October 31, 2014

American epic space opera in Harlem.

The scooter actually inspired the costume.

The doorbell rang and I sent Romy to go see who it could be. Stormtrooper papa.

And madame Yoda eating gobs of candy.

They went out to patrol the scene.

Lots of trick-or-treaters on our block in Harlem.

Marguerite wanted to be a witch this year. Charming witch lady. She did a tour with some witch friends from the neighborhood. It was really sweet how much anticipation Marguerite felt for Halloween; she arrived a couple of weeks ago and counted down the days.

So, no, Colette did not elect to be Yoda. It was chosen for her. When we would ask her what she wanted to be for Halloween, she would say - "I'm going to be a pink one and Romy is going to be a red one, and you are going to be a green one, and papa will be a brown one and Marguerite a blue one. Uncle Stephen can be a white one and Uncle John a black one." We thought maybe she wanted to be a paint set, but it wasn't quite clear. When we introduced the Yoda costume, she put it on and smiled a big smile.

Romy too. She is full of those.

Romy's own hair was better than the hat for her costume.

We all wanted to be the stormtrooper.

October 30, 2014


We hosted a pumpkin carving fête and it was an assortment of uncles, if you will. These girls are particularly fortunate to be surrounded by artists. All of these lovely guys make their fortune through creative exertion. Comes in useful for all crafty projects. Jerry was pumpkin carver extraordinaire. Both Colette and Marguerite took full advantage.

Romy hung around like a bat.

This is years and years of pumpkin carving with little French Marguerite.


October 29, 2014

Secrets on the couch.

These photos tell the whole story.

October 25, 2014

Taxi cab.

I love to bike in the city. Lots of days my commute is the highlight of the day. I bike for freedom, for space, for feeling apart from the city. I guess I always knew in the back of my mind that biking in a city like New York could go very wrong. Taxis are notoriously careless. On Friday morning, I unfortunately experienced this version the story. I got hit while riding down 7th Avenue (in front of the Sheraton Hotel on 53rd Street) on my way to work.

It was rush hour traffic and a cab who was picking up some people in front of the hotel merged into the lane where I was riding, and right into me on my bike. I flew off and landed heavily on my right knee and when I made contact with the street I felt my leg twist underneath my knee and rotate all the way around until I was lying on my back. My knee contorted in ways I didn't think possible.

I shouted to the people who came rushing around me not to touch my leg, as they wanted to move me off the street. They stood in a circle to form a protective barrier against the cars that were flowing fast down Seventh Avenue in the lane I had fallen. I was terrified of being hit again before they did this. I stayed there on the ground until police and an ambulance arrived. A nice gentleman put a briefcase under my head and someone else covered me with his coat. Another lady held my hand and told me it would be OK.

I refused the ambulance. I couldn't feel pain at some point. After a long time on the ground, I stood up and after they took my vital signs, I walked away with my bike. With so much adrenaline pumping through me I thought I was fine - just really scared. At some point I stopped to examine my bicycle. As I stood there I felt my right leg buckle and my knee move horizontally/violently toward the right. It made me feel ill - it was such a strange and uncomfortable feeling. People along the way stopped me to ask if I was OK and if they could help me. I must have looked ghastly.

I began to feel a tremendous amount of pain when I sat down in the chair in my office and elevated my knee, which began to swell significantly. I also started sobbing as the full shock of what had happened wore off somewhat. By the time my coworkers and I had determined a plan I could hardly get up. I went downstairs with my boss to go to a hospital.

The MRI results confirmed the there had been a full tear of the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) - that it had snapped in half and there were also tears in two other ligaments in the knee. These injuries will require surgery and months of rehabilitation. So unfortunate.

The whole thing made me feel really mad at New York City. It felt like such a cruel and unrelenting place. I know it isn't the city's fault, but while I was sprawled flat on Seventh Avenue, staring up at high rise buildings and faces circling around me, I wondered why I live in a place where riding a bike to work is such a hazardous proceeding. Now I am less mad at the city and more mad at the driver, but still.

I am mostly grateful for the rest of my body, for my girls, for family, friends, wonderful humans who surround me. I came home, asked for little Romy and kissed her rolls of fat and said hallelujah - sang a song of praise, because I know these accidents don't always end in the ability to walk away (even with a wrecked knee).

October 21, 2014


We went to a pumpkin patch on a picturesque farm north of the city this weekend. Truth be told, their patch was somewhat depleted, but the trees were aflame and flashing their stuff and the farm had a good variety of gourds and soft-hued pumpkins (peaches-and-cream, silvery green, inky gourds and a few spiky chestnut burrs).

Marguerite found a winner and rolled it back up the hill from the patch with a little friend. We sat next to a great French family on the plane our way home from France this summer and met them there for an outing together.

Poor Colette. She had a rough day. It was blustery and cold and she was counting on some horses that didn't readily appear.

We stopped at a quintessential New-England white church with gravestones mottling its claim. Got out and crunched the leaves under me and wandered among the headstones for a moment thinking they were lucky souls to rest in such a peaceful spot. As we drove along, trees churning by, I realized how fall in the northeast feels native to me - like a moment of home for a season.

October 19, 2014

October 18, 2014


The Wendy Hilliard Foundation provides an amazing resource to Harlem kids: gymnastics at this gym (on 143rd Street - almost to the East River). Colette goes to a class on Saturday mornings to test out all sorts of things: trampolines, uneven bars, balance beams. All just exploratory with other 2 year old friends, to find out about balance and jumping and seat drops and forward rolls and obstacle courses. It makes me want to start all over again and break out my cartwheels and test my back bend limits.

Watching the big girls and waiting for her turn.

Stretching it out on the mats, toes pointed.


Pouting, because she is two and at that she is already highly trained.

October 16, 2014

Fall light.

(and Romy's mechanic suit).
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