Fractured Facade

"A fathers death...a daughter's life...a sociopath's vendetta...FRACTURED FACADE ...a novel written as memoir. Only $4.99 and available exclusively on Amazon. Kindle Unlimited members read for free! Click here for direct link.


THE VALENTINE'S DAY CURSE -- A Short Story, Free everywhere...except on Amazon (boo! hiss!) where it's $.99 to buy! Click here for direct link! Let them know it's free at these stores and they may price match it! Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books...more to come.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Lake George

Some of the best vacations I've had have been ones that had little or no planning, ones where I just got in a car armed with road maps, AAA tour books, a suitcase, a cooler, with a sorta destination planned, and hit the road. Last month my husband and I decided to do just that and we found ourselves in upstate New York in the Lake George region.

The Village of Lake George
During the summers of my Brooklyn childhood, going on a vacation to Lake George, or the Catskills, both in upstate New York, was almost a rite of passage. When I was a kid I never went to either place. Instead, my father drove us all around the New York upstate hotspots. Vague memories include Lake Placid, The North Pole, 1,000 Islands, Niagara Falls, sometimes Toronto, Montreal and Quebec,  then back to the New England states. Glad I got to see The Old Man in the Mountain, whose granite profile is no more in New Hampshire, some distant relatives who lived inVermont, old sailing ships in Connecticut, along with other forgotten destinations. When I became older and could travel myself, I did hit some upstate spots for skiing and dude ranches, including the Catskills,  Hunter Mountain, Bear Mountain, and some other mountains, but never got to Lake George. It's probably not on most people's bucket list but it was on mine, (I have a very doable travel bucket list) so off we went...

Never realized how large Lake George's 32 miles in length.

Driving up there for an extended weekend with no hotel reservations, during August, was probably not the best idea as we met quite a few no vacancy signs. Too many of the establishments that did have a vacancy only had one for that night which would mean we would have to begin the trek all over again the next day, not something I particularly wanted to do. When we first rolled into town the plan was to stay at a really nice place right on the lake. I wanted to be able to open the window in the morning and see the glistening sun beam off the water and fall asleep to the sounds of bullfrogs and crickets while ripples of lake gently lapped to the shore. As doors slammed in our face, some outright laughing at our question, "Why aren't there any vacancies?" and their response, "Ummm, it's summer!" we began to think that maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to be across the street from the lake and stay in one of those cute little cottages that dotted the road. When that proved undoable as well, we decided to keep driving north while following the lake to see if there was any rooms available. We had 32 miles of possibilities.

After being met with a plethora of no vacancy signs we found ourselves about ten miles from the downtown happening part of Lake George and in a cute little town called Bolton. There was an old timey looking motel with cabins facing the lake that had a vacancy sign up.

We were thrilled to find that they did indeed have four nights available, alas no lakeside cottages. We were told those were reserved a year in advance in most cases, so we opted for a room right by the pool. We could walk down to the lake and use the kayak and canoes any time we wanted. Oh, that sounds great we said to the clerk, and booked the room at a higher rate than I wanted to pay, as it was a typical upstate motel room that you would expect to find in the seventies.

When's the last time you used a key like this?
Even if there was no hair dryer, only one-ply toilet paper, the most translucent, thinnest, wrapped sliver of soap I have ever seen, and no complimentary shampoo and conditioner, I was thrilled it had air conditioning, a refrigerator, cable television, and thick wooden walls with no neighbors on either side. When we settled into the room I mentioned the canoe and kayak to my husband causing us both to burst out laughing as he uncorked the bottle of wine. Yeah, like we would actually go out on the lake, and row, or paddle something. Ha!

This was the view from the Bonnie Motel we saw when we walked down to the lake.

In fact, it was quite the hike down to the lake from our poolside room, so I think after the first time trek, that was the last time we trekked. Instead, we drove into town to see what was what, and found there was no shortage of activities for people who were more ummm, "outdoorsy" than us.

That's not Frank driving the boat. That's not me water skiing.
Can you see my husband and I parasailing?
Here's a close-up so you can see, nope, that's not us...

Cruising on Lake George

Nope, not for us...I get seasick.

Seriously though, we found plenty to do...

All upstate New York feels haunted to me
Fort William Henry
That flag offends me...remove it!!! Ha, just kidding

Downtown Lake George is your typical tourist upstate town, very picturesque, plenty of fudge stores, souvenir shops. ice cream parlors, live music, bars, restaurants, shopping, shopping, and more shopping. Bring comfortable walking shoes as you will do a lot of walking. I never realized the Lake George area had such a huge Italian presence. One Italian restaurant in Bolton, Cate's, was so good I thought I was back in Brooklyn. In fact, the pizza we had there was better than any pizza we had the last time we were in Brooklyn.

Seriously better pizza than the last one I had at L&B's in Brooklyn!
We overhead a lot of people speaking and many folks had our same Brooklyn accent. When the chef came out and made the rounds, we made sure to tell him how much we enjoyed the meal. I also discovered the refreshing joy of watermelon vodka mixed with cranberry juice and seltzer. There was a typical German restaurant that also had authentic fare, and lots of it. Go hungry. We also found a great Italian deli only down the road from the motel where we had breakfast and lunch. I think the biggest surprise came when we stumbled upon a bakery in the Village of Lake George that not only had real Italian bread and pastries, but the best black and white cookie I have ever had.

Perfection in a black and white, spongy with a slight tinge of lemon zest moist cake covered with fresh, soft, thick layer of homemade vanilla and chocolate frosting. 

The food was so delicious up there, and varied with so many Italian delicacies to choose from which I cannot get in Roanoke, we didn't have to hit Brooklyn on the way back home to Virginia because all my food cravings were satisfied.

Another reason why I chose Lake George...there was another bucket list location nearby. And it was a perfect time to visit as this was the brief season when the thoroughbreds were racing in Saratoga Springs!  More on that in the next blog post...

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

If West Side Story Was Remade

Last night we were watching one of my favorite musicals West Side Story when I remarked to my husband if more gangs danced we'd have less crime, and I think the art of snapping needs to be brought back too. I'm a big snapper...from keeping time when dancing, to my past of alerting an editor where a cut needs to be me made, I snap. It's got a cool beatnik vibe, doesn't it?

Anyhow...this was the first time my husband ever saw West Side Story. And that's how I know he loves me more than anything in the world, because he sat through an entire "corny" musical with me only making one jab at it saying, "I guess the apple didn't fall far...your dad loved musicals too." I had to remind him my dad's taste in musicals was way different in mine as there are only a few I like and in in fact my two favorite ones, this and Jesus Christ Superstar are actually two he didn't like.

My husband did make a remark that this movie probably wouldn't have been made today since it is so politically incorrect. What with all the spic, wop, mick, pollock, etc references, and stereotypes of a multitude of folks including the "distoibed," it probably would never get passed the pc police. Even back then they knew enough that they had to substitute "Krup You!" for you know what if there would ever be a chance for it to go on television, I assume.

The opening lyrics of this song...

"Dear kindly Sergeant Krupke,
You gotta understand,
It's just our bringin' up-ke
That gets us out of hand.
Our mothers all are junkies,
Our fathers all are drunks.
Golly Moses, natcherly we're punks!"

Sounds like not a whole lot has changed since 1961. But one thing definitely has changed...there are no more or very few Officer Krupkes. Could you just imagine if this crew went up to a cop now and said some of the things these cats did throughout this film? I don't think the modern day Krupke would take it too kindly. I imagine there might even be a taser or two at the very least.

And if this movie was remade way would Natalie Wood survive waving that gun around. Yeah right...Pow! That's how I think it would end...

Monday, April 24, 2017

Dear Southern Girls,

All I can do is utter, "What a damn shame" as I watch the treatment, or lack thereof, my husband's 85 year old friend is experiencing from his family, specifically from his grown daughters, so I thought a brief letter to them was in order...

Dear southern girls, I guess your dad's no longer needed as your children are old enough now not to be babysat by him like he used to do at the drop of a dime whenever you needed him.

Dear southern girls, let me tell you he misses those grandchildren. You might know that if you bothered to call him. Oh wait, you can't call him because he has no phone. You would know that if you had tried to call him. You would know he could't afford his landline any longer at his home or his "business" so he got rid of it over six months ago.

Dear southern girls, don't you think an 85 year old man should have a phone? We did. So a couple of months ago my husband went with him to Walmart and had him get a cheap cellphone which we discovered this week he no longer has, because he couldn't afford it any more. If you would have tried to call him you would have known there was something "wrong" as the call kept going to voicemail. It took my husband one day to figure that out. Although he says he doesn't "need" one we know he does.

Dear southern girls, you know where he lives, way out in the boondocks, you know the house, the one you had him sign over to you two when he was on his deathbed a mere two years ago. The farmhouse where he has no cable television, no phone, not even Sirius radio any more that one of  you were so kind to give him for a present a couple of years ago, but never continued to pay the yearly fee. You do realize if he cannot afford to pay for a phone, satellite radio is a luxury he would never pay for. So if sits dead on the counter amongst a cluttered mess you girls never helped clean.

Dear southern girls, if you ever bothered to open his refrigerator you would see there is barely any food in it, probably some apples, beans, and containers of soup and other leftovers from my kitchen that I make sure my husband gives him. I try and pack two lunches for "the boys" whenever I'm able to.

Dear southern girls, we invited him over Easter Sunday, but he didn't come. He said he didn't want to "impose." It would not have been an imposition at all. Instead, he stayed at his "business" building, down in the bottom, you know the one, the one he signed over to you two when he was on his deathbed, the one that has no phone, and no running water because he couldn't afford to keep it going. Well, he sat out in the back watching the beehives, waiting, hoping one of you girls would have come by to say hi, see what he was up to, maybe even invite him over to brunch or dinner so he could play with his grandchildren. Did I mention how much he misses his grandchildren? But no one called him, how could you? He has no phone. No one stopped by to see if he was all right. When I saw him the next day he said he didn't go anywhere, didn't hear from you. When I asked when was the last time he had, he couldn't remember. Months?

Dear southern girls, we invited him last Thanksgiving to come over. You didn't. He wouldn't. He didn't want to impose. We invited him to come over Christmas Eve. You didn't. He wouldn't. He didn't want to impose. For his birthday my husband took him to lunch. You didn't. Not a card, not even a call. Would that have been too much?

Dear southern girls, you make me sick. One of you is a nurse, the other a teacher. With the professions you chose one would think you should both know the meaning of compassion, especially towards your father. Let me tell you, for an 85 year old man, he's still got spunk, even with his colostomy bag. But there are days he doesn't look good. There are days his skin is too sallow and it worries me. He's losing too much weight. Even though every day my husband makes sure he's eating, there are some days your father should be going to the doctor, and my husband will insist he go even when he doesn't want to. It doesn't always work. Maybe if you girls took him, he'd go.

Dear southern girls, your father is not an imposition. He is a blessing. Do you know what I would give to hear my father's voice on the phone? Do you know what I would give to have my father sitting next to me at a dinner table? Do you know what I would give to have my father sitting next to me on the couch? Do you know what I would give to have my father be around his grandchildren, especially now that they've grown up? Do you know what I would give to not have lost my father at 74? I guess you don't and it's a damn shame.

Dear southern girls, I tell my husband he better make sure to get all of his wood out of your dad's "business" building because frankly, even though I've been told you know it's my husbands, I worry once your dad is gone, so will all that wood and anything else you could get your greedy mitts on to sell, because if you don't give a damn about your father while he's alive you certainly aren't going to give a damn about anyone else after he's dead.

Dear southern girls, I can't help but think that had your dad not signed over everything to you two already, he might have gotten a visit, an invitation, a call, something, anything from his "family." Maybe he doesn't have money like your mom does, but he's still your father. He's a great man.

Dear southern girls, every night when your father leaves our shop he hugs my husband and says, "Goodnight son." He is my husband's best friend and my husband is his best, and sometimes it seems, only, friend. My husband didn't know his birth dad, and didn't have a great relationship with his stepdad, and he treasures every minute with your dad. When the time comes, and your dad passes, my husband will be broken hearted and those tears coming from his eyes will be real. Will yours?

Dear southern girls, is this how daughters treat their elderly fathers in the south, discard them like a moth-worn flannel rag? Shameful. Oh year, bless your fucking hearts...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Monday, February 6, 2017

Why Wait Until Valentine's Day To Break Up?

When I was younger, much younger, single even, you know, back--way way back-- in the day, Valentine's Day was such a desperate day. It brought out the best and worst of people and businesses. It still does. All the jewelry stores, florists, and restaurants up their and demand. Basically it means paying extra for those same shitty roses that were half-priced a month ago, or the "special" three course Valentine's meal. Nothing says I love you as being cramped in one of the extra tables they brought up from the basement, and rushed through those speedy courses, as you don't enjoy your over-priced, lousy-cooked dinner. The group-thinking then, and is still the same now, being the more someone spends on someone, the more they are in love with that person. Of course, that's if you're even "lucky" to have a special partner who will be happy to spend their hard-earned or illicit-gotten money on the likes of you.

Why, back--way way back--in the day, some boys would have the audacity to break up with their sweethearts just so they don't have to depart with cash. And there were some girls who secretly wanted to break up with their disappointing sweethearts, but would decide to give them "another chance" in the hopes that said boy would redeem himself by showering the girl with wonderful, thoughtful, loving gifts, reflecting how he always felt, but just didn't know how to express himself. I'd say those scenarios probably still happens these days. Now, please feel free to substitute girl for boy, he for she, or whatever gender or pronoun people prefer nowadays. It doesn't matter. It's still the same. One person always seems to love the other one a little bit more than they are loved.

With my vast knowledge of people's actions/personalities/dispositions, etc., observed through books, movies, and decades of personal experiences, I have to say that if one waits for their partner to "come through" on Valentine's Day, it's probably not gonna happen. If you felt that secure and loved in your relationship you wouldn't have to wait and see what that person will do. Your significant other should treat you like a queen or king throughout the year, not just one lousy day, a couple of hours to "make up" for their shitty behavior. And no, loving someone does not equate to having to spend mega dollars to prove it. The best gifts come from the heart, not the wallet.

If over the last year the following "scenarios" have been experienced, my advice would be to break up with the fucker before Valentine's Day. Now for the sake of continuity I am going to use the pronoun "she" as you, and "he" as the one you're hoping will  do the "right thing."

Don't wait for Valentine's Day to break up  if...

*The moment you finish ordering in a restaurant, he takes out his phone and ignores you for the rest of the meal.

*He never pays for your meal any more.

*He no longer opens, or holds doors open for you.

*He not only doesn't walk you to your door, but leaves before you even get to your door.

*He no longer holds your hand.

*He walks ahead of you, and often is looking down at his phone.

*When he's not on his phone, he makes sure to place it upside down so you cannot see the screen.

*When he kisses you hello or good-bye, it's only a peck, and if you comment on that he rolls his eyes.

*He no longer reaches for you.

*He has problems "performing" and uses the excuse the hair regeneration meds are causing the problem. Um, if he is losing his hair, and is using meds to keep the hair, the reason he's doing that is to be attractive to someone. If he already has that "someone," you, then you're not the "someone" he wants to attract.

*Even after you plead with him not to, he buys a two-seater mini sports car, that due to a severe medical condition you have and he is well aware of, makes it difficult/dangerous for you to ride in. Um, if he's thinking his new car is a chick magnet, and he already has the chick, you, then you're not the "chick" he wants to attract.

*All of his money goes into his girlie car, whether it's to repair it or to pay all the tickets he gets.

*He no longer posts pictures of you and him on social media sites.

*He worries more about how he looks in pictures than you do.

*He cannot pass a mirror without looking at it,  often adjusting his hair.

*He doesn't let you run your fingers through his hair.

*He only picks the Netflix movie.

*He lies...constantly...about everything...everything...everything.

*He's always in competition with you.

*He always says his "insert whatever you both did together here, ummm, like a paint night painting," is better than yours. Even if it was, which it probably isn't, why would he feel compelled to say that?

*He gets jealous of the amount of friends, likes, and comments you receive on Facebook.

*He gets jealous of the amount of followers, likes, and comments you receive on Instagram.

*He doesn't like or comment on any of your social media posts.

*He doesn't get along with your closest friends and family.

*Your dog hates him.

*He does not support you mentally.

*He does not support your goals.

*He makes you doubt yourself.

*He turns everything around so that you are in the wrong.

*Every problem is your fault.

*He lowers your self esteem.

*He bullies you.

*He makes you cry.

*For your one-year anniversary he gives you six wilted roses and a small box of chocolates which he already opened and ate from. They are miniature Reeses peanut butter cups, which are your least favorite, and are his most favorite.

Need I go on? I think you get the point. Why prolong the agony? Why is it so many have a hard time being the one to break up when they know the other person is being totally passive-agressive and secretly wants to break up, but doesn't have the balls to actually do it? Creeps like that will wait it out, making your life miserable until you finally reach that point and say, I'm done, done, done! That's all they wanted. And then they could play the victim and say, "She broke up with me...blah, blah, blah."

Fine, you want to wait and see what happens Valentine's Day. Your digging your heels in. You put all that time into a relationship...what, how long? Months, a year, years? You want satisfaction. I say good luck to you. You're never gonna find the person you deserve if you stay with someone who doesn't deserve you...

Valentine's Day can be a blessing if you're with the one you love, and who loves you, or it can be such a curse...Here's a short story I wrote, aptly entitled The Valentine's Day Curse. Click here. It's free on Amazon. It might make you feel better. I know I did, after I wrote it.

Hey, if you have any other behaviors that should make you not wait for Valentine's Day to break up with someone, feel free to leave them in the comments...