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November, 2007:

Two Years Today.

We bought our house two years ago today.

It’s kind of astonishing when you think about it.

Time is flying by. Just 5 more years before our adjustable mortgage kicks in!

Our oil guy came to do the tune up of the boiler, and was amazed at the progress (he wasn’t here last year, and he was last here when the paper was on the floor, when everything was all boarded up, and we were living like hermits.

Now we are living as cozy as hermit crabs!

We need to commemorate our milestone in some way, but unfortunately, real life is intervening. Stupid Pilgrims!

We’ll do it late somehow.


In which the Pope drops in for a visit

Okay, so I don’t know if he’s going to come to OUR house. After all, I just directed a kind of anti-pope play written by his arch-nemesis (Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo) (Well, it’s not anti-pope exactly. It just doesn’t treat the pope very nicely, and makes several jokes at his expense. It’s nothing like Dario Fo’s archly cynical play The Pope and the Witch Now THAT’s an anti-pope play. :o) )

My point being, we are probably not on the Pope’s wish list of people to meet (Let’s not even get started with the whole Jewish thing)

But amazingly, the Pope is coming to Yonkers. In April, he’ll be about a mile from our house. We should probably clean up a little, maybe paint our bathroom, get the shower door installed, maybe do some house painting, and of course stock up on wine. After all, you never know when a pontiff may need to stop (for say some White Castle), and then decide to do a couple of house calls…

Pope Benedict plans to visit Yonkers in April

(Original publication: November 12, 2007)

Pope Benedict XVI will visit St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers on the afternoon of April 19 as part of six-day trip to Washington and New York that will also take him to Ground Zero.

He will meet with youth and seminarians at St. Joseph’s. Pope John Paul II visited the seminary, known in the Catholic world as Dunwoodie, in 1995.

“I have assured the Holy Father of a warm and prayerful welcome,”Cardinal Edward Egan said in a statement. “We all look forward to his visit with pleasure and anticipation.”

Benedict himself visited the seminary back in 1988, when he was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.


Yonkers in the Public Radio

Today, as Stephanie was going to the city to hang out with her parents, and I was at home preparing for a clown gig at the Yonkers Public Library (part of the Andrus Yonkers’ Children’s Day), stephanie calls me, and says “NPR. 820. Listen now.” and hung up the phone. I scrambled to turn the computer to 820 am (http://www.wnyc.org) and start listening in.

At first I thought I missed it– they were talking about Hoboken. Come to find out, they were doing a big compare and contrast of Yonkers and Hoboken, and cities that are near the city but still their own thing.

They talked a lot about young couples homesteading and renovating old houses (HELLO, HERE WE ARE!) and also about Peter X. Kelley’s X20 restaurant, which we described earlier in the blog at some point.

One of the interesting things is that they said that downtown Yonkers (which is the fourth largest city in New York State, and the largest in Westchester, and a quarter mile or less from our house) doesn’t have any commercial chains in the downtown. No Barnes and Noble, No Gap, no Home Depot, no Starbucks, no Staples, no Taco Bell, no nothing. All of Yonkers large chains are on the outside of Yonkers (on Route 100, or at the Cross-County Mall) Downtown is ripe for development. And when there is a place to buy a book in downtown Yonkers, that’s when the government guys will know that they have achieved a level of success.

Anyway, you can listen to all 12 minutes of the story courtesy of NPR:

Yonkers on NPR

And the end of the broadcast, they play Ella singing the “I’ll take Manhattan” song, and there’s a verse about Yonkers! (she was a Yonkerite! A Yonkersian. A Yonk. Let’s face it.. Ella was yonked, man!)

“We`ll go to Yonkers,
Where true love conquers
In the wilds
And starve together, dear, in Childs”

Looks like this blog has a new theme song!

The bathroom, she is tiled

I think that in all the goings on here with lawnmowing and dario fo plays and what not, I may have forgotten to mention the most important news of all– our master bath is tiled!

We started on the master bath in August, and it didn’t get finished until October, but my god– all the tile is in, and we are ready to stall on the last two elements of the bathroom– the glass shower door and the painting. (I’m excluding the fixing up of the closet that we have built. That’s like an entirely different room!

We solved the bedroom to bathroom in a surprisingly elegant fashion– glass sliding doors. We had originally planned to have one humongo door that slid across the whole way, but when the track was bought, Stephanie realized that we could do two sliding doors that slide to one another. The great thing is that it fit in perfectly, and really does look like it’s been there forever. I don’t know why we didn’t think of it before.

As for tile, it looks great, although it came at a price. Our tile guy told us it wouldn’t be much of a problem to replace the hexagonal white tiles with glass tiles, and he quoted us the price to do it. Well, he didn’t quite figure how much work it would be, and his guys were there an extra four days (and still never got it right)
So he started losing money, and started cutting corners, and … well, it stopped being pretty.

An example: the top bullnoses when they were installed were not full tile pieces– they were pieces cut in half and sewn back to back. S went surprisingly ballistic about it– saying that she wanted the full pieces. At first the guy insisted they didn’t make them, that this is how it was done, that when they were grouted you wouldn’t see it– all kinds of excuses– but after a quick call to the Queen of Paint (who turns out, is a Tile Queen as well!) S insisted, he relented, and the guy said he would try to find it. The good thing is we still owed him half the job, so he had a real incentive. Suffice to say, he found the right tile.

The tile work was at first installed relatively sloppily, but having Stephanie as our Tile Bulldog worked out well. I highly recommend having a tile bulldog to go over the stuff with a fine-tooth comb. It’s still not a PRISTINE job, but it’s a lot better than what they were going to leave it as– and to the untrained eye (that would be mine) it looks fantastic!

I liked our tile guy a lot, and I think Stephanie did too, except for the inevitable trying to cut corners aspect. Somewhere around here I have some photos of the quasi-finished project. I’ll post them if people are interested. Or better yet, stop on by!

Cutting the lawn makes you more neighborly

I had to cut the lawn the other day. After my lawnmower debacle incident in August, I hadn’t cut the lawn at all. The weeds were getting high, the lawn was looking raggedy, and I got a notice from the Yonkers City Hall that I needed to cut my lawn! Apparently, they can fine you for not cutting your lawn!

So I bought a new lawnmower from Amazon.com,(well, same lawnmower, this one with the wheel hopefully more permanently attached) and when it came in, I plugged it in, and mowed.

The lawn looks a lot better, even though after I mowed (I mulched, even though Stephanie complains about the look– I think it’s better than not mowing, and collecting all the lawn is a dirty pain in the ass) While I was mowing, three or four people stopped me to say “You are new in the neighborhood!” or “Hey Man!” One woman told me in her broken English that she was glad we got a pumpkin, but we needed to carve it to keep the bad spirits out, like they do in her home country Cuba.

I still have more outside work to do before winter sets in furiously (I’ll be out there mowing on Thanksgiving no doubt) but I do have a bit of pride about having done that little bit (and it being better for the neighborhood)

Go southwest Yonkers!

Photos of the Clown as a Not So Young Man

I sat for a portrait with Bill Wadman, a photographer working on a 365 day project. Each day he takes a portrait of a different person, and posts it. It might be a book or a calendar, or a something one day. I’m 11/02. He’s been doing this project for a whole year. His photos are amazing!

It was a lot of fun to be photographed for this purpose. I generally love getting my photo taken, and like most clowns, have been photographed thousands of times (and am probably on refrigerators and snapfish accounts all over the country)

Bill was really great to work with, and he has a great eye. So much of being a good photographer or videographer is catching the subject in the act of being themselves. (and hopefully fabulous)

So here’s the photo that he ended up choosing of me. And then a gallery of 11 others that he took that were possibles. (our photo shoot ended up with over 100 shots– but to get eleven that were print inclusive worthy is amazing.)

What can I say, I give good photo!

If you like the photo, please click the image to see Bill’s page, and comment on it there!

Saving the Yonkers Waterfront

A group of concerned citizen’s are gathering together to help save the Yonkers Waterfront.

With all the talk of investment in Yonkers, little is mentioned at whose expense the building will come from (and who will truly profit)

Of course there is a little bit of NIMBY going on here– everyone wants development, but nobody wants traffic, congestion, and the problems that go along with development.

Still, I am standing with the people who say PAY ATTENTION, YONKERS!

Here’s a video that they created: (and if you would like to get involved, visit their website http://www.yonkersgone.blogspot.com