Category Archives: getting personal

THE RETURN OF THE JEDI? No…

The return of the horn blower upstairs. …the source, the impetus, the raison d’être for this blog; the reason I have to remind myself on a daily basis: DON’T KILL YOUR NEIGHBOR (Please, sir, may I?)

You know how it is: when pain disappears we have a tendency to forget about it. It’s nature’s way.

All of a sudden this evening, as I sat relaxing, watching television, I heard a sound which at first I couldn’t identify. Was someone being killed? Should I call the police? Then, with that sick, cold feeling of dread spreading from my stomach to all parts of my body, I knew…

He’s baaaaack! The sanctity of my home, my privacy, my beloved quiet – was ripped asunder once again.

Immediately, I was thrown into full-on mm (that’s murderous mode). My PIC attempted to calm me as I careened, wild-eyed through the rooms of my apartment, seeking escape from the earworm of cacophony from upstairs. I had been in a fool’s calm. The old reality was still in play.

So, the story continues, I will, each day, confront my ultimate dilemma: Should I or shouldn’t I? So far, I’m still listening to the voice which urges me:

Don’t kill your neighbor!

Best foot forward?

How to determine which is your best foot? Longest or shortest? Fattest or thinnest? Strength vs. beauty? And why put it forward? Why not hold it in reserve – perhaps sacrificing your worst foot to the vagaries of street life, especially in the unprotected summer-sandals months.

I’m thinking of long toes – which were once prized as an attribute of a royal bloodline.

Do long toes a best foot make? Or is it musculature – the powerful arch that can spur a great sprinter or support a long-distance runner or fuel an extended bout of hopping or skipping?

I know how obscure this issue might seem – but you know how this blog works… its what’s on my mind.

I confess to a bit of embarrassment, if not downright shame, about my non-best foot. It always seems like an interloper. No matter how good I’m feeling about myself or my body, there it is – the second piece of my unmatched set of anatomical foundations. A strangely long second toe with a bit of a knobby knuckle (nicely alliterative, don’t you think?)

I fear I have crossed over into the TMI zone…so I’ll stop now.

In solidarity: We are all transgender.

Today I Am An Asshole…Ask Me Why…

Whenever I travel I take with me a list of all those important account numbers and codes and passwords that one needs in order to interact with the world at large. I’ve done this for decades.

For the very first time ever, there has been a grave mishap: the list is missing. No. I think “missing” is too hopeful. It’s gone. Kaput. Vanished. No longer on this plane of existence. I have turned every conceivable thing inside-out to no avail. List – oh, list – where art thou?

My fondest hope is that it got thrown out with the trash. The thought of the alternative is making me quite ill. If someone found it/took it, then my goose might very well be cooked. And, because we are still in Florida, I have no access to a copy of said list. So I can’t even recall enough to start cancelling things. OY!

My dear partner-in-crime is a person of extreme patience. When I told him the distressing news, he was upset but not murderous. I am fairly certain, had our positions been reversed, I would be.

So, here we are, and I – who am not usually a religious person – am fervently praying that the page of magic numbers will miraculously be found. In the meantime, I have encountered my inner assholishness. It was always there, but I could and would deny it. Not any more.

Look for my new non-fiction book, FEAR OF LANDING, The stories we tell about commitment and their meanings. It’s available on amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Fear-Landing-stories-commitment-meanings/dp/1539179095/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1476027342&sr=8-3&keywords=karen+krett

Also available on amazon.com is my science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future, when what was once seen as a disability is merely a difference. http://www.amazon.com/Raym%C3%B2n-Sunshine-Karen-Krett/dp/0692660887/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461866431&sr=8-1&keywords=krett+sunshine

You can find more information about me and my books at www.karenkrettauthor.com/

THERE WAS A FARMER HAD A DOG…

…you guessed it, Bingo was his name. OH!

It was a steamy and – dare I say – sultry night in Tamarac, Florida. My visit with Mom was about to reach its zenith with a 7pm date with Bingo at Ye Olde Club House. I have had an unnatural love for the game since childhood. Fond memories flood me when I think back to the pure fun and excitement of being taken to the Officers Club at Ft. Hamilton on an evening for dinner – to be followed (be still my heart) by an only slightly militarized version of Bingo. The room would be packed with officers and gentlemen and their families. Winning was only slightly better than being in that room.

Fast forward back to the present – well, yesterday:

Dinner was called for a preternaturally early hour: 5pm. This was to make certain that we (mother, partner-in-crime and me) would arrive on time for the 7pm start of The Game. We made it – with just minutes to spare – and were soon ensconced at one of the large round tables. We had our Bingo cards: 3 for 6 bucks. One woman at our table was playing with 8 cards simultaneously. She was gracious as the looks of admiration and wonder swept over her. As the evening progressed, she maintained a consistent patter, interspersed with “God is good.”

Commentary on the numbers – called by the lovely white-haired man on the raised stage – varied between muted and an excited crescendo. There were a dozen separate games – some were of the plain vanilla variety; others more complex and requiring acute attention. Winning came in the form of a “layer cake,” a “crazy L,” and other arcane shapes in addition to the standards: a row or diagonal, four corners, or a full card. The experienced players were both helpful and a bit bossy as they checked and corrected the newbies (that would be me).

Now, it is not without significance that winners received a cash award. That $10 or $15 dollar prize was received as if it was a million bucks. I confess to feeling a flush of achievement when I found myself yelling “BINGO.”

Now for the color: I am 70. In that room of players I was, perhaps, the youngest person. Average age looked to be 80. My 92-year-old mother was definitely not the oldest. Intermixed were some younger caretakers; there was also an outdoors contingent of same – who opted out of playing, but sat smoking and chatting during the “calling of the balls.” I should mention…that phrase was a source of much sly merriment. These were oldies, but not deadies.

Now for the less than sunny sluice of emotion. As the minutes ticked away, I found myself feeling increasingly glum, verging on depressed. When I examined the cause for this state, I realized it was a reaction to being deeply immersed in the energy of the very old. Even though we were participating in a distraction, there was an awareness that hung over the space like a thick fog: these were short-timers.

I left feeling the need to intake large gulps of fresh air. Bingo is no longer “Bingo” for me. The bloom is well off the rose. My childhood associations have now been repealed and replaced. Bingo is just another word for nothing left to lose.

Look for my new non-fiction book, FEAR OF LANDING, The stories we tell about commitment and their meanings. It’s available on amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Fear-Landing-stories-commitment-meanings/dp/1539179095/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1476027342&sr=8-3&keywords=karen+krett

Also available on amazon.com is my science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future, when what was once seen as a disability is merely a difference. http://www.amazon.com/Raym%C3%B2n-Sunshine-Karen-Krett/dp/0692660887/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461866431&sr=8-1&keywords=krett+sunshine

You can find more information about me and my books at www.karenkrettauthor.com/

DON’T THROW FAT CLOTHES AWAY

I may not be speaking to all of you, but I’m sure there are many of you who will nod in rueful agreement… But, I will only talk about my experience.

Over the last forty years, I have lost and gained from ten to seventy pounds at a time. Always with the fervor of the newly cleansed, I promise myself never to put those pounds back on. Nevertheless, as I was just attempting to zip up a pair of jeans I wore last spring and summer, only to give up in frustration (and with a touch of paranoia – did someone shrink them?), I could not deny that there is a very undesirable layer of extra flesh interfering with my process.

I rooted around in my closet for the next larger size jeans, but quickly recalled that I had thrown them and all the similarly sized clothing away in my more than slightly manic zeal. This is not the first time I’ve had to face re-stocking my closet with things I had discarded in the fullness of thinness.

Be cautioned by my – well, it doesn’t quite rise to the level of tragedy – let’s call it excessive and misplaced hope (for more on this please refer to my book, THE DARK SIDE OF HOPE, available  at  www.amazon.com.

Of course, I’ve vowed not to eat again until the zipper glides with ease. An easy decision to make, since I just finished lunch.

I will end with this refrain: Keep the fat clothes; you may think you know but you never really do.

Look for my new non-fiction book, FEAR OF LANDING, The stories we tell about commitment and their meanings. It’s available on amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Fear-Landing-stories-commitment-meanings/dp/1539179095/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1476027342&sr=8-3&keywords=karen+krett

Also available on amazon.com is my science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future, when what was once seen as a disability is merely a difference. http://www.amazon.com/Raym%C3%B2n-Sunshine-Karen-Krett/dp/0692660887/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461866431&sr=8-1&keywords=krett+sunshine

You can find more information about me and my books at www.karenkrettauthor.com/

 

 

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times

No, this isn’t going to be political commentary – although it certainly could be.

This is about success. To quote myself, “I really hate success.”

What? Have I finally lost it? Perhaps.

It seems that my most recent book, Fear of Landing, has – with the invaluable help of Mark Violi, the person who produced the book, designed the cover and has been doing publicity – attracted some interest among those Mark calls “the influencers.” One person, who has a radio show called The Last First Date, has asked to interview me about my book.

Good news, right? Sure. And I’ve agreed to a Feb. 21st live radio interview. And now I would very much like to abscond, flee, hide, disapparate – in other words, I wish I could completely avoid this upcoming public dialogue.

I’ve always been a strange combination of outgoing and shy. And, although I have done so many times in my life, there’s a whole lot of nervousness that pervades my being when I have to use my outside voice.

I have a dear friend who is a highly trained public speaker, who has offered to coach me. I will take him up on his offer. Perhaps, under his tutelage, there will be no stuttering or profuse sweating. Perhaps I won’t vibrate like a tuning fork for all to see (this actually happened during the one piano recital I participated in – as a so-called adult).

My shy self has a rather distinct voice; I hear it offering a way out: “Just don’t do it. Cancel. You don’t have to. RUN! RUN!”

So far, I’ve resisted the urge to follow the voice’s advice. But – no promises. If you tune into http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lastfirstdate (I’ll have more clarity about it as we get closer to the date), you can hear the interview. Assuming I don’t chicken out.

Wish me luck!

 

 Look for my new non-fiction book, FEAR OF LANDING, The stories we tell about commitment and their meanings. It’s available on amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Fear-Landing-stories-commitment-meanings/dp/1539179095/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1476027342&sr=8-3&keywords=karen+krett

Also available on amazon.com is my science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future, when what was once seen as a disability is merely a difference. http://www.amazon.com/Raym%C3%B2n-Sunshine-Karen-Krett/dp/0692660887/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461866431&sr=8-1&keywords=krett+sunshine

You can find more information about me and my books at www.karenkrettauthor.com/

The people with their fingers in their ears…

On the subway platform, in the street when an eight-wheeler rolls past…we are the few, the brave, the ones who haven’t yet become deaf to the soul-shaking rumble and crash.

I can recall a time when I was a little self-conscious about protecting my hearing in such an overt public way. Would others look askance at me, like I was a wuss or just a show-off? Someone who couldn’t manage? The behavior has now become pretty mainstream. Does that bode well for a lessening of middle-age hearing loss? Hope so.

But this topic brings me to a wider one – the sensory sensitivity that has – you could say – plagued me; or which has – you could say – been a natural gift I was given. Vision, hearing, smell – all several degrees of magnitude above almost anyone. I’ve got great reflexes too – but since my life path did not take me in a direction where that really matters, all it’s good for is catching things I knock off a table before they hit the ground. I digress, yes?

Let’s talk about smell. Necessary for taste and a means of enjoyment as well as of knowing the environment. For me, it is often the vehicle for torture. There are what I call “toxic smells,” which almost no one else detects. My PIC (partner in crime – for those of you new to the blog) has come to believe in the reality he cannot share, while I’m choking and running from room to room looking for an escape from something offensive that just wafted in the window or through the A/C. He offers commiseration and a willingness to do whatever would help. Most of the time, the only thing to do is hold my nose and wait till it passes.

That might be enough of that…Let’s talk about hearing next time.

My new science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, is available on amazon.com. It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future, when what was once seen as a disability is merely a difference. Here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Raym%C3%B2n-Sunshine-Karen-Krett/dp/0692660887/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461866431&sr=8-1&keywords=krett+sunshine

You can find more information about me and my books at www.karenkrettauthor.com/

THE HAS-BEENS, THE ONCE-WERES, THE WHERE-ARE-THEY-NOWS… AND WHY DO I CARE?

Those of you out there with adult children may be able to empathize with my plight. Both of my offspring are over forty, and have had many long-term partners during the preceding twenty-plus years. Many of them have been lovely, endearing or fascinating people, who I have come to know quite well. I have often become quite attached to them and then summarily thrown into the depths of loss when my son or daughter decides to toss the now incredibly deficient one overboard. Bye-bye! Sayonara! Get outa heah!

Does anyone ask me if I want to sever ties? No. Would it be politically correct for me to continue a relationship with said rejected ones? No. And so it goes. Each time a relationship gets “serious,” I become hopeful (see my masterful treatise, The Dark Side of Hope) that this one is the one that will last.

It may be that my wish has finally come true with one of my progeny. Fingers crossed – cause I really like him. I am a little leery of expressing too much admiration or giving too much praise. Those things can backfire in an old oppositional way.

For those who have gone by the wayside, they continue to live inside my mind: Whatever happened to S? Or did M finally get his act together. Wait a minute! That last one was about one of my ex’s. And that is another whole story…

BROOKLYN BUILDS CONFIDENCE 8 WAYS

If – and that’s not a given – I repeat, if you survive growing up in Brooklyn, you will have confidence for days. And we’re talking dog-year days. My formative years were spent in the 1950’s – a time that was both innocent and unbuffered.

From your first encounter with the outside world of Yo! Whassup? while you are still portable enough to be carried everywhere; to that experience of flying solo-ish: playing with other kids on the block, while some very focused adults watched from their perch on the stoop; to that thrill of being allowed out by yourself… you are, whether you know it or not, dancing on the edge of the sword.

So, you yell and run around like you see the other somewhat older boys and girls doing. And that feels pretty good. But there is that moment – for me it was when I dared to go past the “empty lot” (in the middle of the very long block I lived on). My mother said, “Don’t go past the empty lot.” But I did. And I was feeling pretty stoked, until I realized I was in unfamiliar territory. And then I saw some of the “big” boys who had already adopted permanent scowls and other attitudes which were (as they were intended) pretty scary.

My friends Argie and Connie were unfazed. They were a year or so older than me; I was ten. Eleven was virtually a teenager, so they were tough. And cool. And daring.

They were also sexually precocious (in what would now be considered a pretty tame way), and enrolled me in the plan to go “down to Argie’s basement.” Once there, I think it was Connie who suggested we all “pull our pants down.” I was not going to be the “chicken,” so I joined them. And, of course, just as we were all bare-assed and not quite certain what to do next, Connie’s father came roaring down the stairs. I can’t possibly recall the words he bellowed at us, but I know we high-tailed it out of there, stumbling and bashing knees in the process.

My parents were informed, but I have a much-needed blackout about their response to my shameful behavior. Shame. That was a big word back then.

As I think about it, there was an earlier pants-down experience. (What shall we deduce from this? Hopefully,nothing.) I was little, maybe four or five. I was outside with my mother and for some not to be recalled reason, I took it upon myself to flash the immediate neighborhood. Just a quick skirt up, and then my knickers were around my knees.

A chorus of neighbor ladies who just happened to be sitting outside next door and across the street arose: “SHAME, SHAME, ON YOUUUUU!!!!” This was accompanied by a hand gesture: index fingers crossed, the right hand finger scraping the left.

Mortification was quick and lasting. I can still feel my cheeks on fire.

Somehow, I returned from my disgrace and resumed playing outside. There were a few games we played fervently, with joy but always to win. There was “potsy”: a fairly complex game (some equate it with hopscotch – but I don’t know about that) with numbered boxes drawn in chalk on the sidewalk. It entailed throwing a rock sequentially into a specific box, then hopping and jumping through the remaining boxes – WITHOUT STEPPING ON THE LINES. Boundaries were essential in most of our homemade games. There was stoop ball (one of my favorites): A pink high-bouncing ball with SPALDING stamped on it (which we called a “Spaldeen”) was first bounced, then slapped in the direction of the five stairs composing the stoop leading up to the two-story, three apartment building I lived in. The goal was to hit a step or, even better, an outer edge of the step, and then catch the ball either mid-air (preferred) or on a bounce. Scores were kept. Scores were always kept.

The Spaldeen was used to play a series of games that had no real name. They were all about “turning over” which was what we called bouncing the ball under one leg which we lifted and put down (i.e. the turnover), as we told a prescribed singsong story. Here’s an example:

“‘A’ my name is Alice and my husband’s name is Arthur. We come from America and we eat Apples.” One had to turn over for each word starting with A. If that was successful, you moved on to B. And so it went, as far as you could get through the alphabet.

We also played box-ball. The sidewalk was “naturally” divided into concrete rectangles. Those were the boxes. Two people stood either two or more boxes apart (depending on your skill-level). Feet were planted outside the boundary-line of the box. You took turns bouncing, then hitting – with an open palm – the ball into the far box. Kind of like tennis. Kind of. The ball was returned with a similar open-palmed hit designed to land in your opponents box. Points were given.

In all seasons (unless it was raining) you could find kids playing outside. Those who had bikes would ride them. In my neighborhood, only boys rode in the “gutter.” Girls rode on the sidewalk. Going around the corner was a big deal – either on foot or by bike. I lived one block over from Ocean Parkway, a multiple-lane road that also had a railed off bike-path. The only time I ever rode my bike on it was the year my father got us “English racers” – thin wheeled, fast bicycles. He and I rode to Prospect Park one time, and to Coney Island – also one time. Then he lost interest. I don’t know what happened to the English racers.

School. I started kindergarten before I turned five. An April birthday put me right on the inside of the cut off. So I was pretty much the youngest in my class forever. For the first six months, my parents sent me to a private school in Rockaway – a fair distance from my home. A bus picked me up and delivered me home. But mid-year I transferred to the local public school. My two memories of that year were singing “Onward Christian Soldiers (in private school) despite the fact that I Jewish, and being put in the coat closet (in public school) by my teacher who couldn’t get me to stop talking in class. Ah! Memories.

I know my mother took me to kindergarten, but by first grade I was walking the seven blocks by myself. No one worried, and nothing untoward ever happened. I recall carrying a lot of books. I mean a heavy stack. Back and forth. At some point my parents got me a satchel to put them in. We (my best friend, Regina and I) called it a “schlep-along.” Aptly named.

There’s more, of course. I went to Seth Low Junior High, James Madison High School, and Brooklyn College – all in Brooklyn. But I’ll save some of those stories for another time.

My point here is that after all dealing with all the hard edges of a Brooklyn childhood, you develop a capacity for regeneration and muscling through things. That doesn’t mean you can’t get knocked down. But you always get up again.

FYI: my new science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, is available on amazon.com. It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future. Here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Raym%C3%B2n-Sunshine-Karen-Krett/dp/0692660887/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461866431&sr=8-1&keywords=krett+sunshine

You can find more information about me and my books at www.karenkrettauthor.com/

Walking in the cold spring

Out for a meandering walk on an unprogrammed Saturday. The cherry blossom trees on my block were oblivious to the 32-degree temperature on this April day. That both cheered and confused me. Nature knows, right? Or is there a disconnect that will lead to a bad frozen end for these lovely blossoms?

My attention was immediately drawn away from this natural quandary to something far less ambiguous. A tall mid-thirties man was walking toward me with a sprite of a toddler girl on his shoulders. She was imperious, queen of all she surveyed. As we passed, I looked up to her greater height and said hello. She acknowledged me with a regal nod. A smile was not bestowed.

Thoughts of my father came rushing in. While I don’t have any specific memories of being carried in a similar way, I recalled his wish for me to be at the top of my ability in all things. Toward that end, he taught me to swim when I was just a tadpole. In the ocean. If you can swim there, you can swim anywhere.

A frequent thought these days, as I wait not too patiently for winter to give it up already, is of the July in Fire Island plan that is in place. Just thinking about that favorite spot on earth calms me and makes the path to summer seem straighter and shorter.