Friday, April 28, 2006

Weather ... or Not.

It’s Northern California weather in Manhattan this morning. Bright sun, a clear blue sky, crisp air and a slight chill. Leave it to me to find the sadness in such beauty.

It may be obvious to say that the sadness comes from wanting desperately to hold on to a day like today, but it’s true. A morning like this puts me in deep touch with how beautiful life is, then, in my attempt to grab it, it slips through my hands.

I have often held tight to a rare day like this, to a memory of the past, to the feeling of a new love or the fantasy of another life. But when I go there I miss out on real life; the one that is here in front of me, the weather that is mine to enjoy.

When I was a child I had a recurring dream that my father died. I spent years being afraid of it and as a young woman I’d even write him letters in which I would jokingly remind him to be careful when crossing the street. All those years of being afraid and trying to hold on to him, he died anyway.

So today I will do the same thing I did yesterday. I will take a book and my music and sit on the roof. I will hold on to this day, and I will try and let it go.

After School

Annie rides her scooter to the playground as I walk beside her.

Katie: "God, you look so beautiful today."
Annie: "I'd look even more beautiful with an ice cream cone in my hand."


“People need trouble -- a little frustration to sharpen the spirit on, toughen it. Artists do; I don't mean you need to live in a rat hole or gutter, but you have to learn fortitude, endurance. Only vegetables are happy.”

--William Faulkner

What's Real

I first saw David when I walked into my parents’ favorite neighborhood restaurant, Teachers. I had been in New York two days, visiting from California to recover from a broken heart. As my mother and I made our way to our table, I spotted him behind the bar: dark hair, broad shoulders, a serious face and in command. As it turned out, I started waitressing there two days after that.

I was first drawn to David by his kind eyes and gentle nature. Then it was his humor -- satiric, quick, dry, witty; sometimes brilliant.

We were fortunate to have an intense and highly romantic courtship with a New York City backdrop, because soon enough life hit us like a ton of bricks.

David and I have been together through financial hardship, the death of a dear friend and the death of his mother. He was beside me the day Annie was born, and the day my father suddenly died. He met me at home on September 11, 2001, when I was evacuated from my office just blocks from the World Trade Center. A year later we sat silently together in a cab after I told him that his father was dead.

I have caused David pain, but he is bigger than his ego and more powerful than his feelings. He doesn't take the offense, nor does he take the defense. He responds with a deep understanding that whatever is “happening” has meaning and a purpose, and it transcends anything we can possibly perceive in the moment.

After our first date, David and I were together every day. I cooked for him in my mother’s kitchen and he watched basketball with my dad. And when I asked him what his intentions were, he said that he intended to marry me.

We met at the end of winter, started a romance in early spring, were engaged by summer and married the following winter. Eleven months from hello to hell, yes.

David knows me better than I know myself. In any situation he can anticipate what I’m going to say or feel, or how I’m going to react. But even so, he still seems surprised and delighted by me as if I were someone new.

I have never known a person like David. He is remarkable and he amazes me. He has loved me for 17 years, not an easy job, but one he gladly took. He is the only man I’ve been with who never wanted me to be anything other than what I was.

I never want to lose sight of how fortunate I am to have him in my life.

Happy weekend, blog resumes Monday.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Who Needs Enemies?

Several of my girlfriends have emailed me suggesting I withdraw the "Rear View Mirror" photo! I've been told I look tired, sad and OLD! I can't beleive you women! How shallow! How narrow-minded! How correct!

So here, I'm re-posting that one you all seemed to approve of. (taken by Annie Kosh)

But in protest, I'm leaving the other one on!

From NY to Toronto and Back

Aaron, my Canadian friend from California ... told me about this website out of New York. See links section for "Overheard NY"

David Kosh

Born in Chicago, now New Yorker. Talented writer, a sense of humor that sometimes makes me laugh so hard I can't breathe. Political, well-read, evolved, ethical and responsible. Kind, patient and gentle, yet hot-headed, stubborn and rebellious. Insightful, devoted, human, complicated, spiritual. Adoring father and a committed and loving husband.

He appreciates fine wine, old movies and a good Cuban meal.

Babies fall fast asleep in David's arms.

Love the One You're With

"If a Macaw parrot can't find a mate and is really desperate, he'll make love to a branch or a rock."
--Annie Kosh

Mom's Gone Wild

David and Annie don't eat pork or beef at all and I, only on occasion. We were out to dinner with my mom and I said to David, "Would it bother you if I wanted to get ribs?" He said it would not bother him, then my mother turned and said to me, "I've got something at the house if that's what you want." "You've got ribs?" I asked, and she said, "Oh, I thought you said you wanted to get RIPPED."

Would You Trust Your Sports To This Guy?

This is my brother Danny.
He's a Senior Vice President at ESPN.

Rear View Mirror

Annie likes taking pictures in the car with the digital camera. I can be going 70 mph on the Turnpike and she'll beg me to turn around so she can take one of me. She's a smart kid so I'm not sure why she doesn't understand that if I turn around while driving we will die. She has started taking pictures of me through the rear view mirror, so I guess we're moving forward ... so to speak.

I post this picture with a disclaimer. It was taken last Saturday when I was having a bad day. Underslept, slightly miserable and fairly haggard, so please, no emails from concerned friends saying I need more rest or a spa vacation. Unless you send me a ticket, of course ...

Favorite Film

David and I saw this film and were so moved by it that it became one of our favorites. Years later, when Annie was in pre-school, she came home with a notice in her backpack announcing that Yale Strom would be playing Klezmer music at the school. We recognized Yale's name as being the maker of the film and soon discovered he was also the father of Tallulah, a playmate of Annie's. We went to see the performance, which also included Yale's wife Elizabeth on vocals. And this is no typical Barmitzva music people; it's Jewish music for the soul.

We're still huge fans of "The Last Klezmer," and now we're also fans of Yale, Elizabeth and Tallulah who have become treasured friends.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Fine Establishment

Shifting Gears

“A dead end street is a good place to turn around.”

He Speaks. Today, to Me.

"Your whole civilization is immersed with the idea that the way to solve a problem – any problem, private or worldwide – is to exaggerate it, see its worst projection; and this, then, is supposed to make you take proper action. The approach unfortunately solves no problems, and only compounds them whether the nation is trying to solve problems of energy … or whether an individual is trying to overcome a dilemma.

“When you become so worried, of course, you concentrate even further on the problem – how bad is it, and what will happen if it becomes worse in the future.

“The belief is that if you frighten yourself badly enough through imagined projections and imagination, you will be frightened enough to change – but the nation or individual following that method does not change for the better, but compounds the original condition, concentrates upon it until it looms larger than before …” --Seth, The Personal Sessions

Bird Brain Bliss

Annie: "I think it's so sad that birds are the happiest animals on the planet but they have the smallest brains."

Katie: "That's why they're the happiest animals on the planet."

Married to the Blog

If I weren't married to a human being would I be driving around in one of those adorable Mini Coops? Would I be jetting off on a moment’s notice to meet up with girlfriends for a night out in L.A.? Would I be a hotshot editor working at a trendy downtown post-production house? Would I be reading Cosmo and tending to every imperfection on my body with nips and tucks, pulls and peels? Would I go to the gym seven days a week, get highlights in my hair; have massages and vacations in Bermuda?

I would assuredly be living in a fabulous loft somewhere in New York, L.A. or San Francisco, but as for the rest, I doubt it. I would probably spend my days locked inside by this computer, drinking coffee, figuring out things to post on my blog.

Favorite Film

Oh Marie ...

David: "You know Mother's Day is coming up?"
Katie: "Really, when?"
David: "May. Is there anything you want?"
Katie: "Yeah, I want to be treated like a fucking queen."

David: "But which queen? Marie Antoinette? … You have to be specific."

Listening to at the Moment

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Listening to at the Moment

Tuesday Morning

My 8-year-old daughter is going through a phase. I suppose it’s classic, but it’s sometimes painful; painful to see her so uncomfortable, and also for me to be, like a punching bag, on the receiving end of it all. She is desperate to be independent yet regresses and holds on to being a baby. As if she knows that once it’s over there will be no turning back. She pleads with me to allow her to walk home alone from school, but bursts into tears if I’m waiting for her upstairs, and not out front, when the bus drops her off on a fieldtrip day. She no longer allows me to hug her in front of my friends, but in the morning, outside her school, she holds my face in her hands and kisses me on the lips. “Goodbye Mommy, I love you, have a good day,” she says. Then, as she heads toward the door, she turns back and waves to me three times before making her way inside. At that moment I feel relief that the struggle of the morning is over; “Brush your teeth … it’s not time to read now … please tie your own shoelaces,” but I also feel a twinge of sadness.

I understand the importance of living in the moment; I am someone who feels intensely the bittersweet of the passing of time, and I am uncomfortable that I should be wishing my little girl would just hurry and grow up. When she argues with me or disputes what I say, or cries because she can’t have her way, I take comfort that this won’t last forever. I look forward to helping her with her apartment or dorm, and being there when she gets her heart broken for the first time -- I’ll know how she hurts and how she’ll heal, just as my mother did … and still does. These are things worth looking forward to, but they’re also worth waiting for. I get caught up in myself, in my creative pursuits or my intense need for time alone, and lately I’m often less than patient when she pushes and pulls me through her struggle between wanting to move forward and wanting to go back. And I’m pretty good at letting her pull away from me, because after all, it’s healthy; it’s correct, it’s what she needs to do to get to the woman she’s on her way to becoming. But there will be a moment when those kisses outside the school will stop. It will be obvious, and as sure as my coffee is hot in the morning, I will feel it.

When Annie was a newborn baby I remember changing her clothes for the very first time. I burst into tears when I saw her fragile and beautiful little body because I felt as if somehow, I betrayed her by giving birth to her. That inside me she was safe and happy, and by letting her out made it inevitable, she would one day experience pain. Of course I know that she has her own plan; she did long before I knew her, but some days I feel so weak when it comes to that huge place in my heart that is only for her. And like her, I too am going through a phase. Wanting so much to move forward yet being so desperate to hold on to her … and never let her go.

Favorite Film

This film is rated R for language but Annie promised that if we allowed her to watch it, she wouldn't start saying "Fuck" all the time. We let her watch it, she kept her promise, and it's a movie we all love so much. Especially me. (of course now I say Fuck constantly).


"I can resist everything except temptation."

- Oscar Wilde.

Who's Afraid of the Tasmanian Devil?

Annie: "Tasmanian Devils don't love each other. They like to kill each other and make babies. And then the male leaves."

David: "Sounds like an Edward Albee play."

Monday, April 24, 2006

Blog Up

Wow, this morning there was a WORLDWIDE shut down on all blogs! I guess the emails I get from Peru and the U.K. explain the worldwide thing. I'm still not sure I fully grasp the magnitude of the blog phenomenon. Anyway, for now, I'm up and running.

When it Falls From the Tree ...

On Saturday I stopped by one of my favorite stores, TekServe, which is devoted to Macintoshes of all kinds, except the ones that grow on trees. Now you might not understand how a store like this could invoke feelings of excitement, so to my PC-using, non-New York friends, what’s so great about TekServe? Number one, the space is enormous, and I think when you live in New York, walking into an enormous space is just so liberating. The store is in what was once a factory back in the day: wood floors, ceilings two stories high. There’s an antique Coke machine, and if you put in a dime you get yourself a bottle of Coke. I’m not a soda drinker, but even I can’t resist the novelty. But the best thing about the place is the staff. Almost every person working there possesses a great and unusual combination of characteristics. Computer nerd, ultra cool, intelligent, witty and sweet. It’s like TekServe has its own “Stepford” thing going, but in a good way. Being there sometimes feels like being at a party with friends, and we all have at least two things in common: we all live in New York City, and we’re all having love affairs with our Macs. (I see an apple theme here).

On this particular trip to TekServe, I brought my comatose iPod to be diagnosed.

Annie and I walk in; Annie grabs a comic book off the rack and sits herself down in a 1970’s “Egg Chair.” I approach the guy at the counter, the iPod laying flat in my open palm. “If it’s dead,” I say, “then I’m willing to buy a new one. But I love my iPod and I want to hear there’s hope.” The TekServe guy, young, cute and cool, looks straight into my eyes as he removes the iPod from my hand. He understands. He proceeds to plug it into his computer. No response. He then unplugs it. He puts it up to his ear and listens. “Is it dead?” I ask. “No,” he says, “It’s not dead.” “Then you can fix it?” I ask. “No, I don’t think I can,” he says. “Then it’s dead?” I ask again. He smiles at me and pauses, “It’s not dead.” Then he laughs. I’m confused. Is he flirting with me? I take his hand in mine and we look at each other. “Please explain,” I say. He tells me that to repair the iPod it would have to show up on his computer when he plugged it in. That would be the only way he could erase the hard drive so I could then reinstall my music library. “But it won’t let me do that,” he says. “So I need to purchase a new one,” I say. “Yes, you need a new one,” he answers. “So it’s dead,” I say. He smiles. Another pause. “It’s dead.” He says. “Take a number and go to the green wall.”

I approach the next cute, cool computer guy and ask him for a ticket. He glances at my iPod. “It’s dead,” I tell him. “I’m sorry,” he says sincerely. “Do you offer funeral services?” I ask. “It can be arranged,” he says.

Three minutes later, after seeing my new iPod--it holds more songs, has a wider screen, even comes with video download capabilities-- I dropped my deceased one on the counter and forgot all about it.

After all, one bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch …

Listening to at the Moment

I really believe this one ...

“The desire of the man is for the woman, but the desire of the woman is for the desire of the man.”
-- Madame de Stael

The Thrill of the Chase

Annie says to her mom:

“A female rhinoceros will have a male rhinoceros chase her for several days to see if he is strong enough, and can run fast.

"Can you imagine if Daddy had to chase you just to kiss you?”

--Annie Kosh

A Big Little Heart

This is a more recent picture of my big brother Mike ...just out of the shower.

I recently found a stack of index cards Michael wrote on when he was 6. Some thoughts, some advice, some wisdom.

1) "When the sun rises in the sky and it is summertime, the little caterpillars wake up and start eating the leaves on the trees."

2) "Who is the fattest teacher in the school? Who is the skinniest teacher in the school? Which teacher yells and screams the loudest? Which teacher eats the most ice cream and candy?"

3) "Never leave your bicycle all by itself or somebody will take it."

4) "Someday, when Michael is older, he will have an automobile, a large house, a wife, some little children, and lots of bubblegum."

5) "People shouldn't hurt people smaller than themselves or people larger than themselves or people the same size or animals."

Favorite Film

My mother had an improvisational theatre company in San Francisco that began in 1966. Before making the film, "The Candidate," Robert Redford had seen the group perform and was so impressed with the talent that he hired many of them to play roles in the film. Though my mother was the director of the company, she had also been an actress and Redford put her in the movie as well. She had one line and it was, "As I always say, handsome is as handsome does." When the director shouted "Cut!" Redford said, "Is that all she gets?!" The director said, "Yeah, it is," and Redford replied, "That's too bad."

"The Candidate" is a wonderful film and my mom rocks in about 8 seconds of it.


Annie created her own blog yesterday and she asked me to let you all know about it. Since she is unaware of the insightful and sometimes brilliant things she says, you can still find those things here at The Half Note. Annie's blog will be devoted to stories of her friends and her pets, and perhaps an occasional complaint about her teachers and parents. Please see links section.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Cowgirl Up

Yesterday I took Annie and her friend to the barn. It was the first time I’d seen my horse since he removed me from his back like a pesky fly. That day that I lay flat on my back in the dirt, when I had yet to feel the pain, I must admit, I actually liked being there. I could see my jeans below me and my cowboy boots saluting the sun. And not far from sight, was my big Palomino, heading toward me to check out the damage.

I was born part city girl and part cowgirl, for what reason, I don’t know. I’ve had many more city girl moments than cowgirl moments, but that day on the ground, I was all cowgirl.

It’s power and nature, skill and competence. It’s spiritual and romantic. It’s an agreement between horse and rider, no matter what happens. It can be image and ego, but if those things are let go, it’s a feeling of connectedness to the deepest part of ones self.

A cowgirl rejects conventional beauty but embraces what is unique to her. Her wide hips help her move when her horse moves, her thighs hold her to the saddle. The weight of her body lets her fearful animal know that someone is there. A cowgirl makes choices every moment. Her mind is alert and her touch is light.

She is who I aspire to be.

Blog resumes Monday.

He Speaks

"...If you truly understood what I am saying, you would realize the importance of encouraging optimistic, jestful feelings of faith, of cultivating them—for it is far more important to collect them than money. They represent far greater security, defense, and strength. They are far more practical than any negative considerations, regardless of how realistic those might appear at any given time."
--Seth, The Personal Sessions.

And We Said It Couldn't Be Done

My brother Michael is an eccentric. He's 48, a perpetual bachelor, a coffee drinker, a cigar smoker, slightly obsessive, and he rides a Harley through the streets of New York City. If he sleeps, it's an hour here and there. He eats one meal a day. His energy is off the charts and his charm is real. Women love him. He can piss people off, but he doesn't mean it. He's as smart as they come, but he's also an innocent with a heart of gold.

Michael is the founder and producer of the Michael Chekhov Theatre Company, operating from a Lower East Side space he created called The Big Little Theatre. A couple of months ago, I was downtown having dinner with David and a group of friends when Michael burst into the restaurant, sat down, ordered his meal and enthusiastically told us of his latest great idea. Now Michael had come up with countless ideas and plans in the past. A family boat business in Hawaii, all of us selling our homes, moving to San Francisco, investing in an old church where we would all live and build a theatre and nightclub. He’s also come up with premises for countless television shows, and you know what? Years later they actually end up on TV. "I knew it," he’d exclaim a million times. After September 11th, he sat us all down and discussed in detail his elaborate plan for our family to escape New York in life rafts if need be. So at the restaurant, when he announced his plan to produce all 45 of Sam Shepard's plays, we all looked at each other. Yeah, like he'll be able to pull that off, we were all thinking.

Well shame on us! Not only has he pulled it off, he did something absolutely unheard of for a tiny unknown off-off-Broadway theatre. He single-handedly managed to get the New York Times to come see a production of Shepard's "Buried Child," which they DID, and gave it a RAVE review!

But it doesn't end there. Brother Mike was seeing his friend Bernie White in the recent production of John Guare's, "Landscape of the Body," and who should be backstage, but Guare himself. When Bernie introduced Michael to Guare, the playwright told him he'd heard about Michael's theatre, was quite interested in it etc., etc. (JOHN GUARE FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!)

My brother Michael is flying around this earth like a hawk, and the only times I know for certain he'll come down is when someone is in need. He's always been there for me, and though he's pissed me off plenty, he has never once let me down.

Maybe I'll listen to him more closely next time he has a grandiose scheme. Maybe that nightclub in San Francisco isn't such a bad idea. Maybe, if my life is ever in danger, I will board that life raft with him.

(Photo of Michael taken a LONG time ago. Imagine the same face, but hair all over the place, a crooked cap and the eyes of a wild tiger. Please see links section of blog for the Times review.)

The Belle of the Ball

This is Annie's African Pygmy Goat, Tinkerbelle. When Annie arrives at the barn Tink comes running, follows her all day and cries when she leaves. Annie recently tried to play hide-and-seek with her goat but later complained to me. "Mommy," she said, "I close my eyes, I count to ten, but when I open them, she's just standing there looking at me!"

He Loves Me ...

Annie took these pictures of Oakley watching me get work done around the barn. It's nice to be adored in such an uncomplicated way...

Favorite Film

Bad Mommy

Is it wrong that I woke up in a cheerful mood this morning because my 8-year-old daughter is going on a field trip today? We’ve been together almost around the clock for seven days and she has once again taken to talking incessantly. She is constantly expressing all that she wants and all that she doesn’t have. She won’t quit and I’m at my wit’s end.

So I'll drop her off and get myself a cup of coffee. And when I return to my quiet, empty, sun-filled apartment, and before I begin my workday ...I will finish Friday's blog. (She just shouted to me from the other room, "Mommy, I love you!)

See, I'm bad, a bad, bad mommy.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Had to ...

Let's Be Pigs

He Speaks

"The inner world of each man and woman is connected with the inner world of the earth. The spirit becomes flesh. Part of each individual's soul, then, is intimately connected with what we will call the world's soul, or the soul of the earth.

"The smallest blade of grass, or flower, is aware of this connection, and without reasoning comprehends its position, its uniqueness and its source of vitality. The atoms and molecules that compose ALL objects, whether it be the body of a person, a table, a stone or a frog, know the great passive thrust of creativity that lies beneath their own existence, and upon which their individuality floats, distinct, clear and unassailable." -- Seth, The Nature of Personal Reality