Paying Attention

OOPS…can someone give me a hand? images-1

I’m frequently asked how is it I find so many things to write about.

By paying attention to my surroundings.

Due to achy joints, I’ve been walking around the Park lately rather than running. The upside of this is you see more.

When I’m dashing like deer with tunnel vision, I miss a lot.

This morning a raccoon was crossing the road. It was light so his presence surprised me and another woman coming the opposite way. We both stopped allowing him to make it to the woods without incident. I said to the woman,”He must have missed his curfew.” People assume a raccoon is sick if he’s seen in daylight. I say, he’s just late…hit traffic or got stuck in a tricky trash bin. I enjoyed watching him scurry into the brush imagining his mother waiting for him by the door saying, “That’s it Rocky, you’re grounded till further notice.”

Then there are the sequoias, the palomino of trees, I never noticed before…so majestic lining the Park like speckled pillars. It wasn’t until taking a walk with a friend who told me their name did I begin to see them.

The Park itself, whose landscaping of yore is still so stately and beautiful doing Olmstead and Vaux, it’s creators, proud 157 years later, is a privilege to be in. How lucky am I that its five minutes from where I live.

A writer catalogs these things, placing them in memory like gifts to use at a later time.

I took a creative writing class with a teacher who made us write about fruit. What a stupid assignment this is, I remember thinking.

She said, “Tell me everything you feel about your specific fruit.”

Mine was a peach.

I can’t recall exactly what I wrote, but found myself with a 300 word essay. I remember the word succulent, how a ripe peach dripping down your chin is very sensual. It brought up a chef I dated who, rather than flowers, brought me bouquets of thyme and dill.

She made her point…one could write about anything if their memory comes along for the ride.

Believe it or not, I don’t write about everything that happens to me. It just seems as if I do. My goal is extreme candor I still tiptoe around. The day I can show up completely naked on the page not caring you see my imperfections, will be one helluva great day in my creative life.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep paying attention hoping for the best.

SB

 

Posted in animals, New York City, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

A Wild Wicked City Woman

images-1 I stole that line from a Lucy show when cousin Tennessee Ernie Ford comes to visit and says how his mother said “Ernie, you stay clear of those, wild, wicked city women, ya hear me?”

It’s dawned on me, this is how I’m often perceived.

Makes me laugh since the last time I felt sexy was 2003, but one can’t help how others see you.

What can I say?

Smoke and mirrors baby, and a really good concealer by Laura Mercier.

Men off the market are afraid to see me alone, which brings up the sad, simple fact, all the good ones are taken.

And why shouldn’t they be since some woman got there first, like at a sample sale.

When they say timing is everything, it’s true. If you were in that check-out line before the woman who couldn’t lift her case of Ensure, you would have met the guy who helped her first. Of course, if I was buying Ensure it would be home delivered in an unmarked box by one of the Laker Girls, but you get my point.

There’s a man I sometimes work with who I really like. He’s smart, funny, sexy and yes, married who I’ve invited for coffee. He trembles at the mere thought.

Was does he think, I’m going to pop out naked from the sugar bowl?

Even at seventy when his store is probably more or less closed, he doesn’t trust himself as if I have no say in the matter.

Just the idea of putting on special underwear would be enough for me to cancel. Affairs are exhausting if my memory serves me right. Trying to hold his attention, managing your guilt and his because before you could say…is that a wedding band? He blames you for his indiscretion.

“Why do you have to look so good…nobody’s still thin at your age…and heels…you had to wear heels? ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?

I go from the most wonderful girl in the world to the Mayflower Madam without passing go.

I like an intelligent man since my own company is so preferable I need a person of interest to get my attention away from me…no easy feat.

And sadly, your average man has little to say. My first question when I meet a fellow for the first time is always, what are you reading?

“HUH?”

NEXT!

Saves so much time.

The man with his price tags snipped off reads like a mother fucker and not just John Grisham either. He’s versed in all kinds of things you may know nothing about. His wife  quite often,, isn’t as interesting as he is which is why he’s glancing your way to begin with. He needs stimulation too, even if it’s just above the waist…besides…you should be able to have a friendship with a man without creating a crime scene. He’s married not dead.

Where am I going with all this?

To the bank to make a deposit.

Sometimes all a girl really wants is a cuppa Joe, not Joe in a cup.

SB

Posted in Books, comedy, friendship, humor, Love, sex, Women and men | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

I’ll Be Doggoned

be8jcudcqaagrzf I just gave my last buck to a beagle.

En route to Grand Central catching the train home, I notice a kid in his 20s sitting on the pavement sketching.

Next to him was a beagle so old it looked stuffed.

What got my attention was his cardboard sign that said..EASE ELP OD LESS

Mr. beagle was sleeping across it turning it into an eye chart.

His ears made me think of a certain basset we all know and love though hers are three times the size, causing my heart and wallet to open handing them my last dollar.

There’s something about someone in need who brings along their pet, whether it’s to stop a softie like me, or because they stick together no matter what, that’s humbling right down to your socks.

A man who worked at The Humane Society once told me, homeless people…those down on their luck, take better care of their animals than those with homes.

I was all set to buy a kaiser roll to go with the tuna salad I was making for lunch from a bakery I like in Grand Central. Alas, the beagle inspired me, if nothing else, not to eat bread but to give it away.

PLEASE HELP GOD BLESS

Dedicated to Chester Pop, a famous beagle we all know and will always love…see  picture.

SB

 

Posted in animals, food, Love, money, New York City | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

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

Posted in comedy, humor, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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 Cinema, Gratitude, Health, New York City | Tagged , , , , | 25 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

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 31 Comments

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