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BY suzy

06/01 Direct Link
They have been friends for many years. They share war stories from the dating front. She comes to his place once a week for dinner and a movie. One night, he glances over at her familiar face, illuminated by the blue glow of the television, and realizes heís in love with her. What to do? The possibility of losing her friendship if he tells her is complicated by the fact that years ago, she told him she was in love with him. His reply was he could never think of her as more than a friend. But now he does.
06/02 Direct Link
They have been friends for many years. Best friends, since the age of nine. One is married to the otherís sister, so they are brothers in fact as well as in their hearts. They live on the same dirt road. Last year, they bought a plot of land together, where they intend to one day build their own houses. Last week, one went to the property, carrying a heavy spade. With a heavy heart, he started to dig. He could not make his brother face digging his beloved dogís grave. He could spare him that pain, give him that gift.
06/03 Direct Link
Walking my dog behind the building, I realize that my block is a dying breed. Looking past the more than century-old former factory where I currently live, and the row of small Victorian houses beside it, all I can see are new high rises. High rises already built, high rises in progress, including the huge one right across the street. Once all the little boxes are inhabited, the character of the street will change dramatically, and not for the better. In time, I expect the old factory and houses will be sold to big developers to make into big developments.
06/04 Direct Link
Itís my birthday. But Iím not feeling very festive. I donít think any of us are: my birthday is too soon after Jedís death day. The weather is as gloomy as my mood. Most of my birthdays after Dad died have been bad to terrible. I used to love my birthday. Now it just reminds me of all the people who are no longer here to celebrate with me. Maybe you grow out of the fun of birthdays, just like you grow out of saying ďIím 8 and a halfĒ or ďSix and three-quartersĒ. You stop wanting to be older.
06/05 Direct Link
Dandelion fluff drifts in the courtyard. Warm snow. The sunlight is deafening. Shouts tangle in the thick air. Itís hard to breathe. Confusion reigns. Clouds roll by: darkness, then light, a preview of dusk and dawn in thirty seconds. The sky purples. Slow bruise. A butterfly, blazing Halloween orange and black, begins its short life, slowly flexing its damp, wrinkled wings, preparing to fly for the first time. Escapes the earth. Vanishes. But I am earthbound, always; the heavy summer air clinging to me like a second skin. No wings to spread, no freedom to be had. Dullness, then darkness.
06/06 Direct Link
Wild-eyed shirtless guy outside hospital: ďHeís been to every planet!Ē Including this guyís home planet?

Skanky ho to skanky beau: ďGo back to your skanky ho!Ē Itís hard to imagine anyone skankier or ho-ier than her, but there you go.

Dude pointing at Veneto Ristorante: "Yo, thereís that French restaurant!Ē

Suit on cell: ďItís a multi-billion dollar industry, so there should be some money there.Ē

Wannabe preteen thug to friends: ďIíll mess him up! Iíll mess him up good! Iíll mess up his mama! And his baby!Ē That should cover it all.

Chick on cell: ďI live on my phone.Ē

06/07 Direct Link
He returns home from a business trip, puts his key in the lock. The apartment door opens, but is restrained by the security chain. He lives alone, so who could have chained the door? He sets down his suitcase beside the door, sighing. One more thing to deal with. Leaving the suitcase, he goes to the superintendentís office, explains the situation. The super calls the police before heading up to the apartment: someoneís in there, and itís not the lawful tenant. He gets the door open, and the two men walk in together. The apartment is silent as the tomb.
06/08 Direct Link
Which is what it is. The men walk carefully through the rooms, hearing nothing until the police car sirens scream outside. As the policemen burst through the doors, the two men open the balcony door. Lying on the ground is the body of the tenantís ex-wife, her suicide weapon beside her. He stares in shock at the woman he once loved and the gun which ended her life. There is a note in her hand, but he canít read it. He turns away, reeling, as the policeman asks him where he had been yesterday, and did he know this woman?
06/09 Direct Link
They had been divorced for nearly five years. She had left him, and they had what he thought was an amicable relationship. He had even let her store some things at his apartment, a decision he now regretted. But who could have imagined something like this would happen? Heís lucky that he was out of town and could prove it: meetings, flights, car rental, hotels. Even though forensics would reveal that it was a suicide, the thought of being suspected of something so terrible was a horrifying thought. People have been wrongly imprisoned on less evidence before now, he thought.
06/10 Direct Link
My sister, who is a paramedic, says that suicide scenes are always disturbing, no matter what the chosen method was. ďThe hairs stand up on the back of your neck,Ē she says. ďIt just feels wrong somehow.Ē The first scene she was ever called to as a paramedic was the gunshot suicide of a 20 year old boy. Handsome, athletic, engaged to be married, he killed himself in the woods right behind his parentsí house. ďYouíd think he had everything to live for,Ē I exclaim. ďYou never know,Ē my sister says. ďYou never know why, even when thereís a note.Ē
06/11 Direct Link
The train carries me toward my friendís town, rocking from side to side, soothing as a cradle. I have a book with me, but in the first flush of summerís blooming, the passing scenery is more compelling. Trees are lush with fresh green leaves, not yet dirty and dusty from the summer heat to come. The lake flashes blue between the trees. Russet cows, bright in the sun, peacefully graze, paying no attention to the train as it speeds past. They have other concerns. Old brick farmhouses turn their mellow faces to the dipping sun, as they have for centuries.
06/12 Direct Link
Itís only a short walk to my friendís house after I arrive at the 150 year old train station. Her street is one way and a block long, with tall trees arching overhead to create a bower in the golden, early-evening light. The houses on the street are the same vintage as the train station, some even older. They are soft red brick, or pale stucco, or old grey-gold stone, quarried locally, and sit close to the sidewalk. Itís a truly charming street, in a truly charming town. My friend opens the door, smiling, and hugs me. Iím welcome.
06/13 Direct Link
My friendís dog had an encounter with a deer the day before while walking in a nearby forest. The dog is only about 35 pounds, quite small, so how he managed to get into an argument with a deer remains a mystery. But the fact remains that the deer gored the little dog with his antlers, and then escorted him and his owner from the forest. Fortunately, no vital organs were harmed, but we have to be vigilant to make sure he leaves the wound alone while it heals, which goes against all his instincts. Nature can certainly be hazardous!
06/14 Direct Link
Itís been a pleasurable day. We sleep in, then go to a Chinese restaurant for a buffet lunch. Afterwards, we stop by a local pottery, where my friend has bought many beautiful things over the years. Itís so nice to buy art from the artís maker. I canít resist two daisy-patterned mugs Ė not that I try very hard! Ė and my friends buys me an exquisite bud vase as a late birthday present. I am overwhelmed. Next stop is the farm share, where we pick up my friendís share of local produce from the farmers who grew it. Wonderful.
06/15 Direct Link
In the evening, we sit on the deck with our drinks, icy daiquiris. A friend drops by and we catch up on whatís been happening in his life since I last visited. Heís always up to something. We laugh and talk as the garden darkens around us. We light citronella candles, for light and for mosquito control (in which we are only partially successful), unwilling to go inside just yet. Little lights glow in the flowerbeds, activated by the dusk; a bat swoops overhead, doing its best to help us with the mosquito problem. We watch, smile. Life is good.
06/16 Direct Link
Iím tempted to stay on for a few days when my friend asks me to. Itís so pretty and quiet here, and Iím enjoying the company of my friend and her charming dogs. The seemingly endless noise of the construction site across the street, the heat and crowds of the city await me when I leave the lovely serenity of my friendís little house in her little town. But if I stay, Iíll have to join in at her familyís Fatherís Day celebration. I love her father, but I miss mine more. I canít go, so Iíll have to go.
06/17 Direct Link
It seems fitting that the train ride back to the city is annoying. The peace and quiet is behind me as I take my seat. It soon becomes apparent just how far behind me it is, since the train seems to be overpopulated with screaming children and their parents. The parents either stare at their offspring in bewilderment, or gaze at them as if to say, ďArenít they adorable?!Ē They are not. Since putting the offenders out of our misery isnít an option, I scramble for my iPod. But even the Red Hot Chili Peppers arenít equal to the task.
06/18 Direct Link
Itís nice to be home again, greeted with boundless enthusiasm by my faithful old dog. My life has been so different for the past few days that I almost expect things here to be different, look different. But they arenít and donít. The construction site is as loud and dusty as possible, the symphony of beeping cement trucks, shouting men, and power tools continuing unabated. A film of depression settles over me along with the cityís summer dust and grime. My thoughts turn to my friendís flower-filled garden as I walk the concrete streets. My spirit already needs refreshment.
06/19 Direct Link
I guess thereís something to be said for getting the more unpleasant tasks of the day out of the way first thing. I woke up early, had a cold bath and hot coffee, and went to have a mammogram. Itís a lengthy process, what with the disrobing and squashing and waiting and re-robing. While awaiting the verdict on my smush-o-gram, I stared at the door opposite the row of chairs until the sign on it made no sense. ďDanger X-RaysĒ, it reads in two languages. If you look at it long enough, it becomes a jumble of meaningless letters.
06/20 Direct Link
At the hospital, a man wearing an orange jumpsuit waits for the elevator along with everyone else. His hands and feet are manacled, connected with a waist chain. He is accompanied by two policemen wearing bulletproof vests, guns at their hips. I think, ďWell, thereís someone whoís having a worse day than I am.Ē I am surprised that the threesome take the elevator along with the rest of us; I thought the policemen would ask us to wait for another elevator, but they donít. They press 15. I look at the floors listed; 15 is the only one thatís blank.
06/21 Direct Link
Iím not sure why I agreed to this, but I find myself driving three hours out of the city as darkness falls, to meet a friend of a friend in a McDonaldís parking lot. The purpose of the meeting is to pick up two dogs, rescued from a bad situation, and bring them to their new home in the city. In retrospect, meeting a stranger-ish guy in a parking lot, especially a McDonalds one, doesnít seem like the brightest idea. But all goes well, though the dogs are actually 120 pounds each, rather than the 85 I was told.
06/22 Direct Link
The great dog rescue adventure leads to the great cat conundrum. While backing out of the courtyard to return the rental car used in the canine escapade, my neighbor Patricia approaches, carrying a small cat. ďWhose cat is that?Ē I ask. Turns out sheís a pregnant stray, whom Patricia had finally lured inside. She puts the little cat in my arms, and my heart goes out to her. I want to keep her. Would my old dog be amenable to a little cat sister? Sheís an inveterate cat chaser, and I donít want to make either unhappy. What to do?
06/23 Direct Link
My sister tells me that her neighbor, who killed two people, has been sentenced to twelve years in prison. She was driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and one of the victims was only sixteen years old. If it were my child, family member, or friend who was killed, I wouldnít think twelve years was nearly enough. And with the overcrowding in California prisons these days, she might only do half the time. Itís hard to feel that justice has been served here. I feel so sad for everyone involved in this tragic case, even my sisterís neighbor.
06/24 Direct Link
My friend Paul calls and invites me to stay with him in the Hamptons this summer. Somehow, heís managed to find a cheap place with its own beach in East Quogue, which is a better Hampton (South) than the one we stayed in last time (West). East, of course, is the very best Hampton. Paul says that the place is falling down and uninsulated, but that shouldnít be a problem in the balmy summer. I think Iíll go for a couple of weeks, see how the other half lives. Maybe Iíll stop and see the house I grew up in.
06/25 Direct Link
It might be better to remember things the way they were, but Iím tempted to see my childhood home, my grandparentsí beautiful white Victorian house, and my godfatherís spectacular childhood home (I have the painting an artist did of the house Ė he was a stranger, but captivated by its splendor) on the way to the Hamptons. It wonít be much of a detour. I donít think Iíve been there since my grandparents died and we moved away and everything changed forever. I realize all this was exactly 30 years ago, so maybe itís time. Maybe itís the right time.
06/26 Direct Link
Iím off today to Cleveland, with stops in Niagara Falls and Buffalo. Iíve never been to Cleveland before, so it will be an adventure. Iíve been to Niagara Falls and Buffalo before, but this time I want to go on the ďMaid of the MistĒ and see the Albright-Knox gallery. Canít wait! People seem to think Buffalo is dreary, but itís full of beautiful Victorian houses and charming shops and parks by Frederick Law Olmsted, the creator of Central Park. Iím looking forward to it as much as Iím dreading the business trip scheduled for next month. Pleasure before business.
06/27 Direct Link
The trip on the ďMaid of the MistĒ was even better than Iíd imagined. Iíd looked forward to it ever since I was a child. Maybe I appreciated it more now, because I found it spectacular. It was amazing to be part of those breathtaking Falls, part of such a powerful force of nature. The boat, as it has ever since 1846, ventured right into the wild waters under the thrilling falls. We definitely needed our rain ponchos, though they were no match for the ďmistĒ, which soaked us all, thrillingly. It was a wonderful, exhilarating experience Iíll never forget.
06/28 Direct Link
Next stop on the road trip was Cleveland. The first item on the agenda was a baseball game, Cleveland vs. Oakland, at beautiful Jacobs Field. The crazy heat and humidity had subsided to a bearable 79 degrees (you know itís bad when 79 seems cool and refreshing), the crowd was happy Ė and got even happier when the home team won in the last couple of innings. There were lots of families there, and near me three generations were represented, the grandfather patiently showing his young grandson how to fill out a box score as the crowd roared around them.
06/29 Direct Link
And of course, you canít go to Cleveland without going to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Itís a spectacular building with a spectacular collection. You really canít see it all in one day, so I started with the most important Ė a special exhibit on the early years of the Beach Boys, including instruments, concert footage, and hand-written lyrics and notes. When I look at such artifacts, I always think how that person touched it, and how somehow, in looking at it, Iíll gain some insight into who that person was and what they were thinking and feeling.
06/30 Direct Link
It was a long, hot drive from Cleveland. Hours and hours of highway. And there are more trips on the horizon. The next one is in less than a week: back to the city I lived in and loved for so many years. There will be a meeting with my partners, a visit with my brother and sister, and my husband will be delivering divorce papers either to my hotel or office. Itís going to be stressful, scary, and lonely, but hopefully, in the end, all the change will be for the best. I hope I can get through this.