As I Am

New City, New York

Here I am. In all my glory. Happy on the outside. Afraid of everything on the inside.

Dobbs Ferry, New York

Here’s 21 year old me looking much more convincing,holding my cat Curtie. Still afraid of Everything.

Dobbs Ferry train station, New York

Here’s me in my 30’s. Shielded by the sun but still afraid. Of success mostly.

Kensington Brooklyn, New York

Here’s 2021 me, 45. No armor, afraid of significantly much less.

Let’s call this a win.

Virtual Traveling in Quarantine

One of the things I miss the most right now is traveling. I’m restless and very curious so it’s vital to my sense of fulfillment. I can’t do it often for financial reasons but I make it a point to go to another country whenever I can.

Since I can’t go anywhere right now, I’ve come to rely on videos. You tube is great for this. I love to see a video where someone just holds a camera or phone and takes a walk. It’s fantastic!

I love to hear the sounds of a place, see the different types of plant life, how the sun shines or doesn’t, hear birds or water. Also enjoy seeing signage announcing local fairs or events.

I’ve found a couple such videos that I will introduce and link to as well as a couple of my own less professional ones. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Bergen, Norway

I took this one. It’s a short walk to the center of the city where that day just happened to be a tech rehearsal for an annual music festival! The artist is Eiver, she’s singing with someone who I can’t seem to find online. They’re singing a traditional song from Viking times! Check it out!

Here’s another shorter one a little further toward the water. You can still hear Eiver. God there’s so many people! Remember people?

Longyearbyen, Svalbard – The Worlds Most Northern Inhabited Town.

Photo taken by Cecilia Blohmdal

This one comes from Cecilia Blohmdal’s vlog. I highly recommend subscribing to her channel as she posts videos of her daily life living and working in Longyearbyen. It’s so peaceful, sweeping glacial landscapes, polar bears and wild reindeer. Imagine how crisp and clean the air must be? I love the smell of cold. Really makes me reconsider my way of life. A highlight of quarantine.

https://youtu.be/fMqm-bCO4Ec

Edinburgh, Scotland

Link is below after text

Next we go for a walk in Edinburgh. I recommend this channel as well. Plenty of walks to go on. I had so much fun deciding what pub I would go to if I were there! Pubs! Remember those?

https://youtu.be/yAwtLDsNGCY

Monaco, Monte-Carlo

Take a 2minute bus ride to the center of Monaco. They were getting ready for the formula 1 races, so you can see the track being built. I took this video to to look like what I would choose to look at, hence the lingering footage of the incredibly elegant movie poster when the bus stops and the impeccably dressed woman in the yellow top and scarf at the end. Fanciest public transportation I’ve ever experienced.

Let me know if you have any suggestions as to where I should “visit” next!

Cat Zoom Call 4, Dating App

Sammy

Waiting for Belle to join….

Belle

Hey. I’m being scratched.

Sammy

I prefer TO scratch. Give me one second on this cactus…..

Belle

No problem! I’ll have him stop so we can talk in private. Not that he’d understand but I’m almost over this.

Sammy

Okay great. I really need your opinion on something and Harry heard a noise so he’s hiding under the covers. I can’t figure out how to roll my eyes.

Belle

Just try to blink quickly but don’t shut your eyes all the way. Breath out quickly too.

Sammy

Like this?

Belle

Sure.

Sammy

Anyhoo, I joined a dating app. It’s called Twitter. Lots of cats from all over the world. I met a male, his name is Cole….

Belle

That’s hot….

Sammy

Right!? Anyway, we started talking, he’s interesting, has two humans like me but the male is something called “British”. He sent me a bunch of pics now I feel like I need to send him at least one but I hate all of them! I mean, penguin much!? I’m gonna take a new one but like, what pose? I figured I’d ask you cause you’re super judgmental….

Belle

Sammy

Honest?

Belle

Well, “honestly”, I’m a little annoyed but I do have some ideas I just won’t be looking at you for a minute.

Sammy

Fair enough…

Belle

Okay, first, is this just a casual thing? Short term? Second, what does he look like and is he neutered? I’ve heard the Brit’s sometimes aren’t, have no idea where. Have you heard his voice?

Sammy

Oh wow… ummm…. I guess casual, yes. Neither of us go outside anymore so It would have to be. Neutered? I haven’t asked but something tells me no. He looks like he has a deep voice.

Belle

Okay, okay… well what exactly does he look like? Have you seen him next to anything like a human chair or a typical scratching post?

Sammy

Hmm… let me think about that. He’s mostly on top of things like tables or computers…. long hair, black, yellow eyes…. actually, I noticed in one pic, he has some specks of white around his chest.

Belle

Ohhhh… an older male… experienced.

Sammy

I’d put him around 12?

Belle

12 year olds know what they want. I suggest rolled over, on your side, looking back. Maybe even feet stretched out?

Sammy

Like this?

Belle

That’s the one, and don’t use that stupid emoji with the yellow, hearts for eyes, cat face! Only cute to humans. Let me know what he says!

Sammy

Will do!

Belle left the conversation

Sammy

😻😻😻😻😻😻😻😻😻😻

Podcast Recomendation

This is a podcast discussing mental health issues from the point of view of those labeled and subsequently stigmatized from as early as five years old.

Both hosts are young moms and want to do better by their children. I should clarify, I say “young” but that’s relative isn’t it? I mean they are no older than me. 45. They might very well be emotionally and spiritually older though!

Take a listen. I did and I found I needed to focus because so much of what these women were saying rang true for me. In fact, it was so true that my old defenses appeared, jumped in front of me like a soldier holding an AK47.

I’m glad to know this podcast. It makes me question myself and makes me feel supported at the same time!

Here’s a link http://thiscouldgetdark.com

If I Told You a Secret…..

If I Told You a Secret…..

If I told you a secret, would you promise to keep it? She asked. She was drunk. Derrick answered yes, unfortunately. She’d passed out before telling him. She didn’t know it but she had just taken a knife to their previously blissful relationship. Why would she ask that!? He was a self professed “obsessive mother fucker” and she knew that. But did she really though? What was the secret!? Had she cheated? Was she born with two sets of genitalia? He was laying awake in their bed staring intermittently at her. Enough! Get up, go for a run, and stop this nonsense!

Maya woke up with a massive hangover. She lay in bed with her hand over her eyes. The sunlight was painful. She was angry. The curtains had been opened on purpose. Derrick must be angry with her. Real fucking passive aggressive! They’d had a fight the night before and she’d stormed out to her friends bar. She’d been known to drunk dial, drunk post on Facebook, Twitter and worst of all Reddit. She couldn’t remember much after taking shots at the bar. She reluctantly reached for her phone. She felt a violent wave of nausea when she saw the screen. Oh no! She dropped the phone and stumbled toward the bathroom.

It could be nothing. But then why would it come up drunk! I bet she was holding that in for months! She has something, some confession, some horrible horrible truth… STOP! Just run. Breath. Focus.

He focused on the track. On the fog raising from the trees surrounding it. Classic Derrick, on this occasion, NOT putting his earbuds in. If I told you a secret, would you promise to keep it? Why would she do this!?

The last call she’d made was to Derrick. At 4am. She was horrified to see that the call lasted three minutes. She put the phone face down on the nightstand. Soooo many embarrassing things I could say in three minutes! There’s a lot she hadn’t told him.

He sat at the kitchen table going through everything he could remember about the fight they’d had. He’d gotten home from work, Friday’s were usually pretty chill but Maria had quit a few days before so his work load had doubled. He worked for a lawyer preparing wills for artists. It was mind numbing and stressful at the same time. You CANNOT make a mistake! When he got home he told Maya all about it, or tried to. She rolled her eyes and told him to “get over himself”. He was shocked! She’d never said anything like that, in fact, they’d never even had a fight! He should’ve just gone to a meeting.

Maya had managed to hoist her small frame out of bed and stumble back into the bathroom. She’d been dreaming about drinking every kind of fruit juice imaginable. She turned the faucet on and drank right from the faucet. She could’ve made it to the kitchen but she wasn’t ready to see Derrick. She was way too hungover to deal with the anger she would feel if he even thought about judging her. She’d be able to tell. Derrick was honest, she loved that about him but in situations like these, she hated it.

Derrick, you’re obsessing. Just talk to her.

Maya, get in the shower. You’ll feel better.

You can’t control the reactions of other people, only your own.

Maybe it’s not that bad. Maybe it was a pocket dial?

Make her a smoothie! It will help with her hangover.

A smoothie would be great about now.

But then I’d be enabling. No Derrick! No judgment! Not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic!

This is probably insensitive. He’s a recovering alcoholic.

Remember you love her. You love her.

Do I love him enough to change for him?

Maya turned the water on in the shower. She started brushing her teeth. She pushed all thoughts aside. There was no use making any kind of decision in her currant state. She needed to feel clean.

Derrick heard the shower running. She’d be in the kitchen soon. Maybe 30 minutes. She always had to be “put together” first thing before anything. He wondered if that meant he didn’t have her trust. She reluctantly shared a bed with him. Her parents didn’t share a bed either so he didn’t put much thought into it, until now. The secret!

Maya felt a little better. She wrapped a towel around her chest staring at the fogged mirror. She didn’t really want to see herself but she had to start the ritual of masking. Especially today. She reached a hand up and swiped the condensation away. As she studied her face, dark circles under her eyes, she thought how fitting it was. If she’d had a mugshot, this is what it would look like. The kind you’d have with a DUI. Shameful. She reached for a cotton pad intending to douse it with witch hazel. She stopped suddenly. You can’t keep hiding from your live in boyfriend. She reminded herself how different he was from any other man she’d ever known. If you can’t trust yourself at least try to trust him. She heard the blender.

Derrick was feeding pineapple into the blender. Pineapple is great for a hangover. He stopped himself. Don’t think about hangovers or drinking! Just fucking stop it! This was a slippery slope and he could feel himself spiraling. Suddenly, he felt Maya’s arms around his stomach. A life raft! He took a deep breath in through the nose. He loved the smell of her conditioner.

Derrick turned around and wrapped an arm around her back and one around her shoulders. She loved when he did this. She’d never felt safer. She saw the smoothie in the blender and fell a little more in love with him.

He felt her pull away slightly. He kissed her head and let go.

She felt naked. Vulnerable. She could’ve at least put on eyeliner. He probably thought…

“Morning beautiful…”

He loved her eyes when she smiled.

She saw herself through his eyes. She decided she wouldn’t put on makeup today. Maybe in a few hours.

Derrick could see her smiling eyes starting to turn inward. He poured her a glass of his tropical fruit concoction.

“Pineapple….”

She didn’t say anything. He’d always equated pineapple with drinking and it wasn’t healthy for him to think about that. He’d said it was fine if she drank but she could see this wasn’t true. She took a sip.

“I’m sorry….”

He resisted the urge to start listing all the things that had gone through his mind from the time she called him to just before coming into the kitchen. Not now, be cool.

“For what?” He smiled.

He’s giving you a pass. She wouldn’t give herself one on his behalf. She took another sip of the smoothie, the dull pain in her head slowly retreating. She wouldn’t kiss him. Maya dropped her towel.

They’d both forget about the past 18 hours, for now.

The importance of being heard

The night before kindergarten. Special night, went to bed with toy lip gloss, painted nails and cat provided by mom.

When I was five, in kindergarten, there was another Cindy. To tell us apart, the teacher decreed that I be called by my full name, Cynthia, which I was not accustomed to. Didn’t sound like me. Especially because my twin brother was Bobby. Robert to be fair, but Bobby to us. Just like Cindy and Bobby on the Brady Bunch, a show I loved at the time. This happened on the first day.

Notice the placque. It says “ Cindy”. And it’s carved into a cat form, so it’s a big deal.

I was LIVID! I can’t even recall what this little girl looked like because I hated her so much for this. I remember it as hate, but now I see that it was anger directed at her being named Cindy not Cynthia like me because I had planned on introducing myself with my brother as Cindy and Bobby like the Brady’s. From the Brady Bunch. I had carefully planned this for a while, felt comforted by it because we had just moved to Rockland county, way across the Hudson River, and I hadn’t gone to pre school with these kids. We were a mystery only made cooler for the fact that we had the same names as celebrities.

I remember going up to my teacher and asking why that girl could be Cindy and not Cynthia. Her response was “Her full name is Cindy”. Nothing I could do, so I went about my business, coloring, playing house (reminiscent of an episode of Mad Men, I always wanted the brief case, never got it, don’t get me started on that) and doing crafts for which I could rarely complete because I was left handed and there was only one pair of left handed scissors (probably hoarded by Cindy).

A year went by. Same kids in the same class including faceless Cindy. We learned how to read and write. Eventually, I could read the special accomplishments board. One day, my nemesis had done a particularly good job at something and was up on the board as “Cyndi”. With a Y! I got so angry! I knew how to write my full name even in kindergarten! It didn’t add up. Why use a “Y” if her full name wasn’t Cynthia like mine?

I felt robbed, disrespected, and still couldn’t get my hands on that one pair of left handed scissors! I asked my teacher if I could now be called Cindy, but no. The precedent was set. In order to deal with this, I decided that in play, even out on an errand, my brother and I would be called Susan and Brian.

Me explaining Annie to my twin brother Bobby. He wasn’t receptive.

Bobby didn’t like this, but I not so secretly hated him anyway for being called by a name he recognized, and insisted, lest he have no late night (6 or 7pm) playmate, ever again, he reluctantly agreed and I introduced us as Susan and Brian to any stranger I came across. In the grocery store at the checkout line, at the bank, anywhere. Eventually, “Cyndy” disappeared from my memory. Don’t know if she moved, died, honestly don’t care.

In third grade, I was given the okay to be called by my name, Cindy. A little late to be honest, I was pretty into Susan and Brian and Bobby had grown used to it. The point is, I’d like to think I found a voice early on.

Whether it was listened to or not, I still had it and at least my brother heard it. Reluctantly but he did. So did the strangers I introduced us to. That was my cause, or distraction, for three years.

We all need to be heard, to be validated. And we all remember the first time. I’d love to know yours, better yet, post.

How to Create a Warm and Inviting Living Space on a Budget

We live busy cluttered lives in a good year. This past year, when so many of us were stuck at home, never was it more necessary to have a safe haven. A place to feel warm and free to breath without obstruction and fear.

I’m no professional decorator but I know for a fact that creating a pleasant atmosphere wherever you are (this is why office workers decorate their cubicles) make you happier, more at ease and ultimately healthier.

I live in a small NYC apartment and don’t have a ton of money, so I’ve discovered tableaus. Small moments around the room that catch your eye. They take a boring room and add color, interest and conversation.

Think of the New York City skyline. Famously thought to be stunning.

Flying into NYC, isn’t it amazing when the pilot takes you close to the buildings so you can see it as if you’re a bird gliding through the skyscrapers? There’s a reason why this skyline is so visually pleasing. It’s layered, has peaks and valleys much like a view of a mountain range. There’s always something to look at.

This is an antique wooden secretary In my small living room. It’s the first thing I see when I step out of my bedroom and it makes me happy every time. Even when it’s not lit up.

I added the card for Christmas.

Notice the levels. I used books as a riser for an antique tea cup I normally put an led tea light in, but, here, for the holidays I put a couple small ornaments. Behind it is a plate from the same incomplete set of China. Don’t sleep on garage sales, stoop sales and thrift stores when looking for home decor. You can easily find small things like this that can become a center piece. Different sized candles, a snow globe and a bracelet add interest in the cubbies and surfaces. That’s a mason jar on the right that I stuffed some twinkle lights into, the rest of the string frame the tableau. The mirror, I got at a craft store with a plain unfinished wooden frame. I decoupaged some Indian sheets of paper I found in the scraps bin of a decorative paper store.

This is on another wall in the living room. It’s a cheap three shelf bookcase. I used a table runner on top for color and to soften the wood, the lamp I’ve had for over ten years and now has a smart bulb. I tried many colors but settled on this warm golden yellow. A couple candles add those layers I talked about and the moment is finished off with a set of yin and yang stress balls.

This is my kitchen. It’s not exactly my aesthetic, dark brown cabinets, black stove, I like light colors. This is why the kitchen table is decked out so that’s where my eye is drawn.

Starting from the bottom right, I used a colorful trivet as a base for that sparkly gold Pilar candle I light twice a year. I made a calendar on vista print with pictures from my trip to Scandinavia (always a great conversation) and propped it up on a table top easel. Every month I flip the page. In front of that is an image of a tarot card from an old magazine pasted to a piece of cardboard. The vase is filled with all my pens and pencils. On the wall, a framed New Yorker magazine cover and a holiday fake deer head I keep up year round (got that at pier one imports).

I moved the kitchen table to the living room.

Here you can see the secretary, the bookcase and table set for Christmas dinner. Moving the table in here was the most wonderful thing especially since we haven’t been able to dine in for so long. It also made me love my apartment more knowing I can transform it into something completely different at any time.

Here’s my living room not decorated for the holidays and before the smart bulb.

Here’s another iteration of my living room. Believe it or not, the tree in the left corner is a cat tree! It’s from Chewy and looks like a potted plant. Not crazy expensive either. This is what it looks like when people come over which can hopefully happen again very soon!

What are some interesting things you do with your home decor? Let me know in the comments!

Remember the light

Sarah was flying way above the stratosphere. Her long brown hair flapping in the wind like a cape around her head. She was moving fast but the air felt like a gentle breeze. She felt as though she were wrapped in a soft blanket that smelled of cinnamon and cloves. Like Christmas in Colorado. She closed her eyes hoping to savor this feeling. She’d remember it always. She’d use it to feel safe. This feeling would stay with her until she she didn’t need it anymore. She slowly opened her eyes.

Darkness. She thought maybe she hadn’t actually opened her eyes, so she tried again. This time she squeezed them shut. She kept them closed for a moment then opened them, slowly. Darkness! I’m Blind! Panic made its way up from her stomach to her chest. Or was it dread? Her chest heaved. Oh my God!! She sat up. This is a dream, has be a dream, I’ll wake up. I’ll wake up, in my bed and be grateful. For everything! One Two Three Four Five Six….

She waited. And waited. And waited. Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One. Come on bitch! Wake the fuck up!

She realized she had been sitting in an awkward position, her spine cemented in a rigid straight line. Her legs had gone numb. Or were they! Oh shit! Just touch them, they’re right in front of you, if they’re there. NO! Can’t freak out about something that hasn’t happened yet. Just touch them. She raised a hand and held it over where her upper thigh should be. She hesitated. Just fucking do it! She brought her hand down and felt pressure on her thigh. Thank God! She touched her other thigh, pressure. She lifted her legs one after the other by the back of the knees. They just needed a bit of circulation.

She made a point to breath deeply. In and out. In and out.

Okay…. legs, check, arms, check, hands, check, eye sight….

She thought maybe it’s just that the lights were out. Those black out shades really work! She’d simply get up and turn on the lights.

She crossed her legs and started the precarious task of standing up. It took a minute but she was now standing. Okay, turn on the light. She suddenly realized she couldn’t find her normally impeccable sense of direction. She held both arms out in front of her and took a step forward. Think Sarah, think! I come into the bedroom and the first thing I do is turn on the light. What hand do I use? She pictured herself standing in the hallway outside her bedroom door. She turned the knob and opened the door. It opened inward which is something she’d always hated. It left no room for the blue velvet armchair she’d dreamt about reading in. Turn on the light. She reached across her body to the left with her right hand and flipped the switch.

Now, just reverse, take a step. She started moving slowly toward the light switch.

It was taking longer than it should. She stopped and pictured her bedroom. She saw her full sized bed in the middle, taking up the majority of space, she smiled when she saw her black and white cat curled up in a tight little ball. She saw her 40” flat screen TV on the opposite wall then the slightly opened door, the light switch to its right.

She moved forward again. Nothing. She had a sickening thought. Maybe she wasn’t in her bedroom. Maybe she wasn’t even in her apartment! She could feel her eyes opening wide but the pitch black darkness only grew more dense.

She turned her head hoping to hear something, anything, but nothing. Oh my God am I deaf too!? She opened her mouth to scream for her roommate but her voice never made it past her windpipe. Or did it?

Kevin sat at his desk, scrolling through Facebook on his new iPhone 12. He hated all political posts but couldn’t help reading them. This was a light day. Only two or three. He jumped a little when he heard movement coming from the hallway outside his tiny office. Hardly anyone ever came down there. He listened for a while but heard only the buzz of the fluorescent lights above his desk and the ticking of his watch. “Oh shit. I’m hearing things.” He had heard of this happening. Spend all your time alone and you go a little nuts. He shook it off and went back to his phone but this time typed in – Long term affects of being alone.

Sarah had been standing in the darkness, she didn’t know how long. She felt that time wasn’t moving. There still hadn’t been any noises, she was too afraid to try finding the light switch again, so she waited. As she stood, she had a thought. I must’ve been kidnapped! But by whom?

She searched her mind for clues. She couldn’t remember the last thing she saw or felt. Nothing. She ran through what she knew to be fact. My name is Sarah Jackson. I live in a two bedroom apartment in Queens. I have a cat named Mimi. Mimi! She saw a flash of her former life. The cat looking up at her, raising her paw like she did when she was hungry. Oh my God! I forgot to feed her!

In a moment of desperation, she began to move her arms, there must be something she can touch, a wall, a door, anything but there was nothing. There didn’t even seem to be air around her. She knew she was somewhere. She curled her toes expecting to feel a floor, she’d been standing on something hadn’t she? She started to panic again finding it hard to breath but why? Was there even air? Fuck this! She bent down on her knees and felt for a floor and then suddenly, a memory.

She was in her bathtub. She saw her hand come out of the water and grip the side of the tub. She heard a faint knocking on the door. It took all her strength to turn her head toward the sound. A tear ran down her face when she realized she wasn’t going to be able to get up. Then, she took a painful labored breath in and blacked out.

Kevin was busy scrolling through information on his phone when his alarm went off. Thank fucking God! He checked his watch and sure enough it was time to go home. He slipped his phone into his pocket and stood up. When he got to the entrance of the hallway, he realized he didn’t know which way to go. “What the fuck?”He looked down the hallway to the left. Same as always, empty, stark white walls, the ceiling lined with those awful fluorescent lights. He looked to the right, the same. That’s strange. That’s where the door to the staircase was. But it wasn’t. How the fuck am I supposed to get home!?

He heard something like a cart rolling toward him from the opposite direction. He took a step back and looked slowly toward the sound but there was nothing! The phantom cart rolled right past him, through him? Alright man, calm down. It’s just your imagination. You work in a morgue, you think it’s haunted but it’s NOT! He suddenly got very angry with his ex girlfriend. Every time she heard a noise she’d swear it was a “spirit” that had followed him home. He brushed it off but there was always a little part of him that believed her. God damn it Mona!! He took out his phone and googled “Can a ghost follow you home from a morgue.”

Sarah was sitting now. Legs crossed, eyes closed? She didn’t know anymore. She was trying to breath in and out. Counting, a trick she’d come up with to help her relax when she felt a panic attack coming on. One, two, three, four, five, six. She thought about Mimi. Hopefully her roommate Jen, decided to all of a sudden give a shit about their cat and fed her. Yeah right! She didn’t care! Wait! Jen’s a good roommate! Sarah remembered something. She and Jen outside a pet store window. Jen, wearing that adorable blue and grey knit hat, kneeling down making kissing noises at a tiny grey and white kitten. It had reached up and put a paw on the window. Just like Mimi! Mimi. She remembered something else.

Kevin was now convinced he was in fact being tormented by a spirit. He couldn’t figure out how. I work in records! I’ve never even seen a dead body! He gasped. That wasn’t true. He remembered walking down the aisle in a church. He was trembling. He looked up at his father who held his hand, tight. Whatever they were getting closer to, it was terrible and he desperately wanted to run the other way. That’s right! My brother, Johnny! He had died. Kevin didn’t know how old he was at the time. Very young. Young enough to have forgotten all about this. He closed his eyes and remembered his father falling to his knees when they reached the alter. It was an open casket. I refused to look! He remembered feeling like the people in the church were angry at him. Suddenly, Kevin had tears streaming down his face.

Sarah was still sitting cross legged, thinking about Mimi. Jen never knew her. Her precious kitty had died back home in Colorado. She was devastated. That’s why they were looking for a cat. Jen thought getting a kitten and calling it Mimi 2, or, Madam Mimi the second, as she would say, like she was announcing a Medieval member of high society at a ball. Sarah laughed out loud. You funny bitch! Jen seemed like a memory now. Someone she’d known in a previous life. Known? It was more. She had one final flash, laying in bed looking at Jen, her beautiful smiling face illuminated by early morning sunshine. The light grew brighter and brighter along with it a sound like electricity. Sarah shut her eyes and covered her ears, she knew it would be unbearable in a second. Now, silence. And darkness. Just as she was about to lay down, she heard something. Purring!

Kevin was back at his desk, his head in his hands. Thank God no one comes down here. I must look fucking ridiculous, crying like a little bitch! He picked his head up. He looked at his watch, it’s face flickering in and out of clear vision. He rubbed his eyes. The nagging sound from the fluorescent lights was becoming to much to bear. He got up and flicked the light switch. “Fuck!!” He remembered that switch had been for something else. The lights were turned on and off by a technician. Rich! That fat piece of shit! He stomped down the hallway to the staircase. He stopped. The staircase! It’s here!

Sarah was overcome with happiness as she saw a pair of round eyes with light reflected in them. Mimi! She could hear the pitter patter of feet as the cat ran to her like she always did when she got home. She scratched her little head and bent down to kiss her. That’s when she realized it. There’s light! Sarah looked ahead of her and saw rays of light coming through what looked like a cracked wall.

Kevin stood at the door for a moment. He didn’t trust it. Did he really want to go home? There’s nothing there except bills. Mona had been gone for a couple months, she left a plant but It had died. You know what? First thing I’m gonna do is throw that thing out! He gripped the door knob to open it but it was stuck! He tried again, it wouldn’t budge. The door could be locked automatically if there were some kind of security breach. Of course! Rich! He started banging furiously on the door. “Rich! You fat fuck! Open the FUCKING door!!”

Sarah got up. She moved slowly toward the rays of light. She could feel warmth. She heard a sound getting louder as she moved closer and closer.

Kevin was now kicking the door. Those damned fluorescent lights! The sound had changed. It was a rhythmic beeping. He recognized it. He saw himself as a teenager looking at a hospital bed. A priest standing over it, praying. Last rights. A nurse reached over to a machine. He recognized it as a respirator. Kevin’s chest heaved as he saw his father laying there motionless with tubes coming out of everywhere.

Sarah held her hand in the warm soothing light. Whatever was blocking it fell away. She was now bathed in glorious illumination.

Kevin opened his eyes gasping for air. He saw a fluorescent light flickering above him. He saw the outline of scrambling human forms dressed in full body white suits. Something was being pulled out of him. The humanoids hovered over him as he struggled to breathe. He could see that they were cheering.

Sarah was flying, way above the stratosphere. She could smell cinnamon and cloves. She looked down and saw her lifeless body laying in a hospital bed. A nurse by her side, weeping. She felt sorry for the nurse but it was okay, she didn’t need that body anymore. She looked further and saw Jen slumped over on their living room floor, sobbing, holding a grey and white kitten. Sarah blew a kiss. Jen took a deep breath and looked up. Sarah knew she didn’t see her but she felt her. She could feel something so inviting above her. She knew what she had to do. She flipped over in the air, and drifted upward toward the light…

2020, You Bitch!

This year was shit. We can all agree across the globe about that. A virus spread like wildfire. Remember early 2020? Most people thought corona virus wasn’t really a thing or argued that the seasonal flu was worse. Even with mounting evidence to the contrary, there were still many people who said things like “it’s no different than SARS or Zika.”

Then we saw refrigerated trucks used to store dead bodies because morgues were at capacity. Massive ditches in NYC were built to throw dead bodies into with authorities saying “we just need a place to store these bodies until we can provide proper burial.” BULLSHIT! Those bodies were most likely prisoners or inmates at city jails who died and other than their families, no one cared about them.

By springtime, we couldn’t deny the enormity of this virus. Well, some could. Some people have a great capacity for denial. It’s a common defense mechanism.

The cracks in every system showed, racism reared its ugly head (it was always there but our president made it okay to come into the light, even recruited some on the fence just like Hitler) Those of us who were previously blind saw it with our own eyes, the vicious murder of George Floyd, how he was pulled over, he didn’t know why but yet pleaded with the police officers not to hurt him. How he begged for his mother when the life was being ruthlessly snuffed out of him.

They didn’t care. To them, he was a criminal who they were charged with taking down.

This would have started an uprise in any year to a degree, but because it happened when it did, more people were home, out of work with their eyes wide open and their tolerance for injustice at an all time low.

Now, there was the Corona virus and the virus that was never really addressed, systemic racism.

The media may treat this like yesterday’s news but sadly, we’re not much better as a society now than we were then despite growing unrest. This particular virus has no vaccine yet.

Over the summer there were protests that were thwarted by white supremacy groups to make them look like terrorist attacks to prove that black people are violent and unreasonable. It worked.

There have been multiple distractions, movie premieres, ect., to take away from what’s really going on. Our lawmakers made some mistakes IMO by allowing places like gyms, bars, restaurants and hair salons to open, creating a sense of false security and bringing back a premature return to normalcy causing the previously cautious to drop their guard and get together with people they haven’t seen in a while for very good reason. Cases spiked as a result and continue to today.

Make no mistake America! Your government doesn’t give a shit about you!

It doesn’t care if you live, or if you die!

You are at best, a commodity, at worst, a target.

I wish this wasn’t true because your neighbors care about you! The ones overseas and the ones next door.

This is the one good thing about this Asshole of a year. We realized that we’re all humans, we were all going through the same thing at one point then banded together when a group of fellow humans was targeted. Well, a lot of us did.

I hope we can appreciate this lesson and be there for each other as humans when our government won’t.

And, I hope we don’t forget what we saw, and felt, no matter how horrible it was and how much we want to forget it.

I think 2021 will be a test. Did we grow or were we just surviving? When we all go back to work, will we be sedated by the 9 to 5 daily grind?

I can’t wait to find out!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Inside Christmas: The Main Event!! Ep. 11

The reindeer barn where Santa’s sleigh takes off from. Thousands of years ago, elves hadn’t perfected time manipulation so they had to build the barn to look like a church of the times.

Shimmy

Susan approved my plan. It’s pretty brilliant! Elves have been documenting their everyday experiences for thousands of years. I’m going to ask some elves to give me their documents and I’ll send them back just a few weeks, maybe even two months. I’ll send them over the internet to Fluffypants’ mom! She gave me her email. In the email, I’ll tell Mrs. Fluffypants, all about our ability to manipulate time. This is ancient elf magic and we use it so that Santa can reach ALL children in just one night. I don’t personally know how to work this magic, I’m an all trades elf not a time magic elf, but Pears has a cousin who is. I’ll get her to talk to him and we’ll see if I can send the documents to her along with some pics. I bet she’ll know what to do! We’ll see on Christmas Eve if it worked. There should be extra Christmas cheer and it should make the reindeer move faster and the bells ring louder!

Leafhoppers

It’s CHRISTMAS EVE! The most magical moment of the year! We all gathered in the reindeer barn. Santa does the same thing every year and I never get tired of it! First he makes a speech…

Jingles

He looks at me and winks and says “Here goes nothing!” It really is something! He raises his arms like he’s going to hug everyone…

PebbleBrooke

I started to run to Santa because he made the hug sign but I remembered what Susan said. “Don’t run to Santa during his Christmas Eve speech. You can have a hug from me after.” I wrote it down.

Leafhoppers

He thanks all of us for our hard work. All of us! Seriously, it takes foreeeevvvveeerrrr…

Jingles

Then, he gets into his sleigh.. I make sure his bag of presents is properly secured for the hundredth time….

Leafhoppers

He invites us all to say the words to make the reindeer fly, some don’t actually know it so they say wrong names or just move their mouths….

PebbleBrooke

On Donner! On Blixen! On Cupid! On Vixen!

Shimmy

Vixen is the best. She rolls her eyes when they shout her name! Ha!

PebbleBrooke

On someone! On someone! On someone! On someone!

Jingles

Then they start moving! They run in place for a moment and kick up some sparkly snow around their feet. It looks like a snow cloud that’s rising from the ground!

Leafhoppers

Then you can hear when they all get in sync, there’s this sound like drumming!

Jingles

They all rise above the floor as they gallop in place, you can only see their antlers and the top of Santa’s hat because they’ve kicked up so much snow that it surrounds the sleigh but you can hear them! The bells are all you hear as they get faster and faster! It gets so loud that some elves with bigger ears have to cover them!

PebbleBrooke

It sounded like a million elves marching really fast on a wooden floor like the one in the break room! When they started to move, all you could hear was the bells! This is so much louder than I ever imagined!

Leafhoppers

There’s a whoosh of air as they pull out…

Jingles

You can hear the bells and the wind gaining speed all the way up to the northern lights. I love watching Santa’s sleigh slip through them even as the barn doors are closing!

PebbleBrooke

When Santa disappeared into the lights Susan played music!

Shimmy

I created a play list on my phone. Susan gave me the nod and I pressed “play”. It worked!! It’s an all night sing along!!

Jingles

We all cheered and hugged each other. This is why we do it! Year after year! MERRY CHRISTMAS !!

Leafhoppers

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

PebbleBrooke

MEEERRRYYYY CHRRRIIIISSSTTTMMMAAAAAS!

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