Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Xmas stress less

So my daughter was in perfect health this year, as our annual ny xmas trip approached. Every year prior she has had a winter cold and we are always in the doctors office the day before we fly making sure she is ok enough to go. This year was a dream…until 2 days prior to the trip when I heard a tiny cough. It was a tiny cough so I did not worry.

That night the sitter called to let us know that our daughter was running a fever. OK. We still had 36 hours till flying so if the fever broke in the morning we would be proceeding as planned. It didn’t break, it went up.

The night before the trip we packed everything and set the clock, hoping her fever would break during the night. It did not. This year we were at the doctor’s office instead of on the plane. We had to cancel our trip.

I felt so sad that I would not be seeing my family. It is hard enough living across the country and having a limited amount of time together, especially for my daughter, but then having that limited amount of time become even less was just devastating. I felt overwhelmed that there was no food in the house, because we planned it that way. I felt horrified at the thought that we now had a week with no plans at all, no Christmas eve plans, no Christmas day plans and we were house bound. And every present was in nyc. I cried.

But then I got over it. We would make the best of it. My sister kindly over-nighted the gifts which was so sweet, as my daughter would have her first Christmas here at our home, where she gets to wake up and open gifts. I also like the idea of having nothing to do and nowhere to go. So this is what rest feels like.

Then my daughter started to feel better and I looked at flights and realized we could still go see my family. I did not book it because I was not certain that was what I should do. Was my daughter well enough? Should I spend the extra money? When I finally decided that yes she was well enough and yes we should spend the money, the airfare prices had gone up an additional $200 per person, $600. I needed a Christmas miracle. 

I called the airline and told them the story. I was hoping they would feel sorry for me and give me the earlier fare or maybe they could comp me some points. I know it was crazy to think that but I tried. They could not help me.

I hung up the phone and put my dates into their website one last time and low and behold, one crazy cheap flight appeared. There were only 4 seats left at that price and the price was low enough that my points would cover one of us. I booked it. Hell yeah, I am going home for the holidays.

The over-nighted Christmas presents never came, but they still might. It is only 8pm, Christmas eve. Who knows. My daughter may not get any gifts until we get home. Lord have mercy, I worked so hard to get those gifts coordinated and shipped and blab blah. Oh well. I am not stressed. She will be fine. The house sitters will have them ready and waiting for when we get home. These are just luxury problems.

My daughter is falling asleep as I type. My husband and my daughter and I watched The Grinch before bed. We will spend Christmas on the plane, on the plane together. We will be with our family in New York after all. We are alive. We have our health. We have a few dollars to burn. I am so happy. I am so lucky.

Let us remember everyone who is going to be alone for the holidays with a kind prayer.

For 2014, my wish for you: may you have love and luxury, peace and presence, safety and beauty and health and joy inside, and may your cup floweth over. Happy holidays.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bad boyfriend

I had a string of 'em, bad boyfriends. There was one in particular who was not nice and not good-looking. And I would wonder about that when I looked back on him. Why?

The truth is that water seeks is own level. We attract what we are, pretty much. I was not in a great place at the time and thus I was with him, pretty simple.

The bad part was that he was quite a bit older than me and he took advantage of that age difference, He just had more life experience and my best was no match. I would get mad at something he did and we would fight, and he would manage to turn the tables and I would be the one apologizing at the end of the night. Tragic and predictable. The whole thing was pretty cliche, almost like math.

The thing is that he also provided me with so many amazing “gifts”, or experiences, that altered my life in amazing ways. He got me my first job where I was making great money, not scrounging like I had my whole life. I had cash and for the first time ever and I was able to take cabs and eat in restaurants and  buy dresses at Betsy Johnson and Pat Fields. It was amazing. I had grown up working class in a lot of deprivation and went on to support myself after college in a just getting by way. I had not gotten to experience what  many of the people I knew did, the simple luxury of walking into a cool store and buying what I wanted or going to a decent restaurant and ordering what I felt like. It changed my life. Thanks, Buddy.

Also he got me to be in my first band. It was an unspeakable dream I had: to play in a band! Unknowingly, he brought me to the studio, showed me a mike and an amp and then said lets play a show. I jumped at the occasion. I had never performed before and I decided I would be the guitarist and singer. It may sound insignificant perhaps, and I am not sure I have the time or capacity to explain how tiny my life and my  vision was and what that experience did for me. Basically, the band being handed to me on a platter gave me the courage to do something I dreamed of but might never have done. He affected my destiny. Thanks, Buddy.

He also talked me into going to Europe for 2 weeks. I cannot stress how small my life was up till that point. I had no cash, I had not flown on a plane until I was 21. I didn’t even have a color tv until I was in my twenties. And here I was going to Europe, something rich kids did on their parent’s dime, not something a working class lost girl did. The funny thing is that I took advantage of his gifts, (not what he paid for, but what he exposed me to), knowing that he was a bad boyfriend. I told my sister that I was scared to be so far from home with him, in places where I knew no one. She got me the phone number of a friend to carry, just in case I needed it. The trip had some rough spots, some awful moments, but all in all the experience was so liberating. Thanks, Buddy

Lastly he taught me how to stay up late and just have fun, how to do what I wanted, buy stupid things if they made me happy, not get up for a lame job. sleep in, watch cool films, dance all night, live, really. The guy was a really bad boyfriend but he changed the direction of my life for the better.

When he dumped me I remember I prayed because I was in such pain and I did not know what else to do. I was not religious or even spiritual, just a mess and maybe even an atheist. And I prayed for guidance. He dumped me and instead of curling up in the bsll of my long history of abandonment, I just accepted it, and walked away. He never seemed to get over that, probably expected me to act like the younger, less experienced one in the relationship and get rocked  to my core by his casual decision. Hell, I even expected that. I got rocked for an hour or so, but then some cool grace descended upon me and I just accepted it, left him behind and moved on like the woman I would become, but at the time still longed to be. He was a real asshole in the grand scheme of things, but one that I attracted, dated, stayed with, suffered over and eventually outgrew. I learned a lot about life from that trip. Thanks, Buddy. 

Ah, life.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My fav films of 2013

I have not seen them all, but I have seen a lot, both the big budget Hollywood studio stuff an the independent as hell, along with many of the somewhere inbetweens. Many were ok and good, a few are great. My taste is specific, I like good characters, good acting, good stories that make me feel something worth feeling, that I care about and that go somewhere. Pretty simple. The two best films of the year for me were Rama Burshtein's Fill the Void and Rebecca Thomas’s Electrik Children. You may have missed them.

Fill the Void was an Israeli film written and directed by Burshtein, the first orthodox woman to direct a film intended for wide distribution. It is the story of “an 18 year old girl who is pressured to marry her deceased older sisters husband, following the death of her sister in childbirth.” It is exquisitely shot and acted. As I have said before, I love foreign film because it can be a tool that reduces racism, showing us other cultures in a way we need to see them, in their humanness, human beings just like us.

Electrik Children, written and directed by Thomas, herself a mormon, is about a fifteen year old girl who is a fundamentalist mormon, and who gets pregnant by an immaculate conception. The film is magical and it rocks, as the immaculate conception has something to do with the song (Don’t Leave Me) Hanging On The Telephone written by Jack Lee, put on the map by Blondie, covered by Flowers Forever for the film.

I’d also like to include Jeffrey Schwarz’s documentary on Divine, called I am Divine. Divine is such an inspiring human being, so revolutionary, wild, free, beautiful, cool, incendiary really. Hell, just see the film, it will remind you of so many brilliant things about the world and it will make you want to love your body, live large and destroy something!! Go see all three! Halelluia and Ahmen!

I have only seen one of them so far, but I plan to see at least 6 others based on his recommendations. Sending love to all, stay cool for the holidays, no need to stress. Be kind to everyone, you have no idea what burdens they carry. I write that to remind myself.

ohh, i can't control myself

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

my formal religious education

In my catholic high school, Cardinal Spellman, you had to take a class called religion. Miss Tomasiello taught my freshman year class, which I thought was weird since you would expect a nun or priest to teach it, since they were experts. But I was thrilled to have a lay teacher any day. Tomasiello was short and plump and wore short hair and big oversized plastic glasses, which was the trendy thing. I wore them too. They were not the Run DMC kind that would later be super hip, but just the old lady kind that were in style in our neck of the woods and that they sold at the classy Sterling Optical on Fordham Road. Just about all of the girls who wore glasses sported this putrid style. There was no edge or irony in the choice so we just looked middle-aged, yet somehow I thought we were looking cool.

Tomasiello would have us read the bible and she would try to explain and justify the storyline, try to make sense of the rapes, or  “taking” of wives, and the murders, and the other bizarre and seemingly unholy occurrences that the chapters told of. She would try to engage us by focusing on the sex and drama, but the class was still endlessly boring, like a daytime soap opera.

One particularly unbearable day the boy next to me was reading the graffiti carved into his wooden desk in big letters. “Suck me off,” He lasciviously read the words to the girl behind him as he laid his head on the desk and stuck out his tongue in a suggestive manner. “That’s gross,” she said with matter of fact distain, peering at him through her oversized plastic framed glasses. Being the naive freshman that I was, I did not know what that phrase meant. I knew that we all used the expression “suck” as in you suck and that sucks but the “off” confused me. I made a mental note to ask a friend to fill me in.

We were all bored and distracted as Tomasiello rambled away. Then one kid got the great idea of trying to distract her from the boring lesson by asking her off topic questions. She tried skirting around them but then he asked her if exorcisms were real and Tomasiello took the bait. She got all excited about the topic and started telling us everything she knew about exorcisms, which was way more interesting than the bible, to us and to her. She even looked around before tiptoeing to the back of the room to close the classroom door so that we could talk off topic candidly without getting “caught”. Class got fun as Thomasiello told us all kinds or gory details which she claimed were indeed real, as she had seen and heard about some shocking events. She even promised to bring in photos.  As interesting as things got, when the bell finally rang we all jumped up as fast as always to get out of there.

In the end, Tomasiello never did remember to bring the photos. Eventually, I was enlightened as to what the carved phrase and the word “off” was referring to. 


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thank you perfect life

I want to express gratitude for every perfect thing that is my life. I am so blessed and lucky to have so much good, great and grand in my life.

Thank you people- my stunning and amazing husband, my beautiful delightful daughter, my supersonic sister, my reason for being here mother and father, my kind and caring family, my warm and fun friends, my supportive creative community, my lovely co-workers, and all the bright shining people I know.

Thank you universe for the option of adoption, which allowed me to be a parent and have my dreams come true, thank you to the brave parties involved for creative such a magnificent being and choosing me to be her mother.

Thank you world for the crazy interesting journey of a life that takes me everywhere I do not want to go and leaves me with gifts everywhere I look. Welcome this pain for you will learn from it Ovid. Hmmmmm...the pain teaches me and expands me and shapes me and shows me everything I need to look at ultimately, but that is only part of the story….

Thank you for all the fun and laughter too. The fun and joy and laughter and surprises and miracles keep me sane and restore me daily.

Thank you music and movies and books and plays and art and dance and stories.

Thank you universe for my prosperous job. Thank you that money, love, well being, and ease are attracted to me and flow to me from an unlimited source with greater and greater abundance everyday. Thank you universe that it flows to everyone, yes?

Thank you for every last bit of this life life life. Grand and glorious. Thanks for being in my life all you beauties out there. Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How to set a boundary with a gang member

So I used to work in a space that also employed a gang member of sorts. I will remain vague with the details to protect the guilty and myself.

One day I brought in an employee, lets call him J, someone I personally hired and invited to work for us, to fill in for someone. At some point in the evening, I walked over to where J was stationed to check on him.  As I was coming around the corner, I saw J suspended in mid air, being lifted by his collar by the gang member. I rushed over to interrupt the inevitable battery.

The gang guy was pissed off because he was stopped by J and asked to pay an entry fee. Clearly, J did not realize that the gang person worked there. How would he know? He was just doing his job, what I had instructed him to do, charging guests when they entered the space. The simple misunderstanding could have been corrected with a few words. It wasn’t. Luckily, I happened along and was able to diffuse the situation. I felt like an animal handler, soothing a savage beast, patting down the raised fur. Scary! J, who was indeed a good sport, was luckily left unscathed.

I rarely dealt with this guy, the gang member, at my job. We were doing completely different things in different areas, but that day our paths crossed and his actions affected me, because they affected someone I hired. Yuck.

The situation really pissed me off and I was not sure what to do. I wanted to have the gang member fired. I called the bosses but they were not sympathetic. They said next time I needed to warn my employees not to stop gang members. They were right, but I did not want there to be a next time. I wanted to quit. I did not want to ever have to deal with something like this situation at my job.  I did not quit and the reality was that it happened and I did have to deal with it. 

After thinking long and hard and admitting that yes, I did have to warn any future employees of the situation, I decided I needed to speak up to the gang member and let him know that his behavior was not ok to me. I could not just ignore what happened and continue to work there with him.

So I went and confronted him. I was scared to death but I saw no alternative. I could not live with myself if I did not express to him that his actions were not ok. I could not be a silent witness. I knew that what I felt did not matter to him, and that i would not change him but I needed to look him in the eye and talk to him for me.

Corny as it sounds I silently said a common prayer under my breath as I approached him. Terrifiied, I took a breath and said that it was not ok for him to threaten a worker. I told him that the guy just made a mistake. As I was saying the mistake part, he was speaking over me, laughing nervously, saying he did not threaten him. I was not interested in arguing, just getting what I needed to say off my chest, so I continued and said that if someone did not realize he worked there, he could just explain that he did and not threaten the workers, something to that effect. I was so nervous I can barely remember what I said. Anyway, that was that. Then we hugged. Yes, I hugged it out with a gang member. Maybe he heard me or maybe we agreed to disagree, or maybe nothing. But something happened for me because uncomfortable energy dissipated and I went on my merry way.

Who knows, I may wind up in an industry with a shady side again but for now I have much gratitude that I am not. I am lucky. All I know is that in this life I need to keep my side of the street clean. I am the only person who can take care of me. When something does not feel right in my gut I need to trust my feelings and handle it in an appropriate manner. Be brave, have courage, speak up, tell the truth, to the best of your ability. In the end it always feels better and it is easier than you think.  I write this to remind myself. 

trippy i know, thus the alice coltrane soundtrack, with pharoah sanders, oh yes...

Friday, November 15, 2013

we're desperate, get used to it

I met Mikey when I was fifteen, back in the early 80’s. We both worked at Flip on 8th street, the west village version of Trash and Vaudeville. The store sold vintage clothes and some hip new stuff like BOY of London. It was run by a real sleazy guy who prayed on the young women who worked there. That is a whole other story for another day. Today is about Mikey, a good friend.

A real Ratso Rizzo type, Mikey was small and scrawny in stature with a heavy new york accent. A loner and a true neurotic, he got damaged somewhere along the way and was left to fend for himself, always hustling. He was a strange bird and a dying breed. You just do not see that type of new york character around much these days. This guy was the real deal and we were pals. He treated me with respect and like an equal. I looked forward to going to work everyday to hang out with him. We had a great time together.

Mikey was a veteran in the garment business. He once told me about this over stock of ugly raincoats they got when he was working at Canal Jeans. Not a single one sold till he got the idea to make a sign that said “S& M Raincoats.” After that, every last coat got sold.

Mikey was deeply afraid of the mouse in our basement office. He made me laugh everyday.

Mikey was the person who turned me on to the The New York Dolls. I loved Johnny Thunders but I did not know my history. He told me about The Mercer Street Arts center and all kinds of great new york music stories.

He told me how to pronounce Sartre, when I mispronounced the name when talking about No Exit. Mikey was so cool, he listened while I waxed on about teenage things and he was never condescending. He was an arrested teenage himself.

Mikey did not know the extent of what happened with the boss at Flip but he knew that the guy was a lowlife. At one point he over heard me set a boundary and say no to a come on from the boss. Mikey was super supportive to me, concerned and protective, the way an adult should be, but not the way any had really ever been in my life. He was angry at the boss, bothered by what he saw.

Mikey never hit on me. He was one of my first adult male friends who was strictly platonic, no hidden agenda.

The job was brutal and one day Mikey got fired for refusing to do something. I gave my notice that same day, knowing that I could not stand to work there without my ally. We said goodbye. I felt like crying. We said we would keep in touch and see each other around, but I knew that we would not. We went our separate ways.

Two decades later I ran into Mikey  again. I had already lived several lives and was myself a grown up. Mikey was still working retail on eighth street, which was a ghost of its former self. He was still running a hustle, more neurotic than ever.  I saw him from a new perspective, I was the adult and he was just a messed up kid in an adult’s body. He was really far away, like time took a toll. I wished I could protect him, do something, fix something but I couldn’t do anything. I listened to his teenage rambling and tried to be patient. He made me laugh and he made me feel so sad. We said goodbye again.

I wish that I had told him how much he had meant to me.  

Mikey, I will forever hold you dearly in my heart. Thanks for being a good friend.


Friday, November 8, 2013

The good the bad the ugly and the great

I have a long beautiful history of odd relationships, friendships and otherwise, with some crazy and amazing outsiders; hustlers that have peppered my life; crime loving scammers of “the man”; train hopping hobos of sorts; couch surfing creatures who couldn’t or wouldn’t hold down a regular job, couldn’t or wouldn’t be tied down with a lease; liars who made up a new story to define themselves; ratso rizzos; pyromaniacs who loved playing with fire; gorgeous addicts still in their prime who didn’t believe in the future but looked beautiful anyway; messed up dreamers who still did better than the shitty hand they were dealt, despite everything; parentless childless loners and lovers, stunning bastards of the underground; freedom fighters of the soul.

I used to watch in awe as they beat the system in one way or another. I studied them and copied them, the good the bad the ugly and the great until I figured out how to be just like them. They were my role models, the best ones I could find. I remember going into a hippie store in my neighborhood in second grade and seeing the beauty who worked there with her nose ring, I wanted one from that day on, she was one of them. I remember my friend’s gay sister who wasn’t going to let anyone fuck with her, hard as a rock with her armor, telling me how she would never cross her legs, a hideous sigh of weakness, and showing me how she sat on the bus with her legs open in defiance. She was one of them. I was 12. I tried to “own” my bus seat the same way she did but it took time, my friends it took time.

I remember such silly little moments because I knew they were holding what I could not define, could not put my finger on, but what I wanted. It was called freedom and certain beings who flitted in and out of my life encapsulated it better than anyone else around me. It was never the low life side of my dear hustler pals that hooked me, the finding a vacuum in the trash and going into the gypsy storefront to vacuum their floor for them and leaving without the vacuum, but with $40 instead. Nope. That shit was just the entertainment. My friends were funny as hell, but it wasn’t the street hustle that was the thing, it just often came with the territory. The attraction was the independent spirit part, the freedom loving part, the lust for life part- that was what I was striving for, living for, dying to obtain. All I wanted to be was free.

In the end I figured it all out the hard way, I got hard, I hustled, I got stories no honest man would believe, did all that and more, I caught the golden ring, the goal of not getting out of bed for anyone but myself. It was terrific and not enough. In the end I found out I wanted even more than those small dreams. All this and more, indeed.

Today, things are great, I have no complaints. I just want to pay homage to all those trail blazers of my misspent youth. Thanks for being in my life, for making imperfect choices in an attempt to move in the direction of you heart. Thank you for showing me tiny glimpses of freedom, no matter how distorted. Thank you for being my messed up role models. I love you all.

Be kind to the people you meet out there, we are all carrying heavy loads. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

'Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.'

Mark Twain — 'Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.'

I love Dia de los Muertos! I really cannot think of a cooler way to regard death, talk about it, accept it, and celebrate it. Today I spoke to my daughter’s class of 3-4 year olds about the day of the dead. We read a book about the traditions and made an alter and some kids put pictures of their pets or family members who have passed away. My girl put a photo of our dear cat who is very missed.

This is what I wrote last year:

Ah yes, the veil between the two realms is the thinnest tonight! Remember the dead with Joy. Celebrate their lives. Have a laugh and a smile. They are here with us tonight.

Our ancestry can be traced back through our cells. Our ancestors are part of us. We carry them with us and can learn from them, be inspired by them, find strength in them and heal them as we heal the more challenging parts we inherited.”
Death is curious. George Harrison’s wife said that when he died his body lit up the room. They say that is what happened when Jesus died and that that bright light is what created the Shroud of Turin. They say that when the great Indian saint Yogananda passed on his body did not decay and that there was no odor in the 20 days that he was dead but not yet buried. The Mortuary Director in charge of his remains said in a notarized letter that “This state of perfect preservation of a body is, so far as we know from mortuary annals, an unparalleled one…” I was present for the passing of my father. It was quiet, astonishing, unstoppable, final. There is so much we do not know. I like hearing about it all.
I do not have a lot more to say other than start by admitting from cradle to grave, it isn’t that long a stay. Be here now. Love eachother. Tell people that you love them. Shine your brightest. Be kind and forgiving. Reach to be a little bit better. Stay open. Be willing. Live your life grandly. I write this to remind myself. Celebrate the dead. Every one is invited to the party.
yes, i have this on 7 inch vinyl

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

thought of you as everything I've had and couldn’t keep

“Death comes sweeping through the hallway like a ladies dress. Death comes  driving down the hallway in its Sunday best” -Fire of Unknown Origin
Alas it is that time of year again and I cannot help but write about it. My father would have been 83 yesterday. He passed away as I held his hand over a decade ago, on Father’s Day. This Saturday I will remember him at the Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) party at the graveyard. I am way fond of graveyards and parties, as well, so to do the party in the graveyard is one of my all time favorite things, next to the mermaid parade.
Yes, officially friday is the day that the veil is lifted between the 2 worlds, that of the living and that of the dead. It is the day to celebrate the lives of our family and friends who have passed away. 
This week NYC lost two greats, Lou Reed and Codie Leone. I was touched by them both. They will be missed. I will let their close loved ones write about them because they can do it better than me. Today I will stick to writing about my close loved ones.
My experience growing up with my father was complicated. It was both loaded, burdensome and troubling- filled with hurt and rage and walking on eggshells and depression AND it was also vivid and loving, full of swagger and mischief and fun, joyous with the simple things like swimming and delicious food, movies and music.  Making sense of our relationship has been a complicated task. That makes mourning so very complicated but alas, since becoming a parent I have been given the lovely gift of compassion and empathy for both of my parents. Today, I get the lack of patience, the need to yell in an attempt to control, the frustration at failing to make a little creature do what you want or need them to do. I don’t understand everything, but I try to have compassion for my father, for me, for both of us. Being a parent is hard and I have truly come to see that my working class parents did the best they could with what they had.
With that said,  I want to thank you dad, Raul Ramos, for carving great pumpkins, because that is an art, for hand making our fine finished mid-century modern furniture that was perfect and beautiful, for cooking great pancakes and bacon, for loving King Kong, Frankenstein and all those great horror films of your youth, for loving the ocean and taking us to pools and lakes and teaching us to swim. Thank you for your love and respect of your parents, for teaching me not to call the elderly “old ladies” even though I did not listen, for reminding me to be a good friend, thank you for loving animals and being kind to all living creatures, thank you for getting us a cat. Thank you for spending your adult life dedicated to your family, providing for us the very best you could, for always providing for us, never failing. Thank you for being calm somewhere inside, for having great simple wisdom, and thank you for enjoying your life, seeking fun and laughter and friendship. Thank you for being a good father.
Death always brings gifts with it. It reminds us of our priorities, it reminds us to value life, to love our friends, to stop and smell the roses, it shows us just how very fragile and temporary and grand it all is. I am sharing this beautiful poem again today. Forgive my bragging but it was written by my friend, my daughter's nanny. Forgive my repetativeness but it is worth two readings. It refers to the very same gifts I am speaking of….
When you fall out of the tree by Meredyth Hunt

When you fall out of the tree,
and you will.
Whether it is from the welcoming oak in a friend’s backyard
with the treehouse for her kids.
Or the corporate job you were profoundly excited to get.
When you fall,
there are a few things you should know.

As you hit the ground,
it’s going to hurt,
a lot.

The impact will be such that at first
you will not see the loving faces whispering for you to
lie still, that a different help is coming.

You will look up at the space
that seconds before you had owned with grand assurance
and it will be very far away.

And you will feel sad.

And then trapped.

And then sad sad sad.

But here is the reason you fell out of the tree,
the job,
the relationship.

You fell out of the tree because it was time
for you to feel how profoundly loved you are.

It was time for you to know
that even though you cannot
brush your hair,
take a bite,
pay the bills,
sleep through the night,
there is a line of people waiting to do these things for you.

Some of them you do not even know.

They will lift the folds of your flesh,
and scrub away your pride,
and you will be grateful for it -
though you would have never wished for that gift.

This is what happens when you hit the ground and crack.

You are cradled, and glued, wiped, and kissed.

You are shown all the times and places
where you could have given more,
and you will weep for what you held back.

You are broken open a thousand times bigger
than the impact of the fall.

Though I do not wish for you to fall out of the tree,
I will not stop it if you do.

But I will be there when you hit the ground.

I will be there.

And you will feel ferocious love.
you can read her blog here http://ow.ly/qiBTg
and sorry, yes I am posting this agin too. i love this version. “thought of you as everything I've had and couldn’t keep”

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sleeping in

Sleep has always been a rare and valued commodity to me. I was a summer kid, loved summer with a deep joy from the bottom of my heart for many reasons, but primarily because I did not have to get up for school. Fall was so depressing, not so much because of the cool air and the change of light, but for the wretched getting up. 
School was ok but the 12 years of getting up for it took a toll that affected my choices for many years. In college, I planned my classes around not having to get up. I took only one morning class in the whole 4 years, a cinema studies class that only happened at 9am. Each week I fell asleep as soon as they turned off the lights to start the projector. I woke groggy and hot as the end credits rolled to Apocalypse Now, Goddard’s 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, and every other film deemed important to the history of film. That was back in the day before I had a VCR, and before many of those films were even available, so I really had to make up a lot of bs on my tests.
After college I refused to join the ranks and get a day job. Instead. I joyously slept in for decades, making up for lost time. Oh how I loved to stay up late and watch a bad movie on tv. Getting to the bank before 3 was almost impossible, and yes, going to the bank was the only way to cash a precious $20 birthday check. I was so in my element when I was DJing till 4am, throwing parties that went well in to the dawn. I adored going to Wo Hops at 6am, or breakfast at Kiev as the sun rose, with some handsome skinny arm candy, and then staying in bed with the shades drawn for as long as I wanted. Ah La Dolce Vita.
maybe it was because I was born in the afternoon. I don't know why I am how I am, I just know I can't change my basic essence, I don't try. I accept myself as someone who loves to sleep late.
As you may know, my lifestyle has changed over time. Just living in Los Angeles, a different time zone from my New York hometown makes getting up easier. More notably, things had really changed since I became a mom. I happily traded the old ways for the new. I embrace all of the sacrifices of parenthood, with much gratitude for the luxury of getting to have a family. It’s all good, joyous in fact. I accept who I am and work with it to the best of my ability. I get to yoga at 10am, not 7 or 8. My daughter generally sleeps on the late-ish side for a three year old, 7:30 or 8:30, not 5 or 6 like some of my friend's kids. I got it made, I know, but the lack of just being able to sleep to my hearts content is my least favorite part of the deal. Every once in a while we pay a sitter to come over first thing in the morning so we can sleep in. It is fun, but just a band aid. Every blue moon I remind myself that at some point, in a decade or so, I will get enough sleep again, I will get to sleep in again on a regular basis. Till then, I got lunches to make, witch costumes to find, and runny noses to clean. Way to bust to dwell on things once I post this blog.
As usual, I remind myself and anyone who cares to find gratitude where you are at now, appreciate it, because it is all so very temporary. Thank you universe, I love being a mom. Enjoy your sleep, my pals.

oooh! look out you rock and rollers, pretty soon now you're  gonna get older...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Kiss Me Deadly...

I was luckily turning adolescent when an amazing crop of cool female pop stars was emerging. Chrissy Hynde was beautiful and tough as hell. Eye liner and boots and a guitar. AND she wrote her own songs. Joan Jett was so cool, tough, played guitar and wrote songs as well. Debbie Harry, goddess, no need to say much else. Could you get any cooler, beautiful-er or make any better songs. Wendy Williams was the only one taking off her clothes and she did it with such rage and glamour. She was revolutionary. The Go-Gos were awesome AND an all-female band. Poly Styrene, another goddess, was breathtaking in her presence, her song writing, and her voice. Her band was too. But arty Patti Smith was the one I identified with the most.
In grammar school I was an awkward skinny Irish-looking kid with freckles and oversized red plastic glasses with transitional lenses and a lame Farrah flip from the boroughs but I wanted to, maybe even thought I did, look like my arty hero, Patti Smith. Good luck, child. I wore a white shirt with the cuffs cut off and a black tie just like she did on the cover of Horses. Other days I wore a hand-dyed magenta tee shirt that I wrote “patti smith group” (no capitals) on with a black magic marker.
Anyway, I have told this silly story before but not quite like this. Patti was the soundtrack to my first kiss. I was a freshman in high school with great anxiety about never having kissed a guy yet. Read on if you dare:
I was out with my older sister and some friends looking for something to do. It was around one a.m. when we wound up over at the Left Bank, a club in New Rochelle.
“Jesus died for  somebody’s sins but not mine,” Patti Smith was singing as we walked in. The song introduced our entrance, like in a film. The loud record crackled over the PA and sounded larger than life, yet so personal and intimate. Just like the first time I heard this record, I find it hard to describe the perfection, joy and beauty. My heart was like a butterfly in my chest and my breath stopped for a beat. Breath wasn’t even necessary, I was so filled and sufficed with sound. I can remember the smell in air, the color of the light. It was surreeal
“I’m moving in this here atmosphere where anything’s allowed,” Patti sang.
Other than the great song, the club was dead, nothing was going on, just a bunch of people milling around waiting for something to happen.
“And I go to this here party and I just get bored”…the song continued. We were there for a few moments when a stocky drunk blonde guy cornered me and started talking to me.  I was with my older friend Tina who had been drinking, and her slurred voice in my ear asked if I needed any help losing the guy. I said no. The guy kept talking to me, moving closer and close.
“Hear this knocking on my door. And I look up into the big tower clock and say 'oh my god, it’s midnght’ and my baby is walking through the door, leaning on my couch she whispers to me and I took the big plunge”… Patti kept singing as the guy pressed me against the carpeted wall and kissed me.
“I I I I I I I"
"G-L-O-R-I-A.” Patti kept spelling it out for me. Yes, the guy tasted like sour kraut and  hotdogs, which they sold in the club. I hated hotdogs. He tasted gross and I didn’t like him at all. He stuck his tongue in my mouth and made out with me. I did nothing but receive his kiss and listen to my soundtrack while a million things went through me mind...
“And I heard those bells/chiming in my heart/going ding dong ding dong/ding dong ding dong.” So this is what a kiss is. Halle-fucking-luia! The song was almost over. The slow heavy part near the end was grinding in…
 “Tower Bells Chime. Chime yeah they chime. They’re singing Jesus Died for somebody’s sins….”  Patti pauses and whispers quickly “but not mine”. The drums kick in. One of my sister’s friends grabbed my arm and pulled me away from whoever that guy was and that was that. My first kiss was over with. What a relief. I had been so worried about never having been kissed, so worried about possibly doing it wrong when it finally happened and being found out for the old un-kissed maid that I was. Finally I didn’t have to worry about it anymore. The relief was G L O R I O U S!  I couldn’t wait to brush my teeth. Thank you stranger.
And, thank you- all you women in music superstars who influenced my life in such grand ways and still do. I love you all. 

I have already posted that song on my blog so go find it yourself if you need to hear it. I'm posting this one instead. http://youtu.be/LvoV2Lfk7Qg

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

bad luck charm

The necklace
Grace gave me a necklace. It was from mexico, a metal heart, vein-y and crude, pierced by a dagger, a kind of milagros. Oh how I loved it. Some famous guy’s wife had given it to her and she passed it on to me. I wore it like I meant it, like my heart on my sleeve, like the sacred bleeding heart of jesus, like a dagger in my heart.
I wore it the day my boyfriend broke up with me. It used to be so important, all those stories of who broke up with me and who broke my heart but as I write this I cannot remember which guy it was. I cannot recall the person at all, I only remember the necklace. I remember that one of them left me while I sat there sucker punched and heartbroken, necklace hanging from my neck. I thought maybe the necklace was bad luck and I put it away.
A year or so later I pulled out the necklace again and that very day as I wore the charmed piece of jewelry another boyfriend broke up with me. This time I remember the story and the name, whatever. I again felt sucker punched, caught off guard. I did not see it coming. His decision seemed so random. I had on a yellow terrycloth dress from Patricia Fields, I looked pretty good in my necklace and my dress, but he still left. I put the necklace away again.
Milagros are religious folk charms traditionally used for healing. The word means surprise or miracle. Eventually I realized that the necklace was a good luck charm, not a bad luck charm. I started wearing it again. Thankfully I was not in those bad relationships anymore. Go ahead break my heart, who needs you anyway, sucka. The necklace helped keep those motherfuckers away, maybe?
Finally, I outgrew the imagery. I did not want to “own” a dagger in my heart. I did not need to have that story anymore. I stopped wearing it. Learned how to be with people that I did not need magical powers to protect me from. Long hard journey you can read about here,
The other day, I saw the necklace there in my jewelry box. I thought about giving it to someone, but decided against it. Just in case it had any of the powers I imagined it to have, which it doesn’t. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

breaking and enetring

In college I embarked on a fantastic cross-country trip with a friend. The adventures were staggering as I described here. One specifically wild, youthfully foolish adventure took place in San Francisco.
My friend and I had been living out of a car for weeks when we arrived in San Fran. It was early evening as we drove in and immediately we felt the loneliness of being in a big city with nowhere to go. In most of the beautiful wild America of our travels we were able to sleep in our car in fields and on mountains. We got away with bathing in rivers, making the world our home and living the simple life. In the big cities car sleeping was harder. I missed being able to wash my face and did not feel safe and at home under the srtars anymore. In a metropolis where we were surrounded by people and homes, we longed for a “home”. Hotels were out of the question as they would eat up our entire budget so I wound up calling a stranger, the brother of a friend of my sister, someone I had never met. My sister had given me his number before I left but I had had no intention of calling him, till now. He gave me his address and said to come on over.
This brother, Jack, lived in a nice small house with another guy on the outskirts of the city. When he opened the door, we could see the hope of grand possibilities fade from his smiling face. We were not his type. Thankfully. Jack was a real party guy but very pleasant. Our fear of staying with a friend’s relative was that they might be uptight or want to entertain us or bog us down, but this guy was a dream come true. He was loose and didn’t care what we did. He didn’t really want any part of us but was kind enough to say that we were welcome to stay in his room that night and he would stay with his roommate or on the couch. This was great news.
After washing up, we were free to go out on our own to see the city. My travel friend offered to treat us to a hot meal, a real splurge after weeks of cold beans and broccoli out of the car cooler. We ate at a nice Chinese restaurant on the Haight Ashbury strip and she paid. I had only eaten in a Chinese restaurant once before, when I was six. I remembered the specific taste of the rice, the perfume-like smell of the spare ribs, the plush red carpeted interior, the Chinese music and hushed tones, and my greasy fingers. It felt like church. 
This place was different, pastel colored and buzzing with youngish hip people. I had broccoli and cashews over brown rice. It felt good to sit in a restaurant and be served and eat warm cooked and seasoned foods, yum. We went on to walk all around the city. The night got cold and our jackets weren’t enough. We had been spoiled on our summery trip. I wore bare feet and a leather miniskirt with a tee shirt most of the time but now I had to pull out my boots and a hat to keep warm. We decided to go back to Jack’s place and just rest on the couch and watch TV for the first time in almost two weeks. The idea struck us weary travelers as a dream come true.
When we got to Jack’s house all of the lights were out and there was no key under the mat. We hadn’t talked about where we might find the key and just assumed he’s be there when we returned. My friend and I were cold and tired and we didn’t know what to do so we decided to see if there was an open window that we could slip through. As we cased the house we found a locked back door and several locked windows and one window about five feet above the ground that was slightly open. The window was in the alley between Jack’s house and the house next door.
We decided to try to break in. My friend grabbed me by the calves and lifted me straight up and I grabbed the window ledge and tried to open the window a little further but it was locked in place and wouldn’t budge.  Right at that moment a cop car passed by the house but failed to see the two women in the alley breaking and entering into the home of a guy named Jack whose last name they didn’t even know. Close call. We thought it hysterical.
At this point, my friend and I were very desperate to get inside to our Dream. We decided that I would just have to squeeze myself through the tiny opening and so after hoisting me up to the ledge again, my friend proceeded to push my feet up and in as I pulled my thin body through the narrow opening. I had to put my head sideways to fit, holding my ear close to my head while the friend supported my weight. Then I used my arms to grab the inside ledge and pull my shoulder through, flattening my breasts as I slittered in. I was in the kitchen, hanging over the kitchen sink as a wriggled my butt and legs in. I slid in a handstand type position down the front of the sink until I found the floor with my hands. Mission accomplished.
We had broken into a stranger’s home and man did we make ourselves at home. It was awesome to be inside and have a place to stay and relax and sleep, extra awesome that there was no one else around. My friend and I cooked some food and relaxed on the couch and watched a Marilyn Monroe film from the guys video collection. In the film, Marilyn is on a ship and has to sneak through a porthole. She measures the size of her hips and then measures the size of the porthole, trying to see if she’ll fit. We laughed hysterically at the similarity of our experience. By the time the film ended it was 4am and Jack still wasn’t home yet so we went to sleep in his bed. Ah, to shower and sleep in the heaven of a warm comfortable bed (of a stranger). I hit the pillow like a ton of bricks.
It wasn’t until sometime the next morning that Jack opened his bedroom door and saw two strange women sleeping in his bed. He backed out of the room and closed the door and we could hear him and his roommate howling with laughter as we quietly did the same, before falling back to sleep. A couple of hours later we got up and got back on the road, heading east. Jack, great sport that he was, was still sleeping when we left. We’ve never talked to him since to explain how we got into the house without a key or to thank him for his hospitality. Youth is brilliant.