My Father’s Daughter

Repast over, the painful realization: this dreaded disease was the catalyst for the rebirth of their relationship.  The loss of him now – his music, his humor, his goodness, his fathering – only more profound.


The challenge:  Last month we asked you to give us a killer opening line in exactly 33 words.  This week we’re asking for an equally amazing closing line.  It can be the ending to the story you began in the previous challenge or a completely different ending altogether.  Just make sure it’s exactly 33 words.Image

Music of the Mountain (Trifecta Writing Challenge -Wk 38)


Music of the Mountain


Country roads wind their way

Quaint towns, once familiar hills and vales

Dismay, as malls of progress 

Block farmland valleys.

The homeward trek continues – changes unfold.



Long driveway ahead

Stunning new stone gate;

Upscaled arena – superb symphonic space

Science center, sparkling in the sun.


So much missing:

The concert shed; 

The moldy, memorable residence hall;  

The meandering brook, my misty morning refuge. 

Is nothing the same?


Stop!  Inhale!

Cool crisp air floods my lungs.

Clarity, calmness, confirmation.

There – rising above, through feathery, filmy fog

Towering firs scaling the slope.


Listen! Life abounds beneath the canopy 

Multitudes of melodious measures resume

Cleaving again, after all these years,  ‘neath the mountain

My musical mountain – home.

written in response to Trifecta Writing challenge week 38.

Fanciful Flight (Trifextra week 27)




The majestic snow-white stallion reared, neighing loudly and proudly.  Their eyes locked and magically, she was transfigured; she and the steed became one.  She bolted fearlessly into the night – free at last!



Am I Blue (posted on Trifecta; Thursday June 21, 2012)

Am I blue?
Loving, gifted grandsons,
Handsome husband,
Fairy tale family,
Perfect puppy!

Ah, there it is… lachrymosa.
My “Shadow”, my sheltie.
Always near: my playmate, my pal, my patient.
She trusted me to care for her;
To know when to say “when”.

She needed saving…she was saved;
A day, a few precious weeks…months.
She’s healing, she’s walking, she’s eating,
She’s happy!
She’s gone!

A void is now, happily, filled…our perfect puppy:
Joie de vivre….ecstatic exuberance…we love him!
Still, a dull ache pulses softly beneath a smiling surface
Ever receding: open wound, scab, scar.
I am blue.

Joanne EdithImage


Why can’t she be normal?

They expect her to be normal.

She tries, she obeys, she behaves

But normal isn’t  in the  cards!

For awhile, she heels;

For  awhile, she straddles the fence;

For awhile she shows spurts of normalcy;

Until weirdness wins out.

They choose her ‘vocation’

Feigning  support, they coax her

This way, that way, which way?

Her way!

She endures the stares and sneers 

She dares to go where she shouldn’t

She thwarts their unspoken (if suppressed) desire for failure.

By succeeding.

The road never smoothed for her

Odds never evened.

Actions viewed through unforgiving filters

Achievements acknowledged, misunderstood.

Unpopular choices made 

Paths less-traveled, chosen 

She is blessed; she is happy;

Normal?  Not so much!

In response to Trifecta Challenge week 36 (

NORMAL (noun)

1: a : a normal line   b : the portion of a normal line to a plane curve between the curve and the x- axis 2: one that is normal 3: a form or state regarded as the norm : standard

PERSPECTIVE (Posted on June 13; Trifecta Challenge “Alley”)

Designated location on rooftop deck 
Shortcut through the alley; 
Suddenly, senses under attack  
The city’s underbelly!
Wait to exhale…
Walk faster, closer and closer
to the distant pinpoint of light
Emerge, gasping, from the alley!
Exhale!  Inhale!  Breathe!
Breathe in, breathe out,
Revulsion recedes
Climb worn stone steps to 4th floor Hurry! Wait! Survive – ’til day’s end.  
The alley awaits!
Will I be chosen?
Thought evolves; from alley – to ‘box’ – and back 
Nausea gives way to nostalgia; Powerlessness to pride
Responsibility! Right! Privilege!
It’s 1972 – it’s 2012: years elapse; nothing changes.
Jury Duty!

Retirement 101 (originally posted on June 7, 2012)

I am new to this retirement gig.
On March 6th, after 44 years, I happily said goodbye to the corporate world:
  I said goodbye to the 2 hr. commute to Manhatten.
  I said goodbye to sleepless Sunday nights and stressful Friday executive meetings.
  I said goodbye to PC’s and Blackberrys.
  I said goodbye to red-eye flights from LAX.
  I said goodbye to global teleconferences, performance plans and progress reports.
I said hello to lazy mornings in bed with a new puppy.
I said hello to days with nothing on the schedule.
I said hello to grandsons ‘popping in’ without checking first to see if Grandma was “free”.
I said hello to whipping up breakfast, for my ‘returning-from-a-jog’ daughter.
I said hello to morning bubble baths, accompanied by the  beautiful music of backyard birds.
I bake bread on weekdays.
I go to the gym when I want to.
I realize that I don’t need to save my chores for weekends.
I take relaxed walks with my new puppy.
I take golf lessons and swimming lessons.
I knit, I play piano, I sing, I bake, I shop, and I smile.
Grandma, wife, mother, sister, puppy ‘human’, mentor, musician, gardener, homemaker, photographer, journalist, and person are  roles I can now embrace without encumbrance.
Oh yes, this retirement gig is new to me, but I’m adjusting well to the transition from my corporate, professional identity to the me I always knew was lurking inside.  I now have permission to become all that I can be.
 “Free to be you and me” has meaning once again, to this ‘old’ (only as old as I feel) dog.
I write this to enter the weekly Trifecta Challenge, using definition number 3:
1: having recently come into existence

2 a (1) : having been seen, used, or known for a short time (2) : unfamiliar
b : being other than the former or old
3: NEW:   having been in a relationship or condition but a short time <new to the job> <a new wife>

Title: Retirement 101


Family of Three (posted June 9, 2012)

I remember when we were a family of three.Dad was a tile man; a hardworking, skilled craftsman who loved his work and the pleasure it brought to others. Nick was a handsome man.

Mom was a photographer, displaying her motherly pride through the artistic expression of her photography. Eileen was a classic beauty.

We were a family of three and there were photos to prove it!

There were boxes and boxes of photos. There were snapshots and enlargements, painstakingly tinted and colored (Eileen was trying her hand at various methods of color transfer development techniques). There were beautiful photos, blurry photos, masterpieces and cast-aside ‘experiments’. Yet, all captured for posterity, precious moments in time.

I stare at a picture taken on a rooftop as daylight was dwindling. Mom was swaddling her infant in her arms. Dad gazed lovingly at us. What did they talk about up there on the roof that evening? Who took the picture? Was Dad reassuring her that their love could overcome the resistance from his Italian family, outraged because he married an Irish girl?

Another photo: the three of us, dressed in our Sunday best, smiling from our tentative perch in a rowboat. I was an excitable, doted-upon three- year-old. Mom must have known about my expected baby sister. Did they talk about the baby? Did we have a picnic lunch? Did we take the trolley or the Park Ave bus to the park?I pause on the third photo, taken later that year. I was on a beautiful pony. That day, we went to a recording booth where I sang “California, Here I Come” and “‘A’ You’re Adorable”, dedicated to my new baby sister, Eileen!

I wish I could time-travel and sit-in on our conversation. I would thank them and reassure them that I would love my sister, and later my brother; and that our special threesome would inevitably evolve to another, better model – Eileen, Nick and the three kids.

An Engineer’s Journal, June 2, 2001: Fireworks

She had expected this day for months.  After 23 years, she’d almost welcomed it.  She was prepared psychologically, emotionally, and financially, rationalizing that it offered the best of all worlds.  Her family was ready.  She was ready.

Yet on that day, there was a part of her that wanted to wish it away, and she promised herself that she wouldn’t cry, as she walked down the hall to his office.  During that brief and last encounter with him, the anticipation and sense of impending doom was put to rest, as reality smacked her (she knew it would) right between the eyes.

Those eyes were now brimming with tears, as she returned to her once-comfortable executive office to pack all that remained of her personal belongings. She called home to confirm that it was fait accompli; and as if in shock, stood alone and still at the window, staring out at the street.

It was no surprise to see Augie cruising back and forth, awaiting the verdict.  He lowered the car window, and catching her eye, gestured a questioning, “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”.

Earlier that day, they’d shared lunch with a small inner circle of friends, raising their glasses; toasting to what had been and what was yet to come.  The pros and cons, were carefully weighed and openly voiced.  Hundreds of her co-workers expected their ‘news’ today, as well.  For months the general feeling had been one of helplessness and incredulity.  Today, almost dutifully, the friends awkwardly laughed, recalling happier days and promising to stay ‘in touch’, despite the inevitable cyclone of corporate ‘right-sizing’ that was headed their way.

Now that the fireworks were over, tears began to well up again (they would so often in the days to come) as she sadly motioned ‘thumbs down’ to Augie. He shrugged;  silently, knowingly offering his consolation, encouragement, and empathy, with the shared glance of an old friend.

It was at that moment, she began to comprehend how truly life-changing this would be.

An Engineer's Journal
An Engineer’s Journal

Image   (Trifecta Writing Challenge, wk. 34: Fireworks)

Evening in the Garden

In response to Prompt three of Trifecta Challenge, week 33 :

They could have waited with him

To ease the dread of the coming hours

But they sleep – weak, unaware,

Despite His enigmatic warnings.

He agonizes; he despairs 

As long-foretold events 



His mind flashes back

Tentative toddler steps

Tumbling into his Mothers arms

Foretelling tomorrow’s fall

She will be there – again – to cradle Him 

As he falls to 



On this eve, here in the garden

Friends nearby (all but one) 

He stands alone; 

On the edge of eternity

Embracing His dreaded, desired destiny

He stands alone.

He weeps.

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