Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Walk With Florence

Florence eased out onto the landing that led to the path. The path would eventually lead her to her most favorite area of the property. The early morning treks down the path grew more physically difficult every day, but emotionally Florence felt compelled to make the effort. Though somewhat arduous, the daily journey had become necessary.

The power of earth scents threatened to overcome Florence's senses. The early morning chill had Florence pulling her wrap a little bit tighter about her shoulders, but she was not daunted. She would not be denied this ritual. Taking one last look around the once pristine, now over-grown garden, she set off tentatively but resolutely down the well-worn path.

Though Florence’s memory fails her often these days. However, she never fails to re-call the slight slip, the near fall of some weeks ago. That recollection trains her to take it slower and easier especially as she approaches the curve a bit further down the path.

It will take Florence the better part of an hour to reach her destination. But, in her mind and in her heart it is a trip well worth taking. The kids, all grown up with kids of their own, don't come around much anymore. That thought and the ache that travels with it nestles in the pit of Florence's stomach. The daily destination will soothe that ache, erase those thoughts.

Slowly and as surely as she could possibly step, drawing nearer to her destination, the pulse quickened and the breath labored by the exertion, begins to slow and calm and that familiar sense of tranquility begins to take shape. The path ends suddenly with a slight step-off, opening to a clearing, awash with light and at this time, warmth from the sun high above.

In the middle of a clearing stands a fountain, dry and crumbly. Next to the fountain, a bench, just as decrepit. However, for Florence, the sight and the joyous times that traveled with it nestles in the caverns of her heart joining the sun to provide heat and warmth. Florence removes her wrap, places it squarely and gently upon the bench. She takes her seat and spends the rest of her days gazing at the water-less fountain.

*for the weekend wordsmiths exercise.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Early Morning Thought

My younger brother's daughter graduates from elementary school in a few days. it will be yet another momentous occasion in her young life that he'll miss. I can't help but to think of our own father and all the events he missed. The only difference is, my brother committed crimes for which he was convicted that took him away from his children's lives. Our father segregation from our lives were not the result of criminal activity, but a crime none-the-less, I'd come to decide.

I've ruminated mightily over what to do, if anything, about my relationship with dad. One month I'm over being sad about his silence and another, I'm not. I am sometimes angry, sometimes resigned to the relationship that is ours, which is no relationship at all. I wonder if I have yet another push in me. I wonder if it will hurt as much if I write him again and doesn't write me back. I wonder if I can believe he loves me, when he won't even talk with me. I wonder if I can stop thinking it is indeed about me. I wonder if I can see his side. I wonder what is his side.

I wonder if it matters.

My younger brother's scheduled release date is yet another year away. By which time, his daughter (and son) will have celebrated some other momentous events. Hopefully, my younger brother will be able to find a way to invest himself in the lives of his children. Hopefully, his daughter (and/or son) aren't years from now wondering, what? how?

Does it matter?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Life At Present

At work I’m reviewing candidates for a new part-time position. The opportunity is available due to a new venture the owner is moving to Chicago, in the office building we occupy. Part of this person’s duties will be to assist me, and that is just about the extent of my knowledge of the whole shebang. The next few weeks should be interesting.

At home I wondering what possessed Danielle to snip Diamond’s facial hair soooo close. I loved the lop-sided bearded look. It gave her so much character. Thankfully, her hair grows very fast.

Also at home, I’m whooping for joy that Michael got a part he’d wanted. Details (more than you ever thought possible, likely) on that to come over time and as the performance time draws near. Michael told me that his co-workers (all women—he works at a children’s hospital) want to go to the performance on the night I’m there (or at least one of the night’s I’m there) as they are so very anxious to meet me. Makes me wonder what it is he talks about at the water cooler.

Further at home, ‘the boys’ are still lovey-dovey all over one another. Diamond isn’t crazy about her diet and I suspect really hates the new ‘do. Danielle is conflicted re: guys. Not, guys over ‘dolls’ but over two guys. ::sigh::

And finally, I may have mentioned that I joined a walking group. If not, then…I joined a walking group some weeks back. I didn’t walk with them for a few weeks after joining as it was cold, icy, rainy, snowy, and so on. Once the weather starting being more agreeable, I –rsvp’d- and attended more sessions. Seventeen walks in the last 8 or so weeks. The walks are approximately three miles at a pace that is well, let’s just say beyond my normal pace. The first few walks were quite the challenge. Recently and with each outing become less so. I have to bike a bit over a mile to meet-up with the walkers so, I have chosen to avoid going during high winds or rain. I don’t know yet, how I’ll manage when I can no longer bike. I’ve already tried to walk to the meet-up spot, participate in the walk, and then walk home. Two things: first, damn my ankles hurt by the time I got home and second, damn my ankles hurt by the time I got home. I hope to participate in no fewer than two walks a week. When I don’t walk, I’ll ride, except in the event of high winds and / or rain. I haven’t decided what I’ll do as winter approaches and I won’t be able to ride to the walks. Perhaps by then, I’ll be fit enough for the 5 miles (give or take) round-trip without my ankles hurting (too much).

And finally, finally (for real this time) Thanks to all for your concern, I’m, as
Dave would say, when asked, ‘howya doin’?’ “living”.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Innocent Question

We are co-workers and enjoy a casual camaraderie. We trade tips on food and exercise, and barber stories. He is several years my senior and tends to act fatherly toward me, or at least very big brotherly…but at a distance. We don’t know each other beyond the carefully drawn lines. We don’t share the intimate details of our lives.

He couldn’t have known the impact his innocent question would have on me. The seven words with the lilt at the end sent me reeling, right into a tailspin.

Are you going south on your vacation?

He was in my office notifying me of his planned days off in July. He’s going home to Arkansas, to see his mom and other family. He knows about my trips south over the past couple of years. He was being kind, he had no way of knowing, because we hadn’t discussed that detail and likely we won’t. We don’t have that kind of relationship.

The days since those seven words have passed rather unspectacularly. I’ve gotten up, gone to work, on walks and rides, back to bed only to start all over again, trying not to think but not having much luck. The spinning, however, is beginning to slow. Soon enough I’ll be back where I was, and at some point, I’ll be beyond.

I suppose. I told co-worker my vacation is not yet planned.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


My feet are wet. I get crabby when my feet are wet.

I normally have a spare pair in my desk drawer.

I also have spare shoes, and now and again a spare shirt and spare pants. But, usually it’s (just) socks and most definitely shoes, for I can’t stand for my feet to be wet.

But, my feet are wet now. And I’m crabby, because I get crabby when my feet are wet.

Upon arriving to work with the wet feet, I realized I’d forgotten to replace the last spare pair.

I get crabby when I forget.

I suppose I could take off my wet shoes and my wet socks, put on my dry shoes until the wet ones dry.

But I can’t. I can’t stand wearing shoes without socks.

I get crabby without socks.

Though, not quite as crabby as when I have socks and they are wet.

So maybe I can stand sock-less shoes on my towel dried feet.

Maybe I'll just have lunch.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Updated: SEVEN Blogging Women.

You like my earring(s)? It's ok if you don't, mom didn't. I think her exact words were, "those are some ugly ass earrings." I hadn't asked her opinion, I rarely do, as she and I rarely see eye-to-eye about anything. Earrings being the least of our areas of differences.

I'm not nuts about the earrings, as I'm not a dangling earring kinda girl, but the purchase benefited a charity (mental illness) and they go with my new blue tee.

A fellow walker (from the walking group I joined) noted that they looked like the AT & T logo. Perhaps that's why mom had such a visceral reaction. She and AT & T are not the best of buds.

Ugly earrings aside, the late lunch/early dinner at a place new to me that Danielle and I certainly will visit again (the gift cards they gave away will help), was very pleasant. The food was great and I ate a bit too much, eventhough some of my bourbon salmon managed to get snagged.

That was Sunday.

Prior to this weekend I'd been lucky enough to meet
four fellow blogging women. Now, I can say that I've met five, well six if you count M, which I do. We met, talked, drank, ate, and were having such a good time, the time seemed to fly by. The food was as good as the company and I ate (and drank) a bit too much.

That was Saturday.

My scale told the tale on Monday morning, but in my view well worth the two pound gain.

Still, there is the quest. Back to the regime. Walking, riding, and lifting more. Eating (less).

Friday, May 08, 2009

Morning Train Bus

I always get a seat as I get on at the very beginning of the route and there aren’t that many people yet. It’s usually me and 2 or 3 other women, now and again a few students from one (or more) of the several high schools along the route.

The regular riders usually have a regular routine, a regular seat. I like to sit in the bench-style seats, with my back to the window, facing the aisle, across from the rear door. Once settled in, I pull out my book, adjust the volume on the music player and hope today’s ride is adventure-free, or at least adventure-less.

Somewhere between Cicero and Pulaski, between Prince’s Peach and Anna Nalick’s Wreck of the Day, just as I’m reading about Faye finding a dead man in the tub, I hear…a distinct, insistent noise. I realize the noise is someone talking, no…not talking, calling. Miss MISS I then realize the miss is being directed at me.

Oh. Now. What?

I take my mind and eyes away from Faye’s exploits, look in the direction of Mr. Insistent, the question written on my face, “what?” He answers with his own question, “Are You Rose?” Oh, for the love of Susan! I shake, no. Again he asks, “Are YOU Rose?” Harder shake, NO. He persists, “do you know Rose?” While shaking my head no, I reach for the volume, trying to return my attention to Faye and her dead body find, and trying not to guess as to how the db fits into the case she’s investigating.

Though I couldn’t quite hear what Mr. Insistent was saying through-out the rest of his ride, I could hear him speaking. The collective sigh of relief upon his exit told me that the other passengers had been less than thrilled with his . . . contributions.

I hope he found his Rose, whoever, wherever she might be.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Speaking of Food

Do you suffer from order envy?

You and a companion are sitting in a restaurant, the wait staff delivers the waters (no ice for me please) and the menus. You sip from the glass of water, spread a little chit, sprinkled with a little chat whilst checking out the menu selections. If you’re anything like me, you have a general idea of what you’ll be having before digging into the variety, you’re simply narrowing down to, “the one.”

Selections made, menus taken away, a few more sips and a little more chatter and before you know it, the food is arriving.

Once the plates are settled, all requests for condiments, extra napkins and what have you honored, you begin the process of digging in when you notice you’re not the only one who takes note of the delicious look of your selection.

Your companion is salivating over your dish “oooh that looks goooood”, they swoon.
And then, your companion asks, “may I have a little piece?”

Your companion suffers from order envy.

I had brunch with Michael on Sunday and we talked about (among other things) the various order envious folks we’ve dined with recently. I discovered, or rather re-discovered just how much he and I have in common.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Chicken, Chilled

Thanks to the quest, my goal to maintain blood pressure readings in the normal range, and economics, I’m not nearly as seduced by fast food establishments as I’d been once upon a time.

Particularly, those of a chicken variety.

I love chicken. Fried, baked, broiled, boiled, grilled, shredded for tacos and tostadas, sliced and dropped over salad greens. Chicken is my signature meal. That is, when beef isn’t in play for one reason or another.

I’ve run the gamut of fast food chicken available in my area,
El Pollo Loco, Popeye's, KFC, Church's, Brown's and others, I’ve had them and then some. El Pollo Loco edged ahead of Popeye’s as my favorite. But, as I said, I don't indulge very often anymore.

However, I was still intrigued by KFC's new grilled offering. In spite of swearing off KFC due to bad experiences, I decided to give the new grilled chicken a try. Though, not before I read some reviews, talk to some folks who'd tried it, trying gauge if it was even worth the trouble I was sure I'd be in for inside any one of the 3 or 4 locations near my home and office.

The positive feedback convinced me to give it a whirl.

The menu touts a 2-piece meal combo for $4.99 (which includes a beverage). I order 2 (one each: white and dark).

Clerk: Sides?
Me: Mashed Potatoes / Coleslaw for one…
Clerk: We don’t have coleslaw
Me: Ok, corn-on-the-cob
Clerk: We don’t have corn-on-the-cob. What do you want for the other dinner?
Me: We haven’t resolved the 1st dinner yet. You don’t have 2 of the (6) available sides. Sounds like I don’t have much choice. What DO you have?****

****this kind of thing happens every time I break down and go into a KFC, which has me swearing them off, forever. . . until the next time.

I settled on mashed potatoes / green beans for one and macaroni/cheese and green beans for the other. I tell the clerk, it doesn't matter which (Danielle and I were going to mix/match anyway).

The preparer had combined the mac/cheese with the potatoes on one dinner, but switched it out before bagging it up.

When I got home, I discovered they’d given me two white meat dinners, no dark. Not a big deal, Danielle would have eaten either, I'd only ordered one of each so we could trade and compare.

The chicken didn't taste bad, but I wasn't super impressed either. It certainly wasn't a knock-out and it didn't knock El Pollo Loco out of my personal top spot. The chicken might have fared better, had the experience not left such a bad taste.

So, once again, done with KFC. And since they are the closest of the establishments listed to either work or home, my quest, blood pressure, and wallet thanks you, Colonel's peeps.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Into Each Life

There have been two deaths in my family of relatives in past six months. Both were cousins the first, male and the most recent, female. Both of these cousins were older (by at least 15 years) as my mother has siblings who are nearly 20 her senior.

Both were cremated. Both families had (in the case of the latter, will be having) memorial services for the paying of last respects. I didn’t know either cousin very well, the male was very distant and hadn’t come to many family functions and the female lived out of state during much of my life, and didn’t attend may family gatherings either.

My Uncle Daniel, mom’s oldest brother who lost is oldest of two sons, Ronald to an aggressive cancer is fighting his own host of debilitating ailments.

My Aunt Betty, mom’s oldest sister, in fact, the oldest of the bunch, lost her daughter, Delores to a similarly aggressive cancer. My Aunt Betty who gave birth to ten children, has said (is saying) good-bye to three. Even Betty Jean, Aunt Betty's oldest daughter lost her only son last year, who was my youngest brother's age.

And I suppose given that I spent a glorious Sunday afternoon with my son, given that I get to see my daughter every day in happiness (and even sadness as she struggles with certain issues) and given that the past couple of days have been fabulous with regards to the weather, and the forecast calls for the next couple to be similarly wonderful, there are certainly brighter topics on which to touch.

But, I can’t shake this, this . . . sorrow. To say first to my uncle and now my aunt, “I’m so sorry for your loss” seems such an insignificant thing to say, as I cannot fathom the inconsolable, incomprehensible devastation that must be felt when your child, no matter their age, no matter the circumstances, dies. It is not meant to be, they say. Not supposed to happen, that way. Yet, it does. Often enough. And I simply . . .

Can. Not. Fathom.

But, sorry is what I am. “Sorry” is about all I can say.