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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Christine


September 26th, 2011 is the second anniversary of my sister’s death. As the order of life goes, her passing was unnatural. I am six years older, a natural order dictates that I was to be the first one to pass the veil, but that didn’t happen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not eager to find out what awaits us on the other side, and fully intend to remain here as long as I can. I just wanted her to do the same, then come join me when she was a ripe old age.

Christine and I were as different as day is to night. She was a Coach bag, Fendi, Gucci, kind of girl. As for me, I am truly happy with fashion bug, marshalls, and so on. I married very young, and spent the first twenty years of that marriage primarily raising three children with my husband. She, on the other hand, married Billy a bit later in life, was a successful career woman, and always enjoyed the finer things in life until illnesses began to define her.

Despite all our differences no one could make each of us laugh like we could each other. From the time we were very young children, we did some improbable things.

As a child I had a four-poster bed, located in my tiny bedroom. On Saturday mornings, still in our pajamas, we would each take our stance, on the bed, diagonally from one another. On the count of three we would race across that small, single, bed to crash in the middle, loudly engaging in our wrestling match. She was six years younger, but boy she could hold her own. Usually, it would end in my pinning her, and tickling until she begged for mercy. No one ever got hurt except from laughing so hard. You know the kind of laughter that makes you hold your stomach and yell, stop, stop.

There are so many times, over the years, where we played games, or related events that caused us to collapse with laughter. It seems we both had a knack for telling a story. We carried on so, that many times, even our husbands thought we were over the top.

One of my favorite stories, and one that I related many times, I will tell once more here.

A year after Jim and I bought the house in Patchogue, my mother and grandmother were invited to come live with us. East Harlem was becoming more and more crime riddled with young thugs and muggers. It was time they left before one or both became a statistic. An apartment was made for mom and grandma, in our house, with a bedroom for Christine for when she visited. My sister had gotten an apartment in Queens with two roommates, but this was Christmas time and she was here (home) for the holidays.

As it happened this particular Christmas, I was so very sick with the flu. After having finished wrapping the last-minute gifts I was lying on the couch in the family room. As was my custom at the time, all the Holiday cards I received were strung across the front of the fire-place, row upon row. Perhaps seven or eight rows in all.

Since she was a little girl I had always teased my sister, and, as I said, we were as different as day and night. Her taste in Christmas cards ran to tasteful and arty, mine to traditional Santa Claus and snowflakes. You get the picture.

This evening, as I was lying there, it was just she and I in the room. The children were nestled all snug in their beds (finally), Jim was on an 8 PM to 4 AM tour, and my mother and grandmother downstairs in their little apartment. For want of conversation Christine asked me if I liked the christmas card she had sent me. Being me, I told her the truth as I saw it, “No, it’s the ugliest card I got.”

With that she jumped up to stand in front of the fireplace. “Oh no it isn’t!”

I challenged her to find me one uglier. She viewed all the cards for quite some time, finally finding one she thought was really ugly. I opened my eyes to look at it. Damn she was right, I had to admit it was more awful than the one she had sent. Christine was ecstatic, she bested me. I asked her who sent that card.

She read the signature aloud, “Merry Christmas, Love your sister, Christine.”

Oh my God, we were both shocked. We laughed so hard I fell off the couch, and she right to the floor. We made so much noise that my mother and grandmother came running up, thinking we had a fight, and had reverted to wrestling. After about fifteen minutes we caught our breath. Where in hell did this card come from? Christine swore she never sent it. She had sent the arty one. That’s when my mother sheepishly confessed.

Mom was concerned that my sister would forget to send me a card, she knew how much I loved receiving them. So she sent me one and signed my sister’s name. Well, on this, Christine couldn’t win. That Christmas she sent me two of the ugliest cards that I received. How I wish I was getting another one this coming year.

I miss you and I love you. Always in my heart, my kid sister, Christine.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Five Year Guarantee


I recently purchased brand new furniture for my living room. A sofa, a love seat, and a terrific accent chair. I am not a person who comparison shops, going from store to store comparing price and quality. In fact, I hate shopping of all kind, clothing, shoes, food, furniture. Perhaps my only shopping addiction is the Home Goods Store. Prior to that it was Linens N Things. The reason I switched from Linens N Things to Home Goods is that they tore the building down that use to house Linens N Things, and constructed a new one for Home Goods on the same site. This made it difficult for me to remain a Linens N Things addict since I also hate to drive. But that is grist for another rant on another blog. Now I am a Home Goods shopper.

It took just a tiny bit of analysis to figure out why, when I truly hate shopping, did I love these two stores. After a short time mulling this problem around I came up with the answer. It’s the feathering my nest syndrome. Add a new glass vase, a red ceramic bowl, two turtle doves, and I am as happy as a blue jay plumping her surroundings. The nesting thing that I’m afflicted with. Whenever I purchase a new chocka, or retrieve an old one from the shed, I waltz it around the house, placing it in different locations, on odd angles, until it suits me perfectly. I even move from chair to chair to check how the light flatters the current object of my affection.

Most of these accents are rarely noticed by guests, but they are so very important to me. That is until I’ve had enough of any particular chocka. Then it either makes its way back to the shed, the local Goodwill store, or the trash can. One of these options are chosen according to how many times its already made it to the shed, back into the house, then back into the shed.

I go to the Goodwill Store, so often, with bags of clothing, books, and knick knacks that they must surely think I am a cat burglar, with a poor eye for the loot that I continually burgle. I am forced to donate the over flow to Goodwill. They don’t turn me in because it’s a win win situation for the store and myself. (Sorry I dared to digress with fanciful thoughts).

Once I made up my mind that it was time for new furniture, I put pictures of my old set on Craig’s List, hoping for a buyer willing to pay $250.00. Price to go. Got a buyer with a sad story, and sold it for $100.00. Happy to get someone else to carry it out of the house for Jim. Then I went to one furniture store, Ashley Furniture, ran through their hundred or so displays, and, is my custom, fell in love with one immediately. No thought to coming back after checking around. After all it was a Labor Day Sale. I’d made up my mind.

OK, here is the best part. The salesman, Andre, sold me a five-year guarantee for an additional two hundred dollars over the price of the furniture. Who wouldn’t buy a guarantee of five years more of life for only two hundred dollars when you were already sixty-five years old? What a bargain. I’m going to renew it when I’m seventy!

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Autumn Preview


I woke this morning curled under my thick, brown, satin, quilt.   I must have pulled it up over myself during the night while I slept.  Good thing we thought to fold it at the foot of the bed after watching the weather report the night before.   The windows were wide open and the bedroom had really cooled down during the night.  Sun, streaming through the bedroom window, was brilliant, with the scent of Autumn in the air. 

Just like that.  Flipping of a switch, and Summer retreats allowing Autumn to rush on in.  I understand it won’t be for long.  Summer will make a surprise encore before the trees begin showing off their annual display of brilliant gold, burnt orange, russet and brown. Before the oaks sway, releasing their leaves to dance on down to the earth, creating a crunchy carpet beneath our feet, Indian Summer will send us running back upstairs to strip off  jeans in order to jump into shorts, once again.

This time of the year was not always greeted by me with such joy.  I dreaded Fall as its cool nights forwarned that Winter was not far behind.  I ignored the season as one might disregard the foyer of a well-kept home, by dashing on through to get to another room.  Forgetting to appreciate a lovely table ,  carefully designed coat rack, a welcoming bouquet of flowers, arranged there by the homeowner.   I dismissed Fall, not taking into account the beauty it possesses on its own.  The energy it renews in me to get back to the things I love.  The reasons I wouldn’t think of moving South.

Then at one Summer’s end, it occurred to me, I was tired of wearing a bathing suit every day.  I was getting antsy to begin in the house projects, and no longer did I wish to feel guilty for wasting a summer’s day by being inside.   Doing a chore I really wanted to begin, but it was too hot to start.  My God!  I was bored with Summer and the faded blooms.  The garden was well past its prime.  It needed to be turned.  A crisp breeze would feel wonderful on my face, and I was looking forward to the riotous shades of Fall and some soup bubbling on the stove.

So today after pushing back the heavier blanket, I dressed in jeans (which still fit from last year), put on a silk knit top with three-quarter sleeves and prepared to do away with Summer.  I tossed away the Summer wreath, decorated with iris and daffodils,  that hung by the front door, and to replace it dug out a harvest wreath, ablaze with the colors of Fall.  My pumpkins  now sit ready in the screen room expecting  to take their place on the front porch at the stroke of October 1st.  The long list of fall projects were quickly written down.  I look so forward to rolling up my sweat shirt sleeves and begin.

The weather man assured everyone this evening that Summer will return next week.  I’ll enjoy its last hurrah, but I am ready to greet Autumn with a Spring in my step.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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My Crowning Glory


Like many woman I have spent a lifetime of actively doing everything possible to damage my hair in an effort to straighten out the natural curls, lighten the dark auburn shade, heighten the crown. Its been ironed, teased, crimped, proxided, dyed, rinsed and lemoned.  For years it was blown with gale force, high temperature, dryers.   I’ve shampooed without conditioning for volume, and conditioned without shampooing to give it shine.  It has been washed clean,  and even before it is dry, I submit it to oils, volumizers, pomade, hair spray, shine, glitter (for special occasions), and at times, sprays of different colors.

One time, when my children were young, I took advantage of the hours they were gone to elementary school, and went to a beauty salon.  Once there, I had all the natural reddish tone stripped out and my tresses frosted silver over a brown base.  When the kids sauntered in from their school day, two out of three cried.  They thought I had been struck with some disease that aged me over night.  Needless to say,  it went back to the color they were accustomed to as quickly as possible.  It didn’t take too long, because no matter what I do the curls and frizz return quickly,  and the red pigments fight their way back to the light.

Now, so many years later, you would think I had learned my lesson and would stay within the color range that has served me well for so many years.  The colors that have become my own, and that are easy for me to keep.  I have given up on trying to defrizz, never mind straighten.  The frizz and curls are part of my personality.  However, as is the case for many, I get bored with the color or colors that my hair chooses to be.  There is always that doubt that worms its way into our thoughts.  Is it too bright for my age, too uneven in color?  Should I try to tone it down, make it a bit conservative?   Well I have discovered the answer to all that ==== NO.

I foolishly bent to those nasty voices that whispered in my head about age, being conservative, etc.  Why in hell I did that I will never know.  It had to be boredom.

Recently, someone visited my house.  Her hair was a beautiful shade of light brown.  It lit up her face; took years off her appearance.  A classy, classic, conservative, color, coif.  Never mind that her skin tone is peachy fair, and her thick short hair suits her personality, and lifestyle.  I was enchanted by the shade.  I had to try it.  I pestered her for the brand and color. She kindly obliged, calling me two days later with the information.  I ran out and bought it.

Oh my God, I looked like I stuck my head in a bucket of chocolate-brown paint.  My hair looked like a frizzy, brown, dust mop ontop my head with no life to the shade.  I am dark complected, now I had a sallow look about me.  What could I do?  I called Clairol.  Nope can’t redye it for four to six weeks.  Did I want my hair to fall out?  So I did the only thing I could do beside hibernating for four to six weeks.  I washed it with shampoo immediately.  Then washed and rinsed it every twelve hours for three days.

Well it happened.  That trusted, brassy, red-gold shade started peeking through.  Thanks to those auburn genes I’m almost me again.  My crowning glory has returned.

BTW during all this trial and tribulation no one even noticed that I had dyed my hair brown.

 

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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September 11, 2011


My blogs are my sometimes skewed vision of life.  No matter what occurs, upon reflection, my eyes are drawn to some humor in any and every event.  Not today.

As do most Americans, we remember what we were doing, and where we were when the planes, one right after the other, struck the towers.   Everyone that died that day was our husband, mother, brother, father, sister, son, daughter, lover, friend. 

Those who were snatched away, unaware, by those two planes plowing into the towers, the plane at the pentagon, and the plane in that lonely field in Pennsylvania, were victims and heroes of a war they didn’t know they were engaged in.  The Fireman, Policeman, EMT, the first responders, all heroes, rushing into the jaws of death to save at least one more life.  The passengers and crew on the aircraft heading to Washington DC, they made a conscious decision to wrest the plane from the terrorists, and sacrifice their own lives, to save strangers on the ground.  Heroes all.  The face of heroism is ever-changing, but not the hero’s heart and soul.

Today, I spent part of this Sunday, September 11, 2011, glued to the television as witness to the grief of those who lost loved ones.  How could I not.  Their grief is ours.  The beautiful memorial reflection pools flow with the tears of the heavy hearts of us all.

Today I just wanted to share my feelings, and join others to sing our song of praise for all those who fell on September 11, 2001, for those who fight each and every day, and for those who fought in past wars for The United States of AmericaGod Bless them, God Bless Us, and God Bless America.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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The Written Word


This past weekend I was discussing with a friend that we had recently received a kindle as a gift, and would probably be purchasing future books through Amazon to be read on our new toy.   My friend, Richard, commented that he would most likely never purchase this kind of reading device.  He loved the way a book felt in his hands.  The smell of a new book,  (they do have a distinct smell),  everything about going to a library, or bookstore, and browsing.

I later thought about what he had said,  and had to agree that the experience of reading was enhanced by the art on the book jacket, the weight of the pages, and the description on the fly-leaf.  I remember what pleasure I felt when leaving Borders with that half sized shopping bag, loaded with books.  After arriving home with three or four books I would have the most difficult time deciding which one to read first.  Having decided, I secretly hoped that I didn’t pick the best one for first,  as I would surely be disappointed by the subsequent selections.  You always want each book you read to be better than the last book you’ve read.

The odds of reading your purchases in the right order are pretty slim unless you pick one author, and the novels are each part of a continuing series.  In that case, you wait until the entire series is complete (Harry Potter), read the names of all the previous books on the second or third page of the last book, (this all takes some research), and begin from the first in the series.  Granted, even if you do it that way, there is no guarantee that each subsequent novel will be better than its predecessor.  That’s a chance we all must take.

As a child, one of the first books I read was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  I loved that book, and must have read it at least six times.  Since I was only about ten or eleven years of age there were some things I didn’t quite grasp.  Alcott was so accomplished that her novel was written on several levels.  It appealed to an audience spanning a wide age range, as does Rowling with the Potter novels.

Yes, Richard’s comment did get me thinking about all this, and my love for books.  The pride I take in my library, ( I have a few autographed books that I don’t lend out), and how much I enjoy trading books with others who appreciate reading as much as I do.  Nothing takes you out of your day-to-day or your location like a good book.  You are never lonely, or bored, when you are held captive by a book.  You can read while standing on a line, in a doctor’s office, or when you have a cold, and can’t do any other activity.

When your mind works as mine does you begin thinking about something, (the hard cover and paperback books) you digress to the wonders of reading, and then back again to the kindle, and e books.  I have downloaded books to the kindle and the Ipad.  My husband and I switch back and forth with these two devices, when we wish to read the book that has been downloaded onto either device.  We also have many books on our bookshelves that we still intend to read.

Television did not do away with radio, cablevision did not do away with movie houses, and the kindle will not do away with paper and ink books.  The kindle is light, you don’t need to worry that War and Peace will cause your luggage to weigh more than permitted when checking in at the airport.  You can read it in bed, your arms don’t get exhausted because you need to hold it up at an odd angle, far enough away from your face to read it.  Best of all, when you fall asleep and drop it on your face, you don’t break your nose.

Whether it’s a hard cover copy, a paperback, or a reading device, the fact that we are more exposed to the written word, then ever before in history, is a wonderful thing.  We  laugh, cry, and learn by reading  and listening to words.   Perhaps there will come a time when we lend each other Kindles as we now do physical books.  Read on my friends!

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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I really gotta go, but I really wanna stay!


Sagittarius is the traveler of the zodiac, and it is my birth sign.  I love to travel, but unlike the real estate adage, location, location, location, I usually don’t care where I am going, as long as I am going.  An upscale hotel, in the heart of Manhattan, or that proverbial seaside shack on a deserted  Beach.  I have enjoyed visiting the same island thirty different times, or some place new, for a one and only.  If I am there, it is my temporary home.  I stress temporary because about the two-week mark, away from New York, and my home, I begin to get antsy.  I miss the edge, the voices, the caustic wit, the sense of humor, and the uncensored conversations.

I tire of having nothing that I need to do.  I begin yearning for contact with family and friends, even when it’s just in passing.  I want all my stuff around me.  Not just vacation stuff, but my stuff.  My bed, my couch, my PC and of course my own TV.  One would not think that lying on a pure white, sugar soft, sand beach, gazing out onto gently rolling waves of  crystal like, aqua marine, sea, can become boring.  You would be hard pressed to convince anyone that dining   in fabulous, restaurants, for a couple of weeks straight, would lead to wishing for a home-made grilled cheese sandwich, as only I can make.  But I promise you, for me,  it happens.

I am sure you wonder, if I miss home so much, why I leave it in the first place.  It’s a fair question, and once again I submit to you – I love to travel.  I love hotel rooms, tiny shops and olympic size pools.  I really enjoy a truck stop motel that never closes their small outdoor pool.  You can see people taking a dip all hours of the day or night.  I want to hear different accents, and go into someone else’s local supermarket to see what is common on their shelves.  Perhaps buy an exotic spice to bring home.   And I want no responsibility for anything.  I can only achieve this when I am not home.  I never call when I am away.  Don’t bring my laptop, and rarely look at my phone for fear someone will text me with some unwanted news that can surely wait until I once again man my Mott Street post.

The moment the last suitcase is closed,  the front door of my permanent nest locked, and checked for the fourth time, I am on vacation.  I don’t need to arrive at a destination to be in relax mode.  Footloose is the shedding of years, even for a day or two.   My traveling companions, usually my Jim, know the deal.  We are going away, and its for both to enjoy that time.  If one of the travelers wishes to stay in the room watching movies, and the other wants to go exploring, Vaya Con Dios.  It’s a wonderful thing!

We don’t take many pictures.  No longer do we buy many souvenirs.  Of course I get some unique things to wear that really only look great at the locale where they are purchased.  Some how floral, floor, length, kaftan,  just don’t make it during a December on Long Island.  I think it’s the Ughs you must wear in order to keep warm, at that time of the year.

So this Sagittarian will continue traveling far and near for as long as she can.  I will love every moment of these trips for up to two weeks at a time.  After that, get out of my way.  I really gotta go.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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