I Remember My Life Six Months Ago

Today, October 22nd, 2008 marks the six-month anniversary of the inferno which destroyed 19-49 Troutman Street and shook my reality to the core. When I first arrived in Louisville I had no intention of still being here, but I am glad that I made the decision not to get on the airplane on May 5th, my original return date. I subletted a room from a friend of a friend here, struggled to get the clothing and necessities required to get a job and earn the money I needed to survive in a new place.

Day after day, boxes were delivered to me, full of generous donations from friends and strangers who wanted to help. I spent weeks of honeysuckle fragranced, spring afternoons in the hot sun writing thank-you notes and dropping them in the mailbox. Day after day, stamp after stamp. And each day that passed when I did not hear from those people who I thought were my friends was like a knife turning in my heart.  With time, the pain subsided and I realized more and more the beauty and joy surrounding me in this new place, my sadness diminishing through due course of tears, bourbon, laughter, friendship, meditation and simply beginning to move on.

Someone even bought me a bicycle so I could get to and from work. The incredible acts of kindness I experienced and received helped me get through my pain and sadness as I sat, alone and knowing but one person here, wondering how my life could change so dramatically so quickly. There were days, in the beginning, I missed Kae Burke so much; I had a case of an incredibly painful broken heart. I missed Larken so much, sitting at the table with our laptops open and making calls, brainstorming, getting our names and faces recognized publically for the work we were doing. Accomplishment after accomplishment, each bigger and more surreal than the next. We were a powerful team of women, unstoppable while united.

However, while I was here healing and the rest of the people I had spent countless consecutive days with were still in New York, scattered among apartments belonging to their exes (we all somehow ended up at our exes places immediately following the fire), I felt a disconnect like no other. And above all, I deeply grieved the loss of the household cat, Pilgrim. So much, in fact, that when I met my friend David, who had moved here from Los Angeles just three weeks before I arrived, the first time I went to his house and saw Loki, an orange tabby the spitting image of Pilgrim, I cried.

But today was a great day. Not only am I baking some delicious tofu in a simple tahini marinade,  I drove with a neighbor and collected wood to burn in our fire pit. Although it is probably from being out of the city and reconnecting with my love of nature, I have gotten really great at starting fires. Maybe that was The Gift of the Magi

Anyway, since many readers did not know me before I came to Louisville, I wanted to share  some of the photographs I like the most about how my life in New York City was before April 30th, 2008 when I arrived.

From the front page of the Brooklyn Paper

From the front page of the Brooklyn Paper

And finally, six months later, I still remember Pilgrim. He would appear in my dreams and save me from giant rats. After he died, he visited me in my dreams until I was safe and sound here in Louisville.

Even though Fire Prevention Week was October 5th through 11th, it is always a great time to check your home fire extinguishers and smoke alarms!

I Am Left in the Dark (Written on Day 4 Without Electricity)

I had planned, on Sunday, to take my moped (a sassy little Italian-made 1978 Motron Medalist) out for a ride and run errands, drink coffee, pay bills and shop for vintage or costume pieces. However when I awoke to strong winds rattling my new house, I figured it wouldn’t be very safe for me to venture out. Boy, was I right! The remnants of Hurricane Ike swept through Louisville late Sunday morning and brought with it sustained winds of 50 mph with gusts reaching 75 mph, the most intense and serious storm to affect the area in 30 years. Naturally when giant oak trees, strong as they are, grow and grow and never face winds of this nature, they are unable to handle the power and come tumbling down. I toured my neighborhood (where I could) and witnessed not only broken tress which had fallen onto power lines but also enormous, stately trees completely uprooted, as if a tornado had plucked it from the earth.

As of yesterday, over 300,000 people (including myself) are without electricity and the utility company here, LG&E, estimates that it may take ten to 14 days before service is restored in some areas. Thank goodness my friend in Old Louisville has power and I can stay there!

Here are some photos I took while exploring the damage on Sunday. I guess after growing up with a mother and stepfather in emergency medicine and response, surviving 9/11/01, making it through the the blackout of 2003 which knocked out power in most of the northeast and picking up the pieces after the fire, I’m sort of unphased by disaster and keep my cool. I am not sure if this is a good or a bad thing. Either way, I am fine and the trees in my house and yard didn’t suffer any damage. Thankfully!

An unlucky motorist and live wires down. Dangerous!

Utility pole snapped in half from 75mph winds

Uprooted tree in Central Park

Even fancy houses were not spared.

I Need Your Help To Save Coney Island!!!

Got five minutes, a pen, some paper and a few stamps? How about just sending an email? I need your help!

If you have ever been to Coney Island you probably know how incredibly magical this landmark is. After all, its the birthplace of American amusement entertainment.

HOWEVER, the struggle to preserve Coney Island has now taken an urgent turn and I need your help. New York City’s new plan almost completely abolishes the amusement district for the sake of high rise hotels and retail. Coney Island is currently zoned for 61 acres of amusements; the city’s new proposal reduces the amount of amusements to 9 acres.

This reduction of the Amusement Distirct will destroy Coney Island’s legacy as “the People’s Playground” and defeat the goal of creating a world class amusement and tourist destination. 25 to 30 story high rises and retail do not belong in the amusement district! Retail is no substitute for amusements!

There is plenty of space outside of the Amusement District, in Coney Island for residential, hotels and retail! Why destroy the amusement district forever to meet this goal?

SAY YES TO REVITALIZING THE AMUSEMENT DISTRICT AND NO TO to 26 New High Rises of up to 30 stories each in the current Amusement District!

NO

to Retail, Malls or “Entertainment Retail” in the Amusement District!

NO

to shrinkage of the Amusement District from 61 acres to 9 acres!

YES

to preserving Amusement Zoning in the Amusement District!!

YES

to keeping Coney Island the People’s Playground- providing accessible Amusements for ALL to enjoy!!

Write a Letter! Submit a written testimony by writing a letter, expressing your opinion to:
New York City Economic Development Corporation
110 William Street
New York, New York 10038
Attention: Rachel Belsky, Vice-President

OR, Send an email to:
rbelsky@nycedc.com

WRITTEN TESTIMONIES MUST BE SUBMITTED BY JULY 11th, 2008
Please send a copy of your written testimony to
Mayor Bloomberg, City Council President Christine Quinn, and your City Council Member.

Mayor Michael R.Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
Phone 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC)
Fax (212) 788-2460

Cristine Quinn
224 West 30th St, Suite 1206
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 564-7757
Fax: (212)564-7347

PLEASE HELP SAVE CONEY ISLAND!

Here is a link to the music video I produced and shot in Coney Island.

http://kristineforpresident.wordpress.com/music-video-for-get-it-right-inspired-by-the-beatles/

I Ban Plastic Bags For One Month

Worried about the environment? Sick of me talking about polystyrene?

Take Action!

Challenge yourself in July to change your consumption habits.

Don’t use a single-use or take away plastic bag for one month.

Instead you can:
-own and carry a re-usable sack
-re-use your old plastic bags
-use bio-degradable corn based bags
-compost
-wrap and tie refuse in old newspaper

I have been using a fabulous black KILL SHOP KILL canvas tote bag and it’s perfect for my library books, small groceries and more. There is so much we can do, but trying to not use a single plastic bag in July is my simple challenge to all of you. Once you stop relying on plastic it is easy to see how much of it is wasted. It can even be frustrating! I would love to see some of your comments as the month goes by regarding this effort and I hope you’ll give it a try.

Composting alone reduces so much waste at the curb AND in our landfills, and the benefits also include rich, nutrient soil for your garden. Local coffee shops can help get you started and provide grinds, and all sorts of your own kitchen waste – pretty much everything BUT meat and dairy products – can go right in the compost. Even paper towels, tea bags (staples removed) and egg shells. This can even be done in your apartment. That’s right, New Yorkers! Reducing waste, without odor, is as easy as using two utility buckets stacked atop one another. The first is for your green or wet (raw kitchen waste, coffee grinds) and brown (newspaper, paper towels, dry twigs and leaves) scraps to compost, the second for your topsoil to cover it when you throw a good amount in there. I like to leave a screw-top plastic jar or Tupperware container on the counter and collect scraps to compost until I have enough and then “bury” it. In the spring you can donate your compost to plants, trees and gardens on your block, in your neighborhood and on fire escapes and rooftops. Here is a great example of a “small apartment compost” with plenty of Q&As in the comments beneath the photo.

If people in big cities can compost, those of you lucky enough to have a yard should DEFINITELY be composting. It’s easier than you think, and all you need is a small patch of land in a corner, beneath a porch, anywhere! Whether a country mouse or a city mouse, I have found an incredibly comprehensive list of 163 things you can compost. I am so excited! This July 4th let’s celebrate our independence from the people who are too lazy and too stupid to do their part and make a difference. It feels good to be more conscience about my consumption AND my waste and I hope you’ll try it and feel this nerdy high with me.

I Find A Source To Explain My Initial Attraction to Louisville

Although the honeymoon is feeling like it’s coming to an end, I am producing a circus show and contributing to Louisville’s…Louisville-ness. Here it is, best explained in this real ad for the city:

And, for humor’s sake, here are a few parodies I have found as well which are really hilarious and mostly true. Also, please stay posted my one-of-a-kind coverage of the upcoming Lebowskifest! If you haven’t yet subscribed to my blog, please do so!

I Encourage You: Do Not Try This At Home

Courtesy of testosterone, roman candles, ambition and many cans of beer.

I Give Rupert Murdoch A Break

Because he gave my friend’s band one.

Here the Photographic perform live on FOX IN THE MORNING here in Louisville, Kentucky. I kept telling the guys that someday when they play on Letterman or any other late night show, the experience will be different than this in a lot of ways. For now, though, it’s the beginning of a really exciting journey for the band and I am happy to share this video clip with all of you.