Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Have I mentioned in this blog that at times I feel I live a charmed life?  Sometimes. Not all the time. Things just happen to me. Good things. They occur with frequency. I attribute it to my Mom, who has the ear of God, and  is as devout a Catholic as ever lived, probably is a saint (three miracle rule) and prays fervently for her family.

I had this red velvet jacket way back in the 1970's that I loved and lived in. I must have worn that thing from 1972 till it fell apart in 1977. Amazing how you remember dates, isn't it. The above picture is 1975. I can not recall the name of anyone in that photo but the party was at Piff's house and those were some top notch Murray parties.

The jacket was in every way my signature piece of clothing. When the elbows became ragged, my Mom lovingly applied patches for me. The lining, which was ripped up, trashed and a disgrace suffered an unrecoverable blow during the Christmas holidays. Mom thought she would replace the lining as a surprise. A surprise alright! The jacket was not the same. It did not hang right, it bunched up under my arms, the  worn marks and holes were covered up. In other words, it was ruined. I could not bring myself to wear it ever again. It remained in the back of a closet in my Mothers home for many years. I looked for it last year after mentioning it in a journal entry. It was gone. Thrown away long ago. Lost forever.

I love Goodwill, Salvation Army, Thrift stores. I find such great stuff for a fraction of the price they are worth. I look there first when I need something, see if someone else's trash can become my treasure.

I was stunned. I could not believe it. My hands were methodically moving the jackets to the left as I plowed through the long row when I happened upon a red velvet jacket. I let my hand caress the red velvet on the sleeve before I had the nerve to pull it out

There, waiting for me, was my old friend!

It seems impossible, but it is the exact jacket. I wore it for five years, I'd recognize it anywhere.This jacket has no label, nothing to indicate anything about it. Not a worn mark on it anywhere. Does not smell old, forgotten nor abandoned. It was just waiting for me to reclaim.

I'm not sure what it means,if it means anything at all. It just has made me so incredibly happy on this wet, rainy, lonely day.

Sunday, April 24, 2005


After waiting months for this day to arrive, I awoke Friday morning to the realization that I was very sick! I had been under the weather all week, but it escalated into a real illness that morning! I had a fever and my sinus cavities were pounding. Nothing was going to stop me from going to Dayton to see TEMPEST. Nothing! I loaded up every drug I could lay my hands on, Alka Seltzer cold remedy, liquid fever relief for children, ibprophen, and nasal spray (I could not breath through my nose). As we left I remembered the  Hydocodeine from the eye incident! Naturally I tossed it into my bag..

I have talked non stop about this band to Poo-Poo since seeing their appearance at the Dublin (Ohio) Irish Festival last summer. I had purchased one of their albums at the concert and Joe had listened politely to it once  and that was it.

It is difficult to describe this band. Celtic Music. What is that? My head becomes flooded with Irish whistles, brodhrans, the concertina. The type of haunting music that sends chills down your spine. TEMPEST does not use any of those instruments, yet they are without  doubt the leading Folk Celtic Rock band in the history of the genre.

It was with apprehension that I entered Canal Street Tavern with Poo-Poo in tow. I had been extolling the intensity of this bands live performance verses the studio album reassuring myself.  I was extremely nervous that he would not agree. Therefore my opinion regarding music  would become invalid and suspect at best. The venue was so tiny!!! Twenty tables with people milling around as if old friends chatting and becoming reacquainted. All of the tables were taken, so we claimed two chairs at the bar directly in front of the stage.

We ordered a pitcher of beer. I had popped one of the hydocodeine before going as  my head was killing me. I knew it would help me through the night. It did. I was feeling much better, so I had a beer.

Around 10:30 they took the stage. I had another beer.

For the next two hours they rocked the house down. Traditional Folk Music is the launch pad for this band. They add a great bit of many styles of music, taking from jazz, bluegrass, acid rock.....it is just indescribable, incredible....and mold it into the most forceful, dynamic, explosive, electrifying, animated, and high intensity band I have ever seen. I thought they were great on a large stage with thousands of people. It was totally exhilarating in a small bar sharing the intimate experience with 150 other people.

The best part of it all was when Poo-Poo turned to me and yelled, "Allman Brothers at Filmore East" and nodding at the band, as they jammed on and on and on.

I should not have had that third beer. I definitely should not have had that fourth. By the time they had finished the first set and were back onstage and well into the second set, I was unable to take any more pictures. Poo-Poo took over for me. 

After it was over, Poo-Poo was a fan. We went to the merchandise table to buy the 15th Anniversary set and talk to the band. I should not have been allowed. I should have remained sitting at the bar, propped up. But no, I was right over there gushing over them and babbling about God knows what.  Ireland I think and The Dublin Irish Festival. And I just happened to set my beer down on the table that the guitar player was sitting and naturally knocked it over on them.

I hope they forgive me. I suppose I will find out if I am banned when I try to attend another of their performances.

Monday, April 18, 2005


  Flea Markets, Old Houses, Realtors

What do these three things have in common. Oh, nothing really. Just that the realtor told me another realtor was going to show the house between 6pm and 7pm. I left around 515pm and drove around town looking at comparable old houses. The Realtor wants me to think about lowering the listed price!!! Already! I know she is the Doctor here, but I think I could persuade someone to purchase my home at my asking price! It is just a matter of anticipating the objections and then offering solutions. She may be the Doctor, but I know this town and I know the true value of this home. It just is going to take someone who loves old homes...like I do.

An old home has so much personality and charm. I don't see something antiquated. I see a place where many lives were formed, lived and perhaps concluded. I sense the hope, love, and disappointment that has been drifting in and out of these rooms for 60 some odd years.

So, to kill time I drove around. I ended up at the Flea Market. Ironic. I am trying to get rid of stuff but I can not resist bring in more great old stuff into my old home! I found, what I think could be, a first edition of "A" is for Alibi, by Sue Grafton. A pristine 1967 copy of "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band", a cool post card of a miniature circus, circa 1950's...and the above picture with an inscription penciled on the back, "Isabella Johnson Crab Orchard, KY".

I had to have this picture for several reasons. First, I collect old obscure pictures that have been tossed away. I adopt these pictures in a way that is rapidly becoming eccentric. This picture really speaks volumes, doesn't it? Look how cocky some of the men are? Young and vibrant, cool and handsome. The way the cigarettes are held, the hand thrown over the woman's shoulder, the coke bottle empty on the table. The women are beautiful. So captivating in its simplicity. Unposed. Natural. WWII? I think so.

Secondly, Crab Orchard. I continue to find little bits and pieces of discarded Crab Orchard sentimentality. I am a Crab Orchard Magnet

Sunday, April 17, 2005





I am almost embarrassed to post the before picture. I guess you just don't know until you are forced to see it through someone else's eyes. I knew I hated the outdoor carpet on the porch and that it needed a paint job. Now it looks spectacular! Only a few more finishing touches. I did not realize what a perfectionist I could be!!!

At two thirty yesterday the realtor called and asked if someone could show the house at 6pm. My SIL shook her head violently! The bathroom was ripped out, the lattice was not up, we had a plastic wall in the kitchen for her dry wall project, the house was a wreck. She was right, there was no way. So, maybe I missed a potential buyer, but another will be right around the corner.

I also mowed the lawn today and visited the grave of Bridget first boyfriend who overdosed five years ago today. It still makes me angry to remember that day. That we are denied the experience of seeing "Bird" grow into a man. That people stood around not knowing what to do, so they stole his shoes.

Anyway........he was special, even though he was going through a very screwed up period in his life. This street smart, sweetheart, charmer of a young boy had a son before he left this world. While I visiting the grave yard "Bird's" Mother was there. She told me about his young son, age six, who wants to go to Florida with her. "Let's fly, Granny"

"Dylan, you know I'm afraid to fly."

"I wanna fly."

"Why, honey? You know I'm afraid!!"

"There's clouds up there Granny!"

"Yea I know there are clouds up there! I can see them from here just fine!"

"No Granny, my Daddy is up in those clouds. Maybe I see him for just a minute."

That made me start crying.

Saturday, April 16, 2005


The Task Master Cometh

It is a little after 7am. My Sister in Law will be arriving about 10am and the work will resume with a vengeance. She is teaching me a how to do things that I never thought I would be able to accomplish. And the truly remarkable result, other than the renovation, is how much I enjoy it. To start with something so beat up and in dire need of attention and to be able to turn it into something nice and pleasing is very satisfying. I'm looking forward to learning how to lay tile on a bathroom floor! That is a statement that I never dreamed I would utter.

It has been about two months since I learned we had to relocate for Poo-Poo's job. I am finally ready to let go. I realize two months is a long time to mull things over and prepare myself for the inevitable but my temperament demanded it. Yesterday I knew, I mentally had a roll over in my psyche that said, "It's time."

It would be a pleasure to just load up all the furniture, books, appliances, motorcycles, lamps, computer, dishes, pots and pans, all my photographs and artwork (other artists, natch) and leave. I am certain it would be much easier to sell the house without the distraction of all our personal stuff! The house we bought up North will be available in mid-May, so it is a domino effect waiting to happen. Three families moving in sync . I am preparing to leave my job at that time.

I have been seven years with this company. I have developed a family relationship with most my co-workers and it is going to be difficult to leave them behind. It is so much easier to keep in touch in this day and age than it was, say 10 years ago. E-mail and cell phones (we all have Cingular as personal phones) will enable us to stay tight. Yet, I know how it is. It will be up to me to keep in touch with them.  I have been through this a time or two before.

With the departure comes a newly realized freedom. I do not have to worry about benefits and having a job immediately. I may even have the luxury of finding a job that I really want, rather than taking a job I need.

I have contacted the alternative newspaper in the city I am moving to and inquired about guest columnists. Guess what? They told me to send a sample of my writing! I'm so psyched!  I pitched the concert I am going to this coming Friday, TEMPEST, in Dayton. I told him that it would not be a music critique, per se, but a piece from a music lovers perspective. Bring it on, he wrote, "It is not something we would publish, but it will give me an idea about your style." And to contact him when I arrive in town.

Being a Pisces, I have always had grandiose ideas and huge plans that I never follow through on. Isn't it funny how a little thing like redoing a front porch can unlock your dreams and present you with the unlimited possibilities life offers?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


The Three Stooges

Except, there is only me! I'm like Lucy without Ethel.

I know I will survive the extravaganza of selling the house, even though it is turning into quite the ordeal. How do people get through this without having a nervous breakdown?

After surviving Saturdays trauma of the Eye Incident, I was able to almost finish the porch on Sunday. I laid down the paint roller around 730pm and called it a day. I will post pictures of Before and After as soon as it is completed. The lattice remains to be painted and reattached,  the steps need to be painted and then it is finsihed. I astonished myself in my ability to work through adverse conditions and do a pretty darn good job!

Monday my boss wanted a sit down between 3 and 330. Around 230 my realtor called to say that someone was coming over to look at the house around 600pm! Mother of God! I got home around 415 and began speed cleaning (which is slang for pushing things under the bed and stuffing the drawers). I rushed around like a woman possessed until 545, then drove up the hill and spied on my house from the hospital parking lot!

Today, we had a showing at 7pm.  Poo-Poo was home and began laying the new bathroom floor and painted the bench for the front porch Chinese Red. I thought the porch could use some accent, and that chair does the trick!

I decided to bake some scones to make the house smell wonderful.  The recipe instructed  the oven  heated  to 425 and place the scones very close to the top of the oven. I adjusted the racks and proceeded to prepare the dough, adding orange soaked cranberries (I've been dying to make them for a long time!!!). Before placing them in the oven I decided to move the rack down a notch. I had a hard time yanking that thing out and readjusting it back. In the struggle, I dropped the pot holder which immediately caught on fire! I was able to toss it in the sink (thank God still filled with water). My brilliant plan for making the house smell like cinnamon and cranberry scones was foiled. It smelled like burnt pot holder.

As the scones were baking, I attempted to dump a bucket of cleaning water in the sink, somehow missed my mark, or maybe it slipped out of my hand, it all happened so quickly....but two gallons of soapy dirty water crashed all over the kitchen floor. That was a mess to clean up.

Then the scones were ready. They smelled divine, so I decided to try one. Suddenly, the tooth I had worked on in  February to remove an old filling and replace it with a beautiful expensive porcelain crown,  pain shot the tooth as I bit down and erupted through the top of my head! I think the filling shifted and hit the nerve!

I'm afraid to eat on that side of my mouth!

I don't know if I can survive this!  I did not realize selling a house was so dangerous!.

Saturday, April 9, 2005


Well, back in the 1970's that is.

This is what happened. I dreamed last night that I had a sty in my eye. When I woke up my eye was killing me. There was something in there under the lid! I did all the self doctoring I could think of. Flush it out  using a Bahamas shot glass.  When that did not work I resorted to bottle eye wash.

It hurt something terrible, but I felt it would expel itself out in the normal course of a day. It had to! I was scheduled to paint the porch!

It was okay as long as I looked down. I was on top of a ladder (if you know the problem with my depth perception and casual falling down episodes, this is very scary) and keeping my eyes in the  down position was relatively easy. Suddenly, I could not bear the pain. I was moving my eye to much! The added misery of a bright sun filled day while using white paint  was agony.

I thought I would drive myself to the Urgent Care Center in Lexington, a ten mile drive. I was only one mile into it when I realized could not make it. I had to keep the effected eye shut and with my fingers hold the lid off the eye ball. My eye was watering non stop and as a bonus horror, my nose was running non stop too. I can not drive with one eye and one hand. And snot streaming down my face!

I caved and turned around and headed for the ER.

The ER! The last time I was in the ER for a self inflicted wound, I was 13. I staggered in wearing sun glasses. I was called to the counter.

"What's the problem." she asked. I lifted my sunglasses and let her have a gander at my eyeball. She gasped and quickly looked down. Oh no, I thought, its worse than I thought!

They led me to a room and told me to take a chair. I crawled up in the gurney and assumed a "woe is me position" with my arm over my forehead. "You're on the bed?" the nurse asked me as she stuck her head in (to tell me they were backed up and the Doctor would be with me as soon as he could). "I'm traumatized" I answered. She administered some numbing eye drops to my immediate relief.

He got to me in about an hour and I almost passed out. The bed had to be tilted so my head was lower than my feet. But he flushed out my eye using some medieval method and we concurred that it was a piece of DRY WALL that had fallen in my eye the day before and worked its way up during the night.

It had scratched my eyeball, not my cornea, Thank God!

I got home, resumed painting.......the numbing medication wore off. My eye began watering again, my nose too. I laid down and felt the pain begin to build and build.

I am not a martyr, I called the ER as soon as I could get it together and focus on the phone book and read the dang telephone number to the hospital.

They were so nice in their denial of allowing me the bottle of numbing medication, but they did give me a little "something something" for the pain.

It took two hours for my eye to stop feeling like I had a stick stuck in there and someone was pressing my eyeball back into my head.

Word to the wise: Safety glasses  

Friday, April 8, 2005


Reality bites. I have to face it. Either I did not watch enough Martha Stewart when I had the chance, or I was hiding out in the bathroom smoking cigarettes during Home Ec class in high school. For what ever reasons, I just have misplaced my home making gene. It's hopelessly lost according to my realtor. She does not say it to my face, but I hear it loud and clear in what she is not saying.

Phrases such as this, "We can offer them a redecorating allowance" are a dead give away.

I had to look at my home, my cozy little cottage with a different perspective. What has been a wonderful comfortable refuge from the stresses and demands of the outside world is getting a once over and a make over is in the works.

My arms are so tired I can barely type this and lift the beer to my lips. I have been scraping paint off the front porch floor all day long. My hand was cramped into a claw for a long time when I stopped for the day. I also had to help patch the hole in the ceiling (a story I told awhile ago, though I might have left out all the really good parts, but the Monkey Brothers were involved) which involved me holding up a large portion of Dry Wall above my head and try to make it fit into a area that was not cooperating! We did it many times. Half inch dry wall in a four by five section is HEAVY.

We fixed the overhang, the broken window, fixed the concrete steps, scrapped paint, fixed wall paper, contemplated how to lay the new tile bathroom floor, fixed the hole in the ceiling, chased out the squirrel....

Yes, the squirrel. I knew he was wintering in the back roof. I knew it was curtains for him last week when I caught him red handed in the driveway with pink insulation in his mouth. He ran up the telephone pole and stopped. He thought he could fake me out with his squirrel statue routine. He then runs up the tree into his summer home and taunts me, all  smug and snug with his pink insulation nest.

Poo-Poo swears he shook his squirrel fist at him once.

He needs to find some new suckers now.

When I finish the front porch tomorrow I will be so happy! Then the FOR SALE sign goes up.

Wednesday, April 6, 2005


Laura at Senior party on Kentucky River ( on right having pigtail pulled)

This has been one of those weeks where I am hearing from several of my gal pals from the past. Everyone knows how hard it is to stay in touch, even with the ease of email. So it is so great to receive an email telling me that Laura is going to be in Lexington for three weeks during the month of July!

I went to my last high school reunion four years ago (Jesus Mary and Joseph!!!) with the hope of her being there. The last time I had seen or talked to her was twenty years prior.  

My parents forced me to go to Lexington Catholic. I tried every trick in the book other than running away from home to attend the local public school. My parents were unbending in their belief in a Catholic education. The worst thing about going to Catholic was that I did not know anyone in the freshman class. No one.

Laura was my first friend. We had Homeroom together, the very first co-ed homeroom in the history of Catholic! The one and only at the time. We were an experiment. Laura and I sat next to each other in opposite rows, according to our last names. We became fast friends immediately. For two years we had all the same classes. We rode the bus together to downtown where she transferred to another to head home, and poor little Mary had to catch the Greyhound bus for her trip home. (Oh the stories I could tell about my Greyhound bus adventures).

Laura became K.D.'s first girlfriend. K.D. was (and still is) older than us. His parents, same type of insanity,  forced  Lexington Catholic on him too. He also rode the Greyhound.

The three of us could laugh so hard together it hurt.

HEY! I just had a brain storm!!! I still hear from K.D. every so often too! Maybe I could pursuade him to return for a visit (he lives in Gotham City) around that time too!

This summer is shaping up to be one of the best of all time!

Sunday, April 3, 2005


There are a few things I am pretty good at. Having a great sense of direction is one that I am especially proud of. I read that women use a different method than men when it comes to getting around. We use landmarks. I have to agree because that is exactly what I do! Get me there once and I usually can get there again.

That is why I thought it was going to be no big deal for me to go back up North this week end going through Indianapolis. After all, I had returned using that way  heading to Louisville several weeks ago.

I got lost. I somehow got in the wrong lane and ended up heading towards St. Louis! I got turned around and then got on another wrong road! Drats! It was dark now, and I was in the middle of Indianapolis heading towards Chicago or Toledo! Just then Poo-Poo calls me on the cell phone. His advise is for me to "pull over and get a hotel room, you are hopelessly lost and are going to end back up in Kentucky."

I managed to get off the Interstate, go down numerous roads to find a McDonald's, (they have the best bathrooms) and then locate a Krogers (to open up a map and have a look to see exactly where I had to go!). I am very good at reading maps, and very good at back tracking down numerous roads (landmarks, even in the dark) to return to the Interstate and alter my course.

A trip that should have taken maybe four and half hours took six. Poo-Poo will never let me forget it.

The only town I had extreme difficulty driving around, map or no map, was Boston. My sister, the world traveler asked this question, "ARE YOU CRAZY?". Poo-Poo and I drove up and down Soldiers Field Road for two hours looking for the Days Inn. We asked six people how to get there and received six different sets of directions. The last one went something like this, "Take the next road to your right, go over the rail road tracks, to the flashing light, go right, go three miles, take a left, go to the four way stop, take a left, go three blocks, then take a left. It should be at the end of the street." "Thanks" Joe says to him then drives off and says to me, "Did you get that?" No, I did not. Added to the fact that the man was more than likely of Arab descent and I could barely understand his accent. Yet, together we managed to piece together enough of what he said to find the right street.

I returned home today coming through Cincinnati. (I had to make a quick stop at Trader Joe's!). When I got within thirty minutes of home, I decided to take the back roads, the country roads for the remainder of the trip. It is much prettier than Interstate and I do not mind it as long as I am doing it during day light.

Five minutes from home, on a narrow pike, the type where when two cars meet each has to slow down and ease past each other, I was run off the road! The speeding yellow car did not slow down nor yield any of the road! My reflexes are good too, thank God, so I was off the road before it even registered that I was going to have a head on collision. I went through the field and then back on the pavement!

I could not believe it. How lucky am I? This road has fences on both sides, horse farms and mature trees lining the pavement. Not to mention the telephone poles. My guardian angel was with me that I was able to avoid all the usual dangers and land back on the pavement.

The yellow car never slowed. I wonder if they even looked in the rear view?

It's going to be a long time before I take that road again.