Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cupcake Confidential

It was not the early morning hour that she minded the most. She always awoke a few moments before the 4:30 alarm and quickly shut the clock off so not to disturb the light sleepers in the other bedroom. Pre-dawn was one of her most favorite times of the day. It was the hour that god listened to insomniacs prayers and if listening carefully, when answers given. There was a special silence that to the unaccustomed could cause terror. But this was what she loved. The quiet. Peace and quiet.

No, it was not the early hour she minded. She made peace with the hour before accepting the position at the cupcake shop. That was part of the job; part of the cupcake world she entered. Another world was awake at that hour getting ready for the day ahead. Construction workers, breakfast cooks, baristas, hospital nurses sleepily dressed themselves quietly leaving their homes to catch the first train of the day. Many worked two jobs, one early 6 AM to 2 PM the other 3 PM to 11 PM then rode the two trains home for a quick shower, rest before rising early to start all over again.

There was an unspoken, quiet understanding between the people on the early train. Her white face stood out at this hour. The working people were caramel colored. White faces didn't appear on the train for a few more hours, at least not until six-thirty.

It wasn't the was the rats.

So much love,
All the way from over here...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dear President Bush

Dear President Bush,

Hi! How are you doing? Are you totally psyched that your term is almost over? I know when I was I college I couldn’t wait until the end of term, especially right before graduation. I can only imagine how ready you must be for this gig to be over! Heck, you’ve been doing it for almost eight years! Yikes! You could be a doctor by now!

Wow, I don’t how you keep up with all this crap they keep dropping on you when you’d rather be planning your farewell cruise or golf vacation or even the most excellent presidential library ever that your gonna build…wait a second, that’s Laura’s gig, right? The libraries?

Anyway, if I were you, I’d be totally bummed out that you gotta do this whole bail out thing. Its gotta be hard asking congress for money…harder than that time you had to call your dad after you smashed up your car and had all that blow on you and you were really f*cked up! Whoa dude that was not a fun night! So I bet this is like ten times harder than that, am I right?

There’s nothing more humiliating than having to ask your family, or congress, for money. Boy I sure know that one, which is why I’m writing you. You may not know it (‘cuz we’ve been a little out of touch lately and I’m totally sorry I haven’t written) but the last twelve months of my life have been quite a rollercoaster ride. Oh, I don’t want to go into all the messy details but just like AIG, I need to be bailed out too.

It’s obvious that you feel the pain that the average American is facing these days. My friends and I sure looked forward to that $600 stimulus check you mailed out a couple months ago and I practically sat by the mailbox waiting for it to arrive. When it never came, I called the IRS to see what was the hold-up. Turns out that I wasn’t getting a check. I guess all those mistakes I’d made on my taxes over the years have kept me out of the stimulus pool and I’m going to be paying off this debt for like the next ten years or more!

This is where you can help me out. See, I need a bail0out of my own George. Won’t you help me out? Unlike AIG, I am paying off my debts off and working my tail off getting my life in working order again. If you bailed me out the same percentage that you cut AIG, like fifteen percent, that is a mere $15,000 and I’d be debt free! With you helping me out I would be less focused on making money and more able to assist my fellow Americans. See? It’s a win-win situation!

Fifteen grand doesn’t require approval from congress either.

You see, I am the future of America. I already have no money and a lot of skills and a slight drizzling of talent plus I am a fast learner and have boy I won’t repeat those credit card mistakes I’ve made in the past! No more charging for this gal! I know how to manage my money now and all I’m looking for is a little seed money to help me get out of this last glitch.
George, you don’t have to understand the reason why I’m asking for money or what I’m going to do with it…it’s just like the whole Wall Street situation. You don’t really need to know what is going on there either. It isn’t important. If it were, you would have done things differently from the start. Where we sit, right now, so close to the end of your term, what do you have to loose by helping me out? Why not pad the request with a few extra thousand dollars? For me? Please All I’m saying is now is the perfect time…I’d tell people you helped me and you’d be remembered as the beloved, kind president that you are!

You know, I’m a woman Mr. President, and if you help a woman out, maybe I’ll be inspired to vote for a woman Vice President? See where I’m going? Anything could happen once I am at that voting station. Heck, I voted for Geraldine Ferraro and she was running with WALTER MONDALE! What a geek he was! He wasn’t even a POW!

I know, I know, you don’t care about this stuff. You’ve got Senioritis. You’re itching to get out of office! So let’s not talk about my vote because we all know it doesn’t really matter anyway.

So I totally appreciate you taking the time to consider my request…it’d be so super cool if you could help a gal out. And this would be great for your image, but I won’t dwell. Just keep an open mind.

Mom says hi. She’s got another boil on her ass and she wanted me to come home and lance it for her but luckily I got called into work. Yikes! She says she’d love to see you come around for a visit sometime.

Other than that, everything else is cool with me. Stay your awesome self and enjoy your last few months in DC. Maybe I’ll be able to meet you in Cabo in the spring like we talked about at that last party. Oh, and be sure to have the White House Chef whip you up some chocolate pudding. I hear it is really tasty…better than a snack-pack! Remember that night? You were so HILARIOUS!!!

Okay, gotta go now. Hope to hear from you soon. Say hey to Laura and the Twins for me.

Linda S. Silberman

PS: If you wouldn’t mind throwing in an extra thirty grand for my sister’s student loans, that would be so sweet! Thanks!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Cupcake land isn't a piece of cake. On so many levels I've felt like I've taken a huge step backwards both financially and certainly professionally and for what purpose? What is the goal? Is it to serve tasty treats baked in paper wrappers? And at what cost? Does it matter at all if we move forward or backwards in life and who decides which is a forward movement?

A man came into the cupcake shop and asked me how I could work in such a place and not gain a lot of weight. I told him that I didn't know and he needed to check back in with me in a couple of months since I was new and have lost nearly 170 pounds. We'll have to wait and see.

I then said to him in a very joking manor, "It's like putting an alcoholic in a liquor store. It will certainly be exciting to watch!"

He said, "Well, I could never work in a liquor store!" and he grabbed his jumbo hostess cupcake stashed neatly in the crisp white bag and stormed out of the store.

Angry alcoholics are everywhere.

I'd forgotten how many alcoholics substitute candy and cakes for their bottle of bourbon or box of wine and that many of the cupcake clientele were also a bunch of drunks. Whoops.

Honestly, I think a good business plan for this rapidly expanding cupcake shop would be to select locations near upity AA meetings. Starbucks has the coffee program down but their pastry selections are really hit-and-miss.

I am also sure that my quick wit and many, many inappropriate comments will offend people for the rest of my days. My vision is to offend locally at first then expand to offend globally...preferably in writing!

But the real question is, what am I doing with my life? And if I am going to look at that question then I suggest you ask yourself too, what are you doing with your life? Does it matter at all what kind of work I do? Does direction matter? Do I need to move up or down or this way or that way?

Quite frankly, I can serve alcoholics a cupcake shop or behind a bar. If I did it behind a bar, I'd make a hellofalot more money...that's for damned sure!

My point to moving to New York was to write and create an interesting lifestyle and I like how "working for cupcakes" sounds but the reality of being on your feet for 8 1/2 hrs everyday after an hour-long commute from three trains and having to get up at 4:30 AM for said shift....well, it ain't glamorous and the worst part is that I have access to hundreds of cupcakes and I have no friends to bring them to in New York! That's what really sucks.

No. I'm not happy with this choice. But something will change. Either I will find another job (and I'm looking) or I'll get fired for pissing one too many alcoholics off. While I wait for something else to happen...maybe I'll stop pushing myself to know and simply enjoy the cupcake ride while it lasts.

So much love,
All the way from over here...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

AIG: Cupcakes and Idiots

The dirty blond woman in her late thirties dressed in a Donna Karan navy suit was not having a good day when she approached the counter and placed her order. The two dozen pink and white cupcakes would not ease her anxiety. I carefully hand selected and packaged her cupcake order. When handing her the credit card receipt, I sincerely said, "Have a lovely day."

"That's unlikely!" she huffed.

"Oh?" I asked genuinely interested.

"Yes." she said curtly. "I work for AIG as an attorney. I'm sure I'll be fired as the company goes bankrupt today. Don't you watch the news?"

"Oh no. I find it far too depressing. It's pretty bad today, huh?" I asked, referring to the wall street crash of yesterday. It was in all the morning headlines.

"Yeah it's bad!" she practically yells at me. My laissez-faire attitude fuels her anxiety.

"Well, you could always run a cupcake shop." I say cheerfully with a smile. "We're hiring and expanding."

"Ugh. No!" she sneers with disgust. "I am used to making real money!" She hastily grabs the cupcakes and storms out of the shop.

The money I make isn't real to her because it lacks a couple of zeros.

I am sure when she looses her Upper West Side apartment and her creditors come calling for the overdue balance on her American Express Card for all those sixty dollar cupcakes shes been impulsively buying to drown her sorrows, she may want to take a moment to reflect on an alternative lifestyle. Being an uppity cunt-bitch is great and all, but those who sneers down at lowly cupcake workers can't buy you points into heaven. Not that I believe in heaven, mind you, but I do believe that we create our own heaven and hell reality. And chasing the all mighty dollar for a corrupt insurance group who snags billions in profits and then screws the lawyers who made it all happen...well, it seems kind of like karma at work. Maybe there is a god.

And maybe she likes little pink cupcakes.

So much love,
All the way from over here...

Friday, September 12, 2008

How the Universe Works

I've been listening to a lot of Esther and Jerry Hicks for some inspiration about the meaning of life and how this universe we live in works, because at times I seriously wonder what the hell it is all about and why I am here. Is it to serve humanity? Is it to serve the self? Is it to serve cupcakes?

What is the point of all of this anyway?

Esther Hicks channels a universal spirit or force they call Abraham. Abraham is the force that revealed the Law of attraction which is what "The Secret" is based off of. The Secret dropped Esther and Jerry for some legal reason...I love it when the new-agers fight over money...and the Hicks are still doing their own thing, which I have respect for. God bless them for getting out of the formula of "The Secret" which has a pretty good message overall, focus on what you want and that is what you'll attract. What I don't like about The Secret is that it focuses so much on material stuff. Visualize yourself driving the sports car and soon enough it will happen. If this were true than all the people visualizing bowls of rice in Ethiopia would be full of rice. I am sure starving people all over the world are thinking, feeling the desire of having food and still there is none available.

I'm obviously conflicted over this new-age theory. This topic came up this weekend with a friend of mine and we discussed, at length, how our thoughts attract certain elements in life. He is a scientist and I respect his logical approach to new-age mumbo-jumbo. He said how we can visualize a goal, a point in the future, and there are an infinite number of possibilities on how to reach that point, the question is which path will you choose?

Always the cynic and ever the skeptic, I decided to conduct an experiment on myself. At acupuncture yesterday, once I was comfortablly reclining in the chair and the needles were placed in my arms, legs and face, I relaxed taking deep breaths to center myself. Once I reached that place, I then practiced the techniques Esther and Jerry discuss; feeling the sensations down to the bones.

I felt it in my cells, my muscles, every fiber of my body the sensation of having a partner/boyfriend/man-thing...whatever you want to call it. A man. A big, tall strapping young man. I envisioned the feeling of having a boyfriend, us laying together in bed, laughing, my head on his chest post-coital, joyful, relaxed, loving.

it felt real in the chair. It was a lovely feeling. I didn't have a specific on how he looked or age, just that we were mutually attracted to each other and that we fit really well together. That's important to me, being six feet tall and all...I don't fit well with a man who's five foot four. At least I haven't in the past.

While I was in this feeling stage I said a little prayer to the universe:

Oh Powerful Universe, Infinite Light hear my prayer,
May this energy that flows through me, from the center of the universe through waves of energy through the top of my head down to the soles of my feet connecting me to this planet earth and returning back to source support me in this lifetime. May I find my mate who is out there looking for me and may we be joyfully together in loving energy that is for the highest good of all the people everywhere. Thank you god, spirit, ancient ones for your assistance. I am ever so grateful.
Ashey. Namaste.

In no time, my hour long acupuncture session was over. I had sat in that joyful, tingling, feeling sensation for an hour but it felt only like a few minutes. Smiling as I left my session, I felt great relief and let go of the prayer and visualization to allow the universe to go on its way.

I took the three subway trains to my new cupcake job on the Upper West Side and when I emerged onto seventy-third street, I had forgotten about my prayer. I attributed my feeling good from the acupuncture and didn't give my expiment another thought.

As I crossed Broadway walking towards Amsterdam Ave, a handsome, tall, very good looking young man was walking next to me. We had the same stride as we walked across the street and as happens sometimes in New York, we walked together in the same direction.

He turned and looked at me and said,"Damn! You're tall!"

I smiled and said, "Why, yes I am. So are you."

"Oh, I love a tall woman." he says...his dark brown eyes twinkling as he looked down at me.

"You know, I haven't had a girlfriend in over a year." he says.

"How is that possible?" I ask him. I really did find that hard to believe but it felt like he was telling the truth.

"I dunno...they all too little." and he gestures a height about mid-way to his chest. "I like a woman I can look in the eye." He stared and smiled hard at me.

Blushing I said, "A year is too long for a man like you to be without a girlfriend."

"You telling me?" he said.

The light changed on Amsterdam Ave and we crossed another street together, but I had to turn north to get to work.

As I turn to exit I say to him, "Hang in there...your girl is out there waiting for you too. I gotta go this way." I smile and cross seventy-third street to get to the cupcake shop.

He looked surprised and he may have thought I was trying to get away from him but I really did have to get to work. He kept walking east towards central park and I smiled for the rest of the day.

Yeah. The universe works fast.

Was he hitting on me? Probably. Why didn't I engage him more and give him my number or whatever? He was probably about twenty-six years old and was dressed in his grocery store apron. There is nothing wrong with me going out with a bagger or cashier or produce clerk from a grocery store, but in my recent history, it hasn't been a good match.

What I also find very interesting is that the men that have been attracted to me lately, or those who step-up and let me know are all between twenty-two and twenty-eight years old. Do I dive in and go for the young man? My friend who is also a physicist told me that I need to reach higher in my choices for men, but what if all that are attracted to me are hot, young grocery clerks? There don't seem to be any PhD. candidates looking for a cupcake queen! At least not yet. Do I go carnal for now? Does the morning conversation have to be intellectual? Can't it just be about the Yankees...damned Yankees... I still hate them you know. And why is it socially acceptable for an older woman to go out with younger men and why is it creepy if an older guy goes out with a younger woman? Such a double standard!

My point is that the universe is listening to my requests and paying attention, so I'd best wise-up and pay attention to what messages I am sending out there and seriously start receiving. And maybe I just give up my moral values for the grocery clerk. I know where he works and I think he gets off today around 2 PM. Maybe I need to go buy a couple of bananas before work!

So much love,
All the way from over here...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Green Tortoise Part XV

After hours on the side of the road, the diagnosis is complete. The bus has lost its leveling valve, the part that keeps the bus balanced and on its hydraulic system. We're assured that it isn't a safety issue, but until it is fixed we will be traveling on a tilted bus.

The passenger side of the bus is so much higher than the driver's side that if you place a can on the table on the passenger side of the bus, it will slide to the end of the table. Sleeping in the top bunks is not possible and if you are a senior citizen who likes to sleep in a lazy boy recliner, head propped up, you'll love sleeping on the big bed head pointing towards the passenger windows.

Because of this break-down, we have another change in our schedule. We'll be headed to Broadus Montana, population 430 for the fourth of July. Our bus parts will be express shipped to the tiny town and somehow, there will be a mechanic who will be able to install the parts to get us back on track.

And we hope they'll be able to check out the air conditioning system because that doesn't seem to be working anymore either.

It is day four of this fourteen day trip. Ten more days to go until we reach New York City. How will I make it? How will I endure these people, the damaged vehicle, and now no air conditioning?

Maybe I'll get off and catch a Greyhound bus...or if I can make it to Chicago I could grab a train to New York. Chicago seems far, far away from the Grand Tetons. And it is.

For now all I can do is load the gear back onto the bus as we head to our campsite for the night and make dinner.

Tonight we are having chili which is vegetarian. It is the first night we build a huge campfire and the entire group of us join together after dinner for toasting marshmallows and telling of ghost stories. The fire was much needed too. We were camping in high elevation and the nighttime temperatures drop down to 37 degrees fahrenheit (or 2.7 celius!)

In the morning we quickly make breakfast and pack-up our campsite for our next day's adventure in Yellowstone National Park...the part I'd been savoring since booking the trip. It is a three hour drive through the Grand Tetons to Yellowstone and we cross the Snake river several times as we climb to 8200 feet elevation on our leaning bus.

Yellowstone is scarred from a massive fire in 1988 that consumed 1.2 million acres of land or about 36% of the total area of the gigantic park. The fire was due to drought and was quite controversial since many people wanted it to burn out, rather than fight the fire. But it reached such magnitude that it was nearly impossible to extinguish. 25,000 fire fighters tried their best and it was lucky that only two perrished during the massive inferno.

Driving through the winding roads was like visiting a natural holocast. Charred tree bodies lay in the same direction as if an atomic bomb had been released instantly killing them. Twenty years later and the haunting remains move me to tears witnessing the sacrifice the trees made to allow new growth emerge in this massive eco-system.

Life exists after death. Many plants native to the area can only release their seedlings through fire. It is a natural act in the wilderness. I am reminded that through my most difficult moment; trial by fire, that I always emerge better, stronger, more alive than before.

Silence fills the bus for a long time as we quietly give thanks and honor the trees lost to allow the new growth in this magnificent land. The tree corpses lie in lush green foliage as if their dead bodies are fueling the new growth below.

We turned a sharp corner and enter into the land that was unharmed by this devastating fire. How does god decide that this tree is to die and this one to flourish? The contrasts is alarming.

The road twist and turns on our ride toward Old Faithful. Driver Dave drops us off a few miles from the actual site and tells us to walk their. The bus will meet us in the parking lot and we have only an hour and a half to complete the three mile hike at 8500 feet elevation to watch the gigantic geyser blow at 2:10 PM.

I hit the trail hard and fast. My determination to get there was not motivated by Old Faithful. There was a huge tourist area and I craved a good cup of coffee and prayed there would be cell phone reception of some kind and perhaps an outlet to charge my phone. And the honest truth is that I wanted an ice cream cone.

Judith, the sixty-four year old nurse from Australia, insisted on walking with me chattering the entire way. She is a good eight inches smaller than me and I have long legs and take long strides in my aggressive walks. Judith needed two steps for everyone of my one. I told her that I was not going to slow down and that she needed not to keep my pace but she insisted saying that she might be able to loose an extra stone (about 13 pounds) or two.

I droned out her rambling stories about her travels to Uganda, Tunisia, Mongolia, New Zealand. Why does silence make people so uncomfortable? Why do people need to always be chattering on about this and that?

"I can't imagine this will be any better than any of the geysers of New Zealand." She said. "Those are spectacular!"

We are less than half a mile to Old Faithful and I tell Judy that I must dash ahead for the restrooms. She understands as we part ways. I continue my pace to Old Faithful and pray for cell phone reception. Maybe my sister can find me a bus to get on in Montana. We'll be there in two days...maybe that is where I should get off.

Sadly, I have no reception at the lodge and did not bring my heavy laptop with me for the three mile hike.

I take this as a sign from God to continue on the trip and in good consciousness, I hated to waste all the money I'd spent on this trip to just abandoned it here in Yellowstone National Park.

Abandoning the idea, I find a spot on the benches that surround Old Faithful and await for him to blow. Hundreds of tourists join me for this event, everyone watching their watches to time the event. Steam builds and a small plop of water spits out sputtering puffs as Old Faitful teases the crowd like a stripper slowly pealing off a long red satin glove.

"Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one!" a group of school children chant nearby. Nothing happens. Groans from the audience followed by laughter from the waiting crowd. Through the chuckles, Old Faithful blows.

It looks exactly like the pictures I've seen on postcards and in encyclopedias. The air is warm from the hot steam as a pure white stream of water shoots a hundred fifty feet into the brilliant blue heavens above. Ooohs and Aaahs are murmured by the tourists for the minute long display.

Everyone is a critic, even where natural phenomenons are concerned.

"That wasn't very high" said a woman with a Texas accent.

"We came all this way to see that?" a bored teenager moaned to her father.

"I've seen solar storms more impressive than that!" a man said. How I wished I could find him to ask him which solar storms he's witnessed. Did he see them first hand? I'd have to agree, that would be something to see!

Our group finds our bus in the giant parking lot of Old Faithful and we receive more bad news. The Rainbow Gathering has gathered in Wyoming and somehow, our camping reservation has mysteriously disappeared. We are going to drive back to the Grand Tetons, a four and half hour drive from where we are now, to spend the night.


I Hate Wyoming! Fucking Hippies.

To be continued...

So much love,
All the way from here....

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cupcake Queen

I've returned to mainstream society and left the life of leisure. I now managing a cupcake shop, well, actually I am training to manage the shop but it is not much like working compared to the projects that I've done in the past.

While my new trainers were kind and gracious I felt as if I were letting them down because I understood so clearly what needed to be done and there was not much to teach me except how to work their register.

Quite frankly, I am very over-qualified for this position...I see that now, but the company is growing rapidly and this may be a good career move in the long-run. For now, I will stick with it and allow my mind to wander.

Perhaps some of the sugary pink frosting will inspire poetic prose to flow through my reluctant fingers....


so much love,
All the way from over here...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I know what I said...

I said that writer's block did not exist. I guess I was wrong. Its not that I can't write, its just that what has been coming out is such crap and I don't want you to I have to ride this wave.

Living in New York feels like I have come home. The streets are somehow familiar, as if I awoke from a dream and entered my life. Still the day to day routines haven't worked themselves out yet, but I am getting the hang of it all.

My world is so small in such a large city.

One of the first things I did when I got to New York was to join a writer's group...good thing I did that too or else I'd not be motivated to keep writing and all I really want to do is write. The writer's round is an open forum so you never know who is going to show up and share their work. This can be a great thing...and it is very risky too. Open forums invite all sorts of characters. Last week a homeless interracial lesbian couple came, complete with wheelchair and dolls. One was half-deaf, and I only knew because she asked me to read to her good ear, and she was also developmentally disabled somehow. She was present but she seemed to have an ear to another world where great mysterious things happened. Her specialty was writing romance science-fiction. I believe this is a new genre she is creating.

Her partner, a mere child of 18, was a poet. She proudly declared that she had many different personalities, several who are poets. I was honored to hear three of her other personalities poems. This was the first time I heard several different writing motifs from one person...but of course there was only one physical being reading. Several had written the works.

The couple talked about getting married and moving off the streets...have a place of their own to house the writings crammed in over-stuffed spiral notebook; their scribbled pages looked like wild cats begging to be set free from their paper cages.

How do you tell a crippled, deaf developmentally disabled lesbian that your not sure who her audience is for her sci-fi-romance novel?

The hardest part was that her pages were tighter and more concise than anything I'd written in the last three weeks which immediately brought me back to my ego. How sad that I feel so weak in my own talent that I compare myself to this woman who has struggled for so long and all she wanted to do was share her work?

Who was I to tell her that there was no audience for her work? What did I know? Perhaps there is a literary agent out there looking for that simple piece of lesbian-astronaut space love.

I do not know.

Perhaps I judge too quickly.

Oh Mighty Jesus,

Hey! How's it going? I can see you and your pop have been mighty busy with the republician campaign and all I can say is Good Work! Wow! I did not see that one a coming....pregnant teens forced to marry just in time for the election! Way to help the democratic party! Thanks for keeping your ears open for us liberals.

So, I got a little issue lately that I'm hoping to turn-over to you. Seems like I've been hastily judging myself and others lately out of feelings of insecurity and quite frankly, I don't like it. So baby Jesus...if you've got room for another item on your to do list, please add my name to help me let go of my fear of failure or whatever you want to call it...low self-esteem and move on with life!

But seriously Jesus....the multiple personality poetry was hilarious and I only wish I could have transcribed it or had a copy for reproduction...all in your name of course. Thanks for all the great tunes, the tasty snacks and refreshing water. It is so good for my skin and you know how I love to grove while I write. Peace. Ashey. Namaste.

Yes, turning it all over to god...that is the way to get out of this overly-critical space.

So much love,
All the way from over here...