Saturday, December 26, 2015

Post Christmas

There was one part of Christmas at Nanay and Taytay's house that I always hated, and that was gift time.

Not only were the kids required to wait till after lunch (one reason I was glad to keep SC and JR at my parents' house, where they could get their "Santa" gifts and stocking first thing in the morning,) but they had to open presents on person at a time while someone videoed it. This made the proceedings interminable. It also made them embarrassing for me.

I am NOT a material person. Really. But it was always awful watching my sister-in-law (and later, my niece) opening their extravagant gifts from their spouses, while I often got nothing.

The Man has never been much for presents. But this year, he not only ignored me, but ignored our girls. He made a few feeble comments about getting a strap for one of JR's guitars, but that was it.

I spent weeks busting my ass to give the girls things they wanted for Christmas. I spent time trying to make Christmas a happy occasion for them.

I spent all of December trying to do things for the Man. I made him a special birthday dinner--as close as I could come to what Nanay made him, including my first ever Black Forest cake. 

We went to NYC last weekend and I stayed in the hotel with JR Friday night when she didn't want to go out  so he and SC could go out to dinner with his brothers. I took JR to the Museum of Modern Art (not MY first choice) so he could go wandering with SC. I arranged the whole weekend in fact mainly so HE could see HIS family.  And I got next to no appreciation for it.

Christmas Eve was good. I cooked up a storm, the girls decorated the tree, and we watched some Christmas specials. But they went to bed, I spent time wrapping the gifts that I had bought, and he did his own thing.

Christmas morning could have been lovely. But the Man's back was hurting, and he didn't do what I'd have done, which was ignore it and participate. He did next to nothing. He liked the gifts we gave him, but had done nothing for us. It hurt the girls a lot.

And he thought I was reluctant to go to his sister's yesterday, and I was, but not for reasons he could imagine. But for the fact that I didn't have time,energy or money to buy gifts for my niece's 3 lovely but overindulged kids, and we were there empty handed while my sister-in-law, lord love her, insists on giving gifts to US.
Probably just as well that I didn't. There was an exchange between my great-nephew (10) and JR, and when she told him she got a book for Christmas he responded "I don't think that's a good present," and that's what I would have bought him. All he cares about are his Pokemon cards and electronic games. Gag...

The girls and I ended up sitting away from the gathering while they all opened their gifts and the Man sat apart from us in silence. I don't think he spoke to me once yesterday.

SC interacted well with the family, but she is far more used to them than JR, who doesn't feel like she belongs. And sadly, it's really true. We're never out there any more. She never got spoiled by my sister-in-law as SC did--another niece (who didn't need spoiling) and then grandchildren got Rosie's attention instead. Not her fault--especially since JR never liked being away from us anyway when she was little.

I was glad to come home, and crawled into bed and cried because I miss my parents and Nanay and Taytay. I hate that we're never all together with the brother-in-laws. I cried because my brother is MIA as usual at the holidays--not even a "Merry Christmas" text yesterday, and because JR was so clearly unhappy at my in-laws and is unhappy and sad at home, and because so much of it is from the Man and his behavior, and he promised to go and deal with his depression, or whatever the hell it is, and he still hasn't.

And I just can't make things okay for the girls anymore.

I am so, SO glad to be at work today.
It's pathetic, but true.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Dear George Takei

Dear "Uncle George",

I am not trying to be a troll. I was a Star Trek fan long ago, before it was fashionable, and I even got to see you  back to the conventions in NYC in the 70s.

I have the utmost respect for your personal moral courage, and I understand the need to tell your story. My grandmother was a friend of the artist Mine Okubo, who was also in the camps and did some very significant art work based on her experiences.

But before plunking down $$$$ for your show, your fans might want to go to:     They can read what the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal among others have written about your show.
 Because the truth is that while you'll probably be on Broadway for a long time thanks largely to your adroit use of social media, the show isn't as good as you'd like them to believe.

Sincerely yours,

The Library Lady

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thanksgiving=Love. Period.

 I just read a NY Times article about Thanksgiving, full of stuff about people who are on gluten free diets (even though they don't have celiac), self righteous posturings about meat eating and more.
And this is what I wrote in the comments:

Thanksgiving is not about the food. It is about the love and sharing.
Two years ago this month my mom was in the hospital, just out of the ICU and starting to eat solid foods again. I brought her a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner, with everything soft and easy to eat, and fed it to her spoon by spoon.She ate everything I gave her and said how good it was.

I went home in a taxi and cried for the sheer happiness of having been able to do that for her, and because I would have given anything to have her and my dad back at the house.

Mom left us several months later. Last year was the first Thanksgiving dinner I'd cooked at home in at least 15 years.  I did everything my way, we ate far earlier than we would have at Mom's,and we had a good time together. But oh, for one more dinner with my parents!

Please think about that before you start whining about your dietary needs, your personal beliefs about meat, or any of the rest of it.

If you're lucky enough to have the people you love there at the table, nothing else matters.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Dear Parent: The World Isn't Set Up For Your Child and Your Child Alone

Dear Parent,

I am sorry that your child was scared of the puppet she saw in my bag this morning. I did my best to hide it out of sight. I'm sorry if that wasn't enough and you had to leave.

But no, I was not going to get up and move all my stuff outside the room and have to go and bring it back in later when it was time for that story.  Why the hell should I have to disrupt a group of small children who get distracted easily to begin with because you didn't want to take your child out and calm her down, and then perhaps bring her back in?

You're a nice parent, you mean well, but more and more I see that you are suffering from the notion that your child is the only child on Earth with needs. News flash: I had 18 other kids and their families in the room, and they have needs too.

Your child is becoming a brat and it's not her fault, it's yours.  And I'm sure I'm not the only person noticing this.

She's entitled to be afraid of the puppet and to have you deal with her fear. She is NOT entitled to spoil other people's good time.

The Library Lady

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


I will never have a freezer. I will never have a room where I can foster.
I will never be able to invite lots of friends and family over for another Hanukkah party.
I can't move out of this house into the one I think we might have bought.

I am trapped in a house full of my husband's THINGS. His bookshelves overflow with books he'll never read, clippings of articles he'll never us. He can't reach his closet, because the door is blocked with tool bags and stuff from home projects he's never gotten back to. The hall closet is crammed with 8-12 of his coats, with little room for the rest of our coats, which overflow wall pegs, and the rest of the closet is crammed with more tools. And we HAVE storage--$500 worth of it, that holds dozens of boxes of his books among other things.

He sits at the kitchen/dining table, surrounded by hundreds upon thousands more books, typing on his computer,( on message boards because he is paranoid about personal identity on the Internet), and since we have a living/dining room, it makes me feel as if I am invading his space if I sit there and watch TV. More books are piled on the floor and on top of the bookcases I bought to go behind the sofa, so he could get them out of sight. He hasn't.

At night, if he is not at the table he is using the Wii I hoped would be used for healthy activities for goddamn pilot/shooting games, and he comes upstairs only when it's his bedtime.

So I am generally trapped up in my bedroom, and the girls retreat to theirs--JR to play her guitars, SC to use her computer.   They don't hang out with Dad much anymore. SC sometimes will stay up late watching a movie with him--usually they select movies I don't like and I'm not invited to join them.

The house that used to feel warm and loving and happy is a junkyard for things the Man brings home that don't make him happy, that make the rest of us unhappy, and because of this I can't think of showing it to renters, let alone to buyers, and as a result, I can't get a mortgage for a larger house where the girls and I might be able to be happy again.

I'm not sure the Man will ever be happy again. He gets angrier and more depressed no matter what we do, and he is reminding me alarmingly of his own father, who had severe PTSD and made the last years of Nanay's life a lot harder than they should have been.  We have all asked him to get help. He may or may not.

But I am trapped into this house, into this life. The girls won't be--not forever. But right now they are--and they are unhappy about things--especially JR. I hate that.

I lost my mom and my dad. My brother has sadly become a relative, but not family.
And this is the final insult.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Needing A Miracle

Perhaps seeing my NY Mets so close to the World Series is the only one I'll get right now, but I need another one.

I have money in the bank from Mom and Dad. I have more money in a fund that will get split with my brother--and we could do so now. It's enough to pay off our townhouse and more.Our credit is sterling.

I've found a possible house. Not in our current neighborhood, but still in town. I haven't been to see it, but it's got a backyard that would reconcile us for the loss of our current view, wouldn't need much more than simple things like some new paint, and would give us enough room.

We can get a VA loan. We paid off the one that bought the condo long ago. The Man is eligible for another.

But the reasons that we need more room--chiefly the Man's things--mean we can't think of renting the condo out before we move out ourselves. It needs some work too--we've got a bedroom floor issue and the bathroom needs finishing, among other things.

And we may not be able to get the loan unless the condo fees and taxes are covered.

We have enough money to do so. I could set up accounts for both condo fees and taxes and put enough money in each to cover a year's payments, and still have the other needed funds.

If they'll let us do so, we might be able to do this.

If not, I truly am trapped where we are. And much as I love it, it will feel like a trap.

Friday, September 25, 2015


They keep playing Alicia Keyes "Empire State of Mind" at moments when I least expect it--like on an NPR piece about music for the Pope yesterday.

It's now been a full year since the Man and I drove away from the city with the last load of things from Mom and Dad's house.

The Man--and SC--have been back to the city since. I haven't.

Mom and Dad's chair and other precious items sit in storage. Unless I manage to find us a house--and between interest rates about to rise and the sadly limited number of houses in our price range AND in places where JR can stay at her school for another two year AND get home easily--it seems they may sit there for some years to come.

I am so, so homesick. Homesick for my parents. Homesick for my city.

I can't have Mom and Dad back. Someone else must be living in their apartment by now. I hope it's a family, and that they love the house like we did.

But I want to go home and walk down 5th Avenue. Eat pizza by the slice from a takeout window. Ride the Staten Island Ferry and gaze at the skyline.  Get packed into a subway at rush hour, and see the passengers swaying back and forth, and know that it's all still there.

I have now lived here in Virginia for about half of my life.

But I am so, so, homesick for the Hudson River, and the Botanical Gardens and for the sights and sounds and smells of my childhood

I want to go home.