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Showing posts from February, 2011

The dying art of handwritten letters....

"Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls. For, thus friends absent speak." - John Donne

My parents immigrated by leaving for "vacation" to other Eastern block countries with their last stop being Vienna. That is where they asked for and were granted asylum. They spent the next 2 years there and in the States working furiously to get me to join them. It is during this time I believe my love affair with letter writing began. After all what could make a 5 year old happier than letters from parents who were so far. They connected us more than the rare call they could make. My mother kept many of my letters and they really capture a child who is missing her parents and a bit confused as to why they left her behind. They are the archives of a childhood that was happy even under difficult circumstances.

I still love hand written letters and notes. I gladly spend my limited "free" time perusing greeting cards and getting excited at finding ones that fit perfec…

Green Acres....

Him:
Westchester is the place for me.
Suburbia is the life for me.
Land spreadin' out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.
Me:

New York is where I'd rather stay.
I get allergic smelling hay.
I just adore a penthouse view.
Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue.


I was born, raised and in love with cities.  I lived in apartments for most of my life and find no need to say that with an apologetic tone.  My husband grew up in a house and though we are both children of Queens we come from parts that are quite different.  He had the lawn, the backyard, single family dwelling experience while I grew up with my father cursing as he looked to move the car for alternate side of the street parking and learning to walk gently to not disturb the people underneath us.  I swam in public pools, he swam in the pool in his backyard.  My husband took school buses or was driven, I took public transportation or walked with friends to and from pretty much anywhere…

My Younger Self

I passed by a girl in her early 20s the other day who looked a lot like I did at that age - the thing that made me notice her was her outfit.  It was one that I had donned a lot in my early 20s, particulary when I was going out dancing.  It made me wonder if we could go back in time and speak to our younger selves what would we say to them.

Would I tell that young girl that black eyeliner should be worn less heavy in the day time and without the bright red lipstick?  Help her avoid the bad choices that she makes, steer her toward thinking more before dropping out of being pre-med because it took time away from her social activities, have her not smoke as much, see that the troubled boys she fell for didn't want to be saved, fight her parents a little less.  Maybe I would encourage her to laugh as much as she did, enjoy her travels throughout the world, go dancing as much as she did and keep the friends that she makes.  I would give her a hug and tell her that there are times she sh…

Medicine for the Soul....

"Medicine for the soul."  ~Inscription over the door of the Library at Thebes, how true this is for those of us who are lovers of the written word. 

I have always loved to read, since I could that is.  I remember losing myself in the wardrobe that transported me to Narnia, toward the hills that brought Jane to Mr. Rochester, to darker passions and erotic places with Anne Rice, re-energizing my inner child with Harry then bidding goodbye to Hogwarts, and most recently chasing bad guys in Sweden with a tattooed girl and her friend Mikael.  I look forward to moving on to new places where I stop and linger for a few days or longer and revisiting my memories of past stops.  It is still thrilling for me to walk into a bookstore where the staff knows my tastes and leads me to a  discovery I may have missed on my own.  

I turned to books as an only child for companionship. I write fictional stories as an adult to make up a life which in reality is not within my grasp, nor one I would…

The Curse of the Tiger Mother and other Motherhood Myths ....

MOTHER....could have end this blog by writing that one word and leaving the rest to the reader to fill in.  We all have them, love them, fight them, get angry with them, seek their approval, revel and grow in their love, have complicated relationships with them and miss them if they are no longer with us.

In light of all of that how could being a Mother be anything less than the most complex job in the world.  As if those expectations were not enough there is also the added pressure of books, articles, TV shows and every other available media vehicle telling me how to be a Tiger Mother, Friend Mother, Fun Mother, Smart Mother...Wonder Woman had it easy compared to this and I don't even get the hot outfit with the gold lasso.  All that "helpful advice" screams "You are not doing this job as well as you could be!!!" to us Mommies.  After doing this gig for 6 years I find myself still conflicted.  I have days when those 2 little men in my house look at me as if th…

It Takes Two ....

I am an only child and have been perfectly happy with that situation since I can remember.  I do not recall when I stopped asking for a sibling but it was when I was quite young.  I am only child who has surrounded herself with twos.  Like Marvin Gaye wrote "One can have a dream, baby, Two can make that dream so real".

I have 2 best friends, 2 fathers (mine and my Mother's husband), 2 Mothers (mine and her best friend), 2 uncles, 2 sets of cousins, 2 sons....seeing a pattern? I also find that I am a product of two different sets of cultures.  I am European by birth and American by choice.  I am at home and a visitor on both of these continents.  It is duality that is the basis of many of my interests (travelling, foodie, New York phile, lover of arts, history/current events junkie - your call on which continent you think contributed to these, I already know) and also the foundation of who I am politically, spiritually, morally and emotionally.  I still am fond of the mon…

Written on the subway walls

I love the subway...there I've said it and am sticking to it. Sure it is dirty, there are vermin, it is crowded, smell funky and a multitude of other dismissive complaints. I am not blind to any of these things but I still love the subway.


I love it for the way I can get to almost any destination in NYC and (because even w/price increases) it still is a relatively cheap way to do it. However, it is not these things that led me to my long affair with the various letters and numbers of trains I have taken. It is the people. John Rocker's infamous quote "I'd retire first. It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 7 Train to the ballpark looking like you're riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing... The biggest thing I don't like about New York are …