Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Brenda and I met over thirty years ago. She and my cousin C were girlfriend and boyfriend through high school, then an engaged couple a bit beyond high school, and then, a married couple from that moment to her last. A couple of daughters followed very shortly and a third (that elusive search for a male child) followed several years later. I have it on good authority that my cousin C never really let go of his desire for a son but Brenda certainly put the cabash on any more tries. 

my two, their three, and other sibling cousins

We had several conversations on the subject. She envied my having had one of each and especially the son first. Beyond that, Brenda and I shared many stories and created many memories over the years. Brenda's obituary phrased it thusly, "Brenda was a happy woman when she went to sleep Thursday night, July 14 and during the wee hours of July 15, she entered into a sweeter . . . "  

Her daughters . . . her daughters . . . I couldn't get over her daughters that day of the funeral. They were stoic even in their extreme grief and each gave warm, heartfelt, glowing tributes. The youngest put it aptly, "Your teachings will forever be used throughout my life."  Funerals are hard generally. But, when there are so many parrellels (she was only 2 years older) . . .  I couldn't help trading places and seeing my son and daughter sitting in the front pew . . .

He and I met in the eighties; working for the same company for many years until only a few years ago when he resigned to continue his music education. G was an excellent musician with a lovely voice. He spent much of his time performing, directing choirs, and engaging in the business of sharing the beauty of joyful noise. It was such a mission that sent him to NJ a couple of weeks ago. Having barely arrived on the campus of Ryder University when he suffered a massive stroke. He remained in critical condition until his kidneys failed. He died Saturday. I got the word from a mutual friend while standing in the parlour viewing Brenda's body (prior to her funeral on Sunday). G, and only child, and 4 years younger than me had an amazing following of a family of friends. The news of his passing hit the office pretty hard for he was a huge personality and, "so young, so young."

Finally, there is the newest recruit. She's gone. Not in the entered sweeter sleep . . type gone. Just gone. There was a planned leave of absence and then I thought, a plan for some kind of return. But, perhaps I was mistaken and missed a queue somewhere along the line. I left messages and sent emails and . . . nothing. Well, next to nothing. Facing the office every day without her there has been more difficult than I would have imagined. Her absence hits hard but what hit hardest is the silence, the total and utter silence. . . after having shared so much over the past year.    

She's been known to read here and if she still is I'd like her to know I miss you and I care. If thre is anything at all that I can do, please don't hesitate to ask. Please take very gentle care, and here's a big HEY to the kids. And p.s. the actor was in your country last weekend. He had tales to tell. 

July has felt like trial that wasn't going my way. Each day another damning revelation to further sink my case. Still, I have worked to shake off the pall and get on with the business rejoicing the happy events off the month. One aunt recently celebrated her first birthday. This is the first birthday after becoming an octogenarian and in her view license to start over. Another aunt is now 69 and a cousin, 56. The anniversary of my own birth is in a couple of days and the plan is to eat, drink, and make some merry with the family. 

It hasn't been the greatest July, the past couple of weeks in particular. So, I thank my daughter for cluing me to this video which made laugh, you know, out loud and everything.  I needed that and will likely refer to it often. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

A to Zee Meme

Lifted from my friend because . . . well, just because.
A. Age
In just a bit over a week I'll turn the clock on 51. Not nearly as troubled about my age as I am over the fact that in a bit over six months I will be the parent of a 30 year old son. Thirty. When that day arrives and we're being all celebratory and what-have-you I'll likely say something like, seems like only yesterday  . . . 

B. Bed Size
It is full. A lifetime ago I once had a queen . . .      hmm . . there is a story swimming in there somewhere. 

C. Chore You Hate
No diggity, no doubt: Litter boxes. It is the very meaning of the chore. 

D. Dogs
Like my friend, singular, dog. She is a shih-tzu/terrier mix shelter Diva dog and though not technically mine is as much in me as can be.  

E. Essential Start to Day
Well, not for nothing but I think it is essential to wake up. 

F. Favorite Color
Blue. No, purple. No, make that green. Oh wait, yellow? Oh, I can't pick. I do know my least favorite . . . pink. Pink, pink, you stink.

G. Gold or Silver
I was once a gold girl but have since become a silver lady. 

H. Height
Five feet and five and a half inches tall. 

I. Instruments played
Took piano lessons for a time. 

J. Job Title
Mother, Daughter, Sister, Cousin, Friend, Manager.

K. Kids
Kids? A nearly 30 year old son and a nearly 26 year old daughter. They couldn't be more different but I love 'em just the same. 

L. Live
For over 28 years now in a 'burb just beyond THE city limits. I remember moving here with my wasband and baby boy like it was yesterday. 

M. Mom's Name
Her name is Florence. She doesn't have a middle name and doesn't like to be called anything but Florence. Call her "Flo" and it's ON !!! 

N. Nickname
Well, folks still will call me Deb or Debbie. As a kid I was called Gabby. When my son was young he wouldn't say mama (or anything like it) and in trying to say, "Deborah" he said, "Bubba" and that stuck for a bit. 

O. Overnight Hospital Stays
Tonsils when I was eleven. Given birth at 21 and then again at 25. When M was about three he had an operation and I stayed with him. When D was in 3rd grade she had an operation and I stayed with her. 

P. Pet Peeve
People who reply to my "thank you" with, "no problem." The appropriate response is, "your'e welcome." Thank you.  Or (rather, AND) when folks make a big to-do about their birthday and then refuse to tell you how old they are.  Or (rather, AND) when folks ask you to guess their age. And then get offended when your guess is off. 

Q. Quote from a movie
"That sanctuary looks like it's been hosed down with Pepto-Bismol." One year both of my very different children gifted me with the same dvd. They have since learned to consult one another AND I have learned to offer each vastly different gift ideas. 

R. Right or Left Handed
Well, I can be pretty even handed. I do write with my right routinely. But can also print pretty legibly with the left. I do everything else, left-handed; hold eating utensils, swing the tennis racket, throw a ball, bat a ball. 

S. Siblings
An older brother, Wayne. He is 51 and will be 52 in September. A younger brother, Jerome. He turned 49 in February. 

T. Time you wake up
Without fail, most mornings between 4 and 4:30 no matter what time I lie down. I try to hold off GETTING up until 5 if I'm going riding before work) or 5:45 otherwise. I usually get up around 7 on the weekends to get a jump on errands and chores, namely--laundry mat. 

U. Underwear
Why yes, yes I do. Mostly cotton. Mostly Hanes. But, there is an exception or two in the bunch. 

V. Vegetable I dislike
In no particular order: Beets. Okra. Black-eyed peas. All equally disgustingly distasteful. 

W. What makes me run late
Forgetting stuff. Phone. Not grabbing garbage on way out. Leaving my commuter cup full of the beverage of my choice on the kitchen counter and having to double back to get it. Ugh. 

X. Xrays I've had done
Dental. Chest. Knees. 

Y. Yummy Food I Make
Mac N Cheese. Fried Chicken. I remember when I was . . . oh, eleven or twelve, I prepared dinner for the family. It was the first time. Among the menu items was fried chicken. I had to cut up a whole fryer, prep and then fry. I finally got it in some semblance of recognizable pieces and once fried, isaid pieces looked gorgeous. Hi-ever most  were pretty raw on the inside. My mom laughed which gave my brothers license to ridicule me. .  

Z. Zoo Animal
Big Cats and Bears. I prefer the larger zoos where  the animals are displayed in habitats more closely resembling their natural habitat. I don' particularly like seeing the animals in cages, living part of my youth in a housing project I could relate. But, I remember field trips to a zoo, seeing things I'd never seen. Touching animals I'd never touched. I remember my little boy watching these guys  for hours over the years and building an affection for their flights of fancy and for the area of the world from they hail. My daughter isn't much for zoos (or animals other than dogs (especially D-dog) and cats.) That is of course, she can be pulled in a wagon and  food and souvenirs are on the docket.

 . . . now I've said my ABC's next time won't you sing with me? 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Horrible Daughter

That would be me, judging by the scathing letter my mother sent me several days ago. She accuses me of many infractions some small, some tall, all add up to me being horrible, just horrible.

I took a moment for these letters are not uncommon. My usual tactic is to quietly seethe (ok, maybe not so quietly, but certainly in the privacy of my rooms) call her proceed in my own daughterly fashion. Whatever it was that had her riled up blows over and we're back to our kind of normal.

This time I responded with a letter of my own. I attached the OBGayborhood post of last year with a brief explanation and preface. I didn't respond to her specific charges in the letter but merely communicated the trials and tribulations of my so-called-life as it is manifested at this point and time. Long story short I'm working longer hours of late and don't have the luxury of time or the grace that is energy to do everything for everybody. 

I must admit however, as patient as I am, have always been, my mother tries that part of me more than any other relative. Still, I endeavor to hold my sarcasm in check, quell down the snappish remarks and responses, and work to envelope her in a cloak of understanding. 

In my letter I acknowledge her frustration, anger, depression, and disappointment. I assert that I will continue to do what I can, when I can to help in any way possible. My letter was mailed after work on Friday the day after receiving her letter.

Ironically, very early Saturday Mom called. She expressed a desire to go out on a journey that had nothing to do with doctors, therapy, or perscriptions. She was quite anxious. She was quite adamant, though she didn't know what she wanted to do, where she wanted to go, somewhere, anywhere.

My suggestions were all shot down in lieu of Navy Pier.

And so, we spent a compaionable Saturday together at my favorite place (that's that sarcasm I'm trying to hold in check) where we had lunch, watched people, and talked about things other than our relationship. I did mention her letter and that I'd responded in kind. To which she asked if I liked my "Memphis Dog" (as served by America's Dogs, Navy Pier: hot dog topped with bar-b-que sauce, pulled pork, and cole slaw).

I'm sure she has received my letter by now. 

I'll call in a bit to find out about her electricity (blown out by yesterday's storm) and  . . .

It is complicated? 

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Happy Feeling

" . . . from deep in my soul I wish you Happy, Happy, Happy . . . " 
The weekend, meaning "the holiday" was quiet by design.  No big family gatherings. No mountains of bar-b-que and potato salad. No fuss and very little muss. Just me, the cats, the dog, M (though I didn't know he'd be around all weekend) and D. Quiet. Relatively.

It was bliss.

Well, except for the few anxious moments I spent looking for my Gopher , certain that someone had stolen another one, chiding myself for leaving it outside and really detesting the thought that someone IN the building took it. Sigh of relief when I located it in the special place I'd chosen to store it, to keep it safe(r).

And then there was the lost ip*d shuffle. I don't use it everyday. In fact, since Brin went down I've used it rather sparingly. It dawned on me one day last week that I wasn't using it (mostly) because I couldn't find it. Then of course I couldn't rest until I found it. I set out on the search, all the usual (i.e. bookcase, by the computer, in the everything box) no luck. On the verge of despair (oh ok.  it wasn't ALL that tragic, but still . . . ) I plop down on the bed to confer with Molly McBear and voila, I see the shuffle gizmo peeking out from under the bed. Mind you this is the other side of the bed. The table on that side holds my phone charger, blood pressure machine and log book, a portable cd player, mini speakers, and a small stack of music discs. On the rare occasion I have an active dream or a the less rare restless night (for some reason other than dreaming) I smash into an item or two on that table and it crashes to the floor. Why it didn't dawn on me to give the are closer inspection is a mystery for the ages.

But, those events (I won't mention seeing baby brother at mom's) aside, the weekend was quiet and in a word, blissful.

Partly due to, as mentioned up top, no gatherings, no cooking (well, not by me) no fussing and no mussing. Another part due to witnessing the actor's participation in an Independence Day celebration. I was pretty far away but I'd know the lean guy in the white linen suit anywhere. It was a grand experience.

I even went to our little town's fireworks display on Monday evening.

But, the very best, most bliss filled event of the weekend past, getting Brin UP and ROLLING again. She took me to the laundry mat. She took me to the fireworks. She took me...just took me. Being on her saddle fills me with . . . well, happy feelings. So happy, I'll spread them all over the world.

Various pals are going through some difficult times and I wish it were as easy as waving a wand, saying some words to happy away said difficulties. I know it isn't, but note to each of you know you are on my mind, in my heart and I hope there is some happy feelings in your air, soon.