Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A New York Moment
By Nonnie Augustine, © 2006
Revised 2010

Harvey C. Hamby was drunk.  Usually he held his liquor well, but   he was off his form.  Stumbling over an ottoman, he landed on the floor in soft sprawl.  As he fell, his left foot shot out behind him and socked Glenda Steinberg in the back of the knee, and she fell, too, taking the waitress, Elena Rosita, and a tray of champagne glasses with her.  Roger Steel was looking at himself as he passed a mirror and he tripped over Harvey. As he fell he reached for Edith Fisthe and she went down on top of Roger.  Harvey grabbed the ottoman and tried to get up as Sheila Rider was sitting down. She screamed when she felt a hand under her ass and Jimmy DeLuciano, startled, took a step backwards and fell onto the couch, landing in the lap of Judge Anna Pavlorroti. They had never been   friends.

The Plaza banquet room was crammed with well-heeled New Yorkers, and all this falling, pushing, pulling, and tripping continued to have a ripple effect through the crowd, who had gathered to celebrate New Year's Eve with newly elected Mayor Mary Flanaghan-Silverburg.  The Black-Eyed Peas chugged along with loud laughing, cursing, crying, and moaning coming from the crowd, who were soon almost all on the floor.

The big screen T.V. was tuned to Times Square, and the ball was about to drop.  Harvey, who had not yet managed to get off the floor, turned his head toward the screen, but was sidetracked by Lenora Black's fabulous cleavage. She was lying on her side and her breasts were roughly at Harvey's eye level.  He'd always been hot for Lenora Black, and he was drunk enough to sneak a feel, as he faked trying to get up.

Lenora hissed, “Harvey, dear, get your fucking paw off my tit!”

Harvey complied. The Mayor, realizing there were journalists and photographers in the room who were upright and busy, couldn't come up with any idea other than turning out all the lights in the party room.  So she did. It's anyone's guess what happened in the dark after that, but the big ball did its thing, and the New Year began.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Between Holidays


I chose 
to believe you.

Held my tongue
as I buttered my bread.

My heart beat harder, faster

while I nodded, tried to think

of something, anything safe to say.

When you spoke, your eyes
over the Christmas tablecloth,

smiled at our good dogs,

studied the Fraser Fir in the corner,

bright with faerie lights.

When you looked at me
your mask was in place.

I chose a peaceful meal-
never mind the cost.
I’ve hoarded better moments,
and stockpiled trust.
Maybe in the spring, I’ll ask again.

Friday, December 24, 2010

No Wonder Charles Dickens is Still Going Strong

Dickens had something there-with those Christmas Spirits. Well, maybe not so much the Spirit of Christmas Future. I don’t have much of a feel for that one at this point. Pretty sure I’ll spend it with Drago, my brother. Maybe we’ll go somewhere, you know, hook up with more family or do something exotic. Salzburg, maybe. Mozart in the Dom Cathedral. Snow and roaring fireplaces in the restaurants and cafés around the city. Mmm.  But if we went away, we’d have to leave our dog and cat, Blossom and Sam, and knowing us, we’d feel like that would be a crummy thing to do.  Dunno. Christmas Future made sense for Scrooge, though. They had to show him what was coming if he didn’t lighten up. It was the right thing to do for the old goat.

The Spirit of Christmas present is a nice size this year. Drago and I spiffed up our house. (Lydia came over with a covered litter box and Sam’s corner is much more private and presentable.) We went on a significant spree, really.  Of course, Dad’s not here to roll his eyes or talk/cuss us out of spending the money, but he would have liked what we bought, once he got used to the new stuff. Leon and Rae sent us an excellent espresso machine and tomorrow morning we’re going to our neighbors’ and one of them is only four. Nice. I’ve got most of the vision in my right eye back, after surgery for a couple of retinal tears. Except for the tiny bugs that float around all the time, my eye’s in pretty good shape. There are gifts to open and many, many cookies. I’ve shown splendid restraint so far.

That leaves the Spririt of Christmas past and that one’s a bugger. Seems like there’s been hundreds of them back there, taking turns giving me what we used to call warm fuzzies, God help us, and a few right hooks to the chin. Mom’s been around since Drago got the decorations down. She is indeed a Christmas Spirit. Always went kind of nuts, even scary a few years, getting everything ready, but by Christmas Eve she'd be okay-a star, in fact.

Oh, jeez. Just got lost in memories again. Buying presents, with money and not so much, cooking, not baking, crowded dining room tables, Scotch pines and Frazier firs. I need to spend some cat and dog time, I think. Too many Spirits at the moment. Oh, Drago’s back from yoga and shopping. Says he got me something good. That’s all right, then. Merry Christmas. xxoononnie

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nonnie and Drago and the Good Life

Nonnie and Drago and the Good Life

On Thursday, while I was napping (I have a no-expiration-date note from my first cardiologist, the one I had such a crush on, that prescribes guilt-free naps every day. Pretty cool. ) a Breville espresso machine arrived from our brother in Philadelphia and his wife.  My brother Drago put it together then we admired it, read the instruction booklet, and talked about it a lot. Didn’t get up the nerve to use it until Friday morning, when I made myself a delicious cappuccino. When Drago got home from teaching Yoga, I made him a macchiato. I’m a barista! On Saturday Drago used the machine to make a regular cup of coffee, under my supervision. He was impressed, and will, no doubt become a barista, too.

So, there was that. Also, new leather furniture for the Florida room had been delivered about a week ago; my brother and I mulled décor, Drago rearranged this and that, and the room looks great, except for the kitty litter corner. Drago has assembled all the pet products under a milking stool I found up in Pennsylvania back when I was still a wife and bought things like old milking stools. Lydia, our housekeeper, says people will see it and say “What a beautiful room! And y’all have a cat.” It’s not smelly, though. No really, it isn’t. Drago cleans the box all the time and our cat is nothing if not neat. He even comes in from outside to do his business. I’ve decided I like Sam’s corner. It’s so honest. No coy screening devices for our household’s cat stuff. “This is who we are. A man, a woman, a dog and a cat.” The dog, Blossom, owns half my bedroom.

The kitchen is getting up-scaled, too. Drago bought us a black ceramic glass-topped stove, which was delivered Saturday. Dunno. He and I are on a spree, I guess.  It’s super sleek-looking, and, I believe, will work, which is nice in a stove, don’t you think?

Hmm. Here we are, way down the page and I haven’t talked about the ritziest thing that happened this weekend. Friday night Drago was féted by a secret admirer. My brother and I and five of his friends were treated to a splendid supper at a very classy restaurant-so classy that President Obama and the First Lady chose to eat there when they visited our city. We never found out who arranged this dinner in Drago’s honor, or exactly why whoever it was (we figured it was the doctor and friend in our party, but were finally convinced it wasn’t, and Drago shot down the idea that the secret guy is from New York, because he’s sure all his friends in the City have died by now) went to all the lovely trouble, and not to be crass, expense. The head chef even came to our table to wish us a fine meal and assure us that everything had been taken care of. My brother and I think the mysterious event might have been in honor of Drago’s still being alive. Well, you know, he’s had AIDS for twenty-seven, give or take, years and survived three kinds of cancer. He’s not just hanging on, either. My brother recently became a Level 5 certified yoga teacher and a practicing Catholic Buddhist. Oh, it was a fine time. I got to dress up, didn’t need my eye patch, and felt pretty damn sparkly. Drago loved his féte and that we have a marvelous mystery to ponder. I hope the dear man (we were told it was a man) reads this blog post. If you do, I want you to know that I think you’re a peach! xxoononnie

Monday, December 13, 2010

In My Dad's Karmann Ghia

Two days before Christmas, Dad said with aplomb,
"Tomorrow night we'll go out for some holiday charm
for your too busy Mom, so she won't have to cook."
(All week she’d been wearing that crazed-lady look.)
But that morning angels started a huge pillow fight,
a blizzard that blew all day and all night.
For the first time I felt that snow was a blow,
but Dad, brave Dad, said, “Dress warm, we’ll still go.
In the Ghia we’ll do it, if we all can fit in it.”
I sat on one brother,
the others sat on each other.
We sang carols and laughed
And just about crashed.
We slid, spun, and yowled
on roads barely plowed,
but we made it and Dad said it
would be a night to remember
for each family member.
Once again, he was right.
We still talk of that night.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Nonnie's Goat is Got

It’s not her Alaska! What a creep. That caribou stopped to see what was going on with those strange creatures slithering over there and what was going on was they were trying to kill him! And she did. She missed a few times, even though the caribou was standing still, poor thing, but then she got him. And I saw it and felt sick. Oh, I know I shouldn’t have clicked on anything with her name on it-but I did. Now I’ve seen a caribou, a reindeer for chrissakes, murdered. I saw a snuff film. Don’t give me logic. I eat meat, and I've bought leather furniture, but jeez louise! I wouldn’t go to wild country for a go at killing animals. I don’t even see how she and I can be of the same species, let alone gender. I mean, she thinks scientists lie, (why would they?) shows videos of herself doing rotten things, neglects her children, (Oh, yes. She has a special needs baby who needs her, now! All the time she is busy doing stupid stuff that baby is missing crucial time with his mother. I’ll betcha, she isn’t with him this very minute.) tries to put down the best people, (but she's no good at it, she suffers from RHD, Republican Humor Deficiency) tells whoppers, entered a beauty contest and who knows what she reads, certainly not Billy Collins or Mary Oliver. You know what? If I had a chance, I think, I really think, I’d punch her right in the stomach. I don’t think I’d try to talk to her. I don’t think I could. I’d just punch her hard as I could. Although, maybe it wouldn’t hurt her much because she probably wears one of those SWAT vests, one that’s made to order so that she doesn’t look fat… but she might feel a punch, right? So…maybe she and I are the same species. It took her to bring the violence out in me, though. What a creep.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Nonnie and Drago Have Three Big Days

On December 1st my ex-husband and I settled our settlement. He gave me a lovely cashier’s check, we went to Panera’s, where he had an Italian sandwich, I had a scone, and we both had coffee in mugs. (You can ask for a mug in most of these coffee places you know-saves trees and helps your spirits.) Then he drove me home, and said hello to my brother, Drago. This settlement took years to get to. I didn’t even have a lawyer anymore. She’d given up and moved to Alabama. (Okay, maybe she had other reasons as well.) The morning went smoothly, diplomatically, a bit nostalgically, and it was all absofuckinglutely wrong.

My former husband was thinner and healthier-looking than I’ve ever seen him and I was a moon-faced, eye-patch wearing, cane-dependant wreck. I’ve had eye surgery for two retinal tears and a retinal hole and have had to take steroid eye drops which have given me facial edema (Drago concurs) and since I still can’t see anything but light and dark blobs, oh, and blue for some reason, I have to wear this black patch so that my good eye has a fighting chance. Hardly charming. A woman who’s gone through a divorce, hasn’t remarried, and hasn’t seen “him” for four years would want to be a slender, better-looking-than-ever, poised, witty and graceful Meryl Streepish knock-out, dontchathink?  I’ve used a cane for years, because of balance issues due to body part fails that we can talk about some other time, but what with nerves, vision decrepitude, and shock at how good my ex looked, I wobbled even with my support system, my little carp. (My cane was hand-carved in Italy and is topped with a fish head with green glass eyes that fits my hand perfectly. I love it.)

On December 2nd, Drago went to his most excellent doctor/friend and got the beautiful news that his throat (which there was reasonable worry about) did not look cancerous, and that Dr. Daube didn’t even need to see him again for three months. My brother has had AIDS since the early eighties and he’s survived cancer three times already, so this put us seriously in the frabjous day range. To celebrate my plump check and our hearty relief over his news, we went shopping on December 3rd. Old furniture in our Florida room needed replacing, and now I could get to it.

The first place we went was a bummer. I think I scared the saleslady with my eye-patch and fishcane. She said hello and then found other people to help. But the next store we went into was just the thing. I bought a burgundy leather couch and recliner. It’s so nice to have money to spend, isn’t it? Then, since we were right there and in simultaneous good moods, we went into an antique store across the street. I’d been before, but Drago never had. I was a little nervous about knocking something over, but my brother thought I could manage the winding paths through the treasures and junk (I mean why would someone want a collection of old lunchboxes?) if I was careful. We found, then lost, then found again, the perfect table for an awkward spot in our house and an intriguing porcelain lamp called to Drago.  So I bought the table and he bought the lamp, and we headed home, each of us tired, but satisfied. We’re going to get the carpets cleaned, too. I’ll pay.