Laughter In Apartment 10

images After having one of my sleepless nights, I decided to get up and do something useful. No, I didn’t scrub the tub.

I made a list of some of my favorite jokes instead.

We all have them if you think about it. Here are some of mine:

I saw a kid on a leash. Have you seen this…a kid on a leash? How horrible. Put him in the pound where he belongs… Bill Hicks

What do you call a fake noodle? An Impasta.

I blame my mother for my poor sex life. All she told me was, “The man goes on top and the woman underneath.” For three years my husband and I slept in bunk beds…Joan Rivers

My wife, she says I never take her anywhere new…I said, okay, how bout the kitchen? Henny Youngman

Why are frogs so happy? They eat whatever bugs them.

I don’t have any kids, at least none I know of…Carol Liefer

Why was six afraid of seven…seven eight nine.

The lion will lay down with the lamb, but the lamb won’t get much sleep…Woody Allen

You never see a man walking down the street with a woman who has a little potbelly and a bald spot...Elayne Boosler

Why did the picture go to jail? Because it was framed.

What’s the two things they tell you are healthiest to eat? Chicken and fish, … You know what you should do? Combine them … eat a penguin…Dave Attel

Housework can kill you, but why take a chance? Phyliss Diller

I’m very proud of my gold pocket watch. My grandfather, on his death bed, sold me this watch…Woody Allen

There was a girl knocking on my hotel room door all night. Finally I let her out…Henny Youngman

I never got along with my dad. Kids used to come up to me and say, ‘My dad can beat up your dad.’ I’d say ‘Yeah? When? Bill Hicks

Who said insomnia can’t be funny?

:)

SB

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When The Lights Went Out

images I had such a scary thing happen on Friday.

I couldn’t see.

My vision in my left eye went south while the right took on a blur making it hard to even walk down the stairs.

Did I panic?

Yes.

I called my eye doctor who decided to take the day off antiquing in Connecticut leaving no instructions in case a patient goes blind in her absence.

The 12 year-old receptionist said, “Nothing ever happens on Friday…slow day.”

Excuse me? I can’t see cupcake so that puts that little theory right out to pasture.

“So, would you like to see her next Friday?” God help me.

I hang up deciding to run to the Eye and Ear Hospital on East 14th Street wondering if I can actually manage this.

Why didn’t I call someone to go with me?

There was no one to call, and besides, time was of the essence.

As I’m bumping into walls readying myself to leave, I remember the eye surgeon who performed a procedure on me a few months ago ten blocks away.

I rush there…upset, hands shaking, and a young girl says, “Sorry, we can’t help you…you’re not a regular patient.”

“Yeah, but it’s an emergency, my doctor is away,” I said, “and I’ve been here before.”

She walks away leaving me standing there.

Remember in the film Terms of Endearment when Shirley Maclaine goes nuts in the hospital because no one would help her daughter?

Yes, just call me Shirley.

A doctor came out to say they’d find me one.

“Yeah but you’re a doctor. Why can’t you see me?”

“You’re not my patient.”

The whole thing was so insane and humiliating, though I stopped that in its tracks. I wasn’t about to take on their cold, heartless behavior. What ever happened to a code of ethics.

We’re healers, not heels.

So I leave and go to another doctor nearby who happened to be great. After every test imaginable, it was blamed on either allergies since my eye was severely swollen, or the antibiotic I had been on that could have relaxed my retina.

“Don’t worry,” she kept saying. “It’s nothing.”

“Nothing you say? I still can’t see.”

There was no tumor, no bleeding…my optic nerve is stunning, as she put it. She advised me to wear my distance glasses till my left eye corrected itself.

Talk about confidence in the human anatomy.

“So just go enjoy the rest of your day.”

“Okay Doc, if you want me, I ‘ll be at the nearest bar.”

Enjoy my day…I went to a church and sobbed.

My vision has gotten a little better every day since, thank God. My body truly retaliates to medication, but what do you do if you really need it?

The whole experience left me hating the medical community.

I thought of people without the ability to stand up who would have just melted away. I’m grateful I have it, but when it’s over and you know you had to fight that hard to be treated merely decently, it makes you sad, this is the way of the world.

SB

Posted in Gratitude, Health, Cinema, New York City | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

Indian Bummer

images Be careful what you wish for.

It wasn’t too long ago when I complained about no summer. Well, we’re having it now and my head feels as if it might explode.

The 70 % temperature beckons me to bask in the balmy breeze, yet here I sit, 5 Tylenols later with ice on my head.

Spores, I’m told are the culprit. I don’t even know what they are, the little fuckers, but apparently they’re creating havoc for many.

Sabrina, the girl at the coffee shop said, “Be happa it’s not no hurricane comin this way.”

Oh yes, Gonzalo, Irene’s successor is gathering speed in the Caribbean. Who at the weather center came up with that name? Was he drunk, or just hung over?

It suggests quesadillas instead of strong winds.

At least we were able to say, goodnight Irene, that had a hopeful spin. Gonzalo doesn’t come with the same pith, just a name that makes me want to watch an Almodovar film, like Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

Will nature throw us another curve and turn her ire this way? I always imagine her not taking her meds.

I remember the last time.

Manhattan panicked as if it were the Cuban Missile Crisis. You couldn’t get beans or even a Hershey Bar off the store shelves. Young boys were selling flashlight batteries for 20 bucks a pop. I gave mine to an old man I knew who was falling apart at D’Agostinos. Uncharacteristically, I was calm next to him and did what every New Yorker should have done…went out for an overpriced lunch.

Unlike other parts of New York, Manhattan with the exception of a few lights and a good 1000 trees, made it through unscathed.

I just noticed my West Wing T-shirt is wet. Wouldn’t you know, my icepack sprung a leak.

Will you excuse me while I toss it out the window?

Maybe it’ll hit a few spores on the way down.

SB

 

 

Posted in Health, History, humor, New York City | Tagged , , , , | 22 Comments

French Love

1323468604 I was musing about great loves which reminded me of a story particularly poignant that took place in 1795.

The Marquis de Lafayette, hero of the American Revolution, was thrown into the worst jail in Austria (Olmutz) during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror (1789-1799).

It’s what the French today celebrate on July 14, known as Bastille Day, something that always eludes me since the violence remains legendary.

Gouverneur Morris, our diplomat to France during this time, wrote to Thomas Jefferson as he stood on his balcony telling him heads stuck on pikes were going by. Jefferson, who felt the French too deserved their revolution more or less said, it’s the cost of doing business.

Lafayette, as the commander-in-chief of the National Guard whose job was to protect the King and Queen (Louis XVI and Marie Antionette) famously executed, was one of the main reasons for his arrest.

His wife Adrienne after her entire family was killed for being of noble blood, was also put in prison though not one as grim as Olmutz.

James and Dolly Madison (4th U.S. president), in France at the time, tried every possible way to get Adrienne released.

Dolly, the Hillary Clinton of her day, refusing to give up, visited Adrienne in jail daily leaving their much recognized coach parked in front embarrassing the French so much, they finally let her out.

One would think, quit while you’re ahead, but Adrienne had other ideas.

She went to the authorities asking permission to join her husband. You can imagine their reaction, and almost hear them…are you insane? Go home and be with your children.

But she persisted, and in 1795 along with their kids, went to be with her husband whose life she probably saved.

He was in such ill health, tortured, depressed after already spending three years in captivity…the mere presence of his family restored him.

After two years, thanks to Napoleon Bonaparte, the entire Lafayette family returned home.

Sadly for Adrienne, the experience left her much weakened dying in 1807.

The Marquis lived till 1834 buried beside her in Paris’s Picpus Cemetery for all eternity.

How’s that for a love story?

SB

Posted in Family, Health, History, Home, kids, Love, Uncategorized, Women and men | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments

Patience

Patience is a virtue we’re told…but it’s also a huge pain in the ass.

I hate waiting, and sadly, it’s the name of the game life plays whether you’re a willing contestant or not.

I want results ASAP. The circumstances don’t matter. I want an answer, a solution…a way out and a quick fix.

I’m told to pray, a nice suggestion, but God needs more help because he’s really tardy getting back to you.

For 58 years of my life I was on a pass. I had things happen of course and many of them serious like having the love of your life die what seemed like in an instant, but my health and general well-being was way above average.

It took so little to make me happy.

I ask myself, did I take it all for granted? Was I arrogant rather than grateful? Hard questions to answer.

Even little things try my patience. This morning I was leaving a deli and the woman in front of me walked like a snail. I felt my nostrils flare like an irate bull wanting so much to say, HURRY THE FUCK UP.

I didn’t, but grace was on the lam to be sure.

I have more patience with Carmela the basset hound, who walks as if she’s in a funeral procession, than I do for someone idly dillydallying. Does that mean they’re enjoying their life more, being able to stroll and take it easy? That’s food for thought since I’m hating mine at the moment.

Where am I going in such a hurry? That’s the bigger question.

I get antsy when my e-mails aren’t answered swiftly enough. I’ve been known to delete people from my contacts for being rude just to to ask for their address again. I fib saying, oh…had a little blip….lost some of my addresses.

All this because of impatience.

My hearing issues don’t help since they work the other way. People, who hate repeating things, grow impatient with me.

I experience both sides.

I’m told by soothsayers, once I get this patience thing together, it won’t plague me any longer.

I so don’t have patience for this theory, but will still consider it.

What the hell.

SB

 

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Am I Glad To See You

I just bumped into a man walking his two dogs. The nicest guy, married to the nicest woman I’ve known now for 25 years.

He’s the one you would have killed to settle down with…handsome, sweet, smart, successful, a keeper ten times over.

It was September 11th, 2001 when I saw his wife, pale as wax, running up Madison Avenue because their daughter worked next to the towers. She said Rob had run down there to get her.

In the days and weeks ahead, I didn’t see either of them when normally it would be almost daily.

I was convinced Rob and his daughter didn’t make it out. But then a worker at the Nectar Coffee Shop said, he had seen Abbey who appeared fine, but still no Rob.

Neither one of us could bring ourselves to ring their bell to ask. It was like that then…too much bad news, so if you were smart you didn’t look for it…you waited, hoping it would never find you.

Suddenly it was spring. I was in New Jersey working deciding to treat myself to a ferry ride home.

While sitting outside moved by the view aware of the crippled skyline, who’s running to catch the boat before it pulls out…

Rob.

It was like a vision.

“Omigod,” I said, full of emotion, “I can’t believe it’s you.”

He gave me that million dollar smile and said, “Since 9/11 our offices have been moved here while we rebuild.”

I tearfully told him I thought he was no more.

“See, I fooled you, he said, visibly touched.”Still here wheeling and dealing.”

He gave me his handkerchief I asked to keep.

We then sat in silence as our city came closer across the Hudson abbreviated, but still ours.

SB

Posted in Love, New York City, war, Women and men | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Dogs And Babies

images-2  My pal Skinny recently wrote:

Dogs and babies have a way of breaking down all social barriers.

Ain’t that the truth.

I was at my beloved library on Sunday when they were having an event in the reading room. When that happens, you need to find another place to read.

There’s the cozy Whitridge Room, but fills up quickly, and the Kid’s Room with its many  nooks and crannies.

I found mine seated on the floor using my jacket as padding.

It was quiet, not always the case in the Kid’s Room, so when this itty-bitty girl plopped beside me with Jemima Puddle-Duck, I jumped three feet in the air.

Naturally I was charmed…who wouldn’t be having a two year-old trust you like that, and unlike dogs, I don’t nearly get my fill of babies.

After disposing Jemima in my lap, she looked up I realized, waiting for me to read to her.

Looking around for a parent, I thought, hey…I’m just going to enjoy this.

So after I finished what I can only describe as light reading, she pressed my arm and said,

“GEN…GEN.”

Four gens later, I now know Jemima as if we were sisters and could probably do a one-duck show.

Being the reader I am, I totally get it…her Beatrix Potter being my Jane Austen.

Suddenly a woman in her 30s appeared. “Delilah, what are doing pestering that lady?”

(what happened to names like Ann and Mary?)

“Oh no, I’m having a ball,” I said, defending my captive audience.

“Where’s Annette?” she asked, looking around.

That’s when, for the first time, I noticed a lady napping on a stool much too small for her girth.

The little girl was so focused on her book she ignored everything her mother said.

Annette…who’s Annette?

“Your daughter’s reading muscle is developing early. How nice for her.”

“She does love her books,” she said.

When her mother pulled her to her little feet she wailed.

“Oh, don’t cry Delilah,” I said, sad to see her go. “Maybe we can read together again (gen) some day soon.”

She wasn’t buying it anymore than I would have, but off they went against her and Jemima’s better judgment.

I have to say, the encounter left me both elated and sad. Must be nice having a little girl to read to night after night along with an occasional quiet Sunday in the Kid’s Room on the  library floor…sigh.

Ordinary blessings, to quote Joan Didion.

SB

Posted in animals, Books, Family, Gratitude, humor, kids, Love, New York City, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 27 Comments

Tortoise Crossing

images Never a dull moment in Central Park.

I was tooling around 110th Street, surprised to see a pileup of bikers and runners halted at the crest of Harlem Hill.

Uh-oh, I thought, was it an accident? Did someone wipe out and are now sprawled in the road barely conscious? Italians always think the worst…it’s in our DNA, like garlic and money sewn into pillow cases.

Was I surprised seeing two policemen, one halting traffic, the other escorting a large tortoise making its way across the road.

The size of a turkey platter, it was taking its sweet old time unconcerned over the ruckus it was causing.

“Hey, I’m a turtle folks, not a rabbit, I’ll get there…eventually.”

Oddly enough, no one complained. We all observed waiting patiently for him to reach the woods wondering why he ever left their sanctuary to begin with.

Boredom, someone said.

Adventure, suggested another.

A girl?

After a long five minutes, things resumed.

I said to Officer Mariano getting back into his police car, “That was very impressive Officer, the way you advocated for that big, old guy.”

Tortoises live to be ancient so God knows his age or the miles he’s trudged in his time.

“Hey, he’s lucky we saw him. I can’t tell you how many don’t make it across. If only their legs were longer.” I thought of Carmela the basset hound whose gams could also use a little lengthening.

The other cop whose name I couldn’t read said, “Ya gotta respect nature ma’am because pretty soon, the rate we’re goin, there won’t be notin left.”

Notin left? That made me take pause as I looked around me. You mean there might come a time when Central Park and all her creatures will disappear?

No, my money’s on Mother Nature who, like Frank Sinatra, will always make a comeback. As I thought this, there was the tortoise again detouring into the sunshine as if to say…

“You said it baby…take it from an elder.”

SB

 

Posted in animals, Beauty, humor, Love, New York City | Tagged , , , , , | 28 Comments

Besotted

images-1Besotted : adjective
1 strongly infatuated : he became besotted with the girl next door.
2 intoxicated; drunk, head over heels for…mad, obsessed or wild about.

I love this word, and wish it was used in casual conversation. It’s not, unless you’re chatting with Dickens or Jane Austen.

It resurrects romance bringing you back to a time when all you thought about was him or her, unable to focus on anything but their beauty, even if it was all in your mind.

I’ve been besotted many times and have to say, regardless if the result was eventual heartache, there was joy being so enamored, captivated, haunted and lovingly consumed by another.

Hope springs eternal. Maybe not when your ripping up love letters perched on the ledge vowing never to love again…until the next head turner goes by that is.

And why can’t we use it to describe objects we’re particularly fond of: Kate’s frog pond, Elle’s book, David’s new home or Lola, Mick’s Border collie who resembles a plush toy you might find in your Christmas stocking?

Say it a few times letting it roll off your tongue like a magic herb enhancing your speech.

I am besotted with that basset hound who puts such a smile on my face.

Rereading The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara has me besotted with the American Civil War all over again.

Ed and I have a date for Farinelli pizza tomorrow and I’m besotted thinking about its thin, crisp crust and fresh mozzarella.

Why can’t we be besotted over cheese?

Words are buoys in the water, for everyone, not only writers, to lift us above the surface.

I used the term quell recently, and the man I was speaking to said, “That’s such a great word, we should use it more.”

Hear Hear.

To be smitten with…mad, crazy or keen about…sweet on, bewitched, bowled over or positively gaga regarding anything pumping oxygen through your veins reminding you you’re still among the living is a state to aspire to.

I don’t know about you, but I sure could use a heart filled preoccupation that takes my breath away, consumes the better part of me leaving the rest totally moonstruck.

And just think…then I could write about :)

SB

 

Posted in Books, humor, Love, writing | Tagged , , , , | 23 Comments

Outta The Box

images I’ve been in a real funk lately. It happens every autumn as though a tarp has been thrown over me…so what’s a girl to do, especially if she’s not drinking?

I know, I’ll go to The Corner Bookshop, sit on the floor and read self-help books for three hours.

I always try to support the independent book seller, even if I’m only crying and not buying.

According to one author, gluten is ruining my life while another claims masturbating three times a day will change it. Yeah, I’ll bet. I’d earn a black belt along with chronic carpel tunnel syndrome.

Marianne Williamson claims meditation is the way to go and I try to om once a day, but just not very excited about it. She also suggests talking to God like a pal.

Trouble with that is, since I blame him for practically everything, I’m worried he’ll retaliate even more. Catholicism dies hard people…and even then guilt comes back around for one more pass.

Another cheerful soul said to ban all black and wear color…orange, yellow…red. I like that idea, except with my Italian hair, brights make me look like a fortune-teller. The one with the sign in the window…Spee-cial Pam Raeding…10 boo-ks.

Hale kale didn’t do much for me nor did playing Gregorian chants while I cleaned.

I like the idea of sexy underwear when I’m alone to show I don’t need validation from a lover  to wear my overpriced thongs. But they didn’t mention justifying the price. It’s why they stay wrapped in protective tissue for that special occasion.

Then I found a little book by an old lady down south who said, what do you like? Doesn’t matter what it is…figure it out and just do it…a lot.

A rather loaded suggestion, but the best yet.

I thought and thought and all the standards came up…writing, reading, running…making me even more depressed, like telling me to drink water or take hot baths. Shopping is out since I’m still on what’s turning into an eternal fucking budget.

Then it hit me…

eating cereal outta the box, that’s it.

It’s been one of my favorite things since I was a kid. My mother would yell at me, tell me it was barbaric while drinking tall boys in the middle of the afternoon wearing pearls. I’d still sneak a box of Frosted Flakes into my room spending quality time with Tony the Tiger, neat…no milk.

I left The Corner Bookshop heading to the nearest market to buy organic honey and oat cereal that even had a decent iron count, went home…put on my holy pajamas (see Can These Pajamas Be Saved) and devoured half the box.

When I was finished there were oats everywhere…the floor, my hair…stuck to my pajamas. It all had a welfare flavor to it, like I had just cashed my check.

But I did feel surprisingly better, and younger too reminding myself, I can still act like a kid even if that ship has pretty much sailed around the world several times.

Next I’m going to tie-dye a couple of T-shirts and iron my hair.

Just the front.

SB

 

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