Pithier Posts

I’ve been practicing brevity lately in terms of blogging, realizing, posts shouldn’t be the length of War and Peace.

I have 1,571 posts in my archives, and if you read the earlier ones, boy…did I need an editor.

“In writing, you must kill all your darlings,” said William Faulkner, as hard as it may be.

Hemingway’s version of that and I’ll paraphrase…if there’s a line or phrase you can’t live without, that’s when you know, it has to go.

Humility on the page, has it’s honorable place.

Readers want to be entertained and inspired quickly without too much of an investment, and I’m no exception.

I like reading a sharp, spare piece that produces a sigh and swift smile.

It’s also a good exercise to keep a post under 500 words…weeding out your imagination.

Writing is such an art, organic and godlike in its arrival, but I feel we need to carry less luggage on the page, for ourselves as well as our faithful followers.

A Thingirl’s two cents.

SB

Posted in humanity, readng, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

A Bad Receiver

Why is receiving so hard for some?

Why can’t one just muster a gracious thank you and move on?

A person’s discomfort after I send a gift or note, brings up such a wound for me.

The first time I ever made money, I went to Tiffany to buy my mother something special.  I was enthralled with the film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s starring my idol, Audrey Hepburn, so to actually go there was a rite of passage in itself.

When I gave my mother her silver, monogramed hand mirror I had dated with my initials on the back, she said, “Your aunt brought me a mirror from Vegas I much prefer,” putting it back in the box never to be seen again. (Vegas?)

Very painful for a 22 year-old who merely wanted to honor her mom, sharing her first monetary success.

I give naturally, like a tic I can’t control.  I don’t preen in that generosity, but do flinch when it’s criticized.

It’s also a way to heal when I’m hurting since it takes you out of yourself.

My old neighbor, Mimi, who’s already gone a year, scolded me for sending cards.  I felt terrible since, it’s how I keep in touch.  “You’re frivolous,” she told me with iron in her voice. “Don’t waste money like that.”

On friendship, I’m wasting money?

I left something for my other neighbor who’s also older and alone, just with two cats I always address whenever I leave anything…to be funny.

So when I left Patrick a little wind-up baby chick who tap danced on Easter, I truly thought it would please his master.  Well, I was told how silly it was, and don’t I have anything better to do?

Whenever I get my hair done, I bring Chagall a snack since he’s all alone in his shop….kind of like a one man hair band…pun intended, but rather than a thank you, I was told the man who makes Chobani Yogurt funds terrorism and what the hell’s the matter with me buying it. (this was news to me by the way, and shame on you Mr. Chobani.)

And those hits just keep on com’in.

What happened to grace? When did she jump ship, and was it a kidnapping, or suicide?

It’s formal definition is, courteous goodwill, poise…decency, a polite manner of behaving.

We are all born with it, a gift from above, but somehow it gets pushed to the back of the closet in favor of arrogance, judgment and narrow sleeves rolled with rudeness.

I think it’s time, we all clean out our closets.

SB

 

 

Posted in Faith, Gratitude, humanity, Love, parents, religion | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

A Three Dollar Bill

Starbucks  5 A.M.

Believe it or not, there’s a line that luckily, is behind me.

In walks Mr. Brooks Brothers, who I’ve written about (https://athingirl.com/2017/03/01/) perfectly pressed, in his usual hurry.

He looks perplexed, with six customers ahead of him, as if he still might be in his pajamas instead of his navy pinstriped suit.

I spin into neighborly action buying his coffee so he doesn’t have to wait.

While I’m at the milk bar, he nervously comes over waving three dollars in my face like a Confederate flag.  I say, “No, it’s fine, it was my pleasure.”

Appearing to panic, he places the money on my usual table, then zooms out.

Before I can sit there, a man has already occupied it, obviously pocketing the three bucks.

“Excuse me,” I say nicely, “did you happen to see three dollars by any chance?”

“Nope, didn’t see no three dollas.”

“I say nothing more, sitting behind him.

Who goes rushing by the window with his briefcase and L.L.Bean gym bag, but Mr. Brooks Brothers, who as he passes, gives me the high sign.

The man who was the benefactor of his three dollars, gives it back.

Well, guess that was apt when you think about it.

Just one more tale in the Naked City.

SB

Posted in Fashion, Gratitude, humanity, humor, men, New York City, Starbucks | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Those Who Can’t Teach

I came upon a young mother with a baby girl and a brand new Pit puppy, each ambling alongside her, as she slowly pushed a stroller.

African American, pretty, no more than 25, a Norman Rockwell that jumped off the wall.

Have you ever seen a Pit Bull puppy with their big feet and wobbly legs, gallumping, not quite sure what to make of life just yet?   images

And the baby, with her triple diaper action making her bum stick up like a pogo stick, equally amazed at everything she sees, including her new pet.

As I stop to watch, the mother sweetly smiles, giving patience a whole new face, since they’re walking like snails, every few steps, one of them, plopping down on the pavement.

“You have quite an enterprise goin on,” I say to her.

“She’s afraid of our new dog, so I’m trying to teach her, Hero’s her friend.”

“Hero…what a great name, since that’s who he’ll be to her once she gets over her fear.”

As I say this, Ava is her name, is hiding behind her mom’s ample thigh, only revealing one eye, the rest of her hidden in the folds of her mother’s sweat pants. imagesGoogle Images, but a good Ava lookalike

“Can I try something?”

She nods.

I slowly kneel in front of Hero, opening my palms to let him see, I come in peace, the way one should always approach any animal.  That way, they make the decision to be friendly, or not, so there are no misunderstandings.

“Look Ava, Hero is kissing my hands to let me know, it’s okay to pet him,” which I do, along his hardy backside, he thoroughly enjoys.

She watches suspiciously, but then her mom holds out her palms that Hero sniffs and licks, bunts and basks in all the trust he’s happily collecting.

So finally, the little girl, her diapers in the air, kneels down holding out the tiniest two hands her new pal, on cue, accepts with pure love.

I leave them all on their feet, continuing their journey, happy to have contributed.

Have you ever just moved yourself to tears?

Now standing on the corner weeping, being in an emotional state to start with, when the little Latino peanut vendor…a buck a bag…comes over and says, “That was so bee-oo-ta ful Miss,” handing me one….palms open.

Only in New York.

images-1  Anne Geddes

SB

Posted in animals, Faith, Family, food, humanity, humor, kids, Love, New York City, parents, words | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

The Norma Rae of Hats

This involves my friend Ed who dresses like a matinee idol..impeccably stylish…treating his wardrobe with the deference due a king.

That said.

We were working together in a vast space amid many tables and chairs.

Ed had gotten up to get coffee.

I was stretching my legs, when a guy with a plate filled with eggs, sat in Ed’s chair.

It wasn’t so much that he sat there, even though twenty other seats were available, it was that he moved Ed’s hat.

Now to his credit, Ed is a very calm, collected human being, unlike myself whose fuse is the length of a nose hair, so it was no surprise, he didn’t react, and I did.

“Excuse me, someone is sitting there as you can see, by the hat you just moved.”

This ill-mannered putz with a shaved head like a cue ball, looked right through me as if I were glass.

“Did you hear me?”

“Relax.  I’m eating my breakfast.”

“RELAX DID YOU SAY???”  YOU HAD NO RIGHT TO MOVE SOMEONE’S BELONGINGS THE WAY YOU DID AND YOU KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH THAT TONE OF VOICE THERE PAL.”

I saw that Mr. Entitled was getting a little nervous after he dropped eggs on his lap.

I looked over at Ed who said nothing, almost pretending he didn’t know me, or his hat (gee, wonder why), quietly stirring his coffee.

I stood over the guy like a traffic cop who finally got up and sat elsewhere.

Norma Rae: Forget it! I’m stayin’ right where I am. It’s gonna take you and the police department and the fire department and the National Guard to get me outta here!”

I then put Ed’s hat back on his chair, where it belonged, resuming my legendary cheerfulness.

 

images-2

Norma, that little dickens, who looks a lot like Susannah, had finally left the building.

Ed, you can come back now.

🙂  SB

 

 

Posted in Cinema, Fashion, food, humanity, humor, media, New York City, Women and men, words | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Let’s Get This Straight

Teddy Roosevelt coined the phrase…speak softly, and carry a big stick, like when he sent our fleet around the world during peacetime, just to let everyone know…don’t ever think we’re not ready.

Sadly, people who are kind are often perceived as assholes.

I want to set the record straight.

A brutal misconception if there ever was one.

My first chord always, is to be nice since that’s where the fruit is.

To pounce and criticize and rather than a stick, carry a chip, guarantees a rotten result.

HOWEVER…

Sometimes one has to shoot an elbow, as they say, to let it be known…don’t fuck with me Tonto because you’ll be sorry.

My father had no backbone, spending his short life cowling in my mother’s shadow.

My mother on the other hand, was a tyrant, terrorizing, controlling and often ruining the lives of others.  Sounds heavy, I know, but alas, holds much truth.

I like to think I’ve inherited both, but proportionately…not too weak, not too strong.

If I get mad, let’s just say, you better run for cover.

Kindness inside out isn’t weakness…it’s actually strength in gentle packaging.

What an idiot, look at her feeding people, helping the elderly, sharing what she has, but wait, what’s that she’s carrying…looks like a really big stick.

Get my point?

SB

Posted in humanity | Tagged , , , , | 21 Comments

The Weight

I watch struggling women all the time, spending their lives obsessed with their weight.

I see them when I’m running, smothered in Spandex, a fabric that doesn’t breathe hoping   they look thinner, when all it does it accentuate their girth…their skin looking like consommé when they get home.

I often say…thank God, with all my problems, weight isn’t one of them.  If anything, I could gain a few pounds.

But my heart still goes out to those who think thin makes them who they are, because I know what it must be like, the all consuming end of it.

OMG…I SHOULDN’T HAVE HAD THAT PIE OR EXTRA GLASS OF WINE.  IF I DON’T EAT TILL THURSDAY, THEN IT WILL BE OKAY. RIGHT? as she shoves another cookie, cigarette or cell phone in her mouth to tell a friend for the umpteen time.

It’s sad, really, to live your life this way, chronically on a scale, hysterical if it goes up an ounce.  Diets are fruitless since they’re so temporary.  The moment you stop eating only grapefruit or that low fat soy shake, the pounds return like unwanted houseguests.

That’s why Weight Watchers is so successful.  They teach you how to eat proportionately without starving.

Recently I met a girl I often see running, twenty-one if she’s a day.  “I’m depressed,” she told me, so I said, “Why don’t you go for a run…that always helps me.”

“YOU THINK I’M FAT!” she said, bursting into tears.

“No I don’t.  I just know you like the park.”

Twenty-one and she’s obsessed, and thin as a rail I might add.

Eating disorders, irrational ways of looking at ourselves still run rampant in our society.

Who should we blame it on?  Kate Moss, Vogue…our mothers who chided us into skipping dessert calling us fatties if we ordered that dish of ice cream?

Apparently even Jackie did that to Caroline when she, at one point, started to fill out, like it was the worse thing in the world to gain a pound or two.

I don’t know.

I’m just eternally grateful I don’t spend my life looking in the mirror anymore.

I yam what I yam, after all.

And boy, is it a grace.

SB

Posted in Beauty, dessert, Family, Fashion, Health, humor, modeling, New York City, parents, women | Tagged , , , , , , | 52 Comments

Happy Easta

It’s early.

I’m in a very long check-out line at Duane Reade with only one register open, my arms filled with items.

A can of Comet I’m holding, falls to the ground.  A man behind me picks it up.

“You need a cart,” he says.

“See, I do this is on purpose,” I say, “only buy what I can carry.”

I smile…he does not.

The little Latino cashier, with enough cleavage to stop a train, calls out, “The system is a little sluggy…please be patient.  Happy Easta.”

A woman ahead of me dressed all in black says,” It’s Good Friday, for heaven’s sake, not Easter…a very sad day.”

She turns around, shaking her head. “You’d think they’d teach them that.”

“Look,” I say, “in a day or so, all will be well.  Think of Good Friday like a movie you’ve seen and already know the end to.”

“That’s an awful way to put it.”

My Comet drops again.

The man behind me picks it up.

“NEXT!”

I watch the woman pay, almost decapitating the credit card machine taking her Visa out.

“You wanna a receipt?” the cashier asks.

She does not.

My Comet falls a third time.

The man picks it up and slams it on the counter.

“LEAVE IT THERE,” he says.

When it’s finally my turn, the cashier picks up a jar of conditioner I’m about to buy.”  You like this?”

“Yes, it’s good for split-ends.”

“Wanna receipt?”

“I do.”  This seems to please her.

I can’t help but to smile at this overdressed, underpaid, good-hearted girl.

“Happy Easta,” she says.

“And a Happy Easta to you.”

I leave without my Comet, still sitting, like a lost child, on the counter. images-2

SB

 

Posted in Faith, humanity, humor, money, New York City, Women and men, words | Tagged , , , , , | 32 Comments

The Hole In the Donut

I have a sweet tooth I’ve tried to tame, but we still arm wrestle, when he quite often wins the round.

It’s how I met Aziz, the donut man on my corner: glazed, jelly, crullers a foot long, winking from the window of his flaming red cart like sugary whores whispering…

wanna a good time?

I’m not that kinda girl, I  say, as we make awkward eye contact.

Aziz, like a matador, waves his cape to tempt me even when I say I have no cash, armed with only my prepaid Starbucks card.

“Ah, you could use a donut,” he says.”

Yeah, I’ve heard that one before, as my sugar count does the tango.

“You pay me tomorrow.  I know you.  I see you every day,” lowering a nicely wrapped cruller from the window.

I think for a second.  Well, it would be rather rude not to accept since, he is making a friendly gesture.

Next thing I know, cruller and I are at the deli buying a quart of fat free milk.

A girl, after all, does have to make a sacrifice here and there, doesn’t she?

Ho-hum

SB

 

Posted in food, friendship, humanity, humor, men, New York City, Starbucks | Tagged , | 22 Comments

Deaf and Dumb

I’m a firm believer that things are put in front of you for a reason.

I’ve been having a challenging time as of late, mostly pertaining to my hearing loss.

So when I encountered a man who could neither hear nor speak in the supermarket, I knew it was no accident.

There he was, searching the aisles for honey cake, frustrated he couldn’t find it.  Instead of just moseying along, the man started to cry.

Mind you, he was in his 40s, with a Dom Deluise face that would break your heart without tears.

A worker goes to help, looking at a sheet of looseleaf paper he’s holding like the Magna Carta.

“We don’t have that,” she nicely says.

He wails louder.

I couldn’t just watch.  I gently approach him and say, “Why not get another kind.  What about lemon, or pound cake?  I know they have those.”

He tries to speak but can’t, but I can see by his expression, it’s honey cake or nothing.

Not knowing how to help him, I dig out my rusty Catholicism and say a prayer.

“God, I know this is a busy week for you, but would you help this man for heaven’s sake?”

Just then, the nice girl comes over with an Entenmann’s Pound Cake and a jar of honey.

He looks at both tenderly, and finally, stops crying.

I leave humbled knowing, whatever’s going on in one’s life, it can always be a lot worse.

To quote Winston Churchill…If you’re going through hell, keep going.

sigh

SB

 

Posted in dessert, Faith, food, humanity, Love, men, New York City, religion, words | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments