I arrived today, I found a print-out of an e-mail on my desk from an editor that I've never been introduced to. (That's one difference between Texas and NY/NJ---at new jobs in Texas, you spend an hour being dragged around from office to office meeting everyone in the whole company. Here, nuthin'!)

The mail read: "I don't know who 'SJ' is, but please tell her/him that the job she/he did on [whatever it was] was excellent" etc. etc. The editor had sent it to my boss and CC'd his own boss and several other editors. Funnily, my boss had been a tad bit worried last week that I'd been flagging so many pages of MS as having errors. She was thinking that I was querying dumb stuff, but I promised her that 98% of what I was flagging really was outright incorrect, and that the editors would be happy since the next round would be a lot cleaner and faster since we were catching everything at the beginning... TOLD YA SO! ;p

It's nice to be appreciated. It's nice to get to work faster.