Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Sitting in Bob Evans worrying about my failing memory. I'm always thinking about the loss of those tiny moments, small conversations, quiet spaces and many non-earth shattering occurrences of my life. Where have they gone? Do they still hold residence in my brain? Behind doors closed with the locks of marijuana abuse and alcohol residues?

If someone, some mad scientist, inserted a mind probe and gently, please ever so gently, poked...would I be able to recall in vivid detail faded recollections from ...say the summer of 1974? What was I feeling, hoping for, dreading? Where was I in terms of self-awareness, self-destructiveness, self-esteem, self-development, self-reliance, self-examination, selfishness, selflessness?

I think of 1974 because I am drinking coffee out of a small ceramic breakfast mug and finishing off the remains of a $7.89 breakfast at Bob Evans and recalling the $0.99 plate breakfast at a little old Hole in the Wall off campus in Murray Kentucky, called the Hungry Bear.

I have vivid vague memories of the place, usually because I was in the throws of a magnificent hang-over. The diner was right across the street from the Sig-Ep house, of which I was a Little Sister and beyond that, a constant visitor. Not only the Sig-Eps hung out there, but everyone else including, but not limited to,....straights, freaks, GDI's, frat boys, jocks, hippies, do-gooders, Bolio's, grad students, professors, drunks, flunkies, Narc's, sorority chicks, bootleggers, Viet Nam vet's, ROTC, police, police wanna bees, drug addicts, Homecoming Queens, locals, barefoot, long hair, no hair, motor cycle riders, punks, pot heads, sweeties, jerks, hoods, car thieves, drug smugglers, artists, crazy people and their girlfriends, and those people from New Jersey.

Besides the $0.99 cent menu the biggest attraction was the mangy stuffed bear in the corner...a real bear once....Complete with teeth revealing snarl and extended arms with the four inch claws!


Before it was the Hungry Bear, it was a B-B-Q place called the Saucy Pig. Considering the clientele, the name was constantly bastardized to "The Hungry Pig" or "The Saucy Bear". More often than not it was referred to as either "The Pig" or "The Bear"...as in, "Let's go to the Pig".

We'd sit bleary eyed, eating our $0.99 cent specials, drinking our bottomless coffee and stating at that stuffed bear.

The same meal is now $7.89 at Bob Evans.

And a darn good price for 30 year old memories. Much less expensive than a brain probe from a mad scientist, more than likely an ex-customer of the Pig.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Yesterday I had my doubts about coming up with ten things. I thought, maybe four or five. This is the magic and beauty of the exercise! Once you let your mind wander through the days of the previous week trying to focus and pinpoint the good things...guess what, not only did I unearth four or five I came up with over then things.

1) Got a raise! Yea!! And an excellent review. They don't know me very well yet. HA!

2) Had to go see the Doctor at the immediate care center and really lucked out! Got a woman and got in and out in under an hour. And...got good drugs. lol!!

3) Found a terrific antique/flea market in Ft. Wayne. Spent an enjoyable lunch hour browsing through all the old photographs, books, magazines, dresses, paintings, furniture, toys...the list was endless.

4) Spent all week-end in my yard gussying it up. One thing about Ft. Wayne, everybody takes pride in their yards. I planted a lot of summer bulbs in the back and have some blooms for the front. Some gladiolus in honor of my Grandmother who never smiled.

5) I finished The Beast...a 250 page handwritten personal journal that I have laboring in for a year and a half. It was one of those experiences where at the beginning it was all exciting and stimulating and at the end it was "GOSH, will it ever end." And it did. Never again. Only those mousy 100 or 150 page deals from now on.

6) Took a trip (work related) to upper Indiana and bought three bottles of fabulous raspberry wine from Satex Winery in Angola.

7) I ran in the 5K Mastodon Stomp several weeks ago and signed up so late that all the T-shirts were gone! Because of my work connection with the establishment that sponsored the race I was able to receive one!! It came in the mail on Friday. Unexpectedly! The best kind of packages.

8) Joe gave me an unexpected gift this week, a beautiful pink golf shirt/sweater. I am so lucky to have him in my life.

9) Reality TV. I just love it. I only watch three shows on TV, two of them are reality. The other is The Soprano's...which I love too. But the Reality...geez! Amazing Race is now on at a time I can remember and stay up for. I loved the couple Lake and Michele, not sure where they are from but those Southern Accents were music to my ears. Too bad they were eliminated last week. I don't know, it just tickled me to hear them go at it with each other. Especially when he said, "Bitch, Shut-up" in that high pitched Southern Accent. You had to be there. Does not translate to the written word.

10) The last thing is just a thought, a seed that my sister Kit planted last week at the family gathering to celebrate Easter. Seems there is a couple somewhere up north who decided to try for a year to diminish their dependency on consumerism. She is going to grow her own vegetables, only purchase clothes second hand....etc.etc.etc. They will only purchase the absolute necessities. Wine is consider a necessity. (the husband) I find it very intriguing and wonder if I could cut my consumption in half.....could I do it?

I did give up alcohol for six weeks...except for those times the Bishop gave us Irish a dispensation.

I know I have the will power, do I have the desire??

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven

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Several days ago I stopped at a park and enjoyed the spring time weather. There was a rather large pond made complete with at least twenty ducks and geese. No, it was made complete with two older women attending a young girl child and her small training wheeled bicycle.

Being alone, I was able to just sit and enjoy the sunshine and people watch. Besides the young girl and her custodians, there was a middle age couple desperately in love. Not that they were smooching or openly fondling each other, but very gentle and holding hands, bodies always touching. Young love in the bloom.

Another lone character who was slowly walking the perimeter of the pond. Perhaps searching for the best spot to cast a fishing line?

It was a gorgeous day and we all celebrated it in our little peaceful realms of togetherness with nature.

The couple offered the little girl a handful of soft bread from the loaf they had retrieved from the car. All walked to the small dock on the pond, perfect and intended for duck feeding.

A flood of memories poured over me as the little girl, clad in a pink jacket tossed the bread over the railing into the waiting crowd of now noisy grouped fowl crying for the crusts of bread.

Bridget must have been around two years old. The jacket she is wearing above is the jacket she was wearing that fateful day we went to Cave Hill Cemetery off Bardstown Rd.

Going to the cemetery and feeding the ducks in the murky and muck ridden pond was one of her favorite things to do. We would first go to the day old bread store and purchase for dimes several loafs of stale bread. She would be so excited on the short drive. Being winter, I would bundle her up in several layers into that blue jacket along with mittens.

She was so excited that as I "unleashed" her from the car she began to run at full reckless two year old speed down a small hill towards the pond. Once I realized she was out of control I went after her.

In one tiny gloved hand, outstretched towards the ducks in the pond, was a lone slice of bread.

She never slowed down.

Over the lip of the grey limestone lined rim into the pond she went! With me giving chase behind her. She was up to her waist in the muck. What relief! I had no idea how deep the pond was going to be and had no hesitation of going in after her. Instead I just grabbed her and yanked her back out.

Still with the bread outstretched in her hand.

At the time it was not funny. 23 years later its a priceless memory.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


I sent my best buddy Deb a card this week and wrote all about the Papa John 10 Mile Race last week-end.

I knew that in her minds eye she was able to see me, an over weight 50+ woman, stripped down to a sports bra because the weather was toooooo hot, much warmer than anticipated. If anticipated, would have worn something more appropriate. Then I would have avoided the shock of seeing the pictures they send you via e-mail, in the hopes you will purchase documentation of being part of the race. What I saw was overweight white skin shining under the glaring sun, flab rolling over my tight running pants (also inappropriate for the weather...but would have been okay if my t-shirt did not have to be removed). I practically fell off the computer chair when I saw this abomination!

Good Lord, how did I arrive at this lowly state.

Since I did not practice, I was once again astonished at how hard it is to walk 10 miles! Especially when you are at least 20 pounds over weight and your hands and feet are swelling. I was being passed by everyone...everyone. Not to make any excuses, but my feet were killing me.

If only I could rip those shoes off and finish the last five miles bare foot, I would have done it. But having to carry the shoes would have done me in too.

Every step was torture.

I finished out of 4700 people, in the last batch of 300. Thank God there was pizza left. I limped to my car and immediately ripped those shoes off and examined my digits. They were so tender I could not touch them!

Several days later, they became big black and blue cartoon character toes.

I must concede that my running days are over, or I must loose weight, presumably by running.

God forbid I try eating correctly.

I am actually tempted to purchase the pictures as motivation.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Looking Back

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The interesting fact about this photo is that it is the only one I have ever seen of my Grandmother (bottom left) and all her grandchildren. Well, all the grandkids at the time. Missing are only my youngest brother P, my two sisters, and two of my cousins. All yet to be born. I would guess the year is 1956. Can you find me?

Never again were we all together for a photo. Our family moved to Kentucky. We were the only faction of the family to leave New York. Others followed, but much later.

Several times after this frozen moment we could have gathered together as a clan and smile for the camera. It never happened. It was not due to distance, we got together for several weddings before Grandma passed. It was due to my cousin (the cute blonde on the couch tickling one of the babies) marrying an Italian and "killing" my grandmother.

If she refused to go to one wedding, she could not go to any others.

As I look at this photo I am startled as I realize Grandma is smiling! As a child I never remember her smiling. I was scared to death of her.

My mother was the apple of her eye. She was mad at my mother also, for marrying my father. The reason? Because his sister is an albino and she was convinced the gene would transfer to one of us kids.

All the sisters and the one sister in law look so young, so happy. Tragedy, the step-sister to Life, had yet to reach out and touch them. To remind them that there are a lot more tragic things waiting for them than Italians.

Germans were okay. Not Italians.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The New Camera

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If I resize the photo down to about 1/3 of the original, it is doable.

Even though I had them looking directly into the sun, I love the sly smile on Bridget's face.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Things Good This Week Ten!!

"Homer no function well beer without." Homer Simpson.

1) I made it through Lent and kept the no alcohol fast for over six weeks. That first Blue Moon tasted like....well, the best thing in the world!

2) The beautiful full moon this past week. It seemed so close to the earth as it set in the western sky that I could almost reach up and touch it.

3) Had an excellent week at work!

4) The Papa John 10 miler race is behind me. I finished in a very humiliating time and my poor feet were killing me. I came prepared to participate in 60 degree weather and it was in the damn 80's! Thought I was going to keel over.

5) Spending Easter with my family.

6) Shopping with my daughter Bridget, she is a trip.

7) A cookie run for DUNKERS (cranberry kind with icing!!) at Trader Joes in Indianapolis. I have everyone hooked on them at work.

8) While traveling down I-65 towards Louisville late Friday night, there was a tremendous lightening thunder tornado storm behind me. I was about 30 miles ahead of it. Thank God! It lit up the sky in breathtaking fashion for hours.

9) Going to lunch on the now fashionable Frankfort Ave and finding that an Easter parade was going on! We traversed the road blocks and found a parking spot on a side road very close to the restaurant! And added to that, we had a great spot to watch the parade.

10) Using my new camera at our family gathering resulted in some fabulous pictures. I am truly amazed at the differences. I have not figured out how to load up the pictures via Photobucket without them ending up in gargantuan proportions! But I will.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


I was not a huge Seinfeld fan. George was my favorite. I guess I felt I had a little more of George in me than Jerry. One of the funniest episodes was when George decides that from here on out, he is going to do the exact opposite of what he would normally do!! Or say.

Ever since seeing that episode I have been tempted now and then to do the opposite of my normal routine!

It seems that I, like George, seem to have good things happen to me when I do the exact opposite of what I would normally do.

To my delight, I read yesterday in a trippy astrological newsletter that I subscribe to, but never read (the exact opposite of my normal routine)some interesting stuff.

I paraphrase....

If you want to have a happier life and feel better about yourself, just turn your back on reality! The higher your expectations, coupled with an unrealistic positive attitude and unfounded optimism, you are just more likely to accomplish great things in life!!

So,I'm being George the past several days! I'm not allowing myself to feel fat, or old, or unmotivated. I'm feeling the opposite, Sexy and a force to be reckoned with.

It has been fun and paying off in diamonds.

A very serendipitous two days searching for the universal password.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Once again!! Has a week flown by already!! Lisa has inspired me to keep track, usually in my head, the things that have made this week special. So, here we go...

1) Thanks to Netflix, I saw Walk the Line and CRASH. Both were really excellent movies, but CRASH...certainly the best movie I have seen in some time. If it had not won the academy award, I more than likely would have missed this superb movie.

2) After years of resistance (why????) I am reading THE DAVINCI CODE...and can't put it down.

3) Went to my bosses house for a barbecue on Saturday! We all sat around and watched the guys play ping-pong and ate Snickers Salad. I got the recipe! Divine.

4) My long lost gal pal C. sent me a belated birthday gift. Unexpected and lovely. The best kind of gifts!

5) Found the "Where I'm From" template for writing a poem. It was moving and emotional and a terrific self-examining experience. I can not wait to share it with my family and see the poetry they come up with!

6) Suddenly, overnight, I see yellow daffodils everywhere!!

7) At work, we are approaching our manic period (runs till October there abouts) and I am becoming acquainted with some fun accounts! Yea!! Minor League baseball clubs, little leagues, golf courses etc. etc. etc.

8) Went to the local comedy club, Snickerz, and had a blast! Found out I have passes at work and that means.....I can go whenever I want! Oh, how I love to laugh.

9) Finally being able to go out into the yard and do yard work!! This year, my yard is going to be a masterpiece. (hahahah!!!)

10) Joe came home!! This was the best of the week's events. I enjoyed the quiet and peacefulness, but I missed him more. Guess I would trade all that for him!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Women in my Family

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The Greatest Generation

I have a large box of photographs that my mother gave to me several years ago. The box contains the key to the past as long as it is passed on. I can look at the above photograph and know exactly who each little person is though the year must be around 1930. My daughter will know who each of the young children is, but will her children?

My mother is the youngest on the right. It is astonishing how much my sisters youngest resembles my Mom. Uncanny.

My Aunt Pat is on the left. My mom was born a year to the day to Aunt Pat. They shared a birthday. Aunt Pat was a major Tomboy in her day. She was a baseball fanatic and could pop off statistics memorized from the back of baseball cards like nobodies business. She was a beauty and married an Irishman who my Grandmother brought home for her. Funny, but true.

Aunt Maura is in the middle, the eldest. I am named after her and she is my Godmother. Maura is a nickname for Mary. In our family, so is Mollie! Maura left home at 18 and married a German!! I wonder if Grandma ever got over that. As the eldest, Maura was responsible for running the household because Grandma worked days as a nurse.

More about Grandma later.

Maura left home as quickly as possible. She is a fabulous cook, a highly regarded party giver, and most recently had cataract surgery because she was having trouble driving at night and it was interfering with her night life.

Uncle J., her German husband, died in 1982 of a heart attack. He died in her arms. He was tooling around in the garage, and she sensed something was wrong. She found him on the floor.

We all miss Uncle J. to this day. When ever we gather together, we talk about him and how big of a void in the family he left.

She remarried in 1995. They are quite a couple. He is about 95! He came over and ate at her house every night and she decided it would be easier to marry him if she was going to keep on feeding him. "I never expected him to live this long!" she exclaims.

Aunt Pat passed away in 2003. She had a long battle with cancer.

I will miss her till my dying day.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006



This is going to be tough this week. It began like a fresh summer day bright with possibilities and then a thunderstorm ruined everything. That is how the past week felt. But, that is the point of this exercise, to dwell not on the bad, but on the good!

1) Bridget and I driving and listening to Ibrahim Ferrer singing in Spanish. She flipped open the liner notes and began to read the words aloud in her sweet, halting voice brimming with the emotion of the lyrics.

A broken Shadow
without you
Only the twilight accompanies me now
Now that your love is gone
And there is no happiness for me.

Aimless, I drift
like smoke
through space
searching for you
I may not find you
I may have lost your forever, my love.

I will remember your eyes, your touch
I cannot avoid it
I will suffer, longing for yesterday,
I cannot forget you.

A broken shadow
without you
Only the twilight accompanies me now.
Now your love is gone
I will never feel happiness.

2) I purchased my first MP3. Well, the first one for ME! It is a cheap little thing from Walmart and I loaded up all the space with many of my favorite CD's.

3) I was able to take a long walk down the River Green Way beside the Maumee River. Though spring seems to have lost her way here, some of the fattest Robins I have ever seen did not get the word.

4) Solitude. Peace. Quiet. The deliciousness of being alone.

5) Catching a glimpse of something blue and realizing I was seeing the first crocus of spring in my new home!

6) Completing the 5K on Saturday and shearing off 45 seconds from the last 5K. This is hilarious as well as a good thing.

7) Going through several boxes of old pictures (from the early 90's) and the memories they evoked.

8) Seriously taking a trip by myself next month. Thinking that I really could do it!!

9) The sound of the thunderstorms this week-end.

10) Someone flirted with me last week and by God, it made me feel good!

Monday, April 03, 2006


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It has been really tough to practice for the upcoming 10 mile run in Louisville. Bad weather and attitude. Heck, I did not practice for any of the races thus far, why should I change now!! Fact is, the six miler (10K) surprisingly almost killed me. I really thought I could just sashay in and do it.

After all, I have done it before. The above picture was taken by my daughter Bridget several years ago (my hair is so short!!!) after the Danskin Triathlon held at Disneyworld. My sister Kit and I decided to do it together and I had plenty of time to prepare.

Did I? Heck no. I did join the YWCA and swam a grand total of one time. I had to sign up for a bicycle the day we arrived. And he only had some klunkers left. I was only too glad to get one!

We started the event when it was still dark. My daughter was scared for me because we began with the swim in the lagoon. I was concerned about alligators myself, but I guess Walt Disney would not allow us to be eaten alive by 'gators during a charity event. They divided us into age groups to begin the race. As soon as I hit the water I was run over by the enthusiastic nuts trying to jockey into a good position. Within a few strokes, I had to flip over and finish the 400 yards on my back. (In my youth I was a very fast backstoker...it is my event!)

I survived that and jumped on the bicycle for the 10 mile trek that seemed to circumvent the park. My sister came whizzing by me (smart aleck) asking if I was okay. Did I look OK?

I could barely stand up when I jumped off the bike. My butt took the worst of it.

The even ended with a two mile run through the Park itself. That would have been so cool if I had not been cross-eyed by then.

Yet, I finished and have a medal to prove it....and this picture. See the finish line?

So, after enduring that and finishing it without one bit of practice, the 10 mile run should be a piece of cake.

In 12 days I am going to attempt to run up the mountainous roads of Iroquois Park and then down the other side. I have accomplished this three times before.

Can I do it fourth time?

I really need to practice.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Joy of Easedropping

I did get up and attend the Mastodon Stomp 5K. I was thoroughly pissed because I did not register in time to receive a T-shirt! I will have one. I have a plan to get my hands on one with the help of the Athletic Dept. Why run (if you call that running?!!) if you don't get the cool t-shirt.

As I was standing around waiting for the beginning of the race I could not help but over hear the conversation behind me. I was only half paying attention, so I missed half the details. Unfortunately, the important ones.

It went something like this.

"........and it only costs $19 to join. You run from bar to bar and drink a beer. Dinner afterwards."


"Yes, it use to cost an extra $7."

What the hell! I want to join this running club!! Immediately I think it must be a very cool running club for lushes. Now that I think about it, it could be a Running Slither...minus the dinner and on the premise that there is only enough beer for the first 50 people. I crack myself up with that picture in my mind!!

Once Joe and I were in this run in a small town in Kentucky. Before the race started we were given instructions to watch out for the loose gravel on the three mile stretch.

Two teenage kids were in front of us, one turns to the other. "I run for the cheerleaders."

The other replied..........."I run for the danger."

It became a running joke between Joe and I since.


My husband has gone down South for an long planned reunion with his family. The details were up in the air as to whether they would return here or just hang out "down there" and find activities that would interest an 11 year old.

They are staying there.

I am home alone for a week!!

I am so happy!! I know this is sort of crazy, but I really enjoy the solitude and the pleasures involved with just yourself to answer to. I want to put my pajamas on at 6pm...so be it. I am okay with just eating that pot of chicken/garbonzo bean soup all week, cool! No worries! Read, read, read!! Yea! yea! yea! No one to come through the front door and shout, "You back there on that computer...you are always on the computer!!" I can be on the computer as much as I want!! Write, write, write! Yea! Yea! Yea!

I miss him already. He left yesterday morning and we have been on the phone no less than six times. My sister told me that once she went to Europe for four weeks and never sent her husband a post card nor called him. I think this is strangely sad. I admire the certainly of the relationship. I know that she knew where he was every minute of every day...because they have been together for so long. I know that I could not do it.

I am going to go to a 5K at IPFW in a few moments. It has turned cold and chilly again after several days of teasing us with Spring like weather. I was hoping to work in the yard and surprise Joe when he arrives home! Maybe I will just rearrange the furniture and hang a few more pictures and surprise him that way.

I am so looking forward to this week stretching out before me.