quality of life: top ten reasons I adore New Paltz


I’m sorry, blog friends. I know you depend on me to write vitriolic screeds attacking would-be allies, but, oh, springtime and the new chocolate line and everything is putting me in the most amazing mood lately. I’ll find something to bitch about soon, I promise.

Until then:

1) Wake up and notice that the mailman kindly put the Taza chocolate box inside the door, instead of leaving it out in the sun and ignoring the KEEP OUT OF SUNLIGHT stamps all over it.

2) The daffodils and tulips are blooming, the sun is shining, I have a day off after many not-days-off!

3) Get dressed, and wonder if 31 is too old to wear an empire-waist dress with puffed sleeves (I am Anne Shirley!) made out of sweatpants I bought at the local anarchist café paired with the arrow ring made by K&K who live three streets away, plus purple knee socks and shoes from The Salv. Take picture and decide, as any logical person would, to put this question to the internet.


The cats were all standing at the window laughing at me as this picture was taken. Were they laughing at my weird squashed I-am-12-years-old boobs? Perhaps.

4) Go to my pals’ J&C’s house to drop off donated chocolates for a silent auction to benefit Wild Earth this weekend. I’d never been to their adorable, arty, supa-green house and studio before. Chatter for a while, then they ask if I want to hold a baby chick they are babysitting. Do I want to hold a baby chick? Does a crackhead want crack? The baby chick is light as a postage stamp and soft as a cotton ball. It snuggles into my palm and C tells me that it must like me, because chicks usually just shake and huddle. I whisper to it (she?) that it’s probably because it knows I’m vegan—but I tell C (because J&C also have chickens, a handful of lovely ones running free in a giant coop whose eggs they eat) that I have no problems with all my friends who have a couple of truly free-ranging chickens and eat their eggs. I don’t want to eat eggs,  but with all the shit happening in the world, the last thing I’m going to do is get into an argument with sweet people who care about animals and just want an omelet now and then. It’s not my thing, but who cares?

3) I walk literally next door to M&L’s house, where a hugely pregnant L is raking and tending to her gorgeous garden. She tells me that I look like a fuchsia, and when I tell her I don’t know what a fuchsia is she says she will email me a picture. I check out her freshly-painted baby room, waiting sleepily with sun streaming in the windows for the baby, all vintagey and colorful and calming and lovely. Because I love looking at baby clothes approximately ten trillion times more than I love looking at babies, I ooh and ahh over the super soft bamboo onesies and organic cotton diapers.

She shows me pink baby legwarmers (!!!!!) and when I admit that I also own (and wear) a pair of pink legwarmers, my fears about dressing too young for my age are renewed. (When you share clothes with a person so young they are not quite born yet, is that when you should start worrying about your wardrobe?) When she brings out a pair of rainbow-striped knee socks and when I admit that I also own (and wear) a pair of rainbow-striped knee socks, my fears about dressing too young for my age are cemented.  Then I remember that my own babies—200 truffles that need to be driven to work at The Cheese Plate—are sitting in a hot car (Truffles Die in Hot Cars). I make my adieu, give a kiss to her sweet elderly pup, and dash off.

4) At Water Street Market, home of The Cheese Plate, I park in the shade and run into a sweet new-ish friend. We talk about art and business and life and I gulp down a pb & j bagel and a soy chai, then hand off the truffles. Gorgeous Kat (this is what I call her in my head, and I suspect most of New Paltz does the same) is wearing a typically eye-candy-to-the-max dress (where does she buy these amazing frocks??) and is swirling around the pretty shop like the tornado of efficiency that she is.

5) I go upstairs and check to see when the new Green Party t-shirts (buy one!) will be ready. The lovely silk screener tells me that they will be ready next Wednesday—“Just in time for the Earth Day event on Sunday, right? That’s what you need them for? By the way, I had lunch at The Cheese Plate the other day and had one of your truffles for dessert—delicious!”

6) I walk to the record store to trade peanut butter cups for the new Yeah Yeah Yeah’s album, where I happily excoriate the owner because when my phone rings with its Kathleen Hanna ringtone he says “Kathleen Hanna…was she in Sleater-Kinney?”!  How can someone who owns a record store not know my goddess Kathleen? Dudes! (OK, full disclosure: Mr. Record Store Owner has the driest wit imaginable, so it is possible he was “taking the piss.” Being such a proud former riot grrl, I really have no idea to what extent regular people know their Kathleen Hannas from their Carrie Brownsteins, so I could totally be slandering him.) He stuffs two pb cups into his mouth and I grab my album and threaten to out him on Facebook as a riot grrl nudnik.


Your verdict on these shoes: Veronica will like them, Brittany will not, and Dustin is just happy that I own more shoes than he does. I’m guessing Ruby will like them OK too, and that they will be too girly for Orlande (Andee!) and Ms. Abovegroundpool. Did I just blow your mind??

7) I walk past the vintage store with my eyes carefully averted, lest I be drawn in and gorgeous vintage dresses force themselves on me and my credit card magically jumps out of my wallet and into the awesome owner-lady’s hands, as so often happens (why does everything in that shop fit me so well? It’s a magical place and without a doubt I should be given some sort of prize—possibly a Nobel—for resisting its charms so often.* The owner is outside unloading a fresh stash, and says, “You are a vision, darling!” I notice a paperback copy of Stalking the Wild Asparagus about to fall out of her trunk and remember the dozen or so conversations I’ve had with friends who have encouraged me to read it. I ask if I can buy it from her right out of her trunk. For a ridiculously low price the book is mine, and as she’s handing it over to me a picture falls out: “Aww. That’s so-and-so. These books are hers, I just bought all of them. She was a wonderful gardener, I bought the whole lot of her gardening books. She really cared about the earth, like you do, sweetheart. Here, take the picture—she would have been happy the book is yours.” (And while it’s a beautiful, tender moment, it also reminds me that pretty much everything I own once belonged to dead people, and I get that vintage-shopper shuddery feeling.)

8) I traipse to the library to do computer work, saying hello to my client who works at the front desk. I sit on the comfy couch near the director’s office and when my phone rings, I took around to confirm that no one else is around (phone in the library!!) and quietly answer. It’s The Cheese Plate, asking what flavor a renegade truffle is, a black-clad darling that got separated from its flock. “Does it have a chocolate swirl on it? It’s peanut butter,” I whisper. The library director walks by and points for me to go outside, but in a half-hearted way. When I get off the phone and apologize, he said it’s OK, no one was around and he could tell I was trying to be quiet. “It’s just that we have a policy of no phone calls after you go up the steps, but you were really fine. I just hate those people who yell into their phones about nothing important.” I can’t help but smile that he understood the massive importance of me telling TCP that if it had a drizzle of chocolate on top it was a peanut butter truffle.

9) Not related to NP, but my BFFz Black Gold just won some thingie on something called MTVU or something (and of course I have to point out yet again that I am in this video for 2 seconds!).

10) When I got back to my car after all that walking around:


So suck it, Christian crazies!

Bonus: 11) A girl just walked by, and except for the fact that her skin was of a more Obama-esque tone and that she was maybe 19, she looked EXACTLY like Divine. Ex. Act. Ly. She had that Female Trouble-era mohawk and was wearing a crazy vintage dress and pink Chucks (not that Divine wore Chucks, but you can see how she could have, right?) and, for all I know, had a steak stuck in her undies. (Except for the steak part) I just about died with happiness. She even had the walk—that tottery, hip-swingy divine Divine walk!


I know sometimes I go a little crazy with how much I love my small town. Does it annoy ya’ll? Would it help if I told you that my peoples say phrases like “ya’ll” unironically, and maybe that explains why I so clutchingly love the cultured East Coast? I’m not going to start whining about my tragic, stifling, sun-scorched childhood in the ugly ugly big city on the other side of the country, but if you keep that past in mind as you read my occasional blow jobs to Die Pfalz, you’ll understand why I love my chosen home with such a wild, deeply felt, fat fat fat love. What can I say—I’m a New Paltz fluffer. The Cynthia Plaster Caster of the Hudson Valley, if you will. Not that NP even has a cast-able member—we all know that The Paltz must be a lady (certain phallic mountain houses not withstanding)—look at those folding cliffs, those winding mountain roads, those caves and chasms and deep clear swimming holes! New Paltz, wanna get gay married? I’m proposing, here and now.


*Someday I will tell the story of when I bought a serious COUTURE —cou-fucking-ture, mofos! Handmade!! Hand-sewn!!!— pointelle 1968 flower print A-line pristine white beauty with this amazing mod neckline and perfect detailing and gorgeous strappy straps there for pretty much literally a song, then was so excited to have a place to wear it that I wore it to a friend’s wedding two weeks later and immediately realized what an assholey thing it was to do because, uh, in my excitement about how gorgeous it was I neglected to notice (or care?) that it was also, um, a WEDDING DRESS. (<—–Awesomest sentence ever, that one, no?) It seems unbelievable that I needed someone to tell me not to wear a wedding dress to a wedding that was not my own (eew, gross), but apparently I did. Now I know. Luckily, the wedding was that of my most hippish friends, and I don’t think they minded. And here I could write another few paragraphs about how though I am an extremely intolerant person in many ways, I am super thankful for people who are tolerant and sweet and kind and easygoing, because when I commit horrible social faux pas they let them go!

9 Responses to “quality of life: top ten reasons I adore New Paltz”

  1. Dustin Rhodes

    I totally love the shoes, especially with all of the other colorful things you are wearing them with. That’s the Official Gay Opinion.

  2. brittany

    i love EVERYTHING about this. including the shoes, which i would never wear, but remind me of my beautiful grandmother who i miss terribly.

    how can you gay marry NP if you’re gay marrying ME?!?!?!?!?! jeez…

    are you still out and about? come play with me in the lovely sunshine!

  3. Veronica

    This post is awesome, and yes, I do love the shoes!
    Your outfit is awesome too, and there’s no such thing as dressing too young for one’s age (okay, maybe if you wear a bib or something). I want to hear all about the couture dress!!!!
    Post a picture of it! Write up a post about it!

  4. Liz

    Sigh… I need to move out of Brooklyn.
    And yay for purple/yellow combo. The only thing that would make the outfit better is a turban.

  5. abovegroundpool

    this outfit makes me feel so much better about fuschia, which i’ve always called “prom dresses.” everyone should dress like little kids, we’d all be much happier!

    and, wrong, bzzzzt!, not too girly. i dig the shoes. they’re giving me lindsay wagner in the role of a commune nurse. purple socks took them a different direction.


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