Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Story for Wordsmiths Unltd

Serena had to give herself a shake. She had to get in gear, she’d been sitting in the car reminiscing for over twenty minutes now. She was thinking, among other thoughts, that she should not have put it off for this long. The bulldozers were going to be here is less than two weeks.

But she couldn’t help it. When she came out six months ago with the surveyors, it blind-sided her. She hadn’t expected to be thrown so far, so hard, into the past. Looking over this property brought it all back; "Shucky-ducky, go out to the kitchen and get me a swallow of water, please." Poppy and his silly pet name, she very nearly cried right there in front of the surveyors.

Serena remembered a small house, much like the one before her now. She remembered lying on the bed, listening to the coyotes and being afraid they’d come down from the mountain and eat her and Poppy. He always told her not to worry; coyotes had better things to chew on that one grizzled old man and one talkative little girl.

Serena wondered if the girl who rode the bike, at one time, would be home now. She remembered when she begged Poppy for a bike. He fussed and argued for a bit, saying he couldn’t understand why anybody would want a bike when there were perfectly stout ponies to ride. "Bike won’t do you any good on that raggedy road," he said time and time again. But there, outside, by the hitching post sat the second-hand bike, he’d painted her favorite color, blue, on the morning of her 10th birthday.

On that morning, with the surveyors, and on this morning, with the weight of her task, slowing her down, Serena remembered the good times and the bad. She remembered saying a final goodbye to Poppy only two days after her 18th birthday. She remembered talking with the lawyer who handled Poppy’s affairs; he was polite and all business.

Serena remembered how the attorney handed her a check that more than covered law school, which had been her dream, forever. She remembered how, after graduation she landed a job with Essay, Rives and Knowles, that job landing her here, in front of this little house, outside in her car, shivering from the memories and the thought of the chilly work ahead.

Serena must shake off this sadness, she must get out of this car, walk up to that door and tell the family who has called this house home for the past 25 years that it was time. They must leave. They’ve lost the battle and their home. There will be no more family bar-be-ques in the back yard. There will be no more hikes to the secret spots on the mountain. There will be no grand-children trying to ride the old bike, down the bumpy road.

Serena must do this, she must do this now, because the bulldozers will be here in less than two weeks.

Friday, September 29, 2006


I love Boston Ferns because they are wild and unruly looking. When full and healthy, they have attitude. They practically growl. I’ve owned a few over the years, but haven’t had very much luck. They are very difficult to care for. Unlike, pothos, of which I have many, Boston Ferns require dedication, time and the right conditions. The dedication I have, the time is in short supply, Further, I don’t believe conditions in my unit would be conducive to flourishing a fern.

A wholesale florist in the building where my office is located, has an overstock of Boston Ferns. They are selling them off at $5.00 a pop. I’ve been volleying the notion back and forth-for a week now. The pickings are getting slim-which is perhaps what I want. Again, I don’t believe the conditions in my condo are right for a fern, I believe this yet, $5.00 a pop.

I’m reminded of my ex-husband, who came home often with articles of clothing that were too big, too small or just wrong and I’d ask, why? He would just shrug and say, because it was only $5.00.
A bargain isn’t a bargain if no one can use it-or if you know you will ultimately have to mulch it sooner, rather than later.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

W (2)

Yesterday was Wednesday. I know because 1) I have no fewer than five calendars between my home and work offices and 2) I worked the PTG (part-time gig) yesterday. I work the part-time gig on Mondays and Wednesdays-I’m too tired for yesterday to have been Monday, so it must have been Wednesday.

Yesterday, Wednesday and for many Wednesdays prior, I walked to the PTG. The route takes me past the Chicago Chocolate Company Café . I’ve spoken of feeling smug good about not succumbing to the temptation to step inside for a taste.

Five weeks ago, the CCCC began advertising White Chocolate Wednesday, offering 15% off White Chocolate. This advertisement is in the form of a chalkboard sandwich sign. For the past four weeks, the sign has been worth notice.

Week 1: It’s White Chocolate Wenesday 15% off White Chocolate
Week 2: White Chocolate Wensday 15% off White Chocolate
Week 3: Come in for White Chocolate Wenisday 15% off White Chocolate
Week 4: Wennsday is White Chocolate day-come in for 15% off White Chocolate

The temptation to enter the Chicago Chocolate Company Café is even greater-not to taste-but to tell whomever is responsible for the chalkboard sandwich sign that Wednesday is spelled:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Then and Now

My work-out routine sometimes include rope jumping. These days I must feel particularly perky to include it, but every now and then, I can still skip a rope. I was once a pretty decent rope jumper. As an adult, it's been the solo, single rope, gym style skipping, you know-like boxers. As a kid, it was a game. A group activity. A cult. We jumped Double Dutch.

In my neighborhood, well, neighborhoods-we moved often-Double Dutch rope jumping was a rite of passage. it was the ticket to acceptance. It was the recipe for survival. There were two camps, jumpers and turners. No one wanted to turn. If a jumper didn't jump well, the fault was on the turner-not the jumper. Some of the girls were beyond extreme about jumping.

My daughter never learned how to jump Double Dutch. Rope jumping, in this fashion, was not in fashion during her youth, and as such she wasn't interested in learning. Today, she regrets having let the opportunity pass, as I often speak of the experience fondly, in the same way I speak of paddle balling.

Paddling is wonderfully fun and relaxing.

I bought a new paddle ball recently. I haven't had one for several years now, as they are hard to find. I re-discovered the rhythm fairly quickly.

I adore my paddle, my Roxanne, Foxy Roxy. She is sturdy. She is responsive. She is kind. Much to my delight, Dani wants to learn to paddle. She's been practicing like crazy, hoping to match or surpass my paddle prowess.

She may, one day, but not anytime soon.

Monday, September 25, 2006

She Might be There

There she was, out of the blue, out of the past. Standing there all vivid and sparkling. Damn, she looks good. What is she, 54 now? She looks 35, short sporty hair, bright funky attitude. Trouble in the check-out line.

Seeing her now, remembering the time, brings it all back; the confusion, the energy, the moment that never came-never could.

She was into guys, I was supposed to be, trying to be-married to he. She was married too, but also had nibbles on the side. She was way into guys. Yet, she made me warm.

Before saying out good-byes, following the chit-chat, I invited her to email me, again. She said she would. I know that she won't. She never has before. She doesn't welcome women into her circle-too afraid they're after her men. I'm no threat, which I would tell her, now, if she gave me a shot.

But, it's better this way. Extreme physical attraction aside, she's not an option. She was a fantasy.

My energy is better spent perusing the profiles scattered about the in-box; 'Hello, I am a lesbian female who is looking for disease free, serious lesbian women only-no men please!! An Aries, with a slender, average, athletic, fit or thick body type; with an explorer, idealist, leader or giver personality type; who loves being aggressive and submissive, who is between the ages of 26-42 and who is 5' 4" to 7' 11" tall.'

I'm not a man and I think I could be agressive and submissive. I am older than her criteria nor am I an Aries, but deal breakers, she didn't specify.

Seeing her on Friday served to help turn this into one long, restless, frustrating week-end. The wet weather was a welcomed diversion.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Eating In

Eating is good. Eating Heck, eating is fundamental.

Lunch at the office is not a particularly inspired affair. It is in place to keep the tummy from revolting and thus, interrupting the flow as I dutifully execute my tasks. Lunch usually consists of variations of a theme. The theme these days being low fat, low sodium and due to gym time and lunch time, fast and easy. I try to limit usage of the office micro-wave, for a variety of reasons, so you may find me noshing on one or more of some kind of salad, tuna or salmon, fruit, cottage cheese, tortillas and with all respect to Bent, Triscuits or some multi-grain crackers.

Sometimes I like to eat, heat. In that I like a warm meal. Going out to eat at one of the nearby eateries is not an option. The recourse is to nuke leftovers brought from home. I have a 24 year old eating machine at home, leftovers are few and far between. The other option is to nuke a frozen entree. Given the sodium and fat concerns and considering the yucky factor, few options exist.

Some varieties of Lean Cuisine fit the bill, or are at least passable.

I opened my LC, Lemon Chicken entree, nuked and went to dig in, when I saw something that didn't look like seasoning. It appeared to be a hair. I promptly tossed the meal and dug out some crackers.

Later, I fired off a letter to the LC customer service. Julia, the rep assigned to my case, called.

Julia apologized profusely for the inconvenience of finding a hair in my meal. She wanted to to know and believe that sanitary standards are of the highest, they do their best to...blah blah blah.
Yes, I understood, but still...

Ms. Julia blathered on and on about the standards and then she asked questions.

How long was the hair?
What color was the hair?
Where in the meal was the hair-was it on top or embedded?
Did it appear to be a human hair?

Uhm, I don't know, not too long--long enough to be seen.
Huh? Oh, I think black-it was dark.
It. Was. On. Top. (Otherwise, I might not have seen it --ick.)
I DON'T KNOW! My Bill Nye Science Guy kit is on backorder.

Julia apologize some more. She promised me some coupons to, you know, further apologize and to show LC's appreciation for my patronage.

I thanked Julia, telling her I understood.

Coupons for more? I think, not.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

21 days

Twenty one years ago today, I'd just begun my second and final maternity leave. The idea was to give myself a month to finalize the preparations for the new arrival, as it happens-I didn't have the whole month.

Full of wonder I was on this day. Wonder if baby would be healthy. Wonder if my son, Michael, would make a good brother. Wonder if my mother would be able to handle the two-when I returned to work. Wonder what I would do-if not. Wonder why I gained so much weight this time. Wonder if I would be able to lose the extra. Wonder when we'd be able to move because it's going to be crowded. Wonder, boy or girl. Full of wonder, I was on that day and the 20 days that followed.

On the twenty first day, twenty-one years ago, a baby girl was placed into my experienced yet novice arms. She nestled snugly against my practiced, yet anxious chest. She had a cap of silky black hair and dark, piercing eyes. She also had a mouth on her, oh my goodness, she was loud.

This girl of mine was different. Beyond gender-she was different in every way. I could see it in her eyes, hear it in her wails. Whatever knowledge or understanding I'd gleaned from her brother was going to be useless to me here. She's a new ball game, a new breed, a new attitude.

Through teething, crawling, walking and learning to talk-everything was different. She followed him, yet blazed her own trail. She was the first to learn to ride a two-wheeled bike. She went off the diving board first. She climbed over and fell off a fence, first. She, not he, broke a bone-wore a cast. Though she had most of the same teachers-her experiences and by proxy, mine, were different.

Through girl scout meetings, sleepovers, gymnastics, sleepovers, t-ball, sleepovers, soccer, sleepovers, softball, sleepovers, more soccer, sleepovers, changing instruments three times before settling on the clarinet, sleepovers, birthday parties, sleepover, girlfriends, sleepovers, boyfriends and. ..everything was different.

Through the laughter, joy and love-everything was different.

Through the pain, tears, anger, pills, the call and panic-everything was different.

Through relief, recovery, healing and hope-everything was different.

In twenty-one days, Danielle, my daughter, my best bud (we'll have the tee shirts to prove it) will be twenty-one years old. We're going to be kickin up some dust in Vegas to celebrate, rejoicing for the days gone by and trumpeting the days to come.

Because everything was different. Because everything is different.

photo legend: top Danielle & Michael (3 yrs ago), middle- my mom and Danielle (2006) bottom Danielle and her *pets*

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


A tad less than two years ago, YM plopped down over $300 of his hard earned buck-a-roos on one of the millenniums symbols to cool, Apple's ipod (and accessories). When he arrived home with this treasure, you could have knocked me over with a feather duster. Not, mind you, that Mr. YM wasn't the epitome of cool, he just wasn't into gadgets and what's happening now, you know?

There he was. Getting all jiggy with digitized music. Spending hours on Saturday mornings downloading, building and customizing play lists. He has having a rocking good time. He became deeply invested in the process and the results. He was loving the research for songs and artists as much as the songs themselves. He was hooked.

The he got problems.

The unit started to mal-function. YM determined a software upgrade was in order. Done. All is right in digital land, again.

Then he got more problems.

This time, a trip to the Apple store is the proposed remedy. Friends advised he go on-line to reserve a spot with the Genius Bar, Apple's tech support reps.

Reservations made, YM went in to meet with a resident genius. A 30-minute wait later, (why make a reservation?) it took 30 seconds for a t-shirted (with genius emblazoned across the front-in case you forget?), ear-studded techy to proclaim, "you need a new one." Genius told YM he could buy a new unit for $250, suggesting the two year warranty and offering 10% off if he traded in the old unit.

YM considered, $300 less than two years ago and the thing is toasted. $250 for a new one, plus the cost of a two warranty, (minus 10%) took all of 30 seconds to tell genius, "nope, I'm good."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dad's dad

My paternal grand-father and his son shared a name. They were Sr and Jr. They shared a love of checkers, cars, Pall-Mall cigarettes and coffee strong and black. From my 7, 8 and 9 year old perspective they were different sides of the same coin. They spoke the same language, they appeared to be the same persona, thirty years apart.

We saw our dad sparingly after the separation (at 7), whenever he did pick us up, he took us to grand-dad’s house. Grand-dad poured us coffee, taught the rudiments of checkers and automobile operation and upon leaving, passed us coins and "be good" noises. He and my dad would hug each other and my dad would promise to stop by, the next day.

It was clear from their interaction, and familiarity, dad did indeed visit his dad often. Every day, my mom would say. Even at my early age, I was struck by the ease of their interactions, for neither was very comfortable with hugging. I’d never seen anyone, but my dad, hug grand-dad. My dad rarely hugged anyone, other than his dad.

My grand-dad died when I was nine. My dad all but disappeared from our lives.

I don’t know about my brothers, but I never played checkers again.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


You take the good, you take the bad
You take them both and there you have
The facts of life...

TV, a feeder of fantasies, a soother of souls, an instrument to drown out the noises of a turbulent life. Watching, became as routine to me as bathing. Other pursuits eventually came into view and into play. Reading, for instance. Although, reading about TV had an even bigger impact than watching TV, for a time.

The Facts of Life featured, among others, Kim Fields, who played Tootie. Kim was 9 when the series began and since her character was supposed to be 12, they had her in roller skates so she could appear taller. She skated everywhere. Further, it might interest you to know, that later in her career, Kim appeared on Queen Latifah's sitcom, Living Single .."In a '90's kind of world, I'm glad I got my gurls." as man hungry, gold digging, Regine. Alan Thicke, who had his own series, Growing Pains, wrote the Facts of theme.

Do you know how many female ADA's have been featured on the original Law and Order series? There were five. In order of appearance: as Claire-Jill Hennessy, Jamie-Carey Lowell, Abbie-Angie Harmon, Serena, Elizabeth Rohm, the only blond and admitted lesbian-albeit, not until her final scene, and Alexandra-Annie Parisse. I believe I read somewhere that the season past was to be her last. Elizabeth's character, Serena was the only one fired. Carey's character was killed.

Yes, I know how this makes me sound. And, because I know, I will not tell you how many famously mundane facts I know about thousands of shows. Facts that have made themselves at home, settled in like guests who have overstayed their welcome, popping out when you least expect, engaging in activities that are less than...flattering.

Relief may very well be in sight.

Television, even for a visual media devotee like myself, isn't what it used to be-Breaking Up with Shannon Doherty? give me a break!

Other interests and life changes have diminished the opportunity and to some extent the desire.

Oh, I'm still addicted. I'm just so much more selective about the objects of my fanaticism.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Every Day

I talk to my mom often. Every day in fact. I didn't always, but I do, now.

Our conversations usually sound something like this:

Mom: Hi
Me: Hi
Mom: How are you?
Me: Good, and you?
Mom: ((heavy sigh)) I guess I'm ok.
Me: What's wrong?

I then get the laundry list of whatever crossed her path that day-or the day before, as she often repeats. This list covers, illnesses, anxieties, brothers, church members, family members, my kids, doctors, doctors and more doctors.

When she is feeling well, she can be quite funny. She, the queen of family gossip, is always quick to give me her take on the latest drama. "She need to get those babies off her chest and get on outside and say to hell with that cheatin' son-of-a-gun." Mom suggests my cousin, (cheatin son-of-a-gun's mom), tell the wife-who had asked the MIL for intervention.

When she's not feeling well, which unfortunately is often, these days, she can be quite, vexing.

"I don't know, I don't think I'm going to see another year. I don't think I want to."

In either case, happy or sad, feeling good or no-I do what I can, to give her what she needs.

I talk to my mom every day. Sometimes, twice. That's the easy part.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

my and self

Psst. Hi, I'm My. I'm Self. We're talking for Deborah today.
My: She's taking a break. She's plumb tuckered out from, well, I don't know from what, but she's pooped.

Self: Will you stop?

My: I'm just trying to convey...



Self: I know she told you guys she is a lesbian.

My: Yeah, I don't know what that's all...

Self: Stop. We said we were going to be positive.

My: No, you said we were going to be positive. I'm skeptical.

Self: Why?

My: Just yesterday she was hit on by a guy.

Self: She was not. What guy?

My: That guy who wanted to suck her toes.

Self: He wasn't hitting on her, he was just a weirdo, trying to hustle some change.

My: She said he was good looking.

Self: She did not.

My: Yes she did, she said he was dapper.

Self: That just means his clothes were wrinkled, probably.

My: Still, though. She likes guys.

Self: She likes some guys, but not like that.

My: Whatever. Does she even know how to be a lesbian?

Self: What the heck do you mean, how?

My: Well, does anybody know she's a lesbian, does she have a bumper sticker?

Self: She doesn't even have a car.

My: She could put it on her briefcase.

Self: Would you get serious?

My: So, what has she done?

Self: She tried to join that online local lesbian community thingamajig.

My: Look how that turned out.

Self: Se can and will do other stuff. She's doing this bloggy thing.

My: So? It's just writing. How does that help?

Self: It helps clear her head, get some perspective. People comment, give her feedback, sometimes even advice.

My: What kind of people?

Self: Nice people, mostly lesbians. Nice ladies and maybe even some gents too.

My: Single lesbians?

Self: Uhm, I don't know. I guess, some. Mostly though I think she reads and comments to and gets comments from coupled / married lesbians.

My: Doesn't that make her sad?

Self: No, on the contrary. She seems very happy. Happy for their happiness. I think it makes her hop...shh.

My: What?

Self: She's coming.

My / Self: wegottagodon'ttellherwewerehere, OK? Bye!

I talked with YM and YL about taking a family portrait this year. With YM's career and moving aspirations, who knows what next year will bring. This has been such a big year for each of us, big changes. I would love for us to have some kind of commemoration. Trying to coordinate everybody's schedule, though, is going to be tough.

to be continued.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


"I would suck every one of your toes..."

He was dapper, closely cropped and clean shaven. "Excuse me ma'am, I don't mean you any harm", he began. I knew what was coming, not the actual text, but certainly the context.

His story: He'd locked his keys in his car. The police won't break into the car, for fear of being sued. They sent him to the fire department. They only break into cars when the car is running and there is a child or children inside. He'd been to six other places.

"Ma'am please believe me, I don't mean you any harm. I would suck every one of your toes, if you could give me just $1.80 for the bus, so..."

Intriguing. But I had to pass.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


A local columnist recently waxed philosophic about how after her car radio broke and because she was too lazy busy to get it fixed, she was able to commune with nature, her car and her head, during her daily commutes.

I can see her point. I, however, am wired to sound.

I no longer drive on a regular basis, when I did, when I do, the second act is to activate the music.

When I work-out, it is to music. "Dance floor pro, I know you know"

When I work (at the office) it is to music. "Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops"

When I-most anything-it is to music. "You say it best, when you say nothing at all"

The work-out music, as you may imagine is up-tempo, hard driving and rhythmic. Generally, I'm not a fan of rap music, but I do own two rap cds and (feel free to shudder) a rap cassette. I find the rap, at least that of these three artists conducive to working out. I realized recently that I only listen to these tunes when I'm working out or working in the yard.

At the office, most anything goes. Though I like ballads best, a wide variety of music is ripped to the hard drive and thanks to the internet radio, I have access to even more ground than the ripped or my own cds cover.

Well worn tunes work best as backdrop, since I don't have the luxury (or volume control) to seriously listen to lyrics, for transitions and riff nuances. It's the little surprises in compositions that grab my fancy.

Real listening happens at home, where I am also exposed to the musical tastes of my two twenty-somethings. That is a whole other post. Suffice to say, their tastes vary, widely.

I tried working without a soundtrack, once. I was distracted, jittery and short-tempered.

I need the sound, as much, if not more, than my daily coffee.

"We'll go through Tucson up to Santa Fe
And Barbara in Nashville says we're welcome to stay
I'll buy you glasses down in Texas, a hat from New Orleans
And in the morning you can tell me your dreams
You know I've seen it before
This mist that covers your eyes
You've been looking for something that's not in your life
My intentions are true, won't you take me with you
And baby, you can sleep while I drive"

Sunday, September 10, 2006


The cold is 98% gone. I felt well enough this weekend to partake of hard, physical and invigorating yard maintenance and some in-unit chores. (memo to self: reconvene with YM & YL regarding what constitutes clean in Deborah's World.)

YL's employer has been buzzing in her ear, and by extension, mine, about Fabuloso. This weekend was the trial by jury. While it may not be a match for Neurotic Intensity, it did itself proud enough to warrant, at the very least, more testing. For now, my kitchen looks and smells as good as I almost feel.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go partake of what may well be, my last meal prepared by hands other than my own, for awhile, anyway.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Broken Morn

This is my entry to the challenge.

Settled at her usual table in an unusual pose, Victoria pondered her options. She was thinking that Paula needs to call, soon. Paula is very adept in her people scouting skills, she was sure, but when will the phone tweet? Breaking Victoria’s reverie, Sasha suddenly appeared, screeching, "Hey Vic! How are you? Wow, it’s great to see you!? Emitting an barely audible moan, Victoria said, "hey."
Sasha, bubbled on, "I just left Amanda’s, she had an early meeting, otherwise we’d be having breakfast together." Through the onslaught, Victoria was able to eek out, "please sit." The server magically materialized with coffee for both.

At the mention of Amanda, Victoria began to reconsider her plan. Maybe Amanda can help find Marco, Paula’s taking too long. Victoria wondered how she might be able to ditch Sasha, who, Victoria noted, was still rambling on about the dinner she and Amanda had, the night they had..."hey, you waiting on a call from the governor or something?" Sasha asked, when she realized Victoria was boring her eyes into the cell phone sitting on the table between them.

Victoria explained how she was waiting on a call from Paula, the urgent need to speak to Paula, right now. Paula? Sasha wondered why Victoria was pining for a call from Paula, of all people. "So, you and Paula are a... thing now?" Victoria stopped staring at the phone long enough to give Sasha the just-bit-a-sour-ball gaze."No, Paula and I are not a Thing!" "I’m looking for Marco, and Paula is helping me. She’s going to call me when she finds him."

Marco? That’s even stranger than waiting for Paula to call. "Marco’s at the square." Sasha offered casually. Not quite believing what she heard, she asked, "what did you say?" "Marco, you said your were looking for Marco, right? He’s at the brick square." Victoria heard it clearly, she still couldn’t believe her good fortune, but she wasn’t going to question it again. She got up with so much force, her chair fell over.

After gathering her things, Victoria took off. Jogging and then sprinting towards the square. More curious than furious, Sasha took off, right behind her. The better athlete, it didn’t take Sasha long to catch Victoria. She reached out and grabbed Victoria, forcing her to come to a screeching halt. "I thought you were into girls, what the heck is so important about Marco?" Sasha continued, "you know, Amanda’s going to be pretty pissed when she discovers you dumped her for Marco."

Exasperated and anxious, Victoria screamed, "I didn’t dump anybody for Marco! I just need Marco. Will you please help me find him?"

"Just tell me why?" Sasha implored.

"Look, I need Marco because Marco is Pogo’s handler and Pogo has something of mine."


"Oh for Pete’s Sake, the damn monkey has my earrings and I want them back, NOW!

Staring, mouth agape, Sasha couldn’t help wondering how nutty Victoria had become and how Amanda would just love this story.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Can you feel it? Taste it? Smell it? See it? There, in the sun, shining high in the sky. The air, thin and crisp, crackles with knowing. Autumn is upon us.

Well, not for another seven-teen days yet, officially. But like Memorial Day marks the un-official beginning of summer, Labor Day marks the end. And where, pray tell, did the care-free, fun-in-the-sun, lazy hazy days of summer go?

Who knows? But gone they are. It is back-to-school, back to...what? Unless you are a student, parent of a student, teacher or in the biz in some other capacity, does the onset of the season mark any changes in routine or attitude? This is the first back-to-school season in a number that no one in our household is returning to school. And though it has been several years since I was directly involved in the frenzied shopping for clothes, supplies, lunch bag treats and the like, there was still a buzz in the air. I bought myself a new notebook just to get a taste.

YM, reflecting on the first day of classes, talked about how freeing it is to be done with all that. The hustle and bustle of getting schedules, last minute changes, fending off the new crop of freshmen and all of the over the summer gossip. He is enjoying his life beyond school. Being a full-time wage earner and pursuer of the next role is filling his plate quite nicely these days. He is still on the move out of mom's place track, growing giddier about the prospect as the day grows nearer. Many of his conversations start,"When I move into my place..."

Autumn is more than back-to-school though.

Even sans, the buzz, I like autumn. Here in the Chicago area, the season, if you could call it such, is too short. The air turns from crisp to frigid in what seems like minutes instead of weeks. I like autumn. Even if the merchandisers flip the back-to-school sale signs over to reveal the holiday shopping countdown sale signs before the first bus rolls out. I like autumn. In spite of spending a huge chunk of my time in the concrete, steel and mortar environs of the city proper and can't really enjoy the true miracle that is autumn, I like the season.

Why you may ask. Well, I'll tell. Because, a few weeks into the official beginning of the season, YL celebrates a birthday, and in these parts, that's a hold all my calls, stop-the-presses event.

This year, this autumn, YL turns twenty-one.

YL has decided to let me take her to Vegas to celebrate. Nice of her, huh?

There is shopping to complete. Hair, nails and all sorts of preparations pending. Some deets will follow in the days, weeks to come, but, in the meantime, can you feel it? Taste it? Smell it? See it?

I can.

Monday, September 04, 2006


The playback, empty of meaning, devoid of thought transmit the images of a long time gone, the facial hair, glasses, coffee breath and nicotine stained teeth. The photos logged into evidence serve to further cement those images.

She asks every day, since hearing the news, "has your dad called you back?"

Each time, the reply is no.

Mom speculates as to the reasons for the call, longingly lonely for his only daughter, regretting the choices of the past or dying. She questions why I’m not more curious, more insistent, more anxious, angry.

Despite the periods of cruelty, the missing hugs and endearments, the image of hope and expectations of reclamations crystalize anew with each passing day, each time the question is voiced.

"Has your dad called you back?" Again, the answer is no, again and again.

I’ve chosen to avoid thinking about why he called, more importantly, I’d rather not be reminded that he wasn’t calling back. The sounds of the silence have become soothing to the ear, a comfort to the mind. It’s the pungency of the images that threaten to decay the calm.

I must believe, accept that he won’t call back anytime soon.

"You don’t know, he might..." she continues to push for purity.

Mom please, stop.

The silence has become routine, golden.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Annual: Follow-up

Fighting the urge to procrastinate any longer, the appointments were made.

The annual trek to be assaulted by the weapon of mass compression, otherwise known as the mammogram, fills me with dread. I have yet to have an experience that didn’t include copious amounts of insensitivity, incompetence and pain, in spades. Until now.

Angela made this visit damn near pleasant. It still hurt, how could it not? But, the technician, "...please call me Angie", spoke to me in a way that suggested she knew what she was doing, understood and commiserated with the discomfort and thanked me for my patience while waiting for the film to develop.

Angie even got all the necessary views in one take. Go Angie!

Moving on...the next phase of the day’s events included a modicum of trepidation and a very full bladder. Patricia steered me into the exam / procedure room, dark except for the light emitting from the viewing monitor that would be used during the test. She asked if I’d ever had a gynecologic ultrasonography procedure. Negative. She went on to explain the procedure carefully, quietly and in great detail. She was extremely calming. Man, did I have to pee.

Patricia proceeded to press the probe or transducer into my belly area-watching the screen-snapping photos. This part of the exam is not painful, but uncomfortable, with the full bladder and all, but Patricia did her best to make it bearable. After about 35 minutes of the probing motions, Patricia, finally announced the end of part one-I get to go pee now. Whew, just in time.

The full gynecologic ultrasonography includes an internal probe as well. I’ll presume you can picture this for yourselves. The exam was pretty uneventful, with one exception, Patricia had some trouble locating my right ovary. What? "Are you sure you haven’t had any surgeries in this region?" Uh, yeah, I’m pretty sure no one’s been rooting around in there. Patricia needed to call in Supervisor Yvletta. After about 10 minutes Supervisor Yvletta was able to coax the reticent organ out for her close-up. Yeah for Yvletta!

The friendliness of these practitioners caught me so guard it felt like being in an alternate universe. I thought, not for the first time, how accustomed one becomes to mediocrity and when faced with service delivered not only with a smile, but professionalism as well, it throws you for a loop.

These techs who had direct and intimate contact with my ta tas and hooha thought it important to introduce themselves to me. It seems so basic. Why doesn’t everyone do it?