Sep 17, 2012

Me, Lisa and Unknown = Food for thought



Photo By: Lisa Ceaser
Quote By: Unknown
Connection By: ME

Sep 10, 2012

Is it really so bad

to not be content? Life is pretty good, not perfect; never could be perfect never SHOULD be perfect; wouldn't want perfect. Perfect is a snore and a bore. If the sky is the limit what happens when you get there? Float around looking for another limit to reach beyond? I don't like the floating part. Floating drags you down. Drags me down, anyway.

I'll be 66 next month and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

There always has to be a next thing. Another goal. Another destination. Something new. I need that. I need those things.

I am selfish and self-centered. For all that I have a care-taker personality, and whether that is by nature or circumstance, I haven't always voluntarily taken on that responsibility. By the time I was 13 I knew I never wanted to be married or have children. By the time I was 13 I had had my fill of diapers and domesticity. I didn't like it when it was foisted upon me and I sure as hell wasn't going to take it on willingly.

It's good to know who you are at the earliest age possible. Even when people tell you that you will change your mind. I never did change my mind about children and I made damn sure that would never happen. Unfortunately I didn't keep my promise to myself regarding marriage.

Some people should never marry. I am one of them. I am not happy being married. Just as I wasn't happy living with someone. I don't 'work and play well with others'. Not willingly. I don't share. Not willingly. I don't lend, and neither do I borrow.

I'm not sure whether I need anyone's approval anymore. Time was that I did.

When I was young I said I wanted enough money that I could tell the world to go fuck itself. I still do.

When I was young I said I could happily live on a desert island. That isn't true. I like being around people.

But on my terms. I want life to be on my terms. I want everything to be on my terms.

But that's not gonna happen. For anyone. Ever.

I wake up every morning and the first thing I see is the sky and trees and sometimes the sunrise over the trees.

And that is a good thing. It makes me happy.

Sep 4, 2012

September is My January

Maybe it's left over from school days. September - the day after Labor Day - first day - new beginnings.

Or that October, the most magnificent month of the year, and my birth month, soon followed. A new personal year.

I always feel hopeful in September. Remember the song from 'West Side Story' - "Something's coming, I don't know what it is, But it is Gonna be great"...That's September for me.

August is the end of the year. The end of Summer. Never my favorite season. No, not all. Never. Summer dragged on me - pulled me down. July and August - months of drudgery - more work - more responsibilities. No escape. No time or place to be me. To shine.

Ah, but September and school! At school I was a star. The teacher's loved me - even when I was being difficult. Oh yes, I was difficult. I asked too many questions. Still I was a pet and petted. I liked that...a lot. I liked being number one. So different from home.

Even as an adult September was the time for new...I look back at when I made changes in my life - it was always in September. New jobs, new apartments, new relationships.

September equals New -bright and shiny and exciting.

So Happy New Year to Me...




Jun 4, 2012

Jack's vs. Ruby's

(Vanilla of String To Short To Tie prompted this little reminiscence.)

Back in the day, in New York City, Queens specifically (tho of course they had them in the other boroughs), we had candy stores. Some of you might know these establishments as "soda fountains" but they were more than just a place to get soda and ice cream and other confections. Our candy stores also carried school supplies and a host of other sundry items - the list is too long to even try to itemize here.

In my neighborhood there were two - Jack's, which was on the corner of Hollis Avenue and 211th Street and Ruby's, which was just off the corner of Hollis Avenue and Colfax Street. An interesting side note, Ruby was a rather large man. Jack was a short skinny guy with a fat wife named Rose - I really liked Jack, Rose, not so much. I had no opinion about Ruby since I rarely went in his store even tho it was just a teeny tad closer to my house. And that's the thing...

Different groups of kids patronized different candy stores. Now Ruby's was on the way home from school for me but Jack's was right across the street from my church. I probably spent almost as much time in church as I did in school.

When I say hanging out - I mean kids would gather at the candy store, take up all the stools at the counter, order a coke and basically act like fools. Which teenagers do. Periodically there would be a brou-ha-ha and all the kids would get thrown out and possibly banned for a few days. In which case they would migrate to the other candy store - but this was not always a good solution because Jack and Ruby always knew which kids they had thrown out - so if you got banned from Jack's, Ruby would know and he wouldn't let you in, in which case your social life was screwed until you apologized.

Jack was much stricter than Ruby and he actually banned a few kids for life - and boy did that create a war. Parent's got involved. Friendships were strained because the banned-from Jack's kids didn't want their un-banned friends to go to Jack's any more but the Jack's crowd was loyal to Jack and really didn't like Ruby much. (Are you following all this?) And besides, the regular crowd at Ruby's were a whole different bunch of kids than those of us who hung out at Jack's - we were from different sides of the neighborhood. Even tho we pretty much went to the same schools (public vs. Catholic) some how there was a social/cultural divide. I can't exactly define the dividing line, maybe Colfax Street(?). Both groups were a mix of blue collar/white collar tho my side of the dividing line was more white collar than blue (my family was blue bordering on whatever color comes below blue).

There's lots of stories about Jack and his store and the part it played in my life. Not the part that concerned other kids but the part that concerned me and Jack and how he was one of the few people who was allowed to call me "Gracie". Jack and I talked about the big issues of life - can you imagine a middle aged man talking important stuff with a 13 year old? He also made me think well of myself when no one else did.

And then there was the time when all the kids in my confirmation class were banned from Jack's for 2 weeks because in between Senior Sunday School and the regular church service, a snowball fight got carried over into Jack's and boy was he pissed. He reported everyone to Pastor, so we got yelled at twice - by Jack and by Pastor. Funny to think all those kids were "grounded" by a shopkeeper and a minister.

Actually not everyone was banned - one kid wasn't part of the snowball fight, or really part of the social group - I suppose you can guess which kid that was...

Apr 8, 2012

I'll hold you in my prayers...

I say that to people. Sometimes I'll say "I'll hold you in my good thoughts". I don't know why I make that differentiation. They are the same to me.

When I am reaching out to the Universe, chatting about what is going on with me - what is troubling me - what I need help understanding - I will mention the people I know who are struggling with something. And that's what I mean when I say "I will hold you in my prayers".

That's kind of vague isn't it? It doesn't seem so to me because I know what I'm talking about; know what I feel, and know what I believe.

I use the word "Universe" because, for some reason, there has to be a word, a name. I don't need a word - I don't need a name. Or a building. Or a set of tenents or rules and regulations. I don't need a mythology. I don't need rites or rituals.

I don't know why I don't need those things. I know I believe, because I have no choice but to believe, that I am part of something. A circle; that there is a guardian spirit - a guardian intelligence - a collective consciousness...Words are inadequate to describe what I feel and what I believe. I don't need to personify it because - well, that would be inadequate and unnecessary.

I puzzle over this often. I have puzzled over this since I was a child. But it always comes back to something innate; something that is a part of me; an essential component of who and what I am.

Conventional religions never made sense to me, even as a child. All smoke and mirrors. So many contradictions. So many questions, no answers. So many absurdities. But I knew, even as a child, that there was more than just me, or you. And that I was part and parcel of that more.

Knowing that - knowing that I had come from it and would return to it...just makes me feel light. And warm. And protected. And sometimes joyous. It makes me feel powerful. And centered. And helps me feel less scared when I remember to stop and experience it. But it's not a person or anything like a person. It doesn't have a name.

I think about what I believe, feel, have faith in, a lot. I've tried not to. Tried not to believe, feel, have faith - never works. Like I said, I can't not believe.

I'm going to assume that people who follow codified belief systems feel the same way about their beliefs as I do about mine.

I should have some summary here, a wrapping up of a point or observation but I don't. This is my on-going conversation with myself about this. I like this conversation, I have it often...each time I become even more deeper into my beliefs. It's just there.

It's lovely.

Mar 30, 2012

More Grace Going Against the Grain...

I don't get the allure of roof-top decks. I don't care how plush or fancy they are - it's the bloody roof you're sitting on - Why? Are you practicing to become Santa Claus? Oh, it's the view - like what - the tops of other buildings?

Usually the way to access these roof-top decks is narrow spiral staircases, or ladders or some such ridiculous method of ascent. Going up sober is a challenge, imagine coming down not so sober. Oh yes, let's all party-hearty on the roof - falling off a bar stool is nothing compared to falling off a roof. Stupid idea...

Then there are fireplaces. Oh so terribly romantic! Umm - no. Does your insurance company know that your are building fires INSIDE your house, on purpose? Why would you want to do that? It's crazy stuff. The stove is the most fire I want in my house.

And be honest, it's hardly the most efficient heating system. I grew up in a house with a fireplace. And we did use it for heat because we were poor and running the oil furnace was too expensive. Of course the only one who got any benefit from the fireplace was the dog - he parked himself in front of it and wouldn't let anyone else get close. It was a big drafty house - so the fireplace was no better at heating the house than a lit match would have been.

I don't get the romantic part - fire scares the bejabbers out of me...Oh yeah, kiss-kiss, snuggle-snuggle - PUT OUT THAT DAMN FIRE BEFORE THE WHOLE PLACE GOES UP IN FLAMES AND WE DIE!

Mar 8, 2012

Yeah, I'm annoyed

with everyone telling me what to do and how to do it.

That includes right-wing conservatives; left-wing liberals, and adherents to any and all religions. Get the hell out of my life! You want to live a certain way, go ahead, be my guest but don't make me live that way, or anyone else who isn't a part of your little group.

All the rules you need are in the the Golden Rule aka the ethic of reciprocity. The origins of the Golden Rule probably go back to when humans first became humans - it's not particular to any religion or philosophy but appears in almost all...

A central government is a necessity but it should confine itself to the big picture. I don't mind paying taxes and having broad social programs - but what you do for one, you do for all. I'm fed up with states rights - the population is fluid and no matter state you're in the laws should be the same. I'm fed up with pork barrel - this is the UNITED States of American not "How can I spend the taxpayers money to benefit my bank acount - oops, I mean, MY state".

Yes, as a society, as a government, there must be provisions for the old, the infirm, the children. I get that. Its good. But once again, do it for one, then do it for all.

Elected officials need to leave their personal beliefs at home - Their home - they don't belong in Mine. Don't tell me who to love or what to do with my body.

Same sex attraction or opposite sex attraction - why is that any of anyone's business except the people involved. As long as the government involves itself in marriages and divorces then it's the same laws for everyone. Oh, excuse me your religion says it wrong? Well, that's your religion not mine. I learned in Sociology class some 40 years ago that 10% of any given population is same-sex oriented. Get over it people. It's part and parcel of being human.

Government financed health care - thorny issue and not easily solved. Universal health care - I'm not a fan. Provision for birth control and abortions is the new (again) hot button topic. Yes, I support a woman's right to have an abortion with the proviso that it take place withing the first 12 weeks - after that I've got a problem with it. Late term abortions I do not support. But as long as the government is in the health care business, as it is now, then the government needs to provide for birth control and abortions. Not necessarily free, nothing is free. But available to all, as they can afford.

You don't believe in birth control or abortions? Don't use it, don't have one. Your choice. But don't tell me I don't have the same choice. Women's health care is an issue and part of a woman's health care is involved with her reproductive system. If Planned Parenthood is willing and able to separate government funding so as to not use it for abortions then what the hell is the problem? Do you think cancer is brought on by a woman's negligence? Maybe the only negligence involved is her inability to get proper screening and treatment.

Easy answers? There aren't any - but once again I say - Do for one, do for all. Or don't do anything at all and let people work it out themselves.

Do the right thing - for everyone, not just you.

And while I'm at it - the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution, mentions the pursuit of happiness, not the guarantee of happiness. And if someone works their butt off, or is smarter than the average bear, or is just plain lucky and they manage to amass great gooey gobs of money - Good for them! You want what they got? Do what they did. You're not in the 1%? Oh, boo hoo - neither am I.

And no, this isn't the most reasoned of discourse.

Feb 29, 2012

Busy days...

Tom the miracle man will be here on Friday to start prepping the place for painting. So we decided to empty the bookcases in my office and pack all my stuff up. The freestanding bookcase will be disposed of and the room will certainly look much larger - all the better for showing, yeah? Tomorrow we will finish in my office and then take down all the art work in the house, bubble wrap it and store it.

I have a 1920's Mutschler Porce Namel kitchen table I am getting rid of - posted it on Craig's List in the "antique" category but may move it to "furniture". The cool thing was I found a 1929 Mutschler catalogue on line with table in it....you can see the catalogue HERE. My table is on page 47.

We started the mortgage pre-approval process and the bank has already pulled my credit reports - I got a credit alert this morning and nearly had a coronary until I checked and saw it was the bank.

I am much calmer - and it's a good thing I don't take horoscopes to heart because mine, for the month of February, said if you are buying or selling a house nothing will happen till the end of June - feh! Something about some planet of other being retrograde or coming out of retrograde - some such nonsense. For those of you who are astrology believers, I don't mean to offend you, but it's such a crock...

I can only be positive and up beat and believe that now is my time to fly - to grow. That it is my time to have what I need. To build a foundation and work up from there - not everything in one fell swoop, not perfect from the very beginning but one step at a time, one foot in front of the other, moving steady on, taxing down my own personal runway so I can fly...

All I'm seeing in my mind's eye are butterflies and wings....I see wings all around me...I feel the warm breeze they create as they flutter and beat...

Fanciful you say? Perhaps but it is who I am. Butterflies have been with me always, tho my connection to them waned for years and now it is back. And the wings thing - there are times when I see wings of all shapes and colors; I can feel them - all around me - just wings; not attached to any thing - just pairs of wings. The wings are a new phenomenon - mystified me at first, now they are some thing I take comfort in, when comfort is what I need. And joy, when that is what I am feeling. And hope when I need that.

Do we make these things up? See and feel what we need to, in our imagination only OR...Are they always there and we only see and feel them when we truly need to. I believe the Universe provides what we need and it is up to us to recognize it, accept it, use it...I'm so bad at that. And sometimes, when we are deaf and blind to what is offered, the Universe insists - for whatever reason...a kindness, perhaps.

I don't know. I don't need to know the why or the how. I only need to know it's there. And maybe learn to to use it and not screw it up.

For now, we have busy days. Going forward days. Hoping and praying days. Working hard days - not expecting things to drop in our laps but rather laying down that runway that we can take off from...Accepting the butterflies and the wings as the gifts and reminders that they are.

I never know if I'm making any sense when I try to write about these feelings...but it's okay, I only need to feel them, trust them, accept them and go from there...

Feb 27, 2012

Equal but different

The other day I said, as I often have, "what do folks do for laughs if they don't have cats???". That is not a put-down of dogs. I grew up with dogs, started living with cats when I was in my late 20's, been living with them ever since. We did have two cats and a dog for a while in the mid-90's but we had to leave her behind when we moved to Virginia.

I think dogs are universally sweet creatures, and if they aren't it's the fault of whatever humans they came in contact with. Dogs are just so doofy, and goofy. They are not sophisticated creatures and they will do anything for food. They are loyal to a fault and trust too much for their own good. There aren't any bad dogs, just bad humans. At least that's how I see it.

Ah, but cats - different story. I have met many dumb dogs but very few dumb cats. That said, my orange BB cat is just about the dumbest cat I have ever met - but he is also incredibly mellow and a total cuddle bunny, velcro kitty. Now Miss Frankie Lulu Belle - well, almost any cat would pale in comparison to her - truly. She is too damn smart for her own good, and with that gorgeous face - well, people fall all over her. We had them at the vet at the same time and they fussed and cooed over Frankie and then fell all over themselves saying "Oh, BB is a nice cat too".

I always laugh when people say they don't like cats because they are independent - Ha! There is less maintenance with cats - no going out in all kinds of weather to meet basic needs like dogs - but truly cats train US far more than we train them. We do their bidding - and they demand human interaction. Aloof??? Really?? Nah - While Frankie hates being picked up, she insists on being attached to a human at all times. Right now she is a little annoyed because she can't lie on my arm as I type - so she is 3 inches away - napping while sitting up...BB is downstairs sitting on the back of my husband's recliner while he works. These guys are never far from us - and it's because they prefer it that way. They hate being alone - and by alone I mean with no humans around. Independent/aloof - Not on a bet.

And yet, as sweet and loving as dogs are, and as goofy and doofy as dogs are, and as loyal as dogs are, they just aren't as naturally funny as cats!

But if you want a cat that is very much like a dog - get a Siamese. They are super smart, very protective of their home, very protective of their human, physically beautiful, but you know, I have had several Siamese kitties and their just not as funny as my shelter kitty "mutts".

Or maybe I am just a tiny bit prejudiced toward my "children"...(and I just got up from desk to open the blinds because Frankie was sitting on the couch rattling the blinds because she wanted to look out).

Dogs, cats, rabbits, gerbils, chickens, iguanas - who ever shares your life and makes you smile...It's all good!

Feb 22, 2012

You're joking, right? AKA The NYT food and style sections

If you want to laugh your ass off I strongly suggest reading the Style/Food/Home/Fashion sections of the New York Times. These sections are basically the print version of "Life Styles of the Rich and Famous". I'm not too sure if any of us normal folks relate.

Today's evidence: Wednesday is "Dining" day and I swear even back in the days when I cooked, never in my life have I ever cut out a recipe from the Times. Never. Hell, most of the time I gag at the thought of eating some of the recipes, much less cooking them. In today's paper we have An Indian Curry Close to Home. My favorite part of this is the second sentence "With only a few ingredients you most likely have on hand..." They are so kidding me with this. And yet I'm sure many, many folks always have fresh ginger, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and black mustard seeds (and we should all get into the habit of toasting and grinding our own spices), mint, cilantro and chives hanging around. And let's not count the ghee. What the hell??? I'm sure that are some folks out there, one of us nice normal folks, who do actually cook like this on a regular basis, and even toast and grind their own spices. Well, God bless you - where do you find the time ? Or the ingredients. Just Askin'

Then we have a lady who cannot possibly be a native New Yorker because she calls shopping carts "granny carts" There's A Younger Hand on the Granny Cart. New York is a walking city - and shopping carts are how we get our stuff from here to there. Even tho my father had a car we also had a shopping cart because sometimes you had to get a bunch a stuff from the grocery store and it was going to be too heavy to schlep 6 or 8 blocks. When I got my first apartment the laundry room was in the basement and while there was an elevator it was just easier to put the laundry in the shopping cart and take it downstairs that way.

I never owned a car, or drove, for the 44 years I lived in NYC - how in hell does this woman think we got our groceries home? Shopping carts were (are) a way of life in New York and other cities (including where I live now). You trying schlepping 20 pounds of kitty litter home from the store without one. Granny cart my ass - been using one since I was a kid, still use one, will always use one because I'm smart, because I am a native New Yorker and because everybody in NYC uses them and because I don't give a rat's ass what other people think.

Okay - that's the rant of the day. Over and out...

Jan 19, 2012

I don't like January...

and maybe I don't like February either but I can't tell till I get there. I have no memory of not liking February but my oh my I think I have always not liked January.

January doesn't feel right. It's all ennui and anxiety. All throw everything out including myself. Erase, Erase. Erase!

It seems every January I try to delete myself. Last January I closed my blog Hugz and opened this one. I imported all the posts from the one into the other and then deleted past posts that weren't relevant or were deemed unworthy or boring or too personal or stupid or...I've been blogging since 2005 and my stats show something like 315 posts, if you include the ones I deleted it would be three times that many, at least.

A lot of people think of January as "new year, new beginning", I think of it as "delete, delete, delete" and not for positive reasons. It's not like I want to start something new but more like I want to get rid of what's old - not for any particular reason except that I'm tired of it. January makes me tired.

Maybe it's the hibernation gene left over from pre homo sapien times, we just sleep more and have less energy in the cold winter months; preserving our energies and food stores against hard times and Spring. I don't know.

I am uncomfortable in my own skin. I want to shed it, my identity, my past, with no looking to the future. Which leaves me where? Don't know, never thought about it till I started to write it done just now.

I don't want to be someone else, I just don't want to be me, or be here. And that's not here as in where I physically am, because you all know how much I hate where I live, but just not here. Makes no sense except that it does. If you've ever felt this way. If not, then lucky you and don't trouble yourself with trying to understand. How often do I really make sense anyway?

January is not like September.

September is always filled with hope and joy and New New New! Probably goes back to childhood when September meant a new school year and new clothes (sometimes), new books, pens, pencils. Paper - clean and crisp and blank; ready for new and better stories. September is forward - bigger, better! Not a re-invention but a building on, and up - higher, better!

I like September very much...

But I don't think I like January at all.

Jan 12, 2012

3 pennies, 3 kisses

My father had a thing for threes. He would always give 3 kisses - one on each cheek, one on the lips. As I got older it was one on each cheek and one on the tip of my nose and then one on each cheek and one on the forehead. And he always expected 3 kisses in return.

My father always said if he won a million dollars he would have it changed into pennies and then just sit in those pennies and toss them around. Then he would laugh.

Years after he died I would often find 3 pennies, always face up, in the oddest places, at the oddest times. One morning I was waiting for the bus, I was late for work. I was hopping on and off the curb, looking at my watch, craning my neck to see down the street. Where was the damn bus? Then I looked down and there were 3 pennies, arranged in a triangle, heads up. I laughed - it was Daddy.

If I dreamt of him, the next morning I would find pennies. It was never one penny, or two, or four. Always 3, always heads up - altogether, or just one step apart. I could be walking down the street, glance down, see a penny, pick it up. Take another step and there would be another penny, another step, another penny. I'd think "Daddy, you are playing with me" and I could almost hear him laughing.

Always pennies. Always 3. Pennies for kisses...

Jan 2, 2012

Opportunity knocks, Temptation kicks the door down

And I am sure many opportunities are tempting. I'm not too sure what the problem is with temptation except that is has acquired a negative connotation. But that's not want I want to talk about.

Some folks left "Happy New Year" greetings on yesterdays post and I thank you very much for your good wishes. I've always responded to that greeting with "check back with me in December". But I'm not feeling flip so I will offer these most sincere wishes:

In this new year I wish for you opportunities, that you recognize them, utilize them and grow them into whatever your notion of success is.

I wish for you more genuine laughter, at yourself, with others and just for the sheer joy of the sound and how laughing makes your body feel, as well as your soul.

I wish for you passion - be it physical, mental, emotional or political. Get your blood pressure up there, not because of cholesterol but because you are caught up, swept up in something. Anything. Get a little hot under the collar.

And then laugh. With exhilaration, pleasure, triumph, a sense of absurdity, joy...

And I wish for you the comfort of knowing you are never alone, that we are connected, each one with the other - and that some of these connections are palpable on a daily basis - even across the ether.

Don't forget to smile. I don't care how bad the day is, there is always a reason to smile, and if you really can't find a reason - then smile at someone and make their day better.