WINTER, WAYS, AND CHANGE


Thirty degrees doesn’t feel like it did last year. Adventures in livingness in the village, where I am walking, eating, going to the Post Office, stopping into to chat rap with Blossom, and withholding the urge to step into an antique shop. The thing is, I hadn’t planned on living here a year, so when plans are hijacked, we have to adapt. It feels like maturity has surfaced.
Thinking slips into different chambers; health reminders that I am not forty, finances have been a struggle since I left home, appearance, brown spots on my legs and these cancer sprouts, comfort, to be adaptable to any circumstances that manifest. Once you adapt to the unpleasantries, I think it becomes easier. Then it is possible to empty the closet of youthful memories and replace them with whatever gives you peace of mind.

Jim Marshall- credit. I didn’t sell this one, one of five favorites.

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Bob and Baez-JIM MARSHALL

How to describe the sense of protection and security that frees the mind to create and celebrate new challenges, so different now. How short-sided to not know when I had it. Sometimes it feels like my brain is rattling, under siege by these opposing forces, one wants to dance and be in a crowded club, the other wants to make chicken soup, write, recheck my immediate business and watch Butterfield 8. I wish these two characters would merge into one!

This stranger to me, trying to be practical, prudent, safe, and boring is my opposite. We all have some duality. Subtle flips in habitat, the way I would wake early and feel eager to meet the new vacation renters or gallery clients. Sleeping past seven wasn’t of interest to me, I was an early riser because I had so much to accomplish.  I do not expose myself verbally or physically in public (LOL) do not forget to turn off the burners, candles, or lock the doors. Do talk to strangers because they may know something I need to hear. Do not sneer at what advantages others have, in envy.  I could go on but it’s time to prepare dinner. Sunday dinner, even alone is my time to cook as if it’s for two. What is more crucial to our happiness, than the turntable of our moods…we control the needle.

People here seem to be a bit suspicious, or maybe just curious why I never married and had children, everyone my age has grandchildren. When I was forty, I said I’m not ready, at fifty, they didn’t ask much, then in the sixties, they ask. Not always verbally, I see it the expression, a slightly raised brow, a lip twitch. How I answer now is,’ its a long story.’ Then, if I’m asked to tell the story I start talking as if I’d known them years. I lose them after the last few year’s misadventures. It doesn’t disturb me because I completely understand. I used to be judgmental about people who lost their track, who ended up broke, who had severe misfortune. Shamefully, I didn’t think it could happen to me. Lying seems to be very hip and acceptable these days. Maybe I’ll fictionize the whole last three years.

Now for the first time, this last year, I’ve noticed the bed crushed in pillows and wooly throws feel way to peaceful to leave. As soon as I am dressed the work begins, and just this week I’ve completed the list I’d made when I was in Los Angeles a year and a half ago, honest. The last entry is crossed off.
The new list, all transformative channels; I’m selling my grand Victorian here in Ballston Spa. I’ve owned her for twenty years. I haven’t lived here since 2004, and my last visit was in 2012. She needs a facelift and botox. Once she sells, my suitcases and boxes will need a new address. This channel is snow, like on the television when its blinked out. Where that address will be is unknown. A troubling disturbance that nudges me all day and night. I search the internet, best cities to retire, best beaches, then I end up in Dublin one night reading an expatriate’s travel log online. Without a lover, best friend, husband, male, I am pandemonium, distracted, and insanely unnerving with my sense of direction. When he says ‘everything will be all right’ I calm down from whatever adventure lopsided.
The sale of Follies House will mean more than selling, it will force me to carve out a new vocation because my rentals were my income. Browsing job websites is an alarming epiphany. I don’t understand the qualifications, unknown coded programs, and applications. Even art galleries use social media formats to sell online. How can you buy a photograph or painting in virtual reality? Being self-employed for so many years doesn’t qualify.

Writing is not like running water anymore. I’m second-guessing, straining for clarity and topics that matter to my followers and new readers. Peace of mind squelches insecurity and self-doubt, at least in my adventures in livingness.

Today, the street view of stark-naked trees and branches seemed to happen overnight. Buckets of fallen autumn leaves paint the lawns and while all the neighbors are fastidiously blowing, raking and wrapping up for the city to pick up. The day I set out to rake and sweep the sun was tucked into a ravishing blue sky, almost like Santa Fe. Ten minutes into my amateur leaf raking skills the wind picked up and blew the leaves air-borne. Preparing for the unexpected is the staple that glues sanity here.

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Finer details are the urns and pots of mums on every porch. If feels almost obligatory, so I joined in and placed mums in my planters.  Now, a week later, snow is smothering the lawns, neighbors’ chimneys spew smoke, and the village is sparsely populated. It’s redundant to even talk about the temperature when you’re in a conversation, it is relevant to talk about the snow, and how many inches are forecast. I refrain from checking the weather so the first morning I woke to powdered sugar-coated trees and streets, it was a cinematic surprise.

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This year, I am adjusted to the weather, how to dress, and to create an indoor sanctuary so there is enough art, books, food, and music to accessorize the glim grey skies.  Adventures in livingness in a northeastern village in upstate New York reckons with my city upbring in LA.  I live amongst blue-collar workers, resilient, tolerant, unpretentious. No movie stars here. Hard cored tough New Yorkers. No BS in Ballston Spa.20190930_185032

 

 

AN EMOTIONAL ATTITUDE


 

Earlier today, I stopped into bring Blossom a gift, recently renamed from Christine as she reminds me of a flower. Her curly braided brown hair, pink lipstick, birch brown eyes, and flowing printed dress, just formed that image of a bouquet. She was leaning on the glass display of her boutique, (Amazing Finds, in the village of Ballston Spa) eyes wide and bonded to the glass
window.

 

( Downtown Ballston Spa, settled in 1771)
An instant greeting of, “How’d it go? You look happy. Was it painful?’
My bandaged nose, from surgery last week to remove cancer concerned her, as her flowery eyes turned into studied binoculars. Our conversation drifted into a dialogue about attitude. In the eight months, I’ve lived here and stopped to chat, like four times a week, Blossom has not once displayed melancholy or agitation. Instead, she draws me out of my moody anxiousness (I’m that way. Too emotional) and into laughter and joviality.
” You’re always so positive. How do you do it?” I asked.
” Here’s what I do, I will tell you. Every morning I wake up and write down whatever comes to mind– don’t even think about it, just listen to your thoughts. Write down five thoughts, then go back and cross off the negative ones.”
” Interesting. I journal.”
” That’s different– this works. I wake up grateful, no matter what shit is going on in my life.”
” I’m not that way. I’m too emotional about what happens in my life.”
” Why?”
” Wish I knew, I guess I’m a reactionary. I wish you knew me when I was really happy, content with my life.”
” Forget the past, you gotta let that go. You have it inside you now. I see it, even though you have a lot of obstacles, I know you’re a good person, and you got legs!
” Wish I had your breasts!
“Hah-hah! Listen I want you to do what I said, wake up with what you have and not what you don’t have. Love the purse too by the way.” We hugged and I trotted off, a bit of a dance to my step and a smile on my face. She touched my emotional gear, gave it a push, and into the night. Instead of arguing with myself that I should go out and meet people, mingle, laugh, my evening was music and film, emotions like floating musical notes until midnight.
Three days later, Dorian strikes and my head turned outward, the images on television seemed staged, the aerial footage presented an island of trash floating in dump water. How do they rebuild those miles of destruction? The emotions we have monitored from the comfort of our homes or wherever you happen to be are as one. News anchors drop bashing in the tidepool of politics, and sordid revolting details about Jeffrey Epstein, or the latest protest. I imagine every one of you is horrified, maybe slightly in shock to grasp the velocity of Mother Nature. Floridians are locked up like school children. My friends in Miami cling to one another, as the warnings are now so intensified, the fear detonated functioning life. I’ve never lived through a hurricane; a few tornadoes and my nerves were wiggling from those events. Life, when we come together in emotions is the hope that we can do it when we are not threatened.
Sitting on the porch of Follies House in the wooded hillsides of Saratoga County, NY sealed in verdant shades, tickled by a tap of breeze, only enough to cause the slightest of tones, much like what I am listening to Little Girl Blue by Oscar Petersen. Anais wrote extensively about jazz writing when she lived in New York and frequented all the jazz clubs. So, with my emotions, the music, the serenity of East High Street on a Saturday, white butterflies and cotton ball clouds granulate into daydreaming, and neutrality.

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I tried Blossom’s idea and surprised to find that the negatives are not life-threatening, painful, or disastrous in any way. The positives are it is September in New York, my windows are newly cleaned, so I can see the leaves sprout into golden shades, nothing broke in the house this week, and my refrigerator is full. The essentials of livingness, a partner to warn me from misadventures, a working laptop and printer,  friends phone call and texts, oh, and money for perfume and lipstick.

Yesterday I stopped in to see Blossom.  ” Pick something out, I love your present.  … here try this shawl. It looks like you.”

 

REVOLUTION RUMBLINGS


I‘am stalked by a sensation of revolution; the upheaval of a crusted and molded foundation erupts and the contents spill into chaos. The spillage of this eruption is sparing political leaders. Everyday they appear more childish and temperamental.Your referee whistle is blowing, and spinning your diatribe into tongue twisting hollow promises.

The annoyance of conflicting orders robs me of my Aladdin (magic moments), and the mental sweep to clear out my conscience.  I feel like time is stained with stop signs, alerts, and too many laws. What happens is subtle, but when so much time is placed in soulless activities, life looses it’s Aladdin.  Even if you’re sitting at the local bistro and dining al fresco with perfectly agreeable friends, and chanting; our souls ache for reprieve.

Imagephoto by Dick Spas.

DON’T READ THE NEWS OR WATCH IT ON TELEVISION


[contact-form subject='[SMILEY%26#039;S DICE’][contact-field label="Name" type="name" required="1"/][contact-field label="Email" type="email" required="1"/][contact-field label="Website" type="url"/][contact-field label="Comment" type="textarea" required="1"/][/contact-form] I’m a creative nonfiction short story writer, and a  columnist on arts and lifestyle. I have never said one word about politics; I am not a debater, academic, or political science major.

As a writer I read the newspapers; Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and the Santa Fe New Mexico papers, where I live.  I watch all the news stations. I quit MSNBC, cause Chris Mathews made me hyperventilate.  I think Charles Krauthammer is the most knowledgeable and sustainable journalist of our time.

Do to an act of nature, lightening, I lost Cable for a month. This was when Syria broke. No one talked about it here, and I felt the communities disillusionment. When my service was repaired, I turned on the news.  I felt more insulted than the time a young boy told me my legs were hairy.  Who did you think you are kidding? You want us to watch both sides fisting each other like a street gang!  Please someone tell them, the Press, chill out a bit and stop turning the news into a talk show.  You talk to us as we were mutes.  The Government has evolved as false as who we see in the mirror.  If you are plain you see beautiful, if you are beautiful you see plain.  I see you government, and I am ashamed.

I haven’t read the papers since June. This Thursday I went to the bank to make a deposit to cover my negative, and I looked at the newspapers on the customer coffee table.Image, My eyes shut after two headlines. How much more can we take? I really have lost track of priorities.

Should I get a job because my writing remains unrecognized. I need a retirement guidance counselor. I don’t like the title of financial advisor; they sound too rigid. Should I respond to the dreadful vacillation of American Policy. How much more debating can they do? It’s like when I worked in corporate real estate.  The meetings I attended and had to present were progress reports on whether I was an effective employee. I don’t know how I lasted as long as I did; my act was good, and I impressed some of the boys, but communication was too formal to bring out honesty. Maybe that’s what has evaporated in our

government, or am I seeing it differently because I’ve aged into it slowly. I think it started when the cool shit act came about. Some artists have it,  Musicians, yea they got it, gangsta’s got it, but they always had it. Those of us who feigned cool acts, became feigned. Rambling now. Got to sweep fall leaves and

start editing 350 columns.

I’m listing to Nessun Dorma, and oil treating my hair. I was thinking how much I detest all this multitasking. I can now handle five projects at once; write, sweep mop the floor, water plants, contemplate resolutions to my finances, all the while feeling my nerves tighten, and even though I stretch four times a day; this crushing operatic play in life is overstrung.  I watch those Sandals vacation commercials and practically cry because how many of us haven’t had a vacation in years, or a chance to

play a round or golf or read More Magazine all the way through?

REVERSE THE SPENDING.


Big spenders, rich or poor, are learning like me, that spending more than you have, like the US Government, follows you until your legs break over the debt line. I used to spend everything, before the check even arrived. Now, I am stimulated by resisting my fav delicacies, the extra beauty clutter, the wrapped $6.00 soaps, luxury bath salts and body creams, and the RLauren sales. I love to walk into a shop and leave with the one essential item. As I’ve moved into a 300 square foot no-kitchen casita and rented out the house, there’s no room for new stuff. I live with art, music, a few books, and a bulky 32″ television. There is a mini frig that suits two bottles, three condiments, pre-washed lettuce, and sliced cold cuts. Love the condensible lifestyle–so far.

MIDDLE CLASS, MIDDLE-AGE MAP TO WHERE??


I rolled the dice this morning; got seven. This always lifts me UN-proportionately to

the triumph.   What is a seven going to do? Nothing. The dice don’t do it;  what happens Is

I believe it’s a lucky day;  like the wind won’t knock down my outdoor writing arrangement,

and I’ll be able to write for hours, and not be interrupted by registered letters, construction noise coming

from the new Drury Hotel,  or tenant complaints.

What  we all treasure and wish we could stack up in a treasure chest is piles of peace from whatever our lives do to make us nervous, edgy, and cuffed. Or we stop the behavior which I think is more difficult.

If you’re a middle class, middle-aged person who expected  to be retired in Costa Rica by now with a book and a bottle, then you have to rearrange the internal map. 0414131321

I ‘ll never retire from writing; I hope one day I can live in my home again.