Archive | April, 2012

2012 Stay Gold

6 Apr

To the Class of ’90, to friends of yesterday and today, and to my family, for being be my side through the celebration and desperation.  Without your support and your guidance, I would not have had the strength to persevere through job loss, death, heartbreak, disappointment, and everything in between.  I love you!   And I look forward to another 40 with you all!

“I did it!”  “I did it!”  A blog a day, 40 days.

Two weeks ago, as I was exiting the subway, a preacher man was proclaiming, “It’s about the journey.”  It has been quite of journey.

 

One of my favorite quotes from Linda oGodman.

How old am I?  I’ll be 92 next Christmas
though I won’t admit to one day over 20…
even after all the birthday cards are cut and shuffled
it’s hard to figure.

I’ve aged at lease 500 years since stumbled into you;
Yes, I still believe in fairy tales,
like the Princess and the Frog.

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2011 Give Me Everything

5 Apr

After living and  writing 38 posts plus  several asides, you would think that I knew myself well enough to know that the day before my birthday would be a bad time to attempt to focus and write a post.

Luckily, I did begin it yesterday.  If not, this page would be a mumbo jumbo of nonsense direct from my head into my shaky hands.   With any major events, my anxiety arrives before the big day but dissipates in time for me to actually enjoy that which supposedly pains me.

Excuse me (Excuse Me)
And I might drink a little more than I should tonight
And I might take you home with me, if I could tonight
And, baby, Ima make you feel so good, tonight
Cause we might not get tomorrow

For that verse alone, I love this song.  It reminds me of a scene between two American ladies and two Italian gentlemen having lunch during the off-season on the Aeolian Islands.   The Americans speak very little Italian.  The Italians know mostly TV and lyrical English.  After lunch conversation, which was accompanied with hand gestures to show approval of the homemade meal and to request more wine, the dialogue became an exercise from Italian 101.  “Do you live nearby?”  “How are old are you?”  “What kind of music do you like?”  The young man answered “House Music.”  Now as a woman of nearly 40, I politely nodded my head, knowing that I could not engage a conversation in English, little alone Italian. about house music.   Misinterpreting my courteous smile as agreement, he promptly went to the DJ booth and put on some music.  ‘Ti piace Peetball?”  I looked at Cindy, stole her winning salesperson smile. “Certo.”

I mistakenly thought this was the first song by Pitbull.  Little did I know that he had been around since 2004 and was behind some of the greatest hits of 2010.  Wow.  I am so uncool.

I am learning there are several sure fire signs you’re getting old;
1) You’re called ma’am

2)You really don’t know pop music.   Which is why people have kids.

3) Your body aches.

3)  People unabashedly ask if you are/were married.

So, in honor of our Italian hosts/cook/DJ/tour guides, here’s  some Pitbull.

2010 Don’t Cry For Me Argentina

4 Apr

I really struggled with selecting a song for 2010.   Did I even have a radio on that year?  After checking out the Billboard Top 100, there were a few dance faves by Usher and bar songs by Kings of Leon (I could not do it!).  So I settled on a song that fulfilled my need to get a Madonna song on the list and reflected two significant events for 2010- an awesome vacation and a one-night stand that lasted a bit longer than it should have.

***

It took me 38 years, but I finally discovered what I needed–someone with whom conversation was a challenge.   Looking back to all of the issues of yesteryear, I realized that barrier-free communication was the problem.   Yes, barrier-free communication.   When you could openly communicate, there was always the chance of innuendo, misplaced sarcasm, or belaboring a point beyond the initial meaning.   With Carlos, all of that was easily excused away.  Now, to be clear, the problem wasn’t that he didn’t speak English well;  rather, it was a perfect storm of it usually being late night,  that we typically had a “few,” and that I didn’t understand broken Spanish.    But it was all good.  After all, this was my first attempt at an “adult” relationship.  It was refreshing to roll over with just a “Good Morning” and no other small talk.   Setting a date was an easy text message, simple and to the point  “Hey!  How are you?”  Deciding not to hang out was an RSVP by not answering the phone.

Yeah, that’s how I convinced myself it was.  But when a one-night stand becomes a 12 month booty call, things change.   Suspicious minds seek info on Facebook.    The wrongly accused get angry and demand explanations.  Drunken conversations get reversed in the light of sobriety.  Things change when you are comfortable enough to fall asleep in his arms.

2009 Empire State of Mind

3 Apr

I could not complete 40 days in 40 years without a shout out to  Alicia Keys.  Thank you for being you.  For being an international pop-star.  For being a recognizable person that serves as a reminder to strangers for my own name.  “It’s Alysia.  Like Alicia Keys.”   Ahhh…the jokes ensue, but I don’t give a fuck because at least they will pronounce my name correctly.

Oh…so back to the subject at hand.
New York.
The Big Apple.
The city where people go in search of dreams.  For me, it was a place where dreams went to die.  After the on-again-off-agains of my 20s, I suffered Post-Traumatic Stress disorder.  Well, maybe it was just post-dramatic stress disorder, but I didn’t want to be one of 1.6 million living in the same city as him.  Sure, I would have agreed with someone who claimed that the odds were unlikely of running into him.   But after only 3 months living there part-time, I randomly ran into 4 people that I went to Penn with.   Hmmm…

Anyhow, I had no choice, at least no logical choice but to take the job.  The job market sucked and it had been 6 months since I was employed.  But I did it– kind of.   I took a fairly big bite out of the Big Apple, although I will never be able to claim that I was a New Yorker.   I shopped at the Green Market every Friday before boarding the bus to Philly.  I spent lunches reading in Union Square.  I sought the best Spanish grocer, the largest variety of Eastern Mediterranean spices, and the best Italian imports.   When the weather was nice, I grabbed my iPod and roamed through different neighborhoods (if you saw my small boarding room, you would see the necessity).  I even learned to comfortably eat at a restaurant by myself.  In New York, doing things solo was a choice and not the mark of a loner.  I never felt alone being by myself.

2008 Landslide

2 Apr

I’ve always been a bit superstitious when it comes to starting off the New Year on the right foot.  I gave Karma an open invitation to kick me in the ass in 2008.  I had been harboring some negativity–a failed relationship; a house purchased to prove a point; a trip abroad that offered no solace; lingering words after a “chance” meeting with Londono.  These feelings festered, and when mixed with alcohol created a monster like no other.  2008 had no chance.  I had no chance.  It was the year that kicked me when I was down.  My godmother passed away suddenly.  I passed up a great job opportunity (well, it wasn’t that great, since technically I was laid off from it last year) only to get laid off from my current job 4 weeks later, and then to spend the next 6 months unemployed.  I had interviewed for my dream job, but got rejected.    It was an avalanche of misfortune, a landslide of setbacks.

Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

I don’t remember when I first heard Landslide.  It has been covered so often.  It’s one of those songs that says to me “you are not alone.”  At times,  I need to hear songs like this.  I need to hear that it’s okay to be uncertain, scared, overwhelmed and under motivated.   It’s part of the growing process.   There is a difference between sorrow and sadness.  Being sorrowful does not make you a negative person.

In 10th grade, I read a poem that has always stuck with me:

If there be sorrow
let it be
for things undone…
undreamed
unrealized
unattained
to these add one:
Love withheld…
… restrained

2007 Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own

1 Apr

The death of a parent.  We all know that it will happen one day.   We are never ready for it, even if we have a few years to prepare for it.  It changes the roles of a family.  It changes the fabric of a person.  It even profoundly affects people on the peripheral.

In college, I didn’t think much about my own parents’ mortality.  I had a few friends who lost their parents, but these situations were exceptions– an older parent, a tragic accident, an unexpected illness.   I never understand what it could feel like, until Michael lost his father.

Michael and I were somewhere between acquaintances and friends-who-once-briefly-dated when we –I reluctantly– decided to give it another go.  The relationship was a do-over, restarting the usual course of courtship, keeping feelings at a safe distance from intimate.  It wasn’t until six weeks in that Michael confided in me that his dad was seriously ill and had recently had some setbacks.  “Don’t tell anyone.”

As the weeks past, his dad’s condition worsened, improved, and then became grave.  I didn’t know him well enough to read his moods, and he didn’t trust me enough to bring me in.  I spent a lot of time at his parents’ house but remained mostly in the dark except for the hints ascertained from one-sided conversations with his mom and sisters.  They assumed I knew everything.  I wouldn’t dare betray his trust.  I could be there for Michael, but not in any way comparable to the comfort his sisters received from their spouses.   I could be a distraction for him, but not in any way comparable to the joy his sisters received from just being with their children.  I was better than nothing, but not nearly a worthy substitute.

During this time, I couldn’t help but think “What if it was me?”  I remember my dad hugging me tight at his own mother’s funeral.  “Who would I hug?” ‘Who would remind me that I had to get out of bed everyday?”
.
Bono wrote this song for his dad while he was dying.  I’ve always understood the relationship between a stubborn child and  stubborn father.  I now understand the struggle between an adult child and an aging parent.
.
To my dad…
.
Tough, you think you’ve got the stuff
You’re telling me and anyone
You’re hard enough

You don’t have to put up a fight
You don’t have to always be right
Let me take some of the punches
For you tonight

Listen to me now
I need to let you know
You don’t have to go it alone

And it’s you when I look in the mirror
And it’s you when I don’t pick up the phone
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own

We fight all the time
You and I…that’s alright
We’re the same soul
I don’t need…I don’t need to hear you say
That if we weren’t so alike
You’d like me a whole lot more

Listen to me now
I need to let you know
You don’t have to go it alone

And it’s you when I look in the mirror
And it’s you when I don’t pick up the phone
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own

I know that we don’t talk
I’m sick of it all
Can – you – hear – me – when – I –
Sing, you’re the reason I sing
You’re the reason why the opera is in me…

Where are we now?
I’ve got to let you know
A house still doesn’t make a home
Don’t leave me here alone…

And it’s you when I look in the mirror
And it’s you that makes it hard to let go
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own
Sometimes you can’t make it
The best you can do is to fake it
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own