Sunday, December 19, 2010

Destined to Spend Christmas with Danny Aiello

One of the best things in life is that we don't know what the future holds.  This can be a double-edged sword, though.


I had no idea that last Christmas would be my last Christmas with Lillie and Izzie.  I lost them both this year.  I'm not complaining.  I was truly blessed to have them for nearly two decades.  I knew they wouldn't live forever, but it's been hard.  I still miss them.


Since their passing, I've been going through the expected this is the first so-and-so without Izzie, which became – much too soon – this is the first such-and-such without Izzie and Lillie.  And now, naturally, this is the first Christmas without them. 


As I began to decorate my house this year, I could not bring myself to fill my large decorative bowl with the red glass ornaments like I usually do.  Lillie always enjoyed sleeping in that bowl and, at Christmastime, Izzie always sat beside me while I filled it with the glass balls. No, this year, the bowl would remain empty.  I made that decision while holding the boxed ornaments in my garage.  Placing them back on the shelf, I saw the picture of Danny Aiello that's on the newspaper sleeve that safely protects them all year long.  Looking at it for an extended moment, I sighed, "My first Christmas without Lillie and Izzie… or Danny Aeillo." (See 12/7/08 post)  Or so I thought.


Shortly after Thanksgiving I received an email from – you'll never believe this – Danny Aiello's press agent.  It seems Danny released a Christmas CD and she wanted to give me a copy.  Whaaa?  I guess I was destined to spend Christmas with Danny Aiello, after all.  I graciously accepted her offer.


The CD is dedicated to his son – whom he lost this year to pancreatic cancer.  I lost my beloved pets.  He lost his son.  I can't even imagine what that's like.


The CD opens with a touching intro about Danny's youth, a time when life was simple – living was harder, but life was simpler.  The songs that follow are classics arranged in jazzy combos that give them a fresh fun feel.  As I listen, I can imagine sitting at a small cocktail table in an upholstered circular booth in a dimly lit intimate club watching the show live – I love it.  His version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" is reminiscent of something performed at Club Babalu – a welcome change to the over-played rendition by Bruce Springsteen.  (Sorry Springsteen fans.)  Rounding out the collection is a dedication to his son – a heartfelt "My Christmas Song for You" – a song about the simple joys of the season.


What we shouldn't forget is that this season is built around the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  Jesus came to give us hope, to redeem us, to save us – through him, life goes on. 


I know it sounds silly, but getting this CD reminds me of that very thing.  I didn't bring out those ornaments, and as such, thought this would be a Christmas without Danny Aiello, but then his CD shows up – a CD dedicated to his late son.  Life goes on – you can't stop living.


As I write this, like Lillie before her, Bailey's climbed into that bowl – good thing it's empty, I guess.  Next year will be different.  Next year – God willing – when decorating my house, I'll remove the Danny Aiello article to unwrap the red glass ornaments, I'll have him crooning Christmas carols in my living room and I'll look to Bailey and Zoe and say, "Well, girls, it's another Christmas with Danny Aiello."


Merry Christmas ~




Sunday, November 28, 2010

Great Expectations

Who was it who said expectations were great?  You're thinking Charles Dickens, of course; but he didn't really say that.  His simply titled one of his stories Great Expectations – and there's a big difference.


Personally, I don't think expectations are so great.  In fact, I think they can be the pitfall to disappointment.  Sometimes when you eagerly anticipate something, the expectation grows, and more times than not, the reality cannot live up to the hype.  Here's a simple example, but you'll get the point:  You hear raves about the latest comedy – it was so funny, I was hysterical, just awesome – so you run out to see it, only to sit there wondering if this could possibly be the same movie you heard so much about. The same thing happens with circumstances and events in our lives – except we create the hype.  We build things up in our minds, setting ourselves up with unrealistic expectations.


Likewise, you can sometimes have expectations of unpleasant things, things you may be dreading – be it a business encounter, a personal confrontation or some future event.  It's the expectations that cause the dread to grow, and let me tell you – from experience – the reality is rarely as dreadful as what you were concocting in your head.  Plus, the reality only happens once, as opposed to the perpetual loop of doom that your imagination runs up until the time the incident actually comes to pass.  See, here again, expectations… not so great.  Truth is they almost never are.


I think the key to a peaceful existence lies in having little to no expectations.  But how can you go through life like that?  You can't.  Expectations are inherent with living.  As we go through life we're constantly experiencing things, and like it or not, those experiences set us up and mold our thoughts for the future.


I think, often times, our biggest disappointments come from other people letting us down – unfulfilled expectations.  Our feelings get hurt.  I'll tell you what, those blasted 'feelings' are another source of disappointment in life – that's a whole different topic, though.  But to digress for just a moment, how many people do you think are on anti-depressants or abusing drugs/alcohol because of how they feel?  Anyway…


Someone once said, "It's easier to please people you don't know than it is to please people you do know."  I agree with that – and it's all because of expectations.  We simply expect more from those we know.  But – and this is a big but – do we live our lives as if those we know are expecting more from us?  And then act in such a way as to fulfill those expectations?  I don't think so, but just imagine the world we'd be living in if we did – wouldn't that be a pip?


 ~ M.



Sunday, October 24, 2010

What's in a Name?

It was Romeo who said, "What's in a name?  That which we call a rose by another name would smell just a sweet."  And while Shakespeare was certainly right about that, I think there's a little more to it.  A lot more, actually.


Growing up as a child I didn't realize that Wrigley's gum was named after the man whose company shared his name – how could I?  a.)  I was seven.  b.) I favored the less corporate-promoting variety, Juicy Fruit, and c.)  I was interested in the gum more for the wrappers – remember those super cool L-link chains you could make? 


So, it should be safe to assume that if I didn't realize the gum was named after the magnate, you can bet I didn't know Wrigley Field was named after the same guy.  Wrigley Field.  It just doesn't sound like an ego stroke.  It sounds like a ballpark.  Wrigley Field.


I feel the same way about Shea Stadium, which I just recently found out was actually named William A. Shea Municipal Stadium after – you guessed it – William A. Shea who is, as they say, the man responsible for bringing National League baseball back to New York.  With an accomplishment like that, it makes sense to dedicate a baseball stadium to him; but, again, it doesn't feel like an ego stroke when it's a bestowed honor; plus, it sounds like a ballpark.  Shea Stadium.


I touched on this topic in my book, The Ones That Got Away – A Dating Memoir, when I mentioned going to see a concert at The Spectrum.  The Spectrum.  Now that sounds like a stadium – especially if you say it with a deep reverberative tone:  The Spectrum.  It's not called that anymore.  I don't even know what it's called – or what it was called the last time I was there.  It was named after some bank, and with all the recent folds, mergers and acquisitions who knows what it might be called now.


I'm sure it's me, but I just don't care for those corporate named stadiums: Staples Center, Bank One Ballpark which, of course, has already been changed to Chase Field (which does sound a little better, but still) or University of Phoenix Stadium (that has a catchy ring to it, huh?) which has nothing to do with Phoenix, Arizona (and is actually located in Glendale).


I like a name that's rooted in history or tied to a specific area or team – think Candlestick Park, Fenway or The Astrodome.  Now those are stadium names.  So, what's in name?  Ego, that's what.


It's my understanding we have Anheuser-Busch to thank for the first corporate branded stadium.  See, that's what happens.  After the first one does it, everyone follows.  He did what?  I want to do that!  He has what?  I have to have that!  What worked for them?  Oh, let's do that!  I call it the "Me, too" syndrome. 


This doesn't just apply to ballparks, either.  Think back to old TV commercials.  Remember how, back in the day, struggling wanna-be actors used to portray normal everyday folks in an effort to hawk shampoos, beauty products and hair dyes, not to mention things like cereal and sneakers.  Now you'd be hard-pressed to see an ad for these types of products without an accomplished actor, model or athlete peddling these wares.  Why?  Because someone did it first and everyone else followed suit; and thanks to that person we'll probably never have another Mr. Wipple or Dunkin' Donuts guy.  These two no-names became icons – but those days are over.  It's all about the recognizable name now.


And the latest trend?  I read recently that Sheryl Crow – a breast cancer survivor – donated a large sum of money to an establishment which is now named The Sheryl Crow Imaging Center.  While I think it's great she made such a large donation, I can't help but wonder what this means for the future.  How many will now follow in these footsteps? It'd be different if the imaging center was named in memoriam – think Susan G. Komen – but it wasn't, and to me, there's something very ego-y about that.  She probably had nothing to do with it; it's likely the facility just wanted to publicly express their gratitude – hospital wings and the like are commonly named after their benefactors.  I just think it would have been a greater gesture had the donation been made anonymously.


But anonymity, my friends, has no name… and therein lies the rub!


~ M. 


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Say, what?

"Gimme Shelter" used to be one of my favorite songs.  I suppose, in some way, it may still be.  That song is tied to a memory which will likely keep it tethered to my heart.  It's just that now I'd rather think of the memory and imagine the song without ever actually hearing it again.  Why?  Well, because I finally found out what they were saying. 


Prior to Rock Band, I had no idea what the majority of the lyrics were.  I liked the music, dug the melody… "Love, sister, it's just a kiss away, it's just a kiss away…"  You know I hesitate to even quote that, since it's probably wrong.  Anyway, one day – while basking in nostalgia – I watched my brother rack up a lot of points to this song as colorful blocks flew up the neck of his guitar.  The basking ended abruptly when the words "rape" and "murder" ticked along the screen.  I sat straight up.  "What?  Rape?  Murder?  Just what the heck is this song about?"  I'm sorry, but knowing the lyrics has ruined this song for me.  I simply cannot bop along belting out lyrics like "rape" and "murder."


I'm certainly not the first person to misunderstand lyrics.  Rosie O'Donnell thought "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was about a girl with a bowel disorder – and who could blame her?  It does sound more like a girl with colitis goes by than a girl with kaleidoscope eyes.  And I once heard that Bob Dylan was shocked at what he thought was pure boldness on the part of The Beatles to sing "I get high" on "I Want to Hold your Hand" when, in fact, they're actually singing "I can't hide."


Everyone misunderstands lyrics.


For years my sister thought Jimmy Buffett cut his heel on a Pop-Tart before cruising back home.  Never mind that that doesn't make sense or the fact that I've told her multiple times it's 'pop-top' – to this day, in her mind, it was a Pop-Tart that lacerated his foot in "Margaritaville."


Sometimes we just sing along without ever considering if it makes sense or not; other times we may over think it – like Linda did with England Dan & John Ford Coley's "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight."  She'd sing, "I'm not talkin' 'bout the linen…"  Again I was there to set her straight (which I'm sure she loved).  I said, "It's not linen, it's movin' in."  She told me it was linen and that the word was being used as a metaphor for all the stereotypical duties a woman incurs when a man and a woman get together.  (See what I mean? A little over thought.)  I said, "It is not linen.  It is not a metaphor.  It's movin' in."


Then there are the times we get the lyrics right but miss the point.  Years ago, a friend of mine who loved The Kinks' classic "Lola" had no idea that Lola was a transvestite.  She actually sang the correct lyrics – for the whole song – and still didn't know.  I asked her what she thought the end meant when they say, "I'm glad I'm a man, and so is Lola."  She said Lola was happy the guy was a man.  And while I'm sure he was happy about that, I said, "That's not it.  Lola's a man, too."  All she said was, "Oh…" as the logic gently washed over her.


Back in the 70s long before PC was prevalent, my other sister, Laura, believed that Three Dog Night loved the natives when, in fact, it's the ladies they loved as they sang "Joy to the World."


Although I knew it didn't make any sense, for years I thought the boys of CCR didn't need a pinhead just to hang around "Down on the Corner" (even though pinheads are often fun to be with).  It wasn't until I paid attention to the word nickel in the next line that I figured out they must be saying 'penny.'


And while I had no idea why Billy Preston's Willie went 'round in circles (I first heard this song as a child when I really enjoyed spinning), I just thought we had that in common.


There are probably thousands of stories of misunderstood lyrics.  After my experience with the Rolling Stones, I think sometimes it may be better not to know.  As my friend Elena used to say, "I have no idea what they're saying, but I give it a 10 'cause I like the beat!"   


Rock on –


~ M.      


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Place your Bets!

Pwish.  Plink.  Kerplunk.  "I'll set 'em up again," I said as my little brother reloaded the BBs.  Dad, calling out from the front porch, asked, "What are you kids doing?"  We responded in unison, "Shooting soda cans."  It was the mid '70s, BB guns weren't an issue and this was what you did when you grew up in a rural part of town.


"Let me have a shot," Dad said.  As he pumped the gun, he turned to us and offered what seemed to be a deal – an opportunity – too good to pass up.  "I'll bet you fifty cents that even with a 20 second lead I can hit you with a BB."  (I know what you're thinking, and you're right – good times.)  Timmy turned to me wide-eyed, but not in wonder, it was more like fear; while I, on the other hand, stared back with eyebrows raised as I took in the possibility of it all.  Fifty cents?  Hey, that was a couple of packs of chewing gum back then.


"I'll have a 20 second lead?"  I needed to verify some particulars before making my final decision.  "Yup."  "And you get one shot?"  "Right."  Hmm… I could run pretty fast… He won't hit me… Uhhmmm… "Alright, you're on," I blurted out with great enthusiasm. 


As my adrenaline began to pump, my dad pumped the gun.  "Go," he yelled, and I took off running.  I ran for all I was worth and as I neared the woods, I heard the shot – PWOOSH  – sail right past me.  Quite pleased with myself, I strode back toward my dad and brother.  Almost simultaneously, I said, "Well, I did it," as my dad said, "Double or nothing I'll get you with just a 10 second lead."  No time to bask in the glory, I guess.  Hmm… only a 10 second lead this time?  Still charged by my victory high, I accepted the challenge.  "I'll do it!" 


4-3-2-1, PWOOSH.  Missed again.  "Ha, I'm like lightning," I called out, "You owe me one dollar!"  Then he said these fatherly words that I will never forget, "Double or nothing I'll get you this time."  (Parenting was different then.)  "You're on!"  You have to remember, at this point, I was running for two bucks.  Two dollars was a lot of money back in 1976. 


3-2-1, PWOOSH – PWULPT!  I was hit.  That BB got me in the back of my right thigh just below my butt.  I went down with my hand clasped to my leg, "Arghhh!"  As I rolled on the ground writhing in pain, my dad walked over to me.  And with the BB still deeply embedded in my leg, held tightly beneath my white-knuckled hand, he said these words: "Gambling does not pay."


The welt only lasted a few days, the lesson a lifetime.


~ M.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Party On!

What'll they think of next?  Sure, debutantes have long had their balls, young Jewish girls their Bat Mitzvahs and Latino chicas their Quinceñeras.  But why are the festivities limited to only a select few?  Well, they're not – not really.  Why any girl has always had the opportunity to celebrate her Sweet Sixteen if she wants to.  And then there's this other thing…  Don't tell me you haven't heard about the latest reason to throw a party? 


I'm taking about menarcheal rituals.  For those not familiar with that term, it is the adjective form of the word menarche which is defined, according to Merriam-Webster, as the beginning of the menstrual function, especially the first menstrual period of an individual.  Apparently mothers everywhere are now hosting 'first period' parties.  Do I need to repeat myself?  What will they think of next?


I can see the Hallmark cards now:


Adolescence is over

It's come to an end

And now you have

A monthly friend


You've hit puberty

Let's shout for joy

Good-bye little girl

Oh, boy – oh, boy!


Expect some cramps

And bloating, too

Shedding a uterine lining

Is not easy to do


Your head may ache

And moods will swing

But, you can procreate –

That's a cool thing


So what if it's painful

And you retain water

You're a woman now

My sweet baby daughter


Congratulations on your first period Honey!


I realize this is a milestone in a young woman's life, but it just doesn't seem like something you'd actually celebrate…


Now later in life when 'your friend' may be tardy,

but shows up, after all, that's when you party!


~ M.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Say, "Cheese."

I've talked about the effects of aging before.  It's a fascinating topic.


You know, when you're young, all you really hear about, in regard to aging, is some drivel about gray hair and a few wrinkles.  And if you're like me, you grew up hearing trivializing things about it like Clairol's ad campaign, "I'm gonna wash that gray right out of my hair," or that laugh lines are okay; so what if you look like you have a ventriloquist's dummy's hinged mouth – it shows character.  No, for some reason, no one talks about the other stuff.


It's not until you begin to undergo certain changes for yourself that you realize you're becoming part of a secret club: induction through experience.   Now there may not be a secret handshake among club members, but there are definitely tell-tale signs that you are one of them.  Club members don't typically go braless or wear sleeveless garments, for example.  Recent inductees may eschew these sensible guidelines and walk around without any mammary support – their nipples aligned with their navels – or in tank-tops with triceps flapping like raglan sleeves; but this doesn't mean they're any less part of the club.


What I don't understand is why all the secrecy? Why not let us know what's in store? What's wrong with a little heads-up?  Is it because it's just too horrifying to imagine, when you're young, what happens to your aging body, yet manageable to deal with, somehow, when it happens slowly, over time, in little increments? Maybe that's it.


Anyway, if you think of this aging thing like karate and with each new level you get another belt, then I'd guess I must be about a green belt already.


The latest development has me asking, "What's going on in my mouth? What is happening with my teeth?"  I think they're on the move.  I don't know how this is possible.  I haven't had any teeth extracted and, as far as I know, my mouth is still the same size so… how is it they're moving?  I obviously don't know the answer to that question; I just know that they are.  Things are forever getting stuck between them now.


There was a time in my life when, over a meal, I could freely converse and even let out a toothy grin, in response to something amusing, without any fear of sickening my dining companion by exposing some uneaten particle wedged between my teeth.  But, as any floss-carrying green-belt knows, those days are over.


And what is it about the mouth that distorts all size relativity? You know what I'm talking about: A caraway seed feels like a 2x4, a raspberry seed like a boulder, and a strand of chicken feels like the entire bird has taken roost amid the molars. 


Did you ever have a piece of lettuce or tomato skin cling to the roof of your mouth?  It feels like a tarp.  This doesn't happen to me often, but when it does, it actually incites mild waves of panic as I first begin to try and discreetly remove it with my tongue.  My eyes naturally begin to dart around as I focus on dislodging the suffocating blanket that is holding steadfast to my upper palate.  These episodes almost always end with me in a cold sweat saying, "Exth-thcoothez me, there'thz thumthing sthtuck in my mouth."  Earnestly repressing my gag reflex, I've often no choice but to distastefully remove the gossamery offender with my finger.


Well, I veered off a bit, but there you have it.  I've entered the tooth migration stage of this inevitable process, but I'm not worried.  So what if I now have a tiny spit-hole between my two front teeth; add that to my fang on the top right and my crowded English choppers on the bottom and my smile is still just as dazzling as ever!  Say, "Cheese." 


Wondering what the next belt will be… 

~ M.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Craig Wilson

I don't know if you're familiar with Craig Wilson or not, but I love this guy.  So what if he's an openly gay man – that I've never actually met – who's been involved in a committed relationship for over 25 years.  I don't care.  I love him just the same.


I always look forward to his Wednesday column in the USA Today – nary one goes by unread.  I appreciate his witty style, easy going disposition and overall demeanor.  I relate to him.  I don't know why.  Maybe it's because we both grew up in the Northeast?  Or that we're close in age?  I don't know, but after one of his April columns, I became convinced that we must be kindred spirits. 


This past April marked the 30 year anniversary of the Post-it note.  Well, according to what he wrote in his column, he, too, has an affinity for these little wonders – 'love affair' was the term he actually used.  I get that – totally. 


Like Craig, I'm also a list maker and these little gems couldn't be handier for that.  I not only use these for weekly grocery lists, but as anyone who knows me can testify, I have an entire year's worth of financial expenses stuck right to my check book.  Also like Craig, I've been known to keep a Post-it note in the upper corner of my At-A-Glance calendar blotter detailing special 'to do' items for work.  And ever the traditionalist myself, I, too, use only the canary yellow – let's face it, any Post-it user worth his salt wouldn't be caught dead with anything else.   


I keep the 3x3 pads in my right-hand desk drawer, in a drawer in my kitchen and in my night table.  They're always there at the ready to record a message, note some task that needs attending or, my favorite, to capture a brilliant idea.  I've been known to tip-toe out of the shower, soaking wet, not willing to risk forgetting something clever that came to mind.  And I've also jotted down reminders after waking from a sleepy haze lest I forget some ingenious insight I had.


Now, the problem is although the Post-it note will never let you down, our feeble minds are just not as reliable.  I awoke one morning to find the words 'cloud nine' scribbled down and, for the life of me, I have no idea why – it was obviously worth noting at 3:00 a.m. but… perhaps it will come to me one day.  In the meanwhile, as anyone who's read The Ones That Got Away – A Dating Memoir knows, I can happily live without a man in my life; but I don't think I could live without Post-its.  I'm sure Craig Wilson would attest.  And who wouldn't love that?


~ M.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I Corinthians 13:13 says, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love."


The love Paul is talking about is patient and kind – one that's not rude or self-seeking; one that always protects, always trusts, always perseveres.


The 13th chapter of I Corinthians is read at many weddings and it's my opinion that spouses can only dream of attaining this type of pure love.  See, the problem is that men and women are both human and, for most humans, things get in the way of pure love.  Things like envy, pride, anger – the very things Paul says love is not. 


Animal lovers know that pure love can be found with our pets.  They're always there for you and they give love unconditionally; and when you nurture that relationship, they will become precious babies that you can interact with.    


They greet you in the morning when you get up, follow you throughout the routine of your day and snuggle up with you at bedtime.  And they have their own habits, as well – from napping locations, to play times, to preferred toys – that showcase their individual personalities.


I've had two Himalayan cats for over 17 years.  Don't let that number just glide over you – 17 years is a long stretch of time, a long time.  Think about it, 17 years ago Bill Clinton had only just begun his presidency, the only economic downturn anyone spoke of was still the Great Depression and terrorism hadn't quite fully made its way to the US yet.  Do you get it?  Seventeen years is a long, long time. 


On April 8th I lost my Izzie.  Princess Isabella Serina passed away, leaving me genuinely broken hearted.  There are no words that can convey the depth of my feelings to make any reader understand what she truly meant to me – it's personal, an unsurpassed special bond that was forged over nearly two decades.   


To make my sorrow even deeper, I watch her sister, who's 17-1/2, look for her everywhere – not understanding.  Her life is different now, my life is different now.  And what's crushing me is that I know it's only a matter of time before I'll lose Lillie, too – or Queen Lillie Chandra as she's known on the registry of the Cat Fancier's Federation. 


Of course I understand that loss is inevitable, but knowing that doesn't help at all – the pain is brutal.  My Izzie was the cutest Iz that ever was or ever will be.  She was like my shadow – always by my side.  I'll miss her forever.  And Miss Lil will always be my first baby girl – nothing will ever change that. 


With a hole in my heart…

 ~ M.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


IN THE BEGINNING a few classmates got together and formed a band.  Over four decades later that band finally received the long overdue recognition that loyal fans always knew they deserved.  On March 15, 2010 Genesis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 


I first became a fan, as a teenager, back in the early 80s with the release of Abacab.  I actually won that album at a boardwalk game of chance at the Jersey shore and that, as it turned out, was just the beginning.


Their music spoke to me – the melodies, the stories – and I just couldn't get enough.  They became a hobby of mine.  I got all their past albums, interview records, picture books, you name it – if it could be had, I got a hold of it.  I spent hours admiring album cover artwork while taking in the lyrics listening to these guys. 


Killing time one day back in '87, I jotted down a list of all their albums in the order in which they were released.  I then decided to see if I could write down the titles of all the songs on each album – I couldn't do this today, not by a long shot, but I could back then; these were my boys and I loved everything about them.  With the list before me, I wondered how many song titles I could use in writing one little story. 


What you'll read below is the fruit of my labor, a fictitious letter to a fictitious cousin – song titles italicized in bold…


Dear Cousin,

What's up?  Yes, that's right, it is I again.  How are you? I'm fine. Have you see any good movies lately?  I did.  The other night, me and Sarah Jane and Harold the barrel went to the cinema show.  There was a double feature – Return of the Giant Hogweed and a mystery called Who Dunnit?  After that we stopped at The Fountain of Salmacis for a while.  Typically, Harold had many too many drinks and began reciting the Ballad of Big; but at least he didn't sing that Boy Scout fireside song like he usually does.  Sarah wasn't much help either.  She spent the whole night looking for someone.  It wasn't too bad, though, me and Virgil, the bartender, had a nice conversation.  Please don't ask me how I get into these situations.


I was sorry to hear that you've been down and out because your girlfriend broke up with you – but don't limit yourself, broaden your horizons.  Like it or not, I've got to tell you that acting like the lonely man on the corner isn't going to help matters at all – you're taking it all too hard.  It's gonna get better once you realize that the lady lies!  Your mama always said that you have your own special way, so stop throwing it all away on everything and anything she does.  True, you may be hurting right now, but keep it darkafter all, you're a man of our times.  Don't let her keep you in limbo forever.  Am I very wrong for telling you this?  I hope not.  You know one day you'll find the girl of your dreams.


Hey, did you hear we're moving?  Now we have to get 'em out by Friday.  We bought a home by the seait's our second home by the sea, actually.  This one is the center house in a cul-de-sac.  I still won't go swimming, though, not since that incident with the undertowyou remember.  I suppose I don't really mind moving, after all, back in New York City there are constant incidents of robbery, assault and batterythat town is like a land of confusion!  But still, I'm sure I'll miss the Broadway melody that you can sometimes hear during twilight as the light dies down on Broadway.  Oh, I don't know, I just wish I had a place to call my own.  Do you ever miss the city now that you live out in the wilderness?


Oh, remember the illegal alien I wrote you about, you know, the Brazilian?  Well, we went out again and he gave me another gift – this time it was a musical box.  Do you think I'm getting in too deep?  Last week we went to that new club, For Absent Friends, and I felt like I was dancing with a moonlit knight.  Then later, while walking home in the glow of the night, I could swear I saw a silver rainbow!  You know how it is with me, entangled in romance – more fool me!  Oh, did I tell you he calls me Duchess?  But I don't know, in the beginning when he asked me about my feelings, I gave him no reply at all.  But he's like the conqueror – he's got some sort of invisible touch on me.  Yet, I'm just not sure, I mean, I know what I like, but, well, you might recall what happened after the ordeal with the eleventh Earl of Mar.  I don't want this relationship to be overcome with stagnation just as the sour turns to sweet.  Perhaps I should stop trying to read behind the linesthat type of thing could create a misunderstanding.  I just don't know what to do.  That's why I'm alone tonight writing to you instead of going out.  Forget dating casually, that whole scenario is typically all in a mouse's night, just a job to do, really that's all it is.  On the other hand, sometimes I feel as though I'm stuck in the waiting room of some sort of chamber of 32 doors, meandering up and down each aisle of plenty, counting out time, trying to avoid the serpent while looking for that one for the vine.  But who am I kidding? What's really out there is nothing more than a grand parade of lifeless packaging – a bunch of dodo/lurker types.  Maybe it's all part of some big plan, or maybe it's just a trick of the tail, who knows?  But enough of that!


Thanks for those harlequin romance books you sent me.  I agree with you – Visions of Angels is definitely better than Scenes from a Night's Dream.  Thanks again!  Hey, what did you think of Uncle Duke's travels?  I can't believe that he actually climbed to the top of White Mountain!  What's really unbelievable, though, is the knife he found that supposedly dates back to The Battle of Epping Forest!  Oh, and you should see the necklace he brought back for me – it has seven stones in it.  It's gorgeous! 


I was listening to Unquiet Slumbers for those Sleepers in that Quiet Earth by Genesis.  Have you ever heard of them?  Anyway, it just ended so let me go and turn it on again… I'm back.  I decided to put another record on instead so now I'm listening to Abacab.


I'm just noticing from looking out my window that it's nearly dusk and amidst the afterglow of the setting silent sun, mad man moon can faintly be seen while the breath from the watcher of the skies gently creates ripples that glide across the sweet, pink water of our pool.  Who can deny the evidence of autumn? 


Well, Cuz, I've got to go, supper's ready.  We're having Domino's pizza.  Don't stay in hiding keep in touch.  Talk to you soon,


Los Endos.

 Love always,

Lilywhite Lilith


PS: Did you hear about my new pet?  I actually got a squonk!  I heard that you got a… wot, gorilla?  That's a little hard to believe!  Take care. J



That letter used 106 song titles from 14 albums.  So, okay, I obviously had a lot of time to kill back then.  Plus, as I've been known to say, what's the point of having a disorder if you're not going to be obsessive and compulsive about it? 


I'll let some other crazed fan write the returned response using post 1987 song titles and the earlier ones I didn't use – I just don't have that kind of time anymore.  But make no mistake, even though the amount of free time I have may have diminished, my fondness for the band has not.


So let me say Congrats to the boys – they've come a long way since playing Upstairs at Ronnie's.  Genesis – a musical REVELATION.


I know what I like…

~ M.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away

They say El Niño is the reason

We've had so much rain this season.

Seven inches is what we're used to,

But over twelve months – not just two.


I don't mean to be cranky; I don't want to complain,

But I can't take one more day of rain.

I try not to be grumpy, or get upset,

But it's the desert – it shouldn't be wet.


Everything's soggy – puddles abound;

Our poor saguaros are falling down.

Those good ol' boys – so old, so tall –

Can't take this much rain, at all.


Rain is essential for life, I know.

It's our friend, and not our foe.

I understand that, I know that it's true,

But I'm a little spoiled – what can I do?


Normally our days are sunny

And all this rain isn't funny.

I'd like blue skies back, that's for sure –

Because, as I said, I can't take much more.


But, oh, the beauty this rain will bring;

We're sure to have an awesome spring.

We'll see the bright side to all these showers

When the desert's awash with wild flowers.


It won't be long until our days

Are filled, again, with beaming rays;

Then we'll get back to outdoor fun,

Living life in the Valley of the Sun.


Until then, try to stay dry…

~ M.


Sunday, January 24, 2010


Another decade has passed us by.  The first month of the new year, gone.  To say that time flies is a huge understatement.  Heck, I'm 45 already – that's almost half a century old.


I heard this line – or something close to this line – on Ray Romano's new show, Men of a Certain Age: " 100 years there'll be all new people."  And I don't know why, but it just hit me – in 100 years there will be all new people.  Not only won't I be here in 100 years, but NO ONE I currently know will be here, either.  Now I don't know what you call that.  A sobering thought?  A humbling realization?  At the very least, it should certainly be an eye-opener.


Life is short.  Time is fleeting.  We've all heard this over and over again.  But the thing is, it's true – and we need to enjoy life while we're here.  I'm not saying party like it's… like it's… 2099 (necessary update; but think about that for a moment.  When Prince's song first came out in October of 1982, 1999 seemed like a lifetime away and now it's already 2010.)  Nor am I saying to throw all caution to the wind with wild abandon (although, if you are going to throw caution to the wind, it probably should be with wild abandon – just makes sense).  And I'm not saying to shirk all responsibility and live life high on the hog (I don't even know what that means, really. Somebody get Wilbur on the line…).  I'm actually suggesting just the opposite – more of a 'stop and smell the roses' type of thing.  Why not live with 'an attitude of gratitude,' as they say, and appreciate all the things we have TODAY.  Most of us have it pretty good – even those who don't think they do, do.


With the holiday season already far behind us (more unnecessary support for the trite time flying theory), I think back to one night in particular.  As I sat in an outdoor shopping/dining area (hey, Scottsdale, AZ) waiting for a friend, I watched many people coming and going.  Most weren't speaking.  Some couples looked like they were barely tolerating each other.  Others looked to be mad at the world.  And others still walked by as if on auto-pilot.  Of those actually interacting, they did so mostly with the aid of an electronic device – texting and tweeting into cyberspace – ignoring those physically in their presence. 


Why is it that, these days, so many people need to be plugged-in and entertained by external stimuli?  Why does contentment seem to be an elusive thing of the past?  I don't think it has to be.


The past is gone and the future is quickly slipping into the past – one minute at a time, like sand grains in an hourglass.  I think people need to wake up, appreciate what they have and be content with the little things.  The clock is ticking, and in 100 years from now there'll be all new people so…


Enjoy life –