Still better

Everything is relative

New York City Bus
Christmas was a bust.

Alison’s dad came from another state to see her, as did her sister, but Alison wasn’t up for anything. She had a cold, as did I and the kid. Plus, she was pretty rough most of the week.

Her dad left after only a few hours; her sister stayed, as did her mom, who’s been staying with us anyway.

I ended up throwing out my back as well, for the first time. When I was younger, I got older but I didn’t feel it. Not anymore.

If you’ve never been 43, sick, with a bad back and a spouse with brain cancer, you’re doing better than me. Lemme tell you, it’s an exquisite type of f___kery.

Plus, George Michael died, which impacted me enough that I wrote something about it for Friday.

There’s more, but you get the point: By any metric, this was a craptastic holiday.

Having said that, the truth is that it was still better – considerably – than Christmas last year.

Last year, she was in the hospital and we didn’t know if she’d make it a week. She also didn’t remember much. I had to tell her that she had cancer, over and over again. It was a fresh new hell each time.

This year, she was with me, her family, and the baby. And at night, she felt better enough to hang out with all of us for a few hours.

Everything is relative. All emotional pain lies in that gap between expectation and reality.

A year ago, I sat alone on a city bus the day after Christmas, wondering if I’d lose her before the ball fell for the new year. Now we have a bit of hope.

I’ll take this Christmas over that one any time. By our standards as of late, it was a great Christmas.


Carrie Fisher died. She and Lynda Carter were my very first crushes.

She was a hero for those with mental illness, and for that, I will always respect her. But that’s a post for another day.

Man, 2016 blows.


Location: trying to find some comfortable way to sit
Mood: pained
Music: Well it’s been a year, it doesn’t surprise me

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Blogarama - Observations Blogs


Forgive or Relive

427 Shelby Cobra
(c) someone else

Me: Naja, Vielen Dank für Ihren Besuch.
Her: Frohe Weihnachten!

Went to church last night. It’s always nice to hear carols around this time of year. An old woman stopped by and asked me about the church – we chatted a bit when I noticed her accent. Turns out she’s from Germany so said a few words to her. Forgotten a lotta it.

Once told someone that if I remembered everything I once knew, I’d be the smartest person I’d ever met. Then again, if we didn’t forget stuff, life’d be hell. Blessed are the forgetful, yeah?

There’s an acquaintance of mine that seems obsessed with a mutual friend. They broke up a while ago but she hates him with a passion. Thing’s that I know this fella pretty well and he’s a good guy. To hear him tell it, it just didn’t work out; to hear her tell it, he was the devil spawn – but for no real reason.

From everything she’s ever said, he was, at most, just inattentive at times. They only dated a few months.

His biggest crime is perhaps that he just never thinks of her. There’s never a mention of her at all unless I bring it up, at which point, he’s always happy to hear that she’s doing well. On her side, she somehow construes every success he has in some negative term – and he’s quite successful.

The mark of an adult, I think, is to realize that some things just don’t work out. For a long time, wanted a 1967 Shelby Cobra. But it’s not really a car for NY winters – or a family. It’s not appropriate for me any longer, if it ever was.

This is not to say that she doesn’t honestly have a reason to be upset. But it’s killing her and doing nuthin to him. So what’s the pointa the poison?

This fella named Alan Paton once said that, When a deep injury is done us, we never recover until we forgive. And I once said that I used to wanna call the ex to tell her that I survived the blow. But stopped caring enough ages ago to ever bother.

Anywho, the acquaintance doesn’t read my blog but wanna tell her the next time I see her that she’s saying a lot more with her hate than she ever said said otherwise. ‘Tis the season and all that jazz, y’know?

Me: Well then, thanks for vising us.
Her: Happy Christmas!

Location: last night, singing Joy to the world on Broadway
Mood: relaxed
Music: Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older


Christmas Loot

Christmas tree at Lincoln Center

Me: I like how we are. Let’s see which one of us screws it up first. (thinking) I hope it’s you.
Heartgirl: (laughing) Really? Why?

Holidays are hard for the newly lonely. This is the first Xmas my mother’s ever had where she didn’t speak to her ma.

Mom: I keep thinking that she’s at home, waiting for me to call her. And I call her. (sighs) But she’ll never pick up…(trails off)

On a happier topic, got some nice loot this Xmas. My family got me a DROBO – my sister also got me utensils. HEI sent me an Xmas card and I got a Gluehwein mug from the Frieseur Frau all the way from Germany (I’ll take a pic of it soon). And Heartgirl’s mom made me somea my favourite foods, plus got me some clothes. Think I grinned from ear-to-ear.

As for Heartgirl, she got me stuff too. And she wrote me a letter.

Loved all of the gifts but, if I had to pick one, had to say that her letter was my favourite one.

For a lotta reasons but mainly cause she thinks I’m a good guy – that I got integrity.

Someone once told me that you got integrity when you’re the same person by yourself as you are in public. Since I’m 24/7 nerd, that sounds about right.

I don’t ever wanna make her regret sending me that letter, y’know?

Me: Yeah. Cause if you screw it up, I’d think, Whaddyagonnado? And go back to my life. Cause whaddyagonnado? (pause) But if I screw this up, I’d hate myself. For a very long time.

Location: 14:00 yest, walking outta a bad brunch in the UWS
Mood: conflicted
Music: been traveling all around the world Waiting for you to come (Spotify)


Bonus post

Location: for eight hours on Xmas, my office
Mood: stuffed!
Music: goodness and light The child

Xmas pic of the Jekyll & Hyde Club in NYC

Well, I’m back. For some reason, Blogger just wouldn’t let me post for two days. Which, to me was an eternity.

Ate my weight in all sortsa food this holiday season – admittedly, what I do every holiday season. People are always surprised at the sheer volume of food I can pack away – even those that should be used to it by now.

Me: (holding bag of chips) Can I open this?
Her: (looking up from computer) There’s an open bag in the living room.
Me: Ate that one.
Her: Oh. Well, there’s an open bag on top of the microwave.
Me: Are that one too.
Her: I just opened that an hour ago! You ate all of it?
Me: Yes.
Her: Where do you put it all? (shaking head, sighing) Yes. You can open that.
Me: Thanks mom! (pause) BTW, we’re out of milk now.
Her: (grumbling and turning back to computer) …

Happy Xmas, everyone!

YASYCTAI: Do yesterday’s again. (10 mins/1 pt)


Christmas 2008 – Good Things

Location: on a beige couch
Mood: still sick
Music: a cold winter’s night that was so deep

Tell myself that I write in a mix of hardboiled and the Economist but with a lotta slice-a-life descriptions a la A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
Yes, it’s a girl’s book but it’s also a book about NYC and the people in it. Some of the clearest pictures of my city are between those lines. One Xmas scene stays in my mind – in it, a tree butcher has a contest to give away the trees he can’t sell: if you can catch a tree without falling, it’s yours. When he prepares to throw his nicest tree, a small, poor girl and her little brother ask for the chance to catch it.

It’s a God-damned, rotten, lousy world, he thinks when he sees them. I submit that this is true. But I also submit that the good things, when we have them, mean that much more.

Wish I were a better writer to say what I wanna say sometimes. It’s like the difference between seeing the Grand Canyon and seeing a postcard of the Grand Canyon. But lemme try anyway:

The good things pull you through the dark times. Heartgirl and a Friseur Frau sent me Xmas cards and my brother sent me another postcard of the California sun. They’re all on my refrigerator door.

Guess sometimes, a postcard of the Grand Canyon’s enough to get you through. It’s the little things that pull y’through, yeah?

So, regardless of your religion, faith, or background, lemme give you a little wish in my really simple, ineloquent, Queens, NY manner; it’s a post card of what I’d say if I were a better writer and not the Oprah-ish writer a friend thinks I am:

I wish you good things.

PS – for those of you that asked, here’s a pic of me with a beard, courtesy of Nadya R. Happy Christmas.


“Oh, Jesus Christ,” his soul agonized, “why don’t I just give ’em the tree, say Merry Christmas and let ’em go? What’s the tree to me? I can’t sell it no more this year and it won’t keep till next year.” The kids watched him solemnly as he stood there in his moment of thought. “But then,” he rationalized, “if I did that, all the others would expect to get ’em handed to ’em. And next year, nobody a-tall would buy a tree off of me. They’d all wait to get ’em handed to ’em on a silver plate. I ain’t a big enough man to give this tree away for nothin’. No, I ain’t big enough. I ain’t big enough to do a thing like that. I gotta think of myself and my own kids.” He finally came to his conclusion. “Oh, what the hell! Them two kids is gotta live in this world. They got to get used to it. They got to learn to give and to take punishment. And by Jesus, it ain’t give but take, take, take all the time in this God-damned world.” As he threw the tree with all his strength, his heart wailed out, “It’s a God-damned, rotten, lousy world!”

When some of the older boys pulled the tree away, they found Francie and her brother standing upright, hand in hand. Blood was coming from scratches on Neeley’s face. He looked more like a baby than ever with his bewildered blue eyes and the fairness of his skin made more noticeable because of the clear red blood. But they were smiling. Had they not won the biggest tree in the neighborhood? Some of the boys hollered “Hooray!” A few adults clapped. The tree man eulogized them by screaming,

“And now get the hell out of here with your tree, you lousy bastards.”

Francie had heard swearing since she had heard words. Obscenity and profanity had no meaning as such among those people. They were emotional expressions of inarticulate people with small vocabularies; they made a kind of dialect. The phrases could mean many things according to the expression and tone used in saying them. So now, when Francie heard themselves called lousy bastards, she smiled tremulously at the kind man. She knew that he was really saying, “Goodbye–God bless you.”

YASYCTAI: Do something nice today for someone just cause… (10 mins/1 pt)