{December 8, 2017}   Feels Like Christmas

christmas song

FEELS LIKE CHRISTMAS © ∼ A Christmas Song*

The tree’s decorated let’s drink to good cheer

It’s not complicated, it’s that time of the year

It’s in the air, it almost feels like Christmas

The snow’s gently falling, the fire is bright

The carolers calling, singing “Oh Holy Night”

It’s everywhere, it almost feels like Christmas


It feels like Christmas, when I’m next to you

You give me strength, you help me make it through

It feels like Christmas, when I’m in your arms

‘Cause your arms feel like home to me

At Christmas


The scent of the pine brings back old memories

Wonder and awe and that child-like glee

We’re home again,

When it almost feels like Christmas

Don’t want much for Christmas or the rest of the year

Just you in my arms, oh I miss you my dear

When you are here, it always feels like Christmas


It feels like Christmas when I’m next to you

you give me strength, you help me make it through

It feels like Christmas, when I’m in your arms

‘Cause your arms feel like home and there’s no place that I’d rather be

At Christmas


Feet in wool socks warming at the fireplace

*This is a new Christmas Song I wrote, it’s is currently being recorded at Trax East Studios and will hopefully be finished by December 15th, 2017. When it’s finished I will be posting it ♥



{November 6, 2015}   Letting Go, Slowly

dadmomDad and Mom pre-marriage
bestparentsMom and Dad in Branch Brook Park, Newark NJ

I have two choices.
I can either continue to wallow in grief and despair or I can move on and try something else like, say, living my life before I myself drop dead.
I’m starting to lean towards the second, more alive version of me.
Don’t get me wrong, my heart is killing me, I could easily curl up into a ball and cry for a few years, but I’m starting to make even my own self sick with the Poor Me Parade banging ’round my head.

I cast thee out! Be gone unclean spirit! Away with you Evil Monster of Unending Grief! Enough!

Okay, so I’m not making light of death and grief, and with all these major life changes happening one after another in the course of three or so years, well, the burden is decidedly weighty.
I have to let it go.
Not the love, not the memories, but the sadness.
It’s not healthy and I can imagine my Mom’s face, giving me the patented Carey-Look-Of-Disapproval, a Medusa-like look capable of stopping you in your tracks and possibly turning you to stone.
“Joanne Bridget,” I can imagine her saying, “don’t you dare stop living just because I’m not right there with you. I’m in your heart, now stop grieving and start doing. And don’t even think for a minute I’m not watching over you, get your ass moving, keep writing, and for the love of God, get yourself back down to Cape May and enjoy yourself. Live. For me. For you. You’ll see me again one day and FYI, they have wooden spoons up here in Heaven, don’t make me have to use it on you missy. Now go and live your dreams and for God’s sake, stop feeling guilty, you are my daughter, act like it before I send your Father down there to ground you!”

I’ve been grounded enough times to know I better start living and stop, well, not.

My brothers and I have mended fences and are once again we three instead of strangers.
The last few days were spent talking together, the way we used to once upon a time.
We shared memories and some family secrets were revealed, things that made our past a little more understandable. Looking back on things from an adult perspective instead of the eyes of a broken child. None of us were ever really broken, we were just kids raised by Parents who did the best they could and I can honestly say they did a damn good job.
I wouldn’t trade either of my Parents for anyone in the world. They made me who I am, they made me me and it’s long past time I live up to myself.

I will never completely stop grieving, I will never not miss them like crazy, but it’s time to move on and live again. For Mom, for Dad, and for the three of us, two brothers and a sister, a small, but loving Family.
We will never forget you Mom and Dad, but we will love you forever and honor your memory by remaining your children, forever.

bestfamily1Mom, Dad, and baby brother Tommy

bestfamily2Brother Donald, me, Mom with brother Tommy in her belly

bestfanilyMom, Tommy, me, Dad, Donald took the picture
3ofusDonald, Tommy, me in the Poconos

bestfamilyThe three of us, once upon a time

{October 3, 2015}   Now I Am An Orphan

bestfanilyMom, Dad, Tommy and me. I assume my older brother took this picture.

Now I am an orphan.
As anyone who has ever glanced at my blog knows, I’m one of those daughters who needs her Parents in her life. Mommy’s girl, Daddy’s girl, whatever the kids are calling it these days, that’s me.
Always and without fail, my Parents have been my rock.
When I lost my Mom 2 years, 5 months and 14 days ago, my world was upended and nothing was ever completely right again. She was my best friend, my keeper of secrets and knew me better than anyone in the world. To this day I find myself reaching for the phone to call her.
So I carried on the best I could because someone had to take care of my Dad, who else but the middle girl-child would take on the task?
In my brother Tom’s defense, he did what he could to help out, but lets face it, a man born in 1927 is more likely to expect a woman’s help than accept a man’s help. Male pride runs deep, especially when you’re an ex-Navy man. Showing weakness to your son is not acceptable to some people, and my Dad was certainly one of those people.
My older brother, well, he’ll get a post of his own once the estate is settled. I don’t know if he just finds me beneath him because I never went to college and instead pursued my dreams; singing songs I wrote in my own band and working towards becoming a real writer to name a few, but the point is I followed my heart and not my bank account. Lets put it this way: when I mentioned to my older brother as we sat around my Mom’s Thanksgiving table maybe 8 years ago, that I didn’t realize he was on Facebook and I’d send him a friend request he gave me a song and dance answer that translated into a big fat no you will not be my FB friend. I only use it for business, he told me. Oddly enough, I found this was a lie and all my relatives, including my younger brother, were all on his ‘friends’ list.
A virtual slap in the face. But more about that another time.

My Father was stubborn, grouchy, and refused to let me move in with him to make his life a little easier. Instead, I spent a lot of time in my car, driving 20 minutes each way at the drop of a hat. Doctor appointments? I took him to all of them and Dad was the kind of senior citizen who liked to make doctor appointments the way people make plans to go to lunch, they were social engagements to him more than necessary appointments but I understood and played the game.
My daily phone calls with my Mom now turned into many, many phone calls from Dad, a few times a day is one thing but he’d call to tell me there was a John Wayne movie on, or to let me know what the song of the day was. See, he’d walk every morning down at the waterfront and that was part of his shtick, every morning he’d sing a different song as he walked, like the Pied Piper, little kids would follow him asking “what’s the song of the day Charlie?” He’d talk to their parents and ask if it was okay to give them a piece of candy or a lollipop, and whenever it was vacation time, a group of teenagers would talk to him and tell him they were watching out for him.
He was loved by strangers, openly showing affection, but he had a hard time doing the same for his immediate family.

Here’s the thing; my Father was, for all intents and purposes, an orphan. He never knew his own Father and his Mother died before he was 5 years old. He was raised by his maiden Aunt, who we all referred to as our Grandmother.
My Dad used to roller skate all the time when he was a kid, and one night, when he and his posse came out of the rink, they heard the news, Pearl Harbor was bombed. Right then and there my Dad decided he was going to enlist in the Navy. He had some hoops to jump through because he was only 17 years old but he did it, he went to boot camp in Buffalo NY and that young boy became a man quickly as he boarded a ship and soon found himself a part of the Normandy Beach Invasion on D-Day. He’s told me a lot of stories from back then but one in particular sticks out in my mind. He was on LST 279, a torpedo missed his ship by 20 feet but that’s not the story I’m referring to; the ships were at the mercy of the tides, they were unable to move when the tide was low and sometimes little French children would walk out to the ships and wave to the sailors on the ship. One day, when they were serving lemon meringue pie, something my Dad hated, he took a pie and put it in his helmet to lower it down to the kids in the surf. On the way down, the helmet did a 360 and through the grace of God, or maybe just pure luck, as the helmet flipped the pie slipped out and somehow managed to land right-side up inside the helmet, undamaged. Dad told me those kids were so thrilled to have a pie to eat they were scooping it out of the pie tin with their fingers until they got every drop.

A week ago today, on September 26th, 2015, my Dad passed away in the same hospital my Mom did, although I talked to him every day and saw him a few times a week, he gave no indication of any problems, although I felt a chill when he told me he wanted to die but didn’t want to kill himself. He missed my Mom. He wanted to be with her. We had this conversation Tuesday night and Wednesday I went to pick him up for his doctor appointment. I walked in the house and found him on the floor, unable to move. I called 911 and spent the next few days at the hospital with my younger brother.
The first thing my Dad said when he was stable was “Her name is Alice Bridget Carey”, my Mom’s maiden name. I felt like he was letting his higher power know he was looking for his wife. The last thing he said to me was “I love you”.
And I know he did.

I made a conscious decision around 10 years ago that I would spend as much time as I could with my Parents. I knew how lucky I was to have both my Parents alive and I wanted no regrets when they were gone. I didn’t want to say ‘I should have spent more time with them’.
There are a lot of relatives who didn’t like my Father. After my Mom died, not one relative ever made any effort to contact my Father in any way. This made me so sad, because even if he was a grouchy old man, he was my Father, he was my Mother’s husband. He was Family but he was written off.
But not by me.

I love you Dad, and I always will. Rest In Peace, I will never forget you.

bestparents Mom and Dad in Branch Brook Park, Newark NJ

{April 22, 2014}   Showdown ~ Daily Post

out of nowhere i’m back there
flying head-on into my past,
it hits me hard and
bruises me,
like the time you slapped me across the face
outside that store on st. marks place
mad because i was without you
or your permission,
a stranger walked by and told you to stop,
in retrospect i’m surprised you did
but i just filed it away,
forgot it like the rest of the night and like so many other times, i  made my fake excuses,
i left with you because 17 knew no better,
a self proclaimed king possessed you
and you sat me on red velvet because i was your queen,
meant to be at your side,
everybody worshipped the you they imagined
and your puffed-up pride inflated
along with your legion of fans
but i always kept your secrets,
that other version of you showed up again,
when you backed me against the bathroom wall of cbgb’s
before you smacked my face for talking to someone who wasn’t you,
my words were meant for you alone,
that’s what you told me so that’s how it was,
and i walked out the door with you, hand in hand
because you loved me,
you drove my car into a telephone pole that night
even though i was driving, you grabbed the wheel,
but still, it was my fault you said,
right before your knife slid into my thigh
and blood dripped down my leg,
it wasn’t your intention but
you woke me up that night, brought out my violent
when my fist hit your face without thought,
truth is i was more upset about my ’68 chevelle than bleeding on my favorite jeans,
but you finally brought out my irish and i kept on walking,
deaf to your promises of white picket fences and a dog on a leash,
i walked away,
it was the other ones,
‘friends’ crawling out of the mud
because they all knew you when,
they made you a legend after you died
living your rock star dream,
but even after all that time,
inbetween the always phone calls
and all the ‘we shoulda’s’ from you up to the bitter end
we both know without a doubt,
the last thought you would have would be of me
you reminded me the other night, we were right,
when you made your latest dreamtime visit,
to tell me you still love me

me and mom“Mothers hold their children’s hands for just a little while, and their hearts forever”~ Irish proverb ~
Someone much wiser than me recently told me my Mother flows through my veins, that every pump of my heart pushes part of her through my body and my mind, so she will always be with me. Always. It wasn’t until I was a few miles away from Cape May that I began to feel anxious the other day, uneasy almost, as if I’d left something behind when I packed my bags to head north. Which, of course, I had, when I stood alone on the slippery jetties and scattered my Mother’s ashes where she wanted them, in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape May beach.
In the last ten years or so, Mom and I started a new tradition, 2 to 3 visits a year to Cape May, just the two of us. The only rule we had was we had to stay at The Victorian and we had to stay no less than 5 days. We began to think of The Victorian as our home away from home, always warmly welcomed as Mom checked in because I couldn’t stop petting the cat all cozied up on a comfy chair purring away in tandem with the thumping of the dog’s tail. We didn’t even care if we left the room, although we did spend many hours wandering through the most beautiful town in the world. What mattered was the talking. Two best friends talking who just happened to be Mother and Daughter. Those are the times I cherish most.
Everything happens for a reason some say, and I’m still trying to figure out the reason Mother Nature decided Saint Patrick’s Day, the day I planned to bring Mom to her final resting place, was a good day to dump 7 inches of snow in Cape May while leaving the rest of NJ alone.
But I was on a mission.
After a longer than usual drive into howling wind, freezing temperatures, and snow nearly up to my knees in some drifts, I trudged my way, Mom in hand, down to the surf.
I don’t remember ever being so cold and I talked to Mom as we got closer to the waves crashing over the jetties.
My closest friend Shawn came with me so I wouldn’t have to be alone, but since she knows me so well, she understood my need to scatter Mom’s ashes by myself, but in true Best Friend Form, she walked with me to the beach, staying back just a bit so I could say my final goodbyes, just me and Mom, alone together for the last time.
Is there ever enough time to say everything you want to say to someone? Usually we put it off or hope they just know how we feel.
mom and me scottish festival
I am so Blessed to have a Mother who taught me to always say ‘I Love You’, so thankful that we never even ended a phone call without saying it to each other, and beyond grateful that the last words we said to each other were “I Love You”.
Is it possible to feel relief and dread at the same time? Relieved that my sweet beautiful Mother is in that good place now, yet dreading each day without her in my life. I will never say goodbye to Mom, I will say until we meet again, I will feel your presence with each breath I take, feel you watching over me as you did all my life.
And most of all, I will love you for the rest of my days, until I see you again.
unexpected mom
Rest In Peace, my beautiful Mother.
From Buffy The Vampire Slayer ~ The Body
Anya (crying): But I don’t understand! I don’t understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I mean, I knew her, and then she’s, there’s just a body, and I don’t understand why she just can’t get back in it and not be dead anymore! It’s stupid! It’s mortal and stupid! And, and Xander’s crying and not talking, and, and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well Joyce will never have any more fruit punch, ever, and she’ll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why. (She puts her hand over her face, crying.)

anya from the body
My own version of the yellow brick road, where life is magical and anything is possible.
road to cape may


It’s usually the first time that’s the most difficult and life changing.
The first word uttered, the first step taken, the first day of school, the first date, the first sexual experience, you get the idea because we all have our own firsts.
Some firsts are harder than others, regardless of what that first is, and while I’ve already used over 50 words in an effort to avoid getting to my point, I can’t put it off any longer.
This is my year of firsts without my Mom.
In my defense, it’s only been 6 months since she was ripped out of my life without warning.
If you’ve followed my blog from the beginning you may already be aware that I lost my Mom the 19th day of April, 2013.
And that loss was the impetus behind this very blog.
Not to be flippant about such a serious life altering occasion but why is it said like that? “I lost my Mom” isn’t quite strong enough to express the devastation I still feel along with the fact that, no, we don’t “lose” people like they are a set of car keys we can’t find, car keys can be replaced (at which point we usually find them, after buying another set) but when we “lose” people, they can not be replaced.
Perhaps it would have been a little less shocking if the hospital didn’t call me at 9pm on the 18th of April to tell me she was fine and being moved to the local rehab for her broken shoulder only to get a phone call at 5am the following morning telling me she was gone. Lost. Dead.
Leaving it to me to call my Father and 2 brothers with the unbelievable news; the glue in our Family was gone.
Thus began my Year Of Firsts.
My first time having to “identify the body”, such cold clinical words to describe the last time I ever saw my Mother.
My first time having to “make arrangements”, more stupid words making it sound as if I was planning a party.
My first birthday without Mom, bittersweet, as I found the birthday card she’d already bought me, oddly enough, while she always gave me funny cards, this year she’d picked out a beautiful card from Mother to Daughter, comparing me to an angel. While it wasn’t signed, to this day I have it in a special place so I can see it every day.
The first time my Dad was alone for their Wedding Anniversary, which would have been 65 years married.
It isn’t always major events that count as “firsts”, sometimes it’s the little things you take for granted that can hit you out of nowhere and kick you in the gut, hard.
The first time in many many years Mom and I didn’t take our usual Autumn getaway to Cape May, and if I’m honest about it, I don’t know if I will ever be strong enough to go to Cape May again. Another first, I let my subscription to Exit Zero expire, a weekly newspaper I’ve been getting for over 10 years. It hurts too much to look at that magazine anymore and in fact I have a pile of unopened issues waiting to be read.
Today is Halloween, another first without Mom, who always without fail decorated the entire house for every Holiday imaginable.
My Dad still has some of the Easter decorations Mom put up right before she went into the hospital, I haven’t been able to talk him into letting me put them away yet.
Every year my Mom cooked a huge Thanksgiving feast, the entire Family gathered around the table and we were looking forward to getting back to our usual Thanksgiving Day Dinner since the year before was a no-go as the house Hurricane Irene destroyed wasn’t finished yet. This Thanksgiving we knew we had a lot to be Thankful for, but that was taken away with my Mom.
This year I will be cooking Thanksgiving Dinner here, my Dad will join us but both of my brothers turned down my invitation.
And Christmas? And New Years Eve? My Dad’s Birthday? My Mom’s Birthday, which we last celebrated in the hospital, 2 days before she died?
As I’ve been writing this, my phone rang and it was my Dad. He’s worried he’s going to lose the house. There is no way this will happen, he just worries about things, it’s always been a hobby of his but he’s in hyper-drive now because the tax assessor came to the house saying his taxes were to be increased by $2500.00 a year for the addition of a porch on the house. Problem with that is we had a porch before the house collapsed from the hurricane and all we did was replace what was there.
So I guess this is another first, I have to go to the tax office and argue on my Father’s behalf. He’s 87 years old and he’s beginning to develop Alzheimer’s according to his Doctor, so now I have to step up and take care of him without him knowing that I’m taking care of him. He is a proud man who refuses to accept parts of the aging process, so I must tread carefully.
This conversation I just had with Dad was a first, it was the first time I asked my Father to please trust me, to understand that I will never let anything happen to him and his house, and to recognize that he is the most important thing in my world, I have his back as I always have and I always will.
And for the first time in my life, my Dad agreed with me.


{July 9, 2013}   CBGB : The Movie (Uh Oh)

Apparently I used to be cool.
It’s true. They’re even making a soon-to-be-released movie about it.
It’s called CBGB: The Movie, and it’s kinda freaking me out.
First of all, they don’t usually make movies about the club you hung out at when you were barely legal, and even if they did, what are the chances that they decide to place the movie timeline over the exact same period of time you were going to said club averagely three or four times a week?
To top it all off, it’s due to be released in October 2013.
Bless me Father for I have sinned, my first time at CBGBs was on October 2nd,1977 to see the Dead Boys and The Steel Tips FTD. The former band was a band out of Youngstown Ohio moved to NYC to be rock stars and the latter band turned out to be from NJ like us (my best friend wound up marrying the bass player and the drummer was no other than Patrick McDonald, the genius behind the “Mutts” syndicated comics and books, also I heard they’re making a movie out of Mutts- yay Patrick!).
So in the way of googleworld or bingland, I was looking for something and found something else.
I saw a poster for the upcoming CBGB movie and my heart nearly stopped.
Now I knew they were making a movie about CBGBs and The Birth Of Punk but I figured it was one of those ‘independent’ movies that nobody ever sees because they only seem to play them in obscure little art house movie theaters.
But no, that would be too safe.
Now I get to worry my brain over each and every little thing I (allegedly) did back in the heyday.
I saw two short clips, both reenacting specific nights I can honestly say ‘I was there’ for.
So if ‘I was there’, at two random clips from a movie, well, lets just say I’m almost afraid to see the entire movie.
Oh by the way, I’m not delusional and I understand this is a movie, albeit a movie about one of the most formative parts of my life, but from the research I ended up doing yesterday, this movie is as realistic as you can get without a time machine and a bring-em-back-to-life boat.
I’m talking details, down to the actors wearing the exact same clothing reenacting the exact same things that happened and even, from what I’ve read, using the exact same original bathrooms.
No, you don’t understand.
The exact same bathroom. Complete with the original exact same graffiti.
Do you know how weird it is to see some of the graffiti that you yourself were responsible for all these years later?
CBGBs bathrooms were infamous and indescribable, something that can’t be explained but only experienced.
There was as much action going on down in those basement bathrooms as there was onstage upstairs.
I can’t imagine how weird it will be to see people I knew intimately (one person in particular, in every sense of the word) being portrayed by actors. The cast is kinda stellar, Alan Rickman, Stana Katic, Rupert Grint, Justin Bartha, Mickey Sumner, Malin Akerman, Ashley Greene, Johnny Galecki, Joel David Moore, and Taylor Hawkins to name a few.
It’s kind of a little bit insane to me, the idea of my very own past being captured on film forever. I wonder things, like will they get the gum-chomping down just right? Will the little mannerisms of certain people I knew so well be portrayed correctly?
Will there be peanut butter?
Believe me, I’ve seen things that could make a grown man cry and done things that, well, were really fun for a teenage girl who entered the scene as an innocent virgin and left the scene a not-as-innocent, no-longer-a-virgin young woman with a wealth of memories filed under the heading You Can’t Make This Shit Up.
So the big question is, will any of my antics make it to the big screen?
Well I kinda hope not, but I’ll have to wait for the movie to come out and keep my fingers crossed that some of my escapades were buried along with the bodies.

I realized something today.
I mean aside from the fact that my cats eat way too much.
I also realized that sometimes you (read: I) get more support from what some might call “complete strangers” than you (again: I) get from your (oh fuck it, my, dammit, my!!!) very own flesh and blood family/friends.

Obviously I can’t hide behind these words, nor do I want to really.
I’ve been trying my best (see what I did there? best?) to keep moving/running/ignoring/forgetting/hiding/burying/denying/any-kind-of-ing you can think of that results in me not properly dealing with my grief.

It ain’t working.
I thought it was working a little bit but the last few days have been nagging at me, and just this morning I read a comment I received from a very special sweetheart who has one of my very favorite blogs here in Word Press Land and with just a few kind sentences it started without my permission.
Bawling like a baby.
I miss my Mom.
It feels like she’s been gone forever and it hasn’t even been three months since she’s died. (I’m forcing myself to use that word. Died. Dead. Death.)
I know I’m doing this wrong, the grieving process I mean, but the thing is, I don’t want to grieve.
I want my Mommy back.

Now believe me, I’m not delusional, I am fully aware that the only way/place/time I can see her is in my dreams, at least until my time is up and I move on to wherever it is we move on to.
But this pain in my heart is front and center today and I don’t know how to make it go away.

In my day to day, I’m surrounded by people who are not huggers, people who keep their emotions under control and just keep on going.
I’m not like that.
I’ve been a crybaby since the day I was born and the only girl-child in the family. Female cousins eventually came into my world but there’s an age difference just as there was between my Mom and her youngest sister, who was born after my folks were married.
And my Mom and I, we are/were/always-have-been huggers.
Since as long as my memory goes back, whenever I would leave the house I always without fail hugged and kissed my Mom (and Dad) goodbye and told her I loved her. It was a thing she taught me when I was a kid. She’d tell me I should always do that just in case something happened to either one of us, we’d always know we loved each other. In retrospect that may have something to do with my fear of abandonment issues, no not fear, but expectation of abandonment. It became a joke between the two of us, me telling her ‘no wonder I’m obsessed with the end of the world, you trained me that way’ and we’d laugh about it all the time.
But it was all good between us, always. And I never ever left my Mother’s side without saying ‘I love you’ and hugging her tight.
My Dad isn’t much with the hugging.
My brothers aren’t much with the brothering.

I’m a lonely planet girl.
Seriously, I am pathetic if you ask me.
I don’t want to wallow in grief, my Mom wouldn’t want that at all.
But she wouldn’t want me to feel this lonely either.

I guess in a way I can see why ‘anger’ is one of those stages I have to go through because I’m pissed off that the one person I counted on more than anyone else in the entire world was ripped out of my life so unexpectedly.

I’m trying, I really am, to keep myself in check, to be a daughter to be proud of, worthy of sharing that middle name that’s been passed down from my Great-Grandmother Bridget, to my Grandmother Ann Bridget, to my Mom Alice Bridget, to me Joanne Bridget.
But this is the part of the drama where regret tugs my soul, the part where I ask myself ‘what were you thinking and why didn’t you have a child of your own?’, the daughter I would have named Alison Bridget, who never came to be.

I guess this too is part of the grieving process, the part where I beat myself up over things that never happened.
memory bracelet
Wow, how have I managed to ramble over 700 words worth?
Just now, as I typed that last sentence my phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and saw who it was, it said ‘Mom and Dad’.
It was my Father, just calling to say hello, a little habit we’ve fallen into since my Mom died. She and I would speak on the phone at least once a day, usually more, but my Dad has never been a phone person.
I told him I was really happy he called, that I was having a difficult morning crying over my Mom. He told me to do what he does, he said to just look up at the sky and talk to her.
So that’s what I did.
Because as Johnny Thunders sang, you can’t put your arms around a memory*.

*Johnny Thunders was an incredibly beautiful fucked up musician originally from the New York Dolls before he went solo and, like all the good ones, died too soon. He and I shared the same birth day and used to laugh together over it, Johnny almost always standing on a step above me because I’m so much taller than he was. Too many of my friends have died, but none have hit me harder than the loss of my Mom.

{June 23, 2013}   I’m In Love With My Car

One of my favorite Datsuns, somewhere near Sayreville NJ

The machine of a dream, such a clean machine
with the pistons a pumpin’, and the hubcaps all gleam
when i’m holding your wheel, all i hear is your gear
when i’m cruising in overdrive,
don’t have to listen to no run-of-the-mill talk-jive
i’m in love with my car, got a feel for my automobile
***written by Roger Taylor from Queen

You know that game, Never Have I Ever?
Well, never have I ever owned a brand spankin’ new car. And why, you might be asking yourself, do I bring this up? Because in a previous post/rant I may have whined a bit about my car. And it’s imminent demise. (I checked the dictionary, it’s definitely imminent)
I love that damn car, but it’s imminently demising. Which means car shopping.
I hate shopping.
But shopping for something you don’t want is the worst.

I know I should be happy or something but I’m emotionally attached to my 1998 Cadillac STS and how the hell am I going to replace that? I mean the memories.
My beloved Cadillac STS (sob)
I’ve almost always managed to stumble onto a cool car. My first $100 special was literally a one owner old man car, a burgundy 1964 Ford Galaxy 500 with some big ass engine that could sit eight comfortably. Which worked out perfectly since there were only about eight punk rockers in Sayreville NJ back in 1977 anyway.
I kid. Kind of.
My point, cool fast car full of memories but memories don’t mean as much when you’re barely 17 so when your car dies you get an upgrade to a $250 car which turns out to be a 1968 Chevelle Malibu SS, another car with some big ass engine and man was that thing fast!
And chock full of salacious memories which deserve not only a separate post but an entire book.
In the interest of well, myself really since I just remembered how much fun it was to race my car against the Dead Boys on a deserted highway at 2am and win, I’ll let me have a moment to picture that image.

{shakes head to return from 1978 back to 2013}

I’ve had a few Datsuns,240Z, 260Z, 280ZX, all stick shift and faster than the wind.
Where I lived was surrounded by long twisty empty roads and that was my comfort. Fast driving music blasting but you could still hear those Weber carburetors growling over even the nastiest guitar sounds.

I loved those cars and I had a few not-so-awesome cars, but never once have I ever even wanted to own a brand new car and I still don’t.

My Father keeps telling me every single day to buy a new car, a Hyundai like he has. Which he bought new, same as every car he ever owned.
He thinks I’m coo-coo for cocoa puffs because I’ve been looking for a car for a week* now and I haven’t settled on one yet.
Lets put aside the whole financial part of the equation which has a great deal to do it.
I mean let’s be real; the price of used cars are more than my folks paid for their house like 40 years ago. I’m seeing used cars for $20,000 and up. I refuse to take a bank loan or have a car financed or whatever the hell they call it when you borrow way too much money to pay for an overpriced anything and wind up paying back 37 times the amount you borrowed.

Even if I won the lottery I wouldn’t want a brand new- well, if we’re talking lottery-winning as in gazillions of dollars I might consider a brand new something but most likely I would look for a vintage mint condition Datsun 240Z, garage-kept and clean as a whistle. (why are whistles considered clean if everyone keeps putting their mouths on them? I don’t recall seeing anyone washing whistles between blows, just sayin’)

I have tangented yet again.
Cars and memories for $500 Mr. Trebek.

I noticed I keep avoiding the actual topic at hand. My car is dying. And I’m getting more than a little sick of this whole Mother-death/car-death connection; when my Mother-In-Law died 5 years ago on my wedding anniversary, my car followed suit and I found my sweet beloved Caddy.
It’s just a car, I understand this, but the memories contained in my safe haven, my place of magical wonder and excitement can not be replaced.
Yeah, I know, the memories are in my head forever but I’ll never be able to look over at the empty passenger seat and remember every single drive to Cape May, my Mom sitting comfortable for the 2 hour ride.
I’ll no longer be able to rest my hand on the gear shift and remember driving to my sanity, into my invisible.
my car
my new/old Grand Prix
*Update: Well, in the time since I originally wrote this, about a week or two ago, (curse you drafts I’ve neglected to finish!) my beloved Caddy turned into a hot mess and now sits in front of Dad’s house, still insured of course, and I am now the proud owner of a 2002 Grand Prix S something or other.
Note my extreme enthusiasm.
I’ll be a proud owner eventually, I’m still lamenting the loss of my beloved Memory Machine.
The new/old car is fun and fast and mine, but I still have to get used to the transition, among other things, I really grew to love those little stereo controls on the steering wheel of the Caddy, and the smooth ride I grew used to is now kinda bumpy on some of these damn New Jersey roads.
But I have a vehicle again and that’s the silver lining part of the situation.
I just wish my losses in life would learn how to stagger themselves a little bit instead of smashing me over the head one after another.

AUTHORS NOTE: Once upon a time everyone didn’t have cameras everywhere they went, to my dismay, I don’t have pictures of all my cars available and I didn’t want to include photos that weren’t my actual cars, hence the poor quality that can happen when you take a picture of another picture.

{May 24, 2013}   The Last Train

Deciding to ignore my usual motion-sickness I stared out the window of the speeding train as it neared Manhattan.

It was hard not to, contrary to the unenlightened, New Jersey is full of beauty but I wasn’t looking at the passing scenery.

I was looking at The World Trade Center.

I saw it all the time in my daily travels living across the Hudson but it was different seeing it without distraction.

My mind started writing a song as my eyes locked onto the two towers rising over that already breathtaking skyline.

It was one of those all-too-rare moments when the song writes itself.
As if the song was using my hands to write the words down in the ever-present-notebook I pulled out of my bag.

I’d ridden the train into Manhattan alone many times before but I always have a book with me and I usually read.
Not looking out the windows helped keep that icky motion-sickness feeling away.

But the Twin Towers caught my eyes that morning and sparked a song in me, I saw the lyrics play out in the clouds across the sky and, well, it was magical.

It was April. I have a habit of jotting the date down on everything so I know it was 2001.

The words flew out of my fingers and I doodled, quick pen strokes in the shape of the towers surrounding the lyrics written designed to jog my memory as to the melody.
Musical chords and keys elude me so I have my own system, don’t ask.

The visual is in my head whenever I sing that song live, the Twin Towers rushing towards me on my way into the city.

That was the last train trip to NYC for me until a long time after September 11th,2001.

I don’t look out the windows anymore.
Although the song has nothing to do with the World Trade Center (I did write a song about that terrible day but that’s for another post) please to indulge me as I share the lyrics to the song I wrote that day on the train.


dancing with her eyes closed
to a haunting lullaby
that she alone can hear

swaying back and forth
reach for the sky
she gives her love
and feels it disappear

velveteen, pretty little velveteen

black upon black
surrounds her days
and fills her nights

angel, angel baby
he took her heart, he took her heart
and then he took flight

velveteen, lonely little velveteen
velveteen, lonely little velveteen

et cetera