My Mother’s Day…

Golden brown hands with fingers like branches on a Dogwood tree
Nails trimmed with a faded dark red manicure

I often held your hands with its naturally etched road map of 91 years
The roadmap which exposed the journey of your hands long before they changed my IMG_2847diapers

Your hands were always soft and smelled of lotion
Lotion I forgot to rub on your hands as you lay dying at home

Those beautiful hands also had the medals of small burn marks from the cooking you did
When the oil decided to rebel after water touched it surface

Your hands made the best food, the best tea, the Bestest, best ever BLT
Your hands grabbed onto mine when we walked through icy streets to do grocery shopping

Your hands also gave me the finger, when I got on your nerves
I miss your hands so much as much as I miss you

I have only pictures of those hands that once held me and made the world less scary

In The Time of Coronavirus…

Resigning after working 3 years at a job I thought I would retire from. Moved up the ladder every year but alas, through internal transitions, resignations and new hires, I hit the glass ceiling of the most uncomfortable kind. The glass is thick and stunts my growth.

My wings are clipped like a bird trying to fly as its’ owner tries to bend self-determination into submission. I would like to blame this on the time of Coronavirus, but no, it was happening long before.images.jpeg

So, I’ll be unemployed like millions right now trying to survive financially in financial uncertainty. My unemployment is of my choosing, for at times it is better to be sane than having anxiety control your life and taking meds to undo the control. Those who are unemployed due to business closures in the time of the Coronavirus had no choice.

It makes me laugh at times how I planned to do some soul (alma) searching after the resignation to find my new path in life but, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. In the time of Coronavirus with isolation and working remote from home, I have plenty of time for alma (soul) searching.    

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Daily routines, like the gym, trotting in Prospect Park, taking long walks with Katie (greyhound) no longer exists. Instead the routines are replaced by unhealthy eating, Doritos, Chardonnay and…BACON!!!

If we make it through this, I will reap the rewards of gaining unwanted pounds of fat. This I will blame on the time of Coronavirus.

As there is always positives in negatives, I picked up my knitting needles, got frustration and picked up my crochet needle. I am reading while eating, watching CNN as if I own stock and breaking up daily cat fights.

As the Game of Thrones, cat style has yet to be resolved. I wonder which of my four cat owners will sit on the throne?

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Is it okay to go just a bit crazy in the time of the Coronavirus?

Death Be Not Proud or…Get busy living or get busy dying

It’s so easy to live and so easy to die

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You can live, take in air, eat, go to the bathroom, physically healthy on the outside and dying inside of a broken heart too weak to fight depression

When you die, you die, no air, no food, at times a final bathroom break, sick on the outside all while the heart fights desperately to live on the insidePicture3

It’s so easy to live and so easy to die

Living is a struggle, learning and navigating through a ‘new normal’ one did not ask to have. I want the old normal where stuff happened the way it should, predictable and expected

Dying is a struggle, learning and navigating through a final stage of life you did not ask to have. Death had no right to disrupt all that was normal, true and kind

It’s so easy to live and so easy to diemom 2

Life is a given.

We live our lives day to day, hour to hour, not thinking once about what it means to live. We take life for granted until we realize it’s gone

Death is a given.

For after the life we’ve taken for granted is gone the aftershocks of raw emotions will be unpredictable, coarse, sneeringly painful and at times forgetful until you wake up in the morning and realize death is not bringing back the one it took recently or those in the past. Your mom, tobias and pi patel are never coming back

It’s not so easy to live when the ones you so loved have died

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Three little birds or…Signs from Heaven Above

The last two weeks have brought water from my eyes. At times behind closed doors and while walking down the middle of a crowded street.

Because of…

Sparrows.

Native to NYC as rats are to the subway as pigeons are to rooftops as hawks are to Ppark as racoons are to Cpark as squirrels are to the ‘hood,

Sparrows rule NYC.

Little dictators who at times remind me of the honey badger when competing with pigeons for bread crumbs.

Mom loved birds, particularly cardinals, blue jays and cockatiels which she had as pets. She kept bird feeders in the backyard filled with seed that attracted every animal imaginable as well as providing seeds for seedlings erupting in the ground below.

 Mom loved birds and I miss her.

The last two weeks with July 4th approaching brought unease and depression.

But,

Three little birds brought awareness.

Situation one…giphy.gif

happened in front of a church during a work-related training. I was feeding a sparrow crumbs from a bagel and thought it strange how the bird would pick up a crumb, fly away, return and repeat the process. It finally dawned on me that the mom bird was actually bringing food to her nest. What an incredible workout her wings endured as she flew across the street, near the opening of a roof to feed her young.

Talk about free food delivery.

Situation two…

During a training run in Ppark, spotted a sparrow I thought was in distress. Not sure what was going on or if interference was required. My run slowed as I approached the tree filled area. This smaller than normal sparrow was trying to fly and at first it looked as if it was cray-cray as I was or directionally challenged as I am. The beautiful being flew down then up, down then up, down then up, down and up then finally, flew in a straight line to another tree across the pathway. 200w.gif

Guess the youngin’ ain’t coming home anytime soon.

(” Fly robin fly. Up, up to the sky” and yes it was a sparrow I saw and not a robin but I like the song)

 

Situation three…

Katie (the greyt) and I strolled up Lincoln Place, a route we normally follow, one block over from our crib. The song of high-pitched bleeps grabbed my attention as it was harsh on the ears. Of course the sound did not bother Katie’s as her nose was to the ground leading her mind. On a low branch in a Ginko tree sat a nest comprised of twigs and NYC’s finest collection of plastics and weeds-yeah bird, for keeping it real and with some serious improving! Three hungry open beaks protruded from the top of the nest. I was in awe.!IMG_0909

A city slicker seeing an actual bird’s nest for the first time!! As I was staring and Katie sniffing the ground beneath our feet, I heard a squawk from a near-by tree and turned to see Mama glaring at me with the biggest black eyes for miles and…she wasn’t no sparrow. But she wasn’t no crow. We exchanged mutual glares and I went on my way because I          remember Alfred Hitchcock’s movie!

Three little birds… 

 I’d like to believe my mom was sending some signs:  eat properly, leave the safety of the nest and explore,  and a home is what you make it to be worts and all.

She always told me to take care of myself and I know she loved me deeply, defensively, and unconditionally.

Thank you mom and I love you round the world and back!

 

 

Neighbours… or sometimes it would be nice not to have any

After a week of grey rain, gray clouds, grey people and gray dogs the weekend came with sunburst and starlight. Warm days, warm nights and people acting stupid drunk at 2am on the stoop next door on Saturday night.

 

With their annoying whiny loud voices discussing earth, movies and fake friends, the drunk and stupid woke me at 2am.

An engaging discussion it was not, so I turned on a Spotify’s white noise selection.

Ocean waves and hypnotic rain drops blended with annoying whiny loud voices and the not engaging discussion, pushed me over the edge. The edge of my bed that is.

Obviously, this did not help.

311 did.

The cops arrived on the scene and off the stoop went the whiny loud voices along with their not engaging discussion.

Good riddance, good night.

Alas,

hanging with Sandy (Mr. Sandman) was not to be.

Fine…

got up at 7am and ran 10 miles around Ppark.  Afterwards came home, showered, dressed and dragged my reluctant Greyhound, Katie out the door.

Reluctance on her part because if she had it her way, she’d sleep for 14 hours instead of pounding the pavement! (Some bad habits must be broken)

We walked.

Up the block, past Ppark, past Brooklyn Public Library, past the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens to the Brooklyn Museum.

Wowza.

(Brooklyn surely in the house with this writing)

We sat, or rather I sat on the steps of the museum, as Katie refused to sit or lay down or just about follow any command coming from my mouth.

All good.

“Neighours…or sometimes it would be nice not to have any”.

On our return home I ran into a neighbour I have not seen in a long while sitting in a chair outside her home. She did not attend my mom’s prayer service. (Not good, so not good)

I listened to her wail over the loss of her own mother, how my mother loved me very much, how she should have come to visit my mom when she was at home, how her son treats her bad, how her daughter treats her bad, how she’s suffering from Dementia, how her hair fell out, how she’s not feeling well, how she’s glad my mom listened to her lawyer advice, how the world is against her…

Enough.

But, at least she asked me how I was.

As Katie and I stood there listening to the never-ending misery of her life (wanting to trade this encounter in for the whiny drunks on the stoop at 2am) another neighbour joined the one-sided conversation. He was on his way to Target to buy a present for a co-worker. (He did attend my mom’s prayer service)

(Thank goodness, my escape excuse to get away from drama and go home).

Neighbour on the way to Target, walked down the block towards where I live, with Katie, and five cats.

Neighbour on the way to Target: “Well, you know my birthday was this month?”

Me: “Oh really when was it?”

Neighbour on the way to Target: “June 5”

Me: “Oh”

Neighbour on the way to Target: “Well don’t bother taking me out to dinner as I’m all dinner out. **** and her husband****took me out to dinner on Wednesday, then I invited them to my student’s recital, and now I’m just dinnered out. Have to buy a gift for a co worker and don’t know what to get her. I’ll get her a vase. Gift certificate you say? No, that’s not a real gift. She’s an older woman and would appreciate a gift than a gift card. Now I don’t mind gift cards but other people really want a gift.”

Enough…

And, he didn’t ask how I was.

That’s okay.

Just another day in the neighbourhood…

with neighbours you wish you didn’t have.

 

 

*****This post is dedicated to quotation marks and I’d like to thank the ellipsis for being accommodating.

Driving That Train…or Vacation!

Driving that train…

No. Not the Casey Jones’ song as I wasn’t driving any train and LORD truly knows I don’t do cocaine!!

But…

I was on a train, an Amtrak train.

Rolling, rolling, rolling up to Massachusetts to Arlington.

To be exact en route to visit my niece, my adopted niece who I consider family as my mom considered her to be.

It’s all good…

It has been a while and let’s be transparent and say years since I had a vacation. My vacay buddy, mom (who will forever be 91 years) could no longer travel and I decided to stay close to home near her. Mind you, she didn’t agree with my decision but felt comforted knowing I was just upstairs.61060119_10219548377085814_932831570585190400_n

But onto traveling for the first time in so long.

As I mentioned before, I was on an Amtrak train, not driving but here’s a look at what a driver might have seen:

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For the longest time I planned to visit my niece and mom’s upcoming birthday, oh better yet, first birthday without her here on earth, seemed appropriate enough, to get on that train.

And I did…

Rolling, rolling, rolling.

Amtrak rocked and cradled my bod as green trees and concrete buildings passed by the window. 200.gif

Leaving NYC…

so exciting, when the mind is in the present.

Returning NYC…

not exciting when the mind is in the present.

Ease of transportation had avoided my niece for a while, regulating her to trains and buses. Luckily, she inherited her mom’s used Toyota Yaris!

So, she drove…

and refused to let me drive through turn arounds, round abouts’ or whatever you wanna call them.

All good because…

on Mom’s birthday we drove.

We drove to Gloucester and walked along the cold sandy grey beach with dark clouds floating over our heads. The cold sand massaged my feet and grounded my soul.IMG_0814.jpg

So needed…

with grieving and missing you.IMG_0822.JPG

 

 

 

 

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The Fisherman’s Memorial, the picture I took of the names of the fisherman lost at sea and portrayed in the movie; ‘The Perfect Storm’ stirred in mi alma.
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The families of those men and myself share the final ending of knowing a loved one will not be returning.

At Lexington, I learned more about the Revolutionary War than I cared to absorb but…IMG_0840.jpg

I was grateful to have the history told to us by a volunteer dressed in clothing of the time. IMG_0833.jpg

Harvard, yes, we went there.

Although the trip wasn’t to visit the photography archives of the United Fruit Company, a research project I was so into while aiming for my Masters, being on campus was a reminder of what is still attainable, still researchable.

We stopped at a GAP where I bought ‘boyfriend Chino pants’ and argued with my niece because…well that’s what we do and we do it well.

Vegan Galaxy?!!!!

Best Vegan joint I’ve eaten at. The place makes their own vegan burger which just may surpass Impossible Burger.

Along our driving we ventured to the quarry at Halibut Point. At that point I was tired and wanted to get the cake mom always had at our birthdays.IMG_0825.jpg

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We drove to Woodman’s and ordered two slices of Strawberry Shortcake which was mom’s favourite cake to have on our birthdays.

Once we arrived at my niece’s apartment we broke out the cake and I must say it was the best Strawberry Shortcake I ever, ever, ever, ever…

had.

Thank you, mom for I feel you had a hand in this day, your birthday and making sure I enjoyed it to the fullest with my niece, who you accepted as family.

Happy Birthday Mom, my mom!

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling…no. Running, Wobbling, Running…

Marathon #2 sits on the horizon and, god willingGod Willing I’ll cross that line again.

Marathon #1 was an all-out disaster that almost didn’t happen due to my mom’s illness but did happen due to my mom’s illness and her unrelenting push for me to train.

I trained through, tears, stress, worry and crossed the line many times arguing with incompetent doctors who destroyed my mom’s will to live and her health

And,

I finally crossed THAT LINE at the end of the marathon which my mom did not live to see.

-Actually, she did see, for she was on the corner of Sackett Street and Fourth Avenue, just not in this realm and as I woggled towards that street, I stopped, crossed myself and bowed for the Queen.

So,

back to Marathon #2 in which training has not officially begun but I’ve started anyway because well, I have nothing better to do than pound my knees via my feet kissing asphalt, concrete and dirt trails.

Love the trails, love my feet, love my knees, hate the dirt.IMG_0758.jpg

And at least I’m not kissing someone’s ass

So,

I’ll tie up the laces tomorrow, that are tied already, just need to slip on the sneaker.

-(I’ll set the garmin, set the interval timer, wear the running glasses that get dark in the sun, put on the Panache Bra, set up the Spotify, put on the lip balm, make the Nunn for the water bottle, separate Tara-Habby from the treacherous cat posse  (worse than the Sharks but just like the Jets) out to dethrone the Queen ( not me this time)  and ultimately sit on the throne (corner of my bed).)

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The Green Throne

And hit the road…not like Jack in Ray’s song for

I’ll be coming back, god willing.

 

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