Wednesday, December 26, 2007

the morning after...

and so some of the lights have already come down. C's son left to visit his Dad Sunday morning so we had our Christmas Sat night. I did get biking gloves as well as a pair for wearing to work. There were other gifts but those were the two I wanted. C liked the tickets I got for her but was obviously underwhelmed with the rest of my offerings. And in all honesty they were an underwhelming collection of one night out shopping. Oh, there were a few extra treats, small things, things that didn't seem to matter. Even our upcoming trip away seemed to fall flat. I will be out of town this weekend and she wanted the tree & interior decorations down before he got back so we spent yesterday afternoon taking things down, packing them away, and I hauled them up to her attic. We caught a movie and had dinner with her Mom before I headed home. The highlight of the holiday weekend was going for a bike ride early Christmas Eve morning, then taking the dogs for a walk that afternoon while she went into work, driving up to see my folks and nieces/nephews Sun while she headed to the airport. It suddenly seemed that most of the enjoyable moments were ones we were apart. Not that we had an awful time. There were moments, but all in all there was one too many comment about the (very real) impositions of having a house guest over for a long holiday weekend and one too many moments when I wasn't saying or doing what someone who was head over heels in love would say or do. Mainly because I was busy pouting over the lack of appreciation. Which is cruel. Her only child is away for a week and while she complains about him as much as she does me I know she misses him. Still at some point... well, at some point you either lay back and enjoy looking at the lights or you take them down.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

sleep tight









e y es


dr EAmS



Monday, December 17, 2007

dream - twilight zone

The dream begins with me out on property that I own. (don't really own). I am walking with someone, showing them the large pond bordered by a favorite tree, now bare, in which is perched a red bird. During our conversation I become aware I need to get to my house. I simply sit down and somehow slide back to the house - some sort of slip and slide but amazingly I do not get wet. When I arrive I dress for work but then decide to walk into town to get something first. In real life I catch the bus into the city before daybreak but in the dream the sun is already high in the sky as I hike the sidewalk into some small town. I head into a Super Walmart, which is full of thousands of people each pushing a shopping cart as if they are in desperate search for something and yet every shelf is empty. Just wall to wall shoppers, shiny shopping carts and completely bare shelves. I walk out, pass the gas pumps and only then does the camera pull back (until now I've been seeing everything through my eyes) and exhibit that I am walking in my dress shoes, wearing business black slacks and an undershirt. (so I suppose I was shopping for a dress shirt but why at Walmart and why I didn't drive is beyond me). As I start back for home I realize I am going to be late and berate myself for not driving to the store. I enter my home and Act I of the dream ends.
Whether I awoke for a moment or simply rolled over in my sleep I don't know but there certainly seemed to be some time that elapsed between that act and the following scene.
I am entertaining a large group of people in an urban apartment which appears to be mine. Everyone is dressed in formal attire. I am greeting folks, walking through my place, past all the Reimbrants, the Dalis,... until I get to the kitchen. There I sample a few items, offer some advice to the chefs and then set out to check on my guests. As I step out of the kitchen someone stops me and asks about a painting that is hanging beside us. I smile and say that the artist was no one but that the painting appealed to me. I actually found it somewhere and hung it in that spot so that normally I would be the only person to see it. Suddenly the dream angle shifts and instead of me being the lens, the camera pulls back, away from the unknown visitor and myself. We glance at the painting again and move into the living room. The camera pulls closer to the painting until it reveals a rough drawing of a pond, a single bare tree bordering it, in which is perched a red bird.

The end.

How and why the dream came full circle to the same scene amazes me. It was a very vivid dream, although I never could clearly see anyone's face. Or at least I didn't recognize anyone there. The property could be similar to land my parents own. They have a pond that developed a leak and is now dry. There is no solitary tree and I'm clueless as to what the red bird represents. I never entertain, have less than a handful of friends close enough that I would even think of inviting into my house, which is located in suburbia and contains only copies of Wythe's works. strange.

On a humorous note, I taped two gift cards to the top of the trash can before setting it out this morning. When I returned home I was a bit miffed to see the envelopes laying in the yard (why wouldn't the sanitation crew have thrown the envelopes in with the trash) Closer inspection proved that the gift cards were still in the envelopes. They had simply emptied the trash can and tossed the can, along with the gift cards back into the front yard. So now the question is whether to give them a second chance or pass the cards along randomly to someone else.

Lastly, upon returning home yesterday I was greeted by a letter from a medical office I had used a couple of years ago. Turns out a 'former employee' of theirs had been charged with stealing personal data from files and using it to obtain credit for herself. It gave me the number of an officer in charge of the investigation and advised me to contact credit agencies and wished me a good day. Kind of a "hey just wanted to let you know that we might have facilitied in screwing you over pretty good but no hard feelings and have a nice day" letter. I called the credit agency and the lady was very helpful. Although I was amused to learn from her that she had overspent for Christmas and was concerned about the debt she had incurred. Seemed a bit ironic.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

It can't be mid Dec already again...

The youngest niece had her birthday last weekend so I am through with family/friend birthdays for the year and ready to focus on Christmas. (which yes I understand is technically another birthday) The tree is up. I didn't put one up the first year after the divorce and the whole holiday season felt, well, un-festive. Every year since, regardless of what is going on in life I make sure the tree is up. It may seem silly. I suppose I've spent all but one Christmas morning in someone else's house, my parents, my former in-laws, or relatives. Yet it is nice having the tree up here, the lights flickering, all a pointless jesture but it still feels right. The temps have been in the mid 70's until today so it doesn't feel like December yet. Life has been hectic, work, relationship, fighting some bug, nearly knocking myself out while helping rake leaves (yes I am that uncoordinated) I am Charlie Brown trying to kick that silly football that Lucy [a bit of personal irony that her name begins with an L eh?] :) will pull out from under me. My back is fine, it's the knees that are killing me.

Oh well, Deck Us All with Boston Charlie! (bonus brownie points to anyone who gets that one)

Happy Holidays Part I

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Birthday, Part 44

Happy Birthday to Sister P. Hard to believe that she is 44 and even more mind blogging to believe that our youngest sister will hit the big 40 Saturday. My kid sisters shouldn't be in their 40's. They should be teens, primping in front of the mirror, or doing something to infuriate their older brother, like cheating at Monopoly. R would lose interest and P could convince her to sell her any of her property for $1 and I would get so upset that they weren't following the official rules. And yes, once upon a time I probably could recite the official rules of Monopoly. It was to me what video/computer games are to kids now.

P was diagnosed with ALS two years ago. She is fighting as well as any human can against this monster, this insanity. Not that any disease makes sense. I wish she could cheat at this.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

It was simple. Immediate family only this year, of course that includes all of R's gang, all P's gang, the folks, and myself. R is currently in NW AL so a bit longer drive for me. R makes the dressing and provided the house now rather than Mom. I supplied the turkey and ham rather than Dad and Uncle. There was a video game contest that evening between nieces & nephews, a short tossing of the old football with nephews and myself, and a walk around the block with Dad, Ab, Andy and an unknown golden retriever. P's condition seemed the same, although it had only been a month since our last family gathering but it was still good to see her not being worse. We laughed, Dad couldn't hear, we broke into smaller groups that revolved into yet other groups, we each spent time alone, but mostly we were the G family again. The nieces and nephews were P,R, and myself, only much more in tune with life than we were way back in the 70's. We all drive off in different directions at the end, they all have family and I have C and her family. (in a semi-sometimes sort of existence) I hate the drive back home now. It is quiet. There is no chatter among spouses, no light snoring from young children, no talk with older teens about music, life, friends, school, dreams... There is me, the radio, the car. I finally turn off of the interstate and opt for the old highway that my family used to take western, into AL when I was a preteen. It isn't the same. Not worse, not better, just not the same. I am thankful for so much this year. For time shared with family, for our laughter, for our love for each other. There is so much I am missing. Seeing my sister walk, having a reason to want to come home.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Lennox Sings

went to see Annie Lennox in concert tonight. always thought she had one of the two most incredible voices and her songs "Why" and "No More I Love You" are personal favorites. In a way was theraputic. Maybe I can step away from that door now.

Friday, October 26, 2007

ALS Walk

Off for the weekend to participate in an ALS walk. If you have any interest in donating please check out:


Thursday, October 25, 2007

the wheels on the bus go round and round...

I catch an express bus to work each day. The station is @ five miles from my house and I loathe traffic so it is a godsend, and a very reasonable one at that. Lately I seem to be falling asleep on the ride into town rather than reading and this morning continued that pattern. The only problem is I spent the entire nap dreaming that I was on the afternoon homeward bound bus. It took me a full minute to get my bearings when I awoke to discover I was downtown and the sun was still not up. Not the best way to start the day but it turned out to be pretty good and yes I dozed off on the ride home as well. No dreams though.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Item from a local newspaper:

A 22 year old man is recovering from a stab wound suffered early Thursday during a fight over volleyball skills, police said.

Sheriff Deputies responded to a 3 a.m. call at a mobile home park and found J. with a large stab wound to his back and arm.

One deputy said the incident was believed to have been sparked by an argument between the victim and three other men "over who was the best volleyball player."

Ok, first of all didn't all of our mothers teach us that nothing good happens on a volleyball court after 2 am? I know fans of college football and professional soccer have reputations as being a bit extreme but this is the craziest sports related story I've heard in quite a while.

Other than that, nothing going on.

Monday, October 15, 2007

post vacation

We all managed (somehow) to survive yet another family vacation in the mountains. I would like to say it is because we all put aside our invidual egos and overbearing need for attention and focused on the good qualities of my Dad's family but the truth is we all decided that it should be 3 day vacation rather than a week. Why it hadn't hit us that the key to a happy time together was to limit our exposure to each other to 72 continous hours before our 20something annual trek probably speaks volumes about our intellect, or lack therof. Actually it was good to see everyone, hadn't seen one set of aunt/uncle since last year. Got in some biking, weather was great. Stopped by C's yesterday on way home and managed to get in another ride today on local trail. Tomorrow, back to reality, montly reports should have hit my email today. Speaking of reality, there is an ALS walk in Birmingham (AL) on October 27. Should you happen across this page and wish to learn more about ALS or to donate to my sister's walking team please check out the following link.

I can't vouch for how much of any funds raised goes directly to research but hope that they use whatever amounts they receive wisely and that we can find a cure for this hellish illness.

Thanks and have a great week. I'm off to unpack and sort all the mail. (yikes)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Oct 2 (I am trying)

No one in my immediate family tells a good joke. Half of us are funny only by accident and the rest of us need a set up in order for our sarcasm to awaken. Sadly this is a one man act. I am tempted to try to find old stuff I've written and have something along the lines of "The Best of..." but that is pointless.

I feel a bit like the song "while my guitar gently weeps". The house is a mess again, not sure how but things are piling up again. My spurt of energy at work seems to have been just that and while I enjoy (most of) the weekends with C the being away from home every weekend is becoming a strain. I do not feel a part of the community, the only active part I ever played here was on weekends and I still don't feel a part of her day to day life there.

Let's see where are those old notes and scribblings....

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Enter, October

I love October and always will. I just wish it felt the same, carried with it the same meaning that it once did. Or twice. In college it was Bre and that bittersweet first love and loss. Euphoria, foolishness, naivete, wounded pride, ego, hurt, emptiness. But after a very short time all I really remembered was (and still is): our first meeting at the picnic table, the others filing off one by one until it was just Bre and I. Outlasting the other guy interested in spending more time with her. Her incredible smile. Mischievous, inviting, and warm. Walking out of Fuller, feeling the cold air hit our face, holding her hand as we made our way to her dorm, our breathe misting in front of our faces; the stars, the moon, and a 19 year old's certainty of first love's happily ever after. I found out she had been diagnosed with cancer in another October, a quarter century after that first meeting.

My family makes its annual pilgrimage to some local mountains (hills) and in two weeks it will be the 22nd consecutive trip for some of us. During that time it has ranged from a day spent with my Uncle to a gaggle of us, feasting, cycling, playing tennis, huddled by the fireplace, telling and retelling stories, laughing, solving the world's problems, and sharing some of the best of memories. For four years there would be letters or emails waiting for me from my dear long distance friend, catching me up on what had happened in her world that week, telling me how much she missed starting and ending each day with silly &/or thoughtful messages from me and then the year that she planned to join us for our journey. Now this will be the fourth year that there is only silence that will greet my return. I know four years is way to long to waste wondering why but I still don't understand it and I know I never will.

I love this month, always will, but nothing cuts into my soul like October.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

happiness is...

an Airedale rushing toward you, as if your presence is the among the greatest joy she knows.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Penguin ban

There are several ills in this world and it didn't kill anyone or spread any disease but the Washington Post pulling the last two "Opus" strips reeks of the same type of censorship that the press usually (justifiably) rails against. The strip for Sunday, Sept 2 was one of the best jabs at American society as well as a commentary on a dogma.

mid Sept (already)

I am afraid inspiration still has eluded me. Actually she is doing an excellent job of hiding. Which you'd think would mean she'd be in my brain, because that is absolutely the last place I would think to look for anything. And the way things are filed there if she was in there it would be impossible to find her among the grey mush.

On the real life side, Dad's back is getting worse, to the point of meetings with surgeons. I went to clinic to give blood for an ALS research project. On way back drove passed the old homestead (this blog is named after it). Place was run down, yard in serious need of mowing. The dogwood at the curb is dead. Each Easter Dad would take pic of Mom, the girls and myself. Each year my Easter suit is more hideous than the prior year. I still loathe shopping for clothes. At the time it was mainly just boring. What kid wanted to spend a perfectly beautiful spring Saturday in JC Penny looking for the most psychedlic suit in the state. Actually shopping with Mom ended on the annual quest for the Easter suit. I have heard a similar tale from a comedian once and I'm not sure if he had somehow tapped into my own life or if this is perhaps more common than you'd think. It was one year when we splurged, which meant we were in Sears rather than JC and I was trying on the suit. The first sign that things were not going well was when I heard my Mom's voice from inside the dressing area. Evidently I was taking too long to try it on or perhaps she thought I had been abducted. Then when I finally came out for display, just as I thought it was over and I could go back and change she spotted a loose thread, in the crotch. She pointed it out to the sales clerk and before I could voice my objection he was shoving some senior sales personnel toward us. The older man actually put on his glasses and there I am in Sears, with my Mom and two sales clerks squatting in front of me staring at my crotch as other shoppers pass by wondering what in the world is going on. I still haven't forgiven Mom for that one.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

utter nonsense, please come back later

My New Years Resolution for next year is stop rambling. I figure that gives me another what, 4 1/4 months to try to break the habit. Fat chance! Had bizarre dream last night only part I recall is that it was literally my funeral. One friend who I haven't seen in a couple of years now was there, his sister, who I had taken to my junior prom, and a cousin that I have only once in the last decade (perhaps ironically at a funeral) were there. They were the only people there and for some reason they were all wearing Burger King crowns. And eating BK dipped ice cream cones. And here is the weird part, I don't think BK sells dipped ice cream cones.

Beyond that the biggest part of my day was trying to A) Get Jimmy Osmond's "Purple People Eater" song out of my head and B) wondering why it got stuck in there in the first place.

And now I pause and gaze off to the left and what should catch my eye but a postcard from The Cremation Society of the South. i guess that explains part of the dream. I must have gotten the card in yesterday's mail and dropped it next to the computer. The card is addressed to "Current Resident". Perhaps they know something I should know. They are offering a "protected 'lifetime' membership". (wouldn't death invalidate a lifetime guarantee? "I'm sorry the offer was rescinded when he decided to stop breathing" It is $25 per person and $30 per couple. So while two may live as cheaply as one, they can't die as cheaply. Although the cost per death is a bit of a bargain I suppose. $15/head. They also have a temporary membership card that you can cut out. Although I suppose you shouldn't run to get the scissors to cut it out. On the face of the card are two smiling women, although the daughter seems a bit more delighted in the pic than the Mom. There is a testimonial that "after doing the research Mom chose CSS. No Yankee funeral for this Scarlett O'Hara. Promises include "No subcontracting". (Do funeral homes do that? "Sorry Frank we're booked, but we could lay Edna out in the bedding department of Sears until things clear up" (I am obviously way too tired to be blogging tonight) "Expert Crematory Witnesses". (Is he done yet?) Anyway, this is pretty sad and sick and I should be sorry but I'm in a bit of a mood. Plus on the way to the bus each morning I pass a new funeral home that has a stretch Humvee out front. I really don't understand that at all. Why would you need a Humvee to transport a body from a funeral home to a burial site?

Goodnight everyone. Perhaps rational - or even more sensible creativity will ascend from her perch atop Mt. Elusive and bestow us with something a bit more, or perhaps a bit less.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

LA Confidential

I somehow managed to kill my new computer over the weekend and spent rest of a long weekend trying to straighten out my house. Had no idea how much stuff/junk I had accumulated over the last 2+ decades since college. (still not sure why I always use that as a measuring stick) Anyway, while I was effective in finally ridding myself of a lot I did take time to look twice at a few items. Found a graduation notice from youngest sister's high school class which included an insert that announced that "due to circumstances beyond their control the date of graduation had been moved". I recall nothing of that so called her to see how her second attempt at school was going as well as the kids. She didn't have a clue either so it remains a mystery. Also ran across letter from middle sister stating that she was putting her college career on hold for a year and asking if she could move in with me for a year to earn some money. She never went back to school, got married, had two kids and will be celebrating her 20th anniversary in October. There were some college papers, tests, which I kept, letters from girls who are could be close to celebrating their silver anniversary now. (assuming their first marriage held up better than mine). A playbook some friends and I had come up with for a 3 on 3 flag football game we had against some of the high school football stars. (somehow we won, and no it didn't involve bribing the official. Actually, we simply took it serious and drilled non stop for 3 weeks prior to the game while they assumed they could show up and beat 3 non-jocks. silly. And yes, a couple of cards from L that I had stashed away. But none of that is why I'm writing tonight.

Got email from LA and she is coming through town at end of month. Has a 3 hour layover and asked if I could meet her at airport. I have never met anyone as full of life as she was, enjoyed working with her, getting to know her, surviving lunch hours with her. (God knows she could beat any NASCAR/ Formula 1 driver out on the interstate. How she could maneuver through traffic, telling me the latest in her amazing tales, while constantly looking at me still amazes/frightens me. Her response was classic, she "had never had an accident... that was legally her fault". She started as receptionist at place I used to work, would get bored and began looking for other things to do and soon outgrew our company. I was surprised when she got married, sad when they split - theirs was the only wedding ceremony I had actually thought to be fun. They had it on shore of a lake, crowd was dressed casually, mingling, at some point an official stepped out with them and they recited some vows they had written, everyone released butterflies (which sounds a lot more colorful than it turned out to be as they were practically all frozen and immediately tumbled to the ground. Those that weren't trampled did manage to fly off one by one. Still, that tragedy aside, it was a nice ceremony and they seemed perfect for each other. But then again I seem to be a lousy spotter of perfect couples. lol. They divorced, she decided to move to FL, did some day trading, waitressing, showing up at parties and always getting in and meeting people. Her car was wrecked on way to a Dolphins game but she didn't care, she made a date with the cop that showed up and another one with someone she met at the game. Her eyes sparkle when she talks, and while I will always owe H a debt for introducing me to sushi, LA expanded the menu. Always knew chefs, people sitting near us would strike up conversations with her, she cusses like a sailor, did I mention the sparkling eyes? The hair? never in place but always absolutely perfect. God the stories from her teenage days. Amazing she survived. I always thought she'd end up President or perhaps CEO of some mega corp. Of course the joke was that if she ever did get into politics I'd have to dissappear. So if you don't hear from me again after Labor Day then...

I've been very lucky in my life. In going through things there were cards and letters from some very wonderful folks. Selfishly I wish I was still as much a part in many of their lives, while others, well I was thankful for the time we shared and honestly hope they are happy.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Thurs eve

I'm off to visit the folks this weekend. It has been something of a mini-family week already as I spent Wed visiting my sisters at P's house. P had several movies from Netflix and I was surprised at how her taste seem to emulate mine. We are 3 1/2 years apart and for the longest time we seemed to share nothing in common other than the same parents. Any movie or book that I enjoyed would be ones she either walked out off or gave away without finishing. I've only walked out of one movie in my life, dozed off through several but as a rule avoided ones that she would recommend. So I am guessing that one of us has either matured or gained some degree of taste. :) P's kids are both being very helpful; her oldest daughter will be a high school senior this year and has every college in North America and two in England bombarding her with information. Her son is already taller than the rest of us, very quick witted, athletic and the phone was constantly ringing as young females wanted to know where he was, would he be at such & such that evening etc...
sorry, nothing humorous tonight. have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Faces in the Bathroom Tile

Two days of seminars and a day off to visit sisters. Both seminars fell far short of my expectations. Both were on subjects I really had interest in and both of the speakers turned out to be the sterotypical "absent minded professor", the later getting off on some tirade that lasted for half an hour until one invidiual finally stated that while he didn't disagree with anything the speaker had said, he wondered if we might get back to the subject. I also made a rather interesting and possibly disturbing discovery. The men's restroom had tiles that seemed to include what looked like the profile of a man's face. That wasn't the most disturbing thing though, on closer inspection the face bore a strong resemblence to adolph hitler. There was a moustache about the open mouth and what looked like an empty eye above the nose. I don't think they meant to have hitler's profile staring up at you as you sat upon the throne and perhaps it says more about my very strange imagination but there was no disputing that is what several of the tiles appeared to be. And no I didn't ask anyone else about whether or not they saw the same thing.

Monday, July 30, 2007

D or two thoughts at once

I may have already introduced my eldest nephew D and if I didn't well, I know who he is so there really isn't any reason to explain all the details. Short version - he was first grandchild in family and for a period of a year, when he was 2-3 years old he and my sister R lived with me. So I am very much closer to him than the other nieces/nephews. Anyway, D is now 20, and evidently not registering for Fall classes at school (my alma mater). This is his second school. Having spent the second semester of his Freshman year on line playing video games rather than attending classes he lost his scholarship to his first college. (which was his second choice because he skipped taking an exam that could have gotten him a four year full scholarship to his initial choice) All of this weighs much more heavily on his Mom and stepdad (and Grandparents, and Uncle) than on him. He is going to be a bass guitar rock god. (as are millions of 20 year olds across this musical wasteland we call (somewhat off key) America). Now he does have talent and I've listened to the band's blog site and they aren't bad and I admittedly don't know the first thing about the music industry. Still, his Mom sees history repeating itself - she dropped out of school to have him- the Grandparents see Richard the Second, the potential reincarnation of Mom's nephew who despite seeming to have everything going his way became a middle aged bum, existing by literally stealing from his Mother and another Aunt until he died at the not nearly ripe old age of 50. While I believe D is naive I do not think he is the thief that Rich I was. I have a tendency to look back on my own college years as one of the two greatest periods of my life and, (in my mind) would not hesitate to change places with him. However if I am honest with myself, and dug deep enough into my closet to find some journals from 1980 I imagine there would be a few entries of longing for something other than Western Civ 102. But I am upset with him. His grandparents are worried, he isn't returning their calls. His Mom has his tag but he won't return her calls, and now he has ignored my call and emails as well. Plus he blew off my birthday (which is all of 4 days after his) so he is not atop my favorite list right now. And yet...

Second random thought - while standing in line with C to buy her son a copy of the book that shall not be named but did involve a line weaving itself through a bookstore at midnight two Fridays ago I happened to pick out a book "Gilead" which I finished tonight. I think it is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read and until the last few chapters it is a monologue. I may be wrong but I don't recall seeing " " until page 200 and the book isn't much longer than that. It deals with Fathers and Sons, literal Father/Sons as well as figurative Father/Sons. And maybe it was reading the last chapter, &/or having D on my mind, &/or the fact that the sushi bar was playing sad Country Christmas music,&/or the saki sliding so warmly down my throat but as I finished my meal and the book I felt my eyes watering up. The hostess asked if I was okay and I mumbled something about getting too much washabi but everything, the book, my own Dad's age & health, my sister P's health, my being able to see 50 not so far down the road and being childless, and thinking of D all hit me at once. It was beautiful and sorrowful. It was pure me.
Bonus thought -

Later, I ran by the grocery store, got some sliced chicken breast. The btucher immediately began telling me how the music had been so loud earlier that she couldn't hear orders and when she called the manager's office to complain they told her the volume was controlled at some regional office. And how she hadn't been able to reach her pick up truck's engine to put oil in so she had to go across the street and ring the doorbell to get a neighbor to help. But the neighbor was asleep so she called Lucy who called her son and woke him up so he could help her. She had even tried standing on two oil cans. Now this may not be unusual but it strikes C as bizarre when I tell her that at times people, who I have never met suddenly want to tell me some part of their life. Personally I find it reassuring. I'd like to think it indicates I do have some redemable value (which gets back to the book). Earlier this weekend the lady in front of me at the 7/11 told me she knew she was too old to start over but she had put up with him for too long and felt she deserved better. I hope she did leave him.

I hope D makes it big, but also wish he'd finish school first. There isn't a law that Rock Gods can't be 22 and have a degree under their belt. Mainly I want him happy, safe, healthy.

Rock on

Sunday, July 22, 2007

blah, blah, blah

Not sure why but "Rhapsody in Blue" has been running through my head for the last week. And no, nothing has happened to make me either "rhapsodoic" or blue. Finally had to break down and order a cd which I listened to on the way out of town Friday. Middle sister cancelled my visit. She was having a rough week and wanted no visitors. Did get take off early Thurs to get grass mowed. Thank God we finally got some rain.

I saw an for "Underdog" the movie. Guess they have decided to take every show from my youth and turn it into a film.

Anyway, I am tired, did a good amount of work @ C's this weekend and my knee is throbbing so on this very dull note.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

a dog lover in a cat's world

This is about the same spot where my previous attempts at blogging failed. I'd start out trying to pour out the (many) years of history in order to 'get acquainted' and then let the chit-chat begin. Only life, (ie mowing lawn, fixing car, laundry, grocery, visiting friends...) invades and/or I run out of ideas. (pregnant pause while I try to think of an idea, scanning around the room as if some until now never thought of topic leaps out at me. Of course what does happen is I see that the office needs cleaning again. (how does it get so messy when it is just me and the two mock dogs. (Stray cats that understand that I am actually a dog person and so they have done a pretty remarkable job of mimicking dogs, or at least they did long enough for me to grow attached to them) I was a 'we' when S came along. Some neighbor came by claiming they had 'found a kitten' and wanted to know if it was ours. I knew my x wanted a cat and so told the neighbor if no one else claimed it we would take her. I'm pretty sure all the neighbor did was go down the stairs, count to 30 and then come right back up. Somehow between then and the divorce the x had grown more attached to our dog and when she moved back home her parents only allowed her one pet. Something about the fact she had brought untold number of pets home with her. She felt badly about S being 'alone' so her last gift to me was another stray, W. W still believes she is a dog, she is constantly underfoot, I have nearly killed both of us stepping back from the refrigerator and nearly tripped over her. I always thought cats were graceful but W will strut into a room and literally throw herself down on one side, at times sounding like she has knocked the breath out of herself. They know that on weekends I am often away, carrying on with as many as three K9s at once, tossing them sticks, taking them on walks, bathing them, having them rest their muzzle in my lap while I gently stroke their head and yes, even spending my own money to buy them treats and something akin to dog ice-cream. Each Sunday evening I return home, with the scent of an Airedale or a pair of Snauzchers, or if I visit my folks, two Bostons. I do feel a twinge of guilt when I hear W wailing as the garage door closes behind me and I ascend the stairs. They both give me a deep gaze, boring through to my very soul and I have to turn away. Only then do I notice the blond, or gray, or black &/or white hair on my shirt, or notice the distinct smell of an often retrieved twig on my hand. But they always forgive me and after restocking their food and water as I lay down to sleep W will hop on the bed and throw herself against my left side while S will spend two minutes on the headboard looking down at me before taking her spot at the right foot of the bed. So we all three drift off to dreamland. Chances are they dream of having some true cat lover but if they do harbor any resentment they hide it very well.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

bike ride 7.12.07

Out on the trail after work. And while I am pedaling away all my thoughts are clear and I think of what I'll write in my blog but then I run by the grocer, make a quick dinner, have a glass of wine and then fight the old PC to get onto my account and... and its gone. Or more correctly it is all there, thought pushing against thought and nothing comes out. So I take a deep breathe and try to think about biking. My first bike was one my Dad bought for me from a police auction. It was a green girls bike and no I don't think there were any permanent psychological scars from pedaling around the neighborhood atop a girl's bike. I remember the yard seemed like a giant hill and how anxious I was the first time the training wheels came off. I'm pretty sure that is about the same time my parents shot the 8mm video of me wearing a huge band aid on my chin. It has been several years since I was back in that neighborhood and I was amazed at how almost level the front yard appeared as well as how short the driveway was. We moved when I was six into a larger subdivision but there were not a lot of kids my age so I remember riding around on my new bike, a banana seat 3 speed with the gear shift mounted not on the handle bars but right in front of you. Once my sister, P, was riding with me. I was a ahead of her and a German Shepard took out after us. I stopped, let her pass and then took off trailing her. I do recall feeling something bite into my right butt cheek and later trying to contort myself in front of a mirror so I could see if there was any damage. It was probably the only brave thing I've ever done in my life. When we moved from suburbia I was a month away from 14. The last day of school I hopped off the bus, jogged home and jumped into the front seat of our Cutlass station wagon and rode with Mom and the girls to our new home. (I'm still a bit fuzzy on whether they had told me ahead of time that we were moving or if I just got home earlier than my parents had expected me to.) We moved to a rural area and while I had friends in school we lived several miles from them and our house was surrounded by 100 acres of farmland and trees. I only brought homework from school once - which is a pretty sad indictment on the level of edukashion there- so after school I would ride around the property. Lap, after lap, after lap. Winning races against imaginary opponents, coming from back in the pack to edge them out at the finish line. (the dead tree by the dirt road) The next summer I began working so, except for the occasional after school ride in the Fall, I didn't ride much. Several years ago my Uncle and I began to meet each Autumn at a small town and ride for a weekend. Over the years it grew into a complete family outing with extra rides around the local area, including my introduction to a Greenway Trail. I also began riding in organized rides, took a couple of cycling vacations in New England, and the state has built a very nice trail close to where I now live, so that there is rarely a week that goes by when I'm not on a bike and when the days are to short to ride during the work week I'll hit the stationary bike at the gym. All that to say, I love cycling. I find it refreshing, relaxing, tiring, great exercise and just plain fun. Until now. I still love it but I also hate it. P has ALS, has been in a wheelchair since November and now it is effecting the muscles in her hands as well. I pedal and feel the sun and the breeze and I love it and I hate it. I feel alive and I feel guilty, I feel, I feel, everything and I feel nothing. P's oldest will be a senior in high school this year. I have never wanted time to go by so slowly and so quickly.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

son of a..

My father is a mechanic. He has long since retired but once a mechanic, always a mechanic. At one time he was a Fleet Supervisor (head mechanic) for the largest bottler of the #2 cola in the US. However his plant was located deep within enemy territory and twice a year I'd have to go on a field trip into the enemy's main camp. Once as a school field trip and then a second time with the Cub Scouts. After three trips I decided it was time to show my pride in my Dad so despite the rather warm weather I wore a light jacket that contained my Dad's company's logo emblazoned upon it. I think my teacher rolled her eyes but said nothing at my little protest but my fellow fifth graders assured me that the Enemy would not be amused. Sure enough the sharp eyed offical greeter spotted me as I stepped down from the bus onto terra firma. He put his arm out, stopping my progess and looked down at me, first with a stern look, but then he gave me a quick grin and allowed me to pass, thus relieving my sudden fear of being shuttled off to a debriefing room. When we moved, Dad got a new job with a local coop and I made peace with the Enemy soda. Years later, when I moved back to my hometown I ran into an old classmate. During our conversation he mentioned that his mother always remembered me because I was extremely polite but she always had to make sure she bought some Pepsi anytime I visited. I laughed, not recalling myself as being that stubborn about anything as a kid. Since then I have pretty much converted to the enemy's side when it comes to grabbing a Cola, usually the Diet one. And I don't think Dad's former employer misses my allegience one bit.

mile marker 9

As I was pedaling back to the car yesterday afternoon, enjoying the long missing sensation of rain falling down on me, I lost track of where I was on the trail. I was completely unaware I was approaching mile marker #9 when suddenly "suicide squirrel" darted out across the trail in front of me. Fortunately he was far enough ahead that I didn't even think of applying the brakes. This has happened on numerous occassions this summer all right around #9 and twice I've nearly ran over it. I have no way of knowing if it is the same squirrel and even had the (humorous) thought that it might either be part of an initiation ritual for young squirrel gang or some squirrel that had decided it couldn't stand any more of the summer heat/humidity and was going to take a bicyclist out with as well. At the instant those thoughts hit my rapidly cooling brain they seemed humorous. Like something I would have thought of anytime in my life. But then it suddenly hit me that in light of the world today the idea of a 'suicide' squirrel 'taking someout out with it' just wasn't supposed to be as funny as it used to be, or as funny as it is to me.

I haven't figured out how to link to another post yet, and not sure I want to yet either but one of the few readers of this post asked a question on her blog that brought me back to college. We were to list two truthful items and one lie about our life. Knowing she knew I cycled I threw out a lie about biking in 33 states (and shame on me for being so deceitful) but one of the truths was that I had once been a dummy for a Miss America finalist. Which is true. I was in college and she was our state's representative and among the final six, I think the second runner up. Anyway, her talent was ventriloquism and she was coming to our campus and I was honored to be her 'dummy'. So I sat on her lap and tried to remember to open and shut my mouth in a very exaggerated manner although I'm pretty sure I sat there with my mouth agape until it was over. She was very polite, explained to me before 'our number' what she wanted me to do and even thanked me afterwards. My dreams of us going on the road as a vaudeville act were never realized and that is about as far as I got in show business. I have since seen a former roommate on two different TV shows though. There was a show on one season with Lea Thompson (sp) and in one episode suddenly there is C in a scene, and within a few weeks later I was flipping the dial and there he was again.

Anyway, these are all completely unrelated thoughts but will be only chance to blog for a couple of days.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Why, in the name of all that is technical can I not type anyting in the Title section? Maybe I can edit it in later.

Absolutely no excitement today. Search for the watch & rings continue (more later as that post seems to have vanished) but did get in a bike ride today. All the more enjoyable because of the rain that began on way back. Nothing feels better in July than rain. Was soaked and very happy until I discovered that odometer was not operating. Tried the two tricks I do know and nothing so was cheated out of the last two miles of ride, which includes 'the hill' but even that couldn't,well, "dampen' my spirits. So, am tired, weary but feel great so good night.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Monday (or why I hate technology)

It is Monday. I was to go to bed early but thought I would get one thing accomplished and update antivirus software on-line. It won't load and tech support doesn't know why. So I thought I'd log on and blog and spent 15 minutes fighting sytem just to get on. Thiis is the ending to a day that included my car making strange noises, my assistants car dieing on her as she got to work, and C left her watch and two rings on hood of her car and remembered them five miles down the road. Despite a thorough, slow, deliberate hike nothing turned up. If the entire world wakes up to discover it is once again Monday morning, I for one will be thrilled. (and now the computer, software, internet gods are not allowing me to click on a title for this griping session) argggggggggggghhhhhhh!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Paging Dr. Gulp

I am a pack rat and part of this Independence Day (after the bike ride on the local trail) is being spent cleaning, removing, (and yes in some cases rearranging) things that have accumulated. I am tired, hot, and ready for a hot dog, apple pie and slice of watermelon before watching the fireworks (on tv since local town cancelled their show due to extended drought). During cleaning up I found some bills from a decade ago and one was from the time I had upper GI test. At least I recall that being the one when I had to swallow some awful concoction. First the nurse came in, gave me something that was the same diameter as quarter and instructed me to swallow it. I asked what this was testing and she said the width of my esophagus to which I replied "so if choke to death we'll know it wasn't wider than a quarter". She was not amused. Then it got bizarre. In stumbled, literally, a pot bellied man who hadn't shaved in a few days, wearing a Superman "S" T shirt, with either remains of his breakfast or some red kryptonite on it. "May I introduce Dr. B" the nurse said, actually bowing a bit and swinging her arms toward him as if he was the doctor behind door #2 and this was "Let's Make a Deal". Actually, I strongly suspected she was saying it for his benefit as much as for mine because he seemed to nod, as if "Oh, yeah, that's me." He mumbled something and stood beside her. "Dr B will now ask you to lie on the table and drink a portion of the solution." Again she turned to him and nodded before he took the prompt and repeated, word for word, what she had said. This echo method of medicine continued throught the testing procedure. The only other memory that I have of the experience was being instructed to stand in some pretty ridiculous poses which I was pretty sure was a joke they were playing on me. (Let's see if he'll really do this one) The final result was that everything looked good, or so they said. I'm still certain that he was the janitor or another patient that they paid to stand in for the real Dr. B. Although they did make a pretty impressive team.

Changing gears, it still feels strange to be celebrating the 4th without being on the lake. I haven't had my feet stapped into the skurfer in three years now and I miss the sensation of being lifted out of the water, cutting across the wake, bumping, flying, crashing, having Larry throw the (small) football from the boat and actually catching it. Boating out to the dam to listen to the local volunteer band play and watch the fireworks.


Monday, July 2, 2007

From 1988

Sometimes I thought the wind would catch me
and carry me away.
Sometimes I thought I'd drift along
on an endless sea of gray.

Sometimes your voice rescued me,
sometimes your name haunted me.
But I always thought that the wind
would carry me away.

(found among stuff from a life time ago)

My parents will be celebrating their 52nd anniversary this weekend. So much has happened within our family since the big Golden Anniversary party. P knew something was wrong with her leg then but had not yet been diagnosed with ALS. R and her crew still lived in the 'old homestead' directly across the street from the folks. Now the ramp that Dad built onto the front porch is not for my nearing 80 year old parents but for my younger sister for the times she will get to visit and R and her crew, the youngest of which is only two and still loves his grandfather more than anything (except perhaps tractors and Thomas the Train) live over two hours away. Not as far as a lot, but my Dad never discovered any hobbies in life beyond work, family, and church and now he has physical limitations, his family is not within walking distance, and after a lifetime of attendance and sacrifice for his church he sits in church on Sundays bored to tears with the contemporary service and seemingly unwilling to try a new one.

I was, we all three were, extremely fortunate to grow up in a household where our parents were so completely devoted to each other and so very much in love. My father may have been the stereotypical 70's Dad but he never had any problem showing his compassion for Mom. As kids we couldn't tell where one ended and the other began. They seemed to share every opinion and were one mind on all things. Of course as I got older I learned they didn't see eye to eye all the time but they never showed it in front of us and there were never any deep dark secrets that other kids had to deal with.

I was always notorious for taking candid shots. I loathed posed pictures, forced smiles, primping. I have three favorite pics. One is a Christmas shot of my parents, the year they gave each of us a piece of furniture. They sit next to each other, hair uncombed, eyes a bit tired, smiling at each other. The second one is of my sisters and I, being silly and the third is of me holding my oldest nephew when he was born (two decades ago this month).

My thoughts seem to hang there, waiting for that next rush of (?) to come pouring out but then I sit and look back at the page. It's incomplete but I somehow that seems appropriate.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

No good deed....

No good deed goes unpunished. I spent last week house/dog sitting for sister P. During that week car broke down (fortunately turned out to be minor issue but poor dog was about to explode by time I was able to get to the house), didn't sleep well at all during week and then my computer and patio furniture were both delivered early. (the one time someone actually delivers days before they are supposed to) Only problem with computer is the software was all in Spainish and neither the manufacturer or the seller seem to be able to do anything other than have me ship it back. (oh but they will gladly sell me another one in the meantime). No wonder the seller has closed all their stores within a 150 mile radius. So I am back on the old, very slow sytem and the office is an absolute mess so the last bit of weekend will be spent trying to create some order out of this chaos.

On very plus side got to eat sushi with H & T one evening and was able to help C study for her exam.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

phone conversation on bus

I ride the bus transit into town to work (thank God for not having to drive). Anyway, the guy sitting behind me was chatting loud enough for entire bus to hear and his side of the phone converstions went like this:

Call #1 (to friend or associate)
"It was a f'ing mess, I'm f'ing trying to get this f'ing deal done but there isn't one g.d. f'ing truck in the whole g.d. f'ing state of California to hual this g.d. s. out of there and my f'ing boss wont' get off his f'ing ass and okay the f'ing deal." (repeat similar f'ing lines for about ten f'ing minutes)

Call #2 (from boss)
"yes sir, I understand sir. I didn't know our cost and just wanted to close the deal. Well, it's after six o'clock here and he was in Dallas and was about to leave the office so I'll call him first thing tomorrow to see if he still wants us to arrange to have it hauled"

Call #3 (back to friend"
"Yeah, that was my gd boss. He hasn't a f'ing clue, I can't get one g.d. truck in whole gd f'ing state of California..."

Call #4 (from wife)
"Hey sweetie. Yeah, I'm on the bus and will be home in twenty minutes. Listen at choir practice tonight keep your ears open for any jobs or anything"

I bet the choir sounded like some f'ing angels. : )

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

apple sauce

I don't recall how she and I hit upon it. Substituting the phrase "apple sauce" for the word "whatever". It somehow became an inside joke. And I am not sure why that was the phrase that hit me when I began to type tonight. Maybe because I have too much to do before this month fades away, maybe because while I was waiting for my ancient computer to allow me into blog I glanced at the bulletin board in my office/spare room and saw the Christmas pictures I had made of my sisters nearly 25 years ago. P at 18 and R 14. Healthy with a whole life ahead of them. Saw them both over the weekend at the folks. P is confined to her wheelchair now. ALS, there with S and their two kids. R & D with the youngest three of their four. The fourth somehow already having completed his second (and probably last) year of college. I never understood my father's strong desire to turn the clock back, but then again I was young(er) then and he was about the age I am now.

There is no joy in my writings any more. No wit, no flow. L stole part of that, or mortally wounded it and I let it die by neglect. I feel there is nothing to share, and with whom and why? To much to do and what does any of it matter? My sister, dieing, and me with no real responsibilities beyond feeding two stray pets.

Apple sauce

Saturday, March 3, 2007

it was a beautiful day

There is a picture of me at about age four or five. You can't really see that is is me, as the shot was taken from the edge of our front yard but the blur with his nose pressed to the window of the living room is me. What you can see is the largest snow fall I have ever witnessed in my home state. And there I am trapped inside by a cold and a Mother who feared colds turning into things much worse. So my Dad and some cousins are frolicking outside while I am inside. I don't recall that day but it is similar to today. Except rather than snow it is glorious sunshine begging me to come out with my bike and hit the trail. And instead I am sitting inside, finishing up favors for others and nursing a cough/fever. My computer is ancient, the printer one frustration after another and in between hacks I can see the blue sky beckoning. Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

where was I?

Third attempt at blogging and so frustrated with this whole thing I'm about ready to stop again. Have no idea where in hyperspace the second version ended and the first, well that was a long time ago. So, stay tuned and see what develops.