Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Memories: When Love Was Free

It was her friend's for a long time.

Then it was her's.  For a long, long time.

Then one night, a long, long, long time ago, she left it downstairs in the lobby where Christmas was celebrated and neighbors traded books, bowls and file cabinets.

Who knows why the little sofa was perched so politely by the mantle?   Maybe kids' allergies, setting free unneeded furniture, a need to shake out some space in an apartment lived in for decades.

The little note said, "Free Love (Seat)".

The end of the 1970's had confirmed a couple of sad truths: hair really did not look good that way;  disco was not completely dead, just the good songs; and there was no such thing as free love.

But, here, like a fairy-tale ending tailored to real life, there could be a seat of love that cost nothing.

How could one resist?


Related Posts:

Sunday Memories: It's A Wonderful Lobby

Flying Time

Sunday Memories: Even the Cat Was Found On The Street

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday's Child Is Loving And Giving And Old And Wise And Has Got It Together!


Skippy -- this really, really smiley little gentleman here -- was adopted a few weeks ago.

Social Tees fell for him as soon as he arrived, as he looked like a cuddly cross between a wombat and a wolverine. Not long after he was rescued from the kill shelter, a super damn cool family spotted him on Instagram and became obsessed.... and the rest is history.

His new mom says: "Adopting an adult dog was the best idea I've had in a while. He fits right into our schedule and the personality of our home. We only adopted him a few weeks ago yet I feel like he has been here forever.

I have two boys (11 and 14 yrs.) and there are tons of boys in and out all day long. Skippy is there to greet everyone and rolls over for his belly to be rubbed the minute you give him some attention.  Skippy is a true "boy" dog in every sense of the word....If you toss him the ball he will leap in the air and catch it in his mouth. All the boys are so impressed and fight over who is going to throw the ball next!

The other night me and my two sons walked up to the avenue to the store and they took turns walking Skippy. No fighting.... just mellow and happy. It warmed my heart and I am so glad this all turned out the way it did. Keep doing what you're doing! I am a big believer in the universe....random acts of kindness....karma....and what a blessing we've all received!"


These two tiny seniors (under 13lbs) from the kill shelter, but need foster homes ASAP! 

They are super sweet, good with dogs/cats and fostering will last about 2-4 weeks. Please email us if you can help!! They are so sweet and deserve a new shot at life! 



One of Social Tees' dearest volunteers has offered 2 rooms in her basement to use as a temporary safe haven for sick and injured animals.  It's a bit empty!  Now all they need is some decent furniture for their volunteers that will be taking shifts caring for those sick and injured animals! 

If you or someone you know has some decent furniture that they do not need any longer, please email Social Tees!!


Come Volunteer!!!

Come Visit!!!!

 Come On In!!!!!

 Social Tees 
325 East 5th Street, NY, NY 10003 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Rear Window To Hope

My favorite light.

Not sunrises (too early).

Not sunsets (you got to be on the right block or high up).

Occasionally the moon (but you needed to hold someone's hand to make it more beautiful than sad, and that hand wasn't always there).

No.  It was when evening fell and yellow glow from home windows sang hope to me.

Whether after an F train ride down from Macy's, walking along the windows of East Broadway's nicer apartments wishing I could float into one and be safer than I was in the light I lived in...

...or the many years traveling alone by foot on night streets, peering up into the dark for a story of some happy room I might one day step into…

That light was hope.

This night, leaving a home I loved as intimately as one loves family, the Mariner and I looked up and saw in the dark of evening, yellow glow from home windows singing hope.

Only this time, there was no wishing or peering into other people's stories.  Waiting for us in other windows was a happy room offering that safer light.

So we took some pictures of the past, and talked about better cameras than phone ones.

Then we strolled into the dark towards home.

Related Posts:

Sunday Memories: Part Six: A View From A Kitchen

Sunday Memories: Of Light And Night

You Got Your North Star, I Got Mine

The Walk To Hope

What Really Happened In Rear Window

Sunday Memories: Moving Day

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Running With Wolves-New York Style

Robert and Cody work it out before they turn the lot into something else that can't be played in.

Related Posts:

Field of dreams

The Definition of Heaven on Earth

In Comes Company

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Memories and Happy Birthday Wishes To A Native New Yorker:
This Is Her New York

Originally posted on November 18, 2008.

Florence had just died and like any reasonable insane adult in denial about grief, I jumped into a heartbreaking affair immediately after.  

Who else could I have sought out to pour bewilderment and confusion onto a dinner table, but her.  When someone knows the molecules that built you, they are the only ones who know how to guide those pieces back when everything else falls apart.

Today is her birthday.  I do not understand those numbers for myself or for her.  The minute I lay eyes on her I only see us, teenagers, her wilder and braver and me wishing I could be, running happy through the streets of Our New York.  

A Happy Birthday to my dearest friend.

This is one of my oldest friends. We met when we were twelve.

Before that I was on Grand Street, which was tough, and she was on 109th Street and Riverside, which was dangerous. We didn't know any different and if you ran fast enough it really didn't matter.

How my then 17-year-old sister decided we should meet and how she, with me in tow, traversed the many bus and train lines from the lower east side to the upper west side to make sure we did I don't know, but within minutes of meeting one another this other twelve year old and I became the best of friends.

In the ensuing three decades we spoke all the time, we didn't speak for years, we survived a new age spiritual community together, we recovered from that community apart, I visited her when she ran away to the then delapitated Fifth Avenue Hotel to be a 15 year old groupie, she was the only example I had of successful defiance, I was a bridesmaid when she married a man, host to her and her young girlfriend at the time after she left her husband and then host again to her and her current boyfriend, and during the recent New York City blackout in 2003, even though we hadn't spoken in years, stranded, she knew to come my house and spend the night.

So during my own blackout where the lights in my heart disappeared I knew to come to her and on a rainy night at the tiny French restaurant older than how long we knew each other, just as worn and welcoming as the home we felt for one another, the food as comforting as our affection for one another, a relief spreading across a tiny table, we were reminded that 40 years of friendship held dear and strong through loss and storm and and change.

No new words were said. But walking down the streets of our shared history, an emotional neighborhood that hadn't been obliteraged by sudden and not-so-sudden events, an internal city we didn't have to explain to one another, old familiar words offered new hope.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday's Child Is Loving And Giving And Brings World Peace One Cuddle At A Time


Remember the babies that were born a few weeks ago to two Chi mamas that Social Tees rescued off the euthanasia list during its LA Rescue Mission? 

Well, the pups have opened their eyes and are starting to scramble around. 

There are a total of eight puppies, and they are all eating a lot and using the bathroom (...the floor) a lot -- 

If you can, PLEASE MAKE A MATERIAL DONATION via Social Tees' Amazon Wish List so that the folks there can continue providing the round-the-clock care these guys require!

What do they need?  LOTS of wee pads, chew sticks, weaning food, cleaning supplies, and puppy and adult food (moms are hungry, too!).

You can find donation details here and THANK YOU SO MUCH!!


Chloe is a really damn attractive Angora mix. 

She's six years old and awesomely friendly, just wiggles up to the front of her cage, meowing and head butting the bars for affection when you get close to say hello. 

Chloe is a big bodied lady, and while her curves are delicious, she could stand to shed a few pounds for her own good. Some solid playtime will take care of that!

Come frolic with her! 325 East 5th Street, New York City.


Dusky's owner just passed away and he has nowhere to go.

He's 10 years old, 15 lbs, very shy at first but friendly with everyone and extremely loyal and loving. 

Good with other animals! Pickup is ASAP at Social Tees; fostering lasts
two to four weeks. 

Email now if you can help!!!!


Come Volunteer!!!

Come Visit!!!!

 Come On In!!!!!

 Social Tees 
325 East 5th Street, NY, NY 10003 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Guarantees Of Democracy: In Memoriam of Michael Brown and James Foley

I wanted the picture of the march through the East Village protesting Michael Brown's killing to leave my cell phone and arrive in my in-box.

But the phone was cranky.

Waiting for email to work, we could hear the police helicopters outside hovering above and siren sounds zooming around the neighborhood like a lasso.

Finally, the photo stopped flying around the ethernet.

It wasn't great but it was the picture of what was happening during a conversation with a kid-of-privilege in bermuda shorts and flip flops and a polo shirt and a pretty girlfriend with just the right amount of glossy make-up.

10th and Broadway

"They're pissing off the cops. But then they dial 911 when they're in trouble. The cops should you, you know, fuck you, give them the finger."

"That's not going to happen," I said.

"That's not going to happen," he said. But he said that like he and I were both disappointed with that. Like the cops should but they won't.

No. That's not the democracy I live in.

"Democracy says I get to assemble peacefully and still be guaranteed protection by the police," I said to him as he walked away with his girlfriend.

I know he heard me, but it was an inconvenient truth. And the march was rowdy, and there were many cops and lots of people were shouting slogans and they were angry and so what….

You want a neat democracy as pretty as your knitted shirt? Go some place where it doesn't exist. Life gets very neat when the noise of free assembly can't happen.

I live in the chaos that guarantees I can protest what I disagree with, the right to pray as I wish which may not be the way the guy next to me prays, and, most of all, the right to write any words I must write.

Isn't that why 10th Street filled up with hands raised in the air for Michael Brown?  Isn't that what James Foley died for?

Related Posts:

Use Your F*#&$*g Words

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Summer Rerun Of Remembering The Power And The Powerless Of The First Step

Originally posted October 11, 2009, there have been many hundreds of first steps taken since as we continue on into our missions.

We met in a tiny office for NYU graduate students. It was 1993 and she was very friendly. That's because she came from California.

We pounded out the idea of friendship together, did office work together, survived so-called writing classes together, graduated together, wept together, wrote together, planned together. We buried ideas, ex-boyfriends hopes, and parents together. Sixteens years were filled with gasps from infuriating new ideas, risks of spirit and never enough meat-fests from BBQ.

Now Josslyn is in Divinity School. I say a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. She says when marching with Dr. King, Rabbi Heschel said "When I marched in Selma, my feet were praying."

And then there's the first step of recovery she and I had embarked on so many years ago:

We admitted we were powerless fighting the greatness of our mission and that our lives became unmanageable the minute we turned our backs on the Divine.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Memories: Let's Go Mets!
Or Something….

Loving the Mets used to be an act of futility.

Futility like dating in the 1980s when there were only big answering machines but no cell phones and no voice mail and so you had to literally by the phone for that guy you had the perfect date with to call you...

(omg it was so great he kissed me good night and said "I'll call you" and then no call and you  wonder if you were crazy because you could have sworn he liked you...)

Yep.  That's what it was like being a Mets fan.

Watching a World Series game against the Yankees in 2000 was like watching a million dollar Ming Dynasty vase fall in slow motion with no hope of leaping across 20 feet to catch it.

And that was nothing compared to the decades of no rhyme or reason...

(the last game right before the 1994 strike everyone left Shea Stadium in the 8th inning because it was  1-0 Phillies and who the hell wanted to get stuck in traffic and we all sat there shaking our heads like you don't know what's going to happen and in the 15th inning the Mets lost 2-1)

Call it building a team by Moneyball theories, or figuring out a way to survive Bernie Maddoff so the Mets could stay in New York, or a good general manager, or bringing up talented kids from minor league…

Or maybe all of the above…those long-ago days have recently been replaced by steady, slow, almost consistent games.  It's fun to watch them win.  Or at least lose less.

But, that feeling of never knowing what's coming out of left field (literally or metaphorically) is familiar and when it's not there, you feel a little wobbly.

At the new predictable, steady, consistent Citi-Field, lots of loyal fans of their beloved team paid good money to pour their love into chiseled stone - tons of messages in stone tiles outside the stadium in the plaza all with Let's Go Mets! and We Love You!and YOU GOTTA BELIEVE!

But the Nicolau Family reminds us left field is always there... waiting....

"Why?" indeed.  Now that's a cry of love.

Related Posts:

Art and Life: A Love Story

Like Father, Like Son

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday's Child Is Loving And Giving
And Is A Diamond In The Rough



LUCY (formerly known as DIAMOND!)

Social Tees rescued Diamond from the kill shelter a few months ago.

Nobody wanted her because she was blind, six years old, black (black dogs and cats have a harder time getting adopted) and completely matted.  All that amounted to being "undesirable." 

Along came a wonderful couple that eagerly volunteered to foster her.  BUT, as soon as they met her, their hearts were melted by her soft-spoken yet enthusiastic way of giving and asking for affection. Before long, they fell in love and decided to adopt her.  And even better, their vet told them she actually had a good chance of regaining her vision through surgery, and fast forward to now... 

Her proud mom says: "Lucy just had her eye surgery and she is no longer blind! When she went to her one week check up they said her eyes look great, the cataracts are gone, and she has regained almost all her sight already. 

While we thought she was perfect before, but she is so excited to see again. It is pure joy to watch her explore and become much more independent and less anxious than she used to be. I loved having her attached to me all the time, but it's clearly so much more freeing for her to know what's around her. 

Although not a huge fan of the cone, she has learned to use it as a carrying case for her baby (favorite stuffed animal), and she is great when it comes to letting us put her eye drops in (15 sets a day). I know a lot of people say this but we can't imagine life without her, or why anyone would have given her up. We're so lucky to have ended up with this funny, sweet, wonderful little girl. Thank you so much!"



Baker is 12 weeks old, super friendly and living, great with everyone. 

Champ Blue, dumped by his foster for no reason without a warning, is good with dogs, loves all people and is housebroken! He has a good amount of energy and needs a short-term foster home OR a forever home! 


Come Volunteer!!!

Come Visit!!!!

 Come On In!!!!!
 Social Tees
325 East 5th Street, NY, NY 10003 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Failing Into Success

Packing up Florence's love letters to be donated to the Lesbian Herstory Archives meant peering into my mother's secret heart, the one that each of our parents have or had, where they loved and lost and yearned and romanced and dreamed.

Florence, late in life, had somehow unshackled herself from shadows she did not belong in and had flung herself into the arms of women for the chance to dance, wildly happy, to foxtrots and waltzes.

As I shifted through that overflowing file soon to be catalogued for future researchers and students of women's lives, I read proof of her comings and goings and her many attempts to make love last longer than a Benny Goodman song.  Every broken-heart ballad became a documentary of her crash and burns after leaps of faiths.  And every love song became a wild wish when you blow out the candles.

I could only think then that her efforts had been a role model of how to succeed at failure.  Love had not worked for her and so often love had not worked for me.

But, as the Mariner pointed out one day, in baseball, the really great hitters fail 70 percent of the time.  These guys, getting multi-million dollar contracts, were literally failing into success.

I didn't remember that as I tried to capture the perfect picture of "Surprise! It's Our Anniversary Roses a day early because you're home sick!" 

Nothing worked.

So I had to accept that only I would know how the flowers illustrated the house with three years of joy and beauty and were a portrait of that unique private connection, filled with our own wildly happy dancing.

We found each other so late in our own lives, after failing so many times.  What, in that first date, which just happened to have been the same date of my parent's wedding anniversary which led to a marriage that could be called a complete failure, what was it in those five hours of talking, arguing, eating, arguing, eating again that coaxed us to, once again, leap?

Don't know about the Mariner, but, now I see that I must have learned at the dancing feet of a master.

Related Posts:

Letters At The Speed Of...

A Special Encore Of Sunday Memories: I Hear It Was Her Birthday

Sunday Memories:  Good Times, Good Times

When Bliss Intersects With Home

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Summer Reruns: Being Sick

Florence never got sick. 

That sneeze was a fluke. The COPD was just allergies. And broken rib? What broken rib?

I learned at the broken ribs of a master.  Knowing that I am sick takes others telling me to shut up, go home, lie down. Well, it takes a lot to admit defeat to something that doesn't have a face or a pair of fists. But so be it. 

A May Day Post of 2011 commemorating sick days.

Juggling a soup bowl or a cup of tea, Florence would point her finger at me and say, "Well, you know it's all your fault."

After that statement of fact, the rest of the day would be spent curled with a pile of my favorite books and the radio tuned to the New York City radio station that broadcast children shows for all the sick kids stuck at home. On special days, I even got to spend the day in my parents' bed. Naps would sneak up on me and when the radio was tuned to WABC AM, music like 'These Boots Are Made For Walking' would transform my dreams to music videos before video had even been invented.

These days, books and a mini-tv and the cat keep me company as I drift in and out of naps. Every once in a while I tell myself "Well, you know it's all your fault."

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Memories - An Encore:
Even The Cat Was Found On The Street

The idea that you can actually pick what you like rather than what is there is the height of luxury. So, an encore after five hours of dragging the Mariner through Ikea and another six hours of weaving new things into a house found on the street.  

Ok, so I always start at the "As -Is" section, but still….

Originally posted December 12, 2009.

You left things on the street. You picked things up from the street. It was the New York Ikea when Ikea was still just in Sweden and New Jersey.

Beds, chairs, mattresses, bureaus, shelves, knick-knacks, desks, cupboards, plates, cups, coats, even shoes. Florence had many, many chairs gotten from departing neighbors, Coney Island vendors and street corner garbage heaps. I had many many chairs and surprisingly many many tables from departing roommates, stoop sales and street corner garbage heaps.

But now even if the items are left to be taken on sidewalks or by trash cans, even if there is a note that says TAKE ME, I feel a hesitancy, an embarrassment as it were that thirty years after furnishing my first and only home from the remnants of other people's lives, I am still too broke to buy things new.

In the final sweep of emptying Florence's apartment, things have come in and things now wait to go out, this time maybe to a friend, or neighbors.

Or if left on the street corner, maybe to someone still brave enough to pick it up and take it home.

The cat of course stays.

Related Posts:

Sunday Memories Of Days Like This That Didn't Include Food Poisoning

Sunday Memories Encore: Days Of Frostbite

Getting Adopted

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday's Child Is BIG Loving And BIG Giving. Seriously.

REGULUS -  150 pound of love

Regulus is a real, honest-to-God Tibetan Mastiff.  Four years old.  Very low key, GREAT with dogs and people, but not fond of cats.

He's also a cuddle-bunny.  One thing is for sure, taking this boy on a stroll will give you ALL the attention you can imagine PLUS some more (AKA CHICK-DUDE MAGNET!!!!)

Social Tees is looking for a short-term foster home. Who of you big dog lovers can help this big baby out?  They do NOT want to have to put him in a kennel.  If you can help, please email:

Got Cat?

Adoption events at Social Tees!!!!  Kittens, cats, all sizes, shapes, colors…..



Come Volunteer!!! 

Come Visit!!!!

 Come On In!!!!! 
 Social Tees   
325 East 5th Street, NY, NY 10003 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Skating On Thick Ice

They were like dolphins, whooshing around me.

A woman I probably saw at a dance or a demonstration or some revolutionary act maybe thirty years ago walked up to me as they zoomed by and said, "It's like the invasion of the skate boards!"

I laughed.  "I was thinking, gee, I'd like to learn how to do that."

"Well, you know where to find them." She was laughing as she walked away.

One of the kids stopped, skate board propped on his sneaker.  I snapped a picture.

"I think she just took your picture," another said under his breath.

"Yes.  I did."  I showed it to them.

"Are you going to post it somewhere?"


"Like Instagram?"

"I'm old.  I don't know what Instagram is."  I started taking another picture and all the boys posed, gangsta-style.  "Oh please, cut the bullshit."  It was funny but not a picture.

"I always wanted to learn how to skate board but when I was growing up, girls didn't.  Now girls do.  It's really cool."

"Yeah," said one, all of them nodding like what's the big deal some of the best skaters they knew were girls.  That revolution was normal to them.

I lifted the phone to take another picture and one gaves me a peace sign.

"What's that mean to you?"

"Peace," he said.

Crash noise that could only come from wood plank and metal wheels not going where they were intended interrupted us.

"#&*)$&#)*&@@#(*&$&%)*&@##)&*) AND THEN)&*#$&)&#", followed.

"Real peaceful," I say.

"He's not with us," the kid said.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

In Comes Company

The guy from the hospital down the street had joined me last week on his way home after work.  We both watched the geese children sitting on a rock in full view.

"Something is wrong," I told him.  "The parents aren't there.  The parents are always there and now they are not."

"Nah, they're fine," he assured me.  "A guy from the New York Times went up on the roof to take a picture of them," he said.

But checking later, there was no article, no picture, no nothing.

Just the other day, rushing down after work and searching the tall grass of the First Avenue Serengeti, there they were.  The whole family.

Mom and Dad standing guard on either side of their brood pecking at the garbage, the junk food, the bugs and anything else lying about.  All was well.

But today, again rushing down after to work and searching the tall grass of the First Avenue Serengeti, there were no geese to be seen.

"Hey!"  It was the guy from the hospital, on his way home.

"I'm looking for them.  They were all there a couple of days ago.  But now, I can't find them."

"They're Ok.  They'll be back." he said as he headed uptown.  "This is prime real estate."

Related Posts:

Waiting For Company

The Company They Keep

Company Returns


Pets Of Our Lives: Part 1-Pigeons

Pets Of Our Lives: Part 2-Squirrels

Pets Of Our Lives: Part 3-Horses

Pets Of Our Lives: Part 4-Cats

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday Memories: Those Shoes Were Made For Talking

Any attempt to take a picture went by the wayside.  The chair was his and the shoes had to share.

I had interrupted his attempts to woo the Little Girl.  She cried when he tackled her and that was going too far.

So losing at love, he did what many do.  He conquered.  In this case, a chair set aside for a pair of old shoes.

Those shoes were my first pair of high heels.  Bought at the 14th Street Synagogue's bazaar in 1970 or so, they were old then, too.  But they fit and the heel wasn't too high.  No one would notice an eleven-year old wearing shoes beyond her years.

Years, later, the first office job in customer service for a fabric company had been found after cleaning houses, caring for children, and being a bike messenger.  It was the height of luxury, sitting in a chair while earning money and being paid for 15-minute breaks for coffee and smokes.

It also came with a gang of girls from the other four boroughs in full 1970's fashion, sashaying high waisted pants with pronounced panty-lines and striding thick, clunky platform shoes, their shags wind-swept, each part of their beings swathed in the right stuff that promised of love.

I wore baggy shirts and pants that hid nights of drinking and a round-the-clock junk food diet.  After several suggestions, reprimands and then final warnings about dressing more professional, which only meant dressing more lady-like, I knew I had to do something . So one day I pulled out out the shoes, and with a skirt found somewhere cheap, maybe Klein's or Alexander's or Korvette's, I showed up to work.

There's a particular kind of office-silence that rises from whisper-hissing from furious girls, who one by one stormed into the break room to stare in horror and contempt at an old pair of kitten heel, black suede shoes bought second-hand years before.  It defied their many hours of effort, making sure from head-to-toe they were the right thing to be loved.

I may have given up the chair tonight to a pissed off hissing cat.  But that day, I stayed seated, giving up nothing.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday's Child Is Loving And Giving
And About To Be
A Mother


Social Tees recently saved this girl from the euthanasia list. 

Do you know an experienced foster or adoptive family willing and able to give her the care she needs for the next 10 weeks starting immediately?

She's about two years old and is only 7 pounds. She's great with other dogs and cats and is VERY friendly. She absolutely loves snuggling and wants nothing more than belly rubs from everyone she meets. 

If it's a foster place, Social Tees can help with supplies etc. Please email asap if you can foster this mama!!


This one is particularly dear to both Social Tees and Her New York's hearts for a few reasons. 

One, it's about black cats... 

We LOVE black cats.   Black cats get euthanized in higher numbers than any other color cat, so the more black rescues, the better!

Two,  it's about Star, a Social Tees favorite, the handsome boy on the right. 

A dear friend of Social Tees regularly took Star to the hospice he works at so Star could provide affection and therapy to a cat-loving resident who was slowly passing away. Star was... well... a star there.  When it came time for him to find a forever home, he found exactly the right one where he could continue doing what he does best -- giving love with a twist of mischief. 

His mom says: "I adopted Star last December as a companion for my cat Macallan, whose brother had died suddenly around Thanksgiving. Star (now Oliver) was a tough nut to crack but has turned into a loving, playful, chubby friend. Oliver seems very content in his new home and enjoys keeping Macallan on his toes. Thanks for allowing him to become a part of our family."



Come Volunteer!!! 

Come Visit!!!!

 Come On In!!!!! 

 Social Tees   
325 East 5th Street, NY, NY 10003