When you live

inside your head, with no one to talk to but imagined people, it’s always a jumble of things outrageous and mundane.

A rehash of personal history; questions about why you are who you are – where did all these opinions, beliefs, judgements, preferences come from? Why do you think how you think, and reason?

The telling, to these imagined and imaginary people, of all the stories, both funny and sad, of your life.

The imagining of other ways to live, the if only’s, the when this happens then that.

The crazy experiences I invent, even other lives I invent, that I live in. And yet I say I have no imagination – Ha! – if you only knew.

Today my mind is awhirl with books I’ve read – that remind me of other books and movies and experiences and the question becomes – how in heaven’s name do we justify eating other sentient beings. The answer is – that is the way of nature – the food chain. But still…

And the thought that so many people are drawn to the sea, to bodies of water, like moths to the light – because that is where we came from? It is our happy place (as Sharla calls it). And then there is me – I fear the water. Nothing petrifies more than water – ponds, rivers, lakes, the ocean, even a bathtub. I don’t know why.

And yet nothing mesmerizes me more than the ocean; nothing draws me more. Living by the ocean has been my deepest, strongest, most unrelenting desire – I picture my home, on a cliff, overlooking the sea. “I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and sky…” (opening line from John Masefield’s poem Sea-Fever).

This morning I sat with my coffee and thought “Today is not a good day” and thought “No particular reason why this is not a good day, it just is. And I want to go – end it all. It’s time.”

It’s almost Noon and I have to start lunch and I don’t quite feel that way anymore. The day hasn’t gotten any better, really, but I’m not feeling that defeated.

Instead I am writing this.


Yesterday I finally finished the book “Hello Beautiful” (which I wrote about in the previous post). As I said to Sharla, it is a tearjerker, especially towards the end, and yes, it jerked some tears from me.  Well, almost – there was just a hint of mist in my eyes.

I suppose the overall theme is love – of friends and family. Connections. With a large side order of living with clinical depression.

Three-quarters of the way through the book I thought “Wow, wouldn’t it be great to have to have friends and family and connections like that” As I sat with that thought for a few moments, I thought “No, not for me.”

I’m the friend who will always be there for you, help whenever and however you need me to. Just ask. And if I sense you might need me but won’t ask, then I’ll ask YOU. I’ll show up and ask. And I’ll go away if that’s what you want. I will not live in your back pocket. I’ll keep in touch and keep track of you but I won’t hover. I’ll be easy to forget about until…

The connections and relationships in this story were overwhelming – at least for me they would be. Thinking about them makes me shudder.

I didn’t grow up with any close relationships and therefore never established any close relationships with anyone at anytime. I never had a “best friend”, oh hell, growing up I had no friends. Come to think of it, aside from my therapist and maybe one other person, I never confided in anyone about anything. I never depended on anyone for anything. Learned behavior or just who I am?

I’ve been accused of being cold-hearted because I seem to have the ability to just walk away from people and relationships. As much as I, all too often, had let people treat me badly there were times when I not just closed a door or burned a bridge but bricked up the door and started a conflagration. As much I avoided confrontation, when my limit was reached, it was reached and I was done.

It wasn’t until I was in my late 30’s that I learned to say NO on a regular basis. Hoo-boy were there a lot of shocked people.

When I think about that I also think about being told that my vocabulary, until I was 3 or so,consisted of 4 words – Ma, Pa, John and NO.  Makes me laugh. According to family lore the first full sentence I spoke was “NO, I won’t. Make John do it” And then I stomped out of the room and slammed the door behind me. I was like 2.5 – 3.

I guess I had more confidence and sense of myself when I was a toddler than when I was an adult. Where did it all go? And why did it take me so long to get it back.

If you want a nice book to read, with nice people and a warm and fuzzy feel, go ahead try Hello Beautiful. Ann Napolitano uses language beautifully, it’s a well written book and quite frankly there aren’t that many of them around these days. It’s even well edited. It won’t knock your socks off but when you finish you will go Awww.


I don’t follow sports – anymore. I did at one time, from toddler to middle age. After I moved out of NYC I stopped following sports because I had no one to share them with. My husband was never much of a sports fan despite coaching his son’s basketball team and playing volleyball and the occasional inter-agency softball game.

Four years ago, when my husband fractured his left hip and was confined to his recliner, he started watching sports, most often with the sound off. When asked which teams were playing he’d say “I don’t know”. He was just watching to have something to distract him.

Football was the first sport he became a watcher of, then basketball for a while but his interest tapered off and he took up with soccer. He became a devoted soccer fan. Hockey never really engaged him despite his family being rabid Bruins fans (ask me about my wedding reception.)

Since fracturing his right hip several weeks ago he finds himself growing fond of golf. Golf! (Funny golf story – years ago, after my father died, I would visit my mother every Sunday like a dutiful daughter. She was always watching golf. When I asked her why, she said “I like to watch them wiggle their asses”.)

The other day my husband was watching basketball. I asked him why and he said “There’s no golf on”. He’s not a huge basketball fan. The thing is, it IS baseball season, the one sport that simply doesn’t interest him. So – no hockey, no baseball, limited basketball watching.

One would think that now that I have someone who is interested – somewhat – in sports I would start watching again, but no. I’ve been away from it for so long I have no idea who is who or which teams are doing what. The local teams here hold no interest simply because they are the local teams and I have no emotional attachment to this part of the world even tho I have chosen to live here.

Ah, but I was once a rabid sports fan – the New York Giants (football), Yankees, Rangers, Knicks and the Boston Celtics. The Jets never interested me and back in the 80’s I went to more Mets games than anyone should have – my company had field box seats, I lived near Shea Stadium, and no one ever wanted the tickets.

I was one of those people who gets really into it, really excited, really loud and enthusiastic. I yell, scream, holler and even cry. You don’t want to be next to me when something exciting happens – you WILL be black and blue.

Some sports watching memories that are forever embedded in my brain: 1980 Winter Olympics – Miracle on Ice. I was watching it alone and hoo-boy when the US beat Russia I stomped, yelled, screamed and cried. What a great game. What a great win.

Or that move that Earl “The Pearl” Monroe made. Wilt Chamberlain jumped to tap the ball into the net and Earl scooted between his legs, came up in front of Wilt, stole the ball and into the net. OMG – You had to see it. I laughed and laughed. It was great. You have to know that Earl Monroe was 6’3″ and Wilt Chamberlain was 7’1″.

I crowed in delight every time L.T. Taylor sacked the quarterback. It was his thing. I especially liked when that snotty little John Elway got sacked – never liked him. I had a huge crush on Dave DeBusschere, and stopped watching the Rangers when they traded Eddie Giacomin. It was all very personal.

Horse racing – while I deplore the sport and how the horses are treated – it is a thing of beauty to watch a horse move. I’ve been a fan since I was a little kid and we would sneak into Belmont Race Track. I love the ponies! You want to see someone almost have a heart attack? Be with me when I’m watching a horse race.

There was a famous horse race – a mare and a stallion – head to to head. The mare was the most magnificent creature you have ever seen – she was so far in front it was not even a competition and then the unthinkable happened – her front leg snapped, she went down. Out came the trainers, the vets, then a makeshift tent was placed over her and they euthanized right on the track. Oh my word how I cried. (Just writing that I got a little emotional. It was more than a horse race it was a battle of the sexes. It was political.)

I could go on and on but I’ll leave you with this bit of sports info – I was the only girl in the neighborhood who collected baseball cards.

The unmeaningful incident that still makes me smile

Time: Mid- 1980s or so

Place: New York City – specifically Long Island City in Queens, at the foot of the 59th Street Bridge. The White Castle drive- thru at 1 in the morning. Long Island City at that time was a crime ridden, former industrial area. That particular White Castle was a drug and prostitution hotspot.

Background: I worked for a very successful international real estate company. One of the perks of my job was access to “Black Car” service. Cars were usually Lincoln Continentals, with uniformed drivers. Limos were also available.

A co-worker and I were invited out to dinner by one of the company’s Vice Presidents – one of those fancy popular restaurants of the time that served tiny portions of fancy food artfully arranged on the plate. When we were done the VP ordered a limo to take all of us to our respective homes. My co-worker and I lived in Queens, the VP in Manhattan.

After we had dropped the VP home it was still early and co-worker and I decided to go out clubbing. We kept the limo. We decided to wrap it up for the night, and on the way home, as we exited the 59th Street Bridge we spied the White Castle – we were starving having had little to eat for dinner. Now here’s the fun part.

Keep in mind the other business that was conducted at this White Castle,  we had the limo driver go through the drive thru. The driver was a teeny tiny bit apprehensive. Ok, he was scared out of his mind. All the pimps and dealers gathered around the limo, which had tinted windows, wondering who the new player was. Driver rolled down his window, put in our order. We rolled down our windows to look around – 2 40-ish good looking women, all dressed up. The pimps and dealers became even MORE interested in our car. Food was passed out and that limo drivers screeched out of that parking lot like a bat out of hell.

My co-worker and I laughed our asses off. We thought the whole thing was a hoot, the driver not so much.

End of story. And I’m laughing even now as I type this.

Things Old People Say…

Back in the day…Yeah, we say that a lot.

Back in the early days of the interwebz there were bulletin boards. That’s how we connected with each other.  Some boards that I perused were given over to nostalgia and my attitude towards that was – If i wasn’t there to share the experience with you why would I care?

How do you differentiate between telling a story about a time and place and experience that other people might be interested in and telling a story that is meaningful only to the people who were there at that time? What’s the difference between nostalgia and recounting a meaningful incident from your past.  What makes it meaningful and what is just something that happened that still makes you smile.

Yesterday as we were coming home from a doctor’s appointment in an Uber, it was long past lunchtime and my husband and I were hungry. Traveling along we passed many restaurants and I jokingly said “Maybe we can stop at a drive-thru and get some food”.  Which reminded me of a story I like to recount about an incident that makes always me laugh but is totally unrelatable except to those of us who were there or anyone who is familiar with Long Island City in the 1980’s.

Aside from the friend I was with and possibly my brother – no one reading this would understand why it was such a hoot to go through the Long Island City White Castle at 1 in the morning in a limo…

Yet that memory will always make me laugh. Just remembering my limo days makes me smile. What was a working class girl from Queens doing tootling around New York City in Lincoln Town cars and limousines?

Good times – but my good times. Why would anyone else care?


Just ask us – Part Two

Yesterday I led with family history but that’s not really where I was going but it formed a basis for what I really mean to get at. I’m coming at it from a woman’s point of view because that’s the only one I can speak of with any authority, being a woman. Men have different issues and I can’t speak to them with any insight.

This is for all you younger people – the generations after mine – millennial, x, y and even z (are we up to Gen Z yet?)

The human condition has not changed in three million years. There is nothing new under the sun. Whatever you are experiencing/feeling has been experienced and felt before.

Bullying; mean girls; sibling rivalry; teen romances (oh, the tears). We know, we understand – Just ask us.

The trials and tribulations of school – hateful teachers; not being allowed to follow where your curiosity takes you; being told you can’t.  We know, we understand – Just ask us.

All the feels you’re feeling – we felt them. If we are here to ask then we survived them, managed them, came to terms with. Just ask us. And yes, we had friends who didn’t survive them. We’re here for you. Just ask us.

Starting a new career, only girl in the room? Yup. We were there. “Me, too” moments? Holy crap, can we tell you about THAT. How to handle it, what to do/say? Just ask us.

Broken engagements, abusive boyfriends, nasty in-laws, – confidence shot to hell? Oh honey, we know, we know. Just ask us.

Kids, house, husband, job – IT’S ALL TOO MUCH – Yes, all that too. How do you get through it all without losing your mind? You got it – Just ask us.

Middle-aged? Kids off on their own. Husband wandered off too? Starting over when you’ve barely caught your breath from all of that? Pretty much written off by the world at large? Yeah, we’ve been there, Just ask us.

Do we have all the answers? No. Were things harder when we were your age? Maybe but it isn’t a matter of easier or more complicated. It is a matter of the feelings are the same; the situations are the same, just the details vary.

Whether you ask your mother or grandmother or some nice old lady who seems like she might have a handy shoulder and an open ear…When we say  “Been there, done that” it means we understand. We do. We lived it. We can help.

Just ask us.

Just ask us…

At 76 I’m at the younger end of being the oldest generation. There are still some left from my parents generation. My own mother died two years ago at the age of 103 1/2.  Were it not for Covid she’d probably still be alive. Not lucid, a body with no mind, but still alive and breathing.

In my experience, which is the only place I can speak from, we didn’t ask our parents and grandparents, especially us second generation immigrant children, what life was like in the ‘old country’. We didn’t even ask what it was like in the new country. When you are young these things don’t occur to you. Or, they didn’t occur to us. 

Plus in those times children were neither seen nor heard. Children were banished to other rooms while the adults talked. Whenever family history or gossip or matters of importance or the day to day bitching about life was talked about children were not allowed. Yes, as we got older, teenage, we overheard more but never really dared to ask. If we did we were told it was none of our business, not important, fobbed off with some crazy fairy tale they made up. Oh my, the lies they told.

Whenever a doctor asks about my family medical history I have to tell them I don’t know. No one ever said, I never asked. Whatever I know about my family, my parents, grandparents, what their lives were like, even what they died of – all of it is hearsay or lies.

Oh yes there were stories told around the dinner table, many I’ve learned were  just stories, or lies.  Some made up out of whole cloth, some prettied up because the truth was not. No one spoke of hopes, dreams, aspirations,  disappointments or even hard times. Looking back one would think that life was just grand from the moment they were born.

I wonder if people my age have shared with their children what they know – of life. Of the history they were a part of, what life was like for people ‘back then’ because back then was over 75 years ago. A lot of history under that bridge and we lived it.

Why doesn’t anyone just ask us?