And Whatever

Yes You Do

God knows I love a good rant. A good rant is spewed from righteous indignation, full of snappy repartee, hard to argue points, and substance. It’s fast, almost impossible to interrupt and it can have you standing on your feet if you agree, or slinking away if you’ve been proven wrong.   Think Aaron Sorkin, who can spin several different political points of view into one oh yeah we can all agree on that tiny thing. Think George Carlin, linguist extraordinaire going off about his post-modern manhood. Think Anne LaMotte who I call the world’s most amazing spiritual rantist. She has a way of looking at things that transcends the conventional but gets us all on the same page. Rantist is not yet a word, I’m working on that, there are days I truly aspire to be one… You see the common thread here? There is always one tiny thing that anyone listening can take away as their own.

Unless you rant for a living it’s usually a one time, get it off your chest; say what you have to say kind of thing. It’s hard to repeat if it comes from way down inside and really means something. What it is NOT is bitching. Bitching is excruciatingly slow, whiney, poor me, oh this and oh that and usually someone else’s fault and ends with “and whatever”!!!   I get people have something to bitch about but there’s a change that could be made somewhere in there and after hearing the same bitch over and over it’s enough. Just change one thing, just one, please. Then you’ll have something different to bitch about or shut up already. Can you tell I’ve heard more than a few of these this week?

I try not to bitch because I recognize the things I’m tempted to really bitch about have several very good solutions, none of which I’ve gotten off my ass to implement.   Yet, I mean I haven’t gotten off my ass to implement them yet. Right, don’t want to send that down on myself blah blah into the universe.  I can assure you I don’t live in a Que Sera Sera world and that shit travels…fast… Just sayin.

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That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be an outlet for everyone who has that “thing” they’re stuck on. I’m not sure what that outlet should be because it’s personal. Mutual bitching partners? Pity parties? Racquetball? That used to work for me but my joints are long past bouncing off the walls. No it’s more like a photo walk for me now. I say I haven’t found my bitch and purge outlet yet but here I am bitching and purging.

If you can learn how to rant, do. It’s amazing and cathartic. You don’t have to do it out loud if that’s not your thing. I recently met a wonderful woman who posted her rant on Facebook. Just the other day I made an alternate response to an email that made me feel much better about the ridiculousness of the original request from someone who had no business speaking on behalf of….well anyone. There is a wonderful finality in the Whewwwww.

You’ll feel much better. I rant therefore I am…Dennis Miller

Lime and Lime Again

Lime and Lime Again (17)

In a full heart there is room for everything, in an empty heart there is room for nothing. Antonio Porchia

I had the honor of joining several of my oldest and dearest friends in Houston this weekend. We met for the very first time. You’ve heard me say before what a lovely and rare gift that is; meeting an old friend for the very first time. How is it that twenty five women can find themselves together sharing, learning, laughing, exploring, and just plain, well, liming… Liming is an expression that has its origin in Trinidad & Tobago. It has relaxing at its center but goes further to include rejuvenating, enlightening, connecting and gathering around food and conversation. We attended the LimeLight Sessions this weekend and I did indeed lime. These sessions are the brain child and, come to find out, dream come true of Karen Walrond. Human being extraordinaire, story teller, speaker and photographer, creator and curator of the website

My participation in these sessions came at a turning point. I’ve been following Karen for several years and love the way she makes her way in the world, the way there is a community around her, the way she values her own backyard and the world’s backyard. Yes, I do too. So how does she do it, what is she really like, can I learn from her. The answer is yes. And yes. And yes. Her generosity is unrestrained while taking good care of herself, not an easy thing to do. One of the more frustrating things women struggle with.

Timing is indeed everything; having just reached that turning point in Ordinary Legacy, having just brainstormed a truly frightening and exhilarating idea for where it should go, having just actually put that idea on paper and presented it as a product the invitation to lime in Houston reaches my inbox…In Houston. I haven’t been on a plane in almost a decade. So what? I sign up, I make travel arrangements including flights and hotels and shuttles and lions and tigers and bears and I’m a minute from a meltdown and excitement overrides my fear. There are gifts and then there are gifts, excitement is truly a gift.

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I have been carrying around “the book” as himself used to call it, since my father died in 2005. It has stuff, ideas, pictures, snippets and quotes. I’ve not been as consistent with it in a journaling sense but it’s been an invaluable tool. Practically the minute I got to Houston it put into action. The room I was in had a big ledge of a window sill, the kind I had in my first apartment in Cliffside Park and I found myself using it as a desk with my coffee close by and a view of the city. Priceless.

We worked we played we shared. I shared Ordinary Legacy and where I wanted it to go. What is legacy they asked…oh I know like I know this one; legacy is born of living your life the way you want your story told. Extraordinary legacies come from an ordinary life well lived. Yes they said, let me repeat that…Yes, they said. I am blessed to have been able to let my ideas about where I want to go out and have wonderful people say, yes. To have my little love of legacy become part of these sessions fills my heart to overflowing. Tia Walker said; “Affirmations are our mental vitamins, providing the supplementary positive thoughts we need to balance the barrage of negative events and thoughts we experience daily.” Amen Sister.

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I learned so much over this weekend, about the women who attended and about myself. I told my story, which I don’t normally do. Thank you Esther, you’re a love and I can’t wait to see you in December for Andrea’s serenade to us.  I met and grew to love some of the most fascinating and nurturing people I’ve ever met. And they met me, the real me. I sincerely hope that the legacy I’ve left them is the one about the favorite Aunt and not the one about Macy’s window….I’ll save that for another time.

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And then back on the plane. Goodbye Houston, I don’t know that I’ll see you again but I enjoyed your company. Hello New Jersey, my backyard where I know like I know I can make this happen. I thank you Karen for your timing, your wisdom and your ever faithful course of looking for the light.



My Mother’s Italian Curse


“Sooner or later in life, we will all take our own turn being in the position we once had someone else in.” ― Ashly Lorenzana

This has been the week of the girls upstairs.  My great reckoning that, truly, what goes around comes around.  One of the girls is little, 16 months old, the other around 5.  I don’t know their names yet but I know like I know that the older is some reincarnation of the reason why I don’t have children.  I was that girl; the one who could throw a tantrum at a moment’s notice with the veracity of a studied lunatic.  These were no ordinary tantrums they came complete with the true belief in the injustice that was being thrust upon me by…whatever, whoever.  They had screaming, crying, hair pulling, foot stomping and the throwing of oneself on the floor.  Kid you not. They are the reason my mother would turn, usually calmly, and issue the Italian curse; you should have children just like you.  Oh no you don’t, watch this I vowed.  And years later I became the favorite Aunt and all was well.  Until now.

The upstairs Momma is genius, she leaves for work early and Dad gets the girls ready for the day.  Older girl wants none of it.  Every morning, I mean every morning.  As I’m making my coffee she begins to escalate into a fervor that can only be described as a percolation into boil over.  They are right above my kitchen, stomping and carrying on as if she is being tortured, which in the scheme of this five year old who boasts a princess on board sticker on the car, the latest outfits, and her own music (can we shut Brittney Spears up for just a minute? Really?), seems unlikely.   Dad is amazing, quiet, calm, going about the duties of the morning.  I can just picture him stepping over her toward the door and waiting at the bottom of the stairs for her to stomp down.  And stomp she does, all through the house.  In the kitchen she stomps so hard that my kitchen light blinks.  In their bedroom, above my office, she stomps so loud that Lina dives under my desk where I’ve put two cushions for her to sleep on.

In her moments of distain for the little one she can lash out with the standard, I hate you.  She will scream at whoever will listen (and that’s everyone when the windows are open) she’s not the good one…I know, I know I still say that my sister is the good one.  Because, well, this really didn’t happen from her.  And then there are the moments when she turns on the little one, in any number of ways, and the little one begins to cry.  That completely devastated sobbing that is the thing that will haunt big sister many years from now.  I know like I know.

I don’t get angry at all this morning chaos, it only lasts a short time, but I do get nostalgic in that I wish I had behaved differently kind of way when I was a kid.  In that how in the world did my parents ever talk to me again once I passed that stage? In that I will never forget the look on my sister’s face when I hit her and it took about three minutes for the tears to actually come out of her eyes.  God she was being brave but shit was that a crappy thing for me to do. “You have to appreciate where you have come from to know who you are in the present and who you would like to be in the future.”  ― Truth Devour

What I actually do is pray every morning now, for those girls, for those parents.  I have come to realize the power of that particular Italian curse and that even though you think you got over somehow you didn’t even come close.  And I pray that I have amassed enough Karmic equity so they move along from this stage quickly.



That Guy

Around Nantucket (18)

“…vicinity to the sea is desirable, because it is easier to do nothing by the sea than anywhere else…― E.F. Benson

My worse fear of not returning to the Cape in September proved unfounded.  Not only did I return to the Cape but I was accompanied by two of my favorite people.  They are smart and funny and foodies and quick witted and did I mention funny.  When you find yourself on the beach at the very END of September and the weather is amazing and there is the smell of sun screen and the water bottles and the breeze you inevitable begin to people watch.  It can’t be helped.  You’ve covered the entire how is everything, how is the family, the deep thoughts and the near missed crisis and now you are just quiet and watching.

And there he is…that guy.  We’re looking up at what we thought was a kite but noooo it was a kite surfer, on the beach??, doing…something.  Perhaps practicing, perhaps testing the equipment, who the hell knows.  But he was definitely that-guy.  How did we know?  Because as he got closer his authoritative, maven, I’ve got this voice became clearer.  Following closely behind him was the equivalent of Chester trying to connect with Spike.  He finally relented and put the kite down and let Chester assist, under the very closest scrutiny, while expounding the latest and greatest equipment he had and the second set of equipment (not nearly the caliber of HIS equipment) that he might be willing to lend.  Three synchronized eye rolls and a vacation theme was born.

What’s the definition of that guy?  He’s the person everyone loves to hate and never wants to become.  The internet is overflowing with examples of that guy. One of the more interesting that-guy behaviors that we observed was while waiting for the return ferry from Nantucket. Queuing up behind us was a group of young men,  we didn’t turn around to see what they looked like we just listened.  It was obvious that one of the men was a bit older exhibiting the that-guy behavior of calling adult males “kiddo” (or “son” when they’re being condescending).  Or uses expressions that are clearly not in his vernacular like “right on” (because in your perfectly crisp striped shirt you think you can come close to Marvin Gaye.  Stop it right now).

There was another member of this group that clearly didn’t belong, although I’m sure he didn’t realize that.  Seems there was a compromising picture of him taken the night before that somehow wound up on Facebook.  He thought it was going to be treated at “private” but the  little shit that posted it was all “sorry Dude (a word I’ve come to loath because a. people call women dude and b.  there is really only one Dude, Lebowski). This exchange was so heart wrenching as the kid kept saying it’s all good, it’s all good.  No it’s not, that was that-guy behavior at its very wickedest.

If the line didn’t start moving there is no telling what would have come out of my mouth, just sayin.  We did get a look at them finally and true to our impressions they were of obvious means, perfectly coifed and crisp, even after a weekend on Nantucket and the obvious imbibing that went with it.  The exception, naturally, was the poor guy that got the proverbial sucker punch.  Thankfully the wind on the water was the blessing that prevented us from hearing any more of this nonsense.

Of course there are other forms of that-guy behavior like wearing a plaid shirt with opposing plaid shorts.  Then there was our neighbor who my Summer Sister figured for a preacher, dressed in his Sunday clothes with papers under his arm which we believed was his sermon.  He seemed a righteous that-guy type.  There was the kid that was a bit slow in serving our food at the Chatham Bars Inn because he was attending to the needs of two older, and I do mean older, women fussing about their tea.  These are the that-guys that bring a smile to one’s face, the ones that just make their way in the world being…well…that guy.

These men are about as far from the many definitions of that-guy as they can be, they aren’t out to impress any one they simply are…  As for the rest of the typical that-guys we weren’t impressed. They simply made for good conversation, very funny repartee and a helluva whirlwind vacation theme…relaxing and eating aside.