I’m not sure anyone needs two crystal balls…

I love change. I have the attention span of a two-year old. And I have a low boredom threshold. And I like new and shiny. I haven’t always been this way – when I was young I lived in one place for 7 years – the building was falling down around me, the neighborhood had turned into a war zone, no one would come and visit – it was past time to move but oh how I resisted! On the other hand I have always bought mostly cheap furniture so when I get bored with it I can toss it without guilt or regret and replace it with more cheap furniture LOL  Any-hoo…

Because of my husband’s incredibly loud breathing/snoring/snorting/coughing there are nights when I don’t get to sleep until 4am, when he gets up. This has been going on for, oh, I don’t know – 30 years?  30 years of sleep deprivation – it wears on one. (And yes, I have tried ear plugs, got soft cushy ones that conform to your inner ear – they hurt!)  While we have lived, mostly, in places with 2 bedrooms we didn’t always have an extra bed or even a full size sofa. We have lived in 2 story houses but that didn’t work for noise isolation because a) he is that loud that I could hear him even in the basement and b) we have always lived with cats and closing the bedroom was not an option – loud snoring versus loud caterwauling – this is not a great choice.

Our second bedrooms have always been my “office” – you know what Virginia Woolf said – and sometimes we managed to stuff some kind of fold up bed in there just in case someone needed to crash – one place we lived had a finished basement and we put guests down there – me, I don’t do basements.

Noise levels being off the charts lately we decided we would buy a real bed and put it in my office so I could get some sleep. This meant that I had to take one of my three bookcases out of my office to make room. And that meant I had to get rid of some books. Not a real hardship getting rid of some books, I had already started to sort and dispense with books I had no need to keep. BUT –

I’m not a tchotchke person but I do have a few odd keepsakes which have always lived on my bookshelves – I  now had to re-distribute them over 2 bookcases instead of 3 (the 3rd bookcase got moved to the living room and my husband has it filled with his personal books and stuff). Two of those keepsakes are crystal balls .

I am now wondering why I need to keep two crystal balls – one HUGE one and one rather small one. The small one I had bought myself in the crystal ball store and the large one was a gift from my brother along with a deck of tarot cards – the Tarol of the Cat People.  I have not used either of these crystal balls in decades – do I need them? Probably not but I can’t bring myself to dispose of them either – well, maybe the little one can go – but the big one? It was a gift; and it was also used quite frequently and to good effect.

I usually have no problem tossing stuff, or giving stuff away – but this crystal ball – proving hard to get rid of.

It always circles back to Da Bronx

I’ve often described myself as ‘the little Italian girl from da Bronx’ despite the fact that my father moved the family out of the Bronx when I was 8 and I really have no connection to the place except for –

The things I say and do. Okay some of those things are also Italian but the Bronx had a heavy concentration of Italian immigrants. The one famous Bronx characteristic I do NOT have is the legendary Bronx accent – for which I am grateful.

The Bronx accent is somewhat similar to a Brooklyn accent – but the Bronx accent is somewhat sharper sounding, a little tougher, ’cause the Bronx is a tough place. Yes, th is pronounced like a d – Dis for this, Dat for that. But 33rd Street becomes toity-toid Street.

The best is – the oi sound becomes an r-sound, as in olive earl or terlet bowl (that would be in English, olive oil and toilet bowl) And New Yorker’s of every borough are know for dropping the r from words altogether and/or replacing it with a d-sound or a w (car becomes caw) Of course there is the famous aw sound – cawfee for coffee. And yes, we drop g‘s at the end of words – going becomes goin‘. And we run words together, like ‘jeet?’ translates to “Did you eat?”

Also “Yo” – I always considered that to be just a New York thing but come to think of it I never heard it in Queens (where I lived after the age of 8). The funniest thing about “Yo” – my husband lived in Vermont when I married him, me being from NYC made me quite the exotic character. My step-children picked up some of my New York-isms which I never realized until I got a note from one of the kids teachers that she had tried to get the teacher’s attention by shouting out “YO”…The teacher didn’t quite know what that meant but she took offense. Me, I cracked up laughing. (Or as we say in NYC – laffin’.)

Then there is the slap-tap/swoop to the back of the head. I never really thought about it much, along with the fist tap to the shoulder but when I did it to someone at work they said “Whadda ya from da Bronx?” Why, yes, yes, I am!

But all this came to mind last week when I read an article about the phrase “expletive you and the horse you rode in on”. My father used to say that all the time, the expletive in his case was ‘screw’ which isn’t really the expletive most people use. But some sources back track it to the Bronx because some guy who wrote a book that used the phrase said he first heard it in the 1950’s in the Bronx. I don’t know, my father used it long before that.

Years ago I wrote a little piece about as you get older you revert to your essential self. It was in reference to my solitariness but started by noting that my grandmothers and mother all reverted back to Italian, their first language, as they aged. And here I am, reverting back to my Bronx-ness as I age – becoming more Bronx-y, becoming more New York-y and in some ways more Italian. It’s interesting stepping back and watching this.

I mentioned earlier that my father moved us from the Bronx to Queens when I was 8, and while I have never felt a conscious attachment to the Bronx I have ZERO attachment to Queens. My personal opinion is Queens is a boring nothing place with no personality at all. And in service to that, here is a little video about New York accents – pay attention to what they say about Queens –

Now this is a New Year’s Quote

I can support wholeheartedly. I saw it yesterday on A Guy Called Bloke’s blog.

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

~ Neil Gaiman ~

City Kids

Back in the day (oh gawd don’tcha just hate that phrase?) us city kids played in the streets. Nowadays kids play in their rooms on their electronics or in organized sports leagues/teams.  We were always outside, even when the weather wasn’t so great. There were city playgrounds where you could play on the swings and monkey bars, (now verboten because – opps, kids might get hurt) and see-saws.  There was a “parkie” who would dispense basketballs and even board games like checkers and chess (there were stone tables with the boards painted on). The parkie also kept major mayhem from breaking out and was responsible for opening and locking the playground.  Some playgrounds had skully and potsy  lines painted as well.

But most of the time we played skully, potsy, box ball, and stoop ball on the sidewalk in front of our homes. The streets were for stickball, and catcher/flyers/up, War and Red Rover. As I recall games like Ringolevio were started later in the day and were called for dinner, some kids called the game for dark but we played in the dark – lots of streetlamps where I lived.

Oh yes there was basketball and all that – so many games that involve a ball of some size. Lots of ‘tag’ games, lots of running around, lots of dodging cars in the street (and yes, dodgeball, which to my mind  is a nasty little game.)

What I remember most pleasantly is that Summer evenings the older kids would include the little kids in kinder gentler games of tags – like freeze tag or statues – we played those on grassy areas so the littles wouldn’t get hurt – I remember that so vividly.

I wonder what kids today will remember? Or for that matter what do all the named and numbered generations after mine remember of their youth?

Perverse Child – Part 3

The story of me, the carnival and the cowboy gun and holster –

Time: 1950 or thereabouts, I was 4 -ish

Place: Somewhere in the Bronx at a street carnival.

Action: A game of chance booth, the carnival version of roulette. My daddy lets me choose a number. I win. I ask for the cowboy gun and holster set. I get handed a doll. I have a temper tantrum – I want the gun and holster. I throw the doll on the ground and smash it. I demand the gun and holster. My daddy drags me away crying.

End of story.