Charmed Robbery

The owner of the cat I fed for a week, gave me a gift for my trouble.

When she called to say she had something, I was thinking along the lines of hand lotion, cookies, maybe even a Starbucks card.

Instead, she presented me with a rather scary looking stuffed cat with fangs and eyes popping out of its head. images-1 (a loose replica)

If I didn’t know better, I’d think her cat, who hated me so much, picked it out.

I’ve never been a fan of taxidermy, faux or otherwise. To stuff anything other than maybe eggs and envelopes seems just plain wrong. I happen to think it’s very disrespectful to the animal, but that’s just me. I realize, Teddy Roosevelt, who would have stuffed his wife if he hadn’t predeceased her, and of course Roy Rogers, felt differently images-2(a stuffed Trigger, Roy’s horse).

But being the polite New Englander, I thanked her before going on my merry way.

And who happened to be in her yard as I approached home, but Carmela the basset hound, so naturally I stopped to chat.

We have a little ritual. I sit sideways on the outside ledge while she sticks her head out for me to scratch her ears. I then lean down and give her rump a good rub as an extra bonus. As I’m doing this, behind my back, she goes through my bag finding the cat.

Before I could stop her, she runs into the kitchen with it.

With its paws hanging from her mouth, it looked like a fresh kill. Horrified she’d scare one of the maids, I quickly let myself into the yard.

‘”Carmela, come here…this instant,” I said, trying to keep my voice down. She did, but wouldn’t let me have it tossing it in the air and catching it like Babe Ruth. images-2 “This isn’t funny…give that to me.” But the more I tried  taking it, the more she thought it was some great game we were playing.

“Carmela, that’s enough,” but I got a look like, are you kidding me, before starting to  prance in and out of the house with it firmly in her teeth.

On cue, her father, slightly freaked, comes running out to find me barefoot on my hands and knees after my sandals had slipped off.

“It’s fake…it just looks real,” I said, forgetting he speaks little English. Carmela, finding the whole thing extremely funny, brings it to him just to snatch it back when he tries taking it.

Then one of the maids came out with a broom, I imagine to finish off whatever she thought Carmela had wrestled to the ground screaming at her in Spanish.

It was like a Monty Python episode, with subtitles.

Finally, I was able to grab it to show, it was nothing more than an ugly, furry toy.

This particular maid, who isn’t all that fond of me to begin with, shook her head while Carmela’s father, taking it all in stride, lit a cigarette.

Of course I gladly let Carmela keep what was now a wet, ugly cat, a fact I’ll leave out of that damned thank you note I feel possessed to write.

I should just make Carmela write it.


Posted in animals, humor, New York City | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

Punch And Judy

It was Sunday night a hair before sunset. I had neurotically gone to the mailbox on the corner to mail my birthday thank you notes, even though the next pickup wasn’t until Monday at noon.

You can’t accuse me of procrastinating, at least not where etiquette is concerned. My mother would make me write the note before opening the gift. I feel her in my midst if I even remotely think, eh…I’ll just write them later. There she is with stationary, tapping her wooden spoon to a Sinatra tune.

Directly in front of the mailbox is a L’ Occitane, a very high-end fragrance store, now closed for the day. In front they have an ample wooden bench fastened to its facade. There sat the cutest couple in their 80s taking a little rest…round and robust, rosy and red-faced. They looked as if they were completely made of dough with a touch of rum tossed in.

I suddenly saw them on a cookie sheet which told me, Susannah…you need more sleep.

I couldn’t help smiling, the way they held hands as if they were soldered together. If it wouldn’t have been rude, I would have snapped their picture, but instead addressed them.

“You look very content sitting there.”

They smiled back without answering telling me, they may not know what the hell I’m saying, but did that stop me?

“It’s such a beautiful time of day…watching the sun go down.”

Still no response.

I stalled for a second before smiling one last time. These two weren’t talkin’ however, the husband, as I turned to leave, winked at me.

The wife, who clearly doesn’t miss a trick, let go of his hand punching him good and hard in the shoulder.


I guess even in your eighth decade, you expect your man to behave himself.

As for me, if she punched me that hard, I’d be down for the count, so I got the hell out of there…

FAST.      images-1


Posted in humor, New York City, Women and men, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

That’s One Crazy Cat

I’ve been feeding the kitty across the street for almost a week now. It was my pleasure to help her mistress who went home to visit her sister in Ohio. I just wish she had told me to make sure to bring a whip and a chair.

I’m no push-over when it comes to critters. Just yesterday I went to pet Gracie the pit bull who must have been having a bad day because she went for me. Rather than recoiling or redressing her owner, I just said, “It’s okay…we women are moody…it will no doubt pass.”


This cat hates me, though we have a history.

One of the reasons I stepped up when asked was because a good ten years ago, grouchy with a tail, lived upstairs with a nutty girl who got her from the pound as a kitten.

Was she cute…like a little tiger cat.

Now I’m thinking she was a tiger and no one knew.

When this girl moved out she was going to plunk her back at the pound, so I convinced Katie to take her.

You’d think Isabella, whose name used to be Mellow Yellow, and no, I did not make that up, would show a little gratitude…instead, she hates the sight of me.

First day, as I was scooping her litter box, not exactly a day at the beach, she howled at me. “What do you think you’re doing in my bathroom.”

“Cleaning it, what do you think I’m doing… about to use it?”

I do tend to talk to the animals I’m with. Carmela the basset and I have wonderful conversations as we look in all the store windows. It seems we’re both partial to Polo, Juicy Couture and Carolina Herrera.

But I’m digressing.

Then the little darling wouldn’t let me out of the kitchen. She crouched at the entrance like I was a big bird she was about to seize. Was I annoyed.

“Is this any way to treat someone who’s been kind to you, and continues to be? Did you just say fuck you?”

Text Text…to her mom sunning herself on that wraparound porch I heard so much about.

Um, just wondering what’s up with Isabella who has me barricaded between your sink and stove. Any tips you might have would be most appreciated.

I wait and wait…finally she writes….oh, that’s Isabella alright. She must be in one of her dark moods.

Ya think?

Just ignore her.

Right…as she’s clinging to my neck like a vampire I’ll think of other things, like how I’m going to make you pay for this.

Finally, I just had enough, so I took her scooper and challenged her to a duel. She backed off, the little pussy!!!

I was better prepared the next day. Someone suggested a spritzer bottle filled with water. I was thinking scotch would be better, but after all, she’s not my cat.

All I had was my Evian Mister in its refillable aerosol can so I figured, it can’t be considered animal abuse if it’s good for her complexion now can it…even though it is about .90 a squirt.

It worked.

She’s clearly an only child (wanted in 12 states) I still attempted having compassion for.

You would think her owner might have mentioned Simba’s proclivities before I took on the task, but she didn’t. Made me think of the Lucy episode when she babysat for the twins who tried burning her at the stake.

Saturday was her mother’s birthday so I took a picture of her. Well, a good 40 if you must know before I had one that didn’t make her look like Charles Manson. She could have used some concealer and a little blush, but what are you gonna do?

I texted it to Katie with a note…Happy Birthday Mom…and when the fuck are you coming home?

Love, Isabella.




Posted in animals, humor, New York City, women, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

The Camille Chronicles – July 2014

images Camille and I had a date to go shopping, but instead of Bloomies or Saks she wanted to go to an outlet downtown.

When I tell you this is so not Camille, I’m not kidding.

“Why are we here again?” I asked as we entered a store the size of an airplane hangar.

“I told you, I saw a girl with a little Chanel type jacket who got it from here. It was twenty bucks.”

“Camille, you own real Chanel, why would you want a knock-off?”

“Oh I don’t know, to give to my niece, or just to have.”

This made no sense since her only niece is gay and prefers menswear, but thought it best to not bring that up. There had to be some other reason, and like they say in 12 Step…more will be revealed…and it certainly was.

As we confronted the many racks of little jackets that I’ll admit, were very good copies, the truth, which always makes an appearance, did just that.

“Camille, how many are you buying?” I asked, watching her grab three at a time.

“A few…forty or so.”

This stopped me in my tracks. “Forty? Okay, spill it. What are you up to?”



“Alright alright, but no lectures. I’m going to sell them…on eBay….

I took this in for a second thinking, well that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with her making a few bucks….UNTIL…

My plan is to sew Chanel labels in them…imagine the profit.”

“Imagine your jail term. Are you nuts? You can’t do that. It’s a crime, and a big one at that. Have you been watching To Catch A Thief again (her favorite film)?”

“Lighten up. Nobody in the Midwest will know or care for that matter. They’ll be so thrilled to have such a nice jacket, from a famous designer no less.”  images-2

“Camille, think about what you’re saying. You’ll be the Bernie Madoff of fine knits. They’ll lock you up, and just remember those ugly dresses they make you wear…you hate gray…not to mention being somebody’s bitch while you’re in there. You’ve never been very good at taking orders.”    images-4

She pondered this for a second looking around the vast space like an irritated eagle. “Excuse me,” she called out to a stock boy, “could you please put these back for me…I seem to have an emergency.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. “What emergency would that be exactly?”

“I need to get to Joanne before she starts tearing out those labels.” (Joanne’s another nutty friend of mine who actually likes gray)


“She’s at Bergdorf right now snipping.”

“I don’t believe it. Call her…NOW.”

“No, it’s better I tell her in person. She’s going to be so disappointed we’re not going to be rich.”

As we hurried toward the exit Camille suddenly stopped to face me. “Just tell me one thing. If you weren’t such a traditionalist…a bore really… unable to bend those Connecticut rules of yours, don’t you think it was a brilliant idea?”

“Yes,” I said, “if it wasn’t so completely illegal.”

This seemed to please her as we frantically jumped in a cab.


Posted in Fashion, humor, New York City, Uncategorized, women | Tagged , , , , , | 24 Comments

Model Behavior: Friends For Life

ModelBehavior_web Now available on




Posted in Beauty, Books, humor, Love, modeling, New York City, sex, shopping, women, Women and men, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

Prince Of Camelot

When John Kennedy Jr. went missing two days before my 45h birthday, my Italian kicked in right away. Unlike the rest of America, I knew there was little hope. The Prince of Camelot was gone adding to the myth of a Kennedy curse. It’s that uncanny ability I’ve inherited from my Italian grandfather knowing sad truth before it’s actually proven.

I was also in bed with a guy I’ll call Lloyd when the infamous garment bag washed up on shore. As we were heave-hoing to the sound of CNN, unlike my lover who stopped in mid heave, I wasn’t surprised.

I got dressed, went home and wrote this poem I just found in an old Town & Country Magazine with his mother on the cover.


Every morning I walk through the Park, across the bridge…down the hill…and expect to see you.

I expect to see you dashing from 1040 on roller blades in your navy pinstriped suit, looking like your father when you practiced law and worked for the D.A.’s office downtown on Centre Street.

I expect to see your mother beaming beside you beneath the billowy green awning brushing away lint on your jacket sleeve. images-1

You open the door to her taxi waiting for it to leave…despite your skates.

I expect to pass you crossing Fifth in one of your funny hats turned backwards; riding a bike, or walking the dog you rescued and were fined fifty bucks for allowing to run free.

I expect to catch you at the newsstand on 85th and Mad perusing papers same as me…grinning, nodding in complicity while we wait to be told…this is not the Public Library.

Maybe later I’ll meet you coming home…your arms around a leggy girl who very soon you’ll marry and plan to grow old with…

But I expect, this just won’t be.  images-2

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Junior…November 25, 1960 – July 16, 1999  images


Posted in Love, New York City, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Tracy Morgan Healing Nicely

On June 7, comedian Tracy Morgan was in a deadly accident when a Walmart tractor-trailer truck slammed into his limousine on the New Jersey Turnpike killing one man, injuring Tracy and two others.

It was amazing they weren’t all killed.

I hate reading the papers or listening to the news. Between Israel, perished firemen and their orphaned offspring, Global Warming and the new 9/11 Museum that sounds to me like a theme park, I’m better off with a book.

I was looking something up online when suddenly Tracy Morgan flashed on my screen with the headline: Tracy Morgan Seeks Retribution.

According to Webster’’s punishment that is considered to be morally right and fully deserved. In other words, getting even.

This made me take pause.

Tracy filed a suit against Walmart that doesn’t really disturb me to be quite frank, but it’s the driver who fell asleep at the wheel I’m thinking about.

Kevin Roper had been on the job about 13 1/2 hours at the time of the crash. Federal rules permit truck drivers to work up to 14 hours a day, with a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel.

This exhausted man had no business being on the road, but I can’t help feeling sorry for him since he has the blood of comedian James McNair on his hands for all eternity.

Morgan’s seeking punitive damages, a nice way of saying money, for what happened.

See, if it were me and I survived something so horrendous, I’d be kissing the ground. I’d be writing checks to charity especially if I had the cash to do so. I’d be in a cloud of grace you could see from here to heaven with a stop at Walmart headquarters in Bentonville Arkansas asking them to take better care of their workers.

But of course, this isn’t about me. It’s about a man who lost his good friend along with having to heal physically and emotionally from such an appalling event.

However, retribution in dollars and cents won’t bring his friend back.

Gratitude, for being spared, is the order of the day. How about a Public Service Announcement, or a fund raiser for the fellow’s family who must be heartbroken.

Let’s try to get that 13 1/2 hour rule lessened so these hard working men wouldn’t put themselves and others in such peril.

I don’t feel we have the right credentials to punish even though he’s after a huge chain and not any one person, except maybe Roper who may never get another job after pleading not guilty to vehicular homicide.

Put that on your resume.

I’m not a flaming Christian by any means, but I do feel God has it covered.

As you probably can surmise, I’m against the death penalty for this reason. Taking another life isn’t going to bring another one back, and yeah I know…but our taxes will keep that mother fucker alive in jail for years to come. I remember having this discussion over mussels and fries with a man I thought I had a future with.

It brings to mind the Kennedys when the death penalty was sought for Sirhan Sirhan in 1968 for taking the life of Robert Kennedy. As the family spokesman, Teddy came forth and said,”My brother would never want a life taken, even if it was the one who took his own,” reducing Sirhan’s sentence to life imprisonment.

When Bill Cosby’s only son, Ennis, in 1997 was murdered changing a tire on a Los Angeles freeway, he too was against killing the man responsible.

It’s mighty impressive to forgive, though I’ll admit…not easy…but these two examples I would hope might influence Tracy to try.

Mr. Morgan is a very talented man, another grace bestowed, who will make more money than he’ll probably ever need without siring a lawsuit involving a soul who made a mistake.

I know his friend died, but what I also know is, Tracy lived.

Under all that revenge he is publicly seeking lies grace…it’s there, he just has to dig it out beneath all that sorrow and resentment.     images-3

Maybe Mr. Cosby should give him a call…




Posted in Faith, Family, Gratitude | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Fat Rations

Elsie_Cow Is there a shortage of butter I’m unaware of? Are cows on strike?

For the record, butter comes from cream, cream comes from milk and milk…MOO…comes from cows.

I tried getting Elsie on the phone to comment, but she’s not taking calls.

I went to Le Pain Quotidian like I do every Sunday to get one of their plain, Kaiser rolls that I’ll admit, have no nutritional value whatsoever, but it’s Sunday, so who cares.

As an aside, Sunday is my day of putting all my worries on top of the fridge leaving them there until Monday morning, and that includes tallying fat grams. That’s why I said to the portly woman waiting on me who, by the size of her, should really understand, if rather than one could I have two butters for my big, fat roll to go.

“Two butters?” she said, seemingly shocked by my request.

“Yes, two…I want to lather it on both sides,”  I said, with a wink.

She stared at me as if I asked for a kidney.

“Is there a problem?” I was getting impatient since I had to pee.

“We only give one butter per roll.”

“Yes I know that, and it’s not enough which is why I’m asking for two.”

This seemed to throw her as if at the end of her shift she’d be short one and how will she explain it to her boss who might even have a bigger butter fetish than she has.

I just cut to the chase.

“Are you going to give me another butter or not?”

“What if I don’t?” Her snappy retort clipped me like BB gun.

“I won’t be a very satisfied customer, that’s for sure, nor will I enjoy my roll half as much.”

Did she just yawn?

I realized how insane it was to even be having this exchange, but nutty Thingirl held firm.

This is when she deserved a smack.

“Why don’t you just go buy some butter instead of exploiting ours.”

“Excuse me?”

I have never heard of butter, or anything dairy except maybe Elsie herself, being exploited. I had visions of her being milked then having to churn it all before packaging it without as much as a coffee break. Should I run home to get Tubby the Tuba my thesaurus so she could choose a more appropriate word? Meanwhile, my bladder was about to burst.

“Just a minute,” I said, galloping to the ladies room, an apt description since I peed like a racehorse. On exiting, I asked a busboy I knew, what’s with the butter business? And he said, “She’s trying to impress the manager…we all hate her.”


So she’s trying to butter him up, if you will, with my extra butter.

Nothing like an empty bladder to make you think more rationally of one’s rations.

I simply asked the busboy for more butter who, not only complied, but gave me 6, and threw in another roll…for my trouble, he said.

As I took leave I called out, “Have a good day withholding butter from good, loyal customers.”

I would have rather said, “Hey fatso, it’s who ya know,” but held my tongue.




Posted in animals, food, humor, New York City, women | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Trying Not To Shake It

I’m a big believer in paying attention to what’s put in front of you. More often than not it’s a lesson of some kind, and what I saw this morning belongs in that category.

There’s a little old black man who sits in his wheelchair most mornings on the corner of 85th and Lexington. He doesn’t seem homeless, but he’s not exactly pristine either. I’ve often wondered if someone parks him there to panhandle, yet I’ve never seen him ask for money. He just sits quietly wearing jeans and a nylon parka and the type of socks one gets from an emergency room. I actually have a pair. I call them my 1,200 dollar booties since that was my 20 minute ER bill that Lenox Hill Hospital should be crucified for, but that’s another essay.

Today he appeared late, rolling himself slowly along towards his corner. At one point he stops so he’s right in front of Starbuck’s window where I’m seated. I knock miming…do you need help? He gives me a killer smile saying, “No I’m good.” You immediately see how dapper he must have been as a young man.

I realized, the reason he stopped was fatigue. Must be a bitch maneuvering yourself with just your arms. FDR came to mind. Apparently his were like iron from traveling the same way this man has to.

Bringing this back to me, I’ve been in such worry mode licking my wounds to the point of embarrassment. I have so many problems presently feeling buried up to my neck.

I was reminded, there’s always someone more worse off than you, a fact I tend to forget. I was actually thinking right before I saw him, should I run…should I not run. I’m so depressed…whine whine whine.

Wouldn’t he love to have such a lavish problem. When was the last time he walked, never mind ran? It straightened me right up. I did go out and ask if I could treat him to coffee. He made me laugh when he said, “Yeah, but I don’t like that Starbucks.” So I went to the cart on the corner (of all places) to get it. When I asked, how do you take it, he said, “Three sugars, a touch’a milk…try not ta shake it”

My heart, that’s been moaning and groaning, put its suit back on throbbing into service.

All I know is, I had a much better day after that, running four miles, counting my blessings and doing my overall best….

not ta shake it.


Posted in Gratitude, humor, New York City, Women and men | Tagged , , , , | 22 Comments

Bon Mots

bon-mot-definition-photoBon mots is French, for good words, something I try to practice. I’ve learned to think before speaking spreading more cheer than dissension.

This came about because of all the ingenuous, silly remarks made to me by people who should check their mouths at the door.

I try to uplift rather than tear down…an art to be sure.

Just this morning I asked a young girl who, at 5 a.m. always looks so pretty, how she manages to pull that off at dawn. I can barely get my shorts and T-shirt on straight, let alone a little dress with strappy shoes.

Turns out she’s a yoga instructor who likes to greet her students looking nice before popping into her tights.

She glistened when I told her how breathtaking she looked.

Then I saw a woman on the train. She was sitting alone on one of the end seats looking sad and forlorn. She wasn’t particularly attractive…over weight, messy hair…but her hands were lovely. I tend to notice them because mine resemble a welder’s.

Before exiting the train I leaned in and said, “Your hands are really beautiful.” You talk about light…her face suddenly looked backlit, like in a Maxfield Parrish painting.

Words can either heal or wound. Every time someone makes a crack about my weight it’s like a stabbing. Yes I’m thin, but not skeletal by any means and what’s it to you anyway? Did I mention most of these charmers could lose a few pounds?

I never quite comprehend the chronic need to bring it to my attention, as if I don’t notice my own body. It’s mine for chrissakes…we live together.

Years ago I dated a famous actor who will remain nameless since he’s also famously married. I know, I know, but I did things like that at one point in my life.

Anyway, he took me to tons of theater, so afterwards we’d always go backstage to see the actors. He only said nice things to them, even after telling me he didn’t necessarily like the play. When I asked about this, he said, “Ducky, there’s always something nice to say…so you say it. There’s no point bringing anything up that will make anyone feel the need to stay drunk till next Tuesday.” He was older than I was, so they were bon mots to be sure that have stayed with me.

Try it out. Say something nice to somebody. Tell them they look great or you like their hair. Seek them out of you have to…

then watch the sun come out.

I’ll be waiting for a report.


Posted in humor, writing | Tagged , , , , | 31 Comments