Monthly Archives: August 2008

New Jersey~and Back to MY Roots

"Hey" from New JerseyWhile this blog is not New Jersey themed, I do happen to live here, so I’d like to share this NJ blog I found with you. There is a new movie coming out called, you guessed it, “New Jersey: the movie”, and it’s really interesting if you’re want to find out stuff about NJ. The trailer is composed of lots of short cuts, going from one scene to another; but essentially, they are trying to peg where the dividing line is between North and South Jersey. The journey must have been pretty interesting.

Being a transplant from Brooklyn NY, KENSINGTON, to be exact. I am intrigued by the concept of this movie, to say the least, because I am almost totally unaware of New Jersey culture. The extent of my knowledge stems from browsing those “Images of America” books while trying to keep track of Little Drake in one of those big box book stores. I guess the closest bond I’ve ever had to a place would be there, though, I disliked living there. I wanted to live in the “country” and thought New Jersey was where I had to ultimately go, and so, it eventually happened. Sadly, I ended up in Elizabeth, NJ and while I’m not putting it down, it’s still a city and if I had to live in the a city, I would rather it be in Brooklyn. Don’t get me wrong, Elizabeth is steeped in history, but I really wanted to live in the “country”. We live on a nice dead end street, but outside of my immediate block that “nice” quiet block feel disappears. The sidewalks are narrow, broken and a safety hazard. When LD was first born, I envisioned myself strolling with him in the stroller, getting some exercise, fresh air and UV rays. To my chagrin, I spent my time, much like a mountain climber, trying to navigate the sidewalk, endlessly pausing to lift the stroller over potholes, uplifted slabs of sidewalk and the always disgusting, loads of dog poopie. At every bump I was crossing my fingers that LD would not wake up. Definitely not Littletown, USA. At least a mountain climber can take in gulps of fresh air while spiraling up a mountain peak. Me? I’m just spiraling out of control. What’s so bad about the city, you ask? Two words, “congestion and suffocation”.

Ah, as I write this, I keep trying to get a feel for my own roots. I grew up on Louisa Street in the Kennington section of Brooklyn, that is by Church and McDonald. No, NOT “McDonald’s”, McDonald Avenue. My family had been there since 1964 or there abouts, living in what we called a “railroad” house. It was a two family home, and we were semi connected to another house on one side. The rooms in our first floor apartment were laid out one after the other in a line, and this is probably why it was a railroad house. We had a nice backyard, cemented over. My dad had corn growing in two wooden crates, set on platforms made of two pieces of wood. One year my mom had a watermelon vine growing out of an old refrigerator drawer, with the actual watermelon sitting on the bench of the picnic table and benches my dad made with his own hands out of weather treated wood and pipes (for the frame). It was all connected, benches connected by a pipe frame to the table. Ingenious. Painted brick red. We had… yeah, I say, “had” because after my mom passed away, my father sold the house to renting neighbors, a nice Indian family. He owns a construction company, so I found out that he gutted the place for renovation to accommodate his family, which was just as well because it was basically in it’s original condition.

My dad was great at fixing and renovating himself, but as he got older and my mom got sicker, things were left the way they were, without the yearly fixing up and sprucing up. In those days, you made do with what you had. My dad could make anything. He made our barbecue out of an oil drum from his daytime job. (He worked at Ft. Tilden for the Army. Well, that’s closed now.) He designed and welded the iron frame together himself out of, I believe, a bed frame from a high riser. He cut the drum in half, all the way around, lengthwise, with a blow torch. After it was all done, you could still see the melted metal all along the edge. With that blow torch, he cut out the nooks that would hold the grill in place. The grill was, I believe, old oven racks… but I really do not remember what they were because they looked perfect. He put a shelf into the top half of the thing…. but I think it needed to be empty if he closed the cover. This was one HUGE BBQ. He grilled up steaks, chicken, franks, hamburger, corn, whatever… all at once. But usually, he did the chicken first because it needs to cook longer, but he could make all the chicken at one time. I have great memories of those BBQ’s… and my dad bbq’d outside in any season, in the rain, in the snow. No wonder, my favorite taste is from a CHARCOAL grill. These gas ones do NOT cut it at all, in my eyes… and taste buds.

You know, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank someone tonight. While trolling the net for cool old tyme Kensington photos to better illustrate this post, I came across Kensington (Brooklyn). A treasure trove of stories from growing up in my old neighborhood. Seeing pictures, listening to stories of the old neighborhood, and in my time there, I was transported back. What a trip and looks like there are well over a thousand posts, so I’ll need to get a jump on that. The blog is a private, team blog. Did I get that right? You must be a team member to comment… and I guess, write articles. I’m definitely going to email the link to a family and friends. I’ve really enjoyed Ron Lopez’s stories, too… thanks so much!

I must say that this evening (really started this afternoon) I had the feeling that I did not belong anywhere. I never thought much about a possible bond that I might have with a “place” that I called home. I’ve spent so much of my adulthood, moving around from place to place, too. I never felt as if I belonged anywhere. Even here. I’ve been here since approximately 2003 and it’s hard for me to feel planted… you know what I mean? I still have that transient feeling about me. I don’t really decorate, though I do little things, but mostly the things that are supposed to be finishing touches, not my whole decoration deal. Sigh. Well, I came across this blog and realized that I am bonded to the place where I grew up. I can now see why my childhood friend still lives in the same house as her parents, only on the top floor. She, CAMILLE, must really have that old neighborhood in her blood. My problem is that I’ve spent so many years not recognizing it in my own. Oh, well. I need to be here. The Drake is here and his job of 30+ years is here, so for sure, he never would’ve come to Brooklyn, and by extension, we never would have conceived our Little Drake… so, God works in mysterious ways… as they say.

Come Fly Away With Me.

Today I had to write about something that happens all too frequently around here.  Have you ever been in a social situation with your partner, when you glance at them and a “feeling” comes over you too suddenly?  I mean in a certain place and situation where there is no chance in hell of doing more than look longingly at them?

This happens to me when we are attending MASS of all things!  We are R.Catholic.  We go to church, attend mass, receive the Eucharist.  It’s supposed to be just you and God, that’s it.  Somehow unbidden, I desire to connect with My hubby, the Drake, as all my old readers know him as.   So, this post will be my attempt at poking and prodding at this phenomenon and see where it leads…. probably nowhere special because I just can’t seem to concentrate and the moment is over, at least for today.  I really should attempt this earlier in the day and not late at night, or sleep deprived.

May I first say that at these times, I feel more tenderness towards my love-guy than at any other time… I mean, ANY other time!  So, this wave washes over me right in the middle and when we give the sign of peace, we usually give each other a peck on the lips… which I was really temped, but we were pretty much sitting up front, so wasn’t going to go there… sigh… I felt a rush of longing as if I was watching him from 1000 miles away; yet I was sitting right next to him.  I sat there, gazing at him feeling so proud to be his wife.  So grateful for him in my life.  I know that sounds corny, especially to the young, but I don’t care.  Humph… the young.  What do they know?  They experience feelings, allow themselves to experiment with their bodies, then believe they are experts, “worldly” beings.  Let me tell you something.  A-G-E has a LOT to do with it.  I don’t care if you think you’re an expert by the time you’re twenty-one because of whatever you have done…. you are not.  You still have a young, innocent, naive, heart and mind.   Age gives you the objectivity to examine your feelings and emotions without getting crazy (in the subjective).  Age allows you that third party advantage… well heck, I’m 47, but figure when you get to 50 you’re already the age of two 25 year olds combined.

But you know, there are other times I unexpectedly feel the same way.  Almost always when I observe him playing, interacting with our 3 year old boy.  I melt all over… I just get the urge to make more of his children.  ha… I’m 47 now, so I am trying not to go there while I’m still ovulating.  I often wonder when this “change” that women are always talking about will come over ME.  For the longest time I believed that I could not have children, now I’m hoping that I won’t get pregnant again.  That’s so selfish of me.   I really do wish that my little guy could have a brother or sister, but then it always comes back to the age thing… I really don’t want to be an older mother than I already am.

Getting back to getting the hots in church…. wow.  If there is a place that discourages that sort of thing with only the air within, I’d like to know about it.  But what was that wave really?  Was it really the urge to commit a cardinal sin… but it would be with my lawfully wedded husband, so would that make it a cardinal sin… or any sin?  I suppose so…. Man, don’t let me lead you to believe that I would actually have sex in church… geez, NO… Don’t forget you are entrapped in my brain, and these are my musings just at the moment.

So.  Was it lust, love, tenderness…. bliss?  All of the above because that overwhelming feeling of tenderness can definitely lead to lust… and of course, enhances the love… at least for the moment.  I sort of get transported into the air… definitely a floating, blissful feeling.  I’ll just float on in to lay next to my hubby… wonderful things might happen!

I Hate Cliches….

I was drawn to this image immediately.

The beautiful Tree Dancer.

I was looking for an image that conveyed “adversity”, but the second I saw this one, I knew that I had to use it. It can be found here at Twisted Sister’s Blog… and, BTW, I’ve got to explore this blog further, myself. Anyway, the blog stated that this pic (and others) were not hers, but had been received in an emaiil.


Cliches. They really do rub me the wrong way. To me, using them means that the speaker either could not or would not exert the effort to come up with their own words. To me, the over usage of them has rendered them meaningless, exhausted of whatever potency they once wielded. Give me words! What do you really think, man! Anything at all swimming around in that pool your brain is sloshing around in?

With that said, get ready for musings that don’t have anything to do with the title. Perhaps I should have entitled this post, “Tangents are Grande”. The cliche I’m thinking about right now is this one: “Things happen for a reason”. There are a myriad of belief systems out there and I’m not going to try and touch upon all of them to draw correlations, so I’ll just draw upon mine and leave the line drawing to you. I am Roman Catholic, active in my church parish and serve at the masses. All… or most reference points in this post will come from there, so if you’re not interested in hearing the Catholic point of view, please “get up and change the channel”…. ha… an archaic reference to television before cable, even before…. eeeeeek! The horror…. universal remote. What a prehistoric, deprived era I come from… the 1960’s and 1970’s…. even worse, the Brady Bunch! Hey, I liked that show!

Anyway back to my original thought… yes, there was one in there a minute ago. Ah yes, it’s coming back. In the year of 2002 I had sent away for yet another weight loss program. I forget the infomercial I saw on TV, but it arrived very close to the day I was scheduled to move out of my parent’s home to live temporarily, with my girlfriend in Staten Island. My ultimate goal was to transplant myself into the state of New Jersey to be closer to my fiance (DH now). We were planning on living in NJ anyway and she offered. Her story is going to be a whole other post… sometime. My father was selling our home of 40+ years after my mother’s death. He was moving on, and so was I… and my brother. So, I decided to just pack away the whole box, unopened, and to be explored a few months down the road. It got put into a storage facility for approximately a year, then finally brought to my now current residence around July 2003. I rediscovered the box while unpacking. Finally, I opened the Fedex box, scanned the contents, then repacked it all and threw it in my closet. There it stayed until a few weeks ago.

I was getting things together for a yard sale and was cleaning out my closet and this box was set deep into the deep, dark recesses of a closet under a flight of stairs. I displayed this package on my table… oh, let me give details. It’s the Fresh Start Metabolism Program with Cathi Graham. There were/are tons of goodies in there, from VCR and cassette tapes, a recipe book, journal book, program manual, everything one needs to embark on an involved weight loss journey. When I put this stuff aside for the yard sale, I took out the cook book… maybe the first uncut string. I priced all this stuff at $10.00, with the intention of possible negotiations. I wanted at least $5-7.00. As you can see, I’m a terrible business woman because I am still in possession of it! Well, nobody even gave my great display a second look. Then I posted a lot of left over stuff up on freecycle and even got a response for this item. Funny how all my stuff got scooped up by freecyclers, but nobody would buy any of it…. as evidenced by my total take of $1.50. The Shame of it! I left the box on my porch and I never heard from that person again.. not even after I reposted it for a “no show”. So. what to do? The only thing I could do was tuck it away again inside another closet, my food pantry. I just couldn’t bring myself to toss it in the trash.

Okay, for those of you who do not know, since my fat-burning purchase in 2002, I have been diagnosed with diabetes after the birth of my son. I had the gestational kind that, did indeed, disappear after he was born; but a year later, it came back and sadly, and NOT to my personal credit, have not been able to my sugar levels under control. I am freaking scared and still , I cannot take control of my food life. Overeaters Anonymous will say that I have a disease and at this point, I’ve have to agree with them. The only thing that is really holding me back from doing so, however, is that I balk at making such an admission. It seems to take the ball out of my hands…. well, yes as any 12 step program would do. I somehow can’t let go of the fact that this is my fault, alone, and that I must handle fix it myself. What I will admit, though, is that while I have the reins in my hands, I’m going nowhere fast.

Okay… Let me say that for the past few years I have given up on taking any dietary program seriously or allow a glimmer of hope to seep inside… but the more I look at this literature, accidentally in my hands, the more I feel [unsolicited] like I want to give it a shot…. I mean, I can feel myself wanting to take this seriously, and being drawn to the starting line. Since I found out about the Glycemic Index, this whole prospect of weight loss got 1000x (not a typo) more complicated than it was back in the good old days when all you had to do was count calories. The Atkins diet was pretty simple and I lost a lot of weight, but even that did not last. One little wall, in the form of my mother, who thought that I was killing myself by cutting out the carbs, crumbled my resolve and I literally gave up the fight… the fight that I was winning. I got so tired of defending myself every time I fixed a meal in her kitchen. That was the closest I ever got to getting down to my “ideal” weight. I mean that in every way, mentally as well as physically. What I mean to say is that I was positive and the “go” light was on the whole time (except for the interaction with my mom). Oh, the shortened version of the back story is that I started the diet while I was still living on my own, lost weight, then had to move back with my parents. My mom thought I was starving myself…. oh man! Fast forward a handful of years, and I now observe what I’ve become. Sometimes, it’s like I’m hovering over myself, disassociating from myself… until I catch a glimpse of “me” in a mirror. Last time, I was sitting down and I couldn’t bear to see myself. What made it worse was that I was waiting for my friends to arrive so we cojld start our knitting circle. What kind of person am I, anyway? Especially now that I want/need to be alive to raise my son… I’ve got to be around at least for 20 more years, minimum…. Well, I do want to dance at his wedding, after all!

I can’t let go of the feeling that God is somehow trying to help me lose weight. Yes, this is where my faith is entering the story. Can it be a coincidence that I’ve started praying the rosary on a daily basis? Well, almost every day. I started saying it for another purpose, though. Recently, I accepted the position of Chairperson at the Rosary Society at my church. I am definitely under-versed in religious matters, specifically prayer; and I figured that I had better get myself in gear to at least keep myself honest, yeah! Another reason for suddenly making an effort was a wave of bad news that came filtering in from the lives of our friends and family. I wanted to pray for people… for real. I had so become one of those people who quickly reassured others, upon hearing of bad news, that I’d pray for them… or put them on my prayer list….. WHAT IS A PRAYER LIST? How do you do that? I am definitely NOT one who even knows HOW to pray…. something that I’m not happy about, but my form of prayer had always been more of a “feeling” experience, of projecting my intentions out to the universe… to GOD… and whose to say that is right or wrong? Anyway, spontaneous verbalization of prayer and praying for people is definitely out of my scope of talent, but seems to really be a requirement for this job; or at least that is what I believe. The last Chairperson, Mary O’Sullivan, is the absolute best at doing this. She is such a natural at it. At every gathering, every meeting, the prayers and verbalization just flow out so eloquently. Is she making that stuff up as she goes along? Maybe this should be another post… so I’ll just leave it here.

Before publishing this mish mosh of a post, I just want to say that I’ll try to update my thoughts and feelings… oh AND experiences as I go along. In the future, I’m not going to focus on any kind of storyline. I’m going to just write my thoughts. That’s not to say that I’ll abandon a start-to-finish idea altogether. I’m just saying that my focus is going to be on publishing posts and not to necessarily wait for an ending to come to me. I’ve been working on this one since yesterday and I just think I should let it go.

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