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Posts Tagged ‘new york’

Both My Grandfathers by kirya traber

In coffee on June 9, 2015 at 5:39 pm

many of us are personally familiar with the sloshing-over fullness and balancing act a mother & daughter relationship is. but it is not everyday we are whisked to the lincoln center in new york city and seated in the front row to experience and absorb daughter’s retelling of the day the bay bridge broke. she plays herself at the age of six; she wrote a story about the importance of stories, the bits & pieces and the intangible star flash passed on through bloodlines, and how we are able to keep going even while losing so much and so many along the way. i was prepared to feel way too much, to not just leak tears but to quietly blubber and i did. it helped that on either side of me her (extremely proud) uncle & aunt succumbed too. i was not prepared for viscerally reacting every time her character called for her mommy. it doesn’t matter how grown your girl is nor that there is an actress playing you, perhaps a little too well, cued to respond. it’s an instinctive call & response: she hollers mommy! and you yell what?



we had just two days to fit in highlights in the big apple, beginning with early morning best neighborhood coffee. we found our way back to our lodging at all hours by recognizing the roses. the sun didn’t always sparkle during our visit but daughter did.





i just read an article today discussing how our brains aren’t really wired well for decision-making. these days we are bombarded with choices all day long yet we lack a capacity to prioritize between big and small decisions. daughter shared her little corner of prospect park where turtles sun on the rocks and she rests her mind. her partner accompanied us to donut plant, where we all feel safe & contented, but because they want to avoid being hurried and pressured while in line, they scroll thru the plentiful choices on their phone during the metro approach. smart cookie.



for our last meal, we put ourselves in the competent hands of our favorite eldest nephew. he is so thoughtful, considerate, funny that he effortlessly matched himself to my splendidino cocktail. we savored assorted charcuterie and fine cheeses paired with fig, honey, and spice. he has acquired a bicycle, sometimes traveling above ground rather than in new york tunnels, perhaps in preparation for returning to the bay area. he & his girl caught daughter’s last performance the next day and he gifted her a little lightning. our giant grand children. my tear-catching hankie is completely soaked.






In more coffee on May 31, 2014 at 5:13 pm

it began in her beautiful garden refuge where we discussed aging and fleeing. we wailed about unfairness and gnashed our terrible teeth. which made my nerves flare up and i cried at my tooth, “can’t you die quietly?!!” and then i was chagrined because wasn’t that what we had just been covering: how people don’t want to pay attention to old ladies who make loud fusses. winds picked up and ominous storm clouds built up in the sky as if to support our fury. magic seeds were pocketed and i hobbled home on my queerly suddenly crippled bike. when bells chimed in the middle of the night, i arose and three sisters flew away to new york city. with my big brother.


our first night had a dramatic soundtrack of thunder with bright flashes of lightning. some of us slept right through the excitement. some of us wanted to scale tall buildings and ford large rivers and visit art-filled museums while we were in town. some of us wanted to loiter on benches, make light smiling acquaintances, indulge in coffee & goodies, and soak up east coast sunshine. we were able to combine our needs and desires for the most part and luckily we had brought our umbrellas. i adjusted to the time change almost immediately because i am a birdbrain. i get up with the sun and at dusk i start looking for my nest. but i am not singing about it like the birds do. we four quiet folk were there to celebrate my outstanding fierce shiny star daughter getting her masters and graduating from the new school of drama. we enjoyed the uplifting ceremonies our first wet evening and then the sun god joined us on the sunday for her picnic in prospect park party. i’ve been lucky enough to know some of her fabulous friends for years and was delighted to meet fine new ones. toasts were made, cockles were warmed, and some of us had a little nap under a tree. like ferdinand.


daughter is caught up in a whirlwind of social and professional offers. she worked, mentored, and taught her whole way through these few grad school years and there is no lull now. she took a few moments to assess my tooth pain and suggested jaw tension could be at the root of my problems. she tried to convince me that i could let go of my lower jaw without being perceived as a slack-jawed idiot. i’m working on it. she says i just need to cultivate attitude. but since i am on my last nerve, we will be having it surgically removed monday morning. because you know what makes it scream the loudest: hot coffee. my trip was funded by loved ones and fueled by peet’s sumatra. lady liberty waved cheerfully at us from a distance as we gathered our belongings and made our long way home as the temperature finally rose to a comfortable eighty degrees. violent winds met us that evening on the west coast. some of us had to rise up and get to work the very next morning. even with our puffy ankles. and now today i have a day off. i am distracted by something calling to me. i am noticing quiet. i am noticing quiet inside of me. maybe when the sun rises tomorrow i will try chirping. just a little bit.


new york quickie

In coffee on November 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm

after an hour of standing in the slowly winding snake line with all the other travelers trying to catch planes, i made it to the now hurry up, pull, push, and shove your belongings thru in your bare feet part. caged dogs were ferociously barking but i remembered later that i had also heard a HOLD UP WE NEED A SECURITY CHECK HERE. the guard and i discussed the dog din as she spent extra time patting down my dreads. i told her i had seen the huge dog making all that noise and i was pretty sure it was actually a bear. we both shuddered. she released me and i turned to find that my baggage had been delayed. a gaggle of grown men were gathered around the wee bitters gift my daughter had given me trying to determine if it should be allowed on the plane. they shrugged and tossed it back in the tray. i gathered my things, jumped back into my shoes, and ran for my flight which i made only in the nick of time. no time for a pee-pee.


many people claim to love to travel. i stink at traveling but i do love being in other cities. i like sitting in other places. on park benches and in coffee shops, with family. i only had the weekend in new york, but daughter made sure we covered the important things while i was there. i stayed in a tiny strip of rooms: bedroom, coffeepot room, and bathroom all overlooking a sweet garden. daughter lived a dozen blocks away and brought over goat milk for my coffee. a full moon peeped in the window when i got up in the morning, church bells chimed close by, and geese were talkative as they flew overhead. a little girl in pink chatted me up in the garden and shared a snail shell she had found while sorting stones. we agreed that parking it next to my door looked really good. when i returned that night only a little snail trail remained.


saturday was just a wind up for my daughter’s last performance that evening. we went to the farmers’ market for apples, accidentally saw the best exhibit ever on the history of children’s books at the library, and had time for late afternoon coffees and goodies at grounded, a delightful coffee shop near new school. lot’s of people walking their dogs in that neighborhood. and the owners match their dogs perfectly. someone needs to document this phenomenon. next trip i will have a camera, i promise. daughter’s play was amazing. daughter was amazing. the play was layered like the jazz piece it referenced. it was both disturbing and deliciously funny. i got to sit with important people and people important to my daughter. every other minute i had to remind myself to pull my shoulders back down from my ears where they had climbed to. then i got to go out and get sloppy with the young people. they are all stars already; all those illuminated possibilities in their possession sparking out in pointed rays of bright light.

sunday we ran in the park. i love running with my daughter. we had to dodge pink-clad breast champions as they paraded thru the park underneath bright orange fall foliage trees. daughter both fed me lunch (gorgeous salad with turkey and her garlic roasted brussels sprouts) and took me to her neighborhood coffee shop for treats before we caught a train to harlem for dinner with her boo (and friends). such a privilege to be able to hang out with beautiful young people. even if my presence provides one of those “one of these things is not like the other” moments. monday i had to leave for home but not before we ran again in the park. this time we only had to dodge horses. daughter packed me a sandwich for later and i accidentally called her mom. she got me all the way to the air train and then let me travel the last bit alone so i could feel like a grownup. then there was the scary bear thing at the airport . . . i chatted all the way home with my lovely young-lady seatmate and it wasn’t even exhausting to do so. i regret not offering to friend her. my big brother picked me up at the airport because some people, no matter how much we age, will always need a grownup to collect us.