Nov 17, 2011

I can no longer abide the color red

From the moment I could distinguish color, red was my favorite. With red as a basis I wore every color in the rainbow, often at the same time. My father called me "Gypsy" because of my penchant for bright colors and shiny things.

Somewhere in my mid-30's I got fed up with trying to match colors. You go into a store and see a nice green sweater, should go great with your blue suit. Get it home and no way, jay - total color disaster, so back to the store it goes. I decided I would only wear black and red. Easy peasy, everything always matches. I bought everything in twos - one in red and one in black. Even shoes. Sometimes I would wear one red shoe and one black shoe - on purpose.

In the late 1980's I was given an amethyst necklace. It looked nice against my black sweaters but I didn't have any emotional relationship with the color. Then in the late 1990's I became addicted to purple. Dark purple, not adolescent teeny-bopper purple. Eggplant purple. Amethyst purple. And yellow once again hit my radar. Purple and yellow - Yes. Love it. Super. But I was still wearing red. It was still a sort of favorite color but not my favorite favorite color.

Green has always been a problem for me. I've never really cared for it. Something about green puts me off, tho I must admit my bathroom is now dark green and yellow. There is a gem stone called citrine and while it comes in many shades I prefer the greenish-yellow color. While I wouldn't wear this color, I might decorate with it and I've just purchased citrine earrings. I think that's as close to wearing green as I will ever come.

But back to red - where it once made me feel up and happy now it makes me emotionally uncomfortable - throws my psychic balance off. Now there are many theories on color and their meanings, I've spent quite a bit of time today refreshing my memory, none of it was really helpful. I want to ascribe some deep meaning to my change of attitude towards color.

As you get older your hair goes gray, your skin gets lighter (at least for us olive-skinned folk), so do your eyes - maybe everything about us lightens up. Including our hearts and souls...moving through this particular life, heading on to the next - lighter, brighter, wiser...from base red to light-loving yellow that illuminates the mystical purple. (Yeah, I know - weird mood today huh? Must be the weather.)

Nov 15, 2011

The Way It Is

My favorite photos are of things they way they are. Plays are my favorite literary form – all conversation, no authorial presence telling what what should be shown. Books that have a lot of description, of people or places, get passed by or those paragraphs and pages are skipped. I care more for people than plots. It doesn’t matter much to me what happened, I am more interested in the people who made it happen and why they did it rather than how.

I’ve never been one for metaphors (tho I admire writers who do it well; well enough so it is finally my image and no longer theirs.) . I want to say it exactly the way it is. Precisely. I want it to be substantial, of substance, concrete, if you like. I want the words to have weight and shape and form – so you can hold them, touch them, see them on all sides – three-dimensional – but to be what they are. Perhaps that’s why I don’t write poetry any more, and when I do it is so different from what I did in the past. Statements of fact? Not flights of fancy. More a story, perhaps.

If I take a photograph it’s because what I see interests me. Or I want to document a moment. It never occurs to me to turn a picture into something else. I want to capture the image of something the way it is. Another person sees beyond what something is to what it might become, or perhaps once was, and so the photo is manipulated to show that, or that image created with paints or pen and ink. And so I can admire your thought process or your inner vision but can’t use mine own. Of course it might tell me much about you, more than you’ve ever told me in conversation. What you see that isn’t there except in your own mind’s eye can be revealing. But I’m not your shrink. And what is is interesting to me.

Which seems to contradict that I am more interested in what makes people tick than makes clocks tick.

But not so. I want/try/ do see what is – be it a tree or a person – without interpretation. to experience what is for only that and nothing more.

(Added when replying to a comment:

The altering of images to create new images is an old art form - whether a palimpsest or a collage or developing photographic negatives in a particular way. Nowadays we have photo editing software for digital photos...Photoshopping to create something new is a technique I admire but would never use (other than for cosmetic purposes) - my creativity doesn't lean that way. I'm sure there are people who would like to be ablre to create images with paints or pen and ink but their talents don't go that way - so a photograph manipulated to an image that is in their mind's eye...well, it's an artistic technique. I personally find most of them not engaging on an emotional level - I always admire the technique. Just as in "great" art - often there is no connection to the painting - but I admire the artist's abilities. Art is, at minimum, a two-fold thing, the emotional connection and the intellectual appreciation for the technical execution. I suppose that's sounds like the scores in many athletic competitions - so many points for "technical" and so many points for "artistic expression".)

Nov 9, 2011

I don't have a theme

but rather this is my little diary or note pad or stream of consciousness. Actually writing in the "stream of consciousness" style is very difficult - has anyone read Finnegan's Wake? Thought so, me either.

I am still confused by the Occupy protests/movement/whatever the hell they are calling it. I so don't get the point. They are complaining about rich people getting richer. If they are smart that's what rich people do. There was something I read that they want all student loans to be forgiven - I kinda discussed that on someone else's blog. We recently explained how loans work to my step-daughter and her husband. Obviously basic economics/finance/accounting is not part of the general curriculum in schools nowadays. If it were we wouldn't be in this economic mess - just little things, you know. Like you don't commit to a mortgage that will have monthly payments higher than your net income (never mind higher than your gross income).

I read something about how these folks are protesting social and economic inequality. So? And? Of course there is social and economic inequality - how could it be otherwise. WHY should it be otherwise? We should all be equal in the eyes of the law, not that we are unfortunately. But otherwise? No babe, we ain't all equal. Never have been, never will be (I hope). And shouldn't be. Nor should I have to explain why and how people aren't equal - (difference in intelligence, talents, abilities blah blah blah).

Do I think that a society has a bounden duty to it's less fortunate citizens? Yes, of course. There are people who, no matter how hard they try, don't have the ability to make a decent life for themselves. Society has a duty to help them. Society does not have a duty to put a chicken in every pot or a car in every garage. Some people are going to eat peanut butter and ride the bus. That's just the way it is.

Which just takes me back to why all people are not equal - that horse is so dead.

On the other hand - if the greed gene could be isolated and eliminated the world would be a better place BUT we still wouldn't have social and economic equality. No way, no how, never. Not gonna happen. There will always be someone bigger, smarter, prettier, faster - whatever. Someone just a little bit more than someone else.

I've been saying this for years and years and years. Since I was a kid. Yes, it is that simple that a kid can figure it out. So why the hell aren't we working from that basis and going forward?

Probably greed - and laziness. I know, I know, I'll stop now -

Oct 24, 2011

I question whether English is my first (or native) language.

I was born in New York City. My parents were born in New York City. I grew up in an English speaking household. My father was adamant about using the language correctly. I went to NYC public schools back in the day when you got an exemplary education there. So why do you think I can not speak English correctly? Even my sentence structure sometimes seems awkward - as if I am translating from some other language into English.

All too often, and to my embarrassment, I mispronounce words. I put the stress on the wrong sil-lab-ile. Usually I stress the first syllable but there are exceptions to my own cockamamie rules of speech. Sometimes this turns it into another word altogether but mostly it makes me sound uneducated/ignorant or perhaps, a foreigner - someone whose first language is not English.

Then there are the words that I just mangle - switching letters or syllables. anarchy is always, on first utterance, arnachy. As a matter of fact as I was typing this I typed arnachy when I meant to type anarchy. So it's not just speaking - I can spell that same way I mispronounce. If I think very carefully about the word and pronounce it correctly in my head it will usually come out of my mouth correctly. That does slowdown my response time somewhat. The worst was in Sunday School when I had to recite something for a presentation and calvary came out cavalry. It always does - to this day. I have to make a point of saying "cal-va-ry" -very slowly or out of my mouth will pop "cavalry".

What's another good one? Ah - ignominy. There is no way I can say this correctly. It is supposed to sound like "IG-nuh-min-ee". My version? "ig-NOM-in-ee". I am looking at it typed in front of me right now and my brain is saying it wrong.

I have decided to attribute my mispronunciations to past lives bleeding through. In those past lives I most definitely spoke some language other than English, and perhaps it is only in my more recent lives, and obviously my current one, that English was my first language.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it...

Oct 20, 2011

Ized by eyes

Everyone has a thing . You know that thing that captures your fancy; that jellifies your knees; that thing that ramps your hormones up. That thing, without which nothing else matters.

My thing is eyes. More than tall, more than smart, more than funny, more than nice hands, more than a deep mellifluous voice. If the eyes don't ize nothing else counts, nothing else matters.

I've gotten lost in eyes.
I've drowned in eyes.
Been mesmerized and magnetized.
By eyes.

I've been comatized. Narcotized
I've been compromised and tyrannized
By eyes.

I've been energized. Sexualized
And even victimized

By eyes...

Oct 17, 2011

Happy Birthday...

to me. It seems like I've been celebrating for weeks. Certainly for the last 4 days. So today is a tad anti-climatic. 65 years ago at 7:25 pm I managed to get myself born, despite some people's objections, at The Bronx Central Maternity Hospital in New York City.

I have no idea what it means to be 65, other than I get to ride the bus and subway for free. (I think that is so cool.) I don't know what I am supposed to be, or do. I don't know what I'm supposed to look like or how I'm supposed to behave. Yet I have heard that 65 is some sort of transitional birthday, like 21 or 16 or...oh, pick a number any number - every year you survive is a transitional birthday.

I don't recall thinking about getting older...and older ...and older when I was young. Just never occurred to me. I never looked "my age" and people tell me I don't look it now - my answer was always this is what 24 or 37 or 42 or 57 or 65 looks like. I felt insulted, then and now, by that kind of comment. I look like what I look like, and I am as old as I am old, and what's it to ya anyway?

But honestly you wanna know how old I am? I am now, always was, and will always be, this old...

Sep 17, 2011

Random thoughts with no further explication

I have an irrational dislike of socks. Not the wearing of them but having to deal with them in the laundry.

We don't appreciate ourselves enough. Fantasy is one thing. We need to applaud our reality.

I truly hate people who tell you how wonderful they are. "Oh you did that, well I did THIS" Ask me if I care, asshole.

If you have to tell someone who you are, then you aren't.

You can't make yourself bigger by trying to make someone else smaller. Matter of fact you can't diminish me in any way.

People who put themselves down irritate me. Are they expecting me to contradict them?

If you want my help, ask me. If you want me to shut up and go away, just say so. My name isn't Kreskin, I don't read minds.

You can't save people or change people who don't want to be saved or changed. Why do we do this - to make ourselves feel better?

Walking away from confrontation, bad decisions, people who make you crazy or cause you pain - No shame in that. You're not giving in, backing down, running away, being cold or hard-hearted. You are being smart. You're saving the only person you can - yourself.

Do it from love or don't do it at all.

If you're not happy ain't nobody else in your life gonna be happy. And if they are happy because you're not? Why the hell are they still IN your life.

Your birth certificate does not come with a guarantee.

Rules have their purpose and are necessary but you know, sometimes - Fuck the rules.

And the all-knowing, omniscient THEY? They don't exist. So it doesn't much matter what they said - about anything. Ever.

Sep 15, 2011

Contrary yet again.

I was reading a book review this morning. In it the reviewer comments that "It's no coincidence that the teenage years dominate so many memoirs. They're a good deal more interesting than those dull early-childhood years favored by Freud."

Really? How about you all. Were your teenage years more interesting, in a good way, or fraught with anger and angst, than your early childhood days? Were those teenage years a normal mix of good and bad; All good; All bad?

Between the ages of 13 and, oh say, 20, life was static. I won't say happy - that word surely never entered my mind during any time of my life spent in my parents home. I was 14 when I started high school. By that time the physical abuse had pretty much stopped, I was bigger than The Mother and we had a dog who would not tolerate her raising a hand to me. If she wanted to beat on me she had to chain the dog up first. She learned that the hard way. The psychological abuse never stopped - not until I was 48 and ceased having any contact with her but other than that...

...They were quiet years. I hated the high school I went to but it was the only game in town. I had passed the test for Hunter High School for Girls but that year they didn't take anyone from Queens, so we were told. It would have been a long commute from Queens to Manhattan and girls were still "protected" back in 1960. Too much traveling for our sensitive delicate little selves - Ha!

My high school, the year I started, had an official enrollment of 6000 students. Yes, you read that right. The frequent race riots had dissipated and everyone pretty much kept to their own, self-designated areas. I mostly stayed away from the place for the first year and half, then it dawned on me that if I wanted to got to college I needed to make some grades. It also took the school that long to figure out I wasn't there that often. One white, high-IQ, under-achieving but passing, girl didn't draw much attention amongst gangs, assaults, rapes and other assorted mayhem.

My social life, what there was of it, centered around church and my immediate neighborhood. I knew these kids since I was 8. We all went to the same schools and all that blah blah blah. I certainly wasn't popular. I was fat, ugly, smart and quiet. Never had a boy friend. Never went on a date. Never invited to parties. Never was kissed. But I was the one everyone confided in. Asked advice from. I suppose as much as teenagers respect other teenagers, I was that.

I was never ever teased or disrespected in any way. Never. Ever. In my whole life. Any where. Any time.

Except at home and by my family of course.

My teenage years were far from interesting. I went my own way, did my own thing, alone. No one interfered. No one cared. Some crap at home but I was used to it. I managed to placate The Mother - I did the chores, I took care of my brother, I stayed out of her way. Easy peasy.

So my teenage years? Quiet. Dull. Uneventful. Probably the quietest, calmest time of my life. Nothing going on that would make a memoir interesting or memorable. For all intents and purposes, and certainly to the casual eye, I was a good girl living an exemplary life.

Good thing they couldn't read my mind!

Sep 13, 2011

The homophone hazard.

Why are there so many homophone mistakes? The other day I saw peace for piece. There is also the ubiquitous peak for peek, and let's not even think about throwing pique into that mix. I just read a blog that had isle for aisle. Unless of course the writer really meant that there was an isle in a movie theatre that someone was pacing up and down. The again it might have been a typo - the writer just not hitting the a key

These errors jump out at me and give me the itchies. They distract me and often I can barely finish reading. It's like a traffic accident - you gotta look, and in my case, look and look and ...

I suppose everyone has a particular grammatical error that drives them around the bend (contractions and the possessive form are fun too) and mine has become homophones.

If anyone reading this is a teacher, perhaps you can offer me some insight (or incite for homophone lovers) into this recent epidemic of homophone horrors. Non-native English speakers/writers are exempt.

Then there are homonyms, which in some definitions are included in homophones and I can see their (there/they're) point.

Definition of homophone and homonym:
homophone - two words are homophones if they are pronounced the same way but differ in meaning or spelling or both (e.g. bare and bear)

homonym - two words are homonyms if they are pronounced or spelled the same way but have different meanings" Source
If I remember correctly I was taught homonyms were words spelled the same but with different meanings. But that was a long time ago, I may be misremembering.

In case you are curious this site is a handy homophone reference.

Grammar is not one of my strong suits - proper punctuation and apostrophe usage have me second guessing myself and Googling as I write - and still I get it wrong. But homophones - I think I pretty much got that one aced.

Sep 12, 2011

Light Change

Have you noticed how the light has changed? It's only mid-September and already the light is changing to Fall. Yes, it's getting dark sooner but that's not it. Late afternoon feels so much cozier now.

I noticed it last week. It was dreary here, rainy but it felt different than when it was dreary and rainy in full Summer.

The Summer heat and Summer light is so hard and harsh and draining. While the light and warmth of the Fall is soft and protective. It wraps around you like a fluffy fleece blanket.

September is the new year for me. A time of hope and change. Only good things can happen. It is exciting. The air not only feels different, it smells different. No more dragging of feet and putting everything off till tomorrow, or sometime when sun and the heat is not so intense and hateful. Yes, hateful. That was the first word that popped into my head. So it must be right. At least for me.

Summer is hateful. Fall is hopeful.

Yes, I know that seems backward to some of you. But then I have always felt that night time is good and day time is bad. Night time is safe; day time is dangerous.

The spirits dance at night and so do I.

Sep 11, 2011

Written on September 13, 2001

I was living outside the country on September 11, 2001. I was involved in an on-line forum and there was only one topic of conversation. As much as I was horrified by the events of 9/11, I was appalled at the reactions of the people on that forum, and indeed, the reactions of the people where I lived at that time, tho for different reasons. I was attacked when I spoke for sanity and compassion, instead of the hatred and irrationality that was being presented there. This is what I wrote in response -

"You have all missed the point...(and I am all too aware of the people who come to our country and enjoy it's benefits and disrespect it. I saw the people dancing in the streets in Palestine and I was sickened..that is a whole other discussion. I am the child of immigrants and as liberal as I may be on some issues I think it is time we closed our borders).

The point is...Is no one disturbed by the fact that we will retaliate, as we must, and that more innocent lives will be taken?

When do we evolve enough so that we are not saying. "This is how it always has been and always will be"? Perhaps I am naive, still, to think that there must be some humanity in human beings and that irrational hatred should not be met with more irrational hatred.

This is not some visitation from god..this is the work of mad men; this is the work of hate...and, god help us, we are no better than they when we spout some of the stuff I have been reading for the last 2 days...

I am away from my country and my hometown (the greatest city in the world) and I have to listen to the people here talk about how this is going to affect the "tourist trade" and their economy and I listen to them interviewing American tourists whose only concern is that they are being inconvenienced and the American government and the airlines should pay their extra expenses and I am angry at this self-involvement when thousands of people have died horrific deaths.

And now everyone screams that there has to be more security. How much do you want to bet a month from now, when these same people have to go through tight security at the airports, that they will be the first to scream they are being inconvenienced. And the first to yell foul when taxes go up to help pay for the rebuilding.

And is no one asking why, within only 24 hours, the intelligence groups are coming up with incredible amounts of information; or that bin what-ever-the-hell his name is, announced in June that he would attack the USA and no one seems to have taken him seriously or that the intelligence community has announced that they are aware of large numbers of terrorist cells operating in the US. Why are they operating here? And why has the government allowed them to continue? That one of the terrorists has been in Florida for at least 15 months taking training in how to fly jumbo jets?

Americans have become complacent and self-involved. Remember the old Buffalo Springfield song "everyone carrying signs, each one says hooray for our side"...We cannot withdraw from each other or from the rest of the world. We are the UNITED States and we must LEAD and not follow and we must remember "No man is an island unto himself. Each man's joy is to to me, each man's grief is my own"

I don't even know what I am saying anymore...I don't know what my point is anymore. I am angry and sad and twisted apart by what has happened and how people are reacting. There is some Catholic prayer that says "pray for us sinners, now and in the hour of our death" and I can't get it out of my head..and I am numb from the hatred and the blood and the death and that there is more to come. I shake with grief for the innocents who have died and the ones who will soon follow.

I can't bear this anymore.

I never said we should not retaliate..we HAVE to. It is the hatred that is being spewed out. And yes it is irrational hatred. You are returning hatred for hatred. You hate every Arab? Every Muslim? Hating someone because they are a different color or religion or nationality is irrational, people's insistence that their "right" is the only "right".

"Bomb the middle east off the map" they say. Everyone? Every country? Every person? The innocent and the guilty? Do you think the vast majority of people on this planet do not want to live in peace and safety?

The United States MUST do what it has to do...but I am seeking some sense that we, the people, will do this with regret that we are brought to this. That we are forced into these actions that we shall take.That we will do this with the sadness and sense of horror that again, the many must suffer because of the few.

And when this is all over, will we too dance in the streets like the people we condemn?

Every death diminishes every person...

And if there is a god, and that god returned to earth now, (which would be as good a time as any), perhaps the first thing this god might say is "This is NOT what I had in mind"

I do not know why I feel so strongly - why I have not stopped crying for 2 days...perhaps because I am away from home and perhaps I am more aware than any of you how great a country I belong to. What a wonderful life we have there. How incredibly spoiled we are and how we take that quality of life for granted. That we are smug, and that smugness was wiped from our collective face on Tuesday in a most horrific way.

No one on this planet is safe from mad men. And these mad men will fall and others will rise to take their place, I just don't want to think that any of these mad men will be us. I want us to be better than that.

Make no mistake, we CAN NOT turn the other cheek, but neither should we rejoice in retribution. We need to be vigilant for the safety of our country but what of our souls?

Weep for all those who have perished these last 2 days in this mad, senseless, catastrophe which is almost too much for the mind to comprehend, and for those yet to perish.

Then we should save a tear for ourselves."

Sep 8, 2011

The voices in my head

I started writing this post yesterday, while I was in the shower. I got so involved with it that when I got out of the shower I couldn't remember whether I had washed my hair. My hair was wet but then I had been in the shower.

My posts are conversations that I have with you. One of the reasons they are far from polished prose. I can do polished prose, really I can, but I write the way I talk.

The conversations I have in my head, and they are constant, are the only ones I have. Sometimes they are with people I actually know, or knew. Sometimes they are with imaginary people, in imaginary situations. Sometimes I picture all y'all faces and I talk directly to you.

Yes, my husband and I spend 24/7 together. How much do we really have to say to each other? I talk to the cats and, as much as Miss Frankie yaps her head off, we aren't really conversing, are we? We are not sharing experiences or ideas or opinions or even idle chat.

When on the rare occasion that I actually interact with a real live person I babble my head off. I repeat myself, so happy I am to hear the sound of my own voice and that someone is hearing it in real life. I will strike up lengthy conversations with the UPS delivery person, or any other person who comes to the door - if they let me.

Amelia comes once a week to do the heavy cleaning and I have to remind myself not to engage her in conversation. I mean aside from the usual pleasantries of civilized people. She wants to get her work done and get on her way. She does not want to listen to a lonely old woman babble on and on.

My conversations are in my head. My life is in my head. It's always been this way. Since I was a child I lived alternate lives with alternate people - in my head. And they were vivid, detailed lives. Vivid detailed people, some real, some not. What's funny is that whatever was happening in the "real" world got incorporated into my "head" world. One of the lives I invented continued on for years - it was "lived" in real time - but inside my head - for years. And years. I think it must have been 10 years or more before I let that life go.

There is always music playing in my head as well. Because my husband works from home and there is no privacy in this house and because I like to sing and dance along with the music, I don't actually listen to music anywhere BUT in my head.

Aug 4, 2011

More Nick...

I met Nick in 1965. I was 20, he was 26. He was my first boyfriend; my first love; my first lover. I broke it off 5 years later. We got back together around 1983 and that lasted about 4 years. We remained casual friends and occasional lovers. He came to my rescue in 1988, we were back to being just a bit more than casual friends until a bad argument in Spring of 1989. Picked up our friendship again a few months later. Then in the Fall of 1989 I moved to Vermont. We spoke often by phone. We argued over his health issues. He said he would come to my wedding in April of 1990. He never showed. Two weeks later he was dead. I always blamed myself because if I had been in NYC I would have pushed him to see the right doctors; I was perhaps the only one he would ever listen to. By that time our relationship had become more one of equals. If nothing else he had learned to respect my opinions and advice.

After our second break-up in 1987 I wrote this to/about/for Nick. He never read. I read it often -

Love is never enough. And it can never be left behind. Not if it really was love.
"What can you say or do about a situation that goes on too long, even when everyone knows it’s wrong. and the reason it's wrong is because love is not enough.

You have a person who loves someone. who'd rather talk to that person than anyone else. who'd rather spend time with that person than anyone else. who laughs more with that person than anyone else.

And the feelings are mutual.

But there is a problem. one of these people hasn't the capacity to show their love. because of some deep insecurity or tragic character flaw needs to dominate everything and everyone.

Who needs to change? The domineering person or the one who is subjected to the domination. Can one of these people turn completely passive; give up their identity, live every day of their life with insults and psychological abuse.

We are all familiar with physical abuse. but what of psychological abuse. How much more insidious it is. How much more damaging it is; physical abuse is preferable. You can put a cast on a broken arm. How do you put a cast on a broken spirit, iodine on a lacerated soul, shattered self-esteem does not lend itself to crazy glue.

So who is to compromise? Who is to change? And if compromise proves temporary and change impossible, what does love have to do with it?

How much pain to the person who is subject to the abuse. and how much pain to the abuser who doesn't quite understand, who can't see quite clearly enough.

Will the abused find someone who won't abuse them. Will the abuser find someone who will accept the abuse. And if they do will they really be happy with these other people.

Each loving someone else. Loving each other but love not being enough to accept abasement or to cease abasing.

Who will suffer the most damage. The one who loved and was hurt. Or the one who loved and did the hurting. But who indeed did the hurt? The one who dominates or the one who can't accept it.

And what is this love that transcends this wild discrepancy in character. What is it based on? The ability to see beyond the tragic difference. to see the person behind the mask. The laughter, the mutuality of the basic person, the understanding that really is there.

Why isn't love enough? And when it can't be, why can't it be left behind?"

Jul 31, 2011

Things to remember...

1. Never say YES when you truly, deeply and adamantly mean NO, just because you want someone to like you, or not dislike you; or because you just want them to shut up. Or because no matter how often or how loud you ARE saying No, you realize no one is listening.

2. Never put someone’s wants ahead of your needs. There is a difference between want and need. Know what that is and act accordingly. Take what you need because no one is going to give it to you.

3. Do not play the woulda-coulda-shoulda game. You will lose. Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda will drag you to the edge of the mountain and throw you off, laughing as you crash on the rocks of regret.

4. Remember that “women need men like fish need bicycles”. Or to quote myself “I love men. I never want to be without one. They make great pets.” You've got two feet - stand on them. You can buy your own flowers. You might want but you don't need

5. Your family are the people who love you, no matter what; who put out a hand when you wobble and lift you up when you fall. These people do not necessarily share your DNA. If the people who share your DNA don’t do these things then they are NOT your family and deserve no consideration.

6. People will not love you the way you need to be loved but rather the way they need to love you. Accept it and do not expect any more. Do not ask why.

7. Trust no one. Human nature is such that when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, self-survival trumps all. They may not mean any harm but if it’s you or them, guess who wins. Altruism does not exist in humans – the seeming self-sacrifice is driven by ego.

8. There is no fine print on your birth certificate. It did not come with guarantees or entitlements. Don't expect any or ask for any.

9.  Despite what may have been done to you when you were too young to understand, fight back or take charge, at some point, if you are lucky, you do grow old enough to understand, fight back, take charge. Your life becomes your own - so own it.

Despite what seems like cynicism but really are lessons learned, I also believe I am never alone or unprotected or have ever been unloved…

Jul 14, 2011

So what do you wanna be when you grow up?

When I was in first or second grade we wrote our autobiographies. I guess they figured our limited vocabularies and writing skills were about equal to the number of years we had been alive. I remember two things about my autobiography - it's red cover and my answer to "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

My answer? A dancer, a pianist and a Duchess.

The first two make perfect sense, if you knew me then, and even if you know me now - But a duchess?. I have no idea where that came from, most little girls want to be princesses, right? Not me, it seems - I wanted to be a Duchess. This fascinates me. It makes me laugh.

As I got older I had other career goals, some practical, some not - a teacher, a minister, a lab tech, a theater director, a teacher (again), a hot shot lady executive, a minister (again), a therapist - and always a writer! Time went by and suddenly I was 40 and all I wanted to do was make enough money to cover the rent.

But deep down in my heart of hearts what I have always wanted to be... is a singer. Even more than a dancer. Even more than a musician. Because singers dance and play, if I could sing I could have it all, and be it all.

And not just a singer in a rock and roll band - I want to sing everything! Show tunes, cabaret, Delta blues, gospel, R&B, shit-kicking rock and roll, Latin - I want to sing in French and Italian and be able to whip out an aria here and there...If it is music I want to be able to sing it.

I want to wear elegant gowns - and thigh-high leather boots. I want to be Peggy Lee and Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks and Pat Benatar and Judy Garland. I want to be Billie Holiday and Tina Turner and Edith Piaf.

I just wanna sing...

Jun 24, 2011

One thing has nothing to do with the other

This image just captured my fancy and has not a thing to do with the rest of this.

I was going through my plastic file container looking for a picture I was going to scan - it is a rather large photo of my maternal grandmother and step-grandfather. It is in that container because it fits in there. That container also has letters and cards my brother sent me over the years (remember when people wrote actual letters? I miss those days) as well as other little mementos and my school records and my diplomas and all my old writing and some term papers and xeroxes of stuff I used in school - 2 entire books actually, one called the "Magna Mater" which was long out print when it was assigned - long story, anyway, moving on...

There was a "graduation" card from physical therapy (5 months, 3 times a week), the "Alexandria Crew" wrote that they would miss my "everlasting smile and good cheer". There is also a lovely handmade card from the charming young lady who did my nails at a salon in the Bahamas - she wrote "A client like you I could never forget. In the short time that I've known you, I've become very attached to you. What I admire most about you is that no matter what, you are always smiling" .

There have been other instances when people told me that when they think of me they always remember me smiling - even way, way, way back when I was one hot mess of a deeply depressed, angry emotionally crippled woman. (Some of you may think I am still, just much older, but you would be wrong. Ok, so maybe I am a bit depressed but not every day.)

I had a boyfriend who said "No matter what time it is, you always wake up smiling"

My dear, dear therapist said, in horror "How did you survive your childhood". He also said, with a bit of amazement, "Basically you are a happy person". Bless his heart, he was a great doctor.

I've never thought of myself as a basically happy person. Yet the general consensus of opinion is that I am. It seems people remember me by my smile - gap-toothed and all. So every once in a while when I need a little lift I rummage around in that old plastic file box and dig out those cards. I remember the people who wrote them and I feel good about myself.

It is said that feeling good about yourself should come from within, not from others, that self-esteem is self generated. But sometimes it is useful to see yourself as others see you - especially when they see you smiling.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
(image from HERE)

May 26, 2011

I was going to ask if

I was the only person on the planet that hadn't drunk the kool-aid when it came to Orpah (no, not a typo, that's her real name). Seems not.

I've been mulling over writing about my lack of positive feelings towards Orpah and a NYT article this morning pushed me further in that direction, especially with "But nobody can copy her unique gift for mixing philanthropy and self-interest." Then a friend on Facebook made a comment that expressed relief that the great farewell was finally over. (I don't have permission to quote or name the person, so I won't.)

One of her tactics that always annoyed me, I mean really annoyed me to the point that I yelled at the tv, was that she always interrupted the person she was interviewing and turned what they were saying into a story about her. It was always about HER. Plus I really get peeved at people who interrupt, that little habit can so come back to bite you. (Are you listening, dear husband?)

Did Orpah give lots of money away to do good things? Yes, and if you missed any of these acts of generosity, have no fear because she will tell you about it, again and again and again!

I was brought up with the motto "Do good and forget about it". There is some failure in me that makes self-aggrandizement in others irksome to the nth degree. People with the extra-long arms that they developed patting themselves on the back - irk me. The "you don't believe I'm wonderful, just ask me" people irk me. There is nothing wrong with saying you're good at this or that or whatever but I'm not talking about "Yeah, I make a pretty good chocolate cake", I'm talking about "Oh, that's nice but look what I can do". The "I don't want to brag but..."

Back to Miss Orpah - the other thing that irked me is her guru-ish attitude. I am so not into "The Secret" (what a load of bull shit THAT is); or the "be all that you can be" - wait maybe that's the Army or "You are where you are supposed to be" - Is that not the most moronic statement ever? I envision people watching this who are living less than optimal lives, folks who are scrambling just to get a loaf of bread on the table, wondering what the hell she is talking about.

But then I have great antipathy towards the self-help movement; the pop psychology patter, all of this ooga-booga dancing around the oak trees, navel gazing, chakra chanting bush-wa. Do I support psychology, absolutely - a great therapist saved my life. Do I have "spiritual" beliefs - yes, I do. Are they for public consumption and discussion - no, they're not. Do I think some people are better than others - No, I do not. I don't give a rat's ass what your title is or how big your bank account or even what your skills are - ain't no one on this planet any more important, or deserving or better than any other person.

We happen to watch the 5 pm local news on the same station as Orpah's show so we caught the last 2 minutes of the Orpah soap opera - and there she was standing on an elevated platform, hands and eyes raised to the ceiling and all I thought was "What is she waiting for - the ascension?"

This sounds so very petty, doesn't it? And I do chastise myself for these feelings - they are not kind. But they are also naive. We all like to have our good deeds acknowledged. Are some good deeds more deserving of praise than others? No, you know what - No.
“I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”         William Penn

May 7, 2011

With the advent of more faux family holidays

I can’t help but wonder how folks who have less than wonderful parents react to this. Should there be any consideration for people who cringe at the mother’s day and father’s day festivities. People, for whom the only celebratory feelings they have, is that they survived their childhoods. For the children who didn’t survive their parent’s less than loving care, we can’t know how they feel about it.

I have held the belief that just because a woman gives birth it does not automatically entitle her to veneration for so long I can’t recall when I formed it. We are long past the time when producing a child was a matter of great mystery and awe. We know how it happens. We know where we come from. There’s no mystery, no magic or exceptional skill, knowledge or talent needed to get pregnant, and most of the time, to give birth. So what’s the big deal? Why are the creatures who do this very natural thing held in such esteem?

Many hold to the theory that no matter how a woman feels about pregnancy once the child is born they will automatically love it. It’s just a theory. It is not true. It is said that it’s the hormones that make a woman love and want to protect her child. I have to suppose then that some women lack these particular hormones. And what about fathers? They don’t have the hormone theory going for them so what is it for men - chest-thumping ego?

We learn how to be parents from our parents, and often we learn how NOT to be parents, turning a negative into a positive. And some of us recognize that being a parent is not something they want to be; that there isn’t enough positive in the world to affect the negative. That we are such damaged goods we can never risk passing on what we learned.

Everyone is raised by someone, humans being such fragile creatures and taking such a long time to reach self-sufficiency. That someone, or ones, may be loving, or not. When not, often there is some other someone who nurtures and loves and protects, as well as they can protect. That other someone doesn’t get a day.

Perhaps mother’s day and father’s day should be scrapped and a “Nurturer’s Day” should replace it. It’s a thought. Someone call Hallmark.

In the interest of full disclosure I should tell you I received a beautiful basket of goodies and a card as a Mother’s Day gift - It was from my brother.

Apr 29, 2011

Once upon a time

Magic words. All the really good stories start this way.

I have notebooks going back to when I was a little kid, and bits of paper and they all have the same word doodle on them - along the edges, on the front. Even some of my books have the word doodle on the the inside page along with my name.

I have notebooks and bits of paper from my 20's and 30's and 40's and 50's and they have the same word doodle on them.

The word doodle looks exactly like this...

Some times it is written three times, some time four - never just once. Always staggered. Always just the way you see it there.

I wonder what those words meant to the child? And to the adult - probably just a habit by then.

Once upon a time - magic words.

Mar 24, 2011

It's in the genes.

I absolutely take for granted what people call psychic ability. I grew up with it all around me. It was just part of life in our house.

While the best readers I have ever been to were men, in my family the ability comes down through the female side. My mother has this particular ability augmented with learned ritual gypsy magic. My maternal great grandmother probably was gifted in this way as well, which leads me to a story about her.

I don’t know what my maternal great-grandmother’s name was. I never saw a picture of her; she died long before I was born; yet I know exactly what she looks like because for many years she was my constant companion.

I guess I was 11/12 years old when I became aware of her. These are crucial, turbulent years in a girl’s life and, coincidentally, when psychic ability will start to manifest itself. Perhaps puberty is the on-switch. No matter, but this is when my great grandmother made her appearance.

I was most aware of her at night – when it is easiest for the spirits to get through to us. I knew there was a woman who sat at the head of my bed every night – just being there, making me feel safe. I don’t remember ever questioning her presence – she was there, it was good.

As I got a bit older I began to see her during the day as well, not just feel her but see her. I knew she was there, sometimes right next to me, sometimes just a bit behind me, on my left side. I never spoke to her – just accepted her presence.

It was shortly after my great grandmother made her presence known that I bought an “oil” painting in Woolworth’s. It was fairly large with an ornate white plastic frame decorated in “gold”. The picture itself was of a sad-eyed young girl (ala the Keene pictures but not one) with long brown hair parted in the middle (much like my hair, and my eyes) wearing a plain white, long sleeved shift type dress. She was holding a long stemmed pink rose. You could only see about ¾ of her and the background was a pale watery green. I hung this picture at the head of my bed.

When my mother saw it she was quite angry “Where did you get that? It’s ugly. Take it down” But it was my room and it stayed – for years. I tell you this only because I associate this picture in some way with my great grand mother, and I think my mother did too even tho it would be a few more years before I found out who my protector was.

One day I was in the kitchen with my mother, we were doing the dishes. I was maybe 15/16 years old and for no reason at all I said, “There is this lady around me all the time” My mother merely said “Oh?” I then proceeded to describe the lady – her face, her hair, her clothes and my mother said, “That’s my grandmother. Grandma Giamusso’s mother”

And that was the end of the conversation. It was like we had been discussing the weather. We never spoke about it again and I regret not having asked her name. It makes me crazy that I don’t know her name.

She stopped being a presence when I reached my late teens. Looking back I can’t remember when I realized she was no longer there. I was older, I was on my own; I guess she decided I didn't need her protection any longer.

In last 5 or 6 years I have tried to get in touch with her, unsuccessfully. I miss her; the woman who died before I was born; the woman who protected me for so many years, from what, I don’t even know; from her granddaughter, perhaps?

My mother was always afraid of being in touch with those who had crossed over.

And I have always felt very comfortable with them.

Mar 16, 2011

The Upside to the Downside

I was seven when my brother was born and that’s when I learned how to change diapers and look after a baby. Learning childcare continued when my cousins lived with us for a short while; the family included a 3 year old, and an infant. These kids became my responsibility along with my 3-year-old brother. Obviously I went to school so my mother took over their minimal care, when I got home from school they were mine to look after. It's probably one reason why I never wanted children - I knew how much responsibility and work they were.

My mother went to work when my brother was 5 and that’s pretty much when she stopped participating in the household. So at age 11 I was pretty much it. Got up in the morning, got my brothers up, dressed myself and my younger brother; made lunches, dropped my younger brother at the bus stop, walked to school. On the way home from school, picked up my brother from the neighbors, went home, made the beds; ran the washing machine; hung up the clothes; started dinner. My father got home from work around 4:30 – he often then went out again to pick up my mother at work. Either my mother or my father would finish up the more complicated parts of dinner after which I cleaned up the kitchen and then did my homework. Major cleaning of the bathroom, the dusting, sheet changing and ironing was done on Saturday.

By the time I was 14 I was tasked with paying the bills. My father would leave the bill and the cash and I would go either to the bank or to the company itself. I was also the one who had to stay home if any deliveries or service calls were scheduled. Eventually my father taught me home to write checks and balance the checkbook.

Aside from most of the household chores I was also in charge of all the yard work, snow shoveling and whatnot.

Things I refused to do were: washing floors and windows. Absolutely refused.

So where is the upside to all of this? When I finally convinced someone to give me a lease on an apartment I was quite experienced in the financial ways of the world. Some of you younger folks might think “big deal” but in the 1960’s you were not legally an adult until you were 21 and therefore you could not sign a contract, which is what a lease is; vote, get a credit card – none of that cool adult stuff. I’m not sure you could even have a checking account until you were 21. So I couldn’t escape my parents home until I was legal – I managed it just a few months shy of my 21st birthday. Got the apartment; furnished it with everything bright and new; got a phone, a checking account, a credit card.

The kids I had gone to school and church with were all duly impressed. While they were living in dorms and Mommy and Daddy were taking care of everything in their lives, I was hot stuff with a job and my own apartment etc. After they graduated from college they didn’t have clue how to be an adult – no one had ever taught them; they learned later what I had learned earlier.

And that’s the upside to what seems like a not very cheery childhood. I learned how to be a responsible adult at an early age. When my father died my mother was 56 and had never had a bank account, never written a check, didn’t know what a mortgage was or that she now had to pay it; all she had was her Gertz Department store credit card. I had to teach her how to do all the things I had learned by the time I was 14 – interesting, no?

So when I think of what a childhood should be, according to the media or whoever decides these things, and I look at mine – I see both the downside and the upside. I had to be aware that other kids didn’t live the way I did, I mean I was never stupid, but I’m not really sure I realized how different my life was from the kids around me, and that's not including the physical and psychological abuse. You do what you gotta do to survive, you keep your head down, and your mouth shut (as much as possible) and plan your escape.

When I did make my escape it was rather effortless – I knew how to do everything I needed to do to set up an independent life. I find it funny that I waited as long as I did tho. Being me, and a Libra, there was no way I was going to move into some flea-bitten apartment. No, I bided my time and waited till I was 21, or as near as possible, so I could live in a nice apartment. I saved my money so I could buy new furniture, pots, pans, dished, linens - no second hand crap, no hand-me-downs for me – first class all the way.

I learned how to bide my time. To wait, to endure so I could finally prevail on MY terms. It is comforting to know I can do this because even now, today, I know that I will prevail. Eventually I will have it my way. I just need to wait, endure and bide my time, the way I learned to as a child.

Feb 3, 2011

Waiting Room

Here's the thing about
     Having no where to go
     And nothing to do
There's plenty of room to wait.

Jan 17, 2011

Holiday, schmoliday

Martin Luther King, Jr Day - a national holiday - Why? I do not get holidays commemorating individual people. Presidents Washington and Lincoln each had a holiday but to make room for MLK their "birthdays" got smooshed together because it seems there is a predetermined amount of days in the year that can be national holidays. If these holidays can be so easily moved around, changed and condensed what the hell meaning do they have in the first place? Oh, everyone needs an occasional free (ie: with pay) day off from work? OK, I can buy that - I remember how I looked forward to those days but why not just decide "Hey, the second Friday of every second month is a paid day off" - there you go, there's your extra paid days off.

New Years Day - a holiday - why? It's the first of January - big whoop. Do you think the other months feel short changed because we don't celebrate the first of them, tho April 1st gets called a fool outright.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - No rationale behind this one at all - appease African-Americans?

President's Day - I think Lincoln probably did more for Black Americans than MLK; and he doesn't get his own day any more. Washington? A general and the first president of the United States - so what? Calling Washington the "father of our country" is just dumb. There are others who are dubbed "founding fathers" and they have more right to that description. Aside from being an army general (and not a very good one) what did he do? Get to be the first president of a new country because he was the least contentious choice? (In this country voting for a president has always been choosing the lesser of two evils). From what I've read he wasn't the brightest bulb on the marquee. But you know this country, it sure does love it's generals (Go, war!)

Memorial Day - ok this one is good - this can be a national holiday.

Independence Day - Absolutely, and it should always be celebrated on July 4th - no messing around with the celebration date.

Labor Day - No...just that - No.

Columbus Day - Oh this one always frosts my ass (and I'm Italian). Once again a national holiday for a person. Columbus didn't discover America - I think the closest he ever got was Cuba - let the Cubans celebrate Columbus Day! Besides North American was here, with people, long before Columbus sailed by. It's not like no one knew it existed - just no one in Europe knew it existed and then there is the whole Viking thing - they sure as hell were on this continent before the Europeans - don't get me started.

Veterans Day - this is valid in my opinion but I think it can be quite comfortably observed with Memorial Day.

Thanksgiving - No excuse. No rhyme. No reason.

Christmas - No excuse. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Ninguno. Please, if you are religious, go to church. If you like to shop, well, hell you can do that anytime. Besides, this is a multi-religious country why is there only one "religious" holiday observed on a national basis? Jesus of Nazareth was born in the Spring, so the religious holiday observed on December 25th is the Wiccan holiday of Yule, Christianity ain't got jack-all to do with it.

I do realize that many people, mostly New Yorkers, think that Yom Kippur is a national holiday but honest to god, it's not - the rest of the country toddles along just like normal on that day.

So, you ask, what holidays should be "national" holidays? If you were paying attention you would have gotten at least two of them, the third is gonna surprise you.

National Holidays endorsed by me:

Memorial Day: Absolutely let us take a day to remember and honor the people who have fought and died in the many wars. This should also encompass remembering and honoring veterans as well.

Independence Day: Yeah, it's cool to celebrate the founding of our country.

And the third national holiday should be election day - EVERY year not just presidential election years. As a matter of fact voting should be mandatory with penalties for NOT voting because saying "if you don't vote you don't get to bitch and complain" doesn't work.

So there you have it 3 official national holidays and 6 national days off with pay. If I missed any current national holidays, well that just goes to show you how bloody important they are.

It seems every day in the year has been designated to commemorate something or other - national clean your kitties ears day or some such nonsense - well aside from Memorial Day, Independence Day and election day, all those other quote unquote holidays are just the same sort of nonsense...

Jan 11, 2011


In today's comics there was this:

I've been stewing for days over this. Last week when there was a chance that the Filthadelphia Eagles would win in the play-offs and proceed to the Super Bowl (or whatever the sequence of events was supposed to be) the local news was doing interviews about animal torturer, Michael Vick. When he was hired by the Eagles there was a whole lot of well-placed outrage but it seems that once the Eagles started winning games that outrage became "Everyone deserves a second chance".

Oh really? Did those dogs who were tortured, beaten, shot, forced to fight to the death - did they get a second chance? Hell, did they even get a first chance?

Oh yeah, poor Michael Vick - went to jail. Oh poor Michael Vick, he grew up in a bad part of town - oh poor Michael Vick my ass!

Anyone who would even REMOTELY think dog fighting and torturing animals was okay in any way, shape, size or description is a psychopath. Pure and simple. A person without a shred of a conscience, compassion, humanity, or any redeeming qualities. A person whose moral values are nil.

Pardon me while I continue to fume.