Thursday, April 28, 2011


███████████████░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ 44% DONE.
Install delayed..please wait.
Installation failed. Please try again. 404 error:
Season not found. Season "Spring" cannot be located.
The season you are looking for might have been removed,
had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.
Please contact your system administrator.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The First Thing

The first thing you do is steel yourself. Having it always in the back of your mind, you run errands... run the dog. Take a nap.

Then you find some music. Or a radio station. Or font up some t.v. show you watched just last night on the computer. And you take the packing tape you bought today with money you didn't have and the boxes you got when you thought maybe you would do Ebay.... and you put them together...tape screaming- skreet-chitch, skreet-chitch and you bury your books as you've done so many times before in hope and cardboard.... tossing out so many. Some, needing to be gone. Some, well...

Dog doesn't understand; his world disappearing box by box and he clammers to go out and enjoy this beautiful day.. the sort of which would have had you out on the porch getting the window boxes ready for summer flowers in years past. And you hook him up, and walk him past what has now become... the past, and down the stairs and you wonder... no... You know, that in two months you won't have an outdoor space. What will you do with the table and chairs and boxes and the need for being able to step into the storm when it comes, all dark and clouded and menacing... but understood?

Having returned, you hear a screen door slam. Such an old sound to someone your age, and you know that Reva has gone in, or out. Solace in recognizing the sound. Solace in knowing she's there doing what she does during the day. Sorrow in knowing it's becoming an extinct sound for you. And you turn back to the dog and 'skreet-chitch' and the sound of the water and the knowing of how you got here almost one year ago.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Bleak ... Just Bleak

"Radar shows a patch of rain with some embedded thunderstorms will move through the Chicago area Friday night, with clouds remaining into Saturday morning.

There a chance at a few peeks of the sun Saturday, and Tribune/WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling says it will be welcome -- but temporary.

It rained 14 of April's first 21 days, he said, and April's sunshine performance has been dismal. With only 34 percent of its possible sun on the books, April 2011 is tied with 1953 as the cloudiest April on the books here.

At least two additional wet storms are in line to visit the Midwest before the month ends."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What I WON'T Miss....

I just called 911.

I've been enjoying the last days here; watching the water from the bedroom, listening to the lake. But there is something I will not miss. This park across the street.

When I got home at around 7:30 I parked down the street and heard even from there a loud, belligerent male voice. It was coming from a guy on the playground who looked like a skinhead, and a black family scurried past me and away.... as the little girl who took up the rear kept looking back with guarded curiosity. The guy followed and ended up next to my car, cell phone out. I couldn't hear what he was saying but I mentally verified my doors were locked and stayed put.

He went back to the playground. What is it about ne'er-do-wells, that they love children's parks? I got out of my car and walked home, past another black family that was leaving and one of the little girls was saying that 'they' (the group in the park) were throwing rocks at them and at the cars. I came in and got Meander.

Things seemed a bit more quiet as I passed, but on my way back a black man was walking away and saying over his shoulder to the skinhead that he meant no disrespect. The skinhead was following, coming my way with a friend who had an unleashed dog that looked to be part Pit. We crossed the street and in lightening speed came home.

Since then it's been constant yelling, cars coming and going down the dead end. The last car pulled into an empty spot and they (skinhead and his friends) pulled out one of those kids bikes from the back and began riding it. They look like idiots on those things.. but I digress. Right about then my 911 call went out over the air, and POOF, they were gone. And I mean gone.

So, they had a scanner as well.... which isn't odd.

It's all of fifty degrees out with an annoyingly cold breeze. What in Hell will summer with ninety degree temps bring?

I won't have to know.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ducks blown off their feet by the wind

The conversation I hear in my head with this video. I haven't laughed out loud in a while.....

'The Ocean Dreams' and so do I.....

I heard this on XM today and it touched me. The video photos are beautiful and remind me of the wonderful aquariums Keith put together in our house on Bittersweet and it ends with Jellies, one of my favorite creatures. But, just listening and letting your mind paint the pictures is better. Turn it up.

2002 (Pamela & Randy Copus) - The Ocean Dreams

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Say a Prayer, Light a Candle, Kill a Chicken

Today I had the blood test that has me so worried. If you're a prayin' person, could you please send one up for me?

Ever grateful.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Email me. Apple won't let me email you my way (and isn't that odd?).

How glad I am to hear from you.

Not A Chance.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

And on top of it all, I don't have a roommate...Update 1

I'm going to write here because there isn't really anyone to talk to. And isn't that fucking pathetic.

I may call Reva later, but I unloaded on her last night and a good friend should only be asked to listen to so much darkness.

I hate it when people go into great detail about their health, so I'll try to make this short. I haven't felt well for a year but in the past two weeks, I've just felt awful. I decided to go to the doctor AGAIN, and she thought as she did last time, and as the doctor before her did that my symptoms were mostly caused by stress. However she is thorough and had me do blood work day before yesterday. She also said that she heard something in my lungs and wanted me to have a chest x-ray. I thought I'd put that off a couple of weeks so the bills would not come at the same time.

So I got a voicemail from the 'nurse' at work today and her message was that they had found something in my blood work and that I needed to call them TODAY..... that they were open until 8p.m. and really needed to hear from me TODAY. If you are as terrified by doctors, hospitals and health issues as I am- this was not a good way to get vague news. I went out to the car to call her back.

And let me say, when you get news like this (and you're someone like me) it is not conducive to sanity when calling back you are told they are experiencing high call volumes and then play lots of ads about cancer and diabetes and epilepsy.

So, I reached her and she said that tests showed that I have some sort of infection but they don't know where it is, and I needed to go for a list of tests.... like, NOW. I went back into work, found my manager who was with the HR person, to tell them I had to leave and promptly fell apart. I just feel so alone.

I drove to the hospital and this was no regular blood test. They weren't vials, they were bottles the shape of airplane cocktails, and bigger. And there were two. I got through that and the rest of the tests and came home an emotional wreck.

Aside from my usual fear, there is some extra basis for it. For years I've been telling doctors that there's something going on on my left side. I've been through an MRI and other big tests that financially killed me, and they found nothing. But it's still there and gotten worse and none of their remedies has really helped it. Obviously I may be wrong, but no one knows their body better than the person who lives in it.... I'd bet that's where the problem is.

I've been going back over my past and trying to sort out where this extreme fear comes from. I've always known it's had something to do with surgery at 3 days old, but please. This is out there.

I notice that when I go for tests I feel like I'm being punished for something which leads to an amorphous feeling of shame. This doctor and hospital I go to is one of the best. You get your doctor visits online... all the tests, what they showed. The hospital is more like a hotel, and they are lightening fast and kind.

And lately I've been watching people with health issues and marvel at the way they view them. Two women at work just had major surgery, and to them it's "get it out and over and lets move on". Most people view doctors as just the people who know how to determine and fix a problem... not as judges and harbingers (if not outright instruments) of pain. ( And that part of my fear, I get.)

So, as fast as they work I imagine I'll get a call tomorrow. I dread when the phone rings now... and I'm sitting here now, some moments okay and some moments in tears.

And on top of it all I thought I had a roommate and so felt some relief and hope... but found out last night that I don't.

I feel like I'm in a no-mans land. I stare out at the water and I can't own it. I look at Meander and wonder how I'm going to care for him. I can't afford to move and I can't afford to stay and tomorrow may blow everything out of the water several months early.

I'm trying not to throw a pity party but I can't take much more of this. I'm tired of feeling bad, being afraid, feeling like I can never catch up...

Posting this for family....

Told you they were fast. The chest x-ray shows not much of anything. It did notice the damage to the arm I broke. But that's not the test I'm worried about....

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

They're Back!

Ma-ma and Pa-pa. How many years, now? I walked out of Reva's and they
were on the roof across the way. It's early yet... March and only 35 degrees, but they're hungry. It's gonna be a long summer.... And I've gotta get to Home Depot for corn.
(It will help the story if you click and enlarge the pics....)

"I dunno, Mildred. I think that's her, and it looks like corn..."

"She DID throw something, but I don't have my glasses."

"I don't know about you, but I'm goin' in."

"Fine. Fine. Just leave me here."

"Sigh. Alone again. Naturally."

"What the hell. I'll need my strength to deal with him another year."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Magic Everywhere

Woods - Taliesin orchestra - Forbidden forest - Impressions of George Winston

Just click.

Walk Over It

(Not my photo....)

Growing up in Kentucky I would often visit my grandmother, Momie in her small town. Sometimes we would walk the four blocks to Main street, the major shopping Mecca. Her husband was the Postmaster (Kids, do you know what a Postmaster is?) and they were big in the church, so we stopped often along the way to speak with her friends.

Imagine a young girl, aged 7 or 9 or 11 decked out in her fresh, dewy skin, hair thick and lustrous waiting for an age when it would be gold on the market.... eyes bright, foot quietly, politely, but incessantly tapping the ancient, broken sidewalks, sometimes made from tombstones tossed face down to create a walkway... waiting and waiting as the elders, the older women, the wise crones exchanged the latest health issues, if not death issues of all the friends they had in common. Which was just about everyone in town.

It was black and white. Oil and water, this mix of child and wizened warrior. No matter that she taught me how Cardinals sound in the spring, why Peony's are special, that cornbread made into pancakes is far better than cakes... that no matter how broken you are when you arrive, there's still room at the table....

No matter what she taught, we were 7 and 57 and I just didn't get all this illness and death talk. Truly, I still don't. Not in certain ways. But...

I have one friend going though an incredibly hard bout with cancer (I refuse to capitalize it. Illogical, I'm sure). Another is just out of the hospital, having battled pneumonia and drug side-effects. A third is lucky to be walking. I'm going to the doctor tomorrow and everyone knows just how much I don't handle that.

I don't want to embrace the illness, the ache, the pain as a daily ritual. Not mine or anyone else's. But I do realize that it's becoming (like a quickened sunrise) a part of my age's 'neighborhood'.

Sadly, I've been through this before. But it was different.

I remember the AIDS epidemic. At the height of it, you would walk down the street with all of your emotional nerves exposed, though trying to act like everything was fine. You knew that at some point someone would say, "Did you hear about ___", "____ went into Hospice", " I don't know what to do with ___'s things". "He has developed Kaposi's Sarcoma. He has dementia."

But in those instances, the breeze in the trees overhead weren't moving across the cycle of life, but were grating against what was wrong. There was no solace in knowing a 24 year old man was soon to die, hadn't begun to touch the life my grandmother was familiar with, that her friends had been familiar with. In truth,

what I've been familiar with.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm trying to embrace this part of life that we all go through. Carmon, who is so depleted by drugs and cancer is planning to sit by her new garden, soon. Can you imagine how wonderful it could be, if the 'bestest' thing you hoped for was sitting next to new plants? Sick or not, young or old, investing yourself in the burgeoning world around you has to be one of the most powerful things you can do.

It occurs to me that as my Grandmother and I walked down those broken sidewalks, and she spoke to me of birds and flowers, and told me through her stories that I was as valuable as anything in her life, she was investing in a brand new world, was shaping me and holding me, even unto this moment as I sit telling her story to a 'machine' she couldn't have imagined.

Maybe we are crayons, rubbing up against new life, shading it; defining the lines. Maybe we see the black frame that encompasses the picture and say, "Walk over it.".

Thursday, March 24, 2011

No other land but this....

Almost a year ago I posted this on the 'quotes' area of my blog, because.... Because I had been left.

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other land but this.
--Henry David Thoreau

The heart obviously knew it, but every logical and emotional part of me just wasn't ready. I think that's human nature. I couldn't have 'found my eternity' to save my life, the moment I posted it. But obviously the heart and the spirit had different ideas and quietly introduced us.

I am sorry to acknowledge this, but I'm going to because I think it's important. There isn't a piece of me that could commit suicide, but I remember sitting on my bed in sheer terror, wondering, back then. And as I wondered, I knew it could never happen in that way you just 'KNOW', but I did finally understand how those that have just too much pain might opt for it. I could see how life could somehow be too much to take. That's an understanding I will hold dear.

There have been people who have bolstered me. I sometimes think/thought that comments like "Hang in there.", "Have Faith", "It will improve." was so much fluff, but what else is there to say? Those comments come from either people who have gone through what you have, or those who are afraid to. And when push comes to shove, they mean the best and you're going to survive as you will... knowing they cared for you enough to write something kind is a testament of some wonderful kind.

This morning I went out to my car late for work, got in, looked up, grabbed the camera and shot.


I suppose I could zoom in and get the pretty image of 'almost' sunrise' but I choose to keep it as I saw it... far away, muted, dusky, rich.

That didn't keep me from hurrying to the wall to grab a closer shot, but the sun was quicker. It was rising whether I was ready or not. I just kept shooting.

There are people who have left my life, and there are people who have arrived late to my party. In that realm there is sadness and wonder. What am I leaving, and what land am I headed for?

A year ago I couldn't imagine this hope.

I'm afraid to imagine, but nonetheless I am still searching, and glad of it.

And that's good.

This is just sad....

'Muffin top' added to Oxford English Dictionary

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I want to live here....

Better yet... I'd love to be taught how to build my own. For more info, go to

Friday, March 18, 2011


I am not a morning person.

As I get older and my ideas change, I wish I were.... but let me state again.... I am not a morning person.

Nonetheless, this week my manager has found it important to have me at work by seven (Yes, that one vehicle in the parking lot... you know, the red pick-up?.... is there simply for a Peace Lily.)

If I'm to be there at seven, I have to be up by 5:15 at the latest. It's dark then. Dark used to mean bright lights and loud music. Now dark means; where's my soda, cigarette's, pants and the dog? Because we have to either walk or play.

At six in the morning we usually walk, and oh, what glorious walks they've been these past two mornings. This morning I just stopped for the sound in the trees. It was so unexpected Meander just stood there with me as I listened.

The birds are coming back and they are feisty. I've never heard them like this before. They are insistent and strident and loud. There is one song I've heard only occasionally, but I come to think it's from a Robin.... singing some weird, "I'm here. Where are you', thing.... but it's so full and liquid in the hearing. There were other songs... many other songs... and when you listened you heard call-backs. All that communication, just in sound.

As we stood and listened I saw the sky over the lake. The sun had a good way to go before cresting, so there were only dusky blue clouds creating a comma in front some clear, pink and lavender sky... far out. Mostly, it was dim.

The thing that I noticed was that as I stood there and took in the sound and the sky and the water, which was only a lazy lapping... I could ( somewhat) hear traffic, but it didn't matter. What I was truly, quietly 'witnessing' as I stood there with Meander, was what the world has always been no matter what we've etched upon it.

You think about what's happened in Japan, close to the sea.... caused in part by the sea. I imagine as people sit amongst the rubble and contemplate, fear and try to realign their future, they hear the birdsong... see the dawning sky. When you are in that much pain and confusion, does the sound and sight of it offer certain solace because it's one thing you know or sorrow because it's something you know that goes on forever without you?

I have reason to think that my life might get better, but I don't think it would matter.

There is wisdom in understanding that every spring the Baltimore Oriole will stop by a park in a northern suburb before going on to his summer home. That the Robins will be everywhere. The that Barn Swallows will be back to our porches, looking for last years home. That Reva might be able to feed her Hummingbirds again.

I might be able to watch the Swallows again, thanks to a friend. I might be able to do many things, but it's sweet to know that in the end, nature will out.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Trying not to leave before I leave...

I'm trying not to leave before I leave. I'm talking about my home, of course, and moving which I must do.

I'm trying to remember before memory is all I have, what the lake sounds like from the bathroom. It sounds like wind. Not water.

As I walk Meander out the back door and down the steps, past the cement duck, the pot of two year old grass broken during the blizzard, around the stairs and on to the gangway, I try to see things. Is Pepper the dog on his porch? What is the water like today? The sky? Has anyone left anything new on my potting bench, the one that will likely remain when I am gone?

On the beach, chucking-the-ball-chucking-the-ball-chucking-the-ball, I imprint the nature of the waves on something etchable inside me... and notice how the lake bed seems to have changed in one place and sends the waves south, instead of west.

Back home, my porch ceiling is Reva's porch floor and I try to imagine with an open heart what it will be like, months from now... sitting above my old perch while visiting her... knowing that I can no longer go back down the stairs and into the home, that housed me as I went, without a desire to... from inside out to outside in.... twisted and burned and nearly extinguished and then came round again.

As I come to terms with old friends who are now strangers and the anger and hurt they have engendered, I try to remember that we were all damaged early and come to reckoning late... and I don't write the cruel words that match their bitter silence.

Yes, trying not to leave before I leave... because that's what I do. Well, did. Always did. And it's time, now that I may have some inkling why that for fifty-four years I've done it, to stop.

I wrote this in an email to my Dad several days ago..

"I heard, not long ago on the radio that until the 1960's doctors believed that newborns couldn't feel pain, and so didn't give anesthetic to them during surgery.

That explains a lot. Why I'm terrified of doctors, pain; why I leave so abruptly when hurt. Why I am so unforgiving.

Still, once you see that, you can't use it as an excuse. You have to factor it in, but I have to take responsibility for some of it."

Born with a cleft palate in 1956. Surgery on day three.


That's not to say that my leaving some people and situations were wrong decisions. But there have been 'leavings' that have always had me wondering.

When Keith and I left Kentucky to come to Chicago, I think I slept as he and Carey packed the truck. Though Chicago was where I wanted to be, Kentucky was all I knew of home.

When the apartment on Bittersweet went south (the home I've loved most), I did my best (Jay was not helping) but I remember laying down at the end of moving day on my mattress on the floor and going to sleep wrapped around Casey the Golden Recliner as if he were a lifeline. Keith and Kevin were left to deal with the aftermath... as I drove a petulant husband north to a cabin in the woods. I didn't see it then, but I had long before left before leaving.

There are people I've left. Much more serious situations, where I've left. To some extent, I'm ashamed. But now I think I have a clue to lead me out of the fear.


My mantra lately has been to face my fear. So far, 'whatever' fear (as the adage goes) has been far greater than the true situation.


I've always felt there was something that happened when I was young that set me on my peculiar path. Therapists are always quick to ask, "Were you sexually abused?".

Emotionally abused, yes. Sexually, physically.... no.

But I believe my body and psyche has remembered all these years what must have been a tremendously lonely and terrifying time in my life when 'superpowers' created great pain and I had no voice, just a cry like all the others so misused.

And so now, I'm trying not to leave before I leave but instead to mark the love of something before it's time to say goodbye.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I was in the break room this morning and people were staring at photos in the newspaper of Japan. I'll give them this... they were really quiet, which does not happen.

I asked them if anyone had seen some of the video that's out there that was taken during the earthquake and tsunami. For a room full of people who do nothing but stare at their 'technology' (phones, iPads, Kindles, laptops) in any given empty moment.... they all shook their heads.


I told them there were four entire trains with people on board, missing. There is a village of 10,000... gone. You could see them trying to parse it, as I had.


I came across these. So much is hard in my life right now and when it's devastation began it only took about an hour. But what if my world were LITERALLY swept away within an hour? And I was left walking through, well nothing... with only a plastic shopping bag of things in my hand?

Watching the videos I notice the birds. What did they or didn't they know? Sense? They could stay aloft, see the difference, fly to dry land.

It makes me think of 911, though this is different and geographically so much larger. But I think the comparison is good, because I realize that their sorrow could be ours. That it is ours; and ours... that day almost ten years ago... was most likely, theirs.

As I was clicking through the pictures I thought these were books. For some reason, fallen books always capture photographers attention.

Not so much. They are cargo carriers.

Just..... nothing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Amazing Thing

I've never seen a plant react like this.

A couple of months ago I had to throw out a Prayer Plant at work (not unusual, as they are hard to deal with in a store) and I pulled what was left of it out of it's pot and put it in my pocket. I put it in this pot when I got home, and for some reason put it on a little table in my bedroom.

What was left was a large piece of an adult plant and I put it next to the window since I thought it wanted low light and the window faces north.

It slowly began to fade and spider mites got at it, but all of a sudden there was a new shoot. And another. And a third. I think it did as well as it did because I have water by the bed at night and if there was anything left I watered the Prayer plant with it. (My other plants are not so lucky.)

But lately, it's few leaves have been looking rather peaked and so I looked up how to care for it. Well. It wants high, but not direct light and lots of humidity. Lack of humidity (not helped by the fan right next to it) was what was causing the edges of the leaves to brown.

I don't know why I'm so taken with this plant... maybe it's stubborness, but I looked at it this morning and it's leaves were laying down on the soil and it just looked tired. So, after cleaning the bathroom I moved it's little table in there. Though the bath faces north as well, it has white walls and if I remember to pull back the shower curtains it's bright in there. I did not water it.

And there it sat, forlorn.

I took a shower and when I finished made sure to leave the door closed for maximum humidity. Several hours later I went in, and what you see in the picture says it all.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Driving an 'Old Man' car....

I love to drive and think I'm fairly good at it, but I know nothing about cars in general.

My first car was some large, old red thing I got from a friend around 1978 and sold a year later when we moved here to Chicago. I do remember it's name was Kelly and the woman who bought it from me totaled it in no time.

I bought the next one outright in 2000, a Chevy Tracker named Scrappy. I was in awe then of the differences in vehicles since I'd last owned one, even though it didn't have a lot of bells and whistles. I do remember missing the button on the left hand floorboard that let you put on your 'brights'. I still miss that feature. I have no idea why.

I know now that the 2008 Jeep didn't have many bells and whistles either. It came with a sunroof, told you what direction you were going and what temperature it was outside. It was also Sirius ready... which is something I've come to love. But, truly if you don't know what you're missing... you don't know what you're missing. And I didn't.

So, I got the Hereafter. I bought it nearly sight unseen and didn't find it's 'goodie's' until I got it home. Since it's a 2006, I'm sure there's lots more out there I'm still not aware of.... but I love the heated seats, the information center that tells you so much, working the radio from the steering wheel.... yadda, yadda, yadda.


The first time I took the Hereafter in because of the Check Engine Light they gave me a Ford Focus. I couldn't figure out how to move the seat up (the bar was waaay under the seat); they showed me and I drove away. It had some cool features that the Hereafter is sorely lacking, and it was vastly more powerful than any car I've owned.... but it felt like a highschooler's car. But, I DID come to love the power, and that will be part of my next car if I, the economy and ecology are still intact.

Anyway, I took the Hereafter back today, because it seems to have bonded with that Check Engine Light. The service guy who was introducing me to my loaner said they had kept me in a Chevy and pointed vaguely at something he called an Impala. Unless it's the animal, I'm not going to recognize it.

Up drove this large, gold thing.

I'm driving an 'Old Man' car.

First off, I couldn't find out how to move up the seat. I wasn't about to ask again so I slung my lower body forward and moved on. I hold no illusions that I look cool driving that way.

Secondly, the gear shift is on the steering column. Can we say, 'Grandpa'? As I'm driving home I'm looking at the interior. For the life of me it seems like an old car, but there are some of the highlights they offer these days, which means it IS younger than God. I looked. It's a 2007.

The seats have this cream colored, smooshy fabric that reminds me of old chenille bedspreads. There are no nooks and crannies for things, unless you count a 1"x 3" dip near the door handle. And it smells like, well similar to, Old Spice. I don't know if it's something they sprayed the interior with or something the guy who drove it up was wearing, but it's nasty. And I got 'a' key, not a key and a fob to open the doors. If you want to put something in the back seat you have to first open the front drivers door with the key and then open the rest with an interior button. Don't ask me how to open the trunk.

And I looked. There is no owners manual.


Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful for the loaner. I'm grateful they're figuring out what's wrong with the Hereafter for free. I just feel so out of place in this car, and it's humorous for someone who's so ignorant about them.

It also makes me thoughtful.

I told a friend never to get an Android, or similar phone, because he will find so many ways and reasons to use it he will then 'need' one. It's happened to me.

I'm not going to get angry, as some people do, that technology is speeding faster than they can think. It's what life is these days. And I'm not going to be stubborn and turn my back on it because it requires some effort on my part to join the party.

But, what I said is so very true. If you don't know what you're missing, you can never put it into play. The trick for me, and I'm up to the task, is to remember the basics... Starlings in the trees, tricking me with fake birdsong; dogs that find a stick as exciting as a ball, winter that gives way to spring.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

To Know Love....

I guess they aren't well known enough, but Pepper and Hannah, I think you can find it in a search. This has your names all over it. It is on I-tunes. And B,

....this is why it will be hard to leave and yet, I'll be walking to the water.


Go to the Water

by Kate MacLeod and Kat Eggleston

Go to the water, walk down slow
Where the rock is battered and the branch hangs low
Where the sea is rough, and the sun burns hotter
To know love, go to the water

You walked through the garden in the early spring
Where the wild blossom was a growing thing
You pressed that flower in your favorite book
Where it kept its color, but never bore fruit

go to the water, walk down slow
Where the rock is battered and the branch hangs low
Where the sea is rough, and the sun burns hotter
To know love, go to the water

Nothing so smooth as the side of a thorn
And, nothing so calm as the eye of a storm
To young love, nothing so sweet
As the sound of a promise no-one could keep

Go to the water.

It laughs and shouts where it touches land
And it holds the world like a loving hand
It’s a bed of pearls on a moonlit night
Full of life, no end in sight.

Go to the water, walk down slow
Where the rock is battered and the branch hangs low
Where the sea is rough, and the sun burns hotter
To know love, go to the water

To know love, go to the water.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Just sittin' around, thinkin'...

The first thing I'm thinking is that I may have titled this blog with optimism a little bit too soon.

I'm just going to 'vomit in mid-air' here, as an old friend once described babbling.

I looked at my dashboard today while on lunch and didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Really, I think I just sat there wild-eyed in disbelief.

I haven't really talked about what's been going on around here, but since I'm apparently going on about my sixth weekend without time to myself, at a time when I really need it.... I'm going to vent.

First, there was buying the car. I tried to make it so that I could get it on my 'weekend' and so planned my time around it, but of course.... they had trouble getting it from Milwaukee and made it so that I had to take time off to get it bought. And, the salesman did the numbers wrong, so where I should have owed nothing, I owed something and had to dip into my rent. Thankfully, the.... I just can't find an appropriate name for him, so I'll just call him my... 'ex', covered that... as well he should have.... as I and what few friends I have left knew he would screw me as soon as I sold the Jeep and he had no liability left in this sorry marriage.

So, I got the car and the next week came word of the blizzard bearing down on us. It was arriving on Tuesday (Tues. and Wed. are my weekend) and into Wednesday, and on the advice of a friend I parked somewhere that I could pull straight out and hoped for the best. We all know how that ended up. Neighbors dug me out, but the city didn't dig out the neighborhood, so I lost two days of work.

The next 'weekend', I went out hopefully on Tuesday morning to get groceries, and came home to the dog story. By Wednesday the media was calling and visiting and Reva wasn't comfortable with any of it. Not to mention, the storeroom downstairs where we kept them was a wreck and I wasn't going to leave her to clean it on her own (and if you knew Reva, you would know she wouldn't/couldn't wait for when I had time... and truly the building management wouldn't have been happy}. So, I took off another day.

The following Tuesday morning I had high hopes for errands, laundry and sanity. That's when I got a text message about my old friend, Romero being critical with H1N1. I got up the next morning and went and sat with him and spent the rest of the day thinking about just... well, the past and sad times... and sometimes, happy ones.

Meanwhile, back in the past but sitting squarely on my plate awaiting an answer was this situation. And old friend was contemplating moving back here and in with me. Over the holidays he finally said, he didn't want to move back. It took my breath away for several days, but I adjusted and began looking at Plan B. Two days before he left to go back home, he told me he thought he did want to move back, if I could move heaven, earth and a few extra boulders. I did, and he helped in some regards. So, at least now I knew what I was working towards as far the the near future went.

Not so much.

I called him to update him on Romero and give him some information about moving up here, and he told me he thought he'd changed his mind, after all. He didn't want to move back. I tried to be understanding. I mean, he has no obligation to me other than his word.... but, truly... I was looking around, making sure I wasn't a flat piece of sisal planted firmly in front of a door. I mean, I didn't remember having laid down.

The next day I went to work, went to lunch and my check engine light went on. I lost an hour and a half of work taking the car up to be looked at, and they said they had to keep it... for days. When I got home, I went up to Reva's to vent. She looked at me in amazement... and rather sadly, but talking to her helped.

And when I got downstairs there was THE email from the 'ex', entitled 'Money'. He was due to drop money in my account the following morning. Instead in true 'ex' form... he said (as everyone expected) that he was withdrawing all money, and shutting off my phone and internet. Immediately. Instead of talking to me about how his finances were months ago so that I could make allowances to need less from him... so that he could pay his bills as well.... he ran us both into the ground. His last line was, "I'm drowning here." And Reva responded, "He's the one who jumped in the lake."

So, on my next weekend I went up to Carmax to get my car. The problem had been a spark plug and a seatbelt issue (that's what took all the time to correct). I handed them gladly their Ford Focus and drove away in the Hereafter.

I am being very unemotional in this telling. What I am not saying, what I cannot put into words is the emotional roller coaster I've been on. I truly thought we were going to lose Romero, as did his ex-lover and his sister... and his doctor, for that matter. It brought up all shades of the AIDS epidemic for me, and I just stared it down. I had to.

I had faith in so many people and things... to do the right thing... even if that was only to be honest with themselves and me. The loss of money is devastating, but the loss of faith in people I love.... it wrenches me away from everything I knew and trusted.

And, maybe that's the point of this year.

Three people have been amazingly kind and giving. One, an old blogging friend I've never met... Jolie, who speaks the truth even if she thinks it might hurt you. She's ten years my senior and eons wiser than I will ever be.

Another is a young gay man, who at any given time if he hasn't heard from me, will text and say, "Are you okay?" I rarely say no, but if I do... he's there to listen.

The third is Eileen in Cabinets at work. First off, she gives me chocolate and homemade rye bread to die for. Secondly, she listens to every sorry story I bring her... and we laugh together. Though I would never call her on it, she said this past week that she will not see me homeless. I'll be living in her guest room if need be.

Why? No idea, except there ARE exceptional people out there.


So, it became clear that yesterday the 'ex' was cutting off my phone. I called several days before and set up an account with the cell company and they sent me a SIM card. But then the card didn't come and there was an issue with the internet and two other things. I tried to take care of them on my lunch yesterday, but an hour wasn't enough and so I gave up five hours, came home and was on the phone for six.

I went into work at seven this morning. I went to lunch at eleven... looked at my dashboard, and the Check Engine Light was on, again.

I am bone weary. I am emotionally toasted, roasted and flambeed. I don't know who I am, anymore. I told my friend Brandon the other day, that I used to be happy... fun. I need to get that back. I'm so far away from getting it back right now, it's not funny. As Archie Bunker once said, "I'd have to rally to die".


I do not forget the good things... the way the sky looked yesterday. The sound of the lake now that the ice has melted. The joy on Meanders face when I take the leash off in an unexpected place and say, "GO!".

Romero is alive and off the ventilator, which is some kind of a miracle.

Honey and Howard, as the 'crackhouse' pups are now known are incredibly happy, according to Reva, and if they don't get a home she's taking them to her mother in Kentucky.

Jolie, Brandon and Eileen.... new friends, who have no reason to care for me... that do. And work managers who never question, but just say, yes.

Reva. Just Reva.

A car (such as it is), food and a bed with a window onto the water.



Friday, February 25, 2011

John Denver.. My Sweet Lady.

Just going through the heart's vault. Was it given to me, or did I give it to someone?

I remember.

This one came from Carey... a gift, and I absconded with the album. Yes, his tastes ran to Janis and the Stones... but there were things he needed when in the dark.

I took it as mine from him over 30 years ago, and now, I give it away.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Red Guitars ~ Erik Wollo

Just another lovely piece of music found via XM radio. Oh, how happy I am to have it back, if only for a while.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Eagles - Desperado

What goes around, comes around, goes around, comes around, goes around... and no one ever thinks they are in the vortex until 'it's too late'.

I'm tired and sorry to find my past is still in the present. But there's joy in it, too.

And that's the nature of life.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I sat in the room alone with you and watched as your chest went up and down, up and down as the machine helped you breathe and the drugs helped you forget. Your body shuddered with every breath and heartbeat and I didn't know what that meant, didn't know what anything meant.... Not, the numbers on the monitor, or the backpacks on the floor or the empty space on the dry erase board where it said 'Discharge Date'.

I looked out the window beyond you and watched a man come out on his balcony to smoke. How ironic.

I thought about your wedding at my house, where Keith had made a cross out of branches and entwined it with Orchids. How you and Michael had been so happy. The fact that Sammy was there.

I thought about Christmas' together. How Kevin gave you that ornament she made and you couldn't figure it out.... a tiny red ribbon with.... and we made you say it... a 'jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell, rock' on it, in descending order and once you got the joke, you couldn't stop laughing for a good half hour.

You just have to come out of this.

This just has to be one of those times when everything looks dire and dramatic, and they tell you it could go badly at any moment and you listen to the fear in a sister's voice and you worry hour by hour, minute by minute, and then the good news comes.

This just has to be one of those times.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I will not be here for another winter, makes the season's louder.

For so long the lake has been frozen over, so far out (except in spots... the dog story tells that tale) that any waves were too far out to hear.

Not today. Not tonight.

Tonight, there is again the gentle sigh of water moving in... and moving out.



Even the dog is spooked.

George Winston - Woods

I heard this coming home from work. I didn't need to close my eyes to experience what my imagination created... the woods from spring through winter. Hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Lovely, how when you visit someone's blog you can find a whole, new word.


Oh, you look at it and can parse the meaning.

But, I looked up how to pronounce it. It should have four syllable's, not three.... stress being on the second.

Cler-ES-tor-y.... a place where one sits quietly to find clarity.

And, the word is yellow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Howard and Honey...Ohhh, the Drama!

I just can't write more. This is a letter I sent to a beloved radio host at WGN. The best part? The Poops are gonna be alright!

Hi King John,

I know that the story has been covered, and by the time you read this it will be old copy. But what isn't being told is, in it's way... more important. And it's my Bright Side for the rest of the year.

When I got home from the grocery around noon there were two dogs running loose on my street. I live on Howard Beach in Rogers Park. A new neighbor I had never met was coming out with her two dogs and the strays came to say hello and then ran down to the beach. I called another neighbor and good friend, 'Reva' to come to the window to see if she recognized the dogs. She didn't but came out anyway. By then, the strays had gone onto the ice and the new neighbor (Shannon) pulled one of her dogs (Ghost) out of her truck to take to the beach as 'bait'.... her thought being that since the strays had already played with the dog, they might come off the ice.


Instead, they fell in. First the Pitbull and then the Shepherd. Next thing I knew, Ghost was in and the last thing I saw as I dialed 911 and turned away (not being able to watch) was three dogs in the water- only heads out, facing different directions and Shannon going in to just below her neck and Reva right behind her.

The 911 operator was fast,sent the call to fire, came back on with me and when she asked me to verify how many people were in the water, I turned to see all of them out. Shannon had literally hurled the dogs to Reva, who was in to her knees and Reva helped Shannon out. We cancelled 911.

It's what happened next that is my Bright Side.

We put the dogs in my vestibule. That's the picture you see everywhere. I took it thinking to put it on fliers. Shannon had gone in with Ghost to take a cold shower, the police were here and we called Animal control, who couldn't be here until 5 p.m. That turned out to be a blessing.

What to do with these dogs? And, John... they were the sweetest creatures. When Shannon came out of the shower she joined us in the vestibule... and though they loved Reva (all animals do) and found me tolerable, they seemed to know Shannon had saved them. They were all over her.

Reva and I both have dogs, so they couldn't stay with us. We considered bunking our dogs together in one apartment and bringing the strays into the other, but it didn't seem feasible. Our realty company said we could put them in the downstairs storage room, gave us collars from the building owner's dog.... we used our dog's leashes and got them down there. Reva found them a blanket and set up food and water.

And we're still waiting for Animal Control.


Since the female was a Pitt, we knew she didn't have a hope in hell. We called several places and were turned away. Reva was antsy about finding the owners. I thought about fliers but my printer was broken and Reva is not technically savvy. But. She. Can. Talk.

Out she went, in this cold and she spoke to everyone she met on the street. The next thing I knew a woman we had never met offered to make fliers from work. Her boss insisted and within 30 minutes she drove up with 75 copies in hand.

Another neighbor offered money for dog food or whatever since she was too exhausted from her job to help us put up the fliers.

Someone else begged us not to send the dogs to Animal Control, an idea we hated anyway... and offered to sleep with them in her storage room for the night.

A neighbor in our building came home to the fracas and said if we would give him time to warm up, he would help us put up fliers.

Someone else suggested the Bark Bark Club as a possible haven.

Reva went to strangers, store owners, friends... and what was motivating her (and me) was that she didn't want to give them to Animal Control.

The neighbor who offered to put up fliers found the owners. We had had several reports of people seeing a man take the collars off the dogs and walking away. Our neighbor found those people. It was verified by their neighbors that the dogs were theirs, but they vehemently denied it. Our neighbor went into their apartment and then came to me saying, "It is not a good place. The dogs can't go back there.".


Once the person said she would take the dogs for the night, we called Animal Control off, but the woman reneged and we sat here, listening to the strays howling up through my floorboards (the storage room is below my apartment). It was apparent we were going to have to do something.

We called the police station and the woman who answered said we could bring the dogs, but that they would be put in cages in an un-warmed area, and hoped we would wait. Now what?

Well, they stayed in the storage room. And Reva went down periodically throughout the night to sit with them and play. I got a little bit of sleep, but she didn't. We found out later that another neighbor who had not been here for the experience also went down to be with them.

I woke at 6:30 this morning to the sound of barking under my bed. I laid there looking at the lake and thinking, 'today we have to take them, probably to their death's' and there was nothing I could do.

And then Reva called. The Bark Bark Club would take them, if we could get them there. By 8:45 we had them hooked up and in the back of my car.

I remember looking over as I was driving to see the Pitt... now named Honey, with her head on Reva's shoulder and I remember 'Howard' as he is now known, coming up to lick me at a stoplight.

The rest is history.

But no one is talking about a neighborhood mobilized.... about people, who after a long day at work gave what they could to save two dogs most of them had never met.

Rogers Park gets lots of bad press, and rightfully so. But on one day, for just enough hours, good hearts won out. The few seconds it took that man to take the collars off of those dogs and send them to possible death, were balanced by hours of extremity, concern and certainty by so many good people that had no agenda but that our two little rescues had a chance.

Please don't let this story go, John.

I'm including a picture I took this morning of our door....they are 'Honey's' paw prints as she tried to get to me. It's haunting, somehow.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, February 3, 2011


The sound came at 8:30 p.m. and then.... the PLOW. It's still going back and forth.... digging out Eastlake (where Reva was walking on the car) and coming down past me to dump the snow into the lake.

Can you say, 'Freedom"?

Facebook Exchange/ Keith.... K.S. is Miss Britta

K.S. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The street plow is here, the street plow is here!!!

R.V. Could you send it my way? No, wait. They're holding out for a front loader and a bottle of gin per. my alderman's office.

J.W. OK - a Bobcat just showed to clear the street and piled a 10 tall tower of snow in the driveway where the dumpsters for both condos are. No trash till spring I guess. Boo.

K.S. We hired a private company to do our alley as we were informed the city is not "responsible" for them... ugh.

J.W. Just found out the Bobcat was a private hire from across the street. They moved the snow from their driveway to ours. After a few choice words the pile is now being relocated.

K.S. Good for you Jim... that's TOTAL bullshit. What is wrong with people?

J.W. See, I'm butch.

Floating Islands

Staying connected.

Pretty, huh? It's due to get bitterly cold here and if they don't get rid of this snow soon, the cold is going to make it truly impassable.

My neighbor, Steve who is a cop, jumped with certainty into his Jeep this morning. You can see from the tracks just how far he got before managing to back up, and re-park. If he couldn't have gotten back to his spot, we would all be screwed. Not that we're not anyway....

People are beginning to get angry. There is a man in the car across the way.... see the shovel? The roads just (by a block) west of us are passable, but we haven't seen a plow. After Steve parked he walked to the Alderman's office to complain and I just called to see what was going on.

Because we are at the water, there is no place to put the snow. They were looking for a front end loader, and by the time they found one... they were called back to clean up the school parking lots (school is re-opening tomorrow). He said maybe tonight, but likely tomorrow.


I need to get back to work. I did call Human Resources today to ask if I could cover this time off, somehow. She had already given me vacation day. Glorivi! ")

Paul Schwartz - Miserere.mp3

Found at: FilesTube

I found this piece of music on XM, the day before the storm and played it a lot during and after. As darkness fell and the winds rose... as large, unseen things took off from roofs and slammed somewhere near the building... as we listened to the news and watched our world become impassable.... as we fell asleep listening to the onslaught... when I woke up the next morning and took out a very confused but happy dog, I thought this truly was the perfect song for the experience.

Miserere, by the way, means Mercy.

Reva's photos....I think much better than mine...

Yep. That's the front of my building.

Day 2