Thursday, December 25, 2014

Peace be With You

There are so many advantages to not being an active Facebook user.  Oh, my husband still has a page and I do look at it on a regular basis, but I don't have my own.

For now, the biggest of the advantages for not being an official "FB'er" and for having a very active blog is that I can personally speak to those of you who actually take the time and visit my blog and I can say, with all my heart and soul

Thank you

Thank you to those of you who visit regularly, for just doing that.  Thank you to you who tells me that you enjoy the "window into my soul" and for loving me as your friend, no matter what I do or say. Thank you to you who I recently ran into at a very busy gathering and you took the time to say "keep writing". Thank you to you who tells me "you know, I read it every day".  Thank you to those of you who tell me that you relate to what I have said in my writing, that I may have touched you in some way, comforted you or perhaps even shocked you.  To you who keeps encouraging me, you who I respect so much for your talents and your life experiences, you who takes the time to encourage me to place my stories in another place every year.  You got me started and I love you for it.  To all of you who are the "stories".  Keep them coming.  I will.  To my dear, sweet husband who lies if he has to, to make every word that I write feel as if I were Shelley or Keats.

And to my muses, especially you, the white seagull that has taken up residence in the middle of the pond, greeting me every morning as you swirl softly in circles.  I know it's you Mom. Thanks for coming and for being here throughout the holiday season.  You made it just that much easier and while Christmas will never be quite right without your presence, you've given me the opportunity to enjoy a few moments of peace each morning, exactly the way it should be.

Thank you and Merry Christmas to all.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Way to go


There's a story here, you might well suspect


Swapping out a life in a major city for a life at a major seashore isn't exactly what I would classify as THE hardest thing I've ever done.  But, there are a lot....okay about a million.....things that I do still miss about my New York. Not least of all are the endless possibilities for great stories that could and invariably would,come from the use of public transportation.  When I worked in Manhattan, one of my jobs demanded that each month, I personally visited each of the corporate health units that were under my supervision.  So, I rarely spent time in an office, at least not in my office.  My health units, some twenty of them, were staffed by capable nurses who did amazing work but once in a while, I would get a call that would require "face time" and I went off and running. Literally.  I had a great stride, knew exactly how long it would take me to reach a location by foot, and quickly learned umbrella etiquette for the rainy days.  I had nothing but comfortable and stylish walking shoes and got lots and lots of exercise. Later, I took a more sedentary job and only got out of my office on rare occasions other than for lunch breaks.  Because my time away from my office was limited, I did resort to public transportation and became obsessed with it.  I used public transportation when I traveled for business too, always a challenge but one that I met with excitement.  I wasn't happy traveling with my boss who preferred luxury rides to and from the places we'd go.  I still get a chuckle when I think back to a ride in a stretch limo through the streets of Chicago with my "team".  Let me tell you, Diana Ross and her Supremes had nothing on us! He got an equal chuckle when I handed in my expense reports with little receipts from subway, bus or taxi rides.

There's a life force out there that you will never know exists if you never use a public bus or train. I have so many memories tied to the 4, 5 and 6 trains that run up and down the east side of the city. I also have fun and funny bus stories and a fabulous one or two taxi memoirs.  There are people in all of these stories, people who became the stories. I could fill a book with those from the Times Square Shuttle alone.  Some are sad, some are happy, but all of them, memorable and ones that would have been missed had I not used the cheapest routes to the places I've been.  And, oh, the free concerts on the platforms and in the subway cars.

Last Thursday, with a bunch of fun friends, I made up for some lost time, discovered that there really is a public transportation system here on the Cape.  For us seniors, it's the "Dollar Bus" and our trip from Orleans to Provincetown did not disappoint.  New memories were made, on and off the bus. I have a host of new stories, some new friends, and a whole bunch of plans for the future, above the ground only, but I'll take it and rejoice......until per chance one day, my realities might change

Monday, December 22, 2014


I have such a feeling of impending doom lately.  Can't shake it.  It feels horrifying and nothing is helping, nothing.  Tis the season to be happy and hopeful and I am feeling that the phone will ring any minute with some bad news or that something will happen to validate this feeling.

Today, I had my second meltdown in public.  Something I am not known for, even to myself.  Last week, I ran into a friend, one who I hadn't seen in a long time and she said something to me that caught me off my emotional guard and I burst into tears, right there in the chiropractor's office.  Today, it was in the presence of two almost perfect strangers.  I came home and told my husband that all I want for Christmas is a box of tissues and I was serious.

Something's in the air, at least my air.

My writing group met this morning.  The prompt was the word "I".  Not having had much time in between the sobs and the public displays of insanity, I hadn't written anything new.  I dug up something I had written almost two years ago and found it applicable. It was a piece I wrote for another workshop, one that was online, thank God, called "Telling True Stories".  I wrote several wonderful pieces during that time and I know that had my virtual classmates not been somewhat anonymous, I would never have accomplished all that I did.  I find it difficult to write my innermost thoughts in places that will be seen by people who do and people who do not know me intimately, but for different reasons.  I've heard that memoir writers oftentimes have difficulty telling true versions of their stories for fear of hurting the central, real-life characters. They say that it takes a bit of bravismo to accomplish the telling of such moments in their lives.  I haven't ventured out that far yet but hope, always, that one day my stories will be in the hands of my family and they will all make some kind of sense and my children and grandchildren will know all they need to about me.

So, I'm not going to post the story that I read to my lovely group of writer friends this morning.  It is on this blog, in the archives and appears here:  I made minor adjustments to it, changing the time references to make it more relevant.
Instead, I'm going to jot down something about myself, answering the prompt in  a way that makes me happy because that's what I really need.  Happy.

I do not like to wear shoes
But I do not like bare feet
I do not like to wear socks with shoes but
I hate cold feet
I love flip flops and Birkenstocks
On very cold days, I just don't go outside.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

One Picture, How Many Words?

I've written, on an earlier post, about my camera and my sentimental attachment.  In the past two years, I've broken three of them, two of which held very fond memories, and lost the latest which had no sentimental value whatsoever.  But, I'm camera-less and missing them all very much.

It's hard for me to believe that I've misplaced a camera because I always had it at the ready and loved the fact that they all fit nicely into my palm.  The latest one must be in this house somewhere but where I do not know.  My memory seems t be getting worse every day and I do know that when we recently decided to get better organized, to put things in more logical locales, I had that baby in my hands and I did place it in a very logical place so someday, it will resurface.  Until then, I'm done with photos.  I'll have to do so much more telling than showing.

I honestly do try to improve my writing skills.  I know a few basic rules.  I love to write, to tell stories, to show with words what I am feeling or want a reader to feel.  I'm not sure that I will ever master that art, I started late.  And, in the new year, I have only one objective, to work harder at all of this.

So many things that I have written have started with a picture, many from my collection of faces, beautiful places, sunsets, and random things I have encountered along my path.  Some, I look for intentionally, others, I swear were placed in front of me by the goddess of creativity, baiting me, asking nothing more than the chance to grow from ordinary to something special if only to me.

My camera is lost, not my words.  But if I did have my camera, just in the past month, I could have shown you so many things. Looks on faces.My friend Jay, when he presented me with a huge box filled with just short of forty Barbie dolls and all of their paraphernalia, that he bought at a "stoop sale" in Brooklyn. My husband's when he exited his doctor's office after his post-op visit at which he was told to "put it all out of your mind" and come back in three months for a check-up; our friend Bob as he told us about the latest PET scan which proved that his tumor had disappeared from the face of the Earth; our beautiful granddaughters, giving their hearts and souls onstage at this year's Nutcracker; their little friends, bouncing up and down with them in the lobby during intermission and after the show - the look of youth and innocence, sheer delight that my hundred dollar camera could never have captured.  Had I a camera, I would have snapped more than one shot of my artwork that is currently hanging on exhibit at the Cultural Center but that photo would never have expressed my fear of rejection, my courage and my little burst of self-confidence. Nor would it have reflected the message that I so wanted to tell my granddaughters.  Also lost to the lens is a glimpse of our newest art acquisition.  She's called "Awakening" and she's spectacular.  Picture this.....a woman's body, beautifully sculpted, naked to the waist, hanging upside down with her hair falling towards the ground, as she emerges from the body of a tree.  Her arms, beautiful brown feathers, are at her side, not yet opened as they will be when she "lands", supporting her emergence from the sheltering world that once was hers.  A photo would never serve it the justice it deserves. I only wish I had a camera to have caught the pride of the artist as she stood beside it allowing her own husband to photograph her.  And, then, there would also have been an earlier photographic memory of the joy found in the faces of the parents of Christopher Malatesta when his exhibition opened to the delight of a crowd of at least a hundred on one evening.  I wish I could have been there with a tiny Nikon in hand, to snap a shot of his mother's face, one who almost lost her artist-son to a tragic accident a few short years ago, never imagining that he would have lost his hearing but kept his talent.

On a funnier note, there is one last shot I would not have wanted to intentionally miss.  The look on my husband's face when I told him that his son-in-law asked me "when did Joe stop dying his hair?".  Priceless.
Just for the record, he has never dyed his hair, ever. His youthful looks are a source of his great self-esteem, one that allows him to take such good care of hiimself. Admirable.

 I'm off to buy myself a new phone.  One that takes pictures. I'm going to try a new tactic.  I've never lost a phone yet. And, besides, I'm ready for a Smartphone!  I just can't miss another of those moments.  Ever.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Time on My Mind

Yesterday, I paid a visit to a friend who was telling me about how difficult it has become to communicate with her mother, to find the support from her that she needs at this time in her life.  My friend is stressed by her personal affairs and the demands of owning a business that relies so much on the holiday season.  She told me that her mother is depressed and has lashed out instead of drawn her in and nurtured her.  I listened and thought back to times when my own mother acted in similar ways, times when I had to put my own needs aside and understand hers and I empathized with my friend.  As I departed, I promised to call her mother and invite her to the opening reception of a show in which I have a very small and insignificant painting.  But, it is my very first exhibition so it will be special in some ways

I also told her to encourage her mom to get a hearing aid after she told me to let the phone ring a while before hanging up when I called.  My advice came from my heart, not only from my thoughts to her mother's personal safety.  "Please tell her that she's missing out on so much because of her inability to hear all that you want to tell her, all that her grandson wants to tell her" this, I said, I know from personal experience.  There was so much I wanted to share with my own mother but didn't.  I gave up.  She could not hear and would not get assistance so I stopped trying to tell her anything that wasn't important. The words I wanted to say lost their meaning when I tried to shout them, they just weren't the same.

I just emailed my friend, telling her that I did indeed make a date with her mother and will pick her up tonight and bring her to the reception.  A simple act, one that makes me happy.  My friend's mother was delighted too, at having been invited, and I included that in my email. And at the end of my note, the words, "I really miss my mother" flowed out and it suddenly came to me that I had so much more love to give.  But time ran out.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Daytime Tellie

When I was a kid, once in a very rare while, I would get to stay home from school for a "sick day".  Sometimes I would fake the sick. In fact, most of the time I would fake it.  You see, when I was a school girl, there wasn't anything in the world that I wanted less to be.  I loathed school, every single minute.  I spent every school day wishing it were the last day of the last year of any schooling that would be required. My daydreams were huge and there wasn't any room for reality.  I saw very little value in being held captive in a classroom and, by the time I was in the second grade, I had already run away from school.  I didn't get very far because a relative of my grandmother lived a block away from the school and thought it strange that a little six year old would be roaming around the Bronx in the middle of the day and she turned me in.  Honestly, what was I thinking?

On those wonderful days when my mother fell for my good acting and I got to stay home, I had the pleasure of the house all to myself.  With both parents working and my brother dutifully at school entertaining his friends, I could watch T.V. all day and all I had to do was turn it off briefly when the phone rang.  Dressed in my pajamas, unwashed and unbrushed, I actually made myself look sort of sick just to not make myself feel sort of guilty.  I had one less day of school with which to contend and I didn't want my conscience to get in the way of a good time or a good daydream.  Hour after hour passed, from one silly show to the next. There were game shows and comedy shows and afternoon soaps, one rolling into the next and with each hour, the day grew closer to the time that the school bell would ring for the rest of the kids,marking the end of my sick day.I would turn the, get dressed, washed, brushed and ready to greet the girl next-door who had my books and class assignments in her arms.  No more T.V. until after dinner, like normal people.

As I grew up and started to see some value in being at school, I hardly ever took a sick day. Doing so would have meant missing out on six hours of being with my friends outside of the walls of our homes and I was not willing to give that up. So, I lost my daytime T.V.grip and totally lost track of who and what was going on in the world of daytime entertainment.  And, as I grew into adulthood, I found something new to loathe.  The very sound of T.V. before evening made me crazy then and even more now.  You might as well just stick pins in my feet or hold my hands in boiling water because I would enjoy the experience more than one minute of CNN or Judge Judy.  The minute I enter a room and catch one nanno-second's worth of sights or sounds coming from a T.V. set, I cringe and, in an instant,  I am transported back to the playroom of my family home, where......

 I'm there, having a sick day,
knowing that at three o'clock,
 the joy will be over and
 I will have to become One again
 with the rest of the

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Running Through My Life

Another rainy, dreary day that looks more like November than December.  Hard to believe that Christmas is but three weeks away and even harder to plunge into the icy waters of "Christmas Spirit" River. Even the lovely holiday pops performance by the Cape Cod Symphony last evening didn't do it.  Seems like it gets harder every year as the stores start earlier each year with the playing of the Christmas music and the non-stop ads.  As I recall from an earlier era, not one thing happened until after Thanksgiving.  Not an ornament, not a wreath, and certainly not a Christmas carol.  Those were reserved for much later and we actually looked forward to the week before the holiday when things really revved up and we could enjoy the once-yearly audio treats on the car radio.

I know I am not alone when I say that, aside from the annoyance of constant repetition, Christmas music makes me somewhat sad.  So, when my husband had his Christmas playlist blaring this morning, I asked for mercy and he obliged.  I told him I would find something else, something that would not make me sad; something that would not add to the dreary day ahead.  He's generally a happy guy.  Lucky him, he finds very few things to be "depressing" and during his waking hours, he's always in a good mood. Yes, he does talk in his sleep.

So, I found exactly what I needed and I made the selfish switch and it made both of us happy again. He was happy because I was happy and I was happy because I got to spend five precious minutes in my happiest place.  New York City, how I love that place.  I miss it and always will long to be back there. I loved working in the heart of the city. Every day was a new adventure and I never did get tired of any of it. I have fond memories, lots of them. But I gotta tell you, one of THE best memories of my working days in the Big Apple is not about any of the quirky and wonderful things that I had the pleasure of participating in.  It's not about the restaurants, museums, the people and places.  It's about a phone call, one I will never forget receiving in my office and it goes like this........

"Hi Mom.  Take the day off on October first............WE'RE GOING TO SEE MANILOW!!!"

So, you can easily see why I made the playlist switch and why the rest of this morning went so much better.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Canon Outlaw

Photo courtesy of Eyegoddess Films

Do you know what the Roman Catholic Church's Canon Law Number 1024 says?

Are you ready for this?

ONLY baptized men can receive holy orders.  Only MEN can become priests.  ONLY men.

Well, thank God, a renegade group of holy and highly educated women started to change all of this in a movement that began fifteen or so years ago.

If you were brought up in the RC tradition, you might not ever have given thought to the fact that there actually is a law which forbids women to become priests, that the hierarchy of the church is reserved for men only and that this is a man-made, not God-made law that has absolutely no basis.  The documentary "Pink Smoke Over the Vatican" is, at the very least, an eye-opener and it is one that all people who believe that things are the way they are and always will be need to see.  The beautifully done film follows the group of women who walked smack into the face of adversity and stared it down, becoming ordained priests and bishops, totally ignoring the threat of excommunication. It infuriates me when I think that anyone, man or woman, can make the decision to throw somebody out of a church, to strip them naked of their right to enter into and participate in, a house of worship.  Who the hell do they think they are anyway?  God?

The ordained women of Pink Smoke speak of their strong desires and not one of them displays a lack of respect for their church nor do they appear to be militant or "dangerous" in any way.  Yet, the leaders of the church consider them to be just that, "dangerous" and problematic.  The church official who comments throughout this film does not seem to have any real explanation for why women can't become priests, he just tells the viewer that they can't.....because they can't.  He forgets ancient church history, pieces left for dead and buried forever.  There were women priests and married priests, even a female apostle!  But we are not given that information, ever. Rarely do we see women credited for anything in the church and never are we reminded that when Jesus rose from the dead, it was a woman, Saint Mary Magdalene, to whom he immediately made his presence known.  Not a man.  A woman, bearing witness to the resurrection.

So, how were these brave modern women ordained?  It all started when a small handful of women were given what the church considered to be "temporary" holy orders. They were to be "de-frocked" when their  job was done but they disobeyed and well, long story short, they, in turn, started ordaining other women on ships, far from the shores of any archdiocese. Brilliant move.  You can't invoke a ruling if you have no jurisdiction.

Ex-communication?  I don't think so.

Get ready for the ladies, gentlemen of the church.  They are here, and they are smart. Smart enough to know that Canon Law is not God's law and that the days of male domination in the church are numbered.With their help and their patience with outdated feudal governance that is currently destroying the church, pink may very well become the new white collar.  Amen.