Monday, July 20, 2009

Thanksgiving in July

Saturday was one of those really rare stunning New York summer days -- hot and sunny but not sticky or heavy. It's been notably cool for July anyway, but to get true summer that's not disgusting -- that's a thing of beauty around here.

I went into the city to see my friend Heather, with the idea of hitting up some galleries. But they were all closed -- odd for a Saturday, but we guessed everyone was off in the Hamptons. So we did what we would have done anyway, which was walk and talk -- she's someone I can talk to all day and never get tired. We hung out on the 23rd Street pier for a while, which has gotten a nice makeover since I was last over that way. Everyone was out taking the sun, with sailboats tacking across the Hudson and the water sparkling. I could have jumped in.
Then we walked over to Tenth Avenue and climbed up to The High Line, which I've wanted to see since it opened last month. It's a length of elevated freight rail tracks built in the 1930s and abandoned in 1980, reclaimed at the beginning of the '00s as park space and spruced up super nice. It's all concrete and wood and steel in perfect proportion, filled with indigenous, New York State prairie-type plantings, and all sorts of great detailing that fits in with the existing cityscape -- no small feat when you consider the whole crazy pentimento effect of New York City in the 21st century. There are some ridiculously cool sleek highrises towering above it, and crumbly roofs from the century before last with rusty watertowers alongside. My favorite thing was a long stone wall of tall multicolored mullioned windows -- I'm a sucker for colored glass and this was really classy.
After walking and talking and walking and talking, we headed up to the Bronx and had a big grilled feast, salmon and corn and black bean/mango salsa and salad.

And then Sunday night? We had our friends John and Margarita and their dogs over for a big grilled feast, chicken and burgers and corn and summer squash and salad.

That was a lot of feasting in one weekend, a lot of talking and drinking and passing food around the table and pretending we didn't see Mr. Bonkers stick his entire head in the salad bowl, looking for cucumbers. Forget Christmas in July -- this weekend was our Thanksgiving in July. I can go back to my hermit ways for a while, but it was nice doing some extended bread-breaking with friends.
Sunday was the fourth anniversary of Milo's death. I didn't dwell on it much during the day, but this morning around 4 I woke up with a little indigestion, a little of the dreaded Monday hangover, and lay in the dark thinking about him. I'll always miss my boy -- he was a shooting star and his time with me was far too short. You know how when you're a kid you get this vision of how you're going to be as an adult, this very personal archetype that you either ditch or hang on to or some variation thereof? I always wanted to be a cool artist lady in a beat-up pickup truck with a dog in the front seat. Not a mommy, not a businesswoman, not a nurse or a fireman. She was it. And though I lost track of her for a while -- my childrearing years weren't really conducive to keeping that particular vision alive -- I got her back. I got to be the cool artist lady in the beat-up pickup truck, even if I was really a slightly geeky publishing lady in a beat-up Blazer, and Milo was that dog. He was the key that turned in the lock and gave me a second chance to be what I wanted. He was my good dog, sitting in the front seat.

The thing is, though, if Milo were still alive there's a very good chance we would never have adopted Dorrie. And she's my good dog too. It's just one of those things that there's no way to really think about in a straight line.

So I woke her up and pulled her into my arms with her head on my shoulder, and snuggled with my good dog until it got light out and I figured I might as well just get up. Milo always liked being held that same way, and I guess wherever he is he must appreciate the fact that I'm still snuggling in bed with a white spotty dog. Whatever else you can say about me, I sure do pick good ones.

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Blogger Margarita said...

I could swear too that Hershey and Chester are Theo and Mindy who came back. I remember sitting in a restaurant in Old Forge, thinking how I missed my good Mindy (I never intended to have 2 dogs again), and how the good people at that place always had a bone for her from the kitchen, after we finished our meal. Well, 20 minutes later, I was holding Chester in my arms who crossed our path on our drive home, and the first thing he wanted was to chew! They never leave, I could swear, although I will always still miss mine too. I am glad we came over on that Sunday and it was the best to see our pups be happy and play while we enjoyed the said grilling feast! You know I am not good at short comments :)

6:28 PM  
Blogger schmemily said...

"It's just one of those things that there's no way to really think about in a straight line."

Great sentence.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

What a lovely post. :)

11:05 PM  
Blogger kbw said...

I love those windows. The stained glass looks like some we bought last year to replace our current dining room ones. They've been sitting in the garage a year and a half.

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Sonya said...

Hi Lisa -- I found your blog via your comment at The Millions. Lovely post here -- "hermit" and "good dog" in one paragraph are bound to make me think, kindred spirit.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Oh, Milo. He was a good dog.

And of course since I'm pregnant this post made me cry.

1:51 PM  

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