Saturday, May 7, 2011

DIO COMME TI AMO....the memory

It was another usual rainy night as I made my way from the birthday party and swiftly shut the door to the car in order to stop the rain from coming in, as the water droplets began to run down my face. I wanted to start cursing the weather gods for another depressing rainy night and swear once again that this would soon be the last of the dampness that would infiltrate my body, knowing surely that there would be many more wet situations that lay ahead...... on that you could depend on.
As I made my down the road toward home the shuffle on the Ipod landed on a song that quickly removed the dampness I felt from the rain and suddenly warmed my soul with such vivid memories that dried all the droplets on my face. In response to the memory a different form of water began to slide down my cheeks as if the physical waterworks had been turned on full force. The lyrics slid into the music that transported me back into time. How I made it home is still a mystery as I have no recollection of the trip because my realities were elsewhere.......................

We had to hurry and catch the train as the home surroundings where we stayed were getting a bit confined and Europe beckoned for us to take the next adventure that we had come to experience. With a quick and decisive idea we hurriedly ran to catch a train as we still had pockets full of memories that were still waiting to be made. In the last moments before the train left the station we assuredly found a private car where we settled in for the four hour chug into the sunset toward the country of Holland. Taking in the deep breaths for the sigh of relief of making the train on time with seconds to spare we knew that there needed to be libation ingredients to celebrate our next segment of the European adventure. As we sipped on our drinks we witnessed the sunset across the miles of land that spun around us as we made our trek into the fields of tulips toward the city of Amsterdam.

As is par with our longevity of friendship there is always a secret surprise that is lurking out there for us to share, and we both knew it would be just a matter of hours before something would show up for us to experience, and of course we were not to be disappointed. Upon arrival we made our safe journey into the bright city lights and made our way to the hotel that would most assuredly remember that we had stayed there. The excitement danced in our eyes as we took the time to refresh and renew ourselves before we made our stroll into the hubbub of Amsterdam, for it was a Friday and the weekend approached and how we hoped for the fun that was just around the corner. It had truly been a very long day and the energy that was in the air gave us second wind to take in the view of what would lay ahead for us. I quite simply remember the joy that I felt as I watched VonFuerstenberg strut the streets that we would call home for just a little while. As his blond hair blew in the Dutch air on that cool evening, I so recall the picture that was indelibly inked within my mind of that moment of time that held it's place in the now of then.

It may have been called the "Hotel New York", it however had it's unique European flavor and we became the controversy that would go down in the annuals of hoteldom. Yes,...we had arrived...they evidently did not get the memo....however we made it our goal that nothing would stop the "silliness express" route that we were truly traveling on. What would come after that would just become the icing on the cake.
We walked and we walked and I showed him the sights of some of the places that we would be visiting the next morning and as we made our journey back to the hotel we both agreed that the morning would hold all kinds of shopping experiences. The adrenaline that still ran throughout of beings made it a difficult scenario to beckon to the sleep that was greatly needed and thus began the first round of uproarious laughter that would garner us some reprimanding in the morning as we joined the hotel for the free continental breakfast. Evidently the other guests did not appreciate our joy and laughter and thus we were directly asked to tame it down for respect to the other guests. It was all we could do to not bust out in a duet of laughter but we held it together and made a promise to be more considerate....however that was not to be.

As we exited the hotel we made our next stop the local bakery for the scrumptious sweets that held the magic of hash within its ingredients and decided that a trip to the Bulldog cafe would provide us with the extra ingredients that would make our further shopping experience one to never forget. As the effects of our bakery items began to take hold and with the bag of green that aromatically followed us, we decided to indulge and get lost in the thousands of shoppers and stores that beheld all the items that spoke to us as we walked by each storefront window. Each place we entered held many things that caught our attention and with the guards of logical spending on hiatus for a while our shopping extravaganza flourished out of control. The many packages continued to grow throughout the day and as we stopped for a lunch break and miscellaneous cocktails along the way, our arms became leaden with the weight of all that we had to carry during the afternoon of spending.

Not wanting to give it up and give in to the physical tiredness that quietly crept over us, we trudged back to the hotel to rejuvenate and prepare for the nights adventures that lay ahead of us. We quickly unloaded the weight that we had been dragging around all day and barely could find the floor of the room. After the refreshing drinks were stirred we proceeded to give each other the personal fashion show of our purchased loot and once again the laughter erupted beyond control. The time still held it's waning daylight so we both hoped that it was not annoying to anyone, as the laughter became so very uncontrolled, as it always becomes when the two of us are together.
Onward to the preparation of showering and primping for the Dutch people who were to soon to make our acquaintances. After what seemed to be hours of clothes changing we made our final preparations into the night of neon lights and ambiance. Our strolling took us to the red light district where we witnessed the decadence and debauchery that money could provide for anyone who wanted the thrill of anonymous affection. Amused and awed we finally made it to the restaurant of Italian cuisine that held the culinary effects that settled sweetly on our palates and the ambiance of the restaurant created the perfect setting for what lay ahead for us. "Vonfuerstenburg" being the great cook himself exited the restaurant with a five star grin and we made our first stop for our after dinner aperitifs. The night's outside energy was exhilarating as many people were enjoying the calm balmy evening also. As we walked we were drawn to the loud singing from a pub across from the street and as we made our first entrance we were welcomed by everyone where we shared our drinks and sang to the fevered pitch that permeated the room from every ones vocal skills. We certainly got caught up by the excitement in the room and stayed for quite a while, yet we wanted to move forward to what might lie ahead for us.
With our trusty map we located the Route 66 and settled in for the remainder of our night. The bar was small and local which made it easy to speak with the many local patrons and got suggestions and ideas for the next few days of intrigue.

Stepping out of the bar as it closed it's doors, we both realized that it was too long of a walk back to the hotel so we made our way to the main street to hail a cab for our ride back to the comfort of bed. As is usual after a night of liquidity, the need for a late night snack grew imminent and I suddenly remembered the "Automatic Barbarella" that was two streets away. Much like the days of the eatery in New York called the "Automat" you dropped your coins into the desired selection of food and the door slid open for retrieval and suddenly another took it's place. Within the line of other hungry late night guests, we dropped our Dutch guilder coins into the designated choices and staved off the hunger pangs that consumed us for those few minutes, yet we still had to catch the ride that would deliver us to our sleeping environment. With flailing arms and jumping around we managed to procure the cab that would take us on a ride to hell and back.
It started off simple enough by telling him the name of the hotel, and before we could get out the last syllable and the doors completely shut, a stomp on the gas pedal sent us flying down the brick cobblestone streets wet with the mist of rain that began to drizzle as we left our eatery. Slammed against the seat and clinging for dear life as we slipped and slid down the streets toward our destination we feared the worst was about to happen within the confines of the cab from hell. As fate would have it, the streets that we needed to go down were closed for maintenance and clean up and we had to reroute down worse and smaller streets and the ride became a sheer terror as we clung together hoping for a safe outcome. Our stifled screams turned into hysterical fearful laughter as we rocked back and forth and side to side in the backseat. The look on our faces was utterly astonishing as we silently spoke with our thoughts and the trepidations were transported by silence. We spun and slid from curb to curb down those cobblestone streets and prayed that upon our arrival we would exit those cab doors still in one piece. With one last turn we slid to the front of the hotel. As we preyed our fingers from the grasping of the seats we made our way out of the cab and kissed the ground that we lived thorough
that "roller coaster ride from hell".

We stood frozen for a few moments after we paid the fee and waited for the shock to wear off for. Upon entry into the room, the effects had taken hold and once again the rupture of hysterical laughter took hold and began to grow louder until we tried stifling them with our pillows which barely reduced the volume of such magnitude. It would become another long night and before our eyes fluttered to sleep, we could see the sun making it's entrance as another day was dawning....We did live to tell!

Our excursions for the next couple of days only added to the memories and crazy instances of happenings that culminated into many wonderful stories. We were asked to move our room in the hotel as our ubiquitous presence still reverberated throughout the walls on those many nights. So down to the basement we went, along with the pipes and the tiny windows that showed the many feet of the people walking by. To say it was bad was not something true as we just went with it and realized that we had been given another step closer to the exit door. We survived and still the laughter flowed. The pure enjoyment of washing some articles of clothing and leaving them on the warm pipes to dry just added to the fate that we were living through. Museums and more shopping prefaced the nights of pubs and bars. Van Gogh became Van Hock with a bit of flem attached and separations to explore on our own reunited us with stories of new found information that we shared and revisited together. As our Dutch days melted away we prepared for the next segment of our journey and Germany became our next focus of disruption, but little did we know what lay in store for us. The quarters that we had in that basement of the Hotel New York would become the shangri-la unrecognized until our arrival in Koln.

The train station was a flurry of activity as we gathered our pounds of luggage and new bought goodies and boarded the train to Germany. We settled into our compartment and took advantage of the motion that lulled us into relaxing after many days and nights of non stop activity. After having a bit of lunch and a cocktail we silently watched the scenery fly by and quietly anticipated what laid ahead. It was a smooth and quick trip to Germany and we arrived refreshed. As was the case from country to country we had to exchange our monies to meet our spending needs and that was the first problem that greeted us upon our arrival. The exchange bank short changed us and there had to be a recounting of the money after the bank hours to insure that we had told the truth which was infuriating but the choice was not to be ours, so we ventured onward to our new Hotel digs. What we would encounter in what was to be called a Hotel was underwhelming and quite honestly a bit frightening, yet we persevered and just went with it. Why, I still wonder to this day, have no idea why we just did not find another place but alas it was not to be. We just wanted to get on with our exploration and shopping.
We entered the hotel from a back side door that you had to enter. It led you through a bar that was dimly lit and it held the most interesting cast of patrons, that seemed straight out of a "CABARET" style movie. Inclusive of the weird characters dressed in drag costumes, big wigs and jewelry. The smoke that filled the room was so very thick that you could barely find your way through the room. When we were taken to our room and when the door opened we confirmed our worst fear of disgust.
Yet we still settled on it and agreed that it would be just for one night only...if we survived just can't imagine the uncertainty of it. We set our things down and hoped that if we left that everything would still be there when we returned.
Since we were only going to be there for a couple of days, we both had decided that staying away from our room until we absolutely had to return was the best approach so we left and met up to retrieve the money that was not given to us, and much to our happiness they found the overage and gratefully returned the money. With delight we went off to celebrate with a great dinner and drinks. By the time we had finished eating it was time to visit the local pubs. We stayed out late dreading the moment when we had to return to the "CABARET" hotel. Our biggest fears were that our belongings were stolen and that we had to make our way through that smoky Dragville pub in order to get to our rooms.
Fearful to undress when we made it to the room and decided that keeping our clothes on to sleep was the better choice. We tried to make the best of the situation but the loud music kept us from any sleep that tried to come our way. Every diva female singer blasted through the walls as it seemed the drag show had no ending. Finally, silence arrived as the sun began to rise. We listened as the walls fell silent and then we heard the trudging of feet up the stairs and many voices as they made their way to their rooms with the conquest of the night. Replacing the loud music was now the constant coughing and cries of sexual activity that permeated the halls for the next few hours. We were living a nightmare in Germany and clung to the hope that we would get out alive and unscathed. The matter of showering would bring on another dread and we took another option and decided a sponge bath would be the better choice for our health.
Hastily we cleaned up, checked out of Weirdoland and made our way back to the train station to store our luggage and items in the lockers, so that we could shop freely without carrying everything around for the day. After a lovely boutique breakfast, we set off to shop and tour the city.
While the sun shined on us, we acknowledged the horror of what we had experienced the night before and hope lovely the day had turned out to be. In and out of many stores and finding treasures we just had to have made for a fun memorable day. A cuckoo clock would be the first highlight of the day and a terrorizing visit to a marionette store would freak me out as the joke played on. We noticed a sign that stood out on the store front that read WOM (world of music)so we entered its doors and became overwhelmed with the vast library of records and discs for sale. We both got lost for a long while in this store and came away laden with music that would represent the memories we were making on our European Adventure.
The day flew by and we felt the exhaustive feeling of being tired and decided on a sun nap in the park by the river Seine. As we napped the warm sun enveloped us and renewed our strength to move forward as we had to catch a train that would take us back to our next country of adventure.
Settling in our private car and as we had our cocktails we opened our bags of treasures and examined and reminded ourselves how we found each piece. It was not long before we quietly settled down and gazed at the scenery that flew by our window. I put in a new CD that I had bought and magically blended into the whole scenario playing out before me.
I glanced across to where "VONFUERSTENBERG" slept in his seat as the ear phones in my ears played out the song that ignited the memory that I write.
DIO COMME TI AMO ...........oh god how much I loved that moment of time and having the person close that I will forever call FRIEND.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


During the past few months I have been in observance of many little things that never really captured me before. Realities usually going unobserved due to the facts of day to day chores and the constant focus on many other related issues that seem to drag your focus away from the small things. These small things get lost in the shuffle from one hour to another. More than usual, this weeks observance has been toward my dog, who with the simplest of grace is aging demurely and without notice on her behalf. The days of long brisk dog walks have ended and now we shuffle slowly and smell the grass and scents in the air longer. We take the same amount of time only our distance is now much shorter than before. At this stage of her life I realize that mother nature is dealing her hand swiftly and there is probably only a limited amount of days left that her life energy will sustain.

Everyday I hold in my emotions and try very hard to prepare for the inevitable day when she will have to leave me. Everyday I learn more and more about paying attention to the small things that she so innocently sees on her daily walks. It is because of her that I really understand the meaning of stopping to smell the roses and to get up and keep going even though you may not feel like it. Selfishly I am mad that I will have to endure the future days when her absence is felt within the confines of my heart. No matter how I prepare for the loss, it is by far going to be a very tall mountain to get over. In her eyes I can tell the things that she is thinking and everyday I receive more unconditional love and it feeds me the strength to know we are connected through an energy unseen by everyone else. The same things goes for anyone who has a companion of the canine genre.

These little wonders and truths all combine to form a better understanding of what life is all about to me, at least in this next stage of development. Gone are the days of immense chaos and stresses that seemed all so important and necessary. I often why wonder why it takes so long to figure out that paying attention to the smallest little thing can produce amazing revelations and insight into the tomorrows of your life. Now I take the time to remove the details that inflict and disrupt my mind and try to replace them with complacent ideas that mean much more than having to achieve more.
I have come to realize that my little wonders of today will be the realities of my tomorrow. I must admit that at times I am still confused and lost in the emotions of trying to figure out where to go next but then I look down at the figure laying on the floor, who sees me looking at her. Ever so gently she lifts her paw to signal me to come join her in a relaxing moment and put away the complex thoughts that are confusing me. As I slide down off my chair and remove my glasses her outstretched legs once again reach for me and I lay my head on her shoulders and my whole world melts away just hearing her breathe. She is totally unaffected by human responsibilities and enjoying the calmness and laying low for a while just letting time just move the moments are they are to be.

I feel her warmth on my cheek and feel at peace once again.... reminding me to take more time and experience the pleasantries of just being. Occasionally we both doze off for a while and when I awaken I seemed to have misplaced the reasons for feeling tense. I recognize what I have and where I have been more and more everyday and having her by my side has been the joy of not having to be alone through my transition to the tomorrows.

It's all in the thoughts that create the little wonders that end up shaping our futures. In a great way she saved me from myself and the destructive mind games I played. Each night as I carry her up the stairs to another night of sleep and rejuvenation, I look down at her sleeping by my bedside, and the wonder of our tomorrow hovers keeping me safe and hopeful that I will receive that dog kiss in the morning as we make our way outside to once again smell the scents of the new day.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


When I woke up this morning, I was all alone, stretched out in bed and wishing I was on a holiday, one thousand miles from home by some clear cool inviting pool. The sun's bright rays surrounding me like an invisible electric blanket. My half asleep mind vision had taken hold and totally enraptured me hugging every corner of my mind. I just did not want to have a cognisant view of another day filled with the monotonous repetitive hour by hour blows of my current daily life. The temporary suspension bridge of forward movement toward change is about to snap free and hopefully swing to the other side. If all goes well there will be new land underneath my feet soon with which to carve out a new trail of life experiences.

What I seem to find the hardest to understand at this point of time, is the fact that my timing of hopeful events seems to have been altered greatly since the half century mark of my years. It seems that most of my previous life experiences now dictate what pace any future decisions will be measured by. It is not that the previous life choices were a cause of regret, it's just that the experiences stand in the way of leaping into anything not cognitively thought through in a rational manner. At times I wish that my youth could make an appearance and short circuit my current realities so that I could once again feel the free spirited person that I once was. I know that the actual happening of such a mind trip will not be appearing any time soon. I believe that it will take a lot of digging underneath the layers of good and bad experiences to produce the little wonders of chance and circumstance.

Surrounded within the confines of my living space, which in itself is a new environment, I hear the reverberation of my mind ping off in true surround sound. The bouncing ping-pong effect is truly maddening and still I look for the door that has the exit sign above it, only it does not seem to be anywhere within my present view. Each night when I climb the stairs up to bed at night I say to myself that tonight something or a sign will appear in my dreams to jump start the engine of my soul and get back on the train to a more meaningful life. I have felt many, many times, that dreams are the karmic pieces of the puzzle of life. Each piece neatly formed to fit within the puzzle to paint the picture that my soul has neatly outlined. When I venture outside the lines the picture becomes a bit distorted yet I try to continue to color my life anew over and over again, with the hope that the one piece of the puzzle that is elusive will suddenly and magically appear and set me free from my own demises.

Imagine if you will, the feeling of being in a hotel/motel in the containment of the room that you have paid the price for. While everything may seem cozy and nice early on, there is still the element of unfamiliarity and a closing in of the walls after being there a few days when you settle in to the routines that you have set for yourself to follow. One day you sit on the edge of the bed, looking around the room trying hard to figure out what to do with the rest of the days left on the vacation.
No matter how hard you try it becomes hard to come up with an idea that is not repeated. The harder you try to bring forth an idea the more it eludes you. Yet in the small hours of indecisiveness you keep staring at the entrance door to your room and keep noticing the sticker that is placed on the back of it. While you may have an idea of what is says, you can't help reading it just the same.

Perhaps the wording is all too familiar and the price of the rates may be different for each room, there is no doubt that the statement that stands out above all others reads: CHECK OUT TIME IS - 1:00 PM

Upon acceptance of that one statement you now know that your exit strategy has a deadline to be met. As the final days of the holiday dwindle down you begin to question the fear of going back to what you left behind for only a short time. Logic tells you to let it end and let your clarity define you. For in the end the twists and turns of fate will always remain within. Those twists and turns will be the guides that will end up taking us once again to our next spatial room. There we will, reevaluate and find another door, with the same damn sticker on the back reminding us that CHECK OUT TIME is near.

By my experience , I realize that opening the door and stepping through it is the hardest part, now I just have to remind myself to close it and don't look back, and always face forward!