Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pot Luck

Happy Wordsmiths Halloween exercise: Pot Luck

Maura was delighted to be alone, finally. She’d been waiting all day to get the kitchen all to herself. There was a lot of work to do if she was going to be ready for the pre- judging and she didn’t need the prying eyes of the other contestants peering over her shoulder. Maura thought a win here would set her apart from the rest of the students. Maybe Madame Cora would notice her, finally.

Madam Cora is the queen of culinary arts and Maura was in love with her.

Ingredients assembled, utensils aligned, Maura set about her work. She’d decided on three dishes, going for the maximum allowed. She told herself it wasn’t overkill. The banging overhead was annoying, but Maura was determined not let anything knock her off her stride. She was on a mission.

The cumin-spiced sirloin with tomatillo salsa was going to anchor Maura’s entries so she decided to concentrate most on this dish, which would be easier if that incessant banging would cease. Maura wondered who was upstairs making all the noise. She wondered if it was one of the other students trying to distract her. She’d show them, she refused to be rattled.

Maura put the ingredients for the salsa in the food processor and flipped the switch. Damn. Nothing, no juice, why? Maura flipped the switch a few more times and still, nothing. Maura walked over to the circuit box to check the fuses. Of course she didn’t know what the heck she was going to do when she got there. Food she knew, fuse boxes? Not so much.

Before Maura had to decide what to do about the fuses in the box, the lights went out. Believing she must now be the un-lucky recipient of some prank, Maura didn’t panic. She did get angry and anxious. All she wanted was to finish her meals and every delay, every diversion hurt.

The banging stopped. Maura was ecstatic because her head was near splitting from the noise. Maura hoped for the lights to return without incident. She wondered why the pranksters would stop before the prank was concluded. Still, she hoped.

In either case, Maura was determined to cook these jerks under the table, putting her closer to the lovely Madam Cora. Madam Cora, hazel eyes that mesmerize, tantaliz..Bang! Maura was shaken from her reverie by big clanging sounds. Just then the lights return allowing Maura to see the source of the noise. Pots strewn from the pantry had landed in the middle of the kitchen floor.

Maura, full with all the shenanigans, stomps over to the pots building intent to do bodily harm to the first of her horrid classmates to show their putrid face. The rage taking over every fiber blinds Maura to the reality. Her last thought was how the cold floor could feel so warm.

Madam Cora’s thoughts wandered that morning during class. The lovely green eyed Maura must be sleeping in this morning-sleeping the sleep of the dead.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Daryl, Duuuuude...

Heard on ans. machine every couple weeks for the past several months: Hey Harold! This is your cousin Daryl, Daryl from California. I've been trying to get in touch with you. Give me a call.

A few weeks ago: Hey Harold! I hear there's a bun in the oven...and it's cooking too!!!! Congratulations man! Hey, this is your cousin Daryl, Daryl from California. Call me!!!

A couple weeks after that message I answer the call from California--recognizing the number. Daryl says hey and I go on to tell him that he's got the wrong number. But that daughter and I got a kick out of the 'bun in the oven' message. Daryl and I share a giggle. I tell Daryl that he's left several messages on my machine, he's dialed incorrectly a few times. Incredulous, he asks about the number, the town. I just assure him that while he's dialing the correct area for his cousin Harold, he is indeed dialing the wrong number. Daryl believes me, but unwilling to let go--asks me what I'm wearing. I laugh, quite out loud, before hanging up on him.

Heard on ans. machine once a week since: Hey Harold! This is your cousin Daryl, Daryl from California. I've been trying to get in touch with you man. give me a call.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Diva Dog

Diamond, or as she has come to be more affectionately known, Attention Whore, is so clearly D's dog but when I come home after an extended absence, she yips, yaps, skips, sprints and slides through two rooms with unbridled glee. An area rug has been planned for the living room for some time now, and I'm getting one, except now, I think I might miss her slide shows.
After she's run the gamut she crashes herself into my ankles. I reach down to pet her and she wiggles and waggles towards flipping over on her back, offering up her belly. Having her belly rubbed ranks high on the pleasure meter for diva dog, AW. Oh, don't get me wrong, D gets the same greeting, only times 12.

Diamond craves the touch. She wants her belly rubbed, head stroked and back scratched perpetually. Should the rubbing, stroking or scratching cease without her permission, she nudges her head into your hand until it resumes. When she is not clamoring for attention, she's assaulting playing with Pete the cat, or eating. When she's not doing any of those things, she is simply following D (or me) around--everywhere. Or snoring sleeping at D's (sometimes my) feet.
The Diva Diamond, AW has skittered her way right to the top of our little heap.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Pete

The kitty, Pete or as he has come be known, Midnight Madness soooo his own cat is not so slowly and very surely become my cat. Midnight, though, is a misnomer as one of Pete's most active periods is the pre-dawn hours between 2 and 4 a.m. In the very beginning he was just talking, poking me with his paw to get my attention and yammering away about one thing or another. This was even before the lovely diva dog appeared on the scene.

As time has gone by he has become bolder. He climbs now. On me. Up and then down my body, hovering and then camping around my feet. He talks the entire time. The weather? The state of world affairs? Why his kibble bowl is blue? Who knows? Eventually, the parade of paws forces me to an upright position. He takes that opportunity to investigate my neck. I took this move as a want or need to hug, nuzzle. When I try, he skitters away only to return after my return to slumber. The process begins again. We have three or four rotations before he moves on to much more stimulating activities, like licking himself bald.

Over the past several days Pete the kitty has added a new wrinkle to his routine. He's much more at home, more at ease and I've noticed, more insistent. He no longer gingerly steps atop my body. He leaps now, usually towards my head. When the fur settles from this maneuver he assumes the previous practices of walking and talking. He has taken to wanting to settle his butt atop my head instead of feet. I am having little luck in dissuading him from this notion. However, eventually he returns to the feet, ankle and shin area. Pete the kitty has taken to clamping himself to my shin where he then proceeds to move his body in a motion reminiscent of an old-fashion water pump? A buoy bobbing in the bay? Whatever, point is...he moves.
It is quite obvious that I have mis-interpreted some of Pete's wee hours chatter.
Clearly, we have some bullet points to review.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Daddy Dear, Rest

I found a letter he wrote to me in 1980. I’m not sure why I deemed this one special enough to save. It wasn’t the only letter I got from him. There were a couple before and a couple after this one. After having read it over several times, nothing special, particularly endearing, clever or even true pops out at me. It starts with a “hi honey” and ends with a “love dad.” The stuff in between was mostly forgettable.

His letter to me in 1980 was in response to a letter I’d sent several months prior. He makes mention of this. I gather that in my letter I mentioned the plan to “hook up” with the man who would become father to my son and daughter, he makes mention of this as well, advising me to “be careful.” This communication in 1980 would have marked the first such communication in several years—on either side. I was trying to get past an intense hatred I felt for him. I don’t know what his motivations were. He said he loved me. I had a very difficult time believing he felt anything akin to love towards me.

Since 1980 there have been perhaps ten letters between us—his to me were usually in response to one of mine to him, always several months or years after the fact. Since 1980 I have seen him twice, talked with him on the phone perhaps a half-dozen times—the last time maybe 3 years ago. He did call and leave a message on the machine a year ago. When he didn’t call back like he said he would, I called him—got his machine, left a message of my own. I’d resigned myself to his silences leading into this exchange of messages. I’ve had to all over again. The silences really don’t bother me that much anymore. I prefer the silence over the lies.

In the years since 1980 I’ve come to feel something other than intense hatred for him. In all likelihood it wasn’t even hatred I was feeling. How could I hate my father? I didn’t even know him, not really. Further, what I’ve come to realize over that time-line was I don’t want to know him. Really, I don’t.

Still, he’s been on my mind a lot lately. Perhaps the letter, perhaps the birth date that recently passed, perhaps my younger brother—his spitting image—kicking up dust these days, is bringing him to my mind, perhaps.

The last time we talked he told me he loved me. I still have a hard time believing that sentiment. How could he love me? He doesn’t know me any better than I know him. Further, the realization has finally settled into my head, my bones, my soul-he doesn’t ever want to know me. Really, he doesn’t.

Mom always accused me of being said I was just like my father. I guess, in this, she must be right.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sweets for my Sweet

A hug is a great gift - one size fits all, and it's easy to exchange. ~Author Unknown

“So what’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get here in December?” She asked me during one of recent e-mailing sessions. That’s a snap. I’m going to hug her—for a long time. In fact, I may never let her go. I suppose we’ll have to break long enough to get to the car for the drive home, but only because neither one of us wants to spend my time there in the airport. We have other places we’d like to visit.

What I miss most about her being there and me being here is the touching. That touching to be sure, but all touching. The holding of hands, rubbing of backs, the sweet simple caresses of women in love—yes, I miss this most.

Well, that and the eggs. She does make a killer omelet.

The making of plans has begun in earnest as it’s starting to feel more real now. Only a bit more than 60 days, nearly close enough to taste it—oh the sweetness of it all. I miss you baby, I’ll be there soon. Be prepared to be touched, much.

'cause I would give sweets for my sweet, sugar for my honey
Your perfect kiss thrills me so
Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my honey
I'll never ever let you go

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Earth Moves

Whew! Some final touches remain but the heavy lifting is done.

I’m sure you’ve noticed there have been some changes around here. I’m not sure why but then again, why not? I did like it the way it was but I was tooling around and before I knew it I was adding this, deleting that, previewing this and eschewing that. And voila…make-over.

I had a similar kind of oh, what the heck kind of sensation with my office space. I moved my desk 2 or three times in the last 4 or 5 weeks or so, raising all kinds of comments, some eyebrows and in the case of at one co-worker, eyeballs. To a man, every single one offered an opinion as to how much roomier the new configuration made the space appear. It does finally feel right, at least for now.

What on earth has gotten into me? Is it the season? I don’t think that’s it, not all of it anyway. Tweaking the template, re-ordering the office space are but small replies to larger questions. My personal living space, for instance is in need of some minor and major make-over moves. One thing or another is keeping much of that from being accomplished right now.

But there is more. Moving desks, re-working templates and even when I get around to purging, scrubbing, sanding and painting—that won’t solve everything that seems to be swirling. There is more. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Is it simple restlessness or……?

It’s still October, isn’t it?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

By the Way

When I travel via bicycle to / from work it is over 7.4 miles of city streets, 95% of which is designated bicycle lanes. I’ve noticed in the last few weeks of consistent to or from riding that the intense concentration that must be employed while riding along city streets is sometimes broken by counting. I count for instance, the number of traffic lights I pass along the route. There are thirty. When I’m in rhythm I make most of them.

At least a dozen times each way, each time, forward progress is impeded by obstacles in the bike lane. There is a very special traffic torment set aside for those folks who choose to plant themselves and / or their cars in the middle of the bicycle path, on a city street during rush hour traffic for no discernible reason. This is particularly vexing when the plant subject is a very large vehicle AND there is ample parking in sight.

Five is the number, on average of the dunderheaded motorists who decide that right turns from the left of the bicycle lane is good and proper lane usage. I have three words for these folks. That! Is! Wrong! There is at least one primal scream every trip. It doesn’t do much to move the Hummer over to the left, but it is of tremendous help to me.

There are other stats to spout but they pale in comparison to the this: the number of lucky stars in action guiding me through each and every pedal rotation.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Birthday Princess

She came into the world in quite the usual way. If my calculations are correct, she was conceived just as 1985 was beginning. She made her screaming, squirming debut on 10/11. Today, the baby with the soft, curly hair and deep brown eyes celebrates her 22nd birthday. Obviously, my world changed the moment she made her appearance. From the very beginning I knew she was different from her brother. The most glaring difference was that she was in fact, a she-not the he I was anticipating to match the he already in residence. She made her presence known immediately. She also let it be known that she was the princess and should be feted as such. Those in her sphere were usually happy to oblige.
According to the poem, Friday's child is loving and giving. This is certainly true of my Friday's child. She loves with the whole of her heart and gives in the same manner. Her bright smile has shimmered many of the days comprising the past 22 years. I expect it will shimmer into her next 22 and beyond.

Happy number 22 to the sweetest smile in the Midwest!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Garden Weary

My garden kicks ass alright. Mine! Up and down the block. I had such medium hopes for this year, what with the apathetic co-owners and their miserly contributions, I couldn’t expect much on my very meager, limited budget of time and money. But, hopes I had albeit, medium.

But even those not overly lofty hopes, dashed.

Motivation daunted by the loss to two big ‘o trees. Progress stunted by construction crews trampling and crushing most everything in sight. Three hostas gave their lives (probably) for new sewers, the cool grooved alley and the new (hopefully not retail) space next door being prettied for possible leasing.

It’s sad, so sad, it’s a sad, sad situation and it’s getting more and more absurd.

Oh, alright maybe it’s not that dramatic. But, it is sad (and pretty bad). But it is fall or rather, Autumn and it is time to clear, clean and get ready for Spring.

And so now that is my mission as I've decided to accept it, again. I shall clear the weeds and over grown foliage. I shall find some hearty, full sun variety of bulbs to plant. I shall plant them. I shall protect them over what may not be a harsh winter, but winter, none-the-less. I shall prepare for Spring, with colors bursting all over. Well, maybe not all over--the budget is still limited.

Thinking Spring.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

When Love Calls

"Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind". William Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night's Dream (I, i, 234)

My mind is fully engaged in looking at my love and thinking about when we will be together again. It’s been nearly three months since our last visit and we have another couple of months to go. The last several days we’ve been touchy, rumor has it that I’ve been snappish (or short). The tension is relatively painless and has been short lived. Still it crackles. Though we talk (have talked) every single day—some days for HOURS, the loneliness that befalls each of us at times is intense to the point of being fierce.

These past few weeks have been hard and the next few will be harder still--what carries me through is the knowledge and the comfort that follows knowing she is there, always. Neta tolerates my moods, endures my workplace frustrations, understands and exhibits extreme patience towards my family obligations. She is in short, a gem.

She calls me the best girlfriend in the whole world, well, note that I give as good as I get.

My mind is occupied with thinking about the sight of her standing in front of me, the feel of her in my arms and the sensation of her lips upon mine. December will bring a feast for all our senses.

Thanks for everything baby. This is for you. (that's for the public Deb---SMILE)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Chiquita called. She should not have gotten through, my screeners need some re-training as they are supposed to nip callers like Chiquita in the bud—but she slipped through. Chiquita calls and wanting to confirm she’s speaking with the right person she asks, “Is this Deborah _________?” Chiquita totally mangled my last name. Cringe.
Chiquita is from Wells Farto Fargo and she is calling me to try to sell me on the idea of allowing Wells F into my beeswax under the guise of helping me with my finances. I’m at work and I really don’t have the time to deal with Chiquita, but I listen for a bit-needing the diversion. Chiquita asks questions which I answer with questions of my own. I’m toying with Chiquita because it’s fun.
After several moments of some give and no take, I put an end to Chiquita’s spiel by telling her in a very clear and definitive voice not to call again, that I’m not interested in doing business with Wells Fargo and more importantly I’m not at all interested in doing business with her. Not that I was ever interested in Wells Farto or Chiquita. You see Chiquita had blown her opportunity at the very beginning of the call for not only did she mangle my last name she had tried for warm, friendly and familiar by calling mesweetheart as in, “I want to talk with you about how we can help you, sweetheart.”
I told Chiquita that as she didn’t know me she should squash the sweetheart talk. To her credit she recovered well, but I was lost to her. I think she knew it, but she had a job to do and I had a diversionary road to travel.
It was a fun trip.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Diamond Girl

We did it again. But unlike the tune of the pop star (?) who shall remain nameless, because her name is mentioned much too frequently, no oops! We adopted again.

Meet Diamond, our new little pup. She’s a 5 year old pug/terrier mix—at least that’s my theory. The family that surrendered here wasn’t exactly sure of her parentage. You be the judge.

What I do know about her is that she is cute beyond words, frisky and obviously used to being the queen D. We thought Pete would be a problem, but nooooooo such is not the case. He’s been the perfect gentleman, not that he’s had much choice. Diamond came in with such an air of entitlement that he was forced to defer to her will—to a point. He’s obviously very annoyed when she tries to “top” him. He leaps out of her reach and then all is well.

For the most part, the kids play nicely together. And that makes both mommies very happy.