Tuesday, June 20, 2017

summer

I miss the carefree times. The fun and someone to share the laughs and the burdens with.

 I recently read "Grief is just love with no place to go." Truer words were never written.

family ties

Jim's aunt Roz passed away early this year after a long and courageous battle with breast cancer. She was a lady of great poise and dignity, always with a kind and open heart.


Easter Sunday, 1976 Jim took me to his parent's house for the first time. The Big Interview. Everyone was cordial even if they thought that their son was temporarily deranged. We were not engaged yet, it was a new thing.

As time passed and they all got used to me, I came to understand that I was being judged against the last serious relationship Jim was in, his high school sweetie, Barbara. Roz and Jim's mother  Eleanor were the first to make me feel welcome.

Barb connected over the years in a tenuous way - Christmas cards and the rare holiday phone call - and after Jimmy passed, she reached out to me on FB and offered a kindness and support that helped on the darkest days. We had never met in person until we made a point of doing so recently while she and her husband were here in the area for a wedding.  Thank you for your tireless compassion, my friend.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

After a particularly shitty week, Netflix has added this. Although it was released in '74, Jimmy and I saw it in the theater not long after we met. As was the custom of the day, we all were fully baked by the time the movie began and I clearly remember that my stomach hurt for days after from laughing so hard. It continues to entertain all these years later. We knew all the lines and Jimmy did a spot-on impression of the Monster's growl.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Music stays...

A year now, since Glen Frey passed.

The ticket stub post had me anxious because I apparently lost the stubs to the one time we saw the Eagles.
July 29, 1976, at the Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, NJ and it was landmark!

I can't find corroboration, but I recall Jimmy saying that this was one of the first times that Joe Walsh played with the band and that Poco opened for them. This was before Hotel California.

 I don't think we got there in time for Poco, but some of them joined in with the Eagles on "Seven Bridges Road" and it was amazing. When I look at the set list, it all comes back. I remember because I was the designated driver that night.

It was general admission and due to the fact that people were just milling around, we had pretty good seats...in the mud. At some point, I had to use the bathroom, but when I got there, there were two inches of liquid on the floor and girls were peeing in the sinks. I parked my need and went back to the show. We were on the highway headed home when I couldn't wait any longer, pulled over, hopped a stone wall and took care of business. Jimmy stood watch and remarked that it was good of me to find a shrub and not a stone as it was a cemetery. It was a helluva night!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Good times



 Sometimes there was too much of a good thing producing black holes in my memory..when we talked about them, Jim would remember and give me some clues.  There were many more shows, especially before the boys were born. Colin was actually "on board" for Springsteen at the Garden. We came out of the show after four hours and almost a foot of snow had fallen and we couldn't find Nanny's red Duster for almost an hour! Still the best time.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

another year

The holidays will always be the hardest I guess. Christmas was our big day. In New York, we visited with family and friends, but once we moved here our celebrations were small and focused around our immediate family.



Of course, the family has grown and expanded in wonderful ways. Seeing Charlie begin to understand the magic of Christmas gives me such a pang. How much Jim would have delighted in him, spoiled him rotten.





Jim is always in our hearts no matter the day. Every time I see this old photo I'm upset that a great shot was out of focus. Then I realize that this is just how he will always be for us - just out of reach, but always in our hearts.





Sunday, November 13, 2016

away alone

             I'm back from the writer's conference in Salem. There would have been flowers waiting in my room when I got there. Gingerale and fresh strawberries, too.
         The election happened while I was there. On a dozen counts, I missed Jim so much this week. So much to share, needing his level feedback so badly. Swinging between miserable, heartbroken horror for our country and then the salvation of a small, intense gathering of other writers wrestling publicly with issues they were having with their work - I got back to my hotel room one night and actually picked up the bedside phone, his number front and center in my mind. First I laughed, then I cried.

     I went to a professional tarot reader while I was there. A first for me. I told myself I needed the experience for the book. I got what I was really after. Along with a kitchen sink full of admonitions of avoiding negative people, she asked me who the Big Laughing mustache was and told me that he's always with me, encouraging me to keep working on my art and to be there for the babies. I didn't need to pay someone for that, still....

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

thanks FB

The "memories" function of Facebook will just gut me on some days. From September 19, 2013 :

"There is rumbly laughter coming from the next room. Music to my ears."

That memory was music to my heart today.




Found Jim's passport from his school trip to Spain in '71.  Ladykiller. yes.




Saturday, August 20, 2016

echoes from the past

My sister-in-law, Dawn, sent an envelope of photos yesterday. Many were copies that I sent to Jim's parents through the years. Lots of the boys school studio pictures. A handful, like these, I have never seen since they were first taken. In some cases, never. These two took my breath away.
Jim, meet Jake  6.2.85

Monday, July 18, 2016

give me strength


I study this fine face and I see that little crease of worry between his eyes and I remember promising him that I would handle things.


Now I have to remind myself that we will handle stuff together, as a family.

We will be alright.


But I miss you, babe.

Monday, June 6, 2016

His angel



Now that Charlie has his first "big boy" haircut, he looks more like Jake every day. This pictured startled me yesterday.


















Jimmy is watching over Charlie these days.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Anniversaries

We would have had a real bash for this one. Tomorrow would have been our fortieth wedding anniversary.

Saturday, May 28, 2016



Some days I miss him so much it's hard to breathe. Hard to want to breathe.

Monday, April 25, 2016

the videos

1991 Christmas at Nanny's...oh, the HAIR!
The box arrived over a week ago and I've only looked at two of the tapes.

We have very few videos of our family. For a short while I had an ancient super 8 camera and there are a handful of short, jerky films that have been put onto VHS.

The box my sister sent down has a dozen tapes from my Dad's collection starting with the Christmas morning my brother got him that huge video camera 1990.  A scene: Jimmy is sitting on the couch, Jake is bouncing in and out of the frame, Colin nearby engrossed in some gift. Jimmy tells a dirty joke smoothly editing it for mixed company. It was hilarious and so wonderful to hear his voice.

My task is to convert all these tapes to digital...daunting and wonderful at the same time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

the fun begins

Charlie is fast coming up on language, his way first.

When the boys were toddlers we spent a lot of time discussing just what the hell they were trying to tell us. They clearly had needs and opinions that they wanted us to understand, and it was up to us to figure out what "ardibury, bamagor and tunka" meant. Jakes main inquisitor was "Zat?". You could almost hear Jim's Bronx accent.

He would also be happy to take you by the hand and drag you to the scene of whatever was going on. I can see Jimmy looking at me for help. I had none most of the time.

It was always a delight when one or the other of us finally figured out what Jake was trying to tell us so earnestly. He had an elaborate experimental language going on with lots of gestures,  complete with looks of disgust.  I can remember Jim trying so hard  to keep a straight face while Jake was on a babbling tear....




Tuesday, March 1, 2016

1977

Facebook dished up this as a memory today, but I'm a little mortified to share it with the world again.

It's old and sweet and I'll just keep it here.  Back when Mama was a hottie and Daddy was crazy.

I have no idea where we were or what the occasion was but we got a lot of mileage out of that dress and his (wedding) suit.

Friday, January 8, 2016

his Opus

       There are some who might think that I'm running out of things to say, to post here. On the contrary. It's just that the things that I am thinking and feeling are so deep, so personal. It's like I can hear his voice again after a long silence. Not just the youthful exuberance and laughter. It's the steady confident voice that kept me grounded, keeps me moving forward and comforts me.

I watched all of "Mr. Holland's Opus" this morning with Charlie. Anything with music is OK by him. The first time Jim and I watched it I thought it was entertaining  if just a tad sappy, but I'm a sucker for Richard Dreyfus.

Over the years, I discovered it was one of Jim's favorite guilty watches; he'd let it run any time it was on. I see these things we once shared with different eyes now and a more open heart.Today I paid close attention and recognized some of it's appeal.

I came in on the scene where he meets his newborn son. How he was transformed by the moment. One thread of the story was about how a man had to set aside his passion for making music to be responsible and care for his family. Good thing for all of us that Jim's passion, after family, was his work.

The movie chronicled the teacher's whole career and gave us bits and pieces of our history along the way in snips of film and popular music, something else that Jimmy loved.  If you haven't seen it and plan to someday, don't watch the following clip - it's the last ten minutes of the film.



Saturday, December 12, 2015

warmth

We had a new HVAC unit installed the other day. Central heat for the first time in six or seven years. We lost count because, being hardy Yankees, there weren't too  many days in a Georgia winter that didn't make us scoff at the locals moaning about the weather. It took me a long time and a good sale to make the commitment, choose a contractor and get it done. He would have been very pleased with the job, as I am.

When we were first married Jimmy worked installing woodstoves and aftermarket fireplaces. This was during the seventies oil crisis and he could have worked 24/7 and not met the demand. His work was all about helping families keeping warm and being safe.

Our first house together was a vacation cottage so drafty the curtains never stopped moving. The furnace heated one room - the furnace closet. Without consulting the landlord, he installed a fireplace into the corner of the living room and finished the face of it to look like adobe. It had a mantel and hearth and it was a complete miracle to me. I also learned that fireplaces were mostly about ambiance. For real heat, he put in a little boxy woodstove in the back room. We were cozy. And when we moved, we took it all with us.


I can't help but think he's resting in peace now that I've accomplished this huge step in getting our house back to being a home even if it never was a big deal to either of us when he was still alive.

The furnace comes on with a whisper and each time I hear it, I imagine him grinning and saying, "Fuckin' A!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

another day

I hate the way the calendar we use wobbles through time. Dates falling on different days, year in and year out. The sloppy flux of numbers on paper. Leap year. One day more or less in a whole month of days, so I'm not going to pin any crown of thorns on this one.

By some fool's measure of time, it's been two years since Jimmy had to leave us. On some days, it feels like forever; on others, just yesterday. It's been hard on all of us who counted on his love, his humor, his calm presence, and his confidence in all things.

He and I never talked about this day as if not believing it would come could hold it back. Yes, once or twice toward the end. We made our promises to each other and kept them. I know he's is proud.

We do what we must, what he would have us do. Live life and love it, joys and heartaches coming in all flavors, bitter to achingly sweet. I don't feel as if he is receding from me in time. Each day that passes brings me closer in time to where he is.


So here's to you my darling. All my love, all my life.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

catnipped





It's been a while since I've had a good, pee your pants laugh.

This popped up on FB yesterday and I laughed til I cried and sent it in a private message to just about everyone I know.

Yeah, yeah vulgarity. Don't care. Made me laugh the way Jimmy used to.

We had a cat, Jinx, a chubby little tiger, who would do the same thing only she would make eye contact with you while she was shoving whatever off the counter or tabletop. It was always funny as hell. He spoiled us rotten with love.

(Jake just reminded me how she would get on top of the refrigerator and reach over the side to pluck magnets and the paperwork they were holding off  to fall into the garbage. There was a pair of concert tickets to see James Taylor at Chastain Park, at least one seatbelt summons, and things from school that were supposed to get signed and returned. It was not all amusing)

Friday, October 23, 2015

True Love Ways

Watching this with Charlie and remembering how much we liked it when it was new.I had never heard this song before the but Jimmy said that Gary Busey did a better job at it than Buddy Holly. He was right. One more for the long list of "our" songs.

Monday, October 12, 2015


Missing my Goodman this week a little more. Being good to myself for my birthday doesn't work all that well because there's no surprise in it. He was good at that. Knowing what I wanted before I did and putting a bow on it.

I will celebrate by getting back to work in the studio. Let the doing carry the feeling for a while.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

one last showtime

What may be my last solo show is opening tomorrow at the Phoenix & Dragon bookstore here in Atlanta.

I have a deep affinity for the place. When I first came to Atlanta ahead of Jim and the boys, I spent a lot of time wandering around just getting a feel for the city. My overall impression was not great. Then I found this place just a few miles from where I was working at the time and it fell like church to me. All these years it has  endured as a place of peace and contemplation for me and I'm deeply grateful for the re-invite to show my work. Jim used to tease me "She's off to the witch store."

This show is dedicated to Jimmy. Without his love, encouragement and support none of my art would ever have seen the light of day.

August 26, 2013

Sunday, August 30, 2015



Can we ever get enough love, comfort and tenderness?

Every day I have to remind myself how lucky I was and how rich I still am.



Monday, August 24, 2015

disconnect

A couple of months ago I bought a 60's era rotary phone off eBay. I was so delighted when it arrived and actually worked. I know people who get nostalgic over the hideous sound one got when trying to connect, via dial-up, to the internet like some kind of vocal robot with hiccups being sucked into a garbage disposal unit. For me, it was the sound of the dial tone and the ring.

I called a few old friends, people that I haven't spoken to since there was no internet and made my ear and throat sore. The connections were clear, almost intimate. If you stopped talking, you could actually hear the other person breathing. It's astonishing how much quality we have sacrificed. Still, the novelty wore off because, frankly, I just didn't have that much to say. When you talk with old friends about old times there is no escaping tales of sorrow and loss.

The novelty wore off and I unplugged it and it gathered dust on the shelf. I tried again when I reorganized my way out of the office and to my sadness found that my landline provider had done something to the service and I was no longer able to dial out. I could receive calls, but how frickin' sad was that?

Fast forward a few months to my days with Charlie in a place where my cell phone just will not work. Unacceptable. They had a land line and I brought the old black beast over and plugged it in. The first time it rang Charlie was astonished. It was Unka calling and it was funny watching him trying to figure out that the voice only came from one end of this clumsy device and he was not quite ready to say anything to a heavy lump of black plastic, but, after that first call, every time it would ring he would point at it and say "Mama." It was clear who he wanted to hear from. I imagined a day when he would be holding the phone to his ear, not speaking, just listening to the sound of someone he loved breathing. Idle fantasy.

Before too long I found myself staring at the thing and feeling generally down. It took a while before I realized that I was waiting for a call that would never come. Jimmy and I didn't carry on much over the phone back in the beginning. There were two or three days, after I left my boyfriend and before Jim picked me up for the last time from my mother's house when we spent hours on the phone. I don't remember anything he said because I was just listening to the sound of his voice. Mostly, it was just a way to find out when and where we could be together, face to face. Time on the phone, time apart, was time wasted.

The phone is too much temptation for a little one, cords, wires and no high place to put it where it can't be pulled down dangerously. I'll bring it home this week and probably put it back on eBay for someone else's memory lane stroll.

Friday, August 14, 2015

a grandson


We had hardly gotten used to thinking about our youngest as a married man.

Today I was trying to choose a first birthday card for our grandson and I was quite overcome. I thought about the dozens of times Jim stood in that very aisle pondering the choices while I was always more inclined to buy blank cards and scrawl something hasty and generic. Mickey Mouse will have to do.

It's a miracle how much Charlie looks like Jake at the same age.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

the happiest 4th

The 4th of July was very special for us. Jimmy said, "It's like Christmas without the shopping".  July 4th, 1976 was the first time we went out in public as a couple and didn't care who knew about it. We sat on the back lawn at Phelps Memorial Hospital and watched the Bicentennial firework displays from all the little towns that lined the Hudson River from Tarrytown south to Manhattan. Mostly. I was just thrilled to be beside him. He brought my car up from where we had left it parked and the back seat of the VW was completely filled with potted azaleas snatched from the hospital grounds.
...
Once we moved to Georgia, we missed NY style celebrations. The towns just didn't do fireworks the way they did in NY. And no place on earth did it like NY in '76.

The Inn at Crystal Beach in Destin was one of Jimmy's proudest accomplishments. He was Superintendent of interiors and was posted there for six months in 1997. Every other weekend the boys and I would drive six hours and spend the weekend with him, but on July 4th the boys stayed with friends and I flew down. He met me at the airport with a bunch of boxes under tarps in the back of the truck and mischief in his eyes.
the boxes turned out to be fireworks.The kind you generally don't set off in your backyard..He dragged the boxes down to the foreground of this picture and, by sunset, we had a bunker dug and the fireworks arrayed just above the high water mark. You could see up and down the beach. 

As the sun settled into the ocean people began setting off their displays and the crowds applauding approval. Jim waited until it was just past  this blue hour to start setting things off. It was wonderful and terrifying at the same time. When it was over he took me up on the roof of the building where we could see all the displays put on by the local municipalities up and down the coast and make some celebration of our own.
...(these are borrowed shots, but so close to how it was).

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Summertime

It was always about having fun and keeping cool.

Although he never said, I like to think that having a pool was a city boy's dream.

He got me this one before Colin was born so I could keep cool like all the other gestating belugas. June in 1980 was brutally hot and we had no AC.

He would get home from work and bring the mail, snacks and drinks down to the back yard, get in with me and we'd hash over the day until the skeeters drove us inside.

              There's no doubt in my mind that he built this one for me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Let the good times roll.

Tomorrow would have been our 39th wedding anniversary.  Somehow this picture shows that we knew exactly what we were getting into. A lifetime deal.

We were so lucky for so long. I miss him minute by minute.

June 4, 1976

Right after all the ceremonial stuff, we changed and got comfy to enjoy the party and our guests, but I spent most of the evening hiding behind my new husband because the top that I bought turned out to be very sheer and I had no backup.

Jimmy thought it was funny and kept circling around behind me saying
"Yep, you can see right through it." I got over myself pretty fast.



Saturday, May 23, 2015

82nd Air.



He was in it for the thrill of jumping and getting away from the usual father-son conflicts, but he came away with a greater sense of self, of his capabilities and strengths.


His service made it possible for us to get a VA mortgage for the house. I doubt he was thinking about that when he was seventeen, but I'll always be grateful for his leap of faith.