Newport Aquarium


It's shockingly bad but I paid $20.50 for two copies, one in a fetching black plastic frame, because it made me laugh. Um, photographer? Two of the alleged eyeballs in this photo are 100 percent hidden behind by Neill's seizure helmet. Neill is clearly having a good time - just look at that cheetos-stained grin - but it'd be nice if we could see the twinkle in his eye.

YOU KNOW IT'S THERE. He's standing inside a sharkjaw, for chrissake! And my eyes are closed.

When I forked over the $20.50 at the Newport Aquarium gift shop, I had a flashback to the summer of 1991, the summer I a) got my driver's license and b) babysat my cousins while their nanny was on vacation. I held the baby, Marie, in my lap at the DMV and everyone looked at me like I was just another teen pregnancy statistic AND, more relevant to the story, the four-year-old, Emily, called me "fat cheeks". Many times. Children are honest and yes, my cheeks are fat.

ps if anyone goes to the Newport Aquarium, please let me know how the virtual shark tank is because I, I mean, Neill tried to go in but chickened out and ran away before the virtual Great Whites showed up.


London days

The tour went to Manchester after a month in London and soon we'll be in Boston. My spirits were cloudy those last few days in London; I didn't want to go. I'd gotten comfortable in my routines. Every morning I walked through the lobby and across the street to buy coffee at Costa.

"A large white for the lady," the cashier would say when I entered. I was a regular and they knew what I drink. I had two pounds twenty pence counted out already. I talked to the guy who made the coffee and told him that I was returning to the States.

"I'm sorry for you are leaving," he replied. I'm sorry for I am leaving too.

We talked more and I listened hard to understand his broken English. He told me he was taking time off from work but I couldn't make out whether it was for eye surgery or a beach vacation.

I'd put on my headphones, sit across the from the Liverpool Street station and watch people exit the trains and tube. Our hotel was in the city center, the financial district, and almost everyone wore a black wool coat. Sometimes they wore grey. Sprinkled in with the lawyers and bankers were backpackers and bike couriers.

I'd carry my coffee back to my room, turn on the computer and prepare for the day. Breakfast was included in the bill and I'd call room service and order an omelette and fruit. Joanna stayed over once and we went to the restaurant downstairs which reminded us of the Titanic with its domed ceiling, pillars, and white tablecloths. We polished off full, meaty, bloody English breakfasts, and whispered to each other, embarrassed over being waited on officiously by a team of Eastern European women.

The week Charlie was with me, we CASHED IN. We tested the limit part of their unlimited breakfast: tea, coffee, waffles with fruit compote, toast, eggs, omelette, muesli, soy milk, fruit, yogurt, AND a pastry selection. What we didn't eat in the morning, we shoved in the mini-fridge for later.

In the early afternoon, Mario or his father Dmitri picked our group of band and dancers and management up in a mini-coach and the rest of the day was spent at the O2 arena. Some of the crew grumbled about being in one arena for so long but I liked it. I liked knowing that one of the local security had been a Polish exchange student to the University of Cincinnati. I found that another was obsessed with meteorology and that if I was going to carelessly comment on the weather, I'd better have a lawn chair and a cigarette in my pocket. I liked to stand outside and see the same green laser slice through the night sky, a marker of time, Greenwich Mean Time.

I liked that once, at 3:30 AM, while walking home from Club Aquarium, a fox crossed the deserted street in front of me. I ate chocolate in bed at night and read. I pictured Heinrich Harrar's Tibet and Paul Theroux's train travels and crumbs fell on my shirt. Before falling asleep, I'd shake it out over the rubbish bin. I mean trash can.

Oh yeah, that. A few times I thought the following words: bloke, wanker, jumper. I may have "reckoned" a thing or two. One day I said "mate". "Oh yeah, they're mates," I told Joanna without thinking. I guess I'm going to have to let people off the hook more. I always thought it sounded pretentious when Americans use British vernacular, like they're trying too hard. When maybe a place had just gotten into them and under their skin.


In a Lonely Place

Skimming the shelves of the British Film Institute bookstore, I saw a familiar book: In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes. The 1950 movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame is probably more well known than the book but I wouldn't have known either had I not worked for the Feminist Press.

During my days as the marketing associate for the publisher, one of my tasks was to sell this book. It was part of the new Femmes Fatales series and I was supposed to pitch it at conferences and to schools and bookstores. The pulp series debuted shortly before my time at the Press came to a staggering halt and by then I knew I was no saleslady.

If I'm not REALLY excited about something, I can't fake it. And even when I am really excited, I still kind of think it's up to everyone to decide for themselves what they like and don't like, what they need. Mine is not the Salesperson of the Year attitude. 

"Oh, you don't care? That's cool, wanna talk about something else?"

I liked coordinating events and readings and wanted to talk to people without sales figures getting between us. At the British Film Institute I was happy to see In a Lonely Place on the shelf and thought the possible implications were swell, that the Feminist Press is doing well and hasn't backslid into dry academia and at the very least the pulps, by far the most titillating titles on the list, have made it across the Atlantic.

But I was beyond relieved to have nothing to do with it anymore. I started working with books out of lust for letters and ideas. Had I carved out an editorial space for myself in publishing, maybe that energy wouldn't have been gobbled up by trying to sell other people's ideas and wondering what font they used on that cover. I tried to salvage time while working in publishing to linger over what books said inside but I was burnt. Forget about what I had to say inside.

So I plucked In a Lonely Place off the shelf and flipped it around in my hand, then put it back and kept wandering around London's South Bank, grinning. Because with my touring work now, I do sometimes actually find the space to relish letters and all the ideas that they spell out.


Personal art history

I'm not sure when I starting caring about art. I always appreciated what was between the lines more than anything spelled out directly or clearly. I always liked photos taken of moments that could easily go unnoticed: the quiet and unrehearsed. Photos of smiling, posed, and preening people were always a little disappointing.

Groups of girls at prom in tacky dresses, big smiles, and elbows hooked around each others' necks make me want to slam Jack Daniels until I pass out. Landscapes can be stunningly beautiful and my photos of places that held me in awe - Wyoming's Grand Tetons, Juneau's ice fields - or reached deep into me and squeezed tightly - the Ecuadorian coast - are invaluable to me.

But even those shots lack something, something like tension or mystery, a human element. NOT TO BE CONFUSED with a human figure plunked right in the middle of the shot.

After a summer of leading people around the US, camping in national parks and reciting historical soundbites, I craved trash. I took my campers through the mountains of the west, hiked trails, and crossed innumerable passes of yes, majesty, but I was thrilled to finally reach a dark Chicago alley.
I lied to one group. I dropped them off at the Sears Tower, told them I had to get our 15-passenger van serviced, parked it a few miles away and stood under the El while it thundered above. I took photos of a dirty stop sign. And felt relief.

In elementary school at Sands Montessori I went on museum field trips and filled out my teachers' questionnaires, finding answers to their questions on museum cards and in the art itself. They'd set us free for an hour to roam and look around and figure out what they wanted us to notice. We had an art lady that came to our classroom, usually somebody's mother, with paintings and we talked about the pieces. She'd point out lines of color and the way it drew our eye to patterns. We talked about themes and made connections. We asked questions.

Our art teacher, Ms. Gross, taught us different mediums and then let us make whatever we imagined. She guided us and then let us get creative. But I wasn't able then, or for a long time afterward, to grapple with the idea that what we were doing was important. I thought that art was restricted to a special group of people, Artists. It was a bonus, IF YOU WERE INTO THAT, but not fundamental.

In college, I went to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis to see an exhibit by Marcel Duchamp and was underwhelmed. I couldn't connect with a faucet bolted into the wall and a pile of newspapers on the floor called FAUCET and PILE OF NEWSPAPERS. The fact that I couldn't touch these totally touchable objects - called art because they were within a gallery space - irritated me.

Abstract art was enjoyable, if the design or colors were intriguing. With more traditional paintings, pictorial representations of something I recognized, I'd stand and stare because I was impressed that someone had those skills. I admired their craft but still I wasn't honestly excited. If the painting was famous, I'd try harder. Photography, especially black and white, was about the only thing that made me feel something that I couldn't describe, something wonderful.

At Evergreen State College, I started developing a sense of humor about the whole thing. Evergreen art students were particularly interdisciplinary, true to Evergreen tradition, and this lent a performance/public edge. THE WORLD AS GALLERY.

Rubber chickens hanging from the trees on the way to class Monday morning? Maybe an acid-induced inspiration from the night before. Or? An art project that someone was getting school credit for. Tough call.

My friend Halle was in a dance troupe and I went to some of their performances. My favorite part was Halle tap dancing furiously. Because that was something I couldn't do. Whereas I could easily hang rubber chickens around or dance interpretively. Aha! That's what had been bugging me for, like, YEARS. If I needed a context and explanation to appreciate what people were creating, I didn't understand why they bothered messing with an audience. Why share with others if no one besides you gets it? Keep it in your dorm room, I thought, or your studio or your journal. Or tell me more! MAKE ME UNDERSTAND.

Halle, too, had a sense of humor about it. She studied Butoh performance and would tell me stories that had us rolling: her getting so lost in the Butoh movement that she thought she was a beetle or a blade of grass or she was drooling on herself. Right in the middle of the school's public square. Slowly, for an hour.

I liked Kevin's approach to art. He'd find pieces of driftwood on the shores of the Olympic Peninsula and put them together to make figures. Paint images on pieces of canvas and staple them anonymously to telephone poles. Anonymous, organic, democratic. He gave me scraps of canvas to paint on sometimes and I did, while questioning if I was good enough to do that.

Part of me wanted art to be accessible to anyone and part of me wanted it to remain exclusive, something only for really, really talented people. I wasn't sure how I felt about dipping my brush in mediocrity. I wanted to delight in (someone else's) genius.

But cracks appeared on the faultline of whether I could be a part of art or not. It may have secretly started in Olympia, or Ecuador. I noticed, however, in Seattle that I liked wandering off alone and finding art in people's yards and in the streets and in museums - anywhere - and writing down how I felt upon finding it. What did it make me think? Any new interesting thoughts?

This is a big difference from only worrying about how it looks or what it meant to the artist.

Aha x 2!

Part of the experience is me. Art's significance isn't only in the moment of creation. Artwork doesn't have to just sit or hang forever, getting dusty, in a museum for others to revere from a cool distance. Wherever it is, it evolves through each person who chooses to pay attention to it. It's personal.

It doesn't mean that all art is good; it means that who you are determines what you connect with. It's a lot like with people. You don't have to possess a certain aesthetic for me to be attracted to you, but I have to be drawn to SOMETHING. Real interest isn't completely reliant on form. Initial attraction, however, must spark something new - a thought, a curiosity, an excitement - to actually connect.

If not, it makes more sense to keep walking. That's why I walk past pieces on gallery walls or stop just briefly. I thought there might have been something there for me but there wasn't, at least not that day. Around the corner, though, under another light, there might be something that changes everything.


hair odyssey, fast forward

The first time I went on a hair odyssey was in New York. I was tired of having straggly, stringy hair down my back and wanted a short cut. I chose seven photos of different boys in a Japanese fashion magazine, brought them to a stylist in Williamsburg and asked him to create a haircut based on those boys.

Earlier that day, I'd been hanging out with Michael Bova who invited me to lunch with his friends. I declined because I had to go thrifting; I needed clothes to match my future as a Japanese boy. He shrugged, "Just meet us later for a drink."

When I walked in the Metropolitan that night with short hairs of different lengths going in all directions and a brand-new-to-me Adidas hoodie, Bova laughed, "You totally did it." I curtsied.

A week ago, I was drinking Guinness in East London with Charlie, Antony, and Anna. Antony and Anna, both hairdressers, started arguing about how they'd cut my hair. They grabbed my chin and and the crown of my head and moved me around like a mannequin while shooting back and forth, "No, no, I wouldn't do that, she doesn't want that! I'd do this!"

I, meanwhile, caught Charlie's eye between the hands gripping my face and he offered the futile suggestion that they ask her/me what I want. That didn't happen. No, Antony told me that he had a vision and that I should trust him.

When I showed up to Antony's salon yesterday and sat in the chair he told me his idea again. "That's great," I said, "Except I don't really like heavy, blunt bangs." He stood behind me and looked silently in the mirror. There was no menace in his stare but I could hear him thinking really hard. "We'll talk about it later," he said.

Later, he asked me in his soft voice what I had in mind and I caved. "I'm letting go," I said and threw my arms out from underneath the smock, "I've LET go. It's your vision and I'm bored. Knock yourself out."

After the first horizontal slash he did above my eyebrows, he stepped aside and asked what I thought. "I'm...INTERESTED...in what's happening," I said.

By the time he was done and we were walking down the street, however, I was on a new hair high. "It's much more you," he said. I thought that was funny and sweet since it was only the third or fourth time we'd met but I agreed that it felt much better than the growing out dishwater blond thing.

"You're right," I said, "I'm not identifying as a California blond." "You don't seem like a California girl," he said. "I'm not," I said, "And now my hair reflects that. You have given me my head of the future."

Lindsay text messaged and asked about the hair. I told her that a) I was a punk rock Katie Holmes minus her face and in case that wasn't totally clear I added that b) I was all bangs all the time and looked like c) a German Scientologist.

Which I didn't know I was going for. But THAT? That is what a hair odyssey is about.


The stories we tell

The thing about spending time with someone who has known you for a long time is their ability to call bullshit on you. I hugely enjoy being in the bullshit-calling role and love to smirk at people - SUNNY - who try to rewrite history and make up stories about themselves. This is known as embellishing and sometimes as lying.

I've been smirking at Sunny over people's shoulders since seventh grade. That was the age that she started saying things like, "Yeah, I have this uncle from England, I mean, from Africa, and he's flying me in to his village this weekend. So I won't be at soccer practice."

People believed her! Moms and coaches would say, "Well gosh, I didn't know Sunny had an English Africa uncle but she's visiting him right now." It killed me.

I'd known her Midwestern-Scandinavian butt since it was covered in a diaper and I was sure that if she was missing practice it was because she was brooding elsewhere. Why did everyone wanted to be a cheerleader? And wear pink lipstick since leaving elementary school? And get so bitchy and backstabbing? Why did life suddenly suck? It was so much better in sixth grade.

I was just jealous that she was thinking creatively to get out of that mess instead of playing along as I was doing.

Later, in high school, when I had finally liberated myself from the clique, we both lied. We were at one of the many reggae concerts we went to at Bogart's. I was feeling terribly grown up in my Gap jeans and Guatemalan t-shirt that I'd bought at a craft table after church when a man in dreadlocks started asking us questions.

"Hey, where you from?"

"I'm from New York and she's from Los Angeles."

"And you met up in Cincinnati to see some reggae?"


What? It could happen!

And if you think that our moms dropped us off down the street since we don't have driving licenses yet, you'd be WRONG. TOTALLY WRONG.


Then there are the stories one admits sometimes, the stories that are true.

I sat in Charlie's Berlin kitchen after dinner and we talked about being teenagers. I was telling him about the summer between eighth and ninth grade when my clothes and moods got blacker. That summer I quit hanging out with the mean girls but my hormones were kicking in so I turned into a little nightmare all on my own. At least for my family, if for no one else.

I told him about when my parents said I could get alcohol for Joanna's 18th birthday party and then changed their minds, worried that kids would drink at our house and drive away drunk. Until we came to the agreement that everyone drinking would spend the night, I sat in the backseat of the car, crying, yelling, punching the seat in front of me, and cussing my mom out.

I re-enacted the scene for Charlie, both my part and my mom's, who said simply, "I've never spoken to YOU with such disrespect."

I'm ashamed to remember how I acted that day. I was so concerned with how uncool I would seem if I didn't have booze at a party. I thought that was so important, much more important than how I spoke to my mom.

Charlie and I laid our heads on the table and held our heads in our hands and groaned. He told me a story about himself and we groaned more about what little assholes we were. Hopefully we are better now.

Dejected, we shuffled into his bedroom, which we'd been calling the WOMB for its warmth and comfort. We crawled in bed and pulled the covers up. We laid in silence, staring at the ceiling and remembering more about what it was like to be a jerk teenager and not a Disney character.

Eventually we laughed about how talking about family immediately sent us to the closest womb on hand, his room, to furl our way back in and feel out an apology: I'M SORRY, MOM.

When I saw Joanna in London, I asked her about my birthday party temper tantrum. She remembered it, not surprising since she had been sitting in the backseat with me when it happened, staring out the window and feeling extremely uncomfortable. Surely at that point she wished she was back in England where everyone had been going to pubs for a few years and didn't scream the f-word at their mother over some damn wine coolers.

Joanna suggested I make a LIST of things to apologize to my mom for. Wasn't that thoughtful of Joanna? She even made suggestions as to what else I should put on the list. I think she is enjoying this a little too much.

Apology #2: Staying out all night at her wedding four years ago. Apparently my mom didn't sleep too well that night. I just assumed that since everyone at the wedding was staying in the same castle surrounded by fields, it was pretty straightforward: I was SOMEWHERE close by. And I was 28. Therefore, see ya.

Evidently it doesn't work that way. I'M SORRY. Sheesh.


unicorns, magic, and Jess R. Bitches

Today I found this note on my desk and assumed it was from a dancer with whom I'd recently had a conversation about rainbows, pots of gold, and fluffy care bears. I thought he left the note to remind me that even when I have a day that makes me prickly and stabby, I'm not necessarily a lousy person.

"Aw," I thought, "that's so him."

Then Lindsay confesses that she wrote the note and I hadn't even MENTIONED pixie dust to her. I don't know why, it never came up. She's just that intuitive.


different stops on the same train (2)

Some days I just want to hang out with someone who's family. Joanna is my sister because she lived with us Ronckers for a year when I was 17. And that was NOT a good year to have to share a room with me.

Some days I just want to take photo after photo of us spending more uncut time together than we have in a long time. And I want those photos to reflect one thing besides unconditional love: BEER.

Walking through Tate Modern

Listening to my mix and walking through an art museum:


Some days I get up and want to focus on a different sense. Whether I'm deep in my own head or skating through the world outside, I filter out, or in, what I crave that day.


I walk to Tate Modern and watch people. The backdrop I hear is music that reminds me of Berlin. Inside the museum, I keep the music in my ears and I find the Poetry and Dream Exhibit. I walk past surrealist paintings but don't stop, only glance. I read that for the poets and artists of the surrealist movement, dreams stand for all aspects of the world repressed by rationalism. I nod my head but I'm pretty sure it's to the beat, not the information.


All of a sudden I remember a dream I had the night before. I was terrified because I looked at a building and it exploded into flame. It leaned in my direction and started to fall, all orange, burning.


I notice a television set high in the corner. The camera is behind the shoulders of a man in a grey shirt who walks down a city street. I think New York or Philly. He gets to the curb and a garbage man pushes a cart of bins in the middle of the street and the grey shirt man falls out of the frame. I think he's tripped off the curb.


More paintings. I don't stop.


I take a right into a gallery full of functional-looking sculptures. If they weren't in a museum, I would definitely sit on them.


There is a window in the corner and I note that outside it is twilight. 


I see something that I am allowed to sit on: an empty ottoman in a semi-circle of ottomans. They face a small screen hung from the ceiling. I sit and watch. It appears that a series of paintings are projected to create ongoing movement. Water splotches jump around the screen as a man in a grey suit walks with his hands clasped behind his back.


The man is on a brown path, green to his left. The brush strokes in his grey jacket shift around as he takes steps. I have a feeling that nothing is going to happen. I'll think that the projection is a nice idea but I'll get up and move on, bored.

But the man looks over his shoulder and it really feels like he's looking at me. He's wearing black glasses and his face changes color from olive to white for a second. He looks back to the ground in front of him. I write something in my journal about how this painting just stared at me.

When I look up, a little painted dog comes into the picture from the opposite direction. He passes the man and the man falls to his knees, both hands on the ground. The man just gets up and walks on, hands back behind his back. Every time I look down to write and then watch again, I see a new detail.


When I've had enough, I get up to read the card on the wall. The artist is Francis Alys and the piece is called The Last Clown. Suddenly my music sounds muddy and I take my headphones off. I realize that I missed a whole element of the piece: the clown music and laughter piped in from a speaker by the wall. For a second, I think that's a bummer but then decide I like my version.


Another television with a video shot on a city street. This time the camera is right behind a dog's head. Hold on a second, I'm having an idea. I think all these pieces are related and I'm just now getting it.


Francis Alys lives in Mexico City and loves chance encounters and absurdities of everyday life. The Last Clown is based on a real incident when he was walking in London's Hyde Park with a curator who was tripped by a passing dog. Francis Alys likes humor and surprise and he also likes walking. Sometimes he observes and sometimes he disrupts everyday situations. The Last Clown is passive compared to some of his work. Alys is an instigator!


There are nine videos scattered around the galleries that show a man being tripped by a dog from different viewpoints. Together they are called Choques and you get the whole story only if you watch all nine videos. I only find eight. In the eighth one, I notice that the man is wearing Converse and I catch another man come into the frame and clap his arms together. CUT.


Francesca Woodman photography. I haven't heard of her and I instantly like her images: small, moody, black and white, indoors. Nudity in unexpected positions. I read on the wall that she killed herself in her apartment at age 22 and my face flushes and my nose fills with fluid and I have to swallow to keep myself from crying. Where did that emotion come from?


There's a darkened room around the corner where a film is shown but I'm so full of Francis and Francesca, I can't digest anything or anyone else.


I was going to meet Joanna hours ago and I leave. I don't want to be late for dinner.


Louise Bourgeois

I walk to London Bridge and cross the Thames. The cobbled streets along the river are full of kids hopping and couples cuddling, their weekend paces slower than usual. I wear big headphones and listen to my mix, watching everyone as I pass them by. I pretend they too can hear the music and are choosing their own choreography.

When I get to the Tate Modern, I see the spider and I sit and stare.

Sculpted from steel by Louise Bourgeois, the spider is called Maman and OH MY GOD. This is the beast that I dreamed was outside my bedroom door when I was kid. Who kept me gripping the sheets and flinching before I snuck into my parents' room and crawled in bed with them. This spider's greatest desire: to devour me alive.

Not surprisingly, everyone else around the sculpture appears unconcerned.

But I know that Louise Bourgeois gets it because Maman was created from her own preoccupations with childhood anxieties and family relationships. Louise knows it's creepy. I take off my coat and sit on a bench. I replay the mix in my ears and watch people interact with the spider and with each other.

Most of them stand at a distance and put someone in the foreground whose smile freezes for a moment before they move on. Some walk up to Maman and pose with one of her 30-foot-tall legs. Giddy couples huddle close to each other and hold the camera away from themselves with one arm outstretched. They're just happy to be there together and if there's a spider leg in the frame, that's cool too.

Two teenage girls dance in circles and leap back and forth like ice skaters. They take turns practicing moves in front of Maman while the other captures it on camera. They run to each other to review the shots, laughing. HIGH FIVE!


Berlin outside

Berlin inside

Jägermeister vs. English beer

What I want to know is why, in Berlin, I bought little bottles of 70-proof Jägermeister with Charlie and Mona and drank them on the street, on the U-Bahn, and in the club all night long and remained almost completely sober. Because the other night, in London, I had two beers and was d-runk.

The Spice Girls show was down and a few of us gathered in the O2 arena bar. I sat calmly on a white couch, nursing a beer, staring in awe of how HARD people were dancing to the Ghostbusters theme song.

Later in the loading dock, I laughed until it hurt behind a mini-coach with Lindsay and tried to steal a ten-lb bag of sugar from a shelf on the wall. I don't know how long I stood there with the bag of sugar in my hand but finally Lindsay decided that my idea to "leave a trail of sugar to find our way home" wasn't practical and convinced me to put it back where it belonged.


The Hoff looks for freedom

On December 31, 1989, David Hasselhoff stood atop the Berlin wall and performed his cover of the the 1970's German hit "Auf Der Strasse Nach Suden", renamed "Looking for Freedom", to a crowd of almost one million people. He was wearing piano key scarf. A video of him looking for freedom at another live concert in Berlin can be seen here.


New Year's Eve

We can do anything we think of

When I met Charlie, he was the stranger who walked into my home with a suitcase and sat on my floor. A week later I gave him front door keys when I left for Guatemala.

I'd decided I really liked this stranger and I trusted him to stay in my apartment. When Alli Jones told me that a boy she knew in Australia was coming to America and asked if could he crash for a few days, I was open with reserve, as I often am. Alli told me about the other people who rented rooms in the shared Australian house where she'd stayed and then said in a sorrowful voice, "But my favorite was Charlie." She looked equally forlorn and happy.

When I returned from Guatemala, Charlie had an internship and I had a job. We'd get up in the morning and walk to the green line and take it to 34th street. After work we'd meet on 5th Avenue and walk south. Sometimes we'd stop for a slice of pizza but usually we'd go to Ben's Deli and buy salads and egg on bagel sandwiches.

When we weren't working, we played. We jumped on the bed and practiced handstands, dressed up and walked around a 4 am Times Square deserted by bitterly cold temperatures, and talked like we were little old ladies: "Dahlink, of couwse."

We pointed out to each other which buildings we were buying, favorites being those with top-floor penthouse apartments and giant windows. Last week we recalled those dream buildings and how, after conjuring up fake aristocratic schemes, we'd go back to my real room and practically have to scrape up pennies stuck with gum to the floor and strike them together to make fire. Who had money?

The second time Charlie called on New York, he had Berlin in his mind and we said we'd meet there next. A few days ago, walking through Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, dodging New Year's fireworks exploding on the sidewalk, thrown from windows and rooftops, we said to each other:

You know we can do anything we think of? DAHLINK, OF COUWSE.


Waking up in Berlin

Dear Shane

Dear Shane,

I love your dog, too.

p.s. sorry I didn't call you back that one time