Sunday, November 30, 2003

Why can't I be normal?

I think I might have to break down and go visit the Doctor tomorrow.  I think I am having an allergic reaction to the pound bag of peanuts covered with cinnamon and sugar I devoured LAST WEEK! 

Whenever I go to the office, I know they take out my file and begin laughing.  I can't go when I have something normal, like the flu...oh no, I'm there because I can't stand it any longer and sneak out of the house in my agony.

This past summer it was posion ivy.  I was covered with it.  Looked like I  put it in the bathtub, filled with water, then took a masochistic soak.  I even  had it in my ears!  "This is the worst case I have ever seen, and I have seen some doozies." He told me.

Last spring, I swear I was bit at the bottom of my spine by a spider!  I could not sit, I could not drive, I could only cry.  When I was able to contort myself into a position like a yoga instructor, I was able to stand with my back to the mirror and twist enough to see the area...I almost fainted!  I won't describe the horror I saw.  The doctor took one look and said, "Shingles"....sometimes I wonder about his was a spider bite!

Now, my lips are the size of Massachuset.  Joe thought I was taking collagen treatments behind his back.  He's taken to calling me, "Melanie" in reference to big lipped Melanie Griffith.  I have iced these babies, taken antihistamine capsules but for the third day in a row I have woken up to a swollen abomination.

Why can't I just have the flu?

Friday, November 28, 2003

Something wicked this way come

Went to the Thoroughbred Classic 5K held at Keeneland Race Course yesterday morning. It was raining, as you can see outside the window, and look at the number they assigned to Joe.  No way.  It was a cold needle like rain and the asphalt was slick! It was a certainty that something evil that way would come!  So we went shopping.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Angst for the Memories

My parents.  I love them.  When I was younger I was always angry at them.  Angry that they were from New York City and we were living in a small town in Kentucky where everyone was at least three generation deep. Angry that we did not have a tv until I was about seven.  Then we were only allowed to watch one show per night and we had to agree democratic style.  Angry I had three brothers to vote against!  I never won.  Angry with them that they made me go to Catholic schools thru secondary school, denying me the opportunity to attend high school with my friends, but sending me to school in another city where I knew no one! I was angry that I would ask Mom how to spell a word, and she would say, "Look it up in the dictionary." I was angry that they dragged us to Mass every Sunday morning as a family.  I was mortified that my Dad was the swimming team coach.  Mortified that my Mom would substitute teach at the grammer school when one of the classes put a Nun in the nuthouse....

This is the childhood they forced on me.  They sacrificed for us kids. They guided us kids.  They enforced their values on us. 

When I finally stopped thinking like a child I understood the gift they had given me,  my brothers and sisters.  It is a debt that can never be repaid, only passed on.

That is what I give thanks for everyday.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Day in Infamy

Last evening Joe and I were at his brothers and watching the movie Pearl Harbor on a big big screen tv with surround sound.  The scenes of the actual attack were too much for me.  I am too sensitive, or too empathic, or soft watch let alone be entertained by blood and guts.  So I gave him the head signal and thank God he was able to tear himself away to leave.

"A day that will live in infamy", he said as we got into the car.

It made me think of my day of infamy, or should I rephrase to my Date of Infamy/Date of good&evil. It is August 3rd.

Every word of this is true.  My first kiss was delivered to me on Aug 3rd by one DA in a "borrowed" red bug volkwagon.  Along for the ride is my great gal-pal Gayle. who made out in the back seat with Louie.  Both had braces.  No lock-up to report. We referred to this as "The Red Bug Day" ever since.  Time was negotiated from before the Red Bug Day, to after the Red Bug Day.

I got my drivers license on Aug 3rd.

I had a near fatal accident on Aug. 3rd.  I totaled my Pinto and almost totaled myself.  Five broken bones, one of which was my jaw.  Not the greatest way to lose weight.

I had my daughter Bridget on Aug. 3rd. Mom to this day thinks B's birthday is Aug. 2nd, but its the 3rd.

I completed my last class at Uof Louisville on August 3rd.

I met Joe on Aug 3rd.

We had a seperation after one major falling out five years later on Aug. 3rd.

So, when Aug 3rd rolls around I pay attention!


Saturday, November 22, 2003

Success in the Archives

In tribute to the release of "Cat in the Hat" I have searched through all my "stuff" for my Dr. Seuss letter.

I wish I could clear it up better...maybe I need to play around with it more...This letter and picture from Dr. Seuss was sent to my brother Ned and myself in 1963!  We were so thrilled.  Thank God my Mom saved it (the pack rat gene was transferred to me from her).

I read "Hop on Pop" to Bridget no less than one million times.  When I would say, "Let's read a book", she would scurry to her book case and invariably bring that book to me. Her favorite part was "No, No, Must not Hop On Pop"..she laughed every time!  I miss Bridget being three years old. 

The Archives

Crazy things I have been running across.......a picture from Derby 1973, the streaker about to drop his pants while on the flag pole.

Picture taken with a 110 camera or my trusty brownie.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Univ. of KY Basketball Fever

Tonight begins the offical basketball season. Once again we begin on a journey that hopfully takes us home to the Final Four, and then we bring home the NCAA bragging rights...again.

Which brings to mind one of the best UK games I ever watched (or not watched). I have this good buddy named Greg.  If I want to forget my troubles and go have some fun, I go look up Greg and say, "Lets go get into trouble". And he is there for me.

After the longest dry spell in UK history, we finally got into the final game for the Championship. Greg and I decided to go downtown Lexington, to the Radisson to watch the game on the big screen and be part of the "happening".

Was it ever happening!  The hotel had a convention area dedicated to the huge crowd that arrived with big screen tv's. We elected, and arrived early enough, to secure a spot at the downstairs bar.  The game beings after 9pm to accomdate the west coast, so you can imagine how early we arrived.

The bar was packed. Everyone was drinking heavily because UK was blowing it.  People were so crushed together that we all became intimate at sometime during the evening.  People I had not seen for years somehow found me, and my glorious, coveted spot at the bar.  I was handing drinks to people, taking orders...hell, I should have been paid for all my efforts.

At some point I crossed the line and consumed too much.  Things get hazy.  We were behind, we caught up....hell, we won! The crowd went crazy.  And I mean CRAZY.  We rushed out on the street and everyone was dancing, cheering, crying, singing and just going NUTS.  The curse was broken.

The next morning Greg calls me. "Hey, Mary..did your mother by chance tape the ball game?' He, like me, knew we had won it, but it sure was going to be nice to be able to actually see the ball game.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Derby Program

The reason I wrote about Secretariat and included his statue that "stands" at the Kentucky Horse park is that I happened upon this old Derby program that I had saved.  I'm the worlds best pack rat.  I got on ebay and found out that this program is worth a cool $200! 


I was one of the over 100,000 people who attended the 99th running of the Kentucky Derby in 1973.  Secretariat beat his noble adversary Sham that day to be the only horse to run the Derby in under two minutes.   Thirty years later, the record still stands.  Every so often the track is rated fast, the field is worthy and we all hold our breath to see if Big Red's record will fall.  So far, it has held.

That day so many years ago, is the only time I have actually been a part of history. I actually was there and witnessed an event that they still talk about.  This summer the movie Seabiscuit was released and there was much ballyhoo concerning who was the greatest horse..Seabiscuit or War Admiral?  Actually, it was Seabiscuit...but the real question is who is the greatest Big Red, Secretariat or Man-O-War? (Seabiscuits' Grandpa).

You live in central Kentucky and you will actually discuss this.

100,000 people at Churchill Downs.  Mostly drunken college students, babyboomers, hippies,  freaks, straights, and frat boys...and streakers.  Yes, I remember the streaker that went up the flag pole and dropped his pants!  Then he would not come down. The police were waiting for him at the bottom. I saw the streakers run, but not the horses.  One of the greatest moments in Thoroughbred Racing History. And I was there.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Boy Toy

I don't really know when it started.  Maybe when I was first attending college at Murray State University in the most Western part of the state.  I became enamored with motorcycles and the men who drove them.  The first was a guy named Terry Lax.  He was a Murray local.  He was older...probably around 26. He had a beautiful chopper.

Then came John K. He attended school at Murray where I met him.  Had a very long relationship that ended very badly.  He had a BMW.

Then Chris C. from Louisville while I was living there.  He had a very expensive, powerful, fast Honda.

Then Danny Joe from Somerset.  He had a Harley. Need I say more?.

Joe has had a new motorcycle about every two years.  The one before this last one was a NightHawk. It had a custom paint job. A firey red phoenix.

Last year he sold it and scaled down to the above Suzaki..

My co-worker and friend Art  is also a bike rider and collector.  His arsenal includes a Ducati, Honda's, and a Buell for his wife.  So, Art askes me, "What kind of bike did Joe buy?"

"Oh, I don't know. Some sort of Cock Rocker."  Of course I meant Crotch Rocket. Art, who was driving, almost ran off the road he was laughing so hard. 

Ever since then Art will ask me, "How is Joe's Cock Rocker?".  Its a damn good thing I'm a good sport and would never consider harassment charges!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Bipolar relationship

The above picture is by Kenneth Josephson, called Matthew and is part of an exhibit titled, "Visions from America : Photographs from the Whitney Museum of American Art". Now showing at the University of Kentucky Art Museum.

Why Kentucky gets all this cool stuff is baffling, perhaps it is thought we desperately need the culture!

I loved the above shot and was thrilled it was available as a post card. So it should be okay to post here with credit.

The exhibit  was spectacular.I even wrote down some of my impressions.  One of the attendants accosted me and releived me of my pen and replaced it with a pencil.  Sad world we live in.

I went alone because I knew Joe would not enjoy looking at a bunch of old photographs for an hour.  Its amazing that we really have so little in common. Our tastes in music differ.  Our ideas of recreation differ.  I love to hike and camp.  His idea of camping out is a motel room with no cable.  Yet, it works for us.  I finally learned the key to any realationship is acceptance and tolerance.

And this advice from my younger sister....She gave up on romantic love several years into her marriage to Karl.  She has no illusions that if she and Karl were shipwrecked and survived on a lifeboat with his three brothers and one person had to would be her!

So much for romantic illusions.


Saturday, November 15, 2003

Favorite place #2

I have several places that I hang out in if I want to kill some time.  Another one is the Book Cellar located at the main public library  in downtown. The purpose of this place is to sell donated books for charity.  This place is a book lovers heaven. 

I was browsing in the childrens section looking for a copy of  "Hop on Pop" when I ran across the above little tome.  I thought, "Wait a minute! This isn't a childrens book!" and pulled it out.  Just as I suspected (and remembered), this is a tongue in cheek book from the late 60's/early70's about....marijuana!

It is an absolute classic, the fifth edition from the fourth publisher and in absolute perfect condition. 

Friday, November 14, 2003

We don't need no stinking drummer!

I needed a job.  Other than being a perennial college student, I lacked job skills.  I answered an ad in the paper for a cocktail waitress at the Holiday Inn North in Lexington. The name of the bar was The Post Lounge and it was the Port of Call for Bluegrass Music.  The year is 1978.  New life had been breathed into Bluegrass Music.  Bands like New Grass Revival and Goose Creek Symphony  were attracting  a non-traditional  audience. The stereotype of  bluegrass as hillbilly music was beginning to fade.

J.D. Crowe had been  the house band for many years. He then moved on to bigger and better things. Not forgetting his beginnings, he returned each Christmas and played on the weekends.  Several stars had begun their careers with J.D.  It was expected that they would drop by and sit in on a few sets. This packed the house every Friday and Saturday night.  Who would be show up? Ricky Skaggs?  Tony Rice? Added bonus, Keith Whitley was the lead that winter.

People came from every where to hear J.D. College kids home for the semester break, blue grass loyalists from everywhere.  And then there were the BlueGrass Purists. J.D., always on the cutting edge of Bluegrass had added drums. Drums? In a bluegrass band? A kid named Steve DeMartino? That sounds like a foreigner! What?! From New Jersey! I'm not sure how long or how many nights they tolerated the desecration.  But it happened.  Too many drinks, and  the rumblings of "blasphemy' sound louder and louder.

I was in the waitress station when the ruckus erupted! Beer bottles began flying, people were screaming, bodies were crushing towards the stage, tables were thrown over, chairs were broken. The mob that had been surging towards the stage and Steve DeMartino, had changed course and was moving as if one single body towards the waitress station!  We became crushed against the wall.  As quickly as it began, it ended. J.D. found the microphone and said, "Stop". Everyone returned to their seats. Steve left the building with a gash in his head.  We began to pour the drinks.  The band resumed playing sans drums......"Damn drums, they don't have no place here."  

Order was restored. All was once again right with the world and Bluegrass.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Circa 1981

I read an entry in "Coming to terms with Middle Age" by miraminiak about a Simon & Garfunkel concert she had just seen. It triggered memories of all the concerts I have attended over the past  several decades.

A sound track has accompanied my life ever since I have been about 12 years old.  The Rolling Stones were a major force in the movie of my life from about 1978 till mid 80's. The above photo is from the Start Me Up tour. The photo's are bootleg...(oops, you don't think I will be in trouble do you?)...and I have several of them.

I was living in Louisville.  My best friend had a friend who was the door man at Phoenix Hill Tavern.  He secured a lot of tickets for this concert.  He begrudgingly sold us four tickets.  He was unsure which were the best seats.  I could not find anyone I wanted to go with and so we ended up in front of Broadbent arena with an extra ticket.  It was sold pretty quickly to someone in the crowd outside hoping to score a seat.

OH MY GOD!  The seats were left hand stage!  On the upper deck, first row, overlooking the stage!  When the Stones came out, I could see everything on the stage.  Everything and everyone.  I could practically reach out and touch Keith.

Then, this attitude heavy dude comes up and sits next to me.  The fortunate one who got the extra ticket.  All I remember about him was that he had a hash pipe and he was sharing.

The next day I go to work and everyone knew how excited I was to see the Stones and were asking questions about the concert.  For some reason....I remembered the beginning and .....

The phone rings, its Lloyd (who got the tickets from Phoenix Hill).  "So, how did you like those seats?"  (Unfortunately, he had chosen the lesser of the two). "They were great!  Too bad they didn't play very long".  Lloyd was silent for several seconds, then just said, "Good-bye".

When I finally got to talk to my friend she told me the rest of the story.  The guy with the hash pipe was shot-gunning me and I passed out.  Mick Jagger got in the cherry picker and came right up to us.  She tried to wake me up (smacking me!)  but I was out cold.   She swears, Mick looked at me, shook his head and rolled his eyes.

These may have been my best seats ever and I blew it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

A veteran's day tribute

My Dad served in WWII.  He  celebrated his 84th birthday earlier this month.  The veterans of this war are dying, some 400 per day.  I heard this statistic when Tom Hanks  presented his tribute to the veterans of WWII with the "Band of Brothers"  mini series broadcast on HMO.

My Dad  weighed four pounds when  he was born. The odds for his survival in 1919 were slim. The odds were against him when he enlisted.  He had to trick the doctor during his physical to pass and be inducted into the Army.

I wish I had paid closer attention to my Dad's war stories. The stories are now trapped in his brain, held captive by dementia associated with the aging process. So my memories of the incidents may be sketchy.

While in basic training, the Air Force claimed my father to spearhead a special secret project. He had scored extremely high on the admitting IQ test, and subsequently was needed to put together and coordinate the truck operation for the Normandy Invasion.

Upon completion of the project he stayed with the 101st Airborne Division.  He flew into battle with them. When it was time to line up to parachute out, he took his place in line.  He heard his name called, and ordered to fall out.  Because he was Army, and not Air Force, the Army  had ordered for him to stay behind.

Everyone of the men who made the jump that day did not return.

This is one of the many stories my father had to tell of his experiences in the War.  The horror, artocities, bravery and heroism were just as prevalent to the men who served in WWII as those wars and/or "police actions"   that followed.

 This generation of men defined bravery.  

Saturday, November 8, 2003

Dirty Little Secrets

I was thinking this morning that I was  relieved to find people with similiar interests among the journal pages.  It makes me feel better regarding what I consider to be my dirty little secrets.

For example, I love Survivor!  Must see tv.  I never have the winner.  First season, I loved Coleen. Second season, it was Kentucky Joe (duh).  Then it was Lex, then Cathy.  I never win.  This season I am totally crazy about Rupert. that means he will not win.  I wonder why I love this show and WILL NOT MISS IT.  Joe has his opipion about this...that I'm crazy.  I'm not addicted to any other reality show, just give me Survivor.

I love cemeteries, see the above.  Lexington Cemetery, final resting place of many dignitaries including Henry Clay and King Solomon.  King Solomon was a slave who, in the early 1800's, was not stricken by cholera when the disease ravaged the Lexington community.  He almost single handedly nursed and buried the town during the plague.  He subsequently was freed and given an elegant monument when he died. Perhaps the first black man buried in this cemetary.

I love old music.  This is a total reversal of a founding member of the MTV  generation.  I'm listening to the music my parents like.  Such as Duke Ellington, swing music, and my total knock me out fav, John Coletrane.

I love Eminem.  My daughter is a big fan and dragged me to "8 Mile".  Loved it. Very Rockyesque.

I love Martha Stewart. 

Back in the '70's I would have been content to marry and raise a family.  Instead I become a single unmarried parent with a  business major. Typical working woman of the late 20th century.

I'm sure I have lots more, but I'm thinking of a small farm with a small green house with flowers and plants everywhere.  The life that I might have had. Married to someone like .......Alice Cooper.

Thursday, November 6, 2003

Defy Description

If one lives in Anderson Co. and receives a DUI, their mug shot is published in the local paper upon conviction.  It is the most humiliating experience imaginable.  Each week in small town America the local court reports are published in the weekly paper.  Naturally it is the most widely read page in the paper.  Joe has been dreading this day since the DUI was issued in September.  Thank God we do not live in Anderson Co.  I'm certain we would already have relocated in another state if that horror had occurred.  And thank God that they had Joes name in there without our address published.  This leaves some hope that some people won't realize it is him.

Unless you are born and raised in a small town, where everyone knows everyone, you can not understand the amount of dread Joe has held on to these weeks.  This has been a tough day.  It has come, and in 15 minutes it will be gone.


Monday, November 3, 2003

The High Bridge

I wish I could give you all some scale as to how high up this monster actually is!

High Bridge, Kentucky

I'm in my picture crazy mood again!  I looked at the entries for the best photo journal log yesterday and ran across the information about a little game called "26 photo's".  The object is your interpretation of the word...the first word was "High point" and I immediately thought of High Bridge.

When I got there, the pictures I took with the digital camra left much to be desired,  I needed a filter given how high up we are!  This is a picture of where the Dix River pours into the Kentucky River.  What you can't see is over to your right is the highest rail road bridge in the country (I think). They began building it before the Civil War.  It has been reconstructed to accomadate two trains in the early 1900's.

What is it about heights that makes your stomach lurch?

Sea Change

Last Wednesday Art took me to a luncheon for the High Hope Steeplechase Charity.  It was held at the Throughbred Club, a very swanky, exclusive, uppercrust, blueblood Club for the horse racing industry.  The T-club is located adjacent to the Keeneland Race Course, atop a hill on some of the most coveted land in Central KY.  Beautiful old home, built in 1876 and donated to the club in 1932...anyway.....

Our company is a major sponsor of the event.  Every year they have this luncheon and present mint julep cups to the participants. As our  company name was called, Art signaled to me to go up accept and I gleefully did so, said a few words and returned to my seat.

15 years ago, I would have not been able to do such a thing!  I would have been mortified to stand up in front of 50 people.  How things change!  I once procratinated so long, that I was unable to present a paper regarding the use of methane gas as a replacement for fossil fuel (way ahead of the times!) and almost did not graduate from college! Actually, I was terrified of standing in front of the class.

That changed in the early 90's when the company I was working for at that time sent me to a Dale Carnagie Course.  Public Speaking.  I was petrified to speak in public, and now I was faced with 12 weeks of it.  Every meeting you were required to do two things.  The first was a impromptu speech for 60 seconds.  The second was a  two minute prepared talk about an assigned subject,  such as "Your most rewarding experience".  I thought I would never make it.  Sweaty palms, light headedness, brain freeze, feeling faint was very common at the beginning.  Amazingly enough, I became less rigid and began to relax...a tad.

One of the exercises was to break off into groups and then everyone got 30 seconds to go around the group and tell each other what we liked most about that person.

I'll never forget it as long as I live.  As they began to focus on ME, one of the guys stood up and said, "Ah, Mary.  You are a delightful, intelligent, engaging, wonderful caring person and everyone in this room knows it except you."

My public life was changed from that moment forward.

Standing in front of people now is!