vanity mirror

Above the credenza in the dining room there is one, mottled with age and water stains, browned out dots in the lower and upper corners. Another lives in my parents bedroom, nearly the same height and width, the only exception being the gilded frame. If you count the bathrooms and the coat closet just off the living room that brings us up to five. The next closest is the rearview in Dad's puke green Duster, that was way before they added the side mirrors. And so its no surprise really that in my younger years I was far from obsessed by how I looked, I don't know that I ever really remember "seeing" myself in anything outside of a reflection in a rain puddle. My obsession lay with my thoughts and ideas, conversations with characters, real and imaginary, all colorful in my mind were these mirrors, windows to my soul. 

pendulum heart swings

Peachy Keen Stamps
each new year that I am single I vow to be more courageous when it comes to affairs of the heart. it is a challenge, partly because it's not the easiest task to undertake (especially in a city where the women outnumber the men considerably) and also because I refuse to settle (I'd much rather be alone spending time with  friends and family than with someone who's not the right match).

anyone that knows me will tell you that my being single has not been for a lack of trying. I am actively out there: taking classes, attending events, trying new things, reveling in art and music, enjoying my day to day life, taking advantage of this bright big city (and its surrounding areas) I live in. and finding like (or love) anywhere is work, it's sort of like moonlighting while having a full-time job and an active social life.

2012 was a reprieve, a hiatus if you will, and honestly a bit of a blur. i thought for certain that the last quarter (yes I went from thinking in semesters, to thinking in quarters) would definitely close without a beacon in sight. And then December came around, and I could 'feel' something shifting. First it was the holiday parties, one at The Cutting Room where I had a handful of complementary conversations, an offer for a home-cooked risotto dinner and several requests fro my presence at one event or another sometime in the near future. I'd like to think the attraction was the result of my winning personality, but my inner bombshell (which I'm still learning to embrace) knew that my provocative green eyes and curvy black dress contributed to the allure and the attention.

then right before the holidays at a conference in Miami, the shift took a turn in the right direction.  So there I am dining alone at a restaurant bar, my Kindle all set up with its latest fiction title when a stranger strikes up a conversation. Originally from Boston, now living in Miami, Peter lingered sharing a bottle of Prosecco and his sarcastic sense of humor in a side by side dinner conversation. It was a fantastically fun time, and even more of a pleasant surprise when he invited me out for dinner (which turned into a lunch and walking stroll of Ocean Drive) before my leaving the city.

I guess you could say my mojo was revving up for a return because I had a conversation about music and volunteering at the airport in Miami, this time with a guy from Long Island, while we both shared an outlet to charge our phones. And there were flirtations on my trip to Texas too, with the violinist of Flamenco Symphony and an acting teacher/bartender I met at the Driskill. 

Inspired by this new energy, I reinstated my account on OK Cupid and enlisted on an activity dating site called MERJ--where in a few weeks I'll be partnered with a beginner (I hope) at an  Acroyoga class. I've had 1 or 2 "let's see if there's chemistry" dates from OKC and although the time was well spent and the conversation lively, there's been no spark yet.

The closest I've come to a connection would have to be a gentleman I met at that holiday party I mentioned earlier. He was a modern day Renaissance man, a world traveler, a big thinker with a kind heart. Sexy as hell. I found myself attracted not only to his charm, wit and physique, but also to his mind--that intellectual piece is key for me. We chatted over drinks, one evening that ended all too quick a few weeks ago with plans to see each other again. And as luck would have it he's the one that has gone silent after just a few weeks of email, texts and phone calls. That's just the way it goes, in this modern age dating ritual, the pendulum swings left, then right until it finds the right time to stop.



no use fighting sleep

My mind is tired, and after sacrificing a sunny Saturday for sleep, its really no big surprise. I feel a little guilty for not getting to the laundry list of items on my to do list, but sometimes your body acts out unconsciously, forcing you to do what is absolutely needed. For me that was sleep, and writing, a little photographic endeavor, and if the humming counts, singing practice, too.

Saturdays are meant for sleeping in and that I did despite a late night cup of coffee. The night before I gathered with the Swiss Miss, the Scotsman, the Brazilian and the Moldavian pianist for a lazy evening at Alfama. It was a Restaurant Week offering, and the menu featured traditional Portuguese dishes. We had a cozy table in the back and the evening was a pleasant, peaceful way to embrace the end of a work and week and our first snowfall.

At the close of our meal, I ordered a cup of coffee (brown vs. an espresso), and a debate erupted on whether or not sleep would come easy.  But never fear my friends, the lull of the train on the commute home provided the perfect precursor to sleep once I got home. First dozing off on the couch, then fully clothed on the bed. Obviously my body is fighting something, armed with the antibodies of the flu shot, it may very well fortify itself against this intruder...it just needs me to be asleep for any effort to be successful.

And so I have slipped in and out of sleep 4x today. First at 7:30am, stirred by a venomous vignette. Abruptly at 10:30am, by the scraping of a metal shovel scooping snow off cold concrete.  Then again at noon, the calling of my name by my father's timber coo. I was up for awhile then, cleaning up the kitchen, noting new ideas and things to do on the chalkboard. I treated the stainless steel of the kitchen sink and checked on the leak (I need to replace the basket connecting the sink to the drain pipe); ended up washing pots in the tub while running a load in the dishwasher.  Then I made ricotta pancakes with chocolate chips for brunch and had a cup of coffee.

Next I downloaded Mon Frite's family photos from my 2009 trip, and shared them via dropbox. I also downloaded the audio version of the Dalai Lama's Beyond Religion and synced it to my Kindle,  deciding that the Paperwhite should have my fiction/audio selections and my iPad reader app the non-fiction/business books. Settling in on the couch, surrounded by books, a journal, a pen and folders full of planning docs, I felt a slight chill at my feet. I paused to grab a blanket and within 10 minutes was out cold again. That was around 3:30pm. Now it's half-past six.

This time my bladder woke me up--I'm sure we've all had those weird dreams where you have to go but are in crazy situations where it would be most inappropriate. I've not yet had the misfortune of not waking in time but I've heard that happen to a friend or two. A hot shower next an attempt at a  refresh but it hasn't seem to remove the sleepiness, and now I'm a bit hungry. Hopefully some vegetable soup will help, and if not a restful sleep until morning, god-willing, will.


nobody else like you

There is nobody else like you in the world and this is worth celebrating rather than searching for faults.

You are unique. There is no one else like you in the entire universe. In honor of your unique self, it is good to acknowledge and embrace the special qualities that make you the person that you are. One way to do this is to not compare yourself with other people.

Resource: The DailyOm Meditation, http://www.dailyom.com/


there is the love: in memoriam to my mom and so many others

when it first happens your mind shuts down, goes numb. you go into shock and everything around you stretches out as if you are the background music with the world around you playing out like a picture show. a picture show, the old-fashioned kind, the one with a silhouette that looks like  Mickey Mouse from behind, dark shadows on the wall. you can hear the catch of each reel of film, like slides in a projector. in those first moments, you can't imagine getting through the day. let alone a month or a year. the grief is so strong, it takes a hold of your heart, as if Seurat himself is painting patterns of pain across its surface. trying to fill the hollow spaces. only time can ease the angst, the feeling of loss never goes away, it lingers forever an echo unto itself. it ebbs and flows, fading and flourishing with a memory of scent, of sight, the presence of being, the sound, a color, anything that reminds you of her, of them.  

a very good friend of mine recently lost her mom, recently as in the last 48 hours. I called as soon as I knew. there were tears almost immediately, words of comfort, broken vessels of quiet solitude, a stream of consciousness as she tried to process her mother's death. It was my heart listening, sending comfort and blessings of love across the miles, in the form of prayers and mental mantras. it really is the only thing one can do. the listening, the sharing of heart of peace. 

this is the hardest part mon frite. every moment after this your heart begins to heal, it recovers itself in pieces, as best as it can. she'll always be with you, will always be near, guiding you to the places of peace, to where you are meant to be. every step you take, every moment. i believe that, i really do. it's what has gotten me through all these years. 

it's been 13 years for me. i don't know how that's possible. in the beginning I couldn't imagine making it through the first year. and even though I had the best support from friends and family, and my fellow mourners at Gilda's Club, I don't think then that we knew if we could make it to now. So many of us have lost our moms, are losing our moms, our loved ones to cancer; and it is a never-ending saga, for all those people who go in remission and survive, there is another someone losing the battle, taking a last breath as I type these words. 

My mom's name was Lucy, Lucia. She was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 19,  where she spent her entire life. She was the warmest person I knew, her kindness is what I aspire to be every day. She liked crossword puzzles and doodling in the margins of lined notebook paper while talking on the phone. She set her own hair using ripped up tissues and paper towels. You could always catch a glimpse of a sharpened pencil behind her ear. Mom loved eggplant, melanzane parmigiana was her favorite meal. She called me her Sweet Petunia. She loved the beach and the sun. I have so many stories of our adventures by the beach, you really should ask me sometime. 

We have the same eyes, hazel with flecks of gold. And the same complexion, olive based--in the summer we would change color, chameleons of the sea and sand. Mom loved to shop, and would scour the sales' racks at Macy's, Gimbels', Lord & Taylor. Many a Saturday we would take the train to 34th street - Herald Square for a shopping expedition, always ending at the counter at Chock Full o'Nuts for a coffee and a grilled cheese sandwich. Her best friends were May Dowell, Delores Steiner and Gayle O'Connell. She would make time to see them at least once a year, if not more. Mom used to work at CBS in the research library, she was once interviewed by Katherine Hepburn who was researching for her role in Desk Set. She met my Dad at a dance in the Catskills. I think she was there with someone else. That always makes me smile. Dad won her over and they were married on January 23, 1960. They went skiing at Mont Tremblanc for their honeymoon. A trip to the Bahamas four years later, and nine months later my brother was born. It took another seven before I came along. They were always together--playing tennis, miniature golf but more often than not they were dancing: the fox trot, the lindy, the waltz and the two step. Even in the weeks before the chemo stole her strength and energy completely, I have a photo of the two of them cheek to cheek in the living room. 

They had big plans for their retirement, a month long trip to Sicily, more time in Aruba with their friends and siblings, but Death had other plans and separated them before they could fulfill those dreams. Perspective is everything. 

Mom took her last breath at 12:03 AM on January 23, 2000, it would have been my parents' 40th wedding anniversary.  My dad napping on the nearby couch, Lauren Bacall leaning out of a cross-country train in the Sahara desert calling out to some man on a horse, I am removing the morphine drip, kissing a warm cheek one last time. I was numb then, a part of me still is, and there is little that I can recall that is not steeped in a blur of beige and sepia-tones. Everything except the love. The love is crystal clear. 

Thirteen was mom's lucky number, I don't know if I ever had a lucky number before but 13 became my lucky number that year, and every year after. We celebrate her life on her birthday, and on her name day (December 13); and I remember her kind loving spirit in the wee hours of this morning, on this day, as her memory lives on. 

I love you Mom, now, always and forever. 

Lucy Romano Preziotti 
9.19.28 - 1.23.00



I don't know when it first occurred;
I only first noticed this weekend,
recognizing it as part of myself.

emotionally inert
to news of sickness, 
of dying, of death. 

A loved one, a relative
the downward spiral
of illness.
At once, someone is breathing,
someone is living,
someone is dying.

They are a part of my circle.
A heart grieving,
a heart in pain.

Then it became real. 
With news shared it took no time at all:
a cascade of messaging--
post, text, call,
hope distinguished just like that.

The emotion is raw,
the tears are real.
in that moment in time, 
distance evaporates. 

but it stops before they can feel



Nightmares, dreams lined in murky shades of gray, smoky black. Friday night I went to bed early, and was haunted by vignettes of terror: war, guns, violence, anger, black and white with red. Every time I woke eyes wide open staring at the ceiling, glancing to a clock that seemed stopped in time, as if it too were part of the dream. One final burst of waking sleep brought comfort with the presence of a faceless lover holding me in a passionate embrace. Stirring from that took effort, and with it came a full-blown headache (and my period). In my dreams I am. 

When you're on the pill, your period either regulates itself, lessens considerably, doesn't come at all or is a sporadic combination of any of the three. Regardless of when or how you bleed, one thing is certain the other hormonal symptoms--the soreness, the aches and food cravings--they linger, and never really go away. And therein lies the catch-22. 

Some of those symptoms, are in themselves triggers for my migraines. Sometimes I know what the triggers are and sometimes that helps. I know what to look out for, what to avoid, what to moderate. Less noise, more sleep, another yoga class, though when it comes to the food cravings its hard to not give in to the sugar or the ice cream, mmm. The dairy is what caught me this particular day.  I had a fantastic Swiss feast of Raclette on Saturday evening with a healthy mix of vegetables and protein, sated and fulfilled. I woke up to a coffee and bagel breakfast and then inspired by the letter "M" I pushed the envelope beyond its limits preparing manicotti and mozzarella for a pot luck dinner on Sunday. By the time the guests had left the auras arrived like unwanted intruders. 

Almost 24 hours later, the auras are nearly gone.  I lost my Monday to  another round of vividly surreal dreams (this time involving beaches, flood, foiled technology and phone messages)--not the kind MLK had in mind for sure. A day lost to sleep, meditation, a steam shower, vat of soup and detox tea.  A day coming to a close, at the beginning of a week i wish i could skip. 



(c) Nadia Stieglitz, Mice at Play.
Today's mantra and reminder...doing more of what makes us happy, tonight is singing lesson 2!


sarvangasana: broken

my mood changed so abruptly tonight.

it was spurred by the pain in my shoulder and a short conversation with my dad. he accused me of yelling, of talking down to him. i was speaking loudly so he could hear me, slowly (perhaps a little too slowly) to better articulate my words so the conversation would have less repetition. the repeating, his repetition and my own, together it tries my patience, makes me lose my temper. and yes it may sound condescending but its not meant to be.

it's my own fault really I know it's best to not visit with him too late at night because he's not as coherent, not as awake. but the guilt of not checking in after two days, weekend days when perhaps I should be more mindful but in my own self-preservation i am not, propels me to knock on the door, to attempt a conversation over the closing scenes of Anna and the King of Siam, a 1946 classic starring Irene Dunn and Rex Harrison.

it is just after midnight, and i am having a spot of calming tea, sitting in quiet contemplation. i feel sad, a bit lost. i don't know where it came from this sudden burst of anxiety, and in the last few minutes a swirl of emotions has danced around, painting a pattern on the inside of my brain. i miss my mom, i miss being able to talk to my mom. after 13 years you would think that the reality of not being able to talk to her would appease any melancholic feeling, let me tell you before you get any hopes of peace that it never goes away, never ever. there are always going to be moments when the people in your life cannot offer the reassurance that a mother can, your mother could.

sometimes i think perhaps i have in some way not come to terms with her death, my rational mind does not agree, but my emotional mind is on the fence. there are some days i feel broken, stuck in the mud, in a place that my mom might pull me out of if she was here. of the men in my life (only two at the moment), my dad certainly doesn't, he doesn't pull or push, he just lets me be. my brother is the same, avoiding any kind of interference. i think i would prefer a little prodding, something to show that they cared about my well-being, my heart. (i have a glimpse of memory where maybe they tried but the approach, the choice of words, fell flat; they never tried again.)

around the holidays dad made a stray comment about not understanding the decisions i make, that they are not the decisions he would make--and before I could pursue the conversation he catches himself and pushes it away. my family (and many others from what i can gather) is very good at pushing things away, past the point of conversation, until the words are deflated, two dimensional, linear equations part of a larger tapestry of forgotten moments and dialogue. i've had to learn to let go, to not expect anything from anyone; the less you expect the less chance for disappointment. its the insurmountable disappointments that can shatter a person. and it takes a lifetime to get over that.

if it weren't for my second family, an enclave of close friends near and far, i think i would be lost, an island. my heart goes out to those people out there who have nothing, no one, who can't see tomorrow as a brighter day. that is depression. this is not that, this is just a moment of melancholy brought on by the pain in my shoulder. pain from pushing myself too hard in yoga class on Thursday, from forgetting that inversions are not something I can experiment lightly with, that they can trigger a debilitating migraine. i was lucky this time i thought, the pain is in my shoulder, the blade and depending on my movements shoots down my arm, up my neck, trickling down my back. progressing, just not in a good way.

to think that's how all this began, from taking a stance.


the pursuit

two people meet
by chance or by introduction
they engage in a dialogue 
act one, scene one
and as the conversation evolves
they begin to dance 
quick quick slow
(although it should be the very opposite)
learning each other. 
in concentric circles 
they move to the right, 
then slide to the left
there is a twirl
and somewhere in the middle of it all 

a tap on the shoulder
defines the undefined 
of time distance age and space. 


Insta-NYE 2013

Rocco sleeps through the New Year East to Central time.

We pause "Breaking Bad" to catch a rerun of the East Coast ball drop.

Both sets of new parents toast to a new year of sleep-filled nights.