Hello Moon**

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Journal Entry:  August 11, 2014

 

full moon morning

Full Moon Morning

I stepped out onto the back porch this morning and looked up to see the moon, still full, setting in the sky. I don’t recall a full moon ever on an August 11th, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t ever happened.

Today is my birthday.

“What a nice surprise.” I tell the moon.

“Sure thing!” He says.  “Happy Birthday!”

“Thank you.” I say

That moon-man smiling down on me, greeting me on my special day, makes me think about how long I have been here. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve looked up and smiled at him in my five decades and one year.

I had my coffee, my vanilla protein shake with an organic peach and I wrote in my journal.  I left the house happy.  I drove through emptier-than-normal-for-a-Monday streets and parked in the almost vacant lot by my spinning studio.  I was greeted upstairs with smiles and birthday wishes.

During class, our instructor Mandy said, “Grab your water and grab your breath.” I don’t know if she meant to say grab, but that’s what I heard.

I looked over the parking lot, to the palm trees and couldn’t help but think about the word.  Grab.

What have I grabbed for in my life? What else will I reach for and grab? I grab a ripe Meyer lemon from our tree in the back yard — twist and pull.  I pluck opportunities as they ripen on their vines. What will I reach for next?

At 51, I am still like a child that picks and chooses what to discover and explore next.  Although, I haven’t had to grab for that much; the important, life-changing things come to me.

I get clear.
I ask.
I let go.
I receive.

It seems easy and in a way it is, but there is the work of getting clear and letting go, sometimes it can be a challenge. Although, at this place it isn’t as much work as it was when I was in another place.

That’s what happened with Bill.  It’s not that we didn’t reach for each other.  We did.  It’s how we came to be within each other’s reach, in that particular instant, that I find interesting.

I’ve written about it many times, it was as simple as that.

Why does the moon smile down on me?
Why did Bill and I get swaddled together in that moment?
Why am I blessed with this life?

I don’t know that I have answers for these questions.  I may never.  I’m good with that.  I’ll unwrap full moon birthday wishes, and magic instead of answers.

Happy Birthday to Me!

 

** Excerpt from the book that I am currently writing.

 

 

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I’m Keeping on Keeping on…

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I’ve been feeling a bit stuck lately, in my writing, in my work, in general—stuck.  I hold my breath and hold myself back. There is something I’m not seeing, something I’m missing, some door that isn’t opening.  On the outside, I appear cool and confident and on the inside I’m a bundle of nerves.

It’s funny, people will tell me I’m courageous and that I’m a risk taker and I’ll be quaking in my boots or wondering if I’m making the ‘right’ life choices.

When I was waiting tables at Old Venice in Manhattan Beach back in the 90’s a gal that I knew from high school came in and I had to wait on her.  I wasn’t exactly embarrassed, even though it was Halloween weekend and I was in cat makeup. I was more uncomfortable, worried about what she would think.

After I brought them their drinks, while taking their order, we caught up a bit.  She went to college, law school and got married. “What about you?” She asked.

My cat ears were twitching. I’d rather chase a rat than tell the story of my life up to that point to someone that together.

“After UCLA I worked on some features, then, after my Dad died, I worked for Camden Artists, then Triad.” I said.  She was leaning toward me, looking up; she seemed interested in what I had to say. “Then I went to Europe for 6 months and I found a job at a patisserie…” I said.

It went on from there.  How could I tell her every detail? I didn’t. I didn’t tell her about my move back home, the garage sale where I sold all just about all my stuff—including that fabulous orange flowered print skirt and matching shoes and ribbed mid-drift pullover I bought in some crazy expensive store in Santa Monica.

I didn’t tell her the details of how I found my first apartment and my first job and all the other jobs when I moved to Santa Barbara where I worked as a waitress – at The Jolly Tiger coffee shop, at the San Yisidro Ranch, at a bowling alley, at Pascual’s Mexican restaurant, then there was the Turkish company, Telanav, they were doing something shady and they wouldn’t let us leave for lunch, then there was Market Place Media—that’s where I learned how to use PageMaker.

I didn’t tell her that after Santa Barbara there was Venice and Value Health Sciences, Inc.(VHS) and that the reason I left Venice and moved to Redondo Beach was because my roommate was a psychopath who delivered a bag of garbage to my office with a note that said: ATTN: CAROLYN, because he was mad I was moving.

I didn’t tell her that only way for me to get promoted at VHS was to leave and move to Phoenix.  I didn’t tell her that I worked in the marketing department at  Eye Care Plan of America—they turned the storage closet into my office—ahhhh my first office.

I told her that I hated Phoenix because I tell everyone that mentions Phoenix that I hate Phoenix—when you’re wearing jeans and cowboy boots on a 90-degree day, side-stepping cockroaches the size of my dying Mustang convertible,  it’s time to head back to the beach.

“So, I moved back to Redondo Beach and I also work at Gold’s Gym in Redondo.” I said, summarizing best I could. “I want to be a personal trainer.”

“Wow.” Her smile seemed to go from ear to ear.  Her husband was smiling too.  “I envy you.” She said.

“Why?” I asked. She was the grown-up here.  She had a career, she had a husband, she had a house.  She was a real person.

“You’re so courageous,” She said. “You didn’t just do what you were supposed to do like I did.”

There have been quite a few more lefts and rights and even some U-turns since that conversation 20 years ago.

curvy path

twist and turns ahead

I am still zigzagging along on my path.

It seems these days that I’m not the only one, there are others. The world has changed and the straight and narrow isn’t as straight and narrow as it used to be–we are explorers all of us.

Still, at times, I find myself gasping for air.

I sometimes have to remind myself to breathe.  I have to remind myself that I have courage, that I am brave, that I am in the right place at the right time, and that if history does indeed repeat itself, well, I’ll be just fine…actually, I’ll be much better than fine.

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Are We There Yet? ***

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Journal Entry: June 29, 2014

It was early. I was watering the lawn. The sun was still hiding behind marine layer and our street was quiet. It had been hot the last few days.  Finally a bit of June gloom. The breeze cooled my sun-browned skin—you’re as brown as a berry, my Dad would say to me as August approached. I watched the grass drink.  Here’s what I realized in that moment: I was in a rush to be done.  In this gorgeous, perfect, feel-good moment in time, I was in a rush.

I rush. I rush a lot.  I rush  from one thing to the next. I’m not fickle. It’s not that. I’m loyal, sometimes to a fault. I’m loyal to my clients and I’m a loyal client. I’m loyal to my friends, my family and my husband.  When I rush from one moment to the next, I’m not loyal to myself.

Sometimes, the journey is a good thing.

I like cleaning. I like making something go from dull to polish. I love bleach and I love being clean and having cleaned.  Feet up on the coffee table, arms crossed, I survey the sparkle and shine of my clean wood floors, white whites and sparkling surfaces.  (Geez, I sound like a friggin’ commercial.)

I love writing and I really love having written!

I enjoy editing too, but I love the finished product even more.

At the end of a good book I’m sad that I won’t be visiting that world anymore. I miss the immersion into another person’s language.  I once had this friend  who could speed-read.  She made the biggest deal about it, she was proud that she could rush through a good book. Okay, if I could speed-read when I was at UCLA I would have maybe been ahead of the curve and caught up just once. Other than that I just don’t get it. I don’t want to speed read The Great Gatsby, The Poisonwood Bible, Memoirs of a Geisha or a poem by Richard Jones or Ellen Bass.

Sailing, now that’s all about the journey.  Sailing is something you do to get nowhere. We’ll take the boat out for a few hours and go back and forth, towards Marina Del Rey, back towards Palos Verdes, tacking and jibing in and out of the wind.  Still, after three, four, or six hours on the rough Pacific, (should have been named the Belligerent Ocean) I really want to get there already.

catalina thanksgiving 3rd annual 2004 009

Enjoy The Journey

The ride to the orgasm is amazing.  So is the orgasm.  I’d like the ride and the orgasm to last as long as possible.

I want time to slow down and I want to slow down with time. I want to lick it, feel it’s texture on my tongue, taste the sweet thick syrup slide down the back of my throat.  I want to savor each moment.  Ahhhh the irony of the human experience—being in such a rush to grow up and get there that when we finally do, we want to go back.

*** This is an excerpt of something I’m working on for my next book.

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Submission Guidelines

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“No poems about your morning coffee.”

But I love mine.

It’s organic,

French Roast,

expensive.

I prepare it the night before.

I think about how

the black liquid

will turn tan

when it mixes with the ½ and ½

on the bottom of my mug.

How I will stand at the kitchen sink,

look out the window

purse my lips

and sip.

 

Maybe that editorwoman-drinking-coffee_300

doesn’t understand

the hint of jasmine

on a spring evening,

the brush of your lover’s

finger on your thigh,

or the perfect cup

of coffee

kissing you full

smack on your lips

each morning.

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LIP GLOSS

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LIPGLOSS

My new year’s resolution this year is LIP GLOSS.

More shine
More sparkle
More glitter
More smooth
More softness
More satin and silk and suede
I love me some suede
More leather like butter
What the hell
More butter
Sweet creamy or salted
More open
More writing
More reading
More books
More of my words read by more and more and more people
More of my poems published
More of me published
More of my pieces published
More of my books sold
Even more love and joy and passion and happiness
Even More sex
More sex
What the hell
More sex
–You know it is the cure for the common everything
More grace
More gratitude
More appreciation
–Given and taken

 over exposed

So far, so good
We are three weeks
into 2014 and I leave the house
Lips Berry Beaming and Glossed
I’m Ginger Sensed and smiling Origins

My new years resolution this year is LIP GLOSS

What’s yours?

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Has the Universe Left Me?

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My note from the universe didn’t come this morning.

My note may be lost.  It might have slipped under the doormat with the other bills that the mailman drops through our door.  Maybe it was pushed or kicked or blown under the sofa, under my pillow, under the bed.  Maybe the cat got to it, crumpled and left in the corner with his favorite green mouse; the one that jingles as he carries it in his teeth, jingle jingle stomp stomp stomp jingle jingle jingle through the house.

My note wasn’t in any of those places.

My note didn’t appear.

I went to the site searching for my daily inspiration, and there was no note, no message.  No reason, no explanation.  Has the universe gone?  Am I alone?

IMG00259-20100711-1617_2

one of many hats

Am I alone? A question I used to ask myself a lot, especially when I was dating Brian.  He would disappear on the weekends, “Babe, just calling to say goodnight, so if you don’t hear from me, don’t worry, I’m turning my phone off.” By Sunday I’d have to speak out loud, ask myself, “Can I hear me?” Checking to see if the chords still plucked.  My girlfriends vanished too. Not fans of the Brian-Carolyn connection.  I went to movies alone, went to dinners alone, had a drink at the local bar alone. I walked many beach fairs alone.  I would buy a hat. “Am I alone?” I said to the girl in the mirror as I adjusted a new black and white hat with with a wide brim.

I own a lot of hats.

fullmoondance

no full moon ecstatic dance

Has the universe left me on the Winter Solstice? Is the internet down, connection fried? I know, maybe it’s because I won’t be shredding, burning, dancing under a full moon, Stonehenge chanting, crop circle tracing, meditation candlelight walking, praying through labyrinths. I won’t be saging, Ayahuasca trip sitting or tea journeying.  They say the universe likes ceremony.  They say the universe wants me to have more pomp, circumstance, leather fringe, drum circle, ecstatic dance, hot coal fire walking in my life. They say, the universe likes when you ritual with others not alone.  They say I don’t live up to the standards. Maybe that’s why, because the only thing I’ve planned is writing, reading, American Hustle love making and a bit of red wine.

I don’t go to parades. I eat gluten, dairy and meat. I leave before the fireworks. I don’t eat eggs or tofu and I will eat bacon. I don’t like women’s groups or meditation groups, or girls night out, I prefer the men join.   Sometimes I’ll skip the party all together. I believe in attraction, not The Secret. I’m not a fan of yes yes crocodile tearing gurus that oversell and over-tell.  I like the real deal. Someone once told me I was the spiritual anti-christ.  I get it, I said to her, I am contrary to popular belief.

I’m surprised when I find myself in the middle of the picture, the women grouping, forming, molding themselves around me, even though I choose a seat in the back closest to the aisle.   I’m happy on the fringe.  Don’t push, stop pulling, it’s time for me to go, I’m ready, I whisper to them to myself and slip out the emergency exit.

Boyfriends and girlfriends have come and gone.  I’ve moved through women’s gestalt wine goddess Tuesday’s relations.  I’ve felt the rope burn from untying knots. It leaves a mark, a tale to tell around the fire; full moon hanging low evening at the beach.  Feet dig in cold winter sand, toes wriggle for warmth.  Fire pits glow along the coast as cars whiz by above.

I am my own ritual.

Two hearts link themselves in a dark bar on a smoke filled night.  The smell of schnapps and beer, voices of drinkers and smokers scratch above the click of pool cues scratch and the scrape scrape scrape of  blue chalk on felt tip. Hazel eyes, black lash, a smile, some words.

History unfolds in a moment and the Universe might not work weekends.

 

 

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Let It Be Me

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September comes and the days go tight.  Tentacles grasp, snatch, twist themselves, vines rooted deep crawl through my toes, wrap around my ankles, up my legs.  I watch the greens and pinks slip away to browns.  Slow hurries into quick, rushes about, reaches for dreams, planted from the year before.

Time runs click tock.

All those things folded and tucked away for another day.  All those things that have to be pulled out from underneath the brush, all those things in rooted under beds rotting in corners of bed rooms and offices and kitchens.  All those things to be dug out from the back of junk drawers, unearthed in kitchens to be tilled and spread, seeded and separated.  Thank you’s, happy birthday’s, congratulation’s, good job’s, rsvp’s, broken promises to be studied, analyzed, organized, donated, tossed, remembered, burned, ritualized, scrubbed clean. Stapled, paper clipped, rubber banded, shredded. Candle burning sticks and stones may break my bones and what about the Elmer’s Glue from years and years and years and those years so long ago?

Time is winding down.

Leaves change and let go they fall fire red decompose yellow. Die transparent.  Crackle crisp under the boots of plaid skirted pony-tailed schoolgirls that carry pink and purple backpacks and text on their smart phones.  We wrote notes on lined loose leaf that we  folded into triangles and passed back and forth at recess.

In September my skin catches fire.leaves fire

It reminds me
I have been attached to grief.

Rattled. Shingled. Raw.

I remember.  I feel back into the pins and needles and numb of twenty-five Septembers ago.  I remember winding my 280 ZX through Laurel and Mulholland and Cold Water.  I remember swerving and skidding and the squealing breaks, let it be me, let it be me, let it be me, let it be me… slicing through thick canyon on heavy Autumn days.  I remember careening into Beverly Hills. Let it be me.   I remember white piles, powder dumped from brown glass onto dirty mirrors sniffed from pinkies and thumbs and tiny spoons and keys, the razor clicks divvy out lines to be snorted and sucked up and smoked and the rolled dollar bills, used and smelling acrid sweet. Absolute bloodied white light late night Marlboro Lights rock line shots and Hendrix till sun light .  Let it be me.

Hot fire harvest moon shines.
I remember
that dream.

Time brands.
I itch.
I scratch.
I pick
I irritate my scars.

Meanwhile, September speeds up, plows through October into November and burrows under the white winter blankets of drift for hibernation.

I am awake
I remember a dream.

Let it be me.

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Dancin’ in the Dark

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It was a September dance partylove shack - Version 2

In our vibrating Love Shack

last night

Queen, Bowie, Bee Gees,  Blondie

Kiss,

She Drives Me Crazy hair flying

arms embrace twirl push pull hips circle grind

knees bend and it’s loco-motion

as his hands Bust a Move

up and down my body

I Want You to Want Me eyes smiling wild

Footloose

and boogie down, bump d’ bump

seventh grade shuffle in our Brick House

we twisted and swirled and kicked and hustled

With New Attitude

Nasty Girl 

on an autumn night

Can’t Fake that Feeling

just Listen to the Music

and our spirits Super Freak

wanting to spread the love

we Beat It

Walking on Sunshine

down the street

What a Feeling

Stayin’ Alive laughing

hearts Play that Funky Music

mirrored disco blue

All Night Long

That’s the Way I Like it

and after these 10 fine years

let’s go ahead

and buy

that mirrored disco ball

 

 

 

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In Memoriam–Roger M. Rothstein

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My Mother, Barbara Rothstein, is a brilliant writer.  She wrote this and I am sharing it here.

 

This year marks the 25th death anniversary of my husband Roger.

 August 31, 1935 – September 12, 1988.  He was 53.

Roger: Fun-loving, caring, down to earth. Generous, colorful, smart. Loaded with common sense, great instincts, a spontaneous sense of humor and an innate goodness. He loved his two daughters, good company, good food, good things…especially cars and watches!  He loved the business of making films and working on the production of a film and making it happen. He was the go-to guy for making things happen. You wanted a car wrapped in cellophane with a big red bow on top?  Done…that afternoon!  You wanted a birthday care package delivered to your kid at camp overnight? Done…before anyone ever heard of Fed Ex! That was Roger.

The first film he worked on was Act One (1963).  There were to be 27 more as he worked his way up from 2nd Assistant Director to  production manager/line producer. He ultimately became the head of production management at Paramount Studios, the job he loved best of all.

His own funny, creative writing was amazing, and to this day, friends tell us they still have all of the letters Roger sent them! He loved to write. I can only imagine how he would’ve loved Facebook and Twitter. I know he would’ve thanked and acknowledged all the wonderful people in his life who helped him along the way, people he was always grateful for, people he never forgot, people he never stopped loving.

We’ve pieced together the titles of the films he actually worked on into a little narrative as our way of recognizing some of his accomplishments.

In Memory of Roger Michael Rothstein                       

 

September 12, 2013

Act One opens in The World Of Henry Orient where You Play It As It Lays.  That’s what Roger and Harvey Middleman, Fireman used to say every time there was Panic In Needle Park.  Me, Natalie knew that Serpico would figure out the reason for The Return of Max Dugan, even though they had Nothing In Common, except maybe Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams…maybe.  But sometimes life is nothing more than a Puzzle Of A Downfall Child, like when the Paper Lion predicted The Effect Of Gamma Rays On Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds.  But no one, not even Roger, our Hero At Large, could’ve predicted what would happen to Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Sadly, the Gamma rays worked like Pretty Poison and they turned into Stepford Wives! But that was before Chapter Two, The Turning Point.  After that, he met Amazing Grace And Chuck and then of course, The Sunshine Boys. To this day It Only Hurts When I Laugh to think of those two old guys hurling crazy insults at each other like “Don’t even think You Oughta Be In Pictures”, and “Don’t worry…the only thing I think of when I think of you is Murder By Death, better yet, by Stiletto!” They were Two Of A Kind alright.

It Seems Like Old Times just thinking about all this. Yet even though it’s been 25 years since September 12, 1988, some things never change:

Roses are still red,

Violets Are Blue,

Your Goodbye Girls

Will always love you.

Still wishing we could  Play It Again, Roger,

   Love always,  Barbara,  Carolyn & Leslie.

Man of Destiny

“Man of Destiny”

Hard at work

Hard At Work

Military Acadamy

Peekskill Military Academy Days

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Earth Crisis

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“It wasn’t butter it was earth crisis we were eating last night,” says the tall work-study. The work-study philosophizes about life. “The circle of giving keeps giving” he says.

We’re all philosophers.  Breathing into the dusted sepia pages of books, stacked from floor to ceiling in rooms scented with musk and memory.  Sunlight streams from skylights and neglected windows.  Cars whiz by on Laurel Canyon and Magnolia and the Pioneer Chicken on the corner will outlast us all.

I want to be outside but the cigarette smoker exhales feathers of tar toward saltwater.   The ocean cries and the wall of voodoo forms on the horizon, waiting to hug the cliffs and paint everyone in mist.

There is always a choice.  Today it’s between the all-saltwater-roll-your-own and the voices of those that live among the trees.  Voices that echo in canyons, Love me, free me, color me blue, violet, blood orange yellow and pink; a kaleidoscope of light that winds its way up the trunks of trees.

The trees.  The trees plant themselves into hillsides.  The trees push themselves from rock and stone.  The trees, older than the birds thatwhat of the trees perch themselves, wings spread ready to hunt, older than the iron, stone and wood structures built around them, older than the smoking man. And what of the rocks?

The earth shook and a piece of cliff set itself free.  Tumble, bounce, crumble crash.  Particles disperse and morph into another time.

The wind is hollow. The blue jay hunts for food.  I wait.

I don’t move.  I can’t spread my wings until I know I am home.

I can’t find a home and so I pick up my cup of tea, my crumpled packet of Truvia, my bent spoon, my pen, my new red cap and my bottle of Fiji.  Ten years ago I walked along a beach in Fiji. The Fijians have flat feet. They climb the palm trees and drop-thud the coconuts to the ground.  I thought about moving to Fiji.

I’ve moved before. I was young and splintered. I tread water for a long time.

We all tread water, burn ourselves into a blue flame until we suffocate or stroke.  I butterflied my way to a south-facing beach, crawled up on shore, my home strapped to my back.  Sloshed through thick wet sand. Why not let the sea push me into a dream where the sun sets in the North?

Glue me together.

And what of the dirt that I can’t seem to clean from the bottom of my feet?  Is that from a stone that fell hundreds of skies into my South facing ocean?  Lightning striking sand, melted it into long, thin tubes that sucked themselves toward the beginning.  Volcanoes erupted melted rocks. I am stained by my earth.

Today I stepped on a shard of glass.  I didn’t see it, but I felt it.  I had to stop, sit down and pull it out of my toe.  I am ground fine like glass. A window to peer through, a crystal to fill, to drink from and then place under my husband’s foot.   I have left behind pieces of myself, on pillows and in sheets and wrapped in the souls of those I have loved.

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