Thursday, November 29, 2012


It can happens almost anywhere.

It can start with "help me" or "how?"

It can end with "show me" or "let me reveal."

It can be done alone or with friends and often it happens with strangers.

And every once in a while, when telling a heart's story, all those prayers come together in a single moment.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Flying High Now

He used to fly fighter planes.

"Like this?"

"No! That's an M15..."

"I flew an Italian..."

And then he started talking about planes... well... like the way I talk about bags.

Or boots...

Like the boots he wore when he flew all those big planes.

Which are just like the ones he wears now, as he flies words that zoom around the world.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Memories: Of Light and Night

In evenings of late fall, Florence would sallie forth with one or both of us in hand, head over to the Delancy Street or East Broadway stop, and take the F up to Herald Square.

We'd step into a familiar world that was awake and bursting around Macy's, and those carts really did smell of roasting chestnuts and hot crispy pretzels.

No matter how far or close to Christmas it was, nothing felt frantic.  It was more like we were all part of the season's lights and we got to dance and sway through the darkness.

There are still brief moments like that, one unexpected near Carmine Street as we avoided shopping crowds and had hot chocolate instead.

Related Posts

Sunday Memories: Macy's Chewing Gum

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Originally Posted November 26, 2009

This really happened.

It was right before Thanksgiving and like a billion other people, my friend ordered dessert from Veniero's on 11th Street to bring to the family gathering in Pound Ridge. It was probably pumpkin pie, or pastiero di grano or maybe even a cheesecake with little cannolis on top.

This woman is very attractive and she is over 30. Maybe even over 40 but her seamless attractiveness is elegant and well appointed. Oprah's makeover couldn't improve on her classic outfits, highlighted with tasteful touches of contemporary accessories.

So... as she waited on the long line she grew a bit tired. Noticing a bunch of round tables stacked along the wall, she sidled up to one and gently, as only elegance and class could, sat down.

The woman behind her, generously described as perhaps not very attractive and very unhappy about not being attractive, snapped I'M IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY AND YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE SITTING ON A TABLE. My friend politely pointed out that these were tables being stored, not being used for service. At that point the counter guy called "Next." Which was my friend.

YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO TAKE A NUMBER yelled the Unhappy Woman. My friend pointed out that not only did she have a number, she had the one they were calling and off she went to pick up the family dessert. Turning to leave she came face to face with the Unhappy Woman who then... punched her.

"Why'd you do that?" the counterman asked.

My friend quickly left and joined her husband in their car. As she began to tell him what just happened, the Unhappy Woman ran out of Veniero's and began yelling at the car. Windows rolled up and doors locked, her husband began to drive away. My friend pleaded for her husband to go slow because all they needed was for him to run over the foot of the Unhappy Woman as she followed the car down 11th Street yelling things at them.

That Thanksgiving Dinner the dessert was brought out to many ooos and ahhs.

"We almost died for this cake," the husband said.

A brief discussion ensued. Did the Unhappy Woman attack my friend because she was Asian? Did she attack my friend because she was Asian AND pretty? Or was this Unhappy Woman just basically nuts?

Nothing was decided. So they ate the cake.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An Inside Job

After many fingers on every hand got tired of pointing with iron-clad facts, and friends' faces got that polite look, it was time to shut up and walk.

To light and then the light above it.

To a road, however dark and lonely, if only to remember the difference between what quiet sounds like and the ridiculous noise in my head. And also to remember to NOT argue with someone who is NOT there. (Which pisses me off because when they are not there, I win the argument.)

To a chair where my ass belongs so I can hear something greater than the argument I only win with others when they aren't there.

And then back to the world, where I get to see lots of shoes worn thin from walking the walk, not talking the talk.

You can't talk peace. You can only walk it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Memories: These Are The Foods Of Our Gods

Twinkies may have been for the masses, but we only ate the orange cupcakes and the pink snoballs.  Once-a-week. Friday night.  At Gramma's house.   Watching TV.   With a C&C cola.

One of my sister's early memory was her, one Friday night, putting her foot down and saying she was going to have a whole packet of snoballs by herself.  No more splitting it with me.  Which was fine because that meant I got the orange cupcakes all to myself.

I continued to eat snoballs and orange cupcakes through way too many nights of loneliness, drunkenness and bad, bad TV.  Then I got a life, learned to love fruit and cardio workouts.  The foods of Gramma's fell by the wayside.

Years later, during a particularly gruesome series of doctor visits (that included Florence collapsing on a frigid winter street as we waved frantically at off-duty cabs) Louise ran out to get medicine while I stayed behind in the examination room.  She returns with the medicine and one packet of snoballs.   We shared them.

Then the news came that the factory was shutting down.

I hit every deli and supermarket I could.  But there wasn't a bright-pink-looks-like-a-tit or orange-frosting-as-pliable-as-gumby cake to be found.  Nobody had a thing, hadn't for a long time or didn't even know what I was talking about.

My city, in its quest for quality baked goods had filled its shelves with organic or gourmet ingredients, and had erased from its landscape recognizable foods.  Just as it had the bookstores, the mom&pops, the shoemakers, the bodegas, the services we needed, the stores we depended on, the neighbors we knew...

Finally, I went into a 7-11.  The woman behind the counter said, "you better hurry, we're almost out."

The minute I took a bite...

I was 'home'.  Me, Gramma, Louise, Friday night TV.


Related Posts:

Sunday Memories: Home, Where My Love Lies Waiting

Sunday Memories: Where We All Now Live

Sunday Memories: Over the Hills and Through the Forest to Grandmother's House We Go

Sunday Memories: Our Version of Sitting On the Dock of the Bay

No, Next Week Is Bring Your Daughter To Work.  This week it's....

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Same War, Different Day

The sink at P.S. 110

This is where the teacher bent my head over and washed the blood pouring out of my nose off my face.  It was just another fist fight I didn't lose.

You'd think I'd get tired of staring into that white porcelain and rusty drain. 

But, I couldn't give up the hope that one of my punches would set things right.

Never did.

Then I got older. I kept punching, but now with blaming and complaining words.

You'd think I'd get tired of pointing fingers at people as I watched them head off to their dreams and I stayed behind.

But, I couldn't give up the hope that if I complained loud enough, my life would unfold.

Never happened.

Then, after I got older older, I noticed I wasn't punching, I wasn't complaining.  But I was judging - just very very quietly.

You'd think I'd get tired of the raging noise inside my head

But, I couldn't give up the hope that one day my silent tantrums would make a difference.

It did.  It almost destroyed me.

It dawned on me that I had fought the same war with my fists and my words and my thoughts and it was still going on.  The only difference between that sink at P.S. 110 and the days I lived now was my bones creaked when I bent over and, instead of fantasizing about candy and the boy next door, I dreamed of long-term health insurance.

War, in all its incarnations, hadn't brought much  of anything to anyone, including and especially myself.

With what time is left, why not, why not wean off the fists the complaints the judgement wean off the noise the tantrums the expectation of a blow wean off and then perhaps have space space to wonder at why on earth any of us are here and maybe if there was something delicious to eat and someone even more delicious to kiss.

Sunday Memories: Matthew 26.52
"... all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword..."

Sunday Memories: When We Could Still Cry In The Middle Of A Fist Fight

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tales From A Hard Day's Night: Mieux La Chance, Que L'Address (Better Luck Than Skill)

The last of a brief series on one October week in Her New York's.  

We opened at the end.  

We close at the beginning. 

I had prepared.  Just In Case.

Batteries, two transistor radios, two flashlights, kitchen matches and Jade Mountain match books.  Many yahrzeit candles.
The old rotary cooper-wiring landline phone plugged in and operating.

The gas stove from the 1940s cooking.  With gas. And since we were a short building, with water for coffee or tea or hard boiled eggs.

I had prepared.  Just In Case. 

Then Just In Case happened.

I was prepared.

But there was no way I could have prepared for the luck of love and friendship unfolding evenings  into storytelling and quiet conversation.

Related Posts

Joni's Coney

In Case of Emergency

In Honor Of Love That Blooms In Autumn

Tales From A Hard Day's Night: Where Were You When The Lights Went Out?

Tales From A Hard Day's Night: Darkest Before The Dawn

Tales From A Hard Day's Night: The Light At The End Of The...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tales From A Hard Day's Night: Where Were You When The Lights Went Out?

A brief series on one October week in Her New York's.  Doris Day didn't show up.  But the rest of us did.

Some went door to door, checking on those who were a bit older (but only by a couple of years) just to make sure flashlights had batteries and the ancient landlines were working.

Still, others gathered around the coffee cake that was supposed to have headed to the West Village that day, but now needed to be eaten before it went bad.  

Which could have been at any minute so we ate almost all of it.

A couple of us ventured out to charge at a friend's the many gadgets  essential to our lives and send out important emails and information, but lets face it, we were all on facebook within 10 minutes. 

It was the travel back that stunned us.  Not that we had just seen lights and had internet access for the first time in days , but that, as we headed home out of the land of the power,  before us rose a wall of visual silence.

Finally home in that stunned darkness, the candles got lit, and many dusty bottles that had been hanging around high shelves in many apartments got plunked down and opened, just to see how many had turned into rubbing alcohol.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tales From A Hard Day's Night: Darkest Before The Dawn

A brief series on one October week in Her New York's. Another day without power calls for tough decisions and tougher actions. Cooking.

Even with our Olympic-like speeds of opening and closing the refrigerator,  the food was headed to bad.

So everything that still could be was cooked or baked.  Of course, burning guaranteed anything icky would die.  It also guaranteed a visit from a worried neighbor that on top of everything else there had been another fire.

Burnt brownies are, in fact, quite tasty.

With bowls and pots and extra bottles of wine, we gathered upstairs before evening fell in the staircase. What seemed like just minutes later the sky was pitch black, our faces were flushed with wine and all the food had been eaten.

Related Posts

Burning Down The House

Sunday Memories: In The Happy Cacophony Of A Visit....

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tales From A Hard Day's Night: The Light At The End Of The...

A brief series on one October week in Her New York's. We open at the end.

Seven days and a couple of hours after the storm beat up families, homes and neighborhoods, furious walls of water filled streets, and the Con Edison power station exploded the city into darkness, the world not only lit up with electricity.  It lit up with hope and relief.

Related Posts From 2008

Shona Tova, Shona Tova, a voting day for all of us, Shona Tova

Gave Proof Through The Night That Our Flag Was Still There

Sunday Memories: Once Only Memory, It Returns

Happy New President! Shona Tova!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Coming Soon: Tales From A Hard Day's Night

But, first...
Bills must be paid.
Food must be bought.
Candle wax must be scrapped off.
And oh. That laundry.