joannebest











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….

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{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.
But.
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



{September 11, 2015}   I Can Never Forget

9 11abb

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is having a hard time getting through another September 11th. I tried desperately to write today but found myself staring at a near blank page and clicking back and forth between writing and looking at Facebook.

Basically wasting time.

I can’t even muster up the ability to write about that day in 2001 from my perspective, but it nags at me, to post something. I can’t ignore the day without acknowledging it some way,  yet I can’t write anything today, the words are stuck in my heart because my head is filled with all the what-ifs, all the lives that were touched that day, and how there was a ripple effect that day. You didn’t have to live in New York or New Jersey or Pennsylvania or Washington DC or Boston, it doesn’t matter where you lived, the World changed that day and Innocence became a memory the instant that first plane hit the first Tower.

I dug out some of my blank books, the books I use to keep track of rehearsals and write lyrics. I also tend to doodle when there’s lead singer down time, and it just so happened we had rehearsal on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. I wanted to cancel but in the end we decided to go to the studio and try to not think for two hours. We had a gig coming up where we had to add a few cover songs to usual original set so I had a bit of doodle time while the musicians musicianed other people’s songs.

So I decided to take a few photographs of my doodles, and the lyrics to a song I wrote that night called “Lay Me Down”, just my feelings about that day jotted down quickly in a blank book as the horrifying terrible smell was everywhere and the smoke continued to take over the sky no matter where you turned.

This year was worse for me. Don’t know why, it just was.

So I shall share some pages from journals written and doodled on Tuesday, September 11th,2001 at Stage Right Studios while our Innocence disappeared slowly, nearly unnoticed, like that tragic scent and the never-ending smoke. I never claimed to be an artist, but I just needed to share this, and hope to sleep tonight nightmare-less, unlike last night when I had one of those same nightmares where I’m lost in New York City alone in the dark.

If you click on this photo you can see a scribbled NYC skyline, the one I saw every single day.

911a

If you click on this you can see my mental me unravel a bit, writing down words to songs my Mom sang to me when I would cry and she’d sing “Why oh why oh why oh, did I ever leave Ohio?” Neither one of us ever went to Ohio but it became our code song, kind of like clicking your ruby slippers three times or Calgon, take me away type stuff.

Just me then? [shrugs]

 

911b

These are the lyrics to Lay Me Down, the song I wrote that night, the song sitting in another studio waiting for me to finish some vocals and a few other touchups. If you click on the photo I was surprised to find the words legible. Um, just me then? Either way, I believe I may have posted them previously, if not, perhaps I will.  Right this moment, this is all I can do.

I’ll get back to my WIP tomorrow after Dad Duty. How do you make an almost 89 year old ex Navy Man who was actually there on D Day let you help him? He doesn’t want my help, he wants my Mom back and so do I but that isn’t possible. So I shall visit and clean and do laundry and go food shopping, shout louder than I sing so he can hear me, and bite my tongue near in half at the way he talks to me and the fight he gives me about cleaning. He can do it himself you know. That translates into what I call Covert Cleaning. I’m getting better at it. Oh, my point, I will have to remember to post my lyrics if I already haven’t. I think I may have but my head is telling me to watch Anthony Stewart Head in Dominion then sleep. Without lost in NYC dreams please.

911d

Well would you look at that! Over 700 words, much more than I thought I had in me.

I have to thank Kate Richards and Nina Cooper, their collective words to me on Facebook healed me enough to post this. Thank you both, you are truly amazing women I am extremely Blessed to know in any capacity, this virtual world we gather in really does make miles disappear. For that I am very grateful ❤



{September 3, 2015}   I Am A Rug, I Am A Carpet…

walkonme

… and a rug feels no pain, and a carpet never cries.

So I woke up extra early (for me) yesterday morning, 5am, and figured I’d write for a few hours then spend the rest of the day trying to straighten out this financial mess my Father made because, male pride and I’m a girl.
Had a few cups of tea, did a few things around the house, got all the paperwork together I need for the financial finagling I needed to do so I could just pick it up after I wrote for awhile.
Then my Father calls.
Nothing unusual about that, but this time he’s telling me he needs me to come down right away, something isn’t right, he says, he needs me to take him to the hospital, now. I’ve got him on speakerphone as I dash around the house locking the doors, making sure the dogs are in and no cats snuck outside and I ask him to tell me how he feels. “Just hurry”, he says and hangs up the phone.

I’m in a controlled state of panic and run out in my yoga pants and t-shirt, slip on a pair of sneakers, stuff all his paperwork into a bag and fly out the door with my Ray Bans covering my worried eyes after first splashing water on my face and putting on some lipstick.
Don’t judge, Ray Bans and lipstick make me feel better in all circumstances.

I make the ride in record time, pull into his driveway only to find all the doors locked and my key to his house back home on my other keychain. I knock loud and call out to my Dad, all the while my brain is figuring out which window I should crawl through, something I haven’t done since I was a teenager but luckily I’m still able to fit through. Window-crawling mission aborted as I hear my Dad yell “come in”.
“The door is locked,” say I.
“Wait a minute,” he replies as I hear him slowly shuffle to unlock the Dutch door.
Each second is an hour as I imagine every horrible scenario possible, remember past emergencies, generally freak myself out until he finally gets to the door and unlocks it.
I burst through the door, “Dad! What happened? Are you OK? Tell me what happened, let’s get your wallet and go to the emergency room.” I babble the way I do when I’m nervous and he just looks at me.
“Let’s go,” he says. “I want to get some money out of the bank.”
“Don’t worry about money right now Dad, let’s go to the hospital first and I’ll go to the bank after a doctor sees you.”
I’m impatient, worried, thinking ten steps ahead and I realize he’s looking at me like I’m a crazy person.
“Dad? Are you ok? Let’s go! We need to get to the hospital!”
“Hospital? I just want you to take me to the bank.”
Silence for what seems like forever.
“Dad,” I say calmly, “You told me you needed to go to the hospital, what’s going on? Are you ok?”
“Wait, let’s go sit in the living room,” he says as he shuffles away.
It all begins to sink in.
Manipulated once again.
I can see the gears turning in his head as he attempts to concoct a believable story.
He doesn’t succeed, he can’t talk his way out of it because he knows I’m catching on.
“I didn’t feel like driving to the bank,” he admits.
By now my head is pounding due to rising blood pressure yet I remain calm.
Outwardly calm.
We’d already had it set up for me to go to the bank for him on Friday/today (I’d already been to his house Monday, Wednesday, and now Thursday). This day was meant for me to get the SBA on the phone so I could talk them into not holding back 15% of my Dad’s Social Security checks due to him missing a few payments of $53 per month. I used to take care of this particular loan payment from Hurricane Irene’s destruction but Dad insisted he wanted to take care of his own bills so I had no choice but to turn it over to him.
After spending more than half the previous day on the phone with the Department of Treasury I was told my Dad now has to pay the DOT $485 per month in addition to losing 15% of his SS checks. The loan was taken out when my Mom was alive so my Dad’s income alone barely makes it, coming up with an extra $400+ is undoable. The man at the DOT was very nice and told me if I had the gift/power of persuasion I might be able to get the SBA to change it back. Which was what I was going to take care of before dear old Dad told me he had to go the emergency room.

I’m rambling again.
Back to the non-hospital trip: he wanted me to go to the bank, take out some cash and go to the corner store for the newspaper and lottery tickets.
I remained outwardly calm, drove to the bank and noticed my car was verging on overheating. Over 90 degrees outside and I’m driving with my windows open and the heat blasting so it wouldn’t overheat.
Drove around town getting his cash, his newspaper and lottery tickets, all the while dripping sweat.

When I got back to his house, I channeled my Mother and exploded.
Respectfully exploded.
Although the F-word did escape my mouth a few times, I explained that all he had to do was tell me the truth, I would have stopped at the bank and store on my way down and gone merrily on my way. I told him it was unacceptable, the lies I mean. Because he’s been known to stretch the truth before, I sat him down and explained thoroughly the tale of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. I explained that his health is better than mine and if he continued to play games like this (because he found the incident funny) there might come a day when he really needed me and I wouldn’t be there, because I don’t know anymore when he’s telling the truth or lying. I explained the mess he made out of everything, and asked him who else helps him besides me, the answer being nobody. He drove my younger brother away by constantly treating him like garbage and my older brother, well, he flat-out doesn’t care to help in any way shape or form. I think he’s still pissed at me because he hated the idea of the house being fixed after Hurricane Irene, he wanted them to sell the house as is and move them into an assisted living place but they wanted their house back. Truth is, I don’t even know my brother’s phone number or address because he moved and never gave me the information.

I’m a nervous wreck still worrying about my Dad, still making excuses for him, and still being taken advantage of. I know I’m lucky I have at least one Parent still alive but at this rate he’ll be burying me instead of the other way around. If that sounds cold it’s not meant to be. I told my Father I love him and always will but if he continues to lie to me my Mother’s dreaded saying would come true, he will live the rest of his life a lonely old man. I think of all the times I defended him to my Mother and compare them to all the knife wounds in my back.
I try to make him understand that we’re all we got, it’s just us now, and I asked him if he’s actually trying to kill me, death by stress.

So yes, I am a rug. I am a carpet stepped on again and again and I’m wearing thin.

Can I please stop being the adult?

walkonme1



wills8
I’m trying.

I really am, but there seems to be a conspiracy surrounding me and everything I attempt to do.

Example: I’ve been working on a piece of writing, you know how it goes, you write, you save to draft, you edit, you delete and rewrite because suddenly every perfect word, every luscious phrase you previously wished you could come up with finally hits you all at once and you write like a fiend, fingers flying, things you didn’t even realize you were capable of reveal themselves on the page fast and furious and you’re happy, pleased with yourself, words spitting out so quickly you don’t take that tiny second to hit “save draft” because after all, you’re nearly done and won’t need to hit anything but “publish”.

And then the dog scratches on the door to come in so you turn away for a split second to open the door and bam! William the Siamese cat decides he wants to jump on your desk, sit on your computer and inadvertently/intentionally deletes every word you just wrote, goes on Facebook and pulls up things on your computer you didn’t even know existed.

Yes, I know there is the automatic save to draft but that does no good when you’ve just changed every word you wrote in the previous draft. Every. Single. Word.

Of course it doesn’t help that your mind blanks out and you can’t remember what you just wrote a few moments ago.

You try, or rather, I try desperately to rewrite using my last saved draft but it’s gone, like that first little puff of smoke when you relight a candle, your thoughts dissipate into the ether, never to return.

It’s discouraging to say the least, but I’ve been so out of touch with the world recently that to just give up is unacceptable.
I want it back, a poem living in my head for days, finally formed to my satisfaction, but it’s gone.

So what do I do?
I need to get back into the habit of writing every day, I can’t let another day go by without writing something post-worthy and I can’t pull those thoughts back into my brain, I can’t reach them anymore, they’ve moved onto another plane of existence, as everything that has meant the most to me in my life has done.
And I don’t mean only those who have left this life, but also my lifelines, the one(s) who have let me cry when I needed to and lifted me up when I was nearly underground.
I understand life goes on and things change in the blink of an eye, with or without our permission or knowledge until it’s too late.
I understand we all have our own baggage to carry around, hidden or out in the open.
I understand that empathy, which may be considered a good thing, can sometimes bring me to my knees as I’m overwhelmed on occasion with understanding, overwhelmed with thoughts of the burdens others live each day, overwhelmed with the fact that I care and worry more about others than I do myself.
Overwhelmed with being overwhelmed.

So I shall compromise.
Let it go because perhaps, for some unknown reason, it wasn’t meant to be.

Hence, a blog post.
Sure, it’s certainly nothing award winning, but it sure as hell feels good to write something again.
I’ve been lost you see, all summer long I’ve been without direction, without inspiration, my head full of nothing but how to take care of my Dad and his dwindling finances, as well as his fading health.
If I don’t write something down it flees my mind, and even when I do make my numerous lists, like Sisyphus, just when I seem to get to the top of the hill, everything I’ve done rolls right back down, taking me with it.
Yet still, I continue to try.

Soon a day will come when I reach the top of the hill and I will be able to look down and say something I haven’t said in far too long: Life Is Good.
Because contrary to the odds, I still believe that Life Is Good, and I have every intention of proving that to myself.
One way or another.

sisaphus1



{May 15, 2015}   The First Time I Saw Jesus

grotto4
I was eight years old the first time I saw Jesus.
Near the ponds, where I would ice skate whenever they froze solid enough to hold my skinny frame, there was a grove of birch trees set back a bit from the thick cluster of pine surrounding everything , as far as my young eyes could see.
He didn’t speak, at least not out loud. I don’t remember what He said inside my mind because that’s where I heard Him, that’s what it was, a mindmeld. If anyone could mindmeld, surely He could.
I only remember peace. Silent calming peace amidst the wind gusts and stinging hail mixed with small tiny snowflakes blowing sideways. My cheeks were red from the cold, my toes frozen inside my rubber boots and the thermos of hot chocolate my Mom made for me did nothing to warm my mitten-clad hands.
He did though. He glowed, surrounded by bright fluffy white clouds and I felt like I was in a grotto, straight from the pages of one of my books from Catholic School.
The wind stilled, that I remember, but the rest of it remains a dreamlike memory of an eight year old girl seeing Jesus for the first time.
I never told anyone for surely they wouldn’t believe me.
~
I was nine years old the first time I heard Angels sing.
It was the day Bobby Kennedy died. Too young to really understand death except to know it was bad and sad. It was my Godmother’s birthday, how could the day turn into a day of sadness?
It was hot that day and my bedroom was upstairs, an attic converted into two bedrooms, back when air conditioning was for the wealthy, not the middle class.
I lay on my bed, a big box fan aimed at me, too hot to even turn the pages of the book I was reading when I heard the Angels sing.
The sound was glorious, Heavenly, sweeter than the Church Choir I sang with every Sunday. But somehow I knew nobody else could hear it except me. I also knew, believed with all my heart, that the Angels were rejoicing as they escorted Bobby Kennedy to Heaven.
I listened to that unearthly sound and told no-one. Surely they would think I was crazy.
~
I was sixteen years old the first time a vampire snuck into my room.
Some friends and I were vampire hunting. We’d found a business card, slightly crumbled and worn from too many dirty footsteps walking over it as it lay on the ground, partially covered and unnoticed. A corner stuck out, catching my eye and I crouched down to slip it from the dirt. Brushing it off against my already dirty jeans I struggled to read the worn out words imprinted on the card in red. My friends gathered around me as we struggled to see what was left on the card. “Vampire” and “Club” were all we could make out, along with a partial address. Mustering up our courage, we climbed back into the old worn out van we’d been cruising around town in and drove up and down the street listed on the card. The house number wasn’t readable but the neighborhood was beautifully frightening, full of old rundown Victorian houses. Most seemed abandoned and we saw no signs indicating Vampires so we called it a night.
As I hopped out of the van, the streetlight in front of my house popped, making the dark seem darker. We laughed nervously, joking that a vampire must have followed us home to warn us away. I slipped quietly into the house, the sound of my Parents snoring assuring me my missed curfew would go unnoticed, just like the business card we found.
Sleep came quick that night, followed by the vampire. It was summertime, steamy, my skin too clammy for even a sheet. The thought of sleeping naked tempted me but I could imagine, with my luck, the house burning down and me running outside bare-assed.
I fell asleep to the sound of thunder as a summer storm blew in. The white cotton curtains rippled in the breeze and a particularly bright lightening bolt illuminated my bedroom. That’s when I saw him standing at the window. The curtains billowed around him as his eyes pierced mine, beckoning me to come to him.
I found myself sitting on my wicker chair, the loose white cotton shirt I slept in had slipped down leaving my shoulders exposed, showing the silver cross I always wore. I felt no panic, no worry, just a sense of peace as he gently lifted the cross over my head, dropping it on the floor next to me while he stroked my hair, pushing it back before his mouth came down to my neck.
The following morning I awoke in my bed, drained, fatigued, the memory of a vampire in my room vivid, clear, and undeniably real. I checked my neck for any sign of vampire fangs but there was nothing. Although I did notice my cross was no longer around my neck but puddled on the floor next to the white wicker chair I’d been sitting on.

I told no one for surely they would tell me I was only dreaming. The fatigue I felt, the cross on the floor, they told me it was true but I kept quiet.
~
I was eighteen the first time I saw a flying saucer.
Four of us were driving home from a Patti Smith concert in Manhattan, it was New Years Eve but we were all stone cold sober. The roads were empty as it neared the midnight hour and as we drove over the Edison Bridge we saw it. Rising from the Raritan Bay, a round object, approximately the size of a station wagon flew slowly out of the water, red and white lights caused the water dripping from the object to look like falling flames.
We were young and fearless, opening the windows and shouting “take us with you!” as we laughed but we knew what we saw. It was real and seemed to follow us. We drove through Sayreville and parked the car near Major’s Pond, the object still hovering over us.
I don’t remember anything else, just the four of us standing outside the car watching an Unidentified Flying Object rising higher and higher until it disappeared. None of us remember exiting the car, none of us remember how long we stood there, and none of us, to this day, talk about it.
Surely no one would believe us, we were just kids, crazy punk rockers. They would think we must have been drinking or doing drugs, neither of which was true. Yet we knew we wouldn’t be believed and to my knowledge, I’m the only one willing to discuss it.
~
I was in my forties the second time I saw another UFO, this time though, it wasn’t just me and a handful of friends who saw it, but the whole town, including a priest, some policeman, as well as hundreds of cars filled with people who pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike to watch the majestic sight slowly moving in formation, low to the ground.
It was silent as it flew overhead, no crickets chirping, no buzzing of the usually ever-present mosquitos, none of the usual summer night sounds and all plane traffic was non-existent, an unusual occurrence in itself as I live a few miles away from Newark International Airport.
We stood outside on the pool deck, watching the slow glide until it reached a certain point, where it slowly disappeared, what looked like a falling trail of glitter fading as it left our field of vision.
Although we did tell other people about it, and watched and read news stories about it, there were still some doubters who surely thought we were crazy.
~
It was just a few years later the first time I saw a ghost.
In Cape May, known as one of the most haunted towns in New Jersey, my Mother and I were on one of our many Mother/Daughter getaways when it happened.
My memory is unclear and hazy, but my Mother woke up when she heard me talking to someone. “Don’t you see them?” I asked her. I pointed at them, two little children, a boy and a girl, both of them beckoning to me, encouraging me to follow them. Mom had heard me open the door and got up, pulling me back into the room when she found me leaning over the third story railing trying to reach them, to touch them, to follow them. She put me back to bed, as she did when I was a child and we talked about it in the morning over pancakes at Uncle Bills Pancake House. She saw nothing, but she believed me, she believed I saw two ghosts even though she didn’t see them herself.
But I told nobody else, surely they would insist I was in a dream-state, or I was sleepwalking, or it was just my overactive imagination.
~
The last time I saw my Mother she was in the ICU and it was her eighty-forth Birthday. We celebrated in her room with an imaginary candle in her lemon-ice. She told me about the dream she’d had, where she walked into a room and saw my Grandmother and two of her sisters, all deceased. One of her sisters asked her “what are you doing here? you don’t belong here yet”. My heart sank when she described her dream and we laughed it off, “yeah, that sounds like Aunt Jeananne” I said, “she’s just telling you it’s not your time yet.”
The hospital released her the next day, sending her to a rehabilitation center for her broken shoulder.
The following morning I was woken up from a deep sleep when the phone rang. It was a few minutes after five in the morning and they called to tell me my Mother was gone. I argued they were wrong, mistaken, my Mother wouldn’t leave me without saying goodbye.
Unfortunately, I was wrong and she did leave me without saying goodbye.
~
I like to think that day was the first time my Mother saw Jesus.
I like to think she watches over me, sees how much I miss her, how difficult it is for me to move on without her in my life.
I like to think the next time I see Jesus, He will be standing with my Mother, welcoming me home because home is where the heart is and my heart is always with my Mother.
And I don’t care what anyone thinks, because surely I will see her again, and all of this, this life I walk through each day yearning for invisibles will fade away as I move on to something bigger, something better, something understandable that will allow me to forget the forgettable, and instead, finally, I will be able to breathe easy once again.
meeting in heaven2



Mistress on Her KneesMistress on Her Knees by Anastasia Vitsky

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mistress on Her Knees is one of those books that live on in your mind long after you’ve read the last sentence.
I should know, I’ve read it four times already.
Once lovers, Mistress Graciela, a tough professional Domme and young Trinity, used to nothing more than an abusive painful home life, begin a life together. Submissive Trinity and her beloved Domme Graciela’s lives are turned upside down when betrayal steps in.

Ten years later, Trinity is working at The Castle, an exclusive BSDM Club. As Nurse Trinity, no longer submissive, now a Domme herself, Trinity crosses a boundary with submissive Mira (from Mira’s Miracle) and knows the only person in the world who can help her fix it is her ex-lover and Domme, Graciela.
What happens when two headstrong women try to work together to right a wrong, and will they ever be able to re-ignite the flame that never really died? Should they?
The book goes back and forth through time, from when Trinity and Gracie first met to the present, which is something I love.

Anastasia Vitsky is a master at both character and world building. The dialogue is witty and beautifully descriptive, I sometimes forget I’m reading a book and feel like I know these characters.
One of the things I love is the way Ms. Vitsky has her characters from different books interact, she writes in a way that enables you to read a good many of them as stand-alones, but why would you want to? Her characters are rich, real, and makes me wish I had a Trinity and Graciela, a Mira and Hana in my life.

https://governingana.wordpress.com/
Anastasia Vitsky’s blog has some delightful stories continuing more adventures of her characters. Did I mention they’re free 😀 ?
This is an author to keep an eye on. She’s the first f/f author I ever read, she writes in a way that makes me wonder why there are so many categories of books. A great fiction writer is a great fiction writer.
Anastasia Vitsky is a great fiction writer.

hi lovelies, I’ve been in a super-secret bunker trying something called a 2nd draft…but that’s a lame excuse for not writing here, on my girl scout’s honor, I pledge to do my duty and all that, aka writing here and there, here, and there….ok, i’m sorry, because I isually am about something, and remember, support local artists/writers/musicians/local, I just discovered today that there’s websites out there stealing people’s books and selling them at a discount price and that’s bullshit (NSFA!) so knock it off stealers, and buyers, don’t do that, because it’s wrong!
because

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{January 19, 2015}   High School Redux

You. Yeah, you over there. Let go of my Eggo and your Ego.(with a side of fever)

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Yeah, I know, I guess pretty much everyone goes through this phase with the ever-expanding, always-changing, out-of-our-own-control, time-eating cyber-version of high school.
Like most of our high school experiences, it’s a mixture of good and bad but I have to admit, sometimes FB flat out makes me cranky.
I’m happy to be able to talk to Family I haven’t seen since I was in the single digits, good friends I’ve lost contact with as everyone scattered to live their own lives, start their own Families, you know, the good.
Meeting new people I never would have met in real life without Facebook, wonderful people from around the world and sometimes folks who lived in my own town whose paths never crossed mine. Or maybe we never had things in common until we became whoever it is we became.
That’s part of the good.
And then there’s the bad, aka High School Redux, where the same cliques in high school pick up from where they left off and carry on, still forever 17 in their minds.
You know who I’m talking about; those girls who turned their backs on you because you weren’t cool enough to be a cheerleader (somehow it never occurred to them perhaps I didn’t want to be a cheerleader), those same girls stuck in a time-loop as they post pictures of themselves in their cute little Halloween kitty-costumes that are no longer flattering but dammit, they’re divorced and the zillionth class reunion is around the corner and “sigh, maybe he’ll be there and this time I’ll get the football hero…sigh…”.
Selfie-Queens who post pictures of themselves like it’s a popularity contest and they aren’t satisfied until they get 1000 ‘likes’ from 1000 strangers feeding their ego.
As you may have picked up, I’m not big on the whole selfie thing.
Maybe I’m camera shy. Maybe I don’t want to splatter my ‘wall’ with pictures of me. Maybe I don’t have an out of control ego that needs to be fed on a constant basis. (No, I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about you.)
Whatever the reason, I don’t really care to be the center of attention which is a weird thing for a lead singer to say. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, in fact I love seeing photographs of my friends and Family, I love seeing pictures of new people I’ve ‘met’ and learning more about them and their lives.
But it’s just part of my personality to observe, stay in the background and figure things out, fill my mind with stuff so I can spew my own words onto the paper/screen.
My lack of selfies has been commented on (behind my back of course, just like high school) by a girl who was once my BFF until we lost touch. She has decided I put up pictures of myself like “those girls who hide behind their hair so you can’t see their face”. Apparently, this once-former model, who used to worship my every move, has no use for me anymore because she looked at my political leanings and decided I’m scum.
I’ve been stalked, hacked, backstabbed, ignored, you know, just like high school.
That’s the bad part.
I guess in the long run, the good outweighs the bad because I’ve ‘met’ some of the most awesome people anyone could hope to ‘meet’.
Maybe I’m just playing favorites because I rather spend more time here at WordPress than Facebook, or maybe I’m just cranky because my cold turned into bronchitis which translates into a good couple weeks of me being sick.
And I’m cranky because even though I’ve been writing every day I’ve been saving everything to draft instead of posting like I should.
I wonder if the 17 phone calls a day from my Dad has anything to do with my bad moody?
Or I’m picking on Facebook because I sometimes let it eat too much of my time, and I also know that FB can cause a lot of destruction to real-life life when it turns into the high school cafeteria and I’m standing alone with a full tray and nowhere to sit.
Maybe it bugs me to realize someone I once traded secrets with is now as one dimensional as a photograph.
Yeah, I’m a weirdo, an outcast, a rebel without a cause and plain old stubborn. And yeah, I really don’t like to have my picture taken, I prefer to be the one taking the pictures and capturing the moment, not because I’m trying to hide behind my hair, not because I don’t look good in pictures and don’t spend money on cosmetic surgery in a desperate attempt to look forever 17. But because I’m beautiful just as I am, as we (almost) all are, inside and out.
And the fact that I know this to be true will not be rattled by the words of someone who is still living mentally in high school.
I know who I am.
And thankfully, dearest readers, so do you.
And since we’re on the subject of high school and pictures, here’s me when I was a senior in high school, not hiding behind hair. I’d put a ‘selfie’ taken right this very second, but I think that means the terrorist win.
Or something like that.
I was 18, cut me some slack!



{January 1, 2015}   Another Year, Another Year

buffyme2
Buffy: I got nothing left to lose.” Whistler:”Wrong kid, you got one more thing.”
~
It’s always the same.
The buildup now begins before Halloween, by the time Christmas arrives we are exhausted.
Then we have New Years Eve.
For the most part, we women are not only expected to make sure everything, and I mean everything is done the way we’re expected to have everything done. Usually without direction, lists, suggestions, and , oh yeah, help. (Yes, dear husband, you do help me and no, I’m not talking about you. Ahem.)
Now where were we?
Expectations.
We all have them.
We really shouldn’t.
Until we can truly walk a mile (or a day) in someone else’s shoes, no matter how much we do or do not communicate, we will never live up to someone else’s expectations. Never.
We can turn ourselves inside out and it still won’t happen.
Because we are who we are.
And until people stop expecting others to be exactly what they think we should be, we will fail them every single time.
This year, I will do my best to stop expecting anything, from anybody.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the friends and family I have, but it’s been made painfully clear, especially in the last year or so, when it comes down to it, I really am all I have.
And in the interest of full disclosure, I do pretend I’m not all I have, but let’s just keep that between us, okay?
buffyme1

Angelus: No weapons, no friends, no hope. Take all that away, and what’s left?Buffy: Me.



et cetera