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You can take the girl out of The Bronx, but...

Well, you know the rest. I have to confess for a long time I really tried to get rid of The Bronx. For a long time after that I thought I had. And for a long time I felt good about it. I'd escaped. No one could tell by my speech, my look, my style, etc. I used to love to hear, "You're from The Bronx? I'd never have guessed."

And it's more than that. It's escaping a past that didn't fit in with my fantasy of who I wanted to become, who I wanted to be. It was an escape from a certain social class, an escape from parents whose customs, manners, interests felt alien to me - or maybe the truth was I wanted them to feel alien to me. I wanted to be my own creation! 

But deep down I knew the truth. I knew it and it bothered me. I felt like there was really no escape. Not from The Bronx. Not from the lower income class that shaped me. Not from a mother who loved a bargain more than almost anything. And it bothered me.

But lately something has changed. It'…

When you come to a fork...can you take both paths?

It's been a while. That's because I've been standing at this stupid fork in the road trying to decide which path I should take. See, I've been a writer for over 25 years. Maybe it's thirty. And of course I'm still writing as this blog attests. But...this is a big and painful but...I haven't had a book published in "paper" form for several years. And not for want of trying.

Rejection is a hard pill to swallow, especially after years of happily "eating sweet success."Oh, a couple of publishers have put older books up as ebooks and I've put up a few I wasn't able to get published the traditional way. (My grown kids tell me I have to wake up to the reality that "the traditional way" is not today's way. And I'm having a hard time grappling with this reality).

One of the joys of writing, for me, has always been the solitary nature of the work. Now, to be successful one big component is marketing myself. It's not t…

They Can Come Home Agin...

It's been a while since I've blogged but I'm entering a new experience in my life and I thought it would be fun (I'm determined to make it fun!) to do an audio documentary so to speak.

Here's the opening crescendo - My lovely 35 year old daughter, her fantastic 35 year old husband and their two children, a 6 year old little girl and a 2 1/2 year old little boy live in central MA. When my son-in-law got a new job it was their golden opportunity to move to the area the always wanted to live in - Northampton. My husband and I were all for it. It would mean they would only be an hour away and we could see them move often, not to mention we were thrilled they were finally going to be able to fulfill their dream...

One little glitch - They had to sell their home in Central MA. A task that did not turn out to be easy. And here, both my daughter and I had watched endless home shows where couples have such an easy time of selling their house - just hire a stager and voila!

It's deja vu...only in reverse!

I'm hearing my own words, words I've said in the past. Words I've said to my kids. When they were young. When I was fairly young myself.

Only now the words aren't coming out of my mouth. They're coming out of the mouths of my children. And they're saying these words to me. Go know how well they'd remember all the things I used to say to them. All the advice I gave them. Words of support. Of admonishment. Of warning. Of concern. You can do it if you put your mind to it. Don't just say you'll take care of something, actually take care of it. Is that really what you're going to wear?? If you spend all your time procrastinating you'll just feel bad about yourself. You have to stop obsessing; stop worrying; stop saying "but".

It's all very good advice my kids are giving me. Just like it was very good advice I gave them. And it's not like I still don't on occasion say this stuff to my kids. But now it's more a matter of a…

Time flies when you're...growing old!

Remember when you were little and were waiting for what seemed forever until you turned five and could go to kindergarten? Or when you were in middle school and felt like you'd never finally be old enough to go to high school? And four years of college. It lasted for so long. And what about going to work on Monday and watching the days drag by until finally, finally it was TGIF. 

You get the idea. Time practically stood still when I was young. Now I feel like I blink and another week's gone by. Summer starts and before I know it the leaves are falling. Even winter, which always seemed endless when I was younger, is over quicker nowadays.

This morning I picked up my pill case, the kind with a separate compartment for every day of the week. The pills for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were gone. Just like that. In the blink of an eye. Where did those three days go? And now Thursday's almost over.I swear it feels like I just finished breakfast but  I've got t…

Thank God you can pick your friends!

My husband and I are about to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of very special friends. We met Ted and Deanna 36 years ago and we've stayed strongly connected through a number of moves (ours not theirs), illnesses, life's many ups and downs. We've shared sad times and joyous times. We've traveled together, spent wonderful visits at each others' homes. I'm sure we must have shared thousands of meals together. Thousands of laughs. They've always, ALWAYS been there for us and we have always tried to be there for them. History. We have a deep and meaningful shared history.

J. and I are  truly blessed to have a wonderful group of close friends and we value them all. But there are very few couples I've known and loved longer than this very special couple. You can't pick your blood relatives but thank God you can pick your friends. From the very first time we all met, J and I picked them. We were couples with young families. We were in the first dec…

I went to hear music and landed on Planet Face Lift...

Honestly, I'm not against face lifts. But it starts to feel like I've landed on a weird planet when I go to a concert at Tanglewood and nine out of 10 women have had at least one if not several face lifts. It's almost like being among the "Stepford Wives" after they've turned 60. Here's the thing, they all seem to look the same. The friend I was with turned to a young man she knew and pointed out one woman with one of the hundreds of faces devoid of expression and he replied, "She's smiling." They laughed. But, I don't know, it felt sad. Wearing a smile on your face "lifts" your spirit. It "lifts" other peoples' spirits. I was among so many women who thought they'd gained youth but to me they paid an awful price by not really being able to smile.

Oh, I know, I'm exaggerating. Most, but not all, can still curve up their lips but still...it's just not the same. Expressions can tell us so much. They'r…

Shopping for clothes is tough when you're vertically challenged and...

So I went shopping for a special function with my friend J. I needed shoes, she was looking for a dress. I figured, hell, there are so many sales, maybe I'll look for a few other things. And it seemed whatever we tried on, we knew in our hearts and in our guts that everything would look so much better on us if we weren't...as J. put it so well - vertically challenged. Tall women have an easier time of it. J. told me that in her next life she was coming back as a thin five foot ten blond (with straight hair). I said I'd take curly hair and if I were a redhead that would be okay, too.

But here we were in this life...too damn short! And then I had this sick, sad thought that not only was growing a few inches no longer a possibility, we were going to be facing SHRINKAGE! If we were vertically challenged now what would we be like in ten years? Twenty? My son who's already a foot taller than me (he's fortunately not vertically challenged and I don't know where he got…

Who invented thong undies and WHY???

Young women love them. I see so many of them wearing thong underwear. I "literally" see the thongs. Girls, do you know or care that when you're wearing jeans or any kind of low slung pants that when you bend over or even lean forward your thong strap shows? Maybe it's cool. Like having your bra straps show when you wear tank tops.

One day a while back I was with my grown daughter (yes, she still wears thongs) and I was trying on a pair of pants. "God, mom, you can't wear those pants with those underpants. There's a line!!!" Now, I find this funny. It's bad to have the bottom lines of your panties show through your pants but it's apparently okay to have the waist band and the top of the thong part show when you lean forward. But, hey, my daughter was not going to give up on my need - yes, my need - for a pair of thongs. So, like all "obedient" mothers desirous of winning their daughter's approval I let her lead me to the underwe…

Here's why I'm only 50 years old this year...

Fifty years ago this month I met the kid who was my soul mate and in my eyes that was truly the beginning of my real life. I've been living that life ever since and hope to do so for many years to come. People are always asking me what has kept us together for all these years and truly more to the point what has kept us HAPPY together for all these years. It is enough for me to say my husband is my soul mate and I am his. But others seem to want more. I can say, or in this case, write more and I think it's important. To be soul mates there has to be an innate understanding of each others needs, wants, hopes, dreams and equally important each others weaknesses and failings. Let's face it, we all have "issues". But the bond comes for us because those "issues" are minor in comparison to all the positives, all the feelings we share. Then there is reasonableness. We are both reasonable. It's important. In fact I think it's invaluable. It means we can…

I'm tired of having hangups...about my hangups!

Enough already. I don't want to hear another person say to me, "Gee, you really have a HANGUP about that." Or, "You should really get over that hangup." Or, "Don't lay your hangups on me."

I have hangups, alright! Like, really, who doesn't? Okay, okay, I know some hangups cross the line into more serious issues. But those are not the ones I'm talking about.

Let's start with PERSONAL APPEARANCE. Okay, hair, stomach, butt, wrinkled neck etc. etc. I'm sorry, I don't care who you are - I bet even Jennifer Lopez has some hang-ups about certain parts of her anatomy-we've all got them. Would we all be happier without them? Would it be great if we had such healthy self-images that we were...well, just totally HAPPY with ourselves? I don't really know. I've never met someone who felt that way. Even if I meet someone who swears she/he "has no issues with my anatomy" just dig a little deeper. Not even very deep. You&…

My friend asked me to pose nude for her...

The other day C. called. She has always been an avid photographer and she's really good. I have one of her photos on my wall. Anyway, she told me she was going off for a weekend course in how to photograph people in the nude. Older people. In particular, older women.
I waited. I didn't have to wait long. I had my "no" at the ready. When she did ask me if I would pose for her I thought it would be rude to just say "no." What I did say was that the day I can get dressed facing the mirror rather than with my back to it, I would consider it. Notice, I was careful not to say anything definitive.

Here's the thing. Like plenty of you out there I have a hang-up about my body. It's not a bad body, especially given that it's an older body. And I'm not going to list the various parts of my body that I particularly have a hang-up about because...well, it would be a long, boring and familiar list.

But I really wanted to show my support for C.'s new …

There are some nightmares that just don't age with age...

It's not the one where you show up for work only to discover you have arrived there in your "birthday suit". And it's not the one where you're being chased by a madman down a dark street.

It's the one where you're back at school!

Last night that was my nightmare. I've had it many times over the past 40 to 50 years although it's never exactly the same. There are variations but they're variations on the same theme. This time I am my current age and I find myself re-connected with a childhood friend (in my nightmare she's in her twenties which really is an additional nightmare since I'm not!) Anyway, she convinces me to go to grad school with her. I don't know where the school is. We have to take a bus. Trouble starts. I can't seem to find the right coins to pay to get on the bus. And I'm all thumbs. Can't pull out right change. Meanwhile my friend disappears. The bus drops me off...I don't know where. I fstart walking…