BY suzy

05/01 Direct Link
I'm not usually a big fan of call waiting. Whatís wrong with getting a busy signal and calling back? However, yesterday I was glad I had it, because it allowed a wonderful coincidence: I was talking to one sister, when the other one called! Two sisters, two countries, what's a girl to do? The decision was taken out of my hands by my older sis, who said she'd call me back in half an hour, when I would have finished talking with my younger sis.

Sometimes it's good to be in the middle. And it's always good to have sisters.

05/02 Direct Link
Through the open kitchen door, I listen to the birds while Iím making dinner. The gulls scream, wheeling overhead, their greedy yellow eyes sweeping the ground, seeking their own dinner. I can hear the baby swallows in their nest, perched precariously on the fire escape above my door, peeping hungrily for their dinner. Chickadees call out their name, the same way they did when I was a child: ďChickadee-dee-dee!Ē, and I am as enchanted now as I was then. A pigeon alights in the courtyard, huffing deeply, like the bass line in the birdsí song, puffing up his iridescent feathers.
05/03 Direct Link
My beloved stepmother turns 80 today. I wish I could be with her in her big house in Wimbledon, have a big party in the garden and celebrate this milestone. She is an inspiration to me: beautiful, elegant, courageous, having both street smarts and book smarts, an indefatigable spirit and a loving heart. She always treated us like her own children, and she gave Dad the happiest years of his life. I will always be grateful to her for that, and I will always love and admire her. Itís an honor to know her and be her friend. Sheís amazing.
05/04 Direct Link
I skip work to go sailing. I feel the same way I did when I skipped school on the first beautiful day of spring, the first day that was so beautiful its charms couldnít be resisted or wasted in a classroom. I practically skip down to the pier, and jump aboard my friendís sailboat. She was built in Holland in the 1920ís and is a beauty. He has sailed her to Mexico. As we pass the breakwater and enter the bright blue bay, the wind fills the sails and we skim across the water. I feel completely free, completely happy.
05/05 Direct Link
What a pleasure to spend a bright new spring day with a dear old friend! We stroll down the street together, stopping in little boutiques to try on shoes, examine accessories , people-watch, browse in a book store. We end up at a waterfront dim sum restaurant, lucky enough to get a window table so we can fully admire and appreciate the view. The restaurant is full, the dull roar of conversation punctuated by the occasional babyís cry. At the table next to ours, I notice a family with three small children all in matching outfits, eating gravely. So charming!
05/06 Direct Link
Lying on the couch reading, Sunday afternoon. The sun is bright, but thereís little warmth in it. Despite that, I have the window open, enjoying the city-scented spring air and the relative peace and quiet. The construction site across the street is shut down for the day, a welcome relief from the usual sounds of cement mixers, trucks backing up with their piercing cry of ďBeep-beep-beepĒ, men shouting. The din is magnified by the passageway leading to the courtyard where I live, a giant megaphone. I am enjoying its absence while I can; it will return all too soon - tomorrow.
05/07 Direct Link
I walk to the white, waiting plane. Itís a very different experience from being processed through a big airport; through security to the waiting area through the tube to the plane. Youíre removed from the experience, even while youíre having it. Walking across the hot tarmac and up the stairs to the small plane makes me feel like Iím Ilsa in ďCasablancaĒ, probably as nervous, though not as regretful. The door slams behind me and Iím committed; the ground wheels away underneath me and Iím in a strangerís hands. Soon the city vanishes into the clouds and Iím in limbo.
05/08 Direct Link
Itís the first really warm day this year. Judith smiles as she opens her curtains and lets the sun in. Despite living beside the ever-busy train tracks, she can smell freshly-cut grass and the flowers in her little garden. She pours herself a cup of tea and takes it to the porch off her kitchen. She sits in her favorite chair, her dog at her feet, and looks into the blue sky. Even at my age, she thinks, the possibilities seem endless on a sunny day. The day stretches before her, the spring and summer beyond, full of pleasures.
05/09 Direct Link
Charles dropped by last night. He had just come home from his cousinís elegant wedding in England. He saw my lights on as he dragged his heavy bags through the courtyard, and I think he wanted to put off the inevitable moment when he opened the door to his dark, empty apartment. After such a long flight, itís nice to have someone to welcome you home. He was full of stories of his charming family, including his 95 year old grandfather, who took his hands after the ceremony and said emotionally, ďI hope you find your bride.Ē So do I.
05/10 Direct Link
My dog pokes her long, elegant nose into the space between my bed and my bedside table. She barks, looks back at me, barks again. I ask her whatís wrong, but dogs, even Lassie, have notoriously limited verbal skills, so itís still a mystery. She subsides onto her bed, but keeps returning to the same space and barking. I begin to wonder if she has finally deigned to notice the mice. She can chase them away like the other vermin, pigeons and squirrels! I peer into the space, and there I see the cause of the barking: her lost ball.
05/11 Direct Link
I am awakened by a crash of thunder that shakes my friendís 140 year house. Lightning briefly displays the room: crown moldings, oak floors, a pianoÖthatís it, before I'm cast back into the heaving darkness. Rain smashes at the windows and gurgles down the drainpipe. Thunder chuckles deeply and wickedly, as if enjoying its powers to frighten and the ability to be heard over the rainís deluge. It sounds as if itís right in the house with me, checking to see if thereís anything good in the refrigerator, poking its head into the rooms, imagining itself living there, before leaving.
05/12 Direct Link
Thereís an uneasy heat the following day, the thick air full of the heavy scents of pollen, battered petals, grass. The weathermen are eagerly talking about the storm, power outages, and their favorite, ďtornadic activityĒ. My friendís forsythia bush is bowed down, its brilliant flowers scattered on the grass. The table umbrella has flown into the middle of the lawn, where it sits awkwardly, like a ship run aground. The shed door has flown open, though the interior is surprisingly dry. Everything sparkles as the sun peeps out shyly from the torn clouds, and looking up, I see a rainbow.
05/13 Direct Link
My friend lives in a charming old small town. It looks a lot like an English village, full of delightful shops and restaurants, cafes and boutiques. All this just an hourís civilized train ride from my uncivilized place in the big city. Instead of the unceasing roar and rumble of the construction site across the street, thereís peace and quiet. The loudest thing is a lawn mower, or the occasional car driving down her block-long, one-way street. The house is a little jewel box, and thereís a beautiful deck to sit on, overlooking the garden. A little piece of paradise!
05/14 Direct Link
There are so many delights. We each buy a handbag at the family owned and run handbag shop. Mine is soft red leather, with an asymmetrical zipper and matte silver rings for the strap. Hers is whimsical, canvas patterned with ladybugs. Adorable! Next stop: the spa, where we relax in massage chairs and giggle over gossip magazines while our fingers and toes are polished to perfection, the finishing touch being a pattern painted carefully on each of our big toes. With glitter detail, of course. We finish off the day on my friendís deck, overlooking her lovely garden, sipping champagne.
05/15 Direct Link
I am an inveterate eavesdropper. I never cease to be amused by little vignettes of peoplesí lives I overhear, and I adore the Overheard In New York and PostSecret sites, with their little gems of human nature, comic and tragic. I was running a few errands today when two teenage girls passed me. One was saying to the other, ďSo now Dad wants to start dating Mom againĒ. A few minutes later, I saw a little girl who looked about 6 shake off her mother, who was buttoning the girlís jacket. The girl said, ďMotherrrr. Stop it. Iím a perfectionist!Ē
05/16 Direct Link
The lilacs are just coming into bloom. I adore their scent and their beauty. They are my favorite flowers. They are also the most sentimental flowers for me, reminding me of my beloved grandmother. She had the best lilacs I have ever seen: white, deep purple, pale purple, single blossom, double. She lived in an area famous for its lilacs, Rochester, New York, where the biggest lilac festival in the world has been held since 1898. I used to go with her whenever I could, and wish I could still share the joy and beauty of the festival with her.
05/17 Direct Link
My grandmothers both had beautiful gardens which reflected who they were: one very English, one very American. My father inherited his motherís love of gardening, and his was spectacular, a real labor of love. A few days after he died, his autumn plantings were delivered, having been ordered well in advance. Both my sister and brother are avid and excellent gardeners, despite the limitation of living in an area where the poor soil means mostly container gardens. But their gardens are beautiful, oases of peace and beauty. I, on the other hand, havenít even planted my window boxes this spring.
05/18 Direct Link
My grandmothers both had beautiful gardens which reflected who they were: one very English, one very American. My father inherited his motherís love of gardening, and his was spectacular, a real labor of love. A few days after he died, his autumn plantings were delivered, having been ordered well in advance. Both my sister and brother are avid and excellent gardeners, despite the limitation of living in an area where the poor soil means mostly container gardens. But their gardens are beautiful, oases of peace and beauty. I, on the other hand, havenít even planted my window boxes this spring.
05/19 Direct Link
As I walk with my dog toward the park, I notice my neighbor sitting on her front steps. She is gazing at the construction site, temporarily still, and thinking of how all those new apartments will be her new view. Itís not an improvement. I stop to say hello, and her little dog greets mine. While weíre chatting, another neighbor returns home from walking her dog, and stops to join our conversation, which of course turns to our dogs. Theyíre all over the age of ten, so we exchange tips on food and supplements as the dogs converse among themselves.
05/20 Direct Link
My neighbors know the story of how I got my dog. I used to take care of her when her owner was busy or out of town, and eventually, he just left her with me. I still find it astounding that he could have been part of her life for ten years and then abandon her completely. He never calls or visits. We are all indignant on her behalf, the way we are when a girlfriend gets dumped. My neighbors tell me that they both ran into him this week, and asked about her, so he must be feeling guilty.
05/21 Direct Link
Heady-scented, heavy lilac blooms nod their heads between heart-shaped leaves. Creamy apple blossoms mist newly-leaved, woody tree limbs. Dandelions blaze, little suns in a green grass sky. An acrid plume of cigarette smoke curls the air. A slim black cat runs by, chasing a black squirrel. Someone laughs, unseen but not unheard. A crow lands on a telephone line, wings dark and bright at the same time, iridescence reflecting the sun. Ragged clouds hasten across the sky, as if riding a swift stream. Days fly by as fast as the clouds, taken for granted, unnoticed until theyíre no longer there.
05/22 Direct Link
Itís busy in the courtyard today. A friend who lives in the building drives up in her 1938 Chevrolet. She has had it for 20 years and restored it herself. Itís just gorgeous. When she leaves, sheís replaced by two artists carrying paintings to a truck to go to an exhibit. A couple moves in, load after load in the creaking old freight elevator. Much shrieking and laughter. A fashion shoot takes place Ė itís a popular place for that, and for filming. Its genuine dilapidation must be a draw. Finally, everyone goes home, and itís quiet again. For now.
05/23 Direct Link
I lent my friend Charlie one of my fatherís shirts for him to wear to his cousinís wedding in England. There seemed to be something appropriate, almost poetic, in his wearing Dadís clothes in Dadís country. At the wedding, Charlie discovered that the shirt was made by a famous shirtmaker. And not only that, a shirtmaker famous for Mod fashions, worn by discriminating rock & roll greats since the 1960ís. Considering that Dad had only grey jackets and pants and socks, fashion wasnít his major interest. Neither was rock & roll. I wish Iíd known while he was still alive!
05/24 Direct Link
My sister came across our motherís diaries from 1958 and 1959, the years she met and married our father. The entries are tantalizingly brief, things like ďDavid visitedĒ, and there is no mention of how they became engaged. Frustratingly, the diaries end in mid July, 1959, about five months before they were married. I did learn thatís he called him Dave then! The mysteries of why they married in England instead of Momís home town in New York state and why Momís parents did not attend their only childís wedding remain unsolved. The diaries raise more questions than they answer.
05/25 Direct Link
Elaine glances at the clock. Time to start supper. In her family, they ate dinner at noon and supper in the evening, after all the farm chores were completed. She would never get used to fancy town ways, and didnít feel the need to. The old ways were good enough for her. She slips on her apron, ties it around her thickening waist. I should go on a diet, she thinks, as she lights the gas stove and takes the food from the refrigerator, which she calls an icebox. She used to have a real icebox, not that long ago.
05/26 Direct Link
These words were highlighted in various colors in my library book: nuance; immaculate; languidly; blatantly; iridescent; snide; portentously; dubiously; unperturbed; sepulchers; cadaverously; lugubrious; admonishment; daguerreotyped; suave; ascetism; affably; self-effacing; staccato; magnanimous; brusquely; frivolous; periscope; remnants; morbid; inquisitive; embalming; pragmatic; turnstile; incongruous; balustrade; rotunda; inscrutability. Gelid; premonitions; destructively; phallic; Viennese; pivoted; gestation; dilettante; blasphemous; enunciation; inebriated; botulisms; pre-natal; innuendoes; facsimile; fornication; voraciously. I canít find any connection or theme in the series of words, but am relieved that there arenít any margin notes, tedious observations defacing the shared book. There is, however, a yellow smiley-face sticker on the back page.
05/27 Direct Link
As soon as I heard my sisterís voice, I knew. ďItís Jed, isnít itĒ, I say. Iím not asking. She says it is. Our brotherís beloved dog has died. She was not quite fourteen years old. I remember the day my brother met her, falling head over heels for a six week old puppy on Christmas Eve. He took one look at her, and his life changed forever. He worked hard to train her so he could take her everywhere. The training was part of it, but it was also her Jedness. She was a once in a lifetime dog.
05/28 Direct Link
I keep sobbing. No matter where I am, I canít stop the tears. I feel so guilty that Iím not there, not sharing my siblingsí grief over the loss of a family member so beloved. I canít believe I will never see her beautiful face again, have her jump on me joyously when I arrive, throw the ball for her, take her swimming, cuddle up with her. I canít imagine how hard it is for my brother to wake up without her, day after day, remembering what heís lost. Weíve all lost so much so recently: Dad, Mom, now Jed.
05/29 Direct Link
Life and death go on. Walking down my tree-lined street on my way to the grocery store, a cortŤge passes slowly: a pearl-grey hearse under a pearl-grey sky, followed by many, many-colored cars. I bow my head and send the mourners my silent, heart-felt sympathies. Crossing the street, I pass a boy wearing a Metallica t-shirt and sporting what looks like a professional manicure, complete with red polish. Then a diminutive woman Ė the size of a toddler Ė steps out of the floristís shop. Her hair is a blazing fuchsia Mohawk, and sheís wearing a tube top.
05/30 Direct Link
Sipping a cool vodka and tonic on a warm evening. Ice clinks in the glass as I set it down on the table. I remember my parents having the same drink: at our cottage in Maine; at cocktail parties; at a friendís spacious home, located, remarkably, on their very own island. This impressed me as a child, but impresses me even more now. The island was on Lake Champlain, and it was small, but it was their own island, their own paradise. I wonder if they still live in the big house on the little island in the big lake.
05/31 Direct Link
A cat among the pigeons is nothing compared to my dog among the pigeons. As soon as she sees one, she charges like a war horse. If I have the door open and a pigeon has the audacity to land in the courtyard, or meet some of his friends, sheís out the door like a shot from a cannon. A dog with a mission. The same thing applies to squirrels and, unfortunately, cats. If only sheíd apply her hunting skills to mice. Chasing mice instead of cats sounds like a good plan to me, but she has her own ideas.