Cameron Takes New England

It is my moving karma to be set upon by other visits and trips not long before my other obligations set in, ensuring that I have to run a sort of obstacle course of fun while trying to take care of responsibilities at the same time.

I recently hosted, for the second time, my nephew Cameron. We could be a little more relaxed about New York, having done such a thorough job when we were last in the city. We went to a couple of comedy shows and ate exotic repasts – we even went to a Broadway show: An American in Paris, featuring Gershwin songs, which Cam is partial to.

On Thursday we made an excursion to the Edison Laboratory and explored it as fully as possible before heading back to New York for the second of our comedy shows, this one at Upright Citizen’s Brigade in the East Village.

When the weekend came, we drove out to Boston and explored the historic downtown in search bahn mi sandwiches, which we ate on the Commons before checking out the duck pond and the cemetery where Samuel Adams is buried.

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We found my friend Alexis’ house in Somerville and we got vegan tacos – delish! – before going to Cirque du Soleil.

The next day we made our way out to Provincetown on Cape Cod in time for a late lunch of lobster rolls for them and a veggie sandwich for moi. We walked out on the dock and explored the small town.

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We drove to Eastham, about half an hour away, where we had a room for the night. After a dip in the pool, we met up with some of Alexis’ friends who lived nearby with their three young sons. We had a typical Cape dinner of lobster and steak (for everyone else), potatoes, corn. Cameron loved it.

We drove back to Boston the next day and spent an afternoon there at the Boston Tea Party Museum.

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We dropped Alexis off and drove back to Brooklyn. Cameron kept saying “No sleep till-” and he read to me from the Oliver Sacks book I gave him, “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat.”

We got back to my neighborhood, parked, and had late night tacos at a nearby restaurant – I made sure Cam tried a tamale with mole, because that shit is tasty, and the boy has quite the palate.

In the morning, we got bagels and headed for the airport. They let me go through with him to the gate and I did my auntly duty and got him on board.

It was hard to say goodbye to my sweet boy, but it was another great trip.

Now on the the hard work of packing etc. Sigh.

Love and miss,

Kira

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The Rites of Spring

I have news! Not only is it the beginning of a new year, with the onset of Spring, but I finally finished my book!

Technically, I wrote most of it by January, but I’ve been working since then to get it down to a reasonable number of pages, since it was 480 at its most bloated.

My book, “Dust and Light,” which is in some ways the culmination of this blog, is about my sister Erika’s death in 2011 at Burning Man, about her life before that point. For the last year, I’ve been incorporating sections of her journals into my manuscript and I finally completed that challenging task, producing a book which, I hope, manages to conjure some of her spirit.

eekaleek

Erika dancing with abandon in Uruguay – January 2011

It is strange being done with it. To have time that can be turned to other pursuits. Other story ideas have come flooding in of late and I’ve had more inclination for strumming on the guitar again. A couple of weekends ago, I managed to break a glass at my apartment and step on it, barefoot, slicing up a couple of toes and bleeding impressively. Yesterday, on Easter morning, the worst of the cuts decided to heal up and rejoin with its separated skin, which is a relief.

This year, as last, I celebrated Nowruz (nav-ruuz) or the Persian tradition of the spring-time New Year. Still celebrated throughout Iran, Afghanistan, and India, this festival probably predates Zoroastrianism and it bears many similarities to the “Christian” tradition of Easter eggs and candy: the Nowruz table holds symbols of the earth’s bounty. Potted plants, flowers, fruit, sprouting lentils, even eggs can make an appearance, though I haven’t bought eggs in some time, so I skip that bit of tradition.

nowruz table

Nowruz (nav-ruuz) table, featuring a copy of Shahnameh and symbolic plants, fruits, and other produce of the Earth

I add another more ancient tradition, mixing a dough from barley syrup and spelt flour and honey. It is a variation of the honey cakes devotees used to offer the Goddess of the earth – Bona Dea, Magna Mater, the Great Mother. In our lust to create a more advanced world, we have forgotten our Mother Earth. We talk about climate change in the abstract, but the truth is that we began down this path the moment we decided to sacrifice the sanctity of our earth for the production of human works. We chose to live at odds with the earth, rather than in harmony with her. We are in the process of destroying the very fertility of our planetary home in order to “progress.”

spring table

My table morphed for the full moon / eclipse – but the message is the same – the Star card is featured because the star goddess has always been associated with Spring.

So it is important, I think, to give thanks to the new fertility of the Earth, reborn in the form of eggs in nests and blossoms on trees. The doves on my fire escape have made their nest in an old pot, left to crumble with only a bit of moss growing on the hardened soil inside. But still, a safe haven for young chicks till they grow big enough to emerge on their own.

In a similar way, New York has been my haven as I completed my book (which no doubt could still use some edits) but it is time for me to start thinking of my future. Music, which has been on the back burner, bubbles up again, along with my passion for fictional tales.

I’ve also been spending time with a 5-year old girl named Eve, which is a lot of fun. As the weather improves, I’m excited to have a good excuse to play in a park, and good company.

me n eve

Eve did my makeup and I did hers – kinda looks like I have a black eye and def have lipstick everywhere. That’s a flower on my face. Proud of the unicorn princess I made her into!

I also got to meet up recently with a friend and former collaborator who switched coasts, the lady Evangeline. I wish we’d taken pics, but instead we ate vegan dim sum and caught up on each others’ lives. She told me she’s started praying to the Virgin Mary – she was raised Catholic, so that is the apparition of the Goddess with which she is most familiar. I was raised Methodist, so we didn’t have the same emphasis on Mary. I told her that Mary, called the Queen of Heaven, resembles in many ways the more ancient goddess forms like Inanna and Ishtar. I observed the ardor for the Virgin Mary expressed in Greece and in France, and I see how natural it is for us to revere a mother figure.

So happy New Year, happy Spring, happy Easter – celebrate your inner goddess and the outer forms of fertility and growth we can observe in the Earth!

Love and miss,

Kira

Someplace State of Mind

It took me a little longer than anticipated to get back to Brooklyn. Dad and I decided to drive down for a visit with my aunt in Miami and I didn’t mind indulging in a few more days of sunshine before returning to New York winter.

I stopped through North Carolina and visited with Mary Caton and her crew for a couple of days. Already, the weather was bitterly cold.

Since returning to the city, January passed quickly and I have been up to my neck in my memoir. I finally got to the end, and then began the process of refining, shaping, editing. It is painstaking work and occupies my endless days while the wind howls outside and the snow visits some mornings, blanketing the world in white for a while and then melting away in the next day’s sun.

I feel a bit like a madwoman at this stage, fiddling compulsively with my manuscript. But I know there is much to be done. Step by step, I’ll help this story emerge from the stone and dust of daily toils.

There was no Fashion Week for me this year as I start to tear free of the ties that bind me to New York. The truth is, I moved back here with hope in my heart and this book on my mind. Now that the book is nearing completion, and the hopes I’d had for reviving lost love in this city have long since dissipated, I can start to see my next steps forward. In July, I plan to go west as far as the Great Lakes and Detroit, and I thought, why not go farther?

I do so love the freedom of the road.

It isn’t a life or a career. A journey rather than a destination and all that. I’m just starting to peep my eyeballs over the setting suns of days past and look into the future again.

It feels refreshing to be on the far side of the last few years. On the edge of newness again. The days lengthen by minutes and the light lingers longer in the evenings.

My freezer bulges with bread and fruitcake from my father, sustaining me through the chill of the still raging winter.

Love and miss,

Kira

Changes Afoot

Seasons change and so do I. Time flies and so have I flown to and fro and back again and it’s all very complicated to explain and I’m not very concerned at present with where I’ve been or what has happened – somehow the future comes at me like a steam engine and all I can do is try to catch my breath before it snatches me in its jaws and I am again swept along by the endless sea of travels which seems to compose my life of late.

Not that I’m complaining 🙂 – no, I have no complaints. I am capping off a week of beautiful visits with my mother and some of our nearest and dearest. Mom and I decorated gingerbread cookies with the fam and whiled away hours with my cousin Kate’s baby girl – a bundle of joy, whom we had the pleasure of babysitting while my cousins and aunt and uncle went to see Garrison Keillor at Town Hall. So very Americana.

our artwork!

our artwork!

the fam decorating cookies

the fam decorating cookies

Kate rolling the dough!

Kate rolling the dough!

Mama with Kate's little cutie

Mama with Kate’s little cutie

It was idyllic and unusual to get to spend so much one-on-one time with my mama in the city I call home – and wonderful to reunite with my relatives: even though my cousins live close, my travels have kept me busy for the better part of the last six months and it feels like I’m Rip van Winkling back into my old New York rhythm. But everything feels strange, like I’m going through the motions I know so well. Where did these Christmas lights come from? Why is it that I feel so at ease here, but still something of a stranger in this city, though I call it home?

I’m fortunate to have my cousins so close to me – in more ways than one. When I was a high schooler, my cousin Kate rescued me from the deep unhappiness that manifests when a free-spirit grows up in a small town where folks don’t much care for independent thinkers. We worked on our parents to let me move to Knoxville, TN – hardly a metropolis, but it saved me to be in a bigger place where my weirdness wasn’t so strange. And my cousins, Kate and Laura, were there with me, driving to school every day and introducing me to their friends – making me laugh, helping me find my balance again.

It was like climbing out of a hole to emerge from my home town and also I suppose I was in the midst of transformation myself, and that adolescent transformation can be so much more painful than subsequent ones – everything seemed so much more serious than it was. Depression was rightly described by Sylvia Plath as a bell jar descending on one’s life, distorting things, and I’m fortunate that I never experienced the most extreme version of the affliction, and that I had my sweet cousins to help save me – and when I returned to Arkansas, I even found some friendships that made life there bearable.

But in everyone’s life there must come a time of confrontation with the dark side of things – through the experiences that meet us daily, through our own sometimes unpredictable brain chemistry, through our intersections with death and loss and change.

Today I drove my mother to the airport through the persistent rain that has unfortunately marred her visit to my usually more temperate city. But we accomplished much: a visit to the Metropolitan Museum and an exhibit I was interested in seeing about ancient Phoenician trade routes and cultural exchange between Assyria and the rest of the Mediterranean. We also went to an exhibit called Death Becomes Her – about mourning attire.

Heading to the Met with my mom, aunt and uncle!

Heading to the Met with my mom, aunt and uncle!

The Met

The Met

Baroque Creche at the Met

Creche at the Met

Half-mourning dress from :Death Becomes Her"

Half-mourning dress from :Death Becomes Her”

Museums have a lot in common with cemeteries, but I guess I have always had a penchant for morbid things.

I guess I think that looking at death is kind of more helpful than avoiding it. Tig Notaro did a now famous set of comedy just after being diagnosed with breast cancer and then losing her mother a week later. You can hear some of it here. Laughing at death is perhaps the bravest and sanest course of action. Also perhaps the hardest.

I remember how frightened I was as a teenager when my mom had a cancer scare – how I suddenly realized her mortality in a way I hadn’t before. How shocking that realization was. My sister’s mortality, however, I hadn’t really considered – though I have now had more than three years to consider it, since her death in 2011.

We used to love the movie “Pollyanna” growing up and always mimicked the stern preacher who  thunders: “Death comes unexpectedly!” at the beginning of one sermon, his jowls jiggling his seriousness. But how right he was!

September always brings to mind a tragedy that transpired a couple of years after I came back from Knoxville when several close friends were injured and one young girl died in a car wreck. It isn’t uncommon for teens to die in wrecks in my neck of the woods: showboating, drinking, speeding. But that doesn’t make it any easier when it happens – strange to think it was 15 years ago now.

This October I got a call from my best friend – one of the survivors of that long ago wreck – telling me that another of the survivors – a childhood friend of mine – had suddenly passed away from meningitis that came on quickly and spirited him away as well.

This seems to be a season of dying. A time when life has become too heavy a burden for some to bear. Even mom’s little dog Skeeter seems to be on his last legs. I don’t mind death, personally, as long as I do a decent job of living till death do I stop.

Mom and I had a full day of running around in the city, shopping in Soho, stopping for Mexican hot chocolate, visiting one of my favorite bookstores. We even made it to see the Macy’s windows and the New York City Public Library at Bryant Park.

Venus themed window at Macy's

Venus themed window at Macy’s

Mom n me with w Christmas tree - NY Public Library

Mom n me with a Christmas tree – NY Public Library

We finished up with a visit to the Beauty Bar, where we had prosecco and mom got a manicure. Then we had an Indian feast at my apartment.

Lefty Lucy giving mama a mani!

Lefty Lucy giving mama a mani!

I’ve got a few more New York hurdles to jump in the near future before I make way to the south and hopefully warmer climes will welcome me and I can begin to unchill my bones and spend some precious time with my grandmother and my friends at Elysian Fields and elsewhere in Sarasota.

I long for the calm oasis of my grandmother’s house to try to wrap my mind around some of the many experiences I’ve had this year – there’s been little time to reflect as my course has been run so swiftly it seems since June. Much less have I been able to process the death and injustice that has been plaguing our country lately – a madness that seems to have overtaken so much of the populace – this terrible racism and the lack of any real change from the bad old days where your worth was determined by the color of your skin.

These veins of hatred – this tendency to dehumanize  – runs so deep and provokes such terrible acts of violence that I despair at how to weed out such embedded roots from our society. How to help people see that we are all partaking of the sorrow in Ferguson and Staten Island and Ohio and California and everywhere in this country where people are targeted for the color of their skin. I also can’t help but wish that firearms weren’t such a given in law enforcement. They just seem so barbaric and they make every interaction a potential fatality.

It brings to mind the terrible shooting at Sandy Hook nearly two years ago now.

Not sure what can be done to heal this rift in our world, in this country, but traveling usually gives me perspective, and I look forward to some more of that.

Next installment from sunny (I hope!) Florida!

Love and miss,

Kira

P.S. For fun, check out one of mom’s books on Jimmy Fallon recently here. Her name is Lin Wellford 🙂 Not bad publicity!

Road Warrior II – Bowl of Cherries

I left off when I arrived in Arkansas after my lovely sojourn in North Carolina.

My mom welcomed me home Wednesday and Friday night we were driving off into the wilderness of the Buffalo River to camp with her friends and fellow protesters of the large-scale hog farms threatening the water table in our beautiful river, which is a National Park. We spent the night on private property abutting the park, in a lovely bit of forest where we sat around a fire despite the warmth of the evening.

One of the protesters had brought his guitar and we played music and talked late into the night about a variety of subjects from consciousness to Buddhism. Finally, it was time for bed and I climbed into the back of the truck where mom had made our beds under the hardshell cover that makes for a convenient mobile bedroom.

The next morning we woke early to head to the river and decorate our kayaks and canoes with signs and balloons – mom made a large pig from bubble wrap and someone else had improvised a pig from a beach ball and a water noodle, among other things. It was a great way to draw attention to the need to protect our local environment and a national treasure from being plundered and destroyed by large corporations with no regard for the state or the future of its natural resources. Go mom!

Miss Piggy

Miss Piggy

the gang

the gang

Mom and her compatriots at the Buffalo

Mom and her compatriots at the Buffalo

supporting my mama and the poor piggies

supporting my mama and the poor piggies

After the protest float, which was a lovely, I drove from the end point back to Green Forest and then to Eureka Springs, where my best friend Jake was celebrating his birthday with his family by Beaver Lake. I found them after some searching at the Dam access and off we went on their boat, zooming across the lake’s glassy green surface.

tattooed man

tattooed man

besties at Beaver Lake

besties at Beaver Lake

 

The whole crew stayed in Eureka that night – Jake’s roommate and three other friends and myself. Jake’s parents had room for us all in their cabin-style place near the lake. We went out to downtown for pizza at Chelsea’s and then ran into my friend Dannelle at a place perhaps called Jack’s – it was new to me and fortuitous that we popped in there for a moment before we headed back to the house, exhausted from so much fun.

The next day we had a little more lake time before Jake et al made their way back to Fayetteville and I meandered back through those mountain roads to my home side of the county for dinner with my folks. It was light out still, till after 7PM and the house is always beautiful in the evening light in early summer.

the house at dusk

the house at dusk

The next day, dad told us about the tree full of cherries in the orchard that needed picking before the birds saw them and ate them all up. We tramped through the now overgrown orchard and harvested a sweet little bowl of cherries!

sour cherries - so yummy!

sour cherries – so lovely!

Wednesday mom’s friend Tina hosted us for a bonfire and cookout at her property and it was a starlit and dog-filled evening.

Mom and I also got to go to a yoga class in Eureka and I found some amazing dresses for amazingly cheap at the Doggie Shop thrift store where mom volunteers. We shared a couple of papusas from the local purveyor, Luna Luna, and then went home where I cooked up some dinner for us and we shared mom’s famous “sundowners”: wine with lime-arita like sangria. We took the elderly dogs for a walk by the Osage creek where it runs not far up the road from our house, munching greenbriar shoots along the road and examining the flora. Smelling the wild roses.

I drove up to Springfield, Missouri to see my friend Amber, another of the best friends I’ve been fortunate to have throughout my life. We had dinner with her kids, Anamei and Gabe, and then got the chance to catch up and chat about life and what’s happened since we last saw one another.

I had thought I might leave Friday or Saturday to be back in North Carolina and eventually New York sooner. However, I am happy to have extended my stay and gone to Jake’s show on Friday night in Fayetteville. I got to see Jake’s sister, Jessica, and her husband Justin, and I got to hang out with my first best friend, Dannelle. It was awesome! And I got to hear Jake’s band Six Hung Sprung rock out!

Jake jamming

Jake exuding frontman charm

with Dannelle and Jessica

with Dannelle and Jessica at George’s Majestic Lounge

Randall Shreve and the Sideshow at George's Majestic

Randall Shreve and the Sideshow at George’s Majestic

new thrift store dress!

new thrift store dress!

I loved getting to see so many great friends! In some ways, I can still go home again.

I headed home that early morning (ouch) to catch a few hours of sleep before mom and I headed out on a river cleaning trip. We joined several other people to paddle down the river and pick up trash, tires, whatever we saw that didn’t belong. It was a beautiful day and we loved every minute of wrestling truck tires from the riverbank’s sandy grasp.

mom found a dessicated gar! she got it for my dad. my family is odd. . .

mom found a dessicated alligator gar! she got it for my dad. my family is odd. . .

At the end of the day we had 25 tires and several bags of trash and we headed back to base for food and drinks. All told we gathered 120 tires and a bunch of other crap that made its way to the river. We had a jolly party and headed toward home, but we made a stop on the way to visit our friend Lisa’s new baby bulldog! She was adorable!

The next day was Sunday, so off to church I went, like a good girl. I miss the old hymns we used to sing – they had more poetry somehow than modern praise songs. Oh well – I go for mom, anyway. And good to see those familiar faces.

That afternoon we took a walk with dad by the creek and this time too Spanky – mom’s so-called “grief dog” – as she was born the year Erika died and mom had welcomed the new puppy to love.

me and my daddio

me and my daddio

mom and dad

mom and dad

walk along the Osage

walk along the Osage

We had dinner together and drank some Erika wine before I focused on packing up for the return trip back to North Carolina, as I got word that my car had been fixed and was drivable now. It was nice to have that extra time with my mom and dad in our lovely home, with our quirky pets.

yummy dessert of blueberry cobbler and icecream mmmm

yummy dessert of blueberry cobbler and icecream mmmm

I left early the next morning and waved goodbye to my parents as I pulled out of the driveway and away from our wilderness wonderland.

The drive to Durham was grueling and long and rainy, but I managed it and arrived late that night – around 2:30AM. I immediately went to bed.

I had a lovely sunny day in Durham to spend with Mary Caton and I even got to go to a lake with Cameron, whom I met on the previous stop through. It was a nice relaxing day after the stress of the drive. That night I met friends at an open mic in Chapel Hill and enjoyed playing and hearing others.

The next morning I needed to get going as it was time to drop off the rental car and make my way to Richmond to get my car. The solution was a bus and so 3+ hours later, I was there, and finally, back in my own saddle.

I realized as I got used to the transmission again, to the higher ride of this car, a maroon Rav 4, that I am thankful it wasn’t totaled. It is one of the few spaces still extant, which she inhabited. My sister Erika, I mean. I didn’t think I was sentimental about it until I thought about losing it. Losing yet another piece of her. I know it is inevitable, since all physical things pass away eventually, and especially objects are impermanent. But still, it was hers.

Erika the Red.

I drove back down to Durham and packed up my things before making another round of my famous green curry and then heading to Chapel Hill for Cameron’s show that evening at The Cave.

It was great to see friends there and meet other people. The music was fun and the beer was cheap. I like North Carolina 🙂

Cameron Stenger and his band at The Cave

Cameron Stenger and his band at The Cave

Though I was out a bit late, as I am wont to do, I made it back to MC’s house for a night of sleep before hitting the road in the morning to head to NYC.

9 hours later, I was in Brooklyn at my cousin Kate’s house, looking after her little bundle of joy (and occasional screams – hey, no one’s perfect!)

I am happy to be back in my own little bed and in a city that, while sometimes cloudy, has not been (knock on wood) as rainy as it could be.

Well, all for now – stay tuned for my further adventures: I am hatching another trip!

Love and miss,

Kira

Summer Nights

Memorial weekend was cold and grey to begin with, which was no skin off my nose, since I was relishing my home time and planned to work on a commission for my good friend, Mary Caton Lingold and her new husband Eric Olsten. It was fun to immerse myself in the process and make something for such a joyous occasion as their wedding, which took place on May 31st in North Carolina, and which I was unable to attend.

The weather cleared up Sunday and I went over to my old neighborhood in Brooklyn to see my aunt and uncle for a moment before going to my friend Susanne’s house for a beautiful brunch.

Susanne sets a lovely table full of delicious things!

Susanne sets a lovely table full of delicious things!

Susanne and I met during the Tableau Vivant back in May 2011 and have been good friends since then. She hosts fabulous gatherings featuring her many various and interesting friends and this one also featured such delicious things for summer! Lemon rosemary scones with brie and watermelon salad and a kale caesar salad, oh goodness, I’d eat it all now! And oh so many bottles of rose.

My friend Anna came to join for a bit and then we headed into Brooklyn to go to the Tiki Disco at the Knockdown Center. On the way there, I noticed another person I remembered from the Tableau Vivant waiting on the L platform, Brian. I sidled up to him and it turned out we were heading to the same party, so our party became three. We got to the Knockdown Center, pretty much an old factory, where there was music, but also a gigantic line of people trying to get it. The wait was said to be about two hours and after 45 minutes Brian said he was going to try to sneak in with the help of a friend on the inside. After a few minutes he texted us that he had had success. We scampered from our place in line and went around to a side street where Brian’s text message told me to knock softly on the first door. we did so and voila, we were behind the scenes in the old factory.

We snuck back into the sunlight and no one was the wiser. The dancing was fun, but the sneaking in might have been better 🙂

Anna at Tiki Disco

Anna at Tiki Disco

happy Brian

happy Brian

After dancing there for hours, the French boys we were with decided it was time to go to one of the clubs at the top of the Standard Hotel, Le Bain. Now, I had never been to Le Bain before, not being much of a club kid. But since I didn’t wanna be a baby about it, I went along. It was more fun than I expected – less fun that I need something to be for me to repeat it anytime soon. But I did have some good conversation in French, which was kind of a theme for the weekend.

Monday I didn’t have much in the way of plans, but in the end I went to a rooftop party with my friend Melinda and her boyfriend Dan and rubbed elbows with mostly Italians, a few Americans, and even a Frenchman, with whom I, of course, struck up a conversation.

That night Dave and I did our traditional pilgrimage to Union Pool to see the Reverend and then I went to bed, pretty darn tuckered from a fun and full weekend.

Tuesday night saw me at Barbes for the fabulous Slavic Soul Party and good times with a friend I hadn’t seen since last Memorial Day, dancing and meeting interesting people.

Wednesday, Dave and I spent some time in the apartment, testing out a device he made that vibrates sound through objects, turning surfaces into speakers. He was helping out for a fundraising event for a performance space called Original Music Workshop (OMW), which he helped design in the hood and the night’s events promised to be beautiful and star-studded. I got gussied up and joined for the after party around 9 just in time to hear some of Netsayi and her band Black Pressure. I’d never heard of her, but she was really talented – a Zimbabwean singer. They played “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and Bono stood up and gave them an ovation (yes, he was wearing his sunglasses). It was a sweaty evening, but the room was lovely, full of candles and tasteful decorations. Standing near one end of the room, a couple of times a violinist came through to perform and I seemed to be forever in his way, though he was most polite about it. It turns out he is a well-known virtuoso named Tim Fain.

Netsayi

Netsayi

I didn’t really learn that he is kind of famous till later. In the meanwhile, we chatted with Helena Christensen, who is also involved with the project. Julianne Moore had also been in attendance, but I didn’t get the chance to talk to her.

With Helena Christensen and Tim Fain

With Helena Christensen and Tim Fain

We all went out for drinks after and I talked with some very interesting people before we gave up and went home.

Thursday, I finally managed not to go out and I had planned to go to the Berkshires to hear Sarah Davis perform a concert of art songs in a plethora of languages. In the end, though, I was offered a modeling job and decided to stay in the city and be practical instead. 😦

Luckily, Sarah had planned to visit me in the city: we hadn’t seen each other in person since last August!

Friday I stopped by my old office to say goodbye to one of my former co-workers who is moving to L.A. It was nice to see everyone again. The office still feels so familiar! My friend Kim and I then went back to Brooklyn and spent some time on the roof (Dave joined for a minute but was exhausted from all of his activities and had to go to bed). Kim and I met up with her boyfriend closer to their house in Fort Greene and then I went on to Parkslope to see some Snohetta friends there. It was a merry party, though I arrived quite late. I had to get up early the next morning and not look too tired, but it was 3 by the time I got home and got to bed.

The next morning I took the convoluted train to Cobble Hill (G train construction – buh!) and made it, a little late, to my modeling gig. It was a beautiful morning and I enjoy thinking of different compositions for the artists. We took a break for coffee and bagels mid morning and then did another sitting. Then I trundled myself off to the Beauty Bar for an afternoon of manicures. Unfortunately, the beautiful weather kept people out of the bar till my shift was nearly over, but it isn’t a hard place to hang out for a few hours 🙂

the manicure stations at the Beauty Bar

the manicure stations at the Beauty Bar

Manhattan!

Manhattan!

Sarah came in Sunday evening and we were both interested in a low-key evening, so we went out for a drink in the hood and made dinner at the house. Monday was grey again and Sarah needed to sleep. When we got going we walked around the neighborhood and did a little shopping at some cool local spots. In an almost ritual return, we went to Nitehawk Cinema just as the grey skies began to threaten to open. The last time I saw Sarah was in the middle of August last year, just before I commenced my roadtrip to Burning Man. We were going to see “Moonrise Kingdom” then, and it was raining then, too. This time we were seeing “Frances Ha” and I was surprised to find that it was set in a very familiar place and time for me, New York City, in the now, as an adult who’s not so adult :).

That night Sarah sang a bit for Dave and I and then we went to see the Reverend, but it was all too loud for Sarah and we gave up.

Tuesday we had a big to-do list to take care of and ran around Manhattan. We stopped by the Four Faced Liar for old time’s sake and then headed back to mi casa for dinner. We had talked about going to Slavic Soul Party, but in the end stuck close to home and dressed up in some of the fun things I brought back from India and Egypt.

Gypsies in the Hammock

Gypsies in the Hammock

Wednesday Sarah was set to head out. We made a mad dash to Manhattan for some last minute things and then she got her cab for the airport. I finished my present for MC and took it easy.

MC and Eric's wedding present :)

MC and Eric’s wedding present 🙂

Last night I worked a catering job at Gotham Hall – a cool old bank now an event space. Paul Simon, one of this girl’s favorite songwriters of all time, was there and I could hardly resist grabbing him and just hugging him, but I guess it helped that I was carrying a serving tray.

All for now! Love and miss!

Kira

Tesseracts Take Time

My, how time flies! I can hardly believe that I was gone from New York for so long, nor that I’ve been back here again for nearly two months – because New Yorkers are used to time truncating, they help it along: “You were gone for a year!” they remind me, helpfully. I’ve been correcting them: “No, just eight months,” and to me there is certainly a distinction between 3-quarters of a thing and the whole of it, but now it is almost a year – ten months – and the distinction has become blurry.

This weekend saw me back in my old office, Snohetta, attending one of the parties I used to be in charge of throwing when I managed the office there. It was delicious to be so very free of responsibility at one of these events and the place was packed, a creamy nougat of people from my last four years, my former life. It felt a little like going to your own funeral, only instead of a cause for mourning, it’s a celebration. I kept having deja vu and I couldn’t decide if I’d had dreamed this before, or if it was really just that I threw that party three years in a row. Regardless, I rubbed elbows and kissed cheeks and felt so very light and happy on that first day of summer – the first truly warm day, where I was wearing a sleeveless dress (one of Erika’s I’d never worn before) and no jacket was required. My roommate was there, and my former boss, the girl who is the “new Kira,” there was someone I dated back in 2010, my friends from the Norwegian Consulate, the same DJ I hired for our first of these parties, the same disco ball and the same caterers. Beautiful, beautiful people all crowded together and drinking the traditional beer of these parties, from Brooklyn Breweries. I danced and gave a tour, for old time’s sake, and it all came back to me without effort. Happy to be back, happy to have left. My rubber band ball has grown in my absence, still perched like an oversized egg in the same little wicker basket nest it has called home since its inception.

makin a funky face while discussing my masterpiece

makin a funky face while discussing my masterpiece with Ethan Lay-Sleeper, the taker of this picture and possessor of the coolest last name I know

I felt so happy to be among this friendly throng, at every turn another familiar face smiling, surprised to see me again in such a normal context. We went for a very late dinner at an old Stone Street favorite, Adrienne’s Pizza, a large and happy group of us altogether. We made it back to the office for the tail end of it, often the most fun, when everyone has cleared out except for 8 or 10 stragglers who were the most glorious of all, flowers blown out, petals streaming, spinning and dancing with the decorative blankets, drinking Serbian plum brandy. Someone held out a flower to me as we danced and I pulled the Gerber daisy from my hair and gave it to him and it somehow felt like a May ritual of new beginnings, dancing for the promises held in the season of growth and bounty to come.

Dave and the "New Kira" - the fabulous Kate at Snohetta

Dave and the “New Kira” – the fabulous Kate at Snohetta

gangsta

gangsta at the afterparty

Saturday morning I went to Central Park for yoga with my friend Silvia and a couple of others and I felt the joy in each step I took to the Sheep’s Meadow where we stretched and posed beneath a giant spreading oak tree, surrounded by families and nannies pushing strollers, the requisite crazy person crouched nearby, keeping the crazy mostly to himself, politely.

Silvia in the park on Saturday

Silvia in the park on Saturday

I read Silvia’s tarot cards on a tapestry in the meadow before heading back to my neighborhood for lunch and a quick change of clothes to ready myself for my first shift at the Beauty Bar as a manicurist. Afternoon turned to evening and after a few swiftly passing hours of painting nails and making small talk I ended up at the People’s Improv Theater for a show with some friends.

I trekked down to my old hood to meet up with my friend Claire and she fed me some delicious lentil stew and showed me her new abode. We grabbed drinks with another amazing lady in my life, Susanne, at the Brooklyn Inn and then I headed back into the city to cap off the evening with Dave and some of his friends before we cabbed it back to our house.

What a difference an almost-year makes! Last year I was surrounded by these same people, but now contexts have shifted and things have changed. I have changed, and it makes the difference more profound, to have gone around and come back down, perspectives adjusted but nothing is erased, new images of old faces and places projected onto the screen of this new reality and what to make of it all is up to me.

Sunday has become the day set aside to reconnect with my friend Nora, now living in Copenhagen, and this Sunday we managed to connect with Sarah and Mary Caton, too – my core group of besties, all brought together through the wonders of the interwebs.

a little plug for Google Hangouts :) - bringing us all together!

a little plug for Google Hangouts 🙂 – bringing us all together!

I met up with my former boss, the amazing and wonderful Craig Dykers. We had tacos and beers at La Esquina diner in Williamsburg and caught up on each others’ lives. Dave joined us for dessert and then we all went our separate ways in the gray drizzle to our various engagements. I popped by a place in my hood called Santos Anne, where I knew there was an open mic going on that evening. It turned out to be a ton of fun and I met a band, Bevel Summers, a bluegrassy group on tour with their new album from North Carolina. I conversed a bit with a waiter in French and performed a few songs of my own and, when it turned out a few of the band members needed a place to stay, their arrangements having fallen through, I invited them to sleep in my living room for the evening. We made our way back to my place end ended up jamming on the roof until some rather wee hours.

Next morning we breakfasted on bagels with the fixins (how’s that phrase for North meets South?) and hung out for a bit before heading into Manhattan where they were playing a show on a pier somewhere on the east side.

I joined my friend Melinda for sangria with a group of her friends (and my favorite little dog, Tatertot!) on her Fidi (that’s Financial District = Wall Street) rooftop Monday afternoon for happy hour.

The lovely Melinda with friends and Tatertot lounging

The lovely Melinda with friends and Tatertot lounging

Monday evening saw me with Dave and one of the Carolinians at the Reverend Vince Anderson and His Love Choir’s weekly performance at Union Pool. It was a beautiful cap to a beautiful weekend, with new friends and old, full of music and dancing, yoga and nail painting. And finally some beautiful weather.

And the fun stretched into Tuesday when I went to see the Bevel Summers play at a backyard in my new hood – really a stones throw away from my place. The band was tight and the night was warm and lovely. I met a lot of new people and everyone enjoyed the music.

the Bevel Summers in Williamsburg

the Bevel Summers in Williamsburg

Matt (key for Bevel Summers) and his twin bro David

Matt (keys for Bevel Summers) and his twin bro David

house party

house party

After the show and the ensuing house concert we went out for drinks and grilled cheese sandwiches at a nearby bar, a whole merry crew of us. I tucked several band members into our living room and met up with a few others to jam a bit before calling it a night.

In the morning everyone convened at my house for breakfast and to regroup before leaving the city for Ardmore, PA. We played some more music and drank coffee and tried to get past the whiskey imbibed the night before.

the loving hammock - with Jeg and Ian

the loving hammock – with Jeb and Ian

Jack flying solo in the hammock

Jack flying solo in the hammock

through the looking glass

through the looking glass

modelling some crazy chinese sunglasses

looking through some some crazy chinese sunglasses

Dylan and Alicia

Dylan and Alicia – North Carolinian Gothic

Ian, Dylan and Alicia

Ian, Dylan and Alicia jamming in the living room

And the fun continued into the evening, when, after finishing my class at the screenwriting studio, I joined Dave and a few others out for drinks with a consultant from Canada, a lovely man named Gary with who I always made small talk on the phone, back when I was Snohetta’s Jane-of-all-trades. I met up with them, already in progress, and a bar called Winnies in Chinatown and Dave gave a spine-tingling performance of Clarence Carter’s masterpiece “Strokin.'”

slightly frightening image, but Dave was all in

slightly frightening image, but Dave was all in

We grabbed the only cab crazy enough to cram five clearly somewhat intoxicated passengers illegally across the East River for a little bowling at the Gutter and then a downward spiral of a bar crawl as we slowed to a stop after late night taco-truck action and one final beer. Everyone took a cab home but Dave and I who hoofed it back to the apartment and finally, maybe, the weekend is over now that it is Thursday 🙂

The landscape of my life seems to shift around me daily in a way I relish, changing how things look and feel with each new dawn which finds me in this new reality of mine. Time is fluid, flowing, forwards, back again, what will be might have been, what once was will be. I’m giving more of myself, while also keeping certain parts off limits, holding my space, perhaps more so than I have done in the past. It feels good and honest and true. Ok – time to get last night behind me and look on toward what’s to come.

Love and miss,

Kira

return to the city and points west

well let’s see, i guess i have some wrapping up to do regarding my last day in paris. quitterie and william took me to the train station in dax and made sure i was safe in my seat – they even waited till the train left, the dears. so happy to see my good friend has come through the challenges of love since last i saw her and found herself in that sweet spot of being with someone who gets her – someone who knows quality when they see it.

the overnight train started off promisingly enough, though at lourdes the train suddenly was full of people yelling, jamming into our previously peaceful car. it was a tough night after that, my new neighbor being quite the accomplished snorer. to make it worse, there was no food at all on the train, which was too bad since i’d been counting on eating and drinking on board. we got to paris around 7 am and i made my way to our old hotel where i’d stashed a bag. the lovely man there let me stash my backpack there for the afternoon and i went out to breakfast. then i headed toward the seine, my banjo uke on my back. it was a brilliant morning and i crossed the river to the ile de la cite and walked toward notre dame. after making a round inside, i went to the river to play music till the archaeological museum under the church opened.  the music, the museum, the gorgeous blue sky. after the museum, i got a falafel and played more music before heading back toward the hotel.

   

        

though there were some potential issues getting to the airport, it was all accomplished and i found myself in the terminal drinking cognac and waiting for the plane. the ride was easy and we got to the airport and through security without an issue. the only issue happened when i got to the point where my moroccan traveling companion and i were splitting up and splitting a cab and i discovered i had left my journal on the plane and couldn’t locate my debit card.

ultimately, i found the card, though i guess the journal is lost for good. at least it was just a little one.

a couple of days in the city. some unexpected events, some perhaps i should have foreseen. and at last gone.

                 

first south the hillsborough nc and my best friend. then east to home.

a couple of days there, lakes, forests, packing, then north to minneapolis.*

*initially, this was all i wrote about being home. let me elaborate. i drove from hillsborough to branson mo – a project 16 hour trip. i seemed to be making good time to memphis, so was unconcerned, but didn’t count on the gps route being bizarro. ended up  cruising through winding mountain roads in missouri at night before popping out a little ways up the highway from the airport, my destination. by the time i got there it was 10 o’clock. it was all kosher, since dad was planning to meet me there and he wouldn’t close his shop till then. i had time to go through the rental car and make sure nothing important was hiding in any pockets. i listened to cd’s from my sister’s collection. i think it was nick drake. eventually i saw dad pull into the terminal and we transferred my things and deposited my keys and headed on our merry way through the ozarks in mom’s silver rav 4, which could probably navigate the turns on its own at this point, having driven that stretch of road so many times before. mom’s so called grief dog, spanky, was with us: a rambunctious over-sized puppy, black and white spotted and slobber jawed. at the house, things were in some state of disarray. my mother had left a week before and dad’s natural tendencies were taking over. the house is the same way. the forest has sprung up around it in areas dad used to keep clear. sumac and other scrub grows alongside tree saplings shooting up, especially in the dearth of trees created by the ice storm of a few years ago, which splintered mighty oaks left and right and left the forest looking sparse. meanwhile, the orchard of my childhood has become overgrown and partially reclaimed by mother nature. dad’s neat rows of walnut trees have met a similar fate and the blueberry bushes are slowly succumbing as well. a family of deer could be seen watering at the collection pond at the bottom of the driveway, which dad has taken to gating off, since it is often mistaken for a county road.

my sister’s car, also a rav 4, needed some work before i could take it on my trip, so i was stuck in town for a couple of days. dad and i made the requisite trip to walmart and got much of my food supplies. we tried to go to the dmv, to change my license for insurance purposes, but the line was too long and we postponed. the afternoon was warm and sunny. i played with the cats and the dog. i tried to rest. the next day i got my license and went to the lake. being home is funny. everyone is very nice. small talk happens more frequently. i drove up to eureka springs and beaver lake. the lake is formed by a dam on the white river. the water is cool and clear and the lake is limestone all on one side. typical summers, it is high enough for people to jump from the cliffs into the water, but on this day, few people are there and the water is low. not a lot of neighbors, then, as i swam and wrote and drank the beer i’d brought along. boats cruised the lake periodically, but it was a quiet day. i returned to green forest to pick up the supposedly fixed rav, only to find that the mechanics had somehow disconnected the spedometer and didn’t know how to reconnect it. a car with no working spedometer was no good, but luckily my mother agreed to let me take her car instead.

i loaded what i could that night and then organized the rest of my things before loading them up the next morning. the car was pretty full. i hit the road in the late morning and heading due north toward minneapolis. i went through branson and springfield and slowly waggled west to the highway north of kansas city. i got to minneapolis that night. i met my good friend erin through my ex, who happens to be her big brother. i have come to really appreciate those people in my life who stand by me, and erin has proven to be one of them. we’ve seen each other several times over the years since her brother and i stopped seeing each other and i love her like a sister in a way i appreciate more and more in my life. we went out for drinks and snacks and called it a night.

my good friend erin hosted me the first night. we spent the next day at thrift stores, in search of a burning man coat for me and any costumes we might find. unfortunately, i took off my new hat at some point and never recovered it, though it seemed like we were hot on its trail for a minute. the second night we spent at my friend neil’s house in the country. he had a house full of  people, but they found room for us, and he found time to have dinner with us (coconut milk curried veggies) on his new deck and harvest rhubarb for the dessert (rhubarb berry crumble). he gave us the full tour and even donated a couple of books on tape to my roadtrip. in the morning he finished a story and gave us some of the honey he had harvested the day before. good to be with those who know and love me.

          

and now onto mount rushmore and then slc!!!

love and miss,

kira