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Archive for January, 2011

New York City: Year 2, Day 149

Things I have done since last we met:

-Finished researching Three Sisters
-Begun the memorization process for Three Sisters
-Scored some fun film work that necessitated being in a night club at 4am
-Finished writing my one-woman show
-Revisited The Facts of Winter
-Started yet another writing project

Also, I’ve been sleeping. A lot. I begin the life of graduate acting student once again a week from today, so I have been sleeping. Sleeping and enjoying the sun during daylight hours since it’ll probably be May before either of those things happen again.

Tonight, another storm is on its way. The trees in McGolrick Park look like black lace against the sky today. Or maybe not. Maybe they just look like bare trees in the winter. In any case, I’m happy that this winter is being kinder to me than last winter was. Last year, I was 16 stories up and lost in the gray of the Financial District. This year, my apartment overlooks a park. The snow stays whiter longer in our tiny patch of Brooklyn. I’m grateful for that.

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Few people have a smile like my grandmother did.

New Year City: Year 2, Day 138

Though there are many memories I’ve been turning to in recent weeks, I find myself most often thinking of her smile. My Nana, Beverly Trout Kennedy, was born on January 7, 1928. She was a wonderful woman– a sister, a friend, a wife, but most people remember her as a mother. She had nine sons, one daughter. Ten children. I count myself among 22 grandchildren. There’s also a great-grandchild. Look at her.

My Nana died on December 24th, 2010. Christmas eve. She was 83 years old.

I’ve been looking at that picture a lot. Everyone tells me how much I favor her.

Words aren’t coming easy. I wanted to write about her to celebrate her life, to acknowledge the amazing woman she was, to honor her role as the deeply loved matriarch of our family, but all I can think of is the funeral. Last week, her family and friends gathered in St. Louis to celebrate her. The church was filled.

Her sons, nine men now with children of their own, all easily identifiable as Bev’s boys with their broad shoulders and bright eyes, stood greeting people with pride for the woman their mother was. Her daughter, my Aunt Molly, shook hands with people who knew without a doubt that she was my Nana’s little girl. They share the same generous smile and equally generous spirit. I stood off to the side and thought about the fact that this was the church I’d been baptized in over two decades ago. She’d been there. I looked around at all of my cousins and thought of her holding each of us as babies.

People with friendships with my grandmother spanning decades were there in droves. Women and men I’d never met immediately identified me as a Trout girl and came up to me and, shaking my hand, shared a story about my Nana’s generosity, her giant heart, or one of the many antics she put up with between my former Marine grandfather and her ten children. Not a single person didn’t mention how beautiful, how graceful she was.

It was amazing to hear stories about her I’d never heard before, to think of her and laugh, to remember all of the joy she had in her life. Today I’m thinking of her and hoping I’ve inherited some of her grace, some of her courage, some of her generosity of heart.

She has been gone for almost two weeks. Tomorrow, January 7th, 2011 would have been her 83rd birthday.

I also write this because my family doesn’t yet have the closure they deserve. My Nana passed from complications due to a hit-and-run car accident after leaving a restaurant with her husband in mid-December. They were in Vero Beach, Florida at the time. If anybody reading this has friends or family in the Vero Beach area, please pass along this link to them and ask them to share any information they may have. http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2011/jan/01/indian-river-county-investigators-looking-for-in/

I’ve been looking at the video that my Aunt Molly made for her 80th birthday a few years ago. There are beautiful pictures of her as a little girl, pictures of her on the day she married my grandfather, pictures of her with her arms full of babies. It’s a nice reminder of what a loving and well-loved woman she was.

Happy birthday, Nana.

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Where are the animals going?

New York City: Year 2, Day 137

First, the blackbirds gave up on us on New Year’s Eve. Then the fish started going belly-up. Now, apparently some 40,000 odd Velvet swimming crabs have washed up on beaches in the UK. Another 50 birds show up dead on a street in Sweden. Louisiana and Arkansas– I knew he be wary of you, but now I have to add Sweden to the list?

The fish, the birds, the crabs. And now this deer. He’s making a run for something.  (My favorite part is the burly Polish man at the end who shouts, “Hoorah!”)

And then there’s me in Brooklyn. Not making a run for anything just yet. I’ve been thinking of getting a cat, but maybe I should hold off on that for awhile.

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It’s after midnight now. The first day of the year has gotten away from me.

New York City: Year 2, Day 133(4)

I spent the afternoon shaking confetti out of my hair. When I woke up late in the day, it was on my eyelids, stuck to my back, in the crook of my left arm. I peeled away flecks of pink, green, and blue carefully, groggily. More satisfying, though, was shaking my head back and forth and watching the color fall from my hair.

Too much has happened in the days since Christmas Eve. I’m too tired and still too sad to write about most of those events. They have taken me to Georgia, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, and back again to New York. There have reunions and celebrations. There has been a loss. I want to write about them all, but right now, there’s too much that my mind still needs to process. So at the moment, I deal with today. The New Year.

Chris and I found ourselves back in New York City yesterday afternoon. I spent most of flight from Ohio thinking of the blizzard we’d missed while on our holiday travels and remembering the snow-filled and stormy night a year ago when we ran through the blizzard together to watch the snow fall over the ocean. This year, the snow and the sea went on without us and we only just made it back in time to catch the remnants. On our street in Brooklyn, bicycles are still lost in the snow piled high on the sidewalk. Once inside the apartment, we dropped our bags, changed clothes, and prepared to head to Evangeline’s apartment in Williamsburg to ring in the New Year.

Before…

The Poet and I spent the walk to Angie’s slipping through the slush and relishing in the fact that Christmas decorations had not yet been taken down. I used the heels of my boots as a spike in the snowier areas where no path had been cleared. All along McCarren Park, only a narrow passage hugging the gate had been shoveled. Revelers fell into the beeline with the snow settled in on either side. I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that the streets of Williamsburg and Greenpoint felt like a college campus on a Saturday night. Groups linked arms as they walked, laughed, sang. The cars didn’t have the streets to themselves.

I’m not sure I’ve ever had some much fun on New Year’s Eve as I did last night. Angie’s apartment was filled with people, many I’d met before, many I hadn’t. A whole slew of Talking Heads songs were played. I laughed entirely too much, danced a bit too hard, and probably drank a bit too fast. At midnight, I got to kiss the man I love. We all took an early morning trip to the roof where the dancing and singing continued. New friends were made. At one point in the early hours of the morning, “Circle of Life” from The Lion King played. What happened then is documented below. Shortly after, the confetti appeared. I don’t know from where. I only know that I spent the rest of the night and all of today covered with it and not minding a bit.

It is 2011. While I have no idea how that came to be, I’m thankful for how it began– celebrating in good company, singing “Auld Lang Syne” from the rooftops of New York City and preparing for all that’s to come. The After isn’t nearly as attractive as the Before, but I think that’s the sign of a New Year’s Eve well done.

2011, it’s nice to meet you. I certainly hope we’ll be friends.

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