Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chandler County Park in Mount Sinai and a Spooky Halloween on Long Island

Some months ago I had promised myself NOT to write anything about Long Island anymore see, sometimes one doesn't choose what to write and just comes across facts and rumors when one expects that least.
This is what happened to me today, reading the North Shore Sun* while enjoying a coffee at Sweet of the Spoon, a very neat place in downtown Rocky Point.

The article I was reading is about a place I often drove (and still drive) by.
Chandler County Park has always been a big incognito since I arrived on Long Island.
Too often I wanted to stop in front of its closed gate and peek inside. 
But after all, to me it meant no more than the next closed park, loaded with ticks and other uncomfortable surprises...

According to ghost hunters Kerriann Flanagan Brosky and Joe Giaquinto  among others, there could be some evil spirits - after which the trail in the Park gets the name  "Satan's Trail"- who wouldn't like people's presence.
In the Park area there used to be a mansion where the tenant, a lady called Mary (a former patient in Kings Park Psych Ward), lived for a short time before disappearing mysteriously. Did she killed herself?Was she killed by a violent husband? We don't know. But her tomb might be in the park and can't be located.
Mary is now a restless spirit, who haunts anyone who tries to find her.

Even though the main versions around Mary's disappearance involve possession or murder, there is a common thread: Mary's spirit doesn't seem to find its way to the after world and lingers between two realms, bothering her "visitors" with scary experiences.

In my acquaintances there were people who could sense these kind of presence and - although I didn't like them - I still believe they had a certain connection with these "spirits" and could (thanks to a special sensitivity) communicate with them.
In the following articles you can find more about Mary's story, the Satan's Trail and Chandler County Park, should you be interested in spending a spooky Halloween visiting the area.

Kerriann Flanagan Brosky Blog 

*The North Shore Sun isn't published any longer, sadly.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thanatos Showed Me

"You can always sit here" said a crystalline voice.

At this point I was so tired I decided to sit, before knowing where "there" was and who was talking to me.
There was fog in my eyes.
"Just sit down and I will tell you a story".
A rebellious sigh rose from  my chest: was I there to hear some story?!
It was then, after  I had swiped the fog from my eyes, that a sinister landscape came to sight, I was standing on the edge of a path overlooking a gorge.
I sat down. Next to me, suddenly I could see this sweet looking, smiling creature who reminded so much me of Morpheus but had a more relaxed way.
No hurries and no arguments.

Well, it must be a good sign, I thought.
He said Thanatos was his name.
Shivers went down my spine but I told myself: relax, nothing can happen.

He said "Relax, nothing can happen".
"Look, from here you can see that gorge. If you observe very carefully, at a certain point, you might see your enemy's corpse floating in the river".

Now I was freaking out.
"I said you might. Might is all you need to see".
Shaking my head I made a sign that I didn't understand what he was exactly talking about. 
Instead of explaining me the reason of his words, he took a little book out of his pocket and started reading to me.
In my head I was checking a list of things I had eaten before getting involved in this conversation, of the drugs I had not taken and of the news that might have left some indelible footprints in my memory. 
Nothing could be held responsible for that, so I told myself  "be patient and hear what this weirdo has to tell you!".
"Once upon a time" he started.
I stood up and fixed his now silly face and his silly face was telling me I was still on the edge of that path and I would have fallen hadn't I been careful. 
Thanatos, you don't want me to fall?

I sat down again.
"Listen, I don't need to go on with this farce, I just wanted to warn you that you might see your own body down there".

He told me about battles and defeats, he told me that there was no way I could win a lost battle. 
And he added: you know it by yourself, why did you need to come so far if you were aware of the risks?
This time the answer was easy:
"I came here because I was tired of running around, because Morpheus wouldn't let me rest on his pillows".
"Just because he told you they were not for you?You know he is never going to tell you that!Will you be fine with the Jester waking you up?"

Again I stared at him, searching for a little sign of a better answer to all my questions. He knew. So he stared back at me.
"You want me to tell you whether she ever woke up or not. Just close your eyes and let that get unreal again, then you'll know".

I had a bad night, the words of Thanatos were now the only reality I could bring home. 
The Jester...the Jester...that word is still buzzing in my ears.

A Forest of Symbols
A Maze in my Dreams
A Maze in my Dreams II
He Said She Said

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Manipulator's Nightmare 2

Mom, you can't tell me what to do, because you're not my boss:


(heard from my five year old daughter last night)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ordinary Nightmare

I grab the child out of the car seat as fast as possible, I stick my fingers in his mouth, I get the paper clip he's about to swallow.
I lose the paper clip for a second, I reach for it again and pull it out in rage. Shaken.
Sometimes days are really long. They are crazy and everything just seems to happen all together; from a nice and relaxing walk in Brooklyn Heights you end up spending your evening at the emergency, worried about possible damages you might have done to your child, seeing any kind of sick people, not having dinner, getting home at 11pm, going to bed and having nightmares.
On the following morning, after saving the last drop of milk  for your daughter's cup (you obviously didn't manage to buy it the day before), you hear "You're a bitch", instead of a "Thank you".
When she insists on buying food at the school's cafeteria - claiming it's better than what you cook for her - you miss the ground under you feet.

Sometimes it takes a while to pick up the pieces.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Maze In My Dreams II

Dream Of A Dream

Knock knock...Morpheus, will you open the doors of your reign to me again?
I need another favor for I can't sleep. This means no dreams.
Last time we met we had an argument and you left something I am not sure really belongs to me.
Please, open the door!Give me another dream!
Why did you take them away?
Do you think I don't deserve them anymore?Is it because I punched you on the face?
Morpheus was staring all proud and self-confident; I tried to ignore his defiant smile, clearly meaning  “girl, I am not your pharmacy” or I would have started another argument, for I saw  the poppy flowers decorating his bed!!
Still, it was me the one in need and I did an effort to look very sorry for his lips.
“There you go” he said and when I woke up this morning my sister had sent me a message.
It said:
“I am afraid of no ghost”. What did she mean?I am afraid of no ghost either, although....I can think of ghosts  I'd rather keep closed air tight in a jar.
Then my husband asked me “Whom are you going to call?”.
I thought they were plotting against me. What did they know that I didn't know?
Whom was I going to call? I had no clue!
Waking up I only have one on my mind: breakfast.
As a matter of fact, it turned out I had forgotten two faces belonging to  the last dream.
Silke's face was one of those. She was my mid-wife so: W-H-A-T was she doing in my dream?
I wasn't delivering but she was trying to give me some pain reliever.
A strong pain in the neck was all it was about and I wasn't sure why she was injecting something in my legs. Was it just a phantom pain?
The other face is a friend's face I don't quite recall. It is a little blurred in my memory.
But it was some beautifully sad face.
Voila, Morpheus had it right again, I didn't deserve any new dream, because my dreams are totally twisted and they don't mean anything. They are the dreams of Phantasos, not his!
I am told those dreams convey wrong messages, they are not reliable.
Hence I was the one to get a phone call on that very day.
Hadn't I picked up the receiver I wouldn't be a believer, Morpheus would suggest.
He would also suggest I stay away from ghosts. They are not real but they kind of hurt.
The other entity I should be aware of are angels. They wake me up with the excuse of doing something good to me and then they tempt me until I am too weak.
Let's have a coffee, Morpheus, let's sit together and talk business. 
Is there a chance I can have a nice, colorful, pretty, relaxing dream about which I have nothing to complain?
Or are you so mad at me that from now on I am left alone with these strange people?
Remember? Some months ago I told you what I wanted!
I worked hard on that, I was crystal clear about my ambitions and it seemed to me you got it right.
But now you give to me the exact opposite; all the efforts were in vain.
It's not enough you made me argue with a friend, you keep repeating the same mistake over and over. You give me words, you give me feelings and then you turn your back laughing and teasing me; last time, did I hear you right, you said to me:
"Be realistic, you can only be a dream".
Me?Of all the people?
So it happens that I still wander in your reign, this time in other regions, windy and dry and wonder what will be of that dream.
Here I dwell, with no chance to get out. I search for a paved road, for a marked path, but there is none; I call you but you do not hear me or pretend not to.
There are ghosts hanging on the trees, you shape them?Well, I shake them.
Slowly the strength is vanishing; I see you throwing pillows in front of your  ivory door but they are not meant for me, so where am I supposed to rest?

A Forest of Symbols
A Maze in my Dreams

He Said She Said

A Maze In My Dreams

 "All the world 's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts"  
As You Like It
The Curse
Last night Morpheus took me by the hand and whispered something in my ear; but before I knew what he meant I was already in his reign.
Not long ago there was a witch, an old witch who wanted to sell me something.
I had hoped it was apples what she had in her basket, but those were too tiny and shiny to be apples.
She had beads; black pearls and aquamarines.
"Which will you buy?" she asked. "You've been here before and I know your answer".
No I wasn't and I didn't know any answer!She was trying to cheat on me, I thought.
"I can leave the basket, so you can make up your mind. But remember: you can't take anything out, as long as you haven't decide. Anyway I know your answer".
Then she disappeared and left me wondering.
I wondered and I wander in that place, looking for the witch. 
"What would you suggest is my color?" I wanted to ask.
Not finding my way out, I started looking for Morpheus and yelled at him "Take me back, that's not the place I wanted to be; that's not the place you promised me, you son of a witch!!!"
Nightmares (Phobetor's Version)

I saw Morpheus running toward me through the woods, his lips were bleeding and he had honeysuckle garlands on his head and forearms, I threw an angry and almost sad look at him.
“Would you take me back, please?”.
He nodded. Still, he asked whether I didn’t want to wander to the borders of his reign.
“Maybe another time, now it’s late, I really need to go and you need to take care of your lips”, I added as if it mattered, at that point.
“What should I do with the beads, though?”.
Giving me half a look, which meant “If you don’t do it, I’ll do it!”, he grabbed the basket and  threw it into the grass...and as I was about to look  back, sorry for the lost beauty, he shouted: “Never look back. You'll have a seven years curse!”
“The witch didn’t leave the basket to give you more is a curse”.
“But WHY?”. My eyes were open and stunned like a crack in the sky and my jaw too had dropped open in disbelief.
“Did it ever occur to you that anything happening here is pure nonsense?”.
Paradoxically this was the only thing that made sense.
Laying the honeysuckle garlands on my head he suggested “This is the only thing you need”.
Was that nonsense as well?
“Do not, under any circumstances, look back”.
I was about to faint,  breathing in the smell of honeysuckle, but he pulled my arm so hard and we started running again.
I got bruises on my knees but I was glad I was leaving. No more silly decisions. No silly witch around.
Waking up this morning I noticed  blood on my knuckles and a little chain of black pearls, too. And the words of Morpheus still ringing in my ears: “I know your answer”.
Psst Morpheus smart-pants, don't tell anybody you know better than the witch!!!
...We are such stuff As dreams are made on
and our little life is rounded with a sleep
Prospero in The Tempest

A Forest of Symbols

A Maze in my Dreams II
He Said She Said

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Forest of Symbols

Il est des parfums frais comme des chairs d'enfants, Doux comme les hautbois, verts comme les prairies, — Et d'autres, corrompus, riches et triomphants, Ayant l'expansion des choses infinies, Comme l'ambre, le musc, le benjoin et l'encens, Qui chantent les transports de l'esprit et des sens.
There are perfumes that are fresh like children's flesh, sweet like oboes, green like meadows — And others, corrupt, rich, and triumphant, having the expansiveness of infinite things, like amber, musc, benzoin, and incense, which sing of the raptures of the soul and senses
Baudelaire - Correspondences
The posts that will follow are a collection of short stories I started writing in June. They tell about my dreams and how I totally get lost in them. 
One of the reasons I put them down is that I hadn't been dreaming in a long time, or maybe I just started forgetting about my dreams.
When I was younger I had pretty amazing stories with which I could entertain my friends on an almost hour long bus ride and I think I kind of wish I could have that back. 
The other reason is that I have been observing people around, friends. too..and lately they all have been talking about dreams, without ever mentioning what their dreams are about. Unfair.
Dreams are full of weird stuff we don't understand.
Sometimes we only pretend we don't.

My dreams are full of symbols. 
What about your dreams?

A Maze in my Dreams
A Maze in my Dreams II
He Said She Said

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Driving (Me Nuts)

I know what you are thinking.
Stop doing that!
If you don't have kids, you won't probably have a clue what I am talking about.
You might don't like kids and it would be unimportant; or you might like them and be in a happy relationship with your partner (very in love) and look at kids like these then look into your partners eyes and sigh.
I know all that!!!
I see you when I am running around and my kids are smiling and are quiet.
You want one of those - how C U T E...
But this is just part of the truth.
Mind you, I adore my kids; there isn't a more important thing I can imagine in the world.
Nonetheless I know more than the sweetness and the cuteness they inspire.
These two guys (and many other like them) can be a source of frustration, sweat and tears.
Ever being grocery shopping with  kids?
Admittedly, I had sometimes problems with my daughter, when she was smaller, mainly because I would do grocery shopping when she was tired or hungry, but apart from that she was always rather good and never made a mess in any store. She wouldn't touch everything around.
Also, I avoided for a long time buying certain products that she might have been able to  find interesting, and I could tell her stories when she tried to reach things like candies or chocolate.
I thought, erroneously, I had it under control.
Of course it isn't like that. It has all changed since Bastian can walk.
Most of the time I try to run errands with just him (21 months), to minimize the stress. He doesn't want to sit in the shopping wagon, unless it is the big car (above) or he wants to walk. Sometimes car and then walk, with the catastrophic side effect of me chasing a child AND trying to maneuver the ginormous car.
This child isn't as quiet as he seems: in the past weeks he turned into a little rascal with a surprising ability in grabbing and throwing things all over the place in a matter of seconds.
He does that for pure fun, I can see that; he just laughs happily and mischievously running away if I try to catch him. He is the happiest little monster I know. And I have to pick up stuff, hold him, try to find the right item from the right aisle...showing that I am serious and mad at him, but you know what?
I can't. In the surface I tell him he should stop. And I surely do my best to prevent him from doing some damage.
But inside me I am laughing with him; because he´s fun.
He's totally crazy, laughing his head off, doing whatever he will not be able (hopefully) to do when he grows up. He also comment on his own deeds with "Ah ah funny".
When I take both kids, you witness something I would define as tragicomic.
I put them in the car, hoping they can entertain themselves as long as I need.
But then one wants to grab the other's wheel, one pushes too much, one wants to take off his shoes AND walk. One wants chewing gum at the register and the other rushes to the cookie boxes and throws them up in the air.
Saying I feel embarrassed doesn't make sense anymore. I just got used to all that and I take it with sense of humor, but there are days when I am already very tired and it isn't all so smooth.
Still, I enjoy all this. I know it will change and I might be able to go through  my list one day or the other, without leaving before a supermarket Armageddon happens.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Do I Look Like I Care?

Since I am a mom I often hear - for different reasons - the words "We were all kids".
Sometimes I believe I wasn't kid long enough and it might be that I am not the only one.
From my teenage years I remember observing parents of small children at some fair: they were riding the little apple trains, they were doing silly things and it was obvious that it was THEY having fun, not necessarily their offspring.
They didn't look like they had to save face, nor to care about the opinion of experts (real or do so experts).
Why do I talk about this?I hadn't thought about it for a while now...
It just became very obvious lately, after a birthday of one of my daughter's friends.
We were invited to a bounce party parlors (I like the word payground for those), versus which I have some sort of aversion.
My daughter, being almost five, was confident enough to run around the place climbing, sliding and bouncing by herself.
My son, instead, needed some aid, so I reluctantly gladly decided to climb with him a 15 feet tall slide and bounce inside the plastic jungle, hating that it felt like a military camp for toddlers at times.


Strangely, though, it didn't take long to swift to the more positive feeling of "I want to have a party like this for myself".
That was exhausting but FUN (and addictive!) because it turned out to be one those  rare moments where I didn't  care about anything else.
Just looking at the big smile on my kids' face was reason enough to forget about the last crumb of dignity.
And well, we all ended the day eating pizza and cake, following the rule of the bouncing party business, oh boy, what a trauma!

Anyway, this time, I should have worn the t-shirt that says
"do I look like I care?".

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My Dream House

Although my body is still on Long Island, my mind has already taken its trip back to Europe: I started feeling excited about life in the city again, with all its pros and cons.
There's a number of things to be done to improve our Altbau apartment once we are back: we need to shuffle furniture in the kids room (Bastian was sleeping in our room till we moved to the US), we'll have to move our bookshelves  from  the Berliner Zimmer* to the living room, at some point buy a bigger kitchen table AND a bigger fridge (we have a very small one, I am not thinking about American sizes here).
Anyway, as long as I am here, I enjoy day dreaming about "other" houses.
We were eventually able to take the ferry from Sag Harbor to Shelter Island and from there to Greenport.
Shelter Island was, to my surprise, an architects' heaven.
On the way to the ferry to Greenport we were driving by some interesting  houses.

And we stopped by this one

Noticing the  "open house" sign, I decided to take a look at this design gem.
The architect and owner (of the couple Morris-Sato Studio) showed me around.
That was indeed very kind, as my first words to him were "I am not going to buy this house, because the price is outrageous I'll be back in Europe by November, but I'd love to see it".
Morris, originally from Ireland, told me about the main purpose of his architecture being the environmentally conscious and nature connected spaces, the eco-friendly materials (still a prerogative of the rich, I must assume) and explained how everything that is a bit "strange" is defined by designers as "French ", like the French shower, which base is not separated from the rest of the bathroom floor. (I define that Japanese, oddly).
However, he didn't have to convince me of how  beautiful everything was, I was already there when I saw the kitchen and living room.

I will still not be able to buy the house, but I will dream about it for a looong time.
Should you be interested in buying it yourself, you can find the details here.

Of course, there will be room enough for your leisure time and for guests 

More on the Berliner Zimmer:  basically it's a room connecting the "front house" to the "side house" or the "backyard house" (see the picture). It has only one window at the corner and it usually serves as living room or "go through" room. We use it as the children bedroom (pro: it's large enough for both, con: we have to walk through to go from our bedroom to the rest of the apartment)