Friendship a Bloomin’

The Latino woman preceding me most days in the Starbuck’s line, along with the African American cook who works for a rich family on Fifth, have become fast friends.

I’ve been watching it unfold, this funny friendship you’d never expect to see.


Well, the cook is well over 6 feet, her legs the length of Long Island, and the little Latino Lady, and I mean little, is barely an inch taller than a dwarf.

They treat one another to coffee and the newspaper, while the cook, an amazing baker, brings her pal treats, like freshly made scones and apple fritters, producing a smile that could easily melt ice.

One morning, I even got a fritter, the size of my sneaker.

Kindness, alas, is very rare these days.  No one even notices the person seated next to them, so watching these women who met drinking coffee, honor one another in small, nurturing ways, moves me more than I can say.

To look at them you’d think, what could they possibly have in common?  Well, besides being women, they’re both hard working and happy, just to be part of the world.  Toss in their goodwill and innate generosity, and they could easily, be sisters.

So what if one’s a little short…:)    



Posted in food, friendship, grace, humanity, humor, Love, New York City, Starbucks, women | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

A Not Nice New York

I live on the Upper East Side in the middle of a pretty block.

If you go west, all is clean and peaceful, doormen sweeping, hosing down the pavement.  Seasonal flowers planted on each esplanade.

However, if you go east, it’s a whole other story.

Between jackhammers digging up the street, breaking pipes like it’s a way of life.  Swarms of commuters, faces buried in their phones, pushing their way, without pause nor apology.  The professional panhandlers, every few feet, begging and perfecting their wanton wails, even though we see them later, jumping into taxis.

A new guy has joined the team who, when you say no, screams…you hunky bitch…you white, rich bitch…you can’t give me nothin?

Me, with my Starbucks card still filled with birthday presents, I’m betting Don Rickles has more cash than I do.

How can you live there?  I’m often asked.  Aren’t you afraid?

Actually no.  Do I need to be careful and watch my back, like in any jungle?  Absolutely.  Is it pleasant to be accosted that way, whether it’s about money or noise, rudeness or crowding, just trying to get down the street?

I hate it, grateful I can meander the other way where civility is not yet a thing of the past.

What can I say?

I love New York.  It’s my home, even when she belongs in rehab.


Posted in grace, Home, humanity, humor, money, New York City, Starbucks | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

A Word That Doesn’t Matter

 I read a lot, and occasionally a word will jump off the page, smacking me good across my cheek.

Bagatelle, is the latest.

A noun that means, a thing of little importance.  A throwaway occurrence or set of circumstances…in other words, something not to lose sleep over.

It also describes, an easy task, a light piece of music, and a small game you play on a sloping board.

But we’re interested in the first meaning…an event of insignificance.

I’ve never heard bagatelle used in conversation, though it keeps coming up in prose and will admit, looks pretty awesome on the printed page.

It’s nice looking, the way it’s spelled using three, plain, ordinary words.  Bag-a-tell/e, one could say, describes itself, to a T.

Shelia said to Amy, as they walked down Fifth, “You get so upset over nothing.  It’s a mere bagatelle to cast off, like lint, on your cashmere.  She means nothing…a blowjob in back of a limo en route to the airport.”

Yes, I too occasionally need a little fluff to divert and distract.  Like Bono says, whatever gets you through the night.

But back to the English language that rarely bores nor disappoints.

I made a list of my own bagatelles.  All the irks and miffs that rile and rankle, and just plain drive me crazy.

They didn’t call, she’s late, he didn’t say hello.

What’s that? How rude. Don’t expect to see me again.

Minutia, ephemera, those Micky Mouse, minor details weighing us down, wasting our time.

Nonessentials…trifles…the inconsequential trivialities that spring up like a sudden rash.

Hogwash, hokum, hooey and phooey.  Twaddle, tommyrot, picayune, penny-ante poop…the small potatoes of life having no meaning nor staying power.

I’m thinking after my morning shower, before leaving the house, to make sure all bagatelles, as pretty as they may preen, are all placed in the shredder where they belong.

We’ll call it, traveling emotionally light.

Language, a force unto itself.



Posted in Books, humor, readng, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 25 Comments

See Ya Later Allegator

I’m afraid to turn on the news.

Who will be the next, alleged, sexual predator to be outed.

Yes, that wasn’t a typo…alleged….innocent till proven guilty.  It’s still America after all.  At least it was, last time I looked.

I have visions of every male celebrity pacing like pumas trying to recap their past conduct.

Well there was that fat girl’s ass I grabbed in preschool.

Yes, I’m making light of it.  But you have to understand I make fun of everything.  It’s how I’ve survived all these years.

I have great empathy for the victims courageously coming out of their cocoons of shame, another thing I know all about.  But I also have empathy for their abusers.

Kevin Spacey for example, someone I’ve idolized, has fallen so far, his life, never mind his career, will never be the same.

I remember writing to him, years ago, when he appeared on Broadway, writing back, graciously thanking me.  I still have the note somewhere.

As individuals, our appetites run deep, and most of us, thankfully, have learned to control them.  Sadly, that hasn’t been the case here.

But, I want to remind the world, we’re all flawed.  Some of us more than others, including our heroes.  That’s certainly not an excuse, but a reasonable explanation.



Posted in Cinema, humanity, humor, internet, Politics, sex, Women and men, writing | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

What’s Wrong With Me Ed?

I’m a Bobby Kennedy fan.

I even have his picture in a nice, silver frame on my window sill, so it’s not unusual for me to be reading about him still again, as in, Robert Kennedy, a Memoir, by Jack Newfield, written in 1969, a year after his death.

Newfield, who at the time, was writing an authorized biography of Bobby, was traveling alongside him during his 82 day presidential campaign which sadly included June 5, 1968, the day he was shot in the Ambassador Hotel’s kitchen in Los Angeles, California.

I had eight pages left, but put the book down before going to bed, unusual for me not to finish, when I was so near the end.

This made me think of Ken Burns, the documentary filmmaker, who, while finishing the soundtrack for his film, The Civil War, when it came down to putting in the gunshot that killed Abraham Lincoln, hesitated, he said, because he could then keep Lincoln alive, just a little longer.

It made me see why I didn’t finish those last pages.

If I could keep Bobby talking, laughing, smiling up on that podium giving his acceptance speech for winning the California primary, I too, could keep him alive.

I wrote to my friend Ed who happens to be in California, not far from where the Ambassador Hotel once stood, asking, what’s wrong with me Ed, that I could still weep this way, after finally reading those last few pages?

I unpacked, and then, with the lights out, I sat in a chair and tried to adjust to the reality of Robert Kennedy dying.  Why did it happen?  What did it mean?  What did I think about violence?  My thoughts were not clear:  they were not strong enough to support my feelings.  I finally wrote down just three words on a lined yellow pad.  He is irreplaceable….then I went to sleep remembering, he was only 42 years old.

Jack Newfield    





Posted in Books, Faith, grace, History, humanity, media, Politics, readng, violence, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

The Home Porn Network

I woke up to an offer of a nice, medium skinned Pakistani gal who excels in cheerful porn…

Free introductory offer.

Cheerful? Does she sing? Hum? juggle?

Would I be hearing show tunes in the background as she whips out her whip?

Do you have anything else in a navy or tan on one of the upper floors perhaps?

Do people really say yes, like it’s a free trial of whipped cream, no pun intended.

I started to politely answer, no thanks, the neurotic, well-mannered New Englander that I am, then said…wait a minute…wait a cotton pickin, pornographic minute.  We must erect, ok, will change that..we must build a boundary, even where punctilio is concerned.

No, not porntilio, punctilio..go get your glasses Kate.    

SB…Online Shopper




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Lucky Dog

Lucky is a 15 year-old toy poodle who’s on his way to the dentist to have a tooth pulled.

He belongs to Mr. Brooks Brothers, the man I see in Starbucks most mornings.

I first saw them one Sunday more or less standing still, since Lucky now resembles a Hummel, unable to go very far.  I of course ignored this, bending down to scratch his butt, one of those universal dog gestures that can’t miss, at any age.

Mr B, in his rumpled khakis and polo shirt, his hair sticking up like Alfalfa’s, talked about Lucky as if he’d be competing in the Westminster Dog Show.

Let’s just say, Lucky is so old, if you put him up on your bookshelf, he’d stay there.

This morning, when we met, Mr.B. was very nervous over Lucky’s dental appointment.  I asked if Lucky was in any pain, and was he eating?”  “Yes,” he said. “He eats fine and doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort.”

“So, why not just leave him be.  I mean he is 15 after all.”

Well, you would have thought I was an undertaker, trying to make a quick sale.

“If you had an abscess, wouldn’t you have it taken care of?  I mean really!!!”

Now, I’m not versed in figuring out how old I’d be in dog years, since it’s just too scary, but said, “if I was, you know, creeping up there, I might feel it wasn’t necessary to put myself through that.”

See, it’s always risky putting an older animal (not to mention a human), under anesthesia, which was the whole point he pretended, he wasn’t getting.  It was clear he was concerned about it too.

“Who’s taking him to the vet?”

“I am.”

“Is anyone going with you (like the wife we never see)?”

“No, I’m going alone.”

“Want me to meet you there, ya know, for support?”

Boy, did I get a strange look.  I wasn’t exactly making a pass at him, but of course, he doesn’t know me as Joan of Bark, just some stray he sees in the Starbuck’s line, but that’s his problem and yes, he declined the offer.

As they say in 12 Step, what you think of me, is none of my business.


Epilogue…according to sources (Julie the barista), Lucky came through with flying colors and is resting comfortably, reading the Times, eating mango sorbet, his favorite.

Lucky dog.



Posted in animals, Family, grace, humanity, humor, New York City, Starbucks | Tagged , , , , | 28 Comments

Marathon Weekend 2017

 One can’t help but to think of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, when New York’s annual Marathon takes place this coming Sunday.  It’s like runner’s roulette…where three thousand or more are gathered.

Yet the crowds come, runners assemble, ignoring the possibilities that after, what occurred this past Tuesday, when 8 people were casually killed by a terrorist, anything could happen, anywhere, at anytime.  But that’s what terrorism is all about after all, to be frightened enough not to participate.  So we all say, screw’em, as we go to baseball games and outdoor graduations, rock concerts and strolls in the park, along peaceful, serene bike paths, with or without our bikes…

the ones left standing, determined to live our lives.

I won’t be going to the park this weekend, not out of fear, but for the race’s overall intrusion.  The barricades preventing you from your normal route, the many families supporttng the runners, congesting the pathways.

It’s like Disney without the rides.

We also have all the young men trying to get laid before the race, thinking it’s their due. “So’a, vont ta eat pasta weet me?” Thinking they can invite a guest, at the night before, pasta dinner, they throw for the runners every year, trying to woo you with cheap rigatoni.

“No thanks, but have a great, SAFE, race,” would be my stock phrase.  Even I’ve had past invites, as they dazzle, from the waist down, hoping to catch your eye.

You have to admire their pluck, plus enthusiasm over pasta and Poland Spring, the signature water of the race.

I always try to be the good American hostess without talking off my clothes…cheering, smiling, hoping, they all happily cross the finish line, safe and sound.          







Posted in grace, Health, Home, humanity, New York City, violence, words | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

8 Dead Near 9/11 Memorial

Luckily, I was nowhere near the latest horror show where a 29 year-old man drove a Home Depot rental truck, down a westside bike path killing 8 innocent, unsuspecting people, including 5 visitors from Argentina and one from Belgium, who probably just paid their respects at the September 11th, Memorial.

A guess, but a good one.

The Argentine nationals were part of a group of friends celebrating the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation.

Beside the 8, 11 more were injured, including the shooter, Sayfullo Saipov, a Uzbek immigrant who until recently had been living in Tampa, Florida.

Inside his rental truck a handwritten note was found declaring his allegiance to ISIS, according to The Wall Street Journal.

And you wonder why everyone objects to tighter immigration laws.  I’m no Trump fan, but after living through 9/11, plus several other terrifying events, I see why it’s necessary.

And I’m always amazed how young these men are who commit these acts in the name of ISIS, the acronym for the Islamic State, who claim they didn’t direct it, but this kid, and yes, he’s a kid in my opinion, still has had his mind twisted by them inspiring his actions.

Just look where it took place, near New York’s biggest graveyard, because despite the grandeur of the museum, the land it’s built on, echoes the fallen.

So, he returns to pay his respects by killing 8 more.  Apparently you can download an ISIS, Do-It-Yourself Kill Kit, that shows you how.

I was way uptown when my friend Joanne, from Tampa, who may have even lived near this guy, emailed, she was worried about me but didn’t say why.

As I went about my day, casually wondering, what happened now, since New Yorkers, including myself, have become accustomed to sudden events such as what happened yesterday.  As my friend Jackie used to say, it’s the price of doing business, living in New York.

Frankly, I’m tired of doing business with the likes of theses extremists who can rent a truck, buy firearms, deciding, I think I’ll kill a few Americans today, and if I’m lucky, toss in a couple of tourists, for good measure.

I will pray for the victims, on my knees, in the grace of not being one of them.



Posted in Family, grace, History, humanity, internet, media, men, New York City, Politics, war | Tagged , , , , | 36 Comments

Halloween To Go

I just had such a fight with Frank the super over, why the kids in the building, can’t knock on friendly doors, like in the good old days.

“It ain’t safe,” said he…

“Older tenants are afraid to let people roam the floors.”

“You mean, short people that are under 9?  Ya think maybe they’ll hide a bomb in their goodie bag? Hmm, why didn’t I think of that.  Even ISIS would get a kick outta that one.”

“Hey, I’m just the super followin orders.  If ya want, leave some candy downstairs and who’s eva on the door, will hand it out.”

Oh did that just get my Italian perkin like a double edged espresso.

Kids love Halloween.  I was one of them.  Even though my mother made me either a beatnik or a bum in basically the same outfit, I loved going from house to house.  From Mrs. Pivorotto’s to Mrs. Clancy’s, over to the Walter’s, Dernfield’s, Bliar’s, Monaghan’s, Ruggiero’s, wrapping up with Mary Pendegast who let you dip in her basket twice which was how she got the name, Double Dip Mary.

I mean, it was the one time a year all bets were off, candy wise.

Half the fun was saying, trick or treat…whaddya got good ta eat.

Letting Al, or Mike the doorman fill up those bags like they were delivering mail, just won’t be the same.

Wish I had known sooner, Norma Rae would have made a special appearance.

Well, there’s always next year.

As for me, I’m going out as Carmela the Bassett Hound, wearing a long tube top over tights with a very frisky tail that matches my ears I made from brown polo socks.  I’ve been practicing my wiggle all week.   

See, even big people love Halloween.


Posted in animals, Connecticut, Family, food, Home, humanity, humor, kids, New York City | Tagged , , , , | 27 Comments