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February 22, 2005

beep beep zip bang!

That's not how fast I run, but it is how fast I'm going to post right now -- just a quick "hi there" to y'all since I haven't had a chance to post for days and days. There will be lots to report when I do, though! A finished Ribby Cardigan! More Gates photos! Whee!

Mostly, though, thanks to everyone who's made such lovely, encouraging, heartening comments on my last entry. I do have a good pair of shoes (more on that later), I have various sources of excellent beginning runner advice, and I'm filled with excitement. What could be better?

See you tomorrow!

Posted by Rose at 03:58 PM | Comments (2)

February 15, 2005

I just did something scary

I applied for entry for the 2005 NYC Marathon.

Most normal people would find that scary. 26.2 miles is, in fact, a lot of miles. But I have a special reason to find this an agitating experience.

I spent six and a half years in a relationship with an emotionally abusive man. There are hundreds of anecdotes I could relate, but I'd really rather not think about them long enough to type them. There's one, though, that has continued to stick in my craw for over four years. It was one of the last straws that broke my heart, and was one of the pivotal incidents that finally led me away from him. And it is intrinsically related to why I'm feeling pretty worked up right now.

Late fall, 2000. I had promised to mulch the new trees some time that week, and suddenly it had to be done that day, so my evil ex decided we couldn't go to the library sale we'd planned to go to. He sulked while I mulched and then changed his mind, so we went anyway. One of the books I bought was a guide for novices on how to run a marathon. When we were looking at each other's purchases that night, he laughed out loud at me, and said, "Well, that's a waste of fifty cents!" When I objected, he said, "You're never going to run a marathon -- you're never going to run a hundred yards."

This disintegrated into a tirade about how I was lazy, and fat, and disorganized, and unmotivated, and the least likely person of his entire acquaintance to ever, over the course of an entire lifetime, run a marathon. This further fell apart when I refused to come to bed with him. He proceeded to keep me up all night screaming vulgar invective at me. The phrase that particularly lodged itself in my hindbrain was "you fat lazy cunt".

He eventually went away. I knew I'd never be able to look at the book again without crying. I couldn't sleep. I was utterly miserable. I sat on the couch and ripped the whole thing into tiny pieces and left it in his reading chair. This, of course, earned me another round of verbal abuse in the morning, but had been soothing at the time.

I should have left him that day. To my credit, though, it was only another few weeks before I did leave him. It will have been five years this November, and I can't think of any better way to celebrate than by running a marathon.

Of course, I'm in the lottery, so there's only a 50% chance I'll get in. There was a 0% chance I'd get in if I didn't apply, so I seem to have greatly increased my odds.

You'll have to excuse me while I go compose myself.

Posted by Rose at 01:17 PM | Comments (23)

February 12, 2005

All Gates, all the time!

Well, actually, I'm about to teach spinning. But before that, here are the two photos I took on my phone!



Aren't the Gates terrific? I'm beside myself. Part of that could be sleep deprivation, but mostly I think it's just that the project has surpassed even my ridiculously high expectations. It's beautiful. Go.

Posted by Rose at 12:56 PM | Comments (2)

February 10, 2005

Central Park Becomes a Gated Community

Two more days until the Gates are unfurled in Central Park! For months now I've been talking the ears off of anyone who will listen about how fabulous this is going to be. Here's some of what I've said (cobbled together from various e-mails and expanded):

Things I love love love about the Gates project:

The first thing I love isn't really an intrinsic part of the project. But I am moved by the idea that Christo and Jeanne-Claude have wanted to do this for over 25 years, and now it's going to happen. Perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles isn't something that comes naturally to me, so having such a brilliant example for a new role model is extremely cool.

I love how the Gates contrast ephemerality and tangibility -- they're only going to be up for sixteen days, but the amount of infrastructure and planning and construction that's gone into them is tremendous.

Hundreds (thousands? It must be thousands) of people have been working for a couple of *years* to produce all of the components of the installation. I love the image of foundry workers going in to work every day and smelting and casting molten metal into shape -- not to be part of a bridge, or a building, or an automobile, but to be part of an enormous art project. I love the corresponding image of all the seamstresses going in day after day to transform huge bolts of fabric into the panels that will hang from the Gates themselves.

I love that this is going up in February -- we'll all end up tromping around in the cold and the wind and perhaps even the snow, to see these beautiful, sunny, flapping panels all around us.

The most important thing to me, finally, is that when I was able to really get a sense of what the Gates might look like in the park, it made me gasp. It's going to be astoundingly beautiful. Trails of orange winding through the bare trees will look like surreal river beds seen from above (I can't wait to go up on the roof of the Met!). The huge panels of fabric, billowing and flapping in the wind, will sound like hundreds of bedsheets being snapped at once. My favorite thoughts are about the visual contrast of the saffron orange curtains against the sky, which is flat gray on some February days, and that piercing, intense, complete-lack-of-humidity blue on others -- those images make me surpassingly happy.

Here are some links to pages I've been enjoying this week, before the Gates themselves are ready.

The New York Times has a page of all their coverage here.

A couple of days ago Gothamist collected a bunch of their own links on the project.

Joe Schumacher's blog has some fabulous photographs of the work that's been going on all week. Here are his entries for February 7th and February 8th.

Here's a crazy awesome anyone-can-post blog, The Gates @ Central Park.

PS -- Apologies for the long post with too many words and not enough pictures -- but I'll have my own photos of this up soon! A passel of us are going to see the Gates unfurl at the all-too-early hour of 8am on Saturday. I'm trying to decide that being out and about at an unaccustomed hour will just be part of my art experience.

Posted by Rose at 03:37 PM | Comments (1)

February 09, 2005

Giving it up for no good reason

Yesterday was Mardi Gras! I didn't really do anything special to observe it -- Francis and I went out dancing last night, but we do that every Tuesday -- I take swing dance classes at Dance Manhattan.

The day after Mardi Gras is Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent. I've got a complicated relationship to Lent. I'm not Catholic, or even Christian or particularly religious at all, but I grew up in south Louisiana among Catholics. Just as many of us in New York are sort of generally familiar with Jewish observances, even non-religious folks in south Louisiana are regularly exposed to the rites and rituals of Catholicism.

So some years I give something up for Lent. I don't do it every year, but the times I've done it have been interesting for me. I have a few rules.

It can't be something I already want to give up.
It can't be something I don't like.
I'd prefer it not be an enormous hardship to give up -- not something I'll be miserable without.

So when I was a kid, other kids would always joke about giving up spinach, or when I was in college, people would say they would give up cigarettes (and they'd often fail). For me, it's about the exercise of giving something up for a few weeks, and then getting to really enjoy it again when I can have it after 40 days.

One year I gave up chocolate. This fulfilled all my criteria. Chocolate was in the world often enough that I was very aware of having given it up, but I'm not a huge chocolate fiend, so I wasn't miserable and depressed about the deprivation. When I had a chocolate malt (the day after Easter, as it turns out), that was really the Best Chocolate Malt I'd ever had.

So, drum roll please: I've decided what I'm giving up this year for Lent. In fact, I decided last night. Carbonation.

Actually, I'm giving up both carbonation and fizzy drinks of all kinds. So no soda, seltzer, beer, champagne, or cider. Nada. I'm thinking of breaking my fast by bringing a bottle of sparkling wine to dim sum on Easter Sunday, but perhaps I'll think of something else I'd like better by then.

Anybody else giving something up for Lent? Anybody who isn't Catholic? (^_^)

Posted by Rose at 06:49 PM | Comments (2)

February 03, 2005

Bad brain

The following headline has been cracking my shit up all day long, over at the NY Times website.

marines miss january copy.jpg

I have misparsed it every single time I have looked at the page. And then I'm like, "Goal? Is goal a verb? Oh."

Posted by Rose at 10:48 PM | Comments (2)