Friday, December 31, 2021

I'm Good At Tests

Just tested negative for you-know-what.

What does this tell us? That flying while masked-up and boosted is safe? (Which it is probably safer than taking the subway, given the air filtration, but that's not a high bar.)

It tells us nothing, really, except that I can't use covid as the reason I slept in this morning.

A Look Back

I sense a pattern.

Also, can you believe three years ago I didn't even know about the number of wild animals living a few feet from my back door?

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Daniel's Art

The Daniel Johnston exhibit at the Austin Contemporary is wonderful. It’s also closed this week, but you know what they say. You can take the guestlist out of the girl, but you can’t take the girl off the guestlist. Or something.

Anyway, here are some highlights. And just like that, I’m sitting on a runway in Austin.

My apologies for not visiting with Austinites. Next time when we know more about omicron.

An Unexpected Twist

My Covid-anxiety ramped up in the days after Christmas, in that familiar way we all knew from the start of the pandemic. We’d gotten comfortable at understanding how to avoid the illness—get your shots, wear a surgical or cloth mask, whatever is comfortable. Don’t go to crowded, indoor places unless you have to (like a subway, for example). 

In fact, as vaxxed, brainy sorts of people, my colleagues and I felt comfortable enough to have a few meetings back in the autumn months. And as you all know, I was happy enough with my vaxxed-and-masked status to fly to Portugal and Italy earlier in the year, and those mild risks had paid off in empty tourist quarters and bargain rates.

I’d gotten a booster as soon as New Jersey had decided to make them available to all, and that bit of insurance had gotten me through the initial news of omicron.

I barely remembered the paranoid uncertainty of 2020.

Monday, December 27, 2021

All Mine

I just paid off my Jersey City new (less new, at this point) roof!

I guess I get to keep it.

With Apologies to Alice in Wonderland

I'm late, I'm late for

A very important date.

No time to say hello, good-bye,

I'm late, I'm late, I'm late

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Pushing the Envelope

People are testing positive left and right. I thought maybe I could squeak in one last trip before the hammer came down, so I went to my mom's new house for Christmas.

Flew back last night (double-masked), and now I'm ensconced in my little studio, day-wearing my PJs and wondering if I made it through the two airports and car rental counter and two Lyfts unscathed.

I guess I'll find out, but only if I have symptoms, since there seem to be no tests available.

Happy holidays, the 2021 version.


Saturday, December 25, 2021

Holiday Hack

I tried a little experiment at Newark Airport today. Had a Lyft drop me at the Airtrain station at P4, to avoid the traffic on the loop around the terminals.

Massive success. Empty drop-off point, only one stop to Terminal C.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Time Lapse

A day or so of catio action.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Fun to Watch, Though

I had to go into Manhattan on a Tuesday morning, so I got a Blossoming Hot Chocolate. 

The novelty lasts only seconds.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Cat HOA Approved

I got a fancy new house for the semi-wild cats who live in the convent yard (and by extension, on my patio/catio).

It's basically an insulated barrel with some vents and a doorway. I took out the cushion and replaced it with the straw from one of the DIY Rubbermaid bin houses, so it would at least smell familiar.

The gray cat, Gigi, was instantly on-board. Our orange buddy Jay Garrick is still working it out.

Friday, December 03, 2021


I went to Hoboken CVS to get a Moderna booster based on various articles about what a twice-vaxxed Pfizer gal oughta do.

My main post-booster side effect seems to be a deep desire to eat cookies.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Heading Home from Newark Airport

I shooed a pigeon off the PATH train, so that kinda makes up for me letting one into that coffee shop in Venice.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

A Real Visit This Time

Twenty years ago, on December 1st, I boarded a train in Rome, connected via Milan, and spent the night on a couchette headed to Zurich. I had one or two cracked ribs, was on antibiotics for a respiratory infection, and my left side was still covered in bruises from the Ethiopian Isuzu crash. But I was recovering after the aid of an Italian doctor, and I had just enough energy to leave the Milan train platform to walk outside to see the grand hall of the station, and then walked out front to glance around.

The area in front of the Milan train station at night didn’t tell me much about Milan, and after 11 months of local transport travel, I was uninspired by my quick glance around. Plus, I was looking forward to my trip on the Bernina Express through the Alps. I wasn’t really there for Milan.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Try Something New

This seems to be a ball of pistachio cream. Gonna investigate as soon as I find my titanium spork.

From Venice to Milan by Train

Buon giorno. My time in Venice has drawn to a close. Taking the morning train back to Milan.

Friday, November 26, 2021

A Walk In Venice

I’m missing a comic con but I’m okay with that.

Stop That Pigeon

During the few seconds I opened the door to depart a Venice coffee shop, a pigeon flew in.

There wasn't much I could do about it. I skulked away in shame.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Perhaps I Should Have Gone to Turkey

I’m having a cannoli for Thanksgiving, because I’m in Venice. Not the one with Muscle Beach.

Global pandemics plus winter makes a great time to travel.

Venice is relatively empty.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Backyard Drama

I ordered an expensive, insulated, waterproof feral cat house, and right after that I noticed someone had murdered a bird and left its wings on the nun's driveway.

What little monsters. They're not helping.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Cold Kitty

This handsome fellow—nicknamed Gigi by the kids upstairs—joined our backyard wildlife preserve sometime the past winter, when Jay the orange Flash cat brought him home from...wherever cats go to meet other cats. We didn't really sign up for two cats. Actually, we didn't exactly sign up for one cat, but I kinda did when I trapped Jay and got him neutered.

I'm back in JC now, and last night after I signed off from work in Burbank, I heard a pathetic mewing outside. It was Gigi, mewing sadly at the cat house I made last year. It's a plastic crate full of foam board insulation taped in tightly, the floor covered with straw. The door is a hole I cut with a box cutter, with a half a flower pot stuck in and taped. There's a bit of shower curtain covering the door to keep out the rain.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Day Job

I say things sometimes, and sometimes I get lucky and don't say them in a stupid way.

Monday, November 15, 2021

2021 Bundt Day

Happy National Bundt Day! how did your Bundts come out?

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Annual Reminder

National Bundt Day is coming! I am trying once again to bake a Tunnel of Fudge.

Thursday, November 11, 2021


 Here's a classic photo my mother scanned in. Wow. 

Sunday, November 07, 2021

An Overdose of Polar Bears

I put my whole polar bear photo and video album onto Google Photos, because I went a bit overboard and put in way too many photos of bears doing the same thing from image to image. Open the "Info" panel to read along and see what you're looking at.

Here's an explanation of what I was checking out, from a children's atlas I wrote in 2007.


The tiny town of Churchill in the Canadian province of Manitoba gets an influx of carnivorous furry white visitors every autumn. There's a reason the sign welcoming visitors to the town says "Polar Bear Capital of the World."

Churchill sits smack-dab on the migratory path of hundreds of polar bears, which roam the frozen plains of Canada in the summer, but make beelines for Churchill as soon as it starts to ice over in October. Why? Because it's right next to Hudson Bay, a polar bear's favorite restaurant!

Saturday, November 06, 2021

Friday, November 05, 2021

How Klondike Bars Are Made

Your daily bear. Baby bear makes a bed in kelp.

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Traffic Impediment

Here's a fun video from yesterday.


Morning miracle. I am at Winnipeg Airport at 5 a.m.

Tuesday, November 02, 2021


I can only upload a few things on the local signal but I’ll be back on the grid tomorrow night.


I made the Uber driver stop at Tim Hortons en route to the charter flight hangar.

New high or new low? I can’t decide.

Monday, November 01, 2021

Over the Border

I’ve had three Covid tests since Friday. Travel is fun!

(All negative.)

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Heading North

The plan is to fly to Manitoba today, see polar bears, then fly back to Burbank on Thursday.

But it’s oh-so-complicated. Everyone wants proof of vaccination. Cool, no problem. But Canada also wants a covid test. So I stroll up to the Air Canada counter with my passport, my vaccination card, my ArriveCan QR code, and a printout of the covid PCR test (negative, of course they want the expensive kind). Then I get to fly to Winnipeg via Vancouver, and I’m nervous about the arrival in Vancouver because I have to show all my proof again. I don’t know why I’m nervous. I don’t plan to lose my phone or my proof before boarding begins.

I stay two nights in a Winnipeg hotel, and on Monday morning before work, I get to take an antigen covid test so I can get back into the US on Thursday morning, then I work all day on my laptop.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Full Circle

Yesterday was Wonder Woman Day...go to 2:20 if you want to see the start of a scene where I precisely recall dialogue I read in 1973.

Don't ask me my office phone number or what time I have to be at the bus stop, but I know what Wonder Woman said on a top right panel in the middle of a story from 48 years ago.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Talking Her Up

Here I am, talking about Wonder Woman. 

Some of the info is a bit off, but that's okay. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Where's My Lasso?

This is a little too small for me but would have fit kid Marie in the 1970s...she would have been thrilled to wear it everywhere!

Monday, October 18, 2021

Not Really A Problem

I’m having a hard time deciding which cookie to eat.

Saturday, October 09, 2021

He May Never Forgive Me for "Fixing" Him

Look, it's Bart the Feral Flash Cat!

He's hanging out in the yard next to the convent. Bart's looking healthy.

Hand Built

This is a basic pinch pot I made out of leftover clay because I only had 20 minutes left of class.

I like how it came out, for once.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

New Transit

Today I took Metro Micro, a shared on-demand ride service that will take you around North Hollywood and Burbank for a dollar. It's like the Super Shuttle only not as annoying and you don't have to load up everyone's luggage. I had a code so Metro Micro was free today, and it takes TAP cards too. I just booked it on my phone using the Metro Micro app, which told me to go to a corner near the NoHo metro, where a driver picked me up in a sleek air conditioned van with seatbelts and wifi. We picked up one other passenger along Magnolia, and I was dropped off across the street from my destination in Burbank (the hardware store).

I hadn't taken it before because every time I'd tried to book it, the wait had been 20 minutes, and I keep forgetting to plan ahead so I usually just walk or take a bus. Or a scooter that one time. But this time the van arrived in 4 minutes, which is good because the bus that goes along this route wasn't due for 40 minutes.

Metro Micro is awesome, and a lot safer than the electric scooter I tried a few weeks ago. 


You know I have a high threshold for this sort of thing, but it really is shocking how filthy the LA metro has become over the pandemic.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Guess I Should Do Something About This, Then

The Contemporary Austin has a Daniel Johnston exhibit going on, and it's supposed to be massive and excellent, so looks like I have to find some weekend to go to Austin.

There are plenty of pieces there I've never known about or seen. I wonder which of them he meant to send to me along with this note which is part of the display.

(He spelled my name right sometimes and wrong sometimes, but he consistently said my last name wrong.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Monday Night Studio

I went to wheel class in Burbank tonight--first time back on the wheel since the pandemic started. (I did hand-building in NYC, and Burbank pottery class shut down along with everything else in March, 2020.)

The wheel is fun, and I didn't break anything. Started out kinda simple just to see if I can still do it.

One thing you may not know is there's a lot of splattered mud when you use a potter's wheel.

I was wearing sandals and now I have feet of clay.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

How It Started

I came across this photo while searching for something...this is what launched the Jersey City backyard watering hole.

During the early days of the pandemic, when everything was closed, the kids upstairs in my JC house had their kiddie pool on the patio in the yard. And we found this image on the game cam.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Remember These?

I worked in my actual office today (photo from before I moved those boxes) and now I'm exhausted.

Which makes no sense, since I do this job every day, and the walk is short, maybe half a mile.

But here I am, tired.

They Did

 Ha! We were at a wedding in Thousand Oaks. 

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

The Irony

When I went to my office, I found this note from a departed* colleague, left the day she'd collected her personal items.

(This is the same person who was game to spring me out of the routine colonoscopy in March, 2020 by pretending one of us had a car. She's a good egg and a sly smart-ass.)

*edited to add: as in resigned.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

A Twist

Thursday night. September 2, 2021.

Eighteen months into the pandemic, my inner compass feels cut on the bias, the hem rippled, disoriented from the ache of uncertainty. Our global systems have the potential for authentic evolution or disaster in the face of climate change and public health upheaval.

The unknown future rolls toward us.

I left the Toluca Lake bar early on Thursday night. The outdoor area where the vaccinated felt comfortable enough to de-mask with friends, many seeing each other outside of a video call for the first time since our offices closed on March 13, 2020. And possibly the last time. This was a celebration and a wake…we congratulated those who’d recently resigned to move to new employers, alongside raising a glass to the past as old routines disintegrated without the illusion of normality. We’d lost plenty of people over the last 18 months, but each time we’d rallied. We’d pulled off a record year, each team losing sleep and ignoring the simmering potential for cultural collapse as we threw ourselves into the joy of fiction.

Risky Business

I rode an electric scooter for the first time today. I wasn’t great at it but I got where I needed to go. I probably looked kinda dorky which was fine until I heard a friend yell “Marie!”

Maybe I should’ve denied it was me.

Friday, September 03, 2021

Solutions or Luck?

I was extraordinarily lucky during Ida. People drowned, cars floated, homes were destroyed, possessions soaked. Raw sewage overflowed into basements.

The cellar in the row house adjacent to mine in Jersey City flooded. Nearby intersections had a foot of water or more.

The key to my house pulling through was the power staying on. I tossed and turned all night here in Burbank, worried because my little apartment back East is on the ground floor, and because I know the basement flooded during Sandy. The power had gone out in 2012, the generator had gone offline, the sump pump stopped working, and the water had overwhelmed everything. Four feet of water had to be pumped out of the basement, according to the previous owner's Twitter I read when I was stalking the house prior to purchase.

Thursday, September 02, 2021


Here I am out west, doomscrolling through videos of the flooding in Jersey City and I'm hoping to hell the sump pump in my Lafayette basement holds out, and that the water at street level didn't overwhelm the drainage and end up in my ground-level apartment.

Much of the city is overwhelmed with flooding. Places far above sea level, places prone to flooding, places not prone to flooding. Everything.

(The wild animals should be fine--they go in the nun's garage. I'm not so sure about my basement or ground-floor apartment.)

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Time Change

I'm in Burbank, and I have to admit working 9-6 feels so much less burdensome than working noon-9 pm.

Last Glimpse for Now

Last look until New York Comic Con!

Please don't worry about the animals while I'm gone. They don't actually need me because 1) they're wild animals and 2) there is a whole family of humans on the property, not just families of raccoons, opossums, skunks, and collections of unrelated feral cats.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Bart the Flash Cat

I'm heading back to LAX tomorrow night, to where I have no wildlife outside my window, except one squirrel than runs along a telephone cable.

I have barely seen Bart since I humiliated him with the trapping and vet trip. Last night, I rode a Citibike from the PATH train to my house, but the parking spots were all taken so I had to drop the bike at the stand near the Light Rail instead. I walked back along Pacific, and saw Bart sitting on top of a car, brazenly looking like he owned the car.

He looked at me with suspicion. What a jerk.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

All Vehicles Welcome

But I don't even have a car.

Backyard Bandits

We're only here for the catnip.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Year of the Person

Hey, guess what? 

You know, like Nixon. 

Pottery Class Project

These wild outdoor cats get up to all kinds of things when I'm not looking. 

They made these bowls for their cousins who live in a house in Hamilton Park. Then they left the bowls behind their cousin's planter outside a window. 

Wacky kitties.

Patio Invasion

 Stop, thieves! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Bart - Exiled Into the Multiverse

Paola, who lives upstairs, snapped a shot of this apprehensive moment between Jay and Bart.

"Jay, I can come over?"

"Bart, no. Yard is mine."

"But Jay, you let Gigi visit."

"Gigi is bigger than me. You are small, Bart."

"But we are both Flashes."

"I want to be the only Flash."

Monday, August 23, 2021

Getting Out of the Rain

"I hope the cats don't get wet," said a friend when I remarked on the steady downpour coming our way this morning.

"Oh no, they hide in the nuns' garage when it rains," I replied confidently. "With the raccoons."

Turns out that is not always the case. When I got home from pottery class this evening, I saw both Jay and Gigi cowering under the side bay window overhang.

I tried to lure them into the house by putting their dinner on a towel just inside the back door, but they only stayed long enough to eat a few bites, then they darted back outside. So now I have a dirty towel and some cat food on the floor.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Not So Wild After All

Jay likes being scratched behind the ears, but he's still a little weirded out when he realizes a giant is the source of the nice feeling.