I am living in an unruly sandbox. There are kids that are playing so nicely in the sandbox and they are sharing their toys and their fruit punch and cookies. Then there are these problematic spoiled children who are never satisfied. Always want more. You give it to them and they beg for even more! They throw their toys. They throw tantrums when they don’t get their way. They want everyone to do what they want to do and do not understand, nor respect the individuality of the other children. It is so difficult to have such diametrically different children in the same sandbox. It is so hard when one group is so sweet and kind and plays so well together, and then there is another group that is constantly so disruptive. This is the dilemma. The irony is they aren’t four year olds, but rather 60-70 year olds and it isn’t a sandbox it is where I live.
Here are my issues. How can people with SO MUCH MORE life experience than me, not think, life is short, don’t sweat the small stuff. When me, almost half their age gets it. A friend said because you are a cancer survivor things are clearer for you, but to me as one ages, one does realize the important stuff and one hopefully loses the shallow, petty stuff. My mom teases me that all my friends are in their 80s and I should be with younger people. Here is my feeling. I have younger friends who are like-minded and great people. The 80 year-old chicks are great because they are like-minded too! They don’t care about make-up, haircuts, and where to buy a pair of hip blue jeans. They just enjoy life!
Am I petty crap free? No. Am I caught up in some of it? Hell, yes. Sometimes. Ya’ll know I am a snot and I don’t eat anything, but Graeter’s ice cream, I rather eat in a grungy diner than a chain restaurant. I rather be on a plane than in a shopping mall, and I like my men brown haired, brown-eyed and furry. No hair on the chest is a DEAL BREAKER for me!!! So, yes, I can be petty. So, this is my roundabout way of saying, I am not perfect. I can be a snob, but at least I am a nice one, and I can play well in the sandbox. And my feeling is, if you can’t…you should leave the sandbox and move to a house or a remote farm, or another sandbox where everyone prides themselves in peeing on their Wheaties or pride themselves on the size of their packages or Pradas, but if that is your thing, you do NOT belong in MY SANDBOX! Go find another one!
For me, it is about getting one’s priorities straight. Someone is mad about semantics on one hand, and my dear friend Sue, who is what I call my radiation nurse friend. She is not much older than me, maybe 10 years IF that and her brother of comparable age had a massive heart attack and died. Healthy man, breathing the Colorado air, and this sweet soul passed. THAT makes someone realize the preciousness of life and how fast and easily it can be taken away!
My funny retired Episc. Priest friend had a moment a few weeks back where the straw that broke the camel’s back, broke his too! He had had enough of bad sandbox antics and bolted. Rightfully so. I decided the cure was to gather a group of his close friends and surprise him at his door with a cocktail in hand and a laugh or two. We had a ball. Two hours later, we parted with him smiling from ear to ear and all of us feeling that we had done our part and had a ball doing it.
My friend Kate told me she had discovered the best chicken wings in the city of Cincinnati. I thought I would go, but I wasn’t expecting them to be that good. My silly weakness…I LOVE wings! I will not eat Dijon mustard on my hotdog. I only eat cheap, bright yellow mustard on hotdogs. My stepdad used to say only low class, blue collared people eat ketchup and to me, I say, “BRING IT ON!” A world without ketchup is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the peany boo. It is just so wrong! I went to New York for my 21st birthday and my mom took me to the famed 21 Restaurant and I ordered a $21 hamburger, but I didn’t ask for ketchup because that would be tacky. It was the worst burger I ever ate, because it needed the ketchup! Well, a world without ketchup and cheap French’s mustard is not a world for me, and I crave. CRAVE chicken wings. Kate is a huge Steelers fan and she goes to some bar on Short Vine to hangout with her Steeler fan buddies. The place is called Martino’s and she claimed the wings were the best.
I knew my fitbit would throw a fit if I ate much else that day so I planned my caloric intake. I was expecting the wings to be these little and dainty things, but they were HUGE. I think you get more than the wing, or those aren’t chicken wings, maybe seagull wings. Either way, they were really good! Kudos to Martinos on Short Vine. Thanks Kate!
I have been involved in WCET since I was a kid. My mom was very involved in Action Auction and I was attached to her right hip, so I went. They put me in dresses and I modeled and I just had a lot of fun there.
Fast forward thirty years, I am back there and I am usually a regular there, but not of late. I needed to change it. They needed some help so I sent an email to friends and family and my cousin Debby agreed to go with me. We answered phone calls and one of the bands that was playing and helping us raise money was called Dukes of September. They were so awesome!! The trio consisted of Michael McDonald, who has the most gorgeous head of white hair, Boz Scaggs, and Donald Fagen from Steely Dan. They play their respective hits and they were awesome to watch! Highly recommend them! And ya’ll know I am not a music person. Check them out on this utube video.
And I have decided that I am going to use the word ya’ll, so get used to it. I lived in the South for two years and refused to adopt it, because I didn’t think it was “cool”, and after years of saying, “YOU ALL, or you guys, it is just so much easier and so I am changing my mind and adopting it.
While I was at CET that night, I received a text message from my dear friend Jules in Indy. Jules and I became friends because her grandparents and my stepgrandmother lived in the same condo complex. It was such a cool place. My favorite space on Sanibel although the smallest, we had a 40ft. screened balcony that looked out on the gulf. I lived out there.
But I digress, so Jules and I met at the pool(next to tennis court) in the middle of the condos. She and her family are Indy folk, Indy farmers, salt of the earth people. Would give you the shirt off their back people. Her granddad told me the keys to the Cadillac are inside the door; feel free to come get them if you need a car to go to the market. First day I met him! How is that for super duper nice!
Well, we had a lot of interesting neighbors in there, but I met this gal named Betty and her kids and grandkids called her Beebo, so did we. When we met she was 68 years old, her husband was dying of cancer. She had eight children, technically seven; she raised a kid’s kid. I loved her. I would go visit her daily for hours. She was a bit of a spitfire. Jules had texted me at CET that night to tell me she had died at the age of 90. We both loved Beebo. Heck, we all did.
She was a TN woman, apparently a real beauty. She was supposed to be pinned to one man and she met Doug as he was heading off to the service and against her mother’s wishes, they married. They wrote incredible love letters back and forth. He came back and she worked so he could study to be a doctor. They moved to Battlecreek, Michigan.
She would talk to me about Doug, the romance, her military pen pal before him, who had died and she had saved the letters and dreamt of turning it into a book. I encouraged her to do it, but she never had the guts. Instead, she pushed me to be a writer. She was a sweet lady, and she will be missed, but I know she is thrilled to be in heaven with her Doug!
I am sometimes a bit delusional. I thought writing was going to be all about writing. I thought I would write these great trashy novels and they would fly off the shelves without my having to write about handcuffing men to beds, using whips and chains and apparently this is not true. I had HUGE dreams of grandeur with my book signings having long lines like Rick Castle does in the t.v. show Castle. It is so not like that…yet! So, I had to take my books and pedal them. Everyone I talk to tell me I need to be in Blue Manatee in Oakley. He not only does NOT want my books, but I have been there COUNTLESS times to pick them up and they can never find them, and I leave messages and get no responses. I must confess, I find that terribly unprofessional. You don’t want them, say I DO NOT want them, put a post-it on the books and leave them at the register for pick-up. How hard is that?
I went to dog places, to see if they would take the Urban Leash with all the dog stories. They say, very nicely, it will not sell here! No one buys any merchandise here! They bring the dogs in for doggy daycare, they leave, they come back and they take the dogs. They don’t buy anything. Do you think Petco or Petsmart would? I am just not sure!
In other words, it is a lot of business (which I love), but it is so much more business than writing and I had never really thought that through or considered all the legwork that goes into it all, and I must confess, I am scared of my spreadsheets. They intimidate me! I have the math intelligence equivalent to a third grader, maybe 4th. I used to say kindergarten, but I think I was selling myself short. I am terrified of screwing them up! Books coming in and going out, dating it all, what percentage they are taxed in OH vs. FL. Retail cost vs. what my profit is. It all sounds so cool till I realize, I am scared of messing it up! And people don’t always pay on time, never thought about that one! Isn’t life so interesting?
My friend Josh and I go back to Kindergarten. I don’t even want to do the math on that to tell you the years, plus I need fingers to count and do a subtract this and add that in my head.
His daughter who is getting into all these colleges: Stanford, Harvard, etc. Really cool. I remember when he called to say they were pregnant with her and now she is going to college? And I tell him it is a testament to you, and he credits her! WOW, that is cool!!! He was so amazing with her as a child. I remember him saying, “What is this? It is an apple. What letter does apple begin with? An A, what else begins with an A,” and so on and so forth and here he attributes it all to her. I am impressed with both.
He looked at me and said something that hit me like a ton of bricks. Why are you still here in Cincy? I came back for law school never ever wanting to leave NY. I was going to stay for love, but he dumped me when I got sick, so then I was staying for the fabulous Cincy medical community and now, I stay because of my aging dad and the fact that I love where I live so much and my friends.
Again he asks, Why are you still here?
I don’t know where to go? I think I should go back to NY because that is my favorite place, but do I want to live in a shoebox-sized apartment and give away all my things? Then I think…things…but I have so many memories tied into my things. Furniture I can part with, but that crazy cheese plate that weighs 50 lb. that I literally dragged back from Ireland, or my hammock that I love to take naps in or the mosaic mirror I made and things comparable. Too hard to get rid of those “things.” I made a nice salary and worked like a dog in NY, and was almost too tired to enjoy it. Dating there sucks the big one! Then I think I don’t want to date. If I do want to date, maybe I should go to the West where the stats are in my favor. I love a man that is a man, but do I want a man that is that rugged? I want a man with culture, some sophistication, a man who wants to travel and to eat and not just burgers and weenies, but if he wants to eat other things he may be A BIG WEENIE. What if they aren’t New England classy like that out West? Then I think, but you don’t want to date, so go where you will be happy.
Playing tennis makes me happy. Maybe California? Too far and too plastic for me. San Fran to pricey and back to the shoebox apt for $3K/month problem. Maybe the South? Where I can find a Southern man, who calls me dahling with that accent. I don’t want a big drinker. Been there done that and those Southern gents drink A LOT. Can I do a small town or do I need a big city? Do I go to Miami? Too much like L.A. I don’t like the Southwest, because I like trees and grass too much. I can’t survive on rocks and cacti. I don’t like the Northwest because I like the sun too much. Chicago is too cold. Florida is too old! Maybe Sarasota. Love Sarasota. Nice people, culture, tennis. Is it big enough for me? Then I hop across the pond. And I go through U.K. and Europe in the same way as the States, but the difference being can I deal with my boyfriend, husband cheating on me, and in France or Italy that is such a big possibility, and then I get to no, and think next! Oh and yes, that language barrier thing. I am not so hot with English and my French is lousy! So, this is what happens in my head when someone tells me to leave Cincy. Where should I go? I know I don’t really belong there/here anymore and I don’t fit in there/here well anymore. But I do like it, I love my friends, and I love my condo and I love being near my dad, and my adopted mom found her birth mother’ family and they are in Cincy and they ROCK!!! I love them! They are so great! I just don’t know what to do…
Josh was great, he said, “You need to live your life! You need to be where you want to be and are happy! I just don’t know where that is! I mean I do, but NY had a terrible winter, and do I want to schlep groceries for multiple blocks, and little things like that!
You ever have days like this?
STOP THE MADNESS!!!
And then I just sit down and laugh at myself and that is all I can really do! I will figure it out tomorrow or next week! Maybe.
Until we meet again…
Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….