joannebest











 

 

bestfamilyI was barely 5 years old the day I met my baby brother for the first time. Excited beyond belief at the thought of no longer being the youngest, I was going to have a tiny little brother to fuss over. I was sure life was going to be wonderful and I was going to be the best big sister that ever existed.

I remember every detail of that day, the clothes I wore, the constant trips to the window impatiently waiting for Dad’s Rambler to pull into the driveway bringing my Mom and new little brother home. After what seemed like forever, they finally got home and I ran as fast as my little legs would carry me. In a portent of things to come, I grabbed onto the porch railing, my soft little hand landing squarely on a very angry bee who decided it was more important to sting me rather than welcome the new arrival to the Best Family. In retrospect, I should have realized what life with Tommy would become.

Never boring.

It wasn’t long after his arrival that the two of us contacted a nasty case of chicken pox, our poor Mom spent half the time applying calamine lotion and the rest of the time trying to convince us to not scratch, not an easy feat when you’re dealing with a newborn baby and a 5 year old, but we made it through unscathed.

Living in Newark raising 3 young children didn’t last long as our Parents decided it was time to move to the suburbs, and before we knew it, we were living in Sayreville NJ, a 4 bedroom house giving each of us kids our very own bedroom. There was a 5 year age difference between the 3 of us, so in a way, Donald was almost a generation older than Tommy. Being in the middle, as well as being the only girl-child, it fell to me to keep an eye on Tommy.

Believe me, it sounds a lot easier than it was. Tommy had a lust for life and a fearless nature from the day he was born and he never lost that. Nothing scared him, nothing kept him from living life to the fullest on his own terms.

I have so many memories of growing up with Tommy I could easily fill a book long enough to rival War and Peace, but I would like to share just a few.

As most of you know, Tommy loved music and was a drummer in a few bands, most notably, Genocide. His obsession with drums began before he could even talk. We had an ongoing feud when we were kids that could be broken down into 2 sentences: Tommy complaining to our Mom about my neverending singing. “Ma! Make her stop singing!” he would say constantly, to which I would reply, “Ma! Make him stop playing drums!” It didn’t take long for us to realize this was a battle neither of us would ever win as he grew up to be a drummer in a band and I became a singer in another band . Tommy never needed a drum set back then and he didn’t need drumsticks, he would use anything he could get his hands on, including his fingers to bang away on any and every thing in his sight. One 4th of July he marched around the house using a garbage can lid and a red magic marker as a makeshift drum set. In true Tommy fashion, the marker exploded, covering Tommy from head to toe in what looked like blood but turned out to be magic marker.

When I was around 17 years old and heavily obsessed with the Punk scene, I got it in my mind that Tommy should have a drum set. I brokered a deal with one of my President Park Punk friends and lo and behold, at the age of 12, Tommy got his first drum set. Now although our musical tastes were similar, we had to keep it on the down-low. It wasn’t cool for a brother and sister to share too much at that age, but when he didn’t know I was in the house, I caught him switching his Iron Maiden and ACDC albums to my “borrowed” Ramones and Dead Boys albums. I never let on that I knew, but I was secretly pleased that we were becoming closer, at least when we were out of the public eye.

Fast forward a few years and before I knew it, somehow Tommy’s friends and my friends became one and the same for the most part. We drifted apart a bit after Tommy got married and had 3 children, but I was so proud of him whenever I saw him with his children. He lived and breathed for Tommy, Danny and Alexa. There was nothing more important to him than his children, he loved them with every ounce of his being and in fact the last words Tommy said to me was this : “If anything happens to me, please make sure my kids are taken care of.” I didn’t think much of this and in fact asked him why he was talking like that. I knew he was having problems with his heart but I also knew that there was nothing that could take him down. Not Tommy. He was, as our Dad used to say “Strong like bull”, he lived through war and made it back, there was no way any kind of illness would defeat him. He lived through a nasty divorce which I won’t describe out of respect for his children, but I will say that after his divorce, he had the most difficult years of his entire life.

He lost his home and Family in one fell swoop without warning and moved back home with our Parents. After a week of so he broke his leg yet it didn’t stop him. Very soon thereafter Hurricane Irene did a number on our Family home and by the Grace of God, Tommy, hearing a loud boom ran downstairs, broken leg and all, called 911 and got our Mom and Dad out of the house before the entire house collapsed. I shudder to think what would have happened to them if Tommy hadn’t been there that night.

As soon as the State of Emergency was lifted, Mom, Dad, and Tommy moved in with my husband Mike and me and my sister-in-law Pat. It was a full house, with 6 adults, 2 dogs, and 3 cats, but we made it work. After Mom and Dad found an apartment to live in until the house was repaired, Tommy continued to live with us for nearly a year. When Christmas rolled around, Tommy was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to give anyone any gifts. Every penny he had went to his children yet still he worried about us. As long as I live I will never ever forget that Christmas morning. Santa, in his infinite wisdom, delivered a stack of gifts from Tommy to all of us. Now I’m the first one to admit we tend to go overboard when it comes to Christmas morning, we always feel a childlike joy when it comes to giving to others and that year was no different. We spent hours unwrapping gifts, and as the morning progressed I noticed Tommy would get up periodically and leave the room. It wasn’t until a few days later when the two of us were alone in the house that Tommy told me that this particular Christmas was the best Christmas he celebrated in his entire life. Never in his life, he said, had he received so many gifts as he did that year. He also filled me in on a little secret I wasn’t aware of, Christmas day, my husband Mike took Tommy aside privately and gave him a Christmas card containing quite a few hundred dollar bills. Tommy tried to give it back but we have a rule, no such thing as take-backs when it comes to gifts. That was the first time in my life I ever saw my 6’3″ baby brother cry tears of happiness, love, and acceptance.

I’ve written a lot of words here in an attempt to give you a little insight into the Tommy you may not have known. He was a gentle giant, a big guy with a heart of gold, he would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need. He was a quiet hero, helping anyone, whether he knew them or not. One day, Tommy and his Family were driving back from a day trip and saw a terrible accident on the Garden State Parkway, a van full of people had crashed, rolling over trapping everyone inside. Without a thought for his own safety, Tommy literally crawled through broken glass and got every single person out of that van, covering them up with his own jacket and sweaters and anything else he could find. He even crawled back in one more time when one of the passengers realized his medication was in the front seat of the van. By the time the EMT’s and Police arrived on the scene, everyone was safely out of the vehicle, Tommy told the Police what happened and like a true Angel, Tommy disappeared, never getting credit nor wanting credit. Because that is who Tommy was. And that is who Tommy always will be, an unsung hero who will live on through his children, and a never to be forgotten baby brother, living on in my heart for the rest of my days.

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{March 30, 2016}   Every Night He Rapes Her

persephone

every night he rapes her,
pieces of her soul flake off
like dry winter skin
unnoticed,
she disappears slowly,
ashes in the corner
once dust,
now consist of her soul,
now gather with the shadows,
conspire with the whisperings of twisted roots
seeking another way out
while waiting for the ice to melt
every night her rapes her,
whiskey colored accusations whip across her skin,
invisible scars hide beneath an icy layer of frost-defense
and Demeter has disappeared forever
the palace crumbled unattended,
the yellow roses bloom no more
while every night he rapes her

dead rose



{March 10, 2016}   Either Or

depressed

Would it matter if I ran to you
legs pumping heart beating
arms open wide?

Or

Would you say you wish you made it
and then tell me that you tried
but it was out of your control?

Will my happy ever after
appear out of nowhere
the way the music told me?

Or

Will I have to crawl and beg
gobble up the crumbs thrown my way
and swallow with a smile?

When this black fog lifts
will the sun shine down on me
leading me out of this darkness?

Or

Will this black fog darken
thicken as it chokes me
laughing as it sees me crumble?

Will it matter either way?

disappearing girl1



{March 3, 2016}   Some Times

gossamer4

sometimes
i find myself going through the motions of the everyday,
my body moves blindly,
chaos into order by rote,
kaleidoscope tunnel vision thoughts,
backwards slide into ecstacy everlasting and all i want is you,
i’m set on replay,
burned into my brain
soft landing seclusion safely centered in a bed of thorns,
momentary release echoes infinite,
comfort in an endless series of storms,
shelter from arrows dipped in poison,
invisible protection,
a gift from ancient times, when warriors were worshipped
and supple sacrifices lay willingly,
prone at worthy feet,
it’s all here,
flying through empty rooms,
dust particles in the warm afternoon sun,
blanket of invisible draped,
molded together tangled, tethered,
it stays there,
carved in flesh and bone,
a constant reminder to breathe
and sometimes I do,
translucent gossamer ties us together,
now it’s here,
now it’s there,
but the constant of this devotion remains just that,
constant,
and steady as she goes,
no hesitation,
only the wanting,
wanting you, with no expiration date
for there is no time limit for perfection,
and sometimes,
some things just are
gossamer3



bwlines Sayreville NJ blinds

bwlines1 Sayreville NJ blinds

bwlines2 Cape May NJ balcony

bwlines3 Cape May NJ Fire Tower staircase

bwlines4 Cape May NJ Fire Tower staircase

bwlines5 Cape May NJ Fire Tower staircase

bwlines6 Cape May NJ Fire Tower staircase

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Lines and Angles



bowie rip 1.11.16
“Oh no love, you’re not alone”
I’m finding it hard to string a sentence together right now, unexpectedly choked up about someone I never met and I know I’m not alone.
Rock stars come and go, they influence us, they encourage us, they lift us up when we’re down and make us cry when we need an excuse to reveal our emotions. They can define us, give us something to cling to when we are lost and broken, give us something to hold on to when we are frozen and can’t take one more step forward.
David Bowie captured everything we freaks suffered every day and welcomed us, encouraged us, gave us a place to drift to when we were overwhelmed and alone.
He wrapped his words around us and let us know we weren’t alone, influenced generations, kicked opened closet doors and told us, “it ain’t easy” but it’s worth it, we can let our freak-flag fly high and proud, and it was alright, we could all be rock and roll stars.
Growing up in suburban New Jersey wasn’t always easy if you didn’t fit the cookie cutter mold of a blue-collar town but David Bowie gave us a glimpse into what life could be like if we just stayed true to ourselves and didn’t worry about the whisperings behind closed living-room curtains when we walked down the street.
He showed us we were all limitless, we really could touch the stars if we just reached out and shrugged off the mud slung our way. He gave us courage, strength when we needed it most, there at the tip of our fingers and the drop of a needle on vinyl.
Inspiration to become ourselves.
Nearly every band I’ve loved has, at one time or another, done their own version of a David Bowie song, including my own band. Standing onstage singing a Bowie song was a rite of passage in my circle of friends, a sign to everyone that yes, I’m a freak too, just like you, and isn’t it grand?
No-one but his closest friends and family knew he had cancer, so the world woke up to a gut-punch this morning. I’m sure I’m not the only one who was awakened by a text or phone call from a dear friend telling me the terrible news that Ziggy Stardust was no longer with us here on earth.
Rest in peace Mr. Bowie, you are now a true star, a starman waiting in the sky, making the Heavens glow brighter, a celebration of music left behind in your wake.
And all the children will continue to boogie, for you taught us all, we are not alone.
Watch me now….



Are you up for the challenge? Be The Little Engine That Could and de-clutter your life….or….at least try😛

Anastasia Vitsky

I’ve lived in my current home for a few years now. Not as many as some, but the most years of my adult life. (I’m a semi-reformed nomad who once moved five times in thirteen months.)

Whenever I moved, I purged my belongings and got rid of huge piles. Even so, I accumulated more and more stuff.

Treasures, yes. Needed equipment, yes.

But great piles of STUFF.

When I moved overseas after graduation, I brought with me two suitcases (back then, overseas flights allowed for two suitcases weighing up to seventy pounds each), a backpack, and a carry-on bag.

I brought with me four books: the first three Harry Potter installments and my bilingual Bible. Part of my love-hate affair with Hermione stems from those months when those were my only English books available. This was back before Kindle, Skype, and FaceTime.

Almost ten years later when I moved back…

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{December 29, 2015}   Sweet Christmas Kisses ~ My Review

anaschristmasbook
I love Christmas stories, multiply that by 5 and you’ve got a perfect book full of sweet romance at Christmastime.
I love all of the authors in this book, every one of them is on my Favorite Naughty Authors List and have now been added to my Favorite Nice Authors List.
From Anastasia Vitsky’s “Check Yes Or No”, her first M/F romance is about a boy and girl, friends since they were children, the story takes us through time as they live their separate lives. But when Sharie comes home for Christmas and tragedy strikes, will events open up Sharie’s eyes to the man Richie has become? Miracles are always possible at Christmas!
“Kismet and Cocoa” by Dominique Eastwick begins with Abby, a baseball bat, and a gorgeous stranger at her door. With one of the best first lines from a hero I’ve ever read in a romance book, “I have a kitten”, Preston spits out those words hoping to stop her from swinging a baseball bat at his head. With memories of a bad romance lingering in her head, will Abby give Preston a chance at love? A lovely Christmas romance!
“Silver Bells and Cat Tails” by L.J. Garland takes us into the world of Tabitha, lover and rescuer of cats, she finds homes for strays through her shop Café Mew, a coffee house with a twist, the cats pick out their humans instead of the other way around. Tabbie hesitates when it comes to relationships, who would believe a ‘crazy cat lady’ can communicate with her cats? Noah intends to prove her wrong with a little help from Tabitha’s furry friends just in time for Christmas.
“Meri Chris Mess” by Dara Fraser, Meredith moves to Oak Springs to start over taking a job as a music teacher. A few weeks before Christmas a flood destroys nearly everything in the school leaving the Christmas Concert in peril, without an instrument to be played. When Chris, a local Firefighter enters Meri’s life, will he be able to help Meredith pull off a Christmas miracle for the town, as well as giving Meri the happy ever after she deserves?
“The Little Match Girl and the Billionaire” by Kate Richards finds Noelle stranded and homeless on Christmas after her business and home burn
down in a fire. She finds a box of abandoned kittens and as she walks through a storm shivering she runs into Charles, or rather Charles nearly runs into Noelle as his car slides on the slippery road Noelle had just stepped into. A snowstorm, a box of kittens and Noelle stranded and homeless walking through the streets in her nightgown, will Charles be the Christmas miracle Noelle needs?

Christmas magic and love is the common thread in each story, and I defy anyone to get through this book without smiling through their tears.
I loved this book so much I’ve read it twice already. I guarantee you will do the same!
anaschristmasbook



{December 24, 2015}   Harder Than They Told Me

christmaswou4
well it’s Christmas Eve
but I don’t feel Christmas in my heart
oh it’s Christmas Eve and I don’t feel a thing
yeah it’s Christmas Eve
and memories keep running through my mind
yeah it’s Christmas Eve and you aren’t coming back

they told me it gets easier as the years crawl by
they said there’d come a time
when I would smile
they told me I would feel your warmth
your love surrounding me
but all I feel are teardrops in my eyes

nothing is the same since you’ve been gone
no matter how I try to get along
nothing much makes sense to me
I’m not the girl I used to be
another Christmas Eve again without you here
christmaswou3

christmaswou

for all those alone at Christmas, even if you’re surrounded by people, and for those alone wishing desperately that they weren’t… for all of us who suffered loss of any kind…. sometimes, it’s more raw than you expected and…. well, as alone as we feel, remember, we aren’t alone, even when it seems like it, but sometimes we need to wallow… shutting up now to watch Christmas movies set unrealistic expectations so we can all feel worse about our lives😛

Merry Christmas my lovelies, you keep me writing, and while I’ve been MIA lately, I’m dipping my toes in and New Year Resolutions and all {happy dance} so try and enjoy, and I will too, a New Year and new beginnings my friends, yes?
oh, one more thing, this is being written as song lyrics and I just spit these words out a little while ago and didn’t want to forget, keep you updated on the outcome of these words🙂

All the love from me to you❤



{December 20, 2015}   Shadow Jump

shadow6

they slip from the corners
circle ivy-like up my legs
sting, prick, jab, knaw at my outs and ins
till they swallow me whole,
tight around my chest so i can’t breathe
those shadows
pull me under,
flatten down
me,
an old rug, there to wipe your muddy feet on,
then, throw me to the dogs or kick me to the shadows,
i slide up the walls,
darken the ceiling and cloud the windows
this shadow I’ve become
is everywhere,
an invisible shadow, seen sometimes as a haze
or a speck in the corner of your eye,
sometimes sepia but mostly the black shadow clings to me so i spread it,
bits of me drip off, evidence found at the scene of a crime
in shadow-form,
multiplying shadows, a clone here, perhaps a faded echo of what once was there,
some of the rug-kickers shine in the sun, wrongly though,
they wallow in it and i fade a little bit more,
soon i will be another shadow on the wall,
ever alert for the escape clause,
when i shall shadow-jump my way through,
scattered willy-nilly across the floor, splotches of shadow,
a hop, skip and a jump will take me there,
away from this land of shadows
to a shadow of another kind,
enough to heat me
even infrequencies keep me holding the glow,
shadows recede until i hear the call
and i dread the shadows lying in wait,
impatient to steal what’s left of me
again

shadow7



et cetera