Making me happy

Bill Cunningham New York

He rides his bike around Manhattan searching for style. He captures inspirations on his camera and curates the images somewhat thematically for readers of the New York Times. He also sleeps on a cot wedged between towering metal filing cabinets. He brushes aside questions about feelings and personal history. Instead of seeming over-determined by repression or sadness, Cunningham’s work appears to completely absorb him. This man is a wonder and so is the documentary. His eyes twinkle and he practically froths at the mouth as he describes what he sees. I felt emotional after watching, simultaneously richer, a little sad, inspired, and curious about his idiosyncratic way of life.

Homemade quince marmalade

On his way for a visit, an old friend, D., hit a deer and spent a few extra days with us while his car was repaired. It was excellent to have his company. On the first evening, as the darkness gathered around the dining room windows, we made rye whiskey Manhattans and started our supping with his homemade quince marmalade, spread over manchego-style cheese and crackers.

Kalinda from The Good Wife

Travis and I always have a current show—the thing we can’t wait to watch together. Our current minor obsession is Season 2 of The Good Wife, brought to us via Netflix DVD. Kalinda alone is reason to watch. I’m a sucker for tough-as-nails female characters, but she’s the cream of the crop. The mysteries abound: what motivates her? why is she such a hard ass? is she gay? who is Leela? But mostly I just like to watch her break out the brass knuckles and whip smarts to solve mysteries.

Throwing Muses, “Hate My Way”

I wasn’t familiar with them when their first album came out, but I have a vague memory of watching a later video of theirs in high school. “Hate My Way” has become one of my favorites. Equal parts expression of generational alienation and personal exorcism. Here’s the best clip I could find, from a 1988 show:


Based on his interest in motion, ricochet, spinning wheels, and gravity, I suspect Miles could one day become a physics expert. Meanwhile, we have bowling. This summer we started going to a local alley, and I love it. At first, I wondered if it would feel like an insiders’ club. Would they stare at us when we walked in? Nope, it’s completely relaxed and friendly. I suspect it’s because people who still gather to do physical things with other people—as opposed to sitting in front of their screens at home—find happiness and connection. I love the rhythm of taking turns with the ball and sitting and chatting over beers. Miles lasts not just through a few frames but the entire game. Jolts of energy charge through his body as he watches the heavy ball hit the pins.


It started with one of those early-reader, non-fiction kid books from the library. The one about rays (sting, manta, devil) caught his attention. Since then, we’ve been able to explore that interest further, watching portions of The Blue Planet, pretending we’re rays “hiding from predators in the sand,” and creating rays of our own with paint, brown paper bags, and cut-out egg carton cups for eyes.

Raw milk yogurt

A friend in town has now shared not one but two jars of yogurt he made from raw milk, I believe obtained through a share of an Amish farmer’s cow (a way to get around the prohibition on raw milk). We’ve been making our own yogurt for months, but this heavenly, sour, rich, and creamy yogurt is altogether different. I suppose it’s gross, but I like imagining all kinds of new, hopefully good bacteria from the cow dancing around in my gut.


9 thoughts on “Making me happy

  1. I wasn’t too famliar with Throwing Muses either, but my g/f had been really into them. She recently bought Kristen Hersh’s autobiography, Rat Girl, which I read too. Definitely worth checking out if you are a fan!

    • I have to admit, I was excited about _Rat Girl_, but couldn’t get all the way through it. I love Hersh’s singing and song writing but couldn’t find enough of a compelling hook in the book. It could have been the fact that I had recently finished Patti Smith’s _Just Kids_, which was one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read. Have you tried that one?

  2. I love this post. So much joy (and you write about it all with your usual richness). We adore Kalinda too (because, you know, she’s also not bad on the eyes). Though I’m not that crazy about Will Gardner, I do LOVE Josh Charles (also not an unattractive creature). Have you seen this ad?:

    • Thanks. The post was a chance for me to fight back against the sudden darkness and drear. I had heard about the ad with Josh Charles but will watch it now–thanks! I had a small crush on him ever since that movie about the love triangle….can’t remember the title. As for Kalinda, I can’t decide if I want to be her or if she could possibly kill the gay in me…at least for a little while.

      • Threesome; that’s right! I knew I recognized him from somewhere. Oh, God. I still remember that library scene. That was back in Lara Flynn Boyle’s pre-anorexia (gorgeous) days.

    • Me too…a nice change from more narrative stuff. I hope you do one too. It’s always nice to get some new ideas and inspiration from other bloggers…

  3. Pingback: Some favorite movies, seen in 2011 | Regular Midwesterners

  4. Pingback: Bill Cunningham New York | chronotopic

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