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

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Digging Out

I guess in the morning I will go and dig out The Hereafter. No good reason to do it, except it will make me feel like I'm doing something.

I look out on the street that hasn't changed since I saw it first thing this morning. No plows...nothing has come by. There are stories of communities who have dug themselves out, and I begin to think that if any of us want to get back to work any time soon someone had better start shoveling.

Second thing tomorrow.

First, I have to call in.

On top of the....?

I've been staring at a big mound of snow from my window all day. It caught my attention because it's where Meander and I usually play.... a flat piece of park. We went out and ventured over. Well.

Work could be a few days way.

If you notice, those people are walking at the same height as the snow fence. The snow bank goes all the way across the street. And... well,

If you walked up on it, there would be a car...

And then you look behind the car and realize.... Reva is standing on top of yet, another one.


From a friend's walk to the store.... Thanks, B.

Lakeshore Drive

There are still over 300 cars on the drive, windshield wipers up to show that they have been checked and are empty.

John Williams just talked to a woman stuck on I-47, south of I-90 with four dogs in her car. She is within a contingent of 40 cars that aren't going anywhere. While they were talking someone came up to give her water. She asked them when the plows were coming, and was told they weren't . They were stuck as well. She asked them what she should do, since she lived 7 miles away and was thinking of getting out and walking. She had half a tank of gas.

The men had walked from another road, quite some distance away. She asked if she and her dogs walked to that road, if they would take her home. They said yes, and she said goodbye to John, got out of her car and left it.

Update when it comes in.

The Hereafter is Stuck

It occurs to me that I can dig myself out, but I won't be able to get down the street. God knows when they will finally be able to plow the side streets....


A friend just walked to the store and saw a city snow plow. He asked when the side streets would be plowed and they answered, maybe next week. Looks like I'll be taking some vacation days.

Not a good thing.

Snow Day

But Trying to Get Out

Snowed In

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Lakeshore Drive's been closed. Lightning reported in the West Loop.

~per Skilling

Last pictures of the day....

The light is fading and visibility is nil. You should hear the wind around the windows and the steady thrum of the wind.

One Hour In

Camera froze up, or there would be more pictures.