Saturday, December 31, 2016


I am suffering from my usual end of year crisis of just about everything. I suddenly morph into an existential basket case questioning everything and finding few answers. Basically I become a character straight out of a Woody Allen film. It has become a sort of rite of passage towards the ending of many if not most years for me.
I read my post from this time last year and it cracked me up (curious? Resolutions or Intentions? Maudlin and Miasma.) But I thought it was a good place to start to remember in my own words what was on my mind last year and to judge whether I have moved forward if at all.
So 2016? Sold the old house. Yes! Took a total bath but who cares it is no longer the proverbial albatross around my neck. No more worries about the house falling about before it could be sold! The job has improved due to a new boss and new bosses boss and things are copacetic and like I have written previously I might not be following a dream or setting the world on fire with whatever but there are perks to working for the man and I finally feeling settled with the yoke of corporate america firmly around my neck. (curious? Ode to Corporate America.).
Tommy….hmmm this one not so clear and not so great. Over the past year we have seen two different neurologists had scores of tests gone round and round in circles but without getting any closer to a diagnosis. I am trying to convince him to go down to Albany Med and see a neurosurgeon to have a lumbar puncture done which should really give us a clearer picture of whats going on. Tommy is a little defeated not that I blame him I cant even imagine what its like to be him right now. But I need some answers and if it is a genetic or degenerative brain disease I need to know what we are in for. Fingers crossed that this murky picture will become clearer in the upcoming year for better or for worse.
So my first year in this wonderful small town? I think we made the right decision in moving here. I love this house so much it makes me smile every time I pull up and see its cute exterior. My neighborhood is more than I could have hoped for people are so willing to help which is so appreciated. It is not easy for me to ask for help but the good people around me have made it much easier for me. I wrote about it here Learning new tricks. Accepting help when offered.
I might not have set the town on fire with my friend making ability but I a few people know my name which is nice. This is a small town where everyone really does know everyone from young to old I love watching people coming into the local pub and literally know everyone in the place it really warms my heart. And being the text-book introvert watching is just fine with me. But a goal of me this year is to continue letting my guard down inch by inch and being open to forging some friendships. An old friend and one of my pseudo kids (he lived with us for a few years during his teens) has moved back home a town or two away and I have really enjoyed getting to know him again along with his beautiful fiance Emily and their cute pup Bartelby. They have a really fun life and they don’t seem to mind when the old lady comes over and hangs out like she’s a kid.
Creativity? I was asked to join a writing class taught by a friend and mentor which has become a wonder for me a true bright spot in my everyday life. The people in the class are interesting and warm and all gifted writers in many different and wonderful ways. Of course the minute he invited me into the class I fantasized that the genius writer that was trapped inside of me would be unleashed and I would have my essays printed in the New Yorker (secret dream shhh).  This of course had led me to take myself very seriously and probably put too much pressure on my writing. I need to just let it flow. I am not even sure why I write and what if any my goals are. My mother has suggested I write a book about the middle ages a period in time that  I am utterly obsessed with geared to young adults. I am flattered that she thinks I am capable I am not so sure myself but it is definitely something to think about.

I finally had to smoke a joint the other day. Seriously it was a health issue I swear. And man I have to tell you the stress just left me all the who am I who do I want to be why this why that why not this and why not that just disappeared at least for a short while. I literally felt the stress melt off my body it was one of the best thing I have done in a long time. I just started smiling too an ear to ear smile just looking out the window at all the beauty in front of me and smiling like a fool. I have to remember that and smoke a joint once in a while in the upcoming year. So along with finding some good people to be close too, continue trying to be creative for no reason at all, continue asking for help when I need it and smoking a joint when I need it too are my intentions for the upcoming year.
I like new years it makes you examine who you are for better or for worse just don’t get too carried away like I do but I am sure good reader you dont take yourself so damn seriously. So cheers to 2017! 2016 in some ways has been okay and in some ways has been a total fuck of a year. The upcoming years should be interesting to say the least! I wish you all a splendid 2017!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

On Being Torn Apart.

So It’s been a week. I am not one to be quick to figure out how I feel about something. Even if you call me and tell me someone I love has died you won’t get much of a reaction out of me besides the usual platitudes. It takes me awhile to digest things not that I don’t care or don’t have feelings I just take awhile to get there sometimes. So for a week I have been writing this piece in my head during long commutes and sleepless nights and I have tried to digest everything and figure out not only what I feel but what I am going to do about it.
I was actually staggered over how upset I was and am. It wasn’t just that she lost. I can handle that I think my problem is that he won. And to be honest he scares me. I hope all his rhetoric of hate was just a facade to stir up the populist masses. And I sure hope he has some angels of his better nature hiding under all that hair but I am scared. The way he is already flip flopping on his campaign promises maybe he will flop in the right direction but judging by his first few staff picks leads me to think probably not. But I don’t want to be that dramatic I don’t like to borrow trouble and I don’t want to imagine all the terrible things that can happen. But I do want to be vigilant and aware of what’s going on to be ready to fight if needed.
The only thing I can really think to do is to give money to people like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood and research more people who do good work who try and safeguard our liberties no matter which side you are on.  And with everybody yelling it’s been hard to listen to myself to figure out on my own for me alone how I feel. Even my darling social media which for an introvert like me is a dream come true (along with self pump gas and instant messaging) is making me feel like I am being torn to pieces.
I don’t know whether I should just get over it (if I do I feel like I am betraying people on the margins who are in danger), just wait and see what happens (but if i do that will it be too late to fight when the dark times come?), take to the streets and protest (not really my thing), wear a safety pin on my jacket (useless gesture where I live feel like I am picking a fight?), just drink wine and read Proust and garden till its over (cry baby overeducated elitist), or think nothing bad like that could happen to me (history proves me wrong).
I know women who voted for Trump in fact at work I think I am surrounded. My skin isn’t thick enough yet to ask why and maybe it never will be. But I do feel that it’s me against them hopefully that feeling will fade with time. For a few days after I actually found myself glaring at everyone secretly blaming them for what happened without even knowing who they voted for or if they even voted at all. The chip on my shoulder is getting smaller with time but it’s still there. Thoughts like how could they vote for him they are women? Maybe they just voted along party lines since I call myself a blue dog democrat I really can’t take issue with that or maybe they just think as an outsider he can bring much needed change.
But I am used to feeling like a stranger in a strange land and to be honest I like being the underdog but that is so easy for me to say when I am wrapped in my snuggly cloak of white privilege. Isn’t saying that betraying everyone who has reason to fear? I noticed that the amount of American Flags being flown on main street have grown and even those flags which should inspire patriotism in me inspire fear. What are people saying with those flags. Are they saying hey liberal jerk how do you feel now? Because that’s what they make me feel like they are taunting me with my loss making me free like this isn’t my America.
I just want a country where everyone has a fair shot as possible and there is true separation between church and state. Where I can be proud to be an American too and not slightly embarrassed as I usually am. And yes I have problems with authority I have refused to say the pledge of allegiance since I was a child I never felt the under one god part was fair. I still don’t and who’s to say how many gods there really are anyway.. But that doesn’t really make me any less of an American because that’s the freaking point of being an American isn’t it?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween - Assertiveness training for the under 10 set.

Its Halloween and this is the first place I have lived in where we are getting a lot of trick or treat action. I was somewhat prepared there is a pumpkin out front and I have candy in a plastic pumpkin filled to brim and the lights are on and hopefully the house looks inviting. I got home around quarter to six Tommy had manned the door until I got home and we were at dangerously low candy level so luckily I just popped down the street to Rite Aid to fill up the coffers.
I cleaned up a bit while I waited for more trick or treaters and I was worried I bought more candy for nothing but the knocks started to come some timid and some loud sometimes I could barely hear them and some they scared the shit out of me. But watching the parents watch their kids from the safe distance of the curb brought me right back to being a kid. The time my brother dressed me up like Frankenstein and slicked my hair back with vaseline. Yes vaseline I had to wear a bandana to kindergarten for days. My poor mother still talks about it to this day.
But one thing I really remember is my dad waiting by the curb and me being a shy child (I could have gotten mail delivered to me behind my mothers legs that’s how much I liked hiding there) going up to a strangers door and knocking and saying things and remembering what I was supposed to do was pretty hard. Luckily the lure of a pillow case full of candy usually got me up that stoop and hopefully some years I was in a large group and could lurk at the back until it was time to grab the loot.
I remember being pretty little and him giving me a gentle push between the shoulder blades now go on beth go up there ring the bell. Remember to say trick or treat remember to be grateful remember to say thank you. So many cute little girls tonight bravely knocking at my door and then shyly looking back to their parents to make sure they were doing it right. It was really sweet.  But it occurred to me between knocks that Halloween is like assertiveness training for shy kids. Outgoing kids would probably jump at the chance to knock on a door in exchange for candy us shy kids not so much. Thankfully candy is a big enough reward.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Perfect day in a tiny town.

14590262_10209691639441035_7714215384089756008_nWhat can I say? This town as an old friend pointed out to me recently is paradise. Paradise? Well maybe pretty damn close. So far today has been one of those days, those nice days where nothing of import happens  but you end up remembering anyway.  I slept in which is a treat after a long week working for the man. I remembered that I needed to go to the hardware store to pick up chicken feed or I would be in danger of facing a chicken rebellion. Tommy was having a good day and I could tell he wanted to get out of the house for a bit I figured we would go to the farmers market too as my belly rumbled in hunger remembering the baker and their wonderful bread.
To my great surprise Tommy got out of the car and actually  went to the farmer’s market. A 9 piece or so band was playing celtic airs and reels in the background as we bought bread for lunch and a pastry for breakfast to share. As usual we bickered about the amount of pastries we should buy and I overruled Tommy and we just got one. We chilled out at a picnic table sharing our apricot pastry listening and watching the music being played. I sighed to myself and said well it doesn’t get much better than this does it? The baker laughed as I went up to get another pastry this time a chocolate croissant I don’t know why I argue sometimes I should have known we needed two from the start. It was one of the nicest moments the two of us have shared in a long time. With his illness times like these have been far and in between.
Next stop was the food coop Tommy of course wanted steaks for dinner so we compromised on burgers instead paired with some prime brussels spouts and dinner is planned. The hardware store on the way back home chickens taken care of and the revolt was narrowly avoided the lead chicken, a big Rhode Island Red, gave me a warning look that said dont let this happen again . I made a quick-lunch of thick slices of that wonderful bread and some bacon I had in the fridge. Simple but yummy.
As I was cooking lunch my door bell booker was barking his head off enough for me to actually come out and see what is was going on about and there was a woman at the door. I opened the door and lo and behold a very lovely Jehovah’s Witness was there. She introduced herself and started telling her tale. She didn’t think it was funny when she asked me where I found my salvation and I replied a wine bottle. Well I thought it was funny I guess I misjudged my audience. So I was kind attentive and polite but it wasnt long before the fact that I was an atheist came up and she got that look in her eye you know that look the I can crack this nut look. She asked if I had time now to talk about it and I said no but that I would be more than happy to take her literature. She warned me that she would be back to talk to me about my lack of faith especially when she asked me if I had ever had any faith and I said never. She asked when she a good time to come back was and of course being me I said in the afternoons. Let Tommy deal with that I will be safely ensconced at work not being rescued.
So now I am curled up on the couch with Booker and Lulu contemplating the leaves that cover my yard and wishing that a very very strong wind would come and blow them all away. If wishes were fishes…….

Friday, September 2, 2016

Scenes from the Battenkill

The pool.
One of my missions this summer is to find my spot on the Battenkill River. I love this river like crazy it has gotten into my being and reminds me of the wonder that world can still offer on a daily basis. I used to have a spot but now its just a little too far to make it practical so I have spent a day here and a day there this summer hunting for new spots. Luckily a friend is on a similar mission and one day maybe we will even go tubing.
I thought I had found my spot not too far from my house but on the weekends it is a portage spot for tubers and kayakers so there is little peace to be found. I made the mistake of going there on July 4th and was rewarded with a guy throwing up next to me. So I had to scratch that pretty spot off the list. And then I heard whispers of the Georgi. I did a little recon when I was on vacation and it looked promising especially it had two essential things a parking lot and a bathroom. A bathroom is always a good thing.
Let me tell you folks this place is magic. Beautiful grounds with perennial gardens and great old planting several different spots to cool off in the river. Plenty of space so even when the parking lot is full there is space to find your own spot.  My first full day there I was watching people walk up the river a bit and then ride the water down through a channel and pop out down river now this looked like fun and when I was finally alone later in the afternoon I went for my first run. After killing my feet on the pebbles (really need to get water shoes) I found a likely spot to jump in and away I went whisked off down stream via water power floating on my back having a grand time. As I rounded the corner I spotted the beach I usually hang out on and figured I would swim across this deep pool and go dry off.  Not sure why I felt I had to cross there but I think I wanted to avoid walking on more rocks. Now I know my basic swim strokes we were tortured in High School with having to take swimming and the coach treated us like we were Olympic hopefuls which trust me we were not.
So anyway I strike across the pool and notice that man that current is strong but I keep swimming then I realize that I am not making any progress. So I switch to my back stroke and nope still not going anywhere then I say okay under water nope no progress okay breast stroke nope side stroke old lady don’t want to get my hair wet style nope no progress. At this point I am getting tired and I say to myself shit I am going to drown in the battenkill. How freaking embarrassing. So I start to tread water and formulate a plan. I ended up reaching the other bank on the wrong side of the river and walked back up to the shallows and crossing back over. I sat on a rock and caught my breath and gave thanks for not having a heart attack I really am out of shape. To be honest I was a little shaken by this whole thing but I was proud I didn’t panic (well not much) formulated and executed a plan. It made me feel like a kid again when I would be out alone somewhere I probably wasnt supposed to be and would get myself into a scrape and then have to get myself out of the situation.
For the rest of the night I kept braying on to my husband jokingly about my brush with death on the Battenkill and he was not impressed to say the least. The next day I went back to the river and was enjoying myself on the edge of the pool when I watched an older woman do what I did the day before but she yelled out to a guy fishing saying she had to come his way and didn’t want to get tangled in his line as she couldn’t exit where I had in vain tried the day earlier because the current was too strong. I was vindicated it wasnt just me and my poor swimming it was the current! Yay silly me.
Went back again on Sunday (yes I have a problem) and was having a great time taking some dips reading my book and chatting with people. For some reason I leave my introverted tendencies behind and chat with everyone. I was having a nice chat with two guys about the area and just funny little stories when a large group of fully dressed people descend on the little beach. Now this was curious! I can’t tell whats going on are the all just sight-seeing and stopping by do one of the kids want to take a short swim? But no guess what it was a full immersion Baptism. I kid you not! What a strange and wonderful world this is right? So I move over to accommodate them I guess I could have left but I didn’t want to walk through all the people. So as I was sitting waist deep in water enjoying my surroundings Rob and Donna were Baptised. Dont get to witness that everyday!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Flip flop of fortune

A picture of the little demon in full flight.

Say that one three times fast.  This morning I got up and let the dogs out and I left them out in the fenced in back yard while I got ready. I was upstairs putting my make up on when lulu came up now she often lets herself back in so I wasn't worried but usually she is followed in short order by Booker. Today no Booker. I go back downstairs out the backdoor and guess what no dog. I go back in the house yell for him figuring maybe he went upstairs and I didn't see him. No Booker. Back outside I go and then I see it....the open gate. Oh boy. He's pulled a runner.

Grab shoes purse leash and run outside and there he is about a block away so I yell nicely to him come on Booker squat down and clap to him and he comes running. I heave a huge sigh of relief which changes quickly to a gasp of "oh shit" when the dog gets about 5 feet from me and decides he is not quite done with his little adventure. He dashes through my neighbor Bob's yard and does not come back. I jump in the car and beep the horn and no dog...Of course its cold out so the windshield is iced over but I throw caution to the wind crank the defroster use the stupid windshield fluid and take off in hot pursuit. I see glimpses of a caramel brown dog flashing a block away. I tear over there no dog. And then I remember he doesn't even have a collar on. Gulp.

I pulled out again and do another circuit and I see him on the sidewalk of the main route in town sniffing at some garbage cans and again stop the car yell to him and thankfully this time the little bugger sees me and runs to me and jumps to the safety of the car. Huge sigh of relief. When I left for work he was taking a nap on the couch. But times like these always make me remember that things can be fine one moment and the switch flips and Houston we have a problem. One minute your happily putting on your makeup the next you are driving around town like a maniac beeping the horn and yelling. I guess it just goes to show you need to appreciate the calm when you have it and realize that what ever happens good or bad you have the strength to deal with the problems. Its just the flip flop of fortune.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Back to the old house no more its time to move on.

One of my favorite pictures of the old house that old house which is no longer my house. What a beauty she is but hopefully by giving her up she can be saved and brought back to her glory. We closed yesterday and although I tried not to have expectations on how I would feel I was surprised to find that what I mostly felt was numb. Just numb. I did tear up a little at the closing when I saw the buyers name and the address. Thankfully I pulled myself together I think it would be embarrassing to cry in front of a room full of lawyers. And I mean a roomful the cologne was over powering in a big way.

As much as I loved that house and the idea of it I am glad it is now someone else's worry. I bought that house with my heart and not my head. I was never going to be in a position where I could maintain it and fix it. Cant wait to see what the buyer does with it hes a flipper and I hope my agent Tim isnt going to mind setting up a showing when its one but thats now maybe by that point I wont want to see it. Who knows only time will tell.

Good news is I paid off two credit cards this morning and paid the rest of the pending bills and I even did a little shopping bought some plants for a shady spot in the yard. And even better I was able to give a little money to a gofundme campaign to support a local business which was good timing because normally I dont have a pot to piss in. But hopefully now things will improve financial and I can get over being the cheapest person on the planet.

I guess I really thought I was going to be over the moon with happiness after the closing but I just realized thats just not my style. I dont react to things immeadiately it usually takes me time to process things and to really think about whats happened before I react or show emotion. Sometimes I think I am a sociopath but I took an online quiz once and nope not a sociopath. I am just a slow and steady very methodical think before you leap kind of person. Even when it comes to good news. I do feel myself lightening a bit my old whacky sense of humor coming back a silliness which i used to love about myself starting to pop up in the back of my mind. Seriously I think owning that house was starting to give me PTSD and now i need to find a way to heal. I was always so worried something else would go wrong that I wasnt able to afford to pay for another disaster I was un-prepared for.

I also have to work on forgiving myself. That one might take awhile.

Off to visit family on this fine spring day a weekend in the finger lakes visiting family which is long over due and to celebrate the soon to arrive first child of my cousin Marcus and his wife Angela. It should be a beautiful drive on a beautiful day and I will have plenty of time to think about the past and hopefully come to terms with the last 11 years and the house.

Have a nice Easter everyone or as we celebrate in my family a vague weekend of celebrating springs renewal. Or maybe its just the ham.