It’s the Loveliest Day

Although my day began in the most unpleasant manner possible. My toilet was clogged, I didn’t know how to fix it, but I googled how, ran to the hardware store, came home, and voila! I felt tremendously elated at the time. Like I’d conquered some incredibly difficult task. Mwah-ha! You did not win, toilet! Yeah, try and wreck my morning. I’m watching you.

I’m going out for a walk and to run errands. I have a feeling I will be drawn back to the basement where they are searching for Etan Patz. I read that the Patz family, in addition to never moving (so their son, if alive, could find his way home) kept the same message on their answering machine. So sad.

Anyway. I took this the other day for my “Dress I Can’t Possess” series, except I’d have to go back in time to possess this one. It’s a child’s dress. There’s another in the window, just as pretty, but this is astounding, isn’t it? Lucky little girl who gets to wear this dress.

The Search for the Remains of Etan Patz

As I type this the FBI is searching a basement on Prince Street for the remains of Etan Patz, the six year old boy who went missing in 1979. If you were living in New York at the time, this case probably still haunts you. The building they’re sifting through is within a block of where Etan lived at the time he went missing. The FBI must have a new lead or new information (I read that they’ve searched this building before).

When I was writing my book about the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad, I also interviewed the head of Missing Persons. I’ll never forget it. In my book, I wrote about how detectives keep their case files in brown, accordion-style folders that look like something school children might carry. Most cases take up only one folder. If it’s a complex case, and the folders start piling up, eventually they’re moved into a cardboard carton. As the case grows, the detectives start stacking cartons. A big case might ending up filling one to six cartons.

The cartons for Etan Patz filled an entire wall, front to back, and from floor to ceiling. It was a dramatic representation of just how hard they worked that case. They’d done everything they humanly could, and they were never going to give up on Etan Patz.

Here are some shots of what’s happening down there right now. The blue canopy is covering the entrance to the building they’re checking.

Etan Patz Crime Scene

It’s a mob scene of media and neighbors and people like me, who never forgot Etan Patz. Such a lovely street, to be the site of something so horrible. But I guess every place on earth was once the site of something horrible.

Etan Patz Crime Scene

Etan Patz Crime Scene

Spring Cleaning Coming Up!

Regular readers of my blog know about my cleaning rituals, but for those who don’t:

Every May and November I clean my apartment from top to bottom. Although I’ve given these yearly rituals the rather ordinary names of “Spring Cleaning” and “Holiday Cleaning,” I look forward to them the way other people look forward to vacations. I’ve managed to infuse the thorough burnishing I give my home with all the clean-slate promise these generally hopeful seasons can bring. Twice a year I feel like I’m getting another chance, and I make it fun. While I’m scrubbing the place down or laundering every piece of clothing I own, every simple pleasure is granted and indulged. I light my favorite scented candles. I freely eat whatever I want. Dark chocolate, potato chips, bread, cheese, more bread, it doesn’t matter. I work so hard I always come out calorically ahead. The cats also get all the catnip and extra treats they desire.

These cleanings typically take three or four days, and all throughout there is music. The music of my childhood, (Snoopy’s Christmas) music I fell in love to (Baby, Now That I’ve Found You), my favorite music to belt (Oh Darling) my favorite music to dance around the apartment to (Rhythm of Love) and all my favorite choruses (everything from the Bach Mass in B Minor and many, many others). For at least three days straight I’m singing. Afterwards, when my apartment is sparkling clean, I’ll buy myself a very modestly priced new outfit; I’ll carefully scrutinize all the new nail polish colors and get a pedicure; have my hair done; find the most affordable flowers of the season and fill my apartment, and only then will I finally sit on my couch and bask and bask and bask.

This year, spring cleaning is going to be super-duper. I’ve made appointments to get the windows, rug, and couch cleaned. Woohoo!

People lining up to eat at Red Farm, where I will be sitting outside, doing a thousand loads of laundry. I am the 1%!

I Deserve a Present

Yesterday I fact-checked for close to seven hours straight on one chapter. It’s a very science-heavy chapter that I spent months on, doing my best to synthesize all the singing research I’d found and to make it accessible. I was going back to make sure I hadn’t made any mistakes.

I had. Not too many! Also, my understanding of the science has grown, so I also reworded some sections that I didn’t think accurately described the findings I was writing about. But it’s done, done, done! I’d been agonizing about fact-checking that chapter and now it is OV-VAH.

If you buy my book, when you come to the chapter about the composer named Victoria, please think of me sitting at my computer one day, going over that chapter fact by fact, sentence by sentence, hour after hour. I didn’t stop to eat. Sometimes Finney was curled up on me, sometimes Buddy. And, since I had piles and piles of studies all around me, sometimes Buddy napped on top of the the papers and I had to gently ease whichever one I needed out from underneath him, and sometimes it was Finney.

Yeah, definitely reward time. This is the Empire State Building. I’m happy about the little glowing man in the walk sign in the corner of the picture.

Empire State Building

Titanic Facts

I was fact-checking my book yesterday and discovered that I had a fact wrong about the Titanic, which led to an hours-long side trip researching Titanic trivia. By sheer coincidence, early on in my book is a small mention of a woman who died on the Titanic, when she gave her seat up to another woman, and later I have a small mention of a man who survived. I wondered if by chance the woman who took the seat and the man I wrote about were on the same lifeboat. They weren’t.

But this led to a whole thing of researching who was in each lifeboat, the order the lifeboats were put out; I read testimonies of the crew and survivors about those final hours. That was pretty horrible, I don’t recommend it, particularly the stories of the last two collapsible lifeboats that went out, A and B. They’d been swept away and were used as rafts. The people who were on them were forced to turn away anyone who swam up afterwards, there simply wasn’t enough room. Imagine being in that position.

The man I wrote about who survived, was the great-nephew of someone else I wrote about in a later chapter. I found so many of these “cross-overs” I call them. I don’t put them in the book, because they’re not really relevant, but I’ve been keeping track of them.

I took this shot from the bus window on the way to the Springsteen concert.