Friday, November 28, 2008

A Side Bar to Yesterday's Blog

I woke up at 5am this morning, restless and confused. My back was aching from standing on my feet too long yesterday and I couldn't seem to fall back to sleep. I put Newschannel 4 on to catch-up on the world's overnight happenings and dozed off after hearing that more Westerner's had been killed by the extremists in Mumbai, India. Not a great note to fall asleep on but I managed to fall into a deep slumber for a few more hours until I was awoken by the sounds of Barry Manilow singing on The Today Show. Can you all guess what he was singing? He has a new album out with a collection of 80's that a good enough hint? As I turned over to my right side, half asleep, I heard Barry Manilow bellowing out his best Star Search version of, you guessed it, Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up," at 8:45am. I immediately opened my eyes in disbelief. "What the hell is with this song?" I thought to myself but I must have said it aloud, waking Vic up, who instantly cut into a version of Chattanooga Choo-Choo, a family favorite that Manilow covered last years on another compilation.

My question still stands: How far have we moved forward since 1988? In a time when leg warmers are making a strong comeback, The new Killer's album sounds like a bad rip-off of Eurasure and The Communards and heavy metal is slowing creeping back into our lives (Gun's n'Roses' Chinese Democracy) our culture hasn't evolved very much. Why can't we create something new?
In closing, I just want to let you know that I never owned a Rick Astley tape but I did dance my ass off to his song many a time in my favorite Albany new wave joint called Quintessence back in the day.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Has Been Rick Astley Hits the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

I was taking a break from my Thanksgiving meal preparations this morning, still groggy from a bad nights sleep. I decided to turn on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and thought I was having a flashback to 1988. As this float with Muppet-like puppets slowed in the midst of Herald Square, I heard a little kids song emanating from the festive, mobile barge, when all of a sudden, a loud record scratch halted the entertainment, but only for a second. Much to my wondering eyes did appear, a pea coated British singer/hack named Rick Astley who once had the soul and sound of Barry White a long, long time ago but now looked more like a has been. His big downfall is that he looked and still looks like Howdy Doody, freckles and all. He did his big 80's hit, "Never Gonna Give You Up," surprising everyone I'm sure as he badly lip synced his way though the song. Even Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera said very little and I think I saw the signs of a grimace on Al Roker's usually happy face. I suppose my question would be, "Why?" Does he have a Greatest Hits package coming out or is he trying to make a come-back 20 years after his one hit wonder hit the charts. Watch it and let me know what you think!

Sting's Shape of My Heart

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pre-Funk Thanksgiving Prep

I'm taking a break from making pie crust. I have dough tucked high underneath my fingernails and am getting it all lover my laptop, probably not a good thing. So far today, I've made home made apple sauce and am boiling my sweet potatoes to prep for tomorrow's big food action. The pie crust dough is chilling away in the refrigerator until later when I peel a ton of apples for its contents. I was thinking about making a Chocolate Pecan Pie as well, but am not sure if I'll have the energy. We picked up a fresh Turkey last night. It's almost 20 lbs. so I'm sure it's going to take a year to cook but we'll have a household of big eaters tomorrow and I do want leftovers.

Tonight, I'll soak the bird with some salt to get all the blood and yuck out of it. Once I dry it off, I'll put it back in the fridge in its pan and cover it till morning. I can toast up the bread tonight and season it up. I love good's my favorite part of the meal.

OK, so now it's evening and I'm starving and feeling like a major cold is coming on, but I have to pull myself together and get this dinner cooked for tomorrow. I'm going to watch Rosie's special later tonight and of course the Obama/Barb Walters interview.

I guess I'm just a little ho-hum about things today since my gig with the magazine fell through. It's totally fine and I'll get over it but the fact that I lost my cool with this amateur after she called my writing vanilla and not publishable bothers me. I've been published before and have written hundreds of daily newspaper articles with very little copy editing. Still, it hurts and my fragile ego is a bit bruised. I'm sticking to the blog for now and will branch out more after the holiday season is done with. I'm bound and determined to write this screenplay and will start immediately after New Years. It's my focus. Vanilla my ass! Now I have something to myself.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


All I can say is, "Go Scratch!" I've been critiqued by award winning writers who said they were in love with sentences and word clusters that I wrote and this person who in one breath said my article was written very well, also in the same breath said my writing was "vanilla" and that she didn't learn anything from the piece. Did you read it? I may not be the best writer ever to walk this earth, but I know how to write a wellness article. I cut them off, killed the article and will move on. I love when people who can't write well, criticize the writing of someone who understands the gig and produced...even beat the deadline. Gave them corporate quotes, websites and restaurants..what more could they ask for. I'm simply venting right now and so over this, but as a final comment, all I can muster right now is this final, snappy thought.

"I'm am not going to let you bring my holiday down nor am I going to give in. It's going to take a lot more than vanilla comments to deter me. I never enter sinking ships and I won't start now."

.....wait, I think I can hear the small cries of a fat lady singing.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Ramblings

My mind has been activated. I'm living and breathing again at the very thought of UE. Could I really swing it and then write, write and write more? It can happen overnight after hard work and then oddly, it may not happen for me, but I MUST give it a shot. One article does not make a writing career. I have a lot of reporting work under my belt from more than a decade ago but for now, I'm a one article whore.

Today, I was a waste of space. I finally "got IT," and felt like crap for most of the day and night. I managed to get to the farmer's market today and bought 10 pounds of apples, all varieties and then hit Mr. Farmer from Orient Point and bought out his beet supply. I bought a rutabaga too to follow with the root vegetable theme I had going. He was cleaned out by 11 am so I didn't have much of a choice. Last week I got cauliflower so large I reckon it was radioactive or grown in glowing green soil. This week, empty bins. This was the last week for the farmers market till next June, six months down the road. It seems like a lifetime but when I see their ruddy, smiling faces again, I'll be thinner and wearing shorts. What a lovely thought to get me through this lousy winter. Don't get me wrong, I love the cold but I'm a bit grumpy right now because my hormones are all over the score board and I'm bleeding like a sieve. I'll be better tomorrow.

When I arrived at home with my odd produce finds, I immediately called my mother to ask her the best way to cook beets. I usually roast them but I decided to boil them after speaking with my mother. I had about 25 beets and roasting them was going to take too long. I scrubbed them and cut the greens off and cleaned those and got them ready for steaming. Once I dropped them in the water, I began to prep my pumpkins for roasting. I had planned to make a wonderful pumpkin soup with homemade broth, a bit ambitious when you don't feel well. After ripping the guts out of the pumpkin, I dumped them into a big, stainless pot, seeds and all, filled with Poland Spring water, fresh sage and thyme, organic onions, celery and one lone turnip. I threw in a few bay leaves and carrots, turned the flame to high and placed the glass top on the pot. Once it started to bubble up, the smell was intoxicating and filled my house with a the warm, earthy scent of sugar pumpkins, just past their prime. I roasted the meat of the pumpkin on an old cookie sheet in my oven, leaving the skins on to protect their inner nirvana.

As the soup came together, I took a break to watch a bad Hallmark Christmas movie with Ed Asner and some hunky B actor I've seen in other Lifetime type flicks. It was hokey and quasi romantic and I went with it, while I stuffed roasted garlic hummus and black bean organic chips in my pie hole.

The sun penetrated my windows, flooding the downstairs with golden rays and much needed heat. The house was quiet and all mine today. Vic had to work an event and left me to my devices, which I relished. I was the master of my domain today and it felt good. The dog and cat were my only company. The best company outside of my husband I suppose. It was a lovely November day all around. I even managed to get outside a little, playing ball with the pooch but I ended that early due to my wicked cramps and lack of energy.

I wish everyday could be like today. Maybe I'll write more this week since I'll have a lot of time after Thursday. I'm determined to do this. I hate writing dialogue but practice makes perfect. Practice makes perfect. Maybe if I write that phrase over and over again, much like a grammar school punishment handed down by the nuns, I'll get motivated. I could run lines with Velvet, she is a good listener you know. Or, I could simply call Bellvue and ask them if they have a good script program on their in-house computers for long term patients. LOL...I never really did like the view from the East Side of the city anyway.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blood Stories

I've been in a bad mood for two days straight. This fucking Moon Cycle tea has really screwed with my hormones and although I feel better premenstrually, I've been quite snippy around the house, taking my frustrations out on the one I love. We had a great day today up until I threw a hissy fit about nonsense. I suppose men really don't understand when normal behavior is tossed aside, allowing the hormones to kick into overdrive. As for myself, I honestly have no control over my emotions the days leading up to the bloody purge. I'm half beside myself and half in the bag. I feel like a guilty vegan who just devoured a huge piece of bloody steak. The guilt is overwhelming, yet somewhat satisfying. I'm not really sure why but I'm sure I'll figure that out after I finish the cycle. I didn't drink any tonic today for fear I'll never get my period. What happens then? Is it over forever or will it take years of all this moodiness, night sweats, hot flashes and topsy turvey mood swings to rid myself of this clotty mess. Right now, I just wish it would come. Do I have to romance it out of me or take it on a date? Where are you my friend???? Come out and play wherever you are.

I remember when I was a little kid, around 14, and I was complaining to my mother that I hated having my period and wearing bras. I didn't like being a girl at that age because I was a tomboy and honestly, those pads interfered with my good time. It really ruined my Poison Ball games and I was paranoid constantly that I had blood on my shorts. Thus, my love for black everything! My wise mother agreed with me whole heartily, but she also reminded me that in years to come, my period would bring me wisdom, help me tolerate pain better and allow me to have children of my own one day. I suppose she was right although the last one never came to fruition. Such is life. Tears have been shed. Regrets notated. Empty spaces within.

When I was 16 and didn't get my period, I wasn't worried. I had nothing to worry about. I wasn't a "bad girl." I was a VIRGIN at 16, like 16 year old girls should be and knew there was no way I was pregnant. I was really late and physically felt like shit, so my caring mother drew a warm bath, poured me a huge glass of red wine (I'm Italian people...don't get your tail feathers in a ruffle because my mum gave me alcohol) and told me to soak. I sipped and soaked in my big, white porcelain tub, surrounded by brown marbled tiles with gold flecks. I spent an hour in that bathroom, relaxing and listening to a slightly warped tape of Madonna on my brother Tommy's old Radio Shack tape recorder. I remember it had a shit brown button on it with a brown metallic speaker that smelled weird. After I dried off and put my pajamas on, I said my good nights and headed for bed. That night, I fell into a deep sleep and when I woke, I was greeted by a small pool of blood that had formed on my sheets. She was right AGAIN! I kept wondering if I would ever be so smart or if I could ever be what she was to savior. After cleaning up the mess and changing my night clothes, I walked out into the kitchen, half smiling, gripping my lower abdomen in pain and noticing my mother watching me. She never said a word but through our eyes, we understood each other. We were simpatico.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy 40th Birthday White Album!


Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these sunken eyes and learn to see

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

Blackbird fly Blackbird fly

Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird fly Blackbird fly

Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise

You were only waiting for this moment to arise

You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dark & Light

Yesterday, the stress came to an all-time high. On Tuesday, I was sad most of the day, worrying about my mother and the fluid that is slowly stripping her of her strength and drowning her organs. The pain began the instant I got out of bed on Wednesday morning. I knew I had sat too much at work in the prior days but I had hoped it wouldn't catch-up with me. I was wrong. After twisting the wrong way, my hip bone moved and I was in agony. I called in sick and spent the rest of the day wincing in pain but moreover I was sobbing for my mom. I cried so hard that I couldn't see. Everything in my sight blurred into oblivion, just like my thoughts. I tried watching a sappy Connie Seleca Christmas movie I recorded on my DVR last year but that didn't help either. I picked at stupid food all day long trying to quell my unhappiness but this kind of pain isn't cured by oral fixations.

My mom doesn't deserve any of this but I must trust that my faith in God will pull me through. I'm not as religious as my mother but I do believe and pray regularly. I suppose God's ways are not ours otherwise I would have a hard time dealing with her suffering. There are moments when she's laughing and talking about cooking as if nothing was wrong. Then, there are those heartfelt moments when she's giving in to her illness, reaching out as if to say goodbye. It's in those moments when the dark begins to take over the light in my soul. Everyday, I feel it encroaching closer and closer to my inner light and it scares me. I can't let it take over. She wouldn't want that for me. I dally in bereft moments, wondering what would happen if I fell deep into that black whole of misery but then I pull back, knowing full well, this is not some experiment you can just stop. Once you commit, it's all or nothing and when it ends, you'll probably never be the same. It's a vast ocean with a swift rip-tide that will suck you under in seconds, pulling you far from the safety of the shoreline. Not even the most experienced lifeguard could save you....not even Vic.

For now, I'll dabble in my crazy emotions, hoping this is simply a phase rather than some permanent condition of the mind. Losing your last living parent is so overwhelming, it devours you. Right now, I'm wading in the shallow waters of a hurricane ridden sea, hoping that the bottomless pit of misery and fear will pass me by. Peace Out!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hurt Back

It happened while I was turning around in my bathroom. I twisted when I should have swirled and then, snap, my back is slightly out. I felt the bone move, not a good thing. It was slight but enough to know it is "out" and could be a precursor to so much more pain. I'm very gun shy with my back and know when to stay home and when to keep moving. I'm in a gray area right now and sitting seems to be more comfortable than laying down which goes directly against my chiropractor's advice. It's hard to lay in bed and be in pain. You just sprawl yourself out, prop yourself up with pillows and watch bad court shows, hoping at some point to feel less pain. Right now, I'm in my dining room, ice pack on my lower back, pajamas on, blogging. I'm going to head up stairs in a few minutes to try and rest until later in the day when my miracle doctors has office hours. She'll snap, crackle and pop me back into place and possibly needle me up! Think good thoughts for me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Boo Hoo "Famous for Bad Behavior" Starlets

I happened to be researching on the web yesterday for my upcoming article and somehow came across a recent blurb about Lindsay Lohan getting pelted with a bag of flour as a result of her, well...pelt. PETA later took credit for the incident in France, claiming that Li-Lo has consistently used animal fur to perpetuate her LA trash style that she does so well. Recently, the Olsen twins were doused with unknown liquids and barraged with insults because of their love for dead animal coats and accessories.

Get over it girls. Why don't you get the message and move on from wearing fur? How many insults need to be hurled, anti-you articles have to be written or bags of white powder need to be tossed before you realize that your ethics are screwed up and you rightfully deserve a nice squirt of red spray paint across your coveted mink wrap. Let's move on from this nonsense. These girls need to concentrate on their fledgling acting careers rather than make stupid and reckless fashion statements across the globe. What kind of examples are these young women for your daughters? There is a long laundry list of starlets with prescription drug problems, eating disorders, sex addictions, unwanted pregnancy's, and various other bad behaviors. Teach your children well and remember to always set a good example for the impressionable girls in your life. Lindsay and the "Twins" haven't had a hit for years, but I still enjoy an episode or two of Full House now and then!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What a Shot!

I have a secret crush on Jeremy Piven of Entourage fame. I suppose it's no longer on the QT but what the hell! I recently saw David Mamet's Speed the Plow and loved it, although I wish he had played his character more aggressively. I suppose I'm used to his Ari Gold character at this point and would settle for no less. I found this picture on the web recently and have been holding it in the vault for just such an occasion. I just watched a 60 Minutes interview with President Elect Obama and remembered how much I enjoy people from the greater Chicago area. They are down to earth and welcoming, not to say all mid-Westerners are that way, but I've never met a bad one yet from the Windy City. The picture must be from some sort of fundraiser on the never ending campaign trail. I wish I had taken it but, I can't take the credit on this one. Enjoy!

Shades of Things to Come

My current status should read: HOT MESS! I've got 10 pots boiling on a range with four burners and they are all about to explode or boil over. The old adage, "when it rains it pours" can be taken in both a positive or negative way and at this point, I'm Switzerland. I'm very excited about my new writing contract which I plan on signing and faxing over first thing tomorrow morning, yet I'm distressed about a few things surrounding the story. I'll get over it, believe me. I'm in it for the clips, money and experience. My moral code is a bit tarnished these days so I'll conform.

I've got so much going on with this new job...really. I'm committed to Women's History Month (of course it's mine!!!) A Green Fair during the Earth Day Celebration and Pay Equity Day. I'm also pitching in on a few other things and well, maybe, this is going to be my life for the next eight months. It's important to me to do not only well, but out of the ballpark well. I can settle for no less. I'm trying to sign Anita Hill, Michael Bloomberg, Geraldine Ferraro, Chuck Schumer, Hillary (no last name needed) and a variety of other people who can push my agenda's. This is a growing and learning time for me so for the first time in almost 14 years, I'm doing something to catapult my professional career rather than help students excel at theirs. I'm not sure how I feel about this sudden and unnatural change, however I've learned to become a flexible, critical thinker who often takes council from those around least the ones that matter. Giving this new job a try is just what I'm doing and although I'm not interested in new real estate, I've promised myself that I will bend in favor of myself this time and be a little selfish. It's not in my nature to behave in such a way. I actually find it repulsive most of the time but I've given this much thought and realized that I gave up so much of myself for others for almost 15 years, it's time to really make myself a priority, especially in the workplace. I'm done with catty nonsense in the workplace...did that, failed, learned...moved on! I'm all about peace, love and green tea! Now is the time for serious planning, blowing people out of the water and exceeding the stringent goals I have set up for myself that will impact my career for years to come. This week will be stressful but I have a lot of support from the dog and cat, and of course my husband that never reads my blog (he says it's because I read them to him before I post...whatevs! I love you anyway!) but encourages me to write everyday. Boho is the first step in a journey of a thousand miles ( I think that's a JFK quote) so get ready...if it doesn't get cut, I'll be in January's issue.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Joni's's just the kind of mood I'm in

Blue, songs are like tattoos

You know Ive been to sea betore

Crown and anchor me

Or let me sail away

Hey blue, here is a song for you

Ink on a pin

Underneath the skin

An empty space to fill in

Well therere so many sinking now

Youve got to keep thinking

You can make it thru these waves

Acid, booze, and ass

Needles, guns, and grass

Lots of laughs, lots of laughs

Everybodys saying that hells the hippest way to go

Well I dont think so

But Im gonna take a look around it though

Blue, I love you

Blue, here is a shell for you

Inside youll hear a sigh

A foggy lullaby

There is your song from me

Friday, November 14, 2008

Will Hillary Be the Next Secretary of State??

Sick Day

I must have had some bizarre 24 hour flu bug clinging to my immune system yesterday, leaving me exhausted, feverish and completely disoriented. I felt like I was having some sort of unearthly out-of-body experience, similar to vertigo, yet not quite as severe. Like some cheap drunk with a shot of speed, I wandered into my acupuncturists office searching for some holistic meds and a couple of needles to straighten me out. Dr. Perretta is a miracle worker my friends. She is not only a chiropractor extraordinaire, but a Chinese medicine doctor, hitting all my vital channels and energy points with precision and expertise. Yesterday she treated one particular point on my lower leg that helps compromised immune system's, allowing your Chi run freely through your body. Wellness and maintenance of your body is important to keep the energy at a maximum level. She told me that the Chinese believe that if that point is needled everyday, you'll live to be 100. I could handle that as long as my health was in optimum form.

Anyway, I'm feeling so much better today and I honestly believe that my natural cure-all's helped expedite and rid my body of the germy foreign invaders that resided me to complete bed rest last evening. I also indulged in several packs of Emergen-C, dosing myself up with loads of vitamin C and B12.

I stayed in my nightie till noon today, watching a parade of shows ranging from Today to The Waltons, to my all time guilty pleasure and the show everyone loves to hate...The View. The Hot Topics portion of the show is the best. It's the time when they all seem to fight about the issues and of course, the all-important air time they get with each kindergarten response. I think my favorite is Joy Behar, comic turned pop political pundit, who eats and breaths liberalism, at least that's what she portrays on the show. Mostly, I enjoy her Catskill comic delivery and Borscht Belt jokes, leaving me no alternative than to call her a hack with much love and delight. As you know, I was a huge fan of Rosie O'Donnell on the show and basked in sweet emotion when she slayed Elisabeth Hasselback and her right wing agenda on live television. You couldn't ask for better t.v. I still have it on my DVR and play it every once in a while when I've had a horrible day at work and want to take out a co-worker with not only words, but those coveted, infamous dirty I keep locked away in the vault for safe keeping. The lesson learned from that particular incident was keep friends close and your enemies off FOX News! LOL!

After The View, a few shots of V-8 and a couple of Tylenol, I took a hot, steamy shower and got ready for my therapy session. I didn't want to cancel. I'm committed to my recovery and devoted to my empowerment. I am finally on the doorstep of being the woman I have always dreamt of becoming. I am ushering in a new phase of my life with risks, hard work, belief in myself and with the guidance of my doctor, a brand new outlook for my future. Today, I spent most of my session crying about my mother's illness, wishing that I'd wake up from this bloody nightmare and all would be well in Rene's kingdom. Ha! If life were so simple and easy. It's hard to relinquish control of a person and their illness. How do you let go of someone so precious and special in your life? Can you ever recover from such a loss or are you forever adrift on a sea of bereft moments, shadowed by glimpses of empathy and hope that one day you will reunited with that soul in the Light. I think death comes when the eyes close and instead of darkness, you see nothing but Light...the Light of God, welcoming you into paradise. And when the tears begin to flow with a massive outpouring of emotion, you can either let it paralyze and engulf you or you can follow their Light which will forever remain in your heart of hearts, glowing and beaming for years to come. I choose the Light...her Light.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

First Writing Contract

I'm so damn excited to be in receipt of my first free-lance writing contract. I worked for a daily newspaper back in the 1990's and covered everything from murder's to political campaigns and chocolate festivals, but it didn't have the same ring-a-ding-ding as the title of free-lance writer. It's taken me a long time to take this step in my writing career and I honestly regret all the wasted time I spent debating whether or not I had the chops to make it in this field. I'm convinced now but not because I got hired as a writer, but because the words are flowing out of me so easily now. There is nothing holding me back this time out. I wish I could be 41 forever. I know that sounds crazy, especially when most people in this country spend thousands of dollars to recapture their youth. I'm wiser, more confident and feel as though the world is within my reach. I'm there, its been confirmed. I'm a writer! Look for me soon in boho magazine.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Something in the Way She.....

I've been crying a lot recently, probably due to my over 40's hormonal changes but mostly because my mother is gravely ill, yet still a feisty woman of stature and grace. Her honest eyes tell most of her story the moment you meet her. Crystal blue flames dart from her lovely face, just as they did when I was a small child and mesmerized by her beauty. She has been my caretaker, fan, supporter and rock for 41 and a half years, for which I will always be grateful but moreover, lucky to have had such a wonderful woman to call my mother.

We are a pair of silly hearts that love to cook, shop at flea markets, tag sales, make jewelry till all hours of the night and scour health magazines for the latest holistic cure all's of the day. She tries all my crazy tea remedies and laughed when I suggested she sample my newest find, Moon Cycle Tea which promotes hormonal harmony and balance. As she giggled heartily at my suggestion, I wondered if she only went along with my tea remedies because she was glad I had graduated up from my rock therapy days. I remember being in the back room of my office, lying flat on the floor, with a wide array of crystals, rocks and granite hunks in hand, while my open minded student aid Liza watched me try and figure out what chakra needed mending. I usually ended up throwing some sort of stone on my third eye for enlightenment since I could never locate the right energy channel to rev up my lagging system. The tea is much easier.

I got her hooked on a organic apple cider vinegar shots every morning, along with a healthy dose of cinnamon to help balance your sugar metabolism and fight everyday depression. I think my mom spent most of her days at Gingerbread Farm (my house) reading books by Dr Weil, hoping for a miracle cure. Her zest for life is contagious if not exuberant. Her will to live is strong and she has basically sold me on the fact that she will continue to fight till the bitter end. Sometimes her feisty behavior gets her in trouble both in and outside our family but she plods ahead, forging on with her fight. I admire that kind of will power. I've always looked for the easier way out of things so there is little suffering to go on. My mother has no fear, never has. I think her only regret in life is not having a fireplace to call her own, a minor bump in the road of life.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Class Wars

I'm alas, a proud middle-class woman who understands her place in the world. I rose up from the working-class neighborhood that shaped much of who I am today and fondly look back on those years in Albany New York. My father was a hard-working union man who spent most of his adult life knee deep in mud, working on various construction sites around the state as a Boilermaker. He never graduated from high school, quitting after ninth grade to help support his 10 brothers and sisters during the Great Depression. Benefiting from FDR's initiatives to get America to work, he dug ditches in the WPA and CCC corps, lived on his own by the age of 15 and got a job on the railroad, forcing him to leave his beloved Pennsylvania for the urban streets of Albany. Although we had a very tumultuous relationship, my father always taught me to strive for the very best in life, whatever that may be. His vision of the world was much different than mine, probably because we were exactly 50 years apart, more than a generation. The gap was far too great for us to agree to disagree, although we both knew that our vision of democracy was similar, if not the same. My father ate, drank and slept politics. He regularly devoured the daily newspaper and whatever news magazines he could get his hands on. We came together in the political arena, finding a shaky common place where we agreed that Richard Nixon was a crook, Jimmy Carter was far more than a peanut farmer from Georgia, Ronald Reagan had the best head of hair in his generation...a particularly sore spot for my father since he lost most his hair back in the late 1950's albeit a small black swirly curl at his widow's peak he regularly combed. When Michael Dukkakis lost to George H. Bush in the late 1980's, our Democratic dream was fiercely deflated, yet not deferred. We still held out hope for the future, but my dad did not live to see the nations next president take office. He died as a result of his job. My father suffered a miserable, lousy death because he dreamt of a better life. He made it to the middle-class but didn't live long enough to enjoy the spoils of his minor riches. His spirit throughout his illness was untamed and he became an inspiration for me to live my life outloud and dream big. Dying in March of 1990 of advanced lung cancer due to Mesthelioma, profoundly changed my life agenda, leaving me lost at the age of 23.
I had big dreams for myself, planning to attend law school in New England, then making my way through the local and state political circuit only to find myself basking in the glories of the national political scene as a women's advocate, fighting the fight for those without a voice and empowering my generation. Well, obviously that particular dream of my idealistic youth did not materialize and somehow I never felt derailed or misguided. I mysteriously became an academic dean, much to my surprise, doling out pop psychology advice to the masses and indulging myself in the wonder of their young lives. I suppose I'll never feel bad about not having kids because I mothered many of my students whom I still keep in close contact with. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to help them with their studies and shape their lives. I can't say that enough, because in return, they gave me love and support, friendship and smoking partners. We laughed and cried in the confines of 203 Roosevelt...if those walls could talk!
Today, I had a wonderful encounter with a student named Carlos who looked around my room and told me he loved all the memorabilia. I told him that it was pieces of my life as art. Carlos said I must be living some life and in that special, unexpected moment late this afternoon, I had a slight epiphany, realizing I've had many more triumphs than defeats. Making me smile and reminiscent, I engaged in a spirited and lively conversation with Carlos where we discussed music, travelling and his pending trip to Europe. I must admit that I envy his youth, lack of responsibility and an unbridled passion, yet I cling tightly to my current ideals, middle-aged wisdom and slightly saggy boobs (I get more cleavage now!).

I wallow in my middle-class life. I laugh at the hoity North Shore people who think they live far above the proverbial Mason-Dixon Long Island dividing line that separates the nouveau riche class system that makes up this God forsaken sand spit. Old money is so much classier and honestly, when will people in this county realize that money doesn't make the person, it only makes you dress better. You cannot purchase class or good taste. I could make millions someday but in my heart of hearts, I'll always fall back on my working/middle class ideals that I was raised with even though my tax bracket may say otherwise. Money breeds evil, greed and selfishness. It's not going to change my life because I am defined solely by my thoughts, actions, empathy towards others and these words that flow endlessly from my mind to the tip tap of my fingers on the keys of this computer. You cannot label me, fit me into any box or strip me blind of my thoughts. These earthly possessions are of no importance to me, although I enjoy a good shoe like most of my girl friends! I would spread my wealth to the homeless man who lives on the north side of Millburn Avenue that I pray for every morning or the tree scratcher guy living down the street who is obviously mentally ill or a foster child that will otherwise be lost in a system of crap. I'm going to help, no matter what my financial situation is and I don't need funds to carry out my plan. I'm Rene' in the middle, living my life on my terms, taking too much time to smell the roses and nip the tonic, centering my life around chaos that keeps me alive, away from suburban bullshit, annoying soccer mom's and a cast system that forces me into being some sort of unattainable superwoman. I'd rather struggle in the lower classes than be some bourgeois Islander who listens to scratched Michael Bolten cd's and sneaks cigarettes on the side. It's the grittier side of me that still enoys the kill and if I no longer had work or play hard, I'd wither away into some kind of hunchbacked ooga booga with an entitled attitude, AMEX Platinum card and a gas guzzling Hummer. Fear and loathing in Long Island!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quantam Leap

Did you ever stare blankly at something till it blurred beyond recognition? I always wonder what my face looks like when I completely zone out and trip the light fantastic in the confines of my own mind. I've been doing that a lot lately, probably due to my mother's ongoing health issues and the fact that I've struggled for years with self-doubt. Most people think I'm a confident, strong woman which I am most of the time but it's taken me years to get to that place in my life. Those who are in my inner circle know a different "girl" who fears anything that has responsibility attached. I'm open about it and feel little shame when discussing the issue. Actually, I'm down right matter of fact about it, unleashing a untamed fury that would devour others, yet in my case, the issue has become more of a silent partner in crime. It's that other voice in your head that frowns when you laugh and sobs when you feel at peace. I like to think it's shaped many of my warped perceptions, which in the long run, make me a much more interesting writer than someone who has lived a boring and mundane vanilla life. I hate vanilla. I never want to be vanilla. I fear vanilla.

The crossroad that I have encountered is disturbing, leaving me teetering between solid ground and unearthly expectations by my family. I'm on the edge of something big but the weight of my mother's illness is beginning to encroach on my ability to stabilize this crazy time machine I've been riding in for years. I can't seem to get off or buy a ticket to a new amusement. I'm stuck in a proverbial shit house of muck and feel the quicksand of responsibility all over my body, tearing at my skin like a leach that hasn't been fed in months. Everybody wants a piece of my pie and right now, this very moment in my life, I want to be selfish, self-interested and peaceful. I want to sit around my house in dirty underwear listening to Ryan Adams, Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead. I want to tell stories till I can no longer utter a word and write till my fingers blister and bleed. I want to call myself a writer, historian, gatekeeper and politician. I drink Yogi tea everyday and on each tea bag is a little inspirational note to lift your spirits as you guzzle vats of green tea. I keep getting the same one, "Your destiny is to merge with infinity." Hmmmm. Could it be true? Am I that out there that I'm relying on fortune telling techniques of some ashram lover who writes bad poetry on the side? The answer is a loud yes! When I was a little kid, I had a paper route and I practiced my own version of fortune telling. There were no Tarot cards or Ouija boards involved, just my paper folding and throwing techniques. Depending on how tight I wrapped the paper and where it landed when I threw it, determined the outcome of my Magic 8 Ball-like questions. I've never been one to dally in the black arts but I practiced that everyday when I had crushes on boys in my Catholic school, wishing that I would find my love of a lifetime. Little did I know, it would take more than a few folded papers and a good arm to find the right guy for me. Oh well, I suppose I had fun, even if my fortune findings didn't add up to much. In conclusion, the only advice I can offer my sorry ass is to keep truckin' and hope for the best. My destiny is out there somewhere, hiding. Maybe it's in New York or in the bathroom of a truck stop in Barstow or maybe it's in the love I share with Vic. It's somewhere I know it. God wouldn't trick me like this and I know I don't suffer from delusions of gradeur although at times I question that. Right now, I'm hoping for the best because without that added piece of motivation, I have little to offer.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I Want to Hear From You!

Since I shared my Election Day voting experience with you, I'd love to hear your stories. I know our side won, but it's important to document all experiences, feelings and emotions tied to this very important election. I collected a large amount of Hillary and Obama political paraphernalia this time around including pins, stickers, signs and the all-important "day after" New York Times, which is now being auctioned off on e-bay for in upwards of $300. I packaged everything up today and put it in a container with my Howard Dean and John Kerry pins from 2004, putting to rest my election stress for another four years. I'm not sure how I'll feel about Obama in 2012 but for now I'll remain loyal and enjoy the upcoming inauguration and swaring in ceremonies for the parade of Democrats that will soon control our government. I just hope they don't screw it up like the did back in 76'. Jimmy Carter was president and we had a democratically controlled House and Senate. Nothing got done and they pretty much stymied Carter's presidency. He ended up being a better humanitarian than president...says something about his prior employment doesn't it?

As you can tell, I'm somewhat of a cynic and perpetually fickle for my politicians that I temporarily worship until they fuck up and tragically stray from their original platforms that initially sold me on them. I'm realistic about what and who can do what when. I do think Obama has a knack for pulling people from all races and creeds together, and honestly, that would be enough for me right now. Maybe if we weave a little harmony into our daily routines, we can negate all the bitterness that has built up since the beginning of the Bush years. It's going to take a lot of work, but Americans come from a hardy lot and have overcome worse national tragedies and economic disasters than this. While jobs may be scarce for the next few months, there is a strong sense of hope for the future and if that's not enough for you nay-sayers out there, well than I suppose you can piss off and go cry in your beers with the rest of the McCain supporters. This lefty is going to be cheering the Big O on for many months to come. What do we have if we no longer have dreams?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We Are the Ones.....

Here's A Shout Out to a Dear Friend and Fellow Blogger

Just a shout out to Christine Longo, a former student and dear friend of mine who has inspired me for years and will continue to do so for many more. I met her several years ago while she was struggling in another part of Hofstra, unhappy in her educational experience. We spoke on the phone while she was in the hospital with a broken leg (a funny story I'll save for a later date) and we've been buds ever since. A few years ago, we starred in the Vagina Monologues together (me as the anti-war woman and her as the C..nt). She is the epitome of a New College, forward thinking, outspoken and driven. They may have killed the messenger, but they can't kill the spirit. Viva la New College!

Check out her new blog at

Support women writers and bloggers!

Peace & Obama...Rene'

A Liberal Response

This blog is in response to an email sent to me recently.

I wasn't going to respond to your email simply because I don't share your vision of the world but then I realized that this needed to be addressed. Liberalism does not, as you say, victimize people, it gives Americans an alternative to conservatism, something I will never identify with. I'm not rich, don't belong to a country club, have friends of all colors, sexual orientations and religions and support gay marriage. This is a democracy which ensures the right that all people are created equal and have a right to live their lives in any manner that they chose. To simply write off poor people as "do nothings" is a broad sweeping statement and a bit too Fox News for my taste. When you meet people who have been in cyclical social welfare programs, you find many of them to be poor women with children who have been mortally disenfranchised by our country and by the social programs that offer nothing but "time-outs" and little professional training. How do you expect someone who lives in a project to succeed in life? It's possible on case by case situation but is it realistic for the masses? Their road to success is far different than yours or mine and I am empathetic to that plight. If you don't have people around you that support your life, it's difficult to break out of particular types of lifestyles. I grew up in an Italian working/middle class household and unless a ton of money falls on my head, I'm going to stay middle class. You can be determined and focused all you want, but if live in an environment that does not promote education or success, you run the risk of succumbing to the negative forces that surround you.

I have no issue paying more taxes to help out the poor of our nation but what I do have a problem with is paying for this war. I would never write a check for death and destruction, murder, rape and torture, but I suppose that's what we've all been doing for the last eight years. If given a choice, I'm sure most Americans that live in progressive areas of the country would stop payment on that check...once and for all!

Obama was not my first choice in the beginning but when I opened my mind to him, his philosophies began take root. John McCain is a not such a wonderful person (read the Rolling Stone article and I'm sure you'll not feel the same way) and being tortured does not give you carte blanche to be the president. America needs to be healed from all the horrible things that have happened over the last eight years of a Bush administration. He is the worst president we have ever had and I've protested against him since the very beginning. Conservatives use fear and religion as their platform, which sickens me! They say they support life (pro life) yet they support the death penalty and oil wars. Over four thousand Americans and countless innocent Iraqi's have died because of his vile lies. Saddam Hussein had been evil for decades and if you research, you'll find out that America gave him plenty of weapons in the late 1970's and early 80's to fend off Iran, our then arch enemy. He was committing genocide on his own people for years before we intervened.

I'm sure that Obama is more than a good speaker. His story is what you say you respect....someone who came from nothing to be educated in Ivy League schools and to become the first black president of the USA. His wife has a similar story. They both credit their families for their amazing success and honestly, if all those "do nothing" people had that type of support everyday, they would probably be out there clambering for jobs with the rest of us poor slobs. I believe that an Obama presidency will usher us into a new decade of hope, where capitalism and greed will not rise to the forefront as it has done in the past. He's not a miracle worker but he's exactly what we need to bring people together rather than perpetuate the divisive behaviors and ideologies that have literally torn our nation in two. Don't be afraid of the left, the water is much warmer on this side of the fence!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008



The Promised Land

We are all so close right now...close to the Promise Land that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of 40 years ago. The healing has begun in our nation and as I watch the colors on the map turn to blue, I realize that an Obama presidency not only means the divisiveness is coming to a close but we as a nation can move forward in a progressive fashion to a new world order with Obama at the helm.

Obama has energized the base of the Democratic Party as well as the disenfranchised portions of our population who have finally engaged in the process. He made them believe in hope and change, just like he did with me. Let me be the first to admit that this was not Hillary's time, as much as I would have liked it to be. Right now, America needs a healer who can reach out to all Americans with a true message of change...change from the last eight years of Republican torture. America is ready for this presidency. We've been waiting for this for a long time but now is really Obama's time. I feel proud to say that I voted for him. He truly is, The One.

Palin Gets Pranked


I waited till 10am to vote today and went into work later than I usually do. When I arrived at my polling precinct, located in a dilapidated American Legion hall on South Grand Avenue, I thought I had scored big. There was a steady flow of voters, which made my heart sing, but no long lines and lots of places to park. What I found moments later was another story, an outrage of sorts but I was up for the challenge. Poll workers, a breed of their own, much like workers at the DMV, were behaving badly and it took someone with a little chutzpah to set them straight. You guessed it friends...that person was me and when it comes to voting, especially in the biggest election of the century, you can count on my set to prance proudly, in a less than polite way, around those who try and interfere with my secret ballot.

I'll set the scene:

Folding tables and chairs, fluorescent lighting, musty stench in the air, antiquated lever style voting machines, stained wall-to-wall carpeting.


Poll workers: Paunch old men wearing miss-matched clothes, middle aged women with bad hair, outfits from low couture Wal-Mart fashion house, heavy older women with nasty demeanor's and crocheted poncho's.

Act I:

Middle Age Poll Worker: What's your name? (leafing through the voting book).

Rene': Rene' Giminiani-Caputo, but it may be under Caputo or Caput0-Giminiani. The county can't seem to get my name correct. It's only been thirteen and a half years......

Middle Age Poll Worker: OK, look under Giannooni....

Rene': No, that's Giminiani with a G

Middle Age Poll Worker: Aaaaa alright. Look for Caputo.

Rene': (thinking this woman is a moron and the look on her face shows it)

Pauchy Old Man Poll Worker: Are you Rene'?

Rene': Yes, that's me.

Middle Age Poll Worker: Sign the book by your name. (To the Old Man Poll Worker) Write her name down on the list and give her a number. She's a De......

Rene': Don't you dare reveal my party affiliation. How dare you! That is totally inappropriate and against voting rules. Aren't you even going to id me?

Old Man Poll Worker: Oh no, the machine is down again. Don't let the next two voters go in until the mechanic gets here and fixes the machine.

(Enter the voting machine mechanic who probably works but one day a year)

Middle Aged Poll Worker: Sign the book now.

Rene': I will not sign the book until it's time for me to vote. How long will it take for the mechanic to fix the machine? I have to go to work.

Middle Aged Poll Worker: (in a nasty tone) Well, I'm going to take your off the list if you don't sign the book.

Rene': Listen, when it is time for me to vote, I will sign the book. Not now! I'm going to report voter irregularity if you don't stop.

Middle Aged Poll Worker: Fine. You can stay in line then. (in a huffy tone).

They continue to let the two people ahead of me vote, while the mechanic worked on the machine. When I asked if our votes were counting, the poll workers kept saying it did not affect the presidential race, just the one for judges. What happened to "every vote counts?" They assure me that the machine is fixed, so I hesitantly enter the booth as the older woman behind me picks up my fight. "I'm not voting in this machine if it doesn't count," she said in a loud voice. "I want my vote to count!" As she
clammered away out there, I took my trusty cell phone out and took pictures inside the booth (to post later tonight)...only a couple. I felt I wanted to document Obama's moment and wished I had brought my regular camera to get a better shot of lever laden field of candidates. The only one I was concerned with was presidency. It was nice to see Obama's name listed in the number one slot on the machine. I still had a bit of angst wishing it was Hillary but for now I've moved on and have pledged my vote for a clear path to hope and change...and most importantly, to END THE WAR!!!

I turned my polling place into the Board of Elections, The Nassau County League of Women Voters, the Obama website and 1-800-OUR-VOTE. I cannot believe this nonsense is going on but in the same breath, I anticipated it. I'm sure anyone living in a diverse, multi-cultural area, will see much of the same. When people start screwing with our votes the end of democracy is near. If you experience any voter irregularities, turn them in to your local Board of Elections. These heathens must be stopped!