Wednesday, November 24, 2010

on being thankful

Thankfulness is a state of mind that often drifts too far down the consciousness bar. Thanksgiving is one of those days that make us stop and think about what we are thankful for. We get spun around by our everyday lives and forget to look around, count our blessings, view the world a new, or look at the people you care about and say Thank YOU, or I’m Sorry, or I appreciate you. I’m not sure it’s always forgetfulness as much as that we just don’t always take the time to say these things out loud. I know I think them a lot. I look at a friend and I want to say…I really love you, or I miss you, or I just want to thank you for everything that you bring to my life, but I just don’t say it out loud, at least not often enough.

This is something J and I have always been conscious of in our relationship – of expressing our thankfulness and appreciation for and of each other. We thank each other daily for even the little things…thank you for picking up, thank you for washing the dishes, taking the trash out and so on. It’s not to say we don’t get on each other’s nerves, because we do. At times I find myself even thankful for the familiarity of all her annoying habits. I hope she feels the same. There is something comforting in these familiar annoyances. There is a certainty to them; the same as the certainty of her love for me, her unquestionable, unyielding love for me.

So top of my list of what I am thankful for is J. I am thankful for my family and friends and not just the ones that I get to see all the time, but also the ones I rarely get to see, and even some of the ones that don’t want to see me, or the ones I don’t want to see (because in both cases, I am thankful for what we once had). I am thankful for my health and the health of those I love, for this beautiful earth on which we live, for the kindness of strangers that I witness nearly every day and for all the blessing in my life too many to tell.

"If the only prayer you ever say in your life is thank you, it will be enough." - Meister Eckhart

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

dad



The truth is I’m lying if I tell you I’m ok, because I’m not. When my father died it changed me. I found myself wondering what I would do next. I already had a life, but somehow things were different now. No parents. Becoming an orphan at any age leaves you feeling…what…I’m not sure…but something…just different.

Grieving is a tunnel you fall into to. On the very surface is the immediate loss, the thing that you tripped on, your last moment of pain. But the walls are lined with every loss before that. To crawl your way back out, you need to revisit each loss again. They have somehow merged into one. You need to pass through them and say goodbye again. To mom, to lost loves, to lost friendships, to pieces of myself that I gave up. Some are easier to say goodbye to again, some still sting, some you really didn’t want to revisit. It is a cleansing in spite of the pain of remembering.

Before dad died, he looked at my sister and I and said…"I’ll never forget this, girls”…and it made me smile and cry at the same time. Where would he carry that memory, I thought. Would it survive the journey to where he was going? Would he find mom and tell her “the girls took good care me”? He had the sweetest smile on his face when he said it. I’ll never forget that smile. He looked like a little boy. He looked happy, content, most importantly, he looked comfortable. He wanted to look out into his yard so we would sit him in the wheelchair with his feet up on the couch so he could look out. The TV became too confusing to him. He didn’t know where he was. He would look at the TV and ask us what room he was in, he thought he was in the room that he was seeing on the screen. we would tell him it was just the TV, but then he would ask who that man was in the room. We kept telling him he was home, but he seemed to not really believe us.

Dad changed as he got older, he was still his grumpy old self, still funny as hell, but he became softer for sure. He told us all the time that he loved us. I still called him frequently to ask his opinion, get his advice. I always thought he was so smart. Just like every kid that thinks their dad knows everything. That never went away for me. There were just certain things that only dad would know. Sometimes I would ask him things just to make him feel like I still needed him, other times I needed him for real, even more often I would tell him things just to hear him laugh, or to have him make me laugh, or just to hear his concern. I needed that too. I still want to pick up the phone and tell him stuff. I miss that.

I miss you dad.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

on being responsible to each other

Sunday morning and reading the NY Times and it is riddled with endless news accounts about how we are slowly destroying our world−our environment, our global economy, and each other.

Our world has grown smaller. The Internet has created one huge interconnected world where we can no longer think only about ourselves. Everything we do inevitably affects everything and everyone. Look at Greece. The little guy doesn’t pay his taxes; fears that the country can’t pay its massive debt drops the value of the euro for fear of the collapse of the European banks that hold the debt, and then that fear tanks the Dow. Oh boy. Who would have thought?

But after all, we are like children. We learn by example. We need to be shown what is right and wrong, how to be responsible financially, environmentally and treat others as we would like to be treated. But what do we learn when all around us we see preachers raping children, the big guy lying and cheating and stealing our money, the corporation consciously taking calculated risks based on dollars saved rather than lives or nature saved, and when even good presidents get sucked in to making bad choices? We learn to cheat and lie and say, “well if they…”.

It’s hard to always do the right thing. I try to. I think most of us try to. There are times when I feel lazy about rinsing out the plastic container so it can go in the recycling bin and I want to just drop it into the trash. I mean how can just this once hurt anything. But of course globally, just this once, one at a time, it does!

Though I am thankful for all the good of the internet and all the beauty of our global interconnectedness (all you have to do is watch Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir - 'Lux Aurumque' and see and feel and hear the beauty of it all, there are times when all this connectedness has me wanting to crawl into a hole where I am responsible only to myself and my family and friends.

I guess I am beginning to feel overwhelmed by my responsibility to the whole world and I just feel like pulling out all my money, before they successfully lose all the hard earned money I made while doing the right thing, and running away to some beach before that giant 300 foot deep oil plume reaches me.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

ribbons

Life spins ribbons around me today. bright, colorful ribbons of joy. Lots of private smiling from ear to ear going on. All by myself, like J says.

I needed to go to Home Depot for something. I went first thing in the morning, before they were actually open, so I sat in my car for a few minutes. I was looking out my windshield watching this white guy, maybe 50’s, getting out of his pick-up. He was struggling. He had a cane, and one side wasn’t working fully. Stroke, I figured. Sad, he was so young. I watched as he helped his leg out, got his cane, and grabbed a few bags off of the seat. I was watching and thinking…”good for you!!! Don’t let it stop you!”

From the far corner of the parking lot, I see a 30s something, tall, black, working-class guy, walk past mr. pick-up, go get a shopping cart, come back and take the bags out of the mans hand, put them in the cart, turn the cart so the bar was facing properly, pick up the man’s limp hand and put it on the cart handle and then walk away. They never spoke to each other. I watched and then cried at how beautiful it was and delighted in the goodness of people.

Later that day, a 10 year old came into the gallery with her mom. i sit in the back behind a wall and never see, but only hear people walk in. sometimes silently but for the squeaking of the wooden floor. Other times, I hear “wow”, nearly under a breath. It is a very colorful place filled with colorful things. Quin was her name. she was really tight with her mom. very loving, very open with her. I listened to them interact before finally saying hello. I was immediately taken by Quin, her spirit. “I like you Quin.” I said. “thanks.” She said. “you have moxie.” I said. She looked at her mom and asked her what moxie meant. “Oh, OK.” She said.

They left after sharing a bunch of giggling, and I was sad to see them go, but my chest was filled up like a balloon and it felt good.

I liked today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You’re not going to put that there are you?


This is the way relationships go. I don’t know how many times J has heard me say those words. 15 years later, she still tries to rearrange an item or two, or position a new found object somewhere in the house. She never gets away with it. Whether she hears the words or not, it’s not staying where she put it any longer than it has to. That’s usually under a minute or so, on the outside, a day. But I have to say, each time, I am wondrously amused by her efforts. It is the most endearing thing to watch, and my heart fills up like a balloon as I silently take it all in. She trusts that I will, at the very least, wait for her to go through the charade of placing the object and let her enjoy the momentary delight she finds in doing so. It’s like an inside joke between us. She knows I let her ‘do her thing’, always very clear about the fact that she will be overruled. I love this about us.

This dance actually takes a lot of forms and it moves in both directions. She reluctantly ignores my gorging myself with ice cream, (because I feel it) and then very gently, three quarters of the way into a quart, says, “are you sure you want to do that?”. I always shamefully, but with a lot of theatrics, stop eating whatever I was sliding deep into my throat. In my head, I’m bullshit I couldn’t have finished it before she said anything. Externally I put on a face and thank her for saving me from the additional calories.

We also have some secret signals we covertly mime when either of us forgets where we are and publicly exposes one of our awkward or annoying ticks or bad habits. After so many years, we have developed quite a few signals. This requires extra time on the front end if we are meeting up with friends so we can review and practice some of the newer gestures. J actually isn’t very good at this and has twice knocked over a salt shaker while trying to signal me under the table about my clearing my teeth. I end up having to be quick with a comedy routine to cover up the error, and it pisses me off. It’s always SO obvious something stealth was going on.

We let each other ‘get away with things’, and other times we’re just helping each other along.

Just like that cliché of riding the wave of love…the ebbing tide…that always, inevitably, gives it up to the wave.

The best part is the constant falling in love with new parts, or parts you forgot you loved so much. I like re-falling in love, over and over again.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

swimming in mexico

It’s hot today so I decide to float in the pool for a while before trekking to the beach. A quick submersion then I lay my torso upon a baby’s float, enough to keep my head out of the water. Suddenly a little black bug swims up to my face. He/she looks like a beetle. I have no idea what it is. It has four little legs, all of which are furiously paddling. I scoop the poor creature into the cup of my hand, swim to the pool’s edge and gently release him or her. He immediately turns around and lets him/herself drop back into the pool. I strike this off to disorientation and scoop him back up and place him a little further from the edge where upon he/she immediately turns around and swims back into the pool. I don’t get it.

Now I know that I tend to exaggerate at times, throw in a few details that didn’t actually occur for the sake of storytelling, (everyone must laugh after all…this I have learned…if you can’t be funny, no one really cares. you can tell the most harrowing of stories so long as you throw in a little humor, but, no exaggeration, I pick up the critter once more and heave him as far as I can (I played 3rd base for years, so no wimp toss) toward the garden. He lands on the branch of a baby palm and I watch as he drops him/herself off the leaf and onto the tiles below. I watch. Carefully. Don’t take my eyes off of him/her as he/she rights (fuck it – it’s a he from this point on…) himself and begins his journey back to the pool. I couldn’t believe it. Do beetles have a brain? Can they think? Is he consciously trying to drown himself and am I disturbing the natural order of things. Why is this beetle trying to get back into the pool? Is he just hot? He’s probably totally bullshit with me at this point! I WANT TO SWIM YOU STUPID HUMAN! IT’S FREAKIN’ HOT OUT HERE! And here he comes, back to edge and once again drops himself in. unbelievable.

I am so taken by this that I jump out of the pool and scurry over to the computer to jot down my findings.

Just thought you might be interested in hearing. Need to get back to the pool now to see if he’s still in there.

Friday, February 19, 2010

reading in mexico

So today I will read. I finished my first novel already (The Help – highly recommend) and start looking for another book. I just can’t sit idle, I need something to do and there is nothing I would rather do than immerse myself in a great book that takes me away from the beauty and warmth that surrounds me. A dose of cruel reality is important in keeping fresh in one’s mind how wonderful it is to be where you are.

I take three possibilities to the pool’s edge. I get myself all settled in; towel the recliner, drag the little table within arm’s reach, where I stack the 3 books and my ice coffee, and then proceed to coat my body with 30 sun block. I arrange myself onto the lounger and am immediately pissed that it is just too hot to sit here. I need to pick all this up and start all over again on the other side of the pool where there is shade. So begins the exodus.

Finally, I sit my ass down, pick up the first potential and begin to read. I read for half an hour and am into the second chapter before I suddenly recognize a particular sentence, a profound sentence, which I remember stopping at the last time. This not remembering can actually be a benefit, as one can read and re-read all ones favorite books over and over again and not have to suffer through bad fiction that goes nowhere. Nevertheless, I put the book down and begin the second potential.

I am immediately taken in by the gripping description of a horrid car accident. It’s almost too descriptive. I find myself cringing and feel my face distorting and head shaking….but it is so well written I am compelled to continue reading. Then the book begins to do that back and forth thing, swinging from present time to past tense, which I hate, but the past tense is at least a break from the current state the poor bastard finds himself in, and it is also compelling, so I read on.

Finally, we are back to prevailing times and we are in a burn unit of a hospital undergoing debridement, (the cutting off of dead skin from a burn victim). His description of the pain is so unbearable to read, that I actually feel my stomach rise into the back of my throat and I heave the book into the pool where it floats before sinking.

I pick up potential number three; a story of two best friends, who survive betrayal, disloyalty and pain, to go on loving each other forever -Sounds like fiction to me and the perfect read to escape reality when it’s just too good to believe! Within the first fifty pages, I read the words, “will you be my best friend” “I will always be your best friend”, “promise we will always be best friends” enough times that the words….NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER …no longer hold any value for me.

I get the pool net, scoop out potential number two and resume reading about what it means to survive an inferno while I bake in the sun for added effect.

painting in mexico

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

life in bucerias mexico

J and I have been in Mexico since the 5th of February.

This visit is supposed to be a test run. A ‘can we live here’ test run, so I am trying to live like a person would normally, not as a vacationer lives. That means I get up in the mornings and check email in case someone is looking for me. I am in fact working on this trip thanks to wireless internet access.

Actually I don’t really know what day of the week it is today. It is a rainy day and J left to go into Puerto Vallarta to work with old clients and friends she’s had from a hundred years ago.

On Saturday I relentlessly checked email for any potential work. “It’s Saturday…of a long weekend” J says, “I’ve told you three times already”. “Oh, yea. Forgot.” I say. “Oye” she says.

I have been cooking and reading and writing and painting every day. Not all at once mind you. I’m not that coordinated any more, although I do find I jump from one activity to another with seamless alacrity.

As a for- instance. I was just reheating left overs (shrimp (which literally just jumped out of the sea and cost $3.00 a pound) sautéed in olive oil with garlic, fresh tomatoes, capers, roasted red peppers, and white wine …all which cost less than ten dollars) over angel hair pasta)…just to digress a little more… Yesterday I made a fish and shrimp stew with rice, tomatoes, carrots, celery, mushrooms and wine. I needed a few things so I walked into town where I picked up a bag of mushrooms, two avocados, three tomatoes and fresh cilantro all for a total of $1.50!

Anyway, back to the left overs. I needed to nuke the bowl of pasta but we were using the microwave for storage. After clearing out the huge pineapple and assortment of other veggies, I noticed those itty bitty tiny pin head size ants marching around in there. Of course I felt badly, but there were too many to wipe up so I decided I would set the microwave on for a minute or two to …well you know….i set the timer for 1.5 minutes….i waited…ok that’s enough I though. I felt terrible. I open the microwave door to find all the little fuckers still marching around!! How is it possible that you can inadvertently implode your miniature poodle (I’ve heard of such tragic events) but these little things do not die after being nuked???

I was so, amazed, amused, intrigued, curious that I left the microwave to jot down my observations and began to write. This is where I am now…..and what I meant about seamlessly jumping from one activity to other.

…ok, so wrote all that and then went and heated the pasta and ate. It was just as good the second day although I added a little olive oil and some salt, because I salt everything, even if it doesn’t need it.



Just for some color, i thought i would throw in a photo of Saturdays dinner (two "n's" because you always want more...an old friend taught me that..that's how i know when to use double consonants...diner, dinner). it was also quite good.

Monday, November 23, 2009

this is how we grow

It has been some time since I have written¬. my brain has been filled with too much static to think about forming sentences that have any real meaning. I’ve only had lists in my head. the last two months have been one endless list of things to do. some fun and exciting, some scary as shit. some too boring to even have to write on the paper let alone accomplish. i like the crossing off of things though. i like the act of that more than the accomplishment itself. it is the most satisfying part of completing a task. it pisses me off when i accomplish tasks that never even made it on the list because i don't get the pleasure of scratching a rule across vague words defining my assignment. i hate that. i usually write it on the sheet just so i can scratch it out. But I digress. This isn’t a post about lists. It is a post about transitioning into ones real self.

What happens next when you finally pass through that window and fall completely into the life you were meant to be living all along? It is odd and awe inspiring and so full of fascination, puzzlement and expectation. I wonder if I look different or if people will see me differently. I don’t know where to begin. I am so thankful to have shed that old skin that never fit properly. I never felt as though I belonged in that corporate world of posturing and corporate speak, that while sometimes amusing, was quite irritating. Good people drink poisoned Kool-Aid to maintain position and income level and there is sadness all around and nothing to respect. now my life has been filling up with other like minded people and artists. we speak in realities that have color, we do not care if we venture "off topic", we explore contradictory ideas rather than trying to be "on the same page".

Anyway, it is in the past, along with some people, and there will definitely never be a returning. Some doors are meant to stay shut once we close them and some people we are meant to say goodbye to for a final time. This is how we grow.

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing. But burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars……………"
Jack Kerouac

Friday, October 23, 2009

blue shutters studio opening


Please join me to celebrate the grand opening of

BLUE SHUTTERS STUDIO

a gallery of fine art and unique gifts

Saturday, November 14th 5:30 - 8:00

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

sounds like a good idea

It has been almost two months since I have written. How can I be too busy to sit and speak or be still? Sometimes we are swept away by things that seem so important that we can’t take ourselves away for even a moment, to sit and think, to let life seep in, to feel what we are experiencing.

I left my job, I went through a whirlwind of emotions…. I left there and felt freed, but still scared out of my wits. Making loads of money and then loosing it is a weird place. It’s an interesting shift in perspective. One we should all experience from time to time. I think I wrote about that already.

I am opening a gallery and studio in an old mill building which has a wonderful spirit. There is something comforting there - I wish I knew her, him, them - the ones who inhabited earlier. They left their energy. I keep joking about how silly it is that I am opening a gallery in a place where no one will come. Then I think, maybe I needed to come first. So I am here. My works are still strewn about in my home studio, waiting to be taken. I’ve painted the walls in blue – definitely NOT my color, but I guess it is now, because there they are. they startle me when I walk in. In the next few days the art will start to move in and we will see what happens to the room. I don’t really care – I mean, I care, but it is not as though I am hoping for a particular outcome. However it comes to be, or doesn’t, is fine with me. that, is what I am trying to say.

And my friends, my friends, who have been there with me along the way-building walls, painting, hauling, planning, shopping. Life can’t be anything but good when you look in a room and see more than a handful of people, just being there for you. It fills up my chest with good air to breath and overflows my eyes.

I have been busy every minute of every day since I left my “job”. Busy like a lunatic but I cannot tell you what I have accomplished. It’s all blurred into one, and the remainder of the list is intenible to me. how will this all be managed? And then again, the point might be to stop trying to manage anything. Let my life form itself.

Sounds like a good idea.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Jeeeeminy crickets!!!

A new day has dawned and thank God for that! What a week it has been. First I leave my job while everyone else in clinging to stay employed. I am either a total fool, or a blundering idiot (different from being foolish) or it will turn out to be the best thing I’ve ever done. Everyone keeps tell me I have to believe. That’s the fundamental and pivotal word and attitude. BELIEVE. So Okay – I’m giving it a try.

Partied with friends Friday night; had a good time, lots of laughs, lots of indulgences. Saturday is a welcomed rainy day spent with J and a dear friend watching movies. Off to bed Saturday night only to be awaked by the fire alarm at 4:00 A.M. We do the “fire alarm dance”….what’s that? It’s the fire alarm? Well what is it? How should I know? Get something to fan the alarm – it’s too f’ing loud! Are you kidding? She gets a towel and begins to wave it. I think we should go down!!! The towel is abandoned and we go down. The kitchen is engulfed with the smell of electrical fire. J goes outside and opens the bulk head doors, CALL 911!!! CALL 911!!! She screeches, consumed in the billowing smoke!

I call 911. I feel compelled to scream into the phone in a slightly hysterical, but authentically Greek tone, for affect. FIRE! SMOKE! ALARMS! I say between breaths. I wanted to be taken seriously. (years ago I called 911 when the alarms went off in my apartment and I was questioned by the operator as if I were lying – didn’t want a repeat). He calmly tells me to get everyone out of the house. J is already outside so that leaves me. Once again, as I did many years ago, I take a brief look around and decide since it would take me too long to decide what I would take, I take nothing. I didn’t want to hear any “You took THAT?!!” remarks afterward.

The Police arrive – two, then four. We stand around and shoot the shit while we wait for the fire trucks. One of them is funnier than any stand up I’ve heard. I’m laughing my but off. Firemen arrive and tell us we are lucky to be alive. The alarm went off in the bedroom upstairs, but not in the basement or the first floor. Small miracles or God’s work.

I wake up the next morning, totally annoyed that I have to drive into the city for an appointment, on the first day that I do not have to drive into work, which happens to be in the city. I get five doors down the street and someone pulls out and collides into me taking the entire length of my new Scion with him. I stepped out of the car and lost it. Completely…like a girl. Face in my hands, sobbing. I was a sight. Poor bastard didn’t know what was going on…

…and frankly, neither did I or do I!
Lets Begin again.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

words to live by

The Four Agreements®

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean.
Avoid using the word to speak against yourself
or to gossip about others. Use the power of
your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you.
What others say and do is a projection
of their own reality, their own dream.
When you are immune to the opinions and
actions of others, you won't be the
victim of needless suffering.

3. Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions
and to express what you really want.
Communicate with others as clearly as
you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness
and drama. With just this one agreement,
you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from
moment to moment; it will be
different when you are healthy as
opposed to sick. Under any circumstance,
simply do your best, and you will avoid
self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On freeing oneself

Life can be brutal at times; especial when we are too young to understand that pain can be passed forward without intention. All we hear are words, and not necessarily what they are saying. We know only how to interpret those words from where we stand, how we hear them, and how they reflect upon our own being, not from a place of understanding anothers suffering or how those words are really a reflection of the person speaking them.

We wear these words like tattoos across our hearts that surface and rupture, sometimes when we hear them spoken, but more often the breach is by interpretation. In other words, we may hear – You are stupid…you are pathetic…you are wrong…you will never…you can’t…and you won’t; not because they were spoken out loud, but by one’s own perception of what they think they are hearing.

Some people live trapped inside these translations and are never able to free themselves of what they think they hear. They spend a lifetime defining themselves based on how they believe people perceive them, rather than how they perceive themselves. But then again, their self perceptions are often times so distorted and damaged by years of misconception, that to rise above it would mean reinventing oneself. I AM NOT WHO YOU THINK I AM… or more to the point…I AM NOT WHO I THINK YOU THINK I AM.

To live a full life we must know who we are. We must BE who we are, without excuses, or apologies or explanations as to why. We must free ourselves from the words that hold us back even if it means losing a few people along the way just to drown out the noise.

Friday, August 14, 2009

in loving memory



in loving memory of one of God's angels

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

art by vk

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

so that's that about all that

I actually posted this on 6.27.09 and then promptly removed it at 2:00AM after this sudden feeling that it was just TOO MUCH. (but not before at least four people read it…so those of you that read it can skip over it).

Today I reread it and because I am about to reinvent myself, I decided I wasn’t afraid of what I had to say.

So here it is again.

My favorite book is EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE by Jonathan Safran Foer. I keep the book on my night stand and open it to random pages periodically. Inevitably I find a passage to underscore. I have literally hundreds of passages underscored. I imagine one day the entire book will be will one continuous underline.



And once again Jonathan spoke to me. spoke to the person I once was before all the hurt, before I turned off the oven and stopped baking bread. Everyone used to say I was just TOO. Too intense, too dark, too loud, too angry, that I cared too much, I thought too deeply, I was simply too much. So I turned it off. what they didn’t understand at the time was that it meant I had to stop caring about them too.

From time to time since then I have opened up my heart, only to inevitably be met with the same after the period of enchantment wore off. So back inside I would go. My partner J however, stayed for the long haul. we are in our 15th year together and she can still smell the bread even when I’m not baking. I will love her forever.

I am also lucky enough to have more than a handful of people in my life that in spite of not having been able to take me in at the time, continue to love the person I was, and see me even today for the person that I am. I try to listen to their words now and believe them when they tell me…the thing they loved the most about me was that I was TOO MUCH.

Today I am in the process of letting go of things that have held me back and I am on course to returning to myself, because frankly I preferred myself when I was just too much.

So that’s that about all that.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

let there be children


Thousands of children in the Gaza Strip sought to break the world record for kite flying in a rare moment of respite from the war-battered enclave's daily life

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

luck?

Whenever the subject of luck comes up with the right leaning people I know, I find I must always defend the luck of the gene pool when discussing the difference between affluence and privilege we are born into, and that which we work to achieve. J and I sit on our dock, looking out onto the moving water while we take in the beautiful sunset; and yes there are swans that swim by. If you think we’re not grateful, guess again. We have been living here 8 years now and still elbow each other every night…”this is our house” we say, as we acknowledge how lucky we are for all our blessings. Then we send off prayers to all those who aren’t as fortunate as we are, and whenever we can, give money or our time.

Right leaners however, don’t think luck has anything to do with it. They think they sit where they sit only because they worked their asses off to get where they are instead of lazing around and looking for government handouts.

Rather than argue, I visualize them as little girls or boys born in the Sudan, or say Afghanistan, maybe Darfur, (I don’t think I need to complete the list), anywhere but where they landed and nod my head at them. I don’t remark out loud anymore about this, although i have in the past, because it never goes over very well.

My argument begins with the notion that our luck begins at the beginning. It begins with where we are born, followed by to whom, and then all the rest of the seemingly important things that make such a difference on how far you get, no matter where you are dropped. Things like beauty as opposed to plain, or worse yet, ugly. Things like intellectual capacity, or at least the capacity to ask the questions necessary to continue growing, never mind do math, as opposed to those not so smart; or whether one is born healthy or came into this world with Down ’s syndrome, or spina bifida, or leukemia or just plain hungry. I understand there are some who believe that we choose where and to whom we are born, and while I do believe we come back, I do not believe we choose any of it. How’s that for specific and selective beliefs. But they’re mine and this is my blog.

I also understand that no matter how bad things are in one’s life, it IS possible to rise above it- at least in this country, because truth is if you were born in Somalia during a drought, you aren’t very likely to make it past two. However, the percentage of people who are born with that much courage, guts, testicular or ovarian fortitude, to crawl their way out of the ghetto after being born to a HIV positive, heroin addicted mother (describe any of hundreds of scenarios here), are few and far between. Yes, it can be done. It’s not an impossibility, but I don’t know how many of us have the fortitude to rise above such adversities. I don't think many of us could if we were honest with ourselves.

Meanwhile, it so often seems to me that those of us who already have so much are the very ones always wanting for more. I catch myself so many times saying..I wish this or that….I wish I had this or that…and I end up feeling so ridiculous…because it is so easy to fall into a pattern of wanting, and I know I am in that one percentile of people globally who have so much. We forget that. We forget how few people in the world get to have what we have.

I have always been bothered by the inequities of the world. The have’s and the have not’s. And it’s not like I’m saying we should feel guilty about what we have, I’m not. Don’t get me wrong, I get as tired of hearing ….”well, you know you could have cancer, or you could be a young girl in Afghanistan who just had acid thrown in her face “, because it invalidates anything we may be experiencing in our lives that causes us pain, or worry, or anger. I know, I know…so many have it so much worse. But our lives are also important and it’s ok to bitch and complain as long as you keep it in perspective. I’m just saying, that at a minimum we should certainly be thankful and we should each, individually do what we can to make this world we live in a good place to live for all of us.

So I came up with this idea. What if global society required that we switch places with someone else in the world every so often? It would be like a flip switch that would be randomly pulled. You wouldn’t know when it was about to happen or where you would be transported. You would always be transported into the current year and at the age you are presently, but you might go from rich to poor, from black to white; Asian to African; hungry or satiated, brilliant or stupid, male or female, Christian, Muslim, or Jew. You’d span countries you never heard of, let alone find on a map. It would begin from the time you were an infant and could happen as frequently as once a year to as long as a decade. The only other societal rule would be that at some point, (could be at 25, 48 or 75, you would never know) you would be sucked back to your home town in the country of your birth where you would be required to spend at least part of each day doing something to make the world a better place to live.

I think that would be fair and it would give us all a better understanding of who and what we are all about – I mean all of us – the collective human race.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

the rape of memory

so we finally have a summer day and i decide to put on my white pants and of course I do not have white underwear other than my white thong. I decide they would be a good choice anyway, once I figure out which holes my legs go through (that's a little tricky actually as the patch that goes in front is not much bigger than the cheek divider side - i have on occasion put them on sideways - it's quiet a sight!). Anyway, thirty seconds after i have them on I'm trying to pick my underwear out of my ass until I remember I am wearing my thong. Eight times inside of eleven minutes I find my hand reaching around to pick, pick, pick. Each time I remember I am wearing a thong and withdrawal my hand. At first I am annoyed with myself that I can't remember! For g-d's sake woman - it's the thong! By the sixth time my annoyance has turned into fear. How I do i forget so quickly?! By the eight time I'm depressed. What's happening to me?? It's just not funny anymore. The cycle repeats itself many times throughout the day...the rape of memory has gone well beyond the misplacement of keys. I can barely carry on a conversation. As i am listening to someone my responses float out of my mind before it is my turn to speak. i stare back blankly and get accused of not listening but actually, not only can i not remember what i wanted to say, but by the time it's my turn i can't remember what we are talking about.

work is another story entirely. if i don't make lists, nothing gets accomplished. it has also become necessary that my lists provide details, as the single line..."new design - big struts" just leaves me wondering - what new design? for what project? everyday i get in my car and i have forgotten my coffee on the counter, before i get to the end of the road i remember i forgot to lock the studio door, or did i? what is even more frightening is that it has begun to affect my motor skills. yesterday i was cleaning string beans; snip off the ends, break them in half, drop the good parts into the pan. before i realized it, my pan was half full of ends and strings and the good parts are in the bottom of the sink. i had to concentrate to get the right part in the right place. then i had i go through the entire pan of beans to dig out all the ends. of course by the time that exercise was done i was wondering what i was going to do with the beans. i want to call J to express my concern but i cannot find the phone. i look and look. nowhere. i press the FIND button on the base and i can hear it buzzing, but where the hell is it coming from? it's a mystery. i give up on the beans and decide to just put them away for tomorrow and of course find the phone in the refrigerator. oy vey iz mir...

Friday, June 26, 2009

on death, dying and choosing to live

Yesterday two icons died. We mourn their loss. We think back upon their lives and the memories we have of them. Meanwhile, J is in LA visiting a friend battling breast cancer, while another fights the fight to survive. Two of my family members have died of cancer −my mother to a cruel and perverse disease. To date I know twenty people who are fighting the fight, or who have survived another year, or have lost the battle. I am one person who knows twenty and this does not include the ten or so that died of AIDs back in the day.

I think of my father who attends funerals on a regular basis now. He is 87 and his friends that are dying are of the same age. Only a few of his friends died young. Most of the people I speak of are my age or younger. Just few a little order.

And so I sit and ask myself, am I doing what I want with my life? Do I spend my hours and days living my life or just biding time until I can get to where I am going? Life is short we say. And it is. I ask myself, if I were diagnosed today would i have regrets about what i have done with my life? Would I feel proud of the person that I am? But most importantly, would i spend the rest of my days doing what I am doing presently? The answer doesn’t take much consideration. It is NO. I would spend my days, reading, writing, doing art and helping others. I would spend my days growing, spreading my wings, laughing, and making other people laugh. I would fill as much space with laughter. I would spend my time trying to be a better person in every way, and I would start with the small stuff…like being a better listener. I would try to get back to being the person I was before I was hurt so many times. Get back to giving even if I don’t get back in return. I have put up walls. I have stopped listening, I have stopped offering my hand, I have closed myself in and I want to get back out. I want to smile more, I want to stop worrying… about everything….HAKUNA MATATA….that is what I learned from my Godchild today…it’s from the Lion King apparently…no worries for the rest of your days. I like that. And when I worry about money, I need only remember what a spiritual guru (whose name I do not recall) once said when asked, “and where will I get the money to do this?” - “from where ever it is now” he replied. Sounds like an answer to me.

So,NO. the answer is NO. I would not be spending my days sitting around and waiting to hear what I am supposed to do next. I would be doing what I am supposed to be doing. I would be living my life.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

the sweeping of US route1

as i travel to and from work everyday i need to find ways to entertain myself during the 3 hours i spend on the road- so today I found myself sighing an AHHHH went i noticed that route 1 had been cleared of debris. One of my favorite things is to take note of highway junk. Route 1 is an archeologists dream and I often wonder what people in the future will make of the buried findings on our abandoned freeways. Some things are natural rubbish; weeds, remnants of a variety of winged creatures, road kill of varying sizes and shapes (recently i was unable to make out the species on one particular carcass? was it a bear cub? it certainly wasn't a dog or cat) - whatever it was, it broke my heart. One day I actually saw a bird fly right into the car in front of me and ping off the front fender like a bullet. very sad.

but the man made artifacts are of most interest to me. A lot of it I totally get, and it makes perfect sense how they came to find themselves on the side of the road; cigarette buts (of which i am a guilty offender), trash bags, grocery bags that often take flight and scare the shit out of me, plastic water bottles, empty energy drink tins no doubt tossed with zeal, endless proof that Dunkin' Donuts still rules or perhaps just evidence that Starbucks drinkers are more environmentally conscious and of course paper, paper, paper. Collision residuals are totally understandable although I don't get why they don't pick up all the bumpers, fenders, headlight casings, hub caps, and shattered glass rather than just sweeping them to the side.

but the really good stuff are those things that make me asked How the hell did that get there?? on the side of a highway? OK so baseball caps- maybe the wind blew them off, but lawn chairs, couch cushions, refrigerators, garden tools, ladders, teady bears, bicycles, childrens toys? The soiled diapers adorned with pink butterflies? - (shame on them for tossing those out the window) and how does the single shoe end up there? i don't understand that. I've seen hundreds of single shoes. Once i actually saw a suit jacket still sheathed in its 2ml plastic dry cleaning cover, wire hanger still in place. the most ridiculous sighting of all however has to be the bald, one armed manikin torso which settled propped upright again the guardrail, eyes looking upward, hand reaching to the skies above. i really wanted to stop and get it but it would have meant my life and since it was a good day, i decided against that option.

anyway, i look forward to the accumulation of new things and will keep you abreast of any noteworthy finds.

Monday, May 11, 2009

to Lola


a second mother's day without her. the day has changed for me. it is now a day of reflection, of remembrance, of honoring who and what she was. the list is too long. i wrote it all down when she died. who she was, what she liked, what she didn't like. she was so many different things all twisted into one huge person that touched so many people in so many different ways. old friends still comment on how they remember her, her laughter, her anger, how she scared them, how loving she was, how she always insisted that you eat even if your weren't hungry. she was bigger than life. and then life happened to her. she suffered in the end. but she still laughed, everyday. it was my sister mission to make her laugh even if she didn't understand what she was laughing at.



i loved her intensely. We loved each other. Too much. I will never be able to understand why we couldn’t tell each other that. We were so afraid of hurting each other, of disrupting the balance we had created between us. It was an unspoken love. We tried to protect each other, but inevitably we hurt each other, by omission, with our words, with our gestures, with our silences. We were too much alike. The intention was never to hurt each other. We saw each other as the same person, in different times and space. She needed to hurt me to free herself of what she held inside. She wanted to free me in order to free herself. She sat before me once at a moment of complete despair and told me I could leave. She thought she was freeing me. she didn’t realize she sentenced me to my death. She told me to go away from her. Was it for her or for me – this freeing? I will never know. Instead she died in a state of unknowing. But she was kind to me. she loved me unconditionally and without regret and without holding back. She loved me openly and freely and with laughter. She held me and touched me and yes ….she told me. she told me .. that she loved me. that’s what I carry with me.

happy mother's day Lola!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

silently touching others

While sitting in bumper to bumper traffic this morning, I happen to look into my rear view mirror and was delighted to see the smiling face of the gentleman in the car behind me. It was such a sweet smile that I didn’t want to look away. I wondered what he was smiling about. He was not on the phone so I could only assume he was listening to something that pleased him. As his smile grew and stretched across his face I found that mine did also. I kept looking as he nodded his head and watched as his smile grew and grew. The more he smiled the more delighted I felt. I was filled with a sense of joy by it. Then suddenly he broke into a full bolt of laughter, head thrown back, his hands banging the steering wheel, clapping his hand together. The harder he laughed the harder I laughed! It was such a wonderful feeling, this shared laughter with a total stranger; I felt completely filled up by it. Then abruptly he changed lanes and I was so disappointed.

An old red Chevy pulled up close behind me, driven by an older man, somewhat rough looking. He was on the phone screaming at someone. My smile was replaced by a furrow. He was so angry. He was shaking his head and pointing his finger at the voice on the line, banging on the dash. He ended the call and kept shaking his head, putting his hand on his head, gritting his teeth and then began yelling at no one in particular, the traffic, God maybe, me perhaps. Although I was shaken by this, my smile was still lingering under the surface and I all I could think was… the poor bastard. How sad to be so angry at the start of the day. Just as we passed the toll booth he sped around me, running away from the world.

A woman in a BMW pulled up close behind. She looked forlorn, downtrodden, resigned or perhaps just bored out of her mind. She held her tilted head up with her hand, elbow resting on the door, occasionally running her fingers through her hair, looking down into her lap. I felt such sadness looking at her – there was such hopelessness in her vacuous stare. I wondered what her life read like. I wondered if she was alone in the world. I found myself hoping that at the end of the day she drove home to someone who loved her, worshipped her, and gave her reason to drive in the opposite direction with a longing for the embrace that awaited her.

My day had barely begun and I had traveled through a day’s worth of emotions. I wanted to be left with the laughter that began it all so I returned my thoughts to that gentle smile that followed me as I crossed the bridge into the city, affirming that laughter truly is the shortest distance between two people.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

the I in i

Women with husbands, women with women, some with children, crying, laughing, shouting; adults renewing memories through the little people they have brought forth; others reliving a tarnished life with a new brush of color. Women with men, women alone, some happy, some not so much; men with other men, with or without children, dogs, cats. Men alone. Some are overwhelmed and travel circles to reach their destination; others rearrange condiments to align with the alphabet of choosing, sure and certain and quiet.

All the lives are hauntingly the same apart from the noise level and degree of participation. Even those alone dream the same dreams, desire interchangeable desires—a wanting for love and laughter, for comfort and safety, a longing to be heard, encouraged, and adored—passion, once foremost on the list, now a secondary consideration overshadowed by a vast wanting to be known and embraced for the I in i.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

dodging turkeys

Yesterday was to be my last road trip with my cherished 1997 Nissan Maxima that I adoringly called Maxi – an appropriate name as it was like being enveloped in a made-for-a-big-woman pad. But the time had come to put her to rest. The struts were totally gone and it became more like riding bare back on the LAP of a big-woman atop a bucking bronco. On a few occasions my head actually hit the roof on a pot hole rebound. This always made me laugh for some reason. Besides, Maxi had developed so many unidentifiable noises that it became nearly impossible to have a cell phone conversation. “Where the hell are you!!!” my sister would scream, “you sound like you’re on an aircraft carrier!” She would get so pissed at me, like it was my fault!

At any rate, it was time to let go. I decided to go environmentally correct and purchase a small, energy efficient Scion XD (intended for the young I might add―not for 50-somethings…but I decided to go with this rather than to plump my lips with collagen injections).

On route to work I saw a flock of wild turkeys making their way onto highway I-95. Traffic was moving at approximately 85 miles an hour – typical for north of Boston traffic. Suddenly everyone is dodging turkeys, cars swinging from lane to lane, horns blaring, arms flailing from windows. I burst out laughing. The road in front me had cleared of traffic and there stood a wide-eyed black thing with that disgusting red dangling thing―I couldn’t help myself―I took aim! I wanted Maxi to have a memorable last ride, and besides those bastard turkeys are ugly to the bone! I had the whole visual―I would go tonight to pick up my new car with turkey guts splattered across the windshield, feathers sticking out of the grill, head lodged under the wiper! This made me laugh even harder! I thought of my father with whom I share a macabre sense of humor and couldn’t contain myself. With all the laughter and car bouncing going on, I missed my target! I was pissed! My only chance to fold the little fucker and I MISSED!

Oh well. It all turned out for the best as my new XD had a slight flaw and I was unable to pick it up. I would have been horrified to have driven home with the splatters of an uncooked Thanksgiving dinner on my windshield.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

handprints on my heart


most of them keep me warm and carry me through my life, some hurt like hell, others piss me off, but I will never let any of them fade away.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

god's wrath

So let’s see if I have this straight, god (and I won’t capitalize since this god surely is not a god of love, light and kindness), is about to lay his wrath upon us and ravage major cities across the United States (fires, riots, looting in Times Square and so on – how exciting!) apparently because he is pissed at all the raging sins of America – this according to the esteemed Pastor David Wilkerson who allegedly received a message directly from the Holy Spirit. Please take the time to read David’s most interesting insights!

Most importantly take heed of David’s suggestion to stockpile a 30-day supply of food and toiletries. I assume this also means an adequate supply of tampons and duck tape, god forbid any democrats, Jews or homosexuals try to squeeze themselves into your safe zone! The tampons along with the duck tape could also be used for gagging purposes in the event some Muslims slip through the cracks.

I want to know who these people are that believe such things. I want to know what their God looks like. Actually I would really like to know what THEY look like. I want to be able to recognize them so I can make sure to throw things at them should they pass in front of me.

And what exactly are the raging sins of America?

Abortion? Clearly these are the same people that stand in front of abortion clinics protesting. My partner J once took a friend to an abortion clinic, she had been raped. There was a woman there yelling out quotes from scripture as they passed by. J couldn’t help herself; she approached the good christian (again not deserving of capitalization) and asked if she would be willing to take the child if her friend carried it to term. The protester turned her back and walked away. Apparently she wasn’t christian enough, or at the very least, interested in caring for an unwanted child. She just wanted to let them know that god hated them. I’ll bet she was really ugly, but does god love ugly people? I should remember to ask if I ever cross paths with such a person.

Homosexuals? Oh boy!

"Homosexual Sodomites came out of their closet and became activists, casting a demonic spell over a whole generation of men and boys. They grew politically powerful, controlling everything. Sodom became the world's gay capital, a society so vile, wicked and crazed with violence that its sins thundered throughout the heavens, filling God's holy environment with a hellish cry"; this according to the most honorable David. See full article. It’s a delightful read and so informative.

I’m not really sure I need to go on. It’s just more of the same. And it simply exhausts me trying to take in all this important and pertinent information.

I just want to know if I should be hording some hotdogs. I especially need to know if there would be any backlash to specifically having Hebrew National’s kosher Jumbo Beef Franks as they are my favorite…or would that lessen my chances of surviving the forthcoming cataclysmic events.

TAKE-AWAY POINT: If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name in a Swiss bank. Woody Allen

Sunday, March 08, 2009

things that irritate me

I was in the grocery store today, on a Sunday, the first sunny warmish day New England has enjoyed in what seems like 2 years. Ok so - that is an exaggeration, but suffice it to say it was beautiful out and I didn’t want to be grocery shopping. Besides, I would rather be eating food than shopping for it any day and I was starving at the time although I try never to go food shopping hungry. I inevitably come home with things I have no idea what to do with, but somehow look appetizing at the moment. By the time they mold over and are being heaved into the trash bin, slime oozing out of the bag, I haven’t a clue what they were to begin with. At any rate, I overcame my hunger and stuck to the list in hand. (Actually I woke up with a belly ache but that never stops me from wanting to eat. I convince myself that what I am feeling is actually not an ache but hunger. Maybe a little food will help?!)

Anyway, I have been trying to be more mindful of my spending in keeping with our economic times and am also buying store brand products rather than brand names. Some things of course I refuse to down grade, like toilet tissue. There are certain comforts I am willing to pay for. But I digress.

Back to the point. Things that irritate me …. So like I said, it’s beautiful out, I want to accomplish my shopping task in less than a hour. The bridge that crosses the Merrimack River is out of commission which means I have to get on the highway to get to the store. This already adds five extra minutes both ways to and from the store. I have done my job and taken the necessary time to compile my grocery list by isle for efficiency and I successfully wiz through the shopping list in less time than expected. Now the hard part.; picking the right checkout counter. I admit I’m not good at this, I don’t know why. I get in the shortest line being careful not to get in the lane where the woman who talks to the bagger is stationed. (She actually stops scanning things while she recalls in excruciating detail how her dog threw up last night… it must have been the leftover turkey drumstick …does the bagger really care to hear I wonder?)

Anyway, I get in lane 5. The fellow in front of me only has eight items. I should be ok. But no. PRICE CHECK! Since no one is behind me I dart for lane 12. Again I am lucky enough that the person in front of me is just about to finish up, three or four items left to scan although they are near the end of the conveyor belt. The cashier reaches for the items one by one without advancing the belt which prevents me from unloading my basket. I patiently wait. The coupons get scanned while the cashier and customer exchange pleasantries. It’s not until the total is rung up that she begins digging through her handbag, which not-for-nothing, is made from a whole cows worth of leather, to find her …no don’t say it…. CHECK BOOK! Who writes checks in this day and age??? Now we have to go through the security check, ID please, phone number exchange, great grandmother’s maiden name and so on.

I’m losing my patience. I’m trying to remain peaceful but my face which contorts without any conscious direction from me betrays the cool, calm mood I am trying to convey. They both take notice and hastily try to wrap things up.

I begin placing my items on the belt. Of course my basket has been carefully arranged by like stuffs… refrigerator items, freezer items, paper goods, can goods etc., so that they are bagged properly and in order to expedite putting everything away on the back end. All of this time saving has been carefully calculated to keep the entire process at under the projected hour.

I continue unloading my basket but the cashier is not advancing the belt, so I start pushing the items forward so I can continue. I push and push until I can push no further and then he begins the scanning process. He scans, scans some more, reaches for more, he is reaching a full arms length to get at items. ADVANCE THE BELT! I want to say, so I can keep loading and keep pace with the scanning! But NO, he keeps reaching. Finally he advances the belt two inches, enough for me to add three canned goods. I still have half my basket to empty. Time is ticking off – I am behind schedule. ADVANCE THE FUCKING BELT!! My face is the size of a prune at this point but on the outside I am calm and peaceful, even smiling when he looks up. He continues scanning, reaching, scanning, reaching. I can’t help myself, since he won’t advance the belt I begin grabbing items from my basket and throwing them into the front part of the belt that he has already cleared. He ignores me until the toilet tissues bounces off the belt and hits him in the chest. He thinks this is funny. I am furious!. So I toss the bag of limes which manage to set free of the bag and bounce in every direction. He gathers them all up and advances the belt while I composedly unload the balance of goods just shy of my time line.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Saturday, February 07, 2009

feeling real



Mr. Bows was a quiet, lonely man who feared contact with people. People frightened him. He never knew what to say. He was always so afraid of saying the wrong thing that he simply chose not to speak at all. He avoided making eye contact on his travels back and forth to work and once there he planted himself in his cubicle where he avoided interaction with his co-workers.

Every day, weather permitting, he took his bag lunch and sat on the same bench in the park by the river. One day a small child came and sat on the bench next to him. His heart was racing and he tried not to look at her but she pulled on his sleeve.

“Are you a stranger?” she asked

“Yes!” he said paralyzed with fear.

“Do you have a gun?” she asked.

“My heavens NO! Do YOU?”

“No.” she said, “But I have a shoe lace. Do you want it?”

Mr. Bow had taken to removing his shoe laces as he often tripped on them.

“But why would you give it to me?”

“Because you need it.” She said.

“But I don’t need it; the shoe works fine without the lace.”

“No it doesn’t,” she said, “your foot slips out and the shoe just slaps the ground.”

“That’s true.” he smiled.

“AND!” she continued, “without the lace the shoe can’t talk. See how the tongue just hangs there?”

“But a shoe can’t talk.” He said confused.

“Everything with a tongue can talk if it feels real.”

“But how can it feel real if it can’t feel at all?” he questioned.

“But it can feel if you let it. If you take the lace and tie it, it will feel your foot touching its sole.”

“And what would the shoe say?” he asked this child that was touching his soul.

“The shoe would say that without the foot it feels cold and empty but when the foot is inside it feels warm and safe, so…”

“So…” he prompted.

“So the shoe loves the foot.”

“Oh, I see,” he said, “but I don’t know how to tie my shoes.”

“That’s OK.” she said, “I’ll teach you.”

And so she taught him and Mr. Bow came to understand the odd nature of love and realized for the first time in his life that if you tie something close enough to your soul it will make it warm enough to feel real.

Monday, January 26, 2009

dreams



Dreams are so weird. I have been dreaming a lot lately and actually remembering them. This is rare for me. The dreams are seemingly meaningless, strange characters, odd places, scenes that jump from meeting rooms, to doctors offices, to fields of war.

This is what I penned down at 3:00 am.

His name was Jerry Weele and he had ridiculously enlarged nostrils. I can’t believe I actually remembered his name. He seemed to be in a twelve step program of sorts where he was learning to accept his tragic disfigurement. He also seemed to have suffered a ruthless barbering- hair chopped in every direction. He assured everyone his disfigurement was not a congenital defect, although he blamed his mother who he disliked. She apparently suggested that he was born a congenital idiot from his father’s side. According to him, she had proof. There didn’t seem to be any evidence to support this claim, at least he didn’t state any, but somehow he went on to explain that she had succeeded in securing government support for his disability. They needed the money he said. This, all according to the speech he was giving at the meeting. So on and on it goes, he spent his formative years with his mother who masterfully taught him awkward facial expressions and incoherent mumblings. For effect apparently. He demonstrated several of the facial gestures and delivered some noises. It was really quite funny.

Years seemed to have past, and as it happens in dreams, we are suddenly in war time. Apparently for the first time he seemed delighted that he was about to recognize the first benefit of his self-imposed lunacy. He was running around in the street waving some sort of flag and laughing in that mongoloid kind of way he had been taught to do. Regrettably the army took him anyway. They needed the help he said. He went, he marched, he fought, and he made friends. This all happened really quickly. I don’t remember the details. He then returned with a curious upper respiratory infection which caused a constant and uncontrolled dribble of nasal discharge which inevitably turned into a steady stream. His mother appeared again and blamed bad genes from his father’s side. This is what I believe I heard any way. A bunch of doctors and what seemed like years later (because he changed in appearance) the nasal drippings prevailed. They kept telling him it was in his head even though the snot just ran down his face like from an open spigot.

Finally he goes to see some doctor he kept referring to as Doc W- some ear, nose and throat specialist who was known to have done miraculous work on orangutans’ suffering similar maladies. There was big poster on the wall showing proof of this. I can’t believe I actually took notice of it, but it was hard to ignore because of the grotesque picture of the orangutan with what look like piping coming from his nose. Doc W apparently had perfected a cylindrical device which, simply stated, collected and evaporated nasal drippings. He explained all this to Jerry, as well as to let him know that there was a dilemma. First this had never been done on a human being and secondly, the device measured 4 centimeters in diameter and required one on each side of the nose. That’s how it came to be that his nostrils were enlarged and the devices implanted. It was a really messy procedure. Blood everywhere, but I like gory and I kept trying to look closer.

After that it seemed his life changed and that’s when he started hanging out with other disfigured people. It was a scene from a Fellini film – short arms, elastic torsos, earless children, eyebrows made of bundles of twigs. Any way, he seemed to be at home. Mother was out of the picture entirely at this point. He stopped all the facial expressions and was openly reading and writing as he pleased. He sort of emerged as a leader among his new founds peers. Below the window of his apartment was a dumpster. He suddenly started throwing away all his belongings, anything that had to do with his past. He was totally into embracing his new self. Everything was going out the window. The dream ended when he was totally naked and I found him disgusting to look at.
___________
What was I to take away from this dream? I took it as a sign to start purging, to renew myself. Of late my brain has formed a crust of dried up thoughts. I come home and install myself on the couch looking for answers which I do not find. so I began the purging.

I cleared out my closet, then under the bed, the cabinets, the junk drawers, the studio. I can hardly wait to get into the basement. I need the trash collectors to come every day. It feels like a cleansing— a cleansing of thoughts and feelings that I wish to evaporate.

Friday, January 23, 2009

age is a work of art



always remember to wear a hat, it adds dimension and texture!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

hope

As a child I liked playing games as long as I could win. I liked to win. It felt good to win, although it wasn’t so much about the winning as it was the pursuit of excellence. I didn’t see the purpose of playing something unless you were going to give everything of yourself to it - and wasn’t the point winning after all? I thought that’s what it was about. Winning. I was an athlete. I was good at it. I was sort of a natural athlete. I was always the captain of every team I ever played on. I took it seriously. I expected everyone to play with the same level of commitment and seriousness as I did. I was a team sport player, I liked the feeling of being in synch with my team mates, the oiled machine, the perfection of the play, the eloquence of a pass that was practiced over and over again with a single purpose, to score a goal. There was nothing like it. It was like a dance, running in silence but knowing exactly where I was supposed to be in order to strike at the precise moment and watch as the goal net flapped back and then the cheers of success, the arms raised to acknowledge the victory. It wasn't just me, I was just were I was supposed to be. Those days are long gone. The closest I get to playing a game is poker. I lose on purpose sometimes just to get out of the game earlier. I don’t see the purpose in winning although I could potentially go home with a $120 pot. Maybe it’s the singular part of it. The playing for myself. The one against everyone else. I like the synchronicity of playing on a team. The trust, the knowing, the united allegiance to a common goal. This is so hard to find today. I’m too old to play sports. I work for a living. I go to a job. Everyone for themselves. The successes of our youth never translate into our adulthood. This is another game entirely. The rules are different. We don’t strive for perfection. We strive to get through another day. To get on the other side of it. To close the door behind us and get back to our homes where we can find comfort in those we love and who love us back. This is our team. The people we trust. The home we have created for ourselves. This is who and what we fight for.

We have elected a new president…. a new president of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. It’s a whole new game. We can fight together again if we choose. It is up to us. We need to be on the same team. We must oil the machine. We must practice being where we are supposed to be in order to score the goal. This is our future. This is and should be, our new family, to protect and preserve the intention of what this country represents… hope, belief, unity, a commitment to goodness and liberty for all.

Let us hope.

TAKE_AWAY POINT:Sanity may be madness but the maddest of all is to see life as it is and not as it should be. DON QUIXOTE

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

fear




How wonderful would it be if it were so simple that we could erase our fears daily. Would they re-materialize the next day- that’s what I would like to know? It doesn’t say. And if I write it down say at 8:00 AM approximately what time could I expect that they would be erased? By 8:00 PM maybe? That would give everyone 12 hours of fearless joy. Ok maybe JOY is pushing it a little. 12 hours at least to reflect on your fear before it reappears. Do you think it’s possible to reflect hard enough in one 12 hour period to assuage the fear permanently? Or would it take several 12 hour periods to do so? If so, how many, and would they need to be consecutive? These are the questions that meander through my mind. Nothing is that simple. Besides given those hours, its really not 12 hours if you intend to sleep.

I personally have been held back in my life because of fear. I fear a lot of things. I also fear fear. Mostly I fear failure, not being good enough. Good enough for whom I’m not sure. I strive for goodness and sometimes I fail. I disappoint myself. I often fear emotions and feelings, as I cannot bear the depth of them. I fear straying from “what is expected of me” behaviors. Ironically a lot of people would say the opposite about me, but really I stay pretty close to the edge. my crayons may slip over the line from time to time, but never too far. I barely leave my house let alone my neighborhood. I expose my true self to few people. I fear being compromised. I don’t want to have to append anything to who I am. It took too long to get here and I have appended and discarded so much of myself that at times I need to look in the mirror to make sure it’s me. then of course I gained 50 pounds and didn’t recognize myself anyway so it didn’t matter that the person didn’t fit the face. I digress. Maybe I should end this subject. I’m afraid of where I will go next.

TAKE-AWAY POINT: never let fear hold you back from living your life. that would be a waste.

Monday, December 22, 2008

love

Another one of those over used and regrettably tired words that has managed to lose all meaning. So when you really want to tell someone how very much you love them you need to put in qualifiers. I mean do I fall above or below chocolate chocolate chip ice cream on your list of things loved. This information is very important and will eliminate any misconceptions.

“I love you honey”

“I love you too baby”

‘No, I mean I really love you”

“Me too baby, I really love you too”

“How much?”

“As big as the world”

“What’s that suppose to mean?”

“What do you mean ‘What’s that suppose to mean?’”

“I mean are you talking diameter or circumference”

“Does it make a difference?”

“Of course it makes a difference!”

‘A difference of what?!!

“A difference of pi!!!”

“Apparently I don’t love you enough!”

“Apparently NOT!”

TAKE-AWAY POINT: If love is the answer, could you rephrase the question? ~ Lily Tomlin

laughter



Laughter is a great thing- one of my favorite things. I love to laugh, but I especially enjoy hearing people laugh. I have always hoped that I will spend my last days in a room full of people that can make me laugh and whose laugher I love to hear. In one fell swoop I went from laughter to my dead bed, a sure indication that laughter is critical to my well being. I read that the average person laughs 17 times a day. That’s impressive, I thought.

Some people have the most incredible laughs. There are certain people in my life whose laughter I can still hear after many years of absence. I have an old friend, that to this day, when I hear or see something that I know would strike him funny, I swear to you I can hear him laughing as if we were in the same room together. I can hear him so clearly laughing with such joy that my jaw aches from the stretch of my smile. I have another friend whose laughter makes me laugh so hard I almost always have to beg her to stop so I can catch my breath. I never quite know what she is laughing about, but it doesn’t matter really.

My father can make me split a gut laughing. He is the best story teller I have ever known and a brilliant joke teller. I especially love when he tells jokes in Greek. There is something about the language itself that is funny to me, so many different words and ways of expressing ideas that are lacking in English. My mother used to laugh like hell at my father even after she had so much frontal lobe damage that she couldn’t move her body, she still laughed with zeal at my father telling the same old stories she had heard a hundred times. This is true love.

TAKE- AWAY POINT: I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose. ~Woody Allen


Here is to brilliant laugh!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

friendship

Friend is a word that is used too loosely in our language, like LOVE. So many different kinds of love and yet we use the same word for all of them. I think there should be distinctions, because just as we don’t love our shoes the same way we love our partner, we shouldn’t call acquaintances FRIENDS. Sometimes we find we do because there are people who are a little more than an acquaintance and although not quite a friend, acquaintance seems too small. You get the point.

I am suggesting that there are many flavors of FRIENDSHIP. Everyone isn’t a FRIEND, and by using the term loosely it minimizes important and valued relationships. So for that reason I reject this singular word usage. We need distinctions and categories. Below are my suggestions for some new terminology.

BUDSTERS: The work buddy – lots of laughs at the office, occasionally go out for drinks, maybe share a personal story or two but nothing too profound. You go home and your paths rarely cross outside of work. No weekend phone calls to check in. When they leave their job you stay in touch for a month or two, maybe as long as a year and then it fizzles out – maybe a Christmas card over the years wishing you joy and peace and overlaid with promises of getting together which never materialize.

COMFIES: The Confidant-Those with whom you can talk and share secrets with but never a laugh because they just aren’t funny and don’t even have a sense of humor for that matter. This is not the person you seek out when you’re looking for a good time because they can be a real kill joy although a savior during tough emotional times. They are generally older than you and you have much respect for them and value their role in your life. It is just a very specific role. This is understood by both.

HILAIRIES: The “I like her, she makes me laugh” friend - the person who makes you laugh, split a gut kind of laughing but beyond a shared sense of humor there’s not much else to talk about. Shallow conversation that is often strained because outside of the context of humor you find there’s not much upstairs and you’re really not that interested. You might invite this person to a BBQ but certainly not for an intimate dinner party.

CHITTERS: The gossip friend - most often, but not always,it is a co-worker since at work you are typically surrounded by all sorts of people you would never otherwise associate with– they make easy targets for gossip. The gossip friend is the one you chitter-chatter with, usually in whispered tones, disparaging your co-workers behind their back. You practice changing subjects with ease and alacrity so you don't get busted when someone pops their head in your door. (some people are really bad at this part!) Ironically, this is not a person you would ordinarily be friends with outside of work as generally people who gossip will gossip about you behind your back when they are gossiping with someone other than you.

COMATES: These are the people in your life that come closest to the meaning of the word FRIEND, because they are kind and loving people and are present when you expect them to be (funerals, illness, special moments, things like that), but you wouldn't necessarily feel comfortable calling them in the middle of the night to ask for a ride to the hospital.This would be beyond the scope of this friendship. You enjoy each others company and enjoy good times together and lots of laughs, but it is not a friendship where there is deep emotional depth. You don’t talk about profound things together or share really deep secrets. You do love and care for these people, it’s just not a deep bond. This category could be further broken down into sub-groups. Most of us have a lot of COMATES. Some BUDSTERS can fall into this category as well as Good Neighbors. You get the idea – each group with subtle but distinct differences between give and take and why they are in your life, but balanced all the same.

FRIEND: the real deal, the authentic, undeniable friend. The one with whom you can laugh and cry and share all your secrets with and never fear that your secrets or vulnerabilities will be used against you or dispersed. The one who is always there for you, who will drop anything to come to your aid, who will defend you like a lion or lioness if someone hurt you, or wronged you, or just plain said something mean to you. Loyalty is a true measure of friendship. A true friend is the one who comes to your aid before you even have to ask – they know you, they can sense discomfort and want to make your world better for you. They care deeply about you. They know unmistakably and completely in the deepest part of their heart that you would do all of these things for them as well. They never question your loyalty or motive. This is the person with whom you can be completely honest and expect the same in return. Did I behave improperly? What should I do? could I have done this or that better? Do I look fat in this outfit? They help you grow and you trust that they will always tell you the truth because they love you. The true friend honors and respects you and would never allow anyone else to dishonor you. This is the friend that is still going to be sitting next to you laughing when you are old and holding your hand when you are lonely and scared.

Friendship is also about forgiveness – about allowing for mistakes because God knows none of us are perfect –it is about apologizing and accepting apologies – about never letting hurt go unspoken – but expressing it out loud so there is no projecting – it is about communicating honestly.

It is also about making sure there isn’t spinach or lipstick on each other’s teeth, but more importantly it is about doing the boogy check after they have blown their nose.

This kind of friendship is hard to come by and usually only comes once in a life time if you're lucky. If you are lucky enough to have found such a person, look after them, nurture and protect them, love them unconditionally, don't ever take them for granted and demand all the same in return.


TAKE-AWAY POINT: be careful when choosing a friend. Pay attention to red flags from the start. To quote Maya Angelo, “when someone shows you who they really are, believe them the first time”. It’s a really valuable lesson that will ultimately spare you a lot of heart ache.

Friday, December 19, 2008

BLOGing

– an interesting concept.

I began this blog during the Katrina disaster as a way to share my experiences. I since abandoned the practice, but last week we endured a severe ice store here in New England and we were 1 of the many who lost power. 8 days to be exact. I was going out of my mind. The whole romance aspect, sitting by candle light by the wood stove with a vodka and reminiscing lasts about 2 hours and then you're like "what now".

So I have come back to the page to tell my tales and circulate my word pellets out into the universe to see where they land – and hopefully not back on me – which is always a risk when you expose something of yourself. You risk that pieces of yourself, important pieces, private, sensitive, essential pieces will get hurled back at you. Funny how that happens -especially since you normally only expose those meaningful pieces to people you think you trust to begin with. People can turn on you though. I’ve seen it done. I have personally experienced it. Just when you think its safe – bang, you find you’re missing a chunk of skin and as long as it doesn’t penetrate beyond the epidural layer your fine – if it gets to the basal cell layer you’re in deep shit. Run like hell.

Back to topic – it is an interesting thing this blogging thingy. i understand the political bloggers, the environmentalist, the How-To be’s (how to carve the perfect pumpkin, bake the best cookies, unload a lover etc and so on) – but these personal blogs (like this one)..about how I spent last Sunday and how proud I am that my niece got a scholarship - who reads this stuff ? Two or three friends maybe, our husbands or wives or whatever terminology to convey life partner- (we get hung up on these words) -Journals used to have locks and keys on them. Now everyone is writing to the whole world. since the only people reading these personal blogs are indeed the afore mentioned – why not do it person – like in the old days- sit and have real conversation, share real intimacies, tell your stories out loud and in person where you can see the persons face and see if they are actually interested in what you are saying after all. We have become a species who communicate in digitally rendered letters that form words and then sentences. We can say whatever we want. None of it need be true because they cannot see us. We measure our success in the world by the number of facebook friends we have, or how many LinkedIn connections and recommendation we can garner. People take all this quite seriously.

So, with all that said – I am hereby announcing that this - my personal blog – posted as a form of entertainment for myself, is available for your reading pleasure. but no facial expressions please, just pretend to be interested (which is what most people do anyway while they pretend to listen to you). remember i can't see you while you read this, so I'm banking on the honor system here.

One more thing…. Each entry will have a take-away point….

TAKE- AWAY POINT: when someone is pretending to listen, just pretend to talk