Change, Opinion, Rules To Live By, Save The World, Uncategorized

Revisiting 25 Rules to Live By

This post is originally from September 21, 2013 and has been edited.

Every religion has a list of rules. Christianity has the 10 Commandments, Buddhism has the Eight-Fold Path and the Four Noble Truths, and Islam has 38 Prohibitions. I don’t like to think of these lists as rules, but rather a guideline for how to live life.  If you break the rules down they are pretty much telling you not to steal or cheat or lie or idolize, etc, etc…

Now, I am certainly no moral authority, but I have lived what feels like a million lifetimes already, and have generated a list of rules that I aspire to keep. Sometimes the rules are a struggle, and sometimes they are a joy.

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Rule #1: Be Kind 

Ah, yes! The Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s pretty much a “DUH” rule, but you would be surprised at how many rude and awful people there are out there. This rule deals with empathy and compassion for others as well as karma for yourself. Of course some people take in a “harm or be harmed” approach to life, which is easy to fall into if you are bitter or overly morose. I find that in my own personal life, this is the easiest and most rewarding rule to follow. I suspect that goes for most of us, unless you’re obtuse, then you’re screwed and so are the rest of us.

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Rule #2: Eat Well

This rule sucks. I love pizza and bagels and cheese, which makes Rule #2 one of the harder rules for me to follow. I do my best, however, to intake life’s yummy pleasures by moderating them and I hardly EVER eat fast food anymore. I have found the more that you eat salad, the more you crave it. Of course if I do eat a salad I tend to offset it with a sprinkle of cheese because that is easy for me to rationalize.

Also, avoid sodas and too much juice. Drink water instead! 80% of your body will be happy while the entire 100% will thank you. I am also a huge advocate for seltzer water. It’s like soda, but it’s also just water with some bubbs.

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RULE #3: No Spitting

This rule is on here because some of y’all need to be reminded not to be gross. A woman sitting on a subway bench got up in front of me as I was about to pass by and spit (like a huge loogie) onto the train tracks. Yeah, just like that. If you do need to spit, be discrete. Pretend it’s a pee that you really need to take and go hide behind a tree or in a corner. Not all up in my face. Thanks.

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Rule #4: Be Generous

It is better to give than receive, yes? Yes! I love Christmas because I get to give people things that I want them to have. Of course, they want me to have socks and other oddities, but I am happy to receive! Of course, I totally one-up them with a handmade picture frame or a sweet ass bonsai tree that is older than I am, or a Groupon to some amazing adventure they didn’t know about. In some ways being generous also makes me feel selfish, since it is my goal to give you a better gift than you give to me. PS – I always need socks, so thank you very much!

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Rule #5: Be Honest

Growing up I was taught that “honesty is the best policy.”  Sadly, it really didn’t matter if I lied or told the truth – I always got in trouble regardless.  I also happen to be an awful liar. At a certain point, I figured if I came clean, then the punishment wouldn’t be so bad. Looking back I realize that lies lead to more lies, and that is just no good in the long run.

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Rule #6: Get a Pet

Pets make life so much better and serve as wonderful companions. They take away stress and anxiety and are faithful friends for as many years as they can carry. HERE is a great article on the benefits of owning a pet.

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Rule #7: Wipe the Seat

If you pee on the seat, wipe it off. People will be more likely not to pee on the seat if it is already clean because then it is safe to sit on. Plus, it’s gross if you don’t, especially if it’s in your own bathroom.

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Image courtesy of Leigh Kosloski.

Rule #8: Write Letters

There are only a few things that are more awesome than receiving a letter in someone’s own handwriting. In this age of technology, it’s acceptable to be informal with email and private messaging. Send a letter every once in a while, it will do good for your soul and brighten someone’s day. You also get to exercise your handwriting skills. When is that last time you wrote in script? Do you even know how to anymore? Why don’t you give it a try and send someone a damn snail mail!

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Rule #9: Cry

It’s okay to cry. It’s actually healthy. A Sad movie or YouTube video can trigger the waterworks, so let it. Don’t hold it in. It will make your brain happy.

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Rule #10: Drink Beer

This is another one of those rules that I have no problem imbibing by (did you see my attempt at a very clever pun?). Beer has nutritional value, and, if indulged in moderation, will have excellent effects to your health and overall mood. Don’t believe me? Check it HERE.

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Rule #11: Bathe Daily

Unless you are camping out in the woods, this should be followed religiously. Do I need to say more?

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Rule #12: Talk to Strangers

Saying Good Morning to a stranger is not only going to make you feel good, but may change the course of someone else’s day.

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Rule #13: Be on Time

If you know me at all then you know that this rule is a constant struggle for me. In recent history I have greatly improved my statistics for being on time, which means showing up exactly at 9:05 am for work, or catching the train or bus needed to get to my hosts in other counties / states at the exact time they expect my arrival. Being on time is important. It shows that you are reliable and diligent.And get a Mickey Mouse watch, because they are awesome.

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Rule #14: Be Fearless

Coach Butler, my High School varsity basketball coach would always tell me “Have ice in your veins.” What a pep talk! I would get back out on the court with the strength and honor of a thousand buffalo. Yay!

Have you ever wondered what is there really to be afraid of? I try to consider my biggest fear to be myself. I really don’t have any idea what we, as humans, are capable of. Fearing the unknown is a trait that has been learned. I once read an article about a woman who has no amygdala (read HERE), which makes her immune to fear. If only we could learn to control the fear “juice” and extend ourselves beyond the unknown, then we would be limitless, and truly fearless. For now I will just settle for my recently improved fear of Spiders. In reality, they aren’t so bad.

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 Rule #15: Try

Another one of my High School mentors was my Chorus teacher, Mr. Roberts. He once gave a short lecture on the word TRY and related it to music as well as life. If you don’t make an effort, then your heart is not really in whatever it is you are doing. If you are passionate about what you are doing, then why not exhaust yourself doing it?

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Rule #16: Stick up for Yourself

This one might be an obvious one, but for me it is certainly a struggle. I am a huge fan of passive aggression and try to avoid confrontation at all costs. I am, however, working on toughening up my skin and have learned that I don’t have to take shit from anybody. In fact, I am learning to give shit back.

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Rule #17: Be Happy in Your Work

You will spend most of your life working. Sometimes all you work for is for a paycheck. Sadly, when most of your life is spent simply earning a check, your life will not be a happy one. A paycheck does not determine happiness. Happiness begets happiness.

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Rule #18: Help Others

Holding a door for your neighbor who is carrying a shit load of groceries or helping a stranger with a baby stroller climb the stairs will restore a sense of goodness in humanity as well as make both you and that other person a little more grateful for being alive. Have you ever fed the homeless? Or even played basketball with a friends kid? Helping others is another way to help yourself. We should all learn to do it naturally.

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Rule #20: Call your Mom

Moms worry and they want to hear from you. And when you actually go and see your mom, bring her flowers. She has most certainly earned them.

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Rule #21: Don’t Stare

If you are going to stare, then make it a point not to get caught.

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Rule #22: Watch Less TV

There is a real world out there. I will never understand how people spend their time watching someone else’s life on a reality TV show. Don’t you have your own life to live? TV should be treated like beer: Indulge in moderation.

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Rule #23: Don’t be Wasteful

Your old food can go a long way. Share with nature. Start a mulch pile. Make a bird feeder. Plant a flower garden. There are many ways to “feed the ducks” and it starts with you being environmentally responsible.

I know lots of people who grew up on farms and taught me so many things that have changed my perspective on being (even just a little bit) green: Toss your old coffee grinds and egg shells in an outside planter, use Tupperware and wash your zip-lock bags for re-use, pack recyclables in separate bags so building management can sort them more efficiently (or the can collectors don’t tear through the bags in haste), use canvas shopping bags and any plastic bags are used for garbage liners or art projects. It’s not that hard to change these habits. Be aware of nature and don’t take it for granted.

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Rule #24: Love

If you truly love, let it be frivolous. Everyone needs love, and if you give love, it will most certainly be returned to you.

I love you. ❤

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Rule #25: Break the Rules

I know, I know. This is a list of rules to follow and the last rule is to break the rules. Obviously some rules are meant to be broken.  And when you do break a rule, there is some sense of independence and defiance that is completely satisfying. You should always question any rule and play the devil’s advocate, even if you are not the devil. Always question everything. There is no reason anyone should ever tell you how to live your life.

My personal take on rules to live by is one of poetic and philosophical gesture. I can sum it up by telling you that you don’t need a book or religion to tell you what to do. You tell yourself what to do as you are your own maker. There are no actual “Rules to Live By” and while some people believe that certain rules are written in stone (literally, just google “Moses”), there is no such thing. Your set of rules will differ from everyone else’s, but as long as you live a good life (or at least give it your best effort), you will be golden.

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Change, Journal, Life, Uncategorized

The Bitch is Back

Hi Everyone. I’m back.

I am sorry it has taken me years to get back to you. I recenlty logged back into my wordpress and discovered 29 drafts from the past 5 years. Titles include:

The Noise Hole
Monsters
I am a City
The Banana Incident
My First Period
We are all Slaves
20 Women
Meet My Mom

There must be over 20,000 words already written. I am making it my goal to finish a few of these gems (once I figure out where the hell I was going with some of them) and give you some new things as well.

As a general update, here is what I have been doing for the past few years:

I turned 34, 35, then (shocker) 36 years old. I have eaten close to 1,000 bagels and probably double that in pizza slices and tortilla chips. Two of my cherished kitties have passed away and another one is very close to the end. There are two new men in my life, one is my little tuxedo kitty named Carlos and the other is a man I’d LOVE to see in a tuxedo, Gonzalo. My new apartment is a part of my old loft from years ago and is filling itself with new memories and new artwork. I have lost some friends, which was a short series of bad, sad breakups, and have made new relationships with better people. I am fat and happy.

Oh – and I got bangs!

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I have been working for an Interior Designer for the past 2.5 years and absolutely love it. As per my typical places of employment, it’s high end and pretentious and I class it down just a little bit with bubbly jokes and crude sweetness. I finally make what I deserve and I work with an incredible group of talented and wonderful people.

In 2017, I made a resolution to donate once a month to a different charity. In 2018, I began doing these donation on Facebook as a monthly fundraiser. I cannot begin to tell you how rewarding this resolution has been for me. In my spare time, I run the South Bronx Yard Exchange Flea Market with Gonzalo and my neighbor and friend, Ebonie Simone, who creates incredible pieces of jewelry and art. This Saturday, July 14th,  the Flea Market will be holding a clothing drive for The Bottomless Closet NYC, which coincides with July’s Fundraiser for the same group.

As you can tell, I am still a little shameless.

I am glad to be back. I know that picking up the pen or clacking free-thoughtfully into the keyboard is going to be good for me and, hopefully, you, too.

Until next time, here’s a picture of Carlos the Cat. You can follow him on instagram @monsterkittycarlos.

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Change, Compromise, FTSF, Humor, Memory Lane, Opinion, Project, Rules To Live By, Sarcasm, Save The World

Never Gonna Happen

I compromise all the time. Like, I’ll take a pair of dish pan hands if Captain Clam does the Kitty Litter, or I’ll be the designated driver if Captain Clam does the Kitty Litter, or I’ll sort the recycle/dump the garbage/mop/sweep/dust if Captain Clam does the Kitty Litter…  I would basically compromise anything to get out of shoveling cat poop, except for the following…

I won’t drink and drive. Ever. I won’t even sniff a cocktail if I know I am getting behind the wheel. I don’t believe in it and think if you do drink and drive, you are a dumb asshole.

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This graphic is too ridiculous not to use.

Nothing will never, ever compromise my stance on Cheese. If it were human, I’d marry it. I eat cheese just about everyday. It makes me happy!  The same goes for Pickles and Hot Sauce.

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32 oz. of heaven. I own this bottle.

I will never stop using curse words. I can’t compromise what comes naturally to me. I do, however, do my best not to curse around children and old ladies, but every once in a while a “fuck” slips out. Shit happens.

I don’t compromise on zombies. If you are a zombie, I will remove your head.

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If I can’t see the bottom, chances are I will not be swimming. I don’t compromise on murky water. If something is touching my leg, then I need to know what it is. Zero Compromise. Zero. Two things happened to me when I was younger that changed my outlook on swimming. One of them was my dad.

We would go to the Jersey Shore every summer. I was fearless, chasing waves on my boogie board, digging in the sand where the water turned to foam, and swimming out past the point where I could stand up. There was one cloudy day when the waves were just too much for me to handle. Well, my dad thought otherwise and dragged me out there with a boogie board. At first I screamed and cried, and then gave in. I thought after one run I could escape back to the beach blanket. As I rode a huge wave in, my board slipped out from under me and dug nose first into the sand. I then plowed into the rear end of it, knocking the wind out of my little body. My day was ruined.

About a year after the bogie board incident, I was swimming in the calmer waters of the Peconic Bay and a crab bit me. After that, it’s been an aquatic life of water shoes, dips up to my knees, tropical beaches where the water is clear, or strictly swimming pools. I do sometimes venture out above my head, but then seaweed touches me and I am headed to shore. It boggles my brain to think that I used to dive head first into the Peconic River  without second thought to the turtles and leeches and other weird grimy stuff that might get in my swimsuit. Now those memories fill me with terror.

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You never know what’s lurking.

I will never EVER catch any food items in my mouth. If you throw a cheesy puff at my face, I am going to duck and get very serious rather quickly, preaching on the dangers of catching food in your mouth. I will most likely tell you this story: I was in Middles School and realizing quickly that I was finally growing into my awkward teenage body. My coordination was on point and I never really got into the whole “pog” thing. I thought it would be awesome to throw some popcorn in the air and catch it in my mouth. I was pretty cool until about the third piece of popcorn. It went right into my lung. I choked and choked until I coughed out a soggy, embarrassed piece of popcorn. I can’t even be in the presence of food catchers. They make me nervous. I can’t trust them.

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I couldn’t even make it through this episode of “The Office.”

I don’t compromise on beer. If it’s there I will drink it, unless it’s dark. Guinness is like steak and eggs – heavy and unnecessary (have you ever thrown up steak and eggs? No thanks).

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WHY?

Lastly, I can never compromise the Golden Rule. I can’t understand how lots of people go through life being complete assholes to everyone. Jerks, Racists, Meanies, Bullies, Punks, Narcissists, Know-it-alls, Blockheads, Pricks, Shits, Schmucks, and all encompassing Doo-Doo Faces baffle me in their behaviors (pranksters are okay). I find general goodwill  to be effortless. It’s an effort to be an asshole. If you are going out of your way to do the wrong thing, you are a DICK. Boom. No compromise.

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Wil Wheaton says so.

Things that I will never compromise on might seems silly to most, but deal with life and death and complete panic (come on, seaweed touching my legs, no thanks!). Of course the cheese thing is just common sense, as is the golden rule. Compromise is important, but not when it comes to personal conviction, morale, or the safety of others…. or pickles. Pickles are good.

 

 

 

 

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Adventure, Change, Community Garden, Dogs, FUN!, Garden, New York City, Recycle, Save The World, South Bronx, Spring, Things to Do

Project: Community Garden 6.20.14


Holy Mother of Pearl is it hot out! This week has been an up and down weather event! On this beautiful last day of Spring we decided to venture out to fill in the mystery hole (yes, it’s as dirty as it sounds) and fix the places that were plowed over by a city truck. Yes. A truck drove into our garden and did this:

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Of course we can’t be too mad because the truck is very wide and we are probably (most likely ) trespassing. The flowers that were run over seem to be okay, but we are considering transplanting them to avoid any future destruction. They also seem to be thirsty in their current location, so that is also a factor. Perhaps next time.

I popped over to Union Square Market on Wednesday to pick up some new additions. The garden is looking a little yellow these days, so we were hoping to add some purple, white, and green to make it a well-rounded display. Here is what happened next:

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Shasta Daisy “Lacrosse” and a bunch of New Guinea Impatiens of various colors (NOT YELLOW!).

Today we vowed to get that hole built up. I carried our supplies over to the heap (minus the 5 gallon jug of water that Captain Clam so victoriously lugged) and a palette was recovered from the back of Dino Gadget (our pick-up truck). I had been on an adventure to rescue a neighbor and her groceries when I spotted a pile of pallets outside of a Burger King on 149th Street. I dragged the Clam there later that evening and we recovered a few of these wooden boxes for our little diamond in the rough project. This might be the only time that Captain Clam ever said “Thank you Burger King!”

So we toiled and dug and raked and sweat into the evening. It’s still amazing to me how an hour and a half and a pallette filled with some plants can change your day and the neighborhood that surrounds you. It was so depressing walking by that giant hole everyday, and the inner sense of fulfillment is so grossly satisfying that I can’t even begin to describe it. Seven (7) people stopped in their cars/trucks/vehicular transports and shouted the most encouraging things to us. “Good Job!” “Nice Garden!” “Keep it up!” Maybe it’s just Friday and everyone is driving home and are in a good mood, but it was so meaningful coming from strangers. I don’t even know if they live in the neighborhood.

Today’s achievements include filling in the strange hole, adding a new palette garden, repairing the damage done by the drive-by, and fixing the moat system, which was working well until the flash flood rain storm came upon us last week. We have also befriended the car shop downstairs, who lets me use their hose and bathroom when it’s absolutely necessary.

Without further rambling here is our progress:

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WAY BEFORE!

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WAY AFTER!

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BEFORE (MAX!)

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WAY BEFORE!

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DURING.

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AFTER.

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BEFORE.

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AFTER.

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GLAMOUR SHOT.

We still can’t believe we are actually doing this! We are covered in dirt and enjoying a well earned can of cheap beer. We can’t reiterate just how much we love the South Bronx and  what is is like living here and working out way into a very unique community.

Stay tuned for more #Garden134 updates, as there will be more to come very soon.

 

 

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Adventure, Change, Death, Life, New York City, Spring

it’s over

The past three months have been a long, hard road. I can’t say that it wasn’t worth it, but I can say that once it’s finally over, the time spent will not be missed or thought of fondly. Today’s big announcement might be obvious to some and completely overlooked by others. Maybe you care too much and have been counting the days right along side me. Maybe you don’t give a rats ass that today is the day that things start to get better for me, and you, and, well, pretty much everyone.

For a while there, I thought I’d never be warm again. That maybe I would spend the rest of my life an unhappy, rigid, cold bitch. Today marks the day that my soul comes out of hibernation, awakening to sunrises of hope and sunsets of molasses. I have been looking forward to this day since the days actually felt like were starting to get longer; those not-so-long-ago days when I lived a helpless existence in Brooklyn, and now I thrive in The Bronx. In just a few short weeks, there will be total and absolute freedom from the icy vortex of the past. I am raising a beer in honor of a little bit of joy for me and all mankind. Let us toast and celebrate.

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Gratuitous Cat Picture.

Happy fucking Spring! I have waited for this day for too many days to count. This has not nevesserily been the worst winter I have ever experienced, but it has certainly been the coldest. I never ever ever thought that I could actually get used to walking around in 14 degrees F weather. Wind chills of -15 degrees? No problem! My secret this winter is what I have so lovingly come to call a “butt scarf.” I considered patenting the term and making millions, but it’s really just a scarf that I wrapped around my butt. I also battled the cold with the usual ton of layers, tights and knee highs under my pants, a hat, and lots of snuggling (and maybe a sip of brandy or whiskey in my tea on the weekends). I ruined one pair of shotty rain boots and have completely destroyed my black Converse sneakers, but I have prevailed and look forward to kissing winter goodbye. I even found a way to wear a hat so I don’t like a 12 year old boy.

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Captain Clam is from Winsconsin. The upper midwest obviously got their asses beat this winter. This past northeastern winter seemed like a mild winter according to what the Clam was accustomed to. I asked him how it’s even possible to get used to being this cold. He responded, “This? This is nothing. Try -60 degrees F. That’s something you never get used to.” I can certainly believe that and hope to never have to experience it unwillingly.

I really did my best not to complain about the weather this past winter. Yes, it totally sucked, but what good is complaining gonna do? I promised myself to complain less this year, especially about things that are out of my control (like the weather), and somehow that helped me through the many snowstorms and tragic disappointments of having to wait for delayed trains and canceled outings. All in all, I am proud of myself for sometimes being able to enjoy the past season and making it through like a champion.

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Winter 2013 felt just like this snowman.

Winter in New York City is always hard. It’s ugly. Everything is wet and dirty. Their is very little beauty to enjoy when a black sludge covers everything and your feet are soaked and frozen to death. I used to have a car, so getting around was easy. Now, I walk everywhere. I have adapted to appreciate the good days and learn from the bad days. I admire people who ride their bikes to work, even in the harshest of wintery assaults. I wonder how we ever survived these situations without modern convenience and why the taste of inconvenience turns people into raging crazies. For New Yorkers, winter turns into a 4 month funeral. We all dress in black and grey, still mourning the loss of summer, even though she is always in our hearts, will always come back to us, and will make us complain in the same exact way. It’s too cold, it’s too hot, and we are always Goldilocks.

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Day 1 of Spring always wakes me with this urge to look for flowers or the spark of a tree’s rebirth. I have already peeped a few signs that the change has begun, but now I will hunt for proof that this long, cold wait has not been in vain. The sun is out longer, and even though I wake up to the crisp, dark morning air, I still get a sense that the sunrise is warmer and happier than it has been in a long time. And so am I. You’ll see. Everyone will be a little more joyous everyday. Coming and going will start to get easier. Winter coats will turn to rain coats, trench coats, light sweaters, and thin ponchos (ponchos? really?). The air will change and take with it the bad mood that has been conjured by the dark side of time.

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The first signs of natures emergence from hibernation.

Pretty soon all those hearty, meaty, fatty dinners will be replaced with salad, beans, and tofu. My skin will stop peeling and will glow with sunshine’s kiss. Red wine at home (alone) on a Thursday will be replaced with ice cold white wine and tapas al fresco with friends on a Tuesday at 8pm. Mornings will be easier to tackle because the air is freshly scented with dew and delight. I can sleep in a few more minutes because I won’t have to dry my hair or put on a gallon of makeup to hide my winter flesh. The little things become so much more important and the big things get the appreciation they deserve.

Of course I am letting this whole Spring thing get away from me. Late March is hardly a magical wonderland of joy and it’s still gonna be cold and damp and grey for just a while longer. Then there will be a little spot of color here, then a little spot of color there. Pretty soon, life will be filled with mental images of how beautiful nature is and winter will be a recent memory of a trying time that was totally worth the wait.

Read more about the equinox HERE!

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Adventure, Change, Life, New York City, South Bronx, We're Moving

It Ain’t Where You’re From

Rakim once rapped “It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at.” Of course that might not be a direct quote because rap songs don’t normally use proper grammar (it messes up the flow), but it’s close enough that the translation is not lost. Lately I have been nowhere and everywhere. You may have noticed the little sabbatical from my postings (which totally kills my 100,000 word goal for the year), but I’ve been busy. Super Busy. Super busy looking up this Rakim/Phil Collins Remix:

Now, onto the point… Captain Clam, the kitty brood and I have finally moved from our shoe box Brooklyn studio to a real 2 bedroom at the top of 66 stairs in a 5 story walk-up in the South Bronx. We are about a 10 minutes walk to everything except the basketball courts. There are a few of those all around the area, which means I will be brushing up on my game of HORSE as soon as Spring decides to roll it’s lazy ass over, finally allowing for that glorious sun to shine on my pasty skin.

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Not us, but you get the point.

Moving is stressful enough. Mix that with February and an icy cold Polar Vortex breathing down your neck and you have a recipe for panic and super panic. Captain and I were fortunate enough to schedule February 22nd, which turned out to be the nicest day in February at a balmy 50+ degrees. My credit card company had extended my credit, so we decided to spoil ourselves and hired a moving company (I know, how adult of us). We ended up using Moving Your Way Moving Company and it was the greatest $625 I have ever been obligated to repay. A 5 story walk up was no match for us and our gallant friends and their children. This company was everything that YELP said it was and more.

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I have moved three times in the past 2 years. No matter how much practice I thought my experiences gave me, it was still not enough. The Captain and I started packing a month early. We spent all of our money on the 1st months rent, deposit, and broker’s fee (it’s so expensive to move in NYC), that we only wanted to spend money on groceries and toilet paper until we were out of Brooklyn. We started collecting boxes from work or on garbage night. If you have ever moved or collected boxes from the street (even if they said “Corona”) you begin to see every box everywhere, size them up for durability, and determine if they’re suitable to be a book box or if it’s better as a record box. Is it too wet? Is it dirty? Are you going mad? Yes. Yes you are.

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Hunting for boxes is one thing. The hunt, however, stays with you for weeks after your move. You also begin to see moving trucks everywhere all of the time. You might even find yourself checking out the trash for things that others are throwing away because they’re moving. You have to smack yourself for even thinking about other people’s discarded treasures when you have your own treasures to let go of. Plus, it’s not all that cool to hang out by the garbage pile (somehow I know this).

Once you begin tearing into your closets and drawers, you tend to find lots of things you thought went missing or have no idea where they came from. There are countless AA batteries and buttons that have fallen or rolled behind a chest of drawers or under the bed. There are the endless stragglers of tampons and single packet panty liners that bribe their way into the strangest places, especially purses that you haven’t used in years. Pennies. They are everywhere. Remote controls? They are in abundance and don’t belong to anything that you currently own.

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Tampons, business cards, pennies and old candy at the bottom of a purse you don’t even remember owning.

My greatest cleaning hardship is finding tons and tons of envelopes that have been opened and are now empty. Receipts are stuffed all over the place for things consumed long ago. Old pay stubs from former employers haunt the crevices of junk boxes, alongside business cards, expired gift cards, and a few of those letters that your mom has a tendency to send every other month (you know the ones that you run into just when you need that blast of encouragement).

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Then there are those junk drawers full of nails and screws, old pens that don’t work so well anymore, long forgotten holiday and birthday cards, and a mysterious collection of renegade beers caps magically glued to the inside. There are cabinets and closets filled with old journals, stuff from college, a zillion pictures, old medicines that “might still be good” because they only expired 2 months ago (even thought they’ve been in your possession for 4 years) and, of course, the always elusive piece of something that was a broken part to something else and you could never remember where you stored it (it was in a box inside the closet in the bag of bags).

At the end of packing, you are always so confident that everything is packed. My many moves have taught me that it is never this way. There is always a mad dash at the end, where random bags are filled with this and that and all of those. Somehow it is all so disorganized when it feels the most organized. Then your head explodes and you realize that you’re okay. It’s all just stuff.

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The move went smoothly, with one or two hiccups that sent me into panic attack mode, but we made it thorough. We went back to our old place to clean up and catastrophe struck. His Clamminess went to Brooklyn early to get started. While he was throwing garbage out, a gust of wind blew through the place and slammed the door… with his coat and phone and keys  inside. When I finally showed up, he had been locked out for 3 hours. Since we had married our keys for surrender to the landlord, my keys were also locked in the apartment. The Super (bless is tiny little soul) did not ever have a copy of the key and was not willing to help. He did, however, send a very sketchy fellow down who proceeded to break into the apartment (just short of busting the door down) so we could start what was meant to already be finished. 

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And seriously, that was the worst part of the move.

Our greatest challenge as of right now is finding enough furniture to fill the space and store our belongings. We are also having some issues with the heat, but our new Super is kinda super, and the space is starting to feel like home. The baby lions have made themselves extraordinarily comfortable on the piles of things yet to be placed in their place. I often ask Captain Clam, “How did all of this happen?” And all he says is “About 2 months and $7,000.” Every night, I poke my head out the window, look left, and soak in the nighttime skyline of the greatest city in the world and all I can think is “$7,000 well spent.”

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A small exaggeration, of course.

And that is where I’m at.

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Adventure, Change, Journal, Memory Lane, New York City, poetry, South Bronx, This is my Soul, We're Moving

Memory Lane Journals

I always rethink the gratuitous “I’m sorry,” epsecially when I am writing, since it makes me look guilty of something. I am sorry for too many things these days that are not anything I have control of. My last two blog posts were either heavy or sentimental, and I really didn’t know how to follow with such deep, personal expression until I saw a dead pigeon outside of a restauarnt in the South Bronx last week. I saw it and thought it was a dirty hunk of ice/snow until a customer came in and was like, “hey, you know there’s dead pigeon out there.” I learned that it was s sick or super cold bird (since the high had been 18 degrees in NYC ) and he curled up and died alone. My heart broke a little (ok, a lot). I don’t ever want to be that pigeon.

Anyway. I am guilty since I haven’t posted as often as I’d like. I am only about 6,000 words into the 100,000 word goal for the year. Despite being in a weird winter funk,  I’ve been busy. You might even wonder why I was in the South Bronx…. Captain Clam and I were applying for and depositing on a little slice of heaven to rent until we can’t afford it anymore. That’s right, WE ARE MOVING! I can’t even believe how exciting that is. I didn’t want to announce it until we had signed the lease, but I am spreading confidence into the universe today and am pretty much already moved into the new place (in my mind at least).

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We came home after the apartment viewing (and some happy hour wine and beer and oysters) and started organizing and throwing things out. Every time I move, it is THE BIGGEST walk down memory lane that I could ever wish for. I have been coming across some great memories these past few days. At my 30th birthday party, I had a card making station. These are cards that were made that would put Hallmark to shame. I even have a card from the Legendary DJ Jazzy Joyce, and I don’t even remember her being there! But… she was. I have come across so many things that remind me that I was super cool at one point. I even found my watch, which was missing for a week or so.

Since we are moving to the same neighborhood I used to live in, I am pretty sure I will still be “cool,” but in a 32 yr old kind of way. I am feeling so bittersweet about going back, but I really HATE Brooklyn. It’s just not for me. It’s great place, but I really don’t belong here. I lived in The Bronx for 7 years and never felt like I was out of place. I go back there to this day and am filled with disgusting amounts of energy ( and copious amounts of beer) and am surrounded by such comfortable friends, both new and old. There is no place (for the time being) that I would rather live. Plus, a two bedroom is so much more appealing than the sardine can studio Captain Clam and I are currently sharing with our animal roommates.

ANYWAY… I came across my journals from long, long ago ( like, 4 years +), and have been reading them. All secrets out, I have always wanted to be writer. This blog might be the closest I ever get… But I was reading this stuff from years ago, and was shocked at what I was saying. Of course, I had a few beers and was cleaning and thought that all of my words were complete poetry (and some of it is  poetry)… I thought I’d share with you.

Some of it’s a little “debbie-downer,” but it is definitely a reflection of what I was going through during those years. I was sick and sad, stuck in a relationship that was never going to go anywhere. I was almost finished with school and had no idea what I was going to do with myself (as if that is ever gonna happen!).

So here goes. Stephanie Janecek (copy written, so don’t copy me) is open to the public: vulnerable and naked (in a metaphorical sense, of course, also, I usually have no pants on when I am writing these blogs).

2007-ish

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The drop of a hat

The drop if a dime

You held the rhythm

I held the rhyme

How sweet life was

Back in time

When music was simple

And love was sublime

2008

Awake

Awake.

All night.

How clever of the sun

To creep through the window

So slowly

At such an ungodly hour.

My eyes hardly blink

And I find

Allah in my rolodex,

Buddha in my reflection,

And Jesus in my rearview.

They show up

Uninvited.

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The music played

And I fell in love with the night

So sexy, with arms embracing

My cold shoulders.

I flirted relentlessly

Hoping the wine

And my smile

Would  steal the show.

The harmony persisted

And my face

Became a memory

Lost in a Cabernet Cabaret.

Summer 2008

Anguished children

neighbored by the beaten

raped

murdered,

The river has dried

And driven

Nature to be a fantom memory

Along with humanity

Compassion,

Equality.

Darwin’s theory

Takes an economical twist

Excluding the Rich,

Spoiled…

Greedy.

Victory does not come to those who deserve it,

But comes to those

Who pay for it.

2009 – ish

Haiku 1

Golden sunshine sky

Lazy afternoon cocktail

Careless summer ease

Haiku 3

Optimism Chart

Northernly navigation

Exclamation points!

February 2010

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The talking machine is on again.

Mundane things have become so important.

I don’t leave my house,

And yet complain about the weather.

March 2010-ish

Haiku: Cat

Golden eyes open

Greets the day with purr and mew

Then goes back to sleep.

April 2010

Haiku: Music

Save my soul old friend

Count the days until the end

You…. stuck in my head.

I’ll save some of these little gems (and longer entries from my train adventures) and share on a rainy Saturday after the move. For now, my old notebooks are headed for a cardboard box labeled “Books.”

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