Confessions: The Chair in the Bedroom

Honestly, I can deal with messy, I said. But not dirty. I abhor dirty. My last serious boyfriend, he was dirty. I always thought his dresser was grey, until one night, when he was sleeping, I took a Swiffer to it. to get rid of a few strands of dust that had been driving me craaaazy. Turns out the dresser was brown. The grey was dust! Took 4 Swiffer sheets to restore it to the original color…

I didn’t know why I felt the need to tell him all this, but once I started I just couldn’t put it back in, so of course, I kept going…

He’d have me over to cook dinner and the sink was piled high with old dishes. He’d leave the condoms on the floor by the bed for a few days, so that I wasn’t sure if they were from us or from someone on the side. Yea, I didn’t jibe with that. Yuuccck-o. But a little mess, now, that’s OK. My desk, if you saw it, you would knooooow I’m a creative type. Totally belies all the spreedsheets I make to organize my life and office. I go on clean-up sprees almost weekly – you know, attack some tiny corner of my life – but I have this chair…

There are moments in your life, decisions you make or things you say when you’re grateful you had too much to drink, because you can always blame the alcohol for whatever you said/did. I didn’t have that excuse.

So this chair, it’s piled high with clothes. It could probably be a pretty comfortable chair, if I could only find the seat. I’ve never sat on it. But my closet has. The clothes on this chair, they’re not my good clothes. So, like, that makes it okay. My good clothes go on a hanger or in a drawer at some point before I go to bed at night. These clothes on the chair are mostly lounge clothes. And they’re on the chair because I don’t wear them – they’re out of season. So yea, I say I don’t date messy guys because I guess, I’m messy and I can only imagine what kind of chaos would ensue if I ended up living with someone who had a chair or desk like mine.

I took a sip of my iced tea and finally shut up. That was a long-winded answer to a simple question: how do you feel about a guy with a messy apartment. I tried to make my eyes all big and doe-like, but much like “cute,” I’ve never done naïve convincingly. He laughed and proceeded to tell me about his collections of pop-culture memorabilia that had yet to make their way to a shelf or drawer.

I used to have a chair like that in my bedroom, too. He confessed.

Oh? Yea?

I got tired of seeing the mess every morning when I woke up. So I got rid of it.

That’s what I need to do. Just get rid of the “easy way out!” I thought he had just uncluttered my life with one swoop. My hero!

I moved the chair into my hallway. With the clothes still on it. They’re at least 3 seasons old by now…

GargantuanPavilionComposedofHundredsofChairs

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Home Improvement: When Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor is MIA, Heidi takes the Helm

I own a tool belt and I know how to swing a hammer. You might even go so far as to call me handy. This you already know if you’ve been following  long, even halfheartedly, with my adventures in Gallery Land.

You might recall that when I was a kid, my favorite toys were a block of wood, a box of nails and some hammers. So you’re not surprised when I tell you that I’m a DIY-er when it comes to home improvement.

She’s a Gallery Girl. Of course she wants to paint her own walls…

Pause.

Did you know I’m also a landlord? It’s one thing being a Home Improvement DIY-er when you’re responsible for one home. It’s entirely another when you’re responsible for 2.

Enter: Plan Handyman Boyfriend

Construction worker summer boyfriend? Looks like a good plan to me...
Construction worker summer boyfriend? Looks like a good plan to me…

When my family got word that our tenants would be moving out in the middle of the summer, 2 years and 1 month after we finished hardcore renovations and upgrades on the property, we knew the turn-over pace would be frantic. Hurricane Sandy had left its mark. Our tenants were messy, nay, dirty. So a plan was devised:

I would use the spring to track down a burly, handy, good-natured man to date. By the summer, I’d be able to leverage the promises of grilled meats, cold beer and sex to con him into helping tear-down and re-sheetrock garage walls or install new handles on our kitchen cabinets or basically lift and carry upstairs anything that weighted as much as me.

This was no damsel in distress call. This was a team recruiting endeavor and seemed like a reasonably easy mission.

Sure, my dating resume reeked of pampered suit types who were more accustomed to “hiring someone to do that.” But there were enough former athletes/body-builders/chefs/artists on there to suggest  I did indeed know where to go to find at least ONE guy that could not only help with heavy lifting, but could be actually useful with handtools too.

Alas! The computer programmers and ad execs and consultants and musicians I found, while exceedingly likable, were not going to let me pull a Tom Sawyer on them. There was no way they were white-washing any fences for me… at least not in a heatwave… even if I promised to wear only a bikini while I hand waxed the hardwood floors.

I guess it’s a good thing I’m not afraid of power tools…

To be continued…

She's armed with a drill. Watch out.
She’s armed with a drill. Watch out.

We All Need a Little Christmas

“Wishing people a Merry Christmas feel wrong right now,” my mother said as she put her stack of to-be-written Christmas cards aside and moved on to the monotony of ironing my father’s shirts. “It doesn’t seem like there’s much to be merry about.”

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting has punched the nation in the gut, taking the air out of our collective lungs and with it, the joy out of the season. Elementary schools are more than institutions of learning. They are supposed to be community builders and safe havens for our children. Something sacred has been desecrated.

“We’re being extra sensitive. People don’t feel like celebrating. People just need Christmas to be over with,” the publisher of a news paper observed in a phone conference with me and my boss.

Indeed, our hearts are all heavy. Making merry seems out of place.

People just need Christmas to be over with.

The 2012 Rockefeller Christmas tree makes me feel like a happy 5 year old.
The 2012 Rockefeller Christmas tree turns us all into children, full of wonder

As I walked up Manhattan’s 5th Avenue from Bryant Park Friday night, watching families walk hand-in-hand to take in the Saks windows and Rockefeller tree or make their way to the Bryant Park skating rink, I was struck with a realization — we don’t need Christmas to be over with.

What we need is a little Christmas.

Christmas is about family. Christmas is about togetherness. Christmas is about healing. Christmas is about transcendence.

Think about it: here we are in the middle of winter, the trees are bare, the thermometer low, and yet the world is lit-up with beams of multicolor lights. Christmas is something we can rely on — it comes back, year after year, no matter what the circumstances. It’s a time to remember and to be thankful, and this year we must all be thankful for each other, for having a Christmas to share.

26 families in Newtown, CT are having a hard time in finding joy in the season, of this there is no doubt. For those of us that are lucky to be with friends and family, this is the year to hold everyone we care about a little closer and acknowledge how precious these moments of togetherness are.

Life is short.

Embrace the season.

Let yourself be joyful.

Get caught under the mistletoe.

Drink that extra cup of cocoa.

Hug your child/parent/spouse an extra time.

Leave cookies & milk out for Santa.

Look in wonder at your bedazzled Christmas tree.

Be a kid at heart.

And at the end of the night, say an extra set of prayers — one for the families in Newtown, whose Christmases will never be the same, and one to say Thank You for the Christmas you have today.

christmas time 2009 002

If You Give a Girl A Flower…

In my mother’s day, the flowers a boy would send you would become keepsakes…

A pile of flaky dust fell from the pages of my mother’s 1961 college student handbook and course listing as she pulled it from the shelf.

“What the hell is that!?” she cried. “I just vacuumed. Goddammit.”

“It looks like flower petals.”

She examined the bits more closely before brushing them into the dust pan and determined that they were, in fact, the fragments of a carnation.

“One day, when we were first dating, your father pulled off the side of the road on his way to pick me up and bought me a bouquet of carnations. I hate carnations. But they were such happy little things and I was thrilled. So I tried pressing them. We did things like that in those days. Pressed the flowers a boy gave us so we could have it as a keepsake if we ever got married. Of course, most of them turned out to be bastards. The boys, not the flowers. But I always did a shit job, totally mangled them, and usually forgot what book I used.”

“Case in point.”

When it comes to women, a well-picked bouquet from a fella goes a long way.

Which is why on Wednesday, along with my sneakers, a cluster of sunset-hued roses wrapped in damp paper towels and the cellophane from my 3AM room service order passed through the x-ray scanner at LAX.

An elegant birthday bouquet from a class act kind of guy.

My birthday had been only a few days earlier and these roses had been the feature of a bouquet that greeted me on that July 1st morning. Despite the resort’s legendary service, the elegant arrangement, I would soon learn, was not courtesy of my 5-diamond resort, which had also sent a cake. Even better – the flowers were from my new flame.

5-diamond concierge fail.

New flame home run.

The SoCal sunshine may have mellowed the east coast gallerist, but the roses from the boy who set my heart a flutter with just a glance put an indelible smile on my face for the duration of my “birthday week.”

“Did you go to a wedding while you were out here?” my flight attendant asked when she saw me wedging the roses gingerly into the seat pocket in front of me.

“No. They were a birthday gift.”

“From a beau?”

I nodded with a blush.

“Looks like he’s a keeper to me. Those are stunning.”

Thousands of miles and several changes in cabin pressure later, the roses looked a little worse for wear. Despite the suggestion, I elected not to press them. Much like my mother, home crafts and remembering where I put things are not my forte. I think for now, I’ll leave the act of preserving memories to my Canon… and a moleskin notebook.

… too elegant to leave to the cleaning staff, I valiantly tried to carry the roses cross county, neatly tucked into the seat pocket in front of me. Call it sentimental, call it futile, I call it a noble “thank you.”

If My Nightstand Could Talk…

It's a great lamp to read by... now, if only I was as good a reader

If my nightstand could talk it would tell you I’m a schizophrenic reader (I bet you thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you?).

My nightstand is an inherited piece made from Canadian Maple. It doesn’t produce syrup, but it is home to a Limoges porcelain lamp adorned with two very Fragonard-esque lovers. The lamp is likeable for both its campness and its luminescence — it’s a great lamp to read under.

That being said, I’m a notoriously bad reader. I’m slow. It takes me ages to get through an entire book. And since I like owning books so much, I tend to impulsively buy something I want to read, start reading it, only to put it down after another impulsive purchase. My gallery is on the same block as a bookstore. It’s like a heroin addict living on the same block as a clean-needle clinic. I walk the other way.

With all that in mind, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are currently 4 books on my night stand, all in various stages of being read.

At the bottom is W. Somerset Maugham’s “The Moon & Sixpence.”

I’ve actually already read this one, but I’m re-reading it. Maugham’s insights into the feminine character provide endless source material. When I’m too tired to read much or write anything, I take a quick scan through the pages I’ve dog-eared and salivate over his talent — it’s just written so damn well.

Next is “Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food,” by Paul Greenberg.

I’m not entirely sure how much of “Four Fish” I’ve actually consumed (ha! ha!). I bought it in part to help me with research for an exhibition…that’s right… an exhibition about fish… and in part because I’m a foodie who wants to better justify why I’ll only eat wild fish. I spot read this based on what I plan to have for dinner the next night…

One layer above that is “When You’re Engulfed in Flames,” by David Sedaris.

My bookmark indicates that I’m about half way through. I love everything Sedaris writes.

At the top of the pile is Megan Marshall’s Pulitzer Finalist book “The Peabody Sisters: Three Women who Ignited American Romanticism.”

The 400-page biographic tome has barely been scratched. I’m proud to say this one is a loan from a friend who read  my blog and thought “The Peabody Sisters” would be right up my alley. That’s right, someone read “They Told Me to Find a Rich Husband” and the first thing that came to mind was the story of three 19th century women who helped shape America’s greatest literary movement.

I guess I must be doing something right.

Out with the Very, Very Old to Make Room for the New

Do I really need to keep these things on display? It's probably time to get over my glory days in little legue softball...

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. But if I did, arguably I’d be off to a very good start — a week into 2012 and already I’m down 4 pounds and up one very nice first date.

True, the weight loss was due largely to a sinus infection that made food less than appealing and a lovely first date isn’t very useful if it doesn’t turn into a second date, but like I said, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.

However, just because I refuse to make a list of half-hearted promises for self-improvement doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate that January 1 comes with the potential for renewal.

For 2012, I decided to kick things off with a cleanse… no, not a grapefruit-supported detox (that commences in February). A feather-duster and bubble wrap attack on a life I haven’t lived in 10 years.

I’m not a nostalgic girl. I’m just a saver. And a collector. “You never know when that might come in handy/back in fashion again!” is one of my mottoes. So when it came time to make room for yet another bookshelf to accommodate yet another year’s worth of exhibition catalogs and “to-read as soon as I have the time” books, so too came the time to make some decisions.

(No, I will never use my kindle.)

Trophies packed away, it was time to alphabetize. New Year's resolution? Be more organized? Not exactly.

I’m 26. Do I really need to my Little League Softball All-Stars Championship trophy on my bookcase? It makes a reasonably good bookend.

What about all those high school swimming medals?

My “Annual Report” on a business I ran in the 8th grade? Sure the graphics are sophisticated, but I paid back my investors with dividends years ago.

I haven’t ridden a horse in 10 years. Do I really need the helmet? What about the crop? No, save those… you’re 26 and are on OkCupid…

The dust was thick on the marble bases of those trophies, and as I chipped it off to ready them for the storage bin, I strained to remember the teams they represented. Not a solid memory came to mind — I couldn’t even recall my perfect game as the starting pitcher on my junior high school’s undefeated softball team. It was a perfect game, wasn’t it?

Memorabilia safely away, I turned to my bookcase and began alphabetizing.

New Year’s Resolution: be more organized. Check.

I take that back. I don’t make resolutions.