Call for Miss Bianchi

I had a date. Yeah I know, wonders never cease.

He’s a guy I see most mornings walking his Jack Russell, my least favorite breed since, they’re about as cuddly as a banker you’re hitting up for a loan…red flag number one. Unknown.jpegWhen he says, hey, wanna have dinner sometime? I disregard the PAUSE RULE of, waiting five seconds before answering.

“Sure,” I say, while Fido has his teeth fixed on the hem of my hoodie.

“How bout tonight? Know a great little place on York I’m betting you’ll like.”

“Is it quiet?”

“I’ll make sure of it.”

Hmm, does he own it? I’m now dreaming of carte blanche at the dessert cart.

So I get there on time in my best Audrey dress, and he’s late.

Red flag number 2. Unknown.jpeg I’m from Connecticut you see, so arriving when you’re supposed to is considered a pastime, same as golf, croquet and the designated cocktail hour.

When he finally waltzes in, minus an apology, I think, oh let it go, as I peruse the French menu with entrees that should come with oxygen and a heart surgeon.

After licking his lips like a cat, he puts his phone on the table, so now there’s 3 of us.

When the waiter comes to get our drink order, he textes.

When the drinks arrive, he textes again.

While the waiter gives us the nightly specials, he does it again.

“Um, could we have a few minutes please,” I say to, Mr. you’re hurrying us just a tad, who reluctantly departs.

“Are you going to be flirting with your phone all during dinner?”

He looks at me with great bewilderment. “Will that be a problem?”   Unknown.jpegUnknown.jpegUnknown.jpegUnknown.jpeg

This time I do observe the PAUSE RULE…1…2…3…4…5…

“No, it won’t be,” I say, as he checks it again.

“Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

“Call for Miss Bianchi. Hmm, wonder who it could be,” I say, popping my cardigan round my shoulders, clicking my heels like Dorothy.

“Excuse me, will you?”

He doesn’t even look up. You know why?

HE’S TEXTING.

So, as I’m galloping up York, wondering what I’ll pick up for dinner, I get a text.

Are you okay?

NO PAUSE RULE REQUIRED

Yes, couldn’t be better…and by the way, tell your phone to order the veal, I hear it’s divine.   images.jpeg

🙂 SB

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Posted in alcohol, Connecticut, Culture, food, humor, internet, media, men, New York City, Women and men, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 38 Comments

Favorite Quotes

Quotes are meant to inspire, encourage and make us smile.

Whenever one winks, I jot it down.

Writing:

You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say. F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tell the truth, but tell it slant…Emily Dickinson

Writing is like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way…E. L. Doctorow

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere…Anne Lamott

My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way…Ernest Hemingway

Take your broken heart, make it into art…Carrie Fisher

Everything’s copy…Nora Ephron

Motivation:

Do what you love, and the Maserati will follow…Marianne Williams

Be so good they can’t ignore you…Steve Martin

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you…Anne Lamott

Follow your bliss…Joseph Campbell 

Loss:

When you’re going through hell, keep going…Winston Churchill

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone.
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Funeral Blues…W.H.Auden

Light a candle, and keep on dancin’…Allen Ginsberg

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel...Maya Angelou

Remember, it’s just a ride…Bill Hicks

Hope:

Be the change you want to see…Mahatma Gandhi

You never can pay too much for peace of mind…Patti Smith

I do not understand the mystery of grace — only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found usAnne Lamott

The opposite of faith isn’t doubt, it’s certainty…Paul Tillich

Don’t give up before the miracle…The Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous

It’s in the giving, that we receive…St. Francis of Assisi

Love:

Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time…Maya Angelou

Two souls with but a single thought. Two hearts that beat as one…John Keats

In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love…Mother Teresa

When all is said and done, we’re just walking each other home…Ram Dass

I don’t know about you, but I smiled, just a little.  🙂

SB

Posted in grace, humanity, inspiration, Love, readng, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 62 Comments

How Words Can Make Your Day

 I love language of any kind, but old style words thrill me the most, the feel of them, like slipping into a vintage dress.

Alighted is my latest, coming across it at least ten times in three different books.

A verb meaning…to descend from a train, bus or other form of transport.

She was expected to alight from the 10:07 arriving from Chicago.

He alighted the car with grace, like a thoroughbred, head held high.

It also can be applied to birds…to come down and settle after a flight.

A cardinal, filled with birdsong, alighted on a branch.

As an adjective..burning, on fire, or shining brightly…a lamp on the desk alighted her letter.

Like many words, it has its own melody the way it flows in a sentence gliding with grace…subtle, delicate, like a feather tickling your nose.

In Old English it’s to dismount, to lighten, take off, or take away as in, climbing off a horse, lightening its load.

It also applies to passion…to arouse, evoke, provoke or excite…elicit, stimulate, enliven and electrify.

Her sexual longings were alighted each time they met. images.jpeg

My heart pounds as I share this, almost sure what the wordsmith had in mind.

🙂

SB

 

 

Posted in Books, creative writing, inspiration, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 68 Comments

Best Story of the Week…May 16

Central Park…first light

As I’m cantering up Harlem Hill, otherwise known as Hamilton Heights, since it’s Alexander Hamilton’s old neighborhood, I see a young boy perched on the grass, elbows resting on his knees, selling bottled water.

His cardboard sign reads…1 dolla got ice if you wan it

Suddenly a police car pulls up, one of the little ones that resemble a golf cart, a young Asian fellow at the wheel.

I slow up to watch.

He calls the kid over to the window. They speak, then the kid goes back to get his wallet from his backpack.

In 12 Step they teach you…there’s three kinds of business…my business, your business and what’s not my business.

Well, as I’ve said before, this is a deal breaker when it comes to the welfare of a child, the elderly or an animal.

I step over to the patrol car.

“Officer, good morning. Tell me please, is this young man in trouble?” The kid looks up sheepishly before going back to his perch.

The cop immediately becomes defensive. “What’s it to you?”

I know I have to be smarter than he is since his asshole brights are blinding my good senses.

She breathes before answering.

“I see he’s trying to make a few dollars, and to be quite honest, I admire him for it. He’s just a kid after all.”

15 if he were a day.

“You can’t sell anything in the Park without a permit.”

Did I mention it’s no later than 6:30 A.M.?

“I understand. Of course you’re right, but he’s not in any serious trouble now is he?”

“He’s getting a warning, and if you’re so concerned, why don’t you dig in your pocket and help him out.”

Temper Susannah….TEMPER.

To be honest, I haven’t any cash and I doubt (I smile as I say this) he takes Visa. And also, it doesn’t look to me that he wants a handout. He’s legitimately selling water for a dollar. Yeah I know, without a permit, but still…there’s something noble about it, don’t you think Officer?”

He mulls this over as we both watch the kid pack up his cooler now on wheels.

“Imagine having to sell anything, for lunch money maybe. Could be me or you.”

“That’s why he only got a warning.”

His tone, so cold, I choose to ignore before taking flight.

I abruptly turn back, then think better of it.

I was all set to say, a young man a week or so ago hung himself off one of the bridges, but a little voice stops me knowing how upsetting it is to hear about it, even if Officer Asshole already knows.

Instead, I watch the kid wheel his water out of the Park, carrying his sign under his arm now upside down that reads…

1 dolla got ice if you wan it. 

God blessing the child who has his own.

SB

Posted in Culture, humanity, inspiration, kids, Love, New York City, Sports, words | Tagged , , , , , | 32 Comments

Have You Seen My Mind By Any Chance?

images.jpegStress has taken over my life like a really obnoxious roommate.

Everything that can go wrong has.

As a friend of mine likes to say…he feels as if he’s just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Every day I rise with great determination to be the best I can be.

Then those waves come…that part of the iceberg you didn’t happen to see.

Jean Paul Sartre said…hell is other people.

Darn tootin’ Jean. If I knew where you were, I’d send fruit and flowers, and a car to take us to lunch.

To learn to dodge the actions of others careening towards you is an art. Not taking it personally even if it has your name on it, a skill.

I conduct myself with utmost integrity treating others the way I wish to be treated.

Yeah I know, who the fuck do you think you are Susannah, Gandhi?

Yes.

I realize, I have no control over people, places and things, only how I respond to them.

Turning the other cheek, if you will, but let me add there’s very little skin left on mine, doesn’t matter how well I dodge and weave.

My goal in my twilight years is to be happy, joyous and free…peaceful and serene, kind, caring and content where I stand.

I know, that’s quite a feat no matter what age, however…stress, that little tart no one invited, who just pushed her way in, crashing a most peaceful party, can just sit herself down and rethink her unwanted, callous, hopefully short lived, appearance.

What’s that Mr. Gandhi? Fasting? No, in this case, we’re having breakfast.

But I appreciate the tip.

sigh

Where would I be without my sense of humor? In the nuthouse, that’s where.

SB

Posted in grace, humanity, humor, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 38 Comments

It’s Cause Ah’ Read, Baba’

Someone sent me a personal email asking how I know so much after reading my post…Things You May Not Know.

At first I thought it must be code for, wanna have a cuppa coffee, since, what a silly question. But then remembered, he’s gayer than a showgirl on a Saturday night, realizing, she was being serious.

You always say, you never went to college, he wrote. That’s true, I never did, but what do you think people do in college Skippy, they read.

I’m a serial reader, I am, because nothing is quite like learning something inspiring you didn’t know.

Think of it as all the lights going on in your brain clearing a path for enlightenment.

My first self-taught course was on the American Civil War when I read The Killer Angels, a historical novel that won The Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1975, about the Battle of Gettysburg. It was also the book inspiring Ken Burns to make his epic film, The Civil War. After wetting my beak, as they say, I read everything I could get my little manicured mitts on about The War Between the States, another name for that heart-wrenching war.

Years ago a salesman working at the long gone, Madison Avenue Bookshop, told me…reading is like any other muscle…the more you use it, the stronger it gets.

In other words, the more you read, the smarter you’ll be and the more interesting you’ll become.

Who knew The Vietnam Wall was opposed by so many? Not me, being quite moved by it every time I had the privilege of seeing it until reading, A Rift in the Earth, what Maya Lin, who designed it, called her vision.

The next time I visit, I’ll have so much more to think about.

When I read a book, words become a printed buffet, allowing me to take what I want to keep and remember. When I compile a list to share, it’s the meat and potatoes of my reading life.

Whether it’s naming all 6 of Henry VIII’s wives, or 45 American Presidents.

The Marquis de Lafayette sending George Washington the key to the Bastille, that still hangs on a Mount Vernon wall.

Actor Montgomery Clift loving to stroll down Fifth Avenue in a snazzy suit, eating caviar right out of the tin.

That Arthur Miller’s play, After the Fall, is all about his troubled marriage to Marilyn Monroe, and journalist Pete Hamill’s wry remark, that dating Jackie Kennedy was like taking King Kong to the beach.

I even know there are over 200 positions in the Kama Sutra, and no, I haven’t tried them all, but let’s just say, if it were a Jeopardy category, I’d leave my fellow contestants in the dirty dancin’ dust.

Whenever someone asked the late, great Bill Hicks how he knew something, he’d always say without pause…it’s cause ah’ read baba’.

That’s what I emailed back to the gay showgirl, then nicely asked if by any chance, he had a library card. images.jpeg

🙂

SB

 

Posted in Books, creative writing, Culture, History, humor, inspiration, internet, New York City, Politics, readng, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 59 Comments

Legs, Breasts and Thighs

No, we’re not about to discuss chickens.

I’ve just made one of my casual observations.

Women, who only think about their weight.

I was stretching after my run when I overheard a conversation a girl in her 30s was having on her cell that went something like this:

I knew I shouldn’t have had the veal. I asked for no salt, but my thighs, I swear are twice their size. And my stomach Connie, is so bloated. What am I gonna do? I have a gym date with Rick after work.

Wished I could have heard what Connie had to say.

Ya think if I starve myself all day, my stomach and thighs will go back to normal? Okay. Just coffee. Can I have coffee?

By the look on her face, I gather Connie said, no coffee.

No, I didn’t weigh in, no pun intended, but did wonder, who the hell made Connie Juan Veldez.

It was then I noticed all the fatties stuffed in Spandex thinking their dessert is concealed. Congealed is more like it since Spandex leaves inroads on your body making you resemble a Road Atlas. Cleavage of course is running amok, proving there’s always an upside, and then some, to everything.

When did we start dating our bodies? Okay, I’m thin, however, it’s not as though my bod is perfect. Think Olive Oyl, just with better posture.

It made me feel for that woman who was regretting her veal. Frankly, she probably had no idea she had just munched on a baby calf. That might have changed her outlook since, she at least, tummy and all, was still on the planet.

It’s our culture. It’s Vogue and Buzzfeed, Oprah and The View.

Oprah has been on a diet for forty years, gaining, losing, so her self-absorption having such influence, is catchy.

This brings me to the stick figures of Vogue who now all look like little boys…no chests, legs the length of string beans braying…don’t eat, if you want to look like me.

No wonder eating disorders have gone Platinum.

If I knew where to find Connie’s friend, I’d tell her, honey, don’t believe everything ya hear. It’s really okay, to have that cuppa coffee.  images.png

SB

 

 

Posted in animals, Beauty, Culture, Fashion, food, humanity, humor, internet, New York City, women | Tagged , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Miss Manners, Dead at 10

Certainly a cheery title.

For those of you who don’t know, Miss Manners is the pen name of journalist, Judith Martin, an author and authority on etiquette.

She would have been astonished this morning in the check-out line at Morton Williams, my neighborhood supermarket.

We all know manners have gone south in our present day, but today took the cake, or bran muffin in this little lady’s case.

She was ahead of me in the process of paying for it. A chubby preteen, with a Prada wallet no less I hoped belonged to her mother. At her age, I had a Micky Mouse change purse with a polka dotted Minnie gracing the inside.

I say good morning to Stella, the cashier I see every day who looks agitated I guess because the kid is taking so long counting out her change.

She tries to help by counting it as it’s rolling off the counter, but the kid snaps, “I’ll do it,” clearly embarrassing Stella.

I say, “You okay there?” In case the reason for the snottiness is because she’s short, more than happy to chip in.  However, if looks could kill, I’d be in frozen foods.

After she rudely throws a million coins like it’s Vegas, Pollyanna in residence says, “Stella, do you have a napkin for this young lady?”

Before she can even answer, the kid whirls around and says, “I don’t need a napkin. Shut-up and leave me alone.”

The entire store stops what it’s doing. The bread man making a delivery. The woman fixing herself tea. The fruit man stocking pears drops one that rolls in the aisle, I’m guessing in protest.

Even Pollyanna is too stunned to speak.

But then good old Susannah shows up.

“Hey, I’m your elder, so is Stella, and that’s not how you speak to us. Do you understand? We’re just trying to help you.”

“I’m telling my mother,” she said with a nasty sneer.

“Good, want me to call her? Because I’d love to tell her what a rude daughter she has.”

No, little Damea didn’t cry, but takes a bite out of her muffin leaving crumbs all over her fat, overfed face before schlumping out.

Stella shakes her head, I pay for my walnuts and beet salad, and commerce continues.

In 12 Step they remind you to mind your own business, but for me, that boundary breaks when it involves a kid or an animal.

All I know is, our youth, not to mention the world’s future, is it in mighty big trouble.

SB

Posted in Family, food, grace, humanity, kids, New York City, parents | Tagged , , , | 44 Comments

Things You May Not Know

Sea otters hold hands while sleeping, so they don’t drift apart.Unknown-1.jpeg

One fast food burger may contain meat from a 100 different cows.

John Wilkes Booth was 27 years old when he shot Abraham Lincoln, dying from a gunshot wound, 14 days later.

Unknown-1.jpeg The 27 Club, coined for famous rock musicians all dying at 27, includes Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Amy Winehouse and Pigpen, of the Grateful Dead.

In 1958, when American film producer, Mike Todd, Elizabeth Taylor’s 3rd (out of 7) husband’s plane went down killing him and 3 others, she too, was supposed to have been on the plane, but at the last minute stayed home.

Benjamin Franklin created the first lending library in Philadelphia in 1737.

Baby elephants suck their trunks for comfort. Unknown-2.jpeg

Elvis Presley’s last words were, “I’m going to the bathroom to read,” where he was later found dead in 1977 at age 42.

The American Civil War’s Battle of Shiloh, one of its bloodiest, in Hebrew means, Place of Peace. Unknown-3.jpeg

When Winston Churchill visited FDR, he liked roaming the White House naked at all hours of the day and night, so Eleanor had him moved to Blair House known as the Little White House, so Winnie could flash in private. images-1.jpeg

In 2013, Donald Trump sued comic Bill Maher for calling his father a monkey, ultimately dropping the lawsuit. Melania, who clearly didn’t attend beauty school,  images.jpeg cuts his hair.

President U.S. Grant is buried in New York City because we were the only ones who said, Julia, his wife, could be buried alongside him, images.jpegafter Arlington and West Point said no.

A dairy cow will produce 30% more milk listening to music, as long as it’s not country.

If you put Viagra in a vase with water, flowers will stand straighter.

Audrey Hepburn fell in love with William Holden on the set of their film, Sabrina,  images.jpeg refusing his marriage proposal because he had had a vasectomy that in the 1950s, were irreversible, and she passionately wanted children.

Swans, penguins and eagles all mate for life while beavers, wolves and bats have flings on the side.

Jack Nicholson was raised by his grandparents while his birth mother, June Nicholson, pretended to be his sister. He only found out who his real mother was when he turned 37.

Actor Martin Sheen, at 36, Unknown-1.jpeg suffered an almost fatal heart attack on the set of Apocalypse Now causing Francis Ford Coppola to use a photo double till he recovered.

Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States, succeeding Franklin Roosevelt, never went to college.

Writer, Kurt Vonnegut and his wife, photographer, Jill Krementz, occupied different floors of their New York townhouse after Krementz refused to give him a divorce, living that way till he died in 2007 from falling down his front steps, hitting his head, lapsing into a coma he never came out of. Unknown.jpeg

Teamster President, Jimmy Hoffa’s body was never found because after he was whacked by his best friend who felt, if he had to go, it was only right that he gave Jimmy the two quick shots to his head, was immediately cremated at a nearby mob owned funeral home.

Cary Grant allegedly, according to an ex girlfriend, wore and preferred women’s underwear.

Marilyn Monroe loved to read and was often late because she was finishing a chapter. Unknown.jpeg

Susannah has been known to make a bowl of freshly whipped cream eating it, smeared on Oreos, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Unknown-1.jpeg

Things you now know.

SB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 58 Comments

Working Women

At 6 a.m. Times Square in its emptiness, Unknown.jpeg looks like an abandoned movie set with its massive billboards and theater marquees, while drunks sleep it off in dirty doorways.

As I saunter west to work, my tote bag slung over my arm, I see up ahead, a group of girls gathered like a glamorous gaggle of geese.

Were they just coming home from a night on the town?

When I get closer, the glamour fades like the morning after a party…dirty glasses smeared with lipstick next to smelly ashtrays and food left on greasy paper plates.

I realize they’re working girls, women of the night, members of the oldest profession there is.

Far be it for me to feel superior, understanding that at times, a girl has to do what she has to do to pay her rent, or feed her kids.

Two look like men, their necks and arms big and bracing, while a third is tiny and delicate like a doll that came to life. They have a Fellini look to them, Anita Ekberg about to take a dip in Trevi Fountain, except the joy is missing, the La Dolce Vita nowhere to be seen.

I’m suddenly of interest.

“Oh lookie’ here, all fresh from a showa’ I’ll betcha,” said one, dressed in powder room pink, false eyelashes fluttering like fruit flies.

“I quicken my step, especially when another says, “Ya know what you need doncha’ honey’?”

I can hear them laugh, howling at something I know to be true. Why am I out all alone at such an early hour?

I’m working too, walking the streets, hoping to meet up with inspiration.

Who knew this would be it, humbled by their plight.

These women jump in cars that go around the block for a 20 dollar blow-job. Imagine thinking, that was your only choice for a meal and a room in a fleabag hotel.

My heart softens making me turn around and go back.

The laughs stop. Is she armed? Is she crazy?

“Listen ladies,” I say, with an Anthony Perkins grin, “I know you must be tired. May I treat you to coffee at the cart on the corner?”

They stare at me, never expecting kindness on the heels of their heels.

“Come on, whaddaya’ say?”

Three turn away, but Miss Pink with great pluck, shimmies over. “Are you kiddin’? Why do ya wanna buy us anythin’ when we done nothin’ cep’ make fun a’ ya?”

“I’m glad I made you laugh, because all girls need a good giggle now and then.”

As the two of us meander to Manny’s Fresh Brew…Have a Donut, Danish, Bagel or Two...the others, like mares rejoining the herd, slowly trot over.

It makes me think of the night Jesus met a prostitute who came to him crying, kneeling down, washing his feet with her tears, drying them with her hair. images.jpeg

Now I wasn’t about to give Miss Pink’s feet a wash and set, but I did think I heard the guy in sandals say…

That’s what I’m talkin’ about Susannah. Compassion for all, hearts wide open, leaving any judgement to me.

Inspiration, that little imp, often comes in peculiar packaging.

SB

 

 

Posted in Culture, Fashion, humanity, inspiration, money, New York City, women, words | Tagged , , , , | 71 Comments