Plinky Prompt: A call from an unexpected person. Who is it, and what is the conversation about?

  • Frosted Flakes

    Frosted Flakes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    You receive a call from an unexpected person. Who is it, and what is the conversation about? Go! See all answers

  • The Phone Rings………
  • Hi,
    I’m sure you don’t remember me but my name is Steven and we met in an airplane many years ago flying from Boston to New York. We dated a for a while and even though our chemistry and apparently quick friendship was amazing, I was a complete jerk. I remember I had an office trip for a month after (which I’m sure you thought you would never hear from me again) but I was utterly taken with you. Maybe smitten is a better word.  I sent you postcards, several postcards if I remember. We had a quick and easy banter and a similar sense of humor, and I remember how quick you were with answers, nobody had ever come back as quickly as you and I was enthralled by your wit and by your open smile and dancing green eyes. I can still picture them. It was a tough combination for me to ignore and I knew I couldn’t do it.

    Apparently, over your vacation at home, you had just gone through an extremely difficult situation with your family. A devastating one. You never told me what happened, you couldn’t at the time, you were bleeding still and raw and I was impatient. I forgot you were young and that my track record was really not good, that was my fault, entirely. I totally messed everything up.

    I would call you to say I would be there at your house at 8pm and I would not show up until 12 midnight, this happened more than once. You should have slammed the door in my face, I DID deserve it, I almost wish you had. You probably felt the same way. I remember you told me what your best friend said about me, it hurt but it was true: “There are NO MORE excuses, not even if his family was decimated in a fire, there is always time for a ten second call.” She was right, you were right. T

    I was a selfish, rich, overachiever who thought he had to prove himself in this world. But, that’s what I loved so much about you. Remember when you said your most favorite time with me was when we ate Frosted Flakes in my living room? That was YOU in a sentence. Your grin, your sparkling green eyes, the way you threw your head back, laughing. You didn’t care if I had a BMW or any kind or car, or the prestigious job I had. All you cared about was me, the real me. You saw the unguarded moment that no one else had ever picked up on, except for you. Eating Frosted Flakes in the living room, me trying to explain football to you!! ( Sorry, I couldn’t help that one)

    I’m here now to say, I deeply regret how I treated you. I saw on Facebook that you are married with two beautiful grown-up children, and of course, a dog. I’m glad and somehow I knew you would keep your last name! I am still single but I am in the beginning of making amends. I knew I had to start with you. Even though it was just a short time, thank you for being in my life.

  • special thanks to Frosted Flakes

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

gratitude

gratitude (Photo credit: nathalie booth)

I’m still in my blue fleece pajama bottoms with cherries happily bursting on them and a 20-year-old mauve Cape Cod sweatshirt and I have no interest in getting dressed. This is my outfit today, I see no reason to change. It’s freezing outside, and if my tensed up bones need a break (no, not literally) I will give it to them. Cold weather is not good for people with chronic pain or Fibromyalgia. Trust me. I know. It’s too early to long for Spring.

The wind is howling outside, seeping in to our little house’s walls, windows. I am under a mountain of blankets with my dog. She could lie beside me or at the other end of the bed, but no, she picks the place over my feet to settle down. My dog, my mutt, was a wild puppy, I struggled bitterly with her biting and pulling and ransacking the house. How my friends encouraged me to “hang in there, she’s just a puppy.” At 8 months, she is still a puppy but a better one and most certainly a larger one. She no longer bites into my hand as if it was a cheeseburger. I’m not as steady on my feet as other people, because of balance issues, so I hope she behaves.

Our children have left for their respective colleges, the house is comfortingly quiet, and we are happy,  probably because I know the kids will be back in three weeks and because this happened to be a lovely Thanksgiving weekend. No fighting, NO DRAMA and a good time all around. My daughter didn’t even object when we told her she needed to see a doctor, she came home from her appointment with a package of antibiotics and a diagnosis of bronchitis. No, you cannot drink while you are on antibiotics. As my kids used to say “Nuff said.”

There are more leftovers to eat tonight, I’m not even sick of them yet. It’s hard to get sick of turkey, cranberry sauce, my Danny’s home-made, unbelievable stuffing and Polish rye bread “from the Homestead” in Kew Gardens, Queens where we both grew up. There is nothing like that bread, it brings back all sorts of childhood memories: standing in line, getting sandwiches made, deciding between the shrimp salad, or chicken salad, imported cheeses, home-baked desserts: cherry, apple and cheese strudel, chocolate layer cakes, and the traditional jelly doughnuts for New Year’s Eve.

Like last year, we won’t be exchanging gifts this Christmas. Everything is so expensive and times are hard. My husband has a job but I can’t work and I live in silent fear of him losing his job since the economy is so bad. If that happens, we will deal with it then. My present this year will be the memories of this past weekend, the family getting together at our house for Thanksgiving. The memories of the pretty amber lit candles that lined the middle of our long tables, my dog, lying on the green couch, the four cousins whispering together, the three grandparents still with us, childhood friends that I grew up with here, and the giant dessert spread we had, enough for 40 people not 14. We had a warm place to sit, food on the table, we were all grateful to be here, we escaped the worst from Sandy; we were very, very lucky. For this, and everything else, we gave and continue to give our thanks.

Plinky Prompt: Write a letter to yourself in 20 years…

  • Letter to (Future) Me
  • What Did We Know?
    beach sunrise 1 Dear Old Lady,
    I want to live someplace simple and warm, with God’s Blessing, with my Old Man, beside me. It’s nice to grow old with someone and we are still lucky to have each other because many of our friends have lost their spouses. Sure, we have our health problems, who doesn’t? I’ve had them as long as I can remember so that’s not so hard for me to get used to but you and your ego, well, that was a little harder but we got through that tough time, didn’t we?.
    We moved to California when I finally put my foot down and said I could not TAKE these bitter cold winters in New York for my bones and muscles and you actually agreed with me. You even loved it when we sat on our deck and could see the ocean and the beach, not so close but it didn’t matter. It was nice and warm and I didn’t complain all the time, you joker. Now I complained just half the time! But, I really did feel better in the warm weather and you took up golf which you said you would never do.”Never say Never!”
    Our kids had kids of their own, just think we are grandparents, imagine that! I had wanted to be a granny since I was 50,and now I’m 76! What a feeling that is, seeing your son and daughter’s husband and wife and their precious children, Oh, I used to love holding them in my arms when they were little and singing them songs. My one regret is that they don’t live closer to us but they have to live their own lives and they can’t live for us, just like we couldn’t live for our mothers and fathers It’s a very hard decision, believe me, I know.
    We have friends here, but really, there is nothing like family. Oh, did I tell you? My sister and her husband moved a few blocks around the corner, shortly after we moved here. Their kids more scattered than ours but we all get together whenever we can and that is something to live for. All of us around a big table, imagine, we’re the grandparents now, who knew time would go by so fast?
    Appreciate every good day you have, life can be difficult but you will get through it.Don’t worry if you don’t have to. Just deal with things as they come your way. Most of all, just know I will always love my family, whenever I go, that’s the most important thing for people to know. I LOVED MY FAMILY and my husband and my kids were my whole life. That’s all I want to say.

NaBlaPoMo Day 3 Free Write

Sandy_JH_mdpNY-11

Sandy_JH_mdpNY-11 (Photo credit: mdpNY)

How Have You Been Personally Affected By Storm Sandy?

I want to stay in my safe haven, in my little house with my rust colored dog by my side. I appreciate dearly that my husband is able to work from home these past few weeks, I feel safer just being here. I could go out, I suppose, but I am limited to where I can go with street closures and fallen trees and wires in the streets.  I realize I just don’t want to go anywhere.  Not yet. I’ve seen enough on the television 24/7 to know the scenes by heart. I just can’t believe this has happened to my city. It’s difficult to believe that to fill up my car means that I need to search for gas for hours.

While I don’t live directly in the city now, I was born and raised in Kew Gardens, Queens. After college I had my first job in NYC at Paramount Pictures, working with my best friend, eating lunch in Central Park and living just over the bridge, in Brooklyn Heights, years before it became popular. I saw movie stars all the time and in my early twenties, I was so excited just to see them. I practically had a hotline with my mother to tell her who I had just seen in the elevator: Diana Ross, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman in our Reception Area being asked if he wanted coffee at least nine times by various assistants (he was not happy) and a young and beautiful John Travolta on the executive floor. It was an exciting and exhilarating time, free movie screenings and many perks.

Now, I appreciate other things. The comfort of my husband’s hand holding mine. My puppy’s peaceful breathing as she lays her head on my lap. Halloween photos from our two happy children in college. Yes, I’m older but more peaceful than before. Storm Sandy was something we may have expected from weather reports but could not actually believe.  A natural disaster, an out of world experience. I know I will venture out again when things are more settled, trains running, power restored. Right now, I am happy to stay here with my dog and my husband but when I am ready, I will explore again, I will reinvent the new New York.  Slowly, with different expectations.

NaBloPoMo November 2, 2012

Castaway Beach #2

Castaway Beach #2 (Photo credit: palestrina55)

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Sun on my back, gently crisping up my shoulders without burning, I  look healthy not like the cream cheese complexion I always look like here in New York. I love being near water so anywhere in the Caribbean or one of the Islands, for me would be ideal. I’d consider San Diego, California too but my mind goes first to a wonderful island where you just dream about but think you can’t ever do.

In my soul, I need to walk along the beach, collecting a stray seashell or two, not too many, just special ones that have meaning to them. The color of the water is a deep blue/green. Almost indescribable in words’; when people come for the first time they just gasp. Imagine not having to leave such loveliness, such wonder. I would nap every day after a light lunch of fruit and then I would take my mask and flippers and look at the amazing array of bright, beautiful fish that would dance around me as if we were all playing a game. I would be standing still, I didn’t want to interrupt their performance and so they danced around me; we had our routine, the fish and I. I came every day, at the same time and after a few weeks, I like to think they trusted me. I would give them some food and I had access into their world for just a little bit of  time.

I felt privileged just to see them in their colorful splendor; I was the intruder here so I kept myself quiet and very still. After that, I got out of the water and sat on the sand, until the sun warmed my body and my dripping wet hair. Nothing felt more right than sitting on the beach, calm, happy, watching the sun lowering itself into the water. The next morning I’d wake up and the climate would be the same, sunshine, freckles coming out on my skin; I rubbed lavender moisturizer all over my body and face so it would feel creamy and not like parchment paper. I didn’t care how I looked, I cared how my skin felt, I wanted it to feel well nourished and happy. Everything in life connects; I’ve learned that here.

Imagine this gift as you wake up every day of your life. Paradise. It is possible.

Plinky Prompt: When was the last time you felt truly lonely?

  • Storm Sandy
  • Uprooted tree from Storm Sandy

    Uprooted tree from Storm Sandy (Photo credit: Arlington County)

    Day 1 NaBloPoMo

    Full rain storm

    The lights went out, there was no electricity, there was only a deep chill in the air that piles of blankets couldn’t help. Storm Sandy was visiting New York and I felt lonely and confused and in shock at what was happening. How could this happen here? I felt disappointed in a way that New York could let me down like this, I felt cheated. I couldn’t call anyone or take a walk, I looked out the window clutching my flashlight and there was nothing to see. Just darkness, lonely, cold darkness everywhere I could see. I thought I heard mumbling outside but I was too frightened to venture out and I wasn’t sure if it was real or my imagination. The wind was howling and reaching for the darkened windows with passion like two young lovers.
    It was right after dinner when the lights went from on to off, no flickering as a warning, and I hate surprises of any kind. So, when I stood with two sharp knives near the dishwasher in the total darkness, I screamed as if I had been stabbed. My husband was also in the kitchen and he too, screamed, startled by the quick switch from light to dark. We were alone, together, in the sudden darkness of our neighborhood that I used to describe as “cozy.” Nothing felt cozy tonight.
    Disbelief described our feelings as well. How could this happen, here? Nothing made sense, we were trying to make sense out of something that seemed impossible until now. Everything I knew before was gone;I felt sorry for the children who, once again, could not Trick or Treat. This was the new normal and it was sad.

     

Dear Robin Roberts

English: Robin Roberts in J. Crew Collection a...

English: Robin Roberts in J. Crew Collection at The Heart Truth’s Red Dress Collection 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been thinking about you and your struggle with cancer and even though you will never read this, I need to say it: I’m so sorry that you are going through such a horrible time right now. Knowing your personality, it must have been pretty bad if you decided to leave the show early. I know I don’t know you personally but I feel for you, I really do.  You don’t have to be my best friend for me to feel compassion and pain. I feel bad for ALL people going through any terrible illness, life is not fair.

I’m sure I’m one of thousands and thousands of people who watch you on television and are pulling for you. I wish I could do something but all I can do is keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I hope that everything will get easier. I know you are courageous but it is okay to let yourself be weak. Surround yourself with the people and things that you love, your favorite flower, or special mug filled with jasmine tea, or an old stuffed animal for you to hug when the pain is bad.

My thoughts are with you. Knowing how much people admire and like you hopefully will bring you a little joy. If there was anything I could do to help, I would do it in a second.

Love and Faith !

hibernationnow.wordpress.com

Plinky Prompt? Which two favorite far apart cities do you wish you could move close together?

Orange Tree

Orange Tree (Photo credit: amycgx)

  • Which two cities do you wish you could move right next to each other? See all answers
    • Favorite Far-Apart Cities
    • California Dreaming
      New Yorker Hotel building from below

      New Yorker Hotel building from below (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      orange tree New York and California

    • I grew up in NY and still live here but have always wanted to live in California. Part of my heart will always live on the East Coast but part of me longs to live on the West Coast, on the water. I can’t take the winter weather in NY, but the fall and the spring are magnificent. Likewise, I’d like to be near the ocean or any body of water during the summer (or ALL the time if I could).  If I could live in both of these states, I’d be an incredibly healthy and happy woman. I’m too laid back to be a New Yorker and too impatient to be a California citizen, I need STRONG coffee (NY) but love the salad bars in CA. Bagels are a NY MUST, as are egg creams. But imagine, having a lemon or orange tree growing in your back yard in California……to me, that would be like living in a dream.
    • Previous Answer

Etan Patz And Me

Etan Patz

Etan Patz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I lived in New York City in 1979 when Etan Patz first went missing. I saw all the posters of that beautiful mop-headed little boy with his innocent eyes and his toothy grin. If bad things like that had happened before, I wasn’t aware of them. In 1979 I had graduated from college and was working in the City and my world, like so many other people, turned inside out.

No one could imagine such a horrific thing like that happening, of course he would be found, we thought. I am now a mother of two teenagers, reading after all these years that a man, whom they suspected years ago, confessed to the murder. Why? Why did he confess to it now (and is it true?) and wasn’t he a suspect in 1979 and if so, why didn’t the police follow-up on that lead? I’m very confused.

How much grief should Etan’s parents and family have to go through? Etan has been dead, missing, gone for so many years now yet even reading the article still pains me and I never knew him personally. We were just part of one big community together, he and I and thousands of others, “New Yorker’s.”

His name was a household phrase, I still see the image of his mom’s face in 1979 inscribed in my memory, Etan’s picture on posters ingrained in my brain. As a parent, would I feel any better NOW knowing for sure that after so many years this disgusting man was the perpetrator of the crime? What good can come of it now except to bring closure to the already suffering parents?

What about now? Did Etan have siblings, boys, girls? How are they? What have their lives been like? It couldn’t have been easy. How did the mom and dad cope with this, are they still together, did it make them stronger or tear them apart? Why not focus all the articles, if you have to report on them, on the present and not the past. Or give the new evidence the one sentence it deserves, don’t put it in blaring headlines.

There’s enough sadness in the world; it’s time to put the emphasis on whatever tiny dot of happiness in the world. Look around, it might be the orange butterfly swooping through the sky, or the sound of a child laughing, or watching a puppy dance and drop quickly to sleep. Can’t we all try to stay clear from negativity, even/especially if it takes the effort? It would do the world, a lot of good. What if we all tried, in memory, of Ethan.

Carry On Tuesday – In My Room

italian food

italian food (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I moved to Boston from NY in the eighties, alone, after deciding I wanted to live there. I found a job, and looked for lodging that was near a train line so I could commute to work. Luckily, I found a room available at a local inn. I went to meet the manager, Barbara, who was a woman about my age. I felt a warm flood of relief fill my body slowly as she showed me my room. I felt like I had a safe, temporary home for as long as I wanted to stay.

That night, after I had settled in, there was a knock on my door while I was unpacking in my room. It was Barbara, “Hi,” she said with her sparkling eyes and her open, deep, friendly voice “I’m making dinner for a bunch of my friends, wanna come?” I couldn’t even start to get shy and make excuses because she took me by the arm and led me down the stairs. Without her, I would have likely stayed in my room the entire time. I was  invited to an impromptu home-cooked dinner: I met Teddy,  Barbara’s dog, Rami-Pastrami, a girl named Nancy, a guy named Steven/Stella and others. Within ten minutes even I had a new name. Teddy, could not remember my name; he called me Lisa, he called me Laurie, he called me Lisa-Laurie, shortened that night to LL. I didn’t know that Barbara was an amazing chef; the smells from the kitchen were tantalizing. We had home-made tomato sauce, pasta, carmelized chicken, so sweet and tender it fell off the bone.

On my second day there I knocked on her door after work to give her a check and I read sadness in her face. “Are you okay?” I asked. She said “yes” but it was not convincing. “Really?” I asked “Do you want me to come in so we can talk” She pulled me in her apartment and the façade of her happy face started to crumble. She told me about her upcoming divorce from Teddy, pain etched on her face, like a pear, getting riper with each word. She allowed me to see how she really felt, something that did not come easily for her. I stayed a long time, by the end of the night we were best friends.

After a few months I moved to a studio apartment down the street. She came over once and all I had to eat were Ritz crackers and peanut butter and jelly and she proclaimed the meal “the best peanut butter and jelly with Ritz crackers” she ever ate. That was Barbara. We went on adventures every weekend, sometimes to Parker’s Maple Barn in New Hampshire for blueberry or banana pancakes, or to look at discounted antique furniture. Ba, as I called her, came to my wedding in 1988, when my husband and I still lived in Boston.

Barbara had moved around so much I no longer had room in my address book to keep up with her; I had at least eight addresses that were no longer current. We kept in touch occasionally, two Libras always exchanging birthday wishes, wherever we were. My husband and I moved to a house in the suburbs of Boston which Barbara visited once. Years later, after having children, and elderly parents, we moved back to New York. Barbara was on her own journeys to Florida, North Carolina and back.

Our children are seventeen and nineteen now. Our son is in his first year of college, our daughter graduates high school this June. My husband had three vacation days that he needed to use in March or he would lose them, we also had five nights free in a hotel. Our beloved dog had passed away unexpectedly; when the time felt right, we decided to go.

I called Barbara and she talked us into staying at a hotel in her town, not the one we had looked up in a book. It just felt right so that is where we went. It was delightful to spend time with my husband. The ocean, sand and seashells are my favorite things and I could heal here, physically and emotionally. The weather was good for my Fibromyalgia; we took long walks, we picked up seashells and swam in the ocean. We still grieved the death of our dog but we were no longer in shock.

We saw Barbara the next day when she burst into the hotel room, cradled my face between her two hands and in excitement, burst into tears. We hugged and she didn’t let go. We saw her again at her house when we were supposed to go out to dinner and I got to meet her famous mother, Lucille, and her dog, Daisy. I thought seeing Daisy would make me sad, but Daisy opened my heart, instead of clamping it shut. I think my dog Callie was telling me it was okay to love another dog and when we are ready, I know we will. I had teasingly asked her if she would “cook for me” like the old days but her health and strength was not very good either. When we got there she surprised me and served her famous pasta sauce with carmelized chicken that I remembered from the past. I was so grateful, so honored and so touched. I still am.

It was so easy and relaxed with Barbara that it didn’t seem like twenty years had passed; it was if we had been in touch every day consistently. How could I have forgotten that feeling? I felt like I had a new, old, best friend. Someone to share memories with, someone to confide in, the one person I could always trust completely; I could ask her anything, tell her anything. She would never judge me nor I her.

We came on vacation to get away, we stayed on vacation for pure joy, we left the vacation begrudgingly.  I left crying, not over my dog’s death but saying “good-bye” again to Barbara. Tears dripped down my face as I sobbed. How much time had we wasted or had we? Maybe we weren’t meant to reconnect before this, I have to believe in that.

We’re home now, back with both kids home for spring break. I woke up this morning and started to write a note to Ba, only to find there was one from her already waiting. Everything makes sense if you pay attention to the details: A knock on your door, watching someone’s sad eyes,  holding hands with your best friend, every detail in life is important. Trust yourself to pay attention. Be someone’s best friend. For life.

This is dedicated to Ba from her best friend, LL.