Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dancing with Fits and Starts

Greetings from yet another fork in the road!

Okay. By now you are wondering. I am wondering. Where is this going? Where has it been? Why all this jumping around?

Well to be truthful this has been one hell of a wierd and wacky few months. One in. Then out. Another in. Charlie woking in NYC. Then home. Then over the pole. The other out.

Zig-zags. Ups-downs. Those crazy, hazy days of summer a big fucking blur.

So I am trying to get it all back in sync. To follow the journey. Dodge the bullets. Hop over the rocks coming Indiana Jones-style down the hill.

I'm all over the place trying to fill it all in. The open but not yet finished nor published posts. My hopscotch to the big 6-0.

Not so gracefully, but ahead none-the-less. One foot in front of the other ... a hop ... a pas de deux ... puis en solo encore. Déplacement par mon individu. You get the picture.

Thanks for indulging me this diversion. This foray into the what could have been and what is in reality. My loves. Unblemished recounts of the unconventional dance to which I am learning the steps.

Maks, Derek, Corky ... where are you now that I need to become in tune with the melody that is enriching my story?

I, too, want to dance with the stars. I'm dancing as fast as I can ... so don't drop me now!


[Image from]

Sliding into home plate. A race against the whizzing ball. Dirt flies. My calf gets hit. A yellow-purple bruise the size of a peach erupts on the underside of my leading leg. The right one. I hit the canvas bag. Hard. Tears sting my eyes. I look up at the blur of the cheering crowd. I am safe. Once again. Home.

Monday, September 27, 2010

55 ... and Floating

Happy birthday, sweet William.

Today would have been your 55th.

A celebration marked not by joyful toasts and the tinkling of ice cubes, but whispers to the universe.

You are close by always, tucked safely into that velvet pocket in my heart. We speak often. Of jazz, of entrepreneurial insights, of raising sons.

I miss you, darling brother. Cheers!

Friday, September 24, 2010

My 2 Gs

What would I do without my best girlfriends? My 2 Gs in a 4 G world?

One lives on the edge of the prairie, where the dust devils swirl when the wind blows wild and woolly across the plains. The other lives in the foothills of my beloved Rockies where wolves and elk roam her neighborhood and snow drifts ten feet high in January.

Gale and I were study group partners at b-school over thirty years ago in that academic mecca called Boston. We bonded and together with Judy racked up As to the utter dispair and frustration of the uber-competitive all male teams. Crazy smart. Our sensibilities, intellects and sense of selves aligned. We rocked their boats and emerged successfully into the world of biz.

Fifteen years ago, Gayla and I befriended each other in the carpool line at our sons' grade school. Third grade boys who were ... and are ... the apple of our eyes. She and I walked and talked and got to know each other through middle school years of dances and football games. Our similar upbringings as one of three sisters and the mothers of the most precious boys this side of the Mississippi forged our forever friendship.

We stay in touch ... my soul sistahs and me ... over the miles, through the years via phone, email and irregular visits. I love them both. Dearly. Each is from a most special part of my life. But neither knows the other. Sadly. They'd like each other.

Cheers to Gale and Gayla ... love ya, darlins, like sisters! LYLAS!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Today officially ends the summer of wackos.

Capped. Cemented shut. Gushing no more. The Deep Horizon well. And, me.

Yep. Since spring of this year. BPs loom large. Wreaking havoc with innocence. Casting a pall. Shrouding the light. Science, technology and chemistry run amuk.

BP (British Petroleum): The gulf oil spill gunking up the waters, the shores, sea life for decades to come. Polluting the environment and the economy in catastrophic proportions.

BP (bipolar): Men mucking up my sense of stability. My good natured self. Wreaking havoc with my soul. Their tortured demons spilling into the calm of my sea. My compassionate self swept into their respective storms. One right after the other. Boom. A one-two jab. Sucker punched. Jerked back and fro by my own gullible doing. Their episodes rocking the boat. Capsizing my confidence. My sense of self. My dreams. Another crack in the lens of my once-rosy view.

The well that spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico is finally dead. So is the craziness of the summer. The ups. The downs. The all-arounds. Revived dreams. A make-good. Bringing my best self. Real. Honest. Compassionate. Giving. Loving. Trusting.

So today marks the end. Officially.

A permanent cement plug sealed BP's well nearly 2.5 miles below the sea floor, five agonizing months after an explosion sank a drilling rig and led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

A tourettes-like rant out of nowhere, unsolicited, uncalled for, undeserved, devalued my values, intellect and belief system plugged my romantic heart, three hope filled months after being reawakened after seventeen years. Get out of the fucking country. What?! OMG. Jolted into reality. Exactly why it all fell apart twice before. [A girl can hope, can't she? Or, be stupidly blinded. Guilty as charged.]

Dead. Both the deep water oil well and the recent resurfacing of my so-called life love.

I dodged a bullet. Again.

The light filters in. Oddly I still feel that there is something great just around the corner. I just know it. Bring it on. This time leave the BPs out of the equation.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Back to the Future

To say that I am crushed is an understatement. I am overwhelmed that this man, my first real love, could disappoint me for the third time. It is over. Fini. Final.

Once again his inner turmoil, his pent up not-too-far-below-the-surface anger bubbled up. One insult after another. Rage. Battering my intelligence. My values. My belief system.

We are not meant to be. I’ll leave it at that. But this rejection. This pushing away. It manifested in less than a week. A shock to my senses.

Not that he hasn't behaved exactly the same. He has. In exactly the same manner.

But the words he professed. How easy it is to love me. His earnest desire to provide a safe haven. Emotionally. To never hurt me again.

The changes he swore he internalized over the decades. The declarations of love. Of honoring my spirit and protecting my soul. Of caring deeply, profoundly for the woman I became from the girl he knew. He betrayed that confidence. Not only with me. But my darling mother. And, my precious son. He vowed to the three of us that he was back in our lives forever and a day. To honor and cherish our deep bonds that span four decades.

Now he wants me to be just friends. To satiate his codependency. But that I cannot do. I am extraordinarily independent. And, more importantly, I do not trust him. Not as a friend. Nor an equal. I would have to carefully measure each of my words so as not to throw him into a tailspin. So that I am not shut down. Pushed aside. Ignored. It is not meant to be. In any capacity.

I am the fool. I believed. Deeply and utterly. And ... I must let it go. Learn from the experience the richness of what I offer. My boundless generosity. My patience. My serene nature. My exquisite love.

Solo I journey onward with grace. Stronger. Wiser. More loving than before.

To my resilience and inner strength ... cheers!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grand Central Station

The first time I arrived alone on a train at Grand Central Terminal I was eighteen. Not that that was my first visit to the city. I was a frequent guest for most of my life.

It is familiar. In that part of my genetic makeup way. Not sure why. But it is.

My memories of that bejeweled grand dame -- the storied train depot -- began, however, in my formative years.

Under six, I believe. Not sure how old.

Visiting my aunt, uncle and cousins in leafy Summit, New Jersey. A trip into "the city" to see the first of many Broadway musicals. Peter Pan. Starring Mary Martin. A very special treat. Dressed to the nines in a smocked cotton dress, Capezio Mary Janes and white cotton gloves we boarded the train to the Emerald City ... ah, New York.

Little did I know that (1) the filming of this classic play would be a television holiday broadcast every year of my childhood, or (2) that I would be disembarking on a platform leading to this majestical station hundreds of times.

I just remember that it was magical. In that sparkly Oz kind of way. Mesmerizing. Alluring.

Her cavernous domed ceilings etched with gilded arches and pediments. So very different from our train station on Broadway in Louisville where the L&N whisked me to Lexington stays with Ma and Baba, my maternal grandparents who would later be known as plain ol' Grandmother and Grandfather.

The city sparkled glittery. Pulsating with an electric current that coursed through my veins the moment the train submerged into the darkened underground rails of the city. I arrived flushed at dinnertime. In awe.

Thousands of businessmen ... uniformly attired in tailored flannel suits, their felt hats placed just so on their carefully groomed heads ... streamed by grey-brown neon. Their leather briefcases deftly swerving to avoid unnecessary impact. Beautifully choreographed.

Women in silk dresses, delicate high-heeled pumps and nylon stockings raced this way and that. Some with fox collars; others on their way from the glass and steel office buildings lining the streets of Manhattan carrying brown bags and bulky purses.

Evisceral. Stimulating. I knew then I wanted to be part of this world.

And over the years, I was.

College nearby brought me into The City all the time. Dressed in style to fit the day: bell bottom Landlubber jeans when weekend hippies. Sophisticated little black mini dresses and pearls when partying at The Dakotas or Pen and Pencil. Lovely wool dresses trimmed to match Papagallo shoes, our coats when meeting a friend's parents for tea. We could play the part. Any part. And did.

My early penchant for government and the American legislative process introduced me to political campaigns. Handing out leaflets for cousin Dick Ottinger's senate race. Telephone polling for support of Lindsey's mayoral re-election. Accompanying Andrew Stein in his inaugural bif for the City Council to the decaying streets of Bed-Sty to meet and greet the edgy constituents.

Earth Day. Autumn peace rallies at the NYC Library serenaded by Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary with speeches from Bella Abzug and Ralph Nader.

So many times I whirled through the now familiar portal, flowed up the escalators through the Pan Am building exiting through the arched hallways onto Park Avenue aglitter with holiday twinkle lights or fields of yellow tulips. Often just heading out the lower doors to hail a cab or catch the subway at 42nd street to the Village.

Theatre of the street, the absurd or legit. At the Fillmore East seeing rock's legends before they were known, on the stage, Hair (eight times) in one season backstage, in the house seats of the compliments of the producer's niece, my dear Jorie, Cafe La Mama, concerts on Central Park's Great Lawn, the Village Vanguard and Blue Note, hip Bleeker Street, seedy Times Square. 25 cents and breakfast. Ah, the memories.

Shopping sprees at my four Bs ... porting enough shiny black boxes and elegant striped bags to make Holly Golightly's spree pale in comparison.

The time my friends, Chris, Sue, Jill and I missed the last train back to Westchester and slept on the floor as close to the Information Booth as humanly possible. The Commodore and Biltmore Hotels atop Grand Central unwilling to allow us a room for the night. Thinking we were god knows what. Four preppy girls in Gucci shoes and Pucci panties. But how would they know that?

Once, when traveling back to college alone after having met my parents for drinks When I fainted and nearly collapsed amid a sea of swirling people rushing past. The time we didn't have enough cash to purchase our ticket and borrowed from a man who looked like Dad (and whom I later repaid in full).

I came of age here. Me and Holden Caufield. Grand Central the portal to newly shaped values, passions and delights.

So it saddens me to be seated on the circular bench this gorgeous September afternoon in the recently spruced up waiting area outside the track that will once again transport me to Westchester with an uneasy feeling in my gut from an unknown source.

Things just don't feel the way they should.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Shut It Down

Well it happened.

I was shut down. Again. In less than a week.

He really has no interest in what makes me, me.

Just that I jive with his rigid logic and fearful ways.

An adult, an attorney, I expected more. At least the courtesy of being heard. Then the debate, if necessary. A spirited discussion. Listening to the other. Not being swayed, just presenting the case. Debate in the true sense of the word. No animosity. Intelligent parlaying of ideas.

But that is not the way it is to be. If he doesn't want to hear it, doesn't believe in it, has no idea where I am coming from then ... poof ... don't say another word 'cause I am not listening.

Rude. Immature. Uncaring.

And this is someone who loves me? Swears up and down that I am the love of his life. Sa raison d'être. No way, José.

So I close my eyes. Roll to the far edge of the bed heart pounding loudly within my chest try to fall asleep. Not to brood. Dissipate his anger. His not-so-hidden rage.

Without an explanation, a decent one, this is the final blow. Perhaps the morning sun will shed some light on his tone. Maybe not. But I will quietly and calmly speak my peace ... then move.

Yikes. Shutting me out redux. No more. I want to be heard. Not agreed with. Just listened to.

Is this asking too much?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

La Mama, A Wedding Cake House and A Fellow Lexingtonian

My beautiful mother gracefully slowly swung her long still-coltish legs to step out of the car. I was there to balance her step into the gravel shoulder on Summer Street.

Her deep brown liquid eyes scanned the historic homes and manicured landscape taking in every minute detail. Her face glows. Her smile, her signature smile, spread across her face beaming.

It is a gorgeous September day. One of those clear bright ones where the sky is so blue that the vibrancy of each autumn leaf pops with definite edges. The palette is breathtaking. Vivid reds, rusty orange, lemony yellow.

Quintessential New England brilliantly color-coordinated by Mother Nature herself. The other decorator extraordinaire.

Mom has impeccable taste.

Always has.

Whether it is the warmth of a gracious life reflected in her interior design.

Her bountiful gardens laden with budding bougainvillea vines leafing over trellised porticoes. Or the clematis and wisteria snaking up and over twin pergolas framing her screened veranda overlooking the harbor.

Or, the elegant style of her clothes ... whether jeans or dressy slacks or evening attire. Accessorized perfectly from her over-abundant collections. Scarves tossed casually, perfectly accenting her outfit. Whether Maine

Mom's got it in a way I can only hope to imitate.

Her soft Kentucky drawl breaks my rambling thoughts. She wants to bottle today. Protect and save its ephemeral beauty with her treasures. Those collected over a lifetime. Her eighty-plus years.

A warmth envelopes my being. She is elegant, my Mom. Simply stunning. These days, too, are fleeting. We turn to each other and nod knowingly.

On to our business. Touring the rarely opened Wedding Cake House. Hosted by its eccentric octogenarian owner, Jimmy Barker. A fellow Lexingtonian. A Southern gentleman art dealer of the first order. A character in his own right with homes here on the coast of Maine, in the rolling bluegrass of Kentucky and in swanky Palm Beach.

We purchase the tickets which will benefit local food pantries and stroll the immaculate grounds. Birds sing. A few leaves swirl and fall to the ground. The gentle breeze flutters flower petals in the English urns on either side of the front door. We take a seat on a lovely painted Chinese Chippendale outdoors bench. And wait for the small group to assemble.

Inside the Wedding Cake House we are treated to its fabled historied past. The furnishings are period some. Others fine pieces giving the home an eclectic spirit. Old and new. Like us. Our style. I escort her from one room to the next. Up the narrow winding 18th century staircase built by out of work ship carpenters. Like in my home.

Jimmy Barker himself is there. Cooking for his dinner guests. The lovely walnut trestle table set in a riot of colors. He spins around looking spry for his eighty-something years. He and Mom connect. Stories from earlier times in their old Kentucky home roll excitedly off their tongues. Memories of people long forgotten stream back.

I stand aside and take it all in. Happily. Mom is enraptured. There accents so thick a knife might not cut through. It has been a fun afternoon reminiscing. Visiting old friends in an out-of-context surroundings.

Cheers, darling Mama, with all my love and deep devotion ... and then some! May you live forever.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mercury in Retrograde

It seems like it always happens.

The bubble bursts.

This time it took less than two months.

Unconditional love. Yeah sure.

Love of his life. Blah blah blah.

It took one reference. One. To a belief system he had no interest in. No knowledge of. No desire to understand. To shut me down.

This is the first time in this iteration.

There will be others.

A casual reference to that zany, unpredictable, sign-no-contracts phase of the stars. No alignment. Things out of whack. Askew.

One paltry mention. In passing.

If this were the 1600s and we were in Salem no doubt he'd have me burned at the stake ... or dunked in the pond. No ifs, ands or buts. But this is 2010. And hey, he's (by his own admission) a changed man. The father of a daughter. So he knows now how to be sensitive. Compassionate to his woman folk.

But no. He is curious as to what this is all about. My rigid, tied-up-in-knots friend. Wants total acceptance. But seems unwilling to turn the tables. Allow others freedom to think and be.

This is just the beginning. Or, with luck an anomaly. Fingers crossed that it is not history repeating itself.

If so, I am the dupe.

Mercury retrograde comes three times annually. It provides us the unique opportunity to adjust our thoughts, attitudes and decisions about issues and bend in a new direction as we move through 2010.

But this is numero tre. Our third foray. The last time. The charm. Right?

Mercury, the divine messenger, must really be in retrograde.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Legal Eagle or No More (R)egret

I know. I know. We are not supposed to have regrets.

But I do. Two of 'em.

Harbored over the years since my twenties. Both related.

I can do nothing about one of them. Nada. But my son did it for me. So I can live vicariously.

The other? That is another story.

I am about to turn that one on its head. Kablooey. Out of here. Erase that one for all of eternity.

Well kind of.

I have been contemplating the second regret every few years for most of my adult life. Whether employed as a banker, a venture capitalist or entrepreneur ... or not.

Deal doing and contracts are my forte. From the deal side. The business side. I have often imagined how proficient I might have become at negotiating had I accomplished this one thing that I had set out to do in the mid 1970s.

But with rampant inflation (remember President Fords WIN?), high unemployment (double digits ... sound familiar) ... high energy costs strangling the market (compliments of the 1974-OPEC oil embargo) taking the entire Northeast and much of the country into one of the deepest recessions since the Stock Market Crash in '20. Depression economics redux.

I changed direction in media res. Right as I was ready to matriculate with hordes of other recent college graduate Baby Boomers in Bean Town.

Charted a new direction for my undefined career path. Just like that. Blammo!

What, you are wondering (if you are still with me here), is this Steel Magnolia referring to?

I promise you it is not earth shattering. Not in the least. But it did alter the direction of my theretofore strategic dreams. The natural follow-up to a career as a legislator of the highest order leveraging my American Government/Economics degree.

But I couldn't get my arms around it. Nor my head.

The country had been brought to its knees by an unpopular war (sound familiar) birthing the horrid, polarizing derision of public opinion that has entrapped our media, our voices and our citizens today.

There was a glut of students grabbing at anything post graduate to make a living. Young associates were taking showers (I imagine they still do) at work in the glass and steel skyscrapers dotting the horizon on our country's major metropolises.
The practice was so far off that my imagination and creativity and ability to see the forest for the trees might be radically impaired beyond recognition. And that, dear reader, was the deal point. Would have been my Waterloo, so to speak

So I switched gears. At the last moment. Whew!

Okay. Okay. What is this regret that has haunted me for the past thirty-five years?

I cancelled my matriculation at law school. Right before the final drop dead date. At the time, double programs granting professional degrees in both the law and business (the JD/MBA combo ... killer I might add, if you pleased) were not readily offered.

Yes. I have regretted that decision ever since.

In six weeks I matriculate at the same Boston institution of higher learning where I withdrew my place in 1976. Online. A paralegal course leading to certification. Add another arrow to my quiver. And just possibly, a jump-start and new direction to my capabilities and ability to attract new business.

Cheers to my agility and the timeliness of this 'do over' ... and imagining the possibilities.

Monday, September 6, 2010

House H(a)unting

It's a hoot and a tickle just to surf over to to peruse the offerings. To gaze at available properties. To get a feel of the market. Test the waters. See what's out there. A real estate voyeur.

It doesn't matter where the homes are located. Not really. But it is the way I familiarize myself with a new area. Just for kicks and giggles. Always have. Always will.

New York City. Connecticut. Oklahoma City. Tulsa. Boston and environs. Palm Beach. You get the picture. I don't even have to have taken up domicile. Just have a few spare hours and a tank full of gas ... or an idle computer. I have even checked the real estate market in the Seattle-Tacoma and Boulder areas.

This is a pastime. Idle folly. No harm. No dollars down. Pure entertainment. And creative if I do say so myself.

Never contact the agent. Nope. Just take down the addresses and swing by if I am in the vicinity. Check out the neighborhoods. The landscaping. The house styles. The lay of the land. Nearby shopping. Cultural landmarks. Whatever.

Socialize. Criticize. Fantasize.

It's fun. An activity. Merely a way to become familiar with new turf. Mapquest on steroids. See up close and personal where one street leads and what is behind the stone walls and over the berm.

And ... aside from the money for gasoline and Coke Zero ... it's free.

So imagine my surprise when he felt I was directing him to sell his condo so he could shell out the high six figures to purchase one of these make-believe abodes. No matter how hard I tried to convince him I have no desire or inclination to sell my home in Maine, much less relocate on a whim it fell on deaf ears. Especially after he indicated this is fun ... keep 'em coming.

Go figure.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Skype and the Needle


Me on Skype is no pretty picture.

Deep wrinkles. Shadowed crevices. Furrowed brow.

And I am not even smiling. Nope. No laugh lines or crows feet etched. A straight face. Relaxed.

Scary. Very.

Even Charlie looked amazed. I could see his jet-lagged expression of repulsion when my video snapped into view. Unsure as to whether it was his initial reaction to his pint-sized bedroom overlooking Quarry Bay. Or, a knee jerk expression to the sight of his beloved Mama on camera.

No Meredith Viera here. Imagine an extra ten pounds and the wrinkles of a SharPei. No thank you very much. A big resounding no to my dream of becoming a television celeb. Not too sure how that was going to occur, but it is scratched off my bucket list in permanent Magic Marker.

So this is how I sit now. I have practiced. My facial expression. Position of my hands. The degree of closeup. The angles. The lighting.

Posing and finetuning my position.

Elbows firmly resting on my desk. Fingers not so gently pulling back the sagging skin taut around my eyes, my jowls. The heels of my hands holding up the double chin.

Better. Much.

Pause for thought.

Am I now ready to contemplate the needle? Inject botulism into my facial muscles? A syringe of Botox here? A shot of Juvaderm there?


A woman must have her secrets.

But this one is too broke and a bit intimidated of poison flowing so close to her brain cells ... the ones that survived the college acid trips and way too loud rock music at wigged out concerts, the anti-mosquito pesticides sprayed from the back of trucks rolling throughout our Highlands neighborhood every summer and the effects of nearly six decades of grey matter on overdrive.

But hey ... it is a most definite strategic option for serious consideration. When my ship comes in!