Category Archives: Memoir

the color of lightning

This morning is wet, the rain falling in buckets. The sky is a bright gray, the color of lightning.

A pair of postal workers discusses politics over breakfast. A toddler waves to the nearby sparrows having a bagel feast. A man behind me scans his phone. It’s me and my newspaper, a Brazilian Dark Roast and a corn muffin this morning at Fairway.

On page 3 there’s a story about a tree. The image shows its stark naked skeleton, crooked branches brittle reaching skyward in pain. The color of its bark silvery black. The caption shares details about its death, this 600-year old iconic pillar from Bernards Township in NJ.

It reminds me of the Grinch tree that used to stand in front of my childhood house in Bensonhurst. It’s drooping branches hanging lifeless, its limbs in disrepair. Its roots tangled amid the underground wires and cables emitting who knows what kind of energy into the earth. An eyesore dying from the inside out.

The rain stops. People dash outside scurrying to their cars and the ferry, eager to make it to their next destination.

No one carries an umbrella.


One lifetime in a day

One day can feel like a lifetime if you let it.

That’s how it was today.

I was up at the crack of dawn to make sure I made it to my appointment on time. I was even early, and for a split second, I thought I was too early, early enough to be the first. But no, the waiting room was packed.

The good news is that there was good news. The second mammography screening showed nothing but fatty tissue. As in nada, negative: when relief is spelled with an 8-letter word.

Chester met up with me afterward, we took the train to Soho for breakfast.

Bleecker street was alive and kicking. We stopped into LPQ for coffee and a croissant and on our way to his salon, we passed the KITH store on Broadway and Bleecker with a line around the corner, a posse of urban skateboarders and street artists waiting for the doors to open.

New York City is proof that life is one continuous breath.

Back home, I took a nap and then worked on one of my ghostwriting projects before getting ready for girls’ night out.

We bought tickets for World Masquerades Presents at Hudson Terrace and found ourselves in a penthouse lounge overlooking the Intrepid Museum.

 

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View from Hudson Terrace, @prez13

 

Guests were dressed in black tie and masks. I forgot mine at home and improvised with a lace hair tie purchased at Duane Reade. Oh, and the red-nose they sell to raise funds against child poverty.

Jack and Ginger, my drink of choice, served in an old-fashioned lowball glass. Lots of ice. For $17 each. This is one of the reasons I prefer entertaining friends at home. For $17 you can get a magnum of whiskey; enough for a dinner crowd.

Ah, dinner, if only I had eaten before going out the day might not have felt so long.


That Six-Letter Word

Fact: Women in the U.S. have a 1 in 8 (or about 12%) lifetime risk of getting breast cancer. This means that for every 8 women in the U.S. who live to be age 85, 1 will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.

Early detection is the first step in prevention and treatment. And that is why the waiting room at NYU Langone Medical is full at 9AM on a Tuesday. It is my annual diagnostic mammogram screening, and I pray that the radiology report comes back clean.

I know a handful of women in my life who have had breast cancer and survived. One had a double mastectomy before she turned 30; the second, a lumpectomy in her 40s; and the third, a scare in her 50s.

Cancer is the six-letter word no one wants to hear from their doctor, the word no one likes to say out loud. Because like those furry creatures from Gremlins, the word multiplies the minute it’s enunciated. No one speaks about cancer until they do. It’s still taboo until it happens to someone you love, someone they love, someone they know, someone they knew.

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Flower bud @juchjn – Pixaby 2017

My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer in March 1999. Chemo. Radiation. All those toxic chemicals killing the bad cells and the good cells, weakening her immune system, making it extremely difficult for a frail 71-year old woman to prepare for battle. We lost her the following January.

Seventeen years later, I lose count thinking of friends and family who have been diagnosed. For every one person who survives, there is one who does not.

I pray for them all.

Benefits of a Mammogram Screening


Marketing, Monday

Mondays, even when you’re working for yourself can be a challenge. Even with a beautiful spring day as part of the canvas.

I wake early to tackle the garden before the day; although not early enough to make it to yoga. I register for Creative Mornings‘ Friday session and hop on the train to Grand Army Plaza.

SCORE.NYC event on social media is in-progress at the Dweck Center. The last time I was here was for a screening of “Pandora’s Box,” a silent movie starring Louise “Lulu” Brooks.

The first speaker from TheStylistaGroup, walks us through Facebook Ads, how to customize audiences, and how to use targeted lists for email campaigns. The second speaker talks about top ranking SEO factors for Google: links, content, and RankBrain. They both stress that social media and SEO are long-term strategies, ones that require an investment of time and money. There is no quick fix, marketing of any kind requires work.


First Bloom

The garden is coming to life one bloom at a time. Tulips bashfully hide behind the bamboo. A wee daffodil peeks out from a bush. The Japanese maple, the one I thought was on its last limb, sprouts lush burgundy leaves. The creeping clematis looks healthy as it winds itself around the rusted iron fence. The butterfly bush is greening and the oregano flowers flourishing.

Now if I could only figure out how to revitalize the sea grass.

Any advice from arborists or gardeners welcome.


Smiles & Springtime

I have an early morning meeting in lower Manhattan. I exit the subway to a city not quite awake.

My path takes me around the Oculus and 9/11 Memorial Pools. I pause to touch one of the engraved names, make a silent prayer in a morning meditation.

 

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World Financial District & 9/11 Memorial Pools, NYC @Prez13

 

Spring is in the air. Daffodil blooms where you least expect them. Skies are blue, the clouds an art form.

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Jersey City Skyline, view from 225 Liberty Street @prez13

 

I catch a whiff of rain.

The city is alive with new energy. And people are smiling, too. That’s always a good sign.


Gogel-Mogel: raw eggs and sugar

I wake with the sun and start a new day. Double fisting with a berry smoothie and a mug of hot coffee, filled with glee at working outside again.

It’s Easter week and like every lead up to a holiday, I find myself reminiscing about my family. Today I think of Nonna Rosa, my Sicilian grandmother, my mom’s mom.  I have a craving for raw egg and sugar — a treat she would feed me when I was a young child.

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The adult in me questions the raw egg. Is it even safe to eat?

I Google the combination and learn a thing or two. Like its name: Gogel-Mogel, it makes me smile, although there aren’t enough vowels to make that remotely Italian. And of course, it’s not. It’s Yiddish, and its origin is a Central and Eastern European dessert made from raw egg, sugar, and flavoring (honey, vanilla, rum). Nonna would add espresso to mine.

I learn that the Gogel-Mogel is often prepared as a transition food for babies moving from a cereal diet to one that includes eggs and other soft foods. It has also been used as a home remedy for treating colds or the flu, particularly chest colds and laryngitis.

I wish I knew this last week.