Saturday, December 17, 2011

Making Room

Some years ago I had the bright idea to stage the Christmas tree in the dining room. Prior to that ephipany the Christmas tree held court front and center in the living room. Lights ablaze, blinds cranked open, a dazzling array for the world to see.

Well, at least the part of the world who happened down our street and then happened to look up a bit.

The first year The Middle Girl's Family Christmas Tree and related holiday regalia called the dining room home there was no nearly five foot tall cat condo, pet crate, yard sale dishes (for when daughter moves out) bookcase, desk, or other overflow from the living room (where returning son has most of his belongings).

The living (or front) room seemed the logical location in the very beginning of our residence in this small condo because it was the most comfortable room at the time and was (or seemed) the easier to de-clutter adjust furnishings and the like to make room for the tree and related holiday regalia. 

Plus there was the showing the tree (and lights) to the world (that fraction who happened down our street . . . ) and I always enjoyed seeing the lights from the street when I came home from work in the evenings (I knew to look up.)

The bright idea from some years ago seems positively brillant today. Despite the groaning at the seams fullness of the dining room space, the tree must go there, cannot go anywhere else. No other room is suitable, no other space even remotely ready for its presence.

Moreover, I discovered that I like having dinner by the twinkling lights along with a couple of bottles glasses of wine, mom, son, daughter, and a condo full of fur babies (though the cats must be housed in my bedroom).

Sometime over the next 3, 4, or . .  today the tree and related holiday regalia will be installed, lights ablaze, a dazzling array for all of us to see and enjoy.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

By The Light of the Wine

This space, middle girl dot blogspot dot com began March 29, 2006 after several months of my finding, lurking, and then commenting on other personal blogs. 

My search for a community led me to a cadre of some amazing women (mostly). That is to say there were mostly women, all totally amazing.  Many of those visited then are long gone now. Some others lie dormant but available for the random trips down bloggy lane.

One of the first regularly visited blogs belonged to The Lovely Elizabeth. The space she maintained then is long gone as are others she started in the years since. But, she still blogs and is still one of my favorite blog destinations.

Elizabeth, commented on one of my earliest posts:
Well, have a blog. I get to put you on my blogroll. The pressure is on.

Congratulations to your son and to you for helping him get to this point.

Maxine (Elizabeth's wife) also maintained a blog or two over the years now dormant but replaced by two others.

Shortly after meeting on the nets arrangements were being made to meet face-to-face and that meeting cemented in real life that which began in the virtual world. I have recently returned from my second trip to Houston visiting with the lovely lady bloggers, knitters (well, one knits) painters (of pictures and houses) all and things fabulous.

Epic Party!

Elizabeth was my conduit to fantastic beer, kick-ass wine, insight and laughs galore.

Maxine is . . . in a word, AWESOME!

The brief respite from my day-to-day was precisely what the doctor would have ordered had she been consulted. It was most amazing plus I came home with a finely crafted knit blanket. (Repeat: Maxine is awesome.)  Win. Win. Win.

I can't thank you ladies enough for being the marvelous ladies you are and helping me take those very important early steps in my journey. I can hardly wait for the next event that has us in the same place at the same time.

Thank you for a memorable weekend.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Games. People.

A part of me feels the need to write about my father but a much larger part is sick and tired of the entire rather road weary affair.  It must be addressed and it will be, just not here or now. I will say that the let's get his family together experiment is, in the words of SJP's Carrie Bradshaw, "so over we need a new word for over."

Let us then move on to a new game, Holiday (psst, Christmas) gifting One Oh None.  
 The Granny Sling Shot.  None. For one, I loved my granny. Well, both of them actually, though I didn't know the paternal one very long or very well (she died when I was young a due to fractured family ties we didn't visit often.) But she seemed nice enough. She made great pancakes. Or at least she did that one time I remember staying over. While the pictured granny doesn't put me in the mind of either of my grandmothers as neither was Caucasian, I would still feel quite uncomfortable flinging a granny off the edge of my fingers, sending her soaring through the air only to crash . . . somewhere. Ouch. No.

Now, a book. . . One! Books are almost always a good idea. You know, as much as I read, as much as I love reading, my loved ones rarely gift me with books. Weird, that. Anyways . . I have already turned fifty, in fact am a year over that mark and well on the way to fifty-two. Still, I presume much of the advice and insights from the fifty notables is applicable to fiftysomethings as well as to the 50 year old.  For example, something like, "wear comfortable clothes" means as much to me at 51 as it would have at 50. Heck, I've been following that sage advice since my thirties, at least.    
A thoughtful gift-giver musing over the 50 Things might wander over to what I'm considering the companion piece, "60 Things To Do . . . " Gifting this tome to a 50something provides said fiftysomething a bit of a head-start in absorbing the words of wisdom from the sixty experts featured. A head-start is an extremely thoughtful pose. For a fiftysomething might need the rest of her fifties, for instance, to prepare for such sixties advice like, "take your clothes off."

Okay, maybe not.

Still, I bet there is a treasure trove of useful, relevant, and uplifting thoughts within the 678 pages (combined) offered up by the one hundred and ten (again, combined) experts who have "been there."

Okay, forget the books. How about just a treasure?

Or, given how I feel today, one whiskey, neat.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

a ha

For days I've felt a little . . . off, for lack of a more descriptive word. I thought it was tiredness brought on by too much work and too little rest. Or perhaps a malaise brought on by dreary weather accompanied by inexplicable? bloating, achy knees, odd cravings, emotional jags.  

Then I attributed the out of step feeling with the chore of first, reading (objectively) and then commenting to my dad about the material he sent. The material, in and of itself (though truly a chore) didn't upset me overmuch but the fact that he, of all people, would send me (among other material) a booklet titled, "How to Raise Responsible Children" really set my teeth on edge.

Oh, then there was an aching tooth. 

Two thoughts however, never crossed my mind as possible causes for the turbidity of  my daily experience in recent days, weeks.  One: this. and Two: the actual cause or perhaps more accurately, the root: P M freakin' S! 

That's right sports fans, yours truly is having an unplanned visitor.  At fifty-one. After over a year. 

It has been so long I misread all the tell-tell signs. The bloating, the cravings, the tiredness, the insomnia, the . . . everything. 

Oy to the Vey.

For all that, now that there is a face on the issue, now that the situation is flowing, so to speak, I'm much better. Well, not better in the sense that I am intensely annoyed at having to deal with this again, still. But, now I fully understand with what I'm dealing and can therefore be more focused on that root. There are known remedies. 

Still, I find myself on this Thanksgiving Eve quite thankful and full gratitude. Miss Flo and achy knees aside, there is my good health, the good health of both and actor and his sister (though she has been suffering with a wicked cold and upper respiratory infection over the past several days) and being able to put a full dinner on the table tomorrow that we will all share (along with my mother). We will trade stories old and new, laughs, and the like. And as much as I lack enthusiasm for the process, the shopping and prepping, I am overwhelmingly enthusiastic over the end result, the fullness of body and spirit. 

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to shoo the actor away from the ham (again).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Posts I Lost

 . . . were some sweet posts. Well, not really. The first was about dating, or more specifically one date conducted via telephone for she is in another state (in more ways than one.) It is probably good that the post got eaten by a post eating animal, as it wasn't very . . . well, sweet. 

The second post I lost was about my bat shit crazy older brother. I won't express just how un-sweet the ranting and raving flying off the tips of my fingers sounded even to my own ears. It was likely headed to draft purgatory. That is, had it not been eaten by the same post eating animal that swallowed post number one.  

Then I composed most of a third post about my dad (or rather, a package he sent me) in my head. I decided it best stay in my head. 

Post number one made me happily nostalgic. Post number two and the idea of number three had the opposite effect, that is to say not happily nostalgic.  

Bottom line: LOST IT

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Shot Without the Sound

For the record I didn't hear the gunfire, only reports its existence. While walking to the train station on my way home from work on that particular day, talking to Dad on the phone, three ladies in scrubs standing outside of the Respiratory Health Center smoking warned me against advancing further toward the park by shouting in unison, "there was gunfire over there, don't go over there!!"  The last bit I didn't need for my number one rule of thumb: Gunfire, heard or reported equals stay away, as far away as possible.

Thus I detoured to the parking lot of the Respiratory Health Center, away from the smoking scrub wearers but still allowing me an unobstructed view of the action in the park across the way. The action; bystanders scurrying, sirens blaring, dome lights flashing, announcing police presence and the expectation of order being returned, led to the conversation with Dad took on a "my, how the city has changed"  tone. 

For the record this area is one of the least likely to experience gunfire, these days, hence the quick police response.The  area near my work has been upwardly mobile for a few years now. There are expensive loft spaces, townhouses, trendy restaurants and even trendier boutiques, east of the park. And while west of the park is on the move upward as well, with the demolished projects and new condos in their place, it is still in transition and due to the influence of the neighborhood just east of the park, relatively gun violence free. 

I spent several years of my childhood in a housing project just west of the park, circa 1970--1973. Dad and Mom were already divorced by then, but was still in the city and quite familiar with the neighborhood. Back then gunfire, stabbings, beatings, and various other crimes against people and nature were the rule rather than the exception. Police action was slow, if ever.  

Dad moved away from Chicago a very long time ago limiting his visits to one every 10 or 15 years, I think. I know I've only seen him once here in the city since he moved away in the late 70s. He may have returned other than that time for I don't think he sought me out whenever he was in (or near) town. And so we  talked about changes.  My remarks of the various changes to various neighborhoods specifically the one I was standing in at the moment were met with his remark of how he's sure he wouldn't recognize much, if anything. 

Since that conversation some realizations began to crystallize; my dad hasn't seen me or a photo of me for many, many years. My younger brother may have provided Dad with a photo (of a photo) of me, but it would be a very old one. I never refer to my dad as "Dad" when I'm speaking with him, He hasn't been that for so long, the verbal expression of the term is foreign to my tongue. I notice, even when relaying conversations I've had with him to M or D, I hesitate or stumble when I'm about to say, "my dad." He isn't even listed as "DAD" in my phone listings.  

For the record I didn't hear the gunfire. I do however, feel as though I've been shot. 


*pirate pumpkin seen around my little town.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Week's Worth

Monday: A patchwork of emotions welling up inside, threatening to bubble over the surface at any given moment. 

Tuesday: Much like Monday except for the charming spillage of hot tea all over the desk creating accidental watercolors of hand-written reports. 

Wednesday: What was that? Gunfire? Right where I need(ed) to be? Abort Mission (at least temporarily). 

Thursday: Another conversation with James (aka: DAD). He asked for my address (I've only lived in the same location for eleven years next month) but, no worries, I understand. He asked if he sent me something, would I read it. Hmmm... now, wondering WHAT could it be? Though, I suspect it has to do with his faith. We'll see 1. if he sends or 2. when it arrives. 

Friday: Much too tired to go to the store for beer, wine, or other. Probably just as well. 

Saturday: Scrubbing bubbles and shelf liner rule the day. 

Sunday: What? Here already? No booze, no dates, no clean underwear! I.E. Laundry. Where, yet again, some dip shit messes with our clothes. In Danielle's words, "what the fuck is wrong with people?" 

 . . . and it is Monday again: A patchwork of emotions welling up inside, threatening to to bubble over the surface at any given moment.   

Peace. Out. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Like me she is a middle daughter with an older and a younger brother. However, unlike me she also has bonus siblings; an older and younger sister. So envious I was of those: sisters. I remember my mom telling me decades ago she always wanted four children. I've often wondered if  the fourth had been a girl and how I might have been different with a sister in my life. It was not to be. Mom and Dad stopped at three. In fact, it is my humble opinion that number three was pretty much the straw that broke that marriage camel's back. But, that is another tale.

Peggy had sisters and more to the point, more padding at either end of her middle-girl-itis than I. And while Peggy and I are the same age and shared other commonalities beyond living across the hall from one other in the mid nineteen sixties, there were differences. Chief among them, our levels of shyness; hers much greater than mine. Back then she shrank to the point of nearly disappearing into the shadow of all that sibling padding. Quite the feat, given her height.

My family moved away from that building (and neighborhood) Peggy's family and mine shared in 1969. Peggy and her siblings left my reality some time later. In 1974 Peggy and I met again when we she enrolled in the high school I was attending (having skipped a grade, I was a year ahead). While I'd chosen this high school to be as far away from my older brother and his high school experience as possible, Peggy'd followed both her older siblings to this school. The shyness I remembered from our early grade school experiences was still in full effect, for both of us. Neither went out of our way to re-kindle. We were friendly when we met in the halls but didn't become friends. She continued to shrink in the shadow of her siblings and I muddled along trying to escape any connection to or resemblance of my familial relationships.

Fast forward to 2011: Peggy and I hadn't seen or spoken since our occasionally meeting in the high school halls.  I had met one or the other of Peggy's older siblings once or twice over the years with all of us making the usual, "good to see you noises" and promises to say, "hi" to our respective parents and siblings. About a year ago, I started seeing a woman on one of my commuter routes who reminded me of Peggy. At some point I decided that it was Peggy but made no move to speak to her.

Then in August she saw me sitting in a seat, across the aisle of the commuter train car. Her bespectacled eyes lifted in recognition and she stage whispered, "Debbie?!" I smiled and nodded a greeting.

Peggy smiled back, took out her cell phone, made a call, and then began to pepper me with questions about my brothers, mother, and the like, all prompted by her older sister. That's who she'd called. When the passenger in the seat next to Peggy exited I moved to take that seat. Peggy appeared uncomfortable with the change but I wasn't going to conduct this inquisition conversation across the aisle

Finally, Peggy hung up from her older sister and began to talk at me about her brothers, mother, sisters, her dad's death, and the other's respective lives. There was scant opportunity for me to say anything about my life or to ask after her own. She didn't volunteer anything except that she was on her way to church, why she happened to be on this train, at this time. (Which, by the way, not the same commuter route I'd seen her on previously.)

Nearing the end of our ride together she hunted down a piece of paper, scribbled a number on it, offered it to me saying, "you can call me if you want." She seemed surprised when I offered mine own piece of paper with my number scribbled on it in return.  I stuck her piece of paper in my messenger bag, bid her adieu, and got off the train.

The entire exchange felt weird the rest of the evening and well into the next day and the days beyond.

For several days, I went back and forth about calling her. There was weirdness. There was something just . . . off. But then, I took a deep breath and decided to take the plunge. I thought we'd have lunch and take a stab at a really conversation. Maybe we'd find we'd developed more commonalities in the thirty some years since our youthful exchanges. Maybe, while clearly very different women now, we could break through those barriers and forge some kind of  friendship.


But it was moot. For, after deciding to call, I dug around in my bag to retrieve the piece of paper with her scribbled on number only to discover it gone. Missing. Lost. Likely bundled up and trashed with stray receipts, gum wrappers, and other like debris that litters the bottom of messenger bags after a few days.

I presumed she hadn't married or otherwise changed her last name. I presumed that I probably could find her and her number if so motivated. But, I wasn't. And neither apparently was she. For weeks (months, really) have passed and she hasn't called me either.  

Now I wonder whatever shall we do, however shall we act if we happen to meet again, face-to-face on a commuter train on the way home to the reality of our respective lives, further and further away from our respective pasts?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

♥ of my ♥

♥ For some October spells Autumn in fuller force. The trees are turning, the leaves are falling, the skies are clear and the air just a tad crisp. For some others October spells Halloween. Costumes are planned (made/secured) treats are purchased, pumpkins are carved, and parties attended. For still others, October spells apples; seeing favored varieties at the local market, bobbing heads in buckets full of them, and dipping them in caramel and rolling with nuts. And for others October spells lamenting over how the marketing of THE HOLIDAYS  seem to arrive earlier and earlier every year. AAARRRGGGHHH!!

♥ Since 1985 October spells birthday.  Or more specifically, D's birthday. My second a final child, a beautifully precious, and quit loud girl child. This girl child from the very beginning of her existence established her world and our places in it. October then, has been about excecuting  the birthday event of the year. The celebrations have taken many forms over the years the once constant being NO HALLOWEEN theme. Ever. This year's low key celebration, no exception.

♥ My girl is twenty-six years old today. Though we have enjoyed a grand mother-daughter bond through-out the years, the years haven't exactly been a cake walk. She has challenged me in ways the actor never did. Yet, we are friends and enjoy spending time together. My girl can be demanding and let's face it, stubborn. But she is also extremely loving and generous. She is smart, funny, and . . . well, she's mah-ve-lous. Moreover, she has the very best smile on the block. I adore that smile.

♥ The last few days have been very trying for her (for us) for a variety of reasons. This birthday will not be among her happiest. Never-the-less, it goes without saying that I wish her the very best for this day and for many, many days beyond. It goes without saying that I hope that she can believe in herself as much as I believe. I know that recent setbacks will slow but not stop the train. It goes without saying that the effervescence she usually exudes will return in full force and for a long, long time.

♥ Happy, happy, joy, joy, to my little girl*  Sweetest daughter, continue to keep your eye on the prize and your back to the wind.

♥ Ma

*it's a family thing. :-)

Saturday, October 01, 2011

It Is Not A Game

family: a six letter word maze.  

A couple of Sundays ago both brothers bounced into my day-to-day. You need a little background to know how incredibly odd a happenstance that is: we were never close (emotionally) my brothers and me. Older brother our home state when he was twenty-five. For over a decade there was no communication from or news of him or his whereabouts.

During that period younger brother occupied his time with a variety of nefarious activities, most of which got him arrested and incarcerated. He also found the time to father more children (he'd fathered one in his teens, before older brother split) get married, ordained, and more.  

In the late nineties older brother resurfaced and even returned to IL for a brief stint, until younger brother managed to get himself arrested yet again. Since older brother's return to TX (where he'd been living most of the time he'd been gone) in the year 2000 he and I have exchanged 2 birthday cards, a couple of text messages, and three phone calls, for most recent, that Sunday.

Younger brother's release from prison earlier this year AND news of our father's illness PLUS our mother's constant urging for her children to become, if not friends, at least cordial has set this, "let's be a family" train in motion. I'm convinced that my older brother calling me that Sunday and younger brother dropping by (after calling to say he, two of his children, and his girlfriend were in the area) for a visit on the same Sunday was not a coincidence.

You see, I'm seen as the pariah. I'm the one who didn't do drugs, didn't rob, steal, run away, prostitute myself or others, do time in state prisons or local jails, disappear for over a decade driving our mother insane with worry, or treat her with disdain at best and something less than human, at worst.  

I'm the one with the issues. I am the one who must be convinced that WE ARE FAMILY and need to start acting like it.

I am the one.

Older brother's first conversation with me that Sunday ended with him yelling at me, "that's why I didn't want to talk to you, IT IS ALWAYS ABOUT YOU!!!!" This, after I agreed, we should be cordial, we should try to build some kind of relationship, we should do this, for our mom, who has wished to see us relate for it would, "make an old woman happy."  But I also added that I've been here with our mother the entire time he was gone. I've been here to hear her complaints, soothe her fears, carry her groceries, help with her meds. I've been here with her wishing our family was different, better.   

He screamed about it being about me and hung up. However, not before I was able to interject that I'm the last person IT has EVER been about.

Older brother called back apologizing while patting himself on the back ("years ago I wouldn't have") and revealing that he still has some anger issues to work through. I don't know what I ever did to make him angry and he admitted, that he didn't either.  The second call ended with us agreeing to let go of old resentments, hurts, and whatever else we might THINK of we know one another (info gleaned from our mother as she is the conduit between us or our collective imaginations) as we've been separated for most of our adult lives. He reminded me that I used to call him, "Day" unable to get my toddler mouth around his actual name, "Wayne" and that no matter what, I'm still his baby sister.

Younger brother, on that Sunday, called at 11 to say he'd be in the area visiting Mom and would it be okay if he, the kids (16 y.o. daughter and 14 y.o. son) dropped by around 3 sweetening the deal by tossing in, "the kids really want to see you."  It was well after 5 before they (with girlfriend I hadn't met before) arrived. Oh, his wife divorced him during his most recent incarceration, the second since they married 17 years ago. 

They arrived, we all sat and chit-chatted, all friendly family like. Note: my brother has been in my condo since shortly before his arrest nearly 6 years ago. My condo was broken into some years ago and my daughter remains convinced that he was the culprit. He's stolen from me before, so that thought isn't a huge stretch.

After about 30 minutes younger brother announced it was time to go. We were saying our farewells when he began taking pictures of the photos affixed to my wall, and on his way out the door said, "there is something I would like to talk with you about."

The something is either money, a visit to our father, or both. I have yet to discover as he has yet call.

Still, as I've mentioned to both brothers on at least two occasions, I'm willing (and able) to let go, I will release any old resentments, I'm willing for the sake of all our children and our mother to try to mend fences and become this family we each seem to have pictured in the back of our minds, perhaps even in the deep recesses of our hearts.

I am the one. I always have been. 

I just hope I'm not the only one. Still.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Six Word Saturday

*My contribution to the project:

Pummelling the pull of potato chips.

*Found via a blog I read. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

September Eleventh, Twenty Eleven

On this date in history, in addition to recollections reverent memorials and extending warm birthday greetings,   I will recall the first conversation I'v had with my father in . . . I don't know how long. It would have been long before Katrina, for he called sometime after, but got my machine. I called him back, getting his machine and from that moment to this, SILENCE.
He'd called me way back when in (delayed) response my my reaching out to him in the aftermath of Katrina. The various (and as it turns out, unreliable) reports were of little comfort and I sought to communicate with him directly. That effort added yet another chapter to our storied history.

Slowly churn to September, Twenty Eleven. In the round-about, circuitous, in-direct style of communication that has become an Olympic sport for my Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Brothers, and Mom. I discovered my dad has lung cancer.

I did the only thing this only daughter could do, I contacted my younger brother and asked for our dad's contact information. And then I called James. As it happens he wasn't home. His mother-in-law volunteered (way too much, imo) information and to take a message. The exchange between she and I, who have never met was a bit like the Costello's "Who's On First?" routine.

When she asked which daughter I was I admit to having my heart shattered in a million different pieces. Later, after thinking it through I rationalized that there wasn't any reason to expect her to know he only has the one and for that one to be on the phone on that given Saturday. But still, I'd decided my next attempt at communication would not be via the telephone.

On Sunday, September Eleventh, Twenty Eleven my dad called me. His opening line, "do you know who this is?" mended the million shattered pieces to some degree. Our conversation was easy, considering the history  and we talked for as long as his energy would allow. He was direct and frank about the onset of the disease, the treatments, the side-effects, and his resignation to what is and what will be.
He signed off with professions of love and promises to stay in touch. We may or may not talk again and I think I may be fine either way because I do now have September Eleventh, Twenty Eleven and it shall be woven into the fabric that is the story of James and his only daughter, Deborah.  

Saturday, September 03, 2011

End of Season

Someone in my building or someone (at the very least) with access to the front hall of the building sliced down more than half of the sunflower stalk growing, flourishing out in the front yard. I'd left my pruning shears sitting on one of the tables (holding my indoor plants) planning to use them at some point during the week to touch up some of the shrubbery following some aggressive growth following all the rain we've had. 

My usual practice is to put all the yard tools away in one of the various storage nooks that populate the first floor of the condo building. But since I was planning to do some (light) weekday work, I'd left the shears at an easier access point. I'm trying not to take as a coincidence that the chopping down occurred during or just after  Moe, Larry, and Curly of twenty-first century plumbing were in the space to replace a blown water heater. THAT, is another tale. 

To say that I'm incensed over the incident is putting it mildly. I'd said a few of these: 

upon leaving for work Friday morning and seeing the mutilation of my stately sunflowers.

Our small, nine unit condo building is self managed. I get a break on my assessments for caring for the common areas; sweeping, mopping, wiping down the halls and caring for the grounds. I shovel snow and clear ice in the winter, care for the yard , and keep the rear court-yard clean.

I tend to every plant and shrub (most of which I purchased out of my own funds) weeding, watering, and pruning as needed. I never maintained a yard before moving into this building. I've been an apartment dweller (mostly surrounded by concrete or yards "hands off" to tenants) my entire life. This little patch of earth was a new, exciting experience for me. I work diligently to clear trash, reset stepping stones, eradicate weeds (and mushrooms) and generally keep the area as appealing as possible given the limitations of time and budget.

For someone to rudely attack my work, my investment is beyond mean and it makes me want to

 I did scream. Ask Neta, she'd called early Friday morning as I was leaving for work. I walked outside, saw the mutilation and . . . yeah, WTF'D all over the place. 

I'm better now, though. It is September and soon the thoughts will turn to preparing the ground for winter, planning for next year, buying and burying bulbs. And yes, marking the spot of the current sunflower yield and devising a plan, for electrocuting anyone who touches protecting them, as well as, other yields from the savagery of neighbors? or their kids, or the friends of their kids. 

In the meantime I will enjoy what is left of  the summer, left of the various colors of our my yard. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Babysit Mom

Opening email from the home unit means doing so in full view of whomever may be sitting in the living room. Depending on the day and time of day, that means in full view of the actor as the living room his room since he is temporarily in residence.

A few nights ago I opened a  message with the subject line: friends?

The body of the message was a photo of a voluptuous woman, dressed rather provocatively, sporting a tat on her right tit of a trio of roses. Beneath her photo was the query, "do you want to be friends?" I must have made some kind of noise for the actor looked up from his reading. His response was to merely shake his head and return to his reading.

The daughter chose the next few moments to come out of her room. The noise making must have still been going on for she decided to come see what was UP. After taking in the scene she shrieked, "what are you doing?" turning then to the actor, "Aren't you watching her? You're supposed to be watching her! You can't let her just . .    She doesn't know . . .  Why aren't you watching her?"

All I could do was shake my head. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Self Portrait Friday*

 If you look closely you can see my brand new haircut. I did it myself!  My shoulders have been aching for several days. NOW I know why. Welcome to the Weekend.

*for my friend, eb ef elf

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Same Lyric, Different Song

If you've ever heard a rap performance* you'll recognize the familiar call:

Throw your hands up in the a-ir. Wave 'em like you just don't c-are
I hear the line (and the hip-hop melody) in my head three, four times a week; not due to any feelings of nostalgia for rap days gone by, but rather as accompaniment to the near misses suffered at the hands and feet of various motor vehicle operators.

Four out of five of them throw their hands up in the a-ir and wave 'm like the just don't c-are.
As in, "I'm sorry I nearly creamed you with my car."

The most recent culprit, operator of a silver Hyundai Sonata was so intent on crossing three lanes from her barely stopped at the stop sign launching pad that she not only didn't see a body (mine) in the crosswalk she didn't even imagine one (in this case, mine) would deign to cross a street, in the crosswalk in keeping with the traffic laws of the land and right of way sensibility.

She saw me a split second after I saw her, which is a good thing because I could be dead. Or seriously injured. After slamming on her brakes, she threw her hands up in the a-ir and waved 'em like she just didn't c-are and mouthed, "I'm sorry." 

The hyperbolic rage was automatic but also mostly in my head along with the hip-hop melody and call to arms. And while I did fix the Hyundai Sonata operator with a steely stare there was a note of forgiveness in the tone, for I've been through this before--threee, four times a week, in fact.

Still, once I saw her hands come up in the pleading, "I'm sorry" mode amd the familiar refrain danced in my head, the very next thought was the finish . . . somebody screeeeaaaaam!

*granted, mostly from memory as I haven't followed rap performances much since the actor was a teenager.   

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Bike to Work Week

Today is the second day of my bike to work week. I didn't start at the beginning of the week because my transit pass didn't expire until Tuesday night. I decided not to buy a new pass and plan to ride through the end of this week and through Tuesday of next week. From that point, it will be a day-to-day decision.

Well, point of fact, it is a day-to-day decision now because if the weather is at all disagreeable, I won't be biking. But, I won't buy and activate a pass, I'll just add value to a transit card thus, pay by-the-ride. I expect to biking more than taking public transpo for what is left of the season. That outcome is positive for my wallet as well as my waist-line. Hopefully, the weather is agreeable and my overall health holds.

I decided shortly after turning the clock on fifity-one to stop, start, change, and more a bunch of stuff. Birthdays will do that to a body; making one all refelctive and shit all that whizz. I'm still processing most of it because frankly, it gave me a pain in the neck. But, overall I think it is a good thing.

Speaking of my birthday it was full of eating, drinking, and some merry making. There was cake (there is always cake) and meals. The first, dinner (at a Greek restuarant) included a slice of tiramasu, which was simply devine. As was the Greek Mojito. The second meal featured slice of vanilla bean cheesecake and a traditional Mojito. Oh. So. Yummy. And finally, the "Happy Birthday Deborah" cake Mom ordered for me to pick up and enjoy at home, which we did. Along with the martinis and margaritas thanks to gifts vodka and tequila from a co-worker.
Mom wrote me another note. It was the story of the day of my birth. Or rather, how miserable she was (due to the excessive heat) on the days leading in and the actual day of my birth. Enchanting story. Anyhooo . . .

Speaking of bike riding, I saw several young women along the route back and forth yesterday and a few on the way in this morning riding in skirts. Various skirt styles; long and flowing, short and not so flowy. Both seemed quite a cumbersome (and in the case of the flowy skirt, dangerous) way to ride a bike from my point of view.

But, back to my own bike riding I feel pretty good after four consecutive trips (spread over several hours) for a total of about sixteen miles--which is the most consistent riding I've done all season for one reason or another. I'm not making great time, but hopefully that will improve over the next few trips, provided the weather remains agreeable, provided I stick to the plan and stop making excuses. My wallet and my waist-line would be most grateful.

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.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


The weekend began with such promise. Though worn out from a work week of moving the business from one location to another, working feverishly to keep to "business as usual" all the while, I kept my meet-up reservation promise and went to the Pride Festival on Friday night.

I was a bit subdued as a companion who had promised to join me backed out at the last minute, but I solidered on and wound up having a fantabulous time. It was great to be out among all the revelers, seeing all the performers, drinking a damn tasty mojito, and blowing bubbles with a light up bubble blowing gun.

By the end of the evening my moodiness had eeked from my body and I found myself even looking forward to Saturday's lunch with Mom, a cousin, and her seven year old grandson. Please know, of course, I love my mom it is just that she isn't the most companionable dining partner. And when others are in the mix, she is even less so.

Lunch was lovely.

And then there was Sunday. The event of this day I looked forward to most of all.  I passed on attending the parade, which has become a tradition, to attend the event. I bought an outfit and accessories, which if you know anything at all about me, you know that is monumental.

But, it was not to be. My companion who was also my ride drank herself into oblivion last night and was not in any position to drive two blocks let alone the extensive ride to the event location. I've been angry all afternoon. I'd hope to pound out said anger by pounding some tennis balls. All that served was a reminder that I hadn't hit a tennis ball in over 50 weeks.

The soak, the nap, and dinner has diminished some of the anger but none of the disappointment. I wish I could say I'm happy for the good times of Friday and the pleasantness of Saturday and that those supercede the disappointment of today. But I can't.

Not yet, anyway.   

P.S.  To my friend, congratulations to your girls and have a safe trip.

Friday, June 17, 2011


As of this writing Miss Brin is still one wheel less. I haven't ventured out to secure a wheel, tube, and tire for Miss Brin because my mom has an acquaintance. Mom told me her acquaintance had bike parts; lots and lots of bike parts. She further told me that said acquaintance would be happy to check his bike parts stash and if he located the parts I (and Brin) needed he'd give them to me (us). 

I asked mom if acquaintance only had parts; did he have whole bikes? For I'm considering a new (used) bike as well. "No," she said, "only parts." 

Well, after week one acquaintance relayed to my mom that he didn't have time to look for the parts but he would get someone to help him. 

Now, two weeks later, acquaintance relayed to my mom that he doesn't have the wheel but we does have a ladies 10 speed to give away. I ask my mom if it is a racer, mountain, or what? She doesn't know and wondered what's the diff? 

I won't get into the intricacies of that conversation with my mom but know that it ended with me accepting with graciousness whatever the brand, model, condition this entire bike (that he didn't have two weeks ago) he now has to offer. Best case: with some modifications I can ride it. Second best case: daughter can ride it. Third best case: I can raid it for parts, or sell it, or give it away to someone else.

The downside to Brin being one wheel less these past weeks is that she missed the most recent installment of the Naked Bike Ride. She was most disappointed. 

Maybe next year. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wait, What Happened To Wednesday?

The evening leaked away from me. The plan? Come home, shower, get into softer clothes, fix a plate of whatever delectable delight my lovely daughter prepared, eat, drink a beer (or two) watch So You Think You Can Dance? brush my teeth, read, write a letter (or in my journal) click on something to watch until my eyelids could no longer defy gravity.

Well, the eyelids no longer defying gravity happened much earlier in the evening than planned and as a result a few things got missed. It is probable that sudden sleep after eat and a bit (12 oz) of drink i but one consequence of many thousand steps.

From my pedometer's memory bank:
Day 1 10,566
Day 2 13,807
Day 3 18,398
Day 4  0 (I'd forgotten to wear it, but based on my own memory of what happened this day, at least 10,000)
Day 5 10,342

The work days these days are filled with frantic, frustrating, mind numbing tasks, negative cash flow bullet dodging, primal screams in my head, calm, diplomatic voice, compromising, deal making, take me away, Gill's reply to my email: "Oh Deb, you crack me up!"  and Isabel apologizing for the confussion (meaning: confusion)  in her previous email (which, in my state of chocolate milk induced delirium cracked me up) and the wish for a partridge in a pear tree.

And just think in a few more hours I get to do it all over again. Thursday's fun house games? Compliance and possibly Tech Support.  Oh. Happy. Day.

But that is tomorrow and I must file that away and get down to enjoying what is left of this night. I must allow the warm water shower to massage the webs from my mind and creakiness from my body and trust that will be enough to force another sudden (dreamless) sleeping spell that will last throughout the night.

Six AM arrives quickly and I must, simply must get UP by six if I have any hope at all at getting to work by eight. I told them I would. They will be waiting. I do so hate to keep anyone waiting.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Do You Know the Story of the Hottentot Venus?

The play in which my son currently appears is quite a story. A story, I must admit, I hadn't heard until he was doing his preparation research. And while I always enjoy seeing my son on stage, this time no exception. And while this production is very superbly directed and deftly acted by all cast members, it was a difficult play to watch.

That being said, I was happy the director staged the play the way she did. According to the actor, this production is much different than others in that it deconstructed the side-show aspect, humanizing all the characters, which made the audience (me, at least) care about them, which contributed to making this a difficult play to watch.

Still, it is a fascinating story which the play only scratches the surface of based on the stacks of research material scattered about the living room at one time. The play has a very short run. That, plus it being a difficult play to watch, will keep me from seeing more than the one performance witnessed yesterday.


But even if I don't see him again in "Venus" I'll have ample opportunity to see him perform in the coming months as he has been offered roles (though contracts are still being negotiated) in not one, but two major productions.

The actor has worked very hard and has much hard work ahead. He is more than ready for the challenges and the opportunities.

And as a playwright wrote long, long ago, " . . . the play's the thing."

End Scene.

*actor in rehearsal. photo credit Joel Moorman. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Why O Why Wednesday

My hands, especially the one on the right side, look like they've been dipped in rubber cement for a game of "let's play who can make the best rub-off pattern." That is to say they are peeling and not healing.

I know, enough with the skin already. But ladies and gents, it IS an issue.

Stands to reason because I was running late this morning that I'd miss not one but two buses.

On our beer run this evening daughter and I encountered a line jumper. We were in a good mood didn't fuss, just made mention in our own unique way. Well, the guy immediately ahead of us wasn't taking it lying down. He confronted "silver fox line jumper" -so coined by daughter. Line jumper basically told him to go (expletive) himself. The entire episode nearly made the quarter mile hike in the heat worth the trip. The ice coffee on the way back and icier beer for later sealed the deal.

And speaking of heat we'd had ourselves some ninety degree plus days making some folks (newest recruit ::snicker::) a tad grumpy as the (current) work place is not air conditioned. Hi-ever, rumor has it we're in for a cool down but of course that likely means rain, just in time for the Blues Festival. Here's hoping Saturday evening (when son is planning to attend) is relatively dry with moderate temperatures.

The Immunology/Allergy clinic the foxy MD referred me to is not calling me back. I'm trying not to take it personally.

The owners/caretakers of the shuttered laundry mat around the corner from my residence were painting the exterior--at 9 p.m.That is to say they (or rather she, he was just watching) didn't start until 9 P.M. I did wonder why but moreover I wondered if they'd be cutting the v-e-r-y tall grass (if they are still the owner / caretakers ) of the property that abuts ours tonight--or ever (again).

I promised a co-worker I'd be opening the doors at 8 A.M. sharp so I better get my icy coffee slugging, beer chugging self in the shower and down for the count.

Peace Out.  

Monday, June 06, 2011

Ok to eat, but otherwise, ICK

I can't begin to tell you what seeing a clump of mushrooms popping up out of the earth does to my skin. Even now, I can't even look at this picture without feeling the creepy crawlies all over my body. It doesn't take much, especially these days, to send me into a cat scratch fever meltdown and clumps of mushrooms are just the ticket to send me over the edge. 

And wouldn't you know it 'shrooms had popped up all over the neighborhood and seemed to be everywhere I turned this weekend. Even in my own yard slash wannabe garden, which had to be eradicated immediately in spite of the squeamishness. 

As a young girl I remember . . . 

sorry, this post cut short by the ick factor.    

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


My mother turned seventy-one a few days ago and to celebrate I took her out to breakfast this past Saturday. Normally, our trips to dining establishments (well, most any place actually) are fraught with,  well, just fraught.  Mom can be a challenge. But, as we both grow older I find that I'm developing a kind of barrier, I guess, to her, stuff, for lack of deeper, more comprehensive word.  I wrote the following for Our Big Gayborhood late last year which speaks a bit to the nature of that which is between me and my mother:

Skimming The Surface

My mother has decided that I’m complicated. Nothing I say or do can dissuade her from that assessment. In fact, everything I say or do, seems to serve to solidify the opinion she has come to in the past year or so since I came out to her.

She is either unable or unwilling to expound on that which renders me complicated. So, I can only speculate.
I suspect that the “complicated” tag transcends my sexuality.  I suspect that my mother is finally struggling to know who I am after all these years. I suspect that she has come to realize that our relationship for most of my life merely skimmed the surface of the who of us. That we never delved beyond the obvious or the mundane. I suspect she has come to believe that I do not espouse all her values. I suspect that said belief makes her extremely uneasy.

The eight years leading into and now the few out of my lesbian-flavored epiphany are all about discovery. I’d spent so many years prior hiding, suppressing, denying, and comporting myself to align ever-so-carefully with what I thought others wanted, that I cast barely a shadow of any authenticity. I walked the walk and talked the talk that everyone expected. Carefully coloring my life within the lines. In my mind, to do otherwise conscripted me to a lifetime of pain and suffering, in line with the messages delivered to me during my early years.

I suspect that she doesn’t believe me when I say, “I’m fine.” I suspect she believes our relationship is tenuous at best and non-existent at worst. I suspect that each time we disagree she believes it will be the last time we speak. I suspect she is afraid. She is afraid that I don’t love her (enough), that I don’t care (enough), that I don’t have (enough) in me to do what she’ll require as she loses more and more of her self-sufficiency. I suspect she doesn’t want that burden for me and me alone. I suspect she’s most afraid that we’ll run out of time, that we won’t be able to repair the mistakes of the past.

These years have been about discovery. I’ve discovered that I’m intensely fierce with my love.  I’ve discovered that my authenticity hasn’t and won’t bring the world to a crashing end. I’ve discovered that my mother is troubled. 

I’ve discovered it isn’t all about me. I’ve discovered that I can’t fix her; I can love, assist, and try to encourage her, to the best of my ability.  I’ve discovered that troubled or no, she is much stronger than she realizes. I’ve discovered that she supports me, complications and all.

She is either unable or unwilling to expound on that which renders me complicated. So, I can only speculate.

I suspect that the “complicated” tag transcends my sexuality and further that all the discoveries will ultimately lead to a happier, more fulfilled rest of each of our lives.

The recent outing was the most relaxed outing we'd shared in quite some time. We haven't worked out many of our issues, but we (or at least, I) have begun to develop behaviors that keep the complications from bubbling over our surfaces.  

Sunday, May 29, 2011


It has been a horrible spring, i.e. beginnings of bike riding season. Leaving aside the cold and wet weather, as well as the skin ills and other stresses there were bike repairs to execute before any riding could be done. 

Repairs executed, Brin* and I did get out toward the end of last month for a few laps around one of the local parks. The plan this year as in years past was to use the early part of the season to get back into biking to work shape. However, the wonky health and wonkier weather has not allowed for much more than an occasional jaunt to the train station where I lock her up and leave her for the ride home (and weather permitting, some extra).     
However, now even that little bit of riding must be tabled for the time being.  Last Friday I'd ridden Brin to the train station and after having suffered throughout the day, the outbreak growing more severe with each passing hour, looked forward to re-connecting with my lovely and having her help get my very itchy self home. But that was not to be. My bad day turned even worse when I emerged from the train station to see Brin leaning, balancing on only one wheel, locked to a bike rack. 

Some cretin with a crescent wrench (or similar tool) had taken Brin's back wheel with the brand new gel filled inner tube and brand new white wall tire.  

Damn. I'm not a crier as a general rule of thumb (though, since approaching and then turning 50, tears come easier than ever before) and they came right there on the street, just a little bit. I wasn't at all up to unlocking Brin and half carrying, half rolling her the six or so blocks home, but I couldn't leave her locked to the rack, vulnerable to further violations.  

She will be repaired again. It may take another two to three weeks, deep into spring and nearly summer before I will be able to ride. If the recent weather pattern is any indication there won't be ample opportunities in the coming days anyway. 

When she is returned to glory additional safety measures will be employed.  

I detest that I'd been lulled into a sense of security that prevented me from taking those measures before. 

I detest that I'm being forced to spend money I didn't anticipate for additional and now, more costly repairs. 

I detest that that I'll be without Brin's able service (wonky weather aside) for two or three (or more) weeks it will take to secure and replace the parts. 

I detest cretins who troll the town with crescent wrenches (or similar tools) preying on lovely Brins and others like her. 

The very worst wrinkle in this entire episode was speaking to my mother later that evening. Achy from the itching, weepy from . . . everything, I heard myself whine when I began to tell her about my Brin. 

W-H-I-N-E!! to my mother. Oh me, oh my. 

*Yes, I named my bike Brin. I realized in the telling of this tale there is no precedent in the archives. I'd only mentioned "Brin" in other media. ;-)