Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Days drifting away ..

But oh those summer nights...oh I swear I blink and summer is half way gone - though  my eyes do start scanning the shelves in magazine kiosk for that giant issue of the fashion rags (love them - fashion the thing my wallet is too small for and by body too big for -- but which I just love looking at) which comes toward the end of summer and I start thinking of ways to extend every moment of this season that I love so much. 

Summer with it's long daylight and balmy nights - reminding me of summer loves that I had in years past.  The days spent trying to control (and losing) my hair which grows to porno size blonde frizz - days at the beach enjoying the smell of the salty ocean (something so sexy about that) and playing with the kids there.  Summer with it's light clothing and need for very little make up - come on I know that sunscreen is a must (and use it) but let's face it those of us who are pasty in the winter all seem that much better looking and glowing in the summer (the burners reading this need not do more than shake their heads).  

I think of this point where I would start counting down the days to school starting - new clothes (for high school it was a bit ironic since we had to wear blue or grey skirts and white shirts with a collar - yet every year I had to try and get something more in style, different than year before - you know so I could roll up that skirt to the point where it was just a slight cover and make sure that blouse had a collar that could stay up - it was the 80s it looked cool ).  I loved and still love school supply shopping ( my friend's company Hampton Paper Designs has the coolest stuff that I wish I had access to as a kid and fully buy as much of for the "boys" as I do for the "me").  I love a new notebook and trying out pens - hate black ink and always looking for the perfect tip in a world where hand writing anything is quickly disappearing.  

This blog is much like Seinfeld - about nothing - because really I am just getting a bit sad about summer going by so fast.  I like Fall, and like fall fashions, but the beach will be missed and that nasty cold winter will come much too fast.  I get a little nostalgic about those summer loves (and smile at the memories of them) but it leads me to think of relationships ending along with my favorite season.   

I plan on enjoying as much of this season as I can - stretching it to what we used to call Indian Summer (is that now Native American summer ? oh how I hate the over PC vocab) -- continuing to read the list of books I keep adding to my "summer" list and looking to get stuck skin to skin while sharing a kiss...

Here is a list of some books that I recently read and really liked - in case you need some summer reading;

Under the Banner of Heaven - non-fiction but reads like a novel - a mix of Handmaid's Tale women's oppression and a bit of US like Taliban  - all in the name of a religion -- EXCELLENT 
Gone Girl - if you do not get surprised by this witty plot twist you are a cynical liar - cause no one predicts it
Tigers In Red Weather - told from 4 characters' perspectives, well written and makes you wonder how the people who share a moment with you would describe that moment
The Chaperone - read it before the movie
Fifty Shades Triology - because it is easy to read and everyone else has read it so you can at least say why you didn't like it
and a bunch more in my goodreads.com profile -

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Crime and Punishment

You know the only people who are always sure about the proper way to raise children? Those who've never had any.
Bill Cosby

In my heedy BC (before child) days when I knew how to parent and what not to do - I had children who never needed punishment or for me to raise my voice, lose my temper because they would listen the first time I told them something in a soft whisper.  Yeah well about as likely as me meeting a real Christian Grey who looked like Brad Pitt and was looking to whisk me off my feet -- fantasy, quite nice but notta gonna happen. 

In real life I find myself repeating the same request (hmmm okay sometimes command) over and over and over so many times that usually my voice feels the need to try the same exact request at different frequencies - increasingly higher hoping that the howling of dogs, as I get to a screech, will reach my children who will be impressed enough to look up from the device or toy of choice.  However, should I whisper to my husband in his ear "do you think they want ice cream" and well the little darlings who could be upstairs, door closed, listening to tv with that trance stare (slight open mouth, ready to drool, pupils dilated) and air conditioning on, they prove the hearing test at the pediatrician was indeed correct - they have perfect hearing.  I find the practice of having to say "please put on your shoes" or "please do not forget..." one of those things that should appear on a list - you know the lists that say you spend 15000 hours of your life watching tv or some such nonsense -- because it is possibly shaving some time off of my own mortality.  Now I do not want to live forever - but I would like to have vocal chords for when I am older if for no other reason but to yell sexy things at good looking young men as I zip by on my motorized scooter - paid for by me as Medicare will be one of those extinct things that my children will read and wonder about.  

So here we are not in a posh apartment while Brad Christian is making me a gourmet dinner while our J Crew catalog children play a game of scrabble in Italian but rather in my hallway while husband has thrown hands in air and is mumbling about when dinner is going to be ready and telling me to ask the boys about their latest loss at camp...because he is done talking, yelling and has done that famous parental "your sons" hand-off.  Cannot blame the man at this point - we are 3 weeks into camp and the following items have not returned with said boys - 3 pairs of goggles, one bathing suit, one rash guard, one bag, and my patience. We have tried the nice approach - "please be more careful".  Husband tried the I am bigger than you loud voice (admitting I was bit scared) "don't lose your things we work hard for them" yelling approach.  Tonight as I heard about the 3rd goggle loss I looked at them - looking bit like Lenny from Of Mice and Men and wondering "which way did they go George?".  

None of their behaviors are scary, you know the kind that later wind up in print about how could he commit this kind of crime Dateline pieces.  By the evaluation of others they are quite above average intelligence children who seem to remember passwords, quotes from music/books/films, and website addresses - but ask them for the answer "why did you not follow - do - remember ...."? and they too look like Lenny - or a UN delegate without the translation headphones one - looking at my lips wondering what the language I was using meant.  

I am not sure what the punishments should always be - I actually ponder them for merit because I know while I want to say "you will never get goggles, tv, books...again" that will not actually happen and set up me to fail in the motherhood punishment department (you know in the book that "they" keep on my mothering activity to discuss and tell me how to do it better).  I try the take away method, for a week, the sit down method and tonight I even resulted to a tried and true method passed down from my father - I made my oldest son write me a page worth of what he thinks would be good methods for not losing goggles in the future.  I am an even tempered person, often known for my "grace under fire", but I have found myself at times looking like either Nurse Ratchet, understanding Joan Crawford - I mean for goodness sake she did say no wire hangers at least 50 times before - Linda Blair head spinning -- and I guess as crazy as I think I am reacting it must come through more like Mrs Brady - because my boys are not scared (phew - glad to write that) of me.  They are unhappy and usually sad when they realize that I am upset and disappointed that I am not teaching them.  I do not know if I am good at punishment but then again I am not sure any parent knows this to a science.  I do know that I am trying to serve out punishments that will teach them about fairness, responsibility and how to make good choices.  Time to go - the at least half hour time for bed ritual must begin - or by the time you read the at least half hour ritual of please wake up and brush your teeth....

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

Monday, July 16, 2012

45 Shades, shadows and spots

After posting a picture on Facebook I found myself remembering why I either take more pictures of my sons than I do of myself and definitely why I tend to not take close ups.  While I do not hide my age nor pretend that I am any younger, it is still a bit of a stark reality to see the lines, shadows and spots.  I am going to be 45 this week and saying that as I get closer to the date does make me think a little (not wince 'cause the lines will show more).

It makes me think of all the things that I thought I would do by this age - plans made when I was so young that 45 seemed so old.  I have not become a writer like I wanted, well not in the books that I have yet to even think about sending to a publisher.  I did not live in Europe - particularly Rome and Venice - for a few years.  There were no year long treks living in European cities.  I have not set up a studio where I can paint.  There are the times I held back and did not love with the wild abandon that would have led to serious heartache but also amazing emotions. I never made it to living in the city (NYC if you are not from the Tristate area and wonder what city)- swayed by cheaper rents and the ability to keep my car by staying in Astoria (close but no cigar).  I somehow wound up in a house when I thought by this age I for sure would be in my loft in SoHo (funny what you buy with fantasy money).  I think of all the books that I have yet not read and the movies that I hope Netflix still has because I just missed seeing them by this much.

As I get to the middle age portion of my life I gladly embrace all the great experience I have had up to now too.  I accomplished more than I thought I would too - I am more successful than I thought I might be after giving up on pre-med (organic chemistry and social life both made that path unappealing).  I have made some amazing friends and traveled to places that I only had read about.  I have been incredibly lucky to have loved some really good guys and whose place in my life was perfect for the times they were in it.  There is this blog which helps a little with the yearning to be a writer.  I am more confident now and hoping to squash the insecurities more and more with time.  My body is no longer loathed - still not loved but at least I can sneak a peek at it without making that face...yep that one that you just made.  I live in a place I really like and though it is not SoHo it has character and great people.  

I have my children - now in my plans I will admit I never really thought about children. As I was thinking of the cafes and talks about politics in my life abroad and here there were no little people of my own in it.  Yet they are the thing that makes me want to plan to 90, to be around for their dreams and to help them make as many of them as possible true.  Their love has made me feel a love I could not have imagined in it's ability to make me content at 20 or 30 or any time before them.  

Yep there are a few laugh lines, there are shadows under my eyes (thank you makeup) and there are spots (which when I was young may have been called freckles but now let's be honest are age spots).  I forget more things than I did and I worry about things that never hit my radar before.  I embrace others and am more open to ideas, lifestyles, and differences than when I was younger.  So let the month long dinners and cheers of celebration mark this milestone.  Let the creams (Youth as We Know It, Miracle Cream - sucker for most of it) take care of the shadows and spots.  I guess I still hope to do some of the things I dreamed about in my younger years but I have learned to enjoy the moments I am in more than worrying about the moments that may pass me by.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Best friends..

There are countless articles, movies and books written about female friendships - especially best friend ones.  Studies show that women handle friendships very differently then men - that they embrace them with all they have and rely on them to navigate through all of the major life events.  I have some amazing, intelligent, supportive female friends and many of them have been part of my life for 20 or more years.  I did not want to move to the suburbs for a variety of reasons but one of them was the thought of leaving my friends or not being able to see them as often - as if having children was not going to change that anyway, but at the time pregnant and without a clue about this parenting business it was the 'burbs that was the roadblock.  I am a very social and friendly person, yes that one that walks into a room and talks to every one, but I do not open up easily and those heart-bound friendships, you know the ones where you can say anything or pour out your soul happen very rarely with me.  In moving I was certain that I would never make another friend and I would be in my car or coming home based on some stupid train schedule after dinners with my established friends - because I believe that friendships, social ones happen, the true kind get harder and harder to make as you get older.  There is no sense of shared history, no giggles at stupid things done in youth, no trust built over years and years, no fights and make ups and most of all not as much time - I mean whether you have kids or not your life as you get older gets more busy with jobs, partners, spouses, whatever and so you make social friends.  I have been lucky though and in my move have found a close, close friend who I embrace emotionally as if she had been in my life forever.  We make new memories to giggle at that involve us doing something "stupid" together (yes Dori that be you).  I also have made another close friend whose family and mine travel with and who allows me to open up and cheers me on when I need it (yes Michele that be you). 

I closely guard my feelings and my heart and share my smile and open arms easily.  

I have spoken with my male friends about the differences between female  and male friendships - they can be in a room with their male friends for hours and tell me nothing about the emotions or things going on in those men's lives.  This is not a bad thing, actually some of the lack of drama between these guys is enviable, but it makes me wonder who do men talk to and examine and ponder their lives with.  In my life a lot of times it is me (the woman friend in their lives) but not everyone has that.  A group of women friends on the other hand will have gotten months worth of lowdown and discussed it in the same amount of time.  As an only child friendships are really important to me, the best friends I have are the sisters (Julie and Elli you are amazing) I chose (with from what I can see better results sometimes than the ones that are actually related) and the group of friends I have well they are family to me. There are very few people I actually would pour my heart out to and that is as it should be - best friends well they are "best" for a reason (or as we call ourselves bestest friendests) and I am better for having mine. BFF ♥♥

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

50 Shades Freed

Guess if you are going to say, publicly, that you are not going to do something and then do it well don't be a politician just admit it.  I wasn't going to read any more of the Grey series after the first one and I have to admit that  I read all 3 of the books - mostly because I am slightly obsessive and wanted to see what happened next.  Did I like the books?  Hmm eye rolling occurring as I write this - and maybe even some lip biting - not sure how to answer that.

I still love the fact that women are buying them as a real F * U to the ultra conservative movement that wants to pretend either that women have only the desire to procreate (stupid aspirin between knees comment comes to mind - hey dude maybe they just needed the aspirin after listening to you and your dumb ass) or that they are so powerful that a mere look at them turns a man into ravaging imbecile (burka or any other cover comes to mind).  Nope - women still like sex and apparently a lot - especially the kind that is focused on their pleasure.  The sales figures tell you that  - the conversations I hear confirm it.

I still thought they were poorly written, copy and paste is what came to mind - with so many repetitive phrases it could not have been done otherwise.  A main female character who was too young to be married.  Still think she is the type of woman I am glad I never was and hope my sons never hook up with - the needy, constantly validating their appeal, whiny ass type.  I wonder maybe she is a schizophrenic living in a mental hospital, Christian one of her many fantasies, none of it more than a sad mental illness...I mean how else to explain the whole inner goddess, subconscious hearing of voices ??? I did not like the whole dominating way he made her change her name when they got married or his entire control freak side, if that was my friend hell I would have opened up a can of whoop ass on him for being abusive.  She wouldn't be my friend probably because her whole personality is lacking at best and I know no suave, gorgeous, billionaire men (control freaks though- oh yeah plenty).

Yet with all of that I read all of them - over 1500 pages of this stuff !!!! Why ? I have asked myself this ? Probably because there is always the part of me, like many women, who loves the idea of the man who falls madly in love with them that he is wiling to change anything that does not please us.  The idea of a man who listens to you and romances you and "Oh My" listens to you and your needs.  The idea that there is someone out there who is just perfect, and perfectly flawed, and he will come into our lives and we will be happy and never have to pay another Con Ed bill again.  You know the guy who doesn't come home and ask what's for dinner but instead hires a full time chef for that reason.  Ahh and of course he is hot as hell and seems to never have an issue with erections - they are there as needed, as often as needed, all in good time and only after he has fully satisfied us with a mind blowing orgasm (and a closet full of gorgeous clothes, shoes, lingerie).  

I read it because I have never really sought that out in a man in reality (I have loved men for their imperfections and have rarely asked for the constant "do you love me?")- and this was a fantasy that made me smile, and blush, and get ideas, and well you get it.....I bought it because I believe every person out there is entitled to their sexuality and pleasure if it does not harm or is taken from someone else - yes, even us women.  I read it because it makes office time pass quicker when you need a break and you can chat about it with your fellow co-workers who have read it.  I read it and with all that I did not like it about it - I am glad I did.  I am a woman who is no longer afraid of her own sexuality (as I hit 40 man that has become a revelation) and who can buy Christian Grey (in a novel), along with some Red Room toys whenever I want to without hesitation.  I am 50 shades of crazy, funny, and maybe to someone even slightly sexy...I am the girl who has never been sexy, who is ok with being the funny/smart one in a group of incredibly gorgeous, sexy female friends.   I read it because I chose to - and well choice is the most important right I will fight for. ....twitchy palm (mine twitches to type a blog) calmed down..laters baby!

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's friendship, friendship, nothing more than friendship

Once we were standing still in time
Chasing the fantasies
That filled our minds.....Theme from Mahogany

I cannot remember the last time I got home after 2am- until this past weekend.  I know it will not happen again for a long time.  It brought me back to the times when 2am was the hour we may be switching clubs, or switching from clubs to bars or vice versa with a few hours still to go before a trek to some place that served burgers deluxe, the much needed grease to absorb the alcohol.  Those dancing days are over but I will say I did enjoy seeing New York, very much awake, as if it was 2 pm not 2 am last Saturday night.

I spent the night with friends from grammar, now called middle school at some point called junior high, school.  It was not an official reunion just a nicely planned evening with people who I have seen only on Facebook, with one exception, in the last ...ehem in 32 years.  Wow it is as daunting looking on paper as it is when you say it.

Thirty- two years - nope doesn't look any better written that way either- is a very long time by any account.  I do not feel old, though I know this may shock you who are my age - we are middle aged (even with extended life expectancy), nor do I feel as mature as my parents and their friends were at this age with their lives stressed in ways ours are not (like their immigration to the US) and others that don't change (how we feel about our children and how to help them be the best people they can be). Yet 32 years is a long time to know someone.  I have to admit there was a little trepidation on my end.  I had reconnected in person with one of the people coming but the others I last had seen as we marched down the aisle to get our diplomas from 8th grade.  We chatted on FB but would that be enough or would there be those really awkward pauses where we would all be looking around and thinking of the best excuse to end the torture?

We chose a bowling alley in the city, overpriced drinks and lanes but great music, and as we met up I think the first thing I noticed was that I did not feel as if I was meeting someone for the first time, changing from trepidation to excitement.  It turns out that most of us looked pretty much the same, ok more gray hair here and there - or better dye jobs (yep that would be me), the extra pound or two and certainly some height on the guys, but over all we looked the same (and we all agreed on who didn't).  We joked that maybe we were the oldest looking 8th graders ever or really we just somehow haven't aged in the way that would mark us so much that we would not recognize one another.  These had been close friendships, for 8th grade anyway, and a bond that survived lack of actual meetings or virtual interactions (yes Virginia we were around before the internet).  These connections had morphed though from the kids in those relationships, who no longer existed, to the adults who had replaced them. 

We were at ease, laughed at ourselves as we exchanged medical tips - far cry from hearing the boys talk about comic books (ok so we talked super heroes too) and  us girls about General Hospital - and danced until much too late.  There was encouragement and laughter at my inability to bowl (perfect gutter ball queen that I am) and memories made to add to those of games of Twister and spin the bottle from the past (or spin the Maalox as we said would be more appropriate at this point in our lives - your Depends or mine?).  Four of us, we tried to get the fifth but he chose to continue the evening enjoying the town, who had spent a lot of time together back then, decided to go to a diner where we talked about music, clubbing, our lives (so what have you been doing for the past 31 years?), politics and our parents with their quaint accents and judgements on the world around them.  We had last seen each other as foursome when time seemed to drag by and here we were now as a foursome talking about how fast it had seemed to speed us along.  Our 8th grade graduation song had been the "Theme from Mahogany" and I know we all in some ways really asked our selves at 13 "do you know where you are going to ? do you like the things that life is showing you? where are you going to ? do you know?",  none of us could have really seen ourselves then at this age today - but I was glad that these people had been a part of my journey then and now.  Though the hour got late, our plates cleared, among the 4 of us none of us wanted to be the first to leave (there's a song lyric in there).  

I got home, bit more tired than I would have been - oh ok lots more tired - in my 20s after such a night but with a smile on my lips.  I had a great time, felt we all did, in the ease of these old friendships.  I look forward to catching up with all of the on the shuffle board court, with kids/careers/life who knows when we will do this again - I mean it did take us 32 years to get this bowling date (thank you Mark Z) - but when we do I know we will be happy to see one another, and pick up just like we did last night after all those years.

There are places I remember 
All my life, though some have changed 
Some forever not for better 
Some have gone and some remain 
All these places have their moments 
With lovers and friends I still can recall .....Lennon/McCartney