The Cat in the Window

There’s a prewar building that has a floor at street level I pass quite often.

The elderly woman who lives there, leaves the shades on her front windows open so her cat can look out.

She’s a big cat, gray and white, with a face like Aunt Bee’s…round, cute, as if any minute she’ll offer you tea and pie.  Unknown-1.jpeg

My Joan of Bark stops to coo at her, saying things like, who’s a pretty girl. Is it you? Yes, it’s you!

She rubs against the screen pleased like any girl getting an unexpected compliment.

One day I noticed her mistress sitting at a table.

I at once apologized for intruding.

She said, “Oh no, how nice of you to always stop by.”

I, gushing a bit said, “What a nice thing to say. Can I ask what her name is?”

The woman came to the window, chucked the cat under her chin and said,”

“Andy.

His name is Andy.”  images-1.jpeg

OOPS!

SB 🙂

 

Posted in animals, Culture, humanity, humor, Love, nature, New York City, writing | Tagged , , , | 72 Comments

To Your Neutral Corners

I’m no political animal by any means, and frankly, couldn’t care less whose approval ratings are up or down, however…there is something I’d like to say.

STOP INSULTING ONE ANOTHER!!!

WHY CAN’T YOU PLAY NICE DURING THIS CHALLENGING TIME?

Excuse me while I put a little ice on my head.

You know what you are before you’re a politician, you’re a human being.

You thought I was going to say, an American. No, it’s much bigger than that.

If you were here, where I am, in New York City where so many innocents have died, you’d hang your heads in wonder.

There’s a funeral home in Brooklyn who had several trucks filled with the fallen, parked, because they had no room to bring them in.

A young doctor serving daily at the front, killed herself because she couldn’t take what she witnessed and those she couldn’t help.

I found Lily, the cashier, at one of my grocery stores, in tears on the corner because she was too afraid to get back on the train. I offered to pay for a taxi, but her Latina pride wouldn’t accept, as I watched her bravely walk down the steps to get the train that frightened her so.

Mr. Trump, Mr. Biden, Mr. McConnell and Ms Pelosi, and all who follow you on Twitter, CNN and Fox, stop bashing one another as if your hearts were nailed shut.

I suggest taking your humanity out and giving it a good shake, because if you don’t, they’ll be more hell to pay.

God’s watching.         images.jpeg

A Fellow Human Being

 

Posted in Culture, Faith, grace, Health, History, humanity, internet, media, men, New York City, Politics, readng, war, Women and men, words, writing | Tagged , , , | 55 Comments

Those Wacky Presidents Part Two

Unknown-2.jpeg There are so many fun facts about U.S. Presidents that aren’t mainstream, like JFK being allergic to Caroline’s pony, Macaroni, and how Teddy Roosevelt’s kids once brought theirs up in the White House elevator.

Speaking of Theodore Roosevelt, who hated being called Teddy, he created the Oval Office Mr. Trump now occupies.

Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name of the Presidential Retreat in Frederick County, Maryland, from Shangri’La, to Camp David, in honor of his then five year-old grandson, David Eisenhower, who married Julie Nixon, Dick’s daughter, in 1968.

Abraham Lincoln and Teddy were both avid wrestlers, a sport they passed down to their children.

U.S. Grant smoked 20 cigars a day, Unknown-2.jpeg never having to buy one again, when citizens, after the Civil War, sent him 10,000 boxes in gratitude. No wonder he died of throat cancer in 1885, at age 63.

Andrew Johnson studied to be a tailor. Bet he could hem a pair’a pants.

Chester Arthur, nicknamed, Elegant Arthur, because he was such a dapper dresser, owned 80 pair.

JFK was a huge James Bond fan.

Ronald Reagan had a big thing for jelly beans.

Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair.

William Howard Taft, tipping the scales at 350,  Unknown-2.jpeg known as Big Bill, had to have a special bathtub made, Unknown-3.jpeg known as, the Taft Tub. Once, he even got stuck, and had to call for help to get him out. He’s also the only other president besides John F. Kennedy buried at Arlington.

Unknown-1.jpegWoodrow Wilson’s handsome face is on a $100,000 dollar bill. Try changing that into singles.

Calvin Coolidge had two pet raccoons named Rebecca and Reuben who tooled around the White House like masked dignitaries.

Gerald Ford worked as a fashion model while at college, appearing on a Cosmo cover. images.jpeg No wonder Betty fell for him.

William McKinley always wore a carnation on his lapel, for luck. Unknown-2.jpeg The one time he sweetly gave it to a little girl, seconds after, was shot in the chest, dying 8 days later.

James Buchanan brought slaves to Washington, then quietly freed them in Pennsylvania.

Andrew Jackson fought in over 100 duels, living to brag about them till he died at the ripe old age of 78.

Kind of like that big block of cheese a dairy farmer named John Meacham sent him that sat decomposing in the foyer of the White House.  Hey John, candy might have been a better choice.

And I’ll end with, good old, modest LBJ, who was known to unzip his pants to show off, Jumbo, as he called his, well…must I say it?  Unknown-2.jpeg

That’s a hard one to beat, no pun intended.

SB

Posted in Culture, History, humor, inspiration, media, modeling, Politics | Tagged , , | 110 Comments

Humbled Beauty

Unknown-1.jpeg I saw a French Poodle whose hair looked better than mine.

She knew it too, the haughty way she walked passed me, with her nose in the air.

“What did ya say there, Babette?”

I said, “Perhaps you should see a groomer, you can use my name.”

Don’t think I wouldn’t at this point either since, I have no idea who it is, looking back at me in the mirror.

Oh hello, and you are? Will you be staying long?

Unlike my pal Skinny, I don’t have an in-house hairdresser to squirt color on my head that’s beginning to look like the Alps, after a thaw…wisps of white peeking over my ears.

My only solace is, I’m not alone.

I have visions of women camping out in sleeping bags 8be62f4636f0550c25b293656f4eee96--sleeping-bags-touring.jpgthe night before all the hair salons reopen, like buying tickets for a Springsteen concert.

And don’t think I won’t be one of them, with cookies, to get seen faster.

Maybe I should see a groomer.

She’s lucky I didn’t pull her tail.   images.jpeg

SB

Posted in animals, Beauty, Culture, Fashion, humanity, humor, New York City, Politics, words, writing | Tagged , , , | 67 Comments

Best Story of the Week…May 1st

I’m in line at Whole Foods, 7 a.m. sharp.

Those of us, 55 and over get to shop before the store opens at 8.

We’re patiently standing on our marks, 6 feet apart on heavy strips of gaffer’s tape they’ve laid onto the sidewalk in front of the store.

Masked and bagged, we amble up, like a breadline, while a security guard lets 8 people in at a time.

When it’s my turn he looks at me and says, “Excuse me, may I see your ID?”

I’m startled, since as far as I can see, I’m the only one he’s asked.

“Do you think I’m not old enough?”

“I just wanna be sure,” he says.

“Really? I say, as if I just won the car. “Really?” I say again.

The woman behind me says, “Oh for crying out loud, hurry up. Show him your damned license already.”

“I’m sorry,” I say, “I’m just excited that he thinks I’m younger.”

“Well nobody’s gettin’ any younger, standin’ in this line.”

The security guard looks at me and says, “I’m sorry Miss, it’s okay, you can go right in.”

“You called me Miss?” I say, smiling like a Rose Bowl Queen, “you just made my day, my year even.”

I smile at the woman behind me, now whirling passed, who shakes her head and says, “Next time I’ll make sure I’m in front’a you.”

Miss, still on her white cloud says, “Okay, see ya then. Have a nice day,” scampering up the escalator like a gushing 16 year-old.   images-1.jpeg

SB 🙂

 

Posted in Culture, food, Health, humanity, humor, New York City, women, words, writing | Tagged , , , | 82 Comments

And The Hits Just Keep on Comin’

images-3.jpegThank God for humor, and I don’t say that lightly.

Where would we be if we couldn’t laugh at the absurd and the outrageous?

The world is upside down, with us trying our best to hold on. Accepting the things we cannot change, would be a mighty big help, but clearly not on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

images-2.jpeg Fruit Cart…corner of Lex and 86th

The essential fruit man is being berated by a woman in what looks to be a Louis Vuitton mask who, if so, Louis didn’t waste much time, who’s demanding he wipe off her apples before putting them into a bag.

The man, masked, gloved, with eyes so bloodshot from working all night that can barely stay open, looks at her helplessly.

Part of it is, and I can lecture on this, he can’t hear what she’s asking, language getting lost, mask to mask.

I only heard her because mine was strategically on so I can hear more than most, already having hearing difficulties.

That said.

Joan of Bark rides to the rescue.

“Madam, you don’t realize, he can’t hear you in his mask.”

She says, “Well it looks like you heard me.”

“Mine isn’t on as tightly as his.”

She jumps back like we’re suddenly playing hopscotch.

“YOU’RE NOT OBEYING THE RULES THEN. I’M GOING TO REPORT YOU!!!”

Now the fruit man who’d go to the chair for me since, I’m his when I can’t sleep, midnight coffee connection, steps between us, grabs her apples right out of her arms and says…

“YOU GO! YOU NOW GET FRUIT, FAIRWAY. NO MORE HERE!!!”

Kurt Vonnegut couldn’t have written this.

Now we have a crowd watching.

Mrs. Ass-tor forgets all about me and starts yelling at him, demanding her apples back, that he refuses to give her.

My hero, in plastic,

But here’s the best part.

On cue, a cop pulls up to see what all the commotion is about. When this woman tells him about her apple issue, his expression stays the same. He looks at her, then me, before calmly reaching across the dash of his police car for change, saying to fruit man, pointing at an apple…

“Give me one of those.”

The woman, stunned, shakes her head kinda like Daffy Duck, and stomps off.

New York has seen it all folks, from Draft Riots to blackouts, to crumbing skyscrapers, keeping her eye on what’s important.

How bout them apples?

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.”
Kurt Vonnegut

Sing it, Kurt.  🙂      images-1.png

SB

Posted in Culture, Fashion, food, humanity, humor, New York City, Women and men, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 61 Comments

God Bats Last

I love this expression coined by the writer, Anne Lamott.

I’ve just finished rereading her book, Help Thanks Wow, I keep by my bed to remind me to stay lit from within.

You don’t have to be religious nor devout in any way to have faith in what, at present, looks like a shaky future.

Even looked at scientifically meaning, leaving all the apostolic bells and whistles behind, the world, with our help, tends to heal itself.

The smallpox vaccine was the first vaccine in 1796 to be developed for a contagious disease. Imagine that. But here’s where we can find comfort. If this was possible 224 years ago, how could we not think a vaccine for our present epidemic isn’t about to burst from the wings?

Here’s my tip.

Stop believing every little sound bite, media blurb, Dems versus Reps slur you read and hear, and pray instead.

And if that feels a little too new agey, read up on the history of previous life threatening outbreaks we no longer have to worry about: Cholera, Diphtheria, Influenza, Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid…14 in all.

FAITH…FULLY ACCEPTING IT TO HAPPEN.

There will be a vaccine.    

SB

Posted in Culture, Faith, grace, Health, History, humanity, inspiration, internet, media, New York City, Politics, war, words, writing | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

Half-Mask

I’ve been trying to do my part when venturing out by wearing a surgical mask.

I’m not doing very well I’ll admit, wearing it more like a blue collar around my neck.

The discomfort, feeling as if you’re smothering, is reason enough never to go into the medical field.

Of course where would we be then, my shallowness making an unattractive appearance.

It’s now a rule in New York, you must wear one when out, if you’re not 6 feet apart.

So the team player that I am makes another attempt fastening it on, wondering if I really need to go out after all, cluing you in to how spoiled you are.

Oh fuck it, I say, as I leave it swaying, rubbing against my hoodie as I walk. I do my best to avoid those coming towards me with masks of their own, some still without, courtesy being key, patience a close second.

I needed an airing after being in from 7 a.m. till 4, walking boldly down Park ready to do battle with anyone who minds my faux masked face, my own patience wearing thin.

Then I see a little boy, 5 or 6, happily walking with his mom who, short of Saran Wrap, is protected to the hilt.

“Hey lady,” he says, “you know who I am?”

“No, who?”  I ask, always stopping for a kid.

“I’m Spider Man.”

And indeed he was, wearing the mask I gather he wore on Halloween.   images-1.jpeg

Kids, the best, like a breath of fresh air.

SB

 

 

Posted in Culture, Faith, grace, Health, humanity, humor, inspiration, kids, Love, New York City, parents, words | Tagged , , , | 176 Comments

Staying Alive

Unknown-2.jpeg Despite the horrors of COVID-19 ravaging New York City, I still, every day go for my morning run…more of a grace than I can say.

Marc from sorryless.com had asked me to share what I think about during my run. At the time, I gave him a virtual shrug, thinking, gee…I dunno, not much, but then decided to pay more attention.

For starters, the moment I hit the air, my spirits rise. It’s dark, only a few other runners far and wide, with the moon to keep us company.

I briskly walk the four blocks to Fifth entering the Park on 91st. I’ll see the same Waspy woman with Betsy, her little mutt/mix, already coming back, along with a very fit Nigerian man, stretching, something I marvel at, since it’s barely 6 a.m..

Mustn’t forget the girl in the box, still sleeping as I pass, making the familiar, for better or worse, comforting during this very surreal time.

Running north, picking up speed, passing the outdoor hospital on my right that one now expects, I silently pray for the sick and their noble caretakers soldiering on. Unknown-1.jpeg

The light, about to break, beckons me to continue towards 110th, a mile of road I omit when it’s still too dark. I’ll remember the Central Park jogger who didn’t make the same decision, but today, tag along with a group of four, running six feet apart.

It’s been raining, so the air smells sweet, while the trees glisten, looking like they’ve just stepped from the shower.

Squirrels gallop between daffodils that since yesterday, have perked up, the rain refreshing their stems.

I know how they feel, my hair, now damp, brushed back by a gentle wind.

Birds croon.

A raccoon tap dances across the road.

A hawk sits on a lamp post keeping her eye on things.

Coming down the hill, circling the West Side, I wave to a neighbor, then yoga boy in Warrior Pose and a man with a pit, called Apollo.

These sights reassure me that life continues, as I make my way around to the the Park’s cutoff that will lead me home.

The Irish Setters, Bud and Lou, run to greet me, while their master, never very friendly, now smiles since our crisis began.

I think how strange and sad, that it took hundreds of lives to humble thousands of New Yorkers, not to mention everyone in our wounded world, but then, like the daffodils, perk up, finding myself in front of 1040 Fifth, Jackie’s old building thinking, how great it would be to see her in one of her turtlenecks and sunglasses,   along with John walking his dog, Friday.

My reverie continues, grateful to have been in Nature’s care, restored, to make it through one more day as that gentle wind whispers, this too shall pass.

SB

Thanks Marc.

Posted in animals, Beauty, Culture, Faith, fitness, grace, Gratitude, Health, History, humanity, inspiration, nature, New York City, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 68 Comments

Tails From The Front

I was never so happy seeing a Beagle tending his ballings, to quote my dear grandfather, as I was this morning after a major meltdown yesterday.

I’ve been quite valiant since my shelter-in-place began, but even Norma Rae-Pollyanna-Joan of Bark has her limits.

I wailed all day like a sick moose. Didn’t run, write nor read, my three mainstays, giving in to the gloom as if my sanity had been hijacked.

BUT THEN…

God bless 12 Step when I heard in my muddled head…

MOVE A MUSCLE…CHANGE A THOUGHT….

so out I went.

Who do I see but Mr. Beagle, owned by Mr. Bow Tie, a dapper, natty man I’ve come to like. His wife, who thinks she’s Brook Astor, you could have, but I’d take him in a heartbeat.

He told me, the only problem he has with his mask is that it interferes with his tie. He grins as he talks, humor escaping through dimples, despite the gravity of what’s upon us.

His dog and I have a love hate relationship, but not today. Seems Mr. Beagle knew I was not my best self and was on the case, allowing me, after his morning schvitz, to pet him for a good five minutes, while dad regaled me with stories of his posh, prewar building that Princess Diana, after her divorce, almost moved into.

He said, a woman on 9, calling her a creature from the deep since she’s originally from Watertown, Connecticut, till she married up, as he put it, wanted an emergency board meeting to not allow tenants to come home if they’d been flying.

“Let them go to a hotel,” she said, her furs flying.

Not only did the board not meet, but they were the ones she didn’t realize she was trying to send to the Ritz.

This man had me giggling while Mr. Beagle calmed me right down.

When I asked how Mrs. Bow Tie was dealing with things, he said, she was busy buying jewelry online.

“From the Home Shopping Network?” I naively ask, and he says, “Oh honey, I so wish. Cartier any minute will be sending me a fruit basket.”

What Mr. Beagle, did you just say balls?

I think he did, as he went back to giving his their final shine.    images.jpeg

SB

 

Posted in animals, Culture, Gratitude, Health, Home, humanity, humor, New York City, words | Tagged , , , , , | 41 Comments