Before I became Frau Kolb, I was a single girl growing up in Manhattan, New York.
Despite the fact that I always wore combat boots and thought myself some sort of punk; boys and men liked me and I went out on lots and lots of fun dates. (There are so many opportunities for a beer drinking girl, that likes to listen to men talk, to be taken out in a city full of bars, and no need to ever drive a car.) I like boys and men, too. I’ve always seen them as those two distinct categories.
Boys are cute, sexually attractive beings, with little else to offer.
Men are sometimes handsome, sometimes NOT, yet always come with financial muscle.
Boys you play with and get over, because they are out there playing and getting on with being boys.
Men are dangerous. One must be cautious. Listen. Say, “No!” often. You don’t want a man to get the impression he can do whatever he wants with you. Never. Men will take you for a ride if they believe they can. You must pay attention. You must be ready to run or fight. Don’t be scared, yet don’t be vulnerable.
Anyway, that said…
One love affair blended into the next and I dated some truly amazing men. Having left home at age seventeen, by the time I was twenty-one, I’d lived with a man that got me my first job cooking at an exclusive health club in Manhattan. I’d go into work at five am and “cut down a crate of carrots, onions, celery, wash the turkey, season it, turn on the convection oven…” I’d be there, focused, cooking… day after day… I made a turkey every week day for almost two years, straight. Until I was promoted within the company to a better, more luxurious location at the Atrium building on 57th Street.
So… from my beautiful, former model, tall and slender, blue-eyed Mayflower WASP professional bartender boyfriend, I learned: cooking as a way of making a living and to this day, I can make lunch for a hundred with ease. Serving food is my forte. I cook daily, at home and it means the world to me to do so. Every time my husband and I have people over for a seamless dinner I thank good for my EX, boyfriend, who taught me how to keep it sizzling. Every time.
Yet, I left him for a man, with big green eyes, dark hair, creamy colored thick smooth skin, fat lips… ah! I found him so sexually appealing, he looked like a man, he was twice my age, but really he was just an old boy… he had no clue how to make a living and I guess he was just waiting for his mother to pass away so he might inherit the house… whatever… I had to pay half the rent; this boyfriend was a chronic smoker of what is now called, “Medical.” This boy-man and I sent a lot of time drinking and exploring horizontal positions. We were happy children together, yet I had to pay half the rent, even though he was twice my age and I was… well frankly a long leggy stunner…
Leaving room for the next boyfriend to slip in with his wallet. I left the cozy, comfortable, German and Irish, beer drinking, and self-help book reading, Boy Toy Man that could barely pay his half of our East Village rent for the rust-funded Little MAN that dominated my life, ate my peace, destroyed my ability to earn a living working in restaurants, by taking me out to eat almost daily, to expensive joints in Soho, while showering me with presents and cash. I was, seriously, his sugar baby. I had no idea that was what I was. I thought he loved me and that we would someday marry.
At first, I felt so bad that he had a girlfriend living with him when we met. Yet, he assured me… he pursued me, he seduced me with his elegant script on fine paper love letters… Ah! At the end-of-the-day… I’m a Romantic. My grandfather was Spanish… I have a soft spot for Picasso and bleeding bulls.
This important EX taught me about ART, Fibonacci wave patterns, and the stock market. (Lest we forget: he was mind boggling between the sheets, a true artist.) I loved him… but I was immature and… I kept finding myself with other guys, including that Irish/German Hippy apologeticallyStoner Dude, mentioned before… and the English boyfriend, the one with the golden red hair… oh, no… now my time line is messed up… anyway… there was some overlap. The Little Art Man from California, challenged me, “I can’t marry someone who hasn’t gone to college.” He said smugly, one day. Thus, I decided to apply to many a school, I got into all my choices, and was offered a full scholarship at Columbia University in the city of New York.
The boyfriend story, however, continues:
Then came H. We met at the bar at the brand-new Reebok Club in NYC. I was a student at Columbia University, looking for a quite, refined place, to read my material for a literature class. He was making Monica Lewinsky jokes, the news was on an old television set over the bar. He was funny. He was cute, big brown eyes. He said he was 52 years old and yet, he looked great to me. I was no ageist.
Soon it became redundantly clear that he was really rich. He introduced me to the pleasure of drinking fine red wine. In his company I learned to eat as many oysters as I pleased, and to distinguish between luxury and everything else. I loved him. I would have gladly married him and had his Jewish babies. I would have converted with pride and become more Jewish than any other convert. Yet, it turned out that he had lied about his age, he was actually 72. I was 24. He was fitter than I, and I was fit. He was still running marathons. He did advanced yoga. He was a physical marvel. I wanted babies. He was over it. His sons were older than me. I only met one of them, at his Hampton estate, and I felt ill at ease: he could have been my father! So...
Toward the end of our six or seven month relationship, we met up in England… no I was in England, in London for the summer, staying with a friend and his girlfriend, chasing the red-haired Oxford illusion… that boyfriend, which actually, was a brief yet… not easily dismissed… I was 17 and he was 18, when we met… he was in NYC for the summer, it was his first job, mine too, at a restaurant on the Upper East Side. He was staying with his classmate, whose father was the second at the British consulate. (They used to call me, “The Pretty Negress.”) So… he had a whole floor in a brownstone in the best location… near the crappy restaurant, where the EX boyfriend that got me my first cooking job when RED left me to go back to his life of privilege and life quenching adherence to antiquated notions of propriety. Ah… the British… love ‘em, hate ‘em… they continue.
Anyway… RED, gave me insights into the mentality of a vaguely aristocratic or rather POSH mentality, which to this day irks me. He was the most unapologetically classist being I’d ever met. (I guess IF a system works for you, then you work to uphold it…), which I found refreshingly honest. I liked him, a lot… I liked his voice: proper English. Listening to him, chatting with him… is blissful, at times… we stayed in touch for years, I’d call him and he’d share his adventures, until recently… when it became clear that he was taking ME, Frau Kolb, totally for granted, he’d become used to having me share of myself with him. Further more, he secretly prefers to date young black girls from the wrong side of London… a secret, which offends me. Thus, I let go of that attachment, only recently.
Back to H.
We were not together for very long. He got along famously: both New Yorkers. He was from the Bronx and had grown up struggling. I loved his Alfa-Male energy. Yet, he was very old and very wealthy. I was completely at ease in his company. I felt safe allowing him to make decisions… the only topic I knew more about than him was art… He started collecting Miro… I would have gladly married him. He was the only person I ever met that had the capacity to keep me completely entertained and at ease; no need to work, invisible servants catered to our every whim when we lived together at the Hampshire House. I had my own room, filled with books, and a wonderful view. Every night we went out to New York’s best seafood restaurants. I ate oysters. He ate grilled fish and salad. We drank VINO, together. He was the BEST, until he dumped me.
Yes. It is true.
The lessons he taught me: he taught me that CASH, a big wad of it, waved at anybody in service with get you whatever you want. Drop a hundred dollar bill on a host in a restaurant and you will get the best table. Moreover, make a habit of giving to others more than they expect and then leave them when they get addicted to your magnificence and they will remember you for life.
* Special thanks to my husband Hartmuth, for helping me, sort out my history and for not being afraid of ghosts.
The tendency is for me to float above obstacles. I admit: I had both my children at home, without a hitch, into my husband’s waiting, prepared, and competent hands. The midwife helped clean up and I nursed both babies in bed with the umbilical cord still on.
The presence of the sacred is palpable in my life. I am super sensitive. Thus, I don’t watch much commercial television, the flashing lights and subliminal messages, the repetition and the insistence on that products and consuming might quench Desire... is absurd, in my book.
I am an artist. I identified with the word as a young child. The title, “Artist,” seemed big enough to fit little me, my many thoughts, drawings, dance, and theatrical being. It was a word my half-brother used, to describe himself, while drawing or writing. He wrote poetry in Spanish. He inherited the talent from our grandfather, the cockfight/casino gambling Monster. Big Olive, White/Spanish Brother worked on realistic, Raphael inspired soft-porn on a drafting table in a walk-in closet turned studio. He would save the nubs of his pencils for me and I had a spot to sit at, drawing at my older brother’s feet, which were quite smelly, at times... so... I did not linger in the role of apprentice to my talented, albeit, disgusting, older half sibling.
Recently, my mother came to visit. She was with us for three weeks. It felt like an eternity in the roasting bowels of El Inferno. My mother is a very special woman. She is admittedly and undeniably adorable. If you dig little Spanish ladies, that speak terribly broken, shattered English, and gleefully waste your time, because they are bizarrely self important; you simply have nothing better to do than listen to a little garbled English speaker ask you questions which have no thing to do with sense, a cute big brown eyed person, oblivious to formal demands of time and space. Another type of Floater, my mother relied on her strange version of the mighty Hebrew g-d, for the hot air required for soaring... well, not soaring... barely clearing, above a few obstacles, sometimes, but mostly, my mother has run head long in the direction of Misery her entire life.
She married the ignorant, pretty boy down the block. The romantic, disco-era, Youth, my Half-brother is her first child... a mistake, clearly. Therefore, in order to prove her point, which was and will always be, that she ALWAYS DOES whatever she wants; she had a second boy.
That guy, I simply will NEVER speak to... sorry... some people have LAWS with their names attached to them... some people are dangerous... in our culture... he’s the type that will “sell you and make you carry the cash,” (te vende y te hace cargar los cuartos...) In Dominican Republic, where both my parents were born, there is a law named after my second half-brother, because of an elaborate system by which he defrauded members of our extended family of properties and holdings. In other words, he’s a Con-Man, always looking for an a, Mark, never to be trusted.
Nothing... like a long visit from Mama to remind you how LUCKY you are that you hit the streets of Manhattan, got a job waiting on tables on the Upper East Side of Manhattan... met a few prep school boys, went on to dates a couple Wall Street Men, left those guys for the Artists, the first a true Hippy Bum and the second, I won’t mention because he is the type that would secretly be reading this humble blog and get inflated like the sinister puff fish he is... IF he even thought I was writing about his rust funded posterior... things might get ugly. He always warned me NOT to WRITE about him. Hah!
Well, tough. Because the time has come that I must say: my mother had a huge crushes on all my handsome blue-eyed or green (in one case) boyfriends. The man, she LOVED the most was the one, she thought looked the most like her father...the one with the master’s degree in fine art... and the loft, where he and his long-term girlfriend lived ... we met, I was the “Beautiful waitress,” according to his then girlfriend, (an active art pedagogue at the university level, a professional artist, recent winner of a Guggenheim grant). He went for me, mercilessly. I guess, he aimed to “kill two birds with one stone.” He broke her heart, lanced mine and pulled me into a torrid affair which went on too long, through the first half of my twenties, yet, had serious benefits in that he challenged me, by saying, “I could never marry a person that hadn’t gone to college.” A statement that spurred me to applying to college. The big surprise was that I got full scholarship to Columbia University, they were looking for bright students that might add to the the atmosphere of unearned privilege which prevails at exclusive universities. He educated me, teaching me to watch the stock market , teaching me about Fibonacci wave patterns. We went to museums, together. I was astounded by his knowledge of materials and methods… I was in love, at first, with his mind… Yet, I was not mature enough to conduct a serious relationship with this introvert painter. He shared with me his money and he was incredible in bed. Thus, I loved and hated him. “Fucking and Fighting,” he called it. I’m glad I based my life on a relationship with someone solid, dependable. Handsome and fit, my husband, wins my heart over and over, impressing me with his kindness. Smarter, more accomplished, stronger, yet more gentle than most men will ever dream of being… I’m pleased that I did not fall for some flashy fun and that I married a worthy man.
Of course, that relationship could not last, because I am fundamentally a person that seeks and craves peace. I love harmony, quiet, gentle days. I love libraries and art museums. I love reading and writing before dawn when the world is purple silence is the best part of any day... except.... sex is nice too... I dig it and that is best not peaceful but full of friction, tense...
The entire month of February, which is normally devoted to celebrating Valentine’s Day and My Birthday, was eaten up entertaining the woman that caused me to be a Birthday hungry adult, since her “religion,” forbids celebrating Birthdays... another means of confusing the passage of time, the ticking toward the pending apocalypse, they promise. She is so selfish, immature, and shallow... yet, she’s pretty, cooks well, keeps an immaculate home (cleaning compulsively, is a virtue in some circles), and she has a certain charm about her.
My father fell for it. He died in love with her. I know because I flew her down to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to see my sweet ashy black father, the beaten down version of the radiant hero that I knew as my Papi, my father. He was so pleased to see her at his bedside. He didn’t even mind her taking the opportunity to insult and provoke him for hours, retelling her version of their horrid marriage.” Daniel was an excellent father to me. Yet, great husband or provider to her four children… not so much… I had to negotiate winter coats for them… it was rough. Each day, I realize that I know how to think, read, write, and sell things because he did. He was an attorney in Dominican Republic. He made a decent living selling good furniture in New York City. He was honestly ambitious and he thought marrying my mother was a ticket into a family he’d grown up reading about in the local news, a power family that would help him with his career as an attorney.
My parents grew up under the dictatorship of Trujillo. My mother’s family were literally in bed, with the dictator’s family, my grandfather’s cousin, Octavia Ricart was married to Rafael Ramfis Trujillo. My great grandfather was born in Spain to a family with extensive commercial and agricultural holdings. Olive oil was the family business. Fortunes, were made, and lost, too much, horrific amounts of money were gambled away in the aristocratic sport of chance: gambling consumed my grandfather, trained as a boy by his father to place bets on cock fights; grandfather Ricart died young, a mere 47 years old.
In contrast, my father’s people were hardworking British Blacks from the isle of St. Croix. His people spoke English. Thus, my command of the language, is accented, yet deep. His mother told my mother that her masters, back home, were good people, they did not hit and there was always enough food. Yet, I know she grew up mostly indoors, serving as a domestic in an elite home. Grandfather was a Marine Mechanic. They left St. Croix for Dominican Republic, which was the bustling center of the Caribbean, rivaled only by Cuba, in hopes of gaining education and a brighter future for their yet unborn children.
My father was an ethical and responsible man. He cared about me intensely and he taught me about torts and contracts, boxing and baseball, logic and observation. People watching was our hobby; identifying types, making flash judgements, learning to distinguish between one class of human and another… Daddy passed on his values, learned in another age, of assimilation as the only worthy path for a smart person of a less powerful social group. We spent so much time together, walking, talking sports... he thought I was like a little boy... his little buddy. I loved how big and strong he was and his beautiful black skin... Daddy!
My Mother and her children took delight in taunting him, us. They called him, “The Gorilla,” and I was his “Monkey.” This was companied by derisive laughter... he was a professional... he spoke English. He was proper. He was... sure he had short comings... he always just wanted to go home, back to Dominican Republic, so he could practice, his profession.
He returned a year or two before dying, broken… yet, he had some fun… being driven around, whoring…yet, my father bet on the wrong horse, having signed a contract with his Driver, his “adopted son,” which stated that he would pay to me the cost of the buses, Daddy owned upon his death, to retain what my father intended to be my inheritance... yet, the inheritance he gave me in my long legs, lean fit body, he taught me sports, reading, writing, fighting, and instilled in me the desire to soar.
When YOU are down you have to get UP again:
The Valley of Dolores
Almost immediately, we tripped into it. Madness, on the outskirts of Hell was nearby... we were out strolling… down memory lane, when we crashed into The Horror The Horror. Sometimes you slip into a place where you are out of grace, out of time, exhausted... almost drowning in the hot volcanic mud of ever burning Hades. You struggle…
23 EASY STEPS OUT OF HELL
1.) Take a deep breath. Exhale. Admit to yourself that you are far from HOME. You are in peril. Take note. Scream, if you must... shout for “Help!” (In hell, of course no one cares; everyone is too busy being tortured themselves that they have zero time or compassion for the “problems,” of others.)
2.) Center yourself upon the knowing you have strayed and must return to the paradise of writing routines, long walks, and deep meditations in paint and other musical materials. (Yes, if you started to seek yourself in the flashing reflections of computer monitors and television screens; it is now time to unplug and try resting. Rest helps.)
3.) Thank goodness that you know where you are and suddenly experience relief. Yes! Allow that mud caked around your ankles, the cast, the weights, the chains, the shackles, the whatever-holds-you-back to fall away and quickly MOVE to the safety of honesty and truth.
4.) Running, skipping, jumping: somehow getting enough exercise is key in feeling mentally and spiritually balanced. YOU have to dance your way back to health and happiness and you can only do that on a tummy full of healthy (organic) or even better, home-grown, fresh food. Accept no substitutes. You are what you eat and if GMOs are a part of your diet or you eat a lot of animal products (they have to eat whatever is put in their feed, much like... us.) don’t be surprised if you feel like a big fat burger roasting on the coals of El Inferno.
5.) Get a stack of seven life-saving books. The book is your stable friend even in the worst adversity. Seven books add up to a gaggle of buddies to back you up and help you fortify your positions and get on with the JOY that life is meant to be, no matter what the situation, do not stray into the land of illusion where the drama seems to mean more than the spiritual. When choosing books in times of adversity; make sure to pick upbeat topics, arcane interests, and study materials, in the middle of a crisis is a great time to brush up on you Mandarin.
6.) Bathing works wonders. I’ve encountered few problems that a scented, oil bath wasn’t a way to feeling better. Don’t have a tub? Shower with scrub mittens... and perhaps a eucalyptus scented lotion. Even a hot towel on your hands and feet can help you feel more human, just take time to thank goodness that you have hands, a towel... really be grateful.
7.) Masturbate. Endorphins are good for you. Relieve some stress... get it on with number ONE.
8.) Appreciate those around you. You wouldn’t be alive if you hadn’t received your share of kindness along the way. After all, infants are obviously vulnerable... each adult human no matter how damaged or battered is proof of human kindness. Value that truth.
9.) Notice, that others need your help and focus on lifting weights off neighboring shoulders. Be courteous. Politeness, respect, and consideration go a long way toward creating peaceful conditions anywhere. It helps you and others feel better, instantly.
10.) Find a way to really help another, not an empty gesture, but a real action, resulting in another person feeling LOVED, cared for by you. YOU will instantly feel better when you show great tenderness for another. Loving another is an immediate way to loving yourself, again. When you feel good about yourself, your actions, it means you have taken responsibility for your quality of life. (In HELL, your family send you “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” text messages that mean absolutely nothing in the grip of timelessness.)
11.) Writing is a righteous way to cope. Jot down your feelings, make lists, use whatever tools are at hand to help you sort through the complexities of the situation and the implement a plan based on your notes. Just having done this exercise gives you the strength to move forward and enjoy life.
12.) Remember: you have purpose. You are beautiful. You are unique. Frau loves you. This alone should help you dance across the roasting coals and spring to the eternal green of abundance and wonderment at the beauty which is everywhere. (Yesterday, I was on a public bus, facing the Pacific, on one of the most dazzling stretches, I’ve ever seen... around me, workers, peddlers, vagrants, various students of nothing-in-particular ignored the view. It was fascinating to watch these fellow humans be oblivious to their setting, so very uncaring and preoccupied. (IN HELL no one ever has time; you are rushed from one treatment, to the next, there is NO REST in HELL!)
13.) humor is magical. The instant you surrender to a big belly rolling HAH! Hah! is heavenly... Laughing at one’s own mistakes is sacred and cleansing; great good can come from this form of jovial mirth. (In HELL, hyena like derisive laughter echoes down endless, labyrinthian halls... devils thrive in putting others down, whatever you “race,” they know the exact racist comments to make you feel the burning scorn of HADES. Sadists that take pleasure in humiliating others or causing deliberate pain to their victims, are to be put on spits and turned around like hot dogs for eternity when the never ending orgy or malicious intent and distorted responses of dictators and mad doctors... like the Nazi Death Camp atmosphere, the space where all is stagnant and there is no giggling allowed, no room for revelry, a fetid pool of half dead people, all of whom could care less about others, in the cubicles next to yours, like rats in a barrow... feasting on horror.) Honest laughter never revolves around another’s perceived or imagined short comings, it is never malicious. Healthy laughter is never at another’s expense. Humor, that hinges on marveling at life’s madness is good for the battered soul. Try it.
14.) Don’t try to convert the damned. Sometimes, you just have to cut yourself off from the creatures that you seek to protect. People that bring you down, make you feel terrible about life, are like stormy weather and inhibit darkness, bringing their heinous gravitas everywhere they go are to be dismissed in favor of those that cultivate peace, love, humor, and kindness as daily active virtues.
15.) Avoid the armies of brain dead, intellectually ossified, people for whom everything good is invisible, that live for consuming cultural products without creating material to feed future generations of mentally hungry humans. Lack of creativity is HELLISH in my book.
16.) Materialism means that you don’t enjoy good things in life because your focus is on the cost of goods rather than the enjoyment and appreciation of effort and beauty. Being chained to a pearl necklace, which should be given away freely, as a token of LOVE to a caring other... is a way in which prioritizing having over giving, which makes monsters of those that are incapable of giving goodness. Leaving a crummy tip for a zealous server: a highway to a hell of big pots were cheapskates are consumed for all eternity!)
17.) Leap over steaming murky pools of self pity that we are prone to wallow in when we feel we’ve been wrong by focusing on the fact that on the other side of self pity is a glorious oasis of self respect, waiting.
18.) Draw a line, separating yourself from the faults others project onto you. Be NOT the blank screen upon which lacerated howling sinners project their morbid fantasies. Allow no one to assign you the role of Virgil in the tour of some festering cesspool of evil.
19.) Stop trying to please everyone. Make it clear what you will and will not accept. Be willing to die, a billion deaths, rather than be bland, dead, and/or neutral. Take a stand. Defend the light. Be brilliance personified. SHINE!
20.) Be willing to MAKE ENEMIES. You don’t want friends that are selfish devils. Nope. No thanks.
21.) Release, all the half-assed bullshit friends that never actually help or contribute a dime to your operation. Keep friends that care what condition you are in and help you to live a better life. Live in communion and constant exchange of courtesy and affection. Gift giving and exchanging is KEY to the pearly gates.
22.) Notice: when a devil is disguised as a harmless little old lady. Recognize that evil comes in all packages and that ONE must be alert to distinguish the evil in one’s own conduct. We all lie. We all take short cuts. NO ONE, least of all, I is perfect. Yet, to inhibit a life where prosperity, peace, and pleasure are routine one must be discerning and willing to surgically amputate cancerous connections with toxic fork-tongued folk of the underworld.
23.) Realize that you are SUPER LUCKY to be alive and that even IF you are suffering now... you have had the pleasure of breathing, reading, learning, and loving. Nothing, could be better, no paradise more succulent and crowded with monarch butterflies, buzzing bees, and healthy human and animal life. ENJOY!
(IF.... YOU CRAVE a serious piece of FRAU KOLB art historical discovery click here.)
Dearest Readers of The Talkinggrid,
The best part about having one’s own blog is that one is FREE to write about touchy subjects; like family and Feelings.
We all have families and we all have feeling about our childhoods, when we were powerless. Some of us NEVER Grow UP and are thus, forever powerless.
I am the daughter of an adult child. She has never done a single harmful thing to any other person on purpose. She does it all by “accident.” She is never responsible. She is always and forever the the victim in any interaction. She will not relent in her defiance until one is at one’s wits end, screaming; desperate.
She is always in control. Spoiled and lovely old lady, pretty and cute, everybody likes her… people lean in to love her. She still gets marriage proposals. Hah!
Yet, she is exclusively attracted to Spanish, I mean European men, like her X husband, a man at least twenty years her junior, the one she married after she divorced my father for the second time, younger than her oldest son… ouch. My father was no thing like the little boys she digs. He was big, strong, craving power, looking for status, marrying her in hopes of entering into a very closed circle of elites in the island nation of Dominican Republic, where he was born, a parvenu with parents from the British Virgin Isle of St. Croix.
Feeling relieved. My mother has gone back to her home, far away. Having her stay with me for three weeks was intense.
First, I have to deal with the fact that she really needs a lot of care. I knew this was coming since childhood. I could tell she did not know... really, what was going on around her. I mean, she spoke no English… She was a Jehova’s Witness. She saw through the abuse of animals in the meat industry. She trained me to reject fast food, frozen meals, and canned nightmares. There was no Chef B… in our home. She cooked everyday and taught me the importance of eating fresh food. She kept an immaculately clean home. She cleans, in fact, compulsively. Which, has its plusses. Hah!
My father’s English, on the other hand, was very good. Sure, he had an accent, but his vocabulary was quite vast and he wielded language with real panache. Spanish, he was extremely precise, he was after all an attorney in Dominican Republic, when they met, in their hometown of Santo Domingo. When he was a young lawyer, at his first job and the Ricart girl was secretary to him and twelve other lawyers. Hah!
She got a cold. He paid a visit to the home. She could not see him so she returned the visit to his mother. He was not home. She met his mother and father. They loved her. She was so pretty. It did not matter to them that she had children. She was young, 26, or so… and a RICART! Wow, in their home and she wasn’t snobby. She didn’t seem to notice they were not… well like her.
What year was it? I have the papers, in a suitcase, in my closet, but I will not go look. No.. I will guess. I was born... yes, so it had to before that... and well they met, she got sick, he paid a visit at her family home where she was living with her FOUR CHILDREN.
Yes. She had FOUR. I am number FIVE!
She started young. She was determined, she wanted to get married, out of her house, away from her father. She was convinced. It was love. He, a young tailor from down the block, was no-where-near ready for marriage so… of course, beat her and drank. But she was raised on cruelty. Her father beat her and her mother every chance he got, because he had told Maria Dolores Perez, the pretty fashion designer, that he wanted NO CHILDREN, she defied him in having my mother, with his mother’s blessing. He never forgave her. My mother was born into a home where a sense of scarcity underlined every luxury, every piece of finery, where people DIE of Hunger, and the poor live in conditions, unthinkable to most… yet, after ONE week of my mother’s voracious appetite for LOVE, attention, and service, all the while, proclaiming her LOVE for Jehova, after ONE week with her I was tempted to punch her in the face.
Because, yes, she let me die…literally I flat lined in a hospital in New Jersey… as a child. I saw the white light.
Today, I’m a mother of two and I live in California. I eat organic food. I am a New Yorker. I have a Latin temper, yet I do not experience the desire to harm others. Typically, I’m a buoyant, if moody artist, creative type. Ha! What a human! She is absolutely shocking. I must be exactly like her. I know my daughter is like her. My daughter, by the way, has decided to start listening to me since she met herself, times ten.
My mother was, on the one hand, a very spoiled child and other the other, an neglected and abused, unwanted daughter to a M O N S T E R. This is my legacy. I am the child of colonialism. I am the granddaughter of the playboy Spaniard. I am the daughter of the attorney, who became a furniture salesman in New York City. My mother got what she wanted out of my father: a plane ticket out of Santo Doming. She got her kids out too. For them, my father and I were, strangers: I am in effect an only child.
Her mother decided to have the child and leave her in the care of all-loving, Alta Gracia Ricart, the wife of Eduardo George Ricart, mother of the three sisters... and ONE son, he was supposed to be responsible for his sisters. He was supposed to care. Yet, caring was not his forte. He learned to gamble at an early age. Going to the sporting matches with his Spanish born father... during the reign of the Caribbean’s most enduring dictatorial regime. His cousin, married to the son of El Jefe... life was grand for them... almost all the Ricart were a northern blond/brown haired hearty stock of Spanish, olive oil, international merchants and importers, of a product the island nation they loved, to vacation, so much FUN! Dominican Republic was for them an addiction. It had everything they wanted: pretty women, mixed girls everywhere, hungry lovely happy musical dancing entertaining people to serve and cock fights, are even more FUN than bull fights and YOU know that crazy SPANISH look Picasso had in his eye... Grandfather Ricart was a world class gambler, he worked for the state in its casinos. He loved to bet. Winning had No Thing to do with what he did. He was a broken prop for the state. It was his public duty to show how RICH and extravagant... My family, his sister, my aunt told me in November 2013, when I went to visit my father’s grave that, he was one of the political speech writers to... no one less than... the dictator. Not too surprising considering that his uncle was no less than Mejilla Ricart, the historian of the early Dominica People, who has an large avenue named after him, today, in Santo Domingo, the capital of our, the first nation in the New World, with the first church, first university: of which my father is a doctoral graduate.
Yes, grandfather Ricart was dashing. His entire family held sway that to this day, in Dominican Republic, I am home, like nowhere else... I speak and people hear in my voice that payment is forthcoming, that I KNOW what I am speaking of, and that I am comfortable in my own knowing... thus, I love Puerto Rico... I’ve never been to Cuba... I intend to visit St. Croix, where my father’s people are from, but... my grandfather’s cruelty lives on in my mother’s ability to laugh at me or my father’s best efforts to please her. She has the uncanny ability to drain me, wound me, leave me lacerated and not even notice that she inflicted any injury. Hah!
When I was young in New York, growing up... I left home early, and I always favored the taller blue-eyed more refined yet country boys. My boyfriend was all of the above and more, he got me a job cooking, which fortunately, I learned from my mother the importance of nutrition and domesticity... thus, I knew how important it was to learn to cook and I worked hard in low-level yet professional cooking situations, such as health clubs and other venues. At one point I made a turkey a day...
My father was by everyone’s, except his own, understanding a “BLACK MAN!” He never told me he was a black man. He told me he had to be careful, always wear suits, be extra polite, keep his hands in sight, be attentive, listen, pay attention, read more, work more, stay longer, be on-point: precise. He taught me how to fight. How to punch. Hit. How to be first. “Carry a book with you at all times!” Was a maxim in my home. He kept a library. He taught me to read. I went to school speaking fluent Spanish and pretty good English, too. I could read by age three. I was designated “gifted.” I was his girl.
My father worshiped my grandfather. He had grown up during the dictatorship. He had read the news papers about the leading families and how beautiful they were and how splendid it was that El Jefe was allowing the Jews asylum, from Nazi Germany, and how our highway and telephone system where the best in the Caribbean. My father was a quick boy, his dad a Marine Mechanic and his mom a domestic in a grand home, but she had learned British style service, which gave her a certain panache unlike the typical Dominica, housekeeper. My father was a boy with a talent, pitching stones with rat kill accuracy and listening to the signs on the wall. He was a shoe-shine boy. He was the one they could trust with a more important errand. He was fast, reliable. He got into law school and decided that baseball, was NOT a worthy profession for someone like him, much like I reached a certain point with cooking and realized I need a more intellectual profession. Besides, I’d always called myself an, “artist.”
Grandfather Ricart was very blond and blue eyed and a darling of the state, cousins with Octavia Ricart. You don’t need to look to far into the history of Dominican Republic, “discovered,” by Columbus; when he smacked into the island of Hispañola in 1492, to learn about the dictatorship... just look it up. The lists with the families that “owned,” Dominican Republic and decided who could and who could not... the name Ricart, figures prominently, for generations... in Dominican society and politics... today, my family, are administrators, educated people, servants of the state: forever.
You don’t have to look into the history of evil because, evil is common. It springs up from deep within a lizard’s heart, as it squirms from the sea floor out to the dry land, legs spring from deep within its boney self and running it goes to hide in a tree... the rest is my song.
Clinging to the fibers of self that are inherited makes one a basket case.
Dear Loyal Talkinggrid Readers,
There is so much to click and cling to on the internet. We can spend hours on-line getting a little of this and that out, a chuckle, an image, a lesson, a fun fact, a horror story… porn. The internet… I met my husband on-line and I go on-line everyday. I like typing, quick conversations over Facebook messenger with interesting artists, writers, art collectors, consultants… fill the corners of my day. I appreciate that anyone takes the time to visit this site and so many of you have expressed enjoyment, mirth, interest, and curiosity about Frau Kolb and The Talkinggrid, which is right now, me, myself, and I… keep writing… and I’m glad you keep reading and well… we continue.
Lately, I’ve been writing about some of the ways I turned having advanced cancer into an advantage or "blessing.” Discussing in public, personal health concerns is a bit awkward. Yet, I know, that I’m grateful for everyone that stands up and shows that life with cancer is just that, LIFE with cancer… Not a constant “fight,” but rather the JOY that it really is… even chronic illness should not inbibit your love of living. Yet, I must admit that writing about the horror, the horror… always brings back how hard it really was to be without hair and worse… the vomiting induced by chemo, the blackened nails, the surgeries,ect… I never really dove into it because when it was happening I was so present that I did not allow myself to anticipate pain or to experience anything that wasn’t actually happening. So, I could focus on “how pretty,” the MRI scanner was or how “Nice and kind,” my nurse or doctor was (thus, prompting better care). Now, I’m in a different place and I’ve gone into my memories and I find that my imagination can make it all feel as though it were happening now. Strange, right?
Well, I’m going to stop writing about this topic, even though I have a lot to share (because I wrote a whole unpublished book “Cancer with Style,” in which I had 100 Things I Loved about having breast cancer) unless it becomes clear that you really need me to continue, in that case, I will. Yet, I’d rather go back to investing my mental energy on how great it really is to feel the breeze, see the ice crystals, fire, light, sunshine, rain, and snow… oh! There is so much to write about and I’m still calling this the New Year, because… well… that works for me, anyway… we continue.
Now that I’m changing topics… What would you like to read here, on talkinggrid.com, what if Talkinggrid were your opperation would you like it to do for you? Do you have a project you would like help with or are you an artist interested in collaboration, cross promotion… well let us know, Talkinggrid, might take your flaky idea seriously and then we can gorge ourselves on cherry pie.
PS: I’m very tempted to start writing about “lessons,” I learned from my X boyfriends… but that brings us back to well erotica, if not… porn.
“Powerful Selfie,” at LACMA, 2010, here Frau Kolb is sporting her “British House Wife Wig.” Dig it?
How dare Frau Kolb suggest that the cancer might mean an end to your precious life is a blessing?
Well, Frau Kolb is an expert on getting a kick out of whatever life throws up in the way of enjoying life. I am NOT, however a doctor, what you read here is my personal proposal, an invitation, if you will, to join me in celebrating the good and bad news, as good and bad news will bloom in your life like flowers in the spring time.
Here are 23 More Cancer Blessings for you. Enjoy!
24.) Self care is central to success in coping with any major crisis. This is really the time to pamper yourself. So... ramp-up your bath routine. Bath oils, salts, candles, lotions, scrub-brushes, and abrasive bathing gloves. None of it is “expensive,” really but when you really get going you can make a very nice day of being in the tub, especially as you undergo treatment.
25.) Learn something totally unrelated to your new condition. Focus on learning Italian, for example. You always wanted to learn French. This is the moment to go to the public library and take out the Farsi tapes or the Swahili. What would you like to learn? Investing yourself in picking up NEW skills will give you strength to face this new reality.
27.) Plan a no-expense spared trip around the world for yourself. Of course, you won’t go. Yet, you will really think about the trip. How you would travel… Where you would visit… The schedules of luxury cruise ships are available on-line; image yourself in the Penthouse Suite, if this appeals to you. If not… are you backpacking in the Andes? Tell me, where will you go? Read guide books and learn about what to expect when you arrive. The trip should be long and lavish. This is so much more pleasant to focusing on the HORROR the HORROR of treatment.
28.) Throw a PAR-TAY! Yes, I’m talking disco lights in the bathroom.
29.) Soon, you will have access to heavy duty pain medications. Take it slow! Follow directions. But, we gotta be grateful that they exist. They work better than a mallet to knock you OUT for a restful night of much needed sleep. When it really hurts, thank goodness, for Vicodin! Do not abuse your medications. Yet, use them to help you leap across the parts too far from ease to be healthy. In other words, don’t suck up the pain, take a prescribed pill when you require it.
30.) If you live where it is legally available, Medical Marijuana works for nausea and other “chronic,” conditions. It may also help with mood swings and depression, just request the right strains. There are strains, “Indicas,” that put you right “heavy,” state for sleep and other strains, “Sativas,” that help stamina, creativity, and giggles. You no longer have to smoke, the aroma(s) offends, because they have a wide variety of edible: tea, honey, candies, bagel chips, and lemonades infused with THC and immune boosting CBD. Try it only if you feel comfortable with the idea. I LOVE it because it makes me feel like a naughty teen to take a bong hit in my boudior. Anyway… you might find you like the staff at the dispensaries. (They tend to hire very cute and upbeat people as “bud-tenders.")
31.) Don’t just cut the cancer out, radiate it, take the chemo: do what you must. Do it fast. Do not hesitate because everyday counts. Cancers are not full of pity. They will eat you, because Honey, YOU are delicious! Embrace the rigors of radical treatment as long as you can and IF your condition is beyond bad… well take your meds, Champagne, and let Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker get the table ready for you when you hit the perpetual dinner party in the sky, do it with panache.
32.) You picked the best doctors or you are getting the best care you can from your less-than-ideal yet qualified, expert, respected, and good looking doctors, personal advocate, and entourage of fashionable, sexy, people. IF you did not put together the perfect care team for yourself, remember that as long as you live you can always make changes. Always. All you have to do is use your words, ask nice, play fair, and be sweet on change to get it.
IF you find yourself totally alone, ask yourself “Why?” The answer must be: you. What have you done or failed to do to win the respect and love of others? Are you selfish? Are you self centered? Did you fail to maintain, through constant reciprocation your friendships? Are you simply mentally ill? OK! FINE! Know that whoever and where-ever you are you are worthy of love and if you allow yourself to connect with the universal reserve of good vibes, sometimes called “God,” other times, “Goodness,” and yet other times, “Mother Mary... Shiva... or whatever deity you subscribe to... if atheism is your bag, well LOVE it... because that is a religion, too... you have to do plenty of selective experiencing not to see the intelligence, joy, sparkle, that is everywhere where life nests... Because this is a time when YOU can make a change in the energy around you by being caring to the people that are around you. Let LOVE be the NEW YOU and your last day will be a lovely one. Be available and services will be provided. Remember: attracting good energy to your life requires determination on your part in that you must be willing to be and accept the kindness of others, as function of how you behave, yourself.
Another daring NEW (Cancer) LOOK! Here Frau Kolb wears her, “Ghetto Fabulous,” Two-Tone wig. Dig it?
33.) If you are alone. Face it. Find company within and books will sustain you. Joy is possible, I’m sure, even for vegan straight-edge atheists with no family and no pets. Maybe misanthropes can find strength in solitude. I commend anyone that can find pleasure in who they are, what they have, where they are… It doesn’t matter IF you are a person undergoing extreme cancer therapy; you can still laugh between the vomit bouts. For example: my best friend, the tall skinny spike healed wearing Italian-American, Los Angeles, bombshell, I told you about in the first 23 Cancer Blessings, also underwent cancer treatment. She was invited to a party at the Playboy mansion and she went, bald but looking ravishing, she had to vomit from the chemo therapy. In the rush of vomit-must, she pushed an old man out of the way to get to the toilet. Hah! Everybody thougt she was just a drunk party person, needing to puke after too much booze. WE laugh and laugh whenever we recall her moxi. She, by the way, is single… sort-of… Yet, she never let the lack of a steady man worthy of her exuberant beauty, stop her from enjoying life.
34.) FORGIVE! Forgive everybody for everything. Bitter Bitch? No more. Now is time to LOVE and feel one with every nurse, every waiter, every human that comes and that may care for you if you OPEN your heart to loving everybody. Yet, this doesn’t mean that you forget that some people are toxic. Let those people go and embrace the ones that love you NOW.
35.) Don’t forget. Let go of the waste. Say goodbye to human trash, vampires, and other nightmare friends that have sucked you dry for years. YOU know who I’m talking about. It doesn’t matter who it is. IF a person consistently brings you down, bursts your bubble, crushes your mood, erase them from your world. You don’t need a hairdresser that doesn’t listen and has bad breath. You don’t need a boyfriend who has a wife. You don’t need to lie about yourself in order to look normal. Accept yourself. Love you.
36.) Moreover, you may not have tons of money or be the best looking person on earth but you have value and your time is it. YOU have zero time to waste. You must focus your depleted energy wisely in order to make it from one day to the next. Cancer is a serious condition and minimizing it, is a strategy I employ. Yet, I’ve never backed down or stepped away from treatment. I’ve embraced life, thus finding strength that isn’t mine, borrowing it from my husband, my friends, and the world... remembering that my drama is but a drop in the galactic sea of mystery. Enjoying the ups and down, of the eternal “red-wine sea...”
“The Nice Librarian,” another selfie of Frau Kolb on the GO (notice the blur) during chemo in 2010
37.) Visit churches, landmarks, and museums. Enjoy the public spaces of your cities. The grand architecture or natural wonders of the world deserve your attention even if they are only around the corner. Take a bus to another part of town. Shake it UP! You don’t have to be the version of yourself you have been thus far. Part of you will be forever changed by treatment and the new you is yours to chisel into the you, you are now.
38.) Allow the cancer to be a reason why you step into being your true self in public. It empowered Frau Kolb by forcing her to make time for creativity, art, and other sources of profound delight. (Prior to diagnosis, my role as California beach mom was all consuming and I was writing (on the edges of days), yet not painting (because I felt guilty over using materials without a financial return and making art requires lots of un-interrupted work time, which I did not have) When I got the diagnosis my world changed. Cancer can be a license to finally focus attention on loving yourself in order to make ease-rich (the opposite of dis-ease)choices.
39.) In other words, make the cancer work for you. Yes, there are resources assigned and available to people undergoing cancer treatment. Just telling someone, that you have cancer, can make them cut you some slack. This is not a card I advise using frequently but when you must, whip it out with flourish and revel in the fact that there are many CANCER BENEFITS for you to enjoy. (Yet, be aware that some people, the really mean ones, will not care that you have cancer and may try to use your illness and vulnerability, against you… so… be careful and mindful when revealing your private medical conditions.)
40.) This is time... is a time for elemental being to flourish. When your looks are gone, erased, you must learn to paint on a happy face or... be a blank slate. Pick. Do. Make-up is said to boast the immune system. Don’t neglect your basic hygiene. Taking time to brush your teeth and put on a pretty scarf or a big macho cow-boy hat which will make others laugh and question your identity... GOOD MOVE!
41.) Ever wanted to meet someone famous… well, if you are terminal… you might consider addressing a request to their press/public relations representatives and respectfully request a visit from… you are very likely to get what YOU want, now… Brad Pitt… David Bowie… or… Adele. Watchout! Because, you really have the power to pull powerful people IN by being beautiful despite the medical drama. Use it.
(This is another selfie taken while undergoing chemotherapy in 2010)
42.) If you believe in heaven: make a list of all the people you look forward to feasting with in the afterlife. In heaven, I’m convinced that, you can have dinner with Augustus, the ancient Roman Emperor, Ben Franklin, and Anna Nicole Smith, all together, at their prime, forever available, because in heaven YOU can be two places at once, I’m certain of it… IF you like! If you don’t believe, well make a list of who you would like to see if heaven were real and you will tickle (I swear) your grandmother’s spirit when you list her. Go for it and feel the good vibes of every human you list, no matter how “long-gone,” kissing you and loving you no matter how vicious the pain or ugly the bruising… you have the long line of human fortitude to tap into. Revel in the fact that you come from tough people and that tough people bite the dust, too.
43.) Threshold states are FUN! What could be more exciting than being near death? You don’t know when its coming but rest assured it will. If you can learn to enjoy this state you might just live forever. Hah!
44.) Give some money, a dollar or two counts, to cancer research. Hardworking scientists give up their youths, studying, and learning so that they can create effective cancer medications for us. Don’t believe that cancer medications are anything less than miracles and every time you drink a pill down, bless the water.
45.) Be aware that you are now capable of seeing through the “veil of illusion,” which covers day-to-day life. Be proud. You know that the wizard is wears no underwear behind the curtain six-miles-wide. We all suffer. Yet, how we wear our suffering distinguishes and ennobles the gracious ones.
46.) Did you do something BAD, hurtful to someone, long ago... maybe? Write the victim of your misdeed, a letter, ask for forgiveness, mail it to yourself, and IF and only IF after reading it yourself and feeling it would make the person receiving it feel GOOD, then mail it to the injured party. Rest assured that accepting responsibility for the fact that we all hurt others, either on purpose or by “accident,” is a good thing for it allows us to shed the weight of unpaid energetic debts, of love and caring that was absent, when it is the mandate of life that we love, in order to be loved.
Ok… Now you have 46 guidelines for feeling blessed rather than powerless… I write with the intention of providing you with a chuckle or, at least, 69 good reasons to laugh in the face of death, a useful fresh perspectives, and empowerment in these times of turmoil.
Please take care and know that I am thinking of all the people out there; losing their haïr, having breasts amputated, or otherwise facing profound changes; in order to continue to embrace the bliss of breathing.
How dare Frau Kolb suggest that the cancer might mean an end to your precious life is a blessing?
Well, Frau Kolb is an expert on getting a kick out of whatever life throws up in the way of enjoying life. I am NOT, however a doctor, what you read here is my personal proposal, an invitation, if you will, to join me in celebrating the good and bad news, as good and bad news will bloom in your life like flowers in the spring time.
Recently, a friend contacted me, asking for advice on how to handle a tricky situation. She might have cancer. She will be undergoing tests soon. May goodness be with her. She might find that her cancer is… well… she won’t know until she knows and I tell you waiting to find out is hard work. Yet…
She’s lucky because she invested her life in creating a worthy circle, at the center of her circle is her husband. He is her best friend and may serve as her “personal advocate,” in making decisions relating to cancer treatment. She is “lucky,” because he picked a steadfast and loving partner. He is a caring person. She has nurtured relationships with people that really love her. Thus, she will not be facing uncertainty alone.
For others, they find themselves alone and without means to cope with the huge costs of cancer. The people whose lives were out-of-control before cancer must now tap into a source, a reserve, of strength and clarity within themselves. That still point, deep within the garden of being, which holds keys to enjoying your life no matter what strikes you, yet does not, kill you—whatever-allows space for life to continue becomes precious when you face, life-threatening cancer treatment. In order to be effective the treatment is rough. It can kill you. So… you better get ready. This is a time to re-new your contract and decide IF living suits you well enough to cling to all lively, joyous, and creative pursuits. For those who have lost their path, or never had a clear route toward fulfillment, cancer maybe a chance to save their own lives by using the opportunity to connect with others and thereby forming a “Cancer Circle," of which they are the center. It could be that this is the chance to meet new people with whom to relate, commune, and move forward.
This list of 23 Cancer Blessings is based on my experience dancing with rather than fighting against cancer. I have a genetic mutation that makes my body fertile ground for growing cancer cells. There was nothing I could have done to avoid having cancer bloom in my body. Yet, there is much I’ve done to enjoy life while undergoing treatment. All in all, my life has expanded and become more fulfilling during my dancing time.
I’ve had a grand time a BALL, if you will, in the years after my initial cancer diagnosis. I’ve traveled more. I made time and space in my life for creativity in a way that keeps me connected and vital. Talkinggrid is one of the out comes of my stretching wingspan into areas that were my dream territories: publishing and professional writing, being every reading girl’s ultimate dream. I invite you to join me on this worthy voyage, The Vacation Approach to Life is the art making peace with yourself and enjoying every second of your life as it is. Yes, you are going to get treatment. This advice is NOT about praying cancer away. Thank goodness.
1.) Cancer means you must stop, take a deep, and then deeper breath and LOOK at yourself. This is the ultimate opportunity to take stock and LOOK at your life. Exhale.
2.) IF you are fortunate enough to have anyone that cares enough to be your advocate when visiting doctors and getting tests done YOU are blessed.
3.) Make sure you record your sessions with doctors. Take notes, tape recorder, get ready for meetings with lists of questions.
4.) When you have CANCER your time is officially YOURS! Now: you must focus and use your energy like a laser to create GOOD in your world. This is a time to pray, IF that works for YOU, to sing, to turn inward, and rejoice because YOU are ALIVE and as long as YOU are among us: ENJOY IT! Enjoy the marvelous spectacle of IT! Delight in your cancer because it means you must make time for yourself. You are done No more giving everything for others. Cheers! Bottoms UP! Hurrah for SPORTIN’ OL’ YOU!
5.) Do: become very friendly with your doctors. Share the jokes you read, hear, and love with them and they will LOVE seeing YOU and YOU will get better care. Bring them a copy of a great book you just read. LOVE, them and they will care about YOU, more. Moreover: being the favorite patient of a great doctor has many social benefits.
6.) Have a daily belly laugh. Yes, this is time for comedy. This is time for laughing until others in the chemo-center give you funny looks. Make a practice of laughing. Call your funniest friends. Watch humorous movies. Read seven joke books at the doctors office. Bring your most glamorous friend to chemotherapy with you, IF you are lucky she will be Italian, a tall and svelte beauty, a spiked-heeled riot of laughs of witty comments, like mine is.
7.) Address the issues: this is time to educate yourself, apply the SEVEN BOOK RULE, which is Frau Kolb’s favorite success tool: read seven books about your type of cancer. Why seven? Because then you will have an informed perspective and know what to ask your doctors. IF you manage to gather together seven books about the culture and lingo of Cancer-Land, a weird valley, near the Abyss… which has no set maps or rules, yet plenty of gravity, mud pits, and other obstacles worthy of a pause. YOU better learn the basics of what others have endured or in order to find the treasure buried in the middle of this surreal landscape.
8.) Be super NICE to medical staff, after all, they have your life in their hands. Don’t forget your "please and thank you, for the bed pan,” Because if you are given treatment that is fair and even on-its-way-to kind you are blessed. Be grateful.
9) Ask friends or buy yourself a stunning collection of bedroom suits and gowns worthy of a Mad Men Episode. Yes! It is time to wear a turban. You know, you always wanted to. You will need fresh entertaining pajamas when friends come visit. It is very glam to remain presentable while very ill. DO IT!
10.) This is your chance to meet handsome doctors and nurses! Don’t forget that flirting with your medical staff is one healthy why of keeping everyone’s spirits UP!
11.) Be invited to The Grand Cancer Ball and give a rambling talk on how fabulous your new collection of wigs are! Enjoy playing dress up, when your hair falls out whip out the wigs (note: plural, IF you dare have fun with it. A blue bob, in my book is d’riguer.)
12.) This is your chance to cash in all favors and make all the outrageous requests you desire. Go for it! No one will fault you. Finally! Freedom to be a cancer DIVA is a blessing.
© Magnus Petterson PHOTO Frau Kolb in the Studio, 19 February 2010
13.) This is the part of the movie of YOU where you find out what really matters and who really cares. Do not be surprised if some of the people you thought would be present for you are not. Let them go. Be OPEN to the new LOVE that can and will support you IF you allow yourself a buoyant, relaxed, and grateful simply with or without a life-threatening condition.
14.) Friends, family members, medical staff, social workers, and others that are invested in caring for you (because, of course, you care for them) will rally around you and you will have golden moments in the strangest places.
15.) Every time you make a decision that prolongs your life and helps you enjoy being here you are blessed. So enjoy making choices with your team of friends and family headed by an advocate, which ideally is someone educated and good at record keeping, someone bold and deeply invested in your success.
16.) Thank goodness that you have this chance to say the important things to the important people. BE REAL. Stop being so nice IF it hurts you. BE GENEROUS with the praise and gratitude for every little courtesy or good vibe others will show you. Listen to each person that comes to you as though they were an angle delivering messages from god. Listen.
17.) Decide to be public or private, the choice is yours, but now is a time to make sure your needs are met and that you connect to the source of all LOVE which is within you. Every moment you breath and can cognate you are blessed. Enjoy this truth.
18.) Take time to watch leaves fall in slow motion from autumn trees or the snow melt and freeze. Become a camera that quietly takes in the view and delight in being able to see the dust moats dancing in the sunlight through the stained glass windows of your synagogue/chapel.
19.) This is a time when tradition comes in handy. Tap into who you are and what your people do at times of crisis, then select what works, discard the fist fighting and drunken orgies, do adopt the customs of other cultures that might fit your mood and help you enjoy life more.
20.) It is time for reading novels in bed!
21.) Long sunset walks!
22.) More time with your pets, IF you don’t have one or two get a new one, a source of consistent LOVE is useful during chemo. Moreover, walking a dog is just what you need to be doing. WALK! Better yet, RUN! Fitness can really help you feel better about ANY situation.
23.) EAT BETTER. More fresh—organic is best—Food! The leaner, fitter, stronger you are the more likely to recover from your sometimes grueling cancer treatment and the long periods of testing/uncertainty. Cook more or rather invite friends over, they can help you cook/clean because now that you are the dancing with the cancer blessing you are now in the position to graciously accept help, love, and support. Let the goodness rain down on you and soak you to the bone, let it wash away pain and feel good about being here for as long as you can enjoy the bumpy ride… come in/go out... and enjoy the flowers, meals, and other perks family, friends, new care givers, and your extended circles will provide.
© Magnus Petterson PHOTO Frau Kolb in the Studio, 19 February 2010
The motto: when we get bad news: we celebrate/when we get good news: we celebrate is at the heart of this system.
My husband, Dr. Hartmuth C. Kolb came up with the above motto and the original “Cancer Blessing,” was discovered by my talented medical oncologist, Dr. Lawrence Piro upon the discovery that my chemo-therapy treatment had to be interrupted to perform an open-heart-surgery… but that is another story.
Dearest and most cherished Talkinggrid Readers, Commentators, Contributors, Donors, and Critics,
Thank you, again for allowing Talkinggrid into your life in 2012 or 13… whenever you started to visit this lowly yet unique web-site… the voice of a quirky, cute, fuzzy thinking, artist ––Frau Kolb—on the loose, a wild (art) Party (performance) Person from New York… or is she from the Caribbean, IF so… what is with this Frau… Business?
(Writing is therapeutic. Reading this I hope you feel healed of your own insignificance and connected to the larger whole of human experience.)
Seven DAYS into the NEW year… Frau Invites you reconsider your resolutions and arrive at a better approach.
So… here we go:
27 Ways to Welcome The NEW YEAR!!!
1.) Don’t stop. Think about the holiday season as a period for celebrating the magic, the light, and the eternal unending love. These are good reasons to take better care of yourself: cook, clean-the-house, groom the self, and socialize. If you did a solid rendition of Thanksgiving, way back in November you: ate well, home cooked organic and healthy food, fresh made with lots of carrots and celery and perhaps… turkey/tofu turkey.
Now, in January, we launch the NEW year with French bubbly and friends. Do: have people over to your still decorated holiday home. Don’t go out on New Year’s Eve: it is always disappointing. Expensive and loud, the holiday boils down to freezing outdoor mayhem: don’t bother.
2.) Let GO! Review the last year. What worked? What habits/people/places demand to be released “the their highest good,” in the NEW Year? Let these people, positions, and mistakes be a part of the past and make a clean rip into the NEW YOU!
3.) Make a list of everything you LOVE about yourself and want to enhance. What are your best qualities and how are you going to improve your game/performance/results/numbers/stats in 2014. Focus on what you do well, love to do, and want to do more… IF it works for you, brings you good, then do more. (Seems obvious, I know yet, it is New Year and every New Year, is an opportunity to review and make changes.)
4.) Invest in creating a New Year that reflects what and who you are or desire to become.
5.) Don’t forget your monthly spa treatment.
6.) Carefully put away the holiday decorations. Collecting ornaments over the decades and generations, telling stories of family members long gone is one of the most holiday enhancing activities I reserve time for. Yet, packing away our little treasures to be used again, next year, extends the holiday glow, just a little longer. (Atheists can skip this step.)
7.) Decide what 2014 is going to be about for YOU! Give the year a title. For example; “This is the Have-Toned-ABS or Eat-Only-Organic-Meats,” Year. This brings focus to your efforts and makes it easy to look back next year on your achievements. Develop a one year plan for personal success. What does, “success,” mean to you? Shave it down to five words. Keep these words close, make them your mantra, become the butterfly you are.
8.) Plan to have a great year. What do you have to look forward to? If the answer is “No Thing.” Well… why?
What did you do to make it so… awful? What can you do this month, TODAY, Now… to make it better?
9.) Remember to express gratitude to all the beautiful people who toss you a smile, a quarter, a tip, a bit of love; here-and-there are people that give you just enough love to keep you going. Thank them, again.
10.) Be nice. Be generous. The more you give the more YOU get. Don’t be afraid to LOVE passionately. Dive in in 2014 to the power of kindness. YOU can do it.
12.) Give everyone space to be themselves, including yourself. Accept that you have issues and that you are not likely to change, yet you might try… occasionally… in the name of tradition, to reform yourself with clock-like regularity around this time of year, to no avail because you are basically always going to be the boring old goat that has to piddle and poo.
12.) Read more books. Make more time by cutting back on the freakin’ entertainment that consumes much of everybody’s time. We all watch shows. Even I, the great lunatic sage, FRAU KOLB, seccumb to the allure, of a beautiful human (think: Don Draper in Mad Men) uttering brilliantly written lines as though they had just ***thought*** to say THAT outrageously well crafted LINE! Wow, films and television shows thrill us and impress upon us the idea that somewhere else there are humans so slick and sexy that they never have to brush their teeth or eat right. Films, videos, digital media…. all consume our attention and give back very little. Yet, books are friends that tell stories slowly, giving you time to think and flesh out ideas. Read a good novel or two or ten this year. I recommend it for your health. I also say: “No, thank you!” to digital books. They just don’t work for me. But the more I read paper books, the more I love how slow they go. I adore the space between the words. I sip the stream of words and let each ideas percolate on my tongue I savor the moments, meanings, and characters found in books. When humans fail me, when life sucks, when I get confused and feel homeless: I retreat to books for comfort and warmth and to help repair my spirit. Try it. It might work for you, too.
13.) Focus on finance, with February right around the corner, it is time to think about your fiscal health. Did you budget properly for the holiday expenditures or did the holiday hype take you by surprise, again, this year?
14.) Are you brushing up on your French/Mandarin/Portuguese? GOOD!
15.) Plan a vacation for yourself. You can and will go somewhere fun this year.
16.) Spend time with your favorite poet. This year on New Year’s Day I dove into “Leaves of Grass,” by no-one-less than Walt Whitman. Now… IF you haven’t read Whitman since gradeschool GET TO IT. Whitman rocks.
17.) Get ready for the LA Contemporary Art Fair, which is the highlight of the social calendar for Muses and the Amused on the West Coast. Get ready for whatever event floats your boat and can be this month’s highlight, plan one for each month, and thus, map out your year, sketching a picture of an ideally stimulating and uplifting mental landscape, sculpting an environment, rich with possibility for enriching your soul.
18.) Cultivate your lighthearted nature by spending time outside, inside, and everywhere-in-between enjoying the fact that YOU exist.
19.) IF you are not aware of why you are alive, this might be a good time to figure that out. Apply the steps above. IF you are aware of your purpose (everyone has a least one if not thousands of good reasons to be good, kind, loving, and take care of others, better).
20.) Try a NEW approach. Reconsider your past moves and plan to dance to a new drum beat. YOU, after all, are the only person that can make you happy.
21.) Wish everyone peace and prosperity. There are more than enough resources for everyone on the planet to live well. Yet, it is up to each individual to define who they are and what they want, while respecting the rights and wishes of others. There is no need to compete with anyone other than your former self, this or any other year.
22.) Stressed? Take it as a sign. You require rest. Don’t let the demands of life wreck havoc on your self-care schedule. Relax. Do it as a duty. Take a deep breath and exhale blessings onto this NEW year which stands naked before you. Kiss it.
23.) Kiss yourself. Do it. Kiss your elbows, hands, knees. YOU deserve LOVE. Give it to yourself.
24.) Pick clothes that address the whether best. YOU don’t need a lot of gear. Trust me. You only need one outfit or two that work without a hitch to get you from one season to the next in style. Warmth is an issue for most of North America in January. Keep warm. Enjoy discovering new clothes that are on sale now and in February which will make your winter a pleasure.
25.) Embrace the weather. Enjoy the storms. Plan ahead so you ALWAYS HAVE organic FOOD in the house, in the pantry, on the shelf… somewhere have a treat or two stocked… so that when it is really cold out you can snuggle up with a good book, a brandy, or a camomile tea… and when you do curl up like a baby in uterus think: thank goodness, I have a home. IF however, you are homeless and happen to be reading Frau Kolb's blog for kicks at the public library, I’d like to ask you… WHY? I mean, “Why, are you homeless and reading Talkinggrid at the public library?” I think that is weird. I don’t mean being homeless is weird. Many people, millions… maybe are homeless, right? I don’t know. I’ve not been homeless in a couple decades and when I was I was young and it was a choice because I wanted to LIVE and adventures beckoned. Any way… embrace the weather.
26.) Pat yourself on the back: you made it this far. Not only did you survive 2013, which truth be told was a really challenging year, but you read all 26 of Frau Kolb’s 27 recommendations or suggestions for cliche busting paradigm shifting ways to launch the NEW YEAR in style, bonbons of sweet truth meant to enlighten and excite you and encourage your personal growth, which is what Talkinggrid is becoming…. a place you can come and read about how and what Frau Kolb might do to get through “The Valley of Death,” which is so familiar to many people, that suffer quietly and feel lost in the crevice of creation which is NOW and HERE.
I’m no Virgil. Yet, I’m one woman, making my life work, well enough… that I keep writing, reading, dancing, playing music, loving painting, and dreaming creating, producing, and discovering ART projects in 2014.
I’m not going to deny that 2013 was a rough bitch in high heels and a leather corset. It was… Yet, we made it past her cruel embrace and now we can run head long into the NEW!
27.) This is not the last nor the final word on ways to celebrate and get your year off to a good start. You have to invent your own rituals, create traditions which work for you and your family. Don’t just do what everybody else does and then feel bad that your life doesn’t work for you. YOU must tailor your life to meet your needs and cease judging other for not having the same exact values as you. If we all wanted or were the same person, there really wouldn’t be enough resources for us all to thrive. There are, yet… it is up to us to learn to use what we have in a way that best works for ourselves and others.
Now, I wish you a solid, worthwhile year.
I wish you the strength and understanding to know that your year will be whatever you decide to make it.
Go LUCK! (For Fortuna is a raging whore ready to eat you alive, much like Kronos did his children…)
For a Quick LOOK BACK at stand-out Talkinggrid coverage and art discoveries for 2013: