Friends

I Don’t Know How to Do This: aka, How ’bout them Mets

Table for One

Table for One

Like any good New Yorker, I’m no stranger to angst and internal conflict.  But damn, this fall–barely begun–and I already feel like I’ve never been so conflicted outside of my navel gazing sessions.  Obviously, I’m talking about this election cycle.  I’m sick of this, everywhere you look it’s been all-Trump all-the-time for a year already.  Again, New Yorker here, I was sick of Trump and his unique brand of gild and tarnish long before he officially threw his hat in the ring.  Mrs Fringe, while always intended to cover relevant political discussions, wasn’t meant to be a political blog.  But how can we not discuss this?  And therein lies the problem.  How will I sit across the dinner table from friends who support/supported Trump without a) puking and b) having my head explode?

Let’s start with an olive tray.

As any regular readers know, I’ve always prided myself on choosing not to live in an echo chamber, having friends with a variety of beliefs, lifestyles, and values.  It’s a good thing, keeps me thinking, keeps me making informed decisions, not just spouting rhetoric. Now, though, now I’m questioning this.  I’d like to interject one thought here, I have some friends on the left who are painting Trump supporters with the proverbial broad brush, “evangelical right wingers.” For the most part, in terms of people I actually know, that isn’t who I’m seeing supporting him.  I’m not religious, but have friends who are devout, and they will not support Trump because they see him as the antithesis of religious values.  I see him and the Trump/Pence ticket as the antithesis of any value system that prizes humanity, let alone ethics.

Amuse-bouche of fried tofu with truffle oil

Putting aside bombastic slogans about making America great again, let’s take a look at Trump and Pence, what each of them stands for, things they’ve said and done.  Donald Trump continually makes misogynistic statements about women.  When these types of statements are made over and over again, he didn’t misspeak, these are his beliefs.  He thought he should be lauded for not attacking Hillary Clinton because of her husband’s extramarital shenanigans.  During the debate.  I guess I’m slow, because I just don’t see how this has anything to do with the qualifications of Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States, or her policy positions.   Yesterday, we got to hear about this little gem.  Oh yes, let’s expand rape culture by voting into the office of President a man who believes mauling women is his right.  Because money, and dangly bits.  He believes Planned Parenthood, an organization that he admits helps millions of women, should be defunded.  The only logical conclusion I can make here is that he doesn’t want women to be helped.  Or healthy.  Of course, let’s not forget his quote that women who have abortions should be punished.  Pence, of course, isn’t just talking, he has a track record, strongly pro-life, his record includes restricting women’s rights in Indiana, he is strongly pro-life, has also voted against stem cell research, and voted against 4 weeks of paid family leave for federal employees.

Carrot and ginger soup garnished with slivers of pickled pig snout

One social area where Trump isn’t completely awful is gay rights.  But don’t breathe that sigh of relief just yet, first take a long hard look at Mike Pence.  The man who voted “no” on enforcing anti-gay hate crimes. My personal favorite *gag* is his history of advocating for tax dollars to fund conversion therapy. Yanno, that debunked, bullshit pseudoscience that claims gay people can be “reformed.”

Frisee salad, wilted with grapefruit sections and broccoli rabe–because this dinner can’t be too bitter.

Trump is a proponent of racial profiling.  Despite actual evidence, he thinks stop and frisk is fabulous; again, something he wants to expand. What’s that, he’s not racist? I’m being too politically correct?  Claimed a judge would be biased because of the judge’s Mexican heritage, has been sued more than once for not renting to black people, failed to reject the support of the Klu Klux Klan.  He’s still blahblahblah about that hypothetical wall between us and the Mexican border (worked so well for Berlin), he wants to ban Muslim immigrants, and from his plexiglass, gold-plated bubble, “Syrian refugees are a Trojan horse,” because helping desperate, starving people trying to live and be free to practice their religion and work is not the American way.  Owait.  Yup, must be me, he isn’t racist at all.

Roasted boar with red beans, oranges and bok choy

Trump thinks not paying federal taxes makes him smart.  Hmm.  In some respects, as a businessman, I suppose it certainly does make him savvy.  But the position of President isn’t equivalent to CEO, it’s about representing the interests of the people of our so-called democracy, not further lining his pockets.  Please, someone explain to me how anyone can believe Trump supports veterans and the military when he believes not paying the taxes that fund veterans and the military is something to brag about.  When he continually disparages the sacrifices made by veterans and their families? He says “no one respects us,” in reference to other countries.  I can certainly see the US losing respect by the day, the longer Trump has supporters.

Buccatini with parmesan and rainbow peppercorns

What’s that, dear?  Oh, jobs, yes, Trump will bring back all the jobs.  And that, after all, is a real concern for real Americans, not theoretical loss of civil rights, we’re worried about our paychecks.  And he’s a businessman.  Oh yes, his successful businesses with multiple bankruptcy filings, that is an excellent model for the United States.  His long history of reneging on contracts, not paying contractors the agreed upon fees.  What? You think I will address (again) his lies about bringing manufacturing jobs back to America when his own companies continue to exploit tax loopholes by manufacturing their products outside of the US?  Mike Pence believes those pesky regulatory burdens are economy killers?  No worries, we’re having a civilized dinner, imaginary dishes to go with all these imaginary jobs.

Aged gouda with smoked pepitas and macadamias 

Both Trump and Pence dislike the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), and would love the opportunity to repeal it.  It certainly is far from perfect, I can agree, but it’s a whole lot better than what we had before, with millions more people uninsured and people who wanted health insurance unable to get any because of preexisting conditions.  Mike Pence has voted No on giving mental health full equity with physical health, voted No on expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program, voted Yes on denying non-emergency treatment for lack of Medicare Co-Pay.  Oh yes, this is exactly who we need.  Yesterday I read about this incident.  Certainly, it wasn’t Trump or Pence who sent this epileptogenic video to this journalist with epilepsy–but I didn’t hear them immediately denouncing it, either.  Epilepsy, a potentially fatal disorder that has its own place at the dinner table in my home.  Talk about triggers– I read that article and flashed on every time I’ve watched my daughter turn gray and stop breathing.  Life and health are overrated, aren’t they?  Unless of course you’re male, white and wealthy enough that you can pay out of pocket for any and all health expenses.  If you’re fortunate enough not to have extensive experience with health care costs, let me tell you, someone has to be extraordinarily wealthy to pay out of pocket, working class/middle class won’t cut it.

Apple pie in lard crust with salep dondurma and espresso

Sorry, I don’t have the patience for a twenty-three course meal, and if I tried to hit all of the important positions this post would be 14,000 words long.  The offerings in my imaginary meal are bizarre, you didn’t imagine it.  They reflect the bizarre twists and justifications I’m seeing in defense of Trump and in defense of Trump supporters.  Over the last few days, I’ve heard a lot of talk from friends who lean left (the way I do) as they try to preserve friendships by tempering statements about “deplorables” by saying they don’t believe all Trump supporters are deplorable, they’re regular people who are nice, just afraid or misguided.  I understand that.  I don’t have that many friends, the majority of those friendships I have are treasured, steeped in mutual history, shared experiences and laughter.  But when someone supports Trump, and I think of my dinner table, I lose my appetite.  Who sits at my dinner table?  My family, my in-laws, my friends.  A diverse group that includes people of many ethnic backgrounds, skin colors, socio-economic status, varying faiths and lack thereof, different sexual orientations, differently abled.  When you support Trump, you are making a public statement that you don’t believe women are human beings, equal in any way to men, let alone entitled to feel physically safe. When you support Trump, you are saying you don’t believe in gay rights.  When you support Trump, you are saying you don’t believe people of color are deserving of the same respect and opportunities, the same safety, as white people.  When you support Trump, you are saying you don’t believe my daughter or my husband deserve to have health insurance.  You are saying it’s a-okay for my loved ones to leave my dinner table and be stopped and frisked, threatened, harassed, for daring to have lives.

This isn’t like any other election year, the Trump/Pence ticket isn’t like any other Republican offering.  You don’t get to say, “well, I like his tax plan,” and ignore the complete lack of humanity, lack of integrity, ignore his intention to repeal the rights of everyone who doesn’t think and act like Trump, repeal freedom of the press under the guise of calling out “mainstream media bias.”  If you are supporting Trump/Pence, you are allying yourself with the ticket supported by the KKK.  Think about that, the motherfucking Klu Klux Klan.  We are the company we keep.

Yesterday’s Yesterdays

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The other night I went for dinner with a friend I haven’t seen in (well) over twenty-five years.  I’ll admit to being a bit, umm, nervous? before going.  Completely silly, because I was the one who initiated the plans, but there you have it.  What would I say? Talk about? Edit? Would she roll her eyes as I yacked about my non-writing, much as I was determined to not talk about it?  Would the evening be a minefield of awkward pauses, as I thought about all. the. things. it would be best not to discuss?  Would I recognize her (also silly, I’ve seen the Facebook photos)? As it turns out, I knew it was her from a block away, and she told me I haven’t changed. Aah, the beauty of aging vision.  In any case it was a lovely evening and we gabbed for a solid four hours.

In keeping with the week’s theme of living in the past, pretending Nerd Child is not headed to college in three days, we went to New York’s Ren Faire yesterday.  Because we are a family of nerds, this is something we’ve always enjoyed, and it’s been several years since all five of us were able to attend together.  Who am I kidding, I love this freaking event, I don’t go “for the kids” and if I had the money I’d go every year–several times. Though not one of those who go and camp for the season.  Mostly because

Privy my left foot, I know a port-a-potty when I smell one.

Privy my left foot, I know a port-a-potty when I smell one.

Why do I love this bit of nonsense?  It doesn’t make sense, I couldn’t even read historical romance (when I read romance) because I couldn’t get past thinking about things like lice and scabies and body odor and the lack of indoor plumbing in days of yore.  Seriously, imagine what that knight smelled like when he removed his armor. I’m thinking weeping, festering body sores.

Still, it’s a romanticized era, with heroes and fantasy blended together (because so much fantasy is set in a fictionalized medieval-like setting), fancy feathers and dresses wrapped in great gusts of dust and mead.

It’s true, the fantasy aspect in these fairs is stretched to the limits, and while some of the booths and displays, and actors work hard to achieve authenticity along with comedy, you definitely don’t attend for the historical accuracy.

leather breastplates sold next to

leather breastplates sold next to

pirate costumes next to

pirate costumes next to

bet you never knew renaissance royalty liked a good pho with their turkey legs

bet you never knew renaissance royalty liked a good pho with their turkey legs

camel rides. They gave every camel a break after each ride around the ring. This guy was having the best time playing with his hay.

camel rides. They gave every camel a break after each ride around the ring. This guy was having the best time playing with his hay.

I need a dragon. To keep my unicorn company, of course.

I need a dragon. To keep my unicorn company, of course.

All kinds of crazy, fun, and interesting sights.

We spent quite a while watching the glass blowing demonstration.

We spent quite a while watching the glass blowing demonstration.

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Pickle vending pirate?

Pickle vending pirate?

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Man Child spent a long time speaking with the blacksmith.

Man Child spent a long time speaking with the blacksmith.

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I finally realized what the magic is for me, as I was talking to Man Child.  Sure, many of the actors, attendees, and vendors are young and beautiful in the modern way–after all, it’s roughly 600,000° in that heat and it’s a seasonal gig for the majority.

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Hell, the women at the booth selling hair ties downwind of the camel ring should be getting hazard pay.  Many attendees go in costume, and there’s something about being there that makes people who are otherwise sensible decide that it’s completely appropriate to spend $3-800 on a full costume.  That said, everyone is beautiful at the fair.  Much like my Brooklyn beach, you can feel it as you walk around–everyone feels beautiful.  Young, old, skinny, heavy, doesn’t matter. Full figured women are sensual, middle-aged men who haven’t seen a gym since their high school days in chain mail buying swords; if you haven’t had your wrinkles stapled into your hairline, if life has left you a bit ragged, well, so much the better as you shout, “Huzzah!”

What the Hell Did I Just Do?!

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I’m two days away from my four year blog-o-versary.  I love blogging, more than I ever expected to, and for more reasons than I had imagined possible.  One of those reasons involves the connections with others, and the occasional, amazing notes I receive from readers–some who I know from other forums, others I don’t know at all.

As discussed ad nauseam, I’m fortunate to have a wonderfully supportive group of online friends.  One of those friends sent me a lovely message after reading my last post.  Not a Fringeling, she read the post after another mutual friend shared it. In her note, she asked if I had ever considered writing a novel, and I debated an appropriate response.  Laugh? Cry? Slit my wrists and bleed into the keyboard?  I thanked her for her support, gave a way too long response of my history of writing woes, and obsessed over her thoughts for the rest of the day.  Mentioned it to one of my writing friends, who promptly told me this was a gentle nudge from the universe.  It’s nice to have friends with a glass-half-full outlook, my take was this was the universe reopening wounds I’ve been trying to keep closed.

What does this have to do with anything?  The following morning, I received an “invite” (one of those Facebook invite thingies) to a reading, sent by another friend.  I clicked on the invite, and in addition to the published authors reading, the evening includes open mic time slots.  Not to be all metaphysical and shit, but the two incidents happening so close together did seem like some type of universal body check.  I considered.  I could do this.  Could I do this? What would I read?  Is there an actual mic involved? I’m fine with speaking in front of people, but not when I have to speak into a microphone.  Surely there’s a long list of items I’d be better served spending $8 on.  How long is six minutes, anyway?  I asked Nerd Child the last question, he’s the one with public speaking experience.  Hmmm, six minutes would eliminate any of the shorts I’ve got here on the blog, which was my original thought.  I think.  Unless I just read an excerpt.  Why would I do this?  I could just go, see a friend I haven’t connected with in a long time, support my friend’s friend, have a nice grownup evening, a couple of drinks, and bemoan my lack of legitimacy.

Husband woke early today, and was sitting at the table so I mentioned it to him.  He, of course, said, do it.  Holy fuck, I did it.  Bought a ticket including a time slot to read.  I think.  Maybe I clicked the wrong box.  Maybe they’ll sell too many of those tickets and I’ll be bounced, since I’m not a real writer, no pub credits.  But what if I clicked the right box, and I’m not bounced?  What the hell am I going to read?

I’ve got three weeks to decide what to read.  Three weeks to chicken out.

What did I just do, and why?

Imaginary Friends

Mystery flower. I've got a whole container of these very real flowers, planted by an imaginary gardener.  Or the seeds dropped by the bluejay who comes to visit.

Mystery flower. I’ve got a whole container of these, planted by an imaginary gardener.

We all have those friends, who you meet and connect with, where within a short time you can’t imagine your life if you hadn’t met–but you know life would have been different; poorer, tea from a twice-used tea bag.  I have a garden of friends like those, a veritable field of wildflowers, though most of our shared tears, laughter, arguments, and wine have been cyber in nature.

I hate those memes that go around, the articles about clever art installations mocking our dependence on the internet and smartphones.  Do we miss the point, the moment, are we hiding behind our keyboards?  Maybe, sometimes.  But often we’re connecting, building new friendships and learning about points of view we wouldn’t otherwise see.  Those memes dismiss the relationships, the access to viewpoints and information that broaden our worlds.  They negate the very real support.

My first full online experience  was a forum where I met other parents dealing with the same issues as I was, asking the same questions, feeling the same fears and frustrations, laughing at the same gallows humor, sharing dreams, hopes, denial and acceptance.  Equally important were the adults I met in that forum who themselves had the disorder.  Also asking questions, sharing information, making jokes and living their lives.  If memory serves, before then my internet experience was limited to brief jaunts with Ask Jeeves.  Since then, I’ve been a member of several online communities with various special interests, and made some friends along the way in all of them.  But that first forum was special.  What a shock it was for me to discover not all forums were as wonderfully accepting and supportive, with statements carefully phrased so as not to be misconstrued and questions framed to help gather information, not attack.

Maybe the stars were aligned and the moon was in the seventh house, I don’t know.  What I do know is that we formed a tight, tight group that remains intact to this day, though none of us actually use that forum anymore.  We’ve supported each other through medical tests, diagnoses, hospitalizations, dance recitals, IEP meetings, divorces, jobs, life.  We’ve discussed fears of seizures being misinterpreted by overenthusiastic and undereducated police.  Many of us have been fortunate enough to meet a few face to face.  Imaginary friends who send real gifts, offer real advice, real laughter, provide an army of support to each other though various challenges.

Our children are ours.  Face to face or not, we’ve cheered successes and cried over setbacks, we’ve watched each other’s children grow.  Our online village.  Our community, not dissimilar to being a member of any minority group.  But not all of our children grow up.  Some have children that mature and leave home, some have children that will never be independent.   A few have children who have died, or will die.  Sometimes this is known well in advance, sometimes not.  We lost one of ours this weekend.  I’m not specifically close with this mom, she isn’t one of the women I formed a relationship with over and above our common bond, but her daughter was one of ours.

Imagine SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, what used to be called crib death) being a risk forever.  Imagine a life where there is no age where the doctor says you don’t have to worry about that for your child anymore.  In our world that’s called SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy).  Certainly not a common risk, but one that’s all too real.  I’m tempted to say it’s the fear and knowledge of SUDEP that brought our group so close together, but I don’t think so.  Many of us didn’t even know this existed until we were years into our common journey.

Imaginary friends?  Maybe, but much like the mysterious life in my planter, the flowers that have bloomed, flowers of laughter, love, tears, and mourning–are very real.

Rest in peace, sweet girl.

 

 

What Time Is It?

Bottle without a message

Bottle without a message

Time for Mrs Fringe to have the first beach day of the season to herself.  I feel pretty lucky to have kiddos that recognize my particular brand of lunacy requires both beach time and occasional time by myself.  So the other day–the day before the girl’s last day of school– I checked the weather (iffy, which made it perfect to not bring Art Child), packed my bottle of frozen water, bleach-stained oversized towel, my trusty black and white composition notebook (just in case I should be inspired to write, hah!) and got on the train.

At first it seemed like the iffy weather prediction was completely wrong.  A bit of wind, but blue skies and sun all the way.  A bit more wind.  Eh, the sand scraping across my skin is free exfoliation.  I can be freckled and have a youthful glow!  Before two hours had passed, I found myself wondering how long I could lie there with sand blowing straight up my nose before I suffocated.  I gave up.  Took my towel and headed back toward the train.  While I stood on the boardwalk shaking out my towel, I thought of the many times I had gone to the beach in my angsty teen years, shivering in out-of-season winds while sitting on the rocks writing horribly overwrought poetry.  For some reason I also remembered going with my mother to the “big girl’s” shop on Coney Island Avenue, to buy housedresses for a relative in California, while my father sat in the car outside, grumbling about muumuus.  Shh, it’s a secret, don’t tell anyone.  For my mother, the secret was that this glamorous, beautiful cousin was a “big girl.”  For me, the secret was she wore house dresses in her home that seemed like a mansion compared to our semi-detached brick two family house.  For the love of God, she had gotten three thousand miles away from there, didn’t she know there was a reason they didn’t sell those polyester monstrosities in Southern California?

It’s a funny thing.  When I was growing up, I couldn’t wait to “escape” South Brooklyn.  Seriously, it was like living the script of Saturday Night Fever, those bridges and tunnels represented everything.  I’m a cynical gal and always was, but I can and do certainly look back and realize my rose-colored glasses were firmly in place, like most other young people.  If I lived in the city (people who live in the outer boroughs refer to Manhattan as “the city,” regardless of the fact that it’s all five boroughs that make up NYC), life would be different.  I would be free, not trapped, living the life I always wanted.  You know, in a cold dark garret, chain smoking clove cigarettes while scribbling the great American novel.  Manhattan/Paris, Nineteenth Century/Twenty-First Century–it’s all the same thing, right? I’d be living the dream.  Regardless, I certainly wouldn’t spend twenty years dodging PTA meetings and worrying about doctor’s appointments.  Whatever happened, I would never find myself back in Brooklyn.  Most of all, I would never, ever wear a housedress.

So what do I do now with every opportunity on beautiful (or iffy) summer days?  Hop on the train and go over the bridge back to the Brooklyn, of course.  Just the beach, but.  No matter how many times I’ve gone back, no matter that it’s been a firm part of my summer routine for eons, I have to laugh at myself.  The first couple of times I went back, I wondered if I would run into anyone I knew.  Never have.  Who knows, maybe I’ve been towel to towel with someone who graduated from high school with me and neither of us recognized the other.  I quickly stopped thinking about it.  The realities of living in a city so densely populated is that I have people who live on the same floor of my building that I don’t see for months, sometimes years, at a time.

This winter I reconnected with an old high school friend, through Facebook.  She left Brooklyn before I did, and it turns out she too, is back in NY, living in a different borough.  We briefly talked about meeting up, but it hasn’t happened.  What would I say, without judiciously chosen and edited photos to represent my life?  Badge of honor, I’ve never worn a housedress!  Still, I found myself on Brighton Beach Avenue before I got on the train, looking at my favorite (cheapest) variety store running a going-out-of-business sale, and wondered if I had $5 on me.

A dollar short, story of my life.

A dollar short, story of my life.

Pocket Full of

Heads up!

Heads up!

Not enough days have felt like it, but it is spring.  Not the prettiest one I’ve seen here in the city. With so many cold days, and then several stormy ones, quit a few trees and flowers lost their blossoms before they fully bloomed.  Still, if you look, there they are.

I love flowers.  Hokey, I know.  Spring always tempts me with the flower arrays in front of bodegas everywhere.  Tulips, hyacinths, daisies, or carnations, they all look beautiful and hopeful. Speaking of hope, it looks like at least a few of the things I planted will survive.  I know I’m not ever going to be serious about gardening because I’ve reached the point where I have to remind myself to check and water the things–as opposed to checking four times a day.  It’s exciting when the first bits of green poke through the dirt.

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Now let me know when there’s something lovely to smell.

I’ve had cut flowers on my table the past several weeks.  First, Fatigue bought me a bouquet.  When those died I bought tulips and hyacinths.  The other day, I dragged Husband to the grocery store, so he could drag me up and down the aisles (yup, still limping along, not always steady). He headed straight for the olive bar and I said, ooh, look at the flowers! Maybe they have something on sale–we were at Whole Paycheck, the cut flowers are more than pricey. “Why do you buy those things? They just die.”

I know, he isn’t the only one with that philosophy.  And it is a line of thinking I usually agree with.  Flowers on the table are silly, frivolous. In general, I’m a practical old broad. But, much like the tank, it makes me smile to look over and see a burst of living color–and yes, I’ll be frank, they smell better.

Yah, yah, I can walk a couple of blocks and see this:

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In front of the hospital where I’m going for PT I see this:

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But having them in the house, I feel this:

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I didn’t buy any flowers in the grocery store, there were none in budget.  My plan was to pick some up later on.  It didn’t happen, but that’s ok, because Fatigue came over later that evening with a bottle of wine and

Spider mums!

Spider mums!

The other day, I was wondering if I’m blogged out.  I’ve done a lot of rambling here in Fringeland, ruminating and ranting. Is it time for a hiatus?  Nope.  Good or bad, the silly short-sweet life of flowers or angst about the world we live in, I still have quite a bit to say.

 

 

Is It Over Yet?

I ate all the fruit, I must be healed by now.

I ate all the fruit, I must be healed by now.

Isn’t that the loveliest fruit basket?  Sent to me by a friend, and it didn’t have strawberries, so I was actually able to eat it.

I’m working hard on staying, well, if not positive, at least fatalistic. Yanno: life happens, accidents happen, what can you do, blah blah, blah.  And in the scheme of things, I was lucky.  I fell forwards instead of backwards, which would have been worse for my back, and most certainly would have cracked my skull, thick as it is.  Nerd Child has been home this week (Spring Break), a huge bonus, getting Art Child to and from school, keeping me company, and generally helping out.

Art Child has been feeding the tank, and Husband and Nerd Child even got the water change done yesterday, so the fishes and corals are taken care of. I think Little Incredibly Dumb Dog has given up hope that she’ll ever be taken for a walk again.  I’ll just be grateful for pee pads, and she’s learning to enjoy sitting on the terrace.

No, I haven’t written anything, still feeling scattered and shattered.  Unless checking my Submittable submissions and lurking on the writing website counts–in which case, I’ve been hugely productive.

I’m impatient, and refuse to believe a multi-fractured pelvis is going to hurt for as long and be as much of a nuisance as predicted.  Every night I go to bed thinking, tomorrow I’m going to feel much better. By yesterday I was feeling fairly blue about the whole thing, and then Husband came upstairs with a package that had been left with the doorman for me.

I have the best friends.

I have the best friends.

Seriously. The best friends ever. This was sent by a friend who is laid up herself, how incredibly generous is this?! Chocolate heals all, doesn’t it?  It has calcium, that has to go a long way towards getting my bones back where they belong.

So yeah, my everything still hurts, and the road to recovery is longer than I want to admit, but the support, check-ins, and well wishes (along with the above treats) from friends is greater. Thank you!!

 

You Move Too Fast

Just kickin' down the cobble stones

Just kickin’ down the cobble stones

Feeling groovy yet?

Last week was hectic for me.  Lots of running back and forth combined with crappy weather. The cherry on top involved the delays and rerouting of the train Saturday morning while I tried to get Art Child to her art class.  On time was blown by the time the train arrived, it was a scramble and bonus cab fare to get her there before her class left for their field trip. Luckily it started snowing after I did my shopping, so by the time I walked into the lobby of my building, the handles of the grocery bag tore off.  I didn’t really need the entire dozen eggs, did I?

I declared yesterday a day of rest.  For me, anyway.  Prepped breakfast the night before, and Husband ordered and picked up a birthday cake for Man Child’s girlfriend.  Also, the night before.  If you haven’t ever had Dominican cake, I recommend it highly.  Extra heavy, often sold in terms of how many pounds (as opposed to inches) and yet delicious.

Over the top in every way, but worth it.

Over the top in every way, and so worth it.

These can be found and purchased in certain neighborhood bakeries, but the best ones come from an abuelita’s kitchen.  The drawback to this is they often aren’t available in the summer–these little inner city kitchens get hot, and you’re getting whatever decorations and colors they feel are appropriate.  Oh yeah, sometimes they don’t have anything to contain it.

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Did I mention the icing is not so much frosting as it is meringue?

Did I mention the icing is not so much frosting as it is meringue?

Yup, Husband walked in Saturday night with a 7 pound, 26″ round frilled and frosted cake. No box. I don’t have a container large enough.  I checked the cake domes, my Tupperware cupcake transporter-thingie, I even checked the Thanksgiving roasting pan. Needless to say, it sat on Husband’s desk overnight, and I encouraged an early cake cutting in the morning.  “Hurry up and finish your hash browns, Miss Music–it’s time for your cake!”  

The best part is the guayaba in between the layers. Some misguided souls think pineapple is an acceptable alternative.  Trust Mama Fringe, guava is the way to go.

I stayed in pj’s for most of the day, consumed enough sugar to get me off the couch and down to the laundry room–did only enough laundry to be sure clean underwear can be found this week. A perfectly slow Sunday crowned by the divine absurdism of Shameless.  Appropriate, no?

Pack Up Your Troubles

and let the Weeping Buddha absorb your sorrows.

and let the Weeping Buddha absorb your sorrows.

I’ve read different origin stories for this symbol.  Some say he’s weeping for the troubles of the world, and then absorbing them, others that it represents Buddha as warrior, crying for the son he just killed. The most frequent I hear is that this is a later, more modern invention, and never part of the original Buddha texts/stories–because Buddha was beyond sorrow.  That said, I love the idea, to touch his back, and allow the Weeping Buddha to absorb your sorrows, so you can move on. The thing is, day to day problems (real or created) and sadness feel so very personal and isolating, and in my mind the statue represents letting go of that, to connect with others, because, well, Buddha. He’s been on my “list,” you know, the unending, imaginary list of things I’d like to have.  Well, yesterday I received a package in the mail from a beautiful friend, and there he was.  Thank you!

By yesterday morning I was tired of sulking. I finally finished and emailed a critique I had promised weeks ago, spent some time with Man Child and his friend Miss Music, made a favorite comfort dish for dinner (spaghetti with broccoli, chick peas, and capers), touched base with a writing friend I haven’t spoken with for a while, and began making some notes for a short story I’ve been thinking about.

So. Today is Friday, always a good thing. I think I’m good to meet Fatigue this evening for Friday Night Madness, even better.  And while I had my coffee, I was able to enjoy a beautiful sunrise with Art Child.

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And a little fusion, for your listening pleasure:

French Toast and Friends

Soaking

Soaking

I hope all the Fringelings and anyone visiting Fringeland is having a lovely holiday season.

I think many of us have that tradition.  That one tradition that doesn’t have anything to do with gifts or how good the year was or wasn’t, it just symbolizes how you and yours see the holidays.  In our house it’s Christmas French Toast.  I make the custard and slice the bread on Christmas Eve, set it all to soak overnight in the fridge, to be popped into the oven and baked while we open gifts in the morning.  Regardless of individual tastes, allergies, dietary restrictions, we all eat it, we all like it, and no matter what else I include for breakfast I make enough to feed a battalion. Something about is the perfect blend of comfort food and special occasion. Some years we have several visitors in the early part of the day and it all goes, other years we have leftovers for the next couple of days.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about last year at this time.  I was still finishing up Astonishing. I made New Year’s resolutions.  I was hopeful.  I spend a lot of time–and have posted about it several times– thinking about hope vs acceptance.  I don’t think the two can be separated, they’re a pair, they balance each other.  This year, today, I’m more about acceptance.  Continuing to work on finding peace within balance.

I began Mrs Fringe from hope.  Hope of connecting, hope of writing regularly. Over the past year, I’ve expanded the blog to include some of my fiction (links to pages above). Still hope, but also acceptance of this is where I am, and where, for now, I have readers.  Thank you.

I’ve also been indulging in my other pre-New Years tradition.  Panic.  This was an expensive year, moving to the larger apartment.  I am grateful, every day, that we were able to do this, that we have more space, that I’m sitting and writing this at my own desk! and of course, the unnatural love and appreciation I have for the dishwasher.  But the money seemed to fly off the balcony, chasing the blue jay who pops over to the balcony each morning for a quick hello.  He’s yet to stay long enough for me to snap a photo. I turn back with the camera, and am left swearing he was just there. Much like looking into my empty wallet.

Christmas morning I was awake early.  I’d say too early, but it wasn’t because it gave me an hour to sit with these.

Don't come to Fringeland expecting marble countertops.

Don’t come to Fringeland expecting marble countertops.  1960’s formica all the way!

Yessssss

Yessssss

The book and the mug were gifted by friends (both of whom I met online) who’ve spent time with my family and in my home, who know me well enough to give me this peaceful hour of feeling acceptance is a fine place to be. A gift I received from another wonderful friend the day before Christmas Eve: hope.  And faith. By choice or by circumstance, I know many who live and live well without relatives, but I don’t know any who live well without friends.

And because my glass box is my ultimate symbol of hope, Husband and Art Child braved the traffic and got me a few new underwater friends.

orange plate coral

orange plate coral, isn’t he beautiful?

montipora capricornus frag

montipora capricornus frag

blue acro frag

blue acropora frag

I’ll be home on New Year’s Eve.  Too many drunk people roaming the streets and cheering make me nervous. That isn’t to say it won’t be an exciting evening. Husband has the day/evening off from work, Man Child will be returning from his holiday travels–stepping off a thirty hour train ride–Nerd Child will be recovering from oral surgery, and Art Child will be thrilled to have both of her brothers home at once, even if they’re snoring the evening away.  Sounds perfect to me.

So no resolutions for me this year, other than to continue trying to find that balance.

I’m wishing all of you peace for the New Year.