The Knitters


Last night I picked up my knitting.

I picked up my knitting because I realized: Wow. It has been a long time since I picked up my knitting.


I very quickly learned: DO NOT wait a long time to pick up your knitting if you are a beginning knitter.


Because it is very likely you will in fact, be lost.


So it is last night and I go into the cubby to grab the knitting bag. I pull out my ball of yarn and my project, which is really just a simple scarf.


Knitting teacher had told me, “This will be a good project for you. It will knit up nice and quick.”


Knitting Teacher says this because she has been knitting since she was FIVE.


Since this is only my second project, KT helps me get my project going by doing the CASTING ON part. I am very grateful since I pretty much cannot remember the first thing about doing this maneuver.


And so off I go to knit.


For a while I knit a few times a week. I remember what I am doing. Actually, it is going pretty well. I knit far enough that my square has started to turn into a rectangle!


This is exciting if you are a beginning knitter.


But then I make THE MISTAKE. I make the mistake of putting my knitting down for a whole month. Maybe more.


And when I pick it up I find I have absolutely no idea what I am doing.


I yell out to the empty house, “What the hell? How could I have FORGOTTEN how to do this??”


The house does not answer.


I try anyway. I do my best to remember what KT taught me. But when I look down at what I have done so far I can tell it is incorrect. I put it down for a while to regroup.


Meanwhile, Philly comes home. Now I am on the next row. I feel confident I can somehow fix it up on this row. Turns out no, I cannot fix it. This row is even worse than the last. I keep trying but finally get so frustrated I turn to Philly and say, “I feel like throwing this freaking ball of yarn across the room!”


Philly tries to encourage me. “You can do this. Just let it come back to you.”


I TRY. I really, really do. I just do not know what I am doing wrong. I decide to rip out all the old stitches until I get to the part where I made the first mistake.


I start the ripping. I do not know what happens but I cannot get it to unravel.


“Oh my GOD!” I say to Philly. “I can not even rip out the stitches the right way!”


Now it is getting late. My project looks like a big squiggly mess. I have to let go for tonight.


“Tomorrow I will go to KT. She will be able to fix it.” I say.


I go to bed.


Next day comes and I make my way to The Knitting Store, which KT owns. I took my first knitting lesson there. However, it is not the first time I have returned to the store for help. I walk in and KT is at the round table with three other obviously proficient knitters who are knitting very fancy projects with teeny tiny little knitting needles.


I try not to feel very, very small.


I go over to KT and show her my knitting mess. I can tell even she is a bit confounded. KT’s mother is there too. At least I think it is her mother since someone at the table has called her ‘mom’. And because when I handed my knitting mess to KT MOM gave her THE LOOK.


The kind of look that would be eyeball rolling if she were a younger knitter.


KT unravels my mess and gets me going again. I am sitting right beside her and I decide to stay just to make sure I am doing it right.


Turns out, I am not. I show KT and she takes the whole row apart again and says, “What you are doing is YARN OVER.”


“Ok.” I say.


Nice Knitting Lady sitting on my other side thankfully asks the question, “Does she know what YARN OVER means?”


I am grateful Nice Knitting Lady is here. Because actually I do not really know what that means.


And so KT shows me exactly what it means and I get started ONCE AGAIN knitting. THIS time, I am doing it right. I show KT and she says, “Yup.”


I say, “All this happened because I put the knitting away for a month!”


Nice Knitting Lady tells me, “No. No. No. You cannot do that. Especially as a beginning knitter. You have to commit to 30 minutes a day of knitting.” She says this as she is inspecting my knitting thus far.


“Looks good.” she says.


I think: Wow. This is work.


And I say, “Ok. I can do that. I can commit to knitting 30 minutes a day.”


NKL goes on to tell me stories of her first projects, which makes me feel better. It is kind of comforting sitting around the KNITTING TABLE, just chatting and knitting. I wonder if this happens every Sunday.


“Well, it is getting late. I have to get going.” I say.


“Bye!” And “Nice to meet you!” everyone says.


I walk to my car and realize I should have asked if The Knitting Group meets on Sundays every week. Since I do not feel like walking back, I Google. I find out The Knitting Group meets a few days a week!


I text Philly: I have been at The Knitting Group and guess what?? They meet a few times a week!


“Sounds great!” Philly says.


“I am going to go and knit. I think it will help me.” I say.


As I drive away I can see THE KNITTERS through the store window, knitting away. I am glad I went in and asked for help, even though I was embarrassed to do so. I am grateful at The Knitters generosity.


You know reader, help is always there. All we have to do is ask.


The Interaction


The other day I had a little interaction with a person who shall go nameless.

It was an iphone interaction.


Need I say more?


In order to protect the anonymity of the parties involved, things will have to be kept kind of general here.


There is something that has come to light that upsets me.

I tell PERSON. PERSON tells me they will consider my POV.


A day passes and Person comes back with an answer that is UPSETTING.

I try REALLY REALLY hard not to lose my mind on the iphone.

I start out ok.

But then I quickly escalate into the insanity of long multiple texts.

I am getting no response.

I keep texting anyway.

Person texts NOTHING.


This behavior is a pattern we have spoken about, but it hasn’t changed much.


Finally I get some kind of snide-ish text back.

I put the iphone down.

I pick the iphone back up and start typing.


I am now working myself into a frenzy.

It is getting later and later. It is now past my bedtime.

But I cannot stop reader. I cannot stop.


Has this ever happened to you?


I talk to Philly. He helps talk me out of the tree.

I text Person: I am sorry. Maybe we can talk tomorrow?

I go to bed. I do not sleep well.


Tomorrow morning comes and Person texts: Sure, we can talk at lunch time.

Just like that, all casual like.

Person has the ability to remain right in the middle of mood swings. Neutral.


We talk. I cannot write the details here, suffice to say it is a start.


You know reader, sometimes I feel like I do not really know Person. Person says things I never knew they were thinking.


I am sure there will be more conversation. For now I am just going to work on not getting into a texting frenzy. I am ready to have this defect removed.


Did you hear me universe? I am ready.

Yes I am.

18 Years


The other day was my 18-year anniversary.

It was 18 years ago I walked into the rooms of recovery. My life has been changed in ways I never could have anticipated.


I wish I had the right words to explain this phenomenon, but is unexplainable, a miracle really.


I was led by Friend 1 to my first meeting.

Friend 1 had been asking me, “Do you want to come to a meeting with me?”

And I had pretty much just let those words float by me. Because I did not see the mess I was in, how unhappy I was. How unmanageable everything had become.


But Friend 1 saw it.


I don’t know exactly what made me say, “Yes” that day. Some people have very clear stories about how they came into recovery. Mine was murky. With many aspects of my bottom causing me to think I was really OK because I was still functioning.


And so I went. And since I had been laid off from my job, I figured what the heck, I will give this 90 meetings in 90 days a try.


By meeting 5 I know I am in the right place. I feel a sense of belonging, I identify with so much of what I hear: The feelings, the stories, THE PEOPLE.


I get a sponsor. We work the steps. I share at meetings. My own story begins to emerge.


The early days are intense. I go to A LOT of meetings. In my neighborhood in Brooklyn you could pretty much walk a few blocks in any direction and find a great meeting. I have to tell you reader, I miss that. Very much. It is not the same here in Philadelphia. At least not in my neighborhood.


But I do find a really great sponsor. As they say in the rooms: Listen for someone who has what you want. And so I did. We are going through the steps again right now.


This time through the steps I find out even more about myself and my traits and sometimes defects. It is not easy to look at, but it is important to grow in this way.


Rigorous Honesty. This is what we practice.

And helping another person who is sick and suffering.

For free.


You must give away all that has been given to you so freely.

Pass it on.


I try to find opportunities for service commitments within the programs I work. I take a speaking commitment when asked. And I listen as I sit in the room to everyone’s sharing.


It is a miracle. Recovery. Where would I be without it?

I do not know.

Where else do a group of people make helping other people for free a priority, without expectations?


Thank you to everyone who has carried me through the years, and listened as I cried in my chair through the hard times. As well as celebrated with me through the triumphs.


I hope my actions are in some way helping others in the ways you have helped me.


Tonight Philly gives me a little moon light made from a 3D printer as a present for my 18 years. It is perfect.


Thank you for another trip around the sun.

Clean and sober.

Wedding Conversations


The other day I talked to son about his WEDDING.


It is coming up fast. Before we know it, September will be here. He and Fiancé have begun working out all the little details.


So, it is the other day and we are FaceTiming.

As usual I ask son, “What’s the news?’

Sometimes the answer to this question is “Nothing really.”

But today the answer is, “Well, I do have some news.”


I am so excited. “What is it?” I ask.

“Fiancé and I have been working out some of the details for the weekend of the wedding.” he says.


“Go ahead.” I say.

I can’t wait to hear the details.


“Well, Thursday there will be a small ceremonial blessing.” he says.

Fiancé explains: It is traditional in our culture to ask people from the community to come and give their blessings for the uniting of families.


“Then Friday night we will be having dinner with our family and fiancé and her family, just so everyone can meet up before the actual festivities of the day.” he says


Then of course there will be the wedding day. We must be ready by noon for the family pictures. Hair, make up, dressing up in our GOWNS. I will try not to cry at the ceremony, but I know I will.


Fiancé explains to me that Sunday will be the Kangan, which is really the day the bride returns to her parent’s home with her husband to celebrate. Typically, it is also the day a meat fast is broken. Fiancé’s mom has explained usually families will eat vegetarian up to and throughout the wedding, and then traditionally the community will feast on meat and celebrate. The Kangan is a Hindu Guyanese ritual but fiancé’s family does it because of their Indian roots.


Is this cool or what? Bring a third-generation immigrant, I feel we have lost many of our traditions in our family. But now son is marrying a whole host of new ones!


Really the wedding will be a four-day event. I am starting to get very excited.

I am so happy for both of them.


It is going to be a great day!

Beach Trip


On July 4th we went to the beach.


“Are you sure you want to go down the shore on July 4th?” Philly asks.

“Yes.” I say. “It is the best beach day. I have looked at the weather.”

“We will leave here by 9:00AM.” I say.

Daughter says, “We should leave earlier. Like 7AM.”


Whoa. 7AM.


I think about it. This will get us to the beach by 8:30AM. We will miss all the traffic AND get an awesome parking spot.


“Ok!” I say. “Let’s do it!”


And so we do. We get up and pack the cooler with sandwiches, hummus, carrots, grapes, strawberries and a few other things I don’t remember.


Daughter shows up at the house right on time like she always does.


We get on the road and it is EMPTY! We fly to the beach and YES we find a most awesome parking spot.


“This is a great idea!!” I say. “We should do this all the time!”


We scurry down the beach to a spot right by the water. It is high tide and a bunch of kids are out Boogie Boarding. I am suddenly sad we have forgotten to bring the Boogie Board.


“We ALWAYS forget it!” I whine. “It’s because it is in the basement.”


The BASEMENT. A topic for another blog. Suffice to say there is way, way too much stuff in there. Stuff that we never ever, ever never use. Stuff we just HAVE.


I would like to go down there and light a match.


After I get over the Boogie Board thing I go jump in the water. Daughter follows. As usual she just jumps right in. She walks halfway in and then dives down.


I think she looks beautiful.


Daughter and I decide to take a little stroll along the water’s edge. The sand is warm and squooshy between my toes. Every once in a while the water surges up and washes over our feet. We talk about daughter’s life, her move to a new place, and boys of course. I savor this time. Walking with her, just talking.


When we get back to the beach blanket I douse my hair with Sun-In, the magic four dollar bottle of Happy Highlights. Then, we decide to do a little beachy photoshoot. Mom does beach yoga and daughter does sexy daughter pictures. I must say the pictures of daughter come out very sultry. And my backbend looks pretty good too!


Daughter is very pleased. She even posts one on Instagram.


Now it is Philly’s turn to go into the water.

Daughter asks, “How come you never wear a bathing suit?”


This is true. Philly always wears shorts. But he wears his bathing suit around the house.


So he goes in. It takes only one big wave to rip his brand new mala off his wrist and swallow it back into the ocean.


“You JUST got that one.” I say.

“I know!” he says.


After I eat a little bit I go back into the water with daughter. Then I go into the water with Philly. While I am in there I give the ocean all of my worries like I always do. Because she is big enough to hold them.


Next the ice cream man comes rolling down the beach.

“OOOOH! I want ice cream!” I say.

“Me too!” daughter says.


We get a chocolate cookie ice cream AND a Lime FrozFruit.


Lime is the best flavor you know.


Now the beach is starting to get crowded. We have been here about four hours and it is almost 1PM.


“I am starting to get overheated.” Daughter says.

“Me too.” I say.

Philly is ready to go at any time. The beach is not his favorite.


We pack up and rinse off and change in the beach bathroom. When we get to the car there is a guy driving around looking for a good spot.


I think: Oooh. We should charge for this spot.

But ok, we don’t.


We just happily give him the spot and he is very grateful to receive it.


On the way home we talk about having a BBQ. And then the car gets quiet. We are all beached by that special feeling only the ocean can give. Rolling you into silence.


I look out the window and I feel grateful for this day. For time together. For the little shell I have in my bag.


It is no small thing. This day.

A simple thing.

A treasure.



The Bride


The other day I went to a Bridal Shower.

It is a Bridal Shower from my future-daughter-in-law, so I am excited to go.


However, since son and fiancé live in NYC, the shower is in Queens.


We are planning on leaving at 9:15 so we get there in plenty of time for a shower that starts at noon.


“Let’s go!” I say. And we hop in the KIA.


Philly is driving, even though he is not coming into the shower itself. He has graciously agreed to be the driver since I REALLY do not want to navigate new territory in Queens and Long Island by myself. Yes, I know I am from NYC, but I have not spent much time over in this area of the city and I DO NOT feel like managing the GPS without a seasoned navigator. Daughter is in the car as well, but she is not so experienced with the very special way a GPS gets confused in NYC and leads you in circles or doesn’t tell you where to tun until the last minute.


Fun stuff.


So, we are driving and there is traffic. I can tell we are going to be late. The GPS first says ten minutes. I am staring at it watching it rapidly add minutes until it looks like we will be 45 minutes late.




I text Daughter-in Law to tell her.

She texts: Thanks for letting me know!


Now we are not far away but the GPS starts getting confused. First, we miss a turn because it tells us after we pass the turn. Then we wind up going the wrong way as I am looking at the little map trying to make sense of the navigation. But the roads are too close together and I make a mistake.


“Oh my GOD!” I say as we are driving out of our way to turn around.


Daughter-in Law texts: Do you know when you will get here?

Because they are WAITING for us to start part of the festivities.

Daughter texts her back: Five minutes.


We arrive. We park. We scurry in to the venue.


“Hello!” we say.

“Hello! Daughter-in Law says. She is wearing a beautiful white lacey dress. “You are just in time. We are starting the games!”


I think: Games? I don’t remember games at a Bridal Shower. Apparently, things have changed from the days where the bride sat in a big decorated chair in her living room and all the guests sat around watching her open gifts.


The first game is “Find the Groom”. It is a scratch off game with the face of the man on it hidden. I start to scratch. I see what I think is son! I cannot believe it.


“I have it!” I say.

Daughter-in Law laughs. “I swear we did not set that up!”


Next game is: How well do you know the Bride?


This is a game where you get a card and you have to write in answers to questions like: What is the bride’s favorite movie?


This is hard. I only get like half of the questions right.


Meanwhile I go over and say hello to the bride’s mother. She is very nice and sitting at a long table with all the aunts. Bride has a large family. I say hello to all of them.


Next, we do Jeopardy. This is a big board with categories like: THE BRIDE. THE GROOM. THE COUPLE. And, FUN FACTS.


OOOOH! I know I can get the Groom category questions right!


We start to play. I ask daughter: What should we do?

Daughter answers, “The Groom for 1000!”


We say, “Groom for 1000!”


I cannot remember which question it is. Maybe it was: What was the groom’s major in college? Or, “What are the grooms two major food allergies? Or what baseball team does he like? Or where else has he lived besides NYC?


I cannot remember which question it is but we get it right!



There are fun questions about the couple like: Where did the groom propose to the bride? How did the groom meet the bride? Where was their first date?


In the bride category there is a question: What is the bride’s favorite candy?


Oh! I know this one! It’s Skittles!

I know because I always buy them for her when she comes to visit.


Next, we have games I will never know the answer to. Like: Match the Disney Character with their LOVE INTEREST. And match the song with the movie.


For every game the winner gets a prize. My prize was a gift card!


I tell Daughter-in Law, “This is amazing! I have never been to a shower like this!” She points to her Maid of Honor and to her friends. “It was them.” she says.


Did I mention there is also a lot of food here? I am getting stuffed and then cake comes out. Luckily it is a very light cake.


Not too much longer and it is time to go. I take my party favor which is a little heart shaped box of M&M’s.


Son shows up because we are going to stop at Bride’s house for a moment to drop off gifts and such. And then we are going over to see THE COUPLE’S new apartment!


Philly is waiting outside for us. Isn’t that nice? He just hangs out until we are ready.


Of course when we stop over Bride’s house we are given food we must take home. This is a family tradition. We happily accept the food so lovingly given.


Next we see THE APARTMENT. It is in an elevator building on the 5th floor. It is a prewar building with high ceilings and beautiful wood floors. Some of the doorways have arches. It is in the process of being set up. Things are laid out on the floor as they are being put together. Some of the furniture is in place.


“It is a great space.” I say.

Philly agrees.


Now it is time for us to get on the road. I have a little sad feeling that I am far away and do not get to see the day-to-day happenings as all of this comes together. AND that I have a new in-law family that I am so far away from. I would really like to go to more of their BBQ’s.


But life is what it is. I live in Philadelphia now. Son still lives in NYC and will be staying there.


Daughter lives in Philadelphia and has no intention of leaving. So, it is clear I cannot have everything. If I moved back to NYC, I would be away from daughter. And if I stay here in Philadelphia I am away from son and Daughter-in Law.


We say our goodbyes and get in the car and begin our trip home. Over the Verrazano Bridge I see the Statue of Liberty in the harbor. I remember I used to be able to see her from my roof in Brooklyn.


I think: Goodbye NYC. Good bye Son and Daughter-in Law.

I hope I will see you soon.

Yes I do.

Yard Party


Yesterday we had a Yard Party.


We were not planning on having a yard party. We were planning on going to the beach. Oh wait, “Down the shore.”


I forgot where I was for a moment.


I tell daughter, “Set your alarm to be ready by nine. We want to get on the road as soon as possible.”


It is important that daughter sets her alarm. Daughter sleeps like a rock.


Unfortunately, I am not feeling very well. I wake up like seven times during the night. Maybe I sleep four hours and they are all in the morning. Which makes ME later than I want to be.


I go back and forth and back and forth about going to the beach. I decide to go to yoga. Because I cannot seem to decide anything else.


I call daughter and she actually picks up. “I am not sure what we are doing. I will call you in a little while.”


This works out well for daughter as I find out later she has been up until 5:30 in the morning.


When I get back from yoga I am recharged. Philly asks, “Well what do you want to do?”

“Let’s go!” I say.


I call daughter and tell her the news.


“How fast can you be ready?” I ask.


“Half hour?” she says.


Philly and I begin running around the house packing everything up for the beach. Food, blanket, towels, umbrella. We are done in twenty minutes.


“Ok, let’s go.” I say. And we head out to pick up daughter. On the way I start having second thoughts. It is a late start already. I am tired. I am also waiting on a birth. And I have a meeting to chair tonight. I start the FLIP_FLOPPING.


“Should we go to the beach?” I ask Philly.

“What?” he says.

“I am just not sure.” And I list my reasons.

Philly says, “I cannot make this decision for you.”


I hate when he says that.


We get to the daughter house and daughter hops in the car.


“Would you care if we did not go to the beach? We could lay out in the yard and Philly could go buy a baby pool for us to go in.” I say.


“Well, I would rather go to the beach but not if it is going to stress you out mom.” she says


Because she is considerate like that.


I continue the flip-flopping in the head thing: To go or not to go? I REALLY want to go. But inside me a little voice is saying: It is too much today. Another day.


Eventually, the little voice wins. “I guess let’s head home.” I say.

Then I look at Philly. “You will go out and get the baby pool, right?”

“Yes.” he says. “I will go out and get the baby pool.”


We head home. Philly drags the lounge chairs out of the shed. We have two lay down chairs and one sitting chair. We use the sitting chair as a little table between us.


First thing I do is wet my har. This is so I can put SUN-IN in my hair. Yes, I know. I really use a four-dollar bottle of Sun-In to highlight my hair. Actually, it works great!


Philly goes out to get the baby pool. He comes back and starts to fill it up. Pretty much every year we get a baby pool to dip in. But we have no where to store it and it cracks outside in the winter, so we always have to buy a new one.


Next Zelda the dog comes out to enjoy the sun with us.  Philly comes out and sets up an umbrella right on the lawn! Meanwhile, daughter gets Zelda the dog a bowl of water. Right away Zelda goes over and has a drink.


While we are soaking up the YARD SUN I imagine the beach. Daughter and I in the waves. The salty air, the seagulls, the smell of sunblock lotion. You know they say your brain doesn’t know the difference when you think something through, if it is real or imagined. I hope this is true so I can get all the beachy benefits by just thinking about going there.


Next, Philly comes out to ask us what we would like for brunch. Can you believe this man? What a treasure. I struck gold when I found him. Yes, I did.


He runs through the things on the menu. Daughter and I decide on omelets. With tomato and onion please. Thank you.


The sky is blue and the sun is bright. I tell daughter, “I am going in!” And I walk over to the baby pool and hop in.


It feels very, very good. Daughter comes over and gets in. But she will not fully submerge.


“I don’t get it.” I say. “Aren’t you the one who dove right into the ocean on Memorial Day weekend?”


“That was different.” she says.


Soon, brunch is ready. Philly comes out and asks us where we would enjoy eating our brunch. “At the table on the front porch!” I say.


And he sets up the WHOLE THING.


Daughter and I walk over and sit down to eat. It is delicious. We eat the whole thing and go back to our YARD PARTY. Philly has run a cord down the lawn to a music player so we can plug in our phones to enjoy music. Daughter loads up her playlist. Now we are lying in the sun, listening to the 21-year-olds playlist.


And we start talking. Daughter tells me many of the things on her mind. I am listening. I am soaking in her words as I soak in the sun. This is one of the things I miss most about daughter not living with us anymore. THE TALKS.


She asks me a few questions and I answer them. I talk about some of my own things.

Daughter says, “This is nice.”

I say, “What is nice?”

She says, “Being out here talking.”


My mama heart shines! My kid who is now 21 just said she is having a nice time with me! And I did not even have to prompt her!


Soon it is time to go inside. I try to nap but it does not work. Daughter makes one of those thread bracelets one makes at camp. She is very good at it. I myself, am not.


“I have to go set up the meeting.” I say.

Daughter says, “But I am hungry.”

“Have a snack.” I say. “Philly is going to barbeque chicken and corn for when I get back.”


I go to the meeting. I set up. People come and it is very crowded. It is a Tradition Meeting. There are two newcomers. I am happy to be of service. When the meeting ends, I hang around just for a bit to talk to a few people. Then I get on my way for the chicken and corn barbeque.


I get home and everything is ready. This time Philly has set everything up on the BACK porch table. Is this unbelievable? It’s like a day at the spa.


We sit. We eat. We talk. The birds are chirping, and a breeze brushes my face.

I think: This is very nice.


And I tell daughter, “It is nice to have you here.”

Daughter says, “Thanks mom.”


And then we are done. We clean up. Daughter says she has to get home to shower and get ready for work tomorrow. Have I mentioned what a hard worker daughter is? She has three jobs: Camp counselor, After Camp counselor and Hostess, at a very cool place in the city.


When we are done with the clean-up we sit for a minute as daughter calls her Uber. Maybe five minutes and the Uber arrives.


“I’ll see you soon!” I tell daughter. And I give her a big hug and she hugs me back.


“Bye!” she says as she trots down the walkway.


I turn to Philly. He was such a big part of making this day nice for me. He knows how much I love the beach and how sad I was not to go.


“Thank you for all you did today.” I say.

“You are welcome.” he says.


As we turn to walk back into the house I think: It has been a good day.

A very good day for a Yard Party.

Yes, it has.