The Raccoon Residence

I’ve been running early, to beat the heat.

So this morning, right when the light came up…like nature flips a switch…I came upon two raccoons scurrying across the road.  One a little bigger than the other, deciding, they must be siblings.

You could practically hear the dialogue…the raccoonese, as they sprinted home.

“Hurry up…Mom’s gonna kill us if we’re late again. quiet…pick up your paws for God’s sake.  Have I taught you nothing?”

Imagine being a teenager scrambling back in your bedroom window after a night of secret reveling, and in their case, cherry picking, if you will.

I stood watching as they slowly climbed up a huge tree, the bigger, letting the smaller, go first.

As they made their way to the very top I thought, why those sneaky, little fuckers…look at them…they live in the penthouse.    🙂             


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Curious Thoughts

The way the world is complaining about the heat.

Doesn’t it remember bitching about the cold not that long ago?  And how lucky are we to have air-conditioning and ceiling fans where many unfortunates don’t even have water to cool off in…sigh.  All I can say is, get a grip people, tis the season.

 Lady Gaga advertising for Tiffany.

When I grew up it was a rite of passage going there when all was Audrey Hepburn and that light blue box.  Diamonds and emeralds, rubies and pearls gleamed from their cases, while pretty people in navy suits smiled as you tooled by.  Lady Gaga?  My mother, in her signature choker, is rolling in her grave.

Our Tweeting President. 

I can’t say enough how irritated it makes me that he is so inappropriate.  Can you imagine Teddy texting?  Or FDR?  Okay, JFK would have had Bobby do it at least, but to casually blurt out every thought like a high schooler just throws me for a loop.

Men in droopy drawers.

I asked a kid on the train, if wearing his pants below his thighs was comfortable and he said, “No, man, that’s why I’m always pullin-em up.”

“Then why wear them then?”

“Cause they’re cool, and how else would-ja see ma Tupac boxers?”    

“Fair enough.”

Patrick, the cat, down the hall who only eats Bumble Bee Tuna (in water). 

His father, in a panic, because three stores were out, when as a last resort, knocked to see if I had a spare can. “Yes, I do,” saving the day.  What I didn’t mention, yes she shops early, was it was part of his Xmas stocking already in progress.  Better order a few more cans since it’s a long ways till December.




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I saw an interesting sign in a florist’s window that said…

Order your boutonnieres a week in advance…

Now there’s word you don’t hear or see much.

A boutonniere is a spray of flowers worn, typically by men, in the buttonhole of their suit jacket, usually a single bud of some kind…roses, mums and carnations are the norm.  

Bouton, French for button, made me think of Vanderbilts and Astors, women in white gloves with parasols, and my pal Ed who’s the only one I know who could pull off anything floral in his lapel.

Since it’s prom and wedding season, and considered the male version of a corsage, that sign suddenly made sense.

After seeing it, boutonnieres popped up everywhere.  Pallbearers idling near a hearse with white roses pressed against their black mourning suits.  

A group of graduates on church steps, the young men with sprigs of lilies of the valley peeking from Brooks Brothers blazers.

A natty looking guy in front of me at a gourmet store with a woven circle of lilac, held with a pink straight pin you could purposely see.   

It made me dream of a different time when flowers spoke for the person they graced with cheer, celebration and alas, grief.  An adormement that, sadly, won’t last reminding us, neither will we.

Did John Jacob Astor have a boutonniere in his lapel when he went down on the Titanic?

Did he order his a week in advance?

I’ll bet he had them delivered daily, never leaving home without one.  I don’t really know, but it’s just a hunch.      







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When The Lettuce Turns

There’s an Italian expression my grandmother liked, when lettuce ceases to be edible…fachadda...meaning, the leaves are dead, shriveled…salad history, if you will.

I had a week that left me, let’s just say, fachadda, in every area.

It began with a job…a good one, money wise, but it’s theme…CANCER…which is like winning a cruise aboard the Titanic.

I had to pretend to be a woman on her way out with waxed eyebrows and head scarves, IVs and a husband who was already mentally making funeral arrangements.

Yes, I’ll repeat, the pay was good, but at great emotional cost.

I came home after two days so down and dazed, I couldn’t even eat.  I thought of all the people who actually go through this, feeling terribly humbled…incredibly guilty to be able to just pretend.

Then I get an email with photos a girl took of me.  Someone I’ve been very kind and supportive of, that made me look as if I truly had cancer.

“Did you bother to even remotely retouch these, even a little?” I asked her, more than a bit bewildered.

“Oh, I worked on them for an hour.”

“An hour?  Was the TV on?  Were you also ironing and having sex?  Excuse me, while I bind the bullet wound you’ve just inflicted.”

I looked like Georgia O’Keefe, just with gloss.

When I finally took my head out of the oven, I donned a pair of shorts to venture to the park where hopefully the green would comfort and soothe, not to mention put all this into prospective, when I find a note stuck in my door from my new neighbor.

They finally, after a year, rented Mimi’s apartment, to a young couple with two small children.  I had met the husband earlier in the week, inviting him in for a cup of coffee. His missus with their little girls had yet to arrive, so I was more than happy to be simply neighborly.

The note said…are you sitting down?

Stay away from my husband or I will contact management.

I read it three times to make sure I got it right.  Suddenly I’m Mrs. Robinson with a Mellita.

First cancer, then a face like a map that could lead you out west, and now a threat from a woman I hadn’t met yet.

I don’t even know how to end this except to say,  I just hope your week was a whole lot better than mine.


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Best Story Of The Week

I’m sitting in a cafe having tea, lost in thought, I gather…looking a bit lonely; an uneaten pastry before me, an unopened book on my lap.

A pretty, young girl, no more than twenty, sidles over and says,” Ma’am, I think you may need a hug.”

Before I can respond, she kneels down, gently putting her tattooed arms around me, giving me, though brief, a nice, big squeeze.

Then she’s gone, like an angel with artwork drawn along her arms.

So here I sit, in wonder, my heart very full, finally reaching for that pastry.


Posted in Books, dessert, food, grace, humanity, Love, New York City, readng, words | Tagged , , , | 23 Comments

The Chin and I

What happened to the days when buying a raffle ticket meant, you won a car or a trip to Spain?

I, on the other hand, after shelling out ten bucks for a good cause, won a free consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon.

Even the home Jeopardy Game would have been preferable…but of course I went, it was free after all.

The doctor, who smelled like the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, asked, if there was anything about my face I found particularly disturbing.

How bout all of it?  No, I kept my Connecticut in check and just said, my chin…or chins if you will.

It’s funny how you only have one your whole life, when suddenly, out pops another as if it had a secret twin, all along.

After rubbing his hands with enough disinfectant to deliver a baby, he lifted those twins with his trusty forefingers…up and down, right and left.

It was more exercise they’ve ever had, making me hope they wouldn’t ache in the morning.

He smiled before saying, “Well, you’re lucky you have such good bones since they compensate for much of the sagging.”

“Sagging?”  Now there’s a word I could live without.

“We could lift and straighten a bit, fill in here and there…nothing too radical, to make you appear fresher.  We call it a lifestyle lift.”

“What does this lifestyle lift cost, may I ask?”

“Oh, it’s nothing…one of our lesser fees…8 thousand or so…give or take, and I can shave a little off the top, just for you.”

“Really, that’s good news since, I’d certainly need a shave.”

So, following the advice of JFK…lets grabs our balls (or chins in this case) and go, I thanked the scented doctor, said, me and my chins would be in touch, and went straight to a bar.

It was the least I could do, their spirits sagging so.

Bottoms Up        





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Sans Culottes

Sans culottes is French for no undies…a state I’m often in, especially in the heat.

I shed everything possible, having tremendous understanding of the nudist’s mentality.

I had an appointment for my annual skin scan when my dermatologist dons a miner’s hat to examine my body…top to bottom.  I’m very fair you see, so for me, it’s crucial to have one.

My appointment was at 10, so I ran over to Chagall’s to get my hair trimmed, sans culottes, planning to go home first, to appropriately suit up.

I’m from Connecticut.  If no other time, you wear undies to the doctor’s, and that doesn’t mean a thong either.  Your mother, even mine, briefed me on briefs, even if it was, ever so briefly.


“Hullo, this is Bee from Dr. W’s office, and we were wondering, could you possibly come now since the man before you is stuck in traffic?”

Hmm…this was quite a dilemma for Miss Connecticut, feeling like Grant at Appomattox who wanted to change into cleaner clothes, but that meant keeping General Lee waiting.

What to do…what to do?

“Well Bee, I can come, except for one thing.  I’m not wearing underwear and don’t know how the doctor feels about that.”

Without skipping a beat, Bee says, “Oh that’s not a problem.  He doesn’t wear any either.”

“Well in that case.”

So like Grant, I didn’t change, nor keep him waiting…

sans culottes.     




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Back In Step

I’ve been a member of Al-Anon, a 12-Step program for those affected by the aftershocks of alcohol, for 12 years.

I stopped attending meetings due to my hearing loss, but two weeks ago, went back.

It was the best decision I’ve made in a while.

Growing up in an alcoholic home is no picnic.  You develop, as an adult, strangely, since you spend most of your youth just trying to survive, which is what I did.

The results of a childhood conducted through your parent’s drinking, are anything but gentle, distorting what you see and hear.

I’ve heard it described as life through a funhouse mirror, just minus the fun.

We tend to suffer heavily in the self-esteem department meaning, we haven’t much, since, no one, as kids, instilled it in us.  It was more the opposite…you’re a big failure with little value to the world.

The alcoholic’s misery spills like the contents of their glass into your young consciousness taking hold, destroying much in it’s midst, the sad nature of the addicted beast.

Through the grace of the Al-Anon program, you can improve how you think of yourself, but the scars remain.  Takes very little to incite a bad case of the…I hate myselfs, causing an emotional fever that can halt you in your tracks.

When you attend a meeting, you get to listen to others who have suffered as well.  The great news is, you’re not alone, therefore, not the unique freak you always thought you were.

I learned to go easy on myself in Al-Anon…to not judge my wounds as if they were self-inflicted.

But alas, my recent lapse into unworthiness was due to many things pinching those wounds.

Had to let some old-time friendships go that were too painful to keep.

Had to accept that my hearing loss keeps people at bay, but it doesn’t make me less of who I am.

It hurts to be so blatantly rejected, not asked to the party, if you will, but it’s a grace to remember their discomfort is not because of you.  You’re just the unfortunate recipient of their ignorance and absence of humility.

But the doors on a Sunday in a church basement, on the Upper Eastside of New York, where you’ll find 30 or so people, who don’t judge you by anything but your overall goodness, will welcome you no matter what.

Imagine an oasis with smiles and folding chairs.

A safe place where you can share your experience, strength and hope emerging at your full height knowing, this too shall pass.

I’m not standing at my full height as yet, but I’m getting there.



Posted in alcohol, Books, Faith, Family, friendship, grace, Gratitude, humanity, humor, Love, New York City, parents, words | Tagged , , , | 33 Comments

The Cosby Mysteries

I’ve been following Bill Cosby’s trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania distressed for him, the woman that’s been testifying against him, and his family, especially his wife of 53 years.

The man is 79 years-old, half blind, drenched in humiliation.

It doesn’t get much uglier than this.

What bothers me the most is…all these women, saying, he drugged them in order to have sex without too much effort on his part, is why they were in his presence to begin with.

Let’s do the math here.

He was a handsome, brilliant, groundbreaking, black man, and they wanted to be with him…but all of him. They wanted foreplay, in words, wishing to hear what he had to say.  His likes and dislikes, what made him smile…where that creative genius stemmed from.  One has to remember how amazing he was, especially back then, owning the stage as the African American Elvis, of comedy.

But good old, entitled Bill didn’t want to be bothered with all that.  He had a need, an itch to be scratched, if you will, and knocking them out like Kewpie Dolls seemed the quickest solution.

Andrea Constrand, having come forward so publicly, must feel it’s both a grace and a curse.  To have to sit on a witness stand describing in sordid detail what happened, has to be very painful, yet finally, dropping the weight of it, incredibly liberating.

She liked Bill, trusted him and probably would have had consensual sex with him, but he just didn’t care enough about her, or any of her peers, to take the time to be the consummate gentleman they all assumed he was.

Oh Bill, what were you thinking?

And look at you now.    



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Only I would come upon a 16 year-old girl weeping, early in the morning, because she feels her ass is too big.

First off, I never go by anyone who’s crying without stopping to see why.  I’ve had so many conversations with babies in their carriages, I can’t tell you.

We chat, while mom or nanny are on their phone in the only language a baby knows…tears.

Of course the moment they get your attention they stop, looking at you as if to say, hey, at 3 months, this is all I got.

But back to the lassie with the big chaise.

Apparently her mother is getting on her ass, no pun intended, for it’s opulence in her exercise togs, and yes, it was very Jennifer Lopez if I should say so myself, but if you were to ask J.Lo, she’d say, it’s all good.

I tried humoring her by saying, it was perfectly fine to have such a beautiful hourglass figure, and she should be pleased.

More tears.

“My mother said I’m bottom heavy.”

“Oh, I should be so bottom heavy.  I’ve been called an ironing board and a Number-Two- Pencil.  I’d give anything to look like you.”

Okay, so I was stretching a bit, and I was…my calves, but she needed succor of some kind and when Susannah reports for duty, the sky’s the limit in the comfort department…so then, my writer/cub reporter came out asking, “is your mother very thin?”

She nods.

“Obsessed with her weight?”

She nods.

BINGO….we have a parent with an eating disorder of some kind, even if it’s the Upper Eastside variety meaning, it’s all about ME ME ME and how I look and my daughter needs to be, THIN THIN THIN, just like me.

A trying tribe these women are who pass it on to their offspring, making them off more than a few centimeters, when they should be just enjoying their adolescence without struggle or strain.

Wonder who I’m channeling…however, it’s food, another unfortunate pun, for thought.

After self-deprecating myself to death, she finally stopped crying.

“You’re beautiful,” I told her, “and I suggest you get yourself a very big stick so you could beat the boys off who are going to chase you like the fox you are…and of course, you can also use it on your mother.”

Ah, at last, a smile.



Posted in Beauty, Fashion, food, humanity, humor, kids, New York City, parents, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 27 Comments