The “Girls”

the bmw girls

Once upon a style a few dozen pounds ago I could show off a turtleneck sweater with the best of them.  I’m not talking about Nora Ephron hide my neck kind of show off I mean Marilyn Monroe kind of pinup girl show off.

Being stacked is both a blessing and a curse.  Blessing in that men find you attractive and it evens out your damn hips. Curse because you can’t, well, play golf for instance.  Furthermore, you can’t wear button down shirts that fit your shoulders without busting a button. Get it? 

Many and I mean many, years ago there was a test you could do to decide whether you were able to wear a tube top, you remember those right?  If you could slide a pencil, you remember those too right, under your breast and it fell to the ground you could wear a tube top.  Wear one without looking like those tubes of polenta that start to smush and mush when they get warm that is. Just sayin.  I was NOT one of those girls. 

I was, and still am, one of those women that need a cast iron bra.  The lift and separate using underwire and stays and side panels and four hook kind.  There is no lace or front closure or racer back or, god forbid, padding.  There is minimizing, end of story.

Like many young girls, when I started to develop I thought what the hell am I going to do with these?  To make them less out there I would hunch a bit.  At thirteen you don’t want to be attractive to men, you just want to fit in with the other kids.   Posture wasn’t as important then and damn am I paying for that now, Dowagers hump here I come.

So now I have to really pay attention and I was reminded of that just recently.  We had a wonderful gathering of women friends to wish one of our own congratulations in her new job.  Truly it was wonderful until the cameras came out. 

I’m a big fan of perfect storms and boy did this one roar in and do some damage.  Combine a few glasses of wine, a relaxed pose (read shitty posture), a well worn in bra (more like tin than iron clad), and a clingy turtleneck sweater and you have a very rude awakening.

So ok pass the cameras around and now let’s have a look.  OMG.  Here I go again, what the hell am I going to do with those.  They look a lot like tubes of polenta doing what warm polenta in the tube does.  I can’t help but laugh my head off at the sight and the girls, at the dinner that is, did too. The words that spring immediately to mind are Old Italian woman.

While this Old Italian woman is damn glad that her breasts are healthy and tested negative for cancer she is awake now.  So six pounds and three new cast iron, minimizing, foundations (as they were once called) later I have started down the path of redemption.   Breaking in those bras is no easy task as most women are fully (lol) aware.  Someone tell me again why men do not have one piece of clothing that needs to be broken in.  No maybe don’t tell me, I don’t want to know.

 I’m sure I won’t give up turtlenecks because I live in the Northeast and it gets damn cold but I know like I know that rocking a clingy turtleneck like Marilyn Monroe is more about attitude, posture and a damn good bra than anything else.

Spring is a time of new beginnings. Honey Michelson

vernal equinox

Spring brings more light, a warmer sun, and the promise of a garden to come. I can just about make out the tips of the hosta, the poke of the sweet woodruff and the tulips (all two of them that are left) are leafed out but no bud yet.

Spring begins with the vernal equinox.  Equinox from the Latin “equal night”.  The days and the nights are just about equal everywhere.  The tilt of the earth is zero.  This got me thinking…

I’ve had an interesting week full of juxtaposition, equal day and night.  Equal easy and difficult.  Equal good and not so much.  I found myself saying I know like I know for the day, easy, and good circumstances.  No surprise there. But then I found myself saying I don’t know what I don’t know for the night, difficult, and not so much situations.

It’s not always like this, equal.  Sometimes, no mostly, it’s all good (I’m always reminded of Toots whenever I say those words) a lot like summer.   Rarely is it all difficult, a lot like winter.   I’m talking more about the I know like I know stuff being the cornerstone of my being.  I take what I know for sure and cement it to my life.

But this week, this week has been different.  I’m opening myself up to I don’t know what I don’t know in response to my otherwise smart ass usual snap judgments.  To the most helpful phone conversation with himself, to the 3:45am break-in at my neighbors, to the pop in behind the scenes Facebook conversation with my dear friend in Amsterdam all these have left me saying, I don’t know what I don’t know.  There are ways of being and personal issues looming in everyone’s life, everyone has a story.  But I’m no longer satisfied to assume I know the story.  There seems to be so much more.

So, Spring has started a time of new beginnings for me, where the admission of not knowing will lead to further exploration, understanding and empathy.  Combine that with the acknowledgment that the unknown isn’t as daunting as I once thought and I know like I know that more light, warmer sun and the promise of growth might happen to me too.

The Perfect Elevator Pitch

elevator pitch4

The art to a perfect elevator pitch is making an impression in thirty seconds or less.  Hopefully it’s a good, no a curious, impression in thirty seconds or less.  Your ultimate goal is for the person you’re pitching to say……………..tell me more.  Mission accomplished.

The question posed is usually; what do you do?

I write about all things ordinary because I believe that’s where real legacy comes from.  No one likes to talk about it but everyone will leave a legacy whether they intend to or not. Why not embrace the ordinary where memories become legend and you become immortal.

Wait for it…

Tell me more….perfect.

I bet everyone can think of at least three ordinary things, smells, moments, sounds that are directly associated with someone they no longer have in their life.  They don’t always have to be positive; no one said everyone would leave behind goodness and light.  Not everyone made their way in the world nobly.

But everyone is making their way in the world.  This week proved to me that legacies of all kinds are being forged with and without awareness.  My neighbor is fighting for her life in rehab, her family is forming her legacy as we speak but it’s yet to be decided, it’s an ongoing process, one I truly hope is life affirming with an outcome of strength and resilience.

My mother is rallying in another kind of rehab with literal strength and resilience toward being home for Easter.  Her release date is the 25th.  She has taken the rehab center by storm with her charming personality; and while they want to see her well, they would love to keep her among them.

Spending time with friends and colleagues this week has been essential for me.  I had to dig deep into the past to help someone; I had to go somewhere I hadn’t been in quite some time.  Truth be told I was sure I’d never have to go there again but your history sometimes bears repeating for the sake of another poor soul.  My problem is the balance of helping and hurting.  I learned much about myself this time around and was able to invest only what was necessary to start a process, not so much that I became overwhelmed.  I began to go too far but stopped; quite a valuable lesson in boundaries.

I’m learning to stop more and more.  Through my writing I find release and cleansing. I hope others will too.  I’m so fortunate to have finally found my creative outlet, one that lends itself to some measure of integrity.  But I’ve got to be careful to check my motivation.  I’m writing for the love of it, for the love of legacy and for the love of life.  Not for the “likes” on Facebook or the site stats that I so often find myself checking.  If people read, when people read I will be grateful.

father daughter

Speaking of grateful, my friend Paul shared the pictures from the annual Father/Daughter dance today.  They are just beautiful and his face truly tells a wonderful story.  He is creating the best legacy of all, one year, and dance and picture at a time for his “father’s daughters”.   Although my father and I never danced I am reminded each year, around this time of his death, just how many wonderful moments he left behind.  It is a blessing to me to watch another father do the same.


Truly, what is ordinary to one may be extraordinary to another, I know like I know.


Where I Used to Live


Addiction is a vacuum.  It sucks everyone and everything into its grasp.

It’s a hard life, it’s a heartache.

When you listen for the breathing, when you listen for movement, when you believe, when you are disappointed.

It’s a hard life, it’s a heartache.

When you see the potential in someone, when you know their circumstances, when they continue to fall and picking them up is only empowering to you not them. When you dare to think you can save them you only destroy yourself.   Your fundamental goodness is counterintuitive to what an addict needs.  It then becomes a race to see who will hit bottom first.

It’s a hard life, it’s a heartache.

It’s where I used to live.  Now I’ve moved.  To calm, to peace, to the enchanted forest.  I live here now, among all the things that tell my story of escape and joy and very little of what once was. I’ve put the hard life in its place but perhaps there are some boxes that I’ve yet to open.

My home has no attic in which to keep secrets and yet I hear noises coming from above.  Sadly they are familiar noises that sound exactly like a vacuum running. I find myself listening hoping they will stop like when you go too far and the plug pulls from the wall.  I didn’t think I could volunteer to do the cleaning upstairs, I didn’t think I was capable.  I struggled with the helping/hurting of yet another addict.  I know all too well the road to hell is paved with my good intentions.  I can’t go to hell again.

It’s a hard life, it’s a heartache.

But the noises get louder, and then they stop.  Like when you go too far and the plug pulls from the wall.  I can’t ignore the silence, silence could indeed be deadly.  Rally my resources, don’t do this alone, seek counsel of the authorities, seek your younger strength and let’s act.  I can’t bear the silence, I can’t live with the dichotomy of such a good person in free fall not having a soft place to land.

It all comes back, the whole script, all the steps, the surprise, the love required to take someone from the comfort of their addiction into the discomfort of detox and the twelve steps and the sponsor and the ninety meetings in ninety days and the and the and the.  There are times when I deeply resent knowing what I know and then there are times that I am keenly aware that they may save someone’s life…if they allow it.

That said, unpacking those boxes this weekend has been difficult for me, and while I know this shouldn’t be about me, I lived the hard life and I know the heartache.  My friend is safely tucked away in detox, her sisters are trying to fix her but I am giving them the three Cs in every phone call, they didn’t cause it, they can’t control it and they certainly can’t cure it.  I know like I know that I will only do this this one time, that people need to live their own consequence after being given all the tools they need to make it in the world of the clear minded, they are in charge, they too have their own three’s, serenity to accept the things they cannot change, courage to change the things they can and wisdom to know the difference.   God I just want my hour back.

International Women’s Day


 intl womens day 2

A woman can say more in a sigh than a man can say in a sermon.  ~Arnold Haultain

I’ve done my share of sighing for some of the women around me.  They struggle with things most can’t imagine, yet they go to work each day.  They are giving birth and mourning parents.  They are holding their breath waiting for test results and jumping for joy when results come back negative.  Funny how that word negative can bend in both directions. 

Women are making their way in the world around and about and because of and in spite of any number of circumstances because they are made of something bigger than themselves.  I consider myself a woman of substance and circumstance and I know many like me.  We stand beside one another and tend, feed, nurse, educate, monitor, walk with, cry with, hold each other’s hands and hearts at a moment’s notice. 

There are also women and girls that lack substance not yet having acquired a laundry list of circumstances from which to draw.  How can we show them without preaching, disrespecting or belittling?  How can we keep watch over them yet not interfere in the circumstances that are so essential to growth and wisdom? How can we live our lives successfully so that we become contagious to those around us who will be left to carry on?  What will our/my legacy be to women yet to develop and thrive? 

The fact is I don’t know.  My gift to myself was to set my sights on crawling.  Many have watched me crawl and struggle toward walking, standing just to the side in case.  Then walking, more confidence, less anxiety, more happiness, less profound sadness, more quiet, less chaos.  More me, less everyone else but never abandon my love of others and lose focus on my authenticity.   

My gift to others will be to finally soar.  In the hopes that each one will take from me and my journey what might work for them.  To recognize my circumstances are mine but that they will indeed have theirs too.  To understand that substance comes in time but is based in genuine living and service to others.  All this without losing oneself.   

intl womens day 3

My hope for the women in my life on this International Women’s Day is that their sighs are replaced with exhales and that their circumstances are manageable and that their substance comes fast and easy through a life of authenticity and joy.  That they know they are worthy just the way they are and that their voice is always heard.  These are lofty hopes but I know like I know my women deserve nothing less.  Celebrate yourselves today and all your women will learn from you too.