The Wandering Sock…

The New York Times has a section called Modern Love which the Amazon Studios series is based on. There was an article I recently read that made me smile. The writer discussed the break up of her long time marriage pre COVID and meeting a guy who lived in her building through his note. He left witty notes for his neighbors and one of them was about an abandoned sock looking for its mate.

The article touched me because it was about finding hope and happiness in a sea of disappointment and frustration. I know what it feels like being in a bad marriage not being understood or appreciated no matter what one does to make the other person happy. The wandering sock neighbor had his own ups and downs which the author was unaware of at the time of finding his note. The note gave her a spark of joy when she needed it. The story did have a happy ending which always works for me.

The article’s intent I think was two fold: no matter how miserable you might feel there is always someone in a worse position and random acts of humor and care go a long way.

Do you have a random act of kindness bestowed on you or you have done for someone else?

Stay safe stay well ❤️❤️

Three Years at 420

Blog post 420 today not that 420 is a significant number to me but more the date Oct 18. Three years ago I launched this blog. I didn’t know much about blogging. I was a newbie in a fandom for actor Richard Armitage. I joined the fandom to socialize to break open my shell and say hello. I’ve accomplished that almost too much now that I feel like the shell needs me back.

Writing is subjective it has to be because the authors thoughts, words, tone, syntax, meaning and theme inevitably come from within. How can it not be? For me the goal of my blog is to chat to record my thoughts and experiences to engage to reflect and to learn. Sometimes I hit the mark often times what I want to write ends up in a different theme or subject. I started three years ago writing rough drafts then transferring my handwritten draft onto the computer. Now I write all blogs on my phone. I usually get an idea in my head and start dictating through my fingers onto the blank page. I’ve written a lot of angry posts over a few situations that were bad at the time but now in glorious hindsight have become blessings. Then there were a few what I thought were decent relationships and connections that devolved into na ( never again) as my dad fondly says when he is disappointed with a restaurant. Mistakes are a means to make us mere mortals better humans more appreciative of the great people in our lives.

At this juncture I want to thank every eye, finger, thought, accidental look, comment, like and view that have landed here. I try to stay genuine here. The worst insult to me is to attack my character. I have many flaws in fact I try to discuss those here to help me deal with them to change the negative ones and accentuate the positive ones. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn’t. The most endearing blogs to me are those that are honest and reflective because I as a reader can connect that “Ahh I’m not alone” vibe goes a long way!

I read other blogs to get to know the blogger. I used to go back and like a novel read the posts from the beginning but three years ago I had more time on my hands then I do now. I recently discovered a new blog that I enjoy. It’s funny, cheeky, enlightening, engaging and genuine. I get the humor and the commenters are equally engaging. There’s a symmetry there that’s refreshing.

Three years is really small potatoes compared with other blogs out there. I admire all bloggers for their creativity, craftiness with words and capability to connect with readers ( ie likes and followers). I’m not a stats person and yes I recently lamented about lack of comments but my end goal is to connect and chat. It’s trying to free the butterfly out into the world.

So thank you. I’m deeply grateful and gratified by all your support.

Stay safe stay well ❤️❤️❤️

Together Forever?

Last Sunday I watched Together starring Sharon Horgan and James McAvoy as a couple who are at odds with each other and themselves and must cohabit during UK lockdown last year. The story starts on March 24, 2020 and ends on March 23,2021. They have a son Artie who is the thread that keeps them together. There were many incidents in this movie that resonated with me.

One such incident was my mum passed away at the end of Dec 2020. I couldn’t attend her funeral because of COVID so my dad and sister went to the funeral room and the funeral was live streamed. I felt relief in many ways not having to go because to see her in a coffin would be to face the reality that she had really passed away. The last time I saw her alive was on a Zoom family call with the nursing home staff and she was crying out in pain because her left hip had been replaced and her left knee which should have been replaced couldn’t now. She had fallen at home last year September broke her hip and never recovered. The two characters in Together discuss how death affected each of them a thread that created an affinity between them.. again.

Another aspect that the two characters discuss is how COVID affected front line workers and people who work for and/or barely above minimum wage. How they are the forgotten ones looked down upon by the rest of society like refugees are now. At one point McAvoy’s character says the bakery stocker is the true hero of the lockdown. The couple also discuss how diligent everyone was at the start of lockdown( ie social distancing, wearing face masks) versus ten months later with complacency setting in. McAvoy’s character uses the word sanguine to describe how he feels and I concur.

Lockdown was very difficult to handle for myself not only the loss of freedom of movement and travel but also the constant reminder of loneliness and anxiety which I think this couple dealt with through acidic shots at each other’s weaknesses. The movie showed a political, economic and social mirror of not only UK’s impact from COVID but also what we thought pre COVID was decent may have been worse than what we have now.

Stay safe stay well ❤️❤️

Saturday was made for Bond James Bond

No spoilers here in fact I rarely discuss a movies plot more what I liked about the characters and how they impacted me.

Matera, Italy is definitely on my travel list sitting on the southern Italian coast with winding roads and back in time architecture. This city opens Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond in the long awaited ( at least by me) No Time To Die.

I have Herba ( to thank for referring Daniel Craig’s turn as Bond to me. I never was a real Bond fan although my sister and I saw A View To a Kill with Roger Moore as 007 only because our fav group at that time Duran Duran sang the title tune. I never saw Pierce Brosnan’s 007 four films outing. Craig took over in 2005 with Casino Royale. Herba was very convincing to give Craig a go and I’m glad I did!

So the Saturday evening started out with dinner at North Italia an upscale restaurant in Reston where my friend who just bought a house will move to next month. My meal was too heavy on the pesto and not enough chicken. We had garlic white truffle bread as an appetizer which we hoovered down! I had pre bought the movie tickets because I didn’t know if it would sell out ( it didn’t).

My only piece of advice is watch Spectre(2015) before you see this Bond movie. I barely remembered the plot of Spectre but wished I had as there are countless references to it. For me all Bond films are a geography buff’s Mecca and this film also takes Bond to Cuba ( where I was in 2018) and of course back home to London. Lots of cheeky dialogue and action and Craig is fit as a fiddle at 53.

Craig to me was a good Bond because he was suave, sexy, smart and sure of himself but in a very subtle way. Again I don’t have much to compare but the long wait was worth it to me.

The name of the drink was Veni Vidi Vici
Chicken pesto w pine nuts

Stay safe stay well ❤️❤️❤️

Round is better than square?

I saw this quote last Wed ( 10-6-21) and it has stuck with me. Not just for a post inspiration but more for the meaning behind what the French artist meant. Stay open to new ideas new ways of thinking be flexible which in this time of COVID seems spot on. We’ve had to adapt everything in our lives for COVID. I use travel as an overt example because that’s an area I truly miss. I was browsing EBay last weekend and typed in luggage and carryons more to see what would pop up. I don’t need new or rather more luggage because I’m not going anywhere except to Texas this Christmas to see my dad and sister. Still I was curious…

Another adaptation I’ve conquered since practicing it during lockdown last year is grocery shopping. My main grocery shopping is done every 2-3 weeks where I stock up on staple items. I’ll go sparingly to buy salad mixes for lunch or if I’m low on bottled water but I try very hard to stick with the 2-3 week rule. During lockdown I had no steady income so my “ spare no expense” unrealistic approach at the store became only get the bare basics don’t go overboard! During lockdown here where I live in Virginia the shelves were barren not only of loo( toilet paper) but also frozen foods, cereal, dairy products and bread. When toilet paper and Bounty paper towels become a luxury item because it’s a rare commodity something’s gotta give.

Although Huey Lewis and The News sang about “Hip To Be Square “ meaning be true to yourself a square box has no escape it’s going round and round same way. Change should be embraced. One can see change as a positive growth learning something new expanding one’s knowledge and perceptions or change can be feared that it will lead to disaster., fear of the unknown. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone exploring beyond the box is one takeaway from COVID devastating as reality has become…

Stay safe stay well ❤️❤️❤️

#9 Dream

Dream, dream away
Magic in the air
Was magic in the air?
I believe, yes I believe
More I cannot say
What more can I say?

—-John Lennon

I was driving on Wednesday morning listening to Sirius satellite radio flipping channels because nothing was appealing to me. The road I drive on has lately been dark and misty that morning light rain was dripping on my windshield. Then as an apparition of sorts “#9 Dream” came on and Lennon was singing to me well it felt that way. I gazed around me at the end of summer trees that haven’t turned her leaves into orange and rust shades yet. The sky above me was pitch black thankfully no hint of thunder or lightning beckoning. In that moment driving to a place of stress and tension hearing the song I felt a calm come over me.

Lennon has said “ Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I get now what he is talking about. When we put our expectations of events, consequences, excitements, fears, frustrations, and others too high we fall. Expect and rejoice in the unexpected. I know we can’t play it safe all the time. Opportunities and new ideas are ways to broaden our horizons, to learn and grow. But savor what’s in front of you now because tomorrow it may be gone.

Stay safe stay well ❤️❤️❤️

Linus and Me

Growing up in the 1970’s as a child I watched Little House On The Prairie, The Love Boat, Charlie’s Angels and Peanuts. Although I had a soft soft for Charlie Brown I really loved Linus and his blanket. I have a ratty blue blanket that I sleep with. It’s not that old from 2014 but between the three pups and I it has seen better days.

Linus to me was a kindred spirit. His blanket was his security against bad things and people to an extent. He was a loyal friend to Charlie Brown but also honest and caring. Lucy was such a strong presence that Linus struggled to find his voice sometimes. I think that was me in high school. There were far more Lucy’s when I went to primary and high school and I found it hard to compete.

It’s difficult finding one’s voice wanting to shout out “ here I am!” when anxiety and shyness and perhaps over sensitivity keep me from expressing myself more. As much I try to stand up for myself I allow others perceptions to creep in and influence me to an extent. Again I think it boils down to acceptance and aggravation that I’m not as self confident at my age as I should be. We all have our own security blankets that protect us and provide us with comfort and care. Linus is a giver.. he tries to be a peace maker and in his attempt he often comes up short sighted. But his trusty blanket always saves the day…

Stay safe stay well ❤️❤️❤️

On Holiday, wandering through Paris with a few fans in mind (Part 5)

Squirrel (Radagast) concludes her series from her trip to Paris in July. I thank her for sharing her thoughts and pictures here.

In 4th arrondissement, at the corner of a street we came across this place. A huge square of memory where in the middle stands up a drinking water fountain.

Wallace Fountain” – 9 allée des Justes 75004 Paris

Very emotional, I am presenting briefly the buildings around it, witnesses of the dark hours of our history.

François Couperin Middle School” – 2 allée des Justes 75004 Paris

The title “Ecole de Garçons” is carved in stone above the blue door. Why two entries?Because at the time, girls and boys were separated at middle school.

On the middle school wall, a black plaque specifies the following words:
“Arrested by the police of the Vichy government, accomplice of the Nazi occupier, more than 11,000 Jewish children were deported from France between 1942 and 1944. Murdered in Auschwitz because they were born Jews. More than 500 children lived in the 4th arrondisssement. Among them the students of this school Let’s never forget them. “

The fourth arrondissement; “Le Marais” saw its Jewish population deported, during the Second World War.
From the Hospitallers Saint-Gervais public primary (UK) elementary (US) school, located not far from here, 260 Jewish pupils were deported to the Nazi concentration camps, on the Vél d’Hiv roundup of July 16 and 17, 1942. In the fall of 1942, only four children returned to this school.

“Le Mémorial de la Shoah” 17 allée des Justes 75004 Paris

On the otherside of the square, with the site of the “Memorial to the Unknown Jewish Martyr” was built the “Paris Holocaust Memorial Museum” .

Outside, between the middle school and the Memorial walls , bilboards explain the Museum purposes.

The Memorial is surrounded by a long wall, where the names of the ” French Righteous”are engraved with a black commemorative plaque explaining it.

the Wall of the Righteous of France”.

Annie Lennox – Dido’s Lament – London City Voices

A little further, at the corner of a street. the yellow color catches the eye. Great witness woman, committed lawyer, then great politician: Simone Veil is on the letter box painted ageing.

Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, Los Angeles” Mrs Simone Veil 1997 interview

History is always present in every Parisian place, “You just HAVE TO LOOK HARD”

Snug as a bug in a rug

When metaphorically are we truly free physically, emotionally and spiritually ? When we have zero debt? When we answer to no one but ourselves? When we achieve equilibrium? When we truly love selflessly? It’s an individual preference might be one answer. And when do we take a risk beyond our four walls? When we face danger? When we fall in love? When we are bored? I’m stuck in a proverbial rut right now. I’ve been stuck for a good while now. Not moving forward not moving backward just running in place could describe my emotions right now.

I communicate with others for a living. I think I do a decent job of that. Of course there’s always room for improvement in anything, but I take great pride in helping others. In part it makes me feel good and in part I can empathize how others feel about certain topics. But a rut is a quagmire of sorts. Like quicksand the more you try to pull yourself out the more you get sucked in. So take a chance one might advise.

Taking a step out of ones comfort zone could be trying a new type of food or taking up a sport like fencing 🤺 or hang gliding ( one I’ve tried and the other I would like to try). Going out of ones comfort zone can be quite freeing but also it makes one vulnerable to outside forces. Forces that swallow up self confidence and self control if they become too greedy. Forces that can strip away self loathing and lead to new healthier habits and ways of viewing the world. The sky has always been a favorite view of mine. The sky is endless possibilities and clouds of chances to cast away doubt and insecurity. Tomorrow is today yesterday…

Stay safe stay well ❤️❤️❤️

Benison Anyone?

On Tuesday I took my middle pup Max to the cardiologist because he has a heart murmur and needs medical clearance to get a dental cleaning. His echocardiogram shows a grade 4 heart murmur with a leaky valve. The heart is getting larger and will ultimately result in congestive heart failure. Max is 9 years old. Yes he’s over weight, needs to exercise a lot more and he’s a tough little dude. The vet was calm and soothing and explained the results of the echocardiogram and ultrasound very succinctly and slowly to me. He thinks Max has had the murmur for a few years probably undetected because he hasn’t had any symptoms ( ie cough, listlessness, loss of appetite). Max will go on heart medications and then have a follow up echocardiogram in six months.

After my dad came out of the hospital in late January he lost 40 pounds ( 6’3 weighed 228 now weighs 188). He recently turned 84. His mind is sharp as a tack. He isn’t that mobile anymore cannot drive and says he’s a shell of what he used to be. But he still runs his tax preparer business and now has a part time care giver to help him upkeep the house and my mum’s two cats. The feeling of isolation and helplessness that his body was failing him he says now he understands our mum’s mental state much better. He doesn’t drive anymore and has allowed himself to accept help which two years ago would have been unheard of as he managed care for my mum alone. I gave him a chess set for his birthday so he could play with the care giver Anthony.

I recently drove past where my old office used to be. It’s gone now the business park totally demolished to make way for a future Marriott Hotel and adjacent condos. The demolition happened in April of this year. Twenty five years of my life was spent working and commuting to that office. It’s now a huge hole in the ground. I know how fortunate I was to be employed for almost half my life with one company. I realize now how much freedom and importance I possessed and needed there. Perhaps it’s made me stronger to handle the rough patches I feel now working with a toxic negative person almost every day.

I had lunch last Sunday with a local friend. She is moving in a few months to a beautiful lakefront house from her old home. She got divorced two years ago and she told me Sunday the pain of coming home every day to memories of him in that house got too overwhelming. I’m on cloud nine for her.

Finally without going into details I smiled and felt such joy when my crush Tobias Menzies won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor for The Crown. Gillian Anderson won Best Supporting Actress, Olivia Colman won Best Actress and Josh O’Connor won the Emmy for Best Actor all for The Crown and The Crown won the Emmy for Best drama series. I know you can’t always get what you want but sometimes you do get what you need.

Stay safe stay well ❤️❤️❤️