Tag Archives: abundance

Not sleeping in Buffalo

It’s the second time I have woken this morning – a dream is responsible (more on that below). The first time was around 3AM, Seget Vranjica Croatia time, stars still dazzling the ink blue sky, Venus Paint the Sky - PRVIĆ - Šepurine & Lukadescending, the moon a silvery white sliver as it completes its latest transit. I drank water, had a piece of spirulina and oat superfood bar and went back to bed to reply to some emails and Facebook posts back in the United States, and then fell back into a soft cocoon of warmth that, unfortunately, did not involve sharing with the right man.

Buffalo snow

20 November 2014 Buffalo Central Train Terminal in background as record snows are cleared.

In my apartment back in Rochester NY I have a feather bed atop my mattress and box springs. Obviously, no matter how desirous of such comfort, I was not going to haul such a weighty and bulky thing with me, though as regular readers of my blog will recognise I did bring a queen size down comforter and one of my Anichini duvet covers along  with a mohair afghan purchased from Calzeat of Scotland many years ago with me. (Despite the body numbing of swimming in 17C sea water temperatures a pilgrimage of self discovery this might be but I am never going to be an ascetic.)    Thankfully my landlady also had outfitted my bed with a king size down and feather comforter (it weighs nearly as much as my feather bed back ‘home’ (though I am less and less sure about where home is these days). Hers is covered with two layers of satin brocade and then tucked into an equally heavy duvet of thick white cotton embroidered in white long the upper edge. There are matching cases for the dense feather and down filled pillows (which I use as a headboard, while I actually sleep on my own pillows). When I initially arrived two weeks ago I had folded hers in half and slept atop of it.   As those living in Buffalo NY (where I was born and lived for 29 years) know only too well, the weather can change dramatically in two days time. And so with temperatures dropping into the 40s at night (and no heat in the bedroom) I am now tucked inside the white one (sleeping bag style with all the pillows mounded above and around me) with my own down comforter over me and the mohair cloud with the colours of the Scottish Highlands holding my body heat in place. If I soft focus I can almost manifest the sublime joy of resting with “the he” in such an environment and fall asleep with the angels providing protection and sweet dreams.

Yesterday on Facebook an article appeared from  The Independent about how a woman has opened a “cuddling shop”, for $60 USD an hour she will hold your hand, stroke your hair, hug you and talk to you (without implications of sex). I thought about the loneliness so many experience (she received 10,000 emails of enquiry in her first week of business) and think she’s onto something. We, in the west, sleep alone. We do not sleep in a single room choke-a-block with 15 or more relatives. I think our isolation makes us hungry for touch – willing to pay for it to realise even an hours worth of connectedness with a complete stranger. While a tremendous economic opportunity for her what a sad commentary on the state of being in the United States.  I could have, or should have, cried in reading the article but I didn’t. While I might want to share my bed with the ‘right man’ I am not in need of sharing it with just any man. The truth is that I have not found a man I felt sufficiently ‘in comfort with’ to share my bed in more than twenty years. Want implies mutuality and a conscious decision to be vulnerable, to love unconditionally, to trust, to believe in the fullness of being which both partners bring to the intimate sanctuary of sleep. Whereas to need something (or someone) conveys desperation, an unquenchable hunger to possess that will ever leave the person demanding fulfillment void.

And so while nestled in my cocoon of sleep, just before I woke for the second time, a dream. I rarely remember these, I don’t write them down, and do not possess the skill to interpret their meanings, but this morning was different – this dream, ripe with messages stands out because for a couple of reasons.

I was sitting at a slatted wooden picnic table.  The light is from a campfire and a nearly set sun. There is a man sitting opposite me, his wife or girlfriend has just sat down in a chair to my right. Medieval Knights   On the table before me are silver spoons or slim decorative pieces each about 7″ in length – they are united in having a small scene at the top like old fashioned ‘souvenir of’ spoons.  Two I distinctly recall, one with a three petaled Trillium flower and the other with a group of men in Medieval clothing including chain mail on horses (knights?). The campfire is to the left of me, and a man appears there, speaks and then disappears. The woman gets a call, she has long hair and resembles a backup singer for a rock band the way she is dressed and is suddenly she is gone too. At the left of my hand there is a clutch of folded money, lots of it. The man opposite picks up the silver spoons/ornaments but leaves me with the Trillium and the Medieval men, Cardsand the money, saying only at his parting “it was foretold”. In a way that is true, my tarot cards were read on Halloween Eve (All Hallows Eve) my defining card at the centre being the Knight of Cups (more on this later). But in that reading, and as conveyed by three other friends within hours and days following was the same message – verbatim. I am protected by angels and guardians, human and Divine beings, I am surrounded by great love, that I must allow myself to release the energetic block I have toward wealth (rather than the spiritual and emotional abundance I enjoy, embrace and express gratitude for) and once I release the associate fear (of in having it turning into a world class jerk) I would have “all that I need” and more.  The universe is always sending us messages. I acted on a physical realm one this past Monday morning, and this morning, within a matter of two hours of waking, that action appears to be more than a possibility of becoming my new reality – and staying on indefinitely in Croatia (friends in the United States do not panic unduly I should be back by May to pack up and leave for good if this works out).

If you enjoy my blog please consider sending me the value of a cup of tea in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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There will be light! An utterly incongruent story of six lamps.

As my dear friend Ken Herron said when I told him the story, “You can’t make this stuff up!” and while the following may provide evidence to the contrary I am not (as he said) a “crazy lamp lady”.

I will admit, I live on the edge of outright financial disaster, but surrounded by beauty (which makes up for a lot) and always in a state of gratitude. I have very little in terms of expectation, and I am ridiculously happy for my version of normal which for anyone else would likely bring about bleeding ulcers, nocturnal teeth grinding and require serious pharmaceuticals to abate sitting in the corner of the room rocking back and forth and drooling on myself.  I trace this ‘cause and effect’ back to the willful folly of a 17 or 18 year old me desiring something denied by my father who said no more times than not to me while rarely denying my brother a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g, and my intuitive sense of navigation to find a way around an ‘in trust for’ passbook bank account and to the desired financial assets. (Whereupon my father announced that he was “washing his hands of me” – c’est la vie.)  I recall years later my mother saying something sarcastic about the fact that I always buy myself what I want by way of explanation for not receiving anything for my birthday, yet again. Sigh. I learned self sufficiency (for need and want) in an environment of disproportion; I am unapologetic.

intentionThat expressed, nice things happen to me. Frequently. Specialness that you could only put at the threshold of a universe that demands equilibrium.  A universe where intention manifests, despite the totally illogical, circuitous path traveled and where I find myself with (undeserved?) abundance. This is a true story about such. About how I “shouldn’t have, but did” and how in the end it worked out better than any rational human being assigning risk management theories could predict or that common sense would dictate. This story is about the universe saying yes when it should have denied me, and didn’t. This is the utterly incongruous story of six lamps and the unexpected, but very happy ending on my path to reinvention and relocation.

In 1992 I bought a pair of antique Famille Verte Chinese covered urns with mud decorations and battle scenes with carved rosewood stands for $99 (inclusive) in a junk cum antique DSCN9916shop in Buffalo, NY’s Allentown district.  I then took them to renowned antique dealer Dana Tillou (I have also been a customer of his nephew Jeffrey) to ‘see what I had scored’ only to have Dana gently suggest that given their value (at the time about $1100) I not drill them and turn them into lamps; which of course is precisely why I bought them and what I did. Elmwood Lighting (now out of business) did the honors and with the custom ecru silk lampshades the bill came to $161 and change (I had the receipt until fairly recently) all in $260.

Fast forward to 2013.

When I decided to uproot my life (to at the time destination unknown) last year I decided that I would start selling off my possessions to make the move easier, and with a new life would come a complete redo of my living-room decoration.  So I listed them on eBay, they had a buyer, who turned out to be one of those eBayers that give the company a bad reputation with sellers, for the $260 I had ‘invested’ after enjoying them for 20 years.  Alas, she opened a case and claimed “not as represented” (and then as broken) and eBay in their wisdom offered her a complete refund because I had insurance on the two boxes even while she had not returned the lamps.  I filed a claim with USPS, asked her to make them available to an inspector, to return them and hoped for at least the $200. Months dragged on, but eventually USPS issued a check for the $200 and a couple weeks later the lamps came back – not a total loss but time and money would have to be spent to find a replacement carved rosewood base and have the repairs done.  Eventually these would happily sell a second time for the same $260; net gain was about $170. Another lamp uneventfully sold for $260 putting my cash flow in the $430 range.

Obviously if you are selling lamps there is still the need for lighting to see after dark.  And my longest, dearest held girlfriend Doris (an age peer of my parents) once had a pair of reticulated Blanc de Chine ginger jars that had been wired and sat on her mantle that I loved.  The man that ran her downsizing household sale was having an estate sale in my DSCN0001neighborhood and I managed to score a reticulated Blanc de Chine vase, the base already drilled, from him for $18 (picture at right). I found an antique hand carved Chinese wooden display stand that fit on eBay (actually, eventually, two) for $60 and had my lovely local lamp repair guy Brian handle the wiring for me – $79 (brass fittings and labor, tax).  I shipped the new lamp to NYC for a custom silk lampshade as no local business to my current home does such work at a cost of about $50. If you are doing the math along with me here that meant that I was still ‘up’ $233 after using my other lamps for roughly 20 years, not a bad ROI.

After massive grief and delays (three months) in having the custom turquoise blue silk pagoda lampshade made the lamp arrived back in one box and the lampshade in another – fully insured thank God – bill $640 (I know, I know, I am insane but I beg you not to look at me that way) for the lampshade and the shipping back. Technically speaking the whole gorgeous lamp with the shade came at an end cost $417.) BUT, the lamp base arrived back to me shattered! (argh), receipts forwarded to FedEx, more grief, partial refund requested, more dialogue, more emails, more receipts, waiver on claim, still broken lamp and an expensive lampshade and no lamp and then finally, nearly miraculously, a check arrives from FedEx – not a partial refund but a check that covered the shipping, the lampshade that wasn’t damaged, and the lamp – for $825 and some change!  Now the net cost of the new gorgeous lamp is actually nothing, and I have “made” $408 in the process.

Here’s where it gets even more interesting.  I was looking for a lamp finial for the Blanc de Chine vase lamp – so off to eBay and that’s where I found the dragon porcelain lamp (see the Pinterest story by clicking here, start at the bottom to see what it looked like on eBay) and finiala lamp finial ultimately paying $215 (including the shipping). Alas, it had a serious ugly lamp cap and an eBay source sold me a solid brass one that is PERFECT for $3. The accounting? Still ahead by $190!  The finial turned out to be really big (for either lamp) at 3” in diameter and a bunch of research turns out that it is actually an antique carved Mutton Fat (white) jade plaque from China (quite valuable) turned into a finial likely late 1800s so I listed it on eBay (more on this in a bit).

My lamp guy charged me $30 to rewire (what turned out to be gilt ormolu mounted) the porcelain lamp, and I am still ahead by $160. My 2nd new lamp now needs a lampshade.  DSCN9991There is no way I can justify another custom silk shade so I try the blue one on this lamp and decide it looks perfect but the Blanc de Chine, now devoid of its custom pagoda shade, needs one. Back online to do research for something “in stock” and I settle upon a black silk shade with gilt lining DSCN9999but I am not spending $89 plus shipping. So back to eBay where, to my utter amazement, I find the perfect size, brand new, unused, oval, black silk with gilt paper lining shade originally sold in a town that I lived in out on Long Island’s North Shore – and I auction snipe it (bidding at the 30 second mark before the auction ended) and score it for $19 (including the shipping)! It looks amazing and despite all the energy expended my two new lamps have a total cost of nothing and I have made $141!!!

That is not the end of this story. Remember the carved jade plaque as a lamp finial? I sold it on eBay for $800. (Not factoring in eBay and PayPal fees) the universe has netted me two breathtaking lamps and I wound up making $940 – which, if I am truthful, should have been used to pay my rent in the first place instead of messing around buying lamps and that is where the money eventually went.

Both lamps have “cousins” on the 1stDibs website – the Blanc de Chine at $2250 and the gilt mounted porcelain 19th century French oil lamp that had been converted at $3000. A 60 watt bare bulb would ‘do’ for reading and no one actually needs a pair of lamps worth $5200 but I do love how the universe conspires to let me live with beauty – which is exactly what I ‘need’.

I still have this antique Paris porcelain one to sell with its custom silk shade – if you are interested. 😉

P.S. September 2014 – the Paris Porcelain one sold – $325 – bringing my grand total net gain $1265.

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Living in Holocene – Days Like These

“The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”                                                 ~ Psalms 90:10 King James Bible, Cambridge Edition

Hennaed hands, a mass of humanity – utterly naked adorned but in red dye as a piece of performance art by Spencer Tunick, mudder races, the exhilaration of the Hindu festival of Holi (Festival of Colours) – even when things appear the same, they are so very different; hennaalmost imperceptible subtleties, we are all united in the common human experience. Our joys and happiness have depth and shallowness, clarity, lingering as memories, captured in images, put in frames, or as a ‘picture memory’ indelible to ravages of time; the passage of each day a special gift to appreciate, or squander, life happens, even if you choose to be observant you are magically, exquisitely, ‘in it’.

I walked to meet a girlfriend and her fiancé this afternoon, shared a Magic Hat beer called Séance – the darkest carbonated alcoholic beverage I have ever consumed (it was delicious) – watched the tiniest bit of the (American) football game, the pretext to get together so I could hear her wedding plans, see “the ring” and then walked the mile plus back home. On my return there were nine, nearly identical, small radio operated model yacht raced a course around five buoys in the pond of the park, the breeze lifted as I sat at the picnic table wet with remnants of the mornings’ heavy rain, darkening grey moved quickly across the sky and I thought of Tunick’s installation art as it had been shared via Facebook earlier in the day. I had, in turn, shared and responded:

“I think this is less about holieach person finding their niche as it is THE PERFECT representation of how we are all joined by our common existence, made of precisely the same “stuff” with minor outward physical difference (in this performance art by Spencer Tunick – he has negated even those differences to the extent possible – exquisitely leveling us in our humanity)! BREATHTAKING, thank you for sharing – I feel inspired to play with more words as result. ox, Te”

I thought of Tunick’s vision again as I was just about to clear the park, we’ve had snow (albeit a very small amount) in the city in which I live and, yet, here was an apple tree still holding all of its fruit – small green apples (yes, I filled my purse to nearly overflowing with them) – tunickagain, common in their experience and nearly identical in appearance. How many people had even noticed the tree? You can be certain that plenty of people driving their cars took notice of a woman in a skirt picking these apples! The Holocene, in geological terms, commenced with the gradual warming of the earth, within it is all the written history of the human species and places (“urban”) that have been continuously inhabited for nearly 12,000 years. We don’t think of our four score and ten in our youth, perhaps not even as our middling years encroach on our passions, but the underlying messages of the songs embedded in this post (thank you Bon Iver and Die Toten Hosen) which I have united to form the title of this post, for me, amplify and echo our lives  – spent in community and in solitude.

Necessary to our health, we must celebrate, make time for now so we have a long view of miles and miles and miles to recognise with contented sighs at the end of our days…

Marijan, thank you for ‘starting some of my sentences’ for me!

If you enjoy my blog please consider “buying me a cup of tea” in your currency to me via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and please do share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschi. To order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Before I read Anais Nin

I must state here, in this first sentence, that despite my love affair with words and with the languid sensuality of using them to describe the mundane and the sublime, the profane and the sacred, that I have never read a single word of Anais Nin – until this evening. And what I have read is simply the preface to her collection of erotica entitled the Delta of Venus (yes, Imageas a woman I at least know what that is).

It strikes me as oddly similar to what all writers must ‘go through’ for the sake of their art – establishing boundaries to separate what we wish to write with what we must write for the sake of keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table.  I have always thought of Ms. Nin as fabulously successful – perception is reality in public relations parlance – but the preface touches on the woes of bill collectors, broken typewriters and doctors’ appointments and the urgency of writing for “a collector” of erotica at a $1 a page (my going rate for ‘commercial work’ is $2 a word plus expenses or a per diem).  She assembles a Who’s Who of wordsmith excellence, protects anonymity and acts as, in Henry Miller’s and her own words “the madam of this snobbish literary house of prostitution” pooling their stories and creating “literary aphrodisiacs” because “All of us needed the money”; and I am shocked and offended.  In my life there is no husband in equally dire financial straits, not children to protect and care for or even a pet or plant – for now there is only me.  Some months, some years, far better than others but on the whole I have “all that I need” (thus, the title of my first book).  My life is full, and amazing things that happen to no one else I know happen to me, my life is the extreme of abundance and deprivation (which never feels such given the plentitude I feel is my lot).

Right now I look at my wildest dreams to drink sunsets bathed in the same golden light of Plato’s landscapes, swim unadorned in emerald and azure waters in the predawn salt waters where Gaia fornicated to create all of the gods and goddesses before turning her back on mankind and wonder “how do I make such happen?”.  But, like Ms. Nin, for me the idea of Imagewriting of passion on demand makes the essence of our humanity, the infinite expressions of carnal knowledge given and taken in tenderness, pleasure, hunger unlike Japanese netsuke and more like a blow up doll; in my world there is no room for the debasement of desire, only coming into each other in fullness of being to be more than we might be singularly.

There is the moment when, like the stillness of the air just before a storm the scent of ozone assails and the skies burst forth in a torrent, passion exists like a promise.  It is with such stated that I offer that some lives are steeped in the immediacy of fulfillment and others have fleeting glimpses of what living on the edge of reason could offer – my own life is in the place between.  Our thoughts are p-o-w-e-r-f-u-l beyond reckoning – will he touch me? Where and how? Should I ‘allow’ my thoughts to manifest my desire using the wisdom of Buddha?

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”

I am cognitive of doing that ‘at least once’.  I have never told this story – perhaps at 52 and a few months shy of my birthday I can do so without embarrassment – before I begin actually reading Delta of Venus I want to offer ‘a moment’ a decade ago sitting on the tarmac of Boston Logan aboard an Air France flight bound for a long weekend in Paris.  At the risk of being sensational, the plane was full save for two seats, the middle one next to my own window and one in the bulkhead eleven rows ahead of me with the final boarding call being made.  We’ve all ‘been there’ grateful for the reprieve of space on an overnight transatlantic flight, I had taken my Tylenol PM, had changed into my pajama bottoms, washed my face and brushed my teeth and was prepared to forego the inflight meal for sleep when “he” stepped on board.  Tall, chiseled, broad shouldered, seriously Gallic featured and a soft sigh escaped my lips. The thought, fleeting, was as he took the bulkhead seat, now why it is that no man that looks like that ever sits next to me? (Just like that scene in The Holiday when Kate Winslet is shackled not with the dreamy guy but sandwiched between two blue hairs talking the whole way to Los Angeles whilst she receives a text from the man she is escaping!)  The power of our thoughts to alter the course of our lives plays out in this millisecond of ‘eye candy vs. space to spread out’.  Just as the flight attendants are about to run through the safety card drill his hand goes up to the bell – the two men on either side of him are just as broad shouldered.  Body language tells all and the next moment “he” is sitting next to me.

veuve

Sadly not Veuve Cliuot

Over Champagne, and the dinner I didn’t want, Philippe let me practice my school-girl French. He laughed in appropriate places, thoroughly charmed and was a perfect gentleman – almost.  I will not travel without my down pillow, in this instance adorned in a white with pink bow-knots pillow sham. This struck him as funny, but I offered to share, as the lights were dimmed he kissed me – an amazing kiss.  You know those movie scenes where every bit of sexual tension plays out? How the couple involved is breathless and hungry? Our encounter was like that.  His fingers found license unbuttoning my shirt just enough to place his hand on the lace of my bra, then in cupping and fondling my breast and all while we kissed, and yes, he brought me to a (hard fought to maintain silent) dramatic climax at 31,000 feet with my clothes still on surrounded by 400 people.

My point is thus, life is full of such (unimagined) possibilities, and a these experiences can go a long way in carrying us over the seasons of famine in our sexuality. While erotica has its place (I am sure) I have never actively sought it out before Ms. Nin’s book arrived this afternoon, I would much rather live it than read the product of someone else’s imagination.

If you enjoy my blog please consider sending me via PayPal the value of a cup of tea in your currency to livelikeadog@gmail.com. I would delight in your subscribing and sharing it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am  @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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