Monday, December 17, 2007

HOPE....A four letter word?

I try to avoid writing about family members and those close to me. I feel this is akin to stepping over a line called friendship and perhaps even ethics. It sucks at times when I have such a juicy story I am dying to tell! The only family person I will write about (besides Joe and I tell him every time) is Bridget. She is the type of person that when I mention Blog she says, "What???"
Last week a light bulb not only went off above my head, fireworks, dancing the polka, tossing back chocolate-tinis and throwing knives also accompanied the sudden parting of the fog!
I had decided to give her for Christmas jewelry-beading lessons.
The girl is good with her hands. Her Dad made his living making dental crowns and the such so she has inherited the gift. One of her first jobs was making one of original fast food "wraps" (a good ten years ago) and she was always put on the Wrap line because she was excellent at this particular composition. It has manifested itself in various ways years before, and after. I just was not paying particular attention.
She is in a series struggle to find her way in life. Going to school is not an options as she is just not.....let's say she is class room averse.
I never felt so brilliant in my life. And so late in being brilliant.
I have been canvassing all the Bead shops, craft shops and any small shop on Bardstown Road that may offer lessons. Today I hit the jackpot, and she was even with me! I had taken her out to lunch to give her a pep talk and a good meal. She begged to hang out with me (how could I say no) so I told her what I was up to.
As we drove past the shop she turned to me and said, "Dad's friend owns this shop I think. One time he was going to ask Sandy to hire me."
And yes it was Sandy! And yes they do have private lessons that are very reasonable and progressive. Bridget was in love as we entered the store and began to study all the beads, baubles, stones, strings and rocks....
I talked to Sandy. "How did you get into this business?"
10 minutes later!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bridget said later she felt so bad for me, she should have warned me how ponderous he could be at times.
I was just glad he started in the middle and did not start out telling me where he was born, how much he weighed, and where he went to grammar school, high school, took music lessons......blah blah blah.
What a story!
I could have told it in two paragraphs. It took him a lot longer.
But, I have hope and it feels so good. It feels like a warm wonderfulness in the mid section. She and I had an exquisite talk on the way to drop her off. Already we have a web site and so many art shows lines up in our heads.
If enthusiasm begets success that kid has a road opening up for her.
Just, never ask Sandy anything personal. Unless you have an afternoon to kill.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Sunday Scribblings #88

Another interesting thought provoking entry brought to you by Sunday Scribblings.

The subject....Competition.

On the surface, the prompt did not seem that relevant to me and my thoughts, life, my being. Yet, when I am scrounging around for something to write about I returned the site and thought, what was I thinking!! I have a long history with being competitive and have the scars to prove it!


It all began in grammar school in a small two room school house where I realized I would never receive the best grades in the class no matter what I did, no matter how smart I thought I was, no matter what the subject, no matter how hard I tried. Her name was BKA and I loved her as much as I despised her. I competed for the Nuns attentions, grades, who got to the swing set first, who ate lunch with who under the sliding board, boyfriends from the meager selection we had out of our class of seven, (of which five were girls)(meaning Tom & Mac were in great demand) with this pretty demure girl from the country, a farmers daughter. We even fought (because isn't that what competition will turn into when you are eight and nine) over who was our best friend. We traded Missy back and forth like we traded school supplies, (trading supplies was one of our great passions and a coveted tiny red pen that had three ascending bubbles on it, much like three marbles, was the highest prize of all changing hands every several days)(I am remembering this stuff from over 40 years ago, the attached emotion is still so raw). She left our school before eight grade and nothing seemed right in the school, like the earth had deviated from its axis.

After that it was competitive swimming where I excelled, which surprised no one more than me, in the back stroke. I was good, very good, but now I was thrown into a bigger pool (no pun intended) of competitors, much larger than my grammar school universe, and the best I could do was to place seventh in the state competition when I was a Sophomore in HS. Lost interest after that.....I remember my Dad marveling at how when we would all approach the start how I was the smallest, slightest, least muscular and intimidating of all...yet I would kick ass (my words, not his)!

Then I didn't care about anything for awhile because it was the 1970's and I was in college.

Then it was the 1980's and I had to return to college and get a degree while attending night school because I had messed up so bad during my first attempt at majoring in FUN rather than a degree. And man oh man, did I ever want to prove myself as a scholar. I could not believe how I coveted having the highest grades in the class.....and I mean the curve setting grades.....and how I studied and studies and studied.

I did okay and at times, I did kick ass in the class room too.

Everyday I spent working for the Beverage Company involved some type of competition. I grew very weary.

It is at this point that I should be able to reflect and have some profound ending summary about how winning is not all it is cracked up to be. How we all compete yet we all can't be Top Dog. How it makes you stronger to stretch and try. How it builds character.

Yet all I can think of is Dirty Harry's famous line....

"A man's got to know his limitations."

And learn to live with them.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Almost Famous


Sunday morning I was looking through the travel section and read for the umpteenth time that you too can share your travel photo's with the Courier Journal! I looked at the photo's and thought to myself (for the umpteenth time)that my photo's are as good, if not better, than the three being featured that morning.

So I did it, I sat down and registered and uploaded four photo's from our trip to Ireland in 2004. My favorite photo from the entire 2004 was the one of Paddy Gleeson waving good-bye to Joe and myself as we left his cottage in O'Callahan's Mills, the home of one set of my Grandparents.

Paddy had just turned 100 and had his cards strung around the room from a string he had attached to all four walls. They hung like Christmas ornaments around the small dark area. We sat in front of his peat fire and drank a thimble of some grape wine he had on hand. He was partially deaf and very cute for 100.

Yesterday evening I open the paper and turn to A-2 and almost fall off the couch.

There is Paddy!!

I was not named as the photographer who supplied the picture, but the thrill of seeing one of my shots published was just pure joy. I immediately ran out of the house and began to hunt down all the newspaper stands to grab as many as I could.

After calling my mother.

And my brother.

And my sister.

I was so shocked and speechless!



Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Santa's Recycling Center

I realize I spend a lot of time away from J-land. Actually, I am not blogging/journaling all that much anywhere anymore!

But...I was thinking about Christmas cards. I recently read about making a collage out of all your "saved" Christmas Cards. (come on, I know you save your cards too). So, I took it one better and thought I would make some cards from the stash I have accumulated over the years.

One thing led to another and I thought what if I asked if anyone in J-land wanted to be part of a Christmas Card exchange?

It is one of my favorite things....receiving cards, especially at Christmas.

So, e-mail me, or leave a comment and let's see what happens!


This is how it would work. Since Christmas is a week from now, lets give it a December 15 deadline.

I will compile a list of everyones name and addresses and e-mail them to everyone on the list. We each will send everyone on the list a Christmas Card and it does not have to be homemade. (mine will be, but that is because I am a nutcase who has too much time on her hands and should be out looking for a job so I find lots of other things to do to take up my time to ensure I don't have any time to go out and seek employment).

It will be fun! I promise.

Monday, October 8, 2007

To Make A Long Story Short

There have been a lot of ups and downs recently with my Dad. Literally, ups and downs. He has had several episodes where his legs have given out and down he goes. The week before last, he was on the ground three separate times. One found him collapsing on the way into a Wednesday night Mass. My Mother rushed in, waited until a break in the action then proclaimed, "Tom has fallen!" and half the congregation in the back jumped up and ran out to help.

The last straw was when he fell at home and blood was involved.

My Dad is a fighter. He was born premature and not expected to live. 88 years later, here he is continuing to beat the odds.

Considering the "quality of life" not only for my Dad, but for my Mom, it was decided to put in a pace maker. The doctor explained it would not necessarily prolong his life, but it would regulate the heart beat which was falling too low and causing the drop in blood pressure.

When my Dad's health took a turn for the worst four years ago a pace maker was not an option. Considering the improvements of recent medical procedures "they" decided that "out patient' surgery was all that was required to get my Dad up and running again.

It was almost the truth.

I realize that I am not the only one who has to watch their parent fade away. My Dad is a shell of the person he was. He is encased in a body that does not work any longer. He has had strokes that have robbed him of who he is. Who he was.

I sit with him as he watches television in between naps. Anything that is cowboy related, John Wayne especially, he is thoroughly absorbed. I sometimes can catch a glimpse of the person he was, sometimes he makes an observation, or an attempt at a joke. There is a tiny part of him in there.

It was reported that as he lay on the sidewalk in front of the church with his eyes closed, the EMS people finally arrived and standing over him asked if he had passed out or was unconscious.

His startling blue eyes flew open and he commanded them, "Get me the Hell up!"

Not that my Dad ever swore before, actually he never did, he always said that a man who had to resort to profanity was a man who lacked a vocabulary.

I would give anything, anything to have one day, one afternoon, one hour with my Dad the way he was. To have him rebuke me for muttering a profanity. To have him shake his finger in my face and tell me that I was a "FAMILY SURNAME"!! Tohave those moments when he would be telling a story and begin to wind it up by saying, "To make a long story short...."

To hear one more time his white washed WWII stories. To hear the endless supply of, "When I was young...." narratives. What I would give to hear about his light weight fighting career in the army, or to be told about him swimming across the river in New Hampshire, or his days as a number runner in NYC.

When ever his time does come, even though I am beginning to believe he will live to be 100, his long story will indeed be cut too short.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

September Entry

I glance over at the meter thinking it is getting close to my forth year of blogging and I'm's tomorrow. Since the debacle of November 2005 and the subsequent exodus of hundreds of AOL journalers, I have been doing most my blogging elsewhere and only occasionally returning "home".

A few days ago I decided to do some housekeeping in my "favorites" window. I began to delete so many old friends, old friends in the sense that I visited their blogs/journals on a regular basis.

Some names might be familiar...


                 Just One Girls Head Noise

                 Surrounded by Nincompoops

                 A Life in SloMotion

                 Journey to Peace

                 Brand New Day

                 A Pennies Worth

                 Hippies in Yuppieland


                 A Day in the life of Sheila P

                 What a Difference a Day Makes

                 Single Womans Guide to the Universe

                 Trickle of Semi-consciousness

                 Stories from my Ambulance

                 My Elegant Chaos

                 Life as I see it

                 Jukebox Woman

                 The Golden Child

Ahhhh....The good old days!

My other Blog is Just a Hippie Gypsy at Blogger!


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bees & Butterflies

WHAT I SEE - inspired by E. Annie Proulx (Postcards)

Tall majestic trees lining the road called "The Scenic Loop" in Cherokee park reaching upwards for miles and miles creating a ceiling of green diffused light. Dappled blasts of hot light scorch the roadway dancing with each longed for prayed for anticipated breeze. The smallest white butterflies maybe an inch in diameter flit from flower to grass stalk buzzing and looping like a bi-plane, hundreds of them, not banded together like a flock, but scattered throughout the entire loop, everywhere you look for them. Runners go past you avoiding eye contact or a glance in your direction, ignoring you in their misery self-imposed heat stroke hot muggy hell. The walkers smile. I smile back. "good-morning". Bikers are intense. Even the smallest of them, on a small bike with small helmet on small head asks Gramps if he can have one last drink. Hydrating up for the ride. Hydrating up after the ride? I never see them again on the loop. The block stone  monuments on bridges dedicated to those long gone. What remains are small testimonies to a grand life. Why did those punks those hoods knock down and vandalize the bridge? All that remains are the broken pedestal bottoms. The dedication block now cracked in half brought up from the creek and placed behind the large yellow caution barrels. $6000 to anyone with info please come forward. After two weeks it remains, the vandals remain at large. Several other bridges over the dried up creek. Flowers wild flowers everywhere you look. Overwhelmingly yellow. A smattering of purple. A splash of white, a dash of red. Bees buzz butterflies investigate. The statue of Pan on the second hill sits high above a large fountain spurting out a steady stream of greenish water into the basin. Four lion heads grace the base. The spring-spray fountain for children eerily empty of splashing shrieking imps. Too hot for tiny tots? Only for bees and butterflies.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sideways in Indiana


Would you believe that Southern Indiana has a thriving, vibrant Wine Industry? According to the small winery we found, the land mimics the fertile French wine country as well as climate. Who would have thought! The very first ever winery in the United States, back when we were a colony, was in Indiana. Amazing. I checked her history and by-God, it was almost true. The very first winery was around Lexington, Ky and was a dismal failure. The gent moved the operation to Southern Indiana and using a local grape established the first "successful" winery and we are all better for it some 200 years later.

Joe and I decided that we would do our own trail of Wine this week. There are about 20 wineries within one hour of us, so off we went.

Finding Hubers in Starlight was a cinch, since it is only 20 minutes away from us. Look at those fabulous bottles. Once I got home and looked at the photograph did I realize how it the bottle resembles a star lit night! We bought a bottle of Peach Schnapps at Hubers and a bag (or two) of local produce and forged on to Hardinsburg, because it was the furthers out and I thought we would work our way back.

Naturally I brought along no directions, just a list of addresses and a mapquest map that loosely sketched out the area. I had a fleeting thought of grabbing my trusty Indiana Map (it saved my life numerous times in NE Indiana  in my tenure up there), but I have no idea where it is now.

And I thought, like an innocent nincompoop, we have the Garmen.

Hardinsburg is only about 20 miles from Hubers in Starlight. Since I was the co-pilot, one of my jobs was to put the coordinates (aka addresses) in the garmen and then just follow the directions.

You would think that is easy. And in some ways, yes that is easy. Easy if you are on a superhighway and only have to get off at Exit 114 and go .........."end point two miles and turn left, turn left, turn left....recalculating"....... She always wants you to turn onto a one way street the wrong way, or on the on ramp to some highway also the wrong way, or to turn into the town dump because she thinks she knows some short cut obviously the indigenous Indians who first settles this area told her about.

I hate that bitch.

Joe mercifully turned off her power of speech (he has her powered up in an English accent, I guess being bossed around by someone with a slightly foreign accent is more acceptable than the regular computer generated vocals).

Unbeknowest to me, and I do believe he forgot, he also had the option of "avoid all highways" turned on.

It made for an interesting drive.

As I was waving the box around to try and reconnect with the satellite feed (we were deep in hilly country) we missed a turn and she had to recalculate. Not so bad, as we came upon one highway that was a straight stretch to the second winery. But, with all the drama of trying to reconnect, trying to figure out the "big picture" with the Garmin, I lost focus on where we were headed and was surprised as anyone when we passed the Corydon signs and continued on ending up crisscrossing the three streets that make up Hardinsburg looking for the winery road, with Joe supplying the musical accompaniment to the tune of "Deliverance".

It was closed! Dang it.

Back to Corydon to that winery. Back the way we came, though Joe insisted that I fire up that silly Garmin again and follow her route rather than just wing it with the map! We had nowhere to be, we had no time table and so I went along with this foolishness.

Man what a ride. At the time, it was unestablished that Joe had the "avoid major highways" function turned on. We went down, down, down into the country, off the divided two lane highways onto the unlined two lanes, off of those onto the single lane roads, and at times gravel roads. We even landed in a small rail road crossing type township and did a rubber band curve and headed back the way we came on the other side of the highway.

All in all, we panicked and then we found a major intersection and headed into town for the comfort and security of civilization. We found the information center with relative ease, she handed us a map of the county and highlighted the path to the Turtle Run Winery.

As it always happens, when we had emerged from the wilds of Southern Indiana, we were about 1/2 mile from the winery if we had just continued to follow that damn Garmen's instructions.

We had a great visit to the winery and the wine is fabulous. We purchased several bottles and headed home after a long day of adventure. Thanks to the map given us at the Information Center, we were about two miles from Interstate 64, and only 15 miles (give or take) from home.

Next time, I am taking the trusty Indiana map andto hell with MissGarmen.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Shakespeare in the park

Measure by Measure is not my favorite Shakespeare play. No, that would have to be Romeo and Juliet and I do not apologize for that. But when Joe said we could go out and do anything I wanted to do Saturday night, I immediately said, "Shakespeare!"

I sat on the bleachers later that evening, looking at the huge trees that surround the stage, surround us, and wondered exactly how much they had grown since the first time I was seated here, well over 30 years ago.

Odd, those little snippets of memory that remain lodged in our minds, those scrapbooks of still shots that make up a life. During the 1970's I see my brother and I driving up from Lexington to Louisville to meet up with my pal C. at Central park. I can see us sitting on grass left of the stage, on a red blanket.

I see myself during the 1980's dragging my daughter Bridget, who would have been five or six, to the plays. She typically was bored to distraction, but this particular play had sword fighting, and they fought not only on the stage but descended into the crowd and crossed swords in the aisle next to our seats. My feisty daughter jumped up and joined in the fight with an imaginary sword! I'll never forget the actor slightly turning his attention towards this tiny little girl with the blonde hair and swinging arms, smiling and nodding at her.

We were watching an interesting scene where a landlord from the village was accusing someone of running a house of ill repute when out of nowhere one of the local park residents entered the seating area yelling at the top of his lungs with a voice that rivaled the trained actors on stage.




Over and over he repeated himself as he walked to the center of the seating area and plunked down on an empty bench surrounded by

"Us" who were frantically avoiding eye contact and acting as if nothing were strange and unusual. He was two rows in front of us, and several benches over.


I began to wonder if he was going to stop the show or become violent. I worried for nothing, as he got up after 30 seconds into his soliloquy and began to leave the area. Still over powering the actors with this accusation and message to Bush, he stumbled and knocked over a bench. Those sitting behind the bench immediately leaped forward to catch it. It was the only recognition he received from any of us. He began to apologize to those closest, "Sorry, sorry".

As he righted the bench then righted himself he continued his departure, my attitude of alarm gave way to sorrow. I had no money on me, and neither did Joe. I wanted to reach out and shake his hand and palm him a few dollars, but I had nothing.

"BUSH, BUM, HUNGRY" he chanted as he left the area and began to walk back into the recesses of the park, two wary security personnel of the Shakespeare production following him at a respectable distance as he circled the stage. He faded away into the evening, traces of his accusations lingering lightly in the cool night.

My attention focused on the stage production again. As soon as it was intermission, we left.

I had such a heavy heart.

It seemed there was more drama and emotion in the audience than on the stage that evening.

 At least for me.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

You Just Had To BeThere


So family seems to be my big theme this summer. Spending the long long week end in Norris Lake was just the beginning. This has been followed by spending the 4th of July with the Joe family.

If I were an artist I'd include a map that would show you how we got to the 50 acre farm that Joe's brother and SIL recently purchases and renovated. Instead, I'll just drive you down there with a mental picture. You head out of town and dive right into horse country heading down towards Kentucky River on a two lane country road. Around five miles or there abouts, you begin the descent into the Palisades. Deep gorges, wet springs gushing down limestone, dark holes that could be caves, and the limestone cliffs that jump out at you as you steer down the curvy tight road down...down....down into the lush river area. You have to drive on guard, animals are everywhere, deer, turkey buzzards, raccoons and the occasional loose dog. Then, back up the Palisades until you stumble across an even smaller road where you make a left and once again begin to head down, past the 7 Spring Creek crossroad, up a hill and by-God, you're there!

What's great is you have actually arrived at the end of the earth! And in such a place, you can do just about anything you want to do. We chose to strap the babies in very large ATV's and drive all over the farms ridges looking for deer! The children loved it. I wish you could see how adorable the most adorable grand child in the world looked throwing kisses at us as she took off with Grandpa (hahahahah). (I can't get over him being a Grandpa...don't ask what that makes me!)

At the ends of the earth there was a grand fireworks display taking place on the other side of the hill. We climbed to a great spot on our hill to watch the celebration.

I am not kidding when I tell you we are in the middle of no where. I had a great time with my head thrown back watching the sky and being able to pick out satellites traveling across the universe and shooting stars. The night sky is so beautiful when you are not distracted by city lights.

This fire works action went on forever. So long, the children became tired and wanted to return to the house and the refrigerator that was loaded up with Popsicles.

We adults said things to each other such as, "Should we make a beer run?" "Can you believe this?" "Ohhhhhhh.....ahhhhhhhhhhh. Wow!" "This is the grand finale, it has to be!' "This is the grande finale." "This has got to be the grand finale" "Do you think this is the grand finale?" and finally, "What do you think?"...."I think Grand Finale."

It was hysterical and we laughed and behaved accordingly.

And when it was finally really the Grand Finale, we did not move for a long time, afraid to even think it could be, that if anyone actually said, "Grand Finale" out loud, another batch of explosives would be ignited.

It was so funny, but I guess you had to be there.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


I am sick sick sick. Which is kind of funny, because I was never once sick while living in NE IN. It was a joke that maybe only I got. When ever I wanted off early (which you always had to plead your case to the Big Guy) I'd just include that I have never had a sick day unlike my fellow co-workers who were sick all the time.

Some type of twisted irony is about.

I may have to go to an emergency treatment center tomorrow if I still do not feel better. I think I have walking pneumonia. Maybe a strep throat. We'll see.

As I lay in bed unable to sleep and watching endless CNN and KET programs dozing in and out of sleep I wished for my Mommy and the good old days.

If we were ill, feigned or real, we were confined to our bed room and in bed. This was yesteryear, when no room had a tv. computer or anything remotely entertaining except for the radio and books.

The menu for the invalid never varied, chicken noodle soup, crackers, and hot tea served with sugar and milk. Ginger ale for upset stomach. This was delivered to you on a tray, brought to you by a sibling or if it was a school day, your Mother. You'd sit up, prop pillows behind you, tuck your book away and balance the precarious tray on your lap.

If you were really sick, the fever kind, you had a bowl of ice water and alcohol beside the bed and a wash rag soaked and wrung out, placed across your forehead. To this day, nothing is as soothing to me as this old remedy to lower body temperature.

Doctors actually came to your house back then!! Old Doc Parrott, who was old when I was a kid, was the last of his kind. He looked like a parrott. He would come up to the bedroom, take his stethoscope out of his bag and listen to your chest, tap around on your back, check your eyes and ears and then announce your diagnosis.

He missed my brothers once, who had appendicitis, Doc Parrot called it a stomach virus. My brother ended going through a very rough time with that mis-diagnosis!

It was around that time Old Doc Parrrot retired.

When you stayed home from school, you were never alone. My sisters were much younger and constantly under foot when I was in High School. Yet, they made good servants taking care of my every need. Refilling my ginger ale, the ice-alcohol bowl, or just climbing in bed with me for company as I read fan magazines aloud to them.

I want my Mommieeeeeeeeeeee.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Me and my Monkey

I have to tell you the first time in four years of having an online journal and being separated from and distanced from the online community, I didn't care. I did not sweat trying to get on line with the dial up from the Lake House. I did not even think about it once. Not once.

Maybe I am cured.

Cured of what?

You know. I know you know. So, I guess for me, it's four years. Suddenly that crevice is leaped over and life as it should be, maybe once was, resumes.

Blogging, or journaling (as we called it as AOL-J-landers) has been good for me. Actually it goes beyond good, it has made me a better person. Life, my life became an opportunity of circumstances to blog about. And so, I lived my life accordingly. I am, after all, the star of my Blog. I have to look good, be good. I could have been no-good and more than likely, certainly would have had a larger audience...yet, this is me, this is my life, my little piece of the world existence...and I have always been the good girl.

Well, most the time. There was that period from 1969 -1979.

Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey.

Sweet relief.

Monday, June 25, 2007

BOOM BOOM (out go the Lights)

Once again the clan gathers at the Lake House in Tennessee for a long-long weekend of family, friends, a birthday, water fights, Treasure Island, beer and coconut rum, charades, Napoleon Dynamite, sun, tubing, and sun screen. Did I mention beer and a ton of food and fun?

No fireworks. It rained on Saturday. The rain almost cancelled the tubing, but the kids toughed it out and tubed all over the lake. Sometimes in the rain.

But the rain cancelled out fireworks. Darn, the fireworks are the one of the best parts.

Kitsy-Boo and Trouble Maker were in charge of Treasure Island this year. They neglected to make arrangements ahead of time. This includes the making of a map, clues in the form of a pirate poem and of course, hide the pirate loot on Treasure Island.

They went into "town" on Friday and were gone from mid-morning til mid-afternoon. The loot was pathetic! A few rubber animals and a bunch of water balls, about the size of soft balls. These were hung in trees.

Now, the Treasure Hunt has morphed from the early years (we think this is the eight time we have gone down in nine years, we missed one year due to a wedding in the Lake House In Laws family)when it was called Dinosaur Island. Each year it has become bigger and more complicated. Omega's B-I-L made the most incredible map one year, complete with burnt edges and grimy from years floating on the Lake in a bottle to wash in the bay. It was detected by one sharp eyed adult and several kids piled into a canoe (with an adult) and retrieved the old bourbon bottle...(well, we are from Kentucky don't ya know). And they had to follow all the clues after boarding the boat and heading for Treasure Island!

Each year it becomes bigger and better.

One year a bottle of Sammy Hagar's tequila, Cabo Wabo was hidden as an adult "treasure" for the Birthday boy (it is my bro N's birthday, the day after the summer solstice)and one of the very young man-children found it and said, "oh stinky, just an old bottle!" and flung it away. My B-I-L K., who had purchased the delicious expensive elixir, screamed"NOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and made a dive for it. Literally, he threw himself between the ground the the bottle and made an incredible catch.

I was not there to see it, but it is now legend.

This is the type of excitement that the kids are use to. After all these years, they stampede the dock, drag all the floatation devices into the water and immediately begin to ask about Treasure Island.

They waited patiently on the dock for their captain to arrive and once they cast off, the adventure was on!

They were back in less the 20 minutes, every face expressing the disappointment, but all good kids, not one word of dis-satisfaction was uttered. They showed us the loot from the pirate raid, the balls. Then they went to the house for lunch.

Omega looked at the pitiful pile of balls and said, "We can make a great game of this. We can make the kids get on the water trampoline and rafts. The adults can throw the balls at them. We can have one of them the target and have the others defend him. We will pick them off one by one until last man stands."

She did come up with something like that. Believe me.

When the kids returned we explained the game and into the water they went (after a good period of rest after lunch, trust me, there were a lot of Moms there). We practiced , then practiced some more. Suddenly, the game was on!

We threw the balls at them, they horded them, then a barrage of bullets with deadly aim made us scramble. The addition of butterfly nets made perfect ball retrievers. The game continued forever! Side were swapped, some adults became helpers and went it to the water and tossed the balls to the kids on the floats and trampoline.

The TroubleMaker frolicked on the deck shaking his hiney at the kids, "You can't get me!! You can't get me!! You can't hit me!" Boy did those kids love getting him.

Once we arrive down at Lake Norris we have an agenda. It includes Treasure Island. It includes the kids going tubing. It is celebrated with fireworks on Saturday night! And the much anticipated game of Charades.

We added another tradition this year, the Water Fight.

I swear, I never had so much fun! Well, not since I was a kid!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Chirping with the Birdies

For the second morning in a row I am wide awake at 3am.

I have so much on my mind that I suppose a four to five hours sleep is okay as long as supplemented with a nap now and then. I have chosen to wear the mantle of worry not only during my waking hours but allowing it to slip into my slumber time. I naturally am worrying about money and being jobless. I am worried about the amount of boxes that lie in wait for me to open and spill their guts everywhere not certain where anything should go.

I worry about spending our small windfall of refunded closing costs on frivolous things because I have a hard time talking about financial matters with the now sole breadwinner.

His frivolous things. My wants are much more important such as hiring my brother, who has been doing this type of thing for over thirty years, to create bookshelves for the enormous front room. I am determined to not have my books confined to another storage building or the garage. He is not cheap. But I think I will get a family discount.

We need additional furniture. Actually I have been having a great time reading and looking through Architectural Digest and similar publications to broaden my ideas regarding decorating a home. The trend towards outdoor living space is intriguing! I mentioned to Joe that I was considering planting some trees (we have no shade in the back yard) and was met with....lets say, the reason I am not sleeping in a normal pattern is because it is times like these that you realize how polarized two people can be.

The house makes strange noises. I was awakened by some distinct roaring coming from the furnace and water heater closet. And their is a third large water containing looking thingie in there. It was the cause of the roaring. I have no idea what it is??

The garbage is supposedly collected in the morning, and needless to say, we have a mountain of garbage! No one has their garbage at the curb as of last night!! I am on garbage alert this morning. Me and the birdies.

I'll end out dragging it all to the edge of the driveway as soon as the light of day breaks and I can see the morning landscape of the neighborhood. Perhaps it is just less garbage attentive than what we are accustomed to. I do have a grass clipping problem here that has yet to be resolved. It will not be collected in plastic bags. I searched several Walmarts (the store I love to hate and hate to love)for paper recyclable bags...they don't have them.

"How do you get rid of your grass clippings in J-ville?" (I am the only person in the world who calls it J-ville).

"I live in Sellersberg."

I turned to the lady who had unsuspectingly rolled her cart towards the check out counter in lawn and garden, "Pardon me, but how do you rid yourself of your grass clippings?"

"I live in Floyds Knob." (damn it!!) "But when I lived in Jeffersonville, I had a compost behind the garage." (damn it!)

I'm going to have to dump all the bags of yard refuse into several cardboard boxes for the collection guys.

No wonder I can't sleep.

The house makes funny noises.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mishaps & Miss-Communication

The Grandbaby was sooooo cute. She was dancing for us, showing off her dancing shoes. She was chasing the dog and petting her, "Daug!" Throwing her tiny head back and laughing. Showing us her boo-boo's. Her plump little sandal clad legs with scabs on both knees. She showed us her "mean" face, which was a scrunched up adorable growling face.

She was precious pretending like she was holding a conversation on a cell phone. Ahh, there never was a cuter 19 month old.

Then she flung my phone on the tile floor and danced away.

My phone was dead. There was no reviving it. No matter how many times I turned it on and off, it did nothing but give me a feeble blink.

I headed to the Cingular store first thing this morning and checked out all the selections of newer phones, much newer than my two year old dinosaur! Incredible what those little power tools can do now. MP3 players, Internet, Blackjack, bluetooth, blackberry, miniature tv's...endless.

I chose a simple MotoRazr...gotta say "Hello Moto".


'Cause I have a grandbaby who is prone to flinging things.

As he was trying to see what could be salvaged from the trusty little Moto phone I began to tell him about Hurricane Wilma and being in Cancun trapped in a school house with a category four storm raging around us. 20 strangers thrown together by circumstance and karma. I told him how the next morning we found that my Motorola cell phone with Cingular service was the only phone that would work amidst the destruction and chaos.

I told him how our group was so diverse and international. That motorola phone called Denmark, England, Chicago, Switzerland, LA and Texas.

How that phone connected us to the outside world with whom Cancun was totally cut off from. How my Mom told us that CNN reported we were in the eye of the storm and had another night of the back side of Wilma!

I told him how my phone bill was about $300 bucks but it was worth every damn penny.

"You should tell them. That is an incredible story."

As I was gathering up my new phone and box and receipt for the rebate he picked up the old Motorola and smiling handed it to me.

"She's history, she needs to go home with you."

How true.

Monday, June 11, 2007





I thought with the closing and the joy of moving back to the South...well, still technically a Hoosier, but only by one mile, things would be on the total upswing.


Someone is angry with me, and that makes me clean. Or drink. In this case, clean and drink. And thank God for small favors, one of the two appraisers for the house in Indiana came this afternoon while I was in the middle of a Pina Colada cleaning frenzy.

I think it went okay. I conveniently stood the the left of the missing pantry doors to draw his eyes away from the gaping hole. It worked. He remarked how beautiful the cupboards looked considering they are original. "A German Sister-in-Law and lemon oil. She convinced me of the necessity of rubbing them down works!"

He took video. God, I hope some sharp eye doesn't notice the pantry. He went out into the back yard and included the landscaping and beautiful flower beds. One of the neighbors came over and put in a good word about the neighborhood.

Tomorrow the movers come to take us away. Forever.

So final, isn't it. Forever.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Retracing Footsteps

Or.....You may be a lover but you ain't no dancer

I am on the campus of the University of Louisville for the first time in nearly 17 years. I came seeking a computer and here I am. In the library I spent so many hours pre-computer days, seeking reference material for papers, studying and having group meetings for class assignments.

I thought I might have trouble finding my way around the school grounds, but it was not a problem. The Business School is right where it was before, 17 years ago a big new building, today it still it still is very modernistic with wonderful! I had forgotten.

I walked past many of the buildings I took classes in and remembered the rush to arrive on time, since I was one of new breed of "non-traditional" students that UofL catered to, allowing us to earn a degree while attending classes in the evening.

Nothing ground breaking now, but back then, it was catering to the needs of your customers. There were more students in the night classes than day classes back then.

And here I am, in the vicinity of the most embarrassing moment of my life (well, one of them at least) when I was wearing this new spaghetti strap red checkered summer dress with a large skirt that would let you spin round and round and you would look like a dancer. Or a nut case. Either way, the back of the dress was stuck in the back of my panties after a trip to the bathroom.


I can laugh now. I was mortified them.

All seems to be lined up for the closing tomorrow. I am breathing easy today.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


This weeks Sunday Scribblings Submission

Being a Baby Boomer means that millions of us share similar childhoods in the 1950's and 1960's. It seemed like there were kids in every nook and cranny all over every neighborhood. All of us were outside in the afternoons, swarming in packs divided by age and sex.

We all had younger brothers and sisters who wanted to tag along. The common command given by the General (your Mother) was, "Watch your younger brother!!" Which you would reluctantly obey, keeping him in the corner of your eye as he played in dirt and made mud pies hoping that he would try to eat one so that you could go slap it out of his hand. Or have him tag along so that when you needed to know if there was hostile animals in the brush at the base of the jungle, you sent him in first. And the best, send him unsuspecting to someones front door to see if So and So could come out to play, knowing full well So and So was under "house arrest" for some crime, like talking back, and not allowed to come out and play. He was good for chasing down errant kick ball shots, and running home for some forgotten "tool" to be snuck out of the garage (like the hedge clippers).

When he would graduate from tricycle to bicycle, he would be made to stand command and watch over the bikes lined up in front of Giles store, so that no one would inadvertently come along and knock them over. For his services, he might get a piece of penny candy, or a ten cent ice cold pop from the Pepsi machine in the front of the store.

When the afternoon began to turn into evening, when our Dad's began to arrive home and the traffic in the streets began to pick up, our Mom's would step on the front porches of our homes and begin to call us home for supper.

Their voices could carry over from one block to the next.

"Your Mom's calling you!"

Mrs. S was the best, because she bellowed! We all would snicker when she called in Tommy and Debbie. I can here it now still in my minds audio replay, ...


We would scamper home, disappearing into those warm inviting homes to a hot meal waiting for us, homework and bed.

The next day we did it all over again.

The only terrorist we had in our midst was the teenager Torchie King, who terrorized our mothers with his red hot rod, which he would tear down the kid lined street at 50 miles per hour throwing dirt and rocks and having us all running for cover.

Back, back, back many years ago when life for a kid was that simple.

Friday, May 25, 2007


The way I have lived my life for the past two years in North East Indiana has certainly been altered and there is more to come.

I was having my hair done last night and I was telling him how people were telling me how great my hair looked, "Of course you told them that you have a new man in your life! Your Hairdresser!!"

And it only took me a year and a half up here to find him. Damn. Now I have to start all over. Where will I ever find someone to sing Herman Hermit songs to me while styling my hair?

Last year, at the very end of the summer, I discovered the 'Botanical Roots Outdoor Concert Series' every Friday night beginning in late July in the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. We were able to attend only one in the series because we found out about it so late. Yet, the experience left me yearning for more. A $5 entry charge and you have the conservatory, which smelled divine and intoxicating, several bands playing, and beer and wine! Does it get any better than that? The outside garden patio was alive with people from all generations including families.

And dancing!

I have a new crush too that I will be bidding adieu in several weeks. It is the greeter at the small neighborhood hardware store, Patterson's Do-It-Best. In the past weeks I have run in there knowing he is stationed at the entrance to say, "Hello! Welcome! Can I help you find anything?"

"I need to have a key made."

"Certainly.....FRED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Help this young lady out!"

And, they have a special section of the store, in the East corner, under a decorated grape arbor, devoted to wine and beer making! I have been saying to myself every time I run in there, "Hell! Mary! You need to buy one of those kits and get Mr. Paterson to teach me how to make strawberry wine."

I'm running out of time. I simply am running out of time.

I have a million things to do as I play hookie from work this afternoon, but the first thing I am going to do when I lift my butt away from this computer is to run to the Hydroponic store on Wells Ave. I first became aware of this small hole in the wall store front on early morning television. A grandma and grandpa type standing proudly in front of their menagerie of plants telling of the marvels of growing indoor tomato plants in water! I think they are aging hippies who are in the know. I must find out.

When I finally got there during their business hours (beginning at noon) they were closed due to "an emergency". The hand written note was taped to the front door. I fretted that one of them had taken a fall or worse.

The Shipshewana Flea Market opens up this week-end I believe. Anyway, it's a place I have been dying to go, since I am one of the worlds best stuff collector. Oddly enough, the only days you can go are like Tuesday-Thursday. Why are they not opened during the tourist driving week-end? I have been told, they could not handle the crowds.

Before I hand over the car, the car keys and that magic gas card, I'm getting over there this week!

Once again, I am running out of time.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Frugal Daughter

How did I live to be this ripe old age and avoid setting foot in a Bed Bath & Beyond until today?

I wish I could have put it off longer. But I am in desperation mode. I had already been to some of my favorite bargain stores to find a Comforter for the bed. Tuesday Morning had some gorgeous things, but it was the first store and I didn't know any better at the time.

The wall of comforters at Value City was enormous. Up to the ceiling. I could not grab the attention of any staff working the floor, so I found a step ladder and got it myself! That certainly should have brought the staff running, but nay.

Once I got it home, the package marked Queen was not a Queen. It was some weird size, maybe a Queen size in Lilliput but not at the Maryrosa. So I took it back.

That's how I ended up at BB&B.

Christ, what an intimidating place! Too many choices! Too many things I had no idea what they were!

What the hell is a duvet cover? Is it like a table cloth for a bed? I examined the pseudo bed on display and the cover was fat and plush. It contrasted with the flat small package I held in my hand ($129). "How does it become big and fluffy" I turned the package over and over seeing if I needed to add water or what!! (like those magic sponges).

I was hesitant to take it out of the package because I had already taken a curtain "scarf" out of the package to ascertain why it would be $69.99 when the panels were only $19.99. Wouldn't one purchase a third panel and make do? When I tried to stuff it back into the plastic bag I realized it was not going to be pretty!

I hid it on the bottom shelf behind some other stuff.

I finally ran across an all inclusive set, comforter, shams and skirt and not a moment too soon as I was feeling my face begin to flush from the sheer absurdity of myself in such a store.

I have too much of my frugal Mother in me.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My Thoughts Runneth Over

Driving down State Blvd. this morning I was watching a slew of kids walking to the High School. My first thought was this, "It's 945am!! What time do these kids go to school?" I began reminiscing about getting to high school, I believe it began around 8am and I think we got out around 3pm.

That sounds about right,doesn't it?

I wish I could have a conversation with my Dad about those mornings dashing to the Catholic High School they forced me to go to in another city. Me and Dad are far beyond those conversations as he is almost totally deaf and suffering from Alzheimer's. I could write him a message about it, but he would read it and only look puzzled and confused and frustrated and shake his head no. "No, I do not remember taking you and your brothers to Lexington each morning for school." That's what I would receive, a terse head shake.

(God I miss my Dad)

But, I remember. And my brothers remember.

My mother standing at the bottom of the staircase that led up to the dormer that was the bedrooms for my brothers and myself.

"Time to GET UP!!"

Moaning and groaning, "Five more minutes." I would wail and cover my head with a pillow. No doubt I had been up half the night listening to the radio, reading unauthorized books (Peyton Place, Valley of the Dolls, Joy in the Morning, The Crowd and the such, heady stuff for a Catholic school girl). My Mother, the librarian, encouraged reading but mainly Lives of the Saints and Alice in Wonderland type stuff, she would have died if she knew what I was able to check out of the library(....before computers, Thank God!).

If I wasn't staying up reading in the huge closet where she could not see the light still on, I was perched on the bottom stairs watching tv in the reflection of the front door. HA!! HA!! HA!! She never knew about that!

And so it would go for about a half hour or so, "GET UP!! You leave in five minutes."

I'll never know how I did it, being a self conscious teenager and all. But I would pull those rollers out of my head, brush my teeth (God I hope so), apply a thin application of Maybelline eyeliner, the kind that you licked the brush and swirled it in the cake, throw on my uniform. Never a worry about what to wear, because it was always the same, navy pleated shirt, white blouse, and navy sweater, white bobbie socks with saddle oxfords, or knee highs with Bass Weejuns. They had to be Bass Weejuns.

I would stumble downstairs and head to the door where my father and my two brothers and the two other kids who car pooled in the morning, Brian and that Drury kid, would be waiting in the car, in the driveway with the car running and my Dad revving the engine.

Miraculously I would have my school books and a cup of coffee, that was breakfast for me and barely have the door shut before my Dad was already backing out the driveway.

He was late for work everyday for four years.

I remember him shaking his head and smiling about that.

He use to remember what a handful I was.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


I had a brilliant idea several years ago, right before making the monumental and life altering move to North East Indiana. I am an avid reader of the independent newspaper scene. Lexington has ACE, Indianapolis has NUVO, Cincinnati has CIN, and Louisville has LEO ("the Louisville eccentric observer, keep Louisville weird"). I believe I have picked them up in Dayton and Cleveland too. I know they flourish everywhere because they are just that, eccentric observation.

What does Fort Wayne have? They have WHATZUP. Different from the above mentioned papers that it is much smaller in the sense of less pages and scope, totally focusing on music/movies/video games with the occasional article about cultural events.

Being the naive visionary that I use to be, I contacted them about a possible series of articles focusing around a new comer arriving in Ft. Wayne and what they discover about the city documenting their observations. I pitched it as Stranger in a Stranger Land.  I was trying to appear clever.

It did not work out and I have mixed feelings about their rag ever since.

It would have been perfect. I would have told these type of stories.

It was nearing the time to purchase my Mom a box of chocolates. In the past it was a simple task, running to the nearest candy store and picking up a box of her beloved Bourbon Balls. Bourbon Balls do not exist above the Mason-Dixon Line unless they are smuggled.

Time to find a new candy store.

The most popular and well advertised store is DeBrand. The stores are simple to find, at the airport and in a stand alone store front on a main artery leading to the interstate.

It is beautiful chocolate presented and packaged similar to Godiva Chocolates.

I was hesitant because no prices were marked and I tentatively chose a 1/2 pound box to test the waters.

Holy S***! I was too embarrassed to cancel the order, so I paid it in stunned silence and left the store.

(Now I see why WHATZUP wouldn't want my observations! lol!!)

Sometime later I ran across Abby Browns Chocolate Shop. This little store front sits on another well traveled main drag in town. After I first noticed it, as Chocolate does have a habit of jumping from the clutter of the annoying barrage of advertisements that we become immune to, I knew I had to get in there and check it out.

It was worth the effort of figuring out where to park. (Right under the "for Library Patrons Only" sign)and marching into the intoxicating smell of thick dark chocolate. Here, on the shelves lining the walls, were simply wrapped boxes with price points clearly visible.

The lady behind the counter is the same lady every time I go in. The same lady I have long conversations with about this and that, this last time the Kentucky Derby where she advised me to go on line to pick my horse because the OTB parlor would be too packed for man or beast. ( is she ever right!!I ventured up there last year!).

I got several boxes of treats (my Mom and Aunt M.), a 1/4 pound of fudge (I am going to start that diet soon) and decided against my weakness, the Licorice Allsorts, because I am still a little sick from the last time I devoured a bag of them.

After my "You're a Mother" discount of 15%, less than $30.00

I'm going to miss Miss Abby.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I've Been A Bad Girl Today



My camera accompanied me today on the trip to Ohio. I began to document the area I have been calling home for the past two years. The above photo is typical of US 24 and the agonizing long drive to Defiance on the two lane highway that the trucks use as their main passage from Ft. Wayne to Toledo.

As luck would have it, a train came along and made the trip that much longer.

And the sun did not shine until much later in the day.

I decided that I was not in the mood to work. Imagine that! So I came home and did yard work. Some people may call it playing hookie, I call it my lunch break.

It rained again yesterday. Our back yard has yet to be mowed due to the saturation level and spongy quality of the ground. There use to be an in ground swimming pool back there. It will take a bush hog to get the grass cut if I wait much longer.

The weeds came up easily enough. If only dandelions were accepted flowers, I would have the greenest thumb on the block. I think the rose bushes are dead. I have no idea what went wrong! If I looked at something long enough and was not certain if it is flower or plant I figure it's a weed and up it comes. I hope I'm not pulling up too many perennials.

I went to the best Garden Center in our area, Mains, and purchased three hanging plants and several begonias for the front of the house. It looks fantastic!

On a sad note, the tree in the front yard, the beautiful majestic ancient tree that stands guard over our entry way is causing havoc with the drive way. I am to replace it, (the driveway that is), which does not make me a happy camper. The estimates I am hearing are making me sick. Not only the cost, but that they will have to damage the trees root system to lay a new driveway.

"But that will kill the tree!" I exclaimed

"You're moving, what do you care?"

I care a lot. The tree makes this house stand out, as does the beautiful landscaping Beth did and I have just about ruined. That tree makes this house special.

That Tree Killer just does not get it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


..... or No Man Is An Island for Long

You would think that being in a customer service/sales environment I would be interacting with people all day every day. And perhaps I am, but it has been like living a surreal dream.

I recently acknowledge that I have been just going through the motions, cast in this role of  Southern Belle adrift in the corn fields of the American Heart land. I have made few, if any, friends. Just a few acquaintances as I do my time up here.

The past few weeks have been a wind whirl of activity. Meeting with inspectors, appraisers, Realtors, plumbers and in the immediate future more Realtors, electricians, and concrete people! It's impossible to operate as if I am submerged underwater moving in slow motion with deliberate squirming. I have emerged from the deep end and have climbed the ladder to the top of the high board where I take dive after dive after dive. And the occasional back flip.

The Realtor who is going to sell this house is a character. Already I know that she is going to be great for me. Not only as the agent for my home, but as someone I can lean on, ask questions without feeling like a nim-rod, and she has already offered to help me do the fix up work, if needed!

No man is an island, and I have tried to not become attached to anyone nor anything in this area. I do not think I started out that way, but it evolved.

I'm climbing back up the ladder for a huge swan dive right now.


Friday, April 27, 2007

It Ain't Shakespeare

Something today reminded me of a similar occurrence two years ago when I was readying the house in Kentucky to go on the market. It involved a trip to the hardware store and the drive home. We had picked up a sheet of drywall that proved too large to fit into the car!

Oh nay! We made it fit! Laying it flat, extending the length of the inside of the car, including half the front seat. We drove home sitting on the edge of the seat, hunched forward with the dry wall resting against the back of our necks. Any quick stops and we would have been decapitated. We laughed the entire drive.

Not that I drove around on the brink of beheading myself today, but I did make a trip to the hardware store to purchase plumbing supplies. I had to return and exchange a do-hickey as I allowed the clerk to help me choose the right thingy but the wrong size. I almost had to go back again because I once again allowed them to give me the right size, but wrong thingy. Not being a plumber, I was clueless but my plumber kept rolling his eyes at the ineptitude of today's Hardware Clerks.

Which brings me to the secondary subject of today's essay....I went to my hand written journal from 2005 looking for an entry about that drive from Home Depot. I searched in vain. Yet, I had the most fascinating half hour of reading. My writing style, the ease and flow! It was incredible. I must have been writing every day .... about nothing! Just my observations, feelings, fears, thoughts, selling the house in KY and the long drives to this strange land called North East Indiana.

Why did I stop? Not that I ever really stopped, it just tapered off to an entry here and then one there. I stopped examining things around me. I stopped looking for things to describe and wonder about. Also I have stopped looking through the lens of my camera.

Recently I have had the urge to write write write again. And maybe in time I will regain the flow and the ease. I long to pick up the camera again and not be self conscious. Why I am so self conscious up here is beyond me. Maybe it has something to do with my malaise.

I stopped looking and there by stopped seeing.

As I prepare to leave, I want to document this fascinating area so I will always remember my time here.

The beauty that is here if one just looks for it.

I sat in the parking lot of a Menards struggling with a hand held computer that was crashing on me. I looked out the window in a snit of frustration when a family of four Amish came walking through the parking lot. A tiny girl-child dressed in an exact replica of her mothers outfit. Little white bonnet, short legs in thick stockings, calf length dress and over coat, walking quickly with determination to keep up with her parents and sibling.

Very few places on this earth that you could witness such a beautiful sight. was raining.