Wednesday, March 21, 2012


"Grouchy old men" have nothing on these creatures.

Today an incident reminded me that the picture of an older, kind faced, sweet, smiling, inviting you to her warm embrace woman, is or has become, an urban myth.

I belong to the same gym for 22yrs. It is national, so no matter where I go, I have access to my fitness routine. During these years, I have made many casual friends there. We formed different groups. The "die hards," the "simply regulars,"the "socialites," the "shoppers," and some other ones. I belong to the "die hards," but I socialize with all of them. There are interesting characters in all of them.

What I want to get off my chest is a medley of some incidents that happened, involving old gals that stuck in my mind. Now, as an older, middle aged woman myself, I will try to remember that I am supposed to get better with time, not bitter and annoying as these ladies.

I shall start with today's incident, because it is fresh and it still makes me laugh, when I think about it.

Today was X's birthday. She is turning 76. She is saying she is 62 and presents herself as 58 in the dating website we both belong. It would be good and all, if she had had some plastic surgery, something  done to cover up somewhat the passage of time on her. Because old man Time has been very cruel to her. Granted, she should be thankful for her perfect health, her energy to show up at the gym like clockwork 3 times a week and having being prudent with her financial affairs, free of economic worries.
She is also a red head, she still keeps it VERY red, therefore her nickname "carrot top," with light skin. Back in those days, I hear, they were not using sunblock at all. Personally, I almost sleep with it on. I slap it on, even in snow storms AND 20 below zero weather AND indoors. Not our friend. She keeps a slim, svelte figure of a 4'10, 90p frame, out of which you can make a bag and a pair of matching shoes, from the extra skin that is hanging and proudly presented for all of us to see and want to barf.

Today, when she announced her birthday, I think I was the only one, who forced my self to offer some kind of  a "good wish." Right away the tirade started in a loud, shrieking voice, how cold our fellow human beings are. First, everybody ignores her birthday and second the men from the dating site, whom she practically begged to take her out, offered only coffee.
" Those cheap bastards, they do not even ask you for a simple meal anymore.  F...g aholes, all they want is sex!!!!"
"Really, and you turned them down?" I hear W.'s voice right behind us.
Oops, this is not going to turn well, I thought.
"How dare you say that? I am a lady."
"OK, if you say so, but daaaaaamn lady, you are older than dirt. You should be thankful, ANYBODY is willing to take you out for anything," W. is talking with his perennial chewing gum and his "don't give a shit about anything, except hot chicks, attitude."
Bingo. X, exploded. Her face turned red as a poppy and those lungs, oh boy, those lungs, fired like pistons. Every bad word, ever said to a man, was uttered with a volume, intented to be heard at least up to the moon.  Hands, feet, mouth, all were moving at the same time, while saliva was dowsing, poor W's face.

He stood there with a poker face, while she was jumping up and down, trying to go close to his face(he is over 6 feet tall.) His beefy arms were folded in front of his chest, you could see his 6 pack from under his second skin shirt, his lips were semi-departed, so that his pearly white, teeth could still blind anybody in a 5 mile radius, head tilted somewhat to the side, gazing at her in a patronizing way.

After X ran out of breath and calmed down a bit, W. went to the second floor, where the tracking circle is located and he announced that he would pick up the tab, if somebody could take "an angry, old, broad out, for her birthday" and he would throw an extra $300 for the trouble.
He got a standing ovation but no takers were located.

X then proceeded to curse almost any male in her path on the way out, especially the older gentlemen for "knowing better" for "not appreciating, what a catch she was" and variations of these complaints.

The coup d' etat of the whole episode.
Another gentleman who is W's caliber, tall, dark, extraordinarily good looking and a professional model, was celebrating his birthday  today too. Only, not only he had a thousand invitations, but to be exact 4 ladies, baked a cake for him from scratch. He just had an injury, so they were trying to make him feel better, on top of everything. By the way, I got a bouquet of carrots for my birthday, because I am not supposed to eat sugar. A BOUQUET OF CARROTS!!! How f...g humiliating.

X saw that and she grabbed one of them, threw it at Mario (birthday gorgeous boy,) missed him, because Mario is young and his reflexes are still perfect and the cake  hits Norm. Norm is old, even though, he is one of those old guys that you want to tear their clothes off. Norm is an ex professional athlete. His entire body is a map of surgeries. He is also a cancer patient. He has rods all over his body, supporting his bones. He walks with a slight limp and he could not avoid the coming pie, with nothing.
So, poor Norm, getting ready to get on the treadmill, dressed in his always pristine white outfit, finds himself the target of a multicolored cake hitting him smack on the chest, turning him into a fancy looking pinata.

The expression on each person's face was priceless. Where is a camera, when you one needs one? Reality TV. can not touch anything like that. Somebody said, he caught part of the action on his "smart phone" camera and he may upload it on You tube.

Oh man, just for that alone, it was worth going to the gym today.

Lesson of the day. When the time comes to retire as a sexy ingenue, let us do it with grace. There is a lot we lose with age. We can fight it as much as we can. When it is time to withdraw, may the Good Lord give us the logic to not lose our dignity, along with our looks. We do not have to turn into bitter, older women and take our fury on men, because they want us younger. It is, what it is.

I am tired for another story. That took a long time. I am still laughing, while I am saying
"Goodnight and sweet dreams to all of you." 


Friday, March 16, 2012


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am size 0. I have been this small for about 2 decades now. Fluctuating between 0 and 2. It was not always like that. As a youngster, I hit even 130p. Now talk about a pig. That translated into a size 8, roughly. Nobody minded, but me. No man ever complained, no woman ever disliked  (really,) how I looked.

Once I had my son and being vain to begin with, I undertook the task, that I would look better than before.
I met the appropriate people, in the right environment and they shaped me up to look beyond good.

Even before I got diagnosed with cancer, I was a size 2 for a very long time. I do not have to tell you ladies, what kind of dividends it pays to be a size so small. It is like hitting the lotto. No matter, what they say about curves and how much they  try to sell the appeal of a JLo or one of those disgusting derrieres, do not buy it. Men like petite, adolescent looking figures.

Not everybody is built or meant to look that way. So be it. Make the best of what you have, try to keep that weight down and live and let live. Just do not have illusions. It makes me sick, when, even the nurses, knowing that cancer is eating some of us up, they glorify, admire it and try to emulate it.

I love being ultra thin. I can wear whatever I like and it looks acceptable. I do not look for "forgiving" attires. They are all flattering. An ultra thin figure with boobs, is every male's secret fantasy. I do not make  a big deal out of it, because I already got out of it, what I wanted. Now, with the health in jeopardy, it lost its importance.

Today we had some bad news concerning my close friend's health progress. She also suffers from advanced cancer and the news were devastating.

The solution, for two immature adults was, to eat and do all the things that are non-nos for cancer patients especially. I am not big on food, but I have a sweet tooth. So picture this.The order in the restaurant went as follows. The following is just for me.

Four crepes, not two, the regular portion, filled with super extra filling and a big, extra size plate of the filling that I adore, on the side. On top of that, an extra super size french fries, on the side. I never eat fries, I do not even like them. Today was a weird day, I ate a whole plate o fries.  Then at the end, out of the blue, I craved french onion soup and I ordered one. The young girl taking the order called a more experienced server for advice. Should she serve all these totally outrageous combinations of foods to a probable nut case? The second server, more sophisticated with false eyelashes and such goes "Grrrl, what's wrong with you, you have never heard what a weirdo, pregnancy can make you?" She looked at me, winked and went:
"and you blondie pie, eat whatever your heart desires, ignore the surprised stares."

You know how well it made me feel, her saying that? First, she thought I was of child bearing age. Yeah!!! Second, she did not discriminate thin, chunky, can, can't handle it, weird taste or anything. Her attitude was, she wants all that, our job is not to question it, give her all that.

I felt dozens of stares, while I was inhaling my strange combo of foods. This little hanger of a woman, eating for 4, not 2. I enjoyed every bite of it and I should not tell you the rest. But, I promised the truth, always, no matter how ugly. All that food came right  out within the hour.  It was waaay too much for anyone, let alone a tiny person, with a tiny stomach, missing one foot of her colon and in general in poor appetite.

You may be wondering,  why I wrote about this.
I wanted to remind you, that it is perfectly OK to do silly things, every so often, to satisfy cravings of every kind, as long, as you keep some sense of decorum and you do not break any kinds of laws.
Do not get intimidated by stares, "where are you going to put all of that food?"
"hopefully not on my ass."
Do not allow any kind of rigid diets or regimens to constantly spoil your fun on this earth.
 Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. So, eat, drink and be merry, as much as you can. Do not concern, what your guilt will be whispering in your ear, or your strict life style, will impose on you. Every so often , it is so good to be bad.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Or is it the other way around?

I have known Barry for many years. We met at the gym, back when I was spending there, at least 3 hours daily. He is tall, dark, handsome and muscular. A regular at the gym, always a gentleman and always hanging out with the hottest women there.

I talk too much. Therefore it is easy for me to conclude certain people are not just "men of few words," but simply, non talkative at all.

I noticed that Barry had trouble expressing himself verbally, but I did not give it a second thought. That is how a spoiled, popular, shallow female behaves. She thinks the Universe revolves around her. I am ashamed to say, I was somewhat like that. Not as bad, as the really beautiful women behave, but I was not a role model for a good person.

Barry, on the other hand, was and still is, the kindest, friendliest, easiest to get along person.

I found out that along his regular job, he was a handyman. He painted my house more than once. He repaired countless little things that went wrong in the house, after my husband's departure. Barry fixed my flower bed, straightened out the bricks that surrounded the flowers and made it pretty, just to please me.
He had his regular job, of course, so I had to acquire eventually a full time handy man. But, until then, Barry was always there, fixing something or other.

It was not all that  easy.  You see, Barry is a deaf/mute. He learned how to read lips. I am a foreigner. Even to a deaf person, I sound speaking with an accent. It was frustrating to both of us. I was trying to speak slowly, placing my tongue and lips as precisely as I could, for him to understand. He was paying extra attention to my mouth, trying to figure out, what I was trying to tell him.

In hind side, it was comical. I remember how loudly I shouted, with the hope he would understand me.
He tried so hard to speak clearly and curse me only in sign language.
At the end of the day, we somehow achieved, what we had started and we would eat dinner in silence  at the back porch.

I do not know how, but I remember, we were laughing at jokes we had just shared. Between "legitimate" sign language he used and I never learned, "auto improvised" sign language by me, using every part of my body, we somehow communicated and gossiped, laughed, shared some precious moments together.

I lost touch with him, when he started dating a married lady, who also did work in my house. She also did my hair, every so often. The whole situation was getting too "sticky" for me. I withdrew from both of them.

I was very surprised to see him even in a night club a couple of times, trying to dance.  His lover's husband was the DJ. Boy, is life the biggest story teller, or what?

Years passed and I saw Barry, after I started going to my old gym. It was after I got diagnosed with advanced stage cancer, but I was getting better.

I looked of course like a corpse, after 2 surgeries and chemo. He just had some gray hair.

We cought up with each other's life and he gave me his number.

I went through the coma, the rehab. and the final statement from the doctors that I am dying within a year or so.

I shared all these things with Barry. He never lost his nerve. He did not make an extra effort to understand. He was just there. I did not try sign language to communicate with him. Somehow, he understands everything.
He brings me something that I need a lot of:joy. Now that I need him the most, he understands me the most. He visits and plays music that he thinks, I might like. He even tries to dance with me, because he knows that I get annoyed, when I dance with people, who do not how to dance structurally. He thinks it is funny, annoying me. It actually is, the way he does it.

He came to the ER, when I ended up there, bleeding one night. No one was at hand. Another friend, supposedly "real" friend, old lover, left me there, with no explanation. I asked him to come and keep me company, because I was scared. He was available, he said he would stop by, but he reneged. He never showed up. Barry, a casual friend, dropped everything and came.

He was listening carefully to what the doctors were saying to make sure he understood and transfer the information to me, when my head would be clear. And he did. And I understood.

Barry, finally understands everything. He brings me joy with his silence. He makes me feel less alone with his presence. He feels my pain and he simply tries to do, what he can, easier and better for me.

We finally understand each other perfectly. God is good.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

....and we kept on dancing.......

I have a very poor imagination. When I first read someplace, that Oscar Wilde made a comment, what a deep flaw that was, I was depressed for days.

I could never sit down and come up with a totally beautiful tale of romance, drama, funny story, nothing original. I am simply dried up and devoid of imagination.

Then, I am one of those individuals, who had a sign outside  their bedroom door hanging and reading  "DEATH BEFORE BOREDOM." Does everybody see  the inconsistency here?

Thank God, Somebody up there took care of the problem early on, by giving me a life that resembled a soap opera. Ever since I can remember, I did not have to try too hard to entertain myself. Something was always happening to impress me. Real life was always more interesting than fiction to me. It had more of everything, from funny to supremely sad moments, surreal and unusual incidents, name it, it was happening at one point or another.

Last night was one of those moments. The whole evening unfolded so smoothly, with such perfection of details, that if I were not there, I would bet that somebody made it up. It was a scene out of those Romance novels. I can not stop thinking about it. I may have become too melodramatic with middle age and battling cancer every day. I still think, you will find it, at least poignant, bitter sweet and a guilty pleasure, snooping into somebody else's deep emotions, while an incident was taking place, transporting them to the past and mirroring their future.

I have been working extra hard recently, despite the fact that I am not supposed to. I need a great deal of money, because my health maintenance is an expensive ordeal.  I had decided that Friday evening was going to be the day that I would decompress.  I was invited to a formal ball and it had been a long time, since I had attended one of those. For somebody, whose biggest joy in life is ballroom dancing, you understand, what that meant to me.  PAAAAARTY!!!!!!!!!!

I love the whole ritual; from the moment I start putting the make up on, to hair and finally the dress and accessories. The whole preparation, is such a beautiful routine to me. These days it is a bit cumbersome, tiring, but I still enjoy it.  This time, instinctively, I got out of the closet a gown, that I wore only once before, years and years ago. My custom made, engagement party, gown. I wore it for my formal engagement, Christmas Day, when I was 17 years old. It  was a great party my father gave me back then. I did not enjoy a moment of it. I felt I was being sold to slavery that night. The gown and the memories of that night, were locked in some  dark place in a closet.

Last night, I felt a yearning for that particular dress. I dug it out and I admired it's sustained beauty. It is a real old fashioned ballroom dress, with the all the glamor and sparkle that goes with that. The "dusty rose" color was faded slightly, but the rest was perfect. I am terribly thin now. I was not that thin then, but it was barely fitting my tiny waist. The theory that after 40, all your fat is being carried around your waistline, was proven true.

It still looked smashing, with the appropriate soft make up, the pulled up hair and the rest, that made me look and feel like a princess. Heads turned and people wanted to know, where the dress came from and all that stuff that take place in a fancy ballroom affair.

I danced mostly the "elegant" dances, as in Waltz, Tango, Rumba and some Foxtrot. The dress was not appropriate for the cha-cha or the other Latin, fast dances.

In the next room, there was another formal affair taking place. Being curious and slightly bored after a while, I wondered in the ballroom next door. It turned out, a Greek festivity was being celebrated. The orchestra was playing only Greek songs, mainly from the islands, because those ones are the dances of courtship. There were professional dancers dressed in Greek, traditional attire and they were executing dances from different Greek regions. I used to dance all those dances while in high school. Our little dance co. was touring Greece, ever since I can remember.

I walked in, uninvited. I am Greek, what would they say, if they caught me "Get out of our festivities?" Their festivities, are MY festivities too.
I sat on a chair, right at the edge of the dancing floor, watching and clapping while the professionals were performing.  When they finished, the guests took over the floor. Still, most of the people on the dance floor seemed that they knew what they were doing. They were not improvising too much. And then....

I saw this dashing figure, making his way across the dancing floor, avoiding carefully the other dancers and kept on coming towards my direction. I could make out that his eyes were glued on me and he was smiling. When he came closer, I recognized him from my days, when I was living in New York.  The same impressive EVERYTHING, that as a youngster, I had such a crush on him. His hair was gray, but full, wavy and beautiful, as ever. His dark, double breasted, expensive suit, fit perfectly his still, very athletic physique. His green eyes were hooded a bit more and had beautiful expression lines around them.
My heart started pumping faster, because I recognized him. I always admired him from afar. We knew of each other, but we were not even friends. Just distant acquaintances.

He came closer and closer and without saying a word, he offered me the "handkerchief," the Greek way of asking somebody to lead the dancing circle.
I took it and I followed him, while he placed me in front of everybody and he was holding the other end of the handkerchief. Once we started dancing and people noticed we REALLY knew what we were doing, they left us alone in the middle of the circle, so that we could execute all the fancy steps of the "courtship" dance.
"How are you?" he screamed from the top of his voice, while he had his arms around my shoulders.
"I am dying from cancer" I answered dryly, as if I was saying, "fine."

He stopped dancing. He stopped smiling. He drew me closer and asked me to confirm what I said.
"I am dying from cancer," I repeated.
He stayed immobile for a minute. Then he hugged me so tight, I thought he was going to suffocate me. I looked at his face and he was crying.
"Don't cry, do not ask any questions right now. Go back to your table, to your wife, your friends and do not discuss it, please. Not, now. Just be grateful for your life."
He kissed me on my cheek for the longest time, while holding me tightly. Just before he walked off the floor, he whispered in my ear "You will be fine, otherwise, nothing makes sense. You were always the gold standard. That never dies."

I appreciate the vote of confidence. But the gold standard has died in many places of the world.

 I can always be the exception.

 He walked away and the rest of us kept on dancing.....

Friday, March 2, 2012


I am writing this text in a bold color with the hope that I will attract the reaction that I am looking for.

I am very  grateful, pleased, flattered and I have a sense of accomplishment, when I receive comments, about what I am writing on the blog. The problem is, that they are done mostly in person.

Part of my daily routine is to visit, when time or energy levels permit, institutions with people afflicted by cancer or other very difficult diseases. I go to hospices and I do not do much, because I can't, due to my own difficult situation. My main mission is to make them feel remembered. To put a smile on their face. To celebrate somebody's birthday by "butchering" a dance or two in their honor.

Yesterday in specific, because it is 2:20AM EST right now, I visited a hospice, where I am rather popular.
An older gentleman, named Norm, confined in a wheelchair, stopped me while,  I was passing through the isles. 

"Darling, before you leave tonight, will you please read to me, even for 5 minutes?" he was almost pleading with me. 

When we do not have other activities, one of my contributions there, is reading or simply visiting and talking to patients, about anything, they desire. Many of them expressed this wish. Many phrased it in the usual cliche "read to me, even if you are reading, from the package of a toothpaste, as long we can listen to your voice."

Yesterday, Norm was holding my hand, kissed the palm of it, not the top and he put his request in this way. 
 "Kalli, you have not written often enough recently. But, even worse, I miss your video blogging more. Because then, I do not need anybody to read to me. I put your voice, next to my pillow and I fall asleep listening to you. Will you please, put a smile on my face before you leave? I want to know that the last thing, before I go with Morpheus tonight, will be your voice."

I am aware that many of these people love my voice and my accent more than what I am saying, even though they deny it vehemently. Many discuss what I am writing and it pleases me, when I see them touched. I was wondering, why they never bothered  to leave a comment, never mind becoming followers; that last one is not that important. But, I would have loved to hear everybody's comments, every time. I can not be there to hear it in person.

I found out, after a bit of asking and digging around, there were two main reasons. 

The first I understood and empathized a great deal, because I suffer from it too. Intimidation from technology. In the past, I tried to leave comments in other people's blogs and I had to give up in frustration, because  many steps were involved and something or other would go wrong and I ended up with my opinion unexpressed and me just frustrated. 
So I gave up, more than once.

The second reason, was  and still is to me, surprising and somewhat fascinating, because I can not identify. The common denominator for the reason that people avoided leaving comments, even though they were dying to get a hold of me, to tell me their opinion in person, was the fact that the subject matter, even funny many times, deals with CANCER. They do not want to admit in "black and white" staring at them, that they are suffering from the same problem that I am. It is OK to read stories and incidents about it, as long as they are not involved.

That is why they admire my courage, as they put it, to talk so openly about it. I asked a doctor and a brief explanation he gave me was that, by not talking about it, they think they deny the situation and they hide from it.

Well ladies and gentlemen, who are  reading this. First, as I said before, I can not meet and talk to each one of you individually and discuss, what I am writing in these pages. I wish I could, I would not mind; it is logistically impossible. Secondly, what is wrong, in admitting we are ill? There is no shame to it.

I made the vow to everybody out there to be honest, uncensored, raw and real. I promised to allow my pain to show, my goofiness not to stop me from sharing some silly things that I do. I promised to share my desperate and joyful  moments, days and incidents. 
I understand the intimidation coming from the technology, which is foreign to us. But, if I can do it, so can you.

If I am willing to open up to you so much, I would love a bit of reciprocation. Make me feel less lonely in this difficult journey. You make me so happy, when you tell me in person, how much you admire me for being me. Tell me in the comment section too, please. 

My challenges will feel lighter, if I know that you are out there, supporting me mentally.

If my voice or a thought of a silly deed of mine, puts a smile on your face, let me know. If my pain reaches you and a tear drop falls, let me know. It is only fair. I need your support too. I am alone and scared. But I came to terms with my fate. I am not hiding from it. I am just living day by day, trying to do my best with my time and, if I know there are so many of you behind me, I grow wings. 

So, please do not hide in the shadows. Every so often, just push that button that says "comments" and say anything at all, even if it is anything as simple as, "keep on going Kalli, we are with you."

Thank you.