Five Years Ago–Happy Revolutions

Facebook reminds me that I have a memory from five years ago, a picture of my then 12 year old daughter in braids and new-budding body and me, lean and less harried (the intervening five years ran roughshod over my face and spirit), walking a 4th of July 5k that is an annual staple of my town, that and the parade that follows. A rare photo in that my younger daughter awoke early to participate in this event with me. She has seen me run all of her life, even gone with me via stroller or bicycle. Running and soccer predominated over our home all of her life.

Except my daughter, a soccer player since a toddler following in her older sister’s footsteps, literally, has never enjoyed running. In fact, her particular style of soccer reveals a constant strategy to minimize sprints and chases. She outsmarts rather than outruns. So, this particular photo reveals the rare and typical: the two of us in an early morning race–walking. 

I remember this day vividly. She and I raced to the race, having awakened late. By the time we reached the starting line, the race had begun and we raced along in the throngs of sneakered early-morning celebrators. We ran our race before it began, a well-known mistake for one who had run dozens of prior races, short and long. Pacing. We had not paced ourselves, so the photo captures us walking at the three-quarters mark, me with serious intent and recovery written on my expression and she with discovery and rescue broadcast on hers. We were enjoying the moment of breath and notice, me ever deep inside myself and she with wonder of the street lined masses outside.

The friend who took the picture much to my surprise traveled in a group tour with me to the Costa Rican Carribbean rain forest jungle on a yoga retreat. We became waterfall hiking companions as well as yoga classmates on the trip and afterward at the health club we both attended. I did not know he had taken the picture until he posted it on my wall. That memory and all it blankets coupled with a coffee quiet morning foreshadows a lovely 4th. 

Happy, peaceful revolutions to you all.

Cradle to Grave

One more I honor and pray will not be the last,

This poem, your day, awakenings to more days

Filled with complaints, facts, lies, jokes and sighs

Those last with mortal grimace and existential pain–

And celebrations.

No one fills your place, not before or after,

None who sits just where you do in my house,

Or my car, no one quite like you who inherited and grew

status, class, gender, race, trait, stance and ethnicity.

You made me.

One day you will unmake me just like the sun and earth,

My fiery Death whose smoke will awaken the ravens

Loosen charred Regret and Steam, neither life companions

On my walk, my rise and fall, blossom and decay, my stain

After you.

Bar Talk

I must look safe, the one least likely to intrude in a bar. The uninterested.

She sits down next to me when there are so many other stools to occupy.

All dolled up, clearly she is waiting for someone special to occupy the stool to her right.

I am to her left.
Happy hour, bruschetta is half off as are select beers.
Of course, my selection costs its usual six and change. No discounts for the IPA’s–ever.

Some have accused me of having gout deluxe, but I say, “nah.” Simple woman.
My tastes range from pleb to elitist. Depends on the thing, the subject. 
Food, wine and beer, yes, I enjoy top of the line. Clothes, functional.
Not a shopper, no interest. That’s why the guys say, “You’re like a guy.”

Other reasons, I prefer conversation about what matters: the world, the local and
all in between. My interests range the span of my experience, read, written and lived, 
relationships only one among many. Frankly, I don’t care much for confession.
Keep the distance, please. Tell me about what matters to you as a member of the world.
Two beauties sitting on top of each other taking selfies. In another bar, that might be suspect.
But this is not that kind of bar. Affluent, beach, blonds.
And the texts on my phone: bad news about the revenge of cancer, someone out there, on my mind.
And the stranger narcissist filling my inbox with doings, wishes, manifestations.
“I can’t go out with someone I am not attracted to says the made up late fifty something with the silver shiny horizontal studded stripes in her blinged out black warm up jacket.
Ping…the cancer returned after five years. I thought I was done.
Ping…I love the way she feels…
Ping…but I am afraid to go through it, the chemicals, the time off…
Ping…Egyptian, her parents moved from Cairo…
“Everything doing okay here?” The bartender wants to know. “Yes.”
Happy hour at its edges now settles into its middle.
“The grass is always greener on the other side….she’s got to pay her dues,” says bling jacket. The babe next to me moves kitty corner with her guests, two other women fresh from work, twenty somethings, nearing thirty somethings. One curly blond, and two brunette: the Asian with the “whatever” bun and the white girl with the straight slung hair parted down the middle.
The time difference lets me off the hook. “Good night, sleep well. Dream healing dreams,” I genuinely wish and type.
There is a four year old behind the bar, and I watch her skim her hand over every glass and bottle she passes down the row on her way out of the bar well.
The device speaks: ring. “Yes, I am at a bar. Come meet me. We’ll eat. Want me to read you the menu? Braised beef ribs…bleu cheese sliders with Angus beef, poached halibut…okay, see you soon. Yes, chill a pinot or merlot, something interchangeable…feeling marinara or fish. Bye.”
Boys at the end of the bar closest to the television pin their eyes to football and the commercials that go with, men with pizza slices and desire written all over their orgasmic posed faces, Mercedes mini van advertised as affordability (right) and something computer and football combined, guys at desks and a football player fish out of water, Ameritrade. And then the Cardinals line up at the 40 yard line.
Honey, you don’t look as if you can handle the double IPA. Stick to your happy hour house wine. She just moved in and made it clear to the bartender that she was ordering for her boyfriend who was on his way. She is two barstools away: young, neat, attractive, twenties, trying to keep herself entertained, phone, looking around, the silk scarf around her neck shifting with each turn of her head from the wine cabinet to my left and the incoming guests. We are at the entrance. And he arrives. This is a new boyfriend. I can tell by the kiss they greet each other with–something between a peck and I-recognize-the-sink-into-the- thick-of-your-lips. They are still something stand-offishly, sweetly polite. He is soft and quiet, appetizers smartly waiting for him by her selection. He digs in with gusto, eats obediently, appreciatively, while she authoritatively introduces her informed choices. She will make a fine mistress of the house.
Isn’t this great?
“Who is training her? Their job is to come in, check in, go down the hall, check the laundry…” bling says to her patient hearer, the one who asked the bartender to turn down the lights, which bother her eyes. Bling speaks for the crowd to hear. “I’m not bashing her. I haven’t said nothing about her for weeks…”
The girl friend returns from the water closet with her hair bunned up. Why? What’s the projected look trying to achieve? I’ve never been good at style and signals. I do New York bag and that is the extent of my “style.” And that was a long time ago. Now I just dress whatever-is-clean-and-top-of-the-pile. It used to be important to dress with purpose. I am nearing golden, no need.
The symmetry of a wine cellar on display soothes, the circular slotted holders sprouting capped spouts or the buddy bottles snug lined up along a leisurely reclined shelf to feature chillin’ wine bottles, casual, seductive. I hope the temperature behind that glass is 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Nothing worse than room temperature wine, the myth of the uninitiated–says a pretender.
The beer has done its work. It only takes one, especially after a sleepless night of sacrifice: term papers and morning frolics in missed motel beds. The buzz combines exhaustion with hops, and I am content. School’s out. Time to eat: transition from bar denizen to restaurant patron.
Wait, the four year old swiper’s parent just came on shift. Maybe just a few more minutes….


Felicitations on the Auspicious Occasion of Your Natal Day!

Congratulations to all who have survived another day

Opened their eyes to the sky and the light just to say

Thank you to whomever it pleases for my birth, today.


And in case you didn’t know, here is the skinny on birthday celebration ritual as we know it here in America today.

This is Why You Get to Celebrate Your Birthday Every Year.

  credit: happy birthday mistress 

Wait for the last one on this short video:  it’s worth it.


Happy New Year! What Else Could I Write?

Happy arbitrarily chosen day to start counting all over again and feeling resolved to do things differently! Thank you, Caesar for setting this day in 46 B.C. of all days to start the new year, and not the logical one, which would be and was before him the vernal equinox, the official start of spring in late March. Just goes to show you, it’s good to be the king.

Resolving to make changes, do things right, and avoiding mistakes of the past is inspiriting. It’s the ultimate Mulligan. Who doesn’t love second chances (and third, fourth and fifth chances)? More importantly, who doesn’t love to be self-deluding? Not to be too cynical, but most of us make resolutions that stretch far into fantasy land of what I want to be when I grow up: thinner, stronger, healthier, wealthier, and a host more of -ers.

Truth is, those big resolutions that require the maker to do something avoided the previous twelve months are not going to magically happen with a declaration that it be so. Most understand that, so why make resolutions? Because it feels good to be resolved. It’s like any shot in the arm that gives a little boost from the limbic brain, like feeling sexy or getting out of the cold into a warm house. It just feels good.

A day for reflection, however chosen, is also a good thing, particularly because humans, Americans especially, seem to need to be told what to do when. That’s why we get a select few calendared holidays strictly enforced by the day off with stores closed and Hallmark greeting cards that remind us how we are supposed to feel. Think about how hard it is on Christmas day to be housebound because there is nothing open for distraction. Okay, except Starbucks…and the movie theaters. Just last week I surrendered to the deep desire to stay in pj’s all day and watch endless movies on Christmas day with the all-right-in-the-world justification of knowing that that is what my country wants me to do. Why else would I have the day off with almost everyone else?

Besides, the recovery from an after calamitous Christmas shopping for days on end hangover was much needed. So Christmas day is for recovery of one sort and New Years day is recovery of another–the obligatory drinking. How else does one know one is truly happy and celebratory if not drunk? I must admit the dry years and the wet years made the difference between boredom and enthusiasm vis a vis heralding in the new year. Oddly or maybe not so oddly enough, in the sober year ends, I never saw midnight except in the visions dancing before closed lids.

This evening, I will imbibe a bit, but probably just enough to keep me warm not sleepy. I don’t want to miss the stroke of midnight good cheer with the clinking of glasses and kissing of cheeks, some with loving embrace. The ritual synchronizes me. All is right in the world when I follow the rules of new years eve obligatory good feeling and hope.

Even though the rituals have changed throughout the years–from waking the kids up for pots and pans banging when they were little, to poppers and noise makers when they were a little older, to trying to stay awake til they got home safely–they still are important for setting the rhythm of days: wiping my hands clean of the old to roll up my sleeves and dig into the new.


Two feet on either side, straddling the old year and the new, I step into the new year at 12:00 a.m. just as the last possible touch of the toe tip of my high-heeled boot lifts from the pavement of the old year to meet its mate in the new. This is the constant: keep on walking.

And don’t look back. Every year I resolve not to resolve but to keep up the good work of living. Like every year, it was the worst of times and the best of times–more or less. I had the good fortune of testing my mettle to its very painful depths in hardship and loss this year and found that I am stronger than I know and have so many who love me more than I shamefacedly have realized. I had the misfortune of resting in half sleep for days on end in the contentment that comes with ease and comfort. And the new year will bring more of the same.

I wish all of you who I am so grateful for and have enjoyed in my slapdash, sometimes frenetic attempt at a meaningful sharing of the fragments of my memory, thought and pleasures in this blog, a happily, merry, loving evening. See you tomorrow (I will tap softly on the keyboards in deference to your sensitive state in the morning ;))

The gaze