Sunday, December 30, 2007

In this moment

I can't say whether or not my father was particularly fond of Luciano Pavarotti, of Puccini or of gray Sundays, but those three things together sure make me miss him.

Both sides of the street

On December 24th I received a ticket for parking on the wrong side of the street. I thought to myself, New York really should show some holiday spirit! That thought was immediately replaced by a sincere feeling of gratitude, a profound connection to all the mothers who were sitting next to their daughters in hospitals that day, wishing, just wishing all they had to face was a parking ticket.

Yesterday we moved everything out of David's apartment, and regardless of the fact that it's the only home Annie has ever known, I should be grateful she's only had to move two buildings down. She'll remain on the same street, see the same faces on her way to the same school, play with the same friends. But last night when she ran into her daddy's unfamiliar room, broke down and cried "I want to go home!," gratitude was not what I felt.

I know how fortunate I am as a mother, as a woman and as a human being, and I know how fortunate my child is too. I just can't help but wishing that a ticket given for parking on the wrong side of the street would be the worst thing she'd ever have to face.

The long and winding road

The idea that a relationship "ending" is equivalent of a failure is a childish notion. If you can embrace the idea that the purpose of being with someone is to bring you to a closer understanding and appreciation of yourself, you begin to realize that "forever" is a ridiculous standard--unless you're talking about the human heart and soul, which do remain connected no matter what. It's the understatement of this century to say that things in physical form change, but it's nowhere more evident than in relationships. Death, estrangement, divorce, and even amicable distancing--these are all common so-called endings to a relationship.

~John Demartini, author, The Heart of Love

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Thing #98,233 I love about my mom

She'll say, "A container of coffee" instead of a cup to go.


I once worked in Phillip Glass' recording studio and quit because I couldn't stand hearing his music all day long.

Fact #51,018

When I was a little girl I used to be afraid of lightening and thunder, so whenever a storm hit, I'd turn on the local news and watch the anchor men and women reporting live. It comforted me because I knew that since we were all in the same city, and since they looked so calm and collected, they must be safe... and if they were safe, I supposed I was as well.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sitting at the sidebar

At a time in my life when much is changing, perhaps getting fixed on one album is simply a subconscious attempt to hold onto something safe, trusted, and constant.

Here's another beautiful song from the soundtrack, Once.

Moving words

Here's an excerpt from an email I received from a faithful Half Note reader and friend:

...I was chatting with a friend about the many times I moved, while a kid with my parents, and while alone; and how my set of ideas and interests always moved with the furniture...after you've moved, instead of growing completely different, you keep growing on your actual path, and always for the better, focused and peaceful.

In this moment

In an attempt to lighten my midsection and my mood, I am off to the gym.

In this moment

Tonight I'll wash Annie's back for the last time in the bathtub I've bathed her in since she was a baby.

I'd give anything to have my girlfriends near me now.

In this moment

What do they say? Next to a death and a divorce, the most stressful thing to go through is a move?

Although I am physically packing boxes at the Homestead, my brain has taken a detour to someplace else. Would anyone like to come shovel me out?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Half Note will be packing boxes for the next two days and nights. We apologize for any inconvenience a decrease in blogging may cause.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy, merry

To all.



I've always wanted a pink tree.

Next year.

Sitting at the sidebar

Another one from the soundtrack for the film, current obsession.


I'm dragging it with me, and I wish I would drop it.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

In my dreams

Last night I dreamed I was having dinner at the home of a family I had just met. The mother was cooking in the kitchen. I was at the table eating with a fork that kept bending when it went into my mouth, so I took it to the kitchen and asked the mother for a different one. She kindly pulled another out of the drawer and said, Try this one. I did, but it was also soft, bending at the touch. I shrugged it off and said, I guess I'm just used to forks that don't bend, and tried graciously to accept the one she'd given me.

In this moment

Freedom #1: Taking a walk and leaving my cellphone at home.

Admission #1: On my walk, passing my car parked on the street and looking at it with affection, as if it were a member of my family.

Confession #1: Bought a book titled, The Heart of Love, How to Go Beyond Fantasy to Find True Relationship Fulfillment.

Sadness # 1: In 6 more days we will vacate the Homestead, where 10 years ago I sat on the floor of the empty apartment and nursed my baby before the movers arrived.

New pleasure #1: Lemon ginger tea with honey.

Confession #2: At the Half Note is a love affair I'm having with myself.

Fear #1: I will become someone who guards her heart.

Fear #2: I'll never know how to guard my heart.

Resignation #1: I'm going to bed.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sitting at the sidebar

Tonight I had a profound musical experience, but it wasn't at the Blue Note or Birdland, it wasn't at the Vanguard or at the Garden. It all took place in the living room of the Homestead, watching a film called, Once.

Film, as in all art, attempts to tell stories, evoke ideas and emotions, and tries to make sense of life. We are particularly interested in love relationships expressed in film, the lonely man meets the lonely woman and in the end, even if they don't find lasting happiness, at least they find each other.

Once is like nothing I've ever seen. It's void of self-consciousness, leaves the meaning of life alone, and lets itself happen. Music is the dialog, the characters are versions of you and me.

I cried at the end because I was relieved that such a film was made, I was touched by the simplicity of the story, moved by the honesty in the music, and because I faced again the only regret I have in my life, that I never learned to play or compose.

I hope you'll listen to this one pretty song from the film, then go out and rent it. At least just once.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sitting at the sidebar

Here are some pictures of me and my brother Danny getting Clean-O Clean in 1966.

The song is by Woody Guthrie, another one Annie requests I sing to her before bed.

Click on the music player just to the right to listen.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Walking down the aisle

Annie: "Cool!"

Me: "What?"

Annie: "Cheese in a can!"

Me: "Why do you find that exciting?"

Annie: "I've just never seen it in person before!"


I recently told a friend that I am willing to pay a high price to feel, and the Michael Chekhov Theatre Company's production of John Patrick Shanley's The Dreamer Examines His Pillow, confirms that I am not the only one.

Although I found the most unexpected and profound thoughts expressed by the father, it was the daughter I identified with. Donna is in love with feeling love, and tormented when life inevitably and repeatedly imposes itself. I realized how often I experience the same devastation, as if the only place I want to exist is in that feeling, that the actual world can never compare or compete and will never be enough.

I know the difference between being addicted to the way love feels and what it is to really love, and after watching Dreamer, I understand that although the two can sometimes occur simultaneously, like when you look into your lover's eyes, when he receives the gift of you or when he buttons up your sweater, more often love and its feeling operate exclusively of one another. Love is like the cake, solid and dense, the feeling is like the icing, light and sweet, and sometimes you get to eat it all at once, but mostly you just get a taste.

The message I came away with from Dreamer is that love is impossible but there is no other choice. We have to keep banging our heads against walls, attaching and detaching, drawing close and running away, because the alternative is to be alone, without love, without cake and icing, without the one thing that makes life alive and dying less painful.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


The Dreamer Examines His Pillow
encourages us to pursue life beyond mere existence, no matter what the price.

Click here for tickets.

In real time

I just returned from standing outside after having been woken up by a man yelling, "fire!" I threw on a sweatshirt, opened my front door and immediately my apartment was engulfed in smoke. My first impulse was to unlock the gate on my fire escape and open the window, then I put on a coat, grabbed my wallet, keys, cellphone and my father's ring and made my way down the smoke-filled front stairs, banging on doors while on the line with 911.

It's still smoky in here and now quite cold, but the blaze in 2D is out, everyone is safe, and the only sound I hear is a woman gently calling for her cat.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sitting at the sidebar

If you're tired of all the Keb I've been playin', then don't listen no mo'.


I once wished that when the sun was out, it would just stay out, when the sky was clear, it should remain that way, and that one day I might hear the ringing of a bell and have my desires delivered to my door.

Now I see clouds same as the sun, and all that blue that lines the gray, and what I long for is as real as a cypress tree, breathing in its own rhythm, appearing in a form hidden and visible at the same time.

Photo by Rob Penner.

Favorite quote

"In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."

~Albert Camus

Tuesday morning

We can't control it, the best we can do is try and keep it balanced.

Evolving 101

In the past, if things between me and someone were at a standstill, I would be overcome with feelings of relief and elation when they were reconciled . Now, when I experience a disconnection with someone, although reconnecting is always hopeful and positive, along with it comes a deep sense of awareness and a healthy dose of caution.

Monday, December 17, 2007


A week ago tonight I walked up Fifth Avenue, and on the corner of 52nd Street I came across a walkway; columns wrapped in greenery, laced with hundreds of tiny white Christmas lights. I thought I had never seen anything so beautiful and as I went through, I never felt more alone.

The edge

It's where I always want to be living.


"I hid a part of me from her to save somethin' cause I was scared. ...what I saved wasn't worth a god damn thing."

~From John Patrick Shanley's, The Dreamer Examines His Pillow.

Sitting at the sidebar

Well, since you all asked, here is the second of the three songs I sing to Annie before bed. (Actually, no one asked, but I'm sure there's a logical explanation for that!)

Enjoy it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

In my dreams

Yesterday I woke from a dream that my apartment was filled with hummingbirds.

Sitting at the sidebar again

One of the three songs I sing to Annie before bed.

True for me

When I became a butterfly, I forgot what it was like to be a caterpillar.

Sweet city girl

Tonight Annie sent me another "E-card." A picture of a sunflower surrounded by butterflies.

The card said:

Love You!
This is what you look like to me...

Lot's of love,


Realization #5,677,902

It's better to run alone than to be held at the gate in good company. ~kb.

What a difference a week makes

Intuitive child

Annie: "Mommy, why are you sad?"

Me: "Because of the man I've been seeing, the one I told you about."

Annie: "What did he do to you?"

Me: "He didn't do anything to me."

Annie: "Then what's the problem?"

Me: "It's just that everyone has a way they want to live their lives, and he kind of wants to live his life..."

Annie: "Alone?"

Me: "Something like that."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Katie Bowen

Sometimes the only one who can protect her is me.

Sitting at the sidebar

What is There to Say? by Bill Evans.

Friday, December 14, 2007

All you see is me

If you click on the photo above, you will see a statue of a man and a woman. I purchased it a few years ago as a gift to David, but only understood much later it was not a gift that reflected our relationship, but rather an attempt to convince myself that the man and woman were me and David; romantic, open and together. When we separated, I asked if I could take the statue and he said yes.

The next man I loved commented that the couple reminded him of himself and me; the feeling of love and closeness we shared, even the height difference between us looked the same as that of the two figures. But after this man broke my heart and I returned home, the first thing I did was throw the statue against the wall and watch it smash into a hundred pieces across the floor.

Weeks later I tried to contact the Argentinian sculptress who made the piece, I was convinced if I brought it back into my room, my love would return. I called a shop in Greenwich Village that sold her work, described the statue but was told they didn't carry it. I left my number and asked them to phone me, hoping the artist might be inspired to make another man and woman who embodied the dream of my lover and me. Months later, I received a call from the shop; a shipment from the artist had just come from Argentina and they believed they had what I was looking for.

Below is the statue I saw when I entered the shop. It was a brownish color, not the blue I was accustomed to, and the height of the man and woman was more equal, the man not quite as tall as the one before. And this couple, this couple looked less like me and the man I loved, and more like me and a man I had just met.

But the statue I was replacing the broken one with was not me and my husband, or me and the man I loved, nor was it me and the man who had just come into my life. The statue I bought to replace the shattered one was me, standing beside a symbol of what I want to have someday with someone. And whether he's like that deep, comforting blue that I love, or an unexpected golden brown, whether he's a foot taller or stands on his toes to look me in the eye, I will know, as does she, but until then I remain romantic, open, together with myself and that right there, that's just me.

Thank you

When I felt stranded.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

From the inbox

From: Tai Moses
To: Katie Bowen

Subject: I really don't know why ....

... but I have a pink Tinkerbell t-shirt sitting in my closet.
I don't think any of my politically correct friends will let their daughters wear it.

...Would Annie want it?

Happy birthday Lisa!

Click here to read about my wonderful friend.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Silent night

Tonight Annie decorated our little tree. This will be our tenth and last Christmas at the Homestead.


Please check out recent postings at Annie's Version, as well as her new blog, Anniemal.