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Archive for April, 2010

I Am a New Yorker

A priest’s wife I know who is from New York — Sheepshead Bay, I think — sent me this.  Says it all.

I am a New Yorker
I do not live in the five boroughs or on the Island or Upstate
I may live hundreds or thousands of miles away
Or I may live just over the George Washington Bridge
But I am a New Yorker

I am a New Yorker
Whatever took me out of New York:
Business, family or hating the cold
did not take New York out of me.
My accent may have faded and my pace may have slowed
But I am a New Yorker

I am a New Yorker
I was raised on Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Rockefeller Plaza,

The Yankees or the Mets (Giants or Dodgers)

Jones Beach, Rye Beach, Orchard Beach or one of the beaches
on the sound [i.e., Long Island Sound]
I know that ‘THE END’ means Montauk.

Because I am a New Yorker


I am a New Yorker
When I go on vacation, I never look up

Skyscrapers are something I take for granted

The Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty are part of me

Taxis and noise and subways and ‘gedadda heah’ don’t rattle me

Because I am a New Yorker


I am a New Yorker

I was raised on cultural diversity before it was politically correct

I eat Greek food and Italian food,
Jewish and Middle Eastern food and
Chinese food
Because they are all American food to me.

I don’t get mad when people speak other languages in my presence

Because my relatives got to this country via Ellis Island and chose to stay.


They were New Yorkers


People who have never been to New York have misunderstood me.
My friends and family work in the industries, professions and businesses that benefit all Americans.

My firefighters died trying to save New Yorkers and non-New Yorkers.
They died trying to save Americans and non-Americans.
Because they were New Yorkers.

I am a New Yorker.
I feel the pain of my fellow New Yorkers.

I mourn the loss of my beautiful city.

I feel and dread that New York will never be the same
But then I remember:
I am a New Yorker


And New Yorkers have:
Tenacity, strength and courage way above the norm

Compassion and caring for our fellow citizens

Love and pride in our city, in our state, in our country

Intelligence, experience and education par excellence

Ability, dedication and energy above and beyond

Faith–no matter what religion we practice

Terrorists hit America in its heart
But America’s heart still beats strong

Demolish the steel in our buildings,
but it doesn’t touch the steel
in our souls
Hit us in the pocketbook;
but we’ll parlay what we have left into a
fortune
End innocent lives leaving widows and orphans,
but we’ll take care of
them
Because they are New Yorkers


Wherever we live, whatever we do, whoever we are
There are New Yorkers in every state and every city of this nation
We will not abandon our city
We will not abandon our brothers and sisters
We will not abandon the beauty,
creativity and diversity that New York represents
Because we are New Yorkers
And we are proud to be New Yorkers.


REMEMBER THE WTC
Author – Vincent Pasquale, Maspeth, NY

(where I lived for six of my 31 years as a New Yorker)

Thank you Vincent for allowing us to share this with
our fellow New Yorkers all around the world.


Only those who grew up or lived in NYC can understand the meaning of this:

THERE IS NO NORTH AND SOUTH. IT’S ‘UPTOWN’ OR ‘DOWNTOWN.’ IF YOU’RE REALLY FROM NEW YORK , YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO CONCEPT OF WHERE NORTH AND SOUTH ARE…AND EAST OR WEST IS ‘CROSS-TOWN.’

YOU KNOW HOW TO MAKE AN EGG CREAM.

YOU RIDE IN A SUBWAY CAR WITH NO AIR CONDITIONING JUST BECAUSE THERE ARE SEATS AVAILABLE.

YOU KNOW WHAT A ‘REGULAR’ COFFEE IS.

YOU MOVE 3,000 MILES AWAY, SPEND 10 YEARS LEARNING THE LOCAL LANGUAGE AND PEOPLE STILL KNOW YOU’RE FROM BROOKLYN, LONG ISLAND, Staten Island (the other “Island)” OR “THE BRONX”, THE MINUTE YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH.

YOU RETURN AFTER 10 YEARS AND THE FIRST FOODS YOU WANT ARE A ‘REAL’ PIZZA AND A ‘REAL’ BAGEL.

A 500 SQUARE FOOT APARTMENT IS LARGE.

YOU WOULDN’T BOTHER ORDERING PIZZA IN ANY OTHER CITY.

YOU’RE NOT THE LEAST BIT INTERESTED IN GOING TO TIMES SQUARE ON NEW YEAR’S EVE.

YOUR INTERNAL CLOCK IS PERMANENTLY SET TO KNOW WHEN ALTERNATE SIDE OF THE STREET PARKING REGULATIONS IS IN EFFECT.

YOU KNOW WHAT A BODEGA IS.

SOMEONE BUMPS INTO YOU AND YOU CHECK FOR YOUR WALLET.

YOU DON’T EVEN NOTICE THE LADY WALKING DOWN THE ROAD HAVING A PERFECTLY NORMAL CONVERSATION WITH HERSELF.

YOU PAY ‘ONLY’ $230 A MONTH TO PARK YOUR CAR.

YOU CRINGE AT HEARING PEOPLE PRONOUNCE HOUSTON ST. LIKE THE CITY IN TEXAS .

THE PRESIDENTIAL VISIT IS A MAJOR TRAFFIC JAM, NOT AN HONOR.

THAT’S NEW YORK , BABY! YA GOTTA LOVE IT

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My regular browser, Firefox, doesn’t support interesting things like YouTube, so I frequently have to use my backup browser, Internet Explorer, when people send me interesting things.  As part of IE, I have a Startup page that contains information and links of interest to me, and one of the little — I don’t know what you call ’em — pin-ups, I’d call them, if my Startup page were a bulletin board — anyway, it’s a daily quote from C. S. Lewis, who I’m sure needs no introduction to anyone who reads this blog.

This was today’s:

In the midst of a world of light and love, of song and feast and dance, [Lucifer] could find nothing to think of more interesting than his own prestige.

I cannot get over this!  Does this sound like our modern celebrities, or what?!  For that matter — how often does it describe me??  In this Paschal season of sheer joy, “light and love, song and feast and dance” — “Let us be radiant, and with our whole heart let us say:  Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing Life!”

And when it becomes about Me again, I will do my very best to remember this quote from C. S. Lewis.

(C’mon, be honest:  How many of you suspect, like me, that if he had been born fifty years later he would have become Orthodox??)    😉

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Happy Birthday, or Whatever

Today is my daughter’s 35th birthday.  Now that we are completely estranged, by her choice, it’s hard to know what to say about it, hence the title of this post.

Hers wasn’t an especially hard birth, even though it lasted for two days — mostly those little twinges that I think are called Braxton-Hicks contractions.  When my water broke, around 11:30 pm on the evening of the thirteenth, we packed up and went to the hospital, where the thing dragged on until nine in the morning — when the doctor determined that the cord was wrapped around her neck, and I had my first abdominal surgery.

For most of these years I have counted her acquaintance well worth the cost of that particular assault on my person; she is, or has been, a sunny, merry, and very lively young person to have around the house.  When she left, it was like losing four children at once, and it took about five years to get used to her absence.  I must admit that I hadn’t expected her to disappear from our lives completely, but that’s pretty much what happened from the very beginning; I had thought they’d come for dinner maybe once a month or so, but it wasn’t to be.  She moved out of this house two weeks before the wedding, and that was that.

We did stay on speaking terms, more or less, until last May, when I discovered that she and her family had packed up and moved to South Carolina without a word to us; I had known that the house was on the market, and that there were plans to move, but when their house sold and they actually packed up, there wasn’t a peep out of them.  We didn’t even have an address until Christmas.

The very first blog post I ever wrote was about her, and although the details were different, it was pretty much the same lament.  Oh, well — kids are kids, and choose their own path, so I hope she has a happy birthday.

And I hope she wakes up before it’s too late, and realizes that however imperfect your birth family is, in the end, they still love you.

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Warning:  “Shelf Life” (life after you get put on the shelf) can be dangerous.

Over a period of about 25 years, my husband and I have become “shepherds” to a flock of stuffed sheep.  It started when my husband bought me a sheep called Ms. Mutton, from the “famous” brokerage E. F. Mutton — this was actually a toy sheep line put out by a now-defunct firm called Lamb International (I’ve tried Googling both E. F. Mutton and Lamb International with no results for the toy manufacturer).  The “House of Mutton” was a line of stuffed sheep with herringbone outer layer; E. F. sported a foulard tie, and Ms. Mutton a demure white collar and foulard bow (the collar has long since disintegrated, and the foulard bow, now in tatters, tethers a bell).  We always joked that dh rescued her from a life of “Ms.”-ery, and she has been known in our home as “Mrs. Mutton” for as long as she has lived with us.

In 1997, my husband landed in the hospital with a blood clot cutting off circulation to his groin.  Since he was in Boston and I was in NH — studying for final exams for my accounting degree, no less — visiting him was a problem for me, and I temporized by sending him flowers and a stuffed lamb.  The lamb accompanied him home, and he introduced it as “Millie,” named in honor of the millefleurs decorating its jumpsuit.  Mrs. Mutton and Millie jogged along very nicely together, with our family, for a few years before being joined by Abby, a stuffed sheep from Scotland.

We have been thinking of adding to our little flock for some time now.  I have been on the lookout for “Dorothy Ovine” (those of you old enough to remember Dorothy Provine will get the joke), and had found her in the person of Lola Lamb, who was for sale as an Easter toy at the local supermarket.  Unfortunately, by the time I got back to Lola aka Dorothy, she had been sold out, and if we add her to the flock at all it will have to be from Amazon.

Anyway, dh was commenting on Saturday that we needed a Matushka Mutton, then immediately corrected himself:  “I guess that would be Mrs. Mutton.  After all, she is the senior sheep.”  I agreed and added, “But we could use a Batushka,” and dh agreed.  I immediately got on line to look for a priestly-looking sheep.

Have you ever tried to find a stuffed sheep that looked wise, friendly, approachable, and holy, all at once?!  I was going batty, till I remembered that there used to be a Christian bookstore in town that carried a line of cards called “Really Woolly,” and that these were available from a company called Dayspring.  I looked them up online, and sure enough, there was the company, there was the product line, and there was…

this sheep.

There are actually two of them, this one and another called “God loves me.”  But “God loves me” looked rather timid, and this one looks much more open and confident.  Plus, I love the book (it turns out to be a little poem for reading to a very small child, but what the heck — it can sub for a Bible, or a book by one of the Church Fathers).

Sheep With Book arrived at our door today, and has inserted himself effortlessly into our flock.  Except, we decided, he needs a name besides “Baatushka.”  My husband was all in favor of Baartholomew, but that reminded me of the Ecumenical Patriarch, about whom I have reservations (he’s a little too ecumenical-minded for my comfort).  I liked “Baaris,” but my husband doesn’t care for the name Boris.

So I was sitting in my rocker, knitting a riassa for our latest addition to the flock (and feeling slightly off my rocker), when Inspiration struck.

Baarsanuphius.

It’s a name that has long intrigued me, ever since a woman at church stated that she liked the custom of naming your baby after the saint on whose feast it was born, and I said, “You gotta be careful of that.  What if it was born on the feast of St. Barsanuphius?”  And our priest chimed in, “What’s wrong with Barsanuphius?  It’s a perfectly good name,” then sat back with a beatific smile while the rest of us cracked up.

Father Baarsanuphius it is, and I shall post photos when I get his riassa and skufia knitted, of him as well as the rest of the flock.

Shelf life is definitely dangerous.

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