Saturday, April 25, 2015

Haiku, Part 2


You are my best friend.

My broken heart you did mend.

We’re friends to the end.

 

Whisper in my ear

Words that I’ve waited to hear:

“I love you, my dear.”

 

Look into my eyes,

Does it come as a surprise?

This will change our lives.

 

Moonlight touches us,

Shifting shadows are a plus,

Kissing both of us.

 

Take me in your arms,

Let me feel all of your charms.

Inside, my heart warms.

 

Skin against soft skin;

Opening, I let you in.

Our lives now begin.

 

~*~*~*~*~

Thursday, April 23, 2015

If They Could See Me Now

“If anything happens to the baby, I’ll kill you.”  Those were the words that I heard upon coming to, after my former husband choked me.  He had also punched me, kicked me, and threw a TV on top of me.  I was 5 months pregnant at the time.  He was addicted to drugs, had lost his job due to a random drug test, and was mad because I wouldn’t give him any money for crack.  Are you asking yourself why I didn’t just give him the money?  Well I had a 4-year-old to feed and was the sole payer of the bills; so I didn’t have any money to spare for his newly acquired “hobby”.



People always wonder why someone stays in a relationship that has deteriorated to that point.  Misdirected loyalty?  Thoughts that they will change?  No where else to go?  Paralyzing fear?  Well I can tell you that I stayed for none of those reasons.  Mine was more practical: I stayed because through my job, my medical was already paid for my baby.  I wanted to move back home to my parents but I didn’t want to burden them with the cost of my hospitalization.  That’s the reason why I stayed; but I knew as soon I had my baby I was going to make like a tree and leave!



I maintain a sense of humor about it although it was a rough few months.  He didn’t beat me again; but he managed to make my life miserable in other ways.  One of his particular favorites was he’d take his pistol, put 5 bullets in it, and play Russian roulette with the gun pointed at my head.  I began to suffer a breakdown; to the point where all I wanted was to have the baby, take my children to my parents, and then die.  I had a 4-year-old to take care of, and a child on the way, and that became my only impetus to live.



But this post isn’t about me as a victim: it’s about me as a survivor.  In spite of what happened to me, and I won’t bore you with all the gory details, I managed to maintain a very small circle of “friends” who were able to support me during this horrific period in my life.
 

The first was my ex-sister-in-law, Ruthann.  She knew what was going on, and I appreciated the fact that she confronted him about it since the rest of his family was afraid of him.  This caused a riff in their relationship, but she continued to babysit Brie and do other little things for me.



The second was an older couple I met at a little neighborhood church.  They were childless and even though I never told them what happened, God must have put me on their hearts because they took me under their wing.  I had lost my very nice job and was just temping, so funds were scarce in my household.  They would feed me, or give me money for transportation.  Of course: I never let my husband know about that!



Another person was one of my husband’s best friends: Darrell. They had known each other for years and worked together.  He was a very nice person, which made me wonder why they were still friends, ha ha.  But on those evenings or weekends when my husband would be out doing God knows what with God knows who, Darrell would stop by to visit.  We’d talk, and he’s the one who convinced me to tell my parents what was going on.  I didn’t want to, because by that time my husband knew I was planning to leave and had told me if I did, he’d follow me to my parents’ house and set it on fire.  What with the escalating drug abuse, I really thought he’d do it.  But with Darrell there I called my mother and told her everything. And you know what?  My mother, all 5 feet nothing of her, said, “You tell him to come on up.  He’ll be in our territory then and that will be the end of him.”  It took me a minute to get over the shock of that, but once I did I knew I was going to go up there as soon as possible.


To make a long story short: I had baby Kitty on July 3, and was at my parents by August 2.  The older couple, the McKinneys, had given me the money for bus tickets and a little extra; and told me to not worry about paying it back.
 

The last person who was a big help was my landlord.  When I told him I was leaving but Raymond was staying, he asked why.  After I told him, he said the day I left would be the day he would evict Raymond.  Then he told me to call him when I got settled in at my parents’ house so he could mail me the deposit check!  I guess God don’t like ugly, does He?


So I moved back home from Long Island and the rest is history, as they say.  I wish these people could see how far I’ve come since that time.  The last time I saw Ruthann was 16 years ago, when she came to visit for Brie’s graduation.  She was ecstatic with how things were going for us; and I talked to her in 2007.  She’s still in Long Island and we’re friends on Facebook.



I called the McKinneys when I was settled.  They were so happy for me; and I really wish I had kept in touch with them.  I don’t know if they’re still around, but a little piece of my heart belongs to them.


I did call the landlord when I was settled and he sent me the deposit check.  That was a blessing; and he said the eviction process had been started.  There was my little bit of satisfaction!



As for Darrell: unfortunately, he died just a few short years after left.  What I didn’t know at the time of our friendship was that Darrell was a heroin addict; and he died of AIDS in Florida.  That was a very hard pill for me to swallow, since I had never had a chance to talk to him and let him know that things were A-Okay with me.



I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of those very special people. I just hope, in some small, inexplicable way, they truly can see me now.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fashion Backward


The other day my co-worker Amy and I were working a little late. As we were talking, she mentioned that after work she was going to do something similar to a “read-through”. She belongs to the renowned improv group the Mop & Bucket Company (MopCo) and it has opened a lot of doors for her! (free plug: they perform in Schenectady, New York at the Proctor’s building, the Underground, on Friday nights J.)

This conversation led to me telling her that I had done the play Sorry, Wrong Number in Junior High. What was interesting at the time was the director took hundreds of pictures of the cast so instead of us performing on stage the photos were projected on a big screen and our voiceovers provided the dialogue. I really enjoyed that at the time, especially what I wore. I played a medical office worker, so I got to wear a suit: blazer, skirt and nice shoes. Being only 13 at the time, I didn’t have any clothes like that so I had borrowed the suit from my mother. She had a lot of them because she knew many wealthy ladies who sometimes gave her gorgeous clothes. So I decided that I wanted to dress like that all the time.

So picture this: I am 13, in the 9th grade, wearing these ladies’ suits from probably the late40’s and early 50's: short fitted jacket, white blouse, mid-calf-length skirt with the little flare at the bottom, and pumps. I had a cream and black colored suit, a lavender one, a black one, a hunter green one and a blue one. My question is: where in the world did I think I was going, looking like Lois Lane??? I was 13! Add this to the picture: my mother wore stockings, not pantyhose, and I wanted to wear stockings too. However, I knew nothing about garters and such, so I used MASKING TAPE TO HOLD THEM UP. I can’t make this stuff up!

I really thought that I was a stylish trendsetter: not realizing I was fashion backward and not fashion forward! But I think the piece de resistance was the outerwear: it was this long black velvet Victorian coat. It was cinched at the waist and then flared out from the hips and came to just above my ankles. You couldn’t tell me I didn’t look spectacular! Well, maybe for the 1840’s…

I don’t know who was laughing harder: me or Amy! I hadn’t thought about me wearing those clothes in a lot of years. Maybe I had purposely blocked out those memories: who knows? But I hadn’t even mentioned to her that when I outgrew my mother’s suits, I had switched to sometimes wearing one of my father’s blazers. During college, I still liked the androgynous look because of my love for David Bowie, so sometimes I would even wear a tie.

Then one night when I was out with my friend Lynne, I was talking to this girl at the club who knew my brother Keith. Afterwards, he came up to me laughing. “What’s so funny?” I asked him. He said, “That girl I was talking to asked me if my brother was single. I said my brother wasn’t here. Then she pointed you out!” Needless to say: that was the last time I wore my father’s suit!

 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

In Flew Enza


When I was in the 6th grade, my imaginary lover Bobby Kellogg was out of school for approximately 2 weeks due to illness. When he returned, his best friend Mike D’Angelo said to him, “Hey Bobby, I bet is was great to be home watching TV and stuff!” Bobby replied, “Not really.” “Why not?” “All the damn soap operas.”

As you can imagine: I was shocked (and strangely titillated) at the language coming from him! Yet I tell you this story not to discuss my continued unrequited love for Bobby, the heartthrob of Harrison Avenue Elementary School, but because I was out of work for over a week with the flu. Apparently my flu shot didn’t cover influenza A, which is what “flew in”. The only remedy was Tamiflu, which comes with the most expensive copay I’d seen in years. Regardless, today we can change Bobby’s verbiage from soap operas to “all the damn judge shows”.

Usually when I have a day off, I’ll watch Judge Mathis and the People’s Court. I find them very entertaining. And in a pinch: I’ll even watch cranky Judge Judy. But when you’re home, feeling terrible and just dragging from bed to the couch back to bed again: you become a prisoner to those shows. Because that’s basically all that’s on!

And it isn’t just current shows: I came across a Judge Hatchett marathon from 2007! Other marathons: Divorce Court and Paternity Court (not to be confused with Maury Povich’s who- the-baby-daddy shows). I stumbled across a show that had a judge who looked like she was still in high school. I can’t forget Hot Bench, where it takes 3 judges to render a verdict! I could watch judge shows from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. And I did! I didn’t have the energy to try to engage in anything else.

I think even the furball sisters, Pumpkin and Lilly Fuzzywig, were tired of those shows. Or maybe they were just tired of me.  Since they think their rightful places are right on top of me or plastered to my legs or sides, any time I coughed it would disturb them and they’d give me dirty looks. How dare I move and interrupt their slumber? Forget about the lung I felt like I was coughing up, or the stars I saw from the migraine of coughing, or the bruised ribs and hurting abs. Those pups wanted me to heed their do-not-disturb signs and be perfectly still so they could snooze 17 hours a day. Haters.

Anyhoo, here’s the list of judge shows I watched because there are now only about 4 “damn soap operas” still on TV: Judge Mathis, People’s Court, Judge Christina Piro, Hot Bench, Judge Alex, Judge Judy, Divorce Court, Paternity Court and that young judge who looks like she should be going to the prom. It was crazy!

Thankfully I am feeling better, back at work and waiting for my voice to return to normal. The Fuzzywig sisters miss me terribly, but absence makes the heart grow fonder, haha. I am not anticipating being “out of work” sick again for a very long time. But if I am: I hope there will be at least one marathon of “America’s Next Top Model” or RuPaul’s Drag Race.  My gavel has come down on the judge shows and they are all guilty of redundancy!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lifestyles of the Rich

I haven't made a new year's resolution in years, and I'm not going to make any this year.  However, last year I did decide to try something new: I vowed to myself that I was going to see how the other half lived. I was going to live like a rich person.


As you can imagine, this was going to be quite a trick since I'm not wealthy. But I figured there had to be some things I could do to make me feel like a high roller! I had no idea how I was going to implement this, so it was certainly going to be an interesting year.


One day in April my phone rang, and it was a friend of mine. "Hey, what are you doing Saturday?" he asked. "Um...nothing as usual. Why?"  "I have tickets to the Yankees game but I have a bachelor party in Atlantic City. You want to take the tickets?"


I was shocked. I'd never been to a pro baseball game before. And it was Jeter's last year. "Sure I'd love the tickets!" "Great!" he said. "They're suite tickets and all inclusive: so I'll overnight them to you."  "Om my goodness: thank you so much!"


So Brie and I drove down to the Bronx that Saturday, not really knowing what to expect. Suite tickets? But I'll tell you what: when we got there and entered the stadium and showed a concierge our tickets so he could tell us where our seats were, all of a sudden his demeanor totally changed. We were hustled to a secluded corridor, then went into an elevator, then told to show our tickets to someone else down another hallway...and then we were buzzed in...


It was like stepping into another world! That suite was loaded with food, drinks, desserts, big screen TVs and a "balcony overlooking the Yankees' dugout.  It was fabulous! And the other people in there were so nice and friendly: we figured they must have thought we were somebodies because why else would we have been in there? Yep: it was a rock star moment I could get used to!


Something that no one knows about me is that I am a BIG Eminem fan, and always wanted to see him live. But he never came to my area and his tickets were always expensive, so I never expected to see him. But guess what: my second rich experience was tickets to see him and Rihanna! One of my very good friends (it's not what you know, it's who you know!) had tickets but didn't want to go, so I was able to benefit from his largesse. I couldn't believe it! Once again: suite tickets! This time we entered the venue, showed our tickets to the concierge, and were ushered into a private elevator leading to the suite. Again: free food, beverages and an awesome view of the stage!!  I bet I was the happiest old lady in the arena! It goes without saying: it was the best concert I'd ever attended.  He was awesome, RiRi sounded great and I was able to check that off of my bucket list.


My best friend Annette has 3 boys that love wrestling. So when Smackdown came to town and I had access to discounted tickets but great seats, she thought it would be great to surprise them with not only the tickets, but also a limo ride to the arena. Since I knew someone with a limo service, I arranged the ride and she paid for it. Let me tell you: the best way to get to the Times Union Center and not worry about parking, is to have a stretch limo take you! Her boys were absolutely thrilled, and hey: I really liked it too! The best part was when the driver got out and opened the door for us, the people outside were all trying to get a look at who the "celebrities" were that got out. Guess the joke was on them!


I think my best moment though was the night of my company Holiday Party. I'm not a drinker so I'm usually the designated driver. I always drive. This year my best friend and her husband were going. Again, we thought it would be nice to take a limo. That way both she and her husband could have a few cocktails if they desired. And I didn't have to worry about inclement weather!


I have to say: I felt so...absolutely luxurious that night. I was all dressed up: drop-dead red and black dress, silver jewelry, high heels, subtle yet elegant makeup, designer perfume and a London Fog trench coat. My hair looked gorgeous, thanks to Annette. And didn't I feel like a movie star when a black Escalade pulled up in front, the driver got out and came to the door to escort me to the limo. It was a priceless moment!


Those were, to me, my 4 lifestyles of the rich moments. Of course I know people who live like this all the time. I am happy for them, but I know I appreciated it more. I am optimistic that I will have moments like this in 2015 as well. I'm not sure what shape they will take: but I am ready for them!


I wish you the best that life has to offer in 2015. Be well, be happy and be loved. I certainly will!


P.S. This isn't a paid advertisement, but the limo company is Platinum Limousines of Saratoga and they are wonderful. Tell them "Rita" sent you! www.platinumlimoofsaratoga.com.















Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Songs

Even though I will listen to Christmas music whenever I need to during the year, it seemed like this season was so short: there wasn't enough time to listen to all that I wanted to. I will even listen to this music after the holiday is long gone so I can continue to enjoy it.


We started listening to the holiday music channel on November 1st. Every night we'd leave it on for Vicky-toria so she could listen to it while she slept. Hey: even cats like Jingle Bells!


So with this in mind, and since it's Christmas Eve, I'm going to give you the rundown of my favorite Christmas songs. I'm sure they will all surprise you, and they are in no particular order.
  • Sleigh Bells - I love the instrumental. You can practically see the horses pulling a sleigh through the wintry countryside; and the trumpet at the end sounds like the neighing of a horse.
  • Little Saint Nick - Gets my toes tapping and makes me smile.
  • O Little Town of Bethlehem - Tells a lovely story of the place where Jesus was born.
  • Carol of the Bells - As much as I love this song, I have never been able to figure out the words! But I love the melody.
  • Silver Bells - my elementary school music teacher used to sing this at every Christmas concert the chorus had. She had a beautiful contralto voice and we all loved to hear Miss Bradley sing. And we were even more happy when she became Mrs. Corbin!
  • O Come O Come Emmanuel - I love singing this in church every Christmas season; and especially hearing choirs sing it at church.
  • Christmas Canon - I always said I would walk down the aisle to Pachobel's Canon in D, and this is the Christmas version of that song. It's hauntingly beautiful.
  • The entire Ray Conniff Christmas CD - if you haven't listened to it: you should!
  • Any Christmas music by the 101 Strings - I love stringed instruments, and when they are playing songs of the season it's even better.
  • Must Be Santa - When this song comes on, I get so excited my girls look at me like I'm nuts. Maybe it comes from a childhood memory that I can't recollect, but I love it soo much! I don't know why, but it makes me smile and clap my hands and bounce in my seat and sing along, even though I can never get the words right. But who cares? It's Mitch Miller!
So there you have it: my list of favorite songs of the season. I hope you got to hear all of your favorites as I did mine. I also hope you get to spend Christmas with the ones you want to: and not the ones you have to :)


With that being said: Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Better To Give

Someone much wiser and richer than me once said, "Never give your talent away. Make people pay for it."  I have tried to live by that, but there is one recent incident where I am glad I didn't listen to that credo.




For the past 10 years or so, we've had a quirky little lady working in our company cafeteria. Her name is Cheryl. She worked the grill like no one's business! Not only could she make 5 orders at a time, she remembered people's names and what their "usual" was. She was amazing!


I didn't know much about her, but over the years we got to be good acquaintances: probably because she saw me almost every day of the week, and sometimes more than once! She wasn't married and didn't have any kids, but she did tell me a little about her family. Eventually she gave me a little of her background. She even got to know Brie, since she had been working there too.


We really liked Cheryl and all of her quirkiness. She was great at her job and seemed to enjoy it. She'd been working as a cook for over 30 years, so that's one reason why she was so good at it!


But eventually someone in the company decided to replace Cheryl's food vendor with another one. I'm not sure why, but it meant that she and several of the other people that I liked would be gone by the end of September. I was shocked and dismayed, as was she. However, she was quickly snatched up by another big company so at least she'd be set until she retires in 2 years. I was rather disheartened but that's how the world turns.


On her last day I went to the cafeteria and had her fix me my "usual" for breakfast. Then I gave her a beautiful card with my business card in it. I told her she could open the card at home. Then I gave her a hug goodbye and the last thing she said to me was, "Love you girl."


A few weeks ago, I received an email from someone I didn't know. I read it and it turned out to be Cheryl's sister. She told me how much the card had meant to Cheryl. She then told me that Cheryl didn't have an ereader or even a computer, but sure would like to read one of my novels.


You guessed it: a few days ago I mailed out a printed copy of "Three's The Charm" to Cheryl.  So what if I gave it away as a freebie? She was very good to me all these years and it was the least I could do for someone who became a good friend. Her sister emailed me again 2 days ago to tell me how thrilled Cheryl was to receive the book, and she read the entire thing in one sitting. That really made me feel good, and she went on to say how much she loved it and that I would hear from her soon.


So that's one royalty check I won't be missing. And for the joy it brought her: I'm glad I decided it was better to give.