Silver Storm

Hurricane Sandy

I don’t think anyone on the east coast had an uninterrupted sleep last night.

Yesterday was continual dusk as if the sun itself was hiding behind a grey umbrella leery to come out in such a daunting sky. All we could do was wait and hope we were prepared. The sky rattled and spit cold rain onto the pavement. It started slowly with drops so disparate that they seemed to evaporate before they could leave speckles on my jacket. It was ominously calm. An eerie way to end October.

Around four pm the rain began to thicken and the winds to swell. I had just come inside from a short walk, trying to get one last one in before the inevitable lockdown that was supposed to persist for the next few days. The sky deepened  to a murky charcoal and the air wheezed and shook the trees sending the last autumn leaves down into the yard.

We stayed in by our wood burning stove, fortunate to have warmth. I sat up worried about all of my friends and family in the New York City and New Jersey area who were being hit with massive gusts, whose apartments were flooding, who were without power and just holding on.

When I finally went up to bed the winds were whipping hard, rain pelting on the roof outside my window. I shut my eyes, covered my head and tried to will myself to sleep. It was an off and on rest, as if my mind were being operated by a switch that flipped with the most violent bursts of wind. During the worst of it, I felt my floor shaking beneath me. I kept my eyes closed the entire time trying to quiet my mind.

I awoke to a sky the color of molasses. The air held a lethargic haze as if it was in mourning.  There were several trees snapped and fallen, but that seemed to be the worst of it. The winds and rain had  subsided and the sun even hinted at coming out. We were very lucky here. We didn’t even lose power.

My heart goes out to the people who were hit with devastating force, the entire New York City and New Jersey area is in my thoughts today. I hope that the worst of it is over and that the damage will be quickly alleviated. My deepest sympathies to those who have lost a family member or friend due to Hurricane Sandy.



Black, White and Cinnamon

I never thought we’d have a dog.

My sister has been working on my parents since she knew what puppies were and how to articulate herself. And for years my parents have found reasons to deny her. The main reason being that she and my Dad are both very allergic to dog and cat dander. It seemed safe to say that the Izzos would never have pets (other than the occasional gold fish which didn’t last for more than a few months, but that’s another story) and I was ok with that.

Don’t get me wrong. I love animals. I’m all for animal rights, humane treatment, I buy grass-fed, free range meat and get local eggs. I’m against animal testing and cruelty of any kind. I just don’t really want one in my house.

They’re smelly, they scratch and tear things, they have accidents and they are a ton of work. I have enough trouble taking care of myself, the last thing I wanted was someone else to be responsible for. So when my parents started to cave into my sister’s requests this summer, I was against it and I made my case known.

I lost.

In August there was an ad in the paper. ‘Shitzi-poo and Lasa-poo puppies for sale $375.00, potty trained, hypoallergenic and ready to take home.’ As my Dad read the ad out loud to me that morning I knew that was it. We’d be taking a dog home that day.

So later that afternoon we packed into our gold PT Cruiser and drove 40 mins to Farmington to meet the puppies. My sister was excited but she didn’t think we’d end up buying one. She likes to make certain that she is getting exactly what she wants and doesn’t like to make quick decisions, but I knew. I had a feeling and it was making me simultaneously happy for my sister (for she’d finally be getting her pet and new best friend) and nervous because I also knew that I’d end up watching it more than I wanted to.

When we got to the breeder’s there were two dogs left. A black, hyper Lasa-poo who quickly ran to my Dad and wanted to play, and a slightly calmer, but friendly white, black and cinnamon Shitzi-poo. I instantly knew we’d be taking the Shitzi-poo home (which did tickle me a bit because I could call him little shit, or poo poo when he aggravated me. My Dad put an end to that quickly.) It was love at first sight for my sister. The little white dog went right to her and started licking her fingers, and wagging his curly tail. I have never seen my sister make a decision so fast. About 20 minutes later we were back in the car with a puppy, and really no idea how to take care of him other than the tips the breeder gave us with a basket of dog supplies. We didn’t even have a pen for him yet. It didn’t seem to matter at the time though. I hadn’t seen my sister so happy in years as we drove home, the tiny, fluffy dog nestled in her arms. Calm the entire way back. I cried. She was glowing.

The puppy’s name is Potato. He is now 5 months old and has become a permanent part of the family.

The original deal was that we’d take care of Tato for the first few weeks (to get him on a good schedule) and then my sister would take him to college to live at her apartment. Well, we tried that but Tato only lasted at SUNY Fredonia for about 10 days and then he dropped out. It was too much work for my sister, who is a double major and hardly has time to take care of herself, let alone a tiny puppy. I knew he’d end up living with us at home.

Tato and I have had our ups and downs. The first time I dog sat I swore I’d never do it again. I even called my Dad and exclaimed “He’s a MONSTER!”

Does this look like a monster to you?


In my defense, he wasn’t potty trained (even though the ad said he was) so when I watched him there were multiple accidents to clean, along with shredded papers strewn across the kitchen and living room and water splashed on the wood floors and rugs. To a girl who does not naturally speak dog, I was pretty lost.

I’ve grown to love Tato though. I repressed it for a long time but I’ve finally given in. He is just what my family needed. He’s therapeutic for my Mom and sister especially and that’s most important to me. Now that we have him, I don’t know what we’d do with out him. He’s a good boy and though he drives me crazy, he’s worth the occasional stress.

I never wanted to be a dog person, but maybe now I am…

Burnt Orange

She has a mind like a brick wall and a heart like a mid winter fire.

She moves with the grace of the popping flames but holds the weight of a foundation under pressure.

She lives in contradiction and struggles so to make a decision and move forward.

She is temporary and constant,

willowy and strong.

She is a flooding of emotion.

She is a soul at home

and lost.

Blue Is For My Mother

My mother is the blue of a sun kissed sky after a passing storm.

A cooling blue to soothe a burn. To calm. To heal.

A feather pillow I often leaned upon.

In my childhood, my mother was almost never sick. She was steady in body and mind, a figure of constancy amid the chaos of the day to day. She kept everything straight. She cooked, made appointments, did the bills, and most of all, cared for my sister, father and I holding us together in times of crisis and celebrating us on our happiest occasions. She was a beam of energy, a perpetual player and a strong soul.

My mother went to William and Mary to study acting, so from a very young age I was encouraged to explore my creativity, to imagine and to play. My sister and I would dance around the house in mismatched costumes (we have an attic full of collected gowns, suits and other get-ups, along with boxes and boxes of wigs, gloves, hats, shoes; needless to say my sister and I were always disguised in some way) my mother watching all the while laughing and jumping along. She kept her youthfulness alive, swinging on shopping carts in the grocery store, singing as she hammered away at our clunky old piano and directing us in homemade mini movies where my sister and I would, unknowingly, embarrass ourselves in later years.

It was a real shock when she was called in on the first of September. She had seemed fine that morning, other than the continual tired spell that had been dragging her down slowly for months. For my mother fatigue was just a sign of getting older and I guess I overlooked it since my mom is not one to complain. Nothing could have prepared me for how serious things were about to turn.

The phone rang twice, my dad answered. His face froze and I could feel his body weaken from the inside out. He rushed up stairs shouting to my mother,

“Julie, you need to go to the hospital now.”

She was checking her email.

“Ok, just a second.”

“No,” My dad said, “Now. Your Dr. just called. She got your blood work. You are severely anemic and may need a transfusion.”

I was listening from the hall upstairs. I listen in a lot. It’s a skill I developed as a kid, I really honed my ability to seem like I just passed by and happened to hear something.

I burst into the upstairs office where my parents were. Confused and upset I just stood there as they began to get my Mom’s things together to go to the hospital.

I don’t remember what I said, if I said anything. I just remember feeling hollow, nervous and alone. I stayed at home with our new puppy waiting anxiously to hear any news. There has been a lot more waiting lately.

My mom spent the next four days in the hospital. A time of multiple transfusions, tests, retests, theories, pacing, new theories and finally an answer.

Last month my mom was diagnosed multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.

She rests more often now.

Blue is for my mother.

Sound and Light

                                             Photo Courtesy of Dan Izzo © 2011

I feel the world through sound and light. Each passing breeze and sparrow song paints a picture in my mind. Each gentle voice, each ticking clock, each flat piano key holds a story waiting to be unlocked, discovered, set free.

I was a sophomore in college before I realized I was different. I guess I had my suspicions when we learned about synesthesia in high school psychology, but it all seemed so technical in class. Too rigid to be my experience. My colors move, take shapes and, if I give in strongly, play mini movies before my eyes. Music dances as it plays.

My eyes and ears have been tied together in this way for as long as I can remember and I would not have it any other way. This connection has influenced the way I write my music. I play on the guitar and then the lyrics flow out of the colors and the story that I see. It is as if the music stretches across my ceiling like a projection and all I have to do is follow it and write it down.

Music is the core of my life. It keeps me centered, it gives me a release, it is a meditative escape from the stresses of the day.

This blog will be about my life, music, inspirations, perceptions, heart ache and joy.

I hope you will find solace in my words.