Hoppy Birdday

It was my birthday, and a friend presented me with a massive bouquet of multicolored gladiolas with stems, almost as tall as me.

I’m from Connecticut, so I can’t show my irritation since, one pink rose would have done it, so instead, politely ooh and ah, blush and gush, tossing them in a cab.

No, not on their own, but I thought about it, not remotely having a vase that big.

Plus, they’re my least favorite flower, famous at Italian funerals where men with too much Brylcreem in their hair and pinkie rings, send them.  images.jpeg

When I get off at my corner, my fruit man says…


“Yes, they sure are Fruity,” my nickname for him.

Suddenly a woman walking two miniature poodles with rhinestone collars that look better than I do, starts speaking to me through her zebra mask, me thinking she’s lecturing because my mask, at this point, is dangling around my neck.

I put the gladdies down, pull it up, apologizing since the last thing this sweaty girl needs is a dress-down from a zebra.

She whips off her mask like Zorro and says…

Nooo, I am saying what BEU-TU-FUL flowers they are. Glod-iolas…my faveadites, and those. Oh my, where ever did you get those?”

I, knowing opportunity when it knocks, say, “They’re your favorites, really? Have you a 7 foot vase by any chance?”

“Sevedal,” she says.

I say, “THEY’RE YOURS!!!”

“Oh no, you mustn’t. They are much to spoctacular to give away.”

“Yes well, it’s my birthday, and it would please me… BELIEVE ME…to give them to you.”

I watch her accept them like a swaddling infant, her poodles watching almost in tears as their mistress thanks me in sevedal different dialects.

When I turn to leave, Fruity is standing behind me, holding a bag.

“HOPPY BIRDDAY,” he says, presenting it like the Noble Peace Prize.

When I peek in and see plums, I smile and think…this is more like it since, I do have the perfect bowl.

Only in New York folks, only in New York. Unknown.jpeg


Posted in animals, Connecticut, Culture, food, humanity, humor, New York City, words | Tagged , , , , | 31 Comments

Assault and Batteries

I’m in the Park as the sun is coming up, alone except for a pigeon who won’t take no for an answer.

After stretching my calves the size of mangoes from all my years of running, take flight

I see someone in the distance, so up comes my mask.

Many at that hour don’t even bother to bring one, but not Susannah…she obeys the rules.

I swerve right like you should when someone is coming the other way, and though there’s a good 12 feet between us, this woman, with cleavage that shouldn’t be out that early, and a big radio, starts screaming…


Since I was miffed, to say the least, admonished by someone dressed like a porn star, it will explain my next move.


She looks shocked that I’d respond in this manner, dropping her boom box causing the batteries to roll down the road.

Who shall I be?

Joan of Bark, Pollyanna, a handy man poppin back in those batteries?

Then decide, hell…enough is enough, Miss Late Night.


“ADIOS,” she said, through her mask.       


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Colorful Women

Lately on my morning run, I see two women of a certain age, strolling, with beautiful scarves wrapped around their heads, Caribbean style.

You see them like lights a half a mile away, their colors brushing the Park’s landscape like oil paint.

When we pass each other, we smile and nod, silently sharing the gifts of early morning…the coolness, the quiet, except for birdsong that plays softly above our heads.

After my run, I decide to clean my scarf drawer, no doubt inspired by them, though I don’t wear them the same way, I too own quite a few.

As I sort and refold, I come upon three my late friend Jackie had given me.

She was never without one around her neck, French style, teaching me at a tender age, it’s a nice touch to any outfit.

I think of the smiling women ambling down the hill, happy in their pressed, loose shifts allowing their bodies the freedom to be what they are without shame or restraint, simple sandals on their feet, big bags yet to be filled with the day’s bounty.

When I see them again, I give them each a scarf.

They’re surprised but pleased, accepting them with a girlish, giggly delight.

The next morning when I see them, they have them on glistening in the sunshine. One, a lemon yellow, the other, a blushing pink.

Their smiles could melt ice, matching mine, as we stand along Hamilton Heights preening in approval.

But when I get home, a wave of melancholia sweeps over me like a sudden T-storm, thinking of Jackie.

Was it wrong of me to give those scarves away?

I go and get the one that’s left, tying it loosely around my neck, the blue, red and green laced with white playing peekaboo in the mirror.

“All you need is one of anything that you love,” I hear Jackie say.

My heart settles, the gloom lifts, as I think of three women now, not two, honoring a woman who at 20, schooled me in simple style.

I’ve been wearing mine everyday around my neck, just the way she taught me.

A perfect way to remember my good friend I know is smiling at me from the ether, no doubt wearing hers.




Posted in Beauty, Culture, Fashion, grace, humanity, humor, inspiration, nature, New York City, women, words, writing | Tagged , , , | 63 Comments

General Andrew Cuomo

images-2.jpegNew York has finally seen the day, without one virus fatality.

After all we’ve been through, whoever would have thought.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has done his work well, but as he’s already said, it’s not over yet.

States that opened everything at once, are seeing a sad resurgence, cautioning Cuomo even more not to follow suit, but how long can he hold out?

We now have outdoor dining, tents and canopies as far as the eye can see, but no indoor dining as yet.

That will be another matter with air conditioners on, circulating whatever streams from person to person, since diners don’t leave their masks on while eating.

And as far as leaving the air off, New Yorkers in the summer, won’t stand for it.

You already see it, a certain swagger, as if the virus has left us for good.

If only.

I’m reminded of Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg in July, 1863, when General James Longstreet Unknown held off giving George Pickett the order to commence, knowing, it would be a guaranteed slaughter for the South, hoping in the 11th hour, General Robert E. Lee would see the monumental mistake he was about to make, but alas, that wouldn’t be.

That’s how my Governor must feel, pressured from the powers that be to choose the economy over the safety of his citizens.

He’s proven to be a competent, level-headed leader, just like James Longstreet, but sometimes things, are just out of your hands…sigh    images-1.jpeg





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Recorded Events

images A baby raccoon in the Park, was going from tree to tree, clearly forgetting where he lived.

I so wanted to intervene and say, it’s happened to me many times, of course when I was 10 sheets to the wind that is.

A neighborhood garbage truck was parked on my corner with both collectors asleep.

I thought, what lazy men, until I saw they had a flat tire. As I padded by, the driver flipped open his eyes and said. “Good mornin,” before drifting off again.

How do you change a tire on that big of a truck, anyway…

With a crane?


Jack, the German Shepherd, dropped off a pink rose, my favorite bloom, after babysitting him while his mom did an errand.

She kept saying, “Now Jack, behave. No funny business.”

I had visions of Jack hiding my wallet, or trying to yank my shorts down, but he was a perfect gentleman as we sat, side by side, on a bench sharing a box of Lorna Doones.

When a nosy woman went by and asked, why was he perched on the bench beside me, I said…

“Why? Because we’re dating, that’s why.”

That shut her right up. 🙂  images-1.jpeg


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Those Wacky Presidents Part Three

It’s interesting what stays with you when you read, our noble list of leaders lingering like after dinner mints.

Let’s begin with the short of it…

James Madison, being only 5’4 weighing less that 100 pounds.

Must have been like having a Smurf for president.

William Howard Taft on the other hand, was 6 feet and weighed 354 pounds, but that didn’t stop him from playing an elegant game of golf, some say, as graceful as a ballerina.  Unknown-1

I would have bought a ticket to that.

George Washington’s teeth, that went on tour and now live in Baltimore, were not wooden. They were actually made of ivory, bone, lead, brass and gold wire.

Imagine him tooling through the metal detector at Kennedy.

Abe, that suave 6’4 guy we all never knew but still love, practically had to tie his wife, Mary, to the bedpost to keep her from shopping. Can you see Mrs. Lincoln with access to the internet? Or how about the Home Shopping Network?  images

Try explaining that to Congress.

William Henry Harrison, remembered for being the first pres to die in office, did so 33 days after being elected, catching cold, refusing to wear a coat at his inauguration.

Where the hell was Mrs. Harrison, is what I’d like to know. I would have been right up at the podium with a least a sweater.

Now, JFK also refused images-2 wearing an overcoat despite being 22 degrees during his address, but didn’t feel the cold since his undisclosed Addison’s Disease made him hotter than a pistol, in more ways than one.

Ike and Mamie Eisenhower, liked eating dinner on snack trays in front of the TV, when Ike wasn’t being presidential that is.   Unknown-1

When Mrs. Kennedy arrived, appalled at the drabness of how her predecessors lived, threw them out (the trays, not Ike and Mamie), before giving the whole house a much needed make-over.

Now, can you blame Jackie?   images-2

John Quincy Adams, skinny-dipped in the Chesapeake every day regardless of the season. A reporter who was trying to get an interview Mr. Adams refused to give, one morning showed up and sat on his clothes till he talked.

Kinda sounds like Ronan Farrow.

John Adams, John Quincy’s dad, was chubby, imagesalways battling weight. Unlike his aquatic son, exercise didn’t seem appealing. Too bad his on and off pal, Thomas Jefferson, hadn’t thought of the treadmill as one of his inventions, since, there’s just so much yoga one can do in a swivel chair.

Speaking of Tom and John, the Hardy Boys of 1776, were like two females fighting one minute, kissing and shopping together, the next.

John was the one who convinced Tom images-2to write The Declaration of Independence, saying, he was the better writer, but when Jefferson became Adam’s successor after not being reelected for a second term, all hell broke loose.

Tom who?

Dr. Benjamin Rush, their mutual friend, reunited them toward the end of their days, resulting in dying on the same day on our country’s 50th Anniversary.

Talk about co-dependence.

Unknown-1 FDR and his Missus, as he called Eleanor, fought over the habits of their formidable guest, Winston Churchill, who liked tooling through the White House halls at all hours in his birthday suit while swigging champagne.

My kinda guy, but alas, Eleanor finally had Winnie moved to Blair House, coined the Little White House, to solve the problem.

When in 1950, an assassination attempt was made on Harry Truman at Blair House, where he was staying during White House renovations, he was fast asleep, in his underwear.

Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt were fifth cousins. Eleanor Roosevelt was Theodore’s niece. And Uncle Theodore presented the bride at Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s wedding.

I can’t help thinking of Hemingway’s cats with extra toes…all that in-breeding.

Since exercise is an ongoing theme, I’ll end with JFK and his harem Unknown-1 romping in the White House pool, accompanied by his trusty secret service who apparently didn’t mind taking a dip alongside their naughty commander-in-chief.

Jackie, who on the weekends, would take the kids to the country, wouldn’t even be out of the driveway before one would say…

coast clear, everyone into the pool.

Talk about a lap dance.

Them were the days alright.    images











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And Then There Was…LIGHT

I’m home, puttering around, when all of a sudden, every light in the house went on except for my desk lamp that needs to be switched on.

It was very Close Encounters of the Third Kind, making me think, any minute E.T. would knock on the window.

I call downstairs on the house phone, but no answer.

I call the phone at the doorman’s desk, no answer.

Now, in full Pandammit mode, run down 5 flights of stairs assuming Nate, the doorman, would be in a pool of blood, just to find him outside talking to a lady with a Doberman Pinscher, named Chad.

No, I’m not making this up.

When I tell him all my lights went on, his…

I’m 22, and only the summer replacement, says,


“Yes, so could we call somebody?”

Apparently the super had stepped out, and the assistant was on lunch, and I was acting like Bette Davis in What Ever Happened To Baby Jane.

After saying, I was calling Con Ed, I prance back upstairs to find all the lights back off, as if I dreamt the whole thing.

I realized the house phone was ringing.

It was Nate, who said, there were no other complaints, so if he were me, he wouldn’t worry.

Ah, to be 22 again.      images.jpeg


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If My Feet Could Talk

When I went to see Vivet who does my nails figuring, I’d have to wait till August to get a pedicure since women’s toes are chomping at the bit, she surprised me when she said…

“I’m free now.”

I expected The Nail Nook to look like a scene from Ben Hur, but it was quiet.

“People are still afraid,” she said.

My feet however, laughed and said, “Not us baby.”

So masks in place like bank robbers at a spa, me and a chef, named Marcel, soaked like we won the Derby.

I’ve met Chef Marcel before after admiring his Louis satchel the size of a steer, a bag, he claims you can only order from Paris.

It didn’t sound right to me as we compared polish choices…Macaroon for him, Watermelon Pink for me, since short of a kidney, you can get anything on Amazon, but Connecticut naturally weighed in, zipping her naked lips.

Speaking of…will gloss be a thing of the past like dinosaurs and pay phones ya think, masks making it rather obsolete?

But hey, that’s another essay, and besides, lets stay where are feet are, as they recommend in 12 Step. 



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Old Levis…Old Friends

My jeans should be willed to the Smithsonian, they’re that old and tattered…sewn, stitched, patched, the original denim humbly peeking through.

If they could only talk, the tales they could tell.

We’ve been through a lot together, well traveled, zipped on and off in choice hotels, on lover’s couches, draped drowsily over a chair.

I remember once leaving them behind after a break-up, the man in question mailing them back UPS. It might have been the nicest thing he ever did, returning them, since I’d be lost without their familiar feel.

The cotton is so soft from how many washings, a few hundred at least?

A tailor I’d bring them to, one day refused to fix them again, said I couldn’t even make proper napkins out of them.

I recall getting mad, calling him a snob, and he was, being the tailor to the stars, which was why I employed him because my jeans deserve the very best.

Signature possessions are important. They represent who you are.

I’ve never been a faddish girl who shopped through the eyes of Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar. I had my own style, according to my mother, from the time I could walk.

She did tend to exaggerate. What, did I have diapers in assorted colors? She never said, and now we’ll never know.

But the fact that my wardrobe in general never changes, needing only occasional replenishment, like if a pair of pumps or Chucks wear out, or tights that have seen their day, will tell you a little something about me.

I’m solid, sated in tradition rather than the ephemeral.

There’s comfort in continuity…flow in the familiar, like my trusty Lees, their pockets still keeping my thumbs warm as I hook them in their folds.

How they loiter around my hips even when belted.

Loose, soft and comfy.

What else can I say except, putting them on is like coming home.

thumbnail-1.jpg That’s us, me and Lee, payin’ the rent.




Posted in creative writing, Culture, Fashion, Home, humanity, Love, New York City, travel, words, writing | Tagged , , , | 91 Comments

Avenue In The Rain

Avenue_in_the_Rain.jpgBy Childe Hassam (1859-1935), hung in the Oval Office requested by John F. Kennedy from Washington’s National Gallery, during the 1000 days of his short, but memorable administration.

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