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.