NYC

My Vagabond Summer (Of Love)?

Some of you may know our lifestyle changed in 2015 to owning just one house in Tucson, Arizona.  We have spent this summer of 2016 trying to get out of the Tucson heat – obviously that hasn’t worked too well.  The whole country seems to be sizzling or pouring rain – sometimes both.  We have driven or flown to various places renting apartments, houses and also staying in between rentals with family and friends.   We have been in Santa Fe, NM, Yardley, PA and Long Island, NY – still ahead are NYC, San Francisco, White Plains, NY, Asheville, NC and Atlanta – all before returning home to Tucson in October. Like most plans, much of what we were certain would happen did not happen (we did not mind being in the witness protection program as one of our dearest friends described this lifestyle), and new things came up that have turned into gems of experience.

Here’s a few highlights:

  1. We confirmed our love for Santa Fe. It is a magical, artistic, historically a very Hispanic town with charming architecture, warm people, nearly perfect weather and a real liberal vibe.  Spending time there is like taking a course in the country’s colonial past, art history, and kindness. We made new friends with an old friend of mine from college who I had forgotten lived in Santa Fe – she and her husband fit all the descriptions above.

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  1. We rented a house in Yardley, PA without a washer or dryer. I referred to this in an earlier blog.  The surprising event was becoming friends with the manager of the store and her niece who helped us figure out how to get back in the groove of Laundromats – we discussed work, getting raises, school, politics, and life and got along famously.  I found the connection with these great people that we have little externally in common with, super interesting and amazingly comforting for the future of our country.
  1. Episcopal churches are everywhere and yet extremely consistent. The churches are beautifully traditional and, of course, old (many were built when towns were founded), situated in the heart of downtowns, and only occasionally more than half full.  One is always greeted by people who recall the 1950s style we grew up with – charmingly formal in the sense of respecting boundaries and not assuming “being your new best friend” – softly open and welcoming, low key and anxious to make you feel you belong. It is the America some of us grew up in frozen in time.  I love these church visits and the sensitive sermons and people – like Stacy, the manager of the laundromat, comforting in these loud mouthed, obnoxious times.

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  1. I read serious books that touched my soul. Among them were Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me; Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, and The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb.  I feel I actually learned something real, intimate and important about being/growing up African-American, Chinese-American, and Norwegian.  The bravery of these books, their glimpse into realities of people I could never really know expanded my sense of what it means to be a human being.
  1. Finally, I fell in love. With John (not his real name of course), a late 50ish beyond handsome physician (sort of a mature JFK Jr) who is neighbor and friend to friends of ours.  Like the old time falling in love of 1960s it was both intensely sexy (in my dreams) and totally innocent with absolutely no basis in reality of any kind.  I saw him playing fetch with his black lab on the beach looking happy and carefree.  He then was introduced to me and I knew “he was the one”.  Though of course he is totally someone else’s.  Like our fabulous teen/young adult love for Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, and Rock Hudson it was both unrequited and impossible. A reminder that the pure joy of hearing “see you in September” is coming up next.

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Being a vagabond is working for us.  I could share so many more stories about how being loose and moving frequently is making us stay in the present moment and give up judging others.  But to be honest, I admit some nights I am looking forward to being HOME.  We fabulous women love change, our treasured summer memories, and yet miss our comforts too don’t we?

Patty

Remember Your EOS (End Of Summer) Rituals

Last week we spent some time in Long Island at the beach. We were taking a brief break from THE MOVE (see any number of my posts this summer) to regain our lost sanity. For those caring – yes, it did work. Emptying an American household is truly overwhelming. We boomers have all said at least once (or three thousand times) how “money is tight right now” – but we all seem to have more or less a zillion dollars of possessions – but I digress.

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Meanwhile back at the beach, I walked the seaside several times – both alone and with friends and thought about this topsy turvy summer of change. The typical and untypical birds were there – including of course Mr. Seagull – that constant of beach life. I admit I never see a seagull without also remembering Jonathan Livingston Seagull – a story, published in 1970 – an early book on love, forgiveness and positive psychology. Many boomers besides me read and connected with that book – another influence on our thinking already significantly shifted left by the 1960s.

Last week the beach was filled with little short adorable beach birds that were delightful to watch as they scurried here and there going about their bird business. And of course there was the breeze that is unlike any other feeling against one’s skin. It brought me peace. The walking, the letting go of stress, the memories of hundreds of earlier walks just like this one, but basking in just this new one and the gifts it was giving me.

Post our beach time we headed to NYC to stay on the upper east side due to our generous friends who were away and suggested we use their space. I grew up in New York. In the 1950s suburbs I remember “trips to the city” when we would dress up and go to Schrafft’s on Fifth Avenue. The memory of such times is getting vaguer and mixed up with other similar memories. I often wonder now if something is a real memory or something I saw in a movie.

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Each day I walked Park Avenue for dozens of blocks – just ambling a bit. Ambling in NYC is not possible except in August when the city is “empty” as us “natives” say – meaning you can get into a restaurant and not be bowled over by thousands walking the streets. I realized that this NYC walking was another of my rituals. Whenever I was facing issues – while at 25, 35, 45, 55 or now, I walked the streets of NYC and looked at crazy expensive stores, Central Park, old and new buildings and amazing townhouses. It is the place I think about decisions for the next 5 years – my ritual meditation on life – very little of which is spent in NYC anymore.

On Sunday while at church, I prayed for all those I love – especially for a dear friend who just underwent a stem cell transplant that truly is a gift of life. Another ritual I practice: showing up at “odd” churches and reminding myself of all that is so much bigger, and more beautiful/important than my particular life and its petty concerns. There were only 10 or so people in this charming 1872 church – guess the ritual of praying in random churches is becoming a great deal less common. That made me a little sad, but reminded me why I need to keep at it. My rituals, my places of comfort that anchor me to the past, and help me navigate the future are important. No matter where I am, I need to remember to get to the beach, NYC and an old church.

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The sermon at church was about not relying on rituals – not being a hypocrite but living and experiencing things for their essence – love and connection. Couldn’t agree more with the priest, but still need to hold to some of my own EOS rituals. Sometimes going back into a place/space of comfort becomes the exact thing that allows me to pivot back to life in the now. My heart is healed, my thoughts are clear, and I go back to a life more online than I would like, but then “the online world” too is deepened and expanded by my rituals.

Don’t forget your rituals fabulous sisters. Hopefully they do not include buying stuff – as noted at the start – enough already with the stuff.

-Patty

 

He’s Hot, We’re Not

Went to a Broadway show with a close friend about a week ago. We took the train into what those of us in the tri-state area around NYC call “the city”. Neither of us had seen Broadway productions recently so we thought we would go down, stand on the half-price ticket line (yes, that is where there was a bus crash recently) and have some time to wander and have a great lunch — all of which we did.

Here are some thoughts about the adventure:

  • Women friends, real friends cannot stop talking with and to each other. If you can’t make conversation with someone at this point – skip getting together – you have more than enough to say to those you love. The exception? A NEW friend — someone you really do not even know yet but who attracts you in your heart or gut.
  • One on one trips/adventures are the best and easiest. Only two people adjusting to each other is a dream — especially since both Dona and I are old codependent girls from WAY back. If you have no clue about the term co-dependent, you weren’t paying attention in the 70s and 80s — go back and take a look at the famous Codependent No More. Of course we have “worked on” ourselves, but we still say “no, you choose” forever back and forth.

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  • The Broadway TKTS place where you get half price tickets is great — but the lines are L-O-N-G and it takes time. If you want to see a 2PM matinee do get there at 9:30 or 10AM – you’ll have tickets by 11 or so and can relax and have a leisurely lunch before the show. Getting there at 11:30 makes it tight — and why do something that close to the wire? It made great sense with two jobs, doing most of the housework, kids, older parents, volunteer work and going to the gym every day — at this point, rushing like crazy is crazy in itself.
  • There is a reason Broadway shows are forever famous and fun — they are the top — even if the story isn’t the greatest the acting and/or the singing is usually over the top. We saw Violet – a revival from the late 90s neither of us had seen. The singing, the show itself were riveting. We loved it!! Sorry – it closes or closed August 10th.

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  • The setting was 1964 in the south — you can already get the point — we both noticed the audience of mostly under 40s didn’t seem to get the gasps supposedly related to the interracial couple – thank God.

But here is something that really hit me/us. The story had three main characters – all young and great looking (under 30) – in a love triangle. The young guys to Dona and I were gorgeous — we found ourselves lusting for them in our hearts (yes, it was stupid when Jimmy Carter said it or supposedly said it and it is equally idiotic now).

Or, to put it another way, we realized that there really is no replacement for youth in that aspect of life — the energy, the exuberance, the passion, the promise — oh this is too depressing. The point of this blog post is of course treasuring your friends and planning fun outings with them (ho hum) — but still, it hurt a tiny bit that love triangles – especially with under 30 men – are not likely in our future. Yes, they are hot, and we are not. Happy, but not hot.

Women-talking

 

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