Monday, January 31, 2011

Last Update Before Sleep

12:06 a.m. Tuesday Morning. This is from a site that monitors all the forecasters in Chicago. They've been pretty skeptical.

Rest Those Muscles -- All Chicago Forecasters See Massive Storm
Approximately 18 hours from onset of the big storm, there's been no change in the forecaster consensus. It's hard to imagine so many forecasters predicting such consistently large snow amounts. If it's a big hype job, it's one heck of a conspiracy.

Weather Update

(Photo that always pops up when they show an array of Chicago snowstorm pictures.)

Got up this morning and they were saying pretty much what they had been saying seven hours before. One weather forecaster said in a rather resigned way (instead of the 'OH MY GOD, THE SKY IS FALLING...listen to me because we need the ratings, tone) 18 to 24 inches expected, and 30 inches in some areas would not be a complete surprise.


Then something sent me to NOAA and their streaming audio. As opposed to 'weather men', their reports always sound so clipped and certain and final. They were saying along the lake (that's where I am....) gale force winds Tuesday night into Wednesday, waves 10 to 14 feet with the possibility of 25 foot waves. They said to expect Lakeshore Drive to be affected (which happens rarely). They were also predicting thundersnow (more on that later).

So, I went to work. There was a holiday feel to all the employee's and it had to have something to do with the impending weather. At one point while standing in the break room, my dept. manager said... "Look at how many people are in here." And there must have been 25. Ten people is probably the top amount at any given time, otherwise. But, he's newly in from California and what he learns about snow here pretty much comes from me. I experienced the second largest snow here in the past 150 years in 1999, and the city does get a vibe about it.

Early on in the day, it didn't matter that no one was on the floor. We were selling salt at a clip and some snowblowers, but nothing earth shattering.

I went to lunch when I knew Tom Skilling would be on WGN talking to Gerry Meier. By then, his prediction was 14 to 22 inches, based on 80 computer models. Then he explained that we might get Thundersnow tomorrow night and that it can create even more snow... sometimes 3 to 4 inches an hour. While he was on the Blizzard watch got updated to a Blizzard warning.

When John Williams was on, he was playing, "It's the End of the World as We Know It" and at one point deepened his voice and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, we do not know how many have died in the snowstorm that has not yet happened, but we are sure it is in the thousands." They are beginning to get a clue that we are tired of the 'Chicken Little' effect.


Even with my Android, information can be hard to come by. Skilling wasn't posting on Facebook, because he was actually working. Some of my co-workers had no clue what was being predicted... others did, and were skeptical.

And then we started getting busy. I asked the store manager who was acting stressed what was wrong and he said he was edgy. We were out of water, almost out of salt and shovels and 600.00 snowblowers were on the move. Zone manager wondered if water softener salt would work as well, so I Googled it on my phone (since there is NO internet access in the store) and found that it does.

One crisis averted.

My neighbor called. She works as a baggage handler for O'Hare and they have been told that tomorrow afternoon the airport will close and will stay that way until Thursday.

And the lines formed. One was in Inside Garden... people waiting for the one guy working there to bring down and assemble the snowblowers, and the other was at the front door waiting for someone to load them in their cars. I imagine they are almost gone by now.

I went to Facebook, where Skilling had posted a graph....

That bar on the right shows the amount of possible snowfall in inches. I live in that yellow area that is shaped like a sock, so according to that, we're looking at 24 to 30 inches of snow. One commenter on Facebook said he was a meteorologist as well and that this particular model was not particularly reliable, so.... who knows?


I asked the Zone manager.... if we actually got the higher amount of snow, would the Lowlife close? I knew the answer. He told me that several years ago when Florida had several hurricane's.... the Lowlife's down there remained open... some with only two employees. Sorry. I wouldn't have been one of them.


I was going to go up north for cigarettes after work, but it occurred to me that we are due to get 2 to 4 inches of snow tonight from a different system and I might not be able to find parking. Here in Chicago, certain streets are snow designated... which means if there is snow over 2 inches and you're on the wrong street.... you're towed.

So, tomorrow morning I'm going to take the Hereafter out and north... and then to a grocery... where I hope to find there is some kind of food left on the shelves. In 1999 I was a manager for Peapod, an internet grocery company. When I got to work (finally), the huge grocery store we worked out of had been strafed. All those people who thought they were being smart, ordering food online and having it delivered got phone calls telling them they would get maybe a quarter of their order.


For now... at 9:39 pm.... it is snowing. Fine flakes blowing in from the east. The wind is high and the streetlamp outside is swaying.


Our entire day has been colored by this possibility and I've found myself thinking about it. Me updating information on my phone... people buying salt and shovels and snowblowers.... and stocking up at groceries... as if we have control.

We have more knowledge than we did in 1967 and 1979 and 1999, but we really don't have more control. The natural world is doing what it does and even in great numbers, we are nothing against it. I don't think realizing that is a bad thing. It puts us in our place and makes us think.

We are not the End All and Be All. Just another group of critters, trying to get by.


Of course, I'll keep up the posts. I want to remember this... however it pans out.


What it looked like from my window this morning... Monday, January 31st.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tom's Going to sleep...

And this is what one of his readers said....

Kevin Usealman: "Goodnight Tom. I can't ever remember ever looking at data and just repeatedly shaking my head in disbelief like tonight..."

Oh, please bring big snow.

New Skilling Quote

Tom Skilling
The latest eve model runs are in & continue the Chicago area's march toward a dangerous and possibly historic winter storm. All indications point toward it hitting in earnest late Tue into early Wed afternoon. More than a foot of snow is likely and it could bury SOME sections of the area under more than 20" of snow-the Chi area's biggest snowfall in over a decade-since 21.6" hit Jan 1-3, 1999.

What we might get... according to Skilling

The yellow indicates 24". What I would do for 24 inches.

And, shut up Brandon.

Two Feet of Snow Possible on Tuesday?

Oh, pleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hereafter? Is there one, with Technology?

That's what I'm thinking about calling him. Hereafter. Yes, Him, this new Chevy HHR of mine.

Not really. It's not quite right but I have to say I think I may love this car.

I don't know anything about cars, and I care less. I don't know why.

So, when I sat down at my computer and perused Carmax, I put in the price point, the area and for giggles... satellite radio capable. I don't have a clue what's possible with a car these days.

Three cars popped up. One, I don't remember. 'Hereafter' was the second and there was a Canary yellow Cobalt, described as a Coupe. I had to look that up.... it means two doors. So, I talked to my Happy Homosexual and told him the choices. Coupe meant nothing to him either. When I told him, he said, 'You don't want that. You have a dog and what if you get work again, planting flowers? No room to 'grow'.

So, it was the Hereafter.

Well, it took the Hereafter forever to get here from Milwaukee. Though I had planned work around the Hereafter... had gone to work early on Monday, when the Hereafter was to arrive in order to meet it with plenty of time to spare.... it did not come. And so, yesterday I went to work with all intentions of being there all day.

My salesman called within an hour of my shift. The Hereafter had arrived and was waiting for me. For financial reasons, I needed to heed the call, and I lost almost a day's pay... but, up I went.


Aside: I have an Android phone. J was a lunatic when it came to new technology, and it was one of the last gadgets he got us.... well, before he left 'us'. It has always seemed to me that the same things that were done 'yesterday' could be done 'today' in the same way we did them 24 hours before; 2 years before. In other words, stick to your guns. I have friends that hate email, one that doesn't text and a myriad that has less of a clue of what's possible than I do.


I AM HERE TO TELL YOU, I couldn't have gotten through selling the Jeep and owning the Hereafter, without that phone. I had to go to Carmax without all the information I needed. Most of it was at home on a piece of paper... the way I do things.

I found myself texting, emailing, calling people, looking up things on the internet, finding info I'd saved in various places. The sale took four hours and would have been much longer if I hadn't had that 'phone' in my hand.


As a quiet writer, I sometimes want the world to be how I know/knew it. But, you know, my grandparents and my parents fought for their reality, and lost. I will, too. So will you. It's what we were taught that matters. This was a refresher course I got recently....

Christmas Day. All forty-something's... plus, except for one. He was in his mid-twenties. He saw the magic and wonder we had created and commented on it. He'd never experienced it before. I saw his face. It was awestruck. But the habit kicked in and the eyes scanned the phone and the thumb began to move. Texting and tweeting and searching Facebook.

At one point, I gave him a look and he said, 'Okay. I'll stop'. I told him to go on. His was a new reality and I was learning something.

But later, he did stop and we took a walk. And we talked.

Somehow, someone taught him well.... to respect the moment, and/or who you are with...... and to relish the moment.


I relished several moments getting my hands on the Hereafter... but it was Christmas Day that taught me that how technology is described, and how you teach the user of it, is what matters.

It's the soul of the user of the machine that moves you forward.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


the Boy, 'born on the same day as the sun.'


Speaking of marvels, I am alive
together with you, when I might have been
alive with anyone under the sun.

~(in part, from) Lisel Mueller~

Happy Birthday, B....!

Breathless and Pantless

So, tonight I got home and took Meander out to do his stuff. We were standing at the top of the wall along the beach, and I was saying loudly "Go right now", when something on the beach caught our attention.

Up from the waters edge, where it had been hidden by an ice bank... across the beach, and up the steps right in front of us.... small paws strumming the snow in whispers we could hear, was a beautiful, tawny brown Fox. I know how it sounded and looked because we had time to stand in awe... and even Meander stopped panting.

It ran past us and into the darkness. I said a prayer of thanks and Meander started sniffing.


(I'm Facebook 'friends' with Tom Skilling, the weather forecaster... and people send him photos. This came from someone who took it from their deck. What I would do to watch two Foxes play.... )

Monday, January 24, 2011

Never Been Kissed.... Such... well, Glee....

I have been watching this scene from Glee and it breaks my heart. I know there should always be teachers or avenues, but in life ...... there sometimes aren't, or you don't recognize them. To me, what you see next is a dream sequence... because it didn't happen in the '70"s, the world I'm most familiar with. It happens more often now... but what I think about are the people who made it possible. Freedom always comes by way of... other people.

You have been a proponent of gay marriage/unions. I thought I would introduce you to someone who helped make it possible.

I think this is the earliest picture I have of him. It was in our 1972 Yearbook, and Mr. Featherston was the principal of my High School. Carey was not discussing his schedule that day as the caption states. He was finding out if the school would welcome him back... not that he cared. Mr. Featherston did and let him stay.

I know something a lot of people do not. Mr. Featherston was adopted, as was Carey. It's why he offered Carey grace, and probably extended Carey's life a few years...though his death would come early. Maybe Mr. Featherston didn't understand being gay, but he understood being lost.


Carey was fucking brilliant. He studied to be a lawyer. He could have been an historian. I watched him battle religious fanatics on campus while standing outside on a hill, and tear them to pieces. He came to my classes with other gay men and lesbians.... when that just wasn't done... and said the most outrageous things. The most true things.

Once, a student asked him in all seriousness if his penis was different because he was gay... and Carey answered with class, 'Would you like to look?." You knew he would do it.

The man didn't answer.

The world turned and Carey went away, and came back.


There are so many stories left in the cracks of this saga. That was the beauty of him...he was never boring. See that cross on his arm? It's covering up an old story in his life.... one I sat and watched re-etched. There were many illicit drugs and a lot of Southern Comfort involved...

In his quest for self, or that lack of it.... he ventured out. Way out. And he found a 'Gacy' type. Really, just as bad. I know the details; I have the court documents. I've met the man on paper, and I wouldn't mind meeting him in person.

He still lives. Somewhere in prison. Carey lives only in my memory.


He wandered the country. He was in New York and at Studio 54. He was incredibly handsome and frighteningly charismatic. He knew the famous. He loved some of us who were not.

Carey landed in California and met Walter Wheeler, a short (Carey was 6 feet), plain, heart-felt man who was a lawyer. They fell in love and decided political action was necessary. Carey had always been an activist. He went to jail while in college for allegedly housing Susan Saxe and Katherine Power (look them up).

They set up a corporation called Couples Inc. and created a gay 'wedding' on Washington. If you look up a book called, "The dividends of dissent", on page 121 there is a world of information about what they created and why they did it. It was long before they thought it could be possible, but it was a huge milestone.

Walter and Carey had their problems. Carey's drug habit was one of them. One night Walter called me wondering what to do. He and I didn't talk much, so this was new. But, by then Carey and I considered ourselves siblings.

Walter said the drugs had gotten really bad, and I told him to leave Carey.... told him to leave my shining star that was doing a swan dive into oblivion.

Before he could, Walter had a massive heart attack in his early '50's: dropped dead next to their bed, and Carey never recovered.


I flew to California to help and found myself watched, herded and threatened by drug dealers at his West Hollywood home. Thankfully, I had the number of a lesbian couple they knew in Pasedina who came and got me, and got me home. I don't think I've ever forgiven myself for leaving.

Carey contracted AIDS and died alone in a hospice. I can't forgive myself for that, either. I accepted his ashes from the postman and handed them over to his father in a ceremony in Kentucky. For all the good he did, it was me... my parents, his dad, and our old college group that said goodbye. We set balloons aloft, and I thought his religious right dad was going to lose it.


One thing.

Right after I met him, at the age of seventeen, someone was having a party and he offered to pick me up. He was new to our world. I was so taken with him. We stopped, somewhere to talk before going on. I don't know why. Maybe he needed to talk.

Imagine it. An incredibly handsome, charismatic seventeen year old... and me.

This is what he said.

Listen, B.


He had been living in North Carolina with his parents. He knew he was adopted. He didn't care... he loved them. His dad was a lawyer and they must have had some money. He was about to turn 16 and wanted a car. His mother was sick (it was probably cancer), and when he asked her for one, she said no. He stormed out of the house.

He stayed away a while. I think it was days, but it might have been hours. Memory does not serve. But, when he got home his father was at the foot of the stairs leading up to the bedroom in tears. Carey asked what was wrong, and his father said his mother had just died.

It colored the rest of his life... defined it.

There I sat, holding a living comet in my arms as he cried. A child's tears.


You don't know it now. You must rely on trust. We are singular. We are individuals.

As much as our past/emotion wants to define us, we have a choice. If you live so long, you will be pissed if you don't stop re-acting, and act, instead.

Love matters, B. Drama is just another day.

I love you.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Over It... And then, I'm Getting Over It

I am officially tired of the cold. And the ice. Especially the ice. And I'm tired of not being able to run Meander because of the cold and the rough ice that tears his pads. I'm tired of adding an extra ten minutes to my morning commute in order to put on layers and layers of clothes, and worrying if my tires are sagging and if I can get down the back stairs without breaking my arm again.

Paul, a cashier at work tells me that January 28th will be the first day of the year that the sun sets after 5 p.m. I think this may call for cocktails.


I'm selling the Jeep. It's no big thing, as I've never been big on it to begin with. That was Jay's deal.

I remember buying it, which amazes me. I was in such a state of depression and my Tracker had problems and no matter who I took it to, no two people could agree on what was wrong. I sat there, knowing nothing about cars, buying them, etc. and just let what happened happen. Four hundred, thirty five dollars a month later.... I found out something. Asking Jay for his help was really asking for harm and I've been paying ever since.

So, I'm getting a Hearse (a Chevy HHR) which I think is appropriate. Something should carry me with fanfare out of this life I'm living and into the next one. It's cherry red, so the future should be able to see me coming and make allowances.


I hate it when good people leave. Todd and Rachel left today, I would show pictures of them, but my iPhoto's have disappeared (yet, another story). For those of you who read me (all of two), Todd is the set designer who won a Tony.

Todd has lived here for 8 years. He has money and when need be, he's fixed up his place or spruced it up. Bathroom is nasty because there is no ventilation? He fixed it. Walls need painting because of living here for how many years.... THEY won't. He did it. He got the form that said he had to fill in every nail hole, replace every blind (that cost's six bucks at the Lowlife), etc. So, I imagine that by the time moving day (today) came, he was done.

You are ABSOLUTELY, WITHOUT DOUBT, DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, NOT SUPPOSED to move out from the front. I woke up this morning to this....

Out of my front window. I tried to take Meander out that way (another no-no, but I do it because the walkway is icy) and I opened my door to a stressed mover with bug eyes holding an entertainment center. I shut the door and took my chances on the ice.

But, I went to work and came home.... and they are gone.

Keith used to talk about the 'Spirit of Place'. It had more to do with natural occurrences that might create vortexes... as I remember it.

I think that some people can do that.,, create powerful places that hesitate to vanish when the impetus is gone.

When I got home and walked up the interior steps, there was a deep hum coming from Todd's old place. I stood and listened, having never heard it before. I imagine it was his Spirit of Place winding down and preparing to go elsewhere.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

For you, 'B'

Once upon a time this man was just about as handsome as you are. I remember, because I grew up listening to him and his band. They are the Moody Blues. And, isn't that ironic.

This song says your name to me. You need to stop your determination to go down blind alleys... which will only get you blindsided, and you know it.

Start looking for love of all kinds in all the right places, and respect it when you find it.

You make sure that there are so many people in your life that only want to play. Find some people who are willing to look you in the eye and say, "I respect you. I love you. Let's talk." Find people who are willing to work for what you have to offer.

As usual, I love you.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

High School. Tenth or eleventh grade. I think it was an English class (there were a thousand different types of 'English' classes at the time). We were put into groups and instructed to create emotion using music. The guy in my group said we needed to use this song, and he had an idea of how to pull it off. I don't remember the particulars, but I remember this.

He made some sort of 'space ship' that glowed and hung it from the classroom ceiling. It spun round and round. We set up the music, set the stage, turned down the lights and let it fly. Then he turned on this song.

When the lights came up we could see tears everywhere. Everyone seemed to be in their own space. Silence, everywhere.

I learned then..... it is awesome to be able to touch people, even when you have no clue.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Angels and Airwaves - The Adventure

Second song I've fallen for... see previous post.

The Adventure

I wanna have the same last dream again,
the one where I wake up and I'm alive.
Just as the four walls close me within,
my eyes are opened up with pure sunlight.
I'm the first to know,
my dearest friends,
even if your hope has burned with time,
anything that's dead shall be re-grown,
and your vicious pain, your warning sign,
you will be fine.

Hey, oh, here I am,
and here we go, life's waiting to begin.

Any type of love - it will be shown,
like every single tree reach for the sky.
If you're gonna fall,
I'll let you know,
that I will pick you up
like you for I,
I felt this thing,
I can't replace.
Where everyone was working for this goal.
Where all the children left without a trace,
only to come back, as pure as gold,
To recite this all.

Hey, oh, here I am,
and here we go, life's waiting to begin.
hey, oh, here I am,
and here we go, life's waiting to begin.
hey, oh, here I am,
and here we go, life's waiting to begin.

I cannot live, I can't breathe
unless you do this with me
I cannot live, I can't breathe
unless you do this with me
I cannot live, I can't breathe
unless you do this with me
I cannot live, I can't breathe
unless you do this with me
I cannot live, I can't breathe
unless you do this with me
I cannot live, I can't breathe
unless you do this with me

Hey, oh, here I am (do this with me),
and here we go, life's waiting to begin (do this with me).
Hey, oh, here I am (do this with me).
And here we go, life's waiting to begin,
life's waiting to begin.

~Angels and Airwaves

Aging has nothing on music....

At the age of 54, I've fallen in love with a rock band.

Oh, listen between....

Angels And Airwaves - Letters to god, Part II

Letters to god, Part II

All the phones have rung and rung
Theyre off the hook, all but one
And all the mail stacked up inside
Up from the floor, a mile high

And like one would, like a child
Im asking
Like I could knock on your door
Will you let me in?

And dear God, I found out the same things we learn when We die
I found out the truth is its all a big lie
I find that the words are hard to describe
I tell you Im lost here, awaiting reply

Climbing trees and paper planes
Life as a kid, were all the same
Tears of joy, and sullen hearts
Sticks and stones and broken arms

And like one would, like a child
Im asking
Like I could knock on your door
Will you let me in?

And dear God, I found out the same things we learn when We die
I found out the truth is its all a big lie
I find that the words are hard to describe
I tell you Im lost here, awaiting reply
I found out whats wrong, and its not you or i
Or anyone else that you chose tonight
It seems like the madness of choice in the life
Has made it all clear if we run or we hide

And dear God, I found out the same things we learn when We die
I found out the truth is its all a big lie
I find that the words are hard to describe
I tell you Im lost here, awaiting reply
I found out whats wrong, and its not you or i
Or anyone else that you chose tonight
It seems like the madness of choice in the life
Has made it all clear if we run or we hide




(The pics aren't real clear, since I had to move fast because he was....)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Missing Keith

Every day when Keith leaves for work, I hear a strange noise and look to see Meander up on the forbidden 'bed'... the place where Keith sleeps. He leaves for good next week.... so I don't imagine I'll be able to sit in that chair with my feet on the ottoman for a good three months....

Sunday, January 2, 2011


I awoke about four a.m. this morning to see what I think must have been a satellite tumbling it's way in the darkness across my view from the bedroom. Photos of them remind me of the game 'Jacks' I sometimes played as a child.

I laid there and thought about them, those many satelllites... how they traverse our world, from miles up; sending signals to make the electronics of our world work. What would we be without those spinning machines... catching and shooting information? So many of us who can look up and see in the dark, have no idea that they are anything but stars.

But, I know.

Stars are better.

I got out of bed around five and sat at the computer. That seat has a southeastern view, and soon enough rose a Fingernail Moon, with just a few stars to enhance it. It was all wrapped in blue.

And after that? The sun threatened, but nature won out.

This morning, he had to rise from behind a screen.