Punctilous

images-1Here’s a word that’s buried in another time.

Punctilious, an adjective: showing great attention to detail or correct behavior : he was punctilious in providing every convenience for his guests. Punctilio is the noun…a fine or petty point of conduct or procedure.

I can see why this word appeals to me even though it’s rarely used. It has such a pompous sound that makes me hear George Plimpton or perhaps Napoleon utter it. I think if anyone said something like, “Susannah’s punctilio was so enforced that she made me want to jump out the window,” then it might be appreciated.

Connecticut should name a town Punctilio, or maybe my hometown could have a Punctilio Place or Drive. A thought.

I always think of it as… manners way over the top…like when you read about dinner parties where there’s a waiter behind the chair of every guest. It’s also a word one associates with a time long gone when life was much more formal.

It’s origin comes from the mid 17th century from the French pointilleux or pointille. In  Italian it’s puntiglio. I does have a nice ring in all three languages.

Words can really stop you in your tracks especially their synonyms, or sister syntax, as a writing teacher I had liked to call them. Syntax is the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences.

Who knew?

Punctilio’s next of kin are many: manners, etiquette, correct behavior and civility. Social graces, good form, gentility, decorum…protocol, politeness, propriety, Ps and Qs.

Accepted behavior, formalities, niceties, rules of conduct, courtesy, custom, convention, and politesse (a personal favorite).

It gives me a boner, as they say, reading all of these lined up like little lettered cadets. I am then reminded of diction: the choice and use of words and phrases in speech or writing along with the style of enunciation in speaking or singing. From there we have articulation, elocution, delivery and speech. Inflection, locution, pronunciation and pith.

And there’s more…intonation, usage, language and turn of phrase. Vocabulary, vernacular, terminology along with the art of expression.

Are we all coming our brains out? All writers love words, this I know. When we’re in the throes of a fine flowing paragraph it’s like white water rafting as sentences seamlessly sail onto the page.

When I’m reading and a word throws me that one-two punch when you think, wow, how come you don’t hear billet-doux (French for sweet note) anymore? Or languorous (pleasantly tired), lugubrious (gloomy), laborious (requiring much effort) and lithe (graceful).

Imagine a world without slang where everyone spoke artfully like we all lived in an era when it mattered.

Of course saying fuck twenty times a day would then be out of the question.

I’ll admit, that would be a deal breaker for me, unless of course I said it so punctiliously it would unanimously make the cut.

SB

 

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Monk’s Work

images-10 Monk’s work is an expression I turn to when I’m having a hard day. It tells me to simplify. Could mean sweeping, doing the dishes…sewing a button or cleaning a shelf. An easy act that will take me to a place of new beginnings where I can start again.

No small matter.

There’s something comforting about cleaning your space…making it more worthy of you. One of my favorite tasks is changing the sheets. There’s nothing like fresh linen to slide between at the end of your day. The smell reminds me of when I was little and my dad tucked me in. images-9 He too smelled of fresh air and Downy Fabric Softener.

Keep it simple is a popular 12 Step saying to suggest, slowing down. We pile so many tasks and must-dos in the course of the day it’s no wonder we’re often overwhelmed.

Let’s take lists for instance. When I start berating myself for not getting to every chore, I need to remember I created 1 through 20, there’s no one standing over me insisting I do them all. So what if I only made it to 18. Are the police going to come give me a ticket? Will my mother be at the door with her wooden spoon (God forbid)?

This is when I separate laundry or shine a pair of shoes putting my emotions back in neutral where they belong.

When did life get so fast and furious?  I live it on the edge of my chair in perpetual vigilance as if I’ll miss something, or be judged, or given an incomplete if I don’t accomplish more.

Might be time to wipe down the windows and lower the screens so I can look out breathing in spring who has to be right around the corner.

Wouldn’t want to be so hectic that I miss her knocking at the door.

“Who is it?”

well it’s about fucking time.”

SB

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The Man On The Couch

imagesEvery day possible I go to the library to read for an hour, a favorite pastime of mine. Where else can you find guaranteed peace and absolutely no cell phone use. One feels as if they’re stepping back in time and it’s glorious to say the least.

The reading room is filled with cushy chairs along with an ample sofa comfortably seating two, though on occasion when attendance is high, a third party squeezes in. It’s my favorite spot, and lately I’ve been joined by a new gentleman. New meaning, he must have just joined since I can’t remember seeing him before (there’s a modest fee to belong to this particular library).

He’s not a handsome man by any means…short, stubby with receding hair, but I find myself curious about him because he’s always there on one side of the sofa. Immaculately dressed in a suit with shimmering Gucci loafers, I notice along with a gold Tiffany watch he also wears a wedding band.

He looks as if he works at something, but makes his own hours and prefers reading Greek philosophy to fiction or non.

The writer in me wonders about that lone ring on his finger because he doesn’t give off the scent of marriage? It’s not that he flirts or even modestly engages, but his solitude seems three ply implying the big L…loneliness.

My imagination is now off to the races.

Is she sick, did she die…has she left him for another man? Someone richer, taller? Why is he reading Plato and Socrates while I’m here inhaling The Little Prince. Would have made a great photo actually.

But what really tipped me off to some deep-rooted emotion was when he came in with Aeschylus, the Greek poet and dramatist, beneath his well-heeled arm.

This is when knowing your history comes in handy,

Aeschylus, pronounced ees-kuh-luhs, was what Bobby Kennedy read after his brother died. For those of you who don’t know, Bobby always blamed himself for JFK’s death believing it was because of his pursuit of organized crime that made Jack a target. Jackie, his grieving sister-in-law, gave him Aeschylus to read hoping he’d find comfort and solace.

Being a RFK fan, I read some and let me tell you, it’s elegy to the fullest. All you need  are bagpipes mewling TAPS  in the background.

Even in our sleep pain which cannot forget,

falls drop by drop upon the heart – until in our own despair

against our will comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.

BINGO.

This compact little man with the shiny shoes is grieving…maybe it’s for a parent or a child, God forbid…but he’s in maximum pain to be sure.

Where am I going with all this?

Back to the library to observe and ponder more.

He’d make a hellova character in that novel I’m going to one day write.

SB

 

Posted in Books, Family, History, Uncategorized, Women and men, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

What An Animal

I spent Easter weekend pretty quietly.  I ran, wrote and read Antoine De Saint-Exupery’s famous fable, The Little Prince, images-12my friend Ella’s favorite story. She kept after me to read it, and saying I was charmed is an understatement. Translated from its original French, it’s packed with parables and a profusion of heartwarming pictures that kept this reader riveted to the very last page.

The rest of the time was spent with a few unexpected, not to mention delightful,  four-legged encounters.

There was Maria and Manny, the two pits I met in the park that were like porpoises playing in the distance…their ears uncut, flopping and flying. I called to their owner, “Can I pet your dogs?” All three of them looked up, shocked, since not too many people petition to pet your pit. They all came over, the owner preening with pride when I gushed how beautiful they were, and they were, though chubby around their middle…the Jane Russell and Charles Laughton of pits, full-figured and quite full of themselves…their heads the size of boulders with faces so dear.

When I asked my stock question…are they rescues? He said, “Si…I adopt her, find him.” I knew right then and there I’d love this man for life.

Later I met a pekinese peeking out of a canvas duffel bag. I stopped to scratch his little head while his owner gabbed on her cell. She actually turned the bag around so we could have a better scratch. When you pet an animal your whole being calms itself. They’re like furry, over-the-counter tranquilizers strewed in your path.

I also got to spend quality time with Carmela the basset, whose family is away for the holidays. I timidly opened the gate and let her drape herself across me to get the maximum hug. I grinned when a woman with bright red hair went by and cooed, ‘Tubala, Happy Passover.” Carmela, having no idea her figure was being mocked, jumped to greet her.

“She’s quite a girl, isn’t she?” I said, watching her nuzzle Carmela’s ears.

“Yes, I love my Tubala,” she said smiling, “what an animal.”

Yes, what an animal indeed.

Here’s to all of them whose job in life is to love, comfort and cheer.

images-10 We met at Weight Watchers when he accidentally tipped the scale.

images-6It all comes down to who you know.

images-9Wanna see me pull a rabbit outta my hat?

images-5 You’re really pushin the envelope there Toots.

images-6 I’m just not in the mood, plus we just ate.

images-12 A little higher please, up, and to the right.

images-8 You’re leading again.

images-7 Shouldn’t have smoked that second joint.

images-3 And then what did Seabiscuit do?

images-1 I’ve never French kissed before…and I like it.

images You sure know how to please a woman.

images-10Either say you’re sorry or we’re through.

images-9 Screw him…I’ll say it. I’m sorry.

images-7 Please don’t underestimate my size.

images-1 Breeze feels good, right?

images-5 Gotta love that Jimmy Fallon.

images-8 Bonjour mon amie.

images-2 Not sure about this perm.

images-3 By the light…of the silvery moon…images-1

I want to spoon, to my honey I’ll croon love’s tune….images-11

 

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF GOOGLE IMAGES.

SB

 

Posted in animals, Beauty, humor, Love, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Camille Chronicles

images “But you’re not Catholic anymore…why can’t you come to Peter Lugers?”

Before I continue, Peter Luger is the quintessential steak house of all time located, since 1887, in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. If you want a steak and are willing to remortgage your house for it, this joint’s for you.

“Camille, I don’t eat meat on a normal day and it’s Good Friday, so forget it.”

“Did you not hear me the first time? YOU’RE NOT CATHOLIC ANYMORE.”

“I realize that Camille, but out of respect for the life I lived for 55 years, I’m not going.”

“But my coupon is going to run out.” Seems Camille has a 2fer she needs to redeem by midnight that’s sizzling, no pun intended, in her Fendi clutch. Joanne, who would have been the perfect companion since she eats like a Navy Seal, is in Wichita visiting her aunt, so that leaves me.

“So just come anyway, they serve other things…you can have sides…creamed spinach, those sliced tomatoes they’re famous for, and cheesecake.”

“You know I’m off cheese and the smell alone will make me faint. All that cattle slaughtering. You should be taking Teddy Roosevelt, not me.”

“If he wasn’t dead I would.”

“You have no right being this mad. Find some guy to take. What about Patrick. He’s always up for a free meal.”

“He borrowed a Donna Karan dress of mine and didn’t return it. We’re not speaking.” Patrick is our friend who likes cross-dressing on the weekends, but he does tend to keep whatever he borrows.

“Why do you lend him anything you care about…you should know better.”

“He showed up when I wasn’t home. Lucinda (the maid) let him in. He told her I said it was okay.”

“He’s such a scamp, and what’s wrong with Lucinda that she just let him ransack your closet?”

“He brought her donuts and I don’t have to tell you she’d do anything for a Krispy Kreme.”

“Takes so little doesn’t it.”

“But we’re getting off the subject. I really want you to come…please?”

I have to come clean. It’s more than just the aroma of beef and remnants of the Last Supper that’s keeping me from going. Unbeknownst to Camille, I had a little tryst with someone who works there, when my kitchen was still open for business. Camille has always had a yen for this fella so I couldn’t tell her, and I knew if I showed up the sea would part…not because he gives a shit, but because he doesn’t. Guilt. Once he was quenched, so to speak, I never heard from him again. We fooled around on his desk one afternoon following a flirtation that was becoming legendary…he kept sending me their special steak sauce UPS…I think it’s the sugar they put in it. Drives me kind of wild. That’s why I understand Lucinda so well. Simple pleasures reap big rewards, especially for the one pleasuring.

So after lots of verbal warfare, Camille thawed and invited Patrick who actually agreed to bring her dress.

I just hope he’s not wearing it.

SB

 

Posted in dessert, food, friendship, humor, sex, sexual relationships, Uncategorized, women, Women and men | Tagged , , , , , | 27 Comments

What’s Cookin Daddy

There’s something about an older man with a younger girl that rankles me. I know it shouldn’t, but it does.  images

My fur went up when watching this old coot maul this young lady who could have been his granddaughter. She was pretty with a little too much eyeliner, and from the looks of it, he had just taken her shopping since she was surrounded by Saks and Bergdorf bags.

I wanted to say, hey Grampa, you cashing in on your investment so soon? It’s a good thing I wasn’t drinking anything stronger than tea.

I can remember dating an older man who didn’t buy me a thing…a salad here and there, but I genuinely liked him.

images-1This little lady looked as if it was all about the perks the way she ALLOWED him to nuzzle and guzzle her. In other words, ardor was nowhere to be seen. You could just see her looking at her nails while he had sex, or at least his version anyway. He was old, so unless he has an IV of Viagra in his johnson, a term my father liked, his kitchen’s closed.

Camille say it’s very hard (well not really) when a man gets older to accept that he can no longer get a hot girl, so he simply pays for it. Maybe not in cold cash, but in shoes and accessories. She should know since her list of geezers wraps around the block. She tells me more often than not, all they want is company and to be seen with a pretty girl.

Not in this case though. This guy couldn’t keep his hands off of his little tchotchke who resembled a twenty-year-old Angelica Huston. His toupee, that looked as if it would take off any minute, was particularly alluring.

Of course I’m kidding. It looked as if it came with a tank of gas.

I sat sipping my mint tea thinking, I’ll write about you in an essay that you’ll never see… unless….

When the young lady escaped to the loo I leaned over and said, “Such a pretty girlfriend you have.”

He beamed like a tired theater marquee before saying, and grip your seats, “She is one of many.” Did I want to smack him, but had better ideas.

“You know I have a blog, and I write a lot about women.”

“You do?”

“Yes I do,” I purred, “and since you’re obviously an expert on the subject I would love for you to read it.” He immediately pulls out his mini iPad to take down my blog address.

Then the infant returns.

“I can’t leave you alone for a second, can I?” Oh please…I gave her a knowing look as if to say…who are you kidding Toots, before taking a polite leave.

Well, Gramps, if you’re reading this, I hope you took your heart medication, just in case it stops.   imagesWe’ll blame my strain of evil on the eclipse and the full moon. What the hell.

SB

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Asylum Trainees

I got an email from someone who said I should put a lid on my list of good deeds. I have to say it threw me a little. Maybe I should refrain from writing about them, but the truth is, when my heart opens there’s little choice in the matter.

This doesn’t mean I’m a saint…far from it since I have a temper that lies dormant and guarded like a pair of fists, and not always successfully.

Take this past Monday for instance…

I was running in Central Park when a King Charles Spaniel ran under my feet practically knocking me over. Now, did I get mad or even complain? No, I was just happy I wasn’t on my ass along with Fido not being hurt.

But, to put it in a nutshell (pun intended), people are just plain crazy and this includes dog owners.

This particular one starts screaming at me. “You could of hurt my dog. What the hell’s wrong with you running when you should be walking?”

There’s a very helpful slogan in 12 Step: don’t pick up the rope…in other words, don’t engage with looney tunes. I had almost managed this until she said, “If I knew who you were I’d report you.”

Okay, fuck 12 Step and helpful rationale. I swung around and said, ‘HEY…YOU WANNA KNOW WHO I AM?” I watched her shrink like a wilted petunia as I started walking toward her.

Bullies, they’re all smoke and mirrors especially faced with a short fuse.

Then this other man decides to jump in snapping, “You know this area is filled with dogs at this hour. Why do you insist on running over here?”

“Because it’s my park too and I pay taxes and it’s not a dog run, but a path that you’ve just conveniently taken over?” Omigod, was I pissed, and Susannah the good Samaritan was nowhere to be seen.

“You just hate dogs,” he said. “I know a dog hater when I see one.” Me, Joan of Bark a dog hater? Tell me that’s not a riot I was all set to lead.

Despite my fury I began to laugh. Where’s Carmela the basset hound when you need a reference…or Frisbee Jack, or Anthony the pit? My God, I’d go to the chair for any animal, especially a dog and this asshole tells me I hate them.

“You think it’s funny?”  he said, furious I was laughing.

“Yes I do. You’re an idiot, and I’m outta here.”

Just another day in the life of a thin girl.        11

SB

 

Posted in animals, humor, New York City, Women and men | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments