Thursday, September 30, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
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
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
Capped. Cemented shut. Gushing no more. The Deep Horizon well. And, me.
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.
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
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.
Solo I journey onward with grace. Stronger. Wiser. More loving than before.
To my resilience and inner strength ... cheers!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Whether it is the warmth of a gracious life reflected in her interior design.
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
The bubble bursts.
This time it took less than two months.
Friday, September 10, 2010
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 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?
But I couldn't get my arms around it. Nor my head.
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?
Yes. I have regretted that decision ever since.
Cheers to my agility and the timeliness of this 'do over' ... and imagining the possibilities.
Monday, September 6, 2010
This is a pastime. Idle folly. No harm. No dollars down. Pure entertainment. And creative if I do say so myself.
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.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Me on Skype is no pretty picture.
Deep wrinkles. Shadowed crevices. Furrowed brow.
Posing and finetuning my position.
Pause for thought.
A woman must have her secrets.
But hey ... it is a most definite strategic option for serious consideration. When my ship comes in!