Edwina Allan Poe

I seem to be giving the term cranky all new meaning, blaming it on the weather, but it dawned on me, I’m kinda like this all year round.

All writers are moody, I’m told. I try finding comfort in this, although it’s usually followed by, and quite often drunk.

I stopped drinking a while ago. It wasn’t exactly improving things, and my bills were becoming legendary. I think Bank of America said my Visa and I were headed for a free washer and dryer at the rate we were going.

What’s ailing me? Mostly the behavior of others which is why I’m hermetically sealed in my apartment like a sullen shepherd. All I need is a flock of sheep to tend.

BAH…BAH humbug.

An ex of mine, a guy I was pretty nuts about, came sniffing back around. Seems he’s single now, or will be, and is looking for a handy replacement. No, I wasn’t thrilled by this. The translation at such a sudden reappearance is…to do laundry and pack his bags because he travels ten months out of the year. Gee, wonder why he’s getting a divorce.

He was stunned when I showed little interest, his ego the size of Jupiter.

“You never spoke to me again, remember?” I said, trying not to slap him.

“Yeah, but you know why sweetie, come on.”

“Actually I don’t, but guess what Tonto, I don’t care.” And Edwina turned on her high heel and loped off head held high.

I was mad, because not that long ago, I would have traded a kidney to hear those words, but alas, timing is everything. I did cry though thinking it was a helluva time to be on the wagon since brandy is such a good listener.

But then, wrapped in my down comforter, old cranky me thought, when all is said and done, whether you’re on the eternal rag or not, you’ve come a long way baby.

Yes indeed.   

SB

 

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Posted in alcohol, animals, Gratitude, humanity, humor, Love, New York City, sexual relationships, Women and men, writing | Tagged , , , , | 32 Comments

Mating Season

The minute there’s a whiff of serious spring, the mallards of Central Park couple up. You see the male, his dark green head following the female, who looks more like a Shaker in her simple brown ensemble while she takes her morning stroll.

He seems proud of his up and coming fatherhood, but don’t let his attentiveness fool you.

He’s not such a great husband, from what I’ve read, since after she gives birth, he will hit the road flipping her the bird, so to speak.

He’ll stay through her whole pregnancy, then you’ll see her with 6 to 8 ducklings in tow, in a row, waddling behind without a daddy.

She seems unconcerned, her feathers unruffled, since her offspring are more important than that lyin-ass webbed casanova. There’s so much to teach after all…swimming, fishing, grooming, before the kids have ducklings of their own.

Nature once again is making her point how superior women are, because where are those birddogs anyway?

Handing out cigars perhaps? Drunk at some outdoor bistro on Wild Turkey?

I’d say, Cold Duck is more likely.     

🙂

SB

Posted in animals, Beauty, Family, grace, humor, nature, New York City, sex, Women and men | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Old, Slow But Natty

I love the word natty, meaning elegant and debonair…fashionable in dress, carrying that certain extra something with dash and poise, so when I saw this spiffy looking, elderly man making his way to Park Avenue, I took an admirable pause.

He was of average height, wavy gray hair brilliantined, just enough. He wore a full length camel hair coat with gray woolies peeking underneath, while a plush navy Burberry scarf billowed in the wind. But what really got my attention were his shiny, cordovan laced up shoes, picking up the first shards of the early morning light. He was a classy, well-heeled…natty man who alas, walked like a snail.

It was the changing of the guard taxi wise so the avenue was packed with exhausted, impatient drivers not too thrilled to see this man turtling along.

I was worried he might get hit, especially after a guy already screamed at him before he even reached the corner.

What I’ve learned about helping the elderly is to do it tactfully, to not make them feel old and incompetent…so, I slyly sidled up and said, “Excuse me sir, I’m feeling a little faint, so could I take your arm crossing? It would really help if I could.”

“Of course young lady, will be my pleasure, ” he said, extending his camel haired sleeve showing, he was not only chic but also, clearly a gentleman.

I looked right and left, just waiting for some tired, turbaned twit to shout out something about our speed, which was pretty slow, but were allowed to take our time till we reached the northeast corner of Park and 79th.

“Thanks sir, I really appreciate you helping me.”

“Not at all, not at all. Will you be okay?”

“Yes, I’ll be fine. You have a great day.”

He saluted me like an old Colonel, and with great style, slowly, went on his way.

SB

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Best Story of the Week

It’s still dark, as I sprint from the park heading towards home to shower and change for an early appointment.  As I careen across 86th Street, there’s a female in front of me who jumps as I proceed to pass.

“Sorry,” I say over my shoulder, “didn’t mean to scare ya.”  In that brief instant I see she’s all of 15, her ear buds closing out the world around her.  As I reach my building I think, you don’t have time for a Joan of Arc Susannah, but turn back anyway.

“Hey,” I say, smiling my best, I know I should mind my own business, smile.” She at once takes out her iPod politely paying attention to my sudden reappearance.

“Its none of my business, but…before, when I frightened you, remember?”

She nods. “Well, what if that wasn’t me? It’s dark, you’re listening to your music…you’re so young and pretty, someone could hurt you. Please take better care of yourself on your way, I’m guessing to the train. Okay?” I pause, hoping not to get sassed for my unsoliticed two cents.

She nods again, but this time with a great big smile as she obediently folds up her iPod putting it inside her purse and says, “Thank you, ma’am, I will.”

Could’a done without the ma’am part, but hey…bottom line?

If you have to be late, let it be for a kid.

SB

Posted in grace, humanity, internet, kids, music, New York City, travel, words | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

Those 3 a.m. Voices

Sometimes at exactly 3, I sit straight up in bed as if someone called my name.

I sense something, a presence that I realize is just me calling out to myself.

My mind at once opens one of two drawers.  One marked trouble, the other grace, if I pause, choosing the latter.

Writing is the first gift kept on top…my art, my love of words, communing on the page. It also resides in the trouble file as though grace was bleeding from it’s bottom, feeling inadequate in my abilities.

The clock ticks loudly at 3 a.m. giving each prospective equal time to state it’s case.

Who do you think you are, makes his appearance next to, boy was your mother right when she said, you were stupid. Toss in those you thought were friends who behind your back ridicule and you’re breaking pencils, tearing pages, determined to remove your hard drive.

Then when the prosecution rests, quite full of itself, the defense sweeps in like the creative cavalry to prove, such claims are untrue.

Victory, though shaky, is mine as I write down bones to a blog piece, or lay track for the next paragraph to a short story.

I stretch my legs, massage my wrists then listen to those who too were on trial with themselves coming before me.

Dwell in possibility, Emily Dickinson says, as I nod letting go of my supreme need to control all outcomes.

There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you, adds Maya Angelou, echoing that need to write. 

No tears in the writer means, no tears in the reader. Thank you Mr. (Robert) Frost, this is so comforting.

And if my doubts still persist Anne Frank appears like a falling star to say, I can shake off everything as I write, my sorrows disappear. My courage is reborn.  

Remember, grace meets us where we are Susannah, but does not leave us where it found us.  Anne Lamott.                                        

The defense rests 

SB

 

Posted in Beauty, Books, Faith, grace, Gratitude, humanity, Love, readng, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 34 Comments

Animals…We Just Look Different

These made me smile.

Where the fuck’s the bus.

Didn’t ya hear me knockin?

I own Boardwalk and all the hotels.

And then Babar said, we’re off to go shopping, and he and Mrs. Babar, though in debt, lived happily ever after.

We somehow multiplied during the night.

I trained as a geisha

Her eHarmony profile was a bit embellished.

Don’t worry. I got your back, and your front.

This is not what it looks like.

Say uncle.

We’re working on our co-dependence.

Have you seen my glasses?

I refuse to move fat ass.

We’re finally engaged.

He has post traumatic stress from pulling that sled.

Is the coast clear?

 I just took my final vows

.

 Do ya think I’m dry yet?

 You drive me wild.

It keeps my hair in place.

Shush. We’re watching the Little Rascals.

He’s just one of the guys.

Do not tell me you have a headache.

You’re not gettin in without a jacket and tie there pal.

 

Can’t you see I’m a girl with needs?

Doesn’t take much to smile, now does it. 🙂

SB

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Mother Nature Should Take Her Meds

Yesterday was 78%. I ran in shorts and a T-shirt, a balmy breeze blowing through my hair.

All day the city sang with spring weather, sidewalks filled with the sunny and cheerful.

It was as though all problems were placed on hold.

My doormen, like couriers in blue all said…enjoy today, because tomorrow it’s gonna drop.

Oh come on, I said, don’t believe everything you read.

No, no, it’s gonna be 45 and raining.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.

WELL..

I happily went to bed in boxers, every window in the house open, basking in a delightful cross-current, as if I were sleeping on a yacht.

When I woke up, I was on the rocks, like a frozen margarita. If a seal was asleep next to me, I wouldn’t have been surprised.

I jumped up throwing on my robe that’s much too big tripping over its length.

Remember the Little Rascals episode when Spanky and Scottie shrink in clothes that belonged to Jackie Gleason? That’s what I looked like slamming windows as though the Indians were coming.

Winter is back, a bad joke when you see the daffodils doing the hula having no choice but to brave it out. There wasn’t a squirrel or bird in sight when yesterday it was like Mardi Gras.

As I passed my doorman wearing long johns, sweats, two long sleeved shirts, a turtleneck and hoodie beneath my Barbour with my Steve McQueen watch cap hands buried in my pockets because I’ve once again misplaced my gloves, he, bundled in his regulation navy peacoat, had the grace not to say…

see, I told you so.

 Bundle Up.

SB

 

 

Posted in animals, Beauty, Home, humor, nature, New York City, words | Tagged , , , , | 26 Comments

Why I Get Up

At least once a week, I’m asked why I get out of bed when I don’t have to.

I want to answer, because I’m not a slug, but am always diplomatic and say, it’s simply a grace to be up first thing in the morning.

What kind of hostess would I be if I wasn’t awake to greet Spring who, believe it or not, is about to land after already sending in her diplomats.

Daffodils and forsythia act as footmen, lining the edge of the park like a stitched yellow hem.

Tulips, a tad tipsy, sway in the wind, while irises ever so proper wait patiently like ladies maids.

Just saw two squirrels in flagrante delicto, Latin for, caught in the act. If that’s not a sign she’s coming, then I don’t know what is.

Mustn’t forget the trees stoically standing like naked show girls waiting to don their leafy costumes.

Suddenly the Park will resemble Versailles as Spring, dressed like Marie Antionette, but keeping her head, presides over her first lavish banquet of the season.

So, why do I get up?

I’ve always loved a good party.         

SB

Posted in animals, Beauty, Fashion, grace, humor, nature, New York City, words | Tagged , , , | 38 Comments

Yare, One Neat Word

I was watching The Philadelphia Story (1940) with Katharine Hepburn as Tracy Lord who,  describing a boat she and her ex owned (C.K. Dexter Haven played by Cary Grant) called the True Love says, “My, she was yar.”  I always loved that scene, Hepburn at the pool in a chic one-piece and white bathing cap swanning off a rich girl’s diving board.

Yare, or yar, an adjective pronounced like yard minus the d, is a nautical term meaning, responding promptly to the helm…softy held, easily manageable.

You see how it can also describe a beauty like Hepburn when later in the film she tells her ex she’s about to remarry: Oh Dexter, I’ll be yar now. I promise to be yar.

He says: Be whatever you like, you’re my redhead.  sigh…kinda makes you want to go out and henna your hair, doesn’t it?

When used in that way, it sifts through so many sister words…silky and polished, refined and poised, clean, lustrous and shining. Neat and tidy, immaculate and dignified, dashing, debonair and sleek.

Elegant in body, smooth to the touch.

It’s a word, unless you’re a sailor or movie aficionado, you’d never come across, but what a treat if you happen to.

I want to be yar – easy to handle, elegant in body, smooth to the touch.

Wouldn’t you?        

 

Posted in Books, Cinema, Family, Fashion, History, Home, humor, media, money, sexual relationships, Women and men, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

Susannah’s 2018 Spring & Summer Reading List

When people tell me they don’t read, I literally, don’t know what to say being the serial reader that I am. I agree with JFK who said..I just feel a whole lot better when there are books around.

A Rift in the Earth…Art, Memory and the Fight For a Vietnam Memorial, James Reston Jr. 2017. Who knew there was so much ugly opposition to the 20 year-old architect, Maya Lin’s, exquisite design of what we now reverently know as The Vietnam Wall. A rift in the earth was how she initially described her vision, poignantly unveiled in 1982.

In Honored Glory, Philip Bigler (1999). A complete history of Arlington National Cemetery and the only one of its kind. Beginning when it first became a burial ground during the American Civil War, the Union dead buried in Mrs. Robert E. Lee’s rose garden, to what it is today with all its solemnity and pomp. Don’t be surprised if you think you hear Taps in the distance.

Mary McGrory; The First Queen of Journalism, John Norris (2015). Before there was a Peggy Noonan or a Maureen Dowd, there was Mary (1918-2004), who single-handedly broke through the Washington press corps boys club, earning respect like no other woman writer of her time. From her heartbreaking columns after JFK’s death, to her just criticism of George Bush in the wake of 9/11, your spine will straighten from such ardent, elegant prose.

Brinkley’s Beat; People, Places, and Events That Shaped My Time, David Brinkley (2003). A grand collection of essays from a pro who covered eleven presidents starting with FDR, ending with Bill Clinton. Toss in Jimmy Hoffa, Joe McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover and Bobby, along with a heartfelt trip to Normandy in northern France where in 1944, 9,386 American servicemen were buried where they fell, and you’ll feel as if you found buried treasure on your library shelf. 

A Heart, a Cross and a Flag, Peggy Noonan 2003. A collection of her columns following September 11th, 2001 that are so moving I cry every time I read them. A sister New Yorker, her essays remind me how important it is to remember all those who didn’t come home that day.

Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit, Chris Matthews 2017. A huge RFK fan who can never pass on a new bio. What I especially liked about Mathews’s was how he ended at the podium leaving Bobby smiling, not making us go into that kitchen, keeping him alive forever. A passionate writer, and when finding one I like, read in 3s.

Jack Kennedy; Elusive Hero, Chris Matthews 2012. It’s no secret I find the Kennedys fascinating, and why this made my list is because it’s Jack before he became JFK, our 35th President. I liked learning about his early years stumping for himself, laying track knowing the day would come, sooner then even he knew, when he’d run for president and win.

Hardball: How Politics is Played, Chris Matthews, 1988. Talk about laying track as the precursor to his successful news show with the same name. I just loved it, especially for the humor laced throughout. The anecdote he ends with about former Senator Bill Bradley at a fancy dinner in his honor, is worth the price of the book.

Blood Brothers, Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith 2016. Cassius Clay before becoming Mohammed Ali, before at 22, taking the heavyweight title away from Sonny Liston, was courtly seduced by the Nation of Islam in a way that will make you shudder. Malcolm X, in 1965, a former member who was Cassius’s friend, is hunted then murdered like a stalked deer at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. It’s their story as friends amid heart-wrenching lore on Civil Rights, and how destructive organized religion can be. Very compelling writing.

The River of Doubt, Candice Millard, Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey 2005. Read this when it first came out forgetting how riveting it is, not to mention miraculous TR, his son Kermit and the men who accompanied them ever came back alive. Who said women can’t pen hard history? Millard’s is breathtaking.

John Quincy Adams, Harlow Giles Unger 2012. Our brave, brilliant 6th commander-in-chief whose name is synonymous with patriotism, and the only one to ever go back into the House of Representatives where he justly served for 17 years. Next to Teddy, my favorite president.

Diana’s Boys, Christopher Anderson 1991. We read a lot about Princes William and Harry, but perhaps forget they’re very much who they are because of their dear Mummy, as they called their mother, Diana, the late Princess of Wales. It covers her sad death to the noble way they handled it, and how everyone’s better angels, to quote Lincoln, showed up on the two boys’s behalf.

Jackie, Janet and Lee, J. Randy Taraborelli 2017. This blows the whistle on Jackie Kennedy’s relationship with her mercenary mother and envious younger sister. No wonder all Jackie thought about was money. Janet, her mother, did everything but force-feed her freshly minted bills for breakfast. And she’s lucky Lee, always in her shadow, didn’t stab her in her sleep. Well-hung gossip, as my pal Camille would say.

An Affair To Remember, Christopher Anderson 1997. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, though he was a drunk and some say she, a fool, lived one of the greatest Hollywood love stories of all time. When you love a man down to your socks the way she loved Spenca, all bets are off even for a rich, famous Connecticut girl who had everything.

All About All About Eve, Sam Staggs 2001. There are few classic films that never disappoint, and All About Eve made in 1950, is in the top 5. You’ll feel like a fly on the wall as Bette Davis, Ann Baxter, Celeste Holm, Marilyn Monroe and my favorite in the cast, George Sanders jump off the page.

High Noon; The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic, Glenn Frankel 2017. Gary Cooper, as Will Kane, counts down the clock determined to face the notorious Frank Miller en route to kill him. Powerfully penned, especially the references to all those who lost their livelihood over a witch hunt, reminding you how graced we are to live so freely as artists.

After Andy, Natasha Fraser Cavarroni 2017. For starters, her mom is writer, Antonia Fraser, so the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. There’s nothing like good, juicy, take-no-prisoners memoir that keeps you from turning out the light. The last to be hired at Andy Warhol’s legendary Factory while he was still alive, our English Muffin’s first assignment was, alas, taking calls about his sudden death. Her name-dropping is like loose change spilling from a torn pocket, but her wit forgives all. A great read.

Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter, Antonia Fraser. She was 42, he 44. She was married with six children, he with one. When they met at a party lightening struck. Must you go? he said to her as she was about to leave. They were together from 1975 until his death in 2008. True romance that would even give Romeo and Juliet a run for their money.

Abdication, Juliet Nicolson 2012. In 1936, England’s King gave up his throne for the woman he loved. Inspired by a love affair that shook the world at a time when it was on the verge of war, the granddaughter of writer, Vita Sackville-West, weaves a tale lit by history, making you pinch yourself because it really is, just a story.

The Watsons, Jane Austen circa 1804. A found fragment of a novel she worked on, published in 1927 some say, eventually becoming Emma, one of her greatest works. A short, but charming 121 pages that will whet your appetite for more of lady Jane.

Emma, Jane Austen 1816. Reading Austen is like lying in a meadow while someone you fancy tickles your nose. I saw myself at an assembly dancing a reel, playing whist, flirting with just my eyes. A peek at a past life perhaps? If you need a break from this one, Emma Woodhouse is your girl.

Notes on a Life, Eleanor Coppola 2008. The wife of Francis, mother of Sofia, an artist in her own right candidly written in diary form, teaching her readers, having everything also includes disappointment, pain and loss. A poignant display of one’s heart left humbly on every page.

Lou Reed: A Life, Anthony De Curtis 2017. When he passed away in 2013 at 71 I cried, remembering the song, I Love You Suzanne. The leader of The Velvet Underground and downtown 60s music scene, his passing, along with David Bowie and Tom Petty, left us with a tender, sad silence.

The Wright Brothers, David McCullough 2015. I had no idea how much I’d fall in love with Wilbur and Orville Wright. The noblest of men who kept patiently putting one foot after the other never losing sight of what they always knew was possible. Toss in the magic of McCullough and you’ll be flying alongside them.

1776, David McCullough, 2001. That’s the thing about him. He’s like cake you forget you love and just need a second slice of. Our founders, though victorious, didn’t have an easy time especially the first year of our 7 year War for Independence. George Washington is stripped raw then exalted a good dozen times making you see, how brave he and his patriotic peers truly were.

Killing England, Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard 2017. The latest in their Killing Series, despite any alleged scandal staining Mr. O., I’d never dream of missing one. You do have to wonder what’s next though. Could it be, Killing O’Reilly?

Mrs. Astor Regrets, Meryl Gordon 2008. Brooke Astor had an interesting, privileged life that could have ended quite badly if not for her grandson and two best friends stepping in to save her from elder’s abuse, at the hands of her only son. Not only did Tony Marshall steal millions from his mother, but reduced her care to the point it would have hastened her final days.

Al Capone: His Life, Legend and Legacy, Deidre Bais 2016. The most famous Mafia man in the history of organized crime was not your average gangster. If you found the Corleones fascinating, then buckle up, because Al, the real Vito of Chicago, blows the doors off the place.

The Accidental Life; An Editor’s Notes on Writing and Writers, Terry McDonell 2016. He certainly breaks the myth, editors are just wannabe writers. Must have been a painful recall since most of his, who became friends, are gone. Kurt Vonnegut, James Salter and Hunter Thompson among others, but it’s personal, as though he’s sitting across from you with his feet up. A book for all writers, and then some. 

The Right to Write, Julia Cameron 1998. A writer’s bible stationed near the bed when my censor, that little voice mewling, you can’t write, to reach for, bailing me out of self-doubt. I like when she tells a young writer concerned he’ll never find a publisher, suggesting he can always self-publish, like Henry Miller and Walt Whitman. He says, “Yeah, but they were Henry Miller and Walt Whitman.” “But they weren’t yet,” Julia says. I so love that.

Peter Pan, J. M Barre 1902.  My ancient copy of this classic sits on my shelf like a lucky charm, one I’ve come to cherish. When I feel sad and spent, weary and worn, I’ll pick it up perusing a page that always puts my heart back together.

Tinkerbell says to Peter, “You know that place between sleep and awake?”

Peter nods.

“That’s where I’ll always love you.”

Peter says, “Then that’s where I’ll be waiting.” 

Second star to the right, and straight on till morning everyone, and don’t forget to bring a book.

SB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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