Tuesday, March 31, 2015

one run-in with the police



It was a rainy day. When I lived in the east village I used to store my bike in a friend’s back yard on my block, so when it started raining I walked over to her place to cover my bike with a plastic tarp to keep it from rusting. On the way over that day I found a dollar on the street. I had her key so I let myself in to her building, covered my bike, and was walking back home one minute later with nothing in my pockets but a key and a dollar.

I came into my building through the locked downstairs door and had a tiny spark in my mind that something was not right. I heard a stampede of feet running hard somewhere on the street. As I walked down my hall the stampede got louder and I noticed that the heavy front door did not click shut behind me, the way it did every other day. Shit. Something bad was happening.  Before I could even turn the stampede was in my building coming down the hall towards me. I froze, while mentally surveying the situation and my options. Guys were shouting that they were the police. They were plain clothed, no uniforms. I put my hands up like they asked.

The police were yelling at me to give them the drugs. They knew I had drugs on me. I was explaining calmly that I did not do any substances, not even alcohol. I was in trauma, scared as hell, shaking but acting calm. I told them exactly what was in my pockets. They were in my face, screaming at me. There were six or more of them in the narrow hallway. I asked to see a badge and one of them shoved something in my face, but not long enough for me to read it. I really did not know if they were really police. My mind was working as fast as it could, trying to figure out what to do, how to escape, what might go wrong, what were my choices. I did not do anything wrong, so I was really confused. I wasn’t sure if I was being set up or robbed or if something more dangerous was going on, or what exactly was happening.

The main cop told me to give up the drugs because they would find them part o me also became strong. I asked for them to bring in a woman officer, I said I would be happy to be searched by a woman since I had nothing on me. We went back and forth a few times. Him: OK, we’re bringing her in. Me: Good. Him: When we find the drugs…Me, interrupting: You won’t.

I was strong and unafraid and with that, all of the energy left the room like a deflated balloon. The guys looked at each other and mumbled and started filing out of my building. The main officer said OK, meaning he was finished, and then he asked, Are we cool? I did not answer. He put his hand up for a high five. I stared at his hand in disgust and he kept it there and made it clear that he was not leaving till I high-fived him. I waited it out but he seemed to have all day.  Finally I high-fived him with the lamest gesture much to my chagrin, just for it all to be over. That was the worst part for me. I had stood there scared but honest before that and hated doing a fake friendly interaction. I did it and they left.

I am still not sure if they used me for a training or if they really suspected me of buying drugs. My friend lived next door to a bodega that sold drugs, but I went into the door next to the bodega. Poor stake out? Easy target for training, small female, etc? Not sure. Not happy but glad it was over. It could have been so much worse.

Monday, March 30, 2015

compare and despair


I read this post of “42 lessons life taught me”. I read the post because they said it was written by a woman who is now 90 and they posted a photo of fashion icon Iris ApfelI by the post. It looked like iris wrote it and I indeed read it because I wanted to hear what an older woman had to say about life, her image already said a lot, and I loved the way she looked. I have mixed feeling about pop advice and internet shares. I am super cautious with the internet as facts really get thrown around out there.
The 42 tips were standard fare, wise enough, mostly great slogans, nothing new. It is fun to run a list like that as a tiny tune up, so bring us back on course in case we veered a bit. I quote my self on veering “They say that rockets veer fro their course 90% of the time, but they keep correcting. The course is there to guide. Keep coming back to it. We will always veer, but if you have a course to keep coming back to, you will get to your destination.”


Anyway I googled the list because I wanted to write about one of the slogans and I found out that the author is not Iris Apfel and she in not 90. The author is Regina Brett, 56 years old. And a Pulitzer Prize finalist, according to one source. That may be true. I did not feel like doing more research. I am not that interested. The words, as I mentioned were, wise and standard. She seems lovely. You can read her here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beIYTA7MMp8

Anyway, the one slogan I really got something from was “Do not compare yourself to other people, you have no idea what their journey is about” I never hear it said that way. I did not even think that someone else might have a different aim, that their purpose might be different, in which case means that all of their experiences are weighed differently. The same experience can mean entirely different things to 2 different people, so there is no yardstick to measure anything by. You can’t compare apples and oranges, as they used to say in school, and which I did not understand at the time. Got it.

I do not go around comparing my life to anyone else’s anyway, but I am really digging the idea that each of us has our own purpose, unrelated, and we are all here together doing it. For some reason the whole world is illuminated for me by that concept. Everyone who has died too young or has lived in a way that seems tragic, they all had a purpose. Their journey was about something else. It takes away the self despair for some, but for me it takes away grief, sadness for others less fortunate. despair for those who have left me too soon or tragically. It does not take away compassion for the less fortunate but the sadness that may or may not belong. That makes so much sense to me right now. Perfection.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Parenthood


As a foolish young childless person, I imagined parenthood would be like the end of Minnie and Moskowitz where I, played by Gena Rolands, am enjoying my magical children dancing around and blowing bubbles and wearing cool glasses and having great hair and everything is pink and rosy. Alas, those tricky rose colored glasses.

I had no idea that parenthood was akin to single-handedly working on a farm for survival. That I would plow the earth from dawn to dusk and never get it all done. That I would be exhausted to the bone daily, so tired my feet ached, and never get enough sleep. On top of what a farm owner/worker might experience physically, I would also be challenged to my core on the emotional and spiritual levels, daily. Yep.

I had no idea that parenthood would ask me to face all of my issues daily, that it would drudge up so much of my childhood pain, my family dynamics, my anger issues, my boundaries issues, my perfectionism issues and my self worth issues. WTF! I had no idea that wanting to be different from my parents did not mean that I would just be able to execute that different behavior. I did not know that awareness did not mean anything other than I could witness myself acting in ways that were not ideal. I had no idea what I was in for.

That being said, today was amazing. I am writing this post from a great place, after an easy day. Many days are amazing, beautiful, perfect, touching, satisfying and easy. Parenthood is brilliant and I feel thrilled and lucky on a daily basis, along with all that other stuff. Maybe that is what climbing Mount Everest for 15 years feels like.

Anyway, this morning was exactly like the end of Minnie and Moskowitz. I made scrambled eggs and bagels and wore my heart shaped glasses and flowers in my hair and we all danced around in our underwear to Beggars Banquet (on vinyl) and everything was rosy! Lucky to be alive. So happy to be blessed with a family. I bow my head to the ground with gratitude. I had no idea what a range of feelings this experience encompassed. The good, the bad, the ugly and the sublime. All transformation is possible.


then there's this version:


Viet Nam!!!!!!!!!!!!


So it is official, my husband is the first Vietnamese person to win an Oscar. From what we hear, the country of Viet Nam is all a buzz and his photo is everywhere. The reason anyone even know that he is Vietnamese is because of MY BLOG! Because I blogged that he is representing the non whites at the Oscars this year, which was referred to as the whitest Oscars ever, his Wikipedia page says “Cross is of half Asian descent (Vietnamese). His wife is Latina.” ( I am loving this!) I am really proud of his representation of diversity. His family and the country of Viet Nam are so proud of his achievement. This is just all round cool. I sure hope some official or commercial enterprise offers to hosts us for an all expenses paid visit to the homeland paradise of his ancestors.

On top of that Tom was invited to participate as a mentor in a diversity-in-film type program. Forgive my lack of details, it is late and I am tired. We have no free time between his industry hours and a one year old and a five year old but somehow we will make time for that. So important!! Way proud of my husband. In the words of dear Leonard Nimoy, "Infinite diversity!!!!"

Friday, March 27, 2015

LOVE SAVES THE DAY


The low-waisted jeans thing is over, I know, but there was indeed a time when you could not get anything but high-waisted pants. You did not have a choice. Ah, vital and beautiful choice. Before the mid 1990’s I used to have to cut the top off of every pair of pants I owned and re-sew on the waistband to make them look attractive. It took a lot of time and energy to hand sew my entire wardrobe. On the rare occasion I came across a pair of vintage hip huggers in my size I snatched them up. Rare indeed. I searched high and low and found maybe only 3 pairs ever.  Two were from The East Village store Love Saves the Day.

One pair was green velvet. My pal Bob Roberts bought them for me in 1988, pre-Delite, when wearing green velvet hip huggers was trend setting. The other pair I bought myself around the same time, brown suede super low-waisted bellbottoms. I took in the leg to make them fit tight over my motorcycle boots and I wore those pants into the ground. At one point Piki, East Village superstar extraordinaire and tailor to the rock stars, relined the ragged and torn suede and reinforced the waist with a leopard skin print. I got a million compliments in the pants.

Love Saves The Day closed a while back. The building where it used to be collapsed in the explosion yesterday. I am devastated by the photos of the corner or 2nd ave and 7th street, yet another part of my hometown swept away without notice. It is startling to see the corner I passed a million times become just a pile of rubble.

I do not know if the building was co-op or rent stabilized or whatever, but I know that an apartment in nyc is not something you can easily replace. I pray for everyone injured or possibly killed, I pray for any pets lost and I pray for everyone displaced, especially the elderly. Losing everything is devastating. I hope that everyone finds peace and the support they need in the difficult process that lies ahead. In times of tragedy it is indeed LOVE that saves the day, and I know that it will again.

I understand why there is a black market in nyc and that people do illegal things to make money or get around what seems unreasonable.  If nothing else, I hope this incident can serve to help someone to use their head and make a better decision in the face of temptation and to a reminder why there are codes and laws to follow.

Sending lots of love to the old neighborhood.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Two-lane Blacktop


You know how James Taylor was when he was young? Exactly my “type,” long dark haired hippie, dark eyes, could play jesus, super unavailable, messed up, acts like he couldn’t care less about anything, coincidentally addicted to heroine, so hot. That was my default setting.

My older cousin had this friend named Johnny C. I changed his name a bit but anyone who knew him and reads this will know who I am talking about. He was the first to fit the bill. Long dark hair, could play Jesus, blab blab, everything I just wrote about James Taylor. He was maybe 6 years older than me, so when I was in sixth grade and made my Holy Confirmation, he was a senior, if he wasn’t a drop out, I don’t know which. He was drinking a beer when my cousin Colleen said, “Hey Johnny, Holly made her Confirmation today.” He took a drag on his cigarette, beer in hand and said, “Fuck that.” My heart skipped a beat.  Yep.

What makes us attracted to a type? Who knows, but those first few paragraphs were fun to write.  Things are so different now, as you  dear readers know. What I wanted to write was that I LOVE James Taylor TODAY. He is shining like new money, to steal a line from August Wilson. Something happened to that man that reverberates with me. He beams transformation. Palpable. So cool. I love transcending my default setting, or actually changing it. I love getting to be alive for such a long stretch and seeing it all evolve. I love seeing others do it too. If we could do it, anyone can. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

And…..

I remembered his name! Remember last night when I wrote about a guy who was just a ghost? Well today in yoga class I remembered his name. Andy C!!!!! Pretty sure he was a photo or film major and that’s how I knew him. I love how the brain and mysterious memory works! Now if only I could remember about the babysitting....

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

3 things I so vividly cannot remember


1. Once I got a job in a call center or something like that, near NYU, maybe. I think Danny helped me get it. I have little memory. It was supposed to be an easy gig. I really needed a job. I remember being in the room, but I have no idea where it was. A machine dialed the numbers and connected you, possibly. Someone fat was annoyed with me. I think I worked there a day and quit or was fired.

2. I had a friend who helped teach me to play guitar, an asian guy, my age, did we go to college together? He is so faint in my memory, I cannot remember his face or name, but I remember playing a Neil Young song with him on a stoop in the west village. He was more than an aquaintence, but still a ghost. I have not thought about him in decades.

3. (Since my twenties, I have been inquiring about this one, wondering what happened next). Once I babysat for my mother’s friend who had 2 kids. I was  maybe twelve years old at the very oldest. I had no experience. She lived in a ground floor apt on Mosholu Parkway in the Bronx with a door that opened up to the street along the grassy area called the Mosholu Parkway Greenway there, not far from the Grand Concourse and Bronx Science. When the mom left, the older kid, who was 5 or 6 years old, took off all her clothes and put on a tutu and rollerskates and opened the door and left. The dog ran out too. I ran out to try to catch everyone and I must have left the 3 year old alone in the apartment with the door open for a brief spell. As young and ill-prepared as I was, I do remember that I knew that leaving the door open with a little child inside was my biggest problem, so I returned fast, empty handed. And I have no idea what happened next. I am guessing they came back eventually.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Oscar (n. singular): gold statue that lives with us now


Our sweet thoughtful friend gave my husband a “night out” for his birthday. He wanted to generously give us a sleepover for a kids-free evening, but that is a lot to ask of the sitter and of the kids, or at least the baby, so we did an 8 hour child free evening and an early morning sitter for 4 more hours so we could feel sleep in afterwards. 

I set up a birthday dinner party as best I could. I have been so busy for so long that it is a wonder I get anything done. I did not get a chance to invite everyone I would have liked to (sorry guys) but we got close. The party was the best. It was so great to get out and have conversations and not be rushing home to the sitter, or running late, or cutting things short, or stopping every sentence to tend to a darling baby. It was probably the best birthday present ever, and it wasn’t even MY birthday.

29 of us went to Casita del Campo, 26 friends, Tom and I and one extra special guest, the Oscar. A bunch of people asked Tom to bring it and of course he did. Oscar was the highlight of the night for many people, especially the waiters, who all had their picture taken holding it. When we sang happy birthday, I held Oscar so he could blow out the candles.

At one point, a friend overheard someone at another table say, “It’s not real.” I was temped to visit them, but did not. Then one of them approached and asked me if it was real and I told her it was. She got so excited and explained that they were from the midwest and were academics who studied the 18th century and that this (being near Oscar) was the most exciting thing they could imagine. They also all got their picture taken holding Oscar. The whole joint was a buzz and everyone was smiling. The party, food, cake, and company was all top notch with or without O, but he certainly brought some flair.

Then when we cleared the place, we still had time before we had to go home so Tom suggested that since this would be the only time we would be out with the Oscar we should visit our favorite chef, Edin Marroquin, the owner of Aroma. Tom brought in the statue so they could take a picture together and hang out a bit.

After that we tried to find a pinball machine in the neighborhood, but to no avail, so we went home and enjoyed getting to stay up late without consequence. The next day I awoke to my daughter jumping on me. I told her that Meredyth was coming over to play with her and she said way too loud and excitedly, “She already did!” Are you f*ing kidding me?

The clock was indeed striking twelve, which meant the sitter had indeed been there for 4 hours and was about to go. I had slept HARD and now it was time to get up, Cinderella style, back to the real world. Fun while it lasted. Man, it is great to have such great friends. Thanks for the night out you guys! And thanks to everyone for getting sitters and coming out and making it so fun! 


Monday, March 23, 2015

pervert


Yesterday I took my daughter to see the play Cinderella and something happened in the theatre and it was really intense and I handled it and let it go. Then, last night I could not bring myself to write. I could not think of a single thing to write about. I could not stop wasting precious time online. I finally spit out an unfocused piece and posted it. Then I remembered why I was so hazy. I needed a day to process everything. Funny how the brain works.

I took my daughter to the theatre to see Cinderella. I sat between my daughter and a stranger, a man. As the show began someone tall sat in front of my daughter and I switched our seats.

During the show the subtlest thing happened. My daughter turned her head twice in the direction of the guy she was sitting next to. So subtle. I immediately got a pervert vibe from him. During suspended reality events like films and plays, we are not randomly drawn out of the show. The only reason one would bother to notice the audience around them is if something were happening to draw their attention. 

I immediately looked over at the guy who was innocently sitting there in the dark next to my daughter with his program on his lap. I scanned him from head to toe and never took my eye off of him again for the entire act.  I put my arm around my daughter and held her close, making  sure his body and leg and hand were nowhere near her.

At first, I felt trauma come up in my body and then I remembered who I am. I checked in on my body. I got present, grounded, fine. I felt comfortable and protective. I made sure he knew I had my eye on him. He knew. He was not going to get a chance to accidentally move his leg near my daughter’s, he was not going to get to move his hand under his program. He was not going to get a chance to do whatever subtle movements certain men did in the dark, in a public place, near a child. He stared straight ahead, never meeting my gaze. Funny how I stared intensely at him the entire act and he never turned his head to look at what the hell was going on, like anyone else have done. He didn't look because he knew.

I had no hard evidence, just a feeling, just a tiny head turn and I was on it. It was not lost on me that I was seeing this children’s play and I was having to deal with him.  Ah, yes, just another opportunity to heal. Life loves to give you opportunities to revisit your experiences and change the way things went down.

It was a drag to have to be so vigilant, but I weighed the options and did not want to upset my daughter and put her back in the seat with the blocked view and have to explain why during the show. I made my best choice. I also somewhat enjoyed letting him know that I was onto him and watching him like a hawk.

At intermission I dared him to look me in the eye but of course he would not. I took my daughter for a walk and asked her if the guy next to her was bothering her. She thought it a strange question, and said no and asked why. I said I saw her look at him and I wondered if he bumped into her or was snoring too loud. She laughed and said no. That was that.

Then I got a booster from the usher and when we went back to our seats we switched seats, I sat next to him and she sat on the booster, able to see over the tall person. She was curious why we switched. I made up a casual answer. I never looked at that man again. Once I was there the vibe completely changed, he was done. I got to watch the second act without a single thought about him. My girl was safe. 

Onward and upward. xHolly

PS, in case you ever find yourself struggling with uncertainty and don’t know what to do, when in doubt, my rule of thumb is: suspect the worst and handle it. At the end of the day it is way better to be wrong and have to apologize than to be polite and allow something bad happen. (but, alas, I was not wrong).



Sunday, March 22, 2015

simple



I have been noticing lately how good my life has gotten, how happy I am, how much love I have in my life, how many great dear friends I have, how comfortable I am in my skin, how comfortable I am earning, how comfortable I am in my marriage, with my family, how comfortable I am in my life.

There is daily work to be done on myself, I am way far from perfect. I struggle sometimes to be able to let all the good in and I struggle to stay present and available. I practice yoga and meditation and get support because I need help, I need a practice, but the bigger picture has so dramatically changed over time and I am not in the habit of chasing or feeling needy. I write that with s much gratitude. Thank you thank you thank you. 

My husband and I had dinner with friends last night to celebrate his birthday and it was such a great group of people and I got to sit with everyone and just enjoy myself and it was so effortless. Is that just because I am getting old, or is that what consciously creating the life I want looks like? I feel held as I write this.

I never write to brag, only to express surprise at what I find and/or gratitude for what is. There are days when I am having a rough time with my powerhouse children and I am on the floor, on the phone crying over how I may not be cut out for this, how hard it is.  I can get wrecked by challenges, but I recover and mend again and again.  I am happy to know that I can do this. I am doing this.

They say that rockets veer fro their course 90% of the time, but they keep correcting. The course is there to guide. Keep coming back to it. We will always veer, but if you have a course to keep coming back to, you will get to your destination.

I am starting to accept this rollercoaster ride called life. Today I LOVE it, Wheeeee!

https://youtu.be/t4J9vDrA0Mo

"I saw an owl and I saw a coyote. And I saw a woman with brown skin"


Yesterday my daughter was singing a song about Martin Luther King. She was going on and on about I miss you … and this whole story. So I asked her if she made the song up or if it was from school and she said, “It’s real. It’s about Martin Luther King. It’s sung by his wife.” So I asked her if she learned it in school and she said she heard it in New York. So I pressed her and asked if she heard it when we were there last summer and she said,
“I was there in New York and I saw an owl and I saw a coyote. And I saw a woman with brown skin.  And she was Martin Luther King’s wife and she missed him and she was singing the song. It was when I was born, 1000 years ago.”
When I asked her teacher about it, she said they had a song about MLK and Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks, but the song had nothing to do lyrically or musically with the one my girl was singing.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Race race race


My daughter received a book about Martin Luther King for her birthday last year. She really took to it and sensed that something powerful lie within. I would read it to her, but skip many of the words. I was not ready to introduce the idea to her that people with brown skin, which is how she identifies, were/are treated less than because of that skin tone. Man, I need to write that again because writing it makes it so clear-so horrific- some people are treated less than because of their skin tone!!

I thought about a quote I had read by a black woman who said that her parents never spoke about discrimination and she said that she never expected that she could not do anything she wanted to, and so she did everything that she wanted to. I also think about hearing David Oyelowo talk about Harry Belafonte in a similar way, suggesting that because Harry grew up Jamaica from when he was 5-13 years old, living without racial oppression gave him a different attitude about what he could have and do.

I am not sure I want to go on, to write about such a heavy subject because I write this blog daily in about 15 minutes, a bit off the cuff, because I have a one year old and a five year old and not much time to research, crystallize, perfect, etc. This subject deserves more time, but I am going to continue and put myself out there, which is scary, so forgive me if I am tackling this subject matter imperfectly.

Anyway, I want to protect my girl from any concepts that might seep into her brain and limit her in any way. I want her to know that she is equal equal equal and can be or do anything. I do not want her to have any sense of limitation or inequality. I am not raising her colorblind. We talk about skin color and I expose her to many different cultures and support her heritage.  I also want to always tell her the truth. Talking about skin color and race involves ALL of it, but for now I want to protect her from the ugly part of the world. I guess I just want to talk to her about race in a way that empowers her. I am not exactly sure how to do that. (Just writing this gives me a lot of ideas.) 

Anyway, her preschool talked all about Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks and she knows the story and the way she tells it is that ”People with white skin could do anything and people with brown skin could not. I have brown skin.” She just turned 5. She is still a baby in so many ways. She pronounces Dr. King’s name as Marthin Lufer King and when she is excited he becomes MarthinLuferSkin.

So Dr. King is her hero and I have let her know that he is mine as well. She knows that Dr. King fought and was arrested and changed the world and died. She understands that people with skin like hers have suffered because of it. I am not sure that she knows that they still suffer.

The other day we were listening to Marvin Gaye. “Got to Give it Up” is a favorite of hers. She asked me if he is still alive. She asks me that question about many artists I expose her to because I listen to current and classic artists and she can tell from the sound or the look that some things are from another time and the young face on the sleeve may not still be alive, as is the case with other singers she likes, like Ritchie Valens.

When I told her that Marvin was not alive any longer she looked at me and visibly upset she said, “I do not like it that so many people with brown skin die.” She sensed into something that I was not telling her, that I do not want her to know, yet that is so current and relevant. I certainly did not mention the violent nature of Gaye’s premature death. I was not even thinking about it, but the way she spoke suggested that she knew about so very many things.

We will get to it all, from Jack Johnson, to the Panthers, Malcolm, and Angela, to revisiting Dr. King, to my hero Oprah, and everyone in between and after. She already knows about Obama, who she takes pride in and who she confuses at moments with the song La Bamaba and calls Obamba. School will be talking about Cesar Chavez next. Public school will be starting in September. My ability to protect her from the world gets smaller every day.

On a separate note, we will also be talking about all the struggles of women as well,  and everyone from Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony to Gloria and all that follows.

I have my work cut out for me but I am up for it. I am blessed to have to keep educating myself in the race conversation so I can present it all to my dear dear girl.

In the moment of her being upset about the passing of another brown skinned person I held her empathetically and let her have her feelings then I said “Let’s listen to Stevie Wonder, he has brown skin and is alive and amazing.” We danced around to the first 4 songs on side b of Innervisions on vinyl, turning it off for dinner when “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” ended. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

thank you for making my life!


Ah, god bless march 19th, a day when my mother in law gave birth to the lovely soul I married. My husband said this cool thing to me and the kids during his academy awards acceptance speech. He said “Thank you for making my life.” We say that to each other pretty regularly. It is such a beautiful sentiment and it is the truth. It came from a news story I heard about survival and Sept 11th which I will paraphrase here.

The first part of the story said that when a big crisis/emergency happens there is a tendency for people to get lethargic. They mill around and do not fight or take initiative. I do not know if it is because they are in shock or in the freeze part of fight, flight or freeze, but it happens, it is a known phenomenon. The antidote for it is to think of your family. People who think of their families are the ones who rally, who fight, who escape, and who may even lead others to safety. Even Elie Wiesel talks about how thoughts of his wife were what helped him go on when he could no longer go on in the concentration camp.

Another part of the story explained that people really benefit from having practiced fire drills because they are functioning on some other level, the brain is not working the way we would like it to and the practice gives them a much needed blueprint to follow.

Lastly, it talked about how being a leader gives someone purpose, and so saving others gives them the courage to walk into a burning building.

The most touching part of the story was that during 9/11 this one guy who had lead “fire drills” became a leader who motivated people to rally and get out of the building. (I am sorry I am lame about the details and names, just going from memory here.) He kept going back to save more and more people. He continued to go in and save as many people as he could until he could not. He died that day saving people. Before he died he had called his wife and he said to her, “thank you for making my life.” I remember sobbing when I retold the story to my husband. It was so touching and beautiful. I sobbed because of the story but also because the sentiment rang so true for me.

We remember to say that to each other on a regular basis, not just in crisis. I love you Tom Cross. Happy birthday and thank you for making my life.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

"Sonny one so true, i love you.."


Around this time a year ago, I was in a lot of grief. We were supposed to adopt a baby in New York and right before the due date the couple changed their mind. God bless them. I hope they are doing great with their baby. At the time I was so devastated.

Adoption is great but it has some real difficult parts to it. One difficult feature is that you are not supposed to attach to a baby until the adoption is legally finalized because that baby may not be a keeper. It is pretty impossible not to attach to a baby that you are aching to love and raise and who may be going home with you, but the warning is fair. Blabbing about the baby to everyone and buying stuff for him (yes, it was a boy) and decorating a room etc, makes matters worse. So I get it, keep it a secret until it is a done deal and then get excited and tell everyone. The issue of not having a car seat or a bassinet at the birth can be worked out. Its not convenient, but not many things about babies are.

So we had played it cool but were still heart broken when the adoption fell through. I was lying under a tree about a year and 2 or 3 days ago, when a baby came to me and communicated that he was "trying really hard to get to me!" I was confused but I felt peace and my despair lifted and I was able to have an open heart. I was able to again hope for a child and believe that the right one was coming. You can read the original post here:

Anyway, a year ago, 2 days after a baby communicated to me that he was trying to get to me, my son was born. I did not know about his birth yet. It took 2 days before we got a call that indeed a baby had been born and we had been chosen to parent him. We got to the hospital by 1pm and left the hospital twelve hours later with our beautiful son. We called a friend and told them what we needed and they left some baby wipes and a bassinet outside their garage. We picked it up before driving to our home. It was pretty easy to get all of our needs met despite the lack of preparation. We walked on eggshells because we had to. Our friends said that they peeked out the window in the morning and smiled when they saw the stuff had been indeed needed and taken (Love you guys!).

And here we are. What a treasure. What a joy. What a fun year this has been. Happy birthday little son. If I can pass along anything to you,  dear reader, I would like you to know that it is within your reach to have your heart's desire. If I could do it, you can. I promise. Lucky, lucky me. I have gratitude from the bottom of my heart for this gift.

"Sunny, yesterday my life was filled with rain.
Sunny, you smiled at me and really eased the pain.
The dark days are gone, and the bright days are here
My sunny one shines so sincere, Sunny one so true, I love you."
This version is AMAZING!! worth checking out

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The New York City Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Heyday


As a youth in New York, St. Patrick’s Day was the best. You got to dress up and paint a shamrock on your face and cut school and go to the parade. My mother is Irish and that whole side of the family celebrated the holiday in a massive way. My older cousin’s were my idols, they were teenagers who hung out around me and acknowledged me. I knew all of their friends and I still to this day remember each friend’s name. These people made a great impact on me and I just thought they were the coolest.

I would go to the parade with them and be included in all of the revelries. There was drinking and dancing and singing and yelling and they brought blankets to wrap us up in and keep us warm on the years when the temperatures were brutal. I was part of the gang, included. I got to not be shy and participate and I got attention, which was lacking in my life, because I was little and cute. These folk knew how to have fun and I was allowed to be part of it. The parade was a vacation from my scary life.

At some point the Catholic school’s got strict about attendance on St. Patrick’s Day because it was known that teenager’s went to the parade and drank in the streets with everyone else. Back in the late 70’s and early eighties when we would go, New York City was loose and free and people could drink out of a brown paper bag without any issues. The streets were full of drinker’s, which was a drag to the rest of the people, but super fun to us. Avoiding stepping in vomit was part of the day.

The last time I went to the parade I was a freshman in high school and my mother let us cut school and wrote me and my sister sick notes. We went with my sister’s boyfriend and his friend and my friend who I’ll call Sue (Sue can come forward if she wants to, wink). It was freezing and we were not with my cousins, although I think we ran into them and hung out for a while. 

We were running around and having fun and enjoying the day and drinking. I was never a big drinker, alcohol ever really worked that great for me, but I took sips to be cool. It was freezing that year. I think we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to pee. Sue had been making out with my sister’s boyfriend’s friend. I think his name was Billy. I was jealous because Billy was cute and older and part of the adventure, and thus desirable. Then at some point she was vomiting and then crying out for Billy and trying to kiss him with her post-throw-up mouth. It might have been one of her first times drinking. Even if it wasn’t her first time, I am pretty sure it was her first time getting throw-up-drunk. We knew it was time to go and took her home.

I cannot remember how we got away with everything. Did we drive home or take the subway? Did the guys carry her? Did they carry me (I remember I wore boots with heels and my feet hurt a lot)? Did Sue come back to our house, where we would not get in trouble, where that was what happened on Saint Patrick’s Day? Did she sleep over or did she go home smelling of alcohol? I cannot remember the end of the story. I had had my first throw up drunk a few months before, on New Year’s Eve. That’s probably why it was her and not me on Saint Patrick’s day. We stuck together and took care of each other, even if that meant getting throw up on our coats. It all sounds horrendous to me now, but that is what our rite of passage looked like. We were not original my any stretch of the imagination, but we had a great day.

So today I honor Saint Patrick and the Irish, my Nanny from County Cork, who came to America alone at 14, the Skehills, and all the Inwood folk. You are all part of me. Erin Go Bragh.
and what better of a song could i possibly add...

Monday, March 16, 2015

the other car was barreling at me


I was almost in a car accident. I was pulling out of our alley onto the street. I thought there was nothing coming. As I turned onto the street a car was braking not to hit me, but still barreling at me. I could not get out of the way. The street is narrow and I was turning. In the best of circumstances when two cars are going straight it is still hard to pass each other.  I was wide eyed., bracing for the worst, as the car finally stopped inches from my vehicle.

I saw the other driver roll down the window and I literally felt love flow to me. I felt it. They were not going to curse or blame me, they were going to send me a kiss or something, send love to me, happy  that I and we were both unharmed. I felt it powerfully, as real as I might feel the wind or rain or air conditioning or the santa anna wind. That loving wave moved over me and was a surprise and felt so good.  I continued my turn and when our side widows aligned I saw that it was my friend in the other car.

It was not just any friend, it was a friend who I used to call when I was in my darkest hour, when I was in court regarding my daughter and I did not know the future of our family. She was a friend who would let me sob on the phone without explanation while she just listened. She was a friend who understood that I needed to have a witness, or just human support, to give me the strength to face those enormous feelings and get them out.

I would call and she would be available to listen.  That is a priceless gift. If you have anyone in your life going through something horrific, and you want to help, just let them know that you are available to listen to them and witness their process without comment or judgment, (unless they ask for comment). Just be there, if they want that kind of support.

Anyway, we saw each other on this random small street in Los Angeles and smiled and gestured sending love to each other and drove away. She inspired me to send love to everyone I have conflict, or traffic issues, or near missed with. I will practice that the best I can, not sure I can pull it off but I will try. Love heals. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

never thought i would have this


Community

About 5 years ago I went to super doula extraordinaire Nancy Beyda’s house for a cool class for new moms and some dads. We sat on the floor with the babies and checked in on a topic, like sleep or eat. Then ate together and watched the kids develop as the months went on. Soon the kids outgrew the class and a bunch of us stayed in touch via email and saw each other at parks and birthdays.

Five years later my group of now dear dear friends was all invited to my son’s first birthday. I am in awe of how we have grown together and how we are all part of each other’s lives. Some of us see each other several times a week and some of see each other every 5 months or so, but we are all there for each other.

Today my friends gave me food to give my daughter when she got too hungry, they held my son so my arms could have a break, they took photos and videos of the cake moment, they brought the table and the shade tent for the event. They hung out with me and had fun.

And I held their son’s hand so he could squeeze it while bravely having his big scrape cleaned, gave them clean clothes when their daughter’s outfit got too wet to wear, checked with them if it was ok for the kids to have another cupcake, traded band aides, caught up and had a great day with my peeps.

I have such gratitude for my wonderful community that manifested all by itself. I did not look for it or force it or expect it or try. It came to me, already perfect. I am noticing that that is what happens in many areas of my life lately. Interesting to track. Thank you dear friends for being in my life, I love you all.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

listen


Why are the british female singers with the ‘eavy ‘eavy accents so f*ing sexy cool.  Think Poly Styrene my fav of all time, her face her words her accent, her clothes, come on now! Then their was Amy Winehouse, beauty. Now, completely different in every way, but so cool is Kate Tempest. I am loving everything about her right now, her songs, her looks, her voice, her words. I wrote a blog about it and lost it all due to glitch, so you will have to check her out and see what I mean. She played in la tonight and is going everywhere else next, so check your town.

Friday, March 13, 2015

I don’t know what to call this.


I want to write about having a hard time showing up as a mom tonight (showing up is not the right word) and I am having a hard time showing up as a writer too because I cannot find the words. I cannot find the words to describe myself without being too judgmental. I actually am showing up as a writer because I am writing, but I want to say I suck because I cannot find the words to describe a writer who is not describing something that they want to describe. I want to say I suck at my job as a mom. I want to say I am lame, or a thousand other ways to say the same wrong thing.

What is going on is that I am just tired and my daughter was tired and tonight we were like fire and gasoline. She kept saying cranky things to me that were phrased in attacking language, which I pretty appropriate for five and tired, and I kept taking them personal, which is not appropriate.
Her: You’re doing it wrong.
Me: No I’m not! Blah blah blah!!!

Me: Ouch (I really banged my elbow!)
Her: I don’t like it when you yell at me.
Me: (Yelling) I am allowed to say ouch if I hurt myself, that is not yelling at you!
Her: crying
Me: Sorry.

This went on several rounds over the course of the evening. I kept mending, but I could not stop defending myself or taking everything personal. Its great to defend yourself in an adult situation if someone is being a dick, but I was treating a five year old like an adult, using adult reasoning and really just acting five. I could not stop.

Finally, I got my daughter into the much needed bed and picked up the phone and called a healthy mom to state my behavior out loud and state my awareness of it and ask for a sane person’s solution. She was not home. I did not get an answer, but the call helped.

While I was on the call my daughter was calling to me from her bed, so I finished up and went in and she snapped at me.

Her: (cranky voice) You are annoying me because I am calling you and you did not come!
Me: Mmmmmm (empatheticly), I didn’t hear you, sorry.
Her: You (blah blah blah…….)!
Me: Here let me fix your blankets. Do you need anything?
Her: (in a sweet exhausted child’s voice) I need a quite minute.
Me: Ok.

We lay together hugging for a full minute and kissed goodnight like butterflies, giraffes and gorillas. She called me in a few more times, but it was all ok and finally she is asleep. I showed up, I just had a really hard time remembering how to show up. When in doubt, empathy. Why is that so hard to remember? Peace out….