Thursday, November 29, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Post-Hurricane Lamentations and Thankfulness

Bodies of water nearly merged where once they were separate
West Neck Beach, Long Island
Photo: The Water-blog, Carol Moore
Hurricane Sandy blew through here, razing homes, yanking down power lines, changing the shoreline forever.

Our power was out for 11 cold days (house down to 46 degrees by the end of the second dark week), and, yet, we were so very lucky compared to so many others.

Despite the downed trees lying across roads like so many dead bodies left to decay, lost of any of their once-magestic magnificence, and one hatcheted school vacation, there is little evidence of the utter destruction it left in its wake.

Go a few towns over, and that is not the case.

We haven't spoken in over twenty years, but I keep wondering after my high school boyfriend who I know has a family in Lindenhurst.

Here, things have gone pretty much back to normal.

Me, out front, getting an endorphin rush the other day,
with a few friends from the West Neck Pod. Photo, Carol Moore.
But for the occasional effort to donate non-perishables, warm clothes and blankets, my life has returned to its usual mix of parenting, writing, swimming, and entertaining my falsely-perceived masses on facebook.

Of fretting over how gray my hair has gotten (very), or how much more my knees can possibly continue to sag (hopefully, not much more).

And, over larger things, too, like the departure of my first child, in less than a year, to the cruel hard world of college.

How will he fare?

How will I fare without him?

Over my younger son's self esteem, having gotten cut from the high school basketball team. And, no, that Michael Jordan story holds no magic for anyone anymore.

And, yes, over which quinoa recipe I should make for this year's Thanksgiving Table.

My three boys at last year's Thanksgiving table.

I'm going with a fig, arugula, orange and goat cheese quinoa, drizzled balsamic reduction. I may toss in some pomegranate seeds -- a symbol of renewal -- for good measure.

I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. Especially this year, though it's always been my favorite holiday.

I have a good, easy life of which I am endlessly cognizant, grateful.

For which I am eternally thankful.

Well, except for the sagging knees.

- gae

p.s. A very happy Thanksgiving to all my readers. I am so appreciative that you stop by here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Submersion and reconstitution

me, emerging from the water on
November 11
a whopping 39 degrees. . .
Some days I could be convinced to move to warmer climate.

Write on the beach,

bask in the sun,

swim in the open water in nothing but a bathing suit and goggles.

New York, post-hurricane, is hell right now. People suffering. Moreso, on this gray, gloomy day.

A dead tree, toppled by Sandy, is blocking my view of the street.

I'll get back, but the hurricane knocked me off my path.

My revisions are due soon on the book still (temporarily) known as Frankie Sky. College apps are due for my oldest son. . . the man who is taller than I am, who sleeps in the other room.

How did he get big like that, my son?

How did his childhood speed through here?

I tried to stay alert, and present and focused, to soak it all in, to take my time and enjoy it and make it all last. But, alas, I find myself awakened like some aging Sleeping Beauty, to it disappearing beyond reach, the tail end fading off in the rear view mirror.

I know there is life after the kids leave home -- after 50 -- but, still, I don't know how I got here, on the verge.

Waving goodbye to a whole part of my life that was just stretched out before me.

How often in this blog do I long (whine? God, let me not whine) for the days and weeks back, to slow time down. To stop it from blurring by so fast.

How often do I douse myself in water, hoping the submersion will preserve me, reconstitute the days and years that have simply flown by. Or, at least my ability to ground myself, and the will to accept they are gone.

a few short years ago. . .

- gae

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Honor, Remembrance, and How Time Flies. . .

(me, left on the windowsill, my sister, right)
The day my dad returned from
Viet Nam (Mash Unit Chu Lai, '66 -'67)
Yesterday --

two weeks after Hurricane Sandy raged through here flooding, destroying, changing the landscape of New York/New Jersey/Connecticut forever

(not to mention knocking out our power for 11 cold and difficult days)

-- I spent a "normal" day in the city with my parents, my sister and her girlfriend (who is like a sister to me now).

It was an invigorating, special, throwback day to my childhood/teens/twenties.

Two plays (one really stellar one)and a delicious dinner, all the treat of my parents.

The occasion, my sister's 50th birthday.

The last time she was taller than I am . . .

I can read that over and over again, but still, it remains unfathomable.

My sister is fifty, and soon, I will follow.

. . . and, us, horsing around recently
in my father's gardens. . .

Beyond that, my older son is 17, and next year at this time, he will be long gone to college.

My dad with me at my birthday, last July.
My father, ever strong and youthful, turns 75 this March.

To see him, you would not believe it.

But there it is. 75.

It is Veteran's day, a day that always makes me want to honor, yes, all veterans, but especially my dad. But, for a writer, I am, once again, at a loss for truly meaningful words.

Nothing I write here will ever come close to explaining the strong but gentle, capable, loving, generous man he is.


There is no father who ever loved his daughters more, protected them better, was more loyal and true to his family.

We are so lucky that he returned from a year of hell in a MASH unit in Viet Nam to raise us.

He is anti-war.

He is a Veteran for Peace,

and yet it's hard to imagine him without that year that so much changed and shaped him.

Time flies.

Damn, how it flies.

I honor this man in his uniform,
in his hospital scrubs,
in his jumpsuits,
and leather pants,
in his (leather) speedo bathingsuit who taught me how to dive and swim.

This man who came to every single recital, every competition, every play, every honor and celebration that mattered in my life.

This man who stood over the dining room table admiring, as my sister and I made endless arts and crafts.

This man, who put other people's children through college when they could not.

This man who fixed badly crushed and broken bones with hands gentle enough to heal flowers, with the patience and skill that embodied Premum Non Nocere,

this man who has always known there is No Free Lunch, yet always offers one.

This man that can find my sister and me in a crowd,

in a dark room,

in a snowstorm,

in a hurricane,

in distress.

This man, who always kept us safe and warm,

and still does.

My dad is truly the closest person I've ever met to invincible.

And so he will always remain.

- gae

p.s. thank you to all the Veterans who have so bravely served our country. May there be no more wars. . . and only peace and love.